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Mortars target Green Zone on Iraqi Army Day

SAFAR 13, 1433 AH

Pope names new cardinals

No: 15321

Australia crush India, take 2-0 lead

150 Fils

7Suicide11bomber48 hits Damascus; 26 killed Hezbollah accuses the ‘terrorist’ United States

Max 21º Min 10º

Meningitis vaccination KUWAIT: In response to reports on the spread of meningitis in Kuwait, the Ministry of Health has announced the launch of an optional meningitis vaccination campaign open to both citizens and expatriates. The vaccination will be available to anybody above the age of six from 8 am to 1 pm and 4 to 9 pm at various polyclinics.

Gulf braces for ‘unwanted’ war DUBAI: The Arab states that lie just miles across the Gulf from Iran are nervously eyeing the prospects of a war between Tehran and the West that none of them want and all know could devastate their economies. This very real fear is prompting the oil-rich states to enhance their defenses while hoping that diplomacy can rein in Tehran’s regional ambitions and put an end to its worrying nuclear program. “No one in the Gulf States wants war but everyone is preparing for the possibility that it might happen,” said military analyst Riad Kahwaji. Tension has escalated as the West continues to squeeze Tehran over its nuclear program, with the EU threatening a total ban on Iranian oil imports. Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz—which links the Gulf to the Arabian Sea and through which 20 percent of the world’s sea-transported oil flows-if its petroleum sales are blocked. The United States, whose navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain and which has a military presence in a number of other countries—has told Tehran bluntly that it will not tolerate any such move. These staunch Washington allies would be sucked into war with Iran if Tehran targets them, said Kahwaji, who runs the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (Inegma). “The clock is ticking, and we in the Gulf do not have control over it,” said Kuwaiti political analyst Sami Al-Faraj in reference to a potential American or Israeli strike against Iran. Many times in the past, Iran has warned that it would attack US military facilities in the Gulf Arab states in the event of war. In addition to the Fifth Fleet, Qatar hosts the US Central Command, there are around 23,000 US troops based in Kuwait and some 2,000 US military personnel in the United Arab Emirates. The “Mashreq” website, which is close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has said targets in the Gulf have already been selected, according to the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, whose country has tried in the past to bridge the gap between Tehran and Gulf nations, said the latter should contribute to resolving the crisis. “I think all of us have an interest in not having any conflicts in the Gulf,” he said recently, saying the Gulf states are “obviously worried” by the rising US-Iranian tension. — AFP

DAMASCUS: Syrian investigators inspect the bomb scene at Midan neighborhood in Damascus yesterday. — AP DAMASCUS: A suicide bombing hit Syria’s capital yesterday, killing 26 and wounding dozens of mostly civilians, state media said, blaming “terrorists” for the second such attack on the city in two weeks. The bomber blew himself up at 10:55 am in the historic Midan quarter in a crowded area near a school, Interior Minister Lieutenant General Mohammad Al-Shaar was quoted as saying by the SANA news agency. Authorities have found 11 dead bodies and parts of 15 others, the interior minister said, adding that 63 others were wounded by the blast. The Muslim Brotherhood, which accused President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime of orchestrating the December 23 twin suicide attacks in Damascus that killed 44, leveled a similar charge over yesterday’s bombing. “We hold the regime, its agents and its gangs, fully responsible for this crime,” the Brotherhood said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia. Syrian state media have circulated gruesome images of rescuers gathering body parts and placing them in plastic bags, in an area where damaged cars and buses were splattered with blood. Angry residents shouted and denounced the bombing as the work of “terrorists.” The December 23 bombings sparked claims and counter-claims over the

perpetrator, with the authorities blaming AlQaeda and the opposition accusing the regime. Yesterday saw similar counter-accusations, with the ruling Baath party calling the attacks “a terrorist act that is a part of the plot hatched against Syria,” in a statement published on public television. The plot, the statement said, “coincides with the statements made by opposition groups and by French and American officials.” But the Brotherhood swiftly called for an international and Arab probe, claiming the attack benefited the regime. “The killings in Syria will continue and the Syrian regime will keep hiding behind AlQaeda and the terrorists... unless someone confronts the regime and takes it to account for its crimes,” said the Brotherhood. “They are the only ones who have the tools and are capable of doing it,” it said. Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah accused the “terrorist” United States of being behind the bombing. The attack came as activists called for an Arab League observer mission to admit its failure to stem nearly 10 months of bloodshed and hand over to the United Nations. The Arab mission has been in Syria since December 26 trying to assess whether Assad’s regime is complying with a peace accord aimed at ending its deadly crack-

down. But there has been no let-up in security force fire against civilians. Eight people were shot dead yesterday, including four in the central city of Hama and three in Damascus province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in Nicosia. In Homs, a 36-year-old was killed by a bullet while sitting on his balcony, the Observatory added. Protests were also reported in Syria’s second city Aleppo and third city Homs, the port city of Latakia, and Douma on Damascus’s northern outskirts. Two explosions shook the eastern oil hub of Deir Ezzor and wounded five security personnel, according to SANA, which also reported that a “terrorist group” had blown up an oil pipeline between Hama and Idlib in the northwest. The Arab League is to meet tomorrow in Cairo to discuss the observer mission, whose credibility continues to be questioned. “We support the Arab League which has sent observers to Syria but this mission is not at present able to do its job properly,” France’s Foreign Minister Juppe said in Tunisia, without offering further details. The head of the rebel Free Syrian Army has called on the Arab League to admit the mission’s failure and urged the bloc to seek UN help to end the bloodshed. — AFP


Candidates urged to focus on citizens’ priorities

Kuwaiti majority favor direct interaction with candidates Greater freedom of expressing opinions KUWAIT: Although electronic communication means have spread on a wide-scale and seem predominant, particularly among youth, majority of Kuwaiti nationals still favor non-electronic means for electoral activities and campaigning. This conclusion was reached by Kuwait News Agency on basis of results of a polling applied on a sample of citizens, grouping young and old nationals. Dr Nader Maarefi, an eminent expert, acknowledges that electronic media means play major role for interaction between voters and candidates, partly due to high speed. However such connections between the two sides cannot be complete without traditional advertisement, holding of seminars and gatherings at diwanias. A diwania is a large and independent chamber that distinguishes most Kuwaitis’ houses. The room is used for accommodating guests and visitors. Politics is one of topics of conversations held at the diwanias. Dr Maarefi called for check-

ing authenticity of figures promoting their thoughts on the internet, warning that some persons falsely present themselves as candidates with the intention to distort the nominees’ platforms and image. Such a problem can be averted with dependence on face-to-face means of interaction, said Abdullah Saher, a professor of political sciences, urging candidates to focus on holding rallies and gatherings to address their bases of supporters directly. Electronic publicity addresses a certain segment of the society, namely the youth and the educated elite, but the other face-to-face means are used for talking to the whole society, namely the old citizens, said Saher. Presenting another opinion, Prof Ahmad Mustafa Yaacoub, who serves at a school for slow learners, said the electronic ways of communication are easier and better, compared to the traditional means. He went as far as labeling “as failure” abstention by some candidates from employing

these advanced devices for addressing potential voters. However, Ibrahim Dashti, in charge of administrative affairs at the Amiri Hospital, expressed his belief that direct interaction “can enable the candidate to make better understanding of the voter’s thoughts and narrows the margin of evading questions, as compared to the indirect ways of communication.” Concurring, Jenan Ali, a student, said, “Direct contact gives me greater freedom of expressing opinions and the chance to examine firsthand the nominee’s platform, thoughts and tactics of dialogue.” Sultan Al-Ajmi, also a student, disagreed, saying that the electronic social networking sites grant “greater space of freedom and do not compel the voter to be restricted to a specific place and time.” Also in favor of this approach was Zamzam Hussein, a household keeper, who expressed her opinion that electronic means are sufficient for electoral campaigning and communications. —KUNA

KUWAIT: A number of voters in the Fifth Constituency called on candidates in the upcoming National Assembly elections to focus more on Kuwaiti citizens’ priorities in their electoral programs, especially keeping the promises they made in case they win the Assembly elections. Voters said, in various interviews, that despite matters and issues witnessed by Kuwait in the last three years, which resulted in delaying the development process, crises, and political instability; they hope that the next Assembly would be achievements maker that aim at serving the country and its citizens. The National Assembly candidate must believe in public participation, consolidation of constitutional practices, guarantee of freedom of expression and political activity, and guarantee of all freedoms that are provided by the constitution, Mohammad Al-Nathry, a lawyer, said yesterday. On his part, Khaled Al-Otaibi, an engineer in government sector, called on the next National Assembly members to seriously take the spread of unemployment phenomenon among young people into his (her) priorities, since the case has a major influence on individuals and families in general. Talal Al-Mutairi, a soccer player for Fahaheel Sporting Club, asked candidates to concentrate on sport and youth issues, noting that sport in Kuwait is in so much need for a financial support, which can be made through legislations the National Assembly enacts. He added that young candidates are more capable in understanding the requirements of the sport sector in Kuwait. Meanwhile, Fawaz Al-Nabhan, a retired citizen, said that the stateless (bedoons) individuals’ problem should be among the priorities of the next National Assembly, calling on widening freedoms and giving more opportunities to form political parties in order to fulfill democracy in the country. —KUNA

Election process totally free, fair CAIRO: Kuwait has one of the oldest and most well-established democracies in the Gulf and Arab regions, two Egyptian political experts said on Thursday. “Despite all hurdles, the Kuwaiti democratic march continued uninterrupted. This also reflects the wisdom of Kuwaiti leadership” Abdel-Monaem Al-Saeed, chairman of the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said. “Kuwait’s democracy has also been given impetus in the past few years by the election of women as members of the parliament,” Al-Saeed added, hoping the democracy in Kuwait will continue its progress and development. For his part, Hafez Abu-Saada, a member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights and political activist, echoed similar views. “Kuwait has one of the oldest parliaments in the region,” Abu-Saada said, adding diwanyas (traditional meeting places) have played an important role in political life in Kuwait. He pointed out that the election process in Kuwait is totally free and fair. “Kuwait elections are characterized with fairness and accuracy,” he said, confirming that His Highness the Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah is eager on addressing any challenges that face the democratic development in Kuwait. —- KUNA

Kuwait’s interest should come first KUWAIT: Voters, both males and females, in Kuwait’s Third Constituency all agreed to put the country’s general interest above all especially under the current circumstances that require solidarity amongst Kuwaiti people. Voters in the Third constituency collectively agreed that the members of the Parliaments (MPs) who will be elected for the 2012 parliament need to cooperate with the government to achieve prosperity and advancement in the country. It is important to rectify and eliminate corruption in all the country’s

institutions, the voters said. Haya Adulaziz, a housewife in her 50s, expressed hope that the next parliament would work on facilitating and speeding up development plans in the country especially in the education, health, environment and housing sectors. “Eliminating unemployment and developing human resources are some of the issues that need attention in the upcoming phase,” she said, clarifying that having “young blood” in governments’ bodies would lead to a further advancement in the country. Talal Sami, a

businessman, hoped that future MPs would support the youth, financially and morally, by removing obstacles that might be faced in small businesses and private sector projects. “Implementing an e-government and enforcing consumer protection laws should take top priority in the new parliament’s agenda,” said Sami. Meanwhile, Nora Mohammad, who works in a private company, expressed aspiration that the next parliament would seek alleviating traffic conjes-

tion that has become a negative phenomenon in the past few years. She also wished future MPs to focus more on turning the country into a financial hub, promoting tourism and setting up recreational spots to follow in neighboring countries’ footsteps. Nasser Abdullah, a retiree in his 60s, said, in conclusion, that housewives should not be ignored and should be given their full rights by making allowances for them since they play a vital role in raising future generations. — KUNA



in the news Meeting to discuss ex-MP’s case KUWAIT: Some former lawmakers from the opposition bloc will hold an urgent meeting to discuss the case of former MP Faisal Al Mislem. A Court of Appeals verdict on the legality of his candidacy will be pronounced in the coming days. If AlMislim is indicted, his name will be deleted from candidates lists. In the meeting, members will discuss rising hostility toward the government expressed in the form of seminars, youth taking to streets, and protests held in Irada Square, in addition to taking unified stance on boycotting elections. Court dismisses case KUWAIT: The Administrative Court has dismissed a case filed by ex MP Saadoun Hammad against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak and secretary general of the council of ministers seeking to ban the upcoming elections. The Court in its ruling stated that it is not concerned with the matter and that it does not specialize in such cases. It added that there is a marked difference between administrative and political works, and that the Court does not scrutinize Amiri decrees. Kuwait supports Iraqi port KUWAIT: Iraq’s construction of Al-Fao port will not pose a threat to Kuwait’s own venture, said sources. “If Iraqis think they will pose a threat to Kuwait, they have to devise suitable measures. They added that Kuwait encourages Iraqis to build the port because it will complement the Mubarak port. Ahmadi market renovation KUWAIT: Governor of Ahmadi Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij AlSabah disclosed Thursday ambitious plans to turn the governorate into a cultural, historical and artistic hub through an initiative to restore the old market. In a meeting held earlier with a special committee for this purpose, Sheikh Ibrahim said the initiative to rebuild and restore the market reflects the government’s keenness on retaining the historic characters of the governorate. The project will be implemented through cooperation between Ahmadi governorate, Kuwait Oil Company, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters and a number of Ahmadi residents, Sheikh Ibrahim added.

KUWAIT: Minister of Health Mustafa Al-Shimali and other officials visiting the Farwaniya hospital. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

No need to panic about meningitis: Al-Shimali Minister visits Farwaniya hospital KUWAIT: Minister of Health and Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shimali reassured citizens and expatriates about the health situation in the country after detecting meningitis cases recently. “Only six infection cases have been registered so far, including four in 2011 and two in 2012,” the minister told reporters during an inspection visit to Farwaniya Hospital Thursday afternoon. “This number is far below the international prevalence rate of the disease, which starts from ten infection cases for each 100,000

KUWAIT: Under the patronage of Assistant Undersecretary for Training Gen Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a course on sign language was held from Dec 4 to Jan 4 in the presence of the Director of Public Authority for Training Lt Gen Hameed Al-Sammak and coordination director Col Nasser Boursely.

Fire breaks out at jahra hospital By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A fire broke out at Jahra hospital’s Radiology Department warehouse, said security sources, noting that the fire was controlled and no casualties were reported. In related news, the Sabah Health zone is currently experiencing a power outage. Security personnel have been dispatched to the scene to assess its impact on specialized hospitals located in the area. Motor accidents An 18-year-old citizen sustained a serious head injury when his vehicle flipped over after losing control over it along Metla highway, said security sources. He was admitted to Jahra hospital. A 22-year-old citizen suffered multiple

injuries after his bike slid, upon entering AlDaeya turn. The man was admitted to Amiri hospital to receive treatment. A 46-year-old citizen and two Iranians ( aged 40 and 41 respectively) were injured when their vehicles collided into each along the Sixth Ring Road. The victims were admitted to Jahra hospital after suffering various injuries. A 26-year-old Pakistani was severely injured and a 19-year-old citizen suffered a head injury in a car crash that took place along the Fifth Ring Road opposite Bayan Palace. They were both admitted to Mubarak hospital. A 33-year-old expatriate fractured his left leg in a road accident that took place along the Seventh Ring Road near the Sabhan cemetery. The man was admitted to Adan hospital.

people,” he pointed out. “The six patients are receiving medication at four hospitals of the Ministry of Health, namely Mubarak Al-Kabir, AlSabah, the Amiri, and Farwaniya hospitals,” Al-Shimali said, affirming that the health situation is under control. All cases the meningitis involve foreigners coming into the country, which prompted the health authorities to vaccinate up to 10,000 persons so far. “There are sufficient quantities of the relevant vaccines in Kuwait, so there is

no need to panic,” Al-Shimali added. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Technical Affairs Dr. Khalid Al-Sahlawi said the conditions of all the six patients are stable now. “The patients are getting better and respond quite well to the medication; they are about to recover completely,” he affirmed. Dr Al-Sahlawi highlighted the importance of following the precautionary measures against the infection, such as keeping away from coughing people or crowded areas. — KUNA



India Education Exhibition opens to record crowds

KUWAIT: Indian Ambassador Satish C. Mehta and other officials pictured at the India Education Exhibition 2012. KUWAIT: The India Education Exhibition 2012 was inaugurated by Satish C Mehta, Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, yesterday at Ramada Hotel, in front of a large crowd of parents, students and participants. Speaking on the occasion, the ambassador said that for most, if not all, Indian parents education of their children is among the top priorities. They realize that education is key to a brighter and more secure future for their children and as such are willing to invest heavily in it. However, NRI parents and students, being distanced from the Indian educational scenario, often find it difficult to select the right courses or find suitable colleges. Exhibitions like the India Education Exhibition are an ideal opportunity for Indian and foreign students, and their parents to explore the wide variety of academic courses that are on offer at some of the many educational institutions in India. “I am very impressed by the facilities, the caliber of institutions, their competencies and opportunities that are on display at this exhibition,” said the ambassador. He went on to say, “India has a long and illustrious edu-

cational tradition that stretches back centuries to the world’s first university at Nalanda in Bihar, which attracted students from places as far away as Persia, Greece and China. Eventually, great societies are built on great ideas. In order to generate those ideas you need an education that nurtures and supports an open and questioning mind. It is important that our educational institutions focus on holistic development of students so that they continue to attract not just Indian students, but also students and faculty from all over the world.” The ambassador went on to say that by encouraging student and faculty exchange programs, there is a swapping of knowledge and experiences, as well as an added appreciation for each other’s cultures, beliefs and traditions. He added, “Foreign students, when they return to their countries become champions of India and Indian ideals, and this, I believe, is very important in a world where ideas are increasingly converging, and where intellectual and commercial borders are crumbling. The key to India’s continued development lies in education. By creating large

numbers of highly trained, well-educated young men and women we can build the India of our dreams.” The ambassador thanked the organizers for arranging the show and wished the participating exhibitors the very best. While earlier Indian students used to go abroad for higher education, today the trend among students in many countries is to come to India to further pursue their education. Several factors have led to this reverse leaning in learning. While the exorbitant cost of higher learning in other countries, as compared to the competitive prices in India, is one factor, cost alone is not the driving impetus behind students wanting to study in India. Along with lower costs, India also offers a very high quality of education with some of its eminent educational institutions on level with the best the world has to offer. A clear indication of the highquality of Indian education is the large number of Indians who are now at the helm of international companies and organizations; as well as the continuous flow of head-hunters from global corporations, who are increasingly turning to Indian institu-

tions to meet their top-level management and executive requirements. Visitors to the India Education exhibition benefit from meeting and interacting one-on-one with administrators and academicians from leading educational establishments, to discuss in-depth the various aspects of selecting the right course of study and gaining admission to the best academy for the selected course. Besides offering updated information, fee structure, eligibility criteria and programs which are currently in high demand, some of the institutions are also offering spot admissions as well as information on personality development, communication skills and in-demand IT courses and programs at the venue, for which students would otherwise have to travel long distances and spend great time and money. The India Education Exhibition 2012 is organized by Indus Fairs and Events (India) Pvt. Ltd, a leading organizer of trade shows and exhibitions in India and abroad, in association with Response Events and Exhibitions, Kuwait.

Egyptian ‘abductor’ caught in Farwaniya Grocery store burglary in Jabriya KUWAIT: Hawally police arrested an Egyptian expat in connection with the abduction of an Egyptian girl in Farwaniya. The Control Room at the Ministry of Interior received a report from an Egyptian man stating that his daughter was kidnapped in Farwaniya. He provided police with the registration number of the vehicle into which she was allegedly pulled in. After conducting investigations, it was discovered that the car was a rented one and belonged to a company. Police traced the vehicle and followed it. Finally, the alleged abductor was confronted along with the girl. He told police that he did not kidnap the girl and that he was acquainted with her. A case was registered and police are investigating the case. Smuggling attempt In an innovative smuggling attempt, a well-

built citizen bought two mobile phones and affixed them to his shoulders using adhesive tapes. The phones gave off the appearance of shoulder pads. After a thorough check was performed, he confessed that while visiting his jailed brother previously, he had noticed that police performed security checks from below the chest, down to the shoes; neglecting the upper parts of the body. So he devised a manner in which mobile phones could be hidden. Investigations revealed that he had smuggled several mobile phones before and that his brother sold it to inmates for KD 450 each. Patrol car accident A patrol car collided into a delivery car at Naseem crossing in Jahra. The driver was admitted to the hospital after sustaining minor injuries. The patrol car had been

speeding, in response to an emergency call made while trying to attempt to nab a citizen charged in connection with drug smuggling. Despite the accident, police arrested the drug dealer and seized three joints of hashish. The suspect had initially tried to evade arrest and halt the car upon being asked to stop. Police chased him and enlisted the other patrol vehicle’s support. He was eventually accosted near Jahra club. Two of his accomplices ran away. Three-member gang A three-member gang broke into a grocery store in Jabriya and smashed open the door. They broke the store owner’s hand and robbed materials worth KD 900 and left him bleeding. One of the people living in the residential building in which the grocery store is

located, heard cries of help and helped the injured owner. He later reported the matter to Ministry of Interior. The thieves made away with KD 400 in cash and KD 500 worth telephone cards. Harassers arrested In an operation that did not even last for more than half an hour, Sabah Al-Salem police arrested four youngsters in connection with harassing a woman at Qurain shopping market. They also reportedly beat up her husband and then ran away. A case was registered with the police station. Police examined footage obtained from surveillance cameras and traced the whereabouts of the four men and noted their car’s plate number. They then verified the information obtained with the car’s real owner and the men were nabbed.



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Al-Zanki visit to China ‘a big success’

BEIJING: Farouk Al-Zanki and members of the Kuwaiti delegation pictured with Chinese officials yesterday.

Kuwait, Vietnam reaffirm cooperation for refinery Joint venture in the offing HANOI: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Chief Executive Officer Farouk AlZanki and PetroVietnam President and CEO Do Van Hau yesterday reaffirmed their concerted efforts to resolve outstanding issues of the planned refining and petrochemical joint venture. “ Do pledged his full support to secure Vietnamese government’s guarantee for foreign exchanges for lenders of the project,” Al-Zanki said after the talks. “The Kuwaiti government is committed to this project, which is also in line with KPC’s strategy to expand downstream business,” he said, adding that KPC will supply 100 percent crude oil for the vital joint venture with Vietnam and Japan. The state-of-the-art refinery will have an annual oil processing capacity of 10 million tons, or 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), with a view to going online in 2015. “The contract for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) will be awarded once outstanding issues, including finance, are resolved,” Al-Zanki said. The Nghi Son Refinery Petrochemical Complex, the largest and most important refining project in energy-hungry Vietnam, will be located in the northern

province of Thanh Hoa, some 180 km south of Hanoi. The facility will also include a petrochemical complex, energy facilities, a pipeline and storage systems, along with an informatics system. It will primarily churn out products such as LPG, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for the domestic market, together with paraxylene, benzene and polypropylene for neighboring countries. KPC’s international unit Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) established the joint venture in April 2008 with PetroVietnam, Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. KPI and Idemitsu each own a 35.1 percent stake in the joint project, with PetroVietnam and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. putting up 25.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. Although Vietnam is Southeast Asia’s third-largest producer of crude oil, its limited refining capacity means that it still relies on imported oil products. As Vietnam’s largest refinery, it is expected to contribute more than 30 percent of the nation’s demand for petroleum products. Last year, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of US-based World Bank Group, has approved funding for construction.

Upon the approval, the IFC said that the project is expected to benefit from the continuous growth projected in the demand for refined products in Vietnam, which has averaged some six percent annually over the last decade and is expected to continue in the longer run. The project is also expected to provide over 33,000 jobs at peak during the construction period, according to the IFC. Al-Zanki and Do also agreed on further cooperation between PetroVietnam and KPC’s subsidiary Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) in oil exploration projects in Vietnam, according to KPC’s top official. The meeting was also attended by KPC International Marketing Managing Director Nasser Al-Mudhaf, KPI President Hussain Esmaiel, KPI Deputy Managing Director Mohammed Rashed Jasem, Business Development General Manager Ghanim Al-Otaibi, Deputy General Director of Nghi Son refinery Naser Ben Butain, KPI Hanoi Chief Representative Turki Al-Ajmi and other officials. Al-Zanki arrived in Hanoi late Thursday after concluding his successful visit to Beijing, where he met heads of major Chinese oil companies. — KUNA

BEIJING: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Chief Executive Officer Farouk Al-Zanki late on Thursday concluded a fruitful visit to Beijing, which gave a strong impetus to the corporation’s relationship with major Chinese oil companies. It was Al-Zanki’s first visit to China as CEO since assuming the post in 2010. During his stay, he held a series of talks, which were all arranged by the KPC Beijing office, with heads of ChinaOil, CNOOC, Sinopec and Zhenhua Oil. Al-Zanki was accompanied by KPC International Marketing Managing Director Nasser Al-Mudhaf, Crude Oil Sales Manager Salah Al-Sabah, Beijing Chief Representative Mohammad Al-Qallaf and Crude Oil Sales Team Leader Abdulqader Al-Furaih. The talks between Al-Zanki and ChinaOil President Wang Lihua covered the latest developments in the energy market in both countries and future cooperation between KPC and ChinaOil, which is PetroChina’s oil trading arm. Al-Zanki told Wang that KPC attaches importance of developing relationship with China, expressing hope that sales of Kuwaiti crude to ChinaOil will further grow in the coming years. At the separate meeting between Al-Zanki and Wang Yilin, Chairman of China’s largest offshore oil producer CNOOC, Wang offered technical service for Kuwait offshore oil fields, while seeking Kuwait’s participation in a new exploration project in south China, nearby Yacheng gas field, in which Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) had one block. They also agreed to further discuss joint exploration projects in a third country. Moreover, Wang invited KPC to participate in CNOOC’s Huizhou refinery project in Guangdong Province for their new expansion. In his talks with Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu, the two sides agreed to continue constructive dialogue and decided to form a special KPC and Sinopec team that will look into new ways to create a win-win situation for their joint refinery and petrochemical project. Also Sinopec shows interest to participate in Kuwait oil projects since they have 15 drilling towers operated in Kuwait. Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) President Esmaiel, Deputy Managing Director Mohammed Rashed Jasem and KPI China General Manager Meshari Al-Mahmoud also participated in this meeting. Al-Zanki also met Liu Yijiang, Chairman of state-owned Zhenhua Oil. The rapidly-expanding firm owns a refinery with Petrochemical complex, which is using KPC’s products for feedstock. According to KPC, Zhenhua is currently upgrading its refinery and keen to purchase more products from KPC and shows a great interest in Kuwait Export Crude (KEC). Since the establishment of KPC Beijing Representative Office in 2005, Chinese refiners have significantly increased crude purchase from Kuwait. Sales of Kuwaiti crude oil and petroleum products were just $ 400 million in 2004, but currently amount to exceeded $10 billion, driven by robust crude shipments. The world’s seventh-largest oil exporter supplied more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to China in 2011, a 11-fold increase from 18,000 bpd in 2004, according to data from the Chinese government. The Beijing office has also successfully developed new outlets for KPC products in the world’s largest energy consuming market, including naphtha, gas and sulfur, in addition to crude oil. Kuwait became China’s biggest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplier in November, with its shipments surging 64.4 percent year-on-year to 80,500 tons to control a quarter of China’s total LPG imports. It was the first in 2011 that Kuwait has topped the list of LPG importers. — KUNA

Lebanese academicians laud democracy in Kuwait BEIRUT: Lebanese academicians lauded democracy and the active political life in Kuwait which can be clearly seen in holding legislative elections. Dr Sanaa Hamoudi, a professor in political relations in Beirut Arab University, said that “Kuwait is one of the most democratically advanced Arab countries that enjoy and practice the freedom of political life.” “This democracy is clearly reflected in the freedom of the press and public opinion in the country as well as

the dissolution of the parliament and the elections as its aftermath,” she noted. She further pointed out that elections in this Gulf country are characterized by “integrity and women’s participation,” unseen in many other Arab countries. For his part, Assistant Director of Essam Faris center for Lebanese Affairs Michele Abu Najim said that Kuwait has enjoyed a “good” political life for many decades. “These elections are considered a good indication to

a healthy democratic experience in the country,” he explained. The Kuwaiti elections, which come in a time where there is unrest in other Arab countries, should be an incentive to encourage these countries to move toward a more political openness and public participation in the political process. He concluded by saying that the Arab world needs active parliaments that aim at countering corruption, elevating economy and societal standards.— KUNA


Latest Egypt vote brings Islamists closer to win


Pope names new cardinals who’ll choose successor


Indian student’s parents visit British murder site


BAGHDAD: Iraqi army MIA1 Abrams tanks march under the victory Arch landmark during a parade to mark the 91st Army Day in Baghdad yesterday, weeks after US troops completed their pullout. The Armed Forces Day was displayed by the fledgling 280,000-strong security force completely reformed after the US-led invasion of 2003. — AFP

Iraq marks Army Day Rockets target Green Zone BAGHDAD: Rockets were fired against Baghdad’s Green Zone as Iraq’s military marked its anniversary with a parade yesterday, a day after the country suffered its worst attacks since August and weeks after US troops left. Further violence against Shiite pilgrims, who were the targets of Thursday’s bombings, killed two people, the latest in a spike in attacks against the majority community amid a political crisis that has stoked sectarian tensions. Meanwhile, top officials in Nasiriyah, worst hit by Thursday’s bloodshed, held a funeral for two Sunni soldiers who, officers said, tried to prevent a suicide attack that killed 47 people in the southern city. In Baghdad, insurgents fired three rockets against the heavily-fortified Green Zone as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki presided over a huge military parade to mark the 91st anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s armed forces. The rockets hit the outer edge of the Green Zone, home to the US embassy and parliament, at 12:25 pm (0925 GMT) and did not

cause any casualties, a senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity. The noise caused by the rockets exploding could be heard from inside the grounds where the parade was taking place, an AFP journalist said. Iraq’s fledgling 280,000-strong security force, completely reformed after the US-led invasion of 2003, marked Friday’s anniversary on stadium grounds under the gaze of Maliki, acting Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi and Iraq’s top military officer Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari. “This is a happy occasion ... because it comes with the departure of US troops,” said defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari in brief remarks following the parade. “It is a message to assure people that the Iraqi army is ready to protect the country.” He did not address the rocket attacks or recent violence. Heavy security measures were put in place for the parade, with journalists covering the event having to pass through five checkpoints after gaining access to the Green Zone, and several roads leading to the area shut off entirely.

Inside, Iraqi flags of all sizes were on display throughout, as well as a large banner that read: “Side-by-side, to build and save Iraq”. The parade came as two bombings in south Baghdad targeting Shiite pilgrims killed two people yesterday morning, a day after attacks against Shiites in Baghdad and southern Iraq killed 70 people. In Nasiriyah, top officials attended a large funeral for the two soldiers who authorities said gave their lives to try and stop the attacker. Lieutenant Nazham Faleh and Private Ali Ahmed Sabah, both Sunnis from north of Baghdad, tried to wrestle the insurgent away from a crowd of Shiite pilgrims who were resting on their way to the shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen commemorations, their commander said. The bomber, who security officials said was carrying 35 kilograms (77 pounds) of explosives as well as nails and ball bearings, was nevertheless able to detonate his payload. “If they did not do that, the number of casualties would have doubled because of the huge amount of explosives he was carrying, and the huge number of people around,” said

Colonel Sattar Jabbar al-Rizzi, commander of the Iraqi army brigade responsible for securing the area. Also on Thursday, five bomb attacks against Shiite neighourhoods in north Baghdad killed 23 people, making the nationwide toll the worst since mid-August. The violence has dealt a blow to US and Iraqi claims that domestic forces are able to maintain internal security, let alone protect the country’s borders. US forces dismantled the Iraqi army after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003 in a move later panned for having put hundreds of thousands of men with military training out of work and created a potent recruitment pool for insurgents. The parade came with Iraq mired in a political crisis, albeit one that appears to be easing with several leaders softening their rhetoric in recent days. The row was sparked by an arrest warrant issued for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran a death squad. Hashemi, who is holed up in the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, denies the accusations, and his Iraqiya party has boycotted the cabinet and stayed away when parliament reopened on Tuesday. — AFP


Iran plans new manoeuvres in Hormuz Strait TEHRAN: Iran announced plans yesterday to hold new naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz next month, the latest in a series of forceful gestures in the world’s most important oil shipping lane at a time when new sanctions threaten Tehran’s exports. Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, naval commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the exercises in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in February would be different from previous exercises, but gave no further details, according to remarks reported by the semi-official Fars news agency. “Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements with-

in it,” he said. Iran held a 10-day drill which ended on Monday in the strait, which leads out of the Gulf and provides the main export route for the Middle East’s oil. Iranian officials have threatened in recent weeks to block the strait if new sanctions harm Tehran’s oil exports, and this week threatened to take action if the United States sails an aircraft carrier through it. The United States, which has a massive naval fleet in the area that is overwhelmingly more powerful than Iran’s sea forces, says it will ensure the strait stays open. Britain said on Thursday that any attempt to close it would be illegal and unsuccessful. New finan-

cial sanctions signed into law by US President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve make it difficult for most countries to buy Iranian oil. The European Union is expected to announce tough measures of its own at the end of the month. Most traders believe Iran will still be able to find markets for its 2.6 million barrels of oil per day, but will have to offer steep discounts that reduce the hard currency revenue it needs to feed its 74 million people. Washington and its allies are imposing the measures to force Iran to abandon a nuclear programme which they say is aimed at producing an atomic bomb. Iran says the programme is peaceful. — Reuters

Latest Egypt vote brings Islamists closer to win Brotherhood seen ahead, Nour Party second CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood won more than a third of the votes in the last stage of elections for Egypt’s lower house of parliament, according to partial results yesterday, which show the Islamists are set to dominate the legislature. Banned under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has emerged a major winner from the uprising that toppled him, exploiting a well-organised support base to beat the rest in the first free legislative vote in decades. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party list won 37.5 percent of the vote in the third and final stage of voting. Repeating a pattern seen in previous rounds, the hardline Islamist Nour Party list came second in most of the districts after this week’s vote, results on the party website showed. The Islamists now look set to wield major influence over the shape of a new constitution to be drafted

by a 100-strong body that the new legislature will pick, though the Brotherhood has promised that Egyptians of all persuasions will have a say. Though the success of the Brotherhood and Nour Party has alarmed some Egyptians and the Western governments which backed Mubarak, it is unclear to what extent the rival Islamists will cooperate or compete in the new legislature. The Nour Party seeks a strict application of Islamic law and some analysts believe the more moderate Brotherhood may seek an alliance with liberal groups to allay concerns about the prospect of an Islamist-led Egypt. For now, the military generals who assumed Mubarak’s powers last February will stay in power. They are set to rule until the end of June, by which time they say the country will have a new elected president to whom they will hand power.

ALEXANDRIA: Egyptians hold pictures of Egyptian Islamist Sayed Bilal, arrested by State Security Investigations officers yesterday after the December 2010 attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria and who died in detention the following day, during a demonstration demanding justice in Cairo yesterday, on the first anniversary of his death. — AFP

Official results of the voting held this week are due on Saturday, but it will take longer before the exact shape of the 498seat lower house is known. There are run-offs for seats being contested by individuals in the latest round which will be held on Jan. 10 and 11. And voting must also be held again in a district where the election was cancelled due to irregularities in the first round. According to a complex electoral system, a third of the seats are reserved for individuals. The other two thirds will be distributed among the lists on a proportional representation basis. As well as contesting the lists, both the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Nour Party have fielded candidates for the individual seats. Polls for the upper house of parliament will follow later this month and conclude in February. With the elections for the lower house drawing to a close, debate is now likely to focus on the new constitution that will take the place of the one that kept Mubarak in power for three decades. One main area of discussion will be whether there should be a dilution of presidential powers which underpinned his one-man rule. Those powers are now exercised by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has faced mounting criticism from activists who accuse it of seeking to hold on to power and privilege. The military council decided on Jan. 1 to accelerate the timetable for the elections, an apparent response to street protests demanding a faster end to army rule. The council has said that Kamal al-Ganzouri, appointed prime minister in November, will stay in his post after the legislative election. But some analysts believe the emergence of a new legislature with a popular mandate could force changes in cabinet. — Reuters

CAIRO: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (L) speaks during a joint news conference following his meeting in Cairo with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (R) on January 6. — AFP

Tunisian ‘critical’ after immolation bid TUNIS: A jobless Tunisian who set himself alight in the province of Gafsa after being snubbed by cabinet ministers visiting the unemployment-hit region was in a critical state yesterday, doctors said. Ammar Gharsalla poured petrol and set himself ablaze on Thursday in front of the main office of the governorate of Gafsa after three ministers visiting the area to look into the unemployment problem refused to meet him, sources said. Gharsalla, a 48-year-old father of three, had “third degree burns and he is in a critical state,” said Fakher Eluati, the coordinator of a specialised burns hospital at Ben Arous, a southern suburb of the capital Tunis. He had been part of a group of protestors staging a sit-in for days in front of the Gafsa government office to highlight the unemployment problem in the phosphate-rich region. Tension spiked yesterday after the attempted suicide which evoked memories of Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit seller who unwittingly started a wave of protests known as the Arab Spring, when he set himself alight in December 2010. The Tunisian’s unprecedented protest against harassment by officials led to his death from burns in early January. His actions sparked a revolt that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited protests across the region which ultimately

led to the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi. Social Affairs Minister Khalil Zaouia told AFP yesterday that there was “a situation of extreme social tension”, and that “nerves are on edge” in the impoverished region. Zaouia, who was one of the three ministers visiting Gafsa on Thursday, said: “Yesterday, ministers visited the mines for the first time in decades. It was an initial contact and we are sorry that it ended in drama, a gesture of despair.” He said decades of marginalisation could not be rectified immediately. “Problems have accumulated over decades and now the people want everything to be set right immediately. Even if one speaks of a few months, for them it is an eternity.” In January 2008, Gafsa was the epicentre of a popular uprising against the regime of Ben Ali. It lasted six months and was brutally crushed by the government of the time. In November, violence broke out in Gafsa over allegedly corrupt hiring practices at the Gafsa Phosphates Company (CPG), the biggest employer in the region. Tunisia is the fifth biggest producer of phosphates in the world. Last year, CPG and its parent firm lost 450 million euros (576 million dollars) as production plummeted by 60 percent. — AFP


Over 3,000 killed in South Sudan massacre JUBA: More than 3,000 people were killed in South Sudan in brutal massacres last week in bloody ethnic violence that forced thousands to flee, the top local official in the affected area said yesterday. “There have been mass killings, a massacre,” said Joshua Konyi, commissioner for Pibor county in Jonglei state.”We have been out counting the bodies, and we calculate so far that 2,182 women and children were killed and 959 men died.” United Nations and South Sudanese army officials

have yet to confirm the death tolls and the claims from the remote region could not be independently verified. If confirmed, the killings would be the worst outbreak of ethnic violence ever seen in the fledgling nation, which split from Sudan in July. A column of some 6,000 rampaging armed youths from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on the remote town of Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for cattle raiding and have vowed to exterminate. The Lou Nuer gunmen attacked Pibor and

only withdrew after government troops opened fire. Over a thousand children are missing, feared abducted, while tens of thousands of cows were stolen, Konyi added, who comes from the Murle ethnic group. The UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said earlier this week that she feared “tens, perhaps hundreds” could have died. “Yes, there have been casualties, but we don’t have the details, and can’t at present confirm what the commissioner reports,” said Jonglei state informa-

tion minister Isaac Ajiba. “We are awaiting reports from our (military) forces on the ground,” said South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer. “For the assessment to be credible they must have gone into the villages to count all the bodies.” Ethnic violence, cattle raids and reprisal attacks in the vast eastern state left over 1,100 people dead and forced some 63,000 from their homes last year, according to UN reports based on local authorities and assessment teams. — AFP

Czechs give asylum to spouse of Tymoshenko Ukrainian ex-PM is serving 7-year sentence

ANKARA: This picture taken on August 27, 2012 shows Turkey’s former Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug (L) and Turkish army’s former Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner attending a ceremony in Ankara. Turkey’s former army chief Ilker Basbug was arrested yesterday over an alleged bid to topple the Islamist-rooted government, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. — AFP

Turkey ex-army chief arrested for alleged bid to topple govt ISTANBUL: Turkey’s former army chief Ilker Basbug was arrested yesterday over an alleged bid to topple the Islamist-rooted government in the latest confrontation likely to inflame tensions with the powerful military. “The 26th chief of staff of the Turkish republic has unfortunately been placed in preventive detention for setting up and leading a terrorist group and of attempting to overthrow the government,” Ilkay Sezer, a lawyer for Basbug, was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. It is the first time in the history of the Turkish republic that a former chief of the Turkish military has been arrested as a suspect. However, dozens of active and retired military officers, academics, journalists and lawyers have been detained in recent years in probes into alleged plots against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Basbug, who retired in 2010, is the highest-ranking officer caught up in a massive investigation into the so-called Ergenekon network, accused of plotting to topple Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). His arrest came hours after he testified as a suspect at an Istanbul court on Thursday as part of a probe into an alleged Internet campaign to discredit the government. “The commander of such an army facing charges of forming and leading an armed organisation is really tragicomic,” the 68-yearold general told prosecutors, Anatolia reported. “I always followed the law and the constitution throughout my tenure.” “It is up to the esteemed nation to make a judgement” on

his arrest, he was also quoted as saying by the private NTV television as he was leaving the Istanbul courthouse. Basbug was sent to a prison at Istanbul’s Silivri prison where other suspects of the alleged Ergenekon network are being detained. His lawyer said he would challenge the court’s ruling. The military, which considers itself as the guardian of secularism in modern-day Turkey, has carried out three coups-in 1960, 1971 and 1980. The move against Basbug appears to be a fresh warning to the NATO member state’s military whose political influence has waned since Erdogan’s AKP came to power in 2002. Critics accuse Erdogan’s government of launching a campaign to silence its opponents, charges it denies. In 2009, Turkey’s former army chief Hilmi Ozkok also testified to prosecutors in the Ergenekon probe but as a witness. Among the allegations is an attempt by a group of army officers to establish websites to disseminate anti-government propoganda in order to destabilise the country. “I reject this charge... I, as the chief of General Staff, am the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces which is one of the most powerful armies in the world,” said Basbug in his testimony according to Anatolia. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that the courts trying the Ergenekon suspects were not delivering justice. “They are implementing the decisions made by the political authority,” he was quoted as saying by Anatolia. — AFP

PRAGUE/KIEV: The Czech Republic granted asylum to the husband of Ukraine’s jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko yesterday as her party said Kiev was stepping up pressure on the family. Oleksander Tymoshenko, 51, had sought asylum in the European Union member state late last year after his wife, a former prime minister, was jailed for seven years for abuse of office. The United States and EU denounced her prosecution as politically motivated. It has strained President Viktor Yanukovich’s relations with the West. The asylum request was confirmed by Czech officials after a report in the Czech newspaper Pravo yesterday. “The request has been dealt with positively,” Interior Minister Jan Kubice said on Czech Television. He said asylum was granted yesterday. Earlier in Kiev, Tymoshenko’s party issued a statement saying her family was under pressure from the government and that her husband had sought asylum abroad so her persecutors would have less leverage over her. “This step by Oleksander Tymoshenko is in response to amoral attempts to pressure and torment Yulia Tymoshenko by persecuting her loved ones and family,” Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) said. A defence lawyer for Tymoshenko said the couple’s daughter, 31-year-old Yevgenia, had no plans yet to follow her father. The Czech Republic, part of the former Soviet bloc until the 1989 “Velvet Revolution”, has a policy of supporting opposition in countries that have patchy human rights records, including Cuba and Belarus, a legacy of late President Vaclav Havel. The asylum is the second high-profile application in the past year in the Czech Republic after it gave refuge to a Tymoshenko ally, Bohdan Danylyshyn, in early 2011. Oleksander Tymoshenko, who has kept a low profile during his wife’s roller-coaster political career, is part owner of a business registered in the Czech Republic. The son of a former communist party official, he was caught up in an investigation into gas trading corporation United Energy Systems in 2000 during Leonid Kuchma’s presidency. He was detained in early 2001 on charges of embezzlement, which were later dropped. He made rare public appearances but figured in a promotional film for his wife’s 2010 presidential bid and was at her side in court when she was sentenced in October. She was beaten narrowly by Yanukovich in

a run-off vote in February 2010 after a vitriolic campaign which left them bitter enemies. The EU, which had planned initial agreements on political association and free trade with Ukraine at a summit in December, put off the signing and cited Tymoshenko’s case as an example of selective justice in the former Soviet republic. Tymoshenko served as prime minister after helping to lead the 2004 “Orange Revolution” protests, which overturned an election victory for Yanukovich in his first bid for the presidency and which, for a while, cast him adrift politically. She has denied exceeding her powers when forcing through a 2009 gas deal with Russia as prime minister. The 51-year-old is now in prison in Kharkiv some 500 km (300 miles) away from the capital. Her defence lawyer has complained that she is being kept in “inhuman conditions” under 24-hour camera surveillance with overhead lights permanently on. — Reuters

KIEV: Oleksandr Tymoshenko, bottom right, husband of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko listens as she speaks during her trial at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Ukraine. A senior Czech official said yesterday the husband of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is seeking political asylum in the Czech Republic. — AP



Presidential scandal another headache for Merkel

BERLIN: German President Christian Wulff, right, and his wife Bettina Wulff attend a reception for carolers at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, yesterday. Wulff is under pressure because he received a euro 500,000 (US$ 650,000) private loan from the wife of a wealthy businessman and friend, apparently at below market rates, in 2008. — AP

Gunmen in Nigeria fire on mourners, 17 dead Six killed at Nigerian church KANO: Gunmen fired on Christian mourners in northern Nigeria yesterday, killing 17 people in the latest attack to hit the region amid mounting fears of sectarian clashes, residents and a relief source said. “There was an attack last night at Good Will Hotel in which five people were killed, all of them Igbos, and today, some friends and relations of one of those killed in the attack gathered in his house to mourn his death,” resident Zubairu Abdulaziz said of the incident in the northeastern town of Mubi, speaking of the Christian Igbo ethnic group. “Unfortunately some yet to be identified gunmen arrived at the house and shot dead 17 mourners.” Other residents gave a similar account. A rescue official speaking on condition of anonymity said local residents told him six people were killed on Thursday night and either 16 or 17 yesterday. It was the latest attack in recent weeks targeting Christians in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for previous such attacks. Late Thursday, gunmen opened fire on worshippers at a church on the outskirts of the city of Gombe, killing six people, including the pastor’s wife. The attack on the outskirts of the northeastern city of Gombe comes after an ultimatum issued Sunday by a purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram for Christians to leave the country’s mainly Muslim north within three days. There was however no claim of responsibility for the attack on Thursday night at the Deeper Life Christian Ministry Church. Police said an investigation was ongoing and declined to say whether Boko Haram was suspected. Church pastor John Jauro said confusion broke out when the gunmen opened fire and that his wife was among the dead. The number of attackers was not clear. “It was around 7:30 pm,” Jauro said. “I was leading the congregation in prayers. Our eyes were closed when some gunmen stormed the church and opened fire on the congregation. “Six people were killed in the attack and 10 others were wounded.” Gombe police spokesman Ahmed Mohammed confirmed the attack and death toll, but said the gunmen had fled by the time authorities arrived at the church. A hospital source said four of the victims

were dead on arrival while the other two died later. The injured sustained serious gunshot wounds, the source said. The attack comes amid intensifying concerns over the potential for renewed sectarian clashes in Nigeria, whose 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. While Boko Haram has been blamed for increasingly deadly attacks for months, including an August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25, the violence has taken on a different dimension with recent church attacks. A wave of Christmas bombings that killed 49 people, most of them outside of a Catholic church as services were ending, led to intense fear and outrage in Africa’s largest oil producer. There have been fears of reprisals from Christians, and Christian leaders have warned they will defend themselves if attacks against them continue. “If care is not taken, it will reach a stage when security of lives and property cannot be guaranteed,” Saidu Dogo, the head of the northern chapter for Nigeria’s main Christian organisation, CAN, told AFP yesterday. “Then Christians will be forced to defend themselves against attacks. We are not calling on Christians to initiate attacks or revenge, but we are calling on them to be on the alert and protect themselves, their family and their household against attack.” President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on December 31 in parts of four states hard hit by violence blamed on Boko Haram, but there has been no halt to the attacks. Gombe is outside the areas included in the state of emergency. On Wednesday night, bomb blasts hit two northeastern cities that are included in the emergency declaration. No casualties were reported after the bomb attacks in Maiduguri and Damaturu, claimed by the same purported spokesman for Boko Haram who issued the ultimatum to Christians. One of the bombs in Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s stronghold, destroyed a house near a customs barracks, according to a customs source and resident. The Damaturu blast occurred at an open-air pub. Two civilians were shot dead on the outskirts of Damaturu in a separate incident, a hospital source said. —Agencies

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a dual setback yesterday as support for her coalition partners plummeted to a record low in an opinion poll and the president fought for his political life. Merkel’s return from the Christmas break coincided with escalating pressure on fellow CDU party member President Christian Wulff over whether he tried to block a story about a low-interest home loan from a wealthy friend’s wife. While Merkel hosted the traditional Epiphany singers on Thursday, Wulff, 52, publicly crossed swords with Germany’s most powerful newspaper, a day after he went on national television to address the criticism. Bild newspaper claimed Wulff had tried to prevent the story being published. Editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann released a fax asking the president to agree to Bild releasing a transcript of an angry voicemail message Wulff left him on December 12, one day before the loan story appeared. Wulff, who claimed in the television interview watched by 11.5 million people that he had just sought to delay its publication by a day, refused, saying it was a private matter for which he had apologised. Opposition lawmakers from the Social Democrats (SPD) have waded in, calling for action from Merkel who so far has voiced support for Wulff but refrained from commenting on the substance of the criticism. “If Mrs Merkel is interested in putting an end to this sanctimonious spectacle, she should convince Christian Wulff to agree to the publication,” SPD chief whip Thomas Oppermann said. “Only publication of the voicemail (message) can prove whether he lied or not.” And the president, whose role is ceremonial but carries moral authority, was further challenged yesterday when a bank reportedly contradicted his account of when he took out a loan. Merkel faced further bad news as she gears up for a diplomatic flurry of eurozone

crisis talks next week, hosting French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Monday and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday. An opinion poll Thursday by ARD-DeutschlandTrend revealed that support for the junior partner in her coalition, the Free Democratic Party, had slumped to just two percent-well below the five percent needed to enter parliament. The pro-business party, in power with Merkel’s Christian Democrats nationally since 2009, has been in disarray for months amid internal squabbling and a series of humiliating electoral setbacks. Spiegel news weekly commented in its online edition that Merkel’s political opponents were trying to turn the “Causa Wulff” into a “Causa Merkel” and that she had been in a “jam” since the loan scandal broke. “Wulff’s fall would also be a real personal defeat for Merkel,” it said. His election by parliament in June 2010 proved humiliating for Merkel as members of her own coalition broke ranks and refused to vote for him amid a strong challenge from a former East German dissident, a political outsider. Wulff, who had once been considered a potential challenger to Merkel, only eked out a victory in the third round of the vote. Another poll published Thursday by ARD showed that 60 percent of those questioned favoured giving Wulff a second chance, although 61 percent also said they had not been convinced by his television appearance. Wulff landed in hot water last month when Bild reported that he had concealed a home loan at an advantageous interest rate he accepted from the wife of a tycoon friend while premier of Lower Saxony state. When opposition state deputies asked him whether he had business ties to the tycoon or any firms connected with him, Wulff had kept quiet. He has apologised and admitted that he should have come clean about the home loan earlier but has insisted he would stay on in the job. —AFP

Ex-minister urges Russian parliamentary vote rerun MOSCOW: A former Cabinet member close to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called yesterday for a rerun of the country’s fraud-tinged parliamentary elections, an apparent bid to soothe public outrage as Putin seeks to reclaim the presidency. Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said in his blog that the government must open a dialogue with the opposition on holding a repeat ballot under a revised electoral law. The statement appears aimed at stealing the opposition’s thunder to prevent a challenge to Putin in March presidential elections. Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied in Moscow to demand a rerun of the Dec. 4 parliamentary vote and urge an end to Putin’s 12-year rule. It has been the largest outpouring of public anger since the Soviet collapse two decades ago. While Putin faces no serious rivals in the presidential vote, the protests signaled a sharp drop in his popularity that would make it hard for him to garner more than 50 percent of ballots to avoid a runoff. Any evidence of fraud in the vote similar to the ballot-stuffing and other violations that helped Putin’s party hang onto its majority in the parliamentary polls could also fuel outrage that would make it hard for Putin to retain power. Kudrin said authorities must acknowledge that the Dec. 4 parliamentary election was flawed, warning that failure to do so would undermine the legitimacy of the presidential vote. “Without the acknowledgment that the parliamentary election was unfair, the fairness of the presidential vote will be thrown into doubt, irrespective of how honest it might be,” he said. Kudrin said the government and the opposition must conduct a dialogue on changing the electoral rules and laws on political parties. But, he added, the opposition push to unseat Putin could end in

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, sits alongside Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin during the G20 Summit at the Excel centre in London. — AP turmoil. “An attempt to simultaneously reform two branches of power ... would entail too big risks for the country,” he said. He argued that it would take the opposition between 1 1/2 and 2 years to field a united candidate who would be capable to compete with Putin. Kudrin was forced out of the Cabinet in September after 10 years following a public spat over spending with President Dmitry Medvedev. He has been widely hailed for his conservative fiscal policies that helped soften the blow of the 2008-2009 global downturn in Russia. Putin hailed Kudrin’s expertise and said they have remained friends. Kudrin’s statement follows his speech at a protest rally in Moscow last month that drew about 100,000 people. He told business daily Vedomosti that he had met with Putin prior to the rally to propose serving as a mediator between the protesters and the government.— AP



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Mother recalls ‘girl tribe’ during somber funeral NEW YORK: Lily, her firstborn, was her “angel,” her “life.” Sarah was her “little whippersnapper, loved and lovable and full of love.” While her twin, Grace, “fearless,” often asked her mother if she was going to die before her. Madonna Badger told her daughter it was “never going to happen.” “But it did, and I wonder why,” she said during a eulogy to her “girl tribe” in New York City on Thursday. “Why my children?” The three young girls died along with Badger’s parents during a Christmas morning fire at their Connecticut home. More than 500 mourners joined the grieving mother at St. Thomas Church in Manhattan for a somber funeral. “My girls are in my heart,” Badger said. “They’re right here. And that’s where they live now.” Badger broke down several times as she described each girl in turn - Lily, 9, and 7-year-old twins Sarah and Grace - then wailed as she followed their coffins out of the cavernous Gothic church. She was accompanied by her estranged husband, Matthew Badger, and her friend and contractor, Michael Borcina. Borcina was with Madonna Badger and her family when the lethal fire ripped apart their lives. He walked behind the grieving parents as the coffins were brought out of the church. Badger’s parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, also died in the fire.

Badger told mourners, “In all the incomprehensible loss and chaos, all I can hang onto is that love is everything.” The pallbearers were 18 firefighters from Stamford, Conn., who responded to the fire. Among the people attending the service were fashion designers Calvin Klein and Vera Wang, rocker Lou Reed and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Madonna Badger is a fashion advertising executive who worked on Calvin Klein campaigns. Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia also attended the service at a century-old Episcopal church. Three blonde girls wearing pretty dresses laughed delightedly in a photo that adorned the program for the service. Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright performed a haunting a cappella version of “Over the Rainbow” during the service, which also featured hymns sung by St. Thomas’ all-male choir. A private service was held later at Woodlawn Cemetery for the girls and their grandparents. Authorities have told The Associated Press that embers in a bag of discarded ashes started the blaze. They had been taken out of a fireplace so the children wouldn’t worry about Santa coming down the chimney. Madonna Badger and Borcina were treated at a hospital. Fire officials have said Borcina is believed to

have placed the ashes in or outside an entryway, near the trash. The victims died of smoke inhalation. Grandfather Lomer Johnson also suffered a blunt head and neck trauma, which resulted from a fall or being hit by an object. One of the girls, found dead just inside a window, had been placed on a pile of books, apparently so Johnson could reach in and grab her after he jumped out. Instead, authorities say, he fell through the roof. Stamford police are helping fire officials investigate the blaze. Police said Monday officials want to know whether there were smoke alarms, the status of renovation work on the house and whether the contractor had permits. The issue of permits could figure in the investigation because the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has said that neither Borcina nor his company, Tiberias Construction Inc., was registered to perform home improvement work in Connecticut. Contractors are required to register with the state, though numerous building and other permits are issued by local officials. The agency said it did not yet have enough information about what work may have been done or completed and would not comment on whether it will investigate. —AP

Pope names new cardinals who’ll choose successor College of cardinals still dominated by Europeans

TEXAS: Noralva Gonzalez, center, mourn the loss of her son with the community during a vigil at Holy Family Catholic Church, Thursday, in Brownsville, Texas. Family members and the community came out to mourn the death of 15year-old Jaime Gonzalez who was shot by police on Wednesday at Cummings Elementary School. — AP

Pakistani gets 37 months in US prison in nuke case WASHINGTON: A Pakistani national yesterday was sentenced to 37 months in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to illegally transfer nuclear-related materials to his home country from the United States. Nadeem Akhtar, 46, who lives in Maryland outside Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced by US Judge Frederick Motz in Baltimore to the prison term and to be followed by two years of supervised release. He admitted that he and his conspirators used his company to obtain or attempt to get various nuclear-related devices and equipment from 2005 to 2010 and he misrepresented what they were and to whom they would be sold, the Justice Department said. The items, which included radiation detection devices, resins for coolant water purification and calibration and switching equipment, had a value of more than $400,000. Akhtar took direction from the owner of a trading company located in Karachi who had business relationships with Pakistani government entities, the Justice Department said. It said Akhtar’s co-conspirators included individuals in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and New York associated with the owner of the Pakistani trading company. Washington has long been concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear program, which included the development of atomic weapons and added to regional tensions with its longtime rival, India. Akhtar is a legal permanent resident in the United States and he could face deportation after completing his sentence. — Reuters

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict, increasing the chances the next pontiff will be a conservative European, yesterday named 22 new cardinals, the red-hatted “princes of the Church” who are his closest aides and will one day choose his successor. Eighteen of the new cardinals will be eligible to enter a secret conclave to elect the next pope from among their own ranks, and of those, 12 are Europeans, bringing the number of “cardinal electors” from the continent to 67 out of 125. The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism’s future by choosing men who share his views. Among the most prominent on the list of new cardinals are archbishops in key spots such as Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, John Tong Hon, archbishop of Hong Kong, and Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin in the pope’s native Germany. “Yes, I’m honored, humbled and grateful. But let’s be frank. This is not about Timothy Dolan. This is an honor from the Holy Father to the archdiocese of New York,” Dolan told a news conference at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Others are from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, and Malta. They include the archbishops of Toronto, Prague, Utrecht, and Florence. The head of the Siro-Malabar Catholic rite in India will also become a cardinal. Another new American cardinal is Edwin O’Brien, head of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, a group that is a major funder of the church in the Holy Land. With the new appointments, Benedict, who was elected in a

VATICAN: Thomas Christopher Collins kisses Pope Benedict XVI’s hand after receiving a pallium during a ceremony inside St.Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, yesterday. — AP secret conclave in 2005, has now named more than half the cardinal electors who will be able some day to choose a new leader of the world’s some 1.3 billion Roman Catholics. The other electors were all named by his predecessor John Paul. Compared to 67 cardinal electors for Europe, Latin America now has 22, North America has 15, Africa has 11, Asia has 9 and Oceania has one. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square, the 85-year-old pope said he hoped the new cardinals would always be able to show their love for the Church with courage and dedication. The ceremony to install them, known as a consistory, will be held on Feb 18. It will be Benedict’s fourth. In making yes-

terday’s appointments, Benedict brought the number of cardinal electors to 125, bending Vatican rules that set a cap of 120 cardinal electors at any one time. But some older members of the college of cardinals will turn 80 in the course of the year. Of the 18 cardinal electors, the oldest is 76 and the youngest is 56. Seven of the 22 named on Friday were Italian-six of them members of the Vatican’s central administration and the other the archbishop of Florence. Popes usually reign for life but in a book last year, Benedict said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, “physically, psychologically and spiritually” to run the Catholic Church. —Reuters


Britain’s Hague calls for more work in Myanmar YANGON: Britain’s foreign secretary called yesterday for “much more” work to be done in Myanmar before sanctions on the isolated nation could be lifted, after a historic meeting with democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. William Hague, the first British foreign minister to visit Myanmar in over half a century, met with Suu Kyi for about oneand-a-half hours following a dinner with her and meetings with senior government members on Thursday. After the talks in Yangon, he praised promising steps that have been made since the nominally civilian government took power in March but said “much more needs to be done” if restrictive European Union measures are to be lifted. “It is not possible to say a country is free and democratic while people are still in prison on the grounds of their political beliefs,” he said. Hague also called for free and fair by-elections in April and improved humanitarian access to ethnic conflict areas, saying it was “very important that we do not relax the pressures prematurely”. The EU and the United States both impose economic sanctions on Myanmar over its human rights record, including

the imprisonment of hundreds of political prisoners. Speaking on the last day of his trip, Hague described himself as a “great admirer” of the Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi and her struggles for freedom and democracy. “This is a very exciting time because

there is a chance that what she and her colleagues have hoped and longed for for so long will actually take place in this country.” Myanmar has played host to a series of top international envoys in recent months after controversial 2010 elections

YANGON: British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, hands the Chattam House 2011 award to Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting at the latter’s residence in Yangon, Myanmar yesterday. — AP

heralded the end of decades of direct military rule. Suu Kyi, who has grown cautiously positive about Myanmar’s future recently, said she expected to live to see a “full democratic election” in Myanmar, in comments to the BBC before her dinner meeting with Hague. After meeting with him again on Friday, she said she looked forward to the time when Britain and Myanmar’s relationship improves and becomes “mutually beneficial”. The Nobel laureate is on course to run in April 1 by-elections after her National League for Democracy (NLD) was officially allowed to register as a political party on Thursday. Suu Kyi, who was freed from seven straight years of house arrest days after a November 2010 election, could be propelled into parliament by the upcoming poll, although the majority held by the army and ruling military-backed party will not be threatened. Since taking office last year Thein Sein-himself a former junta general has surprised observers by holding talks with Suu Kyi, suspending an unpopular Chinese-backed dam project and indicating a desire to reach out to the international community. —AFP

China must avoid giving up security presence New US strategy increases presence in Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim shake hands with other worshipers inside a mosque after a mass Friday prayer on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AFP

Malaysia police give rare nod for Anwar court rally KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said yesterday they would allow a rally for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to take place when the court delivers a verdict in his sodomy trial at the start of next week. The move is seen as a rare concession in the Southeast Asian country where public protests are usually quashed. Anwar’s party has said they are planning to gather 100,000 people outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday to support their leader, who was charged in 2008 with sodomising a young male former aide. Anwar faces up to 20 years in jail if the court finds him guilty. The 64-year-old has denied the sodomy charge as politically motivated to end his ambitions to take over the government. Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh told AFP that he met Anwar’s colleagues Friday and would allow them to go ahead with the rally, reversing authorities’ earlier stand that supporters should not gather at the court. “We are going to monitor the situation to make sure that it is a very orderly assembly,” he said, adding police would intervene if the gathering got out of hand. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen,” he said. Azmin Ali, deputy president of Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said the police permission was a first. Previously they have refused to allow opposition rallies and broken them up with tear gas, water canon and mass arrests. “We had a good meeting today... It’s a good beginning,” Azmin told AFP. —AFP

BEIJING: China must not give up on its security presence in Asia in the face of a major US strategic shift into the region, a Chinese newspaper said yesterday, although US allies and analysts said China had nothing to fear from the new policy. The US defence strategy, which will expand its military presence in Asia but shrink the overall size of its forces in order to slash defence spending, was flagged late last year and is a clear sign of US commitment to the region. China, however, is concerned Washington’s new defence posture, as it turns away from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is aimed at encircling it and could hobble its growing power. In the first Chinese reaction to the US policy shift, announced by President Barack Obama on Thursday, the Global Times tabloid newspaper said China would “pay the price” if it retreated in order to appease the United States. “Of course we want to prevent a new Cold War with the United States, but at the same time, we must avoid giving up China’s security presence in the neighbouring region,” said the paper, owned by the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily. The Global Times has a nationalist bent and its commentaries do not amount to government policy positions. China’s Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry did not respond to faxed inquiries about the US policy shift. Obama, in unveiling the strategy, said the “tide of war is receding”. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the military would be “smaller and leaner”. US administration officials say they expect the Army and Marine Corp to be cut by 10 percent to 15 percent over the next decade. The United States has said it would seek to

work with China to ensure prosperity and security in the region but would continue to raise security issues like the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion dollars in trade sails annually. The disputed ownership of oil-rich reefs and islands in the South China Sea is one of the biggest security threats in Asia. The sea is claimed wholly or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. China is seen as increasingly assertive on the high seas, with several incidents in the South China Sea in the past year. A retired Chinese military officer, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said China would not be threatened by the US strategy. “We all know that the change in the US strategy is not a sudden development,” he said. “The Chinese side will not regard this as an overt challenge.” China would not change its strategy in response, he said. “Our posture is always defensive. If there’s no outright attack on us, we will not change our strategy,” he said. “We’ve never interfered in any country’s strategy shift. China doesn’t look to make new enemies.” There is, however, growing concern in the United States and Asia about China’s military developments in recent years, both in the size of its force and its capabilities, said security analyst Ross Babbage at Australia’s Kokoda Foundation. China has been expanding its naval might, with submarines and a maiden aircraft carrier, and has also increased its missile and surveillance capabilities, extending its offensive reach in the region and unnerving its neighbours. “In the last three to four years there has been the deployment of very large num-

bers of missiles, ballistic and cruise, and also the refining of surveillance capabilities,” Babbage said. The Global Times said that policy should continue. “The United States has made containing China’s interventionist abilities at sea an important point of its change in strategy,” the newspaper said. The US strategy should make China “more alert”, it said. “It’s not necessary for China to develop a new strategy in response ... Apart from that, China should strengthen its long-range military striking capabilities and develop more abilities to threaten U.S. domestic military targets,” it said. Australia, a close US military ally and already engaged in a A$65 billion defence buildup, said the rebalancing of US forces to Asia should not threaten China, or Australia’s A$113 billion two-way trade relationship with Beijing. “The American position is very sophisticated and it’s sophisticated in directions we’d encourage. It’s not a containment strategy,” Australia’s ambassador to the United States, former defence minister Kim Beazley, told Australian radio. Under the strategy, the United States will maintain its large bases in northern Asia, in Japan and South Korea. Lim Kwanbin, deputy minister for national defence policy at the South Korean Defence Ministry, told a news conference in Seoul US officials had assured him the strategy “will have no impact” on US forces in South Korea. Tension has risen considerably on the Korean peninsula, the most militarised area in the world, after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Dec. 17 ushered in uncertainty about the leadership of the unpredictable authoritarian state. —Reuters



Campbell urges progress on moving US Japan base TOKYO: Washington’s point man on East Asia yesterday called for progress on the US military’s plan to move a controversial base on Japan’s southern Okinawa island. Kurt Campbell also reiterated the US commitment to maintain and augment its military presence in the region. Campbell, the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, met his Japanese counterparts for discussions on the stalled plan to shift the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma away from a crowded urban location to a quiet coastal spot.

“Some of our meetings talked about the need to move forward on Futenma and the submission of the (environmental assessment) report,” Campbell told reporters. “I think we all understand the importance of making progress.” Yesterday, Okinawa Prefecture formally accepted all the documents submitted by the central government on the environmental impact of the base move, a key step in the long-delayed relocation. The move faces a number of hurdles, not least that of Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who has

the final say on whether to allow the land reclamation needed for the relocation, and who has long expressed his opposition to the plan. Tokyo and Washington have squabbled for years over the fate of the base, where locals have long complained of aircraft noise, the risk of accidents, and crime associated with a large contingent of young servicemen. Campbell also said Washington was “intent on maintaining a very strong, enduring military presence in the AsiaPacific region” in accordance with a new military strategy unveiled by

President Barack Obama on Thursday. “I just want to underscore that overall our commitment to the security of Japan and the regional security in Asia will continue,” Campbell said. “And we will also be taking steps to strengthen and diversify our security relationships around the Pacific,” he added. During the meeting in Japan, Campbell also discussed North Korea in the aftermath of the death of Kim Jong-Il, saying: “We talked extensively about our mutual desire to see peace and stability and to share information with all the key players, including China.” —AFP

Philippines resume search after deadly landslide Gunmen kill journalist

DAEBU ISLAND: South Korean elementary and middle school students shout as they make a scrum during a winter military camp for kids at the Cheongryong Self-denial Training Camp on Daebu Island in Ansan, South Korea, yesterday. — AP

Three ‘N Koreans’ found off Japan TOKYO: Japan’s coastguard said yesterday they had found three men and a body adrift in a small boat off the country’s west coast with media reporting they are from North Korea and want to go home. The vessel was found drifting one kilometre (half a mile) off the western Japanese island of Oki, northwest of the main island of Honshu, the regional coastguard headquarters said in a press release. “Coastguard officers found a body as well as the three adult males,” the statement said, without identifying the nationality of the boat people or the gender of the dead person. “Some of the crew said that they were engaged in fishing when their boat developed engine trouble and started drifting. The investigation continues,” it said, adding that the crew was given water and energy bars. Public broadcaster NHK and other media, quoting coastguard sources, reported that the boat people had left North Korea in mid-December to fish. “We did not intend to defect,” some of the boat people were quoted as saying. They expressed their wish to go back to North Korea, Jiji Press news agency quoted officials as saying. NHK footage showed a small wooden boat with Korean writing on its sides being buffeted by waves with three uniformed coastguard talking to a person who was taking shelter under a large green sheet. The coastguard statement said coastguard officers had boarded the drifting boat which was towed to calmer seas. Earlier media reports said the three could be the first defectors from North Korea reaching Japan since the death of Kim Jong-Il in December. The death of the leader in the reclusive state has sparked fears of an influx of refugees, although Japan places tight restrictions on immigrants and asylum-seekers. The bulk of would-be refugees from North Korea cross first into China in a bid to escape the repression, poverty and food shortages of the isolated communist state. Many then travel on to South Korea, where around 21,000 have arrived since the end of the 1950-1953 war. Nine North Koreans-three men, three women and three children-were picked up by Japan’s coastguard in September after spending five days at sea in a rare seaborne defection. They then travelled to South Korea to settle there. — AFP

MANILA: Authorities resumed searching yesterday for victims of a landslide that killed at least 22 people in a remote Philippine gold-mining village where miners work their small-scale claims with pickaxes. Officials have no good estimate of how many people are missing but say early reports of up to 100 were overblown. Many could have stayed elsewhere for the Christmas holiday, they said, or may have fled their mountainside shanties earlier in the night when the hill started to crumble. The land fell with a loud whoosh hours before dawn Thursday on a mountain dotted with mine shafts and crude shanties with corrugated metal roofs in Napnapan village in the southern province of Compostela Valley. “It was like a dump truck unloading gravel and sand,” said survivor Darwin Aguinawon, 27. “In only three seconds, our house came rolling down the slope.” It was the area’s second deadly landslide in a year - 20 were killed in a neighboring village last April - and prompted the environment secretary to call for curbing permits in the region’s smallscale mining industry. Initial reports of about 100 missing were based solely on the number of shanties believed lost, but many residents would have been on Christmas holiday or evacuated hours earlier when the ground started moving, Pantukan town spokesman Arnulfo Lantayan told The Associated Press. “We are very confident that it will not reach that number,” he said. The municipal disaster office lowered its earlier death toll of 25, as reported by residents and village leaders, to 22, based on the number of bodies recovered, Lantayan said. It was difficult to determine the number of missing because local authorities have no reliable records of the mostly migrant miners who work in the area with their families, Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said. Army photographs show a steep mountainside that looks like it was gouged by a giant shovel. Houses are buried in rubble or lying on their sides while crumpled metal roofs and trees lay nearby.

One tunnel entrance appeared halfcovered by rocks and soil. It was not known how many mine shafts have been blocked by debris or whether there were people inside. A fissure in the mountain discovered last year likely was aggravated by heavy rains and continuous mining in the satu-

the head and body while driving home with his wife and nine-year-old daughter, according to a statement by Rowena Paraan, executive coordinator of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). His wife was also wounded in the attack and his daughter was in a state of

PANTUKAN: Bodies of landslide victims are placed in a makeshift morgue at the site of a landslide yesterday, a day after the landslide occurred at the small-scale mining community of Pantukan, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines killing at least 22 people. — AP rated ground. Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said authorities had warned residents and local officials last year that the fissure made the mountain susceptible to a landslide. He urged local officials to stop handing out small-scale mining permits, now estimated to number about 3,000 all around the watershed. Meanwhile, gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a radio commentator and newspaper publisher on his way home late on Thursday in the southern Philippines, the first journalist to be killed in the country this year, a journalists’ group said. Christopher Guarin, 41, a radio talk show host and newspaper publisher in General Santos City, was shot six times in

shock after witnessing the murder of her father, said Freddie Solinap, manager of “Tatak”, a community newspaper where Guarin worked as editor. “I suspect this has something to do with his business as newspaper publisher and editor,” Solinap told reporters, adding that Guarin had been getting death threats on his mobile phone. “He even read the threatening messages in his radio programme.” About 150 journalists had been killed in the Philippines since 1986, the NUJP said. Nine had been killed since President Benigno Aquino assumed office in mid2010. That tally includes at least 33 journalists in a massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippines in 2009, which the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says is the world’s single deadliest event for journalists. — Agencies


Pakistan’s ex-envoy to US caught in web of scandal ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former envoy to the United States, Husain Haqqani, is no stranger to intrigue. But even he didn’t anticipate finding himself effectively imprisoned amid a scandal involving a shady memo, a businessman with unclear motives and allegations of treason. He is caught up in a tense stand-off between Pakistan’s civilian leaders and its generals over a memo that accused the army of plotting a coup after the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May. Now fearing for his life, he has taken refuge in the opulent hilltop home of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad. The scandal broke three months ago when businessman Mansoor Ijaz, writing in a column in the Financial Times, said a senior Pakistani diplomat had asked that the memo be delivered to the U.S. Defense Department for help in reining in the military. Ijaz later identified the diplomat as Haqqani, who was never liked by the military for his strong advocacy of civilian supremacy. No evidence has emerged that the military was plotting a coup

and the Pentagon at the time dismissed the memo as not credible. Haqqani returned to Pakistan in November and resigned as ambassador in a bid to end the crisis. He denies that he had anything to do with the memo and says he is fighting the traditional foes of civilian government in Pakistan. “Since the 1980s, there are powerful interests within the permanent state apparatus as well as outside who want to control the definition of what it means to be a Pakistani patriot,” Haqqani told Reuters on Friday at the prime minister’s residence. He avoided naming the powerful Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), but it was clear he considers parts of the military spy agency responsible for his troubles in a scandal that the media has dubbed “memogate”. Pakistan’s Supreme Court set up a judicial commission last week to investigate the memo, keeping Haqqani nervous. He has some allies still in Washington. Senators Mark Kirk, John McCain and Joe Lieberman issued a joint statement on Thursday decrying his treatment. “We are increasingly

troubled by Ambassador Haqqani’s treatment since he returned home to Pakistan, including the travel ban imposed on him,” the senators said. “We urge Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter swiftly and consistent with civilian rule of law and to prevent the judicial commission investigating Ambassador Haqqani from becoming a political tool for revenge.” “Memogate” encapsulates the two issues that have troubled Pakistan for decades, and which dominate national debate: the relationship between the military and civilian governments and Pakistan’s ties with the United States. Friction between the civilian leadership and the generals has bedevilled the nuclear-armed South Asian country for almost its entire existence, with the military ruling for more than half of its 64-year history after a series of coups. Another takeover could further tarnish the military’s public image, which took a battering after the surprise bin Laden operation by US Navy SEALs that was widely seen as an intelligence failure. Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani last month dismissed coup

rumours as speculation and said the army supported democracy. Pakistan’s relationship with the United States is just as contentious. Anti-Americanism is rampant, and any whiff of collusion with Washington can lead to accusations of treason, which Haqqani has so far - successfully deflected. But now, the “j’accuse” brigade in the press have grown louder and more visceral, and Haqqani fears for his life should he step outside the prime minister’s well-guarded grounds. “I’m not a prisoner, I’m a guest. But for all practical purposes, I can’t go out, because what if someone shoots me like they did Salman Taseer?” he said. Taseer, the former Punjab governor, was assassinated a year ago on Wednesday by one of his own bodyguards for calling for changes to Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy law. His killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was lionised across the country as a hero. Haqqani’s former lawyer doubts justice would prevail in any legal proceedings against him. And merely associating with the man who once enjoyed Pakistan’s premier diplomatic post is seen as risky. —Reuters

Children, troops, police die in bloody Afghan day Karzai demands US hand over prisoners

SALFORD: The mother of murdered Indian student Anuj Bidve, Yogini Bidve, centre, places a plant near the scene of his shooting during a visit to the area with his father Subhash Bidve and brother-in-law Rakesh Sonawane, second left, on Ordsall Lane in Salford, England, yesterday. — AP

Indian student’s parents visit British murder site SALFORD: The parents of an Indian student shot dead in Britain visited the site yesterday where he was gunned down, saying it had been an “exceedingly difficult journey”. Anuj Bidve’s father Subhash and mother Yogini laid flowers at the scene in Salford, a suburb of the northwestern city of Manchester, and prayed for their 23-year-old son. The couple, from the western Indian city of Pune, said they had been “deeply moved” by the support people there had shown them. “We have made the journey from India in order to see Anuj, see the place where he died, and most importantly take Anuj home with us,” Subhash Bidve said in a statement read out to reporters. “As you can imagine this has been an exceedingly difficult journey to make. Anuj was our only son and we cannot comprehend this dreadful tragedy.” He added: “We do not blame the people of the city for what happened. The only person we blame is the man responsible for taking Anuj away from us.” A 20-year-old English man, Kiaran Stapleton, who described himself as “Psycho” in court, is accused of the murder and has been remanded in custody. Anuj, who was studying at Lancaster University, was shot in the head at pointblank range in Salford as he walked into Manchester city centre with Indian friends on December 26. The Bidves visited the Houses of Parliament in London on Thursday, where they were met by lawmaker Keith Vaz, who promised they would receive justice. Since arriving in Britain on Wednesday, the couple have seen the body of their son and picked up his belongings from university. — AFP

KABUL: Six children, five soldiers, three policemen and a civilian died in another bloody day in Afghanistan’s long war yesterday, officials said. The children and the civilian man were killed when a bomb planted in a garbage bin exploded in Tirin Kot, capital of Afghanistan’s southern province of Uruzgan, police said. Four other children who were playing nearby were wounded, said the police spokesman, Farid Ayel. There was no obvious target for the bombing, although the home of a local police commander was nearby, he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but this type of attack is regularly blamed on Taleban insurgents seeking to overthrow the Westernbacked government of President Hamid Karzai. Karzai condemned the killings, blaming them on “terrorists”. Earlier in a day of violence in the warweary country, five NATO soldiers were killed in two roadside bomb blasts, also in southern Afghanistan. More than 560 foreign troops were killed last year in Afghanistan, where some 130,000 USled troops are fighting the Taliban insurgency alongside the Afghan army and police. Also yesterday, a policeman turned his gun on his colleagues in their headquarters of Shahrak district, central Ghor province, killing two before being gunned down himself, deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rashid said. The motive was not immediately clear, but in the past police and soldiers have turned their guns on their colleagues-sometimes foreign troops-and the attacks have been claimed by the Taleban. Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai

has demanded that the US detention center at Bagram Air Base be handed over to Afghan control within a month, along with all Afghan citizens held by the coalition troops across the nation. A presidential statement on Thursday said that keeping Afghan citizens imprisoned without trial violates the country’s constitution, as well as international human rights conventions. The prison, inside the sprawling US base at Bagram north of Kabul, abuts a well-known public detention center known as Parwan, which is run jointly by Afghan authorities and the US military. It’s unclear how many high-value detainees are being held at the US facility. Human rights groups have claimed that detainees were menaced, forced to strip naked and kept in solitary confinement in windowless cells. A statement from Karzai’s office said he issued instructions to a commission consisting of the ministers of defense, interior and justice, as well as other top

government and judicial officials, “to complete their job regarding the handing over of the (Bagram) prison and other prisoners who are held by foreign forces.” “The work should be completed within a month,” it said. The US-led NATO coalition is gradually handing over responsibility for security to the Afghan police and army. The process is due to be completed in 2014, when most foreign troops are scheduled to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. Karzai’s demands are the most recent in a series of exercises in political brinksmanship by the president, as he tries to bolster his negotiating position ahead of renewed talks for a Strategic Partnership Document with America that will determine the US role in Afghanistan after 2014. Among the conditions that Karzai has set is an end to night raids by international troops and complete Afghan control over detainees. —Agencies

HERAT: Taleban fighters put their weapon down after they joined the Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat yesterday. Nine fighters left the Taleban to join government forces in western Afghanistan. — AFP

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YICHANG: New shopping complexes light up along the main street in Yichang, central China’s Hubei province yesterday. If the Chinese government finances are not worrisome, China’s cities and provinces have been borrowing huge amounts of money to build roads, airports or hospitals which many of them will have trouble to reimburse, a situation made worse by the recent downturn of the real estate market, according to analysts. — AFP

US jobless rate falls American economy adds 200K jobs WASHINGTON: A burst of hiring in December pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011. The Labor Department said yesterday that employers added a net 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. The rate has dropped for four straight months. The hiring gains cap a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. That hasn’t happened since April 2006. The steady drop is a positive sign for President Barack Obama, who is bound to face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any sitting president since World War II. Unemployment was 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.

Still, the level may matter less to his re-election chances if the rate continues to fall. History suggests that presidents’ re-election prospects hinge less on the unemployment rate itself than on the rate’s direction during the year or two before Election Day. For all of 2011, the economy added 1.6 million jobs, better than the 940,000 added in 2010. The unemployment rate averaged 8.9 percent last year, down from 9.6 percent the previous year. Economists forecast that the job gains will top 2.1 million this year. The December report painted a picture of a broadly improving job market. Average hourly pay rose, providing consumers with more income to spend. The average work week lengthened, a sign that business is picking up and companies may soon need more workers. And

hiring was strong across almost all major industries. Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 jobs. Retailers added 28,000 jobs. Even the beleaguered construction industry added 17,000 workers. A more robust hiring market coincides with other positive data that show the economy ended the year with some momentum. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to levels last seen more than three years ago. Holiday sales were solid. And November and December were the strongest months of 2011 for US auto sales. Many businesses say they are ready to step up hiring in early 2012 after seeing stronger consumer confidence and greater demand for their products. — AP

Some EU countries in ‘technical recession PRETORIA: The International Monetary Fund chief said yesterday that some European countries may be technically in a recession but that does not necessarily apply to the 17-nation euro-zone or the European Union. At a news conference in Pretoria, the South African capital, Christine Lagarde warned 2012 “will not be a walk in the park, that will not be an easy journey.” “I think some European countries might be technically in a recession. Now whether that means the whole of the euro-zone or the whole of Europe is in a recession, I don’t think so,” she said. She did not identify which countries might technically be in recession,

which means they would have suffered two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. “There is great variety within those two zones to probably justify neither of the euro-zone nor the European Union would be in a recession - which does not mean to say that all members inside of those two zones would be immune to recession,” she said. Lagarde was accompanied by South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who said the European situation was creating more and more uncertainty. He called for “an appropriate level of assertiveness” to help the world “move on a different path.” — AP (See Page 18)


German industrial orders fell sharply in November Manufacturing orders revised down BERLIN: Industrial orders in Germany fell by a much bigger-than-expected 4.8 percent in November compared to a month earlier, hit by falling orders from abroad, new data showed yesterday. An increase in orders for October was also revised slightly downwards to 5.0 percent from 5.2 percent, according to the figures released by the Economy Ministry. Due to the October increase, orders for November had been expected to fall but the figure exceeded the expectations of analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, who had predicted a fall of 1.7 percent. Orders from abroad slumped by 7.8 percent in November while those from Germany fell by 1.1 percent, the ministry said in a written statement. “Even with-

out taking into account big orders, the dynamic of demand is currently weak. In line with forecasts, that signifies limited development for industrial production during the winter months,” it said. For the period of October to November compared to the two-month period of August-September, manufacturing orders rose by 0.2 percent, the figures showed. However Christian Schulz, analyst at Berenberg Bank, said that leading indicators suggested that German industrial output remained “fairly resilient”. “However this export-dependent sector will eventually suffer from the weakness of important debt-crisis-hit trading partners and is likely to drag the German economy into contraction in Q1 2012,” he

PARIS: Chile Finance Minister Felipe Larrain delivers his speech on the second day of the “New World” conference in Paris yesterday. More than 300 participants from 18 countries take part in this two-day conference. — AP

EIIB acquires 35% stake in Rasmala

Oil rises to $113, Iran counters growth fears LONDON: Oil climbed to around $113 a barrel yesterday as concern over any possible supply disruption due to mounting tensions between Iran and the West countered worries about Europe’s economy. Crude was set to rise more than 5 percent in the first week of 2012 after Iran threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil route, in retaliation against tighter sanctions from the United States and a possible ban on its crude exports to Europe. Brent crude rose 32 cents to $113.06 a barrel by 1234 GMT, after declining by 96 cents on Thursday. US crude was up 51 cents to $102.32. “The supply risk regarding Iran is still boiling. On top of this, there is also supply risk from Nigeria,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank. “It is clear yesterday’s drop was a short-term one only and unlikely to be continued.” Still, investors are balancing the supply risks with euro zone debt problems that may worsen and drag down major economies, slowing oil demand. An unexpected 2.2 millionbarrel rise in US crude stockpiles also weighed on sentiment. Deutsche Bank, in a report on its outlook for commodities in 2012, remained bullish on oil. “Upside geopolitical risks outweigh the potential downside on prices from a slowing economy,” the bank said. “Inventories are relatively low and supply and demand fundamentals point to declining OPEC spare capacity over time.” In Nigeria, a force majeure on Bonny Light crude oil exports on Thursday underscored the fragility of supplies from Africa’s top exporter, where trade unions are threatening to call a national strike starting on Monday. Thursday’s fall in prices illustrates there is strong resistance for Brent at $115 a barrel, said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. To the downside, key support lies at the 200-day moving average at $112.74, which held on Thursday. Investors are worried the euro-zone debt crisis could worsen and weigh on growth in the United States and China. The euro was under pressure yesterday on signs that fallout from the euro zone’s debt crisis is hitting its banks. Later on Friday, the United States government issues an employment report that should cement views that economic growth accelerated in the fourth quarter. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have risen 150,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey, after rising 120,000 in November.—Reuters

said. And Andreas Rees, an economist at UniCredit, said the figure for manufacturing orders did not necessarily spell looming doom and gloom. “The latest strong decline is not a harbinger of a nasty recession but above all a technical payback after the tremendous rise in the previous month.” Better-than-expected German jobless data earlier this week showed Europe’s biggest economy appeared to be holding up to the debt crisis. Other figures revealed German consumption was at its strongest level for more than a decade in 2011 and new car registrations, a key gauge of demand in one of the country’s most important industrial sectors, rose in December and over the whole of 2011. — AP

KARACHI: Pakistani stockbrokers sit under a share prices board during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in Karachi yesterday. The benchmark KSE100-Index was 11127.51, down 60.37 points during the morning session. —AFP

Euro crisis hits UK property market LONDON: Confidence in the health of the UK property sector is suffering from the euro zone debt crisis and the unease is spreading to Britain’s most buoyant market London, Lloyds Banking Group said. Data from the bank’s quarterly Commercial Property Confidence Monitor showed that the net balance of medium and large businesses expecting the UK property market to improve in the next six months fell to -24 in November, from -10 in August. Of these, the net balance of firms based in London that were bullish about the market was 2.8 in November, down from 32.2 in August, a sign that gloom has spread to the UK capital which had bucked the national trend with a recovery in 2010. A net balance is the sum of all positive and negative survey responses which ignores the middle ground. A positive number, for instance, would indicate that there were more bullish responses than bearish ones. “It’s clear that concerns regarding the euro-zone are impacting upon confidence, especially at the higher end of the market where respondents are more likely to be active in Europe or provide space for European companies and investors,” Lloyds’s Managing Director of Corporate Real Estate, Lynda Shillaw, said in a statement. “There appears to be a recognition that the challenging (world) economy is going to be here for far longer than anyone anticipated,” she said. UK property values fell for the first time in almost two and a half years in November and latest economic data from the euro zone is pointing to recession in the months ahead. Shillaw also said that more European banks could stop lending to the property sector in first quarter 2012. Lloyds classifies mid- to large-sized businesses as those that borrow 1-50 million pounds and major businesses as those with loans of more than 50 million pounds. The bank conducted its survey of 448 property decision-makers late last year.— Reuters

DUBAI: European Islamic Investment Bank is to invest $16 million over 12 months in Rasmala Holdings Ltd via a financing facility convertible into shares representing about 35 percent of the group’s enlarged capital. Rasmala chairman Ali Shihabi told Reuters yesterday that Rasmala chief executive Anwar Abu Sbaitan would continue in that role. Shihabi will be chairman of Rasmala’s supervisory board. Rasmala, which has around $900 million in assets, has offices in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt and operates in asset management, corporate finance and institutional brokerage. Shihabi told Reuters in November that EIIB was in talks with one party about investing in the bank as part of a capital boost. EIIB confirmed those talks last month. “This transaction will strengthen our balance sheet and allow us to compete more effectively in a challenging but also exciting regional environment,” Shihabi told Reuters yesterday. Earlier this year, a slump in turnover forced Rasmala to close its UAE retail brokerage business and to focus on institutional brokerage and research, asset management and corporate finance. Turnover and trading volumes on the Dubai and Abu Dhabi exchanges have fallen, extending a trend that started with the global financial crisis in 2008.—Reuters

Jordan’s bourse loses 12.7 points AMMAN: Benchmark of Jordanian Bourse shed 12.7 points in the first week trading of 2012. The main index lost 1982.4 points, compared to 1995.1 points in the previous week, with a slide of 0.64 percent. In terms of sectors, the index of the financial sector decreased 0.68 percent, the services sector slipped 0.21 percent and the industries sector dropped 0.46 percent Average daily volume of trading amounted to $11 million, compared to $18 million the week before, slipping 38.8 percent. Volume of overall daily trading reached approximately $ 44.3 million, compared to $54.3 million in the week before. Number of traded stocks amounted to 38.7 million, done in 15,772 deals. As to the share of each sector in the volume of trading, the financial quarter came first, 76.8 percent, followed by services, 15.5 percent, and then industries, 7.7 percent. Comparing the closing prices of the trading companies’ stocks this week-numbering 169 — with the closing prices of the previous session, up to 69 companies posted rise of the stock prices while those of 62 others slumped. —KUNA



Asian economies look to keep Iranian oil flowing China unlikely to back oil embargo

SEOUL: A currency trader reacts at the foreign exchange dealing room of the Korea Exchange Bank headquarters in Seoul yesterday. —AP

Asian markets mostly off on Europe fears HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly fell yesterday and the euro continued its struggles as fresh concerns over Spain and Italy rattled investors despite another strong batch of jobs data from the United States. Regional dealers followed European losses caused by a warning from Madrid that its banks may hold more bad loans than thought, while a French bond auction saw weak demand and Italy’s leader paid an unplanned visit to Brussels. Tokyo fell 1.16 percent, or 98.36 points, to 8,390.35, Sydney was 0.83 percent off, giving up 34.1 points to 4,108.5 and Seoul shed 1.11 percent, or 20.60 points, to 1,843.14. Hong Kong lost 1.17 percent, or 220.35 points, to close at 18,593.06 but Shanghai bucked the regional trend and rose 0.70 percent, or 14.95 points, to 2,163.40. In Spain the new economy minister warned that banks may face up to 50 billion euros ($65 billion) in bad loan provisions. Luis de Guindos’ estimate, provided in a Financial Times interview, was higher than many forecasts and compared with a European Banking Authority finding that the five biggest banks needed 26 billion euros more in capitalization. The country’s new government also warned separately that the social security fund’s accounts are worse than had been feared. In France, whose top notch AAA status is under threat, a bond auction sold its planned amount of debt with only modest increases in its borrowing price but saw lower demand, a lack of enthusiasm also seen in an operation by Germany on Wednesday. And Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti rattled nerves with an unannounced visit to Brussels. Traders became nervous despite diplomatic sources saying Monti, who meets French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday in Paris, was making only a private visit. “Sentiment is mixed into the end of the week. On the one hand firmer US data has helped to buoy confidence, leading to expectations of a relatively decent December US payrolls outcome. “On the other hand, the situation in the euro-zone continues to remain troubling,” said Credit Agricole in a note to clients, according to Dow Jones Newswires. US payrolls firm ADP said the private sector boosted hiring in December to the highest level in a year, with 325,000 jobs created in the month, well up from the 180,000 forecast by analysts. New claims for US unemployment benefits meanwhile fell 15,000 to 372,000 in the week to December 31, the data combined suggesting the world’s biggest economy could be improving.— AFP

BEIJING: China, the biggest buyer of Iran’s oil, has publicly rejected US sanctions aimed at Tehran’s energy industry while American allies Japan and South Korea are scrambling to find a compromise to keep critical supplies flowing. Beijing is buying less Iranian crude this month but analysts say China is unlikely to support an oil embargo. Instead, they say, the smaller purchases might be a tactic aimed at obtaining lower prices as the West squeezes Tehran. The sanctions approved by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve have higlighted the importance of Iranian oil supplies to East Asia’s energy-hungry economies. They have led to a clash of interests between Washington and key commercial and strategic partners over efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program. “We are considering our response and are closely discussing the matter with the US,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official, Kazuhiro Kawase, said yesterday. A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said this week Seoul is in talks with Washington aimed at “minimizing the negative impacts” of sanctions. South Korea imports 97 percent of its oil and depends on Iran for up to 10 percent of its supplies. China’s foreign ministry rejected the sanctions this week and called for negotiations, leaving unclear whether Beijing might defy Washington, straining relations between the world’s biggest and second-biggest economies. “Sanctioning is not the correct approach to easing tensions,” said a ministry spokesman, Hong Lei. “China opposes the placing of one’s domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries.” US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is due to visit Beijing and Tokyo next week for talks that officials say will include the sanctions. China could be the toughest part of Washington’s thorny diplomatic challenge as it tries to enforce the sanctions. The fast-growing Chinese economy is the world’s biggest energy consumer and imports half its oil. The sanctions, approved by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve, target financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank by barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum prod-

ucts. Japanese and South Korean institutions, with a bigger US presence, would be more exposed to such penalties. But Chinese institutions also do business in the United States and Beijing might see such restrictions as interference in its foreign affairs. About 11 percent of China’s oil imports in 2011 came from Iran, or about

he is not authorized to speak publicly for his company. It is “within the realm of possibility” that a small reduction in Chinese purchases might be “a shrewd attempt to squeeze the Iranians on pricing,” said Victor Shum, an energy analyst for Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. “As the pressure gets more intense on Iran and Iran wants to ensure

SHANGHAI: Shoppers walk by retail stores on a street in Shanghai yesterday. China’s retail sales rose an estimated 17 percent year-onyear to 18 trillion yuan (2.86 trillion USD) in 2011 as the government sought to boost domestic consumption, the Commerce Ministry said. —AFP 560,000 barrels per day, a flow that increased in the latter half of the year, according to oil industry analysts Argus Media. China buys nearly one-third of Iran’s 2.2 million barrels a day in exports. Analysts say China would have a tough time replacing that supply. “China is the biggest buyer of the Iranian oil. How could China stop buying just because of the sanctions?” said Zhu Feng, a Peking University specialist in international relations. This month, Chinese buyers have reduced daily purchases of Iranian crude, though that apparently stems from price negotiations and a payment dispute that began last year, according to a Singaporebased trader. The two Chinese stateowned companies that buy Iranian oil reduced purchases by about 5,000 to 15,000 barrels per day, the trader said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because

its oil revenue, I’m sure Iran will be eager to keep China as a customer and China will be in a good position to negotiate a good price,” Shum said. Iran is China’s thirdbiggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia and Angola. The importance of Asian sales makes it unlikely Tehran will make good on threats by some officials to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which Gulf oil flows, said Shum. That would “really hurt Iran’s important customers in Asia - namely China, Korea and Japan,” he said. “No supplier wants to anger its key customers. For that reason, oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz being cut off is unlikely.” Japan is especially dependent on imported oil and natural gas, one-third of it from the Gulf, after shutting down nuclear reactors following last year’s tsunami, said Koichiro Tanaka, director of the JIME Center at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan in Tokyo. —AP

Indonesian-made car stirs national pride

MUMBAI: Chairman and CEO of India’s Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya looks during a press conference in Mumbai. Shares in India’s Kingfisher Airlines dropped more than 10 percent yesterday a day after a report said the country’s aviation regulator had concerns about safety standards. — AFP

SOLO, Indonesia: Prototype cars made by Indonesian engineering students have triggered a frenzy of interest from fellow countrymen who want to buy them, the project’s supervisor said yesterday. Ten examples of the “Kiat Esemka” car have been built at the Kiat Motor workshop in the Central Java city of Solo, said its owner Sukiyat. The first model was produced in 2009, but the cars recently caused a stir after media reports that Solo mayor Joko Widodo had bought one for office use.

Soon afterwards other officials began expressing interest in the vehicles, which come in four-seater and eight-seater versions, and the cars drew praise from Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. “Tens of thousands of people-more than 20,000 I think-have come or called to express interest in the car,” Sukiyat, 54, told AFP. But he added: “Currently, it takes two to three months to produce one car. These vehicles were produced as a training medium for vocational high

school students, and are not ready for mass production yet.” He and a partner company have applied for a production license, he said. Eighty percent of the vehicles’ components are made in Indonesia and under mass production it would cost between 75 million rupiah ($8,200) and 95 million rupiah ($10,400), Sukiyat said. Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest-growing economy but does not have a domestic car company, though many Japanese models are assembled in the country. —AFP



IMF: Euro unlikely to ‘vanish’ this year Global economy growing slower that 4.0%

BUDAPEST: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (left) starts talks with President of the Hungarian National Bank, the central bank, Andras Simor (right) while minister without portfolio in charge of negotiations with IMF Tamas Fellegi (center) looks on in Orban’s office in the Parliament building in Budapest yesterday. — AP

Hungary forint strengthens on IMF deal hopes BUDAPEST: The Hungarian forint recovered yesterday morning from record lows on speculation that Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government might submit to demands from international lenders to secure a bailout. The forint, which ended Thursday at 319.71 against the euro having hit a new historic low of 324 forints earlier in the day, strengthened to 315.85 by 0856 GMT yesterday. International Monetary Fund and European Union officials broke off negotiations last month about a possible credit line of 15-20 billion euros ($20-25 billion) because of worries about reforms of Hungary’s central bank. But traders said that talks yesterday between Orban, Tamas Fellegi, the minister heading talks with the IMF, and the central bank governor Andras Simor raised hopes that Budapest may be prepared to compromise. “The participation of Simor at the discussion shows markets that the tension between the central bank and the government had eased,” Erste Bank analyst Zoltan Arokszallasi told AFP. The results of the talks will be revealed at a press conference according to Hungary’s national news agency MTI. Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said he had “no information” about any such news conference. Fellegi, who is due to hold talks with IMF officials in Washington on January 11, said on Thursday that he wanted to secure a deal “as soon as possible” and that the government was aware of the gravity of the situation.” The reforms of the central bank, which the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank fear will undermine its independence, is part of a raft of laws that came into effect under a controversial new constitution on January 1. The constitution also removes vital checks and balances on the power of Orban’s government, increases its influence on the judiciary and skews the voting system in his favor, critics at home and abroad say. On Monday, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Budapest. — AFP

PRETORIA: The euro is unlikely to “vanish” this year, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said yesterday, but warned a report this month will show the global economy growing slower than the 4.0 percent estimated in September. “Will 2012 be the end of the euro? My answer is, I don’t think so,” she told a press conference during a visit to South Africa. “The currency itself is not likely to vanish or disappear in 2012.” “Will Greece quit the euro zone in 2012? The euro partners have affirmed, reaffirmed their determination. We can only support that,” she said. But she warned that the crisis was taking a toll on Africa and the rest of the world, with the International Monetary Fund set to release a report around January 25 that is likely lower the global growth forecast. “It should be revised downwards. We will come out with figures around January 25, 26,” she said. “We should be prepared for a 2012 that will not be an easy journey, but one of effort and focus (regarding) the European crisis and its resolution,” Lagarde said. “African countries are a critical part of the global economy,” she added, in a nod to her hosts. “These countries will suffer setbacks if the European crisis is not addressed,” she said, after a meeting with South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. “We will be vigilant in 2012 in respect to anything that looks like domestic protectionism, or countries not adopting an international cooperative approach, which is in our view absolutely necessary,” she added. Lagarde is set to meet with South African President Jacob Zuma today in the central city of Bloemfontein, where he is taking

part in weekend celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of his ruling African National Congress. South Africa fell into its first recession since the fall of apartheid during the 2008 global financial crisis. While the recession lasted only nine months, the country has struggled to boost its growth rate to levels that the government says are needed to make a dent in a 25 percent unemployment rate that keeps 38 percent of the population living in poverty. “The issue of employment, inequalities are at the front of many countries’ agenda,” Lagarde said. “Growth must not be just growth, but job creating.” The rest of Africa escaped the fallout from the 2008 crisis, with many countries posting strong growth on the back of increased trade and investment with Asia, particularly giants China and India. But Europe remains a critical trade part-

PRETORIA: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (right) speaks as South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhon (left) looks on during their press conference after their meeting in Pretoria yesterday. —AP

Olympus whistle blower Woodford drops campaign TOKYO: Whistle blower Michael Woodford said yesterday he would sue Olympus over his sacking after a “depressing” lack of support from Japanese institutional shareholders scuppered a bid to get his old job back. The former chief executive said he was ditching his campaign to install a fresh slate of directors under his leadership and would be seeking compensation for his

October firing that sparked one of Japan’s biggest corporate dramas in decades. The Briton-the first non-Japanese ever to hold the posts of president and chief executive at the 92-year-old camera maker-said his efforts to rally support for a fresh start for the company had proved fruitless. “The major reason for the continuing uncertainty is that despite my having done the right thing, none of the major

Euro-zone retail sales fell 0.8% BRUSSELS: Retail sales fell by 0.8 percent across the 17-nation euro-zone in November, slumping after a 0.1 percent increase in October, official figures showed yesterday. In the wider, 27nation European Union, which includes non-euro members Britain and Poland, retail trade dropped 0.6 percent in November after an increase of 0.2 percent the previous month. On an annual comparison, sales fell by 2.5 percent in the eurozone and by 1.3 percent in the EU between November 2010 and November 2011. Among EU states for which data was available, the steepest monthly falls were recorded in Portugal (2.6 percent), Malta (1.6 percent) and Germany and Finland (both dropped by 0.9 percent). — AFP

ner for the continent, which is keeping a wary eye on the potential fallout of the euro-zone crisis. The euro on Thursday sank below $1.28 to levels last seen in September 2010, amid ongoing worries about the debt crisis. The euro-zone debt crisis claimed Greece as its first victim in May 2010, with Ireland and then Portugal also needing massive EU and International Monetary Fund bailouts. As the crisis drags on, speculation has grown that Italy and Spain could be the next member states to need a costly bailout but it is far from clear whether the resources currently available would be enough. An EU summit last month came up with yet another series of measures to tame the crisis but implementation takes time, with the markets piling on the pressure and showing no patience as Brussels tries to hold the line. — AFP

TOKYO: Former President and Chief Executive of Olympus Corp. Michael Woodford arrives for a press conference at the National Press Club of Japan in Tokyo yesterday. Woodford, who blew the whistle on dubious spending at the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker, said yesterday he is giving up his fight to regain the presidency. —AP

Japanese institutional shareholders have offered one word of support to me and conversely have in effect allowed the tainted and contaminated board to continue in office,” he said. Institutional shareholders “are the reason why these directors are still there, without their support they shouldn’t be,” he told a press conference. “And what is public and known and factual is that despite one of the biggest scandals in history (they) have not spoken one single word of criticism.” He said the scandal that he had exposed, which involved the covering up of millions of dollars worth of dodgy investments, and the way it had been handled had left a stain on corporate Japan. “The fact that such a situation can exist despite the explicit findings of the thirdparty committee is depressing and totally disorientating to those looking in on Japan from the outside.” Among major shareholders were Nippon Life Insurance Co. and big banks such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, according to the latest available documents. Neither Olympus nor its major shareholders had so far made any comments on Woodford’s statement.—AFP



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PwC hit with record fine for UK audit failures LONDON: Top auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers has been fined a record 1.4 million pounds ($2.2 million) in Britain for wrongly telling local regulators for seven years that JPMorgan Securities was keeping client money safe. The case brought by the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board was the latest sign regulators have been taking a harder line on auditors, seen by policymakers as being too soft on banks in the run-up to the financial crisis. The AADB said yesterday PwC, one of the world’s socalled “Big Four” auditors which check the books of nearly all blue-chip companies, admitted it failed to obtain “sufficient appropriate evidence” to report JPMorgan Securities complied with strict client money rules over several years. Most of the client money from futures and options trading was being “swept” daily into interestbearing, unsegregated accounts overnight at JPMorgan Chase bank, the firm’s parent, the AADB said. In June 2010, Britain’s Financial Services Authority slapped a record 33.3 million pound fine on JPMorgan Securities for failing to keep client money separate at all times from its own money over a seven-year period to

July 2009. Sums of client money ranging from $1.9-$23 billion were held in unsegregated accounts that would have been at risk of loss had the lender become insolvent, the FSA said at the time. On Friday, the AADB said an independent tribunal found PwC’s misconduct was “very serious”. The tribunal would have fined PwC 2 million pounds but reduced the penalty because the auditor had cooperated. The tribunal also made PwC pay the AADB’s costs. PwC said it regretted that one aspect of its work on the private client money report to the FSA fell below “our usual high standards”. “When this issue was identified, and before any complaint had arisen, we took action to ensure that staff received additional training in the client monies area,” PwC said. The AADB had proposed a 6 million pound fine, while PwC had suggested to the tribunal the fine should be at the lower end of a 0.5-1.0 million pound range. “It is an appropriate penalty, given the framework the tribunal had to deal with,” Tom Martin, AADB executive counsel, told Reuters. Sanctions are being reviewed,

however, as part of updating the Financial Reporting Council, the regulatory umbrella group to which the AADB belongs. “We think there may be a time for debate about the level of sanctions for firms the size of the Big Four,” Martin said. The tribunal appeared to call for further action. “We wish to comment that we have been surprised and concerned that no partner at PwC has been named in relation to this matter or proceeded against by the (AADB’s) Executive Counsel,” it said. Martin said the AADB planned to take no further action against PwC in the JPMorgan Securities case. The complaint against PwC focused on its reports to the FSA for the seven years to Dec. 31, 2008. The segregation error came to light on July 8, 2009. Barclays was fined 1.1 million pounds in January last year for client money rules breaches, and the AADB is probing PwC’s role as auditor. PwC, which chalked up gross revenues of $29.2 billion in its financial year to end-June 2011, was expected to defend its work in the Barclays issue. — Reuters

Swiss CB fails to calm currency-trade scam Hildebrand under pressure after wife’s FX trade

OPA LOCKA, FL: Barrett Garrison, Charles Robitaille and Matthew Carpenter (left to right) listen to instructor Jesus Hernandez as they continue their education on servicing air conditioners at the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Pipefitting Education Center. — AP

US job market ended 2011 with solid growth WASHINGTON: The US job market strengthened in the second half of 2011, and December is expected to cap a solid finish. Economists forecast that employers added a net 150,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by Factset. They also predict that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent, which was the lowest rate since March 2009. The projected hiring gains would mark a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. The last time that happened was in April 2006 - more than a year and a half before the country plunged into the Great Recession. A more robust hiring market would coincide with other positive data that show the economy ended the year with some momentum. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to levels last seen more than three years ago. Holiday sales were solid. And November and December were the strongest months of 2011 for US auto sales. Many businesses say they are ready to step up hiring in early 2012 after seeing stronger consumer confidence and greater demand for their products. Even the projected increase in the unemploy-

ment rate could be a positive sign. The rate is expected to rise as more people feel better about their chances to find employment and resume job searches. The government counts out-of-work people as unemployed only if they are looking for work. The rate fell from 9 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November, partly because about 300,000 people gave up looking for work. People routinely enter and leave the work force, though 300,000 is more than usual. Still, it also dropped because small business hired more workers. The government uses a survey of mostly large companies and government agencies to determine how many jobs were added or lost each month. It uses a separate survey of households to determine the unemployment rate. The household survey picks up hiring by companies of all sizes, including small businesses and companies just getting off the ground. It also includes farm workers and the self-employed, who aren’t included in the survey of companies. The household survey has shown an average of 321,000 jobs created per month since July, compared with an average of 13,000 the first seven months of the year.—AP

ZURICH: Switzerland’s biggest political party has called for a special parliamentary session to debate the currency-trade scandal swirling around Philipp Hildebrand, the embattled central bank chief who vowed on Thursday to fight accusations of wrongdoing. A day after Hildebrand went before the media for an hour to explain a controversial trade made by his wife just three weeks before the Swiss National Bank (SNB) imposed a cap on the Swiss franc, national newspapers kept up the pressure on him. Hildebrand, a slick 48-year-old former hedge fund executive, told the news conference on Thursday that he had learned only a day after the fact that his wife had spent 400,000 Swiss francs ($423,800) to buy dollars last August, and refused to step down. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), long a vocal critic of Hildebrand and the SNB’s intervention in foreign exchange markets under his charge, called on Friday for a special parliamentary session to examine the case. “It is unlawful and completely untenable that leaders of the Swiss National Bank carry out currency actions also in their private affairs. Philipp Hildebrand is no longer acceptable as chairman of the Swiss National Bank,” the SVP said in a statement. In practice it would be hard for the SVP to get a special session as they would need to secure a majority in the lower and upper houses for that. Other political parties appeared satisfied with Hildebrand’s performance and his promise to improve transparency at the central bank. The government has also backed Hildebrand, who has been under intense pressure since a Bank Sarasin employee leaked bank account details of him and his wife, Kashya, showing the family had bought foreign currencies very close to the time the SNB capped the soaring franc. Switzerland guards bank client

confidentiality jealously and the employee is also in the firing line. Sarasin has fired the 39-year-old IT worker and police in the Swiss canton of Thurgau told Reuters on Friday that they had conducted a search of his house. The state prosecutor of the canton of Zurich said on Thursday it was launching an investigation into the man. According to the head of the SNB bank council, the bank details were passed on to 39-year-old rightwing lawyer Hermann Lei, who has close links to Christoph Blocher, a leading member of the SVP and Hildebrand’s sharpest critic. Blocher, who approached the Swiss government with his concerns about the transactions at the end of last year, is due to hold a press conference at 1430 GMT. Swiss media said Hildebrand had not ended the crisis with his appear-

ance on Thursday. “It is simply hard to understand that in the middle of the biggest currency crisis for decades, the president of the Swiss National Bank would have no idea whether his wife was speculating on currency markets,” Swiss newspaper St. Galler Tagblatt wrote in an editorial. Leading newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung called on the central bank chief to publish the email sent by his wife ordering the dollar transaction. Tagesanzeiger said in an editorial that the affair had cut Hildebrand down to size, but that he should stay in his post unless new harmful revelations emerged. “The Swiss public and in particular politicians will now debate whether a man with this flaw should still lead the central bank. If no new facts emerge then Switzerland would do well to not lose this head,” the Swiss newspaper wrote. — Reuters

ZURISH: Swiss National Bank chairman Philipp Hildebrand arrives for a press conference in Zurich Thursday. Switzerland’s central bank chief has denied wrongdoing and insists he will not step down from his post amid allegations of insider trading on currency deals. Philipp Hildebrand says he is ‘not aware of having committed any legal errors’ after it was revealed that he and his wife conducted currency transactions at a time when he was spearheading efforts to lower the value of the Swiss franc. — AP



Optimism returns to Detroit auto show Industry looks to strong sales in 2012 CHICAGO: Optimism returns to the Detroit auto show Monday as the industry looks forward to strong sales growth after years of painful restructuring, a deep economic downturn and serious supply shortages. “It’ll be upbeat, it’ll be intensely competitive,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with The Detroit Three automakers will be fighting to hang onto or even expand recent market share gains achieved by radically revamping their product offerings even as they shed unprofitable brands and models. Toyota and Honda are looking to regain ground lost when their inventories were crippled by the March 11 Japanese quake and tsunami. “The problem for Toyota and Honda is that some of their market share losses are potentially permanent losses because the competition is so much better,” said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with “Consumers who would have bought a Toyota or Honda ended up getting something else and realized these cars are as good or better.” Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia which have been the big success story of the downturn after winning over consumers looking for good value - will be working to keep up their momentum. German automakers will be pushing at the higher-end of the market. BMW and Mercedes managed to overtake Toyota’s Lexus brand as the best-selling luxury brands in the United States in 2010 amid the Japanese automaker’s supply problems, and will be jostling to hold their ground. Volkswagen also has ambitious goals

DETROIT: Workers prepare exhibit space at COBO Center in preparation for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Thursday. — AP to more than double its US sales and overtake Toyota and GM for the top global sales spot. There ought to be plenty of new customers to lure into showrooms this year. Nearly one in every five vehicles on the road is over 10 years old. That’s around 50 million vehicles that will need to be replaced in the coming years. US auto sales are expected to grow to 13.5 to 14.5 million vehicles this year from 12.8 million in 2011 and 11.6 million in 2010. That’s still down significantly from the 15 to 17 million vehicles sold annually in the dozen years leading up to the 2008 crash, but solid enough growth that GM,

Chrysler adds 1,250 jobs in Detroit CHICAGO: Chrysler unveiled plans to add 1,250 jobs in Detroit in a sign that the third largest US automaker’s recovery from years of restructuring and a painful bankruptcy is solidifying. Chrysler-which is now owned by Italy’s Fiat-has used the Motor City as the heart of a highly successful advertising campaign with the tag line ‘Imported from Detroit.’ Detroit, the traditional center for the US auto industry, has been devastated by the decades-long decline of its major industry and the city government could soon be taken over by an emergency manager appointed by the state of Michigan. The well-paid jobs will be welcome in a city with an unemployment rate of 17.1 percent. “We believe that investing in Detroit is not only the right thing to do, but it is a smart thing to do as we work to write the next chapter in our shared history,” Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. The bulk of the jobs will go to staff a third shift at the Jefferson North Assembly plant as Chrysler expands its Jeep Cherokee lineup to include a diesel engine option. The plant, which currently employs 2,890 people and also builds the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle, was the first to add new hires to its rank after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and was also the first in Michigan to add a second shift. Chrysler also reaffirmed its commitment to reopen its long-shuttered Conner Avenue plant to build the SRT Viper sports car, a move announced last month that will create 150 jobs. Production of the Viper will begin late this year. “We are pleased to have Chrysler Group acknowledge the contributions of the UAW here in the Motor City by relying on our workforce to produce two of its most acclaimed vehicles,” said General Holiefield, the United Auto Workers vice president for Chrysler. —AFP

Ford and Chrysler should continue to post rich profits. “I think this pace of growth is good for the industry and for the country,” GM’s sales chief Don Johnson said after GM posted a 14 percent gain in 2011 US sales Wednesday. “It gives the industry the chance to really institutionalize the discipline that has allowed us to prosper at lower sales volumes.” The show will also celebrate a remarkable turnaround for the Detroit Three. Chrysler - which has been steered by Italy’s Fiat since emerging from a government-backed bankruptcy - swung into a profit of $211 million in the third quarter of 2011 after years of bleeding balance

sheets. GM, which also underwent a government-backed bankruptcy in 2009, hauled in $7.1 billion in the first nine months of 2011 after posting a $4.7 billion profit in 2010. Ford, which survived the downturn without resorting to government aid, has posted ten straight quarters of profits totaling $16 billion after a massive restructuring effort. More than a dozen automakers will vie for the attention of 5,000 journalists with the launch of at least 40 new models on Monday and Tuesday, some ready to hit showrooms and others being rolled out as ‘concept’ cars to test the waters. “It’s going to be a big show for Honda,” Krebs told AFP, noting that the Japanese automaker will be introducing a concept for the next generation of its popular Accord along with several new vehicles from its luxury Acura division. GM will be introducing two small cars - the Chevy Spark and Sonic - which are aimed at winning over young ‘millennials,’ while Chrysler will show its first Fiat-based small car, the Dodge Dart. Daimler’s Smart will introduce a miniature pickup truck concept car that will be sure to grab attention. Automakers will also have several swank sports cars on offer, like the Lexus LF-LC hybrid concept, the Mercedes SL roadster, and the new Porsche 911. Green car fans will get a look at Volvo’s plug-in hybrid concept, new hybrids from Mercedes and BMW, and an electric van from Nissan. The North American International Auto show opens on January 14 and runs through January 23. — AFP

BMW grabs US luxury car crown CHICAGO: BMW overtook MercedesBenz in a surprise upset Thursday to grab the crown of best-selling luxury brand in the United States after an incentive-fueled race to the finish of 2011. The upset came after Autodata declared Mercedes the champion Wednesday using data gleaned from a “credible industry source” after neither automaker had reported their results on the industry’s standard reporting day. “I have great confidence that 2012 will be even better especially with the all-new BMW 3 Series arriving in the US in February with more new and refreshed models coming in the months after,” Ludwig Willisch, chief executive officer of BMW of North America said in a statement. With the champion of the past 11 years-Toyota’s Lexus-hobbled by the fallout from Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the two Teutonic giants went head-on to snatch the highly visible symbol of automotive supremacy. Mercedes pulled ahead in November thanks to the launch of its new 2012 CClass sedan and was expected to end up the victor. But BMW regained the lead and claimed first place with a lead of just over 2,600 vehicles. BMW reported Thursday its sales rose 12.6 percent in 2011 to 247,907 after posting a 15 percent gain in December. Mercedes

reported a 13.3 percent gain to a record 245,231 vehicles sold in 2011 after a 28 percent jump in December sales. Lexus finished a distant third as 2011 sales dropped 13 percent to 198,552. BMW raised its incentive spending more than $200 to $3,694 per vehicle sold from November to December, while Mercedes’ average spend

remained virtually flat at $3,174, found. The average discount percentage on a new BMW in December was 11.2 percent off the sticker price, compared to 9.5 percent for a new Mercedes, the automotive website determined. The bragging rights the crown brings can help in future sales. —AFP

NEW DELHI: Visitors look at the new BMW Mini CooperS car during the 2012 India Auto Expo in New Delhi yesterday. The world’s leading car makers jostled for space at the start of India’s Auto Expo, eyeing a market that has slowed sharply but remains a hotspot compared with depressed Western economies. — AFP




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Etta James out of hospital, ‘stable’ Page Page 26 26

Reformed Van Halen performs intimate NYC gig Page 25

US actress Rooney Mara poses prior to the German premiere of the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (German title “Verblendung”) in Berlin, Germany, Thursday. —AP



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Lea Michele revealed Ricky Martin shooting a

cameo in


he actress - who plays Rachel Berry - has returned to work after the holidays along with the rest of her castmates to start filming the next episodes of the musical TV drama and they have been joined by the ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ singer. The 40-year-old pop star is shooting a cameo in the series, and so far he has proved very popular with Lea and the other ‘Glee’ regulars. She wrote in a series of posts on twitter: “Back at work! Starting our next episode with my old friend Ricky Martin! “Having so much fun on set with


revealed her fiance goes ‘bananas’ with romantic gestures


Ricky! He’s seriously the sweetest and such a great fit for our show!” Lea, 25, also revealed she first worked with Ricky in a stage production of ‘Les Miserables’ 16 years ago. In another tweet, she wrote: “I’ve known Ricky since I’m 8 years old! He was in Les Mis on Broadway with me in 1996! Crazy huh?! (sic)” ‘Glee’ is renowned for attracting big name stars onto the show, including Gwyneth Paltrow - who played substitute teacher Holly Holliday in multiple episodes - and Britney Spears, who appeared as herself.

Boyz II Men receive star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

and members Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris were joined by songwriters and producers Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to unveil the 2,456th star on the world famous pavement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater on the Hollywood Boulevard. Speaking to the crowd, Shawn said: “I can’t explain how happy I am. This is one of the happiest days of my life, and I thank all of our fans who we affectionately call them soldiers.” Terry added: “These guys are


not just R&B. These guys are music. These guys love music, and they’re passionate about it. They can sing anything under the sun.” Boyz II Men are the top selling R&B group of all time, with 60 million albums shifted, and next week they begin a European tour to promote their latest LP ‘Twenty’. The group formed in 1988 at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and went on to create songs including ‘I’ll Make Love to You’ and ‘One Sweet Day’.

he actress-and-singer insists her man, WWE wrestler David Otunga, never fails to disappoint her on the special occasion each year and she usually awakes to find their home filled with flowers and balloons. She said: “Let me tell you, this man goes bananas. When I wake up that morning in February, I can’t see through the house because he’s got confetti and balloons everywhere, rose petals on the floor and candles in every single room.” Jennifer first tasted fame as a contestant on ‘American Idol’ and was known for her plus-sized figure. Since those early days she has gone on to win an Oscar for her performance in ‘Dreamgirls’ and has scored a number of hits and has slimmed down considerably. Even though she maintains a healthy lifestyle, the 30-year-old star insists she doesn’t deprive herself of all her favorite foods and still allows herself the odd indulgence. In an interview with ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazine, she said: “Every now and then I’ll find a calm, peaceful moment, and I’ll sit back and eat my chocolate, which I make sure is really good quality, too. Quality over quantity!” Jennifer and David have a two-year-old son David Jr. and the ‘Spotlight’ singer claims the youngster doesn’t recognize her from pictures and film clips taken when she was at her heaviest. She revealed: “What’s funny is that he’s never known me overweight. If he sees a clip of the old Jennifer from ‘Dreamgirls’, he doesn’t know who it is.”



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Kanye West wants to help the world


he ‘Goldigga’ hitmaker insists he is not a typical rapper as he doesn’t splash his cash, preferring to channel his wealth into helping others and trying to make a difference to the planet. He tweeted: “I sit everyday and ask what can I do to make a difference... I know this is not a very rapper thing to say but I haven’t bought a new car or piece of jewelry in about 2 years. “I invest every dime back into creativity... hiring amazing creatives paying for flights, offices ... etc... My area of expertise is in music, my passion is in music design film and products... my strength is connectivity... (sic) “What good is fame and prestige if you can’t use it to help people... I want to help by doing what I know how to do best ... create. (sic)” As part of his plans to help others, Kanye is searching for talent to work for his new design company Donda - which is named after his late mother Donda West - which will bring together ideas from 22 divisions including architecture, music, publishing and technology and he hopes can be as revolutionary as late apple founder Steve Jobs. He wrote: “Donda is a

design company which will galvanise amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas... “We need as many amazing powerful smart talented wealthy people to be involved... Come get on board... We can collectively effect the world through design. We need to pick up where Steve Jobs left off. “This will all take time but I wanted everyone to know what I really care about... I care about people. I care about my fans... I care about people who have never heard of me... There are over 7 billion people on the planet now... (sic)” Despite his grand plans, Kanye admitted he needs the support of people with better skills and knowledge than his own. He added: “I want to put creatives in a room together with like minds that are all waaaay doper than me.” During his lengthy twitter rant, Kanye also revealed he has split from his talent management company, reminisced about accompanying his mother to buy furs when he was five years old and discussed a concept he has created with director Spike Jonze for an alternative summer school.

Demi Lovato thinks being ‘sober is sexy’ T

he 19-year-old singer - who was admitted to rehab for three months in November 2010 to receive treatment for an eating disorder and self-harming - admitted while she was previously using alcohol and drugs to “numb the pain” of her emotional issues, she has now found more positive ways to cope with her problems. She said: “I think sober is sexy. It’s cool. I think it’s way cooler to be above the influence than under the influence. “I’m not gonna lie. I was self-medicating. I was doing things like drinking and using [drugs], like a lot of teens do to numb their pain.” However, the ‘Skyscraper’ hitmaker explained fellow teen stars Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus have also helped her healing process, as they have “always” been there for her. Demi added in an interview with Seventeen magazine: “There were two people [who were there for me]. No matter how many times we fight, we will always be in each others’ lives. “[Miley Cyrus and I] are very strong-headed, so when we fight, it’s brutal and we’re like, ‘We’re never going to be friends again!’ Then two days later, we’re like, ‘I love you and I miss you!’ “Selena and I, we never fight. She’s not a confrontational person at all. Both of them will never leave my life no matter what happens, because we’ve been through so much together.”

Keith Richards has had laser eye surgery to save his vision


he legendary rocker has survived years of drug and alcohol abuse, and even a fractured skull after he fell out of a tree in Fiji in 2006, but had the operation to reshape his cornea so he doesn’t need to wear spectacles anymore. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “He’s music’s ultimate survivor but not even the seemingly immortal Keith Richards can stop the march of time. It was a harmless, quick procedure and he’s very happy with the results.” The eye operation is thought to have taken around 15 minutes, and was performed at a London clinic. After the operation Keith, 68, is said to have worn an eye patch making him look reminiscent of his ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ character Captain Teague. While Keith has toned down his notorious hedonistic lifestyle, quitting hard drugs over 10 years ago, but he still enjoys a drink, and insists he isn’t always like people make him out to be. The Honky Tonk Woman’ hitmaker who is married to Patti Hansen -said: “People always like you cut and dried - ‘Oh, he’s a maniac.’ And I can be, when I have the time for it, but when I’m at home I do as I’m told. ‘Yes darling, no darling’, like any other guy.” He also wrote in his autobiography how he thinks he has survived so long because he has always been good at self control with drinking and drugs. He wrote: “I was very meticulous about how much I took. I’d never put more in to get a little higher. Maybe that’s a measure of control and maybe I’m rare in that respect.”

Radcliffe always wanted a ‘crazy’ party lifestyle


he 21-year-old actor always aspired to lead a wild life but gave up drinking alcohol last year when he realised his behaviour was “boring and pathetic”. He said: “My inner life was being drowned. I’ve worked with Richard Harris, Gary Oldman, all those actors who went crazy when they were young, and I always wanted that. The idea of that kind of life and chaos was always so appealing to me. “Unfortunately, the way I do it, there is no romance to it. There is nothing glorious or triumphant about it - it was pathetic, boring, and unhappy.” Daniel - who has been dating Rosie Coker for two years - also admitted he wants to get married now he has found someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with. He told Parade magazine: “Yes, absolutely, I want to get married. When growing up, I thought of marriage as being very official, drawing up a contract. It seemed slightly clinical to me. But then you meet somebody that you really love and you think, ‘Actually, I wouldn’t mind standing up in front of my friends and family and telling them how much I love you and that I want to be with you forever.’ “



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Las Vegas museum to spotlight mob films


mob museum slated to open soon in Las Vegas will trace Hollywood’s portrayal of mobsters from the birth of the silver screen in a violencefraught exhibit that organizers said is not intended for children. Screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the book “Wiseguy” and then adapted it into the Martin Scorsese film “Goodfellas,” told The Associated Press that he will help usher in the exhibit when the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement opens in Las Vegas in mid-February. Pileggi will appear in a five-minute documentary on the mob and pop culture that will be shown near the end of the museum tour. The film, part of an exhibit called “The Myth of the Mob,” will attempt to explain why so many people are fascinated with organized crime. The exhibit will also feature costumes from mobster-centric TV shows and movies, including “The Sopranos.” “Just because you are depicting something ugly, it doesn’t mean you are honoring it,” Pileggi said. “I don’t know too many gangster movies where the gangster wins in the end. These are tales of morality and that is the key to them.” The downtown Las Vegas museum will open at a former courthouse where a famous mob hearing that helped expose organized crime to ordinary Americans was held in 1950. It is expected to feature gangster artifacts, including the wall from Chicago’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre, the only gun recovered at the mass shooting and the barber chair where hit man Albert Anastasia’s life came to an end in 1957. Dennis Barrie, the museum’s director, said he interviewed Pileggi for up to three hours to create the five-minute film on the history of gangster flicks. Barrie said he wants museum-goers to explore whether popular movies glamourize mob culture, or get it right. “I don’t think it’s a kids’ museum,” Barrie said. “This is a pretty brutal world and it comes across in the museum.” Pileggi, whose parents were Italian immigrants, said he was attracted to mob stories as a young man because he wanted to know why some people in his neighborhood were drawn to organized crimes, while others shunned it. “I don’t think they are the worst people in the world,” Pileggi said. “I think they are fascinating.” Pileggi began his writing career as an Associated Press crime reporter. He received an Oscar nomination for “Goodfellas” and teamed up with Scorsese again for the Las Vegas crime-opus “Casino” in 1995. He said the movies are “unbelievably realistic.” Pileggi said former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman asked him to get involved with the museum. Goodman, a former mob lawyer who came up with the idea of the museum, provided Pileggi with facts and insight when he was writing “Casino” and had a brief cameo in the movie. “Who knows it better than Nick Pileggi?” Goodman said. “When you have his stamp of approval on these kinds of exhibits, it takes on a certain sense of reality as well as legitimacy.” The $42 million museum will be the second gangster-focused attraction to open in Las Vegas in the past year. The Tropicana casino and hotel on the Las Vegas Strip unveiled its interactive “Mob Experience” attraction in March. The venue is undergoing a renovation after a brutal start. Attendance was sluggish from the beginning, and then its developer, Jay Bloom, was forced to resign amid multiple lawsuits over unpaid bills, said Spence Johnston, a Mob Experience spokesman. Goodman said the organized crime museum will have a more successful launch because its collection will focus on history instead of entertainment. “I was interested in having a real museum with real culture,” he said. “This is not a gimmick.” — AP

Indian pedestrians walk past an elaborate wall painting outside the Indian Naval Dockyard in Mumbai yesterday. These paintings depict ports, fortresses and castles of the western town of Surat and eastern state of West Bengal in the early 18th century that were frequented by foreign merchant ships. —AFP

SoCal desert camping offers stark beauty in winter I

n spring and fall, desert camping attracts thousands of tourists in Southern California. Joshua trees curve up out of the dry ground like spiky sculptures, and Mojave rattlesnakes sunbathe on rocks. Temperatures can peak into the triple digits. In the winter, though, as temperatures drop down to freezing at night, travelers can find great beauty in desert campgrounds, from Joshua Tree National Park, 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, to AnzaBorrego Desert State Park, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of San Diego. Wildflowers start blooming in late February in Anza-Borrego, and snow touches down in Joshua Tree. The air remains crisp, the sky blue. Campgrounds tend to be much less crowded. Bring down sleeping bags to ward off the chill. Winter desert camping can be cold at night. In Joshua Tree National Park, stretching a massive 800,000 acres (323,756 hectares) of high and low desert east of Palm Springs, couched between Interstate 10 and Highway 62, nine campgrounds are available. “In day time, in winter, it averages 60 degrees (Fahrenheit). That’s perfect weather for hiking and rock climbing,” said Cynthia LaSala, who oversees the park’s campgrounds as a supervisory visitor use assistant. “Tent campers prepare for that cold weather at night so they can experience the beautiful days. Part of people wanting to be here during the winter is that there are no crowds. Through December and January, there’s hardly anyone here. You can get your choice of a campsite.” One winter as a teenager, tent camping with my family at the Black Rock Canyon campground, in the hilly northwest corner of the park, we attended a ranger’s talk around a camp fire, when snow began to accumulate in small drifts. By the time we settled in our tents, squished ourselves deep into our sleeping bags and woke up the next day, snow was everywhere, a vivid rug of white on the tan desert floor, made colder by high

gusty winds. It was gorgeous. “At Black Rock, it will snow three or four times a winter, but it doesn’t last. We get flurries that don’t stick. The sun comes up the next day and it melts,” added LaSala. Long considered a family friendly campground, Black Rock includes picnic tables, fire rings, and bathrooms, but no showers, and accommodates both tents and RVs. Hiking includes the Eureka Peak and Panorama Loop trails. Smaller, yet active, grips of animals scurry around, even in winter, from jackrabbits and coyotes to kangaroo rats and roadrunners. Snakes, tortoises and lizards stay in and hibernate. The campground requires a reservation in advance, made by phone or online, from October through May. The Black Rock Nature Center is open as well, in addition to three other visitor centers in the park. Hidden Valley campground, with its close proximity to rock climbing and the Joshua tree-lined one-mile Hidden Valley

Nature Trail, is the most popular campground in the park, said Sue Spearing, an interpretive ranger who leads walks and works at the park’s several visitor centers. Hidden Valley books up on a first-come, first-serve basis year-round. As for prepping for desert camping during winter, “we tell people to have adequate sleeping gear, and pads underneath them, so they’re not next to the ground,” said Spearing. “With people hiking, wear multiple layers. It’s easy to take off layers, versus having to put layers back on and not have them. You don’t want to run the risk of getting hypothermia.” The Cottonwood Springs Oasis campground, located at the southern end of the park, by one of five palm oases filled with desert palm fronds, has been closed since September due to damage from flooding caused by torrential rains. The campground may open later this winter, said LaSala. —AP

This undated photo courtesy of National Park Service shows snow camping at Ryan Campground at Joshua Tree National Park in Calif. In Joshua Tree National Park, stretching a massive 800,000 acres of high and low desert east of Palm Springs. —AP



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Reformed Van Halen performs intimate


hey’ll be playing arenas when they tour next month, but on Thursday night, a regrouped Van Halen provided thrills in a tiny club where a VIP crowd stood elbow to elbow as the storied band played some of their greatest hits including “Jump” and “Panama.” “Welcome to Occupy Van Halen, ladies and gentleman!” frontman David Lee Roth yelled just before the band launched into “You Really Got Me,” the first in an approximately hour-long, high energy set. The show was at the famed Cafe Wha? in New York’s West Village - a club owned by Manny Roth, the uncle of Roth. David Lee Roth noted some of the greats that played in the club - including Bob Dylan - and told the crowd, “I’m more nervous about this gig than I would ever be in the Garden,” referring to Madison Square Garden. The band will soon be playing the Garden and other venues like it, as they kick off a nationwide tour next month. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers start the tour in Louisville, Kentucky, on Feb. 16, and will tour through June, hitting cities like Boston, Atlanta and Chicago. They’ll also be promoting a new album: The group announced Wednesday that they’ll release “A Different Kind of Truth” on Feb. 7, the group’s first album with Roth since their celebrated album “1984,” released that same year. Van Halen has gone through plenty of changes since then. Roth left the band for a solo career and was replaced with Sammy Hagar in a messy breakup; he later returned to the band as Hagar exited in a split that had just as much discord. There would be more turmoil as bassist Michael Anthony was replaced a few years ago with Wolfgang Van Halen, the son of guitar great Eddie Van Halen. But it was all smiles on Wednesday, as father and son, along with Eddie’s brother and drummer Alex were all on hand as the reconstituted group played a warm-up of sorts before their nationwide tour, their first togeth-

NYC gig (From left) Van Halen members Wolfgang Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen perform at Cafe Wha? in New York, Thursday.— AP er in almost four years. “This has been a really long time coming,” Roth told the audience.The band hardly seemed rusty. Though his mic was weak, Roth’s voice wasn’t, as his signature screech was in top form, as was Eddie Van Halen’s scorching guitar play on songs like “Hot for

Jackson kids

to make dad’s footprint in Hollywood


ichael Jackson’s three children are to sink their father’s shoes and famous sequined glove into the cement outside a storied Hollywood cinema and tourist site, organizers said Thursday. In a rare public appearance, Prince, Paris and Blanket will make their late father’s mark in the cement outside the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on January 26. The entrance to the historic cinema on Hollywood Boulevard is a major tourist attraction, with hand and footprints of movie stars and filmmakers from over the decades. The vast majority of those with prints at the Grauman’s-including icons like Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Sidney Poitier and Clark Gable-are from the movie world. The Jackson Estate, which manages the late star’s affairs, pointed out that the King of Pop was responsible for such groundbreaking short films as “Billie Jean,” “Beat

It,” and the classic “Thriller.” “The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre forecourt is one of the most photographed tourist sites in the world, annually attracting as many visitors as the Taj Mahal in India and the Prado Museum in Madrid,” said a statement. The Grauman’s hands and footprints ceremony “is rich in tradition and provides the four million plus people a year who visit the site an up close look at the hand and footprints of Hollywood’s most notable talents,” it added. The ceremony will include a presentation by the cast of the “Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour,” a Cirque du Soleil show performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles January 27-29. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol. His doctor Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in November and jailed for the maximum of four years. —AFP

Teacher” and “Dance the Night Away.” Roth joked about the small size of the club: “The last time I stood on a stage this low, I had to get the car home by midnight.” Later, he talked about how he used to wander through the club as a kid, dreaming of a chance to play on its stage. “It took us 50 years to get this gig. It

was easier to get in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than to get this gig,” he said. Roth’s uncle Manny, now 92, was in the audience, sitting next to John McEnroe, one of several luminaries in the crowd. “It’s come full circle,” said a beaming David Lee Roth amid the audience’s cheers. — AP

Upset French fans sue Michael Jackson doctor


rench fans of Michael Jackson are suing the late pop star’s doctor for “emotional damage” they suffered over his death, their lawyer said yesterday. The case against Conrad Murray, who was jailed in November over the star’s 2009 death, is due to be heard in the city of Orleans on April 11, lawyer Emmanuel Ludot said. “It’s similar to losing a childhood friend in a traffic accident. Because this death affects you, you have the possibility to file a suit and seek compensation,” Ludot said. The lawyer is acting for around 100 fans who are members of an association that calls itself the “Michael Jackson

Singer Tony Bennett performs onstage during the Great Performances An Evening With Tony Bennett panel during the PBS portion of the 2012 Winter TCA Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on Thursday in Pasadena, California.

Community”. He said that while each fan could be awarded damages of up to 10,000 euros (13,000 dollars), they were seeking only a symbolic euro. Jackson, aged 50 at the time of his death, had hired Murray at a salary of $150,000 a month to look after him as he rehearsed and embarked on a series of “This is It” planned comeback shows in London. The star died on June 25, 2009 at his Los Angeles home of an overdose of anaesthetic propofol, taken to help him battle insomnia. Murray was found guilty in November of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to the maximum four years in prison.— AFP



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Liu Liang portrays the Spring God during a dress rehearsal for “The Peony Pavilion,” performed by the China Jinling Dance Company on Nanjing at Lincoln Center in New York, Thursday. The company is performing for the first time outside China from Jan. 5-8. First performed as opera during the Ming dynasty in 1598, “The Peony Pavilion” tells a story about forbidden love. —AP

Paint it black?

Etta James

No way! Fashion colors up for 2013


s the economy splutters, fashion will naturally turn to solemn greys and blacks, right? Wrong, according to fabric gurus who unveiled their top trends for springsummer 2013 in Paris on Thursday. “We don’t believe for a minute that fashion is going to turn all austere, that consumers are going to start dressing all in black,” Pascaline Wilhelm, fashion director at textile fair organizer Premiere Vision, told reporters. From neon pink to deep ochre or metallic silver-blue, and a slew of synthetic greens from traffic light to pale mint or lime, the season will be “very colorful, serene, punchy without being aggressive,” she forecast. Fabrics for spring 2013 are all about graceful fluidity, with stretchy wool or supple, light-as-air blends of silks and synthetics-or at the other extreme, thick, scrunchable fabrics that feel almost crunchy to the touch. Whether fluttery fine, or solid and sculptural, the season’s styles will be built around “benevolent,” reassuring fabrics that gently envelop the wearer. Each year Wilhelm’s teams sort through 15,000 swatches from a global web of fabric suppliers, who pitch their creations to fashion designers at half a dozen annual fairs organized by the group in Paris and around the world. For 2013, “we are betting on beauty and innovation,” said Wilhelm, who each season puts together a stylebook of colors, textures and patterns, based on the samples and her visits to weavers around the world. Ever since the economic crisis of 2008-2009, according to Premiere Vision’s chief executive Philippe Pasquet, weavers serving the high end of fashion have resisted the temptation to cut back on research and development. “The sector has really understood that fashion will wither and die if it does that, if it slows down, looks inward. This is a kind of consumption that is driven by desire-not by necessity.” High-tech fabrics and finishings abound in the offer for 2013 — from laser cuts to welded buttons-with a focus on cleaner technology

like waterless dyeing and printing. Nature and simplicity get a look in too, with fabrics that suggest the living world through tiny, subtle imperfections, either embroidered or printed. Transparency is another big theme, with lots of gauze and layerings “in a more seductive, sexy spirit than recent years,” and laser cuts and chunky, cut-out lace making a big comeback. When it comes to patterns, Wilhelm sees a return to old-style draughtsmanship with intricate floral motifs, alongside a design trend she dubs “supranatural”, a kind of high-tech take on the living world, whether insects or leaf shapes. Geometric patterns come in soft, delicate shades that look as if they could have been drawn with coloring crayons-or an iPad. “What is certain is that weavers are investing in the equipment to create new textures, new colors,” Wilhelm said. Anticipating tomorrow’s trends also “means taking on board what is happening in China and Brazil,” said Anne Liberati, trend manager for the ModAmont accessories fair. “Emerging markets are not suffering from the crisis, and they want color.” Accessory colors for springsummer 2013 sweep from frosted pastels to bold primaries in geometric patterns-but all with a big focus on mixing synthetics and natural materials, Liberati forecasts. Lacquered metals meet powdered, frosted textures, plastic pastels pop up alongside old-style embroidery, while floral patterns are rendered with a meringue-like stucco finish. A kind of nostalgic, seaside theme also runs through the accessories world, with driftwood buttons, rusted chains, worn and frayed straps. Other pieces are inspired by the work of African artisans, who weave colored kaleidoscopes out of recycled plastics. Optical art gets a look-in, on bold reversible fabrics used for suit lapels, linings and in pockets. And finally, Liberati spots an accessories trend inspired by the sports world-with ultra-light materials, and the primary colors of the Olympic rings offset against a pure, tennis white. —AFP

out of hospital, ‘stable’


This Nov 24, 2008 file photo shows Etta James arriving at the premiere of “Cadillac Records” in Los Angeles. James’ manager Lupe De Leon says the singer was released from a Southern California hospital T. —AP

rammy-winning soul legend Etta James, famous for her hit “At Last,” left hospital Thursday in California, where she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, her agent said. “Etta James was released from the hospital this afternoon. She is home with her husband and family by her side. Her condition remains stable,” her agent Lupe de Leon told AFP. James, 73, is suffering from leukemia and was hospitalized near her home in Riverside, east of Los Angeles. Her manager announced in mid-December that doctors had declared two weeks earlier that her illness was terminal. She also has dementia and Hepatitis C, according to her agent, who last week said that she had been taken off respiratory assistance in hospital. Born Jamesetta Hawkins, James has won four Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2003. She is also known for her soulful rendition of such songs as “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.” “At Last” was sung by R&B diva Beyonce when she serenaded new US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their first dance on inauguration night in January 2009. Written in 1941 by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, “At Last” first became a hit for Glenn Miller and his orchestra and was covered by Nat King Cole before being adopted by James in 1960. — AFP



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Clout on the catwalk can come with tweeting Tech-savvy fashion followers are eating it up, gaining entry to a world that is so often behind velvet ropes.


ocial media is giving a voice to models who, for the most part, have built their careers as pretty, non-speaking faces. They’ll tweet what they had for breakfast, post behind-the-scenes photos on Tumblr and use Facebook to cultivate “friends” around the world. Tech-savvy fashion followers are eating it up, gaining entry to a world that is so often behind velvet ropes. “I realized there was an audience interested in what I had to say, not just the images from my work,” said model Coco Rocha, who alternates personal posts and lighthearted tidbits with a more businesslike platform to highlight brands and magazines she’s shooting for as well as her favorite social and charitable causes. At age 23, Rocha is no longer the new girl in town, but her fan base of more than 200,000 Twitter followers and 66,000 Facebook friends (plus Tumbler, Google Plus and Instagram accounts and blog readers) gives her “longevity,” she said. “Because I have a voice and I’m sticking to having that voice, I feel like I have extended my career.” Name recognition increases a model’s value, said Sean Patterson, president of the Wilhelmina agency. Models who become celebrities, online or otherwise, might even help reverse the trend of movie and pop stars with “relatable” personal stories taking the A-list advertising jobs and magazine covers that used to go to models. With the day of the supermodel over, models have become more “interchangeable and disposable,” Patterson said. But social media may change that by letting models define themselves: “With fan sites, blogs and Facebook, all of a sudden you can follow a model and know who she is.” Models with online followings can also create extra buzz for brands they represent. “I imagine, for example, that Victoria’s Secret likes that Doutzen (Kroes) has so many Twitter followers and that she tells them, ‘Watch the Victoria’s Secret show I’m in at 9 pm,” Patterson said. In addition, social media lets models show the interesting lives they lead off the runway, and it’s a way for chatty, likable personalities to shine. That

could tip the balance of who makes it big and who doesn’t, said Michael Flutie, of the E! show “Scouted.” “If you have 10 beautiful girls, all diamonds in the rough to be the next Christy Turlington or Cindy Crawford, you have to narrow it down somehow and you’re going to narrow it down to the four who can communicate really well digitally,” he said. Flutie, a veteran agent and manager, added that being photogenic is no longer the only requirement: “If you can’t walk and talk, you can’t really be a successful ambassador of a brand. You have to be able to communicate.” Models should also know how to Google. There’s no excuse for a model with thousands of cyber followers to not know the name of a company’s CEO when she shows up to shoot its catalog, Flutie said. In the 1990s, Turlington, Crawford and their pals like Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were household names, but they didn’t get to create their own personas the way Rocha or Kroes do today. The public got to know those supermodels in gossip columns and paparazzi photos; this newer generation posts notes about their yoga poses. “I started out doing all this as a fun thing by myself,” said Kroes. “My big thing was how I could give back and how I could tell people I was involved in charity, but then I figured out how it all fits together: I realized I could build my own profile.” Liane Mullin, co-founder of, an online industry hub, notes that models have a lot of credibility when it comes to posts about “fashion, beauty, fitness, nutrition and food. That’s what they’re experts in. If they recommend a mascara, they’ve had it put on them 10,000 times, and I’ve never worn that much mascara myself, then I trust her opinion.” Hearing about their everyday lives is icing on the cake, she said. “When you see who their friends are, who they are getting congratulations from, who is sending birthday wishes, it’s the popular group that you’re watching from the sidelines that you always wanted to be a part of.” Models also tend to be very

This screen shot made on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, shows the Twitter page of model Doutzen Kroes. Social media is giving a voice to models who, for the most part, have long been known, and built their career, as pretty, non-speaking faces. —AP active online once they start. “They’re traveling all over the world, sometimes with people they don’t know, and they’re lonely at times. Social media keeps them company and connected,” Mullins said. Model Heide Lindgren wasn’t sure about social media at first. She worried about alienating friends and family, fans or potential employers. But when she wanted to promote a pet cause, Models4Water, which supports clean drinking water efforts, doing it online was the best way. It put her in touch with people in the renewable energy industry, pet lovers and fashion fans. From there, she was hooked. “You can make yourself into more than a model this way. ... It introduces me to a new audience, and it might be more people seeing my posts than something that’s in Vogue,” Lindgren said. She mentions products occasionally, but not as paid endorsements. She’s not sure pitchwoman is the online personality she wants: “I want it to be 100 percent real.” Kroes said she’s still trying to strike

the right balance in presenting herself as new wife and mother, celebrity and do-gooder. Sometimes, she slips and sends something personal, not thinking about the thousands of people who might be reading her post. “Sometimes it’s scary. I can tweet and 160,000 can see what I’m doing or cooking at home. I forget that because I’m just doing it on my phone, but I’m always trying to reach people in a positive way so I don’t think it’s a bad thing.” Rocha is posting more than ever, but she’s vowing to self-censor a little after tweeting last month from the US premiere of “Iron Lady” that she was excited to see Glenn Close. The movie stars Meryl Streep. “People tweeted back right away: ‘dumb model,’ but it was A LOT of people,” she said. “When I started, models were booked only for their cheekbones. Now I think I get bookings because people will say they respect me, or we stand for the same things, or they think what I have to say is interesting. It’s better to hear that than just, ‘You have gorgeous cheekbone structure.’” — AP



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‘Bridesmaids’ in, ‘War Horse’ out of writers awards


ridesmaids,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Help” were among the film nominees chosen on Thursday for annual Writers Guild Awards, but the screenwriters behind “War Horse” failed to make the cut in Hollywood’s race toward Oscars. In a list of surprises, “The Descendants” and Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” also earned screenplay nominations from the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents film and television writers. But likely Oscar contender “The Artist”-a French-made silent movie in black and white-was ineligible under WGA rules, as were other high-profile films including “My Week with Marilyn” and the Margaret Thatcher movie “The Iron Lady.” Writers Guild nominations are restricted those movies made under the trade association’s rules on pay and working conditions, or pacts struck with affiliated foreign groups. The Steven Spielberg-directed “War Horse” and Sept. 11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” were eligible for inclusion but not nominated. The same fate befell political drama “The Ides of March”. Instead cancer comedy “50/50” and “Young Adult” picked up nominations for best original screenplay, along with the little-seen independent drama “Win Win” starring Paul Giamatti as a high school wrestling coach. The Martin Scorsese 3D film “Hugo” and Brad Pitt vehicle “Moneyball” rounded out the 10 nominations for adapted and original screenplays. The Writers Guild also announced nominations for documentary screenplay on Thursday, giving nods to “Senna”, about the life of late Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna, the Pina Bausch dance homage “Pina,” and Chilean film “Nostalgia for the Light.” “Position Among the Stars,” which is set in the slums of Jakarta, and “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” also also nominated. The Writers Guild Awards will be handed out at ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles on Feb 19. — Reuters

In this publicity image released by Universal Pictures, from left, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig are shown in a scene from “Bridesmaids.” The film, written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, was nominated for a Writers Guild Award, Thursday for best original screenplay. —AP

Oscars awarded for film recorder, cameras, software


nd the year’s first Oscars go to ... Micro-voxels, the Pictorvision Eclipse electronically stabilized aerial camera platform, Stab-C Classic stabilizing heads and the ARRILASER Film Recorder. Once again the Academy has announced the winners of its Scientific and Technical Awards, and once again the list of achievements being recognized by the Academy will sail right over the heads of those who aren’t attuned to the Sciences part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But for those in the know, the eight achievements chosen by the Academy have, in the words of the AMPAS press release, “a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.” The Sci-Tech Awards, as they’re dubbed, some in three versions. One awards the recipient with a certificate, one awards a plaque, and one, which isn’t given out every year, awards an Oscar statuette. This year’s 27 honorees include three men who will receive Oscar statuettes for the design and development of the ARRILASER Film Recorder. The Sci-Tech Awards will be presented at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday, February 11 — and, if history

is any indication, will be hosted by an actress who has appeared in at least one special-effects-heavy movie. From the AMPAS press release, here are this year’s honorees: Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) To Andrew Clinton and Mark Elendt for the invention and integration of micro-voxels in the Mantra software. This work allowed, for the first time, unified and efficient rendering of volumetric effects such as smoke and clouds, together with other computer graphics objects, in a micro-polygon imaging pipeline. Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) To Radu Corlan, Andy Jantzen, Petru Pop and Richard Toftness for the design and engineering of the Phantom family of high-speed cameras for motion picture production. The Phantom family of high-speed digital cameras, including the Phantom Flex and HD Gold, provide imagery at speeds and efficacy surpassing photochemical technology, while seamlessly intercutting with conventional film production. To Dr Jurgen Noffke for the optical design and Uwe Weber for the mechanical design of the ARRI Zeiss Master Prime Lenses for motion picture photography. The Master Primes have

achieved a full stop advance in speed over existing lenses, while maintaining state-of-the-art optical quality. This lens family was also the first to eliminate the magnification change that accompanied extreme focus shifts. To Michael Lewis, Greg Marsden, Raigo Alas and Michael Vellekoop for the concept, design and implementation of the Pictorvision Eclipse, an electronically stabilized aerial camera platform. The Pictorvision Eclipse system allows cinematographers to capture aerial footage at faster flying speeds with aggressive platform maneuvering. To E.F. “Bob” Nettmann for the concept and system architecture, Michael Sayovitz for the electronic packaging and integration, Brad Fritzel for the electronic engineering, and Fred Miller for the mechanical engineering of the Stab-C Classic, Super-G and Stab-C Compact stabilizing heads. This versatile family of 5-axis camera and lens stabilizers allows any standard motion picture camera to be fitted into the open architecture of the structure. The system can be quickly balanced and made ready for shooting platforms such as helicopters, boats, camera cars or cranes. To John D Lowry, Ian Cavon, Ian Godin, Kimball Thurston and Tim

Connolly for the development of a unique and efficient system for the reduction of noise and other artifacts, thereby providing high-quality images required by the filmmaking process. The “Lowry Process” uses advanced GPU-accelerated, motion estimationbased image processing tools to enhance image quality. To FUJIFILM Corporation, Hideyuki Shirai, Dr Katsuhisa Oozeki and Hiroshi Hirano for the design and development of the FUJIFILM black and white recording film ETERNA-RDS 4791 for use in the archival preservation of film and digital images. Specifically designed for laser film recording and widely used in the industry today, the high-resolution FUJIFILM ETERNA-RDS 4791 film stock is an important step in protecting the heritage of the motion picture industry. Academy Award of Merit (Oscar Statuette) To Franz Kraus, Johannes Steurer and Wolfgang Riedel for the design and development of the ARRILASER Film Recorder. The ARRILASER film recorder demonstrates a high level of engineering resulting in a compact, user-friendly, low-maintenance device, while at the same time maintaining outstanding speed, exposure ratings and image quality.— (



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Angela Bassett ‘loving’ her return to Broadway A

fter seeing “The Mountaintop” on Broadway, Laurence Fishburne went backstage, stunned. He was looking to toast his old friend, Angela Bassett. The two had costarred in the intense Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” but Fishburne had seen something special pour out of Bassett on this night. “He came back and said, ‘Where has she been? Where you been hiding her?’” Bassett recalls, a wistful smile playing over her beautiful face. “And that’s someone who knows me.” Bassett is certainly turning in an otherworldly performance in playwright Katori Hall’s fictional drama set in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on the night before the 1968 assassination of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr Opposite Samuel L. Jackson as King, Bassett is turning heads in the heaven-sent role of a mysterious motel maid, Camae, who delivers coffee to the civil rights leader’s room and sparks conversation. It’s a rich, physical, delicious part after years of scraps and a reminder of Bassett’s prodigious power. “It’s like if you’ve been starving and get this great meal with all these nutrients vegetables and fruit and, then all of a sudden, every cell of your body is like, ‘Ohhh!’” she says in a dressing room at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. “It’s like been a little sluggish and it springs to life. I’ve just been loving it.” Already extended, “The Mountaintop” will end its run Jan 22 because Jackson has a movie commitment. Bassett, 53, came to Camae - her first Broadway role since 1988 - fresh, not having seen the production in In this image released by London. She sees The O+M Co., Samuel L Camae as a country girl Jackson portrays Dr Martin without a lot of schoolLuther King Jr, left, and ing but plenty of comAngela Bassett portrays mon sense, and drew Camae in Katori Hall’s play on her Florida roots to “The Mountaintop,” at the give the maid a strong Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in Southern drawl. New York. —AP Director Kenny Leon, who has known Bassett since they were teens, said she pretty much walked in the door and claimed the role. “I love how she goes way, way beneath the surface to create these amazing characters,” he says. He calls her a real theater beast who gets her entire body involved, “from her fingernails to her toenails.” “I think five years from now people will remember things about what she did in ‘The Mountaintop,’” he adds. “I don’t think people really realize how great she is. I think time will demonstrate her greatness in that role.” In the play, audiences watch King flirt, curse, smoke Pall Malls, sip booze and even have a pillow fight with Camae, who oozes sass (At one point, King teasingly asks the maid whether he should shave off his mustache. “Well,” she replies, “have you axed ‘yo wife?”). Bassett wasn’t uncomfortable with showing the fleshy, banal side of a civil rights saint. “I accept the humanity of people - the good, the bad, the frailties, whatever. I try not to make people out as gods,” she says. “We all make mistakes. We are fallible human beings. And that’s OK. So I didn’t have any queasiness that we were about to tarnish his legacy.” Every night, Bassett has a routine. She gets to the theater, puts her bag down and stands on the empty stage, breathing it in. She also runs her hand over the “306” on the prop hotel room door in a silent tribute. —AP

Bollywood film star Abhishek Bachchan attends a press conference in south London yesterday to promote the Bollywood remake of the classic British film, “The Italian Job”, entitled “Players”. —AFP

‘Devil Inside’

could scare ‘M:I:4’ at weekend box office W

ith only one new movie opening in wide release, this weekend is shaping up to be “catch-up” time at the multiplex-a chance for audiences to see films they’ve been meaning to watch, but haven’t had the opportunity. But there’s a twist. While “Mission: ImpossibleGhost Protocol” likely will spend its last weekend at the top of the box office-there is a chance “The Devil Inside,” an R-rated horror film from Paramount-could knock it off its perch. Even at No 2, Paramount has a winner with “Devil.” It cost just under $1 million to make, and the studio is projecting that it will take in $8 million over the weekend. Outside box-office watchers say that Paramount is low-balling: The most conservative among industry experts put the number at $12 million to $16 million and is predicting as much as $23 million. Paramount’s television advertising has been non-stop, and the studio’s digital spend looks to be massive, with new clips almost every day on major horror websites. On top of that, horror fans haven’t had a major new movie since October, when “Paranormal Activity”-also a Paramount release-ruled the box office. So they’re waiting. There is a tiny bit of competition for the horror viewer this weekend: Image Entertainment is opening the R-rated “Beneath the Darkness,” starring Dennis Quaid, in limited release. Also in limited release this weekend are Magnolia’s R-rated drama “Roadie” and Red Flag Releasing’s unrated Japanese film “Norwegian Wood.” “Devil’s” tracking is only adequate. The research firm NRG says that 56 percent of those polled are aware

of the movie. Not surprisingly, its best numbers are among men younger than 25, 64 percent of whom report some awareness of the movie. Among women younger than 25, the number is 61 percent. Among people between 17 and 34, 63 percent are aware of the movie. “Devil” is about a woman whose mother has brutally killed three people. Twenty years later, she travels to Italy, where her mother has been committed to a hospital for the criminally insane. There, the young woman convinces two young exorcists to cure her mother-but they find four powerful demons. The movie has no established stars and was written by William Brent Bell and Matthew Peterman, with Bell directing and Peterman producing. Movies like “Insidious,” which grossed $97 million worldwide on a $1.5 million budget, and the phenomenally successful “Paranormal Activity” franchise show that ultra-low-budget horror films such as “Devil” can draw significant audiences. But can “Devil” displace “Mission: Impossible?”Possibly. “M:I:4,” entering its fourth weekend in release, is looking at a $19 million weekend. It grossed $29.4 million last weekend, $38.2 million over the four-day New Year’s weekend. Last weekend’s No. 2 movie, “Sherlock Holmes-A Game of Shadows,” is projected to take in $14 million to $15 million this weekend. Nobody expects “Devil” to perform anywhere near “Paranormal Activity 3,” which opened to nearly $53 million last October. One other horror film opened to No. 1 last year-New Line’s “The Rite,” which opened the last weekend in January to just short of $15 million. — (



Digital music service Grooveshark sued by EMI NEW YORK: Grooveshark has been sued by the large record company EMI Group Ltd, which accused the popular digital music service of paying no royalties since entering a licensing agreement to stream music nearly three years ago. EMI, which brought the world such acts as the Beatles and Coldplay and is now being sold by Citigroup Inc <C.N>, filed its complaint against Grooveshark’s parent, Escape Media Group Inc, on Wednesday in a New York state court. The filing came less than a month after three other major record com-

panies - Vivendi SA’s UniversalMusic Group, Sony Corp and Warner Music Group - filed a federal copyright lawsuit accusing Grooveshark of pirating thousands of songs. Grooveshark spokeswoman Kristin Harris said in an email: “This is a contract dispute that we expect to resolve.” The lawsuit was reported earlier by The New York Times. In its complaint, EMI said Grooveshark has acknowledged in writing or orally owing royalties, but has neither paid anything nor provided any accounting statements. EMI said Grooveshark has “contin-

ued to exploit” its works while ignoring repeated demands for an accounting and payment. The complaint refers to alleged written and oral estimates by Grooveshark that it owes at least $150,000, but EMI said it believes the actual sum “greatly exceeds” such estimates. Grooveshark calls itself “the world’s largest on-demand and music discovery service,” with 30 million monthly active users, more than 15 million songs, and 14 billion streams a year. It said its policy is to honor copyright holders’ “takedown” requests

that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. In November, Universal agreed at auction to buy EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9 billion, while Sony won the bidding for EMI’s music publishing operations for $2.2 billion. Both purchases require regulatory approval. Last May, operators of once popular but now defunct file-sharing service LimeWire, agreed to pay record companies $105 million to end a federal copyright infringement trial. — Reuters

Belarus imposes tough new Internet curbs Rules require all local Internet vendors to register

SEOUL: People walk by a billboard of Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. Samsung is expecting a 73 percent jump in fourth-quarter operating profit from the year before on the strength of booming smartphone sales. — AP

Silent camera apps open door for unsavory photos TOKYO: Cases of smartphone users secretly photographing unsuspecting targets have been on the rise, thanks to applications that silence the camera shutter sound. But there is no legal impediment to creating and selling these software programs, even as the apps are tied to complaints of voyeurism. Companies in the industry say the blame lies with people who misuse these applications rather than the programs themselves. According to Japan’s National Police Agency, 1,741 cases of illicit photography were reported in Japan last year, a 1.6-fold increase from 2006. On Nov 12, a man was arrested at a train station in Kawaguchi, Japan, after he took photos up the skirt of a female vocational school student with his smartphone as she stood on an escalator. The man reportedly told police he used an app that silenced the shutter sound to prevent his target from noticing what he was doing. A man arrested in September after he photographed a woman’s underwear in Tokyo also reportedly told police he had used such an app to stealthily take photos about 20 times. The largest number of snap-happy voyeurs was reported in Kanagawa Prefecture. “About 30 percent of cases involved the misuse of smartphone apps,” a senior Kanagawa prefectural police investigator said. The latest applications include

“upgraded versions” that enable people to silently take photos while an email or website is displayed on the phone’s screen to provide cover for the surreptitious picturetaking. “We can’t help but think these apps are designed specifically for taking sneaky photos,” another senior prefectural police investigator said. The shutter sound emitted when a regular cell phone takes a photo is voluntarily installed by phone companies to deter users from taking photos without a subject’s knowledge. It cannot be disabled. But the situation differs for smartphones. According to major cell phone carriers NTT Docomo Inc, KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Mobile Corp, smartphone cameras come equipped with a shutter sound. But one main feature of smartphones is that users can customize the settings including adjusting or neutralizing the shutter sound, according to the firms. A search for the Japanese words “muon” (silence)” and “kamera” (camera) on app sites for Apple Inc. and Google Inc smartphones turned up about 200 applications. Some boasted they enabled users to “take photos in silence without bothering others,” and others said the function “was perfect for taking photos undetected.” Some of these programs have been near the top of app ranking charts. Apple Inc developed the iPhone, and Google Inc. — MCT

MINSK: Ex-Soviet Belarus unveiled tough new Internet restrictions yesterday that limit public access to opposition websites and impose fines on providers for failing to monitor their clients. The new rules also require all local Internet vendors to register with the authorities and imposes sanctions on those selling their goods in Belarus through foreign websites. The restrictions came amid an expanding crackdown on the opposition by President Alexander Lukashenko and sparked confusion on the streets of the capital Minsk about what the new rules actually mean. Lukashenko’s administration said the law in no way limits people’s access to foreign websites and is only meant to ensure “transparent” retail operations and help protect people from dangerous and pornographic sites. “This does not limit citizens’ use of Internet resources in any way. Their access to foreign websites is not being restricted,” said a statement from Lukashenko’s official information and analysis centre. Officials said the restrictions would still allow foreign retailers such as Amazon to operate in Belarus without registering on the .by domain and would only impact domestic vendors who now use cheaper websites in Russia. But opposition groups said the list of banned organisations deemed “extremist” includes leading human rights centres Vyasna (Spring) and Charter 97 — both based abroad but freely accessible in Belarus. The law bars state organisations and universities from opening such websites and forces cybercafes and restaurants with Internet access to store information about those who do access them for up to a year. This rule also extends to home network providers and requires them to “record and store... personal data of Internet services users and information about the Internet services that have been provided”. “According to independent experts, the authorities’ main goal is to control the main opposition websites,” the Belarussky Partizan news site said. The authoritarian Lukashenko has been ostracised by Western nations since rising to power in 1994 and attempting to recreate a Soviet-style command system under which all forms of dissent are condemned. The wave of restrictions was extended

last year following his controversial re-election and now includes a ban on people’s right to stage any form of protest on the streets without permission from the authorities. Belarus already ranks 154th out of 178 countries on a media freedoms list compiled in 2010 by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) watchdog and the new curbs left many asking how far they actually extend. “We still have no official instructions about which sites we are supposed to be filtering and who makes the decisions about these things,” a worker with the Beltelecom state Internet operator said on condition of anonymity. Private cybercafe owners said the rules were likely to hurt their business because users will be especially careful about keeping their personal data private. “If we really do have to start switching off sites, we are going to lose a lot of our clients,” said a cafe owner who agreed to be identified as Alexander. Both Vyasna and Charter 97 have been hounded by the authorities for years because of their calls for anti-Lukashenko rallies and detailed reports about those jailed by his regime. Vyasna’s founder Ales Beliatsky was jailed for four-and-a-half years on tax evasion charges in November. Charter 97 said that hackers last week had accessed its editor’s computer and used stolen passwords to create false stories and delete the organisation’s archives. — AFP

MINSK: In this Dec. 20, 2010 photo, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures prior to a news conference in the capital, Minsk. Belarus’ authoritarian government further tightened its control over citizens’ access to Internet yesterday with a new law that obliges service providers to monitor users. — AP



Ultra-thin laptops set to dazzle CES gadget fair SAN FRANCISCO: Ultra-thin laptops will take center-stage alongside new software and smartphones at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a gadget extravaganza that officially opens on Tuesday in Las Vegas. The more than 2,700 exhibitors filling an excess of 1.8 million square feet approximately 33 US football fields - will range from car, computer and chip makers to technology startups and iPhone accessory sellers. Attendance at the fourday show was expected to be on par with the 149,000 people who showed up last year to see what sexy gizmos will vie for consumers’ hearts and cash in the months ahead. “With some 20,000 new products, CES really is the place to be to get the industry together, take stock of what is coming and get business done,” said Tara Dunion of the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes CES.

While tablet computers aspiring to unseat Apple’s market-ruling iPads were the rage at last year’s CES, slim yet powerful laptop computers referred to as “ultrabooks” are expected to crowd the spotlight next week. CES organizers on Thursday predicted that 30 to 40 new ultrabook laptops would debut at the show. China-based computer titan Lenovo on Thursday announced that a ThinkPad X1 Hybrid laptop-boasting as much as 10 hours of battery life-as well as the company’s first business ultrabook, will debut at the show. “The ThinkPad X1 Hybrid and T430u ultrabook represent the next generation in thin and light computing,” said Lenovo ThinkPad’s Dilip Bhatia. “These new crossover laptops fundamentally change the way people think about mobile computing technology.” Forrester analyst Sarah Rothman Epps

heralded the arrival of an ultrabook “sexy PC revolution.” “We expect to see thin-and-light, quick-boot designs from every PC (personal computer) manufacturer to rival the MacBook Air,” Epps told AFP. “The prices, mostly in the $1000 price range, are much more reasonable than they used to be for comparable PCs, but they’re still not affordable for every PC buyer.” Lenovo’s new ultrabook has a starting price of $849. A Forrester survey late last year revealed that 22 percent of PC shoppers online in the United States said they would be interested in buying ultrabooks. Electronics makers will also out new tablet computers at CES, but far less than last year, when more than 80 contenders were fielded. Epps expects Motorola, Toshiba, Acer and others to introduce tablets powered

by Google’s latest Android software. “Will they sell better than last year?... I don’t expect to see any barn-burners, but there’s reason to be optimistic.” The percentage of US tablet shoppers who say they prefer Android systems doubled to 18 percent in the first ten months of last year, according to Forrester. Smartphones are meanwhile expected to upstage tablets at CES, with Android software powering many innovative handsets. The heads of chip makers Intel and Qualcomm are to give keynote presentations about high-powered processors tailored to drive ever more sophisticated smartphones. CES goers will also be watching for new devices running Microsoft’s Windows 8 software. Apple doesn’t officially attend CES, but a section devoted to iPhone, iPod, and iPad accessories has tripled to 88,000 square feet in the past three years.—AFP

Internet fuels Palestinian drive for free expression Users face an array of restrictions

LAS VEGAS: Attendees watch a 3-D HDTV presentation by Panasonic at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The International Consumer Electronics Show is getting a track record as the launch pad for products that fall flat.— AP

Thompson brings tech background to Yahoo NEW YORK: Scott Thompson isn’t an obvious pick to lead Yahoo, but he brings to the struggling Internet company expertise in technology and operations. Whether that’s enough will be determined in the coming weeks and months. Thompson, the head of eBay Inc.’s PayPal online payments business, was named Yahoo’s CEO, effective next Monday. He replaces Carol Bartz, who was fired in September after less than three years on the job. Focused on technology and operations rather than marketing or media, Thompson is “the guy who helps build the clock as opposed to tell the time,” said Gil B. Luria, an analyst at Wedbush. Luria credits Thompson with turning PayPal into a “large, fastgrowing and predictable payments company.” “When he took over PayPal it was far smaller, much more like an emerging startup that eBay absorbed a couple years earlier,” Luria said. Yahoo will need that kind of growth to emerge from a lengthy financial funk. It has been losing ground to Google Inc. and Facebook in Internet advertising even as that market has expanded in the past few years. Yahoo’s stock price has not traded above $20 in more than three years. In that time Google’s stock gained 49 percent. Thompson, 54, will try to turn around the anemic Internet pioneer where others have failed. He believes his roots growing up on Boston’s South Shore will help gird him for the challenges ahead. “The Boston mindset is interesting,” Thompson said in a Wednesday interview that was punctuated by a hometown accent that he has retained 18 years after moving to California. “That’s a tough city. Not tough in the sense that it’s threatening or dangerous. But you have to be hardy to be on that East Coast in the winter. I think that rubbed off on me when I was young. I have never lost sight that’s where it all started for me.”—AP

RAMALLAH: Inspired by the role of social media in the Arab Spring, Palestinians have harnessed the same tools, under the wary gaze of the authorities in the West Bank and Gaza. In both parts of the Palestinian territory, ordinary people and activists have taken to social networking to share their hopes, mobilise demonstrations and call for government reform. Sabri Saydam, former Palestinian minister for technology, says the use of social media to bring about political change was bound to happen, given the high number of Facebook users across the territories, particularly in Gaza. “We have one million Palestinian subscribers to Facebook in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem,” he told AFP. “Usually, people (in the region) would have been inspired by the Palestinian cause, but in 2011 things changed and the Palestinians were inspired by the Arab revolutions and started using that, even though the atmosphere and the environment were different.” Early in 2011, as the Arab uprisings were beginning, activists in the West Bank and Gaza used Facebook, Twitter and text messaging in a campaign to end the bitter split between the rival national movements, Fatah and Hamas. Their efforts culminated in massive March 15 protests, and six weeks later the factions said they were patching up their differences and ending years of bloody rivalry, driven in no small part by the huge public protests. Since then, new technology has played a central role in rallying the Nakba border protests on the anniversary of Israel’s creation, the bid for full UN membership and the campaign to boycott products made in Jewish settlements. Although activists already use social media to document and expose rights abuses by settlers or clashes with the Israeli army, its use for domestic political activism is more limited. And its emerging role as a platform for

everyone from the politically motivated to the spiritually disillusioned has not gone unnoticed by Gaza’s Hamas rulers or by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Jillian York, director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a US-based Internet rights watchdog, says Palestinian social media face both surveillance and self-censorship.

On his Facebook page, written in the name “Allah,” Hassayen allegedly poked, and he also ran a blog in which he discussed religion. He was arrested in October 2010 and sentenced to three years, raising cries of alarm from rights groups. Last September he was released. But since then, he has rarely stepped out of the family home and now no longer goes online.

WEST BANK: Palestinian youths check their Facebook accounts at an internet cafe in the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday. Inspired by the role of social media in the Arab Spring, Palestinians have harnessed the same tools, under the wary gaze of the authorities in the West Bank and Gaza. — AFP “You have people arrested here all the time, of course, but it’s really hard to know who is being surveilled,” she told AFP on the sidelines of the first Palestinian social media conference in Ramallah last month. In 2010, Walid Hassayen from the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya was arrested on charges of blasphemy, becoming perhaps the most high-profile example of a Palestinian being sanctioned for online activities.

“I was accused of insulting religion and religious sentiments and of causing sectarian unrest,” he told AFP by phone. “There is nothing called freedom of speech in the Palestinian territories as I was only practising my right to freedom of expression and belief.” More recently, radio journalist George Cannawati found himself on the wrong side of the law after he criticised the government-run health authority in a posting on Facebook. — AFP

TV listings


00:50 Maneaters 01:45 Animal Cops Houston 02:40 Wildest Africa 03:35 Whale Wars 04:30 Maneaters 05:25 Dogs 101 06:20 Animal Cops Houston 07:10 Monkey Life 07:35 Wildlife SOS 08:00 Monkey Life 08:25 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 09:15 Crocodile Hunter 10:10 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 11:05 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:30 Bondi Vet 12:00 Monkey Life 12:25 Talk To The Animals 12:55 Dogs 101 13:50 Wildest India 14:45 Animal Kingdom 15:10 Animal Kingdom 15:40 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 16:35 Elephants: The Twilight Of The Giants 17:30 Running With Wolves 18:25 Ocean Odyssey 19:20 Feeding Off Nature’s Giant 20:15 Swarm Chasers 21:10 Dogs 101 22:05 Wildest Africa 23:00 Shark Family 23:55 Human Prey

00:00 00:25 00:55 01:25 01:50 Tests 02:20 02:50 03:15 04:00 04:20 04:35 04:50 05:00 05:05 05:25 05:35 05:50 06:10 06:25 06:35 06:45 06:50 07:10 07:20 07:35 08:05 08:35 09:30 10:20 10:50 11:20 11:50 12:20 12:50 13:40 14:30 15:15 16:00 16:30 17:20 18:15 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:45 21:15 21:45 22:15 23:20

Big Bear Diary Big Bear Diary Eastenders Doctors The World’s Toughest Driving

00:15 01:00 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:30 04:20 05:05 05:50 06:45 07:10 07:35 08:00 08:25

Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Brittany Indian Food Made Easy Indian Food Made Easy 10 Years Younger Celebrity Fantasy Homes Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Brittany Indian Food Made Easy James Martin’s Brittany Masterchef Australia

After You’ve Gone The Green Green Grass The Weakest Link Balamory Jackanory Junior Penelope K, By The Way The Large Family Buzz & Tell Tweenies Charlie and Lola Nina And The Neurons Balamory Jackanory Junior Penelope K, By The Way The Large Family Buzz & Tell Tweenies Charlie and Lola Nina And The Neurons Big Top After You’ve Gone New Tricks Doctor Who EastEnders EastEnders Eastenders Eastenders Big Top New Tricks Mutual Friends Doctor Who The Weakest Link After You’ve Gone Holby City Holby City Doctor Who As Time Goes By dinnerladies Live At The Apollo Little Britain One Foot In The Grave One Foot In The Grave Doctor Who The Weakest Link

BATS ON OSN ACTION HD 14:00 14:45 16:55 17:20 18:00 18:45 19:30 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:35

Masterchef Australia Cash In The Attic USA Cash In The Attic USA Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix Masterchef

00:05 00:30 00:55 01:20 01:45 02:10 02:35 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:15 07:40 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:15 09:40 09:55 10:20

Johnny Bravo Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones Johnny Bravo Duck Dodgers King Arthur’s Disasters The Scooby Doo Show Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry Popeye The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Pink Panther & Pals Tex Avery Duck Dodgers The Garfield Show Yogi’s Treasure Hunt Popeye Paddington Bear Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Jelly Jamm Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals

10:45 11:10 11:35 12:00 12:30 13:20 13:45 14:00 14:50 15:15 15:40 16:05 16:30 17:20 17:45 18:10 18:35 18:55 19:20 19:30 21:00 21:30 21:50 22:05 22:40 23:05 23:30

The Garfield Show The Scooby Doo Show The Flintstones Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry Top Cat Popeye Tom & Jerry Top Cat Top Cat Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Dastardly And Muttley The Flintstones Wacky Races Scooby Doo Where Are You! Popeye Classics Scooby Cinema Top Cat Dastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Wacky Races The Scooby Doo Show Tom & Jerry Johnny Bravo

00:40 Samurai Jack 01:05 Samurai Jack 01:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 02:20 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:45 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 03:10 Best Ed 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Adventure Time 04:50 Generator Rex 05:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

05:40 Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:25 Casper’s Scare School 08:55 Angelo Rules 09:30 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 09:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 10:20 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 10:40 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 11:05 The Amazing World Of Gumball 11:30 Adventure Time 12:20 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:10 Ben 10 13:35 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 14:00 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 14:50 The Amazing World Of Gumball 15:15 Generator Rex 15:40 Generator Rex 16:05 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:20 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:45 Adventure Time 18:35 The Amazing World Of Gumball 19:00 Regular Show 19:25 Regular Show 19:50 Generator Rex 20:15 Generator Rex 20:40 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 21:55 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 22:20 Star Wars: The Clone Wars

22:40 23:00 23:25 23:50

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Ben 10 Ben 10 Courage The Cowardly Dog

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:45 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:15 09:30 10:00 10:15 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:15 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00

Connect The World The Best Of Backstory World Sport The Situation Room World Report Anderson Cooper 360 Piers Morgan Tonight Quest Means Business CNN Marketplace Africa Erin Burnett Outfront World Sport Inside The Middle East World Report CNN Marketplace Africa The Best Of Backstory World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East Eco Solutions World Sport Living Golf The Best Of The Situation Room World Report African Voices World Report This Week Inside Africa World Report Cnngo Talk Asia World View News Special The Best Of Backstory International Desk African Voices CNN Marketplace Europe CNN Marketplace Africa World Report This Week World Sport Mainsail International Desk Inside Africa International Desk Inside The Middle East The Best Of The Situation Room

00:15 00:40 01:35 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:25 08:15 09:10 10:05 10:55 11:50 12:45 13:40 14:35 15:30 16:25 17:20 18:15 19:10 20:05 Green 21:00 21:55 22:50 23:45

Destroyed In Seconds Animal Cops South Africa Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How It’s Made How It’s Made Dirty Jobs How It’s Made Really Big Things Huge Moves Extreme Engineering Mighty Ships Man, Woman, Wild Dual Survival Ultimate Survival Ultimate Survival License To Drill Coal Deadliest Catch Gold Rush: Alaska Raging Nature Man vs Fish With Matt Watson Extreme Fishing With Robson

00:40 01:05 01:35 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:40 04:35 05:00 05:25 06:20 07:10 08:00 08:55 08:58 09:25 09:55 10:20 10:45 11:35

The Gadget Show The Gadget Show The Colony The Tech Show Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 Eco-Tech How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Engineered Da Vinci’s Machines The Future Of... What’s That About? Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 Eco-Tech Smash Lab

Ultimate Survival An Idiot Abroad Freddie Flintoff vs The World Surviving The Cut

14:55 15:45 15:48 16:15 16:45 17:10 18:00 18:25 18:50 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

Smash Lab Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections The Tech Show What’s That About? Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 Mighty Ships Smash Lab Scrapheap Challenge Punkin Chunkin 2010 Weird Or What? Smash Lab Scrapheap Challenge

00:00 00:25 00:50 01:15 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:25 06:45 07:10 07:30 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:15 09:40 10:05 10:30 11:37 12:00 12:25 12:50 13:15 13:40 14:00 14:25 14:50 15:15 15:35 15:55 CODY 16:20 CODY 16:45 17:10 17:30 18:00 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:30 20:40 21:05 21:25 21:50 22:15 22:40 23:05 23:30 23:55


00:20 00:35 00:50 01:05 01:15 01:40 01:55 02:10 02:30 02:45 03:00 03:15 03:25 03:50 04:05 04:20 04:40 04:55 05:10 05:25 05:35 06:00 06:15 06:30 06:50 07:00 07:15 07:30



TV listings


00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 Beauty Queens Gone Wrong 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 15 Most Infamous Child Star Mugshots 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Bridalplasty 10:15 Bridalplasty 11:10 E!es 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Dirty Soap 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:55 Style Star 17:25 Fashion Police 17:55 E! News 18:55 World’s Specials 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 The Soup 21:25 Kendra 21:55 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 The Soup

00:40 01:30 02:15 03:05 03:50 04:40 05:25 06:15 07:10 08:00 08:50 09:40 10:25 11:10 11:35 11:55 12:40 13:25 14:15 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:35 17:20 18:10 19:00 19:45 20:10 20:55 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

00:00 00:30 01:00 01:30 01:30 02:00 02:30 02:30

Extreme Forensics The Haunted Psychic Witness True CSI Autopsy: Most Shocking Cases Extreme Forensics The Haunted Psychic Witness Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared The Haunted Ghost Lab

Somewhere In China Inside Geo Sessions Ancient Megastructures Geo Sessions Earth Tripping Inside Travel Madness

03:00 Madventures 03:30 Sahara Sprinters 03:30 Situation Critical 04:00 Around The World For Free 04:30 Naked Science 05:00 A World Apart 05:30 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 06:00 Somewhere In China 06:30 Salvage Code Red 07:00 Geo Sessions 07:30 Inside 08:00 Earth Tripping 08:30 Ancient Megastructures 08:30 Travel Madness 09:00 Madventures 09:30 Great Migrations 09:30 Sahara Sprinters 10:00 Around The World For Free 10:30 Inside 11:00 A World Apart 11:30 Situation Critical 12:00 Somewhere In China 12:30 Naked Science 13:00 Word of Mouth 13:30 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 13:30 Food School 14:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 14:30 Ancient Secrets: Mystery of The Silver Pharaoh 15:00 Gone to save the planet 15:30 Inside 16:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 16:30 Ancient Megastructures 16:30 Destination Extreme 17:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 17:30 My 9/11 18:00 Departures 18:30 Apocalypse: The Second World War 19:00 Word of Mouth 19:30 Eye of The Leopard 19:30 Food School 20:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 21:00 Gone to save the planet 21:30 Britain’s Underworld 21:30 Gone to save the planet 22:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:30 Destination Extreme 22:30 Rescue Ink 23:00 Don’t Tell My Mother

00:00 Bats-18 02:00 Death Race 2-18 04:00 Survival Of The Dead-18 06:00 The Postman-PG15 09:00 The Lost Future-PG15 10:45 Secret Window-PG15 12:30 Shanghai Knights-PG15 14:30 The Lost Future-PG15 16:00 Top Gun-PG15 18:00 Shanghai Knights-PG15 20:00 Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans-PG15 22:00 Star Trek: First Contact-PG

01:15 03:00 05:15 07:00 09:00 11:15 PG15 12:45 15:45 17:15 PG15 19:00 21:00 PG15 22:30 PG15

Tortured-18 Flash Of Genius-PG15 Freestyle (2010)-PG15 Ramona And Beezus-PG Flash Of Genius-PG15 Revenge Of The Bridesmaids-

12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 16:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30

Two And A Half Men Will And Grace Melissa And Joey Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne The Office Raising Hope 2 Broke Girls 30 Rock Community

My Name Is Khan-PG15 Freakonomics-PG15 Revenge Of The BridesmaidsCrazy Heart-PG15 The LXD: The Uprising Begins-

20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 The Cleveland Show

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

Drop Dead Diva Drop Dead Diva Damages Glee White Collar Good Morning America Law & Order: Los Angeles The Bachelor Downsize Me The View White Collar Glee Law & Order: Los Angeles Drop Dead Diva Live Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street Breakout Kings The Killing C.S.I. Miami White Collar

The LXD: Secrets Of The Ra00:00 C.S.I. 01:00 Damages 02:00 Supernatural 03:00 Drop Dead Diva 04:00 Drop Dead Diva 05:00 Glee 06:00 C.S.I. 07:00 Tower Prep 08:00 Kojak 09:00 Drop Dead Diva 10:00 Drop Dead Diva 11:00 Glee 12:00 Tower Prep 13:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 14:00 Kojak 15:00 C.S.I. 16:00 How I Met Your Mother 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 18:00 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior 19:00 Breakout Kings 20:00 The Killing 21:00 C.S.I. Miami 23:00 Lights Out

01:00 Zombieland-18 03:00 The Descent 2-18 05:00 Bats-18 07:00 The Next Karate Kid-PG 09:00 Echelon Conspiracy-PG15 11:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 13:00 The Devil’s Teardrop-PG15 15:00 Echelon Conspiracy-PG15 17:00 Long Weekend-PG15 19:00 Sleep Dealer-18 21:00 Star Trek: First Contact-PG 23:00 The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day-18

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00


Checking Out-PG15 Mystery Men-PG15 Leave It To Beaver-PG The Addams Family-PG The Out Of Towners-PG15 13 Going On 30-PG15 Bubble Boy-PG15 Fools Rush In-PG15 Checking Out-PG15 Sweet Home Alabama-PG15 Barry Munday-18 Serial Mom-18

01:00 An Education-PG15 03:00 Sea Of Love-18 05:00 Limousine-PG15 07:00 Khao Niao Moo Ping-PG15 09:00 Greener Mountains-PG 11:00 Teen Knight-PG15 12:45 Hollywood, I’m Sleeping Over Tonight-PG15 14:30 Another Year-PG15 16:45 Searching For Bobby FischerPG 18:45 Coach Carter-PG15 21:00 Sherlock Holmes-PG15 23:15 Mr. Jones-PG15

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Indecent Proposal-18 Mars Needs Moms-PG Furry Vengeance-PG The Sunset Limited-PG15 Leap Year-PG15 That Thing You Do!-PG The Day After Tomorrow-PG15 Valentine’s Day-PG15 Leap Year-PG15 Grown Ups-PG15 Winter’s Bone-18 Triage-18

00:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 02:00 Quest For Zhu-PG15 04:00 The Muppets Take ManhattanPG 06:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 08:00 Hua Mulan-PG 10:00 Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever-FAM 12:00 Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare-FAM 14:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG 16:00 Shipwrecked-PG 18:00 Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever-FAM 20:00 Like Mike-PG 22:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG

00:00 The Kid-18 02:00 The Silent Fall-PG15 04:00 A Family Thanksgiving-PG15 06:00 Our Family Wedding-PG15 08:00 The Silent Fall-PG15 09:45 The Karate Kid-PG 12:15 Our Family Wedding-PG15 14:15 Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader-PG 16:15 Pina-PG15 18:15 Megamind-FAM 20:00 Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans-PG15 22:15 Inception-PG15

00:00 01:00 02:30 09:30 10:00 11:00 14:00 21:00

UFC TUF Season 14 WWE SmackDown LIVE Cricket Test Match Volvo Ocean Race Highlights WWE NXT Live Cricket Twenty20 Test Cricket Cricket Twenty20

00:30 01:30 02:00 02:00 09:30 10:00 11:00 14:00 21:00

Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial ICC Cricket World Live Test Cricket Futbol Mundial World Pool Masters Live Cricket Twenty20 Test Cricket Cricket Twenty20

02:30 03:00 06:00 07:00 11:30 13:30 17:30 18:15 20:15 22:15 23:15

ICC Cricket World Cricket Twenty20 Trans World Sport European PGA Tour World Pool Masters Live European PGA Tour SPL Highlights Live Pro 12 Celtic League Scottish Cup Trans World Sport Live Pro 12 Celtic League

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UFC The Ultimate Fighter WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE Vintage Collection Aquabikes SPL Highlights Live Scottish Premier League WWE This Week WWE SmackDown UFC 141 UFC The Ultimate Fighter


Upcoming events Aware Center Arabic lessons The AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Winter 1 Arabic language courses will be on until January 12th, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers & those working in the private business sector. Arabic classes at the AWARE Center are unique because students are provided with the chance to practice their Arabic through various social activities that aim at bringing Arabs and Westerners together. AWARE Arabic courses highlight: Introductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics l Better prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic l Combine language learning with cultural insights l Taught in multi-nationality group settings l Provide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information or registration, call 25335260/80 ext 105/104/0 or log onto: l

K-Tic hosts veteran orator Dr Abdullah


uwait Tamil Islamic Committee - “K-Tic” is a non-profit socio-welfare Islamic organization, established in February 2006, registered with Embassy of India, Kuwait and also registered with Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs under the Administration of Grand Mosque and Administration of Mosque Dept of Ministry of Awqaf of Kuwait, serving the whole Tamil community, irrespective of nation, who speaks and understand Tamil language. K-Tic has an impressive name among the socio-welfare organizations in Kuwait and Gulf countries whose benevolent works and enlightening activities and conserving Islamic uniqueness and also well known with the thousands of

Indians especially all Tamil speaking people in Kuwait. The delightful personality Prof Dr Abdullah (Ex Periyar Dasan)- the veteran scholar and orator visited Kuwait as chief guest of Kuwait Tamil Magazine for their program was specially invited by K-Tic, to give a short speech on a topic ‘What the World is expecting from Muslims ?’ The short speech the Prof started after the Jumma’a prayer at K-Tic’s Khaitan Tamil Kutbah Masjid Miqdaad Bin Amroo, Farwaniya, on last Friday 30.12.2011 at 12:05pm. The speech lasted about one hour and ten minutes. The whole crowd of about 600 individuals (including families) were keenly listened

Vichar Bharati seminar on Swami Vivekananda

Carnatic lovers rejoice!



n the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary, Vichar Bharati, an affiliate of Seva Darshan Kuwait, will hold a seminar on Swami Vivekananda on Friday, January 20, 2012 at the Indian Central School, Abbasiya. Vivekananda is regarded as the patriot saint of modern India and an inspirer of India’s dormant national consciousness. His philosophy and vision became the eye opener for millions across the world. Vivekananda’s unique message still remains as “an unopened gift” to mankind and Vichar Bharati aims to enlighten its members and well wishers with the message of this great visionary. Eminent speakers from the Indian community in Kuwait will deliver thoughts on various aspects of Vivekananda’s life. Suresh V Balakrishnan, HOD, English Department at Bharatheeya Vidhya Bhavan will speak on Swami Vivekananda and Man-making. Sajeev. K Peter, Business Editor, Kuwait Times, will speak on the role of Swami Vivekananda in propagating Indian culture and heritage. Dr Srikumar T S, Scientific Consultant, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science will delive a speech on the topic ‘Swami Vivekananda, the Patriot and the Voice of India’. Krishno Sarkar, Planning Engineer, KNPC, will talk on ‘Swami Vivekananda - The Role model

of the Youth’ and Satyanarayanan S, Electrical Supervisor, Al-Julaih Petroleum Company, will deliver a speech on Spiritual Perceptiveness of Swami Vivekananda. Vichar Bharati aims to unify the various thought processes evolving from India’s rich culture and heritage within the Indian expatriate society in Kuwait. Expatriate Indians live a fast paced life in Kuwait and the pressure of a monotonous working culture has forced a lot of us to change our values and priorities. This has in no way hindered our thought process and the community strives to achieve and contribute to the well being of our nation in an intellectual and constructive way. Vichar Bharati fills this gap. For more details and information please contact

to his speech. He expressed his views becoming a Muslim after researching more or less all the religions for about seven years. His thoughts and the way of his expression attracted the crowd. Following his speech, due to limited time, the usual programs like “Vaaranthoorum Vasantham”, “Velli Chinthanai” and “Job / Career Info”- have been cancelled for week. Only the “Dua’a Majlis” and obituary announcement were made. We kindly request the our brothers and sisters to attended the Jumma’a Prayer at K-Tic’s Tamil Kutbah at Masjid Miqdaad Bin Amroo (r.a.), Khaithan (located opposite to Hotel Crowne Plaza, Farwaniya).

uwait Carnatic Music Forum proudly announces Saint Satguru Thyagaraja Aaradhana 2012 on 12th and 13th January at Indian Community School, senior branch Salmiyah. The two days program will feature famous musicians from India and around Kuwait. The inaugural day 12th January Time : 6.30pm Vocal : Innissai Banu Shri Trichy S Ganesan. Violin : Karunagapilly S Balamurali Mrudangam : Perunna G Harikumar Ghatom : Kottyam B Unnikrishnan 13th January: The program will start in the morning 9.00 am. The day long program will have Sangeethaarchana by students and devotees around Kuwait. The objective of the program is to provide a platform for the local artists to perform their skills to the local enthusiastic public. The program will have a grand finale with Ghanaraga Pancharatna Keerathan Aapapanam by eminent musicians around Kuwait. The Pancharatna Aalapanam will be led by Trichy S Ganesan. Ganesan is a leading Carnatic vocalist from South India working with All India Radio Madhurai as a staff artist. He is also conferred with many awards. He has 35 years of experience as a performing artist. Kottayam B Unnikrishnan is a leading Ghatom artist from Kerala. He is an assistant professor in mrudangam with Swathi Thirunal Music College, Trivandrum. He has many concerts to his credits in India and abroad with top most leading artist from Carnatic music world.

Get ready get set - RunQ8 Registrations are now open for RunQ8, the annual 10km charity race to be held on January 21, 2012. Organized by the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) and Agility, the race route will run from Marina Crescent in Salmiya along the Gulf Road up to the Third Ring Road and back. The race is aimed at supporting health issues affecting our community and raising awareness around them. In its second year, RunQ8 is promoting road traffic safety. 2011-2021 has been named the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety with a goal to stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2021. In Kuwait, traffic accidents are the third leading cause of mortality and a large number of people and their families are affected by the debilitating effects of injuries caused by road accidents. Last year, the race raised over KWD 50,000 for the Kuwait University’s Community Eye Health Care Initiative that supports Vision 2020, a joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). RunQ8 invites all members of the community to join in this initiative and help support road traffic safety in Kuwait. To register contact the FSRI office 25720338 or visit the race for more details. There are also pre-race articles and videos produced by FSRI’s specialized sports trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists to help get you ready for the race. Please see our website and our Facebook page for updates on our running and walking clinic, race events, and other initiatives.

Write to us Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20



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NBK Football Team


BK Football Team Manager R S Yousuf (inset) said that the team is ready for the Bankers Club Championship for 2012 season. He also said that the team is looking forward to winning the tournament. A number of new players have been included in this year’s team who are skilled and enjoy physical fitness. The team plays its first match on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

Thanima celebrates New Year


hanima Kuwait organized a New Year celebration called ‘New Year Thanima 2012’, attracting revelers from various walks of like. The organizers held a carol competition as part of the celebration in which KMRM Yuvajyothi won the first prize while St George Universal Syrian Orthodox Church won

the second prize and KMRM Emmanuel won the third prize. A New Year cake was cut on the occasion. Indian Orthodox Church Bangalore Diocese Head Dr Abraham Mar Serafin, KKMA president Sageer Thrikkarippur and Nair Service Society (NSS), Kuwait, President Muraleekrishnan

CINEMAGIC SCHEDULE Saturday, January 7th at 7:30pm DON’T LOOK BACK Documentary covering Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Saturday, January 21st at 7:30pm THRONE OF BLOOD A ruthlessly ambitious lord, egged on by his wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become Emperor.

Thursday, January 12th at 7:30pm THE DINNER GAME Each week, Pierre and his friends organize what is called as “un dÓner de cons”. Everyone brings the dumbest guy he could find as a guest. Pierre thinks his champ -FranÁois Pignon- will steal the show.

Thursday, January 26th at 7:30pm GREASE Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?

Saturday, January 14th at 7:30pm THE GREAT DICTATOR In Chaplin’s satire on Nazi Germany, dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a double... a poor Jewish barber... who one day is mistaken for Hynkel. Thursday, January 19th at 7:30pm THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED Should Tom (Duris) make like his thuggish father or pursue his dream of becoming a pianist?

Saturday, January 28th at 7:30pm AKIRA A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop. Cinemagic Kuwait, is organizing these events as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by Increasing the public’s interest in - and appreciation for - the art of film-making. Cinemagic movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the roof on top of Alghanim Electronics and LG. Entrance is free of charge and includes refreshments, popcorn and much more.

delivered felicitation speeches. United Indian School Administrator Advocate John Thomas inaugurated Thanima’s website. Program convener Jeemon Thomas presided over the celebration while Raghunathan Nair welcomed the gathering and Johney Kunnil proposed a vote of thanks.

Announcements Pathanamthitta District Association, Kuwait will be holding a New Year Family Get-together on Thursday 12th January, 2012 at 6.30 for members and families. All members of Pathanamthitta District Association and residents of Pathanamthitta District who are interested to become Association members are hereby invited to attend the Event. For more details, contact any of the following Office Bearers:President (99722437), General Secretary ( 66501482). Those who are interested in performing Cultural programs at the event may contact Biju Kumbazha at 66540813 Kala-Kuwait winners Kerala Art Lovers Association (Kala Kuwait) winners of the literary competitions. In poetry competition the first place was secured by Varkey Mathew Eraviperoor, second place went to Parameswaran and third place was shared by Peethan K. Vayanad and Anil Attuva. In short story competition the first place went to A.P Sajeev, second place was shared by Abdul Lateef Neeleshwaram, Anil Attuva, Seena Rajavikraman and third place went to Shobha Chandran. Literary competitions was judged by Bessy Kadavil, Joyce Davies and Habeeb Rahman. The first prize is RS 5000, second prize RS 3000 and third prize is RS 2000 respectively along with memento prepared by Kala-Kuwait.

health & science


Deadly mushroom meal prepared in Aussie bistro SYDNEY: A New Year’s Eve meal containing Death Cap mushrooms that left two Chinese people dead was prepared by a chef for his coworkers at a Canberra restaurant, health officials said yesterday. Chef Liu Jun and kitchen hand Tsou Hsiang were named as the victims of the fungi used in a dish at the Chinese Bistro in the Harmonie German Club. Three people were initially hospitalised after eating the mushrooms, unaware of its deadly properties. Liu and Tsou died while

the third remains in a critical but stable condition. The Australian Capital Territory Health Directorate said the food containing the mushrooms was prepared at the club but there was no risk of wider contamination. It is believed that the poisonous mushrooms were mistaken for an edible fungi known as the Paddy Straw mushroom, which is commonly found in Southeast Asia and considered a delicacy. All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous and eating just one of the silky

white-to-greenish-brown capped, white-gilled fungi can be fatal. Harmonie German Club acting manager Mick Thamer told reporters the food was prepared for a private meal. “The mushrooms were brought into the club for a private meal only, and cooked after bistro hours by the chef for his co-workers,” he said. “It was not a meal on the bistro menu, and was not a meal that was offered to or available to the public.” A friend of the victims, Tom O’Dea, said Liu was working temporarily in Australia

Parasitic fly could explain bee die-off CALIFORNIA: Northern California scientists say they have found a possible explanation for a honey bee die-off that has decimated hives around the world: A parasitic fly that hijacks the bees’ bodies and causes them to abandon hives. Scientists say the fly deposits its eggs into the bee’s abdomen, causing the infected bee to exhibit zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. The bee leaves the hive at night and dies shortly thereafter. The symptoms mirror colony collapse disorder, in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly disappear. The disease is of great concern, because bees pollinate about a third of the United States’ food supply. Its presence is especially alarming in California, the nation’s top producer of fruits and vegetables, where bees play an essential role in the $2 billion almond industry and other crops. The latest study, published Tuesday in the science journal PLoS ONE, points to the parasitic fly as the new threat to honey bees. It’s another step in ongoing research to find the cause of the disease. Researchers haven’t been able to pin down an exact cause of colony collapse or find a way to prevent it. Research so far points to a combination of factors including pesticide contamination, a lack of blooms - and hence nutrition and mites, fungi, viruses and parasites. Interaction among the parasite and multiple pathogens could be one possible factor in colony collapse, according to the latest study by researchers at San Francisco State University. It says the phorid fly, or apocephalus borealis, was found in bees from three-quarters of the 31 hives surveyed in the San Francisco Bay area. The combination of a parasite, pathogens and other stressors could cause die-off, lead investigator John Hafernik said. The parasitic fly serves as a reservoir that harbors pathogens honey bees from parasite-infected hives tested positive for deformed wing virus and other pathogens, the study found. “We don’t fully understand the web of interactions,”

Hafernik said. “The parasite could be another stressor, enough to push the bee over tipping point. Or it could play a primary role in causing the disease.” Hafernik stumbled onto the parasitic fly by accident. Three years ago, the biology professor looked for something to feed a praying mantis.

bumble bees to honey bees, Hafernik said, making it an emerging threat to agricultural pollinators. The fact that honey bees live in large colonies placed in close proximity to one another and beekeepers frequently move the hives throughout the country could lead to an explosion of the fly population, he said. The fly, which

SAN FRANCISCO: In this photo provided by San Francisco State University, an Apocephalus borealis fly implants its eggs into the abdomen of a honey bee. —AP He found some bees outside his classroom, placed them in a vial and forgot about them. When he looked at the vial a week later, he found dead bees surrounded by small fly pupae. A parasitic fly was feeding on the bees and had killed them, he said. The fly is a known parasite in bumble bees. Scientists used DNA barcoding to confirm the parasite in the honey bees and bumble bees was the same species. The fly might have recently expanded its host presence from

is found all over North America, could also become a threat to native bees. Hafernik plans to expand his research to other parts of the country and to study the parasite’s impact on agriculture in California’s Central Valley. Since it was recognized in 2006, colony collapse has destroyed colonies at a rate of about 30 percent per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Before that, losses were about 15 percent per year from a variety of pests and diseases. — AP

to raise money for his family living in China. “He’s got an 11-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son, they haven’t seen him for three or four years or something since he’s been here because he’s just been working and sending money home,” he told ABC radio. O’Dea said the fungus was remarkably similar to a delicacy regularly consumed in China. “It’s just mistaken identity. Liu Jun would have been walking past it, picked it up,” he said. —AFP

Study: Memory loss can start as early as 45 LONDON: Loss of memory and other brain function can start as early as age 45, posing a big challenge to scientists looking for new ways to stave off dementia, researchers said on Thursday. The finding from a 10year study of more than 7,000 British government workers contradicts previous notions that cognitive decline does not begin before 60 years of age, and it could have far-reaching implications for dementia research. Pinpointing the age at which memory, reasoning and comprehension skills start to deteriorate is important because drugs are most likely to work if given when people first start to experience mental impairment. A handful of novel medicines for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, are currently in clinical trials, but expectations are low and some experts fear the new drugs are being tested in patients who may be too old to show a benefit. Companies with products in development include Eli Lilly , working on a drug called solanezumab, and Elan and Johnson & Johnson, developing bapineuzumab. The research team led by Archana SinghManoux from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London found a modest decline in mental reasoning in men and women aged 45-49 years. “We were expecting to see no decline, based on past research,” Singh-Manoux said in a telephone interview. Among older subjects in the study, the average decline in cognitive function was greater, but there was a wide variation at all ages, with a third of individuals aged 45-70 showing no deterioration over the period. “It doesn’t suddenly happen when you get old. That variability exists much earlier on,” SinghManoux said. “The next step is going to be to tease that apart and look for links to risk factors.” Participants were assessed three times during the study, using tests for memory, vocabulary, and aural and visual comprehension skills. Over the 10-year period, there was a 3.6 percent decline in mental reasoning in both men and women aged 45-49 at the start of the study, while the decline for men aged 6570 was 9.6 percent and 7.4 percent for women. Since the youngest individuals at the start of the study were 45, it is possible that the decline in cognition might have commenced even earlier. Singh-Manoux said the results may also have underestimated the cognitive decline in the broader population, since the office workers in the study enjoyed a relatively privileged and healthy lifestyle. Factors affecting cardiovascular function-such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking- are believed to impact the development of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia through effects on brain blood vessels and brain cells. — Reuters

health & science


French breast implant maker denounces ‘untruths’ in scandal MARSEILLE: The founder of the French breast implant maker at the centre of a global health scare said Thursday much of the information emerging in the scandal was untrue but refused further comment. In a statement, JeanClaude Mas denounced the “impressive number of

untruths” that had emerged but said he would refrain from making other public comments because of a judicial investigation. Following complaints from hundreds of women, investigators in southern France have opened a probe into sub-

standard silicone used in implants made by Mas’s nowdefunct Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). A litany of accusations against PIP has triggered a worldwide scare, with several countries including France now advising thousands of women to have the implants surgically removed. — AFP


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available, Gnadeer Clinic, Bahrain street, Salmiya, near big jamiya. Contact: 66792392, 66047295, 60625120. (C 3807) 4-1-2012 Sharing accommodation available for a single person in a fully furnished C-A/C building, in Farwaniya near Burger King with kitchen & parking facilities, if interested please contact: 99038601. (C 3803) 1-1-2012

FOR SALE Used furniture for immediate sale, Salmiya, wardrobe, bed (queen size without mattress) with 2 side drawers, TV table and computer table. Please contact 66589044. (C 3810) 5-1-2012 For sale Sony TV 21”, two wall fan, 8’ Dish for TV, small table. Contact: 66625253. (C 3805) 3-1-2012

LOST It is notified for information that my original certificate of secondary school exam year 2001 roll no. 6101726 pass out from CBSE, Delhi has been actually lost. Saima Niamatullah. Mobile: 96566495067. (C 3808) It is notified for information that my original certificate of Sr Sec exam year 2003 roll 620116 pass out from CBSE Delhi has been lost. Saima Niamatuallah. Mobile 96566495067. (C 3809) 5-1-2012

SITUATION VACANT Required two drivers for a Kuwaiti family at monthly salary KD 100 and must be having at least five years experience. Call 97554010. (C 3815) 7-1-2012

CHANGE OF NAME CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA Passport No: E0787712 would like to state that I am known as CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA and in all my dealings and documents I am known by name CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA only. (C 3814) 7-1-2012 I, Pokala Eswara Reddy, Passport No: E1090304, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 22-5-2006 in the state of Kuwait and I have changed my name as MUHAMMED ISLAM. (C 3811) I, Modem Ramanjaneyulu, Passport No: J5550040, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 26-7-2010 in the State of Kuwait and I have changed my name as SUHAIL. (C 3812) I, Balla Yedu Kondalu, Passport No: E2221790, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 02-6-2003 in the State of Kuwait and I have changed my name as AHMED. (C 3813) 5-1-2012 I, Pottantevida Latheef, holder of Indian Passport No: G3954651 hereby change my name to ABDUL LATHEEF MOIDEEN. (C 3806)

TUITION Mathematics teacher, Intermediate and secondary Exams models, Easy method, Exams from past years with solutions. 97301901 English teacher (3) years experience, looking for a job and ready to start with all educational stages. 55963993 Mathematics teacher for Universities, Institutions, Foreign Schools, Administrative, American, English, Australian, Bahrain, Electric and Gulf Sciences, Algbra Prel, Mathematics, intermediate, gmat, sat college, math98, 110 pre calculus geometry. 97619261 Senior Biology teacher for secondary stage. Biology for University students and foreign schools, sciences of intermediate stage and 10th grade physics. A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291 A Syrian Arabic Language teacher. Masters, for secondary, intermediate, religious institution, universities, and establishment of the elementary stage using the Aleppo method “the alphabet then the word”. 50513599 Islamic education teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in Kuwait curricula. Easy explanation, and summary of the subject, training for exams. 66292985 Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in following learning difficulties, and those

weak in reading and writing. 97264100

ming pool, fountain, children games tent. 94426116

Female senior Mathematics teacher with more that 30 years experience in Kuwait, to teach secondary, intermediate and elementary stages. Religious and applied, communications and navigation institutions, special courses and secretariat institution. 97926737

For rent in Farwaniya, basement 700m, car parking. 66920123

Computer teacher for secondary and intermediate. Practical on laptop, power point projects, front page, visual basic data, universities and applied institutions. 50603063

FOR RENT A park in Wafra animal pens, very clean, over an area of 2500m, very large fenced yard in front (5) rooms, saloons, separate diwaniyas and swim-

No: 15321

Flat in Maidan Hawally, one room, living room, bathroom, super deluxe finished kitchen, outstanding location. Rent KD 195. Foreigners and expatriates only. Central satellite, CA/C and boiler. 66980123 A floor in Dasman, 300m, outstanding location, on main street can be sued by lawyer, consultations, clinics, health club, saloon, workshop, training center. 66980123 For rent in Salmiya, an apartment 3 rooms + 2 baths + saloon + swimming pool + DSL + Gym + Security + children games + other features. Rent start from KD 475. Foreigners and expats only. 66297171 For rent in Salmiya, an apart-

ment 3 rooms + 3 baths + Saloon + Kitchen + Satellite. Outstanding location. Foreigners and expatriates only, no brokers. 66060299 For rent, basements in Jabriya and Hawally, good location, plastic floors, C-A/C, serious only call: 66980123 For rent or investment, complete floors with a basement in Salmiya, good location, licensed for clinics, no brokers. 66060299

information SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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To Yester

Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution


5 5 0



1. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 4. Of or like a cecum. 10. A benevolent aspect of Devi. 13. South American wood sorrel cultivated for its edible tubers. 14. Raised for its long silky hair which is the true mohair. 15. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 16. The fatty flesh of eel. 17. Any of various kinds of wheeled vehicles drawn by a horse or tractor. 18. A unit of electrical power in an AC circuit equal to the power dissipated when 1 volt produces a current of 1 ampere. 19. (informal) Exceptionally good. 21. Waterfall in Canada is the Horseshoe Falls. 23. A state in midwestern United States. 24. The French-speaking part of the Canadian Maritime Provinces. 26. A domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church. 28. An enclosed space. 29. United States newspaper publisher (1858-1935). 33. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 34. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 38. Liquid containing proteins and electrolytes including the liquid in blood plasma and interstitial fluid. 39. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. 40. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 41. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 44. Open to or abounding in fresh air. 47. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 49. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 51. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 55. An associate degree in applied science. 60. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 61. (computer science) A computer that is running software that allows users to leave messages and access information of general interest. 62. Type genus of the Anhimidae. 63. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 64. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 65. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 66. A young woman making her debut into society. DOWN 1. United States physiologist (born in Germany) who did research on parthenogenesis (1859-1924). 2. Type genus of the Aceraceae. 3. A town in northern France on the Strait of Dover that serves as a ferry port to England. 4. The sound made by corvine birds. 5. A genus of tropical American plants have sword-shaped leaves and a fleshy compound fruits composed of the fruits of several flowers (such as pineapples). 6. Animal reproductive body consisting of an ovum or embryo together with nutritive and protective envelopes. 7. High quality grape brandy distilled in the Cognac district of France. 8. (botany) Relating to a plant of the family Araceae. 9. An island of central Hawaii. 10. Type genus of the family Ulvaceae. 11. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion.

12. A city in northern India. 20. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 22. A correctional institution used to detain persons who are in the lawful custody of the government (either accused persons awaiting trial or convicted persons serving a sentence). 25. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 27. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 30. A male monarch or emperor (especially of Russia prior to 1917). 31. Exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health. 32. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 35. A fraudulent business scheme. 36. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 37. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 42. A light touch or stroke. 43. A small tent used as a dressing room beside the sea or a swimming pool. 45. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 46. The sacred city of Lamaism. 48. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 50. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 52. Set down according to a plan. 53. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 54. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 56. The bill in a restaurant. 57. A unit of conductance equal to the reciprocal of an ohm. 58. Top part of an apron. 59. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits.

Yesterday始s Solution


Ferguson: No need for Liverpool talks MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists there is no need for conciliatory talks with Liverpool over the Luis Suarez racism row. Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing United’s French defender at Anfield in October. Liverpool have defended the Uruguayan striker throughout the investigation into the incident but have decided not to appeal against the FA ban, with Suarez set to return for the game at United on February 11. It has been reported that Liverpool officials are seeking talks with United counterparts in an attempt to calm tensions ahead of the game at Old Trafford. But Ferguson,

whose team face neighbors Manchester City in the FA Cup third round at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow, is adamant there is no point in the discussions. He said: “It’s nice to do it through the press, you’d have thought they’d have come to Manchester United. “But I don’t see why there’s any need for that to be honest and I’ve nothing to say about it.”Ferguson has once again maintained that United will not be going into the transfer market this month despite his squad’s injury problems. The Premier League champions have even been linked with a move for Chelsea’s veteran midfielder Frank Lampard as many observers and fans believe they need reinforcements to

sustain a push for the title. Ferguson said he understands why people feel that United’s squad needs bolstering but remains adamant that any targets he has will not be available in the winter transfer window. “I think they’re right but what can you get in January? I say this all the time, players that we like, we won’t get,” he said. “You’re not going to tell me that Chelsea would sell Frank Lampard to Manchester United in January. Do you really believe that? “So there’s no foundation to that because Chelsea wouldn’t do something. “The second half of the season is important to them and if they want to win the league they’ll have to hold on to their best players. The players

that we do like we won’t get. “So do you take a second-rate player? No, of course you don’t. The injury situation has accelerated a lot of fans into thinking that we need to get someone. “But I would rather stick with the ones we’ve got rather than bring someone in who won’t get a game anyway because they’re not good enough.” Those problems show no signs of easing ahead of the trip to the Etihad Stadium, with Chris Smalling still unable to return from tonsillitis and Jonny Evans out with a calf problem. Ferguson, who insists he will not mention City’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October as motivation for his team, expects Yaya Toure to line up for the Blues. — AFP

Italian League Preview

AC Milan, Juventus battle for top spot ROME: AC Milan may be facing a tug-of-war with neighbors Inter Milan over Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez but it is with Juventus that the champions are battling for Serie A supremacy. Milan managed to finish 2011 on top thanks to a 2-0 win at Cagliari while Juventus were being held to a goalless stalemate at Udinese. The champions’ superior goal difference has seen them edge ahead of the only unbeaten team remaining in Europe’s top leagues. Following a poor start to their campaign, in which Milan won only one of their first five league matches, the rossoneri have gradually reeled in the early pacesetters. And they will be looking to capitalize on the winter lull in the Champions League to try to pull clear of the pack. Juve have had the benefit of being free from European competition this season and have used the extra time off in midweek to rest and prepare for their league encounters. That has seen them remain unbeaten in 16 games-although with seven draws and they start the new year with an easier tie than the leaders. Juve travel to rock-bottom Lecce while Milan have a difficult trip to Atalanta, who but for a six-point penalty for match-fixing would be fifth. Milan are unbeaten in 11 league games but Atalanta have only lost twice themselves, the same number as their visitors. The champions have also received a double boost as midfielder Gennaro Gattuso played in a friendly against Paris St Germain in Dubai on Wednesday while fellow veteran Filippo Inzaghi has pledged his future to the club. Gattuso has hardly played this season after developing an eye problem

while Milan’s interest in Tevez was thought likely to spell the end of Inzaghi’s 11-year association with the rossoneri. Juve have boosted their playing resources with the signature of striker Marco Borriello from Roma with Amauri, Vincenzo Iaquinta and maybe even Fabio Quagliarella heading out the other way. However, it is the midfield combination of Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Chile’s Arturo Vidal that has most caught the eye. And Vidal believes it’s one of the best out there. “I don’t know if our midfield is the best in Europe, it’s up to you (journalists) to tell me that,” he said. “But for sure it’s strong and I feel very much at home in our three-man midfield. I really like the midfields of Barcelona and Real Madrid but you shouldn’t under-estimate Udinese’s either.” Udinese, who sit third and just two points behind the top two, start the year with struggling Cesena at home, however they are set to lose three central midfielders to the African Cup of Nations. Kwadwo Asamoah, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Thierry Doubai are all heading off to Gabon and Equitorial Guinea, although they have brought in Switzerland international Gelson Fernandes on loan from French club St Etienne as cover. After a disastrous start to the season, Inter Milan finished 2011 as the most in-form team with six wins in their last seven Serie A encounters ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Parma. Inter have fourthplaced Lazio, who travel to Siena the same night, in their sights as they look to drag themselves back into Champions League contention. — AFP

Spurs eyeing title race ahead of FA Cup bow LONDON: Tottenham supporters traditionally view the FA Cup as the trophy they have the best chance of winning, and only Manchester United and Arsenal have celebrated more victories in the final over the decades. This season however the famous old competition has been relegated to secondary importance at White Hart Lane ahead of today’s visit of League Two promotion candidates Cheltenham Town. Harry Redknapp’s side are currently third in the Premier League, six points behind leaders Manchester City and three behind Manchester United. They are in impressive form and boast a

game in hand on both rivals. Redknapp himself is convinced that his squad has a fair chance of ending the season as champions. “We are there or thereabouts, we just have to keep believing, keep going,” he said. “You never know. I’ve said all along that nothing is impossible.” As a result, Redknapp has already confirmed he will rest first-choice picks for the visit of the Robins, who are currently second in League Two and will bring 52 coach-loads of supporters from Gloucestershire for the occasion. England internationals Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon have been penciled

in for comebacks from injury - centreback Dawson has been out since August with an Achilles problem - and other fringe men, including Niko Kranjcar and Roman Pavlyuchenko, will get starts. “I have to rest a few, I can’t keep playing the same players,” Redknapp said. “We have a tough run coming up.” “Hopefully Michael will play today, and Aaron could be fit. He’s training so we have to get a game into him today if we can. People like Steven Pienaar and Danny Rose will play. Kranjcar needs a game and then there’s Pavlyuchenko. They will play.” — AFP

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi (right) vies with Manchester United’s Phil Jones during an English FA Premier League football match at St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on January 4, 2012. — AFP

Newcastle aim to shake off Man Utd’s hangover NEWCASTLE: Alan Pardew has warned his Newcastle side about the dangers of falling flat after their heroics against Manchester United as they prepare to launch their bid for FA Cup glory. Newcastle host Premier League rivals Blackburn Rovers in the third round today, less than 72 hours after their memorable 3-0 victory over the defending champions. Manager Pardew insists his team has every chance of mounting the club’s first serious run in the competition since they reached the semi-final seven years ago, but only if they avoid resting on their laurels in the wake of their first win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in a decade. Newcastle went out to lowly Stevenage at the same stage 12 months ago, and he said: “It was just a fabulous evening against Manchester United, one of the best I’ve had as a manager, but there’s little time to savor it, and we know we have to be right on our game again when we face Blackburn. “We’re still a little bit bleary-eyed, and the quick turn around to this match isn’t helpful. We had a similar situation last year when we lost to Stevenage, so it’s very important we get ourselves as fresh as we can, especially with Blackburn having had four or five days rest. “It’s my job to make sure we’re in the right frame of mind and ready for it. “I’ll freshen things up and it will be a different team, but hopefully we’ll keep that same intensity and the same level of performance we had against Manchester United. We’re going to need the crowd to help us again like they did the other night, and hopefully the adrenaline from that will also see us through.” — AFP


FIFA targets informers to help fight match-fixing ZURICH: FIFA is working with informers inside organized crime syndicates to help protect the World Cup from match-fixing and betting plots. FIFA’s security director Chris Eaton outlined a strategy on Thursday for soccer’s world governing body to attempt to stop the fixing of international matches that results in millions of dollars in profit. “What we’re doing now is developing sources both in criminal organizations and football that will advise us,” Eaton said in an interview published by FIFA’s website. “We are creating a hostile environment for match-fixers to make them realize we will expose them, name them, and make them subject to investigation somewhere in the world.” FIFA’s pro-active plan to get information from inside crime syndicates is

a direct response to its 208 national member bodies being targeted to help fixing plots. “The infiltration of serious criminals into our associations and football generally is the most pressing issue,” Eaton said. FIFA believes crime gangs have received inside help from soccer officials to organize international matches and select corrupt referees. FIFA will open a whistleblowers’ hotline next month offering rewards and amnesties if players, referees and officials provide detailed information about their involvement or offers to help fix matches. The three-month campaign comes before qualifying for the 2014 World Cup intensifies this year. Eaton said he believes FIFA’s showpiece tournament is most at risk during the 832 scheduled qualifiers involving teams that are unlikely

to reach the finals in Brazil. His team to combat fixing conspiracies includes specialist investigators in Kuala Lumpur, Colombia and Jordan, with a global coordinator based in Britain. “This is about international - transcontinental in fact - organized crime,” Eaton said. “We see the footprints of Singaporean criminals throughout Europe, Africa and Central America.” The Australian former detective acknowledged that his “small department” will rely on “detailed partnerships” with law enforcement agencies worldwide. However, Eaton dismissed suggestions that soccer and world sports would benefit from creating an anti-corruption body similar to the World Anti-Doping Agency. “I don’t believe we need a WADA. WADA is designed to deal with cheats who ‘cheat to

win.’ We’re talking about criminals who ‘corrupt to lose,’” he said. “What we need is an independent investigative ability across sports. You certainly need a match-fixing code.” Eaton said the ethics of any sport were best controlled among those who played and ran it - “in the hearts and minds of all participants.” To achieve that, FIFA has invested $25.6 million in a 10-year project with Interpol, the global police liaison agency, to operate a soccer education center in Singapore. Eaton said the center would open in 2012, and begin working at its first FIFA tournament when the Women’s Under-20 World Cup is played, likely in Japan. “They will talk to players and officials. It’s about football waking up and resisting - it’s time for football to fight back against match-fixers,” he said.— AP

Switzerland escapes FIFA ban over Sion BERNE: Switzerland has escaped international suspension after world soccer’s governing body accepted its decision to deduct 36 points from rebel club Sion, who had defied FIFA and UEFA by taking a case over ineligible players to a civil court. FIFA said in a statement yesterday that its emergency committee had considered the decision and that “the SFV (Swiss FA) will consequently not be suspended in relation to the FIFA Executive Committee’s decision of Dec 16”. “However, FIFA has requested the SFV to keep the international football governing body informed on any future developments with regards to this matter,” it added. Soccer’s governing body, whose headquarters are in Zurich, had threatened to kick out Switzerland at its executive committee meeting in Japan last month. It had told the SFV to award 3-0 walkover wins to Sion’s opponents but the SFV argued this would distort the league by giving points to other clubs. An international ban would have prevented Switzerland from playing international matches and would also have led to FC Basel, due to play Bayern Munich in the last 16, being expelled from the Champions League. FIFA had been widely criticized for its ultimatum, with the world players’ union FIFPro saying it was wrong that FC Basel players should be punished for the actions of the Sion management. The Swiss Players’ Union had accused FIFA of playing ‘power games’. Last week, the SFV deducted three points for each of the 12 domestic matches in which Sion had fielded any of six players signed in the summer when the club was subjected to a FIFA transfer ban. Sion signed Stefan Glarner, Jose Goncalves, Mario Mutsch, Pascal Feindouno, Billy Ketkeophomphone and Gabri despite being banned from doing so after FIFA found them guilty of poaching a player from an Egyptian club in 2008. The six players took their case to a civil court in the canton of Valais, which ruled they could play, and Sion subsequently fielded them in the Swiss league. Some of the players also appeared in a Europa League qualifying tie against Celtic. Sion won the tie but were expelled from the competition by UEFA who ruled the players were ineligible. Sion then obtained an injunction at another court in the canton of Vaud, where UEFA’s headquarters are based, ordering European soccer’s governing body to reinstate them to the competition. However, this injunction referred the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which ruled in favor of UEFA. In the meantime, the injunction obtained by the players in Valais canton was overturned by a higher court. The case has already caused acute embarrassment to Switzerland with other clubs admitting it has damaged the country’s image in the sport. At one point, UEFA president Michel Platini appeared before prosecutors in Vaud to explain why his organization had not complied with the injunction ordering Sion’s reinstatement to the Europa League. Sion are now bottom of the league with minus five points from 18 games.— Reuters

LONDON: A file picture taken shows Arsenal’s French striker Thierry Henry in action against Middlesbrough. Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal on a short-term loan deal from the New York Red Bulls. —AFP

Henry rejoins Arsenal LONDON: Former France striker Thierry Henry has rejoined Arsenal on a short-term deal, the Premier League club said yesterday. Henry, 34, who is currently playing for the New York Bulls, made 370 appearances for Arsenal from 1999-2007 and remains the club’s leading goal scorer with 226 goals. “Thierry Henry has today rejoined Arsenal on a short-term loan deal,” the north London club said in a statement on their website “After negotiations between Arsenal, Henry, the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer, the striker will team up with the Gunners on a temporary basis during a period of fixtures in January and February that will see Gervinho and Marouane

Chamakh depart for Africa Cup of Nations duty.” Henry, who has been training with the club, told the website that manager Arsene Wenger had asked him to help during the absence of the two players. “When it comes to Arsenal my heart will always do the talking,” he said. “Once I knew the plan behind it I was okay with it. I am not coming here to be a hero or prove anything, I am just coming here to help. People have to understand that. “Marouane and Gervinho are going to the Africa Cup of Nations, so I was asked to fill in the gap. It is a loan deal and I’ll be on the bench most of the time. If I can make the bench that is. “The boss has a team here already who are doing

something good. I am just going to be part of the squad.” Henry reassured Red Bulls’ fans he planned to return. “I am not coming here for the whole season, I will be back and I want to win the Major League Soccer Cup with the Red Bulls. I hope it is win-win situation where I can help Arsenal and come back fit for the MLS season.” Henry, who played for Barcelona after leaving Arsenal, was a member of the France team who won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European championship. A bronze statue of Henry was recently unveiled at the Emirates Stadium alongside former captain Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman, their innovative manager in the late 1920s and early 1930s.— Reuters



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Scottish Cup Preview

Lennon puts Celtic on shock-alert GLASGOW: Neil Lennon says lessons learned in recent seasons mean his side will not underestimate tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fourth round opponents Peterhead. Celtic face a side sitting second bottom of the third division as they begin the defense of their trophy at Balmoor. In contrast the Hoops have won their 10 league games in a row to sit top of the pile in the Scottish Premier League. However, Lennon’s side were dumped out of the Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage in 2010 and they were given a tough test by minnows Berwick Rangers in the

fourth round last season. And Lennon, who is keen to see his league form continue, said he wouldn’t take the third division side lightly. “You would like to keep the momentum going but it’s a cup competition. We’re the holders of and one we would dearly love to win,” Lennon said. “We went to Berwick last year and it was a difficult night so we’re not going to underestimate Peterhead and momentum is important on a run like this.” Also tomorrow Old Firm rivals Rangers face a trip to Gayfield to take on Arbroath. The Ibrox side have

Matches on TV (Local timings)

Italian League Siena v Lazio Al Jazeera Sport +1 Internazionale v Parma Al Jazeera Sport +1 French Cup Red Star v Olympique Al Jazeera Sport +6 Saint v Girondins Al Jazeera Sport +4

is on crutches and we think probably six or seven weeks I’m afraid. Steven Whittaker is going down next Tuesday or Wednesday to see the specialist regarding his groin problem and it will be determined then if he needs surgery.” Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic, who missed Monday’s match with Motherwell with a groin strain, and Kirk Broadfoot both face late fitness tests for the match. Elsewhere today, Scottish Junior Cup holders Auckinleck Talbot face their biggest ever match as they take on Hearts at Tynecastle. — AFP

Ferguson: High-flying City isn’t going away

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Spanish League Real Racing v Real Zaragoza Al Jazeera Sport +9 Real Sociedad v Osasuna Al Jazeera Sport +7 Levante v Real Mallorca Al Jazeera Sport +6 Real Madrid v Granada Al Jazeera Sport +2 Tomorrow Malaga v Atletico de Madrid Al Jazeera Sport +2 Al Jazeera Sport +3

a selection crisis heading into the game with the side second top of the Second Division. Midfielders Lee McCulloch and Steven Davis are both suspended for the game while manager Ally McCoist revealed the club might have to do without Kyle Lafferty and Steven Whittaker for around seven weeks through injury. “It’s not particularly good news for Kyle,” the Rangers manager said. “He looks to have a tear in the hamstring and all indications were that was going to be the case judging by the way he pulled up. “At this moment he

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Man City wary of United backlash LONDON: Holders Manchester City are preparing to face a Manchester United thirsting for revenge tomorrow as the two rivals collide in a heavyweight FA Cup third round showdown. City sent shockwaves around English football in October when they thrashed United 6-1 at Old Trafford, a result that Sir Alex Ferguson described as the “worst ever day” of his career in football. Since that memorable victory at the home of their rivals, City have kept their noses in front of United in the Premier League title race and head into Sunday’s encounter having opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table. United’s preparations for Sunday’s clash at Eastlands could not have been worse, with Ferguson’s men reeling from backto-back league defeats against Blackburn and Newcastle. Nevertheless history would appear to favor United, who have not lost three consecutive games for more than a decade, when they suffered three defeats to Derby, Southampton and Tottenham when the title had already been won. While United will also be determined to avenge their exit to City at the semi-final stage last season, City midfielder James Milner believes the derby thrashing at Old Trafford will have stung their rivals more. “That will have hurt them badly,” Milner said. “Everyone, from the players, to the management, will be more than up for it. “As much enjoyment as we got from it, they probably felt three times as much pain. We have got to be aware of that.” Victory for City may represent something of a doubleedged sword, leaving the club fighting on four fronts while United are free to concentrate on the title race and the Europa League. —AFP

LONDON: Although Arsenal and Chelsea have been his team’s biggest rivals for silverware over the past decade, manager Alex Ferguson believes a club much closer to home will be Manchester United’s chief adversary for years to come. Propelled by the cash of its billionaire owners, Manchester City has become a regular contender for trophies for the first time in a generation. The two Manchester clubs meet for the third time this season on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup in what is rapidly emerging as England’s most high-profile matchup. With another Premier League game scheduled for April 28 and the potential for an FA Cup replay as well as a meeting in the knockout stage of this season’s Europa League, the neighbors could be seeing a lot more of each other in the near future. “The way we and our supporters should look at it is that we may as well get used to it because they are not going to go away,” Ferguson said. “We have to get used to the fact that City are going to be challenging for competitions along with us. There’s every chance we’re going to meet at some point ... on average it’s going to be pretty regular.” While City heads into the match at Etihad Stadium as favorite with British bookmakers by virtue of an unbeaten home record in all competitions this season, this may well be a good time for United to take on Roberto Mancini’s team. City the FA Cup holders - will be without its two main holding midfielders, with Gareth Barry suspended and Yaya Toure joining his brother and teammate Kolo in linking up with the Ivory Coast squad in Paris on Saturday ahead of the African Cup of Nations. Yaya Toure, who scored the winning goal in City’s 1-0 victory over United in last season’s FA Cup semifinal, has arguably been the team’s most consistent player this season. Mancini is also without Mario Balotelli (ankle) while fellow striker Edin Dzeko is nursing a knee problem. “I have one striker and two midfielders,” claimed Mancini, whose team plays Liverpool on Wednesday in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal. United will also be desperate to make up for its back-to-back defeats in the Premier League which have left the team three points behind City at the top of the standings. “The atmosphere will be good, we’ll take a load of fans there and hopefully we can get back to winning ways,” United midfielder Ryan Giggs said. Ferguson said on Friday that he has no fresh injury worries after the 3-0 loss at Newcastle on Wednesday, with defender Chris Smalling not yet recovered from a bout of tonsillitis. There is plenty of opportunity for major upsets in the competition this weekend, with many of the Premier League teams entering the draw at the third-round stage facing teams low down in English football’s league pyramid. The biggest shock would come at Goodison Park if nonleague team Tamworth can beat Everton. Fourteenth in the fifth tier, Tamworth is the lowest-ranked side left in competition. “We all need to look at ourselves and get dusted down and get on with it against Tamworth because they will be right up for it,” said Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who scored a freak 100-yard (meter) goal in his team’s 2-1 loss to Bolton on Wednesday. “It is a big game for them and it is a big game for us because we need to give our fans something to

MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany (left) is out jumped by Liverpool’s Andy Carroll during their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England on Tuesday Jan 3, 2012. —AP cheer about. We need to make sure we are up for it.” The other non-league team still involved, Fleetwood, hosts local northwest rival Blackpool, which is seventh in the League Championship after dropping down from the Premier League this season. “The distance between (the clubs) ... and the fact that we share a lot of fans, for those reasons I don’t think we could have got a better tie,” Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon. “If Manchester United came, of course it would be massive ... there would be a lot of hype, but would they send a full-strength side? I think when we play Blackpool, it will be a proper head to head.” Seventy places lie between Tottenham and fourth-tier team Cheltenham ahead of their match at White Hart Lane on Saturday while Oldham, which is midtable in the third tier, makes the short journey to Liverpool to start the third round.— AP



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Valencia edge Sevilla 1-0 BARCELONA: Jonas gave Valencia a slim advantage over Sevilla by scoring in the first half to secure a 1-0 win Thursday in the opening leg of a round-of-16 matchup in the Copa del Rey. Valencia had 75 percent of possession in the first half but only created two shots on goal as Sevilla held firm and looked to counterattack. Spain striker Alvaro Negredo almost opened the scoring with a volley that bounced wide in Sevilla’s first threat in the 10th. But Valencia took the initiative at Mestalla stadium with winger Jordi Alba coming close before Jonas put the hosts ahead for good in the 33rd. The Brazil forward received a pass, cut back to his right foot, and curled a shot around goalkeeper Andres Palop from the left side of the area. Valencia appeared close to a second goal after halftime, but after Palop made a good save to smother Alba’s header in the 55th, Sevilla went looking for the equalizer. Winger Jesus Navas began to arrive down the right flank, and Manu del Moral sent his cross off the woodwork with a header in the 63rd. Even so, Sevilla failed to convert its scoring chances, showing why it had agreed to bring back forward Jose Antonio Reyes from Atletico Madrid earlier on Thursday. “It’s a pity we are leaving without having scored because in the second half we played very well,” Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia said. “Valencia is now the favorite because it has the advantage, but we are convinced that we can turn the series around.” Valencia and Sevilla are the last Spanish teams to have won domestic titles other than Barcelona and Real Madrid. Valencia won the Copa in 2008 and Sevilla lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2010. Earlier Thursday, a 10-man Espanyol became the latest topflight team to lose to a lower-division opponent this week when second-tier Cordoba scored two late goals to stage a 21 comeback win. Sergio Garcia had given Espanyol the lead with a goal in the 38th minute before goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was sent off with a red card for fouling Cordoba striker Jose Diaz in the area. Substitute goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez blocked Diaz’s resulting penalty in the 54th, but he could do little to stop Borja Garcia’s long shot in the 81st after it took a friendly deflection off a defender. Cordoba pressed for the winner, which came four minutes later when Carlos Caballero volleyed in a cross. “Everything went downhill after the expulsion,” said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino. “We had the game under control, but that is what happens in these games with the magic of the Copa.” On Tuesday, third-division Mirandes beat Racing Santander 2-0, second-division Alcorcon downed Levante 2-1, and thirdtier Albacete drew 0-0 with Athletic Bilbao. Cordoba eliminated first-division Real Betis in the previous round that also saw Atletico Madrid and Villarreal knocked out by third-division teams, defeats which led to coaching changes at both clubs. Also this week, defending champion Real Madrid rallied to edge Malaga 3-2, while Barcelona routed Osasuna 4-0. If the two powerhouses win their series, they will meet in the quarterfinals in a rematch of last year’s final. Real Sociedad beat Mallorca 2-0 on Wednesday. The second legs will be played next week. — AP

Chelsea’s Lampard ‘not coming to Utd’

Chelsea’s English midfielder Frank Lampard

LONDON: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has dismissed speculation that he was considering signing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard in the January transfer window. “You are not going to tell me Chelsea would sell Frank Lampard to Manchester United in January. Do you really believe that?,” Ferguson told a news conference yesterday. “There is no foundation to that.” “Chelsea are like us. They want to do something. The second half of the season is important to us. “What can you get in January? The players we’d like we can’t get. If the alternative is to sign a second-rate player, we don’t want to do that.” United, who have lost their last two Premier League games, face a daunting FA Cup third round tie away to local rivals Manchester City tomorrow. City head United by three points at the top of the Premier League table. They beat United 6-1 at Old Trafford in October as well as defeating them in last season’s FA Cup semi-final. Ferguson told Inside United the club’s fans had to accept that City would now be challenging for the top honors. “They are not going to go away,” Ferguson said. “We played them in a semi-final last year and the year before, we’re both in the Europa League this year and now we are facing them in the FA Cup. “So we have to get used to the fact that City are going to be challenging for competitions along with us. “There’s every chance we’re going to meet at some point, maybe not every year but on average it’s going to be pretty regular. It’s a hard FA Cup draw for us but it will be hard for them too.” City manager Roberto Mancini has expressed his concern at the club’s championship bid could be hampered by injuries and the loss of Yaya and Kolo Toure to Ivory Coast for the African Nations Cup. Mancini’s problems have been compounded by Gareth Barry’s suspension and injuries to Mario Balotelli, Owen Hargreaves and Samir Nasri. “If we don’t have the players it’s tough for us,” Mancini told reporters. “We are not United, we don’t have 19 championships. “United and Chelsea have won trophies for many years so they are quiet. They understand that they can play without pressure. For us it’s different. “This could be the first championship for many years and we need to do everything we can to win.” Mancini said City might be able to buy reinforcements this month if the club is able to sell unwanted players, including Carlos Tevez. “It is better that we sell first,” he said. “Maybe we can then take in other players.” — Reuters

Spanish League Preview

Real aim to maintain three-point lead MADRID: Real Madrid start 2012 still looking for a way to beat Barcelona but they do hold a three-point lead in the title chase and this weekend they take on struggling Granada while the champions face a tricky derby away to Espanyol. After once again being outdone by Barcelona last season in the championship, as well as knocked out by their arch-rivals in the Champions League, they have started this campaign in ominous form but their only defeat in 20 games came last month when they were humbled 3-1 at home by Pep Guardiola’s side. That victory meant that Barca remained in touch with Real at the top before they ended the year on a high by winning the Club World Cup in Japan. Both sides returned to action after the Christmas break with King’s Cup victories although Real were forced to come from two goals down to beat Malaga and coach Jose Mourinho was very critical of the first-half performance. “I told the players at the break that it was a

shame I couldn’t make 11 changes,” said Mourinho. “Those that I changed I did so for tactical reasons and not because they were any worse than anyone else. “You will have to ask the players why they improved in the second half and it is a question that I am also asking them.” Pepe will be missing from the defence against Granada through suspension but Sergio Ramos is fit to return after picking up a hamstring strain against Sevilla in the last league game before Christmas. It was easier for Barca who swept aside Osasuna 4-0, with Lionel Messi, who started on the bench due to flu symptoms, hitting a double. “People ask what is his secret and the fact is that it is because he is the best in the world. He has returned from holiday, trained two or three times but he is still physically strong as well as being a good player,” said team mate Sergio Busquets. “We now face a derby which will be competitive as both teams will be trying to win. Apart from the city rivalry, Espanyol are very

strong at home, they have good young players and are looking to finish high up in the table.” Third-placed Valencia are just four points behind Barcelona after an excellent start to the season and they are also in derby action against struggling Villarreal who will be under the orders of new coach Jose Francisco Molina following Juan Carlos Garrido’s dismissal. Few would have expected Levante to be in the Champions League places and they now take on Mallorca while Osasuna, also surprisingly riding high in fifth, travel to Real Sociedad. Sevilla have suffered from a lack of consistency and aim to bounce back from consecutive defeats against Rayo Vallecano. Below them Atletico Madrid have a crunch match with Malaga as they look to get back in the European hunt. At the other end of the table the bottom two sides, Zaragoza and Racing Santander, go head-to-head while above them Sporting Gijon are away to Real Betis. Elsewhere Getafe are in action against Athletic Bilbao. — AFP



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Federer pulls out of Qatar Open DOHA: Roger Federer’s hopes of a fourth successive title came to a premature end when he withdrew from the Qatar Open with a bad back yesterday. The back spasms Federer felt during matches with Greg Zemlja and Andreas Seppi have not gone away despite treatment and painkillers, and he now feels the risk of compensatory injuries is now too great. He has pulled out to give himself the best chance of appearing in good shape at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open, starting at Melbourne in ten days time. Federer was due to have met France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the number three seed, in the semi-finals. “I’m sorry for holding this press conference,” said

Federer, who has been enjoying a 20match unbeaten run. “I hurt my back in my second round match (against Zemlja) and I don’t see any improvement today. “I’ve played through two matches in pain and don’t think it’s the right thing to risk anything more now. It’s the only right decision to make. “I’ve just been trying to manage the situation really. Back spasms happen and sometimes you can contain them with massage and pain killers. But I don’t want to drive myself crazy with more painkillers, and I need to do what’s right to get it better.” “It’s only the second time I have pulled out from a tournament, and I have never pulled out during a match. It’s a sad moment for me, the tourna-

Kvitova too good for 1 Wozniacki PERTH: Petra Kvitova landed a psychological blow in her battle with Caroline Wozniacki for the world number one ranking with a gripping three-set victory at the Hopman Cup on Thursday that helped Czech Republic to beat Denmark and reach the final. Kvitova will dethrone Wozniacki as the queen of women’s tennis if she wins the Sydney International next week. Her powerful but occasionally erratic 7-6 3-6 6-4 win at the Burswood Dome was the ideal build-up to the Sydney tournament and, even more importantly, the Australian Open from Jan. 16. Kvitova and team mate Tomas Berdych stormed into the final of the mixed team event as Group A winners with a 2-0 defeat of Denmark. Berdych sealed the tie, and a date with Group B winners France in Saturday’s final, by beating Frederik Nielsen 6-1 6-3. Wozniacki was clearly not optimistic about Denmark’s chances of beating the Czechs and reaching the final as she had booked an overnight flight to Sydney before the tie began. Wozniacki’s critics say she does not deserve the top ranking because she has not yet won a major title. Kvitova lifted the Wimbledon trophy last year and went on to win the prestigious season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, defeating Wozniacki along the way. The world number two said her preparations for the Australian Open were going perfectly. “I’m really happy that I won because it was a little, small test of how we are prepared for the Aussie Open,” Kvitova said. “Caroline played really well, it was a close match, but every match is different and it is not the Aussie Open. I understand that people like seeing numbers one and two in the world playing and I hope it was a good match for them to watch. “It’s the first time we have gone to three sets in a match. I was slow in the second set but I needed to be more aggressive. The key was my serve. That was the key for the whole match.” Wozniacki, who started slowly at the Hopman Cup after arriving late following a holiday in Thailand, said: “I’m not feeling any pressure about the ranking. “I’ve finished number one for two years in a row and I think that’s a great achievement. Very few people have ever done that. I’m playing well and enjoying my tennis and I’m excited a new year is starting. “It was a great match from both of us, it could have gone either way. I feel like my form is starting to go on the up. All I can do is keep focused and win as many matches and tournaments as possible. “We have just over a week before the Australian Open starts. I think I’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

ment, and the fans, but health comes first.” Federer said he feels “optimistic” that he will be fit for the Australian Open, where he hopes to win back the title he lost to Novak Djokovic last year. “Although it’s not very good it’s not crazy bad,” he said. “I have had bad backs on the past, but this is not very good, otherwise I would definitely be playing. “I feel that without play and with the right treatment, I will get through it in the next few days. That’s my personal opinion right now. “But then of course I have along journey in front of me going to Australia, but I hope maybe midweek next week I should be a hundred percent again. But that’s just guessing.”

Meanwhile Federer will remain in Qatar for a day or two to meet his promotional commitments to the tournament. It means that Tsonga, the world number six who wants to break into the top four for the first time this year, goes through for his 13th ATP World Tour final. Tsonga had been looking forward to a rematch with Federer, whom he beat at Wimbledon and ran very close in the ATP World Tour finals in the last match of the 2011 season. He lost to Federer in last year’s semis here and now will go one stage further - a final against either Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion, or Gael Monfils, his fellow Frenchman. — AFP

BRISBANE: Andy Murray of Britain hits a shot between his legs on the way to winning his quarter-final match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, at the Brisbane International tennis tournament yesterday. — AFP

Clijsters concedes semis after injury Murray shakes off sluggish performances BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters faces a tight deadline to be fit in time for her Australian Open defense after she was forced to retire injured from her Brisbane International semi-final against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova yesterday. Clijsters had fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to win a tiebreak but took an injury timeout after the third game of the second set, with Hantuchova leading 2-1, for treatment on a hip injury. The 28-year-old four-times grandslam champion returned but lost the next game and then retired with the score at 6-7 3-1. Hantuchova, who received a walkover into the semi-finals after Serena Williams pulled out with an ankle injury, will meet Kaia Kanepi in the final today after the big-

hitting Estonian demolished Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-0 in 56 minutes. “I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn’t move forward with my upper body,” said Belgian Clijsters, adding that she had felt tightness in her hip before the semi-final. “The smartest choice was not to let it get any worse and try to be right for Melbourne. “If everything comes out okay tomorrow it should take a little (less than) a week to get completely healed.” The Australian Open, the first grand-slam tournament of the year, begins on Jan 16. In the Brisbane men’s draw, top seed Andy Murray looked far sharper than in his earlier matches and romped into the semi-finals with a 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Marcos Baghdatis. The world number four, who will

bid to break his grand-slam drought at the Australian Open, had been less than convincing in his two previous matches but was ruthless against the Cypriot. The 24-year-old Briton broke the former Australian Open finalist’s serve four times and served out in 66 minutes. “I felt solid on the ball and because I was moving better he didn’t hit too many winners,” said Murray, who played doubles with Baghdatis in Brisbane. The Scot was pleased with his movement around the court. “It’s a huge part of my game and when that goes well then normally the rest of my game improves a lot. “I can dictate more of the point, I can make it harder for my opponents to get the ball through me. That’s what I did from the start.”—Reuters



NHL results/standings

Flyers down Blackhawks

NHL results and standings on Thursday. Boston 9, Calgary 0; Toronto 4, Winnipeg 0; NY Rangers 3, Florida 2 (OT); Philadelphia 5, Chicago 4; Ottawa 4, Tampa Bay 1; St. Louis 4, Edmonton 3; Dallas 4, Nashville 1; Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 0 (OT); San Jose 2, Columbus 1.

Bruins dismantle flickering Flames

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division

NY Rangers Philadelphia Pittsburgh New Jersey NY Islanders

W 25 23 21 21 14

L OTL GF 9 4 113 11 4 130 13 4 121 16 2 106 17 6 88

GA 81 113 100 114 116

PTS 54 50 46 44 34

Boston Ottawa Toronto Buffalo Montreal

26 21 20 18 15

Northeast Division 10 1 138 15 5 127 15 5 129 17 4 104 18 7 106

69 136 128 115 113

53 47 45 40 37

Florida Washington Winnipeg Tampa Bay Carolina

Southeast Division 20 12 8 105 21 15 2 114 19 16 5 107 17 19 3 108 13 21 7 106

110 110 118 133 139

48 44 43 37 33

Chicago Detroit St. Louis Nashville Columbus

Western Conference Central Division 24 12 4 132 116 25 13 1 128 88 23 12 5 103 89 21 15 4 106 112 10 24 5 94 130

52 51 51 46 25

Vancouver Minnesota Colorado Calgary Edmonton

25 21 22 18 16

Northwest Division 13 3 134 99 14 6 95 98 18 1 110 116 19 5 100 123 21 3 110 115

53 48 45 41 35

San Jose Los Angeles Dallas Phoenix Anaheim

Pacific Division 22 11 4 107 20 14 7 88 22 16 1 108 19 17 5 103 10 22 6 88

87 92 113 108 127

48 47 45 43 26

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

KBC Bowling kicks off KUWAIT: Under the auspices of the Kuwaiti Banks Club (KBC) chairman of board, Hisham Al-Boaijan, the KBC Annual Bowling Championship will kick off today, as part of KBC’s commitment to organizing various activities for bankers and their families all year long. In this regard, KBC’s Sports Committee chairman, Khalil Al-Boloushi has urged all bankers, from various member banks: NBK, Gulf Bank, KIB, ABK, The Central Bank, AUB, KFH, Bobyan Bank and BB and their families to take part in the competition.

Khalil Al-Boloushi

PHILADELPHIA: James van Riemsdyk’s second goal of the power play with 32.8 seconds remaining lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane scored 25 seconds apart late in the third period to level it, but van Riemsdyk made sure the Flyers shook off the disappointment from their Winter Classic loss. Scott Hartnell, Harry Zolnierczyk and van Riemsdyk scored goals in a span of 4:20 in the second period, and Jakub Voracek also scored for the Flyers against Ray Emery in his first game back in Philadelphia. Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw also scored for Chicago.

Zack Smith also scored for Ottawa. Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 28th goal 8:48 into the third to draw Tampa Bay within 2-1. BLUES 4, OILERS 3 At St Louis, Matt D’Agostini capped a three-goal surge early in the third period and Carlo Colaiacovo had three assists to rally St Louis past Edmonton. D’Agositini scored the game-winner at 8:59. It was the third goal of the period for St Louis, answering Edmonton’s three-goal outburst in the second. Alex Pietrangelo connected on a slap shot 19 seconds into the third and the Blues tied it at 3 when David Backes scored at 1:48, both on the power play. Chris Stewart

meetings with the Predators this season. Gabriel Bourque scored his first NHL goal for Nashville. SHARKS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1 At San Jose, California, Joe Thornton scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period of his 500th game with San Jose as the Sharks went on to beat Columbus for their third straight win. Ryane Clowe added a power-play goal, Jason Demers had two assists and Thomas Greiss made 23 saves in his first game since Dec. 3 as the Sharks followed up road wins over nemesis Vancouver and Anaheim with one against the NHL’s worst team. Vinny Prospal scored and Curtis Sanford made

BRUINS 9, FLAMES 0 At Boston, Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron each had two goals and an assist, and Tuukka Rask earned his third shutout in four starts as Boston cruised to a blowout of road-weary Calgary. The win was the ninth in 10 games for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have outscored the opposition 49-13 during that span, with Rask and Tim Thomas combining for four shutouts. The Bruins won their previous home game 8-0 over Florida. Rask, who stopped 25 shots for the 11th shutout of his career, has allowed one goal in his last four starts. The Flames ended a seven-game road trip with their fifth straight loss, going 2-4-1 on the journey. RANGERS 3, PANTHERS 2, OT At New York, Marian Gaborik scored 3:29 into overtime for New York, which outlasted Florida to move to the top of the NHL standings with its eighth win in nine games. Martin Biron, starting for the fourth time in nine games to give No 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist a lighter workload, made 19 saves. Defenseman Anton Stralman and captain Ryan Callahan also scored for the Rangers, who showed no ill effects coming back to play indoors after their Winter Classic victory at Philadelphia on Monday. Marcel Goc and Mike Santorelli scored goals, Mikael Samuelsson had two assists and Scott Clemmensen stopped 38 shots for the Southeast Division-leading Panthers, 02-3 in their last five road games - including two losses at Madison Square Garden. MAPLE LEAFS 4, JETS 0 At Toronto, Jonas Gustavsson stopped 24 shots for his second career shutout to lead Toronto past Winnipeg. Phil Kessel, Tim Connolly, Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur scored. Gustavsson’s previous NHL shutout came as a rookie in December 2009, when he stopped 25 shots in a victory over Boston. He had made 65 appearances since then. SENATORS 4, LIGHTNING 1 At Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and two assists, and Craig Anderson made 35 saves as Ottawa beat Tampa Bay to extend its winning streak to four games. Alfredsson got his second assist on Zack Smith’s goal at 16:34 that made it 3-1. Alfredsson scored into an empty net at 19:07. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist, and Jason Spezza and

ST LOUIS: Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Smyth (94) looks up at the puck as St Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Jan 5, 2012. — AP also had a goal for St. Louis, in the first period. Taylor Hall, Ben Eager and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers. STARS 4, PREDATORS 1 At Nashville, Tennessee, Mike Ribeiro scored two goals in the first period as Dallas beat Nashville to ruin the return of Predators captain Shea Weber from a concussion. Weber had missed four games since being hurt Dec. 23 in a loss at Dallas in a collision with Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. But Ribeiro scored twice with Loui Eriksson assisting on both. Jamie Benn added a goal and an assist and Adam Burish had a goal as the Stars won for the second time in two

37 saves for the Blue Jackets. KINGS 1, COYOTES 0, OT At Los Angeles, Jonathan Quick equaled a career best with his NHL-leading sixth shutout and defenseman Drew Doughty scored during a goalmouth scramble 38 seconds into overtime to lift Los Angeles over Phoenix. Quick made 22 saves in his 20th career shutout, his seventh by a 1-0 score. The Kings, who came in with a league-low 87 goals, were held to fewer than three in regulation for the 18th time in 20 games. But they still haven’t lost in regulation (5-0-3) since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as coach.— AP


Kings go Smart CALIFORNIA: The Sacramento Kings named Keith Smart as the team’s new head coach on Thursday after firing Paul Westphal following a 2-5 start to the season. Smart coached the Golden State Warriors last season and joined the Kings as an assistant this season. “Keith will bring a new perspective to the team as we try to move forward with the season,” Geoff Petrie, president of basketball operations, said in a statement on the team’s website. “He’s very well prepared and will assume the job with some new ideas and new approaches of his own. We’re all excited and looking forward to working with him.” In his debut as Kings head coach on Thursday, Smart’s team rallied from a 21-points half-time deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 103-100. — Reuters

Kallis steers South Africans to victory CAPE TOWN: A superb all-round performance by Jacques Kallis carried South Africa to a series-clinching 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the third and final test at Newlands yesterday. Kallis, having scored 224 in the South African first innings, claimed three for 35 to end an obdurate Sri Lankan second innings on 342, leaving the hosts with a nominal target of two runs to win. Kallis, playing his 150th test, also took four catches to equal the South African record for the most catches by an outfielder in an innings as well as the mark of six catches in a test set by Albert Vogler in 1909/10 and matched by Bruce Mitchell in 1931/32. South Africa’s win brings to an end a run of four winless series at home dating back to 2008/9. They were held up on the fourth day by the determined Thilan Samaraweera, who scored a defiant 115 not out in 325 minutes, off 215 balls. Angelo Mathews scored 63 and the tail-enders had some fun as well as they helped the experienced Samaraweera to prolong South Africa’s time in the field to nine minutes after the scheduled tea break. — Reuters


PORTLAND: Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace (top) flies to the basket over Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Portland on Thursday, Jan 5, 2012. — AP

Injury-hit Heat outlast Hawks ATLANTA: Chris Bosh scored 33 points as the Miami Heat, playing without injured stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-109 in triple-overtime on Thursday night. Mario Chalmers had 22 of his 29 points after the third quarter for the Heat, including five in the third overtime. Wade missed his second straight game with a sore left foot and James was held out after he turned his left ankle late in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 118-83 win over Indiana. Neither star was in uniform. Bosh hit a last-second, tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force the first overtime. Joe Johnson had 20 points for the Hawks. KINGS 103, BUCKS 100 At Sacramento, California, Tyreke Evans made four free throws in the final minute to finish with 26 points as Sacramento overcame a 21-point half-

time deficit to stun Milwaukee hours after the Kings fired coach Paul Westphal. Marcus Thornton scored 27 points and DeMarcus Cousins finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Kings, completing a stretch of three games in three nights at 1-2. Brandon Jennings scored 31 points, and Drew Gooden had 18 and nine rebounds for the Bucks. TRAIL BLAZERS 107, LAKERS 96 At Portland, Oregon, Gerald Wallace had 31 points and sparked a key thirdquarter run to lead Portland to its 11th win in the last 13 meetings against the Lakers as the Rose Garden. LaMarcus Aldridge added 28 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which led by as many as 14 points. The Blazers had just four turnovers despite pushing the tempo for the entire game. Kobe Bryant scored 30 points despite a torn ligament

in his right wrist, and Andrew Bynum had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who have had trouble at the Rose Garden with losses in 11 of their last 13 game in Portland. SPURS 93, MAVERICKS 71 At San Antonio, Matt Bonner scored 17 points and San Antonio limited Dirk Nowitzki to just six in a win over Dallas. Richard Jefferson scored 16 points and Gary Neal added 12 for the Spurs, who held Nowitzki to his lowest scoring output since he had five points in a Dec. 18, 2009, game that he left early because of injury. Jason Terry scored 12 points and Delonte West had 10 to lead Dallas, which lost point guard Jason Kidd to a lower back injury with 24.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Kidd, who appeared to pull up, was replaced by Vince Carter and didn’t return. — AP

CAPE TOWN: Final scores on the fourth day of the third and final Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Newlands yesterday: South Africa, first innings, 580-4 dec Sri Lanka, first innings, 239 Sri Lanka, second innings (overnight 138-4) L. Thirimanne c Amla b Kallis 30 T. Dilshan c Boucher b Philander 5 K. Sangakkara c Kallis b Imran Tahir 34 M. Jayawardene c Kallis b Morkel 12 T. Samaraweera not out 115 A. Mathews lbw b Philander 63 D. Chandimal c Kallis b Philander 1 T. Perera c Morkel b Imran Tahir 30 R. Herath c and b Kallis 0 D. Prasad st Boucher b Imran Tahir 16 C. Welegedera b Kallis 14 Extras (b1, lb15, w6) 22 Total (107.5 overs) 342 Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Dilshan), 2-79 (Thirimanne), 3-83 (Sangakkara), 4-98 (Jayawardene), 5-240 (Mathews), 6248 (Chandimal), 7-304 (Perera), 8-306 (Herath), 9-331 (Prasad) Bowling: Steyn 20-3-56-0 (1w ), Philander 20-4-54-3 , Morkel 19-4-68-1, Imran Tahir 32-7-106-3, Kallis 14.5-235-3 (1w), Smith 2-0-7-0 South Africa, second innings A. Petersen not out G. Smith not out Extras (nb1) Total (0 wkts, 0.0 overs) Bowling: Prasad 0.0-0-2-0 (1nb) Result: South Africa won by 10 wickets Series: South Africa won 2-1

1 0 1 2



Henry rejoins Arsenal on loan


SYDNEY: Australian team players celebrate their win over India on the fourth day in their cricket test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

Australia crush India Aussies go 2-0 up in series SYDNEY: Australia, inspired by captain Michael Clarke, crushed India by an innings and 68 runs in the second test at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday to take a dominant 2-0 lead in the fourmatch series. Clarke’s mammoth unbeaten 329 in Australia’s 659 for four declared, combined with another display of aggressive pace bowling, ensured the hosts would win successive matches in a test series for the first time since March 2010. It was the sixth successive overseas test defeat

for India after their 4-0 drubbing in England last year, which saw them relinquish the number one world ranking, and put paid to their hopes of a first series triumph in Australia. “I can’t keep the smile off my face,” Clarke, who was named Man of the Match, told reporters. “I’ve always said you’ve got to enjoy your success as a team. Tonight’s going to be very special to the team, but for me personally as well. “I’m really stoked with our performance and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to score that

Australia’s Shaun Marsh flies high as he catches out India batsman Zaheer Khan. — AP

many runs in an innings personally.” India had faced a Herculean task to rescue the match after Australia declared with a lead of 468 on Thursday but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the seeds of the defeat had been sewn when they were bundled out for 191 on the opening day. “We didn’t put enough runs on the board,” he said. “To win test matches, of course taking 20 wickets is very important but also we need to give that cushion, having those extra runs on the board so that the bowlers can plan the opposition out. “We have lost the chance of winning the series but still with two more test matches to go we can level the series so that’s what we’re looking to do.” The series resumes in Perth next Friday before the fourth and final test in Adelaide. SPIRITED BATTING Some spirited batting from the Indian tailenders extended the second contest beyond the tea break yesterday before spinner Ravi Ashwin was caught out for 62, a fifth wicket for Ben Hilfenhaus, to bring a close to India’s second innings for 400. Sachin Tendulkar’s 21st attempt to secure his 100th international century had earlier ended when he was dismissed for 80 soon after lunch, triggering a mini collapse with four wickets tumbling for 15 runs. And it was Clarke, who had shared record stands with Ricky Ponting (134) and Mike Hussey (150 not out) as he batted through day three of the contest, making the key breakthrough with his occasional spin-bowling. Tendulkar had resumed on 70 after lunch having raced to his 65th test fifty in the morning and had added 10 runs to his tally when he got an edge to a Clarke delivery which deflected off the gloves of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin into Hussey’s hands. Australia then took the new ball and Hilfenhaus, who ended with figures of 5-106 wrought havoc with it, bowling VVS Laxman first up for 66 with a peach of a ball that just touched the off stump. —Reuters

SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Scorecard on the fourth day of the second Test between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. India 1st innings 191 (M.S. Dhoni 57 not out, S. Tendulkar 41; J. Pattinson 4-43) Australia 1st innings 659 for 4 declared (M. Clarke 329 not out, M. Hussey 150 not out, R. Ponting 134; Zaheer Khan 3-122) India 2nd innings (overnight 114 for 2) G. Gambhir c Warner b Siddle 83 V. Sehwag c Warner b Hilfenhaus 4 R. Dravid b Hilfenhaus 29 S. Tendulkar c Hussey b Clarke 80 V.V.S. Laxman b Hilfenhaus 66 V. Kohli lbw b Pattinson 9 M.S. Dhoni c and b Hilfenhaus 2 R. Ashwin c Lyon b Hilfenhaus 62 Z. Khan c Marsh b Siddle 35 I. Sharma lbw b Lyon 11 U. Yadav not out 0 Extras (b6, lb3, w2, nb8) 19 Total (all out; 110.5 overs) 400 Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Sehwag), 2-100 (Dravid), 3-168 (Gambhir), 4-271 (Tendulkar), 5-276 (Laxman), 6-286 (Dhoni), 7-286 (Kohli), 8-342 (Zaheer), 9-384 (Sharma), 10-400 (Ashwin) Bowling: Pattinson 23-4-106-1 (7nb, 1w), Hilfenhaus 32.5-8-106-5 (1w), Siddle 24-8-88-2 (1nb), Lyon 20-2-64-1, Clarke 9-0-22-1, Hussey 2-0-5-0 Australian won by an innings and 68 runs Australia lead series 2-0 Man-of-the-match: Michael Clarke (AUS)

07 Jan 2012  

Kuwait Times

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