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Rice in, flower out




Shhhh! Blind sports silence London crowds

Max 44º Min 28º

NO: 15561- Friday, September 7, 2012

Mystery massacre in France

See Page 10

ANNECY, France: Gendarmes and investigators stand at the camp site where the slain British family were holidaying in Saint Jorioz, near Annecy yesterday.— AP


PAWS loses animal home By Ben Garcia


AWS (Protecting Animal Welfare Society Kuwait), an animal shelter established in Kuwait with the virtue of caring and providing home to homeless animals, will cease to exist in two months’ time. The reason? No land and financial support to move the shelter. A few days ago, the land owner of the place they are currently stationed in Kabd gave them two months to vacate the land. “Due to personal reasons of the land owner, we got a very, very short notice to evacuate the shelter in Kabd. Within two months, they told us to vacate the land and we were shocked and desperate and angry at the same time,” admitted Manuela Tague, Chairperson of PAWS posted on their website. “Most of you know what we have done for the animal situation in Kuwait for more than seven years. Most of you know that we rescued over 3,000 animals during that time. Most of you know how hard we have struggled all these years and how hard we fought to continue with our work under very difficult circumstances. Most of you know under which conditions we rescued, saved, treated, sheltered and re-homed dogs, cats, donkeys, birds, horses and camels. Most of you know how stubbornly we provided education and advice in schools and in public to change the conditions for animals in Kuwait,” she said. Many times, PAWS was told to vacate a land which they occupied at their old place in Wafra. But the House of Development was kind and grateful enough to provide a new location in Kabd. “We spent all our savings from the previous years to make this place a new home for our rescued animals. Now we have to move again,” she lamented. Tague said PAWS right now is facing a terrible financial situation and not able to move a whole shelter to another place which they don’t have at this moment. “We relied on the promises of the land owner to be safe for the next few years. A move to another place would cost us minimum KD 12,000 to build up new runs for dogs and cats, to install a sewage

system, install power, and move all the porter cabins as most of them are too old to move again,” she said.

Tague asked if the circumstances prevailing right now could be the end of PAWS. “Was all our work and heart blood for nothing? Will we be the victims of the circumstances here in the state of Kuwait? Will our saved and abandoned animals be victims of a system, which doesn’t provide professional animal welfare in a targeted modern society?” she said. She noted they could be forced to give up, because powerful people change their minds on a daily basis. “Because they don’t care if abused and rescued animals have to be put down in the worst case. Because authorities see us as an annoying group of people who fight for something unnecessary, minor... for animals? I SAY NO! We have the ethical responsibility to continue PAWS’ work!” she said on her blog. “This cannot be the end! But PAWS needs your help so desperately right now; we can’t fight alone, we need people to support us to continue our work! We need a place to go where we are safe, where people understand that dogs and cats are the best friends of human beings, people who understand that we have to respect every creature in this world. We need money in case we find a place to move and give the abandoned and often tortured animals a new home. Right now we’re talking about approximately 100 dogs and more than 80 cats, so long as YOU will come along and adopt them,” she appealed. She said they are ready to fight for animals and shelter “as long as we can, but I beg you to support us with labor work, construction material, financial donations, with advice and most importantly, a place to go,”. For donations visit PAWS website


Kuwait’s my business

I: The ‘people people’ personality By John P Hayes


t my seminars for business-minded people, the most prominent personality after the D (Dominant) is the I (Influencer). However, more popular than any one personality is the D/I combination. In business (especially in the Western world), the D personality rules, but the I - especially the D/I - knows how to get things done in a pleasant way! While the D is a problem solver, and known to be gruff, the I is a people person, and often a people pleaser. The I wants to know who you are and how you are, but in particular the I wants you to know all about him or her! The I is a socializer who often can’t stop talking. When the I wants to get together with you, even for business, he’ll likely say, “I’ll meet you at the coffee shop.” Influencers like to mix business with pleasure, including dining, or taking walks along the seafront, or sitting in a park watching passersby. The I needs to be surrounded by people. The Influencer’s strengths include communication, participation, and finding the best in people. If you’re having a “blue” day, or your self-esteem needs a boost, find yourself an I personality to cheer you up. Influencers have no trouble figuring out your strengths and telling you how much they admire you for your abilities. “I wish I could be more like

you,” they’ll say. Even though they are always trying to “sell”, the I personalities are not phony or insincere. They may not like everything about you, but they’ll point out what they do like. Of course, one of their major weaknesses is lack of objectivity! Influencers love everyone. When they meet you, they can’t help but see an opportunity to win you over to their way of thinking. That may mean selling you something, or convincing you to join them at a political or social event. There are two other common problems among Influencers. They lose their sense of time . . . so they’ll talk for hours and forget that they have another appointment, or that they need to close the sale with you. And they’re not good at following up. They come up with so many plans that they often lose track of what they’re supposed to do. This is especially true if they have little or no D in their personality mix. If you’re married to an I, or you work closely with an I, you can keep them happy by giving them time to talk, recognizing them (always smile and say hello), and letting them know how much you accept them. Next week I’ll tell you about the Steady personality. Dr. John P. Hayes is a marketing professor at Gulf University for Science & Technology. Contact him at or via Twitter @drjohnhayes. This article is part of a series that discusses personality profiling. Previous articles are available at It will help if you have completed a free DISC profile, which you can find at:

In my view By Labeed Abdal


fter the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, it became more noticeable for Germany to take on a more active role in Europe, especially within the euro-zone. In the new world of multi-polarity, there are many emerging powers that are competing in size and capabilities. The changes might include the old continent of Europe, where many countries there are facing the tremendous pressures caused by the international financial meltdown. While from the other side there are other factors, such as transforming from a single polarity to a multi-polarity.

Germany and Europe Moreover, that might include examples such as Germany in Europe and other countries from other continents, like Brazil, Japan, India and others. Also, the recent visits between the United States and China, where there were major issues discussed such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Iranian nuclear experiments and the Syrian threats. The senior officials involved should bear in mind the need to cope with the new world, the young generation and the new and modern transparent peace, which the mass of people must see in realty, without any shades from the old rules of the game.

Just kiddin’, seriously

Schumachers in Kuwait

By Sahar Moussa


ccidents happen. Some are unavoidable but most are. Car accidents are considered to be one of the main causes of death in Kuwait. I do believe that sometimes we can’t change destiny because everything happens for a reason. But I also think that we should be smart enough to avoid reckless and irresponsible actions by being more responsible towards ourselves and others. I do love cars, the speedy sports ones, and think driving is a lot of fun. I also think that cars are very important toys for men and women here in Kuwait, and they are really known for their passion towards expensive, luxurious cars. I mean, honestly who doesn’t! But when it comes to driving, people here are insane. Speeding gives you this adrenaline rush, no doubt, but not when you crash into somebody else’s car and cause injuries that sometimes lead to death. What drives me crazy is when I see parents putting their children in the front seat next to the driver’s seat when they’re jumping up and down. What pushes my pedals more is when I see a proud parent driving with their child on their lap, teaching them to drive simultaneously. Sometimes you see a child’s head bobbing outside the window and sometimes half of his body when he’s pretending to be Superman or something. The worst thing is when the parents let their children stick out from the sun roof, without weighing how dangerous that can be, if God forbid, a car rams from behind. We can avoid these accidents by simply applying safety precautions when we drive, like wearing our seat belt, not driving when we are on medication, not drinking and driving, not texting or talking on the phone, putting the kids in the safety chair in the back seat, and following the safety rules. Don’t over-speed, don’t exchange numbers on Gulf Road (and stop the traffic), and please have ethics and avoid being selfish when driving. And if you feel the need to speed, there is an excellent karting track on the Sixth Ring Road where you can pretend you are Schumacher there. Drive safe!


hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! This summer, let other people see the way you see Kuwait through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at


Due to the overwhelming response we received from our passionate readers, Friday Times has picked the best Instagram pictures this week. Contributors: Avin, Arwaa Arshad, Saurabh Chandra and Sherif Ismail


By Sunil Cherian


raditionally, Indian floral decoration on the floor follows its own set of rules. Now that medicines and other flowers that were used to make the floral decoration are restricted to some soap-making factories, people have replaced flowers with, not plastic, thankfully, but boiled rice, coconut scrapings, saffron and salt that are colored in style. The floral carpet, as the decoration is also known, takes several steps to bloom. From adding food color when the rice is half-boiled to preparing plywood or wooden platforms for the floral decoration, the process takes several days or weeks. When the platform is ready, a hand-drawn model of the design is prepared and pasted on the platform with colors and lines thickly marked. Then the colored ingredients are laid by using a cone, stating from the nucleus of the circle. Four to 6 people can complete the decoration simultaneously by filling the colored shades on the paper. Once the picture on the paper is filled with the colored powder, the paper cannot be seen. Surprisingly, not all floral decorations are designed by artists. The flower circle is meticulously prepared by people who grow as hardworking artists. From shopping to coloring and designing, it takes lots of common sense than art IQ for a circle to be completed.

The traditional circular shape is no longer the norm as floral decoration found its way from the courtyard to the living room or the balcony over the years. The design inside the decoration is as varied as the dialects people speak. Several expat organizations conduct floral decoration competition for their members who would start coloring and drying the ‘floral’ content days ahead of the competition. The competitions are usually held in schools and the colorrich, hard-worked floral decorations are thrown into trash either to vacate the place for the next organization or for the school to prepare for the next working day. By that time, judgment on the winning decoration would have been made just as photos for Facebook would have been saved. Up until a few years ago, Keralites back home would make floral decorations either inside the

house or on the front-yard in a span of 10 days. On the first day, a medicinal plant-flower is placed on a platform made of burnt bricks smeared with a paste of cow dung. The spike of the basil plant is put on the second day followed by hibiscus, herbal and other medicinal plant-flowers to bung up the whole circle of flowers. The floral decoration should be attractive for the children, meaningful for adults, traditional in taste for the elderly, - and photogenic for the media (The photos on this page are sent by Anwar Sadath Thalassery). Its shape may have changed over the years but not necessarily the form.


‘She said that you said that he said...’ By Alicia Todd


lackers abound in Kuwait’s corporate environment. Excuses ranging from ‘My car did not start’ to ‘I have a stomach pain’ and ‘I am tired’ are very common. The slackers’ behavior is disruptive to the general environment and to the success factor of the whole team. Slackers are nonperformers in general because their days are preoccupied with keeping tabs on the clock while idling away at their keyboards. The slacker is a master at coffee and smoke-breaks and running errands while on the job. Having a slacker teammember, boss and co-worker jointly agree, is a demobilizing experience. The sub-zero-competence employee: He claims to be Mr Know-All. If only the amount of time invested in talking about his skills could send him to immediate office stardom! Considering the reality of his task-contribution, this kind of employee is a below-level performer. He is more interested in what his neighbor is doing and how many tasks he is getting a day than actually performing well and doing his own job. The arrogant employee comes with a sense of entitlement: These are the kind of employees whose modus operandi is based on a large sense of impunity. They claim to have been appointed with wasta so they cannot be bothered about repercussions even when dealing with their superiors with an air of utter arrogance. Their loyalty is to themselves alone. They are not interested in the company’s growth but merely in their own achievements. The outright self-promoter: This performer’s qualifications are at the lowest step of the social ladder and he has an ego and reputation that caters to the adage: “The sky is the

limit”. They refuse to accept tasks which they think are below their intelligence and never fail to compare their accomplishments with their co-workers. The self-promoter usually applies “I will work-my-way-up” kind of thinking in reverse with the aim to catapult to a high-ranking position in no time and in a no-skills manner. The meddler: This one is always the first to have an opinion on everything and crash other people’s ideas, interrupt discussions and join any office chit-chat even if it is about a topic he is completely unfamiliar with. The meddler spares no effort to inform the boss of any office occurrences even when it is not his call to do so. Twisting such an event through his own moral barometer makes the meddler a pretty despised character by the whole team. The damage controller: This is the go-to guy when the atmosphere at work simmers. He is the office problem-solver dealing with any hot issue in a calm and studious manner. He executes his decisions methodically and is result-oriented. Bosses love him. The great loyalist: This one has been with a company for an eternity. He happily works on holidays, makes holiday plans that satisfy his superiors and hardly ever leaves the office. He literally lives to work. The workaholic: The workaholic does not lift his head from the computer. He is an achiever who pursues his goals and loses track of time when on the job. He fulfils task after task with disregard for the pack around him. He is the first to arrive to work and the last to leave. Surprisingly, he is hated by co-workers who put mediocre efforts on the job.

The gossiper: The gossiper thrives on other’s people’s misery and has a never ending arsenal of stories about each and every employee. His main purpose in life is to talk about other people and spread news overheard from their phone conversations. The gossiper lacks ethics and work values. All he is interested in is creating havoc in the work flow. Often the gossiper’s actions are prompted by malicious plots to create miscommunication between people. The conqueror: This guy (or girl) has the priceless ability to dis-network everyone who is contributing to the team spirit. The mindset of this kind revolves around a divideand-conquer principle. A look inside his mind reads like this: “The more disunited our team is, the better I fit in a twocamp office space. If we are not united, I can join the separate groups at different times and be popular with all. Perfect.” The hard-worker: The quiet and hard-working type who is willing to help anyone and at any time, overstays on the job and asks for no bonus or overtime. This is the dream employee for any company and HR department, and often becomes the prey of his office peers. The reliable, hard-working employee patiently waits for his hard work to be noticed. He is an extinct kind in Kuwait, though. The money-maker: The money-maker type is insignificant, yet quite a dangerous office species whose primary understanding of obligations and fulfilling tasks is a lofty remuneration package. He has no loyalty to the organization he represents and fails to believe in its corporate ethos. He can be motivated by a fat paycheck alone.


KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti family is pictured at an art exhibition. The idea that the West and Middle East have extremely different views on gender equality has gained traction in recent years.

US, Middle East myths on gender equality By Helen Rizzo CAIRO: The idea that the West and Middle East have extremely different views on gender equality has gained traction in recent years. However, feminists and progressive activists in the West and the Middle East share many values when it comes to gender equality. A deeper look at the diverse examples of feminist activism shows that the two regions have more in common than one might think. In both Western and Middle Eastern societies, aspects of liberal feminism have gained a grip, particularly an emphasis on increasing opportunities for women’s access to education and work. A majority of citizens in Muslim majority countries - over 60 percent, according to the World Values Survey (WVS) - disagree with the notion that a university education is more important for a man than for a woman. There are still barriers to girls’ education, particularly in rural areas where some families lack the resources to educate all of their children or where schools are too far from their homes. Yet despite these challenges, female education in Arab countries has made some of the biggest gains in the world with literacy rates more than doubling and the gender enrolment gap dramatically decreasing since 1970. At the same time, there is also growing acceptance of women working. According to the WVS, 77 percent of Egyptian youth support a woman’s right to hold any job for which they are qualified. In addition, the Kuwaiti women’s labour force participation rate of 45 percent is one of the highest in the Middle East, according to United Nations data. Even religiously conservative women in both the Middle East and the West embody these aspects of liberal feminism. While they

focus on the importance of women’s roles as wives and mothers, women activists in Islamic groups are largely educated professionals just as female activists on the Christian right in the United States often work outside of the home. The diversity of feminist positions in the Middle East may be surprising to some in the West. Some feminists are secular and believe that religion should be kept out of debates on women’s rights. Within the secular camp, liberal, socialist and radical feminists are working on issues that include reproductive rights, fighting gender based violence, ending discrimination in politics and employment and economic justice. But there are also Islamic feminists who are directly challenging patriarchal interpretations of gender roles. While they value women’s roles as wives and mothers, they do not believe that women are inferior to men nor do they believe that women should be limited to the private sphere. They use egalitarian interpretations of Islamic teachings to successfully lobby for greater rights for women in marriage and divorce, dress code, employment, political participation and education. They share similarities with religious feminists in the United States who draw on teachings in Christianity, Judaism and Islam to advocate for women’s rights. There is much potential for women’s rights activists in both regions to build on their commonalities and work together for common goals. Projects like the Harassmap volunteer initiative in Cairo, for instance, brings together Egyptian and Western feminists, women and men, with outreach volunteers to end harassment using a social media and mobile phone reporting system that allows victims to publicly report harassment anonymously. Projects like this one demonstrate a

vision for the future - one in which all who struggle for gender equality in both the West and Middle East work together toward a shared goal. - Common Ground News Service Helen Rizzo is an Associate Professor of Sociology at The American University in Cairo (AUC), and the author of Islam, Democracy and the Status of Women: The Case of Kuwait. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Kuwaiti women’s labour force participation rate of 45% is one of the highest in the Middle East

KUWAIT: Men and women are seen shopping at a local gold souq. Progressive activists in the West and the Middle East region share many values when it comes to gender equality. — Photos by Yasser Al Zayyat


Constitutional Court set to announce its verdict ‘Current 5 constituencies not fair to all citizens’ By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Students are seen during the 19th Arab tournament for school sports which kicked off late Wednesday evening with 2,200 pupils from 13 nations participating. — KUNA

Arab tournament for school sports kicks off KUWAIT: The 19th Arab tournament for school sports kicked off late Wednesday evening with 2,200 pupils from 13 nations participating, though Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt have not sent teams to compete. In a speech delivered on behalf of HH the Amir at the launch of the tournament, Finance Minister, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf spoke of Kuwait’s pride at being a meeting point of brotherly nations, in keeping with the country’s belief in the importance of supporting relations between nations and instilling noble principles. He noted the significance of the event to participating nations whose athletes have trained for months, expressing hope this will result in the games being successful. Arab nations acquire strength and development through their emphasis on the youth, and their sports and hobbies, he said. “This continuous care starts at an early stage in their lives, for them to become a beaming source of accomplishments in all fields of life. From this they will also learn the honorable principles of sports competition,” noted Dr Al-Hajraf Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO) Secretary General Yahya Al-Saeedi called on Arab states to provide material and mutual support to the Arab Physical Education and Sport Confederation, which he regarded as a centre that focus-

es on the mental and physical aspects of raising the young generation in the Arab world. Thanking Kuwait for hosting the tournament, he said, “When we talk about school sports we are talking about the region that carries this endeavour to professionalism. This is not our only aim, we are also seeking to underline the principle of sports for all,” he said. First Deputy President of the Arab Physical Education and Sport Confederation Saad Al-Sanad said that the body has made sure to host these kind of events in order to create an opportunity for Arab youngsters to come together. “By these youngsters - boys and girls - nations rise to the top,” he added. Kuwait’s Assistant Undersecretary for Public Education and the event’s deputy chief organizer, Mohammad Al-Kanderi, told reporters that the tournament was an opportunity for Arab youths to meet on Kuwaiti soil under the patronage of HH the Amir, who has a strong belief that the youth are at the centre of his country. The games will include boys’ football, indoor football, basketball, volleyball, handball, table tennis, bowling and swimming, with girls also competing in these events, except for football and swimming. Those countries that sent teams include Algeria, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen, in addition to the host nation, Kuwait. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Constitutional Court will announce its verdict on September 25 in the ongoing electoral boundaries case filed by the government. The government had asked the Court to rule on a 2006 law that divides Kuwait into five constituencies. The Court will also rule on the number of votes a voter can cast, which is currently four. The opposition block, which won the majority in the 2012 parliament before it was annulled by the Constitutional Court ruling in June, took to the streets in protest recently as they are opposed to changing the current elections law. Attorney Hussein Al-Asfour told the Friday Times yesterday that, in his opinion, the Constitutional Court will rule in favor of the government and declare the law unconstitutional. “The verdict has two parts. It will decide the first article of the elections law regarding the five constituencies, while the second part is related to Article 2 of the law regarding the number of votes. I think that the verdicts will change the five constituencies into 10, most probably,” he pointed out. According to Al-Asfour, the current five constituencies have not proven fair to all citizens. “I assume that the court will say it is changing the current constituencies because this system is unjustified for all Kuwaitis, which is against the principles of the Kuwaiti Constitution. For instance, residents of certain areas in Kuwait do not vote, as these

areas were not included in the system, although there are people living in them. And this is one of the main reasons,” explained Al-Asfour. Further, demography is different within these Kuwaiti areas. “The current elections law with five constituencies was not fair to many categories of the community. For instance, one constituency had only 60,000 voters, while another constituency had 150,000, which is not equal at all. Also, in the fifth constituency, which is mostly tribal, all candidates were from only two tribes, the Ajmi and Azmi tribes, while the Otaibi tribe was not represented. In addition, the independent candidates, mostly Sunni Hadar and Shia, were also not present,” he stated. Regarding the second part of the verdict pertaining to Article 2 of the elections law, Al-Asfour noted that the Constitutional Court is expected to announce that this part does not fall under the court’s jurisdiction, and that parliament is in charge of deciding the number of votes each voter may cast. “The constituencies will be changed after annulling the parliament with an ‘Importance Decree’ next October. Then elections will be held in December of this year. And I expect that parliament will change the current number of votes from four to two votes for each voter. Anyway, this is my analysis, which may not be ruled by the Constitutional Court, though I base it on my studies,” concluded Al-Asfour.

Kuwaiti juveniles charged with hunting gun misuse By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: The 17-year-old Kuwaiti juveniles who were arrested are pictured . — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: Jahra detectives, in cooperation with criminal investigation detectives, have arrested two Kuwaiti 17-year-old juveniles on charges of misuse of a hunting gun, which resulted in the shooting and wounding of 10 people in Jahra area. Police received several reports of pedestrians being wounded after they were shot by unknown assailants. Following an investigation, the juveniles were arrested with the gun still in their possession. They confessed to the shootings, claiming they were only having a good time. The teens were sent to concerned authorities. Later, Ministry of Interior officials called upon citizens and expatriates to watch their children and prevent them from behaving in ways that might cause harm to others, as the parents could be held liable for their children’s acts.

Young travelers spark sports tourism business KUWAIT: While it is very common for many Kuwaitis to travel in the summer to escape the extreme hot weather, travel agencies are reporting a rapidly increasing interest in new destinations and a new trend where Kuwaitis travel to countries to attend sports events, visit and work out at sports facilities, or add sports attractions to their vacation plans. Of this “sports tourism” trend, one travel agency manager said it is not unusual for young tourists in this category to attend a single sports event and come home, without visiting other attractions in the country. Ghazi Al-Shimmiri told KUNA that the cost of such packages usually reaches about KD 1,500, with airline tickets accounting for 25-30 percent of total cost. “By way of example, a ticket to attend a Barcelona and Real Madrid match could cost as much as KD 200... and Kuwaitis prefer to keep to the VIP seats, which keeps the price in this range.” Apparently customers are willing to pay for what they consider “a once in a life-time”

opportunity. What adds to the expense is that travel agencies buy tickets through third parties, since tickets to matches are sold out long before an event, he added. “The agents are often asked to book rooms in hotels close to the venue of the event, and this also means a double hike in rates once added to the fact that the majority of European sports events are held on weekends.” “Despite this rather high expense, this portion of the agency’s business is blooming and the focus put onto this type of tourism increased agency sales by 10 percent, which is why we intend to keep focusing on this area,” Al-Shimmiri said. A representative of another agency with offshore branches, Said Abdullah, told KUNA there is a particular demand for English and Spanish League events, while demand for the Italian League lags behind. He pointed out that such packages are not only sought by young single customers, but by entire families, as well. “We made reservations for several families where all

members, though particularly the young, wanted to see the match right on the spot, and not via television.” When it comes to prices, he said the range starts at KD 750 a person and goes to KD 1,350, depending on factors including the prestige of the clubs, hotel standards, and proximity to the stadium and venues where the victory celebrations are held. However, despite all these factors, agency spending on promoting sports tourism has been successful. “Sales have been excellent and rewarding for the whole of 2012, so far, due to demand for Euro 2012 and then London Olympics events,” Abdullah noted. Regarding his recent Madrid trip, Ali Al-Blushi, said he paid over KD 1,500 for just two nights in order to attend the Madrid-Barcelona match with his wife. “The one match ticket cost me KD 150, and then there was the hotel reservation and the air tickets. But with the ticket to visit the club museum, a meal at the special fans restaurant and a stop at the souvenir shop all

included in the package, I believe it was a reasonable sum.” Another sports tourism customer, Abdullah Behbehani, noted that sharing planning and reservations among friends cuts costs considerably, as savings on transportation, as well as hotel reservations, could be as high as 20 percent. Such packages are particularly attractive to Kuwaitis, he said, because of the limited events, smaller fan-base and considerable enthusiasm when it comes to sports. Further, watching all European and international leagues via television channels whets people’s appetite to book seats for main events, whereas in the past fans were only well-informed and up-to-date with local and regional competitions, he said. Adding to the boom of this sector in the Gulf is the recent introduction of several international annual events, such as the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 and the Bahrain Formula 1, as well as the debut of an international motorcycle race track in Qatar. — KUNA


Syrian troops take town on refugee flight route


Obama to ask for second term in convention address


India blaze death toll rises to 38


CHEVALINE: Gendarmes leave the site of a shooting rampage that left four adults dead and a 7-year-old girl hospitalized near Chevaline, France, yesterday. French authorities struggled yesterday to explain why no one found a 4-year-old child for eight hours at a blood-strewn crime scene as she huddled in a car under the skirt of a corpse — apparently her dead mother or grandmother. —AP

Girl found alive under corpses of slain family Girl spent eight hours concealed in a car

CHEVALINE: A four-year-old girl miraculously survived a shooting in the French Alps that left four people dead by curling up under the bullet-riddled corpses of her mother and grandmother, officials said yesterday. The little girl spent eight hours concealed on the back seat of her family’s car following a mysterious and brutal gun attack which also left her elder sister seriously injured and killed a passer-by. Her father, who was found dead in the driver’s seat, was identified Thursday as Saad alHilli, a 50-year-old born in Baghdad but resident in Claygate, Surrey in the southeast of England. The fourth man who died is believed to be a local who happened to be cycling past the scene of the crime. The girl’s elder sister, who was found shot next to the car, was in a serious but stable condition in hospital after being flown by

helicopter to the nearby city of Grenoble where she was visited yesterday by a British consular official. Eric Maillaud, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said the four-year-old had emerged unscathed. “She stayed, curled up under the bodies for eight hours and didn’t move in all that time,” he said. The first police to arrive on the scene did not spot the girl and, with the car being left untouched and the area sealed off pending the arrival of forensic experts, she was left to endure a traumatic ordeal until she was finally discovered around midnight. “It was only once we had access to the scene of the crime that we found her,” Maillaud said. “The little girl spoke English. She heard noises, shouts but she can’t tell us any more than that. She is only four years old. “She is being looked after and we are doing

everything we possibly can to care for her.” The family had been staying at the nearby Saint Jorioz camp site, where fellow campers who reported their disappearance on Wednesday evening had described them as being of Middle Eastern appearance. Chevaline and the surrounding area on the shores of Lake Annecy is popular with tourists, including many Britons. French authorities said the victims were discovered by a passing cyclist around 3:50 pm Wednesday. The cyclist who was killed had overtaken him minutes earlier. Several witnesses reported seeing a car speeding away from the scene around the time the attack took place. Experts from the national gendarmerie’s IRCGN unit collected DNA evidence from the scene and were checking spent bullet cartridges in an attempt to identify the weapons used.

Local police defended the decisions that led to the four-year-old being left in the car for so long. “We had instructions not to enter the car and not to move the bodies,” Lieutenant-Colonel Benoit Vinnemann of the local gendarmerie told AFP. The gendarmes were unable to open the doors of the family’s BMW for fear that bullet-pierced windows would shatter, potentially compromising the work of the IRCGN forensic team. “Firemen, technicians and doctors all looked into the car through the holes in the windows but none of them saw the girl,” Vinnemann added. A helicopter equipped with a thermal camera took images of the car to check if there were any other bodies inside but also failed to identify the girl. “She was so close to her mother they appeared as one mass,” said Vinnemann. —AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

US urges Iraq to inspect Iran supply flights to Syria BAGHDAD: US officials are questioning Iraq about Iranian flights in Iraqi airspace suspected of ferrying weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose conflict with rebels threatens to drag his neighbours into a regional struggle. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government is close to the regional Shi’ite power Iran, Assad’s main ally, and he has opposed demands by Sunni Arab Gulf nations that Assad step down to end the escalating conflict over his rule. Three prominent US senators visiting Baghdad told Maliki that ties with Washington would be damaged if his government permitted Iran to use its airspace to deliver arms to Syria. One US official urged Baghdad to inspect the Iranian flights.

“This could really have some impact on Iraqi-US relations if it were true. The fact of the matter is they have the right to order a plane to land if they think they may be violating their airspace,” Sen. John McCain told Reuters. McCain said Maliki told the visiting lawmakers he had still not received evidence of arms supplies that Iraq requested when US officials raised the Iranian flights earlier this year. “If we make the allegation, I think is a legitimate request on his part to see the proof of it,” McCain said. US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said on Wednesday Iraq had a responsibility to continue with measures to prevent Iran shipping arms through its airspace. “The easiest way, we think, is for them to require these aircraft to land and be inspected in Iraqi

territory,” he said. Iraq, fearing any spillover of the Syrian conflict could upset its own fragile balance among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish parties, says it backs no side in the Syrian crisis. But Iraqi Shi’ite leaders fear a hardline Sunni government hostile to Baghdad could follow Assad’s fall. Iraq has had no real air force since the fall of Saddam Hussein and says it cannot defend its airspace. But Iraqi officials say they have no evidence that Iranian flights are carrying weapons or military hardware. “The prime minister confirmed that Iraq’s stance is clear to not allow the passage of anything, of any weapon or anything linked to military activity,” said Ali al-Moussawi, Maliki’s media adviser. “He is ready to follow up on any evidence.” — Reuters

Syrian troops take town on refugee flight route 2,000 refugees waiting to cross border

GAZA STRIP: Relatives of Palestinian Tareq al-Kafarna mourn during his funeral in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday. Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip, raising to six the number killed in the past 12 hours, medical sources said. — AFP

Three killed by Israeli fire in northern Gaza GAZA CITY: Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, raising to six the number killed in the past 12 hours, medical sources said. “We have received three bodies,” said Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, saying the three had been killed by an Israeli tank shell just east of the town of Beit Hanun. Qudra said the three were civilians. He said two were brothers-Akram alZaanin, 22, and Ihab al-Zaanin, 23. He said the third-Tareq al-Kafarna, 26 — was on his way to work at Beit Hanun hospital when the shell struck. The Israeli army said it had fired at a “terrorist squad that was planting an explosive device near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. A hit was confirmed,” a statement said, indicating that they were targeted by “aircraft, the armoured corps and infantry soldiers.” The incident occurred 11 hours after an Israeli air strike on a car in the AlMaghazi refugee camp in central Gaza killed three civilians and seriously wounded a fourth person. A military spokeswoman said the strike targeted “a group of terrorists who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel from the centre of the Gaza Strip.” Over the past week, Palestinian militants have stepped up rocket fire on southern Israel, causing damage but no casualties. Hardline Islamist members of a Salafist group have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks. Despite an informal truce between Hamas and Israel, tensions flare periodically on the Gaza-Israel border, with militants firing rockets at Israel and the mili-

tary launching retaliatory air strikes. The last major flare-up was in June, when militants fired more than 150 rockets at southern Israel, wounding five people, and Israel hit back with air strikes that killed 15 Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israel’s High Court was yesterday mulling an urgent appeal on behalf of 20 Eritrean nationals stranded in no-man’s land on the border with Egypt for a week after the Jewish state refused them entry. The appeal was filed by Israeli NGO We Are Refugees in a petition against Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Interior Minister Eli Yishai for refusing to allow the group of Eritreans, who are seeking political asylum, into the country. “Twenty African asylum seekers have been trapped between the fences on the Israel-Egypt border since last Thursday,” a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page said. Since last Thursday, the Eritreans hoping to apply for political asylum have been stuck in an area between the two fences, which is technically within the sovereign borders of the state of Israel, the NGO said. The group reportedly includes men, women and a 14-year-old boy. Media reports quoting soldiers stationed at the site say the Eritreans have not eaten in a week and have been given only a limited supply of water. “Israel’s refusal to provide them with food, medical treatment, and to hear their asylum request is a clear violation of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which Jewish organisations helped draft in the aftermath of World War II, and Israel was the fourth country to ratify,” the NGO said. — Agencies

BEIRUT: Syrian troops recaptured from rebels yesterday a border town used by refugees to cross to Jordan, activists said, an apparent bid by the regime to stem the flood of Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war. Damascus meanwhile accused Cairo of stirring up violence in the country, as Syria lengthens the list of other Arab countries that it blames for its unrest. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi called this week for Syria’s president to step down in an indication of the increasing isolation of Damascus in the Arab world. In the latest clashes, hundreds of Syrian soldiers backed by 20 tanks assaulted Tel Chehab, the Britainbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local activist Mohammed Abu Houran said. Rebels fought back but were pushed out. A Jordanian army officer living just across the border said by telephone that he had heard heavy shelling starting early in the morning, but that it had subsided by midday. “It sounded like the shelling came from tanks and armored vehicles,” said the officer, who cannot be identified under standing army regulations. “God help the Syrian people.” The activists did not have any figures for casualties, but Abu Houran said that at least 2,000 refugees were waiting in the town for the chance to cross the border. Most of them were staying in two schools. Syrian rebels, who claim to hold over half of the country’s territory, had been in control of Tel Chehab for months. Abu Houran said that the town had faced repeated government assaults in the past. An amateur video posted online by activists showed tanks and trucks full of soldiers passing through the town of Yadouda on their way to nearby Tel Chehab. The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed. The Observatory, which has a network of activists throughout Syria, said troops were raiding homes in Tel Chehab and detaining people. It added that smoke was billowing from parts of

the town. Abou Houran said the regime was apparently trying to cut the route for refugees who have been fleeing their country’s civil war in increasing numbers. More than 100,000 Syrians left in August alone, the highest over the past 18 months, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. More than 160,000 Syrian refugees now live in Jordan, and their number is increasing by the thousands every day. About 8,000 live in a newly set up camp on the border, while the rest are scattered across the country. Activists say nearly 5,000 people were killed in August, the highest monthly total since the crisis began in March last year. Activists say 23,000 have died altogether. Also Thursday, Syria’s Foreign Ministry harshly attacked Egypt’s Morsi, saying his calls for Syria’s President Bashar Assad to step down constitute “blatant interference in Syrian internal affairs and an explicit attack on the Syrian people’s right to choose their own future without any foreign interference.” It added that Morsi’s remarks were “media provocation that aims to enrage the current violence in

Syria” and that he is a “part of the current bloodshed in Syria.” Morsi said in remarks addressed to Assad on Wednesday: “I tell the Syrian regime that there is still a chance to halt the bloodshed.” He added: “Don’t listen to the voices that tempt you to stay (in power) because you will not be there for much longer. There is no room for further delaying a decision that will stop the bloodshed.” A war of words between Cairo and Damascus has escalated since Aug. 30, when Morsi said at a summit of emerging nations in Tehran that Assad’s “oppressive” regime has lost its legitimacy and that the world must stand behind the Syrian rebels. Damascus then added Egypt, alongside Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to the list of nations it says have stirred up unrest inside Syria. Activists also reported violence in other parts of the country Thursday, including in the Damascus neighborhoods of Qadam and Tadamon as well as the suburb of Sayeda Zeinab, just south of the capital. The Observatory said troops shelled some areas in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in the capital. — AP

RAMTHA: Jordanian soldiers distribute water and snacks to newly-arrived Syrian refugees after they crossed the border from Syria into Jordan, near the town of Ramtha. Arab foreign ministers denounced “crimes against humanity” being perpetrated in Syria, and called on the Damascus government to stop the violence immediately. — AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Berlusconi denies blackmailed by mafia ROME: Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, involved in a mafia extortion probe, has defended giving millions of euros (dollars) to an aide as merely “helping out a good friend in need,” Italian media reported yesterday. The ex-premier, who was questioned by a court on Wednesday as a witness in a case dating to the 1970s when he was allegedly blackmailed by the mafia, paid Marcello Dell’Utri over 40 million euros ($50 million) over the last decade. The billionaire is suspected of giving Dell’Utri hush money to stop him spilling details of alleged ties between Berlusconi and organised crime groups. “Dell’Utri is a brotherly friend, we’ve known each other for many years and he put my first football team together,” he told magistrates according to the Corriere della Sera daily, referring to football club AC Milan, which he owns. “He also has the enormous merit of having founded (Berlusconi’s advertising firm) Publitalia. Naturally I feel in his debt and there has always been a tacit understanding that I would acknowledge these merits,” he said. The three-hour questioning focused on the sale of a villa on Lake Como, which Berlusconi bought from Dell’Utri last year for 21 million euros, though it had been

valued at 9.5 million euros, Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper said. The media magnate was also interrogated over other payments to the Italian senator, as well as another villa which Berlusconi gave Dell’Utri the money to buy, before paying for refurbishments which saw it sell at a vast mark-up. “It was a gift. It’s not the first time I’ve give a present to an ex-manager from my group,” Berlusconi said according to Il Fatto, insisting: “I’ve never felt threatened by Marcello, I feel only gratitude and respect for him.” Magistrates also quizzed the 75-year-old tycoon over Vittorio Mangano, a Sicilian mafioso who worked as a stable keeper at Berlusconi’s villa Arcore in the 1970s on Dell’Utri’s recommendation and who was later convicted for murder. The ex-premier is suspected of having been forced to hire Mangano to appease the mafia and ensure his family’s safety in a period rife with kidnappings. “Marcello recommended him as a stable keeper. He seemed a well-bred person, pleasant,” Berlusconi told the magistrates, according to the media reports. He denied paying protection money to the mafia via Dell’Utri, who has also strongly rejected the accusation he blackmailed his former boss. In March, Italy’s highest appeal court overturned the conviction against Dell’Utri

for association with the mafia, ordering a new trial. The businessman from Palermo, Sicily, was sentenced in 2004 to nine years’ imprisonment over links to leaders of the island’s Cosa Nostra crime group. The court of appeal upheld the ruling in 2010 but reduced the sentence to seven years. It said Dell’Utri was a contact between Berlusconi and the mafia. The senator had allowed the Cosa Nostra to “hook on to one of the biggest Italian businesses of the time, gaining illicit profit from extortion”, the ruling said, referring to Berlusconi’s then-expanding business empire. In March, Italy’s highest appeal court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial because magistrates had failed to prove part of the case. It said that Berlusconi had paid large amounts of money to the Sicilian mafia family in the 1970s so he would not be physically attacked. A court document described him as “a victim who acted out of necessity” and said he “paid large amounts of money for his security and that of his family”. In February, a court in Milan threw out bribery charges against Berlusconi under the statute of limitations after a five-year trial, in another judicial victory for the former prime minister. — AFP

Russia warns of military action on Iran over nuke IAEA expresses growing concern

TRIPOLI: A handout picture released by the Libyan National Guard shows Abdullah Al-Senussi (C), a former spy of late Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, arriving at the high security prison facility in Tripoli. — AFP

Trial of Gaddafi’s son to be delayed after spy chief arrest TRIPOLI: The trial of Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam may be delayed to include any relevant testimony obtained via interrogation from the country’s former spy chief who was arrested on Wednesday, a government official said yesterday. Government officials said in August that Saif al-Islam’s trial on war crimes charges - the most high-profile prosecution of a figure from his late father’s entourage to date - was due to begin in September. But the arrest on Wednesday of Abdullah Senussi, the former spy chief known as “Gaddafi’s black box”, appears to have pushed that date back, postponing a trial that a lawyer from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has already said is unlikely to be fair. Senussi was handed over to Libya by Mauritanian authorities on Wednesday after being captured in the West African state in March, triggering a tug of war between Libya, France and the ICC for his extradition. “We expect the trial of Saif al-Islam to be delayed a little because Abdullah Senussi will be able to provide new information that can be used in Saif’s trial,” Taha Ba’ara, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office, told Reuters on Thursday. Libya’s new rulers, who aim to draw up a democratic constitution, are keen to try Gaddafi’s family members and loyalists at home to show the country’s citizens that those who helped Gaddafi stay in power for 42 years are being punished. Saif al-Islam will have to respond to charges which include financial corruption, murder and rape, according to a statement from Justice Minister Ali Ashour in April. The charges, which he denies, relate to crimes he allegedly committed during the NATO-backed revolt that toppled his father last year prompting a fearful Senussi to flee. Ba’ara said a government delegation including the Libyan army’s chief-of-staff, the finance minister, and a member of the prosecutor general’s office had travelled to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, to escort Senussi back home. —Reuters

MOSCOW: Russia has starkly warned Israel and the United States against attacking Iran, saying Moscow sees no evidence that Tehran’s nuclear programme is aimed at developing weapons, the Interfax news agency reported yesterday. “We warn those who are no strangers to military solutions ... that this would be harmful, literally disastrous for regional stability,” Interfax quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. An attack on Iran “would set off deep shocks in the security and economic spheres that would reverberate far beyond the boundaries of the Middle East region,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying. Russian officials have issued similar warnings in the past, but Ryabkov’s remarks appeared to underscore Moscow’s concern about the possibility that Israel might attack Iranian nuclear facilities. Heightened Israeli rhetoric about the facilities, which Western powers believe are part of a programme to develop a nuclear weapons capability, has stoked speculation that Israel may attack Iran before the U.S. presidential election in November. Ryabkov said there were no indications of a military nuclear programme and suggested monitoring by the UN nuclear agency was a strong guarantee. “We, as before, see no signs that there is a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear programme. No signs,” Interfax quoted Ryabkov - Russia’s point man for diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear programme - as saying. “We see something different - that there is nuclear material ... in Iran that is under the control of inspectors, specialists of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “This nuclear material is not being shifted to military needs, this is officially confirmed by the (IAEA).” His remarks appeared to be at odds with mounting concern voiced by the UN atomic watchdog about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. The IAEA said last week that Iran had

doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges in an underground bunker in a few months, showing it continued to expand its nuclear programme despite sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack. The new machines are not yet operating, it added. It also said that in the last decade, it had become “increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military related organizations”. Nuclear proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies think-tank and a former senior US state department official, said that on one level Ryabkov’s remarks were in line with Western views. “If ... he means (Russia sees) no evidence that Iran is aiming to cross the threshold from capability to weapons production, then Ryabkov’s statement is the same as the collective view of the United States and its European allies.

“But Ryabkov goes too far in giving Iran the benefit of the doubt when he says Russia sees no signs of a military dimension ... Maybe he means that the evidence is not yet confirmed. But there are certainly ample ‘signs’,” he said. “Surely Russian intelligence is not so blind.” While Russia is a partner of the United States and four other powers in diplomatic efforts to ensure Tehran does not acquire nuclear weapons, it says the West is undermining those efforts with sanctions and the threat of attack. “In recent times the tendency to use sanctions to achieve aims that are beyond reach in principle by means of pressure has become a passion that ... politicians on both sides of the Atlantic cannot overcome,” Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying. A permanent UN Security Council member with veto power, Russia says it opposes further sanctions beyond the measures approved in four Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2010. — Reuters

GAUHATI: Activists of North Eastern Students Organization (NESO) and supporters take out a protest rally against Bangladeshi nationals illegally staying in the northeastern Indian states during a twelve-hour general strike called by them in Gauhati, Assam state, India, yesterday. — AP

International FRIDAY, SEPTMBER 7, 2012

Japan stresses cost of ending nuclear power TOKYO: Japan’s government, buffeted by conflicting pressure from anti-nuclear voters and pro-nuclear business interests, is stressing the negative impact of a speedy exit from atomic energy as it nears a decision on a new energy mix. Japan is rethinking its whole energy policy after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March last year, triggering the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. Defining nuclear power’s role has become a hot button issue for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, whose unpopular Democratic Party faces an election expected within months. Signs the government, worried about a growing anti-nuclear movement, was leaning toward a target of

abandoning nuclear power by 2030 have, experts say, galvanized a push-back by utilities and their business and bureaucratic supporters. Among the numbers that the government floated this week was a forecast that household energy bills would by 2030 rise by nearly double 2010 levels if Japan abandoned nuclear power. But that has been disputed. “It is wrong and clearly designed to frighten the population to continue using nuclear power plants,” said former nuclear executive Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, a consulting company. “What will dramatically increase electric bills is the true cost to clean up after the (Fukushima) Daiichi disaster,” he said by

email. Predictions that power bills would double fail to take into account people’s efforts to cut energy use, other experts said. “Our estimate is that households will use 60 to 70 percent less electricity by 2030,” Hiroshi Komiyama, chairman of Mitsubishi Research Institute, told Reuters. “Our calculation is that households would pay less than half of the current payments by 2030.” The government has also forecast that 50 trillion yen ($638 billion) would be needed to boost the share of power from renewable sources such as solar to offset the loss of nuclear, and double that would be needed to cut consumption through conservation and better efficiency. Some experts said those figures were not only too high but also underestimated

the positive economic impact of investment in renewable energy and conservation. “It’s not very reasonable because it assumes quite expensive renewable costs,” said renewable energy guru Tetsunari Iida, head of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies. “Also, such investment would stimulate the economy, but they are assuming that it is a burden,” added Iida, who last month startled pro-nuclear interests by coming in a respectable second in an election for governor of a conservative, rural prefecture in western Japan. The government is expected to decide soon which of three options for nuclear power’s share of electricity by 2030 it will select for a medium-to-long-term energy mix: zero, 15 percent or 20-25 percent.— Reuters

Migrant boat sinks off Turkey, 60 dead 25 killed in ammunition depot blast

ROME: Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Romebased UN Food and Agriculture Organization, left, and Jomo Sundaram, Assistant Director-General FAO, meet journalists at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, yesterday. — AP

Global food prices steady in August: FAO ROME: Global food prices remained steady in August, the United Nations food agency said yesterday, but warned that “the game is not over” as it was only the beginning of the harvest season. An overall FAO index of food prices averaged 213 points last month, the same level as in July when it had jumped by six percent due to droughts in major exporters the United States and Russia, the Food and Agriculture Organization said. FAO deputy director David Hallam told a press conference in Rome: “There is a great deal of talk about whether we have some kind of food crisis emerging. There is no strong evidence to suggest that in the price data.” But he added there was a risk speculators would re-enter the commodities markets, a sign that prices may still rise. FAO Assistant Director General Laurent Thomas warned that 22 countries, mostly in Africa, are in protracted crisis and said the world must be prepared for food shortages. A statement released by the organisation said that “although still high, the FAO index currently stands 25 points below its peak of 238 points in February 2011 and 18 points below its August 2011 level. A sub index that measures cereal prices averaged 260 points in August, also unchanged on the month, “with some increases in wheat and rice offsetting a slight weakening in maize,” the statement said. Key agricultural regions in the United States that had been hit by drought have now benefitted from rainfall, while Russia has indicated it would not restrict exports despite a smaller crop in its key farming regions. FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva warned however that “we need to keep vigilant on the prices because we are just starting the season,” adding “the game is not over.” Hallam noted that US maize (corn) “production was expected to increase by about 10 percent this year, in practice it’s fallen 13 percent, so that was quite a shock. “Given that the US accounts for more than 40 percent of world exports of maize, that’s a significant development,” he said. The FAO said maize crops were expected to drop to 864 million tonnes in 2012, a decline of 20 million tonnes from 2011, following the US drought, its worst in around 60 years. —AFP

AHMETBEYLI: At least 60 migrants, most of them Palestinian and more than half of them children, died after their overcrowded boat sank just tens of metres off Turkey’s western Aegean coast yesterday, a district official said. Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu, governor of the coastal district of Menderes in Turkey’s western Izmir province, said an initial investigation showed the small vessel sank due to overcrowding around dawn. Its destination was unclear but the small Turkish town of Ahmetbeyli from where it left is only a few kilometres from the Greek island of Samos. Greece is a common entry point for migrants trying to get into the European Union. “The latest death toll we have is 60 people, including 11 men, 18 women and 31 children, including three babies,” Kurtbeyoglu told Reuters by telephone. Turkish media said the reason the death toll was so high was because the women and children were in a locked compartment in the lower section of the vessel, although there was no official confirmation of this. Kurtbeyoglu said 46 people had so far been rescued alive, including the ship’s Turkish captain and assistant, who had been placed under arrest. He said there were no bodies left on the boat and he did not expect the death toll to rise any further. Most of the migrants were Palestinian nationals, and the authorities were still trying to determine the nationality of the others, Kurtbeyoglu said. He said the survivors spoke Arabic and were of Middle Eastern origin. Turkish media said there were also Syrians and Iraqis on the boat, although that could also not be confirmed. Turkey is sheltering about 80,000 Syrian refugees near its southeastern border with Syria, several hundred kilometres away on the other side of the country. Television footage showed small boats and diving teams searching for survivors just off Ahmetbeyli. The boat sank less than 100 metres from the shore after leaving at around 02:30 GMT, officials said. Turkey’s position as a bridge from Asia to Europe, as well as its wealth compared with neighbouring states, has long made it

AFYONKARAHISAR: Family members seen near the site hours after an explosion at an ammunition store in Afyonkarahisar in western Turkey which killed 25 soldiers and wounded at least four others, yesterday. — AP both a destination and a transit point for migrants from the Middle East and as far afield as Africa and South Asia. The Greek island of Samos is clearly visible from Ahmetbeyli, which lies in a popular coastal region frequented by foreign and Turkish holiday makers. About 130,000 immigrants cross Greece’s porous sea and land borders every year, the vast majority via Turkey. Greece received more than 1,000 migrants by sea last year, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). Another 55,000 crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey at Evros, according to Greek government figures. Greece opened its first purpose-built detention centre for illegal migrants in April, the first of about 50 camps that Greek officials have said will be built by mid-2013. Meanwhile, an explosion and blaze triggered by an accidentally dropped hand grenade killed 25 soldiers during a stock check at a Turkish ammunition depot, the government said yesterday. Four other soldiers were injured in the blast, which lit up

the night sky late Wednesday with flames, and shattered windows in homes in the nearby town of Afyonkarahisar in western Turkey, terrifying residents. Forestry and Water Minister Veysel Eroglu ruled out terrorism and sabotage, saying the blast occurred in a section where hand grenades were kept. The soldiers’ remains were discovered early Thursday after a subsequent blaze was extinguished. “One hand grenade was dropped during stock-taking and sorting, causing a large explosion,” Eroglu said. “There was no external intervention. There certainly was no sabotage or anything like that.” Eroglu said hand grenades were found strewn across the area and authorities were detonating them with controlled explosions. Turkey’s NTV television showed security officers walking along a road and in fields, looking for unexploded ammunition. President Abdullah Gul urged a full investigation, though some opposition lawmakers questioned whether any highranking military officials would be called to account.— Agencies

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

US police accused of killing Mexican near border MEXICO CITY: Mexico charged that US border police had fatally shot one of its citizens and demanded an investigation after the victim’s wife said they were celebrating her birthday near the border. The foreign ministry expressed its “strong condemnation” over the incident that took place on Monday at the border area separating the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo and the Texas city of Laredo. “The current information indicates that a Mexican citizen lost his life after being hit by a bullet from a US Border Patrol agent,” the ministry said in a

statement. The statement did not provide more details about the shooting and there was no immediate comment from US authorities. The victim’s wife told AFP that Guillermo Arevalo, a 36-year-old bricklayer, and their two daughters were celebrating her birthday in a park by the Bravo River, which separates the two countries, when he was shot in the chest. “My husband fell wounded. We called an ambulance, but while they were asking what happened, I jumped into the car and took him to the hospi-

tal,” Nora Lam said. “But he died there.” The Mexican consulate in Laredo formally requested that US authorities conduct an exhaustive investigation, the foreign ministry said. “The Mexican government has repeatedly said that the disproportionate use of lethal force in migration control is unacceptable,” it said. “It is therefore fundamental to have a clear picture of what took place.” In July, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission urged the United States to investigate whether US Border Patrol agents used excessive

force in the shooting death of a Mexican youth near the international border bridge linking Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. In that shooting, the US Border Patrol said agents opened fire after rocks were thrown at them and they observed a person aiming a gun at them from the Mexican side. Another Mexican youth was killed in 2010 on the Mexican side of the border in Ciudad Juarez from shots fired by a US Border Patrol agent. A US judge rejected a Mexican extradition request in that case. —AFP

Obama to ask for second term in convention address President to sketch path forward after Clinton pitch

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, left, greets Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), during a joint message to the media in Mexico City, Wednesday. Mexico’s highest electoral authority declared that Enrique Pena Nieto was the legitimate winner of the July 1 presidential election. — AP

Powerful quake jolts Costa Rica, one dead SAN JOSE: A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Costa Rica’s Pacific coast Wednesday, killing at least one person, briefly knocking out power and phone lines, and triggering tsunami warnings, authorities said. Trees fell, rooftops were damaged and roads split by the quake near the epicenter in the coastal province of Guanacaste. People rushed into the streets 150 kilometers (95 miles) away in the capital San Jose. Authorities said around 20 people were injured in the quake. Nearly 12 hours after the quake, some towns remained without electricity or water. A Red Cross spokesman initially said a man and a woman died after suffering heart attacks in the town of Filadelfia, not far from Nicoya, which is roughly 10 kilometers (six miles) from the epicenter. But the Red Cross later corrected this to say just one person, a 55-year-old woman, had died of a heart attack. “Here in Nicoya, fortunately we have only seen very minor injuries, people with minor cuts-nothing significant given the magnitude of the storm,” said the spokesman, Adolfo Saenz. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said: “The most important thing is to remain calm, there is no major damage.” The US Geological Survey initially said the quake, which struck on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, measured 7.9 on the Moment Magnitude Scale, but revised both the intensity and location in a subsequent advisory. In its latest advisory, the USGS said the quake measured 7.6 and struck at a depth of about 40 kilometers. A USGS map showed the quake centered near the Pacific coast, in picturesque Guanacaste, a tourist area popular for its cliffs, beaches and surfing. A tsunami warning was issued for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, but later cancelled, the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Initially, the warning had extended from Mexico to Peru. “We felt it very strongly, and ran, afraid that the house was going to come down. People are very alarmed,” a Nicoya resident told a local radio station. The quake was so strong the peninsula heaved up by nearly one meter, said Marino Protti of Ovsicori, a government geological observatory. He said that in coming days there could be aftershocks measuring 7. The country is used to seismic activity but people in the area were stunned by the strength of the quake.—AFP

CHARLOTTE: President Barack Obama faced a high bar yesterday to better speeches by his wife and by Bill Clinton, as he prepared to ask Americans for four more years in his big convention address. Obama was due to step to the podium in a riot of noise, color and Democratic Party euphoria for what may prove his best chance to convince Americans that he deserves a second and final term despite widespread economic despair. The prime time address comes with Obama locked in a too-close-to-call race with Republican Mitt Romney to November’s election, in a nation where the story of the lingering financial crisis is told by 8.3 percent unemployment. Obama is expected to tell Americans that he rescued them from a second Great Depression, blame Republicans for leaving him a legacy of debt and recession, and warn that Romney’s policies would risk repeating the disaster. He is also under pressure to lay out specifics, for the first time, of what he would hope to do in a second term, and to go into more detail than the largely aspirational vision he has so far framed. “I think folks, after watching the speech tonight, will have a very clear sense of where he thinks the country needs to go economically, the path we need to take,” Obama’s senior advisor David Plouffe said on ABC News. Democrats will devote a portion of Thursday’s program at the National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, to lionizing Obama’s record on national security, an area in which polls show he is favored over Romney. Obama’s decision to order a special forces raid deep into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden last year will doubtless play a starring role, along with his successful implementation of a 2008 campaign vow to end the Iraq war. Former Democratic nominee John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden will lead the tributes to Obama as commander-in-chief, hoping to capitalize on Romney’s failure to mention the Afghan war in his own convention address last week. Delegates were still buzzing yesterday after a tour de force address by former two-term Democratic president Clinton, who still has stellar approval ratings and has lost none of his ability to make crisp political arguments. Clinton appealed to Democrats, cru-

CHARLOTTE: Former President Bill Clinton waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention as President Barack Obama greets in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday. — AP cial independents and undecided voters, delivering a point-by-point rebuttal of Republican attacks and a sweeping and unequivocal embrace of Obama, laying to rest previous tensions. “No president-not me or any of my predecessors-no one could have fully repaired all the damage he found in just four years,” Clinton said. “He has laid the foundations for a new, modern successful economy of shared prosperity, and if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. “You will feel it. “Folks, whether the American people believe what I said or not may be the whole election, I just want you to know that I believe it,” Clinton said, his voice faltering slightly. “With all my heart I believe it.” After holding 15,000 of the Democratic faithful in Charlotte, North Carolina enthralled for over 45 minutes, Clinton was joined on stage by a smiling and energized Obama, leading to frenzied applause. Republicans, perhaps realizing the folly of taking on Clinton, who has much higher approval ratings than either Romney or Obama, largely resisted the chance to criticize the Democratic elder statement. But the Romney campaign did draw a contrast between the prosperity of the Clinton years and the cloudy economic climate of the Obama

era. “President Clinton drew a stark contrast between himself and President Obama,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. “Bill Clinton worked with Republicans, balanced the budget, and after four years he could say you were better off. “President Clinton’s speech brought the disappointment and failure of President Obama’s time in office clearly into focus.” Democrats hope Obama’s arguments that the economy, while sluggish, is recovering, will not be undercut by the release on Friday of the latest Labor Department jobs figures, which if poor, could provide ammunition for Romney. However, optimism blossomed yesterday that the numbers could exceed expectations, with the publication of the closely watched survey by payrolls firm ADP, which showed private-sector employment rose by 201,000 in August. Obama will not, as his campaign hoped, be speaking to 70,000 people in an outdoor stadium in Charlotte. Organisers moved the speech inside fearing the huge set piece event could be disrupted by thunder. The speech will close the three-day Democratic convention, which was highlighted on Tuesday by a powerful address lauding the character and leadership of the president by First Lady Michelle Obama. — AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Agent Orange victims get Scientology ‘detox’ HANOI: Vietnamese with ailments linked to Agent Orange are undergoing a “detoxification” treatment involving saunas and vitamins that was developed by the Church of Scientology and which has been criticized as pseudoscientific. Scientologists use the “Hubbard Method” to try to cure drug addiction and alcoholism. The church set up a center in New York after the 9/11 attacks offering a similar service for first responders who may have been exposed to toxins. A group of 24 people arrived for treatment at a military hospital in Hanoi for a month, free of charge, Dau Xuan Tuong, deputy administrator at the Vietnam Association of Agent Orange Victims, said Thursday. He said 22 people underwent the treatment in 2011 in in northern Thai Binh province. “Their health has improved after the treatment, and some saw their chronic illnesses disappear,” he said. “We need to do more scientific research to determine its impact.” It was not possible to immediately get comment from the Scientology movement. Proponents have said the detoxification program improves people’s quality of life. The US military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971, decimating about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest - roughly the size of Massachusetts - to remover the foliage that concealed enemy fighters. Dioxins in it have since been linked to birth defects, cancers and other ailments, but the United States maintains there is no evidence Agent Orange has caused the health problems among Vietnamese. Washington has compensated American soldiers for ailments they say were caused by the compound, however. “I hope my wife and I will fully recover completely and will not suffer after-effects to pass on to my descendants,” prospective patient Nguyen Dai Sang was quoted as saying in the Viet Nam News daily. US Embassy spokesman Christopher Hodges said Washington was not funding the program and said “we are not aware of any safe, effective detoxification treatment for people with dioxin in body tissues.” It wasn’t known what other medical care the participants were receiving. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard opposed psychiatry and the use of drugs for mental illness and addictions, but church members accept conventional medical treatment for physical conditions. Actor Tom Cruise co-founded the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, where participants were each given vitamins and nutritional counseling and participated in daily exercise and sauna sessions. He defended it at the time as helping the workers recover. Critics, many of them scientists, have said there is no evidence the “Hubbard Method” does any good. It was unclear if the Vietnamese government was aware of those concerns before agreeing to try the project.—AP

Clinton says E Timor visit reasserts US Pacific role ‘We are not here against any other country’ DILI: Hillary Clinton, the first-ever US secretary of state to visit East Timor, said yesterday that her presence in one of the poorest nations in Asia sent “a clear, unmistakable message” that the United States would remain a Pacific power. Clinton, on a visit to encourage self-sufficiency in Asia’s youngest nation where China is playing a growing role, was welcomed by throngs of cheering schoolchildren on the streets and then by barefoot dancers as she visited the Chinesebuilt presidential palace in Dili. In the highlight of her half-day visit, Clinton toured a coffee processing plant that was launched with US assistance during East Timor’s turbulent era and now employs some 4,000 people who at around $8 a day earn twice the minimum wage. I drink a lot of this,” Clinton, draped in a traditional “tais” scarf, said as she sipped the strong brew at the Timor Coffee Cooperative to the sound of beans falling into bags destined for Starbucks in Seattle. Clinton’s visit comes only a few months after the impoverished nation marked a decade since independence from Indonesia and as UN peacekeepers-the current contingent deployed during a violent political crisis in 2006 — prepare to leave at the end of the year. “We take our lead from the government and people of this country to be as helpful as we can in supporting them in developing the kind of future they deserve,” she said. Clinton, meeting with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, reiterated the theme of her Asia trip, saying that her first-ever visit to East Timor sent “a clear, unmistakable message that the United States has been, is and will remain a resident Pacific power.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, watches coffee beans come out of a sorter during a tour of the Timor Coffee Cooperative in Dili, East Timor with Agribusiness Advisor Bency Isaac yesterday. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in East Timor to offer the small half-island nation support as it ends its reliance on international peacekeepers. — AP Echoing remarks at a Pacific island summit in the Cook Islands and in Beijing on Wednesday, she denied that the US effort to engage with Asia was aimed at containing China. “We are not here against any other country,” Clinton said. “We happen to believe that Asia and the Pacific are quite big enough for many countries to participate in the activities of the region.” She said the two powers tried to find “common ground” on issues including Iran, North Korea and the South China Sea, and had built a “resilience” into their relationship. But she also added that, “the United States, and certainly I, are not going to shy away from standing up for

our strategic interests and expressing clearly where we differ.” The United States has prioritised building ties in Asia, where China’s role is growing. But despite the often fractious relationship between the US and China, a senior US official traveling with Clinton said that in East Timor the Pacific powers have cooperated on infrastructure and social aid projects. The half-island nation lies just across the Timor Sea from the northern Australian city of Darwin, where the United States is deploying 2,500 Marines in a step widely seen as solidifying the US presence in Asia in the face of a rising China.—AFP

GAPYEONG: Mourners line up for a memorial service for the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, yesterday. — AP

Thousands in South Korea mourn Moon GAPYEONG: Thousands of tearful, flower-carrying mourners descended yesterday on the South Korean headquarters of the Unification Church to offer prayers to their late “messiah” Sun Myung Moon. Men clad in black suits and women in white dresses flooded the church’s main compound in Gapyeong, 60 kilometres (35 miles) east of Seoul, at the start of a 10-day wake ahead of Moon’s funeral on September 15. Moon, the self-styled messiah who founded the church famed for its mass weddings and business empire spanning cars to sushi, died Monday at the age of 92 due to complications from pneumonia. From early morning, buses ferried mournersincluding a large number of Japanese-into the sprawling, mountain-ringed Gapyeong complex where a special altar bearing a giant portrait of a

youthful-looking Moon had been erected inside a cavernous, covered stadium. They offered roses and lilies-Moon’s favourite flowers-and bowed before the portrait ringed with roses. The altar was flanked by the flags of South Korea, Japan, the United States and other countries, as well as floral tributes from prominent figures including South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak. The atmosphere was sombre but calm, as Hyung-Jin Moon, Moon’s youngest son and successor as church leader, received the mourners, who included women with infants in strollers. Many wept quietly as solemn music played in the background. “I feel even sadder than when my own parents died... I’d never thought the true father would leave us so soon,” Park MalRye told AFP, wiping tears from her face.

“Our church has always been vilified and cornered by Christians. But now the father’s death will shed more light on his accomplishments and help our church grow further,” said Park, a follower for the past 20 years. Bo Hi Pak, Moon’s close aide, urged church members to rally behind Moon’s two sons and his wife to continue their founder’s legacy. “The father told us not to cry and not to show sorrow when he’s gone, so everyone’s trying hard to follow his words,” he told AFP before bursting into tears. “But we’re too devastated.” Hundreds of students from church-owned schools and dancers from a church-run ballet troupe were among those who paid tribute at the altar, under a giant banner reading: “Sun Myung Moon: The true parent of heaven, earth and humankind.”—AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

US navy plane joins Philippine exercise Manila ‘guarded’ on China’s sea assurance

CHONGQING: In this Oct 16, 2011 file photo, Chongqing city police chief Wang Lijun delivers a speech during the 2nd International Forensic Science Meeting in southwestern China’s Chongqing city. — AP

Ex-police chief charged in China political scandal BEIJING: A former police chief whose flight to a US consulate set off China’s biggest political scandal in years has been charged with crimes including defection and bribe taking, possibly indicating the turbulent affair is moving closer to a resolution before a key national leadership transition this fall. Wednesday evening’s announcement by state media of the charges against Wang Lijun did not mention Bo Xilai, his one-time boss, who has fallen from power as one of China’s top leaders as a result of the scandal. Wang, the former police chief and vice mayor of the southwestern city of Chongqing, was also charged with “bending the law for selfish ends” and abuse of power, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Wang set off the scandal by fleeing to the US consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu in early February after being demoted by Bo, the city’s powerful Communist Party boss. Xinhua said the Chengdu City Intermediate People’s Court had accepted the case, although it did not give a trial date. During his overnight stay at the US consulate, Wang expressed to the Americans his concerns about the death of British businessman Neil Heywood in Chongqing last November. That prompted the British embassy to request a new investigation, which uncovered that he had been murdered. The case resulted in Bo’s dismissal in March and the conviction last month of Bo’s wife Gu Kailai for poisoning Heywood, a former family associate with whom Gu had reportedly feuded about money. Gu was given a suspended death sentence while Bo remains under investigation by the ruling party’s disciplinary branch for unspecified grave violations of discipline. Three leading Chongqing police officers and a Bo family aide were also sentenced as accomplices in the murder and subsequent cover-up. The charismatic Bo had been one of China’s most prominent politicians and was considered a candidate for the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee at the upcoming Communist Party national congress, expected to be held next month. University of Miami China expert June Teufel Dreyer said authorities might be holding back in the face of a lack of consensus or uncertainty how to proceed within such a tight time frame. “The door’s still open to prosecute Bo at a future time, and it is possible that Wang’s trial will attempt to draw Bo into the murdercover-up intrigue,” Dreyer said. “The more attention can be diverted from so high-level, and reputedly fairly popular, personage, the better,” she said. Chinese courts rarely rule in favor of the defendant, and Wang’s conviction is inevitable. Xinhua left no doubt about that, saying “Prosecutors said facts related to Wang Lijun’s crimes were clear; the evidence was concrete and abundant.” The attorney Wang Yuncai said yesterday she has been approved by the court to serve as Wang Lijun’s defense lawyer. She said the court would decide whether the trial would be closed to the public, and that according to Chinese law that would be based on whether the case involves state secrets or personal privacy issues. Xinhua said that according to the indictment, Wang knew that Gu was under serious suspicion of murdering Heywood, but “consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain” so Gu would not be held legally responsible. It also said Wang “left his post without authorization and defected to the United States Consulate General in Chengdu.”—AP

DAVAO: A US navy surveillance plane joined Philippine security forces yesterday in an exercise aimed at safeguarding coastal areas in the strife-torn south, the Filipino exercise director said. The PC-3 Orion flew over the Davao Gulf in the south from an airport in the central Philippines in a mock mission to help local authorities track a seaborne vessel, said Philippine Navy Captain Robert Empedrad. “The Orion was available, so we requested they take part and spot a vessel,” he told AFP. “They (Orion crew) reported it (the target vessel’s position) to us and after we determined the real position of contact, we instructed our ships to conduct an interception.” Philippine Navy and coastguard patrol vessels also took part in the exercise, while the US aircraft flew back to an airport in Cebu city after its mission, he added. The exercise will help the US Navy to coordinate with the Philippine Navy, coastguard, maritime police and other agencies in securing the southern region of Mindanao, Empedrad said. He added that it would boost security in helping protect the island from terrorism, piracy, drug smuggling, gun-running and human trafficking. Mindanao and its surrounding islands have long struggled with outlaw groups including Islamic

extremists linked to the Al-Qaeda network and various pirates and bandits. The Philippines has recently been moving closer to the United States, following a face-off with China that began in April over disputed territory in the South China Sea. Empedrad stressed that the United States had cooperated in previous similar exercises over the past three years and said the US aircraft’s involvement on Thursday was not linked to fresh tensions with China. Meanwhile, the Philippines yesterday said it had “guarded optimism” over China’s assurances of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, but warned more clarification of the statement was needed. The Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that China’s recent assurance could have positive or negative connotations for the Philippines, which has territorial disputes with China. The statement came after China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that “freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea is assured”, at a rare joint news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. However the Philippines said Yang’s statement may mean that China is “making it appear that it is the sole guarantor of freedom of navigation”, in the hotly-dis-

puted South China Sea. “What if China refuses or withdraws such assurance? Does that mean that the freedom of navigation does not exist in the (South China Sea?) We wish to seek a clarification on this,” the department added. The Philippines said freedom of navigation was a right under international law and expressed hopes that China’s new statement showed it would now abide by international law. The statement also reaffirmed the Philippines’ objections to China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, a mineral and fish-rich region that is also among the world’s busiest sea passages. The Philippines has in recent months accused China of “duplicity” and “intimidation” in pressing its claims to territory in the South China Sea. Several other Southeast Asian countries also have conflicting claims with China over the area. Tensions between the two countries rose after Philippine and Chinese ships began a stand-off in April over the Scarborough Shoal, an rocky outcrop in the South China Sea. China claims the shoal as well as nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the coasts of neighbouring countries. The Philippines says the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.— AFP

Philippines plans to put Imelda jewels on display MANILA: The Philippines said yesterday it planned to soon put on public display jewels seized 26 years ago from former first lady Imelda Marcos, hoping they will be a tourist draw. The collection, worth at least eight million dollars, have sat in a bank vault for decades after being seized as part of assets allegedly plundered by the Marcos family before it fled to US exile in 1986, after 20 years in power. The government plans to ultimately auction them off after putting them on display, said Maita Gonzaga, a senior official at the Presidential Commission on Good Government. “They can attract tourists, (and) also (show) that there are certain lessons of the past that should not be forgotten. These are actual tangible evidence of plunder,” Gonzaga told AFP. Imelda Marcos, now 83, is the widow of Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country from 1965 to 1986, including nine years under martial law. She enjoyed great influence as cabinet member and roving ambassador, but became the symbol of excess while the rest of the country plunged into poverty. She enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle and amassed a huge collection of jewellery, fine art, and real estate-allegedly bought with money stolen from state coffers. But a popular revolt ended Marcos’ rule and sent him and his family into exile in Hawaii where the patriarch died three years later.

Part of the jewellery collection was recovered by the US government when the family arrived in Honolulu while other jewels were separately seized from a Greek friend of Marcos while he was trying to smuggle them out. Marcos was replaced by democracy icon Corazon

Aquino who put up the wealth commission to recover all of Marcos’s ill-gotten assets. The Marcos family was later allowed to return home and regained some of their influence with the widow and her son, also named Ferdinand, being elected to parliament.— AFP

MANILA: This file photo taken on September 15, 2005 shows Ricardo Abcede (R) a commissioner from Presidential Commission on Good Goverment (PCGG) and other goverment officials showing to the media at the Central bank headquarter in Manila, jewelleries seized from a collection from former first lady Imelda Marcos in the late 1980s. — AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Myanmar lawmakers unseat judges in charter row NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar’s parliament yesterday ousted nine constitutional court judges in the culmination of a longrunning standoff that observers say exposed growing political rivalry within the regime. Three-quarters of lower house lawmakers voted to impeach the members of the Constitutional Tribunal, whose duties include interpreting provisions under a controversial 2008 charter drawn up by the former junta, and vetting new laws to ensure they conform with the text. The upper house voted for the impeachment last month. The row erupted after the court, in response to a request by President Thein Sein to study the issue, issued an order in February which limited the power of parliamentary committees and commissions to summon ministers for questioning.

It was seen as the country’s first major political crisis since decades of military rule ended last year, pitting the government against the parliament-and in particular lower house speaker Shwe Mann, a top regime figure and former general considered a possible contender to replace Thein Sein when he retires. “Shwe Mann needs to distinguish himself from the military system and the old guard. I don’t know if he’s going to win or not but he’s taking a lot of risk,” said a Yangon-based analyst who did not want to be named. Since taking office last year, former general Thein Sein has overseen a number of dramatic changes such as the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament. But progress has been slower on the legislative front, in part because of the

time-consuming power struggle between the presidency and the parliament, observers say. The constitutional court row “intruded into the agenda and delayed other things like the foreign investment law”, said Aung Naing Oo, a Myanmar expert at the Vahu Development Institute. The impeachment was supported by all political parties, including the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) — which has close ties to the military-as well as Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). In a speech to parliament before the vote, USDP lawmaker Soe Yin said there was a need for “checks and balances” within the new political system. “To attack the parliament is to attack the people,” he said. Only the unelected military represen-

tatives who occupy one quarter of the seats in the legislature opposed the impeachment. Thein Sein and the two house speakers must now choose nine new judges and submit the list to lawmakers for approval. A government minister who asked not to be identified told AFP he believed the dispute was “not a threat to the democratisation process” and hinted that the conclusion confirmed the growing power of the parliamentarians. When the new regime took power in early 2011, “people thought the parliament would be a rubber-stamp body,” he said. But “we have to come to the parliament again and again and they ask us a lot of questions”, he said. “Their job is to scrutinise us. They have to review our policies. So we should not complain.” — AFP

Karzai urged to appoint Afghan rights experts KABUL: A US-based group urged the Afghan president yesterday to appoint independent and experienced human rights experts to seats on a national commission left vacant for nine months. It was the second time in days that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has raised rights concerns with President Hamid Karzai, following his nomination of a cabinet minister implicated in torture to head the country’s spy agency. The five-year terms of nine commissioners serving on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission expired in December 2011. Among those dropped was the country’s most outspoken rights activist, Nader Nadery, who had been documenting atrocities committed over the past three decades, with many of those implicated now in prominent positions of power. But Karzai had announced plans not to reappoint three members. HRW said a fourth seat was also vacant after the commissioner responsible for children’s rights was killed with her family in a suicide attack in January 2011. “The human rights situation in Afghanistan is extremely fragile and the national human rights commission should be at full strength to do its part to protect all Afghans,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW. He said the commission, “one of the most important and effective institutions created since 2001”, cannot fully function with uncertainty about its leadership. “President Karzai should demonstrate his commitment to the human rights commission by appointing highly-qualified members as soon as possible,” he said. HRW last week urged Karzai not to appoint cabinet minister Asadullah Khalid as head of the National Directorate of Security. He has been accused over torture, drug-trafficking and corruption. Parliament has to approve his nomination before he takes office. Meanwhile, the United States looks set to continue to make arrests and control at least part of its controversial Bagram prison after formally handing over responsibility to Afghans next week, a report said yestersday. The prison, which has sometimes been called Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay, holds rebel fighters detained by US-led forces in their decade-long war against Taleban insurgents. Afghanistan and the United States signed an agreement for its transfer on March 9 and Kabul now says it expects to take over Bagram on Monday. But the Open Society Foundation set up by US billionaire George Soros has criticised a short, six-month transition that masked inconsistences, left open the fate of third-country and new detainees, and risks rights abuses. “The United States also appears to want continued detention powers in Afghanistan beyond September 2012, something which all Afghan officials interviewed for this report have categorically rejected,” the report said. President Hamid Karzai had demanded that the prison be transferred before addressing long-term Afghan-US relations and possible legal immunity for US troops after the bulk of NATO combat troops leave in 2014. The fate of 600 detainees added to the prison since March is unknown given that the deal addressed only the 3,100 detainees held when it was signed, the report said.— AFP

SIVAKASI: People run for cover as smoke rises from the site of a fire at a fireworks factory on the outskirts of Sivakasi, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southwest of Chennai, India. Police in southern India said they have arrested six employees of the fireworks factory for a massive blaze. — AP

India blaze death toll rises to 38 Police arrest six after fireworks blaze

CHENNAI: Indian police arrested six people yesterday and were hunting for the boss of a fireworks factory where 38 people were killed in a blaze that highlighted the industry’s lax safety standards. Firefighters battled for hours to control the fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at Om Sivasakthi plant in Sivakasi, the centre of the Indian fireworks industry, 700 kilometres (430 miles) from the southern port of Chennai. Senior police officer Najmul Hoda listed a string of violations in the plant, adding that its production licence had been revoked but operations had continued regardless. “Not more than 160 people are allowed to work, but there were around 400 persons inside the premises,” he told reporters at the scene. The fire safety system had not functioned when an initial fire broke out-reportedly because of a mistake in mixing chemicals-and the premises had been sub-

let to a third party, which is illegal. “The original owner cannot leave the factory to someone else,” Hoda said, adding that police were trying to track down the owner for questioning. Six people have already been arrested, including the foreman of the plant. “As the investigation progresses, all those persons against whom complicity is established would be arrested,” said Hoda. The fire started in a small room that was packed with workers and swiftly spread to dozens of other rooms where explosive chemicals and finished fireworks were being stored, fire and police officials said. A wall of highly noxious smoke could be seen billowing from the premises, with exploding fireworks and chemical fires posing a danger to firefighters and local people who gathered to watch the inferno. Badly burnt or injured people were evacuated by onlookers or fellow workers, with some travelling in ambulances to three local hospitals and med-

ical centres. Seventy are being treated for injuries, some with severe burns, Hoda said. Sivakasi, which is home to some 700 fireworks factories, is running at peak production ahead of the forthcoming festival season, which includes Diwali, the festival of lights, when Indians celebrate by letting off firecrackers. An estimated 40,000 workers are employed in the fireworks industry in the small industrial town, often assembling products with little or no safety gear while sitting on bare floors. The latest tragedy in Sivakasi comes after at least 20 people were killed in another blaze at a fireworks factory in the town in July 2005. Safety measures in Indian factories are routinely ignored because of a lack of inspections or corruption. The United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that nearly 50,000 Indians die from work-related accidents or illness each year. — AFP

International FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Pakistan evicts Save the Children foreign staff ‘Ministry gave no reason for the expulsion’

KARACHI: Pakistan Air Force cadets march at the mausoleum of the country’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi yesterday, to mark the country’s Defence Day. Pakistan’s armed forces staged a display of their capacities as they celebrated Defence Day, a commemorative day of the war fought against neighboring India in 1965. — AFP

China minister tips Indian pilots $1,800 NEW DELHI: China’s defence minister caused a diplomatic headache during his trip to India by offering nearly $2,000 as a tip to two air force pilots who flew him from Mumbai to New Delhi, reports said yesterday. Liang Guanglie, who leaves later tonight after a fourday tour, handed over the cash in two envelopes after the flight in stormy monsoon weather on Monday evening, The Hindu newspaper reported. “The Chinese defence minister was pleased with the way the IAF (Indian Air Force) pilots handled the flight and flew him down to the capital smoothly,” the newspaper said, citing anonymous sources. The cash gift of 100,000 rupees (1,800 dollars) broke Indian protocol rules, which forbid crews from accepting money, The Hindu and other newspapers reported. The money will be deposited in the government treasury. “Officials were inclined to believe that the visiting minister was probably not well briefed on the protocol and customs followed in such situations in India,” The Hindu added. After two days of meetings with India’s army chiefs, defence minister and prime minister, Liang did some sightseeing on Wednesday and was photographed out of his army uniform and looking casual in a baseball cap and a pink T-shirt. At one point he posed for a photo hugging an iron pillar at the Qutub Minar, a UNESCO world heritage site in the capital, before travelling on to India’s monument to love, the Taj Mahal in Agra. The centrepiece of the official trip was a decision on Tuesday by India and China to resume joint military exercises after a four-year gap. Relations between the neighbours have been prickly owing to a disputed border, wariness over their military build-up, and competition for influence and resources. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has ordered foreign staff members of Save the Children to leave the country, a spokesman for the international aid group said yesterday. The group has recently come under Pakistani government scrutiny because of reports that it helped facilitate meetings between the US and a doctor who allegedly helped hunt down Osama bin Laden, a charge which the group has vehemently denied. The expulsion order comes among heightened suspicion of foreigners in Pakistan in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda leader’s killing. Ghulam Qadri said the Ministry of Interior informed the organization earlier this week that its six foreign staffers would have to leave the country within two weeks, although they have since been able to extend the deadline. He did not specify the new date. Save the Children has about 2,000 Pakistani employees across the country, who will continue to work despite the expulsion. He said the ministry gave no reason for the expulsion: “We are working with the government to find out the details for this action.” The ministry could not be reached for comment. After the May 2011 American raid that killed bin Laden, Pakistan arrested Shakil Afridi, the doctor who allegedly helped the United States track down the Al-Qaeda leader. Afridi was said to have run a fake vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and try to verify bin Laden’s presence at the compound in Abbottabad where US commandos found and killed him. Afridi was later convicted and sentenced to 33 years for high treason. The US has been pushing for his release and praised his actions but in Pakistan he is viewed with disdain by many including security officials for helping a foreign intelligence agency operate within its borders. In the wake of Afridi’s arrest

Pakistani officials have become increasingly suspicious of groups with international ties, and many aid groups have reported that it is becoming more difficult to obtain visas. A lawyer for the doctor, Samiullah Khan, said Pakistani investigators in a report concluded that Afridi met with some foreigners in connection with the vaccination drive, including someone from Save the Children in Islamabad. Khan says his client denies the charges and that he is innocent. Qadri said there’s no evidence suggesting that it worked with Afridi and that the aid group has already given the government all the information it

has asked for as part of its investigation. Qadri said he expects that the foreign staffers will have to leave but said they may be able to return at a future date. The expulsion was first reported by the British newspaper The Guardian. Save the Children is an international aid group with operations in more than 50 countries around the world that aims to improve the lives of children. The group has been working in Pakistan since 1979, according to its website. Recently it has been helping some of the roughly 250,000 people who have fled fighting in Pakistan’s Khyber agency, a tribal area that borders Afghanistan. — AP

ISLAMABAD: Local Pakistani staff are pictured in front of the office of the Save The Children nonprofit organisation office in Islamabad yesterday. Pakistan has ordered all Save the Children’s foreign staff to leave the country within four weeks, a spokesman for the aid agency said. —AFP

HRW pushes Pakistan to ‘urgently’ protect Shiites QUETTA: Pakistan should “urgently act” to protect minority Shiite Muslims from rising sectarian attacks by the rival Sunni sect that have killed hundreds this year, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. At least 320 Shiites have been killed in targeted attacks this year across Pakistan, including more than 100 in southwestern Baluchistan province, the majority from the Hazara community, the US-based group it said in a statement. “Deadly attacks on Shia (Shiite) communities across Pakistan are escalating,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human

Rights Watch, said in the same statement. “The government’s persistent failure to apprehend attackers or prosecute the extremist groups organising the attacks suggests that it is indifferent to this carnage,” Adams said. The rights watchdog said Sunni militant groups such as the “ostensibly banned” Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) had operated with “widespread impunity” across Pakistan while law enforcement officials looked the other way. LeJ is regarded as Pakistan’s most extreme Sunni outfit, accused of killing hundreds of Shiite Muslims after its

emergence in the early 1990s. It was banned by then president Pervez Musharraf in 2001. Adams said the arrest last month of of LeJ leader Malik Ishaq, who has been accused of killing some 70 people, was “an important test for Pakistan’s criminal justice system”. Some Sunni extremist groups are known to be “allies” of the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries, such as the Frontier Corps, HRW said. On September 1, four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near the Hazarganji area of Quetta, the capital of

Baluchistan, pulled five Shiite vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead. On August 30, unidentified gunmen shot dead Shiite Muslim judge Zulfiqar Naqvi along with his driver and police bodyguard. Sectarian conflict has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s. In one of the bloodiest recent attacks, on August 16 gunmen dragged 20 Shiite Muslim travellers off a bus and killed them at point blank range in northern Pakistan. “Pakistan’s government cannot play the role of unconcerned bystander as the Shia across Pakistan are slaughtered,” Adams said. — AFP

Business FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Nokia slashes prices of older Windows phones


Embattled Qantas reaches alliance with Emirates PAGE 22

THESSALONIKI: A couple are pictured in front of a tent outside the National Organization for the Provision of Health Services’ offices in Thessaloniki yesterday, during a demonstration of retired people to protest the cuts in pensions and new government measures. The latest cuts package could reach 13.5 billion in order to counterbalance state revenue lost to a burgeoning recession now in its fifth year.— AFP

ECB unveils new bond-buying program Draghi allays fears of euro-zone breakup, global stocks jump

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank unveiled yesterday a fresh program to buy bonds issued by heavily indebted euro-zone countries, under strict conditions, in a widely-anticipated bid to save the euro. Echoing remarks issued by German and Spanish leaders almost simultaneously in Madrid, ECB president Mario Draghi said the central bank would buy unlimited volumes of bonds with maturity of up to three years. He spoke after the bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent and downgraded growth forecasts for the 17-nation bloc. “We will do whatever it takes” to keep the euro-zone together, Draghi said, stressing that “unfounded fears are just what they are, unfounded.” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks, said that Madrid and Berlin would also do what it takes to “resolve the euro crisis”. Merkel stressed that “we have to restore confidence in the euro as a whole.” Draghi unveiled a new central bank instrument known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) in secondary markets for sovereign bonds, but stressed that governments would also have to fulfill strict conditions. The program, which would replace a previous much-contested one called SMP, would cover sovereign bonds with maturities of up to three years, Draghi told a news conference here. Meanwhile, euro zone shares hit A 5-month high yesterday as investors welcomed plans by the European Central Bank to purchase sovereign bonds on the secondary market. The euro zone blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 2.3 percent to 2,497.10 points after rising as high as 2,501.49, a level not seen since early April. The pan-

European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.6 percent to 1,096.36 points. US stocks surged higher in opening trade yesterday after the European Central Bank unveiled new bond-buying measures to ease euro-zone financial turmoil. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 125.20 points (0.96 percent) to 13,172.68 in the first two minutes of trade. The S&P 500-stock index advanced 12.34 (0.88 percent) to 1,415.78, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 27.07 (0.88 percent) to 3,096.34. The bank has set no limit to the volume of bonds it will purchase under the new program, he added. “As we said a month ago, we need to be in the position to safeguard the monetary policy transmission

FRANKFURT: Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), arrives to address the media following a meeting with the ECB’s council in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, yesterday.—AFP

mechanism in all countries of the euro area.” The OMTs “will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro,” Draghi said. At the same time, “governments must stand ready to activate the EFSF/ESM in the bond market when exceptional financial market circumstances and risks to financial stability exist,” an ECB statement explained. It referred to two euro-zone financial rescue packages that were expected to work in conjunction with the ECB by buying longer-term bonds, if necessary. “The adherence of governments to their commitments and the fulfilment by the EFSF/ESM of their role are necessary conditions for our outright transactions to be conducted and to be effective,” the ECB said. Meanwhile, the bank also downgraded its euro-zone growth forecasts to a contraction of 0.4 percent in 2012 followed by growth of 0.5 percent in 2013, a reduction from its previous call in June of minus 0.1 percent for this year and plus 1.0 percent next year. The new ECB program replaces its Securities Market Program, launched in May 2010. Via that program, the ECB has accumulated 208.5 billion euros ($262.5 billion) in bonds from Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain. Following the ECB announcement, the euro declined slightly to $1.2592 while European stock markets showed solid gains, and Spanish bond yields slid. Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding commented that “after one year in which the ECB allowed turmoil in sovereign bond markets to obstruct the transmission of its monetary policy, the ECB is now addressing the core issue in the euro-zone crisis. —Agencies

Business FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Recession ‘taking hold’ in euro-zone: OECD Crisis could drag global economy down

BEIJING: Chinese customers sort through glass beads that they buy to make jewelry at a market in Beijing yesterday. China’s upcoming political changes represent a breakthrough chance to boost its economy by accelerating reforms and fostering innovation, a European business group said. — AFP

US unemployment aid applications decline WASHINGTON: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 last week, a hopeful signal that the job market may be improving. The Labor Department says applications declined to a seasonally adjusted 365,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up to 371,250. Weekly applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it suggests that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. The drop likely won’t affect the August jobs report, set to be released today. The data for that report were compiled three weeks ago. But it could signal better hiring this month. Economists forecast that employers added 135,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate is expected to stay unchanged at 8.3 percent. In July, employers added 163,000 jobs. It was the best month of hiring since February and an improvement from the average of only 73,000 per month created in the April-June quarter. Still, the economy grew at a tepid 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, down from the 2 percent rate in the January-March quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of last year. Growth at or below 2 percent is typically too weak to lower the unemployment rate. Most economists expect the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent through the November election. President Barack Obama will address the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte yesterday. Polls show most Americans regard Republican nominee Mitt Romney as better able to handle the US economy. Romney and his Republican allies have pointed to high unemployment as evidence that Obama’s policies are not helping the economy. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when Obama took office and has been above 8 percent for the past 42 months. Most economists say “normal” unemployment is 6 percent or less. — AP

MANILA: Protesters march to the Department of Energy building at suburban Taguig city, east of Manila yesterday. The protesters are against the Independent Oil Price Review Committee report allegedly concluding that “oil companies are not overpricing the public and gaining excessive profits from consumers. — AP

PARIS: Europe’s debt crisis is pushing the 17-country euro-zone toward recession and dragging down the global economy, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said yesterday. Even growth in traditional economic powerhouse Germany is slowing, and the OECD’s interim assessment said that Europe’s largest economy could slip into recession by the end of the year. “The negative elements of the global economy ... stemming mostly from Europe are there and they are somewhat stronger than they used to be a few months ago,” OECD Chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan told reporters. He said the good news was that the global economy was not in recession, but that avoiding one would depend on what politicians do in the coming months and pushed especially for more action by the European Central Bank. The ECB could outline later in the day a plan to buy up the bonds of governments struggling with high borrowing costs. Padoan said he was encouraged by recent progress in Europe to get a handle on the crisis. High borrowing rates are at the heart of the European crisis and have forced several countries to seek bailout loans. Now, larger economies, like Italy and Spain, are suffering high rates. Many experts worry that Europe can’t afford to rescue them but also can’t afford to let them fail. Padoan also dismissed concerns - mostly coming from Germany - that ECB intervention could push up inflation. He said it wasn’t clear that bond-buying would increase inflation and that, at any rate, Europe needed more inflation. In May, the OECD - which monitors economic trends for the

PARIS: OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan presents an interim assessment entitled “What is the near-term global outlook” at the OECD headquarters in Paris yesterday. — AFP world’s most developed economies said that the 17-country euro-zone could contract by as much as 2 percent this year. Thursday’s assessment didn’t offer a comparable prediction, and Padoan wouldn’t say if he thought such a severe contraction was likely. Instead, the report says a recession is “taking hold” in the euro-zone and predicts the three largest economies that use the euro - Germany, France and Italy - will shrink by 0.2 percent this year. For Germany, it predicted an annualized contraction of 0.5 percent in the third quarter and of 0.8 percent in the fourth. According to the statistics agency Eurostat, the euro-zone economy shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter of the

year after growth was flat in the first quarter. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The interim report said it expects the US to grow 2.3 percent this year, just off its May prediction of 2.4 percent. Padoan warned that significant uncertainty marks the organization’s predictions and that the global economy faces several risks that could further drag down growth. The largest is the European response to its debt crisis, which is most responsible for the poor outlook. But Padoan also cited the so-called “fiscal cliff” in the US, a reference to the end of the year when a series of tax increases and spending cuts takes effect. — AP

Qatar demands respect with muscular Xstrata strategy DUBAI: By holding out against Glencore’s bid for mining giant Xstrata, Qatar is not just gunning for more profit from its stake, but showing Western financiers it won’t be pushed around. With a sovereign wealth fund analysts estimate at about $100 billion, the rich Gulf state has bought assets around the world over the past several years, including sizeable stakes in European banks, football clubs and luxury carmakers. But liberal spending threatens to create an image of Qatar as an extravagant investor that buys trophy assets mainly for the prestige, which could hurt its ability to negotiate attractive deals. By taking a hard line on the value of its 12 percent stake in Xstrata, and potentially blocking the firm’s $30 billion merger with commodity trader Glencore, Qatar is signalling to the investment community that it is not a soft touch, bankers and analysts said. This motivation suggests Qatar is unlikely to bow to last-minute pressure to accept a compromise price, as the hours tick away before

Friday’s vote by Xstrata shareholders on the bid. “With the Glencore/Xstrata transaction, Qatar has shown that it can also block mega-mergers, along with grabbing trophy assets,” said Rachel Zeimba, senior analyst and sovereign wealth fund expert at Roubini Global Economics in London. “This is part of the evolution of the fund as a global investor to reckon with.” Qatar Holding, the investment arm of the sovereign wealth fund, said last week that it was “determined” to vote against Glencore’s current all-share offer. The Qataris left the door open for a deal by saying they backed the tie-up in principle, but they reiterated that they would vote it down unless the terms were improved. Previously, Qatar had demanded that Glencore’s offer of 2.8 of its shares for each Xstrata share be raised to 3.25. The Xstrata case may be the first time that a Gulf sovereign fund has publicly called for more value in a transaction, bankers said. Traditionally, Gulf funds have pre-

ferred to make their wishes known behind the scenes, in keeping with business practices in the region. “From the point of view of Qatar Holding, the thinking is that you have to be careful when you are buying something from a trader and even more careful when you are selling something to a trader,” a banker who has previously advised the Qatar fund told Reuters. “At the end of the day (Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg) is a trader, and is perceived to do a deal which squeezes out the opposite party. It looks like he has found his match in Qatar Holding this time.” The banker added that there was pleasure among Gulf sovereign wealth funds in general at the sight of an investor from the region standing up to a big Western dealmaker. “For a change, it’s good to see a Gulf investor calling the shots. You haven’t seen such a firm stand being taken publicly before,” he said. “These funds have lost a lot of money previously investing in European and US companies.” —Reuters

Business FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Nokia slashes prices of older Windows phones Product launch fails to please investors

BEIJING: Passengers getting off and on a subway train in Beijing. China’s upcoming political changes represent a breakthrough chance to boost its economy by accelerating reforms and fostering innovation, a European business group said. — AFP

EU opens dumping probe into Chinese solar firms BRUSSELS: The European Commission launched an antidumping probe into Chinese solar panel imports yesterday, upping the ante in a major trade dispute Beijing insists should be solved by discussion. The Commission said its action followed the “most significant anti-dumping complaint” it has dealt with so far, putting solar panel imports from China at 21 billion euros ($26.5 billion) last year. Industry association EU ProSun claimed Chinese solar panels and components were being dumped on the European market at below cost, a charge Beijing rejected while calling for negotiations. The Chinese commerce ministry said it regretted that the commission went ahead with a probe “despite repeated calls by China to solve the trade dispute on photovoltaic products via consultations and cooperation. “China expresses deep regret about this.” China is the world’s biggest solar panel maker and the bulk of its overall $35.8 billion worth of solar product exports went to the EU last year, according to Chinese industry figures. The Commission said it decided on the investigation after evidence provided by EU ProSun showed Chinese products have had “substantial adverse effects on the financial situation of the Union industry.” If Chinese companies are found to have caused harm to the bloc’s solar industry, penalties could be imposed, it added. Beijing said restricting Chinese products would harm both sides and “damage the healthy development” of the global photovoltaic industry and clean energy. Chinese companies also voiced concerns over any potential tariffs on their business and the wider trade relationship where China’s role as the workshop of the world and biggest exporter has often strained ties with its partners. “The solar industry is based on a global and complex value chain, and will be therefore substantially and negatively affected by trade protectionism,” said Darren Thompson, managing director of the European arm of Yingli Green Energy. —AFP

HONG KONG: Hong Kong yesterday announced the first step in a policy aimed to restrict foreigners from buying property, in a move seen to be targeting mainland buyers who have been blamed for pushing up property prices. — AFP

HELSINKI: Loss-making Nokia has slashed prices of its older smartphone models using Microsoft Windows software, industry sources said yesterday, a day after investors gave its latest Lumia phones a rapid thumbs-down. Two industry source told Reuters that the Finnish group, which is struggling to recoup ground lost to its rivals, cut the price of its mid-range Lumia 800 Windows Phone by around 15 percent this week and made smaller reductions on other Windows models. Nokia shares continued falling yesterday after slumping 13 percent on Wednesday as the firm unveiled two new Windows Phone models in what may be the last major shot at reclaiming market

share lost to Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Google Inc. Nokia did not disclose the price or rollout dates of the new models and its share fell a further 5.3 percent to 1.88 euros by 1135 GMT yesterday. The company did not officially confirm the price cuts but said such steps were a normal part of its business. The lower prices will hurt Nokia’s bottom line, particularly in September and October as analysts expect the new models to begin contributing to results only the following month. Analysts said the new models would probably reach the market by November at the earliest, with the highend 920 model likely to sell for a price similar to the next Apple’s iPhone. This

will be unveiled next week and probably go on sale this month. Following Nokia’s product launch Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale both cut their recommendation on the stock to “sell”. “We believe Nokia will struggle to regain sufficient market share with Windows 8 devices to offset increasing pressure on its Mobile Phone business from low-cost Android devices in 2013,” Deutsche Bank analyst Kai Korschelt said in a research note. Retail prices of smartphones using Google’s market-leading Android software have dropped below $100, a level other smartphones are struggling to reach due to their high requirements on features like processing power. — Reuters

Swedish CB cuts key rate to 1.25% STOCKHOLM: The Swedish central bank cut yesterday its key interest rate by a quarter point to 1.25 percent in a surprise move aimed at bolstering growth and inflation amid an unexpectedly strong currency. The central bank’s executive board said its main goal in reducing its reference rate was “to prevent inflation from being too low in the coming period”. The new level is meant to keep annual Swedish inflation close to the bank’s target of 2.0 percent, and the bank said it expected the repo rate to now remain unchanged “until the middle of next year”. Prices have fallen three months in a row, with inflation in July ticking in at 0.7 percent. Non-euro-zone member Sweden has seen its export-heavy economy stand up well in the current crisis, with stronger than expected growth of

1.4 percent in the second quarter. But the bank noted that “the situation in the euro area is still uncertain and could worsen, which could have further negative effects on the Swedish economy”. Weakening demand from the neighboring euro-zone is likely to curb exports. The central bank forecast growth of 1.5 percent this year, in line with the Swedish finance ministry’s prediction of 1.6 percent for 2012. But international credit rating agency Moody’s last week judged that level unrealistic, saying the figure should be closer to 0.3 percent. Also contributing to the central bank’s decision to shave the rate-the first change since February-was the fact that “during the summer the krona has appreciated faster than expected and productivity has also been unexpectedly

high,” the bank said. The rate reduction surprised most analysts, who had expected the bank to hold off until later in the autumn. “This is a welcome cut. It’s a good decision, it’s easier to reach the inflation target with a cut,” Swedbank chief economist Cecilia Hermansson told the online edition of daily Svenska Dagbladet. “The economy, which is slowing, needs a lower repo rate. The reduction is good for the Swedish economy,” she said. “I would have cut (the rate) a long time ago. The central bank is often behind,” Mauro Gozzo of the Swedish Trade Council told news agency TT. Sweden, which has some nine million inhabitants, has been a member of the European Union since 1995 but voted against joining the euro-zone in a 2003 referendum. — AFP

EU president in Greece as crucial audit kicks off ATHENS: EU President Herman Van Rompuy arrives in Athens yesterday for meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as international lenders are due to begin negotiations with debt-wracked Greece on a new round of austerity measures. Greece has been pleading for more time to carry out 11.6 billion euros ($14.4 billion) in cuts required in exchange for rescue loans, and Samaras is expected to reiterate the call during his meeting with Van Rompuy while stressing his country’s commitment to reforms. But the so-called “troika” of international creditors-the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank-are demanding that Athens catch up with time lost earlier this year over back-to-back elections that halted the reform drive. The lenders are also in town to begin negotiations for a fresh round of austerity measures, which are believed to include further slashes to civil servants’ pay.

Samaras, who took over in June at the head of a three-party coalition, will meet Van Rompuy at 1400 GMT, the PM’s office said. During meetings last month with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Samaras had asked for “breathing space” which is believed to refer to an extra two years to carry out the fiscal adjustment. Both Merkel and Hollande have told Samaras that any decisions on this issue will have to be taken after the troika submit their report in October. A favorable assessment from the international creditors is necessary for the release of a 31.5 billion euro loan installment, which Greece crucially needs as part of a promised 130-billion-euro bailout from the EU and the IMF. Most of that money will be spent on recapitalizing Greek banks which took a heavy blow in a Greek sovereign debt rollover earlier this year. Besides auditing reforms to date, the international lenders will examine Greece’s plans for further

austerity. Among them would be a new package of cuts, which was set initially at 11.5 billion but which could be raised to 13.5 billion euros so as to counterbalance losses in state revenues during a recession that is now in its fifth year. The measures reportedly include a 3.5-billion-euro slash to pensions, health cuts worth 1.47 billion euros and a 517million-euro reduction to defense. Key state staff paid under so-called ‘special salary schemes’-a group that includes police, firemen, clerics, diplomats, judges and the military-are also facing an average pay cut of 12 percent, according to reports. Samaras has promised that this will be the last round of cuts but Greeks on all sides are expressing outrage at any further austerity. Hospital doctors, judges and pensioners held street protests in Athens this week, police officers are demonstrating on Thursday and university professors are expected to follow. — AFP

Business FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Lufthansa cancels 50 flights ahead of 24-hour strike FRANKFURT: German airline Lufthansa cancelled around 50 flights yesterday ahead of a planned 24-hour walkout by cabin crew at six major airports today as a long-running dispute over pay and conditions escalated. As in previous walkouts, it was primarily domestic and European services that were affected, but a number of intercontinental flights were also hit, such as New YorkFrankfurt and Hong Kong-Munich, accord-

ing to the carrier’s website. Late Wednesday, the cabin staff’s labor union, Independent Flight Attendants’ Organization or UFO, said its members will stage a 24-hour stoppage Friday at the airports of Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart in an escalation of their ongoing pay dispute. Other much shorter walkouts of eight hours last week and earlier this week have grounded hundreds of flights and hit thou-

sands of passengers. Lufthansa has therefore said it will cancel 1,200 flights, or twothirds of its total 1,800 flights today. According to its latest demands, the union-which represents some two-thirds of Lufthansa’s 18,000 cabin crew-is seeking a five-percent pay increase backdated to April after three years of wage freezes. It is also opposed to the use of temporary cabin crew on Lufthansa flights. “We’re prepared to go to mediation on the issue of pay hikes.

But negotiations cannot include the use of temporary staff,” a Lufthansa spokesman told AFP. “UFO has not contacted us so far,” he added. The airline already faces headwinds because of rising fuel prices and fierce competition. A 2009 strike by cabin crew cost Lufthansa tens of millions of euros. In February, Frankfurt airport’s apron control staff-traffic controllers who guide aircraft on the tarmac-walked off the job over demands for higher pay. — AFP

Embattled Qantas reaches alliance with Emirates 10-year aviation tie-up dubbed ‘momentous’

TOKYO: A woman passing before a branch of Nomura Securities in Tokyo. Nomura Holdings said yesterday it would cut $1.0 billion in costs, part of a bid to repair its balance sheet as Japan’s biggest brokerage recovers from an embarrassing insider trading scandal. — AFP

Japan’s Nomura unveils massive cost costs TOKYO: Nomura Holdings said yesterday it would slash $1.0 billion in costs to repair its balance sheet as Japan’s biggest brokerage signalled the end of its ambitious plan to become a global powerhouse. The Tokyo-based securities giant, which is trying to move past an embarrassing insider trading scandal, said it would usher in the sweeping cuts by March 2014 across its global operations. About two-thirds of the reductions would come from regions including the United States and Europe, it said, adding that Nomura would focus on the Asian market as it looked to triple its pre-tax profit over the next four years. The move marked the final nail in the coffin of Nomura’s ill-fated plan to transform into a global investment banking giant after buying some operations of defunct Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis. The resignation last month of chief executive Kenichi Watanabe, a key driver behind the firm’s expansion, had also been widely viewed as a fatal blow to Nomura’s heavyweight ambitions. On Thursday, Nomura said it would “position Asia including Japan as home market” and “shift to a global business model centered on Asia”. “The global economy is facing various, serious challenges and is in the midst of a big paradigm shift,” new chief executive Koji Nagai said yesterday. “The challenges which our corporate and individual clients face are getting more serious and the need for high-valued financial services is rapidly increasing. “What Nomura must do is acutely sense the changes in our clients’ needs... and flexibly adapt.” Focusing on Asia was the right strategy because of “abundant funds” available for investment in a region with mature and emerging markets that were driving the global economy, the firm said. Nomura revealed few specifics of its cost cuts, saying only that about 45 percent of the reductions would be from “personnel expenses”. It also said information technology costs would be trimmed as it “improves business efficiencies, and rationalizes (the) management structure”. The firm’s shares closed 2.3 percent higher at 266 yen in Tokyo. Nomura last year unveiled separate cost savings of about $1.2 billion-and chopped hundreds of jobs-after posting a net loss of 46.1 billion yen ($588 million) in the July-September quarter of 2011, reversing a net profit of 1.1 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. The loss was Nomura’s first in 10 quarters and underscored how market turbulence and the euro-zone crisis had dented its brokerage and investment banking business. Nomura’s net profit in the fiscal year to March plunged about 60 percent on-year to 11.6 billion yen, although its full-year revenue rose by nearly 34 percent to 1.85 trillion yen. —AFP

SYDNEY: Struggling Australian carrier Qantas yesterday announced a major global alliance with Emirates that will see its hub for European flights shift to Dubai from Singapore in a bid to stem losses. The 10-year tie-up, described as a “momentous day” in global aviation, is part of Qantas’s drive to turn around its fortunes after last month posting its first annual loss since privatization in 1995. The move was welcomed by the market, with Qantas shares closing 6.67 percent higher at Aus$1.20, although analysts warned it will not automatically solve the airline’s problems. “The partnership is an improvement but no silver bullet to Qantas’s ails,” said leading industry watchdog the Centre for Aviation. “It will help Qantas’s footprint in Europe but has little direct impact on Qantas’s loss-making position in Asia.”Subject to regulatory approval, the deal goes beyond codesharing to include coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling and a benefit-sharing model, although neither airline will take equity in the other. It also means an end to Qantas’s partnership with British Airways on the socalled kangaroo route to London, which has spanned nearly two decades. “This agreement represents a step-change for the aviation industry,” said Qantas chief Alan Joyce. “It is far bigger than a codeshare or even a joint services agreement. This is the biggest arrangement Qantas has ever entered into with another airline.” Under the deal, Qantas will fly daily A380 services from both Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai, meaning that between the two airlines there will be

SYDNEY: Struggling Australian carrier Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce (right) and Emirates president Tim Clark (left) pose prior to announcing a major global alliance in Sydney yesterday. — AFP 98 weekly services between Australia and the Emirates hub. It will see Qantas become the only other airline operating to Terminal 3 and the new purpose-built A380 concourse at Dubai International Airport. As a consequence, Qantas flights to Singapore and Hong Kong will terminate in those countries and be rescheduled to enable more same-day connections across Asia. For Emirates customers, the alliance will open up Qantas’s Australian domestic network of more than 50 destinations and nearly 5,000 flights per week. “This is a momentous day in international aviation

and it’s exciting to be part of,” said Emirates chief Tim Clark. “The time was right to develop a longterm partnership with Qantas, the iconic Australian airline. “By establishing this partnership we are providing our passengers with additional connectivity in Australia and the region, the ability to utilize reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and access to premium lounges and travel experiences.” The arrangement, which requires approval from Australian regulators, is expected to start in April 2013 and is seen as pivotal to the future of Qantas. —AFP

Sony hit by fresh cyberattack TOKYO: Sony said yesterday that hackers stole details belonging to hundreds of its mobile unit clients, the latest in a string of cyberattacks to hit the embattled Japanese electronics giant. A group calling itself “Null\Crew” said it had attacked a mobile communications server, with a Sony spokesman confirming the cyber thieves had grabbed information belonging to 400 customers in mainland China and Taiwan. Null\Crew, which reportedly has links to international computer hacking group Anonymous, posted online usernames, e-mails and some passwords along with a statement critical of the Japanese firm. “Sony, we are dearly disappointed in your security,” it said, adding that it had gained control of eight Sony servers, which could not be immediately confirmed. “Not even your customers can trust you,” it added. The company spokesman said the incident was being

investigated and added that the server with client details belonged to an unnamed “third party”, and not Sony itself. In April last year Sony suffered a massive data breach that compromised more than 100 million accounts and forced it to temporarily halt its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. And in October, the firm suspended 93,000 accounts on its online entertainment networks, which let users play videogames and watch movies, after detecting a wave of unauthorized sign-in attempts. The entertainment giant has been battling to restore consumer trust after the initial security gaffe, with a string of subsequent attacks on websites including in Greece, Thailand and Indonesia. In another incident, a group of hackers known as Lulz Security in June said they had compromised more than one million passwords, email addresses and other information from — AFP

THEY ARE THE 99! 99 Mystical Noor Stones carry all that is left of the wisdom and knowledge of the lost civilization of Baghdad. But the Noor Stones lie scattered across the globe - now little more than a legend. One man has made it his life’s mission to seek out what was lost. His name is Dr. Ramzi Razem and he has searched fruitlessly for the Noor Stones all his life. Now, his luck is about to change - the first of the stones have been rediscovered and with them a special type of human who can unlock the gem’s mystical power. Ramzi brings these gem - bearers together to form a new force for good in the world. A force known as ... the 99!

THE STORY SO FAR : New 99 member Hamid the Praiseworthy helps Aleem and Mujiba to discover why Jami’s new machine doesn’t work: The antihydrogen particles it creates could explode violently, destroying the 99 Steps Foundation. But Hamid, whose power is to strengthen the abilities of others, accidentally activates the machine!

The 99 ® and all related characters ® and © 2012, Teshkeel Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Opinion FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Bill Clinton and the ex-president conundrum By Michael Oreskes


very political party has had leaders it would like to exalt and leaders it would like to forget. Bill Clinton has managed to be both. He is the closest thing American politics has to a rock star, and he has sometimes behaved like one. Luckily for President Barack Obama, Clinton today is about as popular as a political figure can be. And he is popular with exactly the voters that Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party have a hard time reaching - which is to say, white people. That is why even though they haven’t always been close, Obama invited Clinton to nominate him in prime time Wednesday evening, the first former president to do that. It is an extraordinary moment in the annals of presidential politics. Ex-presidents are sometimes useful for shows of party unity or reminders of good times. Richard Nixon did convince former president Ike Eisenhower to endorse him just before the contentious 1968 convention, recalled Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian. But like the old soldier that Ike was, most ex-presidents have generally faded away. They don’t want me around, Harry S Truman once said. Al Gore, running for president in 2000, wouldn’t take Bill Clinton’s help, which in retrospect looks like a big mistake. Jimmy Carter has been described as the nation’s best expresident, but he won’t be a big factor in the Obama campaign because his 1980 defeat by Ronald Reagan is too reminiscent of the present economic and political dynamic. And George W Bush was nowhere to be seen at his party convention last week. “After the White House,” said Franklin Pierce, the 14th president, “what is there to do but drink?” But it isn’t history Obama is trying to change by bringing in Clinton. It is votes - white guy votes in particular. The numbers tell a story. Obama was viewed favorably by 43 percent of white men in an AP-GfK poll last month. It is a key reason the US presidential race is so close this year. Overall, Republican challenger Mitt Romney beat Obama 54 to 39 percent among white voters in that poll. White voters make up a bit more than 70 percent of the electorate in recent presidential years, according to exit polls. Obama doesn’t have to win among white voters to win the election. But he does have to keep Romney from building up such a lead that he can’t make up the difference by winning among blacks, Hispanics and perhaps even women. Enter Clinton, who, at a year older than Romney, can’t really be the Comeback Kid anymore. But 12 years out of office, he is viewed favorably by 63 percent of white men, according to a Gallup Poll in July. He took his party and his country on a rollercoaster ride with sex scandals and an impeachment trial. But looking back now, folks don’t see scandal, said Richard Harpootlian, they see what happens to the economy when you give a Democratic president two terms. Harpootlian is a Democrat from South Carolina, a place where being a Democrat takes a special skill. “He resonates with Southern white folks dramatically,” Harpootlian says. “What they want to know is who is going to put groceries and grits on the table.” Turns out, that is what the whole country wants to know now. Clinton, the man from Hope, Arkansas, is now Obama’s chief messenger of hope that the economy well get better under Obama in a second term, as it did under Clinton, and that trusting the Republicans again is a mistake. But Clinton is more than just an economic messenger.

Or, more exactly, his economic message is effective because he has a visceral connection to white voters, particularly white guys. “We see ourselves in him,” said Gus Mansour, a 54-year-old delegate from Lynwood, Washington. Victor Rawls, a South Carolina delegate, explains it this way: “Bill Clinton is a very intelligent man and he’s also ... able to communicate across a lot of levels. It’s really bizarre that a Democratic president is able to maintain contact with the Fortune 500 companies like he has. No other Democratic president that I’m aware of in history has been able to do that.” Clinton and Obama are strikingly opposite characters. “Bill Clinton is effusive,” says Harpootlian, who has worked with both men. “He’s a hugger. He’s got an amazing memory for people names and places.” He says “Barack on the other hand is cool, almost like hip cool, he walks into a room he radiates this Frank Sinatra coolness. You can’t not sense him. It’s infectious.” Obama is disciplined and cerebral; Clinton is, well, not. That, says Josh Lockman, may be part of his appeal. As a millennial voter, Lockman, 30 and from Los Angeles, sees the Obama campaign, which he has worked with, as cold-eyed and focused on statistical analysis of voting patterns. “His campaign has taken almost a mathematical systematic statistical approach to appealing to key voting groups,” Lockman said, “whether Latino Americans with immigration or young Americans with student loans or Jewish Americans on Israel and Iran.” That may be a winning strategy, he said, but it isn’t always an inspiring one. Clinton is often said to have the best political mind in the business. Obama’s invite was in itself a kind of microtargeting at the biggest niche of voters, white guys. But Clinton’s real strength is his ability to soar above the mechanics of politics, Lockman says, “dispensing with the microtargeting statistical approach and emphasizing the humanistic one”. Clinton is nothing if not human. One risk the Obama campaign is accepting is that Clinton will run over his time Wednesday night. It’s more than possible, of course. Clinton has his own motives for delivering Wednesday evening. They’re part of who he has always been. “Throughout his political career he was focused, some might say obsessed, with reweaving the coalition between minority voters and the white working class,” said his former speechwriter, Michael Waldman. “He thought of it as repairing what was broken after Robert Kennedy’s murder. He argued passionately that if Democrats talked about the shared values of opportunity, responsibility and community, they could win the votes of both inner-city blacks and

suburban Reagan Democrats.” There is only one other recent ex-president who remains such a potent force in his party. He is to Republicans what Clinton is to Democrats. He redefined the party and reached toward the middle. Ronald Reagan, dead eight years, still managed to be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention last week, appearing relentlessly in video after video. Romney sought to cloak himself in Reagan, to bask in the rays of an absent legend. But when Barack Obama turns to his own party’s political idol, he won’t have to rely on digital smoke and big-screen mirrors. The legend, Bill Clinton, will be standing right next to him. — AP


Bebe Wood, left and Georgia King attend the PaleyFest Fall TV Preview Party for NBC at The Paley Center for Media on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. — AP


Value-added vinaigrette

Save money, boost flavor

by making your own


nowing how to make a variety of vinaigrettes is a kitchen skill every cook should have. Why? Because it is simple and saves money. And vinaigrettes are not just for salad greens. You can drizzle them on fresh cooked vegetables or grilled chicken or fish. A vinaigrette consists of three parts oil to one part vinegar (or other acid) along with salt and pepper. Once you have that down, you can experiment with different vinegars, oils and seasonings. Theresa Gemus, 56, of Riverview, Mich, has never been a fan of bottled vinaigrettes. “They were either too bitter or just didn’t make the salad taste good and left a bad taste in my mouth,” she said. So she makes her own vinaigrette directly on the salad. She seasons first, adds vinegar and then adds the oil. Gemus said making her own vinaigrette allows her to control the flavors. “I can ad lib on the seasoning flavors kind of on the fly,” she said. “And depending what I am making for dinner, I can change those vinegars.” Mary Spencer, a culinary instructor, also prefers to make her own vinaigrette because she can control the quality of the ingredients. “It’s using good quality vinegars, some quality olive oils,” said Spencer, who offers cooking classes at Taste: A Cook’s Place, located in Epiphany Kitchens in Northville, Mich. To bring the dressing together, use an emulsifier such as Dijon, which “gives it a little tang,” she said. Another tip: Spencer recommends making the vinaigrette in the bottom of the salad bowl and then adding salad greens and other ingredients and tossing them with the vinaigrette. “You want enough

vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves,” Spencer said. “I think when you use something that is ready- made you squirt it on and sometimes you over do it,” she added. “Making your own just tastes so much better.” MIX AND MATCH YOUR WAY TO A GREAT SALAD DRESSING Vinaigrettes are generally three parts oil to one part vinegar. So, to make about 1 cup vinaigrette you will need } cup oil and \ cup vinegar or other acidic liquid. Exact amounts vary from recipe to recipe; the key is to adjust ingredients to taste. Here are some tips and a list of essential ingredients: TIPS Have all the ingredients at room temperature so vinaigrette emulsifies more easily. While whisking, drizzle the olive oil in slowly and in a steady stream. The mixture should slowly come together, emulsify and look creamy. Make vinaigrettes up to three days in advance and refrigerate. When you make the salad, place the

greens in a bowl and add the vinaigrette a few tablespoons at a time so it just coats the greens. INGREDIENTS Oil: Good quality fruity or mild olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed, nut oils such as walnut. Vinegars or acids: Balsamic (white or dark), champagne, apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon or lime juice, fruit varieties (such as cranberry, pear or raspberry), orange juice, red or white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, rice (seasoned or unsea-

soned) for an Asian spin, plain white vinegar. Seasonings: Salt and pepper, Dijon mustard, fresh or dried herbs, minced garlic, minced ginger, honey, lemon or lime zest, chopped nuts, soy sauce (for Asian spin), minced shallots and sugar. BASIC DIJON VINAIGRETTE Makes: 2/3 cup / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes This is plenty for dressing 8 side salads. 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar 1/3 to cup good quality olive oil Freshly ground pepper Fresh chopped herbs, if desired In a small bowl stir together the shallots, Dijon and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar until blended. When well blended, start whisking in the oil, in a steady stream until it forms a smooth emulsion. Taste and adjust seasonings. Finish with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and herbs, if using. 59 calories (97 percent from fat), 7 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 0 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams protein, 62 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber. SHAVED ZUCCHINI SALAD WITH PARMESAN AND PINE NUTS Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes

This side salad is a great way to use up zucchini. 1/3 cup good quality olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper 2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil 1 cup pine nuts or blanched almonds, toasted Small wedge of Parmesan cheese In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Set dressing aside. Using vegetable peeler or V-slicer and working from top to bottom of each zucchini, slice zucchini into ribbons (about 1/16-inch thick). Place ribbons in large bowl. Add basil and nuts, then dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate salad on individual plates. Using vegetable peeler, shave strips from Parmesan wedge over salad.

187 calories (84 percent from fat), 18 grams fat (2.5 grams sat. fat), 6 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 247 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.

1 cup arugula leaves 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal 1 small ripe but firm avocado

50 SHADES OF GREENS SALAD Serves: 4 (generously) / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 15 minutes

In a small bowl, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until thoroughly emulsified. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, parsley, frisee, arugula and green onions. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Evenly divide the salad greens onto four salad plates. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh in one piece. Slice each half crosswise in thin halfmoons. Drizzle the avocado with a bit of the vinaigrette and then arrange several slices on each salad. Add another drizzling of vinaigrette, if desired, over each salad. 200 calories (77 percent from fat), 17 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 12 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 130 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 grams fiber. — MCT

VINAIGRETTE 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons honey Big pinch of kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper SALAD 1 large head Boston lettuce, largest outer leaves and damaged leaves removed; remainder washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces 1 cup loosely packed mix of fresh flat and curly parsley leaves 1 small bunch frisee, torn into pieces

Beauty FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Love the skin you’re in Dry, combination or oily - they require equal amount of care


here are five basic skin care types: oily, combination (normal), sensitive, dry and sun-damaged. Your skin type is determined by how much-or how little-oil your skin produces. Genes, diet, stress level, hormonal fluctuations, medication and even your skincare regimen all determine how much oil your skin produces. Rona Berg, in her book, “Beauty the New Basics,” suggests you take the “skin test” to tell what skin type you have. To do this, wash your face, pat it dry, and then take a few pieces of rice paper or lens-cleaning tissue paper and press on different spots on your face. If your skin is oily, the paper will stick, pick up oily spots and become translucent. If the paper doesn’t stick or pick up any oily spots, your skin is likely dry. If it sticks in your t-zone (forehead, nose and chin) then you have combination (or normal) skin. Most women actually have combination skin. Here are the 5 different skin types and their tell-tale characteristics.

Oily skin Oily skin is shiny skin, especially in the T-zone (from the forehead, down the nose to the chin). You may have enlarged pores, and you may be prone to blackheads and breakouts due to the overproduction of the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands. The good thing about oily skin is it ages better than dry skin because the oils keep the skin plump allowing fewer wrinkles to form. Many young women have oily skin but as they age, they may find their skin becomes drier, especially after age 35. To take care of your skin, wash with a cleanser formulated for oily skin before you go to bed. Exfoliate twice weekly with a gentle scrub and use oil-free moisturizers. If you suffer from breakouts, an astringent may help. When it comes to blush and bronzers, powdered blends work better than liquid ones and look for oil-free options for tinted moisturizers or foundations. Combination/normal skin Most women (some experts say up to 70 percent), have combination, or “normal” skin. Combination skin means you may have a slightly oily Tzone and drier cheeks with dry patchy spots here and there. You may also have larger pores on your cheeks and possibly your forehead. This skin type has medium pores, a smooth and even texture, good circulation and a healthy color. To take care of your skin, you may need to treat the Tzone differently from your drier spots. If your T-zone tends to be oily, try an astringent on those areas only after you’ve washed your face. Make sure to exfoliate twice weekly to remove any dead skin cells and use a heavier facial moisturizer on your dry spots as need be. Dry skin After turning 30, your skin can turn magically dry. This skin fluctuation can definitely be attributed to hormones. Dry skin feels tight, especially after cleansing. You have a tendency towards fine wrinkles, flaking and red patches. In women of color, skin may appear ashy or dull from dead skin buildup. Dry skin requires special care. Some prefer heavy cleansers and moisturizers over the lightweight products of my oilier years. Efoliate weekly and even slather on primers before you apply foundation just to plump the skin up as much as possible. Carry Evian spray water with you when you’re traveling to less humid areas and keep a bottle on the desk to spray your face in the winter, when furnaces dry out the air. If you live in a cold environment, use a humidifier in your office and bedroom to keep skin from drying out. Sensitive skin Sensitive skin tends to be thin, and delicate with fine pores. If you are easily irritated by the sun, certain cosmetic products and if you are prone to redness, itchy patches or blotchy skin, you likely have sensitive skin. Finding the right cleansers and moisturizers for your skin type can be tricky. The good news is many companies have developed products specifically for sensitive skin. Look for mild products that contain no scents. Many drugstores and department stores allow you to return products, so check out the return policy before you buy or ask if the store carries freebies so you can try before you buy. Ageing or sun-damaged skin This skin also feels tight with visible wrinkles, slack skin tone-especially around the cheeks and jawline-with leathery texture and broken capillaries.



here are tons of exercise books out there... how do you choose? If you’re looking for books that cover every aspect of exercise and fitness, from cardio to strength training, you’ll like these books. They include pictures and easy-to-follow info without a lot of jargon. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a beginner, you’ll find the perfect book to meet your exercise needs.

1. ACSM Fitness Book (2nd Edition)

3. Body Sculpting Bible for Men & Women

o one knows exercise better than the American College of Sports Medicine. This book offers easy-to-understand instructions on setting up a program and customizing it to fit your goals and schedule. Photos show proper form for strength training and flexibility exercises and you’ll even learn how to assess your fitness level and track progress. Includes a blank workout log to record your workouts.

his well-organized book is great for anyone who wants a straightforward strength training program for fitness, health and weight loss. Each version (for men and women) include a variety of 14-day training programs with detailed exercise descriptions along with photos. There are also sections that cover myths and misconceptions, how to be successful, the building blocks of a quality program and nutrition, all specific to each gender. A nice book for beginner/intermediate exercisers.

5. Body Rx by Scott Connelly




2. Beginning Runner’s Handbook


his book is (duh) for beginning runners who want to make the switch from walking to running but don’t know how. These realistic programs detail exactly how you should train every day to become a consistent runner for life. The run/walk programs are easy to follow and you’ll improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities. In the end, you’ll be able to run for 50 minutes.

4. Fitness for Dummies


xercise is confusing enough without adding the quackery of fat-burning pills and mysterious exercise gadgets. This book addresses the hype surrounding all the quick-fix products and teaches you how to test your fitness level, design a complete program that fits your needs, join a health club, manage your diet and more. It also covers how to build a home gym and hire a personal trainer.

cott Connelly offers a weight loss program that consists of four six-week cycles, each of which has a different eating and exercise plan. The cycles focus on strength training 4 times a week, changing goals every 6 weeks. Also included are pictures of the exercises (both free weights and machines) and blank logs you can copy to track your own workouts. The nutritional plans have you eating 6 times a day. He doesn’t recommend much cardio, otherwise, a great book!

7. Getting Stronger

I 6. Body for Life


his 12-week program by Bill Phillips has been a popular one for years. One reason is its simplicity—the workout includes traditional exercises (such as bench presses and lat pulldowns) that you may already be familiar with, but uses a high intensity method of training by having you work to failure. The cardio is also short and intense, just 20 minutes, 3 times a week at a very high intensity. The nutritional advice is a bit iffy, but the workout is a nice challenge for regular exercisers.

t covers the basics of weight training for us regular folks as well as for bodybuilders and athletes. It also includes sport-specific training for 21 different sports. You’ll find detailed instructions and pictures (over 100 fitness programs) as well as information about equipment, working out with injuries and special attention is given to women who are pregnant.

10. The Pocket Food and Exercise Diary

8. Body for Life for Women


his is an excellent book for women, whether you want to lose weight or not. The focus is not just on weight loss, but on creating a healthy, balanced life based on what is realistic for your body and your lifestyle. Dr Peeke provides great information about the different stages women experience, how we change over time and how to change our eating and exercise programs to fit where we are in life.

F 9. Intuitive Eating


f you’re a chronic dieter, you’ll love this book. The authors, dieticians and recognized experts, provide realistic information for anyone struggling with food issues. They teach you how to how to eat without fear and get rid of the diet mentality that leads to so much craziness.


ood diaries are proven to help you lose weight. By writing down everything you eat, you can finally keep track of what you’re really putting in your mouth. It’s a 10-week food and exercise diary that is non-dated, so you can start anytime. The columns separate food calories and exercise calories that you total up to figure out what you’ve eaten and what you’ve burned.

Technology FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Cable, wireless or socket - which home net work is right for you? T

here’s more than one way to set up a home computer network - the trick is finding the right one for you. Picking the right version - it’s a choice between LAN cable, wireless transmitters or Powerline systems - means a future where all gadgets in your home are linked together, with data easily transferable and no more fuss of swapping USB sticks or copying DVDs. But be aware, none of the versions is completely problem-free. “A cabled LAN system remains the fastest, most reliable network solution,” says Christoph Schmidt of German computer magazine Chip. It’s especially reliable when it comes to transmitting large amounts of data, as is the case when streaming HD resolution films. Online gamers are also fans, because wired systems tend to have fewer delays during transmission. So-called Gigabit-LAN systems promise the transfer of a gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second. “In practice, you usually don’t achieve more than 800 megabits per second,” says Schmidt. Nonetheless, older standards, like Fast Ethernet, only managed about a tenth of Gigabit’s speed. Expect to pay about 1.50 euros (1.84 dollars) per metre. Also reap the benefits of safety: so long as no-one has direct access to the router or cables, the network is impossible to attack. However, there is the drawback of all the cables, which can be unsightly and snake everywhere, creating the danger of tripping. If that’s a problem, consider wireless, or wi-fi. It’s ideal for connecting smartphones and tablets into a network. But speeds are slower than cabled systems and transfer rates can be variable. “The further you are from the router, the lower the speed and the reliability,” warns Schmidt. Entry-level devices can go for 100 euros. Older devices without wi-fi stations can be outfitted with portable ones on USB sticks.

Don’t be overtempted by newer n-Standard models promising 450 megabits a second (Mbit/s). Experts say these tend to rarely achieve more than 200 Mbit/s. That said, new ac-Standard transmitters are supposed to deliver service comparable to LAN cables. Some such routers are already in stores, though there are not a lot of end devices around that can communicate with them. Security remains a problem, since the wi-fi signal can leak outside a house. Encryption is a must and users should make sure that the password is as complex and hard to guess as possible, recommends Germany’s Federal Office for

Information Security (BSI). Also name your network (SSID) in such a way so that it is not clear to which house it belongs. Avoid naming your address, router or provider, since hackers can do much damage with that information. A third option is Powerline, whereby data flows through the building’s power network. “In principle, all power cables can be combined with a Powerline network that is linked to one power junction,” says Schmidt. But, in apartment buildings, it can happen that neighbours sometimes gain access to one another’s networks via the power system, noted German computer magazine c’t. That means a password

is also recommended for Powerline. Setting up a Powerline network requires at least a pair of adapters (around 80 euros). Connect the router to one and set the other one up where network access is desired. Theoretically, devices with the Homeplug AV2 standard should reach transmission speeds of 500 MBit/s. But c’t reports that speeds of 50 to 90 MBit/s are more likely. Older standards provide even less punch. Avoid multiple-socket plugs to ensure the best performance, advises c’t. But Schmidt warns there can still be disturbances, especially when heavy appliances are turned on and off, draining power. — dpa

Casemodding: From boring PC to work of art


ar fanatics aren’t the only one who like to spice up their favourite machine. Plenty of computer fans have invested plenty of time and money into putting some zing into their PC’s appearance. They’re called casemodders. Those who go all the way end up with computers that can’t be recognized as such. But, like every hobby, there are rules that should be obeyed. “Professional casemodders need, on average, about 340 hours for their computers,” says expert Michael Wegner. Some take up to 2,000 hours. Annual competitions allow true fans to exhibit their work. There are also plenty of internet sites for showing off: PC’s that look like they’ve been suspended in water or oil; given transparent housings; or decked out in festive lights. And why do they do it? “It’s all about taking everyday devices and individualizing or beautifying them,” says Wegner, a spokesman for one casemodding competition. But the sheer beauty of design - clean lines and an individual look are what appeal to casemodder Benjamin Franz. Indeed, those are the same qualities appreciated in most design schools. It’s no wonder then that a lot of casemodders have studied design or worked in the field. Purists tend to build everything themselves, but beginners can get away with bending that rule, notes Wegner. “There’s nothing wrong

with laymen buying a prefab housing piece, for example.” And you can start small. Get a keyboard with an illuminated base or a chain of lights for the monitor, advises Wegner. “You can get that for less than 100 euros (125 dollars) and put it together in less than an hour.” Of course, doing it properly takes a lot more effort, says Franz. Material costs are the smallest concern. “I invest about 200 euros in pure material costs per project, on average,” he notes. But that doesn’t factor in all the time and patience casemodders will have to invest. “Beginners usually underestimate things,” Franz says. A good idea is to go online first, where many experienced casemodders have left tips, including work logs, sketches and photos. One keyword is caution. After all, manufacturers caution against changes like casemodding because it can damage the computer. It can also be risky if people aren’t careful with the wiring. Casemodder Franz Neulingen counsels caution, saying it’s always best to ask advice. One tip: always avoid the power adapter. Hobbyists also have to be aware that housings are designed to cool off computers: modify them incorrectly and you risk overheating and crashing computers. Those risks mean Franz tends to view his creations purely as art, not to be used on a day-to-day basis. “It would be sad for me to use it that way,” he says. — dpa

Lifestyle FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Empire-style computers? Frenchman takes PCs to lap of luxury


oes your laptop clash with your Empire-style interior? No problem. A French entrepreneur has signed up a team of traditional craftsmen to turn out PCs fit for a royal home. Out with dull office-grey plastic-even the slick lines of an iPad: Georges Chirita’s workshop outside Paris turns out one-of-a-kind computers in polished brass and gold leaf, mounted on marble with leather-clad keyboards and mice. “When people first fitted Louis XV chandeliers with electric bulbs, everyone was taken aback. Now it doesn’t raise an eyebrow,” said the Romanianborn entrepreneur, an electronic engineer who settled in France 22 years ago. “Computers used to be seen as mere work tools. But now the product has reached a kind of maturity, and it’s easier to start seeing it as a luxury object,” said the 58-year-old, whose own bookshelves heave with a mix of IT manuals and interior design books. Luxury? Framed by marble columns adorned with twisted gold or soaring eagles, Chirita’s handmade desktop computers-in one of three styles, Louis XV, Louis XVI or Empire-positively drip with the stuff. They also feature in-built hidden processors and a wireless mouse. Solid gold, jewels, initials or a coat of arms embossed on the rear of the screen: the sky is the limit for the made-to-measure creations whose equally luxurious price tag starts at 17,000 euros ($21,000). Special attention is paid to the back of the screen, Chirita explains, since these are computers for “important people who receive other important people-so the back must be as attractive as the front.” ‘He sent a USB key to Queen Elizabeth II’While undeniably kitsch, Chirita’s desktop PCs have won a fan base from the Gulf to China and the United States. For the traveller, he offers gold-plated USB keys adorned with fleur-de-lys patterns-with a 100-year guarantee-or portable hard drives stamped with 17th-century motifs, also in gold-plate. Chirita sent one of his USB keys to Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee this year, and proudly displays the thank you note he received in return from a lady-inwaiting. When he first launched his project in the late 1990s, Chirita built a series of models and prototypes, assembling the computer parts himself, but he soon realized he lacked key skills on the visual design side. So he went knocking at the door of the highly-specialized craftsmen known in France as “artisans d’art”, whose rare skills are often handed down from generation to generation. More used to restoring period homes or antique furniture, the artisans Chirita approached were often wary of the grubby high-tech sector. “But once they understood the idea and realized it wouldn’t demean their work,” they came around, he said. Chirita assembles 80 percent of the computer himself, including all the electronics, handing over to craftsmen for the decorative elements in marble, lapis lazuli, wrought metal or gold leaf. Once completed the different pieces are assembled like an intricate puzzle in his workshop in Melun southeast of the capital, with tiny gold-plated screws. Chirita’s client base is 90 percent international, and he adapts his wares to the tastes of Chinese clients who tend to go for shinier finishes, or Gulf buyers who prefer mat gold. He works mostly with interior designers: “The very wealthy don’t have time to take care of this kind of thing,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t even know who the final customer is.” —AFP

Amis dancers, Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples, perform a scene from the musical “LA MICHAEL” during a dress rehearsal before opening at the National Theater Concert Hall (NTCH) in Taipei, yesterday. The performance blends cross-border elements such as Amis background, tradition and a fusion of old and new cultures. — AFP

Oscar de la Renta needles celebrity designers D

esigner Oscar de la Renta may be a celebrity favorite, but the feeling isn’t mutual when it comes to stars and athletes who want to delve into fashion design. “Today you can hit a good tennis ball and be a fashion designer,” said de le Renta in an interview Wednesday. “Today you can be a movie star and if your last movie didn’t do too well, you become a fashion designer. But you know it’s craft that you learn. It’s craft of passion.” De la Renta’s celebrity pals, including Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters and Sarah Jessica Parker, were on hand to show their support Wednesday as The Fashion Institute of Technology presented him with the 2012 Couture Council Award for Artistry. “It’s interesting to me that he dresses the possible first lady, Romney. He dresses Hilary Clinton. He is bipartisan, nondenominational, just wonderful clothes,” said Walters before finding her seat at de la Renta’s table for the afternoon soiree at Lincoln Center. Ann Romney, wife of the

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, donned a bold red Oscar de la Renta dress last week during her speech at the Republican National Convention. Designer Diane von Furstenberg and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour also sat with de la Renta during the presentation, which included a speech from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Despite the pomp and circumstance, de la Renta’s focus was elsewhere - on his next collection headed down the runway Tuesday during New York Fashion Week. “This is what I call in the business ‘panic time.’ If I tell you what the collection is going to look like now I don’t know. I will know once the girls start walking the runway,” he said. So does the 80-year-old, who also recently launched a children’s collection, have any plans of slowing down? “Not now,” he said. “Every single day is a learning process. And I think that to be a good fashion designer, it’s not what I did. It’s what I’m doing. You know, it’s about now.” — AP

File photo, designer Oscar de la Renta appears backstage before his collection is shown during Fashion Week in New York. — AP

Models become janitors in VH1’s next reality series


all and tan and young and lovely, the model is scrubbing the toilet. “Model Employee,” which premieres this winter on VH1, features eight runway ladies competing to be the face of a massive resort by cleaning the bathrooms, maintaining the shark tank, sifting through trash for recyclable items - you

know actual jobs. Chrissy Teigen, former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl and fiancee of singer John Legend, hosts. “Model Employee will take viewers behind the curtain of the massive and glamorous Mandalay Bay via gorgeous models who will need to learn how the place actually runs before they can become the face of

the resort,” Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President of Original Programming & Production at VH1, said in the press release. “Watching really pretty people do some not so pretty work in hopes of truly understanding the brand they hope to represent is an eye-opening experience, and lots of fun to watch.” —Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Kitano, Kim Ki-duk see Asian art house in crisis I

nternationally-acclaimed directors Takeshi Kitano from Japan and Kim Ki-duk from South Korea told AFP at the Venice film festival that making art house films in Asia is a daunting task. With his bleak morality tale “Pieta” now one of the favorites to win the Golden Lion prize in Venice on Saturday, Kim said he regretted that audiences at home still did not sufficiently appreciate his foreign award-winning work. “The Korean film industry is still lacking compared to the European and American markets,” Kim said in an interview at the Excelsior Hotel, striking an arresting sight in his camouflage jacket, baggy trousers and red-laced boots. “They still view films as entertainment instead of looking at artistic value or social issues,” said Kim, who despite having made 18 movies is still seen as something of an outsider in Korean cinema and has no formal schooling in film. Kitano, who premiered his yakuza flick “Outrage Beyond” at the festival this week, went even further saying art house cinema in Japan was in “dire” straits. “You have to make a film like ‘Avengers’ to get recognition,” he told a select group of reporters on the sidelines of the world’s oldest film festival. “My ‘Outrage Beyond’ is as close as you can get to an ‘Avengers’ kind of movie so I am hoping to get a big audience with this one, as big as possible!” The veteran 65-year-old director-a former standup comic and one of the biggest names in Japanese cinema over the past two decades-said apparently only half-jokingly that he was under pressure to make a big box office hit. “My producers are in a difficult position these days because my films have performed so badly in recent years so we had to make a

hit! My worst fear is being asked to make a third sequel. That would be my worst nightmare.” The director, who looked not unlike the gangster character he portrays in the film as he sat sprawled in an armchair and speaking in a low, gravelly voice, said his previous art house films were now pursuing him like “a ghost.” “I have the feeling that the old Kitano that I killed became a ghost and is haunting me. Maybe this old Kitano will become a zombie and rise again!” Kitano added that some of the difficulties in making art house cinema in Japan were linked to a wider crisis in the cinema industry worldwide. “Fewer people are going to the cinema these days. They would rather Japanese film watch movies on their director Takeshi smart phones or on a comKitano arrives for puter,” he said. “Maybe the screening of you don’t need a filmmak‘Outrage Beyond’ at er to make films any more, the 69th Venice maybe you just need a Film Festival on computer programmer!” September 3, 2012 Kim said that part of the at Venice issue was that the market Lido. —AFP is skewed in favor of blockbusters and suggested that distributing art house via the Internet

could be a solution but he added that the main problem was viewer attitudes. “Audiences need to see that there is much more value to these films than just entertainment,” the 51-year-old pony-tailed director said. “I believe audiences who see this film will question capitalist society.” “Pieta” is a searing condemnation of money-grabbing capitalism couched in a morality tale about a thuggish loan shark who struggles for spiritual redemption when a woman claiming to be his mother suddenly appears in his life. The film is set in the dark alleys and clapped-out workshops of a part of Seoul where Kim himself used to work and its title is inspired by Michelangelo’s statue of the Virgin Mary holding the corpse of Jesus Christ. Kim once trained to be a preacher-one of many incarnations in a past in which he was also a street artist in Paris and an officer in the army. “I studied to be a preacher but did not finish. I am trying to realize this by being a filmmaker,” he said, adding that he is working on two new films. “One is also about money and how people eat each other up because of money. and another is about celebrities and how they are viewed,” he said. Critics have noted that this year in “Pieta” and “Outrage Beyond” both filmmakers have toned down the explicit violence that featured in some of their earlier work and shocked many domestic and foreign viewers. Kim said he had realized that audiences “can feel it with their imagination” and wanted the focus to be more on “the implications of the violence.” Kitano said that after his previous film “Outrage” all anyone talked were the violent scenes and “they didn’t really pay much attention to the plot.” — AFP

‘Call Me Maybe’

Quinto: ‘Star Trek’ sequel will be ‘bigger, bolder’

named song of summer


here’s no maybe about it: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is the song of the summer. Billboard says the 16year-old Canadian’s infectious pop song about infatuation love topped its “Songs of Summer” chart. The list annually ranks the overall performance of hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Landing at No. 2 was Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” featuring Kimbra, Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” round out the top five. “Call Me Maybe” has already netted Jepsen a Teen Choice Award, and the video is up for the best new artist moonman trophy at Thursday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. — AP


f you thought the last “Star Trek” was a dazzling trip across the cosmos, Zachary Quinto promises that the upcoming sequel to the 2009 hit will be an even more epic experience. “It was bigger,” Quinto said at TheWrap’s inaugural Short Film Festival on Tuesday night. “It was bolder, I think, than the first one, and that was pretty big and bold from my stand point.” “I’m really excited to see what they do with it,” he added. The still untitled “Star Trek” sequel sees Quinto return to his role as pointy eared Spock opposite Chris Pine’s brash Starship Enterprise captain, James T Kirk. It flies into theaters on May 17, 2013. The actor didn’t reveal much in the way of plot details on the closely guarded project, but said that filming on his part is complete. He said the success or failure of the picture is now in the hands of director JJ Abrams. “I feel like, you know, my work is done on the movie right now and until we have to go and proZachary Quinto mote it, then my work remains done and I let J.J. and his incredible team of people get in there and do the work that they need to do now,” Quinto said. Though his role as Spock helped raise Quinto’s profile substantially, the actor downplayed the impact his performance will have on the finished product, noting that actors “really do just sort of stand where they tell us to stand.” “I feel very fulfilled, but I don’t feel particularly attached to what the outcome of that project will be because I have faith in the people that I was collaborating with to make it as good as it can be,” Quinto said. Far more fulfilling, Quinto said, are the projects he is producing such as last year’s critically heralded indie “Margin Call.” “I’m just happy to be working on something else and be creatively fulfilled in other ways and be producing movies and be thinking about how I can, you know, get behind the camera in different ways and tell my own stories,” Quinto said. — Reuters

File photo shows US actor Michael Clarke Duncan arriving for the 57th Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, CA. —AFP

Duncan’s services set for next week


ichael Clarke Duncan’s life will be celebrated with a public casket viewing and a private service next week. Duncan spokeswoman Joy Fehily said Wednesday that the Oscar-nominated actor’s casket will be on view from 9 am to 2 pm Sunday at the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Los Angeles. A private, invitation-only service will follow on Monday. “The Green Mile” star died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after failing to recover from a heart attack in July. He was 54. — AP

Chuck Lorre signs new deal with WB


ould “Two and a Half Men: The Movie” be on the horizon? A new deal between Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. Television makes it possible - if not exactly likely. “Two and a Half Men” creator Lorre has inked a new four-year deal with Warner Bros. TV that will see him moving into features. Though the deal will still center around television, it will make it possible for him to write, develop and/or direct features for Warner Bros. “After writing and producing sitcoms for 20 years, it’ll be a welcome relief to take all the violence, insanity and human suffering from behind the cameras and put it out front,” Lorre cracked in a release. “And finally, the feature component of this new deal allows me to fulfill a lifelong ambition - to have a project in ‘turnaround.’” The deal also expands Lorre’s television-development territory into dramas and long-form projects. Under the new agreement, Lorre will continue to executive-produce “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike & Molly” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Lorre has been with Warner Bros. Television since 2000. —Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Florence + The Machine to perform at LACMA gala

Florence + The Machine


lorence + The Machine will perform at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art + Film Gala, honoring artist Ed Ruscha and Stanley Kubrick, LACMA announced Tuesday. The gala, set for Oct 27, will feature a special tribute from director Steven Spielberg to the late film director, who will be the subject of a retrospective at the museum Nov 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. LACMA also will be presenting the exhibition “Ed Ruscha: Standard” from Sept 22, 2012 to Jan 21, 2013. The Grammy-nominated British band Florence + The Machine, led by singer Florence Welch, sold more than 3 million copies of 2009 debut album “Lungs,” which includes the hit song “Dog Days are Over.” Last year’s LACMA gala, which attracted more than 500 attendees, honored actor Clint Eastwood and artist John Baldessari. — Reuters

Scientologists deny auditioning for

Tom Cruise bride T

he Church of Scientology denounced as “hogwash” Wednesday a report that it auditioned candidates to be Tom Cruise’s girlfriend, while the star’s lawyer branded the claims “tired old lies.” Vanity Fair quoted sources as saying the controversial church tested actresses as potential brides in 2004, after his split from Nicole Kidman and before he met and married Katie Holmes, who recently divorced him. The report included details of a failed match with an Iranian-born actress, who was allegedly dismissed after failing to show enough public affection for the Hollywood A-lister, who is the Church’s most high-profile member. But Cruise’s lawyer Bert Fields dismissed the allegations. “Vanity Fair’s story is essentially a rehash of tired old lies previously run in the supermarket tabloids, quoting the same bogus ‘sources’,” he said. “It’s long, boring and false,” he added, in a statement emailed to AFP. The Church of Scientology also poured scorn on the journalist who wrote the story and her sources, who it claimed were “self-promoting apostates.” “The entire story appearing in Vanity Fair is hogwash. There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride (via audition or otherwise) for any member of the Church. Never.” “Vanity Fair relied exclusively on a small group of anti-Scientologists, a handful of self-promoting apostates who are admitted liars and suborners of perjury,” it added in a long statement emailed to AFP. Cruise’s wife Holmes announced on June 28 that she was filing for divorce to end her five-year marriage to Cruise, who was reportedly taken completely by surprise by the bombshell. The Vanity Fair story claims the Church embarked on a “top-secret” project headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, to find a girlfriend for Cruise three years after his 2001 split from Kidman. —AFP

(From left) Phillipines’ actresses Lovie Poe, Mercedes Cabral, Nora Aunor and film director Brillante Mendoza pose during the photocall of ‘Sinapupunan (Thy Womb)’ during the 69th Venice Film Festival yesterday. — AFP

Philippine director shows different side of Muslim region P hilippine director Brillante Mendoza told AFP at the Venice festival yesterday that he wanted to show a different side of Muslim communities in a conflict-torn part of the Philippines. His new film “Sinapupunan” (“Thy Womb”), premiering in Venice and one of the 18 movies vying for the prestigious Golden Lion award at the world’s oldest film festival, is set on the islands of Tawi-Tawi in the Mindanao region. The beautifully-shot movie tells the story of a wife who cannot conceive and sets out with her husband to find a second wife who can give him a child. The intensity of the plot comes from the shame of infertility and the relationship between the two women in a tradition-bound fishing community. “The misinterpretation is that it’s a very violent place, very aggressive and very dangerous but it’s not,” Mendoza, whose

last film “Captive” starring Isabelle Huppert premiered in the Philippines this week, said in an interview. The Muslim insurgency in the Mindanao region began in the early 1970s and the fighting has killed some 150,000 people, miring large parts of the south in deep poverty. Peace talks have been going on for about a decade, but have been frequently bogged down by deadly clashes with both sides accusing each other of violating a ceasefire. “I was surprised when I arrived. It’s really different from what we thought. The people there are not aggressive, they’re very calm, they’re not confrontational and they have an amazing culture,” he said. “It was a discovery for me and I thought I should share this,” he added. Mendoza, who won an award for best director at the Cannes film festival in

2009 with “Kinatay” (“The Execution of P”), is known for choosing controversial topics for his films, including prostitution, homosexuality and corruption. “I realize that film is such a very powerful medium,” Mendoza said. “For me this is a very rare opportunity to change the mindset of people, to change society,” said the 52-year-old director, a former production designer in the advertising business who only began making films in his mid-40s. Mendoza said at a news conference: “A story is a story. I tell the stories I want to tell whether they are dark or not. The only important thing is that people see the story in film and that the message arrives.” The lead actress, Nora Aunor, a star in the Philippines who has not made a film in several years, said: “The difficulty I had was that because there was less dialogue I had to transmit emotions to the public.” — AFP

West raps Kardashian’s infamous home video


Kanye west and Kim Kardashian

anye West has apparently decided to take the old adage “write what you know” to heart. West opens up about his latest flame Kim Kardashian’s XXX past on his latest track “Clique” - and slyly admits that the raunchy romp with her former beau Ray J is pretty much responsible for her rise to fame. On the song - an upcoming single from the collaborative album “Cruel Summer” West raps, “Eat breakfast at Gucci. My girl a superstar all from a home movie.” That second sentence is a pretty clear reference to the 2007 celebrity sex tape “Kim Kardashian, Superstar,” which launched Kardashian into the spotlight and toward a reality TV empire. This isn’t the first time that Kardashian has served as West’s muse; last month, the rapper ‘fessed up that his track “Perfect Bitch” is about her. “I wrote the song Perfect Bitch about Kim,” West admitted in a tweet that has since been removed from his Twitter account. —Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012


Olympics inspires relaxed chic at

New York Fashion Week P

ajama styles, track pants and bomber jackets are the trends that top US department store buyers expect to see on the runways at New York’s Fashion Week when it started yesterday - a relaxed chic they say was inspired by the London Olympics. More than 80 designers will show collections for the spring/summer 2013 season as part of the semi-annual event. Many of the shows take place at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center as part of the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, while dozens more labels will parade their collections elsewhere in the city. Dresses are likely to feature strongly on the runway, but buyers say this season will be all about sporty separates. “The Olympics were probably on many designers’ minds when they were designing these collections ... so we will see sporty

Models walk the runway at the Fashion Palette NY Debut spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Canoe Studios on September 5, 2012 in New York City. — AFP photos

jackets and track pants and some athletic inspirations,” said Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director Saks Fifth Avenue. The excitement generated by the summer Olympics inspired designers to focus on comfort and ease, but while the athletes in London donned Spandex and cotton, designers will instead use luxurious materials such as leather and silk.

“It’s hard to deny that everyone has been paying attention to the Olympics. We’ve been looking at these fit and healthy individuals and all these interesting sporty silhouettes,” said Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus. “But it’s not the idea of wearing casual clothes in casual fabrics. It’s often this movement about doing something with a relaxed sensibility, with less structure, but often doing it in a very luxe fab-

ric,” said Downing, dubbing it “relaxed chic.” Sporty bomber and motorcycle jackets are expected to feature in a variety of fabrics and prints. “It’s a jacket moment,” Downing said. Despite rocky stock markets and worries that the Euro zone financial crisis and global economy could dampen luxury spending, consumers are still willing to shop. Consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. “The customer is very savvy. She’s willing to pay for the quality and something that looks like the price tag that’s attached to it,” said Downing.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Color reflecting optimism As the United States slowly recovers from its worst recession in decades, Sherin said customers are more thoughtful. “That is just how people shop now. They look for items they can wear several different ways, where there’s a multi-use factor that they can certainly wear more than once,” she said. Color can grab consumers’ attention, and department store buyers said they hope to see lots of it in New York. “Fashion is reflective of and responsive to the times,” said Barneys New York Senior Fashion Director Tomoko Ogura. “At the moment, I think people are looking for optimistic ways of dressing and infusing bright happy colors is an easy way to accomplish this. “I expect to see soft spring shades with shocks of brighter, more saturated tones,” she said. “Blue and ocean colors will also play a significant role in spring’s color palette.” Sak’s Sherin said she expects to see shades of yellow and green and bright blue, while Neiman Marcus’ Downing predicted that lace would feature prominently. “Lace brings a lovely romantic spirit, and it gives an instant femininity to everything it’s incorporated into,” Downing said. “Designers are really paying attention to what emotionally women gravitate to. Women love lace, there’s no denying it.” When it comes to dresses, Downing says it will be a tale of two silhouettes - tight-fitting and loose cuts. Dresses remain popular because women can skip the extra, sometimes more costly, step of coordinating skirts or pants with a blouse or T-shirt. But what expected runway trends may not work? “Head-to-toe pajama dressing,” said Saks Sherin. “It needs to be broken up. “In the real world we need to show women how they can incorporate a piece into their look. Not head to toe, unless you’re Hugh Hefner,” she said. Fashion Week in New York is followed by events in London, Paris and Milan.— AP


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Pe t s FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Animal shelter lends out pets for the holidays

Cash is available for fostering through the “Lonely Pet For the Holidays” program at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter in Baltimore, Maryland. —MCT photos


r and Mrs Paws were left in a box on a recent Wednesday night outside Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. The black-and-white kittens, just 6 weeks old, aren’t ready to be adopted - but through a new program, someone can give the squirmy pair a home for the holidays. For the first time, the city’s largest shelter has joined Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays, a national program through which people can open their homes to needy dogs and cats during a time of year when they’re often forgotten. Since the Silver Spring, Md.based launched the program three years ago, about 1,500 shelters across the country have participated. “I’ve heard from people who did it that it was the nicest spirit of giving thing they did all year,” said Betsy Banks Saul, Petfinder’s co-founder, who was inspired to launch the open-ended program after seeing a 2009 TV movie called “A Dog for Christmas.” “It brings the holiday spirit in the house and can really help to make a pet more adoptable.” BARCS tried something similar during Hurricane Irene. When the storm loomed in August, shelter officials, afraid of flooding, called on people to take in as many animals as they could, just for the weekend. A few of the people didn’t have the heart to bring the animals back. “We found a lot of people ended up adopting,” said BARCS program director Debra Rahl. “Any way we can get animals out of here and into homes. They just do better.” BARCS is now at capacity. There are between 80 to 90 dogs available for fostering or adoption, and about 120 cats. They include Matilda and Tinkerbell,

Debbie Rahl, program manager at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, holds two chihuahuas.

sedate, older Chihuahuas who reportedly love to cuddle on the sofa. And Cash, a 6year-old gray-and-white cat who can’t resist a scratch under the chin. Both have spent the last month in the shelter. To encourage end-of-year adoptions, BARCS has also launched a program called “Gift of Life,” where all adoptions are free through the end of December. Kittens and puppies, too young to be adopted and susceptible to shelter-borne viruses, are ideal fostering candidates, Rahl

said. Also good are older animals and those who’ve been at the shelter waiting for a home for a long time. Some animals are perfect to bring home for a couple of weeks. Others would do better if people could keep them longer. “We will guide people toward the animals that we think need fostering,” Rahl said. “We don’t want animals to go home with someone and miss out on an opportunity to be adopted.” “There is probably an animal that would

fit anyone’s idea of a foster,” Rahl said. To be eligible to foster a pet, people must fill out an application and be prepared with character references. If they live in an apartment, they must furnish proof that their building allows pets. The shelter will send the pet home with a bit of starter food, but potential foster parents should be prepared to buy more _ and other things a pet might need, like litter for cats and leashes for dogs, and toys for both. Any money spent on a foster animal is tax-deductible, Rahl said. —MCT

Gumball is available for fostering through the “Lonely Pet For the Holidays” program.



Aries (March 21-April 19) You may wish to express your more intellectual self during this active time. Superiors will believe in you, if you believe in yourself. Be confident, ask for the more difficult position in the company and as you learn, you grow. Your reward is not only significant as a monetary gain but wisdom as well. This may result in training or leading others, short trips, making large quantity sales orders or intellectual competition. Remember the relaxation techniques you have practiced in the past and merge them throughout your day so as not to give in to any panic or frustrations. Develop your power of positive thinking. Social and business communications may require tact and diplomacy. Stand strong and do not lose sight of your goal. Relax by soft music tonight.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This busy day may challenge your authority and motivation from time to time. However, older people and those in position of power tend to give you their approval and trust. You may have to cope with deceptive people in important business and professional interactions. Be aware however, there will be an opportunity to point out a devious move as a probable misunderstanding. You make constructive progress towards your goals today. Life is easier than you think—all you have to do is accept what you think is most impossible and become flexible and tolerant of yourself and others—create a positive, grateful attitude. There is relief this evening—stress begins to ease and you can be proud of the progress you have made.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) New options present themselves. You can benefit through professional groups and organizations. You can develop new skills and opportunities to advance your competitive position. Your intuitive senses are on target with your business, professional or domestic goals. Apply your mental effort to studies or constructive talk. Be attentive to any needed car repairs. Vacations and artistic pursuits can be inspiring—now is a great time to plan and look forward to that well-needed vacation or sign up for some continued education. Friends are supportive and stimulating this evening. You tend to be cautious and responsible in your self-expression and relationships. Partners give you added support. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday; all is well!

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Consider your responsibilities and the rights of others before you take action on some business transaction. Look for the people that will help you the most and they will want the same results you want. You may now desire to make fundamental changes in your lifestyle. You can easily express your ideas. Your spouse, business partners and close friends tend to support and encourage your views. Today is favorable for all intellectual endeavors and short trips. You will find your health is improving. Seek constructive outlets for physical energies in exercise, games, cleaning and repairs. Relax and take care of yourself this afternoon. Conversations are pleasant and sympathetic. Visiting with family members tonight is nurturing and constructive.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You may put in some extra effort today to rise above whatever frustrations keep presenting themselves. A couple of options are to agree to disagree, or to think over your options and report your decision(s). Apply your mental effort to studies or constructive talk. Later today you may want to attend to car repairs or upkeep. Friends are cooperative and artistic endeavors bring satisfying results. This could mean you and your friends will enjoy a concert, a special celebration or just some time together with you to visit and share some positive energies. You have a wonderful, active, creative mind and may want to chat about all your new ideas this evening. There are so many possibilities and inventions just waiting for you to uncover.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You could reveal, detect or correct fanatical religious promotions or power struggles over philosophical, educational, cultural or moral issues. In your effort to learn and maintain your security, you may find yourself in the middle of a conversation that seems to pull you in and help you deal with some unrealistic thinking. You may be in conflict over corporate funds, joint finances, taxes, insurance, inheritance or alimony. Seek cooperation and guidance in these dealings. You will certainly look to increase your fun and romance this evening. You may want to entertain others in order to be noticed and appreciated. Your sex appeal tends to increase now. You will want to participate more in games, sports, gambling and active play with children.

COUNTRY CODES Libra (September 23-October 22) Your work is tranquil enough for now to allow you some quiet thinking. Solving problems is easy and you may turn to your more personal thoughts of where you would like to be and what you would like to be doing if you did not have to work on this day. You have become more involved with groups of friends or colleagues on an intellectual level and there is a demand for competition in winning intellectual games—chess, puzzles, etc. You might enjoy a group trip to an out-of-town activity. Find a way to gather your friends or perhaps family together so the whole group can pick a date, place and project that will add up to fun times that are memorable. There is an opportunity to pursue a humanitarian, technological or scientific undertaking.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You will work very hard to complete projects. You combine enthusiasm and courage with ambition and self-control. You can accomplish much now toward your professional goals through careful, hard work. Officials and people in authority give you their support and you can deal effectively with business and professional affairs. Work with tools or machinery goes smoothly and you might consider teaching within your profession or in continuing education. Changes can emerge from unknown sources but pay attention because you may find more freedom but more stability as well. Health issues improve as tensions ease and therapies have a beneficial effect. Someone is waiting for your call this evening.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You may not feel much like working. There is an indication that new information is coming your way; you however, will have to sort through and decipher the unessential to get at what you need. The information you need will be obvious when you catch sight of it. You will tend to compromise now, feeling that it is not worth the hassle to defend your position. Be careful not to give up something of value. There is a temptation to overeat just now and this may bring weight gain and indigestion. Consider keeping a food diary. Work that requires precision, calls for careful planning and patience, especially under the planetary energies that are present now. You may be emotionally involved with friends and ideals this afternoon.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) This time manifests itself as intense communications, especially with those whose positions conflict with your own. You may be overly concerned with making your point just now. Sometimes conflict cannot easily be avoided. The trick however, is in knowing when to agree to disagree and back away. This could be a mentally exhaustive day or a highly educational day—depending on your point of view. Your imagination is energized. Activities can involve promotional campaigns, music, storytelling or inspirational work. It’s a good time to keep some moments for just you—to reflect. Visit museums, libraries, begin or plan a vacation or just get in touch with nature. If you are sensitive, do not indulge in drugs or alcohol—relax to music.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) There are new insights into the secret motivations and vulnerabilities of others. Study into psychological matters may be fun and certainly could provide a few answers. You and a coworker may decide to take a class in psychology or creative writing. There are mysteries, scientific problems, occult subjects and issues of personal safety and security that hold your interests. There is a desire for greater freedom and excitement in your cultural, religious and philosophical associations. You may seek unorthodox viewpoints. These tend to incorporate scientific or humanitarian fields and progressive educational methods. You may form associations with a variety of people from all walks of life, beliefs and customs.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) This is the time every year when you tend to become more involved with groups of friends or colleagues for entertainment or idealistic reasons. Although this is a workday, you may find yourself making plans to take off work early in order to include yourself in some special activity. Careful, this action could have repercussions—you could join the activities after work. Activities within your social organizations tend to be oriented to humanitarian, technological or scientific pursuits. It’s a time during which you can enjoy delving into unconventional ideas. There is improved communication. Your interests turn toward scientific and humanitarian thoughts. You may give or receive advice and you may have sudden intuitive ideas.

Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands)0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686

Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland)0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK)0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976

L e i s u re


7 8 9


To Yester

Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday’s Solution


1. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 4. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 10. The ball-shaped capsule containing the vertebrate eye. 13. (informal) Roused to anger. 14. Goods (or wreckage) on the sea bed that is attached to a buoy so that it can be recovered. 15. A close friend who accompanies his buddies in their activities. 16. Squash bugs. 18. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 19. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 20. Informal terms for a mother. 23. A long projecting or anterior elongation of an animal's head. 25. A boy or man. 27. (botany) Especially of leaves. 31. Generic term for inflammatory conditions of the skin. 35. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 37. A British peer ranking below a Marquess and above a Viscount. 38. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 42. A person's brother or sister. 43. Any of the four lip-shaped folds of the female vulva. 45. Engage or hire for work. 47. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 48. The head of a branch of an organized crime syndicate. 51. Swelling from excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue. 53. East Indian tree widely cultivated in the tropics for its aromatic seed. 55. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 56. (boxing) A blow with the fist. 59. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 60. A religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery. 62. Consisting of or made of cedar. 64. Thigh of a hog (usually smoked). 65. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 66. Any of numerous ornamental shrubs grown for their showy flowers of various colors. 67. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. (Islam) The man who leads prayers in a mosque. 2. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 3. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 4. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 5. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 6. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 7. Give over. 8. Draw in by breathing. 9. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 10. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean. 11. Type genus of the Ranidae. 12. Divulge information or secrets.

17. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 21. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 22. An edge tool used to cut and shape wood. 24. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 26. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 28. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 29. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 30. A light touch or stroke. 32. Freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort. 33. The use of nuclear magnetic resonance of protons to produce proton density images. 34. A white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves. 36. Informal terms for a (young) woman. 39. Historical and literary materials relating to Judaism. 40. A small hard painless nodule at the site of entry of a pathogen (as syphilis). 41. 1 species. 44. A metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables. 46. A unit of weight used in some Moslem countries near the Mediterranean. 49. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 50. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 52. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 54. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 57. A city in north central Morocco. 58. A federal agency established to regulate the release of new foods and health-related products. 61. A state in the Rocky Mountains. 63. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite.

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Revolution end 10-game winless run, down Crew FOXBOROUGH: New England Revolution ended a 10-game winless run and prevented Columbus climbing the Major League Soccer standings by beating the Crew 2-0 on Wednesday. Dimitry Imbongo, who got a rare start after Jerry Bengtson was called up with the Honduras national team, slid the ball into an empty net in the 53rd minute after a Diego Fagundez shot

smacked the right post. The Revolution was handed an insurance goal in the 74th when Crew defender Chad Marshall inadvertently nodded it into his own net. While New England could celebrate its first win for two months, Columbus was left to rue a missed opportunity, as a victory would have lifted the Crew from fifth to third in the Eastern Conference. In a clash

of a couple of the also-rans, Colorado Rapids had a 3-0 home win over Portland Timbers. The win moved Colorado out of last place in the Western Conference, with that place taken by Portland. Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio and Jaime Castrillon were the Rapids’ scorers while the Timbers are still yet to win an away game this season in 13 attempts.— AP

Italy seek first win in Bulgaria; No Balotelli

FOXBORO: Chad Marshall #14 of the Columbus Crew attempts a bicycle kick shot against the New England Revolution during the game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. — AFP

WCup dream flickers for European teams BERNE: The dream of a first World Cup appearance will flicker for 22 European teams, albeit briefly in most cases, as the region’s qualifying competition for the 2014 finals in Brazil kicks off today. Other sides who have made a mark in the past, such as Austria, Belgium and Hungary, will be hoping to return after a long absence as the nine-group tournament gets under way. A total of 53 teams are involved in the European qualifiers, ranging from European and world champions Spain to tiny San Marino with a population of 30,000 whose national side have only ever won one game. The nine group winners will go straight to the finals in Brazil while the eight best runners-up take part in two-leg playoffs for four more places in November next year. The runner-up with the worst record will go out at the end of the qualifiers. For the likes of Luxembourg, who have tried and failed a record 18 times before to qualify, Andorra and San Marino, past form suggests the dream is likely to be quickly extinguished with a couple of early defeats. Others such as Bosnia, Latvia, Montenegro and Belarus harbor more realistic hopes of qualifying. Finland, who have tried to qualify since 1938 and have endured 17 failed campaigns, are unlikely to end that run after being lumped with Spain and France in Group I, the only one that comes anywhere near deserving the cliched “Group of Death” tag. Finland host France today while Spain have to wait until Tuesday before visiting Georgia. Unlike most other regions, which hold preliminary rounds to remove the minnows, the European qualifiers consist of only one phase with all 53 teams going into the hat. UEFA president Michel Platini has stood by the system, saying it allows the smallest teams the chance to learn and improve against the bigger sides. Critics say it subjects the likes of Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy to an endless sequence of matches which are little more than formalities. Of the group favorites, Germany have been given an easy start with a home match against tiny Faroe Islands in Hanover in Group C. Netherlands have a tough start at home to Turkey in Group D, arguably the evening’s top game, while Italy may not relish kicking off with a visit to Bulgaria in Group B. The Italians will be without their Euro 2012 strikeforce as Mario Balotelli has undergone a minor eye operation and Antonio Cassano was left out by coach Cesare Prandelli, who did not consider him fully fit.— Reuters

SOFIA: Italy, without strikers Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano, begin their World Cup qualifying campaign today seeking their first victory over Bulgaria on their opponent’s soil. For a team that has won every major international trophy, Italy’s record in Bulgaria is not a proud one-two defeats and two draws with six goals conceded dating back to 1968. Most recently they emerged with a goalless draw in a 2010 World Cup qualifier four years ago. The Italy team to face Luboslav Penev’s side in the Group B match at the Vasil Levski stadium will also have a different look to the one that impressed at Euro 2012. Balotelli is out due to eye surgery and Cassano has been dropped, so coach Cesare Prandelli, who hopes to have Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi ready, is expected to use a 3-5-2 formation. Prandelli has tried the formation before-notably in the early stages of Euro 2012, where his side finished runners-up to Spain, though eventually he settled on a back four. De Rossi, who suffered an ankle injury during Roma’s 3-1 win at Inter Milan last weekend, was thought to be out, but Prandelli revealed he might recover in time. Prandelli is also expected to favor Juventus’ diminutive playmaker Sebastian Giovinco over Mattia Destro in attack alongside Destro’s in-form Roma team-mate Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, who has scored in his team’s first two games this season. Roma left back Federico Balzaretti had to pull out of the squad on Tuesday after tests showed his thigh injury would keep him out of action for a month. AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who has a knee problem, is unlikely to feature on Friday, though he is expected to play some part in Italy’s game with Malta on Tuesday (1845 GMT). Cagliari defender Davide Astori has also had to pull out of the squad with a similar injury, and has been replaced with AC Milan’s Francesco Acerbi. BERBATOV BLOW Bulgaria, who have failed to qualify for a major tournament since 2004, have lost only once in four matches since coach Penev took over after the previous qualifying campaign, including a morale-boosting 2-1 away win over the Netherlands in May. But this week Penev suffered a blow when striker Dimitar Berbatov, Bulgaria’s all-time leading scorer with 48 goals, said he would not end his self-imposed international exile despite signalling he would be open to an approach from the coach. Penev also decided against Valeri

Bojinov’s inclusion in the squad, as the former Juventus and Manchester City striker joined Italian Serie B side Verona only on Friday, with the coach concerned about his lack of match practice. Penev will probably start with three attacking players in captain Ivelin Popov, Emil Gargorov and Stanislav Manolev, but none of them is a typical forward. PSV Eindhoven’s Manolev even played as a right back in most of his Bulgaria appearances. For the first time in the past two decades, Bulgaria will rely on home-based

midfielders only, with Ludogorets’ Svetoslav Dyakov, Litex Lovech’s Georgi Milanov and Levski Sofia’s Vladimir Gadzhev destined for a place in the starting line-up. Bulgaria are struggling to sell tickets for the qualifier and the domestic football federation has begun handing out free tickets to the clubs in an attempt to encourage fans. Bulgaria host Armenia in their second match in the group, also containing Denmark, Czech Republic and Malta, on Tuesday.— Reuters

Injury-hit England look too strong for Moldova LONDON: England, hit by injuries to key players, are still favorites to start their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win against Moldova in Chisinau today. Defender Ashley Cole, who would have won his 99th England cap today, and striker Andy Carroll were the latest players to withdraw from the squad after being injured at the weekend, and while Cole should return for next Tuesday’s game against Ukraine at Wembley, Carroll is likely to be out for six weeks. Other absentees include striker Wayne Rooney and midfielder Scott Parker, but England will go into the Group H match in good spirits following their 2-1 friendly win over Italy in Berne last month. Apart from losing on a penalty shoot-out to Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 in June, England manager Roy Hodgson is unbeaten in seven matches over 90 minutes since taking over on May 1. And with England improbably ranked third in FIFA’s world rankings, compared to Moldova’s 141st, anything other than an England win will be a major surprise. In an online debate with fans on Tuesday night, the coach was asked whether he had had the chance to pick his ideal starting line-up yet because of so many injuries. Hodgson, 65, said: “Maybe not, we’ve been hampered by injuries to very important players. We lost Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard, for example, before the Euros, and Wayne Rooney wasn’t available for the first couple of games. “In the Italian game I decided to leave out one or two

of the obvious senior players who I thought would have been important during the qualifiers. “I don’t think that I’ve been able to pick an ideal team as there have always been some important players missing.” Even with their injuries, England should repeat their wins over Moldova in the qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup, when England won 3-0 in Moldova in September 1996 and 4-0 at Wembley a year later. Moldova have never qualified for the World Cup and have won only two of the 38 qualifiers they have played. They have not won any of their past 13 over the past seven years. Their record in the recent qualifying competition for the European Championship was not much better: they won three and lost seven of their 10 games, but two of those wins were against San Marino and the other a 2-0 victory over Finland. Moldovan coach Ion Caras told the website on Wednesday: “We do have confidence in our strength and our chance-however, this is slimmer than England’s.” San Marino, Poland, Ukraine and Montenegro complete the make-up of Group H. Although Rooney and Carroll are out of the side, England have plenty of attacking options. Jermain Defoe, who should make his 50th appearance for England, should lead the line, with either Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck or Theo Walcott in support. Defoe came on as a substitute and scored the winner in England’s 2-1 victory over Italy in Berne, his 16th goal for his country.— Reuters

Sports FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Germany to stamp authority on Faroese minnows BERLIN: Germany will look to put their Euro 2012 disappointment behind them when they start their World Cup qualifying campaign against minnows the Faroe Islands in Hanover today. Joachim Loew’s side had their dreams of winning the European Championship title dashed when they lost to Italy in the semi-final in Warsaw and, with the coach’s contract due to expire after Brazil 2014, this could be his last chance for a major title. Ranked 154th in the world according to FIFA’s rankings-Germany are second-the Faroe Islands are bidding for a monumental upset while the Germans want a dominant start to take control of Group C. Loew’s side face Austria in Vienna next Tuesday in their second qualifier and, with Sweden and the Republic of Ireland to come next month, Loew wants to see proof of his side’s hunger for success. “Basically, I feel that the side still has a hunger for success after the disappointment of the European Championship,” said Loew, whose team finished their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a perfect 10 wins. “We are facing a new round of qualification matches. The last time we passed with flying colours, but I think it will be harder this time. “Sweden, Ireland and Austria will demand something from us and clear victories are expected against the Faroe Islands or Kazakhstan. “We want to win both our opening games to give us a good basis.” The Faroe Islands, an archipelago situated between Iceland and Norway, lost 2-0 to Iceland last month and have never qualified for either a World Cup or European Championships. However, they only lost 1-0 to Italy at home last September and managed a 2-0 win over Estonia in June 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier. The Faroes have lost both of their previous games to Germany, but a narrow 2-1 defeat in Hanover in 2002 and a 2-0 reverse in Torshavn in 2003 should give the guests some confidence. Their top scorer and captain Frooi Benjaminsen is a 34-year-old veteran who made his debut back in 1999 while goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen has spent time with Manchester City, Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham. Since taking charge in 2006, Loew has added an attacking prowess to the Germans’ reputation for efficient defending and the 52-year-old will want a big win over the minnows. Captain Philipp Lahm will revert back to the right side of

defense, with Borussia Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer on the left, while there should be a start for Dortmund’s attacking midfielder Marco Reus. Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos missed training on Wednesday with a bruised hip and faces a race against time to be fit.—AFP

BARSINGHAUSEN: Ilkay Guendogan, midfielder of the German national football team gives a press conference yesterday in Barsinghausen, western Germany. The German team prepares to play a FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier against the Faroe Islands today in Hanover. — AFP

Indiana golfers eager to get shot in home state CARMEL: Bo Van Pelt should feel right at home this weekend. He expects a large contingent of family and friends to follow him around Crooked Stick Golf Club in the BMW Championship. His nephew is a caddie at the course, and his mother lives about 15 minutes from the course. So when Van Pelt saw Crooked Stick appear on the PGA Tour schedule, he circled the date and made sure he qualified for the tournament - perhaps the only one he’ll play in his home state. “I’m obviously very excited. All my family still lives there,” Van Pelt said. “It’s where I started to play, where I fell in love with the game of golf and it’s the first time I’ve been able to play a pro tournament there.” Golf has been good to Van Pelt, taking him across America and around the globe - everywhere it seems except Indiana. The tour hasn’t been back to Crooked Stick since John Daly shredded the course with the grip it-and-rip it philosophy that sent him from unknown alternate to PGA Championship winner in 1991. Van Pelt was there to see part of it. The then-16-year-old made the 85mile trek from his hometown, Richmond, to Carmel to watch the practice rounds. He has been back a few times since, just not to compete

in any official tournaments, and now the 37-year-old, 15-year tour veteran has the chance of a lifetime. He’s 20th in the FedEx Cup standings with a 275-point lead over 30thplace Kyle Stanley. The top 30 qualify for next weekend’s playoff finale in Atlanta, and a good showing for Van Pelt would set him up to play for the $10 million bonus and give him an exemption for the Masters, US Open and British Open, with all those fans cheering for him. “Making the tour championship is everybody’s goal. It’s something I want to do this year as well,” Van Pelt said. “It’s going to be a fun week to play in Indiana with friends and family, and I seem to play better when they’re around.” The closest he can remember being to Indy as a pro is the Memorial, a tournament held each spring in Dublin, Ohio, in the run up to the US Open. That’s about a 3hour drive from Indy. Van Pelt isn’t the only native Hoosier coming home. Former Indiana star Jeff Overton, who grew up in Evansville, made the cut after finishing in a tie for seventh at The Deutsche Bank Championship. Heading into last weekend, the 29year-old who turned pro in 2005 appeared to be in danger of missing

out on this weekend’s tourney. But Overton shot 68 in the final round, producing his best finish since April to jump to 40th in the points just in time to earn a trip back to a course that he played in college. “This summer, I’ve been up there horsing around, checking the place out to see what it was going to be like for the tournament,” Overton said. “I’ve been there quite few a times.” Both got another look at the course that has hosted the Solheim Cup and US Senior Open during Tuesday’s practice rounds and Wednesday’s Pro-Am. Van Pelt is paired with Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson today. Overton is playing with Graeme McDowell and Tom Gillis. And both Indiana players insist they’ll be rested, ready and relaxed when they tee off. “I think there will be a little extra motivation to make some birdies and hear the roars because you’d have a lot of people following you,” Overton said. But instead of feeling additional pressure, both say the extra people will help them almost as much as a little home cooking. “We have so much down time, for me it helps fill all the down time,” Van Pelt said. “My kids come out and my wife. When the golf’s over, you can kind of get away from the golf and not think about it.”— AP

Netherlands, Turkey seeking fresh starts ROTTERDAM: The Netherlands and Turkey will be looking to make fresh starts when they meet today in the Amsterdam Arena to start their World Cup Group D qualifying campaigns. The Dutch have to get rid of the sour taste of losing all three group matches at Euro 2012 and a friendly to Belgium as they try to extend their 10-match winning streak in World Cup qualifiers. The Netherlands, under coach Louis van Gaal, will take on Turkish side who have failed to qualify for a major tournament since Euro 2008. The Dutch are without Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong, Gregory van der Wiel and Ibrahim Afellay, who were all left out the squad because they were involved in lastminute transfers. Jordy Clasie and Leroy Fer, 21 and 22 years old respectively, are expected to join forces with playmaker Wesley Sneijder in the Dutch midfield. Those two youngsters are not the only new names in the Dutch squad which eight players still eligible for the Under-23 team. “I told some players already on Monday that they are playing because for them it’s better they can focus today,” Van Gaal told reporters. The Dutch, who lost 4-2 to neighbors Belgium in a friendly last month, are unbeaten in 22 World Cup qualifying matches. Their last defeat was in 2001 when Jason McAteer sealed Ireland’s win over Van Gaal’s side, a defeat which kept them out the 2002 World Cup, the only time the Netherlands have missed the tournament since 1986. Strikers Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie are both in good goal scoring form but Van Gaal said Huntelaar was first choice. “I consider Robin only as central striker according to the profiles I use,” said Van Gaal. “But that can change after one match, the team is more important that who is our striker. Who will play is decided by the moment.” Turkey are likely to have a difficult time defending their goal as first-choice keeper Volkan Demirel will miss the game due to a shoulder injury. Starting defenders Egemen Korkmaz and Semih Kaya also training separately from the rest of the squad on Wednesday due to injuries. Turkey, who finished third at the 2002 World Cup, see the game against group favorites Netherlands as critical for their chance of qualifying. “Netherlands is the group’s strongest team. We’ll play our first and last matches against them. —Reuters

USA face Jamaica LOS ANGELES: The US will be seeking their first World Cup qualifying win in Jamaica as the two top teams in Group A square off in back-to-back matches, beginning Friday in Kingston. The Americans continue their qualifying run to the 2014 World Cup when they travel to Kingston for the first contest. The teams meet again on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. The US have earned draws in their previous four attempts to win qualifying matches on Jamaican soil. “Obviously these are two huge games for us with six points on the line,” said coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We are in a good position at the moment in our group, but we are going into the games against Jamaica with the mindset that we want to win both. “We feel very confident in the group that we have coming in. We are developing a lot of good chemistry and experience in the team, and now our goal is to become more and more consistent.” The US and Jamaica lead Group A with four points after two matches, but the Americans have a better goal differential. The US prepared to face Jamaica by holding a three-day training camp in Miami. “We’re trying to get the players focused on going into Jamaica for the Friday night game and hopefully pull off a victory,” Klinsmann said. “We’re confident of doing well and focused on our work. If I look at our team and our roster, I’m excited.” Like the US, Mexico are also heavy favourites to advance to the next round. Mexico, who are in Group B with Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana, will play their back-to-back matches against Costa Rica in this round of qualifying. The third of four stages of CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup comprises 12 teams divided into groups of four. CONCACAF includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The top two teams from each group advance to the final qualifying stage and the first three teams from there punch their ticket to Brazil. The Americans are among only seven nations to reach the last six World Cups along with Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Spain. The marathon global qualifying campaign lasts 29 months and hosts Brazil receive an automatic World Cup finals berth.— AFP

Sports FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Star treatment for young refugee footballers in Lebanon BEIRUT: Her life in an overcrowded Palestinian refugee camp is beset by street fights, power cuts and grinding poverty, but for a few days this week 11year-old Rayan is enjoying star treatment-on the football pitch with a Manchester City academy coach. “When I play football, I forget all about my problems,” Rayan says with a smile before hitting the dusty pitch on the outskirts of Beirut where Alan Dixon of the Manchester City Football Academy is running training sessions. Rayan is one of some 200 footballers aged between six and 17 attending the four-day camp Dixon is hosting for Palestinian and Lebanese children, who are not only learning new techniques in the world’s favorite sport but are relishing a rare chance to have some fun. “In Burj al-Barajneh camp, there are many streetfights, and electricity gets cut off all the time,” says Rayan. Some 280,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, according to the UN Relief and

Works Agency in Lebanon (UNRWA), and most grow up living in one of 12 official camps and 42 gatherings scattered across the country. For many of those living in the squalid camps and gatherings life is a daily struggle, and for children, there is barely space to play. But those are not Rayan’s only problems. “Some people say us girls shouldn’t be playing football at all. But we don’t care,” she says, adding that football helps her stop thinking about problems and to focus on her passion. And even if some people in the community tell them not to play with Lebanese children, they won’t listen. “Football is for everyone. That’s the thing I love the most,” says Rayan. Under the beating sun, boys and girls work in groups on special exercises designed to improve their dribbling and passing skills, before they go on to play a match. They are also taught to hold their heads up high while playing so they can keep an eye on the field, and to think and

communicate quickly while playing. “What has impressed me is that I’ve seen some really good football over the past few days,” says Dixon, a former Oldham Athletic FC defender, who believes the children are learning much more than only new football techniques. “You learn a lot of life skills through football,” says Dixon. “You are part of a team, and you have to deal with many different people. You need to communicate.” Dixon also believes football helps children develop a sense of trust, which is often lacking in those growing up in marginal, stressful situations. “Palestine refugees in Lebanon do not enjoy several basic human rights,” according to UNRWA, which has teamed up with Manchester City for the football training. Systematically marginalized in the small Mediterranean country, Palestinians “experience great hardship and poverty in their daily lives,” says the agency in a statement on its website. ‘A dream come true’-”The camps

force stress on people, many of who live in overcrowded houses,” says Hoda El Turk, communication officer for UNRWA. “With no spaces for recreational activity, children have no way to deal with the stress of their environment.” Guy Al-Haj, a Lebanese player who coaches the children alongside Dixon, says the children play well partly because of the difficulties they face in their daily lives. “They have no fear, they play hard, they throw themselves on the ground, and do whatever it takes to improve,” he says. “Think about it. Most professional football stars come from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Though the activity lasts just a few days, for the children it is “a dream come true,” says Iman Omaiss, mother of three young footballers aged 14, 12 and 10, who arrive at the field dressed in bright yellow Brazil t-shirts. Omaiss and her family are Lebanese although most of the children taking part are of Palestinian background. —AFP

Deccan Chargers up for sale NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League side the Deccan Chargers were put up for sale yesterday in the latest upheaval for the money-spinning Twenty20 tournament that has been dogged by ownership troubles. Deccan Chronicle Holdings, a media company, placed advertisements in newspapers inviting bids for the Hyderabad-based team to be lodged on September 13 with the new owners to be announced on the same day. The rapid disposal of the Chargers has been widely blamed on economic pressure affecting its current owners, but it also reflects the stormy history of the IPL since it was founded in 2008. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns the event, threw the Kochi Tuskers out of the league last year over their failure to meet financial requirements. A separate attempt to eject the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in 2010 over murky ownership disputes was blocked after a court battle. “The winning bidder will acquire... the right to own and operate the IPL team currently known as the Deccan Chargers which is and will continue to be based in Hyderabad,” the advertisement said. It added that bidders would “need to fulfill the eligibility criteria of BCCI”. Among the leading players signed up by the franchise, which finished second-last this year, are former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn and Australian batsman Cameron White. Deccan Chronicle Holdings, which bought the team for $107 million before the inaugural IPL, has been ordered by banks to reduce its debts, according to Indian media. The BCCI, which yesterday declined to comment on the sale, is already reeling under last month’s decision by real estate giant DLF not to renew its contract as the IPL’s main sponsor. DLF reportedly paid $50 million to be the title sponsor for the first five years, a deal that ended with the 2012 edition in March-April. The IPL has become a major event in the international cricket calendar, attracting the world’s most exciting players such Kevin Pietersen to entertain large domestic audiences. But it has also been hit by a series of financial scandals, and its founder Lalit Modi was sacked in 2010 following allegations of corruption and money-laundering. The sixth edition of the IPL will be held in April-May next year.— AFP

England’s Andrew Flintoff

Cricket gloves off as Flintoff eyes boxing

LONDON: Having knocked down many an off stump during his time as England cricket captain, Andrew Flintoff hopes to do the same to opponents when he takes to the boxing ring later this year. Flintoff’s preparations for his debut fight, scheduled for Nov 30 at the Manchester Arena, are to be televised in a documentary ‘The Gloves Are Off’. The 6ft 4ins sportsman, who would box as a heavyweight, has yet to apply to the British Boxing Board of Control for a licence, but is being trained by former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and the Irishman’s son Shane. “This is an amazing opportunity to try a sport that I love, to be tutored by a man I respect and admire and, at the age

of 34, the chance to become a professional sportsman again,” Flintoff was quoted as saying by British media. “It’s a huge challenge - probably the biggest I have ever undertaken, especially in such a short time frame. “I have a long road ahead and a lot of work in front of me. The stakes are high.” Flintoff played in 79 tests for England as an all-rounder before retiring from cricket in 2010 because of injury. He transcended sporting fame to become a national treasure by leading England to a famous Ashes victory in 2005 - their first test series win over Australia in almost two decades. He has made numerous media appearances since on sports panel shows and

was a guest commentator during some matches of the 2011 Darts world championship in England. Robert Smith, the general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, said obtaining a licence was not a foregone conclusion. “An application can take three to four weeks or longer depending on the circumstances. He will have to pass medicals and there are measures in place to see whether an applicant can actually box.” Should Flintoff’s boxing career take off, a fight against another multi-sport titan could be in the offing - All Black World Cup winning rugby player Sonny Bill Williams is the reigning New Zealand heavyweight champion.— Reuters

Sports FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Yankees regain sole possession ST PETERSBURG: Russell Martin homered and drove in three runs, and the New York Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the AL East with a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. Second baseman Eliot Johnson’s errant throw to home plate that led to two runs in the seventh inning helped the Yankees win for the fifth time in 15 games. New York sat atop the division standings by itself for 84 consecutive days - its longest streak since 2004 - until Tuesday night’s loss to Tampa Bay dropped the Yankees into a tie with Baltimore. They moved back into first place when the Orioles lost to Toronto. New York, which held a team meeting before the game, leads the third-place Rays by 21/2 games. With the score tied at 4, Andruw Jones and Steve Pearce singled to start the seventh off Matt Moore (10-9) before Jayson Nix moved the runners up with a bunt. Derek Jeter, who had hits in his previous three at-bats, hit a grounder to Johnson. With the infield playing in, his throw was off the mark, allowing the Yankees to take a 6-4 lead. Luke Scott homered off winner Hirkoi Kuroda (13-10). Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 36th save. Tampa Bay had won four in a row. BLUE JAYS 6, ORIOLES 4 Blue Jays rookie Adeiny Hechavarria drove in the goahead run with a bunt single, Rajai Davis homered and had three RBIs and Toronto beat Baltimore to avoid a three-game sweep. Steve Delabar (4-1) worked one inning of relief for the win as the Blue Jays snapped a four-game slide and ended Baltimore’s winning streak at three. Adam Jones hit a solo home run and Mark Reynolds added a two-run drive off Casey Janssen in the ninth, his sixth in six games and 18th of the season, but it wasn’t enough for Baltimore. The Orioles return home Thursday for a pivotal seven-game homestand that begins with four against the Yankees, followed by three against Tampa Bay. Miguel Gonzalez (6-4) gave up five runs, four earned, and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. RANGERS 7, ROYALS 6 Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer, Michael Young also went deep and Texas held on to beat Kansas City. Ryan Dempster (5-1) gave up RBI doubles to Billy Butler in the first inning and Salvador Perez in the sixth, but was otherwise stingy for the AL West-leading Rangers. He only allowed two other hits in six innings, striking out eight to win his fourth straight game. Beltre’s homer came off Everett Teaford (1-4), who was making his fifth start of the year. Young’s solo shot came off Vin Mazzaro during a three-run seventh. The runs proved handy when Kansas City mounted a late comeback. Alcides Escobar’s RBI single off Joe Nathan put the potential tying run on first with two outs in the ninth, but Alex Gordon flied out to end the game. It was Nathan’s 27th consecutive save and 28th in 29 chances this season. Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz also drove in runs to help the Rangers (81-55) take a five-game lead in the division. The win also moved them a season-high 26 games above .500, and assures a club-record fourth consecutive season of .500 or better. WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 2 Alex Rios homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs to lead the White Sox over Minnesota. Rios hit a grand slam in the first inning off P.J. Walters (2-3) and a two-run shot in the sixth to help Chicago maintain its one-game lead in the AL Central over Detroit. The Twins scored 18 runs against Chicago pitching Tuesday, but White Sox starter Jake Peavy (10-10) silenced Minnesota’s bats a day later, allowing one run and six hits to win for the first time since Aug 1. TIGERS 7, INDIANS 1 Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Prince Fielder added a solo shot in the eighth to help Detroit avoid a three-game sweep with a victory over Cleveland. Doug Fister (8-8) allowed a run and four hits in seven innings for the Tigers. He struck out six and walked one. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15) gave up four runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He was generally sharp after allowing Cabrera’s 35th homer of the year, but Detroit tacked on five more runs in the eighth to break it open.

Phillies down Reds CINCINNATI: Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run, Chase Utley added a two-run shot, and Roy Halladay stayed perfect when given a big lead as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 on Wednesday. Halladay, 4-1 in his last six starts, is 110-0 when he is staked to a lead of at least four runs. Halladay (9-7) scattered eight hits over 7 1-3 innings, allowing one run with five strikeouts and one walk. Philadelphia won two of three in the series against the NL Central leaders. All-Star first baseman Joey Votto returned to the Reds lineup for the first time since July 15 and lined the third pitch he saw in 52 days to left field for a single with two outs in the first inning. The Reds went 32-16 while Votto was out due with a knee injury. Jay Bruce homered for the fourth consecutive game, but it wasn’t enough to rally the Reds. Cincinnati lost a series for just the third time in 16 matchups since the All-Star break (11-3-2). Reds starter Mike Leake was roughed up again by the Phillies. Leake (7-9) gave up six runs in just 2 1-3 innings. METS 6, CARDINALS 2 R A Dickey became the first pitcher in the majors to win 18 games this season, and Ike Davis hit a three-run homer to lift the New York Mets over St Louis. The knuckleballer allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings en route to his 18th win, the first Mets pitcher to reach the mark since Frank Viola (20-12) and Dwight Gooden (197) both did it in 1990. Dickey (18-4) gave up eight hits and struck out five to help New York salvage a win to close out the threegame series. Davis gave the Mets a 5-1 lead with his 26th homer, and Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 to lift his average in day games to an NL-best .351 (65 for 185). Josh Thole and Andres Torres had RBI singles, and Lucas Duda drove in the Mets’ other run with a bases-loaded walk. The Mets did most of their damage off of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (13-12), who allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings. Wainwright delivered the Cardinals’ first run when he led off the third inning with a home run against Dickey. It was Wainwright’s first homer of the season, and the sixth in his major league career. NATIONALS 9, CUBS 1 Bryce Harper hit two homers and the Nationals went deep six times for the second consecutive game, sending Gio Gonzalez to his 18th victory in a rout of the Cubs. Adam LaRoche kept up his tear at the plate with three hits for the Nationals, who have won four straight and own the best record in the majors at 84-52. For the second night in a row, Washington tied a team record for home runs in a game. LaRoche has hit three of those 12 long balls. The 19-year-old Harper had his second multihomer game. Gonzalez (18-7), who shut out St Louis on five hits in his last start, allowed only three singles in seven scoreless innings to tie Mets knuckleballer RA Dickey for most wins in the majors. Gonzalez struck out nine and walked none. Washington equaled a club mark by hitting three home runs in the third off Chris Volstad (210). BRAVES 1, ROCKIES 0 Mike Minor held Colorado hitless for six innings, Craig Kimbrel earned a four-out save and the Braves beat the Rockies. Minor (810) lost a no-hit bid in the seventh when Jordan Pacheco led off with a single. Pacheco stole second, but was stranded when Minor struck out Ramon Hernandez swinging, Chris Nelson on a foul tip and Andrew Brown looking. Minor allowed one hit, four walks and struck out seven in seven innings. The Braves made it 1-0 in the fourth off Alex White (2-8) when Chipper Jones led off with a single, moved to second when Freddie Freeman walked and scored when shortstop Josh Rutledge threw errantly to first after recording one out on Brian McCann’s fielder’s choice grounder. PIRATES 6, ASTROS 3 Kevin Correia pitched six solid innings as a fill-in starter and Alex Presley, a late addition to the lineup, had two hits and scored three runs as the Pirates beat Houston. Correia (10-8) stepped into the Pirates’ rotation for right-hander Jeff Karstens, who injured his right hip Friday in a start at Milwaukee, and allowed just one run and four hits. Correia also walked one and struck out one. Houston fell to 53 games under .500 at 42-95. Presley replaced left fielder Jose Tabata, who bruised his left foot on Tuesday night. Astros left-hander Fernando Abad (0-3) had another rough start in his conversion to the rotation from the bullpen. He was rocked for six runs - five earned - in four innings. BREWERS 8, MARLINS 5 Rickie Weeks homered twice and drove in four runs to help Wily Peralta win his first major league start and lead the surging

LOS ANGELES: San Diego Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista (left) celebrates with center fielder Cameron Maybin after they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in their baseball game. — AP Brewers over the Marlins. Corey Hart also homered and drove in four runs for Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 16 to climb within 6 1/2 games of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot. Peralta (1-0) pitched six innings, allowing three runs and five hits. Weeks hit a pair of two-run homers for his sixth career multihomer game. Nathan Eovaldi (4-11) allowed the first home run to Weeks. Eovaldi allowed two runs and struck out four in five innings. DIAMONDBACKS 6, GIANTS 2 Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, helping Arizona win a game in which the benches cleared after a tag play at third base. Cahill didn’t give up a hit until Marco Scutaro led off the seventh with a single. He allowed another single and walked the bases loaded before being lifted for a reliever after 6 1-3 innings. Cahill (10-11) retired the first 16 batters he faced in earning his 50th career win. He allowed two runs, walked two and struck out five in the Diamondbacks second straight win over the NL West-leading Giants. Chris Johnson doubled, tripled and drove in two runs for Arizona. Pablo Sandoval took exception with John McDonald, who came into third base without sliding in the eighth on a force play. Diamondbacks’ coach and former Giant Matt Williams stepped in immediately as both benches cleared. Madison Bumgarner (14-10) lost his third straight start, giving up four runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out five. PADRES 4, DODGERS 3 Carlos Quentin’s sacrifice fly put San Diego ahead in the seventh and Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin robbed Matt Kemp of a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the inning. The loss kept the Dodgers 41/2 games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West. Los Angeles remained 11/2 games behind St Louis for the second wild card. Nick Vincent (2-0) retired all four batters he faced after relieving starter Clayton Richard with two outs in the fifth. Fellow rookie Brad Boxberger struck out Shane Victorino and walked Adrian Gonzalez to open the seventh, and Kemp followed with a long drive to center. Maybin timed his leap perfectly before pulling it down. Rookie left-hander Tommy Layne, the seventh Padres pitcher, got the save by retiring Gonzalez on a onehopper to second base with two outs in the ninth. Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson (1-1) allowed one run and one hit in two innings. — AP

Sports FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

Open women’s stars battle for season supremacy NEW YORK: Reigning Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are locked in a battle for the US Open title and the season’s global bragging rights in women’s tennis. All three will try to claim the $1.9 million top prize and their second major title of the year in tomorrow night’s championship match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Williams has won three crowns and Sharapova took the 2006 title. “I really want it bad. I’m going to do absolutely everything I have to and give it all,” Azarenka said. “First time being in US Open semi-finals is incredible feeling for me.” World No 1 Azarenka, the top seed from Belarus, will face Russian third seed Sharapova in one of today’s semi-finals while US fourth seed Williams meets Italian 10th seed Sara Errani, the 2012 French Open runner-up in the other. Azarenka has ensured she will be atop the rankings next week no matter who wins and enjoyed a season that included her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. “Many people expected her to win a Grand Slam earlier than she did,” Sharapova said of Azarenka. “She always had a solid game. She was always a little mentally fragile, felt like she would bang her racquet and yell. “But I think with age and maturing you learn so much by playing matches. You learn what helps you get motivated.” No top seed has won a Grand Slam since Williams at Wimbledon in 2010 and no US Open women’s top seed has won since Justine Henin in 2007. “I feel like I will never be satisfied,” Azarenka said. “Even at the peak of my career now I want to do better. The ambitions are really high. “(World No 1) means a lot but it’s nothing like lifting a trophy. It’s just a number. It’s a great achievement. It’s something you work really hard for your whole life to be, but this will not compare.” Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam by winning her fourth major title at the French Open, will rise to second in the rankings next week. “Maria is one of these players who will give it all no matter what the score is,” Azarenka said. “She’s always fighting and she’s really tough mentally.” Williams, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, won the Wimbledon title and London Olympic gold medal and has hit an Open-best 41 aces with a serve that has overwhelmed rivals. A US Open title would make her the clear top woman of 2012. “It’s one thing to serve a big serve but it’s another thing to do it consistently match in match out with the power and the strength,” Sharapova said. “She finds corners extremely well but on a consistent level. “If you are feeling confidence and that’s working for you, I think all other pieces of the puzzle come together.” Williams, who turns 31 later this month, would be the second-oldest US Open women’s champion in the Open era. She was the oldest women’s Slam winner since 1990 when she won at Wimbledon in July. Errani could put herself into the conversation by completing a run to her first Grand Slam title by overcoming Williams and either Sharapova or Azarenka. “She’s a great fighter and has a great attitude,” Williams said. “When you have such self belief you can do anything. I love her attitude. I’m inspired by it actually.” Errani, who rises to eighth in the rankings next week, leads the WTA in return percentage, first-serve percentage and percentage of return games won. “She has so much variety in her game,” Sharapova said. “Extremely tricky, moves really good around the court, makes you hit so many balls.”— AFP

Hard-serving Serena pushes for rare treble NEW YORK: Unsatisfied with blasting lightning-like serves past her baffled and befuddled opponents, and dropping only 16 games in five matches at the US Open, Serena Williams warns she is about to get serious. The 14-time Grand Slam champion, a three-time US Open winner coming off a Wimbledon title in July and London Olympic gold last month, meets Italian 10th seed Sara Errani today to decide a berth in tomorrow’s US Open final. “I feel like I’m going to get more focused and serious and start playing ‘Serena tennis’ in the next couple of rounds,” Williams said. “I didn’t think I came into this tournament playing my best but I definitely played better in the last two matches. I hope I have two matches left and give 200 percent.” Williams is going for a rare treble by adding the US Open to her recent trophy haul. Only her sister Venus Williams in 2000 and Steffi Graff in 1988 have taken Wimbledon and US Open titles and Olympic singles gold the same year. Asked if she felt close to realizing her potential as a player, Williams replied, “I’m closer than I have been in the past. I’m never satisfied but I’m coming closer.” Williams has fired a tournament-best 41 aces, including 12 in Wednesday’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over outmatched Serbian 12th seed Ana Ivanovic, a former World No. 1 who won a Grand Slam title at the 2008 French Open. “I served more consistently. My serve hasn’t been the greatest for me at this tournament so I was glad about that,” she said. “Some days my serve isn’t as consistent or I’m not hitting it as well as I would like.” Williams put together a run of 23 consecutive games won until Ivanovic stopped it in the first set, but said she wasn’t sure if that was a big deal. “I don’t know? I don’t keep up with

NEW YORK: US Serena Williams plays a point against Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic during their 2012 US Open women’s singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. — AFP those stats,” she said. “I felt much better moving. I was excited I’m moving faster. Feels good. I felt solid. “I really just try to focus on my game pretty much. Just trying to do the best that I can.” Ivanovic said there was little else she could do to try and deny Williams a seventh US Open semifinal appearance. “Her serves were too good. She was serving unbelievable,” Ivanovic said. “She was hardly missing. That puts a lot of pressure on opponents’ own service games. Sometimes I was rushing too much and wanting too much to hold onto my service games because I felt I was nowhere near the chances on her serves. “She has always had a great serve. I think it’s natural. I wish I had that kind of serve.”

Williams has hammered in 58 percent of her first serves, 45 percent of them for winners without making another swing, and surrendered only 12 double faults. “She’s definitely making more first serves,” Ivanovic said. “The power, it’s consistent. She was consistently serving 116, 118 mph. It’s hard and the placement is so good. It’s hard to read it.” Williams credits some of her success to extra work under her father Richard in her youth and began a heavy serve practice regimen before winning at Wimbledon. “My dad always had us hit a lot of serves,” Williams said. “Before I played Wimbledon I hit a lot of serves, tons and tons and tons of serves. Definitely depends on how I’m feeling or how I feel about certain shots.”—AFP

Roddick, Federer bow out Djokovic and Williams win easily

NEW YORK: Roger Federer was knocked out of the US Open on Wednesday when he lost a quarter-final thriller to Tomas Berdych just hours after his old rival Andy Roddick bid a tearful farewell to his tennis career. Federer was unable to conjure up any of his old magic as Berdych stormed to a surprise victory, 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-3, handing the world number one his earliest exit from Flushing Meadows in nine years. “It couldn’t be better,” Berdych said in a courtside interview. “There is no better feeling. There is no better moment than this one.” Federer could not hide his disappointment after arriving in the Big Apple full of hope following his win at Wimbledon in July. “There were so many moments I thought, man, it’s just not happening for me,” said the five-times US Open champion. “It was just a very disappointing match for me.” Roddick made his final appearance at Arthur Ashe Stadium when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round, while Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova both dug themselves out of trouble to stay alive on a drama-charged day at the last grand slam of the year. TOURNAMENT FAVOURITES Only Serena Williams and Novak

Djokovic had an easy time, both romping to comfortable victories to enhance their status as the favorites for the singles titles. Djokovic was in complete control of his fourth round match against Stanislas Wawrinka, leading 6-4 6-1 3-1, when the Swiss called it quits in one of five matches that were held over from Tuesday because of rain. “I really don’t know exactly what it was but by the look of it, I think it was probably a dizziness or something,” said Djokovic, the only man yet to drop a set in the tournament. “He served well, he played well, but you could see that he didn’t feel great on the court.” Sharapova needed all her fighting qualities to come from behind and beat Marion Bartoli of France 3-6 6-3 6-4 and reach the semi-finals for the first time since she won in New York in 2006. Bartoli led 40 overnight and wrapped up the first set when play finally resumed after another morning shower but Sharapova regained her composure to win the next two and book a semi-final against world number one Victoria Azarenka. “It’s so long since I’ve been back to this stage at the US Open. A little bit of luck always helps,” the Russian said. Williams, full of confidence and self-belief, demol-

ished Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in less than an hour to raise hopes of an American winner after Roddick departed. “I feel like I’m going to get more focused and serious and start playing Serena tennis in the next couple of rounds, if I get to play two rounds. That’s my goal,” she said. Williams will play Italian Sara Errani in today’s semis after she defeated her doubles partner Roberta Vinci 6-2 64. “A quarter-final with your best friend, of course, is difficult,” said Errani. “We know each other very well, we’ve played together many times, so it was strange to see her on the other side of the net.” AMAZING COMEBACK Olympic champion Murray produced an extraordinary turnaround to beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 3-6 7-6 6-2 6-0 on a gusty Louis Armstrong court. The Scot lost the opening set then fell two service breaks down at 5-1 in the second, before rallying back to win, reeling off the last 11 games in a row. “It wasn’t the best of starts,” Murray said. “He got nervous towards the end of that (second) set once ... then I played a great match after that.” Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6 6-2 and will face Spain’s David Ferrer in Thursday’s quarters. —Reuters


Shhhh! Blind sports silence London crowds LONDON: It has taken a little help from Icelandic songstress Bjork but crowds at the London 2012 Paralympics are keeping a lid on their excitement for blind sports that need to be played in silence. At the goalball, five-a-side football and blind jumping events, spectators have had to stay quiet to allow competitors to hear the ball or their coaches’ instructions. The 6,500-seater Copper Box venue was dubbed the “box that rocks” during the Olympic handball, with its intimate nature and pumped-up fans making for a noisy atmosphere. But it is now a place of reverential hush, invoked by the playing of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet”, with all its “Shhhh” sounds, to encourage the crowd to settle down for the goalball. “We have to focus purely on sound, so that means we pick up on everything. So we have to concentrate,” said Canada’s Brendan Gaulin, after a 5-4 win over South Korea. “For the first goal there was definitely a baby crying in the corner and it made it tough to stop that shot.” The three-versus-three sport, played with two giant goals at each end, sees players roll a ball with two bells in it. The defending players react to the sound and try and keep the ball out. Belgium’s Glenn van Thournout said the hush spreads quite easily. “Humans are flock animals. If the person next to you is silent then you stay silent,” he said. Meanwhile across at the Riverbank Arena, the crowds at the blind five-a-side football are urged to let rip during breaks in play but button it during play. Fans are told it’s their “last chance to make maximum noise” before a match kicks off. The crowd are whipped up as the players come out to the

driving sound of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, and cheer heartily as the players are introduced, before falling silent. Buses can be heard trundling along a service road behind. The sport is played with a rattling ball and while the four outfield players are visually impaired and wear eye shades to ensure fairness, the goalkeepers may be fully sighted. Players shout the word “voy” to indicate where they are. At set pieces, coaches tap the posts so they know where to aim. “We could feel the support as we walked into the arena and even all the way throughout the game,” said Great Britain’s Daniel English. “We could tell they wanted to make noise but that’s a natural reaction as a player is coming in to shoot. It’s different coming to blind football where you cannot have chanting all the way through. “It’s a new experience and, obviously, they are learning as much as we are but we don’t mind that.” Even at the normally raucous Olympic Stadium, the hush is catching on. The 80,000-seater venue fell silent for the men’s F11 long jump final, in which athletes with little or no vision take off aided only by the sound of their coaches’ calls. After lining up their athlete straight on the runway, the coach stands at the take-off board, clapping a running rhythm and calling to their athletes so they can hear the distance to the line. They then jump out of the way at the last second. At the football, French judo player Sandrine Martinet, who won silver in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, said she was getting the hang of the stopstart audience participation. “It’s so frustrating to be unable to cheer during the match,” she said. “But when there’s a break in play, we’re hollering.”— AFP

LONDON: France’s David Labarre (center) vies for the ball against Spain’s Youssef El Haddaoui Rabii (left) and Marcelo Rosado Carrasco (right) during the men’s 5-a-side football semi-final match between Spain and France at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in east London yesterday. France won 2-0. — AFP

Paralympics come of commercial age LONDON: With top athletes competing in front of sold-out stadiums and global television audiences in the millions, the Paralympic Games are starting to look a lot like their able-bodied equivalents - and big business is right behind. Although the money for TV rights, ticket sales and athletes’ earnings is not on a par with the Olympics, the rapidly growing profile of the Paralympics has made them a commercial opportunity in their own right. And while it took the Olympics the best part of 90 years to evolve into the business they have become, the transformation of the Paralympics is much more swift. “The media coverage has increased exponentially over the last 12 years,” said Greg Hartung, Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee, which organizes the Games. “These Games seem to be breaking all records.” Tickets have sold out for most events at the 14th Paralympics, held in London weeks after the Olympics, and organisers hope the sale of more than 2.7 million tickets will bring in close to 45 million pounds ($55 million). While most of the tickets were available for 10 pounds or less compared to the hundreds of pounds charged for many seats at the Olympics, tickets were often given away in the past - if seats could be filled at all. A cumulative total of more than 4 billion people are expected to watch the London Games on television, compared to 3.8 billion for the 2008 Beijing games and 1.9 billion for Athens in 2004, the Paralympic committee said. US network NBC is only covering highlights, but the criticism it has faced for limiting coverage itself points to the growing importance of the event. The higher profile can also be seen in athletes’ earnings. ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, the South African face of the Games, can expect $2 million a year in endorsements from sponsors including Nike and BT, according to research from IMR sports marketing & sponsorship intelligence. That’s a lot less than the $20 million or so estimated for Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, but it’s more than many able-bodied athletes will get.

EMOTION Businesses sponsoring both the Olympics and Paralympics see some additional benefits in sponsoring the latter - and more than just from being able to put up their logos alongside running tracks and swimming pools. “The Paralympics can bring an additional emotional connection, even over and above the incredible emotional connection that the Olympics delivers,” Mike Sharrock, of oil giant BP’s London 2012 partnership said. “It’s not about selling more fuel. It’s a deeper, more values-based partnership.” That could certainly serve the objectives of BP, still trying to rebuild its image and show a softer side two years after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And the interest in the Paralympics is a far cry from the past. In Atlanta in 1996, workmen began dismantling the Olympic village as the Paralympians were still competing. Much of the demand from companies seeking to associate themselves with the Paralympics came after the success of the London Olympics, said Martin Sorrell, chief executive of the world’s largest advertising group WPP. For the first time, the Paralympics also have their own major sponsor. British supermarket Sainsbury paid 20 million pounds for the right, local media said. It did not sponsor the Olympics. “What we’re seeing is a significant degree of warmth towards Sainsbury’s as the Paralympic sponsor, in particular from families,” Jat Sahota, Sainsbury’s head of sponsorship, said. It is hard to break down exactly how much sponsorship the Paralympics gets because the organizing committee does not give figures. The Locog local organizers signed around 700 million pounds in sponsorship for both the Olympics or Paralympics. No figures were available for global sponsorship paid to the International Olympic Committee and its counterpart for the two events, but businesses said they would not have considered sponsoring the Olympics and then ignoring the Paralympics. “We don’t have an Olympics and a Paralympics plan,” project director Nathan Homer of Procter & Gamble, said. “We have one plan.” —Reuters


LONDON: File photo shows England’s Andrew Flintoff lifting his hat as he celebrates running out Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting at The Oval cricket ground in London. —AP

Cricket gloves off as Flintoff eyes boxing

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