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Republican rivals target Romney at debate

N Korean TV shows Kim threatening war in 2009

United knock City out of FA Cup in derby thriller



NO: 15323


Ten years on, Guantanamo still casts long shadow

Suspicious deal between candidates under probe


150 FILS


SAFAR 15, 1433 AH

Opposition confident court verdict will be constitutional

League meets as Syria mission stumbles CAIRO: Arab ministers gathered yesterday to review the record of a widely criticised observer mission to Syria, amid growing calls for the bloc to cede to the United Nations the lead role in trying to end nearly 10 months of bloodshed. The ministerial committee on Syria met in Cairo, where the Arab League has its headquarters, to be briefed by the head of the mission, General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa Al-Dabi. The meeting, chaired by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, will discuss the monitors’ first report which will contain “pictures, maps and information of the events witnessed by the monitors on the ground,” League Assistant Secretary General Ahmed Ben Hilli said. According to an Arab League source, the report says that the monitors were “subjected to harassment by the Syrian government and by the opposition”. It also recommends that the mission continue its work and that monitors be equipped with more technological assistance, the source told reporters. A team of Arab League monitors has been in Syria since Dec 26, trying to assess whether President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime is complying with a peace accord aimed at ending its deadly crackdown on dissent. Critics say it has been completely outmanoeuvred by the government and has failed to make any progress towards stemming the crackdown. They have called for the mission to pull out. Dabi - a Sudanese former military intelligence chief who is himself the focus of controversy - said it was too early to judge the mission. Continued on Page 13

CAIRO: Syrians who reside in Egypt hang an effigy of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad during a demonstration yesterday as Arab foreign ministers meet with Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa AlDabi, who heads the Arab League observer mission in Syria. — AFP

Police bust fuel smuggling ring

This image provided by NASA shows the Strait of Hormuz taken from the International Space Station on Sept 30, 2003. — AP

Iran to enrich uranium in underground bunker New threats on Hormuz sounded TEHRAN: Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a new underground site built to withstand possible airstrikes, a leading hardline newspaper reported yesterday in another show of defiance against Western pressure to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program. The operations at the bunker-like facility south of Tehran, reported by the Kayhan daily newspaper, are small in comparison to Iran’s main enrichment site. But the centrifuges at the underground labs are considered more efficient and are shielded from aerial surveillance and protected against airstrikes by up to 90 m of mountain rock. Uranium enrichment is at the core of the international standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. The US and its allies fear Iran could use its enrichment facilities to develop high-grade nuclear material for warheads. Iran - which claims it only seeks nuclear reactors for energy and research has sharply increased its threats and military posturing against stronger pressures, including US sanctions targeting Iran’s Central Bank in attempts to complicate its ability to sell oil. A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard force was quoted as saying Tehran’s leadership has decided to order the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic oil route, if the country’s petroleum exports are blocked. Revolutionary

Guard ground forces also staged war games in eastern Iran in an apparent display of resolve against US forces just over the border in Afghanistan. Iranian officials have issued similar threats, but this is the strongest statement yet by a top commander in the security establishment. “The supreme authorities ... have insisted that if enemies block the export of our oil, we won’t allow a drop of oil to pass through the Strait of Hormuz. This is the strategy of the Islamic Republic in countering such threats,” Revolutionary Guard deputy commander Ali Ashraf Nouri was quoted as saying by another newspaper, the Khorasan daily. The latest statements are certain to ramp up tensions with the US and its allies, which are trying to increase pressure on Iran to punish it for its disputed nuclear program. For the moment, however, US officials are seeking stronger diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran rather than increasing threats of military action. A number of experts say Iran is unlikely to close the strait because that could hurt Iran as much as the West. In an interview broadcast yesterday, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Iran is laying the groundwork for making nuclear weapons someday, but is not yet building a bomb. Panetta reiterated US concerns Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Police have uncovered a plan to smuggle 2.5 million litres of subsidised diesel and arrested 25 people in connection with the scheme, the interior ministry said yesterday. The diesel was found in tanks and containers at several stores in the southern oilrich industrial area of Mina Abdullah, the ministry said in a statement cited by the official KUNA news agency. Fuel in Kuwait is sold at a heavily-subsidised price that has not changed for about 12 years. Local media and lawmakers from the recently dissolved parliament have claimed that large quantities of cheaper Kuwaiti fuel are frequently smuggled by sea to Iran and Iraq. Although both countries are major oil producers, Iran and Iraq face shortages in petroleum products because of limited refining capacity. About three weeks ago, Kuwaiti customs said it foiled an attempt to smuggle roughly 350 tonnes of diesel to an unnamed Asian country. In June, media reported that authorities uncovered a ring linked to a regional intelligence service that had smuggled large quantities of fuel to a neighbouring country from a small port usually used by Iranians. — AFP (See Page 5)

Max 19º Min 06º High Tide 13:01 & 23:16 Low Tide 05:58 & 17:07

KUWAIT: The Cabinet yesterday decided to refer to the public prosecution a suspicious multimillion-dinar deal involving the sale of stocks of an unlisted company between two candidates running in the National Assembly polls. After hearing a report on the deal by Minister of Commerce and Industry Amani Buresli, the Cabinet decided to refer the suspected money laundering deal for a legal probe, an official statement said. The Cabinet also decided to hear another detailed report on the issue next week. A local newspaper reported a few days ago that the value of the deal was around KD 15 million paid to one of the two candidates who is also an ex-MP and has been involved in the corruption scandal involving 12 other former lawmakers. The report said that the value of the company whose shares were sold did not exceed KD 1 million at best but was still sold for KD 15 million, raising suspicions that it was a case of money laundering or corruption. Local electronic media also reported that the candidate who received the money has decided to delay launching his election media campaign because he believes he will not be allowed to contest the parliamentary elections. At least 13 former MPs were interrogated last month by the public prosecution over allegations that millions of dinars were deposited into their bank accounts illegally, raising suspicion of money laundering or corruption. The Cabinet also reviewed drafts of three election reform bills regarding the establishment of an independent election commission, setting up an authority for integrity and fairness and the establishment of an independent national committee to oversee election campaigns. The Cabinet then decided to ask the legal and legislative authority, the state legal body, to study the three draft laws and return them to the council after Continued on Page 13

Some bedoons to be naturalised in weeks KUWAIT: Kuwait will start granting citizenship to some stateless people by early February, the interior minister said in remarks published yesterday. “The first batch of citizenships (to stateless) will be announced by the end of January or the beginning of February at the latest,” Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah told Al-Rai newspaper, without giving further details. Of the 105,000 people considered stateless, four groups could qualify for citizenship, the minister said last week. These include people in the army or police; people recorded in the 1965 census; relatives of Kuwaitis; and children of Kuwaiti women divorced from foreign husbands. Saleh Al-Fadhalah, who heads the government’s central agency for illegal residents that deals with the stateless, said last month that there are 34,000 stateless people who could qualify for citizenship. According to his agency’s findings, 71,000 stateless people in Kuwait in fact hold other

nationalities from countries including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria, Fadhalah said. Those people “must produce their nationality papers” to be given legal residence permits in Kuwait, Fadhalah has said. Thousands of bedoons have been demonstrating for the past several weeks to press for citizenship and other basic rights they claim they have been deprived of. Sheikh Ahmad however said that the ministry will not allow any further protests by bedoons. Kuwait has long alleged that bedoons, and in some cases their ancestors, destroyed their original passports to claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship in order to gain access to the services and generous benefits provided to citizens by the state. In a bid to force the bedoons to produce their original nationality papers, Kuwait has refused to issue essential documents to most of them, including birth, marriage and death certificates, according to a June report by Human Rights Watch. — AFP

Philippines warns of terror plot MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino said yesterday that authorities had discovered a plot by a terrorist group to disrupt a huge religious procession in Manila, and warned that members had not been arrested. Aquino said police had been tracking the group, which he did not identify, that was allegedly planning to sow terror during the feast of the Black Nazarene today, which annually gathers hundreds of thousands of devotees. He did not elaborate on the nature of the threat, but said “there is a possibility of it” when asked if the plot involved bomb attacks. “ The sad reality of the world today is that terrorists want to disrupt the ability of the people to live their lives in the way they want to, including the freedom to worship and engage in community activities,” Benigno Aquino Aquino said in a surprise news briefing. “Your government will do what it has to do to ensure the safety and security of the public.” He did not identify the alleged plotters, but said they belonged to a local group whose links to foreign organisations were still being probed. “There have been reports that they have been spotted in the NCR (National Capital Region) and there have been ongoing police operations to apprehend the same,” Aquino said. “Disruption activities have been conducted precisely to forestall any possibility of a terrorist plot.” Continued on Page 13

MANILA: A Filipino devotee carries his daughter to be able to kiss the foot of a centuries-old wood image of Jesus Christ known as the Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday. — AP




Number of female MPs to drop in coming NA? Current trend ‘not in favor’ By A Saleh KUWAIT: Engineer Mohammad Bushehri, a third constituency candidate from the free patriotic youth movement, is running in the election under the slogan “optimistic” as he is keen to choose the best and foresees a promising future. “Optimism comes from what we have seen during our tours of voters’ diwaniyas, meeting with youths from the first constituency and the positive response we found from youths who want reform. They were organizing themselves, inviting candidates to hear their ideas and what they may do when they reach Parliament,” he said. Former MP Roudhan Al-Roudhan, a candidate in the third constituency, expects the number of female MPs to drop in the coming

Parliament. He said the current trend in the 2012 elections is not in favor of female candidates and their increased number, in contrast to the last elections which went in their favor for change.” Al-Roudhan denied that he left the Cabinet in anger because he was not given the post of Deputy Premier, adding that “the M inister must vote with the Government when he is in office and cannot be in opposition.” Former MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaie, a third constituency candidate, said he is wanted for questioning in Firdous police station because of a complaint by Al-Dar newspaper which “I described as a pro-Iranian newspaper.” Al-Tabtabaie attacked the paper at a gathering in the diwaniya of Mohammad

Hayef in Firdous. He insulted the owner, prompting him to file a complaint. Minister and former MP Ali Al-Rashid said the government ac ted legally in regards to the millions deposits, and if it did not act that way it should be questioned. He said the government is transparent and complied with the law. It summoned the Central Bank governor, heard the legal aspects of the case and acted according to the rules. Al-Rashid said the government has a major share in Kuwait Finance House, and can pressure it to refrain from sending MPs who support it for prosecution. It has large deposits in the National Bank and was able to intervene, but allowed due process according to the law in order to find the truth behind the deposits.

Opposition to mull over options in Mislem’s case KUWAIT: Former lawmakers representing opposition groups in the previous Parliament are mulling over several options in the event that ex-MP Faisal Al-Mislem’s candidacy is cancelled. This is based on a case in which he has been accused of releasing classified bank documents. “If Al-Mislem is convicted, this means that lawmakers will no longer be able to enjoy the immunity that the Constitution has entitled them to,” said former MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabae to reporters. He held a meeting with the Opposition Bloc on Saturday. Nonetheless, the third constituency candidate expressed faith in

Kuwaiti courts, “that will be a triumph of the Constitution, rather than being a victory for Faisal AlMislem.” “Former MP Musallam Al-Barrak said that revoking Al-Mislem’s candidacy would be considered a violation of the Constitution. “[The revocation] would give an excuse to any minister to press charges against an MP who criticizes him during a parliamentary session,” the outspoken oppositionist said. “Is that the kind of Parliament that [the government] wants?” As per law, a citizen cannot contest elections if he has been previously convicted in a felony case. AlMislem faces charges pressed by a

local bank after he used a cheque as evidence during a grilling motion’s debate session. Former Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah has been accused of corruption. While MPs enjoy immunity that protect them from being prosecuted for anything they say or do, the court looks into whether or not classified bank documents can be released without permission. If convicted, Al-Mislem will automatically be disqualified from the elections race. Fifth constituency candidate and former MP Falah Al-Sawagh said that he and fellow ex-MP Mubarak Al-Waalan explained to

the Public Prosecution Department a few days ago that Al-Mislem only used the cheque after then Minister of Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan insisted on it being publicly displayed. Security sources quoted in an Al-Qabas report yesterday indicated that no decisions have been made to cancel any candidates’ candidac y. Speak ing anonymously, a committee assigned to study cases of each candidate is yet to reach the Ministry of Interior as of Saturday. It noted that any revoked candidacy attempts will be announced in official statements released by the ministry. — Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: Safaa Al-Hashem, a parliamentary candidate in the Third Constituency, posing in front of her poster yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

NA campaign slogans from emotive to obscure

KUWAIT: Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lt Gen Ghazi Al-Omar addressing the meeting.

Interior ensures transparency of elections KUWAIT: Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Lieutenant General Ghazi Al-Omar, said yesterday the MoI will spare no effort to provide all means and take all measures to ensure security, safety, fairness and transparency of the electoral process in all of its stages. He was speaking after an extensive meeting with senior security officials in charge of preparations for the upcoming National Assembly elections on Feb 2. He stressed the importance of orders and directives issued by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Interior Minister, Sheikh Ahmad Al-

Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on the significance of compliance with laws and upholding full integrity and transparency of the electoral process without failure or intervention. He pointed out that the role of security bodies is to prevent any sort of disturbance to the electoral process and to apply the law to ever yone. He said judges are fully responsible and in complete control of the elections. Al-Omar exchanged repor ts and operational plans with senior security leaders and heads of field operating units, and replied to questions they raised during the meeting. —KUNA

Constitution, law protects democracy, unity: Al-Qallaf K U WA I T: Fa k h e r A l i A l - S ay ye d A l Qallaf Al-Bahrani, a third constituency candidate, said Saturday that respect for the constitution and rule of law will protect the democratic process and national unity in Kuwait. “Such respec t will also stand in front of any domestic or foreign voracity, which aims to attack the Kuwaiti democratic experiment and weaken national unity,” Al-Qallaf said during the opening of his candidacy cam-

paign headquarters. The candidate added that currently the country is going through crossroads, and that “we either overcome it united or not.” He called for all people to be determined and united. Al-Qallaf said current political developments are the result of political conflicts and control by various parties, which also mirror global economic conflicts in various countries and the fight for domination. —KUNA

Pay MEW bills online KUWAIT: Engineer Jassem Al-Linghawi, Assistant Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs at the Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW), said that billing is available through mobile telephones and the “IOS” service. The MEW Consumers Affairs department is currently testing this service with the k-net banking service.

He told reporters that this service enables users to enter the MEW website and enquire about their bills. They can then use payment services to settle bills. The MEW intends to add other services concerning the payment of deposits, thereby replacing paperwork with electronic automation to provide a better service for all consumers. —Al-Anbaa

KUWAIT: Candidates seeking attractive slogans for their campaigns have resulted in choices ranging all the way from highlyemotive to obscure. The range includes ‘I pick you, my homeland’, ‘Let’s leave a mark’, ‘A Duty’, ‘Aspiration and Action’, ‘Build with the one hand, hold accountable with the other’, and ‘Justice; life’, The special circumstances surrounding Kuwait’s 2012 National Assembly elections has led to the impact of slogans varying between musical to ambiguous and problematic. Dr. Zuhair Al-Mezidi, media consultant and international arbitrator, said the best slogan is one which touches on a specific concern the candidate believes is shared by a considerable number of voters.

Candidates should monitor the political, social, and economic activity in the country to ascertain the most crucial issues at this point of time. The next step is for the candidate to choose an expression which conveys their stance on the issue in a concise clear message. This slogan must then be the focus of the campaign, and the candidate must list ideas on how he plans to address this issue, should he make it to Parliament. Watery language focusing on no specific issue is the worst choice for a slogan, as it fails to convey purpose and stance. Dr. Khalid Al-Qahs, media professor at Kuwait University, noted that the candidate’s slogan must convey his political associations and stances, as well as his cultural and social


in brief

Drug dealers arrested KUWAIT: Three stateless residents were arrested by Jahra police and sent to the Drug Control General Department for possession of 682 illicit pills, along with KD 4,500 which they confessed was from the sales of the tablets. The confiscated quantity was to be sold to a person who is being sought by police. The arrest was made when policemen noticed a parked car, which they approached thinking the driver needed help. When the driver saw the patrol car he drove off at a high speed. As he was chased, he threw bags from the car. The bags contained the illicit tablets. He was arrested. Sand for Boubyan port KUWAIT: Engineer Ghaleb Sfouk, Administration Director at Ministry of Public Works, said that Environment Public Authority has agreed to allocate an area from where sand can be dug for the first phase of Mubarak Port at Boubyan Island. The sand will be dumped at the first and second ports in the mega project. He explained that around 40 million cubic meters of sand is required for the project. He said that the dumping area is 15 square kilometers. Dumping is needed to construct roads, and a railway. The total projected cost of the finished ports project now amounts to KD 160 million. Schools’ maintenance work KUWAIT: Officials from the Mershid Al-Bathal high school are miffed at the Ministry of Education’s apparent negligence as the school’s roofs remain in a dilapidated state for over three months. A maintenance engineer from the ministry had examined the school without giving a date on which repair would be done. Furthermore, officials stressed that all maintenance operations would be halted until after the elections, especially since several schools would be used as polling centers. KPC training courses KUWAIT: The training and development sector of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) provided 800 training courses to 12,500 trainees in the third quarter of 2011, a senior KPC official said here yesterday. The training courses were carried out through the KPC’s Oil Training Center; involving various fields required by the oil sector, Sheikha Shatha Al-Sabah, the KPC’s managing director for training and functional development, said in a news release. She said she had recently opened a supportive training center in Ahmadi City in the presence of a constellation of senior oil officials.

background and beliefs. Choice of wording is therefore a really complicated and difficult process. A slogan for a first-timer should have a distinctive mark, compared to those who ran before. The first-timer should focus on goals and issues, while others can get away with slogans that bring back to mind previous accomplishments in their careers. A most important standard for a good slogan is brevity, clarity, and a phrase or expression which can be remembered with ease. Once a beneficial slogan is selected, the remaining impact depends on the candidate’s program, transparency, exposure to media, visits and activities, setup of his campaign headquarters, and other factors. —KUNA

KAC pay raises soon KUWAIT: The Kuwait Air ways Corporation(KAC) has not yet finalized on proposed salary raises. Salem AlOthaina, Minister of Electricity and Water, Minister of Communications who had made the promise allegedly was not present at the labor union of KAC and its affiliated companies. According to the Labor Union’s Secretary Husain Habeeb, the announcement was made during a recent meeting with the ministry in which it discussed the latest updates on meeting demands and Kuwait Aviation Services Company (KASCO). The government had previously agreed to meet demands after the labor union threatened to stage a strike that would have affected air traffic at the Kuwait International Airport.

It requested time to finalize procedures necessary for pay raises to be implemented. Meanwhile, KAC contracted the Arab Union for Air Cargo at the end of last month to supply KAC aircrafts with fuel at all stations where its planes land. The contract value is KD 15 million. Sources said the KAC fuel budget is equivalent to 36 percent of its total budget. Sources said that contract is for one year starting at the beginning of this month and ends in December. The Arab union aims at strengthening purchasing power and negotiating strength with Arab airline companies in the face of severe competition globally in the air cargo industry.

Experts affirm need for economist MPs KUWAIT: Current domestic economic co n d i t i o n s w a r r a n t co o p e r a t i o n b e t we e n n e w m e m b e r s o f t h e National Assembly and the government, according to experts. Toufic Al-Jarrah, President of the Real Estate Union, called for enacting laws to spur the property sector. “Our economy needs diversification, not centralization on a single source of income such as oil,” he said. Kuwait in the pre-oil era used to depend on various other sources for income such as external commerce, pearl diving and handicrafts, he said. “We aspire to see the deputies of the next Parliament shedding light on issues such as the execution of the development plan and devoting attention to the financial market

authority in addition to employment and reviving other sectors that are affiliated to the oil,” he added. Abdullah Maarafi, a businessman, demanded political stability and imposing what he termed as constructive supervision on the executive authorities. Some economic sectors need to be spurred he said, naming industry as a vital sector that the government needs to support. Maarafi expressed hope that the n e x t Pa r l i a m e n t i s c o m p r i s e d o f members skilled in economic issues. Mohammad Al-Hajeri, said the upcoming Parliament should support the private sector and revise legislation related to privatization, construc tion and employment. —KUNA



Expats share the key to survival— budgeting Cost of living 10-15% higher By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The Cabinet session in progress.

Cabinet holds weekly meeting KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Cabinet held its routine weekly meeting at Sief Palace yesterday under chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Emerging from the meeting, Spokesman for the Government Ahmad Al-Mlaifi said at the onset of the meeting, the ministers were briefed on letters recently sent to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah from Benin President Boni Yayi, Gambia President Yahya Jammeh, which handled ways and means of reinforcing and bolstering bilateral relations in various fields. They were also apprised of a recent letter to HH the Amir from Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missnad, the wife of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Kuwait’s participation in the Fourth Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations held in Doha, said Al-Mlaifi, who also doubles as minister of justice, minister of education and minister of higher education. The Cabinet considered executive steps aiming to translate the contents of the recent speech by HH the Prime Minister into concrete moves. During the weekly meeting, HH Sheikh Jaber kept the ministers posted on his recent meeting with a group of Kuwaiti young people, who presented a

set of practical suggestions targeting educational, sports and media development. HH hailed the proposals as part of a holistic national awareness campaign to reactivate the role of young people in society on the basis of citizenship, respect of law, shared responsibility and national unity. He also pointed to an overture pertinent to small-sized projects; aiming to set out a strategy to create a sector of small-sized firms to serve the Kuwaiti national economy. HH the Prime Minister applauded the Kuwaiti young people as enjoying positive spirit, national responsibility and loyalty to their nation. The Cabinet referred such suggestions to specialized ministerial committees for further discussions, and welcomed all positive proposals aiming to tackle issues and problems. The ministers then listened to a report read out by Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Planning and Development Amani Bouresly on recent reports about an alleged fictitious share transaction, which was sent to prosecution for suspicion of money laundering. The minister was asked to present a relevant thorough report to the Cabinet in its next meeting. —KUNA

Al-Roudhan not to accept ministerial post By A. Saleh KUWAIT: Former MP Roudhan AlRoudhan, a third constituency candidate, said his departure from the previous government was due to differences inside the Cabinet that were very clear during the period before the government was ousted. “When the government was appointed I was in it, and there was true solidarity in it before differences started to surface and they started to attack each other openly. That is why I left,” he said. He said “when a person becomes a minister he must go along with decisions of the Council of Ministers, even if they are contrary to his beliefs, because he is part of the government. When he leaves, he must go back to his own convictions when decisions are taken.” Al-Roudhan said the millions deposits

is a political scandal and more than an accusation. He said all suspects will be found not guilty because it is difficult to prove where transfers came from, but the “political scandal affected the reputation of many”. He said the circumstances of the current elections are different from the previous ones due to the vast awareness of Kuwaiti voters. Al-Roudhan said the government must be neutral when it comes to electing the National Assembly Speaker, because this is in the interest of the country. He said it is necessary to appoint several MPs as ministers to reduce the tension between the legislative and executive branches as in 1992, when six MPs were appointed and things went smoothly for four years. He said he will not accept a ministerial post because “I want to serve citizens through the legislative job”.

Evidence proves Egypt demonstrations not peaceful: Kuwaiti lawyer KUWAIT: Evidence, by which the Egyptian Public Prosecution recently attempted to use to prove accusations against former president Hosni Mubarak of giving orders to kill antigovernment protestors, backfired because it failed to connect the accused and the murder cases. The head of a Kuwaiti team of lawyers, volunteering to defend the ousted Egyptian president, said that the Egyptian Prosecution changed the accusation in the indictment from first degree murder to ‘incitement to murder’, without identifying the person facing the charges.

“The Public Prosecution provided testimonies of eyewitnesses who did not take the oath in court”, said Attorney Faisal Al-Otaibi from Cairo. He said that the Kuwaiti defense team objected to the use of video footage from Egyptian and Arab television channels as evidence in the crime. Al-Otaibi argued that the footage showed incidents in which protestors attacked police officers and security vehicles “which prove that the demonstrations were not peaceful”. He stated that the video never showed evidence to prove that police fired live ammunition at the protestors.— Al-Rai

Egypt’s culture minister to take part in Qurain cultural festival CAIRO: Egyptian Culture Minister AbdulHamid Shaker will participate in 18th AlQurain Cultural Festival to be held at Kuwait National Library on Jan 9-28. In a press statement, the Culture Ministry said Shaker will deliver a speech on the main session on the prospects of the post-revolution Arab region. Al-Qurain Cultural

Festival is Kuwait’s leading arts festival. It is sponsored by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait and its self-proclaimed purpose is to enhance the artistic and cultural movement in Kuwait. It includes theatre performances, literary events, the exhibitions of the visual arts and other cultural events. — KUNA

Minority tribes form alliances KUWAIT: Meetings and consultations are going on in election constituencies to form alliances among different candidates. They wish to ensure success in the elections, especially MPs who represent minorities in some constituencies. This happened in the fifth constituency recently when candidates from the tribes of Hawajer, Otaiba, Mutair and Dawaser announced an alliance to face

the stronghold of the Awazen and Ajman tribes. They are contending 10 seats in this constituency. In the fourth constituency, consultations are ongoing to break control by the Mutair and Rashaydeh tribes who dominate the seats in that constituency. Minority candidates consulting to exchange votes in an attempt to pass through the elections.—Al-Shahed

KUWAIT: The cost of living in Kuwait has risen by some 10 to 15 percent in 2011, compared to the year before, online reports say. Expatriates provide anecdotal evidence for such statistics. According to expats, a decent two bedroom flat costs around KD 250 compared to KD 230 the year before. The grocery bills for a family of four in a month has risen to KD 150 compared to KD 140 or less during the previous year. “The problem is the salary which I used to earn six years ago. It is virtually the same. Nothing has changed and yet everything in Kuwait is now very expensive,” a Filipino expat worker told Kuwait Times. He said the 40 kg rice which he regularly purchased monthly as staple food now costs KD 20 compared to the previous KD 16. “Sometimes it is lower because of promotions. Otherwise, the price is KD 4 higher. Other food items are also 10 to 20 percent higher compared to the year before,” he added. An Indian couple with grown-up children studying in Kerala (India), noted that over the last five years, he noticed sky-rocketing cost of living in Kuwait. “I have been here for over 30 years. Recently, I have been feeling exhausted while budgeting my salary these days. In the last five years, it was really unimaginable and

everything here has gone up,” he said. When asked to specify what accounts for a lion’s share of the household budget, he gave a break down - Food: KD 120, Accommodation: KD 160, Clothing and Transportation: KD 70, Healthcare and others: KD 50. “I cannot save much because my children back home need the money. They are all in university and I need to provide for them. You know, if I could just afford for their tuition fee in Kuwait, which I think is impossible, why would I allow them to go back to India,” he reasoned. His children studied elementary and high-school in Kuwait. He earns a salary of more than KD 600. “Can I afford to pay KD 5,000 to 8,000 for a university degree here? My answer is no. So the usual practice of many Indians whose children complete high-school here is to either send them back home or to other countries. Whichever is a more cheaper and practical alternative,” he noted. The budget has shrunk in the last few years. What earlier used to cost KD 40 in groceries for two weeks has now doubled. According to a European expat who runs a household of two, the rent and gas expenses have shot up, groceries are more expensive and so are all the utilities. If single expatriate Muhammad yields to his voracious appetite, a KD 100 bill on food will not suffice. “I’d like to eat a more nutritious meal that will cost me more. So I spend more than KD

170 on food alone. What about other expenses?” he asked. He budgets his money as follows: Food: KD170, Accommodation: KD 200, Clothing, telephone, internet: KD 50, Transportation and healthcare: KD 100. “My expenses breakdown is considered frugal. if I happen to go out with friends and enjoy life, a KD 500 salary will not be enough,” he said. The cost of living index covers the prices for defined quantities of some goods and services across several groups. But, since income is not taxed in Kuwait, there is indeed a major advantage, particularly on certain items like cars. However, the cost of living, just as is the case in any other country, would largely depend on personal lifestyle. Like for example, Bangladeshi laborers who earn less than KD100 can budget their money within their reach. A bachelor can share an apartment with friends. In order to save, many Indian and Filipino families share accommodation. In fact, bachelors here share a room/apartment with at least three others for a monthly rent of KD 30 or more. “I am renting my bedroom for KD 25 but I share it with five more friends. This is more economical and I spend KD 30 on food. I buy clothes once every three to four months and spend KD 10 on my mobile phone. The rest of the money goes to my family back home,” said a Bangladeshi tea boy who takes home a salary of KD 150.

KUWAIT: The National Guard’s Moral Guidance Director, Col Mohammed Farhan delivers a lecture to officers on Media Qualification for Senior Officers and Leaders.

Meningitis patients recover at Infectious Diseases Hospital KUWAIT: Two patients were transferred from Farwaniya Hospital to recover at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, a senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official said on Saturday. “(The two patients) were transferred after their condition stabilized and their presence at Farwaniya became no longer necessary,” said Dr Jamaal Al-Duaij, Director of the Infectious Diseases Hospital. He stated that his hospital does not accept patients for recovery unless their condition is stable. The two men were admitted to Farwaniya Hospital suffering from the infectious disease. Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Mustafa AlShamali said that all hospitals in Kuwait are capable of providing competent medical services. He categorically rejected speculation that imply Farwaniya Hospital staff are incapable of containing a menin-

gitis outbreak within its facility. Al-Shamali, also Minister of Finance, used the term ‘criminal’ to describe any individual “who spreads false rumors that end up damaging the image of Kuwait”. Dr. Qais Al-Duwaisri, MOH Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs, told Al-Rai that the MoH possesses enough vaccine for the entire population. Yet he echoed statements of other MOH officials, who said vaccination should only be sought by people who come into direct contact with infected people. MOH officials confirmed that there are no meningitis patients at Sabah, Jahra or Adan Hospital. Dr. Abdul-Aziz Al-Farhoud, Director of Hawally Health Directorate, said that a Canadian woman was released yesterday after her condition stabilized following successful treatment for

Humidity knocks out power station By Hanan Al Saadoun KUWAIT: The wave of humidity that hit Kuwait at dawn yesterday caused a technical defect in the main transformer station at Jahra which rendered Subbiya power station and water desalination plant out of service. Units were put back into operation gradually, one after the other, and the station returned to normal service during the afternoon. Official sources said that the station went out of service at 6.55 am on Sunday morning after a defect was caused in the main transformer by the prevailing fog and humidity. The defect caused a stoppage in the some of the feeders connected with Subbiya power station, but units were put back into service by ministry engineers and technicians. Five units were back in service by 12:00 noon and another two units followed soon afterwards. The whole station was back in service by the afternoon. No power cuts or water shortages were caused by the sudden defect. Sources said that annual maintenance work at Subbiya station began at the end of September to ensure a supply of electricity and water reach all consumers without problems. The ministry pays great attention to maintenance work, especially to power generating stations and water distillation. The MEW is working to avoid the problems which have occurred during the past few years. They led to turbines being out of service for long periods of time. He added that officials at the station are monitoring maintenance work continuously, and they have a special time frame for maintenance work.

New gas field discovered KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has recently discovered a new natural gas field in Allayyah area, located 20 kilometers away from northern Metla area. Preliminary tests of conducted an exploratory oil well ( Layyah3) have shown the presence of high-quality intensifiers and light oil (AP145). It will have the capacity to generate 3,000 barrels (oil), in addition to producing 13 million cubic feet of gas a day, which ultimately increases Kuwait’s reserves of natural gas. Furthermore, sources stressed that the discovery would contribute towards discovering more wells in the area. —Al-Jarida

meningitis. Dr. Yousuf Mendekhar, Director of the General Health Department, said only 3 cases of neisseria meningitides have been confirmed, adding that he is personally keeping the World Health Organization updated. In other news, a recently released report assessing the health sector in Kuwait indicates that the country has an average of 18 physicians to every 10 thousand people; a rate that is ten doctors lower than Qatar which has an average of 28 doctors per 10 thousand individuals. Kuwait’s average is also notably lower than average income countries such as Egypt (26 doctors per 10 thousand), Jordan (24 doctors) and Azerbaijan (38 doctors). The maximum global average for doctors per capita rate is 64 doctors per 10 thousand people, while the minimum is 14 doctors per 10 thousand.


LOCAL Satire Wire

kuwait digest

Working with what you have

The right choice! By Dr Soud Hilal Al-Harbi


he right selection of anything requires perception and awareness, which is closely related to freedom and the ability to assess various attitudes and people. We are experiencing this these days as we prepare to choose our representatives among several candidates. It’s a different process since it is related the destiny of a whole nation. By voting for certain candidates, we testify before Allah that we made the right choice.

By Sawsan Kazak


esterday marked the 70th birthday of British scientist Stephen Hawking. What made this birthday a remarkable one is not the fact that he turned 70, but the fact that he was informed that he would die over 50 years ago from a crippling disease. Diagnosed at the age of 21 with a disease that attacks the motor neuron, system; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he was informed that he could only survive for a couple of years with this type of disease. Fifty years later, he is still alive and celebrating a monumental birthday. Unable to control voluntary movement, Hawking is bound to a wheelchair and communicates by computer.

We convince ourselves or believe others when they tell us that things are impossible. Imagine what would happen if we all were as oblivious to what was physically and mentally ‘impossible,’ just like Stephen Hawking was. If his name does not ring a bell to you, then you will probably know the iconic electronic voice and wheel chair he uses to get around. What is so impressive is that this man did not give up on life, even when it seemed that his body had given up on him. He went on to teach math in prestigious universities, publish world renowned books on science and even perform cameos in ‘Star Trek and ‘The Simpsons.’ He made science accessible to everyone and continued to do what he loves. It would have been easy for him to believe the doctors of his ‘certain’ upcoming death and restrictions and just stop trying. He was strong enough to just keep strengthening his thought process as his body deteriorated. With his limited abilities, he was able to accomplish what millions of able bodied men and women couldn’t. His story got me thinking about all the things in life we believe we cannot accomplish. We convince ourselves or believe others when they tell us that things are impossible. Imagine what would happen if we all were as oblivious to what was physically and mentally ‘impossible,’ just like Stephen Hawking was. There couldn’t have been anything more impossible to accomplish than a 70th birthday for this scientist, and yet here we are. Clearly medical miracles can happen and doctors don’t always know best. If Hawking was able to produce so much with such limitations, imagine what we can achieve with all that we have access to.

kuwait digest

Democracy and errors By Thaar Al Rashidi


uring the past three days I have seen more than seven Arabic films which were produced during the period from 1972 to 1976. Most of the films star Adel Imam and most of them are directed by Mohammed Abdul Aziz, who has a special way in direction. Any film he directs, he produces the whole show in only five to seven scenes. All of those basic scenes depend on internal shooting inside the house of the hero, in his office, in the club or at the house of his sweetheart. Any film directed by this director is based around limited scenes. If you see one film by him you have seen them all. He has the same style and no change in it. Critics consider him to be the best comedian director in the Arab world. By seeing his films I found that each one contains 20 to 25 errors, and it was possible to avoid them. But the director did not do that. I think that he does not repeat shooting scenes, otherwise he will correct those unjustified errors. Our political scene during the past 10 years is similar to films directed by Mohammed Abdulaziz. In every election, we find errors that are not logical but repeat them, even though they could have been avoided. You find candidates who are told to stand for elections to deviate voting or to create confusion in the constituency. Everyone knows their names. In the first constituency, two known candidates were told to nominate themselves, but not because they want to. The same thing happened in the third and fourth constituency. Political names are asked to run for elections as part of the political game, in order to reshuffle papers in the constituency. Other errors are tribal and sectarian groups, which we find in every constituency without exception. The biggest participants in this error are the voters themselves, who cancel efficiency for the last name of the candidate even though he was accused in sixteen ethical cases. The tribe and the sect is above everything. This year one error disappeared in the election, or at least it is not clear that the government is intervening. This does not mean that there are no influential sheikhs and merchants who powerfully intervene in support of one candidate or try to make another loose. With due respect to the history of the director Mohammad Abdulaziz, his films were interesting but lacked professionalism. Even though he spent 40 years directing. Also, our democracy it is no doubt interesting and better than dictatorship or keeping the Constitution on hold. But it lacks the least of democratic methods, like we see in advanced countries. At the end, interesting democracy is one million times better than nothing. But its errors are like the errors of Abdulaziz films. — Al-Anbaa

kuwait digest

Killing two birds with one stone By Abdellatif Al-Duaij


ormer member of Parliament and current candidate Waleed Al-Tabatabae recently stated that he would withdraw his candidacy if his colleague and former lawmaker Faisal Al-Mislem is banned from contesting parliamentary elections. Although we do not wish that his (Al-Mislem’s) candidacy be withdrawn, the result would be enticing! What if Al-Tabatabae did as he said? As for our democratic system and the country’s Constitution, we stand in opposition to questioning any member of Parliament in the National Assembly or its committees. The MP is immune, according to two articles in the Constitution. If the Court of First Instance or even the Cassation Court decides otherwise, Al-Mislem and his colleague must approach the Constitutional Court to contest the ruling’s constitutionality. This is what we hope for and require in a country that has an impartial judiciary. I hope this will be adopted in the National Assembly that believes in the duties of authorities. This is because it is the supervisor that holds them accountable. If there are violations, legal and constitutional infractions, the MP before should face it face and correct that. There are MPs who do not

believe in rules and regulations, they want everything to go as they like. Anyone who opposes them in public is corrupt and should be

There are MPs who do not believe in rules and regulations, they want everything to go as they like. Anyone who opposes them in public is corrupt and should be banned. Anyone who competes with them is criminal who must be disallowed from contesting elections, as MP Daifallah Buramya wished. The person who accepts money is considered guilty by Musallam Al-Barrak, without trial and without being charged.

banned. Anyone who competes with them is criminal who must be disallowed from contesting elections, as MP Daifallah Buramya wished. The person who accepts money is considered guilty by Musallam Al-Barrak, without trial and without being charged. This is because his bank balance increased within a short period from KD 400,000 to 12 million! In fact, they consider all those who support Sheikh Nasser or the government as being guilty and criminal. The so-called ‘new opposition bloc’ claims to rescue the country out of the corruption and deterioration hole. Yet, the question is, where to? To the chaos and waste that is represented by the behavior of those and the performance of the so-called boycotted MPs. Being keen on the country’s affairs, the move to rid corruption must not turn our heads and make us forget the regulations. The accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the guilty has legal means to contest the conviction and prove innocence. If former MP and candidate Waleed Al-Tabatabae insists on taking the road of chaos and waste, we back him and want to tell him that to be able to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ is a blessing from God. — Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Let us make the right choices By Dr Shamlan Al-Essa


e voters should make the right choices on Feb 2. I want to vote for men and women who present new and innovative ideas, far from what government supporters and its opponents feel. The previous lawmakers did not implement any laws that helped the country take a giant leap into civilization or even make it a self-reliant country. One may ask what are the new ideas that should be taken into consideration? The first issue that we see is the ability to deal correctly with the opposition or with those who differ with us. The purpose of that is our utter failure as a state and a society to deal with those who differ with us in an uncivilized manner. Those who follow the former MPs’ address doubt their loyalty to the country. This is because the other person does not agree with me. The opposition, for example, has the right to oppose government programs and express its views neutrally and objectively. For the situation to reach the point of non-cooperation with the prime minister, and the attempt to oust him through no-confidence motions several times, and the lack of respect reached a peak. When the ‘minority opposition groups’ fail to achieve goals, it must respect the majorities’ opin-

ion regardless of its own views. The government, while dealing with opposition MPs, does not play

One may ask what are the new ideas that should be taken into consideration? The first issue that we see is the ability to deal correctly with the opposition or with those who differ with us. The purpose of that is our utter failure as a state and a society to deal with those who differ with us in an uncivilized manner. Those who follow the former MPs’ address doubt their loyalty to the country.

the political game, as it obstructs all opposition requests in regards to government transactions, and takes the opportunity to file cases against opposition MPs which created an unhealthy atmosphere between the two sides. The other negativity that we must fight during the new elections is radical sectarianism. We must admit that we as a state and a society we have failed to remain united. Ethnicities, sects and creeds in the democratic countries unite over a program that aims at the society, the country’s unity. We, who practice distorted democracy and its most important principals by concentrating on individuals not programs, even choose favorites to represent us in elected councils. We do not elect the better as far as competence, ability, education and management are concerned. We choose relatives, cousins, tribes and sect, and those we know will represent our self interests, not that of the country. Personal relations influence the political process, weakening the system of constitutional institutions. Our choice will be limited to the MPs of sects, tribes and families. Finally, what we want from voters is to select a new blood of young men and women. — Al-Watan

In my view, having a vision upon which one should decide whom to vote for is more important than the selection itself. So a few of us do admit that their choices were influenced by personal calculations about which they were completely wrong. Most of us stress that they only choose the best based on tribal, sectarian factors. They believe that either of them should be always present regardless of who is representing them. This means that the nation’s wider interest gives way to that of the tribe or sect. In my view, having a vision upon which one should decide whom to vote for is more important than the selection itself. So a few of us do admit that their choices were influenced by personal calculations about which they were completely wrong. Most of us stress that they only choose the best based on tribal, sectarian factors. They believe that either of them should be always present regardless of who is representing them. This means that the nation’s wider interest gives way to that of the tribe or sect. Speaking of making the right choices may be boring but it needs to be emphasized in order to shed some light on reasoning. We should no longer remain silent any more. We shouldn’t take everything for granted. We should openly reject the ideas of those who wish to take advantage of our emotions. If this is true of voters, the choices concerning the formation of government should also be made wisely regardless of quotas or political settlements. This exceeds choosing Cabinet members’ selection to include members of supreme councils. These entities were unsuccessful in a way that they can blame those who made them. Given that individuals’ choices may be affected by their feelings and personal interests, this will not be tolerated or accepted. The government should adopt efficient scales when choosing members. If we go back to the same old ways, we will have wasted so many years of Kuwait’s history by going around in the same circles. — Al-Watan

kuwait digest

True concept of govt and opposition By Dr Abdulmuhsin Jamaal


he government and the opposition are the basic two components of a democratic system. In countries that adopt it fully, a party which wins the general elections (or a coalition between the majority winners) forms the government, while the minority are left to form the opposition. The two sides can shift roles in future elections, as a party which formed the opposition in a certain parliament can be assigned to form the government should it win the following elections. The party that formed the government would become the opposition in that case. The story is different in Kuwait, which has not adopted the standard form of democracy found in the West. The concept of a government and an opposition is still ambiguous to parliament members, candidates and the general public. A candidate who runs his campaign as an oppositionist can work on condition that he will remain as part of the opposition for the rest of his political career. This, however, defies the true concept of democratic system in which power alternates frequently between political parties. In practice, we can notice that lawmakers are usually divided between pro-government and antigovernment teams during voting processes. However, their position often changes because it is based on the subjects on which the vote is made, but based on where they stand. This inconsistency can be attributed to the fact that the Kuwaiti Constitution does not adopt a political system in which the government is formed by a parliamentary majority, but rather is composed by ministers handpicked by a prime minister who is appointed by His Highness the Amir. An example for this inconsistency took place when voting on developmental bills. Only three MPs voted against the development plan, whereas more MPs voted against the privatization law which is particularly part of the development plan; the private sector plays a major role in the plan’s implementation. In all, we can say that the size of the ‘opposition bloc’ in the Parliament is variable and is subject to change as per the subject of a law placed for voting. I see a need for awareness about the true concept of opposition to be spread, especially that more young activists are entering the political field. Kuwait needs future MPs to be more aware of concepts of democratic works and political alignments. — Al-Qabas



Man in custody for stealing KD19,000 from company Teacher accused of sexual harassment KUWAIT: Ministry of Interior officials inspecting the warehouses in Mina Abdullah. — Photos by Hanan AlSaadoun

Diesel smuggling attempt aborted By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Personnel from the Ministry of Interior seized nearly 2.5 million liters of subsidized diesel, worth more than KD 500,000, shortly before the cargo was to be shipped abroad. The MoI Department of

Information stated in a statement released yesterday that the personnel seized a large number of mobile tanks from several warehouses in Mina Abdullah (port). At least 25 suspects of Arab and Asian nationalities are being interrogated, it said, adding that only three companies

are licensed to export such large amounts of fuel abroad. Preliminary investigations revealed that a number of staff from the company are involved in an illegal deal that has been paid large sums of money for taking part in the botched operation.

‘Government is the true criminal’ KUWAIT: A local NGO (non-government organization) demanded that the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali make an official apology to the people of Kuwait for terming citizens as ‘criminals’ who spread skepticism about the country’s ability to counter epidemic outbreaks. The Green Line organization urged Al-Shamali in a statement released yesterday to “take an honest look into corruption and government’s failure in resolving environmental and health problems. This is in order to realize who the true criminal is.” “The lack of trust that citizens have in the MoH and the government is the main reason behind society’s concern,” the statement read, while criticizing the “partial treatment approach” is used by the government in handling serious health risks. “The government’s health and environment related

organizations have lost credibility due to the lack of information and accurate statistics presented to the public,” the statement adds. The Green Line organization also cited the Jleeb AlShuyoukh area as the “center of epidemics and diseases” in Kuwait given the levels of pollution and overpopulation that “increases the spread of diseases.” Jleeb AlShuyoukh is located less than a kilometer away from AlFarwaniya Hospital where the minister was present a few days ago and denied reports about a meningitis outbreak. “The Green Line dares Minister Al-Shamali to take a field trip to Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. We personally are willing to take him to the most polluted and dangerous location so that he can see who the true criminal is that allowed the situation to deteriorate to such deplorable levels,” the statement concluded.

Municipality plans more surprise inspections

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait made a financial contribution to Rumaithiya Cooperative Society in support of its social activities. A cheque was handed over by CBK’s Regional Manager Banking Department, Lina Darwish to CEO of Rumaithiya Cooperative Society.

Kuwait sending observers to Syria KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Army announced yesterday that it is to send a number of officers to join the Arab League observers’ mission currently monitoring the situation in Syria as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s team within the delegation. A statement by the army said this comes virtue of the decisions of the ministerial council of the Arab League regarding the Arab Initiative and the protocol concerning League observers in Syria. — KUNA

KUWAIT: A ranking official of Kuwait Municipality indicated yesterday that the municipality was expanding scope of surprise search of food stores and restaurants to ensure that no expired products would be sold or consumed. Continuing inspection of the food products by the emergency inspection teams, affiliated with branches of the municipality, is pre-emptive and precautionary, said Ahmad Al-Sebeeh, the general director of Kuwait Municipality. The municipal teams are organizing full-scale inspection missions in the country’s six governorates “according to a set mechanism that covers all the regions with the aim of enforcing the law on all,” he said, affirming firmness of clamping down on any wrong-doing or illegal acts in this respect. Escalating the campaign of the municipality is designed to abort any bid by certain corrupt persons who might try to sell rotten food at cafes, restaurants or stores, he added. Meanwhile, Fahad Dughaim Al-Otaibi, in charge of the municipal branch in Ahmadi, said the campaign has yielded tangible results at various levels, namely in terms of checking health specifications, permits and cleanliness in addition to affiliate technical and engineering considerations. In their latest tours, the inspection teams issued up to 144 tickets and shut down 65 stores. Kuwait Municipality is carrying out a continuing campaign against food dealers who seek profit with trade in expired or rotten food. Its teams have already confiscated expired food and materials, shut down law non-abiding stores and referred some merchants to relevant legal authorities. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Teachers Society (KTS) is currently organizing an exhibition showcasing old educational publications and textbooks, to coincide with the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of organized education in Kuwait. The Ministry of Education’s Assistant Undersecretary for Public Education Muna Al-Lughani attended the inauguration ceremony yesterday. Nearly 250 books and documents are on display. Efforts made by Kuwaiti histologist Saleh Al-Mesbah have been credited with providing most of the material for the exhibition.

KUWAIT: A man is facing charges after stealing thousands of dinars from his company and using them to build a house in his home country. An investigation was launched at the company after accountants noticed a major drop in income collected during the past year. Eventually, they realized that they had not received payments from companies that a certain representative was assigned to collect. Police were called after the representative admitted that he kept the payments and sent them home. Investigations revealed that the man stole a total of KD19,000 which he sent in separate payments. He remains in custody pending further action. Sister stabbed Two brothers are under investigation after one of them stabbed his sister during a family dispute. Each of the two brothers, aged 29 and 26, claim they attacked the 19year-old girl. Police are trying to find out who the assailant is. Police and paramedics rushed to a house in Dasma where a woman reported her sister was stabbed in the back by her brother during a dispute over a private matter. Police reportedly negotiated with the two brothers in order to allow paramedics to enter the girl’s room. They rushed her to the Amiri Hospital. Her brothers were referred to the area police station where they are held pending ongoing investigations. Sexual harassment A teacher accused of sexual harassment is insisting to police that he was set up by the father of his alleged victim. Rumaithiya police station officers were

approached by a man who reported that his 10-year-old daughter was harassed by an Arabic language teacher he hired to give her private classes. When summoned for investigations, the teacher categorically denied the accusations. He explained that he grabbed the girl’s arm on only one occasion. He said her father gave him permission to discipline her when necessary. The teacher was put behind bars pending the ongoing investigation. Shortly afterwards, the teacher told police that he received an offer from the girl’s father that the father is willing to drop the charge for a KD1,000 payment. Police are trying to verify this information. Waha arson A Kuwaiti man told officers at Waha police station that his friend is behind the fire which completely destroyed his car. Firefighters rushed to the man’s house after he reported that his car was set on fire while it was parked outside. He provided police officers with information about his friend who he says deliberately burned his car. He also accused his friend of stealing the car tires before setting his car ablaze. The friend will be summoned for investigations. Mugger in custody Hawally police arrested a man suspected of several mugging crimes committed around the governorate. Patrol officers pulled the suspect over and grew suspicious when they noticed a taser, an electroshock weapon, on the passenger’s seat. The man refused to step out of the vehicle when asked to do so. He was placed under arrest after strong resistance. Police also found

a knife in his possession. They took him to Rumaithiya police station, where he confessed to using the knife and taser to mug pedestrians. He said his last victim was a taxi driver whom he mugged an hour before his arrest. He was taken to the Criminal Investigations Department where he remains in custody pending legal procedures. Son beats mother Officers at Oyoun police station released a young man shortly after arresting him for physically assaulting his mother. His mother provided documents that prove he is mentally ill. Police rushed to the house in the area where a senior female citizen reported that her 27year-old son attacked her in a hysterical fit. The son was detained and taken into custody. Shortly afterwards his mother appeared at the area police station with evidence that her son is receiving treatment from the Psychiatric Hospital. The officers had little choice but to let the man go following pleas from his crying mother. He was later referred to the Psychiatric Hospital. TV crew release Police released a television crew one day after they were detained. On Friday, they were found gathering suspiciously in military dress at a remote location. They were released after providing the State Security Service with permission from the Ministry of Defense to shoot a documentary about the 1990/91 Iraqi Invasion in locations that include Jaal Al-Zoor where they were detained. However one crew member, an Iranian national, remained in custody because his residency has expired. —Al-Rai, Al-Anbaa

880,000 use Facebook in Kuwait KUWAIT: The number of users of the social networking internet site, Facebook, soared to more than 880,000 by the end of 2011, according to a freshly-released report. According to the report, posted by World Internet Statistics, this fig-

ure constitutes five percent of the estimated 18.2 million Facebook users in western Asian countries. Saudi Arabia is first among these nations, a total of 4.5 million users. It also tops the GCC states, followed by the UAE with 2.7 million. Kuwait

is third. According to a statistical report issued last June, the number of Facebook users in Kuwait had reached 822,000. The figure has increased by seven percent during the past six months. —KUNA



KUWAIT: The Kuwait Red Crescent Society celebrates its 46th anniversary today, after more than four decades of philanthropic work to help victims of natural disasters all over the world. The KRCS was officially established in January 1966, and in the same year it was recognized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Pictures show KRCS voluntary works in Kuwait and abroad.

KRCS celebrates 46th anniversary KUWAIT: Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) celebrates its 46th anniversary today. KRCS, over the years, has worked tirelessly to mitigate the effects of calamities and disasters that hit a lot of communities around the world. On this occasion, KRCS President Barjas Humoud Al-Barjas said that based on noble

values, principles, and keenness to assist people in need during times of crises, which Kuwaitis enjoyed throughout history, 18 prominent and experienced Kuwaitis spearheaded the idea of founding KRCS. Al-Barjas added that the first meeting was held in December 1965, in which they (founders) endorsed the basic organization-

Al-Zanki moves forward refinery projects with Vietnam, China HANOI: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Chief Executive Officer Farouk AlZanki’s just-concluded visit to China and Vietnam has taken Kuwait’s vital projects in the two countries many steps further, as the parties agreed on new approaches to deal with outstanding issues. Upon completion of the two projects, Kuwait will enjoy exporting additional 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to these rapidly-growing energy markets. The highlights of his talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai included a basic agreement to jointly look into a new methodology to ensure 100 percent foreign currency guarantees required for the joint refining and petrochemical project. “At the same time, we plan to discuss other financial issues with co-lenders in a meeting in Kuwait,” Al-Zanki said in the Vietnamese capital at the end of his successful two-nation Asia tour. The meeting with Hoang also touched on issues such as evacuation of sea site, performance guarantee and price formula, which will also drive the project forward, according to Al-Zanki. “Once foreign exchanges and financial issues come clear, we will be in a position to submit it to the KPC board for final decision,” he said. During a separate meeting with AlZanki, PetroVietnam President and CEO Do Van Hau pledged his full support to secure Vietnamese government’s foreign currency guarantees for the project. The Nghi Son Refinery Petrochemical Complex, the largest and most important refining project in energy-hungry Vietnam, will be located in the northern province of Thanh Hoa, some 180 km south of Hanoi. KPC will supply 100 percent crude oil for the vital joint venture with Vietnam and Japan. The state-of-the-art refinery will have an annual oil processing capacity of 10 million tons, or 200,000 bpd with a view to going online in four years after commencement of construction. AlZanki said the contract for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) will

be awarded after outstanding issues are resolved. KPC’s international unit Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) established the joint venture in April 2008 with PetroVietnam, Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. KPI and Idemitsu each own a 35.1 percent stake in the joint project, with PetroVietnam and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. putting up 25.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. The projects in Vietnam and China are in line with KPC’s strategy to invest in the growing energy markets and maximize the value-added benefits of the Kuwaiti crude. The USD 9 billion project with Asia’s top refiner Sinopec, potentially to be the largest Sino-foreign joint venture in China, involves a 300,000 barrel-perday refinery and a 1 million-ton-a-year ethylene plant in Guangdong Province. Kuwait will be the sole supplier of crude oil to the world-class integrated complex, to be built in the southern coastal city of Zhanjiang with an eye to starting operations at the end of 2014. Earlier this week in Beijing, Al-Zanki and Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu agreed to continue constructive dialogue and form a special KPC-Sinopec team that will look into new ways to create a win-win situation for the project, which Al-Zanki described “great accomplishment.” Kuwait became the second Arab oil producer to construct a refinery in China after Saudi Arabia, which finally put a refining and petrochemical joint venture into operations in 2009 in neighboring Fujian Province after more than 10 years of negotiations with the Chinese authorities. Since the establishment of KPC Beijing Representative Office in 2005, Chinese refiners have significantly increased crude purchase from Kuwait. Sales of Kuwaiti crude oil and petroleum products were just $400 million in 2004, but currently amount to exceed $10 billion. The world’s seventh-largest oil exporter supplied more than 200,000 bpd crude to China in 2011, a 11-fold increase from 18,000 bpd in 2004, according to data from the Chinese government.—KUNA

Belgian agency gives Kuwait top marks in stability BRUSSELS: The Belgian Credit Export Agency, ONDD, the country’s official credit insurer, has classified Kuwait in the top of its list as the country having the lowest economic and political risks. “Our analysis is based on economic data. There is good liquidity in the country. There are energy reserves. Energy prices are high so this is an important factor for Kuwait,” Daan Rowies, ONDD’s country analyst for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview. The ONDD gives a rating between 1 to 7 points for each country’s short and long-term political risks. One and two are considered the best rating and seven as very poor. Kuwait has been given two points only next to Qatar with one. Roweis said that the Gulf region is a significant market for Belgium. “Generally the six GCC countries have enough foreign exchange earnings because exports are lot so the risk is very low,” he noted. Six out of the top seven on ONDD’s political risk classification for the Midde East and North Africa are GCC countries with Qatar on the top with one point, followed by Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE with two points each and Bahrain with three points. Iran, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen

received the worst classification with seven points each, which means that ONDD does not cover any transactions with these countries. Each classification is linked with the premium to be paid. The higher the risk the bigger the premium one company has to pay. GCC countries have the lowest premium rates due to the very low risks involved, explained the Belgian economic analyst. “We now keep an eye on the political situation in Kuwait with the elections to be held in early February,” he said. ONDD insures companies and banks against political and commercial risks relating to international commercial transactions, mainly regarding capital goods and industrial projects, as well as contracted works and services. A commercial risk is the risk that a customer abroad will default on payments. A political risk implies events that would be considered as force majeure: wars, revolutions, currency transfer problems and natural disasters. Bahrain in 2010 was rated number one by ONDD, but after the unrest it has now been downgraded to number three. “But still the situation in Bahrain is not comparable to what is happening in Syria or what happened in Libya,” Roweis noted. — KUNA

al structure for the society. The Kuwaiti government approved the foundation of KRCS and was officially proclaimed as a nongovernmental organization- NGO - on Jan 10, 1966, he said, adding that the government’s approval also facilitated the procedures for the KRCS to join the International Federation of Red Cross and

Red Cross Societies (IFRC) The KRCS’s objective is to achieve the principles of IFRC in Kuwait and abroad based on Geneva Conventions and its supplementary protocols, Al-Barjas pointed out, noting that KRCS also aims at achieving social and medical welfare for all needy people and to provide help, first aid and rescue

operations during crises caused by natural or human disasters. KRCS’s goal is to provide assistance and protection to prisoners of war (POWs) and wounded individuals during wars, in addition to assisting in the exchange of information among people residing in the occupied territories, Al-Barjas noted. — KUNA

Indian analysts show keen interest in Kuwait polls Amir hailed for upholding traditions NEW DELHI: Indian political analysts are showing keen interest in the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Kuwait, scheduled for Feb 2, and they are of the opinion that the polls would cement the tenets of democracy and constitution in the Gulf nation. Participation of women has fascinated the Indians even more, as women leaders assume most of the top positions in the world’s oldest democracy with a lady President, lady Parliament Speaker, and Leader of Opposition, in addition to a lady at the helm of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. In remarks, a wide selection of academicians, journalists and government officials welcomed the upholding of democratic traditions by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the oil-producing nation. Director of Centre of West Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi Prof. A.K . Pasha said that winds of change are sweeping across the Arab World, and toppled many long established regimes recently. “Kuwait could not remain immune to this widespread democratic urge, which, in a way, led to fierce competition among various political groups. Given his wisdom and long years of experience, the Kuwaiti Amir upheld the urge of the people and political representatives and called for fresh polls to the 50-member National

Assembly,” said Pasha. According to him, these polls represent a peaceful new beginning, compared to the violence and disturbances witnessed in many Arab countries in the past few months. “This would enable people to debate the key issues and give a new direction to their emerging aspirations and expectations. It will also give a clear signal to Kuwait, its neighbors, and the world in general, that its democracy is mature,” added the academician. On the free par ticipation of women in Kuwait’s polls, he said, “The elections will provide a platform for the Kuwaiti women to rise to the occasion, and put up well-qualified and experienced candidates. So far, women’s participation has been meager in the Kuwaiti parliament, but these polls should balance the political equation in Kuwaiti National Assembly, which is heavily tilted in favor of men.” The Kuwaiti Amir pushed hard to give women political rights, and is anxious to see a more befitting presence and role for women in the new National Assembly. This would send a strong message to Kuwait’s neighbors in the GCC, he argued. A veteran Indian journalist who keeps a close eye on developments in West Asia, Satish Jacob, said that the forthcoming Kuwait polls are yet another step in the direction of solidifying the roots of democracy in a country located

in an area where nations are ruled by one-family dictators. “We, in India, have a major role of women and would appreciate to see a greater role of women in Kuwait too, as both are democratic countries. Like any democracy, Kuwait should also encourage role of women in politics.” He further stated that the ensuing Kuwait polls are the result of its people’s urge for greater power-sharing. “All these years, onefamily rule in most Arab countries has led to people striving for power-sharing. May these polls prove a milestone for a greater space for people’s voice,” he added. An effort was also made to elicit views of the Arab diplomats posted in India. Ahmed Salem Al-Wahishi, the Chief Representative of the League of Arab States said, “Holding of polls in Kuwait is a very important event, not only for the Kuwaitis but the Gulf region. It’s another democratic prac tice by Ku wait according to its written Constitution which is based on the rich democratic parliamentarian life of the oldest democrac y in the Arab peninsula. The call for polls by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait once more proves his wisdom.” “R allying of the people of Kuwait around His Highness the Amir and the preparedness of these polls is highly appreciated by the people of Kuwait and the Islamic countries the world over.” —KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti divers conducting a survey of the coral colonies near Kubbar Island.

Kuwaiti divers detect deterioration of coral colonies KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Dive Team at the Environmental Voluntary Foundation has detected a coral colony that died over a year ago, gathered samples to follow up on such finds in summer of 2010, and is conducting a survey of the coral colonies starting from the southern coasts of Kubbar Island. Head of environmental projects of the team Mahmoud Ashkanani told reporters yesterday that this survey is the launch of 2012 activities. He added regular reports on condition of coral colonies had been prepared since the team

detected coral that was bleached due to heat exposure in 2010. Samples of four types of coral and a sample from a dead (bleached) coral are to be studied by Dr Muna Salameen of the Science Faculty at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, he said. Generally speaking, coral is in good condition, but many colonies that had turned to limestone were found near the coastline, meaning the coral has been dead for over a year ago. At another location, a whole bleached

colony was also found and the water temperature was found to be 15.9 centigrade. On a nother note, the dive tea m cau tioned s ea- g oers in waters near Kubbar Island to stay aler t, noting there is a sunken boat near the coast, and other wreck age as well. The team is gearing up to carry out a total clean-up of the Kubbar Island seabed and coastline. This is to be done both to protect the safety of sea-goers and to preserve the coral reef and maritime environment, the team said.

Bleaching of coral occurs when the conditions necessary to sustain its healthy state cannot be maintained, causing a chain reaction ending in the coral losing its color. Coral bleaching is a generalized stress response of corals and can be caused by a number of factors, including increased (most commonly) or reduced water temperatures, changes in water chemistry (in par ticular acidification), increased sedimentation (due to silt runoff ), bacterial infections, changes in salinity, herbicides, and low tide and exposure.—KUNA

Sunday deadline for Informatics Prize registration KUWAIT: The Higher Organizing Committee of Sheikh Salem AlAli Al-Sabah Informatics Prize will stop accepting applications by next Sunday locally and in the Arab nations for its 11th session. The committee called in a statement on people who desire to take part in this competition

to register their online websites and update them before the due date. The participants can win one of the Prize’s financial awards of a total cost of $370,000, besides valuable awards. The awards would be pre sented to the winners in a cere-

mony held annually, to honor them under the patronage of His Highness the Amir SheIkh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah. The prize was established under the support and patronage of the Chief of the National Guard Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-

Sabah in 2001, and then covered all the Arab nations in 2007. Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Prize is an independent non-profit award in the field of technology and digital culture, in support of establishing society with high and advanced informatics awareness. —KUNA


S Africa: Joy, sadness as Mandela’s party turns 100

Suu Kyi could get government role Page 12

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NEW HAMPSHIRE: Republican presidential candidates, (L-R) former US Sen Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney, US Rep Ron Paul (R-TX), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Texas Gov Rick Perry participate during the NBC News Facebook Debate on ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire.—AFP

Challengers go after Romney Gingrich accused Romney of ‘pious baloney’ NEW HAMPSHIRE : Front-runner Mitt Romney came under sharp criticism from rival Republican presidential hopefuls during yesterday morning’s faceoff just hours after he largely brushed aside their criticism in the opening round of back-to-back debates just days before the New Hampshire primary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused Romney of “pious baloney” for saying he’s not a career politician, demanding that Romney “just level with the American people.” Romney denied the accusation briskly. “Politics is not my career,” he said. “My life’s passion has been my family, my faith, my country.” The exchange - and another one in which former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum swapped jibes with Romney - marked the opening moments of the final debate before tomorrow’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. Romney won the Iowa caucuses

last Tuesday by eight votes over Santorum. He leads in the polls in New Hampshire, where his rivals have all but conceded he will win. Romney has a vacation home in the state and served for four years as governor of next-door Massachusetts. Romney’s rivals hope to hold down his margin of victory and are jostling to finish in the top tier of candidates to gain momentum heading into the next nominating contests on friendlier turf in southern states with large numbers of conservative evangelical Republicans who may be wary of Romney’s shifting positions on abortion and gay rights. South Carolina comes next, on Jan. 21, the first Southern state to hold a primary, and Romney pointedly noted that he has been endorsed by that state’s governor, Nikki Haley. The debate began only hours after one in which Romney’s rivals made early attempts to knock the former Massachusetts governor off-stride but

spent more time squabbling among themselves in an attempt to emerge as his chief rival. Santorum finished second in Iowa, followed by libertarian-leaning Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with Gingrich fourth, Texas Gov. Rick Perry fifth and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in last place. She has since quit the race. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman skipped Iowa in hopes of a breakout showing in New Hampshire. Generally, the morning-after debate yesterday followed the same trend as the one the night before. Romney shrugged off the attacks from his rivals on the debate stage and worked to turn the focus onto Obama and the long road to economic recovery, while his rivals maneuvered for position. The former Massachusetts governor said he doesn’t blame the president for the recession, which was well under way when Obama took office in 2009. “What I blame him for is having it go on so long and going to deep and having a

recovery that’s so tepid.” Obama has been “anti-investment, anti-jobs and anti-business,” he said. Gingrich, for his part, said Romney was a “relatively timid Massachusetts moderate” whose state ranked fourth from the bottom in job creation when he was governor. But confronted with one of his campaign leaflets declaring Romney to be unelectable against President Barack Obama, Gingrich hedged. “I think he’ll have a very hard time getting elected.” Romney said he had created more jobs in one state than Obama has in the entire country, adding that it was important to replace “a lifetime politician” like the president with a different type of leader. Santorum, too, took a swipe at Romney, asking why he hadn’t sought re-election as governor after one term. “Why did you bail out? And the bottom line is, I go fight the fight,” Santorum said, referring to his time in Congress in the House of

Representatives from a heavily Democratic district. Romney jabbed back with a reference to Santorum’s lucrative career in the six years since he lost a Senate re-election campaign in 2006. “I long for the day when instead of having people to go to Washington for 20 to 30 years, will get elected and then when they lose office, they stay there and make money as lobbyists or conducting their businesses. “I think it stinks,” Romney said. Moments later, Gingrich appeared irked and accused Romney of using more than his allotted time to respond. “I realize the red light doesn’t mean anything to you because you’re the frontrunner.”“Could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney. The fact is you ran in ‘94 and lost (to Ted Kennedy). ... You were running for president while you were governor. ... You’ve been running consistently for years.” Perry drew some laughs as well as applause when he said that federal

Iraq police say sorry for Saddam-era ahead of birthday BAGHDAD: Iraq’s police, completely reformed after the 2003 US-led invasion, yesterday apologized for acts committed during the rule of the dictator Saddam Hussein, on the eve of the force’s 90th anniversary. The statement came as Iraq grapples with a festering political row that has pitted the Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed bloc, raising sectarian tensions as minority groups have warned of the politicisation of the security forces. “Security forces in the interior ministry apologise for the practices that took place during the former regime,” the ministry said in a statement. “They were forced to carry out practices that were not their duties.” It went on to say that the fledgling force, which has been rebuilt from the ground up in the past eight-plus years, were “the sons of the nation, carrying out their duties in order to implement the law and justice.” The statement came on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the police’s 1922

founding, two years after Britain created the country under a League of Nations mandate, but a decade before it became fully independent. Despite the apology for past acts, Iraq’s security forces-the police and army-still regularly face criticism from rights groups for heavyhandedness, random arrests and abuses. Interior ministry security forces, made up of city, oil and federal police as well as border enforcement officers and the facilities protection service, number around 650,000, according to government figures issued in October. And even with their high staffing levels, multiple reports have assessed that they do not inspire public confidence and are unable to secure Iraq’s cities and towns without help from the army. Today’s 90th Police Day commemorations follow the marking of the 91st anniversary of the foundation of the Iraqi armed forces on Friday, during which mortars targeted the Green Zone while the army staged a parade inside.— AFP

bureaucrats would experience pain as a result of his plans to cut spending, especially those in the departments of education, commerce and energy. That was a reference to his gaffe in an earlier debate when he couldn’t recall the name of the third of the Cabinetlevel agencies he has proposed eliminating. Huntsman, who was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China before quitting to run for the White House, returned to a comment Romney had made the night before. Romney said then that the rest of the Republican hopefuls had been trying to oppose the administration’s policies while Huntsman was advancing them. “And I just want to remind the people here in New Hampshire and throughout the United States, he criticized me while he was out raising money for serving my country in China, yes, under a Democrat, like my two sons are doing in the United States Navy. They’re not asking what political affiliation the president is.”— AP

Saudi Arabia beheads man for murder

BAGHDAD: Iraqi policemen take part in a drill during the first graduation ceremony for 440 national policemen, trained solely by the Iraqi trainers without the support of Italian Carabinieri in Baghdad yesterday since the withdrawal of US forces nearly nine years after launching a divisive war to oust Saddam Hussein.—AFP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia beheaded a man convicted of murder yesterday, the interior minister said in a statement, just two days after the UN expressed alarm at the scale of executions in the kingdom. Jahaz Al-Baqmi, who was executed in the southern Saudi city of Taif, was convicted of stabbing a man to death, according to a ministry statement released by the official SPA news agency, bringing the number of executions carried out in 2012 to four. On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced alarm at the almost threefold increase in executions in Saudi Arabia last year. “We are alarmed at the significant increase in the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in 2011,” said spokesman Rupert Colville at a regular press briefing. “What is even more worrying is that court proceedings often reportedly fall far short of international fair trial standards, and the use of torture as a means to obtain confessions appears to be rampant,” he added. Saudi Arabia, which enforces a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences, including rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. At least 76 death row inmates were executed in 2011, according to an AFP count, while Amnesty International has said the kingdom executed 79 people last year. In 2010, 27 people were executed, according to the UN, citing a report by Human Rights Watch.—AFP



Turk general will seek supreme court trial ISTANBUL: The former head of Turkey’s armed forces, General Ilker Basbug, should be tried in the supreme court if he is charged with plotting to overthrow the government, his lawyer told Reuters. Lawyer Ilkay Sezer said late on Saturday that Basbug had worked in tandem with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party government for seven years and he was stunned by the accusations against him. “There has been no allegation of a crime until now, that is one and a half years following his retirement ... He says it is beyond his comprehension,” Sezer told Reuters. Sezer said any indictment should be framed by the Supreme Court of Appeals and the case heard by Turkey’s top court.

Basbug, military chief of staff from 2008-2010, was sent to Silivri prison, outside Istanbul, on Friday after a court ordered he be remanded in custody while the prosecution completed its investigation and prepared formal charges. Sezer said he was appealing against the custody order. “He stays in a cell by himself... He has a TV, but he wanted to know what the world was saying about the issue,” the general’s son Murat told Hurriyet newspaper. Together with his sister, Murat visited his father in jail on Friday, and they spoke for about half an hour. “My father, who is accused of being leader of a terrorist organisation, has fought against terrorists like a lion in the southeast between 1993 and 1995. He almost lost his life in battle,” Murat

said. “These allegations are absolutley disgusting.” Military chiefs were once regarded as the most powerful men in Turkey after a series of coups in the late 20th century but since coming to power in 2002 Erdogan’s government has introduced reforms that reduced the influence of the generals. Although hundreds of officers have been detained over the past year suspected of involvement in alleged plots against the government, the action against Basbug stunned many Turks. There were small pro-military protests in the cities of Bursa, Mersin and Afyon on Saturday, involving a couple of hundred people, according to newspaper reports. The protesters carried Turkish flags and banners that read

“Not a submissive, but resistant army” and “Army and people, hand in hand”. The secularist military has a history of tension with the AK due to the party’s Islamist roots, although the party shuns the Islamist label and describes itself as socially conservative. The case against Basbug centres on websites spreading propaganda against Erdogan’s government that the military was accused of running until 2008. Several of Basbug’s subordinates have been indicted. It is linked to Ergenekon, an alleged ultra-nationalist network police say they first unearthed in 2007. Hundreds of people have been jailed in the investigation, including journalists, academics, lawyers and military officers. “We, and many jurists, claim that

if there is a need for a separate indictment, this should be done by the Supreme Court of Appeals and if a trial is required, then it should be held by Supreme Council,” Sezer said. The Constitutional Court also functions as the Supreme Criminal Court to hear cases brought against the country’s highest officials for crimes related to their official duties. One of Erdogan’s four deputy prime ministers, Bulent Arinc said on Saturday he hoped the legal process would be speedy and distanced the government from the case. “I hope the court process on Basbug is completed as soon as possible,” Arinc said. “Nobody has the luxury to commit crimes in Turkey, and the judiciary is independent.”— Reuters

Iranian president to tour US foes in Latin America Visit aimed at shoring up ties

TEL AVIV: In this photo dated Dec 22, 2010, Israeli journalist, author and TVanchor Yair Lapid attends a conference in Tel Aviv. Lapid, one of Israel’s most popular television personalities, is quitting the news business to get into politics, Israeli Channel 2 TV announced yesterday.—AP

Popular Israeli anchorman quits TV, joins politics JERUSALEM: One of Israel’s most popular television personalities quit the news business yesterday to start his own political party, a move that could shake up the Israeli political system by energizing opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yair Lapid is a best-selling author and columnist who has anchored Channel 2’s top-rated weekend news edition for the past four years. Polls show the 48-year-old Lapid would do well, particularly with secular voters. A poll conducted late last week by Israel Radio said a Lapid-led party could win as many as 15 seats in the 120-seat parliament if elections were held now. That could make it the second-largest party after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. Elections in Israel are set for late 2013, but in Israel’s parliamentary system, governments rarely serve their full terms, and analysts believe elections could take place as early as this year. Lapid’s image as a secularist likely boosted his poll results, as Israel is in the throes of controversy over efforts by ultra-Orthodox Jews to impose their strict lifestyles on less observant Israeli Jews in some places. Netanyahu’s coalition government is based on close cooperation with ultra-Orthodox parties. Critics have accused Lapid of using his TV anchor desk as a pulpit to promote an agenda. His show recently broke the story of an 8-year-old schoolgirl who was spat on and cursed by ultra-Orthodox extremists. The story sparked an angry outcry against religious extremists. Lapid’s move from journalism to politics mirrors that of his late father, Joseph Lapid, a newspaper columnist and TV personality who started his own party and went on to become justice minister. Joseph Lapid’s party drew support most-

ly for its biting criticism of Israel’s ultraOrthodox religious establishment. Israel has a long history of niche or centrist parties that have burst onto the political scene with great fanfare, only to fizzle. But Lapid, one of Israel’s most recognizable faces, brings a star appeal that few before him have had. The announcement that he was entering politics led all of Israel’s yesterday evening TV newscasts. Lapid’s resignation was announced by Channel 2. Lapid himself did not immediately comment. Little is known about Lapid’s political views. But in his columns and television commentaries, he portrays himself as a reasonable and pragmatic common man, patriotic yet critical of the government and sympathetic to social issues. Such views could make him attractive him to centrist Israelis. Political analyst Hanan Crystal said Lapid alone would not unseat Netanyahu and instead would take away votes from the centrist Kadima and Labor parties, which sit in the opposition. “He won’t break up the blocs, but he could break up some parties,” Crystal said. “The big question is who will join him. If he bring serious people aboard, he could be a major factor.” The mere mention of his candidacy has moved lawmakers to begin drafting a bill requiring journalists to go through a six-month “cooling off ” period before they enter politics. The bill is known informally as “the Lapid law.” Lapid was born in Tel Aviv and started his journalism career in uniform as a military correspondent for the Israeli army’s weekly magazine. He later became a popular columnist for daily newspapers. Lapid has also hosted a cable TV talk show, written screenplays, appeared in TV ads for a bank and written seven books.—AP

Israel charges 5 Jews over army base raid JERUSALEM: Israel yesterday charged five alleged Jewish extremists over a December raid on an army base, accusing them of gathering intelligence on the Israeli military and planning a riot, local media said. The Jerusalem Post said that the accused, from Jerusalem and two West Bank settlements, were charged with “gathering important military intelligence, conspiracy to riot and entering a closed military zone.” In the attack on a brigade headquarters in the northern West Bank, about 50 right-wing activists breached the perimeter fence and went on the rampage, setting fire to tyres, assaulting a senior officer and damaging vehicles with stones, paint and nails. Public radio said that the indictment presented in court yesterday accused the five of tracking the movements of army units in the West Bank and passing them on to settlement activists. “They sought to prevent by illegal means the dismantling of (settlement) outposts decided by the government, and distributed reports from spotters,

scouts and accomplices,” the radio said. The December raid was just one in a rising tide of so-called “price-tag” attacks by settlers and their supporters aimed at stopping government moves to dismantle wildcat West Bank settlement outposts. The attacks have mainly targeted Palestinian property and the homes and offices of Israeli peace activists, but of late they have twice struck military bases associated with outpost demolition operations, enraging the political leadership which has vowed to clamp down on the perpetrators. Destruction of Palestinian property, including the vandalising of several mosques in the West Bank and Jerusalem, has rarely resulted in Israeli legal action. “Of all of the mosques which have been torched or damaged in the past two years, there have not been any charges,” Sarit Michaeli of Israeli rights group B’tselem told AFP. Police say they arrested suspects in connection with mosque attacks but were unable to press charges due to lack of evidence.— AFP

CARACAS: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under growing pressure from debilitating Western economic sanctions, started a Latin America tour yesterday aimed at shoring up ties with his few remaining allies. Ahmadinejad will meet fellow US foe and firebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a four-nation trip that coincides with rising international concern over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The Iranian leader will arrive in Caracas late yesterday, kicking off a five-day trip that will on Tuesday see him attend the inauguration of the recently re-elected Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. Stops in Cuba and Ecuador will round off the tour. All four countries have frosty ties with the United States and their leaders have in the past four years made numerous Tehran visits to build up diplomatic and business links while relations with Washington have worsened. Just before leaving Iran, Ahmadinejad said that all the countries on his itinerary “resist the oppression” of the United States and share “an anti-colonialist view,” according to the Fars news agency. “Latin America is a region that the oppressive regime (the United States) sees as its backyard where it can do as it likes. But today the people have awoken and are acting independently,” he said. Ahmadinejad called Chavez “a hero in the struggle against the oppression”, said Ortega was leading a “revolution (that) is the same as the Iranian revolution”, and praised Ecuador’s ruling “revolutionaries who battle the (US) regime of domination”. He said he planned to sign deals in all the countries, including Cuba. Ahmadinejad’s international affairs director, Mohammad Reza Forqani, earlier said the visit to “what used to be called the backyard of America shows the dynamism of the Islamic Republic

CARACAS: This Nov 25, 2009 file photo shows Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) embracing his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez upon his arrival at Miraflores presidential palace. — AFP of Iran’s diplomacy in the world arena.” The trip also “invalidates the claims of the enemies,” Forqani was quoted as saying by Iranian state media on Tuesday, in a clear jab at Washington. Officials in Ecuador meanwhile confirmed that Ahmadinejad would visit the South American nation on Thursday, in the Iranian leader’s second visit since attending President Rafael Correa’s inauguration in 2007. Ahmadinejad will talk with Latin American leaders about “bilateral ties and regional and international issues,” according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency. The United States has urged Latin American countries not to deepen ties with Iran. “As the regime feels increasing pressure, it is desperate for friends and flailing around in interesting places to find new friends,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said when asked

about Ahmadinejad’s trip. Carlos Romero, a retired international relations professor at the Central University of Venezuela, said Ahmadinejad was “trying to find oxygen in Latin America,” while links with other states continue to spiral downwards. “His country is in a very complicated state internationally and is challenged internally by ever more protests on social networks” over the regime’s repression of human rights at home and failure to denounce abuses in Syria, Romero said. While the international community and many neighbouring states have condemned Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s months-long crackdown on protesters, ally Ahmadinejad has remained steadfastly loyal to the Damascus leadership. The Iranian president will be accompanied on the Latin America trip by his for-

eign, trade, commerce and mines and energy ministers. Ahmadinejad, who last came to Venezuela in November 2009, was scheduled to visit Caracas in September 2011 but the trip was postponed because Chavez was diagnosed with cancer. The Venezuelan leader, who has since declared himself free of the disease, last visited Iran in October 2010. But the region’s economic powerhouse, Brazil, is notably absent from Ahmadinejad’s itinerary. Lytton Guimaraes, an expert on Latin America at the University of Brasilia, said the omission indicated that President Dilma Rousseff was adopting a much cooler approach to Iran than that of her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. “Brazil is not going to defend Iran, but nor will it attack it. It’s going to sit still,” Guimaraes told AFP.—AFP

US concerned about activist in Bahrain, urges probe WASHINGTON: The United States called on its ally Bahrain on Saturday to investigate the case of a prominent Bahraini human rights activist who the opposition says was beaten by security forces. Opposition activists said several security officers threw Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, to the ground and beat him on the head, neck and back after a protest march on Friday. Bahrain’s Interior Ministry has denied those accounts, saying on its Twitter feed that police found Rajab “lying on the ground” and took him to the hospital for treatment. The Sunni-led island kingdom, home to the US Fif th Fleet, last year sought to crush anti-government demonstrations mounted by the country’s Shi’ite Muslim majority. Protest marches have continued in recent months, sometimes turning violent. O fficials from the US embassy in Manama met for about an hour on Saturday with R ajab, who had a cut beneath one eye and bruising on his face, a senior US official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “The United States is deeply concerned by continuing incidents of violence in Bahrain between police and demonstrators,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a written statement.

“While the facts surrounding the violence that transpired remain in dispute, we strongly urge the Government of Bahrain to undertake a full investigation (of Rajab’s case) to determine if excessive force was employed by police,” she added. Nuland said embassy officials had raise Rajab’s case with senior Bahraini officials and urged the government to carry out recommendations made by an independent commission that found Bahrain used excessive force in last year’s crackdown. “In general we urge all demonstrators to refrain from acts of violence and for police and security forces also to avoid excessive use of force,” she added. “We are very concerned about this case,” said the senior US official who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying that if an investigation found the Bahraini police used excessive force against him, those responsible should be punished. While the official said there has been a pattern in recent months of protesters using Molotov cocktails and throwing things at police, he said there was no indication of violence by protesters during the march in which Rajab was hurt. Bahrain launched a sweeping crackdown on anti-government protests last year that drew criticism internationally and from the state -sponsored Bahrain

Independent Commission of Inquir y, which found detainees were systematically abused and in some cases tortured to death. The events in Bahrain, part of last year’s “Arab Spring” of popular uprisings against autocratic rulers in the Middle East, have posed a policy challenge for the United States, which values the country as an ally in countering Iranian influence but which wants to be seen as supporting democracy everywhere. The United States has said a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain depends in part on its response to the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which issued its report on Nov. 23. Bahrain’s largest Shiite opposition bloc, alWefaq, welcomed the comments by the US official, saying the government needed to be pushed to carry out the panel’s recommendations. “We appreciate this response and the Bahrainis are awaiting actions on the ground,” said Wefaq member and former member of parliament Mattar Mattar. “There is struggle in implementing the recommendations of the BICI and the regime needs to be pressured and monitored to apply it, rather than the international community just believing the regime’s fake response, which contradicts the facts on the ground,” he added.—Reuters



Mexico gets independence monument 11/2 years late MEXICO CITY: President Felipe Calderon led the lighting of a soaring independence monument Saturday that was supposed to be ready for Mexico’s 2010 bicentennial, but came in nearly 11/2 years late and way over budget. Some Mexicans have suggested the quartz-clad light tower be dubbed “the monument to corruption.” Costs nearly tripled from about 400 million pesos to more than 1 billion (equivalent at current rates to about $75 million), and auditors found 95 improprieties in contracting that resulted in criminal charges against at least four public employees. It was supposed to have been ready on Sept 15, 2010, for the celebrations of the bicentennial of the start of the country’s 1810 independence

movement. “It’s going to be remembered as an example of theft and uncontrolled spending,” said dentist Francisco Ponce, 40, who came out to see the inauguration. “It will remembered as a monument to corruption.” Still, “it is imposing,” he conceded as he gazed up at the 343-foot (104meter) tall tower that looms over Mexico’s main boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma. Businessman Oscar Anguiano, 42, said the cost was worth it. “We need an icon for Mexico City that will identify us the world over,” he said. “The Pillar of Light,” as it is officially known, drew “oohs” and “aahs” from a few hundred people who gathered to watch it be switched on, bathing the sky in a soft glow from hundreds of panels of quartz that are backlighted in changing

patterns by LED panels. Authorities have said a government board incorrectly authorized payment for the architect even though he turned in incomplete designs. The construction management company bid out construction contracts without following normal procedures and before they even had final drawings. Foundations for the tower, which is supported by steel columns, had to be dug much deeper than originally planned. The project has drawn criticism because only about one-third of the building materials have come from Mexico. The stainless-steel columns had to be imported from Italy, the quartz panels from Brazil and a specialized lighting system made by a German-owned company. “The worst

thing is that it’s not even Mexican,” Ponce said. The modernist design also rank led some Mexicans. “For that price, I would have expected a structure of better quality, something like the Angel,” schoolteacher Javier Vazquez, 53, said, motioning down the boulevard toward a neoclassical pillar topped by an angel, The Angel of Independence. It was erected by dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1910 to mark Mexico’s centennial. Diaz was widely hated, but his monument has come to be loved and was adopted as the symbol of Mexico City, leaving out some hope for Calderon’s Pillar of Light. Calderon took the long view. “Beyond the natural controversies that this kind of structure normally awakens, it will be an icon for our capital city,” Calderon said.— AP

Billionaire gives $5m to pro-Gingrich group Donation breathes new life into struggling campaign

BOLIVAR: Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, left, hugs Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez after signing bilateral agreements in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state, Venezuela, Saturday. —AP

Venezuela, Peru in pacts on oil investments, trade CARACAS: The presidents of Venezuela and Peru have reached an agreement for the Peruvian state oil company to invest in development of Venezuela’s eastern Orinoco oil belt. Venezuela’s state oil monopoly will study a possible role in developing a petrochemical complex in Peru as well as helping Peru increase its production of heavy and extra heavy crude oil. The formal agreement came during a

Saturday meeting between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Peruvian leader Ollanta Humala. Later, representatives of the two governments signed agreements establishing mechanisms for transportation, storage, refining and marketing of hydrocarbons. Other pacts cover the sale in Peru of tractors and other farm implements made in Venezuela.— AP

Blackwater successor settles shooting suit NORTH CAROLINA: The new owners of the security company formerly known as Blackwater said Saturday they have settled a lawsuit brought by some of the survivors and estates of Iraqis killed during an infamous 2007 shooting in Baghdad. The settlement closes the last lawsuit against the company, now called Academi, over the shooting that killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, spokesman John Procter said. Security personnel of North Carolina-based Blackwater were guarding US diplomats when the guards opened fire in the crowded square on Sept 16, 2007. Seventeen people were killed, including women and children, in a shooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq. The Blackwater contractors argued that insurgents ambushed them in a traffic circle before they opened fire. Prosecutors who filed criminal charges said the men unleashed an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades. The confidential settlement of the lawsuit against the former Blackwater “enables its new management to move the company forward,” Academi said in a statement, “and, with respect to the Iraqi families and individuals who were plaintiffs in this lawsuit, provides them with compensation so they can now bring some closure to the losses they suffered.” A Raleigh attorney representing the families, Jim Roberts, confirmed the settlement, which was first reported Saturday by The Charlotte Observer. The lawsuit, which bounced between federal and North Carolina courts, accused Blackwater and its five contractors of wrongful death and negligence. A federal judge last year returned the case to the North Carolina courts, where the lawsuit was initially filed, after rul-

ing that nonresident aliens are typically unable to sue in federal court for injuries sustained outside the country. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three people killed in the shooting - 9year-old Ali Kinani, Abrahem Abed Al Mafraje and Mahde Sahab Naser Shamake - and others. Lawyers for the company had argued in court that Blackwater contractors were essentially acting as employees of the US government because they were providing security to State Department personnel, so the government and not the company should be held accountable for the deaths. Lawyers for Blackwater and the contractors also argued they couldn’t be sued by foreigners for something that happened in a foreign country governed by foreign law. The five security guards involved in the shooting also were indicted for manslaughter after refusing Iraqi demands that they face trial in Iraqi courts. A federal judge dismissed the charges against the five, citing government missteps, but Vice President Joe Biden said nearly two years ago that the government would appeal the court’s ruling. Before the judge dismissed the charges, a sixth contractor pleaded guilty in the criminal case. Blackwater earlier settled a series of federal lawsuits in which dozens of Iraqis accused the company of cultivating a reckless culture that allowed innocent civilians to be killed. Academi, which took over Blackwater facilities in North Carolina and elsewhere but is based in Arlington, Va., last month settled a lawsuit in which families accused the company of responsibility for the deaths of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. Their slayings by Iraqi insurgents produced the grisly images of two of their bodies hanging from a bridge in Fallujah.— AP

US expels Venezuelan diplomat WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is expelling Venezuela’s consul general in Miami after allegations surfaced that she discussed possible cyber attacks on US government computers while she was stationed at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico. The State Department said yesterday that it had declared the diplomat, Livia Acosta Noguera, persona non grata and given her until Tuesday to leave the coun-

try. Spokesman Mark Toner said the Venezuelan government had been notified of the decision on Friday, giving Noguera 72 hours to depart under standard diplomatic procedure. Toner would not discuss the reason for the expulsion but said it was done in accordance with Article 23 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. That article does not require the expelling state to explain its decision. —AP

MANCHESTER: A Las Vegas billionaire has contributed $5 million to an independent group backing Newt Gingrich, breathing new life into the former House Speaker’s struggling campaign for the GOP presidential nomination and casting renewed attention on the role of such groups in the 2012 contest. A person familiar with the development said Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul and longtime donor to Republican candidates, made the contribution Friday to Winning Our Future, a super PAC run by Gingrich allies. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Adelson is expected to contribute as much or more to groups backing the Republican nominee, be it Gingrich or one of his rivals. Rick Tyler, a former top Gingrich strategist and spokesman for Winning Our Future, declined to comment on the donation, which was first reported by The Washington Post. Politico repor ted last month that Adelson was prepared to spend $20 million to help Gingrich. A 2010 Supreme Court decision easing restrictions on corporate and individual spending laid the groundwork for these political action committees, or super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections as long as they do not coordinate directly with a candidate’s campaign. The identities of those who contributed to super PACs in the second half of 2011 won’t be reported until the end of January. Many donors’ names will never be known. Some super PACs have established nonprofit arms that are permitted to shield contributors’ identities as long as they spend no more than 50 percent of their money on electoral politics. Crossroads, the giant conservative outfit tied to former George W Bush political adviser Karl Rove, operates both a super PAC and a nonprofit. Crossroads and other Republican-leaning super PACs played a significant role in the 2010 midterm elections, helping deliver the House to the GOP and boost the number of

MANCHESTER: Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich participates in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire. —AFP

Republicans in the Senate. The 2012 contest is the first to test the influence of such groups in presidential politics. No candidate has seen his fortunes affected by the emergence of super PACs more than Gingrich. Riding high in polls just a month ago, he became the target of a $3 million advertising barrage sponsored by Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney run by several of the former Massachusetts governor’s allies. The ads, which pounded Gingrich for his ties to federal housing giant Freddie Mac and his reversal on issues like climate change, sent his political for tunes plunging in Iowa. Gingrich finished fourth in the state’s caucuses last week. Gingrich has vowed to carry on and is hoping to resuscitate his campaign in South

Argentine leader’s thyroid wasn’t cancerous: Doctors BUENOS AIRES: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez didn’t have cancer after all. After having some of Argentina’s leading cancer surgeons completely remove her thyroid gland, tests showed no presence of any cancerous cells. “Tissue studies ruled out the presence of cancerous cells in the thyroid, thus modifying the initial diagnosis,” presidential spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said Saturday. Fernandez doesn’t even have to swallow the radioactive iodine that patients usually take after thyroid cancer surgery, to make sure any remaining cancer cells are killed, her spokesman said. But she will have to take hormone medicine for the rest of her life. Fernandez returned Saturday to the presidential residence in suburban Olivos. She underwent the surgery Wednesday, just 25 days after beginning her second term. The 58-year-old president, through her spokesman, thanked the medical team led by the hospital’s surgery chief, Dr. Pedro Saco, an expert in cancers of the head and neck. Later Saturday, she added her own thoughts in a tweet, saying: “Now from Olivos, we thank all the people, citizens, activists and personalities, for the signs of affection and concern.” The announcement that she is cancerfree prompted raucous cheers and chants from several hundred supporters holding vigil for days outside the hospital, carrying signs saying “Be Strong Cristina!” The idea that she had cancer had worried many Argentines, who re-elected her with a 54 percent landslide in October in part because none of her rivals seemed as capable of maintaining economic growth and social stability. Since she and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, began governing in 2003, Argentina has come back strong from a disastrous worldrecord debt default and currency devaluation a year earlier. The economy has grown at an average annual rate of 7.6 percent, poverty and unemployment are down and the wealth gap has narrowed. Their administrations have transferred billions of dollars to the poor through social programs. But their style of rule has been highly personal, concentrating power in a very small circle of loyal advisers. Kirchner’s sudden death of a heart attack in 2010 during his wife’s first term left many Argentines worried

Carolina, which holds its primary January 21. Since Romney is heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, his rivals are looking to slow his momentum when the contest moves south. Several super PACs have already played a role in the Republican campaign. They include Make Us Great Again, a super PAC backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Our Destiny, supporting former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; and the Red White and Blue Fund, which helped revive Rick Santorum’s campaign in Iowa and is running ads in South Carolina. Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, has spent modestly during the Republican nominating contest and is expected to step up its role in the general election. — AP


in brief

Papa John’s apologizes for racial slur on receipt NEW YORK: Papa John’s Pizza is apologizing after an employee typed a racial slur on a receipt to a customer at one of its New York City locations. Customer Minhee Cho posted a message on Twitter along with an image of the receipt from a Manhattan location describing her as “lady chinky eyes.” Several hours later after the message had gone viral, the Louisville, Ky.based company formally apologized on its Facebook and Twitter pages for Cho’s experience. The company says the employee was dismissed. Spokeswoman Tish Muddon told the Louisville Courier-Journal ( ) that the company was attempting to reach Cho to apologize. Cho didn’t immediately respond to messages sent by email and Twitter.

BUENOS AIRES: In this Dec.10, 2011 file photo, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez smiles during her swearing-in ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina. —AP about whether Fernandez could maintain the couple’s model of governing, and the cancer diagnosis renewed those fears. Without her thyroid gland, Fernandez now faces a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy. This might have been avoided had doctors removed only half of her thyroid, the part surrounding the apparently cancerous nodule, said Dr. Robert Haddad, chief of head and neck oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “That’s the downside. If you remove only half, you don’t need the replacement therapy,” Haddad said. “It’s a pill you take once a day, just like a pill for blood pressure or something, but you have to take it for the rest of your life, which is not insignificant.” Preoperative thyroid cancer diagnoses usually involve inserting a needle and removing a few cells from the suspicious lump. When tests come back positive for cancer, it’s best to repeat the test and to get a second opinion before surgery, Haddad said. Still, the only way to be sure a growth is benign or malignant is to remove at least part of the gland. —AP

Victim sketch released in NY serial slay probe YAPHANK: Police have released a composite sketch of an unidentified victim whose remains were among those of 11 people found along a remote New York beach highway last year. The sketch released Saturday is of a woman whose partial remains were found along Long Island’s Ocean Parkway last April. Suffolk County police say other remains of the same person were also found on Blue Point Beach, Fire Island, in April 1996. Investigators believe a possible serial killer is responsible for 10 of the bodies. The remains of an 11th victim a 24-year-old woman named Shannan Gilbert - were found in late December. But authorities say Gilbert accidentally drowned. US military probes missing equipment WASHINGTON: The US Army says it’s investigating the disappearance of “sensitive” equipment at a joint army and air force base in Washington state. The New Tribune of Tacoma reports on its website yesterday that a 100-member infantry company has been locked down at Joint Base Lewis McChord while the probe is under way. Base spokesman Matt Hinkle says the company under investigation is from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. I Corps spokesman Maj. Chris Ophardt says the missing items are weapons accessories and not weapons. Laser sights were cited as an example. Ophardt says the lockdown started Wednesday and will continue until the probe is over. Meanwhile, the company is restricted to barracks and dining areas but families can visit. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the equipment’s return. —AP



South Africa: Joy, sadness as Mandela’s party turns 100 Nelson Mandela Absent due to frailty

PARIS: Francois Hollande (L), France’s Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, speaks beside Gilbert Mitterrand, son of the late French President Francois Mitterrand, as they visit the latter’s father birthplace yesterday. —AFP

Sarkozy gains ground on Socialist rival: Poll PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cut his Socialist rival’s lead to the smallest margin so far in the run up to an April and May presidential election, a poll showed yesterday. However, the poll showed that Socialist candidate Francois Hollande would still comfortably beat Sarkozy in a run-off. The president has been capitalising on his central role in Europe’s struggle to contain its debt crisis, and gained ground even after announcing plans for an unpopular sales tax hike and after Hollande’s campaign took a more aggressive tone. In the first round of the two-stage vote, on April 22, Hollande would win 28 percent of the vote while Sarkozy would secure 26 percent, the poll by IFOP for weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche found. Hollande had a 10-point first-round lead shortly after the Socialist Party chose him as their candidate in October. In the run-off, the poll showed Hollande winning with 54 percent of the vote while Sarkozy would get 46 percent, also the smallest margin registered so far in the election race and down from 20 percentage points in October. Sarkozy

hopes that, in the May 6 run-off, he can pick up ballots from people voting for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Francois Bayrou in the first round. Pollsters say many of those voters have not decided yet who to pick in the second round. Sarkozy, widely expected to announce in February that he is seeking a second mandate, has been gaining momentum in opinion polls even though his economic credentials are under fire, with France at risk of losing its AAA credit rating and unemployment running at a 12year high. The president is putting a new focus on spurring growth and reviving French companies’ competitiveness. In a political gamble, the government said it would finance a cut in social welfare contributions paid by large companies with an increase in sales tax. Hollande has stepped up his attacks on Sarkozy, accusing him in an open letter of running the economy onto the rocks and being a “president of the privileged”. The IFOP poll was based on telephone interviews between Jan 4 and Jan 6 with 1,163 people registered to vote. —Reuters

Unusual counter-rally hits Moscow MOSCOW: Russians frustrated with both Vladimir Putin and the nascent opposition movement’s inability to institute change staged a small protest in Moscow yesterday under the slogan of “we have had enough”. The unusual counterdemonstration reflected the deep fissures that threaten to emerge between the various groups opposed to Putin’s 12-year domination of Russia and expected return to the Kremlin in March presidential polls. Organisers said just over a hundred people braved the winter cold on Bolotnaya Square-scene of a historic protest against the outcome of a disputed December 4 parliamentary vote-for the city-sanctioned event. “These leaders care about politics more than they care about us. They all have their own links to the authorities anyway,” said protest organizer Svetlana Peunova of the nationalist Volya (Will) group. Moscow last month was rocked by the biggest rallies since the turbulent 1990s when tens of thousands turned out against elections in which Putin’s ruling party retained a narrow majority amid

allegations of fraud. A third such mass event has been scheduled for February 4 — exactly a month before a presidential vote in which Putin hopes to win a third term after serving as head of state from 2000 to 2008. Putin agreed to hand his current premiership post to President Dmitry Medvedev after the elections in a role swap that has sparked deep resentment among voters who feel cheated by the private deal. The resulting drop in Putin’s support is not expected to seriously hurt his election chances despite the sudden possibility that he will have to face a humbling run-off vote. But it means that Putin may end up returning to the presidency with his approval ratings at an all-time low and his authority challenged for the first time. Yesterday’s rally organizers said the current protest movement was distracted by leadership squabbles far removed from its original determination to obtain a fair vote. “Those heading these rallies are clearly more interested in their own leadership than our problems,” he said in a formal statement.

BLOEMFONTEIN: Tens of thousands of chanting and dancing revelers waved the green and gold colors of the African National Congress as Africa’s oldest liberation movement celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday, though many South Africans say the party hasn’t delivered on its promises since taking power in 1994. A dozen African leaders and more former heads of state along with African kings and chieftains attended a midnight ceremony where President Jacob Zuma lit a flame, expected to stay alight the entire year, at the red brick, tin-roofed Wesleyan church where black intellectuals and activists founded the party in 1912. Absent because of his frailty was Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president who is just six years younger than his movement. The world icon was jailed for 27 years by the racist white government and his organization was declared a terrorist group by the United States. Joy at the ANC’s leading role in ending white minority rule in 1994 was tinged with sadness over the its failure to bring a better life to most South Africans, and corruption scandals that have embroiled its members in recent years. “It means a lot to be alive when the ANC is celebrating 100 years of its existence,” Mayor Tulani Sebego of Bergville told Associated Press Television News. He said the party had gained strength along with challenges, “but it has managed to come through it to today, it is here, 100 years and I want to believe it will reach 200 years.” The stadium at Bloemfontein, upgraded to a 45,000-seater for the 2010 soccer World Cup, overflowed yesterday with crowds that spilled outside, dancing and singing under a blazing sun. Dozens of buses lined up to drop off celebrants waiting for an afternoon address by Zuma. Zuma has said the ANC will rule “until Jesus comes” but the next few years will be critical ones for the party that has won a landslide victory in every election for the last 18 years. The ANC describes itself as the home of the working class and the poor, but inequality has grown in recent years even as a small black elite around the party has become multimillionaires flaunting lavish lifestyles. Unemployment hovers around 36 percent and soars to 70 percent among young people. Half the country’s population lives on just 8 percent of the national income, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions. A warning sign came from the town of Clarens, where stone-throwing protesters smashed the windows of a bus that was to transport supporters to the centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein, 260 kilometers (160 miles) away. Protesters, demanding ANC municipal leaders be fired for failing to deliver basic services like tap water, stoned vehicles and blocked the road to Bloemfontein, Talk Radio 702 reported. Such protests have become daily events across the country, where political liberation has not been matched by economic emancipation as Africa’s largest economy remains in the control of the

white minority. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in fighting apartheid and is attending the celebrations, recently called for a tax on all whites who benefited from apartheid. “Apartheid is not over,” American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said after the church ceremony, “the agricultural apartheid, the manufacturing apartheid, the banking apartheid, the shipping apartheid, the layers beneath the skin color are now the next century’s challenge.” Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, whose country was bombed by South African warplanes attacking ANC guerrilla training camps during the struggle for liberation, issued a warning at a banquet Saturday night. “Comrade Zuma, you have more serious problems than any of us. You are faced with the land question. I want to remind the South African youth that two wrongs can never make a right,”

BLOEMFONTEIN: South Africans attend yeterday celebrations of the centenary of Africa’s oldest liberation movement, South Africa’s ruling ANC, with some 100,000 people at a rally in Bloemfontein. —AFP he said. The ANC government has admitted its failure to return white-owned farmland to blacks - a key issue of the liberation struggle. In 1994 it set a goal of redistributing 30 percent of agricultural land to blacks by 2014 - targeting a total of nearly 61 million acres (24.6 million hectares). Instead, it has bought only about 6 million hectares, of which a third has been resold by aspiring black farmers who failed to get enough support. Ninety percent of farmland here remains in white hands. Hundreds of white farmers have been killed over the years, and they in turn are accused of brutality and killings of black farm laborers. Whites are not the only ones tied up in land disputes. Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, who attended the celebration, faces allegations of land-grabbing by families in Mvezo, the village

living in the north a three-day ultimatum to leave the region. In claiming subsequent attacks, the spokesman said they were in response to the ultimatum. At mass yesterday in the capital Abuja, worshippers were frisked and made to pass through metal detectors upon entry-measures that have been in place for several weeks. In the economic capital Lagos, which has not been hit by attacks, churchgoers were told to be on alert for any suspicious movements. Oritsejafor said an emergency meeting of church heads concluded “that the pattern of these killings does suggest to us a systematic ethnic and religious cleansing.” “We are reminded by the occurrences of these killings of the genesis of the civil war that took place here in Nigeria,” he added, reading from a statement prepared after the meeting in Abuja. The run-up to Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war that left more than a million dead saw Igbos, who are overwhelmingly Christian, massacred in the country’s north. An attack Friday in the northeastern town of Mubi was a frightening reminder for many of the pre-civil war days, with 17 people gunned down as they gathered to mourn the death of an Igbo killed the night before. Boko Haram has been blamed for intensifying violence for months, but it has taken on a different dimension with recent attacks targeting churches and Christians. — AFP

made the football substitution sign - indicating their desire for a change of leadership, the Sunday Tribune reported. Malema used the Youth League’s power to help oust former President Thabo Mbeki, opening the way for Zuma to replace him in 2009, but now wants to see someone else lead the party. That fight will be fought at the ANC congress in December in Bloemfontein, a city in the heart of the country that also is called Mangaung. In a sign of possible reconciliation, Mbeki is attending the three-day bash in Bloemfontein, the first major ANC meeting he has been seen at since his fall from grace amid accusations he was high-handed, too cerebral and removed from ordinary South Africans. — AP

Opposition ups heat on Merkel over prez scandal BERLIN: Germany’s main opposition party piled pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday over a scandal dogging her handpicked candidate for president, calling for new elections if he were to step down. As new revelations emerge almost daily about Christian Wulff, 52, and a home loan affair that has dominated the country’s media for weeks, a senior member of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) sought to shift the heat onto Merkel. The party’s secretary general, Andrea Nahles, told the Bild am Sonntag weekly: “If Wulff resigns, then there should be new elections ... the Wulff affair is also a Merkel affair.” “Christian Wulff is not up to the office of federal president. Staying in office, no matter what happens? That behaviour is not acceptable ... I have serious doubts that he will survive this affair,” added Nahles. The SPD’s parliamentary group leader, former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also chimed in, noting Merkel had pushed through Wulff’s election to the largely ceremonial post in 2010. “She cannot just act as if she has nothing to do with this whole affair and as if the federal president is in a different political sphere,” Steinmeier told yesterday’s edition of the Tagesspiegel. The scandal broke in

Nigeria Christians warn attacks reminder of civil war run-up ABUJA: The head of Nigeria’s Christians has warned that deadly attacks on churches and faithful suggest “religious cleansing” and compared the violence to the run-up to the 1960s civil war. Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria, also said after a meeting of church leaders on Saturday that Christians would defend themselves, though he added that he was not advocating reprisal attacks. The stark warning in Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer comes with at least six gun and bomb attacks targeting Christians since Christmas having killed more than 80 people. Attacks have seen victims gunned down while their eyes were closed in prayer in church, caught up in a gruesome bomb blast while leaving Christmas services and shot while gathering to mourn the death of a friend. In the latest violence, residents said gunmen shot dead three people believed to be Christians as they were playing poker on Saturday night in the northeastern town of Biu. Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed most of the violence, which has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict in a country whose 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. A purported spokesman for the group a week ago gave southerners

where Mandela was born. A court will hear the case later this month. Villagers charge Mandla Mandela, a traditional chief, of illegally expropriating their land and removing grave sites to build a multimillion-dollar hotel and stadium. Another ANC leader embroiled in controversy, Youth League leader Julius Malema, told a weekend rally around the celebrations that he hopes within 10 years blacks will control the mines and farms and whites will be their domestic workers and farm laborers. Malema has denied newspaper reports that he called ANC leaders “baboons” in a brazen attack at another weekend rally. Malema reportedly said ANC leaders were living “the high life” while most South Africans struggle to survive on breadcrumbs. Malema himself has been criticized for building a $2 million mansion, with people asking where the money comes from. As he spoke at the rally, people in the crowd

VATICAN CITY: In this photo released by the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, left, blesses a child at the Vatican yesterday. —AP

Pope baptizes babies in Sistine Chapel VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI is baptizing 16 babies in the splendor of the Sistine Chapel. Some of the infants looked at him wide-eyed after he poured water from a golden shell-shaped dish over their forehead, as Benedict administered the sacrament yesterday, welcoming them formally by name into the Catholic church. A few babies flailed their arms when brought up to the pontiff, but none cried in front of him. Benedict told their parents and godparents in his homily that educating children is “very challenging,” and urged them to pray. He said he hoped the children would grow up with “wisdom and grace.” The ceremony in the chapel frescoed by Michelangelo and where popes are elected is part of the Vatican’s Christmas period traditions. — AP

December when mass circulation Bild reported that Wulff failed to declare a loan he had obtained from the wife of a wealthy tycoon when he was the leader of the state of Lower Saxony. On learning the story was about to break, Wulff left furious voicemail messages with the Bild’s chief editor and reportedly also the chief executive of the paper’s publisher. According to Spiegel newsweekly, Wulff asked to discuss the story on his return from an official trip “and then we can decide how we see things and then we can decide how we should wage war.” As recently as Friday, Merkel’s spokesman said she had “great esteem” for Wulff both as a person and as a president, but the scandal is an increasingly unwelcome distraction as she seeks to focus on the eurozone debt crisis. And top government officials scrambled to deny reports over the weekend that talks had taken place over a possible successor to Wulff. However, as hundreds protested outside the official presidential residence in Berlin over the weekend and polls yesterday showing Germans believed he had lost credibility, Wulff himself reportedly sought to shrug off the scandal. “In a year, this will all be forgotten,” he told staff members, according to the Bild am Sonntag. —AFP

‘Major emergency operation’ after South Sudan violence JUBA: Aid groups are mounting a “major emergency operation” in rural South Sudan after tribe-on-tribe violence sent tens of thousands of people fleeing and killed an unknown number of people, the UN said. The UN ‘s humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, said Saturday that aid groups are responding to a call for help from South Sudan’s central government after a column of 6,000 armed men from the Lou Nuer ethnic group marched into Pibor in Jonglei state to target the Murle community in late December and early January. The UN says that three whole villages were burned to the ground. Aid groups have evacuated 140 people who were wounded. Neither the central government or the UN has been able to give a death toll. The Juba-based central gov-

ernment says it is launching an investigation. A government official in Jonglei has said that thousands of people were killed but that number has not been corroborated. Aid groups estimated that 60,000 people have been affected by the violence, the UN said. Tens of thousands fled their homes and urgent needs include highnutritional food, clean water, health care and shelter, the UN said. “This emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudan since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005,” Grande said, adding that most areas that need to be reached can only be reached by air. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the peace deal that ended decades of war between Sudan and South Sudan. — AP



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Afghanistan to open embassy in Greece KABUL: Afghanistan will open an embassy in Greece within a few months to help deal with the tens of thousands of Afghan illegal migrants there, an official said yesterday. Greece is the main entry point into Europe for migrants from across the Middle East and North Africa, including Algerians, Pakistanis, Somalis and Iraqis as well as Afghans. Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai said the

new embassy in Athens should be open by the end of March. Kabul will close its embassy in Bulgaria at the same time, he said. About 50,000 Afghans illegally enter Greece each year, Musazai said. Most are seeking a better life in the European Union and choose Greece because of its porous land border with Turkey. But many are either caught and jailed or find themselves stranded.

Musazai said a government delegation late last year provided 650 passports to Afghans who wanted to return home, and persuaded authorities to free 100 Afghans held in detention centers for illegal entry. “Most of them regret leaving and don’t want to go on to any other countries in Europe,” he said. “They just want to come back but they need a passport.” The land border between

Greece, which is in the EU, and Turkey, which is not, is among the most porous of the outer boundaries of the Schengen zone, 26 European countries that have eliminated border controls. A migrant who crosses into the Schengen zone undetected can then travel on to any of those countries without showing any documents. But many migrants are either caught in Greece or find themselves

stranded with no money and no papers, often because migrant smugglers keep passports until they are paid in full. Greece has been overwhelmed by a flood of migrants from many countries who see it as a gateway to European riches. In 2010, Greece accounted for 90 percent of the bloc’s detected illegal border crossings, compared to 75 percent in 2009. —AP

Afghan claim of US prison abuse strains key talks Karzai calls for US to turn over control facilities

PUNE: Grandmother of Anuj Bidve, center left wearing yellow, and mother of Bidve, center with red scarf, mourn as the body of Bidve is carried for cremation in Pune, India, Saturday. —AP

Funeral held for Indian student killed in Britain NEW DELHI: Hundreds of grieving friends and relatives of an Indian student who was killed in Britain have attended his funeral in western India. Twentythree-year-old Anuj Bidve was fatally shot Dec 26 during a night out in Salford, a city in northern England. A 20-year-old man, Kiaran Stapleton, has been charged with his murder. The apparently unprovoked shoot-

ing shocked people in Britain. There has been speculation that the killing may have had a racial motive. Bidve’s parents traveled to England to bring his body back to his western Indian hometown of Pune, where the funeral was held late Saturday. The cremation was a simple affair. Relatives had informed reporters that there would no rituals or speeches. —AP

China’s massive migration begins BEIJING: The world’s largest annual migration of people officially began in China yesterday with millions of travellers boarding public transport to journey across the vast country for Lunar New Year celebrations. The government estimates the number of passenger trips on trains, planes, boats and buses will reach 3.2 billion during the holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, up 9.1 percent from last year. At a train station in Beijing, hundreds of travellers wheeling suitcases and carrying bags stuffed with clothes and instant noodles queued at temporary ticket booths or filed through security barriers to wait for their trains. University students surnamed Liu and Bao were changing trains in the capital as they travelled from the southwestern province of Guizhou to Inner Mongolia in the north-a journey of more than 40 hours. Despite the long distance, the pair said they were “very happy” to be going home to celebrate with their families. The public security ministry urged travellers to be wary of “harsh weather” conditions, with fog, rain and snow forecast in parts of the country during the festival travel season, which ends on February 16, Xinhua news agency said. Millions were left stranded during the 2008 Spring Festival after the most ferocious winter weather in at least five decades froze key sections of the transport network just as vast numbers of people were heading home. Although the week-long holiday officially begins on January 23, demand for tickets is high

many weeks in advance, with migrant workers desperate to return to their home villages and towns queuing for hours, even days, to buy tickets. Gui Yurong, who sells clothes in Beijing, said it took her 10 days to buy a ticket to her hometown of Jixi in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang-a 22-hour journey. “I travel home once a year,” the 43-year-old told AFP. “I’m going to give my classmates, friends and family clothes, trousers and silk scarves,” she said, pointing to several suitcases stuffed with presents. A new online system designed to make it easier for people to buy train tickets for the holiday this year has been overwhelmed by huge demand from millions of travellers across the country. Many flooded social networking sites to vent their anger at spending hours trying to access the new system, only to find that tickets allocated for that day had already sold out. Officials have pledged to improve the website’s design and increase the network bandwidth to handle demand, as well as refund money to out-of-pocket travellers within 15 days, earlier state media reports have said. The government has also introduced a real-name ticketing system to stop scalpers selling tickets, but the new measure has left some travellers stranded after they bought tickets through friends. “We have bought tickets but we have a problem because the tickets are registered in someone else’s name,” said a man surnamed Xu standing outside the train station with his wife and child. —AFP

KABUL: Afghan investigators have accused the American military of abusing detainees at its main prison in the country, bolstering calls by President Hamid Karzai for the US to turn over control of the facility and complicating talks about America’s future role in Afghanistan. The investigators also called on Saturday for any detainee held without evidence to be freed, putting the US and Afghan governments on a collision course in an issue that will decide the fate of hundreds of suspected Taleban and Al-Qaeda operatives captured by American forces and held indefinitely. Karzai took Washington by surprise Thursday when he ordered that the US military turn over full control of the prison outside Bagram Air Base within one month, a seemingly impossible deadline given US security concerns about the prisoners and the Afghan government’s weak administrative capacity. The countries had been working on phasing a transfer of responsibility of the prison, which hold 3,000 detainees, over two years. The demand was the latest episode of political brinkmanship as negotiations continued for a Strategic Partnership Document with America that will determine the US role in Afghanistan after 2014, when most foreign troops are due to withdraw. Karzai has demanded an end to unpopular night raids by US troops and control over detainees as a condition of the pact and could be seeking leverage by pushing the detainee issue now. Karzai spokesman Mohammad Sediq Amerkhil said Saturday that the president’s remarks were a direct response to the investigation team’s report of abuse and prolonged detentions. The charges are reminiscent of allegations surrounding the US treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where admitted Sept 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is held. Detainees interviewed during two visits to the US -run portion of the Parwan detention center outside Bagram Air Base - about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Kabul - complained of freezing cold, humiliating strip searches and being deprived of light, according to Gul Rahman Qazi, who led the

investigation ordered by Karzai. Another investigator, Sayed Noorullah, said the prison and all detainees must be transferred to Afghan control “as soon as possible,” adding, “if there is no evidence ... they have the right to be freed.” US Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall said Saturday that American officials only recently received the commission’s report. He said the US investigates all allegations of prisoner abuse. “We will certainly take seriously the report and study it,” he said. He added that the US is committed to working with the Afghan government on a joint plan to turn over detainees “in a responsible manner.” He would not specify what time frame would be considered responsible. Karzai’s recent relationship with the US has been rocky, even though he came to power after the 2001 American-led intervention to drive the Taleban regime from power for sheltering alQaida. He has frequently lashed out at Washington, although he needs US military and financial strength to back his weak government as it battles the Taleban . Last year, he accused the US and its allies of serving only their own purposes in the country, and has told a Pakistani television station he would support Pakistan in any war against the United States. In 2010, he was said to have threatened to join the Taleban if foreign donors pressured him too much. The rhetoric is seen as a play for support from an Afghan population that resents the US presence and is angered by reports of Afghans detained indefinitely and of residents whose homes are invaded without warning. Less clear is exactly what Karzai hopes to gain from Washington with the politics of confrontation. The Taleban seek to use anti-American resentment to discredit Karzai’s government. On Friday, the insurgents mocked the president as a puppet of foreign powers in a statement that specifically mentioned Afghan detainees “Ostensibly, he speaks of national sovereignty and of the welfare of people but practically, we see that there are thousands of Afghan detainees who have been suffering in the Bagram Air Base and other American bases now for years, and without a trial,” the Taleban said.

The Parwan detention center was opened in 2009 to replace an older prison inside the base itself. The deaths of two Afghan prisoners at the previous facility in 2002 led to abuse charges against several American troops. US and Afghan militaries jointly run the new facility. The Afghan side controls a section holding about 300 detainees whose cases are slated to be tried by Afghan judiciary, while US forces control the rest of the facility. Qazi, who led the investigation run by the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution, said US officials told him only the 300 detainees in the Afghan section had legal cases against them. He said he was told that that 2,700 others in the American-run section were suspected Taleban members captured using classified intelligence and were considered a threat if freed. Prison officials made it clear that many detainees had no evidence against them that would hold up in Afghan court, said Abdul Qader Adalatkhwa, the deputy leader of the investigation. “So this is their concern,” Adalatkhwa said. “That when they hand over the detainees to the Afghan side ... most of these people might get freed.” Holding suspects without prosecuting them raises the risk that innocent people could be caught in limbo with no way to challenge their imprisonment, Qazi said. He said the investigation team interviewed a 71-year-old man who claimed he had been beaten in detention and had no idea why he had been arrested. Another man told the team he was arrested after coalition forces found a cache of ammunition buried 400 yards (400 meters) away from his home and blamed him. He said the bullets weren’t his, but he could not convince anyone. The prison also holds Al-Qaeda and other terrorist suspects from several different countries captured in what the US considers battlefield conditions. It’s unclear what would happen to those foreign suspects if they were turned over to Afghan custody, but Adalatkhwa implied that they, too, might be released unless there is evidence to charge them with a crime. “The legal procedures of Afghanistan would apply to them,” Adalatkhwa said. —AP

Heavy snow in Kashmir closes highway, strands travelers SRINAGAR: Heavy snowfall over the past two days has closed down Indian-administered Kashmir’s main highway, stranding hundreds of travelers, officials said yesterday. So far there has been one weather-related fatality in the scenic Himalayan state after a nomad was killed in a snowstorm, police said. The heavy snowfall has also knocked out power and telephone lines and closed major roads, including the main highway connecting the Kashmir valley with the state winter capital Jammu and the rest of India. “The main highway has been shut due to heavy snow and we are working to restore the link,” Amir Ali, the head of Kashmir’s disaster management department, told AFP. “We are also trying our best to restore power,” he said. A police officer said more than 1,000 trucks, cars, buses and jeeps were stranded at various points along the 300-kilometre (190-mile) main highway. “The vehicles were carrying passengers, including tourists. The trucks were loaded with supplies for Kashmir valley,” the officer said. Laborers were using bulldozers, snow removal machines and shovels to open up the zigzag highway,

JAMMU: A stranded passenger tries to clear snow around his vehicle on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Kud, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Jammu, India yesterday. —AP the main route for supplies to the Kashmir valley from Jammu and the rest of the subcontinent. Stranded passengers, including children, complained of hardships. “We have been stranded for over

48 hours now amid freezing cold and there has been no help from the government so far,” passenger Yasin Mir said by phone from Batote, a mountainous mid-point on the highway. There are very

few shelter houses along the highway. Kashmir is held in parts by India and Pakistan and both claim the region in full. The Indian portion has been battling a deadly insurgency since 1989.—AFP

Pakistani prez says no plans to resign

BEIJING: Travellers queue outside a train station in Beijing yesterday. The world’s largest annual migration of people officially began in China with millions of travellers boarding public transport to journey across the vast country for Lunar New Year celebrations.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s president said he has no intention of stepping down in the face of allegations his government sought US help in reining in Pakistan’s powerful military. Asif Ali Zardari, speaking in an interview aired Saturday night on Pakistan’s Geo News TV, was responding to a question about whether army leaders might seek his resignation. “No one has asked me yet,” Zardari said. “I don’t think there is such an innocent in Pakistan who will demand my resignation.” The scandal centers on a memo sent in May to US Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. It asked for his help in stopping a supposed army coup after the American raid that

killed Osama bin Laden. The unilateral US raid angered and embarrassed Pakistan. News of the memo first surfaced in October when Mansoor Ijaz, a US businessman of Pakistani origin, wrote a column in the Financial Times claiming Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US , Husain Haqqani, crafted the memo and asked him to send it. Ijaz also claimed the memo had Zardari’s support. Both Haqqani and Zardari’s government have denied the allegations, but the envoy resigned in the wake of the scandal. Pakistan’s supreme court has ordered a judicial investigation into the scandal. The government says that probe is unnecessary because a parliamentary board is already

investigating. The Pakistani army, which has denied it ever intended to carry out a coup, was outraged by the memo and supports the Supreme Court investigation. Talk of Zardari’s possible resignation took on momentum when he suddenly left Pakistan for a Dubai hospital in early December where he was treated for as yet unspecified reasons. One of his close associates has said he had suffered a “ministroke.” He returned to Pakistan on Dec 19. In Saturday’s interview, Zardari was asked if leaving again was an option for him, to avoid humiliation or even an arrest by the army.” Why should it be?” he responded.—AP



North Korea to top agenda at Lee-Hu summit in China SEOUL: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will this week ask China to use its influence to lean on North Korea to show restraint amid a delicate transition to a new leadership in Pyongyang focused on projecting a militaristic image. Lee will hold a summit with China’s president, Hu Jintao, in Beijing and will “discuss ways to develop the strategic partnership between the two nations and cooperative measures for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula”, the South Korean president’s office said in a statement.

Lee’s three-day state trip to China, his second in four years, starts today. The South has said its primary foreign policy goal this year is maintaining stability on the divided peninsula as its unpredictable neighbour embarks on a third generation of dynastic rule following Kim Jong-il’s death last month. Little is known about Kim’s chosen successor, his son Kim Jong-un, who in his late 20s and who will be relying on a small circle of trusted members of the military and political elite to act as minders while he cements his grip on power.

China voiced its support for the North’s new leadership soon after Kim’s death was announced. South Korea’s ambassador to China, Lee Kyuhyung, said last week that the South would continue to raise the issue of China’s unwillingness to condemn North Korea when it provokes the South. In 2010, South Korea criticised China for refusing to censure North Korea for torpedoing a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. The North denied it sank the vessel. “It is problematic because China has appeared

to take an attitude of protection and support for North Korea, while the North sometimes makes military provocations and implements some incorrect policies,” Ambassador Lee Kyu-hyung told the South’s Yonhap news agency. South Korea would “continue to raise the issue and make efforts to persuade” China to change that attitude, he said. China backed North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War while the United States fought for the South. The United States still has about 28,000 troops in South Korea. Lee and

Hu are also expected to discuss how the two nations will push preliminary talks to launch formal negotiations for a free trade agreement. Since 2008, South Korea and China have held a series of joint feasibility studies on a possible free trade deal and reached an agreement to exchange their views on sensitive issues. The two leaders will also discuss the rising number of Chinese fishing boats caught illegally fishing off South Korea’s west coast. Last December, a South Korean coastguard was killed while trying apprehend a Chinese vessel.—Reuters

N Korean TV shows young Kim threatening war in 2009 Footage shown on day believed to be leader’s birthday

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, center, speaks to supporters after offering prayers at his residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.—AP

Anwar prepared for jail on verdict eve KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday he was prepared to go to jail, on the eve of an eagerly awaited verdict in his trial on sodomy charges that threatens his political career. The charismatic Anwar has toured the country in the past week, whipping up crowds of supporters with fiery speeches denouncing the sordid accusations against him as a government frame-up aimed at neutralising him politically. With a decision less than a day away, about 500 people including family members joined the oncehigh-flying leader at his residence in two hours of prayers seeking intervention by Allah for his freedom. Anwar will later yesterday night address supporters at two separate rallies in the capital Kuala Lumpur. In a brief interview at his home earlier yesterday, Anwar told AFP he had prepared himself mentally for a guilty verdict on charges he sodomised a male aide in 2008. Sodomy is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia and punishable by 20 years in jail. Anwar has already been jailed once on the same accusation in a separate case before a court overturned the conviction. “Mentally, I am OK. I am psychologically prepared (for a guilty verdict),” said Anwar, who like many observers believes such a verdict is highly likely. “Physically, of course, I am 64... my health conditions are, of course, not as great as when I was at the age of 50.” Kuala Lumpur was bracing for potential unrest, with the opposition saying it plans to gather 100,000 people outside the court today where judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah will pronounce Anwar’s fate. But Anwar said his supporters were being urged to assemble peacefully and disperse quickly after the verdict. There have been no reports of unrest during his tour. “I do not anticipate any violence tomorrow,” said Anwar, who added that voters should take any revenge at the ballot box only. Prime Minister Najib Razak is expect-

ed to call elections soon. In a concession rare for a country where dissent is tightly controlled, police said they would allow the gathering outside the courthouse, provided it did not get out of hand. In July, a rally for electoral reform by tens of thousands in the capital was crushed by police using tear gas and water cannon. About 1,600 people were arrested. The verdict announcement has revived memories of Anwar’s stunning fall from the ruling coalition more than a decade ago. As deputy premier in the 1990s, Anwar was groomed by strongman prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to take power one day until a bitter row between them saw Anwar ousted in 1998, beaten and jailed on sodomy and graft charges. Thousands took to the streets in huge demonstrations calling for “reformasi” (reform) and denouncing Anwar’s ouster, which was widely viewed as politically motivated. Anwar re-emerged years later at the helm of the opposition, inspiring an unlikely alliance of disparate parties to unprecedented parliamentary gains in 2008 general elections that shook the ruling establishment. The new sodomy charge emerged shortly after ward. However, Anwar echoed many political observers in saying a guilty verdict would boost the opposition in the long run. “I think they have made a big blunder (in bringing the charges),” he told AFP. He said the case also had shown that a recent promise by Najib to grant more civil liberties was merely an election ploy by an ultimately “authoritarian” regime. But Anwar, looking tired, lamented the toll that his years of legal trouble have taken on his family, including his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who emerged as an opposition symbol during her husband’s earlier political exile. “I can see the anguish and sadness in their faces. But we have to endure,” he said. Political law experts say Anwar has the right to stand in any upcoming elections until the appeal process is exhausted.— AFP

Suu Kyi could get government role YANGON: Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi could be given a job in Myanmar’s nominally civilian government if she is elected to parliament in April by-elections, a presidential adviser said yesterday. The Nobel laureate, who could be propelled into a parliament still largely composed of the military and ruling army-backed party, would be given a “suitable” position, Nay Zin Latt told AFP. It is the latest gesture of reform by Myanmar’s new leadership, but concerns remain about the fate of political detainees in the country also known as Burma. “There is also a possibility she will be appointed to the government,” said the adviser, adding it would depend on Suu Kyi’s wishes. “If she’s more interested in legislative matters, there can be a suitable duty for her at parliament,” he said. The comments come as Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party confirmed that the 66-year-old would contest the vote in a constituency near Yangon. “Daw Suu will contest from Kawhmu constituency. We will release final candidate lists for constituencies after January 11,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP. Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar. “We do not know yet how and where she will serve her duty if elected,” he said, adding that she would “just be a parliament member”. Nyan Win said Suu Kyi will embark on a campaign trip soon, although details of the tour have not been decided. Nay Zin Latt said President Thein Sein would welcome Suu Kyi if she was elect-

YANGON: This file photo taken on January 6, 2012 shows Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi speaking following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary William Hague at Suu Kyi’s residence in Yangon. —AFP ed in the vote and becomes a parliament member. “The president wants the coming by-elections to be free and fair,” he said. Suu Kyi, who was freed from seven straight years of house arrest days after the November 2010 election, said she expected to live to see a “full democratic election” in Myanmar, in comments to the BBC last week. —AFP

SEOUL: North Korea’s new leader vowed in 2009 to wage war if the country’s enemies shot down its long-range rocket, footage aired on state television showed yesterday in the first official word of his role in military operations before his father’s death. The documentary is the second in a week seeking to highlight Kim Jong Un’s experience in leading North Korea’s 1.2 million-strong military and was aimed at showing that he was in charge of the armed forces long before his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, died of a heart attack last month. The son, who is in his late 20s, has moved swiftly into the role of “supreme leader” of the people, the ruling Workers’ Party and the military despite questions abroad about how easily he could assume power with only a few years of grooming behind him. Kim Jong Il, in contrast, had 20 years of training when his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, died of a heart attack in 1994. Where a North Korea under Kim Jong Un is headed is deemed crucial because the country is locked in a long-running standoff over its nuclear ambitions and is grappling with chronic food shortages. North Korea has tested two atomic devices and is believed to be working toward mounting a bomb on a missile capable of reaching the US. After years of acrimony, Pyongyang and Washington had begun discussions about food aid and how to restart nuclear disarmament talks that were suspended when Kim died last month. The US and North Korea fought on opposite sides of the 1950-53 Korean War, and do not have formal diplomatic relations. Yesterday’s footage - shown on a day believed to be Kim Jong Un’s birthday - confirmed that he was being groomed as early as 2009 to succeed Kim Jong Il. The choice of Kim Jong Un as successor among the elder Kim’s three known sons was not revealed publicly until state media reported in September 2010 that he had been made a four-star general and a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party. The video showed Kim Jong

NORTH KOREA: In this undated image made from KRT video, North Korea’s new young leader Kim Jong Un, center, smiles as he stands on a military vehicle at an undisclosed place in North Korea, aired yesterday.—AP Un shaking hands with officials at firing exercises, and posing for military tactics. ... He is a man of a satellite control center after sci- photographs with soldiers. He is many abilities and the genius entists launched a rocket in April shown seated in the tank’s cock- among the geniuses.” Another 2009 that stoked regional ten- pit and speaking to officers with documentary aired a week ago sions and earned North Korea the hatch cover open. He later showed Kim Jong Un visiting a international sanctions and con- drove it on a snow-covered road premier tank division with strong demnation. “I had decided to as his father watched from a historical and family ties in the first solo inspection trip made wage a real war if the enemies reviewing stand. Both father and son wore after his father’s death. Since Kim shot down” the rocket, Kim Jong Un was quoted as saying. A voice- heavy winter parkas. State TV did Jong Il’s death on Dec. 17, the over described Kim Jong Il as say- not say when the video was tak- process to install his son as leader ing his son was in charge of the en. For two years, North Koreans has been quick, with top military military’s anti-rocket interception were told that Kim Jong Un, who and party officials wasting no operations at the time. North graduated from Kim Il Sung time in pledging their loyalty to Korea has said it successfully sent Military University, was a military the third Kim to lead the nation of a satellite into orbit as part of a genius, Pyongyang residents 24 million since it was founded in peaceful bid to develop its space have told The Associated Press. 1948. Kim Jong Un, who was recentprogram. US and South Korean Yesterday’s documentary said officials, however, said no satellite Kim Jong Un had intensified mili- ly named supreme commander or other object reached orbit, and tary training, and showed fighter of the Korean People’s Army, has accused the North of using the jets tearing through the skies, pledged to uphold Kim Jong Il’s launch to test its long-range mis- and soldiers jumping out of “military first” policy. He is planes with parachutes and firing believed to have turned 28 or 29 sile technology. At the time, Japan had threat- multiple-rocket launchers. It cited yesterday, though his exact birth ened to shoot down any debris Kim Jong Il as saying, “Our gener- date has not been confirmed by from the rocket if the launch al resembles me. ... I sometimes the government. The birthdays of went awry. US lawmakers also admire his strong belief, resolve his father and grandfather are considered the nation’s most urged their military to shoot the and gut.” Kim is also quoted as saying important holidays, but Kim Jong rocket down. The video also showed Kim Jong Un navigating his son has “outstanding (military) Un’s birthday has not been a tank, observing fighter jets and strategies and is well-versed in declared a national holiday.—AP

Rallies held week before Taiwan presidential poll TAIPEI: Holding balloons and waving flags, tens of thousands of Taiwanese paraded throughout the island yesterday to support their favored presidential candidates less than a week before what is expected to be an extremely tight election. President Ma Ying-jeou, who has improved relations with rival China during his 3 1/2 years in office, led a large crowd of supporters in a th ree -mile ( five -k ilometer ) m a rc h down a main Taipei thoroughfare. “If you want peace with the mainland and friendly international communities, join me and let ’s walk together,” the 61-year-old Ma told supporters. Ma’s Nationalist Party said at least 200,000 people joined the Taipei parade. Police did not give an estimate. Pro-Ma parades were held simultaneously in three other cities. Polls indicate that Ma is locked in a virtual dead heat with his main challenger, Tsai I ng-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive party, ahead of Saturday’s election. The 55-year- old Tsai stood on a truck encased with bulletproof glass as she cruised the streets of the southern city of Tainan, waving to prospective voters. Thousands of her supporters also staged a parade in Taichung city in central Taiwan. During his term, Ma has tied Taiwan’s high-tech economy

closer to China’s vast markets through a series of initiatives, including a farreaching tariff-slashing agreement and the launching of hundreds of weekly cross-strait flights. The result has been significantly lowered tensions with China, from which the island split amid civil war in 1949. China still claims the island as part of its own. Tsai faces mounting skepticism on whether Taiwan could continue the China trade agreements if she is elected. Unlike Ma, she has refused to renounce possible moves to formalize the island’s de facto independence, to the ire of China. However, Tsai has gained wide support by attacking Ma’s economic policies, saying they have spurred income inequality and made it difficult for young Taiwanese to afford decent housing. Yesterday, Tsai said that if elected, she will create a new political culture by formulating policies together with the Nationalists and other opponents. “ We will meet people’s expectations for political tolerance, understanding and cooperation,” she said. Though polls have showed Ma holding a tiny edge, a surge by thirdparty candidate James Soong - a former member of Ma’s Nationalist Party would likely take more votes away from Ma than Tsai.— AP

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (C) makes a thumbs-up gesture at her supporters during a rally in Taipei yesterday.—AFP



GAUHATI, India: In this photo taken Saturday, a wild fully grown leopard scalps the head of a man as it attacks after wandering into a residential neighborhood in the northern state of Assam. Later the leopard was tranquilized by wildlife official and taken to the state zoological park. The leopard ventured into a crowded area and injured four people before it was captured and caged, local reports said. (Inset) The man walks away bloodied after being attacked. — AP

US penny fetches $1.38m ORLANDO, Florida: A once-cent copper coin from the earliest days of the US Mint in 1793 has sold for a record $1.38 million at a Florida auction. James Halperin of Texas-based Heritage Auctions told AP on Saturday that the sale was “the most a United States copper coin has ever sold for at auction.” The coin was made at the Mint in Philadelphia in 1793, the first year that the US made its own coins. Heritage officials said in a news release that the name of the buyer was not revealed but that he was “a major collector.” One of the coin’s earliest owners was a well-known Baltimore banker, Louis E Eliasberg, Sr. “Mr Eliasberg was nicknamed ‘the king of coins’ because before his death in 1976 he assembled a collection that consisted of at least one example of every coin ever made at the United States Mint, a feat never duplicated,” Halperin said in the news release. The final bid for the coin last week

was one of the largest sales at the Florida United Numismatists coin show and annual convention, which ended yesterday. Halperin said a five-dollar gold piece from 1829 also was sold. Halperin said there remain a few hundred 1793 coins in different condition, but that the one auctioned off Wednesday night is rare because it wasn’t in circulation. Officials say it shows no wear on

its lettering, its Lady Liberty face or the chain of linking rings on its back. The news release said the coin is known as a “Chain Cent” because its chain of linking rings was supposed to represent the solidarity of the states. The design was changed to a wreath after some critics claimed it was symbolic of slavery. Halperin said the auction had more than $64 million in transactions. — AP

This undated photo shows the front and back of one of the first pennies struck at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. — AP

Philippines warns of terror plot Continued from Page 1 National police chief Nicanor Bar tolome said he put Manila’s 15,000-strong force on full alert to thwart any attacks by guarding the procession route, saying attendees should avoid bringing children and the elderly. “Those with no important business in these areas are advised to postpone their trips for another day,” Bar tolome said. Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said without elaborating that six to nine people may be involved in the plot. Aquino’s announcement came three days after the US government retained the Philippines in a list of countries labelled as “dangerous and unstable” in a fresh travel advisory for its citizens. The advisory “reflects continuing threats due to terrorist and insurgent activities,”

the US advisory said. Various armed groups operate in the Philippines, but among the most active has been the Abu Sayyaf, a group of Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s AlQaeda network. The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for some of the countr y ’s worst attacks, including a string of high profile kidnappings and the bombing of a passenger ferry that left over 100 dead on Manila Bay. The government and military have frequently said the group was a spent force after its top leaders were killed and captured with US help over the past decade, but security experts say it remains capable of mounting attacks. Aquino did not say the alleged terrorist plot was linked to the Abu Sayyaf. But he said the terrorists

monitored in the capital were Filipinos. The annual Black Nazarene procession takes place around downtown Manila, during which barefoot devotees parade an ebony icon of Jesus Christ. “We’re taking the necessary precautions especially given the nature of the procession for the Black Nazarene which involves quite a huge number of people, which makes it a very tempting terrorist (target)),” Aquino said. Security forces first heard of the supposed plot a few months ago, but he said the group had few capabilities to carry out an attack at that time. “Unfortunately, lately we have been getting information to believe there is a heightened risk,” Aquino said. “The possibility prompts us to warn you of the risk in attending the procession.” — Agencies

Suspicious deal between candidates under... Continued from Page 1 having amended the bills legally. At present, the interior ministry is organizing and overseeing the general elections through its election department, which has triggered criticism by opposition figures. The opposition meanwhile issued a statement yesterday reiterating its complete trust in the integrity of the Kuwaiti judiciary, adding that they are confident that the much-anticipated verdict of the appeals court on ex-MP Faisal Al-Mislem will be in line with the constitution. The appeals court is scheduled to issue the verdict on Wednesday unless it accepts a request by Mislem’s lawyer Abdullah Al-Ahmad to allow him to make fresh arguments on the case. Mislem was convicted by the lower court for revealing a copy of a cheque issued by the former prime min-

ister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in favour of a former MP through Burgan Bank. Mislem displayed the cheque while grilling the prime minister about three years ago in a closed doors session. If the appeals court confirms the conviction, Mislem will not be able to contest the Assembly election based on the electoral law. The opposition said in a statement yesterday that Mislem displayed the copy of the cheque under the Assembly chamber where MPs are guaranteed complete freedom to say anything without being sued. The statement also said that the constitution guarantees full freedom for lawmakers to express themselves in the Assembly chamber and Mislem only utilized such a freedom. Former ex-MP and leading opposition figure Waleed Al-Tabtabaei has vowed that he will withdraw from the election if Mislem is disqualified.

Iran to enrich uranium in underground... Continued from Page 1 about a unilateral strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying the action could trigger Iranian retaliation against US forces in the region. “We have common cause here” with Israel, he said. “And the better approach is for us to work together.” Panetta’s remarks on CBS’ “Face the Nation” reflect the Obama administration’s long-held view that Iran is not yet committed to building a nuclear arsenal, only to create the industrial and scientific capacity to allow one if its leaders to decide to take that final step. The Kayhan newspaper, which is close to Iran’s ruling clerics, said Tehran has begun injecting uranium gas into sophisticated centrifuges at the Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom. “Kayhan received reports yesterday that show Iran has begun uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility amid heightened foreign enemy threats,” the newspaper said in a front-page report. Kayhan’s manager is a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all important matters of state. Iran’s nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, said Saturday that his country will “soon” begin enrichment at Fordo. It was impossible to immediately reconcile the two reports. Iran has a major uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in central Iran, where nearly 8,000 centrifuges are operating. Tehran began enrichment at Natanz in 2006. Nouri said Iran’s leadership has made a strategic decision to close the Strait of Hormuz should its exports be blocked. One-sixth of the world’s oil flows to market through the strait, which is jointly controlled by Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. US President Barack Obama approved new sanctions against Iran a week ago, targeting the central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad. The US has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling. But the new sanctions

nevertheless prompted a series of threats from Iranian officials about closing the Strait of Hormuz. The newspaper paraphrased Nouri as saying that a 10-day naval drill that ended Jan 3 was preparation for such a closure. The Guard, which is Iran’s most powerful military force and which has its own naval arm, has planned more sea maneuvers for February. Khamenei “determined a new strategy for the armed forces, by which any threat from enemies will be responded to with threats,” Nouri said. The US and Israel have said that all options remain open, including military action, should Iran continue with its enrichment program. Tehran says it needs the program to produce fuel for future nuclear reactors and medical radioisotopes needed for cancer patients. The country has been enriching uranium to less than 5 percent for years, but it began to further enrich part of its uranium stockpile to nearly 20 percent as of Feb 2010, saying it needs the higher grade material to produce fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical radioisotopes for cancer patients. Weapons-grade uranium is usually about 90 percent enriched. Iran says the higher enrichment activities - to nearly 20 percent - will be carried out at Fordo. These operations are of particular concern to the West because uranium at 20 percent enrichment can be converted much more quickly for use in a nuclear warhead than uranium enriched to only 3.5 percent. Built next to a military complex, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in Sept 2009. The facility is a hardened tunnel and is protected by air defense missile batteries and the Revolutionary Guard. The site is located about 32 km north of Qom, the religious nerve center of Iran’s ruling system. “The Fordo facility, like Natanz, has been designed and built underground. The enemy doesn’t have the ability to damage it,” the semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted nuclear chief Abbasi as saying yesterday. — AP

League meets as Syria mission stumbles Continued from Page 1 “This is the first time that the Arab League has carried out such a mission,” Dabi told Britain’s Observer newspaper. “But it has only just started, so I have not had enough time to form a view.” The Arab League has admitted to “mistakes” but defended the mission, saying it had secured the release of prisoners and withdrawal of tanks from cities. It said rather than pull out, it planned to send more observers. “No plan to withdraw the observers is on the agenda of the Arab ministerial committee meeting on Syria,” the bloc’s deputy secretary general, Adnan Issa, told AFP on Saturday. “We are not talking about a pullout but reinforcing the mission.” Yesterday’s meeting comes as heavy clashes erupted between the Syrian army and deserters, leaving 11 soldiers dead, human rights activists said. Another 20 soldiers were wounded in the fighting in the village of Basr Al-Harir in Daraa province, south of Damascus, while nine soldiers defected to join the rebel troops, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-

based watchdog also reported heavy machinegun exchanges between the army and deserters in the Daraa town of Dael. There was no immediate word on casualties. Cradle of the anti-Assad protests that began in March, Daraa has been one of the provinces hardest hit by the crackdown. The Observatory also said a 19-year-old civilian was killed in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. On Saturday, Syria held funerals for 26 victims of a suicide bombing in Damascus, promising an “iron fist” response. The opposition pointed the finger for Friday’s bomb at the regime itself, as it did after similar attacks in Damascus on Dec 23 killed 44 people. Violence in Syria on Saturday claimed the lives of 21 civilians, 17 by security force fire and four by a rocket targeting a pro-regime demonstration, the Observatory said. The Assad regime has consistently asserted that the unrest sweeping the country is the work of armed rebels, not largely peaceful demonstrators as maintained by Western governments and human rights watchdogs. After the Damascus bombing, the United States condemned it and

again called for Assad to step down, while UN chief Ban Ki-moon said “all violence is unacceptable and must stop immediately”. The Syrian National Council, an opposition umbrella group which includes the Muslim Brotherhood, said the bombing “clearly bears the regime’s fingerprints”. It said the UN Security Council had to address the bloodshed, which the world body estimated in December had killed more than 5,000 people since March. The SNC said “a joint effort between the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council represents a first step toward the urgent and necessary measures to assure the protection of civilians, and to ensure that the regime does not commit additional bombings and killings”. So far veto-wielding Security Council permanent members Beijing and Moscow have blocked efforts by Western governments to secure UN action against Damascus. Yesterday, a large Russian naval flotilla led by an aircraft carrier was docked in the Syrian port of Tartus in what state media hailed as a show of solidarity by its Cold War ally. — AFP





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With Gitmo, Obama hope hit political reality By Stephen Collinson President Barack Obama’s unfulfilled promise to close Guantanamo Bay is a lesson in how soaring campaign vows can wilt in the partisan stew and entrenched obstructionism of Washington politics. Stalled efforts to close the war on terror camp also reflect the intricate, and often immovable homeland security state built by ex-president George W Bush which endures even as memories fade of the Sept 11 attacks of 2001. The US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba accepted its first prisoners from the newly drawn battlefields of the global war on terror on Jan 11, 2002. A decade, on, 171 prisoners remain, most in legal limbo, some awaiting transfer abroad and at least 40 may never face justice but are deemed too dangerous to ever be freed. Seeing Guantanamo as a stain on America’s image, a rebuke to its founding values and a “recruiting tool” for AlQaeda, Obama ordered the facility closed within a year, in the first frenetic hours of his presidency in Jan 2009. A few months later, at the National Archives in Washington, Obama declared : “there are no neat or easy answers here. But I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo. As President, I refuse to allow this problem to fester. Our security interests won’t permit it. Our courts won’t allow it. And neither should our conscience.” But the rookie commander-in-chief learnt the limits of presidential power, struggling to establish a new legal system to process suspects as it became clear Congress did not share enthusiasm for closing Guantanamo. Obama “made a big political miscalculation”, said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history at Princeton University, who added “political blowback” including from Democrats forced Obama to climb down on the closure plan. Lawmakers of both parties opposed bringing Guantanamo inmates to their own districts for trial or detention. And Congress repeatedly limited funding to transfer any inmates to the US mainland, a prerequisite for closing the camp. An outcry also forced the administration to abandon plans to use the civil legal system in New York to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confessed mastermind of the Sept 11 attacks in 2001. Mohammed and co-conspirators will now face military tribunals in Guantanamo. Complicating Obama’s efforts to empty the camp, his administration no longer sends Yemeni prisoners home to a nation that is a hot front in the US battle with Al-Qaeda - leaving them languishing in Guantanamo cells. In March 2011, in a nod to political realities, Obama signed an executive order allowing retooled military commissions at Guantanamo to try inmates for war crimes. He also ruled that inmates held indefinitely - pending an unlikely end to the US “war on terror” - should be granted periodic reviews and pledged to uphold international standards on detention. The administration also fought to preserve the right to use federal courts to try some suspects, rather than exclusively using military justice. But critics say Obama has effectively prolonged Guantanamo’s life. “Guantanamo remains a potent symbol of injustice and a stain on America’s reputation,” said Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First. “Past violations of the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo have marked it around the globe as a symbol of a great nation setting aside its laws and values for the sake of expediency.” Aides say Obama remains deeply committed to closing Guantanamo and still believes its presence is a detriment to US national security. But there is no obvious political route to closing it, and as he seeks reelection, Obama may perhaps steer clear of such an intractable issue. He may have some breathing room: political pressure to shutter Guantanamo which burned in Democratic souls in 2008 seems to have abated. And he can argue in mitigation he kept another core campaign promise - ending the Iraq war. Guantanamo’s longevity also shows the tenacity of the homeland security structure laid down by Bush, which included Guantanamo, battlefield swoops for terror suspects and expanded surveillance and wiretapping. “It is a legacy that is going to last a long time, outliving his presidency, outliving his successor’s presidency,” said Zelizer. And Obama has shown a taste for flexing executive power himself, pursuing a relentless airborne war with drones against terror suspects that some experts believes gets into shady legal ground. Some campaigners hope that if Obama wins a second term, he may try again with Guantanamo. But he might judge four more years to be better spent in bolstering his economic legacy. —AFP


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Ten years on, Gitmo still casts long shadow By Chantal Valery en years ago the world was shocked by images of terror suspects locked in cages on a remote US base in Cuba. Today 171 men are still there, despite vows to close the notorious Guantanamo prison. On Jan 11, 2002, about 20 prisoners arrived at the base, hooded, handcuffed and clothed in distinctive orange garb. They were put on display at the prison erected on the military base rented from Cuba under a deal stretching back to 1903. Quickly Guantanamo became a notorious symbol for the worst of the US excesses in the war on Al-Qaeda launched in the days that followed the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Today, a decade later the cages are gone, abandoned to the weeds and the iguanas which roam the base. But despite President Barack Obama’s celebrated promise to shutter the prison the more permanent buildings constructed from May 2002 onwards remain. And within their walls still languish 171 men, out of a total of 779 who have passed through the gates in the last 10 years. Those detainees still remaining have greater freedom than in the early days, with access to newspapers and televisions, some phone calls home, and with 80 percent of them allowed to mingle in common areas. “We’ve always tried to improve the facility conditions of detention,” said Colonel Donnie Thomas, joint detention group commander, saying the men had more freedom to go in and out of their cells, as well as to pray and relax together. “Although President Obama remains committed to the goal of closing Guantanamo, the US Congress has taken action to prevent steps that would assist in the realization of this goal,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale told AFP. But Obama’s room for maneuver has been severely curtailed. A controversial law, which the president himself signed at the end of December after bitter partisan infighting, de facto prevents the prison from closing. It bans the use of public funds to transfer detainees to the United States and decrees that terror suspects must be tried before special military commissions. “Hope is fading. Closing Guantanamo is harder politically


and legally because of this legislation detainees are in legal limbo,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a law professor from Seton Hall Law School, who represents one inmate. Only six detainees have been found guilty by military commissions, according to the Pentagon, and seven others including the self-confessed mastermind

of the 9/11 attacks -will appear before the tribunals in the coming months. Some 89 inmates have been cleared of all charges, but pose a headache for the Obama administration which cannot find nations to take them in amid fears they will face persecution and oppression in their own countries. Among them are some Uighurs, part of a group

This March 2, 2002, file photo shows a detainee escorted by two US Army MPs at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, being led to the Joint Interrogation Facility to be interviewed by government investigators. – AFP

of 22 from Turkic-speaking northwest China, arrested at a camp in the mountains of Afghanistan after the US-led invasion of the country began in Oct 2001. While most of the Uighurs were relocated in such countries as Albania, Bermuda, Palau and Switzerland, another group has been fighting in the US courts to be relocated onto US soil. “Guantanamo has come to symbolize 10 years of a systematic failure by the US to respect human rights in its response to the 9/11 attacks,” said Amnesty International’s Rob Freer. “Guantanamo remains an insult to human rights, not just a symbol of abuse or ill-treatment, a symbol of continuing attack on human rights international principles... (the) failure of the US to ensure accountability.” Terrorism expert Karen Greenberg agreed, saying: “The legal issue was that they had rounded up these individuals in Afghanistan or elsewhere and they didn’t have a legal category in which to place them. “They weren’t prisoners of war and they weren’t really anything else,” added the Fordham University expert, charging that the issue under what legal regime to treat the prisoners was left “up to the people on the ground. Without a policy at all, without any definition of status without any name, label or guidance, the men on the ground designed a policy to deal for the first 300 detainees.” A report by Amnesty International to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison is entitled: “Guantanamo: a decade of damage to human rights.” “The failure of the US government to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is leaving a toxic legacy for human rights,” it says. “The roots of the problem lie further back in the long-standing reluctance of the USA to apply to itself international human rights standards it so often says it expects of others.” Freer added that “if Guantanamo was operated by another country it would be by no doubt” figure in the annual State Department report on human rights. “It has profoundly damaged the US reputation in the world as a defender of human rights,” agreed Hina Shamsi, from the American Civil Liberties Union. “ Ten years ago, nobody could have thought it would be a permanent part of the US landscape.” — AFP

Detainees still endure harsh conditions By Chantal Valery uantanamo detainees, some of whom were held in open air cages when they arrived hooded and handcuffed ten years ago at the US naval base in Cuba, still endure harsh confinement, in most cases without charges or trial. At Guantanamo Bay, whose turquoise waters can make one forget the US terrorism suspects held nearby, the prison is virtually invisible to the most of the inhabited areas of the base. As its population dropped, the prison closed the first three camps where detainees brought from Afghanistan and Pakistan were held in narrow cells and subjected to mistreatment in interrogation rooms. Most of the 171 detainees who remain in Guantanamo, including 89 who are eligible for release, have been regrouped in two buildings designed along the lines of federal maximum security prisons. “You follow the rules, you live in Camp Six. You don’t follow the rules you live in Camp Five,” Colonel Donnie Thomas, who commands the prison’s guard force, told AFP. About 80 percent of the detainees are massed behind the walls of Camp Six, a sort of alternate universe where one can observe, through one-way mirrors, prisoners in


djellabas living together. There, the detainees have access to 21 satellite television stations, 14 radio stations, and newspapers. They get quarterly phone calls with their families and have greater freedom to enter or leave their cells, to walk with their comrades, and to eat and pray together, Thomas told AFP. But if they break the rules, they are sent to neighboring Camp Five, donning the famous orange jumpsuits reserved for the disciplinary quarters, and confined to narrow cells and allowed outside of them for only two hours a day. “Camp Five is the hardest,” Saber Lahmar, an Algerian who was freed from Guantanamo in 2009 told AFP. “You don’t walk, you don’t budge, you don’t talk. It’s forbidden.” That’s not to mention the sleep deprivation, with neon lights blazing 24 hours a day and air conditioning kept at bone chilling temperatures. At “Five Echo”, an extension of Camp Five, detentions conditions are even more “abysmal,” said David Remes, a lawyer for 17 detainees, including 14 Yemenis. “The cells are half the size of the cells in other parts of Camp Five. One has to be a contortionist to pray or use the toilet. The place was designed by fiends,” he told AFP, calling it “a return to the early days of the camps, when brutality and

sadism were the order of the day”. For this lawyer, who says he has made at least 3,000 visits to Guantanamo, the biggest burden today are the obstacles placed upon the defense. All notes, all mail must pass through military censors, and it often takes weeks to get them back. The censors have blocked testimony from leaving the prison, and even classified as secret a poem written by one of Remes’ clients, evidently thinking that “something in the poem that could threaten the national security if it became public,” he said. The detainees are in “a black hole”, without charges or trial, without knowing what comes next, said Andy Worthington, author of “The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.” While the most brutal interrogation methods appear to have been abandoned, there are still hunger strikes and indefinite imprisonment of people held on little evidence, he said, arguing that “no more than a handful have done significant things”. In fact, about 15 so-called “high value” prisoners, including five inmates accused of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, are incarcerated in a separate Camp Seven. But no one in Guantanamo will talk about Camp Seven, a fortress where even the lawyers are persona non grata. — AFP


sp orts Bogut to return to Bucks soon

Nadal unsure of form

BRISBANE: The Australia-based manager for Andrew Bogut says the Milwaukee Bucks center will return to the NBA team “as soon as he gets some personal family issues sorted” in his home town of Melbourne, and he hoped it would be soon. Bruce Kaider told The Associated Press on Sunday that Bogut was “100 percent fit physically” but said Bogut is dealing “with those things we all have to go through in life, certain personal issues that he is experiencing at the moment.” Kaider would not comment further on the nature of the personal matter. On Saturday, the Bucks lost 92-86 to the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee’s third game in a row without Bogut. Bogut, who has 63,500 Twitter followers and has posted nearly 14,500 tweets, has been silent on the social networking site since Jan. 3. The Australian Olympian’s U.S.-based agent David Bauman said in a statment last week that Bogut had received permission from Bucks management to “take some time to address a personal matter ... it is important to note that this is not related to Andrew’s personal health in any way.” — AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Saturday. Indiana 99, Charlotte 77; Atlanta 109, Chicago 94; Miami 101, New Jersey 90; NY Knicks 103, Detroit 80; Oklahoma City 98, Houston 95; Philadelphia 97, Toronto 62; San Antonio 121, Denver 117; Dallas 96, New Orleans 81; Utah 88, Golden State 87; LA Clippers 92, Milwaukee 86. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Philadelphia 5 2 .714 NY Knicks 4 4 .500 Boston 4 4 .500 Toronto 3 5 .375 New Jersey 2 7 .222

GB 1.5 1.5 2.5 4

Central Division 7 2 .778 6 2 .750 4 3 .571 2 5 .286 2 6 .250

.5 2 4 4.5

Southeast Division 8 1 .889 6 3 .667 5 3 .625 2 6 .250 0 7 0

2 2.5 5.5 7

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 7 2 .778 Portland 5 2 .714 Denver 6 3 .667 Utah 5 3 .625 Minnesota 2 5 .286

1 1 1.5 4

LA Clippers LA Lakers Phoenix Sacramento Golden State

Pacific Division 4 2 .667 5 4 .556 3 4 .429 3 5 .375 2 6 .250

.5 1.5 2 3

San Antonio Dallas Memphis New Orleans Houston

Southwest Division 6 2 .750 4 5 .444 3 4 .429 2 6 .250 2 6 .250

2.5 2.5 4 4

Chicago Indiana Cleveland Milwaukee Detroit

Miami Atlanta Orlando Charlotte Washington

Al-Attiyah wins 7th stage of Dakar Rally COPIAPO: Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar won Saturday’s seventh stage of the Dakar Rally with Stephane Peterhansel of France finishing third and keeping the overall lead. A day after a Dakar stage was cancelled because of a snowed-in Andes pass for the first time, competitors took to soft sand and dunes in a 419-kilometer loop course around the northern Chilean city of Copiapo in the Atacama region, one of the driest places on Earth. Al-Attiyah, whose Hummer has been fast but plagued by bad luck, finally dominated to the end of a stage. He beat second-placed American teammate Robby Gordon by 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Peterhansel was 7:53 behind in his Mini and happy to concede a 1-2 finish to the Hummers, who aren’t title contenders for now. Peterhansel, a nine-time Dakar champion, was atop the overall - 11:22 ahead of Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland and 13:09 in front of Gordon. Al-Attiyah was 43 minutes behind the leader. “Our objective is to claw back seven or eight minutes every day,” AlAttiyah said. “We have no choice if we still want to win the Dakar.” In motorbikes, defending champ Marc Coma of Spain won the stage and Cyril Despres of France finished second and kept the overall lead. Despres stayed on Coma’s tail to limit the latter’s win by 2:03. Paulo Goncalves was 2:49 behind on a Husqvarna. “We are aware,” Coma said, “that I will gain two minutes one day, then Cyril will gain two minutes the next ... it is hard to change this when there is but one road. Everything is going smoothly, so it has been a good rally for us so far.” Overall, Despres led Coma by 7:48 in a two-man contest. Helder Rodrigues of Portugal was 49:39 behind on a Yamaha. Sunday is a rest day. The rally ends on Jan. 15 in Lima, Peru. — AP

MADRID: Spain’s former tennis world number one Rafael Nadal, who has struggled with a sore left shoulder since the end of last season, said yesteray he is not sure he will be playing at his peak at the Australian Open later this month. “I know I am working well, with a much more positive attitude than I had during the second half of last season, especially in the final stretch,” he said in an interview published Sunday in Catalan sports daily Sport. “I see myself capable of having a good tournament but you never know. I am happy with the level of my game, of how I am doing things and I think I am sowing seeds that will bear fruit. But maybe not in Australia.” The

Australian Open, the season’s first Grand Slam tournament, gets underway on January 16. Nadal, the world number two, slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 loss to France’s Gael Monfils, the world number 16, in the Qatar Open semi-finals on Friday. The 25-year-old winner of the 2009 Australian Open said he suffered from greater mental fatigue than usual last year. “Mental, and in some moments also physical fatigue, but mainly mental,” said Nadal, who nevertheless found the reserves to lead his compatriots to Davis Cup glory over Argentina at the end of the campaign. “In some moments the season was a bit heavy for me. It is many years of a routine, of maximum intensity every week. — AFP

Gallas gives up hope of France recall PARIS: Tottenham Hotspur defender William Gallas has given up hope of playing for France again after being overlooked by coach Laurent Blanc since the 2010 World Cup. The 34-year-old won the last of his 84 caps when France exited the World Cup in South Africa at the first round stage. “There was a time when I thought I would be recalled,” Gallas told French TV channel TF1 yesterday. “It has not happened. From then on, it became clear to me that France team was over for me. “The only thing I can say is that I still have the legs to play.” Gallas missed the first 15 matches of the season through injury but has been in fine form since then for Spurs who are third in the Premier League. France have been drawn in Group D alongside Ukraine, Sweden and England for the Euro 12 finals in June. — Reuters

Spurs edge Nuggets to keep division lead Mavericks win 4th straight at home SAN ANTONIO: The San Antonio Spurs built a big lead over the Denver Nuggets but were forced to hang on for a 121-117 win on Saturday. The win was the fifth in six games for the Spurs, who retained their lead in the Southwest division, while visitors Denver saw a four-game win streak come to an end. The Spurs started out hot and built a 20-point lead four minutes into the second quarter, but Denver chipped away at the deficit and by halftime the visitors were only down by seven. Denver then went on an 11-2 run in the third quarter and a three-pointer by Rudy Fernandez pulled them within two points midway through the fourth. Just as it looked like the Spurs were going to blow their huge lead, Richard Jefferson stepped up to secure the victory with a great effort at both ends of the floor. Jefferson hustled back defensively to block a lay-up attempt by Ty Lawson that would have trimmed the Spurs lead to three and then raced down the floor and scored a three-point shot to pad the Spurs’ lead to eight with under two minutes remaining. “ They were running it down our throats the entire game and the last two days all coach (Gregg Popovich) has been talking about was transition defense,” said Jefferson. “After I got the block I could see he (Lawson) was down. I tried to sprint back and fortunately my team mate found me and I was able to knock it down.” Lawson had a different view of Jefferson’s block. “You see the replay? I was fouled,” he said. Seven San Antonio players, including all five star ters, scored in double digits, led by reserve guard Daniel Green’s season-high 24 points. The Nuggets were paced by Danilo Gallinari, who scored 31. Vince Carter and Ian Mahinmi had 13 points each to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 96-81 victory over New Orleans on Saturday to hand the depleted Hornets their sixth consecutive loss. Carter and Mahinmi led a balanced scoring attack for the Mavericks (4-5), who won their fourth straight at home and had six players scoring in double figures. Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Orleans, which was without three players who are in its regular rotation. Hornets post

player Jason Smith missed the game to be with his family after the death of his grandmother Friday night. Guard Eric Gordon (bruised right knee) and for-

They lost at home against the Nuggets on Friday, and play in Denver today. Dirk Nowitzki picked up his second foul less than 4 minutes in. Lamar Odom

SAN ANTONIO: San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker, center, of France, is fouled as he drives between Denver Nuggets’ Al Harrington, left, and Arron Afflalo during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. — AP ward Trevor Ariza (groin strain) were also out. The Hornets played their second of three consecutive games in three days.

replaced him and immediately hit a jumper as part of a back-and-forth stretch. While Nowitzki had the early fouls and only 10 points on 2-of-11

shooting, plenty of Dallas players did their part to contribute - 11 different Mavericks had already scored by halftime, including seven with at least five points. Delonte West and Jason Terry both had 12 points, while Roddy Beaubois had 11 for the defending NBA champs. With Jason Kidd out because of a lower back injury, Carter started for the first time since the season opener. The Mavericks extended their lead to 50-36 when Carter was involved in all the points of a 7-0 run in just over 1 1/2 minutes late in the first half. Carter had a steal that led to Terry’s 16-foot pull-up jumper. After Car ter rebounded a Hornets miss, he passed the ball to Shawn Marion for an alley-oop pass to Brandan Wright while being fouled. Wright added the free throw. That spurt ended when Carter took a step around Marco Belinelli and exploded along the baseline for a monster one-handed dunk to make it 50-36. Even after missing 10 consecutive shots in the third quarter, Dallas still had a 10point lead. New Orleans never got closer. Beaubois ended that shooting drought with a long jumper with 5:44 left in the third quarter. He then had a steal and a pass to Marion for a slam dunk that made it 68-54. Despite the winning streak at home, Dallas has had a couple of lopsided road losses during that same stretch. The Mavericks were coming off a 9371 loss at San Antonio on Thursday night, when they made only 1 of 19 shots from 3-point range. The Spurs took control from the star t with a game-opening 19-4 run. There were nine lead changes and five ties in the first 7 1/2 minutes before Lamar Odom tipped in his own missed layup to break a 16-all tie. The Mavs led the rest of the way, and pushed in front 26-20 by the end of the first after Mahinmi had an impressive 2-minute surge despite missing two free throws to end the quarter. Terry had an alley-oop pass to Mahinmi, who scored again after getting a pass from Marion. Terry then lost control of the ball, which was pulled in by Mahinmi on the floor, who gave it back to Terry for a 12foot bank shot. — Agencies

Mexico arrests goalkeeper as kidnapping suspect MEXICO CITY: Mexican police have arrested former international soccer goalkeeper Omar Ortiz on suspicion of links to organized crime, fanning concerns about lawlessness plaguing the United States’ southern neighbor. An official in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo

Leon who is close to the attorney general’s office said authorities were due to present Ortiz to the media on Saturday evening, along with other suspected criminals. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Ortiz, who has been missing for several days, would be paraded alongside other members of a gang of sus-

MONTERREY: Members of Mexican police escort the former goalkeeper of the Monterrey soccer team Omar Ortiz (C), during his presentation in Monterrey, Mexico, yesterday. Ortiz was arrested as an alleged member of a band of kidnappers. — AFP

pected kidnappers. “I’m speechless,” said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. “I suppose it’s an indication of the possible ubiquity of organized crime.” President Felipe Calderon’s conservative government has staked its reputation on rooting out drug gangs, some of which have branched out extensively into other activities like robbery, extortion and kidnapping. More than 46,000 people have been killed in the gang violence that erupted since Calderon began the crackdown on drug cartels shortly after taking office five years ago. Drug gangs have long been suspected of corrupting public officials and politicians. Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) has sought to tar the main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) as susceptible to the cartels. But public probes into sports stars and entertainers for suspected ties to organized crime have been rare. The drug war is one of the issues dominating the run-up to Mexican presidential elections due in July. The sudden disappearance of Ortiz, nicknamed “El Gato” (The Cat) for his bright eyes, prompted media speculation he had been kidnapped. In 2010, Ortiz was suspended for doping offences, a ban that is due to expire in April. The 35-year-old played a single match for Mexico in 2002. Famous for his many tattoos, bleached blond hair and earrings, Ortiz was a longtime regular for top division side Monterrey, the state capital of Nuevo Leon. “This goes to show Monterrey is no longer this island of tranquility,” said Grayson at William & Mary. Long regarded as the jewel in the crown of Mexican industr y, Monterrey has fallen prey to attacks by drug gangs over the past two years. Murder, extortion and kidnapping have surged in the city of 4 million people that is about 140 miles (230 km) from the Texas border. — Reuters


sp orts

Swami Army adds spice to India’s campaign Down Under SYDNEY: Among the flag-waving, drum-beating lovers of Indian cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Anurag Verma is trying to remain positive despite his team’s seemingly hopeless position against Australia. “We know the match is gone but we’re just enjoying ourselves,” says Verma, who came straight from the airport from a flight from London to join fellow members of the “Swami Army” on the fourth day of the second Test. He hoped to see Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar score his 100th international century-instead he saw the “Little Master” caught for 80 and India lose by more than an innings. In the same vein as England’s Barmy Army of supporters, the Swami Army are a growing presence Down Under, where they are intent on bringing Bollywood colour and spice to Australian Test matches. “The aim of the group is not just to

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of Indian cricket and the way India plays its cricket. We still hold onto our heritage a little bit in that sense.” Even a Swami Army tribute to Tendulkar has a distinctly Aussie flavour as it is sung to the tune of the bush ballad “Waltzing Matilda”, with supporters chanting: “Sachin Tendulkar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sachin Tendulkar, he is our god.” The Swami Army has been around for more than a decade but since becoming a formal entity five months ago in the lead-up to the four Test series against Michael Clarke’s men, it has registered 3,500 members, Grover says. By the time the Indians came onto the field for the first day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground they had 1,400 of the group supporting them and hundreds more on the subsequent days of play, he said. The undisputed hero of Indian cricket Tendulkar, who has long haunted

Australian teams with his high-scoring innings, is a focus for this tour as he chases the elusive hundredth international hundred. The admiration both nations hold for Tendulkar may have helped smooth the edges of India’s last trip Down Under in 2008 when the Sydney Test was marred by allegations of racial insults which threatened to end the tour. Then, the Australians alleged that India’s Harbhajan Singh called dreadlocked player Andrew Symonds a “monkey”, a charge the Indians denied. It was a very different mood at the SCG on Friday, where a banner read “SCG Sachin’s Cricket Ground’ and fans of both sides stood and applauded Tendulkar along with Clarke and the Australians. With an Indian flag draped around his shoulders, 21-year-old Narayanan Ramakrishnam credits the Swami Army

with lightening the mood of some matches. “It does create an atmosphere, especially for Test match cricket when you are there for the whole day,” he said. The Swami Army are working with Cricket Australia to ensure tickets for members and have established “regiments” in Britain, the United States, India, Dubai and Singapore, Grover says. “This is going to be bigger than just the Australian tour. One thing we’ve realised is that there is no official Indian supporter group out there and that’s something that we want to do,” he said. For now though, his mind is on the two remaining Tests and whether Tendulkar will claim his landmark century and India can even the four match series from 2-0 down. “Everyone’s hanging for that century,” Grover says. “It will be absolutely fantastic to see, but generally as a whole we just want to see the Indian team improve.” — AFP

Blues blank Avalanche 4-0

NHL results and standings on Saturday. Vancouver 4, Boston 3; Philadelphia 3, Ottawa 2 (OT); Dallas 4, Edmonton 1; Columbus 1, Los Angeles 0; Winnipeg 2, Buffalo 1 (OT); Toronto 4, Detroit 3; Montreal 3, Tampa Bay 1; New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1; St. Louis 4, Colorado 0; Nashville 5, Carolina 2; Phoenix 5, NY Islanders 1; Calgary 3, Minnesota 1; San Jose 5, Washington 2. (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 26 9 4 116 24 11 4 133 23 16 2 114 21 15 4 123 14 19 6 91 Northeast Division 26 11 1 141 21 15 6 129 21 15 5 133 18 18 5 107 16 18 7 109 Southeast Division 20 13 8 107 20 16 5 109 21 16 2 116 17 20 3 109 14 22 7 112 Western Conference Central Division 24 12 5 107 24 13 4 132 25 14 1 131 22 15 4 111 11 24 5 95 Northwest Division 26 13 3 138 21 15 6 96 23 19 1 114 19 19 5 103 16 22 3 111 Pacific Division 23 11 4 112 23 16 1 112 20 15 7 88 20 17 5 108 11 22 6 92

support the Indian team but we want to create an atmosphere that people come back and watch live cricket,” 30-year-old organiser Amit Grover told AFP. “You see empty stands during Test matches and that’s not a good thing. So it’s not just about getting Indian fans out, but all fans out.” Grover, born in Australia to Indian parents, says in every other sport his allegiance is to those wearing the green and gold but cricket is different. “And that’s where this tour is very difficult for us because actually most of us are Indian Australians,” he said of the Swami Army. A swami is a Hindu religious teacher, but the name was chosen simply as a play on Barmy Army. “It’s sort of mixed loyalties... because we support Australia all the time when it comes to all the other sports-rugby union, rugby league, Socceroos, at the Olympics, we’re supporting Australia. “It’s just that we’ve always been fans

GA 82 115 117 106 125

PTS 56 52 48 46 34

73 139 131 121 114

53 48 47 41 39

115 119 115 136 146

48 45 44 37 35

89 120 92 114 130

53 52 51 48 27

102 101 120 124 119

55 48 47 43 35

89 114 93 109 129

50 47 47 45 28

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

Canucks show power to edge Bruins

ST LOUIS: Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and an assist and Brian Elliott made 15 saves for his fifth shutout and the St Louis Blues ended the Colorado Avalanche’s four-game winning streak in a 4-0 victory on Saturday night. Fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had two assists for a career-best third straight multipoint game and the Blues won their NHL-high 17th game at home and moved ahead of the Red Wings for the Central Division lead. Patrik Berglund, Jason Arnott and David Backes also scored as the Blues beat the Avalanche for the first time in three meetings this season and only the second time in 11 games overall. Colorado struggled a night after a 4-0 shutout in Chicago, getting outshot 28-9 the first two periods and 39-15 overall en route to just its second loss in 11 games. The Avalanche had a season-best run of 15 straight penalty kills after the first period before giving up power-play goals to Arnott and Backes in the second. Colorado outscored its opponents 13-5 during the winning streak, and also entered with a four-game road winning streak. The shot total was a season low. The Blues won their third straight and are 17-3-2 at home, where they played to their 14th sellout. They’re 18-5-5 under new coach Ken Hitchcock. Shattenkirk, who was part of a deal that sent former No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson to the Avalanche, has three goals and three assists in five games against Colorado.Johnson, who’s minus-9, left in the first period with an undisclosed injury after the team said he might return. In 65 games with St. Louis since the trade, Shattenkirk is plus-20 with has eight goals and 31 assists. Johnson has four goals and 20 assists in 59 games with Colorado with a minus-17 rating. The Blues led 2-0 with a 9-0 shots advantage before Ryan O’Reilly finally gave Elliott some action at 12:45 of the first. Coming off a pair of losses at Detroit Dec. 27 and 31, Elliott had an easy night for his first shutout since beating the Sharks on Dec. 10. Kyle Quincey’s giveaway coming around

the net under pressure from Berglund led to Berglund’s second goal in three games. T.J. Oshie’s shot deflected off Berglund’s ankle on its way past Jean-Sebastian Giguere at 3:20. Shattenkirk scored his sixth goal through, about 20 seconds before the Avalanche’s first shot on a power play. St. Louis quickly capitalized on Paul Stastny’s cross-checking penalty early in the second, with Arnott scoring his ninth goal just 19 seconds later to make it 3-0 at 1:20 of the second. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks scored four power play goals to edge the defending champion Boston Bruins 4-3 on Saturday in a spirited rematch between last season’s Stanley Cup finalists. Animosity from last season’s sevengame championship series was rekindled ear-

ly on and led to 107 minutes in penalties and 18 powerplay opportunities at the TD Garden. Boston failed to convert on their seven powerplays while Vancouver took full advantage of their 11 chances. “All I know is today our power play was pretty good,” Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who had two assists, told reporters. “We were shooting pucks, we were gaining entry into the zone, pretty much whenever we wanted, and that’s the way our power play has got to be.” Surprise Vancouver starting goalie Corey Schneider turned aside a penalty shot opportunity by Daniel Paille with a very nice glove save with the score tied at 1-1 in the opening minute of the second period.

“He shoots the puck real hard,” Schneider said. “I remember in the finals he scored a few glove side shots and I’ve seen him rip it glove side a couple times, so I kept it high and just presented it to try to take it away early. He kind of cut across and fortunately I had it in a good spot.” Ryan Kesler and Brad Marchand exchanged first period goals and Rich Peverley gave the Bruins a short-lived lead in the second before Alexandre Burrows scored for Vancouver. Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson scored during a pivotal five-minute penalty, spanning the second and third periods, which was assessed to Marchand for clipping Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo who did not return. — Agencies

ST LOUIS: TJ Galiardi #39 of the Colorado Avalanche passes the puck against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on Saturday in St Louis, Missouri. — AFP

Cook hits 76 as England crumble in tour opener SCOREBOARD DUBAI: Scoreboard after the second day of the three-day tour game between ICC Combined XI and England at Global Cricket Academy in Dubai yesterday:

ICC Combined XI 1st innings 281 (C. Viljoen 98, Mohammad Shahzad 51, B. Rankin 43; S. Broad 3-42, G. Swann 3-99)

SEOUL: South Korea’s Lee Yong-Dae (rear) and Ha Jung-Eun (front) react to a losing point against China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin in the mixed doubles final match at the Korea Open Badminton Super Series Premier in Seoul yesterday. China defeated South Korea 12-21, 21-19, 10-21. — AFP

Lee beat foe Lin Dan in Seoul final SEOUL: World number one Lee Chong Wei stormed back to defeat arch-rival and holder Lin “Super” Dan in the final of the Korea Open yesterday to prevent a rampant China for sweeping all five titles. The first Superseries of the new season, which is also an Olympic year, saw the 4,000-seat arena in Seoul packed out, and an enthusiastic crowd was treated to some high-quality badminton from the two best players around. In a tense 75-minute showdown, the Malaysian Lee, the top seed, lost the first game 12-21 to his nemesis, before winning the closely fought second game 21-18. Lee enjoyed eight smashed winners to seal the third game-and with it the title — 21-14, as the Malaysian made up for the bitter disappointment of losing to Lin, the Olympic champ, in last year’s final. Lee’s victory however reinforces the notion that Lin, who could retire after his defence at the London Olympics, struggles

these days to get up for finals of the lesser tournaments, where Lee often prevails. In the women’s final, world number three Wang Shixian from China easily beat her compatriot Jiang Yanjiao, who had ousted world number one Wang Yihan in the semifinals. Shixian ran out a comfortable 21-12, 21-17 winner. In the men’s doubles, Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng from China lost the first game 1821 to the South Korean pair of Jung JaeSung/Lee Yong-Dae, but they managed to win the second game 21-17 before finishing it off 21-19. Lee and Jung won the Korea Open in 2009 and 2010 but it was not to be third time lucky on home turf. In women’s pairings, the Chinese Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei defeated South Korea’s Ha Jung-Eun/Kim Min-Jung, 21-18, 21-13. Xu Chen/Ma Jin from China beat South Korea’s Lee Yong-Dae/Ha Jung-Eun 21-12, 19-21, 21-10 to take the mixed pairings crown. — AFP

England 1st innings A. Strauss c Haq b Hassan 17 A. Cook c Shahzad b Viljoen 76 J. Trott c Shahzad b Hassan 1 K. Pietersen c Shahzad b Rankin 15 I. Bell c Shahzad b Rankin 3 E. Morgan c Stirling b Nabi 1 S. Davies lbw b Haq 12 S. Broad c Porterfield b Nabi 19 G. Swann not out 14 J. Anderson not out 12 Extras (b8, lb4, nb 2, w1) 15 Total (for eight wkts dec) 185 Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Strauss), 2-54 (Trott), 3-107 (Pietersen), 4-121 (Bell), 5-126 (Morgan), 6-132 (Cook), 7-159 (Davies), 8-159 (Broad). Bowling: Hassan 11-4-26-2 (w1), Viljoen 11-1-42-1 (nb2), Nabi 14-3-42-2, Rankin 16-3-49-2, Haq 3-1-14-1. Overs: 55 Combined XI 2nd innings W. Porterfield c Davies b Anderson 0 P. Stirling lbw b Broad 0 K. Coetzer b Anderson 31 Saqib Ali c Davies b Broad 2 C. Williams c Bell b Swann 11 Mohammad Shahzad not out 34 Mohammad Nabi not out 9 Extras: (lb1, nb2) 3 Total: (For five wkts) 90 Fall of wicket: 1-0 (Porterfield), 2-2 (Stirling), 3-8 (Ali), 4-31 (William), 5-71 (Coetzer). Bowling: Anderson 12-6-29-2, Broad 9-5-15-2 (2nb), Swann 10-1-33-1, Finn 6-3-12 0. Overs: 37

DUBAI: ICC Combined XI cricketer Mohammed Shahzad (R) is watched by England XI wicketkeeper Steven Davies as he plays a shot during the second day of a three-day practice match between the England XI and ICC Combined XI at The ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai Sports City yesterday. — AFP DUBAI: Opener Alastair Cook was the only batsman to get some good practice as England’s batting crumbled against some spirited ICC Combined XI bowling in their three-day tour opener here yesterday. The left-hander held the batting during his patient knock as none of the England batmen could score big on a slow Global Cricket Academy pitch, spurning a good chance ahead of the first Test against Pakistan starting here from January 17. Cook added 53 for the third wicket with Kevin Pietersen (15) before England declared their first innings on 185-8. Combined XI finished the second day on 90-5, having an overall lead of 186. They scored 281 in their first innings. Resuming at 16-0, England had reached 44 when skipper Andrew Strauss (17) fell to Afghanistan paceman Hamid Hassan who

finished with 2-26. Hasan also dismissed Jonathan Trott (one) with a beautiful delivery, caught behind by his fellow Afghan Mohammad Shahzad. Cook, who hit 14 well-timed boundaries during his 121-ball knock, also fell caught behind off Namibian medium pacer Christi Viljoen. Besides Pietersen and Trott, Ian Bell (three) and Eoin Morgan (one) also failed to get going. Off-spinner Mohammad Nabi finished with 2-42 while Irish paceman Boyd Rankin took 2-49. Irish openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling flopped again as both failed to score in Combined XI’s second knock, and it was left to Kyle Coetzer (31) and Shahzad (34 not out) to keep the Combined XI in a position to give England a stiff target. Broad and James Anderson took two wickets apiece.— AFP




Murray crushes Dolgopolov to win Brisbane title Scotsman lethal in all departments

SYDNEY: Ana Ivanovic of Serbia plays a backhand shot in her first round match against Lucie Safarova at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Australia, yesterday. Safarova won the match 7-6, 6-2.—AP

Everyone has a chance in Melbourne, says Ivanovic SYDNEY: Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic believes the strength of women’s tennis means that anyone in the draw can win the Australian Open. Ivanovic’s preparations for Melbourne Park suffered yesterday, however, with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 loss to Lucie Safarova in the opening round at the Sydney International. But the out-of-sorts Serb retained belief she would be one of the dozens of players in the hunt to win the Australian Open, starting on Jan. 16. The first round loss for Ivanovic, the former world number one and 2008 French Open champion, followed an early second round loss at Brisbane last week. Yesterday, she was left to rue missing a regulation smash at 5-5 in the first set tiebreaker, revealing the unforced error played on her mind for the remainder of the match. “The whole first set came down to that one point,” Ivanovic told reporters. “Obviously it happens, it was just a very bad moment for it to happen. It’s a shot I feel very confident at. It’s definitely a little bit disappointing, but it happens and it took me a lot of time to recover. “It’s tough. I keep replaying that shot in my mind throughout the whole match. I felt like that was the turning point. But still I came out in the second set and I served really well the first couple of games and had some chances. “I feel my game is still there. I have lost but it gives me time to go to Melbourne with plenty of time to tune up a few things.

“I had a good off-season and I just want to try and keep at it. It would be great to have a result straight away but sometimes it’s a process and it takes time.” The four women’s majors had four different winners last year: Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open, Li Na at the French Open, Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon and Sam Stosur at the US Open. With the Australian Open beginning at Melbourne Park next week, Ivanovic believes the number of good players on tour make it hard to call a winner at Melbourne Park. “When I first started on tour I felt like the first few rounds the seeds would have an easy match,” the Serb said. “Now from the first round you have tough opponents. Everyone is playing well and aggressive and you really have to be tough from the first match on. “Anyone, basically, can win. That’s exciting for everyone because everyone who is in the draw has the potential to go far.” Elsewhere in Sydney on Sunday, Australia’s Jelena Dokic trounced compatriot Isabella Holland 6-0 6-0 on Ken Rosewall Arena on a day when none of the seeds made an appearance. The big guns will be wheeled out from today. “We all have days when it doesn’t go right but it’s professional sport, you can’t really be feeling sorry for anyone,” Dokic said of her opponent. Nine of the top ten women in the world are in a highquality Sydney field. Top seed in the men’s draw is Argentina’s world number 11 Juan Martin del Potro. —Reuters

BRISBANE: World No.4 Andy Murray laid down a marker for the Australian Open with a 65-minute demolition of Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final of the Brisbane International yesterday. Murray, runner-up at Melbourne Park for the past two years, showed no mercy against the world No.15 from Ukraine as he cruised to the title 6-1, 6-3 in the Pat Rafter Arena. The Scotsman was lethal in all departments as he dominated Dolgopolov, a player who pushed him to four close sets in the Australian Open quarter-finals last year but who took a slight groin injury into the final. “I served pretty well again, it got close in the second set but I stayed focussed,” Murray said. “He started going for his shots and hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me.” Murray broke Dolgopolov twice in the first set and did not lose a point on his first three service games to claim the opener in just 26 minutes. He went on a run of nine consecutive games from 2-1 in the first to 4-0 in the second before the Ukrainian finally stemmed the flow by holding serve for only the second time in the match. That signalled a slight rally from Dolgopolov, who then got a service game back and fought to make it 4-3. But Murray held his next serve then broke Dolgopolov to love to clinch the Roy Emerson Trophy and his 22nd title on the ATP tour. “Even though it got back to 4-3, I had game points at 4-1 and game points at 4-2 and was creating a lot of opportunities,” he said. Murray had started the week

slowly and struggled to win his first two matches, against Mikhail Kukushkin and Gilles Muller. But he hit top gear from then on, easily accounting for Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals and Bernard Tomic in the semis before his impressive display against Dolgopolov.

Dolgopolov, who has been troubled by a slight groin injury he picked up in his semi-final against Gilles Simon, acknowledged he had been outplayed and apologised to the crowd for playing “boring tennis”. “I couldn’t move very well on the right leg and it was tough to

BRISBANE: Andy Murray of Britain hits a backhand return on the way to defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the men’s final at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane yesterday. —AFP “I played much better the last three matches for sure,” Murray said. “I could easily have lost the second round against Muller but I managed to fight my way through and play three very good matches. “I felt like I was moving well right at the end of the week and hopefully the next few days before Melbourne go well.”

go right and push forward,” he said. “I just tried to do my best and stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don’t want to pull out of something like that. “But you also don’t want to get injured so it was a fine line to keep healthy and not get worse and stay out there and play some tennis. “I did what I can and I’m happy

Sizzling 63 gives Stricker lead Zheng wins in Auckland, Pennetta retires hurt AUCKLAND: China’s Zheng Jie won the rain-delayed Auckland Classic yesterday after fourth seed Flavia Pennetta retired hurt with a back injury when trailing 2-6 6-3 2-0. World number 20 Pennetta had a medical time-out at the change of ends when leading 5-2 in the first set and called for the physiotherapist several more times in the match to work on her lower back before eventually throwing in the towel. The Italian’s withdrawal gifted 28year-old Zheng her fourth WTA title and her first since 2006, while providing a welcome boost ahead of next week’s Australian Open. “I am so excited and so happy to win this title because this is the first time I’ve won my first tournament of the year,” Zheng said. “I want to say sorry for Flavia and the problems with her back. I hope she is better for next week.” Persistent showers washed out the final on Saturday and continued yesterday, forcing the match to be moved indoors to a smaller stadium where Pennetta, Italy’s first top-10 player, quick-

ly seized the initiative. The 29-year-old broke Zheng twice to seal the first set and raced to a 2-0 lead before her diminutive opponent roared back by peeling off five consecutive games. Zheng, a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and Melbourne Park, held a nervy service game to clinch the second set and broke Pennetta early in the third before the Italian decided enough was enough. Pennetta, who made the quarter-finals of the US Open last year, was scheduled to play this week’s Sydney International for another warm-up before Melbourne Park but had withdrawn from the singles due to the injury, tournament organisers said. Sichuan native Zheng was once China’s highest-ranked player ahead of French Open champion Li Na but her ranking has dipped to 48th after a disappointing 2011. She has shown strong form in the leadup to the year’s first grand slam, however, upsetting former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Auckland semi-final. —Reuters

stick to that it can work well if someone wants to play quick points. “I noticed towards the end of the first set he was trying to win the points quickly.” Murray now heads to Melbourne where his only outing before the Australian Open will be an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic. —AFP

Wozniacki’s eye on Rory not ranking

HAWAII: Steve Stricker balances a ball of his putter on the 10th hole during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation course yesterday in Kapalua, Hawaii. —AFP

AUCKLAND: Jie Zheng of China celebrates after winning her match against Flavia Pennetta in the singles final of the ASB Classic Tennis at the ASB Tennis centre in Auckland yesterday. Pennetta retired due to injury. —AFP

with my week.” Murray said he was aware his opponent was hurting, but approached the match like any other. “When someone steps on the court you’ve just got to play it like a normal match,” he said. “My normal game style is to try and get in a lot of rallies and work my way into points. If I just

KAPALUA: Steve Stricker fired a 10under par 63 yesterday to take a fiveshot lead at the halfway stage of the US PGA Tour’s season-opening Tournament of Champions. Stricker, at number six in the world the highest-ranked player in the 27-man field, had eight birdies and an eagle without a bogey as the American took his 36-hole total to 15-under par 131. Webb Simpson posted his second straight 68 to sit second on 136, while South Korean-born American Kevin Na climbed into third place on 137 with a sparkling 64. Stricker was already six-under for the day when he eagled the par-five 15th, where he hit a three-wood to 12 feet. He added two more birdies at 17 and 18. “This game is never easy, but I had it going today,” Stricker said. “I felt like I was going to make every putt I looked at there for a while and I gave myself a lot of opportunities-which is the key.” Na thrust himself into contention with an eagle-eagle finish. He started the day even and was still at even par for the tournament through eight holes. Na played his last 10 holes in nineunder par, including his back-to-back eagles. At 17, Na holed out with a fiveiron from 221 yards and at 18 he drained a 10-footer.

Na’s back-nine 29 equalled the backnine record for the par-73 Plantation Course set by Vijay Singh in 2004. “At 18 I hit a beautiful second shot into the green and I just kept telling myself ‘for 29, for 29.’ As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in,” Na said. “That was exciting. That was a lot of fun. All of a sudden on the back nine I started getting it together.” The field, open only to last season’s title winners, was reduced to 27 on Friday when former US Open champion Lucas Glover withdrew with a sprained knee. Three of the four reigning major champions had already opted out with Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa bypassing the $5.6 million event. Scotland’s Martin Laird and firstround leader Jonathan Byrd shared fourth place on 138. Laird rebounded from a doublebogey at 17 with a birdie at 18 for a three-under 70, while Byrd posted a two-under 71. Despite his comfortable cushion, Stricker said he wouldn’t get ahead of himself with two rounds remaining in the event that finishes today. “We’re halfway through,” he said. “We’ve got a long ways to go yet.” —AFP

SYDNEY: Caroline Wozniacki powered through a training session in oppressive heat at the Sydney International yesterday before revealing why she was so candid about her relationship with US Open golf champion Rory McIlroy. After saying she was unaware that Petra Kvitova would overtake her as the world number one if the Czech left-hander won this week’s Sydney International, Wozniacki then proceeded to happily answer a stream of questions about McIlroy. The highest-profile couple in sport are constantly photographed together, talk about each other in interviews, boast about the gifts they share and write to each other - for the world to see - on Twitter nearly every day. “It’s very difficult to keep it really private because everyone knows who we are,” Wozniacki told reporters in Sydney of the relationship. “People are interested. I don’t mind if there’s a camera here or there - it’s fine. But we do have a line where certain things are private. “Something might come up and we say OK, we’re going to keep this to ourselves. The rest is no big deal. Like, we have little bets. We had one bet about who was going to win a tournament first, and I did. “Right now we don’t have any bets going on, though. I just think it’s great that he’s doing so well. I’m really happy for him.” Wozniacki declined to reveal her prize for winning the bet but suggested it might have entailed a photograph of Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, a Manchester United supporter, in the team shirt of her favourite English Premier League side, Liverpool. Wozniacki won a Liverpool shirt, signed by the club’s midfielder Steven Gerrard, on court at the 2011 Qatar Open. “I can’t tell you what I won,” she said. “It’s something I had to put on Twitter but I didn’t do it because I thought I should be nice. “Actually, I still have that ace in my hand in case he’s not nice to me.” An incriminating photo, perhaps? “We’re big fans of different football clubs, let’s just put it that way.” Back at the tennis, Wozniacki and Kvitova have first-round byes at the start of a week that could end with the Dane’s 64-week stay as number one coming to an end. Asked if she was aware of that scenario, Wozniacki replied: “No. Now I am. It doesn’t really matter. To be honest, I don’t think about it. I do what I’m best at and that is playing tennis. “I enjoy being where I am. We have both enjoyed something very special at a young age. Petra has won Wimbledon and I’ve been number one for 64 weeks now and I think that’s a great achievement. “It’s always a dream to reach that ranking and I just have to keep concentrating on my tennis. That’s all there is to it.” Ana Ivanovic was a firstround casualty yesterday, losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to Lucie Safarova. Ivanovic’s relationship with Australian golfer Adam Scott is the polar opposite to that of Wozniacki and McIlroy in terms of privacy. A question from the floor during her news conference: “Ana, Will Adam Scott be joining you in Melbourne for the Australian Open?” She said a polite ‘yes’. No more discussion was entered into. —Reuters




Guardiola a revered mystery in native Santpedor SANTPEDOR: Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is revered and respected in his native Santpedor even if he remains somewhat aloof to the local population, who have watched on with pride as he achieved his countless successes. Guardiola’s career with Barcelona reads like the dream of every football player: A young prospect signs for his boyhood club and goes on to play an integral part in the team’s successes, first as a player and then as coach. His success is unprecedented and he is the overwhelming favorite to win FIFA’s coach of the year award today. Santpedor, with a population of nearly 7,000, lies 75 kilometers (47 miles) inland from Barcelona, deep in the heart of Catalunya’s wooded Bages region. The medieval city, which dates back to the 14th century, has honored Guardiola as a “favorite son” while the town’s football complex is named after him - Municipal Sports Center Josep Guardiola. Photos adorn various spots, especially in the city’s supporters club where they are hopeful Guardiola will make an appearance on May 27 when it celebrates its 25th anniversary. “(Santpedor’s) a small town and while people don’t all personally know him, they are very proud of him,” club president Toni Valverde, a

longtime friend of Guardiola’s, told The Associated Press yesterday. “But like any small town there is also the usual envy that accompanies it and people tend to criticize and find personal grievances. I suppose it’s normal to feel envious of him.” The locals are accustomed to queries about Guardiola, and they eventually slip out of Catalan to answer questions in Spanish to accommodate visitors and their questions. And there have been more and more visitors in recent years visiting No. 15 Plaza de la Generalitat, the lime-green, three-storey building where Guardiola lived with his parents Valenti and Dolores, his brother Pere and sisters Olga and Francesca until leaving for Barcelona’s youth academy at the age of 13. “We have a lot of tourists who come to look at the house, last month we had a large group. They take photos and ask questions, they are nice usually, always curious,” said 38-year-old Khalid Abid, who is from Morocco and now lives in the home with his family and another. “It’s pretty nice knowing you live somewhere like this, somewhere people want to remember and see. I’ve spoken with the parents a few times and they are nice. Never with Pep, though.” Valverde, who will celebrate his 41st birthday just like Guardiola later this month, said the former Spain midfielder returns only for holidays

and local town celebrations, and rarely ventures from his parents’ home on the outskirts of town due to the excessive fanfare. “I’m sure he would like to go out more but people go nuts when he is here,” said Valverde, who traveled to Barcelona to see his friend’s games until he reached Barca B, when it became more difficult. “He is much more extroverted than he seems in news conferences, where he seems to hold himself back a lot. He’s very outgoing,” said Valverde, who visits Guardiola at his parents’ home when in town with his wife and three children. “We don’t talk about football much. The thing is you don’t feel like you are in front of the world’s best coach, you never feel a distance between yourself and him. He’s very inquisitive, always asking questions.” Neighbors recall the young Guardiola breaking windows and knocking down power lines as he used the doorways in the plaza outside his home as a goal. “He never stopped kicking the ball around,” Guardiola’s mother Dolors told Spanish TV several years ago. “As soon as he finished breakfast, he carried his ball down into the street and into the plaza, where the doorways worked as the goal.” Like most of the villagers, Genis Cos Rubio holds Guardiola in high esteem but those early bonds of

Hirscher wins third successive race Suter wins World Cup super-G ADELBODEN: Marcel Hirscher maintained his 2012 unbeaten run when he won his third race in succession in the Adelboden slalom yesterday. In a combined time of one minute and 58.66 seconds, the 22-year-old Austrian became the first skier to win both races in the classic World Cup weekend in the Swiss resort and emerged as one of the clear favourites for the overall crystal globe. Only Swede Ingemar Stenmark had pre-

ADELBODEN: Winner of the race Marcel Hirscher of Austria celebrates during the podium ceremony of the men’s slalom race at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup yesterday in Adelboden. —AFP

BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM: Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter celebrates after winning an alpine ski, women’s World Cup super-G, in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, yesterday. —AP viously won the first three races of a new year but Hirscher refused to be drawn on any comparisons. “I’m sure I’m not going to beat many of Stenmark’s records so I take everything that’s up for grabs. “It’s just crazy. I’m on a roll for sure with three victories in four days,” added the World Cup leader, who also won a slalom in Zagreb on Thursday. Despite a thick fog and almost no visibility, Hirscher beat World Cup defending champion Ivica Kostelic by 0.27 seconds to bag his fifth success this winter. Promising Italian Stefano Gross clinched his first career podium in third place, 0.99 behind. But as in Saturday’s giant slalom, it was again a tough fight against the conditions. “It was like a rodeo. You couldn’t see a thing and it was rocking you all over the place. But I like it,” Hirscher said. Injured at the end of last winter, the gifted Austrian was not expecting much this

season. “I’ve already achieved the goals I had set for myself. So I’m just having fun one race after the other and enjoying it as long as it lasts.” he said. “But I’m also extremely tired and I’m glad to have some time off before the slalom in Wengen.” Kostelic now trails Hirscher by 230 points in the race for the big globe but he warned he was up for a fight. The Croat said: “That’s what I like about alpine skiing, when you start from scratch with each race. It’s going to be an exciting season and next week we’re in Wengen and Hirscher will have to show what he’s worth in speed events.” The men’s World Cup circuit remains in Switzerland for another classic weekend in Wengen when speed specialists will be in the limelight again. Hirscher said he would not take part in Friday’s super-combined but concentrate on the slalom. Meanwhile, in Austria Fabienne Suter of Switzerland won a women’s super G race yesterday, while Lindsey Vonn finished 18th to miss a World Cup podium in the discipline for the first time in nearly three years. Suter, who took third in Saturday’s downhill, started after all pre-race favorites were already down but was fastest at all intermediate times and finished in 1 minute, 9.55 seconds to earn her fourth career World Cup victory. Tina Maze of Slovenia came 0.34 behind in second, and Anna Fenninger of Austria took third, another 0.40 behind. “To be the fastest of all for one day, that’s just great,” Suter said. “In the downhill, I took too many risks so I tried to do better today. But at super-G, you have only one chance after course inspection so I am very happy how things worked out.” Suter led a strong showing by the Swiss team, with Fraenzi Aufenblatten and Lara Gut coming fourth and fifth respectively. Vonn was the first starter from the top group, but lacked the strength to be competitive after struggling with a stomach illness over the last week. “I didn’t really have the self-confidence and I didn’t have the power that I normally have,” Vonn said. “I am still not myself. ... I just feel flat.” Vonn, who won both previous super-G races this season, lost the ideal race line several times and struggled to correct herself. She finished 1.53 seconds off the lead. It was the first time the American missed a World Cup super-G podium since placing eighth in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in January 2009, and it was Vonn’s worst super-G result since not finishing in St. Moritz, Switzerland, a month before that. “You can’t be fast always. Maybe it would have been smarter if I had not done these races,” said Vonn, who placed fourth in Saturday’s downhill. “I definitely struggled this weekend but I am not going to put too much weight into it.” Vonn remained in the lead of both the overall and the super-G standings. She has 704 points for the overall championship, followed by Austria’s Marlies Schild with 540 and Maze with 483. Defending overall champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who missed both races this weekend due to illness, has 326 points, which leaves Maze as Vonn’s main challenger for the overall title. “I always try to win every race,” Maze said. “Today, I saw all the great names coming down and not beating my time, so I knew it was a good run. I didn’t fully attack in the middle part, that’s where I lost the race to Fabienne.” —Agencies

friendship - Cos Rubio is also 40 and went to school with Guardiola - are now distant memories since Guardiola never really returned after

coach Johan Cruyff gave the skinny and technically gifted midfielder his debut as an 18-year-old. Guardiola went on to be an inte-

LONDON: In this May 28, 2011 file picture Barcelona’s coach Pep Guardiola holds the trophy after winning the Champions League final soccer match against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, London. Guardiola’s career with Barcelona reads like the dream of every football player, signing for his boyhood club as a young prospect and going on to play an integral part in the club’s modern day successes, first as a player and then later as coach for the same team. —AP

gral part of the “Dream Team” of the 1990s that won four straight league titles and the club’s first Champions League in 1992. Since then, coming home was never as easy. “I knew him when I was in school but he left as a child and now, it’s nearly impossible to see him here on the street with so many people clamoring for photos with him. He can barely go out,” Cos Rubio said. “He put Santpedor on the map. Every time we see him on TV, we think ‘he’s one of ours.’” Since taking over as Barcelona coach in 2008, Guardiola has led the Catalan club to 13 of a possible 16 trophies including a pair of Champions League titles, Club World Cups and European Super Cups, three straight Spanish leagues and a Copa del Rey. He is the overwhelming favorite to win FIFA’s award for best coach over Real Madrid rival Jose Mourinho and Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson. Valverde preferred not to speculate whether Guardiola could maintain his current level of success, but was certain his work ethic and determination would remain unchanged. “What Pep assures is work and discipline, and success comes from that,” Valverde said. “Maybe he doesn’t win anything else this season but at least there is always a chance because of who he is.” —AP

Lugano gives Ancelotti winning start at PSG Lyon sink minnows in French Cup derby PARIS: Carlo Ancelotti’s first official match in charge of Paris Saint-Germain ended with a scrappy 2-1 win against non-league side Locmine in the French Cup yesterday. Uruguay defender Diego Lugano scored with a header with 30 seconds remaining in injury time as PSG avoided the embarrassment of being taken to extra time and reached the last 32. PSG has spent ?82 million ($116 million) on players this season, but struggled early on against a team of part-timers which plays four divisions below PSG and has an annual budget of ? 240,000 ($343,000). “It’s sad to lose, but this was amazing,” Locmine coach Didier Noblet said. “ When you’re a coach and your players are able to play like that, you can only be proud of them.” Pastore, who cost PSG a French transfer record of ?42 million ($60 million), looked totally out of sorts in a scrappy first half before putting his side ahead in the 53rd minute. Pastore was largely outshone by Abou Maiga, a former professional who came back to France from Qatar’s second division to try and better his career. Maiga equalized for Locmine from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute. Maiga also went clean through in the fourth minute and his rising shot beat Salvatore Sirigu, but the Italian keeper was saved by his crossbar. “These are the hardest games because the motivation of teams like this is even higher,” Sirigu said. Defender Yoann Le Roux, who is a junior school teacher, then hit the side-netting as PSG failed to properly defend a corner and spent a frenetic opening spell on the back foot. Guillaume Hoarau almost put PSG ahead in the 15th minute, but goalkeeper Erwan Flegeo did well to save his lob. PSG continued to struggle, however, with Lugano often pulled out of position by Maiga’s runs. As the first half drew to a close, Ancelotti had seen enough and got up from the bench to stand near the touchline, glaring moodily at his players. With two Champions League titles as coach of AC Milan, he clearly expected better. Pastore broke the deadlock shortly after the break, tapping the ball into an empty net after Flegeo saved his first effort. Pastore then hit the crossbar from a narrow angle moments later after rounding Flegeo. “ You have to take your chances when you’re 1-0 up because you’re never safe in these games,” PSG defender Christophe Jallet said. “We didn’t play well at all, but the important thing is get through. We also expected better but they came at our throats.” With 20 minutes remaining, Pastore crashed a shot into the side-netting with two of his teammates totally unmarked in the penalt y area, much to the annoyance of Ancelotti - and Locmine equalized a minute later. Mamadou Sakho tripped Fabrice Peru as he burst into the area, and Maiga sent Sirigu the wrong way from the spot.

Locmine kept pressing for the winning goal as Ancelotti paced up and down nervously, but Nene kept a cool head to pick out Lugano with a chipped pass over the defense and he headed home. Elsewhere, Lyon booked their place in the French Cup last 32 with a 3-1 victory over fourth-tier neighbours Lyon-La Duchere yesterday, but Toulouse crashed out following a 1-0 loss at National (third-division) side GFCO Ajaccio.

Carlo Ancelotti will oversee his first competitive game as Paris Saint-Germain coach later on Sunday, when his new club visit fifthtier Saint-Colomban Locmine. As Locmine’s Pigeon Blanc stadium in Brittany only seats 450 spectators, the game is being played at Lorient’s Stade du Moustoir. Brest fell 2-0 at current National leaders Niort on Saturday, while Caen, Lorient and Sochaux all went down to teams from Ligue 2. Sochaux were beaten 4-1 by Bastia, Lorient

LYON: Lyon La Duchere’s French midfielder Rafik Bouderbal (L) and La Duchere French defender Mohamed Maarif (R) vie with Olympique Lyonnais’ French forward Jimmy Briand during the French Cup football match Lyon La Duchere vs Olympique Lyonnais yesterday at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, central France. —AFP Toulouse became the fifth Ligue 1 club to exit the tournament this weekend, after Brest, Lorient, Sochaux and Caen fell to lower-league opposition on Saturday. “It’s a different competition to the championship, but we would still have liked to go through and go as far as possible,” said Toulouse coach Alain Casanova. “We came up against a determined Ajaccio side in an environment that wasn’t easy, particularly in terms of the pitch.” Lyon were indebted to talismanic striker and captain for the day Lisandro Lopez, who netted a first-half hat-trick to take Remi Garde’s side a step closer to ending the club’s four-year trophy drought. “It was the first match after the winter break and also a match that can sometimes be difficult to get out of,” said Garde, whose side face Lille in the League Cup semi-finals this week. “We’ll obviously have to raise our level to overcome the obstacles that are coming up quick ly, like Lille in the League Cup on Wednesday and then M ontpellier in the league on Saturday.”

were undone by an 80th-minute Yohann Riviere goal in a 4-3 defeat at Le Havre and Caen lost 4-2 to Troyes despite having fought back from two goals down to take the game to extra time. Auxerre required a Dariusz Dudka penalty three minutes from the end of extra time to see off valiant fifth-division Chambly 1-0, while there were also wins for top-tier sides N ice, Dijon, Ajaccio and Evian-ThononGaillard. Lille begin their defence of the trophy with an emphatic 6-0 success at sixth-division minnows Chantilly, in which on-loan Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole claimed the first senior hat-trick of his club career. In one of the round’s most intriguing ties, Marseille won 5-0 against five-time cup winners Red Star-currently residing in the third tier-in a game that took place at Stade de France. In the only all-Ligue 1 ties of the round, Rennes eased past Nanc y 3-0 and Bordeaux beat Saint-Etienne 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 following extra time. —Agencies

QPR fires manager Neil Warnock LONDON: Queens Park Rangers fired manager Neil Warnock yesterday, with the club admitting it feared for its Premier League future. The 63-year-old Warnock led QPR back into the topflight after a 15-year absence last season but the team had lost six of its last eight league matches and slid to 17th in the standings, one point above the relegation zone. Announcing Warnock’s departure, QPR said: “The board’s commitment to retaining our Premier League status ultimately led to this decision.” Warnock ’s last

match in charge saw the west London club held to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup on Saturday by MK Dons of the third tier. “Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change,” said chairman Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian businessman whose Tune Group bought the club in August. “Neil has acted with honesty, professionalism and integrity throughout his time at the club, and I would personally like to

thank him for his significant contribution.” Warnock had been in charge at the London club for just under two years after previous stints at Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, winning 33 of his 84 matches. “Obviously I’m ver y disappointed, but having achieved so much, I leave the club with a great sense of pride,” Warnock said. “I have enjoyed my time here more than anywhere else and the QPR fans have been brilliant with me - they deserve success.

“My biggest regret is that the takeover didn’t happen earlier, because that would have given me the opportunity to bring in the targets I’d pinpointed all last summer and probably given us a better chance to succeed in the Premier League.” Assistant manager Mick Jones first team coach Keith Curle have also left the club. “I’ve been involved in the game a long time and I will be spending the immediate future with my family and friends before deciding my next career move,” Warnock said. —AP



Liverpool drawn to play Man United in FA Cup LONDON: Liverpool will play Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Anfield following the draw made yesterday. The same league fixture provoked a row about racism after comments made by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to United’s Patrice Evra. Yesterday’s draw also raised the possibility of a re-match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, provided QPR win their replay against League One (third tier) Milton Keynes Dons. Emotions also spilled over in a previous match between the teams and featured John Terry’s alleged racist insult to Anton Ferdinand. The draw bringing Liverpool and

United together comes two days after a 20-year-old man from Liverpool was arrested and charged with alleged racist abuse towards Oldham Athletic player Tom Adeyemi during Liverpool’s 5-1 win over Oldham in the third round on Friday. The Premier League matches between Liverpool and Manchester United on Oct.15 came the weekend before QPR’s match with Chelsea which is still being investigated by the authorities. Manchester United defender Evra alleged Suarez racially insulted him during the game at Anfield and the Liverpool striker was subsequently found guilty of the charge and handed an eight-match

ban and a 40,000 pounds ($61,600) fine last month. He will be serving his suspension when the match is played on the weekend of Jan. 28-29. Terry has been charged with racially insulting QPR defender Ferdinand and is due to appear in court on Feb.1 — three or four days after the cup match would take place. United knocked out holders Manchester City yesterday and apart from the controversy surrounding the Liverpool game they now face another tough match against one of the Premier League’s top teams as they bid to extend their FA Cup all-time winning record to 12 successes this sea-

son. Chelsea, who won the FA Cup three times in four seasons between 2007 and 2010, lost their League match 1-0 against QPR on Oct. 23 but QPR’s form has slumped significantly since then and whether Chelsea play QPR or MK Dons, they will be favourites to advance. Tottenham Hotspur, the highest ranked Premier League team behind United and eight times FA Cup winners, make the short trip to Championship (second division) Watford, while Arsenal, whose last trophy came when they won their 10th FA Cup in 2005, will be at home to seven-time winners Aston Villa if they beat Leeds United at the Emirates

tonight. Swindon Town, the League One (third division) team who knocked out Premier League Wigan Athletic on Saturday, will travel to meet the winners of the allChampionship replay between Nottingham Forest and Leicester City. There will also be an intriguing North East derby between a Sunderland side, rejuvenated by new coach Martin O’Neill, and Championship promotion candidates Middlesbrough. One team from League One will definitely make it into the fif th round ( l a s t 16) a f te r S te ve na ge Borough were drawn against Notts County. — Reuters

Two-goal Di Natale inspires Udinese AC Milan, Juve stay top after away wins

LONDON: Chelsea’s Ramires, right, shoots to score against Portsmouth during their English FA Cup third round soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London, yesterday. — AP

Ramires at the double as Chelsea see off Pompey LONDON: Ramires struck twice as Chelsea booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 4-0 victory over Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge here yesterday. The Brazil midfielder’s goals, scored in the 85th and 87th minutes, together with an added time fourth for Frank Lampard added gloss to the scoreline after Juan Mata had put Andre Villas-Boas’s side ahead in the 48th minute. That ensured the Blues were spared an embarrassing slip against Championship opponents in a re-run of the two teams’ meeting in the 2010 final, which Chelsea won 1-0. But despite the convincing scoreline, this was another stuttering performance from Villas-Boas’s side who are finding their feet after a disastrous run of results in December. Chelsea failed in their bid to convince Ivory Coast officials to allow Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou to delay their departure for the Africa Cup of Nations. That meant Fernando Torres started as the main striker and denied Drogba the chance to stage a repeat of his match-winning goal at Wembley two seasons ago. Much has changed since that meeting which secured the Premier League and FA Cup double for Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea team. Ancelotti left Stamford Bridge just 12 months later while Portsmouth slipped out of the top flight at the end of that season and are currently facing another battle to remain clear of the Championship danger zone. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the precarious financial position at Fratton Park and Portsmouth, the 2008 FA Cup winners, came into this tie with uncertainty surrounding the future ownership of the club. This was certainly a game Chelsea could not afford to take lightly, however, no matter what the status of their opponents. A disastrous run of recent results was ended only by the narrow victory at Wolves last time out and Villas-Boas’s side badly

needed a confidence boost. They had one before kick-off when skipper John Terry was passed fit to start after recovering from a knee problem. But even with Terry at the heart of Chelsea’s defence, Portsmouth created several good chances. The first of the match fell to the visitors after just two minutes when Dave Kitson collected Marco Futacs’s flick and sent a left foot shot narrowly wide. Pompey right back Aaron Mokoena then went close midway through the half when he headed over from just six yards out from a corner. And midfielder David Norris also threatened Petr Cech’s goal with a snapshot from the edge of the box. Chelsea dominated possession but created few chances, the best falling to Torres after 13 minutes when the Spain striker produced a full length save from Portsmouth keeper Stephen Henderson with a powerful header. The hosts raised their game in the second half and three minutes after the break were ahead through Mata. Ashley Cole contested a loose ball with Kitson, prompting Pompey claims of handball. But referee Anthony Taylor ignored the protests, allowing the Chelsea full back to release Florent Malouda on the left. Malouda, often criticised by Chelsea fans this season for failing to produce a telling final ball teed up Mata perfectly and the former Valencia man finished it off from close range. Portsmouth responded well to the blow and could have been level but Chelsea escaped when Cech saved from Futacs and then Norris either side of a goalline block by Terry from Joel Ward. Pompey began to tire though, and Chelsea took full advantage in the final minutes with Ramires first nipping in to turn Torres’s header in from close range before running from halfway for the third. And Lampard wrapped up the win with a left footed shot seconds before the final whistle. — AFP

MILAN: Irrepressible striker Antonio Di Natale, Serie A’s leading scorer in the last two seasons, scored twice to help Udinese to a 4-1 win over struggling Cesena yesterday and keep alive their unlikely Serie A title challenge Udinese’s success kept the surprise package two points behind leading pair AC Milan and Juventus who both won away to stay top with 37 points from 17 games. Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a first-half penalty, controversially awarded for a foul by Thomas Manfredini on Alexandre Pato, and set up the second for KevinPrince Boateng in Milan’s 2-0 win at Atalanta. The Swede joined Di Natale and Atalanta for ward German Denis, who hit the post from close range with the score at 1-0, as joint Serie A topscorer with 12 goals. Alessandro Matri’s first-half goal gave unbeaten Juventus an unconvincing 1-0 win at bottom club Lecce where they were lucky to survive second half pressure in pouring rain. Matri scored from close range when Massimiliano Benassi failed to hold Mirko Vucinic’s low shot from 25 metres after Juve had lost midfielder Fabio Quagliarella to injury early in the game. Francesco Totti, 35, scored his first two goals of the season, both penalties, to give improving AS Roma a 2-0 win over Chievo. The one-club Totti, who missed a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Juventus last month, opened his account in the 34th minute after a clumsy tackle by Nicolas Frey on Erik Lamela. His second, with 12 minutes left, followed a Bostjan Cesar handball as Roma moved up to sixth with 27 points, two behind Inter Milan, who

MILAN: Udinese’s Pablo Armero, right, is challenged by Cesena’s Adrian Mutu during a Serie A soccer match at the Udine Friuli stadium yesterday. Unsung Udinese moved provisionally back to the top of the Serie A table thanks to a 4-1 victory over 10-man Cesena, which was more difficult than the scoreline might suggest. —AP thumped Chievo 5-0, and three adrift of Lazio, who lost 4-0 at Siena in Saturday’s matches. Stevan Jovetic scored twice, the first a penalty, in Fiorentina’s 3-0 win at Novara and Cagliari beat Genoa by the same score, handing Pasquale Marino an unhappy debut with the visitors after he replaced Alber to Malesani following a 6-1 defeat at Napoli. Joaquin Larrivey conver ted an early penalty for Cagliari and Victor Ibarbo added the second just before the hour.

Genoa’s miser y continued with a straight red card for Emiliano Moretti before Andreas Granqvist put through his own goal. In the early match, Udinese’s Di Natale opened his account after only 48 seconds when he slid the ball home after Antonio Floro Flores sprang the offside trap and broke down the right. Although Udinese were dominant, Brazilian forward Eder equalised for Cesena out of the blue in the 39th minute and it took a blunder from their goal-

Rayo Vallecano beat Sevilla 2-1 in Spain

Celtic, Rangers ease into Scottish Cup fifth round GLASGOW: Anthony Stokes scored a hattrick as Scottish Cup holders Celtic joined rivals Rangers in the draw for the fifth round with a 3-0 win over Third Division Peterhead at Balmoor Stadium. Celtic made six changes and it took the SPL leaders until the 36th minute to open the scoring when Stokes tapped in a Georgios Samaras cross. Stokes had an effort ruled out for offside on the stroke of half-time before grabbing his second with a superb strike in the 57th minute. The Irish international completed his hat-trick in the 82nd minute when he lashed home a pass from Scott Brown to seal a comfortable win. “The football was good and we should have won the game more comfortably,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. “But I have no complaints about the application of the players and the important thing is we are in the draw for the next round.” Rangers booked their place in the fifth round with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over minnows Arbroath at Gayfield. The Second Division side twice had chances to take the lead before Rangers striker David Healy opened the scoring in the 17th minute. The Gers soon doubled their lead four minutes later through a Craig Wedderburn own goal. Arbroath had a penalty claim turned down at the start of the second half before strikes from Nikica Jelavic and substitute Salim Kerkar made

sure of their progression to the next round. “In the opening five or ten minutes we were a little bit nervy but apart from that I think we were comfortable,” said Rangers manager Ally McCoist. “We got the goals at good times and ran out deserved winners.” At Balmoor, David Ross had a chance for Peterhead within the first minute but keeper Lukasz Zaluska snuffed out the danger. Stokes blazed a shot over and Ki SungYeung smashed his effort off the bar before Charlie Mulgrew tested Paul Jarvie with a fiercely struck free-kick. The Hoops dominated possession but it took them until the 36th minute for them to open the scoring. Georgios Samaras latched on to a long ball down the right wing from Paddy McCourt before crossing for Stokes to roll the ball home from eight yards. The same pair combined to put the ball in the net in the 43rd minute but this time Stokes’ effort was ruled out for offside. Stokes got his second in the 57th with a superb strike. The Irish international played a one-two with Emilio Izzaguirre before lashing an angled shot into the bottom right-hand corner. Scott Brown’s shot was deflected over before Stokes completed his hat-trick in the 82nd minute. A good passing move ended with Brown finding Stokes wide right in the box and his angled low drive managed to evade Jarvie and fly into the net. — AFP

keeper Francesco Antonioli to put the hosts back in front. The hapless Antonioli allowed Kwadwo Asamoah’s low, swerving shot to slip under him in the 54th minute in what proved to be the game’s turning point. Cesena had Maurizio Lauro sent off on the hour for a second book able offence, then Dusan Basta scored with a longrange drive before Di Natale added a superb fourth with a shot on the turn in the 82nd minute.— Reuters

VILLAREAL: Villarreal’s midfielder Borja Valero (L) vies for the ball with Valencia’s Turkish midfielder Mehmet Topal (R) during the Spanish league football match Villareal CF vs Valencia yesterday at El Madrigal stadium in Villareal. — AFP

BARCELONA: The return of forward Jose Antonio Reyes to Sevilla was spoiled by Rayo Vallecano yesterday as the promoted side won 2-1 to break a four-game losing streak in the Spanish league. Rayo forward Miguel “Michu” Perez headed in a cross that was bobbled by Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas to give the hosts the lead against the run of play in first-half added time. Striker Raul Tamudo then extended Rayo’s advantage in the 51st when he controlled a long pass with one touch and rifled the ball into the net. Defender Julien Escude pulled one back for the visitors in the 61st, but Rayo claimed the victory after Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo volleyed off the crossbar in the dying moments. Reyes, who began his playing career with Sevilla, returned to his boyhood club on Thursday from Atletico Madrid. The former Arsenal player had a subdued performance before being substituted in the second half. “Taking into account that (Reyes) was playing with new teammates and that he hadn’t played much recently, he played well,” said Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia. “The game hinged on their ability to capitalize on our mistakes.” Defending champion Barcelona visits crosstown rival Espanyol later in a Catalan capital derby needing a win to stay within three points of leader Real Madrid. Also, it’s: Getafe vs. Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal vs. Valencia, and Real Betis vs. Sporting Gijon. Yesterday, Madrid routed Granada 5-1, while Racing Santander beat last-place Zaragoza 1 0. Malaga vs. Atletico Madrid, Levante vs. Mallorca and Real Sociedad vs. Osasuna all ended in scoreless draws. — AP

Murray crushes Dolgopolov to win Brisbane title

Blues blank Avalanche 4-0




Two-goal Di Natale inspires Udinese

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MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, second left, scores a goal against Manchester City during their FA Cup third round soccer match at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, yesterday. — AP

Man United oust City from FA Cup Scholes comes on in dramatic United return

MARINHA GRANDE: Benfica’s Luisao, left, from Brazil, goes for a header with Leiria’s Edson Silva, also from Brazil, and Tiago Terroso, center, during their Portuguese league soccer match at the Marinha Grande municipal stadium, yesterday in Marinha Grande, centre Portugal. — AP

Fan bailed in Liverpool race row LIVERPOOL: A 20-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence during Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Oldham Athletic was bailed yesterday. Oldham player Tom Adeyemi was allegedly abused by fans at Anfield’s Kop end during Friday’s thirdround game, which Liverpool won 5-1. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, on Sunday confirmed he had spoken to Adeyemi and said “we can confirm that he was the victim of racist abuse”. “ Tom has given a full witness statement to the Merseyside police regarding the incident and will continue to assist the police fully in their enquiries,” added Taylor. Adeyemi, who is on loan from Premier League side Norwich City, seemed to be in tears, and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard moved across to the corner of the ground where the incident occurred to comfort the 20-year-old. A Liverpool statement issued yesterday, while apologising specifically to Adeyemi, insisted those responsible for the incident were not representative of the club as a whole. “Whatever the outcome of what is now a police investigation, all of us are deeply sorry for what happened on Friday and our players and our club pass on our sincere

regrets to Tom Adeyemi for the upset and distress he suffered as a result of the matter at hand,” the statement said. “Our supporters are renowned throughout the world for their outstanding commitment, passion and fairness. They are drawn from nationalities across the globe with widely diverse backgrounds and heritages. “The actions of any one individual do not represent our fans. Their stance on these issues is just as resolute as the club’s. “Regarding the incident that occurred on Friday evening, we have given Merseyside police every possible assistance we can and will continue to provide the necessary support to their investigation in order to ensure this particular incident is dealt with properly. “We will continue to take the strongest possible action(s) against unacceptable behaviour during our matches.” Friday’s incident came with Liverpool on the defensive over their handling of the Luis Suarez affair, with the club reacting furiously after the Uruguay striker was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 ($62,000) for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. A report on The Guardian newspaper’s website late on Friday cited witnesses saying Liverpool fans wearing Suarez T-shirts had racially abused Adeyemi. — AFP

LONDON: Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United beat FA Cup holders Manchester City 3-2 in a dramatic third round tie at the Etihad Stadium yesterday in which City played most of the match with 10 men after Vincent Kompany’s early dismissal. The Premier League title rivals’ first meeting since City crushed United 6-1 at Old Trafford in October lived up to expectations with City fighting back after going 3-0 down, but ultimately failing to hold on to the trophy they won last May. In contrast to United’s nail-biter, Chelsea, who won the cup three times in the four seasons before City’s triumph last May, beat Portsmouth 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in a replay of the 2010 final which they won 1-0. Juan Mata put Chelsea ahead just after halftime and three of Chelsea’s goals came in the dying minutes. Ramires scored in the 85th and 87th minutes before Frank Lampard added a fourth in the fourth minute of stoppage time against the Championship (second division side). Sunderland, the third Premier League team in action, also made the last 32 with a relatively easy 2-0 win at Championship side Peterborough United with Seb Larsson opening the scoring direct from a free-kick and James McClean adding the other. There was one shock with sleeping giant Sheffield Wednesday, three times FA Cup winners in the past but now playing in League One (third tier), beating Championship promotion hopefuls West ham United 1-0 at Hillsborough with Chris O’Grady scoring the late winner. Sam Baldock missed a penalty for West Ham early in the second half. The third round will be completed when Arsenal face Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium today. All eyes were focused on the Etihad Stadium where City had been unbeaten since losing to Everton in Dec. 2010. By halftime that record was in jeopardy with United, the 11-times record FA Cup winners, 3-0 ahead and seemingly coasting into the fourth round. Rooney headed them in front after 10 minutes, two minutes before City captain Kompany was controversially sent off for a challenge on Nani when he appeared to make fair contact with the ball, although referee Chris Foy ruled he had slid into the tackle with his feet off the ground. Danny Welbeck scored with an acrobatic volley on the turn after 30 minutes to put United 2-0 ahead before Rooney made it

3-0 with another header, scoring on the rebound when Costel Pantilimon initially saved his penalty. But City, victors over United in last season’s semi-final, were in no mood to surrender meekly their grip on the trophy, and stormed back after the break with Aleksandar Kolarov scoring from a freekick after 48 minutes. Midfielder Paul Scholes, who came out of retirement yesterday to rejoin United until the end of the season, featured as a 59th minute substitute but his loose pass enabled City to break for Sergio Aguero to make it 3-2 after 65 minutes and set up a dramatic finale. Rooney told ITV: “We knew it was going to be a difficult game today. Obviously going 3-0 up, we maybe took our foot off the gas a little bit, City got two goals and we had to make sure we saw the game out which we managed to do so we are delighted.” Rooney dismissed any notion that he would be leaving the club following newspaper reports on Saturday morning which implied he had had a major falling out with manager Alex Ferguson. Asked if he had a point to prove, Rooney replied: “Not at all: what’s been in the press of late has been a load of nonsense, because it’s me, because it’s Manchester United, it’s blown up out of context. There are no problems with me at this club, I want to be at this club for a long time.” Rooney said the team were surprised when they realised Scholes was in the squad. “It was a bit of a shock to be honest, we didn’t know until we were in the dressing room. It’s great. It gave everyone a lift he’s a fantastic player and he showed his quality when he came on.” Ferguson was not overly pleased with his team’s performance. “I think we made them look better than they were,” he said, “We were very careless in the second half, but the problem was, being 3-0 up at halftime, the players thought they were through and took their foot off the pedal.” Beaten manager Roberto Mancini seemed the happier of the two saying he was delighted with the character his side showed in their second half fightback. “I am disappointed with the result but I am very happy with my players for their performance,” Mancini told reporters. “We defended very well in the second half, they did not have a chance and we scored two goals. It is not easy to play with 10 players against United.” — Reuters

Downing arrested LONDON: Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has been arrested on suspicion of assault, British media reported yesterday. The 27-year-old, who has 32 caps for England, was involved in an alleged confrontation with a woman in a pub in Yarm, in the north east of England early yesterday morning. “Police were called to an incident at a pub on Yarm High Street shortly before 1am yesterday,” Cleveland police said in a statement. “A 27-yearold man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and a 32-year-old woman has also been arrested on suspicion of assault. “Both are in custody and inquiries are ongoing.” Liverpool had no comment on the reports. The arrest comes at a bad time for the Premier League club who are still dealing with the fall-out from two high-profile incidents of alleged racist abuse. Forward Luis Suarez was banned for eight games by the FA for abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra while Merseyside police arrested a man on Saturday in connection with alleged abuse during Friday’s FA Cup victory over Oldham Athletic. — Reuters

Stewart Downing

Automakers stumble in India’s policy fog Page 23

KSE drops as investors fret over uncertainties Page 24


Global economy facing structural woes: Expert

China local government debt threatens economy Page 25

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STRASBOURG: French President Nicolas Sarkozy (center), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Italian Prime minister Mario Monti (right) giving a press conference during a European mini-summit in Strasbourg, eastern France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy, kicking off a week of high-level talks to lay the groundwork for a crunch EU summit on taming the euro-zone crisis. —AFP

Merkel, Sarkozy kick off year of wrangling Crunch meeting to tame euro-zone crisis in spotlight BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy today, kicking off a week of high-level talks to lay the groundwork for a crunch EU summit on taming the euro-zone crisis. The duo at the heart of European efforts to stem the debt-driven turmoil threatening the single currency will gather in Berlin for their first monthly tete-a-tete in what is certain to be a rocky year. For while Merkel and Sarkozy had made a show of unity in recent weeks, strategic differences began to emerge over plans to introduce a financial transaction tax in the European Union. Sarkozy, who is facing an uphill battle for re-election this year, said France would charge ahead and roll out the tax on its own if necessary to set an example for Europe. “We won’t wait for others to agree to put it in place, we’ll do it because we believe in it,” he said Friday after talks in Paris with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who urged France not to go it alone. Berlin also resisted Sarkozy’s call, saying

it was still trying to build the broadest possible consensus for the tax, seen as a revenue generator and a penalty on speculation, in the face of fervent opposition from Britain. “We would like to see a global financial transaction tax but that is not possible at the present time. The German government would thus aim to introduce the financial transaction tax within the EU,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. The European Commission has adopted plans for the so-called “Robin Hood tax” but support would need to be unanimous among the 27 member states for it to be introduced across the EU. Germany, which has said it could live with a tax applying only to the 17-member euro-zone, said the issue was one of several on the agenda of Monday’s meeting. “It is mainly about preparing the European summit at the end of January and its goal is to debate measures to boost competitiveness and growth,” Seibert said. Wednesday will bring Monti to Berlin for talks. Monti, a former eurocrat who has

been critical of a Franco-German axis spearheading European reforms, has scrambled to restore Italian credibility in the post-Berlusconi era and passed a draconian austerity plan. He has urged a “united, joint and convincing response” to the debt crisis from the EU, stressing that troubles on the bond markets for Italy as the euro-zone’s number three economy were linked to wider European difficulties. And he has called for boosting the size of the European rescue fund, a bid Merkel has rebuffed. Monti said Friday he would welcome Sarkozy and Merkel in Rome on January 20, three days before a euro-zone meeting and 10 days before EU leaders gather in Brussels. The summit will focus on hammering out a “fiscal compact” to tighten up budgetary discipline for all member states except Britain, which has opted out. As uncertainty continues to rattle markets, EU leaders have set an ambitious timetable and hope to adopt the new rule book at another gathering in March. The accord, which is to include automat-

India PM set sights on 9-10% growth JAIPUR: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said he hoped the nation’s economy would overcome a recent dip in confidence to post annual growth rates closer to 9 or 10 percent. Addressing a business conference in the northwestern city of Jaipur, the premier admitted that growth in the current financial year would be down sharply from earlier government forecasts of nine percent. “Despite an adverse international environment, the India economy is (still) expected to grow by about 7.0 percent this financial year ending 31st March,” he said. “However, we hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth processes to sustain an annual growth rate of 9 to 10 percent in the medium term.” India’s central bank has raised interest rates 13 times since March 2010 in a bid to stem high inflation but the hawkish policy has angered businesses which complain it has hit growth and investment. “Our efforts to battle inflation are producing results and there has been an improvement in the situation,” the prime minister said in his address to some 1,500 people attending the conference from two dozen countries. Indian food prices fell in late December, the first decline for nearly six years which raised hopes that the Reserve Bank of India may loosen its tight monetary policy stance. The Indian economy grew 8.5 percent in the 2011 fiscal year, and 7.4 percent in the previous year. — AFP

NEW DELHI: A general view of the Delhi Stock Exchange in the old part of New Delhi. The Indian government’s decision to allow foreign nationals to invest directly in stock markets is an attempt to revive its reform agenda but any benefits will only be seen over the long term, analysts say. — AFP

ic sanctions that can only be blocked by a majority of powerful states, aims to end past practices of overspending responsible for the two-year-old debt crisis ravaging Europe. As if to underline the urgency of decisive political action, the euro-zone hit a barrage of gloomy economic news in the first week of the year with joblessness hovering at a record high, retail sales down, and consumer and business confidence slumping as recession stalked the bloc. Meanwhile the euro tumbled to another 16-month dollar low Friday, falling under the $1.27 mark. A further item on the agenda of both Berlin meetings was likely to be Hungary, Seibert said, after the International Monetary Fund and EU officials broke off talks last month about a possible credit line due to worries about a contested law threatening the independence of the central bank. On Friday Fitch ratings agency joined Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s in downgrading Hungary’s debt to “junk” status. — AFP

Iran bans unofficial riyal trades after slip TEHR AN: I ran’s parliament cracked down on unofficial money traders yesterday after new US sanctions helped trigger a currency crash as Iranians rushed to buy dollars. The rial lost about 20 percent of its value against the dollar before the central bank intervened last week to try to stem further losses by injecting hard currency into the market. At a special parliamentar y debate on the currenc y crisis, lawmakers passed a measure imposing legal penalties on touts who sell foreign currencies outside official exchange offices and banks where rates can be subjected to government controls. The measure may scare away touts, a common sight in parts of Tehran where they wave wads of currency at passing motorists. But it will have no immediate impact on the price most Iranians have to pay for dollars which, even at licensed exchange offices, sell at a 40 percent premium over the central bank’s “reference rate”. Economists say the currency slide is due to fears about inflation, 20 percent and rising, eroding the rial’s buying power and to the effect of western sanctions making it harder for Iranians to get hold of foreign currencies. Sanc tions approved by US President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve added to demand for dollars, pushing the rial to an alltime low last week . The new measures would cut off any bank around the world from the US banking system if they do business with Iran’s central bank. The

West has imposed increasingly tight economic sanc tions on Tehran over its nuclear program. Tehran has denied that the currenc y problems are related to sanctions which the government says are ineffective and illegal. Just weeks ahead of a March 2 parliamentary elections, several lawmakers used the debate to k nock President M ahmoud Ahmadinejad. “The sharp fluctuation in the foreign exchange market prices stems from the central bank and the government’s weak management since, unfortunately, the government has relinquished the foreign exchange market,” said Gholam-Reza M esbahiM oghaddam, head of parliament’s special economic reform committee. He backed the government ’s asser tion that the major oil exporter still has plenty of foreign currenc y reser ves, despite new sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s ability to sell oil, and said the problems were a simple question of bad governance. “We have to put the management of the central bank in the hands of a competent man,” he said, a swipe at Governor Mahmoud Bahmani, who was criticized for failing to attend the session. Ahmadinejad is set for further criticism in parliament, a conser vative -dominated body which has been increasingly hostile to him since a rift appeared bet ween the president and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in April. —Reuters

Dubai leads Gulf decliners, Saudi at 5-month high MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Dubai’s index led losses among Gulf Arab peers yesterday as investors stayed on the sidelines awaiting earnings reports, while Saudi shares bulked the regional trend to end at a five-month high. Bourse operator Dubai Financial Market fell 2.9 percent, weighing on the broader index which declined 1 percent. Emirates NBD slipped 2.1 percent while Dubai Islamic Bank dropped 1 percent. “I believe that markets are continuing in their sideway range movement in the absence of news or companies results to change that status quo,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief investment officer at CAPM Investment. “UAE is continuing with its anemic trading values which indicates the continued lack of interest by investors in the equities markets.” In Saudi Arabia, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) helped lift the index to a five-month closing high, after a research note forecast that the telecoms operator’s quarterly earnings would rise am estimated 12 percent. “Telecoms should outperform due to limited export exposure and inward focus which will offer shelter from (global) volatility,” Riyad Capital also wrote in the note. Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), added 0.8 percent and Mobily climbed 1 percent. “Rising disposable incomes through employment support programs for new graduates will be partially diverted to voice and data spend,” Riyad Capital said. The all-share index climbed 0.4 percent to its highest close since Aug. 1, after its third gain in four sessions. Abu Dhabi’s index also began the week trading lower, ending 0.5 percent down. Heavyweight Emirates Telecommunications Co (Etisalat) dropped 0.8 percent while among banking stocks, First Gulf Bank slipped 1.6 percent. Full-year 2011 earnings are likely to continue to dominate trading activity in the region in the coming week. “Qatar is also sitting in anticipation of 2011 results before the markets give us a clear indication of the direction it will be taking next,” Yasin added. Qatar’s index ended 0.6 percent lower, weighed by Qatar National Bank which fell 1.6 percent. The Gulf state’s largest lender is due to report 2011 earnings today. NBK Capital recommends buying stocks which have dipped recently, adding the trend on the index remains up. “We expect a climb close to 9,140-9,300 points,” NBK Capital said in a note. Banking stocks helped lift Oman’s index however, which also bucked the regional trend and ended higher yesterday. Oman’s bank index hit a six-month high after mid-cap lender Bank Sohar reported a 42 percent jump in full year net profit, boosting sentiment for the sector. Bank Muscat gained 0.3 percent. “The major drivers of market movement would be earnings announcements, specially from prominent sectors such as banking, telecoms, and services,” said Joice Mathew at United Securities. “The banks are expected to post growth in earnings compared to 2011. The chances of industrial sector giving positive surprises are limited, given the increase in cost structure during 2011. Selected companies in services sector are expected to perform better than 2011,” he added. Bahrain’s benchmark ended flat, while Kuwait’s index inched down. — Reuters





Global economy facing structural woes: Expert

in brief

ABC appoints new CEO for London unit DUBAI: Bahrain’s Arab Banking Corporation said yesterday it has appointed William Playle as chief executive officer of its London unit, ABC International Bank. Playle, who has been with the bank since May 2002 and was formerly deputy CEO, replaces Nofal Barbar effective Jan 4, the bank said in a statement on the Bahrain bourse website. The bank also appointed Paul Jennings and Alexander Ashton as joint deputy CEOs of ABCIB. Last month, ABC appointed Saddek Omar Elkaber, the governor of the Central Bank of Libya, as its chairman. UAE’s Al Mal Capital shuts Saudi office RIYADH: United Arab Emirates investment bank Al Mal Capital has shut down its Saudi office following a winding down of its brokerage unit and a broad staff layoff at its head office, two people familiar with the matter said yesterday. A statement posted by the firm on the Saudi stock exchange, the Tadawul, yesterday confirmed Al Mal Capital Saudi had asked the Capital Markets Authority to cancel its license in the kingdom and that the regulator had approved the request. Al Mal had reduced its workforce by around 85 percent between 2009 and November 2011 as low trading volumes on regional stock exchanges impacted its brokerage business, sources told Reuters in November. Saudi British Bank gets capital raise nod RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has approved a 33 percent capital increase for Saudi British Bank (SABB), the regulator said in a stock exchange announcement yesterday. The CMA said the bank would issue a bonus share for every three existing shares owned by registered shareholders, which would increase its capital to 10 billion riyals ($2.67 billion) from 7.5 billion riyals. It added that the increase would be paid for by transferring 2.5 billion riyals from retained earnings to the bank’s capital, raising the number of total shares to 1 billion. US dollar exchange rate posts KD 0.279 KUWAIT: The exchange rate of the US dollar against the Kuwaiti dinar rose to KD 0.279, but the Euro dropped to KD 0.355 against the Kuwaiti dinar compared to last Thursday prices, said the daily bulletin of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) yesterday. The Sterling pound dropped to KD 0.430, the Japanese yen remained at KD 0. 003, whereas the Swiss franc exchange dropped to KD 0.292. Oman to boost spending by 26% in 2011-2015 plan MUSCAT: Oman plans to boost budget spending by 26 percent to 54 billion rials ($140 billion) in its fiveyear plan, which ends in 2015, to create jobs and improve living standards, the Gulf Arab state’s finance minister said yesterday. “It is the government’s response to the social requirements such as providing jobs, social security and unemployment benefits,” Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi told Reuters. Barwa Bank completes $467m rights issue DUBAI: Qatar’s Barwa Bank, a unit of Barwa Real Estate, has completed a 1.7 billion riyals ($466.8 million) rights issue aimed at funding the bank’s expansion, it said in a statement yesterday. The Islamic bank said the offering, which opened on December 6 and saw 109.1 million new shares offered to existing shareholders, attracted bids of 1.9 billion riyals. Barwa Bank’s issued capital will increase to 3 billion riyals from 1.9 billion riyals following the rights issue, with authorised capital upped to 6 billion riyals from 2.5 billion riyals, it added.

NBK seminar on global economic outlook 2012 KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait hosted a presentation to examine the Global Market Outlook for 2012 at the Sheraton hotel in Kuwait City yesterday. George Richani, NBK Group Chief Investment Officer and Global Treasurer presented the outlook to a room of corporate clients, distinguished guests and NBK executives. Richani began with an overview of the last few years, outlining the main challenges facing the global economic environment and the key troubled areas in the euro-zone and the US. He explained the historical timeline of the financial crisis which first hit the globe in late 2007 and pointed out that the problems are structural and fundamentally secular rather than cyclical in nature. “Europe cannot emerge from its economic crisis without a political about face. Current ‘one-size-fits-all policies on currency and interests rates will only deepen the chasm between core and peripheral Europe,” Richani said. “Austerity measures have their own limitations and excessive belt tightening could be counterproductive to growth,” he warned. Richani noted that the cost of any eurozone country to withdraw from the euro at this point is still quite high and will help maintain unity. But that political infighting and failure to solve the economic crises could see a smaller core set of countries maintaining the euro-zone with others withdrawing or a situation where nothing substantive is done and as a consequence, a possible Europe-wide recession. The CIO identified possible defaulting countries. With debt currently at 120% of GDP and austerity measures too burdensome, Rome may view default as a viable option. He also argued that the euro-zone cannot succeed without a concomitant fis-

cal union. “The cost to the Greek government to borrow for five years is now more than 45% while Germany borrows at 0.80%. The disparity is too great and without fiscal unity, the euro-zone will not survive long term,” Richani predicted. In the United States, Richani identified long term imbalances that will continue to limit recovery and growth. He warned that the government’s huge debt burden, unfunded healthcare and pension systems, high government spending, capital inflows

entering retirement age - along with possible contagion from the European crisis equal a recipe for ruin. Despite this, the US remains a safe haven destination for capital thanks to the US dollar’s role as a reserve currency, the width and depth of the market, the country’s dedication to the rule of law and the transparency of the political process. In other words, the dollar remains a risk averse option for investors. The dollar’s fate will depend, in large part, on the situa-

George Richani, NBK Group Chief Investment Officer and Global Treasurer and shrinking manufacturing sector as well as the continued political brinkmanship playing out in Washington and the demographic timebomb of baby boomers now

tion in Europe but Richani sees the Europeans muddling through another difficult year without any substantive improvements.

Aramco, Sinopec set to sign Saudi refinery deal

Lebanon plans to invite offshore gas tenders BEIRUT: Lebanon aims to invite tenders to explore for offshore gas within three months, the energy minister said yesterday, downplaying the risk of conflict with Israel despite a dispute over the maritime border. “Our target is to begin within three months,” Energy Minister Gebran Bassil told AFP. “We now have everything required for an oil company to have enough information to begin its activities, and we are on the right track to start offshore drilling.” Bassil said Lebanon hoped to have exploration contracts with international oil companies signed and sealed by the end of the year. He said European, US, Chinese and Russian firms had already shown serious interest in drilling off Lebanon’s coast. “Every big oil company has begun initial talks to explore offshore drilling and bought data to that end,” he said. Bassil played down the risk of conflict with

Regarding monetary policy, Richani predicts that rates will remain low for the long term as inflation is not a concern but deflation and recession are. “Orthodox monetary policies have not really worked well and major central banks are now adopting unorthodox measures and policies including quantitative easing, or in non-polite terms, printing money out of thin air to allow central banks to buy up Treasury debt and thus finance government,” Richani said. “Unfortunately, these measures are not really helping now, because the problem is structural due to deleveraging and the liquidity traps where banks are not relending and thus could lead to inflation long term.” Richani argued that the global economy has not bottomed out yet - despite the positive economic indicators in the States and he expects a period of stagnation and low to medium inflation and lower growth with the US experiencing an anemic recovery and the UK entering a technical recession and sluggish performance of emerging markets around the world. Richani closed by warning investors that 2012 would be a year to ‘survive’ not thrive and to focus on getting the return of their capital as opposed to a return on it. He suggested companies focus on the following: Cost and price management; centralizing pricing decisions; innovating by creating new customer needs; exploring new export markets; making investments or acquiring competitors; assessing suppliers and customers price sensitivity; assessing impact on balance sheet of cash needed for working capital and fixed investments and organizing business structure to improve transparency, decision making, communications, efficiency and risk management.

Israel over the potential reserves, despite a longstanding dispute over the maritime boundary between the two neighbours, which remain technically in a state of war. “We are working on making potential drilling a factor of stability, not a factor of conflict or instability,” Bassil said. “I believe that Israel has no interest in threatening our oil resources,” he added. “It has resources itself-it’s a balance of power, and Lebanon now has enough power to protect its own resources.” Lebanon’s Hezbollah-dominated cabinet endorsed plans to implement legislation on Wednesday that will clear the way for offshore oil and gas exploration. In August, parliament passed a law setting Lebanon’s maritime boundary and Exclusive Economic Zone. Lebanon has also submitted to the United Nations a maritime map that conflicts significantly with one proposed by Israel. — AFP

KHOBAR: State oil giant Saudi Aramco will sign a final deal next week to build a new 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery in Yanbu with China’s Sinopec Group, the company said yesterday. Aramco said the formal signing would take place on Jan. 14 in Dhahran, the site of the state company’s headquarters. Industry sources had expected the two oil majors to finalise their 2011 initial agreement in November last year. Under the initial agreement, Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the joint venture formed to develop the project-now rebranded as Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Co (YASREF)— while Sinopec will own the rest. For Sinopec, the venture would be the first refining project the Chinese state-run oil major, parent of top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp, builds outside China, putting it in a race against rival PetroChina which has snatched a string of refinery deals beyond Chinese borders. Construction of the refinery, located on

the Red Sea, is now underway and was to have been carried out by US oil firm ConocoPhillips and Aramco. But Conoco pulled out of the plans in April 2010 as it shifted away from the refining business to focus on oil and gas exploration. Aramco has said it will push on with the project even after the withdrawal of Conoco as it is part of its drive to boost domestic refining capacity to 3.5 million bpd in 2016. In July 2010, Aramco awarded deals to build the plant seen complete in 2014. The refinery is slated to process heavy crude from Saudi Arabia’s Manifa oilfield, which is currently under development to reach an output of 900,000 bpd by 2014. Aramco has already partnered with Sinopec at the joint venture Fujian plant in southeast China. It is considering to build three new joint venture refineries in Asia, Aramco’s largest and fastest growing oil market as part of plans to boost its global refining capacity by 50 percent to over 6 million bpd. — Reuters

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

.2730000 .4270000 .3520000 .2890000 .2690000 .2830000 .0040000 .0020000 .0756480 .7370130 .3820000 .0710000 .7225090 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2786500 GB Pound/KD .4299570 Euro .3544570 Swiss francs .2917950 Canadian dollars .2711000 Danish Kroner .0476640 Swedish Kroner .0401450 Australian dlr .2850450 Hong Kong dlr .0358840 Singapore dlr .2155070 Japanese yen .0036200 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0758950 Bahraini dinars .7394190 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0743260 Omani riyals .7240480 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2820000 .4380000 .3630000 .3020000 .2780000 .2920000 .0070000 .0035000 .0764080 .7444200 .4030000 .0780000 .7297700 .0072000 .0530000 .2807500 .4331970 .3571280 .2939940 .2731430 .0480230 .0404470 .2871930 .0361550 .2171310 .0036470 .0053610 .0024730 .0031090 .0034580 .0764670 .7449910 .3971000 .0748870 .7295050 .0064050

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram



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

290.100 744.380 3.880 276.000 549.700 44.700 49.200 167.800 48.240 360.500 36.730 5.630 0.032 0.207 0.247 3.730 396.940 0.189 91.680 46.300 4.300 222.500 1.813 47.700 727.050


288.600 744.360 3.382 274.500

218.100 46.424 359.100 36.580 5.305 0.031

10 Tola

76.220 279.900

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Selling Rate

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

278.500 275.585 436.990 366.765 298.040 737.505 75.800 76.445 74.225 392.025 46.238 2.441 5.241 3.106 3.401 6.331 683.150 3.675 8.935 5.865 3.370 92.510

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

290.68 276.50 297.65 359.28

436.50 3.70 3.750 5.600 2.660 4.250 3.260 76.85 744.40 48.40 397.00 728.00 77.50 75.00

279.850 3.085 5.315 2.455 3.395 6.385 76.285 74.770 743.800 46.353 435.800 3.190 1.550 397.500 361.700 277.700 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

434.94 3.69 3.379 5.302 2.456 3.324 3.105 76.18 744.39 46.41 398.13 727.31 77.17 74.72

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 434.200 279.900

Sterling Pound US Dollar



295.400 4.900 9.050

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


396.620 0.188 91.680 3.330 221.000

3.100 6.355 77.000 74.730 218.050 36.860 2.454 434.200

GOLD 1,678.910

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.250 6.710 77.430 74.730 218.050 36.860 2.655 436.200 41.500 296.900 4.900 9.270 196.263 76.320 280.300 1.290

292.00 280.00 305.00 361.00

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

278.550 362.300 436.100 277.000 3.625 5.285 46.196 2.445 3.310 6.315 3.081 741.750 75.850 74.400


business Commodity Update


boom - for now By Ole S Hansen, Senior Commodity Strategist


he annual return of investors and traders after weeks of hibernation has caused the usual chasing after potential profitable trades. Fresh money has been put to work and the energy sector and precious metals have so far been the main recipients as improved economic data, especially from the US, and not least the threat of conflict in the Persian Gulf has lifted oil prices and triggered renewed safe haven buying of gold and silver. Also included in this week’s report are our views on the outlook for the first quarter. Next week attention will focus on the annual rebalancing of the world’s two most followed commodity benchmarks, the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index (DJ-UBS CI) and the S&P GSCI Commodity Index (S&P GSCI). It is estimated that between $250 billion and $300 billion is invested directly or benchmarked against these two indices and it will be an important focus over the next couple of weeks as investor flows across underlying commodity futures can be quite significant. A quick look at the performance table for the first week of 2012 reveals the DJ-UBS index returning a healthy 2 percent primarily helped by gains in energy and precious metals. Soft commodities have generally been struggling and wheat prices on both sides of the Atlantic succumbed to profit taking following a strong end of year rally.

2012 index rebalancing Each January, both the DJ-UBS CI and the S&P GSCI indices alter their current exposure of their baskets to bring them back to their original fundamental target weights and to allow for any new adjustments. The rebalancing is mostly but not exclusively a matter of selling the previous year’s outperformers and buying the underperformers to bring the portfolio composure back in line. This year we have an added twist, with Brent crude being added to the DJ-UBS index for the first time and WTI crude seeing its weight being reduced by a similar amount. The settlement price on 6 January will determine the final amount of contracts to be bought and sold with the actual exercise taking place from Monday 9 January to Friday 13 January. Some 20 percent of the rebalancing size will be adjusted each day using the futures contracts’ closing prices on that day. Broadly speaking, agriculture, livestock and industrials will be bought while precious metals and energy will be sold with the exception of natural gas and the above mentioned Brent crude contract. It may potentially have an upside price impact on sugar, nickel, cotton, wheat and zinc as the estimated rebalancing size required represents a significant portion of the available liquidity of each commodity. Signs that traders had tried to preempt this buying was seen Thursday when sugar dropped 5.2 percent, the most since September, as fundamental news caused the price to drop and then be exacerbated by speculators who were forced to close long positions. With the S&P GSCI also reducing its exposure to WTI crude to the benefit of Brent crude and gas oil the total amount of WTI crude that needs to be sold is estimated at above $15 billion against more than $5 billion being bought in Brent crude. Although significant these amounts are still relatively small compared to the daily average volumes but have nevertheless helped trigger a significant outperformance of Brent crude this week. The spread has widened by 3 dollars over the last week to above 11 dollars indicating that traders and fund managers, who tracks the DJ-UBS, have been active already ahead of the big trades next week. The first quarter will most likely produce a great amount of uncertainty as the market will be looking for clarity on many of the unanswered questions left from 2011, especially the all-important unknown of whether we will face another global recession in 2012. With our expectations for further dollar appreciation during the early stages of 2012, the upside for the major commodity indices seems to be limited during the first quarter with investors likely to be very selective. Precious metals like gold and to certain extent silver will continue to benefit from continued risk aversion. Supporting factors also include the negative yield environment, currently seen among more than half of the G20 nations, combined with strong physical demand from central banks and emerging market investors. We see prices stabilising after a late 2011 correction with fresh investment flows driving the price towards 1,800 during Q1 and even higher later in the year. Technical update: The rally from the lows has put gold in a much better near-term situation with a close above the 200-day moving average at 1,634 signalling further upside potential. Only a weekly close below 1,545 would shatter this projection and lead to a deeper correction. Base metals will, despite a deteriorating outlook for new supply, continue to struggle through the early parts of 2012 on growing concern of a recession in developed markets, combined with emerging markets slowing down. The long-term prospect however remains positive as lower prices should meet restocking demand, especially from countries like China. The agricultural sector suffered a major setback during 2011 on a combination of normalised weather and farmers across the globe reacting to the high prices during 2010/11 by planting record amounts of new crop. The accumulative speculative long position held by hedge funds across the sector has fallen to the lowest level in two and half years and on that basis (combined with the potential challenges of weather related supply issues as currently unfolding in South America) we see good potential for higher prices, especially among commodities with constrained supply, such as corn and soybeans. The energy sector, excluding US natural gas which is stuck in a bear market amid ample US supply from shale gas, looks set to remain range-bound during the early parts of 2012. The two greatest risks to oil prices are an escalation of tensions around the Persian Gulf (Iran and Iraq) to the upside and a worsening of the crisis in the euro-zone on the downside.

NEW DELHI: Mercedes-Benz staff clean its Concept A-Class at the Auto Expo in New Delhi yesterday.—AP

NEW DELHI: Photograph shows a model posing with the Renault DeZir electric concept car during the 2012 India Auto Expo in New Delhi. — AFP

Automakers stumble in India’s policy fog Industry faces a staggering slowdown NEW DELHI: Global automakers which have rushed to set up factories in India to feed local demand admit they have been tripped up in the last 12 months by the country’s unpredictable policy-making. After a stellar 2010-2011, when car sales grew 31 percent year-on-year, the industry has faced a staggering slowdown and radically different buying patterns-bad news for giant complex companies that plan years in advance. “ To say we’ve been wrong-footed would be an understatement,” the head of General Motor’s India operations Karl Slym told AFP on the sidelines of the country’s Auto Expo car show last week. Shinzo Nakanishi, chief executive of Maruti Suzuki, the Japanese-owned market leader in India, admitted that “many changes have surprised us during the last year”. The first factor was the Indian central bank’s decision to persist doggedly with an aggressive cycle of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. It raised the cost of borrowing on seven occasions in 2011. Many customers who rely on credit to buy vehicles have either decided to defer their purchases or simply put them off altogether, meaning the mood of the Auto Expo was more sober than during its last

edition two years ago. In October, new car sales fell 24 percent year-on-year, the biggest dive in more than a decade, while sales over the full financial year to March are forecast to be flat compared with 20102011. The second major swing has been the switch in demand from petrol-engined cars to diesel, caused by an unexpected change in policy that emerged from India’s finance ministry. In June 2010, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced suddenly that the government had deregulated gasoline prices, leaving state-run energy companies free to increase their prices. Subsidies and regulation for diesel, used by the country’s hundreds of millions of farmers as well as the truckers who transport most of India’s freight, remained in place. “Thirteen times prices were raised. Each time the gap between petrol and diesel got wider,” Nakanishi lamented to AFP. Today, diesel costs around $0.40 per litre less than petrol-a huge gap in a lowincome and highly price-sensitive country. Not surprisingly, four out of five buyers now purchase diesel-powered cars, but the industry with its complex supply chains and manufacturing plants was not ready to

Arqaam Capital buys Egyptian brokerage DUBAI: Arqaam Capital, a Dubai-based regional investment bank, has acquired Egyptian brokerage firm El Rashad Securities, tapping into low valuations and growth prospects in the politically unstable North African country. No financial details of the transaction were provided but Arqaam bought the entire 100-percent stake in El Rashad from Al Rashad Holding Co, it said in a statement yesterday. The deal will help Arqaam’s institutional and high net worth (HNW) clients gain access to the Egyptian market, Arqaam said. “We have a positive view on Egypt in the medium- and long-term,” said

Tarek Lotfy, managing director of capital markets at Arqaam. “We believe that Egypt will recover from its current political instability and therefore now is the right time to invest in the country.” Egypt saw violent political protests in 2011 which led to several suspensions of its stock market and a sharp slump in equity valuations. Few other financial firms have been eyeing the region to take advantage of low valuations. In September, sources told Reuters that Shuaa Capital had looked at least two Egyptian brokerage companies as potential acquisition candidates. —Reuters

German carmakers buoyed by boost in US sales WASHINGTON: German automakers are revving up for an aggressive push to expand their customer base in the highly competitive US market and will unleash a slew of hot new products at the Detroit auto show this week. While BMW and Mercedes-Benz dominated the luxury sector last year-overtaking struggling Lexus for the top two sales spotsVolkswagen (VW) witnessed a double-digit growth in the mid-size segment. “German products look very strong here right now”, said David Cole, chairman emeritus at the Center for Automotive Research, applauding German firms for their swift response to US market trends such as the growing demand for fuel-efficient cars. The traditional stronghold of the German auto industry are high-end brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. Battling for the US luxury car crown in 2011, BMW finally claimed first place with a narrow lead of some 2,600 vehicles over Mercedes. The two Teutonic giants overtook Toyota’s Lexus, champion of the past 11 years, which suffered from the supply chain disruption caused by Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. BMW reported its sales rose 12.6 percent in 2011 to 247,907, while Mercedes announced a 13.3 percent gain to a record 245,231 vehicles sold. For VW’s luxury unit Audi, 2011 marked the best year ever on the US market, with 12 straight months of record-setting sales and 117,561 vehicles leaving the showrooms. The fallout from the tsunami had an impact, but it was not the main reason for the strong performance of German automakers, said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Instead, she cited the launch of new models and an aggressive use of incentives to woe customers. “This is a trend that has been going on for a number of years,” she said. “The US has become a very important market for German automakers and especially for luxury automakers.” Then there is VW, which caters to the mid segment and tries to live up to past success in the United States. Lead by the iconic Beetle, the automaker expanded rapidly in

the 1960s, reaching five percent market share before it was overtaken by Japanese competitors in the 1970s. By 1993, VW’s share had sunk to a low of 0.44 percent. “VW has a burning desire to become the number one carmaker in the world”, Krebs said. “And in order to do so, you need a strong presence in the US.” The Wolfsburg-based company has set ambitious sales goals of 800,000 VWs and 200,000 Audis annually by 2018. Last year, VW sales totalled 324,402, up 26.3 percent over 2010. A major component of VW’s push is a $4 billion investment in US products, which includes the construction of a $1 billion dollar plant in Tennessee that opened in May with the capacity to build up to 150,000 vehicles a year. By producing on US soil, VW hopes to keep in touch with local market trends and avoid exchange rate fluctuations. Mercedes and BMW also have manufacturing facilities in Alabama and South Carolina respectively, shielding the companies’ business in the US from the strong euro. “To be competitive here, you have to be price competitive”, Krebs said. VW also revamped its marketing and focused on improving its customer service and overcoming quality problems, which tainted the automaker’s image for years. In that regard, Volkswagen may have benefitted from Toyota’s massive recalls over problem gas pedals which began in 2009 and continued through 2011. “There was a lingering perception of superior Japanese quality, and that basically disappeared with the Toyota problems”, Cole said. Despite the strong growth figures, German carmakers still play a marginal role in terms of overall market share. VW, including its daughter Audi, is currently in ninth place with 3.4 percent of the 13 million vehicle market while Mercedes tied with Mazda for 11th place with a 2.0 percent share last year, according to Autodata. Porsche barely registers with just 0.2 percent. By comparison, top ranking GM had a 19.6 percent share in 2011, followed by Ford at 16.8 percent, Toyota at 12.9 percent and Chrysler at 10.6 percent. — AFP

cope with such an abrupt change in consumer preferences. The head of Ford’s operations in India, Michael Boneham, said the US giant was unable to produce the number of diesel units requested by buyers from its factory in Chennai. “I don’t know where government policy is going to go on this issue,” he admitted to reporters last week, adding that the company had been “constrained”. “We could have been selling significantly more diesels,” he said. Most modern engine manufacturing plants are designed to be able to produce both petrol and diesel engines, but switching from one to the other requires significant investment in new machinery and tooling. The other difficulty is that the vast and vital supplier base producing components for each factory needs time to adapt and catch up with any sudden change in demand. Slym from General Motors complained that the industry has only partial visibility on major policy decisions that affect it. “The budget is around the corner (at the end of February) and you can be sure that something will change,” he said. “And you don’t know about it and you can’t plan for it.”

He said there had been a sudden change in duties for companies importing car kits and assembling them into vehicles in India. The new policy increased import taxes by 65 percent. “There are plenty of forums where we try to work together with the government, but at the same time there are these crazy things that happen that catch us all out,” he said. Predicting the direction of policy in India is particularly difficult at the moment, with the government buffeted by a series of corruption scandals and assailed by critics. Business leaders complain that government departments are sitting on proposals for fear of taking decisions that could be seen as corrupt, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has failed to push through his reform agenda. After a year of few major announcements, in December Singh’s administration rolled out a flagship reform of the retail market, allowing foreign supermarkets to open stores for the first time. The delight of Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carrefour, the main companies set to benefit, was to be short-lived. Two weeks later, after an outcry from shopkeepers and the opposition, the proposal was mothballed. —AFP

Slick design conceals shared car bodies DETROIT: The slick design of cars and trucks on display at the Detroit auto show this week camouflages some remarkable similarities under the hoods and seats of vehicles. Faced with rising costs for raw materials and the need to get new models into showrooms faster, automakers are increasing a drive to build vehicles that share the same basic components and underlying architecture. “These programs can cost as much as one billion dollars,” Bruce Belzowski, associate director of automotive analysis at the University of Michigan Transportation Institute. “By doing more vehicles from the same platform you can save money.” Sharing platforms has been one of the key elements of chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne’s effort to combine Chrysler and Fiat. Marchionne has long foretold the consolidation of the global auto industry, believing that an economy of scale reached by producing at least five million vehicles a year will be necessary for survival. Sharing platforms also allows manufac-

turers to drastically reduce the time it takes to design products and bring them to market, said Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles, one of the Marchionne’s chief lieutenants. Gilles oversaw the design of Chrysler’s new Dodge Dart, which is set to debut today at the Detroit show and shares a platform with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. “We saved two years and a boatload of money,” he said during a recent interview with AFP. “The Giulietta is a great platform and very flexible.” While the Dart shares major parts with the Giulietta, it will nonetheless be a completely different vehicle, he added. Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally has cited an increased use of shared platforms as a critical part of the company’s turnaround. One significant cost reduction has come from reaching deals with suppliers to substantially drop the prices of shared parts because Ford was buying them in much larger volumes. “We’ve been able to reduce our debt and restore our dividend,” Mulally said in a recent media briefing. —AFP



KSE drops as investors fret over uncertainties GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed broadly lower yesterday, as investors fretted about a variety of uncertainties even as they got some fresh good news during the session. The market has ended all the sessions in 2012 so far on a negative note. Hits Telecom Holding Company was in the limelight yesterday. The scrip was the top gainer, volume and value traded. Global General Index (GGI) ended the day down by 0.04 percent, at 176.45 point. Market Capitalization was down for the day, reaching KD28.87bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 5,723.4 point, shedding 3.50 points (0.06 percent) from its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 88 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 38 equities retreated versus 25 that advanced. Investors remained concerned about earnings in the 4Q2011, volume is light and, until they get some sizzling news on the economy, those concerns will remain. Volume and value of shares traded on the exchange ended the day on a negative note. Total volume traded was down by 15.98 percent with 158.55mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD15.94mn (40.57 percent higher compared to Thursday’s session). Services sector was the volume leader. The sector accounted for 38.28 percent of total shares exchanges. Trading was intense on the counter of Hits Telecom Holding Company with investors exchanging 38.40mn shares, with a total value of KD2.36mn. The same sec-

tor was the value leader, having 41.99 percent of total traded value. In terms of top gainers, Hits Telecom Holding Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 8.47 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.064. On the other

in heavyweight Zain which declined by 1.16 percent. The scrip ended the day at KD0.850. On the other hand, Mashaer Holding Company denied media reports regarding finalizing its annual financial statements ending December 31, 2011 and the

hand, share price of Warba Insurance Company retreated by 7.27 percent and closed at KD0.102, making it the biggest decliner in the market.

expected KD0.03 earning per share .The company also denied exiting its investment in Saudi Arabia. The stock witnessed a daily increase of 3.45 percent to close at KD0.180, while Yiaco Medical Company’s stock ended the day up by 7.25 percent at KD0.370. On the other hand, Global Food Index registered a daily increase of 1.11 percent on the back of the increase witnessed in heavy weights, Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana) closed up by 1.37 percent at KD1.480. Global Banking Index registered an increase of 0.26 percent yesterday to close at 320.19 points. National Bank of Kuwait was the only gainer in the sector. The scrip registered a 1.79 percent gain.

Sectors Global Sectoral Indices witnessed mixed performance today as four sectors registered gains against 4 losers. The investment sector headed decliners, shedding 0.66 percent. Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) dropped 1.67 percent to close at KD0.295. In the meantime, Osoul Investment Company was the biggest loser in the sector, shedding 5.88 percent at KD0.064. Global Services Index also lost 0.52 percent yesterday mainly on the back of the decline registered

Corporate news Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced that its fully owned subsidiary in Saudi Arabia has sold one of its real estate investments for a total value of SAR1.46bn, realizing a profit of SAR360mn which will be reflected in the company’s financial statements for 1Q2012. Gulf Finance House (GFH) made a clarification on the local press news published on January 03, 2012 about the company’s talks to reduce debts. GFH reported that repayment of all debts was rescheduled over five years starting from June 2011 to June 2016. It added that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) had been signed with creditors. Kuwait Company for Process Plant Construction & Contracting (KCPC) clarified the news published in a local gazette on January 02, 2012 regarding winning Sabah Al-Salem University City tender. The company indicated that it has not received any relevant official letter from the Central Tenders Committee (CTC). It added that it will duly inform the market management of any related updates. Abyaar Real Estate Development Company is about to ink an agreement with the main contractor to complete the 20storey Hiliana Tower in Dubai. The source expected the project to be finalized by 2Q2013 and to deliver strong operating revenue, adding that the company has sufficient finance, Al Watan newspaper said. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $111.73pb on Wednesday, compared with $109.40pb the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Greek fiscal tragedy reflects on politics ATHENS: Greece’s fiscal tragedy is reflected in the disastrous finances of its political parties, which have mortgaged their income for years to come in order to secure around 245 million euros in bank loans. The main two parties Pasok and New Democracy, who have alternated in running the country over the past 37 years, owe the bulk of that total, and continue to draw state funding as the country grapples with a monstrous debt crisis. Conservative New Democracy owes around 128 million euros ($166 million), while socialist Pasok is some 115 million in the red, according to figures that recently emerged following complaints by a rival liberal party. Most of the money is owed to struggling Agricultural Bank, known today as ATEBank, whose management is traditionally appointed by the ruling party. But private-held banks Marfin and Piraeus have also chipped in. “Parties have borrowed excessively and now find themselves in the same problematic condition as the Greek state,” Interior Minister Tassos Yiannitsis told parliament in December, noting that party loans from banks total around 245 million euros ($315 million). “It is an issue known for many years,” Yiannitsis said. “We are a society that blossomed, developed and built its prosperity through loans.” Greece is slogging through its fourth year of recession that has seen its economy slump by a cumulative 15 percent, bringing unemployment to almost 18 percent of the workforce-more than 800,000 people. The Communist and left-wing Syriza parties also have debts of between five and seven million euros, according to reports. Under law, the state must fund all parties who muster 1.5 percent of the vote nationwide, in accordance with strict limits on private donations introduced a decade ago to promote political transparency. The interior ministry says 48.8 mil-

lion euros ($62 million) were allocated to parties in 2010 and another 54 million euros ($69 million) were set aside last year. In November, a prosecutor ordered a probe after reports said New Democracy and Pasok had promised future state funding as collateral for the bank loans. “(Fund) claims up to 2018 have been used as collateral ... because no real estate is available,” New Democracy’s general director Thanassis Skordas said in an emailed statement. The conservative party needs around one million euros a month ($1.3 million), mostly for staff salaries, rents and travel expenses, and the state has delayed its scheduled payments, he added. The liberal Democratic Alliance party, led by the daughter of a former New Democracy prime minister, raised a ruckus in October after Pasok and New Democracy secured another loan from Attica Bank. “ The party funding system is warped,” said Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis, who left New Democracy in 2010 after a failed leadership bid. “Bank loans to parties are the most extreme form of corruption, with bank managers loaning parties who have given them their posts, against the interests of shareholders and taxpayers,” Bakoyannis told parliament. Attica Bank has defended its decision, noting it is “obliged” to give loans “to those who ... furnish the guarantees prescribed by law.” Adding further insult to crisis-hit Greeks who have suffered sweeping pay cuts, the parties even secured a funding raise last year because of budget provisions, says Athens University professor Nikos Alivizatos, one of the country’s foremost constitutional experts. He said the amount of party funding depends on the year’s state revenue estimates. “State revenue was expected to rise by 10 percent in 2011,” Alivizatos said. “Despite the fact that it did not, the parties got the equivalent raise.” — AFP




Investors demanding bolder policy moves NBK WEEKLY MONEY MARKETS REPORT KUWAIT: European sovereign debt crisis continues to dominate the headlines and currencies continue to slide during the first trading week despite the French auction results and the better German manufacturing data, which were received positively. Indeed, concerns over the euro-zone banking system in multiple countries have weighed on sentiment, and the news flow over the past few days has put the euro-zone’s governance, financial and fiscal problems back to the fore of investors’ attention. Nevertheless, January may prove harder for investors especially with ratings risk still looming in the background for all euro-zone countries and large bond issuance scheduled for early February. Data wise, retail sales in Germany disappointed sharply to the downside, along with downward revisions of past figures. On the other hand, the US data continue to impress and remains relatively stronger than its European counterparts with ADP employment much higher than expected and jobless claims settling below the 400k figure. The most recent commentary from the Fed minutes suggests that the housing market remains a source of concern and there are fresh calls for government action via the agencies for a comprehensive solution. In summary, after starting the year on a good note, markets suffered after reports, later denied, that Spain was seeking IMF and EU help for its banking system. Even though the Spanish national balance sheet appears to be robust, contingent liabilities from the banking sector and regions may weigh on sentiment, and could exercise more pressure on the euro. The euro started the week on a strong note reaching 1.3077, however the sale accelerated and the currency closed the week near the low of 1.2698. On the other hand, commodity currencies outperformed the euro although lost ground against the US dollar. Despite a rough end of 2011, gold gained over $60 dollars in the first week of trading on the upcoming Chinese holidays and oil reached a new eight month high of 103.74 to settle the week at $101.56.

US job data Companies in the US added 325k workers in December, the highest on records since 2001 according to ADP employer Services, while estimates were for an average increase of 178k. According to some analysts, the December ADP number may have reflected the so-called purge effect.

Workers, regardless of when they are dismissed or quit, sometimes remain on company records until December, when businesses update, or purge, their figures with ADP. On another front, the Department of Labor said jobless claims came at 372k in the week ended December 31. That was a decline of 15k from the previous week and an encouraging sign for many analysts, who claim the figure must get below 400k and stay there to indicate any real progress is being made in the US job market. ISM Manufacturing US manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in 6 months. The ISM manufacturing index climbed to 53.9 from 52.7 in November, and has grown for 28 straight months. A reading above 42.5 generally indicates an expansion in the overall economy according to analysts. The New Orders Index increased 0.9% from November to 57.6%, reflecting the third consecutive month of growth after 3 months of contraction. Manufacturing is finishing out the year on a positive note, with new

orders, production and employment all growing in December at faster rates than in November, and with an optimistic view toward the beginning of 2012. Fed eyes inflation target According to a top Federal Reserve official, James Bullard, the Fed may get

an inflation target this year. He mentioned this week that the Fed may be close to making a collective statement about what level of unemployment is the natural rate, below which inflation pressures tend to rise. According to Bullard, starting at the end of the month, the Fed will begin making public its forecasts of future Fed interest rate policy, joining the projections it already makes available on growth, employment and inflation. An explicit numeric inflation objective would mark another step in Bernanke’s unprecedented campaign to open the Fed’s policy process to public view to in effort boost accountability and effectiveness. The Fed chairman has also introduced regular press conferences and will publish the central bank’s own forecasts for the benchmark lending rate this month. Europe, UK Germany registered an encouraging unemployment report, which showed that the German unemployment rate retreated to 6.8% from the previous 6.9%. The drop in unemployment was

driven by the drop in the number of people seeking jobs, where unemployment dropped further in December by 22k jobs from the previous drop of 23k jobs, beating estimates of 10k drop. Over 41 million people in Germany were employed in 2011, a record high since the country’s unification in 1990, according to figures published Monday

by the Federal Statistics Office. Eurozone PMI rose slightly in December to 46.9 from November’s 46.4, but marked its fifth month below the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction. Despite the rate of decline easing slightly in December, production appears to have been collapsing across the Euro area at a quarterly rate of approximately 1.5% in the final quarter of 2011. The new orders component of the December PMI survey also picked up slightly, to 43.5 in December from 42.4 the previous month, but remained weak. Spanish banks face as much as 50 billion Euros of additional provisions as the government wants to minimize the cost to taxpayers of overhauling the system, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told newspapers. Most banks can provide the provisions from their earnings and it could be done over several years, de Guindos said. Lenders already made provisions of 105 billion Euros, equivalent to 10% of Spanish Gross Domestic Product, in the three years through June 2011, according to the Bank of Spain. The Spanish government said it will

launch a new plan to crack down on tax fraud as part of its effort to slash the budget deficit. A government spokesperson said the government would recover Euro 8.17 billion a year in undeclared taxes by beefing up workplace inspections and limiting cash payments for certain transactions. UK Services PMI rose to 54.0 in December from 52.1 in November to hit a fivemonth high. A reading of more than 50 indicates growth in activity. Economists had forecast a reading of 51.6. Asia Analysts observed that iron ore and coal exports, Australia’s two main exports, fell sharply. This provides the first tangible evidence that softening external conditions are beginning to have a negative impact on the domestic economy. Australia’s trade surplus unexpectedly narrowed in November missing economists’ estimates. The global slowdown and the decelerating Chinese growth are pushing the reserve Bank of Australia to cut its interest rate twice in a row to avoid a hard landing in the Australian economy. China’s PMI surprisingly rebounded in December on a boost from holiday orders, strengthening hopes that the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy may be stabilizing. The index rose 1.3 points in December to 50.3 from 49 in November while analysts had predicted a reading of 49 on average. Concerns have been growing about China’s economy in recent months, especially over its factory output, weaker demand from the US and Europe. The Chinese government has attempted to boost domestic consumption this year in order to diversify and change China’s dependence on the western world consumption. In parallel, The People’s Bank of China cut the required reserve ratio for the first time in 33-months at the end of November by 50 basis points from a record high of 21.5%. Kuwait Kuwaiti dinar at 0.27920 The USDKWD opened at 0.27920 yesterday morning.

China local government debt threatens economy It’s a different picture outside capital

TOKYO: Former President and Chief Executive of Olympus Corp Michael Woodford speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club of Japan in Tokyo. — AP

Olympus mulls suing executives TOKYO: Scandal-hit Olympus said yesterday it was considering lodging law suits against current and former executives for damages caused by their decision to hide massive investment losses. The statement came after the firm’s inhouse panel investigated the responsibility of its board members in the scandal that rocked the 92-year-old camera maker and undermined public trust in Japanese corporate governance. “Upon receiving the report (on Saturday), we are currently discussing filing law suits against the current and former board members,” the company said in the brief announcement. The company said it would disclose the report and discuss its plans tomorrow, after a national holiday today. The combined damage claims could total hundreds of millions of dollars against more than 10 Olympus officers, the Nikkei said before the company issued the statement. The cases will focus on three former executives who allegedly played major roles in the scandal, ex-president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former vice president Hisashi Mori and auditor Hideo Yamada, the business daily said. Current president Shuichi Takayama will step down this month after the panel named him among those responsible for the scandal, Kyodo News and the Mainichi Shimbun said. Kyodo said the panel recommended

Olympus seek damages of more than 90 billion yen ($1.17 billion). The panel of three lawyers was tasked to investigate the exact responsibility of the Olympus board members in the scandal. The group was set up after a separate committee of former judges and outside experts, commissioned by the company, condemned Olympus’ top management as “rotten”. The Nikkei said a court case against Takayama was a possibility but said his early resignation could damage the company’s ongoing efforts to rebuild itself, including a planned capital increase. Kyodo said Olympus was likely to pick Takayama’s successor from among three board members the panel thinks were not responsible for concealing the losses. Olympus has admitted that a small group of top executives hid at least 134.9 billion yen ($1.75 billion) in losses from bad investments in the 1990s. The scandal came to light after its first foreign president Michael Woodford exposed the matter last year by talking to the international media and authorities, as Olympus’ old guard quickly sacked him from the top post. Despite months of campaigning to clean up the Olympus board, Woodford has given up his efforts to return to and lead the company due to lack of support from major Japanese institutional shareholders. — AFP

BEIJING: Local governments across China have borrowed billions of dollars to build bridges, apartments and shopping malls, leaving many insolvent and endangering the country’s financial system, analysts say. While the central government in Beijing is in good financial shape-it has a relatively small budget deficit, a huge trade surplus and the world’s largest foreign exchange reservesit is a different picture outside the capital. Local governments had borrowed 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) — 27 percent of GDPby late 2010, according to official data, though ratings agency Moody’s believes the figure is underestimated by 3.5 trillion yuan. Several provinces have since published reports showing their debt-to-GDP ratio was higher than the national figure. Moody’s believes that between eight and 10 percent of loans made by Chinese banks will never be recouped. “Debt across the board is rising very quickly,” weakening the banking system, said Michael Pettis, a specialist in Chinese financial markets at Peking University. “But any attempts to slow its growth results in a rapid reduction of investment and (economic) growth.” China’s total public debt-including the central and local governments-stands at 68 percent of GDP, well below Italy’s ratio of 120 percent or Japan’s which stands at more than 200 percent. But when it comes to local authorities the key concern is repayment. To meet their commitments local governments need to generate income from land sales, which is fuelling unrest in the world’s second largest economy as residents increasingly complain that land is being unlawfully seized. Such corruption allegations have culminated in protests, such as the one in Wukan in the southern province of Guangdong last month, where villagers staged a revolt against authorities they said had been stealing their land for years. Another source of income is from infrastructure projects, many of which are not

profitable or legal. Investment in highways, shopping malls and apartment buildings has been a key driver of the economy in recent years, especially since the 2008 global crisis when Beijing ordered banks to open the credit valves to spur activity. “Over the past couple of years, more than half of Chinese GDP has been generated by investment in fixed assets” such as factories and roads, said Patrick Chovanec, an economics professor at Beijing’s

used, including illegally diverted to property and the capital markets, and “fake” investments, the National Audit Office said last week. Ultimately if the loans cannot be repaid, the banks will have to be bailed out by Beijing, meaning the central bank will have to print money, which will in turn create inflation-already a major headache for policymakers. A recent downturn in China’s housing market will also weigh on the finances of

BEIJING: A hawker sells scorpions, star fish, sea horses and silkworm cocoons for adventurous customers to eat at a market stall in Beijing yesterday. China’s retail sales rose an estimated 17 percent year-on-year to 18 trillion yuan ($2.86 trillion) in 2011 as the government sought to boost domestic consumption. — AFP Tsinghua University. There are “things that make economic sense but are not commercially viable” such as roads or hospitals which should have been funded by taxpayer money, he said. An audit of local government debt in 2010 found that 530.9 billion yuan has been mis-

cities and provinces that had planned to pay off debt by selling land at high prices. With apartment prices beginning to fall, development plots are struggling to find buyers: in 2011, more than 900 sites offered to developers went unsold, compared with only 280 in 2010, the Beijing News said on Friday. — AFP

China bank lending higher in December BEIJING: Chinese banks ramped up lending at the end of 2011, official data showed yesterday, after Beijing relaxed credit restrictions and ordered banks to boost support for small businesses. China’s state-owned lenders issued 640.5 billion yuan ($101.5 billion) in new loans in December, compared with 562.2 billion yuan in November, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement. The late surge in lending takes the total value of new loans handed out last year to 7.47 tril-

lion yuan, the central bank said. The full-year figure was below the 7.95 trillion yuan in 2010 as Beijing hiked interest rates and increased the amount of money banks must keep in reserve as it battled to rein in inflation and soaring property prices. The broadest measure of money supply, M2, rose 13.6 percent yearon-year in December, accelerating from 12.7 percent in November. The value of new loans beat analysts’ expectations for 580 bil-

lion yuan, according to a Dow Jones Newswires forecast, and came after policymakers in November cut the amount of money banks must keep in reserve. Authorities have also ordered banks to boost lending to small businesses which have been forced to borrow money at very high interest rates from informal lenders after being snubbed by major banks. Many are now facing bankruptcy as they struggle to cope with rising wages, inflation and

high commodity prices even as demand for their products in China and overseas weakens. Authorities are expected to further relax restrictions on lending in the coming months to prevent a painful hard landing in the world’s second largest economy. There is mounting evidence that the Asian powerhouse is losing steam as demand for its exports in Europe and the United States deteriorates, and proper t y prices and sales fall across the country. — AFP




Economic effects of an upgrade in market indices of Qatar, UAE KCIC STOCK MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Towards the end of November and at the beginning of December last year, the stocks on the Doha Securities Market (DSM) and Dubai Financial Market (DFM) witnessed a rally. While the rally was partly due to the global trend in markets, fueled by the possibility of a concrete agreement in the EU, an additional factor came into play: the possible upgrade of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Qatar and UAE indices as part of the MSCI’s Annual Market Classification Review, that would give them access to funding worth $3 trillion. However, on the 14th of December, the indices were denied

entry into the emerging market category, just like earlier that year and in 2010 and 2009 and the potential reclassification of these indices has been postponed again to June 2012. After the MSCI decided to maintain the indices in the Frontier Market slot, the markets took a dip. While the DSM suffered a minor dip, the DFM, which was more hopeful about the upgrade following through, plunged to its lowest in six weeks. A similar scenario ensued back in June of the same year. The effect of just the mere prospect of the markets joining the emerging

index, illustrates the profound impact that an upgrade would have on both the Emirati and Qatari markets. The reasons for the upgrade delay this time around are almost an exact replica of those behind their denial back in June; the MSCI wants to give market players more time to fully evaluate the new delivery versus payment (DVP) models that were implemented early last year in Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In the UAE, some glitches still need to be rectified via more regulations that will fully safeguard investor assets. In addition, foreign ownership of stocks in Qatar continues to be severely restricted, which

was one of the reasons why they were less hopeful about the upgrade. Qatar needs to prop up its limits if it is to fulfill the MSCI’s emerging markets prerequisite; whilst the UAE allows up to 49% foreign ownership of shares, Qatar only allows 25%. The MSCI is a leader in the provision of global investment decision support tools and financial data. It classifies its 77 markets into one of 3 major categories: Frontier, Emerging or Developed. Investors decide how to allocate their cash based on these categories. Frontier markets (like the GCC) are typically associated with higher

risks and are prone to higher volatility compared to emerging markets (like the BRIC economies) and developed markets (like the G8 economies). Thus risk-averse investors are more likely to invest in emerging or developed markets. A market’s ascent to “emerging”, followed by “developed” status is based on an evaluation of 18 measurements in four market accessibility criteria, which are: 1) openness to foreign ownership; 2) the ease of capital inflows/outflows; 3) the efficiency of the operational framework; and 4) the stability of the institutional framework. If granted entry, the Qatar and UAE MSCI indices will join the ranks of Brazil, China, India and Turkey and lure in a large pool of investors tracking the MSCI emerging index. In the longterm, this could secure the two countries another source of major capital inflows, as opposed to primarily coming from finite sources such as oil and natural gas. Although the UAE and Qatari stocks are likely to occupy only a small percentage of the benchmark, which already has heavy weights reserved for the BRIC economies and South Korea, it will still be exposed to investors with about $3 trillion worth of assets that could ultimately send their market fortunes soaring. What’s more, their reclassification decision will come at a time when the MSCI will also revisit the status of two Asian economies, Taiwan and South Korea, which together represent almost 25% of the MSCI emerging index. It is likely that one or both of these markets will be upgraded from emerging to developed market status, which will in-turn trigger a substantial sell-off from emerging markets-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds as they engage in a substantial reshuffling of their investments. Thus, the timing of the decision could not be any better for both Qatar and the UAE. If their entry timing does coincide with Taiwan’s and South Korea’s exit from the emerging markets index, then they could see part of that reshuffled money ending up in their markets. So if Qatar and the UAE do increase their chances of an upgrade, expect bigger rallies in their respective markets ahead of the next upgrade classification. The entry of Qatar and the UAE into the emerging bourse will undeniably give local markets a well-needed boost and it will only be a matter of time before the rest of the GCC countries follow suit. Prepared by Dana Al-Fakir, economist at KCIC, an investment firm specializing in emerging Asia investments.

Al-Tijari announces winners of daily draw with Najma Account KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al-Najma account draw yesterday. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Saqer Al-Manaie. The winners of the Al Najma Daily Draw are: Sheikh Nasser Fawaz Saud Al-Sabah —KD 7000, Ali Mohammed Radwan Ahmed — KD 7000, Mariam Yaqoub Yousef Al-Deraie — KD 7000, Dhabya Abdullah Khaled Al-Daihany — KD 7000.

The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily prize which is the highest in the country and another four mega prizes during the year worth KD 100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and on June 19 which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD 500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw pro-

Special offers for ABK Visa Platinum, Gold card holders KUWAIT: In cooperation with Visa Middle East, ABK announces an excellent offer for ABK Emirates Platinum & Gold Credit Card holders, giving them the opportunity to enjoy special prices and discounts up to 50% at select restaurants in the UAE. “At ABK we try to understand our customers’ lifestyle and develop plans to meet those requirements, especially by providing fantastic offers such as this one,” said Stewart Lockie, GM, Retail. “This promotion comes as an added value to the priviStewart Lockie leges provided by ABK for their credit card holders so they can make the best use of it whilst traveling to the UAE. Customers holding either the ABK Emirates Platinum or Gold can enjoy dining at a lower price in any of the 200 restaurants participating in this campaign, to avail of discounts ranging from 10% to 50% on the total bill, provided they pay with these cards.” Lockie added, “For the full list of restaurants participating in this offer you can visit”

vided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD 25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD 50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

Burgan Bank interacts with Scientific Center audience KUWAIT: Burgan Bank’s team, along with the BuBa mascot, interacted with the audience of the Scientific Center, in the atmosphere of entertainment and a wide range of gifts were distributed amongst the visitors of the center. Haneen Al-Rumaihi, Head of Marketing at Burgan Bank said: “We continue to introduce our new character “BuBa” which was recently launched in the Market and promoting it across the country”. “The “BuBa Kids Account” aims at providing creative solutions for parents who want to earn more from their savings for their children and at the same time enjoy a wide range of benefits. The account adds to children’s educational aspect of

the banking sector, thereby enhancing their overall knowledge of savings and financial planning,” added Al-Rumaihi. The BuBa Kids Account is a savings account, with the minimum opening balance of KD 10. Children, up to 14 years old, 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 Islamic CEO quits GFH board DUBAI: Dubai Islamic Bankís Chief Executive Officer Abdulla Al Hamli has resigned from the board of Gulf Finance House , the Bahraini investment bank said yesterday. Al-Hamli, who held the position of a board member at GFH, has decided to focus on his duties at Dubai Islamic,

according to a statement on the Dubai bourse website. GFH has been hard hit by the Gulfís economic crisis and struggled throughout 2010 to pay back the debt it took on during the Gulf property boom that ended in 2008. Its Kuwait listed shares have fallen 69 percent in the last one year according to Reuters data. — Reuters

French finance group opposes trading tax PARIS: A French financial association yesterday spoke out against a French-only trading tax that may be implemented this ye a r. Th e As s o c i a t i o n Pa r i s Eu ro p l a ce, which represents key players in the French financial world, said such a tax would hurt the country’s economy unless it was implemented across the European Union. The move comes after President Nicolas Sarkozy Friday said France should not wait for other European countries to get on board with what has been dubbed a “Robin Hood tax” or “Tobin tax” that would help reduce budget deficits. Many activists in Western countries have long campaigned for a small tax on finan-

cial transactions to raise funds they say would compensate for the damage done by reckless speculation. But Paris Europlace said a France-only tax “would be inappropriate.” “If this tax w a s a p p l i e d o n l y i n Fra n ce, i t wo u l d inevitably lead to an exodus of banks, insurance companies and management,” the association said, “and would reduce ... the role of Paris in the European and global economy.” No date has been set for implementation of the tax, but housing secretary Benpoit Apparu said Sunday the regulation could be drafted by February. France and its major euro-zone partners have supported the idea of the tax but

now seem divided on how to approach the issue, with the major players in the German and Italian bloc openly advising caution. For its part, the European Commission has called for a “concerted approach” to the issue. Germany, France and Italy are the eurozone’s three biggest economies. Britain, which is within the European Union but outside the single currency, is opposed to t ra n s a c t i o n t a xe s b e i n g i m p l e m e n te d across the 27-member EU bloc. British Prime Minister David Cameron has voiced his opposition to a European tax on financial institutions, unless it is implemented globally. — AFP

The winner Fawzia Nasseb receives Hassady Prize from the area manager Mohammed El Defairy.

AUB announces Al-Hassad weekly draw winners KUWAIT: AUB has announced the results of the weekly draws of its Al-Hassad Islamic savings scheme. The lucky customers winning the Grand Weekly prize worth KD 25,000 each at the draws held on 21th of December 2011 are Salem Saeed Salem Al-Mohannadi, Farida Abdullah Ben Naseur and Manoj Kumar Joshi. The following Al-Hassad Islamic customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each : Jasem Mohammad Talebi, Sahar Abdullah Yousef Al-Thunayan , Batool Mohd Baqer, Najat Ali Abdulla Dayeen, Mohammad Ali Nawwaf Al-Enezi, Abdulla Mohamed AlHajri, Samira Gholoum Al-Sharshani, Iman Abdulkarem Thyab Zankawi, Rekad Abdullah Thuwaini Al-Dhafeeri, Mohammad Abdulmohsen Mohammad AlMousa, Fawzya Hussain Sahoud Al-Askar, Sayed Ibnil Hussain, Sofia Antony Parekady, Bibi Habeeb Ali Muhsin, Fawzia Nasseb Ali Obaid, Fatima Yosuf Hassan AlJufairi, Bejad Nayef Marzouq Suroor, Sadeq Mohammed Ahmad Al-Shakhes, Jenan Mohammad Hassan Al-Zanki, Reema Mohd Abdulla Ali, Pierre Anwar Abi Abdallah, Kassem Nour Ali Nour, Naheed Abu Al Qasem Ali Akbar, Nader Saeed Ahmed Ebrahim Al Mandeel, Jaffar Mahdi Saleh Ali. With the new Al-Hassad Islamic 2011 scheme, customers have a lot more to look forward to. With 28 weekly prizes totaling KD 100,000 each week and “Salary for Life” prizes every month, the chances to win bigger prizes more often couldn’t get any better. The most attractive feature of the new scheme is the chance to win bigger prizes, more frequently with 3 grand prizes of KD 25,000 each, week on week plus 25 other weekly prizes of KD 1,000. Chances to win big prizes on a weekly basis, offer instant rewards to both existing as well as new

Investors in Investment Saving Account (Al-Hassad Islamic). With the introduction of a “Salary for Life” Prize of KD 250,000 every month, the grand prize is also now more frequent and customers do not need to wait for a quarter or more to qualify for the grand prize. The “Salary for Life” has been a core feature for the Al-Hassad Islamic scheme with prizes paid out to date exceeding KD 10 Million. The monthly “Salary for Life” prize has enabled winners to afford better homes, ensure better education for their children and enjoy an improved quality of life, with the assurance that the rewards will continue to come month after month for 250 months. AlHassad Islamic is the only scheme to offer high value weekly and monthly prizes that are significantly higher than the total outlay of other prize schemes in Kuwait. In addition to the attractive prize pool, customers with high balances can opt for other unique features such as Investment savings plan, cheque facility linked to their investment savings account and state of the ar t e -banking and 24 x 7 Contact Center support. The new Al-Hassad Islamic 2011 is geared to meeting the needs of salaried individuals. Customers can benefit from not only the biggest and most attractive prize pool but can also enjoy state of the art banking benefits and access to AUB’s unique products’ range for Islamic Finances ,credit cards and investment products. All Al-Hassad draws are conducted under the scrutiny of officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and independent auditing firm, Ernst& Young. For more information on the Al-Hassad Islamic investment savings account, its prize structure and eligibility criteria, customers may visit any AUB Kuwait.

IKEA recalls ANTILOP children’s high chair belt IKEA kindly asks customers who have an ANTILOP high chair from supplier #17389 and production date 20072009 to immediately contact Customer Services (1840408). The high chair belt can open unexpectedly in use, creating a fall hazard. IKEA has received seven reports of belt opening, including three resulting in minor injury when a child fell from the high chair. Only ANTILOP high chairs from supplier #17389 with production dates 2007-2009 are affected. The supplier number and production date are molded into the underside of the seat. Customers with an ANTILOP high chair are asked to check the supplier number and production date. If the supplier number is #17389 and the production date is 2007-2009 customers are asked to visit IKEA or contact IKEA Customer Ser vice at (1840408) to receive a replacement

belt, free of charge. No other high chairs are affected. IKEA apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. brings successful virtual job fair concept to KSA RIYADH:, the Middle East’s number one job site, has announced that its popular Virtual Job Fair (VJF) will run for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on January 14-18. In the past years, the online job fair has been received with massive success across the region, for providing a convenient platform from which jobseekers and employers can interact directly without the need for a physical forum. The VJF presents a unique concept; jobseekers are able to fully interact with potential employers within a virtual environment, styled to look like a real job fair. Using a range of digital tools, such as chat rooms, webcasts and webinars, jobseekers and employers can exchange vital jobrelated information. Jobseekers can search for available jobs and submit their CVs, while employers can interact with jobseekers through virtual ‘booths’. “We are living in a fast-paced world where convenience is key, and both employers and jobseekers want to pursue the full potential of the market in an expedient and effective manner. That is why the Virtual Job Fair has been extremely successful across the region; it has proved to be the ideal solution for all

parties to explore as many opportunities as possible, at their own convenience and from the comfort and privacy of their own home or office environment,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at “Our last VJF in KSA attracted 48,000 jobseekers, who made more than 100,000 visits through the fair’s duration. Employers who have participated in our VJFs across the region have consistently commented on their satisfaction with the pioneering platform as well.” Jobseekers wishing to participate in’s KSA Virtual Job Fair can register for free at Once logged in, candidates are able to apply for jobs 24/7, at their own convenience and from the privacy and comfort of their own home or office environment. Participating employers benefit from increased brand awareness, and access to’s extensive portfolio of jobseekers - made up of over 6,750,000 registered users covering over 94 industries and 185 countries. With the’s Virtual Job Fair there are minimal resource requirements in return for maximum exposure, meaning less costs and a higher return on investment than with a traditional job fair.



Warner Bros to impose 56-day delay on DVD rentals Investors see Internet video as the key to Netflix’s future SAN FRANCISCO: Prepare to have your patience tested if you prefer to rent DVDs rather than buy them. In a precedent other major movie studios are likely to follow, Warner Bros is poised to announce that its latest DVD releases won’t be made available to rental outlets until nearly two months after the discs can be bought in stores and websites. A person familiar with the matter explained the new rules to The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the changes won’t be announced until Jan. 10 during a major electronics show in Las Vegas. The expanded delay was first reported by the All Things D website. Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros declined to comment Friday. The new restriction will double a 28-day delay on DVD rentals that Warner Bros reached with Netflix’s video subscription service two years ago. After that breakthrough, several other movie studios adopted similar moratoriums, although many DVD releases still remain available to rent on the same day they go on sale in stores. The increased wait for DVD rentals exposes the competitive tensions that are shaking up home entertainment. In the past seven years, movie studios have seen US sales of DVDs and Bluray discs fall by a third - from $10.3 billion to roughly $7 billion. Netflix’s growing popularity during the past decade helped put a major dent in one of the movie studios’ biggest moneymakers - because its service enables people to watch as many mail-delivered discs as they want for a flat monthly fee. DVD rentals didn’t hurt studios much before Netflix existed because the market was dominated by Blockbuster. That chain charged consumers for every title taken off their shelves and shared revenue with the studios. To make matters worse for studios, Redbox’s concept of renting DVDs -from kiosks set up in thousands of stores- gave movie lovers another cheap and convenient way to avoid buying the discs.

Coinstar Inc’s Redbox had been renting the DVDs for just $1 per day until recently raising the price to $1.20. Netflix Inc conceded to Warner Bros’ demands for the 56-day rental delay to ensure that it can still buy the discs at a discount. Netflix expects to suffer a loss this year, largely because its own US price increases backfired in 2011 and triggered far more customer cancellations than management anticipated. It doesn’t appear Redbox is going to bend to Warner Bros’ will. “The current agreement Coinstar has with Warner Bros is to receive movie titles 28 days after their release,” Coinstar spokeswoman Marci Maule said in a written statement. “No revised agreements are in place.” Redbox could conceivably rent Warner Bros DVDs on its own timetable by buying thousands of discs from stores, although that hard-ball tactic would drive up its expenses. In a late October conference call with analysts, Coinstar CEO Paul Davis raised the possibility of finding “work arounds” if Warner Bros or other movie studios tried to impose further delays on DVD rentals. Netflix’s cooperation with Warner Bros and Coinstar’s resistance underscore the different priorities of the two services. In many ways, Netflix is just keeping its DVDby-mail service on life support and leaving it up to each customer to decide when to pull the plug. Meanwhile, the company is pouring most of its money and energy into building up its service that delivers movies, TV shows and a growing amount of original programming to TVs and other devices with high-speed Internet connections. Netflix’s Internet video service has more than 20 million subscribers. Its DVDby-mail business ended September with nearly 14 million customers. The DVD-bymail subscribers could have dropped to as low as 10.3 million by the end of December, based on projections Netflix issued in October. Investors also see Internet video as the key Netflix’s future, although they became

Two of the five new desktop chips allow for over-clocking both the computing and graphic units. For the unlocked processors there is the new desktop model A8-3870K with 3 GHz frequency, 4 MB cache and 400 shader cores on the Radeon graphic chip. The fastest laptop processor A8-3550MX runs up to 2.7 GHz in turbo mode with much lower power usage.

Bluetooth keyboard with curves Microsoft’s new wireless keyboard features curved keys for more natural hand positioning while typing. The Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 is about 37 centimeters long, 18 centimeters wide and weighs 460 grams. The keyboard is not only compatible with Windows but also with Apple’s iOS and some versions of Android. There is an on-off switch to help extend battery life, which can last up to 10 months according to the manufacturers. The keyboard will be available starting in February for 50 euro.

Honeycomb tablet by Archos Archos has come out with a new seveninch tablet PC with the Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) operating system. The device called 70b includes a 1.2 GHz processor, 8 GB of internal storage, WiFi and a display of 1024 x 600 pixels. The tablet also is equipped with micro-SD expansion for more memory and an HDMI port for connecting the tablet to a home theatre system. The 70b is available for 199 euro.

Samsung shrinks media player Samsung has shrunken its Mediaplayer Galaxy S WiFi with the Galaxy S WiFi 3.6 hitting stores to join the 4- and 5-inch devices. The 3.6 inch touchscreen has a somewhat lower resolution than the larger models but the device is installed with Android 2.3. The other technical data compare similarly to most other media players with 8 GB of storage, a 1 GHz processor and WiFi access. The Galaxy S WiFi 3.6 costs 159 euro. — dpa

AMD A series: Over-clocking allowed AMD has expanded its processor A series with 13 new models for desktops and laptops.

In this image released by Universal Pictures, Ayrton Senna is shown in a scene from “Senna.” —AP

CALIFORNIA: In this July 20, 2010 file photo, a Netflix subscriber turns on Netflix in Palo Alto. —AP

Yahoo dangled $27 Milion pay package to get new CEO

New technology products Digital radio for retrofitting BERLIN: Dual has brought two new digital radios to the market. The DAB 1 measures just 14 cm x 9 cm and is basically only a display, the casing of which conceals the receiver. The mini-radio, which also receives VHF stations, can be connected to stereos, docking stations or active boxes through a jack plug and is controlled by the remote control provided. The second radio called DAB 7 is hardly larger at 14 cm x 14 cm but it includes a speaker and a built-in rechargeable battery which can run for up to eight hours. The DAB 7 also has a power supply adapter. The DAB 1 costs 70 euro (91 dollars) while the DAB 7 is 10 euro more expensive. Both radios will be available starting this month.

less confident about the company’s decision-making after last year’s US price increases drove away hordes of customers. The backlash caused Netflix’s stock to drop by more than 60 percent during calendar 2011. The shares have gotten off to a hot start this year, rising 25 percent during the first trading days on positive news about subscribers’ Internet video viewership and takeover speculation. The stock rose $6.99 Friday to finish the week at $86.29, its highest closing price in nearly two months. In contrast, DVD rentals remain Redbox’s financial lifeblood, although it too is looking to expand into Internet video streaming. For now, Redbox probably can’t afford the potential customer alienation that would come with additional delays in the availability in new DVD releases. But having to pay more for DVDs will squeeze profit margins. Either way, it might not bode well for Coinstar’s stock. Coinstar shares shed $2.39, or 5.5 percent, to close Friday at $40.98. For Warner Bros, longer delays in DVD rentals could provide another away to promote UltraViolet. That’s a new system, backed by Warner Bros and several major Hollywood studios, that allows consumers to access movies they have purchased on discs over multiple devices including tablet computers and smartphones. UltraViolet is seen as a way to prod more people to buy DVDs and possibly reverse a slump in disc sales. To avoid cutting into its own sales, Time Warner is trying to push Netflix and other rental services to the back of a long line of services, while moving DVD and Blu-ray purchases to the front of the line alongside its HBO pay TV channel. To protect its franchise, HBO has steadfastly refused to license its material to Netflix’s Internet video service and this week confirmed it will no longer sell DVDs of its shows to Netflix. Unwilling to be completely walled off from HBO content, Netflix plans to buy the DVDs of the pay channel’s shows from other sources. —AP

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo dangled a $27 million pay package to lure its newly hired CEO Scott Thompson away from PayPal. The struggling Internet company disclosed the details of Thompson’s compensation in a regulatory filing late Friday. Thompson starts his new job Monday after spending the past four years running eBay Inc’s PayPal service, where revenue more than doubled during his tenure. PayPal took in an estimated $4.4 billion last year. That kind of robust growth is a fuzzy memory for Yahoo Inc., a one-time Internet star whose revenue has sagged as online advertising flowed increasingly to rivals Google Inc. and Facebook. Yahoo has promised better times under three new CEOs in less than five years, only to frustrate investors each time. They’ve been especially disenchanted since the company squandered an opportunity to sell itself to Microsoft Corp for $47.5 billion, or $33 per share, in May 2008. The stock hasn’t traded above $20 in more than three years, with the shares closing Friday at $15.52. The last time it closed above $33 was 2006. Thompson, 54, is highly regarded in Internet circles, although some analysts question whether he is the right fit for Yahoo because he

has no experience in online content or advertising, the company’s financial lifeblood. Yahoo offered Thompson a deal that includes a $1 million salary and a bonus of up to $2 million this year. Yahoo is guaranteeing to pay him up to $500,000 of that; the remaining $1.5 million will hinge on Yahoo’s financial results this year. Thompson also will receive stock incentives valued at $22.5 million. The stock awards could be worth more or less, depending how Yahoo’s long-slumping shares fare under Thompson’s leadership. To top it off, Yahoo is paying Thompson $1.5 million to offset money he forfeited by leaving PayPal. A $6.5 million chunk of the stock awards are also meant to offset some of the compensation Thompson would have gotten at PayPal, according to the filing. Thompson received a $10.4 million compensation package at PayPal in 2010. It included a $645,000 salary. EBay hasn’t yet revealed how much it paid Thompson last year. Unless more money and stock is added later in the year, Yahoo won’t be paying Thompson as much as his predecessor, Carol Bartz, who was hired three years ago and fired four months ago. Tim Morse, Yahoo’s chief financial officer, had

been running Yahoo since Bartz’s ouster. Bartz’s compensation package during her first year on the job was valued at $47.2 million. Much of that, though, included stock incentives that haven’t become as valuable as the original calculations envisioned because the company’s shares remained in a funk during Bartz’s regime. Bartz’s salary was $1 million, like Thompson’s. Now that Yahoo has a new CEO, it may be looking to replace some of the directors on its 10 member board to placate unhappy shareholders. The company, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, has hired the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. to hunt for possible replacements, according to a story published Friday on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The story quoted unnamed people familiar with the matter. Much of the shareholder anger has been aimed at Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and co- founder Jerry Yang, who both played central roles in rebuffing Microsoft’s takeover attempt. The Journal’s story didn’t identify which Yahoo board members might be replaced. The board approved Thompson’s hiring and pay package, and he is joining the board.—AP


Magellan GPS has back-up camera add-on The flagship tablet of the new Pandigital line, the SuperNova has an 8inch capacitive touchscreen, builtin Bluetooth 2.1, Adobe Flash, integrated microphone, front and rear facing cameras, and more. Urbanears: Bagis are colorful earphones that snap together for easy storage. little house cleaning and office organizing this week created a pile of great products that I’ve had in my possession for way too long. This includes the Magellan Wireless Back-Up camera and its companion, the Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM 7-inch touch screen GPS unit. If you don’t have a backup camera built-into your car, the Magellan device is simple to add for assisting with parallel parking or more importantly seeing small children or pets in your way before backing up. Magellan estimates that the installation takes up to an hour, and if you’re handy, go for it; otherwise a professional installer is recommended. The camera attaches to the top screws of your rear license plate but does not obstruct any of the plate itself. Depending on the size of your vehicle, the camera can be adjusted up to 45 degrees vertically for the


The Magellan RoadMate 9055-LM 7-inch touch screen GPS unit has a companion Wireless Back-Up Camera. —MCT photos proper angle to view the picture, which gives you a 120-degree horizontal angle of view and 100-degree vertical view. The camera is dust and water proof and has a 45-foot transmission range to the receiver attached to the Magellan RoadMate GPS unit. The long range makes it ideal for larger vehicles such as RVs. A great feature lets you view the camera’s image on your RoadMate LCD when you are in reverse, but automatically switches back to your navigation maps once the car is taken out of reverse and vice versa. As for the Bluetooth enabled GPS unit, it’s packed with every feature you would want, but the large LCD is what makes it for me. Navigating the touch screen is smooth and it comes with lifetime map updates and traffic alerts so there is no need for the pricy updates many other GPS companies nail you

for. Pandigital tablet easy to use, responsive The Supernova 8-inch Android-based touchscreen color WiFi tablet by Pandigital is a solid addition to the rapidly growing handheld tablet market. Unlike many other tablets I’ve had in my hands, this one has a very responsive touch screen with an eye-catching resolution (600-by-800 pixels) measuring just 6.13-by-8.38-by-0.44 inches and weighing about 16 ounces. It does have my favorite feature for this type of device; a microSD card reader, which gives the tablet unlimited memory past the 4GB of internal memory. Memory cards up to 32GB can be purchased separately. It comes with many standard features for today’s tablets, including Wifi (b/g/n), Bluetooth (2.1), headphone jack along with a built-in speaker and microphone. Right out of

The Magellan Wireless Back-Up Camera is a companion product for its RoadMate safety series car navigation units. The device will help drivers reverse and park more safely. the box the tablet needed very little setup to do what most everyone would do with a device like this-surf the Web with a browser, which includes Adobe Flash. A one-touch entrance to the Barnes & Noble ebook store is preloaded. Inside is 512MB RAM allowing apps, apps and more apps to be loaded to run on the Android 2.3 operating system. I still don’t really understand the need and excitement for cameras on a tablet, but they are included with a rear 3-megapixel camera and a front facing VGA camera for video conferencing. Connections to outside hardware are done with the USB and HDMI (out only) ports and the battery will last for about 6 hours depending on what features you are using. Affordable Bagis earbuds are solid Urbanears Bagis earbuds come in some eye-catching colors and produce some great

ear-catching sound. The Bagises aren’t going to be confused with a pair of high-end and high-priced headphones but you get great sound, especially for the price. One thing that impressed me before testing them is how solidly constructed they felt out of the box. Often cheaper earbuds feel just like that-cheap, but it’s not the case with these. Bagis features a rubber housing, with a combined fabric and TPE cord, which eliminates distortions that can be caused by friction. The pair of earphones can be snapped together to carry around your neck when they are not being used. Urbanears shows off their creativity when it comes to naming the 10 color options, since they include mustard, tomato and mocha. —MCT



Mixed advice in EU over faulty breast implants Germans, Czech want removal, Britain dithering

Fisherman’s gold Shark fin hunt empties west African seas SAINT LOUIS, Senegal: Retired fisherman Sada Fall is upbeat. His two sons are returning from sea with a boatload of “gold”, as he calls shark fins, whose value has near-obliterated the ocean’s top predator in these seas. Fall, 62, walks along the beach in this fishing village in the north of Senegal, his blue-grey boubou flapping in the dry, dusty wind, a bright red flowered umbrella shielding him from the scorching sun. “This is the great shark cemetery,” he says waving his hand dramatically across the beach where dried hunks of shark meat are piled up, filling the air with a musty, acrid odor as suffocating as the heat. Colorful painted pirogues line the beach where children play and sheep wander around. A giant pelican is curiously tethered to one of the crumbling houses. Saint Louis is one of the biggest shark landing sites in Senegal and one of scores along the west African coast where the predator is quickly disappearing. Fall’s sons have been gone for two weeks deep into Mauritanian waters for a voyage which, including food, water, fuel and salt to pack the fish, can cost more than 500,000 CFA (750 euros/$1,000). Spurring these fishermen on is the insatiable Asian appetite for shark fins, which make their way onto ostentatious dinner tables in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. “The fins don’t stay here, they are worth a lot of money,” says Fall. He explains that when a boat lands, amidst the chaos of bartering and buying shark meat to be dried, smoked and sold in the region, the fins are swept away by intermediaries to Dakar, and treated very carefully. “The fins are gold, sometimes we keep them in our own living room - with the air conditioning on,” he laughs. Often the intermediaries will meet with Asian businessmen in a Dakar hotel to hand over the booty. “You bring the bags, go into the hotel, hand over the bag, they hand over the money.” Mika Diop, a biologist and coordinator of the Sharks sub-regional Action Plan (SRPOA-Sharks) says that depending on the size and species of the fin involved, they sell for up to 100,000 CFA (150 euros) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). But it is the men further up the chain who benefit the most, as many fishermen don’t realise exactly how valuable their product is. Some restaurants charge more than $100 for a bowl of sharp fin soup. “We catch them, but I couldn’t afford a small bowl of soup,” says Fall. ‘Mercenary mindset’- many fins are also exported fraudulently through normal channels classified as dried fish, says Diop. In West Africa, shark fishing began in the 1970’s, booming in the nineties due to rising demand from Asia for shark fins, according to a report entitled “30 Years of Shark Fishing in West Africa” co-authored by Diop in 2011. Since 2003, shark catches have plummeted. This is not good news but a sign that there are less to catch. These

days fishermen can spend up to 20 days at sea, heading as far west as Cape Verde or south to Sierra Leone in search of their gold, with what Diop bemoans as an often “mercenary mindset”. Diop explains that sharks are particularly vulnerable because it can take more than 10 years for them to reach sexual maturity and their fertility rate is very low, making recovery from overfishing all year round near impossible. “On average the weight of the fin represents only two percent of the total weight of the animal, so you can see the massacre needed to keep up with the demand for shark fins,” he tells AFP. In Saint Louis, Fall finally gets a phone call from his pirogue. Days of bad weather have hampered fishing and even the good days have yielded no sharks. The boat is now expected the following day. A fisherman for more than 30 years, he has seen first hand the worrying drop in shark numbers. “We are obliged to catch small sharks. We know its not good but if one person doesn’t, the next will... “It brings in a lot of money, so we don’t see the importance of the shark. We earn and we will keep on earning until the sharks disappear,” he says sadly. The shark fishing report talks of days when hammerhead sharks up to six metres long (20 feet) and one -tonne sawfish were caught in these waters. The sawfish-printed on the back of Senegalese bank notes-hasn’t been seen since the early 1990s in coastal waters from Mauritania to Sierra Leone, except for Guinea-Bissau. According to the report, the value of sharks landed annually in 2008 in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde is estimated at 8.5 million euros ($11 million). Diop’s shark project has published an identification guide for fishermen and has helped west African nations put legislation in place, most importantly to ban “finning”. In Senegal this legislation is still in the pipeline. Finning is the practice of cutting of the shark fin while at sea, and tossing the rest of the shark back into the ocean to face a cruel death by suffocation or blood loss. Despite the laws, it still continues. If shark-hunting, in Senegal and the world over, is not brought under control, Diop and other experts predict dire results for a marine ecosystem regulated by the predator for some 400 million years. A report by the Pew Environment Group in June 2011 estimates some 73 million sharks are caught annually and 30 percent of species are threatened with extinction. The fisherman Sada Fall becomes anxious and harder to get hold of. The “big shark guy around here”-his distributor-has left back to Dakar after hearing the fishing trip has not gone well. Three days after the boat was supposed to land it reaches shore just after midnight. With no sharks caught, it quickly refuels and heads out again for several more gruelling, and expensive, days in search of fisherman’s gold. —AFP

‘Couch potato pill’ may also prevent heatstroke PARIS: A drug discovered nearly four years ago that builds muscles in lazy mice may also prevent heatstroke, according to lab research reported yesterday. If further tests work out, the compound could help athletes or soldiers who are so sensitive to heat that they could die from exertion on a hot day, its authors say. In 2008, a drug known as AICAR became dubbed the “couch potato pill” after it was found to develop muscles and boost endurance among completely inactive laboratory rodents. It is now being explored as a treatment for several muscle diseases and metabolic disorders. In a paper published by the journal Nature Medicine, researchers in the United States said they discovered by chance that AICAR also protects mice against a disorder called malignant hyperthermia. This deadly condition is linked to a basket of flaws in a gene called RYR1, a trait which exists in mice as well as humans. A rise in body temperature causes a leak of calcium in muscle cells, triggering a molecular cascade that eventually makes the muscles contract and break down. Potassium and protein then pour out of the crippled muscle cells and into the bloodstream, reaching toxic levels that lead to heart or kidney failure. Tests on mice genetically engineered to have the RYR1 mutation found that AICAR worked perfectly in preventing malignant hypothermia, says the study.

“When we gave AICAR to the mice, it was 100 percent effective in preventing heat-induced deaths, even when we gave it no more than 10 minutes before the activity,” said Susan Hamilton, a professor of molecular physiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. AICAR-full name 5-aminoimidazole-4carboxamide ribonucleoside-works by stopping the calcium leak, thus preventing the vicious circle from getting under way. The finding may lead one day to a drug that would be used preventatively for heatsensitive young athletes or soldiers in the desert who must wear heavy gear. Abnormalities in the RYR1 gene are believed to occur in about one person in every 3,000. But the researchers theorize that the future drug may also work for people without the RYR1 flaw. “We think the fundamental process that occurs during heatstroke in individuals with RYR1 mutations is likely to be similar to what happens even in their (the mutations’) absence,” said Robert Dirksen, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “The difference may be that individuals with RYR1 mutations are more easily thrust into the process, whereas those without (the mutations) need to be pushed more-for example, by exposure to even greater temperatures or a long time, in order to move beyond a critical threshold.” — AFP

LONDON: European health authorities issued widely different recommendations in dealing with potentially faulty French-made breast implants, with Germany and the Czech Republic following France in recommending their removal, while Britain insisted there isn’t enough evidence to suggest they should be taken out in all cases. Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices said it was recommending the removal of PIP breast implants “as a precautionary measure,” while the Czech health ministry said about 2,000 Czech women with potentially faulty implants should have them removed. But British Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said Friday that the UK had found no link between the implants - manufactured with non-medical grade silicone by the nowdefunct French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP - and cancer. However, his ministry said that silicone used by PIP “should not have been implanted in women in the first place,” and offered to provide examinations and possible removals in instances where doctors say they are necessary. Women in Britain who had PIP implants fitted for medical reasons - mainly former cancer patients - by the state-funded National Health Service, or women who used a private cosmetic surgery clinic which no longer exists would be offered an assessment, and could have the implants removed for free if doctors believed it necessary, Lansley said. Britain’s NHS does not provide cosmetic surgery without a medical reason. Lansley called on private medical centers to offer the same deal to patients who had paid for private sector cosmetic surgery. “There is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine removal,” he said, but added that Britain believed “private health care providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients.” Germany’s drugs and medical devices institute said that its new advice went beyond a Dec. 23 recommendation that women affected should have their implants checked for possible ruptures. It said the change followed new advice from experts who had warned that silicon from such implants can leak over time even if there is no rupture. “How urgent a removal is in any given case depends essentially on how long the patient has carried the implant,” the institute’s chairman, Walter Schwerdtfeger, said in a state-

ment. The institute said it didn’t have information on how many women received such implants in Germany. PIP’s website says the company exported to more than 60 countries and was one of the world’s leading implant makers. The siliconegel implants in question were not sold in the United States. France has said it will pay for some 30,000 French women to have their implants removed, after more than 1,000 ruptures of the PIP implants, which were pulled from the market in several countries in Europe and beyond due to fears they could rupture and leak silicone into the body. Colombia and Venezuela have made similar offers. France’s Health Safety Agency says the sus-

Australia’s medical watchdog, however, says health officials had found no evidence that the PIP implants had an increased risk of rupture in Australian women, and said lab testing of the silicone gel used indicated it was nontoxic to nearby tissue even if the implant did rupture. In Venezuela, lawyer Emilia De Leon confirmed that about 400 Venezuelan women are suing companies that sold them PIP implants and demanding the firms cover medical expenses to have the products removed. Lansley said Britain and France were cooperating over the issue and planned to consult other European countries in the hope of preventing similar problems in the future.

CARACAS: Women affected by breast implants made by the defunct French brand Poly Implant Prothese, PIP, show to each other their implants certificates outside the civil court in Caracas. — AP pect PIP implants appear to be more ruptureprone than other types. Investigators also say PIP sought to save money by using industrial silicone instead of medical silicone. According to estimates by national authorities, over 42,000 women in Britain received the implants, more than 30,000 in France, 9,000 in Australia and 4,000 in Italy. Nearly 25,000 of the implants were sold in Brazil.

In the Czech Republic - where the implants were banned in 2010 - the country’s health ministry said it would negotiate with the country’s health insurers on how to cover the cost of removals. Those women who refuse to have the implants removed should undergo regular health checks, the ministry said in a statement. “No imminent risk of serious health problems has been proven,” the ministry said. — AP

British police quiz male nurse over triple patient murder LONDON: British police investigating a string of deaths at a hospital caused by contaminated saline drips were yesterday questioning a male nurse on suspicion of murdering three patients. Victorino Chua, 46, was initially arrested Thursday on suspicion of tampering with medical records at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, northwest England.

But Greater Manchester Police said late Saturday he had now been arrested on suspicion of three murders and 18 instances of causing grievous bodily harm between June 1 and July 15 last year. “We have taken the decision to arrest this man on suspicion of murder in close consultation with (prosecutors),” said Assistant Chief

Constable Terry Sweeney. “It is important that no one jumps to any conclusions because of these steps or second guesses where our investigations will take us.” The nurse is being questioned over the contamination of saline drips, which caused patients’ blood sugar to fall to unusually low levels. Three patients, all on acute wards

for the seriously ill, died shortly after such episodes. Officers are also investigating the death of an 82-year-old man on New Year’s Eve, several months after he was allegedly poisoned at the hospital. Police believe 21 patients were deliberately poisoned. They have questioned some 650 people in their investigation into the hospital deaths. — AFP

Stephen Hawking celebrates 70th birthday CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom: British scientist Stephen Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday, an age many experts never expected the motor neurone disease sufferer to reach. When Hawking was diagnosed with the debilitating condition aged 21, he was given only a few years to live. But despite spending most of his life in a wheelchair and able to speak only through a computer, the theoretical physicist’s quest for the secrets of the universe has made him arguably the most famous scientist in the world. “I’m sure my disability has a bearing on why I’m well known,” he once said. “People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal with.” To mark his birthday, Hawking was to make a speech to friends and colleagues and host a symposium on “the state of the universe” at Cambridge University, where he has worked for decades. Much of his work has centred on bringing together relativity (the nature of space and time) and quantum theory (how the smallest particles in the universe behave) to explain the creation of the universe and how it is governed. In 1974, aged just 32, Hawking became one of the youngest fellows of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society. Five years later he became Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post once held by Isaac Newton. His fame moved beyond academia in 1988 with the publication of his book “A Brief History of Time”, which explained the nature of the universe to non-scientists, and sold millions of copies worldwide.

Hawking’s stardom was later cemented in cameos in “Star Trek” and “ The Simpsons”, where he tells the rotund Homer Simpson that he likes his theory of a “doughnut-shaped universe”, and may have to steal it. As Hawking’s

muscle. We are looking to improve the situation and he needs to test out new technology.” Mar tin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal and a former president of the Royal Society, who first met Hawk ing when

CAMBRIDGE: This file photo made available by the Science Museum, Professor Stephen Hawking sits in his office at University of Cambridge, England. — AP age advances, he could be at risk of losing his famous computerized voice due to the gradual loss of muscle control in his cheek, his personal assistant said ahead of his birthday. “His speech has got slower and slower and on a bad day he can only manage about one word a minute,” Judith Croasdell said in the Daily Telegraph. “We think it may be because of the deterioration in his check

they were both research students, marvelled at his longevity. He admitted that when they first met, “it was thought he might not live long enough to finish his PhD degree.” His survival made him a “medical marvel,” Rees said, but stressed that it was his work that would prove his lasting legacy. “His fame should not overshadow his scientific contributions because even though most

scientists are not as famous as he is, he has undoubtedly done more than anyone else since Einstein to improve our knowledge of gravity.” Hawking was just 21 when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease that attacks the nerves controlling voluntary movement. Brian Dickie, research director of the MND Association, says most sufferers live for less than five years, adding: “The fact that Stephen Hawking has lived with the disease for close to 50 years makes him exceptional.” Hawk ing admitted he felt “somewhat of a tragic character” af ter diagnosis, but he soon returned to work, securing a fellowship at Cambridge, and married Jane Wilde, with whom he had three children. Professor K ip Thorne, the acclaimed US theoretical physicist who will speak at the symposium on Sunday, said his illness had been instrumental to his work. “When Stephen lost the use of his hands and could no longer manipulate equations on paper, he compensated by training himself to manipulate complex shapes and topologies in his mind at great speed,” he said. “That ability has enabled him to see the solutions to deep physics problems that nobody else could solve, and that he probably would not have been able to solve, himself, without his newfound skill.” Hawking’s birthday will also be marked by a new exhibition celebrating his achievements which opens at London’s Science Museum on January 20. — AFP



Hawaii hit by seal killings Authorities baffled by continued slaughtering

The Delta (left) from the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin approaches the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru #2 for a closer look at a location off the coast of Australia. — AFP

Activists board Japan whaling ship SYDNEY: The Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group said three Australian activists were being held as “prisoners” by the Japanese harpoon fleet yesterday after sneaking aboard one of their vessels overnight to protest. Sea Shepherd said it had helped the three men from the Forest Rescue Australia environmental group to board the Shonan Maru No.2 16 miles (26 kilometers) off Australia’s west coast. “ The boats approached the Shonan Maru under the cover of darkness and the three negotiated their way past the razor wire and spikes and over the rails to successfully board the Japanese whaling vessel,” Sea Shepherd said of the Forest Rescue trio. They were now “being held as prisoners on board the Japanese vessel the Shonan Maru No. 2” which had been tailing the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin and had “armed Japanese military personnel,” Sea Shepherd claimed. Japan’s Fisheries Agency confirmed that three men who said they were Australian had boarded the Shonan Maru No.2 — a surveillance craftand that there were coastguard officers on board the ship. “Three men on a rubber boat quickly approached the Fisheries Agency’s monitoring vessel and climbed to the ship,” a fisheries official told AFP. “Currently the Fisheries Agency is interviewing the men. “This incident did not cause any injury to the (Japanese) crew (or) damage to the ship,” he added. The Australian government confirmed that it was aware of the incident and was expected to comment later yesterday. It is not the first time an activist has boarded the Shonan Maru No.2 — New Zealander Pete Bethune was arrested and taken back to Japan to be tried after sneaking onto the ship during the heated 20092010 campaign.

He was handed a two-year suspended sentence and spent five months in prison. In a statement Forest Rescue said it wanted to prevent the Shonan Maru from following the Steve Irwin back to the Southern Ocean. The Steve Irwin had to return to Australia last week because another Sea Shepherd ship, the Brigitte Bardot, was damaged in high seas and had to be escorted home for repairs, setting back the group’s annual harassment of the whalers. Forest Rescue said it was “making a stand to assist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their campaign to end illegal whale poaching in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.” “We are taking this action to remind the Australian government of their obligation to enforce existing laws pertaining to the prohibition of whaling ships in our waters,” the group added. “Forest Rescue are insulted and disappointed in our government for allowing the transit of whale poaching vessels in Australian waters.” The group has demanded that the Japanese return their protesters-Simon Peterffy, 44, Geoffrey Tuxworth, 47 and Glen Pendlebury, 27 — to shore and leave Australian waters. Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but Japan has since 1987 used a loophole to carry out “lethal research” in the name of science-a practice condemned by environmentalists and anti-whaling nations. Australia has taken Japan to the International Court of Justice seeking an end to its annual hunts but one of the men who boarded the Shonan Maru, Peterffy, said enough had not been done. “We are on board this ship because our government has failed to uphold its pre-election promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean,” he said, according to the Forest Rescue statement. — AFP

HONOLULU: Two Hawaiian monk seals were found bludgeoned to death on a remote coast of Molokai one was killed in mid-November and the other shortly before Christmas. Earlier this month, a dead seal showed up on Kauai. A fourth possible killing on Molokai is also under investigation. No one knows who is killing the seals - a critically endangered species - or why. But the deaths are coming as the federal government steps up its efforts to protect the seals, leading to simmering resentment among some fishermen who fear new regulations will trample upon their right to fish. The killings are also happening as the misguided notion spreads that the animals aren’t native to Hawaii and don’t belong here. “It’s really serious. This attitude, this negative attitude toward the seals has overpowered the concern that this is a species that’s going to become extinct,” said Walter Ritte, a Molokai resident and longtime activist who has sounded an alarm about the killings. Like pandas, the seals are adored by many humans for being cute, though their lazy demeanor and pudgy appearance belies the strength of a wild animal. Also like pandas, the animal is dangerously close to disappearing. There are only 1,100 left in the world, and scientists say the monk seal is on course to vanish in 50 to 100 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last year proposed two initiatives to give the seals a better shot at surviving. One would temporarily bring a few seals from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where competition for food and predators mean only a dismal 20 percent of seal pups live to be adults to the main Hawaiian Islands. There aren’t as many sharks to prey on seal pups, or large fish to compete with seal pups for food, around Kauai, Oahu, Maui and other places in the main Hawaiian Islands. This gives seals in this area, which is also where the state’s 1.4 million people live, an 80 percent chance of living to adulthood. NOAA is also proposing to expand federally protected zones - or critical habitat - for the seal to include parts of the main Hawaiian Islands. Parts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have been designated critical habitat since the 1980s. Neil Kanemoto, a lifelong recreational fisherman, said he didn’t

know who was killing the seals. He pointed out the last person to be convicted of killing a seal, a 78-yearold man who shot a pregnant monk seal on Kauai in 2009, was not a fisherman. But he said fishermen and locals are unhappy with the new regulations NOAA wants, and the agency wasn’t doing enough to work with local people to manage the situation. People may end up taking out

increase,” Kanemoto said. Ritte said part of the problem was that older people, who didn’t see many seals growing up or hear about them from their elders, are spreading the word that the seals don’t belong in Hawaii. A NOAA report released last year showed 35 percent of those surveyed at beaches and popular fishing areas on Kauai and Molokai believed the seals aren’t native to the

A nearly blind, endangered Hawaiian monk seal swims at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu. Hoailona, also known as KP2, has spent the past two years at a California research lab. He was first rescued when federal officials found him suckling on a rock three days after his mother abandoned him on Kauai. Hawaiian monk seals are so rare and under so many environmental threats that they’re on a path to go extinct in 50 to 100 years. — AP their frustration on the seals, Kanemoto said. “The point is, don’t shove this down people’s throats,” he said. “They’re making it an issue, and as a result, the poor monk seal may I’m not saying it is - may fall victim to repercussions from locals.” He said he wouldn’t be surprised if more seals were killed. “It’s not going to end. My position is, if the feds keep pushing in this way, it’s going to

islands. This is contradicted by archaeological digs that found monk seal bones in a human trash pit dating between the 15th and 18th centuries. The Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo, also mentions a creature like a monk seal - “a rat running beside the wave.” By the early 1900s, however, most monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands had been

hunted and killed for their meat and fur. Even until a decade ago, it was rare to encounter one in the main islands. Ritte said the seals have been showing up regularly on Molokai, a rural island of just 7,000 people, for about the past seven years. They’ve started to compete with subsistence fishermen who are already catching less because pollution runoff and overfishing have depleted fish stocks in the area. The issue is serious on Molokai, where the unemployment rate hovers over 15 percent and where people get one-third of their food from hunting, fishing, and gathering. “So here you have a fisherman. He’s been walking two to three hours to get to his fishing grounds over rough terrain. And then he runs into these seals. And it causes him to get only half his catch and a quarter of his catch,” Ritte said. “I think that is the essence of why.” He said the NOAA’s proposals are making things worse. “It’s like fuel to the fire,” he said. NOAA says moving a few seals to the main Hawaiian Islands was the only feasible and effective way to address the high mortality rate for seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Further, it says critical habitats aren’t intended to prevent public access to beaches and oceans. The agency says it wants to continue talking to fishermen and to address their concerns. Ritte believes no one would kill the seals if they understood the animals have been in Hawaii for millions of years. He said the state and federal governments and environmentalists need to get the word out quickly that the seals belong here. Usually he would say everyone should focus on educating the children, so they’ll grow up knowing better. But he said that approach may not work this time. “I don’t think we have that luxury because the seals might be gone by then. So we need to hit this generation. That’s going to take a lot of effort,” he said. William Aila, the head of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the state was preparing a monetary award for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for killing the seals. He said the department would also link its website to a page with information on the deep roots monk seals have in Hawaiian tradition. “We have a responsibility to do our part to help this species recover,” he said. —AP



W H AT ’ S O N Birthday Greetings Happy Birthday to Abdul Jabbar Abdullah. May Allah shower all His blessings on him and give him happiness, long life and prosperity. Blessings from his wife Mumtaz Begum, daughters Shamsath Begum, Safah Begum, Nishath Begum, son-in-law Barkath Ali and Elahi.

Upcoming events Aware Center Arabic lessons The AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Winter 1 Arabic language courses will be on until January 12th, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers & those working in the private business sector. Arabic classes at the AWARE Center are unique because students are provided with the chance to practice their Arabic through various social activities that aim at bringing Arabs and Westerners together. AWARE Arabic courses highlight: 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: Get ready get set - RunQ8 Registrations are now open for RunQ8, the annual 10km charity race to be held on January 21, 2012. Organized by the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) and Agility, the race route will run from Marina Crescent in Salmiya along the Gulf Road up to the Third Ring Road and back. The race is aimed at supporting health issues affecting our community and raising awareness around them. In its second year, RunQ8 is promoting road traffic safety. 20112021 has been named the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety with a goal to stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2021. In Kuwait, traffic accidents are the third leading cause of mortality and a large number of people and their families are affected by the debilitating effects of injuries caused by road accidents. Last year, the race raised over KWD 50,000 for the Kuwait University’s Community Eye Health Care Initiative that supports Vision 2020, a joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). RunQ8 invites all members of the community to join in this initiative and help support road traffic safety in Kuwait. To register contact the FSRI office 25720338 or visit the race for more details. There are also pre-race articles and videos produced by FSRI’s specialized sports trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists to help get you ready for the race. Please see our website and our Facebook page for updates on our running and walking clinic, race events, and other initiatives.

IKEA Kuwait holds Facebook contest for its loyal fans


KEA Kuwait announced yesterday the launch of its “IKEA Kuwait’s Biggest Fan Contest”, in an effort to offer its loyal fan base the chance to win a wide range of innovative gifts. The contest will run through until February 2, 2012. IKEA Kuwait is now granting its old and new customers the chance to start their New Year with an exciting range of new products that cater for their houses. Participants need only to fill in an online form that is present on IKEA Kuwait’s Facebook page and choose their favorite options from across three products that are available. Contestants will have to post their comments about why they deserve to win and how will the product improve life at home. Three winners will be chosen depending on their entries about each product such as eclectic and modern Kiplan two-seater sofa, a fashionable Maskros pendant lamp and a practical IKEA 365 + cookware set that includes a pot and saucepan with a lid and a frying pan. To get started, customers need only to ‘like’ the IKEA Kuwait Facebook page. The page will also enable customers to stay up-to-date with the latest promotions and newest collections. Winners will be contacted by the IKEA Kuwait’s team and can collect their gift at the IKEA store. Contestants interested in joining the IKEA Kuwait Facebook contest can log onto to enter and win their favorite item.


elebrating the new year, the Egyptian restaurant Hosny recently held a special dinner for the Egyptian military attache Col Nader Saleh and his wife Dr Mona, his assistant Maj Mohammed Adel and his wife Reham, the new assistant military attache Lt Col Waleed Al-Sahfe and his wife Eng Nahed. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Cinemagic schedule Thursday, January 12th at 7:30pm THE DINNER GAME Each week, Pierre and his friends organize what is called as “un dÓner de cons”. Everyone brings the dumbest guy he could find as a guest. Pierre thinks his champ -FranÁois Pignon- will steal the show. Saturday, January 14th at 7:30pm THE GREAT DICTATOR In Chaplin’s satire on Nazi Germany, dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a double... a poor Jewish barber... who one day is mistaken for Hynkel. Thursday, January 19th at 7:30pm


ozhikode District NRI Association President Zubair MM hands financial aid to fellow Feroke Kozhikode native Safiya, who has decided to leave Kuwait for good.

Vichar Bharati seminar on Swami Vivekananda


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

OCYM free medical camp


s part of yearly program, Orthodox Christian Youth Movement (OCYM), the spiritual organization of St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Maha Edavaka, Kuwait, is arranging a Free Medical Camp on Friday 13th January 2012 in Kuwait at Indian Central School, Jleeb Al Shuyoukh, Abbassiya, in coordination with Kuwait Heart Foundation. KHF is providing their Mobile Cardiology Unit for testing blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol for this camp. This camp is mainly for the welfare of the expatriate working community in Kuwait, specially from labor camps. Those who are interested to avail this facility, please contact at on or before 10/1/2010.

Carnatic lovers rejoice!


uwait Carnatic Music Forum proudly announces Saint Satguru Thyagaraja Aaradhana 2012 on 12th and 13th January at Indian Community School, senior branch Salmiyah. The two days program will feature famous musicians from India and around Kuwait. The inaugural day 12th January Time : 6.30pm Vocal : Innissai Banu Shri Trichy S Ganesan. Violin : Karunagapilly S Balamurali Mrudangam : Perunna G Harikumar Ghatom : Kottyam B Unnikrishnan 13th January: The program will start in the morning 9.00 am. The day long program will have Sangeethaarchana by students and devotees

around Kuwait. The objective of the program is to provide a platform for the local artists to perform their skills to the local enthusiastic public. The program will have a grand finale with Ghanaraga Pancharatna Keerathan Aapapanam by eminent musicians around Kuwait. The Pancharatna Aalapanam will be led by Trichy S Ganesan. Ganesan is a leading Carnatic vocalist from South India working with All India Radio Madhurai as a staff artist. He is also conferred with many awards. He has 35 years of experience as a performing artist. Kottayam B Unnikrishnan is a leading Ghatom artist from Kerala. He is an assistant professor in mrudangam with Swathi Thirunal Music College, Trivandrum. He has many concerts to his credits in India and abroad with top most leading artist from Carnatic music world.

THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED Should Tom (Duris) make like his thuggish father or pursue his dream of becoming a pianist? Saturday, January 21st at 7:30pm THRONE OF BLOOD A ruthlessly ambitious lord, egged on by his wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become Emperor. Thursday, January 26th at 7:30pm GREASE Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. But when they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance? Saturday, January 28th at 7:30pm AKIRA A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psionic psychopath that only two kids and a group of psionics can stop. Cinemagic Kuwait, is organizing these events as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by Increasing the public’s interest in - and appreciation for - the art of film-making. Cinemagic movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the roof on top of Alghanim Electronics and LG. Entrance is free of charge and includes refreshments, popcorn and much more.

KERA Winter Fest on Jan 13


uwait Ernakulam Residents Association (KERA) is conducting a Winter Fest on Friday, January 13, 2012 at Mangaf Auditorium from 5pm onwards. KERA family members will present cultural programs. For more details call Jomy Augustine (General Convener) 66874364, 66900455



W H AT ’ S O N

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

A group photo of IWG members with Narjis Al-Shatti.

IWG celebrates Pakistani culture By Nawara Fattahova


he International Women’s Group (IWG) held its first meeting of the year 2012 yesterday morning at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The event had a country-theme to it, focusing mainly on the rich heritage of Pakistan. Dr Hasna Iftikhar, the spouse of Pakistani ambassador to Kuwait, delivered a welcome speech addressing more than 100 members of the IWG. A fashion show showcasing Pakistani traditional attires was held, followed by a breakfast buffet that included many signature Pakistani dishes. Members meet up regularly to hold different events and activities. “These activities include celebrating different events and visiting traditional places, museums, Arab Fund, Bayt Lothan, and others. In addition, it includes cultural activities presented by female diplomats. This year, we will have a presenta-

tion by Indonesian women among others,” Narjis Al-Shatti told the Kuwait Times. She highlighted that the IWG Kuwait

Dr Hasna Ifthikar, wife of the Pakistani ambassador Chapter is a branch of the International Women’s Association headquartered in Denmark. “Here in Kuwait, the wives of new ambassadors will meet with the members to exchange information about their country, traditions, food, cul-

ture, and others,” stressed Al-Shatti. Al-Shatti praised the activities undertaken by wives of Pakistani diplomats who regularly present events in Kuwait. “Dr Hasna Iftikhar is one of the most active women to came to Kuwait. They also have a Pakistani Women’s League. Dr Hasna wanted to hold this activity in the beginning of the year, and it has been successful. I really saw new things that I was not aware of about Pakistan,” she stated. She went on to say, “Dr Hasna provided a lot of information about Pakistan including the weather, their products, and the likes. We witnessed the beauty of Pakistani textiles and fabrics through the fashion show, with great work made on the traditional Pakistani outfits. I believe that many popular brands are inspired by the Pakistani traditional dress. Dr Hasna also gave us a nice gift on the occasion of the New Year,” she added.

“This event proves that the Pakistani woman works hard for the benefit of her country and community. Also on Friday, they are organizing special activities for Pakistani children in Kuwait,” concluded Al-Shatti. “I hope that the IWG members enjoyed today’s event. The traditional costumes shown here today are all Pakistani dresses. The seven models displaying it are working women who took time off to participate in this event by displaying their own dresses. These are different styles and materials including embroidery and gold work,” she noted. The members also enjoyed handicrafts displayed at the event, which are from some Pakistani women’s private collection. “Here are a variety of Pakistani items representing our culture including books, accessories, a 100 year old scarf. I would like to thank the team who prepared this great work, including the models,” Dr Hasna added.

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

EMBASSY OF GERMANY 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 (Al-Babtain) Mezzanine (M3) opposite Sharq Mall Kuwait 22924444 Fax: 22924442 Further information are available on the following websites: nnnnnnn

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

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

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

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

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

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Untamed & Uncut Dogs 101 Wildest Africa Wildest India Whale Wars Dogs 101 Animal Cops Phoenix Night In Too Deep Gorilla School Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Talk To The Animals The Really Wild Show Breed All About It Bad Dog Dogs 101 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Bondi Vet Wildlife SOS Last Chance Highway Animal Cops Houston Wildest Africa Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Talk To The Animals Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Dogs 101 My Cat From Hell Bondi Vet Breed All About It Dogs 101 Wildest Africa Must Love Cats

00:20 After You’ve Gone 00:50 New Tricks 01:40 Doctor Who Confidential 01:50 The Weakest Link 02:30 The World’s Toughest Driving Tests 03:30 As Time Goes By 04:00 Balamory 04:20 Jackanory Junior 04:35 Penelope K, By The Way 04:50 The Large Family 05:00 Buzz & Tell 05:05 Tweenies 05:25 3rd & Bird 05:35 Nina And The Neurons 05:50 Balamory 06:10 Jackanory Junior 06:25 Penelope K, By The Way 06:35 The Large Family 06:45 Buzz & Tell 06:50 Tweenies 07:10 3rd & Bird 07:20 Nina And The Neurons 07:35 Big Top 08:05 After You’ve Gone 08:35 The Weakest Link 09:20 The Green Green Grass 09:50 Doctors 10:20 Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness 11:10 Monarch Of The Glen 12:00 Big Top 12:30 After You’ve Gone 13:00 The Weakest Link 13:45 The Green Green Grass 14:15 Doctors 14:45 Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness 15:35 Monarch Of The Glen 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Holby City 19:00 Big Top 19:30 One Foot In The Grave 20:00 Waking The Dead 20:50 After You’ve Gone 21:20 The Green Green Grass 21:50 New Tricks 22:40 One Foot In The Grave 23:10 The Weakest Link 23:55 Elephant Diaries

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Gok’s Fashion Fix What Not To Wear Cash In The Attic USA Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA Masterchef Australia

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Masterchef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger Gok’s Fashion Fix Celebrity Fantasy Homes House Swap Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA Masterchef Cash In The Attic USA Gok’s Fashion Fix Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow

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Dexters Laboratory 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 Pink Panther And Pals Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm New Yogi Bear Show Puppy In My Pocket The Garfield Show Pink Panther And Pals The Scooby Doo Show Tom & Jerry Dastardly And Muttley Top Cat New Yogi Bear Show Puppy In My Pocket Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas The Jetsons Duck Dodgers Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Garfield Show Pink Panther And Pals The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Puppy In My Pocket Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry The Scooby Doo Show Scooby-Doo And ScrappyScooby Doo Where Are You! A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas New Yogi Bear Show Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Dastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show Dexters Laboratory

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

05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:30 The Amazing World Of Gumball 08:45 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 09:15 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 09:40 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:05 Angelo Rules 10:30 Chowder 10:55 Adventure Time 11:20 Eliot Kid 11:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 12:00 Ben 10 12:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 12:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:15 I Am Weasel 13:40 Best Ed 14:05 Cow & Chicken 14:30 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 14:50 Eliot Kid 15:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 15:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 16:05 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:55 The Amazing World Of Gumball 17:10 Adventure Time 17:35 Regular Show 18:00 Cow & Chicken 18:25 Generator Rex 18:50 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:15 Angelo Rules 19:30 Total Drama World Tour 19:55 Hero 108 20:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 20:50 Adventure Time 21:25 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 21:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 22:25 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 22:50 Cow & Chicken 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Ben 10 23:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog

00:20 Good Luck Charlie 00:45 Replacements 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 02:00 A Kind Of Magic 02:20 A Kind Of Magic 02:45 Stitch 03:35 Kim Possible 04:25 Emperor’s New School 05:15 Stitch 06:00 Hannah Montana 06:20 Recess 06:45 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 07:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 07:30 Wizards Of Waverly Place 07:55 Phineas And Ferb 08:10 Shake It Up 09:00 Phineas & Ferb: Across The Second Dimen 10:30 Have A Laugh 10:45 Phineas And Ferb 12:00 Shake It Up 12:45 Good Luck Charlie 13:10 Good Luck Charlie 13:30 Suite Life On Deck 14:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:45 Fish Hooks 15:00 Princess Protection Program 16:30 Have A Laugh 16:35 Suite Life On Deck 17:00 Fairly Odd Parents 17:25 Good Luck Charlie 17:50 Shake It Up 18:35 Have A Laugh 18:41 Suite Life On Deck 19:10 Suite Life On Deck 19:35 Suite Life On Deck 20:00 Good Luck Charlie 20:25 Hannah Montana 20:50 Hannah Montana 21:15 Suite Life On Deck 21:35 Suite Life On Deck 22:00 Sonny With A Chance 22:25 Shake It Up 22:50 Shake It Up 23:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place 23:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place


00:40 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:25 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:10 19:40 20:05 21:00 21:30 22:25 23:20

Animal Cops South Africa Mythbusters Coal Deadliest Catch How It’s Made Cake Boss Border Security Auction Hunters Destroyed In Seconds Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Auction Hunters How It’s Made Cake Boss Coal Deadliest Catch Gold Rush: Alaska

00:40 Nasa’s Greatest Missions 01:35 Mighty Ships 02:25 The Tech Show 02:50 Smash Lab 07:10 What’s That About? 08:00 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 08:50 How Does That Work? 09:15 How Stuff’s Made 09:40 Punkin Chunkin 2010 10:35 Robocar 11:25 Engineered 12:20 Da Vinci’s Machines 13:15 The Gadget Show 13:40 The Gadget Show 14:05 The Future Of... 14:55 How Does That Work? 15:20 How Stuff’s Made 15:50 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 16:40 The Tech Show 17:05 Da Vinci’s Machines 18:00 The Gadget Show 18:25 The Gadget Show 18:50 Engineered 19:40 Building The Biggest 20:30 Mighty Ships 21:20 Da Vinci’s Machines 22:10 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 23:00 Building The Biggest 23:50 Mighty Ships

00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:05 Gourmet Farmer 01:30 Unwrapped 01:55 Grill It! With Bobby Flay 02:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 04:25 Chopped 05:15 Kid In A Candy Store 05:40 Unique Sweets 06:05 World Cafe Asia 06:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 06:50 Food Network Challenge 07:35 Barefoot Contessa 08:00 Food Network Star 08:50 Gourmet Farmer 09:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:40 Kid In A Candy Store 10:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 10:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 10:55 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 11:20 World Cafe Asia 11:45 Everyday Italian 12:10 Unwrapped 12:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 13:00 Ten Dollar Dinners 13:25 Guy’s Big Bite 13:50 Aarti Party 14:15 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 14:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 15:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:30 Unwrapped 15:55 Paula’s Best Dishes 16:20 Mexican Made Easy 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Gourmet Farmer 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Aarti Party 19:15 Kid In A Candy Store 19:40 World Cafe Asia 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Food Network Star 21:20 Aarti Party 21:45 Aarti Party 22:10 Everyday Italian

00:20 Special Agent Oso 00:50 Jungle Junction 01:15 Little Einsteins 01:40 Higglytown Heroes 02:10 Jo Jo’s Circus 02:30 Special Agent Oso 03:00 Jungle Junction 03:25 Little Einsteins 03:50 Higglytown Heroes 04:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 04:40 Special Agent Oso 05:10 Jungle Junction 05:35 Little Einsteins 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:30 Jo Jo’s Circus 06:50 Jungle Junction 07:15 Higglytown Heroes 07:45 Handy Manny 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:15 Jungle Junction 08:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:10 The Hive 09:20 Handy Manny 09:35 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 10:05 The Hive 10:15 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 10:25 Timon And Pumbaa 10:45 The Hive 10:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 11:20 Handy Manny 11:50 Jungle Junction 12:20 Imagination Movers 12:45 Lazytown 13:10 Handy Manny 13:25 Jungle Junction 13:40 Imagination Movers 14:05 The Hive 14:15 Special Agent Oso 14:25 Little Einsteins 14:50 Lazytown 15:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates

16:05 Handy Manny 16:30 The Hive 16:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:55 Imagination Movers 17:20 Special Agent Oso 17:30 Handy Manny 18:00 Jungle Junction 18:45 Handy Manny 18:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:25 The Hive 19:35 Little Einsteins 20:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 20:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 20:30 Animated Stories 20:35 Handy Manny 20:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:05 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:20 The Hive 21:30 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 21:33 A Poem Is... 21:40 Jungle Junction 21:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:20 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 22:35 Special Agent Oso 22:50 Little Einsteins 23:15 Timmy Time

00:25 Style Star 01:25 20 Most Shocking Unsolved Crimes 03:15 E! Investigates 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Then And Now 05:30 Wildest TV Show Moments 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 10:15 E! Investigates 12:05 Kendra 12:35 Fashion Police 13:05 Dirty Soap 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 E! Investigates 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Bridalplasty 17:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 18:55 E!es 19:55 Kendra 20:25 Kendra 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Dirty Soap 22:25 The Soup

00:00 Cowboy U 00:50 Wrestling With Reality 02:30 Ed’s Up 03:20 Untracked 05:50 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships... 07:30 Ride Guide Snow 2008 09:00 Asian X Games 2010 09:25 IFMXF 2010 11:55 Dr Danger 12:20 Man’s Work 12:45 Fantasy Factory 13:10 Fantasy Factory 13:35 Final Fu 14:25 Mantracker 15:15 World Combat League 16:05 Dr Danger 16:30 Man’s Work 16:55 Fantasy Factory 17:20 Fantasy Factory 17:45 Asian X Games 2010 18:10 IFMXF 2010 20:40 Mantracker 21:30 Final Fu 22:20 Ed’s Up 23:10 World Combat League

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

Couples Who Kill True CSI Nightmare Next Door Extreme Drug Smuggling Couples Who Kill True CSI On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Undercover Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared Undercover Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Undercover Real Emergency Calls Killer Outbreaks Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared

00:00 Travel Madness 00:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 00:30 Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos 01:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 01:00 Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos 01:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 01:30 Great Migrations 02:00 Weird & Wonderful Hotels 02:30 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 02:30 Weird & Wonderful Hotels 03:00 Bondi Rescue 03:30 Banged Up Abroad 03:30 Inside 04:30 Ancient Megastructures 04:30 Banged Up Abroad 05:30 Destination Extreme 05:30 Taboo 06:00 Travel Madness 06:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 06:30 Naked Science 07:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 07:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet


00:00 The Wizard Of Gore-R 02:00 Assassination Tango-18 04:00 Army Of Darkness-18 06:00 The Librarian: The Curse Of Judas Chalice-PG15 08:00 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course-PG15 09:45 2012-PG15 12:30 Blue Crush 2-PG15 14:30 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course-PG15 16:00 Tracker-PG15 18:00 Blue Crush 2-PG15 20:00 Cross-PG15 22:00 Tupac: Resurrection-18

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 22:45

Peter And Vandy-18 Miles From Nowhere-PG15 Paper Man-PG15 The Eagle-PG15 Miles From Nowhere-PG15 Shrek Forever After-FAM Planet 51-PG The Nanny Express-PG15 The Boys Are Back-PG Just Wright-PG15 Gentlemen Broncos-PG15 The King’s Speech-PG15

12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Will And Grace 13:00 Melissa And Joey 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 16:30 The Office 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 Parks And Recreation 20:00 Mad Love 20:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 21:00 The Daily Show Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report Global Edition 22:00 Enlightened 22:30 Hung 23:00 The Cleveland Show OSN FIRST 00:00 Unforgettable 01:00 Pan Am 02:00 Top Gear (US) 03:00 Body Of Proof 04:00 White Collar 05:00 Pan Am 06:00 Good Morning America 07:00 Law & Order: Los Angeles 08:00 Emmerdale 08:30 Coronation Street 09:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 10:00 The Martha Stewart Show 11:00 The View 12:00 Unforgettable 13:00 Body Of Proof 14:00 Law & Order: Los Angeles 15:00 Live Good Morning America 17:00 The Ellen DeGeneres Show 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 Revenge

01:00 02:30 04:15 06:30 08:45 11:00 13:00 14:30 16:45 19:00 21:00 23:00

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

Fatal Secrets-PG15 Army Of Darkness-18 Bram Stoker’s Dracula-18 X2-PG The Karate Kid I-PG15 Rocky II-PG15 Arctic Predator-PG15 The Karate Kid I-PG15 Iron Man 2-PG15 Talento De Barrio-PG15 Tupac: Resurrection-18 The Morgue-18

5 Dollars A Day-PG15 Blue Streak-PG15 Sleepover-PG15 Molly-PG15 Josie And The Pussycats-PG15 Frank Mcklusky, C.I.-PG15 16 To Life-PG15 It’s A Wonderful Afterlife-PG15 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 Ball & Chain-PG15 Get Him To The Greek-18 Greenberg-18

01:15 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 14:30 17:00 19:00 PG15 20:45 22:45

Veronica Guerin-PG15 Dean Spanley-PG Head Of State-PG15 Secretariat-PG15 You Again-PG15 Antwone Fisher-PG15 The Eclipse-PG15 Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 You Again-PG15 The Time Traveller’s WifePretty Bird-18 Das Boot-PG15

02:00 Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure-PG15 04:00 I’ll Be Home For ChristmasPG15 06:15 Globehunters-FAM 08:00 Gladiators: The Conspiracy-PG 10:00 The Last Airbender-PG 12:15 Tooth Fairy-PG 14:30 Young Fisherman-PG 16:00 Open Season 3-FAM 17:45 Tooth Fairy-PG 20:00 The Spy Next Door-PG 22:00 Young Fisherman-PG 23:30 Open Season 3-FAM

02:00 WWE SmackDown 04:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 05:00 UFC 142 Countdown 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 WWE Bottom Line 08:00 Cricket Twenty20 11:00 Live Cricket Twenty20 14:00 WWE SmackDown 16:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 17:00 Trans World Sport 18:00 UFC 142 Countdown 19:00 Cricket Twenty20 22:00 WWE Bottom Line

02:00 ICC Cricket World 02:30 Futbol Mundial 03:00 Scottish FA Cup 05:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 07:00 Scottish Cup 09:00 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 09:30 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 10:00 World Cup of Pool 11:00 Live Cricket Twenty20 14:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 16:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 17:00 Scottish Cup 19:00 Cricket Twenty20

01:00 Trans World Sport 02:00 Futbol Mundial 02:30 World Hockey 03:00 World Cup of Pool 04:00 World Pool Masters 05:00 US Bass Fishing 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 European PGA Tour 11:30 Scottish Cup 15:30 Trans World Sport 16:30 World Hockey 17:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 19:00 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 20:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 23:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights

02:00 WWE SmackDown 04:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 05:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 WWE Bottom Line 08:00 WWE Experience 09:00 Speedway FIM World 10:00 Le Mans Series Highlights 11:00 V8 Supercars Championship 13:00 WWE NXT 14:00 UFC 142 Countdown 15:00 Le Mans Series Highlights 16:00 Speedway 17:00 Aquabikes 18:00 WWE SmackDown

01:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Chasing Mummies 300 Spartans: The Last Stand American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Chasing Mummies 300 Spartans: The Last Stand American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Chasing Mummies 300 Spartans: The Last Stand American Pickers How The Earth Was Made Ice Road Truckers Ax Men

00:05 Glam Fairy 01:00 Open House 02:00 Videofashion Daily 02:55 Videofashion News 03:25 How Do I Look? 04:20 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 05:15 Married Away 06:10 Homes With Style 06:35 Area 07:05 Clean House 08:00 Videofashion News 09:00 Videofashion Daily 10:00 Open House 10:55 How Do I Look? 11:50 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 12:50 Clean House: Search For The Messiest... 13:50 Clean House 14:45 How Do I Look? 15:45 Giuliana & Bill 16:40 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 17:35 Jerseylicious 18:30 How Do I Look? 20:25 Open House 21:20 Clean House: New York 22:15 Elements Of Style 22:40 Elements Of Style

00:00 Third Class Traveller 01:00 Globe Trekker 02:00 The Ethical Hedonist 03:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 04:00 Culinary Asia 05:00 Cruise 1st 09:00 Planet Food 10:00 Globe Trekker Special 11:00 Tokyo Revealed 12:00 Cruise 1st 12:30 Cruise 1st 13:00 Far Flung Floyd 13:30 Floyd Around the Med 14:00 Globe Trekker 15:00 Sophie Grigson In The Souk 15:30 Cruise 1st 16:30 Down the Line 17:30 Culinary Asia 18:30 Globe Trekker 19:30 Cruise 1st 20:00 Cruise 1st 20:30 Floyd Around the Med 21:00 Floyd Around the Med 21:30 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 22:00 Cruise 1st 22:30 Cruise 1st 23:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides

01:30 03:20 05:10 06:35 08:00 09:45 PG 11:15 12:55 14:45 16:30 18:45 21:15 23:00

Young Bess-FAM Woman Of The Year-PG Wife vs. Secretary-FAM The Strip-PG The Wings Of Eagles-FAM Where Were You When The...To Have And Have Not-FAM Show Boat-FAM Captain Nemo And The...-FAM All This, And Heaven Too-PG Where Eagles Dare-PG Easter Parade-FAM Reckless-18

Classifieds MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2012




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



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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

FOR SALE Used furniture for immediate sale, Salmiya, wardrobe, bed (queen size without mattress) with 2 side drawers, TV table and computer table. Please contact 66589044. (C 3810) 5-1-2012

CHANGE OF NAME I, MARTHA ANGELINA LAWRENCE, holder of Indian Passport No: H5962906 hereby change my name to MARTA ANGELINA RAMOS. (C 3816) 8-1-2012 CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA Passport No: E0787712 would like to state that I am known as CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA and in all my dealings and documents I am known by name CATARINA JOSEFINA DE SOUZA only. (C 3814) 7-1-2012 I, Pokala Eswara Reddy, Passport No: E1090304, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 22-52006 in the state of Kuwait and I have changed my name as MUHAMMED ISLAM. (C 3811) I, Modem Ramanjaneyulu, Passport No: J5550040, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 26-72010 in the State of Kuwait and I have changed my name as SUHAIL. (C 3812) I, Balla Yedu Kondalu, Passport No: E2221790, hereby declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam on 02-6-

2003 in the State of Kuwait and I have changed my name as AHMED. (C 3813) 5-1-2012 SITUATION VACANT Required two drivers for a Kuwaiti family at monthly salary KD 100 and must be having at least five years experience. Call 97554010. (C 3815) 7-1-2012


It is notified for information that my original certificate of secondary school exam year 2001 roll no. 6101726 pass out from CBSE, Delhi has been actually lost. Saima Niamatullah. Mobile: 96566495067. (C 3808) It is notified for information

No: 15323

that my original certificate of Sr Sec exam year 2003 roll 620116 pass out from CBSE Delhi has been lost. Saima Niamatuallah. Mobile 96566495067. (C 3809) 5-1-2012

FOR RENT A park in Wafra animal pens, very clean, over an area of 2500m, very large fenced yard in front (5) rooms, saloons, separate diwaniyas and swimming pool, fountain, children games tent.

94426116 For rent in Farwaniya, basement 700m, car parking. 66920123 Flat in Maidan Hawally, one room, living room, bathroom, super deluxe finished kitchen, outstanding location. Rent KD 195. Foreigners and expatriates only. Central satellite, C-A/C and boiler. 66980123 A floor in Dasman, 300m, outstanding location, on main street can be sued by lawyer, consultations, clinics, health club, saloon, workshop, training center. 66980123



stars CROSSWORD 552



Aries (March 21-April 19) Courage and confidence reign at this time. Others will follow your lead in any group effort. Your energy is high—perfect for getting some exercise or chopping wood. Just make sure any new projects are short-term. This is a good time to lead the way on projects—your creativity is unusually heightened. Your desire to succeed and improve your income may find you concentrating on ways to improve your resume. You may also consider further education. Helping friends and relating to their true feelings can be accomplished with little effort on your part. You can be a good listener. Friends and family are a great source of strength and you enjoy building on the relationships you have with family, as often as possible.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Tomorrow is the key word for today. Some days it is okay to put off until tomorrow all those chores you could do now—this is one of those days. A day of relaxation may mean doing things you would not usually do. Your idea of stepping outside your everyday norm may be a day of fishing or a day of playing with the kids in your family . . . perhaps giving parents a day at the movies. Although you are very energetic and interested in sports, you might enjoy helping a loved one complete some project. Your ability to effectively communicate with both friends and colleagues is on the increase. The practical use of your time and energy will most certainly benefit you and anyone around you. This is a day of relaxation and building on relationships.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. (linguistics) The form of a word after all affixes are removed. 5. French revolutionary leader (born in Switzerland) who was a leader in overthrowing the Girondists and was stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday (1743-1793). 10. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail. 13. A member of the Athapaskan people of the Trinity River valley in California. 14. With the mouth wide open as in wonder or awe. 15. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 16. A blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically. 17. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 18. Support resembling the rib of an animal. 19. Covered with paving material. 21. A wired or starched collar of intricate lace. 23. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 24. A public promotion of some product or service. 25. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 26. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 27. Type genus of the Annonaceae. 31. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 33. Light informal conversation for social occasions. 34. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 36. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 39. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 41. The compass point midway between northeast and east. 42. Tooth on the rim of gear wheel. 43. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 44. A state in northwestern North America. 46. A speech defect that involves pronouncing s like voiceless th and z like voiced th. 51. The Mongol people living the the central and eastern parts of Outer Mongolia. 55. Any of several plants of the genus Manihot having fleshy roots yielding a nutritious starch. 58. A particular environment or walk of life. 60. A hospital unit staffed and equipped to provide intensive care. 61. (Greek mythology) One of the three Gorgons. 64. Cooking utensil consisting of a wide metal vessel. 65. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 66. The capital of Croatia. 67. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. Adopted in order to deceive. 2. Tropical American flat-jointed prickly pear. 3. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 4. The capital and largest city of Equatorial Guinea on the island of Bioko in the Gulf of Guinea. 5. God of death. 6. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 7. British dominion over India (1757-1947). 8. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 9. Italian operatic soprano (born in 1922). 10. A genus of Mustelidae. 11. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 12. A wealthy man (who made his fortune in the Orient). 20. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 22. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 28. Plant with an elongated head of broad stalked leaves resembling celery. 29. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 30. (informal) Of the highest quality. 32. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 35. Have confidence or faith in. 37. A polyvalent metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in its properties. 38. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 40. A drug (trade names Calan and Isoptin) used as an oral or parenteral calcium blocker in cases of hypertension or congestive heart failure or angina or migraine. 45. Long-established Hungarian breed of tall light-footed but sturdy white dog. 46. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 47. A vehicle resembling a bicycle but having skis instead of wheels. 48. A small constellation near the South Pole between Tucana and Ara. 49. A person who makes deceitful pretenses. 50. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 52. A rye bread made with molasses or brown sugar. 53. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 54. (Hindu) A manner of sitting (as in the practice of Yoga). 56. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 57. A stick that people can lean on to help them walk. 59. An emotional response that has been acquired by conditioning. 62. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 63. A heavy silvery toxic univalent and bivalent metallic element.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You are in touch with your feelings and very loving—this is a good time to call old friends or spend time with loved ones. The love you give will be returned tenfold. Your sensitivity to others is increased. This may encourage you to spend a little time visiting any home-bound people you may know. Be sure to keep an open mind about ideas or proposals that a close relative suggests, paying attention to any details. A time of expanding your mental horizons is at hand and you may consider signing up for class to learn a skill or gather information about a future travel destination. Letter writing, bookstores and time to visit interesting people are your possibilities for this afternoon. Curiosity will take you anywhere and maybe everywhere.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


A common interest in spiritual and mystical values among family members may occur today. After the noon meal everyone has places to go, things to do and people to see. You might consider consolidating your friendships and strengthening them before they disappear from your mind. Perhaps it has been a long time since you have seen a special friend. Spending time with close, old friends is advisable at this time. Try to reflect on past accomplishments and the friends you enjoy. It is a super day for socializing and for catching up on the happenings of these friends—perhaps through phone calls or writing. Your artistic sensibilities are heightened this evening. You will enjoy relaxing tonight by involving yourself with some creative interest.

Leo (July 23-August 22) If you have a fairly flexible nature, today will offer no problems for you. Try to use this period to break out of counterproductive habits. You may take a serious attitude to just about all aspects of your life just now. Perhaps you are reassessing your future goals. This is an excellent time to sit down alone and get many things accomplished. You are apt to spend a great deal of time communicating with co-workers and people apart from work later this afternoon. Perhaps others want to contribute to a group project. Some planning would be a good thing. You will most likely be full of energy and ready to take on the world. The synthesis or mixture of your creative energy with a partner’s realism and practicality could prove most rewarding.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Outside forces, good or bad, may cloud your judgment today—give yourself time to think. Being in too rushed or too busy is a blockage to the wisdom on which you rely. Your artistic and sensitive side is insightful and you may start a creative project or attend a cultural event. Relationship with a spouse is on a solid ground. You and a loved one are happily in tune with each other. Agreements are easily reached. Expressing affections should come easily and can do much good for your disposition now. Your thirst for freedom and excitement, while a definite boon to any relationship, should not completely dominate your decision-making process. Creativeness adds to the ability to think quickly on your feet.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A little extra energy is available now to sort out some of those relationship problems you have been pushing aside until another day. Better deal with them or they could make you irritable. You may also decide to take full stock of your accounts and debts so as to find out where you stand. There may be several choices as to how you will spend your energies in the future. You may enjoy sports activities with friends later this afternoon. Really good friendships are not easy to find and you have some good friends who enjoy your company. This is a good time to nurture those friendships. This evening, you and your family may decide to plan some future renovations for the home. This may work best if all are allowed their own points of view.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

You should find no problem in communicating with regar The time is ripe for some unexpected changes in the normal routine of family life. You may see the family circle increase in numbers through marriage or new birth. Also, you may spend a great deal of time engaged in intellectual pursuits. You strive for domestic happiness that may or may not include the cooperation of others. You may enjoy good relations with family members and the financial position may improve because of your association with a generous relative. It is time to spend a little more time with some of the younger generation in your family and perhaps teach some life skills that would be helpful to their future like car repair, camping, gardening, etc. Grilling skills could also be taught as it would be helpful when there is no electricity.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

You may not feel at the top of your mental alertness today and this may be the best time to step up and be more physical. Unless there is a headache, an activity of moving your muscles in some project or chore will energize the whole body. You can return to the mental work you had planned on doing in a little while. A young person has a birthday soon and you may have a craft idea planned for the big day. Today is a good time to complete your project because you will have help if you want it. Later this afternoon, you may feel like joining in with the family and watching a movie, partaking in games or creating music together. The music you play together is infectious and you may discover several friends join in to share an evening of music.

You may feel the need to secure your own feelings about yourself through another person. You may try to increase your power of attraction, consciously or subconsciously, during this time. This could mean a new hair color or hair style—perhaps a new outfit. You face remarkable responsibilities in relationship with loved ones and are apt to have difficulty expressing wants and desires openly to companions. You should try to loosen up and enjoy these companions without being afraid to voice true feelings. You may feel more like sharing some time with your lover or with close friends this evening. Feeling cared for and needed is comfortable; the lack of these things can cause an instinctive feeling of uneasiness.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) There is an interest in religion and philosophy. There are many questions raised about mysterious topics like life’s purpose. Talk among friends is serious at this time. Also, there is a strong wish to make your surroundings as pleasant as possible. This phase marks an excellent time to be with loved ones, whether at work or at play. You are filled with the energy and the desire to be with others. There may be opportunities for a party or other types of social gathering, like a family reunion or a trip to the zoo with friends. Go for it! Periodically this day, you run new ideas through your head about making more money through rational, intellectual process than with brute, physical action. Ideas for fulfilling your dreams are beginning to take form.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

This is not a good time to make any concrete decisions about a relationship or business deal. Rather, it’s best to spend time alone and enjoy the quiet surroundings—perhaps music. Your thoughts may tend to turn inward; toward your situation in life. If you see something that you can fix, fix it, otherwise move forward. The actions of today will have long lasting effects—careful. Also, you should open up to relatives at this time—there is a great deal of emotional support available for you. This afternoon you may seek out the friends who are unconventional in their social behavior—perhaps to seek release from the strictures you see society placing on you. You attract a new love interest, but it may be of short duration—move slowly.



e niv rsar n





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12 °C

Industrial Shuwaikh



11:55 1 1:55


76 %





Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










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25388462 25381200







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lifestyle G O S S I P

Griffin gets Bravo network talk show

omic Kathy Griffin is never shy about offering her opinions. Soon she’ll have a weekly outlet for them. The Bravo cable television network said Saturday that it will premiere “Kathy,” a once-a- week talk show hosted by Griffin sometime this spring. The network hasn’t decided when it will air regularly. Bravo promised that “this will be the destination to get Griffin’s thoughts on everything pop culture as she rants on the week’s biggest headlines and tabloid gossip.” The show will also feature stand-up comedy, celebrity interviews and taped segments. In addition, Griffin will perform two stand-up comedy specials on Bravo this year.



Deschanel wants to be normal

has given birth to a baby girl

he ‘Halo’ singer and rapper husband Jay-Z welcomed their first child together at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York last night and have decided to name her Ivy Blue Carter, according to E! news. Jay - real name Shawn Carter - is said to have been by his wife’s side as she gave birth and they are thought to have paid $1.3 million to rent out the entire fourth floor of the hospital. Pop singer and friend to the couple Rihanna tweeted: “Welcome to the world princess Carter! Love Aunty Rih (sic).” Music mogul Russell Simmons closely followed, writing: “Congrats to my good


ooey Deschanel has “always wanted to be normal”. The ‘(500) Days of Summer’ actress has learned to “take advantage” of her reputation for being “offbeat” following years of trying to fit in. She said: “I always wanted to be normal. I tried really hard but it’s like I try so hard and then people say I’m offbeat. “I’ve learnt to accept that and take advantage of it as an actor. It’s like, ‘Well, that’s who I am’, and it comes through and it ’s OK.” However, the 31-year-old star maintains she doesn’t “crave the approval” of those who don’t like her, as she isn’t prepared to change herself. She added: “I don’t crave the approval of someone who just doesn’t like me. If they don’t like me then that’s fine. But yeah, occasionally you’ll run across something where someone will say something mean about you and it ’s hard because there are some things you can’t change about yourself. “And, you know, you shouldn’t change them because other people like them. It seems like a lot of people love having an opinion, which is great, but I don’t always need to hear it.”


friends Beyonce and Jay-Z (sic).” Beyonce, 30, reportedly checked into the hospital under the name Ingrid Jackson and friends of the couple were seen bringing food to celebrate after the birth. Beyonce and Jay, 42, were married in 2008 after dating for six years and she revealed she was pregnant at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards in August. Speaking about her pregnancy last December, Beyonce said: “It’s exciting! I know it’s gonna be difficult at times. I know that, like my mother, I’m gonna get on my child’s nerves but I’m just ready! I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Kelly Brook would never stay in an unhappy relationship he model-and-actress who is currently dating former rugby player Thom Evans - says she can’t see the point of staying with someone for the sake of it and would rather be single. She said: “I’ve been through some big breakups and although it’s hard to do, I’m never one to just go along for the convenience of it, so I’ll always follow my instincts. If you’re not completely happy in a relationship, I think you’ve just got to know that if you’re feeling like things aren’t going right, then just have the faith that maybe you both deserve better. Don’t live in fear of losing someone.” Kelly - who has previously dated Jason Statham, Billy Zane and Danny Cipriani - also insisted she doesn’t like dating famous men because she thinks their egos are too big. She told Britain’s Glamour magazine: “My relationships are only high-profile I guess because people outside my house see them coming in, but I don’t really go out with famous guys. “Billy was the only person who was kind of known a little bit. When I was with Jason he was a high-board diver, he wasn’t famous. I’ve just got good taste - now, he’s a Hollywood movie star. Once they become famous, they develop this thing called ego and it’s a bit of a turn-off. Then I send them on their way!”


Hilton to

release a house album

Aguilera is ‘happy’ in her own skin P

aris Hilton will release a house album in the summer. The 30-yearold socialite has had to put her musical ambitions on hold because of her TV commitments but is looking forward to returning to her chart career and has been working with a number of “top DJs”. She said: “I have a huge passion for house music. It always has been my passion. I just haven’t been able to focus on it, because I have been doing reality TV for so long now. “I’ve been working on the album with lots of other top DJs for a while now and I think people will be really surprised. It’s very modern and very catchy; perfect party music.” The reality TV star is a big music fan and says she is thrilled with the current state of dance music, having experienced many enjoyable nights clubbing over the last 12 months. She told FHM magazine: “There are just so many great DJs right now. And I should know, I’ve been to over 100 raves in the past year, so I’ve heard every type of music.” he singer and mentor on US TV show ‘The Voice’ has come under fire for her fuller figure, but doesn’t care what people say because both she and her boyfriend, Matt Rutler, are happy with her look. Speaking at a press conference promoting ‘The Voice’ in California yesterday she said: “I have a boyfriend that loves my body. I love my body, my son is healthy and happy and that is all that matters. “Women, we are definitely under a microscope and under massive scrutiny. As long as I am happy in my own skin, that is all that is all the confirmation I need.” Christina - who has son Max Liron, three next week, with ex-husband Jordan Bratman - added being confident in herself has been key to her



expensive ‘giraffe’

avid Thewlis once spent £2,000 on a camel for a scene in a film - because he couldn’t afford a giraffe. The British actor, director and author originally wanted to close his short film ‘Hello, Hello, Hello’ with a shot of an ostrich running down a road, but noted it had already been done by another director, making him initially set his sights higher, and wanted to hire a giraffe. He explained: “I couldn’t afford a giraffe. Four thousand pounds it was to get a giraffe. But I could get a camel for £2,000. And it was a beautiful camel. I expected a scraggy-looking thing to turn up, but on the night they said, ‘The camel’s here, David,’ and I turned around and thought ‘Ah!’ because it was gorgeous.” David has since made one full length film, ‘Cheeky’, but admits the end result wasn’t quite what he had hoped. He added: “I’d directed a short film, and I really enjoyed it. And then I wroteÜ’Cheeky’, and I was never meant to direct that. “But I got persuaded to direct it, and persuaded to be in it, and that was never the plan. I didn’t have a very good time and I don’t like the finished product. I think it’s rubbish. Well, it’s not rubbish, but it’s not what it was supposed to be. “It was supposed to be something much stranger. It was supposed to be very inspired byÜBunuel, but you’d struggle to see that.”

success, and she hopes to be a strong figure for the girls she mentors on the talent show, where judges have to pick contestants without seeing them. She added: “You have got to be a strong, powerful, very confident woman. Being in a position to coach these young women, I am happy to be able to share that with them and share my highs and lows. Being on the show, it’s a very good outlet.” Christina has faced criticism from reality TV star Kelly Osbourne in the past who called her “fat” after she first started to put on weight. Kelly - who herself has herself struggled with yo-yoing weight in the past - said last August: “Maybe she’s just becoming the fat bitch she was always born to be. I don’t know.”

Clooney ’s hates hurting people


eorge Clooney’s greatest fear in life is “hurting someone”. The 50-year-old actor - who is currently dating former wrestler Stacy Keibler, and has previously enjoyed high-profile romances with the likes of Elisabetta Canalis and British TV star Lisa Snowdon - explained he can’t stand the idea of making another person feel miserable. Asking what his biggest fear in life is, he said: “Hurting someone.” Despite hating the concept of making another person unhappy, the ‘Ides


of March’ star admitted he has lied to people on occasions when he thought telling the truth could cause them “harm”. Asked whether he has ever lied to friends and family, he explained: “When telling the truth causes harm.” Meanwhile, George admitted if he could change one thing about himself it would be the way he reacts to other people’s criticism of him. Asked what trait he deplores most in himself, he told Vanity Fair magazine: “My reaction to criticism.” —Bang showbiz


lifestyle F E A T U R E S

BY EDWARD M. EVELD McClatchy Newspapers

he necktie is so tangled up in Father’s Day it’s become the cliché gift of the century. Or maybe it’s the perfect gift. Fine line. On the cliché side, the choice of a tie for Dad is lame, the tie, unwanted. But the “not another tie” message resonated more soundly just a few years ago, before suit coats and ties started clawing their way back from “business casual.” “People are dressing up more today,” said Keith Novorr, owner of Michael’s Fine Clothes for Men in Kansas City, Mo. “It’s reverting back.” As for the tie being an uninspired gift, Novorr doesn’t think so. It would be much easier to choose khakis and a sport shirt for most men. Customers often ask, “Can you pick out a tie my father would like?” Novorr tells them he can, but first he has to learn something about him. “Ties are extremely personal,” Novorr said. “You can almost tell the personality of a person by his neckwear.” Lee Allison, who has a nationally recognized tie-selling Web site (, said there’s always been a lot to recommend a tie gift. “A tie rejuvenates an entire outfit, so it’s the biggest bang for the buck,” Allison said. “The rest of the outfit is the frame, and the tie is the piece of art. It’s the exclamation point.” And, in fact, the tie remains the leading Father’s Day gift, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Americans buy 100 million ties a year. So how did the necktie become intertwined with Father’s Day? Father’s Day emerged after World War I and was followed in the 1920s by the creation of the modern tie, constructed from three pieces of fabric, cut on the bias, with a lining. Tie makers and sellers saw the potential and began pushing neckties as gifts, said Jerry Andersen, executive director of the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association in New York. Now, as then, ties are an affordable gift. Buying the right size isn’t a problem, and they’re in fashion again. “A lot of people are just getting back into neckties, particularly younger men,” Andersen said. The deeper question — why wear anything around the neck at all? — takes us way back in time. Neck coverings were needed for protection against the elements but quickly morphed into a fashion statement, from demonstrating social status to expressing individuality. As our timeline shows, neckwear’s history is long and storied, but its genealogy can be stated fairly simply: Knotted scarves begat the cravat or neckcloth, and the cravat begat the modern tie, knotted carefully at the neck with the blade falling cleanly to the belt.


THE WINDSOR KNOT For standard shirt collars.

1. Start with wide end of the tie on your right and extending a foot below narrow end.

2. Cross wide end over narrow and bring up through loop.

3. Bring wide end down around behind narrow and up on your right.

4. Then put down through loop and around across narrow as shown.

5. Turn and pass up through loop and ...

6. Complete by slipping down through the knot in front. Tighten and draw up snug to collar.

THE HALF-WINDSOR KNOT Medium half symmetrical triangle — for standard shirt collars.

1. Start with wide end of the tie on your right and extending a foot below narrow end.

2. Cross wide end over narrow and turn back underneath.

3. Bring up and turn down through loop.

4. Pass wide end around front from left to right.

5. Then up through loop ...

6. And down through knot in front. Tighten carefully and draw up to collar.

5. Holding front of knot loose with index finger, pass wide end down through loop in front.

6. Remove finger and tighten knot carefully. Draw up tight to collar by holding narrow end and sliding knot snug.

THE FOUR-IN-HAND KNOT Long and straight — to complement a standard shirt collar.

1. Start with wide end of the tie on your right and extending a foot below narrow end.

2. Cross wide end over narrow and turn back underneath.

3. Continue around passing wide end across front of narrow once more.

S O U R C E S : M E N ’ S D R E S S F U R N I S H I N G S A S S O C I AT I O N , K A N S A S C I T Y S TA R

4. Pass side end up through loop.

I 210 B.C.: The Terra Cotta Army — thousands of replica warriors buried with Chinese Emperor Shih Huang-ti and discovered in 1974 — wore knotted scarves. And so it began. I A.D. 100: Some Roman orators and legionnaires sported neck cloths tied in a knot, probably for warmth and to set themselves apart socially. I 1630s-1660s: As Croatian soldiers arrived in France during and after the Thirty Years War, the French noticed they tied distinctive scarves around their necks. The “cravat,” one story goes, derived from the word for “Croat.” Cravats got lacy. I 1690s: The Steinkirk emerged, popular in military dress, with a loosely tied knot and the ends twisted and tucked into the buttonhole of the coat. I 1700s: The cravat was variously understated and frilly, depending on the fashion. Think of the Founding Fathers with their ruffles, waistcoats and breeches. I 1850-60s: The longer “four-inhand” tie became the precursor to the modern tie. Some say fourin-hand referred to the clothing fashions favored by men who made their way around town in four-in-hand carriages, which were led by four horses and guided with one hand. I 1920s: New York tie maker Jesse Langsdorf is credited with creating the modern necktie, constructed from three pieces of fabric, cut on the bias, with a lining. I 1940s: Ties ebbed and flowed in width. Ties with extra-wide

Skinny ties were fashionable in the 1950s and ’60s. K AT R I N A W I T T K A M P / CHICAGO TRIBUNE

blades were nicknamed “belly warmers” and featured palm trees and hula dancers. I 1950s-60s: Ebbing from fat to skinny, cool ties could be as lean as 11/2 inches. I 1960s-70s: Anti-establishment attitudes led many to quit the tie. You didn’t need one with turtlenecks or Nehru jackets, although they remained a staple in business settings. I 1970s: Flowing from skinny back to fat, cool ties broadened amazingly into the 4- to 5-inch range. I 1975: Even while the tieless leisure suit was in its heyday, John Molloy’s “Dress for Success” told men to get serious and put their business suits and ties back on. I 1980s: The power tie was born, a take-no-prisoners, Reagan-era tie generally in a bold color, particularly red. I 1990s: By mid-decade, “business casual” had necktie salespeople twiddling their thumbs. If dot-commers could make bundles of cash from home in their boxers, there was no reason to dress up. I 2000: Researchers Thomas Fink and Yong Mao of Cambridge University used mathematics modeling to come up with 85 different knots in their book, “The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie: The Science and Aesthetics of Tie Knots.” I 2001: The burst of the dotcom bubble signaled the need once again to put the tie back on in business settings. Meanwhile, young people noticed band members, such as those in Green Day and Interpol, were wearing ties, so the neckwear started showing up in clubs. 2006: Thomas Pink offers the Pink Commuter iPod tie. Fashion and practicality all at once: It features a pocket on the back to hold music players.


lifestyle M U S I C



Love and war rage as PBS’ ‘Downton Abbey’ returns I

t’s an irony that acid-tongued Violet, also known as the dowager countess of Grantham, would savor: One of TV’s hottest romances is playing out among English nobility, with nary a cell phone or laptop in sight and, most shockingly, on the Public Broadcasting Service network in the US.” Downton Abbey” devotees in the US are eagerly awaiting the start of the drama’s season two yesterday (which has already been seen in Britain), when the romance of Matthew and Lady Mary resumes its rocky course as World War I scars Europe. There’s also fallout from the war within Mary’s family home, the stately mansion that gives the series its name. Consider it “Yorkshire 90210,” but with writer-creator Julian Fellowes’ witty dialogue and rich characters, stunning period costumes and (generally) chaste love affairs. Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens, who play the star-crossed young couple, said they are both delighted and surprised at the series’ international success. “It’s huge in Australia,” Dockery said. “And Spain,” added Stevens. The 11 Emmy nominations and six trophies, including best miniseries, earned by the period drama’s first season in the US were a thrill: “For a show like this to get that kind of attention over here, it’s great,” he said. Success has created a burden of secrecy regarding the fate of young lawyer Matthew, unexpected heir to Downton under England’s early 20th-century inheritance laws, and Mary, who could keep her

Dockery said she and Stevens got the chance to switch up their acting game. “Matthew becomes more harder as a result of what he’s seen and been through, and Mary’s much softer. It’s really interesting playing that,” she said. There’s more to “Downton Abbey,” of course, than one star-crossed couple. Robert, the earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), is itching to jump into the war, while wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and younger daughters Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) make their

family’s hold on the estate by marrying him. In season one, the willful Mary had rejected, accepted and rejected again smitten Matthew, and then she was rebuffed. Now both have turned elsewhere for love, while war and other historical events toy with their fates. Dockery, 30, and Stevens, 29, project such on-screen chemistry that people who know better confuse fiction with fact. “There was a great picture of me and Dan at the Derby (the famed horse race) and even my boyfriend said, ‘It kind of looks like you’re together,’” Dockery said, smiling. Fans are desperate to know what happens next. “Not least my own wife,” said Stevens, interviewed on a California visit before season two aired in Britain. “She’s forever trying to find the scripts and is desperate to read them.” Spouse Susie Hariet now knows the story so far, with the season just concluded in Britain (a third season has been announced). But US viewers who avoid spoilers online must wait for the drama to unfold over seven weeks, through Feb 19. Downton’s younger generation matures quickly during wartime, with Matthew tested as an army officer slogging through trench warfare in France. “It was a real delicious challenge to take on, such a far cry from the first season for me. I was caked in mud for half the series,” Stevens said. “For a lot of us, it feels like a graduation in terms of what was asked of us, emotionally, and the intensity of the story lines. The stakes were higher and everything is notched up one or two pegs.”

own wartime contributions, and the girls pursue romance. And there’s major action downstairs. Among the estate’s servants, some are called for war duty while Bates (Brendan Coyle), Lord Grantham’s valet, and head housemaid Anna (Joanne Froggatt), find their future together endangered by Bates’ vengeful estranged wife. Commenting with glee and self-interest on the action is Violet, her lines delivered impeccably by grande dame actress Maggie Smith, a 2011 Emmy-winner for her portrayal. In a scene in which she gives her grand-

In this July 31, 2011 file photo, actors Michelle Dockery, left, and Dan Stevens from the TV series “Downton Abbey,” poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. — AP

daughters approval to aid the war effort, Violet reminds them that Great Aunt Roberta “loaded the guns at Lucknow.” Fellowes, the man behind all the clever words and stories, already proved his mastery of the genre with the Oscar-winning script for the 2001 stately mansion drama “Gosford Park.” PBS is hoping for a repeat of last year’s ratings bonanza. “Masterpiece,” the umbrella series under which “Downton Abbey” airs, had a 30 percent ratings increase and saw its ratings for young adult female viewers double. New “Masterpiece” sponsor Viking River Cruises, which stepped in last year in after a difficult search to replace longtime underwriter ExxonMobil, found the experience rewarding enough to agree to support the series for 2012. Another fund established to allow public TV station contributors to make direct donations to “Masterpiece” of $25,000 and up met its goal of $1 million, “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton said recently. That’s “a Godsend as we go forward, because these programs are not getting any cheaper,” she said. PBS teamed with British producers on the series. Eaton gave vague but tantalizing hints of what is in store for season three, which will be set in the 1920s and which PBS hopes to air a year from now. “People will live. People will die. People get married. People get born. Bates will probably continue to be in trouble. That man cannot seem to get out of trouble,” she said.Amen, say “Downton” fans. —AP

‘Melancholia,’ Dunst, Pitt win film critics awards


High fashion model Angela Lindvall poses with Miss Piggy (one of the judges) on the new “Project Runway All Stars”. —MCT

Angela Lindvall is about to lose her anonymity


hough her face has graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, model Angela Lindvall remains anonymous. That may be hard to believe, but today as she scurries in from a downpour outside, wearing no makeup, her hair left to its own devices, a black floppy hat fending off the rain, she’s unrecognizable. Except for her height, you’d never associate Lindvall with high fashion-or any kind of fashion for that matter. And what’s even stranger, she likes it that way. “Even when I first started modeling I told my agents, ‘OK, I’ll do this, but I don’t want to be on the cover of anything.’ I didn’t realize that being on the cover is what made you famous; it’s what gets you beauty contracts and all you want. I don’t walk around with my hair done and high heels. So nobody would know.” They’re probably going to know when “Project Runway All Stars” premiered Jan 5 on Lifetime. As hostess and one of the judges of the show-which features favorites from the network’s previous “Project Runway” episodes-Lindvall’s face will be front and center. She’s aware that might change her life. “I’m nervous about being out there and being recognized because I’m kind of a hermit,” she says, ordering a salad at a restaurant here. “I’m trying to take a positive look on it. One, I hardly ever leave home and my little community already knows me because it’s a little village, and that’s no problem. It’s primarily in airports (that I’m recognized).” There’s not much that frightens Lindvall, who became a model when her sister talked her into signing up for a local fashion show in her hometown of Kansas City, Mo. “I was a serious tomboy and my oldest sister, she used to watch those beauty pageants and she was like, ‘Oh, Dad, I want to do this.’ My grandmother passed away and left some money so Dad enrolled the two of us in a modeling school in Missouri. And secretlyeven though I was a tomboy-I kind of enjoyed it because we learned how to put outfits together. “It was kind of an etiquette school as well, so we learned basic etiquette and then learned how to do hair and makeup and put these outfits together and did a little runway show. And agents from all around the world came to watch. They were going to choose

who got to go where, and I did not even consider myself a candidate. I didn’t know a thing about the fashion industry. I didn’t know you had to be tall. I certainly was not the pretty girl in high school. I was the awkward one ... When they called my name I was completely shocked. So I was invited to go to New York and chose an agency.” She waited six months and at 17 moved to New York on her own and began high fashion work. “I grew up really quickly. I now say I’m getting younger as I’m getting older,” she laughs. “You’re really exposed to aspects of society that most people aren’t. So it also gave me a real sense of what’s real to me. I thank my parents for raising me in a humbler, moral way that kept me connected to my roots and the people I grew up with in Kansas,” she say, pulling on her cardigan sleeve. “I have been exposed to all this, but I’ve made a point to remember where I come from, who I am and know what’s important. OK, it might be fun to put on a ball gown and go to a ball — not many women get to do that-but this isn’t what quantifies what life is about. It was my children (who were) a big part of making that clear to me,” says Lindvall who is one of six children herself. She was 21 when she became pregnant with her first son. “I’ve got to say that was the best thing that ever happened to me because all of a sudden my life wasn’t centered around this career that didn’t necessarily move me from a passionate place. When I had my son everything made sense.” While she realized that modeling was a rare opportunity, she says she felt like an outsider. “I didn’t care about makeup. I didn’t care about clothes ... There were all these crazy fashion people and it was, ‘Oh, my God, where do I belong in all this?’” Now the mother of two boys, 6 and 9, Lindvall is also exploring other possibilities. She’s taking Kundalini yoga teacher training, has a line of jewelry on QVC and has appeared a time or two in the movies. Mostly what she loves is being at home, growing vegetables in her garden and being with her children. She and her husband are separated. “We don’t cohabitate,” she explains, “but he lives five minutes away and we are having Christmas together. He’s a great father but we didn’t make a great husband and wife together.” —MCT

he apocalyptic psychological drama “Melancholia” was named the year’s best film on Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics, which chose its star Kirsten Dunst as best actress and Brad Pitt as best actor for the baseball drama “Moneyball” as well as “The Tree of Life.” Lars von Trier lost out on the best director award for his work on “Melancholia” to Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life,” a mystical period piece which also won the best cinematography prize. But the big win by “Melancholia” bolstered the offbeat film’s chances for the upcoming Academy Awards, which will announce nominees later this month. Set against the backdrop of a country wedding, the dark film explores the strained relationship of two sisters, one a bride played by Dunst, while a strange planet threatens to collide with Earth, wiping out all traces of human existence. Pitt, already a strong contender for the Oscars, was honored for his roles as Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball” as well as a strict father in “The Tree of Life.” Critics’ awards are important in helping build momentum heading toward the Academy Awards, or Oscars, which are the world’s top film awards given out on the final Sunday in Februar y by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The NSFC includes 58 members from major newspapers in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Chicago and other cities as well as from Time, Newsweek and The New

Yorker and newspapers The Village Voice and the Boston Phoenix. The group’s awards for best sup-

porting per formances went to Albert Brooks, who played a smalltime hood in the drama “Drive,” and

Jessica Chastain, who was honored for performances in “The Tree of Life,” “Take Shelter” and “The Help.” Both Brooks and Chastain have been honored by other critics groups in early awards this season. Several highly touted films, most notably “The Artist,” considered a front-runner for the Oscars, “The Descendants” and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” were shut out, although Scorsese was a close second in voting for best director. The award for best foreign language film was won by the Iranian film “A Separation,” about a couple struggling with the decision about whether or not to leave their home country. The film also won the prize for best screenplay. The film critics named Werner Herzog’s documentar y “ The Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” a 3D movie about a cave in southern France, as the year’s best nonfiction film. Ken Jacobs won the experimental film award for “Seeking the Monkey King.” The critics also announced “film heritage” awards to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for its recent Vincente Minnelli retrospective; to Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon”; to the Museum of Modern Art for its Weimar Cinema retrospective; to Flicker Alley for the box set “Landmarks of Early Soviet Film; and to Criterion Collection for its two-disc DVD package “ The Complete Jean Vigo.” —Reuters

Senegal’s Ndour warns on Wade’s third term bid S

enegalese music icon and presidential hopeful Youssou Ndour has urged world leaders to pressure incumbent Abdoulaye Wade to abandon his bid for a third term in office, fearing it could spark violence. In an interview with AFP the world-famous singer, who this week shook up the country’s presidential race by announcing his candidacy, said Wade, 85, had no place on the February 26 ballot. “I don’t even consider Wade a candidate, because if we stay within the framework of the constitution, he does not have the right,” Ndour said of a dilemma that has gripped the nation for months, sparking violent clashes. Wade was first elected in 2000 for a two-term mandate, and re-elected in 2007 but since the length of presidential terms was changed while he was in office he argues that he is due another stint. Opposition and civil society fiercely disagree. The Grammy-winning Ndour said influential leaders need to step in before it is too late and the controversial candidacy would lead one of Africa’s most stable democracies towards trouble. “I appeal to the whole world, to those who are not yet clear on this: We need to tell him the truth,” Ndour said, addressing himself to America’s President Barack Obama, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Tell him clearly, Obama, Sarko, Cameron, Merkel, et cetera, tell him that the fundamental law, that which governs Senegal, does not allow him to stand. That he must not force it because it is better to be safe than sorry.” “I say this because generally they (these leaders) stay out of it until

there are problems. We don’t need that in Senegal, it is a country of peace,” Ndour said. The Constitutional Council is expected to rule on the legality of Wade’s candidacy in late January. “I am non-violent, but we don’t control the Senegalese. From the moment there is no justice, peace is not possible. Justice goes with peace, peace with justice,” the musician added.

World-renowned Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour speaks during an interview on January 7, 2012 in Dakar. —AFP Senegal’s most violent riots under Wade’s rule took place in June when he tried to reduce the proportion of votes needed to win an election from 50 percent to 25 percent to avoid a run-off. The proposed constitutional changes-including efforts to create a post of vice president seen as a way to groom his son as his successor-were scrapped after violent clashes that left scores injured. Clashes between the ruling party and opposition in late December left one person dead

and three injured. With some 20 candidates running in an election seen by analysts as the most open since independence from France in 1960, Ndour hopes to transform fans into voters despite the odds against him. Born in Dakar’s working-class Medina suburb, Ndour has spent three decades touring the world, but has no university degree. “I have studied at the school of the world. Travel teaches as much as books,” Ndour said when he declared his candidacy. Hailed as one of the world’s greatest living singers, Ndour has achieved huge international success with his blend of Senegal’s popular Mbalax music style with samba, hip-hop, jazz and soul. The 52-year-old singer has kept his ties to his country, and proved to be a savvy businessman, running a micro-finance company and a media group. He says he is bringing “a new approach, a new vision” to the leadership of the country. “I think I will create a surprise, I think there is a quiet change happening, people will vote Youssou Ndour. “I see the desperation of the people. I am one of them. I see the situation deteriorating.” If elected, the singer’s priorities will be health, education and agriculture and reducing what he called the “lavish state lifestyle.” “As president of Senegal, I know I will be welcomed with open arms around the world, and that way I can change the game, be part of a dynamic economy, because I want to achieve food self-sufficiency” for Senegal. If elected, “You” as he is affectionately called, pledged to abandon all his artistic and business endeavors: “Senegal is more important than all of that.” —AFP


lifestyle F E A T U R E S

Beyonce has given birth to a baby girl



Palm Springs

Film Festival gala is an Oscar night warm-up


ichelle Williams collected an award for Marilyn Monroe 50 years late, Octavia Spencer thanked some “white, very white” knights and George Clooney entreated his precocious 20-year-old “Descendants” costar Shailene Woodley to, some day in the future, “give a retired two-time Sexiest Man Alive a job... and then after you give Brad [Pitt] a job, maybe you’ll give me one.” A week before the Golden Globes and seven weeks before

Tonight’s” Mary Hart. Mock serious speeches abounded-Tom Hanks watched, bemused, as his 14-year-old “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” co-star Thomas Horn bested him in smooth teleprompter reading, and Jonah Hill took a crack at his “Moneyball” co-star Brad Pitt, who was on hand to accept the Desert Palm Acheivement Actor Award. “Brad Pitt has constantly made choices that are risky,” said Hill. “Look at the unconventional storylines of the two movies he’s being honored for this evening. ‘Moneyball’ is about baseball statistics and ‘The Tree of Life is about... I’m sorry, I’ve seen it three times and I still have no idea what ‘The Tree of Life’ is about. But it was beautiful.” Pitt, who was using a cane after, he said, tripping and falling while carrying one of his twins skiing, walked a 300foot red carpet into the gala alongside partner Angelina Jolie. Other stars in attendance included Jessica Chastain, Charlize

Photo shows Oil on Canvas 60 x 50 cm named “Kuwait Towers in the Afternoon”, painted by the Lebanese Artist Nazih Sankari. This painting was done on March 2011 in the outdoor from the Gulf Road near the sea overlooking the Towers from a distance.

Michelle Williams, recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award.

(From left) “Young Adult” screenwriter Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman and cast members Patton Oswalt and Charlize Theron, recipients of the Vanguard Award, pose together backstage.

Actress Glenn Close, recipient of the Career Achievement Award.

Gary Oldman recipient of the International Star Award, poses backstage with presenter Adrien Brody.

Brad Pitt, recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Award Actor, poses with Angelina Jolie. the Oscars, Hollywood began polishing its acceptance speeches Saturday night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 23rd annual awards gala. The desert city film festival gala is often a bellwether of Oscar nominations — 15 of last year’s attendees collected nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards. Williams, who was on hand to accept the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award, said her thoughts were on Marilyn Monroe, whom she plays in “My Week With Marilyn” and who, unlike Williams, struggled to be taken seriously as an actress. “My only wish is that Marilyn herself could have experienced in her lifetime what I am experiencing tonight,” Williams said. “When she did stretch beyond her pin-up picture, she was pushed back into her place. I accept this award on both our behalf.” Though the gala is “black-tie optional,” according to the invitations, most of the celebrities are considerably more relaxed than at other awards events. The Palm Springs gala isn’t televised and honorees already know that they’ve won, a fact that leads to some impromptu speeches. Multiple attendees compared the crystal award they received to a bong-”I may smoke this later,” said International Star Award recipient Gary Oldman-and obscenities flew fast and furious. “George Clooney closed the night with an fbomb!” marveled the evening’s emcee, “Entertainment

Brad Pitt, recipient of the Desert Palm Achievement Actor Award.

George Clooney, recipient of the Chairman’s Award, poses with Shailene Woodley, a fellow cast member in “The Descendants”. Theron, Glenn Close, Al Pacino, Olivia Wilde and Melissa McCarthy. Spencer, who was on hand to accept the Breakthrough Performance Award for her work in “The Help,” thanked her dead parents who, she said, “sent me two white knights, very, very white in the form of [director] Tate Taylor and [producer] Brunson Green.” After acknowledging a phalanx of studio personnel and fellow honorees, including Pitt and Clooney, Spencer said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t say... I’m single, gentlemen. I just had to throw that in there.” Later, “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius was presented with the Sonny Bono Visionary Award by his stars, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, who is also the mother of two of his children. “Octavia,” Hazanavicius said, “I’m married, but I’m French, so...” Organizers said the event raised $1.6 million for the nonprofit Palm Springs Film Society. —

Actress Jessica Chastain, recipient of the Spotlight Award.

Actress Octavia Spencer, right, recipient of the Break through performance Award, poses backstage with presenter Melissa McCarthy.

09 Jan 2012  

Kuwait Times

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