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Indian government in U-turn on retail reform

Bedbugs can thrive despite inbreeding

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Microsoft to open ‘app store’ in February

United crash out of Champions League at Basel




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Amir issues warning on primaries, vote-buying Ummah party calls for election boycott

Max 20º Min 03º Low Tide 05:20 & 16:29 High Tide 11:37 & 21:52

By B Izzak

Zardari suffers heart attack, flies to Dubai ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s embattled President Asif Ali Zardari will remain in hospital in Dubai until further notice after suffering a minor heart attack and undergoing an operation, officials said yesterday. The unpopular 56-year-old head of state flew to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after falling ill in the midst of a major scandal over alleged attempts by a close aide to seek US help to limit the power of Pakistan’s military. His illness sparked media reports that he is contemplating resignation, but loyalists have ruled out any question that he may step down and the president has defied many critics in already holding onto power for three years. Asif Ali Zardari “He had a minor heart attack on Tuesday. He flew to Dubai where he had an angioplasty. He’s in good health now,” Mustafa Khokhar, adviser to the prime minister on human rights who sits in the cabinet, told AFP. “There’s no question of any resignation,” he added. The prime minister office said the president was “stable” but would remain under observation as doctors examine the cause of his illness. A statement gave no timeframe for the treatment and made no mention of a Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: HH the Amir told the opposition bloc yesterday that the government will fight against illegal primary elections and buying of votes during the forthcoming general elections expected to be held next month. According to former MP Naji Al-Abdulhadi, the Amir also advised the former MPs to resort to “reasonable” statements during the election campaign and to refrain from undermining the reputation of people, adding that the audiovisual law will be implemented strictly. The Amir vowed that the government will deal with care reports of the Audit Bureau and the violations they contain as the next period will focus on development and construction and will be headed by a new prime minister. Abdulhadi added that the Amir informed the former parliamentarians that the interior ministry has formed a team entrusted with monitoring illegal primary elections and vote-buying practices and that any citizen can contact the team. The Amir urged the opposition bloc to focus on national speeches and stay away from statements that may incite dissent and disputes, Abdulhadi said in a statement. The former parliamentarians promised the Amir to implement his advises but hoped that private television channels will not attack them and in this case, they will be forced to answer back. Former MP Falah Al-Sawwagh said the opposition bloc thanked the Amir for understanding “our requests by accepting the resignation of the Cabinet and dissolving the National Assembly and allowing people to elect their representatives”. He said the bloc pledged to the Amir not to escalate the situation and to give the new government ample time to work, adding that the Amir has vowed to apply the law on those who undermine national unity. Former MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun said that the first six months after the elections will be crucial to judge the performance of the new government. Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah (right) receives the new Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah during a reception at Sheikh Nasser’s diwaniya yesterday. (Inset) Former MP Salwa Al-Jassar is seen surrounded by her packed belongings at the National Assembly yesterday, a day after HH the Amir dissolved the parliament. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

‘Secretive’ Mideast faces HIV epidemic BEIRUT: In an Arab world rife with social stigma, government inaction and often limited access to education and medical care, experts warn that an HIV epidemic is on the rise. “In the Middle East and North Africa, the HIV epidemic has been on the rise for the past decade,” said Aleksandar Sasha Bodiroza, HIV/AIDS adviser at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). “The number of people needing treatment in the region has spiked from approximately 45,000 in 2001 to nearly 160,000 in 2010,” Bodiroza told AFP. “This has put the Middle East and North Africa among the top two regions globally with the fastest growing HIV epidemic.” A United Nations report released this month said the number of people becoming infected with HIV has slowed worldwide, with AIDS-related deaths also on the decline as access to treatment becomes more widespread. But the Arab world has been slow to catch up. Here, HIV contraction rates and AIDS-related deaths are increasing as public awareness, government response and access to adequate medical services have been slow to progress. While there is little reliable data on the Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations estimates between 350,000 and 570,000 people live with the HIV virus in the region, home to a population estimated at more the 367 million. One study, published recently on the open-access Public Library of Science, put infection rates among men who have sex with men at 5.7 percent in Egypt’s capital Cairo - and at 9.3 percent in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. And while some countries have begun to take small steps towards fighting a growing but hushed problem, shame and stigma show very little sign of waning in a region where same-sex relationships and premarital sex are often a crime. That stigma has become a fact of life for one young man in Beirut, reached through a group that provides free support for people who are HIV-positive or suffer from AIDS. Continued on Page 13

Assad says only ‘crazy’ leaders kill own people

KUWAIT: US Army soldiers from the 2-82 Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, walk next to their convoy of armored vehicles after arriving in Kuwait from Camp Adder in Iraq early yesterday at Camp Virginia. After seven months in Iraq, the 3rd Brigade has pulled out of the country as part of America’s military exodus by the end of December after eight years of war and occupation which included the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said “only a crazy person” would target his own people, in a US television interview released yesterday. Speaking to ABC News, Assad brushed off widening international sanctions and questioned the UN death toll of more than 4,000 since the eruption of the unrest in March, saying most victims were government supporters. Assad - speaking to veteran journalist Barbara Walters in a rare interview to foreign media - said he was not responsible for the bloodshed and drew a distinction between himself and individual members of the military. “We don’t kill our people,” Assad said. “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person. There was no command to kill or be brutal,” Assad said. Assad said that security forces belonged to “the government” and not him personally. “I don’t own them. I’m president. I don’t own the country. So they are not my forces,” Assad said. Assad’s family has ruled Syria with an iron fist for four decades. Assad’s brother, Lieutenant Colonel Maher al-Assad, heads the army’s Fourth Division, which oversees the capital as well as the elite Republican Guard. Witnesses and human rights groups say Syrian forces have used intense force, mass arrests and torture to try to crush the biggest threat yet to the Assad family’s rule. The United Nations estimates that more than 4,000 people have died since the uprising began in March, part of a wave of pro-democracy movements sweeping the Arab world that has toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Assad dismissed the death toll, saying: “Who said that the United Nations is a credible institution? Most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government, not the vice versa,” Assad said in English, giving a figure of 1,100 dead soldiers and police. Continued on Page 13

in the


Aussie sentenced to 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Cruise’s mission in Dubai: Not falling

Iran blocks ‘virtual’ American embassy

SYDNEY: An Australian man has been sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in jail by a court in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty of blasphemy, Canberra said yesterday. Reports said Mansor Almaribe, 45, was detained in Madinah on Nov 14 while making the hajj pilgrimage and accused of insulting companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said he was sentenced on Tuesday and Canberra’s ambassador in Saudi Arabia had been in touch with authorities to plead for leniency. A consular official attended the sentencing, where the Shiite was initially slapped with a two-year jail term that was subsequently reduced, the spokeswoman added. The Melbourne Age has previously said the father-of-five from Shepparton in Victoria state, who could not afford a lawyer, suffers from diabetes and heart disease, with grave fears for his health. His eldest son, Jamal, told the newspaper this week that his father had been reading and praying in a group when accosted by religious police and arrested.

DUBAI: Tom Cruise may seem larger than life on-screen. But when it came to stunts on the side of the world’s tallest tower, his thoughts were definitely down to earth. Asked yesterday about his biggest fear during scenes outside the 828-m-high Burj Khalifa, Cruise was quick with an answer: “Falling.” The actor is in Dubai for the world premier of “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” at the city’s annual film festival. Cruise said filmmakers had to monitor temperatures on the spire’s sun-baked facade so he wouldn’t get burned. That wasn’t the only challenge. The actor says he didn’t anticipate the cross winds. “I had to figure out, actually, how to fly,” he told reporters on the 124th floor observation area of the Burj Khalifa, which rises dozens of stories higher. “I had to figure out how to use my feet as a rudder ... The first couple of times I was slamming into the building.” Cruise said he spent months training on a four-storey structure to practice his moves on the Burj. Cruise was joined in Dubai with costars Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Anil Kapoor.

TEHRAN: Iran yesterday blocked an Internet website the United States was touting as a “virtual embassy”, and which senior MPs slammed as an attempt to deceive the Iranian people and divide them from the government. Alaeddin Borujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission, said the new US website was a misguided attempt to make the Iranian people believe Washington wanted to communicate with them. “The opening of the virtual embassy by the US is a new deception by the Great Satan,” he said. “The Iranian nation will not be fooled by this deception,” he said. Another influential MP, Hassan Ghafouri-Fard, was quoted by state television as saying the website was set up because “the US wants to create division between Iran’s nation and government”. “Until the US gives up its conspiracies and anti-Iran diplomacy, the Iranian nation will have no desire to establish relations, even at the level of virtual embassies,” he said. The US opened the Internet-only “embassy” on Tuesday.

DUBAI: US actor Tom Cruise poses on the red carpet with UAE PM and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum upon their arrival to the opening ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival yesterday. — AFP



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New shelter for runaway maids KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor(MSAL) plans to inaugurate a shelter that can accommodate 900 individuals in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, said a senior ministry official on Tuesday. This shelter will replace smaller ones that were inaugurated by the ministry in 2007 but can only house 60 domestic helpers who flee sponsor’s residences. “We try to find solutions to troubled workers either by resolving their problems or help them return to their home countries within a couple of weeks,” said Director Hadi AlEnizy in statements made to reporters covering the visit of an international team. It checked Kuwait’s efforts to protect lowwage workers from human trafficking. “We will deal with every case from the point of

view of the maid as the victim,” Al-Enizy said, adding that investigations often reveal that some runaway workers have actually been mistreated. “We make sure to provide them with therapy under the expert supervision of psychiatric and social specialists,” he added. Al-Enizy pointed out that the shelter is supported by the Interior and Health Ministries that provide additional requirements. He added that the Foreign and Justice ministries will join hands once inauguration is completed. In the meantime, an MSAL source who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity revealed plans to create a mechanism to use charity from Al-Zakat House to pay for air tickets that house maids are unable to pay otherwise. — Al-Qabas

Kuwait, Greece discuss boosting cooperation KUWAIT: Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr Amani Bouresli discussed yesterday with visiting Chairman of the ArabGreek Chamber of Commerce and Development Christos Folias prospects of upgrading level of economic and commercial relations between Kuwait and Greece. Bouresli and Folias discussed, during a meeting, issues of common interest and plans for boosting investment cooperation, according to a statement released by the ministry. The Greek side requested that Kuwait dispatch to the European country a senior-level delegation, representing the private sector and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, to discuss activation of bilateral accords and prospects of giving greater role to the private sector to boost commercial cooperation. The meeting

was attended by Undersecretary of Commerce Abdulaziz Al-Khaldi, assistant undersecretary for the foreign investment bureau, Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al-Sabah, and assistant undersecretary for international organizations affairs and intellectual rights, Sheikh Nimer Fahad Al-Sabah. On Tuesday, Folias urged Kuwaiti entrepreneurs to invest in Greece saying that the financial crisis in his country resulted in some lucrative opportunities. Addressing a meeting with representatives of Kuwait Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Folias assured attendees about his government keenness on offering all needed facilities for incoming Kuwaiti businessmen. Volume of Greek exports to Kuwait reached approximately USD 22 million in 2007 and dropped to USD 19 million last year. — KUNA

GCC states not affected by Arab uprisings KUWAIT: Secretary General of GCC States Dr Abdul Lateef Al-Zayani said that GCC states are in “good shape”. He was responding to a question about the position of GCC states given the current Arab revolutions. Al-Zayani expressed hope that the Libyan scenario would not be played in Syria and wished that Syria would accept the Arab League initiative. He said that GCC states support all Arab League resolutions in this aspect.

On being asked whether there was a difference in opinion among GCC states over Jordan and Morocco joining the GCC, AlZayyani said that there were none. He also said that all GCC states are in agreement to start a strategic cooperation with Jordan and Morocco. On relations with Iran, AlZayyani said “We do not allow any intervention in our internal affairs” and expressed hope that the relation between Gulf and Iran develops over time. — Al-Anba

KUWAIT: Electric heaters being sold at Mubarakiya market yesterday.— Photos by Ben Garcia

Electric heaters sell like ‘hotcakes’ Cold weather generates 20% higher sales By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Electric heaters are selling like hotcakes in Kuwait City, thanks to cold winds blowing from Siberia, where the temperature drops to zero degree Celsius at night. Almost every electronic store in Mubarakiya market admitted that the sale of heaters generated 20 percent more profits this year. One store admits to selling 15 to 20 units per day last week. However, prices vary according to the brand. There are a selection of electric heaters available from China, Germany, Korea, Japan and Bulgaria. China-made heaters are the cheapest, but also the best selling when compared to the electric heaters manufactured in Japan and Germany. Prices typically fall between KD 3 and 60. “The price of electric heaters soared this year. Maybe

because of the demand and the fact that last year was warmer,” said a shop attendant yesterday. “Most of the heaters being sold now are old stocks from last year. This year we are experiencing colder weather compared to the previous year. So people are rushing to buy electric heaters,” he added. Temperature in some parts of Kuwait drop to zero degrees Celsius at night, while the highest temperature recorded is 19 degree Celsius during the day. It is expected to lower even more, a meteorologist predicted. “My wife told me to buy a heater for our small children. I think they really need a heater this time. I don’t really need them at all, but it’s good for my kids,” commented a 38year-old Syrian man who was shopping for electric heaters in Mubarakiya. Some local dailies claimed that prices of electric heaters have risen by an average of thirty to

forty percent compared to last year. “Yes, prices are a bit higher compared to last year because of the demand,” he said. But another shop attendant told Kuwait Times that prices of electric heaters remained stable when compared to previous year. “I don’t know about other shops but what I have observed is that there are no drastic price changes. It’s basically the same price,” he added. Another customer who was seen buying a Chinamade brand said, “I only need it for a temporary period, so I bought a China-made one. It is cheaper. If I were to use it for longer, definitely I would consider buying German or Japanese electric heaters.” Many shoppers agreed that some shops tried to make up for losses they suffered in the previous years when demand for heaters were low due to relatively warmer winters.

Abdullah Al-Mubarak foundation sponsors ‘Best Book on Mideast’ LONDON: The British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society held its annual celebration here on Tuesday evening on the occasion of awarding the special prize for the best book published in English on Middle East studies, under the auspices of Abdullah Al-Mubarak Charity Foundation. The ceremony, which was held at the house of the Kuwaiti Ambassador and head of the diplomatic corps in the United Kingdom Khaled Al-Duwaisan, coincided with Kuwait’s 50th Independence Day, the 20th Liberation Day, and the 5th anniversary of His Highness the Amir’s assumption of power. Al-Duwaisan, who also

heads the Kuwaiti side at the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society, welcomed the participants at the ceremony, describing the award, in its 13th year, as “unique”. He emphasized the impor tance of this annual award towards strengthening cultural links between Kuwait and the UK, pointing out Britain’s significant role in scientific studies, especially those related to the Middle East issues. Also, he added that the UK is the most knowledgeable and understanding country on the history of the Middle East and its people, praising the active role that Abdullah AlMubarak Charity Foundation and Sheikh

Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah play in this field. On his part, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah thanked, as representative of the organization, the publishers, academic professors, and judges of this special prize, noting this award aims to reinforce the understanding among English speaking countries on the Middle East. He expressed hope that these winning books would contribute in giving a more in-depth explanation on the current situation in the Arab world, saying that the Middle Eastern people now enjoy the freedom of expression, accountability, and transparency. —KUNA



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Oil, gas, petrochemicals industry still most sought-after in Kuwait Govt jobs considered ‘extremely favorable’ By Lisa Conrad KUWAIT: Despite numerous development opportunities arising in Kuwait, the oil sector remains the most lucrative field to work in. A recent survey conducted by and YouGov revealed that the majority of MENA residents considering shifting industries have their sights set on oil, gas and petrochemical industry. Of the 34 percent of respondents considering an industry shift, 14 percent said they want to shift to the oil, gas and petrochemical industry. Respondents in Kuwait were also keen on the sector, with 59 percent saying it has the best salary package and 38 percent reporting that it has the best nonmonetary benefits. Kuwait Times posted an online poll to determine if our readers

agree with the trend, and found that the majority of respondents, 39 percent considering a shift in careers want to make a move to the petrochemical industry. Unsurprisingly, the top motivation for such a move is money. A petroleum engineer here in Kuwait said of his job, “The money is great and so is the security. If I get fired tomorrow I will make a lot of money.” Bayt can and YouGov’s survey resonated such feelings, and revealed that respondents see the petrochemical industr y as having the best career growth opportunities, better job security and the most desirable remuneration packages. Their survey listed government and civil sector jobs as being the second most popular for potential moves, and banking and finance as the third. However, those opt-

ing for a move to the government sector overwhelmingly (62 percent) cited job security as their main motive. Security, said Amer Zureikat of, is a major motive now. “The trend is that employees today are looking for better salaries, job security and sectors that are less likely to collapse in a downturn, a clear sign that the recession is still affecting opinions.” Despite the petrochemical industry leading in perceptions of benefits, 49 percent of Kuwait-based respondents considered government jobs to be ‘extremely favorable.’ Saud, who has been working at a Kuwait ministry for the past year said, “Government jobs are more readily available. Private sector jobs are extremely competitive and you work longer hours.” Although governmental and petrochemi-

cal jobs are the current leaders, the banking and finance sector is on the rise. “ appears that the region’s banking and finance sector is up-and- coming for employment opportunities. Next to government and civil service jobs, it is the top favored industry for new graduates,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO of YouGov. However, many have cited ‘wasta’ - connections - as a key component for competing in the bank ing industr y, “I got into my job through wasta and many people who started at the same time were subsequently let go. I came here as a fresh graduate and got the oppor tunity through people I know, and I think it can be hard to get this far without knowing anyone,” said an employee with one of Kuwait’s major banks.

Ministry to build more primary clinics KUWAIT: The directors from the Ministry of Health’s six medical directorates have discussed raising the number of primary care clinics in the country from 92 to 105 during a recent meeting. “We hope that this move will help diversify medical services rendered by primary care clinics, and boosts quality,” said Undersecretar y Dr Ibrahim Al-Abdulhadi in statements made to AlRai. In other news, Director of the Ministry’s Public Health Department, Dr Yousuf Mendekar, announced that 30,000 hepatitis vaccines are now stored at the ministry’s warehouses, adding that instructions have been given to distribute 1,500 vaccines to each medical directorate. This means that the ministry has addressed the shortage in vaccines. Dr Mendekar states that this was caused due to a delay in new vaccines’ arrival.— Al-Rai

Kuwait, Brazil plan to form joint committee BRASILIA: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Brazil Yousif Ahmad Abdulsamad discussed with Director of the Middle East Department at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Ceglia, on forming a Kuwaiti-Brazilian joint committee.

KUWAIT: Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other dignitaries at a meeting to protect Kuwait’s indigenous turtle population at the Scientific Center this week. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Project highlights man-made threats to Kuwait’s turtles KUWAIT: A three -year project aimed at protecting Kuwait’s indigenous turtle population has been successfully completed, highlighting the risks of over-fishing, pollution and shipping. The in-depth research was supported by Total in Kuwait, the Parisbased Total Foundation, and two Kuwait-based groups, the Voluntary Work Centre and the Scientific Centre. Launched in 2008, the Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project (KWTC) studied green, loggerhead and hawksbill turtles nesting and hatching on the Qaru, Kubbar and Umm AlMaradim islands. The project, involving various research techniques such as satellite tracking and DNA analysis, developed action plans to protect turtle habitat and promoted local conservation awareness through school campaigns and exhibitions. The

Total Foundation, which also supports turtle conservation in Oman, led the project, while the Voluntary Work Centre, chaired by Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, provided volunteers and equipment. Lionel Levha, General Manager, Total Kuwait, said: “Total is very proud to have been involved in this project, which makes an important contribution to the preservation of Kuwait’s marine biodiversity. Environmental conservation is a core theme of the Total Foundation’s ongoing work and a top priority for Total in our daily operations. “The project also underscores our commitment to the local community.” Levha said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in this project, especially Sheikh Mohammed Al-Sabah, Chief of the Kuwaiti Coast Guard, for their valu-

able support.” The Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project (KTCP) was launched in 2008 in a partnership between Total Kuwait, the Total Foundation, the Voluntary Work Centre, and the Scientific Centre in Kuwait. The project studied the small population of green, loggerhead and hawksbill sea tur tles nesting on the Kubbar, Qaru and Umm Al-Maradim islands. The KTCP analysed the species’ behavior and habitat in order to develop a protection plan and to raise local awareness of the importance of turtle conservation. Scientific evidence points to multiple ecological roles for sea turtles. For example, the shells of loggerhead turtles are home to a variety of marine life such as the Columbus crab. The grazing habits of green and hawksbill turtles help maintain the health of the seabed and coral reefs.

Dissolution unconstitutional due to absence of Cabinet KUWAIT: The Parliament’s dissolution is unconstitutional, which gives the right to former MPs to challenge the order and cling to their posts in the Parliament. This is the opinion of constitutional expert Dr Mohammad AlMuqatea. According to Al-Muqatea who is also a constitutional law professor, the fact that a new Cabinet is still not formed renders the Parliament’s dissolution unconstitutional. “The caretaker Cabinet ended officially after Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah swore in as new Prime Minister. According to the constitution, a request the premier makes to HH the Amir to dissolve the Parliament must be preceded by discussions held between the prime minister and his Cabinet. This obviously didn’t happen because the Cabinet technically doesn’t exist yet”, Al-Muqatea explained. “The right constitutional method was for the

prime minister to form his Cabinet first, and then file the request to dissolve the Parliament”. Moreover, Al-Muqatea said that MPs who might face legal action after their parliamentary immunity is lifted can challenge the dissolution’s procedures at the administrative court as per the information. “Had [the prime minister] waited for three hours to form a temporary Cabinet to request a dissolution, he would have saved the country from a constitutional dilemma”, he said. On the other hand, constitutional expert and Kuwait University professor Dr Mohammad Al-Feeli argued that the dissolution’s decree cannot be challenged in courts since it is different from laws or regulations passed by the government. In other news, a report quoting parliamentary sources indicates that oppositionists Ali Al-Deqbasi,

Shuwaib Al-Muwaizri, and Khalid AlTahous plan to avoid participating in tribal primary elections which have officially been criminalized by a recent constitutional court order. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the sources indicated that the three former MPs informed the Opposition Bloc of their intentions on Tuesday, as the Bloc plans to avoid participation in any primary elections given their strong supportive stance on constitutional principles. More Bloc members are expected to follow suit in the coming days, according to the sources, who said that an unnamed lawmaker was willing to avoid Parliament elections in order to avoid controversies among his tribe members. The sources also indicated that Bloc members plan to garner public support for candidates who abstain from participating in primary elections. —Al-Rai

The meeting conversed on bilateral relations and issues of common interest between the two countries. Both sides stressed on holding future joint meetings, to enhance and expand relations in economical and political fields.

They also talked about readiness and preparations of head of economic delegation and Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Trade, Fernando Pimentel visit to Kuwait in February, to hold talks on ways to develop trade relations. —KUNA



Kuwait keen on poverty reduction, job creation Al-Afasi attends ILO meeting in Kyoto KYOTO: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr Mohammad Al-Afasi yesterday underlined Kuwait’s keenness on further creating employment and reducing poverty in Arab countries. Speaking on the sidelines of the 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Kyoto, western Japan, Dr Al-Afasi said, “Our country has contributed $500 million to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SEMs) Arab fund, which was established two years ago with an aim to improve the living standards and tackle unemployment in Arab nations.” The SMEs Arab fund was initiated by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the Arab economic summit held in Kuwait in January 2009 with a capital of $2 billion. Kuwait was the first country to make a contribution to the fund, offering 25 percent of its total capital. The deputy premier also highlighted Kuwait’s constant support to developing countries through the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development (KFAED), of which loans have totaled more than $14.5 billion, equivalent to 1.3 percent of Kuwait’s Gross National Product (GNP) and twice the rate set internationally. “Our contribution and humanitarian support to developing countries are at the level of the highest anywhere in the world,” he said, renewing

Kuwait’s commitment to take an initiative in providing humanitarian assistance and promoting employment in Arab and other regions. Meanwhile, Dr Al-Afasi attached great importance to the ILO’s Kyoto meeting, saying it gives an opportunity to exchange views with leaders from other countries on efficient operations of Kuwaiti and Arab funds for measures to combat against unemployment, especially for young people, as well as poverty. According to the ILO, youth unemployment in the Arab region is “extremely high” at 27.2 percent in 2010. The average unemployment rate for young women was even worse at 41.5 per cent. “The participants also consider how to tackle such problems through Asia’s rising economic growth, which is much stronger than that of America and Europe. Kuwait, as a major political and financial contributor to the ILO’s activities, is keen to further support Asia’s growth that will result in employment creation and poverty eradication in this region,” Dr Al-Afasi said. At the four-day meeting that began Sunday, about 450 participants from 46 countries in Asia and the Pacific, and Arab states, such as government ministers, representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations and academics, are discussing how employment, economic and social progress can be safeguarded in the face of the uncertain global economic outlook. Kuwaiti

Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman AlOtaibi, the ministry’s Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari and other Kuwaiti officials also attend the meeting. The meeting focuses on coordinating macroeconomic, employment and social protection policies; supporting productive employment, sustainable enterprises and skills development and rights at work and social dialogue. As for cooperation with the ILO, Dr AlAfasi said Kuwait has continuously provided financial aid to the ILO programs. “Last month, we contributed $500,000 to support the ILO’s Palestinian technical cooperation program targeting enhanced job creation, social dialogue and social protection efforts in Palestine. The funds reflect the continuing commitment of the Kuwaiti government to an effective partnership with the ILO in aid of critical job creation efforts.” It marked Kuwait’s third contribution to the ILO’s activities in Palestine, bringing it to a total $2 million since December 2009. The ILO is the UN specialized agency dealing with work and workrelated issues. It has a unique tripartite membership structure, under which governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations act as equal partners, making decisions representative of the real economy. The regional meeting is usually held every four years.

HRW criticizes Twitter prosecutions in Kuwait KUWAIT: Freedom of speech should not be criminalized in any shape or form, said Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth during a press conference held recently as a part of his official visit to Kuwait. Roth made these remarks while talking about political prosecution of people for opinions they express on Twitter. He asserted people’s right to “criticize in any way they want as long as they do not provoke violence”. The conference was organized by the Kuwait Human Rights Society at the Kuwait Graduates Society building, and discussed many topics including the sponsorship system for expatriate labor forces in Kuwait. Roth called for a new system where sponsorship would come under the purview of a government authority. He also wanted domestic labor forces to be included in this step. Roth spoke on the illegal residents’ problem in Kuwait. “There are 35,000 people in Kuwait who live without passports or IDs, and they should be dealt with similarly”, he said, pointing out that residents who have security restrictions that prevent them from being naturalized should receive legal help— Al-Rai

Burgan Bank honors special needs patients KUWAIT: Burgan Bank restated its commitment towards its annual corporate social responsibility initiative by successfully hosting the 10th Annual Al-Mass Awards on Dec 4, at the Salwa Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah hall. The event, which was patronized under Sheikha Shaikha Al-Abdullah Al-Khalifa AlSabah, honored the outstanding achievements of participating special needs patients as well as organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment in providing the necessary support for special needs. Nine outstanding individuals were presented awards in three categories — the Blue diamond award for those with a cognitive or mental disability; the Yellow diamond award for those with physical disabilities; and the White diamond award, for those with a sensory disability. Furthermore, two organizations were also commended for their work in supporting special needs throughout their daily activities. The names of the winners were announced through a special documentary feature, where the achievement of each of the winner was highlighted. Special thanks and gratitude was given to all those who have been working behind the scenes who have helped those with special needs achieve their goals. Each of the winners received a beneficiary fund from Burgan Bank, deposited in their own special account at the Bank. The winners of the yellow diamond award included Ayah Meshal Thuwaini Al-Shimary, Kholoud Hasan Al-Mutairy, and Ahlam Hasan Al-Mutairy. The winners of the white diamond award included Basma Mesaed Al-Saeed, Afaf Ali Al-Muhry and Hasan Mekdad Abdulkader Al-Bahdahi. The blue diamond award also included Meshari Osama Jassim Abul, Homoud AbdulRahman Al-Shimary and Mohammed Sami AlHaji. In this year’s event, two organizations were also honored

for their outstanding work. These include Al-Amal Voluntary Electronic Newspaper and Kuwait’s Society for Handicapped Parents. Majed Essa Al-Ajeel, Burgan Bank’s Chairman said: “We are honored to celebrate this year’s 10th annual Al-Mass Awards. The Al-Mass Awards in its official launch proved to be a success in honoring gifted special needs. Burgan Bank’s management has then taken the decision to utilize the Al-Mass Awards as a solid platform to create an annual event that is exclusively dedicated to recognizing and honoring special needs talents and creative work.” “Burgan Bank’s overall approach to CSR begins with a key element; that, as a Kuwaiti company, its brand name, values, and work ethics should be on par with the necessities of the Kuwaiti society and with those of the people who rely on the bank. That is why the bank has consistently invested in the enhancement of the Al-Mass Awards, adding a range of programs that contribute to the sustainable development of special needs in the long run,” added Al-Ajeel. The evening echoed Burgan Bank’s commitment to integrate those with special needs into the mainstream community and restore their sense of belonging by recognizing their fortitude to surmount obstacles, the purity of their determination, and the brilliance of their endeavors. A decade of commitment towards the development of special needs has been Burgan Bank’s pledge to this very day. The Al-Mass Awards, which began as a simple idea to reward special needs individuals as well as organizations that support children and people with special needs ten years ago, has gained increasing popularity and national admiration over the past decade.




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African held for using black magic, sorcery Jealous youth attacks girlfriend KUWAIT: An African man was arrested in Mangaf for using black magic and sorcery. Police launched a probe after a citizen reported that his neighbor was involved in suspicious activities which attracted a large number of people to his apartment. Police raided his apartment and arrested the man on finding witchcraft paraphernalia. The man admitted to offering his services to women who sought his help to restore or break up relationships between lovers and married couples. He was referred to the proper authorities for further action. Syrian treated A Syrian resident in Kuwait underwent an emergenc y surger y at the Far waniya Hospital to get a bullet removed from his right foot which he sustained during a rally in Syria. The victim who returned following a short family visit to Deraa was hospitalized as soon as he arrived at the Kuwait International Airpor t. The victim explained to police that he opted to seek treatment in Kuwait because he feared he could face trouble if he sought medical help in Syria since he was injured while participating in an anti-government rally. A case was filed at the Farwaniya police station for investigations. Physical assault Police want to arrest a suspect who raided his girlfriend’s house and physically assaulted her over a fight before leaving. Jahra officers rushed to a house in the area where a Kuwaiti citizen reported that a stranger stormed into his house and attacked his daughter before escaping with her cell phone. Police grew suspicious while collecting the girl’s testimony and further investigations revealed that the alleged thief was actually her boyfriend whom she had been dating without her family’s knowledge. She added that he waited for her family to leave her alone at home to sneak his way in and beat her up because she wouldn’t return his

phone calls over a previous argument. She also added that he stole her phone to check whether she had been talking to anyone else in the meantime. Search is currently ongoing to locate and apprehend the suspect who faces multiple charges. Smuggler caught An Asian man was arrested at the Kuwait International Airport after he was caught with possession of drugs. The man arrived from his home country and on being subjected to a search, authorities found pills hidden in his luggage in various places. He was referred to the Drug Control General Department to face charges. Salmiya fire A money transferring vehicle which belonged to a local bank caught fire in Salmiya. Firefighters were quick to extinguish the flames and saved the bank a large financial loss. The money was safely transferred to another vehicle shortly. A probe was launched to determine the cause of the fire. Drunk driving Police are reportedly investigating a case involving two former Ministry of Interior senior officials who crashed into a citizen’s car while driving under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, two traffic police officers could also face charges after they failed to place the suspects under arrest and instead asked them to report to the police station on their own which they never did. The incident reportedly took place near the Abdullah Port bridge where an Ahmadi traffic patrol vehicle was parked nearby. According to the Kuwaiti owner, the officers didn’t arrest the rash driver and instead told them to drive to the police station on their own to face charges. During investigations, the two traffic policemen explained that they expected both the parties to press charges formally at the local station and strongly rejected accusations that they helped the suspects flee. Investigations are still ongoing.

Opportunity to boost trust in democracy KUWAIT: The Parliament’s dissolution reinforces trust between the state’s leadership and the people and Kuwait is in dire need of this given the current corruption rate. This was stated by political activist Nabila AlAnjari in a press statement in which she urged Kuwaitis to consider the dissolution’s decree “which echoes Kuwait’s great level of democracy and boosts hope that the country can overcome the recent problems in parliamentary work”. “[The decree] reflects HH the Amir’s concern over the current risks to the countr y ’s top interests, and points out the need to enable the nation to choose their representatives in order to help the country overcome problems and achieve what is best for national interest”, Al-Anjari said yesterday. She fur ther indicated that these aspec ts mentioned in the decree are “the epitome of the leadership’s Nabila Al-Anjari historic commitment to principles of dialogue as the main way to resolve political struggles in Kuwait”. Regarding the upcoming elections, Al-Anjari said that Kuwaitis will be more confident in experiencing a fair electoral process “that enables Kuwait to overcome this crisis and restores good relationships between the Parliament and the Cabinet, as long as the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah can provide necessary requirements to ensure the integrity of elections”. She further hoped that the elections would provide an opportunity to improve Kuwait’s democracy and restore people’s faith in the National Assembly following the graft scandal.


in brief

6 members to run for elections KUWAIT: Six members from the Municipal Council have decided to nominate themselves as candidates for by-elections to be held ahead of parliamentary elections. The Deputy Municipal Council Chairman Shaye Al-Shaye announced that he would run for National Assembly elections in the third constituency. He said the new government must concentrate on development and ensure that elections are free and fair. He added that it should fight corruption and squandering of public funds. —Al-Watan Fine for ‘insulting’ SMS KUWAIT: The court ruled that two workers who work at a communications company should be fined for sending an SMS that insulted the AlAwazem tribe. Lawyer Khalid Al-Juwaisri filed the complaint in court as a member of the tribe. The court also ordered the equipment owned by the two to be confiscated. —Al-Watan

School fight A Kuwaiti man filed a case stating that his child was severely beaten by a classmate in school. The citizen rushed his 11-year-old son to a private hospital after he was informed by the school that he was involved in a bloody fight. After treatment which required three of the boy’s teeth to be extracted, the citizen went to the nearest police station and demanded that the attacker should face action. The case was referred to the Juveniles’ Prosecution Department for further investigations. ‘Maintenance worker’ Investigations are currently ongoing to apprehend a suspect who attempted to rape a female resident in Maidan Hawally after he made his way into her apartment in the guise of a maintenance worker. In her statement to officers at the area’s police station, the Filipina victim said that she answered the door while she was alone in her apartment and a man claiming to be

technical help barged in. He reportedly made advances at her and escaped the minute she started screaming for help. The janitor denied during investigations that he had called maintenance workers to report to the building that day. Fake doctor busted A company employee was arrested in Farwaniya for practicing medicine without a medical license. Police were alerted by citizens who fell ill after consuming the medication he prescribed. Investigations eventually revealed that the alleged clinic is unlicensed for practicing medicine, and that it was being used illegally by an Iraqi employee who works at a real-estate company located in the same area. The man was arrested after he failed to provide a license for practicing medicine. Meanwhile, investigations revealed that the same suspect was previously arrested but eventually let go thanks to influence from MPs. —Al-Watan, Al-Rai, Al-Anba

Violent neighborhood fight in Ayoun By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A violent fight broke out in Ayoun between six neighbors who used various sharp objects and fire arms to inflict injury. A 35-year-old Saudi national bled to death. Two men were admitted to Jahra hospital ICU and a third was admitted to the hospital. Leg fracture A 14-year-old bedoon suffered a fractured left leg during a fight that took place in Jahra. Smoke inhalation Two Ethiopians and a Sri Lankan, all female, were admitted to the hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.

Hit and run case A 10-year-old Kuwaiti boy sustained various bruises after a car ran over him in Sulaibkhat. He was admitted to Sabah Hospital. Spinal injury Two 16-year-old citizens complained of spinal injury following a car accident that took place in Adan. Hidden drugs Customs officers arrested an Egyptian expat for attempting to smuggle 10,000 illicit tablets that were expertly hidden in hair cream. The suspect and materials were referred to concerned authorities.




kuwait digest

Ball is in people’s court is Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah has finished taking all possible measures within his constitutional authority to manage the suspected multi-million dinar graft scandal. This is after the decision to dissolve the Parliament which accepted the resignation of the previous Cabinet and the appointment of a new prime minister. This has helped defuse tensions going on in Kuwait ever since the scandal was exposed four months ago. It has paved the way for the country to exit from the dark tunnel that the scandal has plunged it into. The ‘double dissolution’ method that the Amir has taken goes in line with general demands of the public, political forces and parliamentary opposition, especially demands made by young activists who were shocked about the level of corruption involved. In the meantime, these decisions reflect the Amir’s long-term vision and commitment to seek what is best for Kuwait. By appointing a new prime minister to form a new Cabinet, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah restored dignity to the process by which the government dealt with a major scandal that rocked the nation and the integrity of state department. In the meantime, the call for fresh parliamentary elections has placed a huge responsibility on people to issue a ‘political sentence’ against suspected lawmakers via ballot boxes, leaving criminal sentencing to the judiciary. The people’s trust will never let the scandal go unaddressed. The ball is now in the Kuwaiti people’s court as they prepare for a historic election process whose main purpose is to clean the political scene from corruption. This can be achieved by electing honorable members to the legislative authority. A Parliament with a majority is the key to many solutions. This concept will no doubt be the epicenter of attention during candidates’ election campaigns. Kuwaiti voters elected the Parliament that we say goodbye to with no regret, after it failed both politically and morally when some MPs dirtied their hands with political bribes. Now, voters are facing a test to choose what candidates they can place their trust into. This is something they are more capable of doing this time, given the experience and level of awareness that the public has gained as a result. As HH the Amir has placed Kuwait’s best interest as top priority, hopefully people will do the same and accord priority to national interest ahead of tribal, sectarian or other loyalties. In the meantime, the Cabinet that is set to oversee the elections as well as Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah are at crossroads. This is because their competency will directly be assessed on the level of their unbiased stance taken during election process. The new Cabinet faces many challenges, given the gravity of the upcoming elections. First, they need to ensure that they do not intervene in the election process. It is an integral condition to ensure fair elections. Secondly, the Cabinet should strongly reject bribery attempts to buy votes. Their third duty is to tackle tribal primary elections, especially after the recent Constitutional Court ruling which supports the classification of this practice as a crime against law. The ball is currently in the Citizen’s Court as they alone have the ability to achieve change for the better through ballot boxes, provided they realize that clean elections are the key to achieving reform which Kuwait desperately needs.— Al-Qabas

Turn the page


kuwait digest

Tabatabae and ‘myopic vision’ By Ahmad M Al-Fahad

do not think that there has been a writer who has defended MP Walid Al-Tabatabae more than me! I believe that Al-Tabatabae has gone too far. We should not remain silent at the disgusting act of raising the ‘shoe’ against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abu Mazin. It reflects Walid’s ‘myopic vision’ on life. We will not accept any Palestinian raising a ‘shoe’ against any Kuwaiti figure. We will not remain quiet at unrestrained enthusiasm. The act of throwing the ‘egal’ and head cover while screaming ‘go Nasser,’ was completely unwarranted for. We will not remain silent at this rude gesture by refusing to shake hands with HH the Prime Minister in the presence of HH the Amir during the opening of the parliamentary term! For sure, we will not accept the storming of the National Assembly and enter Abdallah Al-Salem Chambers. I know Walid, that you care about the country, and that you have Kuwait’s interest at heart. However, opposition blocs believe that screaming express dissent. It does not mean acting in front of cameras and inciting the media. It does not even mean that people’s homes need to be stormed, apart from vandalizing it! It means implementing ‘democracy with democracy’ by accepting voting results in the Assembly. What I want from you is very simple: to grow above such petty behavior. I may accept this from a first-time female MP, or from an unknown MP who wants to draw attention. We do not agree with your affiliation with only Shariah rules. It will be imposed on students. This is apart from a teacher who has taught subjects related to Holy Quran.— Al-Watan


By Waleed Al-Ahmad he time now is good for conflicting parties in Kuwait to stop fighting with each other and exchange accusations and insults. The seventh Cabinet of Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah has resigned, and a new Cabinet will take its place with Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlSabah at the helm. He displayed the first signs of cooperation by contributing to the release of citizens who have been detained in connection with storming the Parliament on Nov 16. All MPs, whether oppositionist or pro-government, must stop disputing and prepare for a new phase by putting all differences behind and turn over a new page. Not only turn it, but tear that miserable page up entirely. This is a requirement regardless of whether the Parliament has been dissolved or not. However, turning the page doesn’t mean that MPs should ignore a multi-million dinar scandal.


kuwait digest

Citizens today look up to Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as the right man in the right place, given his calm nature and ability to maintain composure, heaping criticism on them during the previous Cabinet’s tenure. And as we feel optimistic, we urge MPs to avoid taking stances against the new premier over other subjects.

The post Sheikh Nasser era By Ibrahim Al-Awadhi abinet of Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah resigned following a hard and costly phase that Kuwait’s political scene went through, and saw the process of legislation and achievements be stalled, freedoms be suppressed, bribes be paid and development dreams be crashed. While Sheikh Nasser’s seven cabinets share a major part of blame in the troubles that persisted in the political scene, I believe that the solution cannot be achieved solely by holding accountable those responsible for the situation we have reached, unless this process is accompanied by attempts to search for the real reasons behind attempts to harm our democratic experience. In principle, legislating anticorruption regulations should be the main subject followed by MPs who care primarily on the general best interest of the country and the people. This should drive MPs to give priority during the next parliamentary term to legislating financial disclosure and anticorruption laws in order to prevent misuse of power as well as the squander of public funds used to pay political bribes. But after the parliament was dissolved, can we guarantee that corrupt lawmakers won’t be reelected back? Can we assure that the lawmakers we vote won’t follow


on the corrupt MPs’ footsteps? I believe that we as Kuwaiti citizens have to realize that we are part of the problem we currently find ourselves in since we were the people who made the unfortunate voice to vote corrupt MPs to the parliament. We also helped MPs be voted through criminalized tribal primary elections, and also voted lawmakers who go to the street and garner public demand to whatever cause they believe in which they fail to achieve in the parliament. If we don’t change our approach, then the next parliament will likely end up being dissolved as well. It’s our duty as citizens who fully believe in the constitution to cooperate with the new prime minister instead of question his capabilities based on his past experiences, and give him a chance to prove that he is worthy of the responsibility which HH the Amir entrusted him with. After achieving their legitimate demands, I hope that the opposition would turn from a negative opposition whose actions were mainly influenced by targeting the previous cabinet, into a positive opposition that is tolerant to different opinions in order to create a suitable environment for building a better Kuwait in the post Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad AlSabah cabinets’ era.

in my view

If it were up to me!

Citizens today look up to Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah as the right man in the right place, given his calm nature and ability to maintain composure, heaping criticism on them during the previous Cabinet’s tenure. And as we feel optimistic, we urge MPs to avoid taking stances against the new premier over other subjects. I am specifically naming MP Shuwaib AlMuwaizri who was quick to criticize Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah following his selection as prime minister, mainly by accusing him of working against constitutional regulations by voting in favor of scrapping a grilling motion filed against Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. I urge Al-Muwaizri to put behind all resentment against the new prime minister, and open a new page of political co-existence where the premier is assisted in his new duties instead of hurdles being put in his way. Give the new prime minister a chance and assess his new performance without looking back at his times. This is the best way to help Kuwait overcome its current crisis. — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

By Aziza Al-Mufarej o sane person can ignore the happenings taking place in front of him. There have been indicators that the ruling regime in Kuwait has been targeted, and some people can replace it. Only a stupid person will deny it. I know that this will not receive enough interest from the political authorities because sincere Kuwaitis do not exist. At the same time, the ordinary citizen listens carefully to what the others say although this is not much to my liking. There is fear that the voice may be heard, especially since it is a policy that will not change once it is sure that the government fears the person with loudest voice. It has been sometime since AlBarrak cussed, Al-Waalan swore, Al-Mislem insulted, AlKhanna has violated, Al-Tabatabae ridiculed and AlHarbash belittled the rest of the gang. There are those who have a low morale and push towards uprooting the ruling family to suit circumstances. It has been said, “too much hammering will uproot the wilding.” This is exactly what is going on and those seeking it have succeeded in breaking some Kuwaitis’ attachment with their rulers. They will continue if that is not stopped. The demagogues did not do it in the National Assembly chamber. If the government has done it, it would not have passed so easily. This is despite one of the leaders of revolutionaries, Faisal Al-Mislem being present. Considering those who committed the act as


manipulators of opinion, apologies must be extended to families that suffered. Can this be considered as being arrogant? Al-Mislem asked the Amir to calm the streets. This street will not calm down because of loud voices that are interested in throwing stones into Kuwait’s calm waters by disturbing tranquility. They turned the Square in front of the Palace of Justice into a poetry diwaniya and a coffee shop for dreamers, a fast food joint for the hungry. Al-Mislem and his group said they would continue staging a sit-in until detainees are released. If the matter is up to me, I would not bow to their demands and no one will be released until a fair trial is held. We have video tapes of human rights committees that are pitted against each other. Others can see what is being done. The Amiri pardon is understood by some people as a weakness. That is why they repeat their actions time after time without respect. If the rational elders turn a blind eye to good gestures, should we expect the youth to turn out to be better? Those young men who were released must be punished for what they have done. MPs who encouraged them to storm the Assembly must follow suit because the state has guaranteed freedom of opinion and expression, without guaranteeing freedom of hooliganism and vandalism.

kuwait digest

NA dissolution could be misinterpreted By Abdullatif Al-Duaij he Parliament’s dissolution is no doubt a solution to some problems that the government faces. A parliamentary dissolution is a tool that the Constitution provides to the Amir to restore political balance to the country when it tilts. This means that this tool can only be used by Kuwait’s ruler, and no one else. If that weren’t the case, then the Parliament would’ve had the ability to vote to dissolve itself and call for fresh elections. The opposition blocs heavily endorsed a dissolution of the Parliament. This means that a parliamentary dissolution is an answer to the opposition bloc’s demands. In the meantime, the opposition blocs insisted that they wanted to dissolve the Parliament as a result of corruption accusations leveled against eighteen lawmakers. While these MPs face accusations concerning abuse of posts to achieve personal goals, their actions violate ethics. However, they are still to be officially charged with involvement in graft cases. MPs whose names are being circulated online these


days are recipients of political bribes who will be innocent until proven guilty. The Cabinet or in fact its previous prime minister has also faced many accusations through the media. These were never confirmed to this day. The difference between the Cabinet and the suspected MPs is that the prime minister has opted for the ministers to leave instead of continuing to face accusations. In the meantime, the accused MPs continue to defend themselves against rumors being spread. A parliamentary dissolution and holding fresh elections is not fair to MPs facing corruption accusations. Their reputation has already been damaged by the media. What would be fairer than investigations in these accusations to be completed quickly. They should wait till charges are pressed against MPs. The Parliament’s dissolution, at this time, is an attempt to interfere in the fair election process by giving oppositionist blocs an early advantage against the other part who still have to fight in order to regain public image.— Al-Qabas

The phony heroes By Dr Abdullatif Al-Suraikh t sickens me to see how much people glorify the leader they follow, without even giving the idea a thought that these ‘glorified symbols’ could commit an error. In my opinion, this is a major error in society and our collective efforts should be eradicated. The concept of following a heroic symbol, unfortunately, is deeply rooted in our culture. The glorified image of a knight on riding a horse, carrying his sword and heroically defeating enemies is found in many of our stories. It fails to give credit to thousands and thousands of people who have contributed toward achieving victory. Unfortunately, there are no common grounds known in our culture. The popular attitude is, ‘you are either with me or against me.’ People’s opinions can easily be shaped and molded to follow a single point of view without tolerating other’s opinions. This kind of culture does not accept nor tolerate another’s civilization. I feel petty about a society that sees heroism in chaos, freedom of opinion in imprudence, bravery in insults, nationalism in supporting corrupt individuals and loyalty to the leader by keeping silent about righteousness. How can a society prosper when its wise men give up the role and play along with the streets’ demand so as to not avoid losing public support. There are groups of people who pledge full loyalty to certain individuals (or groups) by shaping their actions and practices in line with the ideologies of the said figures. The ideas of a certain figure or group are considered unquestionable by followers. That, in someone’s opinion is automatically considered wrong. There are people who are bothered about what they should be thinking. They choose the easy way out by following whatever someone else says. They take ideas as the ‘guiding light to illuminate the path.’ When these people are present in a society, it will slowly start losing its basic principles of ethics and reason. — Al-Rai



Karzai blames Pakistanis over sectarian massacre

Italian mafia boss captured in bunker Page 10

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CAIRO: In this Friday, Nov 25, 2011 photo, Egyptian crowd at a popular market under Arabic banners supporting Ashraf Mustafa Hussei, a Salafi candidate to the parliamentary elections, in Cairo, Egypt. The ultraconservative Salafi movement pulled off the biggest surprise of Egypt’s elections. —AP

Fresh Islamist gains in Egypt PM warns on economy CAIRO: Egypt’s top Islamist party said yesterday it had extended its gains in the first elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, amid fresh warnings about the sinking economy from the country’s caretaker premier. The Muslim Brotherhood, banned for decades until the toppling of Mubarak in February, said its Freedom and Justice Party had won 36 out of 54 individual seats up for grabs in the first phase of the multi-stage parliamentary polls. In a separate party vote, which will see more than a 100 seats distributed, it won 36.6 percent while the hardline Islamic fundamentalist party Al-Nur came second with 24.4 percent. The FJP’s expected landslide victory in the individual seats-set to be confirmed by official results-and its pre-eminence in the party voting sets it up to become the leading power in the 498-seat new lower parliament. Al-Nur won five seats in the run off, party spokesman Mohammed Nour told AFP. “ The Islamists win a crushing victory,” headlined the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Only one third of districts have voted so far, however, with the remainder set to head to the polls in a further two waves beginning on December 14 and in January. Caretaker Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzuri, speaking late Tuesday, called on the country’s political forces to pull together to help resolve the country’s problems. He singled out the faltering economy, hit by a decline in tourism and a sharp fall in investment, as well as security which he said had deteriorated since the 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak. “We can’t leave security and the economy like this,” he told a media conference. “The political roadmap is now clear”-leading to a full transfer of control to the new civilian leaders from the army which took power after Mubarak stepped down, he added. “I ask for all the political movements, all the parties, and every individual to come together for the good of the country,” he said. A member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) warned last week that Egypt’s foreign currency reserves were falling sharply and that it might only have enough to cover imports until the end of February. Almost two weeks since the appointment of Ganzuri as premier-

widely disliked by pro- democrac y activists-the 78-year-old Mubarak-era politician is yet to name a cabinet. He said an announcement could finally come yesterday. Despite his reassurances about Egypt’s “roadmap,” the new political leaders are expected to face a fierce power struggle with the army to ensure full powers are handed over to an elected parliament and president. The SCAF has already indicated it wants to retain many of its privileges, including oversight over military-related legislation. The prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament has also raised fears among liberals about civil liberties, women’s rights and religious freedom in a country with the Middle East’s largest Christian minority. The Brotherhood stressed throughout campaigning that Islamic values were compatible with democracy and that it was in favour of individual freedoms and working with other non-Islamist political parties. But Al-Nur, a Salafist group that advocates a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, has emerged as a powerful new influence and is expected to do well in the remaining rounds of voting. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Islamist parties on Tuesday to “embrace democratic norms and rules” and respect women’s rights and free religious practice. Presidential hopeful and former Arab League head Amr Mussa also called on them to “join this era and not disengage from it” amid fears they want to roll back the new freedoms supposedly brought by the Arab Spring. The victory of Islamist parties fits a pattern established in other countries affected by the pro-democracy movement known as the Arab Spring, with Islamists also winning elections in Tunisia and Morocco. Egypt ’s liberal movement emerged from the party voting with 29.3 percent of the vote in the first round, but it is highly fragmented and split between six different coalitions. After the voting for the lower house of parliament, which will end in January, Egyptians will then elect an upper house in a further three rounds of polls. A committee to draft a new constitution will then get to work before presidential elections by the end of June 2012.— AFP

Bahrain woman dies of protest-related injuries MANAMA: Bahrain’s Health Ministry says a woman who was seriously hurt during a recent anti-government protest in the Gulf kingdom has died of her injuries. The ministry’s statement says the 27-year-old woman sustained head injuries during “rioting” last month in a Shiite village near the capital Manama. She died in a hospital early yesterday. Bahraini rights groups say she was

fatally injured in the head by a metal rod during a November protest and that security forces are responsible for her death. More than 35 people have died in clashes and protest-related violence since February when the Shiite majority started campaigning for greater rights in the Sunni-ruled Bahrain. The strategically important island is the home of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet. — AP



Israel NGO bills unconstitutional JERUSALEM: Israel’s attorney general said that two draft bills aimed at curbing foreign funding for leftwing NGOs are unconstitutional and that he would be unable to defend them in court. In an opinion sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekend, excerpts of which were published in the Israeli press yesterday, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein urged him to withdraw his support for the bills. Weinstein said that if passed, the bills would deal “a harsh blow to a long list of constitutional rights.” The first bill proposes to limit the foreign funding of nongovernmental organisations to 20,000 shekels ($5,400, 3,940 euros) a year, while the second would level a 45-percent tax on all such donations. Last month, the two draft laws were approved by

the ministerial committee on legislation, effectively handing them government endorsement, but were later put on hold by Netanyahu, after a wave of local and international criticism. “They deal a harsh blow to a long list of constitutional rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to equality,” wrote Weinstein. “Instead of enabling open discussion in an efficient ‘marketplace of ideas,’ they try to suppress speech. “They put Israel on a par with the handful of countries that have taken similar steps, and I doubt the state of Israel should be jealous of these regimes and act like them.” Although the attorney general normally observes a policy non-interference in the legislative work of the parliament, such a warning was

necessary in this case, he wrote. “In light of the blatancy of the case before us, deviating from this policy is justified. “What this means is that if these bills become law, I won’t be able to defend them against the petitions that will be submitted to the High Court.” Although the activities of left-wing NGOs did not always tally with the position of the government, he said, “they are an important voice that shouldn’t be silenced.” Weinstein said “the true aim” of the bills appeared to be to prevent support for groups that slander the state of Israel. “But even if this is the goal, I doubt it’s an appropriate goal, because silencing legal activity cannot be a legitimate goal,” he said. It was the second time this year that the attorney general has spo-

ken out against legislative attempts to censor NGOs with a left-wing agenda. In February, Weinstein warned plans to target the funding of left-wing NGOs and rights groups would have a “chilling effect” on basic human rights. After the bills were put on hold in late November, the two MPs responsible for them last week launched a new draft proposal aimed at targeting the funding of NGOs, which commentators said would have an even worse impact than the first initiatives. A new bill, which has yet to be debated, seeks to bar all foreign donations to groups which have an allegedly hostile agenda. All other NGOs would be forced to pay a 45percent tax on any overseas funding-unless they were already receiving government support. — AFP

mosque in West Bank attacked by arsonists NABLUS: Unknown attackers scrawled antiArab graffiti on the walls of a West Bank mosque overnight and tried to set it on fire, Israeli and Palestinian sources said yesterday. The incident happened in the village of Burqin, southwest of Nablus, in the early hours of the morning, they said. “Early this morning there was an attempt to set fire to a mosque in Burqin,” Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement. “Burning tyres were rolled towards the entrance of the mosque, which was slightly damaged. One car parked outside the mosque was set on fire and an attempt was made to set a second vehicle on fire too, though it was only partially successful.” Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses said anti-Arab slogans had been daubed on the mosque’s outer walls. Samri said police had opened an investigation but that preliminary inquiries suggested the incident was a “nationalistic attack.” That appeared to be a reference to a spate of incidents dubbed “price-tag” attacks and carried out by right-wing Israelis against Palestinians and Arab-Israelis and their property. In October, attackers tried to burn down a mosque in the Arab-Israeli village of Tuba Zangaria and scrawled graffiti on its walls. And in September there was a string of similar attacks against mosques, cars and agricultural land, with the attackers using slogans such as “Death to the Arabs” and other anti-Islamic graffiti. Hardline settlers have adopted what they call

NABLUS: A Palestinian man sits outside a mosque after arsonists left a burning tire at the entrance in the West Bank Village of Brukin near Nablus yesterday.—AP a “price tag” policy under which they attack Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government measures against settlements. They have also acted following anti-Israeli attacks and have targeted both the military and

Libya’s attorney general says gunmen attacked him RAMALLAH: Palestinian demonstrators holding flags and signs try to block an Israeli army construction vehicle from working on Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank village of Qalandiya near Ramallah yesterday. Israel says the barrier is necessary for security while Palestinians call it a land grab. —AP

Yemen regime, rebels trade shelling accusations SANAA: Yemeni regime and opposition spokesmen accused each other’s forces yesterday of shelling government and residential areas in the capital. The accusations come in advance of the expected declaration of a national unity government to take over from ministers allied with embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two sides traded blame for a flare-up of fighting in Sanaa’s Hassaba neighborhood, the scene of a tense standoff for months between forces loyal to Saleh and opposition fighters from the country’s most powerful tribal federation, supported by the renegade First Armored Division. Saleh agreed last month to step down after 33 years in power in exchange for immunity from prosecution. If the US backed deal brokered by Yemen’s powerful Gulf Arab neighbors holds, Saleh would be the fourth dictator pushed from power this year by the Arab Spring uprisings. But the agreement is likely to leave more of the current regime intact than the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and supporters and opponents continue to clash throughout the country. An Interior Ministry spokesman said followers of tribal leader Sheik Sadeq alAhmar fired on loyalist positions on Tuesday night and yesterday morning, with one shell striking the Cabinet building. He spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations. Al-Ahmar’s spokesman Abdel-Qawi al-Qaisi denied

that the opposition targeted the Cabinet, and said several shells fired from the Interior Ministry exploded near the tribal leader’s home in a nearby neighborhood. Neither side gave figures for casualties, but an eyewitness said that one civilian was killed and four injured by government shells, and that security checkpoints were preventing ambulances from entering the street to evacuate the injured. He spoke on condition of anonymity fearing government reprisal. Newly-designated Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa meanwhile accused Saleh’s outgoing ministers of systematically looting government properties. In a statement, Basindwa said the Interior Ministry was looted and important documents were destroyed. He called for the formation of a committee to investigate the issue. A security official said about 40 trucks were loaded Tuesday night with weapons, munitions and other materials from the Interior Ministry’s warehouse. He spoke on condition of anonymity fearing government retribution. The veteran independent politician Basindwa is expected to announce a national unity government late yesterday. He was chosen to form a government that will be equally divided between Saleh’s Congress Party and the opposition. The deal is part of the power transfer agreement signed by Saleh in the Saudi capital Riyadh last month. — AP

SANAA: Yemeni protesters perform a traditional dance during a rally to demand the prosecution of Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, yesterday. —AP

TRIPOLI: Libya’s attorney general said armed gunmen dragged him from his car in broad daylight in Tripoli, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t let one of their friends out of jail. The blatant attack on one of the highest legal authorities in Libya highlights the tense security situation that has persisted in the country’s capital since Libyan revolutionaries toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in August. The National Transitional Council, which lead the uprising and took power after Gaddafi’s fall, has made limited progress in extending its rule and disarming the armed groups that fought Gaddafi’s forces during Libya’s eight-month civil war, which ended with Gaddafi’s capture and killing in late October. “ Tripoli is not safe,” Attorney General Abdul-Aziz Al-Hassady told The Associated Press late Tuesday, just hours after the attack by armed men. Al-Hassady said he was leaving work when a pickup truck with a mounted machine gun on the back blocked his way, at which point he noticed about 300 armed men in the area around the high court. Gunmen jumped out of the pickup, dragged him from his car and demanded he release one of their friends who had been arrested on suspicion of murder, he said. Al-Hassady said he escaped after snatching a gun from one of the attackers and pointing it at another’s head until he was able to get into a car and get away. He said he intended to quit his job, though he had not officially informed the NTC of his resignation. Scores of armed groups still operate unre-

strained in Tripoli, al-Hassady added, making it harder for the new government to establish rule of law. Most police stations remain closed and many officers complain that the presence of armed militias makes it impossible for them to do their jobs. In an incident earlier this week, police arrested a member of an armed brigade from the city of Misrata. His colleagues responded by storming the police station, letting their friend out and briefly held captive four police officers. Many of the militias take their own prisoners and refuse to hand them over to the authorities, worrying that other armed groups would threaten police or prison guards to get them released, al-Hassady said. “ That is why some armed groups don’t trust us anymore, and they prefer to keep the prisoners,” he said. The Tripoli city council on Tuesday gave the militias a deadline, saying armed residents must hand in their guns to the authorities before the end of the year. It remains unclear how authorities would coax or punish those who refuse. So far, the NTC has taken a cautious approach to disarming the fighters who brought down Gaddafi. Last month, interim-Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib said he could not disarm fighters until he has prepared alternatives, including jobs and training. NTC head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil seemed to affirm the slower approach last week, noting that 75 percent of those carrying weapons are unemployed. Abdul-Jalil promised Libya’s new leadership would provide them with jobs and support. — AP

Iran says downed US drone was deep in its airspace TEHRAN: The unmanned US spy plane was deep inside Iran’s airspace, flying over an eastern town famous for Persian carpets and saffron when it was downed by Iranian armed forces, state radio reported yesterday. The report said the stealth-version of the RQ-170 drone was detected by Iranian forces over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the border with Afghanistan. “The US smart plane was captured by Iranian anti-aircraft units somewhere in the sky over Kashmar in the east of the country,” the radio said. It did not speculate as to why the drone flew over the town, which lies in an agricultural area known for the production of saffron and Persian carpets. The radio added that Iran will “soon” broadcast video footage of the downed drone. Iran first reported the downing on Sunday but did not say when the incident happened. At the time, the official IRNA news agency said Iran’s armed forces had shot it down - a claim later rejected by US officials who said the drone crashed over the weekend but that there was no indication it had been shot down. Meanwhile, US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss classified information, have said the drone had spied on Iran for years from a US air base in Afghanistan. According to these officials, the US built up the air base in Shindad, Afghanistan, with an eye to keeping a long-term presence there to launch surveillance missions and even special operations missions into Iran if deemed necessary. The RQ-170 - known as the Sentinel - has been used in Afghanistan for several years. It

gained notoriety earlier this year when officials disclosed that one was used to keep watch on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as the raid that killed him was taking place. Yesterday, Iran’s hardline Kayhan daily quoted an unnamed military expert as saying Iranian forces did not shoot down the drone. The expert, though, said the Iranian military is capable of bringing it down in such a way that the “body of the plane and its parts remain intact.” Another conservative daily, Mellat, said Iran may transfer intelligence from the drone to regional allies Syria and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group. Iran confirmed for the first time in 2005 that the US has been flying surveillance drones over its airspace to spy on its nuclear and military facilities. In January, Tehran said two pilotless spy planes shot down over its airspace were operated by the US , and in July, media said Iranian military officials showed Russian experts several US drones reportedly shot down in recent years. Faced with international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, Iran has been trying to build up its own military technology. It unveiled its first domestically built unmanned bomber in 2010, calling the aircraft an “ambassador of death” to Iran’s enemies. Two year earlier, Tehran announced it had built an unmanned aircraft with a range of more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers), far enough to reach Israel. Both Israel and the United States have not ruled out a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which the West suspects aim to make atomic weapons - a charge Iran denies.— AP

left-wing Israelis working for human rights groups and anti-settlement watchdogs. Israel’s government has condemned such attacks, but the Palestinians accuse them of failing to take sufficient action to prosecute the incidents and prevent future occurrences. —AFP

Former Israel president starts prison term for rape MAASIYAHU PRISON: Israel’s disgraced former president Moshe Katsav yesterday began a seven-year jail sentence after being convicted on two counts of rape and other sexual offences. The former head of state, who turned 66 on Monday, entered Ma’asiyahu prison near Tel Aviv shortly after 10.00 am (0800 GMT), an AFP correspondent outside the jail said. He was convicted in December 2010 of two counts of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice after an 18-month trial which included harrowing accusations, and portrayed him as a sexual predator who routinely harassed his female staff. Katsav appealed both his conviction and sentence but last month justices at Israel’s Supreme Cour t rejected the appeal and ordered that he star t his prison term on December 7. Speaking to reporters as he left his home in Kiryat Malachi south of Tel Aviv, Katsav continued to maintain his innocence as he had throughout the trial. “Today the state of Israel is taking a man out to execute him on the basis of impressions, without evidence,” he said, dressed in a black suit and white shirt. “One day the truth will be revealed,” he said. “The state is imprisoning a grandfather of grandchildren, a former president. I never hurt anyone, I treated everyone with respect.” Israel, he charged, was “burying a man alive.” Katsav is the first Israeli head of state to be sent to prison. He was convicted a year ago of twice raping a woman identified only as “A” during his term as tourism minister, as well as sexually assaulting and harassing two other women while he was president. When the allegations came to light, he was forced to resign as head of state in June 2007, handing the largely-ceremonial office to former rival Shimon Peres. Although he initially accepted a plea bargain that would have seen him admit the lesser charges and pay a fine in exchange for prosecutors dropping the rape charges, he later changed his mind, and said he wanted to clear his name in court. During his trial, Katsav denied the charges against him and claimed he was the victim of a “lynching” by prosecutors and the media, and accused his victims of trying to blackmail him. The former president had been due to begin serving his sentence on May 8, but the court agreed to delay it until he completed his appeal. Israeli lawmakers have sought to strip him of many of the privileges that came with his office, but local media said the disgraced politician would continue to receive his pension, at a rate of 70 percent of his salary as president.— AFP



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Rebels vow hostage release after Colombia protests

HAWAII: Navy Region Hawaii Honor Guard member presents a US flag to the family of Pearl Harbor survivor Lee Soucy during an internment ceremony for Soucy, Tuesday. —AP

US marks 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack HONOLULU: The United States yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with memorial services, lowered flags and silence at the moment the history-changing assault began. Ceremonies were scheduled from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to Washington DC on the US East Coast to remember the 2,400 Americans who died on December 7, 1941 when Japan launched a devastating surprise offensive on the US Pacific Fleet. President Barack Obama called for the Stars and Stripes to be flown at half mast on federal buildings across the country, to mark National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. “On a serene Sunday morning 70 years ago, the skies above Pearl Harbor were darkened by the bombs of Japanese forces in a surprise attack that tested the resilience of our armed forces and the will of our nation,” he said Tuesday. “In the wake of the bombing of our harbor and the crippling of our Pacific Fleet, there were those who declared the United States had been reduced to a third-class power. “But rather than break the spirit of our Nation, the attack brought Americans together and fortified our resolve. Patriots across our country answered the call to defend our way of life at home and abroad.” At exactly 7:55 am (1745 GMT) on the fateful day, Japan awakened the American “sleeping giant,” bombing the US Pacific Fleet anchored in Hawaii. In two hours some 20 ships were sunk or damaged and 164 planes destroyed. Of the 2,400 who died, nearly half were killed in a matter of seconds aboard the giant USS

Arizona battleship, when a bomb detonated the ship’s munitions depot, igniting a conflagration that burned for three days. Denouncing “a date which will live in infamy,” president Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan, leading the United States into World War II at a time when many of his countrymen had hoped to avoid the conflict. For seven decades, some conspiracy theorists have believed that president Roosevelt had received intelligence about the Japanese attack before it happened, but willingly chose not to act on it. The theory goes that Roosevelt believed the shock of the attack would persuade Americans of the need to enter the war. The theory is based on the fact that US military radar failed to detect the approach of six Japanese aircraft carriers with 400 planes on board, which stopped 220 miles (350 km) from their target. Whatever the truth, the day after Pearl Harbor, the US Congress officially declared war on Japan. Three days later, Germany declared war on the United States. The US entry was to change the course of the conflict. Nearly six decades after Japan’s surprise World War II assault, Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks drew comparisons with Pearl Harbor, in the sense of prodding the US into military action and a profound strategic rethink. In Pearl Harbor yesterday, just west of Honolulu, a handful of USS Arizona survivors will join other military veterans to salute those who died in the attacks, an annual ceremony made more poignant by the 70th anniversary. —AFP

BOGOTA: Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has pledged to free an unspecified number of hostages after thousands of Colombians marched nationwide demanding freedom for all rebel captives. President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday that he would not trade hostages for imprisoned guerrillas, but he indicated he was open to a future dialogue if the Marxist FARC rebels demonstrated “true political will.” “What we want to see is a real will to reach a peace agreement, and one of the ways to express that will is freeing the hostages unilaterally, without conditions and without a show,” Santos said in an interview with RCN radio. “Free them and then we can sit down to see if there are possibilities of a dialogue,” he said. Protesters earlier marched in Bogota, Cali, Medellin and several other cities across the Andean nation, chanting, “Freedom, freedom, freedom.” “No more FARC,” others shouted, using the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which has waged a 47-year guerrilla war against the state. “We’re sick of them, because of their crimes. The FARC have no ideology, they are just narcoterrorists,” said Lia Velazquez, a civil servant who came to the capital from the northeast to take part in the demonstration. But there were others in the crowds who called on the military not to put hostages’ lives in danger with risky rescue attempts. The marches were held 10 days after the killing of four captives-three policemen and a soldier-who had been held hostage for more than 12 years. Among them was the FARC’s longest-held hostage, Jose Libio Martinez, who was kidnapped December 21, 1997. A fifth hostage managed to escape during the melee. The four were shot to death by their guards when their jungle camp came under attack, authorities have said. The FARC blamed the deaths on a “senseless” military rescue attempt. Founded in 1964, the FARC is holding at least 11 police and soldiers hostages with the goal of trading them for several hundred imprisoned guerrillas. They also are holding an unknown number of civilians for ransom. In its statement on Tuesday, the FARC promised to arrange “the unilateral liberation of the prisoners of war that we had announced in earlier missives, even though some of them fell in the senseless military rescue attempt.” “We profoundly deplore that four of the six prisoners of war that we were going to free unilaterally in response to their petition in August, have died in an irrational military rescue attempt by the Colombian army, when

CALI: Men carry a sick woman through a flooded street in northern Cali, Colombia, Tuesday. An extended rainy season has caused devastating floods and widespread damage in the country for the second year in a row. Meteorologist blame the intense rains on La Nina weather phenomenon which occurs in the Pacific Ocean. —AP

they were marching to the place where we planned to turn them over to you,” it said. “The FARC wanted to free them alive, but the government of Juan Manuel Santos preferred to return them dead to their loved ones.” The demonstrations against the FARC were organized by civic groups with the support of the government, which gave public employees time off to participate and had openly called on Colombians to join the protests. Santos himself took part in a demonstration in the town of Villeta, near Bogota, where he was accompanied by police sergeant Luis Alberto Erazo, the hostage who managed to escape during last month’s raid. Smaller gatherings took place in Madrid, Miami, New York and Washington, where the

secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, said the FARC should heed the “universal condemnation.” Colombia’s chief of police, General Oscar Naranjo, insisted that the protests are a major worry for the FARC, which has suffered the losses of key leaders in recent years. “It generates tremendous concern, real anguish, for them to see Colombians pressuring them and rejecting their terrorist methods,” he said. But with an estimated 8,000 fighters, the Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group remains entrenched in large parts of the country, and even protest organizers said they doubted the protests would have an immediate impact.— AFP



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Qaeda branch behind Mali kidnap of two Frenchmen BAMAKO: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is behind the kidnapping of two Frenchmen on November 24 in Hombori in northern Mali, regional security sources told AFP yesterday. “According to cross-referenced information, AQIM is responsible for the kidnapping of two French citizens in Hombori in November,” said a Malian security source. A Niger security source currently in Bamako said: “Those responsible are followers of Abdelkrim Taleb, a leader of a branch of AQIM.” The two

sources said this included fighters from Mali, Algeria and western Algeria camps of the Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement. “AQIM wants to intimidate and become master of the Sahara” desert, said the Malian source, on condition of anonymity. “Last week they interrupted work on a military barracks in northern Mali and ordered the workers to leave.” The north African Al-Qaeda branch has not claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic nearly two

weeks ago. The two men, who described themselves as a geologist and an engineer but were later identified as having had ties to mercenaries, were taken from their hotel in the middle of the night. A day later a German tourist was killed resisting kidnap by armed men who seized three other Europeans in Timbuktu, also in northern Mali. A source close to the case said those responsible for the Timbuktu kidnapping were not “direct AQIM fighters.” “We are dealing with sub-contractors or a group unknown until now,” she added, saying their

demands were not known. An official with Interpol in Mali said on condition of anonymity: “We don’t have a clear idea of who is behind Timbuktu. There are hypotheses. Drug traffickers who want to put pressure on Mali to arrest other traffickers? AQIM sub-contractors? New armed group?” he listed. The fresh kidnappings add to Mali’s problems as the west African nation is grappling with the return of thousands of heavily armed fighters who served fallen Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.— AFP

Italian mafia boss captured in bunker Arrest ends 16 years on the run KINSHASA: Congolese riot police stand in front of the parliament building in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Tuesday.—AP

Congo troops on standby as vote result delayed KINSHASA: Troops in Kinshasa were on standby yesterday as the DR Congo faced up to two more days of tense waiting for the full results of an election that has raised fears of a fresh explosion of violence. President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, looked on track for another five-year term in the single-round race, leading top rival Etienne Tshisekedi 49 to 33 percent in results announced Tuesday and based on 89 percent of polling centres. Tshisekedi earlier said he rejected partial results showing Kabila in the lead, and has made veiled threats of violence if the incumbent is declared the winner. Observers said the delay will only ratchet up tensions that have been growing since an election marred by rebel attacks in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi, chaos and rioting at polling centres, and a deadly police crackdown on Tshisekedi’s supporters on the last day of the campaign. “Tension is on the rise since voting day,” said Thierry Vircoulon, central Africa director for the International Crisis Group, which has put the Democratic Republic of Congo on its “conflict risk alert” list. “People are getting sceptical. When you reach a certain level of disorganisation, people wonder if the process is really free and fair and if there’s no manipulation behind the scenes,” he told AFP. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said late Tuesday it needed more time to compile final results from around the country, which is two-thirds the size of

Western Europe ranked last in the UN’s development index. It promised a full count within 48 hours. “We don’t have all the results sheets from the 169 local results compilation centres,” CENI spokesman Matthieu Mpita told AFP. “That’s why we had to postpone the provisional results. To respect the law, we need to have all the results sheets in our possession.” The postponement came after police fired tear gas to disperse supporters of Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress outside the party’s headquarters in Kinshasa, on a day that was eerily quiet elsewhere in the normally bustling city of 10 million people. Some 20,000 soldiers are on stand-by at bases in Kinshasa, and convoys of large trucks packed with armed police carrying gas masks were seen on the capital’s unusually quiet streets. In Mbuji-Mayi, capital of Kasai Oriental province and a Tshisekedi stronghold, authorities had imposed a 10:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew, while Kabila’s presidential guard was deployed in Lubumbashi, the country’s second city. Tensions also spilled over into the Congolese diaspora. In London, some 300 protesters accusing Western countries of backing Kabila clashed with police outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence. Two people were treated for injuries and 17 were arrested on suspicion of obstructing a highway, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.— AFP

ABIDJAN: Supporters of Yasmina Ouegnin, a candidate of the Rally of Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI) for the upcoming legislative elections, take part in a campaign parade in the Abidjan district of Cocody, yesterday.—AFP

More than 550 Ivorian refugees to repatriate TOE TOWN: More than 550 Ivory Coast refugees who have been residing in camps in Liberia are being processed at this border town for repatriation across the border into their homeland. The 555 refugees, some who have lived in Liberia for more than a year, spent Tuesday night in tents at a UN refugee agency center. Some 22 buses from Ivory Coast will start taking them home yesterday. Many Ivory Coast residents fled

across the border to countries including Liberia during a monthslong political crisis that left thousands dead following presidential elections in November 2010. Cosmas Chanda, a representative for the UN refugee agency in Liberia, said that over 100,000 refugees staying in Liberia had already returned to Ivory Coast. Chanda said there are still over 130,000 Ivorian refugees still in Liberia. — AP

ROME: Italian police yesterday arrested the most senior boss of the Camorra mafia still at large, digging through a secret bunker near Naples to end his 16 years on the run, officials said. Michele Zagaria, 53, considered the leader of the powerful and bloody Casalesi clan, has already been sentenced in absentia to multiple life terms in prison for a career of murder, extortion and drug trafficking. Zagaria-known as “Twisted Face” for his asymmetrical features-was hidden in a bunker with a thick ceiling of reinforced concrete under a home in the town of Casapesenna, 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of Naples. “You won. The state has won,” Zagaria reportedly told anti-mafia investigators as he was being arrested. The Naples antimafia prosecutor Catello Maresca told him: “It’s over.” He was one of Italy’s 11 most wanted and most dangerous criminals and has been the subject of an international arrest warrant since 2000.

The arrest “is a major success for the state” Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri said, adding that it would deliver a blow “not just to the Casalesi clan but to the entire Camorra organisation”. Chief anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso said: “We knew he was there but it was hard to find him, to smoke him out.” “This success represents the hope of a new commitment by institutions, society and the government against a system of accumulating illicit profit.” Laura Garavini, a lawmaker from the centre-left Democratic Party and a member of the parliament’s anti-mafia committee, pointed to the fact that he was arrested in his power base and last known town of residence. This “makes it even more important to answer fully doubts about the protections that he may have enjoyed all these years,” she said. The Camorra is based mainly in and around Naples but has a vast international network that generates billions of euros (dollars)

UK police arrest man in phone hacking probe LONDON: British police said yesterday they have arrested another suspect in their investigation of phone hacking by the News of the World, the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid shut down earlier this year. The 41-year-old man was held on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voice mail messages and pervert the course of justice, London’s Metropolitan police said. The man’s name was not released, but media including Sky News - which is 39 percent owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. - identified him as Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who was jailed for hacking into the voicemail messages of royal staff while working for the News of the World. Mulcaire’s lawyer, Sarah Webb, declined to comment. Police said the man was being held at a police station in south London. Only two people have been jailed for phone hacking - Mulcaire and News of the World reporter Clive Goodman, both in 2007. After long maintaining that phone hacking at the News of the World was the work of a rogue reporter, Murdoch closed the tabloid in July after evidence emerged it had accessed the mobile phone voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its search for exclusives. More than a dozen News of the World journalists, including former editor Andy Coulson, have been arrested as the scandal escalated and investigation widened. Coulson, who resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s media adviser when he became embroiled in the investigation, is suing News of the World’s publisher for terminating the payment of his legal fees relating to the phone-hacking scandal. He was not present yesterday as his case against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers got underway at London’s High Court. The case is expected to last about a day. Coulson’s lawyer James Laddie asked Justice Michael Alan Supperstone to declare that News Group Newspapers must pay Coulson’s costs in defending himself from allegations of criminality during his tenure as editor. News Group Newspapers is arguing that a clause in Coulson’s severance agreement stating it must pay any reasonable legal costs for defending or appearing in judicial proceedings relating to his editorship does not extend to criminal allegations, Laddie said. Coulson, who left the newspaper in 2007, quit as Cameron’s adviser in January, saying that coverage of the phone-hacking scandal made it too difficult for him to do his job. Two top London police officers and several senior Murdoch executives also have resigned over the hacking scandal, which has led to multiple investigations and damaged Murdoch’s empire.— AP

Blast in Nigeria kills at least 8 KANO: A powerful blast rocked the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna yesterday, killing at least eight people and wounding many others, an emergency official said, though the cause remained unclear. “One of the dead victims from the Kaduna explosion is a three-year-old child whose parent has taken the body for burial,” said Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the national emergency management agency. “So far seven bodies were taken to mortuary while many injured victims are receiving attention in hospitals.” Another official from the agency specified that a total of eight people had so far been confirmed killed. Police initially said the explosion appeared accidental, but speculation over whether it was caused by a bomb intensified due to the blast’s strength, with witnesses describing widespread damage, including a number of shops and houses destroyed. Shuaib had earlier described a grisly scene,

in profits from drug trafficking, counterfeit goods, waste disposal and construction. Italian prosecutors on Tuesday carried out 47 arrests in a crackdown on the Casalesi clan and asked lawmakers to strip an MP from former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party of his parliamentary immunity to arrest him too. The Casalesi clan was at the centre of the book “Gomorrah” by investigative journalist Roberto Saviano, who has been forced into hiding because of threats against his life. The book became an award-winning film shown at Cannes. Italian police last November arrested Antonio “The Baby” Iovine, a leader of the Casalesi known for his boyish good looks, after 14 years on the run. Iovine, who had escaped arrest many times before, was picked up as he tried to jump from a balcony and was later seen elegantly-dressed and smiling as he was taken away by police in a sign of defiance towards his captors. —AFP

saying the area was littered with mangled body parts that were being collected by rescue workers, making it difficult to come up with a precise death toll. The explosion caused panic, with the city having been hit by previous bomb blasts as well as deadly rioting following April elections. “It was a strong explosion,” Shuaib said, declining to speculate on what caused it. Police spokesman Aminu Lawan had earlier in the day said initial information indicated that the blast was accidental. “Initially, we thought it was a bomb blast, but our preliminary assessment has shown that it was an accidental explosion from a repair shop dealing in car batteries and gas cylinders,” Lawan had said. “The explosion has led to some deaths and injuries.” Kaduna, located in the mainly Muslim north, has been on edge since being hit by some of the worst rioting following April elections won by President Goodluck Jonathan,

a Christian from the south. Residents reported that the blast occurred in an area of the city mainly populated by Christian Igbos. “There was an explosion from a gas cylinder in one of the spare parts shops in the area and rumours went round the city that there was a bomb attack in the area,” Abdullahi Ibrahim, an iron vender, said by phone. “Because the area is largely populated by Christian Igbo traders dealing in spare parts and refrigerators, people thought the explosion was targeted at them. There was panic in some parts of the city ...” Another resident gave a similar account. Three days of riots across the north immediately following April’s presidential elections killed more than 800 people, according to rights groups. Nigeria’s north has also been hit in recent months by scores of bomb blasts and shootings blamed on the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.— AFP

MOSCOW: Supporters of the United Russia Party dance to celebrate their party’s victory in the parliamentary elections during a rally in downtown Moscow, Russia, yesterday.—AP

Gorbachev urges Russia poll re-run amid protests MOSCOW: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called for Russia’s elections to be re-run due to fraud yesterday as the opposition vowed new rallies contesting the results despite further mass arrests. Riot police in helmets roughly dragged over 550 protestors into detention vans Tuesday evening in central Moscow but the opposition warned they would stage a major protest organised via the Internet at the weekend. Amid growing international alarm, Gorbachev said the results of Sunday’s poll should be invalidated and new elections held due to “numerous falsifications and rigging.” “The results do not reflect the will of the people,” Gorbachev, president when the Soviet Union collapsed two decades ago, told the Interfax news agency. “Therefore I think they (Russia’s leaders) can only take one decision-annul the results of the election and hold new ones.” Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won the polls with a sharply reduced majority, amid signs the prime minister’s once-invincible popularity might be waning. The opposition says that the ruling party’s performance would have been even worse in free polls. The conduct of the polls, which OSCE-led observers said were slanted in favour of United Russia, raised international concern. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the elections were neither free nor fair. The Russian foreign ministry protested that Clinton’s comments were “unacceptable” while top lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said they were drawn from “one of the darkest pages in the recent history of Russia-US relations.” Activists say some results stretched all credibility, such as United Russia’s polling 99.50 percent in the Caucasus region of Chechnya and almost all the residents of a Moscow psychiatric hospital voting for the party. Internet-based protesters vowed further demonstrations in the days to come, despite a warning by police that participants in unsanctioned protests would be arrested. A group “for honest elections” said on its Facebook page that a new demonstration would take place on Revolution Square in central Moscow on Saturday. More than 10,000 members of

the Facebook group have already promised to attend. Another social networking group, calling itself “against the party of swindlers and thieves”-the opposition’s slogan for United Russia-said protests would take place every day at 7:00 pm (1500 GMT) including yesterday. “Come at our own risk,” it said. “You can always wait for Saturday’s protest.” Russia’s liberal newspapers hailed the protests, saying the opposition had finally found a voice against the domination of Putin. “We prevented the real political process and built cardboard scenery instead. But it’s dangerous to hold back a natural process: now it’s payback time,” wrote liberal daily Vedomosti in an editorial. The Nezavisimaya Gazeta added: “The middle class has started to express its discontent, which is an extremely alarming signal for the authorities.” Moscow Echo radio said six of those detained Tuesday had already been given jail terms of up to 15 days but it was not clear how many of those arrested were still being held. Police were already setting up metal barriers around Trimumfalnaya Ploshad where Tuesday’s protest was held to prevent another gathering. Opposition activists had also found themselves outnumbered by pro-Kremlin youth bused in to make a show of strength. The authorities were caught by surprise when the first opposition rally on Monday evening attracted thousands. Influential opposition blogger Alexei Navalny, who coined the slogan “swindlers and thieves”, was among those arrested and was sentenced Tuesday to 15 days in jail. State television news has virtually ignored the demonstrations, and the morning bulletin on Channel One did not contain a single mention of the protests. But with the authorities clearly nervous, police said that more than 51,000 police were guarding the city streets, among them 2,000 army conscripts, in a heightened security regime. United Russia polled just under 50 percent of the vote after winning more than 64 percent in 2007 but still held on to an absolute majority of seats in parliament. Its biggest opposition in the State Duma will be the Communists.— AFP



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Karzai blames Pakistanis over sectarian massacre Afghan prez threatens to rachet up tensions

PESHAWAR: In this picture taken on Nov 21, 2011, a Pakistani woman walks near the Peshawar’s women’s Mina Bazzar which was attacked by alleged militants, in Peshawar, Pakistan. —AP

Pakistan: Militant violence down, but fear remains PESHAWAR: Mohammed Hasib lost his older brother in a car bombing two years ago that destroyed their small shop selling woman’s accessories and killed more than 100 people. He has since rebuilt and business is improving, thanks to a significant drop in militant violence in Pakistan this year. Analysts attribute the decline to a combination of military operations against the Pakistani Taleban in the country’s rugged tribal region, US drone attacks that have killed key militant commanders and better law enforcement in Pakistan’s main cities. Reported exploratory peace talks over the past six months between the Pakistani Taleban and government intermediaries also may have played a role. There have been conflicting claims in recent weeks about whether talks have occurred and whether militants have agreed to a ceasefire to encourage them. The number of people killed in suicide attacks in Pakistan in the first 11 months of 2011 dropped almost 40 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data compiled by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies. Deaths from all attacks by Islamist militants fell nearly 20 percent. This trend contrasts with rising violence in Afghanistan, where a suicide bomber killed 56 people outside a Shiite Muslim shrine in Kabul on Tuesday who were marking a major Islamic holy day. A Pakistan-based group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, although the validity of the claim could not be verified. The most notable drop in Pakistan has been in mass-casualty attacks in large cities outside the nor thwest, such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik actually thanked the Pakistani Taleban on Tuesday for not staging attacks in the country during Ashoura, when Shiites commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Despite the decline, violence still takes a large human toll in the country in daily attacks, and no one is claiming victory. Nearly 1,700 people were killed in “terrorist ” or “insurgent ” attacks through November, according to the institute, excluding those in Baluchistan that were mostly carried out by nationalists, not Islamist militants. More than 670 people were killed in suicide attacks. The numbers killed in the same period last year were around 2,100 and 1,060, respectively. “The situation has improved, but people are still scared,” said Hasib, 30, whose shop is located in the northwest city of Peshawar’s Mina bazaar. “It will take time for people to fully recover.” The bombing on Oct 28, 2009, was so devastating that all Hasib was able to find of his brother, Mohammed Salim, was his identity card, in a gutter across the street from their shop. Hasib sold his house to rebuild the shop and married his brother’s widow to take care of her and her two children, a common practice in some parts of Pakistan. Peshawar, located on the edge of the tribal region and close to the Afghan border, has been the worst hit major Pakistani city. Police, army and civilian targets were bombed almost daily toward the end of 2009 after the military carried out a major offensive in South Waziristan, the Pakistani Taleban ‘s main sanctuary in the tribal region. “You can’t imagine how terrible those days were for us,” said Waris Khan Afridi, 58, president of the trader’s association in Peshawar’s Saddar bazaar. “There were times when the bazaar was deserted and

even shopkeepers weren’t coming.” Afridi and others said business has improved significantly over the last year, but is still down relative to the period before the Pakistani Taleban began their insurgency in earnest in 2007. The Saddar and Mina bazaars were bustling during a recent trip, packed with women buying new clothes for Pakistan’s wedding season. The last major attack in Peshawar was in mid-September when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in a market selling music and movies, killing five people. Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a Pakistani political and defense analyst, said military operations in the tribal region and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province since the spring of 2009 have disrupted the militants, making it more difficult for them to train suicide bombers and transport them outside the northwest. “The operations have not been able to eliminate the militants altogether, but they have certainly weakened them,” said Rizvi. The military has carried out offensives in every part of the tribal region except North Waziristan. But no area is fully under control, and the government has struggled to undertake the kind of reconstruction and development that could address some of the root causes of militancy. Mohammed Amir Rana, director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, said he believes US drone attacks are the chief reason behind the drop in violence. The attacks have killed key Taleban and Al- Qaeda commanders, something Pakistani military operations have largely failed to do. US drone strikes k illed Pak istani Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud in August 2009; Qari Hussain, the Pakistani Taleban ‘s main trainer of suicide bombers, in October 2010; and Ilyas Kashmiri, alQaida’s militar y operations chief in Pakistan, in June 2011. “The drones have killed the masterminds, the planners,” said Rana. “But as long as their structures are intact, their capacity is intact, and they can pose a threat at any time.” The strikes also force the militants to spend a lot of time worrying about how to avoid being killed, according to Rizvi. “That means they have trouble training suicide bombers, planning long-term strategy,” he said. Many Pakistanis criticize the drone strikes because they believe they mostly kill innocent civilians, a message reinforced by militants and often by Pakistani officials. The US does not acknowledge the CIA-run drone program in Pakistan publicly, but American officials have claimed privately that the attacks kill very few civilians. Anonymous Pak istani Taleban commanders and intelligence officials have said in recent weeks that the group has held exploratory peace talks with government intermediaries over the past six months. The commanders said the Pakistani Taleban agreed to a cease-fire a little over a month ago to encourage the talks, although they differed over whether it applied to the whole country or just South Waziristan. Pak istani Taleban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan has denied the claims, saying the group has neither agreed to a cease-fire nor engaged in peace talks with the government. Government officials and the army also have denied holding official negotiations. Ehsan said recently the militants would continue fighting until the government cuts ties with the United States. “Do it and we are brothers, but if not, our war against the government will go on,” said the spokesman. —AP

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed Pakistani extremists yesterday for an unprecedented attack on Shiite Muslims in Kabul that killed 55 people, demanding justice from the government in Islamabad. By pointing the finger at the Lashkar-iJhangvi militant group, Karzai threatens to ratchet up tensions with neighbouring Pakistan just days after Islamabad boycotted the Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan. Afghan officials fear that Tuesday’s killings in Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif could unleash Iraq and Pakistanstyle sectarian violence ahead of the scheduled departure of NATO combat troops in 2014. Yesterday, another 19 people died in a roadside bombing in the southern province of Helmand, bringing to 78 the number of people killed in just over 24 hours. Four people were killed near a mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif. “We will pursue this issue with Pakistan and its government very seriously,” said Karzai as he visited wounded survivors of the attack after cancelling a planned trip to Britain and rushing home from Germany. There have been media reports of a purported claim from Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for killing thousands of Shiites in Pakistan but not thought previously to have attacked within Afghanistan. “Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is based in Pakistan, therefore the government of Afghanistan with all its strength and international support will pursue this issue, Afghanistan cannot ignore the blood of its children,” Karzai said. Afghans traditionally blame Pakistanis for fuelling much of the violence in their country, where the Taleban are leading a 10-year insurgency against Karzai’s government and 140,000 Western troops. His spokesman Aimal Faizi told AFP that Karzai will “demand

Pakistan take executive measures... so that justice can be done”. There are reported links between Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which was one of the groups involved in the kidnap and beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002, and Pakistani intelligence. The US embassy in Kabul confirmed that an American was among those killed on Tuesday, in the Afghan capital where the victims were buried at peaceful

mass gatherings with police on standby for violence which failed to materialise. The 19 civilians killed in yesterday ’s roadside bombing in Helmand included seven women from one family and five children, local officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, which came as the civilians travelled from provincial capital Lashkar Gah to Sangin district, historically one of the most troubled in Afghanistan. Lashkar Gah

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai greets a girl who was wounded in yesterday’s suicide bomb attack on an Ashura mourning procession, as he visits the victims at a hospital in Kabul yesterday.— AFP

Gates discussing new nuclear reactor with China BEIJING: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates confirmed yesterday he is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new and safer kind of nuclear reactor. “The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste,” said the billionaire during a talk at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. Gates has largely funded a Washington state-based company, TerraPower, that is developing a Generation IV nuclear reactor that can run on depleted uranium. The general manager of state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation, Sun Qin, was quoted in Chinese media last week saying Gates was working with it to research and develop a reactor. “TerraPower is having very good discussions with CNNC and various people in the Chinese government,” said Gates, cautioning that they were at an early stage. Gates says perhaps as much as a billion dollars will be put into research and development over the next five years. TerraPower says its traveling wave reactor would run for decades on depleted uranium and produce significantly smaller amounts of nuclear waste than conventional reactors. “All these new

designs are going to be incredibly safe,” Gates told the audience. “They require no human action to remain safe at all times.” He said they also benefit from an ability to simulate earthquake and tidal wave conditions. “It takes safety to a new level,” he said. Since leaving Microsoft Corp., Gates has concentrated on philanthropy and advocating on public health, education and clean energy issues. Gates was at the Ministry of Science and Technology to talk about a joint project between China and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support innovative research and development to help alleviate poverty. Gates said the ministry will help identify entrepreneurs and companies to manufacture new products in global health and agriculture to “change the lives of poor people,” including new vaccines and diagnostics and genetically modified seeds. “China has a lot to contribute because it’s solved many of the problems of poverty, not all of them but a lot of them, itself, and many Asian, south Asian and African countries are well behind, whether it’s agriculture or health,” said Gates. No concrete poverty alleviation projects were mentioned. —AP

was brought under Afghan control in July and three other districts of Helmand are due to shift from NATO to Afghan hands within weeks as part of the phased withdrawal of most Western combat troops. Tuesday ’s bombings were unprecedented in targeting a key religious holiday, Ashura, which is the holiest day in the calendar for Shiites. Officials accuse militants of trying to exacerbate the 10-year war by hitting religious faultlines. Investigators are now trying to find out who was responsible. The Taleban have denied any involvement. An Afghan official said the bomber who attacked the Kabul shrine was a Pakistani affiliated to Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, which is not previously known to have carried out any attacks in Afghanistan. Officials and experts suggested that if Pakistanis did orchestrate the attacks, then elements in the Afghan Taleban may have helped facilitate them. Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, said the strikes were the work of “the Taleban and their associates”, adding that no-one else carried out such suicide attacks in Afghanistan. An Afghan security official speaking on condition of anonymity said the bomber was a Pakistani connected to Sepah-i-Sahaba, a Lashkar-iJhangvi offshoot, who wanted to “inflame sectarian violence in Afghanistan”. A Western security official also suggested Pakistani involvement but stressed it was not clear whether this was “institutional”, referring to reported links between militants and Pakistani intelligence. “We’re particularly looking at TTP (Tehreek-i-Taleban , the Pakistani Taleban ) although at the moment we don’t have any proof,” he said. A Pakistani official speaking anonymously said Lashkar-i-Jhangvi was closely associated with the Pakistani Taleban. —AFP

First testimony in war crimes trial in Bangladesh DHAKA: The first trial of a suspected collaborator from Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence heard yesterday how the accused, now a senior politician, led a wave of looting and arson by pro-Pakistan militia. Delawar Hossain Sayedee, a top figure in the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, listened from the dock as the first witness in his trial described how Sayedee identified homes and shops of supporters of the liberation movement to Pakistani army officers. Mahbubul Islam Howlader, 60, told the court how a pro-Pakistani “auxiliary force” led by Sayedee had then “torched and looted” scores of houses and shops belonging to minority Hindus. Howldaer also recalled seeing Sayedee order his men to shoot a Hindu man who had been captured and tied to a coconut tree. Sayedee stands charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, murder, rape, religious persecution and enslavement. If found guilty, the 71-year-old could be hanged. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-the daughter of independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman-established the war crimes tribunal after she returned to power in 2009. Opposition parties have condemned what they see as a “show trial” targetting Sheikh Hasina’s political opponents. The New York-based group Human Rights has said the tribunal’s legal procedures fall short of international standards. Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which was called East Pakistan until 1971, has struggled to come to terms with its violent birth. The current government says up to three million people were killed in the war, many murdered by locals collaborating with Pakistani forces. The 1971 war began after tens of thousands of people were killed in Dhaka when then-West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight, a campaign intended to deter Bangladeshis from seeking independence.— AFP

Malaysia Airlines to launch new carrier

BEIJING: Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates speaks to the media after delivering a speech at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Beijing yesterday. —AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Loss-making Malaysia Airlines said yesterday it would launch a regional premium carrier, spin off ancillary businesses and ax unprofitable routes under a business plan to return to the black by 2013. Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the airline would cut capacity by 12 percent next year by suspending flights to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Dubai and some European cities. Officials said some 40 percent of the carrier’s overall network is unprofitable. He said the flag carrier would focus instead on the premium market in Asia, which is growing despite intense competition from low-cost carriers. He said a new premium airline will begin operations in the second half of 2012, using a fleet of new narrow-body Boeing 737-800 planes to fly all its existing domestic and regional routes. Malaysia Airlines will then focus on servicing long-haul flights, he said. “We are in a very, very deep crisis. Our cumulative losses until the third quarter amounts to 1.25 billion ringgit ($400 million). We do not see any improvement in the fourth quarter,” he told a news conference. —AP




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Cambodia opens controversial mega-dam PHNOM PENH: Energy-starved Cambodia yesterday opened the country’s largest hydropower dam to date, a multi-million dollar Chinese-funded project that has attracted criticism from environmental groups. Prime Minister Hun Sen said the start of operations of the 194megawatt hydroelectric dam, which cost more than $280 million, in southern Kampot province was a “historic event” in

the development of the nation. He brushed aside the concerns of local and foreign activists, saying the environmental impact of the dam had been “well studied” and it would help bring down electricity prices in areas including the capital Phnom Penh. “There is no development that will not impact on the environment,” he said in a speech broadcast on national radio, urging “extreme environmentalists”

to “look at the whole forest rather than each single tree”. USbased campaigners International Rivers said the Kamchay dam had destroyed hundreds of hectares of forest and farmland and warned it would have a negative impact on fisheries and on local people’s livelihoods. “Consideration of the dam’s environmental impacts had no place in the project’s decision-making,” said Ame Trandem, the non-

profit group’s Southeast Asia programme director. “As the first large dam in Cambodia, we hope this project does not set precedent for future energy planning and development in the country.” Around a quarter of households in the impoverished nation currently have access to electricity. Spiralling utility prices, driven by the lack of supply, are a major obstacle for

Cambodia to attract foreign investment, and the government has struggled to find a way to bring down the cost of power. Nine more dams, including at least four funded by China, are set to open by 2019, and once they are all operational the government says they will generate 2,045 megawatts of power, serving all Cambodia’s provinces. The inauguration of

the Kamchay dam came a day before Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam are set to announce whether Laos will push ahead with the development of the controversial Xayaburi megadam on the lower Mekong River. Cambodia has called for more examination of the cross-border impacts of that project before a final decision is made by Laos on whether to go ahead.— AFP

Leader of prostitution ring in China executed Gang forced over 300 women into prostitution BEIJING: The female head of a gang in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing that forced hundreds of women to work as prostitutes-some of whom died or went mad-was executed yesterday, state media said. Wang Ziqi,

failed and she was put to death. According to previous media reports, Wang ran the gang with her sister Wang Wanning, who fled abroad but was caught and brought back to China in April. Two other sisters were also, a website that belongs to the official Chongqing Daily, reported. The Chongqing Fifth Intermediate People’s Court, which sentenced Wang Ziqi, was unavailable for comment. The sis-

SHANGHAI: Chinese customs officers line up during the commissioning of the radiation detection system at the Yangshan Port in Shanghai, China yesterday. —AP who ran a gang that operated brothels under the guise of teahouses, beauty salons or hotels, was sentenced to death in August 2010, the China News Service said. Her subsequent appeal

involved. From 1994 to 2009, the gang forced more than 300 women looking for employment at local jobs markets into prostitution by luring them to the beauty salons or hotels,

ters would control the women by using methods such as “seizing their ID cards, ruining their reputations, harming their family members, confiscating the money they earnt and detaining them

illegally,” the report said. They also arranged for designated people to teach the women the “skills” of prostitution, it added. The women had to work even when they had their period or after they had undergone forced abortions, or risk being beaten and put in a dark room for days without food. Seven of the women died in mysterious circumstances, the report said. In 2003, one of the women jumped from the eighth floor of a teahouse and was paralysed. But she was still kept locked up until she was released by police in September 2009, it added. Another woman who tried to escape but was caught became mentally ill. Her husband said she went missing in February 2005, and after looking for her for years, he divorced her in July 2009, the report said. But the following month, she suddenly reappeared looking haggard and pale, with scars on her hands and feet. After that, she would often wake up in the night, strip naked and walk out. Her family took her to see a psychiatrist, who said her behaviour was the result of being locked up and terrified for a long time. Wang Ziqi is one of many gang members to have been executed in Chongqing as part of a huge crackdown on graft and organised crime in the megacity in 2009 and 2010. It is unclear if her sister has also been put on trial. —AFP

Fugitive Thai ‘Red Shirt’ leader surrenders BANGKOK: A militant leader of Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protest movement surrendered to authorities yesterday on terrorism charges over his role in opposition rallies last year, after almost 20 months on the run. Arisman Pongruangrong, who narrowly avoided capture by police commandos in April 2010 by climbing out of the third-floor window of a Bangkok hotel, turned himself in to the justice ministry’s department of special investigation (DSI). “I acknowledged and denied all the charges and will give more testimony in a written statement,” he told reporters. Arisman is believed to have hidden in neighbouring Cambodia after fleeing the capital in the wake of the bungled attempt to arrest him in connection with mass anti-government protests that turned deadly. Later yesterday a Bangkok court denied his request to be released on bail. “The court said it was a serious case and he might escape,” Arisman’s legal advisor Singthong Buachum told AFP, adding that they planned to appeal. On Tuesday the hardliner turned himself in to a court in Pattaya to face separate charges related to the Red Shirts’ storming of an Asian summit in the Thai resort city in 2009, forcing its cancellation as leaders were evacuated. —AFP

Philippines, rebels vow to push forward peace bid KUALA LUMPUR: The Philippines and Muslim rebels agreed yesterday to extend the mandate of a peace monitoring mission in the troubled south as they pledged to continue talks on ending a lengthy insurgency. The declarations came at the end of three-day talks in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the first round of full negotiations since deadly October clashes nearly led to a complete collapse of the peace effort. A joint statement by the Philippine government and representatives of the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the talks wrapped with “both parties reaffirming their commitment to move the peace process forward.” As part of that, they agreed to meet again in January in Malaysia for a further round of talks and to renew for another year the mandate of an international monitoring team observing the peace effort, the statement said. The monitoring team’s mandate in the southern Philippines was to have expired in March 2012. The statement gave no other details on the specifics of the talks in Kuala Lumpur other than to say the two sides continued discussions toward “crafting a framework agreement.” AFP was not immediately able to contact officials with the two delegations for further comment. Philippine negotiator

Marvic Leonen opened the closed-door talks on Monday by laying down a challenge to the rebels to pull together with Manila to formally end the insurgency by the first quarter of next year, according to a government statement. The peace effort looked in peril after an October ambush in which MILF rebels killed 19 soldiers on the southern island of Basilan. The killings led to fierce battles on several fronts on the main southern island of Mindanao, during which as many as 40 soldiers, police and civilians were killed and thousands displaced. The violence raised pressure on President Benigno Aquino to break off negotiations and launch an all-out war against the MILF. But Aquino held firm, and last month negotiators met in Kuala Lumpur for preparatory talks ahead of this week’s formal restart. Although the two sides appear to have pulled back from the brink, Leonen on Monday urged the MILF to do more to rein in “lawless elements” that threaten peace. In August, the MILF snubbed a government counter-proposal that did not address their demand for the creation of a “sub-state” for minority Muslims. The rebellion has claimed an estimated 150,000 lives since it began in the 1970s. —AFP

South Korea, US resume talks on nuclear energy TOKYO: People admire the Christmas illuminations at Tokyo Midtown shopping mall in Tokyo yesterday. Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated generally on December 25 as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world. —AFP

Japan using quake disaster budget for whaling aid

BANGKOK: This file picture taken on April 16, 2009 shows Thai ‘Red Shirt’ leader Arisman Pongruangrong (C-in red shirt) fleeing arrest at a downtown hotel in Bangkok. A militant leader of Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protest movement surrendered to authorities yesterday. —AFP

MANILA: Protesters clench their fists as they converge at an intersection to attempt to occupy a historic bridge in Manila, Philippines yesterday to dramatize discontent over poverty and inequality. —AP

TOKYO: Japan yesterday confirmed it planned to use some of the public funds earmarked for quake and tsunami reconstruction to boost security for its controversial annual whaling hunt. Greenpeace charged that Tokyo was siphoning money from disaster victims by spending an extra 2.28 billion yen ($30 million) on beefed up security amid looming battles between the whaling fleet and environmental groups. Japan’s whaling fleet left port Tuesday for this season’s annual hunt in Antarctica, with the coast guard saying earlier that it would deploy an unspecified number of guards to protect it from anti-whaling activists. Fisheries Agency official Tatsuya Nak aoku said the extra security was designed to ensure safer hunts, and ultimately help coastal towns that largely depend on whaling to recover from the March 11 disasters. “The government will support the reconstruction effort of a whaling town and nearby areas,” he told AFP yesterday. “This program can help it reconstruct food processing plants there... Many people in the area eat whale meat, too. They are waiting for Japan’s commercial whaling to resume,” he added. In February, Japan cut short its hunt for the 2010-2011

season by one month after bagging only one fifth of its planned catch, blaming interference from the US-based environmental group Sea Shepherd. Last month, Japan passed a 12.1 trillion-yen extra budget, the third this year, to finance post-quake reconstruction and revive the economy reeling from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. About 498.9 billion yen was earmarked for fisheries-related spending, including 2.28 billion yen for “stabilising whaling research”. “ We will bolster measures against acts of sabotage by anti-whaling groups so as to stably carr y out the Antarctic whaling research,” the fisheries department said after the budget was passed. Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but Japan has since 1987 used a loophole to carry out “lethal research” on the creatures in the name of science. Japan says it is necessary to substantiate its view that there is a robust whale population in the world, but makes no secret of the fact that whale meat from this research ends up on dinner tables and in restaurants. Anti-whaling nations and environmentalist groups routinely condemn the activity as a cover for commercial whaling. —AFP

SEOUL: South Korea is reportedly pushing for US permission to recycle spent nuclear fuel for power generation as the two countries resumed talks to revise a 1974 pact on the use of atomic energy. The focus of the three-day talks until today will be the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including Seoul’s right to reprocess spent fuel, Yonhap news agency said. But the US side is repor tedly opposed to the spread of reprocessing even to South Korea for fear that such a move might undermine global nonproliferation efforts and provoke North Korea and Japan. The bilateral pact, signed in 1974 and due to expire in 2014, bans South Korea from reprocessing spent fuel for fear of proliferation because it could yield plutonium, a key ingredient in building atomic bombs. South Korea’s foreign ministry said earlier that the talks were aimed at preparing a legal framework in order to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy. It did not give further details. Park Ro-Byug, South Korea’s envoy for the talks and a former ambassador to Ukraine, and Rober t Einhorn, the US State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, will lead their delegations. “We will discuss the revision of the nuclear energy pact so that the agreement should put (the ties of the two countries in the field of nuclear energy cooperation) on an equal footing,” Park was quoted as saying by

Yonhap. South Korea wants the United States to allow it to use a new technology known as pyroprocessing, which is considered less conducive to producing weapons as it leaves separated plutonium mixed with safer fissile materials, Yonhap said Tuesday. Permission to start nuclear reprocessing has been the focus of years of talks between Seoul and Washington South Korean state researchers and foreign ministry officials have also proposed pyroprocessing as a solution. Reprocessing spent fuel is becoming a more pressing issue for South Korea as its storage facilities for spent fuel will reach capacity in 2016. South Korea relies on 20 nuclear reactors to meet nearly 40 percent of its annual power needs. The two allies have already launched a 10-year joint research program into pyroprocessing and the talks will also touch on the ways to reflect the study results in a new pact, according to Yonhap. Einhorn told journalists Monday that the two countries were “working very cooperatively together ” to have a new agreement that will expand the level of cooperation in civil nuclear energy. The new pact should reflect South Korea’s growing role in the global civil nuclear sector, he said. South Korea is emerging as a leading exporter of nuclear power plants. In 2009, it won a $20 billion deal to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates.— AFP



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PARIS: Night view of the Champs Elysees set up for the Christmas period is seen yesterday. — AP

Death penalty dropped against Mumia Abu-Jamal DELPHIA: Prosecutors announced yesterday that they will no longer pursue the death penalty against former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in prison for gunning down a white police officer nearly 30 years ago. The decision by District Attorney Seth Williams, made with the support of the officer’s widow and the city police commissioner, comes after nearly 30 years of legal battles over the racially charged case. “There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982,” said Williams, who is black. “While Abu-Jamal will no longer be facing the death penalty, he will remain

behind bars for the rest of his life, and that is where he belongs.” Abu-Jamal was convicted of fatally shooting Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec 9, 1981. He was sentenced to death after his trial the following year. Abu-Jamal, who has been incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison, has garnered worldwide support from those who believe he was the victim of a biased justice system. Abu-Jamal, a onetime journalist, garnered worldwide support from the “Free Mumia” movement. Hundreds of vocal supporters and death-penalty opponents regularly turn out for court hearings in his case, even though Abu-Jamal is rarely entitled to attend. His message resonated particularly on

college campuses and in the movie and music industries - actors Mike Farrell and Tim Robbins were among dozens of luminaries who used a New York Times ad to advocate for a new trial, and the Beastie Boys played a concert to raise money for Abu-Jamal’s defense fund. His conviction was upheld through years of legal appeals. But a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing after ruling the instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading. The US Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the case in October. That forced prosecutors to decide if they wanted to again pursue the death penalty through a new sentencing hearing or accept a life sentence. The officer’s widow, Maureen Faulkner,

Zardari suffers heart attack, flies to Dubai Continued from Page 1 heart attack, saying only that he went to Dubai following symptoms related to a “pre-existing heart condition” at the “insistence” of his three children. Zardari is out of the country at a time when Pakistan is battling a major crisis in US relations after NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov 26. In his absence, his powers are transferred to the chairman of the Senate, Farooq Naek, a senior member of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). One cabinet minister told a television show that he was being kept in intensive care, but only as a means of keeping visitors to a minimum. “President Zardari’s condition is now stable. He was taken to ICU because he was getting a lot of visitors,” Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain told Geo TV. “He will stay there for the next two to three days and will be back home after that.” The PPP spokesman Qamar Zaman Kaira told AFP that President Zardari has undergone different tests. “All the tests conducted so far are normal and he (Zardari) is stable.” He was however, not sure when the President will be back home. “It is difficult to say anything right now. It will depend on the doctors’ advice.” Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum, visited Zardari and wished him a “speedy recovery”, the official WAM news agency reported. Zardari took office after the PPP won general elections in Feb 2008, three months after his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Although he has survived numerous crises and calls for his resignation, he has come under growing pressure

over a memo allegedly written by close aide Husain Haqqani asking for American assistance in curbing the powerful military. Haqqani was forced to resign as ambassador to Washington last month and Zardari said Sunday that he would soon address a joint session of parliament. It was not clear if the health scare would delay that plan. The website of the US magazine Foreign Policy reported that Zardari had been considering his resignation over health fears and the “Memogate scandal”. The article quoted an unnamed former US government official as saying Zardari was “incoherent” when he spoke to President Barack Obama by telephone over the weekend following the lethal NATO strikes. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar dismissed reports that he may be forced to step down as “speculative, imaginary and untrue”. The scandal centres on a memo sent in May to the US’s then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, seeking help over fears of a military coup following a secret US raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, accused Haqqani of crafting the memo with Zardari’s support. Haqqani has denied involvement and investigators have yet to prove to what extent Zardari may have been involved. Relations between the military and Zardari are understood to be tense. Haqqani’s departure was seen as forced by the army and the political pressure on Zardari is mounting ahead of elections expected as early as next autumn. In June, US pollsters Pew Research Center gave Zardari an approval rating in Pakistan of only 11 percent. — AFP

Amir issues warning on primaries... Continued from Page 1 Meanwhile, former MP Faisal AlDuwaisan said that seven former lawmakers, all of them Shiites, met the Amir, and discussions focused on the need for restraint and to work towards stability. The meetings came one day after the Amir dissolved the Assembly for the fourth time in less than six years due to continued political turmoil which the Amiri decree described as a threat to the supreme interests of the country. The date for the forthcoming elections has not been fixed yet and an Amiri decree must be issued to start the election campaign. But under Kuwaiti law, the elections must be held within 60

days of dissolving the Assembly. The next elections will be the fourth since June 2006. A small number of former MPs have already announced they will run in the election including Salwa Al-Jassar, while most others said they were still assessing the situation. A majority of former opposition MPs meanwhile have decided to boycott tribal primary elections, especially after the constitutional court ruling early this month reaffirmed that such elections are banned. The Islamist Ummah Party yesterday called on Kuwaiti voters to boycott the general elections because the whole election system remains outdated and corrupt. The party,

established in 2005 but still considered illegal by the state, called for carrying out key political and legislative reforms ahead of the elections including legalising political parties to ensure the peaceful rotation of authority. The party also called for establishing an independent election commission and for transforming Kuwait into a single electoral constituency to ensure fair polls. The party, which had boycotted the elections in 2006 and 2009 but fielded 12 candidates in 2008, said that though dissolving the Assembly will help in defusing political tensions in the country, the political dilemma will not be resolved without carrying out fundamental reforms.

has tried to remain visible over the years to ensure that her husband is not forgotten. They were newlyweds when he died. “My family and I have endured a three-decade ordeal at the hands of Mumia Abu-Jamal, his attorneys and his supporters, who in many cases never even took the time to educate themselves about the case before lending their names, giving their support and advocating for his freedom,” Maureen Faulkner said. “All of this has taken an unimaginable physical, emotional and financial toll on each of us.” According to trial testimony, Abu-Jamal saw his brother scuffle with the 25-year-old patrolman during a 4 a.m. traffic stop in 1981 and ran toward the scene. Police found Abu-Jamal wounded by a round from

Faulkner’s gun. Faulkner, shot several times, was killed. A .38-caliber revolver registered to Abu-Jamal was found at the scene with five spent shell casings. Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook, turned 58 earlier this year. His writings and radio broadcasts from death row made him a cause celebre and the subject of numerous books and movies. His own 1995 book, “Live From Death Row,” describes prison life and calls the justice system racist and ruled by political expediency. Over the years, Abu-Jamal has challenged the predominantly white makeup of the jury, instructions given to jurors and the statements of eyewitnesses. He has also alleged ineffective counsel, racism by the trial judge and that another man confessed to the crime. —AP

‘Secretive’ Mideast faces HIV epidemic Continued from Page 1 “If I were to sum it up in one word, I would say my life is one big secret,” said the 29-year-old, who has known he is HIV-positive for three years. “While I came out to my family a long time ago, this is something I have not shared with them. I could never burden them with that.” Infection is typically concentrated among high-risk groups, including injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers and their clients. “Life for someone carrying the HIV virus is very difficult... they suffer an inability to talk about the disease freely with people who are close to them, and we have cases where individuals were kicked out of the family,” said Brigitte Khoury, clinical psychologist at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre. “So while some families do offer support, it’s mainly a life of secrecy, deception and living in fear of the worst.” That fear, experts say, is often what

keeps HIV-positive individuals from seeking treatment. “Stigma and discrimination are among the primary reasons that people living with HIV or key populations at higher risk of HIV infection do not have access to essential HIV services,” Bodiroza said. “These two factors also limit the ability of governments and civil society to provide services.” Many states in the Arab world require that foreigners take an AIDS test before issuing visas or residency permits. Making headlines this month was the case of a South African journalist who was deported from Qatar after being diagnosed with HIV and sacked by the satellite network Al-Jazeera. Section27, a public interest legal group based in South Africa, has asked the country’s delegation to the International Labour Organisation to file a complaint against Qatar. But some more liberal countries in the region have begun to publicise the problem, with a media campaign in

Egypt and Lebanon hitting the airwaves and billboards last month. The “Let’s Talk” campaign, which runs until the end of December, is organised by UNFPA in partnership with the two countries’ health ministries, and encourages people to be tested. The campaign, which in Lebanon stars a former beauty queen and wildly popular band Mashrou3 Leila, also supplies a list of free and anonymous testing centres for both countries. But despite the tentative progress, experts say governments are less likely than ever to turn their attention to the rising epidemic in a region gripped by political upheaval. “The common thread that links all countries in the region is the impact of stigma and discrimination, which are (among) the primary reasons that people living with HIV or at-risk populations do not have access to essential services,” said Bodiroza. “Without strong leadership, it is unlikely that these issues will be fully or properly addressed.” — AFP

Assad says only ‘crazy’ leaders kill own... Continued from Page 1 The conflict is said to have taken a heavy toll on children who either took part in protests or were targeted because of their parents’ involvement. A UN-appointed investigator said that Syria killed 56 children in November alone. Walters pressed Assad on the case of Hamza Al-Khatib, a 13-yearold boy who rights group say was killed in April after being shot, burned and castrated. “To be frank with you, Barbara, I don’t believe you,” Assad said of alleged abuse of children. “Every ‘brute reaction’ was by an individual, not by an institution, that’s what you have to know,” Assad said. “There is a difference between having a policy to crack down and between having some mistakes committed by some officials. There is a big difference.” Assad, a 46-year-old former ophthamologist, repeated statements made when he succeeded his late father Hafez Al-Assad more than a decade ago that he does not want to lead Syria for life. “When I feel that the public support declined, I won’t be here. Even if they say - if they ask. I shouldn’t be here if there’s no public support,” said Assad, who was convinced that he still enjoys support. Assad insisted that his government was moving ahead with reforms but stated flatly: “We never said we are democratic country.” “It takes a long time,” Assad said. “It takes a lot of maturity to be full-fledged democracy.” Assad laughed slightly when asked if he felt guilty about the bloodshed. “I did my best to protect the people,” he said.

“You cannot feel guilty when you do your best ... you do not feel guilty when you don’t kill people. You feel sorry for the lives that have been lost but you don’t feel guilty.” Murhaf Jouejati, a Syria expert at George Washington University, said Assad’s stonewalling is part of a long tradition for dictators who refuse to accept responsibility. He pointed to Assad’s uncle, Rifaat, believed to be a driving force behind the 1982 massacre of thousands in the city of Hama, one of the darkest moments in the modern Middle East. “Bashar Assad said he is not responsible, and we heard his uncle Rifaat Assad say he was not responsible for Hama. So after 41 years the Assad family is not responsible for anything,” Jouejati said. “If he is not responsible then we don’t know what he is doing in the presidency.” Syria has faced growing international condemnation, including Western sanctions and similar action by the Arab League and neighboring Turkey. Assad told ABC News such threats did not worry him, saying: “We’ve been under sanctions for the last 30, 35 years. It’s not something new.” The US State Department, reacting Tuesday to excerpts from the interview, sharply criticized Assad for denying responsibility. “I find it ludicrous that he is attempting to hide behind some sort of shell game (and) claim that he doesn’t exercise authority in his own country,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “There’s just no indication that he’s doing anything other than cracking down in the most brutal fashion on a peaceful opposition movement,” he said. — Agencies





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US Congress, Communists and God By Bernd Debusmann fter the high-profile failure of a Congressional “supercommittee” to trim America’s budget deficit, one could be forgiven to conclude that there’s nothing the divided House of Representatives can agree on. But that would be wrong. Among the few topics on which Democrats and Republicans in the Republican-dominated House see eye-to-eye: the official motto of the United States is “In God We Trust”. That has been the case since 1956 but as the supercommittee wrangled with the thorny deficit problem, lawmakers found time to vote on a resolution reaffirming the motto. Why that reaffirmation was deemed necessary speaks volumes about congressional priorities and Washington’s peculiar political climate. According to two polls taken before the supercommittee failed to find a compromise, the American public’s faith in Congress stands at historic lows - a 9-percent approval rating according to a CBS/New York Times poll and 13 percent according to Gallup. In October, Gallup forecast that disenchantment with the people’s representatives would further deepen in the absence of agreement. Not to harp on the negative, let’s revisit the resolution on America’s motto, passed 396 to 9 on Nov 1, with two legislators voting “present” and 26 not voting. Randy Forbes, the Republican who sponsored the measure explained it had been necessary because “a number of public officials ... forget what the national motto is.” He named President Barack Obama as one of the forgetful officials, referring to a speech in which he cited E Pluribus Unum as America’s motto. (Latin for “out of many, one”, those words are emblazoned on the official seal of the United States and engraved, along with “In God We Trust”, on 25-cent coins. E pluribus unum served as the country’s de facto motto until 1956, when Congress passed a law making In God We Trust the official motto). In the floor debate on the matter, one legislator, Arizona Republican Trent Franks, portrayed failure to reaffirm the motto in apocalyptic terms. “If ... man is God, then an atheist state is as brutal as the thesis it rests upon and there is no reason for us to gather here in this place,” he told his fellow members. “We should just let anarchy prevail because after all we are just worm food.” There are no polls showing how many Americans live in fear of atheist anarchy, or of the perils arising from people confusing one motto with the other. But such remarks leave no doubt about the extraordinary tone-deafness of some legislators at a time when unemployment and inequality dominate the national conversation. If the oddly-timed resolution was meant by Republicans to cast doubt over Obama’s belief in God, it appears to have had little or no effect. Why Democratic lawmakers (all but eight of whom voted for the resolution) thought it was an urgent necessity and a good use of Congressional time remains a puzzle. There are, it should be noted, some legislators who are worried about the apparent disconnect between ordinary Americans and their representatives and leaders inside the beltway that surrounds Washington. One of those worried is Michael Bennet, a Democratic Senator who voiced his concerns on the floor of the Senate in mid-November, carrying a number of astonishing charts illustrating the precipitous decline of Congress in the eyes of Americans. According to one of the charts based on polls taken in different years, more people support the United States going Communist (11 percent) than approve the job Congress is doing. Congress’s approval rating among Americans ties with that of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president and anti-American firebrand. Compared with Congress, the Internal Revenue Service (40 percent approval) is a darling of the people. Bennet ascribed the “catastrophic” decline in support over the past decade to “our inability to address problems the way people in their local community are doing it. There is not a mayor in Colorado (his home state) who would threaten the creditrating of their community for politics. Not one.” The United States lost its top-tier credit rating last August, for the first time in its history, when the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded it from AAA to AA. One of the reasons for the agency’s downgrade: the inability of the Democratic and Republican parties to govern effectively and to compromise on diametrically opposed positions on how to deal with the country’s deficit. As the supercommittee’s failure to come to a compromise has shown, those positions are unchanged from August, when a fierce political battle over the national debt pushed the country to the brink of default. Agreement between the 12 committee members - six Democrats, six Republicans, from both houses of Congress - proved as elusive as agreement among all 535 members. —Reuters


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

Afghan attacks raise fears of sectarian violence By Usman Sharifi eadly blasts at Afghan shrines that left 59 people dead on Shiite Muslims’ holiest day have raised fears the war-weary nation now faces the prospect of an eruption of Iraqstyle sectarian violence. The Afghan Taleban has denied responsibility for the blasts in Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and leading Shiites in Afghanistan have pointed the finger of blame at groups in Pakistan. Analysts say the response of Shiite leaders is now key to determining whether splits emerge between Afghanistan’s Sunni Muslims, and Shiites who make up roughly 20 percent of the population. The scale of the attacks was unprecedented in Afghanistan, which until now had not been hit by the kind of sectarian violence that devastated Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion in a bid to sow civil war. The Afghan state is already fragile, with different ethnic groups including Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks living together, sometimes uneasily, under one flag as a decade-long war rumbles on with no end in sight. It remains unclear who would have the most to gain from whipping up sectarian conflict in Afghanistan, where people have voiced increasing fears of civil war after the scheduled departure of NATO combat troops in 2014. So far, Shiite leaders have urged calm in the aftermath of the unprecedented attacks. The Shiite ulema


council, seen as a figurehead for Shiites in Afghanistan, promptly issued a statement condemning the attack while urging the community not to respond with violence. Mohammad Mohaqqiq, an

Some leading Shiites voiced optimism that insurgents would not succeed in opening up divisions. Alemi Balkhi, a Shiite lawmaker, said people were “aware of the conspiracies” and would be

on Afghanistan’s future after a NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, were worried about developments including Kabul’s ongoing negotiations with Washington over a strategic part-

Afghan men carry the coffin of a victim of a bomb attack against Shiites outside the Karti Sakhi Shrine in Kabul yesterday. — AFP ethnic Hazara and leader of one of Afghanistan’s main Shiite political parties, issued a statement calling on Afghans to approach the aftermath of the violence “thoughtfully and carefully”.

patient. But analyst Ahmad Saeedi said the threat of longerterm implications from the attack was real. He claimed that elements in Pakistan, which boycotted Monday’s Bonn conference

nership deal. “It is a danger as despite the relative peace, relations between Afghan Shiites and Sunnis have remained fragile,” he said. “We have witnessed some sectarian violence in the past.

Sectarian violence can erupt here if provoked. This would lead to chaos from which the perpetrators can benefit.” Many Afghans are deeply sceptical of Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, accusing it of offering safe havens to insurgents and orchestrating attacks. Islamabad counters by saying that it too has suffered at the hands of the Taleban and insists it has a key role to play in any moves towards peace negotiations, currently badly stalled. Shiites - who faced brutal persecution under the 1990s Taleban regime - have stepped up their mourning rituals in Kabul this year, with black shrines and flags dotting many locations in the city where they have never been before. However, it is still not clear whether this prominence helped encourage the attack or whether there was another motivation, perhaps political. “The attacks looked designed to intentionally spark ethnic and sectarian violence but they could also galvanise resistance against what is seen as outside efforts to further disrupt Afghanistan’s already besieged relations,” wrote Kate Clark of Kabul think-tank the Afghanistan Analysts Network. “In order to understand the longerterm implications of (the) killings, we need to know who was behind the attack, what the intended message was and who the message was aimed at. And we can only hope that these were one -off attacks, never to be repeated.” —AFP

Mr Nasty or Mr Nice: Putin faces choice By Anna Smolchenko ladimir Putin has a choice between either embracing reform or tightening state control to preserve his dominance after losing support in Russia’s elections and facing protests, analysts say. Putin, currently Russian prime minister, plans to extend his 11-year rule of Russia by winning back his old Kremlin job in March presidential polls that now seem a far more challenging prospect than only a week ago. After his ruling United Russia’s shock loss of 77 seats and roughly 13 million votes in Sunday’s legislative polls, Putin’s reputation for enjoying invincible popularity has been dented. He now stands at a crossroads between tightening the screws or opening up his tightly controlled political system. “Frustrations are clearly evident and, to a large extent, this weekend’s election result may well turn out to be a game changer,” said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Troika Dialog investment bank in Moscow. “People have made their views very clear and, as is the case everywhere, governments ignore such strong statements at their peril.” United Russia won less than half the vote, a sharp drop from over 64 percent in 2007, with many middle-class and young voters voting Communist out of protest at the party’s monopolisation of power. The opposition insisted the results would have been even more dramatic in clean elections, while Western monitors said the vote was skewed in favour of the ruling party. Putin himself has yet to comment explicitly on the protests although his spokesman Dmitry Peskov


appeared to acknowledge some change was required. “Certainly, people expect the Putin 2.0 version,” he told the BBC Russian Service. “Obviously, the party would also have to undergo a period of renewal,” he said. However some analysts said it is impossible to expect that Putin, an ex-KGB agent who many blame for eroding civil liberties for the last decade, will suddenly transform into a champion of reform. “Putin is coming back to the Kremlin to preserve the status quo,” Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center, told AFP. “He is not planning to introduce any changes. “Allowing opposition would mean the end of his rule. The Putin epoch has started the countdown towards its end. The conflict in society is unavoidable. The question is, when will it start?” Economists said that rather than introducing radical reform, Putin could shore-up his popularity in the medium term by increasing government spending, at least as long as oil prices remain high. “Social spending will be ramped up,” Julia Tsepliaeva, chief economist for Russia at BNP Paribas in Moscow, said. “If he wants to stay he will have to ensure better living conditions for Russians at all costs. He’ll find the money, for the next several years it won’t be a problem.” Citing strong economic indicators, Weafer said Russia was a long way from the Arab world where revolts ousted unpopular leaders. “In Russia, changes are expected to come slowly rather than dramatically,” he said. The election however was just the latest in a succession of signs that Putin’s popularity is on the wane after his ratings hit almost 80 percent in 2007. In the run-up to voting, Putin

was booed during an appearance at a martial arts fight, the first such public humiliation in his career. According to a poll by the independent Levada Center released in November, just 31 percent of respondents would vote for Putin. Analysts say many Russians have been offended by Putin’s unilateral decision to seek a third term and the

disputed legislative polls are expected to deal a further blow to his ratings. “In any case, you can feel sorry for Putin,” said opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. “He who has known the depths of popular love, is finding it hard to listen to whistles and jeers which he will probably hear time and again during his presidential campaign.” — AFP

Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin attends an identification check as he submits documents to officially register as a candidate in the March 2012 presidential election at the Central Election Commission in Moscow yesterday. — AP



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Police pepper-spray haka

Sprinter up for auction LONDON: Describing himself as his country’s “top sprinter without a sponsor,” a British athlete has resorted to selling himself on an online auction site in a desperate bid to raise money to run in his home Olympics. London-born James Ellington ran a personal best of 20.52 seconds in the 200 meters in France this year - the fastest time by a British athlete at a non-altitude venue - and also competed at the 2011 world championships. A string of injury problems, however, has led to him missing out on major sponsorship deals or lottery support in recent years and he is struggling for funds to help him challenge for a place in


sp orts

Britain’s team for the 2012 Games. The 26-year-old Ellington has therefore turned to eBay to find a sponsor to cover his travel, accommodation and kit costs during the biggest year of his life. In return, Ellington will wear branded kit at training and media events “at all appropriate opportunities” until the end of the Olympics. “I’m peaking when it really matters, finishing my bestever season and smashing my own personal bests just before the 2012 Games,” Ellington said. “All I need now is a commercial sponsor to get on board and I can commit myself full-time to getting into Team GB and hopefully win a medal for Britain.”—AP

SALT LAKE CITY: The first time the police in the small Utah state town of Roosevelt saw a hak a, they thought a riot was happening. So they used pepper spray and batons on the spectators performing New Zealand’s native Maori challenge following a high school game of American football, including a dozen people from a single family, one aged 4. An investigation by the police of Roosevelt, 230 kilometers (140 miles) east of Salt Lake Cit y, cleared their own officers of wrongdoing in the October incident and said their actions were appropriate because they feared a riot was imminent. But the Utah branch of the

Sailing world championship

American Civil Liberties Union said the police report was “anything but objective” in a letter sent this week to Duchesne Count y Attorney Stephen Foote. The ACLU was concerned that the decision to pepper spray during a cultural ritual may have violated the spectators’ constitutional rights, interim direc tor Joseph Cohn wrote. He also noted that the police failed to consider a video of the haka or statements from 15 witnesses who said they did not feel threatened by the performance. A haka, which usually lasts less than a minute, has been performed by New Zealand rugby teams as a prematch challenge for more than 120 years around the world. — AP

PERTH: Britain and Australia dominated the men’s 470 racing at the sailing world championships yesterday with organizers on high alert following the sighting of a large shark near the course. Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell of Britain won the three Blue fleet races, and Australia’s top-ranked Belcher and Page won all three Yellow fleet races. Racing was canceled Tuesday due to severe electrical storms, and organizers put extra aerial patrols and other precautions in place due to the shark sighting. There have been three fatal shark attacks in Western Australia since September. In the Finn class, No. 2-ranked Giles Scott of Britain had two wins and a second place after two days of racing, while Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Ptsma won the

Jets soar over Bruins WINNIPEG: Bryan Little scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the NHL on Tuesday. The Bruins lost in regulation for the first time since Oct. 29, ending a 15-game stretch in which they earned 29 of a possible 30 points. The Jets have won six of their last seven games at home, and moved above .500 for the first time this season. Little scored 94 seconds after Shawn Thornton leveled the score at 1-1 for Boston. Canucks 6, Avalanche 0 In Vancouver, British Columbia, Daniel Sedin got his fifth career hat trick to lead the Canucks to their seventh victory in eight games. Sedin opened the scoring on Vancouver’s first shot of the game. He now has six goals in his last four games after an eight-game drought. Jannik Hansen added two goals for the Canucks, who got four third-period goals in a span of 4 1/2 minutes. Blues 3, Red Wings 2 In St. Louis, David Backes and Alex Steen scored power-play goals as the Blues broke out of a 2-for-39 slump with the man advantage in a victory against Detroit. The Blues entered the game having scored eight goals in 87 power-play chances - the worst record in the NHL. St. Louis has won nine of its 14 games since Ken Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne as coach. Detroit’s Jonathan Franzen scored for the third straight game and Danny Cleary added a goal with 1:20 to go. Ducks 3, Kings 2 In Anaheim, California, Bobby

Ryan’s awkward shot glanced off Drew Doughty’s shin and past Jonathan Quick with 48.8 seconds to play as the Ducks escaped with a victory over the Kings. Jonas Hiller made 37 saves for the Ducks, who got their first victory under new coach Bruce Boudreau and just their fourth in 22 games. Justin Williams tied the game for the Kings at 2-2 with 11:10 to play.

his NHL debut for the Wild. He replaced starter Josh Harding, who left the game with an apparent neck injury after allowing Joe Pavelski’s goal in the first minute

left in regulation to send the game to overtime. RJ Umberger had a goal and an assist, and Vinny Prospal also scored for Columbus, which had lost three of four.

four of their past six games. Eric Staal scored twice for the Hurricanes, who have dropped seven straight.

Islanders 5, Lightning 1 In Uniondale, New York, Matt Martin scored his second gamewinning goal in his three-year NHL career as the Islanders shook off a slow start and routed Tampa Bay. John Tavares, Milan Jurcina, David Ullstrom and Matt Moulson also scored for New York, which has won four of its last seven games. Martin St. Louis gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the first, but the Islanders scored three times before the end of the period to take a commanding lead. Tampa Bay has lost five in a row. Wild 2, Sharks 1 In San Jose, California, Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored late in the first period to lead Minnesota past San Jose. Matt Hackett made 34 saves in

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Tuesday: New Jersey 3, Toronto 2 (OT); NY Islanders 5, Tampa Bay 1; Columbus 3, Montreal 2 (SO); St. Louis 3, Detroit 2; Phoenix 3, Nashville 2; Winnipeg 2, Boston 1; Calgary 7, Carolina 6; Vancouver 6, Colorado 0; Anaheim 3, Los Angeles 2; Minnesota 2, San Jose 1. (OT denotes overtime win),(SO denotes shootout win)

Pittsburgh NY Rangers Philadelphia New Jersey NY Islanders

Devils 3, Maple Leafs 2 In Toronto, David Clarkson scored twice, including 2:40 into overtime, to lift New Jersey over Toronto. Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, and Martin Brodeur made 31 saves. Clarkson scored the winner after taking a feed from Dainius Zubrus in the slot and beating Reimer through his pads. Phil Kessel scored his 17th goal of the season for Toronto. Matt Frattin also scored for the Leafs.

Boston Toronto Buffalo Ottawa Montreal Florida Winnipeg Washington Tampa Bay Carolina

Chicago Detroit St. Louis Nashville Columbus SAN JOSE: Matt Hackett No. 31 of the Minnesota Wild makes a save against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. — AFP

of play. The Sharks have lost four of their last five games. Blue Jackets 3, Canadiens 2 At Montreal, Rick Nash’s shootout goal lifted Columbus over Montreal. Curtis Sanford was perfect in the shootout, turning aside shots by David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta. Gionta scored a goal with 1:21

Flames 7, Hurricanes 6 In Calgary, Alberta, Brendan Morrison had two goals and two assists as Calgar y edged Carolina in its highest-scoring game of the season. Jarome Iginla had two goals and an assist for Calgary, and Lee Stempniak, Rene Bourque and M ik ael Back lund also scored. The Flames have won

Coyotes 3, Predators 2 In Nashville, Tennessee, Keith Yandle scored with 1:45 remaining to give Phoenix a win against Nashville. Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Coyotes, who won their second straight game. Jack Hillen and Shea Weber had goals for Nashville, which has dropped six of its last eight. — AP

fifth race. Britain’s Ben Ainslie dropped to third overall on a day when 11 contestants were disqualified in the first Blue race, including former No. 1 Ed Wright and Olympic silver medalist Zach Railey. Four sailors in the Yellow fleet’s third race were also disqualified. In women’s match racing, defending world champion Claire Leroy of France leads the round-robin series with sevens wins and a loss. Yesterday, Leroy’s crew was beaten by Spain’s Silvia Roca. —AP

Minnesota Vancouver Edmonton Colorado Calgary Phoenix Dallas Los Angeles San Jose Anaheim

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 16 8 4 86 15 6 3 71 15 7 3 88 13 12 1 65 9 11 5 57 Northeast Division 17 8 1 89 15 10 3 89 14 11 1 72 13 11 3 83 11 11 6 69 Southeast Division 15 8 4 78 12 11 4 77 13 12 1 79 11 14 2 70 8 17 4 72 Western Conference Central Division 16 8 4 93 16 9 1 77 15 9 3 66 12 11 4 70 8 16 3 65 Northwest Division 18 7 3 71 16 10 1 89 13 11 3 76 13 14 1 75 12 13 2 67 Pacific Division 15 9 3 74 15 10 1 69 13 10 4 62 14 9 1 68 8 14 5 63

GA 69 55 73 74 79

PTS 36 33 33 27 23

54 90 69 91 72

35 33 29 29 28

69 83 84 89 101

34 28 27 24 20

88 59 60 74 90

36 33 33 28 19

61 67 71 84 78

39 33 29 27 26

67 72 61 58 88

33 31 30 29 21

Donald aiming for European money title

Luke Donald of England plays a shot in this file photo. — AP

DUBAI: As he makes a run at history this weekend, No. 1ranked Luke Donald believes his late father will be looking down upon him. Donald - whose 34th birthday was yesterday - is on the cusp of becoming the first golfer to win both the European Tour and American money titles, let alone both in the same year. It would rank as his greatest achievement, he said, and one the Englishman would like to win for his late father Colin, who “taught me everything he knew.” Donald’s father died last month, days before the birth of Donald’s second daughter, Sophia Ann. “When someone leaves you, you are always reminded of them in certain ways,” Donald said. “I’m sure he’ll be there with me. I’m not sure if I’ll specifically try to think about my father, but, yeah, it would be nice to win one for him.” Donald, who’s already won the US PGA Tour money title, is in a duel with No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy for the European money title. The Northern Irishman trails Donald by just under ‚Ǩ790,000 ($1 million), so to capture the title he must win the Dubai World Championship starting on Thursday and hope that Donald finishes outside the top nine. Donald could have clinched the title on Sunday, but McIlroy won the Hong Kong Open to keep the European Tour’s end-of-season Race To Dubai alive. Donald welcomed the chance to go head-to-head with McIlroy, whom he considered a friend and rival. “I think there is nothing really easy in life. You have to kind of earn those successes and I fully expect Rory to play well and put some pressure on me,” Donald said. “It’s made me more focused this week and I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Winning the elusive double wasn’t a goal for Donald at the beginning of the year, but he said it started creeping into his mind after he won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in a playoff over Lee Westwood in May. Donald rose to No. 1 with the win, becoming only the 15th player to reach the top ranking in 25 years. Donald has won three other titles this season, including Disney’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic where he snatched the US money title from Webb Simpson. That put him on course for unprecedented success on both money lists. “As time went on and I played and won the right tournaments, then certainly it became a goal,” he said. “You know, it’s something I’ve heard other players talk about in the past few years. I remember Ernie (Els) talking about it once and how hard it would be to do but how satisfying it would be to be able to do that.” For Donald, winning both titles would be a chance “to make history.” “No one’s officially done it before. I think that’s pretty amazing,” he said. “It’s not easy to travel as much as you do playing both tours and to be able to adjust to the

time changes and all that. ... If it all works out Sunday, that will be my biggest accomplishment.” Donald comes in as the favorite to win the European money title and even McIlroy said he thought his chance of winning was slim because he was up against one of the tour’s most consistent golfers. Donald has finished outside the top 10 only three times this year on the European Tour. “He’s won four times in a year and all big events - the World Match Play, Wentworth, Scottish Open and obviously Disney when he needed to,” McIlroy said. “And he’s hardly finished outside the top 10. He’s deservedly the No. 1 player at the moment.” But Robert Karlsson, who won the tournament last year, said McIlroy will have an edge because the Greg Norman-designed Earth course is playing longer than it has in the past. He said at least three of the par 5s will favor the big-hitting McIlroy over Donald. “Luke has another weapon that has taken him to the top of the world and that is his short game,” Karlsson said. “But Rory has a huge advantage getting up to the greens. That is just the way it is.” If Donald does take the European money title, it is unlikely to silence the detractors who have questioned whether he deserves to be No. 1 because he hasn’t won a major. He tied for fourth at this year’s Masters, eighth at the US PGA Championship and 45th at the US Open. He

Rory McIlroy takes a swing in this file photo.

missed the cut at the British Open. The composed and low-key Donald said he wasn’t concerned about his critics, insisting that earning the No. 1 spot without winning a major in some ways was more impressive. “The critics will always be there and they make me stronger to be honest,” Donald said. “Every time someone says I can’t do anything, it just makes me work harder. So you know, fine. I don’t really mind that there’s critics out there. I’ve had a tremendous year and I’m excited about next year. I think I’m a different player this year because of all the victories. I feel more confident. Hopefully, I can bring the game to the majors.” Donald returned to the tour only last week from a five-week break, during which he buried his father and welcomed the birth of his daughter. He said the time “was tough, very tough” but his daughter’s arrival “spread a little grace on the situation” and allowed him to “concentrate my efforts on a new life.” Reflecting on his father, Donald admitted Colin was more concerned about “bringing him up as a decent person” than passing on golf tips. But Donald still said he remembers many times walking the course with his father when he was a youngster. “We didn’t play a lot but he would take me out sometimes, even mornings before school and we would go and play a quick nine holes,” he added. “I have fond memories of that.”— AP



IOC backs Britain on Olympic doping ban LAUSANNE: Still stung by the rejection of its own tough anti-doping rule, the International Olympic Committee backed Britain’s national body Wednesday in its fight to keep drug cheats out of the games for life. IOC vice president Thomas Bach criticized the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision last month to declare the British Olympic Association “noncompliant” with the global code on drug rules and sanctions. Bach said the BOA case involved “overcompliance” rather than any failure to adhere to the rules. “You cannot sanction an NOC which within its own authority tries to do the best in the fight against doping and is for all the rest fulfilling all the WADA requirements,” he told reporters during the first day of a twoday IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne.

Britain is the only country that enforces lifetime Olympic bans for doping offenders. The BOA was the only national Olympic committee found in noncompliance by WADA, an embarrassment for the host nation of next year’s London Games. “I support initiatives of NOCs in their country where they deem they are legally feasible,” said Bach, a German lawyer who heads the IOC’s juridical commission. “You have to give the NOCs the freedom to at least try to do what they can do. If they are confident they can push it legally through, this is fine for me.” The BOA has strenuously defended its bylaw, describing it as an eligibility issue rather than a sanction, and plans to file an appeal in the coming days to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In October, CAS nullified the IOC rule that bars athletes who have received drug bans of more than six months from competing in the next games. CAS said the rule amounted to a second sanction and wasn’t part of the WADA code. The ruling cleared the way for American 400-meter runner LaShawn Merritt - who completed a 21-month doping ban in July - to defend his Olympic title in London next year. While the IOC has accepted the verdict, Bach reiterated that the committee plans to push for the rule to be written into the revised WADA code that will be up for ratification in 2013. Compliance with the WADA code is mandatory under IOC rules. The ultimate sanction for failing to comply is exclusion from the Olympics.

The IOC has stressed that Britain’s national anti-doping agency, UK Anti-Doping, is “fully compliant” and there was no risk to athletes from the 2012 host nation. Bach said the code should be dealt with on a case-bycase basis. “We have to see that the rules, just for the mere wording, are not turning against us,” he said. “The spirit of the WADA regulations is to fight against doping. You have to interpret the rules in a way that they help in the fight against doping.” The British lifetime rule has been in place since 1992. Among British athletes currently covered by the ban are sprinter Dwain Chambers, who served a two-year ban in the BALCO scandal, and cyclist David Millar, who was suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO. — AP

With Havelange gone, what about the past? PARIS: Wow, it must be fabulous being Joao Havelange. This threatened to be a bear of a week for the man who was sporting royalty, with his aristocratic air and physique of the Olympic swimmer and water polo player he once was. In 48 years at the International Olympic Committee, Havelange shook the hands of more princes, presidents and other VIPs than most of us have had hot dinners. He also led world football for 24 years - the transformational era from 1974-98 when the sweat of legendary players like Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane was helping to turn the much-loved game into the global mega-business it is now. Havelange did some icky things, too - like visiting Nigeria just before it hanged playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other anti-government activists in 1995. For that, he made no apologies. “I went out there to look at the terrain, installations and hotels,” he said. He does not want to see his life’s work ruined by pesky reporters, certainly not those who allege Havelange took a $1 million kickback in his last full year as president of football’s governing body, FIFA. So Havelange sent a letter. Rather than face his peers at the IOC, who, to their credit, felt obliged to examine evidence unear thed and handed over by reporter Andrew Jennings and the BBC, Havelange last week wrote to IOC President Jacques Rogge that he was resigning. Old age. Imperfect health. Can’t travel. Sure you understand. Byebye, Joao. Or something along those lines. The original plan had been that the IOC executive board would deliberate on his case this today. A two-year suspension, even possible expulsion, could have

been on the cards. That won’t happen now. With Havelange on his way out, the IOC says it no longer has the power to investigate him. Case closed. Harry Houdini himself couldn’t have timed this exit better. Others, at FIFA and the IOC, have taken this route in the past, too. Like Jack Warner, who quit as a FIFA vice president in June, ending its bribery investigation of him. Only, in the real world, that’s not how things work. The questions about corruption at FIFA, Havelange’s fief for so long, will not stop here. Admittedly, demanding answers from a 95-year-old man looks disre-

spectful, even vindictive given that the misdeeds allegedly happened 14 years ago and weren’t a crime then in Switzerland, where the IOC and FIFA are based. Arguing that Havelange should be called to account when, Rogge suggests, his health no longer allows him to travel regularly to IOC and FIFA meetings, also smacks of poor taste. So be it. Because equally distasteful, and equally disrespectful to all those who love football, are the persistent allegations and mounting evidence that things have long been crooked at FIFA, that some football executives have been stuffing their pockets, allegedly using the sport as

a personal piggy bank, creaming off kickbacks here, handing out bribes there. With FIFA’s reputation and credibility bottomed-out, Havelange’s successor as president, Sepp Blatter, has belatedly launched a campaign to make the organization look whiter than white. Blatter has got new committees drawing up reforms. He has brought Mark Pieth, a Swiss corporate governance expert with an impressive resume, on board. Not a moment too early, Blatter has also promised to publish a 41page Swiss court document that should name and shame some football officials who pocketed millions

KUALA LUMPUR: This June 5, 1996 file photo shows then FIFA President Joao Havelange of Brazil (left) and then FIFA General Secretary Joseph Blatter of Switzerland attending the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in Kuala Lumpur . — AP

Kiwis look to exploit Hughes flaw HOBART: New Zealand will try to heap the pressure on out-of-form Australian opening batsman Phillip Hughes as they seek to level the series with victory in the second and final Test starting tomorrow. The heat is off former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin after good performances in the home side’s comprehensive nine-wicket victory over the Black Caps in the first Gabba Test. Ponting hit 78 and Haddin 80 in the first innings after speculation on their Test futures following a run of low scores, but the spotlight has now shifted to left-hander Hughes and his technical flaws outside off-stump. Hughes has passed 36 just twice in his past 17 Test innings and with all-rounder Shane Watson (hamstring) and Shaun

Phillip Hughes celebrates in this file photo

Marsh (back) on track to return from injuries in the Boxing Day Test against India, the opener’s position appears vulnerable. His six-ball failure on Sunday as Australia reeled off the 19 runs for victory in their second innings, highlighted his weakness. His average has dived from 69 after three Tests in 2009 to 36. There have been calls for Usman Khawaja to move up the batting order to opener and make room for uncapped allrounder Dan Christian, who has been added to the Australian squad following a side strain to fast bowler Ben Cutting. New Zealand captain Ross Taylor could not disguise his relish when asked if he wanted Hughes to play in the Hobart Test. “I’d love him to be in the team,” Taylor said after the Gabba Test. “We had a lot of

video footage of all the Australian players and Hughes got caught at second, third slip and gully a lot in the Ashes and in South Africa. “That was definitely an area we wanted to target, and with the way Chris Martin bowls, he bowls across the left-hander.” Martin claimed Hughes’s wicket twice at the Gabba, both times caught by Martin Guptill in the slips. Senior Australian batsman Mike Hussey believes Hughes should continue playing his natural attacking game. “I just think it’s important for him to keep a real clear mind and to keep playing his way,” Hussey said. “He’s had success playing his way. He’s still put together some really good scores for us in difficult conditions in Sri Lanka (126) and South Africa (88). “He works extremely hard and he knows the areas he needs to work on.” Australia remained unbeaten at the Gabba since 1988 with their emphatic victory over New Zealand, who are without a Test win in Australia since 1985. “We don’t play as much Test cricket as some of the other nations but we need to learn quicker than we are at the moment,” Taylor said. “That’s the ultimate goal, to apply pressure for as long as possible and absorb it as for as long as possible as well.” Australia unearthed another matchwinning fast bowler in 21-year-old James Pattinson, who took five for 27 to help rout New Zealand for 150 in their second innings at the Gabba. Michael Clarke has welcomed the inclusion of Christian in the squad. “He gives us options and that’s what we’re looking at in regards to the wicket in Hobart,” Clarke said. “We don’t know what we’re going to get. It is always nice to have another option in regards to your bowling.” Australia have never lost a Test in the total of nine played at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval, although the Kiwis have drawn twice in three Tests at the ground. — AFP

of dollars in World Cup-related kickbacks. That was supposed to happen next week. But FIFA says someone it did not say who - involved in this kickback scandal has now thrown a legal spanner in the works, indefinitely stalling the publication. Clearly, there are those who aren’t prepared for a light to be shone on FIFA’s past. Lawmaker Roland Buechel, a member of the Swiss parliament’s lower house, doesn’t buy FIFA’s explanation. He says it could publish the document now if it wished and is merely buying time by not doing so. “The only thing that really counts is the past,” he said Tuesday. “It is the past with the names and the past without the names that really has to be looked into. If they don’t, they are not serious. It is not serious what they are doing now.” Likewise, draw your own conclusions from the fact that, for the IOC, the kickback claims leveled at Havelange by Jennings and the BBC last year were serious enough to warrant a new investigation. Yet, for FIFA, they were not. Facing up to its past was the No. 1 recommendation that anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International made to FIFA. It suggested that forensic accountants and special investigators with anticorruption experience be allowed to dig, to “demonstrate FIFA’s commitment to a new era of openness and accountability.” Because that now looks unlikely, Transparency International walked away. Simply put, it is impossible to buy into the idea that things really are changing at FIFA as long as anyone suspected of misdeeds in the past, as well as any who may have covered up for them, can still think to themselves, “ Wow, it’s fabulous being me.” — AP

S Africa calls up young fast bowler De Lange JOHANNESBURG: Uncapped 21-year-old fast bowler Marchant de Lange was included in South Africa’s squad on Tuesday for next week’s first test against Sri Lanka. The Proteas also recalled batsman Alviro Petersen to a 13man group for the match at Centurion, near Pretoria. Batsman JP Duminy, spin bowler Paul Harris and left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe were dropped. De Lange, who has played just 14 first-class games, took 5-56 in an innings for South Africa A against Australia in a four-day game last month. The powerful young quick who made his first-class debut just a year ago is highly rated by South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald, although a dislocated thumb could limit his chances of appearing at his home ground at Centurion in the series opener. “He has impressed all with his pace and potential and he took full advantage of his opportunity against Australia for the South Africa A squad,” said head selector Andrew Hudson. “There is some doubt about whether he will recover in time from his thumb injury but, even if that is the case, he will learn a great deal just from being part of the national squad environment.” Petersen returned after missing the drawn series against Australia. He made a century in the same South Africa A game. Seam bowler Vernon Philander retained his place after impressive performances in his first two tests against Australia, while Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir was the only specialist slow bowler in Harris’ absence. Hudson said South Africa would likely choose a larger squad for the second and third tests in Durban and Cape Town. Sri Lanka arrived in Johannesburg earlier Tuesday for their six-week tour, which also includes a three-day warmup game starting on Friday and five one-day internationals following the test series. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and his men flew in amid reports that they had not been paid by their national cricket body since March because of financial problems within Cricket Sri Lanka. In a statement from the South African Cricketers’ Association, Proteas captain Graeme Smith and vice-captain AB de Villiers offered their support to their fellow players. “In this age of professionalism in cricket this kind of thing should not be happening,” De Villiers said. “It’s a credit to the players that they’ve kept playing for their country since March despite all of this. We hope it gets sorted out soon.” SACA said a total of around $6 million was owed to Sri Lanka’s cricketers. — AP

Sri Lanka’s captain Tillakaratne Dilshan

Dilshan: Board promising us money before first Test BENONI: Sri Lanka’s players have received promises they’ll be paid before next week’s first test against South Africa after going nine months without salaries as their national board ran up debts of $69 million. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said on Wednesday that Sri Lanka Cricket told him the problems would be resolved ahead of the series opener starting next Thursday at Centurion. Sri Lanka’s cricketers have not been paid since March because of the national body’s financial difficulties, providing a constant distraction to their on-field performances. The team has lost three straight test series since the issue of unpaid salaries surfaced - to England, Australia and Pakistan - and will play a three-match series in South Africa, where it hasn’t won a test before. “We have had discussions, myself and the cricket association, the last few weeks and they promised they will sort it out next week,” Dilshan said in Benoni, where Sri Lanka plays an invitation team in a warmup match this weekend. “They are definitely going to sort it out before the first test. That’s what I heard from the cricket board.” Sri Lankan cricket’s problems stem from its co-hosting of the World Cup this year, when the board had to pay for new stadiums and upgrade existing facilities. Sri Lanka Cricket, once the richest sports body in the country, went into debt of around $69 million because of that outlay and is relying on money owed to it by the International Cricket Council for hosting the World Cup so it can pay its players. The Federation of International Cricketers’ Association said last month that Sri Lanka owes its cricketers $6 million in contract payments and match fees since the World Cup ended. But despite going nearly a year without their salaries, members of the Sri Lanka team - which reached the World Cup final - have shown remarkable patience with their national board. “We are professional cricketers. We try to play good cricket. Everyone wants to play cricket,” Dilshan said. “We are not worried about the payments. Yes, we know payment is important but we have come here to play cricket. That’s the main target for the team.” Sri Lanka’s sports minister said on Tuesday that 65 percent of the contract payments owed to the players will be made next week when Sri Lanka Cricket receives $1.8 million from the ICC. Meanwhile, No. 5-ranked Sri Lanka plays matches in Centurion, Durban and Cape Town on a rare test visit to No. 3-ranked South Africa, its first long-format series here since 2002. The Sri Lankans have lost all three previous test series they’ve played in South Africa. “We have to play good cricket. We can’t do any mistakes here,” Dilshan said of his team’s chances of making history with a first away win over the Proteas. “We came here to play our brand of cricket. If we can play good cricket, yes we can beat S outh Africa. “We will just try to start well here. That’s the main focus for the team.” — AP



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Marlins trying to buy up the best in MLB DALLAS: Jeffrey Loria quickly marched down the hallway with his team president, trailed by their top aides, and hustled into a meeting room with a labor lawyer from Major League Baseball. Having already made the biggest splash at the winter meetings, the Miami Marlins owner was trying to reel in Albert Pujols and perhaps other big-name free agents with the newfound riches from their new ballpark. “He’s not the only guy,” Loria said about 20 minutes later before heading back upstairs on an elevator with his delegation. Baseball’s new Big Fish were the talk of the winter meetings Tuesday, with teams wondering how close the Marlins were to an agreement with Pujols on a deal that could be worth $200 million or more over 10 years for the three-time NL MVP. St. Louis said it submitted a new offer Tuesday to keep Pujols with the Cardinals, a team he’s already led to two World Series titles in the last six seasons. Agents for other players said they had heard the Los Angeles Angels were bidding, too. Traditional big spenders such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were reduced to spectators. “They have a new stadium. They’re excited

about it, and it’s good for baseball,” former Marlins and current Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They had hoped that they’d get the new stadium and they would be able to do those types of things. Our roster is pretty set. We have a lot of guys that are on longterm deals. That’s why maybe there’s not a lot happening for us.” Having already reached deals with All-Star closer Heath Bell ($27 million for three years) and All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes ($106 million for six), the Marlins’ interest in Pujols is real. What’s unclear is whether the first baseman is prepared to go to Miami or whether his talks with the Marlins are an attempt to push the Cardinals higher. “I know the ownership group is putting their best foot forward and trying to do everything that they can to make this possible,” new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, “but I also know it’s a complicated decision on both sides. There’s a lot going on, a lot that I’m not even involved in, but I think it’s clear to say that St. Louis Cardinals would love to have Albert, and we’ll see how it all plays out.” With the Angels, Pujols could take over at first base from Mark Trumbo, who is recovering from a

stress fracture in his right foot and could be shifted to third. “He’s become a very proficient first baseman, and hopefully that comfort level, catching a ground ball and the activities you need to play there will translate over to third base,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. Elsewhere, Prince Fielder was still in play in the hitters’ market, and C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle were among the available starting pitchers on the second day of the four-day swap session, which has been relatively slow. The New York Mets agreed to trade outfielder Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco ($12 million for two years) and Jon Rauch ($3.5 million for one year). While the moves were not formally announced, Mets manager Terry Collins discussed them. The Chicago White Sox traded closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitching prospect Nestor Molina, and the Minnesota Twins dealt righthander Kevin Slowey to the Colorado Rockies for a

player to be named. When the meetings reach their last full day Wednesday, roughly two dozen free agents must decide by midnight EST on salary arbitration offers from their former clubs. David Ortiz, who has said he wants to stay with the Boston Red Sox, appeared likely to accept. AL champion Texas planned to meet Tuesday night with Wilson, the chatty left-hander who went 16-7 during the regular season but was 0-3 in October. “We’re just staying in communication, that’s all we’ve agreed to do,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “We just agreed to stay in touch, keep each other posted and keep a dialogue. We’re not holding him up, and he’s not holding us up.” Reyes’ deal is likely to be finalized on Wednesday. Miami already has an All-Star shortstop in Hanley Ramirez, and he appears headed to third base. “Everybody it’s waiting to see what’s gonna happen with me or what I gonna do right? Ramirez wrote on Twitter. “What I am gonna do is work hard and get ready for next season because that is the only thing I can control.” — AP

Ligety of US rallies to win World Cup giant slalom

CM George, Chairman of TECAA presenting man of the match award to Ramesh

AECK, TKM, TEC and KEA in semis KUWAIT: The third day’s matches of Prof. Ramachandran Cricket (RMC) organized by CETAA, Kuwait chapter and sponsored by GTE - Olayan Company did not produce any surprises and resulted in expected outcomes. In the first match ( which proved to be only exciting match of the day), last year’s runners up TEC survived some tense moments to defeat hosts CETAA by 9 runs. It appeared that TEC’s captain’s decision to bat first was not appropriate with them losing two wickets, including that of last week’s man of the match Suresh for 11 runs on the board. But 3rd wicket stand between ‘Man of the Match’ Ramesh (49) and Girish (36) produced 76 runs and proved match winning in a low scoring match. They finished their 15 overs with a score of 109 for 7 wickets. For CET, George took 3 wickets and Sunand took 2. In reply, CET started steadily reaching 34 for 1 wicket at the end of 5 overs. Later they lost wickets at regular intervals with only youngster Avinash (45) and Zameer (20) making worthy contributions. They ended up making 100 for 9 wickets. For TEC, Suresh and Dinto took 3 wickets each and Girish took 2. The second match of the day between defending champions AECK and NIT ended up as a totally one sided match. Batting first, AECK piled up 149 for 3 wickets, thanks to ‘Man of the Match’ Raghu (50 n.o) and Zubin (35). In reply

NIT lost wickets from the very first over and collapsed to a record low score of 25 in the 9th over. For AECK Smitosh, Ramon and Vinod took 3 wickets each. The 3rd match (NSS -TKM) and 4th match (KEA-MACE) of the day were of knock out character. In the 3rd match, batting first after winning toss, NSS could not live up to the expectations and make only 86 runs. Only Deepak (28) and Shafeel (21) put up fight. For TKM, Captain Anfar and ‘Man of the Match’ Mukesh took 3 wickets each. In reply, TKM lost three wickets for 32 runs after 8 overs, but Anfar (19) and Mukesh (17 n.o) helped them to sail thru’ to reach the low target and ended up at 92 for 4 in the 14th over. The last match of the preliminary round between KEA and MACE also did not produce any excitement. MACE called the toss right and piled up 60 for the loss of Captain’s wicket at the end of 8 overs. But after the fall of George (25) and Roy (24) in quick succession, they lost track and were all out for 88 runs, due to accurate KEA bowling by ‘Man of the Match’ Siva (5 wkts) and Roy Oommen ( 4 wkts). Needing 89 runs to reach semi-final, captain Biju ( 31 n.o) and Jim ( 25) helped KEA to reach home without much hick ups. In the semi final matches on December 9th, defending champions AECK will take on TKM at 7 am and TEC will meet KEA at 10:30 am.

Shabeer Ali, President of AECK presenting man of the match award to Raghu

BEAVER CREEK: Ted Ligety turned in a blazing second run in frigid conditions to capture a World Cup giant slalom on Tuesday. The three-time overall GS champion flew down the challenging Birds of Prey course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 40.01 seconds, beating Marcel Hirscher of Austria by 0.69 seconds. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was third. Ligety entered the final run trailing France’s Alexis Pinturault by 0.14 seconds. But Ligety easily made up the time to win his 10th World Cup race. Pinturault made an early mistake and never recovered, settling for fourth. The one-two finish was a reverse of Sunday’s giant slalom on this hill when Hirscher won and Ligety finished second. Immediately after that race, Ligety went back and watched film of Hirscher’s run, just to figure out how he glided down so fast. Ligety then followed suit with a blistering final trip down the hill. When he crossed the finish line and saw his time, Ligety pumped his fist and sent a cloud of snow flying into the air with a sudden stop. “I’m glad to come down and get some redemption,” Ligety said. Tim Jitloff of the US finished tied for 10th, while Tommy Ford wound up 15th. Bode Miller never found his groove on the course and was 29th. “Tough to find my speed,” Miller said after his first run. “It’s tough snow conditions. If you push harder, sometimes you go slower. It’s so grippy and so aggressive that I was trying to be more gentle.” Miller skiing gentle? That hardly ever happens. He usually adopts a go-for-broke approach on the slopes, punching the accelerator far more

than tapping the brakes. But he’s also still experimenting with his GS setup as he searches for just the right combination. The grippy nature of the course baffled Miller on Sunday and again Tuesday. “I’m obviously much better on the harder, more icy stuff,” Miller said. “I didn’t really have any big mistakes (in the first run), just a couple of little bobbles.” This race was moved to Beaver Creek because of a lack of snow in Val d’Isere, France. There’s

also a women’s super-G late yesterday - a homecoming for Lindsey Vonn who lives in nearby Vail - and a men’s slalom today. Vonn is looking forward to her first race on this difficult course. She’s never won a World Cup event on US slopes. “I’m hoping to change that,” said Vonn, who was planning to ski the course Tuesday after the final run of giant slalom. “I’ve always wanted to race here. This is finally my chance.” — AP

BEAVER CREEK: Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, skis in the first run of the World Cup giant slalom ski competition. — AP

Shorter NBA schedule NEW YORK: The Los Angeles Lakers will play games on the first three nights of the NBA season, the first of 42 back-to-back-to-back sets teams will face during this lockout-shortened season. The NBA announced the compacted, 66-game schedule on Tuesday night, one that will require every team to play on three consecutive nights at least once. And it will force every team to navigate demanding stretches that are never seen during a full season, such as the nine games in 12 nights the Atlanta Hawks face starting with their Dec. 27 opener. The league’s 66th season begins with five games on Christmas, including the Lakers hosting the Chicago Bulls. Los Angeles then visits Sacramento the next night before returning home to host Utah on Dec. 27. Teams will play 48 conference games and 18 against the opposing conference, meaning they play only three nonconference opponents home and away. The league did preserve its most storied rivalry, with the Lakers traveling to Boston for a Feb. 9 matchup before the Celtics open a stretch of eight road games in 13 nights in March with games on back-to-back nights at Staples Center. Dallas and Miami also will play twice, following their Christmas NBA finals rematch with a March 12 game in Miami. The Heat and Lakers also play two games. The 50-game 1999 season featured 64 sets of backto-back-to-backs and was plagued by sloppy basketball being played on fatigued legs. The NBA faces a similar predicament now after failing to reach a new labor deal in time to save the Nov. 1 start to the season. Instead, a tentative agreement was reached on Nov. 26. Lawyers for the owners and players are still finalizing the rest of the deal, with both sides expected to vote on it Thursday before training camps and free agency open on Friday. Aging teams such as the Celtics, Lakers and NBA champion Mavericks will have to pace themselves, while younger teams such as Oklahoma City figure to be better prepared for the grind. “You’re not going to have those breaks of three or four days that you sometimes got in the old 82-game schedule, when it was the normal regular schedule,” former NBA coach and current analyst Mike Fratello said during the schedule announcement on NBA TV. “Now with everything being compacted, games come that much more quickly, you’ve got to gear up back up again, you move onto the next one immediately.” The Denver Nuggets, hit hard by free agency with three of their players in China, face another difficult obstacle in the schedule. They play five games in six nights spanning the new year, including a home-andhome set with the Lakers on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.—AP

Frozen runner amputated ANCHORAGE: A university cross-country runner from Kenya spent three days alone in freezing Alaskan woods and had to have his feet amputated, telling campus police he went for a run because he was feeling despondent and passed out under a tree. Marko Cheseto, 28, disappeared from the University of Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 6. He was suffering from hypothermia and severe frostbite to his feet when he staggered into the lobby of an Anchorage hotel three days later. He was wearing a T-shirt, jeans, two jackets and running shoes, but no hat or gloves. His shoes were frozen to his feet. A university police report obtained under an open records request by The Associated Press says Cheseto told officers he woke up on Nov. 6 and sought out his roommate. He wanted to tell him he was “having to struggle to get through life,” but his roommate had to work, the campus police officer’s report said. Cheseto’s despondency grew. “He told me that he felt like no one had been able to understand how difficult things had been for him, and that everyone basically just said, ‘Hang in there,’” the officer’s report says. The report had sections redacted and didn’t elaborate on Cheseto’s problems. Cheseto was a top runner on his team but took last season off following the suicide of his close friend, teammate and fellow Kenyan William Ritekwiang. Ritekwiang was found dead in February in his apartment near the campus. Michael Friess, the university’s head cross country and athletics coach, said Cheseto received counseling after Ritekwiang’s death and was still being treated when he took his run in the

woods. The report said Cheseto began his run in the evening of Nov. 6 on a popular trail, covered in snow this time of year. He took a left turn off the trail and ran into the woods, where he told police he passed out under a tree. When he awoke it was snowing. He didn’t have much snow on his upper body, but his legs were buried in snow. He realized his feet were frozen. The report says Cheseto lay there for about another half-hour and realized he was getting even colder. He told police he pulled himself up by holding onto a tree. He started to do exercises to get some feeling back into his legs so he could walk out of the woods. He walked toward the sound of cars and eventually walked into a hotel lobby, where employees rushed him over to a fireplace, put a blanket on him and called emergency personnel. “It is hard to understand depression,” Friess said. “Yes, he was in the wrong place, he fell down, you could describe it. But in my opinion the strongest aspect is that he got up. “He wasn’t found. He returned to us,” Friess said. Cheseto, a long-distance runner working on a nursing degree, disappeared a day after the university cross-country team’s triumphant return to Anchorage from the U.S. Division II West Region Championships in Spokane, Washington. The Seawolves won every title up for grabs at the meet. Cheseto had won the West Region Championships in cross country in 2009 and 2010. He had used his final season of cross-country eligibility but was expected to compete on the track next spring. — AP

ALASKA: In this Nov. 8, 2011 photo, Brian McGorry of Alaska Search & Rescue Dogs and his avalanche rescue dog Fundy search the wooded area near University Lake with Susie Baxted-Edge of the APD search team search for runner Marko Cheseto in Anchorage. — AP



African IOC duo to learn fate over sleaze allegations LAUSANNE: Two of Africa’s highest profile International Olympic Committee (IOC) members are set to learn their fate over corruption allegations here today. Issa Hayatou, long-time president of the African Football Confederation (CAF), and Lamine Diack, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), have been under investigation by the IOC Ethics Commission. They have been left to face the music after another member under investigation former FIFA President Joao Havelange abruptly resigned as a member rather than face what could have been a humiliating punishment for the 95-year-old. By resigning his case is closed because he is now considered a private citizen and not subject to IOC rules. All three have been subjected to the

inquiry since a BBC Panorama documentary last year made allegations over their respective links to FIFA’s former marketing agency, International Sport and Leisure (ISL), which went bankrupt in 2001 with debts of around 300 million dollars. The Ethics Commission are due to present their findings with the IOC announcing any possible sanctions, if they been found guilty of unethical behavior, today. Hayatou, 67, has strongly denied the allegations saying that the 20,000 US dollars received in 1995 did not go to him personally but that as a then sponsor ISL had given the money to CAF on its 40th anniversary. Diack, president of the IAAF since November 1999 following the death of predecessor Primo Nebiolo, denies the claims of corruption as well and the 78-year-old Senegalese claims the

money he received was after his house burnt down in 1993. While both hold high profile positions in the sports administration world - Cameroon’s Hayatou has been in his post since 1987 and took on Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency but was soundly beaten - their fates paled into insignificance when Havelange was still in play. The Brazilian, who competed at two Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin as a swimmer and then in the 1952 edition in Helsinki in water polo, is credited with modernising football into the moneymaking industry it is today. He was also instrumental in bringing the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and to South America for the first time when the International Olympic Committee elected the city as the host in 2009 in Copenhagen. He gave a rousing address at the

final presentations by the candidate cities at the Copenhagen meeting in front of his fellow IOC members saying that should Rio win the Games then everyone would be invited to his 100th birthday on the famed Copacabana beach. Neither Hayatou nor Diack is expected to be heavily sanctioned, a slap on the wrist at best a source close to the IOC has said, adding that in Diack’s case it wouldn’t be politically very adroit to punish him. “With just a few months to go before the London Olympics where athletics is the showpiece event it would not look great to see the head of that sport publicly humiliated,” the source told AFP. “You can never say never but I seriously doubt that anything earth shattering in terms of punishment if there is any at all is going to be delivered.” — AFP

England wait on Rooney’s fate Lionel Messi

Messi relishing world club mission TOYOTA: Barcelona star Lionel Messi has dismissed the notion that the Club World Cup in Japan is an unwanted distraction, at a time when the Spanish giants trail Real Madrid at home. The reigning Spanish and European champions jet to the annual showpiece in the unfamiliar position of not topping La Liga, but it would be a huge shock if Barcelona didn’t claim their 13th title under coach Pep Guardiola. In Messi, Barcelona, who were Club World Cup winners in 2009, have arguably the finest player around, and the Argentine wizard insists his celebrated side are giving the tournament of continental champions due respect. “It’s great to play in a Club World Cup and it’s an important tournament for us. We’ve got some lovely memories of the last one we played in and we can’t wait to experience that again and celebrate in the same style,” he said. Glory two years ago, when Barcelona came from behind in the final to beat Argentine side Estudiantes 2-1 in extratime, crowned an amazing year when the Catalan outfit won all six cups that were on offer. But the side touted one of the best club teams ever are peering up at fierce rivals Real in Spain after stumbling against Getafe for a first defeat of the season last month, while their away form has also been patchy. Despite Saturday’s 5-0 hammering of Levante, Barca head into this weekend’s El Clasico against Real-their final game before the trip to Japan-knowing defeat could deal a heavy blow to their Spanish title defence. “We’re always under the obligation to win,” Messi told, rubbishing the notion that the favourites tag in Japan and the sheer number of games stacking up in all competitions weighed heavily. “We know what we’re capable of and how far we can go. We’ve got a lot of games to get through, that’s true, and it’s never easy to play one match after the other and maintain top form,” he said. “We really don’t care what people are

saying, though. We’re staying cool, calm and collected.” The biggest threat to Messi and co. at the tournament should come from Copa Libertadores winners Santos, of Brazil, whose much-coveted striker Neymar will be one of the star attractions. The other sides at the annual Club World Cup, which starts Thursday, are Tunisia’s Esperance (African champions), the Qataris Al Sadd (Asia), Monterrey from Mexico (North/Central America) and Auckland City (Oceania). They are joined by newly anointed JLeague champions Kashiwa Reysol, who kick off the action when they take on Auckland’s part-timers. Barcelona and Santos enter at the semi-final stage, with the Catalans taking on the winners of the clash between Esperance and Al Sadd for a place in the December 18 final at Yokohama, near Tokyo. Media in Brazil, where the Club World Cup is a huge event, are building the competition up as a showdown between 19-year-old Brazilian international Neymar and Messi. Santos legend Pele is in no doubt who is superior. “Comparing the two individually, I think Neymar is much better, more complete,” he said. “Messi is great, but he relies a lot on his team-mates. That is why he does so well for Barcelona but struggles playing for Argentina. “Neymar plays well for Santos and for Brazil.” Meanwhile dark horses Monterrey are hoping to become the first Mexican club to taste glor y. Coach Victor Manuel Vucetich has quality at his disposal in Chile star Humberto Suazo and Argentine former Lyon midfielder Cesar Delgado. “This is a very important step in our careers because we will be competing against some massive teams, huge clubs on the international stage. This will help us a lot,” said the 56-year-old Vucetich. Monterrey enter the competition at the quarter-final stage, where they will face either Auckland or Kashiwa. The winner takes on Santos. — AFP

LONDON: English football, not for the first time, will be waiting to see what happens to Wayne Rooney when the Manchester United striker appeals against a three-game ban that could rule him out of Euro 2012. Rooney received the ban for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic in England’s final qualifier in Montenegro in October but his appeal is set to be heard by UEFA, European football’s governing body, today. As it stands Rooney is due to miss England’s three group games against France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine. Although many pundits expect England to qualify from their group, it is by no means certain they will make it through to the second round. And that means England could travel to Poland and the Ukraine without one of their star players. England manager Fabio Capello has repeatedly insisted a fit Rooney would be in his squad come what may. But this week the Italian said he would wait to hear the outcome of Rooney’s appeal first. “I need to wait. I need to wait and see how the appeal goes this week,” said Capello. “I hope Rooney will be there (at Euro 2012). “The sentence, three games, was too much for me and I hope the appeal will help us reduce the sentence. “I hope he’ll be available for the third game. I hope they understand our lawyer, what Rooney says and what I will say at the committee.” Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England, told BBC Radio 5Live’s Sportsweek programme that England’s Football Association are determined to put together a strong legal case, so they have brought in outside help. “We have spoken at length with our own internal lawyers on this, and also we have been working with an external legal firm as well, who

Wayne Rooney have a great deal of expertise in sports law,” Bevington said. “Wayne will attend the hearing - Fabio will also be there to give evidence. “I believe the evidence provided by the Montenegrin player, who was quite supportive of Wayne after the game, will also be part of our case. “I don’t want to say too much more about what our case will be because it would be inappropriate to do so before the hearing, but we go there with the hope of at least getting some reduction in the suspension so Wayne can play a more fulsome part in the tournament.

Liverpool’s Suarez charged over gesture

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez

Drogba looks to long-term

Chelsea’s Didier Drogba

“All we can do is go with the best legal advice that we have, and with the way that Wayne, Fabio and those of us involved present ourselves on the day and appeal to UEFA to look favorably on it.” Before the hearing, United have a Champions League tie away to Basel late yesterday and with the Old Trafford side still requiring a point to book their place in the last 16, club boss Sir Alex Ferguson expects Rooney to attend to on-field matters first. “I don’t think that comes into it at all,” said Ferguson when asked if the hearing was likely to affect Rooney’s approach. “He has a game tomorrow. An important game.” — AFP

LONDON: Didier Drogba believes he has at least another two years left in him at the top after his effervescent showing, crowned with two goals, fired Chelsea into the Champions League knockoutstages after Tuesday ’s 3-0 pasting of Valencia. Andre Villas-Boas’ side knew a defeat or score - draw would put Valencia through at their expense, but with Drogba in unstoppable form - as in last Saturday’s league win at Newcastle - the Blues not only qualified but won their group. And Drogba insists that with four goals in four games he is far from finished yet as he looks for a two-year deal buoyed by form which has established him as first choice striker ahead of Fernando Torres while fellow veteran Nicolas Anelka is already likely to leave in the January transfer window. Drogba is now 33 and his current deal expires in June, meaning he could walk away as early as next month if Chelsea do not add a year to the 12-month extension on the table. But the striker says he is making up for lost time having only turned profes-

sional at 21 and he plans to make the most of the twilight of his career. “I started late at a high level. I was 25 when I star ted to play my first Champions League games. “I feel happy, I feel good on the pitch, I’m really enjoying myself, my football.” But after the Valencia win he would not be drawn on where his future lies. “My future, really, is not very important. When the time will come, we’ll speak about it. But, at the moment, we don’t need to.” Winger Juan Mata, who set up both of Drogba’s goals against his old club, is a big fan, and while he accepts the contract talks are down to the club hierarchy the Spaniard stressed: “Didier is a super striker. He is strong and fast, scores goals and makes assists. “He is ver y impor tant for us and, against Valencia, he showed it.” Recent injury problems ensured Drogba made a slow start to the campaign and the club’s recent streak of poor form piled the pressure on young new Por tuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas. “But now I’m having a little bit more games so I hope it’s going to come back quickly,” said Drogba. —AFP

LONDON: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been charged with improper conduct during Monday’s English Premier League defeat by Fulham, the Football Association (FA) said yesterday. Uruguay forward Suarez was charged, the FA said, “in relation to an alleged gesture made towards the Fulham fans at the end of the fixture”. Suarez has until 1600GMT on Monday to respond to the charge. Liverpool were also were hit with a separate charge of failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion, following the sending off of midfielder Jay Spearing in the same match at Craven Cottage. A Liverpool statement said: “Liverpool FC today ( Wednesday) received notification from the Football Association of their decision to charge both the club and Luis Suarez following the game against Fulham. “The club will take the appropriate time to properly review the documentation sent to us before making any further comment.” Fulham won 1-0 thanks to a late Clint Dempsey goal after Liverpool had been reduced to 10 men. Suarez, who was charged by the FA in November with racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, had a goal disallowed and also felt he should have had a penalty. “We’ll look after Luis as best we can, and I think it’s about time he got a bit of protection from some people,” said Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who admitted he hadn’t seen the incident involving Suarez and the Fulham fans, after the match. Suarez also had to contend with chants of “cheat” from Fulham fans convinced he wad going to ground too easily when challenged. But Dalglish, who said the chants aimed at Suarez were “scandalous,” insisted: “His integrity is impeccable. He can look in the mirror and go to bed at night and sleep soundly.” Spearing was shown a straight red card by referee Kevin Friend for a tack le on Mousa Dembele where he won the ball but caught his opponent in the follow through. Liverpool’s players reacted angrily to the decision “Jay will be upset, obviously. But we will look at it and see if it’s worth while appealing,” Dalglish said. “You need to ask the referee what his interpretation is. What the level of acceptance is. Jay never had another thought in his mind but to win the ball, and he did win it.” —AFP


sp orts

Lyon makes last 16 after 8-goal thriller

MILAN: Inter Milan’s Argentine forward Milito reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Champions League match against CSKA Moscow. —AFP

CSKA stun Inter to reach CL knock-out MILAN: CSKA Moscow sneaked into the Champions League knock-out stages as Vasili Berezutsky scored three minutes from time to give the Russians a 2-1 victory at Inter Milan yesterday. With Trabzonspor holding Lille to a goalless draw in France, CSKA leapfrogged the pair to remain in Europe’s premier club competition. Seydou Doumbia had given the visitors the lead before Esteban Cambiasso equalised but Berezutsky had the last word. The hosts had already won the group but this defeat, coupled with a 1-0 home loss to Udinese at the weekend, will have increased the pressure on coach Claudio Ranieri with his side down in 16th in Serie A. CSKA were playing a high backline and a dangerous offside game in the early stages and they were almost made to pay. Captain Javier Zanetti played in Diego Milito behind the defence and although he had two options to pick out, he failed to draw Vladimir Gabulov and left his pass to Coutinho a bit too short, allowing the goalkeeper to pounce and cut it out. Moments later Milito was again wheeling off the last man and this time he picked out Yuto Nagatomo but the Japan full-back’s finish was weak and Gabulov saved easily. CSKA’s first really good chance came just before the half hour mark as Vagner Love turned outside the box and fired goalwards but Luca Castellazzi made a flying save. The Brazilian striker than missed a

glaring chance as he got to Alan Dzagoev’s teasing free-kick first but headed over from six yards. Nagatomo was proving dangerous when coming forward and Gabulov leapt to his right to tip the diminutive rightback’s shot from distance around the post, although television replays suggested it was heading wide anyway. Milito continued to make a nuisance of himself and had a pair of chances in quick succession, Gabulov blocking his first and the Argentine firing the second inches over the bar. The second period started with a bang as both sides scored within six minutes of the restart. Love set up Ivorian strike-partner Doumbia to finish clinically past Castellazzi. But just a minute later Andrea Ranocchias headed a corner powerfully goalwards and although Gabulov made a one-handed save, Cambiasso mopped up the rebound from close in. Castellazzi saved at his near post from Dzagoev while a Milito header bounced into Gabulov’s arms. A lovely CSKA free-kick routine then saw Alexei Berezutsky volley goalwards but Castellazzi made a comfortable save. Five minutes from time Milito should have snatched the winner after Zanetti’s fine run and cross but he somehow hit the bar with a header from inside the sixyard box. And they were made to pay moments later as Berezutsky headed home a corner to give the visitors the victory.—AFP

Champions League results/standings

ZAGREB: French side Lyon pulled off a remarkable Champions League rescue act yesterday when they defeated Dinamo Zagreb 7-1 to sneak into the last 16 at the expense of Ajax. Lyon went into their final Group D game three points behind Ajax and needing to make up a goal difference of seven if they were to reach the knockout rounds. French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis was the star of the show, scoring four goals, including the fastest ever Champions League hat-trick as Lyon took second place in the group. Real Madrid, who had already made sure of top spot, downed Ajax 3-0 in Amsterdam to become only the fifth team in the history of the tournament to go through to the next round with a perfect record. Dinamo had taken the lead in the 40th minute when Fatos Beqiraj cut in from the right and fired a drive at Hugo Lloris who made a double-save but the third attempt fell to 17-year-old Mateo Kovacic who stabbed the ball into the roof of the net. But Lyon were level just before half-time. Aly Cissokho’s cross looped over Ivan Kelava where Gomis applied the final touch. Three minutes after the interval, Maxime Gonalons made it 2-1. Gomis then completed his hat-trick to beat Blackburn Rovers’ Mike Newell’s record from 1995 for the quickest triple. First, he hit his second after 48 minutes after Jimmy Briand slid the ball to the striker to fire past Kelava. He added his third in the 52nd minute off a pass from Gonalons while his fourth of the evening came from a cross by Ederson in the 70th minute to make 6-1, six minutes after Lisandro Lopez had hit Lyon’s fifth. Briand netted the seventh of the night in

the 75th minute to complete the rout and put Lyon into the last 16 for the ninth consecutive season. In Amsterdam, Real notched up a 15th consecutive win in all competitions this season by ending Ajax’s hopes 3-0. Jose Callejon, a product of Real’s youth system, grabbed his third goal in three games in the tournament this season, when he opened the scoring in the 14th minute. The 24-year-old latched on to a fine

CROATIA: Dinamo players celebrate their opening goal during the Champions League Group D soccer match against Lyon. —AP

Benfica see off Otelul LISBON: Benfica clinched top spot in Champions League Group C with a 1-0 win over Otelul Galati yesterday after an early goal from Oscar Cardozo. Benfica, which had already qualified for the knockout round, finished first in its group for the first time since 1995. FC Basel went through in second place after a shock 2-1 win over three-time former champion Manchester United. Otelul, visiting Lisbon after five straight defeats in the tournament, packed its defense in the low-key encounter. But the Romanian newcomer held out for just seven minutes before Cardozo tapped in a cross from winger Nicolas Gaitan for his third Champions League goal.

The Portuguese club has shown strong form this season, losing just once in 23 games. Cardozo, a Paraguayan international, almost got another in the 33rd with a curling shot. The visitors were unambitious going forward, though a chance fell to Gabriel Paraschiv when he pounced on a loose ball in the Benfica area and Liviu Antal tested goalkeeper Artur again 10 minutes later. Benfica went off the boil in the second half and let Otelul back into the game, but Javi Garcia came close to extending Benfica’s lead with a long-range shot that scraped the post in the 62nd. Substitute Rodrigo missed a chance to seal it for Benfica in a counter-attack during injury time.—AP

PARIS: European Champions League results yesterday, the last matches of the group stage: Group A At Manchester, England Manchester City (ENG) 2 (Silva 39, Yaya Toure 51) Bayern Munich (GER) 0 At Villarreal, Spain Villarreal (ESP) 0 Napoli (ITA) 2 (Inler 65, Hamsik 76) Group B At Lille, France Lille (FRA) 0 Trabzonspor (TUR) 0 At Milan, Italy Inter Milan (ITA) 1 (Cambiasso 51) CSKA Moscow (RUS) 2 (Doumbia 50, Berezutsky 86) Group C At Basel, Switzerland Basel (SUI) 2 (Streller 9 Frei 84) Manchester United (ENG) 1 (Jones 89) At Lisbon Benfica (POR) 1 (Oscar Cardozo 7) Otelul Galati (ROM) 0 Group D At Zagreb Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 1 (Kovacic 40) Lyon (FRA) 7 (Gomis 45, 48, 52, 70, Gonalons 47, Lisandro 64, Briand 76) At Amsterdam Ajax (NED) 0 Real Madrid (ESP) 3 (Callejon 14, 90+2, Higuain 41)

Tuesday: Group E At Genk, Belgium Genk (BEL) 1 (Vossen 30) Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 1 (Derdiyok 79) At London Chelsea (ENG) 3 (Drogba 3, 76, Ramires 22) Valencia (ESP) 0 Group F At Dortmund, Germany Borussia Dortmund (GER) 2 (Blaszczykowski 23, Hummels 32-pen) Marseille (FRA) 3 (Remy 45, A Ayew 85, Valbuena 89) At Piraeus, Greece Olympiakos (GRE) 3 (Djebbour 16, Fuster 36, Modesto 89) Arsenal (ENG) 1 (Benayoun 57) Group G At Nicosia APOEL Nicosia (CYP) 0 Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 2 (Luiz Adriano 62, Seleznyov 78) At Porto, Portugal Porto (POR) 0 Zenit St Petersburg (RUS) 0 Group H At Barcelona, Spain Barcelona (ESP) 4 (Sergi Roberto 35, Montoya 60, Pedro 63, 88-pen) BATE Borisov (BLR) 0 At Prague Viktoria Plzen (CZE) 2 (Bystron 89, Duris 90) AC Milan (ITA) 2 (Pato 47, Robinho 49)

PARIS: Champions League group stage tables after final round of matches on Tuesday and yesterday (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Group A Bayern










Man City Villarreal

6 6

3 0

1 0

2 6

6 13 —qualified 10 6 11 — qualified 9 6 10 2 14 0

Group B Inter Milan











Trabzonspor 6 Lille 6

1 1

4 3

1 2

7 10 — qualified 9 8 8 — qualified 3 5 7 6 6 6

Group C Benfica











Man United 6 Otelul Galati 6

2 0

3 0

1 6

4 12 — qualified 11 10 11 — qualified 11 8 9 3 11 0

Group D Real Madrid 6










Ajax Zagreb

6 6

2 0

2 0

2 6


2 18 — qualified 9 7 8 — qualified 6 6 8 3 22 0

Group E Chelsea










Valencia RC Genk

6 6

2 0

2 3

2 3

4 11 — qualified 8 8 10 — qualified 12 7 8 2 16 3

Group F Arsenal











Olympiakos 6 Dortmund 6

3 1

0 1

3 4

6 11 — qualified 7 4 10 — qualified 8 6 9 6 12 4







St Petersburg 6




FC Porto Donetsk

6 6

2 1

2 2

2 3

6 9 — qualified 7 5 9 — qualified 7 7 8 6 8 5

Group H Barcelona






AC Milan





Viktoria Plzen 6 BATE Borisov 6

1 0

2 2

3 4


4 16 — qualified 11 8 9 — qualified 4 11 5 2 14 2

VILLARREAL: Napoli’s Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League second leg football match against Villarreal.—AFP

Napoli secure spot in knockout round VILLARREAL: Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik scored second-half goals to secure Napoli’s place in the Champions League knockout round with a 2-0 victory at Villarreal yesterday. The result sealed second place in Group A for the Italian club ahead of Manchester City, which finished third despite a 2-0 home win against leader Bayern Munich. Napoli labored to find a way through the Villarreal defense, but Inler launched a 25-yard drive that left goalkeeper Diego Lopez motionless to break the deadlock in the 65th minute. Boosted by the breakthrough, Hamsik added a second with a close-range finish in the 76th to give Napoli a comfortable finish. Villarreal became the first Spanish club to suffer six straight defeats in the Champions League group stage. Villarreal have endured an injuryblighted start to the season but coach Juan Carlos Garrido was able to include striker Nilmar in a youthful starting lineup as the Brazilian continued his recovery from a knee injury. Despite having nothing but pride to play for, the Spanish club would have pleased any watching Manchester City fans after starting brightly and carving out half-chances for Marco Ruben in the

through pass from Kaka, beat the offside trap and then squeezed the ball through the legs of Kenneth Vermeer. Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, captain for the night in the absence of Iker Casillas, marked the occasion with Real’s second, four minutes before the interval. Fellow striker Karim Benzema was the creator this time, supplying the pass over the top. Callejon added the third in injury time.—AFP

first half. Napoli, fielding its lauded attacking trio of Hamsik, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, made a cagey start with Juan Zuniga threatening and Hamsik flashing a drive wide in the 40th minute. The Italian club - needing a win with City in front against Bayern - stepped up a gear in the second half. Hamsik began to control possession and started threading dangerous passes through the Villarreal defense, but Napoli almost took the lead in the 62nd through an own goal. Cavani drove into the box and drew Lopez out of his goal before cutting back for Lavezzi. The striker’s first-time shot rebounded off defender Joan Oriol only for Lopez to recover just in time and turn the ball away for a corner. The respite was only temporary as Inler collected the ball on the right and cut inside before unleashing a powerful left-footed drive that flew in as Lopez watched helplessly. Napoli grew in confidence after the strike and Lavezzi forced Lopez into a good save low to his right. Hamsik calmed the situation with a tap-in following a goalmouth scramble in the 76th to make sure Napoli avoided a nervy finish.—AP

Real send Ajax out AMSTERDAM: Ajax went out of the Champions League in dramatic circumstances yesterday after losing 3-0 to a below-strength Real Madrid in its final Group D match. Looking to qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since 2005-2006, Ajax went into the match leading Lyon by three points and with a goal difference advantage of seven, but the French side thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 7-1 to snatch second place. Madrid went ahead through Jose Callejon in the 14th minute before Ajax had two goals controversially disallowed. Gonzalo Higuain scored the second in the 41st and Callejon wrapped up the win in injury time. The Ajax players stood in the center circle at the final whistle, barely able to comprehend that they had missed out on the last 16 in the Champions League and will now have to continue their European campaign in the Europa League. Madrid, meanwhile, became only the fifth team to win all six of its Champions League group matches, and the first since Barcelona in 2002-03. Madrid plays Barcelona in the Spanish league on Saturday and was already qualified for the Champions League knockout stage as Group D winner so traveled to Amsterdam without stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Jose Mourinho also started Mesut Oezil and Xabi Alonso on the bench, but still had stars like Kaka and Karim Benzema in his starting lineup. Ajax was missing most of its first-choice attack through injury along with central defender Toby Alderweireld, who injured a hamstring in training Tuesday. Kaka exposed the frailty of the Amsterdam club’s makeshift central defensive pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Daley Blind in the 14th minute with a pass that found Callejon unmarked in the middle and he calmly slotted the ball under Kenneth Vermeer for his third Champions League goal in as many matches this season. Madrid came close to doubling its lead on a quick break in the 25th minute when Higuain found Benzema on the left. The Frenchman beat two defenders but Vermeer rushed off his line to block the low shot. Ajax then twice looked to have drawn level in the space of five minutes only to be denied each time by the offside flag. First, stand-in goalkeeper Antonio Adan fumbled a long range shot from Gregory van der Wiel and Nicolas Lodeiro was judged to be offside when he headed in the ball in the 32nd minute. Then Vurnon Anita’s powerful drive past Adan was canceled out because Miralem Sulejmani was ruled to be interfering with play as he attempted to dodge the ball on its way into the net. With Ajax still reeling from the offside decisions, Madrid made it 2-0 when Higuain again collected a long pass in too much space on the right and easily beat Vermeer. Ajax should have made it 2-1 shortly after the break when Vertonghen rose above the Madrid defense but headed wide from close range after a Theo Janssen corner. Sulejmani then came agonizingly close, but saw his lob bounce off the bar. As Madrid appeared content to sit back and absorb Ajax pressure, Cristian Eriksen drew a good save from Adan with a powerful low drive in the 66th minute. But with so many of its strikers missing, Ajax rarely looked threatening, while in Zagreb Lyon’s attack was amassing the big score it needed to secure a place in the knockout stages. With the result already beyond doubt, Callejon added his second goal in the 90th minute to seal Ajax’s fate.—AP

Lyon hit seven in Euro miracle

Jets soar over Bruins in NHL action




With Havelange gone, what about the past?

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BASEL: Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic (left) fights for the ball against Basel’s Cabral and David Abraham during their UEFA Champions League Group C football match. — AFP

United undone in Champions League Basel book place in last 16 BASEL: Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League at the group phase for only the third time in 16 years following a stunning 2-1 loss at Swiss champions Basel yesterday. Six years to the day since they last bade farewell at the group stage, following a 2-1 loss at Benfica, last year’s beaten finalists were undone by goals in each half from Marco Streller and Alexander Frei. Despite needing just a point to go through from Group C, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side fell to their first away defeat in the group phase in five years, but not before Phil Jones’ late goal had given them a vain glimmer of hope. Victory allowed Basel to book their place in the last 16 for the first time since 2002-03, while for

United, who had reached three of the last four finals, there is the unwelcome consolation of the Europa League. The last time United wore white against a team sporting maroon and blue in European competition was in May’s Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, but few can have predicted Wednesday’s game would end with similar heartache. Contrary to expectation, Ferguson chose to field Wayne Rooney as a lone striker and left Danny Welbeck on the bench, despite the absences through injury of both Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov. Goalkeeper David de Gea also returned after being rested for the 1-0 win at Aston Villa, but his first contribution was an unconvincing punch and

his second presented Basel with the opening goal. A clash of heads between United defenders Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling left the latter on the turf, but play continued and when de Gea could only partially clear Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross, Streller pounced to half-volley home. United had started assertively but the goal cowed them and there were 20 aimless minutes until they fashioned a real chance, with Rooney and then Park Ji-Sung both unable to convert Nani’s low cross from close range. Rooney then shot straight at Yann Sommer from Ryan Giggs’ intelligent reverse pass, before the 22-year-old goalkeeper saved bravely at the feet of Nani. The visitors were building up a head of steam

but shortly before half-time they received another setback when captain Vidic had to be stretchered off after his knee appeared to buckle in a challenge with Streller. There was renewed purpose to the away side’s play in the second half, however, and Rooney went close to an equaliser when he curled narrowly wide following another astute through-ball by Giggs. Shaqiri gave a reminder of Basel’s threat at the other end when he clipped a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box and moments later de Gea had to produce a superb finger-tip save to keep out Frei’s free-kick. United roared back though and Marcus Steinhofer almost scored a famous own goal when

City victory in vain MANCHESTER: David Silva and Yaya Toure’s goals earned Manchester City a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich but it was not enough to prevent them from being eliminated from the Champions League yesterday. English Premier League leaders City went into the match knowing the only way they could progress into the knockout phase was to beat Bayern, who had already finished top of Group A, and for Napoli to fail to beat Villarreal. Silva opened the scoring shortly before half time at Eastlands and Toure scored a second just after the start of the second period. But Napoli’s 2-0 victory at Villarreal, who had held the Italians for an hour, means Roberto Mancini’s team will now have to combine their push for the Premier League title with a place in the Europa League. Ultimately, their defeats at Bayern and Napoli earlier in the group stage proved costly to their hopes of extending their first Champions League campaign. City knew they would have to be patient, even against a Bayern team that showed seven changes from the side that beat Werder Bremen 4-1 in their previous match. But they created their first decent opening when Samir Nasri crossed from the right and Sergio Aguero headed wide from close range. The hosts were dominating possession but Bayern went close with a quick break. A long ball forward was flicked on by Nils Petersen and Ivica Olic’s drive at the near post was turned wide by goalkeeper Joe Hart. From the ensuing corner, midfielder Luiz Gustavo lifted a shot over the bar. City had the ball in the net when Silva’s free-kick floated into the top corner but referee Stephane Lannoy ruled Joleon Lescott had barged Bayern goalkeeper Jorg Butt. The Germans continued to look a threat on the break and David Alaba missed from close range after the hosts had failed to deal with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s cross. Nasri also clipped a shot wide from the edge of the area after he stole the ball from Gustavo in midfield. But after 36 minutes, City went ahead with a goal of real quality. Silva had just been fouled by Gustavo but seconds after coming back on to the field, Edin Dzeko flicked Gareth Barry’s pass

LONDON: Manchester City’s David Silva (right) fights for the ball against Bayern Munich’s Rafinha (centre) and David Alaba during their Champions League Group A soccer match. — AP to the Spaniard and he drove a shot into the corner of Butt’s goal. City continued to press after their breakthrough and after a wandering run, Aguero was only denied by former City defender Jerome Boateng on the line. The hosts were getting the ball to Silva at every opportunity and the winger had a stinging shot pushed away by Butt before Barry prodded the rebound over. City had a scare just after the restart when Danijel Pranjic burst forward from midfield and just missed the corner of the net from 20 yards. But they doubled their advantage with a goal even better than their first. Toure picked the ball up off Barry and, after feeding Aguero, the

Ivorian surged forward to collect a pass from Dzeko to prod past the onrushing Butt. The former Barcelona midfielder had scored just once in 33 Champions League matches before this season but his goal against Bayern was his third in six games in the competition this season. Hart had to be alert to deny Alaba but Dzeko came close to adding a third with low drive from 30 yards. And Barry had a drive turned away by Butt as the news filtered through that Napoli had taken the lead at Villarreal. Nasri missed from 25 yards but City knew Napoli’s lead in Spain meant their victory was in vain. — AFP

he volleyed an attempted clearance against his own crossbar. As the half wore on, Basel found it harder and harder to get out of their own half, with Rooney dragging wide after cutting in from the left and then bending the ball a couple of feet wide of the right-hand post. The goal would not come, however, and with six minutes remaining, Frei dived to head home a cross from the excellent Shaqiri to send St Jakob-Park into raptures. Jones scrambled in a consolation amid the game’s dying embers, but it was too late to avert one of the most painful losses of the Ferguson era. — AFP

Lille, Trabzonspor falter PARIS: French champions Lille squandered a series of chances in a scoreless draw with Trabzonspor yesterday which ended their Champions League campaign in a result which left both sides out of the tournament. After three consecutive wins in all matches, including a 2-0 away defeat of CSKA Moscow two weeks ago, Lille coach Rudi Garcia sent out an attack-minded formation which seemed intent on taking an early advantage. Try as they might, however, Lille’s impressive front line-driven by the ever-energetic Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard-could not get the ball past Trabzonspor ‘keeper Tolga Zengin. In the end, it did not matter as CSKA’s win against Inter Milan gave the Russians a last 16 spot. In a busy opening to the first half Hazard showed his pace early by racing down the right wing and delivering an inviting cross which found no takers at the far post. Five minutes in Lille striker Moussa Sow tested Zengin with a left-foot shot after cutting in from the right flank. Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz, returning following suspension in the first leg, came close to producing a moment of magic for the visitors when he pounced on a loose ball in midfield and sent a looping drive from 35 yards which edged just over Mickael Landreau’s crossbar. It would be Trabzonspor’s sole opportunity in a first half in which they struggled to match the pace

and enterprise of their hosts. On the quarter hour Hazard produced a nice one-two to the right of the area before dancing past two defenders and seeing his low shot from the edge of the area parried by Zengin. Hazard showed another glimpse of his class moments later when, in possession, he drew two players before squeezing past both and, after a one-two with Sow, hitting a low show which crept an inch past the post. Former England man Joe Cole emerged from the shadows early in the second half to link well with Hazard in a period which seemed destined to produce a goal. A Cole cross from the right was destined for Sow, but headed out by an alert defender. From the resulting corner Marko Basa rose high to send a header just past Zengin’s left-hand post. Lille started to apply real pressure in the lead up to the hour mark, with Cole momentarily switching to the left to deliver a dipping cross for Hazard. It bounced off the Belgian, but Mathieu Debuchy’s shot then went wide. Moments later Cole came close to breaking the deadlock but saw his pivoted shot from close range blocked by a Trabzonspor leg. With Lille losing momentum in the closing stages, Trabzonspor gained in confidence and came close to stealing a win when Yilmaz powered down the right wing to unleash a shot which forced a one-handed save from Landreau. — AFP


FASTteleco unveils E-Learning services Page 23

Ireland unveils new taxes to trim deficit Page 26


EU leaders face a do-or-die summit

World stocks up on hopes for Europe debt fix

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MUMBAI: Laborers transport cooking gas cylinders in a cart past a shop displaying dress materials in Mumbai yesterday. India has suspended its plan to open its huge retail sector to foreign companies such as Wal-Mart in a reversal seen as a major capitulation to political opponents that further weakens the administration. — AP

India makes U-turn on retail reform Govt suspends foreign supermarket entry after backlash NEW DELHI: India’s government has suspended its move to open the country’s $450 billion supermarket sector to foreign firms such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, backtracking over one of its boldest reforms in years in the face of a huge political backlash. Coming less than two weeks after it announced the move, the retreat is another nail in the coffin of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s economic reform program, just as Asia’s third-largest economy suffers from a growth slowdown and falling investment. Both ruling Congress party allies and opposition parties, fearing massive job losses for millions of small shopkeepers, had disrupted parliament for two weeks in protest, stalling some key bills such as increased food subsidies for the poor. The suspension will help cement a view that the

world’s biggest democracy is an emerging market slowcoach slowly losing economic clout to other BRIC nations like China and Brazil. “The image, the credibility of the government is lost,” said DH Pai Panandiker, head of the RPG Foundation think-tank. “The business community is frustrated anyway. In fact, many of the companies are cash rich, but still don’t want to invest. The decision-making process by the government has almost come to a stop. That’s the problem.” The government gave no timeframe for the suspension of the reform, which would have allowed foreign firms a 51 percent stake in supermarket ventures, to be back on track. Allowing foreign direct investment into a retail industry dominated by small shops was trumpeted by Congress as a policy that

would help ease stubbornly high inflation, improve supply-chain infrastructure, and create millions of jobs. “This decision has certainly delayed creating new economic activity,” said Kishore Biyani, CEO and managing director of Future Group, the parent company of Indian retailer Pantaloon. “We are convinced that good sense will prevail at some point, and a consensus will emerge in some form, maybe not in the initially proposed form.” POLITICS RULES With important state polls next year, including India’s politically most important state Uttar Pradesh (UP), the window for reform may be closing quickly. One leftist party called the suspension a “virtual rollback”. “From now until the UP elections, I think it will

be a stalemate again, except for populist measures,” said Panandiker. The silver lining is that the opposition will now stop disrupting parliament after two weeks of adjournments, allowing the government to pass other key reform bills. But the quick aboutturn-and obvious disarray among government ministers-has raised questions as to who is running India. The prime minister is 79 and his cabinet are mostly septuagenarians seen as out of touch with this globalizing nation. Sonia Gandhi, Congress party chief and India’s most powerful politician, suffers from an undisclosed illness reported to be cancer. The government has stumbled amid corruption scandals this year and has not passed a single major reform bill. The economy grew at its weakest pace in more than two years in the quarter to end-

Greece approves new austerity budget Angry protesters take to the streets ATHENS: Greek lawmakers yesterday approved a 2012 budget pledging tough fiscal goals demanded by EU partners in return for fresh loans after clashes broke out between protesters and police outside parliament. A broad majority of the parties backing Lucas Papademos’ caretaker administration secured the economic blueprint’s passage by 258 votes to 41, the assembly said after the vote that concluded after midnight. Papademos had earlier described the budget as a key first step in a process to reverse disastrous fiscal policies that have burdened each Greek with over 30,000 euros ($40,000) in state debt. “Our actions will determine the country’s economic future, not only for 2012 but for the entire decade,” said Papademos, who took over last month with the task of ratifying a key eurozone debt deal and holding early elections. The PM, a former European Central Bank deputy chief, also insisted that Greece’s position in the European Union and the euro was “nonnegotiable”. “Our place in Europe is nonnegotiable. The Greek people will defend it in every way possible,” Papademos said. “Europe and our common currency remain, despite the crisis, one of the noblest achievements of recent history,” he said. The violence outside parliament broke out as thousands of pupils, students and leftist supporters staged separate demonstrations in memory of a schoolboy whose fatal shooting by police had sparked nationwide riots three years ago. Protesters wearing gas masks and goggles threw firebombs and marble shards broken off from nearby buildings at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades to push

them back, AFP reporters said. Nearly 20 people including over a dozen officers were injured during an earlier bout of midday clashes and police said they had made 11 arrests. Police held another 10 people in Thessaloniki after smaller-scale incidents. The government had warned during the budget debate that the stakes could not be higher for the country amid a debt crisis which has upended the economy and threatened the eurozone despite the best efforts of the EU, IMF and Athens to stabilize its finances. “A real earthquake is occurring in Europe at this moment,” said conser-

vative leader Antonis Samaras, one of the political partners backing the interim government set up last month to secure approval of a eurozone debt deal. “We don’t know where it will lead (so) we are in a hurry for Greece to capitalize as much as it can today,” said Samaras, whose party holds a solid lead in the polls ahead of snap elections expected early next year. Left-wing Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras said the government was “denying reality” and “dogmatically” adhering to a failed austerity recipe that had already exacerbated a biting recession that has cost thousands of jobs. “I’ve lost count how

ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Lukas Papademos (right) is cheered by members of Greek national unity government after the end of his speech during a parliament session about the next year’s state budget, in Athens. — AP

many times you’ve revised your forecasts,” said Tsipras, pointing to previous estimates of growth in 2012 that were later dashed. Greece’s economy is expected to contract by 2.8 percent of output next year in a fifth straight year of recession. A leading labor expert on Tuesday warned that years of hardship lay ahead. “The Greek population will undergo ten years of enormous sacrifice,” Savvas Robolis, director of the labor institute of main Greek union GSEE said. “This austerity policy has led to an absolute impasse,” he said. The vote could not come at a more sensitive time for the eurozone after Standard & Poor’s warned it could cut its credit ratings on the bloc, throwing another twist into the debt crisis. Germany and France are leading the charge for major change in the way the bloc is run to ensure much tighter fiscal oversight from Brussels and reacted sharply to S&P on Tuesday, saying they would push ahead with the needed reforms. An EU summit today and tomorrow is intended to agree deep institutional changes to stop the debt crisis which has pushed Greece, then Ireland and Portugal into EU-IMF debt bailouts and now threatens Italy and Spain. The key issue for Greece is implementation after it missed deficit and debt targets laid down in a first EU and IMF rescue in May 2010 and was then forced to seek more help as the economy slumped. A second accord agreed in late October requires Greece to adopt even tougher austerity measures in return for new funding of 100 billion euros and a controversial debt writedown deal with creditor banks worth 100 billion euros. —AFP

September, revealing the toll that stubborn inflation, rising interest rates and crisis-hit global capital markets are having. The biggest factor in the decision to suspend the reform was the opposition of coalition allies like Mamata Banerjee, the firebrand leader of West Bengal, highlighting the kind of messy coalition politics that competitors like China are free from. Business leaders had already rounded on the government for flip-flopping. In an open letter earlier this week to “the saner sections of Corporate India”, former Hindustan Unilever chairman Ashok Ganguly and Deepak Parekh, chairman of Housing Development Finance Corp, said opposing the reform was “to the detriment of the vast majority”. — Reuters

IMF chief calls for ‘inclusive’ growth in the Arab world WASHINGTON: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde yesterday said economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa must include all members of society to fulfill the promise of the Arab Spring. Lagarde, in a speech in Washington, said the Arab Spring that began a year ago in Tunisia was at a “delicate transition point” as the MENA region seeks to define its future. “While each country in the region must find its own path to change, the over-arching economic goals of the Arab Spring remain clear-higher growth, growth that creates more jobs, and growth that is shared equitably among all strands of society,” she said. The IMF managing director said that, despite some setbacks in the region, she remained “ever hopeful” that the Arab Spring is still poised to unleash “the potential of a better future for all.” However, the region faces challenges after governments reacted to social pressures by increasing subsidies, wages and other subsidies, which has undermined economic stability. “Fiscal deficits have widened, which raises concerns about sustainability. It pushes up interest rates, which makes it harder for the private sector to get credit to set up or expand businesses and start hiring people,” Lagarde said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center. “Macroeconomic stability is essential. But macroeconomic stability and inclusive growth can-and indeed must-go hand in hand.” Lagarde called on governments across the region to root out corruption and establish institutions to boost accountability and good governance. “The government must also lay the foundations of a modern and competitive economy by breaking down the vested interests and cozy networks of privilege that prevent the region from reaching its true economic potential. “There is simply no other way to create the 5070 million jobs needed for the people joining the labor force and to reduce unemployment over the next decade.” Lagarde said the international community could help promote positive changes in the region by opening up market access to its exports. —AFP




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Brent steady above $110 bags two prestigious Awards

US crude stocks down 5m bbls SINGAPORE: Brent crude was steady above $110 yesterday, as investors turned cautious ahead of a European summit to deal with the region’s debt crisis and the release of key Chinese economic data this week. Market participants hope recent credit warnings by Standard & Poor’s will drive European leaders to take more decisive action at Friday’s summit. These expectations also pushed up Asian equities. Brent crude fell 5 cents to $110.76 a barrel by 0443 GMT, after settling Tuesday $1 higher at $110.81 a barrel. US crude edged up 14 cents to $101.42 a barrel. “The market is likely to stay cautious before the ECB rate decision and the EU summit tomorrow. Investors have priced in a positive outcome at the summit, so we might see a sell-off if the meeting disappoints,” said Natalie Robertson, a commodities analyst with ANZ Bank in Melbourne. Expectations of an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB) when it meets today have risen after statistics agency Eurostat confirmed estimates pointing to weakening growth, also aiding oil futures. A sharper than expected fall in US crude stocks failed to boost oil prices, as the bullish data

was offset by larger than projected builds in gasoline and distillate inventories, industry data showed on Tuesday. A clearer picture of US stocks will emerge when the US Energy Information Administration announces its weekly report. The market also awaits over the coming week the release of Chinese economic data likely to show further signs of cooling in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer in November. Ahead of the data’s release, a senior official said yesterday China’s annual rate of export growth slowed in November versus October. Inflation is also expected to have eased sharply last month, giving Beijing more room to focus on growth and consider further policy easing after cutting banks’ reserve requirement ratios last week for the first time in three years. The key events in Europe this week have overshadowed tension between Iran and the West over the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear program and the prospect of a supply disruption from the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter. “There’s been a lot of talk about the Iran situation and the impact on prices but that’s going to take a back seat to Europe

Burgan Bank hosts ‘BuBa Kids Account’ holders KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday that it will host exclusive celebrations for its “BuBa Kids Account” holders at the Discovery Mall today from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. This initiative is set to engage children along with their families in a series of interactive activities that include tattoos, hair braiding, DJ, while also providing them with an exciting range of gifts. Burgan Bank encourages families along with their children to join the fun at the Discovery Mall, and learn more about its recently launched “BuBa Kids Account”. The account, which has been developed specifically for children up to 14 years old, gives parents the opportunity to save money for their children while benefiting from a wide range of features that are associated with it. Two draws will also be held in February and May 2012 for BuBa Account holders to grant them a family trip to Abu Dhabi, Including flight tickets and accommodation, in collaboration with Ritz Travel and experience the excitement of Ferrari World. For every KD20 deposited in their accounts, customers will receive one chance to enter the draw. In addition, customers will get exclusive discounts from selected merchants. The minimum opening balance of the “BuBa Kids Account” is KD 10. Children will also be entitled to a free branded ATM VISA Electron card that can be used at any ATM or point of sale (POS) in Kuwait and around the world. To find out more about Burgan Bank’s newly launched “BuBa Kids Account”, customers are urged to visit any of Burgan Bank’s conveniently located branches, or call the bank’s call center on 1804080, or log on to Burgan Bank’s website at

DUBAI:, the Middle East’s number one jobsite, won twice in the prestigious SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards 2011, as it was named the best in the Technology and Online category, and as Business Star of the Year. The online portal, renowned as a destination of choice for tens of thousands of employers and millions of job seekers in the Middle East and beyond, came out on top after being selected by a panel of industry-leading judges. 2011 has been a truly flagship year for that saw the launch of several key pioneering platforms including Salaries (the first Salaries comparison platform in the region); the launch of Communities (the first professional networking and idea sharing communities of their nature and scope in the MENA); the launch of People (the professional branding and networking arm of; the launch of Career Watch (a tool to

this week,” said Robertson. However, the threat of shipments being disrupted remains, with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger saying on Tuesday European Union states have a consensus on the need for a ban on Iranian oil exports to the bloc. SAUDI OUTPUT Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia produced 10 million barrels per day of oil in November, Bloomberg reported, citing Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi. It was unclear if the figure included both crude oil and condensate or just crude. Naimi, in a speech read out by his adviser Ibrahim Muhanna on Sunday, said the country is producing more than 10 million barrels per day of crude oil and gas condensates. The country produced 9.45 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in November versus 9.40 million bpd in October, according to a Reuters survey. OPEC is due to meet on Dec 14 in Vienna to set output targets for early 2012. Group members, at odds over supply policy since June, looked set to agree on a new production target that legitimizes current cartel output at around 30 million barrels a day. —Reuters

VIVA launches the Gmail SMS service KUWAIT: Kuwait Telecommunication Company VIVA is pleased to announce the launch of the new Gmail(tm) SMS service, the first of its kind in Kuwait, through which the Gmail users can communicate and send SMS to any VIVA number for free. The new Gmail SMS service will allow VIVA customers to receive SMS from Gmail users for free using their email accounts, whereby VIVA customers can reply back via SMS to the e-mail address of the sender. With this new service, VIVA reiterates its commitment to continuously provide unique offers and services designed to cater to all our customers’ requirements, as the main objective of the company is to

satisfy the customers in every possible way by adding real value to the customers experience while enjoying unrivalled communication. VIVA’s new service has gone live starting from Wednesday 7th of December 2011, whereby Gmail users will be able to communicate with their beloved family members & friends having VIVA numbers from anywhere in the world, and receive instant replies from VIVA numbers via SMS to their email addresses. For more information about this service and other offers, kindly visit any of our branches located across Kuwait, or you can visit our website

Citigroup to cut 4,500 jobs NEW YORK: Citigroup Inc is eliminating 4,500 jobs in its latest effort to cut costs. The bank will take a $400 million charge in the fourth quarter as a result. Citigroup’s CEO, Vikram Pandit, disclosed the job cuts at an investor conference Tuesday. The cuts represent about 1.5 percent of its global workforce of 267,000. Pandit said the cuts would be made over the next few quarters. Other banks have also been cutting staff. Last month, Swiss lender UBS told investors it is downsizing its investment bank to 16,000 people by 2016 from the current 18,000 as the bank tries to reduce its exposure to risk. In September, Bank of America Corp., based

in Charlotte, NC, said it would cut 30,000 jobs over the next few years. Pandit also warned that Citigroup will take a $500 million hit to revenue from an accounting-related charge related to the changing value of its debt. Citi and other banks took accounting gains in the third quarter because the cost of its debt fell in the bond market. Since the bank could theoretically buy back its debt at a lower cost, accounting rules require that a gain be recorded. Citi’s accounting gain in the third quarter totaled $1.9 billion. Now, with corporate debt prices having recovered, Citi expects to take a hit to earnings in the fourth quarter. —AP

plan, manage and effect career change in the region smoothly and in an informed manner) as well as the completely revamped Workspace and CV Search products. “This is a prestigious recognition for us, and we are very proud to have been chosen as the winner for both the Technology and Online category, and as the Business Star of the Year. Since’s inception we have worked hard to create a leading online portal that brings job seekers and employers together, while also providing invaluable knowledge on industry trends and habits across the region,” said Akram Assaf, Chief Technology Officer, “We would like to thank the judges for choosing as the recipient of these awards.” is the Middle East’s number one jobsite and has a decade of experience in supporting the MENA HR community, with the largest and most relevant community of professionals registered on the site.

Drake and Scull grabs SAR 2.4bn contracts DUBAI: Drake & Scull Saudi the MEP arm of Drake & Scull International (DSI) PJSC in the kingdom and a regional market leader in integrated design, engineering and the construction disciplines of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP), Civil Contracting and Water & Power signed yesterday a SAR 352 million contract to execute a commercial development project in Riyadh which takes the total value of awarded projects in Saudi to SAR 2.4 billion year to date. DSI’s latest deal involves the execution of all associated MEP works of the project due for completion towards the end of 2013. The company has been pursuing developments across all provinces of the Kingdom in industries ranging from education and healthcare to real estate and hospitality. Its biggest contract for 2011 to date is the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) project in Riyadh valued at SAR 2 billion. The latest Saudi National Commercial Bank quarterly review of contract awards in the construction industry revealed that the Saudi construction sector is expected to sustain its solid performance and post over SAR 10 billion in additional projects during quarter four. The total value of awarded contracts during the 3rd quarter alone reached SAR 95.1 billion, representing a remarkable 104 per cent increase over the same period in 2010. “At its current pace, the performance of Saudi Arabia’s construction sector is matching the strong figures it posted in 2009. We are reaping the rewards of this resurgence via major projects and new partnerships that are further cementing our position within our biggest market in the region. Riyadh in particular has been a favourable

environment for us and we are in fact in the process of closing another deal in the capital which we hope to announce soon,” said Khaldoun Tabari, CEO of Drake & Scull International. We have nearly doubled our project win portfolio in Saudi in comparison to Fiscal 2010. The completed acquisitions in the first quarter will further contribute to the growth

Khaldoun Tabari of the company in quarter four and will drive promising growth across all provinces in the Kingdom in 2012.” Tabari concluded. DSI has over 40 years of experience in providing MEP, Civil Contracting, and Water & Power services and EPC solutions across the region. Its areas of speciality include the residential, commercial, aviation, healthcare, education and transport fields. Its Saudi subsidiary has formed alliances with a number of major Saudi developers such as Aramco and Rayadah Investment and is currently exploring opportunities across the kingdom.

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

.2725000 .4290000 .3680000 .2960000 .2710000 .2810000 .0040000 .0020000 .0749570 .7302820 .3810000 .0700000 .7159100 .0040000 .0430000

.2795000 .4400000 .3780000 .3080000 .2800000 .2900000 .0072500 .0035000 .0757100 .7376220 .4010000 .0760000 .7231050 .0072000 .0530000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2761000 .2782000 GB Pound/KD .4310200 .4342980 Euro .3705400 .3733580 Swiss francs .2983900 .3006590 Canadian dollars .2735560 .2756370 Danish Kroner .0498420 .0502210 Swedish Kroner .0410760 .0413890 Australian dlr .2834300 .2855860 Hong Kong dlr .0355200 .0357910 Singapore dlr .2152990 .2169370 Japanese yen .0035510 .0035780 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 .0054440 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 .0024500 Pakistan rupee .0000000 .0031290 Bangladesh taka .0000000 .0036220 UAE dirhams .0752010 .0757730 Bahraini dinars .7326520 .7382250 Jordanian dinar .0000000 .3934940 Saudi Riyal/KD .0736460 .0742060 Omani riyals .7174220 .7228790 Philippine Peso .0000000 .0064700

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

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

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 47.500 46.282 1.272 189.860 392.670 1.865 6.003 33.814

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

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

SELL CASH 286.000500 738.020020 3.810 275.800 545.100 44.800 51.400 167.800 48.390 375.500 36.390 5.730 0.032 0.213 0.241 3.660 394.110 0.188 91.050 46.400 4.270 219.500 1.798

49.300 720.810 3.330 6.660 76.770 74.090 217.610 37.340 2.644 437.500 42.200 304.500 5.300 9.340 198.263 75.660 277.900 1.220

720.630 3.125 6.405 76.340 74.090 217.610 37.340 2.433 435.500 303.000 5.300 9.200 75.560 277.500

10 Tola

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 435.500 277.500

Sterling Pound US Dollar

SELL DRAFT 3.525 274.300

217.600 46.255 374.000 36.240 5.405 0.031

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

289.55 279.52 304.79 375.87 436.39 3.62 3.519 5.381 2.434 3.374 3.120 75.48 737.61 46.17 394.51 720.68 76.47 74.04

291.00 280.00 307.40 380.00 438.00 3.70 3.800 5.740 2.690 4.150 3.350 76.00 737.62 48.37 393.00 721.00 76.80 74.15

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 393.230 0.187 91.050 3.400 218.000

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

Selling Rate 277.300 275.560 433.585 374.190 301.285 734.320

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

75.475 76.115 73.905 390.335 46.192 2.431 5.400 3.126 3.527 6.401 680.200 3.650 9.075 5.840 3.450 92.110

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

GOLD 1,786.650

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

Currency Rate per 1000 (Tran) US Dollar 277.450 Pak Rupees 3.120 Indian Rupees 5.405 Sri Lankan Rupees 2.445 Bangladesh Taka 3.535 Philippines Peso 6.435 UAE Dirhams 75.630 Saudi Riyals 74.130 Bahraini Dinars 737.500 Egyptian Pounds 46.250 Pound Sterling 438.800 Indonesian Rupiah 3.190 Yemeni Riyal 1.550 Jordanian Dinars 394.100 Syrian Pounds 5.750 Euro 376.600 Canadian Dollars 277.600 Nepali rupee 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 276.950 Euro 375.300 Pound Sterling 435.300 Canadian Dollar 276.700 Japanese Yen 3.590 Indian Rupee 5.395 Egyptian Pound 46.155 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.431 Bangladesh Taka 3.445 Philippines Peso 6.393 Pakistan Rupee 3.107 Bahraini Dinar 737.575 UAE Dirham 75.475 Saudi Riyal 73.975 *Rates are subject to change



e niv rsar n




Post Easy-Oil Era


FASTtelco unveils exclusive E-Learning services KUWAIT: FASTtelco is to sponsor the ELearning exhibition which is held on the sidelines of the first joint meeting between the Ministers of Education of Arab and South American countries, hosted by Kuwait over two days, with the participation of 33 countries including 22 Arab states and 11 South American countries. The company’s sponsorship reflects Fast Teleco’s keenness for the usage of information technology and communication in order to remain updated with the requirements of distance education through establishing an information network worldwide, in addition to methods for building capacity and cooperation in the field of higher education. The urge to adopt information technol-

ogy has become a required necessity to cope with the technological revolution, especially as the company’s future strategy concerns upgrading the education system and acquiring the skills necessary to deal with the modern and sophisticated means that would meet the ambitions of the strategic development plan, which include improving the development of private and governmental schools and universities. Fast Teleco ensures through its participation in the exhibition the potential and ability of Kuwait’s private sector to perform its role in implementing the country’s projects and providing it with the latest means of technology as well as an intelligent learning environment, particu-

larly in schools and colleges. In addition, Fast Telco announced one of its newest services for the business sector’s appliances which include the possibility to communicate visually over distance. The service comes in correlation with the companies’ eagerness to achieve quick achievements as they race against the clocks while keeping in mind the need to establish a new phase of applications that serve this new orientation. Moreover, Fast Teleco unveiled during its participation in the exhibition a number of electronic educational ser vices such as the “Online Classes” and “Tele-Presence”. The “Online Classes” enable students to attend lectures and sit for exams using the internet, while the “Tele-Presence” service is designed to

allow educational institutions to hold conference meetings and conduct interviews without the need of travel. Another exclusive service which the company provides, and to be revealed during the exhibition, is the Global MPLS-VPN “, which is a private network for communication between universities, scientific and academic institutes and their branches located in different countries with high quality and speed. Organizer of the E-Learning exhibition Tarek Al-Awadi, thanked Fast Teleco, a golden sponsor, for its restless efforts, adding that the company’s participation highlights the Ministry of Education’s role in the field of E-Learning and mirrors Kuwait as an advanced country compared to many others.

Japan forex reserves hit new record high Japanese firms in big Australian LNG deal TOKYO: Japan said yesterday its foreign exchange reserves hit a record high $1.3 trillion in November after authorities intervened in currency markets to stem the yen’s rise. The level was $94.88 billion higher than in October, the finance ministry said, and surpassed a previous record of $1.22 trillion set in August. The reserves are composed mainly of foreign-currency denominated securities and bank deposits along with gold and other assets, according to ministry data. The country’s forex reserves, the second-biggest in the world after China, expanded following Japan’s intervention in currency markets on October 31, after the yen hit a fresh post-war high of 75.32 against the dollar. In the month to November 28, Tokyo sold 9.09 trillion yen ($116.99 billion) to tame the unit’s apprecia-

tion, the ministry said earlier. The government did not reveal how many times it stepped into currency markets between October 28 and November 28, but it was the fourth intervention since September 2010. Market observers believe authorities likely made other “masked interventions” during the period, which they did not announce, Jiji Press said. A strong yen hurts Japanese exporters by making their products relatively more expensive overseas and shrinking their foreign earnings when repatriated. The latest data did not break down foreign exchange assets by currency, but Japan has bought 2.975 billion euros worth of debt issued by the eurozone bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, so far this year. Tokyo fears any further deterioration in the European crisis could cause serious

problems for Japan’s export-dependent economy as it gradually recovers from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The dollar was changing hands at 77.72 yen in Tokyo trade yesterday. AUSTRALIAN LNG DEAL Japanese firms have taken their biggest step into Australia’s growing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector, with five major power companies signing a sales deal worth Aus$70 billion (US$71.8 billion). The Japanese utilities Tuesday committed to buying 4.0 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG from Australia’s proposed Ichthys Project for 15 years, ahead of a final investment decision on the project, owner Inpex said. Inpex said the total volume of 8.4 million tons per annum of LNG from the project was now

accounted for, “with approximately 70 percent of the Ichthys LNG to be delivered to Japan”. “Subject to a positive final investment decision, the Ichthys project will represent Japan’s biggest single financial investment in Australia,” Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said. “It will also be the first Japanese-operated LNG project.” Ichthys, which is owned by Tokyolisted Inpex and France’s Total, will supply Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tokyo Gas Co, The Kansai Electric Power Co, Osaka Gas Co, and Kyushu Electric Power Company Inc from 2017. The project already has sales agreements with Chubu Electric Power Company, Toho Gas Co and Taiwan’s CPC Corporation. Ferguson said Japan was a foundation investor in Australia’s energy and resources sector, particularly in iron ore and coal. “The Ichthys project

would further strengthen the close relationship between our two countries to our mutual benefit,” he said. The Ichthys project, expected to cost US$30 billion, will take gas from a field in the Browse Basin off Western Australia and export it to an onshore liquefaction plant in Darwin via an 889 kilometer subsea pipeline. It is estimated it will create more than 2,000 jobs during the five-year construction phase. Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG and demand for gas in the country has increased markedly since a massive tsunami placed the country’s nuclear energy supply under pressure in March. Australia exported 20 million tons of LNG worth more than Aus$10.5 billion in 2010-11 while there are more than Aus$140 billion worth of LNG projects under construction Down Under.— Agencies

China to target emerging countries as exports slip

LG introduces its new cinema 3D projector KUWAIT: LG Electronics (LG) yesterday introduced its latest 3D projector (Model CF3DAT) in the Kuwait market. The CF3DAT is a CINEMA 3D projector that can project onto any viewing surface up to 200-inches. Additionally, with its built-in tuner and 2D to 3D conversion engine, it can also project a wide variety of high definition 3D content. Despite its large 200-inch projection area, the CF3DAT projects clear and bright images, using its Full HD display (1920x1080) supported by a brightness of 1,250 ANSI lumens in 3D mode, approximately six times brighter than other premium projectors. “The CF3DAT is the latest product to join the LG CINEMA 3D family and it’s a serious workhorse,” said HS Paik, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE. “The CF3DAT is at home in a living room or auditorium as it has the muscle to project a five meter picture in bright, movie theater glory.” The CF3DAT employs the Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) display technology, enabling the use of LG’s polarized 3D glasses, which are far more affordable and lightweight compared to shutter-type 3D glasses. In turn, larger audiences can use the passive CF3DAT to enjoy 3D content more economically and for longer periods. Due to such qualities, the CF3DAT is not only suitable for large living rooms, but also museums, auditoriums and other types of public venues. The CF3DAT is now available across Kuwait at leading retail outlets.

BEIJING: China will seek to boost exports to emerging economies next year in the face of “severe challenges” caused by downturns in Europe and the United States, a senior official said yesterday. To cushion the impact on exports-a major engine of growth-Beijing will target developing countries that are growing strongly, said Wang Shouwen, director of the commerce ministry’s foreign trade department. “Next year I think that we will face severe challenges in our exports and imports,” Wang told reporters at the release of a white paper on foreign trade marking the 10th anniversary of China joining the World Trade Organization. “However, some developing and emerging economies are enjoying sound economic performances so we will attach more importance to exports to these countries.” Wang did not name specific countries but said Latin America and the Asian region would grow next year and “have demand” for Chinese exports. Leading Chinese officials have painted a gloomy picture for the country’s exports, warning that the eurozone debt crisis and sluggish recovery in the United States threatened the world’s second largest economy. Vice Premier Wang Qishan, China’s top finance official, at the weekend urged companies to help guarantee a “stable increase” in exports amid slowing external demand. China’s exports rose 15.9 percent year on year to $157.49 billion in October, but the total was down from $169.7 billion in September, due to falling demand caused by the economic woes in Europe and the United States. Imports expanded 28.7 percent to $140.46 billion in October, lower than the $155.2 billion recorded a month earlier. Shipments to the European

Union-China’s biggest trade partner-fell to $28.74 billion in October from $31.61 billion in September. Exports to the United States shrank to $28.60 billion in October from $30.11 billion in the previous month. Shipments to developing economies such as India and Brazil fell by a lesser amount, though they accounted for a much smaller portion of the total exports. The data, coupled with figures last week showing China’s manufacturing activity contracted in November for the first time in 33 months, has caused concern that the Asian powerhouse is losing steam. Wang told the news conference China would help companies in building brands, research and development and marketing to “allow them to be more competitive”. But he said that if the European financial crisis “does not run out of control” then China should still achieve “a considerable level of growth” in foreign trade. In recent years China has been strengthening ties with developing economies in Asia and Latin America through trade and investment to reduce its exposure to developed markets. Bilateral trade with South American countries has skyrocketed in the past five years by more than 160 percent, surging from $68 billion in 2006 to $178.9 billion in 2010. Premier Wen Jiabao last month offered Southeast Asian countries $10 billion in infrastructure loans while foreign investment in China from the Asian region ballooned in the first 10 months of this year to $81.9 billion. In stark contrast, US investment in China slumped 18.13 percent to $2.6 billion, while European Union investment increased just 1.05 percent to $5.5 billion.—AFP

BoE seen freezing rates ahead of Christmas LONDON: The Bank of England will keep interest rates at a record low 0.50 percent today and opt against expanding its stimulus plans until the New Year despite ongoing eurozone turmoil, analysts said. The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) began a twoday meet yesterday amid fears over the impact of the eurozone debt crisis on the flagging British economy, which is also buckling under state austerity and high inflation. In contrast, the European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates for the second time in two months today, as the region teeters on the brink of recession and EU leaders battle to find a solution to the crisis. “The December meeting of the MPC is unlikely to result in any early Christmas presents for the needy UK economy,”

said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer. “The message coming from the MPC seems to be that more quantitative easing is highly probable but not until the new year. “Meanwhile, the MPC appears disinclined to take interest rates any lower than the current record low level of 0.50 percent.” Archer added that the BoE wanted to see inflationary pressures subside before pumping more cash into the economy. The BoE’s key interest rate has stood at 0.50 percent since March 2009, when the bank also decided to begin injecting £200 billion ($308 billion, 233 billion euros) into the economy under the policy known as quantitative easing. QE is a process whereby central banks create new cash that is used to purchase assets such as government and corporate bonds in the

hope of giving a boost to lending and economic growth. It amounts to monetizing debt. Back in October, the Bank of England reactivated the emergency policy, announcing plans to pump out another £75 billion over a four-month timeframe. “The MPC has sent some strong signals that further quantitative easing is likely before long,” said Vicky Redwood, chief Britain economist at the Capital Economics consultancy. “However, the £75 billion of asset purchases voted for in October have not been completed yet. And the committee has indicated that it would prefer to finish them before announcing even more. “This week’s meeting therefore looks likely to pass without event. But we should see many more asset purchases in the new year,” she added. —AFP

rab oil producers are on target this year to earn their highest annual oil revenue ever with prices averaging above $100 a barrel for the first time, providing many economies in the Middle East with a dramatic boost in hydrocarbon related revenues - Saudi Arabia is earning about $1 billion per day. But could this crest of the wave signal the end of the low Stuart Walley cost easy oil production era and what does this mean for long term global energy security? For much of the 20th century, the region has been blessed with a steady flow of low cost production, thanks to its abundance of conventional crude oil reservoirs - in parts of Iraq crude oil has been known to bubble to the surface without any technical assistance. However as a relatively mature exploration oil producing region, there is renewed focus on improving recovery from many of the Middle East’s large and well known fields. The world’s largest crude reservoirs, such as Kuwait’s Burgan and Saudi Arabia’s giant Ghawar, have pumped more than half their recoverable reserves over the last 50 years - the point at which production traditionally begins to decline. When Oman faced massive production declines in the last decade it turned to Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technology to reverse the collapse and now these techniques are responsible for harvesting about a third of the country’s production-which amounts to salvaging about $30 million a day in oil revenue at current prices. The state-owned Saudi Aramco is currently evaluating the use of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) injection to avert production declines and plans a series of pilot programs in mature oil fields like Ghawar, the world’s largest, by 2012. In an effort to increase its recoverable oil reserves and boost oil production, the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is currently focused on developing Kuwait’s extensive heavy oil resources in Raqta. KOC will soon begin its first steam flood pilot scheme and plans to be producing 50,000 barrels of oil per day from its heavy oil reserves by 2015, increasing to more than 250,000 barrels of oil per day by 2030. Enhanced Oil Recovery methods, applied on new and existing reservoirs, are expected to boost the country’s overall oil production capacity from its current rate of 3.4 million barrels of oil per day to more than 4 million barrels of oil per day by 2020. The US Geological Survey estimates there are some three trillion barrels of heavy oil in the world, about 100 years of global consumption at current levels. The catch: only a fraction of it - about 400 billion barrels - can be recovered using existing technology. New techniques are required to unlock more. There are an estimated 970 billion barrels of heavy and extra-heavy crude oil reserves known in the Middle East region, but until now much of it has been left undeveloped because there has been so much easily accessible cheap oil to develop. But with ageing reservoirs and prices exceeding $100 per barrel it makes the economics progressively more attractive to utilize the latest technology and skills available from EOR to go after heavy oil extraction. The global market expenditure on EOR has leaped from a standing start over the last decade to almost $100 billion and is expected to continue growing rapidly with the support of government investment as we have seen in Oman, the UAE and now Saudi Arabia. In United States, the Department of Energy has estimated that full use of next generation CO2-EOR technology in US oil fields could generate an additional 240 billion barrels of recoverable resources, which at current oil prices amounts to about $24 trillion, almost 50% more than the country’s national debt. EOR is a series of techniques used to increase the amount of recoverable oil that can be extracted from any particular reservoir. During its lifecycle, an oil field goes through a number of distinct phases where various techniques are employed to maintain crude oil production at plateau levels - primary, secondary and tertiary recovery. Arab oil producers are entering the tertiary phase, commonly known as Enhanced Oil Recovery that employs techniques such as injecting steam, gas or chemicals into a reservoir to make the oil thinner and easier to extract from tight rock formations. Enhanced Oil Recovery played a significant role in salvaging the Omani oil industry which was facing significant production declines-between 2001 and 2007 Oman’s oil production fell by 27%, but by 2009, due mostly to EOR projects, oil production had increased by 17%. In total, four major Omani projects are planned to start by 2012, with at least another two expected to start soon after. Occidental, who operates the Mukhaizna field in south-central Oman, implemented a major steam flood project between that boosted gross daily production tenfold between 2005 and 2010 with total output recently exceeding 100,000 barrels of oil per day for the first time. Similarly, Petroleum Development Oman is implementing a number of EOR projects in the Marmul field in the South of Oman, in the Harweel field and in Qarn Alam, which marks the world’s first commercial application of steam-assisted gas-oil gravity drainage in a fractured carbonate reservoir. By 2012, Oman is expected to be producing between 250,000 and 300,000 barrels of oil per day using EOR methods, about a third of the country’s total output. In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations initiated an EOR project in November 2009 to test the injection of Carbon Dioxide into the North-East Bab field, a complex carbonate reservoir. Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala is supplying up to 60 tons of CO2 per day which is injected into a series of pilot wells. ADCO’s main objectives for utilizing CO2 EOR are to significantly increase recoverable reserves, sustain long term production, and maximize ultimate recovery. The high oil price has resulted in significant investment in EOR methods globally, with the success seen for example in arresting the decline in US oil production. EOR methods along with advanced technologies designed to extract unconventional oil and gas, coupled with anticipated slow global economic growth could ultimately have a serious impact on future supply and demand fundamentals over the next decade and result in many Middle Eastern oil exporting economies having to continually rethink their long term strategies.



KSE closes on mixed note

World stocks up

Global Daily Market Report

Nikkei adds 1.4 percent

KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed on mixed note after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah dissolved the Parliament a day earlier, in a step to preserve national unity. The date for fresh elections has not been set yet, however, the new elections must be held within 60 days of dissolving the National Assembly. Buying was observed in banking sector during the session, having almost 50 percent of total traded value. MARKET INDICES Global General Index (GGI) ended the day up by 0.05 percent, at 182.88 point. Market Capitalization was up for the day, reaching KD29.91bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 5,863.4 point, shedding 6.60 points (0.11 percent) to its previous close. MARKET BREADTH During the session, 100 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 47 equities retreated versus 20 that advanced. DAILY TRADING ACTIVITY Trading activity was up yesterday. Total volume traded was up by 34.59 percent with 257.7mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD41.12mn (104.32 percent higher compared to Tuesday session). Investment sector was the volume leader. The sector accounted for 43.74 percent of total shares exchanges. International Financial Advisors (IFA) was the session’s most traded stock with 25.36mn shares exchanged. The banking sector was the value leader, having 46.68 percent of total traded value. TOP GAINERS AND BIGGEST DECLINERS In terms of top gainers, Alrai

Media Group Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 9.43 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.126. On the other hand, Industrial & Financial Investments Company shed 15.46 percent and closed at KD0.041 making it the biggest decliner in the market. SECTOR-WISE On the sectoral performance, four out of the eight sectors rose by the end of the day. Non Kuwaiti sector topped the gainers list as it added 0.43 percent to its index value. Within the sector, Egypt Kuwait Holding Company was the top gainer, adding 3.57 percent to close at KD0.290. Gulf Finance House continued to trade intensely, with 19.92mn shares changing hands. The scrip rose 2.38 percent in the day and closed at KD0.043.

Elsewhere, heavyweight, Mabanee Company climbed 1.14 percent, closing at KD0.890, driving the Global Real Estate Index with it up by 0.13 percent, and making it the biggest gainer for the day. Boubyan Bank was a sole advancer in the banking sector, up 1.69 percent at KD0.600. The banking sector index reported a 0.08 percent increase. The services sector also added 0.08 percent to its value with two if the services companies making it to the top gainers’ list for the day. Alrai Media Group Company led with 8.62 percent gain in its share price to close at KD0.126, while IFA Hotels & Resorts came third in the list, adding 5.32 percent to its value, closing at KD0.495. However, heavyweight Wataniya Telecom gave the big

support to the sectors’ index as it ended the day up by 1.04 percent, closing at KD1.940. Meanwhile, the biggest decliner was the industrial sector, down 0.48 percent. National Industries Group (Holding) saw its share value drop by 1.82 percent. CORPORATE NEWS On October 25, 2011 Boubyan Petrochemical Company announced it will sign a purchase agreement with Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Saudi Arabia) to acquire the latter’s 12.5 percent stake in Bahrain National Gas Company (Bahrain), for a total value of USD30mn. The acquisition will be completed by the end of 2011. On December 07, 2011 the company finalized the acquisition deal.

TOKYO: Asian shares and the euro gained yesterday on hopes that the threat of mass credit rating downgrades will pressure European leaders to come up with a convincing framework for resolving the euro zone debt crisis at a crucial summit later this week. European shares were expected to resume their brisk 1-1/2 week rally, interrupted on Tuesday, and S&P 500 futures pointed to a firmer start on Wall Street. Standard & Poor ’s, which on Monday told 15 euro zone member nations that it may cut their debt ratings, fired a second shot less than 24 hours later, threatening on Tuesday to cut the credit rating of Europe’s financial rescue fund. The rating action weighed on stocks initially, but sentiment improved after the Financial Times reported that European leaders would discuss boosting the firepower of the euro zone bailout fund, a move crucial to effectively containing the contagion of the crisis to bond markets. “People are more optimistic that the news out of the Dec. 9 meeting would be more upbeat, so it’s a bit of a reaction to that,” said Guy Stear, head of research with Societe Generale in Hong Kong, adding that the markets were in a technical bounce from yesterday’s moves. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1 percent, while the Nikkei stock average added 1.7 percent. Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain’s FTSE 100 to open as much as 0.4 percent higher, Germany ’s DAX to gain as much as 0.7 percent and France’s CAC40 to rise as much as 0.5 percent. The euro inched up 0.2 percent to $1.3420, off its one-week low near $1.3330 touched on Tuesday, with guarded optimism ahead of the European Union summit on Friday and the European Central Bank’s policy meeting today. Market players expect the central bank to announce a rate cut as well as expanded liquidity measures to ease strains in the banking system. “Until the EU summit the risk is to the upside on hopes for a European breakthrough,” said Dariusz Kowalcz yk, senior economist and strategist for Asia ex-Japan at Credit

Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. In the latest evidence of the euro zone debt crisis affecting the global economy, a Reuters poll yesterday showed Japan’s manufacturers turned pessimistic for the first time in six months, boding ill for the fragile recovery from a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. Annual expor t growth rate in China, a big exporter to Europe, slowed in November from October and it will face a “severe export situation” in 2012, officials said. China is due to release its November trade data on Saturday. EUROPE MAKING PROGRESS European leaders are striving to forge an agreement at their summit to enforce fiscal discipline, and France and Germany want to change EU rules to impose penalties on states that exceed deficit targets-both measures aimed at staving off further market attacks on highly indebted and vulnerable economies. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who will chair the EU summit, said tighter budget oversight sought by Paris and Berlin could be achieved quickly with only minor tweaks to EU treaties, raising hopes for a swift implementation of the measure to help restore market confidence. There also appeared to have been some progress on bolstering the firepower of the region’s rescue fund, some 40 percent of which has already been committed to bail out Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Euro zone officials said the leaders may decide tomorrow to raise the combined lending limit of their temporary and permanent bailout funds. Guarded optimism helped firm Asian credit markets, with spreads on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment grade index narrowing marginally, while risk sensitive oil and copper eked out gains. Brent crude steadied above $110 and US crude nudged up 0.2 percent. Copper rose 0.7 percent to $7,886.50 a ton and gold also edged up 0.1 percent. “A lot of short positions are being taken off before the event but no one is really putting on risk. Eyes will remain on headlines,” said a Singapore-based trader with an Asian bank. — Reuters



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Anti-Wall Street protesters target foreclosures SAN FRANCISCO: Anti-Wall Street protesters, seeking a new focus as cities across the country shut down two-month old Occupy encampments, launched a new wave of activism on Tuesday by rallying around homeowners as they try to resist evictions from foreclosed homes. Protesters gathered outside a home in a depressed San Francisco neighborhood, while in nearby Oakland they took over a vacant bankowned property and offered it as shelter to homeless people. In Los Angeles, they helped a former Marine move his belongings back into his foreclosed home. In Philadelphia, protesters said they were moving toward a similar strategy to focus public attention on big banks and other lenders who benefited from taxpayer-funded bailouts only to turn around and foreclose on taxpayers. The shift came after authorities in many US cities, often citing health and safety conditions, moved to dismantle protest camps that sprang up as part of the Occupy movement against economic inequality and excesses of the US financial system. “People are refusing to

leave,” said Vivian Richardson, speaking in front of her home in a San Francisco neighborhood where she is fighting eviction. “Today is national reoccupy our homes day.” Activists announced a coordinated series of actions in several large cities organized by a dozen loosely affiliated housing rights groups. A handful of earlier attempts to take over vacant or foreclosed property in the San Francisco Bay area failed when protesters were evicted by police. “These actions are part of a national kick-off for a new frontier for the Occupy movement: the liberation of vacant bankowned homes for those in need, and the defense of families under threat of foreclosure and eviction,” the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment said in a statement. Richardson called for a moratorium on foreclosures in California and a reduction of all mortgages to the current market values of the homes. ‘SHALL NOT BE MOVED’ Franzo King, leader of St John

Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco, vowed to stay in his home past Jan 4, when it is scheduled for foreclosure sale. “We shall not be moved,” King said at the press conference. “I intend to resist.” King said he was told when he took out his loan from Wells Fargo that he would be given the opportunity to restructure it later. Instead his payment went up from $1,200 a month to $2,800 a month, which is more than he could pay, and the bank has not been willing to modify it, he said. Wells Fargo spokesperson Vickee Adams told Reuters the loan could not be reduced to a point where King could make payments and have any income left for his other living expenses. Adams said Wells Fargo had modified more than 700,000 loans nationwide and forgiven about $4 billion in principal owed by homeowners since October 2009. But she said a foreclosure moratorium “would not support the recovery of the housing economy.” In Los Angeles, former Marine Arturo de los Santos, 46,

led a group of supporters in an effort to retake his home, which was foreclosed upon six months ago but remained vacant. “We want our house back. We feel it was taken wrongfully from us,” he

said in a telephone interview before driving a U-Haul to retake his home, along with supporters. “We tried doing it the right way and it didn’t work, now we’re trying a protest,” he said. — Reuters

OAKLAND: Occupy protesters carry a banner as they march to a foreclosed home that they are going to re-occupy. — AFP

EU leaders under pressure ahead of do-or-die summit Credit warning gives EU summit last chance on debt

US Finance Minister Timothy Geithne.

US prods EU on crisis, publicly and privately FRANKFURT: US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is darting across Europe with a stark message: The continent’s leaders must act quickly and convincingly to defuse a debt crisis that is threatening the global economy. His visit this week comes on the eve of a summit of European leaders Friday that could yield a plan for resolving the crisis. Optimists hope a deal would persuade investors to lend to countries, like Italy and Spain, that are straining under crushing debt burdens. Geithner’s trip to five European cities is the most visible part of a broader drive the United States has been making, publicly and privately, to nudge Europe to resolve its crisis. The United States has plenty at stake. A still-fragile US economy remains vulnerable to any financial contagion that might erupt in Europe. If banks that are sitting on piles of European government debt cut off lending, the global economy would suffer. The flow of US exports would slow. A panic could send stocks tumbling worldwide. And with Obama facing re-election in less than a year, the outcome of Europe’s crisis carries risks for the president personally. Besides Obama’s trip to press European officials, the US government is acting in other ways: The Federal Reserve took a leading role last week in crafting a plan with other central banks to make it easier for banks to borrow US dollars and continue lending. The move is a short-term fix that doesn’t lighten Europe’s debt load. But it excited investors, who drew hope that the top economic powers can jointly resolve the crisis. Obama met privately last month with the leaders of Germany and France to discuss the crisis at a summit of world leaders in France. Through such personal diplomacy, Obama has been sending an overarching message: Do whatever it takes to fix the crisis. Vice President Joe Biden, on a trip Sunday to Greece, the first country felled by the debt crisis, warned that time is running short for European leaders. The United States, the biggest contributor to the International Monetary Fund, is supporting the fund’s bailout programs for Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Speaking Tuesday in Berlin, Geithner said: “I am here in Europe to emphasize how important it is for the United States and the global economy as a whole that Germany and France succeed, alongside the other nations, in building a stronger Europe.” Analysts say the administration is arguing that Europe must unite behind a single solution that leaves no eurozone nation behind. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have called for changing the European Union treaty to centralize spending and borrowing decisions for the 17 countries that use the euro. Many analysts say the European Central Bank or the IMF must then respond by providing more financial aid. Germany, in particular, has opposed more aid without a guarantee that all eurozone nations will adopt binding budgetary limits. “The Americans are doing to the Europeans, and especially the Germans, what the Germans are doing to the Greeks and the Italians - that is, holding their feet to the fire to get them to do something,” said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, a senior director at the German Marshall Fund in Washington. Europe, with its potentially vast impact on the US economy, is a political wild card for Obama. He could face voters with the highest unemployment of a sitting president seeking election since World War II. Unemployment, now at 8.6 percent, was 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009. “I’m spending an awful lot of time making trans-Atlantic calls,” Obama said at a fundraiser in New York last week. Those calls have gone mainly to Merkel and Sarkozy, heads of the biggest economies in Europe and the largest in the eurozone. They follow meetings Obama has held with European leaders at various summits and at the White House. An example was Obama’s trip last month to the French Riviera for a summit of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and developing economies. Greece’s debt crisis overshadowed the summit. The day he arrived in Cannes after an overnight flight, Obama met separately with Merkel and Sarkozy. Then, after a working dinner, Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy and other eurozone leaders huddled again to discuss options. Obama was the only non-European in the meeting. And it was Obama who ordered Geithner to Europe this week as leaders weighed the latest ideas to try to stabilize the continent’s crisis. On Tuesday, Geithner met with Merkel’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, and was to speak with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. He is also to meet with Spanish Prime Minister-elect Mariano Rajoy Brey and end his trip with a stop in Italy for talks with its new prime minister, Mario Monti. This week, Monti unveiled a tough spending plan designed to bolster investor confidence in Italy’s ability to ease its budget woes.—AP

FRANKFURT: EU leaders were under intense pressure yesterday to convince markets they can come up with a rapid rescue plan for the eurozone following the threat of possible debt downgrades. Just days before EU leaders convene for a door-die crisis summit in Brussels, Standard and Poor’s announced it was putting the sovereign debt of almost all eurozone countries, as well as the bloc’s 440-billioneuro ($590 billion) bailout fund, on review for a possible downgrade. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on a trip to European powerhouse Germany, said Tuesday “the eyes of the world are very much on Europe.” But Geithner welcomed what he called encouraging signs from European leaders in the eurozone crisis and conceded that the United States also faced “very challenging economic challenges... We have a lot of work ahead of us.” S&P’s announcement spooked European markets which ended mostly lower, after taking a turn for the better Monday on a Franco-German plan for a new EU treaty and tougher budgetary rules, including sanctions for lax eurozone economies. The debt warning means that Germany and France could lose their top-notch credit ratings without urgent action, a particularly crushing blow for Germany which has always seen its gold-standard AAA debt rating as unassailable. The European Financial Stability Facility, or EFSF, which was set up in May last year to protect vulnerable eurozone nations, could see its debt downgraded too. Its current triple-A rating enables the fund to raise financing in the bond market with much lower interest rates than bailed-out nations would get on their own. EU politicians have long protested the power of the ratings agencies and some

denounced S&P’s moves as a bid to deflect attention away from the United States’ much bigger-and potentially even more dangerous-debt mountain. But leading politicians tried to take it in their stride. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, speaking in Vienna, argued the warning would provide the “best incentive possible” for leaders “to do what they have all promised to do, so that the necessary decisions are taken in order to win back gradually the trust of investors worldwide”. The downgrade threat came just hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy thrashed out strict new rules for fiscal disci-

FRANKFURT: Workers change tube lights of the Euro sculpture in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. — AP

Strong demand for German bond issue FRANKFURT: Germany attracted strong demand yesterday at an auction of its fiveyear bonds, with investors apparently flocking back to the safe haven of Europe’s top economy. Germany received 8.67 billion euros ($11.6 billion) in bids for five billion euros worth of its five-year paper, known as the Bobl, according to the agency in charge of selling such debt instruments. The average yield of the debt was 1.1 percent. Joerg Mueller, a spokesman for Germany’s finance agency, said that the auction was still influenced by “volatile and uncertain” market conditions but that investors were returning to the safer German bond market. “Investors are looking for and trust in the quality of the paper being sold by the benchmark issuer in the eurozone,” Mueller said in a statement. On November 23, weak demand for the German 10-year bond or Bund-considered the gold standard of eurozone debt-spooked investors. Markets fretted that if no one wanted to buy even German bonds, there was little future for the debt of crisis-hit countries such as Italy or Spain. That auction also undermined Germany’s “safe haven” status, which took a further hit this week when ratings agency Standard and Poor’s threatened to downgrade Europe’s top economy from its cherished AAA credit rating. SHORT-TERM BILLS The eurozone’s rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) yesterday announced the launch of a shortterm funding program before year’s end. The program will focus on 3, 6 and 12 month bills, it said in a statement. “The first auction is expected to take place before year end.” The announcement came a day after Standard & Poor’s warned it could downgrade the EFSF’s triple-A rating.

pline which they hope will finally end the region’s woes. EU leaders will discuss the proposals, which Merkel and Sarkozy want to be enshrined into a rewritten European Union treaty, at a two-day summit in Brussels from today. But British Prime Minister David Cameron warned Tuesday he would block a new European Union treaty if London’s demands are not met, increasing the likelihood France and Germany will end up pushing for a deal among the 17 countries that share the euro. EU president Herman Van Rompuy and Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso will also raise at the summit the controversial

The agency on Monday issued the same notice to almost all governments in the monetary union. “Depending on the outcome of our review of the ratings on EFSF member governments, we could lower the long-term rating on the EFSF by one or two notches, if any,” S&P in it’s Tuesday statement. The 440-billion-euro EFSF was created in May last year to protect vulnerable eurozone nations after Greece was bailed out by the European Union and the IMF. It has since been used to provide rescue loans to Ireland and Portugal. With a triple-A rating, the EFSF is able to raise funds in the bond market with much lower interest rates than bailed out nations would get on their own. Klaus Regling, who heads the fund, said: “The launch of a short-term funding program is in line with the enlarged scope of activity of EFSF to use its new instruments efficiently.” “The bill program will not substitute the longterm bond program, but it will add flexibility to it.” The agency move piled further pressure on European leaders ahead of a summit crucial to the future of the eurozone kicking off today that aims to deliver a convincing response to the two-year-old debt crisis. France and Germany want to change the EU treaty in order to enforce tough budget discipline across the 17-nation bloc. A convincing commitment to fiscal rigor at the summit could prompt the European Central Bank to drop its objections to intervening massively to help nations in financial straits. The eurozone wanted to boost the firepower of the EFSF to one trillion euros in case bigger economies such as Italy and Spain need bailouts, but officials have acknowledged that due to the worsening of the crisis they will fall well short of the target. — Agencies

idea of issuing so-called eurobonds backed by all eurozone members, which Germany strongly opposes. Lawmakers in debtplagued Greece yesterday approved a 2012 budget pledging tough fiscal goals demanded by EU partners in return for fresh loans. Caretaker Prime Minister Lucas Papademos had earlier described the budget as a key first step in a process to reverse disastrous fiscal policies that have burdened each Greek with over 30,000 euros ($40,000) in state debt. Diplomatic sources in Brussels said intense talks were under way between eurozone nations to find ways of bolstering their financial firewall ahead of the European Union summit. S&P said it would monitor the meeting to see if the outcome is likely to restore confidence in the 17member eurozone. EU leaders acknowledge the eurozone is at risk of breaking up, putting the entire 27-member bloc in potential danger. But tough budget measures adopted by the new government in Italy eased the pressures somewhat on Monday, though Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Tuesday Italian lawmakers had “little time” to approve the package, warning that Italy would otherwise face bankruptcy. The head of the eurozone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, insisted that Europe was “on the way to solving the debt crisis.” Merkel was also defiant. “On Thursday and Friday we will take the decisions which we consider important, indispensable, for the eurozone,” she told reporters at a news conference, without referring to S&P’s debt warning directly. A handful of key US senators will meet with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde to discuss the way out of Europe’s debt crisis, Republican Senator Mark Kirk said Tuesday. — AFP

Samsung introduces new technology in refrigerators KUWAIT: Samsung Gulf Electronics Co, Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, recently announced the launch of its new innovative technology, the Digital Inverter Compressor, guaranteed to keep foods fresher for longer as well as operate on less energy. Samsung’s Digital Inverter Compressor will be included in select Samsung refrigerators and will come with a 10-year warranty, a world’s first for refrigerators and will apply globally. Earlier this month, Samsung conducted a survey to better understand consumer food waste habits and the features consumers look for when purchasing refrigerators. The survey saw 62% of residents surveyed throw away food at least once a month. A whopping 32% surveyed throw away food at least once a week. A majority of those surveyed, over 70%, were keen on having a refrigerator that keeps fresh for a longer period of time as well as a refrigerators that were energy efficient. “Consumers look for durability and performance when they purchase long term products such as refrigerators.

The Digital Inverter Compressor Technology that we introduced addresses consumer needs as it operates on optimum cooling capacity, promising fresher food for a longer period, reduces electricity bills because it requires less energy to operate; and comes with a 10 year warranty,” said Robin Kadyan, Sales Manager of Digital Appliance Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics. Samsung’s Digital Inverter Compressor utilizes a smart controller and five convenient RPM speeds, delivering up to 40 percent more energy efficiency and significantly reduces noise than models with similar food storage capacities. As a result, the compressor precisely adjusts cooling per formance based on daily refrigerator use and temperature levels, both internal and external. These technologies maximize the freshness of food and reduce overall carbon dioxide production, a smart solution to reduce energy consumption while preserving the environment. In addition, Samsung’s Digital Inverter Compressor technology monitors temperature levels, making adjustments to its RPM speed; therefore, significantly reducing noise.



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Senegalese hawkers find life hard in Athens ATHENS: Street hawkers from Senegal in West Africa try to eke out a living on the streets of the Greek capital, aiming to keep one step ahead of the police

and sort out their tangled legal status at the same time. They share similar stories-of coming to Europe in the hope of making some money to send home to

ATHENS: An immigrant carries recyclable items saved from garbage in a central Athens area, where many immigrants live. — AFP

their families but finding themselves caught out by the economic crisis and in a no-man’s land of bureaucracy. “I have five children and a wife in Senegal. She tells me that since I have been here, they don’t have hardly enough to eat,” says one Senegalese street seller in central Athens who goes by the name El Hadj. On a recent Friday evening, El Hadj and several of his friends are outside the Economics Faculty of the University of Athens, each one standing with a pile of leather bags, hawking their wares in the hope of making a rare sale. They are seeking asylum in Greece-a process that rarely succeeds but allows them in the meantime to get a ‘Red Card’ providing for a six-month stay which can be renewed-after ending up here from other European countries. They came to Greece before the debt crisis brought an end to the economic good times and now they are stuck here as their papers do not allow them to leave the country to try their luck elsewhere. “The Red Card gives us no rights, other than to hang out on the street,” says Soumara, who came to Greece

from Turkey with plans to go on to Sweden. Soumara and others interviewed by AFP declined to give their full names to avoid attention from the authorities. “We can go to the Senegal consulate and they will give you papers so that you can go home, but who is going to pay for the flight? - I don’t have the money for that,” Soumara said. For this group of Senegalese, living in Greece is made worse by the racist abuse they say they frequently encounter, from ordinary people and the police who they say rough them up. Alioune, 32, said one policeman who stopped him when he was selling his wares in Pireaus, the port area of Athens, subjected him to racial abuse then beat him up at the police station. “They take your wares and they take your money. Other times they put drugs in your bag ... I know someone who spent a year in jail like that,” said Alioune, who came to Greece after Belgium and Italy. Another, Mustafa said: “I am married to a Greek woman and I have a child of three months but when I go out

with them, people look at me in a strange way, as though I wasn’t human.” Greek officials recognize that there are cases of racial abuse by the police, driven by the tensions between communities which are made worse in hard times, but that racism is not institutionalized. The group of hawkers lives in the poor district of Victoria, central Athens, home also to drug addicts and prostitutes and where NGO’s say some 30,000 illegal immigrants live. Typically, Alioune lives with five other people in a small apartment, forced to share so as to make up the rent. “The rent costs us 350 euros a month. We have no choice-if there are fewer people than we would have real problems to pay,” he said. Apart from sticking together as a group, their only source of help appears to be from students at the Faculty of Economics, known for its radical political traditions. They say the ‘anarchist’ students pay for legal aid when they are arrested and allow them to hide in the faculty with their wares if there is a police raid. — AFP

Italy’s official industrial production shrinks 0.9% China agency downgrades Italy credit rating MILAN: Italian industrial production shrank more than expected in October, appearing to confirm economists’ fears that Europe’s third-biggest economy is entering a recession, official figures showed yesterday. Industrial production dropped 0.9 percent in October from the September level according to seasonally adjusted figures, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said. Production shrank 4.3 percent over 12 months, the biggest yearly drop since December 2009. The results were much worse than econo-

mists had expected. According to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires, experts had forecast a 0.4-percent drop for the month and a 1.5-percent drop for the year. The negative figureswhich follow a 4.6 percent drop on a month in September-fuel fears that the Italian economy has already begun to contract. Italy’s junior economy minister Vittorio Grilli warned Sunday that the economy will slip back into recession next year with a forecast contraction of between 0.4 and 0.5 percent of output.

ROME: A woman walks by the hat shop Vigano in Rome. Local associations say that seven small businesses a day in Rome and the surrounding region are going belly-up, with rents on the rise, bank financing ever more elusive and consumer spending on the slide for months. — AFP

Australia notches 1 percent growth SYDNEY: Australia’s mining-powered economy grew 1.0 percent during the September quarter in a result hailed by the government yesterday as “exceptional” given the ongoing global turmoil. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said mining and construction underpinned the robust performance, which represented on-year growth of 2.5 percent and followed upwardly revised growth of 1.4 percent for the three months to June. Economists had expected gross domestic product to rise 0.8-1.0 percent quarter on quarter and 1.9-2.1 percent from a year earlier. Treasurer Wayne Swan said the data was “an exceptional result at a time of heightened global instability, turmoil in Europe and slowing global growth”. The Australian dollar jumped to 102.72 US cents after the announcement, from 102.43 US cents before. It was fetching 102.69 in late trade. But analysts warned of growing disparities in the economy and an underlying weakness being masked by the mining boom and recovery from summer floods and cyclones. Resources-rich Western Australia state saw seasonallyadjusted demand grow 8.4 percent in the quarter and 16.4 percent in the year while coal and gas-mining Queensland was similarly strong. Most other regions were flat or went backwards, clear evidence of what CommSec economist Craig James called the “two-speed or threespeed economy”. “Areas like construction, particularly the engineering variety, are doing very well together with mining,” said James. “But then you’ve got some of the more domesticallyfocused areas of the economy and the services sectors which are relatively soft.” Construction contributed 0.4 percentage points and mining 0.3 points to GDP growth, which was slightly offset by growing imports and running down of inventories. Swan said growth was under-

pinned by a 12.7 percent “surge” in business investment in the quarter and above-trend household consumption despite the hit to confidence from debt woes in Europe and the United States. A jump in car sales as Japan’s auto sector recovered from March’s earthquake and tsunami accounted for a large part of the consumer spending. New engineering construction leapt 31.0 percent in the quarter to be more than 50 percent higher year-on-year-its strongest annual growth in about 30 years. “While much of the increase was in the resources sector there was also a healthy increase in manufacturing investment,” Swan added. “These figures are a resounding vote of confidence in our economy at a time when many advanced economies are struggling to grow at all, and face increasingly fragile economic positions with very high unemployment.” Canberra last month slashed its growth forecast for 2011/12 from 4.0 percent to 3.25 percent, and flagged the same again for 2012/13 - a downward revision from the 3.75 percent expected in May. HSBC’s Paul Bloxham said growth was expected to rally further, with northern Australia’s flood and cyclone-hit coal mines yet to fully recover and reconstruction from the wild weather not yet at full pace. But aside from mining and recovery-related spending, Bloxham said the economy was “tracking at a bit below trend,” and global prospects were gloomy. “We expect that the mining investment boom will continue to support solid growth, but the concern is that offshore risks have grown substantially,” he said. Swan conceded there was an “uneven pattern of growth” but said the economy was “better placed than virtually any other advanced economy to deal with ongoing global instability and the unfolding crisis in Europe.”— AFP

DAGONG DOWNGRADES ITALY RATING Meanwhile, Chinese rating agency Dagong said yesterday it has cut its sovereign credit rating for Italy as the country struggles to stay solvent amid the eurozone debt crisis. Dagong said it lowered Italy’s rating from “A-” to “BBB” with a negative outlook due to the country’s worsening economic conditions, growing reliance on the European Central Bank to buy its bonds and declining ability to repay debt. The downgrade comes on the eve of a crunch summit of European leaders that many hope will see them agree on a plan-outlines this week by Germany and France-to save the eurozone project. The agency, which has little sway outside China, placed Italy on negative credit watch in July, since when Rome’s borrowing costs have surged above six percent, signalling strong sentiment that it could default in the near future. Italian lawmakers began discussions yesterday on a severe austerity package, which Prime Minister Mario Monti has warned is needed to avoid the terrible consequences of bankruptcy. Standard & Poor’s this week placed 15 eurozone countries, including Italy, on negative credit watch-a warning of a possible imminent cut in their sovereign credit ratings, which could increase their borrowing costs. Despite its lack of influence, Dagong has made headlines by accusing mainstream agencies Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s of causing the 2008 financial crisis by not properly disclosing risk. Chairman Guan Jianzhong, a paid adviser to China’s government, insists his agency is fully independent-and stands by his tough talk about his rivals, whose ratings affect interest rates at which states and companies can borrow. — Agencies

Humbled Netflix CEO still thinking and talking big SAN FRANCISCO: To hear Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tell it, the bone-headed decisions that have dragged down the Internet’s leading video subscription service during the past five months eventually will be forgotten like a bad movie made by a great film director. Shaking off the stigma of a massive flop won’t be easy, a challenge Hastings acknowledged late Tuesday when he spoke at a UBS investor conference in New York. After his host mentioned the mystique surrounding Hastings as Netflix’s fortunes soared a year ago, Hastings quipped: “Now, it’s just pity.” The self-deprecating humor prefaced a 45-minute treatise on why Hastings believes Netflix will overcome its recent adversity and remain at the forefront of a shift that increasingly will turn watching Internet-distributed video into one of the world’s most popular pastimes. This coming as high-speed connections, mobile devices and more sophisticated televisions become commonplace. His long-term vision calls for Netflix to be selling Internet video subscriptions at prices starting at $8 per month in most markets outside of China. “If you fundamentally believe Internet video will change the world in 20 years, we are the leading play on that basis,” Hastings boasted. He quickly added a caveat: “As long as we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot anymore.” Hastings sounded like he intends to stick around to lead the way, despite questions about recent moves that triggered a customer backlash and a staggering decline in Netflix’s stock price that has wiped out threefourths, or about $12.5 billion, of the company’s market value in five months. Netflix Inc shares closed Tuesday at $68.14, down from a peak of nearly $305 in July when the company infuriated its US subscribers by announcing plans to raise its prices by as much as 60 percent. The sell-off has surprised and humbled Hastings, who revealed on stage that he had curtailed his sales of his Netflix holdings earlier this year because he was convinced the stock would quickly hit $1,000. Hastings said his biggest mistake was trying to phase out Netflix’s oncetrailblazing DVD-bymail rental service more quickly than millions of customers wanted. He and his management team concluded a few years ago DVDs that are destined to obsolescence, so they began concentrating on streaming video over high-speed Internet connections. Ending Netflix’s practice of bundling DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming subscriptions together so people are forced to buy them separately was meant to push more households into weaning themselves from discs. Customers instead saw the move as a betrayal by a greedy company and canceled their subscriptions in droves. “We became a sort of a Bank of America symbol, which is super unfortunate,” Hastings said Tuesday in comments monitored on a webcast. “We berate ourselves tremendously for that lack of insight because it didn’t need to be that way. But, you know, in three or five years, we aren’t going to remember it. It’s going to be: ‘Did we succeed at streaming?’ That’s all people are going to care about in three or five years. So we are not losing too much sleep over it. We are charging ahead.” There’s damage to repair along the way. Netflix entered October with 800,000 fewer US subscribers than it had at the start of July, and the company has said there have been additional defections in the past two months, although the number hasn’t been quantified. —AP

DUBLIN: Finance Minister Michael Noonan (center) speaks during a press conference at the Government buildings in Dublin. Indebted Ireland has unveiled more austerity measures in its latest annual budget, hiking taxes and introducing new charges to raise an extra 1.6 billion euros ($2.14 billions) for the rescued eurozone member. — AFP

Ireland unveils new taxes to trim deficit DUBLIN: Ireland’s government has announced it will impose euro1 billion ($1.35 billion) in new taxes to help the bailed-out country reduce its deficits as international donors expect. Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he would increase charges on drivers, homes, savers, smokers and shoppers - pretty much everyone in this country of 4.5 million - in hopes of rolling back the 2012 deficit to below 8.6 percent of GDP, the next goal set by Ireland’s foreign financiers. “Personal wealth has been destroyed, thousands of people are sinking into poverty, emigration has returned and unemployment is far too high,” Noonan told a somber parliamentary chamber. “The task of this government is to regain control over Ireland’s fiscal and economic policies, to grow the economy again and to get people back to work.” Noonan’s biggest tax-raising measure will increase the sales tax by 2 points to an Irishrecord 23 percent. Opposition lawmakers and business chiefs decried the move as likely to stoke inflation and make Ireland less competitive. But Noonan said Ireland’s commitment to austerity was paying dividends, with this year ’s deficit expected to decline to 10.1 percent of GDP versus previous estimates of 10.6 percent, a target set in Ireland’s November 2010 bailout deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Ireland’s 2012 budget includes euro2.2 billion in spending cuts and euro600 million in additional taxes that were imposed in the 2011 budget. Combined with Tuesday’s tax hikes, the total impact on reducing the 2012 deficit should be euro3.8 billion ($5.1 billion). The Irish, who have suffered five emergency budgets since 2008 following 14 years of Celtic Tiger boom, still face at least three more years of austerity to get their deficit back within the eurozone limit of 3 percent of GDP. Ireland this year is spending euro57 billion - including more than euro10 billion in aid to nationalized banks - but collecting barely euro34 billion in taxes. Last year Ireland recorded a modern European record deficit of 32 percent because of the exceptional cost of saving five Dublin banks from the brink of default. Those bailout efforts, begun in late 2008 as the country ’s property boom started to implode, could end up costing more than euro70 billion. Irish property prices have fallen around 50 percent from their 2007 peak and are still sliding, with hundreds of thousands of families now trapped in negative equity. Noonan said the key to Irish recovery rested with its approximately 1,000 export-focused multinationals that account for barely 5 percent of jobs but 18 percent of GDP. He didn’t touch on Ireland’s 12.5 percent tax rate on corporate profits, a major magnet for foreign investment that draws regular criticism from high-tax France and Germany. He also took about 330,000 of Ireland’s most

poorly paid workers out of the net for income taxes, raising the entry point from euro4,004 to euro10,036 ($13,433). He didn’t otherwise touch income-tax rates or bands following three years of salary hits on Ireland’s shrinking work force. But practically everything else faces higher charges in Ireland, where unemployment sits near an 18-year high of 14.5 percent and around 100,000 jobseekers have emigrated over the past two years. Noonan estimated that the increase in sales tax taking effect Jan 1 would raise euro670 million ($900 million) extra next year. Capital gains and acquisitions taxes are rising from 25 percent to 30 percent, a move that the government thinks will net an extra euro132 million in 2012. Likewise, the tax deducted from interest on bank deposits would rise from 27 percent to 30 percent, gaining euro50 million annually for the state. Noonan also confirmed that Ireland will impose its first property tax, called the “household charge.” Residences in Ireland will be charged a flat annual fee of euro100, a temporary measure until a new system based on each dwelling’s value can be established. The tax is expected to raise euro160 million in 2012. A few tax hikes took effect immediately. Tax on a packet of cigarettes rose euro0.25, a move worth euro41 million to the government in 2012. Tax on motor fuel - which currently costs around euro1.50 per liter ($7.70 a gallon) increased 1.5 cents (2 US cents). Car owners faced much tougher taxes in the new year, even those who operate relatively new, environmentally friendly cars. Ireland’s previous government, which included the environmentalist Green Party, introduced a new system of annual car taxes that imposed punitive charges on operators of older gas guzzlers and offered tax breaks to those who used new, low-emission cars. Noonan announced hikes to all categories of cars in the hope of raising an extra euro46.5 million next year. Those in the cheapest band of “green” cars will see their annual tax rise 54 percent to euro160 ($215), while those operating the highest-emission vehicles would see their annual charge rise 7 percent to euro2,258 ($3,045). Noonan announced measures designed to offer a lifelime to those strapped to bloated Celtic Tiger mortgages, and to raise Ireland’s housing market from the dead. Those who took out mortgages for the first time from 2004 to 2008 would receive 30 percent tax rebates on their mortgage interest payments, a move that will increase the 2012 deficit by euro52 million. He said capital gains tax would be waived for any properties purchased between now and the end of 2013, so long as they aren’t sold again for at least seven years. And new home purchasers were offered the chance to receive tax rebates on their mortgage payment interest - but only if they buy in 2012. — AP



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Newer economies allow more high tech freedom at work LONDON: Employees in fast-growing economies have more freedom over the technology they use for work than their counterparts in developed countries, and are more likely to see corporate provision of devices as a perk, according to a study. The so-called consumerisation of IT-the migration into the workplace of technology that employees use at home-is a global phenomenon but far more pronounced in China and Brazil than in Britain, France and the United States, the study found. While 59 percent of employees in China said they could influence the choice of device they used for work, in Britain the figure was just 27 percent, according to the survey by market research firm TNS commissioned by PC maker Dell. Two-thirds of workers in China were keen to use

the same device for work and personal use, but just 29 percent in Britain were happy to do so. Workers in developed economies were more concerned to keep work and private life separate. Britons, French and Brazilians were least likely to be able to relax after work hours — 46 percent in each country said they could not. This was less of a problem in the United States, where 35 percent reported issues, and Mexico with 36 percent. Overall, the private sector was found to be more open to consumer technology choices than the public sector, and small businesses more flexible than large enterprises. “The developing world is much more aspirational about technology, sees it as much more than just a corporate tool, and has much more enthusiasm,” said Stephen Murdoch, who heads


Gift guide to e-readers, tablets NEW YORK: Flat, hard packages will be welcome this year. Tablet computers are extremely popular, and electronic reading devices such as the Kindle have matured and come down in price. Which one to get? That’s mostly a matter of your budget. The iPad and other full-blown tablets are more expensive, but they do virtually everything better. Consider pooling money from friends or family for a better device. If you have more than $300 to spend, go for one of these full-size tablets. They have color screens that are about 9 inches (22 centimeters) diagonally, and they have built-in cameras: Apple iPad 2 ($499) The device that made tablet computing mainstream still reigns, outselling all others combined. It’s thinner than competing tablets and has access to an unparalleled array of applications: half a million, of which 140,000 are adapted for the iPad’s 9.7-inch (24-centimeter) screen. That means more good games, more useful reference apps and more entertainment options. The range of third-party book apps also means the iPad beats dedicated e-readers at their own game by giving users the ability to read books purchased from any store. The large screen displays documents comfortably. The basic model has 16 gigabytes of memory. More expensive versions have more memory and can also be bought with built-in access to AT&T’s or Verizon’s cellular network. Cellular service comes with a separate monthly fee of $15 and up, but there’s no contract requirement, so your gift won’t burden a loved-one with a big financial commitment.

TAIPEI: In this March 25, 2011 file photo, a Taiwanese model displays an Asus Eee Pad Transformer during its new product media event. — AP

ing content, not creating it. A new version is due out Dec. 15. It will start at $499 and will have a faster processor and a body that’s as thin as the iPad’s. If you only want to spend $200 to $250, go for one of these e-reader/tablet hybrids. They add movies, games and other applications to the e -reader ’s capabilities, so they’re not just for bookworms. They have 7-inch (17.5-centimeter) screens, slightly less than half the size of the iPad’s screen. (Don’t be fooled by the 7-inch to 9.7-inch comparison, which makes it sound like the Kindle’s screen is only slightly smaller than the iPad’s. The difference in area is much larger than the difference in the diagonal measurement.) Amazon Kindle Fire ($199) The Fire is Amazon’s first color Kindle. It runs a highly modified, user-friendly version of Android. The selection of apps is smaller than for other Android tablets, however. Notable inclusions are Netflix, Hulu and Comixology, a comic-book reader. The Fire also streams a selection of movies for free to Amazon Prime subscribers, and you can buy movies for download. Amazon had to jettison some standard tablet features, such as a camera and a microphone, to keep the price low. The Fire has only 8 gigabytes of memory, which can’t be expanded. Magazines don’t translate well to the smaller screen. Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet ($249) The bookstore’s answer to the Kindle Fire is an updated version of last year’s Nook Color, a solid and successful e-reader. The Tablet has more memory than the Color or the Kindle Fire, and you can add even more. Barnes & Noble’s app store has a smaller section than Amazon’s, but it does have Netflix and Hulu. Barnes & Noble allows books from other bookstores to be read, while Amazon doesn’t. However, there’s no video store yet, so you can’t download movies for offline viewing, as you can with the Fire or larger tablets such as the iPad. The older Nook Color is still available for $50 less. It has less memory and a slower processor, but otherwise does the same job as the Tablet. If your budget is limited to $150, you’ll be tempted by some low- end color tablets. But giving one away is like giving away a lump of coal: The color touch screens that go into sub-$200 devices look bad and have problems responding to fingers. Instead, get one of these lightweight, quality e-readers with black-and-white “electronic ink” screens for the bookworm in your life:

Sony Tablet S ($500) There are a slew of tablets from Samsung, Sony, LG and other manufacturers built around Google Inc.’s Android software. From a hardware standpoint, they’re not much different from the iPad, through most of them are thicker, and they’re available in a range of sizes. The Tablet S stands out by including an infrared emitter, which makes it usable as a large universal remote control. It also plays some PlayStation games. It has a 9.4-inch (23.5-centimeter) screen, slightly smaller than the iPad’s. It runs the latest version of Android, which is specially designed for tablets and is slick. But the selection of third-party applications doesn’t match the iPad’s in quantity or quality.

Amazon Kindle Touch 3G ($149) Amazon still has a variety of monochrome Kindles, including its first touchscreen model. The screen is more legible than color screens in bright daylight and uses very little power. But it’s slow to respond, making navigation tedious. The lack of color takes the joy out of children’s books, magazines and comics. The device’s touch sensitivity does make navigation easier. The 3G version comes with access to AT&T’s cellular network, with no monthly fees. That makes it a good gift for someone who travels a lot or doesn’t have Internet access at home. For $149, this model comes with screensavers that display ads for cars, beauty products, Amazon gift cards and so forth. Pay another $40 to get rid of those. You can go the other way and save $50 by getting a non-3G version.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer ($389) The Transformer is a reasonably priced Android tablet that doubles as a “netbook,” or small laptop, if you buy an accessory keyboard dock for $109. You can get an accessory keyboard for any tablet, but the Transformer’s attaches securely, and the combination folds up like a laptop. The keyboard has a touchpad, extra ports and an additional power pack, which prolongs battery life. The keyboard makes this tablet a good choice for those who want to write a lot or just want the familiar feel of a keyboard and touchpad. Other tablets are typically better for reading and view-

Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch ($99) This slim, light e-reader is very similar to the $99 non-3G Kindle Touch. Barnes & Noble’s version has two advantages: It doesn’t display advertising, and it can load books from other bookstores, including Google Books. It can’t load Kindle books, though. A postscript: None of these devices come with a case, and they all need one for protec tion. Consider including one if you want to be extra thoughtful. If you can’t afford it, you can always say that the choice of a case is a matter of taste best left to the new owner. — AP

Dell’s large-enterprise and public-sector business in EMEA. “That pervaded everything. We thought there would be much more interest from the more mature working environments. It was partly about being able to draw the line between work and home life,” he told Reuters. The consumerisation of IT is eroding the large corporate customer base that technology providers like Microsoft and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion enjoy, to the benefit of Apple, Google and others. As consumers become more tech-savvy and have more gadgets at home, they are less likely to tolerate the choices of IT managers, which are often made for reasons of convenience and cost-effectiveness and are slow to respond to market trends. The study found that 43 percent of employees globally said IT

problems were a regular frustration. Those in large enterprises, media-sector employees and younger workers were most likely to report such frustrations. The study also found that 43 percent of employees around the world felt pressure to work longer hours, with just three out of five saying they could get their work done in regular 9 to 5 office hours. More than half of those surveyed said they were free to download software to keep up with the latest technology. Mexico with 82 percent of employees and China with 79 percent led the way, while in Britain only 37 percent said they were allowed. TNS Global conducted 8,360 20 minute interviews for the study in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, China and India in October of this year. — Reuters

Microsoft to open ‘app store’ in February ‘The reach of Windows is absolutely huge’ SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Tuesday began wooing developers for a February opening of its first “app store” for computers powered by the US technology giant’s Windows software. The Windows Store will open in late February when Microsoft releases a test version of its next-generation Windows 8 operating system. It will take on Apple and Google in the booming market of fun, hip or functional programs built for smartphones, tablets, or computers. “I think we are going to do great,” Windows Web Services vice president Antoine Leblond said as he gave developers and press a preview of the store in a San Francisco art gallery. “The reach of Windows is absolutely huge and can’t be matched,” he continued, noting that the Microsoft operating system powers more than a half billion computers around the world. Independent developers understandably devote their limited resources to making programs for platforms that promise the most potential customers, and Windows would outshine Apple gadgets and Google Android devices in that regard. “There are more Windows PCs (personal computers) than there are cars on the planet,” Leblond said. “ The number is staggering.” However, Windows has a meager presence when it comes to smartphones and tablets, where third-party applications such as games are typically bought. Applications written for the Windows Store platform will work on any devices powered by the Microsoft software, meaning programs could be downloaded to smartphones or tablet computers as they hit market. Microsoft declined to discuss reports that tablets based on Windows 8 are in development. Windows Store was pitched as a welcoming option to Apple App Store, which puts applications through a strict and sometimes enigmatic vetting process before approving them for virtual shelves. “Today, one of the most frustrating things for building apps are the constraints on way you can do and what you can sell,” Leblond said. Apple requires applications for iOS devices to conduct financial transactions such as subscriptions or sales in-house, with the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Macintosh computer maker taking 30 percent of the revenue. Windows Store platform will have mechanisms for in-app purchases, but developers will be free to choose methods of

handling financial transactions, according to Leblond. “Developers create apps to put in Apple’s App Store only to have Apple stand between them and the customer while taking 30 percent,” he added. “We won’t get in the way of your app and your business model,” Leblond said. Microsoft demonstrated Windows applications from the renowned British newspaper The Daily Telegraph and from online auction titan eBay that handled payments or subscriptions with their own tools. “That is not an app you could have on the iPad,” Leblond said, referring to the Daily Telegraph program. “Apple would sit between them and their subscribers and take a 30 percent cut; we won’t do that.” Windows Store will let developers set their own prices for applications in a range from $1.49 to $999.99 “because a

thousand bucks is just too much for an app,” he added. The virtual shop will also support free applications that make their money from advertising. Microsoft will take 30 percent of the revenue from application sales. After selling $25,000 worth of an application, the developers share climbs to 80 percent. Developers get to keep all the money from in-application transactions. Leblond calculated that recovering the $50,000 cost of developing a typical small application would require .01 percent of Windows computer owners buying the software. “That is nothing,” he said. “That is easily done.” Windows Store will feature only free applications when it opens in Februar y. Information for developers was available online at — AFP

CALIFORNIA: Antoine Leblond, vice president of Windows web service, introduces a new app store for Windows during the Windows Store preview event in San Francisco on December 6, 2011 in California. — AFP

Xbox upgrade uses voice to master entertainment hub SEATTLE: In a major upgrade to its Xbox 360 video console, Microsoft rolled out a string of improvements that it hopes will transform the humble gaming unit into a groundbreaking voice- and motion-controlled hub of the digital living room. The upgrade includes a raft of new video providers that will allow users to access a wide variety of programming over the internet. And instead of having to peck out searches on an on-screen keyboard, users can just say what they are looking for and the new software will use voice recognition tied to Microsoft’s Bing search engine to find it. Another interface method is to use the Kinect motion controller to choose on-screen options. The upgrades, which also include simplified sharing options and Microsoft’s new tile-based menu system, set a new standard for interactive television and establish the software giant as a leader over Apple and Google in the quest to bring television into the internet age. “The update is another huge step toward realizing our vision of bringing you all your entertainment, shared with the people you care about, in an easy way,” Marc Whitten, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE group, said in a blog posting announcing the move. “Now, all of your entertainment is in one place. Games, music, movies, sports and live and on-demand TV together in one box connected to the best display in your house.” The new software comes just months after Apple’s introduction of the Siri voice-control option on the iPhone 4S prompted speculation that the feature would be at the centre of Apple’s T V efforts. But analysts say that Microsoft has now taken a possibly decisive lead in the battle to control the digital living room. “Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search,” wrote

James McQuivey of Forrester Research in a blog posting. “This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared.” Another key advantage that Microsoft enjoys over both Apple and Google is that there are already 57 million Xbox 360s in people’s living rooms around the world - 35 million of them connected to Xbox Live. With no new hardware needed to incorporate the software

updates, McQuivey predicts that adoption of the new features “will spread quickly and with devastating effect.” “This does to the TV product experience what Apple did to phones and then to computing generally with the iPad,” McQuivey wrote. “it will take us far beyond interactive TV, engaging viewers in ways that will forever alter the future of home entertainment, communication, and commerce.” — dpa

PARIS: US Google CEO US Eric Schmidt talks during a plenary session of LeWeb 11 event in SaintDenis, a Paris suburb, yesterday. Around 3,000 participants from 60 countries are expected at LeWeb. Top industry entrepreneurs, executives, investors, senior press and bloggers gather to explore the key issues and opportunities in the web marketplace. —AFP



Research: Bedbugs can thrive despite inbreeding PITTSBURGH: Bedbugs aren’t just sleeping wih you. They’re sleeping with each other. Researchers now say that the creepy bugs have a special genetic gift: withstanding incest. It turns out that unlike most creatures, bedbugs are able to inbreed with close relatives and still produce generally healthy offspring. That means that if just a few bedbugs survive in a building after treatment, they repopulate quickly. Coby Schal and Ed Vargo are entomologists at North Carolina State University, and they presented preliminary research on genetic diversity in bedbug populations on Tuesday in Philadelphia, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. “We kept discovering the same thing. Within a given apartment, or

even a given building, there was extremely low genetic diversity,” said Schal. “In most cases there’s just a single female that founded the population.” Schal said that was a surprise, since an animal or insect population with limited diversity will usually build up and then crash, because genetic defects tend to magnify with inbreeding. “But somehow bedbugs are able to withstand the effects of inbreeding, and do quite well,” he said. Bedbugs are wingless, reddishbrown insects that bite people and animals to draw blood for their meals. Though their bites can cause itching and welts, they are not known to spread disease. The new research is important, said Zachary Adelman, an entomologist at Virginia Tech University who wasn’t

part of the North Carolina State team. “No one had looked at these things,” he said of the genetic makeup of bedbugs. “It’s pretty exciting.” The researchers also found that while the community within a building tends to be similar, there are many different strains of bedbugs throughout the East Coast, suggesting that new colonies also get introduced through foreign travel or commerce. “That means they’re coming into the countr y from lots of different places,” which means that the bedbug problem isn’t going to stop anytime soon, said Adelman. The findings may also help explain another part of the bedbug boom. Bedbugs - and other insects develop resistance to insecticides. Schal said that if a treatment kills anything less than 100 percent of the

bugs, the sur vivors will not only repopulate, but pass on the resistance they’ve developed to future generations. “The insecticides really need to be robust” to do the job, Schal said. Another researcher notes that you have to discover a problem before you can treat it. Rajeev Vaidyanathan of SRI International, a nonprofit research firm with headquar ters in Silicon Valley, said he’s working on a quick, easy test so people can discover bedbugs before they get bitten. Vaidyanathan said current technology comes down to spotting live or dead bedbugs, or using dogs to sniff them out. “Both are often ineffective and tedious,” he said. So Vaidyanathan is trying to developing a biochemical test to identify bedbug-specific pro-

teins that they leave behind, even when only a few bugs are present. Homeowners would swab a section of their home, and dip it in a special compound. “A home pregnancy kit type of read-out. If there’s a color change, you have a bug,” he said, but it’s too early to say when or if the idea will make it to market. Vaidyanathan also pointed out s o m e o t h e r fo rce s b e h i n d t h e spread of bedbugs. “The problems we are seeing with bedbugs in North America did not happen overnight,” said Vaidyanathan. “We have the highest concentration in the history of our species of humans living in cities. Bedbugs do not have wings; they are nest parasites, so our own population density has helped them to thrive.” — AP

New study faults partial radiation for breast cancer 230,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year

BEIJING: Chinese girls wear face masks to protect against pollution on the streets of Beijing yesterday. Millions of Chinese have gone online to vent their anger over the thick smog that has blanketed Beijing in recent days, raising health fears and causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled. Sales of face masks were reported to have surged as residents of China’s heavily polluted capital sought to protect themselves from the air, which US embassy figures ranked as “very unhealthy”. — AFP

Ocean cacophony a torment for sea mammals BERGEN: With the constant churn of freighter propellers, the percussive thump of oil and gas exploration and the underwater din of military testing, ocean noise levels have become unbearable for some sea mammals. Contrary to the image of a distant and silent world under the sea, underwater sound intensity has on average soared 20 decibels over the past 50 years, with devastating consequences for wildlife. “Sound is what cetaceans (large aquatic mammals like whales and dolphins) communicate with. This is how they perceive their environment. For them, hearing is as important as vision is for us,” explained Mark Simmonds, the international director of science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). “If there is too much noise, they probably can’t communicate that well,” he told AFP late last month on the sidelines of an international conference on migratory species in Bergen, on Norway’s southwestern coast. A harmful effect of this acoustic “fog” is that it impairs the ability of cetaceans, which in good conditions can communicate over a distance of dozens of kilometres (miles), to orient themselves, find food and reproduce. Basic small boat traffic travelling at slow speeds through shallow waters can be enough to cut the reach of sounds from a bottlenose dolphin, for instance, by 26 percent, and in the case of pilot whales by 58 percent, according to a recent study. Nicolas Entrup, who works with the non- governmental organisations Ocean Care and the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the ocean is in the process of becoming for sea mammals what night clubs are for humans: “You might cope with it for a while but you can’t live there.” “I magine a situation where you can’t communicate with your family, where you have to scream constantly,” he said. Oceans are vast, and animals that are bothered by rising noise levels can of course move on, but it can be challenging to find and adapt to a whole new habitat. The problem is especially dire in the Arctic, where, as the polar ice cap melts, humans are leaving an ever bigger sound footprint as they stake out new shipping routes and look for oil and gas. “Narwals for example have a narrowly defined habitat,” explains Simmonds. “They are very adapted to that cold environment. If it gets too noisy, where will they go?” The same problem applies to the highly sound-sensitive beluga, or white whale, that migrates to Canada’s northern shores. These mammals, which are capable of detecting ships 30 kilometers (18.7 miles) away, will struggle to maintain their migration route through the

narrow straits circling Baffin Island as shipping in the area risks increasing sharply to accommodate a new largescale mining project. “We simply don’t know how certain species will adapt or even if they will adapt at all,” Simmonds said. In some cases, human-produced commotion is fatal. The use of anti-submarine sonars is for instance suspected of causing the mass-beaching of whales: In 2002, for instance, some 15 beaked whales perished in the Canaries after a NATO exercise. “Since we’re talking about military matters, there is no transparent information available and we know very little of the real scope of the problem,” Entrup said. Other threats include seismic exploration for oil and gas, which involves the use of air canons to induce tremors in the seabed aimed at detecting the potential riches hidden below. One such project carried out a few years ago off the northeastern shores of the United States literally silenced the fin whales-an endangered species-in an area about the size of Alaska, blocking their ability to communicate for the duration of the operation. Danger can also emerge from more “environmentally friendly” projects, like the building of vast offshore wind farms consisting of ever larger turbines. A common technique consists of penetrating the seabed with a hydraulic hammer to plant a monopod anchoring the modern-day windmills to the ocean floor. This so-called pile-driving can emit noise levels up to 250 decibels, which is a deadly dose for nearby marine mammals, though experts say it’s easy to diminish the threat by creating a curtain of air bubbles surrounding the drill site. But on top of pile-driving, ship traffic linked to maintenance, cable-laying and the expansion of port infrastructure are also shrinking sea mammals’ habitats. “The picture is bleak, but now we have the knowledge and the methodology to remedy some of the problems,” said Michel Andre, a French researcher at the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics at Barcelona University who is coordinating a project to map seabed sound levels. “It is for instance fairly easy to reduce the sounds made by boats,” he told AFP, adding: “Just look at the military, they already know how to do that.” Europe has been a pioneer in this area, according to Andre, pointing to the European Commission’s financing of Ships-Oriented Innovative Solutions to Reduce Noise and Vibrations, or SILENV. The project, which counts 14 partner nations, aims to create an “acoustic green label” for ships. The European Union is also working on a directive to reduce noise levels in its waters, and hopes to inspire others to follow. — AFP

SAN ANTONIO: New research casts doubt on a popular treatment for breast cancer: A week of radiation to part of the breast instead of longer treatment to all of it. Women who were given partial radiation were twice as likely to need their breasts removed later because the cancer came back, doctors found. The treatment uses radioactive pellets briefly placed in the breast instead of radiation beamed from a machine. At least 13 percent of older patients in the US get this now, and it is popular with working women. “Even women who aren’t working appreciate convenience,” but they may pay a price in effectiveness if too little tissue is being treated, said study leader Dr. Benjamin Smith of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Results were to be reported Wednesday at a conference in San Antonio along with a more positive development: a new test that may help show which women need only surgery for a very early type of breast cancer called DCIS. The results suggest that about three-fourths of the 45,000 women diagnosed with DCIS annually in the US could skip the radiation and hormoneblocking pills usually recommended to prevent a recurrence. About 230,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the US, most in an early stage. Typical treatment is surgery to remove the lump, followed by radiation every weekday for five

to seven weeks. That’s tough, especially for older women and those in rural areas. Doctors hoped that a shorter approach, called brachytherapy, would be just as good with fewer side effects. To do it, they temporarily place a thin tube into the cavity where the tumor was. “You come in twice a day and there’s a machine that puts in a radiation seed that stays there a few minutes and then you go home,” Smith explained. Treatment takes only five days and the total radiation dose is comparable to the longer method. But a smaller area - just around the lump - gets treated instead of the whole breast. Although at least three companies sell equipment for brachytherapy, no big studies have tested its safety and effectiveness. Researchers looked at Medicare records on 130,535 women who had lumps removed and radiation. Less than 1 percent chose brachytherapy in 2000 but that rose to 13 percent by 2007. After accounting for differences in age, tumor size and other factors, researchers found that within five years, 4 percent of brachytherapy patients needed surgery to remove the breast where the original tumor had been versus only 2 percent of those given traditional radiation. Hospitalization, infections, broken ribs and breast pain also were more common with brachytherapy. It remains experimental, and

women who want it should join a more rigorous study of it going on now, said Dr. Peter Ravdin, breast cancer chief at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. “I’m putting patients on the trial” and not recommending it otherwise, he said. Brachytherapy costs about twice as much as standard radiation, estimated at $10,000 to $20,000. Other research involves a test that measures the activity of genes that help predict recurrence risks for women with DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ - cancer that is confined to a milk duct. It’s usually found from mammograms before it causes symptoms. Surgery cures most cases, but about 20 percent will recur within 10 years, so doctors usually recommend five to seven weeks of radiation or years of hormone-blocking drugs. “Although it works, it’s a lot of treatment and we treat the many to benefit the few,” because there’s no good way to tell who can safely skip it, said Dr. Lawrence Solin of Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. He led a study with other researchers and the test’s maker, Genomic Health Inc. of Redwood City, Calif. The company already sells a test to gauge which women with invasive cancers most need chemotherapy versus hormone-blocking medicines alone. The DCIS test uses some of the same genes. Doctors checked its predictive value using 327 stored tumor

samples. Test scores separated women into low, high and medium risk groups that reflected how they fared 10 years later. About 75 percent fell into a low-risk category that could be spared treatment beyond surgery. “If it’s right it would have significant value for patients,” but this needs to be validated in a bigger study before the test is widely used, said Robert Clarke, dean for research at Georgetown University Medical Center. “It tells you how well it sorts out a population, but it doesn’t tell you how good it is at putting an individual woman in the right group.” Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care in New York, who helped conduct the study, disagreed. “Doctors are making decisions already without this information” and the test gives a valuable new clue, he said. But an expensive one. The company will charge the same for the DCIS test as its current one for invasive breast cancer - $4,175, which Medicare and most insurers cover, said chief medical officer Dr. Steven Shak. The company plans to start selling it by the end of the year under federal lab rules that just require proof that the test reliably measures genes - not that this has value for patients. The cancer conference is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, Baylor College of Medicine and the UT Health Science Center. — AP

Slovak doctors back to work

NAIROBI: Striking Kenyan doctors march through Nairobi, Kenya yesterday. Hundreds of doctors from public medical facilities marched through the Kenyan capital yesterday to demand a larger stock of drugs in their hospitals, better equipment and better pay, on the third day of a countrywide strike. — AP

BRATISLAVA: Slovak hospitals resumed normal service yesterday after over a thousand doctors who had resigned in protest over low pay returning to work after agreeing a pay deal with the government. “As of today, all the doctors should be in hospitals and the situation is stabilised,” Marian Kollar, head of the Medical trade union, told journalists in Bratislava. According to the wage deal, the government will raise the basic monthly salary of junior doctors to at least 807 euros (1,088 dollars) as of 2012 while specialists will earn 1,230 euros. As of 2013, their salaries will increase to 961 euros for the beginners and 1,769 euros for the specialists. Now the monthly pay of a young doctor in Slovakia is between 550 and 600 euros. The government also said that as of Thursday it would cancel a state of emergency declared last week amid the labour action and that 30 doctors from the neighbouring Czech Republic who were helping understaffed Slovak hospitals would return home. Slovak doctors struck a deal Friday night with the outgoing government ensuring higher wages and better working conditions, but more than 1,220 doctors who had handed in their notice did not return to hospitals until Wednesday. The protest closed entire hospital departments and forced some hospitals to cancel operations and provide only emergency care. —AFP

US mulls easier access to emergency contraception WASHINGTON: US regulators are considering whether to grant a drug company’s request to make emergency contraception available over the counter to people of all ages instead of by prescription. Currently, the morningafter pill-which can reduce the chance of pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex-is available by prescription only to people under 17 in the United States. Those over 17 can ask for it at a pharmacy counter without a doctor’s prescription. Teva Pharmaceuticals asked the Food and Drug Administration to change its rules to allow its product, Plan B One-Step, to be easily accessible to all ages, and industry watchers expect a

decision on Wednesday. “We believe that this defies good public health sense,” said spokeswoman Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, citing STDs and sexual abuse as possible risks that may be ignored if youths can get the morning-after pill without consulting a doctor. “Of course we are pro-life and of course that is a major issue on this, but we believe there is a real danger that Plan B can be given to girls and sexually abused and exploited minors under coercion and without their consent,” she told AFP. “The doctor can ask good questions to get to if there is a problem of

sexual exploitation. To remove that level of medical supervision to me is removing a huge help to young girls.” Pro-choice advocates have long pressed for greater access to emergency contraception, and voiced hope that the FDA would loosen regulations. “Hopefully, it will be right on the shelves between the condoms and the pregnancy tests,” Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, an advocacy group, was quoted as telling the Washington Post. “We think it’s good news for women’s health and long overdue.” An FDA spokeswoman declined to give any details about the impending decision. — AFP



Parkinson’s & dance: An unusual partnership unites CHICAGO: The two things that have brought Michael and Roslyn Lieb closer together couldn’t be more different: Parkinson’s disease and dance, one slowly taking away, the other giving back in ways they never imagined. After tremors in his right arm and leg 11 years ago led to Michael Lieb’s diagnosis with the debilitating brain disease, his wife became his caretaker. But two years ago, she developed a tremor, too. The diagnosis: Parkinson’s. “I couldn’t believe it. I t seemed incredible to me that we both should have the disease,” he said. “It came as a real shock, a real downer.” “No one in either of our families has Parkinson’s,” she said. “It’s come out of the blue for both of us.” Now retired, the couple still love to read, go the symphony and opera, and get together often with family and friends. Once a week, they head to an unusual Chicago dance class tailored for Parkinson’s patients. A nurse first recommended the Hubbard Street dance classes three years ago, and Michael Lieb figured he had nothing to lose. His wife went along - first to help Michael, now to benefit herself, too. The tremors and stiff, awkward movements of Parkinson’s hardly seem compatible with dancing. But exercise is sometimes recommended for Parkinson’s patients, to improve flexibility, and brain specialists are investigating if dance offers something more. For the Liebs, the answer is clear. “It just lifts the spirits,” said Roslyn Lieb, 69. “It does transport us, to a different planet where Parkinson’s doesn’t matter so much.” “We check our Parkinson’s at the door and we’re all one community, mutually supportive and we dance together,” said her 71-year-old husband. “It’s just a marvelous experience.” The free classes just west of downtown Chicago are offered by an internationally known troupe whose performances blend modern dance, jazz and ballet. Sarah Cullen Fuller, who danced with Hubbard Street for seven years, launched the classes three years ago, borrowing the idea from the Mark Morris Dance Group in New

York. The classes have grown from half a dozen people to sometimes as many as 30 or more. Students include former educators, scientists, doctors “and everything in between,” Fuller says. These dancers wouldn’t be mistaken for Baryshnikov, Martha Graham or even the amateurs on TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.” But their

foot, sashaying in a way with their partners across the dance floor. “They assume that they’re not dancers, whereas I see them as dancers. I don’t see the disease - I try not to. I try not to let it permeate the room. But I also see them working through it and pushing” to find new ways of moving, Fuller said.

question that they’re dancing. The class has become a highlight of their week. Whether the benefits are physical, psychological, or both, Michael Lieb says dancing “has mobilized something in me to make me want to go on, and for as long as it’s effective, I’ll keep doing it.” Parkinson’s involves a loss of brain cells

CHICAGO: Patients listen to an assistant instructor Heidi Landgraf, center, during a dance class therapy for Parkinson’s at the Hubbard Street Dance Center on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 in Chicago. — AP moves are just as stirring, in a less showy, poignant way. Some are in wheelchairs or can barely move without their partners’ help. During a recent class, a man stood behind his wife’s chair, leaning down to gently stroke her immobile arms in time with the music. A pianist with two small drums fills the studio with a steady, soothing beat. Fuller leads students through basic dance exercises - rhythmic arm-lifting, bending and foot-stomping - sometimes while they’re seated in chairs, sometimes on

Michael Lieb is a renowned scholar of the English poet John Milton and was a longtime University of Illinois-Chicago professor; Roz worked as a public interest attorney. They are less severely affected by Parkinson’s than some of their classmates. Their hands shake when they swing their arms toward the ceiling, and their sometimes halting strides across the floor aren’t as long and graceful as Fuller’s. But when the Liebs face each other in a sort-of do-si-do, smiling and rhythmically shifting their feet, there’s no

controlling movement. Besides tremors, it can cause rigid, halting walking, slowed speech and sometimes dementia. Symptoms worsen over time and can be treated with drugs but there is no cure. The disease affects about 1 million people nationwide, 6 million globally, according to the National Parkinson’s Foundation. The cause isn’t known but genes are thought to play a role. Dancing, because it’s accompanied by music, may offer benefits beyond other types of exercise for Parkinson’s patients, including

socialization for people otherwise isolated by their disease, said Harvard neurology professor Dr. Daniel Tarsy, director of the Parkinson’s disease center at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “When you hear music, it sort of drives the emotional parts of the brain,” he said. That may help bypass damaged brain cells in Parkinson’s patients, making movement easier, he said. Tarsy is researching whether that means a real improvement in brain function. Gammon Earhart, a Parkinson’s researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, led a recently published study showing that twice weekly tango classes seemed to help Parkinson’s patients walk more quickly and with less stiffness than patients who didn’t dance. The Hubbard Street class exercises include tango-esque strides across the dance floor, along with positions borrowed from ballet, and more free-form modern dance moves. Michael Lieb says he used to lack the energy and will to do some of the dance exercises. He retired from teaching because Parkinson’s stole his stamina, his impulse to share his ideas and “to excite a class without undue shaking,” Lieb said in the subdued, flat-sounding speech that sometimes comes with disease. The couple has been married for 48 years. With her short coifed silver hair, and his glasses and graying beard, they seem dignified yet down-to-earth and philosophical about how the disease is changing their lives. Parkinson’s is forcing them to sell the spacious suburban Oak Park home where they raised two sons and entertained their three grandchildren; they’ve bought a condo where they won’t have to navigate stairs. “No one knows what the future may hold” and that is what’s most frightening, Roslyn Lieb said, her voice breaking. “I have a goal of dancing at my grandchildren’s weddings.” Together “we represent one unit, one truly healthy person who is becoming more and more unhealthy as time goes on,” her husband said. “But that’s OK. We’re facing up to it and we’re enjoying each other in a way, and loving each other in a way that would have been impossible without the disease.” —AP




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Many, many happy returns of the day to our dear Atira (Atu). Wish you a birthday full of happiness and may God shower all His blessings in your whole life. Love from Aroma, Achan & Amma.

Upcoming events Entertaining events Al-Kout and The British Playhouse join hands in bringing fun, entertaining and educational events to the community. Please join them for lots of fun filled activities. All activities are FREE of charge! Events will include: Face painting, Henna, Characters Clown, Balloon arch Balloon art, gifts for children’s competitions for kids (best drawing, etc). Interactive activities will include: Coloring corner, story telling corner, play dough corner, arts and crafts corner, bricks blocks, board games and puzzles corner on Thursday December 8th, Saturday December 17th, & Thursday December 29th at Al-Kout Mall, FahaheelKuwait From 5pm - 9pm. For more info: 9441-1783.

BSK welcomes Baroness Morris of Bolton


he British School of Kuwait was honoured to welcome a high level delegation from the UK Parliament to meet staff and students. Led by Baroness Morris of Bolton OBE DL, Deputy Speaker, in the House of Lords the group also included the Rt Honourable Lord Fowler PC, Dr Philip Lee MP, Nick De Bois MP and Leo Docherty, Director of the Conservative Middle East Committee. The group visited the Lowry Science

Gallery which was originally opened by Baroness Morris in 2009 and home to the newly refurbished Biology laboratories where they were shown some of the exciting things happening in Science across the school. Students from Year 5 to 13 showcased their Science Fair projects and talked confidently about the work they have been doing in Robotics, Physics and Science clubs. The group then proceeded to the

Euston Art Gallery where Baroness Morris unveiled a plaque and took a tour of the latest exhibition of work from students in Year 5 to Year 13. From Euston it was on to Chequers, the new Sixth Form Centre, which was opened by Lord Fowler. The group was welcomed to Chequers by 20 Year 13 students and a round table discussion took place on their future UK career plans with the MPs over hot mince pies and scones. For their part, the MPs greatly

appreciated the opportunity to learn about the high level of British education on offer at BSK, which every year sends more than 75% of its Sixth Formers to top UK universities, where they pursue careers in Medicine, Engineering, Dentistry and the Arts. The visit concluded with a group photo in Whitehall and a tour of Q Garden. Gift presentations included a copy of The International Schools Award which BSK received earlier this year.

Christmas bell rings The region is getting ready to welcome the spring of Christmas tide as the sweet bells ring the evergreen cadence of the celebration. Men’s Voice and Choral Society - Kuwait, the renowned Christian musicale in Kuwait since 2001 always launch the beginning of the Christmas Carols in Kuwait. This group who were able to put up an incredible Christmas Concert in the form of a 23 ft Living Christmas tree last year is now all set to present their 11th Annual Christmas Music Concert “Celtic Christmas” for all the music lovers of the region on Wednesday 7th, December 2011 at 7.OOpm at Hall of Faith, National Evangelical Church (NECK), KuwaitThis musicale of Men s Voice and Choral Society is led by Choir Master Sam C Abraham, and Frederick Nirmal on the keyboard. They will bring the harmony of western classics, hymns and the melodies of Malayalam songs. Every music lover is cordially invited to this musical concert. For more details contact: 94064465/66044819 or visit: or Christmas Carol concert The Ahmadi Music Group will be holding a fantastic Christmas Carol Concert on December 9 and 10 at New English School (NES) from 5pm both days with an adult show at 7:30pm on both days, in which Santa will be making an appearance, and the children can get involved with singing, waving jingle bells, etc. Guaranteed Christmas fun for the whole family! Talent Hunt Wesal Media Team is organizing a new concept competition for little talents in Kuwait. This competition is for children ages 6-12 years who have excellent talents in singing, dancing, drawing, etc. All interested little talents are welcome to participate. To sign-up, just visit their website and register your child. The final announcements will be published in a short event at Discovery Mall with famous singers and actors in Kuwait. For more information: 9754-7705 Silsila Ye Chahat Ka Youth icon for the millions Shreya Ghoshal will be performing live in Kuwait on Friday, 9th Dec. 2011. ICS is now all set to present “Silsila Ye Chahat Ka” with Shreya Ghoshal at Al Jeel Al Jadeed School, Hawally. The mega evening is organised by Indian Cultural Society. New Year Hangama The RAK Dance Academy (RDA) Kuwait, is planning to put a charity event as celebration of its New Year Hangama 2012, on 31st December, 2011, from 6 pm onwards, at Carmel School Khaitan. All participants are well known artists from Kuwait. The main purpose of this celebration is to collect donations and raise money for supporting handicapped children in India. contributions from you. Your attendance is your donation. Please join for an evening for a good cause. Call 99692266, 65925730 for details. Aware Center Arabic lessons The AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Winter 1 Arabic language courses will begin on November 20th, 2011 until January 12th, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers & those working in the private business sector. Arabic classes at the AWARE Center are unique because students are provided with the chance to practice their Arabic through various social activities that aim at bringing Arabs and Westerners together. AWARE Arabic courses highlight: lIntroductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics lBetter prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic lCombine language learning with cultural insights lTaught in multi-nationality group settings lProvide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information or registration, call 25335260/80 ext 105/104/0 or log onto:

Canadians in Kuwait celebrates upcoming festival season


anadians in Kuwait (CiK) is a nonprofit and membership-based organization supported by Canadian and Non-Canadian volunteers. CiK celebrated the upcoming festival season on the 2nd of December 2011 at Missioni Hotel - Salmiya. There were 250 CiK members and guests who attended this celebration. The event started with a welcome speech by CiK President - Ms Angela Hofmeister welcoming the Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait, Members of CiK and guests. She informed that CiK is celebrating the festival season ahead of time as most of the members/guest will be travelling. Further she highlighted about the life of an expatriate in Kuwait with abundance of warmth, good weather and full of life. She thanked Kuwait for being

such a good host to all the Canadians and all other expatriates alike. She wished all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012. The Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas George graced the occasion along with other staff of Canadian Embassy, Mauliff R. Bose - Counselor (Administration) and Consul. Ms Colleen Mapendere - Counselor (Commerce). The Ambassador greeted all the guests and thanked CiK President and the Executive Committee for organizing this event. He mentioned that along with Canadians he also met this evening with expatriates of other nationalities from US, UK, Australia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and many more. He wished all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The attendees were overjoyed when it was revealed that it was also the birthday of Douglas George the Ambassador. The event became more memorable when the ambassador cut the birthday cake and all audience wished him happy birthday. All guests were offered welcome drinks at the registration desk starting at 7 pm. Later set menu dinner was served on table with choice of meal by each attendee. After dinner, deserts and coffee/tea was served. CiK President Ms Angela Hofmeister and CiK Event Coordinator Ishtiaq Malik conducted the raffle draw. Valuable prizes were won by guests. CiK Executive Committee thanked the sponsors for this event - Devere Group, Malone Givens Parsons Ltd, Pierre Macolini Chocolates Brussels, Toni and Guy, Mercedes Benz,

Insights of Movenpick Hotel Kuwait’s festive season happenings


atch the sprit of the festive season and bring the family along to visit Movenpick Hotel Kuwait at the Free Trade Zone to reveal the different happenings of the season. The building up to Christmas starts in “Bays” restaurant, where as every Friday a special Santa Claus brunch will be wonderful seasonal spread of culinary Christmas delights, traditional Kuwaiti dishes and western seasonal favorites, and no Christmas brunch will be complete without a festive Bouche de Noel, Christmas pudding and delicious mince pies. Nothing could be more prefect than an unsurpassed Christmas Eve in an

ideal setting. Celebrate this day with wonderful feasts shared and the singing of Christmas songs from a choir bought especially to sing for you and make yours Christmas joyful with your loved ones. Movenpick Hotel Kuwait - Free Trade Zone presents to you plenty of chooses whether you choose the international restaurant “Bays” with its unprecedented dinner and lunch buffet or “Cuts” Brazilian restaurant with its amazing Latino dinner or even “Al Dente” restaurant with a one kind Italian A la card menu for your lunch or dinner. Your Christmas Eve will be a luscious experience with Movenpick Hotel Kuwait.

FICCO, Top to Toe, Dive Caroline, Kuwait Times & GOLF Me. Finally CiK President thanked CiK Executive Committee Members for organizing this successful CiK event tonight. Guests enjoyed this event till late night and left in upbeat mood while praising the CiK for such an Event. CiK Executive Committee: Ms. Angela Hofmeister - President, Sandra Baker Vice President, Tiffani Thomas - Secretary, Kamal Benameur - Treasurer, Ishtiaq Malik - Events Coordinator, Michael Cleland Communication Coordinator, Abir Rahim Membership Coordinator, Shawn Hocking - School Coordinator and Members at Large: Manon Grienier, Eleanor Taborer, Margarita Lipkov, Vicky Merrett, Meagan Armagan, Les Hofmeiser, Sophie Corresell, Bobbi Hill, Yves Grenier.

Lecture at AUK


he Center for Gulf Studies at the American University in Kuwait (AUK) is going to organise a lecture “When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics” by Dr Nathan J. Brown, a distinguished scholar and author of several wellreceived books on Arab politics. During his lecture, Dr Brown will be introducing and talking about his latest book When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, which provides an analysis of Islamist movements in Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan on Tuesday, Dec 17 at 10 am. AUK Auditorium Liberal Arts Building.

The lecture will be conducted in English but the speaker can handle questions or interviews in Arabic. Dr Brown, who is also a fluent Arabic speaker, received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, and was previously a scholar in residence at the Middle East Institute. He is currently a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. Dr Brown has recently been a member of the International Advisory Committee on drafting the Palestinian constitution and consultant to the UNDP’s program on governance in the Arab world.

KERA conducts mass signature campaign


uwait Ernakulam Residents Association (KERA) conducts mass signature campaign on a memorandum to show the solidarity and support in the Mullaperiyar Dam issue especially to the residents of Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alapuzha and Ernakulam districts of Kerala. The campaign is focusing to obtain signature from minimum 10,000 people from Kerala. The memorandum is demanding to the authorities to immediately bring down the water level to 120 feet in the dam to ensure safety of 3.5 million people and properties. Approval to construct

a new dam as it fears that a strong earthquake might damage the existing dam. Protect the lives and properties of over 3.5 million citizens. Find an amicable solution (preferably outside court) to this Kerala-Tamil Nadu dispute. Consider the Government of Kerala commitment to undertake ‘water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala’. The organizers stated in a press release that the signed documents will be submitted to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, and the Union Minister for Water Resources of India, and the Chief Minister of Kerala.




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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

KNES primary winter concert


n December 5th, Kuwait National English School hosted yet another successful Primary Winter Concert. The theme of the concert this year was ONE WORLD, in keeping with the school’s Mission Statement of being part of one big Human Family on our Earth Home. Pupils entertained parents with songs from different parts of the world. They looked dashing in their colourful costumes and the audience thoroughly enjoyed their performances.

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


Praise God Ministry holds 6th Thanksgiving Festival


he Praise God Ministry held its annual Sthuthi Swarlapana festival last weekend. The Festival - the sixth since it began in 2005 - attracted over 2,000 people who celebrated with music, drama and dancing. The audience completed the evening with home-cooked food and refreshments. One of the festival’s objectives is to say thanks to the underprivileged section of the workforce in Kuwait by providing them a platform to showcase their talents. The highlight of the evening was the

presentation by Amaal Al Sayyer, KALD Chairperson (Kuwait Association for Learning Differences) of awards to ten volunteers who have helped the community over the last 12 months. Pastor Ratna Maitra said the 2011 Festival was a huge success and the result of tremendous hard work from all the people involved: “The Stuti Swarlapana, or Praise music festival, is our way of showing our gratitude to our families, our mentors, our pastors, our friends and colleagues for helping us when we need them

most. It also provides an opportunity for all of us to have a good time with an evening of song, dance and drama and enjoy a lovely home cooked meal. “ “Each year we discover artists of high quality. The audiences are simply amazed when the performance gets better and better every year.” “Like the previous five festivals, the 2011 event required tremendous effort and sacrifice from many of the Praise God Ministry family members, who have been working hard over the past two months to make the evening possible.”

“This year we gave a special thanks to Mrs. Jackie Zandstra, the widow of the late Pastor Jerry Zandstra who sadly passed away in July 2011. Zandstra had the opportunity to return to America to be with her family and children, but instead, she chose to stay in Kuwait and continue the work that she and Pastor Jerry have been doing for the last 26 years - Thank you Jacque. Pastor Ratna Maitra said that despite the cold weather, the congregation enjoyed the evening and that everyone is looking forward to next year’s event.

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

‘Silsila Ye Chahat Ka’


outh icon for the millions Shreya Ghoshal will be performing live in Kuwait on Friday, 9th Dec. 2011. The mega evening is organised by Indian Cultural Society. After hosting memorable events such as “ Parda Hai Parda” with Munawwar Masoom, Surinder Singh & Poonam Bhatia, “Mahakte Lamhe” with Udit Narayan, Neha Chauhan &Trishna Mukharjee, “Dil Ki Awaaz “ with Kavita Krishnamurti & Bharti Singh, “Jashn e Bahara’n” with Talat Aziz & famous poets, “Nazar Ke Samne” with Kumar Sanu & Bali “Taal se Taal” with ALKA Yagnik, “Shaam e Sangeet” with Hema Sardesai, “Shaam e Shibani” with Shibani Kashyap Suroon-Ki-Shaam, Shaame-Ghazal, Geet & Ghazal Nite, Shabe-Meraj, Jhoomte Sitare, Shaam e Ghalib with Kader Khan & many morem ICS is now all set to present “Silsila Ye Chahat Ka” with Shreya Ghoshal at Al Jeel Al Jadeed School, Hawally. The Chief Guest for the event will be ambassador of India, Kuwait and the guest of honor will be prominent personalities from Kuwait. The evening will witness new fashion and ever green songs by leading female playback singer from Indian cinema Shreya Ghoshal. She will perform with her world fame orchestra & musician along with co singer Shiv Prasad Mallaya. Young talents from Kuwait will be another attraction of the evening.

Glory of India award


mong the Indian Community in Kuwait, three personalities were honored in the past and two more were conferred this year. Eng. Mammen employed in Gulf Consult was honored for his field performance (Engineering) as well as social activities. The Awards were presented by the chairman of IIFS & Ex-Director of CBI Joginder Singh. Eng. Mathews Mammen, Senior Consultant received the “Glory of India Award” during the Award presentation Ceremony held in Dubai on Friday 18th November 2011. More than 80 Indian Diaspora from India, Middle East & other part of the world were honored during the event. Glory of India Award is presented to residents as well as non resident Indians and to a galaxy of achievers of extra ordinary excellence in different fields of life, including business & industry, Science and Technology, Medicine, Architecture, Engineering,


iswakarma Organisation for Ideal Career and Education (Voice Kuwait) conducted 2nd annual meeting. Voice Kuwait president P.G Binu preceded over the function. Voice Kuwait General Secretary K.Chandramohanan made welcome speech. Vanitha Vedhi Gen:Secretary Mini Krishna presented the annual report. After the discussion among the members the meeting passed the report. The central committee members for the year 2011-2012 are elected, Saritha Rajan (President), Usha Lakshmi (Gen: Secretary), Sarojani Mohandas (Treasurer), Smitha Vijayan (Vice President), Radha Madhavi (Joint Secretary), Suja Rejimon (Arts Secretary), Sreekala Vipin (Sports Secretary). Advisory members: Deepa Baluchandran, Mini Krishna, Lathika Dileepkumar, A.K.Vilasini. Executive members: Nimya Surendran,Ramani Surendran,Divya Kumar, Latha, Salini Raju,Girija Raveendran, Leelamma Lakshman, Shabina Bijith, Vipinna Rajeev. Surendran Mathur, AR Sathyan, Raghunathan Achary, M.Sreenivasan, Gopinathan, Baiju Vijayan, Joy Appukuttan, Rajimon, Pramod Kakkoth, Surendran, Pradeepan, Suresh, Sekaran, and Vasudhevan made felicitation speeches. Saritha Rajan gave vote of thanks.


EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to request all Kenyans resident in or training through Kuwait to register with the Embassy. We are updating our database. This information is necessary in order to facilitate quick assistance and advise in times of emergency. Kindly visit in person or register through our website The Embassy is located in: Surra Area Block 6 - Street 9 - Villa 3 Tel: 25353362 - 25353314; Fax: 25353316. nnnnnnn

Administration, Corporate Management, Education, Literature and culture. This Award is arranged by India International Friendship Society(Iifs), New Delhi, an International

Organization of global repute that promotes Universal brotherhood and works for India’s development by campaigning for and mobilizing NRI and foreign investment in India.

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

Swarnonnito Abritti chorcha Kendra holds recital evening for kids

S Voice Kuwait Vanitha Vedhi elects new central committee

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed December 25, 2011 (Sunday) “Christmas Day”.

wamonnito Abritti Chorcha Kendra, Kuwait organized a special recital evening on the occasion of Eid re-union in November. Expatriate Bengali poet, literature, journalist, cultural activist as well as community leaders shared their joy with the newly introduced recitation artists in Kuwait. The program was brilliantly coordinated by Sheikh Ehsanul Haque Khokan, and Jahangir Hossain Bablu president of Jatiya Kabita Parisad, Kuwait. The chief instructor of Swamonnito Abritti Chorcha Kendro, renowned recitation maestro Babul Akhtar Noor, literature Mohammed Ali Azam, recitation artists respectively Patrick Gomez, Kamruzzaman babu, Sanjeeb Bhadra Chandan, Kazi Mahbubul Islam Liton, Kantha Pathik, Shah Sumon Rahat had recited from the best creation of renowned Bengali poets. Renowned expatriate political activist Sheikh Akramuzzaman, gallant freedom fighter Abdur rab engineer, Bahauddin Siddiqui Lablu, Abul Bashar, Ritu Ranga Shilpi Goshti general secretary, Jatiya Party President Mahmud Ali, Abdul Khaleque Sylhet, Abdul Kader Mullah President of Bangladesh social welfare society and B.N.P. leader, poet Abdur Rahim General Secretary of Probasi Sahitya Parisad, Abdur Rauf mawla editor of monthly Marulekha, Khorshed Rafique Raja patwary president of Rangdhanu Shipangon and other prominent members attended the program. Teenager artists Kangkhita, Sifat, Farhad, Jihad, Tanjimul, Tasuirnul, Rafia Sultana Rim, Razia Sultana Meem presented their best recitation performance in the program. Prizes were presented to them by distinguished guests. Literature Mohammed Ali Azam was also awarded a crest in honor for his Bengali literary exercise and contribution. Patrick Gomez profoundly amused the presence

with his musical talent by presenting the best song of musical legend Dr Bhupen Liazarika. Amzad Hosen Khoka, with his presentation of patriotic song filled the expatriate hearts. Jahangir Hossain Bablu, Kantha Pathik and Mahbubul Islam Liton pre-

sented their art of humor and amused the audience. The audience whole heartedly thanked Swamonnito Abritti Chorcha Kendra aand wished them all the best to the overseas next generation pioneers of Bengali art and culture.



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I’m Alive Animal Cops Phoenix Life Of Mammals Speed Of Life I’m Alive Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Animal Cops Phoenix Animal Cops Specials 2009 Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Natural Born Hunters The Really Wild Show Breed All About It Dogs 101: Specials Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Animal Cops Houston Bondi Vet Wildlife SOS SSPCA: On The Wildside SSPCA: On The Wildside Animal Cops Phoenix Life Of Mammals Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Natural Born Hunters The Really Wild Show Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Extraordinary Dogs Bondi Vet Breed All About It Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Mutant Planet Animal Kingdom Animal Kingdom Untamed & Uncut

Gavin & Stacey My Family My Family The Weakest Link Casualty Doctors My Family 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Poetry Pie Buzz & Tell Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles My Family My Family The Weakest Link Return To Cranford Doctors EastEnders Casualty My Family My Family My Family Return To Cranford The Weakest Link Doctors EastEnders Casualty Return To Cranford The Weakest Link Doctors EastEnders Big Bear Diary Big Bear Diary Coast

00:20 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 00:50 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 01:15 Come Dine With Me 02:05 What Not To Wear 02:55 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 03:25 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 04:15 Come Dine With Me 05:05 What Not To Wear 06:00 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 06:25 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 07:20 Bargain Hunt 08:15 Daily Cooks Challenge 08:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 10:45 Antiques Roadshow 11:35 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 12:20 Bargain Hunt 13:05 Come Dine With Me 13:55 Daily Cooks Challenge 14:25 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:25 Cash In The Attic USA 15:45 Antiques Roadshow 16:40 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:25 Bargain Hunt 18:10 Come Dine With Me 19:00 Kirstie & Phil’s Perfect Christmas 19:50 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey: Christmas 20:45 Come Dine With Me 21:35 Antiques Roadshow 22:25 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 23:10 Bargain Hunt 23:55 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook

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 World Business Report 14:45 Sport Today 15:00 GMT With George Alagiah 15:30 GMT With George Alagiah 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 16:30 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 19:30 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 23:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:30 World Business Report 23:45 Sport Today

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The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones Johnny Bravo Duck Dodgers King Arthur’s Disasters The Scooby Doo Show Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry Popeye The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Pink Panther & Pals Tex Avery Duck Dodgers The Garfield Show New Yogi Bear Show Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Pink Panther And Pals Puppy In My Pocket The Garfield Show Dastardly And Muttley The Flintstones Tom & Jerry Pink Panther And Pals Top Cat New Yogi Bear Show Puppy In My Pocket Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas The Jetsons Duck Dodgers Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Tom & Jerry The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races Scooby-Doo And ScrappyDastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Dexters Laboratory Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Top Cat Wacky Races Tom & Jerry The Scooby Doo Show Dastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Johnny Bravo Dexters Laboratory

00:15 Samurai Jack 00:40 Megas XLR 01:05 Robotboy 01:30 Squirrel Boy 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Cramp Twins 02:45 Chop Socky Chooks 03:10 Best Ed 03:35 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Generator Rex 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 05:40 Chowder 05:55 Powerpuff Girls 06:30 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:55 I Am Weasel 07:20 Squirrel Boy 07:45 Cow & Chicken 08:00 Eliot Kid 08:25 Angelo Rules 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 09:40 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 10:05 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 10:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 10:55 Cow & Chicken 11:20 I Am Weasel 11:35 Adventure Time 12:00 Ben 10 12:25 Bakugan Battle Brawlers


12:50 The Secret Saturdays 13:15 Samurai Jack 13:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 14:05 Codename: Kids Next Door 14:30 Skunk Fu! 14:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 15:15 The Amazing World Of Gumball 15:40 Ed, Edd n Eddy 16:05 Camp Lazlo 16:30 Chowder 16:55 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 17:25 Cow & Chicken 17:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 18:15 The Amazing World Of Gumball 18:40 George Of The Jungle 19:05 Codename: Kids Next Door 19:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 19:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 20:20 Generator Rex 20:45 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 21:10 Sym-Bionic Titan 21:35 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 22:00 Hero 108 22:25 The Amazing World Of Gumball 22:50 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 23:50 The Secret Saturdays

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 Backstory 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 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 21:00 International Desk 21:30 Living Golf 22:00 Quest Means Business 22:45 CNN Marketplace Europe 23:00 Piers Morgan Tonight

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Danger Coast Dual Survival Overhaulin’ Dirty Jobs Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Stuff’S Made How It’S Made Dirty Jobs Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear Overhaulin’ How Stuff’S Made Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings Gold Rush: Alaska Coal Ultimate Survival Dual Survival Danger Coast Cash Cab Us Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear Overhaulin’ Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings How It’S Made How Stuff’S Made Cash Cab Us One Man Army Frontline Battle Machines... Nothing Personal

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The Gadget Show The Tech Show The Kustomizer Stunt Junkies Weird Or What? What’s That About? The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Cool Stuff & How It Works The Kustomizer One Step Beyond Brainiac Scrapheap Challenge How The Universe Works The Tech Show Weird Connections The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Brainiac Sci-Fi Science Cool Stuff & How It Works Weird Or What? How The Universe Works One Step Beyond Stunt Junkies The Kustomizer Weird Connections Scrapheap Challenge How The Universe Works Sci-Fi Science The Tech Show Bang Goes The Theory Bang Goes The Theory Science Of The Movies Mission Critical: Hubble The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Bang Goes The Theory Bang Goes The Theory Science Of The Movies

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Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements

02:50 Emperor’s New School 03:15 Emperor’s New School 03:35 Stitch 04:00 Stitch 04:25 Replacements 04:50 Replacements 05:15 Fairly Odd Parents 05:35 Fairly Odd Parents 06:00 Emperor’s New School 06:20 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 06:45 Shake It Up 07:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 07:30 Suite Life On Deck 07:55 Good Luck Charlie 08:20 Fish Hooks 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 09:15 Jungle Junction 09:25 The Hive 09:35 Handy Manny 09:50 Imagination Movers 10:15 Phineas And Ferb 10:30 Emperor’s New School 10:50 Good Luck Charlie 11:15 Phineas And Ferb 11:35 Suite Life On Deck 12:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:25 Sonny With A Chance 12:45 Good Luck Charlie 13:10 Hannah Montana 13:30 Suite Life On Deck 13:55 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:20 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 14:55 Good Luck Charlie 15:20 Phineas And Ferb 15:45 Fish Hooks 16:10 Shake It Up 16:35 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 17:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 17:25 Good Luck Charlie 17:50 Fish Hooks 18:15 Shake It Up 18:45 Suite Life On Deck 19:35 Good Luck Charlie 20:00 Emperor’s New School 20:25 Fish Hooks 20:50 Hannah Montana 21:15 Sonny With A Chance 21:35 Good Luck Charlie 22:00 Shake It Up 22:25 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 22:50 Sonny With A Chance 23:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 15 Unforgettable Hollywood Tragedies 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 E!es 11:10 Bridalplasty 12:05 Bridalplasty 17:55 E! News 18:55 Bridalplasty 19:55 Bridalplasty 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Bridalplasty 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians00:55 Style Star 01:25 Cheating Death 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Giuliana & Bill 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kendra 13:35 Kendra 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:35 Giuliana & Bill 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 E!es 19:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kendra 21:55 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting A Haunting I Almost Got Away With It FBI Case Files Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Street Patrol Street Patrol On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Street Patrol Street Patrol On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Disappeared FBI Files FBI Files Forensic Detectives Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Disappeared Fbi’S 10 Most Wanted FBI’s 10 Most Wanted


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Treks In A Wild World Destination Extreme Word Travels Wild Rides The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia Around The World For Free Nomads Treks In A Wild World Destination Extreme Word Travels Wild Rides The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia Around The World For Free Nomads Treks In A Wild World Bondi Rescue: Bali Bondi Rescue Travel Madness Deadliest Journeys Dive Detectives On Surfari Departures Bondi Rescue: Bali Bondi Rescue Travel Madness Deadliest Journeys Dive Detectives On Surfari

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Rage: Carrie 2-PG15 Brotherhood-PG15 Tank Girl-PG15 The Fast And The Furious-PG15 Shinjuku Incident-PG15 S.W.A.T.: Firefight-PG15 Bangkok Adrenaline-PG15 Shinjuku Incident-PG15 Spiderman 2-PG15 Bangkok Adrenaline-PG15 8 Mile-PG15 Legion-18

01:00 The Client List-PG15 03:00 The Boys Are Back-PG 05:00 Parlez-Moi De LA Pluie-PG15 07:00 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 09:00 Desperate Hours: An Amber Alert-PG15 11:00 The Boys Are Back-PG 13:00 Shrek Forever After-FAM 15:00 The Eclipse-PG15 17:00 The Open Road-PG15 19:00 Jack Goes Boating-PG15 21:00 The Green Hornet-PG15 23:15 Jackass 3-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 American Dad 02:00 Weeds 02:30 South Park 03:00 Friends 04:00 According To Jim 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Yes Dear 06:30 Just Shoot Me 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 According To Jim 08:30 Friends 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 Friends With Benefits 10:00 Traffic Light 10:30 Just Shoot Me 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 According To Jim 13:00 Friends 13:30 Seinfeld 14:00 Just Shoot Me 14:30 Traffic Light 15:00 Friends With Benefits 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Yes Dear 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 Community 19:30 Wilfred 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Louie 22:30 Weeds 23:00 South Park 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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Terra Nova True Blood Covert Affairs Once Upon A Time No Ordinary Family Good Morning America Law & Order Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Terra Nova Once Upon A Time No Ordinary Family Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Look-A-Like Eureka The X Factor (US) Look-A-Like Rescue Me Law & Order

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Detroit 1-8-7 Off The Map Terra Nova True Blood Once Upon A Time Commander In Chief Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street Law & Order: Los Angeles Off The Map Terra Nova Once Upon A Time Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Detroit 1-8-7 Tower Prep The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Eureka The X Factor (US) Look-A-Like Rescue Me Century City

01:00 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days18 03:00 Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels-18 05:00 Dorothy Mills-18 07:00 Superman/ Batman: Apocalypse-PG15 09:00 The Karate Kid I-PG15 11:15 Tracker-PG15 13:00 Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time-PG15 15:00 The Karate Kid I-PG15 17:15 Universal Soldier: Regeneration-PG15 19:00 Kiss Of Death-18 21:00 Empire-18 23:00 Paranormal Activity-PG15

00:00 The Prince And Me 3: A Royal Honeymoon-PG15 02:00 When In Rome-PG15 04:00 The Dukes-PG15 06:00 Dragnet-PG15 08:00 12 Men Of Christmas-PG15 10:00 Molly-PG15 12:00 Bandslam-PG15 14:00 Straight Talk-PG15 16:00 The Prince And Me 3: A Royal Honeymoon-PG15 17:30 Indian Summer-PG15 19:30 How High-18 21:30 Funny People-18

01:30 The Limits Of Control-18 03:30 Jude-18 05:45 Ma Vie N’est Pas Une Comedie Romantique-PG15 07:30 Not Since You-PG15 09:00 Catch That Kid-PG 11:00 Fantastic Mr. Fox-FAM 13:00 Not Since You-PG15 15:00 Glitter-PG15 17:00 Unstrung Heroes-PG15 19:00 Preacher’s Kid-PG 21:00 Sea Of Love-18 23:00 The River-PG15

01:00 03:30 PG15 05:30 07:15 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Boogie Nights-18 The Day After TomorrowThe Ramen Girl-PG15 Adam-PG15 Stone Of Destiny-PG15 16 To Life-PG15 Hurricane Season-PG15 School Of Rock-PG15 Stone Of Destiny-PG15 Cop Out-PG15 The Green Hornet-PG15 Chico & Rita-18

00:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 02:00 Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.-PG 04:00 Shipwrecked-PG 06:00 The Archies In Jugman-FAM 08:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 10:00 The Big Green-PG 12:00 Christopher Columbus-PG 14:00 Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.-PG 16:00 A Venetian Rascal Goes To America-PG15 18:00 The Big Green-PG 20:00 Tooth Fairy-PG 22:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM

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Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Trans World Sport UFC Unleashed UFC Countdown Speedway WWE Bottom Line Intercontinental Le Mans Cup

00:00 Futbol Mundial 00:30 Asian Tour Golf 01:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 01:30 Golfing World 02:30 ICC Cricket World 03:00 Snooker UK Championship 11:00 World Cup of Pool 12:00 World Cup of Pool 13:00 US Bass Fishing 14:00 FEI Equestrian World 14:30 Spirit of Yachting 15:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 15:30 Live Snooker UK Championship 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 Live Snooker UK Championship

02:00 World Cup of Pool 03:00 World Pool Masters 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 FEI Equestrian World 05:30 Spirit of Yachting 06:00 World Hockey 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Asian Tour Golf 08:30 European Senior Tour Highlights 09:30 European PGA Tour Highlights 10:30 European Tour Weekly 11:00 Live European PGA Tour 16:00 Golfing World 17:00 Live Rugby Union Varsity Match 19:00 Trans World Sport 20:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 21:00 Golfing World 22:00 Live Pool Mosconi Cup 02:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Prizefighter UFC Unleashed WWE Smackdown Speedway FIM World Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Aquabike World Power Boats Nations Cup Le Mans Series Magazine UFC All Access WWE Vintage Collection V8 Supercars Championship Power Boats Cup WWE Vintage Collection Speedway WWE NXT UFC 140 Countdown UFC Unleashed Live Pool Mosconi Cup

Classifieds THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2011

FOR SALE Samsung automatic washing machine 6.5 kilo, plus dr yer whirlpool KD 70/both of them. Contact: 90029751. 6-12-2011 32” Sony LCD TV in excellent condition KD 90/-. Contact: 99598324. (C 3757) Furniture for sale, Shaab Sea side, Spectacular direct sea view, very close to the Canadian Embassy - 3 bedrooms flat. Wood flooring and wall paper in the living room. Contact: 60027061 / 97310272. (C 3761) Mitsubishi Jeep, Nativa, model 2010, white color, 6 cylinder engine alloy rim, registration till 20-04-2013, excellent condition (installment possible), cash price KD 3,550. Contact: 99105286. (C 3762) 5-12-2011 Mercedes Benz 1998 (E 200), color beige, running condition, registration till May 2012. Price KD 600. Contact: 97277135. 4-5-2011

SITUATION VACANT Looking for immediate employment Pakistani/ Indian/Bangladeshi cook who is ready to work on part time or full time basis and can cook for a small Pakistani family. Contact: 24828124. (C 3763) 6-12-2011 English speaking female lady Indian / Sri Lankan full time live-in housemaid is required in Salmiya for an Indian family. Contact: 25635450 / 99838117. (C 3760) 5-12-2011


Indian Accountant highly experienced in preparing Trial Balance, P&L, Balance Sheet, Budget & Budget controls, Dealing with Banks, all Accounting Procedures, L/Cs, Foreign Purchase, oil field Tenders, knowing Arabic, Accounting Softwares Tally, Al-Sahel, BIS, with Driving License available immediately. Can work as Secretary also. Contact: 97669236 / 24315927. (C 3758)

MATRIMONIAL Bride wanted for Hindu Nair (M.S, USA), Rohini, 28, 5’7”, E&E Eng. (Kuwait). Prefer educated, traditional yet modern pleasant girl from well to do cultured family. Contact Email: (C 3754)

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbasiya near Integrated Indian School, High Land Super Market building, Keralite family. Contact: 99379252. (C 3759)

CHANGE OF NAME I, Luis De Almeida, have changed my mother’s name from Francisquina Marques to Carmina Marques and father’s name from Antonio Xavier Almeida to Antonio Xavier de Almeida for the purpose of my Passport No. J3505800. (C 3765) I, Luis De Almedia, r/o H.No. 539, Dona Paula, IIhas, Goa, change my name from Luis Almeida to Luis De Almeida for the purpose of my Passport No. J3505800. (C 3766) 8-12-2011




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stars CROSSWORD 521



Aries (March 21-April 19) If you have given any thought to committing your thoughts and deeds to a book or journal, now would be the appropriate time, as you will be full of imagination and creativity. Your ideas and thinking, together with your talent for putting your thoughts into words, would allow you to captivate and spellbind. You might even find yourself enjoying a good movie or book. Alliance with others and manners are the major keys to emotional satisfaction now. Friendship and charm are most satisfying and the insufficiency of them can be emotionally disturbing. Matrimony and other partnerships, as well as close personal ties to other people, deserve your most critical attention. Someone close to you watches and uses you as a mentor.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Escaping from the everyday, ordinary ways of doing things could prove most enjoyable now. You may find it easy to bring a group together with your words or ideas that move others. Poetry and art may be possible at this time. Your whole world may seem meditative or dreamy. It may benefit you in many ways to take the time to reflect and truly understand your own particular situation: just how you feel about yourself. Feelings in particular, or the emotions of those around you, may be very clear—a nice time. You may realize that now would be a perfect time to get a program of self-help started, especially dealing with your work habits, diet and exercise. The bottom line to all of this is simply that you want to feel energetic and proud of yourself.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A fluorocarbon with chlorine. 4. Used in an attack. 10. Inquire about. 13. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 14. At risk of or subject to experiencing something usually unpleasant. 15. The ratio of the distance traveled (in miles) to the time spent traveling (in hours). 16. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 17. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 18. The cry made by sheep. 19. Jordan's port. 21. Excessive desire to eat. 22. A decree that prohibits something. 24. A beverage made by steeping tea leaves in water. 25. (biology) Rough to the touch. 27. A fatal disease of cattle that affects the central nervous system. 30. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 32. A member of a widespread group of Amerindians living in northeastern South America. 36. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 38. The syllable naming the fourth (subdominant) note of the diatonic scale in solmization. 40. That is to say. 41. A small ball with a hole through the middle. 43. Port city in western Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. 45. (Spanish) Saffron-flavored dish made of rice with shellfish and chicken. 47. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 48. King of Saudi Arabia since 1982 (born in 1922). 50. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 51. In addition. 54. A large vase that usually has a pedestal or feet. 58. An ancient Hebrew unit of dry measure equal to about a bushel. 59. Being two more than fifty. 60. An antibiotic (a semisynthetic oral penicillin (trade names Amoxil and Larotid and Polymox and Trimox and Augmentin)) used to treat bacterial infections. 62. Headdress that protects the head from bad weather. 63. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 64. A written statement of the grounds of complaint made to court law asking for the grievance to be redressed. 65. Antibacterial drug (trade name Nydrazid) used to treat tuberculosis. DOWN 1. The closing section of a musical composition. 2. A slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer. 3. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 4. State capital of New York. 5. Brief episode in which the brain gets insufficient blood supply. 6. An adherent of any branch of Taoism. 7. The superior of a group of nuns. 8. Wearing or provided with clothing. 9. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 10. An area in which something acts or operates or has power or control. 11. (often followed by `of') A large number or amount or extent. 12. African mahogany trees. 20. With no effort to conceal. 23. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 26. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 28. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 29. Large family of important mostly marine food fishes. 31. Tropical woody herb with showy yellow flowers and flat pods. 33. A Hindu prince or king in India. 34. A resource. 35. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 37. Minute freshwater crustacean having a round body enclosed in a transparent shell. 39. The Japanese art of folding paper into shapes representing objects (e.g., flowers or birds). 40. Wearing or provided with clothing. 42. An informal term for a father. 44. An ancient Greek city on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. 45. Liver or meat or fowl finely minced or ground and variously seasoned. 46. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 49. Fleshy and usually brightly colored cover of some seeds that develops from the ovule stalk and partially or entirely envelopes the seed. 50. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 52. A branch of the Tai languages. 53. Profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger. 55. Standard temperature and pressure. 56. The address of a web page on the world wide web. 57. An argument opposed to a proposal. 61. The presence of an unwanted signal via an accidental coupling.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) There could be a change in plans today and if that is so, you will have to help make some big adjustments so that all will know their jobs. This could be because there is a change in the weather, a change in accommodations or a change in people that have leadership roles. Whatever the case, you will be able to step in and make the transition as easy as possible. Your job may be more satisfying just now and you could be taking in the responsibility that it entails more than usual. You may suddenly find yourself enjoying much approval, especially with superiors or in relation to the work that you do. Some form of flattery could find its way to your ears concerning your tastes or belongings and you realize people are watching your conduct.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Your marketing skills are excellent and should be directed to large groups or organizations. This is where you will have your greatest successes. A strong urge to be out and among your friends and socializing is very tempting. You are determined to stick with the important professional issues at this time. There seems to be a big need to make some changes, breaking with the old worn-out patterns from the past. You want anything that is new, different and unique—that motivates and challenges you. Most of your emotional sustenance and feeling of security comes from your closest friends, morals and social interaction now. Your sensitivity and understanding to others needs is well received by those around you.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Being active on the social scene and demonstrating your social graces will be a big step in paving your path to success, particularly if you are in the entertainment industry. This is a time for forging ahead, a time that you can combine business and pleasure and a time to enjoy your career. Your ambition is strong and your achievements are many; count your blessings and enjoy using your talents in the best ways possible. Care must be taken not to waste too much time on any one thing, or you could find yourself battling such things as ulcers or digestive problems. Knowing that you have done a good job will be your reward. Hug a friend this afternoon and then go home and hug each family member. People love to feel needed and hugs are beneficial.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Impatience could cause you to feel in a bit of a rush today. Take care not to try to make up for any amount of lost time—better to be late. Communications are excellent—all day long. You have self-confidence and marvelous persuasive talents and will use these things to enhance your career. This could mean a higher-up is indecisive and needs persuasion to see the views of you and your co-workers. This afternoon is a time of accomplishment—stay focused. Figuring out new ways to make your dreams come true is essential to your well-being. This could be the beginning of great enthusiasm as well as pleasure in your pursuit of professional aspirations. A friend may be calling on you to lend a hand in something very important this evening.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


This is a time when you will have to give yourself time to make decisions. Moving too quickly could find you making some wrong choices. Everyone around you seems preoccupied or extremely busy so it may not be so easy to find the help you might need. Stay focused and you will instinctively know what is needed to win support for your views and projects. There is an impulse for a social life that could quickly turn from good to difficult as you may feel frustrated by someone’s attitude or by your own stumbling blocks. Perhaps your feelings are that some avenues of support have been closed. Arguments of an emotional kind may be easy to find, if you are not careful. Your focus will be best served on things that are ordinary this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is the danger of foggy thinking and of your being misled or getting too carried away with some plan or idea this morning. There could be a lot of mental pressure. This will all pass in time, but for now, take your breaks and get away for a while from your work or any repetitive activity with which you are involved. A very close friend or relative, whom you care for a great deal, could be coming to you for advice and counsel concerning a very personal issue. This evening is a great time to reflect on your goals and what the next step is in making the progress you want to achieve. Emotions, or the feelings of those around you, may be very clear. With just a few words, you can guide a youngster in a positive direction regarding budgeting.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Since energies are perfect for your type of self-expression and work well with your particular ideas and thoughts, you should find yourself being most persuasive with others. Expect an illuminating conversation with someone you love. Independence, as well as anything unusual and different, will be valued. Sophistication and connection to others is the key element to emotional gratification for you now. Rapport and splendor are deeply satisfying and you are a wizard at achieving good relations between what others would see as enemies. Close personal ties to other people are a focal point for your feelings and you may find marriage and other associations being the key arena for this. Your emotional support comes from friends.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


The idea of value or a greater appreciation for things of value is right up your alley just now. You may find yourself gaining a great deal materially. It is most assuredly a time when tangible things have a great deal of importance for you. Your emotions or the feelings of those around you should be quite clear, making it a great time to reflect and truly understand your own situation. A super time! The folks around you are appreciative of your ability to be able to make constructive suggestions or to help them with practical decisions, which relate to group issues. Knowing exactly what the public wants at this time is yet another feather in your hat. Your name and reputation are spreading quickly. Expect an upgrade soon in your job identity and pay.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Care must be taken to steer clear of overextending your services or your energies. There seems to be a sense of testing the limits at this time. New friends and associates may develop into partnerships and lend assistance in long-term goals. You could be moved to appreciate and perceive all of the beauty in your life and in those around you. Also, everything could assume added importance and worth. The big trick will be to refrain from overspending or indulging too much just now. This is a good time to keep some of your ideas to yourself as you gradually develop them into action. Any dealings with older people or parental figures will go well at this time. A reunion of sorts may take place or be planned for the near future.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Assessing how to go forth with getting things organized, both projects and people should keep you very busy at this time. You could find this a time of unwavering study and thought, as you are not prone to take people’s opinions to heart, without first investigating their motives. They must have some form of authority or evidence and above all else, practical worth and application, to even be worthy of consideration. You could find those around you feeling a big sense of appreciation or value for your contributions and the way you get things accomplished. Someone will understand just how you feel and be sympathetic to your ideas. You are able to tap into a wellspring of inspiration now. Your dreams seem set to become reality and success is imminent.



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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


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Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


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



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Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso

Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

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


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e niv rsar n



lifest yle G o s s i p

ctress Jennifer Aniston and her ex-husband Brad Pitt would be the preferred guests at a holiday meal for many Americans, along with the Duchess of Cambridge. Aniston, the former “Friends” star, topped the list with 30 percent in the survey that asked Americans which celebrity they would like to sit next to at a holiday meal. Pitt polled third with 16 percent, while the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, came in second with 21 percent. Actors Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher and reality television star Kim Kardashian rounded out the top choices. But when it came to party guests, food doyenne Rachel Ray


ccentric pop diva Lady Gaga took her anti-bullying campaign to the White House on Tuesday where she was lauded as a source of strength for many young people who are scared at school. Her visit follows a White House bullying conference earlier this year, called to mitigate the plight of nearly a third of US schoolchildren, or 13 million students, who are bullied each year, according to official figures. President Barack Obama was away making a major speech on the economy in Kansas, but Lady Gaga was welcomed to the White House by Valerie Jarrett, one of his most senior political advisers. “Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal oneshe has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different,” Jarrett said in a White House blog post. “I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the


was the person chosen by 31 percent of people, followed by late night talk show host Jay Leno, who was a distant second at 17 percent. Celebrity chef Paula Deen was named as the cook most people wanted to prepare their holiday meal. Cantankerous chef Gordon Ramsey came in second, while Martha Stewart was third. The poll, conducted by retailer HomeGoods, questioned 1,008 Americans in an online survey in October.

spotlight on important issues. “Over the last three years, we have seen that when we work together on behalf of human rights, we can accomplish truly amazing things, yet too many young people still remain at risk.” The “Bad Romance” singer has linked up with the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which will explore ways to enhance the safety of children at school. Obama encountered an extravagantly dressed Lady Gaga during a fundraising event in California in September, and ABC News said she brought up bullying with the president during a closed question and answer session. Lady Gaga told fans in September that she would bring up the case of a 14-year-old New York boy Jamie Rodemeyer, who committed suicide after complaining in an online video that he had been bullied.

Acclaimed US soul singer Howard Tate, who worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin before falling into drug-taking and then staging a faith-inspired comeback, has died at age 72, officials said. Tate, who recorded “Get it While You Can” before it became a massive hit for Janis Joplin, died of natural causes in Burlington, New Jersey, the local medical examiner told the StarLedger newspaper. He attributed his professional rebirth to having found God late in life, producing his 2003 record “Rediscovered”-which was nominated for a Grammy for best contemporary blues album. Known for his piercing tenor voice, Tate had three top 20 hits including “Get it While You Can” written by his longtime producer Jerry Ragovoy and made more famous by Janis Joplin, the Star-Ledger reported. He toured with acts including Franklin, the Queen of Soul, and Jackie Wilson. But the death of his 13-year-old daughter in 1976 triggered depression and a downward spiral of drug addiction and homelessness. After almost giving up, Tate found God in 1991, and gradually put his life back together, becoming a Baptist minister and resuming his music career over the last decade. “I really thought my family was going to find me somewhere in the alley, dead,” he told The StarLedger in 2003. “I had guns drawn on me, my drugs taken from me. .. But the Lord brought me from all of that.” Three years after “Rediscovered” Tate release the album “A Portrait of Howard,” which included covers of songs by Lou Reed and Randy Newman, according to music website and chart publisher Billboard. Tate died on Dec 2 of complications from multiple myeloma and leukemia, Rolling Stone reported.

Factor” host Steve Jones on Tuesday pleaded with angry fans to “chill out” after hateful online comments against judges who threw a 14-yearold singer off the TV talent show. The British host also hit back at his own critics of his performance on the TV talent contest, defending himself against charges of rudeness and saying he hoped to be back for a second season next year. “Hopefully I will be back for season 2. If I’m back, I’ll be overjoyed. If I’m not. I’ll do something else. It’s as simple as that ... It’s a dream job. I’d be back in a heartbeat for a second season,” Jones, 34, told reporters on a conference call. As the US version of “The X Factor” approaches its climax later this month, eliminations got heated last week when 14-year-old singer Drew Ryniewicza protege of British creator and judge Simon Cowell-was thrown out of the running for the $5 million prize and recording contract in a split decision by the four judges. Drew’s exit left Cowell furious and speechless on last week’s live TV show, and led to a diatribe of vicious comments on social media, particularly against judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. One online posting said Abdul and Scherzinger should “burn in hell” for sending the tearful Drew home. “I know there is a lot of money and a lot of fame at stake. But still, everybody just chill out please. It’s a TV show,” Jones told reporters on a conference call. Fox said it had no comment on the remarks by fans, which some media outlets have characterized as death threats. Five contestants-Melanie Amaro, Marcus Canty, Rachel Crowe, Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik-remain in the contest, whose winner will be decided on Dec 22. Jones, a former model who is a new face on US television, has also been the subject of speculation about his future after some critics and fans called him wooden, awkward and rude. The host acknowledged on Tuesday that he was finding it a challenge to manage all the elements of the live show, and keep the TV broadcast within its time limit. “It has kind of surprised me a little bit how hard the process is,” he said. “It is hard to come across as a fun person and as polite when you are steering such a beast, and with limited time. “I am there to ask certain questions and move the show along ... It can be harsh with people calling me rude and not very nice, because I am not rude and I am nice. “Critique my hosting skills, say I am not funny. I get that. But it’s been a bit harsh, the rudeness thing,” Jones said.



Rapper turned actor/producer Ice Cube might be best known for lighthearted comedy fare such as “Are We There Yet?” and the “Friday” movies these days. But at least part of his attitude is still straight outta Compton. Cube (real name: O’Shea Jackson) has struck a script development deal with FX for a new drama called “Eye for an Eye,” in which he would play a paramedic who, after years of contact with crime victims, decides to go vigilante and avenge crimes, FX confirms to TheWrap. In addition to starring, Jackson will executive-produce, along with Matt Alvarez, his partner in the Cube Vision production company, and Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry from Prospect Park-the same company that recently attempted a failed online revival of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Ice Cube has a full plate these days; in addition to executiveproducing the TBS comedy “Are We There Yet?” he’ll be appearing in the Woody Harrelson crime drama “Rampart” and the big-screen adapta-


tion of “21 Jump Street,” playing Capt. Dickson. Deadline first reported the news.

errence Howard was ordered Tuesday to stay 100 yards (90 meters) away from his estranged wife after she claimed the Oscarnominated actor repeatedly threatened and hit her during their marriage. The star denies the allegations. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon granted the stay-away order sought by Michelle Howard after she filed a lengthy declaration alleging abuse began within a week of the couple’s January 2010 marriage. Michelle Howard filed for divorce a year later. The restraining order remains in effect until a Jan. 17 court hearing. In a text message last week, she claims Howard, 42, has repeatedly hit her and threatened her. She stated in a sworn declaration that she is in constant fear of Howard and has chronic health issues caused by the actor’s treatment. Howard in his own sworn declaration wrote that he has never threatened his wife and that she has repeatedly vowed to ruin his reputation and release private details. “I live in constant fear of Michelle’s endeavors to ruin my reputation; even providing this declaration may well lead to my being subjected to a paparazzi blitz which would not be good for my career,” Howard wrote. Michelle Howard wrote that Howard has hit her sever-


al times and threatened to throw her from a hotel balcony in South Africa last year. She included a text message she said he sent to her on Thursday in which he begged her not to pursue the divorce and threaten his career, ending the missive, “I can’t promise how I will respond. Howard wrote in his filing that he immediately followed up the message with another text stating that he wasn’t threatening her. “Despite my efforts to remove myself physically from (Howard’s) life, his periodic mood swings from anger, threats and violence to statements of love and requests for reconciliation continue and have not subsided,” she wrote. Howard appeared in the first “Iron Man” film and received an Oscar nomination in 2005 for his role in “Hustle and Flow.” His attorney Christian Markey III did not immediately return an email message seeking comment.—Agencies






Guns N’ Roses, Chili Peppers in Rock Hall W

elcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Guns N’ Roses. The seminal rock band of the late 1980s and early ‘90s, best known for hits like “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “November Rain,” leads the 2012 class of inductees announced yesterday. Also making the cut is the hip-hop trio Beastie Boys; rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers; the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro; Donovan; and influential British rock group The Small Faces/The Faces, which included Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. Nyro, who wrote such hits the 5th Dimension’s “ Wedding Bell Blues” and Blood Sweat & Tears’ “When I Die,” is the only female act to make it this time around. The hall passed on Donna Summer, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Heart and Rufus with Chaka Khan, who were on the ballot for 2012. But it wasn’t just women who were denied entry into the rock hall for next year. Voters also passed on hip-hop pioneers Eric B. & Rakim, War, the Cure and the Spinners. Guns N’ Roses blazed on the rock scene in 1987 with their official debut, “Appetite for Destruction.” Fronted by siren-voiced singer Axl Rose, with Slash and Izzy Stradlin on guitars, Duff McKagan on bass and Steven Adler on drums, the group dominated music with its aggressive rock grooves. Early in their career they were criticized for lyrics in the song “One in a Million” deemed as homophobic, misogynistic and racist. They were also defined by their dysfunc-

tion, gleefully embodying the mantra of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The band sold millions and millions of albums, providing a sharp contrast to a pop world defined by the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson. But the

the Chili Peppers. Despite troubles that included the drug-related death of guitarist Hillel Slovak and the departure of guitarist John Frusciante, the band, fronted by Anthony Kiedis, with Flea on bass, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist

Axl Rose, lead singer of the rock band, “Guns N’ Roses,” performs during a concert on the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. —AP group’s turmoil, often on display before the whole world, would cause the core to fall apart by 1996. Their induction should lead to talk once again of a possible reunion, at least for the induction ceremony. Their trajectory was the opposite of

Josh Klinghoffer, released its 10th album, “I’m With You,” this year. The Beastie Boys (Adam Yauch, Mike Diamond and Adam Horowitz) are among the pioneers of rap. The first white act to make real inroads in the emerging genre, they were known ini-

tially for boorish party music, but would develop into a group critically acclaimed for its musicality, experimenting with different soundscapes, even producing an instrumental album. Both Stewart and Wood will become second-time members of the Rock Hall (Stewart was inducted as a solo artist in 1994 and Wood as part of the Rolling Stones in 1989) for the Small Faces/The Faces, a key rock group that developed as British invasion was peaking. Among their hits was the song “Stay With Me.” “Well it’s quite a thrill and honor to make it in the Hall of Fame a second time,” Stewart said in a statement. “We (The Faces) were always synonymous with a good party and with this list of fellow artists being inducted I’m looking forward to (it) ... and it’s a hell of a good reason to reunite and celebrate with my old mates.” Donovan is best known for trippy hits like “Mellow Yellow.” Guns N’ Roses and the Faces were inducted their first time on the ballot. The Chili Peppers had to wait until their second try, and the Beastie Boys and Nyro were denied twice before making it this time around. Other inductees include Freddie King for early influence; rock promoter Don Kirshner, who died earlier this year, receives the Ahmet Ertegun award; and Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matssa will be honored for musical excellence. The Rock and Roll Hall of fame induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland, where the rock hall is based, on April 14. —AP

In this undated publicity image released by Nasty Little Man, the group Beastie Boys, from left, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Michael “Mike D” Diamond are shown. —AP


Well-crafted ‘Tinker’ a real puzzle


A scene from the movie “Fable of the Fish” .

Fable of the Fish in Dubai International Film Fest


he search for dreams, internal peace, and the challenges in managing personal relationships are central themes of the films from the Philippines at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), the leading festival of its kind in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DIFF will be screen two films from the Philippines that will appeal to the large Filipino community in the UAE. Making its world premiere at DIFF 2011 is director Arnel Mardoquio’s Crossfire, screening on Dec 8 at MoE 11, with a second screening on Dec 12 at MoE 5. The film illustrates how the government declared war on hundreds of thousands of internal refugees in the city of Mindanao. A decade later, these refugees or “bakwits” have accepted their fate to avoid being trapped in the crossfire of the armed forces. Members of the cast including two-time Gawad Urian Award nominee for his role in Melancholia (2009) and Sheikha (2010), Perry Dizon and AC Macheca, will accompany director Arnel Mardoquio at DIFF 2011. Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr’s Fable of the Fish interweaves natural and magic realism elements with folk tales, urban myths and traditional faith, explores a woman’s faith in miracles being tested when she becomes pregnant despite her age. She, however, gives

birth to a fish, and now her marriage is tried by strange and surreal incidents. The film, which stars Bembel Roco and Cherry Pie Picache, has been described as a clear example of ‘one of the most adventurous national cinemas of the last decade.’ Director Adolfo Borinaga and leading actress Cherry Pie Picache, two-time winner at the Durban International Film Festival for her roles in Summer Heat (2006) and Foster Child (2008), among other accolades at from the Golden Screen Awards, Philippines, and the Gawad Urian Award, are scheduled to make an appearance at the Festival. DIFF 2011 will screen 171 films from 56 nations representing the best of national, regional and world cinema between December 7 and 14 at the Mall of the Emirates, Madinat Jumeirah and The Walk at JBR. The DIFF box office is open at Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456). The Investment Corporation of Dubai is the title sponsor of the Dubai International Film Festival. The eighth edition of DIFF is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, home to the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

ary Oldman is in a tough spot in “Tinker Tailor or “ Tailor”; the steadfast Roy (Ciaran Hinds), or Soldier Spy.” As the ironically named George “Soldier” and the nosy Toby (David Dencik), or “Poor Smiley, he’s an inherently reticent, veteran Man.” Smiley himself is suspect No 5. And so he must surreptitiously sniff each one out, operative, given to revealing nothing personally or professionally. And yet, as the central figure in this with the help of his much-younger assistant adaptation of John le Carre’s best-selling 1974 novel, (Benedict Cumberbatch, which has to be the greathe must serve as our conduit, our guide through a est name ever). This also prompts him to reflect on shadowy and increasingly dangerous world where his own history with the Soviets. This is a grim, no one is to be trusted and nothing is as it initially methodical world ruled by drab, mistrustful geeks who have come to relish their power, but Alfredson seems. It’s his job to make it accessible for us. Because he’s Gar y Oldman and he’s such a navigates it fluidly and keeps the many complicated chameleon, he finds a slyness beneath the stoic pieces moving with quiet ease. If everything’s shot as veneer, a frightening intelligence that makes him a if it’s hanging in a constant haze, that’s only approsurprisingly formidable force. Oldman leads an excel- priate; we are, too. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a Focus lent cast, a veritable who’s-who of top British actors Features release, is rated R for violence, some sexualworking today, all of whom keep us guessing as to ity/nudity and language. Running time: 127 minutes. who the traitor might be among them. Tomas Three stars out of four. Alfredson, perhaps best known for directing the superb Swedish vampire thriller “Let the Right One Motion Picture Association of America rating defIn,” has crafted a precisely detailed, retro-faded, well- initions: G - General audiences. All ages admitted. acted mystery. But he’s created a mood in this tale of PG - Parental guidance suggested. Some material Cold War espionage that may be a bit too chilly, a may not be suitable for children. tension that may almost be too restrained. PG-13 - Special parental guidance strongly sugYou might feel the need to go back and rewatch “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” a second time - especially gested for children under 13. Some material may be if you haven’t read the book - because, truthfully, it inappropriate for young children. R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying is a bit confusing upon initial viewing. Like the spies he follows, Alfredson gives little away - that includes parent or adult guardian. NC-17 - No one under 17 admitted.—AP cheap scares and easy red herrings, which is admirable - but his film is dreadfully devoid of any sort of propulsive energy. (Thankfully, the evercharismatic Tom Hardy shows up about halfway through as a maverick field agent to liven things up.) Smiley, who’s been forced into retirement from Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service - or “the Circus,” as it ’s k nown - is rehired to uncover a mole among its highest ranks who’s been working for the Soviets. His former boss, k nown as Control ( John Hurt), had narrowed down the suspects to five men and given them nick names. There’s the annoyingly eager Perc y ( Toby Jones), or “Tinker”; the overly con- In this film image released by Focus Features, John Hurt is shown in a fident and stylish Bill (Colin Firth), scene from “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” — AP

Once more, falling slowly for ‘Once’ O

nce upon a time, they made a little indie movie for $150,000 about an Irish street musician and a Czech flower-seller in Dublin. Its breezy, improvisational feel, pleasing folk- pop songs and melancholy romance touched the hearts of countless fans, and it raked in $20 million. As if that weren’t enough, the movie’s two stars and composers, 18 years apart, fell in love during filming, adding to the lore. Oh, and they won the 2007 original song Oscar for the hypnotic “Falling Slowly,” bringing many to tears once again with their moving acceptance speeches. That Cinderella of a movie was, of course, “Once,” now being lovingly revived at offBroadway’s New York Theatre Workshop and will make the leap to Broadway next year - for eager audiences, many of whom fell for the film - not slowly, but fast - and are ready to fall yet again. How these fans will feel about the inevitable story adjustments the creative team has made in the production that opened Tuesday remains an open and subjective question. How faithful does a film-

to-stage adaptation need to be? Discuss. But one thing is clear: The sweetness, the charm, and the deceptively addictive songs by Glen

Hansard and Marketa Irglova are all still there, ready as ever to claim the heart. Add to that some lovely, original staging by director John

In this undated image released by Richard Kornberg & Associates, Steve Kazee, left, and Cristin Milioti are shown in a scene from “Once,” performing at the New York Theatre Workshop in New York. —AP

Tiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett (both of whom were behind the terrific “Black Watch” from the National Theatre of Scotland), not to mention excellent orchestrations by Martin Lowe. The inventiveness of the staging hits you even before the play starts. Walking into the theater, you confront a stage full of musicians - they are also the acting ensemble - playing Irish tunes in a tavern. There are fiddlers (a couple of the bestlooking ones you’ve ever seen), a bassist, a piano player, people drumming on cabinets. It’s loud and lusty and joyful, and you can join in onstage - the tavern’s bar is ready to serve you real drinks. Now for a quick story recap, if you haven’t seen the film (and we’re not judging, but seriously, what were you doing a few years back that you couldn’t spare 88 minutes?) The main characters are Guy and Girl. He’s a Hoover vacuum cleaner repairman who sings in the streets in his spare time. She’s a Czech immigrant who sells flowers by day, cares for a young daughter at night, and grabs precious minutes to play the piano at a music

store. They are brought together by a love for music and a slowly burning attraction, with personal lives full of obstacles to their romance. Over a short period, they transport each other to a different place, emotionally and professionally, and one of the story’s nicest elements is its refusal to tie things up neatly at the end. In the film, Guy was played by the redhaired, gravelly voiced Hansard, Girl by the winsome and soft-spoken Irglova (only 17 at the time.) Neither had acting experience, and many scenes were improvised to fit loosely around the songs. That freewheeling feel is almost impossible to recreate on a stage particularly when the production is aimed eventually at a much larger one, on Broadway - and wisely, the creators aren’t really trying to do that. And so the scenes (the book is by playwright Enda Walsh) are more structured, and snappier. It’s also hard to recreate characters who are loved, especially as, in this case, the original leads infused much of their own personalities into the roles. —AP



e niv rsar n



lifestyle F e a t u r e s


n a recent Wednesday night at Blue Chicago, a long-running club downtown, you had to elbow your way forward just to get past the doorman. Men and women in business suits-collars loosened packed the place, barely leaving room for the waitress to make her way to the bar and back. Two nights later at the Water Hole, a long-running bar on the West Side, the band outnumbered the audience. Septuagenarian blues belter Mary Lane sang for all she was worth, but not more than 15 people, if that, wandered into the place all evening. “It’s been steady going downhill,” Lane said later. “I always had a crowd. I ain’t never had no six or seven people.”

Miguel Nunez, of Chicago, right, dances as Chicago bluesman Eddie Shaw performs with his band The Wolf Gang at Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club in Chicago. — MCT photos

Two clubs, two worlds, one music: the blues. That’s how it goes in Chicago, a blues nexus crisply divided into separate, unequal halves. A sharp racial divide cuts through the blues landscape in Chicago, just as it does through so many other facets of life here, diminishing the music on either side of it. The official Chicago blues scene-a magnet for tourists from around the globe-prospers downtown and on the North Side, catering to a predominantly white audience in a homogenized, unabashedly commercial setting. The unofficial scene-drawing mostly locals and a few foreign cognoscenti-barely flickers on the South and West sides, attracting a mostly black, older crowd to more homespun, decidedly less profitable locales. Not all the grass-roots places are dying as quickly as the music room at the Water Hole. Some, such as Lee’s Unleaded Blues, on the South Side, attract a small but steady crowd on the three nights it’s open each week. But how long can this go on? How long can a music that long flourished on the South and West sides-where the blues originators lived their lives and performed their songs-stay viable when most of the neighborhood clubs have expired? How long can a black musical art form remain dynamic when presented to a largely white audience in settings designed to replicate and merchandise the real thing? At stake is a music that gave rise to jazz, gospel, pop, rock, rap and hip-hop-the pillars, really, of the American sound. If the blues subsists in a few saloons on the South and West sides, if a generic version proffers T-shirts and such in rooms downtown and on the North Side, you have to wonder how the music stays connected to the community that created it. The clubs, after all, always have been the lifeblood of Chicago blues. And in more ways than one, they’re failing. To understand how far the scene has fallen, you need to understand how high it once soared. From the 1950s to the ‘70s, blues joints lit up the night in the city’s AfricanAmerican neighborhoods. Practically every saloon had someone playing in the back of the house, the electrified music beckoning people off the street. “There were so many places on the West Side and South Side that some nights we would just drive around with the window down and listen for the music coming out of the clubs,” remembers Jim O’Neal, a founder and former editor of Living Blues magazine, who began exploring the music in Chicago in the 1960s. “There could be as many as 30 bands playing on a weekend night in Chicago, up until the ‘70s,” recalls Bob Koester, founder of the Chicago blues and jazz label Delmark Records. “Back in the day, you could go to 10 or 15 clubs a night, all along Madison Street, Roosevelt Road, 43rd Street, King Drive, 47th Street, 39th Street,” says veteran bluesman Eddie Shaw. “These were neighborhood bars that had world-class blues bands playing,” observes Bruce Iglauer, founder of Chicago’s Alligator blues label. “I could sit 25 feet away from Howlin’ Wolf.” The list of blues joints seemed almost endless: the Checkerboard Lounge, Theresa’s, Pepper’s, the Rat Trap, the 1815 Club, the 708 Club, Castle Rock, Big Duke’s Blue Flame, the High Chaparral, the Burning Spear, the Seeley Club, Turner’s Lounge, Florence’s Lounge and dozens more. “On Roosevelt Road,” says Shaw, “you could go from door to door for blocks and blocks.” But it wasn’t just the sheer number of places that nurtured Chicago blues-it was what happened inside those oft-dilapidated but sacred spaces. A cultural tradition was communicated not only

Michael Pogue, 29, of Oak Park, enjoys the music at Kingston Mines.

from musician to listener but, equally important, from elder to apprentice. In these barrooms, young artists learned from the masters a music that to this day cannot be fully written down or taught in conservatories. “In 1972, ‘73, I would see Billy Branch-before he became a major musician - sitting in with Lefty Dizz,” remembers Sterling Plumpp, the prominent Chicago blues poet. “I would see these older musicians show him things on harmonica. “That kind of thing happened in the AfricanAmerican community all the time. ... “They were all hanging out.” And they were transmitting a cultural heritage. Times and tastes naturally change, and a litany of welldocumented developments battered the neighborhood blues club: the aging of the audience; the economic decline of the South and West sides; the businesses destroyed in rioting after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr; the rise of rock ‘n’ roll and, later, rap and hip-hop. As if in response, a North Side blues scene took hold in the 1970s and ‘80s, dramatically altering the musical equation. Long-gone rooms such as Mother Blues, Wise Fools Pub, Biddy Mulligan’s and Blues Etc-and still-lively clubs such as Kingston Mines, B.L.U.E.S. and Blue Chicago-gave musicians better pay and exposure to a new audience of tourists and affluent locals. To this day, the major rooms offer musicians first-rate production values and a steady calendar of engagements. Behemoths such as the House of Blues, a chain operation on North Dearborn Street, and Buddy Guy’s Legends, a powerhouse in the South Loop, present a mix of Chicago and touring bands seven nights a week. The music lives. Yet the nature and purpose of these places are far different from the rough-and-tumble spots-the “bucket of blood” joints, as poet Plumpp calls them-that gave the world electric blues in the mid-20th century. “Nowadays a lot of Chicago blues clubs feel like Hollywood movie sets,” observed David Grazian, author of “Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs,” in a 2003 interview with the University of Chicago Press. “On the surface, they feel ramshackle and rusty-the bar stools are worn out, the plaster is falling off the walls, and the floor seems barely mopped. “But if one pans across their ... dimly lit rooms, one begins to notice the bouncers with their headsets; the souvenir shops loaded with T-shirts, trinkets and other tourist trap fare; and the well-heeled out-of-towners who arrive by limousine and tour bus, oblivious to the fact that many of these seemingly dilapidated clubs are located in some of the richest neighborhoods in the city.” Surely the faux roadhouse ambiance of the House of Blues, Blue Chicago, Kingston Mines, B.L.U.E.S. and others have been designed to evoke-or impersonate-an earlier, earthier incarnation of the classic Chicago blues club or Southern juke joint. At their best, these rooms present topflight artists, such as Branch, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater and Vance Kelly. At their worst, they serve up endless repetitions of “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Got My Mojo Working”-a pileup of musical cliches that Iglauer calls “the set list from hell.”

Chris Christmas tunes up his guitar before performing with The Double J Band at the Lee’s Unleaded Blues, South Side’s leading blues club. Which is precisely what the tourists expect. “When a lot of people come to Chicago, they want to get pizza, see Michael Jordan and hear the blues,” says Brian Fadden, manager of Buddy Guy’s Legends. He hastens to add that the club draws locals as well as out-of-towners, and presents both touring stars and homegrown talents. Even so, Chicago blues now “can become like a tourist music, like Dixieland is in New Orleans, where people go to Preservation Hall to see the old musicians playing the same old songs over and over again,” says former blues editor O’Neal. “A lot of people who come to those clubs downtown or the North Side want to hear that. It provides work for the musicians. ... “But I think it’s important that the blues keeps in touch with its roots.” Right now, though, it’s the tourists who keep the major rooms humming. “If you took the out-of-towners from all the clubs, we’d all be in

Laretha Weathersby performs with JW Williams Blues Band in Blue Chicago. trouble,” says Blue Chicago owner Gino Battaglia. Artistically, though, the trouble already is here. The recycled repertoire deadens the art form. The repetition of the same bands as weekly attractions freezes out young musicians, further calcifying the blues in Chicago. “I’m not sure where the good young artists are going to come from,” says Iglauer. They’re out there, but they’ve got their own challenges navigating the clubs. For whites, it’s one thing. “There’s a stigma, a bad idea about how a bluesman must speak a certain way, sing a certain way, smoke a certain way, drink a certain way,” says Guy King, a 34-year-old musician who was born and raised in Israel and migrated to Chicago. “That stigma is not correct. It’s not fair to the people who play this music and sing it well. I’ve tried to perfect my craft. ... Let people enjoy it for what it is.” For blacks, it’s another. “When you’re a younger musician, a lot of older people don’t take you seriously in the blues,” says Chicago guitarist Eric Davis, 39. “There’s a stereotype that’s placed on younger musicians ... and it affects how you’ll be accepted by the club owners and the audience. “I don’t really have as much of a problem with it now, but five or six years ago I sure did.” In the end, it’s not only the musicians who suffer; it’s the blues, as well. So what happens when an indigenous music languishes in the community that created it and gets repackaged for sale somewhere else? An art form starts to die. “We’re losing our audience,” says veteran Chicago bluesman Johnny Drummer. “What we lose is the talent, because the talent has lost the opportunity to expose itself, to improve and to find relevance,” says Tony Mangiullo, owner of Rosa’s Lounge, on West Armitage Avenue. “You’ve lost this unbelievable culture, in terms of what Chicago represented,” says Sam Chatman, who presents the music periodically at East of the Ryan, on East 79th Street. Bluesman Shaw sums it up most succinctly: “The blues is descending rapidly-it’s coming down. You haven’t got too many clubs with the blues. ... You don’t find many black kids interested in the blues. They want hip-hop. “I can’t blame them, because there aren’t many guys around teaching them what the blues is about. Back in my day, all the blues musicians were coming here from Arkansas, Mississippi. All the city was blues musicians. ... “Now young kids, they don’t want to listen to some blues. They don’t want to hear (songs) about some guy’s been beat up. ... They don’t want to hear about starving. They don’t want to go through that anymore.” No musical art form-not even one as historic and resilient as the blues-can long survive the loss of its core audience, its key venues, its young listeners, its future stars. As the scene shrinks, “the standards of the music go down,” says poet Plumpp. “In the black church, and in black clubs, in the Apollo, in the Regal, the African-American community has always held musicians to a very high standard. ... “But I think that the creative side of the music is going ... the cutting-edge activity is going. “I don’t know the business of blues, but it seems that the bookings that the North Side blues clubs do is incapable of identifying and nurturing young talent,” continues Plumpp. “And I’m reluctant to say it, but it’s probably true: At some point, the African-American community has been remiss in thoroughly supporting the best of African-American blues. I have to say that. They are not in the clubs. ... “It’s going through a phase where the premier (blues) places are not located in the African-American community.” When you starve the blues of clubs in its ancestral home, when you cultivate an audience of casual tourists and stop rigorously developing emerging talent, you shatter the infrastructure of the music, the very elements that built the scene in the first place. Yet this needn’t have been the case. In the mid-1960s, Chicago jazz, too, started to lose most of its clubs, showrooms and audiences on the South Side and beyond. Like blues, jazz withered with the rise of rock ‘n’ roll and started losing young audiences. But jazz champions from the nonprofit world rushed in to rescue the music in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Nonprofit organizations such as the Jazz Institute of Chicago and Jazz Unites Inc. staged uncounted concerts, festivals, workshops and summer camps across the city. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians emerged to present its own iconoclastic players, brilliantly rejuvenating the music. Universities, colleges and high schools established ever-expanding jazz programs that trained young musicians and developed new generations of listeners. Today, jazz in Chicago has few-if any-rivals in America in the sheer number of free and inexpensive performances available seven nights a week, nor in the range of young

Patrons listen to blues singer Mary Lane as she performs with her band at The Water Hole, a long-running West Side blues club.

talent perpetually reinventing the art form. The blues did not benefit from such a campaign, notwithstanding the heroic efforts of a few small foundations. Despite the wreckage, the embers of what used to be still glow softly on the South and West sides. Rooster’s Palace on West Madison Street, Hot City Cocktail Lounge on South Racine Avenue, Gene’s Playmate Lounge on West Cermak Road, For the Good Times Lounge on South Damen Avenue and a few other neighborhood bars bring out blues on select nights. At the same time, though, Linda’s Place, on West 51st Street, just switched off the music. The New Checkerboard Lounge, in Hyde Park, has been dying for audiences. Even Artis’s Lounge, on East 87th Street, hasn’t been drawing crowds quite like the old days for Branch’s fabled Monday night shows, says owner Artis Ludd. The proprietors of the North Side emporiums, meanwhile, doubt they would still be in business if they didn’t already own their buildings. “If we were paying $10,000 or $15,000 a month rent-because it’s a big place-we would not survive very long,” says Doc Pellegrino, founder of Kingston Mines on North Halsted Street.

Blues singer Melon Lewis, aka ‘HoneyDew,’ right, performs with Mr Shorty Mack and his band at Lee’s Unleaded Blues. “Even the property taxes and overhead gets to be insurmountable,” says Robert Hecko, owner of B.L.U.E.S., across the street from Kingston Mines. “It’s been suggested we need a blues czar,” says Janice Monti, chair of sociology at Dominican University in River Forest and the driving force behind an international blues symposium there. “We need to market this music the way New Orleans and Austin have marketed their musical legacy. ... “In the South, soul blues is played on the radio. Where is blues played on the radio in Chicago? “If you want to create a vibrant climate for the clubs, you have to educate the audience.” And you have to build it. You have to ensure that the music hasn’t been repositioned to serve conventioneers and expense-account visitors above all others. For without a healthy local audience and a network of neighborhood listening rooms, the blues becomes a shell of what it once was. Meanwhile, the struggle continues. “I’m out here trying to keep a roof on my head and a piece of bread in my mouth,” says singer Lane, who insists she’ll be performing Friday nights at the Water Hole as long as a single customer walks in. Not everyone has her perseverance. “The consequence of what’s happening is that people will play other types of music in order to be paidnot that they ever got paid worth a damn working at Chicago clubs anyway,” says veteran blues musician and author Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr (aka Chicago Beau). “Places like Kingston Mines will always sell the blues brand. ... “But you can’t look to the clubs and the club owners to pursue blues as a culture. It is to them purely a commodity, nothing more than a bottle of whiskey, and how much money you can make off of it.” Not an ideal approach for preserving a great American art form. — MCT

Blues enthusiasts are taking pictures as Laretha Weathersby performs with JW Williams Blues Band.



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lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Elmer Long started collecting bottles in the 1960s with his father. Now his Bottle Tree Farm in Oro Grande, California, features a folk art forest made of metal, glass and other found objects. — MCT photos


o see the forest for the trees, drive north from Victorville, Calif, on old Route 66 into the desert, past the cement factory where Elmer Long toiled for decades, to a grove of metal and glass that is more than the sum of its parts. Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch is a folk art forest-two-plus acres crowded with hundreds of metal sculptures adorned with colored bottles and topped with just about anything one could imagine. A saxophone, caribou antlers and windmills. Half a surfboard, a rusted tricycle and furniture. A traffic signal, a carousel horse and various ancient rifles. A muffler, toys and a police cruiser siren from the 1930s. “You know, the old type that goes wooo, wooo,” says Long, 65, who has the wild white beard of a castaway and skin as dry as a sun-baked car shammy. “There’s all kinds of junk out here.” How this came to be is a father-and-son story. Long grew up in Manhattan Beach, Calif. His dad-also named Elmer, as was his grandfather-was an aviation engineer who loved the desert and the secrets it kept. “We’d camp out here all the time. I loved it. We’d have campfires at night, cook hot dogs and marshmallows. Shoot guns. Can’t do that at the beach,” Long says. “He got into collecting bottles and sort of went crazy. He had thousands of them.” The elder Long would spend hours at the library researching the Mojave Desert’s ghost towns and mining camps. He would spend days in the field with a metal detector unearthing hand-blown antiques and modern machine-made trash. “You find one, clean it up, make it pretty and go

on to find the next one,” Long says. “I took it one step further.” After a stint in the Marine Corps, Long moved to the desert in 1968. He lived in his Volkswagen van for two years. He landed a job at the cement plant. He met his wife of 39 years, Linda, and they raised three sons and put them through college. Their home is a ramshackle structure with a leaky roof, plywood floors, a wood stove and a web of extension cords. Long’s memory is encyclopedic. He can tell you that the two scorched napkin holders atop one bottle tree came from a burned-out restaurant. That a box of Fred Flintstone-size buffalo bones came from a swap meet in Arizona. That the Lionel trains atop another bottle tree were his Christmas present when he was 3 years old. Long says he gets thousands of visitors a year. Tourists looking for nostalgia along what’s left of Route 66. Motorcycle clubs on a weekend rides. Lots of foreigners. “This man is a natural genius,” says David Wing, a retired photography instructor from Sherman Oaks who stopped by recently to take pictures. “It’s wonderful Americana from an artist who isn’t afraid to use everything he gets his hands on.” Once, Long got a call from a Englishman on business in New York who saw a YouTube video about his bottle trees. He flew out the next day and spent the afternoon wandering through Long’s idiosyncratic vision. Then he flew back to New York. “People come here and ask me to build them one. I won’t do it,” Long says. “I’ve got no interest in

money. I tell them, ‘Build your own-there’s my welding machine, you can use it.’ How could it possibly mean anything to you if you don’t make it yourself?” There is no charge to wander the Bottle Tree Ranch, only a tip box. Some people leave items for Long to use in future sculptures. Others steal stuff. “You can’t stop it,” Long says. “What are you going to do, put up a 10-foot-tall fence? Why worry about it?” By his own account, Long was once judgmental of people, easy to anger, a man who settled scores. But a decade of building bottle trees and topping them with other people’s discards has changed him, he says. “I’ve got a lot of time to think, to plan. And I use that time wisely,” he says. “I’m free of any kind of worry. I’m free of any feelings of confrontation.” From somewhere in the forest a voice calls out: “This is awesome.” A man named Bull, his wife, sister and a stranger they met on the road step out of the trees. They are walking home to Las Vegas, Bull says, pushing a baby stroller piled high with clothes, water, food, blankets and a tarp. Their van, Bull says, was stolen in Venice Beach, Calif., and they’re flat broke. He is 38, shirtless with a nipple ring. He picks up a buffalo bone the size of a yule log and inquires about it. “I’d love to have one,” he says. “I’d wear it as a necklace.” “You need some money?” Long says. “I’ll give you some.” “We weren’t looking for money,” Bull says. “Just stopped for the art.” Long hands him some cash and they head east on Route 66, pushing the stroller,

the Joads in reverse. “I’m not a people person,” Long says, turning his attention to his latest project, a bottle tree that will be topped with a Navy ship’s telephone that he found in a junk shop. “But if you get a thousand people coming by to say howdy and shake your hand ... it changes you. It changed me. I’m a much better person than I was.”— MCT

Hollywood conjures up Harry Potter theme park


A woman looks at the painting The Battle between Carnival and Lent by Dutch painter Pieter Brueghel II (Younger - 1564/65 1637/8), while holding a West Highland Terrier dog called Schnaps at Christie’s auction. — AFP

arry Potter is going Hollywood with a new theme park based at Universal Studios that will feature a Hogwarts castle as its centerpiece alongside rollercoasters and other rides. NBCUniversal and film studio Warner Bros on Tuesday unveiled “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” which will be built at the Universal Studios Hollywood site with attractions that are similar to the money-spinning Potter theme park opened in June 2010 at Universal’s resort in Orlando, Florida. The new theme park could take 3-4 years to construct and is likely to cost several hundred million dollars but will create more than 1,000 jobs and is expected to boost tourism to the Los Angeles area, officials said. The two companies-Universal runs the theme parks and Warner Bros. owns the rights to the “Harry Potter” movies- also said the “Wizarding World” in Florida would be expanded. Toasting Tuesday’s announcement officials said the Hollywood park will be centered around a huge Hogwarts castle and feature rides and other attractions based on the adventures of the popular British boy wizard and his friends who use sorcery to battle evil. Author JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series have sold some 450 million copies worldwide and the eight movies from the Warner Bros studios have taken more than $7.7 billion at global box-offices, making the films the largest-grossing franchise in history. With its “Dragon’s Challenge” rollercoaster and life-size model of the Hogwarts Express train, the 20-acre “Wizarding World” park in Orlando has proved a huge success with fans. It drew more than 7 million visitors in its first year and boosted NBCUniversal’s theme park revenue by 33 percent to $1.5 billion for the first nine months of 2011, according to company results. Officials did not say how many of the Florida rides would make their way to the Hollywood park, nor did they say if any new rides were envisaged. But they did say the new attraction would be created with the same commitment to authenticity

with the books and movies as the one in Florida. Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer called Tuesday’s announcement “probably the best holiday gift we could give to the legions of Harry Potter fans worldwide.” “Everyone involved with these projects is committed to continuing the enchantment of JK Rowling’s masterful books as they were brought to life on screen in our eight films and dedicated to extending the magic of the experience for generations of fans to come,” Meyer said. The expansion of the Potter franchise follows Walt Disney’s Co’s announcement in September of a theme park based on the 2009 film “Avatar”the highest-grossing single movie in history. —Reuters

Harry Potter cast members James Phelps and Oliver Phelps pose with children playing Hogwarts students after Universal Parks & Resorts announced that the Harry Potter attraction is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City yesterday. — AP


hristie’s held a highly anticipated auction of old master paintings in London on Tuesday night, with one of the star works selling for more than 2 million pounds ($3.12 million) above the pre-auction estimate. “The Battle between Carnival and Lent” by Pieter Brueghel II sold for almost 6.9 million pounds to an anonymous buyer, Christie’s said on its website. The sale price exceeded the pre-auction estimate of 3.5-4.5 million pounds and set the world record price for the artist at auction, Christie’s said. The second highest-priced painting on the night was a Willem van de Velde II work, “Dutch men-o’-war and other shipping in a calm,” which sold to a European private collector for nearly 6 million pounds, also a world record price for the artist at auction, Christie’s said. However, the auction’s star attraction “Portrait of Juan Lopez de Robredo”, by Spanish painter Francisco Goya remained listed on the auctioneer’s website as unsold, with an estimated sale tag of 6.2-9.3 million pounds. The total sale of 24 million pounds, which did not include a sale for the Goya painting, as well as a Nicolaes Maes work that carried an estimated price of 1.5-2.3 million pounds, was just shy of the pre-sale estimate for all the lots of 26 million pounds. Much of the interest in this week’s series of old master and British art auctions in London has been generated by a Velazquez original that was first valued at 300 pounds ($470). The portrait of an unknown gentleman went under the hammer yesterday.—Reuters

A South Korean diver wearing a Santa Claus outfit displays a banner reading ‘Merry Christmas’ during an event at the Coex Aquarium in Seoul yesterday. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in South Korea with Christians forming over half the population. — AFP

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Aniston preferred guest at holiday table




File photo shows police officer Norman Kamaru poses for a photo with a fan during a show in Jakarta, Indonesia. —AP photos

Indonesia’s dancing cop fired after YouTube fame T

he Indonesian policeman who shot to fame in April by lip-synching and grooving to an Indian Bollywood hit in a YouTube video has been sacked and forced to hand in his badge. Norman Kamaru, 26, captured the hearts of Bollywood film fans world over when he was discovered online in his police uniform mouthing the words and danc-

ing to the song “Chaiyya Chaiyya”. After the video went viral, the national police held Kamaru up as a friendly-faced mascot for their much-loathed institution, but after the star skipped 85 days of work to pursue a singing career, police finally sacked him. “He may think that his new career is much better than being a policeman, but he’s mistaken,” National Police spokesman Saud

Usman Nasution told AFP yesterday. “With his creative skills, he could have helped the police interact better with people.” With a $100,000 music deal under his belt, Kamaru tried to leave the force in July, but police rejected his resignation, saying he was bound to a 10-year contract. Kamaru was more than happy to lose his job, which earned him around $100 a month.

“Thank God. I accepted the news with a joy,” he told Kompas news website ahead of appearing on a TV chat show. “I had actually tendered my resignation but they did not approve it. And now, out of the blue, I’m fired. I’ve just accepted it.” Wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and bearing a tongue ring, Kamaru said he was happy with his new life and was


Models present outfits by Karl Lagerfeld during the Chanel Metiers d’Art Pre-Fall collection show, entitled “Paris-Bombay” on December 6, 2011 in Paris. Since 2003, every year, Chanel launches a parallel collection to their Pret-a-porter and Haute Couture collections: the annual Metiers d’Art collection which is this year inspired from India, with its huge artistic and manufacturing inheritance, its jewels, its colors and its precious fabrics. —AFP

ready to embark on his new singing career. “By wearing these clothes, I feel comfortable and relaxed, as I can mingle more easily with people. In a police uniform, I always have to behave,” he said.—AFP

8 Dec 2011  
8 Dec 2011  

Kuwait Times