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Kuwait National & Liberation Days

Turkey seeks to boost ties with Kuwait, Gulf Gul ‘pained’ by Syria bloodbath, urges end to crisis

Blast kills six British troops in Afghanistan KABUL: Six British soldiers were killed when a massive explosion hit their armoured vehicle in Afghanistan, the military said yesterday, taking the British toll in the war against Taleban insurgents to more than 400. The soldiers were on patrol in the restive southern province of Helmand, where most British troops are based, when the blast hit their heavily-armoured and tank-tracked Warrior fighting vehicle Tuesday, the British defence ministry said. Early reports listed the soldiers as “missing, believed killed”, but military sources said later the men were dead and that it had taken time to recover the vehicle. “We were on a joint patrol mission in Nahre Saraj district near Lashkar Gah city last night when a British armoured vehicle ahead of us hit a landmine, killing six soldiers,” an Afghan army corps commander in Helmand, Sayed Malook, told AFP. A witness said the vehicle burned all night. “The tank of the foreign forces has been totally burned down - it was in flames all last night,” a resident of the district, Abdul Ali, told AFP. “It wasn’t turned over, but it is charred now.” A military source in Afghanistan said the possibility that the vehicle had hit a Soviet-era mine had not been ruled out. Old mines remain a threat in a country that has suffered 30 years of war, including a 10-year occupation by Soviet forces in the 1980s. Taleban insurgents said in a statement on their website that the vehicle - described as an American “tank” - had been blown apart by an improvised Continued on Page 13

ANKARA: Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan (left) meets Turkish President Abdullah Gul yesterday. — Photo by Majed Al-Sabeji

Apple unveils new iPad, Apple TV box LONDON: Apple yesterday unveiled a new iPad with a higher resolution display and an updated version of the Apple TV box used to stream movies, TV shows and other content from the Internet to TV sets. The new iPad screen features 264 pixels per inch, providing the best display ever on a mobile device, Apple executives said during a product presentation in San Francisco broadcast live to reporters in London. The new iPad - the third version of the touchscreen tablet computer introduced in April 2010 - also features a five -megapixel camera, a faster processor and high-definition video recording.

It will go on sale on March 16 at the same price as the previous models, which start at $499 for the most basic iPad. Apple said the new iPad will also feature faster 4G LTE connectivity. “Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC world,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said, adding that “the iPad is reinventing personal computing” and spearheading the “post-PC evolution”. The new Apple T V box, which Apple said features a streamlined new user interface, will sell for the same $99 price as the previous model. Apple released the first version of Apple TV in 2007 but it has never really caught on with the public. — AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPad during a launch event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts yesterday. — AFP

Indian reporter with Iran link held for Israel attack


Five-goal Messi leads Barcelona into last eight


UN aid chief enters battered Baba Amr area Jazeera cuts flights DAMASCUS: UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos entered the battered Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr yesterday along with a team from the Syrian Red Crescent, as efforts continued apace to bring an end to a year of deadly violence in the country. “Madame Amos entered with the team of volunteers from the Syrian Red Crescent, which stayed 45 minutes in the district,” said a spokesman from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Crescent and the ICRC had been seeking since Friday to enter Baba Amr - the target of a month-long bombing campaign to oust rebel fighters - but the government repeatedly barred them from evacuating wounded civilians and delivering desperately needed supplies. Meanwhile, Kuwait’s low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways has reduced the number of flights it operates in and out of Syria because turmoil in the country is making it difficult to operate a full service. The airline is now offering six flights a week compared with the 18 it offered before the unrest started, Chairman Marwan Boodai told Reuters in an interview. “We hope the situation will improve there and get back to normal ... currently we operate six flights a week. That is needed to serve our customers,” he said. Boodai said his company had increased the number of flights it operates to Jeddah, Dubai and Cairo and that this had offset the loss of the halted Syria flights. Despite the situation in the region the carrier was able to report KD 10.6 million ($38.1 million) annual profit on Tuesday. Saleh Dabbakeh, an ICRC spokesman in Damascus, said that Amos and the Syrian Red Crescent team accompanying her “discovered what we already knew, which is that the residents of the area had fled during the fighting”. He said the ICRC had for two weeks been providing humanitarian aid in several regions to Continued on Page 13

Max 22º Min 10º High Tide 12:05 & 23:52 Low Tide 05:32 & 17:40

ANKARA: Turkey is most desirous of bolstering its ties with Kuwait particularly and the whole Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bloc in general to guarantee regional stability and security, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul yesterday. The president was speaking to a senior-level Kuwaiti press delegation, and stressed that “Kuwaitis know, better than anyone else how important it is to have stability in their geographic context”. Gul noted his country has strategic relations with the GCC and added relations with Kuwait are unique and excellent. Recalling important Kuwaiti investments here, he expressed a wish to see a boost in economic and trade exchange. On allowing Kuwaitis to own property in Turkey, he said this is an “important” issue, while clearly specifying the Turkish constitution states on reciprocal treatment in the other direction. He added the authorities are considering an exemption for GCC nationals. On visiting Kuwait, Gul recalled his visits when he served as foreign minister and during his current presidency during celebrations marking the 50th independence and 20th liberation anniversaries had been on the invitation of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The Amir has also visited Turkey twice, first in 2008 when cooperation agreements in many fields were signed and again in 2009 to take part in an economic summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. On the situation in Syria, Gul said “the continuation of the bloodbath in Syria pains us, and we hope the crisis ends in a manner that is to the benefit of the Syrian people and the region”. Members of the delegation remarked that after a very harsh language on the part of Turkey regarding the Syrian regime’s massacres of its people, Turkey seems to have “slacked”. To this the president responded by stressing that “Turkey’s action in this regard must not be misconstrued. Our country opted to work in coordination with the Arab League”. Turkey, he added, is fully behind the Arab initiative to end the Syrian crisis. Continued on Page 13

Long slog ahead in divisive GOP race Romney seeks to ease doubts BOSTON: Republicans yesterday eyed a grueling, divisive battle for the party’s 2012 White House candidate after Mitt Romney boosted his pole position but failed to knock out rival Rick Santorum. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, consolidated his front-runner status with a string of victories in the 10state Super Tuesday vote, even as Santorum held his own in key southern states. Santorum kept his hopes alive with a trio of victories in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, but Romney took six states: Idaho, Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont, Alaska and the most closely watched contest, Ohio. In a further twist, former House speaker Newt Gingrich also won one, his home state of Georgia. With no clear winner, the battle is still on to be the nominee to challenge Democrat President Barack Obama in November polls. “I think the long slog continues for Mitt Romney towards the nomination,” Dante Scala, a professor of politics at the University of New Hampshire, told AFP with the candidates now eyeing upcoming votes in March and into April. Still, Super Tuesday left little doubt in analysts’ minds that Romney will eventually secure the crown as Republicans bid to deny Obama a second term. And despite being battered, millionaire businessman Romney, 64, can boast that he is a survivor, despite lingering skepticism among his party of his conservative credentials. He has now won primaries in both Florida and Ohio, two swing states Republicans must win to claim the White

House. Romney ended up taking Ohio by more than 10,000 votes, or one percent of the vote, denying Santorum his central argument that he alone can compete against Obama in working-class, Midwestern swing states. “We’re on our way,” Romney told supporters in a ballroom in the Westin Hotel in Boston. “I’m not going to let you down. I’m going to get this nomination.” House Majority leader Eric Cantor, who on Sunday became the first of the top Continued on Page 13

BOSTON: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney attends a Super Tuesday Republican primary elections evening on Tuesday. — AFP




Kuwait govt urged to stop mistreatment of bedoons It is time to acknowledge bedoons’ rights to nationality: RI KUWAIT: Refugees International, a human rights watchdog which assists displaced people, urged Kuwait to stop mistreating more than 100,000 stateless people and to address their citizenship demands. In a report on the bedoon issue in Kuwait, the US-based organization RI urged US, British and UN diplomats to directly engage the Kuwaiti government on the issue. The report was prepared following a visit by a delegation from the organization to Kuwait last month. “During their visit to Kuwait, RI advocates found that Kuwaiti special forces used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations, including beatings, tear gas, and rubber bullets,” the report said. Kuwait says only 34,000 of the 105,000 bedoons present in the oil-rich Gulf state are eligible for citizenship, accusing the remaining 71,000 of concealing their true nationalities. Below is the full report: As many as 100,000 people living in Kuwait are stateless. Called “bedoon”, over the last 12 months, thousands have been gathering peacefully in Taima Square to insist that the government recognize their Kuwaiti nationality. Refugees International is calling on the government of Kuwait to refrain from any further use of violence and to investigate serious allegations of abuse by special security forces. Pending applications for nationality filed by the bedoons should be fairly and transparently adjudicated as a matter of priority. Although bedoons lived in Kuwait long before its independence in 1961, they are considered by the authorities as “illegal residents” and refused birth certificates, public schooling, marriage certificates, and the right to peacefully assemble. Bedoons also face barriers to healthcare; some can access limited health insurance while others are denied healthcare altogether. Most bedoons live in two communities of makeshift housing about 18 miles outside of Kuwait City. The communities are so marginalized that one Kuwaiti national who participated in the demonstrations said, “I didn’t know where Taima Square was, I had to use my GPS.” They must rent accommodations, as they have no right to own, sell, or pass property on to their children upon death. Despite their multi-generational presence in the nation, bedoons are not recognized as legal residents in Kuwait, and in almost all circumstances, they are not permitted to leave because the government refuses to issue travel documents. Excessive force used Recommencing in December 2011, thousands of bedoons have gathered peacefully on Fridays to demand that the government take action on their individual applications for nationality. Prior to and during their protests, bedoons made a concerted effort to counter negative stereotypes about them by donating blood, handing out flowers to the Special Forces guarding the demonstrations, offering tea and coffee to the police, and cleaning up garbage after the gatherings. In response to the gatherings, the government used tear gas, rubber bullets, sound bombs, beatings, detentions, and trials to quell the bedoons’ peaceful assembly. While these events took place, citizen journalists made videos and took photographs. As a result, many instances of abuse are well documented on Twitter and Facebook, including the beating of a woman. Among the arrested were children, differentlyabled, and the elderly. One of the arrested bedoons was a man who had lost his child because the Kuwait government did not permit the six-year-old to travel to Saudi Arabia for cancer treatment, even though transportation to and from the country, as well as all medical services, had been donated. Several male bedoons who were detained detailed four consistent

forms of grave mistreatment: sexual abuse, beatings, solitary confinement, and as many as 32 people being packed into small jail cells. With little room, they took turns standing for long hours and then sleeping on a cement floor. While RI was in Kuwait in February, 71 members of the bedoon community had already been in jail for more than 40 days due to their participation in demonstrations in December 2011 and January 2012. In late February 2012, the government released 59 individuals. But as of writing, 12 remain in jail. Reportedly, the 59 obtained releases after an MP threatened to file a request for interrogation of the Prime Minister regarding the detention of individuals who participated in the bedoon gatherings, as well as others arrested for their critical comments about the government. RI was told that the Prime Minister avoided the appeal by agreeing to an arrangement in

community has publicly expressed concern for the bedoons. Around the same time as the bedoons’ arrest, in Geneva the UN commended the government of Kuwait on its strides towards eliminating racial discrimination. Inside Kuwait, no UN agency has stepped forward publicly to demand that the human rights of the bedoons be respected and protected. Neither the United States Embassy nor the United Kingdom Embassy has made any public statement in support of them. On Feb. 17, 2012, the Kuwait’s government provided a statement assessing its efforts toward eliminating racial discrimination to the Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In its statement, the government asserted that 93,000 individuals had been registered as unlawful residents, and a “central body was created to address the needs of unlawful residents, such as free

KUWAIT: A file photo of bedoons demonstrating in Taima Square recently. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat which 59 bedoons would be released from detention along with unrelated individuals arrested for their critical comments about the government. Bail was set at $1,600, which not all the bedoons could afford, so charities and individuals stepped in to help make payments. Within days, the government had arrested three more individuals considered activists and organizers of the gatherings. One of the individuals was arrested at the airport. He had planned to complete the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Makkah. In December 2012, a judge dismissed charges against 31 bedoons arrested for peaceful assembly in February 2011 because he said that the bedoons had been “gathering”, and the Kuwaiti constitution permits all “individuals” to gather. Legal counsel and human rights groups do not expect the upcoming trials to result in a similar decision. Failure of accountability Unfortunately, neither United Nations nor the international

medical care, free education and issuance of birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates, and driver’s licenses.” Despite recent documentation demonstrating excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, the failure to meaningfully implement any government benefits, and no movement on nationality files since 2009, the Country Rapporteur and the Committee considered Kuwait’s progress toward implementing the provisions of the Convention satisfactory. This finding is in direct contradiction to the bedoons’ experience and by not confronting Kuwaiti government on the actual treatment of the bedoons, the Committee was derelict in its duties. Kuwait is currently a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a member, it is “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.” Membership in the Council provided an opportunity for Kuwait to implement

policies consistent with the human rights of the bedoons by treating them as nationals with rights equal to those of other Kuwaitis. During the nomination process, the UN Human Rights Council did not request this action. Inside Kuwait, UN agencies have failed to engage the Kuwait’s government in discussions that would advance bedoons’ rights. Despite a mandate that includes the protection of stateless persons and the authority to take up individual protection claims by individual bedoons, the UN Refugee Agency does not have direct interaction with the bedoon community. Moreover, no public outcry has been forthcoming from the international community. Lacking any public criticism, Kuwait’s government may continue its crackdown on bedoons with total impunity, to the great danger of bedoons and at exceptional harm to the credibility of the international system of protection. Reflecting on the situation, a bedoon told RI, “We’re back to square one.” Both the United States and the United Kingdom have a strong diplomatic presence in Kuwait, but neither has prioritized the rights of bedoons to nationality, nor followed up with Kuwait’s Parliament regarding the processing of nationality applications. Engagement with the Kuwaiti government, Parliament’s Bedoon Committee, and the bedoons themselves is critical to moving forward. Unfulfilled promise of nationality Over the last 12 years more than 80,000 applications for nationality have been placed before the Kuwait government’s “Bedoon Committee.” Bedoons with Kuwaiti mothers are included in this queue because Kuwait’s nationality law is discriminatory and does not permit a woman to confer nationality on her children or spouse. On rare occasions, the committee has conferred nationality on some bedoons, a few hundred in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and 1800 in 2005. Since 2009, the Committee has not conferred nationality on any bedoons. The arbitrary nature of these adjudications keeps many bedoons in a constant state of fear, and some bedoons were opposed to the demonstrations as a result. They were afraid that by asserting their rights, the goal of nationality would be lost for themselves and their families. Kuwait has set a precedent of using security concerns to block nationality claims. Originally intended to deny nationality to those bedoons who fought alongside Iraq during the 1991 occupation, the use of a “security block” has grown exponentially to include activists and others, often without their knowledge or the reason for the block. A security block prevents access to a variety of government services, and makes the acquisition of nationality almost impossible. RI was told by a human rights organization that 850 individuals have a security block due to perceived collaboration with the Iraqis, but that the list is likely to be greater than 3,000. Some believe the list includes as many as 30,000 individuals. RI was also told that even within the aforementioned 850, there are surely errors as many Kuwaitis were used as “moles” (an intelligence mechanism) on the Iraqi side and therefore should not be considered collaborators. No application for nationality should be denied due to a security block unless it is demonstrated that the person actively supported Iraq during the 1991 invasion. Kuwait’s government publicly warned activists that participation in demonstrations would result in a permanent security block on their nationality files and possible deportation. But for many of the bedoons RI met with, this carrot-and-stick approach to nationality had lost its force. As one man told RI, he was willing to sacrifice his own opportunity to gain nationality if it meant his two-year-old daughter may acquire it someday. — Refugees International

Gallery closed for ‘inappropriate content’ KUWAIT: Security officers shut down the gallery of an internationally-renowned Kuwaiti artist on Tuesday for featuring paintings which were objectionable, according to news reports published yesterday. “[Officers] believed that the paintings were inappropriate and too audacious”, said artist Shurouq Ameen who held 16 galleries including 10 outside Kuwait throughout her artistic career. Ameen further told a local daily that police officers probably showed up “after a visitor was offended by one of my works and decided to report it”. The officers arrived at the LM Gallery at Al-Salhiya Mall by around 10 pm Monday night, three hours after Ameen’s gallery, titled ‘A Man’s World’ was inaugurated. The officers took pictures of a painting which Ameen believes caused the controversy, before ordering the gallery to close. “We won’t stop because we are demanding our constitutional freedom of ideology”, said Ameen who is also an English poet with three published books.

Despite enjoying a good level of open-mindedness in the conservative Arabian Gulf region compared to its neighbors, Kuwait has strict rules that criminalize offensive remarks made in public including the press and media outlets. After the election of a conservative majority in the Parliament last month, many within the Gulf state feared that regulations which would enforce more restrictions on public freedoms would be passed. Earlier this week, a newly established Islamist group named Al-Adalah (justice) Bloc proposed draft laws that ban wearing ‘indecent attire’ at local beaches and put restrictions on plastic surgeries. This news drew wide reactions especially among citizens on social networking websites, while liberal groups such as the National Democratic Alliance criticized prioritizing laws that restrict public freedoms instead of focusing on more crucial issues like improving health and educational sectors. — Al-Qabas

Govt to approve ‘disappointing’ pay raise KUWAIT: Kuwait is likely to adopt general salary increases ranging between 20 and 40 percent of base salary for public sector employees instead of looking into individual financial requests made by labour unions in numerous state departments. According to sources familiar with a meeting held by the Civil Service Council Tuesday, a recommendation containing these percentage rates was filed to be reviewed by the Cabinet - and perhaps adopted - during its next weekly session. Speaking to a local daily on the condition of anonymity, the sources said that the increase would cover all Kuwaitis working in the public and private sectors, as well as retired citizens and those covered by social insurance. The council reportedly also amended job descriptions for several jobs where employees demand similar classification with peers working in other departments and are entitled to higher pay. While the sources assured that the recommendations will help “maintain equality in pay between public staff members”, other anonymous sources noted that the meeting did not feature approval of any allowances or pay raise requests made by labor unions who threaten to stage labor strikes. These sources are employed at the Civil Service Commission which handles public sector employment and payment strategies based on regulations passed by the Civil Service Council. A massive sit-in featuring several labor unions led by the Kuwait Trade Union Federation was scheduled to take place last night at the KTUF

building in Maidan Hawally in protest against unpaid financial demands. The recent governmental updates were not expected to thwart these plans given the fact that proposed pay raise falls short of most unions’ demands. Reacting to the story, MP Mohammad Hayef said that any general salary increase that falls short from the 60-100 percent range is not acceptable. In other news, members of the parliament’s human rights committee visited the Central Jail Tuesday to check on the confinement situations, during which they met with Syrian inmates ready for deportation for attempting to raid their country’s

embassy last month. “It is difficult to resolve political issues by employing security decisions”, said MP Mohammad Hayef who along with fellow lawmakers Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Adel AlDamkhi also visited columnist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi detained for sectarian-related charges. “Al-Mulaifi’s case has been exaggerated... in order to make sure that justice truly prevails, legal action should be taken against those who insulted Al-Mualifi [in retaliation against his remarks on Shiites]”, Hayef said. The committee members also visited bedoon residents who until yesterday were held for illegal demonstrations. — Al-Rai

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait took part in a ceremony held recently by teaching staff at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training to celebrate national holidays. The CBK held a pavilion during the event about the cultural campaign it is currently organizing featuring various activities until April 5.



ANKARA: A senior media delegation from Kuwait is seen with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul after a meeting with him in Ankara. — KUNA

IAPU hails Assembly’s Syria recommendations KUWAIT: The 18th Conference of the InterArab Parliamentary Union (IAPU) lauded here recent recommendations by the Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) on the situation in Syria. The Kuwaiti parliament had called for sending medical teams to Syria, bringing in critically injured protesters for medical treatment at Kuwaiti hospitals, launching a fund-raising campaign and allowing Syrians living here to get in their families, mainly women and children. The IAPU conference kicked off here on Monday and In a final communique, the conferees openly condemned crimes committed against the Syrian people, which left thousands of Syrians killed or wounded and rendered other thousands homeless. Sounding the alarm about a looming civil war in Syria, they said the solution to the Syrian crisis is a “political one”, which should include an immediate halt to violence and killing, non-international intervention, release of all detainees and a peaceful power transition. This political solution should find its way through the Arab League, they stressed. On the GCC, they voiced concerns over “Iran’s continuing interference in the internal affairs of the GCC member states in breach of their sovereignty and independence”. They, therefore, called on Iran to stop such practices and commit to good-neighborliness principles and international laws and norms. However, the Arab members of parliament supported the states’ right to peaceful nuclear energy with commitment and cooperation with the IAEA, while urging a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear standoff. On Palestine, they denounced all Israeli racial violations of the Palestinian people. They called for an Arab boycott against the Zionist entity, and for Arab strict steps against any country that may support it or provide political, military and financial support to it. They appreciated the recent smooth power transition in Yemen in line with the Gulf initiative. They welcomed the outcomes of a recent conference in London on inter-Somali reconciliation. But, they urged Arab countries to provide urgent material, humanitarian and medical support to the drought-hit Somali people. On Lebanon and Sudan, the Arab con-

ferees stressed these Arab countries’ security, stability, unity and territorial integrity. Finally, they underlined the significance of empowering women and enacting pieces of legislation that should reinforce democracy, freedoms, human rights, good governance, rule of law and justice. Meanwhile, the President of the Palestinian National Council Saleem AlZanoun praised the timing of hosting the conference, describing it as “unique and unlike other conferences.” Al-Zanoun, made his remarks during the current session of the conference, scheduled to conclude its work later today. The Palestinian official noted that the Arab region is going through a critical time, proving once again the Arab human thrive toward a decent life amid rules that governs and respect human rights, freedom of expression, and honest work. Al-Zanoun stressed that a new age is coming to Arab nations, despite the negative and positive circumstances surrounding the rapidly changing developments, hoping also that Arab people triumph and realize peoples hopes and wishes. For his part, Speaker of Yemeni parliament Yahya Ali Al-Raee said that the “current political crisis we all witnessed in recent months, came and could have stopped all developmental progress, we barely overcome such dangers and violent path due to the wise leadership of many leaders, parties, and political organizations.” The Yemeni Speaker added the caretaker of GCC initiative to Yemen political crisis was vital in the country, noting that the recent Yemeni president election was a “complete success.” Al-Raee said that the Palestinian issue is still the main factor to all what has been taking place in the Arab world, praising the recent event of raising the Palestinian flag over the headquarters of UNESCO. “We are looking forward to raising the same flag in Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state,” A-Raee added. Last night, the AIPU witnessed similar speeches by other Arab speakers, conclusively asserting on the critical time the Arab, region, and international arena is facing, which calls for unifying stance and work for the safety of the Arab world. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Emergency Operation center received a report about an apartment fire in Maidan Hawally. North and south Salmiya fire stations responded to the alert. As firemen arrived at the site, they found fire on the fifth floor of an eight floor building. Smoke was very heavy, and firemen had to evacuate the building completely. The fire was brought under control without casualties.

Filipina beaten by two youths By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A Filipina reported to Farwaniya police that two youths in a car beat her in public. A case was filed. Security sources said the owner of the car was caught, but he denied beating the woman. The woman said the man was not the one who beat her. The man said the one who beat her in the street was the son of an MP. The son of the MP is being called for investigation. Unmasked case A Kuwaiti woman reported to police that she was shopping when a Kuwaiti man approached her and tried to give her his telephone number. When she refused, he pulled her face mask off her head and ran away. A case of sexual assault was filed at Abu Halifa police station.

Kuwaiti cheated A Kuwaiti man reported that his fellow citizen cheated him. He told police that he became acquainted with the man, who told him that he was an expert in the stock exchange. Accordingly, he gave him KD 25,000 to work on in the market. Later, the expert told him the shares he bought made heavy losses. A case was filed. Officer insulted An Ahmadi traffic department officer accused a citizen of insulting him. He said he refused to take his citation and threw it on the ground. The officer said he stopped a citizen for a traffic violation, but after writing the citation the citizen refused to receive it. He refused to write his comments and threw it on the ground and left. A case was filed.

Dr Rasha Al-Sabah is touring the Education Fair and visiting Kuwait Times booth.

Used car sales lots cause problems in crowded areas Doors open for any complaint: Municipality By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Three years ago, the Municipality issued a ministerial decree regulating the parking lots of shops selling used cars in commercial residential areas, and stopped issuing licenses to open new automotive bazaars. This regulation made some of the used car shops close, while others looked for empty lots to park their vehicles in even if they were some distance from their business office. The expansion of some of these shops into residential areas, especially those where new buildings were constructed and more people started to reside, caused problems and pressure on the new tenants. The problem is even greater when this pressure takes place in a crowded area such as Hawalli. Most of the new buildings do not have car parking spaces underground, although this is a new condition to obtain a building license. Many tenants of new buildings have complained of not finding a place to park their car. “I have lived here for about six months and I am facing the problem of finding a place to park my car whenever I come home later

than 9 pm. Our building is new, consisting of seven floors with three apartments on each floor. But there is only space for 10 cars to park around the building. Who comes first can park, and the rest have to search in the sand nearby for empty spaces. Even this would be fine, but the problem is when we cannot find a place to park

es or illegal businesses. According to Osama Al-Duaij, deputy director general of Hawalli Governorate Municipality, it is not allowed to open shops to sell or rent vehicles in commercial residential areas any more. “This commercial activity was legal in the past, but after these areas became more crowded it

KUWAIT: Used cars for sale parked in a busy business area. —Photo by Joseph Shagra even on these spaces, as the nearby used car salesmen are occupying them as lots to display their vehicles for sale,” complained 35year-old Suzan who lives in Hawalli. The Municipality is responsible for protecting state property from violations by commercial business-

was banned. This huge number of cars increases traffic jams and caused an environmental problem, along with damaging the general ambience in the street. This led the Municipal Council to include these shops in decree 372/2008, regarding the disruption of rest and harming health. It also banned the

KAC building lacks safety measures KUWAIT: The Ministry of Finance released an evacuation order for the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) building in downtown Kuwait City, fearing that its outdated structure poses a risk to employees’ lives, according to a news report quoting sources. “[KAC] was given a notice to evacuate the building within a month in order to avoid a disaster that could take place in case it collapsed,” said a KAC official who spoke to a local daily on the condition of anonymity. KAC reportedly contacted the Ministry of Communications after receiving the order to look for an alternative building, highlighting

that the current building doesn’t meet basic safety and security conditions, added the sources. Meanwhile, a senior Kuwait Municipality official denied reports hinting that the KAC building requires an emergency evacuation plan. “The team of engineers did not find any reasons to worry after checks were conducted following a notice from the Kuwait Fire Service Department inquiring about the news”, said Saleh Al-Shemmary, Director of the Capital Municipality Directorate. He added that the municipality has agreed to inspect the building, if necessary. — Al-Qabas

opening of new shops selling cars,” he told Kuwait Times. Existing shops are also limited and regulated by law 149/2006 regarding the use of public spaces to display vehicles for sale. “The size of a space allowed to be used to display cars for rent or sale is 600 meters. During inspections by Municipality inspectors they found most of the shops violated this restriction and used much bigger spaces. We penalized these shops and warned them to return to the legal space specified by the Municipality,” stated AlDuaij. He said the Municipality has limited abilities according to its number of staff. “We work according to our possibilities, although it does not reach our ambition. We invite expatriates and citizens to register any complaint about any violation. “They should not hesitate to come to complain, and our inspectors will go to the place based on this complaint and will check if there is a violation or not. We will then take action against the violator. I know there is a lack of communication between public institutions and non-Arabic speaking expatriates. But I want to ensure them that our doors are open for any complaint,” he concluded.

MOH directors nominated KUWAIT: Hospital Directors have finished nominating heads of department and the nominations have been sent to the minister’s office at the Ministry of Health, sources said. Many Hospital Directors expressed hopes that their choices of heads of department will be reapproved, hoping that reform started by the ministry during the past period will not be destroyed. Some of them expressed fear that some names might be changed, due to pressure by some MPs, for election reasons, political party pressures or on a sectarian basis. Sources said some MPs have started lobbying for those who are not qualified. —Al-Anbaa


LOCAL kuwait digest

Local Spotlight

All equal before the law

Women’s Day celebrations

By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


ccording to a recent report, a female citizen won a court order by which a Kuwait University college was forced to accept her enrollment application that was previously rejected due to its gender-based system. The college explained that they had already reached the maximum quota of new female students and need to keep the remaining seats for male students. The court rejected this appeal and deemed the quota system, which gives 60 percent of new college seats to female students, as unconstitutional. In the meantime, the Parliament legislative committee reportedly plans a draft law which grants Kuwaiti women early retirement. I am not sure exactly which kind of ‘early retirement’ MPs are talking about when the age of retirement in Kuwait is relatively early in the first place. Not to mention, the level of productivity by Kuwaiti employees is so little that it makes it seem like citizens are already living the life of retirement while they are still ‘working’. Either way I believe it is clear that the proposal prepared by Islamist lawmakers aims, in the first place, to keep female citizens inside their homes and prevent a Kuwaiti woman from giving back to her country whenever she tries to do so. Female citizens have already proven their academic superiority over their male counterparts - evident by the genderbased enrollment system by which women are given 60 percent of new seats due to the relatively larger number of female applicants. It is worth noting that the court rejected a system which limits the number of students of a certain gender to be enrolled at Kuwait University. Instead, students are solely accepted as per their academic performance, even if that means that 90 percent of new students enrolled in any year are female. It is sad to see this level of productivity shown by Kuwaiti women met with attempts by their male counterparts in Parliament to kill these ambitions via regulations that prevent them from working. Kuwaiti women earned their right of equality with their male counterparts through hard work. The recent court order is testimony to the fact that the Constitution protects the equal right of education for citizens of both genders (not to mention that article 29 of the Constitution bans discrimination based on gender). We should celebrate this court order by recognizing the role of Kuwaiti women in local society something that MPs behind the early retirement plans do not seem to appreciate. And by the way the same Constitution, based on which the administrative court released its order to allow a female citizen into Kuwait University, will be used to deny early retirement for Kuwaiti women because the law sees all citizens as equal. —Al-Qabas

By Muna Al-Fuzai


oday is International Women’s Day (IWD) and every year, women around the world try to mark this day by remembering the women who stood up against abuse, and fought back. This also includes women in uniforms who are thousands of miles away from their families, standing on the borders to fight for their country’s dignity and interests.

kuwait digest

Offensive speech’s effects By Dr. Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


erbal offense doesn’t only leave a negative effect on the person targeted, but also damages the image of the offender since connotations of speech reflect the level of morality of their speakers. Offensive speech has sadly become a common aspect in our lives, with many incidents in which people fail to control their temper and unleash verbal and sometimes even physical - tirades. When speech based on mutual understanding diminishes, we can say this is a result of ideological differences and a conflict of interests that are normal in a society where people with different social, cultural and educational backgrounds do not feel equal. However, the situation drops to alarming levels when offensive speech is used by scientists, politicians, judges, academics, teachers, religious scholars, parliament members and any other person whom a majority of people look up to. When this problem occurs, it soon becomes a trend when many people start imitating those they admire

in their way of speech even if it fails to live up to morality standards. Hearing Parliament members exchange accusations and insults is something that is not unusual in Kuwait. The result is that this behavior hurts the integrity of the law when it sends a message to people that it’s ok to show animosity towards each other and even express it by offensive means. The increase of the level of violence in our society can be attributed to the culture of hate created by the spread of animosity between people who do not mind if they break the law to settle their differences. Inappropriate behavior has become a disease in our society. It needs to be fixed by spreading awareness among people on how to apply reason to handle their differences. It is important that everyone, especially state officials and those whom people look up to, realize that their irresponsible behavior not only hurts them and their society, but the whole image of their country. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Majority should work constitutionally By Shereedah Al-Mousharjy


overnments from all over the world, control the state’s affairs and interests, and set their priorities right except in Kuwait. We are the only ones led by a Parliament. This inverted situation can be attributed to many reasons, most of which are known to people and are well- memorized. The country’s issues are still open and accessible, and those that are hidden will be revealed by investigation committees that the National Assembly plans to form.

It is an honor to think of all those ladies who are sacrificing their life and jeopardizing their comfort and luxury for a cause, a belief and faith. Thus, they are defending other women for the sake of humanity and out of responsibility. It is an honour to think of all those ladies who are sacrificing their life and jeopardizing their comfort and luxury for a cause, a belief and faith. Thus, they are defending other women for the sake of humanity and out of responsibility. I salute all those ladies and I dedicate this article to every one of them today. An American lady journalist Marie Colvin lost her life in Syria on Feb. 22 in a brutal bombing in the neighbourhood of Baba Amr in Homs. It was very sad because the death of a journalist like Marie or any other reporter or photographer of her calibre is heartbreaking. This is akin to killing the messengers of truth who let the world know the suffering of people. I feel sorry at the loss of such a great woman. But, I think she knew that war is not a picnic. In a normal job, a woman gets paid with cash for her work. Women like Marie Colvin paid a different price. Her life and her family will neither feel shame nor sorry for her and I’m sure that they will be proud of what she did. I know some may think I’m bringing this lady as an example from the West but there are some other ladies that I wish to speak about today. Samar Badawi is a Saudi human rights activist. She had a father, who physically abused her for 15 years, and was even imprisoned. When she was finally released, she had the power to help other women in her extremely conservative Saudi society. Samar Badawi had great courage and strength and took part in the 2011-12 women driving campaign by driving regularly since June 2011 and helping women drivers with police and court procedures. She was invited to the US to receive a reward for being the bravest woman in the world. She earned it and I’m happy for her. She stood in the face of abuse for many years and yet survived. I feel so proud about these ladies and I’m sure there are many others who I can’t speak about, but still deserve a big thank you for giving us their wonderful strength. They have set a role model for us to confront abuse and suffering everywhere. Thank you ladies and remember, it is a tough war, but you are inspiring every one of us.

Satire Wire

We were happy to have a wise, rational majority in the assembly, and we saw good signs on the correct management in Abdallah Al-Salem Chamber, but the final ruling should be passed in some time. The important thing is for this majority to work as part of the Constitution and law, and to conduct all its activities. Is this situation a positive or a negative one? A question that may come to mind after reading the above introduction, is this situation constitutional or unconstitutional? Setting priorities is part of the government’s agenda to be submitted to the Assembly. Kuwait’s Constitution lays down that a cooperation be forged between the two authorities provided one does not relinquish its authority to the other. If the government was in control of the state’s affairs and its leadership, and sets the state’s general plan, then how can it give up setting priorities? We were happy to have a wise, rational majority in the assembly, and we saw good signs on the correct management in Abdallah Al-Salem Chamber, but the final ruling should be passed in some time. The important thing is for this majority to work as part of the Constitution and law, and to conduct all its activities. It should also lead the government towards committing to what the Constitution stipulates. The available number for the majority should not entice it to leave and let power overcome discipline. Yes, there have been attempts by some parties to irk the majority, take its side on conflicts with the only aim of creating chaos and halting achievement that creates crises and strife. This can dissolve the Assembly and make up for major losses during previous elections. The good treatment for such desperate moves is sheer indifference. Only then can we march forward towards serious parliamentary work. —Aljarida

Elevating wrong thing

By Sawsan Kazak


company in Japan recently unveiled plans to build a space elevator by 2050. Apparently, this futuristic elevator will carry 30 people at a time to a terminal station located at an altitude of 36,000 km. The elevator is expected to travel at speeds of 200 km/h, so every one-way trip will take 180 hours to complete (7.5 days). The exact cost of such a project was not disclosed but I’m assuming that space elevators do not come cheap. Leave it to the Japanese to think it’s a wise investment to spend 40 years and billions of dollars on something that takes people nowhere. I won’t mention the potential dangers of being suspended 36,000 km in the air or the oddness of such a vacation. I won’t mention the fact that we barely want to spend 30 seconds in an elevator, leave alone seven-and-a-half days. But what I will mention is the fact that this kind of time and resources can be spent in a better way. How about spending a little more time on scientific research that can help cure diseases like cancer or HIV or to come up with medication that can treat diabetes and other deliberating diseases? Or how about investing in putting an end to world hunger or develop underdeveloped countries? Spending money on education isn’t a bad idea either. I am not against a country creating touristic attractions, but this elevator seems a little farfetched. Spending about 40 years developing a contraption that will transport people miles in the air and then bring them back seems a little useless. Once we achieve world peace, solve the problem of global hunger and put an end to deadly diseases, we can start thinking about trips to the sky.



Kuwaiti woman, 5-year-old injured after roof collapse Child dies in accident KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman and her five-yearold son were hospitalized in a critical condition after the roof collapsed on them while they were asleep. Police and rescuers rushed to a house in Jahra after the incident was reported. The victims were taken in ambulances to Jahra Hospital after being rescued and admitted in the intensive care unit. An investigation has been opened. Riqqa accident A child was killed on a street in Riqqa and police arrested a male driver responsible for the deadly accident. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene following a report about a child being run over. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene after severe head trauma. The Asian driver was taken in to custody. Man killed in fire A Kuwaiti man died of smoke inhalation during a fire that engulfed his Salwa apartment recently. The victim was found unconscious inside his bedroom by fire-fighters who found out that the fire was contained and had ended before they arrived. The man, however, had inhaled enough smoke to sustain fatal breathing complications before fire-fighters arrived. Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was caused by a cigarette which the victim reportedly left alight before falling asleep. Further investigations are still ongoing. Cruise assault Police are looking to apprehend a group of citizens accused of assaulting fishermen and throwing their cell phones in the Gulf waters after they refused orders to switch fishing spots. In their statements to Hawally officers, the Asian fishermen explained that the suspects jumped on to their fishing boats and beat them up before disposing their cell

phones and sailing away on their yacht. The suspects reportedly carried out their assault after first asking the fishermen to choose a different spot than the one they picked, and even threatened them with “more harm� before leaving. The victims provided medical reports showing their injuries, as well as gave the number of the suspects’ yacht. Ingrate son A senior citizen refused to press charges against his elder son who kicked him out of his house to fend for himself. A citizen escorted the 70-year-old man to Al-Rumaithiya police station after finding him in his garden. The old man was hesitant to tell his story to the homeowner at first, but then explained that he had been struggling to find a place to stay after his son threw him out of his house four days ago. The senior citizen strongly refused to provide his son’s information to police. They were eventually able to convince him to give them the phone number of his youngest son (30), who soon arrived at the police station. There, the son realized that his older brother (42) had abandoned their father with whom he has been living. The eldest son eventually showed up at the police station after his young brother provided his information. Police reportedly had to intervene in order to stop a quarrel from taking place between the two brothers, after which the youngest brother said that he will take his father to live with him. The eldest son was released when his father told officers who offered to help him file a case that he can’t take legal action against his own son. Cheating wife A woman whose husband recently busted her illegal affair with his own friend, agreed to forgo custody of her children in exchange of divorce and no legal action against her. The

Arab man who lives with his family at a Salmiya apartment grew suspicious of his wife’s changed behavior that she kept attributing to work exhaustion. His suspicions grew even more when he noticed that both his home’s landline and his wife’s cell phone would be busy for extended periods whenever he tried to call from work. He decided to take a report from a local telecom company of his wife’s phone record, only to find numerous calls between her and his close married friend. After confronting her with the records, the woman admitted that she had been cheating on him with the man he trusted. The man headed to the nearest police station and reported the incident. The couple was summoned for investigations during which they both admitted their illegal relationship. The man eventually offered to drop the charges if she consented for divorce and signed court orders to give up custody of their children. The woman was released after she accepted the husband’s offer. Farwaniya mugging A military man was arrested for mugging pedestrians in Farwaniya and using his attire to intimidate his victims. Investigations had been ongoing following four reports from expatriate residents saying that they were approached by someone wearing a military suit and a badge who would order them to hand over their money before disappearing. Investigators eventually identified a Ministry of Defense serviceman as the prime suspect and placed him under arrest. He admitted responsibility for his crimes after victims identified him in a police line-up. The suspect also indicated that he used rented luxurious cars to help him carry out his crimes by making victims believe he is a senior official. He remains in custody pending further action. — Al-Anbaa, Al-Qabas, Al-Rai

KOC joins Gas Flaring Reduction partnership 17percent down to 1.75 percent over the past six years, he said. This brought great savings, reduced consumption of liquid fuel, and also brought down volume of liquefied gas import. Kuwait is the third country in the Middle East to join the partnership after Iraq and Qatar. By cooperating with GGFR, KOC expects to reduce flaring to less than one percent of associated gas production at the earliest possible. Meanwhile, Director of the WB’s Sustainable Energy Department S. Vijay Iyer said that, “Gas flaring reduction is a vital contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and mitigating climate change.� The GGFR is a public-private initiative of some 30 major oil-producing countries and companies, and it aims to overcome the challenges for the utilization of associated gas, including lack of regulations and markets for associated gas utilization. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) signed an agreement with the World Bank (WB) to join an international initiative to reduce gas flaring and improve utilization of non-renewable energy resources, OIC Board Chairman and Managing Director Sami Al-Rushaid said yesterday. The State of Kuwait thus joins the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) partnership. An OIC press statement said, “Kuwait Oil Company’s phenomenal achievements in Gas Flaring reduction were initially driven by environmental concerns, but it soon became evident that millions of dollars in savings could be accessed by reducing a huge amount of waste of scarce gas resources.� Quoting Al-Rushaid, the statement said, “These results were driven by the dedicated and well-coordinated efforts of various departments across the company.� A subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, KOC reduced flaring from

‘Take measures to prevent heart diseases’ Although cardiac diseases and disorders are commonly known among men, yet women can develop them as well, Al-Mutawa added. World Health Organization set March 8 to celebrate women every year and to highlight the importance of promoting women’s health since 10 percent of women have heart diseases due to smoking. There are other health problems that women face, Al-Mutawa noted. —- KUNA

KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Heart Foundation Faisal Al-Mutawa urged, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, to take utmost precautionary measures to prevent heart and blood vessel diseases in women. In a press statement yesterday, Al-Mutawa clarified that some of the factors that lead to such health problems are overweight, unhealthy diet and smoking.

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NBK among 50 safest banks in the world KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), for the fifth consecutive time, has been listed among the 50 safest banks in the world. NBK moved up 14 spots, to rank 33 from last year’s 47, illustrating the success of the bank’s conservative strategy, prudent risk management and dedication to service excellence. The rankings, compiled by international finance magazine, Global Finance, are based on evaluations of long-term credit ratings-from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings-and total assets of the 500 largest banks worldwide. NBK ranked above several international financial heavyweights including Deutsche Bank, JPM organ Chase, Barclays Group,

CreditAgricole and Bank of Tokyo, as well as being the only bank from Kuwait. “Counterparty creditworthiness has seldom been of more concern to companies and investors worldwide,� said Global Finance publisher Joseph D. Giarraputo in a press release announcing the World’s 50 Safest Banks: April 2012. “Knowing how their counterparties are faring in the face of global economic uncertainty is key. This ranking helps companies and investors to get a view on the relative strength of their counterparties-and global financial institutions.� NBK has consistently been awarded the highest credit ratings of all banks in the region by the major international rating

agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. In December 2011, global credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s affirmed National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) long term credit rating at A+ and determined the bank’s outlook is stable. Following a review of all banks and financial institutions in the MENA region, Standard & Poor ’s commended NBK ’s asset qualit y and proven track record.�NBK’s balance sheet size and business position enable it to cherry-pick the highest-quality customers. Additionally, we note that the bank’s asset quality has proven resilient so far, unlike most of its domestic peers,� the S&P noted in the review of NBK.












TOKYO: Japanese Economy, Trade and Industr y Minister Yukio Edano expressed gratitude to Kuwait for maintaining stable supply of crude for decades to his countr y. which relies on imports for virtually all of its domestic crude consumption. The Japanese minister welcomed His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s upcoming visit to Tokyo and thanked Kuwait for hosting the Ministerial Meeting of the International Energy Forum slated to March 12-14. “Under uncertainty surrounding the future of global energy situation, it is meaningful that oil producing and consuming countries will have a dialogue toward stability in world oil markets. I appreciate Kuwait for providing such an invaluable opportunity for us,� said the minister. Despite gradual fall in its crude oil demand in recent years, Japan remains one of top buyers of Kuwaiti oil, with Japan-bound shipments accounting for roughly 20 percent of Kuwait’s total crude exports of 1.3-1.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

Last year, Kuwait’s exports to the world’s third-largest energy user totaled 87.05 million barrels, or 240,000 bpd. In addition to crude oil, Kuwait also enjoys steady shipments of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and naphtha to Japan. The first shipment of oil from state -run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation to Japanese refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. dates back to in 1958, even before the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1961, while KPC established Tokyo office in 1968 as its first regional marketing office. One of KPC ’s notewor thy achievements last year was a landmark deal with Japan’s Fuji Oil Co. in October. KPC Chief Executive Officer Farouk Al-Zanki signed the long-term crude supply contract, which he said “expected to bring in billions of dollars of revenues to the Kuwaiti treasury over the coming years.� Meanwhile, Tokyo-based Arabian Oil Company, Ltd. (AOC) has maintained solid business relationships with Kuwait more than half a century. The Kuwaiti

government granted a concession to AOC in 1958 to explore and develop hydrocarbon reserves in the offshore Divided Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in discovery of the massive Khafji oil field in 1960 and the Hout oil field in 1963. Although the concession agreement expired in January 2003, AOC reached a 20-year crude oil purchasing deal in the same month, which Kuwait guarantees it the right to supply crude produced in the Khafji oil field. In addition, new types of bilateral energy cooperation have come to the fore recent years. KPC’s international unit Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) established a joint venture with Idemitsu and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. in 2008 to construct a 200,000 bpd refinery and petrochemical complex in Vietnam, which will utilize Kuwait’s stable crude oil supply and Japanese firms’ oil refining and petrochemical business experiences. The project, with a view to going online in 2015, marks the first- ever Kuwaiti-

Japanese joint venture in building a refinery in a third country. Moreover, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), which was established in 1967 by AOC in fulfillment of its obligations under the oil concession agreement, currently joins hands with the Japanese team in upgrading technologies for Kuwait’s heavy crude oil. Amid rising demand on the high quality oil derivatives, KISR and Japan Cooperation Center, Petroleum (JCCP) expedite technical cooperation in converting Kuwait’s large quantities of high-sulfur heavy crude to more useful light, low-sulfur crude oil, based on Japan’s technologies, experience and know-how on desulfurization catalysts. The two countries have also accelerated bilateral cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and energy conservation. HH the Amir will make a four-day visit to Japan from March 20. It will mark the first visit to Japan by a Kuwaiti ruler to Japan since 1995. HH the Amir last visited here in July 2004 as Prime Minister. — KUNA



C Contest ontest Rules Rules sCompetition is open sCompetition open to to all. taken by by the entrants entrants only. only. ssParticipating Participating phot photos os should be be taken allowed per per participant. participant. ssA A maximum of ďŹ v ďŹ vee en entries tries will b bee allowed white or color, colorr, size size 30x40cm. ssPhotos Photos ccan an be be in black & white copy and CD in high ssEntries Entries should b bee provided provided in hard hard copy ticipant should b rresolution. esolution. TThe he phot photo o of the par participant bee on the CD as well. well. ssOriginal coupon should be be stuck on the back of each photo photo Original coupon omplete inf fo ormation of the par ticipant. with ccomplete information participant. sAll en tries ar eturnable and will b property of sAll entries aree non-r non-returnable bee the property K uwait TTimes. imes. The The en tries ccan an be be used by by the organizer. organizer. Kuwait entries ssWinners be chosen by by a panel of independent independent judges Winners will be judges..

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Connect Arab summit tables $50bn for telecom projects

KUWAIT: Abdulrazzaq M. Al-Wohaib talking with the Kuwait Times yesterday. —Photo by Joseph Shagra

problem-free future with t’azur By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: t’azur, the Takaful Insurance Company is the new name in insurance trade in Kuwait. After five years in the market, they rank number four in the insurance business, and are growing continuously. t’azur was established in 2007, months before the fall of global stock markets and financial institutions. But the company survived and in fact, t’azur is now heading the top three. According to Abdulrazaq M. AlWohaib, Managing Director and CEO, t’azur would love to be the leader in the industry over the next two years or so. Speaking with the Kuwait Times yesterday, Al-Wohaib said his goal is to make t’azur ready to provide takaful insurance to individuals, groups and businesses, consistent with sharia principles and internationally accepted practices. “Kuwait is a very young market when it comes to the insurance business. We have only about 30-35 percent of people’s attention. What happened to the remaining 70 percent? Where are they? Are they aware or properly informed about the benefits of insurance services?” he asked. Al-Wohaib noted the number one problem of many insurance companies in Kuwait is ignorance about the insurance policy benefits. “In other countries, insurance policy is compulsory. But here in Kuwait, we are not very aware of this scheme. We want to help and ensure your future is in safe hands and problem-free as much as possible,” he said. Al-Wohaib narrated a story of why some people believed that insurance company are thieves. “Take a look at car insurance, for example. Many would say that car insurance companies are cheats without understanding the process. Remember that a car which you bought in 2009 is different from a car which you

will buy today. It automatically depreciates. Don’t look at the insurance company as thieves. They are not. The problem is lack of awareness and we cannot blame people for that because we are not educating them on the benefits,” he said. Al-Wohaib said that a policy holder has to provide certain documents to claim their policies. “Don’t come to me and apply for an insurance policy without proof or proper paper work. Of course, we need them. Don’t tell me that you are in bed and that you cannot give me the documents I need. As long as you provide us the documents, we are ready to help you,” he said. Al-Wohaib admitted that insurance companies in Kuwait are on the rise. “Over the past few years, companies have been opening almost on a monthly basis. This year, it’s become on a weekly basis. Although some of these insurance companies exist just to collect money, but we focus on quality and service,” he said. Al-Wohaib explained that takaful is not based on the principle of profit but works against damages to the participants or their property. t’azur also gives priority to low income workers including housemaids, cleaners or tea boys. “A lot of low income earners are dying here without any insurance claims for their families and even after they die, they won’t have enough money to have their bodies repatriated to their home countries. If they are insured or aware of insurance benefits, perhaps these problems will be resolved,” he said. With this in mind, t’azur introduced ‘Salam accidents prepaid insurance policy’. It is KD 10 annually but will provide people with security and accessibility. With KD 10, your family can claim death benefits of up to $15,000, or a permanent total disablement of up to $10,000. Al-Wohaib again urged insurance companies to help them educate the public.

DOHA: Kuwait’s Communications Minister, Salem AlAthaina said on Tuesday the Connect Arab Summit 2012 proposed telecommunication projects estimated at USD 50 billion for Arab countries. Al-Athaina said the projects will encourage investors, investment funds and shareholding companies to develop telecommunication networks in the Arab countries. But a digital gap is the major problem facing Arab networks, he added. Al-Athaina said Arab countries are heading towards privatizing the communications sector, opening up more horizons for further development. Meanwhile, participants in the Connect Arab Summit 2012 called on Tuesday for the spread of information technology (IT) and telecommunications to accelerate economic growth. Dr. Saad Al-Qahtani, Head of Strategic Operations at the Saudi Telecom Company, regretted the fact that only 60 million Arab people out of 360 million have access to the internet. Al-Qahtani said the public and private sectors should join hands to develop the technology and telecommunications sector. Arab nations need to use broadband in order to boost the telecommunications field, he added. Connect Arab Summit is part of ITU’s Connect the World series, an ambitious initiative aimed at connecting the unconnected by the year 2015. The Summit relies on a Summit preparatory process, run hand in hand by the Arab League and the ITU. The overall objective of the Connect Arab Summit is to mobilize the human, financial and technical resources required to close Information and Communication Technology gaps in the region. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), said

KUWAIT: Zain Group has agreed with Dubai-based NeuString, the leading supplier of actionable business data analytics for mobile operators, to utilize its ‘OptiPrizer’ predictive analytics software across seven Middle East markets to improve the cost and quality of roaming services. Neustring’s OptiPrizer software helps to increase profit margins through accurate and actionable analytics of individ-

Nabeel Bin Salamah ual customer’s activity, giving the operator an unprecedented ability to control, forecast and improve revenues. The agreement, which was signed on the side-lines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, covers all customers on Zain’s network in, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan making this the largest deployment of NeuString’s software to date. Nabeel Bin Salamah, CEO of Zain Group, said: “We found out, during the

Abdullah Al-Turaif

Fatima Al-Hajri

participation in Kuwaitedu 2012 to introduce its academic programs to the GCC audience. “The AGU takes pride in a 30-year history of academic

programs for Bachelors, Masters degrees and Ph.D’s in the College of Medicine and other institutions of higher education”, Al-Hajri said.

Saudi consumer market vital to Kuwait exports DAMMAM: The Saudi consumer market gains increasing importance to Kuwaiti exporters, said Chairman of Kuwait Industries Union Hussein Ali AlKharafi, in remarks on the sideline of his visit here at the head of a Kuwaiti industrial delegation to the city of Dammam chamber of commerce. Made up mainly of representatives from 12 Kuwaiti industrial firms from the foodstuff and construction sectors, the delegation’s objective is to boost Kuwaiti exports abroad, including the all-important Saudi market which is the largest closest market to Kuwait amenable to Kuwaiti products, indicated Al-Kharafi. Noting that this was the delegation’s inaugural trip abroad for the purpose of promoting Kuwaiti consumer products (visits to other countries will follow) , he made sure to point out that the current level of bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait left much to be desired and was not up to par with expectations on both sides. Al-Kharafi said he apprised the officials of the Dammam chamber of commerce and Saudi businesspeople of the various Kuwaiti industries and the potential for exchanging expertise among the busi-

the summit shoulders the great responsibility of providing a safe future for the young generation in the fields of communication and information technology. Development of technology and knowledge will create many jobs for youths, he noted. Toure said his meeting with a group of youths resulted in key recommendations, like the establishment of a regional authority responsible for technology development. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad Al-Thani, Chairman of Qatar Telecom (Qtel), said the future should go hand-in-hand with information technology and telecommunication. He said modern telecommunication means will contribute to comprehensive economic growth in the entire region. Sheikh Abdullah said Qtel will help foster Qatar’s 2030 national vision to achieve its objectives. Mohammad Omran, Chairman

of UAE telecommunications company Etisalat, said his firm is developing the capabilities of youths through the internet. Etisalat has contributed greatly to boosting the economy and telecommunications network in the UAE, he said. Omran said the Arab countries should have long-term strategies in telecommunications and information technology. The Summit offered a venue for leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as international and regional financing and development agencies, to network face-to-face and forge new partnerships. It featured discussion panels and roundtables focusing on challenges to emerging and transitional economies in harnessing the full potential of ICTs. Bold decisions and commitments will be announced on multi-stakeholder partnerships to meet these challenges. — KUNA

Zain Group chooses NeuString’s OptiPrizer

AGU participates in Kuwaitedu KUWAIT: The Arabian Gulf University (AGU) is participating in the 6th annual Kuwait International Education Exhibition (Kuwaitedu) currently taking place at the Safir International Hotel, it announced from Manama, Bahrain. “The AGU is an example of a successful institute of higher education in the Gulf and Arab region, given its elite number of academics who include medical, educational and technical specialists with unparalleled skill”, said information manager, Dr. Abdullah Al-Turaif. He said his university “always ensures participation in international exhibitions carried out in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries”. Fatima Al-Hajri, information specialist at AGU’s media department, said the university aims through its

DOHA: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah attending the Connect Arab Summit 2012.

ness community of both countries. He heaped praise on the continuing contact and partnership between the private sectors in both countries and cited the fact that the Saudi market has enormous resources which Kuwaiti manufacturers could tap. He sounded sanguine about the Saudi promises to eradicate impediments that might stand in the way of the smooth flow of bilateral trade. Saying that the delegation’s visit to Dammam had been a joint effort by organizers :The Kuwait Public Authority for Industry, the Kuwaiti Industries Union, the Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Gulf Chambers of Commerce and Industry, head of the exports department at Kuwait’s Public Authority for Industry Hammad Al-Zoabi, in similar remarks, emphasized that the delegation sought to find opportunities for Kuwaiti products in Eastern Saudi Arabia and to also get a firsthand look at the progress of some industries in that vital Saudi region. It was determined during the delegation’s visit to announce the establishment of a joint Kuwaiti-Saudi company specializing in logistic support in the transportation and storage sector. — KUNA

analysis and testing period, that NeuString’s predictive analytics solution, OptiPrizer, offers many advantages and tangible results, and by using it, we have increased our efficiency and productivity, and we now have the ability to run targeted plans, which in turn has enabled us to increase our profit margins.” Bin Salamah added that this cooperation will open up new horizons for Zain Group in this type of applications, as it will enable us to continue to fulfill our obligations towards our customers, in addition to devoting more of our resources in support of our core business. Jens Nikolaj Aertebjerg, CEO of NeuString said, “NeuString is very pleased to have another large mobile operator group onboard, and with Zain Group we cement our market leading position as the preferred choice for roaming analytics in general and specifically for mobile operators looking to benefit from group interaction and the unification of their market activities.” “We are really excited to have Zain Group on board using our OptiPrizer software. Our expertise in roaming, and consultative approach to customer service means that Zain Group is sure to make great profit improvements,” said Nevzat Simsek, CCO of NeuString. NeuString has an unrivalled reputation for being able to provide focussed, advanced, actionable analytics for telecoms. The OptiPrizer software is a proven solution processing the data of more than 45 operators worldwide, providing profit improvements of between 5% and 22%.

KUWAIT: Ahmad Al-Rujaib, the minister of social affairs and labor, received a commemorative plaque from the Kuwait Union of Private Kindergartens on accepting his new post. The event was supervised by Widad Al-Sanea, the union’s Vice President.


In a rallying cry, foes brand Putin win an insult

Election routs cripple India’s ruling party Page 12

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BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. Iraqi officials say a car bomb has killed and wounded several people in a commercial area full of shops and clinics in western Baghdad. —AP

17 killed in Iraq attacks Twin bombings hit northern town of Tal Afar BAGHDAD: Attacks in Iraq killed 17 people yesterday, including 13 who died in twin bombings in the northern town of Tal Afar, just weeks before the country is due to host a landmark Arab summit. The violence, which also left 24 people wounded, comes two days after suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen killed 27 policemen in a pre-dawn rampage in western Iraq, as officials insisted Baghdad was ready for the March 29 meeting, which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to attend.

“There were two explosions today, the first carried out by a car bomb and another by a suicide attack, in front of a restaurant,” Athil al-Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province of which Tal Afar is part, told AFP. “For the moment, the toll is 13 dead and 15 wounded.” Two separate interior ministry officials, meanwhile, said 12 people were killed and at least 15 wounded in a car bomb and suicide blast. Differing tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of attacks in Iraq. Tal Afar, a majority Shiite Turkmen town 380 kilometres

Egypt sentences two to death for beheading officer CAIRO: An Egyptian military court yesterday sentenced two men to death for beheading an army officer during the uprising that ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak, the official MENA news agency reported. Three others received life sentences, and two more were jailed for 15 years each for the murder of the army officer in a police station on February 7 last year, during the anti-Mubarak revolt which later brought the army to power. The men, drug dealers, tortured the officer before they killed him, severed his head and hung it from the roof of the police station south of Cairo which they then burnt down, the agency reported. The military has sentenced thousands of civilians in military trials since taking power and several of them having been sentenced to death. Mubarak called the military to the streets on January 28, 2011, after nationwide protests targeted his despised police forces. The military, which took power after his resignation on February 11, 2011, has promised to hand over power once an elected president is declared in June. The ruling generals, who have faced down violent protests demanding they transfer power immediately, say a number of their soldiers died during the anti-Mubarak revolt, but have refused to declare a toll. — AFP

Saudi beheads man guilty of murder RIYADH: Saudi Arabia yesterday beheaded a man found guilty of shooting dead a fellow Saudi during a dispute, the interior ministry said. Basam Al-Yami was executed in the eastern city of Damam after he “shot dead” Abdullah alDosari, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA. The beheading brings to 11 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports. Amnesty International said the kingdom executed 79 people in 2011. The ultra-conservative kingdom applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences, including rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking.— AFP

(240 miles) north of Baghdad in mostly Sunni Nineveh, was the site of twin car bombings on December 14 in a market and restaurant area that killed two people and wounded 27. The attack in Tal Afar comes two days after suspected Al-Qaeda militants stormed the town of Haditha in western Iraq, in a predawn shooting spree that killed 27 policemen. In March 2006, then US president George W. Bush hailed Tal Afar as a model town due to the low levels of violence at the time. In

Baghdad yesterday, two separate attacks in which insurgents placed bombs inside vehicles-one a taxi and the other a bus-killed three people and wounded nine, an interior ministry official said. The capital’s security command centre released a statement calling on residents to “check their vehicles before driving and, after driving, do not leave your car in an unguarded public space.” Violence in Iraq has declined in recent years after peak ing in 2006 and 2007. According to official figures, 150 people were

killed in February. The latest attacks come ahead of a March 29 summit of the Arab League in Baghdad, the first non-emergency meeting of the 22-nation body to be held in the Iraqi capital in more than 30 years. President Jalal Talabani said on Monday that preparations for the summit were complete, “and Baghdad is now ready to receive the Arab leaders.” UN chief Ban Ki-moon is due to attend the summit, Iraqi deputy foreign minister Labid Abbawi told AFP yesterday. — AFP

Israeli attack would only delay Iran’s nuclear plans: Expert LONDON: An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only set back Tehran’s program by a couple of years, the head of a respected London-based think-tank said yesterday. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) head John Chipman said an Israeli attack against Iran was unlikely this year, following US assurances this week to Israel that it would not rule out military action. Only the United States could conduct a serious campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said. Furthermore, a pre-emptive Israeli strike could backfire because it is likely to push the Tehran regime to accelerate its nuclear ambitions, warned the IISS director-general at the release of its annual “Military Balance” report. Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a charge denied by Tehran which says its atomic program is for purely civilian purposes. “My judgment is that an Israeli attack on Iran of an overt kind is unlikely this year,” Chipman told a news conference on the annual assessment of the global military power balance. “Both Israel and the United States are conscious that Israel can conduct a raid; only the United States can conduct a campaign. “I think that it’s the latter that would be necessary in order to delay, in any meaningful way, the acquisition of a confirmed Iranian nuclear military capability. “The judgment of most military experts is that any attack-whether a raid or a campaign-would only delay such acquisition and could, of course, incentivize the regime, once it reorganizes itself, to move ever quicker towards that goal.” Chipman said that in talks this week in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an assurance from US President Barack Obama. The promise was “in effect, that if Israel took US advice and did not attack prematurely, that when the threat matured, the United States would, if all other options failed, use the military option.” “So my judgment is that it is unlikely that there would be an attack this year.” He added: “Washington has appealed for patience, on the grounds that Iran is not on the verge of producing nuclear weapons, that Israeli air strikes would set back Iran’s program by only a

couple of years, and that sanctions are now having a real impact on Iran.” Iran could carry out its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz by mining the key shipping channel and using anti-ship missiles, torpedoes or rockets, Chipman said. “While these capabilities could disrupt shipping temporarily, the US and its allies maintain significant maritime assets in the region and would soon be able to

reopen the strait,” he said. Iran could also try to impose more bureaucracy on shipping, increasing transit times by imposing more demands on vessels using the waters it controls. Chipman said tensions remained high in the Middle East, with regional states concerned about Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Gulf countries were continuing to buy a great deal of military equipment in response, he said.— AFP

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi man holds a plate of the country’s traditional dish made from sheep’s head known as “Pacha”, in the Karrada district of Baghdad yesterday. Pacha, formerly a nutritious dish for the poor, is now considered a delicacy and is enjoyed as a festive winter meal, usually by a group of men in the early morning. —AFP



Libya leader threatens ‘force’ to foil east autonomy bid TRIPOLI: Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said yesterday he would defend national unity “with force” if necessary, after tribal leaders and politicians declared autonomy for the eastern region of Cyrenaica. “We are not prepared to divide Libya,” Abdel Jalil said as he called on leaders in Cyrenaica to engage in dialogue and warned them that there were remnants of the regime of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi in their ranks. “They should know that there are infiltrators and remnants of Gaddafi’s regime trying to exploit them now and we are ready to deter them, even with force,” he said in televised remarks at a conference in Misrata held to unveil a draft national charter. “The national charter contains provisions that protect this nation and it is like a constitution for Libya’s future,” Abdel Jalil said of the draft document, which was later posted online. The document lays the foundations for a parliamentary democracy with a decentralized system of administration, promising local accountability to

citizens through mechanisms decided by the executive branch. In principle, decentralization involves a devolution of powers from the top down, while federalism implies individual territories ceding powers to the central government. Tribal and political leaders in the oilrich east are trying to carve out an autonomous territory and have called for a federal system of governance. On Tuesday, they unilaterally declared the region of Cyrenaica (Berqa in Arabic) as autonomous but recognized the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country’s legitimate representative in foreign affairs. Libya was a federal union from 1951 to 1963 during the monarchy of Idris Senussi, which split the country into three states-Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. Cyrenaica, which runs from the Mediterranean town of Ras Lanuf eastward to the Egyptian border, and southward to Chad, comprises half of the country’s territory. It also holds about threequarters of Libya’s vast oil reserves,

according to Arish Sayid of the Benghazi-based Arabian Oil Co. Advocates of a return to federalism say it will prevent the east from being marginalized as was the case for decades, while opponents fear it will split the country. Benghazi-based Libyan political analyst Mohammed bin Hariz told AFP federalism would exacerbate rather than ease tensions in Libya. “Advocates argue that federalism is a safety valve for national unity but federalism and unity are contradictory terms that cannot co-exist,” bin Hariz told AFP. The distribution of oil wealth, he warned, could engender conflict. “What did federalism achieve in Iraq,” he asked, pointing to the ongoing struggle between the autonomous oil-rich northern region of Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad. Sadiq Budawara, of the National Campaign to Raise Political Awareness, said “many may agree that federalism is the most appropriate form of government for Libya and that it doesn’t necessarily lead to division. “But it is an

entirely different matter when the decision to go federal is made by one region unilaterally without consulting other regions. This will split the land.” Senior officials in Tripoli, including interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim alKib, have flatly rejected the federalist project as a throwback to the past, promoting a program of decentralization instead. On Tuesday, Abdel Jalil said some unnamed Arab nations were supporting and financing sedition in eastern Libya in a bid to prevent the so-called Arab Spring from reaching their doorsteps. Hundreds of people demonstrated yesterday against federalism in southern Libya, including in the desert cities of Kufra, which is located in Cyrenaica, and Sabha, in Fezzan, according to video footage posted on Facebook. Others, even the Cyrenaican “capital” of Benghazi, have witnessed similar rallies, with banners emphasising national unity and state-building, and stressing that Tripoli is the only capital. Ahmed Zubair Al-Senussi, who was

appointed head of Cyrenaica’s governing council on Tuesday, downplayed fears that the federal model, which grants each territorial unit limited executive, legislative and judicial powers, would splinter the country. “This is not sedition,” he said in an interview with AFP, arguing that federalism, which thrived in the United Arab Emirates, is the most suitable form of government for Libya. Senussi is a relative of the late King Idris I, who was overthrown by Gaddafi in a 1969 coup, and was the longest serving political prisoner under Kadhafi’s regime. He is also a member of the NTC. Meanwhile, Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged Libyans “to preserve national unity and territorial integrity of Libya.” In a statement received by AFP, he also “renewed his call for all Libyans to rally around the (NTC), which is the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, and to support the transitional government in this important sensitive period.”— AFP

Turk PM attacks cancer rumor, ‘only God’ knows his fate Leaked email reported claim PM had terminal cancer

TEHRAN: In this Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, file photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivers a speech in a public gathering in Tehran, Iran. —AP

Iran’s talking point: ‘Dignity’ in nuclear work DUBAI: Days before Iran’s just-completed parliamentary elections, the country’s supreme leader gave what amounted to a pep rally on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear views. Atomic technology is a pillar of “national dignity,” boasted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iran must stand firm against the “bullying” pressures from the West. It showed how deeply Iran’s leadership cares about its nuclear program in the face of efforts by the West, which is still hoping the finesse of diplomacy and the vise of sanctions can persuade Tehran to roll back on its ambitions and ease calls for military action, possibly led by Israel. Iran has steadfastly rejected demands to halt its uranium enrichment, which Washington and its allies worry could be the foundation for a future nuclear weapons program. Iran claims it seeks only energy and medical research from its reactors, but it wants full control over the nuclear process from uranium ore to fuel rods. Another layer was added to Iranian resolve last week when parliamentary elections gave Khamenei loyalists clear control of the chamber. It has no direct sway over key policies such as the nuclear program but can reinforce the messages from the ruling clerics. With a pliant parliament, Khamenei and the theocracy now have one less internal distraction at a potentially pivotal time: An attack on Iran is clearly on the table, at least as a talking point or a threat. “We understand the costs of any military action,” said US President Barack Obama on Monday after White House talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting clearly showed where they part company: Obama urging for more time to allow a mix of negotia-

tions and economic pressures on Iran; Netanyahu saying that Israel must remain the “master of its own fate,” while noting no decision has been made on a unilateral attack. Israel would consider a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to its existence. Both leaders, though, made it clear Iran must not develop a nuclear bomb, which could touch off a Middle East arms race and embolden Tehran’s proxies, such as the anti-Israel group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Absent from the Washington talks - at least publicly - was recognition of the challenges facing any effort to force Iran to backpedal on its nuclear advances. From the perspective of Iran’s leaders, national pride is on the line. Iran views its nuclear program as an essential element in its goal of becoming the Islamic world’s technology hub, which includes aerospace and defense programs. In late February, Iran offered journalists a rare look inside a satellite control center less than a month after it announced another satellite was launched into orbit. “The Iranian nation will not withdraw one iota from its nuclear rights,” said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in November. The nuclear efforts also represent Iran’s policies of self-sufficiency that have been built over years of sanctions. Iran’s military has devoted significant resources toward a homegrown defense industry that already claims domestically made drones, missiles capable of striking Israel and weaponry based on Russian, Chinese and North Korean designs. Sophisticated systemsjamming measures could have been deployed last year to bring down a CIA spy drone, which Iran says was recovered intact. The US blamed a technical malfunction. — AP

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday, for talks on the stalled peace process. —AFP

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan dismissed a report that he was suffering from terminal cancer and had two years to live, saying yesterday that “God and only God” knew when anyone would die. A Turkish newspaper on Tuesday published a leaked email from security analysis company Stratfor, that included a report that Erdogan had colon cancer, but officials said the prime minister was in good health. In a speech to officials from his ruling AK Party, Erdogan did not comment specifically on his health but attacked those behind the report. “It is just God and only God who knows how long each of us will live,” he said. “When the time of death comes, you cannot move it back or forth by an hour.” “Those who fall for rumors and calculate the time we have left in this world are not only impudent but in a state of insolence,” said Erdogan, who has resumed a busy schedule after two operations and appeared in strong voice. Cancer rumors started after Erdogan had surgery on his lower intestine in November. They did not gain media prominence until Tuesday when the Taraf newspaper reported the email leak on its front page. An Erdogan aide contacted by Reuters following the Taraf report dismissed the Stratfor email as “speculation and gossip”. “ The prime minister’s health is very good,” the aide said. The email, between two colleagues at US -based Stratfor, which provides geopolitical analysis to paying subscribers, was released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as part of a massive leak of the company’s correspondence. The email said doctors had removed a 20cm (8 inch) part of Erdogan’s colon during the first operation on Nov 26. He had a second procedure last month. “The prognosis is

not looking good, though. The surgeon said they were estimating 2 years for him,” said a copy of the Dec. 10 email accessed on the Internet. The report was based on intelligence from a source who obtained the information from an “old classmate friend” of the lead surgeon who operated on Erdogan. The source, who describes himself as an energy security analyst who once worked for the prime minister’s office, said the report was a lie. The chief surgeon who operated on Erdogan also said the cancer report was “a

ANKARA: In this photograph dated on August 1, 2010 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a military meeting at the army headquarters in Ankara. —AFP

British journalists held in Libya treated well: Jailer TRIPOLI: Two British journalists held in Libya on suspicion of spying have their own room, access to telephones and are fed meals of chicken and pasta, but they will be kept where they are for several more weeks, the head of the militia holding them said. Nicholas Davies-Jones and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, who were working for Iran’s English-language Press T V, were detained on Feb. 22 by the Swehli brigade, one of the dozens of militias which last year helped force out Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Speaking at the militia’s base, a former women’s military academy in Tripoli, commander Faraj al-Swehli told Reuters yesterday the pair were being questioned by his own investigators. “We have not used any threats or violence. We are just investigating with them. It is just a process of questions and answers,” Swehli said in an interview. Asked when they would be released or transferred to the Libyan authorities, he said: “They are still under investigation. We are still only 40 percent of the way through the investigation.” “As soon as we have finished the investigation we will refer them to the prosecutor-general. We are an integral part of Libya.” He did not disclose where the two Britons were being held, but said they had regular visits from the British consul, medical care was available if they needed it, and the belongings they had in their hotel had been brought to them. “They are living in a place that is almost like paradise. They are free to move around. They are eating pasta, chicken, meat. They have their phones 24 hours a day so they can talk to their families or their embassy. It is not detention as you would imagine it.” “They are in one room together...We gave them beds and mattresses. They will have all their rights as human beings.” “You have to understand that we have revolted against tyranny and injustice and we do not want to use this

complete lie”, Taraf said. Erdogan, 58, returned to work less than two weeks after each operation and he is scheduled to resume overseas trips this month with visits to Korea, Germany and Iran. The prime minister won a third consecutive term at an election last June and dominates Turkish politics. Even critics fear the void he would leave if forced to quit as many see the ruling AK Party falling into factionalism. There has been no discernible market reaction to the rumors the lira, bonds and shares have all rallied this year.— Reuters

against others,” said the militia commander. Swehli said he could not immediately allow a Reuters team to see the journalists because of what he said were diplomatic sensitivities. International rights campaigners including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders say the two Britons are being detained illegally. They say the militia should either release them immediately or transfer them to the custody of the official Libyan authorities. The fact they are being held by a militia-which has no official status-is emblematic of the instability and weak central government control in Libya since last year’s rebellion ended Gaddafi’s rule with help from NATO air strikes. At the weekend, the Swehli militia said the Britons, initially detained for illegal entry into Libya, were now suspected of spying. The militia displayed footage found on the journalists of them posing with weapons, and said they had among their belongings Libyan official documents and first-aid equipment used by the Israeli military. Asked if that was strong enough to warrant an espionage investigation, Swehli said the evidence disclosed so far is only a part of the case against the two men. “We have other evidence that shows they were involved in wrong-doing,” he said, without saying what that evidence was. In Britain, Montgomery-Johnson’s sister told Reuters her brother, who is 37, had been trying to break into journalism and made his first trip to Libya in July last year, at the height of the rebellion, as a freelance journalist. She said he had been in contact with his family since he was detained. “I know he’s rung my father on two occasions very, very briefly and not really been able to talk,” said his sister, Melanie Gribble. “He’s just my younger brother he’s quite bright, he’s got an excellent sense of humour, and his heart is in the right place,” she said. — Reuters

Iran jails prominent reformist and rights lawyers TEHRAN: An Iranian Revolutionary court has sentenced a leading member of the reformist movement to four years in prison following his conviction on charges of spreading lies and propaganda against Iran, the state-run INN news website reported yesterday. Ali Shakouri-Rad was a member of the dissolved Islamic Participation Front which supported opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the disputed 2009 presidential election. The opposition says the vote was rigged in favor of Ahmadinejad, allegations the authorities have repeatedly denied. Thousands of opposition supporters have been detained since 2009, including scores of senior reformist figures. Many have been released but more than 80 have been jailed for up to 15 years. The report said Shakouri-Rad was banned from political activity for 10 years and will not be allowed to live in Tehran for a period of 10 years following his sentence. There were no details on when the verdict was issued. Judiciary officials were not immediately available to comment. The news comes days after a parliamentary poll, the first nationwide poll since millions of people took to the streets across Iran to protest against the 2009 election results. The authorities hailed a near 65 percent turnout as a sign of widespread support for the Islamic Republic. The majority of reformists refused to participate, saying the vote was not “free and fair”. Separately, the opposition Kaleme website, affiliated with Mir Hossein Mousavi, reported that Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer, had been sentenced to 18 years in jail for spreading anti-regime propaganda. Soltani co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Center along with the respected Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel peace laureate, Shirin Ebadi. The website has reported that Narges Mohammadi, an assistant to Shirin Ebadi, was sentenced to six years in prison by an appeals court. In a separate development, the head of the Islamic Journalists Organisation, Nezamedin Mousavi, urged the government to be more tolerant with the media, responding to the brief arrest of the managing director of the semi-official Mehr News Agency. — Reuters



S African unions boss threatens new protests JOHANNESBURG: The head of South Africa’s powerful Cosatu labor federation yesterday threatened new street protests, as he rallied tens of thousands of people in Johannesburg against plans for toll roads. “We have come to here to fire the first warning shot. And in our chamber, there is still a lot of bullets,” Zwelinzima Vavi told a cheering crowd that police estimated at 45,000.

Cosatu held protests in 32 towns and cities to demand that government scrap plans for tolls on major roads around Johannesburg and rein in labor brokers who hire millions of workers on short-term contracts at lower pay. Vavi drew a line in the sand on tolling set to start at the end of next month, threatening to shut down the highways of South Africa’s economic heartland.

“On the 28th, if they say they will introduce this, we will take everybody we see here and even more and put them in the highways of Johannesburg,” he said. “ We will make this system unworkable.” “That is a form of privatization of the roads. Instead of the (city) council providing us with the services, the basic services, such as roads and public health assistance, we must now pay for everything,” he said.

“The government loses 30 billion rand ($3.9 billion), that is a financial year, to graft or fraud,” he said, citing a report last year by official investigators. “Our taxes are already paid to fix the roads,” he said. “Use that money.” Cosatu backed President Jacob Zuma’s rise to power, and along with the Communist Party is a partner in the ANC government. But it has increasingly accused the ANC of ignoring the poor in a coun-

try that has one of the world’s largest income gaps. The protest threat poses a new challenge to Zuma as he seeks to shore up his support ahead of the ANC’s leadership conference in December, where he will seek a second term at the helm of the party once headed by Nelson Mandela. Given ANC’s broad public support, remaining party leader would make him a shoo-in for a second term as president. —AFP

‘Widow bomber’ kills 5 in Russia’s Caucasus Upsurge of violence in Muslim Dagestan

BRAZZAVILLE: Louis Okouli, a 65-year-old retiree, surveys the ruins of his home yesterday three days after a series of deadly explosions at a munitions depot devastated surrounding residential neighborhoods and killed at least 246 people in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo .—AP

Three days after Congo blast, no rescue effort BRAZZAVILLE: More than three days have passed since a catastrophic explosion laid waste to a section of the Republic of Congo’s capital, and officials confirmed that as of yesterday no coordinated rescue effort had been launched, making it increasingly unlikely that any more people will be pulled alive from the flattened houses. The roads leading to the site of the blast have been cordoned off by officers in bulletproof vests. The Red Cross has not received authorization to go inside, said spokesman Delphin Kibakidi. And the columns of soldiers and firefighters that are allowed in are concentrating on extinguishing the flames still burning after the country’s military depot caught fire Sunday, setting off a series of detonations so strong that they caused ceilings to cave-in over 1 mile away. “The only rescue effort was by the people who lived here themselves, and who came back and dug out the bodies of their loved ones,” said an army captain who accompanied a team of reporters inside the roped-off disaster area and who asked not to be named because he had not been authorized to speak on the subject. “I doubt that anyone is still alive, but if they are, they’ll need to wait until we put out the fire, because it’s too dangerous. There are still unexploded ordinances,” he said pointing to a smoldering carcass of debris where a team of soldiers were working. At least 246 people were killed after the fire in the armory catapulted shells, mortars, rockets and other munitions into a densely populated neighborhood in the capital of Brazzaville, according to national radio. The death toll is likely to rise as the debris is removed, and a simple walk across the site indicates this: At frequent intervals you can smell the stench of decomposing flesh. You can see concentrations of flies on top of slabs of cement. In one spot, the flies were crawling over a patch of earth, stained

with what appeared to be blood. The force of the detonation was so strong that even the leaves were blasted off the trees. The area covering at least one-square-mile looks like a field in winter, the tropical hardwoods still standing denuded of vegetation. It’s a wasteland of twisted metal and children’s shoes, of buckled homes and pieces of paper, including one woman’s grocery list and another’s sonogram. The government announced a period of national mourning to be observed from Tuesday until victims are buried, at an unknown date. And a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed in the neighborhoods nearest the disaster to stop looters from searching the rubble at night. Among the many people that are still unaccounted for are the military recruits whose dormitory collapsed. One of their trainers, 41-year-old Adj. Luc Elessi, was at the ruins of the dormitory yesterday along with his commanding officer. The multistory dormitory had pancaked. Elessi said that there were over 519 recruits, of whom only around 300 have been accounted for. Many had taken leave to go see their families because it was a Sunday, while others had gotten up early to go for a run, making it likely that the majority survived and are just out of touch. But a good number were still in bed at around 8 a.m. when the first explosion occurred, and he says he believes at least 50 are buried under the dormitory’s fallen beams. “You see that smell? You know what that means,” said Elessi, who was working to remove debris by hand in the 1-foot of space left between the first and the second floors of the dormitory. “We can’t see what is under these beams.” Military spokesman Col. Jean Robert Obargui said that he did not yet know what the death toll was from the dormitory collapse. “It’s for sure that some of them died,” he said. — AP

Maid’s lawyer to speak at Strauss-Kahn protest LONDON: Students at Britain’s Cambridge University angry that disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been asked to address students have invited his accuser’s lawyer to speak on the same day. Strauss-Kahn, who quit as head of the International Monetary Fund in May amid claims he sexually assaulted New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, is scheduled to speak at the Cambridge Union debating society on Friday. But protesters have invited Diallo’s attorney Douglas Wigdor to speak at the prestigious university’s law faculty before a protest against the French politician outside the venue for his speech. Wigdor “will discuss Ms Diallo’s case as well as how legal systems can systemically disadvantage both women and immigrants,” the student union’s Women’s Campaign said in a statement. US prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn in August, but Diallo has continued to seek monetary damages in New York’s civil court. The first hearing in the civil case will be held on March 28. On the same day, Strauss-Kahn is due to be charged in France over a prostitution

ring, including charges of complicity in pimping, according to a judiciary source. A petition urging the Cambridge Union to withdraw the invitation to Strauss-Kahn has attracted more than 700 signatures. “This is an opportunity for students and people in the local community alike to make a public, vocal stand against Strauss-Kahn being welcomed into our city,” said Ruth Graham, the student union’s women’s officer. “By protesting we show that the women who come forward and report rape and sexual assault are listened to.” The debating society has defended inviting DSK, as he is known in France, to give a speech on the global economy, saying it had been regularly asking him to come and speak on the topic since 2010. “ The reason he’s been invited is because he’s a fascinating figure and has exceptional knowledge in this field,” its president Katie Lam told AFP. Strauss-Kahn, 62, has also been accused by 32-year-old French writer Tristane Banon of attempting to rape her in 2003. Prosecutors decided there was prima facie evidence of a sexual assault, but ruled that the statute of limitations had passed. — AFP

MOSCOW: A female suicide bomber who was the widow of a slain Islamist militant killed five police officers when she blew herself up at a checkpoint in Russia’s volatile Caucasus region of Dagestan, officials said yesterday. The attack on Tuesday night was the most deadly incident in a upsurge of violence in mainly Muslim Dagestan since Vladimir Putin was elected president, highlighting the problems he faces containing insurgents in Russia’s south. “A woman set off a bomb with two kilograms of TNT on her body at the checkpoint in Karabudakhent village,” said a statement on the Dagestani police website. The suicide bomber’s severed head was found tens of metres (yards) from the blast on Tuesday night, ITAR-TASS news agency reported. Investigators said relatives had identified her as the widow of a Dagestan rebel leader who was killed in a police operation against militants last month. “She was Aminat Ibrahimova, the widow of a leader of a bandit group from (the town of ) Kaspiysk, the former interior ministry official Zaur Zagirov” an unnamed police source told ITAR-TASS. The five victims were low-ranking police officers aged 22 to 34, the ministry said. Two more officers were hospitalized. The

regional interior ministry blamed the recent violence on what it described as an Islamic militant “plague”. “Using Islam as a cover, they are doing evil on the territory of Dagestan,” the ministry said on its website. Russian officials have long been concerned by the activities of the widows of slain rebels and several attacks in Moscow in the last decade have been blamed on so called “Black Widows” who came to the capital. A police officer and a local resident were also shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a raid Tuesday evening on a police station in Kaspiysk on Dagestan’s Caspian Sea coast. The violence came after after Putin triumphed in the Russian presidential polls, scoring especially highly in the Caucasus region where official results indicated that he polled over 90 percent. Election day in Dagestan however was also marred by an attack on a polling station that killed three policemen. A mostly Muslim region known for its ancient culture and tapestry of ethnic groups, Dagestan is fighting an insurgency by militants seeking to establish an Islamic state across the Russian Caucasus. The region experiences frequent shootings and bombings that officials blame on local criminals and Islamists with links to neighbor-

ing Chechnya. “A radical Islamic underground is operating in Dagestan, which for a long time has used suicide bombers to carry out terror attacks. In the Moscow metro (attack in 2010), suicide bombers from Dagestan also blew themselves up,” Alexander Cherkasov of the Russian rights group Memorial told AFP. Russia has been trying to contain violence along its restless southern periphery since concluding the second of two post-Soviet wars in Chechnya a decade ago. Putin won prominence during his time as prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the late 1990s with his hard line on the Chechnya conflict, including his notorious promise to kill the rebels “even in the outhouse”. Analysts suggested that the authorities had been able to calm the situation in Chechnya somewhat in recent years by giving local strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov free reign to rule with an iron fist, but had been unable to do the same in Dagestan. “That’s why a significant part of the terrorist underground has appeared in Dagestan,” independent analyst Alexander Golts told AFP. He added that “deep-seated corruption, unemployment and feelings of despair among young people” were helping to fuel militancy. —AFP

In a rallying cry, foes brand Putin win an insult

OSLO: Prosecutors Inga Bejer Engh (L) and Svein Holden attend a press conference in Oslo yesterday, where they published the indictment presented to Anders Behring Breivik after the killing of 77 people on Utoya and in Oslo last July 22. —AFP

Norway gunman charged with ‘acts of terror’ OSLO: Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in twin attacks in Norway last July, was yesterday charged with committing acts of terror, prosecutors said as they presented the formal indictment. The 33-year-old right-wing extremist “has committed extremely serious offences on a scale that has never previously been experienced in our country in modern times,” the 19-page indictment read. The charges carry a penalty of up to 21 years in prison, although a provision may enable the term to be extended for as long as he is considered a danger to society. The prosecution meanwhile said it was prepared at this stage to pursue the case on the premise that Behring Breivik was criminally insane and therefore not responsible for his acts, and as such is calling for him to be sentenced to confinement in a psychiatric ward. But it reserved the right to alter that view if new elements emerged about his mental health by the end of the trial. Police read the charges to Behring Breivik yesterday morning at the high security Ila prison outside Oslo where he is being held pending the beginning of his trial on April 16. Afterwards, police officer Tore Jo Nilsen told reporters gathered outside the prison that the confessed killer had been “completely calm” during the 30 minutes it took to read the charges. Behring Breivik’s main defence attorney Geir Lippestad meanwhile told commercial broadcaster TV2 that his client “himself thinks he is criminally responsible and is disappointed that the prosecution has said it will call for mandatory psychiatric care.” On July 22, Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a crusade against multiculturalism and the “Muslim invasion” of Europe, set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people. He then went to Utoeya island northwest of Oslo, and, dressed as a

police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teenagers, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing. According to yesterday’s indictment, 34 of those killed were between the ages of 14 and 17, while 22 were between 18 and 20. The attacks will be viewed as two separate terrorist attacks, Inga Bejer Engh, one of two prosecutors on the case, told reporters yesterday. Behring Breivik is currently undergoing a second courtordered psychiatric evaluation, after the initial one late last year found him criminally insane. The diagnosis, which if supported by the court would rule out prison, sparked a wave of criticism, with many pointing to the years he spent planning the massacre and his calm demeanor as he executed his attacks. But regardless of the findings of the second expert assessment of his criminal accountability, he will go on trial starting April 16 and it will in the end be up to the judge to determine whether he can be sentenced to prison. If found to be criminally responsible, the perpetrator of the worst massacre on Norwegian soil since World War II would face the maximum prison sentence in Norway of 21 years behind bars, or the same sentence with a provision allowing for an indefinite extension of his term until he is no longer deemed a danger to society. On the other hand, if he is found to be not criminally responsible for his actions, he will be locked up in a closed psychiatric ward, possibly for life. The prosecutors meanwhile explained yesterday that only the 119 people who had been killed and critically injured in the attacks had been named, pointing out that if everyone hurt and targeted in the attacks were to be named the court would need to deal with a list of between 600 and 800 names. — AFP

MOSCOW: Opponents of Vladimir Putin branded his election victory an insult to the Russian people yesterday, trying to inject life into protests which risk fading after his return to the Kremlin. The statement by the protest organizers signalled their determination to press on with demonstrations against the former KGB spy despite his triumph in Sunday’s election and the detention of hundreds of people at rallies on Monday. But the message from the League of Voters, which unites nationalists, liberals and leftists as well as independent groups, offered little new for demonstrators increasingly demoralized by their inability to change a political system dominated by Putin despite three months of protest. “Against the backdrop of widespread violations, the League finds it impossible to recognize the results of the 2012 presidential elections in Russia,” the League said in a statement issued at a news conference. “The elections were not fair because the vote-counting and the way the results were compiled were marked by systematic fraud which greatly distorted the result of how voters expressed their will.” The Central Election Commission has said there were no major voting irregularities in the election and Putin, returning to the presidency after eight years as head of state until 2008, said he won a clean victory. Putin, who has served as prime minister for four years, has won a new six-year term and could rule as long as Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, whose 18 years in power have been called the “years of stagnation”. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, swiftly dismissed the opposition criticism and indicated it would not be taken into account. “All assessments have been made. The matter is closed,” he told Interfax news agency. Official results showed Putin won more than 63 percent of votes in the election, but independent international monitors said the poll was skewed to favor the prime minister. The United States and the European Union have called for all reports of voting irregularities to be investigated but also underlined the need to keep cooperating with Russia. The League of Voters, which was born from protests that were sparked by allegations of fraud in a parliamentary poll on Dec. 4 won by Putin’s party, said that “civil society in Russia was insulted” by Sunday’s election results. — Reuters

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Government Presidium in Moscow yesterday. —AFP



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More testimony in webcam spying trial NEW BRUNSWICK: At least one more detective is expected to be called to testify in the trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man. Yesterday was the ninth day of testimony in the trial. Jurors learned Tuesday that in the last two days of his life, student Tyler Clementi visited his roommate’s Twitter page 38 times and saved screen shots of two messages posted there. One proclaimed that the roommate saw Clementi “making out with a dude.” The other “dared” friends to use a web chat program to watch later.

Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, 20, faces 15 counts including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy against Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, one day after authorities say Ravi attempted to spy on him. Prosecutors say Ravi used Twitter first to tell followers that he had seen his roommate “making out with a dude” on Sept. 19, and two days later to “dare” them to video chat him when Clementi had again asked to have the room to himself so he could have a guest over. Gary Charydczak, a detective in the

Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, testified that Ravi later changed the “dare” tweet, instead telling friends, “Don’t you dare.” That alleged change is the basis of a charge that Ravi tried to hinder apprehension. Authorities say Ravi told friends about the expected dorm-room liaison through other means, including text messages. During testimony Monday, jurors were shown texts he sent to a friend from high school who was then attending Cornell University. In one part of the exchange, the friend, Michelle Huang, texted Ravi: “Watch out, he may come for you when you’re sleeping.” Ravi

responded that he had his computer set to alert him if anyone was in his bed when he wasn’t there. “It keeps the gays away,” he said. The exchange may help prosecutors show that Ravi had malice toward gays - a necessary element to persuade jurors to convict Ravi on the bias intimidation charges he faces. But he and his friend went on to talk about some of their gay friends. Charydczak told jurors that Ravi’s computer showed that the defendant did several Internet searches for Clementi in August after learning the two would be roommates. He said Ravi also did several searches for “gay”

and “homosexual,” but said he could not determine when those searches were conducted. In testimony earlier Tuesday, Rutgers computer system manager Timothy Hayes told jurors it appears Ravi’s computer was used in two video chats on Sept. 21, 2010. That doesn’t prove that Ravi spied on his roommate, but it may bolster the prosecution’s case that he was preparing to attempt to spy on Clementi that night. Clementi committed suicide a day later. Authorities say Ravi used his webcam to see Clementi and another man kissing on Sept. 19 and viewed it from the room across the hall from his own. —AP

Biden tells Central America US determined to defeat gangs America to continue funding offensive

CALIFORNIA: This undated copy of a photo provided by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office shows twin sisters Patricia and Joan Miller. It us unknown which sister is which. Authorities are asking for help finding the next of kin for the two 73-year-old twin sisters found dead together in their South Lake Tahoe, Calif., home. —AP

Reclusive twins, 73, leave behind mystery in death Patricia and Joan Miller were identical twins who pursued their dreams together. As a team, the Miller sisters met Bing Crosby, appeared on a TV show in the 1950s and purchased a house in California’s picturesque South Lake Tahoe. Their shared life ended in a mysterious double-death at their home last week. One body was in a downstairs bedroom, and the other was in the hallway just outside. They were 73. There was no blood, no signs of struggle. Nothing indicated that the women had persistent health troubles. Their longtime home was not unkempt, a likely sign of mental or physical illness. It was as if the two sisters, long each other’s only companion, could not live without each other, said Detective Matt Harwood with the El Dorado County sheriff’s office. “My perception is one died and the other couldn’t handle it,” said Harwood, who has been unable to find any close friends or family members of the twins. “It appears purely natural, but we are still trying to piece it all together.” Police usually do not release the names of the dead without first informing their relatives, but the sisters’ shrouded lives made that impossible, Harwood said. Never married and without children or pets, the Miller sisters had long withdrawn into the four bedroom home they purchased in 1976. When people called, the sisters came up with excuses to get off the phone. Without explanation, they stopped sending birthday cards to a childhood friend. And on the rare occasion when they left their home, the two women didn’t chat up the neighbors. “The circumstance surrounding their death is somewhat of an enigma,” Harwood said. “These two only ever had each other, and we would like, at least for their sake, to notify their family.” A neighbor spotted an ambulance at the house a year ago and assumed the sisters had fallen ill. Someone asked police to check regularly on the house. When officers arrived Feb 25 for a routine check, no one answered the door. The next day, police forced their way in and found the bodies. As news of the deaths spread, former South Lake Tahoe residents called police to report that they had lived near the sisters for decades in some cases, and had hardly seen them. One sent in a postcard that

claimed the sisters were the only remaining members of their family after their mother’s death and their brother died at war. Calls Tuesday to several longtime residents and social groups in the area turned up little, as many community leaders said they had never heard of the sisters. Joan Miller was a senior accounting clerk in the payroll department at the Lake Tahoe Unified School District from 1979 to 1984. Patricia Miller, who drove a white convertible with red upholstery, worked in the El Dorado County’s social services office during that same time. “I never heard of anyone else being in either of their lives,” said Betty Mitchell, 89, who supervised Patricia Miller in the social services office and saw the twins around town. “They were inseparable and really identical.” The sisters were friendly and often told stories of their singing adventures. They told Mitchell they had performed at Yosemite National Park and when their mother came to visit from Oregon, they all dined at Mitchell’s home. But the sisters were also guarded. When Mitchell urged them to join a community choir, they declined. They never discussed their social lives. “ They kept things to themselves,” Mitchell said. “I don’t even know if they had siblings.” The sisters grew up in Portland, Oregon, before moving to the San Francisco area, where Joan Miller attended college, Harwood learned. The women briefly appeared on a 1950s television show called the “The Hoffman Hayride” and posed for a picture with Crosby as children. The twins also entertained troops at military bases, a childhood friend told Harwood. The sisters never seemed interested in dating or expanding their social spheres. They listed each other as their next of kin, Harwood said. “All they had was each other, and that’s actually the way they wanted it,” he said. Joyce Peterson of the International Twins Association, a social group based in Oklahoma, said she once heard of 100-year-old twins who died within days of each other. “As a twin, you’ve got this bond, you’re close - almost like a married couple,” said Peterson, of Minnesota, who serves as co-vice president of the group with her identical sister. “It’s a bond no one else can understand.” —AP

Venezuelan court upholds TV fine CARACAS: Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a $2 million fine against the opposition-aligned television station Globovision imposed by regulators for coverage of a prison uprising last year. The court denied an appeal by Globovision’s directors and journalists to overturn the fine imposed by Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission. Regulators accused the channel of “apologizing for crime,” “altering the public order” and promoting political intolerance during its coverage of the intervention by troops to quash rioting at El Rodeo prison. The commission’s director general, Pedro Maldonado, has said that for four days Globovision broadcast 18 emotional reports with relatives of the prisoners and repeated them almost 300 times, adding the sound of

gunfire over the reports. Ricardo Antela, a legal consultant for the station, said Tuesday that the court’s ruling doesn’t confirm the fine because other appeals are pending in other courts. Globovision’s directors and reporters will exercise “each and every one of the ordinary and extraordinary resources available to them under the law to defend their rights,” Antela said. The station has accused the government of President Hugo Chavez of trying to shut it down. It says the fine is “unpayable” and could affect its finances. In its ruling Tuesday, the top court said it didn’t see evidence that the fine would affect the station’s functioning. The June 2011 prison riot erupted after troops raided one of two adjacent prisons looking for weapons. —AP

TEGUCIGALPA: Vice President Joe Biden told Central American leaders that the United States is determined to defeat transnational gangs and continue funding an offensive against drug traffickers, but didn’t publicly address the debate of drug legalization proposed in the region. Still, Central American presidents insisted they will talk about decriminalizing narcotics in a meeting scheduled in two weeks, according to a joint statement read after the meeting with Biden. Biden said the US government has financially supported a regional security plan and is seeking more money to help Central American countries fight drug cartels, accused of causing a spike in murders. Guatemalan President Otto Perez has said he favors a debate about legalizing drugs as a way to decrease cartel violence. On Monday, during a visit to Mexico, Biden said Washington doesn’t think that is the answer and will not legalize drugs. After arriving in Honduras’ capital for Tuesday’s meeting, Perez didn’t say whether he would bring up drug legalization at the session. But speaking at the Tegucigalpa airport, Perez said it was an opportune time to discuss “organized crime, drug trafficking and the problems the region faces.” Honduras President Porfirio Lobo read a joint statement after Biden’s visit, which said the countries had decided to further discuss Perez’s legalization proposal in a meeting on March 24. “We showed the US vice president the huge human, social and financial costs the illicit activities leave in our countries,” Lobo said

reading from the text. Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said the region is suffering from the ills tied to drug trafficking and consumption, and “we demand the United States assume responsibility.” “We expect more hopeful scenarios for

world and have been battered in recent years by the incursion of Mexican drug cartels seeking to expand their territories and use Central America as a drug transshipment point. “The United States is key in this battle,” Funes said.

insufficient. Biden said the administration is asking more from congress. “We have not found that the concern of the international community has translated into a commitment to ensure that Central America advances in the fight

TEGUCIGALPA: US Vice President Joe Biden, left, Hondura’s President Porfirio Lobo, center, and Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla, right, pose for pictures at the presidential house in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Tuesday. Biden is on a one-day visit to Honduras. —AP fighting organized crime at this summit,” Chinchilla said. Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes said combating organized crime is a priority for the region, particularly for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The four countries are grappling with some of the highest homicide rates in the

First week of post-surgery recovery rough: Chavez CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his first week after undergoing cancer surgery was a bit difficult but that he is recovering smoothly. Chavez offered the update on his health in a phone call on Tuesday from Cuba that was broadcast live on Venezuelan state television. Chavez said his “innards” were “a little hurt” in the Feb 26 operation but that he is feeling better. The 57-year-old president has said the surgery removed a new tumor that appeared in the same spot in the pelvic region where a tumor was surgically removed eight months ago. “This week that passed... was a little difficult. Well, you know that fortunately I’m continuing to recover,” Chavez said. “I’m recovering with the grace of Holy God and the Virgin... the love of all of you, medical science, to continue fighting this battle.”Chavez has said he next plans to undergo radiation therapy treatment, though it’s unclear how soon that could begin. He offered few details about his health but said that after his latest surgery, “I’m more dedicated to thinking.” Chavez revealed on Sunday in a prerecorded TV appearance that the new tumor removed from his pelvic region was of the same type of cancer as the baseball-sized growth extracted from that part of his body in June. He underwent four rounds of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela following last year’s surgery. Chavez has credited his ally and mentor Fidel Castro with suggesting the medical tests that originally detected cancer. Chavez said he was expecting visits by Castro as well as his brother President Raul Castro. Chavez also said he would meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Havana. —AP

“The strategy should be developed jointly, because that is the only way to defeat the powerful drug cartels.” Biden said the US has provided about $361 million in anti-crime aid under the Central America Regional Security Initiative, but leaders in the region called that

against drug trafficking,” Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said. US Southern Commander Gen. Douglas Fraser said Tuesday in Washington that Central American nations faced the common threat that the power of transnational gangs could break through the countries’ institutions. —AP

Mexico judge orders probe into killings of women MEXICO CITY: A judge has ordered Mexican authori- resentatives voted last year against declaring an ties to investigate the killings of women in the sub- alert for Mexico State, a move that would have urbs of Mexico City, reviving a sensitive issue related required authorities at all three levels of government to a former governor who is a leading candidate in to coordinate investigations of gender violence. The agency can appeal the judge’s ruling. Pena the presidential race. Judge Jose Alvarado ruled a national, multi-government agency formed to fight Nieto and his supporters have said Mexico State’s violence against women should reconsider a request per-capita homicide rate is no worse than in the by activists to declare a state of alert for central country’s other states and suggested the requests Mexico State, women’s rights activist Maria de la Luz for a state of alert were politically motivated. Pena Nieto couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. A Estrada said Tuesday. Human rights groups say hundreds of women study by the United Nations women’s organization have been killed or gone missing in recent years in found the number of killings of women in Mexico that state, which lies next to Mexico City and is State was in line with the national average and decreased between 2004 and home to 13 million people. 2009. There were 5.43 women Estrada said her group has killed per 100,000 in 2004 and documented more than 1,000 3.66 in 2009, the study said. killings of women during the The national rate increased six-year administration of forfrom 2.46 to 3.4 per 100,000 mer Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto, over the same period, it said. who is a leading contender in Estrada denied activists are the July 1 presidential eleczeroing in on Mexico State, tion. saying her group has also State authorities didn’t requested alerts be declared immediately comment on the in the states of Oaxaca, ruling, which was issued Feb. Guanajuato and Nuevo Leon. 27 but not revealed until In Nuevo Leon, a war between Tuesday. The issue recalled two rival drug cartels killed the campaign for justice more than 2,000 people last waged by relatives of women year, including more than 300 killed in the border city of women. In Ciudad Juarez, Ciudad Juarez, where dozens where 1,200 were killed in of women were tortured, drug-related attacks, 196 raped and killed prompting a women were killed in 2011. women’s rights movement “In Mexico State there is a that garnered international MEXICO CITY: In this image released attention. “Authorities in by the Mexico State Attorney pattern of violence against Mexico State don’t investigate Generals Office on March 6, 2012, women, and authorities there and instead blame the victims accused serial rapist and murderer are doing everything to deny for their own deaths, or in Cesar Librado is photographed this is happening instead of many cases say they commit- after he was recaptured in Mexico working to stop the killings of women,” Estrada said. ted suicide, without doing a City on Sunday March 4, 2012. —AP A state of alert “would proper investigation,” said mean they would have to Estrada, who coordinates the National Citizens Observers on Women’s Killings. immediately act to protect the life and security of Political analyst John Ackerman, of the legal women and to see where the hot spots for violence research institute at Mexico’s National Autonomous against women are to prevent the killings,” she University, said the case could be “another stone in added. Violence against women in the Mexico State the shoe of Pena Nieto that he’s going to have to drew national attention after a serial rapist and killer escaped from police custody last week. Police say deal with” during the campaign. The judge’s ruling was aimed at the National Cesar Librado, a public bus driver who worked on a Agency for Prevention and Eradication of Violence route connecting Mexico City with neighboring subAgainst Women, which was formed in 2007 from urbs in Mexico State, raped eight female passengers federal, state and local agencies to declare violence and killed seven of them. He was recaptured alerts and follow up with education, prosecution Monday after a public outcry calling for the state and prevention programs. Twenty of 34 agency rep- attorney general to resign. —AP



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Journalist arrested in Delhi bomb attack First breakthrough in attack on Israeli diplomatic vehicle NEW DELHI: Police arrested an Indian journalist to investigate possible links to the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle last month in New Delhi, authorities said yesterday, the first apparent breakthrough in an attack that Israel blamed on Iran. The Press Trust of India said the suspect had claimed to work for an Iranian news organization, a report Indian police declined to confirm. His

Mohammed Kazmi on Tuesday after investigations showed he had been in touch with a suspect they believe may have stuck a magnetic bomb on an Israeli diplomat’s car, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said. Police said they searched Kazmi’s house over the past two days to gather evidence that might link him to the Feb 13 attack, which wounded the diplomat’s wife, her driver and two other people in a

day, three Iranians accidentally blew up their house in Thailand, and Israeli authorities said the similarity between their explosives and the two earlier bombs linked Iran to all three incidents. Indian officials have refused to assign blame while the investigation continues. Israel has accused Iran of waging a covert campaign of state terrorism and has threatened military strikes on Iranian

NEW DELHI: Policemen wearing plain clothes escort Syed Mohammed Kazmi, an alleged suspect, to a court in New Delhi, India yesterday. —AP lawyer said he had taken at least one reporting trip to Iran on behalf of India’s state broadcaster. Though Indian authorities have not implicated Iran in the bombing, any leads that point in that direction could complicate India’s delicate efforts to ward off growing Western pressure and maintain its strong economic ties with Tehran. Energy-starved India remains a large market for Iranian oil, and those purchases could blunt the effect of intensified sanctions being imposed by the United States and European Union to force Iran to roll back its nuclear ambitions. “India finds itself between a rock and a hard place over Iran,” said Arundhati Ghose, a retired Indian diplomat. “It’s a tough call for the government, but one that New Delhi will have to confront eventually.” Police arrested Syed

nearby car. Police did not say what evidence they found. Kazmi, 50, appeared in court yesterday where a judge allowed the police to hold him for questioning till March 27. “My client has been falsely implicated. He is not an international terrorist,” Kazmi’s lawyer, Vijay Aggarwal, told reporters. Aggarwal said Kazmi was a journalist who had traveled to Iran while covering the Iraq war for state television and reported on issues relating to Iran. He did not elaborate or clarify when Kazmi had been in Iran. The court allowed Kazmi to meet with his lawyer every day and ordered a medical examination every two days to rule out the possibility he might be tortured. The New Delhi blast came the same day a bomb was discovered on an Israeli diplomat’s car in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The next

nuclear facilities. If Kazmi’s arrest and interrogation leads to evidence of Iran’s involvement - either directly or through its proxies - in the New Delhi attack, the fallout could put India in a diplomatic quandary. Iran is one of India’s major suppliers of oil, accounting for 12 percent of its energy needs. So far, India has fended off criticism for its growing economic ties with Iran by saying it does not heed unilateral sanctions, such as those being imposed by the United States and European Union. “We have accepted sanctions that are made by the United Nations,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters in Washington at a recent press briefing. “Other sanctions do not apply to us.” Western sanctions have made it harder for Indian companies to pay for Iranian oil, with international banks unwilling to

handle transactions from Tehran without breaching the new American sanctions on Iran’s financial earnings from oil. Last month, India and Iran agreed to an arrangement for 45 percent of the $11 billion in annual oil payments to be made in Indian rupees, with the rest to be paid in a barter system. Tehran is looking to trade oil for Indian-made machinery, iron and steel, minerals and automobiles, while Indian companies plan to invest in infrastructure projects in Iran including developing oil and gas fields, roads and railways. India brushed off the international outrage over the blasts and said it would go ahead with a visit to Tehran this weekend by an Indian trade delegation headed by the commerce secretary. “India needs the Iranian crude. It would be very difficult to find alternative sources of oil that would be acceptable to Indian refineries,” a commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Many of India’s aging oil refineries are configured to use Iranian crude oil. Retrofitting these refineries would be costly, the official said. India is also looking after its strategic interests in Iran’s neighbor Afghanistan, which India hopes to prevent from falling under the sway of its archrival, Pakistan, after the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops. India uses Iranian ports to send goods to Afghanistan as it scrambles to maintain influence there. “India is now in a panic over what lies ahead in Afghanistan. The Americans are leaving Afghanistan; they are talking to the Taliban. India will find itself scrambling for access in Afghanistan,” says K.C. Singh, a former Indian ambassador to Iran. To this end, India is helping develop the southern Iranian port of Chabahar and a rail link that will offer it direct access to Afghanistan. New Delhi has not remained completely immune to sanction pressures and is slowly easing its dependence on Iranian oil. Trends show a gradual decline in Iranian oil imports, with a temporary spike in January due to the bunching of earlier supplies that were delayed due to payment hurdles. India has also developed close ties with Israel after diplomatic relations were established in 1992, and Tel Aviv has emerged as an important arms supplier.—AP

US envoys: Progress in N Korea food aid talks BEIJING: US envoys said there was progress in talks yesterday on arrangements for the first US government food aid shipment to impoverished North Korea in three years, part of an agreement aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. Special envoy Robert King said negotiations with their North Korean counterparts in Beijing went on until yesterday evening and that officials would meet again today. “We’ve discussed a number of the issues and we’re making progress,” he said, declining to elaborate on the specifics. An agreement was reached last week for a resumption of shipments in exchange for North Korea agreeing to freeze nuclear activities and allow the return of UN nuclear inspectors. King and senior aid official Jon Brause said the talks are intended to ensure proper procedures and safeguards are in place to make sure that nutritional aid for about 1 million North Koreans gets to those who need it most. The program is focusing on vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly.

The last US food handouts ended abruptly in 2009 when North Korea expelled US food monitors. An initial agreement on the provision of food aid was reached late last year, only to be delayed by the death in December of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. Talks later resumed under Kim’s son and successor, Kim Jong Un, who is seen as closely hewing to his father’s negotiating strategy of mixing willingness to engage with threats and brinkmanship. Washington has said last week’s agreement was only a first step toward total dismantling of the North’s nuclear weapons program. The deal foresees the delivery of 240,000 tons of US food aid in exchange for a moratorium on longrange missile and nuclear tests, as well as the suspension of nuclear work at North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor. The deal also opens the way for United Nations nuclear monitors to inspect the North’s nuclear program, which has gone unmonitored since Pyongyang asked agency experts at the Yongbyon reactor to leave and restarted its atomic activities three years ago. —AP

Teacher jailed over boy’s death in Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court yesterday sentenced an Islamic school teacher to 18 years in jail for causing the death of a seven-year-old pupil who he beat and strangled, reports said. Hanif Mohamad Ali, 28, was sentenced by a court in northern Kedah state after pleading guilty to causing the death last year of Saiful Syazani Saiful Sopfidee, state news agency Bernama reported. The boy had been accused of stealing money from another pupil. Saiful died two days after he was admitted to hospital with head injuries. Prosecutors said he was tied up, beaten and strangled, which cut off oxygen to his brain and led to his

death. Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Zaki Abdul Wahab was quoted saying he hoped the sentence would be a lesson to teachers that they should “not act inhumanely” or use discipline which was “reckless and excessive”. Malaysian teachers have occasionally made headlines for extreme punishments. In one case a student caught smoking was forced to smoke more, and in another a group of girls was made to squat in a pond. Caning, administered on the buttocks or the palm of the hand, is allowed as punishment for boys in Malaysian schools although it is used rarely and only for serious offences. —AFP

LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, front, with his son Akhilesh Yadav greet party workers at their party office in Lucknow, India yesterday. —AP

Election routs cripple India’s ruling party NEW DELHI: India’s ruling party needed a series of state election victories to reinvigorate its scandal-plagued government. The drubbing it received instead has crippled its ability to enact urgent reforms or act decisively, leaving the Congress party a virtual lame duck over the final two years of its term. The most damaging results came from India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress party’s star campaigner and prime minister-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi had canvassed for months. The party’s hopes of tripling their presence from a paltry 22 in a 403-strong assembly were dashed as it won only 28 seats. The results from three out four other states were dismal, too. “This is bad news for the Congress. After being defensive for one and half years on various scams, they had hoped the elections would turn the mood around,” Neerja Chowdhury, a political analyst said yesterday. The embattled government has a tough two years ahead of it with poverty still widespread, its economy suddenly cooling and a spate of crucial - and controversial - legislation on its agenda. That includes bills guaranteeing food for its poorest citizens, creating an ombudsman to tackle endemic corruption and regulating the purchase of farmland for development. The government was already floundering before the election debacle as senior ministers and officials faced corruption charges stemming from scandals in the hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the sale of cellphone spectrum that auditors said lost the country billions of dollars. Its own mercurial ally, Trinamool Congress that runs West Bengal state, forced it to retreat from its plan to allow foreign companies like Wal-Mart to own 51 percent of supermarket chains. That move had been expected to spark infrastructure investment that would help fix India’s broken-down food distribution system. The party tried to minimize the impact of the loss. “I do not think the results will damage the UPA government,” Congress’ president, Italian-born Sonia Gandhi told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. The Congress-led alliance is called the United Progressive Alliance. But Congress’s poor showing in the state polls is expected to put every difficult decision on hold. “Congress has been weakened at the center and any government in that position is buffeted around that much more by its allies,” said Chowdhury. “They will try and extract their pound of flesh on every initiative.” It had hoped that better numbers in Uttar Pradesh would make it kingmaker in the state and give it more control over the

state’s Samajwadi Party, a crucial but temperamental supporter of the national government. Instead the Samajwadi Party won by a massive margin, proving it doesn’t need Congress’ help and gaining the ability to dictate to the national government. On every count the government has a daunting to-do list and very little help to tackle its agenda. India’s economy grew at its slowest pace in over two years in the last quarter, even as inflation remained stubbornly high. The government has scaled back growth expectations to around 7 percent for the year ending March, down from an earlier projection of 9 percent. New Delhi is also struggling to plug an unwieldy fiscal deficit, which economists predict will exceed the target of 4.6 percent of GDP by a percentage point or more. Political gridlock has dampened business sentiment in India, which has been trying to revive stalled investment to kickstart growth. Many had been anticipating the March 16 budget announcement with high hopes that the government would take clear steps to rein in spending and reinvigorate its stalled economic reform agenda.Now economists fear that the budget may end up being too soft as the government scrambles to keep its hopes alive for the 2014 national elections. “Having taken a big beating the Congress-led government may try to push through an overly populist budget,” said Samiran Chakraborty, an economist at Standard Chartered. In July the country will elect a new president, a post currently occupied by Pratibha Patil, a Congress party loyalist. The position of the Indian president is largely ceremonial, but it’s vested with powers that can be significant in times of political crisis. This time around the Congress controls only about a third of the electoral college of federal and state lawmakers who elect the president and will be forced to negotiate with its powerful allies. The issue of increased foreign investment in retail is likely to stay on the back burner as are other important decisions like the setting up of a National Counter Terrorism Center, an idea already criticized by several state leaders as encroaching on their turf, both analysts said. “Every time a hard decision is to be taken they’re likely to go into a shell and stay there. The indecision is likely to continue,” said Chakraborty. That indecision will also be at play in the 2014 elections where regional parties, empowered by their victories at home, will likely play an important role. “It’s too early to say how that will be reflected in national politics, but it will definitely be a factor,” Chowdhury said. —AP

Japan Red Cross: Year wasted in post-tsunami rebuilding

BEIJING: US Special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Robert King, right and senior US Agency for International Development official Jon Brause, left, meet with journalists before leaving for meetings from a hotel in Beijing, China yesterday.—AP

Bomb blast kills four on Afghan-Pakistan border KANDAHAR: Four civilians were killed and 10 injured yesterday when a remotely controlled motorbike bomb exploded in an Afghan town on the border with Pakistan, police said. Officials blamed the attack in the town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province on the hardline Islamist Taleban, who are waging a 10-year insurgency against the Western-backed government in Kabul. “There was a motorbike bomb blast against border police in Spin Boldak. Four civilians, one of them a woman, were killed and 10 others were injured,” said Janan, a rapidreaction police unit commander who uses only one name. The interior ministry confirmed the deaths and blamed the blast on the “enemies of Afghanistan”-a reference to the Taleban . Improvised bombs and suicide attacks are the most common weapons used in Taleban attacks. The rebels are particularly active in southern and eastern Afghanistan, along the rugged and mountainous border with Pakistan. —AP

TOKYO: The Japanese Red Cross said yesterday an entire year has been lost in rebuilding tsunami-ravaged areas of the country because the central government and local authorities had failed to agree on a “master plan”. It also said that the slow pace of reconstruction was deepening mental suffering and called for intensified efforts to bring the region back to life. A year after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11 unleashed a tsunami that killed about 16,000 and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, about 326,000 people are still homeless. Nearly 3,300 remain unaccounted for. “The central government has proposed different scenarios, but they were met with strong opposition from local governments and also people affected directly by the earthquake and tsunami,” Japanese Red Cross President Tadateru Konoe told Reuters alongside a press event marking the anniversary. “Without reaching any agreement on a master plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction, it’s very difficult to even start a reconstruction process. I think the first thing is to hasten this process, then they can mobilize... “I think that should be the very start of everything. So one year has been wasted in that sense because they haven’t been able to reach any consensus.” Hopes that the triple disaster would

jolt Japan out of longstanding economic and political torpor have so far proved unfounded. Government debt accumulates, while key decisions keep being postponed and politicians have reverted to skirmishing in a deadlocked parliament. Public mistrust of officials and politicians has risen. The Red Cross has raised 400 billion yen ($4.95 billion) over the past year in donations from Japan and abroad, providing 290 billion yen in cash payouts to affected residents. It said Red Cross activities had shifted over the year from attending to the urgent medical needs of survivors, many of them elderly, to long-term support including help in building temporary and permanent health facilities. Uncertainty, it said, was deepening a sense of isolation felt by many survivors, adding to huge psychological burdens. “The slow pace of reconstruction along Japan’s devastated northeastern coastline is contributing to survivors’ stress, as there is little clarity on how long they will have to remain in cramped temporary housing,” it said in a statement. Patrick Fuller, communications manager at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said people in affected areas were isolated-they had lost their homes and were separated from relatives forced to earn a living elsewhere. —Reuters



Children and parents are dwarfed by a whale shark as it passes by inside a tank Tuesday at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. The whale shark is the largest living fish species. — AFP

Blast kills six British troops in Afghanistan Long slog ahead in divisive GOP race Continued from Page 1 Before the explosion, 398 British coalition, Britain is due to end comexplosive device, or homemade bomb, but stopped short of claiming responsibility. British Prime Minister David Cameron described the explosion as marking a “desperately sad day for our country”. “Every death and every injury reminds us of the human cost paid by our armed forces to keep our country safe,” Cameron told parliament. “Our mission in Afghanistan does remain vital to our national security,” he continued. “We’re there to prevent that country from being a safe haven to Al-Qaeda, from where they might plan attacks on the UK or our allies.”

forces personnel had died in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001, when a USled invasion overthrew the Taleban regime over its harbouring of AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It is the biggest British loss of life in a single incident in Afghanistan since a Nimrod aircraft crashed in 2006 after leaking fuel made contact with a hot air pipe, killing 14 crew. Britain has around 9,500 troops with the NATO force of some 130,000 in Afghanistan, but Cameron announced in July that this would be reduced by 500 to around 9,000 this year. Along with the rest of the NATO

bat operations in Afghanistan by late 2014, transferring responsibility for security to Afghan forces. Cameron stressed the need for a political settlement with the Taleban. “(Britain must) send a very clear message to the Taleban that, whether it is our troops who are there or whether it is Afghan troops who are there, they will not win on the battlefield - they never win on the battlefield,” he said. “Now it is time for a political settlement to give this country a chance of peaceful progress.” Britain has lost more lives than any country with troops involved in the conflict except the United States. — AFP

Turkey seeks to boost ties with Kuwait, Gulf Continued from Page 1 Gul said the situation in Syria is very alarming, “and the developments in our southern neighbor warn of a slip to civil war. Turkey therefore opted to cooperate with the League to avert such a scenario.” He recalled that the Syrians who fled to his country now number some 11,000 refugees. “I had warned Al-Assad that he had better initiate reform before the Arab Spring knocks his doors, but he gave this no heed and unfortunately he resorted to military might instead to clamp down on the protests, to which we are completely opposed.” Gul said the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference Istanbul is preparing to host at the end of this month would support any resolutions that would help the Syrian people, in cooperation with the Arab League. Back to relations with the GCC, Gul noted that though political and economic relations are strong, cooperation in the fields of culture and media “still needs a serious push”, and such improvements would help relations in all other fields as well. Cooperation in culture and media initiatives would serve as an excellent means to bring the two nations and the two peoples together, Gul stressed, and he strongly urged translation of media and cultural productions in both directions. When it comes to Turkey’s keenness to sign a free trade agreement with the GCC, he stressed the ultimate end is economic sufficiency and integration rather than an increase of bulk of trade exchange per se. All of Turkey’s agreements with countries of the Gulf, whether political, economic, security related, or cultural aim at helping to maintain the stability of this strategic region. On his country’s foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East, Gul remarked that “the situation in Iraq is still unstable, even with the end of the war, and it is no pleasure to see such continuation of political and security instability in a neighbor country”. On Iran, Gul said the Iranian nuclear dossier is causing much concern as Tehran continues its confrontational path against the West concerning its nuclear program. On Palestine, Gul said Israel is very uncooperative and maintains a “hostile and brutal” attitude that pays little heed to international resolutions. The Turkish president also mentioned Egypt, saying he is waiting to see the result of the democratic transition and political change. On these and other issues in the region, Turkey seeks a united and coordinated stance with that of other countries, most particularly the GCC, Arab League and the OIC. Closer to home, Gul remarked on the great development his country has achieved over the last ten years, and stressed the reforms it initiated had furthered

Turkey’s influence regionally and internationally. It also made it an economic power to be reckoned with, and an economic power that surpasses the traditionally dominant powers within the European Union. On the Islamic orientation of the ruling party, the president pointed out the party is not strictly Islamic in membership and includes elements from many other schools of thought. Furthermore, although he was the founder of the Justice and Development Party, Gul said he cannot take sides on any issue in his official capacity, as stated in the constitution. The foundation of the party, he added, stressed on general values including freedom and the social values widely accepted in Turkey. It was therefore natural for the party to have an Islamic identity since it is in a country of over 90 percent Muslims. As to whether the party could serve as model for others in the countries affected by the Arab Spring, he said Turkey has relations with and shares a great deal of values with Islamic parties that took over in some countries after the revolutions. There are shared ideas to do with democracy and reform, he said. In our contacts with them, we stress that managing the country is the true challenge, not getting to power. Gul remarked, “This need to realize the current situation and its details and deal with it realistically would be communicated to Tunisian officials” during his visit to Tunisia, his first, and comes over a year after the democratic changes there. Gul was asked to comment on the Ottoman legacy, amid criticism of some parts of it recently. “ The Ottomans ruled a far-reaching empire over six centuries and made some mistakes in the process. However, this does not mean some of the accusations against it from Christian parties are justified - they are in fact political ploys to discredit an opponent.” The concern over circumstances in the Middle East, with rising tensions in many parts of the region, is “not cause for alarm or fears of war. Nor do we hope to see any armed conflict in the region.” The Kuwaiti press delegation, which started its sixday visit on Monday, includes Editor-in-Chief of Kuwait Times Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan, Kuwait Journalists Association Chairman and Deputy Managing Director of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Ahmad Yusef Behbehani, Al-Anbaa daily Editor-in-Chief Yusef Khalid Al-Marzouq, KUNA Editor-in-Chief Rashid AlRuwaished, Al-Rai Editor-in-Chief Majid Al-Ali and Annahar Editor-in-Chief Emad BuKhamsin. It also includes Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Al-Anbaa and visit coordinator Adnan Al-Rashed and Deputy Editor-inChief of Al-Yaqaza magazine Dalia Behbehani, along with photographer Majed Al-Sabeji. — KUNA

Continued from Page 1

Republican leadership to endorse Romney, said he believed the former governor was inexorably heading towards the nomination. “Romney did what he needs to do,” Cantor told Fox television. “What we’re beginning to see is people saying that jobs and the economy undoubtedly are the number one issue and we need Mitt Romney because he’s the only individual in the race who has a plan, a progrowth bold plan to get the economy back on track and get jobs created again.” All four remaining candidates including Texas congressman Ron Paul who failed to win a single state on Tuesday - are focused on the allimportant hunt for the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination. In the complex Republican race, each state is allocated a certain number of delegates to the party’s

summer convention which will crown the nominee, and those delegates are divided up among the winners of the state votes. According to the authoritative website Real Clear Politics, Romney was about third of the way towards the nomination, leading the delegate count yesterday with 404, Santorum had 161, Gingrich 105 and Paul trailed last with 61. Santorum, 53, a devout Roman Catholic who fiercely opposes abortion and gay marriage, has billed himself as the only authentic conservative in the race who understands working-class voters and can beat Obama in the fall. “We have won in the West, the Midwest and the South and we’re ready to win across this country,” he told an earsplitting rally Tuesday. But Santorum’s radical views have alienated some moderates, and after the Ohio setback serious questions will be asked about his electability as

the race heads to Kansas and some of the US territories on Saturday. Santorum was back on the campaign trail stumping in Kansas yesterday, before two rallies in Mississippi later in the day. Romney has now won 14 states, while Santorum has won seven and Gingrich two. But the next states in play could rob Romney of any forward movement. Deeply-conservative Kansas votes on Saturday and the delegate-rich southern states of Alabama and Mississippi hold primaries Tuesday, all of which could prove a challenge to Romney, and hand victories to either Santorum or Gingrich. “We’ll go day by day, step by step, door by door, heart to heart. There will be good days, there will be bad days,” Romney vowed to supporters Tuesday. “But on November 6th, we’re going to stand united. Not only having won an election, but having saved a future.” — AFP

UN aid chief enters battered Baba Amr area Continued from Page 1 displaced residents of Baba Amr. ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger last week called the government’s decision to deny aid workers access to the district “unacceptable,” but the authorities said the move was based on safety concerns over mines and unexploded bombs. However, the opposition charged that the delay was aimed at allowing time for the regime’s “crimes” to be covered up. The green light from Damascus came after Amos held talks with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, in which he pledged Syria’s cooperation with her mission to secure aid for battered protest cities. Amos flew in for a two-day visit after international outcry over President Bashar alAssad’s previous refusal to let her in. She is to be followed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on Saturday. The UN former chief was in Cairo yesterday ahead of his first visit since his appointment as international envoy for Syria. Muallem “underlined Syria’s commitment to cooperate with the delegation within the framework of the respect, sovereignty and independence of Syria,” state SANA news agency said. It quoted Muallem as saying Syria was doing its best to provide food and medical assistance to its citizens despite “the burden it faces as a result of unfair sanctions imposed by some Western and Arab nations which are affecting the population.” Amos’s arrival coincided with a report by the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition grouping, that army reinforcements were on their way to Idlib province in the northwest, a stronghold of Turkey-based Free Syrian Army rebels. “The SNC has noted 42 tanks and 131 troop carriers leaving Latakia in the direction of the town of Saraqeb,” in Idlib, “as well as military columns heading for the town of Idlib,” the group said in a statement. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven people were killed in violence across the country yesterday, five of them in Idlib province. One civilian was killed by snipers in the village Al-Atareb, in the northern

province of Aleppo, and a child died from gunshots in AlKhalidiyeh, a neighbourhood in central Homs. The SNC called on the international community, the Arab League and international NGOs to “act urgently and at all levels, to avoid a repeat of the massacre at Baba Amr, where hundreds of martyrs fell”. Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the overall death toll since last March has now reached almost 8,500, with civilians accounting for three-quarters of those killed and the rest made up of soldiers, security service agents and rebels. Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallim said yesterday that Damascus was ready to cooperate with a Chinese initiative to end the bloodshed and begin dialogue between the regime and the opposition. After meeting Chinese envoy Li Huaxin, Beijing’s former ambassador to Damascus, Muallem said Syria welcomed a six-point peace plan and was “ready to cooperate” with the plan aimed at “halting the violence”, SANA reported. Damascus was also ready to cooperate with Annan, the minister added. The Chinese initiative, unveiled by Beijing on Sunday, calls for an immediate end to the violence and for dialogue between the regime and the opposition. The SNC has previously ruled out dialogue while Assad remains in power. Beijing’s proposal rejects foreign interference or “external action for regime change” in Syria but supports the role of the UN Security Council “in strict accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN charter.” Russia, which like China has been criticised for blocking Security Council action on the crisis, urged its ally Damascus and the rebels to “immediately” halt violence and assist Amos’s mission. The Russian foreign ministry said it received Syria’s ambassador to Moscow at his own request and made clear that “violence must end immediately, no matter where it comes from.” Incoming president Vladimir Putin rejected the idea of Russia offering Assad asylum as a way of helping put an end to the bloodshed. “We are not even discussing this question,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying. — Agencies





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Urgings of caution By Dan Perry sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces significant pressure at home to coordinate with the United States in any attack against Iran’s nuclear program, despite his public insistence on Israel’s right to act alone. With the clock ticking toward a monumental decision by Netanyahu, it largely could come down to whether he trusts President Barack Obama - a man with whom Netanyahu, often jokingly referred to as an “Israeli Republican”, seems markedly ill at ease. The signs from this week’s summit at the White House are not particularly good. The two allies agree that Iran is on a path that could eventually lead to the production of a nuclear weapon, but part ways over urgency: Netanyahu seems impatient with Obama’s statements that tough new economic sanctions imposed by the West be given time to work. But if he decides to strike alone, Netanyahu would be courting an astounding array of consequences. An Israeli attack would likely unleash retaliation, in the form of Iranian missiles as well as rocket attacks by Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas on its northern and southern borders. Especially daunting is the prospect of sustained missile strikes on Tel Aviv, a bustling business and entertainment capital whose populace is psychologically ill-prepared for a homefront war. It also would likely cause oil prices to skyrocket at a time when the global economy is already struggling - risking a new recession for which Israel would absorb much if not most of the blame. Iran is widely expected to attack American targets in response to any Israeli strike - a scenario that could directly influence the outcome of this fall’s US presidential election. Israel can hardly contemplate a genuine rift with its closest ally; without US diplomatic, military and financial support the Jewish state would be dangerously exposed on multiple fronts. Few here would dispute that a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat, mindful of Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, support for anti-Israel militant groups, and development of sophisticated missiles capable of striking Israel. Concerns were only heightened by a recent report by the UN nuclear agency that found Iran continues to enrich uranium a key step toward developing a bomb - and by Iran’s movement of enrichment facilities deep underground. But after months of strikingly open debate about an Israeli military strike, awareness of the colossal risks involved appears to be sinking in. A growing number of senior figures have raised concerns that Israel should not act alone. Two former Israeli military chiefs on Tuesday lambasted Netanyahu’s heated rhetoric about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, saying the threats of an imminent military strike are actually weakening Israel. “This is not a Jewish problem,” Shaul Mofaz, who headed the military from 1998 to 2002 and later served as defense minister, told Israel Radio. “It is a strategic problem facing the whole world.” Mofaz, who was born in Iran and moved to Israel as a child, said Israel “is not a ghetto” and that despite its military might must fully coordinate with the US on any plan to strike Iran. Both Mofaz, who is now an opposition lawmaker, and Dan Halutz, the military chief from 2005 to 2007, criticized Netanyahu for invoking Holocaust imagery in describing the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. Halutz said the Holocaust references diminished the actual genocide of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis and blew the Iranian threat out of proportion. “We are not kings of the world,” Halutz said. “We should remember who we are.” Both echoed a similar warning issued recently by Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. A recent poll suggested the public, normally hawkish on security matters, agrees. The survey, conducted by the Israeli Dahaf agency for the University of Maryland, said 81 percent of Israelis oppose a solo attack on Iran. At the same time, it said two-thirds of Israelis would support military action if coordinated with Washington. The poll, released last week, questioned 500 Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. At their high-stakes White House meeting on Monday, Obama appeared to make little headway with Netanyahu. In public comments both before and after the meeting, the Israeli leader repeatedly stressed his country’s right to act alone. “Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” he declared to raucous applause in a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC - the same forum that heard Obama, a day before, decry “too much loose talk of war.” At a news conference Tuesday, Obama implied that Israeli pressure for urgent action was not supported by the facts, saying that a decision was not necessary within the next weeks or months. Efforts to find a diplomatic solution appeared to get a boost Tuesday when world powers agreed to a new round of talks with Tehran, and Iran gave permission for inspectors to visit a site suspected of secret atomic work.—AP


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Populism may trump reforms in India By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Manoj Kumar he Congress party’s drubbing in state elections proved beyond doubt that its populist politics failed to resonate with voters, and yet investors and consumers alike are bracing for more of the same from India’s besieged ruling party. Hemmed in by maverick allies and the fallout from a slew of corruption scandals, the Congress party-led federal government has failed to carry out any meaningful structural reforms since it was re-elected in 2009. Investors had hoped a strong performance in the state elections would ease political constraints on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, giving him room to revisit politically contentious reforms. “As things stand now, they won’t be able to bring any reforms. Their own allies will oppose everything,” said D H Pai Panandiker, who heads Mumbai-based think-tank RPG Foundation. Some reforms, such as to land acquisition and foreign investment rules, and the sensitive issue of subsidies on fuel, are crucial to lifting investment and spending in an economy headed for its slowest growth in three years. Tuesday’s poll results, showing Congress fared badly in four of five states, altered the odds of any such push for reforms in the federal budget. Rather than becoming the catalyst for a renewed reform push, the state elections would provoke more populism, was the consensus view of analysts. That is likely to mean more spending on social programs, such as a pledge to provide universal food security that could bleed public finances but help Congress’ federal re-election bid in 2014. The budget for the fiscal year that begins April 1 will be unveiled on March 16. India’s economic growth is forecast to dip below 7 percent this fiscal year, the lowest since the 2008 financial crisis, as a political logjam and the central bank’s aggressive policies to


contain inflation hit capital investment. After the state elections, Singh’s government was widely expected to implement a decision to open India’s $450 billion supermarket sector to foreign firms such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It had been forced to backtrack on that policy late last year in the face of a strong political backlash. New Delhi is also considering raising domestic fuel prices in order to ease its subsidy burden, a politically unpopular move for which it may not have the stomach. “People are worried now that the government will make a compromise in the budget,” said Taina Erajuuri, a Helsinki-based portfolio manager at FIM India. “The worry is that the government will increase the social expenditure at the cost of reforms. Foreigners do not want to see that.” Stocks fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday to their lowest close in more than five weeks, and a further half percent on Wednesday, although the declines were broadly in line with other Asian markets and the main Mumbai index remains up more than 10 percent for the year-to-date. The rupee posted its biggest single session fall in six weeks on Tuesday. Federal bonds failed to rally despite the Reserve Bank of India’s plan to buy a higher-than-average amount of debt this week as a negative outcome for the Congress party doused hopes of a credible fiscal consolidation roadmap. It’s one thing for the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which is led by the Congress, to admit its policies centred around handouts and higher rural wages have failed. It’s quite another to try and push for higher taxes and transparency in the face of an energised opposition and squabbling coalition. Still, several analysts reckoned the Congress leadership will see the writing on the wall, leaving it little choice. “It’s time for Congress to perform or perish,” said Arun Kejriwal, strategist at Mumbai-based advisory firm KRIS, argu-

ing for the government to put in place policies that may encourage business and create more jobs for voters. “If this budget doesn’t give any direction to the economy, Congress is likely to find itself in a mess in 2014, because next year’s budget would be too late to do anything substantial for the economy,” he said. The easy option would be for the finance minister to sneak in reforms that don’t need parliamentary approval, such as raising fuel prices or permitting more foreign holding of Indian bonds. “This setback might be the final push to convince the UPA to bring in critical supply-side reforms to improve economic prospects,” analysts at Standard Chartered Bank said in a note. Before the global financial crisis of 2008, India’s growth capacity was estimated at around 8.5 percent. But a lack of economic reforms since then has shaved that growth potential to a 7-7.5 percent annual pace. Having failed to cut its subsidy bill, New Delhi is widely expected to miss by a long chalk its deficit target of 4.6 percent of GDP for the fiscal year that ends in March. With global crude prices touching a new high on mounting geopolitical tensions, subsidy payout for the next year is only expected to rise unless pump prices are raised. But for a party that has tasted electoral success on the back of welfare schemes for the poor and subsistence farmers, pleasing investors may not be easy as it seeks re-election in 2014. “There is a risk that the government might opt for a more populist budget and rethink any possible decisions to trim subsidies - which might hurt their support base at the grassroots level,” said Radhika Rao, economist, at Forecast PTE in Singapore. “The coalition administration will be hard at work in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in next two years, with odds skewed for another overshoot in 2012/13 fiscal deficit, at least over 5.0 percent of GDP.” — Reuters

Once again, Romney wins just enough By John Whitesides itt Romney survived another neardeath campaign experience, but a narrow win in Ohio and five other “Super Tuesday” victories did little to ease doubts about the shaky front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney’s close triumph over Rick Santorum in Tuesday’s marquee match-up in Ohio was just good enough: It moved him one step closer to the Republican nomination and averted a dramatic reshuffling in the race to decide who will take on Democratic President Barack Obama in the Nov 6 election. But the narrow margin of victory in Ohio and decisive losses in the South showed that Romney is falling short in his efforts to appeal to conservatives, evangelical Christians and blue-collar voters in a Republican race that now seems certain to last into late April or beyond. And for Romney, the next few weeks aren’t likely to bring much good news. The next contest in the state-by-state nomination race is a caucus on Saturday in conservative Kansas, where Santorum - a social conservative who emphasizes his Catholic faith - is expected to do well. Next Tuesday the campaign moves to the conservative South, where Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has not performed well. Mississippi and Alabama will hold primaries that day. Tuesday’s results gave Romney’s rivals a reason to continue in the race: Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, won Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota, while Newt Gingrich, a former US House speaker, won Georgia. However, Romney is continuing to pile up a lead in state delegates whose support is needed to win the nomination. In a sense, he has become like a boxer who can’t score a knockout, but who is gradually winning his fight on points. “The good news for Romney is that he is still the frontrunner,” said Republican Dan Schnur, an aide to John McCain’s unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 2000. “The bad news is that the doubts about his candidacy are only going to grow stronger.” Aside from Ohio, Romney also won in Massachusetts, where he was governor, and Vermont, Virginia, Alaska and Idaho, solidifying his lead in the race for the 1,144 party


delegates needed to win the nomination. But exit polls in Ohio showed that Romney, a former private equity executive, made no gains with blue-collar and conservative voters despite a renewed focus on resurrecting the economy and creating jobs. Just 22 percent of Ohio voters thought Romney was the candidate who best understood their problems, compared with 31 percent who said Santorum did. Romney, who in recent weeks has referred to his wife Ann’s two Cadillacs and to his friendship with NASCAR team owners, is losing ground on the issue. When he won the Florida primary a month ago, 34 percent of voters in that state thought Romney best understood their problems, according to CNN exit polls. Romney also lost to Santorum among voters who made less than $100,000

ues. And because of that, the race continues.” In Ohio, Romney did prove once again that he can win with his back to the wall. When he has faced a critical or must-win showdown during the campaign - in Florida, Michigan and Ohio - Romney has managed to flex his financial and organizational muscle and pull out wins to regain command of the race. In Ohio, Romney and the independent “Super PAC” that supports him outspent Santorum by 4 to 1, pummeling the former Pennsylvania senator with television ads that blasted Santorum as a Washington insider. The ads helped to erase what had been a double-digit lead for Santorum in Ohio polls. Santorum’s campaign took solace in making the race in Ohio close despite being outspent significantly. But analysts said that Romney, for all of his struggles in trying to

Republican presidential candidate Sen Rick Santorum speaks during a primary night party at the Steubenville High School Gymnasium on Tuesday in Steubenville, Ohio.—AFP a year and among voters who described themselves as very conservative. He performed slightly better among conservatives when he won Florida a month ago and Michigan last week. “Romney didn’t end any of the doubts about his candidacy or answer any of the questions,” Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said. “Every concern about Romney that existed before tonight contin-

appeal to the party’s conservative electorate, has done what he needs to do. “You win campaigns by what? Raising money and being organized,” Republican pollster Steve Mitchell said. “He’s winning tough battles in states that are going to be important in the general election.” The last time Romney seemed ready to take control of the race, after his Jan 31 win

in Florida and Feb 4 win in Nevada, Santorum’s victories in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota days later derailed Romney’s momentum and threw the race into disarray. Romney hopes to avoid a similar reversal on March 20, when he faces another Midwestern showdown with Santorum in Illinois, where Romney’s ability to attract blue-collar votes will be tested again. “For Romney, a win is a win,” Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown said. “Finishing a close second in Ohio is nice for Santorum, but second is second. What’s his argument to donors? ‘I can finish a close second?’” Gingrich’s win in Georgia ensured he will press on with his campaign, which means he will continue to split with Santorum the votes of conservatives who are seeking an alternative to Romney. But the victory in Georgia, a state Gingrich represented in Congress, did little to prove he is capable of expanding his appeal beyond the South. And even in the South, Gingrich showed weakness on Tuesday: In Tennessee and Oklahoma, he ran third behind Santorum and Romney. Santorum’s close race in Ohio, and his wins in Tennessee and Oklahoma, showed his heavy focus on social and religious issues did not appear to hurt him in the Republican races, for which social conservatives typically turn out in big numbers. In Ohio, nearly half of the primary voters identified themselves as evangelical or bornagain Christians, and Santorum comfortably won their votes. Romney closed his campaigns in Michigan and Ohio by focusing heavily on his prescriptions for the ailing economy, and warning that detours into debates over contraception and abortion would hurt the Republican Party’s ability to attract independent voters. CNN’s exit polls in Ohio showed a majority of primary voters, 54 percent, viewed the economy as the most important issue. Romney won their votes by 42 percent to 33 percent over Santorum. A majority of 51 percent also viewed Romney as the most likely to defeat Obama in November, with 24 percent believing Santorum had the best chance to capture the White House. That was good enough to give Romney a narrow win in Ohio, but not to put Santorum away and begin to wrap up the race. “Romney clearly has the inside track on the nomination,” Mackowiak said. “But he’s not closing the deal, and he’s not creating any enthusiasm.” — Reuters


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Uthappa in Indian squad NEW DELHI: Hard-hitting batsman Robin Uthappa was included in India’s 15member squad yesterday for a one-off Twenty20 game against South Africa to be played at Johannesburg on March 30. National selectors retained 14 members from the ODI squad announced last week for the Asia Cup to be held in Dhaka from March 11-22, while naming Uthappa, who last represented India in a T20 game against England at Kolkata in October last year, to replace Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar does not play international T20 games even though he leads Mumbai Indians in the lucrative Indian Premier League. Big-hitting opener Virender Sehwag and pace bowler Zaheer Khan, who were not named in the Asia Cup squad due to niggling injuries, are also not part of the T20 squad named yesterday.—AP

British hand-shake warning SYDNEY: Australian athletes will continue to shake hands with their rivals at the London Olympics, saying not to do so would be an “embarrassment” despite a warning from Britain over the health risks. The British Olympic Association’s (BOA) chief medical officer on Tuesday said that “within reason” shaking hands should be off-limits, given that bugs could spread like wildfire in the close confines of an athletes’ village. Ian McCurdie said the BOA had drawn up a list of health advice for its 550-strong team of athletes and 450 support staff for the Games, which start in the British capital on July 27, and hand-shaking was on it. “Hand

hygiene is it. It is all about hand hygiene,” he said. But the Australian Olympic Committee said it would not be heeding the advice. “Australian athletes have always extended the hand of friendship and we will most certainly being doing that in London,” spokesman Mike Tancred told AFP. “For us, someone not shaking hands would be an embarrassment. It’s the Australian way.” Tancred said there were antiseptic gel dispensers around the athletes’ village where competitors could wash their hands and his advice was that bugs were more commonly picked up from banisters and railings.—AFP

Pakistan ready for Asia Cup KARACHI: Pakistan’s new coach Dav Whatmore said yesterday he was ready for next week’s four-nation Asia Cup and is confident that his team will overcome their recent one-day slump. The 57-year-old former Australian batsman, who coached Sri Lanka to a World Cup title in 1996, took charge of Pakistan last week on a two-year contract with his first assignment in Dhaka. Defending champions India join Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the biennial Asia Cup which runs from March 11-22. Whatmore said he is looking forward to the Asia Cup, at which Pakistan will meet arch-rivals India on March 18. “I know the Asia Cup is an important event with top class teams, even Bangladesh can be a tough opponent as they are playing on their home grounds, so it is one of the many tests that we have and we are looking forward to it,” Whatmore told reporters. —AFP

Clarkson, Carter lift Devils over Rangers NEWARK: David Clarkson and Ryan Carter scored within two minutes early in the third period as the New Jersey Devils’ slumbering offense broke out in a 4-1 victory over the NHL-leading New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Clarkson tipped Petr Sykora’s hard drive past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 2:27 to give the Devils their second lead of the game, and Carter pushed New Jersey ahead by two at 4:21. Carter, who has three goals this season, hadn’t scored since Nov. 19 - a 37-game drought. Carter also fought Brandon Dubinsky in the first period, a bout that knocked the Rangers forward out of the game with a hand injury. Ilya Kovalchuk also had a goal, and Patrik Elias made it 4-1 by scoring into an empty net with 1:53 left.

NEW YORK: United States’ Elana Meyers (front) reacts with teammate Katie Eberling in this file photo. —AP

US sliders get first look at Sochi track SOCHI: US bobsledders Elana Meyers and Katie Eberling are spending this week at the site of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Their challenge now becomes actually qualifying for those games. Meyers and Eberling are among the first international racers to get a look at Russia’s newly built sliding track, which is opening its doors to a small number of bobsled, skeleton and luge athletes from around the world this week. Having sliders on the ice is a significant step for the facility, where some construction projects are ongoing but the actual track has been completed. “I’m so blessed and honored to be here,” Meyers said from Russia on Tuesday. “It’s pretty neat to be able to help my team in any way possible. And it’s pretty awesome knowing that regardless of who’s representing the US in 2014, I might have played some role.” USA Luge is being represented at the testing this week by Chris Mazdzer, who figures to be among a top candidate for the men’s Olympic team in 2014. International officials said Russian sliders got their first runs down their new home track last week. Meyers and Eberling won a bronze medal at last month’s world championships in Lake Placid. Meyers was the driver of that sled. She was the brakeman for another sled that won an Olympic bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Her experience at the track located about an hour from Sochi will be invaluable for other American sliders as they ramp up to 2014, since they likely won’t get a chance to see the facility until planned test events there next season. “It’s pretty cool for Katie and I to be the first US athletes to slide this track,” Meyers said. “It’s somewhat intimidating being the first US driver on the track because of my limited seat time. I’ve got the least amount of driving experience on the World Cup team. I’m still learning quite a bit in the front seat, so to provide information to drivers that have more seat time than me can be quite intimidating.”

Safety has been a major concern throughout the construction of the track, especially after the death of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training run at the facility used for sliding at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Russia luge coach Valery Silakov told the RIA Novosti news agency that the track is “not very challenging” and “it’s unlikely that there will be a lot of falls.” From her early assessment, Meyers seemed to agree, though she noted that building early speed will be crucial. “The track isn’t a very technical track,” Meyers said. “It’s pretty smooth and flowing. ... There will be some parts that are important for speed purposes, but this track is mostly a ‘feeling’ track, where drivers have to rely more on their feeling and rhythm than really a typical driving track like Lake Placid.” Meyers and Eberling got two runs on Monday and three more Tuesday, with hopes of taking as many as 14 before returning home. “The weather conditions have made it difficult,” Meyers said. “Tons of snow. So hopefully we can get the maximum amount of trips.” Russian officials have long insisted that the track would be ready on time, and be worldclass when completed. Meyers said Russian staffers working at the facility have been as helpful as possible, even helping athletes move their sleds and taking extra security precautions. “You can tell they’ve put a lot of time and money into it,” British skeleton athlete David Swift, one of the sliders at the track this week, wrote on Twitter. Meyers said it’s impossible to be at the track and not daydream about what competing at the 2014 Sochi Games would be like. Even with the world championships medal, her spot on the 2014 U.S. team is not yet guaranteed. “My main focus is improving every single run and learning as much as I can, so I can’t get too far ahead of myself,” Meyers said. “I’ve still got to get to 2014 first, and with a team as talented as ours, it won’t be easy.”—AP

Wang starts with a fall and a fine win BIRMINGHAM: Wang Yihan’s bid to win back the All-England Open women’s singles title she won three years ago began with a worrying fall, a few words of doubt, and an impressively taken straight games win yesterday. The world number one from China overcame Pai Hsiao Ma, the world number 25 from Taiwan, by 21-11, 21-8, with Wang’s brilliant attacking skills gradually breaking down the resistance of a very capable opponent. During a winning ten-point sequence from 10-5 to 20-5 in the second game, Wang moved the shuttle about with increasing control to all four corners and finished most of the rallies with varying winners. The only moments of doubt about the outcome were at 13-7 in the first game, when Wang fell in attempting to return a punched clear near the baseline, rolled over dramatically and held her knee. For a split second it looked like an injury, but she got up immediately and played on without evident distress. Asked afterwards if she were in the best shape of her career

as the Olympic qualifying period nears its end, Wang said: “My condition is not the greatest, but it’s okay and that’s absolutely normal.” Nevertheless she looks well worth her number one seeding and seemed to adapt well to the slightly drifty conditions, something which may be important if she meets her old rival Tine Baun as early as the quarter-finals in two days time. Wang beat Baun, formerly Rasmussen, in the 2009 final and then lost to the hardhitting Dane in the 2010 final, with both of them absent through injury last year. Her main rivals though are likely to be compatriots Wang Shixian, the defending champion, and Wang Xin, the world number two, while Saina Nehwal, the fourthseeded Commonwealth champion from India, is due for a long run at the AllEngland. But when asked which rival she feared most, Wang refused to be drawn: “No one rival,” she answered. “I just do my best.” She next plays her compatriot Liu Xin, the world number nine, who had to work hard to wear down Michelle Li of Canada by 24-22, 19-21, 21-11.—AFP

Blue Jackets 3, Coyotes 2 At Columbus, Jack Johnson scored his first goal for the club and Steve Mason made 38 saves as the Blue Jackets got their first three-game winning streak in more than a year. Mason, who struggled all season until recently, has allowed just four goals in two wins over Phoenix and one over Colorado in the last six days. RJ Umberger and Derek MacKenzie also scored for the Blue Jackets. Johnson, acquired in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to Los Angeles just before the trade deadline, added an assist. Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle had goals for the Coyotes, who have lost four in a row in regulation, their longest such skid of the season.

to the rafters. Detroit was short-handed as it continued to chase the top spot in the Western Conference standings. Leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk (59 points), captain Nicklas Lindrstom, forward Todd Bertuzzi and goalie Jimmy Howard all sat out with injuries. Flames 5, Canadiens 4 At Calgary, Jarome Iginla scored his team-leading 26th and 27th goals to lead the Flames to victory. Iginla’s second goal of the night with 1:18 left in the second period gave Calgary a 4-2 lead. Curtis Glencross scored the eventual game-winner at 7:16 of the third period as Canadiens goalie Carey Price went behind the net and on his attempted backhand clear and put the puck right on the stick of Glencross, who scored his 23rd goal into the empty net to make it 5-2. David Moss and Mark Giordano also scored for Calgary, which ended a five-game winless skid at home. Max Pacioretty had two goals, Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller scored for Montreal. Avalanche 7, Wild 1 At Denver, Jamie McGinn scored the first of a fourgoal flurry in the second period and Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots for Colorado. Jay McClement, Jan Hejda, Mark Olver, Ryan O’Reilly, David Jones and Cody McLeod also scored for the Avalanche, who have won six of eight to climb back into the playoff picture. Devin Setoguchi scored for the Wild on a penalty

shot early in the third to break up Varlamov’s shutout bid and Minnesota avoided being held scoreless for a third straight game. Stars 5, Canucks 2 At Vancouver, Mike Ribeiro scored twice and surging Dallas took the Pacific Division lead by beating the Canucks. Ribeiro’s 16th goal of the season midway through the third period provided insurance when he tipped a Michael Ryder pass behind goalie Roberto Luongo. In the second period, he gave the Stars a 2-1 lead 2 minutes 53 seconds after Loui Eriksson tied the game for Dallas. Jamie Benn gave Dallas a 3-1 lead after a Canucks defensive zone turnover. Stephane Robidas completed the scoring into an empty net. Oilers 3, Sharks 2 Sam Gagner scored the only goal in the shootout to help the Edmonton Oilers end a three-game losing streak in San Jose coach Todd McLellan’s first game back from a concussion. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Smyth scored in regulation for the Oilers. Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves and stopped all three San Jose attempts in the shootout as the Oilers dealt another blow to the Sharks playoff hopes. Jim Vandermeer and Ryane Clowe scored in regulation for the Sharks, who have lost nine of 11 to drop from of first place in the Pacific Division to a three-way tie for eighth place in the Western Conference.—AP

Maple Leafs 5, Bruins 4 At Toronto, Jordan Caron and Tyler Seguin scored two goals each as Boston beat Toronto for the fifth time this season. Chris Kelly also scored and Tim Thomas stopped 25 shots to help Boston end a twogame skid. Carl Gunnarsson, John-Michael Liles, Phil Kessel and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Maple Leafs, who have been outscored 28-10 in the five meetings with the Bruins. Toronto has also lost six straight at home. Hurricanes 4, Capitals 3 At Washington, Justin Faulk scored at 3:38 of overtime, Cam Ward stopped 46 shots, and Carolina beat skidding Washington. Faulk took a centering pass from Brandon Sutter and fired the puck past goaltender Michal Neuvirth to saddle Washington with its third successive defeat, although the Capitals did get a point by forcing overtime late. After suffering two straight shutout losses, both at home, Washington went ahead 2-0 before Carolina came back to take the lead on a breakaway goal by Sutter at 1:45 of the third period. Washington forced overtime when Brooks Laich scored off a centering pass from Marcus Johansson at 17:08 of the third. Kings 5, Predators 4 At Nashville, Justin Williams scored twice to lead Los Angeles to its third straight win. Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, and Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings. Patric Hornqvist scored twice and Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn had the other goals for Nashville, loser of two of its last three. With the score tied 3-3 after two periods, Greene put the Kings ahead at 1:15 of the third on a slap shot from the right point. Lewis had a tap in from just off the left post at 3:00 to make it 5-3. Senators 7, Lightning 3 At Tampa, Florida, Milan Michalek scored three third-period goals, helping Ottawa withstand a Tampa Bay comeback attempt. Ottawa, which took a three-goal lead early on, went up 5-3 when Michalek scored a power-play goal at 12:12 of third. The left wing added two empty-goals, including a short-handed effort with 7 seconds left to give him 32 goals this season. Tampa Bay got within 4-3 when Steven Stamkos scored his league-leading 48th goal of the season during a power play at 5:41 of the third. The center has five goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. Sergei Gonchar, Colin Greening, Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson had the other Ottawa goals. Blues 5, Blackhawks 1 At St. Louis, Jaroslav Halak won his sixth straight start to match a career best and St. Louis’ penalty killers ran their streak to 32 stops in a row in a win against Chicago. Andy McDonald scored two goals and Vladimir Sobotka had a short-handed score for the Blues, who are tied with the New York Rangers with a league-best 91 points pending Vancouver’s late home game against Dallas. St. Louis is 27-4-4 at home for an NHLbest 58 points and retained momentum from a season-best 5-1 trip that established it’s now a road presence, too. Andrew Brunette scored his 10th goal and first since Jan. 2 for the Blackhawks. Flyers 3, Red Wings 2 At Philadelphia, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Max Talbot scored goals to lead the Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed a goal to Henrik Zetterberg on Detroit’s first shot of the game. Johan Franzen made it 3-2 in the third. The Flyers won on the night they retired former defenseman Mark Howe’s No. 2 and raised the number

NEWARK: New Jersey Devils’ Ryan Carter celebrates his goal with Jacob Josefson (16), of Sweden, during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers.—AP

NHL results/standings Boston 5, Toronto 4; New Jersey 4, NY Rangers 1; Philadelphia 3, Detroit 2; Carolina 4, Washington 3 (OT); Columbus 3, Phoenix 2; Ottawa 7, Tampa Bay 3; St Louis 5, Chicago 1; Los Angeles 5, Nashville 4; Colorado 7, Minnesota 1; Calgary 5, Montreal 4; Dallas 5, Vancouver 2; Edmonton 3, San Jose 2 (SO). (OT denotes overtime, SO denotes shootout).

NY Rangers Pittsburgh Philadelphia New Jersey NY Islanders Boston Ottawa Buffalo Toronto Montreal Florida Winnipeg Washington Tampa Bay Carolina

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 42 16 7 180 39 21 5 209 37 21 7 213 37 24 5 184 28 29 9 155 Northeast Division 39 23 3 214 35 25 8 209 30 28 8 163 30 29 7 198 25 32 10 174 Southeast Division 31 22 12 163 32 27 8 176 32 28 6 175 31 29 6 187 25 27 14 175

GA 137 168 193 176 195

PTS 91 83 81 79 65

St. Louis Detroit Nashville Chicago Columbus

154 201 186 206 189

81 78 68 67 60

Vancouver Colorado Calgary Minnesota Edmonton

184 187 188 226 200

74 72 70 68 64

Dallas Phoenix San Jose Los Angeles Anaheim

Western Conference Central Division 42 18 7 174 43 21 3 211 38 21 7 188 36 25 7 203 21 38 7 156 Northwest Division 41 18 8 211 35 29 4 178 30 25 12 164 28 29 10 144 26 34 6 175 Pacific Division 36 26 5 179 33 25 9 173 33 24 8 181 31 23 12 147 29 28 10 170

132 156 171 200 216

91 89 83 79 49

166 181 185 187 198

90 74 72 66 58

180 170 166 143 188

77 75 74 74 68


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John plans to transform Singapore into a Dragon’s den SINGAPORE: WBA feather weight world champion Chris John and his promoters are confident the undefeated Indonesian’s title defence in Singapore will help transform the citystate into a regional boxing hub capable of hosting global super-fights. The Indonesian, known as ‘ The Dragon’, will defend his title for the 16th time at the glitzy Marina Bay Sands resort on May 5 against unheralded Shoji Kimura of Japan (24-4-2) and the 32-year-old hopes the location can also raise his profile. “I hope that it is going to be a great fight. This is the (Chinese zodiac) dragon year, I am the dragon, so I wish I can knock my opponent out and retain my title,” John told Reuters on Wednesday. Despite collecting the WBA’s ‘Fighter of the Decade’ award last week, John, who boasts a 46-0-2

record with a victory over the highly regarded Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on his resume, struggles for recognition in the strongholds of boxing. His reluctance to fight in America has led to criticism of his record and restricted his pool of possible opponents. While fellow Asian Manny Pacquiao has made himself a household name with world title victories at various weight divisions in bouts all over America, John’s reluctance to travel has left him firmly in the Filipino’s shadow. His Australian promoters, however, hope that future fights at the integrated resort in Singapore which boasts a casino, hotel, theatres, museum and shopping malls will entice fellow world champions to fight the Indonesian. “It is our passion to give people a

go and to help people reach their dreams in the world and Marina Bay Sands is going to be the reason we see a lot more fighters like Manny Pacquiao come out of Asia,” Angelo Hyder, of event promoter Nitro Explosion, told reporters at a news conference. “We are going to do our best, with our knowledge of boxing, to bring the best fights in the world to Singapore and Asia and with this venture that we have gone on, I’m sure it is going to happen.” Hyder’s reluctance to send John to America stems from his first appearance there in 2009, when he was awarded a draw in his fight with local Rocky Juarez despite the Indonesian appearing to have done enough to win. John returned to America a few months later to beat Juarez on points

backyard, with our people screaming and we will see how they go and see if they actually sign on the paperwork. We have the power now.” While Hyder talked confidently of future plans with Marina Bay Sands the venue’s senior vice president of marketing, Mark Juliano, was more cautious. “This is the first fight we have done here so we wanted to get our entry in to fighting off with a big bang so this is actually a perfect start to set us up as premier location for fights in the future,” Juliano told reporters. “I’m sure it will be successful and that we will do others but right now there is nothing that is ac tually committed in a way of a series of fights. “Everyone is carefully looking to see how successful this will be and I’m sure it will be and more will follow.” —Reuters

but the result of the first fight still irks the pair. Asked if there was a chance that John could unify the featherweight division and take on WBO champion Orlando Salido of Mexico or WBC title holder Jhonny Gonzalez in fights in America, Hyder was bullish. “We are going to let the world now chase us, because we have the best venue in the world for boxing and we have got some of the greatest fighters and they are going to get the opportunity. “Let the Americans and the Mexicans and all those people throw the challenges out and let them throw their hands up, let them come and fight in Asia on our terms, on these fighters terms. “ They are not going to go over there and get robbed like Chris John did in Texas the first time which was a disgrace. Let them come here, to our

Martin triple strike puts N Zealand on top

Australian captain Michael Clarke

Captain Clarke transformed on and off the pitch in a year SYDNEY: Australia captain Michael Clarke limped off the Adelaide Oval to a rousing ovation on Tuesday after scoring 117 against Sri Lanka in his final innings of a long Australian summer. His innings was destined to be in a losing cause and his hamstring injury could yet jeopardise his participation in the tour of the West Indies, but a sometimes spectacular century was a fitting end to his first year as Australian captain. Since the start of 2011, when he was jeered by sections of local crowds as the country digested the humiliation of a home Ashes defeat, Clarke has been transformed both on and off the pitch. Long heir apparent to his friend and mentor Ricky Ponting, he assumed the captaincy on the eve of his 30th birthday after Australia’s quarter-final exit from the 50-overs World Cup. Taking over the job with Australian cricket at its lowest ebb since the mid1980s, the boos made it clear that Clarke was not a universally popular choice. “Over time, the public has identified in cricket players images of Australianness that they’ve admired,” said Daniel Smith of Perth-based public relations firm Campaign Capital. “They’ve enjoyed the caricatures of the ocker Australian. From Ian Chappell through Allan Border, David Boon, Doug Walters and down to Steve Waugh. No-nonsense cricketers, aggressive on and off the field, lads off the field. “Michael Clarke wasn’t part of that. He was flash, he was slick, he was wellgroomed. He pursued other interests and traditional cricket fans found Michael Clarke confronting. “ They didn’t understand Twitter, they didn’t understand the tattoos, the hair and the sports cars. They found that challenging.” This year, Clarke has led Australia to a 1-0 test series win in Sri Lanka, 1-1 draws in series with South Africa and New Zealand before the 4-0 sweep of a poor India around the turn of the year. It is the revival of his own batting fortunes after a miserable Ashes series, however, that has done the most to turn around public opinion. Clarke has scored seven international centuries since he became captain, highlighted by his brilliant 329 not out against India in the second test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. His response to achieving the 14th highest score in the long history of test cricket was instructive of his approach to being his country’s 43rd test skipper. “It puts this team in another good position to win another test match,” he said. “It’s fantastic to have a score like I do, but if you don’t win the test match

it means nothing.” Where once he famously fell foul of opener Simon Katich for wanting to leave a post-match celebration early to meet his model girlfriend, Clarke is now consumed by the team ethic. It has not just been his bat or his captaincy doing the talking, however, and Smith is convinced Australians have been subjected to a rebranding of the cricketer. “The turnaround in a year has been phenomenal,” he said. “It’s been pretty shameless but it was very effective in tr ying to turnaround pretty much everything he did. “He decided not to play Twenty20, which showed he was committed to more traditional forms of the game. All of the advertising is not just about endorsing products, it’s about messaging for himself as well.” The tattoos remain but the glamorous apartment in the beach side Sydney suburb of Bondi has been traded for a mansion in the city ’s Sutherland shire, a more “acceptable” home for an Australian with working class roots. His Twitter page ( is full of messages for fans and self-deprecating comments, including a tip that team mate Michael Hussey would be named Australia’s Player of the Year. The Allan Border Medal was always going to Clarke for a third time, of course, and Smith concedes the rebranding would have been to no avail had he not produced the goods on the pitch. “None of this would have been successful if he had not been scoring runs,” he said. “But there’s also been this extraordinar y effor t and I’m sure Cricket Australia and not just his management are part of it.” Clarke has also shown a ruthless streak this year, best illustrated when he voted as a member of the selection panel to bring an end to Ponting’s oneday international career last month. While he has been fullsome in his praise of his team when they have “executed their skills” well, as in the India series, he has been publicly scathing of sloppiness. Mickey Arthur, who took over as Australia coach last November, said Clarke was first and foremost a “fantastic leader” with an “aura” about him. Fifth in the world in tests when he took over, Australia are now ranked fourth but the stated goal for Clarke has always been to put his country back on top. As with all Australian captains, full judgement will be reserved until he has contested an Ashes series in 2013 but, if nothing else, a sometimes unforgiving media has at least stopped listing the candidates they would prefer as captain. —Reuters

DUNEDIN: Medium fast bowler Chris Martin grabbed three wickets in four balls after tea to seize the momentum for New Zealand as the hosts reduced South Africa to 191 for seven at the close of the opening day of the first Test in Dunedin yesterday. Jacques Rudolph was 46 not out while Vernon Philander was on four at the close of the rain-effected day as New Zealand managed to wrest back the advantage after South Africa had returned from the tea break on a comfortable 86-1. Martin, however, produced an inspired spell of bowling that began when Graeme Smith chased a wide delivery and was caught for 53 in the first over after tea, before Jacques Kallis was snared by Ross Taylor at first slip for a two-ball duck in his next over. He then trapped AB de Villiers lbw off the next ball, though South Africa’s limited overs captain reviewed the decision, which was upheld to leave the visitors struggling at 904. “It took me a while to get going but there was a bit more intensity in the wicket, we got a little bit of nibble, got the ball to swing a little and put it in good areas,” Martin said in a televised interview of his spell after tea. Rudolph survived the hat-trick delivery then combined with Hashim Amla in rebuilding the innings with a 66-run partnership before Amla (62) was caught by Taylor after the ball deflected off Kruger van Wyk’s gloves from the bowling of Daniel Vettori. Mark Boucher was then run out for four after some smart work from Doug Bracewell at backward point before Dale Steyn was caught by Taylor after Martin Guptill had parried a simple catch to his captain, who bobbled the ball before grabbing it on the third attempt. Alviro Petersen (11) was the only wicket to fall in the first session after rain delayed the start of play for nearly four hours, when he was trapped in front by left-arm seamer Trent Boult. Petersen had initially been given not out by umpire Aleem Dar but Taylor used the decision review system to have it overturned. “It was a good start but we need to get the wickets early tomorrow for it to show the good work we showed today,” Taylor said. “But we’re in a good position and so (I’m)

DUNEDIN: South Africa’s Jacques Rudolph plays in front of New Zealand’s keeper Kruger van Wyk on the first day of the first international cricket Test, at the University Oval. —AP semi-happy. “We’ve got a big day tomorrow and hopefully we can make some early inroads and then make a good start with the bat.”

Should South Africa sweep the threematch series 3-0, they will take over the world number one test rank ing from England. —Reuters

SCOREBOARD Scoreboard at the close of play on the first day of the first test between South Africa and New Zealand at University Oval in Dunedin yesterday. New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl South Africa G. Smith c Nicol b Martin A. Petersen lbw b Boult H. Amla c Taylor b Vettori J. Kallis c Taylor b Martin AB de Villiers lbw b Martin J. Rudolph not out M. Boucher run out D. Steyn c Taylor b Bracewell V. Philander not out

53 11 62 0 0 46 4 9 4

Extras: (lb-1, nb-1) 2 Total: (for seven wickets, 59 overs) 191 Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-86, 3-90, 4-90, 5-156, 6-161, 7-179 Still to bat: Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir. Bowling: Martin 14-2-34-3; Southee 8-1-320; Boult 7-0-54-1; Bracewell 14-2-39-1 (nb-1); Vettori 15-4-31-1; Nicol 1-1-0-0 New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Chris Martin. — Reuters

McIlroy rejects talk of Tiger rivalry

Rory McIlroy

British pair has eyes on McIlroy’s top spot DORAL: Rory McIlroy only grabbed top spot in the world golf rankings on Sunday but this week faces a direct challenge from the two men who could limit his reign to just seven days. The Northern Irishman is grouped with world number two Luke Donald and number three Lee Westwood in the first two rounds of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Blue Monster course. Donald was world number one for 40 weeks until McIlroy overtook him with victory at the Honda Classic on Sunday while Westwood held the top spot prior to Donald’s ascent. Both could return to the top spot with a win at Doral. While players typically play down the importance of the rankings, insisting their focus is purely on winning tournaments, their grouping is bound to be closely followed. “I think it adds a little bit of interest. I’m not sure that the players are quite as concerned with it as maybe you guys (the media) or the fans, at least,” said Donald. “But anything that adds to a

tournament where the broadcasters can talk about it and add to an event, I think it’s probably a good thing. “There obviously is some jockeying for position. There isn’t one stand-out player right now that certainly is what the world rankings would say. “When Tiger was number one, no one really talked about the world rankings much, and maybe the big talking point was who was in the top 50, not who was number one. “It obviously changes with the time. As a player, I try not to get too wrapped up in it,” he said. Westwood chose a characteristically light-hearted approach when asked how tough it was to be top dog. “There’s nothing hard about being number one in the world, no. If you don’t enjoy that, then you need to take up another sport,” he said. “Me and Luke were talking about it on the putting green today. I said, ‘Oh, morning, number two,’ and he looked at me and nodded and said, ‘Yeah, it’s sort of a bit of a relief’.” — Reuters

DORAL: New world number one Rory McIlroy does not see Tiger Woods as a rival and said his toughest opponent is simply the golf course he faces each week. McIlroy ascended to the top of golf’s world rankings with victory in the Honda Classic on Sunday, keeping his cool after Woods charged up the leaderboard with a final round 62. His triumph left his phone buzzing with messages of congratulations from Manchester United’s manager Alex Ferguson and striker Wayne Rooney and also plenty of talk about the sport having a new rivalry at the top. Woods’s best ever final round score indicated he could yet get back to something like the form that took him to 14 majors and be a regular Sunday challenger alongside 22-year-old McIlroy. “To be honest in golf, you can have a rival if you want, but at the end of the day, your biggest rival is a golf course. You have to be able to beat the golf course more often than not and that’s all you are trying to do,” said the Northern Irishman, who features in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. “Ultimately you’re going to have to beat people coming down the stretch on Sundays and whether it is Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or Lee Westwood, Luke Donald or Martin Kaymer, or whoever, I would never really want to say that I am in a rivalry with someone. “I just want to go out there and play good golf and solid golf and if I can do that then people can make up the rivalries themselves. “But I don’t see myself as anyone’s rival out here-I just see myself as Rory McIlroy trying to play good golf and winning tournaments.” The US Open champion acknowledged that his victory at the PGA National on Sunday had been all the more special with Woods waiting in the clubhouse knowing he could grab the title if McIlroy slipped up. “To be honest, I was probably thinking to myself, could it not just have been anyone else?” McIlroy said. “It definitely made Sunday a little more difficult, or more interesting. “I can sit here and lie and say that it didn’t feel better to have Tiger post a score and to be able to play solid-it maybe made it feel a little sweeter than if it had been someone else.” McIlroy will play the first two rounds this week on the Blue Monster course with world number two Luke Donald and number three Lee Westwood. —Reuters



‘Cosmic’ Aymar key to Argentina women’s hockey BUENOS AIRES: Argentines at the top of their sport are called “Maradona” by compatriots. Without doubt, Luciana Aymar is the Diego Maradona of women’s hockey. The woman whom coach Carlos Retegui calls the world’s best hockey player, and compares to Argentina’s greatest soccer son, hopes to lead the world champions to their first hockey Olympic gold medal at the London Games this summer. Describing the lithe, brown-eyed brunette, Retegui says: “Luciana is a normal human being, like all of us, (but) on the pitch (she) is magical and extra-terrestrial.” In an interview with Reuters, Retegui recalls a phrase famous in Argentina since it was coined for Maradona by a television commentator at the soccer World Cup in Mexico in 1986. “‘Cosmic kite, what planet did you come from?’, that phrase fits ‘Lucha’ perfectly because she plays better and better, she thrills the crowd, she moves them,” he said. “I’m proud and pleased to be one of her trainers.” Retegui says the 34-year-old can play on beyond the London Games. “Until she assumes the role of mother-

hood she can play as long as she wants, she’s touched by a magic wand.” Retegui, a former defender and then coach of the Argentine men’s team before taking charge of Las Leonas (The Lionesses) in 2009, is protective of his outstanding player. “Very few human beings in the world have that gift for playing hockey... A lot of the time we make demands from them off the pitch and we don’t realise they’re normal people, who suffer, who have feelings, who have good times and bad times,” he said. Aymar, a seven-times World Player of the Year who helped Argentina win silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and bronze in Athens and Beijing at the last two Games, would love to crown her career with the gold medal. “Now I’m very relaxed, training, we’ve just resumed practice and, well, (I am) hoping to play another Olympic Games and in the best possible way and we want to win the gold medal but it’s not easy,” Aymar told Reuters. She reeled off the names of Argentina’s main rivals including the top-ranked Netherlands, Germany,

China, South Korea and Olympic hosts Britain, whom they have already met twice this year. Britain won a four-team tournament in Cordoba in January and then lost the Champions Trophy final 1-0 to the hosts in Rosario a month ago. “I think (Britain) are one of the best teams in the world, but I think that also, playing in Argentina with all the (Argentine) fans made it a bit hard for them,” Aymar said. “They’re not used to playing with so many people so that was good for us, always to play in Argentina in a plus (for us),” she added, no doubt hoping that the weight of expectation in London might be too much for the British team. Argentina’s fourth Champions Trophy victory in five years and fifth overall helped them overcome the bitter disappointment of losing their Pan-American Games title in Guadalajara, Mexico last year, when they lost the final 4-2 to the United States. “It’s a tournament that can surprise you because you play it very calmly but when you get to the final it’s a top level match, like at a World Cup or Champions Trophy. “You have to be very careful not to

get up that very day on the wrong side of bed and it that day just happened not to be our best day,” Aymar said. She said it had been a wake-up call for Argentina, who have to thank their number-two ranking for their Olympic berth since only the Pan-American Games winners go through. “It helped us to make a self-criticism, each one of us of what we had to improve, what to change from 2011 and so we resumed in 2012 in the best way. “It’s normal because in 2010 we won a World Cup where we spent lots of energy of all kinds, physical, technical and especially mental because being here in Argentina (we had) the pressure of having to be the champions. “That produced a lot of anxiety and so it’s as if we used 2011 more to relax and perhaps we got a bit over-confident.” Retegui does not see Aymar taking on a coaching role after she retires, saying: “I see her more in the role of an ambassador for her country, she would make a spectacular ambassador abroad... She’s known everywhere, the best ever women’s hockey player.”— Reuters

Games dream permeates NBA

Kim Rhode in action in this file photo

US shooter Rhode sets her aim high for London NEW YORK: As an Olympic shooter, Kim Rhode knows it pays to aim high and hit your targets. Luckily for Rhode, she has done that and more. Still just 32, she has already appeared in four Olympics and won medals each time, including two gold. If she reaches the podium at the London Olympics, she will become the first American to win medals in individual events at five successive Olympics. “If I could do that, it would be great, but I’m not counting my chickens,” Rhode told Reuters. “The medals are great but that’s not what it’s all about for me. What really matters to me is the journey and hopefully mine isn’t finished yet.” Rhode’s journey has been full of twists and turns and ups and downs since she was introduced to guns as a small child during camping vacations and hunting trips with her family. A natural with a steady arm and a good eye, she was persuaded to take up competitive shooting and proved an instant success. She won her first world championship, competing against adults, when she was 13, in double trap, where competitors use a shotgun to hit clay pigeons flung into the air from two different locations. A few days after her 17th birthday, Rhode won her first Olympic medal, a gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Four years later she earned a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics and then won a second gold at Athens in 2004. “I knew straight away, when I was young, that this is what I wanted to do,” she explained. “I just loved the competition. I liked the moments when I’m competing and it’s all on the line. “I still do. I love it more and more.” Everything seemed to be falling perfectly into place for the Californian when suddenly, her sporting world was turned upside down. Women’s double trap, the event she had dominated for nearly a decade, was dumped from the Olympics, forcing her to take up skeet, where competitors have to shoot from eight different stations at targets that are thrown randomly. “It really was like starting all over again. There are some obvious similarities but it’s like a diver taking up butterfly swimming. The only thing the same is the water,” she said. “At the time, I was obviously devastated, but I had to make the best of it and now, looking back, it was a good thing because it opened up new doors.” Rhode won a silver medal in skeet at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, finishing second in a three-way shoot off after the top three finalists finished in a tie. Then, she suffered another setback. A few months later, on the eve of an early qualifying event for the London Games, the shotgun she had used in competition throughout her entire career was stolen from her pickup truck. From spare parts, she hurriedly built another one that night that she used in competition the next day. She won the competition with the makeshift gun then started using one that was donated to her by her local community. Rhode eventually got her old gun back when police found the thief but she decided to stick with her new one. “It’s funny but I think the whole episode made me a better shooter,” she said. “Not just because I had to switch to a new shotgun but also because of what people did to help me.” Rhode trains seven days a week, firing between 500 and 1,000 rounds a day, and her work continues to pay off. She has already qualified for the skeet in London and can qualify in the single trap as well if she gets a high enough score at a Cup meet in Arizona this month. “That would be neat, to have competed in all three events, but I’ve got still got plenty of time,” she said. “If I win a medal or not, I’m not going to stop, in fact I’d like go to another five Olympics. “I know that the oldest Olympic medalist was a shooter aged 72. I don’t know if I’ll go that far but it’ll be a great journey no matter what.” — Reuters

NEW YORK: Beyond the grind of the National Basketball Association season lies a dreamy challenge for some international players in the world’s top hoops league-a crack at getting to play in this summer’s London Olympics. Three spots in the 12-team Olympic basketball tournament are up for grabs and will be decided from July 2-8 at the men’s Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. “I’m going to be there,” Venezuelan guard Greivis Vasquez of the New Orleans Hornets told Reuters after a recent game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. “It’s going to be a great tournament to help our country to develop our level of basketball, and it’s going to be good for the country.” Venezuela is one of 12 countries vying for the final three places along with Russia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Greece, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Angola, Nigeria, Jordan and Korea. “We are a young team, we have high expectations,” said the 25-year-old Vasquez, a first-round draft pick by the Memphis Grizzlies, who is averaging 8.1 points and

4.7 assists this season for the Hornets (929). The winners of the semi-finals in the round-robin tournament will punch their tickets to London, with the last berth going to the victor of a playoff between the losers of the semi-finals. Nine countries, including world champions United States, have already clinched a spot in the Olympic basketball tournament. Other teams to qualify include EuroBasket winners Spain, France, hosts Britain, Oceanic champions Australia, Americas winners Argentina, Brazil, Asia champions China and African title holders Tunisia. Sacramento Kings (12-26) guard/forward Francisco Garcia, 31, said he was fired up to play in the qualifying tournament, which the Dominicans reached under the guidance of University of Kentucky coach John Calipari. “We got a lot of talent. It’s going to be our third year playing together,” said Garcia, who has averaged 8.8 points in his NBA career. Garcia said Detroit Pistons power forward Charlie Villanueva, who has been out with an ankle injury, was on board and that he expected the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford,

currently sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle, to be ready to play in Caracas. “When he comes back, we’re going to be OK,” Garcia said about Horford. “He told me he was going to be back. “We have a good chance. We have to get the chemistry right. We’ll be all right. It means a lot, it means everything. We’ve never been there. We’ve never been this far. Just to make it (to the Olympics) would be a great accomplishment for our country. “London-it would be great. That’s our goal, that’s our dream.” A few lockers down from Vasquez in the visitor’s locker room at the Garden, New Orleans forward AlFarouq Aminu said he was pondering the possibility of joining Nigeria for the qualifying tournament. “I might try and play with the Nigerian team,” said 21-year-old Aminu, a 6ft 9ins (2.06 m) forward, who has been averaging 4.7 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Hornets. Aminu was born in Georgia and helped his high school win a pair of state championships before going to college at Wake Forest. “I’m going to try and get on the team. If the opportunity presents itself I would love

to play for Nigeria. I think it would be a great opportunity and learning experience, and I’d get to travel,” said Aminu, the eighth pick of the 2010 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Nigeria finished third in last year’s African Championship. “Hopefully they’ll reach out to me, because I don’t know who to reach out to,” he said. Vasquez, who in his second NBA season has worked his way into the starting rotation for New Orleans, said he was excited to join Venezuelan team mates such as Hector Romero, David Cubillan and Gregory Echenique. “We did good at Mar del Plata,” Vasquez said about Venezuela’s fifth-place finish at last year’s Americas Championship. “Our average age is 24, 25. It’s a very young team, so the future looks bright. “It’s not going to be an easy tournament, but we have Eric Musselman as our coach,” he said in reference to the former head coach of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. “We’re going to go out there and compete and see what happens. “What would it mean to qualify? It will mean the world.” — Reuters

Familiar favorites rejuvenated ISTANBUL: Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and hurdler Liu Xiang are enjoying a return to form in Olympic year and head into this week’s world indoor championships as event favorites but less familiar names are in contention for the sprints. Russian Isinbayeva announced she was back to her formidable best with an indoor world record of 5.01 metres in Stockholm two weeks ago following a frustrating three years. That performance from the Olympic champion, whose struggles with form led her to take a break from the sport in 2010, has dampened expectation surrounding American Jenny Suhr, who until Isinbayeva’s world mark had the leading clearance of 4.88, and Britain’s Holly Bleasdale (4.87). Such was Isinbayeva’s confidence after her world record that when asked if anyone could challenge her this year, she simply said: “I think you can answer that question yourself.” She will be eyeing a fourth world indoor title having last won it in 2008. Chinese high hurdler Liu, has struggled with injury since limping out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics with an Achilles problem but the 29-year-old is starting to come good again and set an Asian indoor hurdles record of 7.41 seconds in February. He will be deprived of a face-off with arch-rival Dayron Robles, however, after the 2010 champion pulled out on Monday with a back injury. For the sprints, the 100 and 200 metres world record holder Usain Bolt is not competing indoors and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell failed to make the team, such is the strength in depth of the country’s sprinters.

Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates in this file photo

Instead, it falls to Lerone Clarke and Nesta Carter, who both beat Powell in England last month and will to bid to become the first Jamaican to win the 60 title. Trell Kimmons of the United States, who heads the world list with 6.45, and defending champion Dwain Chambers of Britain are also in the field. In the women’s event, Tianna Madison has reinvented herself as a top class 60 sprinter, having done little of note since winning the 2005 long jump outdoor world title. Madison is the fastest woman in the world this year with a best of 7.02 seconds. “She kind of bounced around searching for herself. Trying to find the right situation. It took a while,” her coach Rana Reider told Reuters. “She is having a blast,” Reider added. “She understands she did very well in 2005 but there has been nothing since then, so she understands there is work to do and she knows she can get a lot out of the sport and enjoy it for what it is instead of as a job.” Unbeaten in seven races, the 26-year-old’s main challenge in Istanbul should be from Jamaica’s defending champion Veronica Campbell-Brown. Ethiopia’s 3,000 metres runner Meseret Defar is hoping to go one better and become the first woman to land a fifth successive individual world indoor title and match the achievement of Cuban long jumper Ivan Pedroso, who won five back-toback from 1993-2001. Britain’s 5,000 metres world champion Mo Farah will want to give a convincing performance in the 3,000 as the weight of expectation grows on him leading into his home Olympics. He will be up against the man he beat to the line in

GERMANY: Japan’s oldest Olympian Hiroshi Hoketsu exercises at a horse riding center in Aachen. When Hiroshi Hoketsu first went to the Olympics in 1964, he was 23 and the games were in his native Tokyo. —AP

Oldest London Olympian going strong after 50 years AACHEN: It has been nearly half a century since Japanese Hiroshi Hoketsu first participated in an Olympic Games. Now, aged 70, he has set his sights on the London Olympics after qualifying as part of Japan’s dressage team last week. Hoketsu, whose first Games were the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in his home country where he competed as a showjumper, will be the oldest Olympian in London. He has already claimed that title for the Beijing 2008 Games. At the age of 35, he had decided to change to dressage but did not qualify for the Olympics again until 1988, where quarantine problems with his horse meant he was unable to compete in Seoul. He did make it to Beijing in 2008 where he finished tied for 34th place. Last week he qualified for London by winning an international dressage competition in France, and on Monday was chosen by Japanese equestrian officials to ride in London for the national team. “I am glad that I’m 70 now and still I can ride and I think with this dressage sports, because I’m doing the dressage sports, I could continue to my age and in that sense I think I feel the sport is very good for the elderly people,” Hoketsu told Reuters Television in the German town of Aachen where he has been training and living for the past nine years. When Hoketsu, whose diet is

less strict than other athletes and includes a glass of wine in the evening, takes to the arena in London this summer aged 71, he will narrowly miss out on beating the record for the oldest ever Olympian. Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who picked up his sixth medal in the 1920 Antwerp Games, was aged 72 years and 280 days. Hoketsu, however, has no plans to beat that record with an appearance in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. “I don’t think so. I think I am quite sure it is going to be my last Olympics. I won’t say I’ll stop riding after the Olympics, but I think to compete in the Olympics, it’s going to be the last,” he told Reuters. It is in the stables in Aachen where Hoketsu cares for “Whisper”, the horse he rode in the Beijing Games. Whisper is one of some 15 horses which he said he has used during his 50-year riding career. During the past few months he was unsure whether the 15year-old animal would be able to compete this summer, as it had been unwell and suffering from a cataract in its left eye. “Fortunately in the middle of November I met a very good vet and he fixed it and she really recovered like a miracle,” said Hoketsu. The first dressage competition takes place in London’s Greenwich Park on August 2, with the finals and ceremonies taking place on August 7 and 9. — Reuters




Pistons roll past Lakers AUBURN HILLS: Rodney Stuckey scored 34 points as the Detroit Pistons overcame an equalizing shot by Kobe Bryant at the end of regulation to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 88-85 in overtime Tuesday night. Bryant, who had leveled the game at the buzzer to force the

clear one while struggling through the first half. Mavericks 95, Knicks 85 At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points to help the Mavericks recover after losing the lead following a 71/2-minute scoreless stretch to start the fourth quarter.

and seven assists. When the Knicks beat the Mavericks nearly 21/2 weeks ago before the All-Star break, Lin had 28 points and 14 assists. That ended a six-game winning streak for Dallas, and started the stretch of six losses in eight games before Tuesday night.

DALLAS: Jeremy Lin No. 17 of the New York Knicks takes a shot against Dirk Nowitzki No. 41 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. —AFP extra session, missed from 3-point range in the final seconds of overtime. Metta World Peace came up with the ball and dribbled back toward the top of the key, but his last-ditch turnaround missed as well. Andrew Bynum had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers. Bryant finished with 22 points on 8-of-26 shooting. He started the game with a black mask protecting his injured nose but switched to a

Nowitzki made a 14-foot fadeaway jumper with 4:34 left, starting a game-clinching, 14-0 run by the Mavericks in which their All-Star for ward scored nine points. That was after the Knicks, who had trailed by as many as 19, scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter and went ahead 78-77 on Amare Stoudemire’s basket. Stoudemire had 26 points, Jeremy Lin had 14 points

Celtics 97, 76ers 92 At Boston, Kevin Garnett grabbed 13 rebounds to replace Shaquille O’Neal at No. 12 on the NBA’s career list, and Paul Pierce scored seven of his 30 points in overtime to lead Boston over Houston. Boston has won five straight since the All-Star break, including two in a row in overtime. Houston has lost four in a row. Ray Allen scored 21, including a

NBA results/standings Charlotte 100, Orlando 84; Atlanta 101, Indiana 96; Detroit 88, La Lakers 85 (OT); Miami 108, New Jersey 78; Boston 97, Houston 92 (OT); Dallas 95, NY Knicks 85.

Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks Toronto New Jersey

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L 22 17 20 17 18 20 12 26 12 27

PCT .564 .541 .474 .316 .308

GB 1 3.5 9.5 10

Oklahoma City Denver Minnesota Portland Utah

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit

Central Division 32 8 23 14 15 23 13 23 13 26

.800 .622 .395 .361 .333

7.5 16 17 18.5

LA Clippers LA Lakers Phoenix Golden State Sacramento

Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte

Southeast Division 29 9 25 15 23 15 8 29 5 31

.763 .625 .605 .216 .139

5 6 20.5 23

San Antonio Memphis Dallas Houston New Orleans

Western Conference Northwest Division 30 8 22 17 20 19 19 19 18 19

.789 .564 .513 .500 .486

8.5 10.5 11 11.5

Pacific Division 22 14 23 15 17 20 15 20 12 26

.611 .605 .459 .429 .316

5.5 6.5 11

Southwest Division 25 12 22 15 23 17 21 18 9 29

.676 .595 .575 .538 .237

3 3.5 5 16.5

3-pointer with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Boston the lead. But Rajon Rondo missed an open layup with a chance to clinch it in regulation, and Goran Dragic tied it for the Rockets. Luis Scola had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Samuel Dalembert had 11 points and 17 boards for Houston. Heat 108, Nets 78 At Miami, LeBron James scored 21 points and capped his night by banking in a halfcourt shot as Miami ended a two-game slide by rolling past New Jersey. The win came with a cost: Dwyane Wade turned his right ankle late in the first half and did not return, finishing with 13 points. Wade missed six games earlier this season after spraining the same ankle, though the team said he could have returned to this one if needed. The Heat made 12 of their first 15 shots on the way to a 10th straight home win. James finished 9 for 11, adding nine rebounds and six assists, and the 78 points allowed matched Miami’s seasonbest. Deron Williams, who was coming off an NBA season-high 57 points in a win over Charlotte, scored 16 for the Nets. MarShon Brooks scored 12 and Johan Petro added 11 for New Jersey, which lost to the Heat for the ninth straight time. Bobcats 100, Magic 84 At Charlotte, Corey Maggette scored a season-high 29 points as Charlotte overcame a 20-point first-half deficit to beat Orlando. The Bobcats came in having lost 21 of their last 22 games, but seemed to get a spark after coach Paul Silas was ejected in the second quarter with the team trailing by 18. The Bobcats also got a big game from rookie center Bismack Biyombo, who battled toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard and had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Howard had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 14 points and 11 boards for the Magic. Hawks 101, Pacers 96 At Indianapolis, Josh Smith had 27 points and nine rebounds, leading Atlanta over Indiana for its third straight victory. Smith scored 13 points in the first quarter, 11 in the third, and fell three points shy of his season high. Jannero Pargo had 16 points, while Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia each scored 12 for the Hawks. David West scored a seasonhigh 24 points for the Pacers, who have lost two straight. Danny Granger had 19 points and eight rebounds, and George Hill scored 15 points off the bench for Indiana. —AP

Meersman wins Paris-Nice stage RODEZ: Belgium’s Gianni Meersman of the Lotto team claimed victory in the fourth stage of Paris-Nice yesterday, with Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Sky) holding on to the leader’s yellow jersey. Meersman crossed the finish line in Rodez ahead of Slovenia’s Grega Bole, who had launched the final sprint, and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra. Spain’s Xavier Florencio pipped Frenchman Jonathan Hivert on the line to claim fourth place. Wiggins kept nearest rival Alejandro Valverde in his sights in the final climb. The Spaniard finished in eighth position, two places ahead of Wiggins, but the 20sec time difference between the two men remained unchanged. “Our objective today was to let a breakaway get away until the end,” said Wiggins. “But Rabobank went for it, because the gap was three minutes. “It was perfect for us. We stayed on their wheels and we were able to rest the guys in the team for the next stages. “The final was crazythere were roundabouts, it was really dangerous, but I was OK and I stayed in the top five the whole time.” Having finished third in the previous stage, 26-year-old Meersman registered his second success of the season after winning a stage in the Tour of the Algarve in Portugal earlier this year. “First place is what counts,” said Meersman, who was plagued by injuries between 2007 and 2009. “Yesterday (Tuesday), everyone said it was good when I finished third, but what matters is being

able to lift your arms. “You don’t make sacrifices to finish second or third. This winter I’ve trained a lot for the sprints. I have to thank the team, who worked really hard.” Thursday’s fifth stage takes the peloton on a spectacular 178.5km ride to Mende, which culminates in a 3km climb. Meanwhile, Italian cycling great Francesco Moser has ridiculed compatriot Mario Cipollini’s claims he could make a return to the peloton at the age of 45. Former world champion Cipollini, known as much for his flamboyant outfits as the success he gleaned as one of the world’s

top sprinters, said on Tuesday he aimed to return to competition to guide upcoming sprinter Andrea Guardini at the Farnese team. Moser, a former world hour record-holder, however, believes Cipollini should accept the end of his career, which he ended in 2005 before making a short but unfulfilled comeback three years later. “Come on Mario! Think about it a little bit then come and have a nice leisurely ride with me,” Moser, 60, quipped in the Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s a joke, I really don’t believe it.” Moser, who beat the world hour record in 1984, celebrated the feat by getting back on his bike 10

years later. But he remarked: “It’s true I also had a little spell back on the bike. It was in 1994 and I was 42, but there’s a major difference: I didn’t have a team and so I was riding for myself.” Cipollini’s claimed on Tuesday have since been met with scorn from Farnese team boss Luca Scinto, who told Tuttobiciweb: “I respect Cipollini as a champion and a man... but this really seems like a joke to me. “What can I say? As long as I’m in charge of this team. it’s not up for discussion.” Moser added: “ There’s a time and place for everything.” —AFP

Roger Federer in action in this file photo

Upbeat Federer back at beloved Indian Wells INDIAN WELLS: With his confidence skyhigh after winning five of his last seven tournaments, Roger Federer returns to one of his favourite venues for the Masters Series event starting this week. The Swiss world number three has triumphed three times at the state-of-theart Indian Wells Tennis Garden and will be difficult to beat on the hardcourt surface with his defensive skills now possibly better than ever. Long regarded as one of the most elegant and aggressive serve-and-volley players of all time, Federer has had to improve the resilience of his baseline game in recent years in a bid to blunt the twin challenge of Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. “I’ve just been confident,” Federer told reporters in the build-up to the first Masters Series event of the year, referring to his impressive run of form since his semi-final loss to Djokovic at last year’s US Open. “I’ve been playing aggressive, I was focused and I didn’t doubt my ability. I’m defending much better than I was in the middle of last year when I felt like I couldn’t come out of tough defensive positions. “I was able to sort of turn it around. Now I just have to keep it up.” Though Federer has not claimed a grand slam singles crown since the 2010 Australian Open, he has piled up 10 ATP World Tour titles during that span. “I’ve had a great stretch,” said the Swiss, who beat Andy Murray 7-5 6-4 to win the Dubai Championships on Saturday. “It’s about keeping up the good

work and hopefully playing even better tennis, or at least maintaining this level of playing.” Federer, a 16-times grand slam winner, has always loved competing in the California desert at Indian Wells. “This tournament has worked out well for me, winning three titles in a row and playing some of my best tennis here,” said the 30-year-old, who is seeded to meet Nadal in the semi-finals. “I’ve had some great finals, big matches, and I always enjoy playing at Indian Wells. The surface really suits my game, my slice stays low, the kick goes up and the ball travels quickly through the air.” Despite losing to Federer in last week’s final, Murray also arrives in the California desert with high hopes. “I did everything pretty good (last week),” the Briton said. “I was happy I managed to adjust to the court after a couple matches, because I was struggling at the beginning of the week. “It turned out to be a very good week. The conditions in Indian Wells ... are going to be very, very different ... a much slower court, which hopefully will suit my game a little bit better.” Australian Open champion Djokovic, who beat Spaniard Nadal in last year’s final at Indian Wells, is the top seed with Nadal seeded second, Federer third and Murray fourth. Among the leading contenders in the women’s competition, starting on Wednesday, are holder Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and second-ranked Russian Maria Sharapova. —Reuters

Thorpe says he expects to fail in Olympic bid SYDNEY: Ian Thorpe, winner of five Olympic gold medals, doesn’t like his chances of making it six after a less than impressive return from a five-year retirement. Thorpe said yesterday he expects to fail in his attempt to make the Australian Olympic team for London 2012, admitting he may have made his return to competitive swimming too late. A week before the Australian trials that will determine whether he qualifies for London, Thorpe told Australia’s Network Ten that he doesn’t have high expectations of making the team after modest results in lead-up events. “The most realistic outcome of this is that I will most likely fail. ... I wish I had another six months to do this,” he said in the television interview. The 29-year-old Thorpe, who retired in November 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championships gold medals, announced a comeback to competitive swimming nearly a year ago. He won 200- and 400-meter freestyle golds at the 2004 Athens Olympics in his last major international meet. In his first meets back from retirement, Thorpe struggled at short-course (25-meter pool) World Cup meets in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo in November. That form was repeated in subsequent Olympic-distance races in Australia and Europe in the last three months.

“All of the expectation, that desire to see me do well, it exists for me in a way that it doesn’t exist for other people,” Thorpe said. He will contest the 100- and 200meter freestyle events at the Australian trials in Adelaide starting March 15. His most likely path to the games team is a top-six finish in the 200 meters, which could get him into the Australian 4x200-meter relay team for London. “I wish I had another six months to do this,” said Thorpe, who flew to Australia this week after a training camp in Switzerland. “I wish I had more time to do it. “I have to be swimming well. I have to be swimming fast as well in both of my races.” Australian head coach Leigh Nugent worked with Thorpe for several months before he announced his comeback. He has seen him train in Europe, watched him race in Asia and again earlier this year in Melbourne. Nugent was in Perth on Monday to welcome Thorpe back from his European training schedule. “He trained this morning for a couple of hours and physically he looks fantastic,” Nugent said. “He’s probably in the best physical shape he’s been in the whole preparation he looks in pretty good trim. “For Ian, I think now it’s like: ‘I’ve done all that and this is a whole new ballgame now, I’m getting ready for the real deal.’” —AP

Age no barrier, says under-pressure Lagat

RODEZ: British yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins (center) and USA’s Levi Leipheimer (second right) ride in the pack during the Paris-Nice cycling race. —AFP

ISTANBUL: Bernard Lagat may be a veteran on the international running circuit but the Kenyan-born American is keen not to dwell on his age as he faces a testing defence of his world indoor 3000m title here. The 37-year-old was born in Kenya and won silver and bronze Olympic medals (1500m in 2000 and 2004) and a world 1500m silver in 2001 for his native country before taking up US citizenship. He went on to capture two golds for the US team in the 1500m and 5000m at the 2007 world outdoor championships in Osaka, Japan, followed by silver and bronze (5000 and 1500m) in Berlin in 2009 and another silver (5000m) in the Daegu worlds last year. “I have been disproving people for years,” Lagat vowed ahead of the March 911 world indoor championships here,

where he will be defending his 3000m title, which he also claimed in 2004 in Budapest when running for Kenya. “When I go out for training I am still serious,” he said. The problem Lagat faces is the sheer strength of the field in the 3000m, raced around 15 often chaotic 200metre laps. The field features the other medallists in the 5000m from the Daegu worlds: Briton Mohammed Farah, who won gold and also claimed silver in the 10,000m in South Korea, and bronze medallist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. The fastest times of the year, however, belong to Kenyan pair Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi, who both posted 7min 29.94sec in the German city of Karlsruhe. “I believe I am in a good shape,” said Soi, who won bronze in the 5000m at the Beijing Olympics. —AFP




Blatter, Brazil promise cooperation after spat SAO PAULO: Sepp Blatter and Brazil ‘s sports minister pledged to mend relations on Tuesday after the FIFA president personally apologised for disparaging remarks made by a top official about the country’s slow progress in preparing for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil’s sports minister Aldo Rebelo spoke to Blatter on the phone after the global soccer chief apologised in an open letter for comments made by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke. Rebelo stressed Brazil’s commitment to foster “cooperation and harmony with FIFA in preparations for the Cup “ in a conciliatory statement issued after their phone call. Blatter’s written apology came one day after Valcke sent a similar letter to Rebelo apologising

for saying Brazil’s World Cup preparations were “not working” and that organisers needed “a kick up the backside”. Valcke’s remarks caused uproar in Brazil, prompting the government to notify FIFA it would no longer accept the Frenchman as the world soccer governing body’s point person for the 2014 World Cup. Blatter’s letter offered an “apology to all those who had their honour and pride wounded, especially the Brazilian government and President Dilma Rousseff.” He also asked to meet with Rousseff next week to personally discuss the standoff-and progress in Brazil’s World Cup preparationsafter a tour to Asia. “We waste time over conflicts,” Blatter wrote. “We must work together. We have a common goal: to organise an extraordinary World

Cup in the country of football, the country of champions. “Brazil deserves to host the World Cup and the whole world is anxiously waiting for that to happen.” It was not clear if Rousseff would meet with Blatter next week, when Valcke is also scheduled to visit Brazil to tour construction sites in some World Cup host cities. Valcke, who has irked Brazilian officials in the past, claimed in his letter to Rebelo that translators misinterpreted his words in his native French. But reporters who heard his comments said he spoke in English. Asked about Valcke’s apology, Rebelo said he planned to reply in writing in the coming days. Brazil is struggling to prepare for the World Cup and its curtain raiser, the 2013 Confederations

Cup. Stadium construction was slow to get started and costs have ballooned. More worryingly, vital infrastructure projects such as hotels, roads and airports are way behind schedule. Blatter’s letter was delivered just hours before a congressional committee in Brazil finally agreed on the text of a crucial bill setting legislation for the World Cup. The bill, called the World Cup Law, will now go to a plenary session in the lower house of Congress before going to the Senate. Lawmakers have delayed passing the bill, and the government has clashed with FIFA repeatedly over whether alcohol should be sold inside stadiums and over which groups are entitled to discounted tickets. A few protesters unfurled anti-FIFA banners as the debate took place. — Reuters


United up against Bilbao

SANTIAGO: Chile’s Union Espanola Dagoberto Currimilla (left) vies for the ball with Universidad Catolica Matias Campos Toro during their Copa Libertadores football match. — AFP

Vasco da Gama picks up first victory in Copa RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil club Vasco da Gama picked up its first points in the Copa Libertadores with a 3-2 victory Tuesday over Peru’s Alianza Lima. The Group 5 match was level at 1-1 until Alianza’s defender Giancarlo Carmona was sent off in the 48th after his second yellow card. In two other group matches, last season’s runner-up Penarol of Uruguay drew 11 with Universidad de Chile in Group 8, and Chilean clubs Universidad Catolica and Universidad Espanola also drew 1-1 in Group 3. In Group 5, Sebastian Charquero gave Alianza a 1-0 lead in the 17th but an owngoal three minutes later by Christian Ramos allowed Vasco da Gama to equalize. Alianza went down to 10 men in the 48th when Carmona was sent off and Vasco took advantage, with Dede scoring in the 59th for a 2-1 lead. Alecsandro hit the post with a penalty in the 69th, but Juninho Pernambucano clinched the victory with a goal in the 80th. Walter Fernando Ibanez scored in the 85th to cut the margin for the

Peruvians. Vasco da Gama has three points from two games, while Alianza is yet to earn a point. Libertad of Paraguay leads the group with six points from two matches. At Montevideo, Uruguay, Penarol had to settle for a draw despite outplaying Universidad de Chile. Penarol was the losing finalist a year ago, but this time has only one point from three matches. Atletico Nacional of Colombia leads Group 8 with six points from two matches, two points clear of Universidad de Chile. Andres Nicolas Freitas gave Penarol the lead in the 21st minute, but Junior Fernandes leveled it in the 35th with a 15meter (yard) volley. Penarol had two clear chances to score 10 minutes into the second half but failed to convert either. At Santiago, Chile, Enzo Andia gave Universidad Catolica a 1-0 lead with a 38thminute header but Emanuel Herrera equalized in the final seconds of the first half. Universidad Espanola leads the group with seven points from three matches, four points clear of Universidad Catolica.— AP

LONDON: Manchester United’s rare foray into European football’s second tier gives it a chance to renew another old acquaintance today when it hosts Atletico Bilbao in the Europa League. Having reached the round of 16 by winning its first encounter with Ajax since 1976, United is up against a Spanish side it has not played since 1957. Back then, Bilbao beat United 5-3 in the quarterfinals of the old European Cup before the so-called “Busby Babes” advanced to a semifinal against defending champion - and eventual winner - Real Madrid with a 3-0 second-leg win. With a record of one win from four matches contributing to its demotion from the Champions League to the Europa League, United’s home form in Europe is less impressive this season but Bilbao’s players are still excited. “It’s a dream for us to play at Manchester just like it’s a dream for our fans to see us play at Old Trafford,” defender Jon Aurtenetxe said. “The best result would be a victory. But we’re aware of how difficult that will be, so we’ll try to produce the best possible result. “We’ll give it our all. Let’s see if we can give them a scare.” Bilbao center back Fernando Amorebieta is suspended but Spain forwards Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain are available, as are dangerous midfielders Markel Susaeta and Ander Herrera. Llorente has 12 goals in 18 appearances since returning from injury in January, helping the Basque club get this far and to reach the Copa del Rey final. Bilbao has never won in seven trips to England - losing six times but can take heart from the 2-1 win by Ajax last month that nearly took the Dutch club through against United. Ajax was eliminated 3-2 on aggregate but came close to scoring the third goal that would have carried it through on away goals. Defender Chris Smalling should return to United’s lineup after recovering from a head injury sustained playing for England, while Anderson could make his first appearance since Jan. 8. Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia are unlikely to be fit but Valencia could make next week’s second-leg match in Spain. In another of today ’s eight matches, United’s local rival, Manchester City, is at Sporting Lisbon. City is two points clear at the top of the Premier League and warmed up with a routine 2-0 win over Bolton on Saturday. Sporting is coming off a surprise 1-0 defeat to struggling Vitoria Setubal that ended a three-game winning run and left the club 14 points behind leader FC Porto, a team that City demolished 6-1 over two games in the last round. Atletico Madrid, the winner of the inaugural Europa League in 2010, remains in good form ahead of its game against Besiktas with only a single loss since coach Diego Simeone took over at the start of this year - and that a 2-1 loss to Barcelona. Atletico is without Brazilian playmaker Diego and defender Antonio Lopez, and Turkey midfielder Arda Turan remains a doubtful

LIEGE: Hanover’s striker Mame Diouf controls the ball during a training session on the eve of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 football match against Standard Liege. — AFP

starter for the match against his countrymen at the Vicente Calderon. Striker Radamel Falcao and defender Diego Godin are expected to return after missing Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Sevilla. Valencia, the third Spanish club in action, hosts PSV Eindhoven in the teams’ first meeting since the group stage of the 1999-2000 Champions League. FC Twente hosts Germany’s Schalke and a third Dutch team, AZ Alkmaar, is up against Udinese. Hannover is at Standard Liege and Olympiakos is at Metalist Kharkiv. —AP

Milan still in shock from Arsenal fightback ROME: AC Milan were still in shock a day after their 3-0 humbling by Arsenal in the Champions League despite the Londoners’ fightback failing to halt the Italians’ passage into the quarter-finals. Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed the performance at the Emirates was not worthy of the seven-time European champions who made the last eight courtesy of their 4-0 win in the first leg of the last 16 tie. “If you play for a big club like Milan that can’t happen,” Ibrahimovic told Swedish journalists. “You can lose in many ways but it’s not acceptable to lose the way we did this time. We’re Milan and we should be better and more stable than that.” The big striker also said he felt uneasy with the 4-3-3 formation coach Massimiliano Allegri had opted for at kickoff, although he blamed the performance on careless mistakes. “We tried to calm ourselves down but it wasn’t a simple situation. We made too many stupid mistakes, I think we were thinking too much about the big first leg lead. “We were too cautious and we didn’t try to play our match. Throughout the whole period of playing three up top I felt out of position.” Ibrahimovic also admitted that during the game he feared they would lose the tie. “Arsenal took an early lead and then found the second and third goals, and all this in the first half,” he said. “Then after the break they had many

chances to score a fourth or fifth goal but luckily they didn’t manage it. “Every time they attacked I was thinking: ‘what happens if they score the fourth?’ “The final whistle was a relief, we need to learn from the mistakes we made.” Chief executive Adriano Galliani said he feared a defeat would have hit their league hopes as well. “If we had been eliminated it would have had a huge knock-on effect in the championship,” he told AC Milan’s official TV station. “It’s the 12th time we’re in the top eight teams in Europe ... but I think we should always be in the top eight.” Galliani insisted Milan’s previous Champions League meltdowns never entered into his thinking. In 2005 Milan led Liverpool 3-0 at half-time in the Istanbul final before losing on penalties. And the year before they beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 in the quarterfinals first leg at the San Siro before a 4-0 defeat in Galicia saw them sent packing. “The Istanbul comeback and the one in La Coruna never entered my mind,” said Galliani, who praised goalkeeper Christian Abbiati for a miraculous double save to prevent Arsenal scoring a fourth. “I was thinking about Abbiati’s three saves, the one against (Cristian) Bucchi to decide the 1999 title, then the one with his calf to deny (Mohamed) Kallon and Inter in the 2003 Champions League semi-final, and then the one on (Robin) van Persie. “These three interventions will remain a part of our history.” —AFP

Council of Europe calls for FIFA corruption probes ZURICH: FIFA should investigate Sepp Blatter’s re-election as president and publish documents relating to a kickbacks scandal, a European lawmakers’ advisory group said yesterday. The Parliamentar y Assembly of the Council of Europe’s panel said FIFA should examine whether Blatter exploited his position ahead of the vote last June. FIFA should probe “whether the candidates in its recent election for president - and particularly the successful candidate - exploited their institutional positions to obtain ‘unfair advantages for themselves or for potential voters,’” the panel said. Blatter was re-elected unopposed when rival candidate Mohamed bin Hammam withdrew after being accused of bribing voters. Bin Hammam claims that Blatter helped orchestrate the bribery scandal, and is challenging his life ban by FIFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month. The Council’s report on sports governance attempted to increase pressure on FIFA to reveal details of a scandal involving its former marketing agency, which collapsed

into bankruptcy in 2001. FIFA should “publish in full any judicial and other documents” it possessed about the ISL case, in which senior soccer officials allegedly took millions of dollars in kickbacks from World Cup broadcast deals, the report said. The lawmakers’ report said they met on Tuesday in Paris with Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand, who investigated the ISL case and put agency executives on trial over alleged financial mismanagement. Blatter promised to publish a court dossier last year as part of a wide-ranging reform program. The document would identify FIFA officials who acknowledged taking kickbacks in the 1990s but repaid some money to FIFA and the court on condition of remaining anonymous. The BBC has reported that two Brazilian officials Blatter’s predecessor, Joao Havelange, and Ricardo Teixeira, a FIFA executive committee member who leads the 2014 World Cup local organizing committee - are named in court papers. However, at least one party has appealed to Switzerland’s supreme court to block publication. —AP

PORTUGAL: Germany’s women’s soccer team players pose with their trophy after winning the Algarve Cup final match against Japan yesterday at the Algarve stadium. Germany defeated Japan 4-3. — AP

Indonesian football to lose funding JAKARTA: The Indonesian government reportedly plans to strip funding for its national football association after a series of scandals - including a 10-0 loss to Bahrain that led to an investigation into what FIFA called an “unusual outcome.” The loss to Bahrain in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match was the biggest in the national team’s history, and much of the blame fell on the association (PSSI), which has been in turmoil for years. Without a cash injection, it will likely descend further into crisis. “We have no choice since it looks like the PSSI’s infighting won’t be ending anytime soon,” Andi Mallarangeng, the minister of youth and sports, was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe newspaper. “It was not the country’s best squad that was humiliated by Bahrain last week. It was a team assembled under the shadow of discrimination, as the PSSI only called up players from a certain

league.” Until things change, he said, funding will stop. “I think the funding termination is reasonable owing to their bad performances so far,” Bernard Limbong, a spokesman for the Indian football federation, told Antara news agency. “The policy is expected to improve the performance of the national teams.” The announcement came after FIFA, football’s world governing body, announced last week it was launching an investigation into the “unusual outcome” of Bahrain’s win. Bahrain needed to make up a nine-goal deficit on Qatar in the group standings to have a chance of advancing to the next round. It also needed Qatar to lose its last match, but the Qataris scored an 83rd-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Iran to instead reach the next stage of the Asian qualifying tournament. “The important thing is that if there are suspicions you have to investigate it,” FIFA vice president Prince Ali said during a trip to

London. “It might just be a coincidence. However, there might be something behind it.” Indonesia’s performance has been abysmal. It had lost all five previous group matches, conceding 16 goals while scoring just three. It also fielded several inexperienced international players in Bahrain after suspending others who play for clubs in the breakaway Indonesian Super League. The Indonesian football association recognizes the Indonesian Premier League, and the dispute jeopardized the participation of ISL winner Persipura Jayapura in the Asian Champions League last month. Persipura required a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in order to face Adelaide United in the continental club competition. The PSSI launched an unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but FIFA removed Indonesia from the contest midway through the bid process when football officials failed to persuade the government to provide hosting guarantees. — AP

Pistons roll past Lakers

Martin triple strike puts N Zealand on top




Oldest London Olympian going strong after 50 years Page 17

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (left) celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match, round of 16 second leg, against Leverkusen. —AFP

Barcelona thrash Leverkusen 7-1 BARCELONA: Lionel Messi became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League game as Barcelona thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 yesterday for the defending champions to ease into the quarterfinals. Barcelona already led 3-1 after the first leg and the world player of the year put the result beyond doubt by scoring twice in the first half. Messi added three more after the break, while substitute Cristian Tello added a brace as the Spanish champions advanced 10-2 on aggregate. Messi’s 49th career Champions League goal moved him to joint fourth on the all-time

European Cup list alongside Alfredo di Stefano. The 24-year-old Messi took his overall season tally to 48 goals and he is not just seven away from matching Cesar Rodriguez’s all-time club record of 235. Messi is only the fourth player to score five goals in a European Cup match - and first since the 197880 season. It was the first time in his career that he achieved the feat in any competition. Despite Leverkusen’s best intentions, the result was never really in doubt yesterday. Messi tested goalkeeper Bernd Leno early before his 25th minute opener. Leno reacted well

to keep Xavi Hernandez’s whipped-in cross out just moments before the Spain international timed a long ball perfectly for Messi, who beat the offside trap to come one-on-one against Leno and sent an almost playful chip over the goalkeeper. The second came after Messi received a pass from Andres Iniesta at the right corner of the area before skirting toward the center to curl a left-footed shot through a crowd of defenders and past a bewildered Leno in the 42nd. Messi continued in the same vein just four minutes into the second half as he timed his run to beat the offside trap and met Cesc Fabregas’ long

Juve remain unbeaten, lose ground on Milan ROME: Juventus maintained their unbeaten run this season but fell behind AC Milan in the Serie A title race following a 1-1 draw at Bologna yesterday. The Old Lady of Turin failed to make the most of their game in hand on the champions and now trail Milan by two points with 12 matches left. Veteran captain Marco Di Vaio gave the hosts a 17th minute lead but Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic equalised just before the hour mark. Juve have not lost in 26 league games this season-and 29 matches including the Italian Cup-but they have drawn exactly half of those. It was their third draw in a row and fifth in six games, and that is the reason they are looking up at Milan rather than down. “I said it before but I have nothing to reproach the lads for,” insisted Juve coach Antonio Conte. “Today, as against Chievo, we played very well against a top team with great quality. “I’m disappointed not to have won, we had the chances, we played great football, we showed great desire, intensity and determination. These lads need to be congratulated because they haven’t lost (this season).” Had they won, Juve would have gone above Milan due to their better head-to-head record. Once again the Turin giants proved lacking in attack as they failed to put Bologna under sustained pressure, although their makeshift centre-back pairing including fullback Martin Caceres as both Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini were injured-had a largely

quiet night. That was until Leonardo Bonucci was dismissed six minutes from time for a second booking meaning that if Juve don’t get one of Barzagli or Chiellini back this weekend, they will have no specialist centre-halves against Genoa. It wasn’t such a quiet night for Conte, either, who was sent to the stands in the second half for protesting, although he claimed he’d done nothing wrong. “There was a general protest from the bench, it was nothing, I was very surprised,” he said. “But these things happen in football, we’ll take stock and go forwards.” Juve did little in the first half to demonstrate their title credentials with Jean-Francois Gillet a virtual spectator in the Bologna goal. His one nervous moment in the first 45 minutes came when a deflected Andrea Pirlo freekick wrong-footed him before the ball crept just past the far post. Bologna took the lead with a goal of sumptuous quality as Gaston Ramirez’s perfectlyweighted pass allowed Di Vaio to beat the offside trap and the veteran forward finished expertly first time past the onrushing Gianluigi Buffon. Juve’s best chances thereafter saw Simone Pepe’s shot blocked and Arturo Vidal lash wildly over the bar. Having been so disciplined and organised in the first period, Bologna momentarily lost their shape 14 minutes into the second half, and they paid dearly. Pirlo sliced open the defence with an inchperfect through ball that Vucinic met first time with a clever dink to beat Gillet. — AFP

ITALY: Bologna’s Belgian midfielder Gaby Mudingayi (left) fights for the ball with Juventus’ midfielder Claudio Marchisio during the Serie A match. — AFP

curling shot from the left slip under his right hand in the 62nd. Tello joined former Barcelona player Txiki Beguiristain as the only Spaniard to score a pair of goals in his Champions League debut. Even Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola could only shake his head in disbelief as Messi added a fifth, curling an unstoppable left-footed shot out of Leno’s reach in the 85th. Messi has scored a competition-best 12 goals in this season’s Champions League. Karim Bellarabi scored a consolation goal in injury time for the Germans as Barcelona stretched its unbeaten run at the Camp Nou to 50 games. — AP

pass in the area, where the diminutive Argentine nicknamed “The Flea” held off defender Daniel Schwaab to complete a hat trick with another chip this time from his weaker right foot. Tello replaced Iniesta and showed exquisite control as he headed Fabregas’ pass forward before curling the ball around Leno for 4-0 in the 55th. Three minutes later, Leno let a ball into his box slip away and Messi was perfectly placed to score a fourth for the second time in the knockout stages of the competition. Messi scored four against Arsenal two years ago. Leno was to blame in the 62nd as he let Tello’s

APOEL in dreamland after reaching q-finals

NICOSIA: Apoel’s Savvas Poursaitides (right) falls to the ground as he vies with Lyon’s Lisandro during the UEFA Champions League football match. — AFP

NICOSIA: APOEL Nicosia beat Olympique Lyon 4-3 on penalties yesterday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals and become the first Cypriot team to make the last eight of any European competition. Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Michel Bastos had the key spot-kicks saved by Dionisios Chiotis, who was also unlucky that Lisandro Lopez’s penalty went in off his back, to prompt jubilant scenes in Nicosia. Gustavo Manduca, sent off in extra time for a second booking, had earlier netted at the far post on nine minutes after Constantinos Charalambides had slid in a cross as hosts APOEL levelled the aggregate scores at 1-1 after losing the first leg 10. Lyon, who came into the game on the back of poor domestic form, fielded a defensive lineup with first-leg scorer Lacazette and top scorer Bafetimbi Gomis starting on the bench. Manduca’s goal forced under pressure Lyon coach Remi Garde to urge his side forward and Ederson’s overhit free kick almost sneaked in before his diving header bounced wide but that was as close as the

French side came. APOEL, who upset the odds by finishing top of their Champions League group but lie third domestically, had set up with a more attacking side but gradually began to sit back after the early advantage with their dogged defence again on show. The home side still had other chances with Charalambides blasting wide from a difficult angle, Esteban Solari’s shot being saved by Hugo Lloris and Lyon’s Aly Cissokho flicking a free kick onto his own bar. Lyon shaded extra time with Gomis and Lacazette on the field but APOEL also got forward and wasted decent opportunities. The buildup to the match was far from smooth with vandals trying to dig up the pitch on Tuesday, the officials having a flat tyre en route to the game and rain welcoming the players before kick off. An electric atmosphere inside the GSP Stadium made up for the weather, however, with the second highest APOEL crowd ever of nearly 23,000 packing the stands and hailing the monumental achievement of a team of journeymen from around the world. — Reuters

Spurs in FA Cup q-finals LONDON: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to book an FA Cup quarter-final spot with a 3-1 fifth round replay win at home to third tier Stevenage at White Hart Lane here yesterday. Joel Byrom opened the scoring for the visitors and the League One side sensed a famous victory, only for England striker Defoe to level before the break. Emmanuel Adebayor edged Spurs in front with a penalty before Defoe added his 15th goal of the season in the 75th minute to give eight-times FA Cup winners Tottenham a home quarter-final against Premier League strugglers Bolton. Only two players remained from the team defeated by English champions Manchester United last time out but Spurs, third in the Premier League, appeared to have a strongenough team to face lower-league opposition. Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp also had Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart returning from injury and Scott Parker back from suspension, with the trio of key senior players starting.

But within four minutes they were trailing after Byrom surged into the penalty area and went over on the challenge of New Zealand’s Ryan Nelsen. Spurs players protested that the ball would have gone out of play if Byrom stayed on his feet. But referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and the Stevenage midfielder scored the penalty himself, sending Carlo Cudicini the wrong way. It got worse for Spurs when Michael Dawson was carried off on a stretcher after appearing to injure his right knee, with Kyle Walker coming off the bench to replace him. Stevenage were looking for a second goal and Jon Ashton headed just over from a freekick in the 26th minute, only for Spurs to level seconds later. Cudicini’s punt down field found Defoe, who took a touch to speed away from Ashton and then drove into the bottom corner. Defoe almost added a second goal just before the half-hour when Chris Day fumbled a cross from Aaron Lennon, but the goalkeeper

was up sharply to block the shot. It was Lennon’s last action as he was taken off before the break with an apparent hamstring injury, and Adebayor was brought on. Early in the second half, Italian shot-stopper Cudicini made a stunning close range save to deny Mark Roberts when the Stevenage captain found room from a corner and prodded towards goal with a left-footed effort. But it was Roberts who conceded a key penalty nine minutes into the second period, tripping Bale on the right-hand side of the area before Adebayor stroked in the spot-kick. Bale almost scored himself before the hour but his dipping drive crashed against the crossbar. Stevenage refused to give up and Michael Bostwick forced a save from Cudicini with a drive, while Roberts hit the crossbar when he met a corner. However, Defoe added his second goal of the evening when he ran onto Bale’s huge throw and cut inside before finding the bottom corner. — AFP


Turkish Airlines: Europe’s and South Europe’s Best Airline Page 25

US challenges India poultry ban at WTO Page 26


Beijing says US trade bill goes against global rules

Strike paralyses South Africa Page 23

Page 23

NEW YORK: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. — AFP

Markets fall over Greece uncertainty Aussie hit by weaker Q4 GDP, drop in materials TOKYO: Asian shares fell for a third day in a row yesterday as investors grew more risk averse, with renewed uncertainty over Greece’s bailout and mounting worries about slowing global economies overshadowing support from ample liquidity. The three US equity indexes recorded their biggest oneday percentage drop this year on Tuesday, while the CBOE Volatility index VIX rose, reflecting a receding appetite for riskier assets. Commodity currencies eased, with the Australian dollar falling for a second session in Asia to a six-week low. Data showing its economy grew a disappointingly slow 0.4 percent last quarter also dented sentiment. The euro benefited from players taking profits on currencies which have been rallying so far this year, notably the Aussie. The single currency, still facing huge short positions, inched up 0.2 percent to $1.3140, off Tuesday’s three-week low of $1.3103. The Australian dollar trimmed early losses to hover around $1.054. The MSCI Asia Pacific exJapan index fell 0.9 percent, led by the materials sector and Australian shares, which hit seven-week lows on concerns that slowing global economies would undermine demand for commodities. The ex-Japan index had risen more than

11 percent so far this year through Tuesday’s close, and traders said it had looked increasingly ripe for a pullback. Japan’s Nikkei average was down 0.9 percent after falling more than 1 percent to a two-week low. Financial spreadbetters expected major European markets to open flat to 0.2 percent lower. “Markets are facing profit taking pressures, with prices having risen far more strongly than many anticipated this year,” said Takao Hattori, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo. “With concerns rising over growth prospects in emerging economies, investors realize they need fresh factors than ample liquidity to elevate markets further,” he said. Copper remained sluggish, while oil recovered after falling the day before when worries about supply disruptions eased. HEAT ON GREECE Athens turned up the heat on its creditors on Tuesday as it sought to secure a bond swap that will cut its mountainous debt, while the main bondholders group warned a disorderly default would cause over a trillion euros of damage to the euro zone. Some Greek pension funds and foreign investors rejected the offer, which will see investors

lose almost three-quarters of the value of their holdings. Greek private creditors have until today night to say whether they will participate in the bond swap that is a crucial part of a bailout program to save Greece from bankruptcy and meet a debt repayment on March 20. “I think we are at a watershed now,” a trader at a Japanese bank said, adding that if the Greek debt swap went well the market could return to the risk-on mood. “But if Greece cannot get the deal, then that would be a game changer,” he warned. More signs emerged of the damage to growth inflicted by the euro zone debt crisis, as Brazil followed China in raising fears of a slowing economy. Data on Tuesday showed South America’s largest economy expanded just 2.7 percent in 2011 after surging 7.5 percent in 2010. Quarterly growth in Oct-Dec was a scant 0.3 percent following a revised 0.1 percent contraction in the previous quarter. China’s Minister of Commerce yesterday said Chinese exports increased by an estimated 7 percent in the first two months of this year from year ago levels, while import growth was likely above 7 percent in the same period. China also said it will boost energy imports in 2012, supporting oil prices which remained under-

pinned by supply risks and Iran’s nuclear program. Brent crude climbed above $122 and US crude topped $105 a barrel. RISK GAUGE EYED As a gauge of how investors perceive risk, the VIX index, which measures expected volatility in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index over the next 30 days, jumped nearly 16 percent on Tuesday. It was the biggest one-day rise since November, as the S&P 500 marked its worst three-day period since December. “I am getting a bit nervous about risk gauges,” Hattori said, adding that he also kept an eye on the Ted spread, which appears to have halted its narrowing trend, and dollar/yen one-month implied volatility, which was creeping higher. The Ted spread, the spread between Libor and three-month Treasury bills, represents the risk premium of lending to a bank and has been falling as worries about a credit crunch in Europe abated after the European Central Bank’s first liquidity injection in late December. Asian credit markets weakened in tandem with riskier assets, pushing the spread on the iTraxx Asia exJapan investment-grade index 5 basis points wider. — Reuters

UAE’s NBAD targets regional mandates Bank to explore Qatari, Oman ABU DHABI: National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the largest lender by market value in the United Arab Emirates, is set to take on regional mandates to add to its home-market advantage, the head of the bank’s debt capital markets team said. The bank is pitching more aggressively for mandates in other Gulf Arab states, Fawaz Abu Sneineh said in an interview this week. “We are trying to diversify outside the UAE, especially in the FI (financial institutions) space. We are pitching to Qatari banks, and in Oman,” Abu Sneineh said, adding that Jordan, Malaysia and Turkey were also potential markets, but on a more opportunistic basis. “Turkey is very competitive but it is one of our strategic markets.” Until now, large national banks in the Gulf, such as NBAD and Qatar National Bank, have focused on and tended to win deals in their respective states. Abu Sneineh said that in the future, more “regional champions” who understood the Gulf credit space could help support deals to tap regional liquidity. “You need one regional champion to be on the transactions to see the credit story,” he said. “We have the relationship traction, and a full DCM (debt capital markets) platform, from origination through to secondary trading to credit research.” Gulf bond issuance so far this year has totaled about $4 billion, not including a $4 billion riyal-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bond, from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation issued in January. Banks have been the largest dollar-denominated bond

issuers so far, but Abu Sneineh said more corporate and quasi-sovereign issuance was likely in 2012, although he remains cautious on total volumes for the year. “The factors driving more bond issuance in the region are refinancing, expansion plans, and conducive market conditions- markets are attractive because rates are very low,” Abu Sneineh said, adding demand for regional paper remained strong. Last year, Gulf Cooperation Council entities tapped bond markets for just under $26 billion, slightly shy of the previous year’s $30 billion, as the euro zone debt crisis and the Arab Spring pushed spreads for regional debt wider. “This year...we may see between $25 billion to $30 billion of issuance,” he said. NBAD acted as lead arranger on five bond deals last year, and hopes to increase that in 2012, Abu Sneineh said, including potentially a sale from the lender itself, which is a frequent issuer of bonds. “We are hopeful of getting six or seven transactions this year.” ‘STRATEGIC’ ABU DHABI Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest emirate in the UAE, last issued a sovereign bond in 2009; it has since been happy to allow its government-related companies to tap debt markets. Quasi-sovereign investment firms such as International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), Mubadala Development Co and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co are all regular debt issuers, benefitting to a large extent from implied government backing. —Reuters


in brief

Kingfisher suspended NEW DELHI: India’s cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines was suspended from a global payments system on Monday by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) over financial difficulties. The loss-making carrier, controlled by India’s flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya, owes suppliers, lenders and staff millions of dollars and has scrapped scores of scheduled flights. “IATA has suspended Kingfisher Airlines’ participation in the IATA Clearing House (ICH). This is because the airline did not settle their ICH account within the stipulated deadline,” IATA said in a statement. The decision means Kingfisher cannot “settle their transactions with other ICH members via the clearing house” but can “function by settling with their partners on a bilateral basis”, an IATA spokesman, who could not be named, said.

Leaver steps down DUBAI: The chief executive of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), Thomas Leaver, has stepped down after four years at the helm of the largest energy futures exchange in the Middle East. Leaver’s departure comes after US-based exchange operator CME Group injected funds in February, a record month for DME oil futures trade, to boost its stake and recapitalize the DME. “I wanted the company to get to the point where the future is far more certain,” Leaver told Reuters. “The recapitalization is done, volumes are on the uptick and it is time in the relay race to pass to the next guy.” Leaver said he had decided to leave the DME after six years at the company long before CME doubled its stake in the DME to 50 percent. DME rules dictate that his successor cannot come from one of the shareholders. “A recruiting firm has been appointed and the search has been going on for some time,” Leaver said. The exchange saw a record volume of DME Oman Crude Oil Futures contracts traded in February, equivalent to around 108 million barrels.

Spain’s output falls 4.2%

GENEVA: The Cisitalia 202 E concept car, realized by IED Turin Master of Arts in Transportation Design, is shown during the press day at the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show, in Geneva yesterday. —AP

Global auto output to rise 3.0%, Asia leading GENEVA: Global production of cars will increase by 3.0 percent this year, about in line with growth in 2011, the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers forecast yesterday. Last year, global vehicle production reached a record 80.1 million units, the organization told a press conference at the Geneva Motor Show. “After a dramatic fall in 2009 to 61.8 million units due to the crisis in 2008, world car production car has regained its growth rate,” the president of the trade body, Patrick Blain, said. Production in Europe was expected to fall in 2012, but Chinese output would rise by 8.0 percent, production in India by 14 percent and output in Japan would also rise.

Last year, vehicle production in Europe grew to a total of 17.7 million units, but this was still less than the volume in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, Blain said. Production in China, the biggest car maker, slowed to 18.4 million units, after a spurt in 2009 and 2010. North American production totaled 13.5 million vehicles. Japanese production also fell, owing mainly to the effects of a massive earth quake and tsunami. Forecasting that overall, global car producers would raise output by 3.0 percent in 2012, the organization said it expected a slowdown “in some countries” but that factories would be opened in countries such as Russia, Morocco and Brazil. —AFP

MADRID: Spain’s industrial output declined further in January, falling by 4.2 percent compared to activity a year earlier, official data showed yesterday. The seasonally adjusted figure from the National Statistics Institute gave a fresh warning sign of a looming recession in Spain, where unemployment soared close to 23 percent at the end of 2011. The economy contracted at the end of 2011 and is expected to do so again in the current quarter, amid tough spending cuts. That would take Spain into its second recession in four years after its building sector went bust in 2008. The fall in production in January was sharpest in durable consumer goods, at 8.5 percent, yesterday’s figures showed. Energy ouptut fell by 4.0 percent. Over the whole of 2011 industrial production fell by 1.8 percent compared to 2010. Spain’s conservative government which took over in December has slashed the earlier growth forecast set by the former Socialist government, with a 1.7 percent contraction now expected this year.

US beef import plan TAIPEI: Scores of Taiwanese protested yesterday against a government plan to allow the import of US beef containing a growth additive. The protesters gathered outside the Cabinet building in Taipei questioned government assurances that US beef treated with ractopamine is harmless. The import plan has stirred a storm. Opposition lawmakers demanded that Premier Sean Chen resign for bowing to US pressure. The European Union and China have banned the beef products. Lawmakers question if supermarkets, restaurants and food stalls could properly label the US beef as required. About 20,000 pig and cow farmers plan to stage a protest today. Taiwan banned all US beef imports in 2003 over concerns about mad cow disease but permitted boneless beef imports in 2006.




Catch me if you can - oil sanctions against Iran LONDON: International sanctions have a patchy history, and Iran’s oil elite have been dodging them for decades. As Washington and its allies tighten the screws on Tehran over its nuclear program, Iran is coming up with new ways to sell its oil offering special deals to allies China and India, delivering oil to clients and swapping it for gold and grain. Tehran may also be devising ways to make its oil more saleable on international markets, switching it between tankers and blending crudes to disguise the origin, oil trading and shipping sources have said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity to business relationships. Washington, London and Brussels are doing their best to put up obstacles, but Iran is market savvy, these traders said, describing a number of ways Iran can avoid sanctions and continue to get its oil to market. Such routes mean selling oil at a discount - which will hurt Tehran’s income but could also prove highly profitable for customers and the middlemen involved. “The Iranians are very enterprising and can probably out-smart all of us,” said an executive at a major oil company. Tehran has been maneuvering for years. Iran’s senior oil executives were reworking the oil books back in 1995, when Washington banned 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude liftings in an attempt to curb Tehran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons. “It took us about three months to re-direct all the oil we were selling to US customers,” recalled an Iranian oil source. “But we eventually found new buyers elsewhere.” Oil was then around $18 a barrel. It is now above $120. Seventeen years on, Iran’s oil elite - their every move under scrutiny from the West - face a far tougher test as they aim to

keep up shipments of 2.3 million bpd. They are scrambling to find new homes for 500,000 bpd of oil sales as rigorousUS financial measures and a European Union oil ban, effective July 1, make it ever more difficult to pay for and ship oil from Iran. BLOW DEALT But Leonid Fedun, a key shareholder in Russia’s Lukoil which halted work in Iran 10 years ago because of US sanctions, said it was hard to envision measures that would keep Iranian oil from reaching markets. “It is difficult to achieve something with sanctions if you have a system of different oil buyers. For example, if China doesn’t join sanctions, they won’t work,” he said. Keeping Iran’s vast supplies off the market would cause supply problems, which would be difficult in a US presidential election year when energy prices are an issue, he added. Washington dealt a blow to Tehran’s financial network when it shut down a major channel for oil sales, the Dubaibased Noor Islamic Bank, at the end of last year. But traders say there are still small European and Russian banks with no US exposure that are willing to handle payments. For its part, Tehran has switched into other currencies such as yen and rupees, and carried out barter deals to swap oil or gold directly for food imports, as US pressure makes dollar and euro transfers harder. Such unconventional deals are already in evidence in Iran’s grains trade with the likes of Russia and India. Fearing sanctions will cause food shortages, Iran is ordering huge amounts of wheat to feed its population of 77 million. “Russian banks seem to be ready to finance some of the deals and some payments could be made in

roubles or even in the Indonesian currency,” a trader said. Tehran may also offer to pay in steel or crude oil. While the West’s sanctions net is closing in on countries within its own sphere of influence, it is causing few problems for top buyer China, which can selffinance, ship and insure oil supplies from Iran which are being sold on extended credit. An executive from a major oil

company told Reuters: “We are hearing the Iranians have started offering a discount as big as $20 per barrel. Do you really believe China will be able to resist?” It is widely assumed Tehran will discount and sell much of the oil that is displaced from Europe to Beijing. But Iranian oil officials admit the market in China, though strategic, is finite and there is as yet scant evidence of extra oil flow-

LOS ANGELES: A sign shows gas prices nearing $5 a gallon for regular unleaded at a Shell service station in Los Angeles, California. According to AAA the average price of regular unleaded gasoline climbed three-tenths of a cent nationwide as a result of high oil prices and tensions tied to Iran’s nuclear program. — AFP

Iraq’s Oil Ministry approves the deal Qurna-2, and Iraq’s Oil Ministry approved the deal,” an Iraqi oil industry source said. Another Iraqi oil industry source confirmed the deal. “Statoil has sold its stake to Lukoil and Lukoil now is the sole operator of West Qurna2,” the second source said. The Norwegian state company has considered quitting Iraq for some time and turning its attention to less-risky assets elsewhere, industry sources say. It is planning billions of dollars worth of investments in areas such as offshore Norway and in the United States. Lukoil and Statoil sealed the 20-year deal in December 2009 to develop the virgin field. They targeted a plateau

NO RISK Iran is also bending over backwards to sell more oil into India, its second biggest client, on flexible commercial terms. “Iran is saying: ‘We will deliver our crude for you on our ships on extended credit. There is no risk’,” said a market source with knowledge of Iran’s sales tactics. Three of Iran’s supertankers the Hormoz, the Harsin and the Damavand - have already delivered crude to India’s west coast refiners, say market sources with knowledge of the ships’ movements, as Indian buyers struggle to find tankers willing to dock in Iran for fear they might lose EUlinked insurance cover. The tankers, owned by Iran’s privately-held NITC, have insurance cover from Kish Protection & Indemnity Club - another privately owned Iranian outfit. India has said it will abide by UN sanctions on Iran, but has refused to go along with the new financial measures imposed by the United States and the EU. Even so, the sanctions have left Indian companies struggling to pay for their Iranian crude. They had been paying in euros via Turkey’s Halkbank, but that route looks vulnerable to new sanctions. Halbank’s general manager Suleyman Aslan said on Jan 26 Halkbank would continue to handle customers’ oil payments to Iran as long as they comply with international regulations. As an alternative, New Delhi and Tehran have set up a payment method using the rupee, which is not freely traded on international markets, to pay for

45 percent of oil imports. India owes Tehran about $11 billion a year for imports. Iran has already started paying Indian exporters in rupees, but refiners are waiting to hear whether they will have to pay hefty taxes before using rupees to pay for oil. Payments to Indian exporters, owed about $3 billion, are being remitted through Iran’s Bank Parsian which has opened an account with India’s UCO bank, said M Rafeeque Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations. Bank Parsian is among private Iranian banks that are free from sanctions against Iran’s state-owned banks. BARTER In its search for new outlets, Tehran is also courting smaller Asian countries that may have been neglected. For example, Iran is offering to supply Pakistan with 80,000 bpd on a three-month deferred payment plan. The offer came just after Pakistani officials revealed Iran had asked to import a million tons of wheat in a barter deal. Iran has also held talks with South Africa about the possibility of salting barrels away in storage tanks at Saldanha Bay, say industry sources with knowledge of the talks. Tehran first proposed storing excess fuel in the facility on the west coast, north of Cape Town, in 1995, but talks broke down partly due to public concern that increased tanker traffic would be harmful to the environment. While it works to secure new supply routes, traders say Iran is steaming vessels laden with crude and condensates into Asia, where they can drain the contents into smaller ships and sell the cargoes into China and parts of Southeast Asia. Another of Iran’s supertankers, the Delvar, was involved in such an operation last week. — Reuters

India to review cotton ban

Statoil sells its stake to Lukoil BAGHDAD: Iraq has approved the sale by Norway’s Statoil ASA of its minority stake in a supergiant oil field to Lukoil OAO, making the Russian firm the sole foreign partner in one of Iraq’s biggest new oil projects, two Iraqi oil industry sources said. Statoil will sell its 18.75 percent state in the West Qurna Phase-2 field to Lukoil, giving the Russian firm a 75 percent stake. An Iraqi state oil company owns the other 25 percent. The deal makes Statoil the first big Western oil firm to abandon one of the lucrative oil deals offered by Iraq in recent years. “Statoil reached an agreement with Lukoil to sell its stake in West

ing into the country’s stockpiles. China has meanwhile helped Iran dodge tightening sanctions by selling it muchneeded gasoline. Although a major oil producer, Iran’s aging refineries struggle to produce enough fuel and imports are vital to fill the shortfall.

output of 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in six years. Iraq has signed several oil deals to develop its vast oil fields which target capacity of 12 million bpd by 2017. Infrastructure bottlenecks and bureaucratic hurdles make achieving a target of 6 million bpd look ambitious, but the deals are still expected to make Iraq one of the world’s biggest sources of new oil in the next few years. Iraq’s oil production has been held back by decades of war and sanctions, but officials say they now expect it to rise quickly. Iraq said this week its production had reached 3 million bpd for the first time since 1979. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: India announced a review of its recent ban on cotton exports yesterday after outrage among farmers and complaints from the agriculture minister who said he knew nothing about the decision. A panel of ministers will meet tomorrow “to urgently review” the ban, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office said following a meeting in New Delhi with regional leaders. India, the world’s secondlargest producer of cotton, unexpectedly banned all exports of cotton on Monday, saying it wanted to protect supplies for domestic mills. The new regulation, which took immediate effect, sent cotton prices soaring on New York’s commodity markets and was expected to send buyers in China flocking to the US market. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar lob-

bied the prime minister for the ban to be overturned after saying he was not consulted about the move, which was announced by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). “Farmers are complaining of falling prices,” Pawar told reporters. The move also drew criticism from the chief minister of the cotton-producing western state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, a member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. India has already exported 8.5 million bales in the fiscal year ending March 31, more than the government’s target of 8.4 million bales. The ban comes just six months after India completely freed cotton export controls. India had banned cotton exports in April 2010 and lifted the ban in the same year. — AFP

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

.2730000 .4340000 .3620000 .3000000 .2750000 .2900000 .0040000 .0020000 .0753770 .7343730 .3830000 .0710000 .7199210 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2775000 GB Pound/KD .4366190 Euro .3647770 Swiss francs .3025500 Canadian dollars .2775110 Danish Kroner .0490660 Swedish Kroner .0409450 Australian dlr .2925880 Hong Kong dlr .0357670 Singapore dlr .2200250 Japanese yen .0034380 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0756230 Bahraini dinars .7367650 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0740600 Omani riyals .7214500 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

3.598 5.667 3.154 2.436 3.341 213.250 35.672 3.580 6.336 8.873 0.271 0.273

.2807500 .4440000 .3700000 .3120000 .2840000 .3020000 .0070000 .0035000 .0761340 .7417540 .4000000 .0760000 .7271560 .0072000 .0500000 .2797500 .4399210 .3675360 .3048380 .2796100 .0494370 .0412550 .2948010 .0360370 .2216900 .0034640 .0055580 .0023160 .0030890 .0034420 .0761950 .7423380 .3956860 .0746200 .7269070 .0065520

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 47.500 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 46.282 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.272 Tunisian Dinar 189.860 Jordanian Dinar 392.670 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.865 Syrian Lier 6.003 Morocco Dirham 33.814 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.950 Euro 370.650 Sterling Pound 431.930 Canadian dollar 268.420 Turkish lire 153.940 Swiss Franc 300.620 Australian dollar 277.000 US Dollar Buying 277.750 GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY



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

297.900 741.730 3.590 282.700 547.800 45.500 50.300 167.800 47.510 370.900 36.620 5.790 0.032 0.159 0.242 3.550 395.250 0.189 94.780 45.400 4.290 231.500 1.807 50.200 724.450

296.400 741.730 3.405 281.200

222.700 46.258 369.400 36.470 5.510 0.031

306.000 3.900 9.280 75.940 278.900

Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 440.900 278.900

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer

Selling Rate

US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

277.750 283.990 442.665 368.570 305.435 738.165 75.870 76.515 74.295 392.380 46.222 2.286 5.633 3.069 3.398 6.533 683.765 4.405 9.195 5.870 3.640 92.240

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

300.07 281.48 307.10 370.91

446.50 3.70 3.550 5.775 2.625 4.250 3.180 76.40 741.35 47.49 395.00 728.00 77.25 74.75

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

US Dollar Pak Rupees Indian Rupees Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso UAE Dirhams Saudi Riyals Bahraini Dinars Egyptian Pounds Pound Sterling Indonesian Rupiah Yemeni Riyal Euro Canadian Dollars Nepali rupee

278.800 3.065 5.520 2.295 3.415 6.525 75.995 74.495 741.200 46.192 445.000 3.190 1.550 372.000 285.200 3.510

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

445.06 3.50 3.402 5.549 2.286 3.491 3.063 75.83 741.33 46.24 396.50 724.32 76.85 74.42

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency



3.077 6.495 76.720 74.470 222.680 38.980 2.300 440.900

GOLD 1,751.120

10 Tola

395.210 0.188 94.780 3.500 230.000

3.140 6.770 77.150 74.470 222.580 38.980 2.657 442.900 42.100 307.500 3.900 9.460 198.263 76.040 279.300 1.350

300.00 284.00 312.00 373.00


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal

278.450 369.300 440.700 281.000 3.475 5.530 46.173 2.287 3.410 6.480 3.067 741.600 75.800 74.350

*Rates are subject to change




Oil rebounds on China demand outlook Iran supply risks reduced by offer for more talks LONDON: Brent crude gained yesterday after China said it would boost energy imports this year, though it held well below a near four-year high set last week as Iran’s offer for talks with major powers eased concerns about supply disruption. China’s trade ministry said it plans to boost energy imports in 2012, and will keep policies to ensure stable export growth, which it expects to improve in the second half of the year. Front-month Brent gained 84 cents to $122.82 a barrel by 0913

GMT, after settling $1.82 lower at $121.98 in the previous session. It was well below a high above $128 per barrel set last week, a level last hit in July 2008. US oil increased by 48 cents to $105.18 after settling $2.02 lower at $104.70. President Barack Obama said an announcement of six-power talks with Iran offered a diplomatic chance to defuse a crisis over its nuclear program and quiet the “drums of war”. “It was getting quite worrying but tensions have eased and it’s looking more like both sides could come out

of this without losing face,” said David Morrison, market analyst at GFT. However, geopolitical risks remain a key focus for investors with France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saying on Wednesday he was sceptical the talks would succeed as Tehran was still not sincere in its willingness to negotiate over the future of its nuclear program. “Iran has not disappeared. In my mind, they will probably stall for time ... and the issue will last for the rest of the year,” said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

CHINA FOCUS China’s plans on energy imports reinforce a view that Asian demand will continue to support oil prices, even as demand from developed economies is seen as sluggish. “China’s comments are a timely reminder that the Chinese and Asian economies are still growing strongly,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. “Even though China’s target growth rates are down for this year, it’s still growing and that means more energy needs overall.” More signs emerged that demand

for oil was vulnerable as investors braced for news on whether Greece would succeed in restructuring its huge debt pile, and evidence mounted of a weakening outlook for global economic growth. Australia’s resource-rich economy grew a slow 0.4 percent last quarter as business spending dipped from record highs while Brazil’s economy expanded just 2.7 percent in 2011 as industries struggled with soaring business costs and an over-valued currency. And the US Energy Information on Tuesday (EIA) cut its world oil

demand growth forecasts for both 2012 and 2013. Investors will watch weekly inventory data from the EIA for further clues on the demand picture in the United States. US crude oil stocks likely rose for the third straight week last week, while refined product inventories likely fell, an extended Reuters poll of analysts showed on Tuesday. US crude oil inventories rose 4.6 million barrels last week, the industry group American Petroleum Institute said in a weekly report released late on Tuesday, far exceeding the expected rise. —Reuters

Strike paralyses S Africa Mines grind to halt; Unions send signal to ANC

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama speaks on jobs and the economy during a discussion with members of the Business Roundtable at the Newseum in Washington. —AFP

Beijing says US trade bill goes against global rules BEIJING: A US trade bill targeting China goes against international rules and Beijing will not adjust the value of its currency to compensate for Washington’s failure to take measures to tackle its trade deficit, China’s commerce minister said yesterday. US President Barack Obama is set to sign the bill into law to allow duties to be imposed on subsidized goods from China and Vietnam, which the White House says will protect American jobs. “We follow the rules of the WTO, but we have no obligation to follow domestic laws or regulations in any specific country that go beyond international rules,” Commerce Minister Chen Deming told a news conference on the sidelines of an annual meeting of parliament. He said China had done a better job of bringing balance to global trade than the United States, bringing its trade surplus down to 2.1 percent of economic output in 2011 while the trade deficit of the United States was 4.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). Chen said it was clear that the United States had a responsibility to close its own deficit. “Why did the US have a $700 billion overall trade deficit? Why did China have an overall trade surplus of only $150 billion but a trade surplus of $200 billion with the United States?” Chen responded rhetorically to a journalist’s question. “Every man, free from prejudice and armed with common sense economics can come to the right conclusion,” Chen said. Chen’s comments come a day after the US Congress passed the controversial bill that Obama is set to sign into law. A US court ruled in December that the US Commerce Department did not have authority to impose countervailing-or anti-subsidy-duties on goods from “non-market economies”. US imports from China were a record $399.3 billion in 2011. Washington said the US deficit with China reached a record $295 billion, but China’s data showed only a $202 billion surplus. China says the difference is caused by US statistical methodology which includes part of Hong Kong’s trade data in the calculations.

CHINA REJECTS TRADE CRITICISM Chen said US criticism of China was unfounded. “The US government had subsidized its companies, like the three big automakers ... but China did not criticize these moves or start massive countervailing actions against such moves,” Chen said. Chen added that China’s yuan exchange rate was now close to its fair value, and China had no intention to let the yuan appreciate sharply. Asked about a World Trade Organization (WTO) Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance meeting that would discuss the relationship between exchange rates and trade, Chen said the yuan should not be what he called an “academic discussion”. “I have noticed that the US trade representative and treasury secretary have noted to the Congress that they would use the meeting, as well as other events, to push forward yuan reform,” Chen said. “When I heard about this, I thought I heard wrong. They should push the US dollar reform since the US trade deficit is about 4.8 percent (of GDP),” he said. “China believes all countries should maintain the basic stability of their exchange rates, against the background of global financial crisis,” he said. “Any country’s measures to devalue its own currencies or force other countries’ currencies to appreciate is not appropriate,” Chen said. China’s growing manufacturing strength has been coupled with a rising trade surplus that has fueled friction with the United States and other partners. The Obama administration recently announced an Interagency Trade Enforcement Unit that will police compliance with trade rules by America’s trading partners, including China. Chen said China was willing to talk to the body. Chen said Chinese exports increased by an estimated 7 percent in the first two months of this year from year ago levels, while import growth was likely above 7 percent in the same period. The consensus view of a Reuters poll is that China’s annual export and import growth rebounded sharply in February from a year earlier, primarily because of different timings of the Lunar New Year, which fell in January this year and in February in 2011. —Reuters

JOHANNESBURG: Tens of thousands of South Africans joined a one-day national strike yesterday, hitting mining production, as the biggest labor group in the continent’s largest economy flexed its muscles to remind the ruling ANC of its political clout. Gold Fields, the world’s No. 4 producer, said its operations had ground to a halt, with as many as 85 percent of workers downing tools in response to the call for a strike by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Harmony Gold, another major producer, said all of its staff affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers, South Africa’s biggest union, had stayed away. Neither company suffered any impact to their share price. The immediate targets of the strike are new road tolls around Johannesburg, and short-term contract labor agencies that COSATU says exploit workers and perpetuate the inequalities of apartheid white-minority rule that ended in 1994. “Despite the political and social gains scored since 1994, the working class in this country continues to reel under the pressure of neo-liberalism and the legacy of apartheid and colonialism,” COSATU said. However, despite its official billing, analysts said the strike was just as much about COSATU sending a reminder of its clout to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which is due to elect a new leader at the end of the year. As things stand now, President Jacob Zuma is the clear front runner to be reelected ANC leader, and on track to win a second five-year term as president in a 2014 election. However, Zuma cannot afford

to ignore the unions - integral players in the struggle against apartheid which wield considerable grass-roots political power inside the ANC. “Within the confines of ANC politics, there is clearly an attempt to spin the march as a challenge to Jacob Zuma’s leadership and a criticism of his commitment to workers and the poor,” Cape Town-based political economist Nic Borain said. “This kind of jostling is commonplace in the politics of the ruling alliance,” he added. “This is the left-Cosatu faction reminding Zuma that its support is conditional.” MODERN DAY SLAVERY Several thousand red-shirted COSATU supporters gathered in the centers of Johannesburg and Cape Town under the watchful eye of dozens of police in riot gear, backed by mounted officers, dog units and water cannon. However, the atmosphere was good-natured, with marchers singing, chanting and waving placards saying “Labor broking equals modern day slavery” and “Stop E-tolling, it’s highway robbery”. Business groups have criticized COSATU’s action as political posturing that is going to pile more pressure on an economy forecast to grow at a relatively feeble 2.7 percent this year. They have also disapproved of COSATU’s targeting of contract labor agencies, saying they are essential for seasonal industries such as farming, and without them, South Africa’s 24 percent unemployment rate might be even worse. Any attempts to cut labor market red tape, in particular by making it easier to hire and fire workers, are met by fierce

union opposition, but Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tiptoed cautiously into the fray with a newspaper editorial advocating a shake-up. “Given the scale of the unemployment challenge, no sin-

JOHANNESBURG: Thousands of protesters march through Johannesburg yesterday to protest new tolls on highways between Johannesburg and nearby Pretoria and the practices of temp agencies, which unions say are hurting the poor. —AFP

India’s Tata Motors charts green drive despite skepticism GENEVA: India’s Tata Motors signaled its green drive at the Geneva motor show with a new hybrid, described as the firm’s future, even as Western auto giants struggle to get customers to buy such cars. “The Tata Megapixel, developed by our design centers in India, the UK and Italy, is our idea of a city car for discerning motorists in any megacity of the world,” said Prakash Telang, managing director of Tata’s India Operations. It “also denotes the company’s future design direction,” he added. The four-seater that the company describes as a “smart global range extended electric vehicle” combines a lithium ion phosphate battery and an on-board petrol engine generator for recharging on the move. Tata, which reported $27 billion of revenues for 2010-11, said the vehicle runs for 100 kilometers on just one litre of fuel. The Indian group’s officials did not reveal the target price for the vehicle, but if it is low, it could be a serious competitor in the green car sector which has been dominated by Toyota’s Prius. Toyota has sold two million Prius vehicles in the 14 years since the hybrid’s launch and dominates the US market, selling nearly half of all new hybrids despite a growing number of offerings from its competitors. Western car makers admitted the high prices of such cars were turning consumers off. —AFP

gle policy offers the solution,” he wrote in Business Day. “There is no panacea, no silver bullet. What is needed is a comprehensive set of reforms that maximize job creation.” —Reuters

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KSE Price Index decreases GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) stocks tumbled during yesterday’s session, on the back of profit-booking. The retreat was broad based with literally all 8 sectors ending in negative territory. KSE tracked rest of GCC markets that closed sharply lower. Dubai FM lead the decliners in GCC, shedding 4.82 percent. Market Indices Global General Index lost 0.94 percent or 1.74 points to close at 182.63 points. On the other hand, the market benchmark KSE Price Index decreased by 44.7 points (or 0.72 percent), to close at 6,183.2 points. Daily Trading Activity Volume of shares traded decreased by 36.77 percent yesterday, reaching 447.32mn shares, while value of shares traded declined by 28.92 percent, aggregating to KD44.35mn. Investment sector accounted for 35.93 percent of the total traded volume, followed by the service sector, which accounted for 32.2 percent of total traded shares. Trading activity was intense on International Resorts Company, which witnessed the highest traded volume in terms of 32.84mn shares, and the highest traded value of KD2.07mn.

Gulf Cement Co, plunged by 3.77 percent followed by Ras Al Khaimah Co For White Cement & Const, Materials which fell by 3.23 percent. Heavy weights such as Mobile Telecommunication Company (Zain) and National Mobile Telecommunications Company ( Wataniya) plunged by 1.16 percent and 0.97 percent respectively. Global Services Index went down by 0.92 percent. Elsewhere in services sector, Jazeera Airways will add a fuel surcharge to its ticket prices in two weeks to offset the impact of high oil prices, according to the budget airline’s top executive. The scrip closed up by 1.05 percent at KD0.480. Global Banking Index registered a drop of 0.07 percent this session so far. Out of the losers in this sector, National Bank of Kuwait lost 3.28 percent.

Oil News Brent crude gained yesterday after China said it would boost energy imports this year, though it held well below a near four-year high set last week as Iran’s offer for talks with major powers eased concerns about supply disruption. China’s trade ministry said it plans to boost energy imports in 2012, and will keep policies to ensure stable export growth, which it expects to improve in the second half of the year. The price of Kuwaiti crude continued dropping to USD120.87pb Monday, the state -run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Tuesday. The decrease of oil prices is due to the increase of international oil production, in midst of speculations of US economy being stable.

Top Gainers and Biggest Decliners In terms of top gainers, Kuwait National Cinema Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 9.8 percent. On the other side, Al-Ahlia Holding Company was the biggest loser, as its share price fell by 9.68 percent to close at KD0.014. Sectors Wise Sector wise, all sectoral indices witnessed negative performance during the session. Global Non Kuwaiti Index was the biggest loser yesterday, registering a drop of 1.33 percent on the back of the losses recorded in 8 out of its 13 listed companies.

Gold snaps 3-day loss SINGAPORE: Gold regained some ground yesterday as jewelers in Asia snapped up the metal after prices dropped 2 percent in the previous session, while lingering fears about a possible Greek default sent investors scurrying to buy the dollar. Worries that Greece may not secure a deal with private creditors to cut its debt by the today deadline spurred selling in shares, but pressure on gold was offset by a bounce in the euro and physical offtake. Spot gold added $1.76 to $1,675.70 per ounce by 0607 GMT, having hit a low of $1,663.95 on

Tuesday, the weakest since Jan. 25. Bullion struck a record around $1,920 per ounce last September. “Basically gold and other risky assets are all being lumped together. Nobody is really looking at individual fundamentals. They are just buying the dollar and pretty much selling everything else,” said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Singapore. “The markets are very worried about risk, and for the time being, gold has been painted as a risk asset. The downside potential for gold is $1,650-$1,660. I am not sure if it’s going to

happen today as we are starting to see decent physical buying at these lower numbers.” US gold for April delivery rose 0.26 percent to $1,676.50 per ounce. Silver tracked gold higher, while platinum and palladium also rebounded from Tuesday’s lows. Shares in Asia slipped for a third consecutive session yesterday as investors grew more risk averse, with uncertainty over Greece’s bailout and mounting worries about slowing global economies overshadowing support provided by ample liquidity.— Reuters

US factory orders fall 1% WASHINGTON: US factory orders fell in January by the most in 15 months after businesses sharply reduced orders for machinery and equipment. The decrease was largely expected after a tax cut expired at the end of last year. Even with the decline, orders have gradually been climbing back to near pre-recession levels. The Commerce Department said Monday that factory orders fell 1 percent in January. That lowered overall demand for factory goods to $462.6 billion, or 37.7 percent above the recession low hit in March 2009. Demand is now just 4.6 percent below the peak set in June 2008. A key reason for the decline in January was a drop in demand for so-called core capital goods, which are considered a proxy for business investment. Those orders fell 3.9 percent, the biggest decline in a year. But most economists noted that it followed a big increase in December, the final month businesses could take advantage of a one-year investment tax break. “Factory orders fell in January in the typical pattern of declines in the first month of the quarter,” said Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics. “Nevertheless, new orders have been on a rising trend since March 2009 although they remain below their pre-recession peak.” The factory orders report includes an updated estimate on durable goods orders and a fresh look at demand for food, gasoline, paper and other nondurable product. Orders for non-durable goods rose 1.3 percent. Orders to petroleum refineries increased 3.3 percent, reflecting higher energy prices. Orders for durable goods fell 3.7 percent. This was a slight improvement from a preliminary report last week that showed durable goods orders had fallen 4 percent. Durable goods are products expected to last at least three years, such as appliances, cars, machinery and airplanes. Orders tend to sharply fluctuate from one month to the next. But the overall trend in orders has increased since the recession ended nearly three years ago. Strong auto sales and growing business investment in machinery and other equipment have been keeping factories busy and helping the economy grow. US factory activity has grown steadily since the recession ended 2 1/2 years ago, as measured by the Institute for Supply Management. The trade group of purchasing managers said the pace of growth

slowed slightly in February. About 9 percent of the nation’s jobs are in manufacturing. But last year, factories added 13 percent of new jobs. And in January, about one-fifth of the 243,000 net jobs the economy created were in manufacturing. The government will release a crucial report Friday on February job growth. The economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the final three months of last year. A forecasting panel of the National Association for Business Economics said last week that the economy should grow 2.3 percent this year. SERVICE FIRMS GROW Meanwhile, US service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 57.3, up from January’s 56.8 and the third straight increase. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Expansion in the service sector coincides with the lowest unemployment in three years, five straight months of solid to strong job growth and rising consumer confidence. The trade group of purchasing managers surveys roughly 90 percent of US companies in all sectors outside of manufacturing. That includes retail, construction, financial services, health care, and hotels. Fourteen of the 18 industries that the survey tracks expanded in February. Real estate, rental and leasing, transportation and warehousing, construction, hotels and restaurants and information technology firms were among those that reported growth. Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM’s survey committee, said that most of the comments from the group’s members “reflect a growing level of optimism about business conditions and the overall economy.” Companies expressed concerns about inflation and rising gas prices, Nieves said. A measure of prices paid by service firms jumped to the highest level in 11 months. Still, the overall reading for the sector was the best since February 2011. “February seems to be off to a strong start for the economy,” John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics, said in a note to clients. “ The pickup in order growth was particularly encouraging,” he added, because it indicates that growth will likely continue.—Agencies




Turkish Airlines CEO delivers global aviation update Turkish Airlines: Europe’s and South Europe’s Best Airline KUWAIT: In an event held yesterday in Kuwait City, Turkish Airlines Global CEO TemelKotil announced that the airline witnessed a 14% passenger growth in 2011 in comparison to 2010. The CEO was speaking at Turkish Airlines’ event held under the patronage of HE Kuwait Minister of Communications Salem Al-Utheina and hosted by Kotil. The event follows a landmark visit by the CEO to Kuwait, during which he formalized a code-share agreement with Kuwait Airways. Kotil was speaking before an audience of industry professionals, civil aviation officials, government and over 200 members of Kuwait’s travel industry. Kotil said, “We have come a long way in the last 10 years. Turkish Airlines today is a global brand and one of the most innovative airlines in the world, serving 199 destinations across the world’s five continents with a fleet of 177 aircraft. The coming years will be as integral to the airline as the past 10 years as we continue to build our brand and continue to bolster a leading market position.” Turkish Airlines is an award-winning airline. It was voted the best airline in Europe by Skytrax, it is the only airline in the world with at least fourstar ratings for all classes of travel, it was voted the second in the world for the quality of its economy class inflight meals, and it is a winner of Air Transport World’s Market Leader in 2010. Kotil added: “Our quality offer-

ing across all classes of travel is what truly makes us different, thanks to our strict quality assurance, top catering and state-of-the-art lounges in Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.” Key highlights presented by CEO

KEY KUWAIT HIGHLIGHTS Over 106,440 passengers carried from and to Kuwait in 2011, a net increase of 47% from 2010; Flights increased from 7 to 11 flights a week in 2011, with a daily flight from and to Kuwait; Load

10.6%. This is a significant milestone for us as we look forward to increase our weekly flights to 21, connecting it to over 190 destinations.” Ceylan added: “We thank our trusted local partners, Kuwait’s travel agencies, for their tremen-

The winners were: Al Shamel Travel & Tourism; Jumbo Travel; AlWaseet Travel & Tourism; Barakat Travel; Qiblah Travel & Tourism; Boodai Aviation; Al Madar Travel & Tourism; Al Kazemi International; Ramsis Travel & Tourism and Al

flights to over 190 destinations across five continents in the world. A Star Alliance member, Turkish Airlines is today a four star airline company with a young fleet of 177 aircraft (passenger and cargo), known for its premium catering

Temel Kotil: - 29 million passengers flown in 2010, up 16% from 2009; 33 million passengers expected to be announced for 2011; 199 worldwide destinations in 2011, up 14% from 2010; 79 destinations in Europe and 29 destination in the Middle East; 177 aircraft in its fleet, up 15.6% from 2010.

factor increased by 5-point to 68% by end 2011; Kuwait market share increased to 2.41% by end of 2011, up from 1.45% in 2010. Turkish Airlines Kuwait General Manager Adem Ceylan said, “In 2011, our Kuwait operations have grown 83%, in comparison to a local market growth average of

dous efforts and cooperation, and sincerely wish that last year’s success becomes the foundation of a greater success story for the coming year.” The airline also took the opportunity to award their best-selling travel par tners in their annual “Travel Agency Awards”.

Salhiya World Travel & Tourism. Other awards of recognition were also given to: Jumbo Travels and Tours for “Best Business Class Sales”; Al Shamel Travel & Tourism for “Best Beyond Sales”; Al Shamel Travel & Tourism for “H ighest Increase in Sales”. Turkish Airlines offers non-stop

and service. It is the only airline that ser ves non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Istanbul, providing convenient connections to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Turkish Airlines is considered to be an ideal partner for Europe’s most valuable football club, Manchester United.

Burson to address 20th Public Relations World Congress DUBAI: Harold Burson, a pioneer of modern Public Relations, will share his unparalleled insights into communications based on his 65 years of industry leadership, at the 20th Public Relations World Congress to be held for the first time in the Middle East from March 13-15 at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with the National Media Council of the UAE, the three-day Congress is organized by the International Public Relations Association - Gulf Chapter (IPRA-

GC) and will present the newest insights and trends in communications. In a survey conducted by PRWeek, the industry’s foremost periodical; Burson was described as “the century’s most influential PR figure.” This recognition is a culmination of more than six decades serving as counselor of corporate CEOs, government leaders and heads of public sector institutions. The Founding Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, Burson is a singular figure in the world of Public Relations, having won numerous industry honors, supporting an array of organizations and charities, and serving as a mentor to countless communications professionals. Building on the core theme of the Congress, ‘From the Arab Street to Wall Street, Communications in the Age of Dialogue,’ Burson will deliver his keynote address on ‘Public Relations in Perspective’ at a special session, ‘An Hour with a Living Legend’ on March 14, 2012, from 4 pm. The speech will be followed by a Q&A session with the Congress delegates. According to Burson, Public Relations is inherent in every human transaction including “the smile on our

face, the tone of our voice and the letter we write, how quickly we respond to telephone calls, the typefaces and colors in an advertisement, the body language of the politician seeking our vote.” He is the architect of the modern definition of Public Relations: “An applied social science that influences behavior and policy, and when communicated effectively, motivates an individual or group to a specific course of action by creating, changing or reinforcing opinions and attitudes.” Burson has served as US Presidential appointee to the Fine Arts Commission, Washington; Chairman of the National Council on Economic Education; trustee of The Economics Club of New York; Chairman of the USIA Public Relations Advisory Committee; and board member of the World Wildlife Fund (Geneva). Faisal Al Zahrani, the President of IPRAGC, said: “It is an honor to host Harold Burson, a true pioneer in the field of Public Relations, at the Congress. By sharing with the delegates his vast experience in providing consultancy to governments and businesses over 65 years, Burson will introduce unmatched insights on the industry to the Middle East region.” Other speakers at the Congress include Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim; British public relations guru and Chairman of Chime Communications Lord Bell; former head of Al Jazeera and co-founder of the Sharq Forum, Wadah Khanfar; General Manager of Al Arabiya TV, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed and Roger Fisk, who played a key ‘behind the scenes role’ in the election of US President Barack Obama; and many others. Over 500 PR professionals are expected to attend the PRWC, where they will have the opportunity to participate in Master Classes and Training Workshops, creating a compelling platform for information sharing and knowledge transfer. Registration is now open at A biennial event, the last Public Relations World Congress was held in 2010 in Lima, Peru, and attended by industry representatives from 39 countries, while the 2008 Public Relations World Congress was held in Beijing, China. In both instances, the event brought significant media and industry attention to the host country, with the world’s foremost communications professionals and media experts attending the sessions. The first Congress was held in Brussels, Belgium, in 1955.

US walnut growers look to China amid scandals Walnut growers lose confidence in Diamond Foods RIO OSO: It was a proud moment for the Kafkares family when they first hung the Diamond Walnut Growers sign in their orchard more than a decade ago. People across this rolling stretch of northern California loved that red diamond logo: the symbol of a century-old agricultural icon, whose crop has long been an ingredient favored by holiday bakers. Now, the family is tearing down the sign in disgust. So are their neighbors. An accounting scandal over payments made by Diamond Foods Inc to its growers-as well as concerns that Diamond may have been paying below-market prices for their crops-has hurt their confidence in the company, the largest US walnut processor. That relationship had already been strained in recent years as Diamond, a walnut farmer-owned cooperative until it became a publicly traded company in 2005, sought to become a diverse snack foods company. The company’s once dominant position in the walnut industry is eroding as farmers flee Diamond’s ranks, according to court filings, company documents seen by Reuters, and interviews with more than 25 growers and some former Diamond executives. Exactly how many farmers have left Diamond in recent months in unclear, but all of the growers spoken to for this story had either recently left the Diamond fold or were considering doing so, because they expect to get higher or more stable payments from the company’s rivals. Diamond declined to comment or allow its executives to be interviewed, saying its agreements with its walnut growers are confidential. Walnut growers’ concerns that they may have been getting below market prices as a result of Diamond’s accounting and payment practices have made them ripe targets for rivals from China and elsewhere. “You see that Diamond sign up front and you think, ‘OK, pull in there,’” said Manuel Tavares, a California-based grower representative for Turkish walnut importer Turkhan Foods. “It’s easy pickings.” CHANGING TIMES The arrival of more traders and processors is fueled by rapidly growing consumer demand worldwide for American-grown walnuts, particularly in China. The US Department of Agriculture tallied 2011 as the biggest export year in the industry’s history, with $1 billion worth of walnuts sold and shipped overseas, up from $321 million in 2005 when Diamond went public. Last year more than $218 million of walnuts went to China and

Hong Kong, compared with $6.6 million in 2005. The speed of the growth-walnuts are now California’s fourth-biggest export behind almonds, dairy products and wine- has reshaped the U.S. walnut industry into an increasingly competitive and transparent market. Gone are the days when farmers would shy away from asking how much a neighbor was being paid. Gone, too, is the tradition of staying loyal to a processor that families had sold their crops to for generations. “Growers are hedging their bets,” said Mike Poindexter, whose family operates a rival processing plant in Selma, California. The accounting scandal has resulted in the ouster of Diamond Chief Executive Michael Mendes and Chief Financial Officer Steven Neil. Diamond is also restating its financial results for two years and had to abandon plans to acquire the Pringles potato chip brand from Procter & Gamble Co. Diamond said on Feb. 8 its audit committee had discovered a payments of $20 million to walnut growers in August 2010 and $60 million in September 2011 that were not booked in the correct periods. By delaying such costs, Diamond likely boosted its earnings in the years concerned. Mendes told Wall Street analysts last fall the money in one year was a prepayment for nuts that had yet to be delivered. But when farmers contacted Diamond, company employees said the money was for walnuts delivered the previous year. “I was told, point blank, by an employee that I was thinking like a farmer and didn’t understand accounting,” said Doug Barnhill, a Diamond walnut grower in Oakdale, California, who is also a certified public accountant. “The rest of that phone call was not pleasant.” Diamond is facing an investigation by securities regulators, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing. It is also being probed by federal prosecutors, according to sources familiar with the matter. Mendes’ attorney declined to comment. Neil’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Diamond was also rocked last fall, when one of its directors committed suicide. It said the death was not connected to the accounting problems. DEBT COVENANTS Under the terms of their contracts, Diamond’s farmers received partial payment when they delivered their crop to the company last fall, with the final price to be determined later this year. Now farmers are worried that Diamond will be strapped for cash and

may not be able to pay competitive prices. Diamond faces a shareholder lawsuits that are likely to prove distracting and possibly costly, in addition to the probes by securities regulators and federal prosecutors. The company’s restatement of earnings could also put it in breach of its debt covenants, which would likely lead to a renegotiation of debt agreements and higher interest payments- a particular concern given that Diamond borrowed heavily to make acquisitions. “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” said Matthew Conant, a walnut grower and district director of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Meanwhile, Diamond has missed out on most of the growth in Chinese demand, the result of a decision under Mendes years ago to transform Diamond into a major US snack food maker. When it went public in 2005, Diamond depended on walnuts for 70 percent of net sales. At the time, Mendes’ plan was to move the company out of the commodities business of selling nuts in their shells, which he called the “trash nut market,” say growers and one former cooperative official who knew Mendes. His dream was to use acquisitions to transform Diamond into one of the biggest snack food manufacturers in the world, while continuing to sell its Emerald-branded nuts and vie against Planters, the snack nut market giant. In discussions with company officials at the time, farmers say, Diamond said it wanted to diversify and reduce its reliance on walnuts. Mendes steered Diamond through the $190 million acquisition of Pop Secret microwave popcorn in 2008 and bought Kettle Foods potato chips for $615 million in 2010. While Mendes turned to packaged snacks, the market for walnuts took off. Around 2008, China’s demand for nuts-from almonds and pistachios to walnuts-began to soar as Chinese incomes grew. Demand has outstripped domestic supply and Chinese consumers typically judge US nuts to be of a higher quality than those from China. Diamond didn’t adjust. Its walnut business mainly focused on the premium US market for shelled nuts ready for snacking or baking. The only problem: US demand for shelled nuts has either stayed flat or fallen in recent years. By contrast, the Chinese are mainly after nuts that are still in their shells, leaving processors asking why they should go to the expense of picking apart walnuts when there’s a booming market for nuts whose shells have not been removed. —Reuters

UGB picks new Acting Chief Executive Officer BAHRAIN: UGB, United Gulf Bank BSC, announced the appointment of Rabih Soukarieh as the new Acting Chief Executive Officer (ACEO) following Board approving the retirement request of the present incumbent, Mohammed Haroon, effective 6th March, 2012. Soukarieh, the Head of Asset Management and Investment Banking at UGB, has worked extensively, over the past twenty one years, in Canada, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar. Prior to re-joining UGB in 2009, he held senior operating positions in KIPCO Group Companies including Chief Executive Officer, United Gulf

Financial Services Company, Qatar and Group Chief Financial Officer, Wataniya International FZ LLC. He initially joined the Bank in January, 2003 as Vice President, Corporate Finance. He is a director of several UGB subsidiaries and associates. Soukarieh is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a M.B.A. from Northeastern University, Boston and a BSc in Finance from Indiana University, Bloomington. UGB’s Chairman, Masaud Hayat, said: “On behalf of Board of Directors, I would like to pay tribute to Haroon’s major contribution to the business growth and strategic

development of UGB. We thank Haroon for his dedicated commitment to the Bank over the past thirty years. We are delighted that he has agreed to continue as the Advisor and Secretary to the Board of Directors so the Bank will continue to benefit from his unique experience and expertise, “We are also delighted to announce the appointment of Soukarieh as the new Acting Chief Executive Officer. His strong decision making skills supported by hands-on approach to management, good professional judgment, thorough analytical abilities and in depth

negotiation skills, put him in an ideal position to lead UGB. His vast knowledge of credit and capital markets will enable him to continue UGB’s track record of creating shareholder value and profitability.” Soukarieh said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead UGB. The Bank has a strong regional network and proven capabilities. I look forward to strengthening our presence and extending our capabilities in asset management and investment banking. I also look forward to working with regional regulators and the management and employees of UGB.”

Masaud Hayat

Rabih Soukarieh




Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi honors Sales Consultants KUWAIT: Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co Authorized General distributors of Mercedes-Benz in Kuwait, recently held a ceremony to celebrate the successful year 2011 in business and to honor the top per forming Sales Consultants & Support staff. The event was held on 12th February in its Shuwaikh showroom in presence of the Directors, management and staff of the company. Speaking on the occasion Michael Ruehle - General Manager, thanked all the employees for their excellent performance and contribution during 2011. Kuwait is one of the best performing markets for Mercedes-Benz in the Middle East and its success was attributed to the dedicated Mercedes-Benz team at Albisher & Alkazemi Co Ruehle said “Mercedes-Benz’s impres-

sive roster of new models launched in 2011- including SLK Roadster, C-Coupe, CLS and CClass Facelift contributed to the overwhelmingly positive sales. It was a best year ever for Mercedes-Benz SUVs too. Highlighting this achievement was Mercedes-Benz “S-Class of SUVs” GL-Class, the flagship

model. The world’s best selling luxury sedan S-Class also came to the fore with another strong per formance, driven by the strong product offering of the Business Edition and AMG Sports Package. The three pointed star shone brightest in Kuwait, posting record results

of 40% YOY compared to 2010. The 2011 momentum is expected to continue into 2012, with the launch of MercedesBenz new M-Class and will be bolstered by new GLK, the top of the range GL-Class model and the new SL class launches in later months.” Awards and certificates were

presented to the best performing sales consultants in New Cars Sales, Certified Pre-Owned Cars and the support staff from New Car Delivery departments. The awards were presented in the following categories: Best overall highest selling Sales Consultant of 2011, Best Certified Pre-Owned Cars Sales

Consultant of 2011, Best New Cars Delivery support and some other categories. The awards were presented by Ashraf Tamim, Senior Manager Sales & Operations together with the respective department heads. The evening concluded with light entertainment and dinner.

US challenges India poultry ban at WTO India’s ban on US ‘unjustified’

NBK announces its Al-Jawhara winner Abeer Al Abassy grabs KD 125,000 KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK ), announces the winner for Februar y ’s KD125,000 Al-Jawhara monthly prize, Abeer Abd-Alreda Mohamed Al Abassy. The draw was held at NBK Head Office under the supervision of the Ministry of Trade and Industr y. NBK recently re launched Al-Jawhara account, by offering customers more chances to win bigger prizes. By offering a KD 5,000 weekly, KD 125,000 monthly and a grand prize of KD 250,000 quarterly draw. NBK will hold its first KD 250,000 quarterly Al-Jawhara draw for the year 2012 during its annual Walkathon event on 24 March, 2012. Abeer AlAbassy, the winner of February’s KD 125,000 draw expressed her delight stating “ Winning KD 125,000 came as a complete surprise, my husband originally motivated me to use it as a saving account. I truly want to thank NBK for its great service

and offers and for always being number one in the market.” Al-Jawhara account offers numerous benefits to NBK customers. Not only is it an interest-free account with regular deposit and withdrawal privileges, but also entitles account holders to enter the weekly, monthly and quarterly Al-Jawhara draws. Each KD50 in an Al-Jawhara account entitles the customer to one chance in any of the draws. All prizes are automatically credited to the winners’ accounts the day after the draw. The more money held in your AlJawhara account, the greater your chances of winning. Al-Jawhara accounts are available to both Kuwaitis and Expats and can be opened at any one of NBK’s branches around Kuwait. For further information kindly visit, or call Hala Watani at 1801801.

Volkswagen eyes strong 2012 despite EU crisis GENEVA: Auto giant Volkswagen expects to power ahead this year through the inroads it has made in diversifying its markets, with “impressive” deliveries recorded for early 2012 despite a crisis in Europe. “Europe will certainly be watched in a very critical way,” said Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn. “But more southern European countries,” he said, adding that despite weakness in VW’s home continent, the group will “tr y to achieve 2011 results” this year. The group more than doubled its profit to a record 15.4 billion euros ($20 billion) last year, while sales jumped by 25.5 percent to 159.3 billion euros. Already for the first two months of the year, deliveries have been “impressive” said Winterkorn. February deliveries were up 17.7 percent to 399,700 while the total for the first two months of the year topped 800,000 for the first time, reaching 818,800. That is 8.0 percent up from January and February 2011. Crucially, VW appeared to be making strong inroads in the massive Chinese market, with vehicles delivered to China and Hong Kong soaring 66 percent to 31,352 in February, marking the first time it crossed the 30,000 barrier. It is precisely emerging markets such as China, India and Russia that the group is banking on to make up for the weakness in the European

market. The United States was also starting to deliver some results, even though its venture there had not been without pain in previous years. In 1987, the group had to close its first US factory when sales sunk amid intense Japanese competition. It reopened a site in Tennessee only in 2011. With 8.3 million vehicles sold last year, the group is currently trailing General Motors, which moved 9.03 million vehicles in the same period. But the Wolfsburg based group also hopes its 10 brands and efficiencies could help it to unseat GM as the world’s number one by 2018. VW has also been using common parts, such as the chassis, across different brands, thereby achieving major cost savings. Forty models-from the city car up! to the 4x4 Tiguan are built on the same module. With a wide range of brands from the mid-range eponymous marque to the higher range Audi to luxury ones like Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, the group also dabbles in trucks through its MAN and Scania labels. At the Geneva Motor Show, the group premiered several new vehicles, including the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Cross Coupe with TDI plug-in hybrid which it claimed to be the “most efficient SUV in the world.” It also rolled out Bugatti’s fastest Roadster and a new luxury Bentley. “We have a clear strategy for VW,” said Winterkorn. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States has began action at the World Trade Organization to open India’s market for poultry meat and eggs, saying an Indian ban on US imports intended to stop the spread of bird flu was not based on sound science. “The United States is the world’s leader in agricultural safety and we are confident that the WTO will confirm that India’s ban is unjustified,” US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement on the US request for consultations. India’s ban in the name of protecting local poultry producers from losses caused by avian influenza is “clearly a case of disguising trade restrictions by invoking unjustified animal health concerns,” Kirk said. The US poultry industry welcomed the move, which they said could pry open a market for US poultry exports conservatively valued at more than

broiler meat producer and second largest exporter, behind Brazil. India’s broiler meat consumption has risen from 2.23 million metric tons in 2007 to a projected 2.75 million this year, according to a US Agriculture Department report. India is forecast to produce about 2.70 million metric tons of broiler meat this year, providing some opportunity for imports, the Agriculture Department report showed. Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process and parties are encouraged to agree to a solution at this stage. If the matter is not resolved through consultations, the United States may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel. Litigation at the WTO can take one to two years to conclude. — Reuters

$300 million. “In our view, India’s posture is thinly guised protectionism,” Jim Sumner, president of the US Poultry and Egg Export Council, said in a statement. “More than 100 countries ... enjoy chicken imported from the United States. As the middle class in India continues to expand, and the market moves more toward commercial poultry, the United States should be afforded the opportunity to compete fairly with our products in this growing market,” Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, added. US officials said international scientific standards for controlling avian influenza do not support banning imports due to low pathogenic avian influenza, which is the only type detected in the United States since 2004. The United States is the world’s largest

Nissan’s dune-busting Patrol takes centre stage at Desert Challenge ABU DHABI: Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA Vice-president, and Chairman of the Deser t Challenge Organizing Committee, has announced that the Nissan Patrol will once again take centre stage as the official car of the Abu Dhabi Deser t Challenge in 2012, marking the ninth year of a highly valued partnership between the rally organizers and Nissan Middle East FZE. The Abu Dhabi Deser t Challenge is undoubtedly one of the toughest yet most spectacular rallies on the sporting calendar, with many of the world’s top drivers and riders testing themselves to the limits across the emirate’s stunning desert terrain. The extremely demanding nature of this challenge makes Nissan’s flagship Patrol SUV, dubbed “The Hero of All Terrain”, the perfect vehicle for the event - the agreement puts a fleet of Nissan Patrols and other SUVs at the disposal of the organizers. As in previous events, one of the rally’s toughest stages, will be named after Nissan. Speaking at the signing ceremony, which was held at Nissan Middle East’s regional headquarters at Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, Ben Sulayem said: “Over the past nine years, Nissan has become an integral par t of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. They are a highly valued partner and their support has been invaluable in helping us to make the rally the world-class event that it now is. We are proud to have

Nissan on board once again as we build up to this year’s race. “ The success of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is clearly

based automaker to make its global debut in the Middle East, having previously undertaken more than 13,000 hours of

Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Atsuo Kosaka backed up by the figures: in 2011 we welcomed 170 competitors from 34 different countries, while a record 121million homes, in 59 different countries, experienced the excitement of the rally and the dramatic beauty of the Al Gharbia region thanks to a number of tie-ups with some of the world’s leading spor ts channels.” The Nissan Patrol, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is ideally suited to the demanding terrain of the Liwa desert. In 2010 the new generation Patrol became the first ever car from a Japan-

desert testing. At the 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, officials driving the Patrols provided expert feedback on the cars’ performance in the extreme conditions encountered across the course as part of a sophisticated on-going research and development program operated by Nissan. “In its 60th anniversary year, the Nissan Patrol continues to be interwoven in the region’s motoring history as it once again becomes the official car of the Middle East’s most prominent desert rally, the Abu Dhabi Deser t

Challenge,” said Atsuo Kosaka, Managing Director of Nissan Middle East. “Nissan is delighted to suppor t this world-class event which carries motorsport in the Middle Eastern to a global audience. We look forward to another highly competitive race this year and wish all participants the very best of luck”. When it comes to the competitive side of the rally, Nissan cars can always be found challenging hard, and regularly feature on the podium. At last year ’s race, Nissan cars picked up three of the top ten spots in the cars category, led by Frenchman Laurent Rosso, who came in fifth in his Team Fitech Nissan. The 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and is organized by the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE). It returns this year for its 22nd running, and will once again be held across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, from 30th March to 6th April. This world famous international cross-country rally, which attracts some of the most famous rally drivers and riders from across the globe, will allow competitors to explore some of the wonders of the Western Region of Al Gharbia, where it heads deep into the Liwa desert. The closing date for entries is on March 13.

ABK increases deposit service

Othman Tawfiqi

KUWAIT: From its commitment to offer the best services to its clients to make their banking transactions more efficient. ABK is pleased to announce that more branches have had the cash deposit service installed. Bringing the total number to nine - Jleeb El Shuyoukh, Sharq, & Hawalli are the latest in the ABK network to be fitted with this value added ser vice. Othman Tawfiqi, Head of Alternate Delivery Channels stated “At ABK we always care to offer the best services to our customers, and due to the importance of the cash deposit transaction through ATM Machines, where customers can deposit their cash amounts without waiting within the branch itself, now they can deposit through

the ATM machines and get a receipt ; the deposit machines are prepared and updated to receive fifty banknotes at a time. “ Tawfiqi added “We have increased the ATM Cash Deposit machines upon our customers’ request, it saves their time and effort due to their busy everyday life and it is safe and easy to use.” It is wor th mentioning that the cash deposit machines are available to customers around the clock and seven days a week at Sharq branch, Jleeb Al Shuyoukh branch and Hawalli Branch in addition to the main branch and each of Shuwaikh, Salmiya, Farwaniya, Jabriya, Zahra (South Surra) and Al Bahar complex branches.



Cybercriminals target phones, Android most exposed: analysts SAN FRANCISCO: Google’s digital marketplace for mobile applications, music, movies and books is unifying under a new name in an effort to spruce up the shopping experience. Beginning Tuesday, the Android Market will be known as the Google Play Store. Google’s eBookstore and recently launched music service will also be part of the Google Play Store. The same selection of books, music and movies had already been available on Android Market. The rebranding will be ushered in with a series of tweaks designed to make it easier for customers to manage their content and navigate from one section of the store to another. None of the changes will affect the digital content that existing customers have already purchased and stored on Google computers in password-protected accounts. Google is trying to establish a one-stop shop that can satisfy everyone’s digital desires, whether they are on a mobile device or a desktop computer’s Web

browser. The effort is part of the Internet search leader’s broader ambition to diversify beyond online advertising, which still accounts for 96 percent of its revenue. With Google Play, the company hopes more people, who occasionally went to the old Android Market to buy mobile apps, will start noticing other types of content and consider buying an electronic book or album, too. If that happens, Google Inc. believes more digital content providers will want to peddle their wares in its store. One obvious hole that still needs to be filled exists in the music department. Since Google began selling songs four months ago, only three of the four major recording labels - Vivendi SA’s Universal Music, EMI Group Ltd. and Sony Music Entertainment - have agreed to offer their material in the Android Market. Warner Music Group remains a notable holdout as the market switches to its Google Play identity. To lure traffic to the new store, Google is offering

HANOVER: A custom made pc built in a transparent case is seen at the world’s biggest high-tech fair, the CeBIT, on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, central Germany. — AFP photos

daily specials that lower the prices on featured books, movies and albums to as low as 25 cents apiece during the next week. Since it opened in October 2008, the Android Market had steadily grown along with the usage of mobile devices running on Google’s Android software. More than 300 million Android devices are currently in use worldwide. Another 6 million are activated each week. The huge audience is the main reason the Android Market has amassed more than 450,000 mobile apps. Google also stocks more than 4 million books, including free titles, and more than 13 million songs and movies. Despite its size, the Android Market remained a notch below the digital bazaar that Apple Inc. started with the opening of its iTunes store in 2003. Since then, Apple has expanded beyond music into selling movies, books, newspapers, magazines and textbooks. Apple also offers more than 550,000 applications for its popular iPhone, iPad and iPod

HANOVER: Multiple USB memory sticks are seen mounted on a rack to provide storage solutions. — AFP

Touches. More than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s app store since it opened in July 2008. That nearly doubles the more than 13 billion apps that Google says have been downloaded from the Android Market. Google is catering to people who don’t want their digital content tethered to one of Apple’s mobile devices or a computer that requires iTunes software to play something bought from an Apple store. Inc., the Internet’s top retailer, also has been selling more digital content since it began selling the Kindle Fire for $200 in in November. Amazon priced its mini-computer tablet $300 below the least expensive iPad largely because it views the device primarily as a digital sales tool. The mobile updates for the new Google Play store will be sent out automatically to Android device owners. The revamped store can be found on the Web at . — AP

HANOVER: The Fujitsu Primergy BX400 S1 server is seen at the world’s biggest high-tech fair, the CeBIT.

Waterproof tablets, smart accessories excite hundreds Weird and wonderful gadgets at top IT fair HANOVER: Whether in the bath, the toilet or in the car, you need never be separated for an instant from your beloved tablet computer with a range of innovations showcased at this year’s CeBIT tech fair. Tablet computers are undoubtedly all the rage at this year’s show, the world’s biggest IT fair, with hangar-sized halls filled with the latest in ultra-light, ultra-fast and ultra-cool products from around the world. Causing a particular buzz was the new waterproof device from Fujitsu. “People honestly want to read their ebooks in the bath,” explained Barbara D’Introno as she nonchalantly dipped the tablet computer into a fish tank. Available for the moment only in Japan, the firm is considering rolling it out further afield. It works by applying a hightech cover to protect the electronics and is completely waterproof down to three metres (10 feet). “You can’t exactly use it for diving,” admitted D’Introno. However, the firm has received interest from builders and architects who need to use their tablets outside in the rain, she said, as well as medical emergency staff. It is also dustproof. Another tablet computer making waves at the CeBIT was Samsung’s bright pink Galaxy Tab, due to hit the market soon. Alongside the tablets, whole stands of accessories compete for consumers’ attention. Hello Kitty iPad case, anyone? And Dutch firm “phonegrip” has come up with a simple but clever gadget to attach your tablet or smartphone to virtually any surface-including the toilet wall. Yours for around 20 euros ($25), the clip can also be used to stick your smartphone to your bike handlebars, car dashboard or steering wheel, supermarket shopping trol-

ley or even sportswear, explained entrepreneur Hugo Passchier. Water-powered clocks, eye-controlled arcade games and pole-dancing robots: This year’s CeBIT tech fair, the world’s biggest, showcased gadgets ranging from the useful to the downright nerdy. Back after a year’s absence, German firm getDigital showcased their latest range of-in their words-”nerd toys” that no self-respecting geek should be without. For fans of sci-fi classics, getDigital offers the must-have pizza cutter or bottle opener in the shape of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek or the machine that makes ice cubes in the form of R2D2, the stubby robot from Star Wars. And for heavy-sleeping nerds, the laser target alarm clock is a musthave toy. Emitting a high-pitched scream at the appointed time, it can only be turned off by hitting a bullseye on the clock with a laser beam, by which time the owner is most definitely awake. Another firm, Satzuma, proudly displayed its own selection of pointless but fun toys, including a clock powered just by the energy produced by running water and a teddy bear that holds your iPod or MP3 player in its paws and plays music through the soles of its feet. The CeBIT is always a magnet for the latest in robotic technology and this year was no exception, with intelligent humanoids showing off their ability to vacuum clean your bedroom, empty your dishwasher or sketch your portrait. But stopping the show was a pair of sleek-white, life-sized pole-dancing robots gyrating in time to the music “played” by a ultra-cool megaphone-headed DJ robot. Available for your next party for a cool

HANOVER: Visitors try out Blackberry tablet Pcs at the world’s biggest high-tech fair, the CeBIT, in Hanover. — AFP

Robot artist ‘draws’ crowds at tech fair HANOVER: A robot caricaturist that can draw an accurate likeness of its subject in just three minutes was wowing the crowds yesterday at the world’s biggest IT fair, but not every customer was satisfied. The robot, designed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, takes a black-andwhite picture of the subject, its computer brain then calculates the contrasts and contours of the face and it sketches what it “sees”. But, in contrast to a human artist, this robot is scrupulously honest, which can leave some punters feeling they have been poorly treated. “Some people go away disappointed,” admitted Karin Stein, a researcher on the project. “For example, if

you have very small lips, the computer registers very small lips. There is hardly any contrast or contour, so what you end up with is a short, straight line. People aren’t happy,” she added. “The robot could do the portrait in three minutes flat, but we wanted to recreate the experience in Montmartre,” she explained, with most portraits taking around 10 minutes. “In fact, the younger you are, the quicker it is, because it takes more time for the computer to recognise and draw wrinkles.” Like most gadgets at this year’s CeBIT, the world’s biggest high-tech fair in the northern German city of Hanover, what may appear frivolous has a higher purpose. —AFP

30,000 euros, these very exotic dancers are made from scrap and driven by old car motors. Also drawing crowds was a prototype “car of the future” that made parking easy by shrinking itself by up to 50 centimetres to squeeze into those tight spaces. The futuristic cobalt-blue two-seat pod, as yet only a prototype designed by the German Centre for Artificial Intelligence, will also pick you up at the touch of a button, avoiding other traffic by means of motion sensors. Hailed as a world first, South Korean firm Neo Reflection unveiled its “finger mouse”, a tiny device worn on the user’s finger which can control a computer or a presentation just by pointing from up to 10 metres away. Large crowds also formed around Tobii’s eye-tracker arcade game, in which gamers pilot a spaceship through an asteroid field using just the motion of their eyes. But not all the gadgets on display were just for fun. Some were much more down-to-earth-literally in the case of the sensor for hopeless gardeners designed by Zurich-based firm Koubachi. Simply by sticking the sensor in the ground next to your beloved flower and programming it according to species, the machine effectively “looks after” the plant, judging the appropriate moisture levels, temperature and sun exposure. The sensor then sends the gardener an email or a readout to a smartphone explaining what needs to be done: more water, lower temperature, more fertiliser, more shade. But such aid for the green-fingered but hapless does not come cheap. The Koubachi sensor currently retails for 109 euros. “We suggest it should be used mainly for really special plants,” said the firm’s head of sales, David Kurmann. — AFP

Hacker ring busted after leader turns FBI informant NEW YORK: An Internet outlaw’s decision to go to work for the FBI poured light on a secretive world where young computer experts caused havoc and where authorities say a Chicago man and others celebrated their successes as they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars with stolen credit card numbers. Court documents unsealed Tuesday revealed charges against six individuals in Europe and the United States and showed the clash between law enforcement and Internet hackers, a group of worldwide computer enthusiasts already threatening to retaliate. Law enforcement officials said it marked the first time core members of the loosely organized worldwide hacking group Anonymous have been identified and charged in the US. Some Anonymous members put on a brave face. “Anonymous is a hydra, cut off one head and we grow two back,” read one defiant message posted to Twitter. At the center was the legendary hacker known as “Sabu,” who when he was arrested last June was identified as Hector Xavier Monsegur, 28, a self-taught, unemployed computer programmer with no college education. Authorities said his cooperation has helped to prevent more than 300 Internet attacks.

Authorities said he was living on welfare in public housing in New York as he carried out crimes that made him a hero to some in cyberspace until he made a rookie mistake he posted something online without cloaking his IP address, or computer identity and someone tipped off the FBI. Court records show he agreed to cooperate during an August plea proceeding and testify against others. Among those charged Tuesday was 27-year-old Jeremy Hammond of Chicago. Investigators said Hammond boasted that he’d snared the personal data of a former US vice president and one-time CIA director as part of an attack in December of Strategic Forecasting Inc. or Stratfor, a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, that affected up to 860,000 victims. The government said Hammond conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, which describes itself as a subscription-based provider of geopolitical analysis. It said he and co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make more than $700,000 in unauthorized charges. Court papers said a January email titled “Official Emergency Communique Straight from the Anonymous Hacker Underground” was sent to the company ’s customers whose accounts had been compromised.

The papers said it claimed: “ The sheer amount of destruction we wreaked on Stratfor’s servers is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb: leveling their systems in such a way that they will never be able to recover.” Investigators said Monsegur and the other defendants were associated with Anonymous, and some were also part of the elite spinoff organization that Monsegur formed last May, Lulz Security or LulzSec. “Lulz ” is Internet slang for “laughs” or “amusement.” Monsegur and the other defendants were accused in court papers of hacking into corporations and government agencies around the world, including the US Senate, filching confidential information, defacing websites and temporarily putting victims out of business. Authorities said more than 1 million people were affected. Prosecutors said that among other things, the hackers, with Monsegur as their ringleader, disrupted websites belonging to Visa, Mastercard and Paypal in 2010 and 2011 because the companies refused to accept donations to Wikileaks, the organization that spilled a trove of US military and diplomatic secrets. Also, prosecutors said, Monsegur and the others attacked a PBS website last May and planted a false story that slain rapper Tupac Shakur was alive in New Zealand.

SAN FRANCISCO: An Apple logo is seen at the entrance of Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco, one day before Apple holds a press event, to make a special announcement , possibly on the much anticipated next generation iPad. — AFP Investigators said it was retaliation for what the hackers perceived to be unfavorable news coverage of Wikileaks on the PBS program “Frontline.” A Twitter account associated with Monsegur has some 45,000 followers and regularly spouts expletive-filled anti-government messages. His last tweet on Monday was in German. An earlier tweet described the federal government as being

run by “cowards.” “Don’t give in to these people,” the message read. “Fight back. Stay strong.” Monsegur pleaded guilty in August to charges that included conspiracy to commit hacking, admitting he obtained dozens of credit card numbers online and gave them to others or used them to pay his bills. His lawyer, Philip L. Weinstein, declined to comment Tuesday. —AP



Oregon health care picks up where Obama left off SALEM: Pregnant with her seventh child and desperate to kick a meth addiction, Madeline Hutchinson turned to a program from the local Medicaid provider that connected her with a mentor and other support that she says helped her get off drugs. Emmanuel, now 2, was born healthy. “We need mentors. We need advocates,” Hutchinson said. “We need someone that’s going to come along and say, ‘This baby needs to be clean. And we’re going to show you how.’” There’s a smattering of similar preventative care programs around Oregon, and not just for addicted mothers. But there hasn’t been a statewide push - until now. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber last week signed a law that will create new regional entities, called coordinated care organizations, which will be expected to establish programs such as the one Hutchinson credits with turning around her life. Kitzhaber says the plan will improve care, reduce costs and serve as a model for the rest of the nation. But critics doubt the potential for significant savings and say the program could even increase costs. The coordinated care organizations will be responsible for looking after Medicaid patients in their area. Local

organizations will determine their exact models. But each will be a holistic approach that addresses every aspect of health - mental, medical and dental with a focus in particular on people with mental illnesses, addictions or chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney failure. The idea is to target the costliest patients and provide up-front care that can prevent emergency room visits and other expensive interventions, potentially saving millions. Oregon has long been a pioneer in finding new approaches to health care, and Kitzhaber - a former emergency room doctor who has championed overhauling the system - believes the new law could keep people healthier and save money. Officials say that if all 50 states adopted Oregon’s changes, the federal budget would save more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years - $300 billion more than Congress’ failed “super committee” was trying to save over the same time period. “I’m convinced ... the federal government is going to have to do something drastic about the cost of health care,” Kitzhaber said. “And it’s not going to be driven by how you keep people healthy. It’s going to be driven by how do you keep from defaulting on the

national debt, which is two completely different conversations.” Long before the Oregon Legislature passed the law in February, Kitzhaber took his idea to Washington, DC, to present it to Obama administration officials, and he caught their attention. “There are several states thinking about this kind of approach,” said Cindy Mann, a deputy administrator at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “This is definitely a time when everybody can be learning from each other.” In some ways, Oregon’s effort is an attempt to pick up where Obama’s health overhaul leaves off. While Obama expanded access to care, his Affordable Care Act leaves it largely up to the states to find a plan for lowering the cost and improving the quality. But there is no guarantee the new Oregon law will do exactly what Kitzhaber wants. A January report by the Congressional Budget Office found that projects experimenting with coordinated care for Medicare patients did not provide conclusive evidence of savings. “On average, the 34 programs had no effect on hospital admissions or regular Medicare expenditures,” the report stated. And the ability to usher in widespread cost savings across the health

care system will depend on whether the program can expand beyond Medicaid. Even if it works in Oregon, there’s no guarantee that other states with different cultural and political environments would see the same results. Oregon state Sen. Fred Girod, a conservative Republican and a dentist, said he doesn’t think the plan would save money because he says it will increase consumption of health care. “Are we going to get more for less?” Girod said in a committee hearing. “I’ve been in the Legislature for a long time. I’ve been promised that I don’t know how many times, and I have yet to see it.” Proponents dismiss the CBO report, saying their plans go far beyond the limited experiments that were studied, and point to data from projects in Oregon and elsewhere that more closely align with their plans. A state-commissioned report found that significant savings were possible from eliminating duplicated tests, preventing hospitalizations and other techniques. Oregon’s changes will focus on the neediest, costliest patients. Many of them are on both Medicare, primarily for the elderly, and Medicaid, primary for the poor. Various funding streams from all levels of government for mental, physical

and dental care will be pooled into a global budget. Each coordinated care organization will get a share of that budget and will have broad authority to spend the money as it sees fit. Successful organizations will be rewarded with additional cash. Officials around Oregon have already begun setting up coordinated care organizations and some are expected to be operational by July. Supporters of the new law say a project in central Oregon shows that it can work. After identifying 144 patients who were frequently visiting the emergency room - at least 10 times in a year - a group of health providers found that most had mental health conditions and more than half had no primary care provider who could treat simple disorders outside the ER. By creating care plans, assigning case managers to help patients navigate the health care system and embedding mental health providers at the doctor’s office, emergency room visits were reduced by 49 percent in six months. Robin Henderson, a psychologist who is director of behavioral health services for the hospital in Bend, Ore., says the program has promise, “It’s an interesting shift in philosophy to start to look at how you care for the whole person.” — AP

Scientists at US lab detect hints of elusive particle Final answer in June

HERAT: In this picture taken on February 5, 2012, 16-year-old Aatifa (C) is given medical attention at the main hospital in Herat. Flayed by a fire she began herself, Aatifa’s childlike frame is painstakingly wrapped in thick bandages — her shrieks of “Allah” echoing around the hospital ward where surgeons prepare to graft skin back on to her skeletal torso. Her wide blue eyes alternating between flashes of anger and wells of tears, the 16-year-old Afghan girl struggles to explain what led her to douse her own body in petrol, step outside her marital compound and light a match. — AFP

Death magnifies Pradaxa hemorrhage concerns UTAH: The death of an elderly man from a massive brain hemorrhage after a routine fall suggests that bleeding complications from Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa blood clot preventer are largely irreversible, according to the Journal of Neurosurgery. The recently approved drug is the first in a new class of oral medicines called direct thrombin inhibitors, approved to prevent strokes among patients with a dangerous irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation that mostly affects the elderly. US regulators said in December they were evaluating other cases of bleeding associated with the drug, whose chemical name is dabigatran, but advised patients to continue the medicine for now. Three doctors from the University of Utah monitored and described the worsening condition, and ultimate death, of the 83year-old man who was evaluated at their medical center for what seemed at first a rather routine fall, according to the report Tuesday in the journal’s online edition. Initially, the patient was fully alert and oriented and could respond to verbal commands, and his neurological exam produced no findings of great concern, the clinicians said. They said CT scans revealed small, superficial areas of hemorrhage in his brain, but that within two hours after arriving at the hospital new scans showed extensive progression of brain hemorrhaging. Efforts to stop the hemorrhaging, including intravenous fluids and a protein called recombinant factor VIIa, proved ineffective and the patient fell into a deep coma and died soon afterward, the report said. “In the event of traumatic hemorrhage in patients receiving dabigatran ... there are currently no effective reversal agents” to neutralize the drug, the report said. Familiarity with Pradaxa is critical in order for medical personnel to take quick action with admittedly limited available means to control catastrophic bleed-

ing, the report said. Researchers speculated that dialysis might remove 35 percent to 60 percent of Pradaxa from the bloodstream in two to three hours, but noted that option was not taken with the elderly patient. “By the time of his deterioration it was too late to implement effectively.” Since balance problems and falls are common for elderly patients, cases of brain hemorrhage even from a minor trauma are likely to increase as more patients get prescribed Pradaxa, the researchers said. “Bleeding is unfortunately one of the adverse effects of all anticoagulants,” said John Smith, senior vice president for clinical development at Boehringer Ingelheim. Although there is no antidote to Pradaxa that could control bleeding, including among fall victims like the elderly man, Smith said patients taking Pradaxa in a large clinical trial had a 59 percent lower overall incidence of intracranial bleeding than patients taking warfarin. Pradaxa was approved by US regulators in October 2010 for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. It is the first of a new crop of blood clot preventers meant to replace warfarin-a longtime oral treatment that carries serious bleeding risks and requires routine blood monitoring and stringent dietary restrictions. The report said patients taking the highest dose of Pradaxa in a large clinical trial sponsored by Boehringer had a similar overall rate of brain hemorrhage as those taking warfarin, while having a lower annual incidence of stroke. But the lack of a reversal agent in the event of catastrophic hemorrhage remains a handicap, they said. The new medicine from privately held German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim competes with Xarelto, a pill from Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG, approved four months ago in the United States that works by blocking a protein called Factor Xa.— Reuters

CHICAGO: Scientists said they have gotten even closer to proving the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” that supplies mass to matter and would complete Alber t Einstein’s theor y of the universe. Analyzing data from some 500 trillion subatomic particle collisions designed to emulate conditions right after the Big Bang when the universe was formed, scientists at Fermilab outside Chicago produced some 1,000 Higgs particles over a decade of work. “Unfortunately, this hint is not significant enough to conclude that the Higgs boson exists,” said Rob Roser, a physicist at Fermilab, near Chicago, in explaining the findings being presented yesterday at a conference in La Thuille, Italy. The image scientists have of the short-lived Higgs particles, which almost immediately decay into other particles, is still slightly “fuzzy,” Roser said. The probability that what physicists detected is not a Higgs boson and is instead a statistical fluke was 1 in 250, which is near the threshold of 1 in 740 that physics has set to establish proof of a sub-atomic particle’s existence. The hunt for the Higgs boson is signifi-

cant because it would show the existence of an invisible field thought to permeate the entire universe. The Higgs field was posited in the 1960s by British scientist Peter Higgs as the way that matter obtained mass after the universe was created during the Big Bang. According to the theory, it was the agent that made the stars, planets and life possible by giving mass to most elementary particles. Some gave it the nickname the “God par ticle.” Discovery of the Higgs would also complete Einstein’s Standard Model of Physics. If it does not exist, scientists would have to search elsewhere for how particles gained mass and why they are not merely shooting aimlessly through the universe. The weight of Higgs par ticles found at Fermilab was consistent with those detected at the more powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, at the CERN research center near Geneva, Switzerland. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is hot on the trail of the Higgs boson and hopes to gain proof of the particle before its accelerator temporarily shuts down at the end of 2012 for an upgrade. Before Fermilab’s

four-mile (6.3-km) -long Tevatron was closed for good in September 2011 and the particle accelerator baton handed to CERN, scientists pushed the collider to produce as many sub-atomic collisions as possible. The two circular accelerators operate differently, Roser said. Fermilab’s accelerator fired protons at antiprotons, while CERN’s 16.7-mile (27-km) -long accelerator creates collisions between two beams of protons. An analogy posed by physicist Gregorio Bernardi in a statement released by Fermilab was of two people taking a picture of a child in a park from different vantage points. “One picture may show a child that is blocked from the other’s view by a tree. Both pictures may show the child but only one can resolve the child’s features. You need to combine both viewpoints to get a true picture of who is in the park,” he said. Physicists from around the world are at work at both laboratories, with hundreds still laboring at Fermilab analyzing the data from its experiments. “We’ve used up most of our data” at Fermilab, Roser said. “We’ll do a few more experiments and try to have a final answer in June.” — Reuters

Ape genes show we have gorillas in our midst

SYDNEY: A picture taken on December 21, 2011 shows Western lowland gorillas ‘Kriba’ and her daughter ‘Kipenzi’ at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Our ancestors made the evolutionary split with gorillas around 10 million years ago, but we still share a remarkable number of genes with the great ape, according to a groundbreaking study published yesterday. — AFP

PARIS: Our ancestors made the evolutionary split with gorillas around 10 million years ago, but we still share a remarkable number of genes with the great ape, according to a groundbreaking study published yesterday. A worldwide consortium of scientists sequenced the genome of the western lowland gorilla and compared more than 11,000 of its key genes with those of modern humans, Homo sapiens, and chimpanzees. Gorillas diverged from the human-chimp lineage around 10 million years ago, and around four million years later, Homo and chimps emerged on their own as a separate species, a figure that tallies with fossil evidence. The comparison also overturns convictions about similarities between the major primates, the investigators said. As expected, humans and chimps shared the most genes, they found. But 15 percent of the human genome is closer to the gorilla genome than it is to the chimpanzee-and 15 percent of the chimp genome is closer to the gorilla genome than it is to human. “Our most significant findings reveal not only differences between the species reflecting millions of years of evolutionary divergence, but also similarities in parallel changes over time since their common ancestor,” said Chris Tyler-Smith from Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “We found that gorillas share many parallel genetic changes with humans-including the evolution of our hearing. “Scientists had suggested that the rapid evolution of human hearing genes was linked to the evolution of language. Our results cast doubt on this, as hearing genes have evolved in gorillas at a similar rate to those in humans.” Gorillas

themselves began to split into two groups, the eastern lowland gorilla and the western lowland gorilla, about a million years ago. The study throws cold water over the notion that when primate species diverged, this happened rather abruptly, over a relatively short period. Instead, the process was longer and very gradual. There was probably a fair amount of “gene flow,” or inter-breeding between slightly different genetic strains, both before gorillas split from the other apes and before gorillas themselves diverged into two species. There could well be a parallel in the split between chimps and bonobos, or between modern humans and Neanderthals, say the authors. A new theory about Neanderthals is that they were more than kissing cousins H. sapiens occasionally interbred with them and incorporated some of their genes into modern humans. The Neanderthals themselves died out as a separate species around 40,000 years ago, wiped out either by a changing climate or by H. sapiens himself, according to some hypotheses. The DNA sample came from a female western lowland gorilla named Kamilah. After thriving for millions of years, gorillas survive today in just a few isolated, badly endangered populations in central Africa, their numbers diminished by hunting and habitat loss. “As well as teaching us about human evolution, the study of the great apes connects us to a time when our existence was more tenuous, and in doing so, highlights the importance of protecting and conserving these remarkable species,” says the study. — AFP

Snoring tied to kids’ risk of behavioral problems

Bird flu claims fifth victim in Indonesia JAKARTA: A 24-year-old woman has died of bird flu on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the fifth human death from the virus this year, a health ministry official said yesterday. “She tested positive for the H5N1 virus by the health ministry’s laboratory. It’s the fifth death here this year,” the ministry’s head of animal-borne infectious diseases, Rita Kusriastuti, told AFP. Concerns about avian influenza have risen in Asia since China in late December reported its first fatality from the H5N1 virus in 18 months. Since then one more person has died in China, according to the health ministry. Indonesia has been the nation hard-

est-hit by bird flu, with 150 deaths repor ted between 2003 and 2011, according to the World Health Organization. Nine Indonesians died from the virus last year. “ The woman was living in an area where there are many ducks and chickens. She also had some (poultry) in her house,” Kusriastuti said, adding that she died on March 1 in a hospital in Bengkulu city. The virus typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic. — AFP

NEW YORK: Young children who snore a lot or have other breathing problems at night may have a heightened risk of behavioral and emotional problems later in life, according to a US study of more than 10,000 children. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is not the first to link behavioral issues to socalled sleep-disordered breathing-where children chronically snore, mouth-breathe or seem to stop breathing for seconds at a time, known as apnea. “We didn’t invent the association,” said lead researcher Karen Bonuck, at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. But the work by her team, which followed more than 13,000 children from infancy to the age of seven, is the largest study yet to examine the issue, she added. Of those children, 45 percent remained free of nighttime breathing problems, according to reports from parents. The rest had symptoms at some point during infancy or early childhood. Eight percent of the children fell into what

researchers dubbed the “worst case” group, with breathing problems that peaked between the ages of two and three, and then persisted. Overall, Bonuck’s team found, children with sleep-disordered breathing at any time were more likely to develop symptoms of behavioral or emotional disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety, by age seven. About 13.5 percent had such symptoms at age seven, versus just over eight percent of children who’d been free of sleep-disordered breathing. The biggest risk was seen in the worst-case group. By age 7, nearly 18 percent of those children had possible behavioral or emotional disorders. The researchers couldn’t say for sure whether all of those children had outright disorders, such as ADHD, since their results are based on a screening questionnaire given to parents. The children would have to be further evaluated to get a diagnosis, Bonuck said. In addition, it’s

not certain that the breathing problems are directly to blame. But Bonuck said the researchers did factor in a range of variables that could help account for the link, such as parents’ income and education, race, birth weight and whether their mothers smoked during pregnancy. “Even considering all those variables, overall, sleep-disordered breathing seemed to have the strongest effect,” Bonuck said. Among the worstcase children, for example, sleep-disordered breathing was linked to a 72 percent increase in the risk of behavioral and emotional symptoms at age seven, even with other factors considered. Bonuck stressed that nobody is saying that sleep-disordered breathing is the whole story and advised parents not to panic. “Certainly, emotional and behavioral disorders are multi-factorial,” she added. “But parents can pay attention to their child’s breathing, and if they have a concern, they should ask their pediatrician about it.” — Reuters



Chinese governor lauds clamp down on birth agents HONG KONG: China has fulfilled a promise to curb the number of pregnant mainlanders entering Hong Kong to give birth, the governor of southern Guangdong province said yesterday. Thousands of mainland women come to Hong Kong each year to give birth and gain residency rights for their children in the semi-autonomous banking centre, circumventing China’s onechild policy. Hong Kong women have protested that the influx has led to shortages of hospital beds and rising maternity costs, prompting the government to step up

HIRONO: In this Monday Feb. 20, 2012 photo, mandarin trees are covered with blue sheeting to protect them from frost, near a sign that spells out the location - “Orange Hill” - in Hirono, just outside the 20-kilometer (12mile) nuclear exclusion zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, in northeast Japan. Most residents left the town after it was contaminated by radiation from the plant when it was crippled by the March 11 tsunami. Those who remain in Hirono and other contaminated towns in Fukushima prefecture face an uncertain future. — AP

Mice study reveals Alzheimer’s antibodies WASHINGTON: British scientists have discovered a type of antibody in mice that blocks a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, offering a potential new route to treatment, according to research published on Tuesday. The antibodies shut down a protein called Dkk1 that in turn stops the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain, a key factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s, said the findings in the Journal of Neuroscience. When this plaque builds up, it leads to a loss of connection between neurons, known as synapses, in the part of the brain known as the hippocampus which handles learning and memory. “These novel findings raise the possibility that targeting this secreted Dkk1 protein could offer an effective treatment to protect synapses against the toxic effect of amyloid-B,” said lead author Patricia Salinas of the University College London Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

“Importantly, these results raise the hope for a treatment and perhaps the prevention of cognitive decline early in Alzheimer’s disease.” The research has only been done in mice and more work is needed to see if it would be relevant in humans. Previous research has shown that the autopsied brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of Dkk1 than normal brains, but scientists were unsure why. The latest study on mice showed that animals exposed to antibodies against Dkk1 had more of their synapses sur vive than other Alzheimer’s mice that were not given the treatment. The research was funded by Alzheimer ’s Research UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, a progressive brain disease which along with other forms of dementia affects more than 35 million people worldwide.— AFP

enforcement of quotas and entry restrictions. But Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan said there had been a fall in the number of pregnant women entering Hong Kong as a result of his administration’s clamp down on “birth agents”. “You must take the numbers of pregnant mainlanders entering Hong Kong and compare the difference between February and January,” he told reporters at a news conference in Beijing, according to Hong Kong’s Cable News television. “There has been a large decrease in numbers,” he added,

without providing figures. “Our promise to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has been acted upon, and our actions have been successful.” Zhu was speaking at the annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature. Birth agents help arrange prenatal check-ups in Hong Kong, book delivery services and hostels, and arrange care for the women and their babies following the births. A 29-year-old mainland woman last month became the first birth agent to be charged in Hong Kong under laws forbidding the activity.

Women from mainland China are keen to have babies in Hong Kong-which has had semiautonomous status since it ceased to be a British colony in 1997 — because it entitles their child to rights of abode and education. Some pregnant mainland women have taken to wearing baggy clothes to hide their bellies as they enter Hong Kong. Others wait until the last minute to give birth in emergency wards rather than reserve maternity beds. The influx of mainland women has been a major source of recent tensions between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese. — AFP

Many US veterans with PTSD prescribed opioid painkillers More prone to injury and overdose NEW YORK: US veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are treated for pain are more likely to get very strong painkillers if they also have mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study. That ’s worrisome, researchers said, because some people who take opioidswhich include OxyContin and Vicodin-abuse the drugs or overdose on them, and those who already have mental troubles may be most at risk. “There’s really been a culture of, ‘Let’s get rid of pain,’ and I think unfortunately that pendulum may have swung too far,” said Dr. Karen Seal, from the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the study’s lead author. The research was repor ted Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “What we need to do now is really individually assess patients and talk to patients about what we know of the risks of opiates, especially in those with mental health problems,” she told Reuters Health. She and her colleagues analyzed data from about 141,000 war veterans who were treated for pain at a VA medical center between 2005 and 2010, some of whom also had been diagnosed with a mental health

disorder. Out of all patients, close to 16,000 were prescribed at least a three-week course of opioids. The researchers found that while less than 7 percent of veterans without any mental health problems were prescribed the powerful painkillers, close to 12 percent with a diagnosis such as depression or anxiety were given opioids, and almost 18 percent with PTSD got a prescription. Prescriptions for the powerful painkillers have been on the rise not just among veterans, but among the wider US population as well. Deaths from prescription drug overdose have tripled in the past 20 years, with 14,800 people killed by an overdose in 2008 — more than from heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seal said that instead of taking opioids, some patients with pain and mental health problems may do just as well, or even better, with talk therapy, physical therapy and antiinflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is, if it appears that there may be a risk for unsafe use of opioids, to really bring that up honestly with the patients, and suggest that there may be other alternatives,” Seal said. “It’s important to be open to alternative ways of treating pain.” More than one-third

of veterans with both PTSD and a drug use disorder who had pain were prescribed opioids. Veterans with PTSD were also more likely than others to be prescribed multiple opioid drugs at a time, to get higher doses of the drugs and to receive early refills, Seal and her colleagues wrote. And those treated with opioids were more than twice as likely as veterans not prescribed the painkillers to suffer an injury, overdose on drugs or alcohol or intentionally hurt themselves. The study “further draws attention to the challenges of meeting the pain care needs of veterans with chronic pain and mental health conditions, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Robert Kerns, the National Program Direc tor for Pain Management at the Veterans Health Administration and a psychologist at Yale University in New Haven. Kerns, who was not involved in the new study, agreed that it’s important to develop other approaches for managing pain. “It’s still widely accepted that opioids may have a role in the management of chronic non-cancer pain, even in persons with mental health conditions,” he told Reuters Health. But, “they need to be used responsibly and safely.” — Reuters



W H AT ’ S O N

Eighth Annual Book and Information Fair at GUST


Dr. Shuaib GUST President and Dr. Joel Glassman UMSL Associate Provost open the 8th Annual Book and Information Fair at GUST.

Dr. Shuaib, Dr. Glassman and Dr. Robert Cook, GUST VP of Academic Affairs tour the Fair.

Staff, faculty, students and visitors take a look around the Fair at the latest developments.

Dr Shuaib and Dr. Glassman with Shobhita Kohli (far left), GUST Library Director and the Library team.

ulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), Kuwait opened its 2-day Book and Information Fair on Monday in the foyer outside the GUST auditorium. The Fair was officially opened by Dr Shuaib, President of GUST and Dr. Joel Glassman, Associate Provost and Director International Studies and Programs at GUST’s partner University, the University of Missouri - St. Louis, in the presence of participants, general public, GUST team members and students who had gathered for the occasion. Dr. Shuaib welcomed Dr. Glassman and the visitors and thanked the Library Director Shobhita Kohli for her contributions to the University and also the Library team for their continuing support to the Library. He praised the Library efforts in organizing the Fair and making it more successful with each passing year. Dr. Robert Cook, Vice-President for Academic Affairs also spoke during the event and highlighted the importance of the event for the University in keeping up with the latest developments in both online resources and publications; he also thanked Growmore General Trading Co. for their continuing support. The Fair, annually organized by GUST A.M. Al-Refai Library, included several leading publishing companies including: Cambridge, Cengage Learning HE, Cengage Learning ELT, Pearson Education, Pearson ELT, McGraw-Hill Education and Palgrave; as well as prominent online resource providers such as: Arabian Advanced Systems (EBSCO, ProQuest, ebrary, Safari, Literature Online), IEEE, Emerald, Springer, LexisNexis, Bankscope. Amongst the local participants were representatives from the U.S. Embassy, GUST Bookstore, Kuwait Bookshop, Center for Research and Studies in Kuwait, and Center for Child Evaluation and Teaching. The Fair held every year provides leading publishers a platform to display the latest editions of books, and online catalogues. The event also provides opportunities to online service providers to introduce the latest products and innovations available in the world of technology. The visitors were able to review the latest editions of online software and textbook titles by leading publishers and information companies, in a variety of subject areas and had an excellent opportunity to network with the participants present at the event. Visit for more information.

Announcements Desert get-together A full day in the desert with the collaboration of the BBF (British Business Forum), BLS (British Ladies Society), ANZAK (Australians & New Zealanders), Diwaniya Italia (Italians in Kuwait), UFE (French Community in Kuwait), and the Lebanese community as well. It’s a get together day with loads of fun and a chance to compete in a real Paint Ball arena in the desert, participate in a mini football tournament & volley ball tournament, and there will also be many other activities such as ATV (Quads) Karaoke and more! A BBQ buffet catering will be provided by Holiday Inn Salmiya, and entertainment will be provided by DJ Shatti and Chromatic Band). For more information and early booking please call 5010-0734. Latin Party Sizzling Latin Party at the Swiss Hotel Plaza†in Kuwait CIty (next to Al-Mouthana Complex)! The “fiesta” will be on March 16th, beginning at 8:30pm and will continue until 1:30am. For more information call Yolanda at 99224228 or Frank at 9739-6187. TIES Ladies Club The TIES Ladies Club invites you to their Kuwaiti cuisine cooking classes which will start soon. Join them for a one month cooking program where you will learn to cook real Kuwaiti food. All ladies are invited to join their classes and let your family enjoy mouth watering Kuwaiti cuisine! on March 15th - April 5th frpm 6 pm to 8 pm. For more information/ registration: 2523-1015/6 or 97228860/9779-3440. Quiz night The TIES Center Ladies Club invites all ladies to an educational and entertaining quiz night session. Feel free to come with your family and enjoy this fun night together. Refreshments will be provided on March 14th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. For more information/ registration: 25231015/6

Australia’s Gelatissimo now in Kuwait


elatissimo has today entered the exotic world of the Arabian Nights by opening its most spectacular gelateria to date, and its first Middle Eastern franchise, in Kuwait. Combining Middle Eastern flair with Gelatissimo’s trademark sophistication, the gelateria is the first to be opened by the state’s master franchisee , “International Trade Holding Co. -Kuwait” owned by Dr Hamad Al Tuwaijri. It is one of three Kuwaiti gelaterias opening this year, with more to follow. The master franchisee saw the brand in the Philippines and immediately recognized the synergies with its other business interests, which are aligned with the hospitality industry. “We knew that Gelatissimo would be embraced in Kuwait as it is totally different to anything currently available,” says Dr. Hamad Al Tuwaijri . “There are lots of types of ice cream but nothing like the gelato produced by Gelatissimo. The taste is in a class of its own because the gelato is made fresh, in-store, on a daily basis. Plus its Australian and in Kuwait

Australian products are considered to be of excellent quality,” he adds. Gelatissimo’s Australian head office worked closely with the Master Franchisee to create the perfect product offering for local tastes. Exotic Middle Eastern flavours such as pistachio, honey, fig and cardamom sit comfortably next to Gelatissimo core flavours, and Australian delights such as wattle, eucalyptus, mango and macadamia. Gelatissimo is located in “The Village”, a glamorous new 15 restaurant development, located in Funatiees. The Village promises to be a great destination location; a mix of cosmopolitan cafes, restaurants and entertainment that will especially cater for young people, with free Wi-Fi, so people can meet and still use the internet. “Having a small population, visiting destinations to socialise is an important part of the Kuwaiti way of life and we know the opulence of the gelateria will dazzle everyone who enters the flagship store.”

What do you get... When you mix African drums with a herd of elephants and delicious food, to which you add lots of African music & rhythms, unique fashion in a flavor of colors, a few drops of a sleepy panther, a mini African market and just the right amount of leopard spots... all sprinkled with inimitable African spirit? Come and find out on Thursday, 22 March At Holiday Inn Hotel (Salmiya), Al Dana Ballroom from 7 pm - 10 pm For details regarding participation in the kids’ contest “Best African Costume”, e contact Lorie Beverly at

International football coaching convention


fficials from Kuwaits’ Premier GOAL Academy, sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Co., Mike Finn, Academy Director, Baker Al Nazer, Executive Director and Roman Kulchitsky, Director of Coaching, attended the first International Football Coaching Convention hosted by Scotish Premier League leaders Glasgow Celtic F.C. last week. The conference brought together football coaches from all around the world for a complete insight into top European football coaching methodologies, sports science, match preparation and youth development. There were lectures and presentations inside Celtic Park Stadium, practical coaching sessions and youth fixtures at the new Lennoxtown Celtic Training Academy and finally, the SPL match between Celtic and Motherwell in front of 50,000 spectators. The delegation of international coaches also had the opportunity to meet the clubs’ Chief Executive Peter Lawwell and Celtics’ first team manager Neil Lennon.

Kuwait Improv Fun lovers of Kuwait unite. A get together by people who love to surprise, be surprised and just be about at anything are welcome to Kuwait Improv, a gathering, reminiscent of the famous American TV program Whose Line is it Anyway, informally organized by American School of Kuwait teacher Brad Manker. No histrionic talent required, but a willingness to share. Please contact: 7th annual PAWS dog show Registration is now open for entry into the 2012 ‘PAWS for the Cause’ Kuwait Dog Show. The show will take place in the beautiful gardens of the British Embassy on Friday March 9th from 11 - 4pm. Join us for a variety of lighthearted dog shows, Best junior Handler, Most Mysterious Heritage and the Pet Pageant, (to name but a few). Shop for pet products, visit a variety of stalls, strut your mutt for others to admire or enjoy a tasty lunch in the gardens. PAWS’ Dog Show is always a fun filled event for all the family, whether or not you own a pet’ If you wish to enter your dog into the show, or attend without pets, download the registration form from the PAWS’ website This is strictly a pre registered event and no ‘walk-ins’ by un registered guests can be permitted. Full names of all attendees must be submitted in advance via the show registration form (on website). All participating dogs must be pre registered and adult Civil ID (or passport) must be shown on entrance. Completed registration forms can be left at drop off points on certain days, details of these will be found on our website. Please ensure you bring your form with correct admission fee to one of these venues. Registration closes March 3rd. It is not necessary to own or bring a dog in order to enjoy a fun-filled family day out. Entry is strictly by pre-registration of pets and people. Please read show rules and regulations on the Registration Form carefully. No mobile phones or cameras will be allowed into the embassy.

The experience for PGA officials further strengthened ties between Celtic FC and the PGA and provided a wealth of information and expertise to benefit the PGA coaching program which will recommence this Friday 9th March at Shaab Park. Registrations for new and existing players takes place daily this week, 5-7 pm at the PGA Shaab Park office. For further information see or contact Mike Finn 99981327, Baker Al Nazer 66918666. Email;

Who will make it to the top 15?


he Filipino Association for Culture and Arts (FCAK) announces their final screening and selection of top 15 candidates on March 9, 2012 (Friday) at Dr Mohammad M. AlBannay’s Kyokushin Karate Club, Jabriya Street 104 [back of McDonald’s Jabriya]. After top 15 selection, the candidates will undergo training and workshops scheduled from mid-March till the finale or Grand Coronation Night set to be held on May 4, 2012 at Zumuraida Hall in Al-Bida’a, alongside Radisson SAS Hotel. If you wish to see more Kislap candi-

dates, please visit them on their Facebook: ‘Kislap 2012’. The screening and final selection of top 15 will start from 10am onwards. Unmarried single mother is also encouraged so long as they are no more than 35 years of age. Interested parties may call the following numbers: Buboy-66032010, Joanne-66631086, Tony-66476918, Raymond-66035054. Miss Kislap 2012 is being organized by FCAK in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy. Photos above taken by Chris Sanan are just some of the selected contenders to face the judges on Friday.

Pictured are Roman Kulchitsky, Mike Finn and Baker Al Nazer at Celtic Park Stadium and the international coaching delegation with Celtic F.C. manager Neil Lennon and star Greek international striker Georgios Samaras.



W H AT ’ S O N

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

ICSK Khaitan wins ‘Jewels in unison inter school talent show’


he Indian Community School Kuwait, Khaitan branch presented a moving drama on the theme “Free the girl child and free the woman” at the inter school talent show, organized by the CCA committee of the ICSK.

Eight teams took part in the programme which showcased the multi talents of students, in the field of dance, music, drama, art among others. Twenty students from Khaitan portrayed the predicament of the girl child , who has

to face gender discrimination from birth onwards, as she moves from one stage to the next in her life. The show had all the ingredients of a drama which had the right combination of song, dance, action, flashback, props and dialogue.

The strong message that the woman should be set free from the cruel chains of suppression and domination. The audience was greatly moved by the presentation and it was a well deserved triumph for the team ICSK Khaitan.

BHATTACHARYA of SBI visits Kuwait


.K. Bhattarya, General Manager (NRI Services) of State Bank of India(SBI) and other executives of the bank visited Kuwait as part of their tour of Gulf countries to meet with exchange companies with who the bank has correspondent arrangements. On the occasion of his visit, R.Kuppanna, General Manager of Kuwait India International Exchange Company, hosted an exclusive dinner meet on Monday, the 5th March, 2012 at “Caesars Dakshin”, Abbasiya. A large number of the company’s esteemed customers were present at the meet. Introducing the General Manager of State Bank of India, Kuppanna said that S.K. Bhattacharya started his banking career in 1979 as a probationary officer in the State Bank of India. He has, over 30 years’ rich and variegated experience in all aspects of banking - Operations, Technology Management, Personal Banking, Human Resources, NRI Services, among others. He is also serving on the Board of Directors on three of SBI’s foreign subsidiaries. Bhattacharya, a post graduate in Physics from I.I.T., Kharagpur has also professional accreditations - CAIIB from Indian Institute of Bankers, Post Graduate Diploma in

Financial Management. Kuppanna also introduced Mohammed Rizwan, Chief Manager, NRI Branch, Secunderbad and Suja Kurian, Chief Manager, SBI, Thiruvalla. Bhattacharya commenced his address to the gathering with a documentary film on State Bank of India: its origins, early history, its impeccable track record of performance over the past 200 years, its sig-

nificant and dominant presence both domestically and abroad, its massive transformation into a tech-driven, aggressive and a customer friendly bank. The documentary depicted the strong presence of SBI in all segments of the economy - agriculture, industry, services. Truly, SBI is a proxy for the Indian Economy. Bhattacharya also spoke of the bank’s image as a

safe, trust-worthy institution and mentioned its high standards of probity, integrity and corporate governance. Bhattacharya made a mention of the strong continuous business relationship of SBI with Kuwait India International Exchange Company for over 30 years and mentioned that the company has always been and continues to be managed by former SBI Executives.

Speaking on the occasion, Bhattacharya stated that with the deregulations of interest rates by Reserve Bank of India, the NRIs could utilise the opportunity of investment in NRE Deposits: tax-free and fully repatriable with a rate of 9.25 % p.a. for any tenure between 1 to 10 years. The effective annual yield on a 10 year period works out to 14.95% p.a. due to the compounding effect, which means the principal grows almost two and half a times, he said. Also, those who would like to build their savings gradually could do so by sending their monthly remittances and lockin the present high rate of interest for a longer period by opting for NRE Recurring Deposit Scheme. By this option, one enjoys the benefit of Systematic Savings (at a guaranteed, committed, contracted rate for the entire tenure) irrespective of the interest rates prevailing in the interim. Mohd. Rizwan, Chief Manager, NRI Branch, Secunderbad presented the details with a power-point slide show. The brief presentation was followed by an active “Question and Answer” session covering aspects of taxation, repatriability, products/services of the bank, remittances etc.

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

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus requests Cypriot citizens living in Kuwait to register with the Embassy has moved. This registration service is provided so that the Embassy can update its contact list and assist Cypriot citizens in cases of emergencies. Registration information can be emailed to or faxed to 22253227 or given by phone to 65906048 (Mrs Christine). nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed tomorrow, March 8, 2012 on account of ‘Holi’”. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF KOREA The Embassy of the Republic of Korea wishes to inform that it has moved to Mishref. New Address: Embassy of the Republic of Korea Mishref, Block 7A, Diplomatic Area 2, Plot 6 The Embassy also wishes to inform that it will be opened to the public on the following office hours: Saturdays to Thursday Morning: 8:00 am to 12:30 pm Lunch Break: 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm Afternoon: 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF MYANMAR Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to inform the general public that the Embassy has moved its office to new location at Villa 35, Road 203, Block 2, AlSalaam Area in South Surra. The Embassy wishes to advice Myanmar citizens and travellers to Myanmar to contact Myanmar Embassy at its new location. Tel. 25240736, 25240290, Fax: 25240749, nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF UKRAINE We’d like to inform you that in response to the increasing number of our citizens who work in the state and the need for 24-hour operational telephone in case of emergency the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait has opened “hotline telephone number” (+ 965) 972-79-206. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF VENEZUELA Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, request Venezuelan citizens living in Kuwait to register with the Embassy, This registration service is provided so that the Embassy can update its contact list and assist Venezuelan citizens in cases os emergencies. Registration Information 25324367 or by email: Our time is from Sunday to Thursday from 8.30am till 2 pm. nnnnnnn

Aim High Toastmasters Club


newly opened Toastmasters Club has been finally named ‘Aim High Toastmasters Club’ during its 2nd Club meeting on 28 February 2012 in Jabriya Cooperative Association Library. Khaled Al-Hashem, President, congratulated the members for taking part in naming the new club. “One of my goals is to increase awareness of the Aim High Toastmasters Club within Kuwait to encourage other people to join our club. The mission of our club is to provide members the opportunity to improve their communication and leadership skills which foster self-confidence and personal growth”, says Khaled. Hence, he stressed everyone to bring their family, colleagues and friends to the meeting to benefit from Toastmasters training and meeting. Khaled thanked the functionaries: Toastmaster of the Day - Ildone Galvez, General Evaluator - Milton Dana, Timer Maali Al Ajmi, Grammarian and Ah Counter -

Samar Salman, Table Topics Master - Rhea Usman. He also thanked Wafaa Salman for delivering her Speech Project # 4 with Abir Nouiehed as the Speech Evaluator and Camille Bondi, CC, ALB for her Advanced Speech Project #3 with Dr. Grace Mac Gregor, DTM as Evaluator. He also thanked the presence and support of the Division Governor, DTM Grace Mac Gregor and Area Governor, Camille Bondi. Kudos to Talal Al Assad who solicited the meeting venue from Jabriya Cooperative Association. The venue is perfect for a toastmasters meeting and contest and would sit up to 80 participants. During this meeting, the club received 3 new member applications which added up to its membership drive. Finally the meeting adjourned with vote of thanks to the members and guests who are present and actively participated during the entire session. The next meeting will be on 13 March 2012.

EMBASSY OF THAILAND The Royal Thai Embassy in Kuwait, wishes to invite the Kuwaiti companies that deal business with Thai companies or those agencies of Thai commercial companies to visit the Embassy’s Commercial Office to register their relevant information to be part of the embassy’s business and trade database. The Royal Thai Embassy is located in Jabriya, Block 6, Street 8, Villa No. 1, Telephone No. 25317530 25317531, Ext: 14.

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



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00:50 Animal Cops Specials 2009 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Buggin’ With Ruud 03:35 Wild France 04:30 Wildest Africa 05:25 Sharkman 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 Planet Wild 07:10 K9 Cops 08:00 Orangutan Island 08:25 Breed All About It 08:50 Breed All About It 09:15 The Really Wild Show 09:40 Cats Of Claw Hill 10:10 Bad Dog 11:05 Sharkman 12:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:55 RSPCA: On The Frontline 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 New Breed Vets With Steve Irwin 14:45 Animal Cops Houston 15:40 Sharkman 16:30 Shamwari: A Wild Life 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Pandamonium 18:25 Dogs 101 19:20 Extraordinary Dogs 19:45 Extraordinary Dogs 20:15 Orangutan Island 20:40 Wildlife SOS 21:10 Escape To Chimp Eden 21:35 Planet Wild 22:05 Sharkman 23:00 Untamed China With Nigel Marven 23:55 Snake Crusader With Bruce George

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Casualty Eastenders Doctors Lark Rise to Candleford 2 Point 4 Children dinnerladies My Family Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Poetry Pie Fimbles 3rd & Bird Nina And The Neurons Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Fimbles 3rd & Bird Nina And The Neurons 2 Point 4 Children dinnerladies The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Casualty Lark Rise to Candleford My Family 2 Point 4 Children The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Casualty Lark Rise to Candleford The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors dinnerladies 2 Point 4 Children Orang-Utan Diary Last Woman Standing The Cup My Family Jekyll Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show The Weakest Link Orang-Utan Diary

00:20 Antiques Roadshow 01:10 French Food At Home 02:40 French Food At Home

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10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes By The Sea Fantasy Homes By The Sea House Swap French Food At Home French Food At Home Cash In The Attic USA French Food At Home French Food At Home James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Brittany MasterChef Australia MasterChef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger The Restaurant UK Dolce Vito: Dream Restaurant Dolce Vito: Dream Restaurant Fantasy Homes By The Sea House Swap Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow What To Eat Now - Summer French Food At Home James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Brittany 10 Years Younger The Restaurant UK Dolce Vito: Dream Restaurant Dolce Vito: Dream Restaurant Bargain Hunt

00:00 BBC World News America 00:30 Hardtalk 01:00 BBC World News 01:30 World Business Report 01:45 Sport Today 02:00 BBC World News America 02:30 Asia Business Report 02:45 Sport Today 03:00 BBC World News 03:30 Asia Business Report 03:45 Sport Today 04:00 Newsday 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Sport Today 05:00 Newsday 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Sport Today 06:00 Newsday 06:30 Asia Business Report 06:45 Sport Today 07:00 Newsday 07:30 Hardtalk 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 BBC World News 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 Sport Today 11:00 BBC World News 11:30 World Business Report 11:45 Sport Today 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 Hardtalk 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 World Business Report 13:45 Sport Today 14:00 BBC World News 14:30 BBC World News 15:00 GMT With George Alagiah 15:30 GMT With George Alagiah 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 16:30 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:30 World Business Report 20:45 Sport Today 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 World Business Report 21:45 Sport Today 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:30 World Business Report 23:45 Sport Today




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Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley New Yogi Bear Show Duck Dodgers The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Jetsons Puppy In My Pocket Popeye Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races The Flintstones A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Popeye Classics The Garfield Show Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Pink Panther And Pals Puppy In My Pocket The Scooby Doo Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Flintstones Duck Dodgers Tom & Jerry Kids Pink Panther And Pals Wacky Races Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas The Garfield Show A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Looney Tunes Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show The Scooby Doo Show Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 Anderson Cooper 360 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 Quest Means Business 07:00 Erin Burnett Outfront 08:00 World Sport 08:30 Talk Asia 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Report 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Eco Solutions 12:00 World Business Today 13:00 Backstory 13:30 Living Golf 14:00 World One 15:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 16:00 News Stream 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 Global Exchange 19:45 CNN Marketplace Middle East 20:00 World Sport 20:30 Living Golf 21:00 International Desk 22:00 Quest Means Business 22:45 CNN Marketplace Europe 23:00 Piers Morgan Tonight

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Destroyed In Seconds Get Out Alive Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’


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Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Does It Work How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Gold Rush Swamp Loggers How Does It Work Cake Boss Border Security Dirty Money When Disaster Strikes When Disaster Strikes Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Dirty Money How It’s Made How Does It Work Cake Boss One Man Army I Escaped: Real Prison Breaks I Escaped: Real Prison Breaks Ross Kemp On Gangs

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Engineered Moon Machines The Tech Show Weird Or What? What’s That About? How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Science Of The Movies Thunder Races Moon Machines The Gadget Show The Gadget Show How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Weird Or What? What’s That About? Engineered Thunder Races Moon Machines Science Of The Movies How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made The Gadget Show The Gadget Show The Tech Show Thunder Races Engineered Moon Machines Bang Goes The Theory Bang Goes The Theory Sci-Trek The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Thunder Races Bang Goes The Theory Bang Goes The Theory Sci-Trek


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00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 01:50 E!es 02:20 E!es 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 30 Best & Worst Beach Bodies 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Kendra 09:45 Kendra 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Khloe And Lamar 13:35 Khloe And Lamar 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:35 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Ice Loves Coco 17:25 Ice Loves Coco 17:55 E! News 18:55 THS 19:55 Scouted 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Fashion Police 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting I Almost Got Away With It Cuff Me If You Can Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting Killer Outbreaks FBI Case Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Killer Outbreaks Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Killer Outbreaks Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Case Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Killer Outbreaks Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Kidnap And Rescue Fugitive Strike Force

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Until September-PG Longtime Companion The Curse Of Inferno-PG Keaton’s Cop-PG Eight Men Out-PG The Group-PG Mgm’s Big Screen-FAM Ghoulies Hercules-PG Hornet’s Nest-PG High Noon-PG They Call Me Mister Tibbs!-PG Miami Blues-18 The Perez Family-PG Ulee’s Gold-PG


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Treks In A Wild World Treks In A Wild World On Surfari Word of Mouth The Frankincense Trail Don’t Tell My Mother Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Treks In A Wild World On Surfari Word of Mouth The Frankincense Trail Don’t Tell My Mother Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Treks In A Wild World Food School Bondi Rescue: Bali The Green Way Up The Green Way Up Exploring The Vine Market Values Making Tracks Making Tracks Adventure Wanted Departures Food School Bondi Rescue: Bali The Green Way Up The Green Way Up Exploring The Vine Market Values Making Tracks Making Tracks Adventure Wanted

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 PG15 14:00 16:00 18:00 PG15 20:00 22:00

Storm Warning-18 Let Me In-R The Grudge 3-18 X-Men-PG15 Triassic Attack-PG15 Largo Winch 2-PG15 True Justice: Deadly CrossingTriassic Attack-PG15 Fatal Secrets-PG15 True Justice: Deadly CrossingSinners & Saints-18 The Craigslist Killer-PG15

01:00 Homecoming-18 03:00 Burlesque-PG15 05:15 My Dog Tulip-PG15 07:00 The 19th Wife-PG15 09:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 11:00 My Dog Tulip-PG15 13:00 Freakonomics-PG15 15:00 Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale-PG15 17:00 Make It Happen-PG15 19:00 Battle: Los Angeles-PG15 21:00 Cars 2-FAM 23:00 Blue Valentine-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Angry Boys 02:00 The Ricky Gervais Show 02:30 The Cleveland Show 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Mr. Sunshine 04:00 Dharma And Greg 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Just Shoot Me 06:30 Til Death 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Dharma And Greg 08:30 The Simpsons 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Til Death 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Just Shoot Me 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Til Death 14:00 Mr. Sunshine 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 Two And A Half Men

15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Just Shoot Me 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 Mr. Sunshine 19:00 The League 19:30 State Of Georgia 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 The Big C 22:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Falling Skies Strike Back Luck Once Upon A Time Bones Live Good Morning America The Good Guys Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Falling Skies Once Upon A Time The Good Guys Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Look-A-Like Psych American Idol Necessary Roughness Bones

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

Smallville Luck Falling Skies Strike Back Once Upon A Time One Tree Hill Smallville Emmerdale Coronation Street Parenthood Falling Skies Emmerdale Parks And Recreation The Ellen DeGeneres Show Parenthood Smallville Emmerdale Parks And Recreation The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova Psych Necessary Roughness Any Human Heart

01:00 Child’s Play 2-18 03:00 Icarus-18 05:00 Maximum Risk-18 07:00 The Haunting Of Molly Hartley-18 08:30 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 10:30 2012-PG15 13:15 The Karate Kid II-PG 15:15 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 17:15 The Hit List-18 19:00 Blood Out-18 20:45 Bram Stoker’s Dracula-18 23:00 Medium Raw-PG15

00:00 Molly-PG15 02:00 The Lonely Guy-PG15 04:00 Bubble Boy-PG15 06:00 Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement-FAM 08:00 Roommates-PG15 10:00 Sweet Home Alabama-PG15 12:00 Finding Lenny-PG15 14:00 My Father The Hero-PG15 16:00 Molly-PG15 18:00 Cemetery Junction-PG15 20:00 The Trip-PG15 22:00 Stan Helsing-18

01:00 03:00 PG15 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Shrink-18 My Girlfriend’s BoyfriendHow To Train Your Dragon-PG Remember Me-PG15 Just Go With It-PG15 Quest For Zhu-PG Too Big To Fail-PG15 The Green Hornet-PG15 Just Go With It-PG15 Gentlemen Broncos-PG15 Cars 2-FAM The Wolfman-18

00:00 Volvo Ocean Race 01:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 01:30 Super Rugby 03:30 Trans World Sport 04:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 05:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 05:30 Live Cricket One Day International 14:30 Futbol Mundial 15:00 Volvo Ocean Race 17:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 18:00 Futbol Mundial 18:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 19:00 WWE NXT 20:00 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 22:00 Live Premier League Darts

00:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 00:30 Total Rugby 01:00 Premier League Darts 04:30 Futbol Mundial 05:00 European Tour Weekly 05:30 Top 14 Highlights 06:00 Super Rugby Highlights 07:00 Total Rugby 07:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 09:30 European Tour Weekly 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Ping Pong World Championship 13:00 Trans World Sport 14:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 14:30 ICC Cricket World 15:00 Super Rugby 17:00 Total Rugby 17:30 Golfing World 18:30 European Tour Weekly 19:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 19:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 20:00 ICC Cricket World 20:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 21:00 Trans World Sport 22:00 Scottish Premier League

01:30 SPL Highlights 02:00 Total Rugby 02:30 European Tour Weekly 03:00 World Cup of Pool 04:00 World Pool Masters 05:00 Ping Pong World Championship 06:00 Trans World Sports 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 European Tour Weekly 08:30 Super Rugby Highlights 10:00 NRL Premiership 12:00 Trans World Sports 13:00 Super Rugby Highlights 14:00 Golfing World 15:00 Scottish Premier League 17:00 Futbol Mundial 17:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 18:00 Super Rugby 20:00 Top 14 Highlights 21:00 Cricket ODI Highlights 21:30 Total Rugby 22:00 Super Rugby Highlights 23:00 Golfing World

01:00 03:00 04:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 19:00 20:00 23:30

V8 Supercars Highlights Speedway UFC Unleashed WWE SmackD\own Speedway V8 Supercars Highlights WWE Experience WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line V8 Supercars Highlights Prizefighter WWE NXT UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC All Access

Classifieds THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2012




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



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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION Need executive bachelors with clean habits male/female or issueless couples to share accommodation with S Indian family, near 6th Ring Road, petrol pump, Touristic park, Indian Central School. Contact: 97534176 / 24312943. (C 3890) 3-3-2012

FOR SALE Mitsubishi Colt model 1993, white color, good condition. Insurance till 25th Jan. 2013. Price KD 250. Contact: 99322585/ 99337034. (C 3899) 8-3-2012 Furniture for sale in good condition, sofa set (3+1+1), dining table, table 2 no, shoe rack, gas stove, fridge, washing machine, etc at very good price. Contact: 99172842. (C 3892) 3-3-2012

MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited for a Keralite Marthoma girl 24/154, BBA, working in India (Baroda), seeks alliance from God fearing, well-educated employed boys (Kuwait/ India). Email: (C 3898) 7-3-2012 An Indian man from Kokan (Ratnagiri) wants to marry an Indian lady (40-45 years) preferably from Kokan (Ratnagiri), Muslim, educated, (divorced or widow alone). Contact: P.O. Box 41529, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Kuwait 85856. Email: (C 3895) 6-3-2012

SITUATION WANTED Storekeeper, PDC passed, 10 years experience in Kuwait (Track, Oracle based application, stock inventory. Visa No. 18, transferable, expired date 16/05/2012. Mob: 66039535, 67084832. (C 3894) 6-3-2012

SITUATION VACANT Maid required for a family, couple only, in Shaab from 9 am to 6 pm only Sri Lankan nationals with valid residency may call: 97285837. (C 3896) 7-3-2012 Professional cook for house good experience all kind of food, hard work, good salary, good accommodation, full time or part time. Call 66519719 / 23901053. (C 3891) 3-3-2012

TUITION Tuition for IGCSE /IOEFL/IELTS (in short time) / American English, Bilingual schools students. Spoken English-for-Arabs. GMAT/SAT. English teacher. Call 66948099. (C 3893)

5-3-2012 Business management teacher with doctoral degree for universities, institutions, corporate & all student levels. Over 10 years experience. Call 66495951. (C 3817) 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 A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291 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 Female senior Mathematics teacher with more that 30 years experience in Kuwait, to teach secondary, intermedi-

No: 15381

ate and elementary stages. Religious and applied, communications and navigation institutions, special courses and secretariat institution. 97926737 Computer teacher for secondary and intermediate. Practical on laptop, power point projects, front page, visual basic data, universities and applied institutions. 50603063

rooms, large reception, 5 baths, maid room, courtyard, parking. Rent value KD 550. Tel: 66989887

MISCELLANEOUS Original guaranteed Palestinian virgin olive oil, large black and green olives for sale. Tel: 66517417

A fully central air-conditioned two room annex in Mangaf with separate exit and shaded car parking for rent to expatriates. Tel: 67753557

Whole Floor or small villa needed for rent in Shaab, Mansoriya, Nozha, Abdullah Al-Salem or Shamiya. Direct contact with owner. Tel: 9989018-99169016

For rent in Ashbelia: two apartments with 3 bedrooms, bath, kitchen and maid room each plus a yard in between. Tel: 90001594

A camp for rent in Kabed including five tents with all services. Complete privacy + game arcade. Tel: 97177714 Size 36 air pressure gun for sale in addition to a scope, safety lock. Shooting range 350 meters +bag+25 shots. Price KD 70. Tel: 97790478 A 3700 watt, 2012 model ASTRA generator for sale. Japanese parts assembled in China with pressure and gas meters. Price KD 85. Tel: 60066891 For rent in Hawalli a one bedroom (4x4m) and a 7x3.5 m reception+ terrace, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. Tunis street, behind Al-Andalus pharmacy. Tel: 99683200 For rent a two storey villa and a basement in Mangaf including 8 rooms, laundry room, yard, parking. Rent value KD 1000. Tel: 97996900 A storey and half for rent in Mangaf including two 3 bedroom apartments with 2 baths, reception, kitchen, driver room each. Tel: 66989887 For rent a ground floor in Qurain comprising of four

A 2005 Mini Cooper for sale. Tel: 99224855 A 2006 Lumina for sale with genuine factory paint. Price KD 2100. Tel: 69945429 A 2009 Touareg for sale. Price 6350. Tel: 96670777 Senior English teacher for Pakistani, bilingual schools, T.M.A., Ielts, Toefl, IBT K.S.S., social studies and math. Tel: 99577430 For sale: a 375 square meter house in Omariya, fully rented for KD 600. Price KD 185,000. Tel: 66815590 Transportation ser vice available. Payment in advanced conditioned for all areas. Tel: 66678633 The smallest and most up to date recording device (2012 model) for sale. Finger size, voice activated, records up to 600 hrs, made in Japan. Free delivery. Tel: 99773818 Original guaranteed Palestinian virgin olive oil for sale. Tel: 55740271 Upholster and tailor needed with good experience. Salar y determined per experience. Tel: 97813458



stars CROSSWORD 610



Aries (March 21-April 19) Stay out of uncharted waters today—your path will be much clearer tomorrow. One of the most important activities for the next few weeks is the activity of going-with-the-flow. It is not really your turn to make big changes in the workplace—only changes for yourself right now. You may decide that now is the time to reevaluate what you want to realistically be earning against what you are earning now. You may want to invest or use other resources in which to earn extra money. You are motivated to think about and look forward to change. Companionship with others is fun and you should take every opportunity to be with friends. You can be helping them as much as their presence is helping you.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Completing your work quickly and helping others with their work gives you the opportunity to clear away any clutter. You are alert and quick to respond this afternoon when new business is presented to you. A meeting place later today allows you and your co-worker friends to be creative. Together you may decide to enjoy each other’s company through some project or favorite past-time. This might be an interest in sailing, hunting, making a movie or camping. A favorite book is discussed and some gossip is shared. This evening you may decide on whether to keep an animal that has been pushy lately. A note in the newspaper first will help you feel that you have done all you could to find the proper owner. Family members want a pet.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 4. Gay or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement. 10. A person's brother or sister. 13. The month following March and preceding May. 14. Any of various deciduous or evergreen ornamental shrubs of the genus Abelia having opposite simple leaves and cymes of small white or pink or purplish flowers. 15. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 16. Relating to or resembling or made of or adorned with pearls or mother-of-pearl. 18. Herb of the Pacific islands grown throughout the tropics for its edible root and in temperate areas as an ornamental for its large glossy leaves. 19. An acute inflammatory disease occurring in the intestines of premature infants. 20. A populous province in northeastern China. 21. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication. 22. A region of Malaysia in northeastern Borneo. 24. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 27. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 28. A group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole. 31. In the same place (used when citing a reference). 34. Tropical American tree producing cacao beans. 37. An informal term for a father. 38. A benevolent aspect of Devi. 40. Committee formed by a special-interest group to raise money for their favorite political candidates. 41. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 43. A unit of magnetomotive force equal to 0.7958 ampereturns. 44. An awkward and inexperienced youth. 47. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 49. Music performed for dancing the polka. 53. Roman statesman and philosopher who was and advisor to Nero (circa 4 BC - 65 AD). 58. (Old Testament) The second patriarch. 60. A master's degree in business. 61. Primitive predaceous North American fish covered with hard scales and having long jaws with needle-like teeth. 62. A kind of heavy jacket (`windcheater' is a British term). 64. Tag the base runner to get him out. 65. The federal department that administers federal program dealing with better housing and urban renewal. 66. Title used for a married Frenchwoman. 67. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. The 11th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 2. A fencing sword similar to a foil but with a heavier blade. 3. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 4. Italian astronomer and mathematician who was the first to use a telescope to study the stars. 5. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 6. (Greek mythology) A princess of Colchis who aided Jason in taking the Golden Fleece from her father. 7. (Scottish) Bluish-black or gray-blue. 8. A slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water. 9. A mountainous landlocked communist state in southeastern Asia. 10. In the Arabian Nights a hero who tells of the fantastic adventures he had in his voyages. 11. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 12. German organist and contrapuntist (1685-1750). 17. A long noosed rope used to catch animals. 23. Fleshy and usually brightly colored cover of some seeds that develops from the ovule stalk and partially or entirely envelopes the seed. 25. A metric unit of length equal to one hundredth of a meter. 26. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (1902-1984). 29. God of the Underworld. 30. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 32. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 33. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 35. A communist state in the Caribbean on the island of Cuba. 36. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 39. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 42. The content of cognition. 45. United States author (born 1932). 46. Pertaining to the forward part of a vessel. 48. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 50. Minute aquatic herbs floating on or below the water surface of still water consisting of a leaflike frond or plant body and single root. 51. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 52. Jordan's port. 54. (Old Testament) The eldest son of Isaac who would have inherited the Covenant that God made with Abraham and that Abraham passed on to Isaac. 55. An aromatic ointment used in antiquity. 56. God of death. 57. (Islam) The man who leads prayers in a mosque. 59. Surface layer of ground containing a matt of grass and grass roots. 63. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) This is a good day to sit back and allow others to take the lead. Not everyone is on target all the time! Your emotions have taken a short vacation, giving you some time to calmly reflect and gain a focus about future plans. If something puzzles you, an older, wiser head may give guidance. If any problem arises, you can handle it methodically and without panic. You may take comfort in the past with its old ways and old solutions. If they worked once, they will probably work again. Walking might be a good way to work off your excess energy this afternoon. Approach the emotional subjects another time—results will be more positive. There is confidence and assertiveness in your love life now—you could take the initiative this evening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You may be working with vague instructions today. You are good at understanding others, but you are no mind reader—it is okay to ask questions. You may experience a period of irritability from this frustration, but it will pass quickly. Money matters have the green light today. Follow through on your commitments and ask for guidance if you need it. You have a natural sense of what the public wants. Some uneasiness from within could slow any progress with your goals. It may be time to haul those goals out and plan accordingly. This could involve your professional choices as well as relationships. An instinctive urge to get serious about taking care of you at many levels is also emphasized now. Diet and exercise are important.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You may be feeling a bit of anxiety today and just want to enjoy some time away from the usual work traumas. However, the harder you work, the luckier you get! You could find an adventure or a concept—nothing lifealtering—just new and different. Someone new, as well as a few of your old friends, may encourage you into some fun activity. The urge for self-indulgence and personal pleasure is strong. Try hard not to overindulge. Keep a balance in everything you do and you will be happy, healthy and wise. A feeling of being at peace and stable on the emotional level comes into play this evening and you may have that familiar feeling that you wish it would last forever. Visiting the library this evening you will find something new and unusual.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) There are restless energies from everywhere and everyone, including you. It may be hard to get down to business and do your work today. If you do not concentrate on the business at hand you may find yourself working late. If you are in sales or some sort of social work, you will make great headway in work production. Mental stimulation from others is the key for you—it is a good idea to cooperate and compromise with others. Any previous doubts you toyed with, regarding the direction of your profession, will be turning toward a most positive direction—success is the name of the game! You have a pleasant disposition toward all you come into contact with and you gain a great deal of focus as a result of this interaction with others.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your thoughts count—so use your curious mind to help solve the puzzles that come to your attention today. You may worry over relations with a business partner or a spouse but it is on firm ground—relax! A feeling of stability is yours to enjoy today. It is easy to organize your thoughts, and communication through interviews or surveys will be perfected. A balance between your career needs and personal needs should bring about an inner peace that you rarely get a chance to practice. Neither side of you has to struggle with the other. Music is likely to play a more important role for you this afternoon. If you are not teaching music you may decide to begin music lessons. You are never too old to learn a new skill, if only for your own pleasure.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is not particularly a day for workaholics. Your organized self may find difficulty in concentration as others are intent on interrupting your work. This is not an everyday thing and it may be best to let this restless energy run its course for the morning. You may find yourself moving toward the more unconventional and less traditional types of projects today. Eccentricities and a different manner of presenting yourself may be in order. Eyes open, there are new means of self-expression and communication possible. You have much energy this afternoon that may encourage you to involve yourself in some sort of sports or similar activity with friends. A carefree attitude is the maker of good memories today. Relationships are good.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

Your curiosity puts you in a problem-solving mood and you will find plenty of opportunities to solve problems today. All around you, people seem to be full of mischievous behavior. Your management and directional abilities are in high focus and you will help others when you are needed. Your warmth can build confidence and encourage others to achieve their best. If those in charge are watching, they will be favorably impressed. You will do well in a position of authority. Take care this afternoon, however, when you could be tempted to be mischievous yourself. This could possibly involve some hard-to-resist gambling opportunity. This afternoon is a good time to break away from your normal routine and enjoy friends and family.

You are prone to work hard and steadily, and particularly this morning. There are difficult tasks to complete and finishing touches to add. Perhaps you are in advertising, photography or landscaping as your imagination soars! There are opportunities for financial investments that were not present earlier. A fair warning for today would be to leave the too-good-to-be-true alone as you will have several opportunities to build a good foundation. You will make wise decisions when you steer clear of the rush to decide and give yourself time to think. You have a clear-minded insight into your own plans now and this includes a loved one. Tonight would be good for relaxing and escaping the rigors of the daily grind with a good movie or book.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Listen carefully; someone is paying you a compliment by following your path or asking your advice. Your personal acknowledgement will give you more confidence as you move to accomplish your work. You may receive some recognition today. Later this afternoon your attention moves to some volunteer program or charity work and this is where you have the most fun. Sometimes you wish that people who do not involve themselves in volunteer programs would understand how cool the activity can be and this is where you set an example. At home you may encourage the family to invest in a few entertainment fields that enrich public knowledge and encourage exploration or education.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

You may suffer this morning from some bouts of indecision. Take a look around . . . watching other people at work may help you to gain a focus and put you in that working frame of mind. If you are not working in such a place, go through the steps and your mind will eventually join in the pattern. Some note taking may be in order if you find your mind strays but you should be able to accomplish quite a lot by midmorning; you may surprise yourself. Listening will get you into special places this afternoon. Your creativity is exalted this afternoon and that may bring personal or career gains. Tensions, frustrations or generally a busy day can be left behind later today as you involve yourself in some pleasurable activity with a friend or relative.



e niv rsar n



i n f o r m at i o n























Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh











Amiri Hospital




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

Clinics Rabiya














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


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North Jleeb












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lifestyle G o s s i p


elebrated Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa is to take a year away from the podium as he struggles to recover after a battle with cancer, his office said yesterday. The 76-year-old maestro, who underwent surgery for esophageal cancer in 2010 and was treated for a hernia last year, had planned to conduct four concerts in Japan from March 17 but had


he three surviving Monkees aren’t planning to attend Davy Jones’ funeral because it would likely bring too much unwanted attention to his family during their time of grief, the group’s Micky Dolenz said Tuesday. He and fellow Monkees Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith have talked of attending one of the memorials that Jones’ family is planning to hold in New York and in the late singer’s native England, Dolenz said. And he added he’s considering organizing a


atalie Portman’s vintage Christian Dior Oscar gown has been sold for $50,000. The Academy Award-winning actress borrowed the 1954, US size 4, strapless, polka-dot dress from couture dealer Rare Vintage to wear as she presented the Best Actor accolade to ‘The Artist’ star Jean Dujardin at the ceremony in Los Angeles last month and the company has now sold it on to an unknown British buyer. Speaking to the website which arranged the sale, Rare Vintage owner Juliana Carione said: “Natalie wore a dress that she fell in love with. It was the perfect dress on the perfect girl. I think it was also a great tribute to the modernity and timelessness of vintage fashion.” According to the New York Post newspaper, the British buyer is a Londonbased couture collector. Although Natalie only chose the dress at the last minute, her stylist Kate Young previously revealed it was a perfect fit and needed no alterations. She said: “Natalie’s dress is amazing. It’s an actual 1954 spring couture dress, from Rare Vintage on 57th street in New York. We


memorial himself for Jones’ friends in Los Angeles. Whether the surviving Monkees would perform at any of the gatherings, or at any other time in the future, is an open question. “The three of us, Mike and Peter and I, we have never worked together just as a threesome. Mostly it was Peter, David and I and then Mike would join us,” Dolenz said of the band’s periodic reunions over the years. “We’ve been talking, we’ve been communicating, but it’s way too early, I think, to project or predict anything like that.” A private family funeral will take place in Florida this week, Jones spokeswoman Helen Kensick said Tuesday, declining to give any further details. Planning for a family service in England and a public memorial in the US were still under way. Dolenz said he wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of public affection for Jones that followed his death from a heart attack last week at age 66. The youngest member of the group, Jones played the role of the heartthrob in the made-for-TV band that shot to fame in 1966 with the “The Monkees” television show and such hit songs as “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

borrowed it - it’s $50,000! She was actually going to wear another dress but then I got a call from the woman at Rare Vintage and she was like, ‘You should see this dress for Natalie.’ So we went and she put it on, and it needed zero alterations, and Natalie was like, ‘This was meant to be, wasn’t it?’ And I said, ‘I guess it was.’”

prah Winfrey hugs Bobbi Kristina Houston when she breaks down during their TV interview. Bobbi talked to the chat show host for the first time about the passing of her mother Whitney Houston on February 11 - after allegedly ingesting a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol - and was hugged and comforted when she got upset. Oprah, a close family friend, describes Bobbi as “the love of Whitney’s life,” as she holds her on ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’. According to, Bobbi, 19, told friends: “Oprah was loyal to my mom, and never did my mother wrong, or made her look bad. She always looked out for my mom.” After she heard the news of her mother’s death, Bobbi - the only child of the ‘Saving all my Love for You’ singer and ex-husband Bobby Brown - was so upset and shocked she had to be rushed to hospital twice

decided to cancel the performances. “Unfortunately, Ozawa’s condition has not improved enough to conduct, and it has been decided that the four concerts will be cancelled,” the statement said. The statement said he would not conduct until at least February next year in order to concentrate on recovery on the advice of his doctors. Ozawa has had a long career spanning

the globe, spending nearly three decades at the Boston Symphony Orchestra before moving to Vienna in 2002 to become musical director for the Vienna State Opera.


ienna Miller is “very excited” about being a mother. The ‘G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra’ actress is expecting her first child with boyfriend Tom Sturridge and says entering a new phase of her life is the perfect way to mark turning 30 last December. She said: “I’m feeling fine. It’s all progressing nicely and it’s very exciting. It’s nice to start a new decade.” Although she is excited about being pregnant, Sienna doesn’t want to speak too much about it because she fears it will jeopardize her chances of keeping her personal life private. She added in an interview with the new issue of Britain’s Vogue magazine: “I’m in my second trimester, so I’m I-can-talk-about-it pregnant, even though I’m under strict instructions not to say anything as it would completely defeat the point of everything I’ve tried to achieve in the last eight years.” Sienna started dating ‘The Boat That Rocked’ actor Tom - who is friends with Robert Pattinson - just a few months after she split from fiance Jude Law for a second time in February 2011. It has been claimed she and the actor are engaged, but she has not confirmed the speculation.


ma Thurman has praised her ‘Bel Ami’ co-star Robert Pattinson for his acting ability. The 25-year-old actor became very involved for his role as 19th century Parisienne womanizer Georges Duroy for the film, and Uma insists he is constantly working hard to bring his skills up to the “next level.” In an interview with Stylist magazine, she said: “He’s very serious. He did a huge amount of rehearsals in his own time. I think that’s what you do when you’re a young actor, when you take your work very seriously and want to take it to the next level.” Uma, 41, rose to fame as a teenager in films including ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ and ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ and while she finds it hard to be as serious as her co-star - famous for his role as Edward Cullen in the ‘Twilight’ franchise - she did offer him advice on set. She added: “When you’ve

within 12 hours. In a preview clip of the show, Oprah says of Whitney: “The world lost an icon, they lost a mother and a sister.” The host also talks to Whitney’s brother Gary Houston and his wife Patricia, one of singer’s closest confidants. She asks them: “Does it feel real yet that she’s gone?” Whitney - who suffered from drug and alcohol problems during her life - famously opened up to Oprah in a tell-all 2009 interview, calling Bobby - who at that point she had divorced - her “drug”. The ‘My Love Is Your Love’ singer also publicly admitted she had abused “rock cocaine” and marijuana. ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’ airs in the US on Sunday, March 11 at 9pm. — Bang Showbiz


shley Olsen is unlikely to ever act again. The 25-year-old star - who made her acting debut aged just nine months alongside her twin Mary-Kate in ‘Full House’ - hasn’t appeared in a film since 2004’s ‘New York Minute’ and has no plans to return in front of the camera. She said: “We worked non-stop until we were 18. Then we decided to take a break and go to school - and that was when we decided to question whether we would carry on in entertainment. “It was time to step behind the process. I wanted to work on other things. “It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Hollywood, I like the way it operates and the people who are involved and the sense of possibility. But if I ever do get back in, it’s not going to be as an actress.” Though Mary-Kate has made some film and TV appearances since ‘New

been doing this a really long time, it’s hard to take it all so seriously. I said to him, ‘Don’t get too upset about it, because, before you know it, ‘Twilight’ will just be an old film that made you lucky enough to get another job. But when you’re in that position and you’re young, it’s hard to hear through the noise.” Uma doesn’t like to watch her oldest roles again, and she displayed a similar attitude to Robert in her earlier years. She added: “I find it excruciating to watch myself as a teenager. I’ve made a vow never to do it. I was only 17 and working with some of the finest people you will ever meet in the industry, but you don’t realize until you’ve spent 25 years trying to work with such a group again.”

York minute’ - including an eightepisode stint in ‘Weeds’ - she also thinks it “felt right” to step away from acting. She said: “It just felt right to move away.” The pair now runs a fashion empire and though their Dualstar Entertainment Group has over 30 full time staff, Mary-Kate and Ashley insist on being very hands-on with all of their business ventures. Ashley told the new issue of Britain’s Elle magazine: “We don’t trust a lot of peope. We are perfectionists. We’ve always wanted to be closely involved with everything, totally hands on that’s why it works. If we step away, it stops working.” Mary-Kate added: “I know it sounds controlling, but that’s how it has to be. It is a big responsibility - but we’ve been doing it for years.”


lifestyle M u s i c


obert B Sherman, the composer of the “Mary Poppins” song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and other Disney classics, has died in London aged 86, his publicist said on Tuesday. “He died peacefully yesterday,” a spokeswoman for Stella Richards Management told AFP, without giving any further details. New York-born Sherman and his brother Richard worked as staff composers for Disney between 1960 and 1973, during which time they wrote more than 200 songs for 27 films and two dozen television productions. These included “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, another hit from the 1964 film “Mary Poppins”, which won them an Oscar for best song. They also won the Academy Award for best score for the movie. Bob Sherman wrote the lyrics and his brother, known as Dick, composed the music, following in the footsteps of their songwriter father Al Sherman. They were also responsible for hits such as “It’s a Small World” and “I Wan’na Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book”, and composed the scores for “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Charlotte’s Web” among others. Sherman’s son Jeffrey confirmed his death in a Facebook posting late Monday. “My Dad, Robert B. Sherman, passed away tonight in London. He went peacefully after months of truly valiantly fending off death. He loved life and his dear heart finally slowed to a stop when he could fight no more,” he said. He added: “Please say a prayer for him. As he said, he wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeed-


M o v i e s

ed. “His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world. “I love you, Dad. Safe travels.” In Los Angeles, Disney president and chief executive Bob Iger also paid tribute to Sherman, mourning “the loss of an extraordinary talent.” “One of the world’s greatest songwriters and a true Disney legend, his legacy will endure forever through the magic of his music,” Iger said in a statement. “From ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘It’s a Small World’ to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘The Jungle Book,’ Robert, along with his brother Richard, wrote many of Disney’s most memorable and beloved songs, which continue to enchant millions of people around the world to this day.” — AFP

In this April, 5,1965 file photo actress Debbie Reynolds poses with Academy awards winners for best music Richard M Sherman, right, and Robert Sherman, left, who received the award for Mary Poppins in Santa Monica, Calif. — AP

A Minute With:

Julianne Moore on being Sarah Palin J

Garth Brooks pauses to compose himself as he thanks the crowd Tuesday during the announcement that he will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. — AP

Brooks leads 2012 Country Music Hall of Fame class


arth Brooks’ induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame caps one of the most astounding and important music careers in American history. At 50, though, Brooks isn’t done yet. He’s one of the hall’s youngest living inductees and might be a few short years from launching the second phase of a career that forced country music into the national consciousness and sold more albums than Michael Jackson. He joins singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins as this year’s inductees. A formal ceremony is planned later this year. Brooks has been in semi-retirement, raising his children in his home state of Oklahoma with his wife, Trisha Yearwood. He started a string of shows in Las Vegas a few years ago, and talked openly Tuesday about what will happen after his nest empties. “A lot of times you go into the hall of fame at the end of your career,” Brooks said. “I’ve got to make sure that I understand this honor. But now my job is to take this honor and take it somewhere hopefully it hasn’t been taken before, and that’s to strap it on a rocket like a tour, especially a tour that’s been vacant since 1998. Our youngest is a sophomore in high school, so we’ll see after that. The kids are always our first priority. If they seem to be off and running well on their own, it sure would be fun to fire it up.” All three inductees noted the contribution of others to their success. Brooks thought his induction might be “premature,” given the long list of others he believes should already be enshrined. Yearwood said Brooks was in tears after he got the call a few weeks ago. “You’re excited,” Brooks said. “You feel very honored. But at the same time there’s this kind of guilt or, I don’t know what it is, a kind of embarrassment, so you feel uneasy because I wouldn’t be standing here today talking to you if it wasn’t for Randy Travis. I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you today if it wasn’t for Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Steve Wariner, these guys. ... I think eventually they will get in, but it probably should’ve been before Garth Brooks came in. That’s the whole feeling for the day.” Smith, whose first single in 1964, “Once a Day,” was a No. 1 hit for eight weeks, is a pioneer female country singer who released her 53rd album last year. She was discovered by Bill Anderson, who saw her singing in a talent contest in Columbus, Ohio. The wife of fellow country star Marty Stuart, she had a series of hits in the 1960s and ‘70s and parlayed that success into movie and television appearances. She said she was in the middle of preparing dinner when she found out she was inducted. When asked what she did after the call, she responded: “Finished supper.” Robbins, blind since childhood, is considered among the top session players in Nashville over a 50-year career that’s included work for everyone from George Jones to Bob Dylan. He played on Jones’ iconic No 1 hit “White Lightning” and spent the next several decades contributing to a mind boggling string of classic songs and albums. Over time, his sound became one of the most copied in Nashville. News conference host Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn, said Robbins’ name comes up often in Nashville recording sessions: “Time and time again you hear people say, ‘Play some of that Pig stuff.’” Before he went into semiretirement, Brooks became the top-selling solo artist in the US with more than 128 million albums sold in his career. He busted down the walls of what had been a regional sound, taking country music to stadiums and major metropolitan markets. He opened the door for scores of artists who joined him on a platinum-selling spree in the 1990s never before seen in the genre. Kix Brooks acknowledged a debt to Garth Brooks that many in Nashville owe.—AP

ulianne Moore has played a range of film characters from a cocaine snorting pornstar in “Boogie Nights” to a lesbian cheating mom in “The Kids Are All Right,” and she’s been Oscar nominated four times for movies including “The Hours.” On Saturday, the 51-year-old takes on another complicated role, portraying real-life conservative firebrand politician Sarah Palin in HBO’s “Game Change.” The TV movie, which is based on Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book of the same name, offers a dramatization of the Republican 2008 campaign and failed presidential bid of John McCain (Ed Harris), as told through the eyes of senior strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson). With a strong vocal impression and uncanny physical resemblance to Palin, Moore delivers the onetime vice president nominee Palin in a role that already has some industry watchers buzzing with Emmy predictions. Reuters sat down with Moore to talk about her role in the film and her work outside acting. Q: Was it hard playing someone who is still living? A: “I’ve never played a living figure, and the responsibility of that is enormous. She’s extremely well-known and still very present. She’s a correspondent on Fox. I certainly felt a real responsibility not to do anything that was not corroborated by the writer.” Q: Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure who engenders many different opinions. Are you ready for viewers’ responses? A: “There’s been already been a strong response to the movie. But the film is well-researched and well-documented. What became evident and what we dramatize is the fact that she was not vetted to the extent that they usually vet a candidate. They were in a hurry. They needed a running mate, and I think the vetting process was maybe somewhat more cursory than it should have been. And as they find out more and more about her, they realize that she doesn’t know much about foreign policy, and that became evident to the American people, particularly with Charlie Gibson, Sean Hannity as well and Katie Couric.”

an ambassador for Save The Children for US programs, I founded a Valentine’s Day card initiative with all the proceeds going directly to “Save the Children.” In the United States we have this idea that everyone is supposed to get a fair shot and equal education, but that’s not always the case. “Save the Children” goes into places where they really don’t have the resources and tries to make it a little bit better.”

Q: How did you prepare to play the role of someone so well-known and often satirized, most famously by Tina Fey? A: “It’s probably the most intense preparation I’ve done for a part. Her television appearances including the debate are on YouTube, and she has a book on tape, so I listened to all those. My children laughed at me because I put anything ever documented or said by her on my iPod. I had my daughter’s skating song, “Ice, Ice Baby,” and the rest was all Sarah Palin. I listened to it constantly whenever I was in the car, when I was running. And I worked with a vocal coach and moved on to the physical mannerisms once I had that down because you can get tripped up looking at something physically before you have it down orally.” Q: You’ve supported a number of special interest campaigns, “Moms Clean Air Force” and “Save the Children,” to name two. Are you a political person and can you tell us about these causes. A: “The Clean Air Act was signed into a bill in 1970. This is an important campaign about supporting that act. Clean air is not a political issue or partisan issue. It’s something we all share and how we all breathe the same air. It’s something we can all be united about. “As

T Academy award US winning actress Meryl Streep and British director Phyllida Lloyd open a lid of a sake cask after the breaking ceremony to promote her latest movie ‘The Iron Lady’ in Tokyo yesterday. The 62year-old Streep picked up her third Oscar in February for her role as former British premier Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’, underscoring her status as the pre-eminent actress of her generation. — AFP


rganizers yesterday announced a lineup of 14 movies for Sundance London, a four-day British offshoot of the Utah-based indie film festival. The April 26-29 event will include Julie Delpy’s relationship comedy “2 Days in New York”; Youssef Delara and Michael D Olmos’ hip-hop drama “Filly Brown”; So Yong Kim’s road movie “For Ellen”; and Josh Radnor’s

campus romance “Liberal Arts.” Documentaries include “Finding North,” a study of hunger in America; “The House I Live In,” about the effects of the “war on drugs”; and “Under African Skies,” which follows Paul Simon back to South Africa for the 25th anniversary of his “Graceland” album.—AP

Q: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an actor? A: “Sometimes I think I’d like to be a librarian because I love books so much, and sometimes I say I think I’d like to be a doctor. I love so many things. I love design. I love decorating. Fortunately, the great thing about life is you can choose what you do for a living, but you can also do many other things just because you enjoy them.” Q: You have written children’s books, and your “Freckleface Strawberry” debuted as an Off-Broadway Musical in 2010. Will you be writing more in the future? A: “I have three “Freckleface Strawberry” books. There’s the first one and there’s “Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully,” and the third one came out this fall, called “Best Friends Forever.” I have another book coming out next year that’s not part of the “Freckleface” series, “My Mom is a Foreigner.” It’s a children’s picture book based on my experience growing up with a mother from another country. “My Mom is from Scotland, and I wanted to write a book for her. It’s about that idea that your mother is from another place but still being just that same as any other mother.” Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you? A: “I’m the best cleaner I know. I’m excellent. My sister and I are a tremendous team, if you ever need anyone to clean your house. It’s just an innate skill I have.” — Reuters

he world’s biggest record label says it is trying something a little different as it seeks the elusive “holy grail” for Japanese pop-global chart success. A procession of “J-pop” acts touted as the next big thing on the world stage have come and gone, most causing barely a ripple in markets like the United States, Germany and Britain. Audiences outside Asia just don’t “get” the music and lyrics, experts say, although pinning down exactly why has proved more difficult. Labels’ strategy has tended to focus on coaching Japanese acts to sound and appear more Western, notably by encouraging them to sing in English and try genres like hip-hop and R’n’B. Now Universal Music Group plans to do the opposite as it seeks to launch techno-pop girl band Perfume on to the world stage-celebrate their “Japan-ness”. “We want to sell the package as they are now,” said Kimitaka Kato, managing director of Universal International at the label’s Japanese division. “I won’t get them to sing 100 percent in English and not Westernise them at all unless they ask us to,” he told Reuters by telephone from Japan. “I think with Perfume it’s all about that futuristic Japanese image.” In what is billed as a first for Universal, it has just released Perfume’s number one album “JPN” on iTunes in 50 countries.

‘Futuristic, robotic, doll-like’ Kato said the trio-Nocchi, Kashiyuka and Aa-Chan-may learn English over time, enabling them to express themselves overseas, but for now they would play on the image of “mysterious, futuristic, robotic, dolltype girls, well choreographed with laser beams.” And in a bid to avoid mistakes of the past, they will stick to the style of music they know best. “We are Japanese, we are Asians, we can’t necessarily sing ‘R’n’B’ or hip-hop,” he said. “We should do what we’re good at-what we’re good at is pop tunes.” In their 20s, the singers often appear in matching outfits, and YouTube footage features high-tech shows with elaborate lighting, synchronized dancing and giant video screens. Perfume formed in 2000 and had its breakthrough in 2007 with the hit “Polyrhythm”. According to Universal, which signed the band from independent label Tokuma, they have sold 1.3 million albums in Japan to date. Kato said he had been encouraged by the recent success of “K-pop” acts from South Korea who had made limited inroads in Europe and beyond in recent months. —Reuters


lifestyle F a s h i o n


ith only one day to go, the final furlong of Paris’ roller coaster nine-day long fashion week has produced strong and fantastical ready-to-wear offerings from the houses of Alexander McQueen and Chanel. Inspiration for the collections spanned the terrain, and beyond - from a cosmic ice palace to the organic depths of the earth. Sarah Burton further consolidated her position as one of the most imaginative designers working in the French capital, with a weightless flight through texture and feather in the bold spirit of house founder Alexander McQueen. Meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel designer with a penchant for spectacle, colonized Paris’ turn-of-the-century Grand Palais with an installation of hundreds of mock crystals up to 7 meters (23 feet) long. But behind the aesthetic, it’s clear the designer knows on which side his bread is buttered with a front row sprinkled with potential clients from Asia, a growing source of business for the iconic brand. Nearly upstaging the clothes was news that Yves Saint Laurent has chosen a new creative director to replace Stefano Pilati, who gave his swan-song collection for the house Monday. A source who attended a YSL staff meeting told The Associated Press that employees were told that Hedi Slimane, the former Dior Homme designer, has been appointed to head the creative side of the prestigious French house. The source was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named. An official announcement was expected shortly. Word of Slimane’s arrival ends months of speculation over the creative direction of the house. CHANEL Karl Lagerfeld turned Paris’ Grand Palais into a cold, crystal fortress for a wrapped-up, layered fall-winter collection that channeled the space-age sheen of the 1980s. The show invoked another-worldliness reminiscent of the 1980 movie “Superman II,” in which Christopher Reeve flew to an Arctic palace. Lagerfeld certainly displayed his superhuman eye for detail. Tectonic shiny appliques gave gray woolen coats a textural friction, while geometric A-line coat dresses had the feel of gems quarried from deep within the earth. One long, flowing dress in purple even drew gasps as the model disappeared into a matching amethyst backdrop.The collection, one of the most layer-heavy this season, was a play on volume with skirts on top of trousers and thick coiled scarves, reminiscent of the 1980s New Romantics. “Paris is about layers, so I didn’t use any fur,” said Lagerfeld, standing next to a crystal shard in cold gray.

Models present creations by Chanel fashion designer Germany’s Karl Lagerfeld during the Fall/Winter 2012-2013 ready-to-wear collection show, on March 6, 2012 at the Grand Palais in Paris. — AP/AFP photos

VALENTINO In a house as classic as Valentino, there is little room for the revolutionary, a point made clear in a sober ready-to-wear. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli described an “imaginative journey” that “explored different iconographies” but the program notes better captured the mood: They cited the show’s “dominating sense of control.” Structured silhouettes in deep red, black and midnight blue had tight, sophisticated smocking and the painstaking embroidery seen in January’s highly artisanal couture. High and scooped collars on long coats and knee-length dresses were expressed in thick black leather. Frog fastenings closing straight, slim coats, tone-on-tone trim running along precisely cut bodices and tapered menswear trousers emphasized the constructed look. It was finely executed, but at times had flashes of the stern headmistress, albeit at an extremely glamorous school. To be sure, there were traces of the designers’ worldly travels: tunics with fabrics that smacked of a Balkan patterning that playfully moved to white touches of Jackie Kennedy - who was famously dressed by founder Valentino Garavani.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Picciolo for Valentino


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PACO RABANNE Paco Rabanne put a spin on the house archives in his fall-winter ready-to-wear collection that included variations on the 1960s Do-It-Yourself Rhodoid dress. Manish Arora, in his second effort as the creative director, succeeded in capturing an essence of the founder, who first cut his teeth in jewelry design, in a sparkling array of signature waistless cocktail dresses. Sometimes the designer hit the right button, invoking Brigitte Bardot’s minimetallic dress made in 1969. Its squareness and the play between the mail and contradictory lightness made it feel very now. But other references looked slightly offbalance. One jumpsuit in metal pieces revamped an outfit for singer Francoise Hardy 40 years ago, and was - so said the program notes - “reborn.” However, the low-slung and heavy baggy pants produced a formless silhouette that even made the 6-foot (1.8-meter) blond siren wearing it look clunky.

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN The wonderment was tangible at Sarah Burton’s accomplished and vibrantly colored ready-to-wear show for Alexander McQueen. Feather explosions that ballooned in three dimensions spelled awe for spectators. The inspiration for fall-winter was said to be the “rippling underbellies of mushrooms,” but like the house’s spring collection it looked more like a coral reef. The teeming feel to the fibers blown by the movement of walking models painted a scene of anemones and medusas in a seapalette of ice white, soft blue and crimson. The peplum of one blush pink dress, with a metal pincer belt, recalled the layers of a jellyfish, and the tooth of an octopus. At several points the audience gasped. “It was exhilarating,” said Hal Rubenstein, InStyle magazine fashion director. “With talent like Sarah’s you just sit back and relish the sense of fantasy. No one else has it.” Horse hooves -

feathered platforms without heels - and visors reminiscent of horse blinders added danger to the visual repertoire. A voluminous black trapeze coat in Mongolian hair had the heavy, almost muscular feel of a cantering horse, with a large equine bustle that moved from side to side. With silhouettes changing shape from every angle and bold ideas, it was by far the best example this season of a designer at the top of her game. It also was a show carried out in the spirit of McQueen, who committed suicide two years ago. — AP

Manish Arora for Paco Rabanne

edi Slimane, a cult designer beloved of rockers and fashionistas alike, is returning to the industry after a five-year break to become creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, the French house said yesterday. YSL made the announcement, confirming what industry sources told AFP last month, on the final day of Paris Fashion Week where its current designer Stefano Pilati showed his swansong collection on Monday night. Named “creative and image director”, Slimane “will take on artistic responsibility for the brand and all the collections,” said a joint statement from Saint Laurent and its parent company, the French luxury giant PPR. The prospect of the 43-year-old Slimane returning to fashion, and what’s more taking over at the illustrious Yves Saint Laurent, set Twitter abuzz at the start of Paris Fashion Week. “It’s going to be sharp, sexy, dry,” swooned one fan, dreaming of a woman’s tuxedo-a YSL classic-revisited with Slimane’s edgy, androgynous touch. It will be Slimane’s second stint at the legendary house, having worked there in the late 1990s as head of menswear before moving to Dior Homme, part of the rival LVMH luxury galaxy, where he left an enduring mark. Born to a Tunisian father and Italian mother, Slimane is seen as having revolutionized the way men dress during his stint at Christian Dior, from 2000 and 2007, making Dior Homme each season’s must-see show. Seen by his peers as one of the most gifted designers of his generation, Slimane’s distinctive skinny suits and tight low trousers found imitators not just in fashion but in the rock sphere that so fascinates him. Since leaving Dior he has been based in Los Angeles on a sabbatical from the fashion world, working mainly in photography, his mostly black and white work focusing largely on the rock milieu. YSL’s statement said that “in parallel with his new job, he will continue his career as a photographer.” Mega-stars from Mick Jagger to Pete Doherty have gone on stage in Dior Homme, while Jean Paul Gaultier once said after a Slimane show he could not have done better. Even the legendary Karl Lagerfeld shed some 45 kilos (90 pounds) to be able to slide into a pencil-thin Slimane suit. His look was much copied by mass-market designers across the world, also influencing the design of women’s clothes. At the height of his fame, some young followers even adopted Slimane’s distinctive Tintin-like quiff. With a gift for creating buzz around his collections, Slimane is seen as a master showman as well as a talented designer. At his packed catwalk shows, the models would step out in groups instead of one by one, with rock groups were hired to provide the soundtrack for the carefully stage-managed events. Slimane left Dior saying he wanted a chance to design for women. Although he has never created a full-scale women’s collection, he produced a tiny number of super slim-shouldered men’s suits-for a select clientele of women to fight over. With the move to YSL, Slimane is coming full circle. He first arrived there in 1997 as head of menswear, leaving in 2000 when it was acquired by the Italian house Gucci, which brought in its house stylist Tom Ford. Slimane succeeds the Italian Pilati, who earned a standing ovation for a final YSL collection playing heavily on blacks with fine chain-mail dresses, sent out before a star-studded Paris Fashion Week gathering. Pilati gave a brief bow at show’s end, raising one hand in a “V” for victory, signing off after an adventure with the house that began in 2004. — AFP

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‘Mary Poppins’ composer dies




The artwork ‘The Global Pursuit of Happiness, or: The Army of Luck’ by artist Boris Petrovsky is displayed at the art fair ‘art Karlsruhe’ in Karlsruhe, western Germany, yesterday. The fair opens its doors from March 8 to 11, 2012. — AFP


he Tugendhat villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Bauhaus gem which suffered Nazi occupation and even a stint as a stable, has reopened its doors in the southern Czech city of Brno after a meticulous renovation. Leading the early 20th-century “Modernist” revolution which ushered in simple clean lines in European architecture, the threestorey, flat-roofed villa is the work of legendary German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). A guru of the celebrated Bauhaus school, Mies like his famous contemporaries in

al commission of 17 experts from six countries. “The renovation was carried out by a Czech company but under the supervision of the whole world,” said Brno mayor Roman Onderka. Using materials like glass, steel and concrete, Mies eschewed the traditional concept of separate rooms for an airy, open-plan design which replaced walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering breathtaking views of the sprawling sloping garden and Brno’s historical monuments. Rohe’s design principle of “less is more” saw him use the revolutionary iron framework

Photo taken on February 29, 2012 shows the restored Tugendhat villa in Brno, during a visit by the descendants of the original owners - Daniela and Ruth Tugendhat. — AFP the United States or France, sought above all to accentuate architecture as an art. “Tugendhat ranks among iconic residences, along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago and Le Corbusier’s Savoy villa in Poissy (France),” said Iveta Cerna, director of the UNESCO-listed monument. The doors of Tugendhat, built in 1929-30, opened to visitors last week after a two-year, $9.2 million (6.8 million euro) revamp supervised by an internation-


Colombian writer and Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez raises the first copy of a commemorative edition of his most outstanding work ‘Cien anos de Soledad’ (One Hundred Years of Solitude), during the opening of the IV International Congress of the Spanish Language, in Cartagena, Colombia, 26 March 2007. — AFP

allowing him to dispense with supporting walls. He also designed all the furniture, including two types of armchairs crafted specially for the house: the Tugendhat and Brno chairs which are still in production, as well as switches, washbasins, bathtubs and taps. The villa was shorn of paintings and decorations but was by no means austere due to the extensive use of exotic materials like a captivating honey-colored onyx wall which is partly

obel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez turned 85 on Tuesday, spending a quiet day at his home in Mexico City, the Colombian literary giant’s relatives and aides said. But when your friends include plenty of presidents and pop star Shakira, it’s hard to keep things very quiet. Fellow Colombian Caribbean-coast native Shakira Tweeted her greeting “Lots of happiness to Gabriel Garcia Marquez on his day. We love you Gabo!” “Gabriel is doing well, fortunately. I think he will be with us for a while,” his brother Jaime Garcia Marquez told AFP. Garcia Marquez, perhaps best known for “A Hundred Years of Solitude,” “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “No One Writes to the Colonel,” won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1982. It is only in the past few years that health woes have slowed him down. He is recovering from cancer, and has continued to live in Mexico City most of the year. “He had a nice time. He had a quiet day at home and there was no party really. He did not have visits but did have a lot of calls,” his assistant Monica Alonso said. As a birthday treat, Garcia Marquez got a special gift this week: the start of sales of an electronic version of his masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” The release marks the author’s fourth book

translucent and changes color at dusk, and rare tropical woods.”My parents absolutely identified themselves with this type of architecture, they loved the house,” said Daniela HammerTugendhat, the daughter of the villa’s original owners. “My father was convinced that the beauty and transparency of the architecture could shape the ethics of its residents, including the children raised here,” she added. Fritz Tugendhat was a Jewish industrialist who owned several factories in Brno, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Prague. The city, known as the “Moravian Manchester” owing to its numerous textile plants prior to World War II, also boasted a large Jewish community at the time. But Tugendhat and his wife Grete only enjoyed living in the villa for a brief period before being forced to flee Nazi German occupation in 1938. They moved first to Switzerland and then to Venezuela, where Hammer-Tugendhat was born. “My parents lost not only their house, but also the closest family members murdered by the Nazis,” HammerTugendhat told AFP. As the war broke out, the villa’s fate was sealed. The Nazis confiscated it, converting it into a studio for the Messerschmitt aviation factory, while the Soviet Army later used it as a stable during the liberation of Czechoslovalia in 1948. Under communism in 1955, the villa became the property of the Czechoslovak state, and it was converted into a rehabilitation centre for children, before another revamp in the 1980s. The villa was the setting for key talks between the Czech and Slovak prime ministers, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, in 1992 in the run-up to the peaceful split of the former Czechoslovakia into two countries a year later.—AFP


major exhibition on Henri Matisse opening in Paris this week brings a new perspective to his work, showing the painstaking creative process behind the simple shapes and strident colors that made the French artist’s name. “Matisse: Pairs and Series” explores for the first time how one of the greatest painters of the 20th century would repeat the same composition again and again, varying color and technique, before being satisfied with the result. For a man best known as leader of the Fauvist movement, and for seemingly spontaneous bursts of color such as his 1906 “Joy of Life”, the show reveals an insecure and restrained side that would remain unchanged throughout a six-decade career. “We wanted to challenge the received wisdom that he was a happy painter, an easy painter, a sort of virtuoso of simplicity and joy,” said exhibition curator Cecile Debray. “Matisse was obsessive, worried, racked with doubt from the beginning to the end, and he showed it in his painting through this constant multiplication and exploration,” she said. The exhibition, expected to be one of the highlights of the spring cultural season in Paris, runs to June 18 at the Pompidou Centre, before moving on to Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst and then the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It comprises some 60 paintings and 30 drawings, including emblematic works like Matisse’s “Blue Nude” cut-paper series from 1952, four collages labeled I to IV, where he began the last work first then tried three different variations, before coming back to finish his first attempt at the end. “A painting is like a card game: you should know from the beginning what you wish to achieve at the end. Everything should be worked backwards so that you have finished before you have begun,” Matisse is quoted as saying in the exhibition. ‘Wild beast’ Although the idea of the tortured artist is perhaps nothing new, what’s particularly surprising in Matisse’s case was his willingness to show the laborious process behind his art. In 1945, as the exhibition shows, Matisse displayed six of his finished works in a gallery in Paris, alongside framed photographs of their previous stages, showing the genesis of the work and the complexity behind the apparent ease. Debray attributes the rare honesty to the artist’s need for validation after the 1905 Autumn Salon in Paris, where the violent colors of works such as his “Open Window” and “Woman with a Hat” earned him and fellow artists the derogatory nickname “fauves” or “wild beasts”. “He was considered a bit of a joker and there was a real scandal. Maybe (fellow artist Marcel) Duchamp would have loved it, but Matisse wasn’t like that and he kept trying to explain himself, to be taken seriously,” Debray told Reuters. Despite the early criticism, Matisse went on to achieve fame and fortune during his lifetime and is often regarded as the most important French painter of the 20th century.—Reuters

published electronically. “I do not know if it will be as successful as hoped but it is the goal,” his literary agent Carmen Balcells told Caracol Radio on Monday. This year also marks the 30th anniversary since Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” has already sold 30 million copies worldwide. Garcia Marquez was born March 6, 1927 in the Colombian Caribbean town of Aracataca but has lived in Mexico for several decades. Weakened by cancer, he did not resume writing after his latest novel, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores,” in 2004. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the saga of a troubled family of Macondo, an imaginary village, in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has been translated into 35 languages but only now is appearing in a digital edition.—AFP

A visitor looks at paintings by French Henri-Emile Benoit Matisse (1869-1954) on March 2, 2012 at the Georges Pompidou national museum of Modern in Paris. — AFP

08 Mar 2012  
08 Mar 2012  

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