Page 1


NO: 15315

150 FILS


SAFAR 7, 1433 AH

World welcomes 2012 after turbulent year Fireworks and parties as revelers bid 2011 adieu

Registration closes, battle lines drawn By B Izzak KUWAIT: The number of candidates who registered to run in the 2012 elections rose to 389 including 29 women at close of registration on Friday as 10 members of the dissolved 50-seat National Assembly opted out of the race. The biggest surprise on the last day was the registration of former MP and leading liberal figure Mishari Al-Ossaimi, who had decided not to contest the previous two elections. Ossaimi’s unexpected move has made the second constituency, where he has decided to run, one of the toughest electoral districts with a large number of liberal and Islamist candidates fighting for the 10 seats available. The number of candidates at close of registration of nominations in this election is higher than the previous elections in 2009 when only 282 hopefuls registered and in 2008 when 380 candidates signed up. The number is expected to drop considerably when candidates start withdrawing until the process ends on Jan 25, or seven days before the day of the election on Feb Continued on Page 13

KUALA LUMPUR: Fireworks explode near Malaysia’s landmark Petronas Twin Towers during New Year 2012 celebrations early today. — AFP (See Page 40)

Max 24º Min 11º High Tide 04:20 & 17:40 Low Tide 10:30 & 23:41

PARIS: Glittering fireworks exploded yesterday as revelers welcomed 2012 and others around the world looked forward to bidding a weary adieu to a year marred by natural disasters and economic turmoil. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. In Sydney more than 1.5 million people crowded onto yachts and along the shores of the city’s harbor to watch the shimmering pyrotechnic display designed around the theme “Time to Dream” - a nod to the eagerness many felt in moving forward after the rough year. “It’s about giving people the opportunity to dream of the year ahead and that hopefully it is a bit better than the year we’ve had,” said Aneurin Coffey, producer of Sydney’s New Year’s festivities. Some of the fireworks formed the shape of clouds - “Because every cloud has a silver lining,” Coffey said. Colorful lights beamed onto the center of the bridge formed an “endless rainbow” symbolizing hope. “Every year we make sure our celebrations are bigger and better than the one before,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. Two hours later there were celebrations in Tokyo as the clock struck midnight with balloons released, fireworks Continued on Page 13




Registrations close at Elections Department Candidates vow to revive Kuwait’s past glory

Meshari Al-Osaimi

By A Saleh K U WA I T: Th e Elections Department has closed registration after 332 candidates including 29 women registered their names. The process took 10 days after the department received applications. Candidates can w i t h d r aw n o m i n a t i o n s u n t i l January 25. At least 46 candidates registered their names on the final day. Third constituency candidate Hussein Noah Al- Osaimi said that the countr y should catch up with the fast-changing world to revive Kuwait’s economy and bring luxury and comfort to people. He said foreign i nve s to r s s h o u l d b e e xe m p t from paying custom’s duties. He went on to say, “we should stay away from depending on oil revenue to eradicate unemployment. We should promote medical tourism, build the Silk City and benefit from by-products of oil.” Fifth constituency candidate Khalid Al-Otaibi said the laws that are gathering dust should be implemented, in addition to developing housing and healthrelated regulations. He said that the education sector should be boosted. He said, “we are optim i s t i c i n t h e ro l e p l aye d by youngsters in passing legislations that benefit the country. H e e x p e c te d a 7 0 p e rce n t chance in Parliament.” Candidate from the second co n s t i t u e n c y D r K h a l i d a A l Khader felt it was ‘shameful’ that MPs accepted bribes and then took to the streets. She added that only grilling motions flooded the Parliament. S h e s a i d t h a t wo m e n s e e k several demands including the construction of a housing com-

Mustafa Behbehani

plex. “Members of the dissolved assembly do not represent the Kuwaiti people because they belong to two classes: the business men and the supporters. They care only about furthering personal interests and those of their supporters. A great majority of Kuwait’s people are angry,” she observed. Candidate from the first constituency Sheikh Ali Rajab e x p re s s e d hope the next Assembly would focus on common issues, adding that gains s h o u l d b e m a d e. Th e Co n s t i t u t i o n s h o u l d n o t b e a l te re d. C h a n g e s s h o u l d b e m a d e to p re s e r ve ‘g a i n s a n d national unity.’ He said the new government must be given a chance. “We do not need crisis at the star ting of parliamentar y session. People are very upset w i t h t h e p re v i o u s As s e m b l y because MPs halted develop ment in Kuwait.” Sheikh Rajab appealed to the youth to elect t h e b e s t c a n d i d a te a n d t h a t youth only care the about the power that can bring change through their votes. Second constituency candidate Mustafa Behbehani said Kuwait continues to suffer from the aftermath of the world economic crisis, with all aspects of life being affected deeply. He said, “what Kuwait has witnessed was the result of focusing only on marginal issues with the lack of economic experts.” Fifth constituency candidate Hmoud Al-Hamdan asked all voters to elect those who are competent so that Kuwait can regain its glor y. He said, “we should support the prime minister in tackling corruption.” M e a nw h i l e s e co n d co n stituency candidate Meshari AlOsaimi said that he maintained a

distance from local politics. “I was monitoring events and discove re d t h a t ‘a c h i e ve m e n t s’ were not garnered as expected. The assembly was dissolved four t i m e s a n d co r r u p t i o n s p re a d under several Cabinets. It did not have any plans other than corruption leading to the resignation of the Cabinet and dissolving the Assembly. If it was not for the grace of God Kuwait would have been lost,” he said. First constituency candidate D r I b r a h i m B e h b e h a n i co n demned the attacks made against curbing freedoms, in addition to attempts to impose personal opinions on others. He re m a r k e d t h a t s to r m i n g t h e N a t i o n a l As s e m b l y a n d t h e Abdullah Al-Salem chamber was an unforgivable crime. Third constituency candidate Latifa Al-Saigal was of the opinion that events in the previous assembly inspired her to contest elec tions. She predic ted that seven women would win the 2012 elections, describing the 2009 Assembly as the worst that Kuwait has ever seen. Third constituency candidate Adel Al-Yahya said he decided to run for office in response to the p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s h i p’s c a l l to serve Kuwait. He said that if he won, he would forfeit his salary in favor of the needy. He said that nationality should be granted to the deserving. A l s o, s e co n d co n s t i t u e n c y candidate Dr Samar Al-Roumi said that women succeeded in placing themselves on the political map through their performance as MPs in 2009 Parliament. She said she will exercise her co n s t i t u t i o n a l r i g h t to e n te r Parliament. She asked voters to vote for the most credible and competent candidate.

Farida Al-Hamad

Abdulaziz Al-Rashed

Abdullah Al-Hajri

Latifa Al-Saigal

Tahani Sarhan

Jaleel Al-Tabbakh

Samar Al-Roumi

Khalili Al-Saleh

Weak Salafi candidates Candidates bribe

Bedoons stage peaceful demonstration in Taima KUWAIT: Hundreds of bedoon (stateless) residents staged a peaceful demonstration on Friday featuring a blood donation drive. The march was held in full cooperation with police officers who allowed demonstrators to put forward demands like finding a solution to their decades-long issue. The demonstration, held in the Taima district of Al-Jahra, followed after previous incidents in which police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators, with some even courting arrest. This time, bedoon children dressed up as doctors, police officers and engineers participated, expressing hope for a future in which they are free to engage in a profession of choice. In addition to facing difficulties in secur-

ing jobs, bedoons struggle to obtain marriage, birth and death certificates, as well as other civil identification documents. This makes it difficult for them to seek education, medical attention and apply for a driver’s license. The word bedoon in Arabic means ‘without,’ a reference to the fact that stateless residents live without citizenship since birth. Several social, human rights and political activists expressed their solidarity on Friday to support bedoons’ cause, including Sheikh Athbi Sabah Al-Nasser Al-Sabah who assured in a speech that Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of Defense is committed to resolve the problem soon. — Al-Qabas

— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Salafi ideas and thoughts are not new to the Kuwaiti public. Many Kuwaitis have followed Salafi thoughts. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Fares, who died in 1908, was a famous follower of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Daihan always described himself as Salafi in the books he left behind. The deep-rooted system for democratic change was rejected by the Salafis after independence in 1961. They consider that a democratic system originates in the west and contradicts Islamic principles because the Constitution is the top law in the state, rather than Islamic Law. Salafi thinking is built on giving advice to the ruler in secret, to obey him and not to speak against him in public. There is a well known saying among the Salaf which says be patient with the ruler, even if he

steals your money and beats your back. The hesitation in entering into the political system by Salafi followers lasted for many years during the sixties and seventies. They did not participate in the National Assembly then. The real change in Salafi attitude came in early 1980, after an edict from Sheikh Abdulaziz Ibn Baz and Sheikh Mohammad Ibn Othaimeen permitted entry to the National Assembly for the benefit of the public. Salafis started preparing for the current elections early this season through the Salafi group who nominated their nominees. It must be noted that there are Salafi candidates who compete with the Salafi group nominees. But the Salafi movement participants are very weak and will concentrate on candidates who are very close to the movement. —Al-Shahed

Nationality to soldiers? KUWAIT: The Council of Ministers will review in its session tomorrow the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) plan to ensure clean elections, scheduled for Feb 2. The MoI also aims to protect elections from political money and vote buying. Sources expect the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Ahmad AlHmoud, to provide a list of the names of soldiers working in the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense who participat-

ed in the Liberation war and Arab wars in preparation for approval by the concerned parties to grant them nationality. The Council of Ministers will also review a study concerning the approval of financial cadres for those who were not covered under the previous cadres which were approved. The aim of this study is to achieve equality among employees who have the same qualifications. —Al-Shahed

with gifts KUWAIT: Vote buying is a crime by law and the election law is very clear in this matter, whether buying votes directly or indirectly. But there is a new way of buying votes, which is not subject to the law. It is gifts provided during elections by candidates to voters in an attempt to affect his decision on polling day. The gifts are not subject to supply and demand and there is no prior agreement. They are designed to win a voter to the side of a candidate without obliging him to vote for the one who provides a gift. Shaikh Hay Al-Hay described it is very suspicious. He said gifts that are offered by a candidate during election season should not be accepted. Some of the different gifts include mobile phones, perfumes, ladies handbags, furniture for the diwania (traditional sitting room) and satellite channel subscription cards.

Maid beaten to death KUWAIT: Hawally police charged a female citizen of beating a maid to death. Police noticed marks of an attack on the maid, who died at home. The citizen, in her 40s, said she had a fight with her maid and beat her hard. She said she was shocked to find her dead the next morning. Police are waiting for the report from the coroner to determine the exact cause of death.

Wataniya Telecom sponsors B Expo KUWAIT: Stemming from its social responsibility and keenness on supporting various activities that concern the youth, Wataniya Telecom sponsored the B Expo exhibition, organized by the American University of the Middle East (AUM) over the weekend. B Expo aimed at presenting different success stories of small businesses. The display of new ideas and business initiatives took place at AUM’s campus in Eqaila, where a specialized committee categorized and rated the presented businesses and prizes were awarded to the best design and best idea. Commenting on the sponsorship of t h i s u n i q u e e x h i b i t i o n , P R D i re c to r a t Wataniya Telecom, Abdolaziz Al-Balool, ensured that Wataniya continuously seeks to participate in social, business, and university activities that help youth in meeting

their desires, especially with a successful exhibition such as B Expo, which shed light on the small businesses that hold innovative ideas. The exhibition at AUM allowed business owners to share their success stories with visitors through speeches during the exhibition, which were widely admired. A l - B a l o o l a d d e d, “ Wa t a n i y a Te l e co m sponsored this exhibition because of its continuous support for youth to accomplish their dreams and implement them through the establishment of their projec ts and expansion, in order to become successful businessmen in the near future, introducing new ideas to the community and creating jobs in the local market. Wataniya Telecom promises constant connec tion with the youth and suppor t to their determined activities.”

Abdolaziz Al-Balool



Mixed reactions to Kuwait proposal to ban sheesha Municipality conducting feasibility study By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Senior officials from the National Guard held a meeting with senior officials in the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training to implement a cooperation protocol signed between the two bodies. As part of an agreement signed, training courses will be held for National Guard recruits at PAAET, part of the National Guard’s policy to boost scientific education.

Al-Maliki to visit Kuwait KUWAIT: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri AlMaliki will visit Kuwait in early January 2012, said a senior member of Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party while speaking to Kuwaiti daily Al-Dar. “Al-Maliki was to begin his visit to Kuwait [today, Jan 1, 2012],” said AbdulHadi Al-Hassani, a leading member of the Islamic Dawa Party. The Iraqi PM is its secretary general. “However, some errors in the coordination process between Iraqi Foreign Ministry and its Kuwaiti counterpart have forced the

date to be rescheduled.” Al-Hassani did not provide a specific date for the visit but said that it will take place “during the first few weeks of the new year.” He added that AlMaliki will be accompanied by a toplevel delegation comprising Iraqi ministers. Discussions will be held on border demarcations, joint oil fields as well as compensatory damages that Iraq has to pay for the 1990/1991 invasion of Kuwait. —Al-Dar

KPC official downplays Iran’s threat KUWAIT: An Iranian threat to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers has been played down by a senior petroleum official in Kuwait, who says Iran was unable do so during the Iraq/Iran war of the 1980s. “The world will not allow Iran to threaten its interests,” said Sheikh Dr Khalifa Nasser Al-Sabah, board member of the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). Around two million barrels of oil pass through the Strait of Hormuz every day, equaling around 40 percent of global oil supplies that are transported via this sea route. Sheikh Dr Khalifa said that such threats will cause an increase in oil prices. KPC sources, who spoke to Al-Rai on the condition of anonymity, said that despite

the fact that the Strait of Hormuz is the key passage for Iranian oil exports, Iran could benefit from an oil price increase created by the threats. The sources further noted that Iran was able to export oil by numerous means even under sanctions. Kuwait can pursue several possible alternatives should the Strait of Hormuz be closed, the source noted. Kuwait can pump oil via pipelines through Saudi Arabia to the shores of Oman, or to the western coast of Saudi Arabia to be exported through the Red Sea ports. A third option would be for tankers to load Kuwaiti oil to ship to the United Arab Emirates, where it can be moved to Oman through pipelines. —Al-Rai

KUWAIT: The Municipality is conducting a feasibility study on banning the use of sheesha (smok ing device) in cafes and restaurants. However, cafes or restaurants located on the ground floor may be exempted from the regulation. According to Osama Al-Duaij, Deputy Director General Municipality (Hawally), safety and health concerns are the motivating factors behind the proposal. “The proposal to ban sheesha use in multi-storied buildings are being seriously discussed by officials. I expect it to be approved soon. A decree will be issued on this matter,” he told Kuwaiti Times. “Offering sheesha in such cafes is dangerous, as a fire can take place, especially when lighting coal fire. These cafes suffer from lack of proper ventilation, a common sight in top floors and the basement. Other cafes can benefit from the outdoor space to light coal fire,” added Al-Duaij. “The cafes located on the top floors of a building are not located favorably. These buildings were built to accommodate a certain capacit y, mostly offices. Now, the capacity of these floors is much higher than what the building was built for. This fact may cause dangerous problems when a fire is started. The exits are simply not enough for large number of cafe visitors. Also, there are problems with the fire department and firemen, as it’s difficult to reach these cafes,” he explained. Al-Duaij also stressed that the regulation on issuing licenses is vague. “The regulation has not approved or banned setting up these cafes in improper locations. Usually, when the regulation does not spell out clear terms, we approve more than we reject,” he stated. If the regulation is implemented, the cafes located on the top floors are bound to incur steep losses. “ Without ser ving sheesha in our cafe, we will lose a majority of our customers. More than 90 percent of our customers come to smoke sheesha. So they won’t come to our cafe if a sheesha is not offered. We have never faced any problems so far. Also, we are equipped with safety measures and fire extinguishers. Furthermore, the building we are located in is almost empt y,” n oted M a hm oud,

Manager of Sama Cafe. Non-smokers on the other hand were quick to welcome the proposed move. “I would love this idea. I am a non-smoker and I ‘die’ every time I go out with friends. We sit at a table with three people smoking cigarettes and the others smoking sheesha. As a non-smoker this is really hard on my lungs. I wish they would ban smoking in all public areas. I guess that will never happen. Also, sheesha is so dangerous when there are little kids running around. At least ban-

ning them in enclosed locations is a good start,” said 25-year-old Samar. Even smokers agreed. “Although I’m a s m oke r I a gre e w i t h s uc h d e c i s i on. Residential flats may be part of such buildings and the smoke of sheesha is really annoying to tenants. In a building that has 15 floors with two elevators that are out of order, it will be really dangerous if a fire starts. Furthermore, female customers do complain against young customers of sheesha cafes,” stressed 30-year-old Nawaf.

Friends smoking sheesha.

Work permit transactions resume KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor will resume the process of issuing work permits on Monday. The issuing of permits was put on hold for ten days to allow for an annual inventory in the labor departments of the ministry. During the suspension period, transactions for residence permit transfer and work permits for private sector personnel hired

to work on governmental projects were put on hold. This excluded work permits issued for the first time and residence permit termination formalities. The issuance of work permits in the private sector is currently subject to certain controls and is limited to certain professions. It is also conditional on certain qualifications that job applicants should possess. —Al-Jarida



LOCAL Local Spotlight

Satire Wire

A wish by a Kuwaiti woman!

Resolutions for the year 2012

Muna Al-Fuzai Sawsan Kazak

his article is about Kuwaiti women who marry non-Kuwaiti men and have children. The law actually ignores her and her rights, but as a citizen and a human being she is supposed to be protected by the Constitution and national laws. It seems that the law punishes her for her own choice. I meant to write and comment on this issue today due to its sensitivity and importance. At this time, where everyone is promoting their agenda for the election, I have not yet heard anyone calling to change laws in regard to a Kuwaiti woman who is married to a non Kuwaiti or how to handle her personal property?


Dear Muna Al-Fuzai, My name is Fatima. I am a Kuwaiti citizen married to non-Kuwaiti husband for the last 23 years. I have 4 children all over 18 years old. I cannot transfer my citizenship to my children!? I cannot transfer my property to my children’s name and they can not apply for Kuwait citizenship?! In Dubai and Bahrain, the government allows the children of local women to take her nationality if they are over 18. Why not in Kuwait?! Why are Kuwaitis always unsupportive of human rights? Please can you help us. Regards First of all, I agree that the law here is not supportive to a Kuwaiti woman when it comes to her marriage to a non-Kuwaiti. As if we are all blue blood they are trying to protect! This is not true by any means! I understand and have sympathy with your call. After 23 years of marriage, you still struggle for your future and you cannot even register any property under the names of your sons and daughters because the law is still punishing you for your choice, which you made decades ago! Granting Kuwaiti citizenship to your children from a non-Kuwaiti man seems impossible now. You will probably hear lots of sweet talk and promises, but I have to tell you the truth. This issue is not a matter of concern to anyone right now, neither voters, candidates nor the government. The future is something we cannot predict, just hope for the best. As for what is happing in the UAE and Bahrain, allowing the children of local women to have her citizenship if they are over 18 is something I cannot confirm as I am not familiar with their regulations in this regard. If this is true then I believe that they did well. It does not make sense to me that a woman who would live with someone for 23 years and has adult sons and daughters fails to remain a happy family in one place. When a mother wishes to leave some of her property to her children, she fails because they are not citizens! The only chance for you is to raise the issue with many concerned people in the field of human rights. I know I will do, and will talk about it in the media as well.

very year, around this time, millions of people around the world begin to create a New Year’s resolution. These are actions they wish to take in the coming year which they believe will make their lives better. The typical ones usually involve weight loss, quitting smoking or other disgusting habits and some kind of attempt at happiness. Sadly most of us have had first-hand experience with the difficulties of keeping to our New Year’s resolutions. Statistics show that 97 percent of resolutions fail within the first month (the above statistic has been fabricated for the purpose of this article and for shock value. It has not been based on any kind of scientific research). Lack of funding, planning or just lack of motivation sees many resolutions forgotten within a few months of the New Year and there is always some sort of subsequent guilt that follows. I believe the problem lies in the method in which we structure our resolutions and the items in our lives we focus on. Why not choose resolutions we are good at already, stuff we already do on a regular basis and wish to continue. This type of resolution will be easy to follow and this in turn will boost morale, improve self-esteem and help you lose cellulite (actually, good resolutions will not help you lose cellulite). Examples of such resolutions would be: “I will continue to not rob banks in my neighborhood. I will continue to not make nuclear weapons in my backyard. I will continue to not set fire to random buildings I see.” Resolutions should focus on what you are good at, and the aspects of your life that are going in the right direction. These types of resolutions will be easy to keep, thus guaranteeing success for the year of 2012. For those of you who think the above list does not apply to you, it is probably time to really rethink the direction of your life. For the rest of you, you can enjoy the fact that this year you will have no problem sticking to your resolution and it will be a robbery, nuclear and arson free year. Happy New Year!

E kuwait digest

Why is the government being criticized? By Dr Shamlan Al-Essa Candidates and citizens are possibly targeting ny political observer will have noticed by now that candidates have no set political or eco- ministers, secretaries, assistant undersecretaries, nomic programs. How do they intend to deal directors and the entire executive apparatus. Most with issues relating to development, the economy, state employees are citizens and voters. This means that all shortcomings, corruption, bribery and bad and society? Political Islamist groups, like the Salaf, Muslim management are the responsibility of citizens who Brotherhood and Shiites, continue to criticize the do not have the courage to self-criticize and admit government by blaming it for all of the ills of the that poor government performance is due to corrupcountry - poor services, bad management, poor gov- tion. It is true that the political elite in the government ernment performance, rampant corruption, wasta, have the responsibility of managing these things. political nepotism, and failure to implement the law. Nobody denies the existence of all these prob- They need sincere people who work hard to get the job done, not people lems. The question here who depend on them for is: are our former MPs and Candidates and citizens are possi- everything. candidates a group of bly targeting ministers, secretaries, The other reason that angels who are racing the government is being towards serving the state assistant undersecretaries, directors criticized is its ‘oil revand society without makand the entire executive apparatus. enue’, which brings trouing mistakes? We know Most state employees are citizens and ble to itself. The governthat our government is not as bad as the regimes voters. This means that all shortcom- ment follows ‘cradle to grave’ welfare policy! of Saddam Hussein, ings, corruption, bribery and bad There is no country in Muammar Al-Gaddafi or management are the responsibility of the world that does this. Hosni Mubarak. Our continued criticism of the citizens who do not have the courage Yet the people are not satisfied. Why doesn’t government is not corto self-criticize and admit that poor the government forge a rect or realistic. government performance is due to true spirit of citizenry by We pray every day that making citizens pay tax‘God not change Kuwait’s corruption. es and making military way of life and not accept enrolment compulsory? any other than Al-Sabah Finally, we the citizens of Kuwait are lucky to be as our rulers.’ The questions then asked are: ‘Why is the government being criticized daily? What are the enjoying democracy, freedom. What we really lack is a just system. When citizens are treated equally by reasons and how can the picture be changed?’ There are many reasons that prompt citizens to law, and the state does not differentiate between one criticize the government. The first reason is mixing citizen and another due to religious, tribal or family things up. When they criticize the government, for affiliations, we can change our view of the government for sure. — Al-Watan example, do they target the ruling family?


kuwait digest

‘Innocent until proven guilty’ By Thaar Al-Rashidi

kuwait digest kuwait digest

Curb water wastage

Snowballing problem of bedoons

By Iqbal Al-Ahmad uwait and Saudi Arabia are two countries with the highest per capita water consumption rates in the world. An individual in each country consumes an average of 500 liters of water a day, showed latest international statistics. Recently, expert Najeeb Saab, Secretary General of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development observed that an inevitable water shortage crisis will take place in the Arab region, especially when current precautionary measures are not enough to tackle water-related problems. In Kuwait, water is probably the cheapest thing that citizens and expatriates pay for. Due to this reason, people have no respect for water resources. Every morning, we witness ‘rivers’ of waste water flowing from homes after cars are washed using water hoses. Domestic workers washing cars are usually not concerned about the amount of water spilled because they are never told that they should use it judiciously. Paying water bills is the least of their employer’s concerns. Back in the day, a public campaign was held in Kuwait under the slogan “No hose, use a pail instead,” The campaign called for using buckets instead of hosepipes to wash cars, the floor, etc. Najeeb Saab said that in three years, the share water consumed by an Arab person will drop to less than 500 square meters per year. Today, 500 liters of water are consumed by individuals in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. If you have trouble picturing how serious the problem is, try imagining 500 one liter bottles lined up in front of you. That’s how much every person in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia waste every day. That means, a family of five living in a house with four domestic helpers (maid, driver, cook) consumes an average of 4,500 liters of water a day. That’s 4500 one liter bottles each day! Previous water conservations efforts failed because it focused mainly on media campaigns while ignored this aspect by spreading awareness in schools. The Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW) should form teams to carry out field trips and issue tickets against houses where redundant use of water is detected. In addition, we must take a more closer look into how much water is being consumed within our households. We should practice self control in order to curb wastage. — Al-Qabas


By Dr Mubarak Al-Therwa do not know how citizens can sleep inside their and disposed of their passports to claim Kuwaiti oriluxurious homes at night, when a few kilometers gins. The solution is simple: the government should away, people are struggling to catch a few minutes sleep inside huts made from sheets of corru- immediately grant Kuwaiti nationality to those, who they are sure, are not affiliated to other countries. gated iron. I do not know how we can eat sumptuous feasts Then, the government should summon those who when there are people struggling to find jobs to disposed of their original passport and show them support their children. Are our Arab, Kuwaiti and documents proving that they come from another country. These stateIslamic traditions not less residents should enough for us to push The stateless residents problem has then be given a perifor an end to bedoons’ od of time to legalproblem? been snowballing for years. For ize their status to The stateless residecades it was ignored by Parliament, live in Kuwait as dents problem has which failed to legislate solutions, and expatriate residents. been snowballing for As for the third years. For decades it by the Cabinet, which did not put an category, the main was ignored by end to the problem. Instead, the govproblem in the Parliament, which failed ernment kept forming successive comstateless dilemma, to legislate solutions, the government and by the Cabinet, mittees, each of which repeatedly should promptly which did not put an made recommendations, but none of look into their files end to the problem. them were implemented. in order to sort out Instead, the governthose who meet natment kept forming sucuralization condicessive committees, each of which repeatedly made recommendations, tions. The others will have to resolve their problems in court. but none of them were implemented. Ending the bedoons’ problems will help Kuwait In the meantime, bedoons’ problems kept snowballing, making noises as it kept rolling. These utilize an enormous wealth of labor forces comsounds never bothered state officials, as they slept prised of young men and women ready to serve the country in most fields, including those that most citsoundly each night. For years, the government has claimed it was izens refuse to work in. Leaving this problem unreworking on resolving the problem. This, however, is solved is a threat to the future in Kuwait, because clear. Bedoons in Kuwait are divided into three cate- someone who is deprived of the feeling of safety, gories; stateless who meet the requirements for nat- security, and wellbeing of their family is more prone uralization, stateless who the government can to commit crimes. The government is required to prove came from another country, and stateless ensure justice to those who have been subjected to who the government can’t prove came from outside injustice for so long. —Al-Rai


s a matter of simple logic it is not right for any person, whoever he is, to judge any one of the former MPs who have been sent to the Public Prosecution Department in the case known to concern millions of dinars deposited into their accounts. Personally, and out of logic which is compatible with the legal saying an accused is ‘innocent until proven guilty’, I refuse to become the judge and executioner of any one of those former MPs. I call upon everyone to stop accusing any MP of being a bribe taker or money launderer before the court has its say in the case. Out of the simple principles of law which we respect, and because we are a very respectful nation, I refuse to accuse any former MP who was sent to the Public Prosecution Department or judge him. As a good citizen, I leave the matter to court. But, because we are a respectful nation that does not mean we are stupid, as some of those MPs tried to say in their press releases. We are not stupid and never were. Some of you made justifications for your stand, and talked and tried to defend yourselves from the accusation. Some of you have even issued a final verdict of innocence for yourselves, and swore that someone influential is behind sending you to the Public Prosecution Department. Some of you said that being sent to the Public Prosecution Department is a political war against you. 1. None of you have named the influential person, so we do not believe you unless you name him. We will not buy your declaration for anything. 2. Maybe I am a supporter of simple logic so let me ask you from where did you get it? And I am talking here about the statements of inflation in your accounts, and what is still hidden may be more. I challenge you to show me, the simple citizen, what trade can bring millions to its owner in less than 36 months? And what is the great work you have done? Was not your trade ‘politics’ in a market of buying and selling loyalties? There is no trade in the world, or history, which shifts its owner from a falling house to a palace in 36 months. Or increases his account from double digits to moree than six digits, unless the trade is illegal. If you are not drug dealers or slave traders or arms dealers, and I do not think that you are are one of those, then certainly some of you must be ‘politics’ traders?! Accordingly, I advise you to remain silent and stop making declarations. Wait with us for the court decision because maybe, I say maybe, you obtain a verdict of innocent and maybe there will be no prison sentence or penalty. No one knows. The court will rule according to the documents provided. And we trust our courts and shall wait, so please wait with us. —Al-Anbaa




61 ex-MPs among 389 Parliament candidates Increase opens door for bargaining

KUWAIT: Swiss President and Federal Councilor Micheline Calmy-Rey is pictured withformer Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, when she visited Kuwait in 2010.

Swiss president for nurtured communication with Kuwait GENEVA: Swiss President and Federal Councilor Micheline Calmy-Rey said yesterday it is important to nurture bilateral communication channels and encourage Swiss economic presence in Kuwait and the Gulf region. Calmy-Rey, who will soon leave political office, recalled the warm welcome she received from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad AlSabah, and former National Assembly speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi, when she visited Kuwait in 2010. “I came back from Kuwait with the positive impression that Switzerland has made ‘friends’ with the Gulf country, after holding economic and regional talks with Kuwaiti officials,” the Swiss President said in an exclusive interview. She said that foreign policy in her country has changed during the past nine years. This is due to a drastic shift in the global political scene, where it places China as the second most powerful economic country in the world, and a setback of western influence. “This new international change in global political dynamics makes it difficult for any country to act ‘alone’ to find solutions to problems without collaboration with another country,” Calmy-Rey pointed out. “For this particular reason, I believe that Switzerland should play an effective role on the international scene in order to defend the country’s interests,” she explained. Calmy-Rey explained that out of her country’s interest, and with the support of the Geneva initiative, a special envoy was appointed in the Middle East. “There is an everlasting struggle in

the region, referring to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, which negativity affects ‘trust’ between the Islamic world and the West,” she explained. She noted that this struggle is challenging, yet Switzerland manages to make a potentially substantial contribution to resolve this conflict through the Geneva Initiative, which aims at ending the Israeli-Palestinian struggle based on previous official negotiations and international resolutions. On a wider spectrum of the Middle East region, Calmy-Rey described the revolutionary wave of demonstrations, k nown as Arab Spring, as “a good opportunity to practice real democracy in the Arab countries.” She noted that the road to democracy is not an easy one and it may witness a relapse. She encouraged Arab youths to keep paying more interest in politics and to keep supporting their government and communities. She explained that although her take on foreign policy is severely criticized and has occasionally given rise to domestic controversy, she supports the Arab Spring movement in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. She defended her approach to foreign policies by explaining that her country is “fit” to engage in international matters because it is neutral. Switzerland is not affiliated with any organization. It does not have any colonial past, nor any hidden agendas. “Because of her neutral status, Switzerland played the mediator role between Russia and Georgia, and Turkey and Armenia, not to mention that it played a greater role in supporting international human rights laws,” she concluded. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al-Sabah cooperated with the Ministry of Education to solve the overcapacity problem in schools in Umm AlHaiman. His remarks were made during a recent meeting held with senior MoE officials including Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Facilities Affairs, Mohammad Al-Sayegh and Maintenance Supervisor at the Ahmadi educational directorate Saleh Habeeb.

Arab observers well-equipped to do mission CAIRO: Arab observers are well equipped to do their mission and document any violation to the Arab crisis deal, Arab mission Operation Chamber Chief Adnan Essa AlKhodeir said yesterday. In press statements here, Al-Khodeir pointed out that Arab monitors are moving ever ywhere in Syria according to the agreed upon protocol and the Syrian authorities are responsible for their safety. About 22 observers from Iraq and 25 from Gulf Cooperation Council member states will join the Arab mission this week, he said.

He added that Mission Chief Gen Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa Al-Dabi is coordinating the work of the different team members and supervising reports writing. Al-Khodeir unveiled that Operation Chamber has received a huge number of reports about detained people and these reports have been referred to the team members in Syria to handle their cases. He also revealed that Syrian authorities have agreed on allowing foreign reporters to enter and cover events in Syria, but reporters have to apply for permissions before starting their work. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Just 29 women are among 389 candidates who have registered to run for Parliament in the 2012 elections. The total is up by 147 from the 2009 elections. This increase, according to some spectators, opens the door for bargaining between candidates. Some of them will attempt to convince others to withdraw their nomination to receive ‘something in return.’ Other analysts believe that the redundancy is actually deliberate ‘in order to reduce chances of certain candidates.’ Salah Al-Ghazali, Chairman of the Kuwait Transparency Society that is assigned by the government to oversee the upcoming elections, hinted that there are individuals “looking to finance the vote buying process from political and commercial agendas.” Al-Ghazali did not provide details about this information, but told Al-Qabas daily on Friday that coordination is in place with the Ministry of Interior will “ambush vote buying activities in all constituencies.” After the close of the registering period on Friday, the number of candidates per constituency stood at 79 in the first, 78 in the second, 83 in the third, 73 in the fourth and 76 in the fifth. The first constituency saw the nomination of 11 former MPs and ministers, while 16 and 13 former lawmakers have been nominated in the second and third constituencies respectively. The fourth and fifth constituencies have 15 and six former MPs respectively registered as candidates. This makes 61 former MPs running

in the 2012 Parliament elections. Speculation has already begun about possible alliances taking place between candidates who hope to increase their chances to reach Parliament. An Annahar report indicated yesterday that at least four of the 24 urban candidates in the first constituency are expected to form a coalition to boost their chances, amid heated competition with 37 Shiite candidates who form a majority in the first constituency. Analysts quoted in the same report believe that the chances for tribal candidates (nine from the Awazem tribe and three from the Kandari tribe) are slim compared to the other two social categories. The second constituency saw a notable increase in the number of female candidates, with ten women running this year compared to only two in the 2009 elections. This increase means more competition for candidate Salwa Al-Jassar, the only female candidate from the second constituency to be elected previously. She only contested one other female candidate before. Either way, the second constituency is definitely going to feature new faces elected for Parliament with former speaker Jassem AlKharafi and former MP Mohammad Al-Mutair not running for office this year. In the third constituency, the 83 candidates are considered a huge boost from 2009 when only 54 candidates including eight women who ran for elections. Spectators already believe that Mohammad Al-Dallal of the Islamic

Constitutional Movement has an early advantage due to a large supporter base estimated at 5,500 voters. The decision by former MP Adel Al-Saraawi not to run in the 2012 elections gives a chance for at least 10 percent of change for the fourth constituency members of the Parliament. One spectator told Annahar that the nomination of 17 Shiite candidates in the third constituency boosts the chances of the Shiite community to have representatives in Parliament in that constituency. A similar increase in Independent MPs isn’t seen as a good thing for their chances. Analysts also predict former MP Saleh Al-Mulla to lose a significant number of votes, and former MP Dr Rola Dashti in not likely to be re-elected. The Annahar report further indicates that tribal majorities in the fourth and fifth constituencies are expected to retain their dominance in election results this year. Annahar also reported yesterday that two unnamed candidates could be disqualified due to convictions in criminal cases, in addition to other candidates with a record filled with defamation accusations. Political activist and former MP Dr Ahmad AlKhateeb told a crowd of young citizens that they have “a historic opportunity to save Kuwait” by electing MPs “who give top priority to Kuwait’s interest.” The long-time liberal activist made the remarks during a recent gathering held to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the Democratic Center List, reported Al-Rai.

Old equipment, new infections KUWAIT: The aged sterilization unit at Ibn Sina Hospital has resulted in an increase of the rate of infection among burn patients in Al-Babtain Center, sources revealed. The Infection Prevention Director wrote a letter to the Surgery Director in the hospital pointing out that the problem is caused by the old sterilization equipment in the depart-

ment. It is not supported with safety means, has no efficiency standard, and its location is not suitable. Safety steps in sterilization are not being followed, and no prior coordination has been made with the Infection Prevention Unit in the hospital in this regard. Reports did not show the date when the

problem started, the way it has been dealt with since its onset, or whether any official has interceded to rescue patients from infection. The question is how old is this equipment? And why did the ministry leave it in operation when it is old equipment and does not meet standard specifications? —Al-Anbaa



KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior hosted a ceremony to award graduates who completed two security and VIP protection courses. The first was held in Ohio, the United States and the other in Jordan. The event was attended by Assistant Undersecretary for Special Security Affairs, Lt Gen Sulaiman Al-Fahad.

First column erected in construction of Jahra bridges KUWAIT: An eight meter high column, the first concrete pier in the Jahra bridge project, was cast at the intersection of Jahra Road and Ghazali bridge on Dec 20. The supervising authority in charge of the Jahra Road development project announced the latest updates in the structural works of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Kuwait. The report also included the progress in production piling and the latest constructions in the Pre-Cast Yard in Doha area. Engineer Jeff McCammon, Project Director of the joint venture between Louis Berger group and Pan Arab Consulting Engineers, stated that the first bridge concrete pier under the name (PJ-120) has been erected. The pier is of model (PJ) one of the Jahra Road project’s pier models - and it is the first of a series of piers to be erected in this ‘phase 5’ of the project. “In preparation for building the elevated roads of the project, we completed the construction and technical curing of the first part of the pier, which is the column that rests on a pile cap base underground. A pile cap is a rectangular block of concrete into which the heads of the piles are embedded where the Piles are long, slender concrete columns, founded to resist the weight of the bridge. We have managed to complete 1,300 production piles from a total of 5,000,” Engineer Jeff said. Engineer Jeff also spoke about the recent updates of

work on the Jahra Road development pre-cast yard located in Doha, saying that the achievements there so far include progress in setting up the concrete batching plant, the railing fixations for the gantry crane foundations and the laying of asphalt for car parks and access roads. “After the construction of the pre-stressed steel factory, the erection of overhead cranes inside is being executed, in addition to the final assembling of offices and laboratories for staff that have been transferred to the facility,” Jeff added. Engineer Alfred Lotfy, Environmental and Safety Consultant, spoke about the social accountability of the project. “All environmental analysis and studies for noise and air pollution have been carried out for all phases of the project prior to launch, in addition to approved periodic report submissions for all new environmental occurrences. Accordingly we try to maintain ecological welfare and greenery as much as possible, and avoid any damage the works may cause.” “We would like to extend our apologies to all Jahra Road users and area residents for any inconvenience. However, we assert that all safety measures are firmly implemented at all work sites. These comprise safety barricades and traffic guide signs. We urge motorists to abide by all traffic guidelines and use caution while driving within construction areas for their own safety,” he added.

KJA hosts Kuwait Green charter initiative KUWAIT: A group of activists led by Salam Group leader Dr Salah Al-Rashid launched an initiative titled ‘Kuwait Green,’ which aims to spread public awareness on achieving progress in the development, environmental, political, economic, cultural fields in Kuwait. “The initiative was selected because green represents balance, prosperity, life and welfare,” explained Dr Al-Rashid, a peace advocate and human rights activist. He announced in a recent press statement that candidates for the 2012 parliamentary election will be asked to

Dr Salah Al-Rashid sign a charter to facilitate development in the above-mentioned fields. “The charter calls for focusing on efforts to achieve development that will

boost Kuwait’s ranking at the UNDP’s Human Development Index by implementing developmental projects and tackling corruption,” Dr Al-Rashid said, adding that the charter also pushes for more attention to promote environmental activities in Kuwait. “Candidates who sign the charter will receive full backing from the Kuwait Green,” said Dr Al-Rashid. He added that all candidates are invited to attend an event to be held on Monday, January 15 at the Kuwait Journalists Association(KJA) to sign the charter.

Janitor disappears after raping boy in Salmiya Crash kills 4 females KUWAIT: A search is currently ongoing for a child rapist, who disappeared after assaulting a six-year-old boy in Salmiya on Friday. The incident happened at an apartment building where the janitor targeted the young victim. The child had been left to play alone in the building’s yard. The attacker reportedly lured the child to his ground floor room and molested him. He left the building afterwards and fled to an undisclosed location. The mother of the boy was alerted when he returned home crying and in pain. She soon discovered that her child was sexually assaulted. She immediately called her husband, who was out at the time. Unaware of what he was subjected to, the child explained to his parents that the janitor invited him to have some candy at his room, but then took off his clothes and hurt him badly. After finding out that the janitor had disappeared, the father of the child immediately headed to the local police station and reported the incident. The child was taken for a forensic check after a case was filed. Officers tried to contact the suspect, but his phone was switched off. The suspect’s name is blacklisted and he will be arrested if he tries to leave the country. In the meantime, police are coordinating with local telecommunications providers to reveal any calls the suspect made before he closed his cell phone. They are keeping a close eye on his phone signal should he happen to use it. Investigations in the case are ongoing right now.

Fatal accident Four females were killed on Friday in a pile-up involving three vehicles on the Salmi Road. Police and paramedics rushed to the crash site after the accident was reported. Four victims, two women and two little girls including a 5-year-old, were pronounced dead on the scene. Eleven other injured passengers were rushed to Jahra Hospital, where they were admitted to the intensive care unit. Police were able to speak with one of the injured, who explained that the accident happened when one car hit another while trying to avoid contact with a third vehicle which was being driven recklessly. Police are currently investigating the incident.

Brutal suicide A domestic worker ended her life brutally inside a Bayan house by slashing herself with a kitchen knife, according to the preliminary investigations report. Security officers accompanied by crime scene investigators headed to the house after a citizen reported finding his Ethiopian housemaid dead inside the bathroom. The victim was pronounced dead from a fatal neck wound that investigations later revealed was selfinflicted. The body was taken for an autopsy to confirm the circumstances of the death. An investigation was opened to reveal the motives behind the suicide.

Fatal fall Investigations are currently ongoing to reveal the circumstances behind the death of a male Salmiya resident who fell off the twelfth floor of a building in the area recently. The 44 year old Indian man was pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics, who headed to the place with police following a

report about a man falling off the roof of a building. Roommates of the victim told police that he was fixing the window insect screen when he lost balance and fell. The body was taken for an autopsy.

Generous thief A thief was arrested trying to leave the country by bribing a border officer. He was using money he obtained by his recent theft. Jahra police were investigating a case in which a citizen reported a safe containing KD65,000 was stolen from his house. Police eventually identified a stateless resident as a prime suspect after obtaining information about his suspicious activity. He reportedly gave between KD500 and KD1,000 to some relatives and friends. The suspect was apprehended at Salmi border checkpoint. He was trying to leave the country after suspecting that police were looking for him. Security officers also arrested the border officer, who admitted that he agreed to smuggle the suspect out of the country for KD1,000. The two are currently detained pending legal action.

Policeman attacked Sabah Al-Salem investigators recently arrested two military personnel. The men attacked a police officer during a traffic dispute on a street in the area. The incident happened early this month when the victim, a First Lieutenant in the Police Academy, was forced to stop his car by the two suspects. They brutally assaulted him because he reportedly failed to give them way while driving in Sabah Al-Salem. The arrest took place when police summoned the owner of the vehicle, matching a description provided by the victim. He was able to identify his attacker in a police lineup. After initially denying the charge, the suspect admitted to committing the attack along with a friend, who was later put under arrest. It was later revealed that the two are servicemen in the Ministry of Defense. They are currently held pending legal action.

Alcohol possession Two male suspects were arrested in Rumaithiya after being caught in possession of alcohol. The two were inside a car that was pulled over for having illegal window tinting. The men tried ignoring police orders and drove away from the scene, but were forced to stop. They were immediately put under arrest after patrol officers found five imported liquor bottles inside their vehicle. They were referred to the proper authorities to face charges.

Luxury car rentals forged A software engineer was arrested in Abu Halifa after he used forged Civil ID cards to rent luxury cars and obtain cell phone lines without paying. Investigations are ongoing in multiple cases in which citizens and residents were called to pay rental fees for cars they never rented, and phone bills for lines they have not used. Investigations eventually revealed that the transactions were made through Civil ID cards forged skillfully using computer software. Police were able to identify a prime suspect living in Abu Halifa. The suspect admitted his crime, following arrest, and was put behind bars pending trial. —Al-Rai, Al-Anbaa

NBK hosts party for 2,000 staff to mark New Year KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) hosted a special lunch buffet for all staff on the occasion of the New Year. This was in appreciation of their commitment, initiative and unremitting efforts in serving the bank, as well as its clients and shareholders. Lunch buffets were held in all NBK branches and were attended by more than 2000 NBK staff members. NBK Executive Management congratulated the employees on the occasion of the New Year, and thanked them for their efforts and excellence. An annual tradition, the end of year lunch buffets help to strengthen the NBK family and serve as a token of appreciation for the professionalism, dedication and hard work of the staff.


Afghan child bride tells of ‘torture’ by in-laws

Hundreds of Kurds protest death of ‘separatist rebels’


Page 10

IDLIB: This image made from amateur video and made available by Shaam News Network dated Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, purports to show protesters running from a water canon in Idlib, Syria. Syria’s two largest opposition groups signed an agreement on setting up a democracy after President Bashar at Assad’s regime falls, opposition figures said yesterday. —AP

17 dead as Syrians stage protests EU, Britain again demand withdrawal of army BEIRUT: Syrian security forces, undaunted by the presence of Arab League observers, have killed at least 12 protesters as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the government of President Bashar alAssad, opposition activists said. Five members of the security forces were also killed in a shooting in the city of Homs, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday. Assad, 46, has signed up to an Arab League plan for a verifiable withdrawal of his troops and heavy weaponry from towns and cities, where they have been trying to crush protests that have raged since March. But the presence of Arab League monitors in hotspots across Syria since Monday has, if anything, energised the protesters, while provoking scepticism in Western countries. Demonstrators determined to show the scale of their movement to the monitors threw rocks at security forces in the Damascus suburb of Douma, where troops tear-gassed the chanting crowds. Five people were shot dead in the city of Hama and five in the city of Deraa as crowds braved army and police, the Observatory reported, adding that at least two dozen people had been injured in Douma. “ We are determined to show them (the monitors) we exist. Whether or not there’s bloodshed is not important,” an activist named Abu Khaled said by phone from the northern city of Idlib. Most foreign media are banned from Syria and witness reports and videos are hard to verify. An opposition supporter named Manhal said thousands had tried to reach the main square of Idlib to start a sit-in but failed “because the security forces are firing a lot of tear gas and a few rounds of live fire”. “People hoped the presence of monitors will prevent fierce attacks. I believe we have partial protection, I don’t think they would use live fire on us in front of the monitors.” The Observatory said security forces had shot dead two people and wounded 37 in Idlib province.

Amateur video from Idlib showed monitors in white baseball caps and yellow safety vests wading through a sea of protesters. Some rushed at the observers, trying to shout over the thousands chanting “ The people want to liberate the country!”. More than 5,000 people have been killed across Syria since March most shot during peaceful anti-government protests but many others killed in rebel attacks and local defence actions. Protesters flooded the streets of many towns, shouting “Peaceful, Peaceful” and “The people want you executed, Bashar!” Some held up banners with the names of those shot dead in protests. “We will not forget your spilled blood,” they read. In parts of Hama, videos showed protesters fleeing the main streets as heavy gunfire erupted in the background. In one such segment, a few men rushed back, ducking in the crackle of gunfire, to carry away a man who had fallen limp in the street. In the Damascus suburb of Douma, protesters bore away a man whose leg had been shredded by what they said were nail bombs. Activists in Idlib said the army had concealed its tanks in buildings on the outskirts or in dugouts. The Arab League mission has met with strong scepticism from the outset over its makeup, its lack of numbers - due to rise from 60 to 150 - and its reliance on government transport. A first assessment by its Sudanese head that the situation was “reassuring” prompted disbelief in the West on Wednesday, but on Friday Syria’s ally Russia accepted the judgment. “Judging by the public statements made by the chief of the mission (Sudanese general Mohammed) alDabi, who in the first of his visits went to the city of Homs, ... the situation seems to be reassuring,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website. However on Friday Dabi, whom some link to war crimes in Darfur in the 1990s, said the reports of his comments were “unfounded and not true”, a mission statement said. The United Nations said it was critical that the team’s “independence and impartiality be fully pre-

served”. Spokesman Martin Nesirky urged the Arab League to “take all steps possible to ensure that its observer mission will be able to fulfil its mandate in accordance with international human rights law standards”. He said the United Nations was willing to give the League observers training on human rights monitoring. The monitoring teams have encountered a range of problems, from hostility when they turn up under army escort to random gunfire, shouting mobs and breakdowns in communications. An Arab League member from a Gulf State played down expectations for the mission, which has no peacekeeping mandate. Even if its report turned out to be negative, it would not “act as a bridge to foreign intervention” but simply indicate that “the Syrian government has not implemented the Arab initiative”, the delegate told Reuters. The commander of the anti-government Free Syrian Army told Reuters he had ordered his fighters to stop offensive operations while the FSA tried to arrange a meeting with the monitors. “All operations against the regime are to be stopped except in a situation of self defence,” Colonel Riad al-Asaad said. “We have tried to communicate with them and we requested a meeting with the team. So far there hasn’t been any success.” Just how widely the Turkey-based commander’s order will be heeded by rebel forces inside Syria is open to question. A video shot by rebels this week showed the ambush of a convoy of army buses in which, activists said, four soldiers were killed. The FSA, formed by thousands of defectors from Assad’s army and financed by expatriate Syrians, has taken the offensive in the past three months, taking the fight to the state rather than simply trying to defend opposition strongholds. Its decisions are potentially crucial to any peace plan. Syria says it is fighting Islamist militants steered from abroad who have killed more than 2,000 of its troops. Activists do not dispute a significant toll among the security forces. — Reuters

US in $3.5bn arms sale to UAE amid Iran tensions WASHINGTON: The United States has signed a $3.5 billion sale of an advanced antimissile interception system to the United Arab Emirates, part of an accelerating military buildup of its friends and allies near Iran. The deal, signed on Dec. 25 and announced on Friday night by the US Defense Department, “is an important step in improving the region’s security through a regional missile defense architecture,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement. The US Congress had been notified of the proposed sale in September 2008 by former President George W. Bush’s administration. At that time, the system built by Lockheed Martin Corp had been projected to involve more missiles, more “fire control” units, more radar sets, all at a cost roughly twice as much to UAE. It marks the first foreign sale of the so-called Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the only system designed to destroy short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The United States, under the government-to-government deal, will deliver two THAAD batteries, 96 missiles, two Raytheon Co AN/TPY-2 radars plus 30 years of spare parts, support and training with contractor logistics support to the UAE, Little said. “Acquisition of this critical defense system will bolster the UAE’s air and missile defense capability and enhance the already robust ballistic missile defense cooperation between the United States and the UAE,” he said. Lockheed Martin did not immediately respond to a request for its delivery timetable for THAAD, part of a layered bulwark being built by the Obama administration in Europe and the Middle East against

Iran’s growing missile capabilities. UAE lies across the Gulf from Iran. The announcement of its purchase underlined rising tensions since a Nov. 8 report from the UN nuclear watchdog that Iran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran delayed promised longrange missile tests in the Gulf yesterday and signaled it was ready for fresh talks on its disputed nuclear program. Tehran on Tuesday threatened to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil embargo over its nuclear ambitions. The THAAD follows a $1.7 billion direct commercial contract this year to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s Patriot antimissile missiles, and a sale this year of 209 advanced Patriot missiles to Kuwait, valued at roughly $900 million, the Defense Department said. On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it had sealed a deal on Dec. 24 to sell $29.4 billion in advanced Boeing Co F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, the priciest single US arms sale yet. The Saudi sale involves 84 new F-15SA models to be delivered starting in 2015 plus upgrades to 70 F-15s already in the Saudi fleet and new munitions. Congress had been notified of that deal in October 2010. The ongoing US buildup of Saudi Arabia as a counterweight to Iran is projected to total as much as $60 billion over 10 to 15 years, including the F-15s, three types of helicopters and advanced missiles, bombs and other hardware and services. Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer of US arms from Jan. 1, 2007 through the end of 2010, with signed agreements totaling $13.8 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with $10.4 billion, according to a Dec. 15 report by Congressional Research Service analyst Richard

Grimmett. In another pending arms sale to the region, the Obama administration formally proposed in November to sell 600 “bunker buster” bombs and other munitions to UAE in an estimated $304 million package to counter what the Pentagon called current and future regional threats. Israel, the closest US regional partner, is also being built up. It is to get Lockheed Martin’s new radarevading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, the first country in the region that will fly it. Israel views Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence. Dennis Cavin, a Lockheed vice president for missile defense programs, told Reuters in August that, in scaling back their planned THAAD purchase, UAE officials had identified some elements “that they think they can do without right now.” Lockheed, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier by sales, is being awarded an initial US government contract worth up to $1.96 billion for the two THAAD batteries under the government-to-government sale to UAE, the Defense Department said in its contract digest on Friday. It said the work was to be carred out through June 30, 2016. Raytheon’s related deal is valued at up to $582.5 million for radars and services, with details expected to be finalized in June 2012, the digest said. It said Raytheon also was getting a Pentagon deal worth up to $363.9 million to start building two more AN/TPY-2 radar sets. Lock heed M ar tin is pleased that the US government and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement on the first foreign sale of the THAAD weapon system, Tom McGrath, a company vice president and program manager, said in a release. “We look forward to working with our customers to deliver this important capability,” he said. — Reuters



e niv rsar n




Egypt’s democracy activists fear wider clampdown CAIROL: It was an unusually intense raid on pro-democracy groups backed by some of Egypt’s closest allies, including the United States: Special commandos in full gear sealed office doors shut with wax, demanded computer passwords, carted away boxes of documents and searched the bathrooms. Rights groups on Friday denounced the startling show of force in the raids on 10 organizations a day earlier and accused Egypt’s ruling generals of trying to silence critics as the country approaches the first anniversary of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Less than two weeks after the military violently crushed street protests leaving dozens killed and hundreds injured, some warned Thursday’s raids were a sign of a fiercer crackdown ahead of new protests planned for Jan. 25, the anniversary of the start of the 18-day mass uprising. The sweep was also a dramatic escalation in the military’s campaign to portray the protests against its rule as a plot by “foreign hands” against Egypt. The choice of targets was significant: The raided groups are not youth activists known for protests but ostensibly neutral groups working to promote democratic institutions, such as an independent judiciary, election monitoring and election campaign training. Notably, three of them were American organizations funded in part by the State Department - an indication Egypt’s military, which receives some $1 billion a

year from Washington, was willing to strain ties with a longtime ally in going after them. Raided were the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, which have helped to train political parties how to run campaigns and encourage political involvement of women and young people. Military and judiciary officials said the groups were suspected of funneling foreign funds to foment protests and instability and “influence public opinion in non-peaceful ways.” The groups and other rights organizations dismissed the accusations as an attempt to taint the broader revolution. “The bottom line here is that the state unleashed its dogs in the media and in the government to tarnish our reputation so when we stand up against the military generals, we would be stripped of our credibility in front of public opinion,” said Negad el-Borai, a rights advocate and a lawyer. Government officials and media have been warning for months of action against groups receiving foreign funds. Activists noted a government fact-finding panel’s report that Islamic groups were also receiving funds from Gulf countries, including Qatar and Kuwait, but said those groups were not targeted. That, they said, indicated the regime is going after causes linked to the secular, liberal protesters who have been denouncing the military’s rule. Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think tank with links to

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, was raided, as were at least two Egyptian non-governmental groups - one aiming to strengthen an independent judiciary and another that monitors government budgets. The other organizations were not identified. The US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, spoke Friday with members of the ruling military council and “received assurances that the raids will cease and property will be returned immediately,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. Patterson made clear that non-governmental organizations should be allowed to return to operation “in support of the democratic transition under way in Egypt,” Nuland added. The heavy hand of the raids startled even the Americans. Another US official said Washington had provided the Egyptian government with details on how the groups operate and use their money, and thought its concerns were resolved. “It caught us all by surprise when they raided the offices because we didn’t think that was the way this was going,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the raids. In the sweep, teams of special commandos with weapons and military police, accompanied by investigative judges, stormed 17 offices around the country, including Cairo, the northern coastal city of Alexandria and the southern city of Assiut.

Nasser Amin, a veteran rights lawyer who chairs the Arab Center for the Independence of Judiciary, said commandos sealed off the main street leading to the building, then searched the center’s 11th-floor office thoroughly for four hours. They sealed office doors with red wax and barred employees from leaving while they confiscated 18 computers and boxes of documents, he said.

“It’s a fear-mongering campaign,” said Amin, who has been critical of the military’s handing of trials of former members of Mubarak’s regime. His center receives funds from Europe. “What is very dangerous here is that in the middle of this, they can just slip any fake document in the middle of all the papers and we find ourselves in grave danger.” — AP

ASSUIT: Security forces and bystanders are seen in Assuit, Egypt, yesterday. Egyptian authorities have detained a Coptic Christian student accused of posting a drawing of Islam’s prophet on Facebook that triggered two days of violence in southern Egypt. — AP

Iran delays missile test, says ready for nuke talks Hormuz threat part of Iran’s ‘carrot and stick’ policy

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki delivers a speech during a ceremony at Al-Shaab stadium complex in central Baghdad yesterday. Maliki declared “Iraq Day” to mark the end of a pact allowing US forces to stay in the country, two weeks after they left and with Iraq mired in a political row. — AFP

Maliki declares ‘Iraq Day’ to mark US pullout BAGHDAD: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared “Iraq Day” yesterday to mark the end of a pact allowing US forces to stay in the country, two weeks after they left and with Iraq mired in a political row. Maliki called for Iraqis to unite, and said the country’s days of dictatorship and oneparty rule were behind it, even as rival politicians have accused him of centralising decision-making power. Speaking at a ceremony attended by several ministers and top security officials at the Al-Shaab stadium complex in central Baghdad, Maliki said December 31 was “a feast for all Iraqis” and marked “the day Iraq became sovereign”. “I announce today, the 31st of December, which witnessed the completion of the withdrawal of US forces, to be a national day,” Maliki said. “We call it Iraq Day.” “Today, you are raising the Iraqi flag across the nation, and unifying under that flag. Today, Iraq becomes free and you are the masters.” He continued: “ The withdrawal of US forces from Iraq returns the country to normality. That makes targeting civilians, police, the army and other security forces, or carrying out any sabotage against infrastructure a huge betrayal, and that puts those who commit these acts in the corner of the enemy.” US troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, nearly nine years after Washington launched a controversial war to oust dictator Saddam Hussein. At their peak, American forces in Iraq numbered near-

ly 170,000 and had as many as 505 bases. Now, just 157 remain, under the authority of the embassy, to train Iraqi forces to use equipment purchased from the United States. In 2008, Baghdad and Washington signed a deal which called for all US soldiers to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Efforts to keep a significant American military training mission beyond year-end fell through when the two sides failed to agree on a deal to guarantee US troops immunity from prosecution. The Iraqi premier also told his countrymen that they should “be totally confident that Iraq has rid itself forever of dictatorship and the rule of one party, one sect, and one ruler.” Maliki’s remarks came amid a festering political standoff in Iraq, with authorities having charged Sunni Vice President Tareq alHashemi with running a death squad and Maliki calling for Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak to be fired. Mutlak and Hashemi’s Sunni-backed Iraqiya party has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings. Hashemi, who is holed up in the autonomous Kurdish region, rejects the accusations, while Mutlak has decried the Shiite-led government as a dictatorship. The support of Iraqiya-which narrowly won a 2010 poll and garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas, is seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of violence. The Sunni Arab minority dominated Saddam’s regime and was the bedrock of the anti-US insurgency after the 2003 invasion. — AFP

KASLIK: A Lebanese soldier inspects damages at a beach resort in Kaslik, north of Beirut, following an explosion caused by a gas leak yesterday. No one was hurt in the blast, which caused extensive material damages. — AFP

TEHRAN: Iran delayed promised long-range missile tests in the Gulf yesterday and Tehran signalled it was ready for fresh talks on its disputed nuclear programme. Iran’s state media initially reported early on Saturday that long-range missiles had been launched during naval exercises, a move that may irk the West concerned over threats by Tehran to close off a vital oil shipping route in the Gulf. But Deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi later went on the English language Press TV channel to deny the missiles had in fact been fired. “The exercise of launching missiles will be carried out in the coming days,” he said. Ten days of Iranian naval drills have coincided with increased tension over Tehran’s nuclear programme with Washington and its allies. The European Union said it was considering a ban - already in place in the United States - on imports from the major oil producer. Analysts say the conflicting reports on the missile test aimed to remind the West of the unforeseen consequences it risked if it ratcheted up pressure on Iran over its nuclear work, which the West says is aimed at building nuclear bombs. Tehran denies this. “The location and the timing of the drill were very shrewd ... then came reports on launching missiles that can target America’s bases in the region and Israel,” said analyst Hamid Farahvashian. “One of the messages was that you mess with Iran, then you stand to suffer from economic havoc,” he said. “Iranians have always used this method of carrot and stick ... first they used the stick of closing Hormuz and now the carrot is its willingness for talks.” An EU spokesman said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wrote to Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in October and had not yet had a response. But the European Union was open to meaningful talks with Tehran provided there were no preconditions. “We continue to pursue our twin-track approach and are open for meaningful discussions on confidence-building measures, without preconditions from the Iranian side,” EU foreign policy spokesman, Michael Mann, said in an email. Tehran threatened on Tuesday to stop the flow of oil

through the Strait of Hormuz if it became the target of an oil embargo over its nuclear ambitions, a move that could trigger military conflict with countries dependent on Gulf oil. Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports would lead to a leap in prices. “Undoubtedly the price of crude will increase dramatically if sanctions are imposed on our oil ... It will reach at least over $200 per barrel,” the Aseman weekly quoted Qasemi on Saturday as saying. Reports on Iran threatening to close the strait of Hormuz by Iran were enough to send tremors through oil markets and spike the price of oil. Iran’s show of military might in the Gulf was reflected in the scale of the exercises, which Iranian media said were greater than previous war games. However, Iran test-fired its surface-to-surface Shahab-3 missile during 2009 exercises. It is thought to be capable of striking Israel and US bases in the Middle East. Washington has expressed concern about Tehran’s missiles, which include the Shahab-3 strategic intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of up to 1,000 km (625 miles), the Ghadr-1 with an estimated 1,600 km range and a Shahab-3 variant known as Sajjil-2 with a range of up to 2,400 km. Iranian media have given a massive coverage to the drill, with state television broadcasting live in an apparent attempt to strike a patriotic chord among ordinary Iranians concerned about a military strike. The United States and Israel have not ruled out a military option if diplomacy fails to resolve Iran’s nuclear dispute. “I have already witnessed a war with Iraq in 1980s ... I can hear the drum beating of the war. A misfired bullet can spark a serious war,” said merchant Mohsen Sanaie, 62, while glancing over newspapers headlines at a central Tehran newsstand. He warily pointed at the headline of the Sharq newspaper “Power rally in the Strait of Hormuz,” and the Vatan-e Emruz daily’s “The Bermuda Strait of Hormuz” headline, a reference to the treacherous waters of the so-called Bermuda Triangle.

Nearly 5,400 would-be MPs sign up for Iran poll TEHRAN: A total 5,395 people, including 428 women, have registered as would-be candidates for Iran’s parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2, the interior ministry said yesterday in a final tally. Iran’s Guardian Council, a panel of conservative clerics and jurists, is to vet each of those registered to see if they meet the criteria to fill one of the 290 seats in parliament. Each candidate must be an Iranian citizen aged 30 to 75 who will uphold the constitution, which notably stipulates that absolute authority is invested in the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He or she must also have a university master’s degree or equivalent. The Guardian Council is also responsible for supervising the elections and endorsing the polling results. Iran’s current parliament is dominated by conservatives. They are not a single bloc, however, and will be presenting several lists. There are also some 60 reformers, but the main reformist parties-some of which are banned-will not be participating in the elections. Nevertheless, some candidates from the reformist camp have registered, according to Iranian media. The March poll will be the first since the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose declared victory triggered claims of fraud and widespread protests that were brutally put down. — AFP

The Strait of Hormuz, a crucial route for 40 percent of the world’s oil shipment, is in Iran and Oman’s territorial waters. However, under international maritime law it is considered as open to international navigation and shutting it down would we seen as an act of war. The US Fifth Fleet said it would not allow any disruption of traffic in the world’s most important oil route, which connects the biggest Gulf oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. At its narrowest point, it is 21 miles (34 km) across. Analysts say choking off the strait will hurt Iran’s oil-dependent economy, particularly when OPEC member Saudi Arabia has pledged to compensate for any shortages in Iran’s crude exports to Europe. Russia and China, Iran’s main allies that have protected it from stronger U.N. sanctions, also have no interest in seeing the oil traffic disrupted in the Gulf and favour resolving the nuclear dispute through talks. Iranian media reported that Jalili would write to the European Union’s Ashton to express Tehran’s readiness for fresh nuclear talks with major powers. “Jalili will soon send a letter to Catherine Ashton over the format of negotiations ... then fresh talks will take place with major powers,” said Iran’s ambassador to Germany Alireza Sheikh Attar, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, plus Germany (P5+1) stalled in January. Iran has to date ignored U.N. Security Council demands to halt its sensitive nuclear work, and the threat to close the strait has been seen as a clear sign of the clerical establishment’s concern over the prospect of harsher sanctions. Tehran has in the past threatened to close the waterway only if attacked by the United States and Israel. “Raising the volume on threats by Iranians clearly shows that they are worried about losing petrodollars on which the country’s economy depends on by more than 60 percent,” said a senior western diplomat in Tehran, who asked not to be named. — Reuters

Pro-Saleh protests in Yemen, 7 militants killed DUBAI: Supporters of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh took to the streets of Yemen’s capital on Friday for the first time since he signed a peace agreement last month as violence broke out on other fronts in the country. Seven Islamist militants connected to al Qaeda were killed in southern Yemen, residents of a city occupied by the militants said. Also in the south, rebel fighters killed a security officer. Clashes between security forces, Islamist militants and separatists have become common in the south after nearly a year of protests calling for the end of Saleh’s 33-year rule eroded government control in the south. Pro-Saleh protesters gathered near the presidential palace in the capital Sanna on Friday waving Yemeni flags and photographs of the outgoing president. “We all said signing the Gulf initiative will end protests so that life can go back to normal, but the opposition continued its protests, so that’s why we’re back,” said demonstrator Murad al-Unsi. Saleh’s General People’s Congress party had ended protests in accordance with a Gulfbrokered peace initiative meant to pull Yemen back from the brink of civil war. “The opposition doesn’t want to calm the situation. They want to get rid of all the supporters of the People’s Congress and we are here to defend ourselves,” said Saleh al-Matari as he held up a picture of Saleh.—Reuters

SANAA: In this Wednesday, May 27, 2009 file photo, Ahmed Ali Saleh, the son of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh attends an event in Sanaa, Yemen. A Yemeni military official says the son of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh is leading a crackdown within the powerful Republican Guard, which he commands, to purge it of rebellious officers. — AP



e niv rsar n




UN reinforces peacekeepers in S Sudan flashpoint JUBA: The United Nations has reinforced its peacekeepers in the flashpoint South Sudan town of Pibor and is airlifting food to the region, where escalating tribal violence has prompted thousands to flee, a senior UN official said yesterday. “We have deployed a battalion-sized force in Pibor to support the government to protect civilians,” Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, told AFP, adding that the provision of food aid was an “urgent step.” She said the peacekeeping reinforcement had been deployed within the past three days, with a company of blue helmets being the latest addition on Friday. “We are extremely concerned about the massing of the Lou Nuer youth,” in that part of the newborn nation’s troubled Jonglei state, Grande said. An estimated 500 members of the Lou Nuer tribe-among 6,000 armed youth who have been marching towards Pibor-were already on the town’s outskirts, the United Nations warned on Friday. Thousands from the rival Murle tribe began fleeing

towards Pibor several days ago when the Lou Nuer raided the town of Lukangol, but many have now also escaped from Pibor, the UN said. A peace mediator in Jonglei said gun-wielding Lou Nuer youths had wounded more than 60 people, killing at least one, in attacks over the past four days. “We are waiting (to see) if they will launch an attack again, or they will not. But this morning it was calm,” said Gatwech Koak Nyuon, whose church-affiliated Nuer Peace Council says it has worked since 2004 to bring peace to various South Sudanese groups, not only the Nuer. To assist those left in the town, the UN’s World Food Programme flew in a helicopter with food on Saturday, Grande said, after plans for an airlift on Friday were suspended following reports that security was deteriorating. “As of yesterday there was no food in Pibor, so this was an urgent step,” Grande said. “We’re going to try to assist several thousand people for up to two weeks,” she added. “But of course that depends on security conditions.”

Grande said about 100 “highly vulnerable” civilians-including sick and elderly-were stuck in the town centre. “We’re looking to evacuate them,” she said. “It’s a top priority for us.” On Friday the UN said two armoured personnel carriers had managed to reach Pibor but the roads were virtually impassable. A group calling itself the Nuer Youth White Army issued a statement on December 26 vowing to “wipe out the entire Murle the only solution to guarantee long-term security of Nuer’s cattle.” The group accuse the Murle of raiding Nuer animals and killing members of their tribe since 2005, when a peace agreement ended two decades of civil war and led to South Sudan’s independence this year. Neither the UN nor South Sudan’s former rebel army the SPLA have protected the Nuer, the group alleged. “We the Nuer Youth have decided to fight the Murle, SPLA and the UN,” it said. About 2,000 South Sudanese troops are in the Pibor area, but there were no reports of clashes between them and the tribal youth, military spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP.

He expressed confidence the youth “will not enter the town,” and noted the government has been trying to negotiate an end to the conflict. Nyuon, the peace mediator, said South Sudan’s vicepresident Riek Machar and a Lou Nuer member of parliament had on Wednesday asked the Nuer to return home. Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The UN raised the alarm in September over cattle raids that had already left around 1,000 people dead since June, calling it a crisis that threatened to engulf the fledgling nation. The raids involved “army-like” movements of people with new weapons and satellite phones, the UN said at the time. South Sudan’s army spokesman has alleged the assailants were armed and supported by Khartoum, which has in turn accused Juba of supporting rebels within its territory. The South separated from Sudan in July after an overwhelming vote for independence following decades of conflict that left some two million people dead. — AFP

Hundreds of Kurds protest death of ‘separatist rebels’ Turkey airstrike kills suspected rebels DIYARBAKIR: Hundreds of Kurds staged a violent protest yesterday in southeastern Turkey after police said two Kurdish rebels had been killed in a gunbattle after a raid on their hideout. The protestors demonstrated near where the two alleged members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) died earlier in the centre of Diyarbakir, the main city of the majority Kurdish region. Many claimed that the incident was another blunder by the authorities, after the killing of 35 Kurds in an airstrike on the Iraqi bor-

der who turned out to be civilian smugglers and not rebel fighters as the military claimed. “They were university students and they did not own any guns,” said an 18-year-old protestor, contradicting local police who said the pair were rebels and two rifles and three hand grenades had been seized. “Police threatened us and told us ‘Your end will be like theirs,’ when we were around the house where the killings happened,” said a 17year-old. Raci Bilici of the Human Rights

ULUDERE: A Kurdish man kicks a canister towards Turkish police during a demonsration in main Kurdish city Diyarbakir at Uludere, Sirnak province, near the Iraqi border, yesterday as they protest aginst a Turkish air raid. Thousands of irate Kurds buried 35 civilians killed in a Turkish air raid and branded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a murderer. — AFP

Association’s Diyarbakir branch told AFP he had tried to visit the scene with three other rights activists to investigate the claims, but the police stopped them. The claims of locals should be taken seriously, Bilici said. “The governor in a statement said the two threw themselves from the balcony of their flat. Why would they do that while there were hundreds of police officers outside?” Demonstrators chanted slogans and threw stones at the police, who responded with water cannon and tear gas grenades and made several arrests, as clashes between the police and small groups of youngsters, including children, spread to the side streets. At least 14 demonstrators were detained, according to eyewitnesses. An AFP reporter at the scene was warned by police not to talk to the demonstrators. An armoured police car hit one man on the left side of his body just before the clashes started between police and demonstrators, a 27-year-old eyewitness said, declining to give his name. Burhan Marangoz, 52, whose son was one of 10 people killed in a bombing in Diyarbakir in 2006, called for an end to the violence. “I want (Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan to tell me why we go through all this,” he said. Tensions are running high in the region after Wednesday’s air strike, which prompted the PKK to issue a call for an “uprising.” Turkey’s military command said it carried out the air strike after a spy drone spotted a group moving toward its sensitive southeastern border under cover of darkness late Wednesday, in an area known to be used by militants. But Erdogan admitted Friday that the victims were smugglers and not separatist rebels as the army had originally claimed. The PKK, which took up arms in Kurdishmajority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives, is labelled a terrorist outfit by Ankara and much of the international community. — AFP

UN chief to focus on sustaining Arab Spring UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, in his second term as chief of the United Nations, wants to help people who rose up in the Arab Spring attain and sustain freedom and democracy. As he embarks on a new five-year term starting New Year’s Day, Ban said one of his top priorities is to help Arab countries sustain their moves toward democracy. He also said he intended to do more for young people and women, and address frustrations over the growing gap between the rich and poor expressed by the Occupy movement. This is a moment of historic change “which we have to seize and help them,” Ban said. Ban’s ability to influence what happens is limited because the UN secretary-general has no independent power over international affairs. It is up to the UN’s 193 member states to take action, and only the actions of the powerful 15-member Security Council are legally binding. But the position is a powerful megaphone, and following his unanimous reelection by the UN General Assembly in June to a second and final five-year term, diplomats say Ban may feel less constrained on the need to satisfy all UN members, and may become more outspoken and perhaps more influential on global issues. Ban said that the uprisings that spread “like a wildfire” across the Middle East and North Africa and inspired demonstrations in the United States and other developed nations were propelled by the younger generation’s rebellion against oppression and inequality - and their yearning for democratization. He won praise in the Middle East and elsewhere for speaking out early and strongly in support of demonstrators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, urging the countries’ leaders to listen to their demands. In Syria, the limitations of his position have been more clear. While Ban has been outspoken against the ongoing attacks on civilians in Syria, he has not been able to influence the deeply divided Security Council to pass a resolution condemning the violence which the UN says has killed more than 5,000 people. On Friday, Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky expressed the UN’s support of an Arab League mission to Syria, saying it was critical that the government give full cooperation and unhindered access to the observers. During his first five years at the UN’s helm, Ban has won plaudits for helping to raise climate change close to the top of the global agenda, for creating a new agency, UN Women, to focus on the fight for gender equality, and for

keeping a spotlight on nuclear disarmament and nuclear security. The secretary-general has traveled more than any of his predecessors on UN business, but is far from having a household name. In some polls people still think his immediate predecessor, Kofi Annan, is secretary-general. The workaholic Ban has also been criticized for his lack of charisma, his low-key style which observers say is typical of his South Korean roots, and his failure to criticize human rights abuses in powerful countries, especially China and Russia. Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin recently expressed unhappiness with the secretary-general over his comment that NATO acted within its mandate in its bombing campaign in Libya. Russia has called for an independent U.N. investigation of civilian casualties, claiming NATO overstepped the U.N. mandate to protect civilians and used the bombing campaign to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Syria’s President Bashar Assad is also a close Russian ally. Asked to look back at Ban’s first term and ahead to his second, Churkin told AP that his overall performance has been “quite positive”under difficult and stressful circumstances. “For his second term,

there is just one wish, if you will, and one expectation which I’m sure the secretary-general is going to be up to - the secretary-general must continue to serve the entire international community,” he said. The comments appeared to be an indirect criticism of Ban’s pro-Western views on the NATO bombing as well as his criticism of the crackdown by Assad. Ban said it’s important to look at what’s happening in Syria and many countries around the world as part of a broader political and historical evolution that began with early yearnings for democracy in Eastern Europe in the 1950s, saw democratic governments installed in South Korea and some Asian and African countries, and led to the collapse of communism, the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany in the late 1980s. “Then, another 20 years, or another generation later, we are seeing such yearnings” in the Arab world, he said. Ban said the Occupy Wall Street protest that spread from New York throughout the developed world also reflected frustration at the growing gap between the rich and poor people who feel ignored and marginalized.—AP

NEW YORK: In this May 4, 2011 file photo provided by the United Nations, UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon speaks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from his office at UN headquarters in New York. Ban stressed to al-Assad during the conversation that “now is the time for bold and decisive measures, for political reforms.” As he embarks on a second five-year term starting Jan 1, 2012, Ban said one of his top priorities is to help Arab countries sustain their moves toward democracy. — AP

ABUJA: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C) is accompanied by reverends of the damaged St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla near the capital Abuja yesterday during a visit to a bomb blast site. Jonathan said yesterday the “cancerous” Boko Haram Islamist sect blamed for hundreds of deaths wanted to destroy the country but would be foiled. — AFP

Nigeria’s Jonathan vows to ‘crush terrorists’ ABUJA: President Goodluck Jonathan vowed yesterday to “crush the terrorists” who set off a series of bombs across Nigeria on Christmas Day, while he visited a church in which one bomb killed at least 37 people. The blasts last Sunday, including three aimed at churches, raised fears that Boko Haram, a movement styled on the Taleban whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, is trying to ignite sectarian strife in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and top oil producer. The deadliest attack struck St. Theresa’s Catholic church in Madalla, on the edge of the capital, Abuja, killing 37 people and wounding 57, according to the latest toll. A spokesman for the emergency services said the country was on high alert, with an expanded security presence, for New Year. During a brief visit to the church, amid tight security by dozens of armed soldiers, Jonathan offered condolences to relatives of the victims, many of them weeping after a vigil. “We assure Nigerians that we will protect them. We have taken some steps which I’m going to announce tonight,” he said. “We will crush the terrorists. If there are institutions ... which are harbouring terrorists, we will deal with them.” Traces of the devastation were still clear, with the church windows shattered and glass on the ground. Jonathan, criticised for what was seen as a slow response to the bombings, stepped up his rhetoric on Friday night with a statement saying “the government will fight Boko Haram, the group of evil-minded people who want to cause anarchy, to the end”. National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Yushua Shuaib said authorities were on “full alert”. “We are hopeful there won’t be any untoward development. The government has put security throughout the federation, including near the flashpoints. We are optimistic, but we are fully mobilised,” he told Reuters.

The government held an emergency meeting with security officials on Thursday and is also looking at using other channels to stop the conflict, which started as a local northern problem but is fast destabilising the whole country. National Security Adviser General Owoye Andrew Azazi told Reuters the security services were considering making contact with moderate members of Boko Haram via “back channels”, even though explicit talks are officially ruled out. In the volatile central Nigerian city of Jos, which was also bombed at Christmas, two dozen armoured personnel carriers were patrolling the streets to tighten up security ahead of New Year celebrations it is feared could be targeted. A Reuters cameraman saw more than twenty armoured personnel carriers patrolling the streets of Jos, with military checkpoints everywhere. The commissioner of police for Plateau state, Dipo Ayeni, told Reuters: “We have obtained this tactic of a show of force so that we can celebrate the New Year without any hindrance, and so there should be no cause for panic.” The bombings by the northern-based movement have strained Nigeria’s already fractious north-south divide. “The events that caused Nigeria’s civil war are repeating themselves,” said Uche Udemezue, an Igbo housewife in the southeast, referring to the secessionist war of her people against northern rulers in which more than a million people were killed in the late 1960s. “The north should know nobody has a monopoly on violence.” Attacks in and around the capital including one on the UN headquarters in August that killed at least 24 people - suggest Boko Haram is trying to raise its profile and spread out from its heartland in the northeast. — Reuters

‘Nothing unusual’ in protests: Putin MOSCOW: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday said there was nothing unusual in the mass protests against his domination of Russia, describing the turbulence as the “unavoidable price of democracy”. Tens of thousands took to the streets on December 10 and December 24 to denounce the alleged rigging of parliamentary elections and the Russian strongman himself, ahead of his candidacy in March presidential polls. “Of course, we are in the middle of a political cycle-the parliamentary elections have finished and the presidential elections are going to start,” Putin said in a televised message to Russians ahead of the New Year. “In such times, politicians always exploit the feelings of citizens, everything gets shaken around a bit, boils up. But this is the unavoidable price of democracy,” Putin said. “There is nothing unusual here,” he added. Putin has in the last days mocked the nascent protest movement against his rule, saying they appeared to have no programme and no leader. But in a bid to show a more moderate face for the New Year, he sent his greetings to all Russians,

whatever their political sympathies. “I want to wish wellbeing and prosperity to all Russians and their families regardless of their political leanings and including those on the left, the right, above, or below, wherever in fact,” said Putin. The protest movement has not said when it will call the next mass demonstration ahead of the March 4 presidential election, where Putin hopes to win a third term as president after his four-year stint as prime minister. Supporters of the ultra-left wing opposition are expected to attend a rally in central Moscow called by radical author Eduard Limonov later Saturday although such protests have only drawn a few dozen in the past. Moscow police warned ahead of the demonstration that the protest had not been sanctioned by the authorities and “any attempt to hold it will be thwarted,” the Interfax news agency reported. Putin’s speech is to be followed just before the stroke of midnight by the last New Year’s message as head of state from his protege President Dmitry Medvedev, who is expected to become prime minister under a Putin presidency.—AFP



Foul play suspected in Maine girl’s disappearance PORTLAND: Crime scene investigators returned to the central Maine home from which a 20-month-old girl disappeared as police announced that they believe foul play was involved. Two weeks after Ayla Reynolds went missing, evidence technicians from Massachusetts joined Maine State Police crime scene investigators on Friday at the Waterville home where the girl was last seen by her father. The home 75 miles north of Portland now sits empty, surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. Hours later, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey announced Friday night that the case “has evolved from the search for a missing child to a criminal investigation.” In a statement, the chief said the conclusion was based on evidence that has been gathered over the past two weeks, but he didn’t elaborate. He said state police would take the lead on the investigation. “All of our efforts continue to locate Ayla. Although this is beginning the third week, we remain hopeful,” Maine

Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said. Ayla’s father, Justin DiPietro, told police he last saw her when he put her to bed the night of Dec. 16. He reported her missing when she was nowhere to be found the following morning. Before she vanished, Ayla was wearing green polka dot pajamas with the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them and had a soft cast on her broken left arm. Extensive searches of woods, waterways, fields and private properties around Waterville, a city of 16,000 residents, have failed to turn up anything. The day after Christmas, investigators announced a $30,000 reward, the largest ever for a missing person case in Maine, for information leading to Ayla’s whereabouts. McCausland on Friday declined to discuss whether any of the 300-plus leads had borne fruit for investigators. He also declined to talk about suspects or evidence that has been gathered. He said DiPietro and Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, of Portland, were cooperating

with investigators. There were news reports Friday that two cars seized from the Waterville home were returned to DiPietro and an unidentified woman. McCausland declined to confirm those reports. Investigators put up crime scene tape at the father’s home last week. Outside the home, teddy bears and stuffed animals were piled at a makeshift shrine. Ayla was placed in her father’s care while her mother was in a substance abuse rehabilitation program, which she completed. Trista Reynolds, making an appeal on national television on Thursday, said that she had questions for DiPietro but that he had not returned her calls since their daughter went missing. She previously raised concerns about Ayla’s treatment while in her father’s care after the girl broke her arm, an incident described by police as an accident. She had no further comment Friday night, her sister said. DiPietro couldn’t be reached for comment. The Associated Press has been unable to find a telephone listing for him, and the house

where he stayed is now empty. A few days before Christmas, DiPietro, addressing the public for the first time, said in a statement he had “no idea what happened to Ayla or who is responsible.” Later, in another statement, he said, “I would never do anything to hurt my child.” Former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt said Friday that the odds of finding a child lessen if he or she isn’t found within the first day or two of disappearing. But he said there’s always reason for optimism, noting that there are even rare cases of missing children who turn up years later in someone’s care. “If you don’t get this child back real quickly, you know that it gets harder and harder,” he said. “But you can’t give up hope.” Scott Bernstein, founder of Child Recovery International, a New York Citybased organization that helps find missing children, agreed the first hours of an investigation are key in tracking down missing children as young as Ayla. Although the situation looks bleak, there’s still room for hope, he said. “One percent hope - but I’ll go for that 1 per-

cent hope,” he said. After Ayla went missing, law enforcement officials likely divided their investigation into two parts, one team looking at people with access to her, such as relatives and family friends, and another group looking at the potential for an abduction by an outsider or stranger, Van Zandt said. Under both scenarios, he said, the odds are that the person who took Ayla knew something about her or her family. Strangers’ abductions of children do occur, but they’re rare, accounting for only 105 to 115 children out of 750,000 to 900,000 missing-persons cases each year in the United States, Van Zandt said. Van Zandt, who has worked similar cases, said Ayla’s disappearance, which once had more than 80 searchers and law enforcement officers involved, has been difficult for law enforcers as well as for distraught family members. “As an FBI agent working these cases, you never turn off the emotional porch light,” he said. “You always leave on the light with the hope that the child will come home again.” — AP

Republican hopefuls make last Iowa push ‘I think wars fought endlessly is dangerous’

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters assist a man out of his apartment along with a cage of birds as multiple cars burn in a carport in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles yesterday. For the third night in a row, a rash of arson fires has sent firefighters scrambling to extinguish car fires in various neighborhoods in Los Angeles. —AP

Doctors charged with murder after 35 fetuses found BALTIMORE: Two doctors have been charged under a fetal homicide law after an investigation into a botched abortion uncovered 35 fetuses in a Maryland clinic’s freezer, authorities said on Friday, calling the case the first of its kind in the state. The doctors, Steven Chase Brigham, 55, and Nicola Irene Riley, 46, were both arrested on fugitive warrants on Wednesday, police in Elkton, Maryland, said. “They have been indicted based upon a fetal homicide statute. This is probably the first case that Maryland has ever seen with this factual scenario using this statute. It’s a unique situation,” Maryland State Attorney Ellis Rollins told Reuters. The Baltimore Sun newspaper said the fetuses discovered at the clinic ranged up to 35 weeks in development. A fetus is generally considered viable at about 24 weeks. Brigham was arrested on Wednesday in Voorhees, New Jersey, according to a statement by the Elkton Police Department. Riley was arrested at her home in Salt Lake City without incident, according to Lieutenant Justin Hoyal, spokesman for the Unified Police of Greater Salt Lake. Prosecutors were expected to seek their extradition to Maryland. The Sun said the case was believed to be the first use of Maryland’s fetal homicide law involving medical professionals. It said the law had previously been used in cases involving the slayings of pregnant women. The newspaper said Maryland law forbids aborting a fetus deemed viable but does not define viability in terms of number of weeks of development. The investigation began in August 2010, when a

young woman sought an abortion from the pair. The abortion was induced in New Jersey and the patient was then transported across state lines into Maryland, according to the Elkton police statement. The operation was botched with both Brigham and Riley present, Elkton police said, although the statement did not elaborate on the nature of complications. Riley took the woman to a nearby hospital, police said. The woman, who was not identified by authorities, survived and was later moved to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Both Riley and Brigham have had their medical licenses suspended by the state of Maryland, according to the Maryland State Board of Physicians. Brigham has carried out approximately 50 such cross-state abortions, according to documents on the board’s website. Officers who searched the Elkton clinic found several fetuses in a freezer, police said. A source who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said there were 35 fetuses found in the clinic freezer. Brigham is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of seconddegree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Riley is charged with one count each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, police said. An Elkton Police spokesman deferred further questions to Kerwin Miller, the assistant state’s attorney for Cecil County who is prosecuting the case. Miller could not be reached for comment. Attorneys for Riley and Brigham also could not be reached for comment Friday. — Reuters

Wildfire shutters Chile national park SANTIAGO: Chile closed Friday one of its most popular national parks in peak hiking season after a massive wildfire ravaged tens of thousands of acres of pristine Patagonia and showed no signs of abating. High winds fanned the blaze at the Torres del Paine National Park, a 2,400-square-kilometer (927-squaremile) paradise of mountains, glaciers, natural forests and lakes in deep southern Chile visited by more than 100,000 people each year. After meeting emergency officials struggling to get a grip on the inferno, President Sebastian Pinera announced that the park would remain shut throughout Januar y. Some 11,000 hectares (27,200 acres) of woodland and scrub, nearly four percent of the total area of the park, has already been destroyed by the blaze, which more than quadrupled in size in less than 24 hours. The Chilean government has deployed four planes and a helicopter to the remote mountainous region,

where 300 firefighters, soldiers and forest rangers were engaged in a desperate effort to get the inferno under control. Aerial photographs showed a vast cloud of smoke obscuring the beautiful backdrop of snow-clad granite peaks, wild steppes and turquoise lakes. “We are faced with a hugely complex situation, an extreme scenario, mainly due to topography, strong winds and highly combustible vegetation,” said Vicente Nunez, head of Chile’s Office of National Emergency (ONEMI). A crucial break could come late Friday or Saturday, when 10 to 15 millimeters (0.4 to 0.6 inches) of rain were expected. The US State Department earlier Friday alerted US citizens in an advisory to the ongoing forest fires and urged them to avoid heading to the region. The blaze erupted late Tuesday and advanced rapidly in dry conditions, forcing authorities to evacuate 700 people, mostly tourists, from the park, which is located some 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) south of Santiago. — AFP

DES MOINES: Republican presidential hopefuls crisscrossed Iowa yesterday as they made a final frenzied push for votes ahead of the heartland state’s first-in-the-nation contest to pick the party’s nominee. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, savoring his regained frontrunner status, ripped President Barack Obama’s annual vacation to his native state of Hawaii as a sign the Democrat was out of touch with struggling Americans. “He’s in Hawaii right now. We’re out in the cold and the rain and the wind because we care about America, he’s out there. He just finished his 90th round of golf,” he told a rowdy crowd in West Des Moines Friday. Former senator Rick Santorum credited his relentless crisscrossing of the state and his fierce, take-no-prisoners appeals to social conservatives for his surge to third place in the polls ahead of Iowa’s caucuses on Tuesday. “The consistent, strong, conservative message, full throttle, not apologizing, and with a track record of being able to win tough elections-I think that’s finally starting to resonate,” he said in an Ames, Iowa bar crowded with Iowa State university football fans cheering the team’s televised exploits. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich stunned a packed audience in a coffee shop here by choking back tears as he recalled his late mother’s illness and death in a rare display of gentle emotion from the erstwhile back-bench bomb-thrower. “I get teary-eyed every time we sing Christmas carols. My mother sang in the choir,” said Gingrich, whose once strong standing in Iowa has crumbled under a ceaseless barrage of attack ads from rivals looking to tear him down. And Representative Ron Paul of Texas, running neck and neck to Romney in Iowa, defended the anti-government views and fullthroated denunciations of overseas US military action that other candidates have condemned as “dangerous.” “It sort of baffles me a whole lot because I think big government is

IOWA: Republican presidential candidate, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista, right, serve drinks to children during a campaign stop in Adams Street Espresso in Creston, Iowa, yesterday. — AP dangerous,” Paul said, according to local radio. “I think wars fought endlessly is dangerous. I think printing money and (expanding) government at will-that is what is dangerous.” Texas Governor Rick Perry and Representative Michele Bachmann also stumped in Iowa, while former US China envoy Jon Huntsman wooed voters in New Hampshire, which holds its nominating primary on January 10. While Romney and Paul have built up the most impressive machines, and Santorum aims to harness his new momentum, the caucus results could still swing wildly because an estimated four in ten Iowans are still making up their minds. Unpredictable Iowa-where unemployment is well below the national average is also an unreliable predictor of presidential fortunes: Senator John McCain, the eventual nominee in 2008, came in fourth that year.

But a victory here can lift a sagging campaign or give a top contender an extra air of inevitability, bringing fundraising dollars, endorsements and voter support that can shape the rest of the stateby-state nominating battle. So on New Year’s Eve, the top candidates were scheduled to hold 11 events throughout the state, in places like a public library in Indianola, the Gigglin’ Goat restaurant in Boone, or the National Sprint Car Museum in Knoxville. On the Democratic side, which lacked for suspense because Obama is unopposed, party faithful were eagerly awaiting a live message from the president to be beamed into caucus sites. Obama, currently taking his annual Christmas and New Year vacation with his family in his native state of Hawaii, faces an uphill fight for re-election, weighed down by the sour economy and historically high unemployment. Romney, who

hopes to take on the president in the November 2012 elections, pointed out a sign at the rally that read “In Obama We Trusted, Now Our Economy Is Busted” and declared: “You got it right, brother.” Romney has the backing of much of the Republican establishment-yet he has not been able to swell his support above 30 percent of Republican voters, and faces stubborn doubts about his conservative credentials. Undecided Maura Kenworthy, 35, told AFP at the rally that she voted for Obama in 2008 and felt sympathy for the embattled president-”I don’t envy his job”-but will not support him next year “unless something drastically changes.” At Santorum’s bar room appearance, Iraq war veteran Rick Rodgers described himself as “all in” for the former senator because after a faceto-face discussion “I felt I could trust him.” — AFP

Cuba pilgrimage ends with reconciliation call HAVANA: Roman Catholic Church leaders called for reconciliation among Cubans and urged further economic reform at an outdoor mass in Cuba on Friday marking the end of a national pilgrimage of a statue of the island’s patron saint. About 3,000 people gathered along Havana Bay for the ceremony led by Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega paying tribute to the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, a Catholic icon that has toured the communist-ruled country for the past 16 months in the first such religious display permitted since the 1950s. Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit Cuba in the spring to mark the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the statue, said to have been found floating in a bay by three fishermen in eastern Cuba. Ortega said millions of Cubans had prayed before the small, ornate statue, which was taken around the country in a specially outfitted Toyota pickup truck that looked a little like the Popemobile used when the pope tours. “Our people appreciate peace as a superior good and have prayed much asking the Virgin of Charity that it include reconciliation,” he told the crowd. “Mother, come again over the sometimes agitated waves of our history, and with your mantle, that the waters can never dampen, cover all the Cubans, also those that live outside of Cuba,” he said. The point was reinforced by the presence of Thomas Wenski, archbishop of Miami, the center of the nearly 2 million-strong Cuban exile community that fled the island after the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in pow-

HAVANA: Catholic faithful attend an outdoor mass honoring Cuba’s patron saint, Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre or Our Lady of Charity, in Havana, Cuba, Friday Dec. 30, 2011. Some 3,000 people gathered Friday afternoon in the Avenida del Puerto, the final point of the patron saint’s 16-month national pilgrimage that marked the 400th anniversary of the Virgin’s discovery. — AP er and has led US opposition to the Cuban government. Wenski sat on the makeshift altar with Ortega and all the bishops of the Cuban Church. “I’ve been able to come here today as a way of expressing the fact that the Cuban people wherever they are, are still one people,” Wenski told reporters. “I think today the Virgin of Charity

has brought together the Cuban people.” The pilgrimage and papal visit are signs of improving relations between the government and Church after years of tension that followed the revolution, which transformed historically Catholic Cuba into a communist state that was openly atheist until the 1990s. —Reuters


i n t e r n at i o n a l

Bomb kills 2 soldiers in northwest Pakistan: Official MIRANSHAH: A bomb ripped through a military vehicle yesterday killing two Pakistani soldiers in a village in the restive northwestern tribal area bordering Afghanistan, a security official said. The remote-controlled bomb planted on a roadside hit a patrol party leading a convoy of security forces at Boya village, some 20 k ilometres (12 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town of troubled North Waziristan tribal district.

“Two soldiers were martyred in the bomb blast,” a security official told AFP. “The authorities have clamped a curfew on the main Miranshah-Datta Khel road and are carr ying out a search operation,” said the official, who requested anonymity. A local intelligence official confirmed the attack and death toll and said that he suspected the involvement of Taleban militants. Pakistan has for years battled homegrown

insurgents in the tribal belt that borders Afghanistan. More than 3,000 soldiers have died but Pakistan has resisted US pressure to do more to eliminate havens used by Afghan insurgents. In a separate attack, a crude bomb killed two tribesmen and wounded four others outside the house of a tribal elder in the town of Landi Kotal in Khyber tribal district, local government official Mutahir Zeb told AFP.

The tribal elder Salamat Khan was safe as the blast damaged the main gate and a car parked outside, he added. Some 18,000 people fled their homes in Khyber in October amid fears of a fresh onslaught of fighting between the army and Islamist militants tied to the Pakistani Taleban. Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border are rife with homegrown insurgents and are

strongholds of Taleban and Al-Qaeda operatives. In Orakzai, another tribal district, Pakistan military’s helicopter gunships yesterday pounded the hide outs of Taleban militants killing 12 rebels, security officials said. The toll could not be verified independently as the area is under military operations. Orakzai is a former bastion of Pakistani Taleban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.— AFP

200 injured in Philippine fireworks, revelry gunfire ‘Doctors wait with surgical saws, bone cutters’

KABUL: Afghan child bride Sahar Gul, 15, looks at Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs Husn Banu Ghazanfar (R) as she recovers at the hospital in Kabul yesterday. Afghan police have rescued a teenage girl who was beaten and locked up in a toilet for over five months after she defied her in-laws who tried to force her into prostitution. — AFP

Afghan child bride tells of ‘torture’ by in-laws KABUL: An Afghan child bride yesterday spoke of how she was tortured by her mother-in-law who locked her in a toilet for six months, beat her, pulled out her fingernails and burned her with cigarettes. Sahar Gul, 15, is recovering in hospital in Kabul, her face bruised and swollen, her skin still bearing the marks of her ordeal, barely able to speak. Her brother had sold her to her husband about seven months ago for $5,000. “For several months I was locked up in toilet by my in-laws and particularly my mother-in-law,” she managed to tell media in a frail voice during a visit from Afghan health minister Dr Suraya Dalilo. “I was denied food and water. I was tortured and beaten.” The minister said it was an example of “increased cases of violence against women in Afghanistan”. Women continue to suffer in Afghanistan despite billions of dollars of international aid which has poured into the country during the decade-long war. Dalilo said Gul was suffering from severe blood loss, with multiple burns and injuries. “She is also suffering from trauma and psychological problems,” she said. “She is still a child, below the legal age of marriage. She is only 15 and from a remote part of the country. It’s a tragic and heartbreaking sto-

ry for Afghanistan.” The teenager was found in the basement of her husband’s house in the northeastern Baghlan province late on Monday. Her family, from the neighbouring province of Badakhshan, had reported her disappearance to the police after being denied access to the home. Three women including the girls’s mother in-law were arrested over the case but her husband fled. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission logged 1,026 cases of violence against women in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2,700 cases for the whole of 2010. And according to figures in an Oxfam report in October, 87 percent of Afghan women report having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage. Gul’s case comes after a woman known as Gulnaz was pardoned and released earlier in December after spending two years in prison for “moral crimes”. She was jailed after she reported to police that her cousin’s husband had raped her. Gulnaz gave birth to the rapist’s child in prison. In November, the United Nations said that a landmark law aiming to protect women against violence in Afghanistan had been used to prosecute just over 100 cases since being enacted two years ago. — AFP

Cyclone Thane kills 33 in southeast India CHENNAI: At least 33 people died when Cyclone Thane hit coastal southern India near the former French colony of Pondicherry, officials said yesterday, causing thousands to evacuate and damaging roads, buildings and power lines. Thane hit Tamil Nadu state on Friday with winds of up to 135 kmph (83 mph) and tidal surges of up to 1.5 metres (5 feet). About 6,000 coastal villagers were forced to seek safety in relief shelters, the state’s Chief Minister J Jayalalitha said. “Most of the deaths in the district were because of house collapses and electrocution,” said V. Amuthavalli, an official in Cuddalore district, the worst-hit area. At least seven people died in Pondicherry, popular with Indian and foreign tourists for its beaches and gardens, a town official said. A French foreign ministry spokesman said a French citizen was among those killed. “France would like to express its profound solidarity with the authorities and people of

India in the wake of cyclone Thane,” the spokesman said. Also, the foreign ministry website has advised French people planning to travel to the area for the New Year to delay their plans for a few days. Trees were uprooted and roads damaged along a 40 km (25 mile) stretch of coast that includes the township of Auroville, known for its avant-garde architecture and yoga community. The storm quickly lost strength over land and yesterday morning India’s weather office said it was now a depression that would bring some heavy rain across the south. India’s cyclone season generally lasts from April to December with severe storms often causing dozens of deaths, evacuations of tens of thousands of people from low-lying villages and widespread crop and property damage. In 1999, a “supercyclone” battered the coast of the eastern state of Orissa for 30 hours with wind speeds reaching 300 kph (186 mph). It killed 10,000 people. — Reuters

AHMADABAD: Indian school students hold placards during a celebration to welcome the New Year in Ahmadabad, India, yesterday. —AP

MANILA: More than 200 people have been injured by illegal firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines despite a government scare campaign against reckless New Year revelries, officials said yesterday. Stray bullets wounded eight people and 197 were injured by powerful firecrackers from Dec 21 to 30, Health Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag said, adding that more than half of the victims were children. At least 14 had to undergo amputations, mostly of fingers, because of their injuries. Officials fear the number of injuries may rise as superstitious Filipinos bid goodbye to a year of natural disasters and economic uncertainty. Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year’s celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding huge firecrackers and firing guns to welcome the new year despite threats of arrest. One particularly huge triangular firecracker is labeled “Goodbye Philippines.” Although the number of injuries has tapered off in recent years, largely due to hard economic times and the government’s scare campaign, the figures remain alarming. “Doctors are waiting with surgical saws, bone cutters and drills in case your fingers need to be amputated,” Tayag told the ABSCBN network to dissuade illegal fireworks. “I hope this won’t happen.” Red Cross official Gwendolyn Pang said about 3,500 blood bags were prepared by her group for expected emer-

gency surgeries, adding she was most concerned with celebratory gunfire in the south, which is notorious for its many unlicensed firearms. Dozens of hospitals nationwide were on full alert, their emergency rooms staffed with trauma doctors for the expected influx of injured revelers. The government has gone to extremes to discourage dangerous celebrations. The health department has shown gory pictures of mangled hands and eyes

in posters in the past but the violent tradition has nevertheless continued. National police Chief Nicanor Bartolome warned policemen of immediate dismissal and criminal prosecution if they fire their guns to welcome the new year. At least three policemen were reported to have violated the warning and were under investigation. Bartolome led officers in sealing the muzzles of guns of policemen with masking tape and then

signing them in a symbolic warning to would-be violators. Instead of lighting up dangerous firecrackers, Tayag urged Filipinos to troop to public squares to watch color ful fireworks. He also unveiled a new tactic: a free CD containing the thundering sound of the most powerful firecrackers popular among revelers. More than 50,000 people have downloaded the firecracker audio file from the health department website, he said. — AP

MANILA: A Filipino man buys firecrackers at a makeshift stand in downtown Manila, Philippines yesterday. More than 200 people have been injured by illegal firecrackers and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines despite a government scare campaign against reckless holiday revelries, officials said. — AP

Karzai welcomes US remarks on Taleban KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday welcomed remarks from the Obama administration saying that Taliban insurgents were not America’s enemies. Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview with Newsweek magazine that the Islamist militants did not represent a threat to US interests unless they continued to shelter al-Qaeda. Biden’s comments came amid reports that the Obama administration and other governments are trying to establish a peace process with the Taleban to help end the 10-year war. “I am very happy that the American government has announced that the Taliban are not their enemies,” Karzai said in a speech to the Afghan Academy of Sciences. “We hope that this message will help the Afghans reach peace and stability.” A senior US official has told The Associated Press that Washington plans to continue a series of secret meetings with Taleban representatives in Europe and the Persian Gulf region next year. The US outreach this year had progressed to the point that there was active discussion of two steps the Taliban seeks as precursors to negotiations, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. Trust-building measures under discussion involve setting up a Taleban headquarters office and the release from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of about five Afghan prisoners believed affiliated with the Taleban. On Tuesday, Karzai said his government would accept the Taleban establishing a liaison office in Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia for the purpose of holding peace talks. Meanwhile, NATO troops yesterday handed over responsibility for security in three districts of the embattled southern Helmand province to Afghan forces. Helmand governor’s office said these included Marjah district - the site of a major offensive by coalition forces last year. Coalition operations to rout the Taleban in February 2010 yielded slower than expected returns, but a troop buildup later in the year pushed insurgents out of the main center of the district. Nad Ali, which had been run by British troops, also transitioned from NATO to Afghan security control, a statement said. The handovers in Helmand are part of the second phase in a transition NATO and Karzai hope will leave Afghan forces in control of the entire country by the end of 2014, when the US-led coalition’s combat mission is scheduled to end. Meanwhile, in London the Ministry of Defense announced that one of the two NATO service members killed in Afghanistan on Friday was a British soldier. The death brought to 394 the number of British troops who have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001. A total of 27 NATO troops have died so far in December, while the year’s toll is 543. The yearly total is considerably lower than for 2010, when more than 700 troops died. — AP

N Korea declares Kim Jong-Un military chief SEOUL: North Korea said yesterday new leader Kim Jong-Un has formally been appointed supreme militar y commander, another sign he is tightening his grip on power, as it renewed vitriolic attacks on Seoul. Jong-Un had already been declared “supreme leader” of the country during memorial ceremonies for his late father Kim Jong-Il on Thursday, as the nation ended 13 days of mourning. “ The dear respected Kim JongUn...assumed the supreme commandership of the Korean People’s Army at the behest of leader Kim Jong-Il,” according to the official news agency. It said the decision was proclaimed Friday at a meeting of the political bureau of the ruling communist party’s central committee. Jong-Un, aged in his late 20s, inherits the world’s fourth largest armed forces of 1.2 million and a national policy known as Songun that prioritises their needs over those of civilians. UN agencies say a quarter of the population urgently needs food aid, the ailing economy is struggling with shortages of power and raw materials and a nuclear and missile programme has brought international sanctions. But the regime stressed Friday it would not change course. We “solemnly declare with confidence that the south Korean puppets and foolish politicians around the world should not expect any change”, said a statement from the National Defence Commission, the top decision-making body. The North said it would never have dealings with the conservative South Korean government, which it designates as “traitors”, and harshly criticised Seoul for perceived slights during the mourning process for Kim. “We will surely force the group of traitors to pay for its hideous crimes committed at the time of the great national misfor tune,” it said.

Pyongyang renewed the attack Saturday, threatening to “settle accounts” with President Lee MyungBak’s government unless it apologises for the alleged insults. “He (Lee) is the worst type of antireunification element, traitor and proUS fascist maniac steeped in extreme bitterness towards compatriots and confrontation hysteria to the marrow of his bones,” the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement. The North “is left with no option but to finally settle accounts with the Lee group unless it apologises for the above-said crimes”, it said. Despite the bellicose language, analysts said the North was trying to close ranks against a purported enemy and warning the world against any interference during the transition. They said the chance of any provocation was low in the near future. Lee’s government expressed sympathy for North Korea’s people but not the regime after Kim’s death and allowed only two private mourning delegations to visit Pyongyang. Activists launched propaganda leaflets across the border into the North on the day of Kim’s funeral. Seoul says it cannot legally ban the launches. Jong-Un was made a fourstar general in September 2010 and given important party posts as his father groomed him for the country’s second dynastic succession. He was swiftly proclaimed “great successor” after Kim senior died of a heart attack on December 17 at the age of 69. North Korea also announced that it would issue gold and silver coins to mark the 20th anniversar y of Kim Jong-Il’s appointment as military commander. It said the coins would mark the former leader’s “immortal achievements” of making the countr y an invincible nuclear-armed military power. — AFP



Fireworks explode in downtown Jakarta’s sky during the New Year 2012 celebrations yesterday where thousands of people gathered to witness the coming of new year 2012. — AFP

Revellers celebrate the New Year in Hong Kong’s Times Square early today. — AP

Two men fish at sunset on the last day of 2011 along the beach front off Gulf Road in Kuwait City yesterday. In the background is the Oil ministry and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) building. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

People gather to celebrate the New Year 2012 at the Temple of Heaven, the city’s historic landmark, in Beijing early today. —AFP

World welcomes 2012 after turbulent year Continued from Page 1 set off and the Tokyo Tower lighting up in blue. It was then Hong Kong’s turn in the limelight with the city’s harbour lit up by a barrage of fireworks fired from several of its iconic buildings, delighting partygoers crammed on to the waterfront and in pleasure boats on the water. Russia’s Far Eastern regions of Chukotka, Kamchatka and Magadan, eight hours ahead of Moscow, became the first parts of the vast country to see in the New Year at 1200 GMT. Russian state news agencies reported that among the first revellers in 2012 were border guards on Ratmanov island in the Bering Strait that lies just four kilometres from US territory across the international dateline. Some in Europe were already tamping down their hopes for a year that promises more financial pain. German Chancellor Angela Merkel set the tone for a continent hammered by an unprecedented economic crisis: She warned in her New Year’s message that despite her country’s comparatively stable economic situation next year will be more difficult than 2011. In Spain, which on Friday unveiled a brand new batch of austerity measures that include surprise income and property tax hikes, 53-year-old Joaquin Cabina, was going to celebrate at home with his wife and sons - but otherwise didn’t feel he had much to look forward to. “The government has just hit us with higher taxes and says it’s going to cut spending,” he Madrid car mechanic said. “What I see is that prices are going up and all I hope for is to keep working and for my family to enjoy good health.” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s greetings came mixed with sarcasm toward those protesting his 12 years in power and his plans to return to the presidency for at least six more years. Putin yesterday used crude sexual innuendo to wish well-being and prosperity “to all our citizens regardless of their political persuasion, including those who sympathize with leftist forces and those situated on the right, below, above, however you like”. In Russian, the sexual innuendo was clear. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who starts his second term on New Year’s Day, said he wants to help ensure and sustain the moves toward democracy that protesters sought in the Arab Spring. The mood was festive in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, where, for once, revelers were the first in the world to welcome the new year, rather than the last. Samoa and neighboring Tokelau hopped across the international date line at midnight on Thursday, skipping Friday and moving instantly to Saturday. The time-jump revelry that began at 12:01 am on Dec. 31 spilled into the night. Samoa and Tokelau lie near the date line that zigzags vertically through the Pacific Ocean, and both sets of islands decided to realign themselves this year from the Americas side of the line to the Asia side, to be more in tune with key trading partners. For Japan, 2011 was the year the nation was struck by a giant tsunami and earthquake that left an entire coastline destroyed, nearly 20,000 people dead or missing and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in meltdown. “For me, the biggest thing that defined this year was the disaster in March,” said Miku Sano, 28, a nursing student in Fukushima city. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to these people, who had to fight sickness while living in fear about ever being able to go back home. The radiation levels in the city of Fukushima, where I live, are definitely not low, and we don’t know how that is going to

affect our health in the future.” More than a million revellers were expected to flock to New York’s Times Square where pop diva Lady Gaga and tenor Placido Domingo are among the star-studded lineup, and the traditional crystal ball drops at the stroke of midnight. Mounted officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and police patrol boats were part of a massive police deployment to ensure the party passes off without a hitch. “2012 is going to be a better year. It has to be,” said Fred Franke, 53, who was visiting the city with his family even after losing his job in military logistics this month at a Honeywell International division in Jacksonville, Florida. In Rio, two million white-clad party-goers - Brazilians and foreign tourists - were expected to ring in the New Year on Copacabana beach, watching a spectacular “green” fireworks extravaganza. Authorities in Berlin expected a million revelers to gather around the city’s landmark Brandenburg Gate for a massive party complete with live performances from the Scorpions and other bands, as well as a 10-minute long firework display. Merkel said in her annual speech which was prerecorded and released in written form before being broadcast on national TV - that despite the problems Europe is facing, the financial crisis will eventually bring the continent closer together. “Germany is doing well, even if next year will no doubt be more difficult than 2011,” Merkel said. Across France, 60,000 police, firemen and other emergency personnel were on standby to assure the New Year’s celebrations went off safely, the Interior Minister said. In the Paris area the purchase of alcohol was banned along with petrol in cans in a bid to prevent a wave of car burnings that occurs annually in some quarters, while 10,000 police were mobilised. In Amsterdam, revellers were gearing up for the first “kiss” between two giant inflatable puppets representing a Dutch boy and girl, which will “walk” towards each other as the seconds tick down to 2012. At the stroke of midnight, the puppets will kiss as fireworks explode in an event organisers hope will become a yearly tradition in the city. Thousands of revelers are expected to descend on Scotland’s capital to attend the world-famous Hogmanay street party, where around 80,000 partygoers will welcome 2012 at the stroke of midnight, before erupting into a mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne. In London, round 250,000 people were expected to gather to listen to Big Ben strike twelve at midnight during London’s scaled-back New Year’s celebrations. Fireworks are set off from the London Eye, the giant wheel on the south bank of the river. Revelers in Spain greeted 2012 by eating 12 grapes in time with Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol clock, a national tradition observed by millions who stop parties to follow the chimes on television. Tens of thousands of young people in the Spanish capital were expected to gather at six indoor “macro-parties” the city council had authorized in big venues such as the city’s main sports hall. Milena Quiroga was among the many there happy to move on. “I am glad to see 2011 go because it was a tough year; my restaurant laid off almost half of the staff,” said the 25year-old waitress. New Zealand was among the first places to see in the New Year but heavy rain over most of the country put a damper on parties, with two major celebrations in the North Island cancelled due to the weather. In the Philippines, where killer floods spawned by tropical storm Washi have swept away whole villages in the country’s south, the normally festive New Year’s Day was also expected to be a sad and sombre occasion. — Agencies

A Pakistani barber gives a 2012 hair cut on a man to celebrate New Year at a barber shop in Rawalpindi yesterday. — AFP

A firework display explodes off Taiwan’s tallest skyscraper Taipei101 to usher in the New Year early today in Taipei. — AP

Registration closes, battle lines drawn Continued from Page 1 2. The number of women candidates is also larger than the previous two election. This year 29 women filed nomination papers against 19 in 2009 and 28 in 2008. The third constituency topped the list of candidates with 83 followed by the first with 79, the second with 78, the fifth with 76 and the fourth in last place with 73 candidates. The largest number of women hopefuls registered in the second district with 10, closely followed by the third district with nine hopefuls. Four female candidates registered in the first and fourth districts while only two women signed in the fifth constituency. So far, 10 MPs from the Assembly have dropped out. They are Yousef Al-Zalzalah and Hussein Al-Huraiti from the first constituency, former speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi and Mohammad Al-Mutair from the second while Adel Saraawi did not bid for re-election from the third constituency. Former MP Hussein Mizyed dropped out from the fourth district and Khaled Al-Adwah, Saad Znaifer, Ghanem Al-Azemi and Dulaihi Al-Hajeri decided against contesting from the fifth electoral district. A total of 40 MPs from the outgoing Assembly are contesting along with as many as 17 former MPs from previous assemblies. Prominent among former MPs who are contesting are Ossaimi, Abdullatif Al-Ameeri, Mohammad Al-Saqer and Mohammad Al-Abduljader from the second constituency. They also include Ahmad Lari from the first district and Mohammad Al-Khalifa and Ahmad Al-Shuraian from the fourth and Abdullah AlBarghash from the fifth district. The toughest contest is expected to take place in the second constituency between liberals, Salafists and other Islamists. The Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, is fielding former MP Jamaan Al-Harbash and candidate Hamad AlMatar, who narrowly lost in 2009. The Salafists have fielded former MPs Khaled Al-Sultan and Ameeri, while former MP Fahad Al-Khannah is running as an independent.

A large number of liberal candidates are in the fray. They include former MPs Ossaimi, Saqer and Abduljader, in addition to former MPs Marzouk Al-Ghanem and Abdulrahman Al-Anjari. Some of these are backed by the National Democratic Alliance. Other leading liberal candidates include lawyer Abdullah Al-Ahmad, Faisal Al-Yahya and Mohammad Bushehri. A similar tough race is also expected in the third constituency with former MPs Ahmad Al-Saadoun, the leader of the opposition, Rula Dashti, Naji Al-Abdulhadi and Roudhan Al-Roudhan contesting. Islamist candidates include former MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Faisal Al-Mislem and Ali Al-Omair while liberals include former MPs Aseel Al-Awadhi and Saleh Al-Mulla. The race in the first constituency is expected to be sectarian in nature with Sunni and Shiite Islamic groups fielding candidates. Shiite candidates include former MPs Hussein Al-Qallaf, Adnan Abdulsamad, Lari, Salah Ashour, Faisal Al-Duwaisan and Maasouma Al-Mubarak. Sunni Islamist candidates include Salafists Mohammad AlKandari and Adel Al-Damkhi and ICM candidate Osama Al-Shaheen. Former liberal MP Abdullah Al-Roumi and tribal former MP Mukhled Al-Azemi are in the race too. Tribal primaries and alliances are expected to impact the races in the fourth and fifth electoral districts. In the fourth, former opposition MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Dhaifallah Buramia, Mohammad Hayef and Mubarak AlWaalan, all from the Mutairi tribe, are contesting. Former MPs Ali Al-Deqbasi and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, from the Rasheedi tribe, are also in the field. Pro-government former MPs Saad Al-Khanfour, Mubarak Al-Khrainej and Askar Al-Enezi are other key contenders. Former opposition MPs Khaled Al-Tahous, Falah Al-Sawwagh, Saifi AlSaifi and Salem Al-Namlan are all bidding for re-election. Pro-government MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah is also running while former MP Saadoun Hammad has moved to the third district. All the former four women MPs Dashti, Awadhi, Mubarak and Salwa Al-Jassar are bidding for re-election.





Founder and Publisher

YOUSUF S. AL-ALYAN Editor-in-Chief

ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-ALYAN EDITORIAL : 24833199-24833358-24833432 ADVERTISING : 24835616/7 FAX : 24835620/1 CIRCULATION : 24833199 Extn. 163 ACCOUNTS : 24835619 COMMERCIAL : 24835618 P.O.Box 1301 Safat,13014 Kuwait. E MAIL Website:

Washington Watch

Lesson to GOP: Don’t play with fire By Dr James J Zogby atching Tea Party radicals triumph over reasoned compromise in the Congress and Republican party candidates drive themselves rightward off the road in an effort to appeal to their increasingly hardline base reminds me of the adage we learned as children: it is dangerous to play with fire, not only because you run the risk of the blaze burning out of control, but also because you, yourself, can become the flame’s first victim. From the beginning, I worried about the consequences of the Republican Party leadership’s cavalier exploitation of the animus that spawned the Tea Party. It appears that they thought the racist signs carried at “birther” rallies were cute or believed that they could harness the raw anger and fear of anxious middle class whites and direct it against the President and his programs. They saw the sometimes intense and even violent force of this movement as a sign of an “energized base” that would turn the tide from their humiliating defeats in 2006 and 2008. And so they opted to ride the crest of this wave of discontent and help it grow. For a time it worked. Tea Party disruptions of Democratic congressional town meetings and incitement about “death panels” and “socialism” inflamed passions against the President’s health care reform proposals. Nativist and xenophobic fears were exploited to stymie immigration reform and block efforts to reign-in Bush-era law enforcement excesses. Islamophobia was callously used to frustrate the President’s efforts to improve the US standing in the Arab and Muslim worlds, while the uncompromising and outright obstructionist mindset exhibited by the GOP repeatedly brought the government to the brink of bankruptcy in the past three years. Stoking these embers combined created enough heat to help Republicans block change, frustrate hope, shift the blame for the US’s domestic ills and foreign policy woes to the new President, thus helping the GOP capture Congress in 2010. But in the process of adding fuel to the fires of discontent, in several instances we have also seen instances where the Republican party’s leadership have lost control and fallen victim to these same destructive forces that they had cultivated and unleashed. Incumbent Republicans deemed “too moderate” by the mob-like base, were driven out by candidates who would have been laughable, had they not been so frightening. In safe, GOP-leaning states or congressional districts, some of these characters like Renee Ellmers (North Carolina) or Alan Watt (Florida) won, helping to create a Republican majority in an increasingly polarized House of Representatives. But in more competitive states and districts, the likes of Susan Angle (Nevada), and Christine O’Donnell (Delaware) frightened enough voters providing Democrats with the opportunity to retain seats they might otherwise have lost to more mainstream opponents. In this year’s Republican presidential primary, we can once again see how destructive this unchecked base can be for the GOP. In part because of this problem, thoughtful conservatives like Governors Mitch Daniels (Indiana) and Haley Barbour (Mississippi) declined to run, leaving the contest with what can only be described as a perfectly bizarre field of candidates in the mix. Thus far polls have shown Republican voters running through or flirting with a string of “frontrunners” who never should have gotten off the ground, and wouldn’t have had the chance to, were it not for this crazy GOP base. Think about it: Donald Trump?, Michele Bachmann?, Rick Perry? Herman Cain? Newt Gingrich? - really? Look at their records (either personal and ethical, or political) and the positions they have taken (or, in some instances, felt forced to take to remain viable), and look at the volatility of the race as, one by one, the base latches onto a candidate and then in rapid succession, either burns them or casts them off. And after looking at all this, the GOP’s problem with this calamitous situation becomes crystal clear. In an effort to avoid disaster, the Republican Party’s leadership is making an effort to mobilize support for former Governor Mitt Romney. But the establishment alone can’t close the deal for Romney, whose conversion to conservatism is not convincing to the Tea Party and whose Mormon faith is a deal-breaker for many born-again Christians. And so Romney, who cannot get above 25 percent support from Republican voters, is not assured victory. And should he win the nomination, cannot be assured the support of the party’s base. Add to this, the chaos in Congress where the House Republican leadership is unable to control the rebellious Tea Party-backed caucus and you have a recipe for disaster for the party and the country. The lesson in all this is clear: the GOP played with fire, and they are getting their hands burned. They unleashed a monster they hoped to turn against Democrats, but it has turned on them first.


NOTE: Dr James J Zogby is the President of the Arab American Institute

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Iraqi Kurds manoeuvre in political minefield By Rania El Gamal raqi Kurds, at odds with Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki over oil and power, have thrown down another challenge to the Shiite-led central government by giving refuge to Iraq’s Sunni Muslim vice-president, despite a Baghdad warrant for his arrest. The Kurds, whose kingmaking role in Iraqi electoral politics has been eroded by Maliki’s assertion of his own authority, will try to use Vice-President Tareq Al-Hashemi’s plight to gain leverage in their own disputes with Baghdad, analysts say. They, like Maliki and other Iraqi politicians, are playing for high stakes in a potentially destabilising game following the US withdrawal from a nation whose ethnic and sectarian struggles may be affected by the uprising in Syria next door. Shi’ite factions which emerged as winners from the US invasion of Iraq fret that a Sunni government may replace Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, an ally of Shiite Iran, and embolden Iraqi Sunnis whose heartlands border Syria. “The fact that the Kurds have ended up in the middle of this crisis - and are likely being lobbied by the US to resolve the crisis rather than exacerbate it - means that they are returning to their kingmaker role once again,” said Gala Riani, an analyst at IHS Global Insight. “It is likely that the Kurds will lay low, not inflame the situation and try to mediate whilst at the same time strengthen their hands vis-a-vis the federal government to try to resolve some outstanding issues.” The Kurds are disgruntled over Maliki’s failure to keep promises to solve long-standing disputes over oil contracts, land and constitutional rights that the Shiite leader made when he formed his power-sharing government last


year. They also fear Maliki is consolidating power in his own hands and sidelining old Sunni rivals such as Hashemi and his own deputy Saleh Al-Mutlaq. Maliki asked parliament to fire Mutlaq for comparing him with deposed leader Saddam Hussein. Baghdad ordered Hashemi’s arrest this month over accusations that he was running death squads, a charge he denies. Maliki has asked the regional government in semiautonomous Kurdistan to hand Hashemi over, but it seems unlikely to comply. Kurdish sources said the decision to protect Hashemi was not taken lightly, given its potential to exacerbate tensions between Arbil and Baghdad. Handing him back would be far worse, not only for relations between Shi’ites and Sunnis, but also between Kurds and Sunnis, they said. Parts of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces, neighbouring the three provinces that make up Iraqi Kurdistan, are territories disputed between Kurds and Sunni Arabs. “Maliki wants to marginalise the Sunnis and doesn’t want to meet the Kurdish demands and this is not acceptable,” said Salahaddin Babaker, spokesman for the Kurdistan Islamic Union. Maliki’s State of Law bloc is in power thanks to the Kurds, who supported him in return for written pledges to resolve issues such as a long-awaited oil and gas law, the disputed territories and pay for the Kurdish peshmerga security forces. The Sunni-supported Iraqiya bloc won the most seats in a March 2010 parliamentary election, but could not forge a ruling coalition. It won some key posts in an eventual power-sharing deal. Hashemi and Mutlaq are prominent leaders in Iraqiya. “Iraqiya and State of Law blocs want Kurdish support,”

Babaker said. “It is natural to sympathise with Iraqiya and their leaders, but we can use this (the Hashemi dispute) as a way to pressure Maliki to meet the Kurdish demands.” The Kurds are seeking a better hand in talks with Maliki’s government over the disputed territories and Kurdish oil deals with US oil major Exxon Mobil, which Baghdad says are illegal. Since Iraq’s sectarian carnage in 2006-07, the central government in Baghdad has grown stronger, violence has fallen and political coalitions have become more crosssectarian, trends that recent power struggles may call into question. The Kurds have much to lose in their northern enclave. Brutally suppressed under Saddam, they became one of the nation’s most cohesive political forces after the 2003 US-led invasion, strengthened by US support and by maintaining their own unity, forged after an intra-Kurdish civil war in the 1990s. After the 1991 Gulf War, Western powers and Turkey created a safe haven in northern Iraq for Kurds, who since the 2003 invasion have sought to use their natural resources to start building a modern quasi-state within a federal Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan, dubbed “the other Iraq”, has its own ministries, parliament and security forces. Red, white, and green Kurdish flags flutter over buildings in Arbil, the Kurdish capital and seat of the regional government. Arbil is packed with new high-rise buildings and shopping malls. Newly built ring roads and overpasses teem with shiny Korean and Japanese cars and the occasional high-end off-roader. Kurdistan has attracted foreign investment and given its residents better security and living standards than in the rest of Iraq, where bombs and power cuts are part of everyday life.

Kurds have long dreamt of independence, but the northern region, surrounded by Syria, Turkey and Iran, still depends largely on Iraq, making nationhood unrealistic for now. Kurdistan faces shelling and air strikes from neighbouring Turkey and Iran aimed at camps run by Kurdish rebel groups, the PKK and PJAK, hiding out in Iraq’s mountain borderlands. And despite foreign investment in real estate and tourism, Kurdistan depends on its 17 percent share of the federal budget, based on its population. About 95 percent of that budget comes from Iraq’s nearly 2.2 million barrels per day of oil exports. Nevertheless, its relative success has made the Kurdish north a model eyed by other regions seeking more autonomy. Complaining of political wrangling in Baghdad and rivalry among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish parties, provinces such as the mainly Shiite southern oil hub of Basra and the mainly Sunni Salahuddin and Diyala in the centre and west of Iraq have been calling for regional autonomy. The constitution supports autonomy, but Maliki’s government has tried to quieten the movement, partly out of concern that sub-dividing Iraq further could lead to instability after the US withdrawal. Kurds beg to differ. “Iraq geographically and politically has proven to everyone that it is divided into three parts, Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish parts,” said Shawan Mohammed Taha, a Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament. “We in Kurdistan support establishing new regions according to the constitutional procedures.” He argued that creating new regions did not imply the division of Iraq, but a way of staying together. “Either we are able to coexist in a good way or we will end up in bloodshed.” — Reuters

US trip gives Saleh neither immunity, exile By Joseph Logan emeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s request to be let into the United States shows he may now be resigned to surrendering power after months of protests, but gives him no guarantee of the immunity from prosecution that he seeks in exchange for stepping down. Washington, which is weighing granting a visa for medical treatment, neither wants to nor can shield Saleh on its soil for long. There is a growing belief among experts that a future Yemeni government may eventually find the pledge of amnesty divisive enough for it to violate that condition of the pact that his disgruntled Saudi and US patrons want to use to ease Saleh from power. “I think Saleh realizes it’s done for him personally, and he’s working on leaving,” said Ibrahim Sharqieh, a conflict resolution expert with the Brookings Doha Center, of Saleh’s announcement that he would seek to go the United States. “They don’t want to deal with the ramifications of this, having him on their soil, and they do realize the problems of the amnesty,” he said. “Whatever the arrangements now, there will be a view toward demanding the prosecution of Saleh.” Saleh announced his plan for a US visit after forces loyal to him killed nine protesters demanding he face trial for killing their counterparts during nearly a year of mass demonstrations aimed at toppling him after three decades in power. The demand of the protesters - hundreds of whom have been killed by units led by Saleh’s son and nephews since the uprising against him began last January - runs up against the main element of the pact Yemen’s richer neighbours crafted to ease him from office. Under the terms of that deal, echoed by a UN Security Council resolution and backed by Washington, which long funded Saleh as a key client in its “counter-terrorism” campaign in Yemen, Saleh has formally ceded powers to his deputy. He retains the title of “head of state” until an election to choose his successor set for Feb 21. The latest bloodshed came as units of the Republican Guards and Central Security - commanded by Saleh’s son and nephew respectively - opened fire on tens of thousands of protesters who approached his presidential compound at the end of a days-long march from Taiz demanding he be tried. That move on Saleh’s fortress coincided with the start of what some Yemenis are calling a “parallel revolution”, in which labour militancy directed at Saleh’s


relatives and loyalists in key state institutions has further eroded his grasp on power. The interim government, divided between Saleh loyalists and opposition parties, last week formed an emergency administration to run the state airline Yemeniyya, in response to a strike by workers demanding the sacking of its top executive, Abdul Khaleq Al-Qadi, who is Saleh’s sonin-law. In subsequent days, Saleh appointees have faced uprisings in the coast guard, naval academy, flight school, traffic police, a military training division, the state news agency and a Sanaa security headquarters whose commander called in plainclothes gunmen to shoot subordinates who demanded his sacking. Saleh’s request for a US visa first emerged last month as he signed the power transfer deal, but the recent challenges to his network of influence in state institutions may have made the trip more urgent, argued one defector from Saleh’s regime. “There is now a revolution within different institutions of the state,” said Abdullah Alsaidi, who quit his post as Yemen’s UN ambassador in March after the killing of dozens of protesters in a single incident. “Workers are rebelling against the administrators appointed by Saleh. You now have military formations rebelling against... the information sector. A revolution is spreading to these institutions and taking over peacefully.” The visa request has sparked an outcry in Washington policy circles and among opinion formers, including the editorial board of the Washington Post. It noted the anger that US ambassador Gerald Feierstein sparked by calling the Taiz march a provocative act, shortly before troops opened fire on protesters, and said a visa would imply refuge for Saleh, inflaming the situation “just as Iranian students were enraged when the shah of Iran was admitted to the United States for medical treatment in 1979”. Observers say, however, that legal considerations, apart from US distaste for its former ally, make it unlikely Saleh would remain on US soil for long. A Yemeni newspaper citing unidentified officials has said he and a large number of relatives will settle in Abu Dhabi. Those constraints leave Washington facing more tarnishing of its image - already tainted among Yemenis due to its use of drones and missiles to kill alleged Al-Qaeda members - over the question of impunity for Saleh, without his final destination being resolved. Mohammed Albasha, spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington, in response to questions via

Twitter, declined to specify how many visas Saleh’s entourage would want, but emphasised he would visit as a head of state. “He didn’t surrender ‘all’ his executive powers,” Albasha wrote. “The full transition will be after Feb 21.” Michael Hanna, a fellow with The Century Foundation and expert in criminal law and transitional justice, said that status would likely shield Saleh from any legal action while in the United States, but not once his current status ended. “His coming to the US or not doesn’t foreclose any future processes of accountability,” he said. “His record is his record, and that stands.” — Reuters




Manning legal strategy could lead to plea deal By Andrew Longstreth hile it may appear that the government’s document-leaking case against US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is strong, the defense could have some surprising leverage with prosecutors and force plea negotiations. Prosecutors may in particular find it difficult to prove the 24-year-old Manning intended to provide the information to enemies of the United States such as Al-Qaeda, and that the information was helpful to them, legal experts said. Manning faces 22 charges of participating in the largest leak of classified government documents in history, including the accusation that he had unauthorized possession of information related to national defense and that he stole records belonging to the United States. At a hearing that concluded last week, military prosecutors presented evidence that Manning downloaded thousands of classified or confidential files that later made their way to the WikiLeaks website. In his closing summation at the hearing, Captain Ashden Fein, the lead prosecutor, said Manning was a well-trained soldier who “used that training to defy our trust”. “He gave the enemies of the United States unfettered access to these documents,” Fein said. Manning’s case is being reviewed by investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Almanza, who will make a recommendation by Jan 16 on whether or not the militar y should court-martial Manning. A court-martial, which could be a few months away, is not much different from a civilian criminal trial. The charges against the accused in a court-martial must be proven beyond a reasonable


doubt, just like in civilian court. The biggest difference is that jurors in a court-martial consist exclusively of members of the military. There were about 1,900 Army courts-martial in fiscal year 2010 and about 60 acquittals, according to US military justice statistics. If convicted of all counts, Manning would face a maximum punishment of life impris-

agree the government’s case is a good one, some speculate that prosecutors could have a tough time proving the most serious charge that Manning gave information to the enemy. During the preliminary hearing, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, sought to demonstrate that the audience for the leaked information was not foes of the United States, but the

information to reach militant groups such as al Qaeda. Merely proving that he intended the information to be displayed on the WikiLeaks website may not be enough to convict him of that charge, said some experts. It could also be difficult for the government to prove that the information was particularly valuable to Al-Qaeda, said Eugene Fidell, who teaches mil-

Army Pfc Bradley Manning is escorted from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, Dec 22, 2011, after closing arguments concluded in a military hearing that will determine if he should face court-martial for his alleged role in the WikiLeaks classified leaks case. – AP onment, reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, for feiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge, the Army says. The charge of aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but the Army has indicated it will not seek the death penalty. Although legal obser vers

American people, and that the country was not put in any danger due to the leaks. “The sky is not falling, the sky has not fallen and the sky will not fall,” said Coombs. Some military law experts also question whether the government will be able to prove that Manning intended the

itary law at Yale Law School. “What is it that he has told AlQaeda indirectly that is of value to Al-Qaeda? Is everything that is hurtful to the United States in the eyes of the world of value to Al-Qaeda? I don’t think so,” Fidell said. By underscoring those uncer tainties, Coombs may

have paved the way for a more favorable plea deal, said David Velloney, a military law expert who is a professor at the Regent University School of Law. In the best-case scenario for the defense, Almanza would recommend that Manning not face the charge at a court-martial of giving information to the enemy. Such a recommendation, made to a higher-ranking officer, is not binding. But it could convince the military prosecutors to drop the charge. “If you can win one battle there and have the government say, ‘Nah, that’s not such a good idea we go forward on that charge,’ then that’s a windfall for the defense before the trial begins,” Velloney said. Coombs has signaled he also has some cards to play at any potential sentencing. At a court-martial, there are two stages - one to determine culpability and the other to determine a sentence. During the sentencing stage, the defense can offer extenuating and mitigating circumstances that would justify a lighter sentence than sought by the government. Throughout the hearing to determine whether a courtmartial is appropriate, Coombs attempted to portray Manning as emotionally unstable with gender-identity issues who should not have had access to sensitive government files. Combs cited emails and memos showing that Manning’s superiors were aware of his gender issues and his need for therapy. But no effective action was taken, Coombs argued. The same arguments about Manning’s unit could be presented at any potential sentencing. “They’re going to air all the government’s dirty laundry,” said Velloney. “It potentially softens the government in any plea deal.” — Reuters

N Korea missile-maker seen in key role By Raju Gopalakrishnan uring the funeral ceremonies for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last week, the man in charge of the isolated state’s missile program and possibly its nuclear plans, paid a quiet visit to the mausoleum where the body lay in state. Little is known about elderly and silverhaired Ju Kyu-chang, but he appears to be a key member of the North Korean team developing nuclear weapons. The European Union has named the 73-yearold, who is believed to have trained as a metal alloy specialist and studied in Russia, as one of the individual North Koreans to attract sanctions slapped on the rogue communist state. He was given two important posts in the regime in recent years, which analysts say were part of Kim Jong-il’s moves after he suffered a stroke to set a succession plan in place and ensure safe custody of the nuclear weapons. “I would equate Ju with General Leslie Groves, who headed the US Manhattan Project that produced atomic bombs during World War Two,” said Larry Niksch, who has tracked North Korea for the non-partisan US Congressional Research Service for 43 years. “Ju runs the day-to-day programs to develop missiles


and probably nuclear weapons.” Ju was ranked 20th on the list of the national funeral committee for Kim Jong-il, an indicator of his stature. Just above him in 19th position was Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of new leader Kim Jong-un and the man seen as the power behind the throne. According to the European Union, Ju had oversight of the two tests of North Korea’s intermediate-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missiles in 2006 and 2009. Less is known about his connection to the development of nuclear weapons. But the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a 2009 report on North Korea that Ju “is believed to be in charge of the nuclear weapons development program”. It said Ju’s 2009 promotion to the National Defence Commission (NDC), the supreme leadership council, was probably linked to a move to put him in charge of an independent entity with custody of North Korea’s nuclear bombs when they were developed. Daniel Pinkston, one of the authors of the ICG report, told Reuters there was no information on whether the new “command and control” body for nuclear weapons had been set up. But he said of Ju: “He is close to the regime leadership because of his political loyalty to the Kim

family and the party, in addition to his technical expertise regarding the SLV (space launch vehicle) and satellite programmes and the nuclear weapons programme.” Officially, Ju is director of the oddly named Korean Workers’ Party MachineBuilding Industry Department, which he has been associated with since the 1960s. But his power stems from the NDC post and also his being named to the Workers’ Party Central Military Commission in 2010. He accompanied Kim Jong-il on a trip to Russia, according to media reports. “Ju is in charge of managing the North’s ballistic missiles,” said Cho Min, at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. “Some people think he may be involved in the North’s nuclear programmes, but I am less confident about that. But on the other hand, ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons are inseparable.” Analysts say Kim Jong-un will be in no hurry to make any changes and that Ju should remain in place for some time. “The fact that he is still there means his father (Kim Jong-il) gave him the seal of approval as others considered threats or not loyal enough were replaced or retired over the past year or two,” said Ralph Cossa, president of the US think tank Pacific Forum CSIS. “Not sure where he fits in the pecking

order but he is clearly among the top rung.” But Ju is likely to have not much more than a bit part in any decision on the actual deployment of missiles or nuclear weapons. Kim Jong-un and the close coterie around him, including his uncle Jang, aunt Kim Kyong-hui and military chief Ri Yong-ho, are likely to call the shots. Kim Jong-un has already been named the supreme commander of the military, and “should have ultimate command and control of the nuclear arsenal”, said the ICG’s Pinkston. “I believe that is the case.” The unpredictable state, which threatened on Friday to turn arch rival South Korea into “a sea of revengeful fire”, has rattled the region with two nuclear tests in the past five years and its missile program. It is believed to have about 700 short-range Scud-type missiles and about 320 medium-range Nodongs. It is said to have amassed enough plutonium for about half a dozen bombs but is now believed to be working on producing highly enriched uranium, the other kind of fissile material used in nuclear bombs. Niksch, the US expert, says the North probably would need as little as one to two years to miniaturise and mount a nuclear warhead atop its medium-range Nodong missile once it has produced enough highly enriched uranium. —Reuters

Brazil leader marks first year in office By Yana Marull razilian President Dilma Rousseff marks her first year in office today, riding 72 percent popularity with a steady grip on the reins of the world’s sixth largest economy. The 64-year-old economist and former urban guerrilla has developed a style quite different from that of her predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva: more managerial, more discreet and without Lula’s charisma. “Her tougher style of a manager gives her the image of an ‘iron lady’ who tackles corruption, and this is something that the traditional middle class likes,” said Ricardo Ribeiro, an analyst with the MCM consulting firm. Her record high popularity - for a first year in office - is driven by her anticorruption advocacy and Brazilians’ “satisfaction with the state of the economy,” said Renato Fonseca, head of research at the Brasilia-based National Industr y Confederation. Since being sworn in in January as the country’s first woman president, seven of her 38 ministers have quit, including six who were embroiled in allegations of graft and embezzlement. One of the six was Orlando Silva, who resigned as sports minister amid corruption allegations just as the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics. Other key challenges facing Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who battled the military dictatorship in the 1970’s and was jailed and tortured, include controlling her unruly coalition and ensuring continued economic growth. In her first year, she enjoyed a kind of honeymoon as heiress to Lula, who stepped down with 80-percent


popularity. “Now the people may be more critical and demand more from the government, including reforms that have yet to be carried out, particularly if the (global economic) crisis affects Brazil and if infighting among her allies (in the government coalition) grows,” said Joao Augusto de Castro, an analyst with the BrazilPolitics think tank. Managing an alliance of 10 traditionally unruly parties that each have their own interests will be no easy task next year, when elections are due in the country’s 5000 municipalities. Ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s third most powerful woman, Rousseff leads a country of 190 million that has now vaulted past Britain to become the world’s sixth largest economic power. Economic resilience has been a central theme of Rousseff’s administration, including measures to boost domestic industries and consumption. In 2010 under Lula’s stewardship, the Brazilian economy grew 7.5 percent, but this year it is expected to expand only three percent due to the impact of the global economic slowdown. How it will fare in 2012 is unclear, according to analysts. But Rousseff sounded an optimistic note, vowing that 2012 will be a “prosperous” year for Brazilians, “better than 2011”. An economic slowdown would thwart her goal of pulling 16 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty and would jeopardize the social gains achieved by the Lula administration, which moved 28 million poor people into the middle class. The government is banking on GDP growth of between four and five percent in 2012, and has vowed to equip the country with first-class infrastructure, health and

education. Like her mentor and fellow Workers’ Party member Lula, Rousseff is firmly committed to keeping the economy humming and reducing the yawning gap between rich and poor. But Finance Minister Guido Mantega said this week it would take 10 to 20 years to match the Europeans’ standard of living. On the foreign policy front, Rousseff has shown more pragmatism than her predecessor, eschewing rhetoric and undertaking fewer trips abroad. She has given priority to relations with her South American neighbors, particularly Argentina. And she is seeking greater coordination on key global issues with fellow members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) club of emerging powers. This year, Rousseff hosted US President Barack Obama, and she is due to visit the United States early in 2012. She also traveled to China and to Africa, a continent where Brazil is keen to project its growing influence. Rousseff wants increased weight for Brazil in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and will continue pressing for a permanent seat for her country in the UN Security Council. — AFP


GOP identity to remain unclear after Iowa race By Charles Babington he first round of voting in the Republican presidential contest may tell a lot about the power of negative TV ads, town-to-town campaigning and getout-the-vote organizations. Just don’t expect it to say much about the heart and soul of the Republican Party, a sprawling, contentious institution that has yet to decide what balance of libertarianism, pragmatism and social and fiscal conservatism should define it. Months of televised debates and campaigning have left the party as splintered and ill-defined as when the primary season began. Final polls before Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses show a remarkably wide distribution of support among the six main candidates. There is no clear front-runner, and huge numbers of Iowa Republicans entered the weekend undecided. From a strategic standpoint, the bunched grouping should help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He could benefit, and perhaps win with a modest plurality, if conservative activists split their votes about evenly among his rivals. From a philosophical standpoint, however, Iowa may do little to reveal how much the GOP of 2012 will be shaped by tea party activists, anti-tax crusaders, military hawks, economic moderates and other competing forces. Despite months of trying, Romney has been unable to build a large and passionate following. Yet among his competitors, none has been able to emerge as the main rival who can consolidate the anti-Romney sentiment that’s there for the taking. A CNN/Time/ORC poll of Iowa Republicans shows that months of campaigning and torrents of TV ads have done little to resolve questions of policy and political philosophy. Romney was in a virtual tie for the lead with libertarian-leaning Rep Ron Paul of Texas. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania ran third. Romney trailed Paul on the question of who most “agrees with you on the issues.” But Romney is overwhelmingly seen as the Republican with the best chance of defeating President Barack Obama next fall. If anything unites Republicans, it’s their desire to oust Obama. It’s a powerful force. It may be enough, on its own, to determine the 2012 election. But it won’t do much, by itself, to resolve GOP differences over matters such as how to cope with deficit spending. That issue triggered an embarrassing conflict this month between House and Senate Republicans over payroll tax legislation. “Hating Obama is not a sufficient governing philosophy,” said John Feehery, a longtime Republican aide and strategist. Similarly, he said, “libertarianism, no matter how enticing, is not a governing philosophy.” “The principle problem for conservatives is how do they reconcile their clear dislike for the government with their desire to actually run it,” Feehery said. President George W Bush offered “compassionate conservatism”, he said, but it is “rejected by most conservatives. What is next?” The early stages of the GOP primary campaign have not answered that. Another poll of Iowa Republicans shows that important party factions are deeply divided. The NBC-Marist poll found that only 7 percent of Iowans likely to go to the caucuses believe Romney is the field’s true conservative. Yet he was ahead, or essentially tied with Paul, on the front-runner question. Tea party supporters, who account for nearly half of all likely caucusgoers, were widely split: 20 percent backed Santorum, while Romney and Paul each claimed 17 percent, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich at 16 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 15 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 10 percent. Many campaign veterans doubt that the tea party movement can replicate the impact it had on the 2010 congressional elections. The movement is decentralized by nature and seems better suited for state or local contests with well-focused issues and personalities. A tea party failure to coalesce around one presidential candidate would further dilute its influence in 2012. The party not holding the White House always has trouble identifying its leader, but the current GOP seems to have amnesia. Campaign ads flooding Iowa airwaves would lead viewers to think Ronald Reagan just stepped down. But there’s never a mention of Bush, on TV or during campaign stops. The same is true of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the most powerful Republican in the federal government. “The Republican Party is in a state of suspended animation as we wait for a nominee to lead us in 2012,” said consultant Matt Mackowiak. He said GOP primary voters want a solid conservative, someone who can “pass the commander in chief threshold” and someone “who will go at Obama directly and forcefully on policy”. “The reason the primary has been so volatile,” Mackowiak said, is that “no one candidate has locked up all three criteria.” That’s not to say the Republican candidates haven’t outlined policy differences. Perry and Gingrich, for instance, advocate greater forbearance for illegal immigrants than do Romney and others. Paul is the least orthodox contender. He calls for unprecedented cuts in federal programs, an end to the Federal Reserve, and a much more hands-off approach to foreign involvements and military actions. Even if Paul wins in Iowa, many GOP insiders say his appeal is too limited to win the nomination. The campaign often has focused more on the candidates’ backgrounds and temperaments than on policy. Romney stresses his 42-year marriage and his experience in the private sector. Perry promotes Texas’ record of job growth during his tenure. Santorum emphasizes his career-long crusade against abortion, and the homeschooling of his seven children, among other things. That’s not unusual in a presidential primary. In the 2008 Democratic contest, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed on so many policies that the campaign focused heavily on their personalities and biographies. Some Republican insiders are unperturbed by the unsettled nature of this year’s race. Widespread unhappiness with Obama and the economy will unite Republicans, and many independents, behind the eventual nominee, no matter who it is, said GOP strategist Danny Diaz. Besides, he said, “the party does not define the nominee, the nominee redefines the party.” If that notion comforts some Republicans, it worries others. Feehery, who spent years working for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, said presidential nominating contests typically sort out a party’s policy disagreements. “That is why so many rightwing conservatives are so afraid of Romney,” he said. “They know that if he wins, they lose,” because “he doesn’t agree with their naive nostalgia for Jeffersonian agrarianism”. —AP



sp orts Torres Euro place in doubt

Australia douse attack

MADRID: Spain striker Fernando Torres could miss selection for next year ’s European championship if he does not get more playing time with Premier League club Chelsea, Spain Coach Vicente Del Bosque has said. In an interview with the Spanish sports daily As on Friday, the former Real Madrid coach said Torres’s poor club form was a worr y. “ There are five months until the European championship during which everything could turn around but if the situation does not change it will be hard for him,” Del Bosque said. The 27year-old striker, who scored the goal against Germany in 2008 that won the Spanish their second European title, has netted just five times in 23 games since his January move to London from Liverpool and seven of his 12

SYDNEY: Australia cricket coach Mickey Arthur has watered down suggestions by captain Michael Clarke that the side might take a four-pronged pace attack into the second test against India, saying he was “loath” to go into any test without a spinner. Arthur said yesterday that Australia’s pace attack, led by Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus, has the potential to be the world’s best and he’s happy with his top six batsmen after the home side’s 122-run win in the first test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. That meant the choice for the final spot in the team will come down to spinner Nathan Lyon or recalled paceman Ryan Harris. Clarke suggested Harris could make it four pace bowlers in the starting 11 for the test starting Tuesday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but Arthur said “the SCG has normally got a history of favoring spin down the line.” With Patrick Cummins, Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc either injured or waiting in the wings, South Africa-born Arthur is confident about Australia’s pace depth and pleased by the competition for every position. “We had 15 players that can play international cricket at any given time,” Arthur said. “Hopefully by the end of the summer we might have 22 guys that can do that because we need to build up our strength in depth, which we are doing now. But I do think this pace attack has the potential to become the best in the world.” —AP

Chelsea appearances this season have been as a substitute. “Fernando deserves respect for his record and he has our confidence but if he is not playing, there are certain things that are obvious,” Del Bosque added. “If he plays and he is on form he’ll go to the Euros. He has contributed to the successes and he has room for maneuver.” Torres’s form has become more of an issue for the world champions since the nation’s all-time top scorer David Villa broke his leg playing for Barcelona this month. Villa should return in time for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland but Del Bosque has other options for the forward line, including Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, who is currently out injured, and Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo. —Reuters

Mayweather pleads ‘no contest’ LAS VEGAS: Boxing welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr pleaded ‘no contest’ Friday to misdemeanor battery against a security guard, prosecutors said. Mayweather, 34, who is widely regarded as the best defensive fighter of his generation, will pay a $1,000 fine for the offense, according to the district attorney’s office. Mayweather’s no contest plea was entered by his attorney as part of a larger plea deal that last week saw the boxer admit to wrongdoing in a separate 2010 attack on his ex-girlfriend, said Tess Driver, a spokeswoman for the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. Mayweather was sentenced to six months behind bars for that violent outburst, but half of that jail term was suspended. He has been ordered to appear in court on Jan 6 to be transferred to jail, officials said. A no contest plea is treated as the equivalent of guilty in Nevada criminal courts. Mayweather was acquitted earlier this year of threatening to send armed acquaintances to harm two security guards at a gated community in suburban Las Vegas where he lives. The five-division World Boxing Council world champion boxer known as “Money” improved his professional record to a perfect 42-0, including 26 knockouts, with a fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas in September to claim the World Boxing Council welterweight title. — Reuters

No 19 Oklahoma beat Iowa 31-14 in Insight Bowl TEMPE: Oklahoma dodged a big rally and a falling camera to pull out a gritty win. Blake Bell ran for his third touchdown in the closing seconds and the No 19 Sooners survived a late rally, not to mention the crashing camera, to close out a difficult season with a 3114 victory over Iowa in the Insight Bowl on Friday night. “It means a lot. These guys persevered,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “(They) came out here tonight and played an excellent game.” Oklahoma (10-3) didn’t get a particularly great game from quarterback Landry Jones and wasn’t effective on the ground, either. Once considered national-title contenders, the Sooners held off the gritty Hawkeyes, capping a painful year that started with the death of linebacker Austin Box in the offseason. Jones threw for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Bell put the game away with a 21-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left. “We did exactly what we wanted to: end this with a win,” Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay said. Iowa (7-6) fell into a 21-0 hole before rallying behind two touchdown passes from James Vandenberg.

The Hawkeyes came up just short and dodged a potential disaster when an overhead camera crashed to the field next to receiver Marvin McNutt in the closing minutes. McNutt became tangled in the wire after the camera landed a few yards behind him, but wasn’t hurt. The game was delayed 5 minutes while the camera was dragged off the field. Vandenberg overcame an early interception to throw for 216 yards, but had two interceptions while the Hawkeyes rushed for just 76 yards to end a school-record three-game bowl winning streak. Oklahoma’s return trip to the desert wasn’t expected, at least not this early in the bowl season. Coming off a rout of Connecticut in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, the Sooners were ranked No 1 in the preseason, with hopes of a second national title under Stoops. Those aspirations were gone after a string of injuries - All-America receiver Ryan Broyles’ torn ACL was the big one - and two losses in the final three games, including a 44-10 rout by Bedlam rival Oklahoma State in the regular-season finale. The frustrating run knocked Oklahoma out of not only the national championship

chase, but out of a BCS bowl and into the Insight Bowl. Instead of making a statement in

TEMPE: Wide receiver Keenan Davis #6 of the Iowa Hawkeyes dives over defensive back Tony Jefferson #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners on a 14 yard reception during the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. —AFP the desert, the Sooners seemed to stand still in the first half, gaining yards in little bits instead of their usual

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Friday. Washington 3, Buffalo 1; Ottawa 4, Calgary 3 (OT); NY Rangers 4, Florida 1; Nashville 2, St. Louis 1 (SO); Chicago 3, Detroit 2. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 23 9 4 107 NY Rangers Philadelphia 22 10 4 123 Pittsburgh 21 12 4 120 New Jersey 20 15 1 100 NY Islanders 12 17 6 80

GA 77 106 97 104 112

PTS 50 48 46 41 30

Northeast Division Boston 24 9 1 121 18 14 5 116 Toronto Ottawa 18 15 5 117 Buffalo 17 17 3 98 Montreal 14 17 7 97

64 122 131 109 107

49 41 41 37 35

Southeast Division Florida 19 12 7 100 18 14 5 101 Winnipeg Washington 19 15 2 107 Tampa Bay 16 17 3 99 Carolina 13 20 6 101

105 105 107 120 130

45 41 40 35 32

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 24 10 4 125 23 13 1 120 Detroit St. Louis 21 11 5 95 Nashville 20 14 4 100 Columbus 10 22 5 91 Northwest Division Vancouver 24 12 2 128 21 12 6 93 Minnesota Colorado 20 18 1 104 Calgary 18 16 5 96 Edmonton 15 18 3 99

107 84 82 105 124 92 91 113 106 100

52 47 47 44 25 50 48 41 41 33

Pacific Division San Jose 19 11 4 99 83 42 Los Angeles 18 14 6 82 89 42 Dallas 20 15 1 96 105 41 Phoenix 18 16 4 98 101 40 Anaheim 10 20 6 85 120 26 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Olympics 2012 won’t be ‘austerity Games’ LONDON: Britain will not reduce the London Games to an “austerity Olympics”, but instead try to use the event to kickstart the flagging economy in 2012, the minister responsible said yesterday. Jeremy Hunt, the Olympics secretary, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that hosting the Games during the global economic crisis should be seen as “an incredible stroke of luck” that could help keep Britain out of recession. He said the government would never be forgiven if it did not make the most of staging the event. The Games are costing the taxpayer more than £9 billion ($14 billion, 10.9 billion euros). “You can take two attitudes to the Olympics,” Hunt told the broadsheet. “You can say: these are times of austerity and therefore we should pare them down as much as possible. Or, you can say: because these are times of austerity we need to do everything we possibly can to harness the opportunity of the Olympics. “We’re going to be the centre of global attention and it will be the first time that we’ve had a major sporting event that’s watched live by half the world’s population. People would not forgive us if we didn’t make the absolute most of this moment. “This is going to be an incredible expression of Britain’s culture, Britain’s history and Britain’s creativity. So, we decided that the sensible thing to do is to make sure that we finance it properly.” Hunt said the Olympics could breathe

chunks. Oklahoma had just 89 yards on 27 plays in the half, but led 14-0 thanks a pair of 4-yard runs by Bell -

life into the British economy, saying the impact of the Games would be significant. Asked if it would be the difference between entering a double-dip recession and not, Hunt said: “I don’t want to overstate that because there are many other factors... but if you are saying, ‘Will the Olympics have a massively positive impact on our economic confidence?’ I think the answer is resoundingly yes.” The British government last month slashed its growth outlook, blaming the impact of the eurozone debt crisis, while Britain is struggling to recover amid high unemployment and inflation and despite record-low interest rates. Britain’s economy is set to grow by just 0.7 percent next year, about a quarter of the previous official government forecast of 2.5 percent given in March. Finance minister George Osborne has insisted, however, that there will be no let-up in the coalition’s plans to axe Britain’s huge deficit and steer clear of the global debt storm. Hunt also insisted peaceful demonstrators would be tolerated and unlike for the 2008 Beijing Games, they would be treated with “dignity”. “We are proud to be a democratic country and protest is part of that tradition,” Hunt said. “We don’t want to see disruption to the Games but we also recognize part of the package of Britain is that we allow protest providing it’s lawful and legitimate.” —AFP

one set up by an interception and another on the Sooners’ only sustained drive. The Sooners finally start-

ed to click in the second half. Oklahoma drove inside Iowa’s 10 on its opening drive, though that ended with an acrobatic tip-and-catch interception by Iowa defensive lineman Broderick Binns. The Sooners kept rolling after that, marching down on their next drive for a 3-yard, playaction touchdown pass from Jones to Trent Ratterree - breaking a streak of eight straight TDs by Bell - to go up 210. The Hawkeyes fought back. Iowa overcame the suspension of its top running back and a favored opponent to win last year’s Insight Bowl, beating Missouri 27-24. The Hawkeyes did it behind Marcus Coker, who ran for 219 yards and two touchdowns after replacing suspended starter Adam Robinson. This time it was Coker who had to watch. The sophomore, who ran for 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season, was suspended for violating the university’s student-athlete code of conduct. Without Coker, Iowa would have to rely on a group of unproven running backs - none had more than 18 carries - and lean even more on Vandenberg. No one was particularly effective in the first half. Vanderberg was off-tar-

get early and had a pass intercepted by Jamell Fleming at Iowa’s 31 yard line in the first quarter, then exacerbated the miscue by being called for a late-hit penalty. Bell scored his first touchdown two plays later.Iowa had just one sustained drive in the first half, but that petered out; the Hawkeyes lost three yards on a fourthand-1 from Oklahoma’s 6-yard line. Their running game ineffective, the Hawkeyes bumbled around most of the next two quarters before finally moving the ball again late in the third quarter. Vandenberg completed seven of his eight passes on a 75-yard drive, the final an across-his-body throw for a 5-yard touchdown to CJ Fiedorowicz that cut Oklahoma’s lead to 21-7. Vandenberg then got the Hawkeyes within seven with 7 minutes left, hitting Keenan Davis to convert on a fourth-and-10 to set up a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Canzeri on a screen. That was it, though. Oklahoma’s Mike Hunnicutt followed a 35-yard field goal with just over 4 minutes left and Bell added his final scoring run after the falling camera nearly took out McNutt. —AP

Blackhawks extend gap, stun Red Wings Ovechkin scores 2 as Capitals upend Sabres 3-1 CHICAGO: The Chicago Blackhawks extended their lead in the NHL’s Central Division with a 3-2 win over their nearest rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, on Friday. Brent Seabrook scored the game-winner early in the third period when he fired from the blue line and overpowered Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with a rising shot that sailed over his glove. Marian Hossa scored and Jonathan Toews connected on a penalty shot for Chicago, which improved to 10-2-1 in its past 13 before a season-high crowd of 22,166 at the United Center. Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi had goals for the Red Wings, who now trail the Blackhawks by five points.

one of their worst nemesis of the season Friday night, beating the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. One of Ovechkin’s two goals was actually a pass attempt that got deflected into the net, but the Capitals captain has five goals in seven games, a fur ther sign that he is emerging from the spotty play that has run parallel to Washington’s slow start. The former two-time NHL MVP has 14 goals on the season. Nicklas Backstrom also scored his 13th of

Rangers. Washington and Buffalo have been hovering close to each other in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings, but the Capitals have pulled three points ahead of the Sabres and have won seven of 14 under Hunter. The game was only 27 seconds old when Mike Weber was whistled for a boarding call for a nasty hit on Jason Chimera. Ovechkin capitalized on the ensuing power play, albeit purely by accident, when his cross-ice pass to Brooks Laich was

RANGERS 4, PANTHERS 1 In Sunrise, Florida, Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist as New York downed Florida. Brad Richards, Michael Del Zotto, and Brandon Dubinsky also scored while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots for the Rangers, who have won six of seven going into Monday ’s Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers in Citizens Bank Park. The win moved New York above Boston for leadership of the Eastern Conference. Matt Bradley scored for the Panthers. PREDATORS 2, BLUES 1, SO In St Louis, Martin Erat scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give Nashville a victory over St Louis. Erat sent a shot high over the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak while Predators goalie Pekka Rinne kept the Blues scoreless on all five attempts. Matt Halischuk scored for the Predators, while the Blues got a goal from T.J. Oshie. SENATORS 4, FLAMES 3, OT In Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson scored his 400th career goal in overtime to complete O ttawa’s comeback win over Calgar y. Alfredsson drove a slap shot from the left point past Leland Irving on a power play after Calgary was left short-handed when Rene Bourque was called for holding. Erik Karlsson had tied it at 3-3 in the third period as Ottawa battled back from an early 3-0 deficit. Nick Foligno and Zack Smith scored in the second period for the Senators. Bourque, Curtis Glencross and Chris Butler scored first-period goals to give the Flames a good early lead. CAPITALS 3, SABRES 1 Alex Ovechkin scored early and late, Tomas Vokoun made 25 saves, and the Washington Capitals got one back against

CHICAGO: Chicago Blackhawks’ Daniel Carcillo and Detroit Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi fight during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago on Friday, Dec 30, 2011. —AP the season - his 100th career NHL goal - for the Capitals. Alexander Semin had a pair of assists for his second multipoint game in a row. Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres. Ryan Miller made 18 saves. The Capitals have had two of their most deflating performances in Buffalo this season, losing 5-1 in the last game before coach Bruce Boudreau was fired. They then fell behind 4-0 in a 4-2 loss on the day after Christmas, showing they still have a ways to go before getting a consistent rhythm under new coach Dale Hunter. The Capitals came home from Buffalo to play perhaps their best game of the season, Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the New York

deflected by Christian Ehrhoff toward the net, catching Miller off guard. Washington’s second goal featured crisp passes in the offensive zone that went from Ovechkin to Roman Hamrlik to Semin to Backstrom. The Capitals outshot the Sabres 11-2 in the first period, but the Sabres gained momentum in the second and scored when Hecht put in a rebound off a shot by Thomas Vanek. Buffalo outshot Washington 15-6 in the period. But Ovechkin put the game away with a one-timer from high in the slot from a feed by Backstrom with 5:50 remaining in the third. —Agencies


sp orts NBA results/standings NBA results and standings Friday. Orlando 100, Charlotte 79; Indiana 98, Cleveland 91 (OT); Atlanta 105, New Jersey 98; Boston 96, Detroit 85; Miami 103, Minnesota 101; Memphis 113, Houston 93; Phoenix 93, New Orleans 78; Milwaukee 102, Washington 81; Dallas 99, Toronto 86; Utah 102, Philadelphia 99; Chicago 114, LA Clippers 101 Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL PCT Toronto 1 2 0 .333 Philadelphia 1 2 0 .333 NY Knicks 1 2 0 .333 New Jersey 1 3 0 .250 Boston 1 3 0 .250 Central Division Indiana 3 0 0 1.000 Chicago 3 1 0 .750 Milwaukee 2 1 0 .667 Cleveland 1 2 1 .333 Detroit 0 3 0 0 Southeast Division Miami 4 0 0 1.000 Atlanta 3 0 0 1.000 Orlando 3 1 0 .750 Charlotte 1 2 0 .333 Washington 0 3 0 0

GB 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 2 3 0.5 1 2.5 3.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City4 0 0 1.000 Portland 3 0 0 1.000 0.5 Denver 2 1 0 .667 1.5 Utah 1 2 0 .333 2.5 Minnesota 0 3 0 0 3.5 Pacific Division Golden State 2 1 0 .667 LA Lakers 2 2 0 .500 0.5 Sacramento 1 2 0 .333 1 Phoenix 1 2 0 .333 1 LA Clippers 1 2 0 .333 1 Southwest Division San Antonio 2 1 0 .667 New Orleans 2 1 0 .667 Memphis 1 2 0 .333 1 Houston 1 2 0 .333 1 Dallas 1 3 0 .250 1.5

Heat stay undefeated Grizzlies down Rockets; Wade, James hold off Timberwolves MINNEAPOLIS: Miami’s Dwyane Wade hit a jumper from the wing, then scored on an inbounds pass from LeBron James with 4.6 seconds to play, lifting the undefeated Heat to a 103-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA on Friday. Playing on a sore foot, Wade finished with 19 points, while James had 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds on his 27th birthday. Kevin Love had 25 points and 12 boards for the Timberwolves, who led 100-99 with 55 seconds to play. But Wade hit a jumper and then lost his opponent on an inbounds play to make the winning basket, one game after beating the Charlotte Bobcats with a last-second shot.

points in a reserve role as Phoenix won for the first time this season while handing New Orleans its first loss. Channing Frye added 10 points and 16 rebounds for the Suns, who had lost to New Orleans in their home opener Monday. Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon missed a second straight game with a bruised right knee, and this time New Orleans could not compensate for the prolific scorer’s absence. Carl Landry led New Orleans with 17 points, but the Hornets shot only 29 percent.

BUCKS 102, WIZARDS 81 In Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Milwaukee over winless Washington. Ersan Ilyasova had 16 points for Milwaukee to be among four players in double figures. Jordan Crawford, benched after scoring just one point in a loss at Atlanta on Wednesday, led Washington (0-3) with 24 points. The Wizards also got a technical foul when Roger Mason Jr., who was not on the active list, checked into the game.

PACERS 98, CAVALIERS 91, OT In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored nine of his 22 points in overtime to help Indiana edge Cleveland. Roy Hibbert had 17

JAZZ 102, 76ERS 99 In Salt Lake City, Derrick Favors scored a career-high 20 points and added 11 rebounds in his first start for Utah, as the Jazz avoided their

BULLS 114, CLIPPERS 101 In Los Angeles, Derrick Rose had 29 points and 16 assists to help Chicago pull away in the fourth quarter to beat Los Angeles. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah added 19 points apiece for the Bulls against their former coach, Vinny Del Negro. Blake Griffin had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who kept it close most of the way coming off a 25-point loss at San Antonio. CELTICS 96, PISTONS 85 In Boston, Jermaine O’Neal scored 19 points as he and Boston ended a dismal start to their season by beating Detroit in their home opener. O’Neal, who played passively in totaling just eight points in the first three games, all losses, was aggressive throughout. He had 10 points in the first half, which ended with Boston on top 50-43. Then he scored seven in the third quarter when the Celtics outscored the Pistons to take an 86-64 lead. Ray Allen and Brandon Bass added 17 points apiece for Boston. Greg Monroe had 22 points and nine rebounds for Detroit, which fell to 0-3. MAVERICKS 99, RAPTORS 86 In Dallas, reserve center Ian Mahinmi scored a career-high 19 points as Dallas rallied past Toronto to notch its first victory of the season after starting with three losses. Dirk Nowitzki contributed 18 for the Mavericks (1-3), who avoided becoming the first defending champions to start 0-4 since Boston in 1969-70. Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points for the Raptors, 1-2 under first-year coach Dwane Casey, Dallas’ top assistant and defensive architect last season.

BETHESDA: Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, looks at the trophy after winning the US Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md. Northern Irish golfers Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy are among the sports figures honored by Queen Elizabeth II in her New Year list, after claiming their first major titles in 2011.— AP

Clarke and McIlroy star in sporting New Year Honors LONDON: Northern Irish golf Major winners Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy were among several sportsmen named in Britain’s New Years Honours List here yesterday. Clarke, 43, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), five months after winning the British Open while reigning US Open champion McIlroy, 22, received the Member of the Order British (MBE), the first rung on Britain’s honors ladder. “I have had a fantastic year and this just caps it off,” said Clarke. “It is a privilege to be recognized with an OBE. It is a lot to take in. “I could not have envisaged the year I have had.” McIlroy won the US Open at the Congressional course in June with a record low score of a 16-under-par 268 and his achievement in winning his first major was all the more creditable after his final round collapse while leading in the preceding US Masters. “I am delighted to be named in the Queen’s New Year Honors list,” said McIlroy. “It is quite humbling to be included in such a list of worthy recipients. Former Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis, 88 next month, was knighted, and so can call himself ‘Sir Doug’ - ridding himself perhaps for ever of the Villa fans nickname ‘Deadly Doug’ for his habit of sacking managers - for his charity work in the Midlands. There were knighthoods too for London 2012 Olympic organizers Charles Allen and John Armitt. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke, whose

time in charge has coincided with England’s rise to the top of the world Test rankings, was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), one rank below a knighthood. Meanwhile former Test umpire Dickie Bird who, unusually for a match official became a popular figure with fans all round the world, was advanced to an OBE, having already received the MBE. “I have always said that standing in three World Cup finals were my best memories but to get this is the greatest honor of my life,” explained the 78-year-old Bird, whose latest award was also a recognition for his charity work as well as a cricket career that started as a batsman with his native Yorkshire. Another Yorkshire sports star to be honored was Sarah Stevenson, who this year won a taekwondo world championship in spite of having to cope with the death of both her parents through illness. “It is such a huge honor to receive an MBE and it’s fantastic to be recognized for the hard work I have put into taekwondo for the past 21 years,” said Stevenson, overlooked for the 2011 BBC Sports Personality Year when the broadcaster controversially drew up an allmale shortlist. “I know my parents would have been so proud of this award.” In rugby union, Scotland’s record points and cap holder Chris Paterson, who recently announced his Test retirement, was made an MBE as was Wales flanker Martyn Williams, capped 99 times by his country.— AFP

Stosur has tough road at Brisbane International BRISBANE: US Open champion Samantha Stosur faces a difficult road in her first tournament of 2012, with Serena Williams, Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters and former No 1 Ana Ivanovic on her side of the Brisbane International draw. Hometown favorite Stosur opens play Monday at Pat Rafter Arena against Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus. Williams, who hasn’t played since losing the final to Stosur at Flushing Meadows in September, arrived in Brisbane yesterday and will play Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa in the first round. Top-seeded Andy Murray will play Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in a men’s firstround match Tuesday and American Ryan Sweeting takes on second-seeded Gilles Simon of France. Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former No 1, has been training on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane this month after spending Christmas with boyfriend and pro golfer Adam Scott. She will play Austria’s Tamira Paszek in the opening round, followed immediately by a possible meeting with Clijsters in the round-

of-16. “It doesn’t get harder than that, but it’s a good preparation for the Australian Open,” Ivanovic said of her draw. “It’s a good way to check where you’re at and if you want to get deep into a tournament, you have to face them at some stage, so why not sooner?” Another Serbian former No 1, Jelena Jankovic, will play Carla Suarez-Navarro of Spain in the first round. Jankovic could meet third-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy, who lost this year’s French Open final to Li Na, in the quarterfinals. Murray is a strong favorite in a weaker men’s draw, but the Scot said Australian youngster Bernard Tomic, former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis and Germany’s Tommy Haas were all title threats. “It’s a tough draw, there’s a lot of good players here and young players as well with Tomic and (American teenager) Ryan Harrison, there’s a lot of dangerous players,” Murray said yesterday. “The first week of the year, nothing is ever a breeze. It’s always tough and you never know how a lot of guys can improve in the offseason.”— AP

GRIZZLIES 113, ROCKETS 93 In Memphis, Zach Randolph scored 23 points as Memphis earned its first win of the season, beating Houston. Randolph shot 11 of 14 and grabbed nine rebounds. Marc Gasol had 20 points and eight boards as Memphis outrebounded the Rockets 42-33. Kevin Martin led Houston with 21 points, but the Rockets turned the ball over 20 times and allowed the Grizzlies to shoot at 56 percent. SUNS 93, HORNETS 78 In New Orleans, Hakim Warrick scored 18

NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor (50) tries to shoot over Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye (8) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans. The Suns won 93-78.— AP points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who improved to 3-0. Rookie guard Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 20 points in his best game so far, but missed a layup that would have won the game at the end of regulation. MAGIC 100, BOBCATS 79 In Charlotte, D wight Howard had 20 points and 24 rebounds as Orlando made it three straight wins by downing Charlotte. Ryan Anderson scored 23 points for the Magic, which jumped to an 11-0 lead and never trailed, eventually leading 56-43 at halftime and building the lead up to as many as 21 in the second half. Charlotte never got closer than nine points in the second half. Anderson was 5 of 12 from 3-point range, as the Magic shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. Howard also had four blocked shots and four assists. Corey Maggette led Charlotte (1-2) with 20 points.

first 0-3 start in 32 years by beating Philadelphia. Paul Millsap added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Jazz, who have beaten the 76ers seven straight times at home. Favors started at center for Utah in place of Al Jefferson, who did not play because of an inflamed right ankle. Jrue Holiday scored a season-high 22 points for the Sixers while reserve Lou Williams missed what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. HAWKS 105, NETS 98 In Atlanta, Jeff Teague scored 22 points as Atlanta won its third straight game to open the season, beating New Jersey. Joe Johnson had 21 points for the Hawks, who flogged New Jersey by 36 points earlier this week but were forced to work much harder in this one. Their biggest lead was nine early in the fourth quarter, and it was down to a point with 2:18 remaining. Deron Williams finished with 23 points to lead the Nets, who have dropped three straight and fell to 1-3.—AP

Li wins fight with Bartoli, husband

PERTH: Li Na of China returns to Marion Bartoli of France during their women’s singles match in session 1, day one of the Hopman Cup Tennis Tournament in Perth yesterday. — AFP

PERTH: French Open champion Li Na has blamed her perplexing slump on her sudden celebrity status - and her irritation at being yelled at by her husband. The Chinese beat Marion Bartoli 2-6 6-2 6-4 on the opening day of the Hopman Cup on Saturday to arrest a disastrous run of form since becoming the first Asian to win a grand slam in June. France rebounded to record a 2-1 victory over China thanks to Richard Gasquet’s 6-1 6-3 defeat of out-gunned world No. 424 Wu Di and a commanding 6-1 6-1 win in the mixed doubles. Despite her team’s defeat, Li insisted her head was out of the clouds for the first time since her ground-break ing French Open triumph. “After the French Open my life changed,” Li told reporters. “If I go somewhere to play a tournament, more people know who I am.” Li added: “I’m only focusing on photo shoots. It’s tough after winning a big title, maintaining the concentration - so many photo shoots.” Distracted by off-court commitments triggered by new-found fame and suffocated by public attention in her homeland, Li won only seven of 16 matches for

the rest of last season. “I’ve had a good off-season in Munich,” declared Li, who also reached the 2010 Australian Open final, losing out to Kim Clijsters in three sets. “I’m back.” Around 120 million TV viewers watched her beat I talian Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final and her tongue-in-cheek jibes about her husband and coach captured the hearts of tennis fans worldwide. Agitated hubby Jiang Shan chewed his fingernails and shook his head as Li surrendered an error-strewn first set. Victory finally secured, Li grinned and waved at Jiang before revealing they had been at each other’s throats during practice. “It’s bad, we’re always fighting,” Li said. “It’s tough, he’s always telling me, ‘Move your feet, move your feet!’ I’m thinking, ‘Why are you shouting at me?’ “I only listen to him for two hours a day now,” joked Li. “I told him, ‘When I am on the court, I will listen to you. When we are away from the court, you have to listen to me’! “This is the perfect start to a new season and a great way to be getting ready for the Australian Open. My New Year’s resolution is to win another grand slam.”— Reuters

McIlroy’s US Open win electrifies 2011 season WASHINGTON: From Charl Schwartzel’s stunning four-birdie finish to win the Masters in April to Yani Tseng’s 12th victory of the year on her native Taiwan LPGA Tour in December, 2011 delivered a glut of electrifying performances. Darren Clarke, aged 42, completed a runaway three-shot win at the British Open in July and rookie Keegan Bradley capped a stunning late fightback by clinching his first major title in a playoff for the PGA Championship in August. World number one Luke Donald confirmed his status as the game’s most consistent player, and arguably its best short-game exponent, by winning four times worldwide and became the first player to claim the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the year’s most captivating display came at the US Open in June when Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy triumphed by eight shots in record style to confirm his rich promise as a potential golfing great. The mop-haired McIlroy delivered a grandstand performance at Congressional Country Club, banishing memories of his stunning Masters meltdown two months earlier as he became the championship’s youngest winner since 1923. Long regarded as a future world number one, McIlroy eclipsed the US Open scoring record of 12-

under set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 US Open and fans now wait with interest to see what the gifted Briton will serve up next. “If you are going to talk about someone challenging Jack’s record, there’s your man,” three-times major champion Padraig Harrington said at Congressional, referring to the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. “Winning a major at 22 with his talent, Rory would have 20 more years so probably 100 more majors in him where he could be competitive. It would give him a great chance.” McIlroy came close to winning his first major at the Masters in April when he held a fourshot lead going into the final round but he spectacularly tumbled out of contention with an ugly closing 80. Pencil-slim South African Schwartzel took the greatest advantage on a wild afternoon of brilliant shot-making and birdied the last four holes in an unprecedented finish at Augusta National to triumph by two strokes. The 26-year-old showed nerves of steel as he rolled in a 20-footer on the 18th green to complete a six-under-par 66, the lowest score of the day, and land his first major victory. MOST EMOTIONAL Perhaps the most emotional victory of 2011

came at Royal St George’s in July when popular Northern Irishman Clarke finally won his first major after closing with a level-par 70 at the British Open. The burly Briton had started the week amid very little fanfare and with his career in decline, having not even made the top 10 in any of the four majors for 10 years. Bradley’s breakthrough at the PGA Championship, where he edged out fellow American Jason Dufner in a three-hole playoff, was just as unexpected but for very different reasons. The 25-year-old was ranked 108th in the world coming into that week and he ended it as the first player to claim a grand slam crown in his maiden major start since compatriot Ben Curtis at the 2003 British Open. Bradley also became the first male to win a major title using a long putter. Former number one Woods ended a frustrating campaign this month by winning his first tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters at the Chevron World Challenge, which he hosts. Woods, whose ranking had plummeted to 52nd while he struggled for fitness and form over the last two years with his private life in tatters, came from one shot behind with two holes to play to triumph by a stroke.— Reuters



Liverpool’s Bellamy, Gerrard sink Newcastle Liverpool 3

Newcastle 1

Manchester City’s Italian manager Roberto Mancini

Title race will go down to wire: City’s Mancini MANCHESTER: Manchester City reach the midway stage of their Premier League campaign today with manager Roberto Mancini predicting the title race will go right down to the wire. City start the weekend level on points with Manchester United but remain at the top of the table due to a superior goal difference. Yet Mancini’s expensively-assembled side, which has set the pace for most of the season, could start 2012 in second spot as City do not play Sunderland until New Year’s Day - 24 hours after United have hosted bottom side Blackburn. It is so tight that Mancini believes the title race will not be decided until the last day of the season on May 13. And City’s Italian manager says he has not set a points target for his side to win the league as the blistering starts from City, United and Tottenham, currently third in the table, make it difficult to predict how many points will be needed to be crowned champions. “It is difficult (to predict),” said Mancini. “In this moment City, United and Tottenham have a lot of points compared to other years. “If you said how many points you need to win the league, it is very difficult. I think you need to wait another six or eight games.” City have seen a five-point cushion at the top disappear since the start of December after suffering their first loss of the season at Chelsea and dropping two more points against West Brom on Boxing Day. But Mancini laughed off suggestions his players are feeling the pressure. “We knew before West Brom it would be impossible to stay on the top (all the time) or to win the title in January,” he added. “When you play against United, Tottenham or Chelsea, this is impossible. “We have taken 45 points and scored a lot of goals. We should fight until the end and I think this championship will be decided in the

last three or four games.” City have no fresh injury worries although the fragile Owen Hargreaves remains sidelined with a knee problem. Matt Kilgallon is set to answer Martin O’Neill’s emergency call - 19 months after his last game for Sunderland. O’Neill is ready to bring the forgotten Black Cats centre-back in from the cold in an attempt to help shackle big-spending City. The Sunderland manager is wrestling with an injury crisis, with Titus Bramble, Michael Turner and Phil Bardsley all sidelined. The Northern Irishman is set to turn to Kilgallon, who was frozen out by previous manager Steve Bruce soon after sealing a £1.75m move from Sheffield United just under two years ago. Kilgallon - who established a good reputation whehn he started out at Leeds United has been farmed out on loan for Middlesbrough and Doncaster, with the last of just six Sunderland starts coming in May, 2010. The 27-year-old has yet to play any first team football this season, but with stand-in leftback Kieran Richardson also a doubt through illness, O’Neill admits he’s short on defensive options. “The absences are a major blow because we haven’t got the largest squad to choose from, so it’s a major concern,” said O’Neill. “Matt Kilgallon and a number of other players who haven’t played might find themselves playing. “I’m hoping he (Kilgallon) might get a chance. If he does, hopefully he’ll play well. He’ll be up for the challenge like the rest of them.” Despite earning seven points from his four games in charge, O’Neill insists Sunderland still aren’t out of danger in their bid to climb away from the relegation zone. “My aim is to get us out of bother. We’re still in a spot of bother, it’s a real dogfight.” — AFP

HK player sentenced over match-fixing bid HONG KONG: A young Hong Kong footballer has been sent to a detention centre after admitting trying to bribe his teammates to throw an international friendly against Russia, court officials said. A magistrate’s court Friday ordered Iu Wai, a 20-yearold defender for Hong Kong’s under-21 side, to be held at the detention centre after he pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery, a court spokeswoman said. Under Hong Kong law, young offenders can be sent to a detention centre for between one and six months as an alternative to prison. The length of their sentence is determined during the course of their incarceration. Iu promised two teammates-a defender and a goalkeeper-tens of thousands of Hong Kong dollars if they helped to deliberately lose a friendly against the Russian youth team. The duo refused and reported him to the anti-corruption authorities, who staged an unprecedented raid during the November game while 5,000 spectators looked on. Iu was arrested later. Sentencing Iu,

magistrate Peter Law said it was a “very serious” case that risked bringing Hong Kong into disrepute, the South China Morning Post reported. “By making a big mistake, you have fallen from grace. That blow for you must be enormous,” the paper quoted him as saying. “We can afford to lose so long as the boys show sportsmanship. However, if it is a match played without integrity or dignity, it is not a match we can afford,” he said. The court heard Iu was approached by a person in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, who asked him to fix the match in return for cash. Russia won the friendly 2-1. The magistrate praised defender Chan Cham-hei and goalkeeper Chiu Yu-ming for resisting temptation when Iu offered them bribes. The Independent Commission Against Corruption said Iu had offered Chan tens of thousands of dollars to let in a few goals and later offered Chiu HK$40,000 ($5,100) to let three goals in during the first half of the match. — AFP

LIVERPOOL: Craig Bellamy bagged a brace and Steven Gerrard was also on the scoresheet as Liverpool boosted their bid for a top four finish with a 3-1 win over Newcastle at Anfield on Friday. Kenny Dalglish’s side trailed to Daniel Agger ’s own goal midway through the first half, but Bellamy equalized soon after and the former Newcastle striker netted again from a free-kick in the second half. England midfielder Gerrard, who has missed most of the season due to injury, capped a fine cameo performance from the substitutes bench with his side’s third goal. Liverpool are now in fifth place, level on points with fourth placed Chelsea, while Newcastle remain seventh after another failed trip to Anfield. Gerrard expressed his delight at being able to play again and didn’t want to dwell on the past. “It’s good to be back. I’ve had a terrible year with a lot of injuries but I just want to look forward,” Gerrard told Sky Sports 1. “I’m delighted to be back with the lads today, to get on the scoresheet and get three points was a perfect return. It’s great to be back.” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said the second goal had decided the match but was full of praise for his players and their campaign so far. “We’ve done brilliant, we’ve got some very good players and we’ve had a really good calendar year,” he said. “We need to take that now into next year, and if we do anything like this last year, we may surprise ourselves and the opposition in the league. “We’re still in a good position even though we were beaten tonight.” All eyes were on misfiring Liverpool striker Andy Carroll who has struggled for

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Daniel Agger (second right) vies for the ball against Newcastle United’s Demba Ba during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England, on Friday Dec 30, 2011. — AP goals since completing a £35 million move from Newcastle last January. With Uruguay striker Luis Suarez suspended, Carroll was charged with leading Liverpool’s attack yet the 22-yearold had not found the net in a Liverpool shirt for almost seven hours. Pressure had been growing on Liverpool after their failure to kill off teams at home threatened to cost them a top-four finish. But they travel to leaders Manchester City on January 3 with hopes of securing a place in next season’s Champions League very much alive. Just as they did against bottom-of-the-table Blackburn on Monday, Liverpool were forced to come from behind despite making the brighter start. Newcastle took the lead in the 25th minute when Yohan

Cabaye’s flick, following Ryan Taylor’s cross from the left, deflected off Agger’s shoulder and flew past Pepe Reina. It was Newcastle’s first top-flight goal at Anfield since Patrick Kluivert scored in a 3-1 defeat in 2004. Yet their lead lasted just five minutes as Bellamy seized on Cheik Tiote’s half clearance to find the net from 12-yards after smashing the ball through a sea of legs. Martin Skrtel then flashed a header narrowly wide before Newcastle were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Cabaye’s ugly challenge on Jay Spearing. With more than half an hour to go, Dalglish sent on Gerrard and it was Liverpool’s captain who proved the difference between the two teams in the end.

Within moments of his introduction he teed-up Carroll with a pin-point cross only for the striker to lose control of the ball after a shocking first touch. But Carroll played his part in Bellamy’s second from a 25-yard free-kick as Liverpool made it 2-1 in the 67th minute. Newcastle defender Danny Simpson should have cleared the setpiece but only succeeded in getting in Tim Krul’s way, and with the keeper already unsighted by Carroll, the ball flew straight in. Skrtel denied Demba Ba an equalizer before Carroll headed Gerrard’s inviting cross against the woodwork. But Liverpool ensured they rounded off 2011 with a win when Gerrard found the net from an acute angle from inside the area in the 78th minute. — AFP

Indonesia’s football crisis ‘under control’ JAKARTA: The Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) said yesterday that it remained in control, rebuffing claims that a majority of its members voted to hold an extraordinary congress to elect a new leadership. The Jakarta Globe reported Friday that 452 out of 580 members agreed this week to hold an extraordinary meeting in March 2012 amid a dispute over a breakaway league. They called themselves the Indonesian Football Savior Committee (KPSI), according to the report. However, deputy chairman Farid Rahman said: “PSSI’s investigation and verification to all members proved there has been manipulation of the figures since...less than fifty percent of the members agreed to hold the congress. “The intention to have the extraordinary congress just does not make sense,” he said in a statement received by AFP. “ We continue our strong intention to change and to reform Indonesian football and bring our team to perform at an international level,” Rahman added. The country’s football

was plunged into disarray recently when a breakaway league was revived, triggering a series of fierce disputes between clubs and the official Liga Prima, accredited by the association. The PSSI last month expelled Persipura Jayapura from Asia’s top club tournament as they had joined the breakaway league. The decision triggered the resignation of its under23 football coach Rahmad Darmawan. The association also fined eight clubs earlier this month for joining the rebel Liga Super. Persib Bandung, who have played in the new competition, were fined one billion rupiah ($110,000) while seven other defectors were given 500 million rupiah penalties. The rebel Liga Super players have effectively been barred from the national team, with the PSSI citing FIFA’s rules as saying players from unofficial leagues cannot represent their country in international events. Indonesia co-hosted the 2007 Asian Cup, but its national team’s record is poor. — AFP

Heart closing gap on Mariners in A-League SYDNEY: The Melbourne Heart won their sixth match in a row, overwhelming Sydney FC 4-0 to pull to within three points of first place in Australia’s A-League. Eli Bablj, Mate Dugandzic, Jason Hoffman and Alex Terra scored at Sydney to move the Heart into second place. The leading Central Coast Mariners could only manage a 0-0 draw against the last-place Gold Coast yesterday, but remain in first with 27 points after 13 matches. The Brisbane Roar, which had lost five in a row since compiling a record 36-game unbeaten streak, remained in third place after beating the Melbourne Victory 3-1. Adelaide United moved out of last place with a 2-0 win over Wellington while the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory played to a 1-1 draw. Former Liverpool and Leeds star Harry Kewell scored his first goal from open play for the Victory in the third minute. But Mitch Nichoils replied just before halftime and Rocky Visconte and Ivan Franjic added second-half goals for Brisbane. Perth played

most of the match a man down after striker Billy Mehmet, who scored in the ninth minute, was sent off in the 33rd. Mehmet was given a straight red card by referee Strebre Delovski for a two-footed challenge on Jets skipper and center-half Tiago Calvano. The Glory leveled in the 62nd minute when midfielder Kasey Wehrman’s cross was headed in by substitute Francis Jeffers. Former Blackburn Rover Brett Emerton, playing in his first year with Sydney, said the 4-0 loss to the Heart didn’t reflect the level of play by his side. “If anyone should have been 2-0 up, it should have been us at halftime,” Emerton said. “I don’t know how we’re sitting here losing that football match 4-0 because for me it was certainly the best first 45 minutes we’ve played this season. “It’s difficult to take. We’re all very disappointed and it’s going to be a test of character now for us.” The A-League is idle until Wednesday, when a full slate of five matches is scheduled. — AP

Bristol City shock Southampton 1-0 LONDON: Bristol City shattered Southampton’s 24-match unbeaten home league record as Stephen Pearson’s late goal clinched a surprise 1-0 win at St Mary’s on Friday. Pearson converted 11 minutes from time to give the Robins their first victory in six matches and deny Southampton the chance to extend their threepoint lead at the top of the Championship. Second placed West Ham and third placed Middlesbrough can now draw level on points with Southampton if they win their matches on Saturday. Nigel Adkins’s side failed to convert possession into clear-cut chances and could have been further behind if Nicky Maynard’s 53rd-minute effort had not been ruled out for

offside. The victory for Derek McInnes’ side sees them move three points clear of the relegation zone, while Southampton’s 2011 unbeaten home league record was ended in their 50th and final league match of this calendar year. Adkins said: “It is a shame the amazing run has come to an end but we have to look onto the next game and hope we have another great run next year. “I hope that we can get another string of results together at home and go unbeaten for the whole of 2012. “It was a tough game for us as Bristol City defended very well and Derek has improved them immensely since he has come in as manager.” — AFP

Jose Mourinho

Real not looking to recruit new players MADRID: Spanish league leaders Real Madrid will not be looking to sign new players during the transfer window, coach Jose Mourinho said Friday. “The market is an opportunity that is open to those who need it, but we fortunately do not need it,” he said during an end of year interview with the club’s television station. “The squad has been built with much work to provide the club with the means to fight for what we are fighting for. “For us the market is closed. I don’t want any player, I have not asked for one and I am not going to ask for one.” The former Chelsea coach also said his recent comments about his desire to eventually return to the English Premier League had been misinterpreted. During an interview with the BBC on Monday, Mourinho said he was “very, very happy” at Real but his “passion” is England and his “next step” will be to go back to the country and “if possible, go and stay for a long time.” “Get me a good club in a couple of years,” the Portuguese coach added. The comment was interpreted by some in Spain as meaning he plans to leave Real when his current four-year contract with the club expires at the end of the 2013-14 season. “You don’t translate ‘a couple of years’ literally, it’s an expression you use in the English language to mean in a few years, not exactly two,” the Portuguese coach told Real’s television station when asked about the comment. “It could be two, three, four, 20, or you never know,” he added. “The best years of this team are yet to come. It is impossible to say how many more years I will stay, but what counts is the intention. The intention (to stay) is there.” Real are currently top of the Spanish league with 40 points, three ahead of bitter rivals Barcelona. The squad resumed training on Thursday after an eight-day Christmas break. Their first match after the Christmas pause will be at home against Malaga on Tuesday in the King’s Cup. Four days later they face Granada in their first league match of 2012. —AFP

Today’s matches on TV

English Premier League West Bromwich v Everton.................15:30 Abu Dhabi Sport HD 3 Sunderland v Man City......................18:00 Abu Dhabi Sport HD 3



e niv rsar n




Van Persie lifts Arsenal back into top 4 Arsenal 1


LONDON: Arsenal captain Robin van Persie fired his side back into the Premier League’s top four with the decisive strike in yesterday’s 1-0 win over QPR at the Emirates Stadium. Although van Persie failed to break the record for Premier League goals in a calendar year, the Dutch forward-who needed two strikes to equal Alan Shearer’s 1995 tally of 36 goals-was still able to lift Arsenal back above Chelsea into fourth place with a cool finish in the second half. With Thierry Henry watching from the stands ahead of his loan return to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger’s team again relied on their top scorer to move two points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea. Van Persie had drawn a blank in his previous game, the 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but this time he had Theo Walcott returning from illness to supply crosses from the right flank. Neil Warnock’s QPR had goalkeeper Paddy Kenny missing after a training ground injury but they managed to frustrate the hosts in the early stages and could have snatched the lead. Former Gunners forward Jay Bothroyd had the first effort of the match, forcing Wojciech Szczesny into a save after he was given too much room

on the edge of the penalty area. Szczesny was also called into action in the 10th minute when Adel Taarabt slipped the ball through to Shaun Wright-Phillips, who got a shot away but saw the Arsenal goalkeeper rush out to block. It was not until mid-way through the first half that Arsenal started to create chances, and inevitably they fell to van Persie. His first chance came when Aaron Ramsey floated a cross to the far post where van Persie was unmarked, but he was off balance and could only head wide. Then Johan Djourou ran powerfully from right-back before finding van Persie, who cleared the crossbar with his finish after finding a way around Luke Young. Van Persie was furious with himself for missing the next chance after he skipped around Matthew Connolly to latch onto Thomas Vermaelen’s long pass, only to put the ball too high again. The hosts also felt van Persie should have been given a chance from the penalty spot, but Martin Atkinson waved play on when Young blocked Laurent Koscielny’s shot with his arm. Before the break, Joey Barton appeared to handle in the area when he attempted to block Mikel Arteta’s cross, and the QPR skipper also cleared off the goal-line when Ramsey’s volley looked certain to find the net. Ramsey dragged a shot into the side netting after the interval and the hosts’ frustration grew when they were forced into making a substitution. Vermaelen lasted less than 10 minutes of the second half before Francis Coquelin replaced him. Walcott had Arsenal’s next clear

LONDON: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott is tackled by Queens Park Rangers’ Luke Young (bottom) during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium yesterday. — AP opportunity when Ramsey sent him clean through. The England winger wrong-footed Radek Cerny as he shot, but the finish went wide of the left-hand post. The deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark when van Persie grabbed

his goal. Wright-Phillips was guilty of gifting possession to Andrei Arshavin and the Russian slipped the ball beyond the QPR defense, with van Persie drilling his shot into the bottom-left corner. QPR responded through Taarabt, who had an

effort saved and a penalty appeal turned down when he was challenged by Coquelin. Gervinho missed the best chance to extend the lead when he shot wide from close range after a van Persie cross.— AFP

Norwich hold Fulham Norwich 1

Fulham 1

NORWICH: Norwich striker Simeon Jackson came off the bench to hit the late equalizer that rescued a 1-1 draw against Fulham at Carrow Road yesterday. Paul Lambert’s side were just seconds away from a home defeat after Portugal forward Orlando Sa gave Fulham an early lead in the first half. But Jackson played the role of super-sub as he headed in Elliott Bennett’s right-wing cross in stoppage time to keep the Canaries two points above Fulham in mid-table.

It was a frustrating finish for Fulham, especially since they made the perfect start thanks to Sa’s sixth minute goal. Moussa Dembele was allowed to charge to the edge of the penalty area before feeding Sa, who drilled a low shot past John Ruddy into the bottom right corner. The home side were almost 2-0 down before they could mount a recovery, with full-back Kyle Naughton on hand to clear an effort off the line from Sa. Norwich threatened an equalizer when Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale knocked the ball up off the underside of the crossbar from Zak Whitbread’s header. The visitors broke quickly on 32 minutes and came close to a second goal when Clint Dempsey ’s close-range header cannoned back off the crossbar from a right-wing cross by Stephen Kelly. Fulham’s Kerim Frei then charged forward, brushing off Daniel Ayala far too easily before rifling in an 18-yard effort which

Ruddy pushed away. Captain Grant Holt Norwich’s leading scorer with seven goals was sent on for the start of the second half, replacing midfielder David Fox as Lambert looked to inject new life into the Norwich attack. The switched worked and Naughton shaved the top of the crossbar with an angled drive as the hour mark approached. With 20 minutes left, Lambert made another attacking change when Canada frontman Jackson came on for Morison. Stockdale soon had to turn away a curling effort from Jackson, before the Fulham keeper then held onto Whitbread’s towering header. To their credit, Norwich continued to press Fulham back, as Holt headed over from close range. Then, deep into five minutes of stoppage time, the pressure finally told as Jackson nodded in Bennett ’s cross to snatch a point.— AFP

Watson cameo makes Stoke pay the penalty Stoke 2

Bolton sink to bottom Bolton 1

Wolves 1

BOLTON: Bolton slid to the bottom of the Premier League yesterday after Wolves fought back to snatch a 1-1 draw at the Reebok Stadium. Sam Ricketts scored a superb opener for Wanderers on 22 minutes, curling a shot into the top corner from 25 yards to mark his return from a 10 month injury lay-off in style. But Steven Fletcher nodded in the equalizer for Wolves just after half-time following a pinpoint Matt Jarvis cross to secure a valuable point for the visitors. It was another disappointing result for under pressure Bolton boss Owen Coyle,

whose side finished 2011 with just nine wins from 36 matches. An open game saw Fabrice Muamba and Gretar Steinsson both go close for Bolton only to be denied by good saves from Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey. But Wolves also had Bolton on the rack during the closing stages, with Jussi Jaaskelainen saving well from Kevin Doyle and substitute Tuncay Sanli rattling his own post with a header after a Wolves corner. The result saw Wolves move above QPR into 16th place after Rangers defeat at Arsenal. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy later revealed that the club’s battle to beat the drop had been bolstered by the loan signing of Arsenal’s talented young midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong on loan from Januar y 1. Frimpong could be ready to face Chelsea on January 2, McCarthy told the BBC. “It’s done and I’m delighted because I think he’s a terrific young player,” McCarthy said.— AFP

Wigan 2

STOKE-ON-TRENT: A late penalty by Ben Watson saw 10-man Wigan Athletic escape with a 2-2 draw against Stoke City here yesterday in a highly entertaining Premier League encounter. Penalty specialist Watson was sent on by Roberto Martinez when referee Michael Oliver awarded them a penalty three minutes from time and while his goal did not lift the visitors out of the bottom three, it may still prove to be a crucial point. Stoke had had the better of the first half but that counted for nothing as the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Victor Moses was the scorer, tucking the ball away after terrific work by Hugo Rodallega on the right flank. Rodallega, the goalscoring savior for Wigan when they beat Stoke to escape relegation on the final day of last season, had gone close himself earlier in the half as his audacious chip was cleared off the line by Ryan Shawcross. Just prior to that, Danish international goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen had saved Stoke when he tipped over Ronnie Stam’s rasping drive. The hosts, though, were furious that they had had claims for a penalty turned down by Oliver when Gary Caldwell appeared to handle

the ball in the area. Stoke nearly drew level soon after having the penalty appeal turned down though, as German defender Robert Huth got to Ror y Delap’s trademark long throw-in but put his header just wide of the post. The same players were to collaborate again in the second half but Huth’s 68thminute header this time came off the inside of the post. However, Wigan and Caldwell’s luck was not to hold out as he was red-carded for handball

after saving Cameron Jerome’s goalbound header, and Walters stroked away the resulting penalty to put them on level terms. Stoke made the one-man advantage pay off immediately as Jerome netted, but Wigan once again showed the fight they did to save their status last season by battling back to level. They were awarded a penalty when Ryan Shotton pulled at Rodallega’s shirt and Watson made no mistake to grab them a welcome away point with his very first touch.—AFP

English Premier League table English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man City Man Utd Tottenham Arsenal Chelsea Liverpool Newcastle Stoke Aston Villa Norwich West Brom Everton Fulham Swansea Sunderland Wolverhampton QPR Wigan Blackburn Bolton

18 19 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 18 17 19 19 18 19 19 19 19 19

14 14 12 11 10 9 8 7 5 5 6 6 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 4

3 3 3 3 4 7 6 5 8 7 4 3 8 8 6 5 5 6 5 1

1 2 3 5 5 3 5 7 6 7 8 8 7 7 8 10 10 10 11 14

53 49 35 35 37 24 26 20 22 28 19 18 20 18 22 21 18 17 28 23

15 17 20 26 24 15 25 30 24 34 26 20 25 23 22 34 33 37 41 42

45 45 39 36 34 34 30 26 23 22 22 21 20 20 18 17 17 15 14 13

Djokovic ends 2011 in style ABU DHABI: Novak Djokovic showed he remains the player to beat in 2012, routing David Ferrer 6-2, 6-1 yesterday to win the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament. The top-ranked Djokovic also beat Gael Monfils and then routed Roger Federer en route to his first Abu Dhabi title. “This is the best way to start the 2012 season,” Djokovic said. “I must say I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. Playing against the top players in the world in this way gives me a lot of confidence.” Earlier, Rafael Nadal overcame an ailing shoulder to beat Federer 6-1, 7-5 for third

place in the $250,000 winner-takes-all sixman tournament, a warmup for the ATP season. The fifth-ranked Ferrer had upset second-ranked Nadal in the semis but had no answer for Djokovic, who broke the Spaniard five times and took 3-0 leads in both sets. Djokovic is coming off a year in which he won three Grand Slam titles and had a 70-6 record. He says he is feeling better than he did at this stage last year and he is surprised by how well his preparations are going. The 24-year-old Serb struggled toward the end of the 2011 season, with four of his six losses coming after the US Open as fatigue

and minor injuries caught up with him. He came to Abu Dhabi saying he was still not fully fit, but now feels ready to defend his title at the Australian Open next month. “Usually at this stage, you are trying to find your speed on the court, agility, just dynamics of every stroke,” Djokovic said. “But I found it already, to be honest, right away after the first match. ... It’s a great way for me to prepare for Melbourne.” Ferrer conceded he was outmatched. “He was better than me. He played a really good match,” Ferrer said. “I tried but maybe I played at a deficit all the time. I fought, but with Djokovic at the moment it’s

difficult to beat him.” Nadal has had a sore left shoulder since the end of last season and looked out of sorts in his one-sided loss to Ferrer on Friday. But the 25-year-old Spaniard showed signs he is returning to old self against Federer. He took a 3-0 lead in the first set and was never seriously threatened by his Swiss rival, who lost to Djokovic in the semifinals in 44 minutes. The third-ranked Federer struggled with unforced errors and an inconsistent serve. His game improved in the second set, but Nadal ended the match with a blistering forehand into the corner. — AP

ABU DHABI: World top seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses his trophy after beating David Ferrer of Spain during their final game in the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi yesterday. —AFP

Djokovic ends 2011 in style

Van Persie lifts Arsenal back into top four




NBA - Heat remain undefeated

Page 17

MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov (right) jumps for the ball against Blackburn Rovers’ Morten Gamst Pedersen during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester yesterday. — AP

Blackburn wreck United party Man Utd 2

Blackburn 3

MANCHESTER: Grant Hanley’s 80thminute goal handed Blackburn Rovers a stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on the last day of 2011 to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday was one to forget. Having revealed earlier in the day that he expects to retire in three years, Ferguson then saw Ayegbeni Yakubu hand the struggling visitors a two-goal lead before Dimitar Berbatov responded with two goals of his own to bring United level. However, with Blackburn under increasing pressure, a rare corner brought them a surprising, although deserved, winner. Hanley beat United goalkeeper David de Gea to Morten

Gamst Pedersen’s kick and, with the home defense slow to respond, the central defender reacted quickly and beat Rafael to the rebound to head in a memorable winning goal, just the second of his career. United, who thus missed the opportunity to leap above Manchester City into first place, had been stunned by the opening goal, after 15 minutes during which they had enjoyed all the possession but failed to create an opening of note. Instead, they were found vulnerable as Blackburn launched their first attack of the afternoon, via a long free-kick punted forward by their goalkeeper, Mark Bunn. Berbatov, pressed into defensive set-piece duties, found himself engaged in a tussle with Rovers defender Chris Samba and clearly tugged on his shirt as the pair fell to ground. Referee Mike Dean had no hesitation in awarding the penalty, from which Yakubu calmly put Blackburn in front with a confident finish into the bottom left-hand corner. Yakubu’s second goal, five minutes

into the second half, was a much more impressive individual effort. Gathering a throw-in, the Rovers target man eased past Rafael, enjoyed a fortunate bounce off Michael Carrick’s attempted tackle and then easily beat Phil Jones before unleashing a fierce shot into the United goal. It appeared that Ferguson was paying the price for some surprising team selections-midfielder Carrick partnering former Rovers defender Jones in the centre of defense, and right-back Rafael playing alongside Park Ji-Sung in an unfamiliar central midfield pairing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, United struggled to test the opposition goalkeeper, behind a packed and determined Blackburn defense, with that first half line-up. In one promising spell of pressure, started when Samba headed a Danny Welbeck shot behind, Berbatov flicked on a Nani corner only for Jones to see his goalbound shot hit team-mate Javier Hernandez, who then shot just wide from the edge of the area. It took until the 52nd minute,

seconds after going 2-0 down, for United to finally find the goal they desperately needed. Direct from kick-off following Yakubu’s second goal, Rafael drove forward and launched a move that ended with the young Brazilian crossing for Berbatov to score with a close-range diving header. Finally, the Old Trafford crowd was animated and Ferguson’s half-time decision to bring on Anderson to bolster his midfield was paying dividends. Bunn had to save athletically with his legs to repel Evra’s deflected shot and, just after the hour, Berbatov was on the mark again to draw United level. A poor clearance from Pedersen played his team into pressure and Rafael, with a neat forward header to Antonio Valencia, maintained it. The United winger sped to the by-line and picked out Berbatov with an accurate cross that allowed the Bulgarian to sweep in the ball from 10 yards. United seemed poised to go on and claim the win but Hanley was to have the last word.— AFP

Villa frustrate Chelsea Chelsea 1

Villa 3

LONDON: Stiliyan Petrov and Darren Bent struck the late goals that secured a 3-1 victory for Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge and ensured Chelsea were unable to force their way back into the title race

yesterday. Manchester United’s home defeat to Blackburn Rovers immediately before kick-off meant Andre Villas-Boas’ side had the chance to move within eight points of the top of the table. But they were unable to make the most of the opportunity despite Didier Drogba putting the home side ahead with a first half penalty, his 150th goal for the club. Stephen Ireland, criticized midweek after a photograph appeared on Twitter of him apparently smoking a shisha pipe and drinking a glass of wine, equalized in the 27th minute. And Alex McLeish’s side then wrapped up the win with two goals in the final seven minutes to make it four

LONDON: Chelsea’s Ashley Cole (left) fights for the ball with Aston Villa’s Marc Albrighton, during their English Premier League soccer match at the Stamford Bridge stadium in London yesterday. Chelsea lost 1-3, after leading 1-0. — AP

games without a win for Chelsea and confirm the rebuilding task that lies ahead for Villas-Boas in 2012. The news of United’s defeat was relayed to the Stamford Bridge crowd before kick-off and the reaction confirmed the belief that Chelsea had been offered a route back into the title race. That should have provided all the incentive the side needed to hit the ground running and take control of the game. Surprisingly, though, they struggled to find any fluency and their performance throughout much of the opening 45 minutes mirrored the disappointing display in the 1-1 home draw with Fulham five days previously. Villas-Boas had reacted to that result by recalling Drogba at the expense of Fernando Torres and restoring Ramires to the starting line-up in place of Frank Lampard. Both Drogba and Ramires did their best to inject life into their side’s pedestrian first half showing. By contrast, the visitors looked particularly sharp on the break with Ireland, Marc Albrighton, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N’Zogbia frequently causing the Chelsea backline problems with their pace. Villa have endured an inconsistent first half of the season and a run of three games without a win coming into this match had done nothing to ease the pressure on manager Alex McLeish. But they showed no lack of confidence as they attempted to take the game to Chelsea. The home side finally created a decent opening in the 19th minute when leading scorer Daniel Sturridge sent a curling shot narrowly over. Drogba quickly followed with a right foot shot that flew wide and when the

Ivorian converted from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute, it seemed the momentum was well and truly with the hosts. Drogba had won the spot-kick himself, drawing a clumsy challenge from Villa centre back Richard Dunne and then placing the ball under keeper Brad Guzan from 12 yards. But Villas-Boas’s side have frequently looked vulnerable at the back this season and they were unable to hold onto the lead for more than five minutes. Ireland started the move, holding the ball up before releasing N’Zogbia on the left wing and when the ball was played back to the Republic of Ireland international, he finished from close range at the second attempt. Chelsea needed to provide a quick response if they were to assume their superiority over the visitors. But apart from an effort from Juan Mata, they were unable to fashion a clear attempt on Guzan’s goal and Villa reached half time looking the more convincing team. That pattern was maintained after the break when James Collins could have given the visitors the lead if he had been able to react more quickly at a 51st minute free kick. And Agbonlahor was guilty of a worse miss two minutes later after another lightning break that ended with the forward being sent clear on Petr Cech by Albrighton only to lose his nerve and produce a tame finish that was easily saved. Chelsea pressed forward but were exposed seven minutes from time when Ciaran Clark’s pass found Petrov who finished confidently. Then three minutes later, Ireland intercepted a loose ball from Lampard and set up Bent to make it three.— AFP

Spurs suffer a setback Swansea 1

Tottenham 1

SWANSEA: Tottenham’s surprise challenge for the Premier League title suffered a setback as Scott Sinclair’s late equalizer gave Swansea a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium yesterday. Harry Redknapp’s side were on the verge of moving within four points of leaders Manchester City after Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time. Swansea had not managed to pick up a single point this season after conceding the first goal, but they bucked that trend as a period of heavy pressure was rewarded when Sinclair netted his fifth goal of the campaign with just six minutes remaining. Tottenham had lost just once in the league since the end of August but this result will have felt like a defeat, especially in the wake of Manchester United’s shock defeat to Blackburn earlier in the day. Redknapp’s men are now six points behind City and United and that gap will increase to nine if the leaders beat Sunderland today. Nathan Dyer almost gave Swansea a dream start inside four minutes after Mark Gower had dispossessed Scott Parker, but his curling effort was palmed away by Brad Friedel. Spurs responded and Croatian midfielder Luka Modric fizzed an effort narrowly wide of Michel Vorm’s right-hand post after 14

minutes. The north Londoners should have led after 32 minutes after a horrible pass from Dyer played Emmanuel Adebayor in on goal, but Vorm added to his growing reputation with a superbly timed sliding challenge to take the ball away from the Togolese forward. The pressure finally told when they took the lead just a minute before the break as Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s cross was turned back into danger by Joe Allen and turned home by Van der Vaart. Tottenham almost doubled their lead 60 seconds after half-time as Younes Kaboul was given far too much room to advance, the centre-half being denied by Vorm after a neat exchange with Adebayor. Swansea were looking vulnerable to Tottenham’s rapid counter-attacks and a misjudged Allen pass allowed Adebayor to tee up Van der Vaart, only for Vorm to make the block low to his right. Bale prodded just wide as Swansea struggled to contain the seamless movement of the likes of Modric, Van der Vaart and Sandro. Spurs skipper Parker limped off with an injury, while Swansea introduced top scorer Danny Graham from the bench and the pattern of the game suddenly changed. Graham diverted a fierce Sinclair drive over the bar and it took a fantastic clearance from Kyle Walker to deny the striker a tap-in as Stephen Dobbie stabbed the ball across the box. Modric blocked a Sinclair effort as Swansea piled forward and the hosts finally equalized in the 84th minute. Angel Rangel’s ball into the box deflected off Benoit AssouEkotto and as Friedel hesitated the ball broke loose for Sinclair to fire home from close range.— AFP

SWANSEA: Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale (2nd right) vies with Swansea’s English midfielder Mark Gower (left) and Welsh midfielder Ashley Richards during the English Premier League football match yesterday. — AFP



China in 2012: What to expect

e niv rsar n


Page 22

Singapore’s 2011 growth lower than forecast: PM Page 23


White House delaying debt ceiling request

US stocks outpeformed major markets in 2011 Page 25 Page 26

ROME: A fish seller gestures in a Rome market yesterday. It was a bitter New Year for Italian families. Prices of essential commodities went up at the stroke of midnight yesterday; 4.9% for light, 2.7 for gas, 3.1% for highways. A first blow, which adds up to the other increases already planned for next year. — AFP

China moving to more convertible yuan CB’s Zhou shies away from calling for full convertibility BEIJING: China’s central bank governor argued in comments published yesterday that Beijing does not control the yuan’s flow across borders as tightly as some think and that it is natural for the currency’s trading band to be widened over time. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an interview with Chinese magazine Caixin that China did not fare badly on an International Monetary Fund measure of currencies’ convertibility under the capital account. But he stopped short of calling for a fully convertible currency. “If the highest standard of measurement is to have wholly unrestricted convertibility, then so many developed countries have not achieved 100 percent full convertibility,” Zhou told the magazine. Investors increasingly expect that China will give them more freedom to trade the tightly controlled yuan. While the currency is already convertible

under China’s current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, the capital account, which measures inflows and outflows of different types of capital, is still closely managed by Beijing as it worries about capital flight and hot money inflows. Countries with convertible currencies under their capital account let their currencies trade with few restrictions for investment purposes. Zhou noted China must regulate levels of foreign debt incurred by private and public sectors to reduce currency risks, monitor cross-border deals to guard against illegal activities such as money laundering, and combat speculative capital flows. “Excluding the above three factors and judging from the 40 sub-items set by the IMF, you may find that actually China is not that far from capital account convertibility,” Zhou said. Still, he said Beijing would keep

improving the exchange rate regime to make it more flexible, adding it is natural for the currency to fluctuate in a bigger trading band in future. “ The yuan’s trading band will be widened,” he said. China currently lets the yuan trade in a 0.5 percent range, and moves to increase that band would show Beijing is gradually relaxing its control over the currency. “Compared with international markets, you may know that the 0.5 percent (daily trading band) is quite a small floating band,” Zhou said. Investors had speculated earlier this year when China was fighting three-year high inflation that Beijing would widen the yuan’s trading band to accelerate its rise and combat price pressures. Instead, Beijing raised interest rates three times, moves that have produced some tentative success: Inflation eased to 4.2 percent in November,

down from a 6.5 percent high in July. Zhou acknowledged that price pressures are easing and that the job of fighting inflation is not as urgent as before. But he warned against complacency. “Inflationary pressure is easing, and curbing inflation is not as urgent as in 2011,” he said. “But we should not lower our guard against inflation and must appropriately manage inflation expectations.” He said that it is difficult for China to achieve the government’s annual inflation ceiling of 4 percent this year and he expects inflation to be around 5 percent this year. “China has been always having relatively big scope to adjust its monetary policy,” Zhou said when asked whether a drop in China’s foreign exchange purchases in recent months has given the central bank more room to adjust monetary policy. President Hu Jintao in his televised New

Kuwait gold price ends year with 10% gain KUWAIT: Gold prices ended the year 2011 with a 10 percent gain continuing its rise for an 11th consecutive year while investors flocked to purchase the precious metal as safe haven amid debt crisis in the euro-zone and worries about global growth, International Financial Brokerage Group (IFBG) said in a report issued yesterday. As for global financial markets, IFBG added that European stocks indexes went up last weekend, but ended the year with an annual steeply slip since the start of euro crisis, as financial sector suffered major damage caused by debt crisis in the eurozone, in which it threatened to undermine a fragile economic recovery. Also, Brent crude futures recorded $12.6 of gains, 13.3 percent, in 2011, continuing its rise for a third consecutive year, added the report. However, those gains were far less, compared with 2010 which amounted to 21.5 percent. In addition, US crude futures closed last week with a limited fall, said the report, adding that it ended the year with gains that amounted to $7. 45, 8.2 percent, continuing by that its rise for a third consecutive year. However, these gains were far less, compared with a 15 percent jump in 2010. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Gold jewelries on display at a shop in gold souq in downtown city.

Year’s address yesterday, said the government would continue to maintain relatively fast economic growth and manage inflationary expectations in the year ahead. But he also warned that “uncertainty about the global economic recovery is on the rise”. The yuan closed at a record high against the dollar on Friday, passing through resistance at 6.30 and ending 2011 with an appreciation of 4.7 percent, with traders citing signs of central bank intervention to push the yuan up at the end of the year. The yuan’s gains for the year are in line with the 4 to 5 percent traders in the onshore market had expected at the start of the year. Traders still see the yuan appreciating in 2012 as China faces US pressure to do more to rebalance bilateral and world trade, while it continues to record trade surpluses. — Reuters

Oil could hit $200 under new sanctions: Iran TEHRAN: World oil prices could soar to $200 per barrel if Iran’s petroleum sector is hit with new Western sanctions, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told yesterday’s edition of a news weekly, Aseman. “There is no doubt that the price of oil will increase drastically and the international markets will have to pay a heavy price,” Qasemi was quoted as saying. “One can’t give accurate predictions, but sanctions on Iran’s oil will drive up the price of oil to at least 200 dollar” per barrel, he said. Qasemi comments comes as the European Union was considering a possible EU embargo on Iranian oil imports. EU foreign ministers are to meet on the issue in a month’s time. US President Barack Obama is also expected to soon sign into law additional restrictions on Iran’s central bank, which acts as the main conduit for Iranian oil sales. The United States and its allies have already imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran’s economy.

World oil prices slipped slightly in end-of-year trading, but still remained generally high because of the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. Brent North Sea crude was at $107.02 per barrel in London, while New York’s main contract, light sweet West Texas Intermediate crude, was at $98.99 a barrel. Iran yesterday kept concern alive over its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers by readying war game missile tests near the entrance to the Gulf. Twenty percent of the world’s oil moves through the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the Gulf, making it the “most important chokepoint” globally, according to information released Friday by the US Energy Information Administration. Iran is subject to four rounds of UN sanctions over its nuclear program, which many Western countries allege is being used to develop atomic weapons. Tehran denies the allegation. — AFP




Making a long distance relationship with ‘job search’ work

China in 2012: What to expect weekly report

KCIC WEEKLY ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: 2011 had been a tumultuous year for the global economy; from the worsening European debt crisis and US fiscal dilemma to the ongoing Arab Spring. Stock prices plummeted across the globe, currencies and commodities rose and then fell again towards the end of the year, and fears of a longer-than- expected crisis surged. After the 2008 financial crisis,

the global economy and financial markets experienced a lift from monetary easing and stimulus injections by governments around the world. This boom brought about inflation that was especially high in emerging markets (EM). EM governments tightened their monetary policies in late 2010 and 2011 to cool the rapid rise in prices, holding back growth in the process. Looking at 2012, the US, Europe and Japan (G3) are expected to lead the global economy into a bleak period; the world economy is expected to grow at a dismal 3% year on year (YoY), while EM will probably expand 6% YoY. Asian economies will try to loosen their monetar y polic y to encourage growth in the face of weakening trade with the G3.

China, one of the strongest factors in the post-crisis uplift, will take on a different approach compared to its emerging market peers: it will “fine-tune” its monetary policy and not loosen immediately. In 2012, Chinese growth is expected to cool from 9% YoY, due to slowing G3 demand, but will still be above a robust 8% growth, higher than the EM average. The Chinese govern-

ment wants to maintain vigorous and steady economic growth, stable consumer prices and social stability for its citizens. Stability will be key in a year when many of the country’s top officials, including the President and Premier, will be replaced. According to the annual economic policy summit in China, the macro polic y stance is “proactive fiscal policy” and “prudent monetary policy”. The Chinese government has already embarked on its “finetuning” of the country’s monetary policy. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, star ted by loosening credit restrictions on small to medium enterprises and cut the required reserve ratio (RRR) by 50 basis points, bringing it

down to the current 21% for large banks and 19% for small to medium banks. The RRR is a regulation that limits the ability of commercial banks to lend, by dictating the minimum reserves each bank must hold relative to customer deposits and notes. The policy interest rates, the base lending rate and the time deposit rate - all managed by the PBOC - are a more direct link to households and busi-

nesses. They make borrowing more expensive and incentivize households and businesses to borrow less hence spend less. Fine-tuning will initially involve at least four more RRR cuts (total 200 basis points), but not the loosening of interest rates in early 2012. We think the PBOC will increase the limit on how much Chinese banks can loan in 2012 to 8 trillion RMB from 7.5, with the increase frontloaded in the first quarter of 2012. The government will also keep a close watch on the housing market and not loosen conditions in that sector immediately. If global growth conditions turn out to be worse than expected, given the high uncertainty in the European debt crisis, the government may resort to stronger expansionary meas-

ures. It is unlikely that Beijing will launch a stimulus package like it did in 2008 (four trillion RMB), but it will tr y to suppor t its domestic economy in order to keep growth steady. China will aim to improve spending and boost household income through tax cuts; it has already started extending benefits to more poor people. In order to decrease the economy ’s reliance on trade, the government wants to speed up the services sector development via increases in fiscal expenditure and tax breaks. The major task the government wants to focus on is strengthening the social services safety net. Social housing and the healthcare sector will receive funding from the government, so that the strain on the poor is reduced and the heated housing market is cooled. Companies that are involved in sectors related to the domestic economy such as infrastructure, energy, consumer goods and financials will benefit from the boost. The risks that the government will watch out for include instability in the housing sector, high prices and the spillover from the G3 crises, which China has managed to mitigate through its strengthening domestic economy and growing trade with Asia. KCIC was founded in 2005 with a capital of KD 80 million by an Amiri Decree with a mandate to develop investment opportunities in Asia towards building an Asia focused asset management company. The public company employs a team of specialists in markets in Asia and currently manages assets in excess of $600 million. Key shareholders include the Kuwait Investment Authority, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Kuwait, National Investment Company, one of the leading investment banks in the Middle East, and Al-Ghanim Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in the Middle East.

desired country of employment does not imply you cannot network with professionals who are living and working there, online. 4. Opt for a smart follow up strategy: You’ve applied for the job and fired away your CV and cover letter, and the waiting game has started. Now what? Ensure you do your bit: Call your targeted employer and ask the operator very politely about the contact details of the HR executive/ manager concerned and then invest in the effort to call/ e-mail the executive/manager to follow-up on your application and express your interest in a telephonic/ video interview. Also mention you would be happy to make a short trip to meet them face-toface should they wish you to (assuming your finances permit). 5. Prepare for your telephonic/ video interview: A telephonic/ video Interview is no different than a face-to-face interview. Once your interview date and time are set, make sure you take the time to research the company, its products and the job role. Chances are you’ll probably get asked why your prospective employer would want to hire you internationally. So make sure you have a list of what differentiates you, and what you could immediately and uniquely bring on-board that someone else can’t. Be on time, be truthful and professional and do not shy away from asking questions that help you better understand the nature of the job and the employer’s expectations.

KUWAIT: One effect of the global downswing has been the overwhelming surge of working professionals attempting to migrate towards countries that are economically stable in their hunt for job security, competitive packages and quality of life. In a recent poll about expatriate pay packages in the Middle East, 35% of professionals stated that their companies are still offering special expatriate packages across the region. What then is the right way to go about finding a job and relocating to your preferred country in the MENA? Here are 5 top tips from, The Middle East’s #1 Job Site. 1. Take the time to identify countries you should target: The Middle East comprises of over 20 countries with different climates, socio-political structures, rules and regulations. Allot the time to look closely at the values, background and culture of countries and pick the ones that you think you would best acclimate to in the short as well as long run. Bear in mind your relocation purposes should not only be centered on your professional growth and development, but also your personal development and well-being. 2. Target the right industry: Economic situations differ from country-to-country. Make sure you are on top of regional HR news and all happenings in the Middle Eastern job market by consulting relevant HR Research Surveys regularly. offers a plethora of detailed HR Surveys on a regular basis. 3. Network wisely: Not being in your

KSE ends week on positive note MARKAZ WEEKLY REPORT Bank of Kuwait was second on the most active list with 17.3% of this week’s value traded or KD20.7mn. The stock’s performance was positive, gaining 3.9% and closing at 790 fils.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait market closed on a positive note this week. The Price index gained 0.3% closing at 5,814 points while the weighted index was up 0.9% closing at 405.6 points. Liquidity and activity levels increased during the week. Value traded expanded by 63%. During the week the market traded 573.4 million shares with a value of KD119.8mn.

Loser, winners 146 companies were traded during the week out of which 53 closed positive, 65 were negative and 96 unchanged. First Takaful Insurance was the biggest gainer by booking a return of 78.7% (Prior to this week the company last traded on the 26th of July 2011) and closing at 134 fils; 40,000 shares were traded valued at KD 5,160. On the other side of the spectrum, Portland Cement was the biggest loser; the stock declined by 12.3% to 710 fils. 2.9mn shares worth KD 2.15mn were traded during this week.

Sector performance The Banking index dominated value traded, 38.9% of this week’s value was derived from activities on the Banking sector followed by Service sector and Real Estate with 27.6% and 12%, respectively. Zain Group attracted 17.4% of the value traded (KD 20.8mn); the stock closed up 3.4% at KD 0.900. Commercial

EXCHANGE RATES Commercial Bank of Kuwait US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian Dollar Australian DLR Indian rupees Sri Lanka Rupee UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi riyals Omani riyals Philippine peso Egyptian pounds

.2730000 .4270000 .3570000 .2930000 .2690000 .2780000 .0040000 .0020000 .0754720 .7352970 .3810000 .0700000 .7208260 .0040000 .0430000

.2820000 .4390000 .3670000 .3040000 .2790000 .2880000 .0070000 .0035000 .0762300 .7426870 .4020000 .0770000 .7280710 .0072000 .0520000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2780000 .2801000 GB Pound/KD .4297190 .4329650 Euro .3594540 .3621690 Swiss francs .2950070 .2972360 Canadian dollars .2717360 .2737890 Danish Kroner .0483500 .0487150 Swedish Kroner .0402280 .0405320 Australian dlr .2806130 .2827330 Hong Kong dlr .0357600 .0360300 Singapore dlr .2135830 .2151970 Japanese yen .0035750 .0036020 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 .0052750 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 .0024670 Pakistan rupee .0000000 .0031300 Bangladesh taka .0000000 .0034390 UAE dirhams .0757180 .0762900 Bahraini dinars .7376940 .7432670 Jordanian dinar .0000000 .3961810 Saudi Riyal/KD .0741530 .0747130 Omani riyals .7223590 .7278160 Philippine Peso .0000000 .0064320

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.598 5.337 3.154 2.436 3.341 213.250 35.672 3.580 6.336 8.873 0.271 0.273

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal/for 1000 Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira/for 1000 Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES 47.500 46.282 1.272 189.860 392.670 1.865 6.003 33.814

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.950 Euro 370.650 Sterling Pound 431.930 Canadian dollar 268.420 Turkish lire 153.940 Swiss Franc 300.620 Australian dollar 277.000 US Dollar Buying 277.750

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Deutsche Mark Egyptian pound Euro Cash Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria

SELL CASH 283.000 742.660 3.870 277.000 548.500 44.600 50.000 167.800 48.130 366.000 36.610 5.640 0.032 0.212 0.243 3.690 396.020 0.189 90.760 46.200 4.290 218.900 1.809

47.800 725.360 3.270 6.700 77.250 74.560 216.050 36.780 2.661 436.000 41.600 300.300 5.100 9.330 198.263 76.140 279.600 1.270

725.180 3.115 6.375 76.820 74.560 216.050 36.780 2.450 434.000 298.800 5.100 9.060 76.040 279.200

10 Tola

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 434.000 279.200

Sterling Pound US Dollar

SELL DRAFT 281.500 742.660 3.415 275.500

216.000 46.335 364.500 36.460 5.240 0.031

Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

287.91 277.80 301.50 364.50 433.57 3.65 3.430 5.229 2.451 3.296 3.106 76.00 742.66 46.30 397.21 725.62 76.99 74.55

287.00 278.00 305.00 368.00 440.00 3.70 3.750 5.620 2.650 4.000 3.300 76.50 740.95 48.20 395.00 725.00 77.25 74.95

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 395.700 0.188 90.760 3.290 217.400

Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar

Selling Rate 278.500 275.585 436.990 366.765 298.040 737.505

UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

75.800 76.445 74.225 392.025 46.238 2.441 5.241 3.106 3.401 6.331 683.150 3.675 8.935 5.865 3.370 92.510

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

GOLD 1,633.260

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars Yemeni Riyal

Currency Rate per 1000 (Tran) US Dollar 279.200 Pak Rupees 3.105 Indian Rupees 5.230 Sri Lankan Rupees 2.465 Bangladesh Taka 3.425 Philippines Peso 6.410 UAE Dirhams 76.120 Saudi Riyals 74.610 Bahraini Dinars 742.300 Egyptian Pounds 46.330 Pound Sterling 437.000 Indonesian Rupiah 3.190 Yemeni Riyal 1.550 Jordanian Dinars 396.600 Syrian Pounds 5.750 Euro 366.800 Canadian Dollars 278.600 Nepali rupee 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 278.850 Euro 364.300 Pound Sterling 438.800 Canadian Dollar 275.300 Japanese Yen 3.595 Indian Rupee 5.242 Egyptian Pound 46.265 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.447 Bangladesh Taka 3.362 Philippines Peso 6.370 Pakistan Rupee 3.108 Bahraini Dinar 742.400 UAE Dirham 75.600 Saudi Riyal 74.450 *Rates are subject to change



e niv rsar n




Myanmar looks poised on cusp of growth YANGON, Myanmar: In saffron robes and flip-flops, Buddhist monk Ashin Uttama browses the feast of cheap Chinese electronics assembled for a trade fair in Rangoon, Burma’s commercial capital. A tablet computer would let him scroll through the sutras he must chant daily, and record his community work. He touches a Longtron Wopad, made in south China, but dreams of the genuine article. “I’d prefer to buy a real iPad,” says Uttama, 27, from a monastery in Rangoon’s Chinatown. “I hope the US will lift sanctions; then we can have a US products show here, too.” That prospect, long unthinkable as Burma kept abusing its people and imprisoning its top dissidents, now appears less distant following a year of remarkable change here, capped by the historic visit earlier this month of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Unlike the street-led revolutions that swept the Middle East this year, Burma, known officially as Myanmar, is experiencing top-down change, as its authoritarian rulers pursue a transition to democracy, half a century after the military took power. The US has said it will consider lifting its sweeping sanctions on Burma if further progress is made in political and economic reforms. The sanctions, tightened in 1997 by then-president Bill Clinton, prevent most US companies from trading with Burma or

investing here. Fear of boycotts forced several US firms to quit this resource-rich, yet desperately poor Southeast Asian nation. Among its 62 million people, the average income per day is $2.20, according to the International Monetary Fund. Corruption and mismanagement are rife, while ATMs and decent roads are rarities, and large swaths of the country have suffered from civil war for decades. Yet, the economic potential is undeniable. “There are huge business opportunities here,” says Phone Win, a businessman and non-profit founder in Rangoon, citing an $80 billion deep-sea port that Chinese investors are circling. “If you invest, in three to four years, you’ll get it all back; in 10 years, you start making money.” The markets for similar investments in neighboring nations are “saturated,” but “this country is virgin,” Win says “All the Western countries are losing right now.” New housing developments have been popping up here and there in Rangoon. Star City, “a model community of tomorrow,” will include hundreds of apartments billed as chic riverside living beside retail shops and a golf course near the Bago River. Apartments that are still being constructed are selling for $50,000 to $170,000, marketing executive Soe Thiha Hlaing says. He predicts first Asians, then Americans and Europeans will come to explore “one

of the few frontier markets in Asia.” “Burma is headed in the right direction,” Thiha Hlaing says. “We’re taking baby steps, but we’re getting there.” Rangoon, the city’s busiest industrial hub, has seen the creation of new highways and bridges in recent years that link its port to factories and farms in the region. But people in the villages that surround Rangoon live in poverty. Electricity is spotty, and garbage is piled in open dumps. Doing business here is not for the fainthearted. At the Chinese trade fair, representing export powerhouse Guangdong province, Zhen Qiaoling of China bemoans Burma’s notorious import procedures. “This market was not open before, and it’s still very complicated to import,” she says. But at least business prospects are good for her firm, Jinyee Motors, and its $1,000 motorized tricycles in a land where few citizens own their own cars. “It’s not a very developed economy; people are poorer than I expected,” she says. Over menacing roads 90 minutes’ drive from Rangoon, the busy market in Twante draws buyers and sellers by bus, bicycle rickshaw and horse cart. Traditions run strong in Burma, where about twothirds of the population still work in agriculture. Most rural women and girls apply a cosmetic paste

made from tree bark to their faces. In Kyauk Slit Kone village Ma Thae, 35, splits bamboo canes to sell as fasteners for bunches of market vegetables. About three pounds of bamboo sells for 50 cents. Her husband works when he can as a rice harvester. Ma Thae and her family live in a simple bambooand-rattan house that was rebuilt after Cyclone Nargis struck in 2008. The storm killed 138,000 people. She says she misses her sons, ages 11, 13 and 15, who have spent the past year working as waiters in a Rangoon tea shop. “They must work because we are poor, and they must help support the family,” she says. A key obstacle to economic development is decades of ethnic conflicts. In several areas home to Myanmar’s ethnic minorities, who make up 25 percent to 33 percent of the total population, “widespread and systematic violations of human rights continue to take place,” says Benjamin Zawacki, Southeast Asia researcher for Amnesty International, a human rights group. “The situation has actually gotten worse,” in the past year, he says, as conflicts in border areas have intensified. “Without peace, there cannot be development, from a school to a huge multinational project,” says Vernette Myint Myint Sann, 55, a representative of the Karen ethnic group, who met with Clinton during her Burma trip. — MCT

Singapore’s 2011 growth lower than forecast: PM Impact of EU debt fears, economic climate

TOKYO: Visitors look at year’s end trading at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose .67 %, or 56.46 points, to end the yearís last day at 8455.35. — AP

India’s PM worried about budget deficit NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday in his New Year’s message to the nation that controlling the government’s budget deficit was a priority for 2012 to avert another crisis. In a lengthy address from the beleaguered premier, whose cabinet has suffered from corruption scandals and policy setbacks this year, Singh laid out his vision for the next 12 months. “I am concerned about fiscal stability in the future because our fiscal deficit has worsened in the past three years,” Singh said in a statement. After heavy borrowings over the last three years to fund a stimulus package to counter the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis, he accepted the budget now needed to be rebalanced with new taxes and cuts to subsidies. “We have run out of fiscal space and must once again begin the process of fiscal consolidation,” he said. Recalling the country’s financial crisis in

the 1990s, he added: “This is important to ensure that our growth process is not jeopardized and, equally important, our national sovereignty and self respect are not endangered.” He said the government “must ensure that the country does not go down that road once again”, referring to the 1991 bailout of the country by the International Monetary Fund. The Indian economy has hit headwinds in the last six months, with high inflation coupled with sharply lower growth forecast to be 7.0 percent by economists for this financial year-low by recent standards. The rupee has also fallen sharply this year and is at record lows against the dollar. Singh also stressed the importance of the expensive task of modernizing India’s defense forces, something he described as “my most important task as prime minister. “India’s economic and energy security require this,” he said. — AFP

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-Bak

S Korea’s Lee vows to rein in inflation, create jobs SEOUL: South Korea’s President Lee Myung-Bak said yesterday that taming inflation and creating jobs would be two of his priorities next year, along with protecting the country. Lee said in a New Year message the situation on the Korean peninsula would be fluid next year. He made no direct reference to North Korea’s change of leadership from Kim Jong-Il, who died on December 17, to his son Jong-Un. Pyongyang’s new regime Friday threatened retaliation against Seoul for its perceived slights during mourning for Kim Jong-Il, and vowed never to deal with Lee and fellow “traitors”.

Lee said his government, which has less than 14 months still in office, would make “utmost efforts to defend the country under any circumstances and to create jobs and tame inflation”. He promised to devote “every ounce of my energy to make people feel at ease in their livelihoods”. Cross-border relations have been icy since Seoul accused Pyongyang of sinking a warship in March 2010 with the loss of 46 lives. The North shelled a border island in November 2010, killing four South Koreans. Lee is due to make a televised new year address Monday, which is expected to focus largely on North Korea. — AFP

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s full-year growth for 2011 fell short of previous estimates amid persistent European debt worries and an “uncertain” economic climate, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday. The city-state recorded 4.8 percent growth in 2011 — slightly off previous forecasts of five percent-Lee said in his New Year’s message emailed to the media yesterday. “The external environment is uncertain. Debt problems in Europe are far from solved. Next year looks like being difficult for the global economy. As a small, open country, Singapore will inevitably be affected,” he added. The 4.8 percent growth is a huge slowdown from the all-time high of 14.5 percent seen in 2010 when the economy was coming off a 0.8 contraction the previous year. In his speech, Lee maintained previous forecasts of a 1.0-3.0 percent growth next year. Singapore’s total GDP was valued at Sg$303.7 billion ($234.2 billion) in 2010, statistics from the government showed. Despite Singapore’s growth falling just short of the target, Lee urged Singaporeans not to be discouraged. “Overall, we have every reason to be confident and optimistic. We pulled together as one nation to overcome the 2008 Global Financial Crisis,” he said. Singapore had been the first Asian nation to go into a recession during the 2008 crisis but was able to quickly recover from it, and posted record growth last year. But Lee warned in October that Singapore must get used to slower economic growth in the next decade as it faced numerous challenges including tougher global competition and a tightening of its foreign worker inflow. “Our growth is likely to slow down. Our econ-

omy is more developed, it can’t expand in the same... way it used to-seven, eight percent a year effortlessly year after year,” Lee said then. “We have made five and a half percent growth (a year on average) over the last decade. Over the next 10 years, we’ve set a target of three to five percent. “But I would say if we can make three-plus percent (growth) consistently over the next 10 years, we’ve had a good decade.” Singapore’s trade-driven economy is regarded as a bellwether for Asia’s exporters, which depend heavily on electronics and other manufactured ship-

ments to North America and Europe for growth. In his New Year speech, Lee said 2011 had been a “significant year for Singapore” after the city-state underwent its general and presidential elections this year. The ruling People’s Action Party-where Lee is secretary general- suffered its lowest approval ratings at the general elections, and Tony Tan barely won the presidential elections as he was perceived as the government’s proxy candidate. “Having made a significant political transition, we are all now adjusting to new norms in a changed environment,” Lee stated. — AFP

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Natural gas firms among top stock winners of 2011 Investors lucky enough to unearth the stock market’s bright spots are escaping the dungeon of ho-hum returns. It’s been an underwhelming year for stocks, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 down 0.6% in 2011. But investors who picked up on some emerging trends steering stocks made some serious money despite a flat market. There was no shortage of big winners. The year’s best S&P 500 stock, Cabot Oil & Gas, doubled during the year, and another eight in the benchmark index soared 50% or more during 2011. Such big gains are especially lucrative for investors who hit it right, since the overall market has been essentially dead money all year. “You’ve had some big divergences, even in areas you’d think would move together,” says Jack Ablin of Harris Private Bank. Among big-picture themes powering stocks despite the broad market’s sputtering include: Key players in the natural gas business. With its 101% gain this year, Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) is the S&P 500’s best so far. And right behind it is another gas player, El Paso (EP), up 91%. Despite the fact natural gas prices have been falling this year, producers such as Cbot Oil are gaining appreciation with investors due to their ability to boost production, says Gabriele Sorbara of Caris. Leaders in serving the frugal consumer. While consumers may feel the pinch of the economy, they’re still shopping, says Mark Montagna of Avondale Partners. Shares of discount retailers Ross Stores (ROST) and TJX (TJX) are up 53% and 46%, respectively, as they cater to consumers who still want well-known brands, but either can’t afford or aren’t willing to pay full retail, he says. Benchmarks in quality. Investors are rewarding financially conservative companies. S&P companies with A+ stock-quality ratings from S&P are up 10.4% this year, topping gains of companies with lower ratings, Ablin says. Low debt is a selling point with investors, Ablin says. Payment processors MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) are up 67% and 43%. Both eliminated all their longterm debt, fitting investors’ taste for quality. Both are also getting investor attention as fears of new debit card rules subside, says Thomas McCrohan of Janney Montgomery Scott. Investors might be tempted to write off 2011 as a do-nothing year, yet, key themes continue to carry into 2012. “High quality is beating the lower quality,” Ablin says. — MCT

Debt crisis cools Greek gambling ardor ATHENS: George, a 39-year-old lawyer, is among many Greeks who traditionally sit around a gambling table on New Year’s Eve, hoping to snare a little luck for the months that lie ahead. But with the country looking at a fifth straight year of recession and thousands of households reeling from a slew of pay cuts and tax hikes, the spare income can no longer fuel the prodigious Greek love for gambling. “I’ve sat at card tables where the pot could have been up to 6,000 euros ($7,800),” reminisces George, who in past years was winning up to 4,000 euros annually to supplement his income. “Now it’s barely a tenth of that.” Figures from casinos are equally somber. While attendance looks steady, bets are down across the board with revenues declining by around 20 percent, Greek weekly Pontiki reported on Thursday. The country’s leading casino Loutraki recorded an 18-percent fall in turnover while runner-up Regency Mont Parnes lost 22.7 percent, Pontiki said. Five other Greek casinos saw revenues decline by between 3.5 and 25.6 percent. In another report, Eleftheros Typos daily this week said casino bet totals will likely close at 2.2 billion euros this year, a billion lower than in 2008. The country’s state gaming operator OPAP also saw sales fall by over 17 percent in the first nine months of the year and profits drop by more than 21 percent. “Undoubtedly, the losses are also due to the advent of illegal betting websites,” a gaming industry insider said. “But there is certainly a crisis here, and it’s getting deeper... Greeks still want to gamble, but without spare money in their pockets to do so, bets are a fifth of what they were previously,” he said. In 2006, OPAP had

named Greeks the world’s third most avid gamblers in terms of bets per person, and said they accounted for 30 percent of sports bets placed in all of Europe and 20 percent globally. In 2002, the government had banned electronic gaming and sent police to raid Internet cafes, arrest operators and seize their hardware. The decision was ridiculed after the draconian law applying it even extended to online chess and backgammon, and the European Commission later forced Greece to pay a fine over the issue. Now, with the country over 350 billion euros in debt and no growth forthcoming from an economy choked by austerity measures, state policy has come full turn. The government recently sold to OPAP licenses for thousands of new video lottery terminals nationwide, and early next year plans to sell most of its 34-percent stake in the gaming operator and to fully privatize ODIE, its troubled horse racing organization. The culture ministry, which supervises gaming in the country, earlier said there were more than 250 betting websites, up to 20,000 slot machines and 150,000 computers running gaming programs in the country. And the head of Greece’s recently-established gaming commission EEEP told parliament this month that the illegal turnover from all games of fortune is estimated to be worth seven billion euros a year. “People wager smaller sums now but it can still add up to hundreds of euros a month,” said Damianos, a store salesman. “I have a colleague here who plays Kino (an online number-guessing game operated by OPAP) three times a day, even though his winnings never match the money he spends.” — AFP




KSE ends 2011 on subdued note GLOBAL WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) saw a lastminute jump in trading at the end of the week bringing the total loss of the year 2011 to 19.78 percent. The fourth quarter followed the same trend as all previous quarters of the year, albeit with a mere loss of 0.62 percent. Political and economical turmoil swiping across the globe kept most of the regional markets in negative territory in 2011, positioning Kuwait as the second biggest loser in the GCC markets after Bahraini Bourse which lost 20.15 percent of its Bahrain All Share Index in 2011. None of the market sectors managed to wrap up the year with gains. Investment companies continued to be financially distressed and most of them were not able to declare their financial results for one or more financial periods causing around 21 of them to remain suspended by the end of the year. The sectors’ index, as measured by Global Investment Sector Index, was the biggest decliner, shedding 30.39 percent of its value in 2011. The services sector index followed with a 29.51 percent decline on the back of the notable retreat of several services stocks. Large capitalization stocks were a main dragger of the index throughout the year, losing 19.17 percent of their Global Large Cap (Top 10) Index. The banking sector was hit hard with only one banking stock managing to end the year with gains. Ahli United Bank ended the year adding 29.51 percent to its share price. Global Banking Sector Index lost 11.04 percent in 2011. Kuwait The year 2011 saw the lowest number of newly listed companies registering with the bourse since 2001. Only three companies got listed under the investment, real estate and services sectors, while another three companies were de -listed out of which two got merged with International Finance Company, leaving the total number of listed companies by the end of the year at 214. For this weeks’ performance, the last minute trading helped in pushing up the market index by 0.80 percent on Thursday alone, and ending the two weeks decline. Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), as measured by the market weighted Global General Index, managed to add 0.97 percent to its value during the last week of the year, closing at 179.31 point, reducing the year-todate index loss to 19.78 percent. Market sectors were mixed with five out of the eight market sectors ending at higher levels. KSE price index was also up, adding 0.34 percent (19.90 points) during the week and closing at 5,814.2 points, giving a 16.41 percent decline on a year-to-date basis. Market capitalization shrunk by KD281.69mn during the week, reaching KD29.32bn (a drop of 19.22 percent of KD6.98bn in 2011). In the meantime, market breadth was tilted towards decliners’ side with 65 stocks declining against 53 stocks that have increased out of 146 traded shares. Total trading activity was mixed but concentrated on large capitalization stocks. Total weekly volume was down by 4.74 percent, reaching 573.42mn shares changing hands at a total traded value of KD119.89mn (63.72 percent higher compared to the earlier week). Investment sector accounted for 26.77 percent (153.51mn shares) of the total market traded shares. On the other hand, Banking sector led other market sectors in value traded, accounting for 38.80 percent of the aggregate traded value (KD46.52mn worth of shares traded). Zain topped the value traded stock in the market with KD20.86mn worth of stocks traded. The heavyweight scrip was a major support for the market after the court overruled a verdict that had deemed Zain’s April annual general meeting void, in a victory for the telecoms operator. The scrip ended the week up by 3.45 percent at KD0.900. On sector per formance, heavyweight Global Services and Banking indices ended the week up by 1.70 percent and 1.30 percent, respectively. However, Global Insurance Index was the biggest gainer, adding 5.79 percent to its value. On the other hand Global Industrial Index lost 1.38 percent from its value making it the biggest loser followed by Global Real Estate Index which shed 0.94 percent. Global Large Cap. (Top 10) index closed the week up by 1.71 percent while Global Islamic Sharia Index saw marginally up by 0.12 percent. Macroeconomic news Inflation in Kuwait rose 4.2 percent in November compared to the same month of last year, on yearly basis, in contrast to rises posted in the previous months of the year, while posting stability, for the first time since last October. Record figure of consumer price reached, in November, 150.2 points, compared to the same level, posted in October, and in contrast to 144.2 points in November 2010. Prices of food rose, in November, 8.3 percent, compared to the same period of the past year. Clothing prices rose three percent, on annual basis. Educational and health services climbed 2.9 percent, compared to November of 2010. Prices of household commodities and services rose 3.3 percent. Prices of beverages, tobacco climbed 0.8 percent. Likewise, transports 3.1 percent. Oil related news Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan rose 10.2 percent in November from a year earlier to 9.43mn barrels, or 314,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first gain in two months, the government said Wednesday. Kuwait, the fourth-biggest oil provider to Japan last month, supplied 8.8 percent of Japan’s total crude imports, compared with 7.0 percent in the same month of last year and 6.2 percent in October, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report. The value of Japan-bound shipments steadily account for 20 percent of Kuwait’s total oil revenue, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Chief Executive Officer Farouk Al-Zanki said in October. Japan’s overall imports of crude oil shrank 12.7 percent year-on-year to 106.63mn barrels, or by 3.55mn bpd, for the first drop in three months. Price of Kuwaiti crude was down by $0.93 during the last week, reaching $107.05 per barrels (pb) on Wednesday, December 28 compared to $106.07 recorded on Wednesday, December 21, as announced by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). Iran threatened on Tuesday to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports over its nuclear ambitions, pushed oil prices higher. Most of the crude exported from Saudi

with a number of local banks for the settlement of the debts owed to them as announced during the week.

Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through the Strait of Hormuz, a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran. Kuwait became China’s biggest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplier in November by overtaking Qatar, latest data by the Chinese government shows. Kuwait’s LPG shipments to China surged 64.4 percent year-on-year to 80,500 tons last month, accounting for a quarter of China’s total LPG impor ts, according to the General Administration of Customs. Kuwait produced more than 3 million barrels of oil in December and expects that rate to continue if demand exists, its oil minister said. “We are over 3mn and if the demand is there, we will continue to produce that,” Mohammad Al-Busairi said after a meeting of Gulf Arab oil ministers in Abu Dhabi. Kuwait Minister of Oil and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Dr Mohammad Al-Busairi expressed Friday support to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s decision to increase output to 30mn barrels per day. In an interview before heading to Cairo to attend a meeting for the ministers of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), Al-Busairi said the demand for increasing production was raised in the OPEC June meeting but was approved in the mid December gathering. In the June meeting, there was a division over output surge, many countries at the forefront of them the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states support and others oppose, but in December there was a consensus over the decision. “In the December meeting, the vision became clear to all and opponents convinced of what we said in June meeting,” the minister said. Al-Busairi explained that the actual production of OPEC member states hit 30.4mn barrels per day last November. “OPEC members agreed to increase production to 30 million barrels per day, which reflects their actual production or less” he said. Al-Busairi, however, noted that the new production quotas of member states have not been determined yet. He disclosed that OAPEC regular meeting will focus on enhancing coordination between Arab oil producing states, OPEC and non-OPEC members. The conferees will also review the budget and performance of a number of joint Arab oil companies affiliated to the OAPEC, he said. Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) represented by the West Kuwait Directorate announced during the week the completion of plans for the biggest project at the national level to secure lighting at inland oil installations by using solar energy. The company has realized necessity of providing alternative and clean energy at the remote sites in the desert, the project head of West Kuwait Directorate, Saeed Al-Duwaisan said. Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8) announced that one of its affiliate companies has inked a contract with Lufthansa to provide the German fleet at the

Verona airport, northern Italy, with 8mn liters of jet fuel per year. The company said in a press statement that it continues to successfully expand at airports across Europe, through the launch of a new service of aviation fuelling at the Verona airport. The office of Business Development at the company expressed pleasure for winning such a giant business at the Verona airport and contracting with Lufthansa, one of the largest airlines in the world, pointing out that striking such major contracts in a short period of time reflects the company’s reputation and the confidence it enjoys in Europe. It noted that this contract is consistent with the strategy of Kuwait Petroleum International for aviation fuelling that calls for the maximum utilization of its logistics facilities in Europe. Other local news Kuwait has worked to modify some components of many projects that investors are being offered as it looks to boost the role of the private sector, according to the Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GS-SCPD) Dr Adel A Al-Wagayan. GS-SCPD is responsible for crafting and steering Kuwait’s multi-billion dinar Mid-Range Development Plan (MRP) which is a key component of the country’s long-term economic roadmap Vision 2035. Al-Wugayan acknowledged that little can be done to change the current equity structure of at least seven major projects earmarked for the private sector under the MRP since it mandated by the law and few initial public offering (IPO) attempts had fallen short of expectations. “As one form of engaging the private sector in the plan, we have been actively creating publicly traded entities, where 50 percent will go through an IPO, 24 percent maximum to be owned by the relevant government agency, and minimum 26 percent to a strategic investors by way of a public tender,” he said. Kuwait Stock Exchange Aref Investment Group sold a 29-percent stake in Aref Energy Holding in an auction held on Wednesday, December 28. In October, Aref Investment said it would sell its position in Aref Energy a 72 percent stake-to Development Projects at a total value of KD73.1mn ($263mn). “There were no higher bidders for the stake so the auction with the initial buyer was completed on Wednesday,” the statement said, of the first portion. A total of 217.5mn shares were offered at an initial price of 134fils each, totaling KD29.145mn. KSE confirmed the completion of the deal, stating that the remaining transfer and payment procedures will be completed via Kuwait Clearing Company (KCC) maximum by Thursday, December 29, 2011, 11:00 am. First Investment Company (Al-Oula) announced that it is undergoing negotiations with its Murabaha creditors to settle over 60 percent of its debts with an amount of KD50.36mn which will be reflected in the company’s financial statements for 4Q2102. The company had so far made great progress in negotiations

Highlights of the week According to a panel discussion at the recently concluded Ernst & Young’s Middle East & North Africa Tax Seminar 2011 held in Houston, Texas, significant new developments in the MENA region are impacting tax outcomes, compliance procedures of companies and promoting better transparency. Tax Leaders presentation highlighted that tax authorities in the region have begun to depart from earlier accepted and expected tax norms. Nearly 100 tax decision-makers from major multinational organizations from across the US and Europe took part in the event. Other topics presented include a general overview of the MENA tax landscape as well as country specific tax updates. Sherif El-Kilany, Middle East Tax Leader, Ernst & Young, said: “The MENA taxation environment has become increasingly disparate with different countries diverging from earlier established norms and practices to tailor their policies according to changes they have undergone or anticipate. There has been a recent clampdown on corruption in some countries which has resulted in more transparent, business-friendly and reform-minded government initiatives. As change becomes the new norm, companies in the region need to stay more agile so that they can rapidly respond to these shifts in policy.” Moreover, First Investment Company clarified media reports regarding receiving an amount of KD8mn from the liquidation of First Investment Bank in Bahrain and announced that the liquidation process was not completed, where the designated amount for its 26.7 percent stake in the bank will be collected in installments. Salhia Real Estate Company announced that its 99.7 percent owned company, Al Asima Real Estate Company, has signed a KD53mn long-term Tawarruq (Islamic Facility) with one of the local banks to restructure its existing debts. Abyaar Real Estate Development Company announced that it has sold one of its properties for a total value of KD6.687mn realizing a profit of KD1.19mn, which will be reflected on the company’s financial statements for 4Q2011. Moreover, Abyaar Real Estate Development announced that it paid off KWD2.84mn worth of liabilities owed to Kuwaiti and GCC creditor banks. Thus, this settlement will be reflected on 4Q2011 financial statements. Heavy Engineering Industries and Shipbuilding Company announced that it has been awarded a 18-month, KD1.86mn tender offer to build a fuel tank in Al-Zour South power station. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) clarified on a media report regarding acquiring assets outside Kuwait and announced that it has acquired two properties for investment purposes. Moreover, a Kuwaiti court rejected the lawsuit No. 3201/2011 filed by Kuwait Finance House (KFH) against top Kuwaiti officials, including Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice and Head of Real Estate Authentication Department. Legal sources indicated that the lender plans to appeal this first instance ruling. In a press statement, KFH stated that it had taken a legal action on not being obligated to pay the vacant land fees stated in Law No 8/2008. National Cleaning Company announced that its 90 percent owned subsidiary has been awarded the lowest price in a three year tender offer to provide cleaning services for Kuwait Ports Authority’s complex building. On December 27, 2011 the company announced that its 90 percent owned subsidiary has signed the three year, KD0.29mn tender offer. Kuwait Stock Exchange Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index closed at 5,814.20 point. The bulls are still not confident enough to push the index higher than its medium-term (11 weeks) moving average and 2nd Bollinger band. Given this reluctance, the risk of going down still exists, while the critical line to watch comes at 5,746 point (low of the year), knowing that a deep fall would be spotted once the index is traded below there. This would lead to an initial target at 5,600 point before 5,380 point. However, only a rise above the resistance level at 5,850 point would greatly minimize the downside momentum and calls for additional strength towards 5,930 point and 6,050 point, but only above the last line would expose a sharp bull trend and calls for a higher closing levels. Weekly and daily “RSI” indicators are still looking neutral at present. Strategy: Medium-term and long-term (50 weeks) investors can enter the market only at levels higher than 5,850 point and 6,150 point, respectively Burgan Bank Burgan Bank’s stock price closed at KD0.475. The stock continues to consolidate above its recent low at KD0.440, lacking a clear indication to anticipate the next move. Although the weekly and daily “RSI” indicators are favoring a positive move, but the MACD is of a little help at the moment along with a low trading activity. Therefore, the price could continue its consolidation behavior between KD0.440 - KWD0.500 until further evidence arises. Knowing that a dip below KD0.440 would deepen the bearish tone towards an initial target at KD0.395. However, back above KD0.500 would gradually promote this year’s high at KD0.560. Portland Cement’s stock price closed at KD0.710. The stock was sold aggressively since last February, widening its close below both medium-term (11 weeks) and long-term (50 weeks) moving averages. However, chances are now higher for a correction upwards than for further sharp negative move towards KD0.570 (76.4% level of the Fibonacci Retracements from KD0.227 - KD1.690), due to the extreme oversold status of both weekly and daily “RSI” indicators. Knowing that the retracement is not expected to travel very far since it is a rebound and not the part of a bull trend. Nearby resistance levels are located at KD0.800, KD0.850 and KD0.900. Strategy: Speculators should look to buy in depth. Medium-term and long-term investors can only purchase the stock if the price closes above KD0.900 and KD1.100, respectively. Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) announced that the bourse will be closed today, January 1, 2012 on occasion of New Year’s Day. Work will resume as of Monday.



e niv rsar n




Hungary tells EU no CB merger until 2013 BUDAPEST: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has assured Brussels no merger of the central bank and regulatory authority will take place before 2013, as part of much criticized reform plans adopted Friday. “The government does not intend to use the option to merge the central bank with the market regulator” until current central bank governor Andras Simor’s mandate expires, Orban wrote in a

letter to European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, government spokesman Peter Szijjarto said late Friday. Simor’s term of office ends in March 2013. Despite international concern, Hungary went ahead Friday with its adoption of central bank reforms that drew sharp criticism from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund for increasing the government’s influence over monetary policy.

The law adds more political appointees to the central bank’s monetary-policy-setting committee and could see the bank disappear as a separate institution altogether with its governor demoted to deputy position. In his letter, Orban repeated that the controversial law “is in all aspects in harmony with European legislation” and that he was ready to consult Brussels “to clarify any details.” Barroso had voiced

“serious doubts” earlier this month about the compatibility of the law with the European Union treaty, but Orban turned down his call to postpone adoption of the text. The independence of national central banks is a key condition to enter the eurozone, of which Hungary is not yet a member. The disagreement also comes at a time when Budapest is seeking a 15-20 billion-euro ($20-25 billion) credit line from the EU and the IMF. — AFP

White House delaying debt ceiling request Obama urges Americans to keep pressing Congress

MILAN: A woman begs in downtown Milan yesterday. Italy, which is the euro-zone’s thirdlargest economy, saw its borrowing rates fall for the second day running on Thursday but the country’s new premier said his government had a lot more to do to convince nervous financial markets that it had a plan to deal with its debt mountain. — A

US refineries export record amount of fuels LOS ANGELES: US refineries exported a record amount of refined fuels in 2011 to markets in South America, Central America and Europe. It was one reason why Americans spent a record amount on gasoline this year: Supplies that might have helped lower prices here had been shipped abroad. In 2007, US exports of all kinds of fuel held steady throughout the year at 1.24 million to 1.25 million barrels a day, according to Energy Department statistics. But by 2011, exports of diesel, gasoline and other products surged. In November and December, US fuel exports averaged between 2.77 million barrels a day and 2.89 million barrels a day, the highest ever. Meanwhile, US drivers paid an average of about $3.50 a gallon for gasoline during the year, also the highest ever. Nationally, the average cost for a gallon of regular Friday was $3.269, or 19.8 cents a gallon more than ever on a Dec 30, according to

the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. The trend was predicted as early as last January, when two analysts with the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration delivered a presentation to the 2011 Argus Americas Crude Summit in Houston. Joanne Shore, lead operations research analyst at the Energy Information Administration, and colleague John Hackworth said that US refineries had found thriving and lucrative markets overseas for their products, even as they were shutting down domestic facilities because of low demand. Their main points: “world growth in distillate fuels” demand had “provided some attractive export opportunities for US refiners” and US low-sulfur diesel products were coveted in Europe, which had been more dependent on higher-sulfur fuel coming out of Russia. US Gulf Coast markets also were far closer to South and Central American markets than distant European competitors. — MCT

MAKATI: A Filipino Catholic priest says mass during the start of the last day of trading this year at the Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati on Thursday. The Philippine Stock Exchange index was up 0.82 percent or 35.33 points to close at 4,371.96. —AP

Boeing wins $3.48bn US missile defense contract WASHINGTON: Boeing Co beat out Lockheed Martin to retain its position as the prime contractor for the US longrange missile shield, the Pentagon said on Friday. The US Defense Department said it was awarding Boeing a $3.48 billion, seven-year contract to develop, test, engineer and manufacture missile defense systems. A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co had vied with Boeing to expand and maintain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, hub of layered antimissile protection. Boeing partnered with Northrop Grumman Corp to retain the work. “We believe the government conducted a fair and open competition, making the right decision for the future of the program,” Norm Tew, Boeing vice president

and program director of GMD, said in a statement. Lockheed said it was “honored” to have participated on the bid, a company spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. The GMD contract’s value to Boeing will have been about $18 billion from January 2001, when it formally became the system’s prime contractor, through the end of this year, Boeing has said. GMD uses radar and other sensors plus a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network to cue interceptors in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The shield has been shaped initially to guard against ballistic missiles that could be fired by Iran and North Korea. It is the only US defense against long-range missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. — Reuters

HONOLULU: US President Barack Obama has agreed to delay submitting a debt ceiling increase request until next month to allow lawmakers time to consider it while they are in session, the White House said. Under an August deal between Obama’s Democrats and the Republicans, Congress is unlikely to block the expected $1.2 trillion increase request, ensuring that the debt limit will not be reached again until after November’s presidential election. “We have been asked by the bicameral leadership of Congress to delay certification in order to give both houses time to consider when the votes may occur, given the current congressional schedule,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “ The president has agreed to Congress’ request to delay submission of the certification,” Earnest told reporters in Hawaii, where Obama is vacationing with his family. The US House of Representatives is out of session until Jan 17. The Treasury had said on Tuesday that Obama would likely seek authority before week’s end to raise the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, under an agreement negotiated between Congress and the White House this past summer. Congress has 15 days to vote on a resolution of disapproval for the debt limit hike once Obama submits the notification, but the president would be able to veto any such vote. Democrats and Republicans fought all year over the best way to control the country’s debt and deficit and the debate will help define the 2012 presidential election campaign. Republicans want to curb the deficit by concentrating on controlling government spending, while Democrats demand that higher tax revenues must be part of any solution.

Bosnia adopts 2011 budget SARAJEVO: The Bosnian parliament yesterday approved the 2011 budget, a move needed to keep the country’s central institutions functioning as of January. The central budget in the amount of one billion convertible marks (515 million euros, $667 million) was agreed following a recent agreement between the country’s Croats, Muslims and Serbs that ended a 14-month political deadlock. It allows the government to adopt in January the budget for the first quarter of 2012 by decree, as the political crisis made it impossible to approve the budget for the whole year. Deputy finance minister Fuad Kasumovic said after the vote that “total paralysis” of the institutions had been avoided. The government now had to prepare the 2012 budget that will include forecast spending on the country’s bid to join the European Union, he said. Political leaders of the three communities agreed on Wednesday on forming a new central government that had been lacking since October 2010 general elections. The move ended Bosnia’s worst political crisis since the end of its 1992-1995 war. The new government is expected to be sworn in January. In Bosnia, most powers are held by two semi-independent entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs’ Republika Srpska, which each have their own government. The weak central government is tasked notably with bringing the Balkan country closer to the EU. — AFP

In particular, Obama favors allowing Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans to expire in 2013 to help reduce the deficit over time, and has tried to paint Republican resistance to his plan as proof they back the rich over the middle class. Republicans say higher taxes discourage small businesses from hiring, reinforcing their message Obama does not know how to cut unemployment, which was 8.6 percent in November. A White House official said the delay in requesting the borrowing increase would be for days, not weeks, and that the Treasury Department would be able to use accounting measures to avoid hitting the debt limit. The debt had been projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by Friday, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as the Social Security retirement program coming due. The credit-worthiness of the United States would not be in question because of the filing delay, the official said. Standard and Poor’s Rating Services cut the cherished US. AAA debt rating last summer over concern that the country lacked the political will to tackle its long-term deficit problems. The debt limit currently stands at $15.194 trillion and would increase to $16.394 trillion with the request. Obama officials have said that would cover the country’s borrowing needs until after the election.Under the August deal, the borrowing cap is raised automatically unless Congress musters a two-thirds majority in both chambers to block the extension. With Democrats holding a majority in the Senate, that prospect looks unlikely. Meanwhile, Obama yesterday told Americans

to keep reminding Congress of what is at stake in their lives, as he predicted change in 2012 — the year in which he will seek reelection. In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president also called on Congress to extend a payroll tax break for the whole year, after lawmakers agreed on a two-month continuation this month after a huge political row. “It was good to see Members of Congress do the right thing for millions of working Americans,” Obama said in the address recorded in Hawaii where he is on vacation. “But it was only possible because you added your voices to the debate. Through email and Twitter and over the phone, you let your representatives know what was at stake. Your lives. Your families. Your well-being.” “You had the courage to believe that your voices could make a difference. And at the end of the day, they made all the difference.” Republican and Democratic leaders will reengage on the payroll tax fight and seek to agree on the terms of a year-long extension when Congress returns to work in Washington in January. The two-month fix offered 160 million Americans an extra $40 in their paychecks every two weeks and also extended unemployment insurance for two million laid-off workers. “I expect Congress to finish the job by extending these provisions through the end of 2012,” Obama said. “There’s no doubt that 2012 will bring even more change. And as we head into the New Year, I’m hopeful that we have what it takes to face that change and come out even stronger-to grow our economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class. — Agencies

Europe must cooperate more for euro to succeed: Merkel

FRANKFURT: Doris Herrmann holding a new ten euro banknote and a glass of champagne as she celebrates shortly after midnight under the euro monument at the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, as the new currency was introduced in 12 EU countries. — AP

BERLIN: Europe must cooperate more closely if it wants the euro to succeed as its shared currency, and it still has a long way to go to overcome its sovereign debt crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her New Year’s Eve address. She said that she would do everything in her power to strengthen the euro, but that this would only work if Europe learned from its mistakes. “A common currency can only really be successful if we in Europe cooperate more than we have done,” Merkel said in a prerecorded televised address to be broadcast yesterday. “Europe is growing together in the crisis,” she said, according to an official copy of her speech. “The path to overcoming this remains long and won’t be free from setbacks, but at the end of it, Europe will emerge stronger from the crisis than it went into it.” Merkel also said that while the German economy was doing well, next year would “without a doubt be more difficult than this one”. Germany recovered swiftly from the 2008/09 financial crisis, but growth has eased in the last few months and many economists are now forecasting a mild slump for Europe’s bulwark economy. — Reuters

Treasurys end year as one of best investments NEW YORK: Investors clamored for Treasurys in 2011, giving the market its best return since 2008, even after the US government lost its sterling AAA credit rating. The turmoil in global markets only seemed to increase demand for Treasurys, which are still seen as the lowest-risk investments anywhere. Compared to the US stock market, which is ending the year flat, Treasurys soared 9.6 percent for the year, according to a broad market index from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. That’s the best return since 2008. Investors flocked to the safety of US Treasurys after being alarmed by worries that the euro, Europe’s shared currency, would collapse because of the enormous debt loads of countries like Greece. There are still worries that Greece could default on its debt, which will cause massive losses for large French and German banks that hold Greek bonds. Investors fear that could cause a financial panic to spread around the world. As the euro-zone debt crisis intensified during

the year, US debt became the safest place to park cash for large investors. “The US downgrade was well overshadowed by concerns over euro zone risk,” said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics. “After huge fluctuations in gold and other commodities, there aren’t any other areas besides Treasurys to put your money and be assured you’ll get it back.” Recent debt auctions by the US government were met with record demand. That demand increased even more after the value of European government bonds fell, crushing the balance sheets of European banks. Those were lining up with other investors to buy US debt to shore up their balance sheets. The intense buying sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down to 1.67 percent in September, the lowest on record. On Friday, the 10year note fell 15 cents for every $100 traded and closed out the year at 1.88 percent.

Rupert said that the demand for US Treasurys will likely remain high until Europe makes progress toward resolving its debt problems. “There’s a real risk that a country defaults in the first half, which will have a domino effect and Treasury yields will hit fresh all-time lows. But once that catharsis is over, expect large-scale selling,” said Rupert. Both Spain and Italy are scheduled to hold debt auctions in the coming weeks, which will be closely monitored. Both countries have had to pay high yields on new debt they’ve sold. Earlier this week, Italy paid 6.98 percent on a 10-year bond auction, dangerously close to the 7 percent threshold at which Greece and Portugal had to seek bailouts from their creditors. The 30-year bond yield finished 2011 at 2.89 percent, after starting the year at 4.5 percent. The yield on the two-year note was unchanged at 0.27 percent. The yield on the threemonth T-bill was 0.01 percent. Its discount wasn’t available. Trading was quiet on the last trading day of 2011. — AP




You thought 2011 was tough for US? WALL STREET WEEKLY OUTLOOK NEW YORK: Shaky Europe. Political gridlock. Volatile markets. Familiar themes for those who lived through 2011, and investors should be ready to revisit them next year. With a spiraling debt crisis in Europe, political upheaval around the world, and crumbling creditworthiness in major industrial nations, 2011 was a tough year to know where to invest. 2012 is unlikely to offer much respite. The S&P 500, a measure of the biggest US companies’ market value, spent much of the year getting pushed up and down, flummoxing shorts and longs - and scaring Moms and Pops away from stocks. It ended 2011 at 1,257.60, down 0.04 of a point. But the S&P 500’s tepid performance was encouraging, compared with other world equity markets. The United States may still be seen as a safe haven, though even that looks uncertain. For every rally built on improving economic figures this year, selloffs were never far away on worries the European debt crisis would eventually drag the continent into a recession and perhaps the United States as well. That could continue in 2012. China and other fast-growing emerging markets can no longer be leaned on as those economies slow. In 2011’s last half, the poorest-performing sectors outside of banks were most connected to global growth - materials, energy and industrial companies. “There is a growing realization that the global economy is in jeopardy,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W Baird & Co in Nashville. “There is uncertainty in every corner of the world.” That uncertainty fed substantial volatility in 2011. Despite the S&P’s flat performance this year, there were 66 trading days when stocks moved in a 2 percent range. In 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed during a global financial crisis, there were more than 130 trading days when stocks swung that much. But that led to a flight from equi-

ties by retail investors. US equity funds had outflows in every month since May. More than $483 billion left US mutual funds in 2011 through the year’s second-to-last week, even though the US market outperformed foreign stocks late in the game. BEATING GLOBAL RIVALS The S&P 500 ended the year off a scant 0.003 percent, the closest it has come to unchanged since 1947, according to Standard & Poor’s. The Dow Jones industrial average finished 2011 with a 5.5 percent gain, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 1.8 percent. In contrast, the MSCI world stocks index fell 9 percent, while the FTSEurofirst-300 index slid nearly 11 percent. The darlings in the emerging markets fared the worst. China’s Shanghai Composite index lost 22 percent, India’s BSE sank 25 percent, and Brazil’s Bovespa dropped 18 percent. Strategists say the US stock market may benefit from reasonable economic growth and attractive market valuation. The S&P 500 is expected to rise 6 percent by the end of 2012, according to the most recent poll of Wall Street strategists. When Wall Street gets back to work on Tuesday, it will face a holiday-shortened week and a slew of economic indicators. The US stock market will be closed on Monday in observance of New Year’s Day. The most crucial numbers will come on Friday with the release of the government’s non-farm payrolls report. Economists polled by Reuters expect a December gain of 150,000 jobs, compared with an increase of 120,000 jobs in November. Volatility is likely to persist through early 2012 because of the uncertainty in Europe and rising concern about slowed earnings growth due to recent revisions. The S&P 500’s price-to-earnings

ratio - what investors are willing to pay for a dollar of earnings - is under 12, below the 25-year average of 15. In weaker markets like Germany’s DAX, the figure is below 9. “We’re building in a massive recession into these numbers,” said Marc Pado, US market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco. US companies cutting earnings’ outlooks recently outpaced those raising theirs by the greatest ratio in 10 years. Some sectors, such as materials, have seen a sharp drop in forecasts for the fourth quarter, Thomson Reuters data showed. Last week, downbeat earnings from Oracle Corp shook confidence in the tech sector’s health before the quarterly earnings season’s start in January. Oracle joined a growing list of companies, including some of technology’s biggest names, whose results and outlooks have set off alarm bells. Next year, S&P 500 earnings are seen rising 9.9 percent, down from an estimate of 13 percent in October. Many economists believe the euro-zone is already in recession. They forecast that the economies of the 17-nation bloc will stagnate in 2012 after contracting in this year’s fourth quarter and the first quarter of the next. Investors are worried that Italy and Spain will have to keep refinancing borrowings at unsustainable levels early next year, which could escalate the crisis. The correlation between the US stock market and the euro skyrocketed in 2011 as investors tied bets on risky assets to the euro’s moves. That trend ebbed as equities rallied near the end of the year, but it is likely to flare up again. So far the US economy has stayed on course for moderate growth. Economists expect it to expand by about 2.1 percent next year. But it is unclear how a slowdown in the rest of the world will affect the economy stateside. The key may be China rather than Europe. “China is the 800-pound gorilla in the

room and is probably the most important country to watch in terms of their contribution to global growth,” said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut. Chinese business confidence is weakening. A survey showed export orders fell for the first time in nearly three years. The drop in materials shares in 2011’s second half reflects worry about declining activity overseas. The S&P Materials Index lost nearly 14 percent in the last six months. GRIDLOCK SHOCK One of the pivotal events of 2011 was the downgrade of the United States’ perfect triple-A credit rating. Standard & Poor’s cited congressional bickering as the reason for the downgrade. August’s stalemate in Washington over raising the debt ceiling sparked a selloff that accelerated after the downgrade. Investors expect the gridlock in Congress to get worse as the US presidential election approaches in November. The election is likely to be close, which will not make legislative efforts to tackle high debt levels and weak demand any easier. Rancor was in view again in December as Congress struggled to pass a two-month extension of US payroll-tax cuts. “There will be less certainty about taxation and regulation so that will inhibit business formation and business growth,” said Brian Battle, a trader at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. Goldman Sachs sees global growth highly susceptible in 2012 to even minor shocks - and those shocks may be political. “Slowing growth (and in places outright contraction), public-sector cuts, and a renegotiation of the social compact between state and society in different parts of the world is an environment ripe for political turmoil,” Goldman said in a note to clients. — Reuters

US stocks outperformed major markets in 2011 S&P 500 finishes one of hard years on record

The winner Abdullatif Salem Ali Al-Wahaib

Gulf Bank announcers winners of 15th Al-Danah weekly draw for 2011 KUWAIT: Gulf Bank held its fiftieth Al Danah weekly draw on December 25, 2011, announcing a total number of ten Al-Danah weekly prize draw winners, each awarded with prizes of KD 1,000. The 50th Al Danah weekly winners are: Abdullatif Salem Ali Al-Wahaib, Manju Nath Qadfah Nandafar, Nashmi Muhana Al-Fhadli, Abdulla Menshed Al-Shamari, Nadia Bakhan Mohammed Karam, Amal Kamal Fleet Abdel Mawjoud, Sara Hussain Al-Hawaj, Mohammad Ahmad Mohammad AlAzemi, Sami Abdulla Fengan AlYaqoub and Faisal Waleed Abdul-Aziz Al-Manie. Gulf Bank encourages everyone in Kuwait to open an Al-Danah account and/or increase their deposits to maximize their chances of becoming a winner in the upcoming weekly (KD1,000 each for 10 winners). Gulf Bank’s Al Danah allows customers to win cash

prizes and encourages them to save money. Chances increase the more money is deposited and the longer it is kept in the account. Al-Danah also offers a number of unique services including the AlDanah Deposit Only ATM card which helps account holders deposit their money at their convenience; as well as the Al-Danah calculator to help customers calculate their chances of becoming an Al-Danah winner. To be part of the Al-Danah draws, customers can visit one of Gulf Bank’s 55 branches, transfer on line, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance. Customers can also log on to, Gulf Bank’s bilingual website, to find all the information regarding Al Danah or any of the Bank’s products and services or log on, to find out more about Al Danah and who the winners are.

WASHINGTON: US stocks outperformed major markets across the globe in 2011 as the S&P 500 made it past the finish line Friday virtually unchanged after one of the most volatile years on record. With investors abandoning their longtime favorites, the emerging markets, and with Europe’s bourses mired by the euro-zone crisis, Wall Street came in as a investor sanctuary, even if net gains were nothing to shout about. Despite a late-session drop on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average-the top 30 blue chipsmanaged to come in with a 5.6 percent gain for the year, ending at 12,217.56. The broad-based S&P 500 ended where it started, off by a small fraction to 1,257.60. And even the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite held together enough to register just a 2.2 percent loss. Compared to the Nikkei’s 17 percent fall, a 19 percent drop in Hong Kong, 25 percent in Bombay and 18 percent in Brazil, and the 18 percent loss for the blue chips of the Euro Stoxx 50, the US was the best destination for investors in 2011. But US markets only barely made up their steep losses in the fourth quarter, as economic growth appeared to regain its footing while economies elsewhere slowed and Europe sank further into crisis. “Although investors may not have scored the absolute return that they wanted, the stock market still exhibited relative strength while most of the world’s other major equity averages suffered double-digit percentage declines in 2011,” said in a review of the year. The markets were helped by a solid recovery in US corporate earnings, including the banks and auto industry. Profits were up on average 13 percent, and many companies built up cash piles or bought back shares as they girded themselves for more challenges in the new year. Markets were also helped by the Federal Reserve, which kept interest rates near zero for the third straight year, and by aversion to other currencies, especially the euro. Even so, because of investor skittishness, said Briefing, “stocks remain extremely cheap on a relative basis.” The year was marked by severe volatil-

NEW YORK: Traders James Lodewick (left) and James Riley (center) work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Trading has been quiet this week with many investors away on vacation. Volume on the New York Stock Exchange has been about half of its daily average on Friday. Markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of New Year’s Day. — AP ity, as the world was rocked by extreme eventsthe Arab Spring uprisings, Japan’s massive earthquake-tsunami disaster, repeated US political showdowns over the deficit that led to a historic S&P downgrade of its credit rating, and Europe’s crisis, which sparked fears of a possible breakup of the euro-zone. Through that, volatility on the S&P 500 was higher than all but four of the last 31 years: only the crash years of 1987, 2002, 2008 and 2009 were rockier. The stars of the Dow were led by fast-food giant McDonald’s, up 31 percent for the year, drug maker Pfizer (24 percent) and Kraft Foods (19 percent). The dogs were Alcoa, off 44 percent, Hewlett-Packard (39 percent) and

JPMorgan Chase (22 percent). Nasdaq’s big counters were mixed as well. Apple, which lost visionary leader Steve Jobs during the year to cancer, closed 25.1 percent higher. Google added 7.9 percent, and Intel gained 15.4 percent. Amazon lost 5.3 percent, Microsoft slid 6.8 percent, and Oracle sank 18.0 percent, most of that lost in December when it missed an earnings forecast. Analysts are marginally optimistic about the coming year, with much depending on whether the US economy can sustain and add to its feeble pace of expansion. “The market continues to be held in check by ongoing risk, most of it associated with other parts of the world, in this case Europe,” said Hugh Johnson of Hugh Johnson Advisors.—AFP

Stock market highs and lows in 2011 NEW YORK: A look at the best and worst performers in the Dow Jones industrial average, which tracks 30 key US companies; the biggest industry gainers and decliners in the broader S&P 500 index, which ended nearly flat for the year; and some companies that rattled investors in 2011. BEST OF THE DOW McDonald’s Corp, up 31 percent. The burger chain has remodeled stores and added healthier items to menus in the US while expanding abroad. IBM Corp, up 25 percent. The 100-year-old tech company sells high-margin software and technology services that can help corporations and governments cut costs. Pfizer Inc., up 24 percent. The world’s largest drugmaker has been advancing new drugs to offset generic competition for Lipitor, the biggest-selling drug in history. WORST OF THE DOW Bank of America Corp, down 58 percent. One of the country’s largest financial institutions is still dealing with fallout from the housing meltdown. Alcoa Inc, down 44 percent. The aluminum producer is a barometer for the health of the global economy. Investors worried about a slowdown in China and a prolonged debt crisis in Europe. Hewlett-Packard Co, down 39 percent. The PC and printer maker struggled with executive dysfunction and indecisiveness on whether to sell its low-margin PC business.

Faisal Waleed Abdul-Aziz Al-Manie

OTHER BIG MOVERS First Solar Inc, down 74 percent and worst in the S&P 500. Chinese companies are producing cheaper solar products while

governments cut subsidies for alternative energy. Cabot Oil & Gas, up 101 percent and best in the S&P 500. The oil and gas company ramped up production, and lucrative natural gas reserves in the energy-rich Marcellus Shale bode well for its future. Netflix Inc, down 61 percent. The video company alienated subscribers with changes to prices and an ill-fated attempt to separate its streaming and DVD-by-mail businesses. Apple Inc, up 26 percent. The company’s newest iPads and iPhones sold briskly while investors looked to new CEO Tim Cook to fill the shoes of Steve Jobs, who died in October. — AP




Scrutinizing your presence on Facebook NEW YORK: Here’s one way to sum up 2011: I added 71 people as Facebook friends, shared 26 links and commented on 98 of my friends’ status updates. I was tagged in 33 photos and added 18 of my own to the site. I also attempted to keep up with Facebook’s endless redesigns, most recently with the introduction of Timeline. With it, your Facebook profile offers highlights from your past, not just your recent happenings. Last week, I urged all of you to carefully curate your Timelines to avoid coming across as vain or revealing forgotten skeletons. This week, I will go through other ways to manage your life on Facebook. It’s good to take stock of your Facebook presence from time to time, given how quickly the site changes its features and settings and how easily many of us add people to our lists of friends. Even if you haven’t switched to Timeline yet, you can still follow these steps to review what you’re really revealing about yourself. Who Are Your Friends? In the early days, I was very judicious about whom I accepted as Facebook friends. People I hadn’t met in person, relatives I hadn’t spoken to in years and friends who simply annoyed me didn’t make the cut. Now, my friends list includes people I haven’t been in touch with since college and others I met only once at a party, wedding or trip. Do all of them need to know - or even care that I started watching “How I Met Your Mother” or ate an undercooked hot dog at 3 a.m.? Should they see photos of me at a recent holiday bash? Maybe not. Now is a good time to go through your friends list to see who ought to disappear. A friend’s significant other long after they broke up? An

acquaintance who has 1,000 friends and never interacts with you on Facebook? People who tighten their privacy settings so much that you see no more than any stranger would? Gone, goodbye, nice to know you. Facebook won’t alert the friends you drop. All Friends Are Not Created Equal You may want to share an ultrasound of your fetus only with family members, or share party photos with close friends. Other rants and milestones may be appropriate for everyone. Facebook has new tools to make it easier to create subgroups such as family and co-workers. Start by going to “lists” on the left side of your Facebook home page (you may have to click on “more” to see it). Facebook had automatically added 103 of my friends to a “New York Area” list and suggested dozens of others who hadn’t told Facebook their location. The suggestions were surprisingly accurate; the inaccurate ones were for those who used to live in New York but have moved on. I added 31 so that I can broadcast New York happenings only to them and spare my Californian and European friends. Next came “Close Friends.” Again, the tool was pretty good at suggesting people with whom I have interacted the most, online and offline. One factor is whether you’ve appeared in photos together. Facebook won’t reveal who made your list of close friends, so don’t worry about keeping people off. I went through a similar exercise for “Family,” choosing to include only the closer ones I’d share more with. In this case, those you’re adding will be told, so if you don’t want that known, create a new list rather use the one Facebook already set up. To do that, click “lists,” then

“Create List.” I added one for cousins, two for college, one for work, one for my running group and one for those I still see from my days in Washington. Some people are in multiple groups, others in none. These lists make it easier to share posts with only a subset of my Facebook friends. I can also use the

create the list of nearby friends. Now is also the time to say if your work has changed or if you no longer want your birthday revealed. Look for the globe icon if you want to share certain details only with certain people, such as friends of friends or those on one of your lists. You should also go through your

page, for example, your friends could see your photo next to an ad from Target. Controlling What You Share Look for the arrow at the upper left corner and select “Account Settings”. Begin with “General” on the left and check to make sure

SAN FRANCISCO: In this Sept 11, 2011 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shows Timeline during the f/8 conference. —AP lists to see only posts from specific groups. Facebook also has a “Restricted” list where you can dump those you don’t want to share much with. Facebook promises not to reveal who gets added. What Are You Sharing? Update your biographical information. The current city is important because it’s what Facebook uses to

lists of favorite books, music and TV shows. Replace Milli Vanilli with Justin Bieber if you want to seem youthful and hip. While you’re at it, pare down the companies and products you’ve decided to “like” over the years. Be careful about what you’re endorsing. Facebook may use your name and profile photo next to ads that your friends see. So if you’ve liked Target’s

everything’s up to date. Click “Edit” if you need to change anything such as your email address. Then go one by one down the list on your left. If you’re not sure what something is, click “Edit” for details. Under “Apps”, get rid of apps you no longer use so that they will no longer have access to your data. Under “Notifications”, choose what types of activities Facebook sends you alerts on.

After that, go back to that arrow and select “Privacy Settings”. Under “How You Connect,” you can make it more difficult for people to reach you by restricting their ability to send you messages or make friend requests. You can also prevent people from posting on your profile. You can tweak “How Tags Work” and insist on reviewing photos or posts others tag you in before they appear on your profile. In most cases, you can find out more about what’s happening by clicking on the item. Finally, think about whether you want your list of friends visible to strangers on Facebook. If you have switched to Timeline, click on “See All” within your box of friends, then click “Edit” to narrow who sees it. For traditional profiles, hover over the friends box and click on the pencil that emerges. Then click on the globe next to your friends. Checking it Twice Test how others see your profile by going to “View As...” at the top of the profile. Those with Timeline should first click the wheel next to “Activity Log.” Enter the name of a close friend, a co-worker or a random acquaintance to make sure no one is seeing too much. Click “public” to see how everyone else sees the profile. Facebook changes so often, so don’t be surprised that by the time you figure it all out, the service unveils another redesign that may affect what you’ve already done. There used to be a way to prevent everyone from sending you friend requests, for instance. I’m now limited to blocking specific individuals. It’s good to go through this exercise on a regular basis - annually, quarterly or more often if you can. Be mindful that Facebook pushes for more openness, so the restrictions available today might be gone tomorrow. —AP

Can Web-savvy activist mothers change Japan? Japanese wonder if stoicism, perseverance a liability

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota: On Dec 19, 2011, the Mall of America’s smartphone map showed parking was a relative breeze: All lots had space except the west ramp, which was congested. —MCT

Parking by phone at Mall of America MINNEAPOLIS: Hunting for a parking space at the Mall of America? Think digital. The Bloomington, Minn., mall is trying to minimize the hassle by offering parking updates on its website, Twitter feed and interactive road signs. In fact, you can download to your smartphone a color-coded map that shows the congestion levels of the mall’s parking lots. The information is collected by electronically counting vehicles as they enter and leave the lots, followed by visual updates from parking employees who watch the flow of traffic. The Mall of America’s parking strategy is aligned with a national trend for shopping malls, which see shoppers’ parking experiences as one of the key ingredients in attracting customers. “People are more accustomed to having information at their fingertips to move them on to the next thing in their day,” said Rachael Marret, president of the Campbell Mithun advertising agency in Minneapolis. “The speed at which everything is happening continues to accelerate, and we probably don’t have as much patience as we used to.” Meanwhile, the Mall of America is in its third year of using Twitter messages (@MallofAmerica) to inform visitors about mall parking conditions. “I believe the Twitter feed is the most popular parking-related service, because we have a fair number of people talking about our updates, referring their friends to our Twitter posts, and a lot of retweets of our updates,” said Bridget Jewell, a mall spokeswoman. The effort seems to have struck a chord with local consumers, who tweet about deciding whether to shop at the mall based on the traffic situation. In response to a mall tweet urging shoppers to come as early as 8 a.m. to avoid crowds and traffic, one woman tweeted: “Maybe I will. Had to abort plans (Sunday). Too many cars!”

The Mall of America is the largest retail mecca in the United States. On a busy shopping day, parking can be a challenge, even though the mall offers 12,550 parking spaces adjacent to the building (several hundred more spots are available across Lindau Lane). Since the average vehicle brings three people to the mall, filling up every parking space would mean that more than 38,000 people are on site. That doesn’t happen often, but the parking lots are typically full in midafternoon every Saturday in December. The concern about parking is clearly an effort to reduce the cost for consumers to shop at a particular location, said Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. “While most people think of cost in monetary terms, there’s also a cost in the amount of time you spend looking for something,” he said. “If your total available mall shopping time is two hours, and your driving and parking time is 30 minutes, it reduces the amount of time you have to spend at the mall by 30 minutes.” Other regional shopping malls in the Twin Cities said they don’t feel the need to take the initiative on parking the way the Bloomington mall has. “Our mall traffic is up ... but we remain a convenient place to shop that is easily accessible and where it’s easy to find a place to park,” said Liz Ostrander, senior marketing manager at Rosedale Center in Roseville. Rosedale’s parking lots are typically only full on a few major shopping days such as Black Friday, Ostrander said. Still, for the major malls with major traffic, providing parking information via the Internet makes sense, Rao said. After all, if consumers sour on mall shopping because of the parking hassles, they may decide to use the Internet to shop, not just find a place to park. —MCT

TOKYO: Japan’s nuclear crisis has turned Mizuho Nakayama into one of a small but growing number of Internet-savvy activist moms. Worried about her 2-year-old son and distrustful of government and TV reports that seemed to play down radiation risks, she scoured the Web for information and started connecting with other mothers through Twitter and Facebook, many using social media for the first time. The 41-year-old mother joined a parents group - one of dozens that have sprung up since the crisis - that petitioned local officials in June to test lunches at schools and day care centers for radiation and avoid using products from around the troubled nuclear plant. “It’s the first time for anyone in our group to be involved in this type of activism,” said Nakayama, who now carries a Geiger counter with her wherever she goes. Public dismay with the government’s response to this year’s triple disaster - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown - is driving some Japanese to become more politically engaged, helped by social and alternative media. While still fledgling, it’s the kind of grassroots activism that some say Japan needs to shake up a political system that has allowed the country’s problems to fester for years. Nakayama’s group has had mixed success: Officials in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward immediately started posting radiation levels in milk, but they say they won’t start testing lunch foods until April. Still, Nakayama feels she and others in what she calls the “silent majority” are making a difference. “Women in their 30s and 40s are busy raising children, and many also work,” she said. “We’re normally too busy to really raise our voices. But this time we felt compelled to speak up.” Many Japanese have been content to let politicians and bureaucrats run the country as they see fit. Quite a few of the mothers in the newly formed parents groups didn’t even vote regularly. But the handling of the nuclear crisis - perceived as slow, confused and less than forthright, a perception reinforced by a critical government report last week - has deepened distrust of both government and mainstream media. That has given rise to a sense that the government isn’t as reliable as once thought, and that people need to take action themselves to get things done.

“People used to think of the government as something like a father figure,” said Tatsuya Yoshioka, founder and director of Peace Boat, a volunteer group involved in recovery efforts in the tsunami-hit northeast. “But people are graduating from that. We are moving toward a more active kind of democracy in which people realize they are the primary actors, not the government.” Japan still has a long way to go. The activism is small-scale, and powerful forces - a culture that frowns on nonconformists, an affluent society - stand in the way of lasting change. In the weeks following the March 11 tsunami, frustration over the sketchy information coming from the government

A nationwide network of more than 200 parents groups has popped up to urge authorities to protect children from radiation, said Emiko Itoh, a 48-year-old Tokyo mother who is helping spearhead the movement. Most are pressing local officials to test radiation levels in school lunches and provide more detailed checks of school grounds, but Itoh and others have also lobbied senior government officials. Mothers make up the bulk of the membership, but fathers are getting involved, too. “We’re still small, but some of the mothers involved didn’t even go to vote. It’s these mothers who are submitting petitions and making calls and gathering signatures,”

TOKYO: In this Dec 22, 2011 photo, Mizuho Nakayama shops at a grocery shop near her house. —AP about the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant drove many Japanese to Twitter and alternative media webcasts. OurPlanet-TV, for example, relayed footage two days after the disaster from a freelance reporter near the Fukushima plant who reported the radiation level was quite high, said director Hajime Shiraishi. Within weeks, the number of viewers jumped to more than 100,000 per day from 1,000 to 3,000 before the tsunami, she said. It has since fallen back to the 20,000-30,000 range. University student Gohei Kogure said he generally trusted TV news before the disaster, but accessing Twitter and webcasts gave him a different perspective that’s made him more informed and critical. Before the crisis there was “too much reliance on the government”, he said. “These days, you need to take more responsibility for yourself.”

Itoh said. “I believe this will be a factor in changing the direction of our country.” She said the Internet has been invaluable in connecting parents, partly because Japan has few forums for citizens to exchange ideas. The crisis has changed perceptions of the Internet among mothers, many who previously considered it a dubious source of information. Separately, individuals and loosely formed community groups are going around their neighborhoods checking radiation levels or sending soil samples to laboratories for testing. The Radiation Defense Project, which grew out of a blog and then a Facebook page, says its testing has revealed several “hot spots” in Tokyo with trace amounts of radioactive cesium that it believes came from Fukushima, said group founder Kouta Kinoshita, a former TV journalist. Another group is collecting

signatures for a petition to hold a referendum in Osaka and Tokyo on whether Japan should use nuclear power. The vote would not be legally binding but could send a message to policymakers. The government’s management of the nuclear crisis did little to instill confidence that it will be able to tackle looming problems, including a rapidly aging population and a public debt that is twice the nation’s GDP - both of which will burden the younger generation. Still, the growing dissatisfaction may not be enough to bring about fundamental change. Japan’s affluence is an obstacle. Most people live comfortably and are reluctant to make too big a fuss, even if they’re unhappy with the political leadership. Culturally, it’s considered better to adjust to one’s surroundings than to try to change them, said Ken Matsuda, a sociologist at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. “Most people aren’t hungry or angry,” he said. “People need a clear enemy, and there’s no clear enemy in Japan. Public anger needs to hit a critical mass. It’s not anywhere near that.” Historically, Japan has undergone major change only when it was thrust upon the country from outside - after its defeat in World War II, and after the arrival of US Commodore Matthew Perry’s warships in 1853 essentially forced the country to open up to the rest of the world. Grassroots activism has had only limited success. It took nearly 50 years to win compensation for most victims of a chemical plant in Minamata that dumped mercury into the water, causing a rare neurological disorder. Some Japanese wonder if the stoicism and perseverance that were widely praised in the aftermath of the tsunami could also be a liability. Perhaps we need to be more impatient for change, some say. “The disasters didn’t stimulate a real sense of urgency,” said Ichiro Asahina, who quit his job as a bureaucrat in the economic ministry last year after 14 years to establish a think tank and leadership institute in Tokyo. He faults a risk-averse political culture, a reluctance to take personal responsibility and a diffuse leadership system that spreads out responsibility among too many people or departments. “To stimulate change,” he said, “we may need to confront even more severe crises.” —AP



e niv rsar n



H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

Red meat lovers have more kidney cancer NEW YORK: People who eat lots of red meat may have a higher risk of some types of kidney cancer, according to a US study of thousands of adults. Researchers writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that middle-aged adults who ate the most red meat were 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate the least. A higher intake of chemicals found in grilled or barbecued meat was also linked to increased risk of the disease. “Our findings support the dietary recommendations for cancer prevention currently put forth by the American Cancer Society- limit intake of red and processed meats and prepare meat by cooking methods such as baking and broiling,” said lead researcher Carrie Daniel, at the US National Cancer Institute. Previous studies examining the link between red meat and kidney cancer arrived

at mixed conclusions, so Daniel and her colleagues used data from a study of close to 500,000 US adults age 50 or older to take another look at the issue. The group was surveyed on their dietary habits, including meat consumption, and then followed for an average of nine years to track any new cancer diagnoses. During that time, about 1,800 of them-less than half a percent-were diagnosed with kidney cancer. On average, men in the study ate two to three ounces (57 to 85 grams) of red meat a day, compared to one or two ounces among women. Participants with the highest consumption of red meat- about four ounces (113 grams) per day-were 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer than those who ate less than one ounce per day. That was after accounting for other aspects of

diet and lifestyle that could have influenced cancer risks, including age, race, fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking and drinking, and other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The association between red meat and cancer was stronger for so-called papillary cancers, but there was no effect for clear-cell kidney cancers. People who ate the most well-done grilled and barbecued meat and therefore had the highest exposure to carcinogenic chemicals that came out of the cooking process-also had an extra risk of kidney cancer compared to those who didn’t cook much meat that way. The study doesn’t prove that eating red meat, or cooking it a certain way, causes kidney cancer. And, said Mohammed El-Faramawi, an epidemiologist from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, some people who

eat lots of red meat won’t develop kidney cancer, while others who hardly eat any will. “Red meat is an important source of iron, it has protein,” added El-Faramawi, who did not work on the study, noting that eating a limited amount of meat while following dietary guidelines is a good idea. “You should not stop eating red meat because there is an association between red meat and renal cancer.” Daniel said that more research is needed to figure out why eating red meat is linked to some cancers but not others. But for now, she said, meat-related cooking chemicals can be reduced by reducing the cooking time for meat, by avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or hot metal surface, and by using a microwave oven to partially cook meat before exposing it to high temperatures. — Reuters

Man dies from bird flu in southern China First human case in 18 months BEIJING: A bus driver in southern China who contracted the bird flu virus died yesterday, health authorities said, in the nation’s first reported human case of the deadly disease in 18 months. The man, surnamed Chen, died in Shenzhen-a boomtown that borders Hong Kong where thousands of chickens have already been culled after three birds tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus in mid-December. He developed a fever on December 21 and was taken to hospital four days later, and diagnosed with severe pneumonia, said the health department in Shenzhen, a city of more than 10 million people. The 39-year-old then tested positive for the H5N1 virus, the department said, adding he had apparently had no direct contact with poultry in the month before he was taken ill, nor had he left the city. The H5N1 virus is fatal in humans in about 60 percent of cases. However, it does not pass easily among humans, and the World Health Organization says it has never identified a “sustained human-to-human spread” of the virus since it re-emerged in 2003. The health department in Guangdong province, where Shenzhen is located, announced yesterday that the bus driver died after his lung, heart and liver functions deteriorated.

“So far, 120 people who have had close contact with him have not presented abnormal symptoms,” it said in a statement. An official at the Shenzhen agriculture and fisheries bureau, surnamed Jiang, told AFP the bus driver had had no contact with birds. “So far, we have not received any reports of any birds being infected,” he said. “It is unclear where the patient got the flu from. We will not make any plans to kill domestic birds unless we know that was the source, or if there is any sign of birds being infected.” Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have been working closely together since December 21 after live poultry supplies were suspended to the glitzy financial hub following the discovery of infected birds. A spokesman for the Hong Kong health department said in a statement authorities would heighten their vigilance “and continue to maintain stringent port health measures in connection with this development”. Health authorities in China have also vowed to stay in “close contact and work together” with Hong Kong and “jointly step up measures in controlling the epidemic”, the official Xinhua news agency said. China is considered one of the nation’s most at risk of bird flu epidemics because it has the

world’s biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans. In the last reported human case in China, a young pregnant woman died of bird flu in June 2010 in the central province of Hubei. The bus driver’s death brought to 27 the number of people who have died in China since 2003, out of 41 reported human cases. Authorities in Hong Kong have raised the bird flu alert level to “serious” since they discovered infected chickens, resulting in major disruptions to poultry supplies over the busy Christmas period. The avian influenza virus has killed more than 330 people around the world, with Indonesia the worst-hit country. Most human infections are the result of direct contact with infected birds. Scientists fear H5N1 could mutate into a form readily transmissible between humans, with the potential to cause millions of deaths. Highlighting those fears, the World Health Organization said on Friday it was “deeply concerned” about research into whether H5N1 could be made more transmissible between humans after mutant strains were produced in labs. Two separate research teams-one in the Netherlands and the other in the United States-separately found ways to alter the virus H5N1 so it could pass easily between mammals. — AFP

Study: Obesity tied to older adults’ risk of falls

SAN DIEGO: In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011, a poster warning of the effects of the drug known as ‘spice’ hangs on a wall at the Naval Hospital, in San Diego. —AP

‘Synthetic’ marijuana is problem for US military SAN DIEGO: US troops are increasingly using an easy-to-get herbal mix called “Spice,” which mimics a marijuana high, is hard to detect and can bring on hallucinations that last for days. The abuse of the drug has so alarmed military officials that they’ve launched an aggressive testing program that this year has led to the investigation of more than 1,100 suspected users, according to military figures. So-called “synthetic” pot is readily available on the Internet and has become popular nationwide in recent years, but its use among troops and sailors has raised concerns among the Pentagon brass. “You can just imagine the work that we do in a military environment,” said Mark Ridley, deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, adding, “you need to be in your right mind when you do a job. That’s why the Navy has always taken a zero tolerance policy toward drugs.” Two years ago, only 29 Marines and sailors were investigated for Spice. This year, the number topped 700, the investigative service said. Those found guilty of using Spice are kicked out, although the Navy does not track the overall number of dismissals. The Air Force has punished 497 airmen so far this year, compared to last year’s 380, according to figures provided by the Pentagon. The Army does not track Spice investigations but says it has medically treated 119 soldiers for the synthetic drug in total. Military officials emphasize those caught represent a tiny fraction of all service members and note none was in a leadership position or believed high while on duty. Spice is made up of exotic plants from Asia like Blue Lotus and Bay Bean. Their leaves are coated with chemicals that mimic

the effects of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but are five to 200 times more potent. More than 40 states have banned some of its chemicals, prompting sellers to turn to the Internet, where it is marketed as incense or potpourri. In some states, Spice is sold at bars, smoke shops and convenience stores. The packets usually say the ingredients are not for human consumption but also tout them as “mood enhancing.” Service members preferred it because up until this year there was no way to detect it with urine tests. A test was developed after the Drug Enforcement Administration put a one-year emergency ban on five chemicals found in the drug. Manufacturers are adapting to avoid detection, even on the new tests, and skirt new laws banning the main chemicals. “It’s a moving target,” said Capt. J.A. “Cappy” Surette, spokesman for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. The military can calibrate its equipment to test for those five banned chemicals “but underground chemists can keep altering the properties and make up to more than 100 permutations,” Surette said. Complicating their efforts further, there are more than 200 other chemicals used in the drug. They remain legal and their effects on the mind and body remain largely unknown, Navy doctors say. A Clemson University scientist created many of the chemicals for research purposes in 1990s. They were never tested on humans. Civilian deaths have been reported and emergency crews have responded to calls of “hyper-excited” people doing things like tearing off their clothes and running down the street naked. Navy investigators compare the drug to angel dust because no two batches are the same. —AP

NEW YORK: Obese older adults may be more likely than their thinner peers to suffer a potentially disabling fall-though the most severely overweight may be somewhat protected from injury, according to a US study. Falls are often seen as a problem for thin, frail older adults, since their bones are especially prone to fractures, but obesity carries its own risks, said researchers whose findings appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “People who are obese may have a harder time with balance,” said Christine Himes, of Syracuse University in New York, who worked on the study. And when obese older adults lose their footing, they may be less able to react quickly and stop a fall, she added. Looking at 10,755 people aged 65 and up, Himes and colleague Sandra Reynolds found that obese older adults were anywhere from 12 percent to 50 percent more likely to suffer a fall over two years than their normal-weight peers. Those odds rose with the level of obesity. The 50 percent higher risk was seen among people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higherabout 45 kg (100 lb) overweight for a man, or 36 kg (80 lb) overweight for a woman. Body mass index is a measure of weight against height. The study participants were surveyed every two years. Between 1998 and 2006, the group reported a total of 9,621 falls, resulting in more than 3,100 injuries serious enough to need medical attention. Of people who suffered a fall, 23 percent were obese, compared with just under 20 percent among older adults who did not fall during the study period. The researchers factored in health conditions linked to both obesity and the risk of falling, such as arthritis, pain in the legs, diabetes and stroke. But obesity itself was still linked to a higher fall risk. But when it came to the risk of being injured by a fall, the most severely obese older adults, with a BMI of 40 or higher, were one-third less likely to be injured than normal-weight people who fell. People with milder obesity had no such protective effect. In fact, those moderately obese people were at greater risk of reporting longer-term disabilities after falls, versus normal weight men and women. Those with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 were 17 percent more likely than normal weight people to report a disability after a fall. And those with a BMI between 35 and 39.9 were 39 percent more likely to report a disability. Himes said the patterns make sense. Obese people, in general, may be more vulnerable to falls than thinner folk, and when they do fall, the most obese people may get some protection from injury by their extra padding and denser bones. But when obese people are injured, they may be less likely to recover. “It’s just harder for obese people to recover from injury. They’re going to be in poorer physical shape to begin with,” Himes said. It’s estimated that more than one-third of US residents age 65 and up suffer a fall each year, and a similar proportion of older adults are obese-a trend, Himes noted, that is likely to get worse. “This is just another reason that obesity needs to be considered an important public health problem,” she said. — Reuters

LA SEYNE-SUR-MER: Close up on a French-made PIP breast implant taken on Friday at La Seyne-sur-Mer, south eastern France. Twenty cases of cancer have been discovered among women who have received allegedly faulty French-made breast implants, French consumer health agency AFSSAPS said Friday. —AFP

France finds 20 cancer cases in women with faulty implants PARIS: French health authorities said Friday that 20 cases of cancer had been uncovered in women with allegedly faulty French-made breast implants but insisted there was still no proven link with the disease. France’s state health insurance fund meanwhile said it had filed a fraud complaint against manufacturer Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which sold hundreds of thousands of implants made with sub-standard silicone gel around the world. French consumer health agency AFSSAPS said that as of December 28 it had registered 15 cases of breast adenocarcinoma, the most frequent form of breast cancer; one case of breast lymphoma; two cases of other lymphoma; one case of lung cancer; and one case of acute myelogenous leukemia. But the agency stressed that the number of breast cancer cases in women with PIP implants reported to date “remains lower than the rate observed in the general population.” Agency chief Dominique Maraninchi put the figures in the context of the general population, pointing out that “one woman in 10 has, has had or will have breast cancer.” French authorities earlier this month advised 30,000 women to have PIP implants removed because of an increased risk of rupture, but said no direct link with cancer had been found. AFSSAPS stressed again on Friday: “No link has to this day been established between cases of cancer and having PIP implants.” AFSSAPS said it had also registered 1,143 ruptures and 495 inflammatory reactions in PIP implants. Between 300,000 and 400,000 women in 65 countries from Europe to Latin America have received implants made by PIP, once the world’s third-largest producer of silicone implants. PIP was shut down and its products banned in April 2010 after it was revealed to have been using non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high implant rupture rates. Prosecutors in Marseille said France’s National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM) had filed a complaint for aggravated fraud over the scandal. The prosecutors’ office said the complaint filed by the CNAM allowed for the possibility of it claiming compensation. Their complaint would be investigated with the others. Prosecutors in

Marseille, near PIP’s laboratory at Seynesur-Mer on the Mediterranean, have received more than 2,500 complaints from French women who received the implants and are pursuing a criminal investigation. French authorities have agreed to pay to have the implants removed and said the cost could reach 60 million euros ($78 million). In Italy, where an estimated 5,000 women received PIP implants, prosecutors in Turin have also opened a criminal investigation against the company’s founder Jean-Claude Mas. Mas, 72, is under investigation on charges of “commercial fraud” and “sale of products hazardous to health”, the ANSA news agency reported. It also emerged Friday that Mas and his children were in the process of creating a new company to take over PIP’s operations when the implant scandal erupted. Local French newspaper Nice-Matin reported that Mas and his children, Nicolas and Peggy Lucciardi, had in June founded a new company to restart the implant manufacturing business. France Implant Technologie (FIT) was registered under the names of Nicolas Lucciardi, 27, and Peggy Lucciardi, 24, at the address of their mother, Dominique Lucciardi, who was Mas’s former civil partner. In a business plan for FIT obtained by Nice-Matin, Mas is named as a “technicalcommercial consultant” to the company. Its objectives are listed as expor ting implants on the “European, South American and Chinese markets”. According to PIP’s 2010 bankruptcy filing, it exported 84 percent of its annual production of 100,000 implants. Authorities in other countries have advised women to consult their doctors over the implants. Some nations, including Bolivia and Venezuela, have said that in some cases the implants will be removed for free. In Brazil, the National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA) on Friday withdrew its health authorisation for the implants, the sale of which had already been suspended since 2010. Brazil had imported 34,631 of the implants, including 24,534 sold before the 2010 suspension. Mas has admitted through his lawyer that the company used non-standard silicone gel but insisted there is no evidence of any health risk. — AFP

BERLIN : Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs Erna (L) and Willy stand in their enclosure in Tierpark Berlin on Friday. The young pigs are newly elected lucky charm pigs of the zoo. —AFP



e niv rsar n


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E


US FDA says no need to recall Enfamil formula NEW YORK: US health officials said they found no trace of potentially deadly bacteria that killed two infants in recent weeks in sealed cans of Enfamil baby formula, and that a recall was unnecessary, providing relief for the product’s manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. The death of one baby, 10-day-old Avery Cornett in Missouri on Dec 18, is what led chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc , Walgreen Co and Kroger to pull some cans of Enfamil Newborn from shelves in an effort to protect consumers from Cronobacter, which can cause severe illness in newborns and has been found in powdered milk-based formula. The death of a second baby, in Florida, was not known until an update from the US . Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late on Friday following the testing of samples taken from the infected babies’ homes and company facilities. “Parents may continue to use powdered infant formula, following the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label,” the agencies said in a joint statement. “We’re pleased with the FDA and CDC testing, which should reassure consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers everywhere about the safety and quality of our products,” Tim Brown, Mead Johnson’s general manager for North America, said in a statement. Two other babies, one in Illinois and one in Oklahoma, were also reported with infections in recent weeks, but they both recovered. The agencies said they found Cronobacter in an open container of infant formula, an open bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula. They said it was unclear how the contamination occurred, which suggests that it could have happened after the packages were opened. The agencies also said there was no evidence indicating that the infections were related. “There is currently no evidence to conclude that the infant formula or nursery water was contaminated during manufacturing or shipping,” said an FDA spokesman. These findings basically clear Mead Johnson, whose shares have fallen 10 percent since the issue surfaced, said personal injury and product liability lawyer William Marler of the firm Marler Clark. “It would be difficult to prove that this formula caused this child’s death,” said Marler, who has years of experience handling foodborne illness cases, including one in 2009 against Mead Johnson involving Cronobacter. That case was dismissed after no sealed cans tested positive, robbing the prosecution of the proverbial “smoking gun.” Officials for the CDC, Mead Johnson and Walmart could not immediately be reached for comment. Mead Johnson’s name may be cleared, but the company

will likely take some time to fully heal, experts say, given how serious the situation is and how sensitive people are about what they feed their babies. “Bad news is bad news,” said Robert Passikoff, president of research firm Brand Keys Inc. He said the negative publicity has already damaged Enfamil’s brand equity and could have cost the company one cycle of new parents, who might feed their children formula for about a year. Goldman Sachs lowered its earnings estimates for Mead Johnson last week for 2012 through 2014 by 3 percent on average, citing the risk of damage to consumers’ trust in the Enfamil brand. It lowered its price target to $74 from $80. Despite the costs of retesting its formula and the likely hit to earnings from something that is not its fault, Mead Johnson has little legal recourse against either the public health department, the victims’ families or Walmart, which pulled its product in the absence of a definite link. “Could a lawyer cook up legal theories to sue? They can. Would that be a very wise move? I think it would be really, really stupid,” Marler said, for two reasons. “‘We didn’t know for sure and we wanted to protect our customers’ is a pretty good defense,” he said, adding that “Suing somebody isn’t really the likely way you’re going to get your product in their store.” Enfamil is the leading milkbased formula in the United States, controlling nearly 44 percent of the $4.29 billion market, according to Euromonitor International. No. 2 is Abbott Laboratories Inc’s Similac, with a 24-percent share, followed by Nestle’s Good Start with 10 percent and private label, or store brands, with 9 percent. Still, the United States makes up less than 30 percent of Mead Johnson’s sales, and is not what had been driving the company’s shares, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Edward Aaron. Until its latest troubles, the stock had more than tripled since its February 2009 spin-off from Bristol Myers Squibb , fueled by growth from emerging markets. In the latest quarter, the company’s sales rose 15 percent to $933.9 million, driven by a 30 percent jump in Asia and Latin America. But Mead Johnson has done many things well in this crisis and should be forgiven quickly, said Mike Rozembajgier, vice president of recalls for Stericycle ExpertRECALL, a consulting and logistics firm. “There’s an understanding by the public that recalls are going to happen,” Rozembajgier said. “How forgiving they might be with regard to a particular brand ... comes down to how the company manages the recall.” Mead Johnson has not had a recall, but has gone through many of the same steps, he said, such as working with the government, being transparent and communicating with retailers and the press.— Reuters

POTSDAM: Zookeeper Hans Hopp holds a Borneo gliding treefrog in Biosphere in Potsdam, eastern Germany, on Friday. The Potsdam’s tropical world is effecting its inventory with keepers counting, measuring and weighing its animals. —AFP

China food safety scandal widens to oil and peanuts BEIJING: Chinese authorities in a southern boomtown have detected a cancer-causing toxin in peanuts and cooking oil that was only recently discovered in milk, in the nation’s latest food safety scandal. The food safety regulator in Shenzhen said it had found excessive levels of aflatoxin in peanuts sold in three stores, and in cooking oil in four restaurants, the official Xinhua news agency said late Friday. Calls to the regulator-the Shenzhen market supervision bureau-went unanswered. The incident comes after leading dairy firm Mengniu revealed at the weekend that authorities found high levels of aflatoxin in a batch of milk before it was sold, caused by cows eating mouldy feed at a farm in southwest China.

Authorities in Guangdong province-where Shenzhen is located-then announced they had recalled cooking oil products made by three firms after finding they contained too much aflatoxin. It was unclear whether the companies made the tainted oil found in the restaurants in Shenzhen. Aflatoxins, which affect grains and other agricultural products, can increase the risk of cancer, including liver cancer, according to the World Health Organisation. Chinese state media and netizens have blasted Mengniu as consumers voice anger over yet another food safety scandal to hit the country, despite repeated crackdowns on product safety violations.—AFP



W H AT ’ S O N

Kuwait National English School students visit Zoo


ear 2 classes went on a field trip to the zoo and after the excitement of seeing of the world wild animals, the students were drawing and writing about what they had seen with big interest.

Indian Community School Kuwait Sports Day

Happy New Year By William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary


ew Year is for many of us a time of reflection; a time to mark the passing of the old and the coming of the new. Turning the page that brings in the new year can offer an opportunity to look forward with hope and confidence. And in Britain we have plenty of reasons to do so. Whatever else it brings, 2012 will be a historic year for my country. Perhaps most importantly we will commemorate sixty years of the reign of Her Majesty the Queen. The Diamond Jubilee will bring with it a profound sense of the extraordinary service that The Queen has, rendered this country over the years of her reign; and a chance to reflect on the progress that humanity has made during that time. Most of us in the UK have known no other monarch and The Queen has been a source of strength and stability during times of real change. The celebrations that accompany Her Majesty’s Jubilee next summer will be heartfelt. And then, of course, the world’s most extraordinary show will arrive in London for the third time. Hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Games is a signal honour and we are proud to welcome the world to London to join the spectacle. This is though, not simply a celebration of and by London; in the days and weeks before the Games people across Britain will welcome new friends from across the globe to the heart of their communities as the world’s athletes settle into their training camps across the country. At the heart of this is what the long term legacy of the Games can bring; connections and friendships between our towns and cities and the nations we welcome. 2012 will also be the opportunity to celebrate the richness and diversity of our cultural experience as the London 2012 Festival, the finale to the Cultural Olympiad, comes to the capital. Artists from across the world will join our biggest nationwide festival - twelve weeks of dance, music, theatre and more, we will also honour the achievements of two of our greatest literary figures, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, whose works have connected people around the world. As we enter the New Year, I would like to invite you to join us in looking forward and discovering the many things that have made the UK a great place to live, work, study and visit. 2012 will offer an opportunity to explore our history and heritage, our countryside and cities, against a backdrop of cultural performances and world-c1ass sport. Come and find out why we have four of the top ten universities in the world and research facilities that have helped us win more than 80 Nobel prizes for science and technology alone, come and find out why the UK is the easiest country in Europe in which to set up a business. Or simply come and enjoy the spectacle. It will be quite a year. Happy New Year.


ports Day at ICSK was a special occasion this year as the oldest school in Kuwait celebrated its record tenth CBSE Kuwait Clusters Annual Athletic Championship, proving beyond doubt that ICSK, is a force to reckon with not only in academics, but also on the sports ground. Inaugurated by the Chief Guest, H E Satish C Mehta, Ambassador of India to Kuwait, the 37th Annual Athletic Meet of Indian Community School Kuwait was held in a grand manner at Kaifan Stadium on Dec 9th 2011. For the first time in the history of ICSK Sports Day, the Parade was inspected by the Chief Guest. As the four houses Seva, Sahyog, Santhosh and Shanthi stood in attention, led by the Senate Members from the four branches, the Ambassador inspected the parade. After this the Chief Guest accepted the salute of a dazzling march past. As the Senate led with the school flag flying high, the contingents comprising of the students in the four houses marched in unison brilliantly. The stars of the day were the athletes of ICSK who won the CBSE Kuwait Clusters Athletic Championship for a record tenth time. There was a roar of applause as they marched past the dais. The school band

came in for a special round of applause as the bandleader threw the mace into the air and saluted the Chief Guest. Another first for ICSK was the Lighting of the Torch which was lit by the Ambassador and handed over to Abigale Individual Champion under 16 girls. It was a visual treat as the champions took a lap in the stadium with the torch. His Excellency Satish C Mehta in his address congratulated the management, teachers and the students for the astounding and sensational march past of the various houses. In Chairman’s address, Ashok Kalra said that the Board of Trustees is indeed proud of ICSK’s achievements in the sports arena and the management would take extra effort to maintain the glory in the years to come. He also mentioned that this achievement would not have been possible but for the hard work of the students, the dedication of the PE teachers and the support of the parents. The four branches put up wonderful displays. ICSK Khaitan showed the spirit of sportsmanship in ICSK winning its 10th Championship trophy. Junior Branch showed the summer season in its colorful display with beautiful costumes. Amman Branch showed the importance of Yoga in our lives in their display. Senior Branch Salmiya projected beautifully the theme,

India - Unity in Diversity. Various track events took place alongside and the winners were awarded medals and certificates by the guests. The Sports Day was graced by the honorary members of the Board of Trustees of ICSK Ashok Kalra - Hon Chairman, Archibald Menezes - Hon. Vice Chairman, Rajan Daniel - Hon. Secretary, Dinesh Kamath Hon. Treasurer, Vijayan Karayil and Francis Machado - Hon. Joint Secretaries and the Principals of various schools of Kuwait and many distinguished invitees. Members of the Council of Elders and other Board members were also present to encourage the students. Principals S Ilango, Fathima M, Sridevi Pradeep, Dr Sam T Kuruvilla and Vice Principals of the branches of ICSK coordinated the huge event. The members of the Parent Advisory Committee, who are ever willing to support all school events, graced the occasion with their presence. The ICSK fraternity is confident that the golden arena of sports and games will be extended for many more years to come.

ICSK felicitates the champions


he Indian Community School, Kuwait, the pioneer educational institution in Kuwait celebrates the achievements of its champions in a unique way. Winning the CBSE Kuwait Cluster Athletic Championship for 10 years in a row. ICSK made a history and it was a celebration time on the 17 December 2011. An award ceremony was organized to felicitate the players and athletes in a grand manner. The proud parents who witnessed their wards receiving the awards from the Honorable Members of the Board were spell bound. In his address Hon Chairman, Ashok Kalra congratulated the students for bringing laurels to their almamatar and thanked the parents for their support. He also acknowledged the hard work of the PE

teachers for bringing the glory to the institution. He also placed on record the exemplary contribution of Fathima M as Principal coordinator for CBSE sports of ICSK. He also thanked Ilango, Principal - ICSK Khaitan branch and the sports coordinator of previous years for his tireless service. Archie Menezes, Hon Vice Chairman in his felicitation address, apprised the players that perseverance and humility are essential for success and they should take success and failure in their stride. He also mentioned that sports scholarship would be awarded to the eligible students. He requested the parents to contribute their service in the field of sports. Hon Secretary, Rajan Daniel, the mastermind behind this celebration saluted the new meet record holder

Hussain Gheewala. He also congratulated the parents for their continuous support. He also acknowledged the assiduous contribution of Fathima M, Sports coordinator, towards the success. Her dedication towards sports was specially mentioned in his speech. The 155 players and athletes were awarded with trophies. The Physical Education teachers were bestowed with mementoes and letter of appreciation for their persistent and diligent efforts in retaining the championship. It was a memorable moment for the participants and audience alike to be cherished for years to come.



W H AT ’ S O N

Embassy Information EMBASSY OF BRAZIL The Embassy of Brazil requests all Brazilian citizens in Kuwait to proceed to the website (Contact Us Form / Fale Conosco) in order to register or update contact information. The Embassy encourages all citizens to do so, including the ones who have already registered in person at the Embassy. The registration process helps the Brazilian Government to contact and assist Brazilians living abroad in case of any emergency. nnnnnnn

Splendid farewell to Crowne Plaza’s General Manager Kafafi


t was a fitting farewell to one of the country’s leading Hotel General Managers Hani Kafafi. Jawad Ahmad Bukhamseen, Chairman of the Bukhamseen group of companies, hosted a memorable farewell reception at the Crowne Plaza Kuwait last week commemorating the 28 years of a spectacular General Managerial Career of Hani Kafafi and also as Director of Operations for the IHG Northern Gulf. A cocktail reception was hosted amidst great aplomb and splendor. At a glittering ceremony, Hani Kafafi along with the owners, Jawad Bukhamseen and Emad Bukhamseen welcomed the top media personalities, ambassadors, IHG Corporate officials, General Managers of hotels in Kuwait, Board of Directors of the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, Members of the

Chaine De Rotisseurs along with close friends and family. Jawad Bukhamseen welcomed and congratulated everyone on the success of the Crowne Plaza Hotel under the leadership of Hani Kafafi. Jawad also thanked the support and cooperation of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, represented by John Bamsey, Chief Operating Officer. He announced the appointment of Hani Kafafi as the Chief Executive Officer for the Hospitality sector of the Bukhamseen Group. In his farewell speech, Kafafi said, “It has been almost 35 years working in the hospitality industry and 28 years with the IHG Group in different locations in Cairo, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait but Kuwait has been the longest time because my family and I love the country and have been blessed with a great circle of friends

and I consider Kuwait our second home. 2011 will mark the end of my time as an Executive with the IHG and 2012 will be the beginning of working in the hospitality industry from the owner s side as CEO of the Bukhamseen Hospitality business”. Kafafi further added, “Time passes quite fast and I have seen Holiday Inns Inc in the late 7Os when I was in Cairo and witnessed the take over of Bass PLC to Holiday Inn the mid 80s, also got the opportunity to diversify my knowledge when I joined Americana to manage TGIF in the Middle East and North Africa”. He also said, “I would like to specially appreciate and thank my wife, Iman for her patience, the Bukhamseen family for their trust and confidence, Jawad Bukhamseen for his vision, leadership and guidance and all my friends who have been with me through all times”.

The event also witnessed another milestone in the history of the Crowne Plaza Kuwait as Hani Kafafi handed over the symbolic key of General Managership of Crowne Plaza Kuwait to its very new General Manager, Ramy Haykal. This was followed with the cutting of the cake to mark a new beginning. Ramy Haykal thanked the owners for having the faith in him to carry the mantle of the General Manager at Crowne Plaza having successfully managed the Holiday Inn Kuwait in the similar position. The evening concluded with a live music band that played soulful compositions throughout the evening amidst great media presence along with a delightful spread of international cuisines representing the Crowne Plaza’s restaurant brands, which the invitees thoroughly enjoyed.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at nnnnnnn


The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kuwait wishes to announce that as of 1 May 2011, the external service provider Al Qabas Assurex is operating a Visa Application Centre in support of the German Embassy. Short-term visa applications for travels to Germany (e.g. for tourism, visits, business) are to be submitted to the service provider Al Qabas who for your convenience will ensure that all relevant documents are included in your application. Your personal appearance at the Application Centre is not required. Address of the Visa Application Centre: Al Qabas Assurex Sanabel Tower (AlBabtain) Mezzanine (M3) opposite Sharq Mall Kuwait 22924444 Fax: 22924442 Further information are available on the following websites: nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF FRANCE The French Embassy in Kuwait will be closed today for the New Year. Best Wishes for the New Year! nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF INDONESIA On the occasion of the New Year holiday, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuwait will be closed on 29 December 2011 and will resume its activities on 2 January 2012. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform the general public that, it will be closed on the Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd January 2012 on the occasion of the New Year. Normal work will resume on Tuesday 3rd January 2012. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has its new office in Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax- 25387719. Email- or nnnnnnn

Awami League Kuwait marks 40TH Victory Day


th December- the Victory Day of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh observed by Kuwait Awami League on 24th December at Carmel school’s auditorium. A large number of people turned up. The function was presided over by the president of Kuwait Awami League Mohd Sadek Hossain while the first part of the whole program was conducted by the secretary of KAL Asrak Ali Ferdous. His Excellency The Ambassador of Bangladesh in Kuwait Sayed Shahed Reza attend the function as chief guest while the Head of Chancery Noor E Helal Saifur Rahman, Labor secretary K M Ali Reza, the general secretary of Kuwait Awami League, and president of the Kuwait Bangladesh Chamber Of Commerce and Industries (KBCCI) Habib ur Rahman

Habib, and Director of KBCCI Jahangir Hossain Patwary were the guests of honor. The function started with the recitation from Holy Quran by president of Bangladesh Ulama league Mawlana Qamaruddin Jalalabadi, followed by one minute silence for those brave freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the motherland targeting to achieve the independent Bangladesh which occurred 16th December 1971. Habibur Rahman Habib delivered his speech focusing the completion of judgment about the war criminal and those who were involved with human right violations during the independence war in 1971.

EMBASSY OF PERU Peruvian Permanent Expo will be temporarily closed from December 2lst 2011 to January 21st 2012. The Expo will reopen on January 22nd 2012 and offer once again “Peruvian Private Gastronomy Tasting Lunches” and much more like Peruvian culture, tourism, trade and great possibilities of investment. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF RUSSIA Embassy of the Russian Federation invites all the Russian residents in Kuwait to visit the Consulate for registration and updating your database. This information is necessary for prompt notice, assistance and warning in case of emergency. The consulate reception hours: 10:00 13:00, Sunday - Wednesday. The Embassy is located in Kuwait City, Daiya, Block 5, Diplomatic campus, Plot 17. Tel: (+965) 22560427, 22560428. Fax: (+965) 22524969, e-mail:, Information also available on the website: nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA On the occasion of the New Year, the Embassy will be closed on Sunday, January 1, 2012. Please note on Thursday, December 29, 2011, working hours will be from 8:00 to 10:00. The Embassy will resume its normal working hours on Monday, January 2, 2012, as follows: Please note that the working hours will be from 8:00 to 16:00 & the Consular Section operation hours will from 8:30 to 12:30.



e niv rsar n

03:35 How Sharks Hunt 04:30 Shark Feeding Frenzy 05:25 Dogs 101 06:20 Animal Cops Phoenix 07:10 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 09:15 Breed All About It 09:40 Talk To The Animals 10:10 Pandamonium 11:05 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:30 Monkey Life 12:00 Crocodile Hunter 12:55 Dogs 101 13:50 Elephants: The Twilight Of The Giants 14:45 Running With Wolves 15:40 Ocean Odyssey 16:35 Feeding Off Nature’s Giant 17:30 Swarm Chasers 18:25 Bondi Vet 18:50 Bondi Vet 19:20 Animal Kingdom 19:45 Animal Kingdom 20:15 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 21:10 Dogs 101 22:05 Shark Attack Survivors 23:00 Wildest India 23:55 Whale Wars

03:10 The Large Family 03:20 Penelope K, By The Way 03:35 Buzz & Tell 03:40 Tweenies 04:00 Charlie and Lola 04:10 The Tale of Jack Frost 04:40 The Large Family 04:50 Penelope K, By The Way 05:05 Buzz & Tell 05:10 Tweenies 05:30 Charlie and Lola 05:40 Balamory 06:00 The Large Family 06:10 Penelope K, By The Way 06:25 Buzz & Tell 06:30 Buzz & Tell 06:35 Tweenies 06:55 Charlie and Lola 07:05 Balamory 07:25 Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost 07:55 Jackanory Junior 08:10 Last Of The Summer Wine 08:45 Doctor Who 09:35 The Weakest Link 10:20 Casualty 11:10 Elephant Diaries 12:00 The Weakest Link 12:45 The Weakest Link 13:35 Doctors 15:35 Doctors 16:05 Doctor Who 16:50 Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost 17:20 Last Of The Summer Wine 17:50 Coast 18:50 Elephant Diaries 19:40 Gracie! 21:00 Sherlock Holmes 22:40 As Time Goes By

03:00 13:55 14:45 15:35 16:30 17:15 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:30 20:50 21:10 22:00 22:55 23:50

Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Celebrity Fantasy Homes Celebrity Fantasy Homes Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix Cash In The Attic USA Cash In The Attic USA Antiques Roadshow Masterchef Masterchef Masterchef

03:05 03:30 03:55 04:00

King Arthur’s Disasters The Scooby Doo Show Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry

04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:15 07:40 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:15 09:40 09:55 10:20 10:45 11:00 23:24 23:30

Popeye The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Pink Panther & Pals Tex Avery Duck Dodgers The Garfield Show The Addams Family Popeye Paddington Bear Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Jelly Jamm Puppy In My Pocket Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Yogi’s Treasure Hunt Tom & Jerry Tom & Jerry Johnny Bravo

03:10 Best Ed 03:35 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Generator Rex 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 05:40 Chowder 05:55 Powerpuff Girls 06:30 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:55 I Am Weasel 07:20 Squirrel Boy 07:45 Cow & Chicken 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:25 Casper’s Scare School 08:55 Angelo Rules 09:05 Eliot Kid 09:30 Chowder 09:55 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 10:20 Adventure Time 10:45 The Amazing World Of Gumball 14:00 Firebreather 15:15 Best Ed 15:40 Chowder 16:05 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 16:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:55 Cow & Chicken 17:20 Adventure Time 17:45 Codename: Kids Next Door 18:10 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 18:35 Generator Rex 19:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:25 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 19:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 20:15 Adventure Time 20:40 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 21:05 Chowder 21:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:55 Cow & Chicken 22:20 Best Ed 22:45 I Am Weasel 23:00 Firebreather

03:00 03:30 04:00 04:15 04:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:15 09:30 10:00 10:15 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00

World Report World Report This Week CNN Marketplace Europe CNN Marketplace Africa African Voices CNN Presents CNN Newsroom The CNN Freedom Project Inside Africa World Sport Road To Durban World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East Talk Asia World Report CNN Marketplace Europe Ireport For CNN World Sport Aiming For Gold African Voices The Best Of Backstory World Report News Special CNN Presents World Report




15:30 The Gateway 15:45 Future Cities 16:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 17:00 State Of The Union With Candy Crowley 18:00 International Desk 18:30 Inside Africa 19:00 Global Exchange 19:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 19:30 Global Exchange 19:45 CNN Marketplace Middle East 20:00 World Sport 20:30 Open Court 21:00 International Desk 21:30 African Voices 22:00 International Desk 22:30 Road To Durban 23:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps

03:00 How Stuff’s Made 03:25 How It’s Made 03:55 How Stuff’s Made 04:20 How It’s Made 04:50 How Stuff’s Made 05:15 How It’s Made 05:40 How Stuff’s Made 06:05 How It’s Made 06:35 How Stuff’s Made 07:00 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior 07:50 Wheeler Dealers 08:45 Carfellas 09:10 South Beach Classics 09:40 Extreme Fishing With Robson Green 10:30 Marley Africa Road Trip 11:25 Coal 12:20 How Stuff’s Made 12:45 Cash Cab Us 14:35 Cash Cab Us 15:05 Cake Boss 16:55 Cake Boss 17:20 Mythbusters 18:15 Coal 19:10 Deadliest Catch 20:05 Gold Rush: Alaska 21:00 Mythbusters 21:55 Curiosity 22:50 Igenius 23:45 Norway Massacre

03:10 Things That Move 06:15 Things That Move 06:40 The Tech Show 07:10 What’s That About? 08:00 Race To Mars 08:55 Head Rush 08:58 Sci-Fi Science 09:25 Weird Connections 09:55 Smash Lab 10:45 Prototype This 11:35 How Stuff’s Made 15:20 How Stuff’s Made 15:45 Head Rush 15:48 Sci-Fi Science 16:15 Weird Connections 16:45 Bang Goes The Theory 17:10 The Gadget Show 17:35 The Gadget Show 18:00 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 18:25 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 18:50 Race To Mars 19:40 Punkin Chunkin 2010 20:30 Robocar 21:20 Mighty Ships 22:10 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 22:35 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 23:00 Punkin Chunkin 2010 23:50 Robocar

03:10 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:25





06:00 Fishy Frisky Business 06:10 Doomed 06:35 Phineas And Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo 07:00 Hide And Seek/That Sinking Feeling 07:20 Rescue Dog 07:25 REKKIT RABBIT 07:50 Something Fishy In Owl Lake 08:05 Things That Make You Go Boom / Kyle Be Back 08:30 Kart To Kart/Kyle 2.0 09:00 KICKIN IT 09:30 You’vE Been Brad’d!/Sleepover 09:55 KICKIN IT 10:20 KICK BUTTOWSKI 10:40 Polar Trappers 10:45 KICKIN IT 11:10 Hand In Hand/Luigi Vendetta 11:35 KICKIN IT 12:00 POKEMON MOVIE: ARCEUS AND THE JEWEL OF LIFE (CEMA) 13:35 Frame Story / And... Action! 14:00 PAIR OF KINGS 14:25 Lizard Whisperer/ Robot Rodeo

14:50 Money Bags 15:10 Double Dribble 15:15 REKKIT RABBIT 15:40 ZEKE & LUTHER 16:05 ZEKE & LUTHER 16:30 Mow Money/Love Stinks 16:55 Interview With A Platypus/Tip Of The Day 17:15 On Ice 17:20 Rank Of Awesome/ A Very Buttowski Mother’s Day 17:45 Something About Fiona/Tickled Pink 18:10 Mellowbrook Drift/ Gift Of Wacky 18:35 Flea Brains/Menace The Dennis 19:00 Trash Talking/Over The Radar 19:25 Morning Rush / A Fistful Of Ice Cream 19:50 Nuff Said/Rhymes With Coop 20:15 Braking The Grade /Abandon Friendship! 20:40 Bringin‚Äô The Heat/The Three Arrghs 21:05 Down The Drain/9 To 5 To Oblivion 21:30 Photography 21:55 Greece Lightning / Leave The Busting To Us 22:20 Crack That Whip / The Best Lazy Day Ever

03:15 E! Investigates 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Then And Now 05:30 Wildest TV Show Moments 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Extreme Close-Up 09:45 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 10:40 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 15:00 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 15:30 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:55 Behind The Scenes 17:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 19:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:25 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 22:25 E! News 23:25 The Soup 23:55 Chelsea Lately

03:05 Ghost Lab 03:50 A Haunting 04:40 A Haunting 05:25 On The Case With Paula Zahn 06:15 Disappeared 07:10 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 08:00 FBI Files 08:50 Forensic Detectives 09:40 Murder Shift 10:25 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 11:10 Real Emergency Calls 11:35 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 11:55 On The Case With Paula Zahn 12:40 Disappeared 13:25 Murder Shift 14:15 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 15:00 Real Emergency Calls 15:25 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 15:50 On The Case With Paula Zahn 16:35 Disappeared 17:20 Forensic Detectives 18:10 Murder Shift 19:00 FBI Files 19:45 Real Emergency Calls 20:10 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 20:55 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 21:20 On The Case With Paula Zahn 22:10 Disappeared 23:00 Nightmare Next Door 23:50 I Faked My Own Death

03:00 Going Bush 03:30 Bob Ballard Specials 03:30 Going Bush 04:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 04:30 Britain’s Underworld 04:30 Destination Extreme 05:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 05:30 Fight Science 06:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 06:30 Blowdown 07:00 Word of Mouth 07:30 Food School 07:30 Which Way To 08:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 08:30 Killer Dragons 09:00 Going Bush 09:30 Dogtown 09:30 Going Bush 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 10:30 Destination Extreme 10:30 Eye of The Leopard 11:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 12:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 12:30 Britain’s Underworld 13:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 13:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 13:30 Rescue Ink 14:00 Exploring The Vine 14:30 Dogtown 14:30 Weird & Wonderful Hotels 15:00 Bondi Rescue 15:30 Banged Up Abroad 15:30 Which Way To 16:30 Banged Up Abroad 16:30 Inside 17:30 Destination Extreme 17:30 Dogtown 18:00 Travel Madness 18:30 Apocalypse: The Second World War 18:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 19:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 19:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 19:30 Quest For The Megafish of The Amazon 20:00 Exploring The Vine 20:30 Inside 20:30 Weird & Wonderful Hotels 21:00 Bondi Rescue 21:30 Ancient Megastructures 21:30 Banged Up Abroad

LOVE THE BEAST ON OSN CINEMA 22:30 22:30 23:30 23:30

Banged Up Abroad Taboo Destination Extreme Naked Science

04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 15:45 18:00 20:00 22:00

Kalifornia-18 You Got Served-PG15 Phone Booth-PG15 Rocky IV-PG15 The Warlords-PG15 Phone Booth-PG15 The Karate Kid I-PG15 The Warlords-PG15 Maximum Risk-18 Madso’s War-PG15

03:15 Love The Beast-PG 05:00 The Lizzie McGuire Movie-PG 06:45 The Great Debaters-PG15 09:00 The Eclipse-PG15 11:00 My Dog Tulip-PG15 13:00 The Social Network-PG15 15:15 Desperate Hours: An Amber Alert-PG15 17:00 16 To Life-PG15 19:00 The Losers-PG15 21:00 Prom-PG15 23:00 Jackass 3.5-R

03:00 Raising Hope 03:30 2 Broke Girls 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Raising Hope 09:30 30 Rock 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Will And Grace 13:00 Melissa And Joey 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 14:00 2 Broke Girls 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 30 Rock 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Happy Endings 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 Parks And Recreation 20:00 Mad Love 20:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Mad Love

03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Breakout Kings White Collar The View Good Morning America The Cape Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Persons Unknown Breakout Kings The Cape C.S.I. Miami Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Body Of Proof Unforgettable Pan Am Top Gear (US) White Collar

03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30

C.S.I. Miami Breakout Kings The Chicago Code Drop Dead Diva Modern Family Coronation Street Kojak Top Gear (UK) Breakout Kings C.S.I. Miami Modern Family Coronation Street

13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Kojak Drop Dead Diva Modern Family Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Body Of Proof Unforgettable Pan Am Top Gear (US) The Chicago Code

03:15 Kalifornia-18 05:15 Wrong Turn At Tahoe-18 07:00 Tracker-PG15 09:00 Batman: Under The Red Hood-PG 11:00 Raising Cain-PG15 13:00 Altitude-PG15 15:00 Batman: Under The Red Hood-PG 17:00 Rocky-PG15 19:00 Blood And Bone-18 21:00 Madso’s War-PG15 23:00 Dead Snow-PG15

04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

Charlie & Boots-PG15 Indian Summer-PG15 Cats & Dogs-PG All’s Faire In Love-PG 12 Men Of Christmas-PG15 One Fine Day-PG15 The Open Road-PG15 Dance Flick-18 Rag Tale-18 How High-18

03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:15 15:30 17:15 19:00 21:00 23:00

Dick Tracy-PG15 Fireflies In The Garden-PG15 Shipwrecked-PG Leaving Normal-PG15 The Blind Side-PG15 Lost In Space-PG15 Return To Rajapur-PG15 Moon Over Parador-PG15 Adieu Gary-PG15 Chelsea On The Rocks-18 Shampoo-18

03:00 05:00 06:30 09:00 11:15 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Catch That Kid-PG Freestyle (2010)-PG15 Iron Man 2-PG15 Glorious 39-PG15 My Sassy Girl-PG15 Mystery Men-PG15 The Green Hornet-PG15 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World-18 Defendor-PG15 Kick-Ass-18 Super-18

04:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 06:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 08:15 Tom Tom & Nana-FAM 10:00 Barbie: Princess Charm School-PG15 12:00 The Amazing Zorro-FAM 14:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 16:00 Dork Hunters And The Pirates Of Tortuga Island-PG15 18:00 Barbie: Princess Charm School-PG15 20:00 Gold Diggers: The Secret Of Bear Mountain-PG 22:00 The Amazing Zorro-FAM

03:45 The Bounty Hunter-PG15 06:00 Saved!-PG15 08:00 Remember Me-PG15 10:00 Citizen Jane-PG 12:00 The Bounty Hunter-PG15 14:00 How To Go Out On A Date In Queens-PG15 16:00 Winnie The Pooh-FAM 17:30 City Of Life-PG15 20:00 Sundays At Tiffany’s-PG15 22:00 Animal Kingdom-PG15

05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00

WWE SmackDown WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line RWC Tournament Highlights

11:00 Live Cricket Twenty20 14:00 WWE Smack Down 16:00 UFC 141 19:00 Cricket Twenty20 22:00 Aquabikes 22:30 Live PDC World Darts Championship

04:30 Scottish Premier League 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 Trans World Sport 08:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 08:30 World Hockey 09:00 European Senior Tour Highlights 10:00 ICC Cricket World 10:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 11:00 Live Cricket Twenty20 14:00 PDC World Darts Championship 17:00 PDC World Darts Championship 20:00 ICC Cricket World 20:30 Trans World Sport 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:30 Live PDC World Darts Championship

04:30 Scottish Premier League 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 PDC World Darts Championship 10:00 PDC World Darts Championship 13:00 World Cup of Pool 14:00 World Pool Masters 15:00 US Bass Fishing 16:00 Cricket International Twenty20 20:00 Live Pro 12 Celtic League 22:00 ICC Cricket World 22:30 Trans World Sport 23:30 Pro 12 Celtic League

05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 15:30 16:00 17:00 18:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line WWE Smackdown WWE Experience WWE This Week Powerboats WWE This Week WWE Experience WWE Bottom Line WWE SmackDown UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed UFC 141

04:00 Two Weeks In Another TownPG 05:45 Lady L-PG 07:30 TCM Presents Under The...-PG 08:00 36 Hours-PG 09:55 All The Fine Young CannibalsPG 11:50 Captain Blood-FAM 13:45 They Died With Their Boots On-FAM 16:00 Gone With The Wind-PG 19:35 Edward, My Son-PG 21:25 Billy The Kid-PG 23:00 The Night Of The Iguana

03:00 04:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Cities Of The Underworld Angels And Demons Decoded Nostradamus Effect Decoding The Past Ancient Monster Hunters Cities Of The Underworld Angels And Demons Decoded Nostradamus Effect Decoding The Past Ancient Monster Hunters Cities Of The Underworld Angels And Demons Decoded Nostradamus Effect Decoding The Past American Pickers American Pickers American Pickers American Pickers

Classifieds SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2012



Arrival Flights on Sunday 1/1/2012 Flt Route



1109 6708 185 154 267 539 1405 620 772 853 138 370 612 67 305 642 211 544 170 201 555 529 157 412 206 53 352 302 332 676 855 125 132 301 55 603 213 203 3555 6801 165 310 404 341 382 610 201 941 945 672 219 744 774 57 982 140 745 500 640 123 788 284 257 550 134 561 213 303 857 215 510 270 3564 127 777 227 2706 177 8067 63 542 787 786 618 674 166 102 562 1790 61 989 572 1784 647 405 939 1407 512 372 81 402 217 136 859 172 135 502 981 678 239 981 389 636

0:01 0:10 0:20 0:35 0:45 0:50 0:55 1:45 2:15 2:35 2:40 2:55 3:00 3:05 3:10 3:10 3:15 4:40 5:15 5:30 6:00 6:20 6:40 6:45 7:40 7:45 7:50 7:55 8:05 8:10 8:30 9:00 9:05 9:15 9:20 9:40 9:55 10:30 10:45 11:10 11:20 11:45 11:55 12:35 12:45 12:55 13:00 13:05 13:10 13:20 13:25 13:25 13:45 13:50 14:05 14:20 14:25 14:30 14:40 14:45 14:50 15:00 15:00 15:15 15:25 16:10 16:45 16:50 16:55 17:15 17:20 17:30 17:35 17:40 17:45 18:00 18:05 18:15 18:30 18:40 18:50 19:05 19:10 19:15 19:25 19:30 19:35 19:50 19:50 20:00 20:05 20:10 20:10 20:15 20:30 20:35 20:50 20:55 21:00 21:15 21:20 21:25 21:35 21:40 21:45 21:55 22:00 22:05 22:05 22:45 23:00 23:35 23:50




Time 0:40 0:45 0:45 0:50 1:00 1:20 1:55 1:55 2:40 2:45 3:15 3:30 3:30 3:45 3:50 3:55 4:00 4:00 4:55 6:55 7:00 7:10 7:30 8:25 8:40 8:55 9:00 9:00 9:05 9:25 9:30 9:35 9:40 9:45 10:00 10:00 10:05 10:10 10:25 10:40 10:40 10:45 11:25 11:25 11:45 12:00 12:10 12:15 12:30 12:50 12:55 13:35 13:40 13:50 13:50 13:55 14:10 14:20 14:35 14:45 14:55 15:00 15:05 15:10 15:20 15:25 15:25 15:35 15:45 15:50 15:50 16:15 16:25 16:30 17:15 17:35 17:40 17:45 18:10 18:15 18:20 18:25 18:35 18:45 19:05 19:05 19:10 19:15 19:20 19:55 20:20 20:40 21:00 21:05 21:05 21:10 21:15 21:35 21:50 21:55 22:00 22:20 22:25 22:30 22:35 22:45 22:45 22:50 23:00 23:30 23:35 23:45 23:55 23:59

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available for a single person in a fully furnished C-A/C building, in Farwaniya near Burger King with kitchen & parking facilities, if interested please contact: 99038601. (C 3803) 1-1-2012 Sharing accommodation available for two decent executive Muslim bachelor in Sharq near Amiri Hospital. Contact: 55238110 or New super deluxe apartment in Al-Fintas, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room with parquet floor, parking spaces. Furnished KD 360 per month, unfurnished KD 260 per month, rent covers internet service. Tel: 50167793, 55919978. Wanted villa for a foreign family. South Surra, Salwa, Bayan, Mishrif, Rumaithiya, Jabriya, Yarmouk, and all internal area. 66653402 Wanted villa for a small foreign family in Aqaila, Mangaf, Fintas, Abu Al-Hasaniya, Maseila, Qurain and internal areas. 66653402 Wanted a one floor flat, in South Surra, Jabriya and Surra, Yarmouk, Salwa, Shamiya and all internal areas. (3) months payment. 66653402 27-12-2011 Spacious single room attached with wardrobe available for executive Indian bachelor or couple, C-A/C flat in Kuwait City. Contact: 65707726. (C 3798) 26-12-2011 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya with Indian family separate room with separate bathroom available, preferred single or 2 working ladies or small family from India. Contact: 99509436. (C 3795) One furnished room accommodation available for a decent Indian bachelor immediately in a CAC 2 bedroom flat with Indian family at Salmiya near Indian Community School, with Internet 24x7, rent KD 65. Contact: 97237934, 25658475. (C 3796)

FOR SALE Chalet for sale at Almohana in Khieran. Contact: 66352426. 30-12-2011 Toyota Corolla 2009, white color, 77,000 km, Excellent condition, Price KD 3,150/-. Contact: 66729295. (C 3800) Underground Gold discovery device. New type, works by direct photography at a depth of 20 meters, determines the type, depth and size. Already tried with guarantee. 66145558 A farm in Abdaly, covering 50 thousand meters squared, one street. Fenced with chicken wire, workers residence + electricity + treated water. 55555235 Electric generator 3700 Watts, Astra brand, 2011 model, 1st grade Chinese made + pressure and gas gauges + 2 sockets, smooth noise, yellow, new in a carton. Price KD 85. 60066891 27-12-2011

SITUATION VACANT Required cook for house, good experience, all kinds of food, professional cook, good salary + good accommodation + Air ticket, full time & part time. Contact: 23901053 / 55828597. (C 3802) 28-12-2011

TRANSORT Ready to transport employees for all areas and all times. Payment in advance. 66678633 27-12-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Orsu Vijaya Laxmi, holder of Indian Passport No. F1883273 hereby change my name to ORUCHU VIJAYAMMA. (C 3804) 1-1-2012 I, Mohamad Quaid s/o Baquar Contractor, holder

of Indian Passport No. Z1479667 change my name to Mohamad Quaid Baquar Contractor for all purposes. (C 3799) 27-12-2011

SITUATION WANTED Young girl, Physiotherapy B.P.T; (India) M.Sc (UK) degree is looking for job. Currently residing in Kuwait with 2 years Dependent Visa. Please call: 66330570. (C 3797) 26-12-2011


Mathematics teacher, Intermediate and secondar y Exams models, Easy method, Exams from past years with solutions. 97301901 English teacher (3) years experience, looking for a job and ready to start with all educational stages. 55963993 Mathematics teacher for Universities, Institutions, Foreign Schools, Administrative, American, English, Australian, Bahrain, Electric and Gulf Sciences, Algbra Prel, Mathematics, intermediate, gmat, sat college, math98, 110 pre calculus geometry. 97619261 Senior Biology teacher for secondary stage. Biology for University students and foreign schools, sciences of intermediate stage and 10th grade physics. A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291 A Syrian Arabic Language teacher. Masters, for secondary, intermediate, religious institution, universities, and establishment of the elementary stage using the Aleppo method “the alphabet then the word”. 50513599 Islamic education teacher for elementary and inter-

mediate stages. Experienced in Kuwait curricula. Easy explanation, and summary of the subject, training for exams. 66292985 Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in following learning difficulties, and those weak in reading and writing. 97264100 Female senior Mathematics teacher with more that 30 years experience in Kuwait, to teach secondary, intermediate and elementary stages. Religious and applied, communications and navigation institutions, special courses and secretariat institution. 97926737 Computer teacher for secondary and intermediate. Practical on laptop, power point projects, front page, visual basic data, universities and applied institutions. 50603063 27-12-2011

FOR RENT A park in Wafra animal pens, very clean, over an area of 2500m, very large fenced yard in front (5) rooms, saloons, separate diwaniyas and swimming pool, fountain, children games tent. 94426116 For rent in Farwaniya, basement 700m, car parking. 66920123 Flat in Maidan Hawally, one room, living room, bathroom, super deluxe finished kitchen, outstanding location. Rent KD 195. Foreigners and expatriates only. Central satellite, C-A/C and boiler. 66980123 A floor in Dasman, 300m, outstanding location, on main street can be sued by lawyer, consultations, clinics, health club, saloon, workshop, training center. 66980123 For rent in Salmiya, an apartment 3 rooms + 2 baths + saloon + swimming pool + DSL + Gym + Security + children games + other features. Rent start from KD 475. Foreigners and expats only. 66297171


s ta rs CROSSWORD 544



STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) You are mentally alert and ready to achieve and accomplish things. You may be very convincing in what you say and think. With all of this emotional energy, you could lecture, teach or represent your company. Being closely involved with another person may well become your highest priority. Your career direction gets some real focus and life’s problems seem easy to solve. You may find yourself benefiting from conversations with an older individual or someone in authority. Marriage contracts and partnerships are seen as a means of success and happiness. The most unusual people are attracted to you at this time. Show the world you have character and good taste. Lots of good news pours in at the same time. Get ready . . . company is coming.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A bachelor's degree in naval science. 4. Attach a yoke or harness to, as of a draft animal. 10. The portion of the vertebrate nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord. 13. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 14. Small genus of Eurasian herbs. 15. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 16. Any of various edible seeds of plants of the family Leguminosae. 18. An informal term for a father. 20. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 21. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 22. A religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery. 25. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 27. Type genus of the Caviidae. 29. The capital and largest city of Equatorial Guinea on the island of Bioko in the Gulf of Guinea. 32. The trait of lacking restraint or control. 35. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 36. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 37. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 38. Widely known and esteemed. 41. A conversation between two persons. 43. An anti-TNF compound (trade name Arava) that is given orally. 44. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 45. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 46. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 47. A town in north central Oklahoma. 49. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event. 51. The act of scanning. 54. Not divisible by two. 56. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 59. An accidental happening. 63. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 64. The compass point that is one point south of due west. 65. Small to medium-sized evergreen shrubs of southern Europe and North Africa. 66. Government agency created in 1974 to license and regulate nuclear power plants. 67. How long something has existed. 68. Small dry indehiscent fruit with the seed distinct from the fruit wall. 69. Hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland (trade name Pitressin) and also by nerve endings in the hypothalamus. DOWN 1. A small cake leavened with yeast. 2. French physicist noted for research on magnetism (born in 1904). 3. A narcotic that is considered a hard drug. 4. A class of proteins produced in lymph tissue in vertebrates and that function as antibodies in the immune response. 5. A beta-adrenergic blocking agent (trade name Corgard) that is used to treat hypertension and angina. 6. Block consisting of a thick piece of something. 7. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 8. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 9. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 10. Being ten more than one hundred forty. 11. Medium-sized tree having glossy lanceolate leaves. 12. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 17. A quantity of no importance. 19. A swift whirling motion (usually of a missile). 23. Reprehensible acquisitiveness. 24. Relating to the deepest parts of the ocean (below 6000 meters). 26. A port city in southwestern Iran. 28. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 30. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 31. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 33. A slender double-reed instrument. 34. Kamarupan languages spoken in northeastern India and western Burma. 39. Divisible by two. 40. Offensively discourteous. 42. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 48. Containing or involving or occurring in the form of ions. 49. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 50. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 51. Of or relating to the stomach and intestines. 52. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 53. A domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church. 55. The specified day of the month. 57. Any of a group of Indic languages spoken in Kashmir and eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. 58. (of persons) Highest in rank or authority or office. 60. Fiddler crabs. 61. A large cask especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 butts or 252 gals. 62. The compass point midway between east and southeast.

Yesterday’s Solution

This is a good day to clean off your desk. Stick to the routine tasks and avoid starting something new for now. Mental endeavors are favored and you may find yourself technically involved in some problem-solving situation with a coworker. Loved ones, children and other people are emphasized in your life this afternoon. A shopping trip with a young person may be in order. This could mean a pair of new shoes for each of you. There may be opportunities to join friends and have a meal together or be entertained later this evening. It is important to be around close friends and relatives. Confiding your true feelings to those you genuinely care about is a good idea during this time. You truly appreciate friends and family and will show them gratitude.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You are most practical when it comes to dealing and working with others. You work hard at developing a system for getting things organized as a sense of ambition and commonsense is practiced. All lines of communication should be open to you at this time and you should feel particularly in touch and in rapport with others. Now is a time when you can probably expect a little push in the right direction and some sort of positive recognition from those around you. Needing and wanting to be respected is an emotionally charged issue at this time and could be one of your motivating factors. You are called on to show off your talents this evening and you could find yourself in some sort of entertainment arena or piano bar; you are encouraged.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You could be flexing your independence today, as well as getting right in the middle of anything that is new, unusual or different. Get organized and pour your effort into the most important priorities. You may just relish getting away from the old tried and true routine this afternoon or you could work to set your sails in another direction—towards change. Community activities fascinate you. Look beyond the surface meanings for the insights you seek at this time. Responsibilities and outside commitments demand your attention. Your presence is beneficial and comforting to others. Tonight is a good time to update your checkbook, pay bills and look at ways in which you could take on a new financial strategy.

Leo (July 23-August 22)


Correct choices and deciding which path is best, may be at odds with your sense of value. You may not rate highly the easy way or clear-cut option and may choose instead a more difficult path for your life experiences and lessons. There is a continued accent on your career. You may receive a challenging new assignment or job offer at this time. Your personality is valuable in business dealings. Friendships and involvement in group activities play a more important part in your life. Being able to communicate and get your message across to others is very important to you. Your timing should be perfect and those around you should find you most expressive. You could find yourself enjoying the support that is given to you at this time.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You should be feeling really good about making your own way and discovering solutions to whatever problems you have. The good life and all that is fine and pleasurable may be what you value most just now. Expressing yourself comes quite naturally and works very well with your thoughts and ideas. Others will follow your lead at this time due to your power of persuasion. Expect a gratifying conversation between someone about whom you care deeply—a healing takes place. Some nice compliment may reach you today in the form of flattery on your preferences or personal effects. It should be a breeze to enjoy and find value in your own life circumstances. You feel especially good-hearted toward a friend or loved one this evening.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Today has every indication of being your day—you may find it particularly easy to express yourself. You appear very relaxed. Being able to understand those around you could create opportunities for you to be the go-between for problem-solving situations, if you want. You know how to give others encouragement, even when there seems to be no possible way. There is a sense of support and harmony from your co-workers and family, making this a happy time. These people could have a big impact on your goals and make a huge impression. Gathering and exchanging information becomes paramount now. Expect a mentally and socially active period. Getting your personal affairs organized will help you along in your career path.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find it easy to read people and that should give you a better understanding and sensitivity to their needs, which in turn will put you in a position to communicate concerning groups and the community in general. Interacting with those in your neighborhood as well as your family helps to placate a big emotional need. Making sure you are understood when you speak is an important issue to you just now. You will, however, have no problem in convincing others of new projects or particular ideas—you just naturally have a talent for conversing with those around you. You will find it necessary to be out and about gathering new information to share with others. A pleasant conversation will ensue with loved ones tonight.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) There could be some challenges to the things that you value or your good taste. You may also find it hard to be supportive of others at this time. This is not really the most appropriate time to shop, choose colors, etc. You may not find much assistance for your specific tastes and values. Your mind is expeditious and sharp and your words will be the only tool you will need at this time. You understand your emotions and energy and can talk about your feelings with great assurance. Those around you may find you particularly witty and eccentric at this time. You may have understanding or breakthroughs with regard to your living situation or life circumstances. Others place importance on your independence and unique qualities.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Deep and penetrating discussions and investigative conversations could find you at your mental finest. Your perceptive abilities are at a high point. You have no problem in getting your thoughts and ideas across to other people at this time—good communication. An interest in charities or volunteering comes to your attention again and again. Self-sacrifice can be noble if the cause is worthy; otherwise, it can be a terrible waste. Now is the time to be sure which is which. You have the ability to know where to draw the line and now is the time to make those decisions and turn them into goals. An unexpected turn of events could be profitable this evening. Before you get the check you have spent the money in your mind—spend wisely.

Yesterday’s Solution Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Because of your ability to be conservative, as well as thorough, someone may come to you with a proposal to take charge of some project requiring a conservative mind. You work through the business madness like no other person. Clear thoughts and answers are available to you and it is easy to see why higher-ups would call on you to help in a difficult job or in a deadline situation. You may tend to be somewhat of a loner this afternoon and find the simple life much more appealing. Hoopla and fanfare is just not your cup of tea. Perhaps all that rushing about during the day has created the need to find a quiet atmosphere for the evening. A loved one is most comforting this evening and the two of you may enjoy a long after-dinner stroll.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

You may find it difficult to buckle down to your more routine duties this day. You could find yourself in a rather dreamy kind of mood. Perhaps a poem has been running around in your mind and you want to finish it. As a new life phase begins for you, satisfaction could be coming from your work, health or a creative venture. These things may lead to love and a new self-image if you will stick with them. If you have not taken a creative writing course, now might be a good time to consider it. It should be easy for you to enjoy and value your own life situation, or to feel particularly kind towards a friend or loved one. Someone may compliment you on your talents and the way that you handle yourself. Your domestic life is in a good place: harmony.



e niv rsar n



i n f o r m at i o n























Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh











Amiri Hospital




Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Ministry of Interior website: For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128

Hospitals Sabah Hospital

POLICE STATION Al-Madena Police Station Al-Murqab Police Station Al-Daiya Police Station Al-Fayha’a Police Station Al-Qadissiya Police Station Al-Nugra Police Station Al-Salmiya Police Station Al-Dasma Police Station

Clinics Rabiya














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb












22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988








Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241

Kuwait Airways Jazeera Airways Jet Airways FlyDubai Qatar Airways KLM Air Slovakia Olympic Airways Royal Jordanian Reservation British Airways Air France Emirates Air India Sri Lanka Airlines Egypt Air Swiss Air Saudia Middle East Airlines Lufthansa PIA Alitalia Balkan Airlines Bangladesh Airlines Czech Airlines Indian Airlines Oman Air Turkish Airlines Aeroflot

171 177 22924455 22414400 22423888 22425747 22434940 22420002/9 22418064/5/6 22433388 22425635 22430224 22921555 22438184 22424444 22421578 22421516 22426306 22423073 22422493 22421044 22414427 22416474 22452977/8 22417901/ 2433141 22456700 22958787 22453820/1 22404838/9

PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Mousa Khadada Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688




Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Ph.D. 2290-1677 Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg, M.A. 2290-1677


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso



Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123


William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antiga Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands

0093 00355 00213 00376 00244 001264 001268 0054 00374 0061 0043 001242 00973 00880 001246 00375 0032 00501 00229 001441 00975 00591 00387 00267 0055 00673 00359 00226 00257 00855 00237 001 00238 001345

Central African Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Cyprus (Northern) Czech Republic Denmark Diego Garcia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England (UK) Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia

00236 00235 0056 0086 0057 00269 00242 00682 00506 00385 0053 00357 0090392 00420 0045 00246 00253 001767 001809 00593 0020 00503 0044 00240 00291 00372 00251 00500 00298 00679 00358 0033 00594 00689



LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Princess Beatrice leads Bon Jovi sing-along he 23-year-old British royal went to the bash at exclusive London nightspot Barts, in Chelsea, dressed as an elf and after she and her four friends drank some glasses of wine and cider, she proceeded to jump onto the bar and start dancing. A source told The Sun newspaper: “It was quite a sight. The DJ was playing the Bon Jovi song ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and Beatrice start-


Gavin Rossdaleis proud of Daisy Lowe s career he Bush singer - who was the model’s godfather before he was revealed to be her biological dad when he took a paternity test in 2004 - is glad of how well Daisy has done in life and tries to see her as


ed conducting the punters with her hands. She was really getting into it and everyone was singing along.” Although Beatrice - whose parents are Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson - came dressed as an elf she eventually ditched her costume and changed into regular clothes to enjoy the rest of the night and according to one fellow reveller she had a “brilliant

time”. Barts bar is a popular hangout with friends of the Royal Family and is owned by Charles Gilkes, who is an acquaintance of Prince William’s wife Duchess Catherine.

Hanson find maintaining their relationship as brothers challenging

much as he can. The 46-year-old musician who fathered Daisy after a brief relationship with singer/songwriter Pearl Lowe exclusively told BANG Showbiz: “I see Daisy whenever I can. She’s done so well, she’s an amazing girl. I’m very proud of her career.” Gavin - who also has two sons, Kingston, five, and three-year-old Zuma with his wife Gwen Stefani -takes a “relaxed” approach to parenting, and he wasn’t concerned when Daisy recently posed naked in an edition of racy men’s magazine Playboy. He added: “The Playboy pictures were nothing really to do with me, I’m just there to support her when she needs me and look out for her. She’s an adult. “I’m a pretty relaxed person, and that is reflected in my parenting style, too. I like my kids to express themselves and do what they want.”

he Oklahoma-based band made up of brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson explained while they share a “passion for music”, working together for the past 20 years has encountered its “awkward” moments. Isaac exclusively told BANG Showbiz: “There are plenty of challenges. But we share a passion for music and an appreciation for one another’s skills and things they add to the band and so on. “And so I think, at the end of the day, despite the fact that yes, it can be challenging and awkward because you spend so much time around each other, but we get along pretty good mostly because we have shared goals and shared passion for music.” However, Issac admitted as he’s never been in a group with anyone apart from his siblings, he can’t say whether it would be “less awkward” with someone else. He added: “I think it would be a lie to say that I have perspective because I’ve never been in a band with someone that wasn’t my brothers. So I’m not so sure I can speak to you about whether or not it would be less awkward with someone else. But what I will say is that relationships are challenging.” Hanson’s album ‘Shout It Out’ is out now.


Pittwants to make good movies he ‘Moneyball’ actor believes it doesn’t matter if a film doesn’t win top awards when it is released, as the key to a good project is one that ages well and will stand the test of time. He said:


“Filmmaking is about longevity. Is it a quality picture? A quality story? Is there something original about it? The thing we miss the most is the degree of difficulty, like in ‘The Tree Of Life’. “Just to aim for something like that - I think there’s a quiet victory in the degree of difficulty there beyond what’s going to be in the record books as the best picture of the year. “Films that I’ve loved doing like ‘Jesse James’ and ‘The Tree of Life’, they’re ‘fine wine’ pictures they’ll age well. They’ve got legs.” Brad doesn’t like to take risks in his career but believes he has made “smart” choices with his movie projects. He said: “I think of, say, Cary Grant who made a career of doing similar things all the time, and I love him every time I see him, but it’s not for me. My choices have been smart, not risky.”

Clarkson believes TV shows encourage artist development he ‘Mr Know It All’ hitmaker, who won ‘American Idol’ in 2002, believes it is tougher for singers to crack the music industry in a traditional way, but by going on shows such as ‘The X Factor’ they are given the opportunity to learn a lot in a short space of time. She told BANG Showbiz: “There’s no money in music now, so if an artist comes in and they don’t hit it right away then that’s it. So, there’s not really artist development in that. “But with talent shows, whether it be ‘X-Factor’, ‘American Idol’ or ‘Pop Idol’ or ‘The Voice’, you’re learning from the judges, and the mentors and yourself every week, so I think it’s just another form of artist development, in a contemporary way.” The 29-year-old singer thinks people need to accept singers and groups from talent shows dominating charts worldwide because it is tougher for record labels due to the rise of the internet. She added: “I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing that these artists are in the charts a lot. “I think it’s just the way it is right now. Everybody’s struggling because of the internet, downloading and nobody’s making as much money as they used to so I think artists development at labels has really just diminished.” Kelly’s latest album ‘Stronger’ is out now.


Jeff Bridges suffers from reverse vanity he Oscar-winning actor believes getting older helps him feel better about his looks and he has learned to “let go” and not be concerned about age. He said: “As you get older, there’s maybe some-


thing like a reverse vanity, where you just let your age go and not be concerned about it.” The 62-year-old star believes working on the movie ‘Tron: Legacy’, a follow-up to 1982 film ‘Tron’, taught him how to be a leading man after years in the shadows. He said: “I’d never done a film before where I had to be on set all day and every day. I’ve always been the supporting actor trying to write his role bigger.” However, the film’s director Joseph Kosinski thinks Jeff is the only person who could take on the role because he “grounds” it. He said: “You really need an actor like Jeff. Especially in a film like this where you’re going to this other world. “You need something that grounds it in the centre and when you see Jeff Bridges walk on screen it just pulls the movie together in the way that only a great actor can.”

Will Youngachieved everything he wanted to in 2011 he ‘Come On’ hitmaker makes a list of targets at the beginning of each year, and looking back over the last 12 months, he is pleased to have accomplished almost everything. He said: “I’m a big list maker, so I make a list of stuff I want to do, personally and work wise, and it works because it helps you focus. “I wanted to do French lessons and I haven’t, that was my big thing. And I wanted to do a cooking course, but apart from that, I’ve done everything else this year. “I minimize my lists, sometimes I put things on there like ‘breathe’, so I can tick it off... No, I’ve achieved everything else I wanted to this year, personally and professionally.” Will has already began compiling his list for 2012 and has set


himself a lot of professional targets. Asked what is on his list for next year, he said: “Cooking course. The French lessons have been a bit sidelined, I was getting a bit too much like a retired person. “I want to do more dancing, the dance show that I go on and on and on about wanting to do. Some more acting. Possibly a classical record but I don’t think I’ll have time, depending on other things. And a bit of a travel.” While he makes lists each year, Will insists he doesn’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. He said: “I don’t see it as new year, new start, if you’re going to do something, do it.”



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Zapotec Indians recreate village fiesta in California group of Zapotec Indian women dug a hole with their hands, building an oven out of mud to roast hot peppers, garlic and onions in the backyard of their home in Central California. At dawn, they cooked enough thick, chocolaty sauce - called mole negro - to feed hundreds of farmworkers who would stream in from across California and as far as Washington and Oregon to celebrate St. John the Evangelist, the patron saint of a Mexican village more than 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) away. Zapotecs who worked in California once travelled back home to Coatecas Altas and other villages in Oaxaca to attend these fiestas. But as border security tightened and illegal crossings turned expensive and dangerous, many of them found a way to honor their saint stateside, in the small farmworker town of Madera. For the third year in a row, Zapotecs gathered in Madera in the days after Christmas, cooking and eating mole, building an altar, parading giant papermache dolls and dancing into the night to brass bands belching out traditional chilenas. The fiesta takes place over several days, simultaneously with that in Oaxaca. “This is about community service, about coming together to help and support each other,” said Alfredo Hernandez, a volunteer from Madera who helped organize the celebration. “It’s important for us not to lose our culture. And since we can’t go back, we do it here.” Zapotec is one of the two largest linguistic Indian groups in Oaxaca, and its people are among the newest wave of US migrant workers. In California, an estimated 30 percent of farmworkers are now indigenous, according to the US Labor Department. In Oaxaca, the Zapotecs lived for more than 2,000 years cultivating corn and beans, adhering to a practice of mandatory community service and specializing in crafts. Tucked in the mountains, Coatecas Altas known for intricate baskets and mats hand-woven out of wild palm leaves. But over the past few decades, their way of life collapsed. Facing an economic crisis in their country, a flood of cheap American corn brought about by the free trade agreement and declining government support for small farmers, Zapotecs began to migrate for better opportunities, said Sara Lara Flores, a sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who has studied Zapotec migration. Those who moved north of the border prior to the 1980s settled mainly in Los Angeles, but the past decade saw Zapotecs streaming into rural Central California to work in the fields. Juan Santiago, a student at California State University in Fresno, started the fiesta in Madera to help organize his community. Santiago, 23, came to the United States with his mother when he was 11, joining his farmworker father and four brothers in Madera. He is the first member of his family to graduate from high school and go to college. Life in California poses tremendous challenges to his people, Santiago said. In Madera, where 77 percent of the 61,000 residents are Hispanic, the Zapotecs have faced a double language barrier with English and Spanish, and experienced a double culture shock. Many of area’s 5,000 Zapotecs are young people who lack basic education and live in poverty, having few job options without legal immigration documents, Santiago said. In the fields, Indians often get paid less than other Latinos. Three years ago, Santiago organized the Zapotecs’ first community assembly in Madera and was elected its president. One of his first orders of business was to transplant the practice of community service. That volunteer work, he said, gives young people something productive and positive to do and encourages leadership. Community work is key to the survival of the migrants, Flores said. “This celebration allows for the ties of solidarity and mutual help that characterize indigenous people to be reinforced,” she said. “It helps them face the atmosphere of hostility and intolerance that many encounter.” The fiesta, which included a run from Fresno to Madera and a basketball tournament, also promotes the Zapotec culture and language among the youngest generations, which are quickly becoming Americanized, Santiago said. On the day of the fiesta, after attending mass, more than 1,000 Zapotecs crammed into a rental hall at the Madera Fairgrounds. They prayed, lit candles and placed bouquets of flowers before a mobile altar of St. John the Evangelist, made to look just like the one in Coatecas Altas. Giant paper mache dolls danced under a ceiling filled with papel picado, colorful wafer-thin paper banners hand-cut into elaborate designs. Platefuls of mole and cups of tepache, a fermented pineapple drink, were handed out to the crowd. At the end, in a special ceremony, Santiago and fellow committee members passed four ceremonial staffs to newly elected committee members and volunteers, who will continue the tradition of community service for the next three years. —AP


Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays a creation made with 250 small flags of different countries reading “Happy New Year 2012” on new year’s eve in Amritsar yesterday. —AFP

Florida was weird as only it can be in 2011 id you hear about the giant Lego man that washed up on Siesta Key beach? What about the man who walked into a bar, ordered a beer and disappeared for 30 minutes to rob a bank, only to return and finish his drink? Or how about the puzzling story of the baby grand piano that showed up on a sandbar near Miami? That’s Florida, where weird is an everyday event. Over the past year, a 92-year-old woman fired four shots at a neighbor who refused to kiss her, a Delray Beach man cut off a piece of a dead whale that washed ashore - planning to eat it - and an 8-year-old girl gave her teacher some marijuana and said: “This is some of my mom’s weed.” The piano was a mystery for about a month. On Jan 1, 2011, the charred instrument showed up on a Biscayne Bay sandbar, a couple hundred yards from shore. A 16-year-old student eventually admitted he put it there as part of an art project. A day after it was removed, someone set up a table with two chairs, place settings and a bottle of wine. It’s still not clear how the 100-pound, 8foot-tall (2.5-meter-tall) Lego man washed ashore. The local tourism bureau hoped to use Lego man to promote the area, but the man who found it has placed a claim on it. He can keep it if the owner doesn’t collect it before early next year. As for the bar-bank robber, he was arrested at his watering hole, not too long after the holdup. Author Tim


Dorsey, whose novels include Florida strangeness both real and fantasy, said the state is an odd place because of its diverse, highly transient population. “There’s pockets of strangeness all over the country, but here it’s a baseline lifestyle. There, it’s the aberration. There, it’s the tail end of the bell curve. Here, it’s the peak of the bell curve,” Dorsey said. Young people made up a large part of the peculiar tales. In Palm Beach County, an elementary school teacher opened an end-of-the-year gift from an 8-year-old student’s grandmother and found toiletries and a loaded handgun. A Tampa woman upset with her 15-year-old son’s bad grades forced him to stand on a street corner with a sign that read: “Honk if I need an education.” A 15-year-old Florida Keys girl who is a big fan of the “Twilight” books and movies was afraid that her mother would get upset by the bite marks her boyfriend gave her after they acted out her vampire fantasy. She made up a story about being attacked; doubtful investigators got her to tell the truth. Deputies arrested an 18-month-old’s father after they found the man passed out in his mobile home while the toddler was in the yard picking up beer cans and drinking them. Pasco County deputies said a woman walked into a bank with a 3-year-old boy and

robbed it. A homeless man held up a Tampa bank, fled on a city bus and handed out stolen cash to passengers. And while he didn’t rob it, an unhappy Palm Coast bank customer left quite a deposit. He urinated in a drive-thru bank tube and drove off. Animals always account for a fair share of odd news. At the Miami airport, a Brazilian trying to get through security was caught with several baby pythons and tortoise hatchlings in his underwear. A woman found a 7-foot (2.1meter) alligator in her bathroom, and a man stored his dead cougar in a freezer. In northcentral Florida, an Ocala ice cream shop got rid of its costumed mascot - a waving vanilla cone - because passers-by kept mistaking him for a hooded Ku Klux Klansman. In unusual crime stories, two managers of a Lake City Domino’s Pizza were charged with burning down a rival Papa John’s as a way to increase business. Two deaf men using sign language were stabbed at a Hallandale Beach bar when another costumer thought they were flashing gang signs. And finally, a North Naples man who was pulled over for a traffic violation called emergency services and reported a shooting nearby to get out of a ticket. He still got a ticket and was also charged with making a false emergency services call. —AP

This Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011 file photo provided by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, shows a 100-pound, 8-foot-tall statue made to look like a Lego man that was found on Siesta Key beach in Sarasota, Fla, Tuesday morning. —AP

South Korean girl group T-ara pose for the media for the 2011 MBC Korean Music Festival in Gwangmyeong, south of Seoul, South Korea yesterday. —AP

Couple of South African leopards on Malawi mission he leopards won’t like that!” jokes ranger Fyson Suwedi as his pick-up truck rattles along the bumpy road that leads from the airstrip to Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve. In the back are the two special passengers, transported by plane from South Africa across 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on a mission to repopulate the Majete. The leopards-a male and a femalehave behaved during the journey to their new home, where they will hopefully reproduce. Proclaimed in 1955, the Majete reserve suffered extensive poaching which severely depleted its animals’ numbers. But a conservation group took over management after a 2003 deal with Malawi’s government. Since then over 2,500 antelopes, elephants, buffalo and rhino have been reintroduced. This leopard operation’s twosome were caught in rural South Africa after their hunting spree


A sedated leopard lies in a cage before its transfer to Malawi in Hoedspruit, as part of an animal repopulation project between South Africa and Malawian nature reserves. —AFP

wreaked havoc on farmers’ ostrich populations. At the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in northeast South Africa, where the leopards spent a few weeks before the move to Malawi, the morning of their journey they are quickly sedated, inoculated against rabies and cat flu, washed, and put into cages. A few volunteers from the centreactually tourists who pay to work with the exotic animals-are helping the operation. “The male is 22 months old and the female 17. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait a year or two before they can reproduce,” explains Brian Jones, the wildlife rehab’s director. But head veterinarian Andre Uys believes the felines are older, as much as five years for the male and two for his future companion. After the leopards are moved into their separate cages the journey can finally begin. The first stop is a

nearby airfield, then an hour’s flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, where the last administrative details need to be tied up. All the paperwork however was not ready on time even though the African Parks Network, the non-governmental organisation that runs Majete, started the process seven months ago. “We cannot afford any further delay because the animals are going to cook (in their cages). It’s hot in here,” an impatient Uys says on his cellphone. A whole range of documents is needed to transport the animals out of the country: both veterinary services and customs’ environmental protection management have to authorise the move. Then the operation needs the stamp of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international animal trade policing body.

But finally the Cessna airplane takes off from Nelspruit, only four hours behind schedule. Flying over western Mozambique, three-and-a-halfhours later it touches down on the private runway of a sugar factory near Majete. The last papers are signed, and the two cages are loaded onto the pickup truck for the last stretch to the reserve. The leopards have been awake for a while now and are calm, though they growl at each other from time to time. “They shouldn’t have been fed yesterday. They should have been starving to travel,” says Uys regretfully. Usually leopards respond better to the drugs if they do not eat before traveling, but these two had a rabbit “snack” for dinner the previous evening. At the reserve the endangered big cats are freed at last, but kept apart in enclosures. “They are under stress. If they were released together

now they would kill each other,” says Uys. This will be their home until mid-January while they recuperate from the journey. When they are set free after that, they’ll probably hang around the area for another week, then take off to explore the 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of their new domain. Each wears a collar that sends a satellite signal so park officials can track their movements. Perhaps they will meet the other two leopards from South Africa that were released in October. And more big cats are coming. Next July, lions will arrive in Malawi to do their bit to repopulate the Majete reserve. —AFP



Buddhist Thais, background, apply holy water on the statues of Lord Buddha for their luck as part of a New Year celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. —AP

Hefner, Playboy ready for their next chapters O

n the second floor of the Playboy Mansion, beyond the seemingly endless hallway lined with photos of the famous folks who have visited the legendary party playground, is a narrow staircase that leads to a small loft. “LOCK DOOR,” signed “Hef,” reads a handmade note tacked to the loft’s tiny entrance. “Excuse me if I sit?” asks Hugh Hefner, ever the gentleman as he leads a reporter into the cramped room that has only one chair. “I’ve got a bad hip.” Here in this modest space is where Hefner keeps a detailed record of his life that spans more than 2,500 volumes and counting - a Guinness world record for a personal scrapbook collection. Every Saturday, the 85-year-old founder of Playboy magazine spends a few hours scrapbooking - a hobby he began in 1943 with cartoons he drew of himself and his high-school classmates. Those doodles were “probably just a way of creating a world of my own to share with my friends,” Hefner says, seated amid the archives of his life in, yes, his trademark silk pajamas and bathrobe. “And in retrospect, in thinking about it, it’s not a whole lot different than creating the magazine.” As the new year begins and Playboy approaches its 60th birthday, Hefner intends to continue working on the magazine, his scrapbooks and a Hollywood movie about his life. “That’s alive again,” he says of the biopic idea that’s been bandied about for decades. Though 2011 wasn’t entirely kind to the man or the brand - Hefner’s 24-year-old fiancee called off their engagement days before their June wedding and NBC’s “The Playboy Club” was the first

fall T V casualty, canceled after just three episodes - Hefner is optimistic about what’s next, personally and professionally. “Retirement is unthinkable to me,” he says. “The future is bright and very exciting and I’m looking forward to playing a part in it.” Hef - his preferred nickname since his teens- has been a media force since he published the first issue of Playboy in 1953 and he remains the figurehead of the empire he created. Although Playboy Enterprises named Scott Flanders its chief executive in 2009, Hefner continues to serve as editorin-chief of the magazine, choosing the cover models and centerfolds and editing the cartoons, letters and party jokes. Even Hefner is at a loss to explain the enduring appeal of Playboy, which has spawned and outlasted so many imitators, but he speculates that it “has to do with the quality of the publication and the fact that we were saying things that were important then and now.” The current issue, which features the much-touted nude pictorial of Lindsay Lohan, includes articles about Occupy Wall Street and Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, along with an excerpt from Elmore Leonard’s latest novel and, of course, those photo spreads. It’s impossible to separate Hefner from the notion of busty young beauties and the whole clothing-optional, life’s-a-party, I-work-in-pajamas thing. But such an image belies a thoughtful man who deeply values his contributions to “the social-sexual changes of my time,” yet whose orderly persona seems tame compared to the celebrities of today’s tabloid scene. A longtime supporter of the First Amendment, Hefner was

In this Oct 13, 2011 photo, American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, Hugh Hefner poses for a photograph at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif. —AP an early advocate of civil rights and reproductive rights, and he’s championed personal liberties in print. “It’s very clear that Playboy was instrumental in the sexual revolution,” he says. “We were making a case for the irrational sexual values that we had back then, and making a case for the sexual revolution back in the years immediately before it became a reality, and doing it in a forum that was very influential.” Hefner was opening the Playboy Club in London in 1966 when he realized the sexual revolution was well under way. “The miniskirt had

Bonham Carter and golf prodigy McIlroy lead British honors


In a file picture taken on February 27, 2011 British actress Helena Bonham Carter arrives on the red carpet for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. —AFP

scar-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter and golf prodigy Rory McIlroy led the list of recipients of Britain’s New Year’s honors yesterday. Bonham Carter received a CBE, or Commander of the Order of the British Empire award-one step below a knighthood-after the most successful year of her career, capped by her performance in “The King’s Speech”, the hit film about the stammering king George VI. She dedicated the honor to her father, who spent the last years of his life severely disabled after an operation to remove a brain tumor went wrong, and joked that it could lead to changes at home. “I am wondering, does it mean I get to command? Because at the moment it’s my fouryear-old daughter who does the commanding in our household. Must inform her of the change in situation,” she said. McIlroy, who this year became the youngest US Open champion for 88 years at the age of 22, became an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire. “Many people on the honours list have made huge personal sacrifices and contributed significantly to society during their lives,” McIlroy said. “I feel very fortunate to be in their company.” He is joined by fellow Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke, who was a popular winner of the British Open in 2011, five years after his wife died of breast cancer. He was awarded an OBE, the officer rank which comes between the MBE and the upper CBE. As Britain prepares to welcome the Olympics to London in 2012, there is a strong sporting flavour to the honours list. Nigel Mansell, who won the Formula One motor racing world crown in 1992, gets a CBE for his charity work helping children and young people. Veteran cricket umpire Dickie Bird was given an OBE, while there was an MBE for Scottish rugby union player Chris Paterson-who retired from the game in 2011 after winning a record 109 caps for his country.

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, the Russian-born 2010 Nobel Prize-winning professors of physics at the University of Manchester in northwest England, were awarded knighthoods. From the world of showbusiness, veteran comedian Ronnie Corbett, the surviving half of “The Two Ronnies”, receives a CBE for services to entertainment and charity. Clive James, the Australianborn author, broadcaster and critic, was also awarded a CBE. In the year that Apple founder Steve Jobs died, the company’s British-born designer Jonathan Ive was knighted with a KBE (Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire) for his work in shaping the look of the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone. Two big names behind television formats that have spread around the world Peter Bazalgette of Endemol, the company behind “Big Brother”, and Paul Smith, of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” creator Celador-also won honours. Criminal convictions generally exclude people from receiving gongs. However, Gerald Ronson, 72, the man who brought self-service petrol stations to Britain in the 1960s, was awarded a CBE for services to charity despite being convicted for his role in the Guinness affair over 20 years ago. Ronson, the uncle of music producer Mark Ronson, was convicted in 1990 for his involvement in the share-trading scandal. He served six months of a one-year jail sentence, but bounced back to become a property tycoon. Alex Crawford, the Sky News television reporter who achieved fame by reporting from the war-torn streets of Libya in 2011, said she was surprised to have been awarded an OBE. “I am staggered and honored and can’t quite believe this is not a prank thought up by one of my more mischievous colleagues,” she said. Honors lists are produced twice a year, at New Year and to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday in June. —AFP

just arrived, sex was in the air and gaming, gambling had just become legal in the clubs,” he recalls. “I had been writing the Playboy Philosophy for a couple years, and I felt that week in London that I was looking at the future.” That’s when Hefner took his practice of the Playboy lifestyle to a new level. He opened more and more Playboy clubs, launched a T V show in Los Angeles and bought a private jet, dubbed the Big Bunny, to shuttle him back and forth from Playboy’s headquarters in Chicago to the West

Coast. He bought five and a half acres in the posh Holmby Hills neighborhood next to Beverly Hills and, as he puts it, “jumped into the swimming pool.” He was slowed by a stroke in 1985 as well as the conservative values that dominated during the Reagan era. Hefner married his 1989 Playmate of the Year, Kimberly Conrad, in July of that year. Son Marston was born a year later and Cooper was born in 1991. Hefner and Conrad separated in 1998 but remained married until their sons turned 18. They divorced in 2010. Playboy’s print circulation is now down to 1.5 million and its readership skews older than in its heyday. Although not a major moneymaker, Hugh Hefner insists the magazine remains “the heart and soul of the company.” Still, the real future of Playboy - which Hefner took private in 2011 after 40 years of public ownership - is in brand licensing for merchandise and clubs, says CEO Flanders, noting that the one billion dollarsplus the licensing generates annually dwarfs the company’s media profits. Cooper Hefner agrees updated Playboy Clubs can play a big part in wooing a more youthful following, but he believes cinema projects such as Playboy’s new short-film contest and his father’s big-screen biopic can also help lure a younger demographic. The original playboy isn’t bashful about wanting to see his own colorful life on the big screen. Previous attempts at screenplays of his story read “as if they were doing a piece on someone who’s already gone,” Hefner says, offering a rare acknowledgement of his own mortality. “But you’ve got the guy here. There isn’t a great mystery. I can point where the bodies are and how to do it.” — AP

For a player of toy pianos, the music is grand


s a classically trained pianist, Phyllis Chen knew her way around a grand piano from a young age. But then she saw her first toy piano-and life took on a whole new dimension. Toy pianos are childsize, some no bigger than a music box. And while they might be in the shape of a grand, they can be picked up by one person, possibly even by one hand. Chen, though, realized the little instrument’s outsize potential and before long she was joining the thin, but growing ranks of a toy piano subculture. Her first encounter with this odd instrument was at a puppet theater in Chicago. The mini piano was a set piece, in scale to the characters of the show. Then Chen, 33, walked up to it and played a note. “I just touched the key and I just fell in love with the sound right away,” she says. She was 21 at the time and already something of an experimenter. For example, she was a fan of “prepared piano,” which involves placing objects inside the body of the piano to change its sound. The toy piano, with its quirky look and percussive, chiming tone, was a revelation. “This can spark the imagination for people in a lot of different ways,” she says. “It’s an unassuming instrument. In a way, it’s like a found object.” Toy pianos, also known as kinderklaviers, or children’s keyboards, have been around in their present form since the late 19th century. Albert Schoenhut, a German immigrant to Philadelphia who founded the famous toy piano manufacturer that bears his name, built his first model using child-resistant metal rather than the glass parts found in earlier toy pianos in 1872. Children are the most obvious users of these tiny instruments. In the Peanuts comic strip, Schroeder is often pictured seated at a toy piano. But they’re becoming increasingly popular with musically adventurous adults. Chen guesses maybe 20 professional musicians perform on the toy piano as part of

This 2009 handout photo shows composer Phyllis Chen with one of her miniature pianos in Plainfield, Indiana. As a classically trained pianist, Phyllis Chen knew her way around a grand piano from a young age. —AFP their contemporary music-making. Others use it in for movies and indie bands. While parents and grandparents are still big customers, “orders from professionals have been pouring in,” says Renee Trinca, who owns Schoenhut with her husband, Len. Chen, who composes and is a founding member of the ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), has also helped to promote the instrument. The UnCaged Toy Piano composition competition she founded became a full-fledged festival this year with three concerts in Manhattan. There, pianists like Margaret Leng Tan, Takuji Kawai and Chen herself tickled the mini ivories-actually plastic keys-for listeners who frequently smiled with delight. —AFP



Kim K gets $600,000 for Vegas hosting duties


etractors may slug New Year’s Eve as “amateur night”, but for celebs and the pop culture industry, it’s a professional night on the clock. While Jay-Z, Kanye West and Coldplay headlined the opening of the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas a year ago, one of the big draws this year is Kim Kardashian at TAO inside the Venetian. TAO is paying the reality mogul $600,000 for a series of appearances beginning on New Year’s Eve, according to multiple reports. This year, Kardashian filmed several scenes for her E! reality show inside the club. Having a good time on New Year’s Eve doesn’t come cheap- for the bookers. The average New Year’s Eve fee for relevant talent is $100,000,” Jack Colton, a Las Vegas nightlife expert and creator of the popular nightlife website, told TheWrap. “An A-List celebrity moves up to $250,000, and for a major grab can go as high as $1 million. Your Lady Gaga’s and Jay-Zs would be considered major grabs,” Colton said. “It’s a talent arms race, especially in bigger cities,” added publicist Melissa Berger, whose clients include frequently booked “Dancing With the Stars” coach Karina Smirnoff. “It’s like ‘Who are

you’ if you don’t have someone like Deadmau5 on New Year ’s Eve,” adds talent manager Mike Petolino. Of course, it’s not always about money. For some talent, like Kardashian, it’s a question of performing in their favorite place. Breakout DJ and producer Kaskade told TheWrap at November’s “Twilight” premiere that his favorite U.S. venue is Marquee (inside Las Vegas’ Cosmopolitan). Yesterday night, he’ll be commanding $250 a ticket for his performance there. For other celebs, a highly promoted appearance is a professional calling card to corporate America. “When you go to Vegas, you want to be on the same radar as venues that have Jay-Z hosting the weekend after you,” says Berger. “It sets a dynamic, and could even show brands and businesses that the talent is a good fit to be a part of their company.” Then there’s the plain old visibility factor. Black Eyed Peas front woman Fergie, to quote one of her own songs, “just can’t get enough.” After a 2011 that included monster promotional appearances on the Super Bowl halftime show, “American Idol” and countless award shows, Fergie takes on one last gig as she opens the Las Vegas outpost of 1 OAK at the Mirage. In a

In this Sept 21, 2011 file photo, Kim Kardashian appears at Bloomingdale’s to promote her Belle Noel jewelry line in New York. —AP

two-for-one booking, husband Josh Duhamel is expected by her side. Across the strip, Axl Rose and the latest incarnation of Guns ‘N Roses will play the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. And coasting on his “Dancing With the Stars” fame, brother Rob Kardashian hosts at Tryst inside the Wynn, with ticket prices starting $175, lower than his sister’s $225 opening price at TAO. Even those who cover celebrity news are cashing in. “Extra” host Mario Lopez plays hooky from L.A. outdoor mall “The Grove” (where he tapes “Extra”) to headline “Big Bang NYE” at another outdoor mall complex, Hollywood and Highland. Tom Cruise’s son Connor, who’s recently started accepting publicity heavy red carpet gigs as “DJ C-Squared,” is a late addition to the performing talent at that L.A. bash. As for the party patrons who shell out for the experience, it comes down to the Facebook effect-sharing the experience in real-time or the day after online, a promotional windfall for all involved. “Even a picture from a distance or to hear a celeb you see in magazines speaking on the microphone, you can say ‘I was there!”“ says Berger.— (

5 favorite Meryl Streep performances In this Dec 7, 2011 photo, Don Aslett, founder of the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Idaho, demonstrates an interactive window washing exhibit. The museum, which took six years to assemble at a cost of about $6 million, marked its grand opening.—AP

Idaho man’s Museum of Clean ready to shine D

on Aslett may be more than a half century into his fight against dirt and clutter, but he still can’t take a stroll without bending to pick up litter from the sidewalk. As a child, he can remember cringing at the site of spilled coffee grounds and in high school, finding it strange the other boys didn’t like to clean their rooms. Even now at the age of 76, his battle against grit and grime has yet to relent. Those who may not understand his devotion, he reasons, have likely never felt the satisfaction of making a toilet bowl shine. “I’ll tell you, clean is a hard sell,” said Aslett, who has written 37 books on the topic and founded a janitorial business with branches in most states and Canada. While mothers may threaten their kids with having to clean their rooms as punishment, Aslett knew he was different from an early age. “I love to clean,” he said with a shrug. And now, he has a six-story shrine dedicated to his craft - the Museum of Clean - that recently opened to the public in southeastern Idaho. Among the exhibits: A horse-drawn vacuum dating back to 1902; a collection of several hundred pre-electric vacuum cleaners; a Civil Warera operating table; a 1,600-year-old bronze pick that was used to clean teeth, and an antique Amish foot bath. If visitors grow weary while touring the building with its estimated 6,000 historical cleaning devices, they can take a seat on chairs fashioned

out of garbage bins, a claw foot bathtub and a washing machine from 1945. There’s also an 88seat theater, an art gallery, and a gift shop with cleaning kits for kids priced at $9.95 and plush toys in the shape of germs. Aslett’s most prized possession - a 2,000 year old terra cotta water vessel used by the Romans to wash up- is not quite ready for display and kept locked in a filing cabinet. The idea for the project came several years ago, when Aslett came upon an old pre-electric sweeper vacuum at a Detroit museum. “I thought, well there’s horse museums, cow museums, train museums, plane museums. Why not a clean museum?” Aslett said. He started his collection with an old pump vacuum he purchased for about $250 and tracked down more items at antique stores, while others were donated. He soon had enough for a display at his office in downtown Pocatello. “I found out something interesting, people are into cars and food and sports,” Aslett said. “Cleaning is way down on the list. But If you took something as dull as cleaning and made it humorous, then cleaning goes to the top.” Aslett started public speaking and writing cleaning handbooks with titles such as: “Is there Life after Housework?” and “Clutter’s Last Stand.” His personal monikers have included the Dean of Clean, the Sultan of Shine and, who could ever forget, Don Juan of the John. He was featured in People Magazine. He’s

also been on Oprah. At one point, he started carrying a fiberglass toilet as a suitcase because he felt that was the symbol of his trade. He also enjoyed the suspense of his fellow travelers as they waited by the baggage carousel to see who would claim it. As his cleaning business thrived, so did the cleaning tool collection. Things got serious when he found a Boston collector with 230 pre-electric vacuums he was willing to sell for $300,000. “After I got that collection, I found out that I needed a lot more room,” Aslett said. “I thought, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to leave a real legacy.” Over the years, as the museum missed several expected starts, but Aslett stood firm in his belief: “When you hear Pocatello, you’re going to think clean.” He was quick to dismiss a website survey this year that ranked Pocatello among the dirtiest cities in the United States based on online sales of cleaning products. “That’s like saying Pocatello has the most ugly women in the world because we buy the least makeup,” he said. The museum, which took six years to assemble at a cost of about $6 million, marked its grand opening last month. Tickets cost $5 per person or $15 for a family. Inside, the history of clean begins to the right, with a giant model of Noah’s Ark, a reference to the worldwide cleaning of Biblical proportions. To the left are interactive exhibits aimed at teaching kids how to properly make their bed, clean their room, sweep and recycle. —AP

Nepali girls confined by stigma and superstition S

araswati Biswokarma sits in the dark, rearranging the threadbare cotton sheet and straw bed she is forced to sleep on before bringing her knees up to her chest with a shiver. It is already mid-morning but she has not been allowed out of the airless brick shed where she has spent every night for the past week. The 13year-old was effectively banished to the shedbarely big enough to stand or lie down in-where she must experience her first period alone in a traumatic ordeal. “I’ve been here eight nights so I have one left,” she says with a nervous smile. “It’s not nice here, it’s scary and I felt very alone on the first night. I was so scared.” Saraswati’s isolation is part of a centuries-old Hindu ritual known as chhaupadi that has been blamed for prolonged depression and even deaths in remote, impoverished western Nepal. Under the practice, women are prohibited from participating in normal family activities during menstruation and after childbirth, and can have no contact with men of the household. “I’m not allowed to touch any cattle or go inside our house. I have to stay in the shed and

when my mother calls I have to wait nearby the house with a plate so she can give me food,” Saraswati says. She is also barred from consuming dairy products or meat or taking a bath. Even looking in the mirror is frowned upon. The practice stems from the belief that when women have periods they are impure and will bring bad luck on a whole family if they stay in the house and will contaminate anything they touch. In 2005, the government, in line with a Supreme Court order, enacted a law abolishing chhaupadi but enforcement has been minimal or non-existent. Saraswati’s shelter, known as a chhaupadi goth, looks like a miniature cow shed, with a dirt floor and no windows or running water. In January last year, two women were found dead in chhaupadi goths in the remote district of Achham after temperatures dropped to 30F (-1C). In another case, a 15-year-old died of diarrhoea contracted while sleeping in a shed. Chandrakala Nepali, 17, is preparing for her fifth night in her goth. Her parents went to Mumbai to find work two years ago, leaving her and four younger siblings to live with relatives in

a house high up in the hills an hour’s walk from Mangalsen, the main town in Achham. “During the day I’m allowed out but only to work in the jungle, collecting firewood,” she says, sweeping the dark, cold hut, which is barely big enough to lie down in. “I’m not allowed to walk on the same road as the cattle and I’m not allowed to be with my family for seven days. To eat, I sit outside the house and they bring me food on a plate. “When I’m alone in the shed I feel scared. There are insects and I’m afraid of snakes coming in.” Chandrakala says that if she has daughters she would never force chhaupadi on them. But few women are prepared to challenge the status quo, and many continue the ritual for fear of community disapproval or out of religious belief. Pashupati Kuwar, 30, lives with her five children in Budhakot, a small hamlet high in the hills. Her husband is away, working in the Indian city of Pune, while her in-laws died several years ago, but Kuwar still observes chhaupadi. “I don’t touch any cattle for five days. I sleep on straw. Most of the day I go out but I go back to the shed to sleep,” she said. —AFP


ow do you choose the best Meryl Streep performances? It’s like trying to decide what kind of ice cream is best - it’s pretty much always going to be great, and while there may be a couple flavors you don’t like as much, you’re never going to say no to ice cream. Usually, you’ll actively seek it out, and you’ll be glad you did.

“acting.” She lets loose, takes chances and genuinely seems to be enjoying herself. She’s smack in the middle of writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze’s giddy, trippy funhouse, playing writer Susan Orlean, whose book “The Orchid Thief” stumped the real-life Kaufman (in real life and as played by Nicolas Cage) when it came time for him to turn it into a screenplay. Susan herself is fascinated with an orchid breeder played by an Oscar-winning Chris Cooper. While she’s a serious author full of insecurities at the film’s start - she doesn’t know how to feel passionately about anything - the way she eventually chooses to seize upon pleasure and love is disarming.

“The Devil Wears Prada” (2006): Streep is just withering here. That monologue about the significance of the color cerulean alone makes this movie worth watching. But the entire performance is a delightful reminder that, when given the chance, she can be a master of biting comedy. As Miranda Priestly, a towering, Anna Wintourstyle fashion magazine This undated file photo provided by 20th Century editor, Streep could have been a cartoony caricature Fox, shows Meryl Streep, playing Miranda Priestly, a capricious and fear-inspiring fashion editor, in the of high style and low manners. Instead, Streep finds film,”The Devil Wears Prada.” —AP the subtlety within her character ’s cruelty and That tortured metaphor helps set up brilliantly brings her to life. She steals the an analysis of Streep’s staggeringly entire thing away from young Anne esteemed career, with her latest transfor- Hathaway, who has the benefit of youth mative wonder - her portrayal of former and Patricia Field as her costume designer British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and who is, theoretically, the star. in “The Iron Lady” - in theaters this week“Mamma Mia!” (2008): end. Weirdly, Streep finds herself in the This may seem like a weird choice. It role of sentimental favorite as a potential Oscar nominee; while she has more nomi- did for Streep, as well. But while this nations than any other actor or actress in ABBA-palooza can be cringe-inducing, Academy Awards history with 16, she has- Streep is just radiant. “Adaptation.” sugn’t won since “Sophie’s Choice” nearly 30 gested what it looks like when she gets a little goofy, but here we finally get a years ago. So instead of choosing her “best” per- chance to see her let loose entirely, and formances, I’ll go with my five favorites. she’s clearly having a blast. Watching the woman who is considered the greatest Dig in: actress of our time writhing around in overalls on top of a barn or belting out “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979): It’s a supporting role, one which numbers in a sparkly, spandex jumpsuit earned her the first of her two Academy and platform boots is a hoot. Streep was a fan of the Broadway Awards - the film won five Oscars total, including best picture - but she is com- show, which is obvious. And as she’d pletely in control of every scene in which demonstrated in bits and pieces in previshe appears. This and “The Deer Hunter” ous films - including Robert Altman’s “A provided early glimpses of the greatness Prairie Home Companion” - she really can to come, but here she’s in the tricky posi- sing. We’re still searching for that elusive tion of playing someone we should hate thing Streep doesn’t do well. —AP from the start: a housewife who walks out on her workaholic husband (Dustin Hoffman) and their young son (Justin Henry). As a wife and mother of a little boy myself now, it seems unfathomable. But Streep turns a character who could have been a monster into a fully realized woman with needs and complexities, and somehow makes her a sympathetic figure. “Sophie’s Choice” (1982): The accent, the agony: This performance set the standard for Streep’s wholly convincing immersive abilities, and it earned her the Academy Award for best actress. As a beautiful Polish refugee with a haunting secret, Streep is both beguiling and heartbreaking. This is a largerthan-life figure from William Styron’s novel but Streep makes her tantalizingly real in delicate ways. And the moment when she has to make the choice of the film’s title is just devastating. That’s partly because of the matter-of-fact way it’s shot and edited, but mainly it’s because of her reaction - the vivid transformation she undergoes within just a few minutes. “Adaptation.” (2002): What makes this performance so irresistible is that Streep isn’t so obviously

In this image released by Universal Pictures, Meryl Streep is shown in a scene from, “Mamma Mia!.” — AP

Kim K gets $600,000 for Vegas hosting duties



A kaleidoscope of fireworks designed by Marc Newson explode over the Sydney Opera House (L) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge yesterday. Over one and a half million Sydneysiders lined the harbour vantage points to watch the spectacular pyrotechnic display ushering in the New Year. —AFP

New Year cheer starts early in time-jumping Samoa


heers erupted in the streets of Samoa on Sunday as New Year’s Eve revelers on the South Pacific island nation greeted the start of 2012 with extra excitement: For once, they were the first in the world to welcome the new year, rather than the last. The celebrations had really begun a full 24 hours earlier, when Samoa and neighboring Tokelau hopped across the international date line, skipping Friday and moving instantly from Thursday to Saturday. The time-jump revelry that began as 12:01 am on Dec 31 spilled into the night, with Samoans and tourists crowding around beaches and pools to toast the start of the new year. Samoa and Tokelau lie near the date line that zigzags vertically through the Pacific Ocean, and both sets of islands decided to realign themselves this year from the Americas side of the line to the Asia side, to be more in tune with key trading partners. “Everyone is happy right now,” said Mao Visita, who was celebrating the beginning of the new year at the popular Aggie Grey’s hotel in the capital, Apia. “The party is still going on with plenty of music.” Things were slightly less festive in New Zealand, the next major country to welcome 2012, where torrential rains and thunderstorms canceled fireworks displays in the capital, Wellington, the North Island city of Palmerston North and at the popular Mount Maunganui beach area. Aucklanders had better luck, with thousands crowding the city to watch a glittering fireworks display over Sky Tower. Elsewhere across the globe, people prepared to say goodbye to a year that was marked by upheaval and mass protests in several Arab countries, economic turmoil and a seemingly endless string of devastating natural disasters. World leaders evoked the year’s events in their New Year’s messages. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who starts his second term on New Year’s Day, said he wants to help ensure and sustain the moves toward democracy protesters sought in the Arab Spring. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the new year would be more difficult than 2011 but that dealing with Europe’s debt crisis would bring the countries closer. Prime

Minister Vladimir Putin wished well-being and prosperity to all Russians “regardless of their political persuasion” after large-scale protests against him. In Australia, more than a million people were crowded along the shores of Sydney’s shimmering harbor, awaiting the midnight fireworks extravaganza over Harbour Bridge. The display was designed around the theme “Time to Dream,” a nod to the eagerness many felt at moving forward after the rough year. Some of the fireworks were expected to explode in the shape of clouds - “Because every cloud has a silver lining,” said Aneurin Coffey, the producer of Sydney’s festivities. Colorful lights will be beamed onto the center of the bridge forming an “endless rainbow” meant to evoke hope. Many were eager for a fresh start. “I’ve had enough this

year,” said 68-year-old Sandra Cameron, who lost nearly everything she owned when her home in Australia’s Queensland state was flooded to the ceiling during a cyclone in February. “It’s gotta be a better year next year.” For Japan, 2011 was the year the nation was struck by a giant tsunami and earthquake that left an entire coastline destroyed, nearly 20,000 people dead or missing and the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in meltdown. At the year’s end, many were reflecting on the fragility of life, while quietly determined to recover. “For me, the biggest thing that defined this year was the disaster in March,” said Miku Sano, 28, a nursing student in Fukushima city. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to these people, who had to fight sickness while living in fear about ever being able to go back home. The radiation levels in the

In this Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011 photo, a post office official shows memorial postage stamps featuring the phrase “into the future,” marking the date line switch in Apia, Samoa. When the clock struck midnight Thursday, the country skipped over Friday and moved 24 hours ahead, straight into Saturday, Dec. 31. —AP

Brand, Perry to divorce R

Singer Katy Perry arrives with her husband comedian Russell Brand for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in this February 13, 2011 file photo. —AFP

ussell Brand is divorcing Katy Perry after 14 months of what appeared to be a storybook marriage. “Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage,” Brand said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Friday. “I’ll always adore her and I know we’ll remain friends.” Brand, 36, offered no other details, but in papers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the British comedian cited irreconcilable differences. He and the 27-year-old pop singer were married in October 2010 at a resort inside a tiger reserve in India, and their mutual affection had become a rather sweet feature of the Hollywood celebrity circuit. The couple announced their engagement in January 2010 after meeting at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where Brand hosted and she performed. The comedian, who once struggled with substance abuse and sex addiction, was effusive about his bride while promoting projects earlier this year, saying marrying Perry has “given me much more strength in what I do.” “For a long while, what I do professionally was all that mattered to me really,” he said in March. “Now I think, well, whatever I do, I’ll just go back to her, and that’s incredibly comforting.”

Perry praised her husband backstage at the 2011 VMAs in August, where she won three awards and he offered a tribute to Amy Winehouse. “I’m proud of him, whatever comes out of his mouth, and sometimes it’s very colorful, right?” Perry said of Brand. “That’s why I married him, because he’s smart and I learn a lot.” Attorneys for Perry, whose name is listed as Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson in the divorce papers, did not respond Friday to calls seeking comment. The Internet had been abuzz recently with rumors about possible trouble for the couple after they were seen during the holidays without their wedding rings. Perry’s run of No 1 singles earned her the distinction of becoming MTV’s first artist of the year earlier this month. She hosted “Saturday Night Live” on Dec 10 and gave no indication the couple was in trouble. Brand’s recent film credits include “Arthur,” “Hop” and “Get Him to the Greek.” He is among the ensemble starring alongside Tom Cruise in “Rock of Ages,” set for release next year. Both Brand and Perry were conspicuously absent Friday from Twitter, where they often shared kind words to each other. —AP

city of Fukushima, where I live, are definitely not low, and we don’t know how that is going to affect our health in the future.” People in Japan were expected to spend yesterday visiting shrines and temples, offering their first prayers for the year. The giant hanging bells at temples will ring 108 times to purify the world of evil and bring good luck. University student Kouichi Takayama said 2011 was a year he would never forget. “It was a year I felt the preciousness of life with a passion,” he said. “But I was also able to catch a glimpse of the warmth of human relations, and reconfirm my gratitude for family, community and everyday life. I hope I can connect meaningfully with more people next year to create a Japan that truly endures toward the future.” In the southern Philippine city of Cagayan de Oro, people were still coping with the aftermath of a tropical storm and flash flooding that killed more than 1,200. For Ana Caneda, a disaster relief official in the badly hit city, the new year “offers a new ray of hope.” “It’s going to be a relief to write the date 2012, not 2011,” Caneda said. In Hong Kong, more than 400,000 people were expected to watch a 4-minute, $1 million display of fireworks that will shoot off from 10 skyscrapers, lighting up Victoria Harbour. Raymond Lo, a master of feng shui - the Chinese art of arranging objects and choosing dates to improve luck - said he wasn’t surprised that 2011 was such a tumultuous year because it was associated with the natural elements of metal and wood. The year’s natural disasters were foreshadowed, Lo said, because wood - which represents trees and nature was attacked by metal. 2012 could be better because it’s associated with ocean water, which represents energy and drive and the washing away of old habits, Lo said. “Big water also means charity, generosity,” Lo said. “Therefore that means sharing. That means maybe the big tycoons will share some of their wealth.” Gelineau reported from Sydney. Associated Press writers Ray Lilley in Wellington, New Zealand, Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines, Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report. — AP

Controversial ‘All-American Muslim’ has its 9/11 moment


controversial reality T V show about Arab Americans tackles 9/11 in its penultimate episode this weekend, with its stars seething anger at Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda for upending their lives. Since it premiered on the TLC cable channel, “AllAmerican Muslim”-the first series of its kind on US television-has lifted a veil on the lives of five middle-class families of Middle Eastern heritage in the Detroit area. But it has been shunned by some big-name advertisers, notably the Lowe’s chain of home improvement superstores, amid pressure from a born-again Christian activist in Florida who claims it has ducked the issue of extremism. When episode seven airs today, that will no longer be the case. It finds glamorous party planner Nina Bazzy lashing out at Bin Laden, slain in a May 2 assault on his Pakistan lair by US commandos: “He ruined it for us. He ruined it for our kids. He made us scared in our own homes.” It sees Wayne County deputy

sheriff Mike Jaafar almost in tears before joining colleagues in solemnly carrying “the beautiful American flag” for a moment of remembrance at a Detroit Tigers baseball game. Nawal Aoude, a medical therapist who was still in high school on September 11, 2001, recalls how her mother was treated by neighbors that day: “They spat at her and kicked her off the porch.” From the Amen family, siblings Bilal and Shadia Amen visit Ground Zero in New York, before going under the needle of tattoo artist Ami James, who in his past life as an Israeli soldier deployed in the Amen family’s native Lebanon. Strolling through Manhattan, Shadia Amen-sporting a “not a terrorist” T-shirtsays of Osama bin Laden: “We don’t claim the guy, and he definitely doesn’t claim us. How the hell do we fall in the Catch22?” “You go over to Lebanon, you’re American,” her brother responds. “You come here, you’re Lebanese. Either way, you don’t fit in.” —AFP

1st Jan 2012  
1st Jan 2012  

Kuwait Times