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Kuwait National & Liberation Days

Oil price volatility in focus at energy meet Kuwait targets 4 million barrels of oil daily by 2020

Israel plans for Iran go back years JERUSALEM: For more than a decade, Israel has systematically built up its military specifically for a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. It has sent its air force on long-distance training missions, procured American-made “bunker-busting” bombs and bolstered its missile defenses. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threats to strike Iran, voiced last week during a high-profile visit to the White House, were not empty bluster. Although a unilateral Israeli attack would probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program, it appears capable, at least for now, of inflicting a serious blow. “If Israel attacks, the intention is more to send a message of determination, a political message instead of a tactical move,” said Yiftah Shapir, a former Israeli air force officer who is now a military analyst at the INSS think tank in Tel Aviv. Israel, along with the United States and other Western countries, believes Iran has taken key steps toward developing nuclear weapons. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency has cited this concern in reports, but notes its inspectors have found no direct evidence that Iran is moving toward an atomic weapon. Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: (From left) Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein, his Bahraini counterpart Abdul Hussein Mirza and his Saudi counterpart Ali Al-Nuaimi chat during a reception on the sidelines of the world’s largest energy forum which opened yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Max 31º Min 14º High Tide 03:25 & 15:06 Low Tide 08:45 & 21:44

KUWAIT: The world’s largest energy forum began meetings yesterday over oil price fluctuations and safeguarding supplies amid heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and a softening in global growth. Oil ministers and delegates from the 88-member International Energy Forum (IEF) are holding their biennial three-day gathering in Kuwait to discuss the role of the forum in tackling market volatility. Ministers will discuss “energy market fluctuations and the role of the International Energy Forum and its member states in dealing with them”, according to a statement by the organisers. They will also discuss behind closed doors “the long-term demand for energy, safeguarding supplies and drawing of appropriate policies for ensuring energy supplies,” it said. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein said the meeting is being held under “extraordinary circumstances,” citing Iran’s recent threats to block the Strait of Hormuz through which most of Gulf oil shipments are exported, and the eurozone crisis, as causes of concerns. He added Kuwait aims to boost its crude production capacity to 4 million barrels a day by 2020, up from 3 million barrels now. “ The threats regarding the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the eurozone crisis, speculators and price increases are making the situation more complex,” he said in a television interview on Sunday, according to KUNA state news agency. Iranian officials had in January warned they could close the strait if increased Western sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program halt Iranian oil exports, triggering further US security measures in the strategic transit route. But a top Kuwaiti official said yesterday that the state did not receive any requests from its customers to Continued on Page 13

Afghan outrage grows over GI’s brutal rampage

Israeli soldiers watch as a missile is launched from the Iron Dome defence system in the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva yesterday. (Inset) A wounded Palestinian youth cries as he lies in a hospital in Gaza City after an Israeli air strike yesterday. — AFP

Israel-Gaza bloodshed rages into fourth day GAZA: Israeli war planes struck at the Gaza Strip and Palestinians fired more rockets against southern Israel yesterday in a fourth day of hostilities in which 23 Palestinians have been killed. Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire appeared to be stuck over a demand by the Islamic Jihad militant group that Israel first promise not to target militant leaders for future attack. The violence also drew condemnation from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who called for restraint. The Arab League also urged the United Nations to intervene and stop the conflict. Eighteen of the Palestinians killed since fighting flared in the Hamas-controlled enclave last Friday were militants and five civilians, according to medical officials. At least 74 Palestinians, mostly

Amir fetes army officers at graduation ceremony


civilians, and eight people in Israel have been wounded. The Israeli air strikes yesterday killed two Palestinian militants and an elderly man and his daughter, the officials said. A 15-year-old Palestinian youth died in an explosion that Palestinians blamed on an Israeli missile. The Israeli military denied it had carried out a strike. Thirty-five rockets, at least 20 of them intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, were fired at Israel, wounding three people, Israeli police said. Gaza’s Hamas leadership, whose own cadres have kept out of the fighting, said on Sunday neighbouring Egypt was working to stop the violence and consulting with other militants. A Palestinian official close to the mediation told Reuters Israel had agreed to a midnight Continued on Page 13

India’s troubled Kingfisher scraps more flights


KABUL: Outrage over a murderous rampage by an American soldier who killed 16 villagers gripped Afghanistan yesterday as parliament called for a public trial and Taleban insurgents vowed revenge. The United States embassy issued fresh warnings to its citizens of possible violent protests, while the latest setback in America’s longest war threatened negotiations with the Afghan government on its exit strategy. The American walked off his base in southern Kandahar province and broke into three village homes before dawn Sunday, killing 16 people including nine children and three women - an event described by Afghan President Hamid Karzai as “unforgivable”. “We seriously demand and expect that the government of the United States punish the culprits and try them in a public trial before the people of Afghanistan,” parliament said in statement before closing for the day in protest. Condemning the killings as “brutal and inhuman”, parliament declared that “people are running out of patience over the ignorance of foreign forces”. It is the latest in a series of actions by troops that has provoked outrage in Afghanistan, and comes just weeks after the burning of Qurans at a US base sparked riots that killed 40 people and plunged ties to an all-time low. The Taleban, leading a 10-year insurgency against US-led foreign troops and the government in Kabul, threatened to take revenge against “sick-minded American savages” for those who died. Braced for the worst, the US embassy urged its citizens in Afghanistan to take extra precautions, warning against “a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days especially in eastern and southern provinces”. But there were no reports of protests by evening yesterday, and community leaders in Kandahar appeared to be trying to prevent any outbreak of violence. “The people have told us ‘we won’t resort to violence, we won’t demonstrate, but we want our government to deliver justice and bring the person responsible to justice’,” a prominent tribal elder and member of Kandahar Provincial Council told AFP. “We have promised them, the government has promised them that they will pursue this at high levels,” said Continued on Page 13

Rare imperial bowl creates a stir in China


Syrian rebels carry the dead body of a comrade to a morgue after heavy fighting with Syrian government forces in Idlib, north Syria on Sunday. (Inset) Bodies of children and adults are laid out yesterday on the floor at a makeshift morgue in Bab Al-Sebaa, a neighborhood in the restive city of Homs. — AP/AFP

Civilians massacred in Homs, hundreds flee Many victims raped, throats slit DAMASCUS: The bodies of more than 50 civilians - including 47 women and children - some with their throats slit, were found in the restive Syrian city of Homs after a “massacre” that sent families fleeing the area, activists and the opposition said yesterday. Syria’s information minister accused “terrorist gangs” of carrying out the killings in order to incite international pressure on President Bashar AlAssad’s regime. At a meeting of top diplomats of UN Security Council member states in New York, Western foreign ministers demanded that Syrian allies China and Russia stop blocking UN action to halt the bloodshed. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

said Assad had cynically launched military assaults while meeting with Annan. “How cynical that, even as Assad was receiving former (U.N) Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Syrian Army was conducting a fresh assault on Idlib and continuing its aggression in Hama, Homs, and Rastan,” she told the Security Council. Britain’s William Hague said most of the world believed the council had failed in its responsibilities to the Syrian people, while France’s Alain Juppe appealed to China and Russia to heed the conscience of the world. Russia’s Sergei Lavrov retorted that change in the Arab world “must not be achieved by Continued on Page 13

Lakers rally past Celtics in another thriller





New batch of army officers graduates

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attending the graduation ceremony of the army officers yesterday. KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, sponsored and attended the graduation ceremony of the 16th class of college army-officers and 39th class of army-officers at Ali Al-Sabah Military Academy here yesterday. The Amir was received by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Army Chief of Staff, Sheikh Khaled Jarrah Al-Sabah, Ministry of Defense Undersecretary, Jasser Al-Jasser, and other army officials. The graduation was also attended by His Highness the Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al-Saadoun, Deputy Chief of Kuwait National Guard (KNG), Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs, Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, senior officials of the state and family members of the graduates. Brig Sulaiman Al-Huwailah, Dean of the Academy, welcomed the guests and thanked His Highness the Amir for his continuous support to the Kuwaiti military. The graduation proceeded with His Highness the Amir handing awards to officers who excelled in the 16th class. —KUNA

Al-Salem appointed as chief retail banking officer at Warba Bank KUWAIT: Warba Bank announced yesterday the appointment of Adnan Salman Al-Salem as chief retail banking officer, as per the approval of the Central Bank of Kuwait. Al-Salem enjoys a significant record of experience with a unique background in the banking field. AlSalem was one of the main organizers of Warba Bank since its establishment and contributed in placing the strategy for the retail services while ensuring the application highest international standards of excellence that coincide with the Islamic Sharia principles. Al-Salem’s appointment plays a key role in supporting the Warba team to witness targeted growth and continuous development. Given his major expertise in banking starting from the thorough implementation of the bank’s strategy, to providing innovative Islamic products and services that cater to the needs of clients - Al-

Union rejects 25 percent salary increase proposal Kuwaiti workers down tools for two hours By Nawara Fattahova

Adnan Al-Salem Salem emphasizes the application of the finest standards of customer services in the local Islamic banking sector. Warba Bank, an Islamic bank established by virtue of Amiri Decree, was officially registered in the Central Bank of Kuwait’s list of Islamic banks on the 5th of April, 2010.

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti workers and employees who did not receive allowances have been demanding higher salaries, which the government promised to consider. Miffed at its apparent negligence, employees began staging a strike yesterday that lasted for two hours. The Civil Service Commission(CSC) has announced that it has approved a 25 percent increase to the basic salary. The National Union of Kuwait Workers and Employees, representing 21 organizations and unions rejected the proposal arguing that it does not meet their expectations. Yesterday, Ajmi Al-Mutlaqem, the vice president of the National Union of Kuwait Workers and Employees held a meeting with the head of

the Civil Service Commission to express its opinion on the proposed increase. “We found that a 25 percent increase fails to satisfy those who did not receive any allowances. We demand that the value of allowances granted be doubled, in which case the 25 percent would be somehow acceptable. But for those who have not received any allowances, this is a marginal increase,” he told the Kuwait Times. “These demands presented by the Union represent Kuwaiti employees who have not received any material benefits. Those benefiting from allowances receive much higher salaries. We have not set a certain percentage, and the 25 percent proposed by the Civil Service Commission should be not less than KD 50 along with doubling allowances,” he added.

“The 25 percent increase is not in tune with high cost of living. We did not intend to stage a strike and we resorted to it after the government failed to keep its promises. The employees do not want to delay work in different institutions, they have a right to receive fair salaries,” AlMutlaqem added. Kuwaiti employees in all the public sectors will down their tools, demanding a pay raise, every Sunday for two hours. “We are waiting now to see the result of the meeting and whether it will be approved and also if our comments and recommendations will be considered. The result of the meeting will decide all future course of action. The strike will then gradually be increased to four hours, and then a full day, if demands are not fulfilled,” he concluded.

Kuwait Edu 2012 exhibition starts KUWAIT: Education is the foundation of our future, said Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s Undersecretary Khaled Al-Saad as he opened Kuwait International Higher Education Exhibition (Kuwait Edu 2012) yesterday. Al-Saad inaugurated the event on behalf of Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr Nayef Falah AlHajraf, saying that this annual fair is one of the most important held in the country. Educational and academic institutions and bodies in Kuwait and abroad are participating in the event, which lasts until March 15. Evaluating higher education pro-

grams aims at coping with the latest scientific developments in developed countries, Al-Saad said. Higher education seeks scientific quality and evaluation of universities’ programs with its various majors and specialties, he added. The scientific recognition granted from the Ministry of Higher Education to a number of universities after supervising their educational quality results in highly educated graduate students, he said. Al-Saad invited everyone to attend this fair, especially high school students who can learn about the nature of academic studies.—KUNA

KUWAIT: Education Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Al-Saad inaugurating the Kuwait International Higher Education Exhibition yesterday. —Photos by Joseph Shagra



Kuwait football Association stops as KD 2 million runs out KUWAIT: Kuwait Football Association (KFA) may suspend national team activities and a number of local competitions due to a lack of funding. A KD2 million grant paid just seven months ago by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, will run out soon. Sheikh Dr. Talal Al-Fahad, KFA President, said on Sunday he bears “full responsibility” for the failure of the national team to reach the Asian qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup.

Sheikh Dr. Talal Al-Fahad announced a final match, between Qadsiya and Kazma today for H.H. the Amir Cup, at a press conference held at the Movenpick Hotel in the Free Trade Zone. “National teams and local competitions are at risk of suspension if obstacles remain in front of a new budget for KFA”, Al-Fahad said. He was referring to the suspension of the KFA budget, passed by Parliament and approved by the Cabinet, due to controversy regarding the legality of the KFA board.

Al-Fahad said he plans to ask H.H. the Amir to “support Kuwaiti athletes”, hoping at the same time for “serious efforts to protect the future of Kuwaiti football”. Kuwait lost its chance to advance to the World Cup after being beaten by South Korea last month. Apart from their victory in the Gulf Cup of Nations a couple of years ago, the national team has failed in major regional and international competitions. “I hereby announce that I take full responsibility for all national team failures

during my tenure as KFA President, and even those that happened before that”, AlFahad said, calling for both “moral and financial support” to improve Kuwait’s football sector. In other news, a member of Qadsiya Club’s under-18 team pressed attempted murder charges against a fan. The fan reportedly struck him on the head with a hard object. The injury required 13 stitches. The incident happened during a match with Al-Sahel club on Sunday in an under-

18 local league competition. Altercations broke out between the two teams. Qadsiya’s Meshan Al-Marzouq fell to the ground bleeding heavily after a fan, who jumped over the railings, threw a hard object at his face. Al-Marzouq was rushed to Adan Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. The club is expected to file a complaint against KFA for failing to provide security personnel at Fahaheel Stadium, where the match took place. —Al-Qabas

Parliament decriminalizes ‘storming’ incident Case ‘politically motivated’

KUWAIT: Lt Col Khalil Al-Amir, Kuwait Fire Services Directorate PR and Media Manager, headed a delegation that visited fire victims at the Al-Babtain and Farwaniya hospitals yesterday. The burns patients were injured when a fire broke in their Farwaniya apartment recently.—Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Energy forum gains great importance KUWAIT: Minister of Oil Hani Hussein yesterday said that the 13th International Energy Forum, to be held in Kuwait this week, gains great importance due to participation by representatives of producing and consuming countries. Minister Hussein said that Kuwait’s main priority is stabilization of global energy markets and establishing understanding between producing and consuming parties, because “confrontation would harm everyone,” in the long and short run. He affirmed that Kuwait will display its opinions during this forum with all transparency, noting that there will be a “frank and open” discussion between producers and consumers without the presence of the press in order to allow for more free space for discussions. On current oil prices, Minister Hussein said that part of the trend comes from speculations and speculators at global energy stock markets, while the other part comes from supply and demand. Also, he noted some factors contributing to the increase, such as distress in some surrounding countries, fear of closure of Hormuz Strait and economic challenges facing Europe. Furthermore, Minister Hussein said that high prices would harm both consumers and producers in general; therefore, efforts must be consolidated to prevent its increasing in the future in order to help stabilize global economy. Meanwhile, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger will deliver a speech and present the EU’s energy policy at the 13th International Energy Forum. An EU energy spokesperson said in Brussels yesterday that Oettinger will underline the EU attractiveness for investments in the energy sector, and is a large and everbetter integrated market for international suppliers of energy. He will also take the opportunity to stress the EU’s commitment to global transparent oil markets. On the sidelines of the forum, he will also have bilateral talks with with IEF Secretary General, Energy Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE. Furthermore, he will meet his counterparts from Algeria and Turkey, noted the spokesperson. Through the Forum and its associated events, IEF Ministers, their officials, energy and industry executives, and other experts will engage in a dialogue of increasing importance to global energy security. The IEF and the global energy dialogue are promoted by a permanent Secretariat of international staff based in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This year’s IEF mainly concentrates on how to meet future energy demand, energy markets and its mitigating volatility, how to achieve environmental and social sustainability and how to boost the Global Energy Dialogue. —KUNA

Strategic water reserves tapped as demand exceeds production KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) had to rely on Kuwait’s strategic reserve of desalinated water throughout February to meet public consumption. Demand exceeded production rates during most days in the past month. A senior MEW official expressed concern given the relatively moderate temperature in February, and that consumption rates usually rise during hot days of summer according to statistics during recent years. “The highest rate of consumption last month was recorded on February 9, when 364.060 imperial gallons were consumed compared to 316.752 produced the same day” said the source, who spoke anonymously because he is not authorized to release official statistics to the press. The strategic reserve of desalinated water reached 2,188.753 imperial gallons by the end of that day, the source added. The source revealed that the MEW is currently studying ways to reduce consumption levels in the upcoming months, which are expected to feature higher demands on water as the temperature increases. The level of water consumption in Kuwait reaches 500 liters per capita a day, according to official statistics released in April of last year. The global daily water consumption average ranges between 100 to 200 liters per capita. Regarding electricity consumption, the source said the highest consumption rate last month reached 5,250 megawatts, recorded on February 7. Electricity consumption levels also increase gradually as the temperature rises in Kuwait.—Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: In a highly controversial move, the head office of the National Assembly approved on Sunday a modification made to the petition filed against the incident in which the Parliament was stormed, setting free lawmakers complicit in the event that took place in November last year. The complaint was filed by the head office of the previous parliament, accusing members of the opposition of leading angry protestors to storm the Parliament’s building, assaulting police officers on duty and damaging state property. The incident took place while an anti-government rally was being held in response to public pressure demanding the former Cabinet’s resignation. On Sunday, Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun, Deputy Speaker Khalid Al-Sultan, Secretary Abdullah Al-Barghash and Rapporteur Faisal AlYahya approved a modification to drop charges related to storming the Parliament. This was based on new testimonies which state that citizens and lawmakers entered the building after guards voluntarily opened the doors. The new clause also argues that property damage inside

the building was limited, proven by the fact that sessions were held normally. In general, the new report would address the case as being politically motivated rather than a criminal act, according to sources. Head office member Marzouq Al-Ghanim repor tedly voted against the new change, while Waleed AlTabtabaei did not take part, being one of accused in the case. In other news, Popular Action Bloc(PAB) spokesman MP Musallam Al-Barrak continued his campaign against Mustafa Al-Shamali, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance saying that “the time limit he has given [to eliminate alleged corruption in the Finance Ministry] is shorter than he thinks.” Al-Barrak is widely expected to co-present a grilling motion against Al-Shamali in the near future, reported Al-Qabas. Today the debate of a grilling motion filed by MP Saleh Ashour against Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah will be held, unless the Cabinet requests that it be delayed. According to sources, the Cabinet may request

a postponement, and approve parliamentary requests to form investigation committees to probe the cash deposits case and foreign transfers scandals. This highlights topics addressed in Ashour’s grilling. Moving on to another subject, MP Faisal AlDuwaisan announced plans to submit a request to discuss “the vicious attack made by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Kuwaiti cleric Tariq Al-Suwaidan and Qatari cleric Yousuf AlQardawi against the United Arab Emirates.” The “show of solidarity to the UAE” request comes on the wake of reports quoting Dubai Police General Commander, Lieutenant General Dhahi Al-Khalfan as saying that he plans to press slander charges against Al-Suwaidan. The Kuwaiti cleric had condemned Al-Khalfan criticizing leading Muslim Brotherhood activist AlQardawi. In the meantime, several lawmakers including Abdurrahman Al-Anjari, Mubarak AlWalan and Badr Al-Daahoum criticized the government over Lebanese Energy Minister Gebran Bassil’s visit to Kuwait because his ‘supportive stance’ to the Syrian regime, reported Al-Rai.


LOCAL kuwait digest

Local Spotlight

What about individual liberty?

No one can be fooled all the time

By Dr Bader Al-Daihani


n the first week of December, we spoke about public and personal liberties issues as the major challenges that Islamic groups face after their sweeping parliamentary elections in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya for reasons mentioned in an extract from the article below: “, after the success of the Islamic powers and groups particularly the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya, the major challenge that they will face is how they will deal with issues of social democracy and particularly public and personal liberties, which they faced as political factions during the past four or five decades. Democracy is not limited to general elections only. As for issues related to economics and dealings with development, unemployment, and raising the standard of living, I do not believe the Islamic factions and groups have a different view from the capitalist views in general despite some nomenclatures and new forms that do not touch the core or content.” Some extremist Islamic powers speak out loud about being against public and personal liberties issues. This threatens the process of building civil and democratic societies that can replace previous tyrannical ones. We are certain that Arab people who suffered a lot in past decades and revolted against oppression and violation of dignity will not allow such a thing to happen regardless of the cost involved. All political and youth groups that participated in the election campaign did not mention anything about the Constitution, democracy or public freedoms. The results were anyway in favor of Islamist groups. Some members seem to be ready to start in Feb 26 statement. This was clear in the statements made by several Islamic MPs including ‘Justice’ bloc MP Bader Al-Dahoum who said that “the Justice bloc submitted the ‘decency’ draft law which bans indecent clothing. So what really is meant by decency? How can it be measured? Who decides it and based on what standards? Will it differ according to people’s views, time, place and circumstances ? Will Islamic groups and powers realize that the democracy sought by vibrant people including ours is not just about superficial procedures and ballot boxes, rather it means, among other things, pluralism and peaceful transfer of power, respecting public and personal liberties and protecting the right to differ over everything- starting with the freedom of opinion and expression all the way to the shape and style of clothes and passing thru the way of thinking. Will they, the Islamic groups, attempt to take advantage of the circumstances the relative democracy provides in order to patronize society and blow away the democratic values? The coming months will answer this. — Aljarida

By Muna Al-Fuzai

H kuwait digest

Popcorn heroes! By Nabil Al-Fadhl


e really do not know if Khaled Al-Sultan has been misled or if he is voluntarily defending the fake snobs who brag about breaking into the National Assembly. One time we hear that AlSultan intends to withdraw his complaint, then we hear that he wants to retract his testimony! Well, we know for sure that an attorney will gather new witnesses to help defend his client, but we have never heard about Parliament office or the deputy speaker’s role in providing such witnesses! We do understand that members of the majority should empathize and coordinate with each other. A crime is taking place - hiding the truth that manipulates all laws, norms and traditions with the sole aim of protecting and saving themselves, quite typical of such ‘popcorn heroes.’ However, we are closely watching such attempts. What is baffling is about Al-Sultan’s suspicious role, despite social and religious prestige! The only Salafis involved in the incident are former MPs. Is Al-Sultan trying to protect them? The incident that shocked us all was audio-visually recorded, and the fact that those ‘popcorn heroes’ kept bragging with ‘their achievement.’ This has made citizens lose trust in law and social security. Furthermore, the sluggishness of legal proceedings encouraged others to burn down electoral headquar-

ters during elections and break into satellite TV channels without fear of any punishment. This is until they received a hard blow that brought some sense back to their heads. The incident was carried out by some current MPs and groups of young people who were provoked by MPs. They have never admitted to provoking young people. However, this is no excuse for young people to go on a rampage. They will still have to face legal actions that might ruin many people’s future. The question here is: Can we punish the youth and let MPs walk freely? MPs will surely forget all about their acts and take refuge in parliamentary immunity, which is the responsibility of the parliamentary legislative committee headed by MP Waleed AlTabtabae. Ironically, he is one of the plotters! Tabtabae will surely utilize conditioning the committee’s approval of any requests to lift parliamentary immunity, volunteering with his friends to lift their own immunity. Therefore, we would like to tell Tabtabae and his friends that if the National Assembly refuses to lift your immunity, the least you can do is to resign so as to achieve justice. We can consider the words of men who take full responsibility for what they do. If you manage to cover up such a big crime, all our homes may be subject to similar raids. — Al-Watan

as the Muslim Brotherhood benefited from the Arab Spring uprising? I think they have. The Muslim Brotherhood found the golden opportunity to flourish and convince people that they will escape the misery they have been suffering for many years under dictatorship. They seem to be waging considerable power, pronouncing the final word on many issues. Let us not be fooled by appearances and assume that they have been welcomed with open arms. In fact, I think they are living the honeymoon period; it will not last very long. I believe if they keep moving along this slippery track without learning the big lesson, power will never last ! I have never been in favor of the using the term Arab Spring because the daily blood bath we witness cannot be compared to the pleasantness of the spring season. People in places like Tunisia, Egypt and now Syria are paying a heavy price to put an end to this conflict. No sane person wants to live under threat. Wars mean possible death every moment. Now think about Egypt. It managed to put an end to dictatorship but I doubt if they want to replace one tyrant with another. That is not what many youths wanted. I’m sure they were hoping for improved living conditions. The Muslim Brotherhood managed to win the election, but we should not be deceived by appearances right now. I doubt that they will be able to control the country for years at a stretch. Although many countries want more freedom and liberation from dictatorship, the outcomes have not been glamorous. Therefore, no matter how hard the Muslim Brotherhood tries to flex their muscles and dominate people, I doubt they will be able to control for too long. The Arabs have changed in the way they view the world. An example here in Kuwait is that of many who elected the Islamists to power. They are wondering if they took the wise decision because of their proposal to impose a ‘hijab’ and a dress code on all women. What happened to all their calls for development and change? Time will tell if the Brotherhood has fooled some people. But you can’t fool everyone all the time.

kuwait digest kuwait digest

How many more lives will be lost? By Shereedah Al-Mousharjy


t might be hopeless to continue talking about Kuwait’s traffic problem that causes suffering to anyone behind a steering wheel. It is the psychological aspect that concerns people the most. We become frightened at the mere thought of stepping out of the house and driving. Most people have high hopes in major traffic projects announced. Unfortunately, they are being constructed at snail’s pace. We read many official reports about projects like new bridges and tunnels, in addi-

tion to a monorail system. We only get to watch excavations on public streets for maintenance purposes which further obstruct traffic flow. While major projects can help reduce traffic problems on main roads, they still fail to solve the problem of finding parking spaces at public facilities and residential buildings for more than a million cars plying Kuwait’s streets. Radical solutions should be taken to eliminate vehicles that are over ten or fifteen years old, as well as establishing public transportation means. Kuwait should also raise oil prices which will veer people toward public transportation. I believe it is safe to say that measures should be taken against reckless drivers who are no longer deterred by fines. If drivers are imprisoned for committing serious traffic violations, they might realize the gravity of the crime they committed! A senior official at the state’s traffic department once told me that overflowing vehicles in Kuwait’s streets reached extreme levels, nearing breaking point. “Once it reaches its limit, serious psychological and social problems will be created, in addition to persistent traffic crises,” he added. I believe that we already are suffering psychological and social problems as a result of the traffic problem. If building a new bridge takes so much time starting from the tender phase to the beginning of construction, imagine how long it would take for infrastructure-related projects for Kuwait’s roads network to become a reality? More importantly, how many lives will be lost until that happens? — Al-Rai

Actions speak louder than words By Dr Waleed Al-Falah


f you want one year of prosperity, grow grains. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people” - Chinese proverb. Three years ago, a friend asked me about the reason behind my over enthusiasm at the government’s development plan, even before it was passed back then. This was unusual at the time, with many people believing that the plan was likely to remain unfulfilled akin to the fate of many other developmental projects. My answer was very clear: the plan was going to expose its inherent efficiency. If successful, it would turn out to be great for the country. In case of failure, the plan’s flaws would be exposed - these can be resolved with time. So it is basically a win-win situation for people, regardless of the result. That would have been true, had the government adopted strategic planning. We see little action to prove that the government has taken concrete measures to execute developmental projects. Strategic planning starts with identifying what needs to be achieved, then a mechanism should be outlined, according to which this project can best be realized. After that, we investigate to see if we have the required abilities to execute the project; especially finances and labor force. If yes, then the building process gets underway within a certain timeframe. After this project is finished, it is important to evaluate it to ensure whether or not it meets the required criteria. If it does not, modifications should be performed to correct errors. These are simple steps that each developmental project in a country goes

Strategic planning starts with identifying what needs to be achieved, then a mechanism should be outlined, according to which this project can best be realized. After that, we investigate to see if we have the required abilities to execute the project; especially finances and labor force. If yes, then the building process gets underway within a certain timeframe. through. In Kuwait , however, we hear a lot of talk but see little action. State officials make public statements on a regular basis about plans, projects and achievements while we hardly see significant accomplishments. Developmental projects can be successful if strategic planning is properly utilized. — Al-Qabas



Dismissed traffic policeman resorts to crime in Qurain Hunt on for Hawally child molester KUWAIT: A former traffic policeman was recently arrested for stealing pedestrians’ cell phones and selling them to cover his expenses. Police arrested the suspect after identifying him through the license plate number of his vehicle. The number was provided by a man who reported that a thief snatched his phone while he was walking in Qurain and then drove away. The suspect was identified as a Kuwaiti national who was dismissed from Hawally Traffic Department last year for repeated violations. The suspect admitted carrying out several similar crimes during his unemployment period to cover his expenses.

apprehend the suspect.

Child molester Police are looking to apprehend a Hawally resident, accused of sexually molesting a child living next-door in his apartment building. Investigations went under way after an Arab man reported to officers at the area police station that the suspect lured his 10-year-old son to his apartment at least five times and harassed him sexually. A case was filed for investigations before an order was made to

Suicides A housewife was found hanging inside a Khaitan apartment recently in an apparent suicide case. Police and crime scene investigators headed to the location, where an Asian man reported finding his wife’s body hanging from a rope tied to the ceiling. The body was taken to the forensic department. Investigations are underway to discover the motives behind the Asian woman’s suicide.

Sexual assault Salmiya police arrested two Kuwaiti young men accused of sexually assaulting a woman inside an apartment in the area recently. The victim, a GCC national, told police that the two suspects forced her to stop while driving in the area. Then they took her to an apartment where she was assaulted. Following their arrest, the suspects said the woman had agreed to give sexual services in exchange for money before accompanying them to the apartment. They remain in custody pending the ongoing investigation.

KES plans information technology seminar KUWAIT: Refat Al-Rashidi, Member of the board of directors and Kuwait Economic Society (KES) educational committee Chairperson, said the society shall hold an informative seminar this week. “The ideal use for Information Technology” is organized in cooperation with the Central Bureau for Information Technology and will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday 14th March at KES headquarters in northern Shuwaikh area. The seminar focuses on qualifying the ideal use for information technology in Kuwait in general and benefitting from government electronic services in particular. The seminar deals with the relationship information technology has with art, health and social culture. A number of lecturers from Kuwait University and the Ministry of Health who are specialized in those fields will participate. Lecturers include Dr. Mohammad Al-Mulla, Dr. Salah Al-Najem and Dr. Abeer Al-Bahoo.

A domestic worker was found dead inside a house in Qurain. Police launched a suicide investigation into the case. The homeowners called police after finding the body of the Asian woman hanging from the ceiling of her room via a clothesline tied as a noose. Three dead in accidents A male driver was killed in a recent traffic accident on Fahaheel Highway. Paramedics rushed to the scene with police as soon as the accident was reported. They pronounced a Kuwaiti man dead from a fatal head trauma, whereas the driver of another car involved in the crash was unharmed. An investigation was opened into the accident. A 40-year-old Pakistani man was pronounced dead at the site of a recent car crash on King Fahad Highway. An investigation is ongoing into the accident. A 33-year-old Indian citizen was killed on the Seventh Ring Road, where he was ran over by a truck. The victim’s body was taken to the coroner by criminal investigators after paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. A case was filed for investigations.

Residency violators Sixty one Asian nationals reported missing or found in violation of residency regulations were arrested during a recent crackdown carried out by security forces in Fahaheel, Abu Halaifa and Mahboulah. The mission also included a traffic campaign during which 53 tickets were issued. The detainees were referred to the proper authorities to be held pending deportation procedures. Teenagers held Hawally detectives are currently investigating a case involving three teenagers who violently kicked a woman out of their car in Salmiya. Patrol officers pursued a car, which they spotted droving away after briefly stopping to drop a girl off. Police were eventually forced the car to stop in Shuwaikh, before arresting three underage Kuwaiti youngsters who were inside the car. The three youths refused to cooperate during investigations. Police struggled to charge the trio as the girl involved in the case never pressed charges. The suspects remain in custody pending investigations. —Al-Rai, Al-Watan, AlQabas

Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Prize announced KUWAIT: The Steering Committee of Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Prize announced yesterday the 20112012 Kuwaiti and Arab winners in the 11th session. Saleh Al-Asoussi, committee member, expressed gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah for sponsoring the ceremony to honor the winners, due in the coming few days. Winners are Fahad Barghash Al-Jafnawi for the best informatic project (My net Koran), Ras Al-

Khaimah Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the best development project, Egypt stock market for the top commercial enterprise, the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education for the best service enterprise, the Kingdom’s public authority for technical training for the top teaching program. Yousef Al-Hajeri is the winner of the best health enterprise. The Arab Center for Electronic Research for the top cultural enterprise and Khawarezmi Company for computers for the best scientific project. — KUNA

KUWAIT: In collaboration with the British Firefighting College and with the attendance of Kuwait Fire Services Department’s Deputy Director Brig Yousif AlAnsari, KFSD held a special training course for its 20 engineers and officers. The course will be for three weeks to be followed by a fourth week abroad. — Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun



Kuwait Times photography contest By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: S.A. Labba, an entrepreneur and social worker from India, entered at least three photographs into the 2011 Kuwait Times photography contest. The photography contest was introduced to mark Kuwait’s 50th National and 20th Liberation Days. This year the same contest is open to all photographers, amateurs and professionals alike. Labba considers himself an amateur photo hobbyist. In fact his photographs were chosen among the 100 special images which were equally rated ‘best’ and deserving special recognition. As a token of appreciation, the 100 selected photographs were put on display in the Kuwait Times lobby. The photographers were invited for a special dinner treat in a five star hotel. Labba was not just amused, but he gratefully appreciated the Kuwait Times gesture of goodwill. “Even though my photos did not reach my expectations, the token of gratitude by the Kuwait Times to invite us to a special dinner was quite a wonderful gift. My efforts were worth it,� he said. “Many of us will try again this year and it could be our moment to take home the prize,� he added. Labba’s photographs submitted last year were mostly about the national celebration last year. He entered three snaps which he mixed with the images of old and new Kuwait, plus the images he captured during the celebration. “Last year was an amazing year for photographers in Kuwait; a celebration filled with beauty and pride. Colors were flying all over Kuwait and you felt the sense of national pride. The mood was festive and you saw photographers feasting in every corner capturing every moment: night shot, the sky, the beautiful colors. There is something in the night that gives real magic and entertainment to one’s eyes,� he reminisced. Labba is fond of taking photos at any moment. He wants it natu-

ral. He does it when necessary. “Photographs amaze me a lot. I am basically addicted to taking photos,� he enthused. Labba started taking photos back in 1982 when he got his first Nikkon semi-professional camera. From then on, he never went out without it. “Whatever events come my way, I will capture them.

photos undeniably admirable so I tried entering them in some photo contests. I got some positive feedback, just like the photos I entered into the Kuwait Times competition,� he added. Now, Labba’s hobby is photography. Whenever he gets time, he drives to any location in Kuwait and takes some photographs. He

KUWAIT: S.A. Labba with one of his photos. I started collecting photos from 1982. Photos that give satisfaction and pleasure to my eyes. My first camera had to be loaded with film. If you don’t have it, you’ll never have a photo. You have to visit a photo developing shop to see your photos. Then eventually, I got a professional Nikkon. I found some of my

likes natural views, natural landscapes, a festival mood. “I want something normal, something natural and something that cannot be copied by anybody. I want the natural mood to appear in my photos,� he said. This year, Labba is preparing 10 photographs of the recent celebrations and photographs of old

Kuwait. “Most are in a celebratory mood, for example I captured a moment when a flag fell down and was taken by a child who kissed it. The emotional feeling attached to the flag was there, and I captured that moment. It was a once in a life time photo and I hope I will get the approval of the judges,� he anticipated. Labba is also pleased with the way Kuwait Times handles photography contests. “Kuwait Times is never biased, just as they cover local and international events. They contract respected judges from all over the world, people who have knowledge about photography, and people who are known and revered. I am particularly happy because they gave a chance and priority to amateur photographers like me.� Apart from being a social worker, 52-year-old Labba owns a general trading and contracting company in Kuwait. He is married with two grown up children. He owns an Arabic sweets and bakery business. His wife works for the Ministry of Health as a senior nurse. He is the current Chairman of the IndoArab Cultural Association, promoting Indian tourism and cultural activities of both countries. For him, photographs are important documents and files of moments worth keeping. “They will be part of history and memories of the past, a collection of moments that cannot be copied or rewound. No one can alter or change them, and no one can ever capture the same photo the way I captured it. If you capture the moment, it will be yours and part of your treasure forever,� he opined. Kuwait Times continues to receive photo entries with the theme inspired by Kuwait National and Liberation Days. The submission deadline is March 30, 2012. Kuwait Times photography contest is sponsored by Canon (Kuwait) Middle East, Al-Sayer Group, Swiss-belHotel Plaza, Caesars Travel Company, and Response Media (Events & Exhibition).

Boubyan Group participates in P2BK

Bader Dashti

KUWAIT: The Boubyan Group Company participated in the fifth annual ‘Proud to be Kuwaiti’ exhibition, concluded recently at Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishref. General Manager Bader Dashti said the group participated through various compa-

nies it operates, including the Soccer Sports Center for sportswear and equipment, Ahmadi Travel Agency, and Namey Art - a project launched by young Kuwaiti artists who scribe names in artistic ways and in multiple languages. The group’s participation,

for the second year in a row, also included the Ticket’n’all project, which is a website assisting people to buy tickets to watch European football events as well as travel tickets and accommodation at reduced prices, Dashti explained.

Kuwait’s quake aid to Japan deeply appreciated TOKYO: Kuwait’s gift of five million barrels of crude oil to help Japan recover from last March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami is highly appreciated by the Japanese people, especially by those in the disaster-stricken areas, Japanese Red Cross Society President Tadateru Konoe said. The Kuwaiti donation was the largest contribution to Japan by any country in this critical period. “I would like to extend sincere thanks to the Kuwaiti leadership and the people for their support and generosity,� Konoe said in an interview yesterday. His comment came as he welcomed the state visit to Japan by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah starting from

off soon after approval from the prefectural assemblies,� he said, adding that the three local governments, which severely suffer from weak finances following the March catastrophe, show gratitude to the Kuwaiti government for allowing them to flexibly utilize the relief money for the reconstruction projects. According to the Japanese Red Cross Society, Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, plans to spend JPY 81 billion ($982 million) in the current fiscal year for 14 projects, including support to small and medium-sized companies affected by the nuclear accident, restoration of cultural properties

TOKYO: Japanese Red Cross Society officials receiving the Kuwaiti donation. March 20. “The donated oil was already delivered to four Japanese refiners late last year. In order to implement visible assistance, we established a relief fund with money to the value of the free oil worth some $550 million,� said Konoe, who doubles as President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “The aid covers eight areas, such as infrastructure recovery and support for medical care, education, employment and agriculture, in the three hardest-hit prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima,� said Konoe. “The projects in Fukushima have begun, and the planned projects in Miyagi and Iwate will also kick

and rebuilding homes of disaster victims. Kuwait’s generous gift was sent upon directives of HH the Amir following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left more than 19,000 people dead or missing in the northeastern region. Kuwait has responded promptly and sincerely to Japan’s crisis soon after the disasters, with H.H. the Amir and a number of dignitaries dispatching letters and messages of sympathy. 5 million barrels of oil surpasses Japan’s daily consumption of 4.4 million barrels and is equal to two days of Kuwait’s production. In addition, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan

Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi and his embassy staff held a successful charity bazaar last May and donated JPY 500, 000 ($6,100), a part of the proceeds, to the Japanese Red Cross Society for the victims. The ambassador also visited northeastern city of Kesennuma last April to encourage survivors. We will remember kindness and support extended by the Kuwaiti government and people. While in Kesennuma, where it took six hours for him to reach from Tokyo, Al-Otaibi offered survivors foods, living necessities, school supplies and 240 soccer balls with two countries’ national flags painted. Meanwhile, Japanese Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano said he welcomes the upcoming visit by HH the Amir and extended heartfelt thanks to the Amir and the Kuwaiti people for unstinting support and assistance following the last March’s massive earthquake and tsunami. “From my heart, I welcome his visit, which will give new impetus to friendly relationship between the two countries,� Hirano, head of Reconstruction Agency promoting rehabilitation of the northeastern region ravaged by the March 11 catastrophe, said. HH the Amir will make a four-day state visit to Japan from March 20 to meet Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. “Kuwait has provided us with the 5 million barrels of crude oil, of which we make good use through the Japanese Red Cross Society,� said Hirano, who was born in one of the worst-afflicted areas. “ Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi visited northeastern city of Kesennuma last April to encourage survivors. We will remember kindness and support extended by the Kuwaiti government and people,� Hirano said, vowing to further boost friendly Japan-Kuwait relations. While in Kesennuma, where it took six hours for him to reach from Tokyo, Al-Otaibi offered survivors foods, living necessities, school supplies and 240 soccer balls with two countries’ national flags painted. The Kuwaiti Embassy also held a charity bazaar in May to raise funds for the disaster-affected areas, which saw a great success. “Rebuilding the disasterhit areas is Noda administration’s top priority,� Hirano stressed, pledging to speed up reconstruction efforts.—KUNA

Kuwait raises agriculture rent prices as farmers cry foul DUBAI: Kuwait could soon see meat prices rise as higher rent fees charged on agricultural properties was recently passed by legislators in the country. Government officials have attempted to allay fears that the new law will not have an impact on meat and agricultural prices, but farmers in the country told that “this is not true.� Mohamed Jawan said that “how can the two not be related. We are charged more for our properties, how are we going to make the same profit without raising the prices. It is bad for the people.� But Shakir Awadh, Public Relations Officer of the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) said this increase “is not linked to the price of produce.� The price of these plots have not been raised for more than 20 years. “The lease amount of agriculture plots are nominal amounts charged per meter annually. Pens and farms are spacious, and the increase in prices will boost state revenue. It is not fair to retain the same rent for more than 20 years,� Awadh said. He argued in the interview with the local newspaper that many other factors come into play and could cause the increase. “We found out that many of the agricultural plots are not used for the purpose for which it has been leased

out. The government has rented out these properties at nominal prices to farmers so that they can breed animals and raise produce,� he continued. “Some people have turned it into entertainment facilities. Also, everyone receives government subsidies for the produce grown when it appears in the market,� he added. Still, the Kuwait government hopes that the new legislation will help clean up the agricultural industry and crackdown on violators of regulation. Jawan said that this could have been done without sending rent prices higher. “We are not rich people, we make a decent living, but this will really hurt us in our ability to work and maintain our families,� he said. The rent increase includes different properties used for agricultural purposes under the inspection of PAAAFR. Jasim Al-Bader, Chairman and General Director of the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) issued a decree on this regard. According to its provisions, all current contracts signed between PAAAFR and tenants should be changed according to a revised price list. For Jawan, who is a renter, “this means we may have to try and by and take out a loan because in time, we won’t make it.�

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KHARTOUM: In this Saturday, March 10, 2012 photo, Sudanese men pull out drinking water from a well in Shendi 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Khartoum, Sudan. Lack of drinking water remains to be problematic in most homes in Shendi. — AP

200 dead in South Sudan clashes Fierce ethnic clashes over cattle rustling JUBA: Fierce ethnic clashes over cattle rustling killed more than 200 people in South Sudan at the weekend, and hundreds more were abducted in the troubled fledgling nation, a state governor said yesterday. The latest attacks appear to be reprisals for a wave of ethnic violence and cattle raids in the same area in January when an 8,000-strong militia razed villages and massacred people in their wake. “The people killed are around 223 while 150 are injured,”

Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang told AFP. “There are about 300 women and children who are thought to have been abducted.” Manyang said around 100,000 cows were stolen on Friday and Saturday when cattle raiders from the Murle community in Jonglei state attacked the ethnic Lou Nuer living in neighbouring Upper Nile state. M anyang said the attacks in and around Romyieri, in Nasir territory, started at dawn on Friday. There has been no independent confirmation of the death toll in a region where such numbers often var y dramatically. The area is ver y remote with few roads and no mobile network. The International Medical Corps, an aid agency in Akobo, a county in Jonglei, said it had treated 63 people evacuated after a five-hour boat journey. “The caseload includes 60 patients with gunshot wounds, as well as fractures and other minor wounds. One person died in transit to the hospital,” the IMC said in a statement yesterday. It said a medical team had seen “the bodies of people killed in the fighting.” The UN has yet to release a death toll for the January attacks by Lou Nuer youths on Murle villages, and a speedily produced figure from the commissioner of Pibor county of 3,000 dead remains unverified. A state-wide disarmament campaign to collect some 20,000 guns in Jonglei started yesterday, but Manyang said a promised buffer zone between the warring communities had “not been established” as troops still needed to set up camps and drill wells. The last wave of ethnic violence in Jonglei in December and Januar y affected an estimated 120,000 people, according to Lise Grande, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for the fledgling nation. Impoverished Jonglei has seen a dramatic escalation of bloody attacks between rival ethnic groups over cattle raids and abductions of people. UN teams are also entering areas where reprisal attacks have since taken place on Lou Nuer and Dink a tribes, with the government estimating that some 150 people have been killed in a series of revenge raids. Concerns are growing for the stability of grossly underdeveloped S outh Sudan, which declared independence last July af ter decades of war with the now rump state of Sudan. — AFP



Israel says ‘Iron Dome’ proving itself against Gaza rockets JERUSALEM: Israel says its unique “Iron Dome” short-range air defence system is performing well, intercepting the vast majority of rockets fired at southern cities in the latest barrage by Gaza militants. So far three experimental batteries have been deployed since March 2011 — around Ashkelon, Ashdod and the Negev desert capital of Beersheva, which have a combined population of more than half a million. Experts say that a total of 13 batteries are needed to give a full nationwide umbrella. By yesterday afternoon, Palestinians had fired more than 200 rockets and mortar rounds from Gaza into southern Israel since a latest

round of fighting erupted on Friday, the military said. Gaza emergency services said that at least 23 Palestinians had been killed and 73 wounded since Friday as Israeli launched 36 air strikes against the territory. Yesterday, 31 rockets headed for urban centres were targeted by Iron Dome, which scored 23 hits, the military said, a 75 percent success rate. “The system is working very well,” Brigadier General Doron Gavish briefed reporters at one of the batteries in the vicinity of Ashdod, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the Gaza border. “Rockets shot at the cities of Israel are being intercepted by the warriors who are operating the system,” said

Gavish head of Israel’s national air defences. Visiting a battery on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the system’s “impressive achievements.” “You are doing exceptional work,” he told its crew. “I take the Israeli people’s hat off to you.” The system, the first of its kind in the world, was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with the help of US funding. It is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of between four and 70 kilometres (three and 45 miles). Each battery comprises detection and tracking radar, state-of-the-art fire control software and three launchers,

each with 20 interceptor missiles, military sources said. Militants in Gaza and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia have fired thousands of rockets at Israel in the past. The first batteries were deployed facing the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, from where militants have repeatedly fired improvised rockets, prompting Israel to launch a devastating 22-day offensive into the territory in December 2008. It is later to be deployed along the Lebanese border, from where Hezbollah militants fired some 4,000 rockets into northern Israel during a 2006 war. It was that experience which prompted the development of Iron Dome. Israel believes Hezbollah now

has an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets. But a complete deployment is expected to take several years. Iron Dome joins the Arrow missile defence system in an ambitious multi-layered programme to protect Israeli cities from rockets fired from Gaza or Lebanon, or missiles fired from Iran or Syria. “It is a new tool being brought into the basket of tools... a tool we didn’t have before,” Gavish said. “We have something new in the arena that obviously plays in our favour.” The defence ministry says a third system, known as David’s Sling, is currently being developed with the aim of countering medium-range missiles. — AFP

14 killed in Iraq robbery, attacks Militants strike in a pre-dawn raid

AMMAN: A picture taken on March 8, 2012, shows Syrian refugee Mahmud Masri, a 62 year-old blacksmith, and his children at their home in Ramtha city, north of Amman. Syrian refugees in Jordan see a grim future in their homeland, saying the regime has not yet shown its “ugly face” and are bracing themselves for more bloodshed, in which thousands have already died. — AFP

US drones, Yemen army kill 9 extremists ADEN: Nine suspected Al-Qaeda militants have been killed in an artillery attack by the Yemeni army backed by US drone strikes on their strongholds in the country’s south, a local official told AFP yesterday. Three extremists were killed when US drones fired missiles late on Sunday targeting their weapons hideouts in Jabal Khanfar, a hill overlooking the Abyan town of Jaar, which is controlled by Al-Qaeda militants, the official said. A large amount of weapons seized by the militants in an attack against the army that left 185 soldiers earlier this month, were destroyed in the shelling, said the official who spoke to AFP by telephone from Jaar. Six other militants were killed when the army bombed one of their hideouts in Makhzan, southeast of Jaar, the official said, asking not to be named. Witnesses and officials said on Sunday that six US drone missiles had targeted the suspected weapons hideouts in Jabal Khanfar. Witnesses reported seeing columns of smoke billowing into the sky from the targeted locations and said that government buildings, now controlled by Al-

Qaeda fighters, had been damaged. Al-Qaeda extremists took over Zinjibar, Abyan’s provincial capital, in May, and then overran several nearby towns across the south, including Jaar. Air strikes by Yemeni and US planes on Friday and Saturday killed at least 33 suspected AlQaeda militants in Abyan and Al-Bayda provinces, south of the capital, residents and local officials said. Meanwhile in the main southern city of Aden, suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen attacked a van transporting money to the Cooperative & Agricultural Credit Bank seizing 75 million rials (347,000 dollars), a police spokeswoman told AFP. She accused Al-Qaeda militants of the robbery, adding that the extremists frequently carry out such attacks in an attempt to finance their operations. Yemen is the ancestral homeland of slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the jihadist network took advantage of a protracted anti-government uprising last year to strengthen their presence across the south and east. Washington has long made the country a major focus of its “war on terror”. — AFP

Saudis to go on hunger strike against activist detention JEDDAH: Dozens of Saudis have signed up to join a two-day hunger strike this week to protest against the detention of a prominent rights activist, a rights group said. Mohamad al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011, activists said, for supporting families demonstrating outside the Interior M inistr y in R iyadh to demand the release of detained relatives. His trial, on charges including tarnishing the reputation of the state, has been suspended as he refused to recognise the court. The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), which is promoting the hunger strike on Thursday and Friday, said 38 activists had signed up on its website so far to participate in the action. “ This weekend we will meet in a public place and strike in public, in a farmhouse in Riyadh, the Qurtuba district,” activist Mohammad al-Qahtani told Reuters yesterday. “We hope to shed light on Mohamad al-Bajadi’s case and others like him because unfortunately the state does not listen to the people, so we want to alert the international community to put pressure” on it, he said. An I nterior M inistr y

spokesman said he was not aware of the case and declined to make any further comment. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy that does not tolerate any kind of public dissent. The kingdom mostly thanks to a generous spending package announced early last year has avoided the kind of protests that rocked other Arab countries and resulted in the ouster of four heads of state. The US ally has seen sporadic protests, mainly by Shi’ite minority in the eastern par t of the k ingdom, despite a ban on marches. The kingdom has blamed foreign instigators for the protests - a reference to Iran. Independent rights groups estimate that the number of prisoners ranges between 12,000-30,000 but the Interior Ministry denies there are any political prisoners in the kingdom. The ministry said last year it was holding 5,696 people for “militant”-related cases, most of whom appeared before courts. The government-affiliated Human R ights Commission, which repor ts directly to King Abdullah, said in a statement yesterday that there are around 4,600 prisoners held in priso n s, w i t h o u t g i v i n g a ny f u r t h e r details. — Reuters

BAGHDAD: Attacks against alQaeda’s favorite targets in Iraq killed 14 people yesterday as insurgents struck security forces, a government office and jewelry stores, demonstrating a continued threat from armed groups ahead of a meeting of the Arab world’s top leaders in Baghdad. Security officials expect alQaeda to ramp up violence over the next few weeks as Iraq prepares to host the annual Arab League summit at the end of the month. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for yesterday ’s strikes, and numerous armed groups in Iraq have mixed attacks on political targets with money-making criminal operations. But Al-Qaeda in Iraq for years has been believed to fund itself in part with cash and gold stolen from jewelry stores. Militants struck first in a predawn raid yesterday in the city of Tarmiyah, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Baghdad, where police said gunmen in at least two cars attacked the local mayor’s office. Three policemen were killed, police and health officials said. The mayor was not in his office at the time. A half hour later and a few miles (kilometers) away, gunmen targeted a police patrol in a drive-by shooting. Two policemen were killed, officials said, and it was not known if the gunmen were the same group who attacked the mayor’s office. A few hours later, two carloads of robbers armed with grenades and guns killed nine people and wounded 14 in a coordinated strike on an eastern Baghdad gold market, officials said. The militants simultaneously attacked jewelr y stores and a nearby checkpoint. Baghdad officials said two policemen, two soldiers

BAGHDAD: A policeman stands guard as Mohammed Abdullah, 32, lies in a hospital bed after being injured in a coordinated strike on a gold market in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. Attacks against Al-Qaeda’s favorite targets in Iraq killed several people yesterday as insurgents struck security forces, a government office and jewelry stores, demonstrating a continued threat from armed groups as the country prepares to host a meeting of the Arab world’s top leaders. — AP and two goldsmiths were among the dead at the small market in the Shiite neighborhood of Ur. “At first we heard shootings from the other side of the market, near the police checkpoint,” said eyewitness Maitham Moussa, 30, who owns of a dairy shop about 50 yards (meters) from the jewelry stores. “Then we heard shootings very close to us. When the women started to yell, they started to open fire into the air and set off sound bombs.” He said people fled the area and huddled together in a nearby alley to escape the siege. “I saw a woman was lying on the ground with a toddler,” Moussa said.

“ There was blood near the woman, but I’m not sure if she was injured or if was the baby’s blood.” A police officer said the gunmen stole gold and cash after the late-morning heist, which the insurgents pulled off despite a gunfight with nearby security forces. Iraqi Army Gen. Hassan alBaydhani of Baghdad’s military command said one of the gunmen was arrested but the rest escaped. A doctor in a nearby Baghdad hospital confirmed the police casualty figures. They all spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information. Al-Baydhani put the

Israel, settlers agree to disband illegal outpost

GAZA STRIP: Wounded Palestinian children receive medical atttention at a hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, following an Israeli air raid. Israeli war planes carried out new air strikes on Gaza overnight, wounding 35, after Israel’s premier vowed no let-up against rocket-firing militants. —AFP

Emirati faces charges after tweeting ‘incitement’ DUBAI: A UAE prosecutor has referred to a security court an Emirati man arrested in Dubai last week on charges of “incitement” and attempts to undermine national security, the WAM news agency reported yesterday. Saleh al-Dhafairi was arrested in Dubai on March 6th and was accused by the government of “incitement

through writing or verbally spreading ideas that damage national unity or social peace,” af ter comments he posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Dubai’s general prosecutor decided to refer the case to the federal security court because Dhafairi’s action “endangered the interests... and securit y ” of the United Arab Emirates, the official WAM news

number of dead at six. Conflicting casualty totals are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks in Iraq. Although violence has dropped significantly since the sectarian fighting that brought Iraq to the edge of civil war just five years ago, deadly attacks still happen almost every day. US officials as recently as September said jewelry robberies were a main source of funding for Al-Qaeda in Iraq as it grapples with dwindling financial support. The Sunni militant movement also frequently targets officials of the Shiite-led government in a campaign to undermine confidence in its authority. — AP

agenc y said. Al-Dhafairi is also accused of “using religion to... incite” action against the state, the agency added. The securit y cour t, also known as the Federal High Cour t, which rules on cases which involve state security issues, will decide if AlDhafairi should stand trial. The UAE, a federation of seven emirates led by oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has not seen any

popular protests calling for reform like those that have swept other Arab countries, including Gulf states Bahrain and Oman. But in November, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan pardoned five Emirati I nternet activists, jailed for up to three years on charges including insulting the Gulf state’s leaders. — AFP

JERUSALEM: The Israeli government struck a deal Sunday to disband the biggest and oldest settler outpost in the West Bank and relocate its residents to a nearby hill, public radio said. The agreement to relocate settlers from the Migron illegal outpost was negotiated by Benny Begin, a minister without portfolio in the government, the radio said. M igron settlers will be moved to a hill two kilometres (1.2 miles) away where new homes will be built for them and the current site will be turned over to the Israeli military administration, it said. Isral’s Supreme Court had ordered the Migron outpost to be evacuated by the end of March. M igron, located nor th of Jerusalem, is built on privately owned Palestinian land. Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal and often sends security personnel to demolish them, although in recent months the government has announced its intention to retroactively legalise a number of them. More than 310,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and the number is constantly growing. Another 200,000 live in a dozen settlement neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in 1967 and annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. The international community considers all settlements in territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war are illegal, whether or not approved by its government. — AFP




Sarkozy tries to shake up race with eurosceptic turn PARIS: After an initial bid to run for re-election as self-styled saviour of the euro, Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a bid to shake up his lacklustre polling numbers with a surprise new eurosceptic stance. With barely six weeks to go before the first round of voting, and with the French leader’s Socialist opponent Francois Hollande still frontrunner for the presidency, Sarkozy struck a strident new tone in a Sunday rally. He threatened to pull France out of the Schengen open borders agreement and demanded the European Union adopt measures to fight cheap imports, warning that France might otherwise pass a unilateral “Buy French” law. “I want a Europe that protects its citizens. I no longer want this savage competition,” he declared to a cheering crowd. “I have lost none of my will to act, my will to make things change, my belief in the genius of France.” Sarkozy’s right-

wing supporters were delighted, both in the large conference hall in the Paris suburbs where his speech received an ecstatic reception, and in media interviews and on Internet message forums afterwards. But the left was quick to attack what they saw as a populist stunt. “I felt I wasn’t listening to a French president, because a French president always wants to build Europe, push it forward. This was a conservative British prime minister,” said Hollande’s campaign manager Pierre Moscovici. Moscovici said Britain had led opposition to the Schengen accords-under which most EU members agreed to abandon border controls between the states-and said Sarkozy’s threat was a “phenomenal step backwards”. From the far left, presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon scorned what he dubbed a late conversion to euroscepticism from a

leader who had hitherto demonstrated a “particular case of European servility”. Melenchon boasted that his “Left Front”, a coalition of Communist and far left socialists, had pioneered the idea of disobeying EU laws when they run contrary to French national interests. On the far right, Marine Le Pen and her National Front have gone further than Sarkozy in demanding that France quit the euro and close its borders. Thus far in the campaign, Europe has been seen as a more difficult issue for Hollande than for Sarkozy, who has received the more or less open backing of the right-wing leaders of Germany, Spain and Britain. Hollande, by contrast, has been warned that his vow to renegotiate Europe’s hard-won debt pact could see Paris isolated among its allies. But commentators in the French press said yesterday that Sarkozy’s

new tack had confused his message, and could offend France’s allies. “Yesterday he was accused by Nicolas Sarkozy of calling France’s word into question. This morning, Francois Hollande may look a very moderate reformer in the eyes of our neighbours,” wrote Herve Favre in La Voix du Nord. “So, will his conservative counterparts in London, Madrid and Berlin, who snubbed Francois Hollande because he wants to renegotiate the latest EU treaty, now in turn boycott Nicolas Sarkozy?” demanded Bruno Dive in SudOuest. A first round of voting in the presidential election will take place on April 22, followed by a run-off between the top two candidates on May 6. All recent opinion polls forecast that Hollande will win a closefought first round and then enjoy a comfortable victory against Sarkozy in the second. —AFP

BLAGNAC: French far-right Front National (FN) party’s candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen gives a press conference focused on research yesterday in Blagnac, southern France. —AFP

Kenya arrests four over deadly grenade attacks Suspect having links to Shebab, Kenyan affiliates

THE HAGUE: New Presiding judge of the Court Peter Tomka from Slovakia, center, Vice-President of the Court Bernardo Sepulveda-Amor from Mexico, left and Judge Hisashi Owada from Japan, at the start of a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, yesterday. Lawyers for Belgium are urging judges at the United Nations’ highest court to order Senegal to either prosecute former Chad dictator Hissene Habre, 69, or extradite him to face trial in Belgium for atrocities during his brutal eight-year rule. —AP

Belgium seeks world court order on ex-Chad leader THE HAGUE: Lawyers for Belgium urged the United Nations’ highest court yesterday to order Senegal to prosecute former Chad dictator Hissene Habre or extradite him for trial for allegedly masterminding atrocities during his brutal eight-year rule. Habre has lived in a luxury villa in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, since rebels ousted him 1990 and has become a symbol of Africa’s inability to try leaders from the continent accused of rights abuses. The case at the International Court of Justice is about “taking a stand against impunity in the most serious crimes in international law,” Belgian representative Paul Rietjens told judges in the wood paneled Great Hall of Justice. Belgium indicted Habre in 2005 for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture based on complaints by survivors of his regime, some of whom have Belgian citizenship, but has failed to persuade Senegal to extradite him to Brussels despite repeated requests. “These victims are entitled to see the person they accuse of these crimes brought to justice,” Rietjens said. “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Belgium accuses Senegal of breaching its obligations under the convention that says countries holding people accused of torture have a duty to either prosecute or extradite them. “Senegal has been and continues to be in breach of its obligations under the torture convention,” said lawyer Sir Michael Wood. Senegal will present its arguments starting Thursday and judges are likely to take months to reach a decision. International Court of Justice rulings are binding. Senegal’s chief representative Cheikh Tidiane Thiam said after Monday’s hearing that his country was moving as fast as it could. “Senegal is doing its best in a timeframe we consider reasonable,” he told reporters outside court. The African Union last year urged Senegal to prosecute or extradite Habre. Days later, Dakar said it would send him

back to Chad, where he has been convicted in his absence of crimes against the state and sentenced to death. That announcement caused an uproar as activists feared he would not get a fair trial at home and days later, Senegal backtracked on the threat to deport Habre. Despite repeatedly saying it wants to put Habre on trial, Senegal has dragged its feet for years, arguing it needs outside help to fund the case. After initially saying a trial would cost up to euro29 million, Senegal agreed at a donor’s conference in 2010 to a budget of euro8.6 million ($11.3 million). “Senegalese authorities have still not taken any concrete action to investigate or prosecute,” said Gerard Dive of Belgium’s federal justice service. According to a Human Rights Watch report, Habre seized power in 1982 and swiftly established a brutal dictatorship to stamp out any opposition, but was finally toppled by current Chad President Idriss Deby in 1990. A Chadian commission of inquiry concluded Habre’s regime killed and tortured tens of thousands of political opponents. “Under Habre, a wife was afraid of her husband and vice versa and they were both afraid of their children,” said lawyer Jacqueline Moudeina, who represents survivors of Habre’s regime. “Chadians were afraid of their own shadow.” Habre’s Senegal-based lawyer El Hadj Diouf has called the international court case a “new kind of judicial imperialism” and said Belgium should give Senegal the chance to try Habre. But activists say Senegal has had more than enough time and now the world court should turn over the case to Belgium. “For us, the case is ... what we would call in America a slam dunk,” said Re e d Bro d y , a Hum an R ight s W at c h activist who has long fought for justice for Habre’s victims. “Senegal has an obligation to prosecute or extradite. It has been 21 years and they have not done it.” —AP

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, speaks to Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina in Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow yesterday. —AP

NAIROBI: Kenyan police said yesterday they arrested four people over weekend grenade attacks in Nairobi that killed six people and which Kenya blames on supporters of Somali Islamist insurgents. “On the Al-Shebab threats and attacks at the Machakos bus terminus, four highly suspected criminals were arrested and are undergoing intensive interrogation,” Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi said. Six people were killed and more than 60 wounded when four hand grenades were hurled at a crowd in a bus terminus in the Kenyan capital on Saturday. The suspects, all of whom are believed to be Kenyan, three of them reportedly minors, were being interrogated by specialised police units, including anti-terrorism officers, a police source said. The Al-Qaeda allied Shebab has threatened

Kenya since it sent its troops into south Somalia in mid-October to attack bases of the insurgents, whom Nairobi accuses of a series of kidnappings and attacks on its territory. One of the men arrested had been on a police wanted list, suspected of having links to Shebab and Kenyan affiliates. Saturday’s attack was the deadliest in Nairobi since one in June 2010, not attributed to Islamists, during a public meeting against the adoption of a new constitution, in which the death toll was also six. Neither attack came close to the devastating Al-Qaeda car bombing of the US embassy in August 1998 that killed 213 people and injured 5,000. Forty-two people wounded in Saturday’s attacks were still being treated in hospital yesterday, police said. In Somalia, regional armies

are pushing against Shebab positions, with Kenyan forces in the far south, Ethiopian soldiers in the west and African Union forces in Mogadishu made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti. In retaliation, the Shebab have carried out grenade attacks and abductions in areas near the porous Kenya-Somalia border, killing and wounding several people. Last October, less than two weeks after the Kenyan army sent troops and tanks into Somalia, two grenade attacks in the space of less than 24 hours killed one person and wounded 30. The International Crisis Group said in a November report that Nairobi should cool its high hopes of defeating the Shebab, a ruthless and resilient militia fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government in lawless Somalia. —AFP

Gunmen kill three near Nigerian flashpoint city LAGOS: Gunmen shot dead three Christians in Nigeria near the flashpoint city of Jos, hours after 10 people were killed in a suicide bombing and related violence at a church, an official said yesterday. In a separate incident in the northern city of Kano, gunmen in a car opened fire early yesterday on a police station that has been the target of several attacks, wounding two officers, according to residents. The gunmen near Jos struck late Sunday in a village south of the city where ChristianMuslim tensions ran high after the church attack, state government spokesman Pam Ayuba told AFP, though the two attacks were not thought to be linked. “Unknown gunmen, in an apparent ambush late Sunday, waylaid and shot dead three people and injured three others-all Christians-in Chugwi village,” Ayuba said. Such violence has occurred repeatedly in and around Jos, located in the middle belt region of Africa’s most populous nation between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. Clashes between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups in the area have killed thousands in recent years. “We suspect that the attackers were herdsmen. They left with the handsets of those killed and called numbers on their phones to alert their (the victims’) relations that they were responsible for the killings,” he said from the scene of the attack. Ayuba, who is a native of the Christian village, said no arrests have been made. The victims included two brothers aged 25 and 30, he said. Three other people at Dogo Garba, a nearby hamlet, were wounded by the same gunmen and were taken to a nearby government hospital for treatment, he added. The shootings came hours after a suicide attack outside a Roman Catholic church in Jos killed seven people, sparking panic and reprisals in which security forces opened fire and youths clashed, leaving three others dead. It was the second suicide attack on a church in the city in two weeks, after a February 26 attack claimed by Islamist group Boko Haram killed three people and injured dozens. Government and relief officials told AFP that in addition to the 10 killed, 24 people were injured and had been taken to three government hospitals in the city. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan condemned Sunday’s bombing and reaffirmed his government’s determination “to end the spate of mindless attacks and killings”. Jos remained tense in the aftermath of the bombing amid fears of a repeat of deadly riots which followed last month’s attack. The volatile city was gradually returning to normal yesterday morning with banks and shops opening for business, residents said. No one has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing. Yesterday’s attack in Kano occurred at Mandawari police station, which has been repeatedly targeted by suspected members of Boko Haram. Boko Haram carried out its deadliest attack yet in Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city, with coordinated bombings and shootings on January 20 which killed 185 people. —AFP

BELGRADE: Serbian President Boris Tadic (3R) and widow of the assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, Ruzica Djindjic (C) flanked by Serbian officials arrive at Belgrade’s new cemetery yesterday. Hundreds of supporters paid tribute to late reformist Serbian prime minister on the anniversary of his 2003 assassination. Djindjic was the Balkan country’s first democratically elected prime minister. He is best remembered for striving to bring Serbia closer to Europe after late strongman Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in a popular uprising in October 2000. —AFP

Angola anti-government protest triggered clash LUANDA: Angolan police are investigating a weekend clash in the capital Luanda between young anti-government protesters calling for the resignation of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and pro-government supporters who confronted them. Witnesses said at least three protesters were injured when individuals dressed in plain clothes, some armed with sticks, moved in to disperse the small demonstration on Saturday by about 30 young people in the poor suburb of Cazenga. The demonstrators called for Dos Santos to quit. They also called for the removal of Susana Ingles, whose re-appointment as the head of Angola’s national elections committee in January has raised political tensions ahead of an election later this year in subSaharan Africa’s second biggest oil producer. “The National Police received complaints that two different groups were confronting each other in Cazenga and it is presumed the groups had different philosophies,” a police spokesman said, quoted by the Portuguese news agency Lusa late on Sunday. “Some support the democratically-elected state institutions and others contest the authorities,” he added, saying that the police, who arrived at the scene after the clash ended, would continue investigating the incident. Several protests were attempted last year by a budding anti-government youth movement in Angola, presenting a rare challenge to the 32-year rule of Dos Santos. Most of the protests were blocked by police and one resulted in several arrests and injuries to protesters, journalists and police officers. Opponents of the government say national elections committee chief Ingles is linked to Dos Santos’ ruling MPLA party and so cannot guarantee a free and fair vote in parliamentary elections to be held in the third

quarter of this year. The parliamentary election will be only the second in Angola since the end of a 27year civil war in 2002, and will elect the country’s president as well as lawmakers. The MPLA has defended Ingles’ re-appointment saying it was an impartial decision by the Magistrates Superior Council and that opposition parties’ criticism has been aimed at causing instability in the run up to the election. The main opposition party UNITA has threatened to organise its own protests if further appeals and talks with the ruling party about the issue are not satisfactory. Human rights organisations have long accused Dos Santos’ government of avoiding public scrutiny, repressing protest and dissent and mismanaging the country’s oil revenues. At the Cazenga protest on Saturday, the demonstrators shouted “Violence no, freedom yes!” and carried banners saying “Susana (Ingles), get out of the CNE (national elections committee)”. They dispersed after an unidentified person fired a shot in the air. Earlier, some 15 unidentified individuals in plain clothes, some wielding sticks, had moved to break up the demonstration. They appeared well organised and commanded by one of their number, witnesses said. At least one protester was caried away by colleagues with his face bloodied. Lusa said a senior member of the Bloco Democratico opposition party had also suffered injuries at the protest and was later assaulted by unidentified men outside a clinic in Luanda. The agency said police declined to comment on this. Opposition parties argue Ingles’ re-appointment violates election laws because they say she does not fit the legal requirements to head the committee as she is a lawyer and not a magistrate court judge. —Reuters



Love letters reveal Nixon’s sensitive side YORBA LINDA: Long before Richard Nixon rose to power and fell from grace, he was just another man in love. Decades before he became known to some as “Tricky Dick,” Nixon was the one penning nicknames (sweet ones) to his future bride in gushy love notes that reveal a surprisingly soft and romantic side of the man taken down by Watergate. Nixon shared the stage with Patricia Ryan in a community theater production and six of the dozens of letters they exchanged during their two-year courtship will be unveiled Friday at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum as part of an exhibit celebrating the 100th birthday of the woman Nixon playfully called his “Irish gypsy.” In Nixon’s letters, he recalls their first meeting in flowery prose, daydreams about their future together and waxes poetic about the first time his “dearest heart” agreed to take a drive with him. “Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy,” he writes in one undated letter. “Let’s go for a long ride Sunday; let’s go to the mountains weekends; let’s read books in front of fires; most of all, let’s really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours.” Eighteen years after his death, the

correspondence offers a tiny window into a fiercely private side of Nixon that almost no one ever saw and represents a love letter of sorts to fans of the 37th US president, who were infuriated when the National Archives took over the museum and overhauled it to include a detailed chronicle of Watergate. “These letters are fabulous. It’s a totally different person from the Watergate tapes that people know. President Nixon started out as an idealistic young man ready to conquer the world and with Pat Ryan he knew he could do it. There’s a lot of hope, there’s a lot of tenderness and it’s very poetic,” said Olivia Anastasiadis, supervisory museum curator. “He loved her, he was absolutely enthralled by her and that’s all he thought about.” The letters stand in stark contrast to the grim-faced leader forced to resign in 1974, disgraced. Instead, Nixon comes across as an ardent and persistent suitor in the letters, which date from 1938 to just before the couple’s marriage in June 1940. The two met while auditioning for “The Dark Tower” in the Southern California town of Whittier and dated for two years until Nixon proposed to his sweetheart on the south Orange County cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He later delivered her engage-

ment ring in a small basket overflowing with mayflowers. They were married in a small ceremony on June 21, 1940.

Nixon - raised a Quaker - uses “thee” instead of “you” to refer to his future bride, a pronoun that signals a special closeness in the Quaker tradition. He

YORBA LINDA: In this photo taken Thursday, March 8, 2012, Richard Nixon Foundation consultant Bob Bostock reads love letters exchanged between Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, in the early years of their romance and long before he became president, that are displayed at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library upcoming exhibit celebrating Pat Nixon’s 100th birthday, in Yorba Linda, California. — AP The romantic touch and chivalry that Nixon brought to his seaside proposal comes through in the letters, as well. In two of the handwritten notes,

also writes about himself in the third person, referring to himself as a “prosaic person” whose heart was nonetheless “filled with that grand

poetic music” upon knowing her. “Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know. An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire,” Nixon wrote. “Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?” A much more practical - and somewhat less impulsive - Pat Ryan replies in one short note: “In case I don’t see you before why don’t you come early Wednesday (6) - and I’ll see if I can burn a hamburger for you.” The object of Nixon’s affection was slower to come around, but eventually was just as smitten with Nixon as he was with her, said Ed Nixon, Nixon’s youngest brother, in a phone interview from his Seattle home. “She was quite an independent young lady and she was very cautious about anyone she met and if they couldn’t smile, she wouldn’t want to do too much unless she could make them smile. That captured Dick’s imagination,” the younger Nixon said. “She was challenging. She challenged me and I think she challenged Dick.” — AP

Romney’s victories leave GOP leaders unimpressed ‘It’s not going to be easy to defeat Obama’

NEW ORLEANS: In this March 1, 2012, file photo volunteers from Joplin, Mo. who traveled to New Orleans to work with a group that renovates Katrina-damaged homes, help dedicate a newly renovated home in New Orleans. The two cities devastated by recent natural disasters — Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and a killer Midwestern tornado 10 months ago — are forging an unlikely partnership that could change the way other American cities both plan for and recover from the next blow by nature’s fury. — AP

Unlikely partners unite after natural disasters NEW ORLEANS: One is a low-lying river city built on a swamp basin, a multicultural melting pot known the world over for legendary excesses, from lung-searing food to French Quarter flashers. The other lies square in the buckle of the Bible Belt, an old Tornado Alley railroad hub best known as a Route 66 stopover for everyone from RV campers to the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. With vastly different cultures and landscapes, it might seem on the surface that New Orleans and Joplin, Mo., have little in common. But as cities devastated by recent natural disasters - Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and a historic Midwestern tornado 10 months ago - the two are forging an unlikely partnership that could change the way other American cities prepare for and recover from the next unexpected blow by nature. “We both had natural disasters we didn’t ask for,” said Jerrod Hogan, a Joplin landscape surveyor. “And we both have folks in our communities who need help to get back to where things were.” Hogan is among the founders of Rebuild Joplin, a nonprofit group formed after the May 22, 2011, twister that killed 161 people and destroyed 4,000 homes, many in the southwest Missouri city’s low-income neighborhoods. The Joplin group recently returned from a 28-hour, 1,400-mile roundtrip bus

ride to New Orleans, which endured a death toll nine times as large. The visitors swung hammers and power saws, working side-by-side with a homeowner still trying to return to his Mid-City neighborhood more than six years after Katrina. Besides dealing with insurance payments that don’t fully cover repair costs, the man has been battling injuries from military service and a teenage son’s bone-marrow transplant. They surveyed a 515-unit affordable housing complex near City Park, once the gang-ridden St. Bernard public housing development before it was flooded by 10 feet of water. Now it features tree-lined sidewalks, a fitness center and swimming pool. They toured business incubators and startup office clusters where tattooed workers in shorts and sleeveless T-shirts work as graphic artists, social media entrepreneurs or freelance lawyers. But no matter who they asked across New Orleans, the Joplin contingent kept hearing the same underlying message: Don’t just rebuild, but reinvent. “The day after Katrina, everybody became an entrepreneur,” said Tim Williamson, chief executive officer of The Idea Village, a New Orleans nonprofit created several years before the August 2005 hurricane to promote innovation in local business. — AP

US university student arrested after threats WASHINGTON: A University of Maryland student was arrested and taken for psychiatric evaluation after posting threats about a shooting rampage that would “make it to the national news,” the school said. The university ’s Department of Public Safety said it made the arrest Sunday of Alexander Song, 19, after learning of the threats at the university’s campus at College Park, Maryland. “The person posting the comments stated he had thoughts of committing an act of violence at the UMCP campus on Sunday, March 11, 2012,” the statement said. “The quote on the website(s) were ‘I will be on a shooting rampage tomorrow on campus,’ ‘hopefully I kill enough people to make it to national news,’ and ‘stay away from the Mall tomorrow at 1:30.’” School police traced the messages to Song, a current

student at the Maryland campus. “University police detectives and patrol officers worked through the night to identify and apprehend Mr. Song,” the statement said. “This incident was taken extremely seriously by this agency and all efforts were put forth to bring it to a speedy and safe resolution.” After his arrest, detectives “determined that an emergency psychiatric evaluation was necessary,” the statement said. “Accordingly, Mr Song was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. Mr Song was unarmed at the time of the arrest.” Song has been charged with a misdemeanor offense of disturbing the orderly conduct of school activities and faces up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,500 if convicted. The youth has also been suspended from the school and will not be allowed on campus. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Mitt Romney’s Super Tuesday victories elicited a collective yawn from his party’s superdelegates. Since Tuesday’s voting, Romney has added only a single endorsement to his total among members of the Republican National Committee, the party leaders who automatically attend the national convention this summer. They can support any candidate they choose, so they can play an important role at the convention. Some of the undecided superdelegates say they expect the former Massachusetts governor to be the eventual nominee but, like many Republican voters, they’re not quite ready to embrace him. “Right now I am comfortable with this going a bit longer,” said Jeff Johnson, a national committee member from Minnesota. In fact, Johnson has endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and he said he was “hanging tight for now.” But, he acknowledged, “There may be a point where it seems all but impossible for him to win.” The Associated Press has polled 107 of the 117 Republican National Committee delegates. Romney has 24 endorsements, far more than any other candidate but only one more than he had the previous week. Gingrich has four endorsements and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has two unchanged from the previous week. Texas Rep. Ron Paul lost an RNC delegate, leaving him with just one. Seventy-six of the delegates said they were undecided or not ready to make a public endorsement. The latest poll was conducted Wednesday to Friday immediately after the biggest day of the election, when voters in 10 states made their choices. Romney won six of 10 Super Tuesday contests and more than twice as many delegates that day as any other candidate. But he’s having trouble connecting with the party’s conservative base, a weakness that could hurt him in Saturday’s caucuses in Kansas and Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. Many GOP activists say they worry that a long, nasty primary fight could leave the eventual nominee bruised when he takes on President Barack Obama in the fall. But most of the RNC members with the power to shorten the contest are taking a wait-andsee approach. After all, these same RNC officials adopted new rules last summer meant to lengthen the nominating process by requiring early-voting

states to award delegates proportionally, instead of winner-take-all. Henry Barbour, an RNC member from Mississippi, said a vigorous primary battle will toughen the eventual nominee for what promises to be a rough

he is the only candidate on pace to reach the magic number before the party’s national convention in August. At their current rates, Santorum and Gingrich won’t reach even half the number needed.

MOBILE: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses supporters while appearing with comedian Jeff Foxworthy at the Whistle Stop cafe yesterday in Mobile, Alabama. Alabama and Mississippi hold their primaries tomorrow. — AFP campaign against Obama. “If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you’re going to have to put on your big boy pants,” said Barbour, who first endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry but switched to Romney after Perry dropped out. James Dunn, an RNC member from Oklahoma, said, “It’s not going to be easy to defeat Obama. If they can’t handle the nomination process, their skin isn’t thick enough to handle the big race.” Dunn used to support Paul but said he now is undecided after Paul finished fourth in the Oklahoma primary. “I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do. I’m not happy with the two front-runners,” Dunn said of Romney and Santorum. “I like things about them. I dislike things about both of them.” In the overall race for delegates, Romney leads with 431, followed by Santorum with 181 and Gingrich with 107. Paul trails with 46. Romney is still a long way from the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, but

To date, Romney has won 56 percent of the delegates available in primaries and caucuses; Santorum has won 24 percent, and Gingrich has won 14 percent. The RNC has a total of 168 members - three from each state, the District of Columbia and five US territories. In some states, RNC members must support the winner of local primaries or caucuses. The AP has identified 39 states and territories in which the RNC members will be free to support any candidate they choose. That’s 117 RNC delegates who will essentially be free agents at the convention. A total of 2,286 delegates are slated to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. The RNC delegates make up only 5 percent of them. But if Romney stumbles and can’t amass enough delegates in primaries and caucuses, the RNC members would play an important role. Jeff Berman, who ran Obama’s delegate operation in 2008, said lobbying for the RNC delegates can be intense. — AP

Right-wing party leads by slim margin in Salvador polls SAN SALVADOR: A right-wing opposition party yesterday led by a slim margin in El Salvador’s general election in which the leftist government of President Mauricio Funes faced a key test of its popularity. With more than 89 percent of precincts reporting, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) was ahead with slightly over 39.7 percent of the vote. It was closely followed by the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) with 36.8 percent. A conservative coalition named GANA led by ex-president Elias Antonio Saca, a congressional ally of the FMLN, was a distant third with just 9.4 percent of the ballot. Six smaller parties also fielded candidates. If the results hold, ARENA will control 33 out of 84 congres-

sional seats, FMLN 31 and GANA 11, officials said. ARENA, which ruled El Salvador for two decades following the country’s civil war, campaigned on a tough anti-crime platform that resonated with many voters tired of rampant crime. “I voted because I want to see changes in this country-our children and grandchildren live just like us, afraid of so much violence,” Mirna de Cordova, 66, told AFP. De Cordova showed up with her husband Roberto early to vote at a polling station on the outskirts of the capital San Salvador, only to find that polls opened more than an hour behind schedule due to logistical problems. Like many voters, De Cordova said she wants to toughen laws against crime. Around 14 people are murdered every day in El Salvador, population six million, according to government figures.

While unemployment dropped during the Funes administration, young people continue to emigrate to the United States. A staggering one in three Salvadorans now lives in the United States, providing remittances of more than 3.6 billion dollars in 2011, around one sixth of gross domestic product. Funes, a political moderate with high approval ratings, has two more years as president in this tiny, densely-populated Central American nation. But his popularity does not necessarily transfer into votes for his party, the FMLN. In an improvised press conference as he voted Sunday, Funes urged voters to help him “guarantee that the changes that are taking place are strengthened, and not turned back.” The FMLN has campaigned promising social programs and job

creation in a nation with unemployment among one third of the population. ARENA has pledged a tougher tack against crime and youth gangs, or “Maras,” that now control entire neighborhoods in large cities and smaller communities, which they turn into drug-trafficking havens. Both main parties “have developed similar propaganda... without explaining how they will deliver on their promises,” said Jannet Aguilar, director of the Institute of Public Opinion at the UCA. As well as voting for lawmakers, about 4.5 million Salvadorans also elected mayors of 262 towns and cities. The biggest single prize was for mayor of the capital San Salvador, where ARENA Mayor Norman Quijano has strong support in his reelection race against the FMLN’s Schafik Handal, son of a prominent exguerrilla of the same name. — AFP


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S Korea rejects China’s claim on disputed reef SEOUL: South Korea yesterday said a submerged outcropping of rock off its southern coast was part of its “natural territory”, days after a top Chinese official reportedly laid claim to the disputed area. Ieodo-a reef about five metres (16.4 feet) underwater-lies within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of South Korea and China and for years has been a source of diplomatic strain between both nations.

President Lee Myung-Bak called the area a “natural South Korean territory by any measure”, saying it was closer to South Korea’s southernmost island of Marado than to the nearest Chinese island by about 100 kilometres. “Chinese government will know, based on common sense, that Ieodo belongs to South Korea,” Lee told reporters, adding that years of bilateral negotiations to reach agreement yielded little progress.

Lee’s comment came after Liu Cigui, the chief of China’s State Oceanic Administration, said that Ieodo was in waters under Chinese control and should be patrolled by Chinese vessels and aircraft, according to media reports. South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-Shin summoned Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xinsen yesterday to lodge a protest against Liu’s comments, ministry officials said. Beijing’s renewed claim to the area is being seen as a way

to get an upper hand in future negotiations with Seoul over maritime territory, analysts say. Lee warned any disputes in the resource-rich area-Seoul’s major sea trade route-could cause a serious setback to the country’s trade-driven economy. South Korea in 2003 tried to reinforce its control over the disputed area by building a maritime research station there despite Beijing’s opposition. — AFP

Trial defence of top Filipino judge begins Aquino sees case as key to cleaning courts

HEFEI: A squad of Chinese special police show off their skill in dealing with a hostage situation in a bus during a demonstration of their skills in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province yesterday. China will spend 111.6 billion USD on its police forces in this year, the government said as it focuses on quelling rising social unrest ahead of a 10yearly leadership change. — AFP

Rising Chinese political stars step out in parliament BEIJING: With his easy laugh, undyed hair and casual style, Hu Chunhua is not one of your average Chinese leaders, who are better known for their rigid and dull uniformity. Stepping out this week at China’s annual meeting of parliament, Inner Mongolia Communist Party boss Hu is one of the country’s rising political stars, and like other senior leaders mixing with the media this past week he has been forthcoming about challenges facing his region. Just don’t expect Hu or others like him to offer any insights on how their careers might play out. “Everyone is paying rather a lot of attention to this,” Hu told reporters, cracking a sly smile when asked about his prospects for advancement. “I will say this: I am currently the Party Secretary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. So I have to concentrate on doing my job well here,” said Hu, a relatively sprightly 48. Hu is part of the so-called “sixth generation” of potential national leaders born in the 1960s, after the generations headed by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and, if this year’s leadership transition goes as expected, Xi Jinping. Other contenders for top office at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing late this year were equally coy about their political futures. Their fates will be decided behind closed doors by top leaders, and in Party politics misstep can be as important as achievements. “For myself, speaking from my heart, I’ve never associated myself with anything specific about the 18th Congress”, Bo Xilai, the ambitious party boss of Chongqing, told a throng of reporters. Bo, 62 and a member of the “fifth generation”, has been attending the parliamentary meeting under a cloud since the apparent defection attempt in February by a senior aide. He was characteristically oblique about his career prospects. “ To greet the 18th Congress, Chongqing is now striving do well in all aspects of its work, and I think that’s the most practical thing, and other matters aren’t for us to consider.” Still, the rare interactions between these senior officials and the media at parliament over the past few years have provided a glimpse of the personalities and styles of those who could one day craft policy in the

world’s most populous nation. Zhou Qiang, the 51-year-old Party chief in the southern province of Hunan, has defined his term in office with a pledge to build the rule of law. Zhou drew a veiled distinction between the way things work in his province and the campaigns led by Bo, whose crackdown on the mafia in Chongqing with mass arrests and executions has left China’s reformminded lawyers aghast. “We want to legally fight against all crimes, including mafia-style crimes,” Zhou said, stressing the word ‘legally’. “Hunan’s social controls have been stable, and the people’s satisfaction with security has been rising as has their feeling of safety.” Economic issues have been at the front of worries of Guangdong’s Party boss Wang Yang, who has said his southern export powerhouse faces great pressures, including high inflation and rising labour and raw materials costs. Wang is seen as a frontrunner for promotion to the elite nine-member Politburo Standing Committee with the current generation of leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, due to step down next year. A main obstacle to China’s economic reforms comes from within the government itself, Wang said, playing up his hands-off governance model ahead of that leadership transition. Wang’s less-is-more governing philosophy is a key element of what some analysts have called the “Guangdong model” for China’s future development, which contrasts with the more state-driven model championed by his chief political rival, Chongqing’s Bo. Some speculate Inner Mongolia’s Hu, one of China’s youngest top politicians, is a candidate for the wider Politburo. Hu deflected any questions on his possible rise, and instead settled on an issue that concerned him most: tackling poverty. While coal-rich Inner Mongolia has boomed in recent years on the back of China’s bounding economy, income inequality has also surged, fueling widespread public discontent there, as well as in much of the rest of the country. “Our per capita GDP will likely rise to more than $10,000 this year or next. How can it be justified then that we will still have a large population of poor people? We hope to resolve this within five or 10 years.” — Reuters

MANILA: Lawyers began their defence in the corruption trial of the Philippines’ top judge yesterday, a case which President Benigno Aquino sees as key to fighting graft and attracting investors. Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona has vowed to keep his job in a court action which could weaken Aquino if it does not produce a conviction. Corona, appointed by Aquino’s predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2010, is charged with showing bias in favour of Arroyo, and other corrupt practices. Sixteen votes from the 24-member Senate of elected lawmakers who are sitting as judges are needed to remove Corona from office. Aquino can count on 14 votes so far. “If Corona is found not guilty, it will be a poor reflection on Aquino’s leadership and he will become vulnerable to attacks,” said Benito Lim, political science professor at Ateneo de Manila University. Aquino will risk losing popularity if he is seen to be far tougher on Arroyo appointees than on his own picks, said Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a security consultancy firm. “If President Aquino continues this selective approach to fighting corruption, he jeopardises legitimate prosecution of major Arroyo administration wrongdoing and being labelled by a growing percentage of the Philippines populace as simply vindictive,” it said in a recent report. Aquino has remained immensely popular with ratings over 70 percent nearly two years after a landslide election victory. His popularity has helped draw investor interest to the Philippines Its stock market, the best performer in Asia last year, is up nearly 13 percent this year as foreign inflows into stocks rose more than threefold in the first six weeks of 2012 to $351 million, overtaking net buying for all of 2009. Still, Aquino’s government continues to grapple with graft, a perennial problem in the Philippines. Were Corona to be forced out, it would give Aquino a stronger hand in his efforts to attract investors by being able to claim the judicial system has been purged of corruption. “It would help change public perception of the credibility of our courts,” said Earl Parreno, an analyst with think-tank the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms. “A more credible court means less flip-flopping in decisions affecting businesses.” Aquino’s spokeswoman, Abigail Valte, told reporters the Aquino camp is confident the senators will find Corona guilty, and he will be removed from his job. Meanwhile, gunmen have shot and seriously

wounded a reporter who is assigned to cover the Philippine president, bringing the urgency of concerns over violent attacks on journalists to Manila’s seat of power. President Benigno Aquino III, fellow journalists and media watchdogs Monday strongly condemned the attack on The Daily Tribune reporter Fernan Angeles, who was beaten and shot six times with a pistol by unidentified men near his home in suburban Pasig city in metropolitan Manila. Pasig police chief Senior Supt. Jessie Cardona said Angeles, 41, was attacked when he left his home to go to a nearby store to buy credits for his mobile phone Sunday night. He was being treated under guard in a hospital’s intensive care unit yesterday. Police were trying to hunt down possible suspects and determine the motive of the attack. His wife, Gemma Angeles, said her husband told her that his attackers were linked to a drug syndicate,

MANILA: Protesters light candles and display placards during a rally commemorating the 1st anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, which killed more than 19,000 and triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis, at the Japanese Embassy in Pasay south of Manila, Philippines yesterday. — AP

Australian faces death on Malaysia drug charges KUALA LUMPUR: An Australian man has been charged with drug trafficking in Malaysia, which carries a mandatory death penalty, his lawyer said yesterday, adding the accused claimed he was mistreated in custody. Dominic Jude Christopher Bird, 32, was charged with drug trafficking in a court on Friday, attorney Tania Scivetti said. Scivetti said she was told of the charge by the Australian High Commission, which had been informed by Malaysian authorities, and complained that neither she nor another of Bird’s lawyers were

present for the hearing. She said she had no fur ther details but added she and her colleague were to meet with Bird today. Kuala Lumpur court officials have been unable to confirm the charge to AFP. The truck driver from Perth in Western Australia was arrested March 1 in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, in possession of 225 grammes (7.9 ounces) of methamphetamine. Police have said he was arrested along with another accomplice, and that three other people were subsequently detained in relation to the case. Drug trafficking carries

“Remember Korean refugees.” Japan welcomed the report and urged North Korea to find a solution to “the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals”. Tokyo, a former coloniser of the Korean Peninsula, and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic relations and their relations are often strained, even hostile. France said “serious and massive violations of human rights” had taken place in North Korea and expressed “concern at the deteriorating human rights situation noted in the UN expert’s report including sending many people to prison for political reasons”. The EU and the United States noted concern about the report while Cuba, Zimbabwe and Syria said it was a Western attempt to undermine North Korea. The report said the human rights and humanitarian situation in North Korea has deteriorated in recent months, while adding that the leadership transition following Kim Jong-Il’s death in December was an opportunity for reform. “The current transition may be a window of opportunity for the country to adopt a reform process and address all questions and concerns in relation to human rights,” said Darusman. Kim JongUn took over as leader of the North Korean regime after his father Kim Jong-Il’s death on December 17 from a heart attack at the age of 69. —AFP

a mandator y death penalty by hanging upon conviction in Malaysia. Anyone found to be in possession of at least 50 grammes of methamphetamines is considered a trafficker. Scivetti said during a meeting with Bird last Thursday he told them he was blindfolded and slapped while in custody. An Australian High Commission official who asked that her name not be used said she could not comment on the specifics of the case but said the high commission was “concerned” that Bird’s lawyers were not present.

“The high commission is concerned about repor ts that the lawyers do not appear to have been notified of the hearings,” the official told AFP. According to Malaysian government figures early last year, some 700 prisoners, mostly men, were on death row. More than twothirds of those involved drug offences. Since 1960 more than 440 people have been executed, including two Australians whose 1986 hanging for heroin trafficking made headlines as the first Westerners executed under new tougher anti-drug laws. —AFP

Minister’s husband charged with graft

Scuffle after N Korea rejects ‘fabricated’ UN report GENEVA: A scuffle broke out yesterday in the UN Human Rights Council and a man was detained by security after a North Korean diplomat said a critical report by an independent expert had been fabricated. North Korea said it “roundly rejects this useless interpretation” which it said was “fabricated by hostile elements” and it called on the council not to renew the mandate of special rapporteur on human rights Marzuki Darusman. As North Korean delegate So Se Pyong was leaving the hall a scuffle occurred and a man was held by UN security officials before being later released. The dispute erupted when council members took note of the report by Darusman, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea. The report covers the period from September 2011 to January 2012, when it said the situation in North Korea “continued to deteriorate.” After the report was presented, North Korea took the floor, followed by repesentatives of the European Union and Japan. As the Japanese representative was about to finish his speech, the North Korean diplomat stood up to leave and the scuffle broke out. Some diplomats said South Korean parliamentarians tried to engage the North’s envoy. One of the men who was stopped by UN security shouted,

which has a presence in their working-class community. He appeared to have been suspected of leaking information about the syndicate’s operation to authorities. The Daily Tribune is a Manila daily often critical of government officials. Colleagues covering the presidential palace demanded a thorough investigation. They said they were holding Aquino to his promise to give “primacy to press freedom and protection of media practitioners in the country,” the statement from the Malacanang Press Corps said. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said police have been ordered to secure Angeles and his family. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines says 150 journalists, mostly radio commentators, have been killed since 1986 in provinces but rarely in Manila. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked the Philippines as the second-deadliest country for journalists next to Iraq.— Agencies

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Women and Family Minister Shahrizat Abdul Aziz, left, and her son, Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh, right, arrive at a courthouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. Malaysian prosecutors have charged Shahrizat’s husband with misusing nearly 50 million ringgit ($16 million) of funds meant for a government-backed cattle project. — AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors charged a minister’s husband yesterday with criminal breach of trust and embezzlement in a case that threatens to tarnish the government ahead of widely expected elections this year. Mohamad Salleh Ismail, husband of Malaysia’s Women, Families and Communities Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, is the chairman of a publicly funded cattle rearing project the political opposition said was used to pay for expensive overseas trips and luxury apartments. Mohamad Salleh could not immediately be reached for comment. An official from the attorney general’s office said Mohamad Salleh was charged with two counts of criminal breach of trust as well as two counts of misusing nearly 50 million ringgit from the 250 million ringgit ($83.07 million) project. The 64-year-old pleaded not guilty to all counts. The charges come a day after Shahrizat said she would resign as a minister on April 8. She will remain as the head of the women’s wing of Malaysia’s ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation. The ‘Cowgate’ scandal, as it has been dubbed, could be potentially damaging as the farmyard connection makes it easier for poor rural Malays, who form the bedrock of UMNO’s support, to relate to it than other financial scandals. Prime Minister Najib Razak in January froze

the assets of the National Feedlot Centre, which was supposed to make Malaysia 40 percent self-sufficient in beef production by 2010, and instructed the anti-corruption commission to investigate. Yet the slow pace of the investigations, denials of wrongdoing by Shahrizat’s family and fresh accusations appearing almost daily on the opposition-dominated news websites have threatened to overshadow Najib’s reform pledges. Najib’s approval ratings have risen to 69 percent in February from 59 percent in August after the government handed out funds to lower income households this year. The handouts come as Najib seeks to win back support from voters in polls that must be held by April 2013 but are likely to be called in the first half of 2012 before a looming global slowdown hits Malaysia. Corruption and rising income and racial inequalities saw voters abandon Najib’s National Front coalition, which UMNO dominates, in favour of the opposition that made historic gains in 2008. While three government officials have faced corruption charges in Najib’s campaign against graft since he took power in 2009, Malaysia has not done too well in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index. The southeast Asian country was ranked 60th out of the 182 nations in the index last year, down four places from 2010. — Reuters



S Lanka to censor news alerts about military, police COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry yesterday ordered news outlets to get prior approval before sending mobile phone alerts about the military or police, a move press freedom groups decried as another step towards greater censorship. In a letter hand-delivered to news outlets including Reuters, Media Center for National Security (MCNS) Director-General Lakshman Hulugalle said the new order was effective immediately. “I have been instructed to inform you that any news related to national security, security

forces, and the police should get prior approval from the MCNS before dissemination,” Hulugalle said in the letter, dated last Friday. That was the same day local news outlets reported a murder-suicide that left three soldiers dead of gunshot wounds. It also came after reports of a police officer’s arrest for soliciting a large bribe, and a botched abduction attempt blamed on soldiers. The MCNS comes under the defence ministry, and handles the public affairs function for the mili-

tary and police. Contacted by Reuters, Hulugalle denied there were any restrictions on what could be reported. “But we want to know what’s going to be disseminated before it is being disseminated,” he said. The new directive is the latest control imposed on news and information websites. The government is increasingly intolerant of criticism, and Sri Lanka has in recent years headed further down lists measuring international press freedom rankings. “This is the first step in going for wider censor-

ship,” said Sunil Jayasekara, the head of Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement. In November, the government required news websites to register with the Media Ministry, a month after it blocked some sites critical of the government. The Indian Ocean island nation’s government first blocked some websites linked to the Tamil Tiger separatists during the final phase of a 25-year civil war, arguing the ban was acceptable in a time of war, but the bans have grown since the end of the war in 2009. — Reuters

Merkel questions 2014 German pullout in surprise Afghan trip Urges to push forward reconciliation with Taleban BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel called into question yesterday Germany’s planned pullout from Afghanistan as she made a surprise trip to the war-torn country a day after a US soldier massacred 16 civilians. The point has not yet been reached where Germany can say “we can pull out today,” Merkel said as she visited troops stationed in Mazar-iSharif in the north of Afghanistan. “And therefore, I can also not say that we will manage that by 2013/2014. The will is there, we want to do that and we are working towards that,” she said, according to German news agency DPA. NATO said in January it was committed to withdrawing its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Tensions were running high in

Afghanistan as Merkel arrived following the rampage by the US soldier who killed 16 villagers including women and children in their homes in the Taleban heartland of Kandahar on Sunday. In a telephone call to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Merkel vowed that everything would be done to investigate what she called “the dreadful act of the US soldier”. She expressed her personal condolences and those of the German people to Karzai for the outrage, DPA cited her spokesman Steffen Seibert as saying. Merkel also congratulated Karzai for progress made in building up Afghan security forces while he in turn expressed gratitude for Germany’s commitment to peace in the war-wracked country. She also urged Kabul to push forward the political rec-

MAZAR-E-SHARIF: German chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, Chief of Federal Armed Forces Staff, Volker Wieker, left, and the German commander Erich Pfeffer, right, visit the memorial for killed German soldiers in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, yesterday. — AP

Avalanche in Afghanistan kills 45 KUNAR: An avalanche engulfed houses and cut off roads in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least 45 people, the latest victims in the country’s worst winter in 30 years. Heavy snow blanketed 13 houses and blocked roads leading into a district of Nuristan province, near the border with Pakistan, preventing help from reaching avalanche victims, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Nabi Ahmadi said.

An entire village in northern Badakhshan province was covered by an avalanche almost a week ago, killing at least 50 people. Though avalanches are common in the mountainous north and east, the latest deaths are particularly painful during a winter that has killed dozens in the capital Kabul and created further food shortages in one of the world’s poorest countries. — Reuters

DHAKA: Supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) attend a rally organised by the BNP and allies in Dhaka yesterday. Thousands of Bangladeshi troops patrolled the streets of Dhaka as opposition parties prepared for a mass protest calling for the government to step down and hold elections. — AFP

Bangladesh opposition holds mass rally in Dhaka DHAKA: Thousands of Bangladeshi troops patrolled the streets of Dhaka yesterday as opposition parties prepared for a mass protest calling for the government to step down and hold elections. Schools and shops were closed and roads in the capital were empty ahead of the rally, which has been planned for months by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies. Media reports said thousands of opposition activists were detained ahead of the event, but police denied any organised crackdown. “These are regular arrests nothing to do with the opposition grand rally,” deputy commissioner of Dhaka police Monirul Islam told AFP. Islam said at least 15,000 policemen and border guards were deployed in Dhaka to prevent violence. Bus and ferry services to the city were also

suspended, making it hard for opposition supporters to travel from rural areas. BNP spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told AFP that at least 3,000 people had been detained nationwide over the last four days. “Police have been holding our officials and supporters en masse,” Alamgir said. The Prothom Alo newspaper said more than 2,800 had been held since Wednesday. Opposition anger has been growing since the government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, last year scrapped a neutral caretaker system for overseeing elections. Bangladesh politics have often erupted into violence, with the last serious outbreak of street fighting between rival party activists in 2006 when several people were killed. The next national election is due to be held by early 2014. — AFP

onciliation process with armed groups like the Taleban. Germany is the third biggest supplier of troops to the 130,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after the United States and Britain. It had 4,900 soldiers in Afghanistan as of February 1, but a further 500 are set to be withdrawn by 2013 before a complete pullout. Opinion polls have shown that the German mission, the first major Bundeswehr deployment outside of Europe since World War II, has been consistently unpopular in the country. Sunday’s massacre added to roiling antiWestern sentiment in Afghanistan over the burning of the Quran at a US base last month. Germany and several other NATO member states pulled their advisors from Afghan institutions after two members of the international force in Afghanistan were shot dead in violence over the Quran incident. The holy Quran burning ignited days of violent anti-US protests in which some 40 people died, plunging relations between foreign forces and their Afghan allies to an all-time low. Sunday’s killing spree came as the United States and Afghanistan pursue difficult talks on securing a strategic pact to govern their partnership once foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan, scheduled for 2014. The proposed accord would likely cover the legal status of any US troops remaining in Afghanistan to help Kabul with intelligence, air power and logistics in the fight against Taleban insurgents. In her call to Karzai, the chancellor said a draft of the pact would be available this month. Merkel last visited Afghanistan in December 2010, to meet German soldiers just before Christmas. On that occasion she described the fighting there for the first time as “war”. This is her fourth trip to Afghanistan since taking office in 2005 and was planned before Sunday’s massacre. It was not announced in advance for security reasons. Merkel also paid homage to German soldiers killed in Afghanistan since NATOled troops first deployed to the country in 2002. Fifty-two German soldiers have been killed, 34 of them through enemy action, according to the military’s website. — AFP

Britain’s Hague sued over Pakistan drone attacks LONDON: A British law firm said on Sunday it was to sue Foreign Secretary William Hague on behalf of a Pakistani man over claims that British intelligence was used to assist US drone attacks. London-based Leigh Day and Co confirmed they would issue formal proceedings at Britain’s High Court on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was killed by a US strike in Pakistan. Lawyers will claim that civilian intelligence officers who pass on intelligence to the US are not “lawful combatants”, therefore cannot claim immunity from criminal law and could be liable as “secondary parties to murder”. They will also argue that the immunity clause does not apply as Pakistan is not currently involved in an “international armed conflict”. “There is credible, unchallenged evidence that (Hague) is operating a policy of passing intelligence to officials or agents of the US government and that he considers such a policy to be in ‘strict accordance’ with the law,” Richard Stein, head of human rights at Leigh Day, said in a statement. “If this is the case, the Secretary of State has misunderstood one or more of the principles of international law governing immunity for those involved in armed attacks on behalf of a state.” Britain’s Foreign Office said it would not comment on legal or intelligence matters. Khan says his father, Malik Daud, was killed by a drone missile while at a council of elders meeting in northwest Pakistan. Drone attacks have become a key feature of US President Barack Obama’s fight against terrorism in Pakistan, but many inhabitants are deeply unhappy about the civilian death toll incurred in the raids. Meanwhile, Pakistan yesterday invited Islamist militant groups including the Taleban for peace talks and said banned organisations would be delisted if they “closed down their militant wings”. Pakistan has banned more than 30 militant outfits, including Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group blamed by New Delhi and Washington for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “If the proscribed organisations assure us that they have closed down their militant wings and abandoned extremism, then we would like to meet them in next few days,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters. Pakistan has faced heavy criticism for not doing more to clampdown on the groups, many of which are allowed to operate freely under new names, such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a UN blacklisted charity considered a front for LeT. Despite a relative decline in high-profile attacks, there has been a recent surge in bombings in the northwest blamed on the Taleban and their accomplices. “We have been contacted by several banned organisations that want to sit and talk. If they want to give up militancy we will talk to them as we are revising the list of proscribed organisations,” Malik said. He did not identify any group but said that the government had “even offered the Taliban to give up militancy and join the federation”. According to an AFP tally, Islamist militants have killed more than 4,900 people across Pakistan since government troops raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in July 2007. The military says more than 3,000 soldiers have died. There were about 120 bomb attacks in Pakistan in 2011, up from 96 in 2010, but fewer than the 203 in 2009, according to an AFP tally. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Tibetan childredn born in-exile walk over an effigy representing Chinese President Hu Jintao during a protest march marking the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP

Tibetans ‘suffocated’ by Chinese influence KATHMANDU: At a cafe near a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, Tsewang Dolma stirs her iced tea nervously as she talks of her fears for the future of her people. She worries she will be followed home and arrested again, yet the 27-yearold is one of the few Tibetans in Nepal keen to speak about what they see as an increasingly hardline approach by the government to their community. “It’s not easy because we have no freedom. We are refugees here. Things have changed and people feel very suffocated,” she said ahead of commemorations last Saturday to mark the 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. For decades, Nepal has been a safe haven for Tibetans fleeing China but activists say their people’s peaceful existence is at threat because of Beijing’s growing influence over its Himalayan neighbour. Campaigners believe the wave of protests against Chinese rule that began in Tibet in March 2008 and the resulting crackdown has transformed the attitude of Nepal’s government. Arrests of activists in Kathmandu have become frequent in recent years and the periods of detention are getting longer, activists say. In February, Nepal police arrested 13 students protesting in front of the United Nations headquarters in Kathmandu, releasing them only after they had spent two weeks in jail. “They were just taking part in a human rights protest and they were arrested. Before, when people got arrested they would be released on the same night,” said Dolma, who has been detained twice in recent months. “We get information that they got orders from China to be kept in detention for so long.” Nepal-born Dolma, the president of the Nepal chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said pre-emptive arrests and large-scale police deployment in her community were contributing to fear and insecurity. “They don’t allow any Tibetan to do anything freely,” she told AFP. “I don’t know what really changed but it’s all Chinese influence. It was bad but now it’s worse.” At Saturday’s 1959 commemorations, Kathmandu police arrested 22 Tibetans for “suspicious activities” at demonstrations that were more mut-

ed than in previous years as hundreds of officers looked on. For three decades Nepal welcomed Tibetans into the country after the uprising, issuing them with refugee identity certificates, known as the “RC”. But the government has refused since 1998 to issue RCs to Tibetans, including children born in Nepal to refugee parents. “I have a lot of friends who don’t have RCs and they face so many problems. They were born here but they don’t have citizenship,” said Dolma. “If they want to go abroad for study, they can’t. And if you want to work in a bank they require Nepali citizenship documents.” Analysts say while India has traditionally been the influential player in Nepal, China is making in-roads in a nation that is recovering after a decade-long civil war came to an end in 2006. Impoverished Nepal, home to 20,000 exiles from Tibet, appears keen to seek further Chinese aid. In January Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai discussed investment from Beijing for infrastructure projects that could amount to billions of dollars. In return, Nepal expressed support for Beijing’s “oneChina” policy which states that Tibet is an integral part of the Chinese territory. In the last few months rights groups including the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have voiced concerns over Nepal’s hard line on its Tibetan community. And Tibetan groups such as the US-based International Campaign for Tibet say the change in attitude is increasingly apparent. “The characterisation of peaceful Tibetan community activities and demonstrations as anti-Chinese clearly reflects China’s agenda in Nepal,” an ICT spokeswoman told AFP. Chinese authorities declined to comment but Nepal’s Home Ministry said its policy was to arrest Tibetans for “agitation against the Chinese government in sensitive locations inside Nepal”. “We have a policy for not allowing any activities against our friendly neighbour China,” said spokesman Shankar Prasad Koirala. — AFP

PESHAWAR: Pakistani bomb disposal squad personnel are pictured with a defused explosive device which was found inside a car in Peshawar yesterday. The Bomb Disposal Squad defused some 40kgs of explosives in an abandoned car parked in Peshawar. — AFP



RIYADH: Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (right) meets his Jordanian counterpart Abdullah II (center) and his son Crown Prince Hussein yesterday. — AFP

Afghan outrage grows over GI’s brutal... Continued from Page 1 Haji Agha Lalai, who hosted a large gathering of tribal elders from Panjwayi district in his Kandahar home. US President Barack Obama telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to promise a speedy investigation into the “shocking” killings, and an American soldier is in military detention over the shootings. The detained soldier was described by US officials as a staff sergeant who was married with three children. He had served three Iraq tours but was on his first Afghan deployment. Sunday’s massacre poses an acute test of the US-Afghan alliance, as the two countries pursue difficult talks on securing a strategic pact to govern their partnership once foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan in 2014. Any deal would address the legal status of US troops who may remain to help prevent the country falling back into the hands of the Taleban, who were toppled in 2001 for sheltering Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “The killings in Kandahar cast a long shadow over negotiations on a strategic partnership deal and certainly give greater leverage to Karzai,” Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group told AFP. “The question of immunity for US troops remaining in the country after the end of combat operations in 2014 will come to the forefront.” Karzai spoke by telephone with the families of those killed, including Rafihullah, a 15-year-old boy wounded in the leg who told the president the soldier had torn the

dresses of the women in the house and insulted them. “He came to my uncle’s home, he was running after women, he was tearing their dresses, insulting them,” Rafihullah said on an audiotape of the conversation heard by AFP. “He killed my uncle and killed our servant and killed my grandma, he shot dead my uncle’s son, his daughter,” the boy said. The Taleban wasted no time in trying to capitalise on the killings, sending fighters to mosques in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district as the funerals of the victims of the shootings took place, urging villagers to rise up. “They were telling the people: ‘The invading infidel Americans come to your homes, insult your women and kill your children, what are you waiting for? You should come out and demonstrate’,” local resident Abdul Khaliq told AFP. Kandahar is a stronghold of the Taleban fighting to oust Karzai’s government, which is supported by some 130,000 US-led NATO troops. Afghan resentment of US forces was also provoked in January by a video posted online showing US Marines urinating on the bloodied corpses of slain Afghan insurgents an incident condemned by the Pentagon. In November, the ringleader of a rogue American “kill team” charged with murder for shooting civilians for sport was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison by a military panel. But the vast majority of civilian deaths in the Afghan war are attributed to the Taleban. A total of 3,021 civilians died in the war last year, according to a UN report, which blamed 77 percent of the deaths on the militia. — AFP

Oil price volatility in focus at energy meet Continued from Page 1 increase production due to a looming cut in Iranian oil exports. “We do not expect any special request to increase production,” Farouk Al-Zanki, the chief executive officer of state -owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, told reports at the forum. He said the state was pumping around three million barrels per day and was working on building its spare capacity. “If there is spare capacity and there is demand for it, you will hear about it,” he added. Energy-hungry Japan and South Korea earlier this year held energy talks with Gulf states aimed to secure alternative oil resources in case Iran sanctions hit their imports. Last Tuesday EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on behalf of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany that they were ready to hold talks with Iran. Last week, the OPEC oil cartel trimmed its 2012 global oil demand growth forecast for the second time in two months because of worries about developed countries’ economies and higher crude prices. The Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammad bin Dhaen Al-Hamli, acknowledged that oil prices were high and blamed it on uncertainties in the Middle East. “The prices are on the high side, but really prices are reacting to what is happening in the Middle

East,” he told reporters on the first day of the forum. Angola’s oil minister also blamed geopolitical concerns for the surge in oil prices, but he said he did not expect crude prices to rocket to the 2008 levels of around $150 per barrel. “Oil prices are rising because of geopolitics... but are unlikely to rise to the levels seen in 2008,” said Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos on the sidelines of the forum, according to Dow Jones newswire. “I think $110-115 is a good price range,” he added. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) blamed a weak growth in the OECD economies, mainly the situation in Europe, in addition to high oil prices, for the expected ease in demand. It also pointed to tensions between Iran and the West and speculation about Israeli military action against Tehran. The 12member cartel, which accounts for about 30 percent of global crude oil output, now expects daily demand this year of 88.63 million barrels per day, down from its forecast a month ago of 88.76 million bpd, it said in its March monthly report. This still represents growth compared to 2011, when demand was 87.77 million bpd, according to OPEC figures that were revised slightly downwards. On March 1, West Texas Intermediate crude hit $110.5 per barrel, the highest since May 2011, while Brent North Sea crude rocketed to $128.4 a barrel, the highest since July 2009. — AFP

Civilians massacred in Homs, hundreds flee Continued from Page 1 misleading the international community or manipulating the Security Council.” The grisly murders in Homs came after UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan warned on Sunday that the situation in Syria had reached a “dangerous” level, as he failed to conclude a deal to end violence rocking the country during a weekend mission to Damascus. “There are grave and appalling reports of atrocities and abuses (in Syria),” Annan told reporters in Ankara before meeting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. “Killings of civilians must end now. The world must send a clear and united message that this is simply unacceptable.” Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, told AFP the bodies of 26 children and 21 women, some with their throats slit and others bearing stab wounds, were found after a “massacre” in the Karm El-Zaytoun and Al-Adawiyeh neighbourhoods of the besieged central city. “Some of the children had been hit with blunt objects on their heads, one little girl was mutilated and some women were raped before being killed,” he said. “We received the bodies in two batches ... we tried to go to see if there were any survivors but they were all dead,” said a medical worker, who called himself Yazan. “I saw two females who were raped, one was around 12 or 13 years old. She was covered in blood and her underclothes were off. One of the women was strangled; she had bruises on her neck. Some of the bodies I saw, especially the children, had their throats slit.” Activists posted videos online that showed graphic images of

charred bodies and children with mutilated and bloodied faces. Syrian state television also aired gruesome footage showing homes with white walls splattered with blood, bodies of women and children piled on top of each other, and several men, with bullet wounds to the head, lying facing down in a disused building, their hands tied behind their backs. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said news of the killings in Homs had prompted hundreds of families to flee the city for fear of a new massacre. Syrian state TV said the weekend killings were a clear ploy by “armed terrorist gangs” to grab the spotlight ahead of yesterday’s meeting of foreign ministers from key UN Security Council nations in New York. “We are used to them committing more crimes before meetings of the UN Security Council,” it said, while denouncing “hysteria” in the media over events in Syria. Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud told AFP: “Terrorist gangs carried out the most horrible massacre in the Karm El-Zaytoun neighbourhood of Homs... in order to incite international reaction against Syria.” Activists contacted in Homs accused pro-Assad “shabbiha” militiamen of carrying out the killings. In New York, Britain’s Hague called for the Security Council to pass a resolution which calls for “an immediate end to the brutal repression and violations of human rights” and support for Annan’s peace mission. France’s Juppe said: “It is unacceptable that our council be stopped from assuming its responsibilities. After months of blocking, I appeal to China and Russia to hear the voices of the Arabs and the world conscience and join us.” In his

address, Lavrov renewed Moscow’s warnings about the perils of any drive for regime change. Without referring specifically to Western countries, Lavrov said that unilateral sanctions, moves for “regime change” and encouraging the Syrian opposition were “risky recipes of geopolitical engineering which can only result in a spread of the conflict.” According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory, more than 8,500 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of the revolt against President Bashar AlAssad’s regime a year ago. Activists said the army launched a new assault yesterday in the restive northwestern province of Idlib and the city of the same name, where they reported residents suffering “indescribable” humanitarian conditions. “The army bombarded the Dbeit district in Idlib city and pounded the Ath-Thawra neighbourhood, where several buildings collapsed,” an anti-regime activist in the city told AFP via Skype, giving his name only as Yasser. “ The humanitarian situation is indescribable, the residents are totally without water and electricity, and communications have been cut off,” he added. While the army controls some parts of the city that were wrested from the rebels in an assault on Saturday, others remain in the hands of the insurgents. Annan on his first mission to Syria to attempt to secure a halt to the violence, acknowledged in Damascus on Sunday that ending the violence would be “tough” but said he remained optimistic. He added, however: “The situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail.” — Agencies

Israel-Gaza bloodshed rages into fourth day Continued from Page 1 ceasefire. But Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed faction behind most of the rocket fire, said any truce should include an undertaking by Israel “to end assassinations”. The exchanges began after two chiefs of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) faction, accused by Israel of planning to attack it through Egypt’s Sinai desert, were killed in an Israeli strike on Friday. Israel signalled that it would not halt what it calls “preventive targeting” operations aimed at stopping rocket fire and cross-border attacks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his Likud party in Parliament: “The Israeli army will continue to attack the terrorists in Gaza with strength and determination.” He also said the Israeli military was prepared to widen its operations and continue them for as long as necessary. That prospect would revive memories of the 2008-2009 Gaza war in which some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. But Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Army Radio: “Israel is not keen to see an escalation, Israel is not keen to hurt innocents, Israel is absolutely opposed to this. For now, it is on this kind of scale. But if it will prove protracted, then without a doubt there will be a powerful, painful blow so that this will not continue.” The Palestinian attacks against Israel disrupted normal life in the south and forced many schools to close on Sunday and yesterday. Alerts to residents of southern towns to take shelter from incoming rockets punctuated radio programs. Islamic Jihad and the PRC, armed groups largely independent of Islamist Hamas, have said they fired most of the scores of rock-

ets launched at Israel since Friday. Some experts in Gaza believe Hamas had provided some smaller groups with ammunition but avoided direct participation out of concern Israel would step up its attacks in the enclave. Hamas is also eager to avoid any long-term military campaign as it struggles to adapt to political upheaval in Arab countries such as Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, and in Syria, where the group has abandoned its traditional headquarters. Washington - Israel’s principle ally - and the United Nations expressed concern at the violence. “Once again civilians are paying a terrible price,” Ban told the UN Security Council. He denounced rocket attacks on Israel as “unacceptable” and urged Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”. In her remarks to the council, Clinton condemned the rocket fire at Israel and urged both sides to restore calm. But she did not specifically mention the Israeli air strikes nor the dozens of Palestinian casualties. France and Russia also both appealed for an end to the fighting and stressed the need to avoid civilian suffering. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby issued a statement in Cairo condemning the Israeli raids and urged the Security Council to step in and “stop the aggression”. Gaza, home to 1.7 million people, was under Israeli occupation from 1967 until 2005 and remains under blockade. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 and is fighting for an independent Palestinian state but has shunned the stalled peace process supervised by international powers and refuses to recognise the Jewish state. Islamic Jihad is less influential than Hamas but shares the same ideology, which advocates Israel’s ultimate destruction. — Reuters

Israel plans for Iran go back years Continued from Page 1 Israeli leaders, however, argue that time is quickly running out. They have grown increasingly vocal in their calls for tough concerted international action against Iran while stressing they are prepared to act alone if necessary. Israeli defense officials believe Iran is capable of producing highly enriched weapons-grade uranium within six months. After that, it would require another year or two to develop a means of delivering a nuclear bomb, they predict. But Israel believes the window to act will close much sooner than that. Officials say in the coming months Iran will have moved enough of its nuclear facilities underground and out of reach of conventional airpower, and that the world will be powerless to stop it. Defense Minister Ehud Barak calls this the “zone of immunity”. Defense officials acknowledge that plans to go after Iran have been in the works for years, with the air force expected to take the lead in what would be an extremely complicated operation. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military deliberations. Israel has a total of 300 warplanes, but about 100 frontline planes would participate in the mission, officials suggest. They would include attack aircraft as well as others used to escort, target enemy warplanes and anti-aircraft batteries and provide support like communications and search and rescue. The most powerful is the squadron of 24 F15i warplanes, American-made aircraft capable of carrying heavy payloads that could include 2,200 kg, laser-guided GBU-28 bombs purchased from the US. These “bunkerbusting” bombs would be at the heart of any operation. In addition, Israel has four squadrons, or about 100, F-16i warplanes. These planes are more nimble in the air, capable of attacking ground targets but also ideal for escorting the heavier attacking aircraft. The air force also has developed long-range unmanned drones that can provide intelligence, communications and other support in any mission. Experts believe that some of the Israeli warplanes, even F16s with upgraded fuel tanks, could not make the round trip without refueling in flight - depending on the route as well as the weight of their payload. Israel, which has eight tanker planes, can refuel an airplane in flight in a matter of minutes, though it’s unclear where the task would take place since much of the airspace in the region is hostile. There is precedent: Israeli warplanes destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, and did the same thing to a nascent reactor in Syria in 2007. But an operation in

Iran would be far more difficult complicated by distance, stronger Iranian defenses and the Iranian strategy of scattering its nuclear installations in underground locations. The Israeli air force has carried out a series of long-distance training runs that could serve as models for striking Iran. In 2008, 100 jets participated in a drill in Greece. The air force has carried out similar drills more recently with both Greece and Italy, officials say. Probable targets in Iran, including the Natanz and Fordo enrichment facilities south of Tehran, lie some 1,600 km from Israel. Shafir, the former air force officer, said planners would need to choose among three likely flight paths, all of which carry grave risks. The shortest, most direct flight would be to cross over neighboring Jordan and through Iraq. Neither country has the capability to stop an Israeli warplanes from crossing through its airspace. But this would deeply embarrass them. Such an operation would raise the likelihood of a diplomatic spat with Jordan, Israel’s closest ally in the Arab world, and potentially expose Jordan to Iranian retaliation. Jordanian officials refused to comment on how the government would react if Israel uses its airspace. A second route would be to fly south and through Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have no relations with Israel, and while they feel deeply threatened by a nuclear Iran, any signs of cooperation with the Jewish state would unleash fierce criticism throughout the Arab world. The Saudis would also be an easy target for an Iranian counterstrike. The last possibility would be crossing through Turkey, as Israel illicitly did in the 2007 airstrike in Syria. But Turkey is believed to have upgraded its radar systems since then, and Israel’s relations with Turkey, once a close ally, have deteriorated. A Turkish official said it was “out of the question” for Israel to use Turkish airspace. He said the jets would be “brought down” if Israel attempted to use the airspace without permission. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter. Once Israeli planes reach Iran, they would come under fire from Iranian air-defense systems and warplanes. Israeli officials say they take these threats seriously, but believe Israel’s superior firepower and radar-jamming technology would allow them to perform the mission. Iran’s air attack capabilities depend heavily on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including former Soviet MiGs and American F14A Tomcats from the 1970s. Iran is also believed to possess retooled versions of Russia’s state-of-the-art S-300 anti-

aircraft missiles, as well as advanced Chinese radar systems. Russia has held up an official sale of S-300 defenses for five years, citing technical glitches. Outside experts say Iranian capabilities, particularly homegrown technologies, are limited. The biggest challenge to Israel may be the limits of its firepower. Iran’s main uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz is believed to be about six meters underground and protected by two concrete walls. This would stretch the capabilities of Israel’s arsenal of bunker busters and explains why the Israelis would much prefer that the US take the lead in an operation. The U.S. has forces near Iran in the Gulf and possesses bunker busters even more powerful than Israel’s. Iran has also been shifting its enrichment operations to the far more fortified Fordo site, dug 90 m into a mountain south of Tehran. Further complicating the task, Israeli officials say Iran uses special Russian-made nets that conceal the facilities and distort the detection of Western spycraft. Iran has threatened to retaliate and has developed sophisticated Shahab missiles capable of striking the Jewish state. It also could encourage its local proxies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, to unleash their arsenals of tens of thousands of rockets. Hezbollah has not said what it would do, while Hamas has signaled it does not want to get dragged into an Israel-Iran war. Nonetheless, Israel has developed a series of air-defense systems for the various threats. It has begun testing the third generation of its Arrow system, designed to shoot down incoming missiles from more distant origins like Iran. It also has deployed its “Iron Dome” rocket defense system, which has successfully shot down about 90 percent of incoming rockets from Gaza in a new round of fighting in recent days. Many experts believe Iran would retaliate against American targets in the Gulf, as well as US allies like Saudi Arabia for their perceived support of an Israeli strike. Any unilateral strike would likely also draw fierce international criticism. That means an Israeli operation would have to be short-lived, perhaps a onetime attack, and not a sustained air campaign. Scott Johnson, an analyst at the IHF Jane’s military research firm, said that given these limitations, Israel would at best set back, but not neutralize, the Iranian program. Success, he added, would depend on the effectiveness of the bunker busters. Danny Yatom, a former director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, said even if Israel cannot destroy Iran’s nuclear program altogether, a serious disruption would be enough. “This might delay the appearance of the bomb by many years,” he said. — AP





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A year on, civil war looms over Syria By Ritu Daou resident Bashar Al-Assad’s rule in Syria is bound to end, but the country risks partition or civil war after a year of mass protests and deadly repression, analysts say. “If you asked us one year ago if Bashar Al-Assad could be on his way out, many people would have said no way. Today, I believe the regime is losing, it is running out of time,” said Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Institute. “A year on, even though this is proving to be a very tough nut to crack, it still shows that the uprising is alive and well and will likely lead to the end of this regime,” said the Dohabased analyst. The uprising that has shaken one of the Middle East’s most autocratic regimes erupted on March 15, 2011, when a group of youths no older than 14 scrawled graffiti on the walls of their school in the southern Daraa province. “The people demand the fall of the regime,” they daubed on the walls, echoing protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, where mass demonstrations drove from power veteran strongmen despised by their people. The Syrian authorities responded with brutality, arresting the youths and throwing them in jail, triggering protests by relatives which were repressed with deadly force. At the same time two small protests were held in the iconic Damascus Hamidiyeh and Marja markets urging the release of political prisoners. More protests then erupted across Syria, with people emboldened after decades of fear under the Assad family’s iron-fisted rule flooding onto the streets demanding change. Assad responded by promising a string of reforms, including an end to decades of emergency rule, a law allowing the creation of political parties and a new constitution stripping his Baath Party of its monopoly. But the violent crackdown by regime forces against demonstrations and the mounting death toll stripped Assad’s reform pledges of any credibility. “The Syrian revolution is different from the other Arab Spring movements due to the huge sacrifices made by the people and the unprecedented repression” of the regime, said university professor Khattar Abu Diab. “The regime is authoritarian to the bone and I think that its methods are even worse than Stalin’s repression,” said Abu Diab, who teaches international relations at Paris-Sud University. At least 8,500 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown on dissent since last March, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. In recent weeks the regime has stepped up its military assaults, targeting the central province of Homs and the northwestern province of Idlib in particular, in a bid to crush rebel fighters with the Free Syrian Army. “The degree of repression forced people to defend themselves... The regime did everything in its power to militarise a protest movement which had sprung up from the grassroots and was peaceful in nature,” said Abu Diab. Over the months the popular slogan “God, Syria, Freedom”, chanted mantra-like by tens of thousands of demonstrators, was replaced by another slogan resounding at the rallies: “Yes to arming the Free Syrian Army.” Some Arab countries like oil kingpin Saudi Arabia have also called for the arming of the heavily-outgunned rebels who are battling the regime forces in a number of flashpoint areas. But world powers including the United States have warned of the dangerous consequences of foreign intervention. And despite a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, world powers remain deeply divided over how to solve the deadly crisis, with Russia and China twice wielding their veto power at the UN Security Council on resolutions damning the Syrian regime. “There is a deadlock inside Syria and around it due to the cold war” between Moscow and the West, said Abu Diab. He argues that the revolution in Syria is different from those that rocked Tunisia and Egypt, “where the armed forces were influenced by the West” and therefore rallied around the people. And in Libya, where rebels ended the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, “oil was the bait that attracted (NATO) intervention”. “In Syria there is no such attraction,” he added. Analysts also warn about the risk of civil war in Syria and partition of the country between the majority Sunnis and the minority Alawite community of the Assad dynasty who now hold the reins of power. “Arming the opposition will only fuel further a sectarian civil conflict because the majority of Alawites are increasingly becoming more and more fearful for their fate and more entrenched,” said Shaikh. This situation “may lead to massacres in the future”, said the Brookings Institute expert. Abu Diab agrees, warning against the emergence of an Alawite state that could link forces with Hezbollah, the Shiite militants in Lebanon.—AFP


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Shootings complicate Afghanistan mission By Anne Flaherty he decade-long war in Afghanistan has spiraled into a series of US missteps and violent outbreaks that have left few ardent political supporters. After NATO detained a US soldier Sunday for allegedly killing sleeping Afghan villagers, Republicans and Democrats alike pointed to the stress on troops after years of fighting and reiterated calls to leave by the end of 2014 as promised, if not sooner. Afghanistan, once the must-fight war for America, is becoming a public relations headache for the nation’s leaders, especially for President Barack Obama. And there’s recognition of that problem on both sides. “It’s just not a good situation,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Our troops are under such tremendous pressure in Afghanistan. It’s a war like no other war we’ve been involved in. ... We’re moving out, as the president said. I think it’s the right thing to do.” Many Republicans -who as a party fought against a quick exodus in Iraq and criticized Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign promise to end the war - are now reluctant to embrace a continued commitment in Afghanistan. In the wake of the shootings and the recent burning of Muslim holy books at a US military base, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Monday, “Given all of these additional problems, we have to either make a decision to make a full commitment, which this president has not done, or we have to decide to get out and probably get out sooner” than 2014. Santorum spoke on NBC’s “Today” show. “There’s something profoundly wrong with the way we’re approaching the whole region, and I think it’s going to get substantially worse, not better,” said Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. “I think that we’re risking the lives of young men and women in a mission that may, frankly, not be doable.” American voters appear frustrated as well. In results from a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday, 55


percent of respondents said they think most Afghans oppose what the United States is trying to do there. And 60 percent said the war in Afghanistan has been “not worth fighting”. The latest incident in Afghanistan was disturbing: At 3 am Sunday, an American staff sergeant allegedly wandered 500 m from a special operations base in the southern Kandahar province and began shooting villagers as they slept. As many as 16 Afghans were killed, including nine children, before the shooter apparently returned to base and turned himself in. One eyewitness described the body of a young boy, apparently wearing red pajamas, lying lifeless in the back of a minibus. That and other searing images, including an AP photographer’s confirmation of burned bodies at the scene, easily eclipsed Friday’s upbeat announcement that the US and Afghanistan had agreed on the transfer of Afghan detainees to Afghan control. Obama and top US officials quickly condemned the attack and offered their condolences to families of the victims. Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai, both vowing to hold any perpetrators accountable. Their statements stopped short of a full apology but appeared to want to ward off any retaliatory attacks, like those seen recently after US officials acknowledged the burning of Muslim holy books at an airbase in Afghanistan. Six US service members were killed in attacks immediately following that revelation, including two American officers who were assassinated while working inside a heavily protected Afghan ministry. “This deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of (US and coalition troops) or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people,” Gen John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said Sunday. “Nor does it impugn or diminish the spirit of cooperation and partnership we have worked so hard to foster with the Afghan National Security Forces.” But the damage is probably inevitable. Pulling no punches, Karzai called the shooting an “assassination” and “an

intentional killing of innocent civilians” that could not be forgiven. For their part, US officials pointedly noted that the suspect would be tried under US law, a fine point perhaps made to head off any demands by Karzai that Afghanistan be given custody of the soldier. The tension could be enough to raise a key question among Obama’s top advisers as they stare down this fall’s bid for re-election: Should Obama press NATO to speed up its scheduled transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan government at the end of 2014? Panetta has already said he hopes Afghans will assume the lead combat role across the country by mid-2013, with US and other NATO troops remaining in smaller numbers to perform numerous support missions. US and Afghan officials have said they want a strategic partnership agreement signed by the time a NATO summit convenes in Chicago in May. Further complicating the matter is the limited patience many of Obama’s top supporters have for Karzai. “The great weakness in Afghanistan is Karzai,” said Sen Chuck Schumer. “Nobody seems to trust him or like him. And the idea of turning it over to the Afghan forces is the right way to go, but that’s a major question mark: Karzai.” Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, pleaded for public patience on the war. “I understand the frustration, and I understand the anger and the sorrow,” McCain said. “I also understand and we should not forget that the attacks on the United States of America on 9/11 originated in Afghanistan. And if Afghanistan dissolves into a situation where the Taleban were able to take over a chaotic situation, it could easily return to an Al-Qaeda base for attacks on the United States of America.” Sen Lindsay Graham said a primary problem is leaving the country vulnerable and signaling to Iran that the US wasn’t committed to the region. “We can win this thing. We can get it right,” Graham said. Reid spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Graham and Schumer spoke on ABC News “This Week.” McCain spoke on “Fox News Sunday”. — AP

Down but not out, sick Chavez seeks reelection By Mica Rosenberg and Diego Ore ranes tower over new apartment blocks in Venezuela’s capital where President Hugo Chavez’s government plans to house 20,000 poor families as part of a populist pre-election spending push. Though finished, the buildings stand empty - waiting for the usual fanfare inauguration of such projects by Chavez himself. The socialist leader is in Cuba convalescing after a third cancer surgery, so the question is when - or even if - Chavez will be strong enough to cut the ribbon. The charismatic Chavez has been in campaign mode for most of his 13-year rule, and his signature style of personally meeting the beneficiaries of his welfare programs has helped him win reelection and extend his powers in the South American nation. Now facing potentially debilitating radiation treatment or after a second malignant tumor was removed from his pelvis, the once-inexhaustible Chavez, 57, is being forced to slow down just as he goes into what could be his toughest election yet. “Unfortunately you are not going to see that much of me,” a reflective Chavez said from Cuba, where he is recovering from surgery late last month after a recurrence of the cancer that struck him in 2011. “I’m forced to confront this new situation, to rethink my personal agenda and take better care of myself.” Chavez has denied rumors that his cancer has spread but if his health worsens and less-popular ministers are pushed into the spotlight on his behalf, voters will wonder if a weakened Chavez can govern for another six-year term. Nobody, though, is writing off a man who has overcome so much in the past - US opposition, massive street protests, a strike that paralyzed the oil industry and a coup that briefly toppled him from power. With savvy use of media and the internet, and drawing on his unique emotional connection with the poor, Chavez still has a high chance of triumphing yet again if he can stay well enough. That might mean running a “virtual” campaign largely from Caracas and making the most of any personal appearances he is able to make in slums and rural areas. “He won’t be in physical shape to visit every corner of the country,” said Glen


Martinez, who runs a pro-Chavez community radio station in a hilly neighborhood spraypainted with murals of Mexican guerrilla leader Subcomandante Marcos and of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader toppled and killed last year. “But it doesn’t matter, if he can’t come here, we will go to him, wherever he does show up.” The cancer saga appears to have tightened the bond with Chavez’s most militant backers. One pollster said last month’s news gave him a 5 percent popularity bump among hard-core supporters. “Whoever believes Chavez is destroyed doesn’t understand anything. Even now, at this difficult moment, he has half the nation behind him,” said another pollster, Luis Vicente Leon. Unless Chavez’s health veers into full recovery or a fatal downturn, the key to the election will likely be how the roughly one-third of undecided voters view a sick candidate. Formal surveys and interviews on the street show no clear trend yet, although in past elections they have tended to back Chavez. There are, however, universal worries about instability and the lack of a clear successor to Chavez. “We have no idea if tomorrow Chavez will be okay or have the same strength,” said B e a t r i z Colmenares, 52, describing herself as a “thermometer ” for her Caracas apartment building because she mixes with both Chavez and opposition supporters. “No one trusts the people who are behind him. He just moves them around like chess pieces but they are always the same,” added Colmenares, who rents phones for a living. Chavez’s personality-driven administration has prevent-

ed the cultivation of an obvious heir, with all the senior figures around him lacking charisma and popularity on the street. Many Venezuelans also tend to blame them, more than Chavez, for rampant corruption, nepotism and inefficiency in services. Trying to quash rumors of in-fighting, Chavez’s aides are repeating a mantra that he remains at the helm. “Not only are we sure that he will be our candidate, but that he will win on October 7,” said the head of Congress, Diosdado Cabello. “It’s going to be hard to put the brakes on the president... we’ll find the right form of campaign.” The undecideds will inevitably contrast signs of Chavez’s physical weakness with the image of youth and energy projected by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, a 39year-old, motorbike-riding, baseball capwearing state governor. Mocked as a “chameleon” by Chavez, he is emulating the president’s on-the-ground approach with daily trips into the slums. Campaign videos show him giving houses built by the state government to elderly women and playing basketball with young people in poor neighborhoods. Capriles has a long way to go, though, with the latest poll - albeit a disputed one on a small sample - giving him 34 percent support versus 52 for Chavez in voter intentions. The opposition’s big challenge is to invent their own proposals to compete with Chavez’s enormously popular oil-funded social programs, like the “Great Venezuelan Housing Mission,” that has built tens of thousands of new houses. “Chavez will not be able to run the campaign he wants to, but he doesn’t need to campaign as much as Capriles,” said Leon. Probably foreshadowing the race

to come, even from his Cuban hospital Chavez kept himself in the spotlight via Twitter messages, phone calls to state TV, a drip-drip of photos and videos, and a televised cabinet meeting. The only person giving information on his condition, Chavez has not said what kind of cancer he has or laid out a detailed prognosis, though he has announced he will need radiation treatments which are bound to take a heavy physical toll. Cancer experts say the treatment could last for a couple of months with nasty sideeffects possible towards the end. “The pelvis is a bit tricky because the field where he would have to have radiotherapy would encompass the rectum and the bladder and part of the small bowel so he is likely to have symptoms derived from the treatment,” said Sunil Daryanani, an oncologist at the Hospital de Clinicas Caracas. Whether the former soldier could recover before the campaign really kicks in has become a national guessing game. Last year, when surgeons removed a baseball-sized tumor, many thought Chavez would take more of a backseat. Yet even after chemotherapy that left him bald and bloated, Chavez played baseball, danced in public, hosted a regional summit, gave the world’s longestever presidential speech, and merrily declared himself “completely cured”. His optimism, which convinced six in ten Venezuelans he was free of cancer according to polls, was proven wrong with this year’s recurrence, and Venezuelans are now much more skeptical about whether he can stage a full recovery. Though possibly enhancing its chances of victory, the affair has sucked some of the air out of the headlines and momentum the opposition garnered from a primary election where a higher-than-expected 3 million voters participated. It has also overshadowed everyday problems like rampant crime and high cost of living. Capriles’ team is sticking to its strategy, wishing the president a speedy recovery while asking for more transparency about his condition, and trying to return the focus to issues like crime, jobs and health services. “We don’t agree with a country where the president decides everything about what we should know (on his health), and he is the central plank of the nation,” Capriles’ campaign manager Armando Briquet said. — Reuters


sp orts Paerson plans to quit

Paul wins Chile Classic

Woods withdraws from WGC

STOCKHOLM: Former Olympic and world champion Anja Paerson will retire after this week’s Alpine ski World Cup finals, bringing an end to a glittering 14-year career, the Swede said yesterday. Paerson, whose season has been hampered by a knee injury, made her World Cup debut at the 1998 finals in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and the season-ending event in Schladming, Austria, will be the 30year-old’s last. “Spectacular crashes and long, drawn-out injury problems over the last few years have reduced my ability to perform at the highest level,” Paerson said in a statement. “I have always been a fighter and this is a tough decision, but after thinking it over I am ready for new challenges in my life.” Paerson picked up a slalom gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, won seven world championship titles and two overall World Cup crowns, in 2004 and 2006. — Reuters

SANTIAGO: Paul Haley II won the Chile Classic in his third career Nationwide Tour start, closing with a 1-under 71 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory. The 24-year-old former Georgia Tech player shot 64 on Friday and Saturday to take a six-shot lead into the final round. He finished at 22-under 266 and earned $108,000 in the inaugural event. “I expected to come out here and play well, but nobody expects to win in their third professional start,” Haley said. “This is awesome.” Joseph Bramlett shot a 64 to finish second at Prince of Wales Country Club. Paul Claxton was another stroke back after a 68. Haley missed all but one fairway in his first 12 holes. “I felt like if I could just hit a fairway I’d be OK,” Haley said. “I was hitting my irons fairly well and my putter felt great all day. I figured if I could somehow get a ball in the fairway, the birdies would eventually come.” Haley found the fairway on the par-4 12th and made a 6-foot birdie putt to widen the lead to three, then hit the fairway on the par-4 14th and holed a 12-footer for birdie to push his advantage to four strokes. “The course setup was the hardest of the week and other than Joseph, nobody was going crazy low on the front nine,” Haley said. “I didn’t look to see how things were until 14. I wanted to know what I had to do to get it in.” — AP

DORAL: Tiger Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday with an Achilles tendon injury, raising doubts about his fitness for next month’s Masters at Augusta National. The former world number one had been limping during his final round when he abruptly called it quits and left the course after completing 11 holes. He was three-over-par for the day and seemingly out of contention to win the tournament. Woods initially told PGA officials it was a left leg injury but later clarified the nature of his problem in a statement. “I felt tightness in my left Achilles warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse. After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw,” he said. “In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary. “I will get my Achilles evaluated sometime early next week,” the statement concluded. Woods, who had changed shoes midway through the round, was escorted from the Blue Monster course on a buggy and taken to the carpark. — Reuters

Penguins see off Bruins

NHL results/standings Pittsburgh 5, Boston 2; Washington 2, Toronto 0; Florida 2, Carolina 0; St. Louis 2, Columbus 1; Calgary 4, Minnesota 3; New Jersey 4, Philadelphia 1; NY Rangers 4, NY Islanders 3 (Overtime); Los Angeles 3, Chicago 2 (Shootout).

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

St. Louis Detroit Nashville Chicago Columbus Vancouver Calgary Colorado Minnesota Edmonton Dallas Phoenix Los Angeles San Jose Anaheim

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 43 18 7 188 42 21 5 219 39 22 7 220 40 24 5 195 28 31 10 160 Northeast Division 40 25 3 222 36 25 9 216 32 29 8 171 30 31 8 200 27 32 10 183 Southeast Division 32 23 13 166 35 28 6 184 32 29 8 181 31 30 7 191 26 28 15 181 Western Conference Central Division 45 18 7 183 44 22 3 217 40 21 7 195 37 25 8 209 22 40 7 161 Northwest Division 42 19 8 215 32 25 12 173 36 30 4 183 29 30 10 150 26 35 7 180 Pacific Division 38 26 5 185 34 25 10 178 32 25 12 154 33 25 9 184 29 30 10 171

GA PTS 148 93 173 89 197 85 179 85 206 66 164 206 194 212 193

83 81 72 68 64

191 193 195 233 207

77 76 72 69 67

135 162 175 206 223

97 91 87 82 51

172 191 187 193 206

92 76 76 68 59

183 173 152 173 193

81 78 76 75 68

PITTSBURGH: James Neal had a goal and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Sunday for their ninth straight victory. Chris Kunitz, Arron Asham, Pascal Dupis and Matt Niskanen also scored for Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin had three assists to move into the NHL points lead with 84, two ahead of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots to run his personal winning streak to eight. David Krejci scored twice for the Bruins, but the Penguins chased Tim Thomas after the first period to keep the pressure on the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.

overtime. Slava Voynov and Jeff Carter scored in regulation for Los Angeles. Marcus Kruger and Patrick Kane scored for Chicago. Kane tied it at 2 at 7:36 of the third with his fifth goal in seven games. Panthers 2, Hurricanes 0 At Sunrise, Florida, Jose Theodore made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season as Florida beat Carolina to maintain the Southwest Division lead. Tomas Fleischmann scored in the second period, and

Rangers 4, Islanders 3 At New York, Marian Gaborik scored the Rangers’ third power-play goal in the dying seconds of overtime as New York snapped its season-worst, three-game regulation losing streak with a victory over the Islanders. With the Madison Square Garden crowd imploring the Rangers to “Shoot the puck,” Gaborik snapped a rising shot over goalie Evgeni Nabokov’s right shoulder to win it at 4:54. Brad Richards scored twice on the power play to reach 20 goals for the ninth time, and helped set up Gaborik’s winner for the Rangers. Brian Boyle also scored for the Rangers. John Tavares, Matt Moulson and defenseman Andrew MacDonald scored for the Islanders.

CHICAGO: Los Angeles Kings’ Mike Richards (10) checks Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp (10) during the second period of an NHL hockey game. —AP

Stewart uses bold move late to win at Las Vegas LAS VEGAS: Timing the restart perfectly, Tony Stewart dove to the edge of the apron and ducked under the two cars in front of him. With one bold move, the defending Sprint Cup champion was on his way to a redemptive win. Stewart made a three-wide pass on a late restart and held off Jimmie Johnson at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, winning at a track that was the site of his biggest disappointment last season. “We had to wait 365 days for a shot at it again,” Stewart said. “I might not have been so mad on the airplane had I known I was going to win a year later.” Stewart came back to Las Vegas with a new crew chief and the hope of having a little better luck than he had a year ago, when a pit mishap spoiled a chance at victory with what he believed to be the best car in the field. With Steve Addington calling the shots from the pit box, Stewart again had a good car in his return trip to the desert, uncatchable on the restarts and good enough to hold off Johnson, Greg Biffle and anyone else who tried to track him down. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a car that fast,” said Biffle, who finished third. “On the restarts, I’ve just never seen a car driving off like that.” Stewart got the lead with a did-he-just-dothat move with 34 laps to go in the 400-mile race. Coming around turn 4 to the start/finish line, Stewart charged up behind Brad Keselowski and timed it just right to dip below him on the apron. He zipped to the front and stayed there, pulling away on three more less-thrilling restarts over the final 17 laps. It was his sixth win in the past 13 Sprint Cup races and first on the 1.5-mile tri-oval not far from the bright lights of the The Strip. “We almost got too good a restart because I got such a good run on Brad, I almost got there too quick,” Stewart said. “If we’d have got there a foot earlier, we’d have had to check up and probably wouldn’t get a run and get underneath him like that.” A year ago, Stewart appeared to be cruising to Victory Lane at Las Vegas, only to be tripped up in the pits. He was penalized for leaving his pit stall with an air hose still attached and the team opted to take two tires on a later stop to get him back to

the front. Stewart did get to the front, but the rest of the teams saw that taking two tires would work and switched tactics. Forced to take four tires late in the race, he dropped to 22nd and ran out of time to catch Carl Edwards, finishing second. Stewart went on to win his third Sprint Cup championship, thanks to the five times he was able to get to Victory Lane. He fired crew chief Darian Grubb after the season and lured Addington from Penske Racing to replace him. Stewart was 16th at the Daytona 500 and had a good finish ruined last week at Phoenix after he turned off his car to save on fuel and couldn’t get it to re-fire, a problem believed to be linked to NASCAR’s new electronic fuel injection system. He was well back in the pack after a lengthy pit stop and finished 22nd. Stewart qualified seventh at Las Vegas and took his first lead on lap 135, beating Johnson on a restart. He lost the lead briefly on a cycle of green-flag pit stops and quickly regained it.

Capitals 2, Maple Leafs 0 At Washington, Michal Neuvirth made 23 saves for his third shutout of the season, and Brooks Laich and Matthieu Perreault scored in Washington’s victory over Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves for the Maple Leafs, who have lost four straight and 10 of 11, their fortunes barely changed in the five games since the change in coaches from Ron Wilson to Randy Carlyle. Toronto was coming off a 1-0 shootout loss at home to Philadelphia on Saturday night. Devils 4, Flyers 1 At Newark, New Jersey, Martin Brodeur made 18 saves for his 650th career victory and Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists in New Jersey’s victory over Philadelphia. Patrik Elias, Anton Volchenkov and Zach Parise also scored for the Devils, who have won four straight and five of their last six. With victory, the Devils pulled even with the fifth-place Flyers. Both teams have 85 points, although the Flyers have played one fewer game. Sergei Bobrovsky was in goal for the Flyers as the streaking Ilya Bryzgalov got a night off after starting 11 straight games. Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers.

Blues 2, Blue Jackets 1 At Columbus, Ohio, David Perron broke a tie early in the third period, and Jaroslav Halak made 33 saves to help NHL-leading St. Louis beat Columbus for its season-high fifth straight victory. Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis. The Blues, coming off a 4-1 victory over Columbus on Saturday night in St. Louis, have won nine of 10 to improve to 4518-7. Mark Letestu scored for Columbus. Kings 3, Blackhawks 2 At Chicago, Mike Richards scored the lone goal in a six-round shutout to lift Los Angeles past Chicago. Richards beat Ray Emery with a quick wrist shot after Emery stopped the Kings’ first five shooters. Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all six Chicago shooters after making 35 saves - including Viktor Stalberg’s third-period penalty shot - through

Marcel Goc added an empty-net goal. The Panthers, a point ahead of Washington in the division race, won for the second time in their past six games, and have beaten the Hurricanes in all four meetings this season. Cam Ward stopped 31 shots for Carolina.

He turned back a challenge by Keselowski and pulled away from Johnson on a final restart with four laps left to finally take the checkers, leaving Darlington and Kentucky as the only active tracks he hasn’t won at. “I really believe Tony is really coming into his own with Stewart-Haas Racing,” co-owner Gene Haas said. “He’s as calm as I’ve ever seen him, composed, very confident in what he does. I have no doubt this could be another pivotal year for Tony.” Johnson had to break out a backup car after a crash in practice on Saturday, sending him to the back of the field. He didn’t take long to get to the front, though, challenging Matt Kenseth for the lead by lap 83. Johnson, who has never won in a backup car, overtook Kenseth 16 laps later and stayed there until Stewart beat him on a restart on lap 134. The five-time Sprint Cup champion stayed within range and was third coming out of a caution with 17 laps, then quickly passed Biffle for second. — AP

LAS VEGAS: Tony Stewart (14) leads coming out of a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race. Stewart won the race. —AP

Flames 4, Wild 3 At St. Paul, Minnesota, Jarome Iginla scored early and set up Curtis Glencross’ go-ahead goal late with a botched shot that became a pass as Calgary hung on to beat Minnesota for its third straight victory. Glencross has a goal in seven straight games for the Flames, who moved into a tie for eighth place with the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference with 76 points. Sven Baertschi scored his first career goal to put the Flames up 2-0 early in the third period, but Erik Christensen scored twice for the Wild in less than 2 1/2 minutes to level it. Olli Jokinen also scored for Calgary. Devin Setoguchi had a late goal for Minnesota. —AP

Dour preseason frustrates Ferrari’s F1 title hopes MADRID: Ferrari’s dour preseason has undermined the Italian team’s Formula One title hopes, and will likely leave a frustrated Fernando Alonso in Red Bull’s rearview mirror again. Ferrari’s new design lacked competitive edge in testing and appears to have fallen behind McLaren and Lotus in the chase to dethrone Red Bull and two-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel. Pat Fry already said Ferrari has no shot at the podium in the season opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday as the team struggles to stabilize an already radically redesigned car. “I saw in (team principal Stefano) Domenicali and our engineers a great desire to show what they’re worth and to react to a winter program that didn’t live up to our targets,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said. “We will only discover the truth about where we stand compared to the others after Saturday’s qualifying session in Melbourne. Today we can only make assumptions.” Fry replaced technical director Aldo Costa last season with the Italian team struggling and the decision to take risks on this year’s design has left Ferrari looking vulnerable due to its inability to completely understand its car in testing. “The new car has certain characteristics that are difficult to understand and you could say we are not exactly where we want to be,” said two-time world champion Alonso, the Spanish driver going into his third season with the team. “But we’ve all lived through many Formula One seasons and we all know very well that until we’re in Australia we don’t really know where we stand regarding to the others.” Since Kimi Raikkonen edged Alonso and then McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton for the 2007 title in the season’s final race, the Italians have struggled to compete with McLaren and Red Bull, who have swept to three of the four titles since. Alonso, meanwhile, has twice lost championships in season finales, the last to Vettel during his debut season with Ferrari. Alonso won at Silverstone last year but Ferrari never mounted a serious challenge to Vettel, who won 11 of 19 races to become the youngest driver to win back-to-back titles - breaking Alonso’s record earned with Renault in 2005 and ‘06. Teammate Felipe Massa, meanwhile, is racing to keep his place on the team after two sub-par seasons following a serious crash in Hungary in 2009. The Brazilian driver, who lost the 2008 title on the last lap of the season when Hamilton edged him by a single point, hasn’t had a top-three finish in 21 races. Struggling on the track, Domenicali turned to the country’s storied tradition in football for inspiration. “To those who ask me if I would sign today for a third place in Melbourne, I would say that I’m not signing anything. Maybe the same will happen as in 1982 when in the World Cup, Italy got off to a bad start and then in the end, went on to win when it mattered,” said Domenicali, going into his fifth season in charge and still in search of his first title. “Sport goes in cycles ... and at the moment, this is the Red Bull cycle.” Perhaps Alonso should note Raikkonen’s words at the close of preseason testing last week. “There is no point to guess here. I don’t know who’s going to be fastest,” Raikkonen of Lotus said. “Nobody knows.” —AP


sp orts

Good story lines and some good NCAA picks NEW YORK: There’s only one No. 1 team in the country, as the selection committee made clear in picking Kentucky as the overall top seed in the NCAA tournament just a few hours after the Wildcats were upset by Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament final. No argument there. Actually, there wasn’t much to scream about on any of the tournament picks, which made for some dull moments among the talking heads on television. They spent all week sharpening their claws, only to find out the selection committee left them few targets to attack. If anything, the people who pick the field might have done their best work to date. They’ve got a formula that works, and they managed to find a way to tweak it this year to make things even more fun. How else do you explain a possible meeting of UNLV and Duke for the first time since the Blue Devils upset one of the greatest college teams ever 21 years ago in the Final Four? Even bet-

ter, Duke and Kentucky could meet in the South final almost 20 years to the day since Christian Laettner hit The Shot to give Duke a thrilling 104-103 win over the Wildcats in the East Regional final. So Drexel didn’t get in. So what. Nevada didn’t get an invite, either, and the Wolf Pack won 16 games in a row at one point during the season and lost only one conference game before falling in the WAC tournament. Glittering records just don’t count like they used to. Not with coaches loading up with soft nonconference games, so many so that 112 teams in the country had 20 wins or more. Win your conference title, and you’re in. Lose, and you’re just another 25-win team heading to the NIT. Besides, there are better things to do than complain. Like look forward to some tournament story lines like these: The Wildcats are so loaded that John Calipari’s biggest worry heading into the postseason was that his players would be so busy worrying about the NBA draft

that they would forget to take care of business. That might well have been the case last year when Kentucky was beaten in the national semifinals by Connecticut, and four players were picked in the draft. Complacency also might have set in Sunday, when the Wildcats lost to Vanderbilt and had a 24-game win streak snapped. This year up to six players could be drafted if all the underclassmen come out early, which begs the question: How does Calipari maintain Kentucky’s graduation rate with so many one-and-done players arriving on campus every season? There is no quieter top-five team in the country than the Tigers. That’s probably fine with first-year coach Frank Haith, who made the wrong kind of headlines before the season when questions were raised about his ties with a booster at the University of Miami who liked to show players a good time. Missouri benefited from a cupcake schedule early, but the Tigers won 30

games and the Big 12 title. Their fourguard team will cause mismatch problems for anyone. No, the Cardinals won’t make a run deep into the NCAA tournament, though that doesn’t make them any less fascinating. Lamar hasn’t lost since coach Pat Knight ripped into them for being, among other things, quitters and drug users. Psychologists can debate the method, but no one can debate Lamar’s place in the tournament after winning the Southland Conference tournament. Knight’s father, Bob Knight, called it his best day in college basketball, which almost made Brent Musburger cry on national television. This would be a great feel-good story, except it’s hard to feel good about anything father or son has to say. Bernie Fine won’t be on the bench for this Final Four run, and for a while it looked like Jim Boeheim might not be either. But Boeheim survived the child sex-abuse scandal surrounding his long-

time assistant and his team won 31 games to get the No. 1 seed in the East. Assuming yet another scandal - players on previous teams not being suspended for positive drug tests - doesn’t derail the Orangemen, they have a legitimate shot of making the title game for the fourth time in Boeheim’s 36 years in charge. My personal favorite in the tournament, if only because I love the way Tom Izzo coaches. He schedules tough teams and isn’t afraid to take a few hits doing it, something that happened this year in opening losses to Duke and North Carolina. His teams play hard night after night, which makes them especially difficult in tournaments, one reason Izzo has led the Spartans to six Final Four appearances in 16 years. Michigan State also has Draymond Green and one of the easier paths in the West region to make another run. So many good stories. Almost as many good teams. No need to manufacture controversy. And no need to whine about what might have been.—AP

Rose wins in Doral

MEXICO: French driver Sebastian Loeb (right) and co-driver Daniel Elena from Monaco, celebrate after winning the Mexican FIA World Rally Championship.—AFP

Loeb triumphs in Mexico MEXICO: Sebastien Loeb extended his lead in the world championship with a comfortable victory in the Rally Mexico on Sunday. The Frenchman won the rally for the sixth year in a row after starting the final day with a commanding 36-second lead which he increased to more than 42 seconds by the end. His Citroen team mate Mikko Hirvonen finished second and Norway ’s Petter Solberg came third, more than two minutes behind the winner, on the gravel stages around host city Leon. “I am very happy,” Loeb told reporters. “I always win here. It is a great result for the team as well, with Mikko finishing second, a one-two for us.” Solberg’s factory Ford team mate JariMatti Latvala was poised to finish third when he went off the road after getting

distracted when Russia’s Evgeny Novikov crashed ahead of him. Latvala finished the stage but the damage to his roll cage forced him to retire with two stages remaining. “I saw from far away Novikov’s car and I was very confused,” said the Finn. “I first thought the car was on the road and I made a movement to avoid it and my car went off and rolled. It took a lot to get it back on the road.” Norway’s Mads Ostberg recovered from a puncture to finish fourth while Estonia’s Ott Tanak was fifth and Qatar’s Nasser AlAttiyah sixth. Loeb, already an eight-time world champion, extended his lead in this year’s title race to 16 points after three of 13 rounds. He has 66 points with Hirvonen second on 50 and Solberg third with 47. The next rally is in Portugal at the end of the month.—Reuters

Britain takes leap of faith LONDON: Standing in neat lines in a south London gym, a squad of handpicked, tracksuited youngsters stretch their arms in unison, counting together in Mandarin. Taking the proverb ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ quite literally, Crystal Palace diving club has turned to Chinese expertise to foster Britain’s future Olympic hopes. “We always had good divers. But I thought that if we wanted medals en masse then we would have to do what the Chinese did,” club founder and former world champion Chris Snode said. Snode made the decision to recruit Chinese coaches seven years ago when London won the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics, and now 15 of the approximately 460 children in the program are in the top England talent squad, with their eyes set on Rio 2016. Key to the program, says Snode, is that rather than waiting for potential divers to come to them, they proactively go into schools to seek out youngsters with the right kind of physical attributes to excel at the sport. Those characteristics include flexibility, upper body strength and co-ordination. By the end of this month, the club will have tested 100,000 seven- to 10year-olds across the British capital, looking for perfectly pointed toes and naturally loose Achilles tendons. More than 90 percent of the young divers at the club have been chosen this way. It is a far cry from the 1970s, when Snode took up diving relatively late after some free vouchers were sent to his school, and was able to build on his natural ability because he happened to live near a diving pool with good coaches. “In the old days, you had to be lucky,” he said. The Crystal Palace training program is led by Chen Wen, who was Britain’s Olympic coach in 2004 and 2008 and Australia’s coach in 2000. Wen and his team have introduced greater discipline and hard work - getting the children to put in more hours and spending much more time practising

tumbles in a ‘dry gym’ that builds the athletes’ confidence. They have also brought in innovative new methods of using harnesses, bouncy boards and other equipment. “What they do is logical, it’s fascinating to watch,” Snode added. The squad is dominated by girls, who the coaches say are more likely to do activities such as gymnastics and dance that complement diving and build up early flexibility. “It’s harder to find boys,” admits assistant coach Chen Yang, shouting advice to the practising divers from the side of the pool. “They all play football.” That’s not a problem China has, he adds, though the desire to perform to an audience and plethora of competitions that are a feature of British schoolchildren’s lives are a rare advantage Westerners have over the Chinese. China’s divers are currently dominating the sport, winning all the diving golds at last year’s world championships and firm favourites to sweep the medals in August. Britain’s main London 2012 medal hope Tom Daley, who became a household name when he competed in Beijing at the age of 14 and then won the 10metre world platform championship a year later, has been struggling to live up to national expectations. However, Daley’s high profile has helped spark interest in the sport among young Britons, with the numbers of entries in the country’s club competitions rising significantly. “Tom’s been very good for British diving,” Snode said. The Olympics coming to home territory is largely shrugged off by the youngsters, most of whom have not been able to secure seats in the muchcriticised ticket lottery, meaning they won’t be able to see their older compatriots diving at the Aquatics Centre just a few miles away. But the minds of these confident young athletes are more on Rio than London. “One day we’ll get to the Olympics,” said 10-year-old Anais. “So we don’t need tickets, do we?”—Reuters

DORAL: England’s Justin Rose won the WGC- Cadillac Championship on Sunday by one stroke from American Bubba Watson after former world number one Tiger Woods set off alarm bells by withdrawing mid-round with injury. The composed Rose shot a final round 70 to finish at 16-under-par while Watson, who had led by three at the start of the day, ended at 15-under after closing with a 74. “These moments are incredible and they are few and far between as a golfer,” said Rose. “There has been a lot of work going on with my game and days like this, where it just all shows up, makes it all worthwhile.” Watson missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have forced a playoff but the left-handed American ultimately paid the price for four bogeys on the front nine. Rose, who had played smart and tidy golf all week, offered a glimmer of hope to his rival when he bogeyed the 18th after driving into the rough then launching his approach over the back of the green. The victory was the first in a WGC event for Rose and could move him into the top ten when the next edition of the world rankings are released. Watson had driven into the trees on the 18th but, knowing he needed a birdie, produced a magnificent shot to eight feet to give himself a chance of extending the contest only to miss the putt. “We just didn’t give enough. We thought it was not going to break as much and it broke about three inches too much,” said Watson. “I still had a chance in the end so I was proud of myself for fighting, not giving up, grinding it

out and never got down today.” World number one Rory McIlroy had put himself in the frame with an eagle on the par-five 12th but needed a birdie on the 18th to really put the pressure on Rose. But the Northern Irishman’s bogey left him two shots back in third place af ter carding 67 for the round. After shooting a 73 and 69 in his first two outings this week, McIlroy continued his impressive run of finishes following his victory in the Honda Classic last week. “I would have taken this after Friday, being only two-under par,” he said. “It’s been a really good weekend with lots of positive. It wasn’t quite the way I wanted to

finish but it’s still been a good week.” There was drama midway through the round when Woods, clearly in discomfort, withdrew on the 12th hole with an Achilles tendon injur y prompting concern about his fitness for next month’s Masters. Woods was three-overpar for the day and seemingly out of contention to win the tournament when he abruptly called it quits, returning to the carpark then driving himself off the course. “In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary,” he said in a statement. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel

showed good form ahead of his Masters title defence, shooting 68 to finish tied on fourth, three off the lead, with Dane Peter Hanson. American Keegan Bradley, the PGA Championship winner last year, was in contention until fading down the stretch with bogeys on the 15th and 17th and a double on the final hole. Australia’s John Senden impressed with his flawless round of 65 pushing him up to a tie for sixth with England’s Luke Donald, the world number two. Senden’s round was the equal best of the final day along with I talian Francesco Molinari who was also bogey-free in his 65—Reuters

MIAMI: Justin Rose of England hits a shot during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.—AFP

McNeill charges past Ishikawa

SANTIAGO: Paul Haley of United States holds up the trophy during the final round of the Chile Classic presented by Pacific Rubiales at Prince of Wales Country Club.—AFP

PUERTO RICO: American George McNeill birdied the last three holes to surge past Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and win his second PGA Tour title by two shots at the Puerto Rico Open on Sunday. The 36-year-old fired a three-under-par 69 at Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande to post a 16-under total of 272. Japanese sensation Ishikawa, seeking his first victory on the US circuit, had to settle for second place after closing with a six-birdie 68. American Boo Weekley (66) and Swede Henrik Stenson (71) were a further stroke back at 13 under in a tie for third. McNeill, who claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory as a rookie at the 2007 Open, held a one-stroke lead going into Sunday’s final round but trailed early finisher Ishikawa by one with two holes to play. “I was not aware that Ryo Ishikawa had the lead,” McNeill told reporters after mixing six birdies with three bogeys. I knew that I needed to make a few birdies coming in, and that’s the only thing I could really control. “After I birdied 16 and was walking up to the 17th green after I hit my second shot is when I saw that he had the lead with me. “So I had about a 10-footer there, and I said: ‘Well, I need to make it.’ So it was not like it was an easy cake walk, but it was a nice way to win.” McNeill rolled in birdie putts from 25, 10 and four feet at the 16th, 17th and the last to seal victory. Ishikawa, a winner of 10 professional titles worldwide, hoped to capitalise on his best PGA Tour finish. “I made three birdies in the last four holes, and it was great for me to be very close to the winning experience,” the 20-year-old said. “It felt like a dream sometimes. If I get the next chance (to win), I will grab it for sure.”—Reuters

Saint-Andre make changes against Wales MARCOUSSIS: France coach Philippe SaintAndre yesterday made six changes to his squad to take on Grand Slam-chasing Wales for the final day of the Six Nations tournament in Cardiff. The changes for this Saturday’s game follow the shattering 24-22 loss to England at the Stade de France on Sunday, a result that wrecked French hopes of successfully defending the title they won last year. In come lock Julien Pierre, flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, centre Florian Fritz, winger Alexis Palisson and full-back Jean-Marcellin Butin, who at 20 is called up to the international squad for the first time. Paying the price of the loss to the English are lock and former skipper Lionel Nallet, scrum-half Julien Dupuy, centre Maxime Mermoz and winger Julien Malzieu, while winger Vincent Clerc was not considered due to injury. “It’s sort of a page that’s turning,” said SaintAndre. “There are players injured, choices we

made, certain players who are very tired as well after three consecutive high-level matches. “Like Lionel Nallet for example, a monument of French rugby, an exemplary player. “We would have liked for the veterans to have an exceptional celebration Saturday in Cardiff. Unfortunately it’s not possible. It’s difficult but we have to think about the future.” “I wanted to really thank Lionel Nallet regarding his spirit, his professionalism. “I was lucky to coach him at Bourgoin and again in the France team. He knew that we had a sort of a deal together - if we played a final at Cardiff, he would have continued the adventure. Unfortunately the adventure finishes here.” Saint-Andre said that the decision to leave out Mermoz, 25, was strategic. “It’s more a strategic choice regarding the Welsh. We brought on two players who can play wing-back (Buttin and Palisson) while knowing that we have solutions at centre with Wesley Fofana, who started at

centre and finished on the wing,” he said. Florian Fritz was also given the nod ahead of Toulouse teammate Yann David, who suffered a groin injury two weeks ago and is not 100 percent fit. And Saint-Andre warned his side would not be taking their foot off the pedal against Wales who will win their second Six Nations title and Grand Slam of coach Warren Gatland’s four-year reign if they win at the Millennium Stadium. “There is the pride that comes with playing for your country and for the France team. Pride also at trying to take the Grand Slam off the Welsh in front of their public. We’re going to be in a packed stadium with an incredible atmosphere. “For them (the Welsh) it ’s a chance for revenge for the (World Cup) semi-final. We have to be courageous, with a lot of selfsacrifice, but I’m sure that the 23 French players are going to do everything to play a great match on Saturday in Cardiff.”—AFP




Distractions overshadow Olympic buildup in India NEW DELHI: Right when it should be overseeing the selection and final preparations for its team for London 2012, the Indian Olympic Association has been consumed with two more divisive and contentious issues. Persistent rumors of a boycott have all been ruled out, but constant speculation over the continued involvement of scandaltainted IOA president Suresh Kalmadi won’t go away. The IOA is under scrutiny by the International Olympic Committee for keeping Kalmadi as its figurehead - even without executive powers - while he fights corruption allegations stemming from his role in the organizing committee of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The IOC executive board meets in Lausanne today and tomorrow, and could refer Kalmadi’s situation to the ethics com-

mittee. Kalmadi has spent time in jail awaiting trial over the corruption allegations relating to the scandal-plagued New Delhi Games in 2010, with Vijay Kumar Malhotra performing all the presidential duties in a stand-in capacity. Malhotra says Kalmadi who has refused to resign - is innocent until proven guilty, and shouldn’t be denied natural justice. “We’ve been in touch with the IOC and have explained to them that Mr. Kalmadi is not running the affairs and that he has also not been pronounced guilty so far,” Malhotra told The Associated Press. “We’re not expecting any sanctions from the IOC because of these reasons.” Interest in Olympic sports has increased in this country of 1.2 billion since shooter Abhinav Bindra won India’s first ever individual Olympic gold medal at Beijing in 2008. The performances of athletes at the

2010 Commonwealth Games and at the Asian Games later that year also gave rise to increased expectations for London 2012. A number of doping cases has tarnished some of those performances, while Malhotra has had other concerns to deal with - namely calls for an Olympic boycott because of a sponsor’s links to a gas leak disaster in the central Indian city of Bhopal in 1984. Dow Chemicals, which is sponsoring an $11-million decorative wrap that will be installed around London’s Olympic Stadium, bought Union Carbide in 2000. Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant is blamed for a deadly gas leak that killed about 15,000 people and injured half a million. Critics argue that the purchase makes the US-based company responsible for lingering contamination and other issues. After pressure from lobby groups, the

IOA and the Indian sports ministry wrote to the IOC asking for Dow to be dropped as a sponsor. But the IOC has maintained the position that Dow was not responsible for the gas leak and the company would continue as an Olympic sponsor. Pere Miro, the IOC’s director of National Olympic Committee relations, wrote to the Indian sports ministry last week saying that the IOC sympathized with the grief of the victims’ families but that Dow had bought Union Carbide 16 years after the accident and 12 years after a compensation settlement was agreed upon. Malhotra appears to be against a full boycott of the London Games. “There is no question of a boycott but we may decide to take part under protest,” Malhotra said. But the issue has also been taken further by the sports ministry.

Amid unsubstantiated reports that Indian officials were considering staying away from official functions including the opening and closing ceremonies, India’s sports minister Ajay Maken said last week the government had not decided on a boycott. “What athletes feel will play an important role in our decision,” Maken told the CNN-IBN news channel, fueling more speculation about protest action at the London Games. Malhotra has subsequently accused the government of hypocrisy, citing its own association with Dow. “The government’s double speak has created more problems and weakened our case further. While it wants the (London) organizers to drop Dow as sponsor, a department of the agriculture ministry held a seminar last month which was sponsored by Dow,” Malhotra said. —AP

US head to Olympics after show of strength

Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins makes himself a credible Tour threat PARIS: Bradley Wiggins has made himself a credible Tour de France contender with his Paris-Nice victory, showing guts and composure to claim one of the biggest wins of his career on the road. A Tour route tailor-made for ‘rouleurs’, Alberto Contador’s absence, a strong team and a few lessons learnt mean that Wiggins will have the biggest chance of his career to win the greatest cycling race in the world. The Team Sky rider won the Paris-Nice race after claiming the final time trial, a 9.6-km dash to the Col d’Eze on Sunday that suggested Wiggins still had plenty left in the tank after a week of climbing and racing in the wind and cold. He became the first Briton to win the week-long ‘Race to the Sun’ since Tom Simpson in 1967. The late Simpson never won the Tour, but Wiggins surely has what it takes to make 2012 a vintage year for British cycling. This year’s Tour will feature 101.5 kms of time trials, compared with 65.5 last year and 60.9 in 2009, a great asset for Wiggins while it should dramatically reduce the chances of Andy Schleck, a pure climber who has always struggled against the clock. “It’s obvious that this Tour will favour Wiggins much more than the last two editions,” Radioshack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel, who guided Lance Armstrong to his seven Tour titles and Contador to his 2007 and 2009 triumphs on the French roads, told Reuters during Paris-Nice. Wiggins, however, believes freshness will be the key factor, especially in the final individual time trial, a 53.5-km ride between Bonneval and Chartres on the eve of the Champs Elysees parade. “It’s more about freshness. If you’re not fresh, your time trial abilities count for nothing,” the 31-year-old Wiggins told Reuters before the start of Paris-Nice. In 2009, Wiggins finished a decent sixth in the final time trial in Annecy, and Sunday’s performance in the uphill ride to the Col d’Eze suggested the three-times track cycling Olympic champion has enough energy to get through three weeks of racing - if he does not peak too early, that is. “You cannot win the Tour de France if

you also want to win the Dauphine (a few weeks earlier),” Bruyneel said, referring to Wiggins’s victory in last year’s Criterium du Dauphine. Another factor in the June 30-July 22 race will be Contador’s absence after the Spaniard was banned for failing a dope test during the 2010 race. Contador would have been the favourite and his absence will undoubtedly leave a spot available on the podium in Paris. Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia will probably start as the favourite now, but Wiggins will focus on himself. “You can’t worry too much about if he’s just concentrate on what you’re doing as a team and individually,” he said. Wiggins’s team on the Tour could feature several decent domestiques who could help him in the mountains, such as Australian Richie Porte or Colombian Rigoberto Uran. The Belgium-born Wiggins will have to deal with the presence of world champion Mark Cavendish in the team and his compatriot’s goal in the race could affect Team Sky’s line-up. “If they pick seven lead-out riders (for the sprints) it’s clear that I’m on my own for GC (general classification),” he said. His Paris-Nice win suggests, however, that Team Sky will put resources behind Wiggins, especially as several domestiques can double up for the lead-out. Wiggins even sees Cavendish’s presence as a blessing in disguise because it will allow him to ride towards the front of the peloton during the flat stages as Team Sky will look to set up the Manxman for the sprint finishes. Last year, Wiggins crashed out in the seventh stage, partially because of some bad positioning in the bunch. “One of the big gains of having Cav is you can ride more in the front. I’ll probably get a safer ride,” he explained. That lesson learnt, Wiggins should be able to rely on a well-oiled squad. “A great week for the team and we’re moving onwards and upwards. The way we rode and how we handled all the situations makes it a great result,” Team Sky sports director Sean Yates said on Sunday. —Reuters

PALMA DE MALLORCA: Spanish Edgar Torronteras performs at the freestyle motocross jumping demonstration during the FIM Indoor Trial World Motorcycling Championship. —AFP

ISTANBUL: ‘Watch out London the Americans are coming’ was the message after the US team recorded their best showing at the world indoor championships with 10 gold medals in Istanbul. Men’s team coach John Moon was in buoyant mood as the athletes, fresh from their record success, now turn their attention to the year’s main event, the Olympics. “Going into the championships I gave the team a challenge of 17 medals,” Moon told Reuters. “Some people might have thought that was foolish with such a young team. But we came here and got 18 medals. We sent a message that we are ready for London. I’m proud of this team and it was a team effort. “Of all of the big stars here, to come out with that many medals is great. They came to the challenge. A lot of these kids will be in London,” he added. One of the younger team members was 24-year-old Ashton Eaton, who was a class apart in the heptathlon and is seemingly able to break the world record at will after setting his third for the event in two years with 6,645 points. The US also have the Olympic gold medallist Bryan Clay and world champion Trey Hardee in their ranks. “If all of us are 100 percent healthy, and even 80 percent in shape, realistically we could sweep (the Olympic medals),” Eaton said. A revitalised Justin Gatlin showed he was heading back to his best after returning from a four-year doping ban by winning the men’s 60 metres from Jamaican Nesta Carter. It is likely, however, that he will face a much tougher test in

London against the likes of compatriot Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s world record holder Usain Bolt. The US also showed strength in depth in the jumps with one-two’s for Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach in the long jump and Will Claye and Christian Taylor in the triple. “Seeing everyone else do well was great,” said Claye. “The jumps in the US are coming back. Plenty of guys are jumping far. They are

Jelimo and Nataliya Dobrynska at the Atakoy Athletics Arena. Both pole vaulter Isinbayeva and 800 metres runner Pamela Jelimo suffered from injury and loss of form following their triumphs in Beijing but after taking breaks from the sport, the pair comfortably won their respective events. Russian world record holder Isinbayeva needed just two jumps to earn a fourth world indoor title

Chernova of Russia since. However, she stepped out of the shadows in Istanbul to break the pentathlon world record with a score of 5,013 and propel herself into the favourite’s position for London. All eyes were on Ennis and world 5,000 metres champion Mo Farah for the Olympic hosts and although neither won their events in Turkey, Britain finished second in the medals table with their best

ISTANBUL: United States’ Aries Merritt celebrates winning the gold medal in the Men’s 60m Hurdles final during the World Indoor Athletics Championships in this file photo. —AP good guys in college and (world champion) Dwight (Phillips) hasn’t even jumped yet this year.” There were some timely reminders from Olympic champions Yelena Isinbayeva, Pamela

Curvy dancing prepares Fujiwara for marathon TOKYO: The hip-shaking Japanese fitness fad of curvy dancing helped marathon runner Arata Fujiwara to qualify for the London Olympics. Hiromi Kashiki, the creator of the popular dance style based on highly suggestive hip-gyrating movements, says Fujiwara, who visited her studio for a one-on-one workout the day before last month’s Tokyo Marathon, is a natural. “When I first saw Fujiwara, I noticed his pelvis was going up and down, left and right - it wasn’t very stable,” she told Reuters in her Tokyo dance studio. “I tried to make sure his pelvic area was more relaxed - removing wasted energy to release that explosive power.” Fujiwara said: “Up till now I’ve been really bad at using my hips effectively. After I got some lessons from Kashiki and her curvy dancing my running style dramatically improved.” The 30-year-old Fujiwara qualified for the Japan team by finishing runner-up in Tokyo with a personal best of two hours, seven minutes, 48 seconds. Qualification was a personal triumph for Fujiwara, who quit a marathon squad bankrolled by Japan Rail to go solo two years ago. He relied on donated shoes and trained in a Tokyo park. “I don’t have any cash but people have helped me out in all sorts of ways, so I’ve been able to get by,” he told Reuters under the plum blossoms in the park. “It was a real struggle. (Ernest) Hemingway says in one of his short stories (‘A Moveable Feast’): ‘Hunger was a good discipline’. Well it’s exactly like that. “Being starving, being hungry, really was character-building.” Fujiwara will be joined in London by Ryo Yamamoto, 27, and Kentaro Nakamoto, 29. The Olympics begin on July 27 with the men’s marathon on Aug. 12. —Reuters

while Jelimo sped away on the final lap to win the 800. Ukraine’s Dobrynska won the Olympic heptathlon title but has been overshadowed by Britain’s Jessica Ennis and Tatyana

haul of nine medals, including two gold thanks to surprise victories for 39-year-old Yamile Aldama in the women’s triple jump and the women’s 4x400 relay team. —Reuters

Kauto Star leads all star cast CHELTENHAM: The genteel Georgian town of Cheltenham will from today become the centre of the universe for jump racing enthusiasts as it plays host to the 2012 National Hunt Festival. Cheltenham is famed for its spa but over the next four days stout and champagne rather than water will be the liquids of choice as racegoers from Ireland and England descend on the Cotswolds for jump racing’s top draw. The feast of racing begins with the opening day’s Champion Hurdle and concludes on Friday with the compelling Gold Cup clash between Long Run and his nemesis this season Kauto Star - the latter’s well-being permitting. The Gold Cup hero in 2007 and 2009 has made a remarkable recovery from a heavy fall when schooling last month and barring further mishap is set to line up for the big one. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, and owner Clive Smith are due to make a final decision late yesterday. The chasing machine, who has earned almost £2.4 million ($3.76 mn) during his stellar career, has achieved such celebrity status even Queen Elizabeth II was inquiring after his health last week. The veteran, known as ‘the extra-terrestrial’ in his native France, also has his own Facebook page with over 10,000 followers. Kauto Star is just one of a strong team representing champion trainer Nicholls this week. Today he has Zarkander, third favorite in the Champion Hurdle behind Ireland’s defending titleholder Hurricane Fly and former winner Binocular. Thursday sees Big Buck’s try for a fourth consecutive World Hurdle The staying hurdle phenomenon - he’s unbeaten over the smaller obstacles since 2008 - is many people’s idea of the banker of the meeting. Then on Friday, all being well, comes the mouthwatering rematch between Long Run and Kauto Star. Long Run put the seven-year older Kauto Star firmly in his place last year but Kauto has returned this season with all

guns blazing, blasting Long Run aside in both the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26. Successful in the blue riband in 2007 and 2009 Kauto Star is seeking not only to join a rare club of triple Gold Cup winners but also become the oldest winner of the race since What A Myth triumphed in the 1969 edition aged 12 like Nicholls’ flagbearer. After watching the French bred work at Wincanton racecourse on Friday Nicholls said: “What I like is that he’s in the sort of nick he was in before (his victories) in the King George and at Haydock. He looks fantastic, he’s feeling great and he’s full of enthusiasm, and that’s what you want.” Cheltenham has borne witness to some gripping moments of sporting drama over the years but if Kauto Star does run up the famous Cheltenham hill to claim victory it will be a story to surpass any that have gone before. Standing in his way though is the formidable presence of Long Run, who like last year is being ridden by leading amateur rider and owner’s son Sam WaleyCohen. The Nicky Henderson-trained sevenyear-old warmed up for his title defence with a confidence boosting win at Newbury last month, although his workmanlike defeat of stablemate Burton Port did not seduce everyone. But the man on board on Friday is a believer, Waley-Cohen telling The Telegraph last week: “I think there is more, and better, to come from Long Run. “To be mixing it with Kauto Star - I really hope he’s over his fall and runs next Friday - already puts you on the doorstep of the greats. “The dream is not just to ride the winner of the Gold Cup but to ride a horse who made the Gold Cup his own race. “I honestly believe that like Kauto before him, Long Run could be a horse of a lifetime.”—AFP



Azarenka advances, Kvitova bundled out

INDIAN WELLS: Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a backhand to Denis Kudla during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. — AFP

Nadal, Federer ease through INDIAN WELLS: Twice champion Rafa Nadal and triple winner Roger Federer barely raised a sweat as they each cruised into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with imperious victories on Sunday. Spaniard Nadal ruthlessly dealt with Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1 6-3 before Swiss maestro Federer eased past American wild card Denis Kudla 6-4 6-1 in the evening session at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Left-hander Nadal, who has reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells in his last six appearances, broke Mayer twice in each set to wrap up a commanding win in one hour, 15 minutes. In dazzling afternoon sunshine, the match ended when a Mayer forehand sailed wide and Nadal removed his green headband in triumph as the near-capacity crowd erupted in applause. “It’s nice to be back playing at the very good level,” the Spaniard, who will next face compatriot Marcel Granollers, told reporters. “Winning is the most important thing. “It’s not easy to be back after a while without competition, but I did really well. I started the match very focused, very aggressive. I’m very happy about almost everything.” Nadal, who dominated Mayer with his crunching ground strokes from behind the baseline, had not competed since he lost an epic Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January. The world number two enjoys a superb record at Indian Wells where he won the title in 2007 and 2009 and was beaten in last year’s final by Serb Djokovic. “This is a tournament that I love,” said the 25-year-old from Mallorca. “I enjoy a

lot playing this tournament. Always in my career I’ve had good success here. I have played very good matches.” Granollers had earlier booked his place in the third round with a 6-3 2-6 6-3 win against Germany’s Tommy Haas. World number three Federer, who is shaking off a flu bug and slight temperature, broke Kudla twice in the opening set and three times in the second to wrap up a onesided victory in under an hour. “I’m always relieved and happy when I am able to find my way into a tournament, see where you’re at,” said the 16times grand slam champion, whose entire family has been sick. “It’s a good start for me. I didn’t know Kudla very much, or at all really, so it was a good win for me. I’m looking forward to what’s next.” Federer, who won three consecutive titles at Indian Wells from 2004, next faces towering Canadian Milos Raonic, a 6-4 6-2 winner against Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq. Asked how he felt health-wise, Federer replied: “I have a bit of a combination (of flu and a cold). Not a terrible temperature, but I have some things going on. But I’m the best off in my family... the rest of them are struggling much more.” In other matches, fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer crushed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2, David Nalbandian of Argentina battled past Croat Marin Cilic 7-6 7-6 and Serb Janko Tipsarevic beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4 6-2. Sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced when fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra retired hurt because of a knee injury when trailing 4-1. The bigserving Tsonga will next face Czech Radek Stepanek, who crushed Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 6-2 6-1. — Reuters

INDIAN WELLS: Top seed Victoria Azarenka charged ominously into the fourth round of the Indian Wells WTA tournament on Sunday while third-seeded Petra Kvitova made an unexpected early exit. Belarusian world number one Azarenka crushed Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1 6-2, improving her record to 19-0 this year, but Kvitova was ousted 2-6 6-2 6-3 by American teenager Christina McHale. The pony-tailed Azarenka, who was taken to a third set tiebreak in her opening match against Germany’s Mona Barthel, broke Kuznetsova three times in the first set and twice in the second to sweep through. Serving for the match at 5-2, she went 40-15 up before double-faulting but then sealed the win on the next point when her opponent’s backhand flew long. “I’m really pleased with that,” a smiling Azarenka told reporters after dispatching Kuznetsova in one hour. “We have practised quite a few times, and I know she’s a great player. “She has so much experience and she’s been a grand slam winner, so I knew she was gonna be dangerous. “I really had to step it up from my last match,” she added, referring to her threehour battle with Barthel. “I’m glad I could perform much better... and show some good tennis.” Kuznetsova, who won the 2004 US Open and the 2009 French Open, had won four of their previous meetings but she was outplayed by the Belarusian on a sun-splashed afternoon in the California desert. Azarenka, who clinched her first grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January, will next meet Germany’s Julia Goerges, a 6-3 6-4 winner against Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues. Goerges, who won her second WTA singles title in Stuttgart last year, was eager to take on the game’s top player. “Of course, when you play No. 1 in the world you have nothing to lose,” the 23-year-old said. “She’s a tough player, she’s just recently won a first grand slam and hasn’t lost so far a match this year. “I will just try to focus on my game and play

my game, and then I see how far it brings me. It’s a tough challenge... but I will be ready for it.” Kvitova made a strong start against the 19year-old McHale before errors began creeping into her game and she was bundled out of the tournament after a match lasting nearly two hours. “She played very solid and she didn’t have many mistakes,” the Czech said. “She was moving very well, and she played a lot of shots to the back. My serve was not too good, too, so it was tough.” French Open champion Li Na beat fellow Chinese Zheng Jie 6-1 6-3, her first victory over her compatriot in five career meetings. “It’s always tough to play a same-country player because we know each other a lot,” said Li, who became the first Asian woman to win a

INDIAN WELLS: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a shot to Christina McHale during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. — AFP

Afghanistan eye T-20 after Asia Cup snub DUBAI: Afghanistan are determined to use their resentment over being snubbed for the Asia Cup to fire them to a second appearance at the World Twenty20. The Afghans are among the favorites to land one of the two places up for grabs at the 2012 finals in Sri Lanka in September and October when the 16-nation qualifying tournament starts today. But such has been the team’s remarkable progress in recent years-from a ramshackle unit developing a love of the sport in refugee camps on Pakistan’s wild frontier to attaining one-day status-that they believe they deserve more respect. The team are angry that they were overlooked for the Asia Cup in Dhaka this week, where they could have faced regional powers

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “We are not featuring in the Asia Cup, that is really disappointing,” said hard-hitting batsman and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi, who was the leading wicket-taker when Afghanistan qualified for the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. “How are we going to improve if we do not play against these teams? “The ICC should also make sure that any team that comes to Asia for a series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India also plays one-dayers or Twenty20s against Afghanistan,” Nabi told Afghanistan will once again be coached at the qualifiers by Kabir Khan, who has returned to the hot seat, succeeding Rashid Latif.—AFP

Six continents collide at 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge ABU DHABI: The world’s ultimate desert rally, the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (30 March - 6 April) is set to feature an even more varied line-up than ever before, with some 35 different nationalities and a record number of female competitors already signed up to tackle the towering dunes and spectacular terrain of the formidable Liwa Desert. With the registration deadline for the 22nd edition of one of the world’s toughest and most popular cross-country rallies just hours away, the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), organiser of the race, has confirmed it has already received entries from across six continents. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, said: “The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is a ‘Must’ for all serious rally drivers and riders. It is renowned for testing participants and their machines, to their absolute limits, giving them a chance to really prove themselves in front of their peers. That is why, in its 22nd year, it continues to attract such a strong line-up of entrants from around the world.” In a significant development for the race, 2012 sees a marked increase in entrants from South America, with competitors from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Uruguay

already confirmed. By attracting growing numbers of entrants from a continent where rallying is extremely popular, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will further spread the names of one the world’s most beautiful and spectacular locations, the Western Region of Al Gharbia. Among the contestants battling it out across the breathtaking dunes and stunning scenery of the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter), there will once again be a strong contingent from right across the Middle East. Notably, the UAE’s entrants include two of the region’s most famous rally drivers, Sheikh Abdulla Al Qassimi and 2004 FIA World Cup champion Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei. Al-Mutaiwei, who recently announced his return to international cross-country rallying after an eight-year absence, will race with the celebrated German X-raid team. Another of the region’s most experienced rally drivers, Sheikh Abdulla Al Qassimi will take on the Desert Challenge in a Powertech Buggy, having claimed podium places for the past two years in the Middle East Rally Championship. An indication of the increasing popularity of cross-country rallying among female racers, the global appeal of the rally sees the number of participants rise to six this year.

grand slam singles title with her victory over Italian Francesca Schiavone in Paris last year. “We stay in the national teams so we practise every day and travel all of the time, so it’s very tough. But I was so happy because it’s the first time I beat her. “The last meeting was six years ago, so six years can change many things,” added Li, who is affectionately known as “Big Sister Na” and “Golden Flower” in China. In other matches, fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland eased past Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-2 while Czech Klara Zakopalova was gifted a spot in the fourth round when Russian Vera Zvonareva became the latest victim of a viral infection affecting the tournament. — Reuters

Desert Challenge regular and UAE resident, Sheila HuttonBarker will again compete in a Nissan Patrol as co-driver to her husband Ian. The Brit will be joined by contestants from Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Italy, including the most experienced female quad biker in the field, Camelia Liparoti. This year riding a Yamaha Raptor 700 quad bike, Liparoti has taken on and completed the Abu Dhabi Deser t Challenge three times before, providing the ideal springboard to help her claim the crown of women’s champion of the FIM Cross Country Rallies Championship for the past three years. The Desert Challenge is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler ’s Representative in the Western Region, and with support from a number of key partners including as the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Nissan and ADNOC. This year it serves as the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship season-opener and the second round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. It offers spectators unrivalled, free access to top-class motorsport in a number of breathtaking settings, with dedicated, easy-to-access viewing points in the beautiful desert of Al Gharbia.

World T20 places at stake DUBAI: International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has called the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier that begins in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today “the biggest development event in cricket history”. It is not an empty boast as 16 teams from cricket’s second and third tiers will play 71 matches at five venues over 12 days, with two places at stake in September’s main event in Sri Lanka. The UAE tournament follows on from 12 qualifying events to reach this stage that took place in locations including Ghana, Slovenia, Nepal and Florida. The previous ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in 2010 involved eight teams playing 17 matches over five days at two venues, while last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, won by India, featured 49 matches and was spread over 43 days and 13 venues in three countries - Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. “The fact this qualifier’s footprint, thanks to the tournament itself and the qualifying events that preceded it, touches so many places around the world is a great sign for the health of the game and interest in it globally,” Lorgat told Reuters yesterday. For the first time, a cricket tournament involving teams outside the world’s top 10 will have global television coverage. The ICC has reached agreements with its official broadcasters in Asia, Africa and the Americas to show six matches over the final three days at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Those matches will also be streamed live on the internet, as will 14 other matches over seven days. The tournament lacks the abundance of big names that Sri Lanka’s main event will contain but there is still a sprinkling of quality on show. Ireland will have vice-captain Kevin O’Brien, who last year scored the fastest hundred in the history of the 50over World Cup, reaching three figures from 50 balls en route to a 63-ball 113 that helped his side to a famous win over England in Bangalore. “It is massive (for us to qualify) as people in Ireland and other countries expect us to be at every World Cup that is on,” O’Brien told Reuters in the build-up to the tournament. “With only two teams qualifying and with Twenty20 being so unpredictable, it would be stupid to rule out any team. That does bring extra pressure (on us) but we have got a very talented team and if we play to our strengths then hopefully that will be enough to come out on top.” Ireland are the pre-tournament favourites, having reached the past two ICC World Twenty20s, in England in 2009 and the West Indies in 2010. Their main rivals are expected to be Afghanistan, who beat them in the final of the qualifying event two years ago, Canada, the Netherlands and Scotland. The Netherlands beat 2009 hosts England in the opening match but are without leading all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate this time. Papua New Guinea are boosted by the inclusion of Geraint Jones, the former England wicketkeeper and part of the Ashes-winning team in 2005, who has opted to play for the country of his birth. “I saw playing for PNG as an opportunity to play some international cricket again and maybe get to a World Cup which I did not get a chance to do with England,” Jones told Reuters from the team’s pre-tournament camp in Canberra, Australia. Former Australia one-day international batsman Michael di Venuto, now playing for English county side Durham, is lining up for Italy, qualifying because he has an Italian passport. The sides are divided into two groups of eight with group A featuring Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark and Nepal. Group B is made up of Ireland, Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Uganda, Oman, Italy and the US. The final is on March 24 and admission to all matches is free. — Reuters



Inter’s Ranieri hopes to cry more tears of joy

MUNICH: Basel’s German defender Markus Steinhoefer (center, left) and Basel’s Korean defender Joo Ho Park (center, right) joke during the final team training on the eve of the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen second leg match against Bayern Munich.—AFP

Bayern’s hopes on a knife edge MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s hopes of playing in a Champions League final in their own stadium will be hanging on a knife edge today as they face a 1-0 deficit against an FC Basel side unbeaten in their last 17 outings. Despite thrashing Hoffenheim 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Bayern are treading warily against Basel who are attempting to become the first Swiss team to reach the last eight of Europe’s top club competition for 33 years. “The win over Hoffenheim will give us some thrust for today,” said coach Jupp Heynckes ahead of the second leg of the round-of-16 tie. “The game on Saturday was proof that we can score goals. But Basel will not make it as easy as Hoffenheim,” said Heynckes who twice led Bayern to the semi-finals of the European Cup during a previous stint at the club which lasted from 1987-91. Bayern, whose stadium hosts this year’s final, have won 11 of their last 12 European games at home, yet have made a habit of slipping up at the Allianz Arena at crucial moments. Three of their last four Champions League campaigns ended when they failed to win games on home turf. Last season, Bayern went out at the same stage when they lost 3-2 at home to Inter Milan, having won 1-0 away in the first leg. A 1-1 draw against Barcelona sent them out 5-1 on aggregate in 2009 and two years before that, Bayern lost 2-0 at home to AC Milan in the quarter-finals, having drawn the first leg 2-2 away. Basel are unbeaten and have scored in every match away from home in the competition this season, their most impressive result being a 3-3 draw at Manchester United after trailing 2-0 at halftime. Basel coach Heiko Vogel spent nine years working with Bayern’s youth team before moving to Basel as assistant to Thorsten Fink. He was giving the senior role last year after Fink left to join Hamburg SV and has been an instant hit. After losing at home to Benfica on his debut, Vogel’s team has

gone unbeaten for 17 games, beating Manchester United 2-1 to qualify for the knockout stages at their expense and also overcoming Bayern in the first leg. Vogel has repeatedly played down his Bayern connections. “It would be an unbelievable triumph if a Swiss team reached the quarter-finals and that should be the main thing. Beating Bayern Munich, my former employees, does not play a role,” he said. “We have our qualities. My team have a deep belief in their capabilities, so we go onto the pitch without worries no matter who is on the other side.” Basel’s progress has come in an otherwise miserable season for Swiss football with the national team having failed to qualify for Euro 2012. Neuchatel Xamax were kicked out of the Swiss league for a series of administrative irregularities under Russian-born owner Bulat Chagaev while Servette Geneva’s future is uncertain after they filed for bankruptcy 10 days ago. FC Sion had 36 points deducted for fielding ineligible players and taking their case to the civil court in defiance of FIFA statutes which at one point led to the possibility of Switzerland being suspended from international football. Vogel said he was aware that his career would not always be as smooth as it has so far. “I’m going to make a 1,000 mistakes,” he said. Basel will be hoping he does not start making them on Tuesday. Probable teams: Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21Philipp Lahm, 17-Jerome Boateng, 28Holger Badstuber, 27-David Alaba; 30-Luiz Gustavo, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 10Arjen Robben, 25-Thomas Mueller, 7-Franck Ribery; 33-Mario Gomez FC Basel: 1-Yann Sommer; 27-Markus Steinhoefer, 19-David Abraham, 6Aleksandar Dragovic, 3-Park Joo Ho; 17Xherdan Shaqiri, 8-Benjamin Huggel, 34Granit Xhaka, 20-Fabian Frei; 9-Marco Streller, 13-Alexander Frei.—Reuters

Farias stuns Boca to give Independiente 5-4 win BUENOS AIRES: Striker Ernesto Farias scored a hat-trick including a brilliant lastgasp winner to give Independiente a 5-4 upset victory over Boca Juniors in a pulsating Clausura championship clash at the Bombonera on Sunday. Champions Boca, who conceded their first goals in the championship, had looked set to claim the three points having come back from two goals down after seven minutes and 3-1 behind near the end of the first half to lead 4-3 with one minute to go. But Farias struck twice in the final stages to seal the unlikely victory for the visitors, their first points after four opening defeats. I t was not enough to lif t Independiente off the bottom of the table but brought some welcome cheer after coach Ramon Diaz resigned following last weekend’s home defeat by Argentinos Juniors with Cristian Diaz taking over as caretaker. “You’ve always got to want it right up to the end. The team have come away with victory we always sought,” Farias told broadcasters Futbol Para Todos after the ‘clasico’ between two of Argentina’s traditional Big Five clubs. Boca, slumping to their second consecutive home defeat after they lost 2-1 to Brazil’s Fluminense in the Libertadores Cup on Wednesday, slipped off the top of the standings with Tigre taking over on 13 points from five matches after a 2-0 win at Banfield. Independiente shocked Boca by going in front after only 40 seconds with a goal by midfielder Patricio Vidal and in the seventh minute defender Osmar Ferreyra curled a free kick past goalkeeper Agustin Orion to put them two up. Facundo Roncaglia pulled one back in the 13th minute when he headed home a cross to the far post from fellow defender Rolando Schiavi. With playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme trying to get a grip on midfield and dictate Boca’s fightback, Independiente

restored their two-goal advantage just past the half hour with Farias’s diving header. Boca kept in touch, though, as Riquelme pulled a cross down in first half stoppage time and shot with the ball going in off Ferreyra’s outstretched leg. The champions equalised six minutes into the second half with Roncaglia’s second goal af ter a blunder by Independiente’s young goalkeeper Diego Rodriguez and they went ahead after midfielder Pablo Ledesma’s headed home in the 75th. Former River Plate and Porto striker Farias, saving his best for last, equalised when his header found the net at the far post when defender Eduardo Tuzzio sent in a tight cross from the right in the 90th minute. In the fourth minute of added time, Farias chased a long clearance, slipped past Schiavi and chipped Orion from just inside the box to stun a packed Bombonera as Boca’s unbeaten league run ended at 33 matches. Boca will be licking their wounds as they prepare to face fellow Argentine side Arsenal in a key Libertadores Cup match tomorrow having taken only one point from a possible six in Group Four. —Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Champions League Bayern v Basel Aljazeera Sport +5 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


Inter v Marseille Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Aljazeera Sport +4


ITALY: Inter Milan coach Claudio Ranieri believes it would be a crying shame if his improving side fail to overturn their 1-0 deficit in today’s Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Olympique Marseille. Inter won their first match in 10 games in all competitions when two late goals sealed a 2-0 Serie A victory at Chievo Verona on Friday and Ranieri was so overjoyed he had tears in his eyes. While 2010 champions Inter are digging themselves out of a hole, Marseille have slipped into the mire with four straight defeats since their first-leg win and Ranieri sees an opportunity. “Emotion is the most beautiful thing. I do this job to feel emotions, both positive and negative, but to tell the truth the positive ones are better,” he said. “I hope that today against Marseille the San Siro will be full and the fans will be urging us on. It won’t be an easy game, but we’ll try. We have a chance. Let’s try to see what we can manage to do with our fans behind us.” Inter will be without suspended defender Cristian Chivu while centre back Andrea Ranocchia and midfielder Ricardo Alvarez are injured. Ranieri’s team selection will be hard to predict for counterpart Didier Deschamps after the Italian tried various formations in recent weeks to try to stop the rot. He played three up front in the 2-2 home draw with Catania last weekend, when Inter’s nervousness at home was again exposed as they went 2-0 down, but reverted to a 43-1-2 against Chievo with playmaker Wesley Sneijder coming in.

MILAN: Olympique de Marseille’s players warm up during a training session on the eve of the Champions League football match against Inter Milan. —AFP Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini replaced fellow striker Diego Forlan and previously out-of-form Esteban Cambiasso came on for Andrea Poli before Walter Samuel’s and forward Diego Milito’s late goals in Verona. Marseille’s reversal of fortune was unexpected given their 1-0 win over Inter at the Stade Velodrome last month had stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 16 matches. Deschamps, a former Juventus player and manager who knows all about the Italian game, rested several key players on Friday when Marseille lost 1-0 at AC Ajaccio.France winger Mathieu

Valbuena and holding midfielder Alou Diarra came on only as second-half substitutes while Morgan Amalfitano and Loic Remy played one half as Deschamps tried to keep his squad fresh. “It was Didier’s decision so that the players can be fully fit on Tuesday in Milan. I think we will be fine physically speaking,” assistant coach Guy Stephan told the club’s website ( Ghana striker Andre Ayew, who scored the injury-time winner in the first leg, is also likely to be fit to play after recovering from a shoulder injury as Marseille seek

their first goal since his header. Possible teams: Inter: 1-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 25-Walter Samuel, 6-Lucio, 55-Yuto Nagatomo; 4-Javier Zanetti, 19Esteban Cambiasso, 5-Dejan Stankovic; 10-Wesley Sneijder; 22Diego Milito, 7-Giampaolo Pazzini. Marseille: 30-Steve Mandanda; 2- Cesar A zpilicueta, 3-Nicolas N’Koulou, 21-Souleymane Diawara, 24-Rod Fanni; 17Stephane Mbia, 4-Alou Diarra, 7Benoit Cheyrou, 28-Mathieu Valbuena, 18-Morgan Amalfitano; 11-Loic Remy.—Reuters

Panigoro backs Indonesia after govt cut off funds SINGAPORE: Indonesia’s beleaguered football association (PSSI) will get a shot in the arm from a group of businessmen led by oil and gas tycoon Arifin Panigoro, who will make up a funding shortfall after the government cut off support, the PSSI has told Reuters. PSSI Vice President Farid Rahman told Reuters in a recent interview that Panigoro would support the organisation, which has been plagued by infighting and has been blamed for the national team’s humiliating 10-0 defeat by Bahrain in their World Cup qualifier last month. Indonesia were forced to field a hugely inexperienced side after world governing body FIFA banned them from picking any players from the rebel Indonesian Super League (ISL), which the PSSI has refused to recognise. The shock result, which led to a ‘routine FIFA investigation’, was the final straw for the government, who opted to pull their funding last week. “The shortfall will be covered by Arifin and other businessmen who love Indonesian football, there are several friends but he is the head of that,” Rahman told Reuters in an interview in Singapore. “This shows his commitment. For the future of Indonesia football Arifin will do a lot, he is sacrificing a lot in order to make Indonesian football better.”

Rahman did not reveal how much funding the group would provide but said the PSSI required $40 million a year to revamp all aspects of soccer in the country, including introducing sports science programmes and establishing more youth teams. “(Ideally) the $40 million would involve money coming from government funding and TV rights and sponsors and ticket sales,” Rahman explained. Rahman said the government would renew their funding if the PSSI brings the two leagues together, or under control at least. FIFA wants that to happen before March 20 or sanctions could be imposed. “Hopefully,” was Rahman’s response when asked if Indonesia would avoid a ban from international competition. The PSSI has not had its troubles to seek. Last year, under the guidance of former chairman Nurdin Halid, the association was fortunate to avoid suspension after failing to control the then-rebel Indonesian League (LPI) and arrange leadership elections. Halid eventually left office after losing a July election to Panigoro-backed Djohar Arifin Husin and the LPI became the PSSI’s recognised league. However, Halid’s former deputy Nirwan Bakrie restarted the ISL and reignited the old

problems. Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said last week he could not intercede due to FIFA rules preventing government interference but asked for the two side to reach a resolution for the good of the nation. Soccer is hugely popular in Indonesia but the national team have failed to appear at a World Cup since 1938 and missed out on qualifying for last year’s Asian Cup. The recent 10-0 defeat left Indonesia 147th out of 208 teams in the FIFA rankings. Rahman said he had no idea the mess he and his colleagues were walking into when they took office at the PSSI in July but said they were committed to fixing the issues. “For eight years, or maybe 16 years, there was lots of mismanagement. The last eight years during the Nurdin Halid era, but even before then it was not in a good condition. “To have a better football environment in the future we have to start from zero. It is not easy, we have to struggle, we have to start with the youth team development. With clean and honest fair competitions with a strong management of the PSSI and finance ability to support these activities. “We still need the government funding. It will be a big problem for Indonesian football (without it).”—Reuters

Ronaldinho sent off after scoring in Flamengo win SAO PAULO: Ronaldinho scored a goal but was sent off in the first half of Flamengo’s 2-0 win over Fluminense in the Rio Cup on Sunday. In the Sao Paulo state tournament, Palmeiras thrashed Botafogo 6-2 with two goals by Argentine striker Hernan Barcos. The team moved to within a point of leader Corinthians. Ronaldinho converted a 23rd-minute penalty, then was shown a red card in the 40th after he caught midfielder Wagner’s foot in a hard challenge. The two-time FIFA Player of the Year received his first yellow card eight minutes into the match for a hard foul at Engenhao stadium. “The referee had already told me he was going to send me off, he told me not to make any more fouls,” Ronaldinho said as he left the field. World Cup veteran Kleberson scored for Flamengo in the 25th minute as Brazil’s most popular club held on despite Fluminense pressuring with its man advantage. Ronaldinho, the team’s captain, converted the penalty with a firm low shot into the right corner. It was his second goal in as many matches in the Rio Cup, the first stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Fluminense had several scoring opportunities after Ronaldinho was sent off, but goalkeeper Paulo Victor came up with several big saves to keep Flamengo ahead. Victor is replacing regular starter Felipe, who last weekend sustained head trauma during the match and left the field in am ambulance. Fluminense was without some of its top starters because of its Copa Libertadores match tomorrow, including striker Fred and former Chelsea playmaker Deco. Because it won the Guanabara Cup, the first stage of Rio’s state championship, Fluminense has already secured a chance to play for the overall state title against the winner of the Rio Cup. Also Sunday, 2006 World Cup veteran midfielder Juninho scored a goal in Vasco’s 3-0 routing of Madureira. Vasco rested several regular starters because it will also play in the Copa

Libertadores later this week. Botafogo of Rio de Janeiro was held by Bangu to a 1-1 draw in Moca Bonita on Saturday. In the Sao Paulo state tournament, Barcos scored in the 55th minute with a penalty kick in second-half injury time to give Palmeiras a win at Botafogo, extending the team’s unbeaten streak to 19 matches. One of Palmeiras’ top signings this season, Barcos has scored seven goals in as many matches with the eight-time national champion. Palmeiras opened the scoring with an own goal by Botafogo defender Marquinhos after a header by Chile midfielder Jorge Valdivia in the 23rd in Ribeirao Preto, and also got goals from striker Maikon Leite in the 36th, substitute striker Ricardo Bueno in the 81st and left back Juninho in the 90th. Botafogo had Marquinhos sent off after a second yellow card in the 60th,

and goalkeeper Juninho was shown a red card three minutes into second-half injury time for the foul that prompted the penalty, converted by Barcos, the former Liga de Quito star striker. Palmeiras reached 29 points from 13 matches, one point less than Corinthians, which on Saturday was held by Guarani to a 1-1 home draw at the Pacaembu stadium. Corinthians played without many regular starters ahead of its Copa Libertadores match again Cruz Azul in Mexico on Wednesday. Fourth-place Santos, also without regular starters because of the Copa Libertadores, lost 31 at Mogi Mirim. Sao Paulo moved to third place in the state tournament with a 2-1 win over Portuguesa with goals by former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Jadson and former Brazil striker Luis Fabiano on Sunday. —AP

MILAN: This handout picture released yesterday by the AC Milan press office shows (left-right) AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani, UEFA president Michel Platini and former soccer player Gianni Rivera attending the UEFA President’s Award at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium. —AFP

Inter’s Ranieri hopes to cry more tears of joy

Azarenka advances, Kvitova bundled out




Distractions overshadow Olympic buildup in India

Page 17

DENVER: Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (right) steals the ball from Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter to seal the Grizzlies’ 94-91 victory in an NBA basketball game.—AP

Lakers win Celtics thriller LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and hit a go-ahead jump shot with 41.7 seconds to play to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 97-94 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Andrew Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who rallied from a fivepoint deficit in the final 21/2 minutes. The All-Star center hit a short hook shot over Kevin Garnett with 15.5 seconds left, and Boston couldn’t get a good look at a tying 3-pointer. Rajon Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who opened an eightgame road trip by blowing a late lead. On Boston’s final possession, Ray Allen failed to get free for a 3pointer before Rondo badly missed a tying attempt. 76ers 106, Knicks 94 At New York, Lou Williams scored 12 of his 28 points in a dazzling third-quarter flurry, and Evan Turner had 24 points and 15 rebounds as Philadelphia handed New York its fifth straight loss. Williams tossed in a long jumper to beat the halftime buzzer, then had a dozen points in the final 3:28 of the third quarter, when the 76ers seized control for their third straight victory. Andre Iguodala had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the 76ers, who turned a competitive game into a rout to end a three-game losing streak to the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but Jeremy Lin shot just 5 of 18 for 14 points for the Knicks. Tyson Chandler had eight points and 12 rebounds after missing two games with a strained left hamstring.

Cavaliers 118, Rockets 107 At Cleveland, Antawn Jamison scored 28 points and rookie Kyrie Irving came through again in the fourth quarter as Cleveland beat Houston. Cleveland, which recorded a season high in points, had six players in double figures in winning its third straight game for the first time this season. Luis Scola scored a season-high 30 points to lead Houston, which has lost six of seven. Bucks 105, Raptors 99 At Toronto, Ersan Ilyasova had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and Drew Gooden added 21 points as short-handed Milwaukee won its sixth straight over Toronto. Mike Dunleavy scored 19 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, as the Bucks pulled within one game of the New York Knicks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks had just 10 active players, having lost Shaun Livingston (sprained left ankle) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (right knee) in Friday’s win over New York. Milwaukee swingman Stephen Jackson has sidelined by a sore right hamstring since Feb. 19. DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Jerryd Bayless had 16 for the Raptors. Magic 107, Pacers 94 At Orlando, Florida, Dwight Howard had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and J.J. Redick added 18 points and a career-high nine assists as Orlando ran past Indiana. The Magic played without starters Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, but seemed unfazed as they

built a 20-point lead in the first half and got 30 points from their reserves. Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points, Tyler Hansbrough added 19 and Danny Granger 18.

first half of the Staples Center doubleheader, put the Clippers a full game behind their L.A. rivals in the race for the Pacific Division lead and homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Grizzlies 94, Nuggets 91 At Denver, OJ Mayo scored 22 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the closing seconds as Memphis hung on to beat Denver to sweep the three-game regular-season series for the first time in their history. Mike Conley, who returned to play after suffering a cut above his right eye, had 13 points. Dante Cunningham added 12 points and Tony Allen 10 for the Grizzlies, who also snapped an eight-game losing streak in Denver. Nene, Al Harrington and Corey Brewer each scored 15 for the Nuggets, who dropped to 2-2 on a season-high nine-game homestand.

Hawks 106, Kings 99 At Sacramento, California, Josh Smith scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half for Atlanta,

Warriors 97, Clippers 93 At Los Angeles, Dorell Wright scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half and Monta Ellis added 19 points and 11 assists as Golden State knocked the Los Angeles Clippers out of first place in the Pacific Division. David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds after spending most of the game in foul trouble, helping the Warriors beat the Clippers on the road for the fourth straight time despite blowing a 21-point third-quarter lead. Blake Griffin had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who missed 16 of 35 free throws. The loss, coupled with the Lakers’ 97-94 victory over the Boston Celtics a few hours earlier in the

Rodriguez wins stage six ROME: Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez of the Katusha team won the sixth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race over 181km around Offida yesterday. Chris Horner of RadioShack holds the overall leader’s jersey ahead of the final stage today when he will take a 5-second lead over Czech Roman Kreuziger and 6sec over Italian Vincenzo Nibali into a 9.3km time trial. As all three riders are relatively strong time triallists, it looks to be a three-way battle to succeed Cadel Evans of Australia as the race champion. Horner’s chances of keeping his losses to a minimum on Monday were, meanwhile, scuppered by a cunning attack by Rodriguez 1km from the finish. The American could only finish fourth, losing out on the six bonus seconds picked up by Nibali for his second place ahead of fellow Italian Danilo Di Luca. Earlier yesterday stage four riders pulled out of the race. Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, who won a stage on Saturday, and Australia’s Matthew Goss all withdrew citing illness. Reigning world champion Mark Cavendish also pulled out during the stage as he looks ahead to challenging Milan-San Remo champion Goss for victory in ‘La Primavera’ next week, a race Cavendish won in 2009. Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the 70th Paris to Nice

race on Sunday not only makes him its first British winner in 45 years, but also sets up the prospect of his country topping the Tour de France. While the Team Sky rider on Sunday basked in the glory of having equalled icon Tommy Simpson’s 1967 victory in the Race to the Sun here, he was clear that his triumph in the earlyseason classic was part of a longer-term strategy. “We have a plan with my training team. The plan took off on November 1, in order to hit the peak in July. Paris to Nice was part of that plan,” Wiggins said. “Even if Paris to Nice was a target, I’m probably at 95 percent form-wise, and I can get better,” added the rider, who turns 32 in April. “I must continue that progression to July,” he said. The Londoner is part of a high-profile generation of British cyclists that also includes Manxman and fellow Sky rider Mark Cavendish. Wiggins, who finished fourth in the 2009 edition of the Tour de France, won last year’s Dauphine, adding to a career haul that also includes three British road titles, a trio of world track honours and as many Olympic track golds. “I don’t know if I’m a favorite but I’m one of maybe five riders who can do something there,” he said on Sunday, referring to the Tour. Wiggins took possession of the Paris to Nice yellow jersey in Monday’s 185.5-kilometre second stage and kept focused on matters in hand.—AFP

which defeated Sacramento for the eighth straight time. DeMarcus Cousins fouled out late in the game but not before tying a season high with 28 and adding 12 rebounds for the Kings, who had their modest two-game win streak snapped. Joe Johnson scored 21 points and Jeff Teague had 16 points and seven assists for the Hawks.—AP

NBA results/standings Philadelphia 106, NY Knicks 94; La Lakers 97, Boston 94; Cleveland 118, Houston 107; Orlando 107, Indiana 94; Milwaukee 105, Toronto 99; Memphis 94, Denver 91; Atlanta 106, Sacramento 99; Golden State 97, LA Clippers 93.

Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks New Jersey Toronto Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 25 17 .595 21 19 .525 18 23 .439 14 28 .333 13 28 .317 Central Division 34 9 .791 23 16 .590 17 24 .415 16 23 .410 15 26 .366 Southeast Division 31 9 .775 27 15 .643 24 17 .585 9 30 .231 5 34 .128

GB 3 6.5 11 11.5 9 16 16 18 5 7.5 21.5 25.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 32 9 .780 Denver 23 19 .548 Minnesota 21 21 .500 Portland 20 21 .488 Utah 19 21 .475 Pacific Division LA Lakers 25 16 .610 LA Clippers 23 16 .590 Phoenix 19 21 .475 Golden State 17 21 .447 Sacramento 14 27 .341 Southwest Division San Antonio 26 13 .667 Memphis 24 16 .600 Dallas 23 20 .535 Houston 22 20 .524 New Orleans 10 31 .244

9.5 11.5 12 12.5 1 5.5 6.5 11 2.5 5 5.5 17

Ominous signs for City as United take charge

Joaquin Rodriguez in action in this file photo

LONDON: Television footage showed some Manchester City fans in tears after their side’s 1-0 defeat at Swansea City on Sunday cost them top spot in the Premier League. While their reaction was premature, City’s hopes of winning their first English title since 1968 now look fragile with champions Manchester United once again displaying their knack of accumulating victories down the home straight. United’s 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion put them a point clear with 10 games to go and although City manager Roberto Mancini shrugged off the significance of defeat at Swansea, fans will be fearing the worst. Before United travel to City on April 30 they have winnable home games against Fulham, Queen Park Rangers, Aston Villa and Everton while away trips to relegation-haunted Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic look enticing. In that same period City, for whom the goals away from home have dried up, host Chelsea and must also travel to a rejuvenated Arsenal. By the time Chelsea arrive at the Etihad Stadium on March 21, United could already have stolen a march in the title race with victory at Wolves three days earlier. Bookmakers have made United odds on favorites to retain the title

they have monopolised in the past five seasons. City’s biggest problem appears to be in the goalscoring department, particularly away from home where they have found the net only twice in their last five matches - a run that has included 1-0 defeats at Swansea, Everton and Sunderland. “There are 10 games to go, and it’s important we start to score and win again,” Mancini told the club’s website ( “Some players may be tired after seven months of the season, but I think we have a lot of energy to get back to the top. “It all depends on us; we have 10 games and anything could happen. We have to be strong, when you’re at the top it’s easy, when you’re not you have to be strong.” A lack of firepower could even signal a surprise return for troubled striker Carlos Tevez, especially with Mario Balotelli’s histrionics on and off the pitch causing problems for Mancini. United, on the other hand, have Wayne Rooney reaching peak form at just the right time. He scored both goals against West Brom and has hit nine in his last six games in all competitions. “It’s where you want to be and it’s where you want to finish,” Rooney told MUTV. “It’s nice to be there now. I don’t think we’ve had the credit we deserve over the last few months.— Reuters

Qatar FY budget won’t expand much: Minister Page 22

Kuwait capital spending slightly off in FY2011-12 Page 23


Kuwait equities mixed Page 24

Lexus launches the all-new 2012 GS in Mideast Page 25

KUWAIT: Burgan Bank Chairman Majed Essa Al-Ajeel (center) addresses the annual general assembly meeting and Shafafiya Investor’s Forum yesterday.

Burgan Bank delivers solid results in 2011 Bank hosts annual general assembly meetings, Shafafiya Investors Forum KUWAIT: Burgan Bank yesterday held its annual Al-Shafafiya Investor’s forum at the Sheikha Salwa Al-Sabah ballroom. The forum was followed after the bank’s annual general assembly meetings, in which members of the board presented Burgan Bank’s financial earnings report for the year ended December 31, 2011 and agreed to a payout of 10 fils as cash dividends while also distributing bonus shares of 5% to registered shareholders. Following the Annual General Assembly meetings, Burgan Bank held its annual Shafafiya forum which serves as a platform for

the bank’s management to present the main events for 2011 as well as its outlook for 2012 to shareholders, partners, as well as institutional investors. Burgan Bank’s Chairman, Majed Essa AlAjeel said: “2011 marked a period of turnaround for Burgan Bank Group. It has been a challenging year in terms of the European debt crisis, the contraction of the Kuwait economy and political unrest in sections of the Middle East. Despite this, the group has delivered a net profit that is on par with its preglobal financial crisis results. Throughout the

year the group’s subsidiaries continued also to deliver solid financial results amid political tension across the region. Our operations in Kuwait achieved quarter on quarter growth - a substantial turnaround in its financial performance despite challenging local market conditions and a lower level in the implementation of the country’s development plan.” Eduardo Eguren, Chief Executive Officer of Burgan Bank also noted: “Throughout the year, the bank has maintained a strong balancesheet and healthy top-line performance and is poised for organic and in-organic growth in

2012. The results we have achieved are a testament to the support of the Board and the drive of the Executive Management team. In 2012 the bank will continue its focus on driving in-organic growth through strategic acquisitions whilst continuing to build local market share to drive organic growth. In addition to maintaining the 2011 strategic objectives, the bank has set three primary objectives which include gaining market share, repositioning the Kuwait retail bank, as well as expanding our footprint.” The Shafafiya Forum is an annual event that

ME airlines ‘unstoppable’, says Emirates executive

Dubai owner mulls sale of NY’s Essex House DUBAI: The Dubai owner of Jumeirah Essex House, the art deco hotel perched prominently on the edge of New York’s Central Park, said yesterday it is putting the property up for sale. A subsidiary of the Dubai Holding investment company controlled by the emirate’s ruler bought the 44-story luxury hotel in September 2005. It has been managed by a sister company, Dubai Holding’s Jumeirah Group hotel division, since shortly after the acquisition. Jumeirah said the hotel’s owner, Dubai Investment Group, has “appointed advisers to explore opportunities” for the property - typically a euphemism for shopping for buyers. “Jumeirah remains confident in the value it brings as an internationally respected luxury hotel brand and expects that it will continue to manage the hotel after the sale of the property,” the hotel company said. DIG is part of a larger investment company known as Dubai Group, which in turn is part of the sprawling Dubai Holding firm personally controlled by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. Dubai Holding is one of three major holding companies in the Gulf emirate. Like the city-state’s Dubai World conglomerate, it expanded rapidly by taking on large amounts of debt which it then struggled to repay as the world economy turned sour. The emirate and its state-linked companies together owe lenders at least $101.5 billion, credit rating firm Moody’s Investors Service estimated in December. Dubai Holding’s many divisions have quietly sold off assets in the past couple of years as the emirate works to get its financial house in order. Dubai Group, the Essex House owner, has spent more than a year trying to convince its lenders to agree to new terms on some $10 billion of debt it holds. No deal has been reached yet, though the company says negotiations are continuing. It holds stakes in several financial companies, including Europe’s Marfin Popular Bank, and owns commercial property in Germany and the US. Fadel Al-Ali, Dubai Group’s acting CEO, said the company constantly reviews its portfolio of holdings and will sell off assets if the market conditions are right. “Current global investor demand for world-class hotel assets such as Essex House provides a timely opportunity to capitalize on the repositioning and operational improvements executed by our team,” he said in a statement. Essex House opened in 1931 at the southern end of Central Park, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Its red rooftop “Essex House” sign has made the hotel a Manhattan landmark for decades. —AP

is held amongst Kuwait Projects Company’s (KIPCO) subsidiaries, and reflects a strong corporate governance practice, which promotes corporate fairness, transparency and accountability. The forum provides an ideal gate to discuss financial reports and outlook as well as market predictions openly with shareholders. Earlier, Burgan Bank announced significantly improved financial results for the year ended December 31, 2011. The bank posted KD 50.6 million net profit, 10 times increase from the same period of 2010 reported at KD 4.7 million.

NEW YORK: A view of Central Park is seen from the top of the Jumeirah Essex House in New York. The Dubai owner of Jumeirah Essex House, the art deco hotel perched prominently on the edge of New York’s Central Park, said yesterday, is considering putting the property up for sale. —AP

Greece, Spain in focus as euro-zone meets BRUSSELS: Crisis-hit Greece and Spain were in focus when euro-zone finance ministers gathered in Brussels hoping for progress on a firewall to protect fragile states from market pressure. The next step for indebted Greece will be the release by nations sharing the single currency of 130 billion euros ($170.6 billion) of loans to Greece, following an unprecedented agreement last week between Athens and its private creditors to write off 107 billion euros’ worth of debt. Diplomats told AFP that the Eurogroup of finance ministers, meeting from 5:00 pm (1600 GMT), was unlikely to begin releasing the promised loans to Greece these talks. The next phase in the Greek government’s second bailout will be the subject of separate teleconference talks later this week as ministers need first to define the exact level of International Monetary Fund participation in the rescue, the diplomats said. However, “there are no doubts that the decision will be taken, the program is not in question,” stressed one euro-zone governmental source. Neither will the ministers at yesterday’s talks take decisions on a giant gap in Spain’s public finances-a gap the size of a

small bailout. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Spanish counterpart Luis De Guindos however will meet head-to-head before the talks. European partners want to know precisely why the Spanish government now tips its deficit to reach 5.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, when it was meant to fall to 4.4 percent of GDP under a target agreed with the European Union. Diplomats say Madrid blames autonomous regional governments for overspending. Overspending last year amounted to 90 billion euros, and the scale of Spanish budget slippage this year will be almost as high. However, Madrid has still to present its full 2012 budget to EU partners next month and Spain could eventually be given leeway on 2012 provided it commits to meet the EU’s 3.0-percent of GDP ceiling as planned by 2013. “We think that such a course of action is reasonable,” said London-based analyst Gilles Moec of Deutsche Bank in a note to investors. “Given the country’s still relatively favorable debt position, we think that a crash fiscal retrenchment should not be the government’s top priority,” at a time of rampant unemployment and recession.— AFP

PARIS: A top Emirates executive has delivered a warning to Europe’s struggling airlines that they could lose more business to booming Middle East carriers as they pay the price of years of political neglect. Thierry Antinori, who walked away from the top job at Austrian Airlines to join the largest Arab carrier last year, said airlines such as Emirates were well placed to continue expanding while some rivals lurched into a downward spiral of investment. “I think with our geographical position and the quality of products and networks we are offering, there is clearly an opportunity for the Middle East airlines to strengthen their position on the global industry map,” he told Reuters. “I even consider the next years as an opportunity for Emirates to increase the gap with some of our competitors, because we are just looking at what the customer wants.” The Frenchman dismissed the possibility that Dubai-based Emirates would step in to bail out or buy European airlines and repeated its reluctance to join one of the major alliances. In December, Gulf rival Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi took a stake of almost 30 of Germany’s Air Berlin. There are also reports that Etihad is interested in holding talks with the Irish government over the sale of its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus. “We prefer to rely on our product, so we prefer to buy airplanes than airlines,” the Emirates official said. “We do not lose time in discussion with alliances, which are not very clear for the customer to understand. They say ‘we offer you seamless travel’ but in the end they offer seamless trouble,” said Antinori, who joined Emirates as Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide, in September. Antinori’s decision to defect from Lufthansa came days before he was due to become chief executive of loss-making Austrian and took the industry by surprise. Six months later, he has a blunt assessment of the malaise gripping European airlines, half a dozen of which have gone bankrupt this year. “Aviation was made a strategic industry in Dubai 20 years ago. In Europe it is not strategic and it is not important for politicians to win elections. That is why airline lobbying is not heard, investments are blocked, taxes are increasing and as a result airlines do not have

Emirates Airlines Executive Thierry Antinori modern fleets and then they save money on products.” Recent aircraft improvements have put most of the world’s population within a direct flight from the Gulf, resulting in airport and fleet expansion and shifting more of the global network map to large hubs such as Dubai from the US and Europe. “You cannot stop the Middle East airlines because they are in the centre of the world; they have the best infrastructure... and never save money on product,” Antinori said. “That is the big difference with Europe (where) there is no strategy, and because of that they reduce the quality and the infrastructure, and the fleets become older.” The critique of European aviation policy comes as the industry faces tough battles over airport expansion in the UK or a new system of European Union charges for jet emissions-two issues that also affect airlines in the Gulf and elsewhere. Antinori said the EU’s emissions trading scheme would cost Emirates 40 million euros in 2012, rising to half a billion in 2020, and this would ultimately mean higher ticket prices. Emirates meanwhile remains locked in a battle over access to Germany, where it has long sought to secure landing rights in Berlin and Stuttgart, as well as access in Canada.—Reuters




Qatar FY budget won’t expand much: Minister Revenues sufficient to cover budget DOHA: Qatar’s state budget for next fiscal year will be roughly the same size as the current year’s budget, finance and economy minister Youssef Kamal said yesterday. “It will be the same size as the prevailing budget, maybe a little increase,” he told reporters. Previously, an economic adviser to the country’s Amir had said last month that budget spending for the 2012/13 fiscal year, which starts on April 1, would be much higher than in the current year. Kamal did not explain the contradictory statements or give details. Last week, Qatar’s state news agency, citing a decision by the cabinet, reported that the deadline for releasing the state budget for the coming fiscal year would be pushed back to the end of May because of changes to the government’s accounting system and the way it prepares budgets. The annual budget is usually

AirAsia X to call off New Zealand service KUALA LUMPUR: The long-haul arm of budget carrier AirAsia said yesterday it would axe flights to New Zealand, its latest move to shed unprofitable routes and refocus on the group’s core Asian market. Malaysia-based AirAsia X, which will cut its four-weekly flights to Christchurch, has already announced plans to cease service to London, Paris and Delhi this month, after scrapping flights to Mumbai in January. AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said in a statement that jet fuel prices had risen more than 30 percent since Christchurch routes began in April 2011. “The high cost of fuel has compromised our ability to offer our renowned low fares,” he said. The move was part of the carrier’s drive to consolidate operations on its “core markets” of “Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Iran”, he said. Former record industry executive Tony Fernandes plucked ailing AirAsia from its deathbed in 2001 and quickly turned it into one of the aviation sector’s biggest successes. Fernandes established a successful template for AirAsia that included flying into secondary airports in major cities, with their lower landing costs. Its network spread quickly in Southeast Asia and Fernandes in 2007 launched AirAsia X to serve long-haul routes to China, India and eventually Europe. But the group’s recent pull-back from the longer routes has indicated they were bleeding money. AirAsia X will now focus on medium-haul flights within Asia, while main carrier AirAsia continues with routes up to four hours’ flight from its Kuala Lumpur hub. AirAsia said last month its 2011 profits were halved to $186 million, citing rising fuel costs. The AirAsia group now currently serve about 80 cities in more than 20 countries. — AFP

announced by April 1. In its 2011/12 budget, the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter originally planned spending worth 139.9 billion riyals ($38.4 billion) and a surplus of 22.5 billion riyals, or 4.9 percent of gross domestic product. Partly in response to political unrest elsewhere in the Middle East, Qatar hiked basic salaries and social benefits for the state’s civilian employees by 60 percent last September, while military staff received 50-120 percent rises. The International Monetary Fund estimated such extra social spending would add $1.6 billion to expenditure in 2011/12. Kamal said government revenues were quite sufficient to cover its budget, but that would not preclude debt issues by the government this calendar year. “Last year we were on the market-we issued some bonds internationally and locally. Revenue for the state exceeds the budget but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a plan to be on

the market once or twice a year,” he said. “We want to create a yield and give a benchmark to other institutions. Government issuance last year helped create a benchmark for QNB (Qatar National Bank) and Doha Bank.” In January last year, the government sold 50 billion riyals worth of domestic bonds; it issued $5 billion of bonds internationally last November. Kamal reiterated previous statements by government officials that inflation was expected to be between 3 and 3.5 percent this calendar year. The government is not concerned about controlling inflation, partly because debt issues can be used to limit inflationary pressure, he said. Economists believe last year’s domestic issues of domestic government bonds and Treasury bills were intended partly to limit inflation by draining excess funds from the banking system. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi tries merger to end property mess DUBAI: Abu Dhabi is trying a new tack in its property bailouts. To end the misery at Aldar, the emirate’s top state backed developer, the government has initiated a merger with smaller rival Sorouh. Aldar has already sucked up $10 billion in emergency funds, equivalent to the amount funneled to Dubai at the height of its debt crisis. Creating a single developer could make sense, depending on the terms of the deal. But in any case Abu Dhabi, which also owns 20 percent of Sorouh, will have to work hard to protect its majority independent shareholders. Two successive lifelines have left Aldar 49 percent owned by state-investment vehicle Mubadala, which is eager to ease the developer off its books. Putting it together with Sorouh would reduce Mubadala’s stake and create a developer with $15 billion worth of assets. The hope is clearly that the new enlarged company will be better run than Aldar. Furthermore, both companies would stop competing for the same projects, most of them government contracts. Yet uncertainty over the structure and terms of the deal makes shareholder enthusiasm for a government-blessed merger at least premature. Based on Sunday’s closing price, a share swap would result in a 60/40 split of the new company in favor of Aldar. But a split of 44/56 in favor of Sorouh, which is more conservatively-run than its rival, might be more appropriate based on 12-month fair value estimates from EFG-Hermes. A merger will also ease Aldar’s short-term financing position and give it a broader asset backing for its debt. The enlarged balance sheet would have had net debt worth 108 percent of equity at the end of 2011, compared to Aldar’s current net debt worth around 200 percent. Aldar expects its net debt would fall to

around one sixth of its current level by 2015, once the full impact of the government bailouts has kicked in. But the deal wouldn’t be enough to fix Abu Dhabi’s ailing property market, where prices continue to fall amid fresh supply. To achieve that, Abu Dhabi would need to extend the merger to include other smaller developers. In the meantime, the majority owners of Sorouh, who won’t really have the option of opposing a merger, don’t have much to grasp in the way of protection. But given that foreigners account for around 12 percent of the register, Abu Dhabi has a serious incentive to not run rough-shod over independent shareholders. Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties said on March 11 that it was in talks to merge with local-rival Sorouh Real Estate in a state-backed deal. A merger of the No 1 and 2 developers in the emirate will create one of the largest property firms in the region by assets with more than 54 billion dirhams ($15 billion). The companies said a special team will study a merger and provide recommendations to the senior management of both companies within the next three months. In 2009, debt-laden Dubai Holding was in talks to merge four local real estate companies including Emaar Properties, Dubai Properties, Sama Dubai and Tatweer. The merger wasn’t completed after studies by the board of Emaar Properties questioned the economic feasibility of a tie-up. Last year, Dubai lender Emirates NBD took over smaller troubled rival Dubai Bank under orders from Dubai’s ruler. Shares in Aldar and Sorouh rose 10 percent yesterday, following the announcement. Aldar is 49 percent owned by state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala. Sorouh is around 20 percent owned by government entities. — Reuters

MUMBAI: An Indian passenger enquires at the Kingfisher Airlines booking counter in the domestic terminal in Mumbai. India’s beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines yesterday cancelled more flights after staff went on unofficial strike over unpaid wages, dealing another blow to the carrier. — AFP

Troubled Kingfisher scraps more flights MUMBAI: India’s beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines cancelled dozens of flights yesterday, including at least one international route, after staff went on unofficial strike over unpaid wages. Kingfisher said that its schedule was also affected after the company was suspended last week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) from a global payments system. The airline issued a statement blaming “employee agitation on delayed salaries” and the IATA suspension for the cancellations, which it said would hit about 20 percent of its already reduced service. It did not say how many flights were affected during the day, but a Mumbai airport spokesman said 11 flights from Mumbai had been cancelled. Several other airports including New Delhi were also hit yesterday and at least one international flight, a 7:00 pm service from Delhi to Dubai, was among the flights scrapped. Kingfisher, which has never turned a profit and has sunk deeper into debt since its launch in 2005, has often run a reduced flight schedule in recent weeks amid growing fears for its survival. The carrier, controlled by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya, owes suppliers, lenders and staff millions of dollars.

Mallya told The Week magazine published on Monday that the airline needed $200-250 million immediately to secure its future, and he pushed for foreign ownership restrictions to be lifted in the aviation sector. “Additional equity can and must be part of the plan,” Mallya said. “That is why I have been requesting the government to reconsider its ban on foreign airlines investing.” “I have never asked the government for a rupee... (but) the airports are government-owned. The fuel supplier is government-owned. The banks are government-owned. It’s in their hands,” he said. Mallya pointed to high fuel prices, taxes and the plunging rupee as being responsible for the current crisis-not bad management. Kingfisher’s bank accounts have been frozen by Indian authorities due to non-payment of taxes, and at least 60 pilots have already left the airline to work with rivals according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The airline’s net loss widened sharply to 4.44 billion rupees ($88 million) in the three months to December from a loss of 2.54 billion rupees a year earlier, while its debt totals at least $1.3 billion. — AFP

Doroo’ Holding formed with KD1.360m capital KUWAIT: Kuwait Gazette announced yesterday establishment of Doroo’ Holding Company, with a capital of KD 1.360 million. It was incepted as a Kuwaiti closed shareholding company with a capital of KD 1.360 million, distributed over 13.608 million shares, each valued at 100 fils, the gazette said in its latest edition. The company owns shares in Kuwaiti or foreign shareholding companies, besides stocks or stakes in Kuwaiti or foreign limit-

ed liability companies, takes part in establishment of these two types of companies and management and lending and acting as guarantor for others with no less than 20 percent participation of the holding company in the borrowing company. The company owns industrial property rights of patents, industrial trademarks, royalties or any other related rights, or hires them for other companies for use in Kuwait and abroad. — KUNA

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

.2740000 .4340000 .3620000 .3000000 .2780000 .2920000 .0040000 .0020000 .0754850 .7354290 .3830000 .0710000 .7209560 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2773000 GB Pound/KD .4347370 Euro .3637760 Swiss francs .3017410 Canadian dollars .2797900 Danish Kroner .0489420 Swedish Kroner .0407930 Australian dlr .2932170 Hong Kong dlr .0357440 Singapore dlr .2210620 Japanese yen .0033640 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0755280 Bahraini dinars .7358370 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0739660 Omani riyals .7205400 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2810000 .4440000 .3700000 .3110000 .2850000 .3030000 .0070000 .0035000 .0762440 .7428200 .4010000 .0760000 .7282020 .0072000 .0500000 .2809000 .4403810 .3684990 .3056580 .2834220 .0495770 .0413220 .2970240 .0362080 .2239320 .0034080 .0056800 .0023260 .0031090 .0034510 .0765080 .7453890 .3973130 .0749270 .7298950 .0066530

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram



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

298.700 743.060 3.640 285.000 548.800 46.600 50.200 167.800 47.600 369.700 36.710 5.810 0.032 0.160 0.243 3.490 396.690 0.189 94.330 45.400 4.300 232.000 1.810 50.000 725.750


296.200 743.060 3.411 283.500

223.000 46.302 368.200 36.580 5.590 0.032

10 Tola


305.400 3.700 9.320 75.080 279.400

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

Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 439.400 279.400

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

441.00 3.46 3.409 5.591 2.300 3.507 3.076 75.98 742.79 46.30 397.28 725.75 77.00 74.56

443.50 3.70 3.550 5.765 2.625 4.250 3.180 76.45 741.75 47.49 395.00 728.00 77.25 74.80

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

395.910 0.188 94.330 3.510 230.600

3.083 6.560 76.860 74.600 222.990 39.480 2.290 439.400

GOLD 1,790.820

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.130 6.810 77.290 74.600 222.990 39.480 2.662 441.400 42.000 306.900 3.700 9.490 198.263 76.180 279.800 1.360

Selling Rate

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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

279.300 3.078 5.605 2.305 3.415 6.590 76.145 74.635 742.500 46.275 444.100 3.190 1.550 371.500 287.200 3.510

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

UAE Exchange Center WLL Currency

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

299.70 283.62 306.23 369.60

298.00 283.00 308.00 371.00

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

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


BUSINESS Challenge and opportunity

Demand for aviation personnel in Mideast By Sherry Carbary


stounding progress has been made on the vision to transform the Middle East into a global crossroads - a diversified economic and transportation hub, with cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha forming a nexus for the flying world between north and south, east and west. Yet, the aviation industry today is facing a challenge to that progress that is going to require equal vision and initiative to overcome - meeting the growing demand for people in aviation. As airlines in the Middle East build on their success, they are expanding their fleets. In fact, according to the most recent Boeing Current Market Outlook (CMO), more than 2,500 airplanes are expected to be ordered by airlines in the region over the next 20 years. The thousands of new airplanes required to support this growth will need a corresponding supply of hundreds of thousands of pilots and maintenance technicians. Boeing recently released the 2011 Pilot and Technician Outlook, predicting a global need for 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 650,000 maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. The implications of this report are significant for the Middle East: 36,600 new pilots and 53,000 new skilled maintenance personnel are required to staff the region’s airlines between now and 2030. But traditional infrastructure that once supported careers in aviation is diminishing, along with the corresponding philosophies and methodologies. That means the current ability to attract, recruit, educate, train and retain people is not sufficient to meet demands. It is a situation that threatens to limit the amazing opportunities for travel and economic growth.. In fact, the need is increasingly urgent. Emirates recently recruited more than 500 new pilots and, like Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, is facing a limited pipeline of personnel in the region. Successful low-cost carriers such as flydubai, Air Arabia and Jazeera Airways are also growing at a fast pace and are facing the same challenges their full-service counterparts are. For a fast-growing region, resources are critical, and none more so than human capital. It comes as little surprise that Etihad Airways, for instance, one of the world’s youngest, yet fastestgrowing full-service airlines, was quick to leverage the untapped local expertise of female pilots. Airlines are also looking farther afield, recruiting pilots from other airlines and other regions of the world. In this social media era, in order to engage the employees of today and tomorrow, all of the Middle Eastern aviation powers are reaching out to the world with fan pages and accounts via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. But considering other regions of the world are using similar tactics, and given the shrinking pool of pilots to recruit from, we can’t expect that this tactic will succeed in the future. The Middle East may have fewer ageing airplanes to replace compared

with other regions of the world, but the demand for pilots and technicians in the region is growing just as rapidly as elsewhere due to rapid expansion and investment in new-generation airplanes such as the Boeing 777, 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner. These new jetliners may just give the industry a chance to radically change the way it attracts, teaches and trains. It will take a new approach, which, like the newest jetliners and the younger generation which forms much of the industry’s human resource pool, is highly digital. It starts with online and mobile device-based training, which not only saves paper, but more importantly, appeals to today’s students. These new “recruits” are significantly more techsavvy. The industry needs to acknowledge the generational and technology changes shaping the lives of today’s young people and adapt aviation training methodologies, philosophies, tools - and even the instructors - themselves to these new realities. One new methodology is MPL (multi-crew pilot license), a program designed to train an individual with no flight experience to be qualified as a first officer on a commercial jet. It is focused on performance and competence and is the way many pilots around the world will be trained in the future. Boeing estimates it’s going to take more than one thousand new pilot instructors each year to do the job. Clearly, the industry is going to have to partner with airlines, schools and other training providers to find creative ways to meet this urgent need. Research shows that the instructor plays a critical role in learning and performance. In the future, aptitude will take precedence over flying hours for the next wave of flight instructors. There is also a need to formally establish and upgrade global requirements of Certified Instructors at aviation training academies and schools around the world. Overall, it will take an industry-wide effort reaching into schools and universities to generate excitement about careers in aviation. It’s a great time to be in the aviation industry. Markets are growing and technology is advancing. New-generation airplanes make the world smaller and smaller by the day. We need to support and sustain this growth by working hard to make our industry more eye-catching for the young, the talented, the creative and the professional. The Middle East is a world air transport hub thanks to a vision and commitment decades in the making. We need similar vision and commitment now to deliver vital people resources to the aviation industry. It’s the only way to transform the ambitions of the region’s airlines into reality and ensure an engaged and highly- qualified workforce for the future. — Sherry Carbary is vice president of Boeing Flight Ser vices, a business unit of Commercial Aviation Services, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Italy in recession, headache for PM ROME: Italy is in recession, final data confirmed yesterday, underscoring the difficulties facing Mario Monti’s technocrat government as it grapples with a shrinking economy dragged down by austerity measures and a debt crisis. Italy’s economy shrank 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, following a 0.2 percent decline in gross domestic product in the third quarter. Monti, who rushed through a 33 billion euro austerity plan in December and is now working on reforms to boost growth, is due to meet Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel today for talks in Rome. Germany’s economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, but analysts are expecting Europe’s largest economy to pick up steam again this year, while Italy is seen lagging. Weak consumption in the euro zone’s third largest economy weighed heavily in the fourth quarter, while investments and inventories also declined but net exports contributed positively. “Domestic demand is the weakest link, the area hardest hit by fiscal tightening,” said Paolo Mameli from Intesa Sanpaolo, who said GDP would likely decline by a similar rate in the first quarter of 2012. Italy’s national statistics office ISTAT said GDP fell 0.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, revising a preliminary estimate of a 0.5 percent fall. The data lagged a euro zone average of -0.3 percent quarter on quarter and 0.7 percent year-on-year. Economic indicators are pointing to a further slowdown for most of

2012 in Italy, which has been the most sluggish economy in the euro zone over the last decade. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said yesterday there were tentative signs of economic improvement in the euro-zone. Analysts polled by Reuters in January expected GDP to shrink by about 0.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. Data last week showed industrial output was much weaker than expected in January, plunging 2.5 percent and marking an extremely poor start to the year. The Bank of Italy forecasts a 1.5 percent fullyear contraction in 2012, far steeper than the government’s official projection of -0.4 percent. Monti’s austerity measures including spending cuts, tax hikes and pension reform and are aimed at balancing the budget in 2013, though critics say they will weigh on Italy’s already chronically low growth rates. Market concerns about the sustainability of the country’s 1.9 trillion euro public debt have calmed since Monti replaced Silvio Berlusconi in November and yields on Italy’s 10 year bonds have fallen to below 5 percent from peaks close to 8 percent at the end of 2011. Monti is now working on measures to stimulate the economy, and his government is due to meet with unions and employers yesterday to discuss a labor market reform to follow deregulation measures announced in January. — Reuters

Kuwait capital spending slightly off in FY2011-12 NBK economic report KUWAIT: Total Kuwait government spending reached KD 8.3 billion for the 9 months of fiscal year (FY11/12), 2% above the previous comparable period. Demand-impacting spending stood at KD 5.1 billion, up 3.3% y/y. Total revenues reached KD 21.4 billion, up a strong 42% y/y, mainly due to higher oil prices. Three quarters into the fiscal year, revenues are already at 159% of the full year budget. The conservative oil price assumption of $60 pb compared to an actual average of $107 pb for the nine-month period is behind this discrepancy between budgeted and actual revenues. So far, Kuwait’s budget reveals a massive surplus of KD 13.1 billion. We forecast a KD 9-10 billion surplus for the entire fiscal year, as spending typically accelerates later in the year. Nine months into FY11/12, Kuwait has spent 43% of its full year budget, slightly below its 5year average for comparable periods. Both actual spending and reporting usually pick up in the last fiscal quarter. Spending on chapter 1, wages

and salaries, reached KD 2 billion, up 15% from the comparable period of FY10/11. Salary hikes that were approved last year by the government, on top of the usual annual raises, were behind the stronger spending on this chapter. At 44% of budget, spending on this chapter is slightly ahead of the historic average. Spending on chapter 2, goods and services, were KD 1.5 billion, up 7.2% y/y. The increase came mostly from the cost of fuel incurred by the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW ), which normally makes up more than two thirds of this category. Spending on chapter 3, vehicles and equipment, was KD 62 million, down 10.7% y/y. This chapter remains a small (and volatile) spending category with minimal impact on aggregate figures. Nine months into FY11/12, spending on the more closely watched chapter 4, projects, maintenance and land purchases, reached KD 815 million, down 11% compared to the previous comparable period. At 34% of budget, spending on this chapter seems more or less in line with

the historic average. Chapter 5, transfers and miscellaneous expenditures totaled KD 4 billion, slightly off compared to the same period of FY10/11. The decline was primarily driven by lower subsidies and other transfers, though it was partially offset by larger transfers to social security (PIFSS). At 43% of budget, spending on this chapter seems to be falling behind historic trends mostly due to delays in other transfer payments and miscellaneous expenditures. Revenues reached KD 21.4 billion, well above the budget figure for the full year. The increase was largely driven by strong oil receipts. Kuwait export crude (KEC) averaged around $107 pb in the first 9 months of FY11/12 compared to an average of $83 pb during the same period of FY10/11. Non-oil revenues totaled KD 1.3 billion, up 12% y/y. The increase came mostly from “miscellaneous revenues and fees” likely related to compensation payments from the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). Meanwhile,

“land sales” and “property fees”, though small categories, saw good growth likely related to improved real estate sales this year. Recent early press leaks on the FY2012/2013 budget cited total spending of KD 22 billion, a 13.2% increase y/y. Spending on chapter 1, wages and salaries is expected to rise 6.1% to KD 4.7 billion. Chapter 2, goods and services, spending is projected to reach KD 4.2 billion, up 45%. The sharp rise in this category would come almost exclusively from the increase in spending on fuel by MEW (oil prices assumed at $65 vs. $60 in FY11/12). Chapter 4 spending is also projected to increase a notable 23% reaching KD 3 billion. FY12/13 will mark the 3rd year of the development plan and capital spending should nearer to “full pace.” Chapter 5, transfers and miscellaneous expenditures, is expected to total KD 9.5 billion, up 3.8%. The final budget, which may see major amendments, is not expected to be approved for a couple of months, now that a new government has been formed.

China CB sees room to ease lending curbs BEIJING: The head of China’s central bank said yesterday it has room to ease lending curbs to support economic growth but any changes would be gradual. The rapid growth of the world’s second-largest economy has slowed over the past year as Beijing tightened controls to prevent overheating. Chinese leaders have responded to a decline in global demand by promising pro-growth policies, and companies and investors are closely watching what steps they will take. There is scope to lower the level of reserves Chinese banks are required to hold - a move that would free more money for lending to businesses - after the minimum level was raised five times in 2010 and 2011, said Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan of the People’s Bank of China. The minimum stands at 20 percent of deposits for China’s biggest lenders. “We have a lot of room to adjust the reserve ratio. On the other hand, it is necessary to see whether there is a necessity to adjust,” Zhou said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s legislature. He gave no indication when regulators might lower reserves. “We need to take in to consideration the different restriction factors and we need to see the advantages and disadvantages of adjustment, especially its impact on financial flows,” Zhou said. Zhou and other officials at the event said the central bank will closely watch Europe’s debt crisis and other global factors that might hurt the Chinese economy. But they emphasized that on a wide range of issues, policy changes will be gradual and cautious. “Our monetary policy will have to follow conditions in China and also internationally. We will cope with problems responsibly,” Zhou said. China’s economic growth eased to 8.9 percent in the final quarter of 2011 from the previous year’s double-digit expansion. The government’s growth target this year is 7.5 percent. The latest trade data show both Chinese and global demand weakening. Figures released on Saturday showed export growth in the combined January-February period slowed to 6.9 percent, compared with December’s 13.4 percent. Analysts often combine the two months to screen out disruption from the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls at different times in that period each year. Growth in impor ts for the two months declined to 7.7 percent from December’s 11.8 percent. Also yesterday, central bank officials said Beijing will press ahead with reforms to ease controls on its tightly regulated currency and give market forces a bigger role in setting the yuan’s exchange rate, but they gave no details. “We will continue with the reform to have an exchange-rate regime that is more marketbased,” said Yi Gang, the deputy bank governor in charge of foreign currency. Washington and other trading partners complain an undervalued yuan gives China’s exporters an unfair price advantage and swells its trade surpluses. Some American lawmakers want to raise tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing fails to end its controls. Yi and other officials did not respond to a question about whether Beijing believed the yuan has reached its fair value after its gradual rise against the dollar stopped in recent months and China reported an unexpectedly large $31.5 billion trade deficit for February. Yi also expressed confidence in the ability of Europe, China’s biggest trading partner, to solve its debt crisis. He said China will continue to invest in Europe, though he stressed that minimizing risk will be a priority. He gave no indication whether Beijing has decided to contribute to a bailout fund for countries that use the euro. “ We believe European countries will be able to cope with the euro crisis,” Yi said. “We will continue to invest in Europe as a responsible investor.” — AP

HYDERABAD: An Indian laborer wipes clean a poster of India Aviation 2012 show at Begumpet airport in Hyderabad yesterday. The third edition of India Aviation, a five-day event scheduled to run from March 14-18, some 250 companies will showcase the latest global aerospace technology offering business opportunities in India. — AFP

India industrial output strongest in 7 months Government eyes return to stronger growth path MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Indian industrial output in January grew at its fastest pace in 7 months while car sales hit a record high in February, signs of a rebound for India’s flagging economy, although both figures were boosted by one-off factors. Output at factories, mines and utilities grew 6.8 percent from a year earlier, notoriously volatile data showed, the highest since June 2011, reinforcing expectations the central bank will wait until April before cutting interest rates. Separately, the government said it was confident of returning to 8-9 percent annual GDP growth soon. The economy is set to grow at around 7 percent in the fiscal year that ends this month, its slowest in three years. The Reserve Bank of India holds a monetary policy review on Thursday and is expected soon to begin cutting interest rates after raising them 13 times bet ween M arch 2010 and October 2011. On Friday night, it surprised markets with a 75 basis point cut in the cash reserve ratio for banks. Economists on average had expected industrial growth of 2.1 percent, a Reuters poll showed. The Januar y figure compares with a revised annual rise of 2.5 percent in December. “The central bank is certainly going to wait for the budget and the government’s borrowing program for the next year and what is going to be the (fiscal) deficit number. That is why we believe the rate decision will happen in April,” said Ashok Gautam, global head of markets at Axis Bank in Mumbai. The RBI has another policy review set for April 17. M anufac turing output, which makes up three-quarters of industrial output, grew an annual 8.5 percent in January, fuelled by a 42.1 percent surge in produc tion of consumer non-durable goods, including beverages and food products, thanks to big spending ahead of state elections. “This has happened because of a boost from the election campaigns where all these political parties supply food produc ts and beverages such as alcohol for free and they do it

for some months,” said PINC Research analyst Naveen Trivedi. Capital goods production, a proxy for investment, remained weak, falling 1.5 percent from a year earlier in its fifth straight month of decline. “In the coming months we have to build up so that capital goods’ production, which is very disappointing, is fixed up. We shall have to make effor ts for that,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after the industrial data. Car sales in February rose 13 percent annually, the biggest rise in 10 months, as buyers rushed to showrooms ahead of a federal budget expected to lift the cost of car ownership. Indian automakers sold 211,402 cars in February, data released by the S ociet y of I ndian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed, the biggest ever monthly total. “A lot of people wanted to buy their cars before the budget, because they expect prices to go up after the budget,” Vishnu Mathur, director general of SIAM, told reporters. The benchmark 10-year 8.79 percent, 2021 bond yield rose 2 basis points to 8.28 percent after the industrial data release. Five-year and oneyear swap rates rose 4 basis points each before retreating. India’s December quarter economic growth slowed to 6.1 percent, its weakest annual pace in almost three years, as high interest rates and rising input costs constrained investment and manufacturing. The Indian government, whose economic forecasts have proven optimistic, expec ts growth to return to its earlier sharp trajectory. The Indian economy grew more than 9 percent for three years until 2007/08, and at an annual 8.4 percent in the last two fiscal years. “ The long-term fundamentals of the Indian economy remain robust,” President Pratibha Devisingh Patil told lawmakers. Mukherjee, who will present the federal budget on Friday, is expected to set a target of 7.5 percent to 8 percent economic growth for the 2012/13 fiscal year starting April 1. — Reuters



Kuwait equities mixed GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwaiti equities ended yesterday’s session on a mixed note as investors became globally cautious after weak data in China partially offset a strong US jobs report last week. The Global General Index ended the day up by 0.26 percent at 183.52 points. However, the market has inched higher by 1.41 percent so far in March. KSE Weighted Index was up by 0.26 percent at 415.09 points. The market benchmark, KSE Price Index recoiled by 4.2 points (or 0.07 percent) to close at 6,150.2 points. The market’s heavyweights staged a session of steady performance. The Global Large Cap Index ended the day up by 0.55 percent, at 190.29 points. The performance was accompanied by a mixed trading activity. Volume of shares traded on the exchange increased by 2.85 percent, at 431.28mn shares. Investment groups accounted for 139.22mn shares (32.28 percent) of the market’s total volume. International Financial Advisors (IFA) was the most actively traded stock, with 50.52mn shares changing hands. Ahlia closed flat yesterday. In terms of top gainers, Future Communications Co Global was the top gainer for the day, adding 9.43 percent. Industrial & Financial Investments Company was the biggest loser, as its share price fell by 8.77 percent to close at KD0.026. Sectors On a sector-by-sector basis, four out of the eight sectors inched higher during the day. Services and Real Estate stocks spearheaded advancers, with the sectors indices adding 0.52 percent each. National Mobile

Telecommunications Co. extended its winning streak to three-sessions, with today’s 4.63 percent improvement. Aayan Real Estate Company was up by 4.76 percent. Earlier, The company announced that its 31.5 percent owned subsidiary, Hajar Tower Real Estate Company, has sold several floors in its Hajar Tower project in Makkah (Saudi Arabia) to a Kuwaiti investor, for a total value of KD4.71mn. The company ’s share of the profit reached KD1.48mn. The food sector performed poorly, as highlighted by a 2.2 percent drop in the Global Food Index. Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana) and Livestock Transport & Trading Co, pulled back by 2.74 percent and 1.06 percent respectively. Non-Kuwaiti stocks too succumbed to the sell-

ing pressure, dipping by 0.19 percent. Sector heavyweight, Gulf Finance House saw its share value depreciate by 7.58 percent. Corporate news Kuwait Gazette announced yesterday the establishment of Doroo Holding Company with a capital of KD1.36mn. It was incepted as a Kuwaiti closed shareholding company with a capital of KD1.36mn, distributed over 13.608mn shares, each valued at 100fils, the gazette said in its latest edition. The company owns shares in Kuwaiti or foreign shareholding companies, besides stocks or stakes in Kuwaiti or foreign limited liability companies, takes part in establishment of these two types of companies and management and lending and acting as guarantor for oth-

ers with no less than 20 percent participation of the holding company in the borrowing company. The company owns industrial property rights of patents, industrial trademarks, royalties or any other related rights, or hires them for other companies for use in Kuwait and abroad. Oil news Oil prices fell yesterday, snapping four days of gains as worries over supplies from the Middle East eased and investors focused on the health of the global economy and fuel demand. Tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program has raised fears this year of a disruption to oil supplies from the Mideast Gulf but talks on the dispute are due to start soon, calming fears of an immediate crisis.

Oil slips towards $125 as Mideast worries ease LONDON: Oil prices fell yesterday, snapping four days of gains as worries over supplies from the Middle East eased and investors focused on the health of the global economy and fuel demand. Tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program has raised fears of a disruption to oil supplies from the Mideast Gulf but high-level talks are due to start soon, calming fears of an immediate crisis. European economies are either contracting or stalled and there are increasing doubts whether the US Federal Reserve will maintain its loose monetary policy, a major support for growth. Brent crude oil futures for April fell 55 cents to $125.43 a barrel by 0923 GMT while US crude was down 55 cents at $106.85. “With less emphasis on Iran and the Middle East, the focus is shifting back on to the fundamentals of oil supply and demand,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. China posted its largest trade deficit in at least a decade over the weekend, fanning concerns of lower fuel demand in the world’s second largest economy. While the deficit raised questions over the global economy’s appetite for its goods, China’s crude imports and implied oil demand reached record levels in February. Speculators cut their net long positions in US crude oil futures and options positions in the week to March 6 for the first time in five weeks as prices fell, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading

Commission (CFTC) showed on Friday. Brent rose 1.88 percent last week in its sixth weekly rise in seven, after Greece averted an immediate default while US employment data improved, strengthening prospects of better fuel demand in the world’s largest oil user. “Western Europe seems to be swinging into a positive trend, with Greek austerity measures in place and the largest sovereign debt swap in history being all but finalized,” Stephen Schork, editor of the Schork Report in Villanova, Pennsylvania. He said the Brent-WTI spread may test the 2012 low of minus $20.70 a barrel if the market sees encouraging data this week from Germany’s economic sentiment survey and UK jobless claims this week. Investors are still spooked by supply concerns stemming from Iran’s dispute with the West over its nuclear program, on top of lower output from Syria, South Sudan and Yemen. The chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee said on Friday that an international naval blockade of Iranian oil exports should be considered before any resort to air strikes against the country’s disputed nuclear program. OPEC pumped the most oil in more than three years in February but oil prices have surged more than 8 percent this year, raising concerns that expensive oil could hurt global economic growth. Kuwait’s oil minister expressed similar worries on Sunday, saying that current world oil prices are not justified. — Reuters

Saudi to supply full April crude to Asia TOKYO: Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil in April to at least one Asian term buyer, unchanged from March, an industry source familiar with the matter said yesterday. State-run Saudi Aramco made no changes to its monthly allocations of light and heavy grades for April, the source said. The move was expected as the OPEC kingpin has supplied full con-

tractual volumes to most Asian buyers since late 2009. The buyer does not plan to immediately take additional volumes from Saudi Arabia to compensate for possible disruptions to oil from Iran, another of its suppliers, the source said. Saudi Arabia always gives buyers the option of asking for cargoes to be loaded with up to 10 percent more or less crude than contracted. — Reuters



launches the all-new 2012 GS in Mideast ❍

The first model of the New Generation Lexus

New Bolder Exterior Design

Excellent Driving Performance

Spacious interior

Advanced Technologies

DUBAI: Toyota Motor Corporation’s Middle East and North Africa Representative Office has announced that Lexus launched its new re-designed Lexus GS, the 1st model of the new generation of Lexus vehicles. The 2012 Lexus GS has been completely redesigned, with a new exterior, interior and improved features and driving performance. Reflecting the evolutional “L-Finesse” design philosophy with a bolder and more dynamic styling’s, Lexus have created a powerful and commanding performance sedan. Commenting on the launch of the new GS, Yoshihiko Kanamori, Chief Engineer of the Lexus GS said that “The GS is the core of Lexus sedan family and our new model signifies the shift in our design philosophy that we first started to show in both the LFA and CT200h. We hope that we have created a car that not only signifies the new direction of Lexus, but the continuation of the high luxury and performance standards that our customers with unique and advanced value expect” New Bolder Exterior Design The new GS has been completely redesigned, with a new unique exterior that embodies the evolutional “L-Finesse” design philosophy, which makes Lexus vehicles bolder and more dynamic. The GS has a new well-balanced stance, with a protruding face that ends in a new “Spindle Grille” design giving the car a wide, ground-hugging stance. The inverted trapezoid upper grille and slanted lower grille have been combined and integrated into a single element, bridging the bumper mid-section to create a prominent ‘spindle’ shape. The brake cooling ducts at either side of the spindle grille combine a distinctive style with engineering functionality. Next to the grille, the GS headlamps have newly developed integral LED daytime running lights. The GS continues its long and elegant cabin proportions and at the rear, the new design narrows behind the flared

wheel arches. The New GS is available in a choice of 11 colors with three new additions, Crimson Red, Meteor Blue and Sonic Silver. Excellent Driving Performance The new GS, with its rigid bodyshell and new suspension, is a vehicle created for optimum agility and superb ride comfort allowing it to respond to the driver’s commands with much greater accuracy. The 2012 GS will be available in a choice of three 6 speed automatic engine choices; a V6 2.5L engine on the GS 250 with 206HP, a V6 3.5L Engine on the GS 350 with 312HP and a 3.5L engine combined with Lexus hybrid system with 340HP on the GS 450h. The new GS features a double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension system, which upholds the famed Lexus ride comfort and quality with excellent agility, steering and stability. Also, new rear suspension structure helps to increase the luggage capacity. The next generation GS also features a Drive Mode Select function that allows the driver to choose between ECO, NORMAL, SPORT S and SPORT S+, which help maximize the efficiency of the GS or its sportier dynamic abilities. The GS 450h offers the Lexus Dynamic Handling system for the first time as Lexus, which is an integrated four-wheel steering system with ultimate agility and stability. Improved Ergonomic Interior Design The 2012 GS continues its redesigned look in the interior with a new ergonomically designed, driver focused cockpit and advanced Human Machine Interface technologies. A new horizontal dashboard design creates roominess in the car, allowing the GS to enjoy a 12.3inch LCD multi-display screen, the largest on any production cars. The screen allows for the permanent display of two types of information simultaneously such as map/audio and navigation input/incoming call and can be controlled by Lexus’s mouse-style Remote Touch Interface. Green Edge(tm) technology is only for

Mark Levinson Audio and its power saving technology has been incorporated into the speakers of the 17 speaker GS audio system, which also comes with a 12 speaker option. The GS is also equipped with a new Head up Display (HUD) which gives essential information such as the tachometer and navigation instructions to the windscreen base in the driver’s line of sight. The interior is complimented by an all-white LED lighting system, creating a sense of ambiance in the vehicle. Satin Metal trim and brushed aluminum knobs adorn the centre console and switches, along with a new LED illuminated analog clock to create a unique atmosphere. Advanced Technologies Lexus continues its tradition and philosophy of implementing the latest technologies into its vehicles and the new GS is no exception. The GS is equipped with a new airconditioning feature called S-flow Technology, which maintains optimum driver/passenger comfort while significantly reducing power consumption. New ‘Nano-e’ Technology cleans the air and has a both purifying and odor eliminating effect. Advanced technologies are also seen in the safety features of the GS, such as the Driver Monitor Camera which is able to determine if driver’s eyes are closed and the AllSpeed Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which works with the Advanced Pre-Crash Safety system that is able to detect obstacles in front of the car, even during cornering. (All speed ACC is available only for 450h)




Volkswagen, Siemens and Rotana team up Desert cleaning drive to raise public awareness DUBAI: Two world-class German brands, Siemens and Volkswagen and Rotana, the leading hotel management company in the Middle East and Africa, have joined forces in an environmental awareness drive. The ‘Clean the Desert’ initiative aims at raising public consciousness of the littering problem in the desert, the grave consequences it has to local wildlife and the importance of a clean environment. On Saturday 17 March the three companies will take teams of volunteers out into the desert to clear an area of trash, disposing of it in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Commenting on the initiative, Stefan Mecha, managing director, Volkswagen Middle East said: “The ‘Clean the Desert’ project focuses on preserving the desert and actively taking care of local wildlife, believing that it is the everyday small actions that can bring about the big changes the environment needs. It is great to team up with Siemens and Rotana on this initiative as both companies share our concern about the serious issue of littering and the need to do something about it.” Siemens and Volkswagen have had a long history of collaboration in the

development of parts, technology and processes, and focusing on eco-friendly initiatives. In their most recent joint initiative Volkswagen provided mobility solutions for Siemens employees that help drive environmental awareness

the sensible disposal of garbage and waste,” said Erich Kaeser, CEO of Siemens Middle East. “Wildlife is greatly affected by the changes in the ecosystem of the desert and through this initiative Siemens and Volkswagen are

green technology, which is apparent in our close work with Masdar City and in our new offices featuring the latest in energy saving technology”, Erich Kaeser added. “Everyday a tragedy is taking place in our deserts, along the beaches,

in the desert,” said Thomas Tapken, Area Vice President, Rotana Dubai & Northern Emirates. “Rotana has a longstanding commitment to sustainable practices and environmental awareness for the aim to maximize benefits and

and behavioral changes in the Middle East. “The ‘Clean the Desert’ campaign emphasizes our commitment to raising awareness, encouraging the public to be more environmentally conscious in

reinforcing their commitment to a cleaner and safer environment in the desert. “Siemens’ philosophy has always been underlined with a devotion to sustainability and developing the next

and in the mountains of the UAE. Camels, sheep, goats and cattle, as well as the protected Arabian Onyx, the Sand Gazelles and other wildlife are dying after ingesting plastic and other waste materials that are being dumped

minimize harm to our earth,” concluded Tapken. The campaign will be supported by the PlasticNotSoFantastic initiative, the online community, averda international recycling, KTM and Uschi Musch’s camel farm.

Former ECB chief Trichet to speak at NBK symposium ‘Lessons on the euro-zone crisis’

R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank Group

Sheikh Fahad Bin Mohammed Bin Jabor Al-Thani

Doha bank senior debt issue nearly 8 times oversubscribed DOHA: Sheikh Fahad Bin Mohammed Bin Jabor Al-Thani, the Chairman of Doha Bank with great delight announced, “We have successfully completed the Senior bond issue of USD 500 million under Doha Bank’s Euro Medium Term Note Program (EMTN) of $2 billion through arrangers Morgan Stanley and J P Morgan. The Bond is listed on London Stock Exchange. The proceeds will be used for general funding purposes required to support the bank’s growth plans.” Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Managing Director of Doha Bank said, “The issue generated an overwhelming response from investors in Asia, the Middle East and Europe resulting in oversubscription of the bond by nearly 8 times. It shows the exceptionally high profile of Qatar and Doha Bank in the global market space.” R Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank Group, said “The Senior 5-year bond carries a coupon of 3.5% and was issued at a spread of 262.5 basis points over Mid Swaps. This landmark deal is a follow up issue from Doha Bank’s previous debut subordinated bond issue of $340 million in 2006. Doha Bank’s successful bond issue follows perfectly executed road shows in major financial centers in Asia, the Middle East and Europe including Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Zurich and Geneva. Leading investors comprising of banks, investment funds

and other financial institutions invested in Doha Bank’s bond. We received over 250 orders from institutions globally which speaks volumes on the faith of global investors in the bank’s strong per-

Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani formance in recent years, its strategy, franchise and leading market position along with the impressive economic growth in Qatar”. Doha Bank is the third largest conventional Bank in Qatar. Total assets of the bank as of December 31, 2011, were QR 52.4 bn and total shareholders’ equity for the same period was QR 7.1bn with a net profit of QR 1.24 bn. The return on average shareholders’ equity which was 22% and the return on average assets that was 2.49%. Moody’s has assigned a rating of A2 to Doha Bank indicating strong credit quality of the bank.

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will host G30 Chairman and former President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet for its annual international symposium in Kuwait. Trichet, who also served two terms as the governor of the Bank of France, will give a speech on the European debt crisis entitled, ‘Lessons to be drawn from the global financial crisis: The new economic governance in the euro zone’. A world renowned economic and financial leader, Trichet has been named by the Financial Times as ‘Person of the Year’ and as ‘Central Banker of the Year’ by The Banker. Trichet ranked fifth

on a 2008 Newsweek list of the world’s most powerful along with economic triumvirs Ben Bernanke and the governor of the Bank of

Vietnam cuts key rate for first time since 2009 HANOI: Vietnam’s central bank said yesterday it was slashing a key policy interest rate for the first time in nearly three years after double-digit inflation eased in the communist country. The State Bank of Vietnam will cut the refinancing rate-which it charges on its loans to commercial banks-to 14 percent from 15 percent with effect from today, it said in a statement on its website. The central bank last cut the rate, one of several monetary policy tools, in April 2009, to seven percent. Since then, it has repeatedly hiked rates, most recently in October 2011, in a bid to rein in soaring inflation, which peaked at an annual rate of 23 percent in August of last year. Inflation has eased over the last six months, reaching an 11-month low of 16.44 percent year-on-year in February, from 17.27 percent in January. “This is a test for the economy-how it plays out will affect future reductions in the interest rate,” Vu Dinh Anh, deputy director of the state-backed Institute of Economy and Finance, told AFP. The most pressing problem for Vietnam now is to avoid a situation of slow economic growth coupled with high inflation, he said, warning that price pressures were likely to grow in March and April. “(After that) we will be able to see whether we should increase or decrease interest rates, and how we should adjust monetary policy to cope with inflation,” he said. The central bank also announced yesterday that the discount rate would be cut to 12 percent from 13 percent. “Easing monetary policy will help the economy achieve the government’s six percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth target this year,” Hai Pham, an economist at ANZ in Singapore, wrote in a recent note to clients. But she added that “sticky” core inflation-which excludes food and fuel costs-remained a concern. Last year, GDP growth eased to 5.9 percent from 6.8 percent in 2010. The government is targeting economic growth of six percent for 2012, up slightly from 2011, and has said it aims to bring inflation into single digits. — AFP

Japan, Masaaki Shirakawa. NBK regularly invites worldrecognized authorities on energy, economics and politics to Kuwait

as part of its International Symposium series. Past speakers include former US Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, former US Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Mohamed ElErian, CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO, the world’s largest bond investment house and Dr Daniel Yergin, author Author of the acclaimed work, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power which won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. The event will be VIP invitation-only.

First prizes draw program based on Sharia in Kuwait from AUB KUWAIT: AUB has announced the results of the Weekly draws of its AlHassad Islamic savings scheme. The lucky customers winning the grand weekly prize worth KD 25,000 each at the draws held on the 7th of March 2012: Khames Hassan Al-Sulite, Ghada Alian Salah, Ali Abdurrahman Al-Bader. The following Al-Hassad Islamic customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each: Esam Hameed Abbas Jragh Ismaiel, Nasser Al-Maadeed, Said Gharib Said Al-Gharbi, Abdulla Mohamed AlHajri, Subheyah Hmoud Abdulaziz AlMuqahwi, Abdulla Mohamed Al-Hajri, A Salam Masoud, Sadeeqah Hussain Mohammad Ashkanani, Faisal Ahmed Mejren Al-Shallal, Bader Hadib Hassan Al-Saadi, Salah Ahmed Mohammed AlKanderi, Bibi Abdulla Mahmoud Fayrouz, Mansour Bander Husain, Mutlaq Mohammad Awadh AlResheedi, Aisha Ahmad Al-Sada, Kelthem Albuayenein, Sochacki Tomasz, Ali Moosa, A Mohsin Isa A.Rasool AlSaiqal, Ebrahim Ahmed Mohd AlKooheji, Khalil Eid Adam Darwish, Jamileh Yousif Tawil, Ebrahim Khalil Ebrahim Al-Satrawi, Ahlam Hasan Ali Hasan Ebrahim, Emile Jaffar Mohammed Ali Al-Mahdi. 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

Myanmar eyes trial FX auctions before float

KARACHI: A Pakistani stockbroker talks on a phone as he watches share prices during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in Karachi yesterday. The benchmark KSE-100 index was 13425.04, with increase of 72.30 points in mid of the day’s session. — AFP

YANGON: Myanmar’s government plans to hold trial foreign exchange auctions in March before floating the currency from April 1, the start of the 2012/13 fiscal year, a central bank official said yesterday. The float would mark the most substantial economic reform yet by Myanmar’s new government and coincides with political reforms that are ending half a century of isolation in the former British colony also known as Burma. “Arrangements are under way to float the kyat against the US dollar effective April 1 through a sealed auction system,” the official told Reuters, declining to be named. “It’s a managed float system. Every day the

central bank will invite sealed bids for a certain amount of US dollars from 11 private banks, which have been granted Authorized Dealer Licenses,” the official said. The trials had been suggested by the International Monetary Fund, which is advising Myanmar’s one-year-old civilian government on unifying its various exchange rates, the official added. A central bank presentation seen by Reuters on March 6 had outlined the plans for a managed float in the fiscal year starting in April, but it stopped short of identifying when the kyat would be floated. The official said the government had calcu-

lated the national budget for the year from April 1 using an exchange rate of 800 kyat per dollar, which is around where the black market rate has been in recent weeks. Since 1977, the kyat has been pegged to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) special drawing rights, with one dollar equalling 6.4 kyat. Last March the former militar y junta made way for a nominally civilian government that embarked on a major reform drive, freeing hundreds of political prisoners, loosening media controls and engaging with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement. — Reuters




Apple’s market power to draw more scrutiny A wake-up call for Apple?

Pinterest co-founder bemused at site’s rise SAN JOSE: It’s half an hour before the CEO of Silicon Valley’s hottest social network is set to take the stage, and it’s already standing room only at the Startup Grind gathering in Palo Alto, Calif. The bi-monthly gathering of tech entrepreneurs has nabbed some high-profile speakers in recent months. “The crowd was big for Kevin Rose,” Dave Wamsley, a regular attendee, says of the Digg founder. “But now Elvis has entered the building.” Elvis, it turns out, is a baby-faced native of Iowa with a somewhat shy mien. Ben Silbermann is also CEO of one of the fastest-growing websites in history - Pinterest, which lets its 12 million-and-counting users collect and share digital images and link them to websites. Wamsley, a serial entrepreneur who’s been in Silicon Valley since the dot-com era, said he hasn’t seen a startup take off overnight like this since Netscape. Indeed, Startup Grind founder Derek Anderson admitted while chatting onstage with Silbermann last week that he’d never heard of Pinterest until a year ago, when he asked his wife, “What’s that on your computer?” Turned out she’d been spending every night on the site, looking for recipe tips and the like - for four hours at a pop. Before long, all of her friends were, too, in keeping with the site’s heavily female demographic. Silbermann’s wife, for her part, was key to getting her husband to finally tackle the startup he’d been talking about for years while holding down a customer support job at Google. “She said, ‘You should do it or shut up about it,’ “ Silbermann told the audience at AOL’s West Coast headquarters in Palo Alto. He sounds slightly thunderstruck by the site’s wildfire growth: Pinterest is the 16th most-visited website in America - ahead of CNN and and the 50th most popular in the world, according to ranking service Alexa. Venture capitalists who, two years ago, didn’t understand the startup now are clamoring to follow in the footsteps of Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen, whose venture firm

in September led a $27 million investment. Bigname media have come calling to interview Silbermann and been largely rebuffed. “We’ve been too busy to hire a press person yet,” he said, almost apologetically. All Silbermann wanted, after all, was a place to help people share their hobbies. The son of two family-practice physicians in Des Moines, Silbermann grew up collecting leaves and insects. He went to Yale figuring he’d follow in the family trade, then switched to political science. After graduating in 2003, he landed a consulting job in Washington, DC and joined the firm’s technology practice because, he said, that’s what was open. But even though he’d grown up a Luddite his father still refuses to ditch the family’s old VCR - the younger Silbermann saw the changes being wrought by Web 2.0. “I felt like the story of my time was happening in California,” he told last week’s crowd, “and I wanted to be part of it.” The Google job, he said, taught him a lot, but as a non-engineer in a company that prizes tech skills, his ceiling was limited. After his wife’s tough-love pep talk, he finally took the plunge right before the 2008 Wall Street meltdown made it nearly impossible to raise money. It didn’t help that Silbermann’s two cofounders were as non-technical as he was. But as he kept refining his idea during long hours at Hacker Dojo, a Mountain View, Calif., hothouse for techies, he became more convinced of the potential of a clean, colorful interface that would let users collect and “pin” digital images much the way he’d pinned and displayed insects as a boy. “A ‘pin’ is a digital representation of an object that means something to you,” he said. “When you open the site, you should see things that you love - and be able to connect to the people who found them.” After the site launched in January 2010, however, the going was slow. Four months in, Pinterest had 200 users; half were Silbermann’s friends in Des Moines. —MCT

SAN FRANCISCO: In everything it does, from product design to business deals, Apple strives for as much control as possible. But as the world’s most valuable company sets out to define and dominate the rapidly evolving markets it created with the iPhone and iPad, Apple is likely to face antitrust regulators who want to curb its power. Apple’s clout is coming under scrutiny as the US Justice Department considers filing a lawsuit against the company and five US publishers for an alleged scheme that has driven up the prices of electronic books since the 2010 release of the iPad. The involved parties are trying to avoid a high-profile court battle by negotiating a settlement, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper broke the news last week about the US Justice Department’s plans to allege that Apple Inc. and the publishers orchestrated the price-fixing scheme to thwart the e-book discounts offered by Inc. “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Apple,” says Ted Henneberry, an antitrust attorney for the Orrick law firm in Washington. Apple declined to comment. The e-book case demonstrates the market leverage Apple has gained from its system of Internet-connected devices that tie into iTunes, its digital marketplace for mobile applications, books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, movies and music. “That platform has become really essential for a lot of people,” says David Balto, an antitrust attorney who was a Federal Trade Commission policy director during the Clinton administration. “Apple clearly has gained a lot of power in a number of markets.” Apple has sold more than 315 million iPhones, iPads and iPods that run on its mobile operating system, giving it the keys to a market that will become increasingly influential as more people buy digital content for their electronic devices. Apple’s success has transformed the company from a technology boutique to a trend-setting juggernaut in the past decade. Its annual revenue has soared from $5 billion in 2001 to $108 billion last year. About three-quarters of that revenue comes from sales of iPhones, iPads and iPods. The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., now has a market value of

nearly $510 billion - more than Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. combined. So far, though, government regulators haven’t paid as much attention to Apple as they did to Microsoft during the 1990s and to Google during the past four years. Microsoft’s efforts to maintain and increase its dominance of personal computer software provoked an antitrust lawsuit that unsuccessfully attempted to break up the company. Allegations that Google has been abusing its dominance of the Internet search and advertising markets have sparked wide-ranging government probes into the company’s business practices in the U.S. and Europe. Apple may simply behave better than some of its rivals, or it may be doing business in areas that are so new that government regulators are still learning how those nascent markets function, says D. Daniel Sokol, an associate law professor who focuses on antitrust issues at the University of Florida. “To attract antitrust attention, you have to be more than just big. You have to be big and bad,” Sokol says. “It was only 2007 when Apple released the iPhone, and only 2010 when it released the iPad. The company hasn’t had that long to be bad yet, if it is indeed bad.” Apple hasn’t been flying completely under the government’s radar. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether Apple and Google had been stifling competition by sharing two of the same directors - Eric Schmidt and Arthur Levinson - on their respective boards. That inquiry ended when Schmidt, then Google’s CEO, resigned from Apple’s board and Levinson, former CEO of biotechnology company Genentech, resigned from Google’s board. In 2010, Apple, Google and several other Silicon Valley companies settled a Justice Department investigation into an arrangement that prohibited the employers from recruiting each other’s workers. Apple, Google and four other companies, including Intel Corp., promised not to enter into any other “no-solicitation” agreements for five years. A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the workers at the companies is still seeking damages. Government regulators in the US and Europe are also monitoring Apple, Google and

Microsoft for any sign they are wielding key patents to gain an unfair competitive advantage in the mobile phone market. Apple’s stable of popular mobile devices and the conjoined market for selling digital content will become even more pivotal if the vision of the company’s late co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, pans out. The way Jobs saw it before he died five months ago, technology is in the early stages of a phase that will de-emphasize the importance of personal computers running on Microsoft’s software as people instead rely on sleek, highly portable devices that traverse high-speed Internet connections to fetch content and other files stored in far-flung data centers. If Apple fulfills its destiny as foreseen by Jobs, the company will dominate this “post-PC” era with its array of iPhones, iPads and possibly a revolutionary television set. Jobs hinted at Apple’s looming breakthrough in TV last year during interviews with his biographer, Walter Isaacson. As it is, the iPad already has grabbed 62 percent of the tablet computer market, according to IMS Research. Even if Apple’s market share grows larger, the company may be able to minimize its potential antitrust headaches by pointing to what should still be fierce competition in both smartphones and tablet computers, Henneberry says. For instance, more than 300 million devices are already running on Google’s Android software, and major PC makers such as Hewlett Packard Co. and Dell Inc. are hoping to make a dent in the tablet computer market later this year with devices running Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8. Apple has already girded for more government attention. At the end of 2010, it hired Kyle Andeer, a former antitrust lawyer for the FTC and Justice Department. Andeer became the first antitrust specialist on Apple’s internal legal team. “Any big US tech company understands that when they are successful enough to create and expand markets, they may get government scrutiny,” says David Turetsky, an antitrust attorney with the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf in Washington. “Apple is going to keep antitrust lawyers very busy for some time to come.” —AP

China’s top 2 video websites set to merge

EMC showcases healthcare informatics solutions RIYADH: EMC Corporation sponsors the Saudi E-Health Conference 2012, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, being held from March 11-13, 2012 at the Intercontinental Hotel Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. EHealth 2012 will explore the new trends and the latest technology knowledge in the field of healthcare informatics, in order to create awareness around Public health informatics, emphasize its importance in enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery, and ensuring the efficient utilization of resources. With data growth predicted to increase at a rate of 100 percent every 18 months it is essential that IT infrastructures within Healthcare organizations not only cope with the expanding volume but also add considerable value. The Healthcare providers and payers are being asked to improve clinical and financial outcomes and address the growing demand with limited resource. To deliver optimum patient care, healthcare providers need access to a full patient view through an electronic health care records system. With over 30 years experience with healthcare organizations, EMC has been committed to provide innovative and reliable solutions that leverage patient informa-

tion to deliver complete patient care. Yves Mahieu, EMEA Director Healthcare, EMC, participated in the conference and explained to delegates EMC’s Collaborative Solutions for healthcare industry, aimed at improving patient care delivery and regulatory compliance, while reducing management complexities, and cutting costs. Mahieu also discussed with healthcare providers EMC’s solutions that enable them to efficiently and securely utilize information to make informed clinical, operational and financial decisions. EMC solutions allow Healthcare providers to manage risk and compliance by protecting patients’ data and preventing against data loss and security breaches. They also accelerate EHR adoption by providing an integrated information infrastructure for ease of capture and access of patients’ data, and enable them to leverage and share predictive data and optimize IT Infrastructures. With EMC Documentum, VMware and EMC Storage, EMC Collaboration Solutions EMC offers an integrated IT solution that helps healthcare providers to build a 360 degree patient view, enhance data-sharing, and manage better medical data volumes.

BEIJING: China’s top two video websites announced plans yesterday to merge in hopes of creating the dominant competitor in a fast-growing industry that is drawing viewers from bland state television. Youku Inc. and Tudou Holdings Ltd. said the new company, Youku Tudou Inc., will be created in a stock-for-stock transaction. They said it requires shareholder approval but is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year. China’s dozens of privately owned video websites have nearly 400 million viewers and industry analysts say the field might represent the future of Chinese video watching and advertising. Chinese video websites initially imitated Western video-sharing sites that rely on user-supplied content. But they have evolved to act like TV stations, showing imported programs or their own productions to appeal to affluent urban viewers coveted by advertisers. Youku and Tudou are former rivals and were involved in a legal battle earlier this year over accusations they were misusing each other’s content. Both have reported losses recently due to high costs for Internet bandwidth and programming. Youku had 21.8 percent of China’s online video market in the final quarter of 2011, with Tudou in second place at 13.7 percent, according to Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing. Sohu TV, a service of Chinese portal Inc., was in third place with 13.3 percent. Other competitors had singledigit market shares. In a statement, Youku founder and CEO Victor Koo said the merged entity should have the market’s biggest user base and content library. “Youku Tudou Inc. would establish a clear and dominant leadership position in China’s online video sector,” Koo said. Total revenue for Chinese video websites rose 135 percent over a year earlier in the final quarter of 2011 to 1.7 billion yuan ($275 million), according to Analysys International. Video websites show popular Western series and allow users to download movies and other programming to watch on smart phones or tablet computers. Beijing has allowed such private companies to flourish with less of the censorship imposed on China’s entirely state-owned newspapers, TV and radio, possibly to avoid stifling what is seen as a promising high-tech industry. Regulators might be driving still more viewers online and away from state TV with rules imposed this year to limit the number of reality, talent and dating shows local broadcasters can show on satellite channels. The number of Chinese who watch online video jumped from 284 million in 2010 to 394 million in 2011, according to CMM Intelligence, a media consulting firm in Beijing. It said the total might pass 445 million by the end of 2012. The surging popularity of online video threatens to erode viewership for state TV, which Beijing sees as a tool to mold public opinion. That raises the threat communist leaders might tighten controls to protect their media presence. Youku reported a 49.6 million yuan ($8 million) loss for the three months ending Dec. 31 but said full-year profit was 200.3 million yuan ($32.3 million), up 450 percent from 2010. Tudou reported a quarterly loss of 148.9 million yuan ($24 million) and a full-year loss of 511.2 million ($82.4 million). —AP

AUSTIN: In this photograph, Buddy, the top cat gamer, faces-off against a human competitor in a match of Friskies “You vs. Cat” during the SXSW Interactive Festival on Sunday, March 11, 2012. The first ever duel-species game allows cats and humans to play together using tablet technology. —AP

Star tech investor set to teach at Stanford SAN FRANCISCO: Peter Thiel, the superstar course proposal to Stanford after approaching Silicon Valley investor, has famously dismissed Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford computer science university as a waste of time and money, and professor, to discuss the possibility of teaching. even offered students cash to drop out. But his (Thrun has since left the university to work on an views apparently do not apply to himself - or to online education project.) “If I do my job right, Stanford University. Thiel, 44, will teach at the this is the last class you’ll ever have to take,” Thiel elite university this spring, sharing pearls of said through a spokesman. Mehran Sahami, the entrepreneurial wisdom in a class called department’s associate chair for education, said “Computer Science 183: Startup.” The course is the curriculum committee debated whether already oversubscribed, with Thiel’s return to his Thiel would use the class as a conduit to recruit alma mater sparking both enthusiasm and skep- students to his companies. Other faculty voiced concerns that they were “not sure of ticism on a campus increasingly his motivations given his history with obsessed with start-up success. respect to universities,” Sahami said. “It’s puzzling to us what he has to “We went into this with eyes wide say,” said Nruthya Madappa, a senior open,” said Sahami, a former research in electrical engineering who saw scientist at Google. “But on balance, rumours of Thiel’s class explode on this would be something our students her Facebook news feed on a recent would benefit from.” Still others, like evening and rushed to sign up “sevVivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford’s eral minutes” after course enrolment Peter Thiel Rock Centre of Corporate Governance, went live. “He’s famously known to were not so sure. “It’s hypocritical, but make people furious with his views and the way he questions things,” she said. “But I’m not surprised,” Wadhwa said. “The same peohe’s challenging us to look at our education here ple who go around bashing education are the in a different way.” Thiel, who co-founded online most educated. What’s he going to do? Tell stupayment processor PayPal and later reaped bil- dents, ‘When you graduate from my class, drop lions with bets on gilded names like Facebook , out right after that?’” Jim O’Neill, the head of the Thiel Foundation, LinkedIn and Zynga, is known for his maverick ways, even emerging recently as the main finan- which administers the entrepreneurship fellowcial backer for libertarian presidential contender ship, said that the investor has been concerned Ron Paul. Thiel has argued that the brightest for several years about the skyrocketing cost of young minds should strike out on their own and tuition and the burdens of student debt for start companies rather than take on crushing many graduates. “He’s only said that college is good value for some people, it’s just not necesdebt to pursue a college degree. Never mind that Thiel himself holds both a sarily a good value for everyone,” O’Neill said. bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a law “He’s not calling for the abolition of college.” degree from Stanford; he has backed up his talk Thiel chose to deliver his message in the classwith his checkbook. Last year, Thiel started a fel- room because he “wants to reach out to people lowship that offered $100,000 to 20 budding in many different spaces,” O’Neill said, adding entrepreneurs between the ages of 14 and 20 that Thiel chose Stanford, his alma mater, because the university’s startup culture made it who would drop out to focus on their ventures. But Thiel last year also submitted a formal a “natural fit.” —Reuters



Climate, food pressures require rethink on water World Water Forum opens to warnings of scarcity

LEIPZIG: A young male Rothschild giraffe and its mother are presented at the zoo. The giraffe, born on February 22, 2012 belongs to the most endangered giraffe subspecies with only a few hundred members in the wild.— AFP

Finding and riding the bicycle built for you NEW YORK: As fuel prices soar and the weather warms, more adults are rediscovering bicycling as a way to get fit, get around, and rekindle that childhood joy of movement. Experts say whether you’re pedaling down suburban paths, mountain trails or city lanes, taking a few precautions will have you sitting sweet upon your bicycle seat. “With the tough economy and gas prices rising, suddenly biking seems like this sensible, fun way to get fit,” said Peter Flax, editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine. “It’s cheaper than joining a gym. And you can drive your car less.” In 2010, there were 19.8 million bicycles sold in the United States, up 15 percent from 2009, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, a non-profit trade group. “The biggest surprise is the growth in big and mid-size cities,” said Flax. “Go to a coffee shop or a farmers’ market, you’ll see many people who aren’t hard core, spandex-clad athletes using their bikes to get around.” The League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group, reported that bicycling increased by an average of 36 percent in the 70 largest US cities from 2005 to 2010. Consequently, Flax said, city biking is getting safer. “Infrastructure changes like bike lanes are on the rise, and people in cars are becoming more patient.” While many a workable bicycle is languishing in a garage or closet, Flax said, before pedaling off into the sunset, or the office, on one, visit the bicycle shop for a tune up and fitting. “Make sure someone looks at your body. Is saddle at the right height? The handle bars? Someone who has seen hundreds of thousands of people can do a better job than you can do on

your own.” If you’re in the market for a new ride, Flax says, stick with the specialists. “Go to a bike shop, not a big box store,” said Flax, whose magazine’s 2012 Buyer’s Guide reviews over 100 bicycles. “Airplane technology has been pushed on to bikes so they are really light and comfortable now.” Another consideration is the ground beneath your wheels. On suburban trails you want tires wide enough to ride on muck, Flax explained; in the city, the bike should be rugged enough to handle tough pavement; for tooling around the woods, a mountain bike is optimal. And don’t forget the helmet. “Even at low speeds things can happen,” said Flax, who compared riding without a helmet to driving without a seatbelt. “And helmets have gotten a lot cooler looking lately. It doesn’t have to be like wearing a giant mushroom on your head.” Bicycling is an effective cardio exercise gets the heart and lungs into shape and exercises large muscle groups, said American Council on Exercise spokesperson Liz Neporent. “Unlike running or walking, it takes a lot of stress off the joints,” she said. “And it’s more of a whole body exercise than you would think. There’s a lot of core work, and it’s obviously great for working the legs and butt.” Neporent recommends supplementing bicycling with strength or resistance training, and urges beginners to start slow. “You can’t undo 10 years of sloth with one workout,” she said. Flax said a brisk ride can burn 500 to 800 calories in an hour, and with the wind in your hair. “The advantage of biking is how much fun it is,” he said. “Compare it to being on a stair climber for 40 minutes.” — Reuters

Behavioural therapy may help hot flashes A few sessions of behavioral therapy, even a “self-help” version, may help some women find relief from menopausal hot flashes, according to a British study. Researchers writing in the journal Menopause said that after six weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, more than two-thirds of the women who under went, through group sessions or self-help, had a “clinically significant” drop in problems related to hot flashes and night sweats. Hormone replacement therapy is considered the most effective treatment of hot flashes, but since hormones have been linked to increased risks of heart disease, blood clots and breast cancer, many women want alternative remedies. Some antidepressants have been found to cool hot flashes, but “natural products”-such as black cohosh, soy and flaxseed-have generally failed to meet the test of clinical trials. “These results suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy delivered in group or self-help format is an effective treatment option for women during the menopause transition and postmenopause with problematic hot flashes/night sweats,” wrote senior researcher Myra Hunter, at King’s College London. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a treatment option for problems ranging from depression to sleep problems to digestive disorders. It aims to change the unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviours that can feed

mental or physical symptoms. Hunter said the therapy “involves developing helpful, accepting approaches to hot flashes and also using breathing exercises to focus attention away from the flashes and negative thoughts.” Hunger recruited 140 women who had been having hot flashes and night sweats at least 10 times a week for a month or more, randomly assigning them to either groupbased therapy, a self-help version or no treatment. Group therapy sessions took place four times a month. Self-help therapy involved one meeting and a phone call with a psychologist, but otherwise they used a book and CD. After six weeks, 65 percent of women who underwent group therapy reported a meaningful drop in how problematic their hot-flash symptoms were. The same was true of 73 percent of women in the self-help group. That compared with 21 percent of women who had had no treatment. The benefit was still apparent after six months, though by then one-third of the untreated group had also improved. Women in the therapy groups said they were having fewer hot flashes-but women who had received no treatment reported a similar drop, the study said. Instead, the benefit seemed to come from changes in how women perceived their symptoms. “Women say that they might still have hot flashes but not notice them, and then they feel more confident about coping with them,” Hunter said. — Reuters

MARSEILLE: A global meeting on water opened in France yesterday with demands to provide billions of poor people with clean water and decent sanitation and address the spiralling demands of the future. “The challenges are huge and the problems are deep-rooted,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said as he opened the sixth World Water Forum in the southern city of Marseille. “The number of human beings who have no access to clean water is in the billions. Each year, we mourn millions of dead from the health risks that this causes. This situation is not acceptable-the world community must rise and tackle it.” The World Water Forum, held every three years, gathers policymakers, big corporations and nongovernmental organisations. As many as 20,000 participants from 140 countries are expected for the six-day event, including scores of ministers for the environment and water and a scattering of heads of state from francophone west Africa. Separately, a massive UN report, issued only once every three years, said water problems in many parts of the world were chronic. Without a crackdown on waste will worsen as demand for food rises and climate change intensifies, it said. “Pressures on freshwater are rising, from the expanding needs of agriculture, food production and energy consumption to pollution and the weaknesses of water management,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in the report. “Climate change is a real and growing threat. Without good planning and adaptation, hundreds of millions of people are at risk of hunger, disease, energy shortages and poverty.” Demand for food will increase by some 70 percent by 2050, which will lead to a nearly 20 percent increase in global agricultural water consumption, the UN’s Fourth World Water Development Report said. Abstraction of aquifers has at least tripled in the past 50 years and now supplies almost half of all drinking water today. “In some hotspots, the availability of non-renewable groundwater resources has reached critical limits,” the report said. The report demanded an overhaul in the use of water, especially by curbing waste. Smarter irrigation, less thirsty crops and the use of “grey,” or used water, to flush toilets are among the options. Already, more

than 2.5 billion people are in need of decent sanitation and nearly one in 10 has yet to gain access to “improved” drinking water, as defined under the UN’s 2015 development goals. Ministers attending the forum will issue a nonbinding statement today affirming their awareness of the problems and intent to fix them. Looking ahead to the “Rio plus 20” summit in June, Fillon stood by France’s plan to create a World Environment Organisation, an idea opposed by the United States. “What is at stake here is the historic change of our societies from a development that is economically efficient but environmentally destructive to a model that combines economic development, the

fair sharing of resources among the region’s of the glob and the preservation of ecosystems,” said Fillon. The water forum is shunned by some environmentalists or development activists, who deride it as a trade fair lacking democracy and transparency. An alternative forum is being staged elsewhere in Marseille by 2,000 members of civil society from Europe, the United States, Latin America and Africa. “Water cannot be solely determined by politicians, financiers and technicians,” organisers of the rival forum said in a statement. “Every woman and every man, whatever his responsibilities, must take part in decision-making, contributing to the protection of water and ensuring fair access to it.” — AFP

MARSEILLE: French President of the World Water Council, Loic Fauchon (right) delivers his speech, standing by Malian participants Mailin Walet Ahmoudene (center) and her brother Sidi Ahmed Ag Ahmoudene (left) during the World Water Forum yesterday. — AP

Scientist who warned of thinning ozone dies LOS ANGELES: F. Sherwood Rowland, the Nobel prize-winning chemist who sounded the alarm on the thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer, has died. He was 84. Rowland died Saturday at his home of complications from Parkinson’s disease, the dean of the University of California, Irvine’s physical sciences department said Sunday. “We have lost our finest friend and mentor,” Kenneth C. Janda said in a statement. “He saved the world from a major catastrophe: never wavering in his commitment to science, truth and humanity and did so with integrity and grace.” Rowland was among three scientists awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for explaining how the ozone layer is formed and decomposed through chemical processes in the atmosphere. The prize was awarded more than two decades after

Rowland and post-doctoral student Mario Molina calculated that if human use of chlorofluorocarbons, a byproduct of aerosol sprays, deodorants and other household products, were to continue at an unchanged rate, the ozone layer would be depleted after several decades. Their work built upon findings by atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen. Their prediction caught enormous attention and was strongly challenged partly because the non-toxic properties of CFCs were thought to be environmentally safe. Their work gained widespread recognition more than a decade later with the discovery of the ozone hole over the Earth’s polar regions. “It was to turn out that they had even underestimated the risk,” a Nobel committee said in its award citation for Rowland, Molina and Crutzen. Molina said his for-

mer mentor never shied from defending his work or advocating a ban on CFCs. “He showed me that if we believe in the science ... we should speak out when we feel it’s important for society to change,” Molina told The Associated Press. His work on ozone depletion made Rowland a prominent voice for scientists concerned about global warming. “ Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?” Rowland said at a White House climate change roundtable in 1997. “If not us, who? If not now, when?” he asked. Rowland was survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Joan, a son and a daughter. —AP

For athletes, ageing can be a pain MINNEAPOLIS: Dick Anderson reached the pinnacle of his rockclimbing endeavors - literally as well as figuratively - 10 years ago when, after 3 exhausting days of clinging to the side of a sheer cliff, he reached the top of El Capitan, a majestic granite monolith in Yosemite Park that rises nearly three-fourths of a mile straight up. Shortly after finishing that climb, Anderson, then 52, dislocated his right shoulder. Two years later, while trying to come back from surgery on that shoulder, he blew out the left one. The Minneapolis man’s climbing days were over, and the prospect of being relegated to an overstuffed chair in front of a T V pained him as much as his injured shoulders. “I found that I needed to be active to feel complete as a person,” he said. But he also found that being active on the other side of 50 often involves embracing new approaches and techniques. And if you’re a lifelong athlete, it can mean coming to grips with the fact that you’re not going to be able to run as fast, hit a golf ball as far or climb rock walls the way you once did. Maintaining fitness as we age takes extra diligence, including more emphasis on stretching, monitoring hydration, focusing on form and strengthening core muscles. Yes, these are the same things we were told to do in our 20s and 30s, but now the trainers really mean it. A 50year-old body isn’t nearly as forgiving about us ignoring these things as a 20-something body. Anderson decided to appreciate what he still could do rather than mourn the loss of what he couldn’t. “I’m so thrilled to be able to do what I’m doing at my age that I just let (the disappointment) go,” he said. “For some reason, my shoulders are OK with the motion for cross-country skiing and kayaking, so I do a lot of that.” Keeping physically fit as we age isn’t a pipe dream. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and published in January in the professional journal Physician and Sportsmedicine found that loss of muscle mass isn’t an inevitable byproduct of aging. “This study contradicts the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone,” it says, putting the blame on inactivi-

ty. But just keeping active isn’t enough either, experts say. The key is keeping active in ways that help your body handle the activity. Mia Bremer, fitness manager at the retirement community Friendship Village of Bloomington, Minn., has seen this from both perspectives. “We have clients in their 70s who wouldn’t be having (physical) problems now” if they had done what they were supposed to when they were in their 50s, she said. And at the same time, “We have clients in their 80s who did it right and are in excellent shape.” Jill Lile was teaching dance at Creighton University when she was sidelined by a toe injury that often afflicts ballet dancers. She not only was forced to redefine her dancing “I started perfecting my flat-foot technique,” she said - but she segued into a new career as a chiropractor.

“I could see the writing on the wall” as far as dancing, said Lile, 54. “I wanted to keep exercising because I like the way I feel when I exercise. I like the benefits of exercising, and I wasn’t ready to pack it up. I realized that there was so much else available. There’s yoga and Pilates and Zumba.” There’s even still dance, including teaching classes at Minnesota Dance Theatre. It’s just not at the same intensity. “After I got surgery on my foot, I tried to work with it the best I could,” she said. “I can do ballet flatfooted. I just can’t do it all the way. I’ve modified it as best I could. I can still get out and move to the music.” Lile combines her injury experience with her technical knowledge as a chiropractor, although not all of her clients at the Hippocrates Center for Holistic Healing in Minneapolis like what she has to tell them. “A lot of

Like many people growing older, Jill Lile (left) Dick Anderson and Rick Goullaud have found they need to limit or change some of their athletic activities. — MCT

runners are like dancers - when they get hurt, you can’t get them to stop,” she said. “You have to know when to stay down. A lot of injuries become a test of patience.” Returning to action too soon after an injury has become so common that there’s even a term for it now, said Mark Richards, vice president of program development for the Edina, Minn.-based Welcyon Fitness After 50 clubs. “It’s called incomplete rehabilitation syndrome,” he said. If you injure, say, a knee, use the other knee to establish “a baseline physiological status,” he said, and don’t return to action until the injured joint has the same strength and range of motion as the healthy one. Otherwise, “you’re an injury waiting to happen,” he warned. Rick Goullaud knows how hard it can be force yourself to abstain. When he broke his foot in October, the pain was worsened by the disappointment of it happening the weekend before he was going to compete in a triathlon for which he’d spent months training. “It was hard to stop training when you’d been looking forward to something that long,” said Goullaud, 67, of Plymouth, Mich. “There were 10 of us who train together who were going to Las Vegas for the Monster Dash triathlon. We work pretty hard when we train, so it was disappointing. But I’m back at it now. I train at least five days a week, sometimes seven.” The triathlon’s format forces him to cross-train, rotating among biking, swimming and running. Experts say that mixing activities is a key to exercising as we age. One of the main causes of repetitive stress injuries - as the name indicates - is repetition. “Keep your body guessing,” said Sarah Hankel, a personal trainer at the Lifetime Fitness club in St. Louis Park, Minn. “Stop running every day and bike some days. Or swim. Take yoga. There are lots of alternatives. Injuries tend to occur when monotony sets in.” The important thing, everyone agreed, is to not give up. “There’s no age limit” at which a body quits responding to exercise, Richards said. “When it comes to a wide range of health issues, exercise is the magic bullet. It’s that powerful with respect to its benefits. If exercise were a pill, everyone would take it.” — MCT




in brief

Diabetics should lift weights before cardio NEW YORK: People with diabetes may have better blood sugar control during workouts if they lift weights before doing cardio exercise, according to a new study by Canadian researchers. It’s important to define the best way for people with type 1 diabetes to exercise so that blood sugar doesn’t drop too low, yet they can still reap all the benefits of aerobic exercise, Dr. Ronald Sigal, an endocrinologist at the University of Calgary in Canada and lead author of the study told Reuters Health. Sihuan prepares anti-hypertension drug HONG KONG: Chinese drugmaker Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd has registered its anti-hypertensive drug with the country’s drug regulator and hopes to obtain approval to begin clinical trials in China by the end of 2013. The announcement, made over the weekend, sent its stock price up 1.9 percent to HK$3.18 on Monday morning, the highest since March 5. Shares were up 0.64 percent at HK$3.14 by 0338 GMT, compared with a 0.28 percent decline in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. Fake Avastin shows very little protects drug supply NEW YORK: As drug counterfeiters step up their sales of bogus medicines, global health regulators have few protections in place to prevent them from reaching patients, and new laws aimed at addressing the problem could be years away. Scrutiny of the supply chain has grown since fake versions of Roche’s multibillion-dollar cancer drug Avastin turned up at US oncology practices late last year, sparking an international investigation that so far stretches from southern California back to Turkey with a stopover in a Cairo suburb. After jail, former inmates face higher death risk NEW YORK: People released from New York City jails face an increased risk of death from drug overdose, homicide or suicide-especially in the first couple weeks of freedom, city health officials say. In a study of more than 155,000 people released from city jails over five years, researchers found that former inmates were twice as likely as other city residents to die of a drug overdose or homicide. Florida passes bill to test state workers for drugs TALLAHASSEE: Florida lawmakers on Friday approved a measure allowing state agency heads to randomly test employees for illegal drugs, sending the bill to Governor Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it. By a 26-14 vote, the Senate approved a measure, House Bill 1205, that allows up to 10 percent of a department’s employees to be randomly tested for alcohol and other substance abuse.

PRASLIN ISLAND: The beach is pictured. — AFP

Seychelles’ idyllic habitat at risk from climate change VICTORIA: Bursts of torrential rain lash the idyllic white beaches of the Seychelles, where conservationists fear that rare species such as the giant tortoise are at severe risk from climate change. As changing season patterns bring harsher storms and much longer dry spells, international organisations are helping fight climate change in the tiny nation, the only one in the world where 50 percent of the land is a nature reserve. “ The seasons are merging, there’s more rain but in short bursts, with long dry periods. Drinking water dries up and the climate plays havoc with breeding and feeding patterns,” said Seychelles climate change expert Rolph Payet. Recognising the risks, the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility have approved $8.7 million (6.6 million euros) this year for climate change adaptation projects in the Indian Ocean archipelago. While part of the funds will go to tackling issues affecting Seychellois people such as drought, the rest is earmarked for further research into protecting the vast array of species from the fallout from global warming. “We have a range of animals at risk, from the rare turtles and tortoises which lay their eggs on our beaches, to mountain frogs and birds such as the Black Parrot, which are endemic to the Seychelles,” Payet said. On the remote Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site more than 1,100 kilometres (685 miles) from the main Seychelles islands, more than 100,000 wild giant Aldabra tortoises lumber and doze together in groups in the

baking sun. One of the biggest tortoises in the world, the Aldabra is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as at risk of extinction, and small but notable shifts in the climate have sparked concern among experts. “Climate change causes storm surges and higher tides, both of which erode the coast. As the sea warms up, it also kills off the coral reefs, which provide food for fish but also protect the coast from the waves,” Payet said. The Aldabra atoll lies only a few metres above the turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean and the fear is that rising sea levels and tropical cyclones may eventually swallow it up, taking the giant Seychelles tortoises with it.

“It’s not only the Aldabra which is at risk,” said David Rowat from the Seychelles marine conservation society, which heads up a programme to tag and monitor critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtles on Mahe Island’s beaches. “Hawksbills have always been hunted for their shell to make tortoiseshell jewellery. Their numbers are low but we have the fifth largest population in the world here, and it’s imperative we act to protect them,” he said. Changes in temperature play havoc with breeding patterns because the Hawksbills, which live in tropical coral reefs and have prominent hooked beaks, tend to produce only females if the eggs are left in a very warm nest, he said. “The

PRASLIN ISLAND: A green Gecko walks on a palm at Vallee de Mai natural reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site. —AFP

warming also means there are violent and more frequent storms. The turtles lay their eggs in the sand, but if you have a bad storm surge, you can lose big tracts of sand and a whole season of nesting turtles,” Rowat said. “We move the nests we come across to above the high water line on the beach, but even doing that cannot always protect them from a flash surge,” he added. A significant part of the new funds will go to projects aiming to protect and restore the coral reefs and shore up the coastline against storms. “The ideas we’re testing include using wooden poles as a barrier to protect the coast and replanting trees to help prevent erosion, as well as attempting to regrow coral or transplant and grow more resilient coral,” Payet said. The Seychelles Islands Foundation which manages the Aldabra atoll also works to conserve the rare species at the Vallee de Mai, a national park on Praslin island home to Bulbul birds, fruit bats and Seychelles Skink geckos among others. Black Parrots swoop above a canopy of towering palm trees with vast leaves, feasting on fruit while brightly coloured tree frogs and geckos lurk near the park’s streams and dart over large moss-covered boulders in the gorge. “The Black Parrot is only found on Praslin. It is a beautiful bird, but is at risk because changing seasons can lead to a decrease in food,” Payet said. Rising temperatures also bring another danger to this picturesque island-the palm leaves covering the forest floor could catch alight. There’s a real risk of forest fires,” Payet said. — AFP



W H AT ’ S O N

Announcements Talent launch Kuwait’s Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity (SACGC) called on to the Kuwaiti community to come out and support its local young talented Kuwaitis by visiting the “Mawaheb” gallery exhibition on March 15, 16, and 17 at the Avenues Mall. The exhibition, created and organized by SACGC, provides a platform for 15 of the top Kuwaiti photographers, artists and musicians, to showcase their talent directly to the community through unique, signature performances, displays, and presentations. SACGC General Manager, Dr Omar Al Bannai said, “”Mawaheb” is a talent-driven exhibition that connect Kuwait’s undiscovered talents to the community and showcases to Kuwait some of the great art. “Mawaheb” will kick-off on 7 pm on March 15 at the Avenues location near Dean and Deluca in the presence of SACGC CEO, Dr. Bader Al-Omar, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences General Manager, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, SACGC General Manager, Dr. Omar Al Bannai, and all members of the SACGC Board of Directors. Aware Seminar The AWARE Center invites you to its diwaniya presentation today March 13 entitled, “The Fundamentals of Islamic Banking & Finance” by Dr. Muhammad Al-Qattan. Have you ever wondered what is Islamic Banking? How is it different? What principals is it based on? Does it work? Are there any benefits? Do you have to be Muslim to have an account in an Islamic Bank? Come along to AWARE’s diwaniya at 7pm on Tuesday 13th March when Dr. Mohammed Al-Qattan will be discussing all these issues and more. For more information, call 25335260 ext 0 / 104 / 105 or log onto: or email: “

BSK delights with Ocean Commotion


istinguished guests and the school community were enthralled by recent performances of Ocean Commotion at The British School of Kuwait. Collaboration between Primary staff produced a fantastic show in the Shakespeare Theatre.

Ocean Commotion wove a story around themes of animal welfare and environmental protection, winning the hearts of parents and students alike. The underwater scenery and fantastic costume display were a sight to behold as the children of 7-9 years old enacted the

story of a dolphin captured and an ocean mistreated by humans. The tale ended happily as the cast relayed their message to all regarding environmental conservation and animal welfare in an hour-long showcase of BSK talent! Director Richard McPherson and

Producer Lauren Huskings were immensely proud of their team and pleased to affirm the place of the creative arts in the unparalleled opportunities available to students.

Lecturers at AUK The Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) will be organizing the following events in March. Event Title: “The People are Missing” Lecturer By Dr Mai Al Nakib, on March 21, 2012 at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: Dr. Mai AlNakib’s presentation looks at the Palestinian community in Kuwait prior to the first Gulf War, and considers the ethical consequences to Kuwait after their expulsion in 1991. Event Title: City Images, on March 27, 2012, at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: This talk presents the issues surrounding the concept of ‘branding’ in relation to the city states of the Gulf, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Event Title: “Energy Conservation” Lecture by Jim Krane, on March 28, 2012 at 6-8 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: The speaker discusses the energy consumption issue in the Gulf. He examines the role of government, the population, and the barriers to promoting less consumption and reforming the energy sector. All events are open for public. Exhibition Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Minister of Information President of the National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters with the support of TOTAL organised by Institut du Monde Arabe Paris in cooperation with Embassy of France-Kuwait Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah will hold the exhibition “The Golden Age of the Arab Sciences” tomorrow, March 14 at 7 pm, at the American Cultural Centre. Desert get-together A full day in the desert with the collaboration of the BBF (British Business Forum), BLS (British Ladies Society), ANZAK (Australians & New Zealanders), Diwaniya Italia (Italians in Kuwait), UFE (French Community in Kuwait), and the Lebanese community as well. It’s a get together day with loads of fun and a chance to compete in a real Paint Ball arena in the desert, participate in a mini football tournament & volleyball tournament, and there will also be many other activities such as ATV (Quads) Karaoke and more! A BBQ buffet catering will be provided by Holiday Inn Salmiya, and entertainment will be provided by DJ Shatti and Chromatic Band). For more information and early booking please call 5010-0734. Latin Party Sizzling Latin Party at the Swiss Hotel Plaza in Kuwait CIty (next to Al-Mouthana Complex)! The “fiesta” will be on March 16th, beginning at 8:30pm and will continue until 1:30am. For more information call Yolanda. TIES Ladies Club The TIES Ladies Club invites you to their Kuwaiti cuisine cooking classes which will start soon. Join them for a one month cooking program where you will learn to cook real Kuwaiti food. All ladies are invited to join their classes and let your family enjoy mouth watering Kuwaiti cuisine! on March 15th - April 5th frpm 6 pm to 8 pm. For more information/ registration: 2523-1015/6 or 97228860/9779-3440. Quiz night The TIES Center Ladies Club invites all ladies to an educational and entertaining quiz night session. Feel free to come with your family and enjoy this fun night together. Refreshments will be provided tomorrow March 14th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. For more information/ registration: 2523-1015/6 What do you get... When you mix African drums with a herd of elephants and delicious food, to which you add lots of African music & rhythms, unique fashion in a flavor of colors, a few drops of a sleepy panther, a mini African market and just the right amount of leopard spots... all sprinkled with inimitable African spirit? Come and find out on Thursday, 22 March At Holiday Inn Hotel (Salmiya), Al Dana Ballroom from 7 pm - 10 pm For details regarding participation in the kids’ contest “Best African Costume”, e contact Lorie Beverly at

The Regency set to welcome world energy leaders


he Regency Hotel, Kuwait is the appointed venue for the 5th International Energy Business Forum (IEBF) and the 13th International Energy Forum (IEF), to be held in Kuwait City from March 12-14, 2012, by Kuwait’s Ministry of Oil, (MOO). The IEF is the largest gathering of energy Ministers in the world, and its 88 member countries account for 90 percent of global oil and gas supply and demand. This strategic forum is attended by high

level ministerial representatives as well as those multinationals involved in exploration and production of oil. The forum provides an opportunity for all those related to the global energy sector to meet and discuss issues and challenges affecting the world. General Manager of The Regency, Riaz Mahmood stated “The choice of The Regency as the venue for this prestigious international event is indeed a great honour. We are delighted to have such eminent representatives of the global energy

sector staying with us and we wish them and the Ministry of Oil a successful and fruitful forum”. Since mid-February, The Regency has seen an enormous marquee which has been erected to host the high level officials; measuring almost 15m in height it provides 2,400sq m of clear floor space, and is the largest tent structure of its kind ever erected in Kuwait. Similar tents have been seen at some of the region’s most prestigious major sporting events including the PGA Abu Dhabi Golf

Tournament and the Al-Ain Air Show. Most of the furniture - from the executive’s tables to waste paper baskets - has been painstakingly tailormade by The Regency’s very own team of skilled craftsmen in just over three weeks. The tent offers a plethora of high-end facilities from private meeting rooms to state-of-the-art audio-visual and lighting. Due to this important commitment The Regency will be welcoming back its valued guests from March 16, 2012.

Yoforia opens first branch in ME in Kuwait


ounded in 2007, Yoforia is a self serve concept with six machines serving over 12 flavours like Original, Pomegranate, Mango, Pineapple, Chocolate, Vanilla, Watermelon, Ferrero Roche Cookies and Cream and also serving sorbets of Raspberry and Strawberry. Yoforia also exclusively for the Middle East have developed Middle Eastern flavours such as Dates, Pistachio Zaifron, Vimto and Coffee. Kuwait’s Industry and Technology Co For General Trading and Contracting ITC Chairman Sheikh Yousef A Al-Sabah has announced that ITC have taken the franchise rights for the Middle East and North Africa as the master franchiser and have plans to open branches in other GCC countries. Yoforia will also open another location in the Luxury Al-Hamra Mall and Tower in Kuwait City. It is currently the only self-serving frozen yogurt concept in Kuwait and also the only one that serves 12 flavours to meet the different tastes of healthy Froyo lovers. The current location in Kuwait has been supported directly by the USA , with Luke Tashie CEO, Paul Paul Plocharczyk, Operations Director, Erik Tashie Regional Director and Sara, Chestnut Store Development director.

—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwait Zoo hosts KNES students


he children of KNES Early Years recently visited the Kuwait Zoo. Children from Pre-School, Kindergarten and Reception, each visited the animals and built on their knowledge of animals and their habitats. The Early Years children are very appreciative of the staff of the Kuwait Zoo, who help to make these trips memorable for the children between 18 months to 5 years.



W H AT ’ S O N

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

Shell applauds winners of Kuwait Engineering design competition


he Kuwait Engineering competition was concluded for the second year at an awards ceremony that took place on March 7, 2012, under the patronage of Sheikh Talal Al-Khalid AlSabah, Managing Director of Government, Parliament, Public Relations & Media. Senior representatives from Shell Companies in Kuwait, the Ministry of Education and the Energy Center for Engineering Consultancy, awarded the three winning teams with cash prizes, commemorative trophies and certificates at the Petrochemical Industries Company Boubyan Club Theatre. The first place was secured by a team from the Ahmad Al-Rubee High School whose innovative Balsa Bridge design was able to hold up to 72 KG of weight. The second and third places went to

teams from the Universal American School and the New English School, respectively, who competed against 43 teams from all over Kuwait’s private and public high schools.

Ahmad Atallah, Chairman & Managing Director for Shell Companies in Kuwait commented; “I am impressed with the competition turn out for this year and proud that Shell initiated such

activity. I believe that innovative thinking requires courage and taking on challenge, and this is the essence of this competition. All participating teams relied not only on their intelligence, but they pushed their creative boundaries further by testing their skills with the “Balsa Bridge Design”. It is very encouraging to see so much young talent and healthy competition spirit in Kuwait that’s waiting to be discovered and I hope this competition will encourage students to pursue an education in engineering”. The Kuwait Annual Engineering Design Competition has been a success since its launch in 2010 and as part of Shell’s corporate social responsibility program that supplements other youth development projects being carried out in partnership with Kuwait University.

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

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

ACK to sponsor education exhibition


ustralian College in Kuwait (ACK) announced sponsorship of Education Exhibition 2012, to be held under the auspices of the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, at the International Fair Grounds Mishref, from March 12-15. On this occasion, Dr. Raghd Al-Kazmi, Director of Students Affairs at ACK, stated: “The College is keenly desirous to sponsor the Education Exhibition 2012,

for its positive reflections on high school students, allowing them proper opportunity to familiarize with the disciplines and programs provided by ACK to its affiliates.” “The mission of ACK is to enable individuals by maximizing their capacity in a sponsoring environment. This mission is based on academic principles to

empower a new generation of young manpower with knowledge and personal skills,” she said. “Accordingly, ACK provides academic disciplines and system to global standards, in collaboration with a selected partnerships with universities and colleges, whereby the graduates can attain the opportunity to study for diploma or bachelor degree in the various disciplines, such as mechanical and civil engineering, electronics, communication, oil and gas, aircraft mechanics engineering (1.1B, as well as Management, marketing and human resources. Graduates obtain a degree from ACK and partner universities,” she elaborated. Dr. Al-Kazmi stressed that ACK supports the local labor market with human resources that are provided with scientific and practical qualifications in the areas of engineering and management at diploma and bachelor levels through a global system. In this process, ACK established the “Project-based Education” concept, which enhances the students’ applied and professional skis and their capability to work in several fields. “The scientific side is one of the most significant areas focused by the education system in ACK,” she concluded.

Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort celebrates 4th anniversary



n March 3, the Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort, part of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotel group, celebrated its 4th anniversary with a staff party for all employees and their families. Marking four years of successful operation, the staff party was a great chance for all employees to celebrate the Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort’s successes and to recognise the fantastic contribution that members of staff have made over the past four years. Held in the hotel’s Slayil ballroom, the party was attended by more than 100 employees, from all nationalities, and their families. Before the start of festivities, Dani Saleh, General Manager of the Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Don Bombuwela Prasad Chamara was named as Employee of the Year for his outstanding service to the hotel. Chamara was chosen from a shortlist of 12 candidates for the title. Each department had their moment in the spotlight showcasing their talents, followed by competitions, games, prizes and gifts galore. A great day was had by all, adults and children alike. Dani Saleh, General Manager at AlJahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort said: “Our staff is what makes the Al-Jahra

Copthorne. From our reception staff to our finance teams, it is them that keep everything running smoothly. This is our chance to say thank you to them for all their hard work.” Part of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, one of the world’s largest hotel companies with more than 120 owned and managed hotels across 20 countries, the Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort is located in Al-Jahra - a growing


Running each Friday until March 30, a dinner buffet in the Taima’a restaurant makes the perfect evening setting to

say thank you to mothers. With a special menu prepared for the occasion, treat your mother to a feast every Friday

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

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has its new office in Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax25387719. Email- or nnnnnnn

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

city within driving distance of the Saudi Arabian border, 25 minutes from the international airport and 20 minutes from Kuwait City Centre. Part of the ‘Slayil Al-Jahra Tourist Resort’, the hotel has access to a shopping mall, theme park and numerous restaurants nearby. It offers an attentive, personal service as well as boasting business and convention centre services and an outdoor pool.

Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel’s Mother’s Day celebrations he Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort, part of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotel group, is making March ‘Mothers’ Month’, in celebration of Mother’s Day, March 21. We all know that mothers are the most hardworking people in the world, and sometimes we do not have the time to thank them enough for all that they do for us. This month, Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort is providing that chance to take an evening to tell your mother how much you love her. As a thank you from the hotel to mothers, for each family of three or more, they will eat for free at the Mothers’ Month buffet.

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

from 7 pm-11 pm. On Mothers’ Day, Wednesday March 21, a special Mother’s Day buffet will be laid on, giving you the chance to treat your mother in style. Dani Saleh, General Manager at Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort said: “Taking time to thank mothers for the invaluable part they play in our lives is something that we shouldn’t just limit to one day of the year. That’s why we have designated March as Mothers’ Month - our special buffet offer is the perfect chance to take time throughout March to say a big ‘thank you’.” Part of Millennium &

Copthorne Hotels, one of the world’s largest hotel companies with more than 120 owned and managed hotels across 20 countries, the AlJahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort is located in Al-Jahra - a growing city within driving distance of the Saudi Arabian border, 25 minutes from the international airport and 20 minutes from Kuwait City Centre. Part of the ‘Slayil AlJahra Tourist Resort’, the hotel has access to a shopping mall, theme park and numerous restaurants nearby. It offers an attentive, personal service as well as boasting business and convention centre services and an outdoor pool.

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

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

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



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00:20 Karina: Wild On Safari 00:50 Animal Cops Specials 2009 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Sharkbite Beach 03:35 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 04:30 Karina: Wild On Safari 04:55 Karina: Wild On Safari 05:25 Speed Of Life 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 Planet Wild 07:10 Wild Animal Orphans 07:35 Wild Animal Orphans 08:00 Orangutan Island 08:25 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 08:50 Talk To The Animals 09:15 The Really Wild Show 09:40 Project Puppy 10:10 My Cat From Hell 11:05 Speed Of Life 12:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:55 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 14:15 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 14:45 Animal Cops Houston 15:40 Speed Of Life 16:30 Shamwari: A Wild Life 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 18:00 Talk To The Animals 18:25 Dogs 101 19:20 America’s Cutest... 20:15 Orangutan Island 21:10 Escape To Chimp Eden 21:35 Planet Wild 22:05 Speed Of Life

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

Eastenders Doctors Waking The Dead 2 Point 4 Children dinnerladies My Family Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tikkabilla 3rd & Bird CBeebies Stories Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tikkabilla 3rd & Bird CBeebies Stories 2 Point 4 Children dinnerladies The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Born and Bred My Family 2 Point 4 Children The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Born and Bred The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City 2 Point 4 Children The Old Guys Red Cap dinnerladies My Family Lark Rise to Candleford The Old Guys The Weakest Link Holby City

00:20 Antiques Roadshow 01:10 James Martin’s Brittany 01:35 James Martin’s Champagne

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

James Martin’s Champagne 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes By The Sea James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Champagne James Martin’s Champagne Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA James Martin’s Champagne French Food At Home MasterChef Australia MasterChef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger Holmes On Homes Fantasy Homes By The Sea Fantasy Homes By The Sea House Swap Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA Cash In The Attic USA James Martin’s Champagne French Food At Home French Food At Home 10 Years Younger Holmes On Homes Fantasy Homes By The Sea Bargain Hunt

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




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

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

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

00:15 Destroyed In Seconds 00:40 Surviving Disaster 01:35 Dirty Jobs


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

Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Does It Work How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Alaska’s Great Race Fight Quest How Does It Work Cake Boss Border Security Dirty Money I Could Do That I Could Do That Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Dirty Money How It’s Made Rebuilding Japan Cake Boss Fight Quest Freddie Flintoff vs The World Scrappers Carfellas

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Engineered Moon Machines The Tech Show Mega World Superships How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Science Of The Movies Thunder Races Moon Machines The Gadget Show The Gadget Show How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Mega World Superships Engineered Thunder Races Moon Machines Science Of The Movies How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made The Gadget Show The Gadget Show The Tech Show Thunder Races Engineered Nasa’s Greatest Missions Race To Mars Meteorite Men The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Thunder Races Race To Mars Meteorite Men


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00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 Young, Beautiful & Vanished 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 40 Smokin’ On Set Hookups 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Scouted 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kendra 13:35 Kendra 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 E!es 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Khloe And Lamar 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Stalked: Someone’s Watching Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting I Married A Mobster Scorned: Crimes Of Passion Stalked: Someone’s Watching Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Killer Outbreaks Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Mall Cops ‚Äì Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Mall Cops ‚Äì Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Couples Who Kill Deadly Women

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Cuba-PG Illegal In Blue-18 Avanti-PG In The Arms Of A Killer-PG Charge Of The Light BrigadeGrow Old Along With Me-PG Hell Boats-PG It’s A Mad Mad World-FAM The Pride And The Passion-PG From Noon Till Three-PG Joey-PG Life Of Sin-18 Thunderbolt And Lightfoot-


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Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Banged Up Abroad Graham’s World Destination Extreme Somewhere In China Perilous Journeys Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Banged Up Abroad Graham’s World Destination Extreme Somewhere In China Perilous Journeys Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up

00:00 Fading Of The Cries-18 02:00 Nine Dead-PG15 04:00 True Justice: BrotherhoodPG15 06:00 Rocky-PG15 08:00 Shinjuku Incident-PG15 10:00 Spartacus-PG15 13:15 Stonehenge ApocalypsePG15 14:45 Shinjuku Incident-PG15 16:45 Bangkok Adrenaline-PG15 18:15 Stonehenge ApocalypsePG15 20:00 Legion-18 22:00 Warriors Of Heaven And Earth-PG15

00:30 Biutiful-18 03:00 Red-PG15 05:00 Cars 2-FAM 07:00 Unanswered Prayers-PG15 09:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 11:00 Love The Beast-PG 13:00 Ice Dreams-PG15 15:00 The LXD: The Uprising BeginsPG15 17:00 Alabama Moon-PG15 19:00 Jonah Hex-PG15 21:00 Crazy Heart-PG15 23:00 A Single Man-R

00:00 Allen Gregory 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Entourage 02:00 How To Make It In America 02:30 The Cleveland Show 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Mr. Sunshine 04:00 Dharma And Greg 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The Simpsons 06:00 Just Shoot Me 06:30 Til Death 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Dharma And Greg 08:30 The Simpsons 09:00 The Simpsons 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Til Death 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Just Shoot Me 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 Yes Dear 14:00 Mr. Sunshine 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 Two And A Half Men 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 16:30 Just Shoot Me 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 Mr. Sunshine 19:00 Two And A Half Men 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 Weeds 22:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Desperate Housewives Breaking Bad Top Gear (US) Revenge Bones Live Good Morning America The Good Guys Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Desperate Housewives Revenge Live Good Morning America The Good Guys The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice Royal Pains Pillars Of The Earth Bones

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

White Collar Top Gear (US) Breaking Bad One Tree Hill White Collar Emmerdale Coronation Street Franklin & Bash Top Gear (US) Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Franklin & Bash White Collar Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova Grey’s Anatomy Royal Pains Pillars Of The Earth Game Of Thrones

01:00 Alive-PG15 03:15 True Justice: BrotherhoodPG15 05:00 Mirrors 2-18 07:00 A Lonely Place For DyingPG15 09:00 Smoke Screen-PG15 11:00 Madso’s War-18 13:00 The Devil’s Teardrop-PG15 15:00 Smoke Screen-PG15 17:00 All Star Superman-PG15 19:00 Julia’s Eyes-18 21:00 Warriors Of Heaven And Earth-PG15 23:00 Game Of Death-PG15

00:15 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 PG15 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

Born Yesterday-PG15 Cop Out-PG15 Post Grad-PG15 Guarding Tess-PG Mr. Wrong-PG15 A Pyromaniac’s Love Story-

01:00 03:00 PG15 05:00 07:00 09:00

Shrink-18 My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend-

Tom And Huck-PG15 Knucklehead-PG15 Born Yesterday-PG15 Feed The Fish-PG15 Easy A-PG15 The Making Of Plus One-PG15

How To Train Your Dragon-PG Remember Me-PG15 Just Go With It-PG15

11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Quest For Zhu-PG Too Big To Fail-PG15 The Green Hornet-PG15 Just Go With It-PG15 Gentlemen Broncos-PG15 Cars 2-FAM The Wolfman-18

01:30 02:30 04:30 06:30 07:00 08:00 11:30 12:30 16:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:00

Super Rugby Highlights NRL Premiership Futbol Mundial Super Rugby Super Rugby Highlights Premier League Darts Super Rugby Highlights Scottish FA Cup Super Rugby Highlights Super Rugby NRL Premiership Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Super League

00:30 Top 14 Highlights 01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 Premier League Darts 05:00 Trans World Sport 06:00 Top 14 Highlights 06:30 NRL Full Time 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 Golfing World 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Ping Pong World Championship 13:00 Futbol Mundial 13:30 Super Rugby Highlights 14:30 Trans World Sport 15:30 Premier League Darts 19:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 19:30 NRL Full Time 20:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 20:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 22:00 Trans World Sport 23:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 23:30 Golfing World

00:00 SPL Highlights 00:30 NRL Full time 01:00 Anglo Welsh Cup 03:00 Super Rugby Highlights 04:00 World Cup of Pool 05:00 World Pool Masters 06:00 Ping Pong World Championship 08:00 SPL Highlights 08:30 NRL Full time 09:00 Top 14 Highlights 09:30 Super Rugby Highlights 10:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 11:00 NRL Premiership 13:00 Trans World Sport 15:00 NRL Full time 15:30 Scottish FA Cup 17:30 Scottish FA Cup 19:30 Top 14 Highlights 20:00 Super Rugby Highlights 21:00 Cricket ODI Highlights 21:30 Top 14 23:30 Premier League Darts

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

WWE Experience V8 Supercars Highlights V8 Supercars Highlights Speedway UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Speedway FIM World Prizefighter WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Mobil 1 The Grid V8 Supercars Extra Speedway FIM World Power Boats Power Boats WWE NXT WWE Experience UFC Unleashed UFC UFC The Ultimate Fighter

Classifieds TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2012




Departure Flights on Tuesday 13/3/2012 Time 0:20 0:20 0:50 2:15 2:35 2:50 2:55 2:55 3:05 3:10 3:10 3:15 4:40 5:15 5:30 6:20 6:25 6:40 6:45 7:25 7:40 7:45 7:50 7:55 8:05 8:15 8:30 9:00 9:05 9:15 9:20 9:45 9:55 10:50 11:20 11:55 12:30 12:55 13:05 13:10 13:25 13:40 13:50 14:15 14:20 14:30 14:30 14:40 14:45 15:25 15:30 16:10 16:50 16:55 17:15 17:20 17:20 17:40 17:45 18:10 18:15 18:40 18:45 18:50 18:55 19:05 19:10 19:15 19:25 19:30 19:35 19:40 20:00 20:05 20:10 20:15 20:30 21:00 21:20 21:25 21:35 21:40 21:55 22:00 22:05 22:05 22:20 22:45 23:45 23:50


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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya with Keralite Christian family near German clinic, rent KD 55 (Christian visiting couples only). Contact: 97145592. (C 3909) 13-3-2012 Accommodation available in Abbassiya double bedroom flat, two bachelors accommodation available April 1st, rent KD 40. Contact: 99162583. (C 3900) Sharing accommodation in Farwaniya near Gulf Mart, big room for bachelor or couple, Filipino only, available April 21. Contact: 94418396. 10-3-2012

FOR SALE Toyota Prado 2006, golden color, 6 clr, 4 doors, km 101000. Price KD 5250. Mob: 66729295. (C 3908) 13-3-2012 VW Tiguan (car) 2010, exterior white, interior black / Tan manual gear, in great condition, 22000 mph, under Kuwait warranty. Price KD 4900. Contact: 66663494. (C 3907) Mitsubishi Pajero 2003, baige color, GLX, 1,35000 km, 2 doors, 6 cyl, (one owner, company maintained). Contact: 66133001. 12-3-2012 Lady driven Land Rover model 1996, passing up to Nov 2012, available for sale, KD 550. Contact: 97358878. (C 3905) 11-3-2012 Mitsubishi Colt model 1993, white color, good condition. Insurance till 25th Jan. 2013. Price KD 250. Contact: 99322585/ 99337034. (C 3899) 8-3-2012

SITUATION WANTED Female, MBA, with total 8 years experience (3 years, in Kuwait). Specialized in all areas of HR/Admin functions of big companies. Looking for suitable post. Contact: 94062123. (C 3902) 10-3-2012

MATRIMONIAL Alliance sought for Brahmin boy aged 28, decently employed in Kuwait, from parents of girls preferably employed in Kuwait. Please contact: 11-3-2012 Proposals invited for a Keralite Marthoma girl 24/154, BBA, working in India (Baroda), seeks alliance from God fearing, well-educated employed boys (Kuwait/ India). Email: (C 3898) 7-3-2012

SITUATION VACANT Maid required for a family, couple only, in Shaab from 9 am to 6 pm only Sri Lankan nationals with valid residency may call: 97285837. (C 3896) 7-3-2012

LOST Lost Indian Passport No. Z1959053, finder please call 99866856 or Indian Embassy 22530600, will be rewarded. (C 3901) 10-3-2012

CHANGE OF NAME I, Kandli Qadar Shaikh Ahmed, Indian Passport No: E5351994, hereby change my name to Kadar Ahmed Kundlik. (C 3906) 11-3-2012

TUITION Math teacher for secondar y stage, language schools, bi-lingual schools and intermediate stage: Algebra, Gmath, Geometry, Statistics for arts and science branches. Tel: 66974020. English language teacher specialized in starting elementary and intermediate, 10th and 11th experienced in starting functions, grammar, set book, vocabulary, notes and model exams available. Tel: 65791555. Female Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate, and starting the weak using Halaby method in her house located in Abdallah Al-Mubarak area. Tel: 50513699. Senior biology and science teacher for 12th, 11th and 10th grades, and science for all intermediate classes, religious institutes, nursing, educational experience, simple explanation for fast understanding. Tel: 66543474. Arabic language teacher,

No: 15386

masters in methods of teaching for secondary and intermediate students. Tel: 50644685. Senior Arabic language teacher, elementary and intermediate, long experience in Kuwait curricula, explaining grammar rules and starting those weak in reading and writing. Tel: 99262948. Senior chemistr y and physics teacher. Long experience for 10th, 11th and 12th stages. Intermediate science and applied institutions. Highly competent. Tel: 99542922. Mathematics and statistics female teacher for female students in the secondary, intermediate, university and applied institutions female students. Tel: 99410370.

FOR RENT Flat in South Surra, 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are master + living room + kitchen + maid room, new, super deluxe. Tel: 97864628. For rent, commercial flat in Hawally, can be used as workshop, large area. No middle men. Parking. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Bneid Al-Gar, 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + Gym + swimming pool overlooking the sea, central satellite + internet. For families, no middle men. Tel: 66043961.

rooms + living room + 5 bathrooms + maid room + balcony. Must be small family. Tel: 60308586. Flat in Zahra, 2 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + laundry room + maid room. Tel: 60308586. A floor in Zahra, 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms, second floor, elevator. Must be small family. Tel: 99719887. Flat in west Jleeb, 3 rooms + living room + kitchen + 2 bathrooms first floor. No elevator. Must be newlyweds or one child only. Tel:99719887. Flat in Salam, 3 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + maid room. Must be newlyweds or two children only. 60308586. First floor in Rumaithiya. 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + maid room + 6 bathrooms. Super deluxe. Must be foreigners and expats only. Tel: 60308586, 99719887. Large first floor with the roof in Firdous. No middle men. Tel: 99490502.

Flat in Salmiya 3 bedroom + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. 4x4 rooms, 4x8 living room for expatriates only. Rent KD 330. No middle men. Tel: 66043961.

Fully furnished flat in Mahboula 2 rooms + 2 baths + living room + Gym + DSL, Satellite + full sea view. Rent starts from KD 450. Tel: 66060822.

Flat in Salmiya 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. Families only, no middle men. Tel: 66043961.

Furished flat in a Salmiya resort 3 rooms + maid room + garden + swimming pool + children play room + DSL. Sea view + hotel service + car parking. Rent KD 800. Tel: 66060299.

A commercial floor in Salmiya. Close to Blajat. Car parking. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. First floor in Shuhada, 4

For rent or investment, medical clinics in Salmiya. Good location licensed and unlicensed. No brokers. Tel: 66060299.



stars CROSSWORD 615



Aries (March 21-April 19) Career opportunities call out to you today. Push forward now— go forward and conquer! Your energy is high and you feel vital. You feel in harmony with yourself, the entire world and everybody in it. Others can feel this, so they in turn are drawn to you, making this a successful day for any kind of group endeavor. Best of all, relations with the opposite sex are at a peak. This is a super day for just about anything that comes to your attention. This afternoon you will enjoy the company of a friend. You attach importance to friendships and taking part in group activities with friends. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying. Close personal ties to other people are a focal point for your feelings—marriage and other partnerships are key arenas for this.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your great sense of fairness makes you a good judge or lawyer. You may be able to bring a group together with words or ideas that transport others. Refinement and relationships are the keys to emotional satisfaction now. Your base of security, which is your home and loved ones, is the place you want to be this evening. Visiting with friends that come by your place or playing a competitive game in your yard is the glue that keeps your friends communicative and in-touch. Companionship with close family and friends is important now and you will want to take every opportunity to keep this network of loved ones close to you. This is a successful and fully packed day. Consider a walk with your family or loved one after dinner and retire early tonight.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Young sheep. 5. (of complexion) Blemished by imperfections of the skin. 10. (Roman mythology) Goddess of abundance and fertility. 13. A shade of blue tinged with green. 14. Botswanan statesman who was the first president of Botswana (1921-1980). 15. Liquid excretory product. 16. (Norse mythology) God of light and peace and noted for his beauty and sweet nature. 18. A public promotion of some product or service. 19. Variety of silica containing microcrystalline quartz. 21. A religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery. 23. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 24. The largest and southernmost island in the Marianas. 26. A decree that prohibits something. 28. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 32. A lyric poem with complex stanza forms. 34. A chronic skin disease occurring primarily in women between the ages of 20 and 40. 36. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. 37. A Dravidian language spoken in southern India. 41. Constituting or having to do with or suggestive of a literary epic. 43. Any of the forms of Chinese spoken in Fukien province. 44. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 45. A republic in southern Europe on the Italian Peninsula. 46. A Loloish language. 49. A very large person. 52. A solution containing a phosphate buffer. 54. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 58. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 59. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 61. (British) Your grandmother. 62. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event. 63. Small dry indehiscent fruit with the seed distinct from the fruit wall. 65. A branch of the Tai languages. 66. Resonance of protons to radiation in a magnetic field. 67. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 68. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 69. An international organization of European countries formed after World War II to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its members. DOWN 1. Productive work (especially physical work done for wages). 2. Jordan's port. 3. Sterile offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. 4. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 5. A state in northwestern North America. 6. Grayish baboon of southern and eastern Africa. 7. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 8. The square of a body of any size of type. 9. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 10. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 11. A beautiful and graceful girl. 12. Stalk of a moss capsule. 17. Syncopated music in duple time for dancing the rumba. 20. The (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb. 22. A poplar that is widely cultivated in the United States. 25. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 27. A game in which numbered balls are drawn and random and players cover the corresponding numbers on their cards. 29. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 30. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 31. In a competent capable manner. 33. A barrier constructed to contain the flow or water or to keep out the sea. 35. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 38. City in Sudan. 39. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 40. A member of a North American Plains people (now living in Oklahoma and Wyoming). 41. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 42. A distinct part that can be specified separately in a group of things that could be enumerated on a list. 47. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 48. (Hindu) A manner of sitting (as in the practice of Yoga). 50. Any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture etc.. 51. Slightly open. 52. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 53. (pathology) An elevation of the skin filled with serous fluid. 55. (prefix) Opposite or opposing or neutralizing. 56. King of Saudi Arabia since 1982 (born in 1922). 57. Small buffalo of the Celebes having small straight horns. 60. (informal) `johnny' was applied as a nickname for Confederate soldiers by the Federal soldiers in the American Civil War. 64. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your emotions are accented today. Emotions are great to warn us when trouble is near or to enjoy the finer things in life. Remember to set aside emotions when solving problems today and you will achieve most positive results. Good communication is sure to reign, no matter where you are today. Plans take you where you want to go . . . travel could be available soon. There are opportunities today to meet people that could help you, your profession or your family. An insight about your support system, your mother or other females may be important just now. Some sort of genealogy study brings to you an interest in family background. You could discover a student, neighbor or a young person that opens up to you this evening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You are your usual expressive and sociable self today. There are things you have always wanted to try but never had the time—you are creative and curious. You make time for one personal project today. Originality and invention are your tickets to breaking the barriers that hold others back from reaching for that brass ring. The exchange of ideas becomes a focal point of your day. This could include a conference or a trip to a new computer store during the noon break. Learning, knowing a little about a lot of things, staying in touch and on top of the latest developments are what satisfies your need for mental stimulation. Neighbors and brothers or sisters may join in some fun celebrations tonight. Young people bring laughter to the table.

Leo (July 23-August 22) This is a good time to celebrate! Relationships, professional and personal, are the keys to emotional satisfaction now. Harmony is deeply satisfying—and the lack of it may become emotionally unsettling. You are learning to put the super-sensitive you in the past. The trials you have faced in the past have given you the wisdom you need to deal with present and future trials. Being human and understanding the human condition helps you to be an understanding helpmate, co-worker and teacher. You are also learning to look past any emotional maneuvers with compassion—yours or others. Close personal ties to other people are important this day. You always try to be helpful when a friend needs help and today someone needs your help.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Your mind is in a receptive mode and ready for whatever projects are set before you today. In order to avoid any misunderstandings from a sensitive higher ranking person today, remove your own emotions— come from the truth. Office politics may become disastrous conversations, so stay away from it when at all possible. This time is a high achievement cycle. It is easy for you to get-along, you are surrounded with people that want to achieve what you have achieved. Keep moving forward to new goals. Social activity with co-workers, friends or family is enjoyable this afternoon. You may have insights into the innerworkings of a loved one today. You help bridge a communication gap. This evening you search for different ways to relax.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is an instinctive push to be in control. This inner push could lead to a greater interest in investing, management, teaching, etc. Others value you for your ability to make smart decisions. You have a natural sense of what the public wants and can express yourself well. Clear decisions affecting others could be made now. Some of your co-workers or customers may find you especially witty from time to time. Your sense of humor helps you make demands on others in an acceptable manner. Others value you for your independence and unique qualities. Romance and such creative pursuits as hobbies is an outlet for much of your energy this afternoon. You want to plan out tomorrow’s schedule this evening—careful . . . family interests may take priority.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Your attitude is positive and you look for ways to improve the world. Mental stimulation from others is the key for you right now. A group meeting this morning has you comparing the views of others and making suggestions of your own. You may gain attention for finding solutions to technical problems today. You have a tendency to enjoy working in group activities. You may display an urge to be recognized by co-workers, but this could cause jealousy. This afternoon you may desire to seek out a new friend or do something with a neighbor or relative you have not seen in a long time. It is a good time to go out and witness the splendor of nature. This could involve an interest in some social activities and pursuits like religion and volunteer work.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

The atmosphere is absolutely crackling with your own energy today. Logic is important but could be forgotten if decisions are made too quickly. Balance will return this afternoon. Practicality takes on a special importance as you weed through the chores and demands of the day. You are in a self-reliant mood—determined to move forward and accomplish much. You can focus on your goals and know that you have a good chance of success. Keep alert and do not be afraid to make your views known to bosses and other authority figures. Friends or relatives are happy to drop in and join you for a snack and a fun get-together later today. Charm oozes from every pore and others enjoy being with you. Sharing with others is favorable.

Yesterday’s Solution


Stay clear of financial propositions that involve risk-taking. It is also not a good time for combining business with pleasure. However, this workday is full of cheery, light-hearted people and you probably wish it was this way more often. Everything seems to bring out your best qualities today. You may find that your sales technique or job responsibilities move along in an easier fashion and with successful results. You could come up with new solutions or inventions. Your psychic abilities are more prominent now and you enjoy the interaction with others. Learning what makes people think the way they do is interesting but you should be careful in expressing too many opinions. Close personal ties are important and enjoyable this evening.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) New ideas and an independent or pioneering mental orientation are the modes of expression today. Teaching, learning, communicating and social contacts have a way of outlining new directions in your life; there is much activity and involvement with these kinds of issues. Challenging authority and striving for success are on your agenda. Losing sight of the practical can make you very artistic—but might not be so good for the bankbook. There is a need for caution on the material and financial level. This evening is a good time to show your affection to loved ones. Movies, poetry, books and all forms of escape could prove quite enjoyable this evening, particularly with a special loved one! You are surrounded by loving people tonight.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Your focus this morning may be on celebrating some special occasion in the workplace. You put in the hours and enjoy the company but this afternoon you go in a different direction. You may have said yes recently to a volunteer organization and they are going to take you at your word—they need your help. Perhaps you will be helping in some youth violence prevention or intervention program. Beginning a pilot project provides such services as anger management and conflict resolution training, job training, employment, counseling, educational assistance, victim awareness training, peer mentoring and substance abuse and health services referrals. If you are not planning the organization, you will be there to help. You are a positive influence to others.



e niv rsar n



i n f o r m at i o n























Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh











Amiri Hospital




Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Ministry of Interior website: For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128

Hospitals Sabah Hospital

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

Clinics Rabiya














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb












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THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988








Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

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Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

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Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

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New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

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Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


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LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

French actor confirms engagement to Berry rench actor Olivier Martinez has confirmed that he and Oscar winner Halle Berry are engaged to be married, the Miami Herald reported. “Yes, of course it’s true,” Martinez told the newspaper inan article posted online on Saturday, referring to engagement rumors that have been swirling around the couple. Martinez, who was in Miami for the opening of his South Beach restaurant, Villa Azur, also took the opportunity to set the record straight on the designer of the engagement ring Berry has been wearing since January. Contrary to reports that the emerald ring is Gurhan-designed, it’s the creation of jeweler Robert Mazlo from the actor’s native Paris, he said. The Mazlo jewelers have been designing jewelry for “kings and queens for many centuries,” Martinez told the paper. Berry and Martinez have been dating since 2010, when they worked together on the film “Dark Tide,” due for release this year. This would be the third marriage for Berry, 45, who won a best actress Oscar for her role in 2001 film “Monster’s Ball.” She was married to former baseball player David Justice from 1993 to 1997 and to singer Eric Benet from 2001 to 2005. She had a daughter, Nahla, who turns 4 this month, with French-Canadian model Gabriel Aubry, with whom she is embroiled is a bitter custody battle. For Martinez, 46, the wedding would be his first. He has been involved with a number of high-profile women, among them actresses Mira Sorvino and singer Kylie Minogue.


Hemsworth seeks advice from

Cyrus iam Hemsworth gets career advice from Miley Cyrus. The ‘Hunger Games’ actor who met the star while working on ‘The Last Song’ in 2009 - admitted having a famous girlfriend and brother, ‘Thor’ actor Chris Hemsworth, makes working in Hollywood “easier” to deal with. He said: “It’s definitely nice to have people around me like my brother and my girlfriend who have experienced it before. To ask them questions, it definitely makes it easier in that sense. “It doesn’t make it any easier getting roles. It’s just me in the room when I’m meeting directors and reading with directors.” However, the 22-year-old hunk explained he worries he could “lose focus” if he didn’t have the support of his family and friends around him. Liam added in an interview with Flaunt magazine: “You lose focus when you don’t have good people around you. “I think whatever I was doing in this world I would want a loving family that supported me and friends, good people around me that bring out the best.”


Fun day for Beyonce and Jay-Z at NY concert t was Sunday “fun day” for Beyonce and Jay-Z: The new parents enjoyed a concert by R&B singer The-Dream in New York. The top music couple jammed to the singer-songwriter in the VIP section of SOB’s, a small club that houses a few hundred people. The-Dream co-wrote and co-produced Beyonce’s massive hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” He also worked his magic on Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey. He performed a number of


his own hits Sunday night, including “Shawty In a 10,” “Falsetto” and “I Luv Your Girl.” He’ll release his fourth album, “Love IV MMXII,” later this year. The Grammy winner thanked the crowd for coming out, saying: “I know some of ya’ll got kids at home.” BeyoncÈ and Jay-Z gave birth to their daughter Blue Ivy in January.

Minogue unsure about more kids

Cannon makes health documentary

annii Minogue admits sleepless nights put her off having more children. The 40-yearold TV star often thinks about having a sibling for Ethan - her 20-month-old son with partner Kris Smith - but sometimes thinks it would be a “stupid” idea because of the difficulties of raising young children. She said: “I kind of think it’s a good idea when I see a gorgeous little baby and I’m thinking, ‘Oh I want a cuddle, a tiny little one again.’ “And then I think about all the sleepless night and I think, ‘No bad idea, really stupid.’ “I don’t know everyone says to me when you have two and you see them interact together that it brings even more joy than just watching one child. But I don’t know...” Dannii and Kris - an English rugby playerturned-model - relocated to her native Australia last year because they wanted a stable environment for Ethan, and despite moving closer to her family, the former ‘X Factor’ judge insists it wasn’t her idea to make the move. She explained in an interview with Britain’s HELLO! magazine: “We wanted to set up a base so Ethan was settled. As much as kids are very portable at a small age, you also want to have some routine. “So we decided to make Australia our base. In Melbourne, my parents are there, my brother is there with his kids, my sister is there at the moment and Kris’ parents come out and visit us. “It was sort of Kris’ idea. He was like, ‘I really love Australia, that’s where I see us being.’ And I’m a lot less stressed when I’m in Australia.”


ick Cannon has made a documentary about his recent health problems. The ‘America’s Got Talent’ host was hospitalized for kidney failure in January, then again a few weeks later with blood clots in his lungs, and has since been diagnosed with rare disease lupus nephritis, and has documented his struggle in short film, ‘The Incredible Health Hussle’. He told CNN talk show host Piers Morgan: “The whole process I’ve been documenting. Since probably my first time out of the hospital in January, I’ve just been having the cameras on. It’s real intimate and raw.” Nick - who has 11-month-old twins Monroe and Moroccan with his wife Mariah Carey - made the documentary as a way to highlight health issues and help others who are suffering. He added: “I want to kind of show the other people that are dealing with these illnesses that they’re not alone. “There’s so many questions. How did you get this? How are you working through it? “You’re going to see all of this in ‘The Incredible Health Hussle’.” Nick also praised Mariah for taking care of him and their children throughout his ordeal. He said: “She is such a pro, she knows all the home remedies.”


The Wanted

to appear in ‘Entourage’ movie he Wanted are in talks to appear in the ‘Entourage’ movie. The ‘Lightning’ group which features Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes - hit it off with executive producer Mark Wahlberg when they met him recently in Barbados and he is keen to sign up the guys for a role in the film version of the comedy-drama series about a film star and his group of friends. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The boys got on like a house on first with Mark when they met him at Sandy Lane resort and they’ve kept in touch. Mark is a big fan and wants them to star in the film in some capacity. “The Wanted are hot right now and Mark is right to want to capitalist on that.” Speaking about the movie previously, creator Doug Ellin said: “We’re going to do a movie. We’re going to do it. It’s a question of when and how quick. We’ll sit down and come up with an idea.” Mark also agreed that a movie is the next step for the show since people say the episodes are too short. He said: “[Viewers] want to go on a journey. ‘The Hangover’ to me is like ‘Entourage’.” The final episode of the TV series aired last year after eight seasons.


DiCaprio still looking for love

eonardo DiCaprio hasn’t found true love yet. The Hollywood heartthrob is currently dating 22-year-old Victoria’s Secret model Erin Heatherton and has previously enjoyed relationships with actress Blake Lively and models Bar Refaeli and Gisele Bundchen, but doesn’t think he has met the love of his life yet. Asked about his first love, he said: “My first love? Boy I don’t even remember. I suppose if I’d found my true love I would be married right now wouldn’t I? “ Leonardo, 37, has very specific standards about what he wants in a girlfriend and is turned off by “pretentious” and “vindictive” women. He explained to The Sun newspaper: “Pretentious women really turn me off. Vindictive women too. So do opportunistic women. I think what turns me on about a girl is what most men find attractive - which is something genuine about them. Being a good person.” Leonardo also revealed he will always treasure the memories of working on 1997 blockbuster movie ‘Titanic’ and credits co-star Kate Winslet for making it such a great experience. He said: “The fact that Kate said ‘yes’ was the final decider. She was awesome. We were definitely shoulders for each other to lean on. We had to be partners on the film. All the complaining in the world was done between us two, so we did not have to vent on anyone else.” —Bang Showbiz






M o v i e s

The ice sculpture of Twilight’s Bella Swan is filmed by media alongside the wax figures of other Twilight actors Robert Pattinson, right, and Taylor Lautner, left, at Madame Tussauds, London yesterday. It’s the first time an ice sculpture has been on display at Tussauds London and has been created to mark the transformation, in the film, of Bella into an immortal as she is frozen in time as an 18 year old. —AP

Houston s daughterhears mom talk to her hitney Houston’s daughter on Sunday said she still hears her mom encouraging her “keep moving, keep going,” and the pop star’s sister-in-law revealed new details of the day Houston died in their first public interviews since the singer’s death. Bobbi Kristina Brown, 19, told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that she was “doing okay ... I’m doing as good as I possibly can” since her mother was found lifeless in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel on Feb 11, the eve of the music industry’s Grammy Awards. “I can hear her voice, you know, and spirit talking to me, telling me, you know, ‘keep moving baby. I’m right here. I got you’ ... she’s always with me. I can always feel her,” Bobbi Kristina Brown told Winfrey. “I feel her pass through me all the time,” said Brown, whose father is singer Bobby Brown. Houston and Brown’s only daughter said she feels her mom’s presence in the house they shared in Atlanta. The “lights turn on and off, and I go ‘mom, what’re you doing?’ ... I can still laugh with her. I can sit there and I can still talk with her.” Houston was 48-years-old when she died. She rose to fame in the 1980s and enjoyed a


long career that peaked with her 1992 hit “I Will Always Love You” from the movie “The Bodyguard.” But her life was plagued by a troubled marriage to singer Brown, and she had previously admitted to heavy use of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and prescription pills. Officials have said prescription drugs were found in the hotel room where she died, but a cause of death is still pending toxicology tests which are expected later this month. The interview, which took place at the Atlanta home of Houston’s brother Gary and sister-in-law and manager Patricia, revealed new details of the day the singer died. Face down in bathtub Oprah opened the broadcast by saying “members of the family told me she (Houston) was face down and naked” in the bathtub, and Patricia revealed that Houston’s assistant, Mary, discovered the singer’s body in the hotel room bathtub. A security guard who is Patricia Houston’s brother tried in vain to resuscitate Houston in the room but was unsuccessful. He was “trying to revive her to the point of exhaus-

Bobbi Kristina Brown and Oprah Winfrey tion,” Patricia Houston said, “and I called his name. I said, ‘Ray ... let it go.’ They (paramedics) asked him to move. He was on his knees. He said, ‘I tried.’ He was so out of breath.” A tear rolled down Patricia Houston’s face as she recalled the sight of her sister-in-law lying dead on the hotel room floor. “She had a peacefulness

Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown

Crowd-financing plays starring role in SXSW films

‘Salmon Fishing’ hooks an audience almon Fishing in the Yemen,” which CBS Films hooked at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, opened to a strong $240,000 on 18 screens this weekend. That’s an impressive $13,333 per-location average in a good weekend for specialty films past. CBS Films had expected a $10,000 per-screen average. “This is a film that not only could attract an art-house audience and a commercial upscale audience,” but a broader audience, Steven Friedlander, CBS Films’ head of distribution, told TheWrap Sunday afternoon. “It is a film that critics and audiences say, ‘This was enjoyable.’” The movie stars Ewan McGregor as a British fisheries expert who’s brought to Yemen by a sheik who dreams of introducing salmon fishing to his country. Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas also star. The comedy, written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by the Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”), is based on Paul Torday’s novel. A handful of movies opened in limited release this weekend, with generally good results. “Friends With Kids,” from Roadside Attractions, took $2.2 million at 374 locations; “Footnote,” from Sony Pictures Classics, took $48,076 at two locations; and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” from Magnolia, took $43,500 at two locations. The most notable of the weekend’s holdovers, The Weinstein Company’s Oscar winner “The Artist,” took $2.3 million at 1,505 locations. That put it past the $40 million mark. The PG-13 movie is now in its 16th week of release, and clearly is slowing down. The Weinstein Company expects it to end its theatrical run with between $45 million and $50 million. Just below “The Artist” at the box office this weekend was “Friends With Kids.” The R-rated comedy, starring Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Adam Scott, Megan Fox, Ed Burns and writer-director-producer Jennifer Westfeldt, saw a bump of 53 percent from Friday to Saturday, and Roadside Attractions is expanding the film to 600 locations next weekend. “Footnote,” a comic drama about Talmudic scholars, is the Israeli film nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar, and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a documentary about renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono. —Reuters

on her, a look on her. She had a peaceful look,” Patricia Houston said. Winfrey asked Patricia Houston if she believed drugs were involved in the singer’s death. Patricia Houston said she believed the pop star’s worse days of drug abuse were behind her, although she stopped short of saying Houston was not on drugs or drinking on the day of she died. “I don’t think drugs (were) an issue for her before her death. I don’t know what happened that day. Do you understand what I’m saying,” Patricia Houston said. Finally, Winfrey asked Houston’s brother Gary whether Brown, whom Whitney Houston divorced in 2007, was asked by Houston’s family not to attend the singer’s funeral and Gary replied “Absolutely not.” Brown did turn up for the funeral, but left early, blaming a mixup with security over seating. He said his family was not angry about a picture of Houston in her casket that was printed in the tabloids following her death, and added that his mother long ago had premonitions about a young demise for his sister. “I remember my mother used to say ... Whitney’s not going to be with us too long,” Gary Houston said. “She’s an angel. She’s a gift.” —Reuters

he film “Girl Walk // All Day” opens on a blonde girl joyfully dancing past unimpressed New Yorkers on the Staten Island Ferry. Moving to the remixed beats of the DJ known as Girl Talk, she and other dancers breeze through New York’s urban spaces - Central Park, the financial district, Yankee Stadium - turning the city into a playground. Just as “Girl Walk // All Day” transforms familiar landscapes, the source of much of its funding - the crowd-financing website - has electrified the traditional structures of filmmaking. “Girl Walk // All Day,” a dance-music film not easily categorized, was enabled by Kickstarter. After creating an eight-minute Internet video, the movie’s director, Jacob Krupnick, put in a request to Kickstarter’s community for various levels of investment from interested fans. With options like $50 for an associate producer credit and $500 for a dance lesson, he hoped to raise $5,000. He got nearly five times that. “Kickstarter came at a really opportune moment in my life when I needed it,” says Krupnick, a filmmaker and photographer. For the last month, he’s been touring the film at different venues around the country, where screenings often turn into dance parties. It’s one of 33 Kickstarter-aided films at the South By Southwest Film Festival. That’s a full 10 percent of the festival’s entire slate, an eye-opening total that shows what a significant role the nearly three-year-old Kickstarter is playing in financing indie films. Even SXSW Film head Janet Pierson was surprised when she heard the number. “I’m fascinated that this is a viable tool, or seems to be,” says Pierson, who produced indie films in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “How great that this vehicle exists that’s working for all these filmmakers. I didn’t know that it would be so viable.” Certainly, the budgets for even small films often get into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Typically, Kickstarter funds makes up a portion of a film’s budget. And most of the Kickstarter films still struggle to find theatrical distribution and promotion. But it’s undoubtedly emerged as a realistic option to help get a film made. In making a movie, every little bit helps. “It’s gone from being possibly a novelty, a different way of doing things, to becoming much more of a tool, much more of a standard thing that people think about,” says



Jeffrey Tambor, center, conducts his acting workshop with students Matthew Newton, left, and Kate Sheil during the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. —AP

Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. “It’s giving audiences the power instead of executives.” Kickstarter, the leader among crowd funding companies, has funded 19,000 projects in its three years. It funds a variety of things, including music albums, tech products and art projects. Projects are only funded if they reach their target amount. Kickstarter doesn’t have any piece of ownership in the finished product, but they take 5 percent from successful funding. (Amazon Payments, which facilitates the financial transactions, also takes about 3-5 percent.)

the refusal of other avenues for financing. Often, they reveal perspectives not customarily embraced by film distributors. “Gimme the Loot,” is about a pair of Bronx graffiti artists. It came to SXSW with days left to reach its funding goal. As of late Sunday, it needed about $1,200 in about a week. “Blue Like Jazz,” based on a bestselling memoir by Donald Miller, was on the brink of collapse after an investor dropped out shortly before production was scheduled to begin. Director Steve Taylor was soon going to lose his star actor, Marshall Allman (“True Blood”), so the

Tambor carries on annual tradition at SXSW longside rooms peopled with visions of technological futures and carefully calibrated self-promotion, Jeffrey Tambor is urging two young actors to scream and wrestle with each other. This has become an annual tradition at South By Southwest, the yearly tech, film and music gathering in Austin. Tambor, the booming baritone character actor of “Arrested Development,”“The Larry Sanders Show” and many films, has hosted his acting workshop, “Performing Your Life,” for the past five years. The contrast of Tambor at SXSW can be stark. Tambor’s only gadget is a microphone. He has little interest in hyping his career. And he refuses to present himself as a divined oracle of certainty. Instead, he simply coaches two young actors before a crowd of SXSW attendees, repeatedly insists on disrupting his elevated platform by having the house lights turned on, and rambles through an inspirational and intentionally chaotic 90minute riff on acting and, ultimately, one’s attitude in life. He denied ownership of the lessons he teaches, noting they’re ones he’s “tripped on all my life.”“I cannot tell you how important attitude is during this little thing that we’re doing,” Tambor said. “What I’m interested in is attitude on the set and care and maintenance of directors, actors, writers. Especially when


you have no money, especially when you’re behind. Just especially.” In what followed, Tambor touted, above all, the importance of confidence, friendly collaboration and positive reinforcement. He urged his two actors to push outward in different directions everything from “over-act” to “do a French accent” - make mistakes and mess up their performances to find them. A sampling of his encouragements: l “There’s no such thing as a finished performance.” l “You know what I think of sincerity? I hate it.” l “Resistance is hard. ... ‘Atta boy’ is easy.” l “Don’t make waves? Make waves.” l “Confidence is the game. ... It’s the game in life and art.” l “Just play. Lighten up.” This year’s workshop drew hundreds of SXSW attendees. The crowd, easily filled by more non-actors than performers, had questions about Tambor’s old late-night sidekick character Hank from “Larry Sanders” (“He’s kind of real to me. ... I loved him very much”) and the planned “Arrested Development” movie (“They better hurry because I will be in a walker”). But most were transfixed by Tambor’s candid musings, and applauded the workshop he had sucked them into. He closed: “See you next year.” —AP

This image provided by Wild Combination shows Anne Marsen in a scene from the dance-music film “Girl Walk // All Day.” —AP Still, movies have been its biggest success. Of the first $140 million pledged via Kickstarter, $50 million was for movies. Earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, 17 films with Kickstarter backing played. The festival and the site announced a three year program with the artist development nonprofit Sundance Institute. Recently, Kickstarter has, for the first time, repeatedly crossed the $1 million mark in funding a project. Strickler says the last four months have been “particularly nuts.” “Kickstarter growing and getting bigger means that more and more projects are having success, more things are able to exist in the world that maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Strickler. “Those are people’s dreams.” Sometimes, the final results validate

film needed to be shot soon. Taylor asked for $125,000 on Kickstarter with another investor offering to double what was raised. “It was far and away, at that point, the biggest goal anyone had set at Kickstarter,” says Taylor. “Frankly, it just seemed impossible.” The film raised a record $346,000. It will be released this April by Roadside Attractions. Certainly, its success has something to do with its Christian themes. Allman plays a 19-year-old Texan who embarks on college in the Pacific Northwest, where his Christianity sticks out like a sore thumb. “Kickstarter proved there was an audience for it,” says Taylor, who pledged a personal thank you phone call to anyone who contributed $10 or more. About a month ago, he finally finished the last of some 3,500 calls. —AP


lifestyle F a s h i o n


n home decor, there’s something about the start of spring. When life’s renewing itself outdoors, we feel the urge to revive our interiors too. This season, decor offerings are especially upbeat. Start with the palette. “Saturated” is a word being used a lot; it means ripe plum hues, intense tangerines, rich indigos, verdant greens, zingy turquoises, hot reds and peppy yellows. Dee Schlotter, a color expert with PPG Pittsburgh Paints,

In this product image released by Z Gallerie, Inc, a Liliana chair featuring an ironwork pattern of grey and white large is shown. — AP photos says exuberant orange is No 1 on her trend radar. “It’s full of joy and playful,” says Schlotter, who also cites Geranium Pink as a hot hue. “It

goes really well with orange, and it’s a happy, girly color.” Teal and turquoise are back after a lengthy retirement, and with experience in midcentury modern and traditional decor, they’ve got legs that will carry them into fall. Erin Olson loved the color family enough to devote a blog to it; the House of Turquoise follows all things blue-green. “What I love about turquoise is that it can be paired with any other color, since it has both warm and cool undertones,” she says. “My personal favorite is using turquoise as a fun punch of color to an otherwise neutral space. A turquoise throw pillow, lamp or rug will instantly bring new life to your room, and can easily be switched out,” she says. Crisp clean white’s a common counterpoint, but you’ll see black as a foil as well. Graphic prints pop in these bold colors: Zigzags and stripes are all over the home accessories marketplace. So are lattice and ironwork prints; big and little florals; and abstracts. African handblock, Moroccan and Silk Road patterns have crossed over from last season. Not a fan of bright? Look for a whole world of calming neutrals such as soft putty, grellow (a gray/yellow blend), greige (a gray/beige), aqua, pewter, copper, vanilla and shell pink. You’ll see lots of texture in this category: weathered wood, animal hide, burnished metals, burlap and gauzy cottons. Honeycomb patterns, naturalistic motifs like twigs, leaves and birds, watery Impressionist prints and airy florals soothe the soul. Neutrals are “taking the popular gray trend and moving it forward, by adding warmth with natural materials like jute and linen, and then giving it a real punch by adding a sunny pop of yellow,” says Sherwin-Williams’ color marketing director, Jackie Jordan. Repainting walls in a fresh spring hue is one way to update a room, but if you’re not ready to commit in a major way, small changes can also alter a room’s mood. Try a

lemony throw, clean white paint trim, a teal rug or sandy-toned drapery. Go for a bright, candy-hued lamp base, and pick the color up again in a big fruit bowl. In the kitchen, replace cooking tools with new ones in luscious tomato red. Flor’s new spring collection of floor tiles features Fedora, in a soothing palette of dusty turquoise, oatmeal, walnut and flannel. Used in a bedroom with lavender, cream or pale pink textiles, you’d wake up to spring’s birdsong in the most serene of sleeping spaces. Land of Nod has a cheery Watermelon Stripe duvet cover in a rainbow of fruity hues, as well as the Dot Matrix rug, composed of hundreds of rolled felt balls like colorful gumballs. Black and white geometrics make a dramatic statement - you’ll find them on dinnerware, patio umbrellas, candles and awning stripes at Z Gallerie, including a very Jonathan Adler-esque vase made of lacquered bamboo. IKEA is offering its Expedit shelving in fire engine red; there’s the new Varmdo rocking chair in the hue, too. Loll Designs’ cubby bench comes in a pretty grass green. And CB2’s Go-Cart desk in vibrant blue would be a fun place to work. Their Parlour atomic orange chair adds energy to a neutral room. Pier 1’s Liliana armchair has an ironwork pattern that’s recurring in textiles and furniture detail this season. The Annie Black Bird wingback chair features a dramatic black and white nature motif that would pop against dark or white walls and wood floors. And a hanging lamp in caramel with leaves rendered in gold is the perfect addition to a restful room filled with tawny hues. If you like strong pattern but prefer quiet colors, consider BlissLivingHome’s muted deep sea and celery chevron reversible Maru throw. DwellStudio’s got a new collection of zigzag flatweave wool and cotton rugs in lapis and citrine. And Galbraith & Paul’s loop-embellished velvet pillows come in gentle shades of coral and nut-

An Annie Black Bird chair in crisp black and white with a nature motif. meg. A hammered brass stool from India makes a cool side table, from Wisteria; there are Kuba cloth chocolate and white throw pillows and a great collection of cowhide stools, trunks and benches here, too. — AP



ossini Spring Summer ’12 Collection is geared up for all the excitement it has to offer young kids, ladies and men. Aspire to the lavish bright colors this summer and explore the tribal patterns and intense embroidery with the dash of lace for a real change. Bright blue, rose pink, sunny orange and capturing gold are all in this season; reach over for the all over printed slip, knitted dresses and beautiful floral blouses if you aim for a striking feminine look. For a fabulous style on the beach, Bossini’s white denim capris, hot pants, and check tanks are perfectly tailored to your fashion trend this season. Kids are promised a happy, fun and joyful summer with the delightful clothing line by Bossini this season. Children will love the new Moto Extreme theme, with road signage polo shirt, distressed rolled up jeans/ shorts, multi colors checker shirts and cargo shorts outfits. Besides, Urban Mariner theme infused with a blend of preppy. Slightly twists on classic smart style with the updated sailor stripes. The colors mix of solid red, royal, navy, green and creamy white with a hint of red to compliment the summer energy. In Romantic Mariner theme, we ride the nautical wave combining the smart casual looks, classic sailor stripes blend with funny cartoon graphics, seagull and florals in a traditional palette. Pretty artsy dresses with cute accessories will draw a smile on your little ones, while boys will match their dads’ style with the line of cotton tops and cargo pants all sizzling with beach colors, relaxing tropical shades, and comfy denims just to add to the inspiring cartoon tops to wrap it all. Ladies summer fashion by Bossini this year is all about great taste inspired with Leisure - French Sailor theme consisting of bold stripes, polka dot, graphic of sea-shore, boat wheel & navy’s ropes with all over print tunic shirt, dip dye print tee and ankle length cargo pant. The season’s floral theme

happened in a garden with natural greens and flowery bright colors all over floral printed tunic blouse in crepe fabric lace, tee ?light weight, poplin pant in loose fit & wooden button. There are brighter and fresher colours for Spring opening, all over print pattern of star and dots graphic give surprises to the range, cotton poly double, breast short jacket, coordinated cigarette pant and bold stripe printing on poly satin easy top maintain the feminine side of a cool lady. For a complete ravishing look, don’t miss the tapered skinny and super skinny jeans with the printed long-body, colorful thread stitches design , light weight parka jackets, madras extraordinary light weight shirt , slim fit top to add to your shopping basket this summer. Men’s summer fashion by Bossini this year is all about great taste inspired from retro naval style. Key garments include Sailor & pier. Key Items: Marine Stripe is the key word of this season, we offer up a diverse selection of stripe style including stripe sweatshirt with toggle detail, special print tee & polo which work best with naval jacket.

Emphasize seafearing style by pairing with double cloth shirt and rolled up chino. To reflect the playful mood this summer, Bossini brings light weight denim pant, expandable waistband pants, signature polo t-shirts, multi-color plaid and rainbow color shorts to compliment the fun experience at the beach. Visit Bossini at Hawally, Fahaheel, Farwaniya, Khaldiya Co-op and Qortuba Co-op to experience a whole lot of summer fun!

ans of Rachel McAdams may know her best for roles in romantic movies, with appearances in films such as “ The Vow,” which opened Friday, and the tear-jerker “The Notebook,” but the Canadian actress also has a talent for high fashion. From her first appearance at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in a sheer, red lace embroidered Marchesa gown, the fashion world took notice. Other notable festival attire included a hot white Maxime Simoens dress and Monique Lhuillier high-waisted raw silk trousers with nude sequined corset from the designer’s spring 2011 collection. McAdams once again put herself on the fashion radar at the Los Angeles premiere of the new film “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.” She wore an electric blue short-sleeve knit top and floral maxi skirt from the Peter Som spring 2012 collection. The vibrant floral print could easily transition from a premiere to a daytime brunch with strappy sandals. For a comparable floral print skirt, try the Velvet floral maxi skirt from for $20.99, Carnaby sheer maxi skirt by Mink Pink from for $94.50 or the Glamazon floral maxi skirt by Cheap Monday for $44, also from McAdams’ knit top could be replaced by any number of colored T-shirts or blouses, but for a similar blue get the basic scoop-neck tee from for $16.50 or the Mossimo Supply Co. juniors scoop-neck tee in oxygen blue from for $8. On the runway, McAdams’ Peter Som look was shown with a pale blue pair of strappy sandals. For the premiere, she chose to accessorize with a blue snakeskin clutch and black Anouk pumps by Jimmy Choo. Snakeskin can be a bit pricey, but you can achieve the same look with any patterned or embellished colored clutch such as the Top Choice sequin clutch from for $20 and any pair of solid-colored heels. — MCT

Get a look similar to what she has worn at film festivals with this Top Choice sequin clutch ($20 at

Get a look similar to what she has worn at film festivals with this velvet floral maxi skirt ($20.99 at — MCT photos


lifestyle F a s h i o n

A toddler girl wrap dress in black, green, white, orange and pink.

DVF starts courting them young at Gap

A girl’s T-shirt dress in blue and white.


A baby girl wrap romper in green and white.

oday’s little girls are probably the wrap-dress wearers of the future, so why not just start them young? Gap tapped Diane von Furstenberg, who has built her business on easy-to-wear, cheerful wrap dresses, for a limited-edition girls collection that arrives in US stores next week. It’s another designer label for the kids’ closet, joining the likes of Gucci, Stella McCartney and Burberry. When first approached by Gap, however, von Furstenberg said no. “I always thought I didn’t want to do children’s clothes,” von Furstenberg said in a telephone interview. “I did do a little in the ‘70s, but I stopped because I wanted girls to take their time to grow up to be women.” But then she thought about taking colors and prints, and making them stylish in an age-appropriate way. She is pleased with the results,

describing the wrap rompers, T-shirt dresses, capri leggings and other items as the right balance of fun and practicality, she said. Von Furstenberg was the right partner to go after, said Art Peck, president of Gap North America. She’s surefire buzz and fashion credibility, he said. Although he joined the company after the project was in the works, he said she would have been at the top of his list, too, because both brands aim for a straightforward style instead of garments that are fussy or uncomfortable. Gap is looking to get back to its roots after some years of declining sales. “Diane von Furstenberg has a successful women’s business and she didn’t want to compete with that, but kids was new to her, and she has grandchildren,” Peck said. “A 5year-old doesn’t know Diane von

In this product image released by GapKids + DVF, designer Diane Von Furstenberg poses with children wearing her designs.

Furstenberg but mom certainly does.” Gap previously collaborated with McCartney on kids’ clothes, and Peck said more deals might come sooner rather than later. “There are a number of irons in the fire.” There’s something to be said for building brand loyalty young, he explained. “I’d like to get them as Gap customers the moment they come out of the hospital as a baby and stay with us the rest of their lives.” — AP

Photo shows a toddler sandal, green with white hearts.

Models display outfits at the ARISE Fashion Week event in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, March 11, 2012. —AP/AFP photos

e niv rsar n



Houston’s daughter hears mom talk to her




wo different camel beauty contests were held on Sunday in Al-Roudhatain (north) with an unprecedented attendance. The event was organized as part of the Popular Heritage Festival which will last till March 24, 2012. The competitions featured camels from the breed known as ‘Al-Mujaiheem,’ popularly used by Bedouin tribes. The first competition was held in the 50-camel herd category featuring five camel breeders, while the second competition was held in the solo category featuring 30 contestants from Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. “In this year’s competitions, winners of the Um Ruqaiba (competitions) held in Saudi Arabia


rare Chinese imperial ceramic bowl that was made around 900 years ago and could fetch $10 million when it goes under the hammer next month has triggered huge excitement among Asian art collectors. The interest generated by this small, modestlooking flower-shaped bowl- and its potentially sky-high sales price-are a testament to the vitality of Asia’s art market, which has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade. The antique was due to go on public display in Beijing over the weekend on a pre-sale roadshow. But organizers, fearing a stampede after it drew big crowds in Shanghai, decided at the last minute to show it to potential buyers only. “An object has rarely generated so much excitement and for security reasons, we thought it would be preferable for our clients to view it within the confines of a private room,” said Nicolas Chow, deputy head of Sotheby’s Asia division. The flower-shaped “Ru” bowl from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) sports a pale blue-green translucent matte glaze that imitates the color of jade, and is believed to be the only one of its type in the world. “Ru” ceramics-named after one of five large kilns operating under the Song-are the rarest in China, and it is estimated that only 79 complete pieces remain in the world, most in museums. “There are very few of these as they were imperial pieces and also because they were made over a very short period of time — 20 years,” Jean-Paul Desroches, curator at the Guimet Museum in Paris, told AFP. There are only six “Ru” ceramics in

are also making their presence felt,” said Sheikh Sabah Fahad Al-Nasser, Head of the judging committee. Sunday’s competitions follows on the heels of four other camel beauty contests held since the beginning of the Popular Heritage Festival on March 1. The contests also provide trading opportunities with breeders. According to Al-Nasser, the trade activity also increased this year, adding that a breeder was offered KD 1 million for one of his camels. Meanwhile, the Arabian sheep beauty contests resumed on Sunday with a competition held for the Al-Ardhy breed. Kuwaiti contestants notched the five top spots. The first place went

private collections, including this bowl-probably intended for washing brushes after writing-which could fetch up to HK$80 million ($10.3 million) at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong on April 4. “We sell incredibly rare objects, but this is a different realm of rarity,” said Chow. “These are objects that... barely 100 years after they were made were already deemed to be extremely difficult to obtain.” As such, the bowl has generated a huge buzz among collectors and art lovers in China, and visitors who had flocked to admire the prized antique on Saturday were disappointed not to be able to see it. “I’m unhappy. An auction house must exhibit its pieces,” said He Tao, a porcelainlover who had come from the northeastern city of Dalian-some 1,000 kilometres away by railway-to see the bowl in a luxury Beijing hotel. Chow said imperial porcelain pieces are of particular interest to Chinese collectors, amid a boom in Asia’s art market. “In the last ten years, we have seen a big leap in prices and that’s mainly due to the dramatic entrance of mainland Chinese collectors into the market, particularly since 1999,” he said. Experts say the buyer of the “Ru” bowl will likely be a rich individualperhaps from Hong Kong or Taiwanor even a billionaire from the West, where the simplicity of Song masterpieces is widely admired. “All major academic (researchers) and all big collectors cannot help but feel a thrill (about the bowl),” said Christian Bouvet, an Asian art specialist at Sotheby’s. He pointed to the color of the bowl, which an advisor to the


to breeder Mohammad Al-Mutairi who won the KD 4,000 grand prize, followed by Fahad Al-Azb who was awarded KD 2,000, while Adel Al-Otaibi too home KD 1,500 as the third place prize. The Popular Heritage Festival is an annual event featuring traditional sports and activities of Bedouin nature. Different types of beauty contests for camels, sheep and falcons are held. An equestrian race, Arabian horse beauty contests are also held at the Hunting and Equestrian Club, in addition to fishing competitions organized by the Fishermen’s diwaniya in Al-Fintas, Salmiya and Wuttiya.

Kangxi Emperor (1662-1722) in the later Qing dynasty famously described as similar to the blue tint of the sky after it had rained. After Beijing the bowl, which has about the same diameter as a DVD, will be exhibited to the public in the Taiwanese capital Taipei. “ The Taiwanese are probably among the most sophisticated collectors in the field of Chinese art,” said Chow. “They’ve been buying for a long time, they are at a stage where they are not building collections... they’ll pick something extraordinary to raise their collection.”— AFP


aren Briskey gently rubbed Ellie’s head, then her back. Not long ago, this would have been all but impossible. The 7-yearold Arabian mare didn’t like to be touched, even by her own foal. So when Ellie was set to have another foal, owner Barb Hoover-who runs Yellow Rose Arabian Horses-called Briskey, one of a growing number of massage practitioners who work with animals. “I decided I needed to do whatever I could to make sure Ellie took to (this foal),” Hoover said on a recent evening. The massage sessions seemed to have worked. Ellie’s new colt, Captain, born about three weeks ago, hardly left his mother’s side. Hoover watched as Briskey kneaded her hands from Ellie’s mane to her tail. “There you go,” she said soothingly to the horse as she worked. “That’s much better.” Briskey, 44, has been certified in small and large animal massage since 2008. Her range of clients includes a Pomeranian with an injured leg and Ellie the equine. She’s also licensed to work with people and calls her business Two ‘n Four Legged Massage. She didn’t set out to be a massage practitioner; she spent several years working in ground service for an airline. But friends who received her amateur massages encouraged her to pursue it as a career. Folding animals into her clientele was a natural progression. She grew up around them; her dad, William Briskey, is a veterinarian. “Their intentions are so pure,” she said of her animal clients. “If they tell you they don’t like you, they don’t like you. You can maybe help them around that.” Briskey lets one of her own animals in on the massage act. She’s had Banjo, a towering quarter-horse, for about 11 years and regularly brings him to Life Care Center of Puyallup, Wash., and other senior facilities. His visits are a form of therapy for residents; they feed him apples, stroke his mane, lead him around. When they turn their backs to him, he does his own version of massage, nuzzling his nose into their necks. “They love it,” Briskey said, showing off photos of a recent visit.

“It just completely soothes people,” said Daisha Cruz, activities director at the Puyallup center. “It makes them feel more at home.” Briskey said she feels lucky to be able to work with animals and do what she loves. She hopes to expend her practice, which now includes about a dozen regular clients, as the economy improves. At Yellow Rose, she spent about an hour working with Ellie. When she was done, she turned her attention to the colt, Captain. Like his mom, he was scared to be touched. Briskey took a step forward and reached out to him, but he flinched and darted back, his spindly legs turning him in circles. Briskey kept inching closer, extending her hand. Captain kept darting away. After several minutes passed, he let her touch his nose. Then his head. Eventually, she started rubbing his back. She spoke gently to him, like she had to his mom. “There you go,” Briskey said, “it’s your first little massage.” — MCT

Karen Briskey massages the mare Ellie, mother of the colt Captain, at Yellow Rose Arabian Horses, the Graham, Washington business of Barb Hoover, at right. — MCT

13 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times

13 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times