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Al-Afasi in Beirut for Arab social council meeting

MUHARRAM 14, 1433 AH

Syrians rally as forces poised for bloody assault

No: 15294

Pakistan take firm grip of opening test

150 Fils

5Blaze at 8 Kolkata 43 hospital kills 89

Fleeing staff abandon trapped patients KOLKATA: Fleeing medical staff abandoned patients to a fire that killed 89 people yesterday as smoke poured through the sevenstorey hospital in this city in eastern India, officials said. Six administrators were arrested. Dwellers of a nearby slum who first noticed the smoke and fire rushed to the AMRI Hospital to raise the alarm, but security guards kept them back, saying it was only a small blaze, witnesses said. It took firefighters in the city formerly known as Calcutta more than an hour to respond, said Pradeep Sarkar, a witness

whose uncle was hospitalized but was among those safely evacuated from the private facility. Some of the slum dwellers helped with the rescue. The neighborhood’s narrow streets apparently made it difficult for fire trucks to get close to the building and to bring in big hydraulic ladders. Eventually, they smashed through a main gate to make way for the ladders. Six hospital directors surrendered to police and were charged with culpable

homicide, according to police who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the state of West Bengal, ordered the hospital’s license withdrawn. The hospital denied that any safety measures were violated. “It was horrifying that the hospital authorities did not make any effort to rescue trapped patients,” said Subrata Mukherjee, West Bengal state minister for public health engineering. “Senior hospital authorities ran away after the fire broke out.” Rescuers pulled 73 bodies from the building and another 16 died of their injuries later, said Danayati Sen, a top Kolkata police official. Most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation, rescue officials said. Four of the dead were staff members, hospital officials said. There were 160 patients in the 190-bed facility at the time, said Satyabrata Upadhyay, a senior vice president. One survivor told Indian television she was at the bedside of her mother, who was on a ventilator, when smoke started filling the room. “I kept ringing the bell for the nurse, but no one came,” she said, adding that rescuers managed to evacuate her mother more than two hours after the fire started. Rescue workers on long ladders smashed windows in the upper floors to get to trapped patients before they suffocated from the smoke as sobbing relatives waited on the street. Patients were removed on stretchers and in wheelchairs to a nearby hospital. Patients and relatives complained that hospital staff did little to help and that smoke detectors failed to go off. —AP

KOLKATA: A crowd gathers to watch rescue operations outside the AMRI hospital that caught fire in Kolkata yesterday. (Above) Rescue workers use ropes to evacuate people. —AP

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DOHA: Arabic Calligraphy of “In the Name of God the Beneficent the Merciful” decorates the Sheikh Khalifa stadium during the opening ceremony of the pan-Arab Games in the Qatari capital yesterday. More than 5,000 Arab athletes are participating in the Arab games from December 9 to 24. — AFP

Iran issues a veiled threat By A Saleh KUWAIT: Well-informed security sources said that Kuwait as well as other GCC states, recently received direct threats from Iran of strikes against their territories if they assist US troops, or their allies, in launching hostilities against Iranian soil. The sources added that the concerned authorities in GCC states took the threats seriously, despite the fact that they had already announced that they would not assist Washington or others in launching military offensives against Iran. “Such threats will be thoroughly discussed on the 19th GCC Summit, due to be held in Riyadh on December 19,” stressed the sources, noting that Iran believes that the US has already started supplying GCC states with highly sophisticated military equipment in preparation for a strike.



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Mongolian President attends luncheon banquet KUWAIT: Visiting Mongolian President, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, was invited to a luncheon banquet yesterday which was held in his honor by the host of the event, the Minister of Amiri Diwan affairs, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The event took place in the suburb of Al-Sabbiya. — KUNA

Smuggler caught with mass shipment of drugs Expat run over on Fahaheel Expressway By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Abdali customs arrested an Egyptian truck driver yesterday for attempting to smuggle in 350,000 hallucination pills from Iraq by hiding them inside a spare tire. Further investigations are still in progress to identify the driver’s accomplices and customers.

Firefighter injured A large fire broke out on Thursday night and kept burning until dawn on Friday. The fire broke out at a large warehouse in Sulaibiya, according to security sources. Farwaniya’s acting fire chief, colonel Tareq Al-Sabti, said the warehouse was filled with clothes and other materials. He added that the flames were controlled and prevented from spreading to other adjacent warehouses and that no casualties were reported, but one fireman was injured and rushed to Farwaniya hospital for treatment.

CBK official denies dinar devaluation KUWAIT: The Director of economic research at the Central Bank of Kuwait, Sami Al-Anbaie, expressed astonishment at rumors concerning the devaluation of the Kuwaiti dinar. He added that the entire rumor was sparked by just one from the declaration of Finance Minister, Mustafa Al-Shamali, after demands of salary increases. Al-Anbaie further said that if the dinar is devalued, the prices of imported items shall increase and, given that Kuwait depends fully on imports, there would be no benefit of devaluing the dinar as it would be negative for the economy. He pointed out that international reports, especially those issued by the International Monetary Fund, always praise the policy of Kuwaiti dinar exchange. — Al-Anbaa

Expat, daughter injured A 32-year-old Egyptian sustained injuries to her back, and her 4-year-old daughter sustained facial bruises after their car collided into another below the Ghazali flyover, said security sources. The sources added that they were both taken to Farwaniya hospital for treatment. Saudi rushed to hospital following mall fight A 20-year-old Saudi citizen was rushed to Mubarak hospital with wounds to his face and back after he was attacked with a sharp object during a fight at Marina mall. Citizen sustains injury as car turns turtle A 20-year-old citizen sustained a serious head injury when his vehicle turned over at the Metla’ check point, said security sources. He was rushed to Jahra hospital’s ICU. Pair injured in collision An 18-year-old citizen sustained serious head and body injuries following a car accident with a 41-year-old Saudi. The pair collided on the sixth ring road, and both were rushed to Jahra hospital. Expat run over on Fahaheel expressway A 51-year-old Syrian’s right arm was broken after he was hit by a speeding car on the Fahaheel expressway, said security sources. He was rushed to Mubarak hospital for treatment.

The drug-pusher with the contraband



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local SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

KUWAIT: Japan’s ambassador to Kuwait, Yasuyoshi Komizo and Kuwait foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah during the celebration of Japan’s Emperor’s 78th birthday. — KUNA

in the news Public prosecution probes MP’s deposits KUWAIT: Banking sources revealed that the public prosecution is making an official investigation with officials in the financial investigations unit at Central Bank of Kuwait regarding suspected financial deposits for certain MPs. The investigation is looking into the source of the money. Sources said that public prosecutor is also enquiring about the delay of banks in applying the appropriate formalities when there is financial suspicion and will follow up with banks to uncover money laundering. Once investigations with Central Bank officials are complete, the public prosecutor shall call on the suspected ex-MPs, as the accounts of more than 15 MPs received deposits without justification. —Al-Anbaa Domestic violence on the rise KUWAIT: Muneera Al-Fadhli, the Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, said that domestic violence is one of the main reasons for divorce. He added that the ‘phenomenon’ is on the rise and requires action to put an end to such violence which, he said, has become a source of worry and threatens the stability families and society as a whole. Al-Fadhli said that such violence affects all levels of society and has no relation with social and economic status, religion or race. It is a problem afflicting all countries, rich and poor, he continued, saying that it is not only restricted to the physical abuse itself, but also has negative consequences on health organizations. It requires, he said, consultations and exchanges of experience between specialists and coordination. —Al-Anbaa GCC plans unified front KUWAIT: The committee entrusted with following-up decisions made by GCC leaders has reached an agreement calling for coordination among all GCC states towards problems happening internationally. Sources revealed that they felt that the current situation requires the unification of the GCC regarding international events. It was therefore agreed that they should coordinate and espouse shared values towards political issues. During a meeting, they discussed the worries of the GCC citizen, including health and education, and it was agreed to implement equality between GCC citizens and the citizens of their host country. —Al-Anbaa

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ambassador to Uruguay Soud Abdul Aziz Al-Shamlan Al-Roumi and Kuwait’s municipal council delegation meeting with Uruguayan president who held a dinner banquet in honor of the Kuwaiti-Uruguayan Friendship Group.

Iraq must contact Kuwait to exit Chapter VII: Khedher US troops pullout imperative: Ashour By A Saleh KUWAIT: An Iraqi political movement recently urged the Iraqi government to contact Kuwait and members of the UN in an attempt to get Iraq out of the UN’s charter chapter VII. The Iraqi Accord Movement member and MP, Abdul Khedher Taher said that Iraq must seize all possible opportunities to get out of chapter seven by contacting Kuwait and other influential UN members to provide assurances that Iraq is leading in a more ‘civilized’ way. He also urged Iraqi politicians to stop using the seventh chapter as

even the mere political slogans they use may mislead public opinion, stressing that “It’s everybody’s responsibility.” Taher also said that Iraqi speaker of the house, Osama Al-Nujaifi, had suggested holding a meeting with the four major regional countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Iraq. He also suggested a discussion about the Syrian issue with the Arab League’s secretary general, Nabil Al-Arabi, during his visit to Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Iraqi List advisor, Hani Ashour stressed that unless US troops left Iraq completely by the end

of the year, as agreed upon in 2008, Iraq will never have full sovereignty and, thus, will never get out of chapter seven. In other news, Kuwait’s ambassador to Jordan, Dr Hamad Al-Duaij, said that a committee from the Ministry of Education was scheduled to visit Jordan soon to select English, math, physics, communication, electronics and decoration teachers to work in various public schools. In addition, AlDuaij said that another committee from the National Guard would also visit Jordan to interview engineers specialized in IT.

KIB opens new branch at Fintas KUWAIT: Kuwait International Bank (KIB) opened its latest branch at Fintas in the presence of Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah and Sheikh Mohammad AlJarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of Al-Dawli. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jarrah AlSabah commented: “We are very proud to be opening our seventeenth new branch in Fintas. Our strategy continues to seek to expand our branch network across Kuwait, so that we may provide greater convenience to our customers, as well as allowing us to expand our potential “Al-Dawli” customer base. “Customer interests are a top priority for KIB and Al-Dawli aims to provide high quality and creative banking products to customers to help them cope with the demands and needs of modern living.” Sheikh Mohammad added: “This new branch at Fintas has been fully equipped with integrated systems and helpful and well trained employees who are dedicated to providing business and retail customers with the very best services, all of which are fully compliant with Sharia banking requirements. He concluded: “Our location at the centre of the Ahmadi Governorate will

also provide both greater convenience for customers in the area, and be attractive to new customers who are seeking the unique range of quality banking products that Al-Dawli can offer”. The new branch at Fintas will provide fully Sharia-compliant banking services for retail and business customers from today. The branch is KIB’s seventeenth

branch to open in Kuwait. KIB, as one of Kuwait’s leading Islamic financial institutions, is committed to providing service and product excellence. In this context, KIB has developed a range of standards and service measuring tools which helps it to successfully deliver innovative customer services and satisfaction.

Kuwait International Bank (KIB) opened its latest branch at Fintas in the presence of Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah and Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of Al-Dawli.


Citizen confesses to murdering maid Brawl lands youths in ICU KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti man confessed to murdering his Ethiopian maid, whose body was found buried in the desert two days ago. Initial inspection of the body showed that the cause of death was a strike to the head. In an attempt to conceal his crime, the killer buried the body in the desert. Detectives began investigating upon finding the body and found that the victim had been registered as absent 10 days prior to her body being found. Her sponsor, a 33-year-old Kuwaiti, was called for interrogation and immediately confessed to killing her. He claimed that she had been beating his children, which led him to hit her on the head with a sharp metal object.

KUWAIT: M.P. Veerendra Kumar addresses a press conference flanked by Prof Varghese George (left) and Shaikh P Haris during a press conference yesterday. — Photo by Sajeev K Peter

Consensus on Kerala dam issue vital: Indian leader Veerendra Kumar in Kuwait on three-day visit By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The Kerala and Tamil Nadu states must hammer out a consensus to end the deadlock over the precarious Mullaperiyar dam as it is a national issue and involves the lives and interests of both states, said a former Indian minister and a prominent politician here yesterday. MP Veerendra Kumar, president of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) party, said yesterday that the safety of the 116-yearold dam has become a major concern not only for the 3.5 million people living downstream of it, but also for everyone in India. Talking to the Kuwait Times on the sidelines of a meeting hosted by the Malayali Media Forum (MMF) Kuwait yesterday, the visiting leader sought to allay concerns aired by the Tamil Nadu government, and political leaders, that Kerala

would discontinue the supply of water to the state once a new dam is constructed there. “The Kerala Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, has categorically stated that the state would continue to supply water to the TN as enshrined in the agreement, which was reached over 100 years ago. A new dam will ensure the safety of the people living in four districts of Kerala and provide water to many drought-prone districts of Tamil Nadu. So it is mutually beneficial,” he said. Thousands of expatriates living in Kuwait hail from the four districts of Kerala and are worried about their kin back home since the dam issue emerged. Mullaperiyar Dam, a masonry gravity dam built over River Periyar with a height of 155 feet and length 1200 feet, is located on the High Ranges of Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki. Recent earthquakes, that rattled the area, brought the issue to the fore as

Al-Fouderi and Boresli with the organizing committee

experts and residents alike raised serious concerns about the safety of the dam. The dam has developed cracks over the years and seepages have emerged from several points in the dam. The Mullaperiyar dam is operated by the TN government based on a 999-year lease agreement made during the British colonial rule. The Kerala government wants to bring the water level in the dam down to 120 feet as it reached its maximum capacity of 136-feet today. Veerendra Kumar arrived in Kuwait to receive Vaikkam Muhammed Basheer literary award instituted by Janata Cultural Centre, Kuwait. Socialist Janata (Democratic) Vice-president Prof Varghese George and General Secretary Shaikh P Haris accompanied Veerendra Kumar during his visit to Kuwait. They also addressed a press conference yesterday hosted by the Janata Cultural Centre, Kuwait.

Fight leaves youths in intensive care A bloody fight between four youths in the Saad Al-Abdullah area left three of them in the intensive care unit in Jahra hospital after they were stabbed and run over by the fourth fighter. Security officials rushed to area after hearing reports of a fight taking place and found the youths covered in blood from the various knife-stabs exchanged. They were arrested and taken to Jahra hospital. One of the youths is Syrian, and the remaining three are Kuwaiti. Maid rushed to hospital following abortion An Ethiopian maid was rushed to Mubarak hospital after she underwent an abortion at her country’s embassy in Jabriya. Sources revealed that a maid had fallen to the ground following an abortion, which is believed to be from an illegal relationship with an unknown partner. The incident was reported to police, who opened a file in the Jabriya police station. Teen admits to murder, claims was defending family Investigations by Jahra detectives have revealed that the recent murder of a 35-year-old GCC citizen was at the hands of a 15-yearold teen. The teen, who committed his crime in the Aloyoun area, confessed to murder but said that he attacked the deceased after seeing him shoot at his family with a hunting gun following a fight. He added that it had not been his intention to kill the man. The teen has been sent to the public prosecutor. Drug dealer caught with 6 kilos of opium An Asian has been arrested on charges of drug possession upon being found with six kilograms of opium, as well as other narcotics. Information indicating that the suspect deals in narcotics led police to arrest the man in the Al-Daeya area. After searching him, they found a piece of opium inside his clothes and one kilogram of opium in his car under the driver’s seat. He further confessed to possessing more narcotics inside his trailer and, after searching the trailer, police found five kilograms of opium as well as other narcotics. The suspect confessed that the drugs belonged to him and were for trading.

Al-Fouderi, Boresli and the organizing committee members with participants

TEC’s 4th Poly Sport Competition kicks off today

Al-Fouderi welcoming the attendees

KUWAIT: Sponsored by Wataniya Telecom Co, the 4th TEC Poly Sports Competition is due to kick off at 9am today. In preparation for the championship, the organizing committee recently held a meeting at Al-Shaab Marine club. The meeting was attended by TEC’s competition coordinator, Nasser AlFouderi, Wataniya’s PR manager, Mohammed Boresli, the Yacht Club’s supervisor, Mohammed Al-Yousif, AlShaab Club supervisor, Salem Al-Jeeran, Al-Shaab dock supervisor, Mohammed

Abdul Aziz and a number of participants. According to the organizing committee, the championship will include three phases beginning with cycling from Ogaila Beach Club to The Cape Beach Club (Ras Al-Ardh Club), followed by running to Al-Shaab Club and finally swimming at the Shaab Club’s indoor swimming pool. The committee also explained that the first winner would get KD 1000, the second KD 750, the third KD 550, the fourth KD 400 and the fifth KD 300 in addition to special cups and trophies.

Al-Fouderi and Boresli during the briefing

Boresli addresses the gathering



NBK offers vacancies at GUST Job Expo KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) recently offered various job opportunities for ambitious Kuwait youth at GUST’s Job Opportunities Expo in its efforts to support young Kuwaitis and provide them with suitable careers. NBK’s Human resources manager, Emad Al-Ablani, said “This plan aims at attracting competent, skilled youth to work in the private

sector where they can have ample chances for promotion to higher positions.” He further stressed that NBK has always been keen on providing support to competent young citizens and developing human resources. “NBK’s strategy is based on attracting competent new graduates and enrolling them in developed training courses,” he added, noting that NBK

Emad Al-Ablani

was also keen on developing its human resources to meet the growing demands of expanding its activities both locally and internationally. “GUST’s Job Expo is the best venue to meet promising young Kuwaitis willing to work for the private sector and give them an idea of the jobs and training opportunities NBK offers”, he concluded.

AUB holds Al-Hassad account weekly draw

Al-Afasi in Beirut for Arab social council meeting BEIRUT: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr Mohammad Al-Afasi arrived here yesterday to take part in the 31st Arab Social Affairs Ministers Council meeting, slated for 1011 December. Al-Afasi was received at the airport by Kuwait Ambassador here Abdulaal Al-Qinai, senior embassy staff and the representative of the Arab League in Lebanon. The two-day meeting will discuss the five-

year Arab social work strategy (2012-16), the impact of terrorism on society, the Arab strategy for fighting poverty and issues related to the disabled. The council will mull providing support to social projects in the member states, especially the least developed ones, to help them achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Issues on the family, children, and family development will also be tackled. — KUNA

IINA convenes in Jeddah today JEDDAH: The International Islamic News Agency (IINA) is due to hold its fourth regular meeting in this city today to be chaired by its chief executive, the Saudi minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja, it was learned here yesterday. The meeting will be attended by the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and executives and representatives of a number of news agencies in Islamic countries. On the agenda will be primarily topics related to endeavors to ameliorating the overall work of IINA. The International Islamic News Agency (IINA), based in Jeddah, is a specialized organ of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). IINA

was established in 1972 according to a resolution by the Third Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers of Islamic Countries. The major objectives for a recent restructuring of IINA were to bring it to a position where it could achieve its mission of serving as a center for exchange of expertise among member states, issuing feature services on social, economic and cultural activities in member states, issuing annual publications on important events in the Muslim World and its personalities, being an effective tool in the area of information exchange among OIC member States, serving as an effective media arm and support the new mission and vision of the OIC and its organs and effectively projecting the viewpoints of the Muslim World. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Ahli United Bank 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 November 16, 2011 are Mohammed Khalil Ebrahim Ali, Imtiaz Ahmad Abdulrahman and Ebtisam Makki Ali Juma. The following Al-Hassad Islamic customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each: Hanan Hassan Al Maskati, Shaker Mohammed Abdulla Azoobi, Mohd Al Tantawi, Mariam Abdulla Al Qassab, Mishnan Farraj Al Dosseri, Ali Saied Shiehab Ahmad, Jawad Yaqoob Ali Al Kulaib, Taibah Mansoor Hussain Al Orayedh, Hamed Ibrahim Al Hajeri, Jaraah Thowaini Meteb Al Shemeri, Ahmed Ben Musaad Ben Mohd Al Khidir, Fatma Haji Mohammad Hassan, Amina Gholoum Mohammed Shah, Jumaan Al Mas Abdul Aziz, Mustafa Abdulaleem Mohd Ahmad, Hessa Rashed, Abdulla Abdulaziz, Hazzaa Saad Shebeeb Al Raheedi, Zayed Hmoud Salem Al Azmi, Faisal Ahmed Mejren Al Shallal, Mohd Akbar Sharshani, Sanna Saleh A.Aziz Al Shemamri, Mahdi Ali Abdulla Ali, Khalid Hassan Yousef Al Qallaf and Mastoura Hamdan Motairan Al Azmi. 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. Al Hassad 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 art 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 AlHassad Islamic investment savings account, its prize structure and eligibility criteria, customers may visit any AUB Kuwait.



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in brief

Action against selling free school meals KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education took legal action against multiple school headmasters after they were found guilty of selling meals that the Ministry distributes for students for free. This discovery came as a result of the monitoring procedures that the Ministry implemented for the catering scheme last year, sources told Al-Qabas. The Ministry made additional efforts to stop the practice this year after they discovered that certain school administrations were selling leftovers that they had collected after the lunch break to students, teachers and cleaners. The sources revealed that unconsumed mineral water bottles were also collected and stored to be resold at a later time. Sources also noted that adjustments had been introduced made to the meals distributed to elementary schools this year, which included removing chocolate in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s recommendations regarding maintaining better nutrition and reducing obesity among children. — Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Autism Center(KAC) successfully carried out a mock fire drill recently, as part of the Administration’s plans to assess the readiness of safety preparations to face emergency cases.

Kuwaiti envoy holds reception in honor of new Arab ambassadors BRUSSELS: Nabeela Al-Mulla, Kuwait’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU and dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps in Belgium, held a reception at her residence Thursday night in honor of the new Arab ambassadors in the Belgian capital. “It’s a great pleasure to be in our second home here, that of Nabeela Al-Mulla,” Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador Faisal Trad told Kuwait News Agency, KUNA. “It is very kind of her to bring dignitaries, ambassadors and heads of mission from different coun-

tries to welcome the new Arab and GCC ambassadors,” he said. “I think with the experience she has as the dean of the Arab diplomatic corps, our work will be better facilitated,” added Trad. The UAE’s new ambassador, Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, told KUNA “We thank the Dean Nabeela AlMulla for her invitation. This is very kind of her and it shows solidarity among the Arab ambassadors here. He added “She is a fantastic dean who takes care of her colleagues and always supports them.” The new Ambassador to Bahrain’s,

Mohammed Yousif Al-Doseri, also praised the dean’s gesture, “It gives us the opportunity to meet other colleagues, including EU officials and parliamentarians.” He added, “It is also a good opportunity for networking and to make contacts. We very much appreciate it and offer our thanks for her effort.” The new ambassadors of Iraq, Mohammed al-Humaimidi, and Tunisia, Ridha Farhat, were also among the guests, which included ambassadors and diplomats from the Arab world, Europe, Asia and Africa. — KUNA

Maimouni’s sentencing set for January 17 KUWAIT: The Criminal Court has set January 17, 2012 as the date they will make their ruling in the death case of citizen Mohammad Al-Maimouni, in which 17 police officers are accused of torturing and killing the victim. The decision came during the most recent hearing in the case, which is the tenth hearing since the crime took place last January along with almost a year of investigations. The public prosecutor is demanding that the defendants be convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On Tuesday, however, the defense made arguments rejecting the accusations and complicity in crime. — Al-Qabas Nahdha residents not eligible to vote KUWAIT: The total number of eligible voters registered in election lists amounts to 40,0296. The registration and election lists will be postponed until elections are over, and a new date for registering voters will be announced at a later date. Sources said that the Nahdha area is not included in voter lists this year, adding that those residing in the area have ‘no right to vote.’ To enable them to vote, a law from the NA council must be issued. — Al-Anbaa

Interpol official praises Kuwait’s efforts BEIRUT: A security official of the International Police Organization (Interpol) praised yesterday the effective role of Kuwait and the security agencies in combating cyber crime, money laundering and narcotics distribution. Head of coordination of the national central offices in the Middle East and North Africa’s sub-division, Ali Mohammad Al-Ali, told Kuwait News Agency at the 35th Conference of Arab Police and Security that Kuwait is an active member of the organization and has an active role in the exchange of security information with the organization, as well as extradition. Al-Ali added that the sub-division coordinates with all 190 member states in all criminal cases, adding that there is a national center for Interpol in every Arab country, which is considered to create a link between the countries. The sub-division coordinates with the International Criminal Tribunal, he said, pointing out that it participated in the support of many international investigations, most notably the assassination of leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai last year. Interpol’s international department in Kuwait issued arrest warrants against 1,395 suspected criminals of all nationalities, under the Ministry of Justice, last year. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Security Strategic Studies Institute at the Ministry of Interior’s College of National Security recently held seminars to discuss national security and preparations to face potential risks and threats. The event took place on the sixth and seventh of the current month at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was attended by senior officials from the Interior Ministry, Kuwaiti army, National Guard and the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate(KFSD).

Cafe shop owners asked to comply with rules By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Kuwait Municipality Public Relations Director Rashid Al-Hashan asked cafe shop owners and car dealers in all governorates to not encroach into pavements. It has been noticed that unlicensed squares were being used to run

small-scale business. He said that the call was made when some shop owners noticed that the state’s property was being used illegally. Al-Hashan said that the Municipality will start intensive campaigns to eliminate all violations, adding that a fine of KD 2 will be charged every day until the violation is removed.


Russian opposition prepares for massive election fraud rally


Deadline passes for Occupy Boston without eviction


Mosque suicide attack kills six in Afghanistan


Bomb wounds French peacekeepers in Lebanon ‘Attack aimed at pressuring troops to leave’

TYRE: United Nations and emergency personnel gather at the site of a roadside bomb attack on a U.N. peacekeepers’ vehicle in Bourj al-Shamali, near the port city of Tyre, Lebanon yesterday.—AP TYRE: A bomb struck a UN peacekeeping patrol in the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre yesterday, wounding five French soldiers, one of them severely, and two civilians, a security official and the army said. The official, who requested anonymity, said the bomb was hidden under dirt on the side of the road and detonated as the soldiers drove through an intersection on the town’s southern outskirts. Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), told AFP that the five wounded soldiers were treated at the scene and later taken to hospital. The French military said four suferred very slight wounds while the fifth was more seriously injured in the face. “A UNIFIL forensics team is at the site (of the blast) and working in cooperation with their Lebanese counterparts to determine the facts and circumstances,” Tenenti said. An AFP correspondent in Tyre saw three peacekeepers-a woman and two men standing by their badly damaged white vehicle with bandages on

their heads. The army said the two civilians wounded were passers-by. The office of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, who is on an official visit to Armenia, issued a statement denouncing the attack, which he said was aimed at prompting France to pull its troops from the country. “This terrorist attack is aimed at pressuring these troops to leave Lebanon and to pave the way for (further) terrorists acts,” he said. “Lebanon’s security agencies will do everything to find and arrest those responsible for the explosion and to prevent the repeat of such tragedies in the future,” he added. Prime Minister Najib Mikati also condemned the attack as did French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe who vowed his country would not be intimidated. “I condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly attack that was carried out against UNIFIL this morning, wounding five French peacekeepers,” Juppe said in a statement. France is “determined to continue its involvement with UNIFIL (and) will not

be intimidated by such vile acts,” he added. UNIFIL patrols have been the target of a string of unclaimed roadside bomb attacks in recent years, including two in 2011. In July, six French UNIFIL troops were wounded, one of them seriously, in a similar attack as yesterday’s in the southern coastal town of Sidon. And in May, six Italian peacekeepers were wounded in Sidon, also in a roadside bombing. In the worst attack, three Spanish and three Colombian peacekeepers were killed in June 2007 when a boobytrapped car exploded as their patrol vehicle drove by. Yesterday’s blast took place amid heightened tension over the bloody uprising in neighbouring Syria, with politicians and diplomats warning the unrest could spill over into Lebanon, whose government is dominated by the pro-Syrian militant group Hezbollah. There have been constant fears that the UNIFIL force stationed in the south of the country would be an easy target should the unrest reach Lebanon.

MP Marwan Hamadeh, a leading member of the Western-backed opposition in Lebanon, blamed Damascus for yesterday’s attack, saying it was orchestrated with the help of its ally Hezbollah. “It is clear that Syria was behind what happened today and the messenger was Hezbollah,” he told AFP. “Nothing happens in that region without Hezbollah’s approval.” He added the fact that the blast took place near a Palestinian refugee camp was only aimed at sowing confusion. “The Syrians have accused France of being at the forefront of what they believe is a foreign plot to destabilise their country and everyone felt that something was bound to happen,” Hamadeh said. A Hezbollah official contacted by AFP had no immediate comment. Spain currently commands the 12,100-strong UNIFIL force, which was founded in 1978 and expanded after a devastating 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. France has one of the largest contingents with 1,300 soldiers. — AFP


Raids kill three Gazans; rockets fired at Israel GAZA/JERUSALEM: Violence has flared up between Israel and Gaza, with the Israeli air force killing three Palestinians and militants firing rockets deep across the border. The latest fighting erupted on Thursday when an air strike on a car killed two militants, one of them from Gaza’s governing Islamist group Hamas, whom Israel accused of planning to send gunmen to attack it through the neighbouring Sinai region of Egypt. Palestinian militants answered Thursday’s air strike with a barrage of rockets, some of which landed near Beersheba, a city 35 km (30 miles) from Gaza. No one was hurt. Air-raid sirens summoned residents of southern Israel to shelters. Another Israeli air strike followed before dawn yesterday, hitting a Hamas training camp in Gaza City. The blast flattened a nearby home, killing its owner and wounding his wife and six of their children, two critically, hospital officials said.In a statement voicing regret for the civilian casualties, the military said Palestinian rockets stored next to the camp had stoked the explosion. Hamas accused Israel of a “massacre”.”We are pursuing intensive contacts with several Arab and international parties, and we stress the necessity of this aggression being stopped immediately,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, told reporters. Hamas spurns peacemaking with the Jewish state but has in the past proposed truces as it sought to consolidate control over Gaza and negotiate power-sharing with the rival, US -backed Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Instability has spread in Sinai as Cairo struggles to restore order after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February. Armed infiltrators killed eight Israelis on the border with Sinai in August. Israeli troops repelling the gunmen killed five Egyptian police, triggering outrage in Cairo that spilled over into the mobbing of Israel’s embassy a month later. Israel apologised for the Egyptian deaths and Egypt’s interim military rulers vowed to mount security sweeps of Sinai. Hamas’s standing has grown with the political rise of the kindred Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, formerly a suppressed though popular opposition group. Israel worries about the prospects for its landmark 1979 peace accord with Egypt, which secured the demilitarisation of the Sinai. “The State of Israel is in a bind,” defence analyst Alex Fishman wrote in the biggest-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. “It can’t operate in Sinai in order to defend its sovereignty for fear of its relations with Egypt ... and because it can’t beat the donkey, it beats the saddle-and Gaza suffers the blows.” —Reuters

Gaddafi’s son denies plot to sneak into Mexico CAIRO: The son of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi “vigorously denies” having plotted to illegally sneak into Mexico to escape his home country after the fall of his father’s regime, his lawyer said yesterday. Al-Saadi Gaddafi fled to the neighboring country of Niger in September and the government there has given him refugee status. Mexico claimed on Wednesday that Al-Saadi and three relatives also had initiated plans to sneak into Mexico under false names and take clandestine refuge at a Pacific coast resort. Defense lawyer Nick Kaufman, who has been involved in several international criminal cases, told The Associated Press in an email that Al-Saadi fled Libya because he feared for his life and is grateful to the government of Niger for giving him refuge. Kaufman denied that Al-Saadi was involved in any criminal wrongdoing, but said “it is hard to fault him for fleeing a country where his life was in grave danger and he would undoubtedly have met the same brutal fate as befell his father and brother.” The elder Gaddafi and his family fled Tripoli as the capital fell to revolutionary forces in late August during a brutal civil war. The dictator and another son, Muatassim, were killed after being captured by former rebels on Oct 20 and the circumstances of their deaths have been criticized by human rights groups. Mexico’s Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said the plan to bring Al-Saadi Gaddafi to Mexico allegedly involved two Mexicans, a Canadian and a Danish suspect, all of whom have been detained. He did not reveal which relatives had planned to accompany Al-Saadi Gaddafi, who is known for his love of professional soccer and run-ins with police in Europe. —AP

Syrians rally as forces poised for bloody assault Six people reported killed DAMASCUS: Syrians took to the streets of Homs yesterday despite an opposition warning of a “massacre” by thousands of regime forces and militias who encircled the protest hub for a final assault to crush dissent. And local rights groups reported later that forces killed at least six people, including two children, when they fired randomly on protesters in Homs, one of many areas where people rallied after the main weekly Muslim prayers. Pro-democracy activists had called on citizens to take to the streets across the troubled country in support of a “dignity strike... which will lead to the sudden death of this tyrant regime.” Ahead of the demonstrations, the opposition Syrian National Council warned of a bloody final assault on Homs using the pretext of what the regime had called a “terrorist” attack on an oil pipeline. “The regime (is) paving the way to commit a massacre in order to extinguish the revolution in Homs,” said the SNC, a principle umbrella group drawing together Assad’s opponents. Homs, an important central junction city of 1.6 million residents mainly divided along confessional lines, is a tinderbox of sectarian tensions that the SNC said the regime was trying to exploit. “The regime has tried hard to ignite the sectarian conflict using many dirty methods, which have included bombing and burning mosques, torturing and killing young men, and kidnapping women and children,” said the SNC. “The regime also took a significant step... in burning oil pipelines in the neighborhood of Baba Amr to blame what the regime calls ‘armed gangs’; in an attempt to crush the peaceful uprising on the pretext of a war on terrorism.” Witnesses on the ground in Homs, already besieged for months, had reported a buildup of troops and proregime “Shabiha” militiamen in armored vehicles who have set up more than 60 checkpoints, said the opposition group. “These are all signs of a security crackdown operation that may reach the level of a total invasion of the city. “We warn of the consequences of com-

DAMASCUS: Pro-Syrian regime protesters hold a rally in support of President Bashar Assad, pictured in the large banner, in Damascus, Syria yeserday.—AP mitting such a crime that could result in a massive number of casualties,” said the SNC. “We hold accountable the regime, and behind it the Arab League and the international community of what could happen to innocent civilians in the next few hours or days, and the implications for the region as a whole in the near future. “The Syrian National Council also calls on all relevant international organisations and human rights organisations to take immediate action to pressure the international forums to provide immediate protection to civilians in Homs in particular, and throughout Syria in general.” The Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent since mid-March has hit Homs particularly hard and activists say a great number of defecting soldiers have set up camp there to protect the protest movement. An explosion on Thursday tore apart a pipeline taking crude to an oil refinery in Homs from eastern Syria, in an attack the regime blamed on “armed terrorist gangs.” But the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), which organises the protests, accused Assad’s government of deliberately destroying the pipeline which serves a region seen as staunchly

opposed to his rule. Two children-aged 10 and 12 — were among at least six people killed by Syrian security forces yesterday in Homs and on the outskirts of Damascus, rights groups said. The regime’s crackdown on dissent has killed more than 4,000 people in Syria, according to UN figures. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay is due to address the Syria crisis yesterday and is expected to brief the UN Security Council by Tuesday at the request of France, Britain and German, diplomats said. “It will be useful because it will allow the Security Council to examine its own responsibilities” in the crisis, said a UN diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. Diplomats said they notice signs of a shift in attitude by opponents of UN action against President Assad. However Western governments are waiting to see what impact Arab League sanctions have on Syria. Turkey urged Assad yesterday to punish the “murderers” of anti-regime protesters and accept observers proposed by the Arab League. And Syria’s foreign ministry said it was studying a response from the Arab League to conditions sought by Assad’s government to accept the delegation of monitors.— AFP

Yemen youths rally for Saleh to be tried SANAA: Demonstrators massed in Sanaa yesterday demanding that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh be put on trial over his regime’s bloody repression of their opposition movement. “Let the world know that Saleh must be tried” and “No immunity for the executor,” the protesters, who were mostly youths, chanted as they marched in a street near Change Square after the main weekly Muslim prayers. But protests were relatively subdued on the eve of the swearing in of a national unity government tasked with overseeing a transition period until Saleh’s departure in February in line with a Gulf-brokered deal. The power transfer accord means “we have achieved one of the objectives of the revolution: the fall of the nepotistic and totalitarian regime,” Hamza Kamali, a

youth protest coordinator, told AFP. “We will stand by the national unity government if it meets our demands,” including the establishment of a democratic state, the restructuring of the army and security forces, as well as an independent judiciary, Kamali added. One of the protesters, Muyin al-Dhaley, said that they supported the newly named government because “the people are tired of years of suffering.” “But the youth will continue their sit-ins overthrow the government if it doesn’t work towards the creation of a modern state,” he told AFP. Mohammed Meftah, another young demonstrator, warned: “The youths will only stop their sit-in protests once all those responsible for spilling Yemeni blood have faced justice.” Saleh’s General People’s Congress party ordered its supporters not to stage any

rival rallies after Friday prayers, as they have done since democracy protests erupted in January. Tens of thousands of Yemenis marched the streets of Sanaa on Thursday, chanting “no partnership with murderers,” in reference to former regime loyalists that have been appointed to the newly formed unity government. Hundreds of Yemenis have been killed and thousands more wounded in more than 11 months of demonstrations that continue despite the Gulf-sponsored power transfer deal to ensure Saleh’s ouster. The protesters have also expressed dismay with the formal opposition for signing the Gulf Cooperation Council plan which promises Saleh immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes committed against Yemenis since the uprising.— AFP


Congo on edge waiting for delayed vote result KINSHASA: The DR Congo was on edge yesterday waiting for the winner of its November 28 elections to be announced, after repeated delays in a vote count marred by chaos and fears of post-poll violence. President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, looks set to win a new five-year term following constitutional changes in January that scrapped two-round presidential elections for a single-round system. Kabila had 49 percent against 33 percent for chief rival Etienne Tshisekedi with just over 89 percent of polling centres counted, according to the latest results. But the election commission, which has been criticized by international observers for a lack of transparency in the counting process, has repeatedly postponed declaring the winner, from Tuesday to Thursday and then to yesterday. The commission’s chief, Methodist pastor Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, said Thursday officials needed more time to cross-check

vote counts transmitted electronically with paper results sheets, calling it “a huge job”. State broadcaster RTNC said yesterday the provisional result would in fact be delivered this time. “The announcement of the provisional results of the presidential election is confirmed for yesterday,” said a message displayed on state TV, which transmits the results live from Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) headquarters. A CENI spokesman earlier told AFP journalists to be at the commission’s briefing room at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) for the result, but no officials were there almost two hours later. Opposition parties have treated the repeated delays sceptically. “If it’s designed to serve the credibility of the results, it’s a good thing. If it’s designed to hide something, that’s going to be a problem,” an aide to Francois Nicephore Kakese, one of the 10 opposition candidates, told AFP. RTNC also had emergency and police telephone numbers posted permanently

on screen yesterday. It has had an anti-violence public service announcement on regular rotation, displaying images from previous wars and unrest in the restive central African country to a song that implores viewers, “Don’t do this to our Congo”. Analysts have warned the country risks descending into conflict in the wake of the elections, just the second since back-toback wars from 1996 to 2003. The International Crisis Group, which has put the country on its “conflict risk alert” list, called Thursday for a post-election mediation process led by the UN, the EU and the African Union.. Tshisekedi has rejected early results showing Kabila ahead and made veiled threats of violence if the incumbent wins. In Kinshasa, police patrols have been out in force and some 20,000 soldiers are on stand-by at military bases. Police this week used tear gas to disperse potential opposition protests before they could start, chasing away Tshisekedi sup-

porters armed with rocks and petrol bombs. Other possible flashpoints include Katanga province, a Kabila stronghold that was rocked by deadly rebel attacks on election day, and the provinces of eastern and western Kasai, where Tshisekedi has strong support. Tshisekedi’s party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), has accused the election commission of faking its numbers, calling the count “illegal, opaque and biased” and demanding the release of results polling centre by polling centre. International observers have echoed the call, asking for greater transparency. The supreme court is charged with hearing election disputes and declaring the definitive winner on December 17. But with the court seen as closely aligned with Kabila-he expanded it from seven to 27 judges at the start of the campaign-many in the country fear the battle will be taken to the streets. Provisional parliamentary results are due in mid-January.—AFP

Russian opposition prepares for massive election fraud rally Allowing rally attempt to avoid violence

KIEV: A supporter of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko holds a poster outside a prison in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday.—AP

Ukraine’s jailed ex-PM faces indefinite arrest KIEV: A Ukrainian court has ordered the indefinite arrest of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, even if her current seven-year sentence is overturned, her office said yesterday. Kiev’s Shevchenkivsky Court ordered Tymoshenko arrested late Thursday as part of a probe into the activity of an energy company she headed 15 years ago. The decision shows that Ukrainian authorities remain unbowed by strong Western pressure to release the country’s top opposition leader. The U.S. and the EU have condemned her 7-year sentence on abuse of office charges as politically motivated and have demanded her release. Tymoshenko’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko charged that Tymoshenko’s arrest had no term and was indefinite, in violation of the law. “Tymoshenko has been arrested forever,” Vlasenko said, according to a statement on Tymoshenko’s Web site. “This is yet another brutal and flagrant violation of the current legislation.” The Shevchenkivsky Court declined to comment yesterday. The court ruled during a session in Tymoshenko’s jail cell where she’s bedridden due to a back problem. She says the authorities are denying her proper treatment. Tymoshenko is appealing her seven-year sentence and a key court hearing is expected Monday. She was found guilty in October of overstepping her authorities while negotiating a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009. Tymoshenko maintains her innocence and charges that President Viktor Yanukovych has ordered her imprisonment to bar her from elections.—AP

MOSCOW: Russian authorities are allowing the opposition to hold a massive protest against election fraud, following a violent police crackdown on a series of unsanctioned demonstrations earlier this week, rally organizers said yesterday. The decision to sanction a rally of up to 30,000 today on a square across the river from the Kremlin appears to be an attempt to avoid the violence that occurred at demonstrations after last Sunday’s parliamentary election. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won about 50 percent of the vote, barely holding onto its majority in the lower house. But Russia’s opposition parties and observers said that even that result was highly inflated because of vote-rigging, and international monitors also pointed to ballot stuffing. The post-election protests in Moscow drew thousands and continued for several days in the biggest ever challenge to Putin, reflecting a growing public frustration with his rule that may complicate his bid to reclaim the presidency in March’s vote. The rallies were brutally dispersed by police, who rounded up hundreds of protesters. The protesters have used the Internet to coordinate their action. Over 30,000 people have already signed up to a Facebook page on Saturday’s protest, and similar rallies are also planned in many cities across Russia to demand an investigation into the alleged vote fraud and call for a new vote. Ilya Ponomaryov, a lawmaker who is one of the leaders of the Left Front opposition movement, described the protest planned for today as a watershed event similar to massive rallies that helped bring down Communist rule two decades ago. “We expect it to become the biggest political protest in 20 years,” he said at a news conference. Putin served two presidential terms from 2000 until 2008, when he shifted into the prime minister’s job to abide by constitutional term limits, but remained the nation’s No. 1 leader. Putin’s decision to swap seats now with his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, has angered many Russians, who fear it will further strengthen authoritarian trends in his policy and lead to political and economic stagnation.

Putin still seems all but certain to win the March election, but he clearly has been taken aback by the tide of public anger. On Thursday, he accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of instigating protesters in order to weaken Russia and warned that his government might take an even harder line against those who try to influence Russia’s political process on behalf of a foreign government. Alexander Gorbenko, a deputy

pression of this week’s rallies and urged them to respect the freedom of assembly. Memorial, a prominent Russian rights group, said in a statement yesterday that many of those detained during the rallies were beaten, held in overcrowded cells and denied food. Memorial said dozens have been sentenced to up to 15 days in jail on fabricated charges by courts, which “didn’t even bother to create even a semblance of

MOSCOW: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looks on as he sits in his study at the government headquarters in Moscow yesterday during his meeting with Russia‘s largest diamond company Alrosa President, Fyodor Andreyev (not pictured). —AFP mayor of Moscow who has allowed today’s protest, sternly warned its participants yesterday that any attempt to hold a march after the rally will be stopped by police. But some of the protest organizers said yesterday that they will gather in a different location nearer the Kremlin prior to the event, and lead protesters to the square where the authorities have permitted the rally. That raises the possibility of new violence. Authorities have put nearly 50,000 police and about 2,000 paramilitary forces on the streets, backed by water cannons. International human rights groups have criticized Russian authorities for the brutal sup-

justice.” The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe yesterday urged Russian authorities to protect journalists reporting on the protests from detention and police harassment. It said about two dozen reporters covering this week’s rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg were rounded up by police. “The duty of the police is to protect journalists, not harass and detain them,” OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said in a statement. “The Russian authorities should investigate all these incidents and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly prosecuted.”—AP


French Senate debates allowing foreigners to vote PARIS: The French Senate debated Thursday a bill proposing to extend the right to vote in local elections to foreigners living legally in the country, as demonstrations for and against the measure raged outside. Brought to the floor by the Senate’s new leftist majority, the debate was purely symbolic: It has no chance of passing in the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament which is still under conservative control.

Still, the bill fanned passions on the left and right. Supporters argued that because foreigners living in France legally pay taxes, they should be entitled to vote for their local representatives. Citizens of EU countries residing here have long been allowed to vote in local races. “We cannot continue to deny the right to vote to those thousands of foreign residents who participate ... in the life of our cities,” Communist senator Eliane Assassi said.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon made a rare appearance at the Senate to denounce the bill, telling lawmakers that “the right to vote cannot be bought. “A town, it’s not like a business that has its shareholders,” said Fillon, of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party. Two presidential candidates turned out for Thursday’s two opposing demonstrations outside the Senate. Eva Joly of the EE-LV ecologist party was on

hand to support the measure. Leading the ranks of those opposed to the bill was Marine Le Pen of the extreme-right National Front party, who denounced the measure as a bid by the left to increase its pool of potential voters. A vote on the bill slated later Thursday was widely expected to go down party lines and win narrow approval in the Senate. However, there’s virtually no chance it will pass in the National Assembly and become law.—AP

Sudan border conflict a ‘war situation’: SPLA JUBA: Fighting on Sudan’s disputed border with the south is a “war situation” that will escalate with the expected advance of more northern troops, South Sudan’s army spokesman warned yesterday. Philip Aguer said the SPLA, the former southern rebels turned regular army of South Sudan, retook Jau on Sunday, a day after the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) captured SPLA bases there. He warned that fighting over the contested border town would intensify. “They (SAF) are still in the territory of South Sudan. This is a war situation and if they don’t withdraw, the SPLA will force them out,” Aguer said. “They are regrouping and waiting for more troops from Khartoum,” and also recruiting South Sudanese to fight for them, he added. South Sudan seceded from the north in July after decades of civil war, but the two nations have failed to agree on contested territory or demarcate oil-rich sectors of their border. On Thursday, Juba and Khartoum staked rival claims to Jau at the UN Security Council as clashes continued and fears mounted of the former foes going back to war. “A return to the negotiating table is absolutely essential to prevent a further descent of the two new countries into war,” said UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, warning the Security Council that renewed fighting would also destabilise the region. Aguer said the SPLA was preparing “to defend its territories” from further attack with 2,000 troops heading for the border from South Kordofan state, where the Sudanese army has been battling rebels aligned to the south since June. “There is a brigade coming... The SPLA has been tracking their movements and they left Deleng (a town in South Kordofan) yesterday,” he said. Sudan’s army said last Saturday that it had captured camps around Jau of South Kordofan rebels, in what it described as a strategic victory, adding the area was a key supply route connecting the rebels to the south. Aguer insisted only the SPLA was deployed in Jau, which was “deep inside South Sudan’s territory” and not used by rebels.—AFP

Kenya fails to prosecute unrest suspects four years on: HRW NAIROBI: Only two Kenyans have been convicted over the killing of some 1,500 people during the country’s worst poll violence four years ago, Human Rights Watch said yesterday, blaming judiciary and police incompetence. A probe by the watchdog into a department of public prosecutions report which claimed that 94 post-poll unrest cases had resulted in convictions found that only two people had in fact been convicted of murder. A further three have been convicted of robbery with violence, one of assault and another of grievous harm, the New York-based group said. “Hundreds of inquest files literally gather dust in police stations,” the group said in a report released yesterday. Neela Ghoshal, the group’s East Africa researcher said: “Police officers have been unwilling to investigate their colleagues, the general quality of investigations has been poor and some police prosecutors have proven incompetent.” Kenyan police killed at least 405 people during the weeks of chaos, injured more than 500 others and raped dozens of women and girls, but enjoy “absolute impunity,” the group said. Hundreds of others were murdered in what quickly turned from a dispute over election results into ethnic revenge killings. The International Criminal Court has charged six top Kenyan politicians and officials over the unrest after Nairobi failed to set up a local tribunal to try the perpetrators. They include Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, former ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, expolice chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, head of civil service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.—AFP

MOGADISHU: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, walks with the UN representative for Somalia Augustine P Mahiga, left, and Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, far right, as he arrives at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia yesterday.—AP

UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrives in Mogadishu First visit in nearly 2 decades by UN leader MOGADISHU: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Somalia’s seaside capital yesterday, the first visit in nearly two decades by the UN‘s top leader to a city known for a seemingly perpetual state of war. Ban announced that the UN would move its Somalia office from Kenya to Mogadishu next year. Ban’s arrival in the war-torn capital city was made possible because of the military gains that African Union forces have made this year against alShabab militants, who last year at this time controlled most of Mogadishu. Still, the militants have been waging a campaign of roadside and suicide bomb attacks, injecting some risk into the UN chief’s visit. Ban, who was wearing a dark blue bulletproof vest when he landed, met with the leaders of Somalia’s weak, UN backed government and officials from the African Union military force. “I believe Somalia is at a critical juncture, a moment of fresh opportunities,” he

told a news conference at Mogadishu’s presidential palace. Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed called the trip historical and said that many people around the world see Somalia only as a place of famine and bloodshed. He said Ban’s trip proved that progress is being made. Ban said that the UN ‘s Political Office for Somalia will relocate to Mogadishu in January. He also welcomed the decision by Kenya’s parliament this week to contribute troops to the African Union force, which is now comprised mostly of Ugandan and Burundian troops. Ban’s trip was surrounded by secrecy. No public announcement had been made of Ban’s visit though rumors began circulating around Mogadishu on Thursday, when Ban was visiting neighboring Kenya. The visit appeared to be the first to Mogadishu by the UN‘s top official since Boutros BoutrosGhali visited in 1993.

Mogadishu fell into chaos in 1991 after its last president was ousted. Warlords then turned on each other, plunging the country into a near perpetual state of anarchy the last two decades. After the failed 1993 U.S. military intervention that ended with the battle known as “Black Hawk Down,” the international community largely pulled out of Mogadishu. The city hosts no international embassies and very few Western aid workers. The UN ‘s mission for Somalia has been based in neighboring Kenya for years. Ban’s visit signals that the UN believes progress is being made, at the least by the African Union military force and perhaps even the UN -backed government in Mogadishu known as the Transitional Federal Government. The TFG has a president, a prime minister, Cabinet and hundreds of parliamentarians, though the government has few accomplishments it can point to and controls only the capital.—AP



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international SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Congress rebuffs easing of sanctions on Iran WASHINGTON: US Republicans and Democrats determined to look tough on Iran and avoid any election-year challenges to their pro-Israel bona fides are standing firm on proposed penalties on Iran’s central bank. The Obama administration argues that the crippling penalties would undercut a carefully calibrated international effort targeting Tehran and would drive up oil prices, a potential economic boon that would help finance Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon while hitting cash-strapped Americans at the gas pump. Just weeks after announcing a new round of restrictions, President Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed “some of the political noise out there” and said his “administration has systematically imposed the toughest sanctions on Iran ever.” Obama said he was considering all options for dealing with Iran, but declined to be more specific. Lawmakers are pressing ahead with penalties against foreign banks that do business with Iran’s central bank, a plan that the Senate resoundingly endorsed last week on a 100-0 vote. “The administration does understand the centrality of this issue to forcing Iran. They would like to do it unimpeded by congressional mandates. That’s true of every administration,” Rep. Howard Berman of California, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview. “On this, we’re not going to just roll over and take their suggestions.” The showdown between the administration and Congress encompasses policy realities and political maneuvering. Tough economic penalties are the most viable option short of a military strike. Looking ahead to the 2012 elections, Republicans and Democrats are intent on presenting a record of hawkishness toward Iran and unwavering support for Israel, mindful of the importance on American Jewish voters and their financial contributions to the political parties. The sanctions measure was added to a broader defense bill that’s now the subject of closed-door negotiations between the House and Senate. Lawmakers hope to produce a final version of the policy legislation next week. Few lawmakers, even Democrats, have argued the administration’s case for weakening the penalties. “I think Democrats are scratching their heads that the administration is leading them into a policy provision which not a single Democratic senator can support,” Kirk said in an interview. He said he spoke to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, on Thursday and he indicated that the House negotiators would accept the sanctions provision. The measure would go after foreign financial institutions that do business with the central bank by barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products. The petroleum penalties would only apply if the president, in six months, determines there is a sufficient alternative supply and if the country with jurisdiction over the financial institution has not significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian oil. It also allows the president to waive the penalties based on national security. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in a Dec 1 letter to senators, said the administration opposed the measure in its current form because it would undermine its effort to bring international pressure on Iran. He also warned that the penalties could actually boost oil prices and benefit Iran financially. “Iran’s greatest economic resource is its oil exports,” Geithner wrote. “Sales of crude oil line the regime’s pockets, sustain its human rights abuses and feed its nuclear ambitions like no other sector of the Iranian economy.” The administration is seeking both substantive and technical changes, including delaying implementation of all the penalties for six months. Berman favors speeding up the penalties to four months. In arguing for tougher sanctions, lawmakers cite the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran is suspected of clandestine work that is “specific to nuclear weapons,” its alleged role in the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States and the attack on the British Embassy in Tehran. US -Iranian relations have been put further on edge by Iran’s capture of a high-tech, stealth CIA drone on a surveillance mission over Iran. Two weeks ago, the administration announced a new set of penalties against Iran, including identifying for the first time Iran’s entire banking sector as a “primary money laundering concern.”—AP

Deadline passes for Occupy Boston without eviction Two protesters arrested BOSTON: A diminished Occupy Boston encampment held its ground early yesterday after police decided not to immediately enforce a midnight deadline the mayor had set for them to leave a city square. The threat of forcible removal left Boston poised to join several other cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, where officials moved to oust protesters. Two Boston protesters were arrested after police said they moved a tent into a street and refused to move, blocking traffic. But there were no other serious confrontations between the demonstrators and supporters who gathered at the site as the deadline loomed. Boston police Supt William Evans told protesters that even though Mayor Thomas Menino set the deadline, he did not specify when the camp would be shut down. “We’re continuing to work with (the protesters)... and hopefully come to a good conclusion where we don’t have any confrontations and there are no arrests,” Evans told reporters. Many protesters had pulled up stakes and left the encampment Thursday after learning of the deadline, but others stayed, and some said they were prepared to be arrested. Demonstrators and their supporters began gathering in the hours before the deadline. Occupy groups from Worcester and Providence, Rhode Island, helped swell the ranks, along with university students, a group of Quakers and some veterans, including a Marine in full dress uniform. About 1,000 people filled the streets around the financial district and a party-like atmosphere reigned as a marching band played music and people sang and danced. As midnight approached, Occupy Boston members began organizing those demonstrators willing to be arrested, telling them to stay in the encampment and link arms. After protesters chanted “We are the 99 percent” and singing “Solidarity Forever” for several minutes,

the band began playing again for the crowd. Hours later, as dawn approached, the scene was markedly quieter, with only a handful of police officers watching the remaining protesters, a few of whom were still packing up tents and gathering belongings. One protester was raking a portion of the greenway that had been

encampment. Some Occupy Boston members indicated prior to the deadline they would not leave voluntarily. “If it comes down to it, I will be spending the night in jail,” said a protester who identified himself as Mike Smith, 23, of Boston. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre

BOSTON: Occupy Boston protester Kevin LaCroix, of Boston, center, stacks tent poles while dismantling a tent at the Dewey Square encampment, in Boston, Thursday.—AP vacated by other members of the movement. While Menino had previously said the city had no plans to forcibly remove the encampment, he appeared to become increasingly impatient with the protesters in recent days, saying the occupation has become a public health and safety hazard. He issued his ultimatum after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the protesters had no right to stay in Dewey Square. The protesters have been encamped there since Sept. 30, modeling their demonstration after Occupy Wall Street. Protesters estimate between 100 and 150 activists live in the Boston

dealt Occupy Boston a major setback Wednesday when she lifted a temporary restraining order that blocked the city from removing protesters. McIntyre said that while the protesters are exercising their rights to freedom of expression from government interference, the occupation of state land is essentially viewed “as a hostile act” that is neither speech “nor is it immune from criminal prosecution for trespass or other crimes.” Lawyers representing Occupy Boston indicated they would appeal, but did not move immediately to seek a stay of McIntyre’s ruling.—AP

Cuban exiles to set off for Cuban coast

MIAMI: In this Sept 8, 2008 file photo, Ramon Saul Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement, a group that helps Cubans arriving in Miami, explains his plan to send humanitarian aid to the victims in Cuba of Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike in Miami. —AP

MIAMI: A coalition of Cuban exile groups was preparing yesterday morning for its journey from the US across much of the Florida Straits despite rough seas. The group leaving from Key West plans to anchor a small flotilla a little more than 12 miles (19 kilometers) off the coast of Havana and launch fireworks to highlight the island’s human rights abuses. Organizer Ramon Saul Sanchez of the small nonprofit the Democracy Movement said about 50 protesters were going in six boats, including an 85-foot (25-meter) vessel and a small security craft. About a dozen members of the media were also following the group. “Everything is going well despite the rough seas, but our departure will be a little behind,” he told The Associated Press yesterday. Cuba has called the demonstration a provocation. The exile groups say they are merely exercising their rights to freedom of expression.

State Department Spokesman William Ostick says federal authorities have met with the organizers to ensure they comply with US and international laws. He says the organizers have provided assurances they will not violate Cuban territorial waters or airspace. Cuban waters stretch about 12 miles off the island. “We have urged the Democracy Movement and the Cuban government to exercise caution and restraint during the Democracy Movement’s December 9 fireworks shows in international waters off Havana,” he said in a statement. “We have also made it clear to Cuban authorities as well as participants in this event that the US government would punish any violation of US laws,” he continued, adding, “The United States government does not promote or encourage this activity.” The Coast Guard has said it will patrol the area to ensure the protesters are well behind the 12-mile mark.— AP



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international SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Missing ex-FBI agent in hostage video: ‘Help me’ Footage transforms disappearance into hostage standoff

WASHINGTON: An investigator walks through rubble Thursday in Washougal, Wash. Authorities searched the rubble of a house fire Thursday for the body of a man who fired multiple rounds from rifles and handguns for at least 90 minutes Wednesday as his southwest Washington home burned around him, authorities said. —AP

Police find 2 bodies in burned-out home WASHINGTON: Police said Thursday they found two bodies in the rubble of a house that burned to the ground as a man inside shot multiple rounds from rifles and handguns for 90 minutes and kept fire crews at bay. Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Allais said there was no information yet about the gender or identities of the bodies recovered from the southwest Washington home. Neighbors said a man, his wife and another woman lived in the home. Nobody has reported seeing them since the Wednesday morning fire. The remains of four dogs were also found. Allais said one dog apparently was killed by gunfire but he didn’t know what killed the other three. Investigators could be on the scene for days trying to determine what happened, he said. Authorities did not release the identity of the owner or occupants. The Columbian reported the owner is believed to be a self-proclaimed white separatist who was arrested in Idaho in 1995 over allegations he threatened his ex-wife. At the time of the man’s arrest in Bonner County, Idaho, authorities confiscated more than two dozen weapons, including six AK-47s and a grenade launcher, according to an Associated Press story. Homer Adams worked for the owner of the Washougal home. He said the man, who worked at a landscaping company, was a fair boss. Adams said the man did mention Randy Weaver, a white separatist involved in a deadly confrontation with federal agents in Idaho in 1992. Adams said the homeowner also seemed angry about the 1993 federal action in Waco, Texas, that led to the deaths of dozens of members of the Branch Davidian Church. Adams described the man as an expert in several types of firearms after more than 20 years in the US Army and said he went out with the Washougal homeowner several times. “If he was shooting at something, he was going to hit it,” Adams said. “I would know, he could shoot.” The man had recently cut the lawn of neighbor Art Sailer and planned to trim Sailer’s pink dogwood tree. “He always seemed very nice, a hard worker,” Sailer said. Police said two people went to the burning home Wednesday morning to see if it was occupied and saw a man who told them to leave. That man then opened fire with multiple weapons, they said. The large residential property included a house and shop. The gunfire forced firefighters to let the fire burn itself out, so the buildings were destroyed. No serious injuries were reported from the gunfire, although one bullet pierced the side window of an arriving police car. Police evacuated nearby houses, and four schools were temporarily locked down. No officers fired their weapons, police said. Authorities have declined to discuss a possible motive for the gunfire.— AP

WASHINGTON: The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished years ago in Iran, issued a plea to his kidnappers yesterday and, for the first time, released a hostage video they received from his unidentified captors. The video message released on the family’s website publicly transformed the mysterious disappearance into an international hostage standoff. Despite a lengthy investigation, however, the United States government has no evidence of who is holding the 63-year-old father of seven. “Please tell us your demands so we can work together to bring my father home safely,” says Levinson’s son David, seated beside his mother, Christine. The video plea represents a sharp change in strategy in a case that, for years, the US treated as a diplomatic issue rather than a hostage situation. Christine Levinson, who lives in Coral Springs, Florida, has issued many public statements over the years, but she typically directed them to her missing husband or to the government of Iran. In the hostage video, which the family received in November 2010, Levinson pleaded with the US government to meet the demands of the people holding him, whom he did not identify. The 54-second hostage video showed Levinson looking haggard but unharmed, sitting in front of what appeared to be a concrete wall. He had lost considerable weight, particularly in his face, and his white shirt hung off him. There were no signs of recent mistreatment. But Levinson, who has a history of diabetes and high blood pressure, implored the US to help. “I have been treated well. But I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me for three and a half years,” Levinson says. “And please help me get home.” His voice weakens and breaks as he speaks of “my beautiful, my loving, my loyal wife, Christine,” as well as his children and his grandson. “I am not in very good health,” he says. “I am running very quickly out of diabetes medicine.” The Associated Press saw the video soon after it arrived last year but did not immediately report it because the US government said doing so would complicate diplomatic efforts to bring Levinson home. Now, those efforts appear to have stalled, US relations with Iran have worsened and Levinson’s family has stepped out of diplomatic channels to appeal directly to the kidnappers. “We are not part of any government and we are not experts on the region,” David Levinson says. “No one can help us but you. Please help us.” In the nearly five years that Levinson has been missing, the US government has never had solid intelligence about what happened to him. Levinson had been retired from the FBI for years and was working as a private investigator when he traveled to Iran in March 2007. His family has said an investigation into cigarette smuggling brought him to Kish, a resort island where Americans need no visa to visit. The prevailing US government theory had been that Levinson was arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the US government believed Levinson was probably dead. The surprise arrival of the video, fol-

lowed by a series of photographs, quickly changed that view. But they did little to settle the question of his whereabouts. The video, in fact, contained tantalizing clues suggesting Levinson was not being held in Iran at all, but rather in Pakistan, hundreds of miles from where he disappeared. The photographs, which arrived a few months after the video, contained hints that Levinson might be in Afghanistan, according to several US officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the sensitive case. The video prompted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to announce publicly in March that Levinson was alive and urged the Iranians to help find him. Though the legacy of the 1979 hostage standoff with Iran looms over all relations between the two countries, Clinton did not refer to Levinson as a hostage in March and she softened the US rhetoric toward Tehran.

This copy photograph of a paper printout obtained by The Associated Press shows Robert Levinson. Long after he vanished in Iran, the retired FBI agent reappeared in a video and a series of photographs sent to his family over the past year, transforming a mysterious disappearance into a hostage standoff with an unknown kidnapper.—AP The video also helped initiate a series of discreet discussions between US and Iranian officials, conversations that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in September were producing good results. Not long after Clinton’s remarks, the Levinson family received a series of photos of Levinson dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit like the ones worn by detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In these photos, Levinson’s hair and beard were much longer and he looked thinner.—AP

As Gingrich surges, Romney attacks WASHINGTON : Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opened a broad and newly abrasive assault on surging rival Newt Gingrich, dispatching supporters and staff to cast the former House of Representatives leader as unworthy of the nomination and unfit to be president. Romney is aiming to undermine Gingrich on personal and professional fronts ahead of the 2012 campaign’s opening contest Jan. 3 in Iowa - a reversal by the one-time front-runner who had previously all but ignored his Republican opponents. Gingrich has amassed a sizable lead in Iowa. The criticism Thursday from

Romney and his allies, after months of focusing solely on President Barack Obama, comes as the Republican race has developed into a two-person contest. Gingrich’s quick rise in national and early-state polls threatens Romney’s claim as the likeliest Republican to be chosen to challenge Obama next November. Gingrich still trails Romney in New Hampshire, the second state to choose a candidate and one that borders the state Romney governed, Massachusetts. But Gingrich’s rise reflects conservative Republicans’ growing belief that his bare-knuckles political style has a better chance of defeating Obama. The

president’s job approval rating has plummeted over his handling of the US economy. Voters are in a sour mood over an 8.6 percent unemployment rate and millions of home mortgage foreclosures. Romney and Gingrich will clash during a nationally televised debate Saturday night. As Romney and other rivals yesterday planned town hall meetings in Iowa, Gingrich planned a single public event: a book signing a few blocks from the US Capitol. Gingrich has combined traditional political campaigning with frequent sales jobs for his books and films that have earned him millions. —AP



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international SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Mosque suicide attack kills six in Afghanistan District police chief target in attack

PESHAWAR: Pakistani Islamists chant slogans during a demonstration in Peshawar yesterday, against the cross-border NATO air strikes on Pakistani troops. Pakistan has upgraded its air defence system on the Afghan border to make it capable of shooting down aircraft, after NATO strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, a security official told said. —AFP

Pakistan prez says he’s fine, vows to return soon ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is “fine” and will return home soon, a news anchor quoted him as saying yesterday, nearly a week after his rush to a Dubai hospital led to speculation the unpopular leader might resign and even of a possible coup. “I’m fine and will return soon,” Zardari reportedly told Hamid Mir, a popular news anchor, who repeated the comments on state television. “I did not want to leave. My children and friends and the prime minister insisted that I go for a checkup.” The issue of the president’s health has gripped Islamabad, exacerbating a series of cascading crises. News media, bloggers and analysts have openly speculated that Zardari would resign or that a coup was afoot. Zardari seemed to acknowledge the speculation. “Those that run from the country run with their kids,” Mir quoted the president as saying. “My son is in Pakistan. I left him there.” “My enemies will be disappointed.” Zardari likely suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sources said yesterday, which can produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage to the brain. According to the US National Institute of Health web site, a TIA occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a short period of time. It can produce “stroke-like” symptoms for up to two hours. “The MRI is clear, but we suspect it may have been that (a TIA)”, said one party official who requested anonymity. TIAs can be precursors to actual strokes if not quickly treated, which usually include blood thinners to reduce clotting. Zardari suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes and has been under heavy pressure in recent weeks following the resignation of the ambassador to Washington over an alleged memo to the Pentagon asking for help in forestalling a feared coup attempt in May. That political saga immediately preceded a low-point in relations with the United States after a Nov. 26 cross-border NATO air attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The extent of Zardari’s possible involvement in the memo case is a burning question in Pakistan, where the military dominates, setting security and foreign policy. Zardari had been due to address parliament this week after the Supreme Court admitted an opposition leader’s petition demanding a judicial inquiry into the memo issue, including any role played by Zardari. That address has now been postponed. The government fuelled the rumour-mill by offering different explanations for Zardari’s trip to Dubai, initially saying it was previously scheduled routine medical tests. Then the prime minister’s media office said he went to get treatment for a “pre-existing heart condition.” Zardari was married to late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and came to power on the back of a sympathy vote after her assassination in 2007. He has failed to gain the respect of many Pakistanis, and perhaps more importantly, the military. Zardari, however, would become vulnerable to longstanding corruption charges in Pakistan by losing his legal immunity as a head of state if he steps down.— Reuters

ASADABAD: A suicide bomber yesterday attacked a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, assassinating a district police chief and killing at least five other people, a government official said. The attack happened as worshippers were leaving the mosque after the main Friday prayers in the Ghazi Abad area of the eastern province of Kunar, which borders Pakistan, said provincial governor Fazullulah Wahidi. “The target of the attack was the district police chief and the attacker blew himself up at the gate of the mosque,” the governor told AFP. The district police chief, an intelligence officer, two police and two civilians were among the dead, with eight other people wounded, he added. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack. Kunar has been a flashpoint in the Taliban’s 10-year insurgency against

the Western-backed government and 140,000 US-led foreign troops. Spokesman for the militia, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed in a text message to reporters that the district police chief had been the target of the attack and that “six policemen” had been killed. The Taleban are known frequently to exaggerate and distort their claims in relation to attacks. The attack came three days after coordinated attacks on Shiite Muslims in the capital Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif killed at least 59 people in an unprecedented assault on the holy day of Ashura. Afghan officials fear that Tuesday’s killings could unleash Iraq and Pakistan-style sectarian violence ahead of the scheduled departure of NATO combat troops in 2014. In Britain, the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that up to 4,000

British troops could leave Afghanistan before the end of 2013 under proposals to be considered by Prime Minister David Cameron next week. Britain is the second largest contributor of international troops after the United States to the NATO-led ISAF force, with roughly 9,500 deployed. The Guardian said the accelerated pace of troop withdrawal was one of three options to be mulled by Cameron at a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council on Tuesday. Under current plans, all British combat troops are due to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But under the new option, the number of British troops in strife-torn Helmand province would be reduced from 9,000 to 5,000 during 2013, and almost the same number would be pulled out the following year, the Guardian said.—AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Muslims hold placards in solidarity with fellow Muslims in Pakistan after Friday prayers outside a mosque in Colombo yesterday. Protestors were demonstrating against United States’ aggression in Pakistan which has claimed many lives. —AFP

Britain mulls early troop pullout from Afghanistan LONDON: Up to 4,000 British troops could leave Afghanistan before the end of 2013 under proposals to be considered by Prime Minister David Cameron next week, a report said yesterday. The Guardian reported that the accelerated pace of troop withdrawal was one of three options to be mulled by Cameron at a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council on Tuesday. The option is understood to be favoured by at least two senior members of the cabinet, who want to slash the costs of the

decade-long military campaign, the paper added. Under current plans, all British combat troops are due to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But under the new option, the number of British troops in strife-torn Helmand province would be reduced from 9,000 to 5,000 during 2013, and almost the same number would be pulled out the following year, the Guardian said. The proposal would leave several hundred British troops in Kabul when NATO

ends its combat role in 2014. The British death toll in Afghanistan climbed to 391 on Thursday when a soldier died in hospital in Britain after he was hit by an improvised explosive device-the name given to roadside bombs laid by the Taliban-in Helmand. Britain is the second largest contributor of international troops after the United States to the NATO-led ISAF force. The Ministry of Defence was not immediately available for comment on the report.—AFP



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international SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Japan PM: Crippled nuke plant stable by year’s end TOKYO: Work to stabilize Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant is on track and the government plans to declare it stable by the end of the year as planned, the prime minister said yesterday. Temperatures of the three melted reactor cores have fallen below the boiling point and radiation leaks have significantly subsided, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said. Those are the two key conditions to achieve what Japanese nuclear officials call “cold shutdown conditions,” a milestone in the effort to stabilize and eventually close the Fukushima Daiichi plant altogether.

“We’re about ready to draw a conclusion,” Noda told a news conference yesterday, marking the end of the current parliamentary session. Some nuclear experts, however, question that claim because the nuclear fuel moved as it melted, so its condition and locations are little known. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that set off the radiation crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi also heavily damaged the plant, and the damage and radiation concerns have limited how much information can be obtained about spent fuel rods and reactor cores. The government and plant operator

Humanitarian crisis brewing in Myanmar’s Kachin: Group BANGKOK: Myanmar’s continued military offensive against ethnic Kachin rebels in the north has sent tens of thousands fleeing their home and threatens a humanitarian crisis, a campaign group said yesterday. Recent ceasefire talks between the nominally civilian government that took office in March and at least two ethnic armed groups have had some success, but tension with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has increased to “boiling point”, Refugees International said. Fighting in the decades-old conflict flared up in June in pockets of the jungle in the northern state of Kachin controlled by the KIA and its political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), after a 17-year ceasefire broke down. “Refugees International is extremely concerned for the safety of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) that are living in various camps in KIO-controlled areas whose shelters and camps are right in between the Tatmadaw (the army) and the KIO bases,” said Lynn Yoshikawa, Refugees International’s southeast Asia advocate. “The conflict in Kachin State requires both immediate humanitarian assistance and long-term assistance,” she told a news conference in Bangkok, after a recent visit to Myitkyina, the state capital, and other ethnic areas. Aid agencies and sources in the area estimate between 30,000 and 40,000 people are living in makeshift jungle camps in KIO-controlled areas not accessible to many aid organisations, including the United Nations. Assistance is only possible through neighboring China, which has publicly stated its unwillingness to host a huge number of IDPs, Yoshikawa said, urging donors to provide funds for local Kachin groups that are supporting the displaced. Fighting has intensified in the past week and refugee camps have swollen, sources from Kachin told Reuters. “It’s like an exodus,” said an ethnic Kachin woman who works closely with aid workers and did not want to be identified. “New camps are being created every day. Many are not recorded,” she said in Yangon, showing detailed lists of numbers of IDPs that she and colleagues had collated. A Myitkyina resident who declined to be named because she feared for the safety of her family and herself said a gun battle had been heard in the town on the night of Dec 6. “We hear bombs every night. We are used to it. But not gunfire,” said the woman, who described herself as a freelance relief worker. She said checkpoints dotted the city of about 100,000 people and although there was no official curfew, “nobody dares go out after 5.30 or 6 p.m. We keep hearing about arrests for no reason.” Yoshikawa said it was not clear what was behind the fighting or who was ordering the army to go on the offensive. “But it is not a promising sign for ethnic peace throughout the area,” she said. Hillary Clinton, who last week became the first US secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years, has urged the country to take further steps to release political prisoners and end ethnic conflicts.— Reuters

Tokyo Electric Power Co. are expected to make a monthly progress report around Dec. 16, and a formal announcement of cold shutdown is expected then. Nuclear safety officials said the core temperatures and radiation leakage have met the requirements for some time now, and they are now making an overall safety evaluation to determine whether the plant can stably run the cooling system and properly launch crisis management steps in case of an unexpected development. The crisis forced some 100,000 people to evacuate their homes, and part

of the no-go zone near the plant may be uninhabitable for decades. Noda said bringing the plant to the stable conditions is only a passing point on the path toward full closure of Fukushima Dai-ichi, which the government estimates will take 30 years. Concerns about food safety stemming from radiation leaks in the area is also a pressing issue, Noda said, citing recent ban on rice grown in Fukushima and a trace of cesium detected in baby formula. “We must address concerns about (food) safety and provide fuller explanations about it. We still need work in that area,” he added.— AP

Arrested Filipino ex-leader moved to military hospital Arroyo detained on electoral fraud MANILA: Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was transferred to a military hospital yesterday to be detained on electoral fraud charges in the next chapter in the Philippines’ political drama pitting her against a popular, reformist successor. The night before she was moved from the private hospital suite where she was arrested while undergoing treatment for a bone ailment, Arroyo told a TV station that the charges against her are all “demagoguery.” “It is sad that our leaders now are more concerned with destroying reputations and black propaganda and prejudgement,” Arroyo told GMA TV network. “All I can say is that I have peace of mind because my conscience is clear. As I have said, during my presidency, my sole purpose was to serve.” Under court orders, Arroyo was taken to the same two-bedroom, 1,615square-feet (150-square-meters) hospital suite where her predecessor Joseph Estrada was confined for three years. Arroyo had helped oust him on corruption charges in 2001, and she quickly pardoned him after he was convicted in 2007. Associated Press photographer Bullit Marquez, whom Arroyo allowed to take pictures of her shortly before the transfer, described her as looking frail and speaking hoarsely. Her husband said she lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms) and was down to 93 pounds (42 kilos) but appeared relaxed yesterday. She has been seen wearing a head and neck brace most of the time but removed it briefly while Marquez worked. Arroyo was accompanied by one of her sons and aides. Arroyo was arrested and charged 18 months after stepping down and could spend the rest of her life behind bars if convicted. She denies the charge of ordering the rigging of 2007 congressional elections to favor her candidates. Arroyo said that her successor, President Benigno Aquino III, resorted to “demagoguery to completely

destroy my reputation. Of course, if they destroy my reputation, it would be made to appear that he is doing good.” “Nevertheless, I still believe in the rule of law,” she added. Aquino, who was elected overwhelmingly on a promise to uproot corruption, blames Arroyo for a decade of graft and corruption scandals that eroded public trust in

president are in order. Aquino early this week accused the justices of standing in the way of his reformist agenda by obstructing Arroyo’s prosecution. Court spokesman Midas Marquez called Aquino’s comments “disturbing.” Prosecutors want Arroyo detained in jail like any other suspect. She says her health is still fragile after three spine

MANILA: Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is being wheeled into a Government hospital suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Manila, Philippines yesterday.—AP government and held back foreign investors. Arroyo’s arrest last month came days after she was turned away from the Manila airport wearing a brace as she attempted to travel abroad for medical care. The government refused to let her go, even after the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, because officials feared she may flee from justice. Arroyo’s arrest set the stage for a prolonged legal battle. It also exposed a rift between Aquino and the Supreme Court, where 12 of the 15 justices are Arroyo appointees who will be deciding whether the charges against the former

surgeries. Her lawyers have petitioned for house arrest, but a decision was not expected any time soon. In the meantime, a judge has ordered she be detained in the military hospital so she would be in government custody. In the meantime, Arroyo, 64, the daughter of a former president, was allowed to bring her furniture into the air-conditioned hospital suite. Given her stature, the court temporarily permitted her the use of a mobile phone and laptop inside the aging hospital, which was built with American funds in 1955 as a gift to Filipino World War II veterans.—AP

US jobless claims at nine-month low



Toyota cuts profit outlook, Thai floods take toll

Business SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011


AirAsia boss bullish on growth, eyes China, India


China inflation tumbles to lowest since Sept 2010

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders pose for a family picture during an European Union summit at the EU headquarters yesterday in Brussels. Feuding European Union leaders failed to agree on a new treaty to tackle the debt crisis and instead decided to work on a separate pact for the eurozone, leaving Britain out in the cold. The 17 member states that share the euro, plus six others, would ink an accord to make greater discipline legally binding. Alongside Britain, Hungary will remain on the outside, while Sweden and the Czech Republic are still considering their positions. — AFP

EU leaders back crisis pact Britain stays out

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders banded together yesterday to back tighter budget policing in a desperate bid to save the eurozone, with Britain left isolated after it vetoed a new EU treaty. After years of foot-dragging on deepening integration, 26 of the 27 EU states signalled their willingness to join a “new fiscal compact” to resolve the crisis threatening to crack apart the monetary union. But the deal came with a heavy political price when non-euro Britain resisted a Franco-German drive to enshrine new budget rules in a modified EU treaty to carve them into stone. “The British were already not in the euro, and in that respect, we are used to this situation,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said she was “very pleased” most had agreed the pact that plans to impose near automatic sanctions on debt and deficit delinquents. “We have learned from the mistakes of the past,” she said as EU leaders wrapped up two days of marathon talks. Some leaders hope the pact will convince

the European Central Bank to drop its reluctance to use its full arsenal against the crisis after ECB president Mario Draghi called for a “new fiscal compact” last week. Draghi dubbed the summit decisions a “very good outcome” for the eurozone. Many analysts see the ECB, with its power to print money, as the single currency’s best hope after eurozone leaders struggled to boost the firepower of their bailout fund to one trillion euros. The 17 eurozone countries signed up to the pact while nine other EU nations “indicated the possibility to take part in this process” after consulting their parliaments, EU leaders said in a statement. Hungary had originally voiced reluctance, while Sweden and the Czech Republic were undecided. The new deal, to be adopted by March through an intergovernmental agreement, was put to the entire 27-nation bloc in the interests of maintaining unity. “Except for one, all are considering participation,” said EU president Herman Van Rompuy. “It is unfortunate that we missed the chance to have a full-fledged treaty

change, but having said that we will make the best of it.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said British Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to halt ongoing EU efforts to curb the City of London’s huge financial services sector was “unacceptable”. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti agreed and added that Britain had “shut itself out” and now faced “certain isolation”. Cameron argued that since London could not secure safeguards for its vital financial sector, “it is better to be on the outside.” He later told British broadcasters: “We are not being excluded, we are in the European Union, we’re a leading member of the single market.” A square mile in central London is home to 75 percent of Europe’s entire financial services industry, but the British government is resisting French and German moves to impose a financial transactions tax, as well as new regulations controlling trading. European stock markets pushed higher after the agreement was announced but the euro wavered and government financing

costs rose. US shares opened higher too. Asian markets dropped as investors nervously awaited the final outcome of the marathon EU summit. Tokyo closed down 1.48 percent and Hong Kong slumped 2.73 percent. The accord, which is to include automatic sanctions that can only be blocked by a majority of powerful states, aims to end past practices of overspending responsible for the two-year debt crisis ravaging Europe. Officials said they would have to iron out complex legal issues posed by an intergovernmental arrangement since the institutions that would police budgets, the European Commission and the EU Court of Justice, represent all 27 states. While the leaders split over treaty changes, they pledged to pump 200 billion euros ($267 billion) into IMF coffers to help the eurozone, which is struggling to boost its own rescue fund to one trillion euros. The ECB would act as an agent for the bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). —AFP


DIG transfers management of real estate portfolio DUBAI: Dubai Investment Group (DIG) has appointed private equity firm Silverpeak Real Estate Partners to manage its US and German real estate portfolio, the acting chief executive of the group said yesterday. DIG is the real estate and asset management arm of Dubai Group, which is part of Dubai Holding, the investment holding company owned by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “Dubai Investment Group, a subsidiary of Dubai Group, has engaged Silverpeak Real Estate Partners to manage

its US & German commercial real estate portfolio,” said CEO Fadel Al Ali said in a statement. Earlier yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Silverpeak would aim to improve the portfolio’s value with a view to selling assets over time. It also said DIG would close its New York office. Dubai Holding is currently restructuring an estimated $6.2 billion of debt it took on to finance acquisitions before the financial crisis and regional real estate downturn.

“Silverpeak will take on a number of DIG US staff as part of the agreement. We have built up a strong portfolio of 30 hotels, office and retail properties from which we expect to see strong returns over the remaining investment period,” the statement said. Dubai has clawed its way back from the depths of its debt crisis, helped by an economic revival in trade and tourism and its safe-haven status during the Arab Spring popular uprisings in the Middle East, but still faces big debt repayments. — Reutrs

US jobless claims at nine-month low Wholesale inventories up

SEOUL: A woman walks past commercial signs at a shopping district in Seoul yesterday. South Korea’s central bank cut its 2012 growth forecast to 3.7 percent from an earlier projection of 4.6 percent as exports are expected to slow due to Europe’s debt crisis and a global slowdown. —AFP

India’s Essar to halt crude deal with Saudi NEW DELHI: India’s Essar Oil will scrap its annual term crude deal with Saudi Arabia from 2012 because the refiner is not getting the grades it wants, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said late on Thursday. Essar has an agreement to import 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil from the kingdom. Essar has recently upgraded its sole Vadinar refinery to process higher volumes of heavy and ultra sour grades that are cheaper to earn better refining profits. It also raised the capacity of the refinery by 25 percent to 375,000 bpd. “Essar wanted Arab Medium and Arab Heavy grades while Saudi Aramco was offering Arab Super Light and Arab Extra Light,” the source said. “As the volumes are less, so Essar decided against renewing the deal for next year.” It was not immediately clear from where the Indian refiner would source additional barrels. An Essar spokesman declined to comment. Essar was in talks to buy crudes from Latin America as it upgrades its Vadinar plant, Chief Executive Officer Naresh Nayyar said in July. According to data available with Reuters, other than Saudi Arabia, Essar imported oil from Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi has told its Asia and European customers their January crude supplies will be unchanged from December, despite saying its production is running high, trade sources said yesterday. The world’s top oil exporter will supply full contracted volumes of crude in January to top Asian buyers and at least one international oil major. It was unclear if sales in the first month of deliveries against new 2012 contracts would indicate much of an increase in the flow.—Reuters

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a ninemonth low last week, suggesting the labor market’s recovery was gaining momentum. The picture of an economy gathering strength was further enhanced by other data showing wholesale inventories in October rose by the most in five months, a sign businesses were rebuilding depleted inventories. “The recovery is picking up some momentum. We still have a long ways to go, but this is very consistent with a recovery that has shown a little bit more resilience in the second half of the year,” said Paul Ballew, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to 381,000, the Labor Department said, the lowest since late February. Economists had expected a smaller fall to 395,000. The report, coming after data last week showed a rise in hiring and a sharp drop in the unemployment rate to a 2-1/2-year low, implied further improvement in a sector that has been the Achilles heel of the US recovery. It was the latest sign of an acceleration in economic growth from the third quarter’s tepid 2 percent annual pace. While the global economy is slowing and parts of the euro zone are already in recession, the United States continues to display relative strength, with data ranging from jobs to manufacturing suggesting growth is quickening. The pickup in the labor market could improve President Barack Obama’s prospects of winning a second term in what is shaping up to be a tough election next November, when the economy’s performance will be front and center. But there are concerns the festering euro zone debt crisis could hit the US recovery hard next year, and many analysts expect the US jobless rate to rise after a surprise drop to 8.6 percent in November. Though the European Central Bank cut interest rates to a record low 1 percent on Thursday, it doused hopes of dramatic action to fight the region’s debt crisis. “The downtrend in (US job-

less) claims remains intact, reinforcing the improving underlying fundamentals in the US economy, which now looks to be outperforming most regions of the world, including China on a relative basis,” said Eric Green, chief economist at TD Securities in New York. “However, good news can turn bad quickly if the euro crisis takes a turn for the worse.” Already, businesses wary of the European fiscal crisis are hogging cash, contributing to the economy slow growth pace. Non-financial corporate businesses held a record $2.12 trillion in liquid assets, such as cash, during the third quarter, up from $2.07 trillion in the previous quarter, Federal Reserve data showed. Apart from European headwinds, the economy also faces a drag in 2012 from federal spending cuts, and uncertainty about whether lawmakers will renew a payroll tax cut and extend benefits for the long-term unemployed. Analysts warn that failure to renew the two measures, which expire at yearend, could cut as much as 1.2 percentage points from US gross domestic product next year. Stocks on Wall Street fell more than 1 percent after the ECB dashed hopes of more aggressive action

to tackle the region’s debt crisis. Longerdated US Treasury debt prices rallied on safe-haven flows, while the dollar rose broadly. In a separate report, the Commerce Department said wholesale inventories increased 1.6 percent in October after gaining 0.3 percent in September. A liquidation of inventories cut into GDP growth in the third quarter and a restocking is expected to help lift the economy in the final three months of the year. The strong stock accumulation by wholesalers prompted economists at Goldman Sachs to raise their fourthquarter GDP estimate to a 2.9 percent pace from 2.7 percent. Macroeconomic Advisers upped their forecast by fivetenths to 3.5 percent. Trade data yesterday will shed more light on the fourth quarter’s growth outlook. The trade deficit is expected to have widened slightly to $43.5 billion in October from a shortfall of $43.1 billion in September. The drop in claims last week more than unwound the prior two weeks’ increase, and pulled them back below the 400,000 level usually associated with improving labor market conditions. — Reuters

SINGAPORE: Workers cross the road in the central business district of Singapore yesterday. As European leaders battle to save the euro, some Asian companies are already hunting out new markets around the globe in the face of declining orders from the troubled eurozone. — AFP


Portugal slips deeper into recession in Q3 LISBON: Portugal’s economy shrank a greater than initially reported 0.6 percent in the third quarter, slipping deeper into recession as austerity and financing problems weighed amid the debt crisis while export growth slowed. Austerity measures under Portugal’s 78 billion euro bailout agreed with the European Union and the IMF in May are expected to lead to the deepest recession since the country returned to democracy in 1974. The government projects the economy will contract 1.6 percent this year and 3 percent in 2012. The National Statistics Institute’s (INE) second reading of GDP yesterday showed a sharper quarter-on-quarter contraction than the flash estimate of

minus 0.4 percent. GDP contracted by 0.2 percent in the second quarter and 0.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, INE said. “The reduction of economic activity is still more of a reflection of difficulties with the financing of the economy rather than the impact of austerity ... which means the recession will continue to worsen in the quarters to come when austerity measures fully kick in,” said Filipe Garcia, head of Informacao de Mercados Financeiros economic consultants. INE said that year-on-year GDP fell 1.7 percent, the same as in its flash estimate, after a contraction of 1 percent in the previous quarter. Parliament

German growth set for big slowdown next year FRANKFURT: Growth of the German economy will slow sharply next year as the crippling debt crisis puts the brakes on activity in Europe’s economic powerhouse, the Bundesbank said yesterday. “Following a 3.0-percent rise in economic output in the current year, the pace of expansion in Germany is likely to fall perceptibly to 0.6 percent in 2012,” the German central bank wrote in its regular monthly report. That represented a downgrade in the Bundesbank’s growth forecast for next year after it had previously been pencilling in economic expansion of 0.75 percent. The sovereign debt crisis harboured “considerable downside risks,” the central bank warned, but added: “Even so, the domestic conditions for an extended, broadly based upswing are still intact.” The Bundesbank said its latest projections were based on the assumption that there would be no further significant escalation of the government debt crisis. It was working from a baseline scenario where current uncertainty on the part of investors and consumers would “gradually recede somewhat”, enabling the euro area to gradually return to a sound growth path, the Bundesbank wrote. “Under these conditions, Germany might see gross domestic product growth of 1.8 percent in 2013,” which effectively meant the German economy “would be operating, by and large, at normal capacity,” it said. In the near term, however, the German economy would face “a lean period in the winter months.” That view was shared by the economy ministry in Berlin, which said that “following strong growth so far this year, the economy will shift into a lower gear in the fourth quarter.” In its own regular monthly report, the ministry attributed the anticipated slowdown less to domestic factors than to a “cloudier international and European outlook in face of the debt crisis. “No substantial growth impulses can be expected from foreign trade,” the ministry wrote. Earlier, the national statistics office Destatis published new data showing a drop in exports-traditionally the driving force behind economic activity in Germany-in October. German exports were down by a bigger-than-expected 3.6 percent in October from September, causing the trade surplus to contract, Destatis said. Chris Williamson, director and chief economist at Markit in London, said that while the data highlighted “the weakness in what was the eurozone’s main engine of economic recovery earlier this year... we must be careful in reading too much into the monthly data, and the three-month trend in German exports is still showing growth of 1.8 percent.” Natixis economist Peter Kaidusch also said the drop in export was “not dramatic.” “For the time being, German exports should remain in more shallow waters. October’s softening was more pronounced than expected but it ‘had’ to come,” the economist said, noting that exports remained at a high level. — AFP

approved last week a tough 2012 budget that suspends holiday and year-end bonuses for civil servants and hikes many taxes further. The INE said internal demand, which has already suffered from higher taxes and pay cuts imposed this year, dropped 0.6 percent from the previous quarter as both investment and public consumption ebbed. Compared with a year ago, internal demand fell a steep 4.6 percent, with private consumption down 3.3 percent and investment slumping by 13.7 percent. Exports rose just 2.7 percent from the previous quarter, their positive impact neutralised by a 2.4 percent increase in imports. Export growth also

decelerated to 6.5 percent year-on-year from 8.7 percent in the second quarter. Nevertheless, another batch of INE data on Friday showed exports growing faster in the three months through October than in the third quarter, with Portugal’s trade gap falling a steep 30 percent from a year earlier. The government is hoping a recovery may begin by late 2012 mainly on exports, although many economists warn Europe’s economic slowdown would make it much more difficult for Portugal to return to growth and meet its 2012 budget deficit target under the bailout. It has to slash the gap to 4.5 percent next year from this year’s projected 5.9 percent. — Reuters

Deal drought to shrink equity capital markets Some banks to scale back LONDON: Investment bankers expect equity capital markets divisions in Europe to be scaled back next year as a drought in activity squeezes budgets, with many predicting a quarter fewer jobs and the possibility some players will exit the sector completely. A handful of bumper deals in the first half of 2011, such as the $10 billion flotation of commodities firm Glencore and a $13.9 billion fundraising by Commerzbank, has helped cushion the impact of a slow second half for many but with just $17.6 billion raised in Europe since the end of July, banks are having to make a call on when things might pick up. Annualised, the volumes seen between August and November would make for the lowest European equity fundraising levels for more than 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters data. “I expect to see a substantial culling of the herd. Banks will leave and even for the banks that remain there will be some level of head count shrinkage,” said one senior equity capital markets (ECM) banker. “All banks are having to reevaluate their business models and figure out what they can and can’t be committed to ... We are at a point in the bank profitability cycle where you have to ask yourself if there is not a demonstrable value proposition, how can all this headcount and cost continue to be justified?” Investment banks such as Barclays, Credit Suisse and the European arms of their US peers have invested heavily in equity business as a whole, banking on a pick-up in the market that was then scuppered by economic woes. Some banks are already scaling back in equities-Italy’s UniCredit ditched its equities sales and trading team in Western Europe in favour of a tie-up with French brokerage Kepler Capital Markets, effectively outsourcing the businesswhile others are reassessing the importance of Europe. “A lot of banks are asking themselves whether Europe is really going to be a region in which they want to engage,” said one London-based banker. Last month the chief financial officer

of Japan’s Nomura said 60 percent of a planned $1.2 billion cost savings would come from Europe, where it is losing money and has 4,500 workers, or about 13 percent of its total staff. Europe is seen as the most fiercely competitive region for ECM business, with the largest number of players chasing the smallest number of deals. At least ten banks want to be among the top five, bankers say, and aggressive pitching for deals is pushing fees down to what some consider to be unsustainable levels. Goldman Sachs is at the top of the European ECM league tables for 2011, followed by Deutsche Bank in second and Morgan Stanley in third place. Those committed to maintaining their position in both Europe and ECM will have to strike the right balance between shortterm cuts and the ability to jump on any uptick in activity. “You need to keep a certain infrastructure in place because the market can bounce back and if you cut back too far then you’ll miss out on all the opportunities because hiring takes a long time in

this industry,” said a second senior ECM banker. Unlike their equities trading colleagues, ECM teams have not yet been heavily affected by job cuts, but they have little doubt the overall number of people working in the sector will shrink, with a wave of cuts likely mid-year if continued market uncertainty keeps the first half quiet. “If you could get a real read on numbers of ECM people in Europe, my guess is that by January 2013 you are going to be 25-30 percent down on January this year,” said one ECM banker. Several others agreed 25 percent was a realistic number. “It is going to be very different on a bank by bank basis. Some banks will be 510 percent down, and some will be 50-60 percent down,” he added. While most think banks will do their best to scale back rather than mothball whole departments, for some the exit of smaller players is inevitable. “We are going to see a winnowing out of competition, starting with the nonbulge bracket banks,” said the second senior ECM banker, referring to banks lower down the league tables. —Reuters

HONG KONG: A vendor delivers free newspaper in front of the screen showing the Hang Seng Index which tumbled 2.7 percent to end at 18,586.23 at a bank in Hong Kong yesterday. World stocks were subdued after most European Union leaders signed on to a treaty aimed at shoring up the euro as they worked to find a solution radical enough to fix the continent’s debt crisis. — AP


OPEC heads for windfall on record oil price LONDON: OPEC is heading for nearrecord oil export revenue this year thanks to over $100-a-barrel oil, and many members will be hoping prices stay there as they tackle challenges from higher social spending to oilfield decline. In 2011, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is on course to earn $894 billion from oil exports, up 38 percent from 2010 and close to the highest ever, according to the Centre for Global Energy Studies. Oil-price needs in OPEC membercountries have risen sharply, analysts say, following announcements of increased social spending on their growing populations as they seek to counter unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. “The sharp increase in spending following the Arab Spring has prompted a step-change in oil revenues needed if Middle Eastern oil producers are to

balance their budgets,” said Lawrence Eagles, global head of oil research at JP Morgan. OPEC, at odds over supply policy since June, looks set at its meeting on Wednesday in Vienna to agree a new production target that legitimises current output around 30 million barrels a day. While a period of OPEC disunity in the late 1990s helped send oil prices into a nosedive, the average this year is poised to be the highest ever due to the loss of Libya’s supplies for much of the year, other supply outages and rising world demand. Brent crude for the year to date is above $110 a barrel, up from the previous record near $100 in 2008. Based on CGES forecasts, the only year in which OPEC’s oil revenue was higher was 2008 - the year oil hit its all-time high of $147 a barrel and before Indonesia left at the end of that year, taking a

small share of OPEC revenues with it. “It is very close to the record highs,” said Leo Drollas, director and chief economist of the London-based CGES. “Basically, it is all about the price.” Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates boosted their oil output this year to compensate for the loss of supplies in Libya, allowing them to benefit from selling more barrels at higher prices. The biggest loser of revenue is Libya, whose oil exports income the CGES expects to fall to just $9 billion as a result of the uprising against Muammar Gadaffi’s rule and civil war, which virtually shut down Libya’s oil industry for months. While Gulf OPEC delegates have said they will curb output to make way for a recovery in Libyan supplies when it happens, there are no signs of drastic supply cuts yet. Producers’ oil-price needs are rising anyway, even before

the Arab Spring, as they refine more of their oil at home and need to keep up investment in their oilfields to maintain production rates. “Growing domestic consumption, social spending and mature field decline, and with Libya and Iraq lifting production in 2012, we think producers will want to keep prices above $100 a barrel, basis Brent, to keep revenues above the budget break-even,” Eagles at JP Morgan said. OPEC’s leading exporter, Saudi Arabia, used to favour an oil price of $70-$80 a barrel. It said at OPEC’s last meeting in June that range belonged to the past, without saying what its new preferred price was. Other OPEC members such as Iran and Venzuela, with a relatively limited ability to boost their oil exports in the short term, have said a fair price for oil is $100 or more. — Reuters

China fund report gives FTSE a fillip Glaxo drops as drug fails to hit goal

TOKYO: A model displays Toyota Motor’s new plug-in hybrid vehicle “Prius PHV” which will be released early next year at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday. Toyota said record flooding in Thailand would take a 1.55 billion USD bite out of its full-year operating profit, as the disaster hammered its production in the country. — AFP

Toyota cuts profit outlook, Thai floods take toll TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp. yesterday sharply downgraded its earnings forecast for this fiscal year through March, blaming a strong yen and the massive flooding in Thailand. Japan’s biggest automaker expects to book a net profit of 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion), down 54 percent from the 390 billion yen it projected in August. It estimates leaner revenue of 18.2 trillion yen ($234.36 billion) from 19 trillion yen. Toyota expects to sell 7.38 million vehicles worldwide this year instead of 7.6 million it predicted four months ago. The maker of the Camry and Corolla sedans is on track to lose its title as the world’s largest automaker this calendar year. Toyota sank to No. 3 in vehicle sales during the first six months, trailing US rival General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG of Germany. Toyota held off from releasing new earnings forecasts when it announced its first-half earnings results last month, citing uncertainties from the Thai floods that disrupted parts supplies. It’s been a rough year for Japanese car makers, who were first hit with the

earthquake and tsunami in March. They had largely rebounded from the disaster when they confronted the immense flooding in Thailand this autumn. Car production as far away as North America was scaled back as the creeping floodwaters put suppliers out of action. The flooding, which was Thailand’s worst in half a century, will result in an output loss of 230,000 vehicles, said Executive Vice President Satoshi Ozawa at a news conference in Tokyo. He told reporters the company had learned from its experience this year and that it would study ways to ensure that such unforeseen events “never again” lead to paralysis of supply chains. But among Japan’s car makers, Honda Motor Co. has been the worst hit by the floods. It has yet to release forecasts as a result. Compounding the pain is a strong yen, which hit multiple historic highs against the dollar this year. With jitters about European and US economies, global investors have turned to the yen as a relative safe haven. — AP

LONDON: Britain’s top shares rose yesterday, reversing initial losses, fuelled by hopes a new Chinese investment vehicle could be used to help alleviate the impact of the euro zone debt crisis, as investors awaited the outcome of a crucial EU summit. A source told Reuters China’s central bank plans to create a new vehicle to manage two investment funds worth a total of $300 billion, one targeting investments in the United States and the other focused on Europe. “I guess they’re hoping that China’s going to be the white knight that rides to Europe’s rescue,” Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said. “I think in time China will probably step in and have an effect on Europe, but it’s going to be very much on China’s terms rather than European terms.” The UK benchmark index had oscillated in and out of negative territory earlier as hopes waxed and waned a European summit would take big strides towards solving the region’s debt crisis. At 1305 GMT, the FTSE-100 index was up 18 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,502.21, led by banks, having recovered from an intra-day low of 5,440.86. Volumes were thin. The index has gained about 7 percent over the past two weeks on mounting expectations of an imminent solution to Europe’s debt crisis. Disappointingly for investors, European leaders have failed to agree on a treaty change and decided to cap the euro zone’s permanent bailout fund, with the fund also not aiming for a banking licence that could have increased its firepower. Summit talks resume today, but some market participants saw little cause for reassurance, taking the view there would be no rapid solution to the euro zone’s debt crisis. “I don’t think we’re going to get many more announcements (from the summit). I think the more helpful thing is to get more from the ECB ... The market’s increasingly sceptical about whether politicians can deliver much more in the short term,” said Colin Mclean, managing director of SVM Asset Management, which has around 700 million pounds of assets under management.

Sentiment was dented on Thursday when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi cooled market expectations about the prospect of an acceleration in ECB bond purchasing, although the bank did cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 1 percent. “There’s been quite a lot of scrambling to cover shorts, and I think probably a lot of institutions are quite underweight on banks (which are deleveraging quite sharply in Europe now), so there’s more potential upside in that sector,” Mclean said. After suffering hefty falls in the previous session, banks staged a recovery, with Lloyds Banking Group , Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays grabbing the top three spots on the leader board, climbing 4.6-5.9 percent. Among fallers, GlaxoSmithKline shed 1 percent after its drug Tykerb failed to hit its goal in a clinical trial testing its role in women with early breast cancer, dimming hopes for its use in this setting. On the second line, African Barrick Gold was a significant laggard, down 3.1 percent, as the miner said it would fall short of its 2011 production target because of escalating power disruptions to national grid electricity supply in Tanzania. UBS strategists said the recent market moves probably reflect some pricing out of extreme negative scenarios, “but risks remain”. “We believe the market is priced for a small decline in earnings next year,” UBS said. “While we see upside to end-2012 (target 6,100 for FTSE 100), we believe that we would need to see a big positive surprise from EU politicians to push convincingly through this rangebound market in the near term.” UBS said that positive developments from the EU leaders could lead to a number of financials and mining stocks performing well, while consumer staples, utilities and pharmaceuticals should outperform if the crisis deepens. The FTSE 100 currently trades on a price to earnings ratio of 9.9 times, compared with a historical average of around 14 times, and a price to book ratio of just 1.57, according to Thomson Reuters data. Its dividend yield of 4.15 compares favourably to those offered on “safer” euro zone and US bonds. — Reuters



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business SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

AirAsia boss bullish on growth, eyes China, India KUALA LUMPUR: Asia’s biggest budget carrier AirAsia said yesterday it remained bullish on growth for next year despite fears of a global slowdown and was considering setting up future units in China and India. “Of course we want to be in India and China but all in good time,” Chief Executive Tony Fernandes told reporters, a day after the airline celebrated its 10th year

under its flambouyant boss. He said the profit-making, fastexpanding airline was now mapping out a plan for the next 10 years. “We are 10 years old now. I want to take one step at a time,” he said. AirAsia has become one of the industry’s biggest success stories since Fernandes, a former music industry executive, acquired the then-failing company a decade ago.

Japan third-quarter GDP growth lowered to 5.6% TOKYO: Japan said yesterday the economy grew at a slower pace in the third quarter than initially estimated, with the fragile post-quake recovery weighed by a strong yen and the eurozone debt crisis. The Cabinet Office said the economy expanded by an annualised 5.6 percent in the JulySeptember quarter-lower than the 6.0 percent announced last month-with a government spokesman saying growth was “moderating.” However, the figure represents Japan’s first economic expansion in three quarters, as the country recovers from the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster with manufacturers ramping up production. And the monthly outcome still beat analysts’ expectations for a revised 5.2 percent gain, according to Dow Jones Newswires. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, gross domestic product growth was 1.4 percent in July-September, revised down from 1.5 percent, the figures showed. Authorities have been cautious about the prospects for Japan’s economy, saying weakness in key US and European export markets could dash hopes for a sustained recovery. “The data confirmed that business sentiment has been dampened by a stronger yen and uncertainties about the global economy,” said Satoshi Osanai, economist at the Daiwa Institute of Research. The downward revision was expected after the government said last week it was lowering its capital spending estimate, a key figure in calculating gross domestic product. On Thursday, official data showed Japan’s core privatesector machinery orders, a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, fell 6.9 percent in October from the previous month. Economists were also concerned that private consumption, which accounts for about two-thirds of Japan’s GDP, was revised down to a 0.7 percent on-quarter rise, from an initial estimate for a 1.0 percent increase. Rising inventories were also “worrisome” for the world’s third-largest economy, said Mizuho Research and Consulting senior economist Norio Miyagawa, as they suggest a manufacturing slowdown. A worsening situation in debt-strapped Europe would “pose a great downside risk to Japan,” he said. Credit Suisse said the chopped growth figure “indicates the possibility that post-disaster reconstruction demand was weaker than expected and that business sentiment worsened sharply due to the yen’s appreciation and other factors.” The investment bank said Japan’s economy would likely contract by an annualised 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter, before mounting a “mild” recovery early next year on the back of a stronger global economy. Last month, Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa warned the country would continue to face a “severe situation” and that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis was the biggest risk factor in any recovery. The crisis has also been a key issue behind Japan’s surging yen, which investors have flocked to as they seek a safe-haven currency. The yen’s rise to post-World War II highs against the dollar has prompted the central bank to intervene in foreign exchange markets to bring down the unit’s surging value, which erodes exporters’ profits and makes Japanese goods less competitive. Japan fell into a trade deficit in October, reversing a year-earlier surplus, as the eurozone crisis and yen weighed on exporters, while record flooding in Thailand pounded the operations of Japanese automakers and electronics firms with plants in the country. The flooding came as Japanese firms were near to restoring output to normal levels at home after the quake-tsunami shattered component supply chains. — AFP

Fernandes said 2012 would be an “exciting year” for AirAsia with its units Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia expecting to post profits amid higher growth. He also expressed confidence with a Philippine unit launched this year and with AirAsia Japan, which is expected to start flying in 2012. “It (2012) is an exciting year. I am not worried about the economic situation.

We have been through many slowdowns. Flying is a necessity. I am bullish about next year,” he said. Fernandes said the airline, which currently flies 89 Airbus A320 aircraft, will expand to 300 planes over the next 10 years. The airline’s 2010 full-year net profit reached 1.07 billion ringgit ($340 million), nearly doubling compared with 2009. — AFP

Asian stocks fall on Europe summit fears Hong Kong slumps 2.73% HONG KONG: Asian markets fell yesterday on fears Europe’s leaders will not agree a deal to tackle their debt crisis as the first day of a crucial summit broke up with plans for a full treaty change in tatters. With the mood already soured by the European Central Bank (ECB) saying it would not indefinitely buy the bonds of debt-wracked countries, news of the split within the 27-nation bloc left investors’ nerves on edge. The downbeat outlook for the eurozone also outweighed positive news from China, which said that inflation was at its lowest level for more than a year, raising the prospect of fresh monetary easing by Beijing. Tokyo fell 1.48 percent, or 128.12 points, to 8,536.46, Sydney lost 1.82 percent, or 77.7 points, to end at 4,203 and Seoul shed 1.97 percent, or 37.64 points, to 1,874.75. Hong Kong slumped 2.73 percent, or 521.58 points, to 18,586.23 and Shanghai fell 0.62 percent, or 14.55 points, to 2,325.27. Tensions were running high at the two-day summit in Brussels as leaders struggled to find a deal to finally tackle the debt crisis, which has sent global markets spinning in recent months. The first day of talks ended with news that the 17 eurozone members plus six nonmembers would work on a plan for closer integration, with an inter-governmental fiscal union pact ensuring countries set “balanced” budgets. “We will achieve the new fiscal union. We will have a euro currency within a stable union,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We will have stronger budget deficit regulations for eurozone members.” Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who earlier warned there might be “no second chance” for a deal, had argued that fullblown treaty change with tighter fiscal unity was the way to reassure markets that governments will live within their means. But those plans were dashed when Britain rejected proposals for tough new regulation of the City of London’s financial sector and a suggested tax on financial transactions. The leaders are also said to be finding progress slow on other issues such as the eurozone’s current and future rescue funds, although Sarkozy said there were plans to pump 200 billion euros into an International Monetary Fund war chest. ECB chief Mario Draghi poured water on proceedings earlier in the day by saying that action by the bank to buy up the sovereign bonds of debt-wracked countries was “limited” and “temporary”. Soon after the European Central Bank cut its key rates and boosted measures to help banks, Draghi said it was for governments to

solve their problems rather than his bank. However, after the Thursday talks Draghi said the agreement on tighter fiscal rules offered a “good basis” for a fiscal compact in the region. Although he added: “We came to conclusions that will have to be fleshed out in coming days.” The euro remained under pressure in early European trade. The common currency bought $1.3336 and 103.65 yen, compared with $1.3341 and 103.58 yen in New York late Thursday. It was also well down from the $1.3402 and 104.05 yen in

crude for January delivery shed 68 cents to $107.43. Gold was trading at $1,713.99 an ounce at 1030 GMT, from $1,738.40 late Thursday. In other markets: Singapore closed down 1.24 percent, or 33.71 points, at 2,694.60. United Overseas Bank rose 0.39 percent to Sg$15.36 while Wilmar International fell 1.18 percent to Sg$5.04. Taipei shed 1.29 percent, or 89.60 points, to end at 6,893.30. TSMC shed 2.88 percent

HONG KONG: A vendor delivers free newspaper in front of the screen showing the Hang Seng Index which tumbled 2.7 percent to end at 18,586.23at a bank in Hong Kong yesterday. — AP Asia on Thursday. The dollar was at 77.71 yen, from 77.67 yen. Shares in Shanghai slipped despite data showing consumer prices rose 4.2 percent year-on-year in November, their slowest pace since September last year. The rate was well off the 5.5 percent seen in October and much better than the threeyear high of 6.5 percent recorded in July. The country’s consumer price index, a key gauge of inflation, rose 4.2 percent year-on-year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. The rate was well below the 5.5 percent recorded in October, but still slightly above the government’s annual target of four percent. It was the slowest pace since September 2010, when inflation stood at 3.6 percent, and below analysts’ expectations of 4.4 percent. Yesterday’s figures raised hopes that China will further ease monetary policy after more than a year of interest rate hikes and other tightening measures that were introduced amid fears of soaring prices. On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, fell 30 cents to $98.04 a barrel. Brent North Sea

to Tw$74.1 while Hon Hai was 1.23 percent lower at Tw$79.7. Manila closed 0.47 percent, or 20.39 points, down at 4,292.50. SM Investments shed 1.42 percent to 521 pesos but Lepanto Consolidated Mining added 0.59 percent to 1.71 pesos, while Philippine Long Distance Telephone gained 0.08 percent to 2,452 pesos. Kuala Lumpur fell 0.87 percent, or 12.79 points, to end at 1,460.13. Budget carrier Air Asia shed 3.17 percent to 3.67 ringgit, while financial firm CIMB Group Holdings inched down 1.43 percent to 6.89 ringgit and telecoms company TIME dotCom gained 0.69 percent to 0.73 ringgit. Wellington closed flat, nudging up 1.52 points to 3,271.46. Jakarta fell 0.59 percent, or 22.15 points, to 3,759.61. Bank Mandiri fell 0.8 percent to 6,600 rupiah, Bank Rakyat lost 0.7 percent to 6,700 rupiah and carmaker Astra rose 0.6 percent to 73,050 rupiah. Bangkok shed 0.89 percent, or 9.24 points, to close at 1,034.00. Mumbai shares slid 287.25 points or 1.74 percent at 16,200.99. — AFP



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India growth hampered by US, Europe NEW DELHI: Fast-growing India yesterday blamed the stuttering US recovery and European debt crisis for hitting growth, warning that failure to resolve the problem could further affect expansion. “The sharply deteriorating global economic environment has had a dampening effect on India,” the finance ministry said in its Mid-Year Analysis of the economy in the current financial year. “Compounded with some domestic factors, the global situation has led to a clear slowdown in the growth rate of the Indian economy during the first half of 2011-12.” The last full-year assessment of the Indian economy saw the government predict growth of 9.0 percent for 2011-12, but that figure has now been revised downwards to about 7.5 percent. Gross domestic product growth for the first half of the current finan-

cial year was 7.3 percent, the latest report said. The economy grew 8.5 percent in the previous financial year. “We expect some revival next year but the outlook remains mixed,” it added in the report, released just after European Union leaders failed to agree a new treaty to tackle the debt crisis and instead forge a separate eurozone pact. “If Europe slides into a proper recession, with all the attendant financial contagion that will no doubt affect other nations, the entire world economy will slow down and we could also be impacted. “On the other hand, given that India’s fundamentals are strong, if Europe and the United States remain stable, it should be possible for us to get back close to our long-run target of 9 percent.” Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee echoed the assessment in parliament, telling lawmakers: “The economy is in a difficult situation but

it does not mean that we should start eating lizards.” India, which was relatively shielded from the last financial crisis in 2008 because of its strong domestic market, has been battling to bring down high inflation running at nearly double figures. Indian corporates have showed weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings, as profits have been hit by rising commodity prices and weak global demand for goods and services. High inflation, rising food and fuel prices have also hit consumer spending, while business leaders blame 13 interest rate rises since March 2010 for hitting investment and growth. The rupee has meanwhile hit record lows against the US dollar, as overseas investors abandon emerging markets and seek safe haven against global shocks. New Delhi, however, said that while growth may take a temporary hit, like other

emerging markets India’s mediumterm growth should remain strong. As a whole, developing economies had shown strong growth compared with developed countries, indicating a shift in the balance of global economic power, it added. “It is the developing world that is now driving world growth, from largely its own savings and domestic financial resources, and trading and growing with each other,” the report said. As a result, emerging markets should serve as an example to developed economies, the government said, warning against lumping together all countries’ problems. “The picture of the world economy has thus turned. While China, India and other large emerging markets are not entirely immune to the ongoing crisis in developed countries, their vulnerabilities are much less,” it added. — AFP

China inflation tumbles to lowest since Sept 2010 Data signals pro-growth policy shift BEIJING: China’s industrial output growth dropped in November to its slowest pace in more than two years and inflation tumbled as economic conditions deteriorated, raising expectations that Beijing will pursue a more pro-growth policy to support jobs. Easing inflation pressure on consumers at the same time as data signals a serious risk of a sharp industrial slowdown is potentially perilous for policymakers trying to engineer a soft economic landing against a backdrop of a deepening crisis in China’s main export market-debt-ridden Europe. “The sharp contraction in the real economy, the external uncertainties lingering on, plus the easing inflationary pressure all point to a larger scope for further policy easing. So the basic tone of the macro policy will lean towards the progrowth side,” said Nie Wen, analyst at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai. A deluge of data yesterday showed China’s annual consumer inflation rate tumbled in November to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since September 2010 and slightly below expectations. It was the first time since February it had fallen below 5 percent. Inflation has dropped from a three-year high of 6.5 percent in July, allowing Beijing to shift its policy stance towards offering support for the economy, especially as CPI is now closer to the fullyear government target for 2011 of 4 percent. But it was an eye-watering collapse in producer price inflation-down to just 2.7 percent in November, roughly half the rate of October and in outright deflationary territory month-on-month-that has many economists anticipating a shift to a more explicit pro-growth policy. Industrial output growth slowed sharply to 12.4 percent in November from 13.2 percent in October. The outcome was below expectations and marked the weak-

est pace since August 2009 during the global financial crisis, Reuters data shows, a worrying sign for the sector at the centre of China’s export engine. Factory activity, in fact, contracted in November from October, China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed

aged 5.5 percent so far this year, well above the government’s target, so the government will be wary of tilting policy too far towards loosening. But they have offered more support to small businesses as signs of the economic slow down increased and signalled a fur-

HUAIBEI: Chinese residents select vegetables at a food market in Huaibei, east China’s Anhui province yesterday. China’s consumer prices rose at their slowest pace in over a year in November, data showed yesterday, vindicating Beijing’s decision to relax credit restrictions to prevent a painful economic slowdown. — AFP last week. “The risks (of a hard landing) are clearly there,” said Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong. Retail sales in November meanwhile rose 17.3 percent from a year earlier, slightly outpacing October’s 17.2 percent and confounding economists forecasting a slowdown to 16.9 percent. For most of 2011, Beijing has been preoccupied with beating down inflation. Even with the sharp fall in November, inflation has aver-

ther shift to a loosening policy on Nov 30 by cutting bank reserve requirements for the first time in three years. Now analysts expect a further subtle shift of emphasis to supporting industry by protecting against lost jobs instead of lost consumer spending power, showing Beijing’s obsession with social stability remains at the heart of policy. A pronounced slowdown in China could lead to lay offs for millions of migrant factory workers. — Reuters

US says open retail would benefit India WASHINGTON: The United States said that an open retail sector would benefit India after the government backtracked on a plan that would allow foreign giants such as Wal-mart into the billion-plus market. Robert Hormats, the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, said he did not want to comment on India’s “internal affairs” but noted that the United States has long supported the reform. “I think they know our view that it would be very beneficial to Indian farmers, Indian citizens, Indian consumers in general,” Hormats told reporters. “But the details of how the Indian government and the Indian parliament and the Indian officials work this through, I think I’ll leave to the Indians and not try to advise them on how to proceed,” he said. State Department spokesman Mark Toner, speaking separately, was also careful not to criticize India, which is sensitive about foreign pressure. “This is good for both our countries. We believe it should go forward, but we’ll allow that debate to play out in India,” Toner said. The cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an economist and father of India’s economic liberalization, last month said that foreign firms would be allowed to hold a 51 percent stake in multi-brand retailers. The government said the reform would create millions of jobs. Retailers such as Wal-Mart say that they will improve choice and efficiency in the world’s second largest consumer market where much fresh produce is wasted in transit. But the government suspended the plan amid fierce criticism by the parliamentary opposition and trade unions, which say that the reforms will kill off India’s ubiquitous local grocers and momand-pop stores. — AFP




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Coca-Cola puts secret formula on display


Batman’s Joker artist dies in NY PAGE 25

People attend a night light show in Lyon, central France yesterday as part of the 13th edition of the Festival of Lights. Millions of visitors are expected to watch the four-day event that commemorates a religious tradition devoted to the Virgin Mary which dates back 151 years. — AP



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he ‘Glee’ beauty stars alongside the heartthrob actor - who recently split from his wife of six years Demi Moore - and she has confessed she “freaked out” when she found out she would be working with him on the film because he is totally out of her “league”. Lea - who separated from Broadway actor Theo Stockman in September after a 17month relationship - told New York Magazine: “I didn’t mention Ashton’s name just because, I gotta say, I kinda felt like he was a little out of my league. “You know, this guy’s like, the hottest guy, and then when they called and said that

Ashton was doing it, I was really freaked out. I thought I should have picked someone else and said, ‘You have to use this person!’ so I wouldn’t have been nervous. “But I’m so glad, because he challenged me, and it was a really great pairing, I think.” Ashton also enjoyed filming scenes with Lea where the pair are stuck in an elevator and found her to be great company. He added: “I think what makes her great for this particular role is she has this passionate aspiration and I think that she’s able to express that really cleanly.”

Tom Cruise

sits in a bath of ice to wind down


he Latina beauty is proud of her heritage, but admits she had a hard time in Hollywood when she first moved to America aged 22, because she could only get small roles as maids. She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “There were no parts for Latinas. It was very painful. People advised me to go back to Mexico, settle down and have kids. I think they felt sorry for me. “I didn’t get offered the parts that most people do because they are blonde and speak without an accent.” Salma’s first break came when she landed a part in ‘Desperado’ in 1995 alongside Antonio Banderas, and she earned enough money from subsequent roles to fund ‘Frida’ which turned her life-long passion for artist Frida Khalo into a film which she produced and starred in. She added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: “For 18 years I worked to improve myself and fought to earn respectability as an actress, but the journey was unimaginably hard. But out of this I learned to be producer and director.” Salma’s next film is animated adventure ‘Puss in Boots’, in which she voices the character Kitty Softpaws and is working with Antonio again as he provides the speech for the titular character. The heartthrob actor previously voiced Puss in the ‘Shrek’ movies.


he ‘Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol’ star is famous for shooting all his own action scenes in his movies, and treats his schedule like a “professional athlete”, and always includes a muscle repairing cold bath in his routine. His co star Jeremy Renner told Shortlist magazine: “This is my first ‘spectacle’ movie and Tom sets the bar for that kind of stuff. I learned a lot from him. He helped me prepare physically. “The thing I really took away from him was to treat it like you’re a professional athlete. Tom ices up at the end of the day - he sits in a big bath of ice.” Jeremy was keen to keep pace with Tom as they

filmed stunts at the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but admits he started to feel a little anxious at some points. He added: “Tom was on a couple of wires upside down outside the building while I had this little belt wrapped around me with a wire on it. It didn’t feel like it was the most secure thing. There’s some guy holding the wire at the other end, looking the other way, maybe taking a phone call I was like, ‘Have you got me? Because if you don’t, I’m done, dude.’ “



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he Oscar-winning actress - who raises six children, Maddox, 10, Pax, right, Zahara, six, Shiloh, five, and three-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, with partner Brad Pitt - admitted she is “not very social”, as she prefers to stay at home with her family than go out partying. She said in an interview with Marie Claire magazine: “I don’t really have girlfriends in movies, if you’ve noticed. Well, I have a few girlfriends, I just... I stay at home a lot. I’m just not very social. I don’t do a lot with them, and I’m very homebound. “I’ll talk to my family. I talk to Brad ... But I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of friends I talk to. He is really the only person I talk to.” While the 36-year-old beauty explained the couple have no plans to expand their brood at present, she conceded she could “end up pregnant” at any moment. Asked whether she and Brad are hoping to add to their family, Angelina said: “Nothing planned at the moment, but we just don’t know. I could end up pregnant.”


he 31-year-old star - who is expecting her first child with fiance Eric Johnson - admitted her emotions are more heightened than usual, and she cried “big crocodile tears” when she felt her baby move for the first time the other day. She said: “That’s the one thing about

pregnancy - I’ll cry at the drop of a hat. Even a great souffle would make me cry. “I felt the baby move the other day for the first time and I had big crocodile tears. It was the coolest thing ever. It did a flip or something. I was like, ‘There it went. It’s there. It’s really there’.” Jessica explained she has also been craving comfort foods throughout her pregnancy. Speaking in an interview on ‘The Rachael Ray Show’, she added: “This week it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, toasted. And then, I’ll put some salt on my hand like I’m taking a tequila shot and then take a bite of the sandwich.” Meanwhile, Jessica’s threeyear-old nephew Bronx - the son of her younger sister Ashlee and Pete Wentz - is convinced she is carrying a baby girl. She said: “He rubs my belly. He has guesses. He said he wants it to be a girl. He thinks it’s going to be a girl.” — Bangshowbiz

he Florence and the Machine singer feels “special” when she realizes she has stayed awake for over 24 hours but knows the feeling won’t last for long. She said: “My favorite mode of being is having not slept. “You know when you’ve been at a party and the dawn rises? Everything seems to be really open. “The reason why it’s so special is because you know that it’s going to crash. “As soon as you go to sleep, you know everything will be reset double and work will be double. “You’ve had that one day when everything is glorious and you know everything is going to be doubly difficult afterwards.” Florence also recalled a dream she had about her late grandmother, admitting she was surprised to receive “practical” advice in her nocturnal vision. She told Britain’s Vogue magazine: “It was the first time I’d seen her since she died


he ‘Marry The Night’ hitmaker who is yet to purchase her own home - admitted she is still “homeless” because she thinks it would be a “waste of money” to splash out on a property when she spends most of her time on tour. She explained: “I’m a gypsy, you know. I can’t plan my life out like that so much. Then I think well, gosh what a waste of money to buy a place and I’m on the road. “Even though it might not seem like a big deal because I’m a pop singer or whatever it still hurts to hand over that much. It’s a lot of money.” However, it isn’t just home ownership that worries the 25year-old singer, as she explained she had to get “completely wasted” after

when I was 11. I was having a regular dream and then she was just there. “There’s this amazing Thom Gunn poem about seeing a dead lover in a dream, and he says it was as if death was undone. “That was what it was like. I threw my arms round her legs and she actually said, ‘Concentrate’. It was strangely practical advice for a dead person.”

she filed her last tax return because the process shocked her so much. Lady Gaga added in an interview on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’: “We were laughing; everybody was laughing because when I signed my tax returns this year. They were just holding me up. It’s unbelievable.”



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A Macy’s holiday window display is viewed on December 8, 2011 in New York City. Most of New York City’s major department stores construct elaborate holiday window displays that become a destination for tourists and locals alike. — AFP


ach December, a sleepy one-man post office in rural Indiana roars to life as thousands of holiday greeting cards arrive from around the world, each seeking the outpost’s unique red-inked imprint that pays homage to the hamlet’s biblical name. Postmaster John Cable stamps each by hand, some with a simple postmark cachet that carries the phrase “Star of Bethlehem” above a five-pointed star. Others get a stamp depicting the three camel-riding wise men following the star of Bethlehem. “My brother in California, my son in South Bend, my daughter - they really look forward to that stamp on their letters. They expect it every Christmas,” said retiree Mike King of Scottsburg, Ind., who made a 30-mile trip to the post office this week so his holiday batch of mail could keep a twodecade tradition of carrying the festive flair. This could be the last year for his trip: Those distinctive stamps offered for more than five decades by the tiny post office could soon be a ghost of Christmas past. The Bethlehem post office is one of more than half a dozen with winter-themed names that are on a list of about 3,700 post offices nationwide the US Postal Service has proposed shuttering to help slash costs. The postmarks from

In a file picture, Andrew McKenzie, Bonhams’ Director of Old Master Paintings, talks in front of a previously unknown painting entitled ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ by Spanish artist Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez at the auction house in central London. — AFP

Snow, Okla, Antler, ND, and Chestnut, Ill, might also fade away. The agency will begin deciding the fate of those post offices early next year unless Congress intervenes, said Postal Service spokesman Victor Dubina. There are other places that will still offer a holiday postmark. North Pole postmarks will still be available in Alaska and New York. Six other states have a Bethlehem. But the proposed closures mean that it could be the last time these rural outposts get to take pride in the purpose their postmark brings each holiday. Some years, Antler Postmaster Sharon Tennyson stamps 1,000 letters with a special stamp sporting a reindeer in red or black ink. The tradition in the North Dakota town of about 35 just south of the Canadian border dates from the 1950s. “People say it’s neat to have their letters or Christmas cards postmarked with Antler on them,” Tennyson said. “They come from all over.” Bethlehem’s heyday as a bustling 19th century river town is far behind it. There’s not much left beyond a few dozen homes for the 100 or so residents, a church, an old schoolhouse and a view of the Ohio River’s swirling waters framed by bluffs in adjacent Kentucky. Its first post office opened in March 1816, and has moved several times over the past two centuries, now housed in a modular trailer. During the year, the office handles only about 120 pieces of mail each week. But come the six-week Christmas card crush, it surges to about 16,000 overall. Much of that mail arrives in packages filled with bundles of letters, postage already affixed, from as far away as Germany, France and Great Britain. Other cards are delivered in person to the postmaster, often from people whose families have sent cards with the postmark for years. Like other postal outlets targeted to close, the mail has slowed down here over the years. As Cable, the postmaster, wielded a rubber stamp encrusted in glitter from sparkly holiday envelopes, he noted that he handled 25,000 postmarks the first year on the job in 2001. He isn’t optimistic about the tiny office’s fate. “We’re just going to have to wait and see,” Cable said. Snow, Okla., also might lose its mark. Though the town about 140 miles southeast of Oklahoma City offers only a standard postmark with the date of cancellation and “Snow, OK” within a circle, people still travel to get the postmark, Postmaster Frances Creel said. “We’re the only Snow in the United States,” she said. — AP

o, hum. A new play on Broadway features a rich family that gathers at their tony vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, with each son bringing his new love interest and triggering a weekend of pure dysfunction. Tres vanilla, right? Well, not vanilla at all, actually. Lydia R Diamond’s thoughtful “Stick Fly,” which opened Thursday at the Cort Theatre, is reminder to all those who still need reminding that money doesn’t bring happiness, or make snobbery go away or get families to stop bickering. Diamond’s work fittingly recalls the New England playwright Eugene O’Neill, exposing as it does the hidden secrets of a family and the agonized relations among fathers, sons and the women who love them. In this play, most of the people just happen to be black. It’s a traditionally structured, rich brew exploring intra- and inter-racial prejudice and family trust, with a jolt of class warfare, self-hatred, sexism, sibling rivalry, gender strife and post-coital shame. Who said white folks should have all the fun? Diamond’s characters are from what the Occupy movement would decry is the hated 1 percent: They’re lawyers and doctors who went to Exeter and Harvard or are doing a “post-Doc at Johns Hopkins.” They eat lobster, think it’s roughing it when they have to drive “dad’s old Saab” and use the word “pituitary” when playing Scrabble. Meet the LeVays, led by Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Joe, a neurosurgeon with a chip on his shoulder even though he lives a comfortable life with homes in Aspen, New York and the house on the Vineyard, filled with Romare Beardens. His two sons - Dule Hill as Spoon, a lawyer-turned-budding novelist, and Mekhi Phifer as Flip, a plastic surgeon - are opposites. Spoon is gentle and loving, whereas his older brother is arrogant and has an eye for the ladies. The three men are joined on this weekend in 2005 by three young women: Taylor (Tracie Thoms), Spoon’s fiancee and the daughter of a renowned intellectual; Kimber (Rosie Benton), a privileged white woman who studies racism in education and is Flip’s current squeeze; and Cheryl (Condola Rashad), the daughter of the family maid filling in for her ailing mom, and about to go to college. There is a seventh presence hanging over the production, and not always helping: Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, who is a producer and has supplied original music. It’s her name ostentatiously at the top of the theater’s marquee, unbalancing this introspective, unshowy drama. And her music played between scenes has some funky and groovy piano, but it’s rather too loud and intrusive, like an insistent child wanting attention. Diamond’s script bites off a lot. It explores a father’s relationship to his sons, a potential love triangle, the costs of divorce on children, a dangerous family skeleton that comes as hardly a shock and an examination of whether ethnicity trumps class. And so parts of the play sag while others bloat. But ripples of recognition and cracks of applause erupted during a recent preview. —Reuters

In this theater publicity image, Tracie Thoms (left) and Dule Hill are shown in a scene from “Stick Fly,” at the Cort Theatre in New York. — AP



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Jerry Robinson, Batman’s Joker artist, dies in NY C

omic book industry pioneer Jerry Robinson, who helped create Batman sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder and their arch-nemesis The Joker, has died at age 89. An editor and friend, Charles Kochman, said Robinson was different from most artists in the field because he worked on every kind of comic genre, from political cartoons to theater

In this undated photo provided by DC Comics, the issue 11 cover of “Batman” is shown. — AP photos

illustrations. “Jerry brought a realism to comics - and a sense of humor,” said Kochman, his editor at Abrams Comic Arts, which last year published a book called “Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics.” Robinson not only used his fame and position in the industry to serve as its ambassador but also fought on behalf of other artists and creators - especially to win credit for their work, including the Superman series. Initially, in the 1930s and ‘40s, publishers owned the rights and would discard drawings after they were used. Robinson died in his sleep Wednesday at a hospice in New York where he lived. He was a native of Trenton, NJ. He was only 17 when he was hired by Batman creator Bob Kane. The two had met by chance at a resort in the Catskill Mountains, where Robinson had a summer job selling ice cream. Kane noticed Robinson because he was wearing a white jacket decorated with his own illustrations. In the early 1940s, Robinson “illustrated some of the defining images of pop culture’s greatest icons,” said Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Entertainment Inc, the parent company of Batman publisher DC Comics. While Robinson is credited by many comic enthusiasts as the primary creator of The Joker for issue No 1 of Batman, he and Kane clashed over who was first to dream up the caped crusader’s arch-enemy. In a 1994 interview, Kane said he and writer Bill Finger had come up with the idea and Robinson then produced a joker playing card for inspiration. Robinson was hired away from Kane’s shop by the Batman publisher, for which he drew many of the

most striking covers from the golden age of comics, such as that of “Batman” No 13, showing the caped crusader parachuting down. In the 1950s, he started drawing newspaper comic strips, political cartoons and cover illustrations for Broadway’s “Playbill.” Later in life, Robinson taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts and was president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society. “He saw the value of comics as an art,” Kochman said. In recent years, rare issues of comic books have fetched hundreds of thou-

Jerry Robinson sands of dollars at auction. Robinson also served as a historian, authoring “The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art” and curating gallery exhibits, including one of the biggest at the Kennedy Library in Washington in 1973 that included all the genres of the strip comic art form. Mike Marts, editor of the Batman line at DC Comics, said Robinson was “an innovator, a pioneer in storytelling.” “The streets of Gotham City,” Marts said, “are a little lonelier today.” — AP

The issue 69 cover of “The Batman Detective Comics” is pictured.


Safety overkill in farcical ‘Neighborhood Watch’


e have met the enemy, and he is us,” the comicstrip character Pogo said in 1970, a telling comment about people who think everybody else is the problem and not themselves. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn is a master at poking fun at sanctimonious hypocrisy, continuing the tradition in his 75th play, a wickedly funny new satire, “Neighborhood Watch” that opened Wednesday night at 59E59 Theaters, as part of Brits Off Broadway. Ayckbourn, who also directed the witty, cautionary tale, is the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. In his dark new farce, presented by The Stephen Joseph Theatre, (of Scarborough, Yorkshire, England), an initially innocuous group of middle class suburban neighbors gradually extends their local security program into fascistic mayhem. Mild-mannered Hilda and Martin, (played by the gifted duo of Alexandra Mathie and Matthew Cottle) at first appear as a pleasant, good-humored, devoutly Christian brother and sister. The single, middle-aged siblings host an open house that proves a tipping point for neighborhood security, when Martin’s beloved garden gnome is hurled through their glass back door. After the gnome crashes the party, Hilda marches purposefully to her kitchen, announcing, “Tea first, then war!” And she means it. Mathie is delightfully expressive as deeply rigid, hard-eyed Hilda, who gradually reveals a much darker side. Cottle gently embodies Martin’s initial inner goodness, which becomes twisted by his meteoric rise in power as the leader of the “security committee.” We follow their descent into self-righteous, authoritarian prejudice in a series of committee meetings, staged on the nicely spare set of their living room designed by

Pip Leckenby. In response to a bit of vandalism and minor theft, the overly paranoid “Bluebell Hill Residents’ Security Sub-committee” surrounds their development with “10-foot walls topped with razor wire,” requiring special identity cards for residents. Assigning themselves moral guardians of their neighbors, (“the danger within,” as Martin pompously declares) they put miscreants on display in public stocks for minor offenses like cursing in public. As he begins to garner media attention, an increasingly strident Martin decrees, “If you don’t have your identity card, not even God will be able to help you!” Their neighbors are portrayed by six excellent actors. Terence Booth is incisively funny as dour, security-obsessed Rod, who wrathfully refers to the public housing down the hill from their homes as a “cesspit” akin to “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Self-pitying cuckold Gareth (a quirky performance by Richard Derrington) eventually reveals himself to be vengefully deranged about his wife Amy’s well-known adultery. A flame of sensuality amid this staid bunch, Frances Grey is lovably insouciant as Amy, a frank-speaking, orange-haired, mini-skirted flirt. Phil Cheadle is seethingly toxic as bullying Luther, the only person who speaks out against the incursions into personal liberties. Amy Loughton is very sweet and childlike as his naive, abused wife, Magda. Eileen Battye rounds out the cast as Dorothy, the sort of gossipy, briskly competent woman essential to the success of any bureaucratic endeavor. Scene by scene, meeting by meeting, Ayckbourn farcically reveals the slippery slope that starts with just a little bit of authority, and how easy it can become to access one’s inner vigilante. The true danger is within these people’s misguided, narrow-minded hearts. — AP

Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams: Oscar music consultants


he Oscars will go in a new direction musically in 2012, with producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer choosing composer Hans Zimmer and songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams to be music consultants for the 84th Academy Awards. Neither man has ever worked on the Oscar show before, though Zimmer won an Academy Award for “The Lion King” and has been nominated eight additional times. The Grammy-winning Williams has written songs for a number of films, including “Bringing Down the House,” 50 First Dates,” “Knocked Up,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Rush Hour 2” (from the show’s former producer, Brett Ratner) and last year’s “Despicable Me.” He has yet to receive an Oscar nomination. “Hans is one of the most accomplished and creative film composers of our time, and Pharrell is a phenomenal songwriter with an amazing list of credits,” said Grazer and Mischer in an AMPAS statement. “This is an exciting and prestigious collaboration that promises to take the audience on a musical journey.” When he spoke to TheWrap two years ago, Zimmer criticized the Oscar music category for being a few years behind the times. “[T]he Oscars are important to give us artistic courage,” he said. “But I also think the Academy has a responsibility to keep relevant.” The 84th Academy Awards will take place on February 26, 2012 at the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center. — Reuters



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Genesis Rodriguez from ‘Man on a Ledge’ poses on arrival for “A night of Firsts”, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on December 8, 2011 in West Hollywood. — AFP

Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Dr Aida Takla-O’Reilly, (left) and Miss Golden Globe 2012, Rainey Qualley, pose for photographers following a news conference at “A Night of Firsts” Golden Globe award season kickoff party held in West Hollywood. — AP

Viral teasing for

‘Dark Knight’ begins


t a Montreal bistro aptly named Robin des Bois, or Robin Hood, volunteers are drawing inspiration from their namesake and cooking up a storm to help those down-on-their luck by giving away the profits. The restaurant is the brainchild of Judy Servay, a former advertising executive once known for throwing Christmas parties with a twist when clients and employees would gather to make meals for the homeless each holiday season. These were a type of Christmas party in which “guests felt good the next day,” she quipped. This led to the realization that many people with busy lives were ready to get involved in humanitarian causes, as long as they didn’t have to get too involved. After

selling her video production business and a trip to Africa, Servay started the restaurant with the help of a sponsor who donated CAN$50,000 ($49,000) and loaned her another CAN$50,000 for the non-profit venture. The bistro opened its doors in 2006, and the concept appears to work brilliantly. Its strength is its flexibility: volunteers can work for one night or more, and no experience is needed. “At the start, my mother washed dishes for a few weeks and then it took off,” says Servay. Volunteers come from all walks of life, including an emergency room doctor and the head of a billboard advertising company — 4,500 people in all rotating through the restaurant each year. Some cook meals,

This photo shows Chef Vincent Charavel a volunteer chef at the Robin Hood Restaurant in Montreal. — AFP

others wait on tables. Profits go to six local charities, CAN$20,000 was donated in 2010. ‘My turn to help others’ The food is good and prices are reasonable, and the restaurant will sometimes bring in local performers to serenade patrons for free. Twentysomethings Eric Lucas and Tahina Andriamananjato volunteer at Robin des Bois several times per week. “My family immigrated from Madagascar to France. Having witnessed the caring hands that helped them settle there, I feel it’s my turn now to help others,” Andriamananjato said. “People have mistaken me for a pro,” delights Lucas. Each night, eight volunteers work alongside eight staffers in the kitchen and the dining room because even though its clientele tends to support Servay’s cause, the restaurant still aims to serve meals good enough to make foodies want to come back again, and again. “We didn’t want people to say, ‘Great, I gave, I did my part, but the food was so-so,” Servay explains. “No. We actually have clientele that come back every week for the food.” After arriving in Quebec a year ago, Andriamananjato has just now secured a job at a bank. Prospective employers tend to view volunteering on a par with professional experience. “It looks good on a CV,” said Lucas. “Someone who volunteers, it’s the same as if they were salaried workers.” And in keeping with their theme, the bistro uses organic produce which is sourced locally as much as possible. The menu is devised by a trained chef and adapted to the seasons, and the restaurant provides aprons for the volunteers, but encourages them to wear their own comfortable clothes. — AFP


he Dark Knight Rises” is still more than half a year from its release date, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start teasing, enticing, bedeviling and pretty much tormenting the public with maddeningly cryptic hints about the superhero film’s contents. An early indication of what viewers have in store arrived at Wired on Wednesday, in the form of a bogus CIA memo on Dr Leonid Pavel, a Russian nuclear physicist who’s gone missing and might possibly be seeking political asylum in the United States. “Given Dr Pavel’s expertise on nuclear fuel cycle technology and reactor designs there is concern that various militants in the region could be responsible for his disappearance ... Pavel is deemed a high-priority. As such, a search and extract operation is recommended immediately,” the memo abruptly, and ominously, ends. Could things be getting nuclear between Batman and Bane, his adversary this time out? Could be-and no doubt, Warner Bros. will be dropping other intriguing tidbits between now and July. Meanwhile, the “Dark Knight Rises” prologue-which will play in front of “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” in select IMAX theaters starting Dec 16 — might also offer a few clues. — Reuters



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Starr urges tougher gun laws on Lennon death anniversary


Georgia Gov Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (left) are led into the exhibit by Coca Cola Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent, right, in Atlanta, Thursday, Dec 8, 2011. — AP


soft drinks giant Coca-Cola is for the first time putting the secret formula for its signature beverage on display-but visitors to an Atlanta museum will only see the metal box it’s kept in. The box, which had not left a vault in an Atlanta bank since 1925, has been transferred to a new exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola museum in the southern US city, home to the company’s headquarters. “This is a special day in Coca-Cola history, and the perfect culmination to our 125th anniversary celebrations this year,” chief executive Muhtar Kent said in a statement Thursday. Coca-Cola “has always gone to great lengths to protect it and now by safeguarding it at the World of Coca-Cola, we can share its legendary legacy with people around the world,” added Phil Mooney, director of archives. After the invention of Coca-Cola in 1886 by Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton, the formula was a

closely guarded secret, only known by a few people and never written down. But in 1919, in order to secure a bank loan, then owner Ernest Woodruff provided the written formula as collateral. It was placed in a New York bank vault until the loan was paid off in 1925. Woodruff then reclaimed the written formula and secured it at the Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust. It had remained there until the recent move to the World of Coca-Cola museum. Coca-Cola bottles and distributes a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks, including sports and energy drinks, juices, soft drinks including Fanta and Sprite, bottled water and bottled and canned coffee and tea. Consumers in more than 200 countries drink 1.7 billion servings of Coca-Cola products a day, according to the company, which employs more than 700,000 people. — AFP


French actress Catherine Deneuve poses for a picture beside the poster promoting Singapore’s French Film Festival yesterday. — AFP

ingo Starr called for tougher sentences for gun users as he marked the 31st anniversary Thursday of Beatles bandmate John Lennon’s death. The drummer unveiled his psychedelic design for the Non Violence Foundation’s “knotted gun” symbol, posing by a statue of it at an event in London. “It should be that if you’re caught with a gun or before you use it that it should be a higher sentence than what they get now,” the 71year-old said. “I can’t stand up and dictate to the world: ‘it’s over-no more guns’. I can just do what I do, and there’s another side to the story which is peace and love.” He spoke of his shock in hearing of Lennon’s death. Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment by Mark Chapman on December 8, 1980 as he returned home with his artist wife Yoko Ono. “My stepchildren called saying ‘Something’s happened to John’. And you don’t think ‘He’s been killed’, so you say ‘Well, what’s happened?’,” Starr said. “They called me back. They called and said ‘John’s been killed. He’s been shot and he’s dead.’

rench screen legend Catherine Deneuve said yesterday it was easier for ageing European actresses to play leading roles than it is for female stars in Hollywood where younger alternatives get the nod. “It’s easier to be an European actress than an American actress as far as age is concerned,” said Deneuve, who was in Singapore for a French film festival. “I think it’s difficult to have a career in the States because (of) the competition and most of all, the appeal for youth is so intense and it’s very difficult for an actress to grow older in American cinemas,” she added. But US actresses as well as ones from Britain enjoyed a wider appeal because of their English-language backgrounds, Deneuve said. “I think actresses that are English-born or American-born are more lucky than other actresses because they can work in different countries without any problem. It’s the limit of European actresses,” said Deneuve. Deneuve, who has played leading roles in French hits such as Belle de jour and Indochine, said she enjoyed working on the set of ‘Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Service’ with fellow French star Gerard Depardieu. “He’s a wonderful partner. He loves women and he loves actresses, so he’s very, very open. He’s a very generous partner for women and men as well,” she gushed. “When he’s on the set, there is something more. He’s very alive and very present, he talks all the time, he always has something to say, always a funny story he has to say.” Depardieu made headlines in August when he was caught short on a Paris to Dublin flight and relieved himself on the cabin floor in front of shocked passengers. — AFP

Starr flew from the Bahamas to New York to see if he could be of assistance following his friend’s death. He looked after Lennon’s son Sean for a while but later left feeling having another Beatle around was not helping the situation. “You don’t know what to do. Your emotions are so whacked out. You don’t believe it really, but you know it’s happening. It’s just such a mad moment,” he said. “Yoko was there, of course, and she just asked us to look after Sean, who was a baby, and that’s all we did for a couple of hours. “In the end it was so crazy that we got on another plane that night and went to Los Angeles.” Gesturing to the statue, he said: “It was a bad day. But it was a bad day because someone took one of these and shot John.” 1960s British pop legends The Beatles-drummer Starr, rhythm guitarist Lennon, bassist Paul McCartney and lead guitarist George Harrisonare the best-selling band in history. — AFP



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Perfume’s timelessness appeals to de la Renta O

scar de la Renta takes longer to create that small, fits-in-your-hand bottle of perfume than one of his elaborate embellished ballgowns. It’s just the nature of the business. The process is similar, starting with an inspiration that comes from the gut, quality materials and fine workmanship, but de la Renta says he’ll continue tinkering with a perfume until he’s fully satisfied. There would be no point in rushing when he has the luxury of time, he explains. While de la Renta takes care to say that even with his clothing designs, he doesn’t follow - or set, for that matter - the “trends,” he still operates on the fashion calendar that dictates the grinding, grueling pace of five collections a year. (Add to that the children’s line the company just

announced it’s launching.) There is always a hunger for “new” and a need to be relevant in the moment, he observes. In the beauty business, however, there aren’t the same demands, so even though the hypothetical canvas is so much smaller, the process has few restrictions other than to create something lovely and lasting. “Fragrance - I look at in a different way than fashion,” de la Renta says. “It’s so unbelievably intimate in a person’s life. When you discover the right one, it’s like getting married: You don’t change on a whim.” His newest is Live in Love, a classic scent with notes of ginger, orchid, hyacinth, muguet and jasmine, set against a base of white woods and musk. The house bought back its fragrance licenses three years ago (the licenses were owned by another company at the time) to give the perfumes more of a synergy with its fashion reputation as a top-tier label, explains Alex Bolen, company CEO (as well as de la Renta’s son-in-law). Each of the seven scents currently in production has to be elegance and luxury in a bottle, Bolen says. De la Renta jumps in at this point in a joint interview to note that, however beautiful the bottle may be, it won’t sell a perfume. Neither will the packaging, name or ad campaign. The juice has to connect to the wearer on a much deeper

Oscar de la Renta level, he says, so much so that it becomes part of her identity. “You shouldn’t change your fragrance when you don’t smell it anymore. That’s the wrong way to think about it. You shouldn’t be able to notice it. ... That’s when a fragrance is a true success.” Still, he says, he likes the stories of how the newest name and campaign evolved. For the name, de la Renta was in his workroom in the heat of the summer and noticed the tattoo on the arm of one of the employees: Live in Love. “It was so obvious, so extraordinary. It’s what I want-

ed to say. No one had used it, which was surprising, but that’s the secret of life sometimes the answer is so obvious.” When it came time to introduce the fragrance to the public, he wanted to find the right spokesmodel. He laid out print ads of all the competition, stripped off the names, and took a hard look at whose image he could choose to stand out from the crowd. He saw only one that he wanted. Back in the 1950s and ‘60s when de la Renta was starting out, the trend wasn’t celebrities; every designer who was anyone used an illustration of the chicest, most glamorous woman. That’s who he wanted again - and that’s the ravenhaired, pen-and-ink “model” who looks back at you underneath the tagline, “The new fragrance for women created by a man who adores them.” He explains, “I want you to remember the fragrance, not be able to identify Penelope Cruz.” This isn’t de la Renta being nostalgic for the good old days, though. In addition to the new children’s line and the presentation of his bold, colorful pre-fall collection this week, de la Renta is also the one who came up with the idea for a just-opened exhibit about the artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York. At age 79, retirement is a dirty word. He likes to quote a friend who says, “to rest is to rust.” — AP

In this undated image released by Oscar de la Renta, de la Renta’s latest fragrance, “Live in Love,” is shown. — AP photos

In these file photos, the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2012 collection is modeled.



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Back-to-nature perfume movement starts

Crow offers an all-natural and organic perfumes called 1 Fruta Leche. — MCT photos


ome women don’t wear perfume, they say, because they are wary of chemicals in the formulas or are sensitive to synthetic scents. Many would like to have a signature scent that lingers subtly in a room even after they’ve left, but they cannot stomach the potential headache. Fortunately, several companies make all-natural and organic fragrances that might be good alternatives for those who have always stayed away from the shelves at Sephora because of sensitivity to traditional perfumes. “Basically you have organics, naturals and botanicals,” says Adam Eastwood, co-founder of, a website selling hard-to-find and specialty scents, and Scent Bar, its bricks-and-mortar counterpart. “‘Botanical perfume’ means it’s all-natural and vegan,” he says, “so no animal products, beeswax, musk or ambergris is used. ‘Natural’ fragrances are made from all-natural ingredients

rather than synthesized ones.” But, he adds, if a product is not also organic, the wearer could still be exposed to pesticides and fertilizers that were used in the cultivation of the scent’s natural ingredients. French company Honore des Pres makes organic perfume that comes packaged in whimsical marmalade jars and to-go style coffee cups. The scents do not contain any petrochemicals or synthetic perfumes. They are also free of coloring agents, animal byproducts and ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin. The “nose” behind this line is famed perfumer Olivia Giacobetti, who has also created scents for L’Artisan, Costes, Penhaligon’s and Diptyque. Giacobetti’s creations for the company include a creamy coconut scent called Coconut Love and a fresh green mix named Nu Green. A recently launched line called Crow Water + Parfum is entirely water-based, eliminating alcohol, which can sometimes be drying or irritating to the skin. Creator Emily Lape wanted a healthful and natural perfume, and she’s come up with six scents. All are water-based and void of parabens, oils and phthalates as well as being cruelty-free. “Today’s women are much more aware of the environment and the ingredients in their cosmetic bag, yet we still want our perfume to evoke sophistication and femininity,” Lape says. “When I went out to look for such a perfume I could not find it on the market.”

Natural scents may not have as much staying power as traditional scents (possibly a good thing for those who are sensitive or who prefer something light) so perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz created three botanical scents for online retailer with a focus on making more intense natural perfumes. The scents are Vanille Botanique, a rich, botanical vanilla; Hand of Buddha, a floral, green citrus; and Rubaiyat, a spicy floral. “These seem to have a remarkable amount of staying power compared to some other natural lines I’ve seen,” Eastman says. But he adds that sometimes synthetics used in fragrances are less irritating than naturals when it comes to a person’s sensitivity. “By wearing a natural scent you are exposed to far more molecules than with synthetics. So in many ways synthetics are better and more benign than naturals,” Eastman says. He adds that one of the benefits of synthetics is that the scent is more defined and tends not to change too much on the skin, as a natural fragrance might. — MCT

All-natural and organic perfumes buy Honeore Des Pres called Love Coconut.

Silver belle


Get a look similar to that worn by actress Jennifer Biel with this top choice metallic snake print envelop clutch. — MCT photos

he’s graced the cover of major fashion magazines, been the subject of countless style articles and modeled for Revlon and Lancome. She’s also a regular knockout on the red carpet at events, so it’s hard to believe that actress Jessica Biel is just not that “into fashion.” “On the red carpet, I’m playing a character,” Biel told Vogue magazine. “As soon as I get off that thing ... I’m wiping and wiping and pulling my hair out and trying to change my outfit.” She may not particularly like playing dress-up, but there’s no denying that she does it well. The actress, who can be seen in the how-many-starscan-we-pack-into-one-movie “New Year’s Eve,” which will be out Dec 9, recently made a chic appearance at the GQ “Men of the Year” bash held at the Chateau Marmont. Biel walked the sleek black carpet in

a three-quarter-sleeve black dress with silver embellishments from the Antonio Berardi resort 2012 collection. Her dress brought to mind the wardrobe of “Mad Men” character Joan Holloway Harris with its ‘60s silhouette of broad shoulders and a cinched waist. The look is classic, elegant and

perfect for holiday dressing. Biel’s messy bun, bright red lips and rosy cheeks added to the allure. For a similar party frock, try the Gina dress by Motel for $76 from or the embellished sweater dress from for $59.50. Accessorize with a metallic clutch such as the Top Choice metallic snake print envelope clutch from for $22. Have some fun finishing the look with colored pumps. Biel chose a solid black pair, but a deep red or purple heel could add a warm, welcome pop of color. Try the Nine West Sweetgirl pump from for $44.90. The weather is getting a bit chilly, so you’ll need something stylish but warm for your holiday parties. Biel’s dress style is sexy, without revealing too much skin ensuring that the wearer is both chic and cozy. —MCT



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technology SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Facebook IPO sparks dreams of adventure SAN FRANCISCO: Traveling to space or embarking on an expedition to excavate lost Mayan ruins are normally the stuff of adventure novels. But for employees of Facebook, these and other lavish dreams are moving closer to reality as the world’s No 1 online social network prepares for a blockbuster initial public offering that could create at least a thousand millionaires. The most anticipated stock market debut of 2012 is expected to value Facebook at as much as $100 billion, which would top just about any of Silicon Valley’s most celebrated coming-out parties, from Netscape to Google Inc. While weak financial markets could postpone or downsize any IPO, even the most conservative market-watchers say Facebook seems destined to set a new benchmark in a region famous for minting fortunes, with even the rank-and-file employees reaping millions of dollars. Facebook employees past and present are already hatching plans on how to spend their anticipated new wealth, even as securities regulations typically prevent employee stock options from being cashed in until after a six-month lock-up period. “There’s been discussions of sort of bucket list ideas that people are putting together of things they always wanted to do and now we’ll be able to do it,” said one former employee who had joined Facebook in 2005, shortly after it was founded. He is looking into booking a trip to space that would cost $200,000 or more with Virgin Galactic or one of the other companies working on future space tourism. That’s chump change when he expects his shares in Facebook to be worth some $50 million. “If that IPO bell happens, then I will definitely put money down,” said the person, who declined to be identified because he did not want to draw attention to his financial status, given the antiglitz ethos of many people in Silicon Valley. “It’s been a childhood dream,” he said of space travel. Others are thinking less science fiction and more “Indiana Jones.” A group of current and former Facebook workers has begun laying the groundwork for an expedition to Mexico that sounds more suited to characters from the Steven Spielberg film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” than to the computer geeks famously portrayed in the movie about Facebook, “The Social Network.” Initially, the group wanted to organize its own jungle expedition to excavate a relatively untouched site of Mayan ruins, according to people familiar with the matter who also did not want to court notoriety by being identified in this story. After some debate earlier this year, they are now looking at partnering with an existing archeological program. Big packages Founded in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends, Facebook has grown into the world’s biggest social network with over 800 million members and revenue of $1.6 billion in the first half of 2011. Information about its ownership structure or employee compensation packages is hard to come by, since the still-private company discloses very little. Facebook declined to comment for this story. It is clear that Facebook’s earliest employees, who were given ownership stakes, and early venture capital investors- such as Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel-will see the biggest paydays. Zuckerberg, 27, is estimated to own a little over a fifth of the company, according to “The Facebook Effect” author David Kirkpatrick. But the wealth will trickle down to engineers, salespeople and other staffers who later joined the company, since most employees receive salary plus some kind of equity-based compensation, such as restricted stock units or stock options. Facebook’s headcount has swelled from 700 employees in late 2008 to more than 3,000 today. Given its generous use of equity-based compensation in past years, people familiar with Facebook say that even by conservative estimates there are likely to be well over a thousand people looking at million-dollar-plus paydays after the company goes public. “There will be thousands of millionaires,” said a former inhouse recruiter at Facebook, who did not want to be identified because of confidentiality agreements. Lou Kerner, the head of private trading at Liquidnet, estimates that Facebook now has roughly 2.5 billion shares outstanding, which would translate to a per-share price of $40 at a $100 billion valuation. Engineers are the most richly rewarded among the rank and file. The former Facebook recruiter said as recently as 2009, the company gave an engineer with 15 years experience options to buy about 65,000 shares at around $6 per share. — Reuters

EU Commissioner wants new tools for bloggers Schaake slams ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ THE HAGUE: The European Union should help teach bloggers living under oppressive regimes how to communicate freely and avoid detection, and develop technology to help them, the bloc’s digital affairs commissioner said yesterday. Speaking at an online free speech conference, Neelie Kroes said digital dissidents need tools that are “simple and readymade.” “I want the EU to help develop and distribute these tools,” she said. Governments, companies and civil liberties groups are meeting at the Freedom Online conference at the Dutch Foreign Ministry in hopes of creating a coalition of like-minded groups to promote Internet freedoms. Bloggers and users of social networks played a key role in fomenting the revolutions of the “Arab Spring” - and the risks they took. In an emotional speech, Syrian blogger Amjad Baiazy said his country’s surveillance system was built by Western countries. He said he was arrested and tortured in May for expressing his opinion online, and a friend was arrested as recently as this week for a Facebook posting. He called on governments to fight for “security of citizens, not corporations or governments.” “Sometimes there’s a big gap between the security of governments and the security of citizens,” he said. On Thursday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened the conference with a call for companies not to sell surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes. Dutch Member of Parliament Marietje Schaake echoed Clinton’s call, saying that companies “with a reputation to lose” - such as Google, one of the conference’s sponsors - are more likely to heed it.

However, she said less well-known companies may need incentives or laws to restrain them. She pointed out the Intelligence Support Systems conference being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, also this week, is essentially a market-

based websites for infringing on US copyrights. This will “give great incentives to governments like China to do the same,” she said, blocking political speech they don’t approve and arguing that their censorship practices are no different than

THE HAGUE: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at the Conference on Internet Freedom, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thursday, Dec 8, 2011. — AP place for governments and others interested in surveillance technology. “We need to get ahead of the curve,” she said. “Some governments curb freedom before the Internet fully arrives there.” Schaake also slammed the US for its proposed “Stop Online Piracy Act,” which would require US telecommunications companies to block access to foreign-

those in the West. Among other actions, the Dutch government pledged $1.3 million to develop “mesh” networks - networks that use mobile phones to create a backup system to disseminate information when a government tries to block the Internet or social networks. He named Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe as target countries. — AP

Apple’s founding contract up for auction NEW YORK: The contract that established Apple as a corporate entity in 1976 and another document, signed 11 days later, that removed one of the partners are expected to fetch up to $150,000 when they are auctioned next week by Sotheby’s. The Dec. 13 auction of books and manuscripts will also include a letter from Franz Kafka complaining of writer’s block, a set of cartoons from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and a telegram announcing the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. A 1944 letter from Albert Einstein, where he remarks to a friend on the progress of the Second World War and corrects the record to say his manuscript on relativity has not been destroyed by the Nazis, is expected to fetch at least $60,000. But the sale of the Apple Inc contract, available several months after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in October, is expected to be the biggest draw. “Because of Jobs being so focused on in the news, and his accomplishments, it just seemed like the right time,” said Richard Austin, the head of the Books and Manuscripts department at Sotheby’s. “People have been reminded of how important and how influential he is - someone who contributed to technology and to social history and had such a profound impact.” The contract establishes the Apple Computer Company and states that Jobs and Steve Wozniak will each be given 45 percent of Apple’s shares. Ronald Wayne, who drafted the contract, was given 10 percent. But within days, Wayne had decided not be become involved with the fledgling technology company. Wayne was paid $800, and later another $1,500, and was released from the contract. His 10 percent share would today be worth $2 billion. Jobs left Apple in 1984 following a power struggle with the company’s board of directors but returned to the company in 1996. He would become the central figure in transforming Apple into one of the world’s largest and most envied companies. Wayne

sold the documents to a private collector in 1994. It was not immediately known if Apple was interested in bidding on the document. “Wonderful things always sell and there are wonderful and unique things in this sale,” Austin said. — Reuters

BANGALORE: In this photograph, Indian Information Technology (IT) professionals work on their laptops during an ‘Open Hack Day’ program organized by the global search engine Yahoo!. Indian government efforts to block offensive material from the Internet have prompted a storm of online ridicule along with warnings of the risk to India’s image as a bastion of free speech. — AFP

technology SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Twitter introduces revamped website Monthly sign-ups rise by 25%

TOKYO: In this file photo, a model plays a game on Sony’s new tablet computer Tablet S during a launch event. The Tablet S stands out a little bit from the pack by including an infrared emitter, which makes it usable as a large universal remote control. It also plays some PlayStation games. — AP

Graphic novel app brings Dickensian London to life LONDON: Stroll the grimy backstreets of Dickensian London and experience for yourself the sights and sounds which inspired one of the greatest writers in English literature. Computer tablet users can now travel to the darker side of London as Charles Dickens knew it, with an interactive novel-cum-app launched yesterday by the Museum of London that is the next best thing to having your own time machine. The graphic novel, a creative combination of text, graphics and narration by “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” actor Mark Strong, transports the reader back to 1862 with an overlay on Google maps, depicting the streets as they were in the Victorian era. “It is fascinating to discover quite how brutal some of Dickens’ descriptions of London actually were,” narrator Strong said. “Usually we associate his writing with vivid caricature and lively character comedy, but to delve into the world of his darker observations is to be taken on a compelling journey through the seamier side of Victorian London,” he added. The app, seen by Reuters ahead of the official launch, contains a series of short stories, an old map of London, complete with interactive media, with which readers can interact, bringing the stories to life. The main novella featured are taken from “Sketches by Boz,” with bonus material of illustrated extracts from famous works such as “Bleak House” and “Oliver Twist.” —Reuters

Flaw makes Jawbone UP wristbands fall SAN FRANCISCO: US wireless earpiece maker Jawbone on Thursday apologized for a flaw that causes its fitness focused UP wristbands to go down and offered users their money back even if they keep the gadgets. UP is a wristband engineered to synch with software for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices to steer users toward better habits when it comes to eating, sleeping and being active. It was released by the San Francisco-based Jawbone in November. A troubling number of UP wristbands have failed, however, possibly due to a problem with capacitors in the devices designed to carefully track body movements. “This is unacceptable and you have our deepest apologies,” Jawbone founder and chief executive Hosain Rahman said in an open letter to UP users. “We’ve been working around the clock to identify the root causes.” Jawbone has studied wristbands returned for troubleshooting and discovered a problem with capacitors that are supposed to hold electrical charges, according to Rahman. Jawbone has replaced defective UP bands free of charge and is offering to give buyers their money back even if they keep working wristbands. UP bands cost $100. “We are so committed to this product that we’re offering you the option of using it for free,” Rahman said. Jawbone has temporarily stopped making UP wristbands but planned to resume productions after fixing the trouble. UP wristbands look like simple pieces of jewelry but sense body motions and sleep patterns to discern how many steps a wearer takes or how deeply people are slumbering. Users can even track their meals by using Apple gadget cameras to snap pictures of what they eat. —AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter revamped its website on Thursday to make the microblogging service easier to use and to help companies better showcase their brands. The new version of Twitter, which the company is gradually making available starting on Thursday, will feature a new look and feel and faster performance, the company said. The redesigned website comes as Twitter is taking steps to introduce more advertising on the site and as Twitter faces increased competition from Facebook and Google. “We have to provide the simplest and fastest way for people around the world to connect to everything they care about,” Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo said as he introduced the new version of the site. Costolo appeared alongside Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who returned to the company in March as executive chairman to oversee the company’s product design and development efforts. Twitter allows people to send 140-character messages, or “tweets,” throughout the network of over 100 million users. It is one of the Web’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga. In October, Apple integrated Twitter’s service directly into the software that powers the popular iPhones. Since then, Dorsey said, the number of monthly sign-

ups for Twitter have increased 25 percent. Even as Twitter continues to grow, it faces fresh competition from Google, which introduced a social networking service with capabilities similar to Twitter earlier this year. On Thursday, Facebook, the world’s No.1 social networking service, announced a new feature that allows its users to visit a website and “subscribe” to updates from celebrities, journalists and other public figures. The new version of Twitter seeks to simplify the service and to make it easier for new users to understand various Twitter-specific features, such as the # symbol that is used to search for topics on the service. “Twitter should be useful by those who know the shortcuts, and also equally useful by those who don’t really use the shortcuts,” said Dorsey. A new “Discover” section of the website highlights the most popular topics on the site based on each user’s location and interests. The new version of Twitter also features a revamped profile page, in which a company can customize the look of their brand and highlight specific content, such as videos or photos. Previously, the profile pages displayed a chronological list of the company’s most recent Tweets. Twitter said that 21 brands, including General Electric and Pepsi, have already revamped

their profile pages to take advantage of the new capabilities. Twitter will gradually make the new profile page features available to all its users. “For marketers, this is something that they’ve been asking for of us for a while,” Adam Bain, who leads Twitter’s revenue efforts, said in an interview after the briefing. Twitter is taking steps to build a profitable business on top of its popular service. The company began showing ads on limited parts of the service in 2010 and is expected to generate about $140 million in ad revenue this year, according to estimates by industry research firm eMarketer. The company said it has more than 2,400 advertisers and it expects to launch an advertising system early next year that will allow companies to quickly create marketing campaigns on Twitter. Twitter hosted Thursday’s event at its future headquarters in San Francisco, which are currently under construction and which Twitter plans to move into this summer. The building will accommodate far more than the company’s current staff of 700 employees, Costolo said. “It holds thousands of people,” he said of the office. “We’re going to need all this space to scale the company to support the growth of the product we’ve been experiencing over the last year.” — Reuters

US director makes smartphone movie LOS ANGELES: An independent US filmmaker has made what is believed to be the first feature-length movie shot with a smartphone, to be released next weekwith actress Gena Rowlands in the starring role. “Olive,” about “a little girl who transforms the lives of three people without speaking one word,” was filmed using only a Nokia N8 cellphone, with a high-resolution camera adapted with a 35 mm lens to give added depth of field. “Technology is moving so quickly and cellphones are really going to be the thing that does everything eventually,” director Hooman Khalili told AFP in an interview ahead of the US theater release of his movie on December 16. “They already do so much, and in January 2010 I came up with this idea and I saw there was nothing out there that existed,” added the 37-year-old, who began pre-production of the movie last year. The first five minutes of “Olive,” viewable at, have already set tongues wagging in Hollywood, where the movie industry is gearing up for its annual awards season. Set for release in Los Angeles next week, the movie is eligible to be nominated for the Oscars in February. In pictures posted on the Flickr photosharing website, the filmmaker, who also hosts a radio show in San Francisco, holds a cellphone taped to the 35 mm lens and mounted on a tripod, with a viewfinder sticking out one side. “This is groundbreaking technology. You know someone is gonna be first, and there’s something special about being first. And yeah, our lens might be big and clunky, but this is how first generations of new technology are.

“And the second and the third generation become slicker and better,” he said. The movie cost less than $500,000 — a fraction of a typical Hollywood budget-and is financed by Chris Kelly, an executive with social network giant Facebook, and William O’Keeffe, a San Francisco-based

BERKELEY: This photo shows a smart phone connected to a camera set. — AFP philanthropist. Strangely, Finnish cellphone giant Nokia has had no particular input into the film. “They sent me a phone,” said Khalili, adding: “After March of 2011 I never heard from Nokia again, they disappeared.”

Technology aside, the film boasts the involvement of the two-time Oscar-nominated 81-year-old actress Rowlands. “We sent her the script, and she said to me: ‘I read six scripts a week and I maybe do one movie a year. This script is so good, (but) I need you to convince me to do this movie,” Khalili said. “So I sat there, and for an hour and a half I poured my heart out to her. She did it, not for the money. She (is) an independent spirit, and she liked the fact that it was the first cellphone movie,” he added. Khalili said the inspiration for the movie’s story came from “The Triplets of Belleville,” a 2003 animated film in which no one speaks but “everything is conveyed perfectly.” “We knew that it doesn’t matter how amazing the technology is. If the story isn’t good, nobody is going to watch it,” said Khalili, who worked with co-director Patrick Gilles. “I thought, how great would it be to have a central character that doesn’t speak but you understand everything she is trying to communicate,” said the filmmaker. That inspired the story of a 10-year-old girl who “transforms” the lives of three characters: an old, bitter woman-played by Rowlands-an obese man and a foreigner adjusting to life in the United States. “Every single one of us at one time of our lives is down in a ditch... The way you get out of that ditch is by having someone reach you with their hand and pull you out,” said Khalili. The film will be screened from next Friday, for a week, at the Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 movie theater in West Hills, northwest of Los Angeles. —AFP

TV listings SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Of Flapjack 19:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 20:15 Adventure Time 20:40 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 21:05 Chowder 21:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:55 Cow & Chicken 22:20 Best Ed 22:45 I Am Weasel 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 23:50 The Secret Saturdays

00:50 I Was Bitten 01:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 02:40 Mutant Planet 03:35 Whale Wars 04:30 I Was Bitten 05:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 06:20 Animal Cops Phoenix 07:10 World Wild Vet 08:00 Monkey Life 08:25 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 09:15 Breed All About It 09:40 The Really Wild Show 10:10 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 11:05 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:30 Monkey Life 12:00 Crocodile Hunter 12:55 Bad Dog 13:50 Speed Of Life 14:45 Dogs vs. Cats 15:40 World’s Ugliest Dog Competition 16:35 Elephants 17:30 Running With Wolves 18:25 Ocean Odyssey 19:20 Feeding Off Nature’s Giant 20:15 Swarm Chasers 21:10 Dogs 101: Specials 22:05 Air Jaws 23:00 Best Bites 23:55 Rogues

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

After You’ve Gone Beautiful People Lab Rats The Weakest Link Married, Single, Other Doctor Who My Family 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Poetry Pie Buzz & Tell Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles My Family My Family Ray Mears’ Wild Foods Doctor Who EastEnders EastEnders After You’ve Gone The Weakest Link Ray Mears’ Wild Foods Doctor Who The Weakest Link After You’ve Gone Holby City Holby City Doctor Who As Time Goes By Last Of The Summer Wine Gavin & Stacey One Foot In The Grave

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

The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix What Not To Wear The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix What Not To Wear The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook Antiques Roadshow

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

FADE TO BLACK ON OSN ACTION HD 08:50 09:40 10:30 11:15 12:00 16:25 16:55 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:55 23:45

Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Daily Cooks Challenge Daily Cooks Challenge Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow What Not To Wear What Not To Wear Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix

00:00 00:30 01:00 01:30 01:40 02:00 02:30 03:00 03:10 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:10 10:30 11:00 11:10 11:30 12:00

BBC World News America World Football Focus BBC World News Sport Today Weekend World BBC World News America Horizons BBC World News Weekend World Nobel Peace BBC World News Horizons BBC World News Nobel Laureates 2011 BBC World News My Country BBC World News Fast Track BBC World News Middle East Business Report BBC World News Click BBC World News Weekend World Nobel Peace BBC World News World Football Focus Nobel Laureates 2011 BBC World News

12:10 13:00 13:10 13:30 14:00 14:10 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:15 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:10 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:10 21:30 22:00 22:15 22:30 23:00 23:10 23:30

The World Debate BBC World News The Health Show Newsnight BBC World News Weekend World Talking Books BBC World News Spirit Of Yachting BBC World News Sport Today Fast Track BBC World News Dateline London BBC World News World Features Horizons BBC World News Click BBC World News Final Score BBC World News World Features My Country BBC World News Sport Today Fast Track BBC World News The Health Show Spirit Of Yachting

00:15 00:40 01:05 01:30 01:55 02:20 02:45 03:10 03:35 04:00

Samurai Jack Megas XLR Robotboy Squirrel Boy George Of The Jungle Cramp Twins Chop Socky Chooks Best Ed My Gym Partner’s A Monkey Ben 10: Ultimate Alien

04:25 Generator Rex 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 05:40 Chowder 05:55 Powerpuff Girls 06:30 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:55 I Am Weasel 07:20 Squirrel Boy 07:45 Cow & Chicken 08:00 Total Drama Action 08:25 Powerpuff Girls 08:50 Angelo Rules 09:05 Eliot Kid 09:30 Chowder 09:55 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 10:20 Adventure Time 10:45 The Amazing World Of Gumball 10:55 Cow & Chicken 11:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 11:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 12:20 Generator Rex 12:45 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 13:10 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 13:35 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 14:00 Batman And Mr. Freeze: Subzero 15:15 Best Ed 15:40 Chowder 16:05 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 16:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:55 Cow & Chicken 17:20 Adventure Time 17:45 Codename: Kids Next Door 18:10 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 18:35 Generator Rex 19:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:25 The Marvelous Misadventures

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

Danger Coast Dual Survival Overhaulin’ Dirty Jobs Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Stuff’S Made How It’S Made Dirty Jobs Ultimate Biker Challenge South Beach Classics Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear American Chopper: Senior vs

00:40 01:05 01:35 02:25 02:50 03:40 04:35 05:00 05:25 05:50

The Gadget Show The Tech Show Kings Of Construction Stunt Junkies Futurecar Eco-Tech The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Cool Stuff & How It Works Kings Of Construction

Deception With Keith Barry Mythbusters Curiosity How It’S Made Auction Kings Auction Kings Border Security Border Security Mythbusters Extreme Fishing Marley Africa Road Trip Coal Gold Rush: Alaska Deadliest Catch One Man Army An Idiot Abroad

06:40 One Step Beyond 07:10 Brainiac 08:00 Stephen Hawking’s Universe 08:55 Head Rush 08:58 Sci-Fi Science 09:25 Weird Connections 09:55 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 10:45 Mission Critical: Hubble 11:35 Sci-Trek 14:55 Sci-Trek 15:45 Head Rush 15:48 Sci-Fi Science 16:15 Weird Connections 16:45 Bang Goes The Theory 17:10 The Gadget Show 17:35 The Gadget Show 18:00 Things That Move 18:25 Things That Move 18:50 Stephen Hawking’s Universe 19:40 Da Vinci’s Machines 20:30 Prototype This 21:20 Weird Or What? 22:10 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 23:00 Da Vinci’s Machines 23:50 Prototype This

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 20 Best & Worst Celebrity Plastic... 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 09:45 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 10:15 Bridalplasty 11:10 Bridalplasty 12:05 E! News 13:05 THS 14:05 Giuliana & Bill 15:00 Ice Loves Coco 15:30 Ice Loves Coco 15:55 Dirty Soap 16:55 Style Star 17:25 Fashion Police 17:55 E! News 18:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:55 The Soup 21:25 Kendra 21:55 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 The Soup

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

Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting True CSI True Crime With Aphrodite

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 03:30 04:00

The Frankincense Trail Geo Sessions Geo Sessions Treks In A Wild World Travel Madness Madventures Madventures Around The World For Free

Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift FBI Files Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared The Haunted Ghost Lab

TV listings SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011 05:00 A World Apart 06:00 The Frankincense Trail 07:00 Geo Sessions 07:30 Geo Sessions 08:00 Treks In A Wild World 08:30 Travel Madness 09:00 Madventures 09:30 Madventures 10:00 Around The World For Free 11:00 A World Apart 12:00 The Frankincense Trail 13:00 Word of Mouth 13:30 Food School 14:00 Danger Men 15:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 16:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 16:30 Don’t Tell My Mother 18:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 19:00 Word of Mouth 19:30 Food School 20:00 Danger Men 21:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 22:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:30 Don’t Tell My Mother

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 11:45 13:30 15:30 18:30 20:00 18 22:00

02:00 04:00 06:30 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:15 19:00 21:15 23:00

The Devil’s Tomb-PG15 Tortured-18 Lake Placid 3-18 Patriot Games-PG15 Courage Under Fire-PG15 Winning Time-PG15 Arctic Predator-PG15 Courage Under Fire-PG15 The Postman-PG15 Arctic Predator-PG15 Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s BallFade To Black-PG15

Brighton Rock-PG15 Secretariat-PG15 The Great Debaters-PG15 Just Wright-PG15 Alabama Moon-PG15 Slipstream-PG15 Tron: Legacy-PG15 Strange Culture-PG15 The Last Airbender-PG From Paris With Love-PG15 Mr. Nice-18

05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Good Morning America Law & Order Tower Prep The Ellen DeGeneres Show Downsize Me The View The X Factor (US) Glee No Ordinary Family Survivor: South Pacific Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Breakout Kings The Killing C.S.I. Miami Top Gear (UK) Law & Order

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

Detroit 1-8-7 Damages Century City The X Factor (US) Glee Survivor: South Pacific Detroit 1-8-7 Tower Prep Kojak Survivor: South Pacific The X Factor (US) Glee Tower Prep The Ellen DeGeneres Show Kojak Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Kojak Breakout Kings The Killing C.S.I. Miami Top Gear (UK) Commander In Chief

01:00 02:45 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:15 13:15 15:15 17:30 19:15 21:00 23:00

The Wolfman-18 Shutter Island-18 The Devil’s Tomb-PG15 Shanghai Knights-PG15 Iron Man 2-PG15 Ip Man-PG15 The Karate Kid II-PG Iron Man 2-PG15 Armored-18 Mirrors 2-18 Fade To Black-PG15 Fear Island-PG15

00:00 That Thing You Do!-PG 02:00 My Sassy Girl-PG15 04:00 Josie And The Pussycats-PG15 06:00 One Fine Day-PG15 08:00 Coming & Going-PG15 10:00 Big Fat Liar-PG 12:00 It’s A Wonderful Afterlife-PG15 14:00 The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie-PG 16:00 That Thing You Do!-PG 18:00 Charlie & Boots-PG15 20:00 Palo Alto-18 22:00 She’s Out Of My League-18

01:00 03:00 05:00 PG 07:00 09:00 11:15 13:00 PG 15:00 17:00 18:45 21:00 23:00

Cat People-18 The Clearing-18 Searching For Bobby FischerNorth-PG The China Syndrome-PG Oceans - Into The Deep-PG Searching For Bobby FischerAmelia-PG15 The Cake Eaters-PG15 The Remains Of The Day-PG15 Bob Roberts-PG15 The Young Americans-PG15

01:00 A Single Man-R 03:00 Like Mike-PG 05:00 You Again-PG15 07:00 Don’t Fade Away-PG15 08:30 By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama-PG15 10:30 My Name Is Khan-PG15 13:15 Just Married-PG15 15:00 The Social Network-PG15 17:00 By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama-PG15 19:00 It’s Complicated-PG15 21:00 Ironclad-PG15 23:00 Peter And Vandy-18

00:00 My Fair Madeline-FAM 02:00 Hua Mulan-PG 04:15 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG 06:15 My Fair Madeline-FAM 08:15 Young Fisherman-PG 10:00 Dr. Dolittle-PG 12:00 Barbie: Princess Charm School-PG15 14:00 Hua Mulan-PG 16:00 Pollyworld-FAM 18:00 Dr. Dolittle-PG 20:00 Ed-PG 22:00 Barbie: Princess Charm School-PG15

00:00 Animal Kingdom-PG15 02:00 Goodbye Solo-PG15 04:00 Get Low-PG15 06:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 08:00 The Chaperone-PG15 10:00 Get Low-PG15 12:00 Sounds Like Teen Spirit-PG15 14:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 16:00 Unstoppable-PG15 18:00 The Other Guys-PG15 20:00 Ironclad-PG15 22:15 Film Socialisme-PG15

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Louie 02:00 Weeds 02:30 South Park 03:00 Raising Hope 03:30 The Office 04:00 According To Jim 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Just Shoot Me 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 According To Jim 08:30 Raising Hope 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 Community 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Just Shoot Me 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 According To Jim 13:00 The Office 13:30 Seinfeld 14:00 Just Shoot Me 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 Community 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Outsourced 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Melissa And Joey 18:30 2 Broke Girls 19:00 Community 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 South Park 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00

The X Factor (US) Survivor: South Pacific Damages Glee No Ordinary Family


00:00 02:00 02:30 09:30 10:00 11:00 16:00 17:15

WWE SmackDown Le Mans Series Magazine Live Test Cricket Le Mans Series Magazine WWE Bottom Line Live PGA European Tour Live Volvo Ocean Race Test Cricket

02:00 ICC Cricket World 02:30 Live Test Cricket 09:30 Darts Players Championship 13:30 Rugby Union 15:30 Live Scottish Premier League 17:30 Live Darts Player Championship 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 Live Darts Player Championship

03:00 05:00 07:00 11:00 16:00 20:00 22:00

European Challenge Cup Rugby Union Varsity Match Snooker UK Championship Live European PGA Tour Live Snooker UK Championship Scottish Premier League Live Pool Mosconi Cup

03:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 19:00 22:00

WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line UFC 140 Countdown WWE SmackDown Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Extra Live HSBC Sevens World Series UFC 140 Countdown Live Pool Mosconi Cup

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

Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Stitch Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mini Adventures Of Winnie The

00:05 00:30 00:55 01:20

The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective

The Adventures Of Disney Suite Life On Deck Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Aladdin So Random Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie A.N.T. Farm Fish Hooks Wizards Of Waverly Place My Babysitter’s A Vampire Shake It Up Fish Hooks So Random The Suite Life Of Zack And My Babysitter’s A Vampire Wizards Of Waverly Place A.N.T. Farm Phineas And Ferb Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place So Random Aladdin Wizards Of Waverly Place My Babysitter’s A Vampire Good Luck Charlie Suite Life On Deck Sonny With A Chance The Suite Life Of Zack And Hannah Montana

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

The 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 The Addams Family Popeye Paddington Bear Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Jelly Jamm Puppy In My Pocket Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Yogi’s Treasure Hunt The Garfield Show Pink Panther And Pals Looney Tunes The Scooby Doo Show Tom & Jerry Top Cat Popeye New Yogi Bear Show Tex Avery The Addams Family Droopy & Dripple The Flintstones The Garfield Show Duck Dodgers Wacky Races Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Dastardly And Muttley The Jetsons Wacky Races Scooby Doo Where Are You! Popeye Classics Scooby Cinema Top Cat Dastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Wacky Races The Scooby Doo Show Tom & Jerry Johnny Bravo

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

Engineering An Empire Battle Against Rome Decoding The Past Chasing Mummies Pawn Stars Lost Worlds Engineering An Empire Battle Against Rome Decoding The Past Chasing Mummies Pawn Stars Lost Worlds Engineering An Empire Battle Against Rome Decoding The Past Chasing Mummies Pawn Stars Lost Worlds Engineering An Empire Battle Against Rome Dead Men’S Secrets Cities Of The Underworld Ancient Ink

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How Do I Look? Jerseylicious Videofashion Daily Videofashion News How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Homes With Style Area Clean House Big Boutique Videofashion Daily Ruby Open House Videofashion Daily Videofashion News Elements Of Style Big Rich Texas Jerseylicious How Do I Look? Tia And Tamera Videofashion Daily Fashion Police Elements Of Style Clean House: New York


Dr Zaid Al-Shammari wins Silver at 4th Middle East International Invention Fair


nder the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed AlJaber Al-Sabah, the Kuwait Science Club hosted the 4th International Invention Fair in the Middle East (IIFME) in Kuwait this year. Dr Zaid Al-Shammari, Associate Professor of English Education and Director of Research & Development Office at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST),was awarded the Silver Medal, for his display of his invention the Analysis Model for Learning Outcomes (AMLO). This invention is a webapplication model, aimed at measuring and analyzing Learning Outcomes. Dr. Al-Shammari is the founder and inventor of this newly designed and established AMLO. Dr. Al-Shammari was congratulated by Dr. Robert Cook, VP for Academic Affairs and Dr Ali Ansari, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY DRINKER Thursday, December 15th at 7:30pm This is an enchanting, mesmeric fable. It tells the story of an alcoholic who strives for redemption, but is cheated out of attaining it again and again - either by drink or friends or any of the myriad pleasures life throws at us. And yet somehow miraculously - the drinker’s soul remainsintact; his final mission frustrated, temporarily foresaken but never entirely forgotten. 12 ANGRY MEN Saturday, December 17th at 7:30pm A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court. THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON Thursday, December 22nd at 7:30pm Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/song-


he embassy of Peru holds every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday “Welcome Kuwait Open Doors Days” from 9 am to 1 pm. Prior appointment is not necessary to all who will come and visit the “Expo Peru Tour, Trade and Investment Room”. The Expo and Investment Room features detailed information on products and tourism sectors of Peru that offer profitable investments as well as answer questions. The Open Doors event will be held in Sharq, Ahmed Al-Jaber Street, Al-Arabiya Tower, Sixth Floor.

writer/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE Saturday, December 24th at 7:30pm In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus. BRAZIL Thursday, December 29th at 7:30pm A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state. Cinemagic movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the roof on top of Alghanim Electronics and LG.

La Leche to hold a meeting


a Leche will hold a meeting on December 12th from 3:30 to 5:30 pm at the L’Ali Al-Badri Building in Salmiya (Qatar Street, across from the Boulevard construction site, about 500 metres from City Centre. Little Caesar’s Pizza is at the foot of the building). For directions call Raj Alvis at 6991-342. La Leche League (LLL) is an international, non-profit organization that provides mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education for women who breastfeed their children. If you are currently breastfeeding your baby or small child, or are pregnant and intend to breastfeed your baby (or are considering it but have questions) and would like to meet up with others mums who breastfeed, then LLL is for you! This meeting is for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms only.

Kuwait Zoo The Kuwait Zoo is located in Omariya on the Airport Road. It is open everyday except on Saturdays. The timings during winter are 8am to 8pm. For more information contact: 24733389.

Aqua Park Aqua Park will be open from 1st April 2011 from 10am-10pm everyday. For information contact: 22431960/1/3 or visit: Entertainment City Entertainment City is open from Sunday to Wednesday from 3pm to 11pm during winter. It is also open on Thursdays and

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

Lecture at AUK


Leisure activities

Amusements Parks



Cinemagic hosts a month of movies

Open doors at the embassy of Peru


Fridays from 10am to 10pm. For more information contact: 24879455. The Scientific Centre Scientific Centre is located on the Gulf road in Salmiya. It is open from Saturdays to Thursdays from 9am to 10.30pm and on Fridays from 2pm to 10.30pm. For more information contact: 22240025 or visit their website at: Art galleries and artifacts a)Sultan Art Gallery The Sultan art gallery is located on Street no: 105, building no: 168, Subhan, Kuwait city.

he Center for Gulf Studies at the American University in Kuwait (AUK) is going to organise a lecture “When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics” by Dr Nathan J. Brown, a distinguished scholar and author of several well-received books on Arab politics. During his lecture, Dr Brown will be introducing and talking about his latest book When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, which provides an analysis of Islamist movements in Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan on Tuesday, Dec 17 at 10 am. AUK Auditorium Liberal Arts Building. The lecture will be conducted in English but the speaker can handle questions or interviews in Arabic. Dr Brown, who is also a fluent Arabic speaker, received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, and was previously a scholar in residence at the Middle East Institute. He is currently a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. Dr Brown has recently been a member of the International Advisory Committee on drafting the Palestinian constitution and consultant to the UNDP’s program on governance in the Arab world.


Viennese Boys’ Choir


ingapore, Los Angeles, New York..... and Salwa! At the end of November, the world-famous Wiener Sangerknaben ( Viennese Boys’ Choir ) managed to fit in a swift and much appreciated visit to Kuwait English School. Despite their busy world tour, the young boys managed to spend several hours at the school in Salwa. The choirmaster held an hour-long musical seminar for students of KES, trying to teach them to sing, and then the school was treated to a delightful performance by the very young and talented choristers.

Upcoming events Auditions for KLT season It’s audition time again for the next show of the KLT season, a ‘GLEE-esque’ show choir production - Vocal Rhapsody’s “Love Story”, slated for the stage in February 2012. Vocal Rhapsody’s “Love Story” - is a show choir production with hit songs from artists such as Journey, Queen, Katy Perry and Meatloaf. If you love to sing and perform come out to audition for this ‘GLEE-esque’ production that is guaranteed to be fun, exciting and musically intriguing for all! Auditions were held in Kuwait Little Theater in Ahmadi on December 3rd, 4th and 5th. Entertaining events Al-Kout and The British Playhouse join hands in bringing fun, entertaining and educational events to the community.

Please join them for lots of fun filled activities. All activities are FREE of charge! Events will include: Face painting, Henna, Characters Clown, Balloon arch Balloon art, gifts for children’s competitions for kids (best drawing, etc). Interactive activities will include: Coloring corner, story telling corner, play dough corner, arts and crafts corner, bricks blocks, board games and puzzles corner on Thursday December 8th, Saturday December 17th, & Thursday December 29th at Al-Kout Mall, Fahaheel-Kuwait From 5pm - 9pm. For more info: 9441-1783. New Year Hangama The RAK Dance Academy (RDA) Kuwait, is planning to put a charity event as celebration of its New Year Hangama 2012, on 31st December, 2011, from 6 pm onwards, at Carmel

School Khaitan. All participants are well known artists from Kuwait. The main purpose of this celebration is to collect donations and raise money for supporting handicapped children in India. contributions from you. Your attendance is your donation. Please join for an evening for a good cause. Call 99692266, 65925730 for details. Charity bazaar on December 15th There will be a charity bazaar with lots of fresh food, youth games, face painting, games, surprise auction, songs, plants, art shows, Christmas crafts, used goods and lots of other fun activities! The event will be hosted at the Lighthouse Church Kuwait in Kuwait City from 5pm till 11pm. For more information or if you wish to participate with your goods contact:



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health & science SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

Climate talks mean life or death for island states DURBAN: Nature does not negotiate. So while climate change delegates haggle over deadlines, binding targets and finance, some of the world’s poorest states are warning that rising sea levels and storms will sweep them away unless the world agrees to tackle global warning. “We will be one of the first countries to go under water,” said Foua Toloa, a senior politician on Tokelau, an island half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand that is no more than five meters above sea-level. “We are a small and fragile nation very susceptible to environment and climate developments.” Grenada’s Foreign Minister Karl Hood, chairman of the 43-nation Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), whose members are in the frontline of climate change, was even more blunt: “If we don’t act now, some of us will die.” Many low lying nations can already calculate the cost of rising greenhouse gas emissions in lives lost, economies shattered and landscapes transformed. “By 2025, rising sea levels could lead to the displacement of at least 10 percent of the population”, Comores Vice President Fouad Mohadji told delegates at climate change talks in the South African port city of Durban. Sea waters could destroy 29 percent of the road network,

30 percent of the hotel infrastructure on which the islands’ tourism industry relies, 70 percent of ports and airports, at a cost of $1 billion dollars. “That is more than twice the country’s gross domestic product,” he said. TIME FOR ACTION Delegates from almost 200 countries have until late on Friday to decide whether to commit to signing up to an internationally binding climate deal by 2015 at the latest. The European Union is calling for a legally binding global deal to be reached by 2015 and implemented by 2020, but Fiji’s Environment Minister Samu Saumutua says that would be too late to reverse rising sea levels that threaten to submerge its islands. “Cyclones now occur any time of the year, we have fresh floods, in the coastal areas the fresh water supply is now inundated with salt water,” he said. “We are desperately looking at how we are going to deal with the situation at home.” It is not only islands that are suffering. Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador’s environment minister, said a tropical depression that swept across Central America two months ago flooded 10 percent of his country, causing losses of $840 million-some four percent of GDP.

“We went from being impacted by one extreme weather event per decade in the 1960s and 1970s, to nine in the last 10 years,” he said, illustrating the accelerating pace of climate change. Several delegates accused the global economic powers of ignoring science and putting in peril the very survival of states which contribute lit-

tle to the millions of tons of carbon spewed into the atmosphere each year, but which are most directly affected by the resulting climate change. “Some people have a vested interest not to make any progress in these negotiations,” said Tosi MpanuMpanu, the head of the Africa group.

DURBAN: Activists form a giant lion’s head as they call for action on global warming during the second week of the climate conference in Durban. — AP

Green technology race outpaces climate talks China overtakes US as biggest green investor, biggest emitter DURBAN: China has roared to the front of a green technology race that ultimately could do more to save the planet than the endless hours of UN negotiations, that year after year have failed to deliver an adequate response to climate change. The latest climate talks in the South African port city of Durban, which dragged on in bitter debate yesterday, might manage incremental steps towards a new treaty on limiting global warming. But few expect them to deliver the kind of binding deal that would check a rise in temperature steep enough to turn farmland to desert and sink small island nations. China, meanwhile, has overtaken the United States to become the world’s biggest carbon emitter. It has also sped ahead in terms of investment in green technology. “There is an informal green technology race, led by China, that may in the end be even more successful than

that formal deal,” said European lawmaker Jo Leinen, who is leading the European Parliament’s delegation to the Durban talks. “But in order to encourage countries a formal deal may be helpful,” he added, reflecting the European Union’s view that there is still a need for an international treaty on carbon cuts as the best guarantee of positive change. China invested $54 billion in low carbon energy technology in 2010, compared to the United States’ $34 billion, the US Pew Environment Group said. With a pressing need to provide food, fuel and water for the world’s biggest population, China more than most can see the value of energy forms that limit the global warming that has already turned tracts of its land to desert. India, the world’s third biggest carbon emitter behind China and the United States, has also begun moving towards green development.

SUN-POWERED INDIA Like China it is working on marketbased trading scheme to encourage energy efficiency and green power and has followed Beijing in setting a domestic goal for curbing its rise in carbon emissions. But India’s highest hopes are pinned on a massive solar energy drive. According to the Indian Solar Mission, introduced in 2009, solar power output by 2022 would be equivalent to oneeighth of India’s current installed power base, helping Asia’s third-largest economy after China and Japan to limit its reliance on carbon-intensive coal. Solar energy is fraught with problems, such as the need for huge initial investment. But that could be a smaller challenge than getting a new binding deal to bring all nations into mandatory carbon cuts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its companion legislation the Kyoto Protocol. — Reuters

ALLIES NEEDED He said countries should start by committing to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, whose clause on enforcing targets on carbon cuts expires at the end of next year, but Grenada’s Hood said a legally-binding deal should be agreed now. “We have all the ingredients to start work right now, and to have the legal force by next year,” he said. The United States has denied trying to derail the process until after 2020, but Hood was not convinced. “Thank you very much, let me see that in the negotiation room, let me see that in the text,” he said in response. The fragile islands states and many of the other vulnerable countries in Africa, Asia and Central and Latin America do not have the financial firepower to tackle the crisis alone. “In recent years we have found ourselves spending millions to build defense walls due to coastal degradation and rising sea levels, millions to clean up after floods,” said Dominica’s Environment Minister Kenneth Darroux. They hope a Green Climate Fund will emerge from Durban that will channel up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries tackle the adverse effects of global warming. “We are not begging you, but we need allies,” said Luis Ferrate, head of the Guatemalan delegation. — Reuters

Scientists kick off debate over barefoot running LONDON: Despite the cold and many other potential hazards, naked from the ankle down is the way Anna Toombs likes it, and she gets plenty of catcalls in the street as a result. The 35-year-old co-founder of the personal training company Barefoot Running UK says she’s lost count of the times people yell “where are your shoes?” as she and partner David Robinson negotiate London’s parks and pavements to indulge their passion and train their clients. “People give you a lot of weird looks,” says Robinson. They are also getting a lot of inquiries. A surge of interest in “natural”, or barefoot, training has seen runners around the world kick off their arch-supporting, motion-controlling, heel-cushioning shoes and try to feel the ground beneath their feet. Top scientists-from sports physicians to podiatrists to evolutionary biologists-are jumping in too. At a recent sports science conference in London, hundreds of participants, many of them shod but a few daringly barefooted, flocked to a two-hour long discussion about the merits or otherwise of running without shoes. “It’s a really polarized debate-there are what you might call the barefoot evangelicals on one side and the aggressive anti-barefoots on the other,” says Ross Tucker, an expert in exercise physiology at South Africa’s University of Cape Town and a middle- and long-distance running coach. The current barefoot trend has its roots in the book “Born to Run”, by Christopher McDougall. In it, he tells of time spent with Mexico’s Tarahumara tribe who can run huge distances barefoot, often very fast, apparently without suffering the injuries that plague many keen runners in the developed world. — Reuters



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health & science SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011

EPA theorizes fracking-pollution link CHEYENNE: The US Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday for the first time that fracking - a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells - may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution. The draft finding could have significant implications while states try to determine how to regulate the process.

Environmentalists characterized the report as a significant development though it met immediate criticism from the oil and gas industry and a US senator. The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas to the sur-

face. The EPA found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals. Health officials last year advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found low levels hydrocarbons in their wells. — AP



Fly faster, safer with new air traffic control plan FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla: Imagine a behemoth Boeing 747 gliding for about 200 miles before landing, conserving hundreds of gallons of fuel along the way. It's happening today at some airports as part of NextGen, a Federal Aviation Administration program to dramatically modernize the nation's air traffic control system within the next two decades. Its goals: cut flight times and delays, make flying safer and save the airlines billions. "We face difficult economic conditions," said Steve Lott, spokesman for Airlines for America, a trade organization that represents the major U.S. carriers. "Without significant modernization, congestion and delays will worsen as traffic increases." At the heart of NextGen is the plan to shift from old-fashioned ground stations to satellites for navigation. Notably, this will allow planes to use GPS to fly directly to airports and make fewer turns while approaching runways. A version of the more efficient approaches already is being used at Miami International Airport. "It's like a continual glide to the runway end," said Paul Fontaine, the FAA's technology development director. "It doesn't imply the engines are shut off." NextGen will allow planes to fly more precise routes, saving 30 to 100 gallons of fuel and shaving 10 minutes off travel time per flight, according to FAA estimates. Among the other benefits: The program should improve safety by giving pilots a cockpit display of all the air traffic around them, the same display air traffic controllers see. Also through the use of cockpit displays, it should minimize weather delays, which currently cost the airlines about $30 billion a year. Even in poor visibility, the displays would show a pilot the terrain as if it were a sunny day. And NextGen should improve pilotcontroller communications through the increased use of "datalink" machines, which work like email and already are installed in many airliners. The devices should ease radio congestion. By the time the program is completed in 2025, at a cost of $15 billion to $22 billion, more planes will be able to take off per hour, more planes will be able to fill the skies and more passengers will reach their destinations without delays, the FAA said. Without NexGen, air travel is doomed to start bogging down as soon as 2015. Despite the down economy, the FAA projects the number of U.S. passengers will increase from 800 million in 2010 to more than 1 billion by 2020. For the struggling airlines, NextGen can't be completed soon enough, said Lott, adding the airlines are counting on NextGen to improve profitability. Pilots and air traffic controllers say NextGen already is making their jobs easier because of GPS and other new technologies. But they doubt whether an increased number of planes can move through the skies and then converge on airports without rigid air traffic control procedures to keep them separated. "It's still going to take the same amount of air space to land on a runway, whether you're flying 747 or a Cessna," said Alan Cohn, of

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FOR SALE Plantation, a former airline captain and cargo pilot who now flies corporate jets out of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Jim Marinitti, of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said for NextGen to work, planes will need to be spaced out long before they reach busy hub airports. "When American and Delta arrive at a destination at the same time, who's going to land first?" said Marinitti, a controller who works Miami Approach Control. "You can put down only one plane on a runway at a time." NextGen involves numerous projects to be phased in over the next 13 years. A primary one is installing 800 small ground stations across the county. Those will allow planes with GPS to be carefully monitored on controller screens. About half of the stations, similar to antennas, have been installed, many on cellphone towers. The job is to be completed by 2013, Fontaine, the FAA technology director, said. Only some portions of the country are seeing the benefits of NextGen, he said, because for the system to truly work, many more aircraft will need to be GPS-equipped. When all is said and done, the system should be efficient enough to handle a sharp increase in flights without increasing the air traffic controller workforce, he added. — MCT

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CHANGE OF NAME I, Habibulla Ismail Mithu, holder of Indian Passport No. Z 026492, hereby changed my name to Mitha Habibullah Ismail. At. Lunawada (pms) 389230. (C 3764) 10-12-2011 I, Luis De Almeida, have changed my mother’s name from Francisquina Marques to Carmina Marques and father’s name from Antonio Xavier Almeida to Antonio Xavier de Almeida for the purpose of my Passport No. J3505800. (C 3765) I, Luis De Almedia, r/o H.No. 539, Dona Paula, IIhas, Goa, change my name from Luis Almeida to Luis De Almeida for the purpose of my Passport No. J3505800. (C 3766) 8-12-2011 I, Habibulla Ismail Mithu, holder of Indian Passport No. Z 026492, hereby change my name Mitha Habibullah Ismail to Lunawada (pms) 389230. (C 3764) 6-12-2011

information SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2011



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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To Yester

Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution


5 2 3



1. An enclosed space. 4. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 9. The complete duration of something. 13. A knockout declared by the referee who judges one boxer unable to continue. 14. Of or relating to or involving an area. 15. Any of several related languages of the Celts in Ireland and Scotland. 16. Imprudently incurring risk. 18. A city in Tuscany. 19. A fabric with prominent rounded crosswise ribs. 20. At right angles to the length of a ship or airplane. 22. A crime syndicate in the United States. 24. Someone who travels about selling his wares (as on the streets or at carnivals). 26. A public promotion of some product or service. 27. The sign language used in the United States. 28. A light touch or stroke. 30. A tax on employees and employers that is used to fund the Social Security system. 38. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 40. The location of something surrounded by other things. 42. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 43. An imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children. 45. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 47. A city in east central Texas. 49. Informal terms for a (young) woman. 51. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 55. Station where transport vehicles load or unload passengers or goods. 58. (informal) Being satisfactory or in satisfactory condition. 59. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 62. Type genus of the Nepidae. 63. A doctor's degree in theology. 65. A branch of the Tai languages. 66. 10 hao equal 1 dong. 67. A cap with no brim or bill. 68. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. DOWN 1. An elongated leather strip (or or strip of similar material) for binding things together or holding something in position. 2. Jordan's port. 3. Ratio of the hypotenuse to the opposite side. 4. Unknown god. 5. Alsatian artist and poet who was cofounder of Dadaism in Zurich. 6. Do something that one considers to be below one's dignity. 7. An associate degree in applied science. 8. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 9. (medieval Europe) A person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord. 10. Manufactured in standard sizes to be shipped and assembled elsewhere. 11. Horned vipers. 12. A small Asian country high in the Himalayas between India and Tibet. 17. Australian shrubs and small trees with evergreen usually spiny leaves and dense clusters of showy flowers. 21. A metric unit of length equal to one thousandth of a meter. 23. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders.

25. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 29. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 31. One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 32. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 33. A platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it. 34. A heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically). 35. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 36. A master's degree in business. 37. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 39. The phenomenon of resistance to motion through a fluid. 41. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 44. Distant in either space or time. 46. An official or legal cancellation. 48. A telegram sent abroad. 50. A faint constellation in the polar region of the southern hemisphere and containing part of the Large Magellanic Cloud. 52. A Loloish language. 53. Panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest. 54. The state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed. 55. Informal terms for a mother. 56. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 57. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 60. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 61. (often followed by `of') A large number or amount or extent. 64. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens.

Yesterday始s Solution


Lightning end 5-game losing streak Devils frustrate Senators NEW YORK: Dominic Moore scored the tying short-handed goal with 1:57 left in regulation and then netted the only goal in the shootout to help the Tampa Bay Lightning end a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday. The Lightning ended their skid despite not having star forward Martin St Louis in the lineup for the first time in 500 games. St Louis was struck near his left eye Thursday morning by a shot taken by Moore and sustained facial and sinus fractures. Ryan Malone had gotten Tampa Bay even at 1-1 in the second period. Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov scored for the Rangers, who have dropped two straight (0-1-1) following a fivegame winning streak. PANTHERS 2, BRUINS 0 At Boston, Tomas Kopecky broke a scoreless tie with 2:32 left and Jose Theodore stopped 40 shots as Florida beat Boston and sent Tim Thomas to his first loss in 11 games. It was the second shutout of the season for Theodore. Thomas, who hadn’t lost since Oct 27, made 28 saves. Kris Versteeg added an empty-netter with 42 seconds left to clinch it. FLYERS 3, PENGUINS 2 At Philadelphia, Danny Briere, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell each scored in Philadelphia’s win over Pittsburgh. Penguins

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Thursday. Florida 2, Boston 0; New Jersey 5, Ottawa 4 (SO); Chicago 3, NY Islanders 2 (OT); Tampa Bay 3, NY Rangers 2 (SO); Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2; Nashville 4, Columbus 3 (OT); Vancouver 4, Montreal 3 (SO); Detroit 5, Phoenix 2; St. Louis 4, Anaheim 2; Calgary 3, Colorado 2; Minnesota 4, Los Angeles 2; San Jose 5, Dallas 2. (OT denotes overtime win, SO is shootout victory) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Philadelphia Pittsburgh NY Rangers New Jersey NY Islanders Boston Toronto Buffalo Ottawa Montreal Florida Washington Winnipeg Tampa Bay Carolina Chicago Detroit St. Louis Nashville Columbus Minnesota Vancouver Edmonton Calgary Colorado Phoenix San Jose Dallas Los Angeles Anaheim

W 17 16 15 14 9

L OTL GF GA 7 3 96 79 9 4 88 72 6 4 73 58 12 1 70 78 11 6 59 82 Northeast Division 17 9 1 89 56 15 10 3 89 90 14 11 2 76 74 13 12 4 90 101 11 11 7 72 76 Southeast Division 16 8 4 80 69 14 12 1 84 87 12 11 4 77 83 12 14 2 73 91 9 17 4 77 104 Western Conference Central Division 17 8 4 96 90 17 9 1 82 61 16 9 3 70 62 13 11 4 74 77 8 16 4 68 94 Northwest Division 19 7 3 75 63 17 10 1 93 70 13 12 3 79 76 13 13 2 70 80 13 15 1 77 87 Pacific Division 15 10 3 76 72 15 9 1 73 60 15 11 1 71 77 13 11 4 64 65 8 15 5 65 92

PTS 37 36 34 29 24 35 33 30 30 29

star Sidney Crosby missed the first of two games as a precaution following a collision with teammate Chris Kunitz in Monday night’s loss to Boston. The Penguins could have used him. James Neal and Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh. The Flyers built a 3-0 lead and held on a night after they rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Buffalo in overtime. BLACKHAWKS 3, ISLANDERS 2, OT At Uniondale, New York, Patrick Sharp scored his second goal of the game 1:34 into overtime to lift Chicago past the New York Islanders. Marian Hossa added a goal, and Ray Emery made 31 saves for the Blackhawks, who earned a 5-4 shootout victory against New York on Friday in Chicago. Defensemen Travis Hamonic and Steve Staios scored for the Islanders, and Al Montoya made 25 saves. DEVILS 5, SENATORS 4, SO At Newark, New Jersey, rookie Adam Henrique scored on a backhander in the fourth round of the shootout to give New Jersey a victory over Ottawa. Ottawa’s Jesse Winchester scored a short-handed goal to tie it with just 5 seconds remaining in regulation. Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the shootout for the Senators, but goalie Johan Hedberg, who replaced Martin Brodeur to start the second period, stopped David Rundblad to earn the win. After Dainius Zubrus’ goal, Matias Tedenby and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored in a span of 37 seconds to give New Jersey a 4-3 lead. Zach Parise also had a short-handed goal for the Devils. Ottawa’s Milan Michalek scored his 18th of the season in the first period. Nick Foligno also scored in the first period for Ottawa and Daniel Alfredsson scored with the advantage in the second. PREDATORS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3 At Columbus, Ohio, Sergei Kostitsyn’s redirect with 12.1 seconds left forced overtime and Colin Wilson’s one-timer 1:45 into the extra period gave Nashville a win over Columbus. The Predators trailed by two goals until Patric Hornqvist scored with 1:36 left in the third period, setting up the final frantic minute. Mike Fisher added a goal for the Predators, who had lost two in a row. Jeff Carter, Antoine Vermette and Derek Dorsett scored for Columbus, which never trailed in regulation. RED WINGS 5, COYOTES 2 At Detroit, Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler both had a goal and assist as Detroit scored five times in the first period against Phoenix. Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm also scored for Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had two assists each, and Jimmy Howard made 30 saves. The Red Wings scored on their first two shots of the game. Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal scored for Phoenix.

BLUES 4, DUCKS 2 At St Louis, TJ Oshie scored twice, defenseman Ian Cole added his first goal of the season and Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves to lead St Louis over Anaheim. St Louis won for the sixth time in eight games. The Blues have at least one point in 13 of 15 games and improved to 10-2-3 under Ken Hitchcock, who took over for Davis Payne on Nov 6. Chris Porter also scored for the Blues, who have won their last four home games against Anaheim by a combined score of 24-9. Bobby Ryan and Devante Smith-Pelly scored for the Ducks. CANUCKS 4, CANADIENS 3, SO At Montreal, Cody Hodgson scored twice, including the only shootout goal, as Vancouver overcame a three-goal deficit for a win over Montreal. Roberto Luongo, who stopped 20 shots, turned aside David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Michael Cammalleri in the tiebreaker as Vancouver won its third in a row. The Canucks, who trailed 3-0 in the second, have won eight of nine. Sami Salo drew Vancouver even at 3 with a power-play goal with 4:40 left in the third. Mason Raymond scored a shorthanded goal in the second to begin the Canucks’ comeback. It was Raymond’s first goal in three games since returning from a vertebrae compression fracture in the Stanley Cup finals. WILD 4, KINGS 2 At Los Angeles, Matt Hackett made 42 saves in his first NHL start as Minnesota set a franchise record with its sixth straight road victory, beating Los Angeles. Hackett, the 21-year-old nephew of former NHL goalie Jeff Hackett, made his debut Tuesday night at San Jose and stopped all 34 shots he faced in a relief role. He replaced Josh Harding 71 seconds into the game with a 1-0 deficit and helped the Wild pull out a 2-1 win. SHARKS 5, STARS 2 At San Jose, California, Ryane Clowe, Brad Winchester and Torrey Mitchell scored in a 6-minute span of the second period to rally San Jose past Dallas. Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn also scored for the Sharks, who had lost four of five. Mike Ribeiro and Brandon Morrow had goals for Dallas, which opened a season-high, five-game, 10-day trip with its second straight loss. FLAMES 3, AVALANCHE 2 At Calgary, Alberta, Olli Jokinen scored the go-ahead goal with 4:50 left as Calgary topped Colorado. Curtis Glencross, with a goal and an assist, and Lee Stempniak also scored for Calgary. Brendan Morrison added two assists, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves in the win. Matt Duchene and TJ Galiardi had goals for the Avalanche. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 32 shots.— AP

36 29 28 26 22 38 35 35 30 20 41 35 29 28 27 33 31 31 30 21

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

MONTREAL: Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a pad save on the puck in front of Jannik Hansen #36 of the Vancouver Canucks during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on December 8, 2011 in Montreal. — AFP


Quiros gunning for Dubai double as McIlroy slips DUBAI: Alvaro Quiros set himself up for a unique Dubai double when the reigning Desert Classic Champion opened up a four-shot lead on top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the $7.5 million Dubai World Championship. A course-record eight-under par 64, capped by a brilliant eagle on the final hole of the day, gave the popular Spaniard a two-day total of 12-under par 132. Overnight leader Peter Hanson could only follow his opening-round 64 with a sedate 72 and was four shots off the pace. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, involved in a thrilling battle for the European Tour’s Race to Dubai honour, made successive bogeys on his final two holes to drop down to tied third place at seven-under par 137 along with England’s Robert Rock. Needing to win the tournament to have any chance of becoming Europe’s new No1, McIlroy, who later revealed he was suffering from a mild case of dengue fever which caused him recent exhaustion and a skewed blood count, is now five behind the leader. The news was much better for Luke Donald, who could become the only player to win the Money List both

on the US PGA Tour and the European Tour on Sunday, as he closed with three consecutive birdies in a round of four-under par 68, which elevated him to tied 12th place on the leaderboard. The world No1 Englishman needs to finish in the top nine to win the Race to Dubai and cap what has been a brilliant season for him. But the spotlight was on Quiros, and he was intent on spoiling the party for McIlroy and Donald by denying them the pleasure of winning the tournament as well. “Luke and Rory are not the only two players in this tournament,” he said. “Obviously, they are fighting for the Race to Dubai final top position, but the rest of us are playing here to try to ruin the party and this is good - I think otherwise the competition wouldn’t be as stiff.” After holing a 20-footer eagle putt on the monstrous 620-yard, par-5 18th, Quiros said: “Hopefully there is even better golf to come. I always seem to do well in the Middle East - the weather is great for one thing and the set up of the courses really suits my game. “But this is only the half way stage and while it is a good thing for me, there is still a lot of golf to be played.” McIlroy was understandably disappointed with his

finish, but he was not giving up on his chances. “I thought I played solid and standing on the 17th tee, I wanted to pick up another shot and get to 10-under for the two rounds. That would have been perfect but it wasn’t to be,” said McIlroy, who will be visiting the doctor again today to get an opinion on whether he needs to rest and pull out of the Asian Tour season-ending championship next week. “I have given myself a bit of an uphill battle but I can make up the shots. I just have to bide my time and play as well as I can.” Donald was elated with his finish and said: “I was frustrated out there. I tried to stay as patient as I can. I tried to just go out there and enjoy it and know that it’s just a game, but it’s tough. There’s a lot at stake, and I want to do my best and obviously try to finish off what I came here to do. “But yeah, to make three birdies in a row will make the lunch taste great, and hopefully make the next two days a little easier.” “I’m going to need to be even more patient on the weekend. And I need to try and get rid of those silly mistakes. If I can go back to the kind of golf that got me here in the first place, then I should be fine.” — AFP

Players and owners approve labor deal

PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is tackled by Cleveland Browns’ Scott Paxson (bottom) and Brian Schaefering (91) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Dec 8, 2011. — AP

Steelers limp past Browns Steelers struggle in red zone NEW YORK: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger battled through the pain of an injured ankle to connect with Antonio Brown for a late touchdown and seal a 14-3 win over divisional rivals Cleveland on Thursday. The Steelers (10-3) have won eight of their last nine games to move into first place in the AFC North ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (9-3), who have swept Pittsburgh and hold the tiebreaker should the two teams finish the season with identical records. Roethlisberger left the field after his left ankle was injured late in the first half following a sack, but returned after halftime to finish with 280 passing yards. “I thought my leg was broken, honestly,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “It’s one of the most painful things I ever felt.” Pittsburgh’s William Gay made a crucial interception in the Steelers end zone to halt a Browns drive with three minutes remaining. Pittsburgh then sealed the game with a 79-yard catch and run by Brown. “We thought we were going to win it. It’s one

of those things,” said Cleveland linebacker Chris Gocong. “If four or five plays had turned out differently, we could’ve won this game.” Cleveland settled for a field goal on the opening drive of the game after a touchdown was overturned following a video review. Pittsburgh responded on the next possession when Roethlisberger found Jerricho Cotchery for an 11-yard touchdown. Early in the second quarter a Steelers drive stalled at the Cleveland 15-yard line when Hines Ward fumbled the ball, and a few minutes later Heath Miller fumbled on the Cleveland eightyard line to end another drive. Pittsburgh also failed to score despite four running attempts by Rashard Mendenhall from inside the Cleveland two-yard line and had to surrender the ball on downs early in the fourth quarter. “If we cannot get in the end zone from the two-yard line, four shots running, then we deserve to potentially lose,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. — Reuters

NEW YORK: National Basketball Association (NBA) players and owners ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, formally ending a five-month lockout and ensuring the season will start on Christmas Day. Both sides voted in favor of a 10-year-deal that will allow a shortened 66-game season to start Dec 25 with five games. Free agency and training camps opened yesterday. “I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the collective bargaining process and have reached an agreement that addresses many significant issues that were challenges to our league,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “This collective bargaining agreement will help us move toward a better business model, a more competitive league and better alignment between compensation and performance.” The NBA season was in jeopardy after talks between the two sides collapsed in June, triggering the lockout and tit-for-tat anti-trust legal action. The pre-season and first six weeks of the NBA’s regular season, in which teams normally play 82 games, were cancelled before owners and players agreed last month to a compromise deal after both sides lost millions of dollars. The players began voting on the deal Wednesday, even though some of the final details were not sorted out until just before Thursday’s vote by owners. Although the new deal was for 10 years, the league and the players’ union retained an option to opt out after six years. Under the terms of the deal, players and owners agreed to a 50-50 split of basketball related income, one of the major sticking points of the dispute. The NBA board of governors said the new revenue sharing plan would quadruple the funds previously shared among NBA teams. “The board realized that it was imperative that our revenue sharing program be improved,” Stern said. “We have found a solution that should provide our league with better competitive balance.” The sides also agreed to new tax rates and to set the salary cap for the 2011-12 season at $58 million. The maximum length of player contracts was reduced by one year to five years for a team’s own players, while salaries for new player contracts may increase by up to 7.5 per cent per year. They also reached an agreement to bolster the doping program with the introduction of offseason testing, increased penalties for violations involving performance-enhancing drugs, and blood testing for human growth hormone once a test was validated. — Reuters



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Motor racing

Grosjean to partner Raikkonen at Lotus LONDON: French driver Romain Grosjean will be Kimi Raikkonen’s team mate at Lotus next season, the former Renault Formula One team announced yesterday. The news completed the team’s race line-up and marked a return for Grosjean to the starting grid that he left at the end of 2009 after seven grand prix. It also left Russian Vitaly Petrov, who competed for the team this year along with Brazilian Bruno Senna, looking for a seat with only a few options available. “I am thrilled to be one of the team’s race drivers in 2012,” Grosjean said in a statement. “There’s a big grin on my face at the prospect of getting behind the wheel of next year’s car, and I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity.” Petrov, who had raced for the team for the past two years as Russia’s first F1 driver, had a contract for 2012 but his manager had made clear in recent days that it was not a watertight agreement. Renault boss Eric Boullier thanked Petrov and Senna for their contributions and wished them well while focusing on Grosjean’s potential. “Romain has shown a lot of maturity in the past 12 months both through his GP2 Series victory and his development as third driver with us,” he said. “We were impressed when he drove for us in the first practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil. We are confident that drafting him in to one of our driver’s seats will help us in our rebuilding process.” Grosjean raced for Renault in 2009 as a mid-season replacement for Brazilian Nelson Piquet junior and won the GP2 support series this year. Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion with Ferrari, will be making his comeback after two years in the world rally championship and brief interlude in NASCAR. “Announcing Romain as our race driver alongside Kimi is great news and will help us achieve our aims of getting back to the very top,” said Gerard Lopez, chairman of the team’s owners Genii Capital. Grosjean said he was a much more complete driver now. “I feel that my successful season in GP2 Series has helped me mature a lot,” he said. “Returning to Enstone (the team headquarters) as a race driver feels like coming home. I will not disappoint.”— Reuters

Safin becomes a Russian MP MOSCOW: Russian tennis icon Marat Safin has been elected into the lower house of the Russian Parliament - the State Duma - as a member of the ruling United Russia Party, local media reported. The 31-year-old 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open champion won the parliamentary elections in the region of Nizhny Novgorod-situated 500 kilometers from Moscow. “I thought for a long time before deciding to go into politics,” said the former world number one. “Of course I could pose in fashion commercials showing myself as a high society star but it’s definitely not my lifestyle. “Politics - it’s a completely new life. It’s a new way of thinking, new way of acting, which has no relation either to tennis or sports in general.” Reports said that US former tennis great Pete Sampras has already congratulated Russia’s new lawmaker predicting he will be the country’s future president. “In 20 years Marat (Safin) will be Russia’s president,” the ABC online quoted Sampras as saying. “He’s a clever guy, he speaks well and he’s good with people all these features are very important for a politician.” The win put Safin into an impressive list of former sports stars, who joined Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party and won a place in the parliament. Olympic champions Anton Sikharulidze (figure skater), Alina Kabaeva (rhythmic gymnast), Svetlana Zhurova (speed skater), Svetlana Khorkina (gymnast) were all working in the previous State Duma along with former heavyweight world champion Nikolai Valuev.— AFP

CHITTAGONG: Pakistan’s Muhammad Hafeez plays a shot, as Bangladeshi wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim looks on during their first test match in Chittagong, Bangladesh yesterday. — AP

Hafeez and Umar put Pakistan in command Pakistan take firm grip of opening test CHITTAGONG: Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar cracked unbeaten half-centuries to put Pakistan in command after Bangladesh crashed to 135 on the opening day of the first Test yesterday. Pakistan made a strong reply to reach 132 for no loss in their first innings at stumps, with Hafeez hitting nine fours in his 74 not out and Umar seven boundaries in his unbeaten 53. Umar gave a chance in the last over of the day bowled by leftarm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, but Shahadat Hossain failed to hold on to the ball at mid-on. Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman earlier finished with 3-9 and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal with 3-40 as Bangladesh were dismissed in just 51.2 overs after being put in to bat in Chittagong. Pacemen Aizaz Cheema and Umar Gul also gave a good account of themselves as they wrecked the hosts’ top order before finishing with two wickets each. “When we sent Bangladesh into bat after winning the toss, we had a plan to bowl them out at as low a score as possible,” said Rehman. “In the morning, the captain and the coach told us to maintain a good line and length and at the end of the day we got the result.” Bangladesh also had their shot-selection to blame for their dismal batting display against Pakistan’s pace-spin combination as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Lower-order batsman Nasir Hossain top-scored with 41 with the help of one six and seven fours before being the last man out. Debutant opener Mohammed Nazimuddin also offered some resistance as he batted more than a session for his 79-ball 31 with the help of five fours before he was caught by Hafeez in the slips off Gul. Mohammad Mahmudullah (18) was the other batsman to reach double-figures. “We didn’t play the best cricket. It’s very disappointing as our batsmen gave away their wickets cheaply,” said Bangladesh coach Stuart Law. “It’s not the lack of skill as we have got very talented players, but it might be a kind of mental block. I really can’t explain it. The wicket was not bad to bat on.” Pakistan, playing their first Test in Bangladesh in almost a decade, put the hosts in deep trouble in the morning when they took five wickets for 47 runs in the opening 23 overs. Cheema rocked Bangladesh with two quick wickets while Gul, Ajmal and Rehman each took one wicket after the tourists had won the toss and elected to field. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq opened the attack with off-spinner Hafeez, but had to rely on his fast bowlers to jolt the hosts on an easy-paced track. Hafeez gave away nine runs, including a six over long-off by opener Tamim Iqbal, in his opening three overs before being replaced by Cheema who struck with his fourth delivery. Cheema

had Tamim (nine) caught behind and then had Shahriar Nafees caught by Younis Khan at second slip for no score in his next over. Bangladesh continued to struggle against pace as they soon lost Mohammad Ashraful, caught behind off Gul after making just one run. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (four) was trapped legbefore in Ajmal’s first over, while former captain Shakib Al Hasan (eight) was caught at square-leg by Hafeez while sweeping Rehman.—AFP

SCOREBOARD CHITTAGONG: Scoreboard at the close on the opening day of the first test between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Chittagong yesterday. Bangladesh first innings Tamim Iqbal c Adnan b Aizaz Cheema 9 Nazimuddin c Hafeez b Umar Gul 31 Shahriar Nafees c Younus c Cheema 0 Mohammad Ashraful c Adnan b Umar Gul 1 Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Saeed Ajmal 4 Shakib Al Hasan c Hafeez b Abdur Rehman 8 Mahmudullah lbw b Saeed Ajmal 18 Nasir Hossain c Azhar b Abdur Rehman 41 Elias Sunny c Younus b Saeed Ajmal 2 Shahadat Hossain b Abdur Rehman 8 Rubel Hossain not out 3 Extras (lb-9, nb-1) 10 Total (all out; 51.2 overs) 135 Fall of wickets: 1-17 2-19 3-20 4-28 5-47 6-71 7-81 8-97 9-118 10-135 Bowling: Mohammad Hafeez 3-1-9-0, Umar Gul 13-5-33-2(nb1), Aizaz Cheema 11-4-35-2, Saeed Ajmal 18-5-40-3, Abdur Rehman 6.2-2-9-3 Pakistan first innings Mohammad Hafeez not out 74 Taufiq Umar not out 53 Extras (lb-3, nb-2) 5 Total (no wicket; 38 overs) 132 To bat: Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema. Bowling: (to date) Shahadat Hossain 4-1-21-0 (nb-1), Rubel Hossain 6-0-25-0 (nb-1), Mahmudullah 12-3-46-0, Shakib Al Hasan 6-2-19-0, Elias Sunny 9-2-17-0, Nasir Hossain 1-0-1-0.



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SPL Preview

Celtic have revenge in their Hearts: Cha Du-Ri GLASGOW: Celtic defender Cha Du-Ri says he is looking for revenge when his side take on Hearts this weekend as the Hoops aim to keep up the pressure on Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers. The Hoops have been in fine form of late with five league wins in a row cutting the gap with their Old Firm rivals to just four points. However, Neil Lennon’s side lost 2-0 when they last faced Hearts in October and South Korean international Cha knows the importance of keeping their winning run going as they head towards an Old Firm derby at the end of December. “We have to beat Hearts because we lost the first game against them,” Cha said. “That will give the players even more motivation and I think the first half will be very important. “We are at home too so I hope we can use that to our advantage. It is always difficult going there so we want to make it just as tough for them to come to our stadium. “In the last few games we have played very well and picked up some important points. “At the same time Rangers have dropped points so we have managed to close the gap and it makes the game at the end of the month a very big one. “But before that I hope we have enough to see out the next few games to keep this run going.” Celtic’s long injury list has been easing up recently but Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley has been ruled out of the match with Hearts after suffering an ankle injury. Glasgow rivals Rangers could open a seven point gap and heap the pressure on the

LONDON: Chelsea’s English striker Daniel Sturridge (front) vies with Valencia’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu during their UEFA Champions League group E football match at Stamford Bridge. — AFP

Chelsea draw blank over racist abuse of Sturridge LONDON: Chelsea said yesterday they had been unable to prove one of their own fans racially abused striker Daniel Sturridge during the club’s Champions League game at Genk. The London club were looking into claims Sturridge was called a “monkey” as he came on as a substitute in last month’s 1-1 draw in Belgium following a complaint from another supporter. The fan accused of racism-sat in the Cristal Arena’s exclusive 100-euro-a-seat section-was alleged to have shouted: “They are bringing on the monkeys.” But none of the 16 fans Chelsea interviewed was able to back up the accusation. “Following the UEFA match in Genk, Belgium, the club received a report from an executive club member that another supporter had used racially-discriminatory language during the match,” a Chelsea spokesman said. “This was said to have been directed at Daniel Sturridge, who came on as a substitute in the second half. “As with all such reports, the club takes such issues very seriously and has conducted a thorough and detailed investigation. “This has involved interviewing 16 supporters who, according to the seating plan, were sat in the

area of the stadium concerned. A formal statement was also taken from the complainant. “In spite of the very lengthy enquiries, the evidence did not identify conclusively any individual as being responsible for making the comments. No other witnesses reported having heard the alleged comments or anything similar. “In the absence of clear evidence, it is not possible to reach any conclusion on which to pursue the complaint further. “For these reasons, the club is unable to take any further action. “We should stress that the club welcomes the diligence of all supporters to report any behavior which is offensive and unacceptable and will always treat any such complaint seriously.” The accused fan was also alleged to have joined in the abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during the Genk game. Chelsea are still trying to identify those heard to chant “Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are” in apparent support for Blues captain John Terry, who is waiting to learn whether he faces criminal charges over claims he used a racial slur against Ferdinand in a recent west London derby. Terry denies the allegations. — AFP

Hoops if they defeat Hibernian in the early kick-off match today. The Gers got back to winning ways last weekend when they dispatched Dunfermline 2-1 at Ibrox. However, manager Ally McCoist will be without new signing Sone Aluko after a Scottish Football Association tribunal banned the winger for two games for simulation in that match. And teammate Steven Whittaker says Aluko will be a loss as they prepare to take on Hibs at Easter Road. “We’re obviously disappointed with the news about Sone, he’s been a great player for us since he has come in and looked lively,” Whittaker said. “He’s brought a spark to the team which has perhaps been missing. “He’s creative and has set up a couple of goals so we look forward to seeing more of him. “But we have players waiting on the bench to get their chance and I’m sure whoever comes in will be desperate to put in a good performance. “We’re all looking forward to the weekend. “It will not be easy against Hibs, having a new manager will give them a boost especially as it’s his first home game in charge there. “It will be a difficult one but we have done well in the past there and I hope we can keep that run going today.” Elsewhere bottom of the table Aberdeen face St Mirren at Pittodrie, Inverness Caledonian Thistle could leapfrog opponents Dundee United, Dunfermline welcome Kilmarnock and St Johnstone have the chance to close in on Motherwell in third when they take on Stuart McCall’s side at McDiarmid Park. — AFP

Egypt, Senegal get second chance to reach Olympics JOHANNESBURG: Egypt and Senegal get a second chance to secure a place at the 2012 London Olympic Games football tournament when they meet today to decide who finishes third in the CAF under-23 championship. Morocco hosts the play-off at the 45,000-capacity Marrakech Stadium as a curtain-raiser to the tournament final between the host nation and fairytale qualifiers Gabon. The Moroccans and Gabonese have already booked Olympic Games slots with mid-week victories over Egypt and Senegal respectively in sharply contrasting semi-finals. Whoever loses the CAF third-place game gets a third shot next April at competing in the quadrennial multisport showcase by facing the country finishing fourth in the Asian qualifiers. Egypt have represented Africa a record 10 times at the Olympic Games football tournament, but it is 19 years since they last appeared at a competition that permits three over-age players for the finals. The ‘Baby Pharaohs’ were unlucky 3-2 losers to Morocco in a thriller as they created a spate of chances after conceding two early goals only to be deprived by weak finishing, the woodwork and goal-line clearances. “The way we fought back gives me hope against Senegal. These boys desperately want to be in London next year and the play-off will resemble a final,” said Egypt coach and former national team star Hani Ramzy. Senegal coach Abdoulaye Sarr felt his team had been “mugged” after they conceded the only goal of a drab duel with Gabon in the

final minute of extra time. “The result was bizarre and very much against the run of play. Luckily for my boys they have two more chances to qualify for the Olympics,” said the former senior national team coach. Livewire Egypt striker Mohamed Salah will hope to score after coming close many times in four games while midfielder Kara Mbodj owes Senegal a goal having squandered their best chance of the semi-final. Rank outsiders when the inaugural eight-nation championship kicked-off 13 days ago, Gabon recovered from a narrow defeat by Egypt to hold South Africa and defeat Ivory Coast and Senegal. “We play with belief, determination and discipline and respect but never fear rivals,” stressed midfielder and captain Cedric Boussoughou, one of 17 localbased footballers in the ‘Baby Panthers’ squad. Australia 2010 World Cup coach Pim Verbeek guides Morocco, who were among the pre-tournament favorites despite a host of European clubs not releasing players the Dutchman wanted. After solitary-goal wins over Nigeria and Algeria, a tired team fell to Senegal before bouncing back against Egypt, with midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada from Spanish outfit Getafe scoring twice in an outstanding display. Morocco will compete at the Olympics for the seventh time in London while Gabon will be making a maiden appearance in the same year the small central African country co-hosts the Africa Cup of Nations with Equatorial Guinea. — AFP


DOHA: Qatari traditional dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the pan-Arab Games at the Sheikh Khalifa stadium in the Qatari capital Doha yesterday. More than 5,000 Arab athletes are participating in the Arab games from December 9 to 24. (Inset) Arabs and foreigners residing in Qatar arrive to the Sheikh Khalifa stadium to attend the opening ceremony of the pan-Arab Games in the Qatari capital yesterday. — AFP

93 officials charged in match-fixing scandal 8 Turkish clubs and 14 players indicted ISTANBUL: A Turkish court accepted an indictment yesterday charging 93 soccer officials and players, including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, with match-fixing in a case which has sent shockwaves through the league. Attention will now turn to the reaction of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and European football’s ruling body UEFA. Under sanctions so far, the TFF barred Fenerbahce from this season’s Champions League over the allegations. Istanbul prosecutor Fikret Secen said a court in the city had accepted the indictment, staterun Anatolian news agency reported. Turkish broadcasters obtained copies of the indictment and said the first hearing in the case would be on Feb 14. Thirty-one players and

officials, including Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim, have been jailed pending trial since the scandal first emerged in July. Also among the defendants is a TFF deputy chairman, Goksel Gumusdag. Olgun Peker, an ex-president of club Giresunspor, and Yildirim are accused of being gang leaders among a raft of charges ranging from match-fixing to the payment of bribes. The indictment names eight clubs, including Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Trabzonspor, who are currently in the Europa League after replacing Fenerbahce in this season’s Champions League. Fourteen players are among the defendants. TFF Chairman Mehmet Ali Aydinlar said the federation would act soon on individuals involved in the case but would

not take any action against clubs until the end of the season. “We want to reach decisions on individuals as soon as possible. But we will make our decision on clubs at the end of the season,” he told reporters. However, the course of the case has been complicated by legal reforms being carried out in the capital Ankara, where MPs are pushing through an amended law which severely cuts jail sentences for match-fixing. The reform has attracted controversy as it coincides with the investigation and amends a match-rigging law which came into effect only in April, having been pushing through parliament at the request of the soccer clubs themselves. Yesterday, President Abdullah Gul vetoed the amended legislation which reduces jail sen-

tences for individual cases of match-fixing to a maximum three years from 12 years under the original legislation. Gul argued that the reduced penalties would not constitute a sufficient deterrent and expressed concern about the public impression that the amendment of the law was designed to benefit certain individuals. Parliament is standing by its amendment and is set to send the law back to Gul unchanged, requiring him to pass the legislation. If that happens, a new indictment may have to be prepared in the match-fixing case on account of the lesser sentences. The investigation alleged manipulation in 19 matches, including Fenerbahce’s 4-3 victory over Sivasspor which won the league championship on the final day of last season. — Reuters German League Preview

Bayern seek Stuttgart statement as rivals close in BERLIN: Bayern Munich are out to reassert their authority in the Bundesliga at Stuttgart tomorrow, with three rivals poised to knock them off top spot if they falter. After hammering Werder Bremen 41 last weekend, Bayern are top by a point and need to win at mid-table Stuttgart to keep their rivals at bay with two weekends left before the winter break starts. Defending champions Borussia Dortmund are at home to strugglers Kaiserslautern tomorrow, while third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach are at bottom side Augsburg today. Both Bayern’s main rivals should pick up the points to keep the pressure on, while fourth-placed Schalke could provisionally draw level on points with the

leaders if they win at Hertha Berlin. “It’s especially important we get back to winning again immediately,” urged Munich’s Thomas Mueller ahead of the trip to Stuttgart, having sat out Bayern’s Champions League defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday with illness. Mueller and striker Mario Gomez, the league’s top scorer, are both struggling with flu, while Dutch winger Arjen Robben and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos missed the 2-0 defeat in Manchester for the same reason. Coach Jupp Heynckes is waiting on the fitness of the quartet to decide who will face a Stuttgart team who are in erratic form. Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz has been ruled out for the home side after

tearing a hip tendon. “There is no right time for an injury, but just before the winter break is particularly annoying,” said the 29-year-old on Stuttgart’s website. Bundesliga dark-horses Gladbach will be without injured winger Marco Reus at Augsburg as he continues his recovery from a broken toe. The 22-year-old has scored 10 goals in 14 matches, but broke the little toe on his left foot a fortnight ago and is still not able to run without pain, forcing him to miss last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Dortmund. Augsburg are bottom of the table with 11 points from 15 games, while Gladbach are the surprise package of the Bundesliga this season, having become title con-

tenders despite only narrowly avoiding relegation in May. Dortmund will be without Captain Sebastian Kehl at Kaiserslautern after he took a heavy kick in the face during Tuesday’s 3-2 Champions League defeat at home to Marseille, which left him in hospital. Although the defensive midfielder did not break any bones, he admitted his bruised face made it look like he had “been in a fight against both of the (world champion) Klitschko brothers at the same time”. Kehl is the third key player Dortmund have lost to a facial injury in the last four weeks, after defender Neven Subotic broke a cheek bone and midfielder Sven Bender broke his jaw in two places. — AFP



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Spanish League Preview

Top two go head-to-head in crunch Clasico MADRID: Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first Clasico of the Spanish league season today with the edge in the title race, but fearful of Barca coach Pep Guardiola’s enviable record at the Bernabeu. It is now three years since Real last won the league and while they carry a three-point lead over their Catalan rivals with a game in hand, they know that the Clasicos can play a key role in the destination of the championship. While Barca have stuttered away from home this season, Real have been relentless and will be now looking for their 16th consecutive victory in all competitions, while in the league they have scored 49 goals in 14 games. Still, the statistics go out of the window when the visitors are the domestic and European champions and have already beaten Real this season in the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona have generally come out on top in direct clashes between the arch rivals since the arrival of Guardiola as coach in 2008, with the notable defeat coming in the Copa del Rey final last season. Guardiola has registered two wins and a draw at the Bernabeu when the two teams have met in the league, while including matches at Camp Nou, Barca have had five wins and a draw. Along with this, Barcelona also knocked Real out of the Champions League in the semi-finals last spring. Barca midfielder Xavi has tried to play down the importance of the game, however, by claiming that it will not be decisive in who wins the title. “Madrid look the most dangerous that they have been over the last three or four years but nothing will be definite after the game,” he said. “These matches are not directly related to the final positioning in the table but it would be an important step for us if we could beat them there.

“I would like it to be an open game, where you see the potential of the two sides, but this is not down to me. “Last season I was critical of Madrid but I think maybe this time, based on how the Super Cup went, that they will try take us on and pressure us in attack.” The game will overshadow the other top-flight action this weekend, even though Valencia will only be a point behind Barcelona if they win their match at Real Betis earlier today. Below them, Sevilla can pinch fourth place if they beat a Levante side on a downward spiral of just one win in five games. Malaga are still on target for a place in Europe

despite their inconsistency, which saw them lose to Real Sociedad last weekend, and now they are at home to Osasuna. Atletico Madrid are another side that cannot put a good run together and they face Espanyol, who boast a strong home record despite losing their last match on their own turf against Osasuna. Athletic Bilbao will be hoping to bounce back after picking up just one point from two games when they play Racing Santander at San Mames. At the other end of the table, rock bottom Real Zaragoza play host to Real Mallorca, while above them, Sporting Gijon travel to Rayo Vallecano. — AFP

This combo picture made on December 2, 2011 shows Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (center), Barcelona’s Argentinean forward Lionel Messi (right) and Barcelona’s midfielder Xavi Hernandez. Holder Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi were named on the final three-man shortlist for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Zurich on January 9. — AFP

French League Preview

Marseille, Lyon seek to harness momentum PARIS: After their headline-grabbing exploits in the Champions League, Marseille and Lyon return to league action this weekend hoping to carry their European momentum into the domestic arena. Two goals in the last five minutes gave Marseille a 3-2 win at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday that took them into the last 16 and Lyon followed suit a day later thanks to a scarcely believable 7-1 victory at Dinamo Zagreb. Having succeeded where Manchester United and Manchester City failed, both clubs will now bid to build on encouraging runs of recent form before Ligue 1’s winter break begins on December 22. Marseille’s stunning success at German champions Dortmund was their third consecutive victory in all competitions. The run, sparked by a memorable 3-0 defeat of arch rivals Paris Saint-Germain, has seen them climb to seventh in the table, but today they host an improving Bordeaux side who have lost just once in six matches. The euphoria swirling around Stade Velodrome makes it easy to forget that OM picked up just one win in their first 10 league games and Andre Ayew says they cannot allow themselves to become complacent. “We’ll close the page on the Champions League for a long period and really concentrate on the league, because we’ve come back well but we have to continue,” said the Ghanaian, who scored Marseille’s equalizer in Germany. “It’ll be difficult against Bordeaux, who are a team on a good run, but we’ll do everything to get the three points and really launch our season.” — AFP

Italian League Preview

Milan, Udinese eyeing top spot ROME: With Juventus not playing until Monday night, and only then in a tricky away fixture against Roma, AC Milan and Udinese will have an eye on top spot this weekend. The two chasers trail Juve by two points and both have the chance to take over the Serie A lead if they win their weekend games. Milan have the trickier appointment as they travel to lowly Bologna while Udinese host goal-shy Chievo. Bologna may have had a poor start to the season, already changed coaches and be down in 17th place, one above the relegation zone, but they are only one win off seventh place. And Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia says the champions cannot afford to take their opponents lightly. “It’s a game we need to interpret well because that’s the only way to allow the individual technical quality of our great players to shine through, which is what makes the difference,” he said. “There are no more simple games in Serie A but our strength is concentrating on the value of individuals and when we do that no-one can handle us.” Milan have been ruthless against so-called minnows recently, thumping both Catania and Chievo 4-0 while Parma were put to

the sword before that in a 4-1 rout. However they did show signs of weakness in their 2-2 draw at Viktoria Plzen in midweek, albeit with several first team stars rested, when they led 2-0 with a minute left but still succumbed twice in the dying moments. Yet at home they have by far the best attack, and are the only side to average more than two goals a game with 29 in 13 matches so far. Udinese’s positive start has been based on quite the opposite, a solid backline and they have the best defence having conceded less than a goal every other game. They’re also up against the team with the second worst attack in the league. It’s unlikely to be a game of many goals as between them Udinese and Chievo’s matches have involved amongst the least number of total goals in the league. Just 22 goals have been scored in Udinese’s 13 games and 26 for Chievo which compared to the 43 in Milan’s games shows the kind of tight affairs they have been involved in. Udinese may have been impressive so far, especially in their 1-0 win at Inter Milan last weekend, but inside the club they are still insisting that avoiding relegation is their only

aim. “As for our objective it’s still amassing 40 points and maybe then we might start fighting for something a little more ambitious,” said emblematic captain Antonio Di Natale, the second top scorer in Serie A-he has nine of Udinese’s 16 goals. For Di Natale, Juventus are still the favourites, not least because they are not involved in Europe. “I see Juve as having an advantage over Milan as they can work during the week without having to think about (Europe) and that’s a noteworthy advantage,” he added. In other games fourth placed Lazio travel to rock bottom Lecce hoping to keep pace with the top sides, although they may have to do without top scorer Miroslav Klose, who’s struggling with an ankle injury. At least Tommaso Rocchi has proved an able substitute having notched a brace on Monday in the 3-0 win over Novara. Struggling Inter host Fiorentina once again looking to kick-start a season what has stalled repeatedly. They also play Genoa next Tuesday in their game in hand knowing that although they are down in 16th position now, wins in these next two games would ensure they break into the top half. — AFP



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Manchester duo look to lick Euro wounds LONDON: Cross-town rivals Manchester City and Manchester United will try to return to winning ways in the Premier League following their shattering group stage exits from the Champions League. Table-toppers City lead reigning English champions United by five points. But United, at home to lowly Wolves today, can cut that gap to just two points with victory at Old Trafford ahead of City’s trip to Chelsea on Monday. While City had the consolation of beating Bayern Munich in their final Champions League match, United’s defeat by unheralded Basel will have set alarm bells ringing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. And that defeat could be made worse if the knee ligament injury suffered by central defender Nemanja Vidic in Switzerland proves as serious as first feared. United’s fans have taunted arch-rivals Liverpool for having had to compete in the Europa League-the second tier tournament which both Manchester clubs are now in after finishing third in their respective Champions League groups-and Ferguson showed little enthusiasm for a competition that is sure to drain his squad’s resources. “It’s a competition I’ve never been in with United,” he said. “It does mean one thing. Thursdays all the way through. Thursday and Sundays. That’s got to be dealt with. It’s not the best, but that’s our penalty for not qualifying.” Ferguson’s City counterpart, Roberto Mancini, did not expect the Europa League to have a big impact upon the English title race. —AFP

Today’s matches on TV English Premier League Swansea V Fulham Abu Dhabi Sport HD 8


West Brom V Wigan Abu Dhabi Sport HD 9


Norwich v Newcastle Abu Dhabi Sport HD 4


Man United v Wolves Abu Dhabi Sport HD 5


Liverpool v QPR Abu Dhabi Sport HD 3


Bolton v Aston Abu Dhabi Sport HD 5


Arsenal v Everton Abu Dhabi Sport HD 6


Italian League Siena v Genoa Aljazeera Sport +5


US Lecce v SS Lazio Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD


Palermo v AC Cesena Aljazeera Sport +8


Internazionale v Fiorentina Aljazeera Sport +1


Spanish League Levante v Sevilla Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


Real Betis v Valencia Aljazeera Sport +5 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD


Real Madrid v Barca Aljazeera Sport +3 Aljazeera Sport +9


French League Toulouse v Evian Aljazeera Sport +9


Sochaux v Saing-German Aljazeera Sport +4


Valenciennes v Montpellier Aljazeera Sport +2


Olympique v Girondins Aljazeera Sport +4


BASEL: Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic shouts out after he was injured during the Champions League Group C soccer match against Basel at the St Jakob-Park stadium in Basel. — AP

Utd’s Vidic out for the season MANCHESTER: Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is out for the season after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament in the midweek Champions League defeat by Basel, manager Alex Ferguson said yesterday. “He’s out for the season. He sees a specialist on Monday, also to map out the progress of when he has the operation. It won’t be immediate because we have got to let the swelling come down first of all,” Ferguson told a news conference. The Serbia centre-back was carried off on a stretcher during the 2-1 loss in Switzerland on Wednesday which sent United out of the Champions League at the group stage. “When you saw the replays you realised it was a bad one,” Ferguson added ahead of the Premier League match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers today (1500 GMT). The 30-yearold Vidic left the St. Jakob-Park stadium on crutches and his agent said on Thursday the defender had “suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament”. “We’ll now have to choose between Jonny

Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling (to replace Vidic),” added Ferguson. DOMINANT CHARACTER “I thought Rio (Ferdinand) had his best game of season on Wednesday. His experience will be vital. “(It) is a loss and we missed him (Vidic) in the early part of the season for five weeks with his calf injury against West Brom. “He’s such a dominant character, particularly his defending in the penalty box. That’s always a strong feature of his game.” There was better news up front where Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov could be fit for the visit of Wolves with champions United looking to close the gap on leaders Manchester City to two points before their rivals visit Chelsea on Monday. “All the rest who are injured are still out. We hope the turn of the year brings all these players back. They should be back by New Year.” Midfielder Tom Cleverley, strikers Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez and the Da Silva twins, defenders Fabio and Rafael, are all sidelined.— Reuters

Arsenal aiming to mark 125th birthday in style LONDON: Arsenal will try to celebrate their 125th birthday in style by beating Everton in a Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium today. The landmark date arrives with Arsene Wenger’s team having returned to winning form following their early season problems when the north Londoners were in the wrong half of the table. Arsenal lost to Greek side Olympiakos in midweek but had already qualified for the next round of the Champions League, while in their domestic league they are unbeaten in their last seven matches. Wenger believes the run stems from his signings before the last transfer deadline bringing more experience to the team, with his younger players responding to the changes. “We look more mature, I must say,” the Arsenal manager said. “You can feel that in the difficult moments of the game where we don’t panic and don’t give stupid goals away. That’s very pleasing.” The run of unbeaten matches has been built on the goals of captain Robin van Persie, who has scored 13 times in his last 10 appearances for the club. The Dutch forward has suffered a number of fitness problems since his

arrival from Feyenoord seven years ago, but he has been injury-free this season and has led by example. “When you see the player that arrived and the player he is today then you have to give him a lot of credit,” Wenger added. “His transformation has been exceptional,” the Frenchman, whose fifth-placed side are still 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, said. “We have all played football because we wanted to enjoy it. He is a football lover. He watches tapes and knows all about the game. “Then he wants to be on the pitch. Maybe he has been so frustrated by being out so many times that he rates what a chance it is to play for Arsenal. “He has had an outstanding season so let’s hope we can keep him fit. He has played, I think, 48 games in the calendar year. That is the most he has played. “He is talented and now he is the leader of the club. At a club like Arsenal that is not easy and he does it remarkably well.” Wenger, however, does have injury problems elsewhere as Andre Santos has an ankle complaint, joining Abou Diaby (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Carl Jenkins on

(back) Kieran Gibbs (stomach) and Bacary Sagna (ankle) on the sidelines. Everton are looking to bounce back from defeat to Stoke in their last match, which came after consecutive victories, against Bolton and Wolves. They will also be facing old boy Mikel Arteta, who moved from Goodison Park earlier this season. “Arsenal started slowly but they have got great quality in their team and it would be nice to stop them today,” said Everton midfielder Seamus Coleman. “Robin van Persie is fantastic, his finishing is brilliant and he always looks like he is going to score. “And I am sure it will be a bit weird for Mikel Arteta playing against Everton for the first time. “He was at the club so long and is loved by everyone here and it will be a big day for him, but on the day, we will be looking to get one over him.” Everton captain Phil Neville is looking forward to manager David Moyes bolstering the squad when the transfer window reopens in January, with the Toffees currently in mid-table. “I think new signings would give everyone a boost. We need a liftI think the whole club does in a way.”— AFP




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Sports Years

Steelers limp past Browns


TURIN: Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella (right) and Bologna’s Diego Perez go for the ball during their Italian Cup soccer match at the Juventus stadium in Turin. — AP

Juve edge Bologna in Italian Cup TURIN: Claudio Marchisio scored another decisive goal - this time in extra time - as Serie A leader Juventus edged Bologna 2-1 to reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals Thursday and remain unbeaten this season. In the 102nd minute, Marchisio struck an accurate, angled shot just beyond the reach of Bologna goalkeeper Federico Agliardi. Marchisio also scored a late winner in a 2-0 victory over Cesena on Sunday and he has eight goals in all competitions this season, including one for Italy. Emanuele Giaccherini put Juventus ahead in the 90th but Andrea Raggi equalized six minutes into injury time. Giaccherini intercepted a pass near midfield, dribbled by Bologna’s entire defense and found the target from a sharp angle; while Raggi scored with a header from a corner. Not having qualified for Europe this season, Juventus is keen on winning its first Italian Cup since 1995. The Bianconeri have won this competition nine times, matching Roma for the record. Juventus will play the winner between Roma and Fiorentina in the quarterfinals. The other round of 16 matchups are: Palermo vs Siena; Lazio vs Verona; Udinese vs Chievo Verona; Napoli vs Cesena; AC Milan vs Novara; and defending champion Inter Milan vs Genoa. While resting standouts Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, Juventus still dominated much of the match. Luca Marrone, Fabio Quagliarella and captain Alessandro Del Piero - playing four days after requiring eight stitches for a cut to his left temple - each produced early chances for Juventus. However, Agliardi was superb and made one difficult save after another early on. Marchisio went on for Marrone in the 79th. In the 87th, Del Piero was elbowed in the same spot he was injured on Sunday, and he walked off for a moment but then came right back on. Giaccherini had another goal in the 114th annulled for offside. — AP

Albacete upset Atletico King’s Cup: Athletic Bilbao win in Oviedo MADRID: A second-string Atletico Madrid missed a penalty and had a man sent off in a 2-1 defeat at third-tier Albacete in their King’s Cup last-32 first-leg match on Thursday. Coach Gregorio Manzano rested most of his first-choice players at Albacete’s Carlos Belmonte stadium and the fired-up home side took the lead from the penalty spot in the 31st minute after the referee ruled Alvaro Dominguez had handled the ball. Atletico had a chance to level five minutes into the second half when Juanfran was felled in the area by Albacete captain Miguel Nunez Borreguero, who was shown a straight red card. Spain Under-21 international Adrian sent his spot kick over the crossbar and Atletico’s night took a turn for the worse 10 minutes later when Dominguez was dismissed for bringing down Albacete forward Antonio Sanchez de la Calle. Home defender Zurdo whipped the resulting free kick over the wall and into the corner of the net to make it 2-0 before Adrian made the most of a defen-

sive howler to pull a goal back 20 minutes from time. Albacete, who have had a couple of stints in Spain’s top flight, have a famous majority shareholder in local hero Andres Iniesta and their shirts carry the name of the Barcelona and Spain playmaker’s family wine business. The Manchegan club will attempt to preserve their lead when they visit the Spanish capital for the second leg at the end of the month. Atletico coach Manzano said he accepted Thursday’s result and was confident the team could turn the tie around at their Calderon stadium. “Clearly because of the difference in divisions, Atleti were the favorites but Albacete began with more intensity,” Manzano told a news conference. Atletico’s La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao had a relatively easy night at third-tier Real Oviedo in Thursday’s later kickoff, winning 1-0 thanks to an 11th-minute strike from forward Oscar de Marcos, who also hit the post late on. The remaining last-32, first-leg matches are next week. —Reuters

10 Dec 2011  

Kuwait Times

10 Dec 2011  

Kuwait Times