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Israel closes ramp to Aqsa compound, OKs new settlements

MUHARRAM 17, 1433 AH

Obama meets Maliki as US exits Iraq

Britain urges Bahrain to embrace reform after protests

City lose at last as Chelsea revive title bid

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150 FILS

8Former 11MPs to13challenge 20 40 PAGES

dissolution of Assembly Warrants out for ‘corrupt’ ex-MPs • Khorafi won’t run again

Max 19º Min 05º Low Tide 07:57 & 19:44 High Tide 00:07 & 14:50

By B Izzak

31 bedoon protesters go on trial KUWAIT: A court yesterday charged 31 bedoons with illegal assembly and assaulting police during demonstrations earlier this year to demand citizenship and other basic rights. Twenty-six defendants were present at the start of the hearing, which was also attended by representatives of local human rights groups and activists supporting the rights of stateless persons. More trials will be held for three others on Wednesday and 16 people on Dec 18. All the men were arrested following weeks of protests in February and March that witnessed clashes with riot police. The men were charged by the court for illegal assembly with the aim to commit crimes and assaulting security forces. All the defendants denied the charges and said they committed no offence. Mubarak Al-Shemmari, one of several lawyers who volunteered to defend them, told AFP that the defendants face between three to five years in jail if the charges were proven. He however described the whole case as “politically motivated” because no crime was committed and authorities could not provide any substantial evidence. Continued on Page 13

in the


Blast kills 7 in steel mill in Iran TEHRAN: Seven workers died and at least a dozen others were injured when a melting furnace in an Iranian steel factory exploded, officials told Iranian media yesterday. “Several of those killed were foreign nationals,” Azizollah Seifi, the governor of the central Yazd region where the blast occurred late Sunday, told ISNA news agency. He did not provide further details on the fatalities. The explosion at the Ghadir-e Yazd Steel Factory was being investigated. One local MP, Ali Akbar Oliaee, told ILNA news agency it appeared the factory had been melting down scrap metal that contained unexpended munitions. “Amongst the scrap metal was ammunition which had not worked, and this caused the blast,” he was quoted as saying.

SEOUL: This computer generated image shows connected towers designed by Dutch architects MVRDV. — AFP

S Korean firm to keep ‘Twin Towers’ design SEOUL: A South Korean developer said yesterday it would not alter the design of a twin-tower project despite complaints in the US that it mimics the explosions at New York’s World Trade Center in 2001. The towers, one with 54 floors and the other with 60, are designed by Dutch architects MVRDV and will be built at the entrance to Seoul’s redeveloped Yongsan business district by 2016. The towers will be connected midway up by a cloud-shaped bridging section that will house amenities including sky lounges, a swimming pool and restaurants. But families of victims of the 9/11 attacks see a marked resemblance between the project known as The Cloud and the clouds of debris that billowed from the World Trade Center after hijacked airliners ploughed into the towers. “Allegations that it (the design) was inspired by the 9/11 attacks are groundless,” said White Paik, spokesman for the Yongsan Development Corp. “There will be no revision or change in our project,” he said. MVRDV said it “regrets deeply” any painful connotations.

KUWAIT: At least 40 bedoons stage a demonstration yesterday in Taima demanding their rights. Police allowed them to disperse after an hour. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: Pressure mounted yesterday over whether the government’s decision to recommend dissolving the National Assembly was in line with the constitution, with former MPs preparing to challenge the decision in court. The challenges will be filed by former MP Saadoun Hammad and a member in the Assembly in 2008 Nasser Al-Duwailah on the grounds that the government that recommended the Assembly to be dissolved is unconstitutional. Hammad said he will file the petition to the administrative court against the decision and will request the court to call off the forthcoming general polls until it has ruled on the issue. If the administrative court accepts the petition, it may become necessary to refer the issue to the constitutional court to rule on whether dissolving the Assembly was in line with the constitution. Under Kuwaiti law, dissolving the Assembly is recommended by the Cabinet and issued by the Amir in a decree. The former MPs have claimed that the government that recommended the dissolution is unconstitutional and accordingly, its actions are illegal including their decision to recommend dissolving the Assembly. They say that the previous Cabinet under former premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah had resigned and the Amir accepted the resignation and later appointed former defence minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as the new premier. Sheikh Jaber later chaired over the resigned Cabinet which recommended the dissolution of the Assembly. Opponents of the decision claim that a new Cabinet should have been formed to make the recommendation. Continued on Page 13

Tiniest infants are growing up healthy CHICAGO: One is a healthy first-grader, the other an honors college student majoring in psychology. Once the tiniest babies ever born, both girls are thriving, despite long odds when they entered the world weighing less than a pound. A medical report from the doctor who resuscitated the infants at a suburban Chicago hospital is both a success story and a cautionary tale. These two are the exceptions and their remarkable health years later should not raise false hope: Most babies this small do poorly and many do not survive even with advanced medical care. “These are such extreme cases,” said Dr Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. They should not be considered “a benchmark” to mean that doctors should try to save all babies so small, he said. The report involves Madeline Mann, born in 1989 weighing 9.9 ounces (280 gm), then the world record; and 7-year-old Rumaisa Rahman, whose 9.2-ounce (260 gm) birth weight remains the world’s tiniest. Rumaisa’s birth weight was initially reported as 8.6 ounces, but that figure was based on a different conversion scale. Two other babies born since 1989 weighed less than Madeline, and a German girl was born last year at her same birth weight. The report was released online yesterday in Pediatrics. It addresses a question that was hotly debated when Madeline was born 22 years ago, remains hot now - and still has no answer: “What is the real age of viability? No one knows,” said Dr. Stephen Welty, neonatology chief at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Muraskas and the report’s coauthors say most newborn specialists

consider babies born after 25 weeks of pregnancy to be viable - likely to survive and so they should receive medical intervention if necessary to breathe. Younger babies are generally in a “gray zone,” where intervention isn’t always so clear cut, the report suggests. In Japan, doctors have lowered that threshold - the gestational age - to 22 weeks. Normal pregnancies last about 40 weeks. Some US doctors will attempt to save babies at 22 weeks, but that is not done routinely, said Dr. Edward Bell, a University of Iowa pediatrics professor. Bell runs an online registry of the world’s tiniest babies, born weighing less than Continued on Page 13

DAMASCUS: A woman casts her vote in municipal elections yesterday. — AP

Syrians go to polls amid strikes, deaths

MAYWOOD, Illinois: This Dec 21, 2004 file photo shows Rumaisa Rahman during a news conference at Loyola University Medical Center. — AP

DAMASCUS: Syrians were voting yesterday in municipal elections as security forces pushed with a deadly crackdown on dissent and regime opponents piled on the pressure with a second day of strikes. The head of the elections committee, Khalaf Al-Ezzawi, said “voting is proceeding in a democratic spirit”, and that the turnout was “good”. There were no further details. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 15 people were killed in the flashpoint regions of Homs and Idlib, while strikes were observed near Damascus and in Daraa, cradle of nine months of anti-regime protests. Opposition activists have urged citizens to intensify a civil disobedience campaign launched yesterday in a bid to bring down the government of President

Bashar Al-Assad. Polling stations opened at 0600 GMT, with 42,889 candidates vying for 17,588 seats, and were due to close at 2000 GMT. More than 14 million Syrians can cast ballots. Information Minister Adnan Mahmud told AFP the elections were part of a package of promised democratic reforms and would be followed by legislative polls in February. “These elections are taking place on time in line with a reform program,” Mahmud told AFP. “They are taking place although some are trying, in vain, to stop them through terrorist acts carried out by armed groups who are terrorising the citizens,” he said. Activists, meanwhile, mocked the election on their Facebook page. “The election farce organised by the authorities Continued on Page 13

Iran plans navy drill to shut Hormuz Tehran claims US drone almost decoded TEHRAN: A member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee said yesterday that the military was set to practice its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world, but there was no official confirmation. The legislator, Parviz Sarvari, told the student news agency ISNA: “Soon we will hold a military manoeuvre on how to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to

make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure.” Contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for the Iranian military declined to comment. Iran’s energy minister told Al Jazeera television last month that Tehran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict over its nuclear program. Tension over the program has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Nov 8 that

Tehran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran has warned it will respond to any attack by hitting Israel and US interests in the Gulf and analysts say one way to retaliate would be to close the Strait of Hormuz. About a third of all sea-borne shipped oil passed through the Strait in 2009,

according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and US warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage. Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through a 6.4 km wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran. Continued on Page 13




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Military equipment from around the world on display Gulf Defense, Aerospace exhibition opens

KUWAIT: Sheikh Ali Abdullah Al-Sabah cutting the ceremonial ribbon, during the opening of the first international tri-service defense exhibition. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The Kuwait International Fair Ground in Mishref served as a venue for the first International Tri-service Defense Exhibition which was inaugurated yesterday by Sheikh Ali AlAbdullah Al-Sabah, Governor of Mubarak Al-Kabir governorate. The exhibition organized by Kuwait TNT Productions, Inc. l showcases equipment related to defense, aerospace,

safety and security from Dec 12 to 14. Speaking to reporters after touring the venue, Sheikh Ali Al-Abdullah lauded the exhibitors for giving Kuwait the opportunity to witness advancements made in military and security for the first time. He added that these meet the demands of modern world. “To be able to see and touch their products which are obviously works of innovation and modernity is a great experience. On behalf of HH the Prime

Some military tanks displayed at the venue

Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlSabah, we are proud to host exhibitors from different countries and we wish them a fruitful stay. We hope that they’ll achieve individual goals,” he said. The governor said that the event reflects the confidence of foreign exhibitors in Kuwait’s ability to host an event of such magnitude. There are more than 100 exhibitors from 23 countries including Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia,

Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America. Each country displayed their latest innovation in the world of defense, aerospace and safety. According to a defense market intelligence survey, ‘Forecast international,’ the GCC countries (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and

Some robots that could be used to find and defuse bombs

Bahrain) in 2010 invested $63 billion in defense and security spending and this figure was expected to increase in 2011 to $65 billion. In fact, offset specialist, Blenheim Capital Partners, estimated that the GCC states will spend in excess of $105 billion in the next two years. It is not clear how much is dedicated for each countries. Governments need to provide internal and external security for their people and their country as a

Former MPs to be quizzed over graft scandal

Court revokes MoI ban on female taxi drivers By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Comprehensive Court revoked the Interior Ministry’s order to not issue driving licenses to women who intended to work as female taxi drivers. The court also ordered the payment of KD 10,000 to the company that filed a complaint. A female citizen who owns a taxi company was displeased at the Ministry’s decision and filed a complaint with the court. Attempted murder The wife of a 40-year-old citizen who works for the Communications Ministry leaped from the second floor of a building following a spat. The

woman who sustained several fractures was admitted to Jahra Hospital. Police arrested the husband and are awaiting a final medical report. Doctors told police that her condition is stable. The man will be charged with attempted murder. Asian drug dealer caught Detectives from General Department of Drug Control arrested an Asian after being tipped off on his drug-related activities. Investigations revealed that the suspect rented cars frequently in an attempt to hide his operations. The drug dealer was arrested in Fahaheel and officers seized 10 grams of heroin from his car. He sold

the drugs to individual residing outside Kuwait. Car accidents A 21-year old citizen sustained a broken left arm and a head injury, and a 30-year- old Bangladeshi suffered a spinal injury in a car accident that took place in Jlaiah. Both were admitted to Adan Hospital. A 26-year-old Egyptian’s vehicle was hit by another car behind the English School in Hawally. He suffered a spinal injury and was admitted to Mubarak Hospital. Also, a 32-yearold Afghan suffered a broken right thigh bone in a car accident that took place on Kabd bridge. He was admitted to Farwaniya Hospital. KUWAIT: The Asian drug dealer pictured after his arrest.

KAC downplays low pressure threat

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD) Deputy Director General for Fire Fighting and Human Resources Development Brig Yousuf Al-Ansari met with fire directors as part of the periodical meeting to discuss the latest local and international developments. Al-Ansari focused on improving performance, particularly protection of life and property because it is one of the most important goals of KFSD. — Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun

whole, thus certain techniques and technologies such as those products displayed there are necessary to provide them. Justin Webb, President of TNT Productions, Inc., assured visitors that many of these (techniques and technologies) on display are available upon order at the venue. The event is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah, the current Prime Minister.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Airways said yesterday that the low air pressure problem that affected its plane arriving from Dubai the previous night “is normal, and has been handled successfully without any further complications”. An A310 Airbus KAC plane made an emergency landing at the Kuwait International Airport following a trip from Dubai, during which the captain had to fly at a 26,000 feet altitude to match with the air pressure outside. Yesterday, KAC public relations and media department manager Adel Buresli confirmed that the plane faced a technical error shortly after takeoff. He said the situation was quickly contained by the captain who flew on a lower altitude to match the air pressure inside the plane with air pressure outside. Buresli further noted that oxygen masks dropped automatically during the flight as a precautionary measure. He added that the 81 passengers were safely evacuated after the plane landed and the plane resumed its scheduled flights normally after the error was fixed.

KUWAIT: The Public Prosecution Department has issued orders to interrogate 15 former legislators in connection with the cash deposit scandal. Acting Attorney General Dherar Al-Asousy made the relevant announcement on Sunday. According to an Al-Rai daily report, the actions were taken against former MPs as well as some of their relatives after the Department reviewed reports submitted by the Central Bank’s investigations unit, and also reviewing testimonies received from officials. The Department launched investigations into money laundering cases after a number of local banks referred the bank accounts of former MPs that received large deposits. Once they report to the Department, the 15 former lawmakers will be questioned by the General Department of State Security before being referred to the Financial Prosecution Department. Meanwhile, demands have been made urging the government to devise certain mechanisms to monitor large cash withdrawals made by candidates during election campaigns, presumably to ‘buy ’ votes. Officials who made demands while speaking to AlQabas on condition of anonymity further added that this ‘formula’ must help achieve a balance between citizens’ right to spend as well as monitor the elections process to thwart illegal activities. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the Parliament last week; one week after the Cabinet of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Sabah resigned. As per regulations of the Constitution, fresh elections must be held within 60 days of the dissolution.—Al-Qabas , Al-Rai

Residency transfer to be suspended for 10 days KUWAIT: Work permit issuance and visa transfer will be suspended for ten days later this month in order to allow for the annual inventory operations at Labor Departments of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. According to a decision released on Sunday by assistant undersecretary for the labor sector Jamaal Al-Dousary, all labor departments will stop receiving applications for issuing work permits and transferring visas starting from Dec 25, 2011, and that includes staff members hired to work on governmental projects. The suspension will automatically be lifted after the New Year holiday. However, labor departments will still receive requests to issue work permits for staff members who work in Kuwait for the first time, as well as residency renewal and cancelation operations during the 10-day break. Meanwhile, Al-Dousary also addressed other topics including the much anticipated labor public authority, on which he indicated that the ministry is waiting for the new parliament to be elected in order to pass the draft law for its establishment. He also rejected recent criticisms by Human Rights Watch regarding the lack of regulations to protect rights of domestic workers, as he explained that the labor law includes provisions that allow the minister to take decisions which regulate the relationship between a domestic worker and the employer.

Global says creditors agree repayment delay DUBAI: Creditors of Kuwait’s Global Investment House have agreed to delay repayment of the principal of their debt to the middle of next year, the company said yesterday, so it can undertake a second restructuring. Global, which is battling tough market conditions, also said in a statement that all creditors had agreed to delay an increase in interest payments to the same date, June 10 2012. The investment bank said in September it was asking lenders for a delay to principal repayments on debt due in December to allow for a renegotiation of a $1.7 billion debt restructuring plan it agreed in 2009. “The creditors’ agreement to these amendments will provide the appropriate work environment for constructive negotiations to reach a new agreement to restructure the company’s debts,” Global said. Global has also agreed with bondholders to delay the repayment on a 45 million dinar ($162.45 million) bond to June 2012 from April 2012 to help finalize the wider restructuring, it announced earlier this month. The company reported a net loss of 54 million dinars for the nine months to Sept 30. — Reuters



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Local Spotlight

kuwait digest

Who will be the next speaker?

Medical staff need protection

By Sherida Al-Maosherji


or so many years, we’ve been used to running parliamentary elections without even thinking about who the next speaker of the house will be. The position had always been reserved for Jassim Al-Khorafi, it appeared. He always won effortlessly without facing any competition. However, as soon as Al-Khorafi announced his intention to not run for the coming parliamentary elections, this particular point became the hottest ‘electoral’ issue due to the fact that the Speaker’s role is significant in running parliamentary sessions and steering them. He is the one who makes sure that legalities are fully observed in any session in accordance with the law on NA’s chart and bylaws. He is usually a bridge that maintains balance between the executive and legislative bodies. The more neutral a speaker remains, the more successful he will be, even if he holds on to his principles. In addition, the speaker serves as a medium of communication with the head of the state through a weekly meeting held with HH the Amir during which the speaker reports on legislators’ impression of the government’s performance and its cooperation. The speaker also heads the National Assembly Secretariat General, an important part of the Parliament. It eases the Parliament’s mission and decisions will be made faster. The Secretariat General is usually responsible for providing the right information, analyzing governmental statistics and providing technical and legal counsel, which are all of high significance . Undoubtedly, the position of the speaker can only be determined through the government that already has 16 votes in Parliament. Therefore, the government must be objective about this vote. It should prioritize Kuwait’s interest for voting in the most competent candidate who is capable of administration. It will be able to cooperate to drive the country forward and achieve Kuwaiti people’s aspirations. — Aljarida

kuwait digest

Hard test for voters By Faisal Al-Zamel


he Kuwaiti voter is facing a hard test these days. He is required to testify, and he is being called to testify. He is not allowed to refuse. If he thinks that bad candidates are many, he should choose the best of them or rather the lesser evil. He should not ignore his social responsibility. But if he knew that the candidate has a bad record or he did not choose the right candidate, then he will be a supporter of evil. Just like the Prime Minister is responsible for choosing bad officials, a voter is responsible for choosing bad MPs. According to the ‘Hadith’, “He who chose a ruler for the people and can find better than his choice, then he is dishonest to Allah and the Prophet.” The reason behind stressing on those regulations is that we have responsibilities just like the Prime Minister has. Voters have responsibilities within this period to elect the best candidates. And God will hold them responsible for their actions. Thereafter, they will have many good rewards “Hasanat” for the good choices they made and bad rewards for the good things they did not do. — Al-Anbaa

By Muna Al-Fuzai

twitter @munaalfuzai


he mistreatment and abuse that nurses suffer at the hands of visitors to the hospital are a matter of concern to families and a few others like me. Sadly, the Ministry of Health (MoH) turns a blind eye to such incidents!

kuwait digest

What after the Cabinet’s fall? By Mudaffar Abdullah


y take on the recent incidents that Kuwait witnessed with the Cabinet’s resignation, replacement with a new one can be summed up in a few words: ‘People did their part in making change.’ It was echoed loudly when the people expressed dissatisfaction with general political situations. Both the government and the Parliament seriously failed in steering things away from public rallies. There was an expression of public opinion and street demonstrations in an unprecedented manner in the history of Kuwaiti politics. Are we in danger? The answer is ‘yes.’ The ruling family members began making their differences public and these penetrated the Parliament, affecting MPs, a very painful and dangerous development. Ever since the Crown Prince’s post was separated from the premiership, prime ministers have been subject to endless conflicts created by the wish of ruling family members to attract certain parliamentary blocs. With such developments in mind, we find that our political system cannot develop a mechanism to fortify the regime ever since the

Constitution was adopted. We resort to it only when constitutional crises develop, creating a parlia-

Our democratic practices are too weak. When the youth rallied in streets demanding the PM’s ouster, this was indication that the Parliament was incapable of fulfilling its duties through constitutional tools. The youth makes rightful and normal demands. In the meantime, seven previous Cabinets failed to make valuable or considerable progress due to its own incompetence and the performance of MPs.

mentary majority that is capable of providing Kuwait with stability. Our democratic practices are too weak. When the youth rallied in streets demanding the PM’s ouster, this was indication that the Parliament was incapable of fulfilling its duties through constitutional tools. The youth makes rightful and normal demands. In the meantime, seven previous Cabinets failed to make valuable or considerable progress due to its own incompetence and the performance of MPs. Changing the PM might please some parties, but wise political practices looks forward to solving problems and curing ‘chronic political illnesses’ like solving the problem of oil revenues and ways of spending them, in addition to law enforcement. So, now after the public opinion helped usher in change, Kuwait now tastes the Arab Spring flavor by doing what the mightiest powers failed to do; depose the premier. Recent events prove that sluggishness in meeting public demands will end up in rallies being staged. One the other hand, repeated yielding to public demands mean that we no longer live in a state. — Aljarida

kuwait digest

‘No bribed candidates, no primary elections’

Two expatriate nurses were beaten by angry family members this week after their father passed away. This is not the first time that we have been hearing about such news reports. It is not justified that such incidents keep repeating often. It is really sad that the Ministry of Health refuses to take action against violent attacks. This highlights its failure as an official government body in protecting staff members and enforcing the law to ensure safety and security within the hospital premises . Two expatriate nurses were beaten by angry family members this week after their father passed away. This is not the first time that we have been hearing about such news reports. It is not justified that such incidents keep repeating often. It is really sad that the Ministry of Health refuses to take action against violent attacks. This highlights its failure as an official government body in protecting staff members and enforcing the law to ensure safety and security within the hospital premises . Security personnel should be deployed to prevent attacks against doctors, nurses and other medical staff. I wonder when there will be any kind of improvement in health services rendered in Kuwait. Never, ever I guess. If I were a doctor or a nurse, I would never accept to work in an environment where my life is at risk —thanks to crazy people who think medical staff are domestic servants who can be abused forever. It appears as if all doctors and nurses should take a life insurance policy once they take up a job with the Kuwaiti government! The work place is certainly not safe and this aspect cannot be neglected anymore. Unfortunately, the medical services in Kuwait have not improved in a long time and I doubt if any modernization efforts are in the pipeline. The visitors are usually under stress but that is not an excuse to assault staff members. What kind of behavior are they exhibiting in public? The recent incident that took place at Sabah hospital has worsened the situation. I hope victims will approach the court. An immediate investigation should be conducted into the incident. The attackers should not be shown any mercy.

kuwait digest

By Waleed Al-Ahmad


an I go to a local police station today and file complaints against a number of former MPs whose names are connected with the multimillion-dinar scandal since their immunity has lifted after the parliament’s dissolution? Can I do that, so that they wouldn’t be able to run during the upcoming elections, and so that they can be prosecuted and then forced to pay back the state funds they were given as bribes? These questions have been asked multiple times since the parliament’s dissolution; which reflects people’s anger towards the suspected former legislators who are currently hiding their intentions or already announced plans to run again for the next election. In my opinion, legal action is not necessary since at least four banks have already referred a number of suspiciously inflated accounts to the Public Prosecution, which can now investigate their owners - who are no longer shielded by the parliamentary immunity. And since a suspect is innocent until proven guilty, the suspected former MPs have the right to run again during the elections unless they are convicted. However, those who failed to clear themselves after their names became widely speculated as being involved in the graft scandal, should take a break from the political life. But if they opt against that and instead choose to run again for parliament, then it is the voters’ job to avoid giving them their votes. Moreover, voters are also urged to boycott any candidates who run via primary elections; which the constitutional court recently approved their

status as being a criminal act. Even if the recent court order was never released, citizens should know better after they learned their lessons the hard way as the MPs elected via primary elections failed to provide any contributions during the previous term.

Since a suspect is innocent until proven guilty, the suspected former MPs have the right to run again unless they are convicted. However, those who failed to clear themselves after their names became widely speculated as being involved in the graft scandal, should take a break from the political life. Kuwaiti voters should adopt a ‘No bribed candidates, no primary elections’ motto during the 2012 elections. In a final note, I’d like to urge Bedoons (stateless) to avoid gatherings and demonstrations during this period, because candidates nowadays are too busy trying to secure citizens’ votes. It’s better to wait until the new parliament is elected, because the only people that Bedoons will be meeting during demonstrations are security officers ready to put them under arrest if they fail to break their gathering. — Al-Rai

Positive signs By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


peculation about the fate of primary elections is the main topic of debates among the tribe members in Kuwait. And while religious sectors are also concerned with this subject, there aren’t much discussions about primary elections among sectarian groups due to the lack of influence from sectarian blocs - or in other words, religious fundamentalism - in the current elections, compared to the seventies and early eighties. The opposition movement has emphasized on the principles of nationalism, which helped instill the sense of citizenship within people who rode their wave. Connecting nationalistic approach with the opposition’s ability to ultimately achieve their goal has, in my opinion, sharply reduced tribal distinctions which often create barriers between citizens of various backgrounds. This has particularly led to the current rejection among tribal lawmakers to participating in primary elections, as well as to the creation of an anti-primary-elections stance within tribal communities. So far, former MPs Husain Mizyed, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Ali Al-Deqbasi, Mubarak Al-Walan and Mohammad Hayef have expressed this point of view when they publicly announced their boycott for the primary elections. This unexpected shift in the stance of tribe members will undoubtedly affect the political and social life in Kuwait which is dominated by the tribal influence. Subsequently, the failure of endorsing reforms and pro-democratic steps is unacceptable and unjustifiable. The approach of tribe members in Kuwait has significantly improved from the time in which tribal MPs were handpicked by tribesmen as leaders, and in which these lawmakers were utilized by the government to gain the upper hand against the opposition. —Al-Qabas




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Kuwait-US relationship aims to set stability in Mideast Seminar discusses changing political landscape By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah receiving the Chairman of Kuwait Transparency Society Salah Mohammad Al-Ghazali and society members at Seif Palace yesterday.

Kuwait hosts forum on river blindness KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of Kuwait Fund for Economic Development (KFAED) Sheikh Sabah AlKhalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Sunday launched the 17th joint action forum of the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). The minister said in speech he gave at the opening ceremony, “It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you to the State of Kuwait and to this important meeting on the elimination of River Blindness. This significant meeting coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in 1961.” “KFAED has joined the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP) on behalf of the State of Kuwait since its inception in 1974. Being the second largest development institution after the World Bank, KFAED is a key pillar in Kuwait foreign aid policy,” he added. He said that Kuwait has far exceeded the 0.7% of GNP (gross national product) of developed countries set by the United Nations for development assistance. “Our formula is simple, we invest in the well-being of people, over the course of five decades, the Fund has provided loans and assistance worth $15 billion to over 100 nations,” he added. “The Fund has extended development assistance for the implementation of over 800 projects in recipient countries in various sectors, primarily

economic and social. Recognizing the important role of human resources development in eradicating poverty and achieving economic growth through health and social services, the fund expanded its activities in the health sector in recent years and provided finance for the construction of various clinics and hospitals, including supplying them with modern medical equipment for screening and treating diseases in a number of countries especially low-income countries,” the Deputy Premier said. “Controlling diseases such as river blindness and other health problems is crucial to fight against poverty. Onchocerciasis does not only dis-empower humans by loss of sight, but also aggravates their misery and deepens their poverty by forcing them to abandon their livelihood resources in infested fertile lands,” he mentioned. The 17th joint action forum of the African program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) continues till Dec 14, with the participation of 120 to 150 representatives of around 20 financing institutions, and 30 African countries, represented by their health ministers. More than 15 non-governmental development organizations, and representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, United Nations Development Program, and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are also taking part in the event. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Shedding light on the constantly changing political situation in the region, the Kuwait Diplomatic Institute (KDI) held a seminar entitled ‘US Foreign Policy in a Changing Middle East’ yesterday at its premises. It was held in cooperation with the George Washington University and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). The first two panels of this seminar covered pertinent issues on the evolving situation. It was followed by an interaction between panelists and the audience. The event was especially relevant thanks to its newsworthiness. ”Since the beginning of the year, the Middle East and North Africa have witnessed momentous events that have been unrivalled since the achievement of independence by countries in the area. While nobody can be certain of the final outcome of the changes sweeping the area, one thing is clear: When the status quo is intolerable, change will be sought by people, even if they don’t have a clear idea about what comes next. Of course, ideally, change would be followed by a better alternative. We can only hope that these political ‘earthquakes’ will convince more and more people that democracy is the best shock-absorber,” said Ambassador Abdulazeez AlSharikh, Director-General in KDI in his opening remarks. At his keynote speech on the United States-Kuwait relations, Edward Gnehm, former US Ambassador to Kuwait and the Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs at George Washington University said that the relations between Kuwait and the United States is very close and is based on shared interests. “This relationship aims to set stability in the region and

to protect it against any aggression. It also aims to assure free oil movement, anti-terrorist and anti-aggression procedures, and to support the economic development between the two countries,” he pointed out. “About 25 years ago, Kuwait demanded US protection for its oil tankers, and this relation was strengthened during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which ended with the liberation of Kuwait and signing of a bilateral military agreement to develop the ability

US forces have been present in the Gulf since the 1940s due to the importance of the Middle East region. Currently there are 40,000 US soldiers stationed in the Gulf region,” he fur ther added. Gnehm stressed there is a need to forge better relations with Turkey in the Gulf region. “The strengthening of GCC-Turkish relations and the role played by the Arab League will not affect or lessen the role played by the US in the region. They are also search-

there is a possibility of deploying special forces for this purpose,” concluded Gnehm. Marc Lynch, Director Institute for Middle East Studies, The George Washington University said that there are many changes taking place in the Middle East. The American interest has not changed, and will always be sober towards Arab-Israeli conflict, according to which the two countries Israel and Palestine will exist. This can happen in the long term,” he explained. “The Arab countries are now

KUWAIT: Dr. Nathan Brown, Ambassador Edward Gnehm and Dr. Marc Lynch during the seminar at the Kuwait Diplomatic Institute. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat of the Kuwaiti army through joint training,” added Gnehm. The withdrawal of American forces in Iraq will have a great impact on the region. The United States aims to strengthen its relations with countries in the region. “ The withdrawal from Iraq means the end of military activities. The US is not an occupying force, and the withdrawal from Iraq is not related to the US military existence in the Gulf. The

ing for an alternative to the American role in the region. The US military support for GCC countries will continue, so will the military presence in Kuwait and other GCC countries according to the conventions.” Regarding the economic issue he said, “The world economy depends on Gulf oil. The United States assured that there is no country that can affect ‘oil movement.’ In case it becomes necessary,

deciding their faith. Those who say that these changes may be bad for the US actually think these are good changes. Not all Arab regimes will fall even though some have begun reforms. Aggression is a ‘redline’ and the US won’t allow it. The US is acclimatizing to the changes in the Middle East, and the best example are the discussions held with the Islamists in Egypt who are politically active,” he pointed out.



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Arab man dupes Kuwaiti KD50,000 Kuwaiti lover left ‘heartbroken’ KUWAIT: Investigators are looking for an Arab man accused of luring a citizen into a fake business venture and duping him a sum of KD50,000. Investigation began after a citizen reported to Jahra police station that his long-time friend disappeared shortly after he paid him KD50,000 for a joint venture. The suspect is still in Kuwait and has been black listed and banned from traveling. Man thwarts kidnap Hawally policemen have arrested three Arab teenagers who attacked a pedestrian in the area as they attempted to kidnap him. Security officers rushed to a location where an eyewitness reported a man fighting with three suspects armed with knives who were trying to force him inside their car. The officers put the three suspects under arrest, while the Iranian victim was hospitalized with stab wounds. The suspec ts were referred to the Juveniles General Department for further action. Bad blind date A Kuwaiti man was left ‘heart-

broken’ and with an empty wallet following a date with a woman he met recently which ended with her stealing his credit card. In his statement to Waha police station, the young man explained that he discovered that KD1500 were missing from his bank account after he checked upon finding out that his credit was stolen. In a similar case, a Kuwaiti woman has filed charges at the Jahra police station against her boyfriend who she accused of stealing KD170 from her bank account. The woman explained that she gave her credit card to the suspect at the end of their date at a local restaurant when he claimed that he forgot his wallet at home. She later discovered that the man betrayed the trust and used her pin code to transfer cash from her bank account. Drunks held Three young men and an underage girl were recently arrested in Salmiya while driving under the influence of alcohol. The four are currently held at the General Depar tment of Criminal Investigations for further action.

The investigation so far revealed that the girl was never involved in sexual relations with any of the male suspects. Armed driver A Kuwaiti man filed a case at the Haddiya police station against an unknown driver who threatened him with a handgun for no apparent reasons while he was driving at the King Fahad highway. Police are trying to find the suspect using the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle which the complainant provided. Wife beater A Sri Lankan man faces charges after his wife accused him of physical assault as well as using their apar tment for prostitution. Investigations were launched by Fahaheel police station officers shor tly af ter the Sri Lank an woman provided a medical report showing bruises she sustained from her husband. She said she was beaten up when she asked her husband to stop bringing prostitutes to their apar tment while she is out for work.

35% of Jahra Road project completed KUWAIT: The Ministry of Public Works (MPW ) has finished constructing 35 percent of a major infrastructural project to expand the Jahra Road. It includes road enhancements and establishment of new crossroads. The KD12 million project is set to be f i n i s h e d by t he end o f September 2012. According to the projec t ’s engineer Ali Sulaiman, the MPW is on schedule in terms of completing major parts of the project. “ The ministry is utilizing all human and financial resources to implement parts of the proj-

ec t as per international standards so as to provide best qualit y ser vice in en h an c in g th e state’s roads network,” he told AlR ai. I n o t her n ews, th e Municipality approved a request made by t he M in istr y of Health(MoH) to set up a temporar y polyclinic in Sulaibik hat until a decision is made to build a new and improved medical facility in the area. Ahmad Al-Subaih, General Director of the Municipality noted that the Ministry of Health must remove all temporary constructions where the new poly-

clinic will be built, and also bear financial requirements. Separately, the MoH plans to introduce upgrade medical services provided at public medical facilities to match with international quality standards. This decision was announced by Dr Buth ain a Al-M udh af, Director of the MoH’s Quality Department. On a separate note, Dr Ali Al-Mukaimi, Chairman of the Kuwait Medical Association announced his support to reappoint former Health Minister Dr Hilal Al-Sayers to the post. — Al-Rai

Theatrical festival kicks off KUWAIT: The National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters has launched the second session of Kuwait Theatrical Festival at Dasma Theatre. The inauguration, held on Sunday, included a presentation by the director, Ali Al-Ali, who briefed attendees about history of the national theatre, using video films and photos. Veteran actor, Abdul-Rahman Al-Akl, showed up on stage handing over the national flag to the young actor, Yaagoub Abdullah, depicting relay of the artistic message from generation to generation. The secretary general of the council, Ali AlYoha, addressed the attendees, eulogizing the late theatrical celebrity, Mansour AlMansour, “who has departed our world leaving behind deep effect in the history of the Arab theatre.” The festival is due to last for 11 days. — KUNA

Municipality signs development contracts KUWAIT: As part of the state’s development plans, Kuwait Municipality signed a number of contracts between start of 2009 and June 2011, said Municipality Director General Ahmad Al-Subaih. Al-Subaih said major contracts related to a central food testing laborator y project, upgrading Shuwaikh ser vice and trade areas, Salmiya area traffic management, as well as the comprehensive public transport network project. The latter started in April 2009 and lasts 15 months, involving feasibility studies consideration of best transport means to be adopted, tracks and stopping stations, and required accompanying services. Another highlight is the Kuwait City urban development project, he said, which k icked off in August 2010 and lasts 13 months. It aims to plan the new capital city to best suit the current economic and political state of affairs and best serve the public with smooth access to all facilities and services.

As for Shuwaikh development, he said the project started in December 2010 and lasts 15 months, aiming to improve service facilities in the service and business areas, keeping in mind the objective of making the country a regional financial and trade center. This includes review of current utilization of land lots, traffic grid, communication networks, and a data base to store information related to all these and other areas. The Salmiya traffic grid development project started in January 2011 and lasts 14 months, and was spurred by the economic boom and the boom in the area itself with new businesses and service outlets that caused great increase in traffic and is affecting connected motorways and nearby and surrounding areas as well as Salmiya itself. Al-Subaih noted the project would consider the latest technology in traffic management and cooperate with all state bodies for best result. Another important project concerns establishment of a national

microbial data base for poultry, the contract for which was signed in March 2011. The project lasts 18 months and is in cooperation with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). It aims to provide general national assessments of microbial findings and to set recommended safe-levels of microbes in poultry distributed for human consumption. The contract for establishing the municipality’s central food safety laboratory was signed March 2011 and lasts 30 months. The consultation contract covers counsel throughout the construction of the lab and focuses on verifying and guaranteeing best quality of all items and equipment to be used in the lab. Another main project Al-Subaih mentioned was a consultative contract aiming to rehabilitate national staff in the field of information technology and systems. This involves 11 specialists and consultants to work full-time at the concerned departments to train the staff. — KUNA

Burgan Bank sponsors RunKuwait journey KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday that it will be the platinum sponsor of RunKuwait journey, a 200 km selfsufficiency journey from the Northern to the Southern borders of Kuwait. RunKuwait, headed by Yousef Al-Qanai and the Aymstrong team is scheduled to take place on the Kuwaiti National Days, Feb 25 and 26, and will include several participants such as Jaafar Al-Ali, athlete in Kuwait National Club and the Aymstrong team of athletes, Mohammed Al-Mutar, member in the Kuwait Army, and Bader Al-Ajeel, a runner. Yousef Al-Qanai, Runner and Founder of Aymstrong Enterprises pioneered the idea of this event as an effort to promote a sense of determination, and unity within the society and amongst Kuwait’s youth. The journey will take an estimated time of between 2 to 3 days to complete with 5 -7 runners participating in this journey towards leading a healthier and wholesome lifestyle. Participants will meet half way the distance, precisely near the Kuwait Towers to welcome fans interested in joining this unique journey, and run towards Marina Mall. As part of the sponsorship benefits, Burgan Bank’s employees will enjoy a 25% discount by Aymstrong Enterprises for their upcoming programs, which include the Kuwait Weight Loss Camp as well as the Fitness Camp. At the fitness camp, the bank’s staff will have the opportunity to attend three times a week to lose weight through group training sessions and weight control management. A fitness Day will also be organized for the employees of the bank at the Australian College of Kuwait. Burgan Bank’s approach to corporate responsibility is based on its values as well as its methods and policies, which are aligned with the Kuwaiti society’s needs and interests, ultimately working towards a better community.



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Youngsters to hold awareness campaign against by-elections Two cases in first, fifth constituencies KUWAIT: Youngsters belonging to various tribes in the fourth electoral constituency began an awareness campaign to boycott by-elections and refrain from voting for by-elected candidates. They have even launched a campaign on Twitter, Facebook and various websites where young people fight by-elections, former ‘bribed’ MPs to alternatively support former opposition MPs and others. Officials said that the Interior Ministry has detected preparations made by some tribes to hold by-elections in both the first and fifth electoral constituencies. A relevant report has been made to the ministry with detailed information on the names of candidates, participants in elections, organizers

and the mechanism to run them. Furthermore, officials stated that legal actions will be taken to stop elections, placing a ban on stickers with candidates’ names or electoral slogans on vehicles. Meanwhile, fifth constituency tribes’ coordination committees have already begun forming certain committees to supervise by-elections as well as list out the names of candidates. They explained that the tribes of Otaibah, Bani Hajar, Dowaser, Muttair, Subai’, Sehoul and Eneza have agreed to coordinate with AlAjmis and Al-Azmis to run by-elections on the same day inorder to disperse security forces. In the same vein, sources close to

former MP Khaled Al-Adwah announced that he does not intend to run for the 2012 elections for many reasons, the most important of which is the criticism he had received on social networking websites from his own fellow-tribesmen. “Some new faces and former MPs will compete at the Ajmis by-elections,” he said during a public function. Sources said that strict legal actions will be taken against ruling family members that run the elections and explained that the measures would go as far as to withdraw diplomatic passports and suspending salary payment of ‘sheikhs’ that contest elections. — Aljarida, Annahar

KCCI receives Armenia economic delegation KUWAIT: A member of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industr y (KCCI) and Kuwait Industries Union Chairman Hussein Al-Kharafi said yesterday that the Armenian economic delegation’s visit to the country represented “the beginning of future investments between the two countries.” AlKharafi said in a statement on the sidelines of the meeting with the delegation that the Republic of Armenia has distinct segments of investment in the fields of tourism, agriculture and jewelry. He added that the delegation briefed the Chamber on investment opportunities in Armenia and the business environment there. He said that the visit of the dele-

gation headed by Director General of the development authority of Armenia Robert Howtyonaan along with a number of private sector representatives in Armenia came in response to the visit of the Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali last October to Armenia within the framework of the first meeting of the joint Kuwaiti-Armenian Ministerial Committee in the capital Yerevan. Al-Kharafi pointed out that the delegation met during its visit with a group of local investors and paid a visit to a number of agencies and economic institutions in the country, including the Kuwait Industries Union. On his part, Director General of the Armenian development authori-

Shop and Save with Al-Tijari Cards KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait has announced extra discounts for Al-Tijari credit card and prepaid card holders who shop at the ‘visitor ’ showrooms where they earn cash back up to 20 percent of the value of their purchases during the period from Dec 15 to 22. Ramzi Al-Sabboury On this occasion, Ramzi Al-Sabboury, Executive Manager, Marketing and Sales Department - Retail Banking Division at the Commercial Bank of Kuwait said, “At Commercial Bank, we always endeavor to reward our customers and offer them additional benefits while shopping at renowned retailers in Kuwait through marketing campaigns that provide them the opportunity to earn cash back on their purchases. We have worked, in collaboration with the ‘visitor’ showrooms, to increase the percentage of cash back that our credit card and prepaid card holders will earn while shopping at showrooms during the period from Dec 15 to 22.” Al-Sabboury added that “The marketing campaign the Bank launched earlier in 20/10/2011 and which will run until 20/1/2012 achieves remarkable success and is highly recognized by customers, where Al-Tijari card holders shall receive cash back up to 20 percent of their purchases at ‘Electrozan’ showrooms and ‘Habchi & Chalhoub’ Company. The ‘visitor’ showrooms are spread across Kuwait. AlSabboury explained that the campaign is a great success.” Al-Sabboury concluded by saying that the ‘visitor’ showrooms welcomes CBK’s customers to enjoy the unparalleled and distinct marketing opportunities to get cash back up to 20 percent of their purchases during the period from Dec 15 to 22, and invited Al-Tijari card holders to shop and benefit from this mega discount which will continue only for seven days.

ty Howtyonaan said that Kuwait’s Medium-term development plan is a “good chance” for the exchange of investment and cooperation between the two countries in commercial activities. Howtyonaan expressed his government’s interest in providing the necessary facilities to Kuwaiti investors, referring to many valuable investment opportunities under implementation with good economic feasibility. He said the expected GDP growth rate of his country in the current year was up to five percent compared with 2.6 percent last year, indicating that the volume of direct foreign investment in Armenia stood at $690 million in 2010. — KUNA

REU to set conditions for real estate expos KUWAIT: Well-informed sources said that the real estate committee formed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce lately will meet to discuss the increasing number of real estate expos and exhibitions being held in Kuwait. The source predicted that the meeting would come up with a decision banning all real estate companies from marketing their products without a prior permission and the approval of the Real Estate Union of Kuwait (REU). The source also predicted punishing all companies caught in violation of this directive. Furthermore, the sources highlighted that foreign real estate unions and companies would be contacted to have them provide enough information about participants in real estate exhibitions to be held on Kuwait International Fair Grounds before holding any of them.

Al-Zamanan lauds Kuwait-Oman ties MUSCAT: Kuwaiti ambassador to Oman Salem AlZamanan has affirmed the strength of OmaniKuwaiti ties, distinguished by the relation of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman. Al-Zamanan spoke to an Omani local newspaper, ‘Oman’ which published his remarks yesterday. He said that visits and consultations held continuously under both leaderships were behind the development of Omani-Kuwaiti bilateral relations and cooperation. “Both countries have worked on bolstering the relations at all levels,” Al-Zamanan said. “Oman is a beautiful country, with exquisite natural views, and surely a special place for Kuwaitis. Oman and Kuwait worked in juxtaposition with the Gulf Countries Council (GCC) since its establishment and displayed it as one of the successful Arab unions, he added.— KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ambassador to Qatar Ali Al-Haifi hosted a lunch banquet in honor of Kuwait’s sports delegation at the embassy’s premises in Doha. It will participate in the 2011 Arab Games. The Chairman of the Kuwait Olympic Committee, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah, General Director of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports Faisal Al-Jazzaf and other officials attended the event.


Indifference as Noriega returns to Panama

China executes S African woman drug smuggler

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JERUSALEM: A general view shows the Mughrabi ramp leading from the plaza by the Western Wall to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem on December 8, 2011. —AFP

Israel closes ramp to Al-Aqsa compound Closure tantamount to declaration of war on holy sites: Hamas JERUSALEM: Israel has closed a controversial wooden access ramp to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound over public safety concerns, police said yesterday, in a move that quickly sparked Palestinian anger. “Based on an order from the city council, they have closed the ramp,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, referring to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation responsible for the upkeep of the Mughrabi ramp. The ramp was closed just three days before a deadline imposed by the Jerusalem city council, which had threatened to enforce a closure order if the Foundation failed to close off the structure because of fears it could collapse. “The police and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation decided yesterday to close the temporary Mughrabi ramp,” municipal spokesman Stephan Miller told AFP. “This follows a letter from the municipality that expressed the concern and gave the foundation seven days to appeal against the order,” he said. The city says the ramp poses a fire hazard and could collapse onto the women’s prayer section by the Western Wall. But Muslim leaders fear the demolition could have a destabilising effect on the mosque compound and accuses Israel of failing to coordinate the renovation with the Waqf, which oversees Islamic heritage sites. The closure prompted a swift and angry response from Palestinian officials, including Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. “We condemn and reject this Israeli escalation and we believe that these practices, whether in Jerusalem, the closure of the Mughrabi gate, settler attacks or the decision to build 40 new settlement homes confirm Israel’s attacks... on the efforts of the Quartet to revive the peace process,” he said. “These practices create a negative atmosphere in the entire region that could plunge the area into turmoil and tension,” he warned.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum strongly condemned the closure, saying it was an attack against sacred Muslim sites. “This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression again the Al Aqsa mosque,” he told AFP. “This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.” There are 15 gates leading into the AlAqsa mosque compound, 10 of which are in use. The Mughrabi Gate is the only access for nonMuslims to enter the site, meaning its closure will prevent both Jews and tourists from visiting until a replacement structure is built. Last week, city engineer Shlomo Eshkol sent a letter ordering the Foundation to close the bridge by the evening of December 14. The structure has been at the centre of a complex row between the city council and the Jewish and Muslim groups which respectively oversee the Western Wall plaza and the Al-Aqsa mosque compound next to it. Plans for the imminent closure of the ramp drew sharp condemnation last week from the Palestinians and from Jordan, which is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. The ramp leads from the plaza by the Western Wall, the most sacred site at which Jews can pray, up to the adjoining compound, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The plaza which houses the mosque complex is venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site where King Herod’s temple once stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the holiest site in Judaism, but Jews are forbidden to worship there. Israel’s closure of a wooden access ramp to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound is tantamount to a declaration of war on Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, Hamas warned yesterday. “This is a seri-

ous step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression again the Al-Aqsa mosque,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP. “This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem,” he said, calling for “Arab and Muslim mobilisation to stop this serious event.” Israel on Sunday night closed the Mughrabi ramp leading to the mosque compound in the Old City over public safety concerns in a move which was immediately condemned by Palestinians officials and Jordan, which is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Jerusalem city council says the ramp poses a fire hazard and could collapse onto the women’s prayer section by the Western Wall. But Muslim leaders fear its demolition could destabilise the mosque compound and accuse Israel of failing to coordinate its renovation with Waqf, which oversees Islamic heritage sites. The closure prompted a swift response from Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina who warned it was another Israeli “attack” on efforts to revive the moribund peace talks which could shake up the region. “These practices create a negative atmosphere in the entire region that could plunge the area into turmoil and tension,” he warned. And Jordan’s powerful Islamists denounced the decision as “flagrant aggression.” “This is a very dangerous move,” the head of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Said, told AFP. “The only solution against this entity (Israel) is resistance in order to protect the sanctity of the holy places against such flagrant aggression,” he said. There are 15 gates leading into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, 10 of which are in use. The Mughrabi Gate is the only access for non-Muslims to enter the site, meaning its closure will prevent both Jews and tourists from visiting until a replacement structure is built. —AFP

Israel gives okay to new West Bank settler homes JERUSALEM: Israel has given final approval to the building of 40 new homes at a settlement in the occupied West Bank to replace temporary structures there, the settlement’s council head said yesterday. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed over a year ago in a dispute over Israeli settlement building. “Building tenders were issued this week after Defence Minister Ehud Barak had already signed off on the construction plans,” Efrat council head Oded Revivi told Reuters. A Defence Ministry statement confirmed that an Israel Lands Administration tender had been published for building the 40

homes following Barak’s approval of the plans “some months ago”. Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the accelerated construction of some 2,000 housing units in settlements that Israel has said it intends to keep as part of any future peace deal with the Palestinians. The decision to step up building came in response to Palestinian efforts to seek United Nations statehood status after their frustration at a lack of progress in peace talks. The announcement drew expressions of disappointment and concern from Washington and the European

Union who are part of the Quartet of peace mediators along with Russia and the United Nations. An Israeli official said the building tenders were issued for housing in eastern parts of Jerusalem and for Efrat and Maale Adumim, Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank that Israel has indicated it wants to keep in a future peace deal. Revivi said the site where construction was to begin shortly was part of Efrat’s master building plan and that while only 40 houses had currently been approved, there was room for a total of 500 homes there. The Palestinians are looking to

establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, land Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East War. Israel later annexed East Jerusalem, a move that has not won international recognition. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and in 2007 the territory was taken over by Hamas Islamists, who are rivals to Western-backed Abbas and refuse to recognise Israel. Netanyahu has called to restart peace talks without preconditions but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will return to talks only after Israel totally freezes its settlement activity.—Reuters

SANAA: A protester sits in his makeshift hut at Taghyeer (Change) Square, where protesters have been camping at for around ten months to demand the resignation and trial of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen yesterday .—AP

Qaeda militants escape in Yemen prison break SANAA: Several Al-Qaeda militants escaped early yesterday from a prison in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, officials said, tunneling their way out in the second such spectacular jailbreak this year. A prison officer said at least 10 convicts escaped through an up to 130 feet (40 meter) long tunnel, which took the inmates from under the western side of the Aden prison to near a petrol station outside the prison walls. A security official said 15 militants fled in the prison break, including 12 convicted for the killing of security officials and a bank heist. The discrepancy in the number of escaped prisoners could not be immediately reconciled. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, has been wrecked by months of political turmoil and unrest. A popular uprising against longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule - inspired by other Arab Spring revolts that toppled autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia - has been met by a fierce government crackdown. The crackdown triggered widespread defections earlier this

year by soldiers and officers who joined the protest movement. Powerful tribes and their armed fighters also turned against Saleh and waged battles against his forces. Yemen is also home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the U.S. considers the terrorist network’s most active and dangerous offshoot. Islamic militants with links to the group have taken advantage of the country’s turmoil to seize control of several towns in southern Yemen. Yemen has seen spectacular jailbreaks before. In 2003, 11 AlQaeda militants convicted for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors and injured 39 others, escaped from the Aden prison. In 2006, 23 Al-Qaeda militants broke out of a detention facility in Sanaa, including Nasser alWahishi, who went on to become the leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni offshoot. And in June, nearly 60 suspected Al-Qaeda militants tunneled their way out of a prison in the southern Mukalla city. Investigations into these breakouts and subsequent trials showed that some prison security officers were involved in helping the convicts flee and several officers have been jailed. —AP



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Rocket fired from Lebanon falls short First such attack in 2 years

BENGHAZI: Libyans hold a slogan which is read in Arabic “Hey revolutionary and free Libyans, No amnesty for fighters loyal to Kadhafi, who committed crimes” during a protest against the National Transitional Council and its head Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the eastern city of Benghazi yesterday.—AFP

Libyans protest against Jalil, NTC BENGHAZI: About 200 Libyans yesterday gathered in the eastern city of Benghazithe cradle of uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi-to protest against the National Transitional Council and its head Mustafa Abdel Jalil. The angry protesters were chanting slogans against Abdel Jalil and accused the NTC of not being transparent, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported. “Abdel Jalil has lot of questions to answer. The regime has not changed. It is the same which oppresses and marginalizes cities,” said Tahini al-Sharif, a lawyer from Benghazi. She said the protesters were furious over Abdel Jalil’s remarks that Gaddafi fighters be forgiven. “Abel Jalil is asking us to forgive Gaddafi fighters. Would he say the same thing if his son was killed or wounded in the revolution?,” Sharif said as behind her the crowds chanted “NTC must quit. Jalil must go out!” On Saturday, the NTC launched the first post-Gaddafi conference on national reconciliation in which Jalil said the new Libyan rulers can forgive the fighters of the slain dictator who fought the rebels during the uprising against him. “In Libya we are able to absorb all. Libya is for all,” Abdel Jalil said at the

conference. “Despite what the army of the oppressor did to our cities and our villages, our brothers who fought against the rebels as the army of Gaddafi, we are ready to forgive them,” he said. “We are able to forgive and tolerate,” he added. Jalil heads the NTC, the former rebel group now running Libya after Gaddafi’s downfall and subsequent killing on October 20 in his hometown of Sirte. Yesterday’s protest comes a day after a senior official with New York-based Human Rights Watch too raised concerns over the NTC’s lack of transparency. “One concern we have today is about the NTC and the lack of transparency.” Fred Abrahams of HRW told a conference on human rights in Tripoli Sunday. “We don’t know when they are meeting, what they are discussing and some of the new laws are not available to the public,” he said. “I don’t think it is (done) on purpose. They are not trying to hide anything. It’s a problem of organization, but that is an explanation not a justification,” Abrahams added. Yesterday’s protest took place in a key square in downtown Benghazi where the first anti-Gaddafi demonstration was held on February 15.—AFP

Iranians blame ‘unplanned’ UK embassy raid on rage TEHRAN: The storming of the British embassy in Tehran last month was not a planned attack but the result of an explosion of anger at London’s meddling in Iranian affairs, a group that claimed responsibility for the incident said yesterday. Three men who looked in their 20s said they were among the attackers of the British embassy compounds in Tehran on Nov 29 but expressed no remorse over their acts, which further increased Iran’s international isolation. Mostafa Mostajeran, one of the representatives of the so-called “British spy nest pickets’ council”, said the intention had been to protest in front of the British mission and stage a ‘mock arrest’ of the ambassador. “There had been no prior planning made to enter the embassy. But the rage people felt towards Britain led to the loss of control and resulted in the entry into the embassy,” he said. The incident came after London announced new sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to halt its nuclear activities. The European Union and United States are still discussing further sanctions that could hit Iran’s vital oil exports. Britain closed its embassy and evacuated all its staff after the attack, which it said could not have taken place without some degree of consent from the Iranian authorities. It hit back by shutting Iran’s embassy in London and expelling the staff. The incident brought Iran’s relations with Europe to a new low, with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands withdrawing their ambassadors temporarily. Witnesses said the British embassy buildings had been devastated in the attacks. Valuable

paintings were slashed, personal belongings destroyed and offices set on fire. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the raids had been carried out by Basij militia, a voluntary force controlled by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard. The men at the news conference did not confirm or deny they were Basij members. “Don’t refer to us as Basijis today ... What happened was merely a slap by revolutionary students,” one of them, Mohammad Javad Nikravesh, told the news conference. He accused “British stooges” of inflicting some of the damage to harm Iran’s image. Nikravesh was seated next to a photograph of Majid Shahriyari, an Iranian nuclear scientist killed one year ago in a bomb attack Iran blames on Israel and its western allies. Nikravesh said the protesters had found “espionage and sedition documents” on the British premises that they would pass on to Iranian intelligence. Tension has been growing over Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran says is purely for peaceful purposes but which the United States, Israel and leading Western countries suspect is aimed at building an atomic bomb. Iran has warned it would retaliate against any Israeli or US military strike in a way that would hurt US troops in the region and disrupt the global economy. A member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee said yesterday that the military was set to practise its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world, but a military spokesman declined to comment. — Reuters

Digging up mass graves may heal Iraq war wounds BAGHDAD: In the shadow of an earthen dam and buried under rubble and trash scattered across the Al-Sadah waste ground lies one of the most frightening places in Baghdad at the peak of Iraq’s sectarian slaughter. Beneath the detritus and shacks since constructed on the killing field is buried what may be one of the largest unopened mass graves in the Iraq capital, a macabre testimony to the darker days of the country’s war. Tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed or went missing in the sectarian conflict in 20062007 unleashed by the US -led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. Many of the missing were never found, and as the last UStroops leave Iraq, the excavation of mass graves that may provide answers for the relatives of the dead is considered a critical step in healing after years of war. Some believe al-Sadah in eastern Baghdad, one of 41 unexcavated mass graves known to the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry in the capital and

its outskirts, contains hundreds of bodies buried just a few centimetres beneath the dirt. “You cannot say there are thousands or hundreds of bodies, as people think,” said Mohammed, a former Shi’ite militia fighter, fidgeting and averting his eyes from the site piled with trash and reeking of burning plastic. “Police took away most of the victims. But still, there are many.” Mohammed, who did not want his last name used for fear of reprisal, said he witnessed many killings at the sprawling site. With the end of what many see as a US occupation, Iraqis are trying to dig up dozens of graves in a concerted effort to learn the fate of some 9,000 missing people-an effort they believe will help heal the Sunni-Shiite divide. Some of the missing simply disappeared but thousands of others ended up in numbered mass graves for “unknowns”, their identities reduced to a file at the morgue, waiting for the day their families go looking for them. —Reuters

BEIRUT: A rocket fired from Lebanon toward Israel fell short, wounding a Lebanese woman, officials said yesterday. The launch comes nearly two weeks after rockets fired from Lebanese territory hit the Jewish state in the first such attack in two years, and comes two days after a roadside bomb struck French peacekeepers in southern Lebanon. The attack follows rising concerns that conflict in next-door Syria may spill into its neighbor, where the public is deeply divided between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime. Lebanese see regional powers including Syria as having sponsored violence in their country in the past, to send messages to each other or to settle accounts. This latest rocket was fired late Sunday from the southern village of Majdal Silim and hit a home in Houla, another village close to the border, the army said in a statement. The statement said the woman was seriously wounded and her home damaged. The army said troops cordoned off the area where the rocket landed and intensified patrols in the place where the rocket was

launched. It added that a military committee began an investigation. UN peacekeepers based in southern Lebanon confirmed the rocket launch and the injury, and said they would work with the Lebanese army to try to contain the “escalation of incidents.” Early yesterday, warplanes were seen flying at high altitude over southern and eastern Lebanon as well as the capital Beirut. Israeli warplanes and drones frequently fly over Lebanon but it was not clear if these flights were related to the rocket attack. The southern border has been tense, but largely quiet, since Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and Israel fought a deadly 34-day war in 2006. During the fighting, Israel bombed Hezbollah’s strongholds in Lebanon, and the militant group barraged northern Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets. About 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed in the conflict, which ended with a UN brokered truce that sent thousands of Lebanese troops and international peacekeepers into southern Lebanon to prevent another outbreak. There have been several rocket launches since the 2006 war, but

Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for any of them. Smaller Palestinian factions, some linked to al-Qaida, have claimed to have launched rockets on several occasions. The latest rocket launch that reached Israel, the first in two years, happened in November. There were no casualties. Sunday’s launch came two days after a roadside bomb hit a UN vehicle in southern Lebanon, wounding five French peacekeepers and a Lebanese bystander. France’s foreign minister said Sunday that France had “strong reason” to believe that Syria was behind the blast. Alain Juppe told RFI radio that Paris believes Hezbollah was also involved, but has no proof. Syria’s foreign ministry yesterday denied that the country had any role in the attack against the peacekeeping force, known as UNIFIL. The ministry said in a statement that Juppe’s comments “fabricate and forge facts about Syria.” The two incidents come amid fears that violence in neighboring Syria might spread into Lebanon. Damascus dominated the tiny Mediterranean nation for three decades until it withdrew its troops in 2005, and retains close ties

with numerous Lebanese factions including Hezbollah. Syrian President Bashar Assad is facing international condemnation for brutally crushing an uprising against his rule, and France has been among his fiercest critics. Some Lebanese politicians, including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, have said the attack on the peacekeepers was a Syrian message responding to Paris’ criticism of Assad’s crackdown. Many also fear that the heightened emotions caused by the Syrian conflict could lead to an outbreak of violence in areas like the northern city of Tripoli, where Sunnis and Alawites in adjoining neighborhoods have clashed in the past. Assad’s regime is dominated by the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, while the Syrian opposition is heavily Sunni. The Spanish head of UNIFIL expressed “serious concern” at the rocket launch and the two other “security breaches” in the south over the last two weeks. Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas said the force would take concrete measures, together with the Lebanese army, to reinforce security in the area.—AP

New Israel ambassador takes up Cairo post CAIRO: Israel’s new ambassador to Egypt, Yaakov Amitai, arrived in Cairo yesterday to take up his post, an AFP correspondent said. Speaking in Arabic, Amitai told journalists that he “hopes to further the peace between the two countries” after a strain in ties over the past few months. Israeli officials have expressed concern over the crushing victory of Islamist parties in the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, which wrapped up last week. But Amitai said that peace

between the two neighboring states remains “solid as it is based on common interests.” The priority for bilateral relations between Egypt and the Jewish state is “the consolidation of peace”, he added. Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, but relations have been strained following the ouster in February of veteran president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising. Amitai begins work in Egypt amid the Arab Spring revolts, which brought

down authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya as well as Egypt. “The Egyptian revolution will know success, inshallah (God willing)”, Amitai said. Amitai replaces Yitzhak Levanon, who left Egypt following a September 9 attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, where crowds smashed through an external security wall forcing the evacuation of all embassy staff. It was the worst incident since Israel set up its mission in Egypt following the 1979 peace deal.—AFP



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Poll in Moldova’s rebel area thrown into confusion TIRASPOL: A fight for the leadership of Moldova’s breakaway territory of Transdniestria dissolved into chaos yesterday when rival candidates claimed victory and its veteran leader called for Sunday’s election to be annulled. A ragged strip of land in central Europe that runs along Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine, Transdniestria is the most westward of the former Soviet Union’s “frozen conflicts” - ethnic disputes that flared into wars when the superpower collapsed and remain latent and unresolved two decades later. Igor Smirnov, 70, who has led the majority Russian-speaking region for more than 20 years, had sought a fifth straight term in the election, against the wishes of his one-time patron, Moscow. A late-night exit poll had given him a comfortable lead. But by early morning the political camps of parliamentary speaker Anatoly Kaminsky, 61, who had been endorsed by the

Kremlin, and another candidate, Yevgeny Shevchuk, both claimed their candidate were first-round winners. Shevchuk, a 43-year-old lawyer and also a former speaker of parliament, had been seen as a rising star and potential successor to Smirnov but fell out with him in 2009. Election authorities first declared a two-day delay in announcing the outcome, which had been set for yesterday, and then Smirnov’s camp called for the election to be annulled. Unrecognized internationally, the territory has been in limbo since declaring independence and breaking with the Moldovan central government after a brief war in 1992. Moldovan and European Union officials say that under Smirnov, the region has become a “black hole” of arms, drugs and human trafficking. Its unresolved status, resembling that of two breakaway Georgian regions that triggered a war between Georgia and Russia in 2008, is

a source of international concern and a hindrance to Moldova’s ambitions to move closer to the EU. Central Election Commission chairman Pyotr Denisenko told reporters: “A representative of Igor Smirnov has asked the Commission to recognise the election as invalid due to numerous violations.” Denisenko earlier told Reuters that voters and candidates had made many complaints about voting irregularities. With 80 percent of ballots counted, no candidate had 50 percent support and a second round of voting would be needed, he said. Though it is unrecognised by Russia too, Transdniestria functions in near isolation by relying heavily on Russian political and financial support and, Moldovan and EU officials say, on criminal racketeering. A fierce proponent of Transdniestrian independence, Smirnov has set union with Russia as a long-term goal although Russia has held him at arm’s length. Apparently tired of his unwill-

ingness to compromise in international talks sponsored by Russia, the United States and the EU, Moscow had urged Smirnov to step aside in favour of Kaminsky. Kaminsky’s party is close to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia and he drew heavily on his ties with the Moscow ruling elite in his campaign. But Smirnov chose to run, accusing his opponents of planning to sell out national interests and prompting an angry reaction from the Kremlin. The third leading candidate, Shevchuk, quit as speaker in 2009 in protest against constitutional reform proposed by Smirnov that boosted presidential powers. Russia stepped up pressure on Smirnov last week when Russian investigators launched a criminal case against his son Oleg on charges of embezzling Russian aid. In November, Russia’s Supreme Court barred Oleg Smirnov’s wife from running in the country’s parliamentary election, say-

ing she had multiple citizenships. The confusion is reminiscent of that in another ex-Soviet rebel region, the Russia-backed South Ossetia which cemented its split from Georgia in the 2008 war. Mass protests swept across South Ossetia last month as two candidates, one of them backed by the Kremlin, claimed victory in the presidential election. Moldova regards Transdniestria as an integral part of its territory and has a big stake in the outcome of the vote. Deadlock in parliament has kept Moldova without a full-time president for two years. It will make a fresh attempt to elect a head of state, which in Moldova is by parliamentary vote not by direct election of the people, on Dec 16. Signs of progress to a Transdniestrian settlement would help Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries but an aspirant to EU membership, to register its presence internationally. —Reuters

Frenchmen’s kidnappers arrested in Mali: Security No hostages retrieved yet BAMAKO: The kidnappers of two Frenchmen snatched in Mali last month have been arrested, security sources said yesterday. “ The group responsible for the abduction of the two Frenchmen in Hombori were arrested by Mali’s security services,” one source said, giving no details of the number detained or the circumstances. The sources said the arrests happened in Mali and investigations were continuing. Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic were seized at gunpoint from their hotel in the town of Hombori near the border with Niger on November 24. Al-Qaeda’s north African wing said in a non-authenticated statement sent to AFP’s bureau in Rabat last week that it was responsible for the kidnapping of the pair and of three Europeans a day later in Timbuktu, northern Mali. No hostages were with the kidnappers when they were captured on Malian soil, but a security source said “inquiries are going on”. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) accused Verdon and Lazarevic, who claimed to be mineral prospectors, of working for

French intelligence. Separate pictures of the two Frenchmen and the hostages from Timbuktu guarded by armed masked men were also released. A German tourist who was with the three in Timbuktu and tried to resist the kidnappers was shot dead with a bullet to the head. In all, 12 Europeans, including six Frenchmen, are being held in the north African Sahel desert region by AQIM and a group that declares itself to be dissident, the Unity Movement for Jihad in West Africa. The other four Frenchmen were kidnapped in September 2010 at Arlit in neighbouring northern Niger, in the uranium-mining town of Arlit, operated by the French nuclear group Areva. Verdon and Lazarevic have had a chequered history in unstable parts of Africa and the Balkans, which has raised questions on the reason for their presence in this dangerous part of Mali. French troops joined Malian soldiers in a search in the Hombori region and around the nearby town of Gao after the abduction of the

pair, who were presented as “geologists” working in Mali for a local firm. French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said Sunday in Nouakchott that “we maintain by all appropriate means many channels of information and, if necessary, hold negotiations,” adding that the first priority was to bring home the hostages. He added however that “France is not responsible for the behaviour of its nationals who live abroad. There will always be in the world a Henry de Monfreid and an (Arthur) Rimbaud (an adventurer writer and poet of the 20th century), who live out their own adventures. We cannot be responsible for all of them.” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe confirmed reports of “contacts” made to win a hostage release, but gave no other details. Northern Mali’s vast desert has AQIM bases, from which the group leaves to commit attacks on the security forces, the kidnapping of Westerners and trafficking in items like drugs and guns. —AFP

10 drugged at Berlin Christmas markets

LAS VEGAS: In this March 23, 2010, file picture Spain’s King Juan Carlos’s son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin delivers a keynote speech during the CTIA wireless show in Las Vegas. Urdangarin will stop taking part in official ceremonies because of business dealings deemed not to be exemplary. —AP

Spanish king distances himself from son-in-law MADRID: King Juan Carlos’s son-in-law will stop taking part in official ceremonies because of business dealings that are under investigation, Spain’s Royal Palace said yesterday as it sought to dissipate a whiff of scandal. The decision regarding Inaki Urdangarin, husband of the monarch’s daughter Princess Cristina, was a mutual one made by Urdangarin and the Royal Palace, its chief of staff Rafael Spottorno said in a rare meeting with Spanish media. Urdangarin, 43, is reportedly suspected of siphoning away funds from public contracts awarded from 2004 to 2006 to a non-profit foundation he then headed. The allegation looks terrible for the royal family at a time of acute hardship and economic crisis in Spain, where unemployment stands at 21.5 percent. Urdangarin has not been charged with a crime. He issued a statement Saturday saying he regrets the “damage” the case is doing to the royal family but admitted no wrongdoing. Spottorno insisted on presumption of innocence and urged investigators to conclude their probe soon as he announced Urdangarin will for now be removed from the royal family’s agenda and no longer attend any official ceremonies involving it. Spottorno said it was not yet known if the princess would also stay away from such activities. The couple and their four children now live in Washington, D.C., where Urdangarin works for Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica. No cour t papers have been made public, but Spanish newspapers quote investigators as saying Urdangarin is suspected of having taking part of about euro6 million ($8 million) the foundation received from the regional governments in Valencia and the Balearic Islands for organizing events such as sports seminars. The money is said to have gone to for-profit companies Urdangarin ran. — AP

BERLIN: A man dressed as Santa drugged a 15-year-old girl at a Berlin Christmas market over the weekend the latest such attack that has seen holiday revelers left either sickened or unconscious, police said yesterday. At about 10 pm Saturday the suspect approached the girl and her friend at Berlin’s downtown Alexanderplatz Christmas market, offering both of them what he said was a shot of alcohol in a paper cup, police said. One girl refused, but the other girl drank both of the shots. She soon started vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she underwent a blood test, before being released. Police said it appeared she had been slipped some type of a date rape drug, but released no further details, citing the ongoing investigation. Eight other people at various Berlin Christmas markets have fallen prey to similar attacks - usually with an unidentified man in regular clothes handing out single-shot bottles of alcohol, asking people to join him in celebrating the birth of his child. Police say some of the victims mostly young women - have lost consciousness and many have been

briefly hospitalized. All have experienced dizziness and nausea. It’s not yet clear whether all the attacks are linked, or whether some may be copycat crimes, and police spokesman Ivo Habedank said authorities did not yet have a good description of the suspect. “Intense investigations are ongoing,” Habedank said. Most recently, a 31-year-old woman who had read media reports of the attacks reported to police Sunday night that she and her friend, a 33-year-old man, had both fallen ill Dec. 7 after drinking small bottles of alcohol given to them at the Alexanderplatz Christmas market by a man saying he was celebrating becoming a first-time father. She described the man as about 40-years-old and 5-foot 9-inches (180 centimeter) tall but no further details were released. In Germany, Christmas markets are traditional outdoor holiday markets that are popular with residents and tourists alike throughout December, bringing together stands selling handicrafts, ornaments and small gifts along with a wide array of food and drink, including multiple varieties of hot mulled wine. —AP

MOSCOW: Supporters of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia’s party gather at Manezhnaya square, just outside the Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, yesterday to rally in support of the results of the Dec. 4 parliamentary election. —AP

Russia vote will stand despite massive protests: Putin aide MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said yesterday the results of contested parliamentary polls will stand despite massive street protests and a probe by the election authorities. “Even if you add up all this so-called evidence, it accounts for just over 0.5 percent of the total number of votes,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP in a telephone interview. “So even if hypothetically you recognise that they are being contested in court, then in any case, this can in no way affect the question of the vote’s legitimacy or the overall results,” Peskov said. His comments followed an order from President Dmitry Medvedev for election officials to look into reports of vote-fixing after the ruling party’s narrow victory sparked the largest protest rallies since the 1990s. Saturday’s historic demonstrations near the Kremlin saw more than 50,000 people deride the outcome of December 4 elections that were widely seen as a litmus test for Putin’s planned return to the presidency next year. The rallies have put Putin under the strongest political pressure he has faced in his dominant 12-year rule and suggested that his path back to the Kremlin in March elections may be thornier than originally thought. They also appear to have sowed some confusion among Russian authorities who had never before faced such an evident groundswell of public resentment in the Putin era. Putin originally accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of inciting the unrest by questioning the poll’s legitimacy-a comment similar to the Cold War era rhetoric that dominated his 2000-2008 presidency. But Putin’s spokesman Peskov said over the weekend that “we respect the point of view of the protesters ... and will continue to listen to them”.

Medvedev followed that up on Sunday by announcing the launch of an inquiry into the violations reports. “I disagree with the slogans and declarations made at the meetings,” Medvedev wrote in his Facebook account. “Nevertheless, I have issued instructions to check all polling station repor ts about (failures) to follow election laws,” Medvedev wrote. Putin himself shunned the public spotlight over the weekend and yesterday did not address the elections in comments aired on state television from his trip to the central region of Tver. Medvedev ’s conciliatory remarks meanwhile were met by a flood of ridicule on his Facebook page and quickly rejected as insufficient by both activists and the opposition Communist Party. “Coward, coward and once again coward!” wrote blogger Sergei Slaikovsky in one of the more than 10,000 Facebook messages Medvedev received by yesterday morning. “ We do not trust Medvedev’s words,” added Communist Party secretary Sergei Obukhov in an interview with AFP. “The Communist Party is using every legal resource available to contest these vote results.” “ These are worthless instructions... that are not going to calm anyone down,” opposition leader Boris Nemtsov told Moscow Echo radio. Rally organisers have already promised to return to the same Moscow square en masse on December 24 and possibly hold smaller rallies at various locations before then. A coalition of liberal and nationalist groups yesterday asked the Moscow mayor’s office to sanction the December 24 rally for up to 50,000 people just steps away from the Kremlin. City authorities had until the middle of the week to respond. — AFP

‘Fake Sheik’ appears at UK phone hacking inquiry LONDON: The star undercover reporter for the nowdefunct News of the World tabloid told Britain’s media ethics inquiry yesterday that he duped celebrities only to expose criminality, immorality or hypocrisy. Mazher Mahmood, who worked for the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper for 20 years, said he had not been aware illegal phone hacking was going on until the newspaper’s royal reporter, Clive Goodman, was arrested in 2006. Goodman was later jailed for eavesdropping on the mobile phone voice mails of members of the royal family staff. Mahmood is a controversial figure, nicknamed the “Fake Sheik” after his signature ruse of pretending to be a rich Gulf businessman to trap celebrities, politicians and suspected criminals. He said his stories had to meet rigorous public interest standards, such as exposing criminality or “moral wrongdoing.” He also said celebrities were fair game “if they present themselves as wholesome characters and trade on that status” while behaving hypocritically. Mahmood said he was proud that his investigations had resulted in more than 260 criminal prosecutions - including the convictions last month of three Pakistani cricketers for match-fixing in a scan-

dal that rocked the sports world. Prime Minister David Cameron set up the judgeled inquiry after it emerged that the News of the World had for years illegally eavesdropped on the voicemail messages of celebrities, public figures and crime victims in its quest for scoops. The inquiry has heard from crime victims and celebrities, including actor Hugh Grant and “Harry Potter ” author JK Rowling, who have described the devastating effect on their lives of media intrusion. Mahmood, who now works for Murdoch’s Sunday Times newspaper, was the first of several witnesses from Murdoch’s News International who will provide a defense of the company’s practices. He gave evidence out of sight of the press and public to protect his identity. His words, but not his face, were broadcast on the inquiry’s website. The phone hacking scandal forced Murdoch to shut down the 168-year-old News of the World in July. More than a dozen Murdoch employees have been arrested in the case, which also cost the jobs of several of his top executives, two senior police officers and Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief. —AP

LONDON: Former New of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck arrives at the High Court in London to give evidence to Britain’s media ethics Leveson Inquiry yesterday. The inquiry is looking into issues arising from the News International phone hacking scandal. —AP



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Obama, Maliki to chart next steps for US, Iraq Partnership between countries remains murky

PANAMA CITY: Panama’s ex-dictator Manuel Noriega gestures while being carried in a wheelchair by a police officer inside El Renacer prison in the outskirts of Panama City, Sunday.—AP

Indifference as Noriega returns to Panama cell PANAMA CITY: Manuel Noriega is back in his Panamanian homeland after nearly 22 years, sitting in a prison cell in a country he ruled as a personal fiefdom until US troops invaded and hauled him off to a Florida jail. A few protesters gathered outside El Renacer prison as the 77-year-old former general was spirited inside Sunday night after an extradition flight from France, yet the overwhelming mood among his countrymen seemed to be indifference. While some people banged pots and honked car horns in Panama City’s downtown in a symbolic gesture of disdain for Noriega, most Panamanians on the capital’s crowded streets were out holiday shopping. Officials escorted Noriega home on an Iberia airlines’ jet that touched down at Tocumen airport Sunday afternoon in a flight that began in Paris and made a stop in Madrid. Noriega, who served 17 years in US prison for drug trafficking and nearly two years in France for a money-laundering conviction, now has begun serving three 20-year sentences in Panama for the killings of political opponents in the 1980s. Officials whisked him into prison without letting anyone see him, a move that irritated some of the protesters outside. “We are disappointed at the excessive security that kept us from seeing the prisoner,” said Aurelio Barria, a member of the old opposition to Noriega. “Why not let him be seen? What are they hiding? We want to see him handcuffed in a cell,” Barria told the TVN news channel. Later, officials took journalists into the prison to watch from a distance as Noriega, accompanied by guards while sitting in a wheelchair, checked possessions he brought with him from France. About a dozen protesters, identifying themselves as relatives of army officers shot by Noriega’s forces, stood at the prison’s main entrance. One held a sign saying “Justice, Noriega, Killer.” Another woman shouted “Die, you wretch! Now you’re going to pay for your crimes.” President Ricardo Martinelli said Noriega “should pay for the damage and horror committed against the people of Panama.” Noriega returned to a country much different from the one he left after surrendering to US troops Jan. 3, 1990. The government, once a revolving cast of military strongmen, is now governed by its fourth democratically elected president. El Chorrillo, Noriega’s boyhood neighborhood and a downtown slum that was heavily bombed during the 1989 invasion, now stands in the shadow of luxury high-rise condominiums that have sprung up along the Panama Canal since the United States handed over control of the waterway in 2000. The rotting wooden tenements of the community have been replaced by

cement housing blocks. Noriega’s former headquarters have been torn down and converted into a park with basketball courts. While some Panamanians are eager to see punishment for the man who stole elections and dispatched squads of thugs to beat opponents bloody in the streets, others said his return meant little. “I don’t think Noriega has anything hugely important to say,” said retired Gen. Ruben Dario Paredes, who headed Panama’s army before Noriega took over in the early 1980s. “The things he knows about have lost relevance, because the world has changed and the country has, as well.” “In politics, he won’t have any great impact, because the people of Panama have other concerns,” said Marco Gandasegui, a sociology professor at Panama’s Center for Latin American Studies. Things were different in the 1970s and 1980s, when Noriega, whose pockmarked face earned him the nickname “Pineapple Face,” became a valuable ally to the CIA. At that time, Noriega helped the US combat leftist movements in Latin America by providing information and logistical help, and also acted as a back channel for US communications with unfriendly governments such as Cuba’s. But as the Cold War waned, Noriega became a more powerful and unforgiving dictator at home. Tensions developed between the strongman and US officials, who had been aware for some time that he was working with the Colombia-based Medellin drug cartel. More than 26,000 US soldiers and Marines invaded on Dec 20, 1989, and fighting with Noriega loyalists devastated sections of Panama City and killed 23 US troops, 314 Panamanian soldiers and 200 civilians. After finally surrendering, Noriega was flown to Miami for trial on drug-related charges. While serving his drug trafficking conviction, he received special treatment as a prisoner of war and lived in his own bungalow with a TV and exercise equipment. Unlike those minimum-security digs outside Miami, Noriega’s cell at El Renacer will be Spartan. He “will be located in an individual cell, without luxuries and in similar conditions to the rest of the inmates,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Vielka Pritsiolas said. Pictures posted on the ministry’s website showed a cell with little more than a bed, a table, and a shelf. The cell has its own tiny bathroom, relatively wide window slits and door screens that look out onto a sunny, tropical space with plants. Noriega’s lawyers in Panama have said they plan to request house arrest under a law that allows people older than 70 to serve their sentences at home. Noriega’s legal team says he has blood pressure problems and is paralyzed on the left side as a result of a stroke several years ago. —AP

WASHINGTON: With the US troop withdrawal from Iraq in its final days, President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will meet at the White House yesterday to discuss the next phase of the relationship between their countries. They will have plenty to discuss. The withdrawal of all American troops on Dec 31 marks the end of a nearly nine-year war that has been deeply divisive in both the US and Iraq. While Obama and Al-Maliki have pledged to maintain strong ties, the contours of the partnership between Washington and Baghdad remain murky, especially with Iran eager to assert influence over neighboring Iraq. And serious questions remain about Iraq’s capacity to stabilize both its politics and security. Yet the end of the war still marks a promise kept for Obama, one the White House is eager to promote. In addition to his meeting with Al-Maliki, Obama will mark the milestone Wednesday when he speaks to troops at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg. The number of US troops in Iraq has dwindled to about 6,000, down from 170,000 at the war’s peak in 2007. Yesterday’s meeting between Obama and Al-Maliki was expected to focus heavily on how the US and Iraq will continue to cooperate on security issues without the presence of American troops. Iraqi leaders have said they want US military training help for their security forces but have been unable to agree on what type of help they’d like or what protections they would be willing to give American trainers. The White House said Obama

and Al-Maliki would also discuss cooperation on energy, trade and education. Obama and Al-Maliki will also hold a joint news conference at the White House, then lay wreaths at Arlington National

with a significantly smaller US presence in the region. Al-Maliki has insisted that Iraq will chart its future according to its own national interests, not the dictates of Iran or any other country.

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC yesterday. —AFP Cemetery, where some of the nearly 4,500 Americans killed in the Iraq war are buried. Looming over the talks are concerns among US officials over how Iraq’s relationship with Iran will develop

But some US officials have suggested that Iranian influence in Iraq would inevitably grow once American troops depart. Both countries have Shiite majorities and are dominated by Shiite politi-

Romney dismisses $10K debate bet, criticizes Obama MANCHESTER: Mitt Romney yesterday dismissed his offer to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry as merely “an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge” - namely, Perry’s claim that Romney made changes to parts of his book. Romney told Fox News he made the bet offer in the weekend GOP presidential debate because of Perry’s erroneous claim that he deleted parts of his book, “No Apology,” that referred to Romney’s support for a health care mandate. Romney said his bet offer was simply meaningless hyperbole. “This was an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge from him and it’s been proven wrong time and time again,” Romney said. “He keeps raising it and I said OK, let’s put something outrageous out there. It’s like saying, Hey, I’ll bet you a million bucks.” The bet sparked charges that Romney, a wealthy businessman, is out of step with economic challenges facing ordinary Americans.

Romney said what the American people are tired of is President Barack Obama deflecting blame for his failed economic policies. Romney also took aim at Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who has surged ahead of him in several polls. Romney said Gingrich should return the estimated $1.6 million he received for providing strategic advice to Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agency that guarantees home mortgages. “One of the things that I think people recognize in Washington is that people go there to serve the people and then they stay there to serve themselves,” Romney said. Romney said the $1.6 million figure is much higher than the $300,000 figure Gingrich was asked about at a debate in Michigan in November. At the time, Gingrich said he acted as an historian and did not do any lobbying for Freddie Mac. “That would make him the highest paid historian in history,” Romney said. —AP

Occupy protesters seek to shut US West Coast ports CALIFORNIA: Anti-Wall Street protesters tried to shut down ports along the US West Coast yesterday, marching before dawn in another strike at perceived corporate greed. They faced opposition not only from some authorities but from some of the dock workers they were trying to defend. The “Wall Street on the waterfront” is perhaps the Occupy movement’s most dramatic gesture since police raids in several cities sent most remaining protest camps scattering last month. Demonstrators began forming the camps around the US about two months ago to protest what they call economic inequality between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent, whom they claim to represent. Yesterday’s demonstrations echoed a recent one at the Port of Oakland, which Occupy protesters successfully shut down in November. Protests and blockades also were planned at the sprawling port complex spanning Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as ports in Portland, Oregon; Seattle and Tacoma, Washington and the Canadian city of Vancouver. By shutting down ports, Wall Street will be unable to create profit, said Kari Koch,

organizer with Shut Down the Ports Working Group of Occupy Portland. “We will not stand for corporate profits at the expense of working people, we will not stand for attacks on workers, and we will not allow our schools to be closed, social services slashed, and families to be impoverished by your greed!” Koch said yesterday in statement. Organizers hope to draw thousands to stand in solidarity with longshoremen and port truckers they say are being exploited. “Taking on and blocking the 1 percent at the port is also taking on the global issue of exploitation by capitalism,” said Occupy Oakland blockade organizer Barucha Peller. But the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents many thousands of longshoremen up and down the West Coast, has distanced itself from the shutdown effort. The union’s president suggested in a letter to members that protesters were attempting to co-opt the union’s cause to advance their own agenda. Protesters have cited a longstanding dispute between longshoremen at the Port of Longview in Washington and grain exporter EGT as a key reason for the blockades. —AP

MANCHESTER: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to Bob Garon during a campaign stop at the Chez Vachon Restaurant yesterday in Manchester, NH. —AP

cal groups. Many Iraqi politicians spent time in exile in Iran during Saddam’s repressive regime, and one of Al-Maliki’s main allies - antiAmerican cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr is believed to spend most of his time in Iran. Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said how Baghdad chooses to orient itself will significantly influence the future of Iraq’s relationship with the US “A lot of this really comes down to, what kind of role is Iraq going to play in regional security?” Alterman said. “Is it going to be a place where bad people come and go, or is it going to play a role in calming down a region that needs some calming down?” The first hints as to how Iraq will assert itself in the region may come from how it handles the troubles in Syria, where a bloody government crackdown on protesters has killed more than 4,000 people, according to the United Nations. The Obama administration has called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. But Iraq has been much more circumspect, with Al-Maliki warning of civil war if Assad falls and abstaining from Arab League votes suspending Syria’s membership and imposing sanctions. Those positions align Iraq more closely with Iran, a key Syrian ally. The US has warned Iraq’s neighbors that even though American troops are leaving, the US will maintain a significant presence there. About 16,000 people are working at the US embassy in Baghdad, making it America’s largest mission in the world. —AP

Candidates lavish attention on New Hampshire, Iowa WASHINGTON: Republican front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are in New Hampshire yesterday then return to Iowa later in the week, focusing on voters in the two states that kick off the US presidential nominating process just days after the New Year. Polls show Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, pulling away from former Massachusetts governor Romney, a stunning turnaround after Romney had been coasting at the top of the pack through the early months of the campaign for the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election. The Republican candidates will assemble again this week to debate, on Thursday in Iowa. On Jan 3, the state holds caucuses to begin the national selection process for delegates committed to one of the candidates at the Republican national convention in late summer. Seven days later, New Hampshire holds the nation’s first primary election. Both contests have historically served as major events in shaping the race moving forward in the drawn out state-by-state primary votes. Obama’s approval rating has sunk to record lows over his handling to the American economic recovery, but the chaotic Republican race has kept much negative attention on the party as a number of candidates have flamed out after briefly moving into the top tier. Rep. Michele Bachmann shot up in polls then quickly fell back, ceding the role as Romney’s more conservative challenger to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry’s stumbling debate performances badly damaged his effort, and businessman Herman Cain stepped into the void to briefly pass Romney in some polls. But allegations of sexual harassment and a 13year extramarital affair forced him out of the race. Gingrich has showed far more staying power and is now easily outdistancing Romney in national polls. He remains a controversial figure because of his past record as House speaker, a job he left under a cloud of ethics violations, and a personal life that includes three marriages and admitted infidelities to his wives. The latter would normally exclude support from evangelical Christians, a huge and powerful Republican force, but so far his public repentance of past behavior seems to have satisfied the deeply conservative segment of the party. Romney faces a huge challenge now that Gingrich has taken the top spot. Both candidates have held positions in the past that are viewed as far too moderate or liberal for Republican primary voters, but Gingrich has apparently been more convincing in his shift to the right. Romney also is hurt with Christian Republican voters who are suspicious of his Mormon faith. What’s more, Romney is heavily encumbered with his record as governor of Democratic-dominated Massachusetts, where he was responsible for an overhaul of the state’s health care system, putting in place a program that served as a model for Obama’s nationwide revisions. —AP

Brazil’s Para state rejects split SAO PAULO: Voters in the Amazonian state of Para on Sunday rejected a proposal to split Brazil’s second biggest state in three, authorities announced. With 4.37 million votes — 90 percent of the total-counted in the landmark referendum, more than 67 percent rejected creation of a new state of Carajas and nearly 67 percent opposed establishment of a new state of Tapajos, they said. The official results were jointly announced by the president of the Higher Electoral Tribunal, Ricardo Lewandowski, and by Ricardo Nunes, head of

Para’s Regional Electoral Tribunal, the official Agencia Brasil reported. Speaking earlier in the state capital Belem, Lewandowski hailed the plebiscite as “a historic moment.” “It shows that Brazilian democracy is mature and strengthened,” he told reporters. Under the breakup plan, a truncated Para with Belem as its capital would have been left with 17 percent of the territory but 64 percent of the population. Tapajos, home to large protected indigenous and forest areas, would have ended up with nearly 59

percent the territory and only 15 percent of the population. Carajas would have been awarded 24 percent of the territory and 21 percent of the population. The Brazilian media had portrayed the referendum as a feud between Belem, the state capital, and the Para hinterland, which feels marginalized. Critics of the division, concentrated in the Belem area, argue that a split would saddle the new states with deficits and would create new expenses for the federal government. —AFP




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China executes S African woman drug smuggler Sentenced carried out by lethal injection JOHANNESBURG: China executed a South African woman by lethal injection yesterday for drug smuggling after rejecting lastminute pleas for clemency from her government, the foreign ministry in Pretoria said. Janice Linden, 35, was convicted of trying to sneak three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of methamphetamine into the country in her luggage through the southern city of Guangzhou in 2008.“The execution took place around 10:00 am South African time (0800 GMT ),” spokesman Clayson Monyela told AFP. “Our embassy officials were there with her family. She had two sisters who were there. “We are disappointed since we would have preferred the death sentence to be commuted to a life sentence instead of the execution.” Convicted in 2009, Linden had exhausted all possible appeal processes. South Africa had

made several appeals to have Linden’s sentence converted to life imprisonment, including on the sidelines of the United Nations COP17 climate talks in her eastern hometown, Durban, that ended Sunday. “Even on the COP17 sidelines the (foreign) minister summoned the Chinese ambassador,” said Monyela. “We pleaded for clemency repeatedly.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told AFP in Beijing that the law had been followed. “On handling drug criminals, the Chinese government’s position has been consistent and clear,” said Liu. “Whether they are foreign or Chinese, China will handle their cases according to the law.” Chinese authorities would hand over Linden’s ashes to her family yesterday, said Monyela. Linden steadfastly insisted on her inno-

cence, an unnamed family member told The Mercury newspaper in Durban. “She said she didn’t know how the drugs got into her luggage. She thought she was framed.” Monyela denied the execution would harm relations with China, South Africa’s biggest trading partner. The main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) accused South Africa of sidestepping human rights issues for commercial gain. “In this context a reference to South Africa’s economic relationship with China seems to confirm the DA’s assertion that our foreign policy is ‘made in China’ and that where China is involved the government seems to consistently turn a blind eye towards human rights abuses,” said Stevens Mokgalapa, the party’s shadow minister for international relations, in a statement. “Whilst we firmly

believe that drug mules should be punished for their offences, this punishment does not fit the crime.” In October, South Africa kept the Dalai Lama from visiting the country for Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday. A government official later acknowledged the decision was influenced by fears that South Africa’s trade relations with Beijing would suffer if the Tibetan spiritual leader were allowed to visit. Trade between the two countries reached $4.9 billion (3.7 billion euros) in the first six months of the year. According to the rights group Amnesty International, China executes more people every year than the rest of the world combined. Executions in China have traditionally been carried out by shooting. But increasingly lethal injections are being used. —AFP

Bold attack on Kashmir law minister leaves guard dead

NEW DELHI: Indian workers push a decorative cart used for weddings in a street in New Delhi, India, yesterday. A century ago, Britain’s King George V, who came to India to be crowned Emperor, made a surprise announcement that Delhi would be the new capital of India. —AP

Indian capital’s 100th birthday barely gets nod NEW DELHI: The Indian capital of New Delhi marked its 100th birthday yesterday without any official celebrations of a day that revives memories of British rule over the country. On December 12, 1911, visiting King George V told crowds at an elaborate imperial ceremony that India’s capital would be moved from the eastern port of Calcutta to a new city to be built next to the ancient settlement of Delhi. “New Delhi” was designed on a grand scale with tree-lined boulevards, a 340-room palace for the British viceroy and elegant public buildings-all of which remain intact today. The centenary of the decision has been the subject of public lectures and discussion seminars, but there has been no programme or parades organised by city authorities. The only scheduled event is Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of Delhi, attending the launch of a book about the series of cities built in the same area over the centuries. “There is ambivalence on what to celebrate and how to celebrate,” Dikshit admitted last month. While officials have been wary of focusing on the pomp and circumstance of 1911, newspapers have covered the run-up to the anniversary with pages of archive pictures. “The best may be still to come,” the Times of India declared in its editorial yesterday, pointing out that the sprawling city now had about 160 times as many residents as in 1911. The Hindustan Times printed black-and-white photographs of British architect Edwin Lutyens riding on an elephant to survey the site, and of India Gate, a triumphal arch, under construction before the city was finished in 1931.

“From the seat of government of the British Raj... to the capital of independent India that has grown by leaps and bounds in recent decades, Delhi has indeed come a long way in the last hundred years,” said the Mail Today. Delhi is planning year-long “cultural” celebrations starting in January, government officials told AFP, though no details were available. The park where King George V made his announcement is also being renovated. A few days after the December 12 declaration, the king and his wife Queen Mary unveiled New Delhi’s foundation stone at a spot to the north of the old city near the “durbar” ceremony grounds. However engineers soon rejected the location as too marshy, and a new site to the south of the existing city was chosen for work to begin. With India undergoing a dramatic economic transformation in the past 20 years, the country’s time under British rule before independence in 1947 has little resonance today for many Indians. “Colonial rule was often painful, but it is seen here as just another layer of history,” historian Mahesh Rangarajan told AFP. “India lived under an occupying power then, and the British thought they would be here for centuries when they built New Delhi. But the empire was gone just a few years later.” For AG Krishna Menon, the Delhi head of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), glossing over the events of 100 years ago is to try to re-write the past. “As conservationists, we say it is part of history that must be recognised,” he said. “New Delhi was designed by the British but could not have been built anywhere else due to the Indian craftsmen, builders and Indian sensibilities.”—AFP

SRINAGAR: Suspected rebels opened fire on the law minister in India-controlled Kashmir in an unusually brazen attack that killed one of his police guards and wounded three others, police said yesterday. The shooting Sunday night in Srinagar, the main city of Indian Kashmir, marked the second in two weeks targeting a member of the Himalayan region’s governing party. Although rebels who oppose India’s rule in Kashmir were suspected in the attack, one ruling party member suggested it may have been carried out by Indian army elements intent on thwarting any moves to lift regional security laws that give the military special powers. Law Minister Ali Mohammed Sagar was unharmed in the attack, having escaped by ducking and crawling into his house, a police officer said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with media. Sagar had been greeting guests arriving for his niece’s engagement party when gunmen sprayed the area with bullets before fleeing the scene. Police guard Gulzar Ahmed was killed. Two other guards and Sagar’s driver were wounded. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, launched less than two weeks after police said suspected rebels shot and wounded a member of the state’s governing National Conference, a pro-India party. The attacks were relatively bold for recent years, since Indian forces have largely suppressed insurgent strikes and Kashmiris have turned instead to holding street protests in resisting Indian rule and demanding independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan. A senior governing party leader cast doubt over the police claims that rebels were involved, and suggested that the army also had a motive in disrupting security after recent calls for lifting draconian laws that give them impunity in the region. “You cannot blame militants for everything,” said lawmaker Mustafa Kamaal, the uncle of Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. “The army cannot escape suspicion,” Kamaal said, noting its reluctance to give up its “unbridled powers” under the 1990 Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Army spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said the army would not comment on Kamaal’s allegations. The army has argued loudly against lifting the act - which many troops refer to as their “holy book” - by saying such a move could lead to an escalation in militant activities. Indian troops have been stationed in parts of Kashmir since the region was claimed by both India and Pakistan during the subcontinent’s 1947 partition at the end of British rule. Since then, Pakistan and India have fought two wars over the territory, and maintain heavy troop deployments along a U.N.drawn Line of Control. After Muslim separatists began a violent campaign of attacks within the territory in 1989, India imposed the Special Forces Act in 1990 granting troops permission to search homes and make arrests without warrants and to shoot suspected rebels on sight without fear of prosecution. More than 68,000 people have since died in rebel violence and subsequent Indian crackdowns. Indian authorities argue the Special Forces Act has been essential in restoring calm to the region, but it has also helped to alienate Kashmiris, and rights activists accuse troops of misusing the powers and killing civilians in staged confrontations. In October, the chief minister suggested the act could be partially withdrawn. The central government, however, has shown little interest in lifting the act. —AP

Foreign troops, cash vital to uneasy Afghanistan lull ARGHANDAB VALLEY: The lush Arghandab valley, in southern Afghanistan, was long a Taleban stronghold. They have lost their grip, local officials say, but the fragile security improvements remain heavily reliant on foreign troops and money. Bored and broke young men, easy targets for insurgent recruiters, will have to be found jobs and hope for the future to keep the Taleban from regaining a foothold, they say. “Insurgents were coming in here and giving people money,” Afghan National Army (ANA) commander Nabi Ullah said. “They accepted that money because they are poor. They were fighting against us because of money, not because of their mentality.” “We want more projects to come here so people will be occupied. Once they’re busy, we will get more help from them, and we can keep the secu-

rity at 95 pct. But we do need support.” Some projects-road building, reconstruction work-are already in place. But these are overwhelmingly funded by the NATO-led foreign coalition fighting in Afghanistan, not the Afghan government or the local economy, Arghandab district governor Haji Shah Mohammad said. “All our projects are happening with the help of the Americans, the coalition forces,” he said on a recent winter morning in the valley, where two years ago the orchards and fields were laced with insurgent bombs and hideouts. “Some small projects have come from the Afghan Department of Agriculture... but it’s not enough. “When American forces leave Afghanistan, we hope God will give the government power and the government will provide us with jobs and money for development projects,” he

added. The coalition is in the process of handing over control of various regions of Afghanistan to national security forces in preparation for the full departure of combat troops by 2014. Local security officials say that while they are currently well enough staffed to keep the security situation under control, they are still not strong enough to cope without help from international forces. “We will need their existence for some time,” said local police chief Riaz Mohammad. “We have 382 Afghan National Police right now in Argandhab, and we need 200-250 more. We need the coalition until we fill these gaps.” While Kandahar is not yet on the transition schedule, it will not be long before the army and police have to operate without foreign troops. “We are getting ready for that, we’re being trained, the ANA, the police,” army

commander Ullah says. “In the beginning, when we went on patrol, there were 10 American soldiers and five ANA. Now we’re doing it differently — 10 ANA, five Americans. We want to stand on our own feet.” K andahar, which lies on the Pak istani border in southern Afghanistan, is the birthplace of the Taleban and has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the present conflict. The Arghandab valley, which snakes north from Kandahar city about 10 km (six miles) to the south, was particularly hard hit. “When I first came to office a year ago, no one could even go outside,” says Riaz Mohammad. Rockets would regularly target the district government headquar ters, which also house foreign troops, and one came within a few dozen metres of a helicopter. —Reuters

YANGON: Members of Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) show their new emblem on a party flag at the NLD headquarters in Yangon yesterday. —AFP

Myanmar tells army to stop attacks on rebels YANGON: Myanmar’s president has ordered the country’s powerful military to cease attacks against ethnic Kachin rebels in an effort to solve the damaging conflict politically, his office said yesterday. President Thein Sein, a former junta general who has indicated a will to reform the long-isolated nation, told the army to stop fighting two days ago, officials said, after months of fierce clashes in the northern state of Kachin. “The president instructed the military on Saturday not to start any fighting with the KIA (Kachin Independence Army) in Kachin State, except for self defence. All military commands were sent the president’s instruction,” the President office in Naypyidaw told AFP. An official announcement is expected in the coming days. The military-dominated nation’s new nominally civilian government has recently inked a deal with one rebel group-the Shan State Army South-but has not formally agreed an end to fighting in the strategically important Kachin area, which borders China. Doibu, of the Unity and Democracy Party in Myanmar’s lower house, confirmed to AFP that the president’s instructions to stop fighting had been sent. “We do not know the situation clearly yet. I think small fighting for self defence has continued,” the MP told AFP by telephone from the Kachin town of Myitkyina. The KIA, one of the largest ethnic armed groups, has been locked in conflict with the Myanmar army since June in Kachin, where there has been resentment of Chinese backed hydropower projects. In a rare response to public opposition, Myanmar’s president in September suspended construction of a controversial mega-dam in the state. But fighting contin-

ued and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), whose group attended the November peace meeting, last week accused Myanmar’s military of deploying more troops and using chemical weaponsan allegation that could not be independently verified. The battles have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. Peace talks between the KIA and Myanmar government are ongoing, said a Myanmar government official, who did not want to be named. “The president really wants to achieve peace with the KIA. He also wants them to know that this is his wish. That’s why he has been trying to solve this problem politically,” he told AFP. Myanmar has been wracked by civil conflict-and human rights abuses involving government troops-in ethnic areas since it became independent from British rule in 1948, including an uprising in Kachin, which gathered momentum from the early 1960s. The predominantly Baptist and Catholic Kachin account for about seven percent of the country’s population. Efforts at peace “mark one of the most significant moments in the six decades of conflict,” the think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a recent report, while adding that “lasting peace cannot be assured”. On her landmark visit to the country earlier this month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed what she said were efforts by the regime to resolve ethnic conflicts, after talks with the country’s rulers. But throughout Clinton’s visit-the first by such a high level US politician in 50 years-US officials said they expected the ethnic fighting to be one of the most difficult issues for Myanmar to resolve.— AFP

MANILA: This handout photo taken on December 5, 2011 and obtained from Malacanang Photo Bureau (MPB) yesterday, shows Philippine President Benigno Aquino (R) greeting Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona (L) while Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile (C) looks on during the First National Criminal Justice Summit at a hotel in Manila. —AFP

Philippine Supreme Court chief justice impeached MANILA: The Philippine House of Representatives impeached the Supreme Court chief justice yesterday over alleged corruption and favoritism toward arrested ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. A majority of the 284 members of the powerful House signed a resolution to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona, who will now be tried by the Senate in an impeachment tribunal. Corona, who became the only known Supreme Court chief to be impeached in Philippine history, vowed to fight back. The surprise move is the latest twist in the Philippine political drama pitting Arroyo against her popular, reformist successor Benigno Aquino III, who has blamed her for a decade of corruption scandals that eroded public trust in government and held back foreign investors. Aquino has been at odds with Corona, accusing him of being biased for Arroyo, who appointed the

Supreme Court chief justice shortly before she stepped down last year at the end of her nine stormy years in power. Aquino, son of revered democracy icons, succeeded Arroyo in June last year after a landslide elections victory largely credited to his illustrious name and campaign promise to battle corruption and poverty in his Southeast Asian nation. His allies now dominate the House, which used to be the bedrock of Arroyo’s power. Rep Niel Tupas Jr, who heads the congressional justice committee, said Corona was impeached due to alleged acts of corruption and improperly issuing decisions that favored Arroyo. Corona said efforts to illegally oust him would destroy the country’s democracy. ”We do not want to see a constitutional crisis befall our democracy,” Corona said. “But if we are challenged to defend our independence, we shall not meekly walk away.” —AP

Resource-rich Sumatra, Kalimantan face flood risk JAKARTA: Indonesia’s commodity-rich Sumatra and Kalimantan regions are among areas at high risk of flooding this month, the state weather agency said yesterday, adding to the region’s struggles with high waters this year. Prolonged rains last year hurt crops such as coffee and flooded coal mines, and officials from major agricultural groups fear that an extended wet season this time would limit an emerging recovery in next year’s coffee and cocoa production. “Parts of Indonesia have begun their rainy season in November (and) most of Indonesia’s territory may have normal rain,” said Sri Woro Hariyono, head of the Meteorology,

Climatology and Geophysics Agency. “At coastal areas, there are higher potential for flood when sea water enters coastal areas. “There are 21 provinces with flood potential, of which 16 provinces have high flood potential.”The country’s rainy season is expected to peak in December and January, the agency added. The high water levels forecast for Indonesia comes after the worst floods in Thailand in decades, which devastated industry and farmlands. The Mekong Delta was also inundated this year, delaying Vietnam’s crucial winter-spring rice crop, while Malaysia expected to see severe monsoons up to March. —Reuters



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A spider is seen in its web with early morning dewdrops on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, yesterday. — AP

UK calls on Bahrain to reform after protests LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Bahrain’s king yesterday to quickly implement reforms recommended in a scathing report into human rights abuses during the Arab nation’s uprising. A special commission, authorized by Bahrain’s Sunni rulers, last month outlined the harsh treatment of anti-government protesters as state security forces tried to put down the largest of the uprisings to hit the Gulf. The 500-page document, compiled by an independent panel of legal experts, was commissioned by Bahrain’s leadership in a bid to ease tensions with Shiite opposition supporters. It documented the use of torture, excessive force and fast-track trials by the government. While meeting with King Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa yesterday, Cameron urged the monarch “to deliver swiftly on the commitments he has made to implement the recommendations from the inquiry and to drive forward reform and reconciliation in the country, engaging with the opposition as part of that process,” the British leader’s office said in a

statement. Sheikh Ali Salman, head of Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition Wefaq party, told the BBC he was prepared to open talks with Bahrain’s monarch. “I am able to take this challenge,” Salman said. The brief talks at Cameron’s Downing Street home had not been announced in advance, amid concern over holding a meeting with a leader whose country is accused of serious mistreatment of opposition protesters. British Foreign S ecretar y William Hague said critics urging Cameron not to meet with the king had been mistaken. “I disagree,” Hague wrote in a message on his Twitter account. “Engagement is best way to encourage reform (and) Bahrain is (an) important partner.” Cameron’s office said he “emphasized the importance of strengthening respect for human rights in Bahrain”. The leaders also discussed boosting trade and oppor tunities for British business to invest in Bahrain’s infrastructure sector. There was no immediate statement from Bahrain’s government on the talks, or rea-

sons for the trip. In a meeting with Bahrain’s crown prince earlier this month, Hague said Britain’s exports to Bahrain had increased by 30 percent in the past year and discussed hopes of furthering ties in the liquid natural gas sector. Cameron offered British help to reform Bahrain’s judicial system, following outrage over the prosecution of doctors and other medical professionals who treated protesters injured during the country’s protests. Since the critical report, Bahrain has hired John Yates, a former assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police, and the former head of Miami police, John Timoney, to advise the kingdom’s police force. It has also vowed there will be no immunity for anyone suspected of abuses and said it would propose creating a permanent human rights commission. Bahrain enjoys long-standing ties to both Britain and the US, which uses the tiny island nation as the base LONDON: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron greets Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa in 10 Downing Street yesterday. — AFP for its 5th Fleet naval force. — AP

Tiniest infants are growing up healthy Continued from Page 1 about 14 ounces (400 gm), or slightly less than 1 pound. Since 1936, 124 have been listed. The registry is compiled from doctors’ voluntary reports and so does not represent all survivors. Bell estimates that about 7,500 US babies are born each year weighing less than 1 pound (450 gm), and that about 10 percent survive. Sometimes tiny babies with zero chance of surviving show signs of life at birth, and may be able to breathe for a short time if put in an incubator and hooked up to a breathing machine and intravenous treatments. “But even so, if it’s a baby that doesn’t have a chance, we don’t want to put the baby and the family through the discomfort,” Bell said. Muraskas says his report highlights a sometimes overlooked fact: gestational age is even more critical for survival than size. Rumaisa and Madeline were both palm-sized, weighing less than a can of soda pop - the average size of an 18-week-old fetus but they

were several weeks older than that. Their gestational ages - almost 26 weeks for Rumaisa and almost 27 weeks for Madeline - meant their lungs and other organs were mature enough to make survival possible. But both required intensive medical intervention. They were delivered by cesarean section more than a month early because their mothers had developed severe pre-eclampsia, dangerously high blood pressure linked with pregnancy. Both babies were hooked up immediately to breathing machines with tubes as slender as a spaghetti strand slipped down their tiny airways. Rumaisa has a twin who was more than twice as big at birth. Few details about her are included in the report. Before the births, both mothers were given steroid drugs to speed up growth of the babies’ immature lungs. Even so, Rumaisa and Madeline were on breathing machines for about two months, and hospitalized for about four months. Madeline had mild brain bleeding, common in tiny preemies,

but with no lasting effects. Severe cases can cause serious mental disabilities. She and Rumaisa got treatment for an eye condition common in preemies called retinopathy, which in severe cases can cause blindness. Madeline has asthma and remains petite - 4 foot 8 and about 65 pounds at age 20; Rumaisa at age 5 weighed 33 pounds and was 3 1/2 feet tall, smaller than about 90 percent of kids her age. Current information on the girls’ size was not in the report; Madeline is now 22 and a senior at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; Rumaisa is 7 and attends first grade in suburban Chicago. Jim Mann, Madeline’s father, said having a baby born so small was “terrifying” at first. But other than asthma, the only lasting effect his daughter has mentioned is having trouble finding age-appropriate clothes because she remains so small, he said. That she has done so well is a source of pride, and wonder, her dad said. “I don’t know why, we were just extraordinarily lucky,” Mann said. — AP

Iran plans navy drill to shut Hormuz Continued from Page 1 Separately, state TV reported yesterday Iranian experts are in the final stages of recovering data from the US surveillance drone captured by the country’s armed forces. Tehran has flaunted the drone’s capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the US in a complicated intelligence and technological battle. Sarvari, who is also on the parliament’s foreign policy committee, said yesterday the extracted information will be used to file a lawsuit against the United States for the “invasion” by the unmanned aircraft. Sarvari also claimed that Iran has the capability to reproduce the drone through reverse engineering, but he didn’t elaborate. The TV broadcast a video on Thursday of Iranian military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone. Iranian state media have said the unmanned spy aircraft was detected and brought down over the country’s east, near the border with Afghanistan. US officials have acknowledged losing the drone. US President Barack Obama said yesterday the US has asked Iran to return the drone. “We’ve asked for it back. We’ll see how the Iranians respond,” Obama said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

Officers in the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force, have claimed the country’s armed forces brought down the surveillance aircraft with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone. American officials have said that US intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned. The officials spoke anonymously in order to discuss the classified program. US officials are concerned others may be able to reverseengineer the chemical composition of the drone’s radardeflecting paint or the aircraft’s sophisticated optics technology that allows operators to positively identify terror suspects from tens of thousands of feet in the air. They are also worried adversaries may be able to hack into the drone’s database, although it is not clear whether any data could be recovered. Some surveillance technologies allow video to stream through to operators on the ground but do not store much collected data. If they do, it is encrypted. Sarvari ratcheted up the anti-US rhetoric in yesterday’s remarks. “The extracted information will be used to file a lawsuit against the United States over the invasion,” he told state TV. — Agencies

31 bedoon protesters go on trial Continued from Page 1 Under Kuwaiti law, only citizens have the right to hold public gatherings while foreigners are banned. Head of the Kuwaiti Bedoons Committee Musaed Al-Shemmari described the charges as “oppressive with the aim to scare all stateless people from protesting to demand their rights”. “All witnesses and media people saw that it was the riot police who attacked the peaceful protesters first even without warning them,” Shemmari said.

Encouraged by widespread prodemocracy protests that swept several Arab countries, some of the estimated 100,000 stateless people in Kuwait took to the streets to press for their basic rights they claim they have been denied. Kuwait launched a crackdown on the bedoons in 2000, depriving them of healthcare, education and jobs. The stateless claim they are Kuwaiti citizens who have been denied nationality. In June, Human Rights Watch urged Kuwait in a report to redress citizenship claims by stateless people

who have been denied this right for decades. The report described how many stateless remain “vulnerable, without protection and live in poverty,” as wealthy Kuwait considers them “illegal residents”. The government has denied them essential documentation, including birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as access to free government schools and legal employment opportunities, said the report. Kuwait has said that it was studying the issue of bedoons carefully and was prepared to grant citizenship to those who deserve. — AFP

Syrians go to polls amid strikes, deaths Continued from Page 1 was a failure in the city of Deir Ezzor where we think the turnout was no more than one percent. The roads were empty the whole day,” an activist said of the vote in the eastern city. Last week, Syria’s local administration minister, Omar Ghalawanji, said a special indelible ink would be used for the first time in the municipal elections “to prevent any fraud”. “I voted because we want to contribute to the reforms (pledged by Assad) and choose the best” candidates, said Zeina, a 35-year-old woman, as she emerged from a polling state in the central Ummayad Square of Damascus. Ahmad, a pro-regime taxi driver, said the vote was essential “as a response to those calling for a strike”. But a regime opponent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he did not expect a huge turnout. “I am surprised that elections are taking place under such circumstances,” he said. “Cities gripped by the uprising are not concerned by these elections.” He said he expected voting to be limited to areas where protests have been scarce or non-existent, including Syria’s second city of Aleppo. The Britain-based Observatory said authorities “forced dozens of people” in Idlib to vote

despite raging violence in the northwestern province where forces killed three people in an early morning raid. State-run SANA news agency reported that “masked, armed men” broke into polling stations in the Homs district of Tal Kalakh and fled with four ballot boxes which they later returned. In Damascus, an engineer said his daughter was asked to go to her school which is serving as polling centre. She was told to wear regular clothes, not her school uniform. “It seems that they want to film the students as voters because turnout is very low,” he said. Ayman Thamer, an anti-Assad activist and veteran election watcher, said the real turnout in municipal elections traditionally has not exceeded 10 percent because the poll like other elections in Syria is seen as rigged. “People showed up at polling stations in the pro-regime districts,” Thamer said. On the ground, at least 15 people were killed by gunfire or shrapnel yesterday, with 10 of the deaths in Homs province, including a boy, said the Observatory. Four people were also killed by security forces in Idlib province near the Turkish border and seven others wounded, the group said, and a 30-year-old man was killed in the Hama region, which like Homs lies in central Syria. It also

reported army deserters have been locked in heavy clashes since dawn with regular troops in two Idlib villages and that similar fighting was also raging in Daraa province. The opposition Syrian National Council said the “dignity” general strike launched Sunday was widely observed in 12 provinces against “all expectations”. The SNC had urged Syrian citizens from all walks of life as well as labour unions to pursue the strike, saying it was essential “for the success of the revolution and the establishment of a civilian democratic nation.” The strike is part of a campaign of civil disobedience which also aims to shut down universities, public transport, the civil service and major highways. “Yesterday we launched a general strike... which will continue to be observed until the fall of the tyrant regime. Today we will not send out children to school,” activists wrote on an opposition website. The Observatory said the strike was observed for the second consecutive day in Daraa and also in the restive northern Damascus suburb of Douma. UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, who has said more than 4,000 people have been killed in the government crackdown on dissent, was to brief the UN Security Council on Syria later yesterday. — Agencies

Former MPs to challenge dissolution... Continued from Page 1 Former MP Saleh Ashour called for reinstating the dissolved Assembly after it became clear that its dissolution was unconstitutional. He said that a new Cabinet must be formed which should invite the dissolved Assembly for a meeting of the new ministers to take the oath. After that, the new Cabinet can recommend dissolving the Assembly. Leading opposition figure and former Islamist MP Fahad Al-Khannah called on the government to make sure that its procedures regarding dissolving the Assembly were in line with the constitution so as not to allow corrupt former MPs from benefitting from any suspicion. The Cabinet, which was expected to approve the decree to call for polls, did not meet as expected yesterday and as a result the decree was further delayed. It was not immediately known if the delay was linked in any way to the two challenges that would be submitted to the administrative court today against the Amiri decree that dissolved the Assembly. The public prosecution meanwhile yesterday issued arrest warrants against 13 members of the dissolved Assembly along with the wives of two of them for interrogation over the large alleged illegal funds that were deposited in their bank accounts. It is expected that the former MPs will be first questioned by the state security over suspicion of money laundering and later by the pub-

lic prosecution to determine the source of their money. The corruption charges were among the key issues that eventually led to the resignation of the previous government and then dissolution of the Assembly for the fourth time since May 2006. Opposition figures have alleged that the bank accounts of the 13 MPs saw around KD 100 million deposited in a short span and linked the deposits to political developments in the country, especially over the grillings of the former prime minister and other ministers. The public prosecution launched an unprecedented investigation into the in September after a number of local banks informed it that large funds were deposited in a suspicious way into the bank accounts of those former MPs. A majority of the former MPs, who were classified as government backers, have denied any wrongdoing and claimed the allegations against them are politically motivated. Former Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi and veteran former MP Khaled Al-Adwah yesterday officially said they are not contesting the forthcoming elections, expected to be held late January. Khorafi said in a statement that he will not bid for re-election after serving for decades as an MP, a minister and as speaker of the Assembly since 1999. He however stressed that he will continue to serve the country from other positions. Former MP Adwah, who served several times in the Assembly, thanked his supporters in a brief statement and said he will not run in the coming polls.





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Goodbye to myth of Iran’s ‘mad mullahs’? By Bernd Debusmann fter years of portraying Iran’s leaders as irrational actors driven by religious zeal, American neo-conservatives and their Israeli allies appear to be shelving the “mad mullah” argument used to underline the danger of Iran getting nuclear weapons. The mullahs are now seen as shrewd calculators of risk. The change of tone was reflected in a report on Iran and the bomb by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Washington-based conservative think tank whose hawkish views influenced the decision-making on going to war in Iraq. The report published this week, is based on the assumption that sanctions and sabotage will fail and Iran will have a nuclear weapon by the time the next US president takes office in 2013. And how, according to AEI, has Iran behaved on the road to the nuclear club? “There is a clear pattern ... Far from being hothead provocateurs, Iran’s leaders - including both Supreme Leader (Ali) Khamenei and President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad - often play a shrewd, long game ... The nuclear program is a case in point. Each escalation conversion, enrichment, installation of advanced centrifuges, higher enrichment - has been dribbled out.” “Iranian leaders have rarely been willing to provoke a crisis merely to shift the ground inexorably toward a particular goal. Nor is this an aberration. Historically, the Islamic Republic has handled trouble well and it has often emerged with its goals achieved at the end of each crisis.” In a passage on Afghanistan, the study notes that “Iran has pursued a pragmatic, cautious policy to exert influence.” Shrewd, cautious pragmatists? That’s a long way from a string of assertions by American hawks and Israeli leaders that Iran was working on a nuclear bomb with the express purpose of dropping it on Israel, in the full knowledge that doing so would be tantamount to national suicide given Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear arsenal and second-strike capability. Irrational behavior taken to extremes. The loudest warnings have come from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who told a meeting of American Jews in 2006, when he was still leader of the Likud opposition, that “It’s 1938 (the year before World War II began) and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs (and) is preparing another holocaust for the Jewish people.” The real concern, as the AEI report makes clear, is not that Iran would attack Israel but that a nuclear-armed Iran would profoundly change the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East. That is “the real prize,” in the words of Thomas Donnelly, one of the authors of the report. It stresses that U.S. national security strategy for the past six decades has rested on the premise that for the United States, the Middle East is a critical region that must not be dominated by a hostile hegemon. Containing a nuclear Iran the way the United States contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War would be difficult and costly, according to the report, and require more US troops in the region than there are now. Aspiring to domination is a perfectly rational aim for Iran, the most populous country in the region (78 million) and achieving that aim has been brought closer by US policies - first by knocking out Iran’s main rival, Iraq, and then by handing over Iraq to a government run by a prime minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, who is much closer to Tehran than to Washington. How to deny the prize of regional dominance to Iran, with or without nuclear weapons, is a problem whose solution has so far eluded the United States, its western allies and Israel. Ever tightening sanctions for the better part of a quarter century have failed to curb Iran’s ambitions. So has, more recently, a covert campaign of sabotage and assassinations. How close Iran is to getting a bomb, or the capability to build one at short notice, has long been a matter of dispute between experts. Warnings of an imminent nuclear “breakout” go back to 1984. In the latest round of the nuclear guessing game, the shortest time line is six months, forecast this week by the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. Part of the uncertainty stems from the fact that Iran, which denies working on nuclear weapons, has mimicked the way Israel went about building its own nuclear arsenal in the 1960s, with a mixture of secrecy, denial and ambiguity. It is also uncertain whether there has been a political decision by Ayatollah Khameini to go ahead and make a bomb. “The United States and the international community are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” President Barack Obama has said repeatedly, calling a nuclear-armed Iran “unacceptable.” That goes along with the assertion that “all options are on the table,” short-hand for a preventive military strike on nuclear installations.— Reuters


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

Politics enters science in Erdogan’s Turkey By Simon Cameron-Moore here was a time when candidates to the Turkish Academy of Sciences needed above all the respect and acceptance of their peers, but these days the government can largely choose who gets in. The change, according to some academics, is symptomatic of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s move towards an increasingly centralised form of government as he settles into a third term in office after the AK Party’s easy election victory in June. “What we are observing is the AK Party is becoming a lot more centralised,” Fuat Keyman, the Director of Istanbul Policy Center told Reuters, as he mulled the state of Turkey’s democracy while stuck in one of the city’s tortuous traffic jams. “What is happening in the Turkish Academy of Sciences is one of side of it.” This month, scientists who did not want to belong to an academic institution whose members were mostly selected by government functionaries set up their own independent academy. Astrophysicist Ali Alpar was among them. “My personal opinion is that a feature of a genuine democracy is that public institutions funded by the state should have freedom to take decisions in their area of expertise,” Professor Alpar, told Reuters, at a cafe after a day of classes at Istanbul’s Sabanci University. “Who is the bureaucrat or the politician who is going to read a physicist’s or philosopher’s papers and make judgment?” he asked, sipping tea from a traditional tulip-shaped glass. The government’s decision, made through a decree that appeared in the Official Gazette when most Turks were enjoying the Muslim Eid al Fitr holiday in late August and reinforced by a second decree in November, caused uproar in academic circles. Half of the 138 members of the prestigious academy, known by its acronym TUBA, have quit in protest. Foreign academies wrote to Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul voicing grave misgivings over the state’s intrusion into the world of academic science. Lars Walloe, President of the Londonbased Academia Europaea, wrote to Erdogan on Oct 14, urging a rethink with the warning: “Unfortunately, the recent legal changes especially those allowing the introduction of


new members and the appointment of the president of the Academy by the government will affect the reputation of TUBA ... and will inevitably mean that it is no longer recognised by the international community as Turkey’s national academy of science and letters.” The government’s aim in taking control of the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) is to invigorate an organisation that was not seen doing enough to promote science and technology for a booming economy that needs to move to a new level to sustain high levels of growth. The argument for efficient, effective government resonates with people who are enjoying more prosperity that they have had before. The academy had its faults. Even members admit it was not active enough, and was slow admitting new members. The rejection of some candidates fed perceptions that a conservative secular clique played a deciding role, blocking the entry of scientists whose religious faith was viewed positively within the AK Party. Alpar says the idea that anything other than scientific merit had played a role in the selection of TUBA members is invalid. Instead, he saw a greater danger of TUBA being filled with scientists seeking favour with political masters for professional advancement. “The people this or any government will appoint to an academy would be associated or particularly recommended to the government and that can be on political, ideological, religious or whatever grounds,” Alpar said. “But to be there in a real sense, being a member of a respectable academy, means the person has to be evaluated on their scientific merit. And this is what they are glossing over, they are trying to make appointments.” TUBA now falls firmly within the ambit of the newlyformed Ministry of Science, Technology and Industry. Reuters emailed questions to Minister Nihat Ergin, and telephoned the ministry several times, but the minister sent regrets that he was too busy to respond, while officials declined to comment. But Faruk Logoglu, a senior lawmaker in the main secularist opposition People’s republican Party CHP, did not mince words about the party formed in 2002 and drawing support from religious conservatives as well as centre-right elements and nationalists. “This was a continuation of a systematic

attack on the posts of our secular society by the AK Party,” Logolu said. “Knowledge is one of the most powerful ingredients of a secular society. Even communist societies don’t do this.” More Turks worry about diminishing plurality in Turkey than the spectre of a threat to the secular state. Turks applauded as Erdogan tamed the military, and changed judges and prosecutors to protect the country from a recurrence of the coups that punctuated the second half of the 20th Century. But there is a worry, particularly with the judiciary’s perceived loss of independence, that checks and balances are being eroded. TUBA’s fate is part of a bigger picture. Prior to the election, legislation was announced that enabled the government to issue decrees for six months that bypassed parliament, bridging a summer recess and the transition from the outgoing assembly to the new one. Using this window, government ministries assumed greater influence over several economic regulatory agencies, including ones covering banking, capital markets, energy, broadcasting, and tobacco and alcohol. Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, the minister overseeing the economy, said during the election campaign that the government intended to have more influence over such bodies. In an address to a business forum last May, Erdogan gave telling insight into his thinking. “Do you know the logic of independent bodies? If they succeed it is theirs, if not, it is the politicians’ fault. They are all the same from A to Z. Why do we have to pay the price for this?” he said. “Does the electorate care if independent bodies are beneficial or not ... The price of fuel is determined on the market, but do the people know that? No matter how hard you try to explain to them, they say ‘The government hiked prices’.” Given, the government’s success in economic management over the past decade, these moves passed without causing any great stir. Keyman, a leading Turkish political scientist, saw all the changes as manifestations of the AK government’s switch to greater centralisation, and evidence of a “democratic recession” in Turkey. “There is a disconnect between democracy and centralisation in Turkey,” he concluded gloomily, still stuck in traffic.— Reuters

Deal may do little to cool heating planet By Jon Herskovitz he world is forecast to grow hotter, sea levels to rise, intense weather to wreak even more destruction and the new deal struck by governments in Durban to cut greenhouse gas emissions will do little to lessen that damage. Climate data from UN agencies indicates that the accumulation of heat-trapping gases will rise to such levels over the next eight years - before the newly agreed regime of cuts in emissions is supposed to be in place - that the planet is on a collision course with permanent environmental change. Countries around the globe agreed on Sunday to forge a new deal forcing all the biggest polluters for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. But critics said the plan was too timid to slow global warming. For a reduction plan to have a major impact, analysts say, the world’s largest emitter, China, needs to be weaned from coal-intensive power sources that are choking the planet with carbon dioxide (CO2) and developed countries must spend heavily to change the mix of sources from which they draw their energy. But they see little political will to implement these costly plans and argue that the U.N. process showed, in two weeks of talks in the South African city of Durban, that it is bloated, broken and largely incapable of effecting sweeping change. “The challenge is that we begin the talks from the lowest common denominator of every party’s aspirations,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, director of the international climate program for Environmental Defense Fund, a US group which campaigns against pollution. “For this effort to be successful, countries need to be ambitious in their commitments and to refuse to use these negotiations as just another stalling tool,” she said. Domestic political constraints make it unlikely that pledges in Durban for more green projects in the developed world and stepped up aid for developing countries will come to fruition given problems for government funding in Europe, the United States and Japan. In about 20 years of negotiations, the UN process has produced one binding deal on emissions


cuts, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. It is seen as a fading accord affecting a handful of developed states that now account for only 25 percent of global emissions, and was kept on life-support by the Durban deal. The latest agreement extends limits on advanced countries that would otherwise

not bound by Kyoto and would not be bound to any legally enforceable numbers until at least 2020. The three have been accused by environmental lobby groups for years of blocking tough measures, and all three cite domestic priorities in their defence. The US Senate needs a supermajority to approve global treaties and

Indian laborers wash emptied cement bags at the Tawi River in Jammu, India yesterday. A UN climate conference reached a hardfought agreement Sunday on a far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change. —AP expire next year. But it is widely seen as not doing nearly enough to make a dent in emissions. The pact, known as the “Durban Platform”, produced the promise of a new legally binding deal by 2020 and set out a road map to get there. The worry is that by the time any new provisions take effect, they will have been diluted in negotiation to the point of being meaningless, analysts said. China, the United States and India, the world’s three biggest emitters accounting now for about half of all global CO2 emissions, are

does not have a broad enough coalition to sign off on a global climate deal. India and China said curbing their emissions would hurt their fast-growing economies and put hundreds of millions of their people at risk as they try to escape poverty. But those calling for tighter curbs on emissions say that those populations are being put at greater risk by climate change: “The people of the world are the biggest losers because the governments are kowtowing more to the corporate interests than the interests of the people for more aggressive action,” said

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Myer, a veteran of the UN climate talks, called for greater ambition on emissions cuts and financial support for industrial change and for “a more collaborative spirit than we saw in the Durban conference centre these past two weeks.” National envoys to the UN climate process and scientists who brief them see a need to limit the global average temperature rise to at least 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times to prevent the most serious climate change. Environmental groups have said even that is not enough. The United Nations Environment Programme said in a report last month that emissions were on track to grow above what is needed to limit global warming to the 2degree mark, with analysts warning that delays in cuts for developed states and curbing the furious pace of emissions growth in major developing countries increasingly put the planet at risk. Myer said: “We are on a path to 3-3.5 degree Celsius increase if we don’t make aggressive cuts by 2020. And there is nothing to suggest this deal will alter that.” As temperatures rise, so does the damage, which includes crop failures, increasing ocean acidity that would wipe out species and rising sea levels that will erase island states, UN reports said. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said global average temperatures could rise by 3-6 degrees by the end of the century if governments failed to contain emissions, bringing permanent destruction to ecosystems.. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest disaster relief network, saw the Durban deal as a collective failure to stem the destruction caused by climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people. “It is frankly unacceptable we cannot all agree when so many lives are at stake,” Bekele Geleta, the group’s secretary general said in a statement. Selwin Hart, chief negotiator for an alliance of small island states, took some heart, however, that at least there was agreement to keep on talking: “I would have wanted to get more, but at least we have something to work with,” he said. “All is not lost yet.” —Reuters



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Khan camp questions referee LONDON: Amir Khan’s camp plan to raise concerns about the performance of the referee after the British fighter controversially lost his WBA super-lightweight and IBF light-welterweight titles to Lamont Peterson in Washington DC on Saturday. The Briton was deducted two points for by referee Joseph Cooper in a split-decision defeat, one in the seventh round for pushing and one in the 12th when Khan hit Peterson on the break. Those deductions proved crucial when the scores were announced, one judge giving the fight 114-111 to Khan, but the other two scoring it 113-112 for Peterson. Khan said afterwards he felt he was “up against two people” and his camp on Sunday issued a statement questioning the performance of Cooper and demanding a re-match. “Firstly, we would like to congratulate Lamont Peterson on his performance against Amir Khan,” a statement from Team Khan and Golden Boy Promotions, said. “Not only has he shown that he is a tremendous fighter inside the ring, but also a great man out of the ring. — Reuters

NHL results/standings


sp orts Johnson scorns Olympic traffic LONDON: Fears that next Summer’s Olympic Games will snarl up London’s traffic are as wrong as the doom-laden predictions of the “Millennium Bug” were, Mayor Boris Johnson said yesterday. “Many say London will be gridlocked and expensive and traffic will be dominated by whizzing limousines of Olympic bureaucrats throwing up road spray into the face of multitudes of Londoners,” he told a meeting. But he said the Olypmic priority route network, which takes up 1 percent of the city’s roads, will be limited to 16 days plus a day or two to set the routes up and take them down again. Olympic “fat cats” will be encouraged to take public trans-

port around the events, while tube transport such as the Jubilee line will operate with increased frequency. Johnson told delagates to the London Policy Conference meeting: “I genuinely believe that when the games are under way, we will look back at the anxieties as a kind of Millennium Bug that never materialised because most people travelling in most parts of London will not even notice that the route network exists.” Fears about the Millennium Bug were based on largely false predictions that computers would crash worldwide at the star t of the present centur y because of their inability to handle the date change from 1999 to 2000. — Reuters

Bekele in star field EDINBURGH: Olympic champions Kenenisa Bekele, Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto will compete in the Edinburgh Cross Country in January, organisers announced yesterday. The trio will feature in the invitation three-kilometre race, with an international team challenge between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States and a European select also taking place. For Ethiopia’s Bekele, who won the 5,000 and 10,000-metres double in Beijing in 2008, it is an important event ahead of the London 2012 Games. He said on “I feel very comfortable starting my important Olympic year by competing in Edinburgh. “Because of all the wonderful cross-country races I have run there, and the memories of becoming world champion in Edinburgh after losing my spike, it will feel like coming home.” He added: “I am looking forward to competing with Mo Farah in front of his home crowd, which could make the 10,000m one of the greatest races of the Games.” — AFP

Rangers cruise past Panthers

NY Rangers 6, Florida 1; Chicago 3, San Jose 2 (OT). (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF Philadelphia 18 7 3 101 NY Rangers 17 6 4 83 Pittsburgh 17 9 4 94 New Jersey 14 13 1 71 NY Islanders 9 12 6 62

GA 81 60 75 80 88

PTS 39 38 38 29 24

Boston Toronto Buffalo Montreal Ottawa

Northeast Division 18 9 1 94 15 11 3 91 15 12 2 79 12 11 7 74 13 13 4 91

59 94 79 77 105

37 33 32 31 30

Florida Washington Winnipeg Tampa Bay Carolina

Southeast Division 16 9 5 82 15 12 1 88 13 12 4 82 12 15 2 75 9 18 4 79

77 89 92 96 108

37 31 30 26 22

Chicago Detroit St. Louis Nashville Columbus

Western Conference Central Division 18 8 4 99 18 9 1 89 17 9 3 71 14 11 4 77 8 17 4 71

92 62 62 79 99

40 37 37 32 20

Minnesota Vancouver Edmonton Calgary Colorado

Northwest Division 20 7 3 79 18 10 1 97 14 13 3 83 14 13 2 73 13 16 1 78

64 71 80 80 91

43 37 31 30 27

Pacific Division Dallas 16 11 1 73 78 33 Phoenix 15 11 3 77 76 33 San Jose 15 10 2 75 64 32 Los Angeles 13 12 4 65 67 30 Anaheim 8 16 5 67 95 21 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

NEW YORK: Stephen Weiss No. 9 of the Florida Panthers controls the puck in front of Brad Richards No. 19 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. —AFP NEW YORK: New York’s Derek Stepan scored twice, including a pretty coast-tocoast goal just after the Rangers killed a penalty, to set up the 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers in the NHL on Sunday. Stepan also assisted on Marian Gaborik’s goal late in the second period that made it 5-1 and seemed to take

what spring remained out of the Panthers. New York looked nothing like a team playing for the second night in a row, putting away the Panthers comfortably. Brad Richards, Artem Anisimov and former Panthers defenseman Steve Eminger also scored for New York. Erik Gudbranson scored for Florida.

Blackhawks 3, Sharks 2 In Chicago, Patrick Sharp steered in a loose puck off a rebound at 4:26 of overtime to give Chicago victory over San Jose. Antti Niemi stopped Marian Hossa’s shot from the top of the right circle, but kicked the puck toward the goal line. Sharp swooped in to bury the rebound

for his sixth goal in his past six games. Chicago’s Andrew Brunette forced overtime when he scored on deflection with 1:06 left in the third period, with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker. Rookie Marcus Kruger also scored for the Blackhawks. Jamie McGinn and Justin Braun scored for San Jose. —AP

Higher start gates not likely for Whistler luge

NAPLES: Brendan Steele (left) and Keegan Bradley are sprayed with champagne by a friend after winning the Franklin Templeton Shootout. —AP

Bradley, Steele win Templeton Shootout NAPLES: PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot a 13under 59 in scramble play Sunday to become the first PGA Tour rookies to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Bradley and Steele took control with an eagle by Steele on No. 14 and a birdie on No. 15, finishing at 32-under 184 for a three-stroke victory over two teams. “We played well,” Bradley said. “We got off to a slow start, kind of like we did all three days, but we played this last stretch of holes really well.” Steele added: “We had so much fun that it made it a lot easier for us.” Bradley and Steele had been talking about playing in Greg Norman’s event since the spring, and said they weren’t at the three-format event to “goof off.” After sharing the lead with Champions Tour golfers Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price following the first round of modified alternate shot, they were one ahead

of them after Saturday’s better-ball. Calcavecchia birdied No. 18 to give him and Price a 61, moving them into a tie for second at 187 with Rory Sabbatini and Jhonattan Vegas, who shot 60. Charles Howell III and Justin Leonard, and 2009 champions Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker tied for fourth another shot back. “We didn’t hit a lot of good iron shots today,” Price said. “We didn’t put the ball close enough to the hole. We put a lot of pressure on our putting.” Bradley, the reigning PGA Championship winner, and Steele made seven straight birdies from Nos. 6 to 13, then Steele made an eagle putt from off the green, and followed that up with a 4-footer on No. 15 for birdie. “That was a bonus,” Steele said of the eagle. On the next hole, Steele hit a 9-iron from 135 yards - aiming at his wife, Anastasia, who was standing in the crowd behind the green - to three feet. — AP

WHISTLER: The luge track is safer and better than it was at the Olympics almost two years ago. But it’s unlikely international luge races will return to the higher start positions at Whistler Sliding Centre, even though many competitors would like to see that. The blinding speed lugers reached on the original Olympic track make the higher starts too dangerous, says Svein Romstad, secretary-general of the International Luge Federation. “I do not anticipate ever going back to the start again,” Romstad told The Canadian Press during the weekend’s luge World Cup. “Most of the athletes do want to go from there, but we have to look at the whole picture. The most prudent thing to do is remain where we are,” he added. “The competition starts are legitimate that we have right now as far as the length and speed. It’s really not an urgency and a need to go back up again.” The death of Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili during luge training on the opening day of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics resulted in lower start positions for the games. The men started from what was the women’s start, and the women and doubles dropped to the junior start position. Those same starts were used at this World Cup. Canadian luger Sam Edney would like to see a return to the higher starts. “Everyone feels confident on this track,” he said. “It’s something I

think can be done in the future.” Olympic doubles champion Andreas Linger of Austria favors the lower start positions. Linger, who along with brother Wolfgang won the doubles race over the weekend, says luge speeds reached 88 mph at the test World Cup in 2009. “To be honest, this was a little bit too fast for us,” he said. “Our opinion is it’s safer to go from the lower start.” Kumaritashvili was traveling at more than 89 mph when he lost control of his sled going into Turn 16. He flew off the track and slammed into a metal pole. Luge sleds can reach 96 mph when starting from the top of the Whistler track. That’s about 11 mph more than the designer’s original calculations. Romstad said he received posi-

tive feedback from athletes and team captains during the Whistler World Cup. It was the first major international luge competition held on the track since the Olympics. The Whistler track has undergone subtle changes, and safety has been improved since the death at the Olympics. Teams were also given extra training time on the track leading to this year’s competition. “Since the Olympics there have been quite a bit of changes on the track, improvements and enhancements,” Romstad said. “It seems to be working very well.” One change the luge federation wants before the 2013 world championships in Whistler is a shift in the position of the women’s start. The current start is too near a corner, Romstad said.

WHISTLER: Erin Hamlin, of the United States, slides during her second run of women’s luge at the World Cup at the Whistler Sliding Centre. —AP

This leaves too little time to make the turn, resulting in mistakes. “The end result is too many times there are mistakes happening which determines the competition,” said Romstad. “It’s a fairness issue, not a safety issue. Romstad also wants the start moved about 40 yards down the track. It is the responsibility of Whistler Sliding Centre to pay for the changes. Romstad said talks with local officials have been positive. One challenge facing the federation is spreading nine world cup races among potential host venues. Romstad, who raced luge for Norway but now lives in Roswell, Ga., knows the sport has the most support in Europe, especially Germany. But he wants to see it grow in North America. “Our sport is very Europe centric,” he said. “This is such a popular sport in Germany. Our sponsors are German.” One idea is a North American circuit within the World Cup. “A cup within the Cup,” Romstad said. There are 16 luge tracks around the world, with two more coming as Sochi, Russia, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, prepare to host the next two Winter Olympics. Four of those tracks are in North America. Besides Whistler there are venues in Calgary, Alberta; Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Salt Lake City. “I think North America has a very strong case,” he said. “With four tracks we really have to come back here. If we are back here, why not try and use all the tracks here.” —AP



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Tussle over America’s Cup use of Alcatraz SAN FRANCISCO: The latest battle for control of Alcatraz Island is under way. Many have laid claim to the wind-swept rock in the middle of the San Francisco Bay since the last prisoner left the federal land in 1963. American Indians occupied the island for 19 months ending in 1972. And politicians have floated the idea of building a casino or even a new San Francisco 49ers football stadium on Alcatraz. Today, the National Park Service and organizers of the America’s Cup are tussling over Alcatraz’s role in the Super Bowl of yacht racing. The island will offer some of the best views of the most prestigious competition when multi-million dollar boats take to the San Francisco Bay in 2012 and 2013. Alcatraz sits almost directly in the middle of the proposed race course and offers 360-degree views of the bay. But the island already receives 1.4 million visitors a year and is at capacity during the summer tourist season. Therein lies one of the main sources of tension over how to balance competing priorities that arose when San Francisco was selected to host the 34th America’s Cup contest. The National Park Service manages the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Alcatraz and much of the race course. The city of San Francisco is in charge of satisfying environmental regulations, securing government permits and spearheading planning for the event.

The two got off to a rocky start when the city released a draft environmental impact report over the summer stating Alcatraz would be closed to the public and given over to well-heeled event sponsors and other VIPs for private viewing of the race. The report also made similar claims about Fort Baker at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Both are popular tourist destinations. “All lands and facilities in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Alcatraz and Fort Baker, will remain open to the public throughout the entire period of the races,” park officials declared in rejecting that proposal. Today, the city’s America’s Cup project manager says the episode was a misunderstanding rooted in poorly written passages in the report. Project manager Michael Martin said that organizers did discuss setting up private viewing areas for sponsors. But that idea was scrapped after park officials made it clear the America’s Cup would have to abide by the same rules as the public when visiting the island. The park service forbids any kind of seating — from bleachers to folding chairs — and limits picnicking to a dock area with obstructed views on Alcatraz. There are no food vendors on the island. “There won’t be any great accommodations,” said park service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet. “Because of that, Alcatraz may not be the best place

to watch.” Park officials said America’s Cup organizers will have to go through the same permitting process the public must go through to secure the prison for after-hours functions. Organizers plan to host parties in the prison’s cell block in the evenings. The America’s Cup is expected to create 8,000 jobs and inject more than $1.4 billion into the region’s economy during planning, construction and the actual racing, which will take place in a series of contests in 2012 and 2013. But the millions of spectators over that time— with 500,000 on peak days_will test the Bay Area’s transportation network, sanitation systems and the environment during about 50 days of racing. The city’s draft environmental impact report, which lays out the preliminary plans for the races and the proposed precautions to be taken to protect the environment, drew comments and concerns from 34 public agencies, 41 non-governmental organizations and 115 individuals. The report, the comments and the city’s responses will be presented to the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday. No construction can begin until the commission approves the report, and its decision can be appealed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The National Park Service’s comments and con-

cerns over the environmental impact run 22 pages. One concern was the potential impact of 80,000 people descending on historic Crissy Field, which has a beach and a newly restored wetland. The park service also said the city has failed to explain “how ferry traffic to and from Alcatraz would be maintained, and what impacts would be to visitors attempting to visit the island.” It noted that ferry service “currently runs every 30 min. through what would be the race area.” In response, the city said it would work with the US Coast Guard and the ferry service to ensure safe passage during the races. The park service is also concerned about how organizers plan to protect birds, marine mammals and plants. The city said it will prohibit America’s Cup-related boats from coming within 100 yards (90 meters) of Alcatraz and barring helicopters from getting any closer than 1,000 feet (300 meters). “In our experience, it is not realistic to believe that all events will proceed as planned around Alcatraz and that sensitive areas and closures will be adequately enforced,” the park service responded in asking for bigger buffer zones. Both sides say they are continuing to negotiate. “We are still in a dialogue with the park service,” said the city’s project manager Martin. “We are taking their concerns very seriously.”—AP

Sweden’s Stalheim leads lasers at sailing worlds

PERTH: Entries from Germany (left) and Spain (right) compete during a spinnaker run in yellow fleet racing in the 49er class at the ISAF World Sailing Championships off Fremantle. — AFP

Sexton kicks Leinster to 18-13 victory at Bath LONDON: Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton kicked defending champions Leinster to a scrappy 18-13 win over Bath in the third round of Heineken Cup pool matches on Sunday. Sexton slotted over six penalties and although Bath scored the game’s only try through England utility back Matt Banahan the Irish side clung on for a victory that kept them top of Pool Three on 11 points. “The frustration was that we couldn’t get the ball over their line,” Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said. “We appeared to have a couple of gilt-edged chances but I am delighted with the result.” Leicester’s disappointing season continued when they lost 30-12 at Clermont Auvergne who top Pool Four by a point from Ulster. Centre Wesley Fofana scored two tries for the French side as Leicester, twice European champions and threetimes runners-up, slipped to third in the standings. The big losers of the weekend were last season’s runners-up Northampton who exited the competition following their 41-22 defeat at Castres. The English team’s third successive loss left them bottom of the Pool One standings led by Munster who edged out Scarlets 17-14. Toulouse signalled their determination to win back the Heineken Cup with a powerful 21-10 victory over English Premiership leaders Harlequins who had not lost in 14 games this season. Winger Timoci Matanavou scored two tries for the French four-times European champions and although Harlequins hit back with a try by fullback Mike Brown, Toulouse were too strong for their hosts and top Pool Six with three wins out of three. English champions Saracens lead Pool Five after tries by Rhys Gill, Ernst Joubert and Chris Wyles secured an impressive 31-26 win over the Ospreys and Italian side Treviso upset Biarritz 30-26 in Italy. Cardiff Blues maintained their 100 percent record in Pool Two with a 25-8 win over Edinburgh and London Irish notched up their first victory in the competition this season with a 34-14 success at Racing Metro 92. The fourth round of matches is next weekend. — Reuters

FREMANTLE: Jesper Stalheim of Sweden edged out triple world champion Tom Slingsby of Australia to top the leaderboard after the first day of Laser races at the sailing world championships yesterday. The 27-year-old Slingsby won his first race by a massive 190 meters, but had to rally from 28th to finish sixth in his second race. Stalheim finished his races in first and fifth. Australia’s Ashley Brunning is third overall after coming fourth in both heats. “The first race was perfect,” Slingsby said. “Just a good start, I went to the right side of the course and it was only myself and the Polish on the right side and we ended up first and second.” Jonas Warrer and Soeren Hansen of Denmark share the 49er skiff lead with New Zealand pair Peter Burling and Blair Tuke after three races. Germany’s Tobias Schadewaldt and Hannes Baumann are third. British duo Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson lead the men’s Star keelboat despite finishing no better than third in any of their four heats. Americans Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Faith are second with Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen of Germany in third. Britain’s Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes lead Natalia Ivanova and Diana Krutskikh of Russia after one race in the 470 women’s dinghy class, and Nimrod Mashich of Israel leads Poland’s Piotr Myzka after one race in the men’s windsurfer. The first medals of the Dec. 3-18 championships were awarded Sunday.—AP

Triumphant return for KSSC team from Thailand KUWAIT: Khalid Burabie’a of Kuwait returned home following successful participation at the King’s Cup jet ski grand prix in which he won two gold medals in the Expert Runabout Limited and Pro Runabout 1600 class races. Burabie’a was also joined by fellow Kuwait Sea Sports Club member Yousuf Al-Abdulrazaq whose participation at

the Pro Runabout 800 class was cut short due to mechanical problems. This is the second successful participation for the KSSC in an international tournament within the past couple of months, as they collected 16 medals, including 6 gold and 7 silver, during the 2011 World Jet Ski Grand Prix in Arizona, the United States early October.

QUEBEC CITY: Pairs gold medalists Aliona Savchenko (top) and Robin Szolkowy performs during the closing gala at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. — AP

Davis and White of US win Grand Prix Final ice dance QUEBEC CITY: World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States won the ice dance Sunday at the ISU Grand Prix Final. The Americans skated to a flowing waltz of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and scored 112.38 points in the free dance for a total of 188.55. “It felt really good out there, we really like this free dance a lot, it’s just comfortable, we don’t feel like we have to try too hard in certain parts, or take it easy in anything, it suits our skating style,” White said. “I think we’re just able to get in the mood and it just comes naturally.” Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada’s Olympic ice dance champions, took the silver, scoring 112.33 in the free dance for 183.34 overall. But they were disappointed with the finish. “We’re not happy, we felt like we laid down a good skate and in our opinions a good enough skate to win and obviously

we’re missing something,” Moir said. “It’s tough to swallow, especially when Tessa and I have had probably our best fall to date and this is the best start of a season that we’ve had. It was a little easier to swallow when we weren’t doing the training or Tessa was in pain, but now that everything’s a go, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.” Virtue and Moir were gunning for their first Grand Prix Final title. They skipped the Grand Prix two of the previous three seasons after Virtue twice underwent surgery on her lower legs. “There won’t be any problem with motivation for the rest of the year,” Moir said. “It’s bulletin board material now.” Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third with a 169.69 total. About 10,000 fans attended the Final. Saturday’s events drew about 2,800 to the 3,234-seat venue, while 2,400 turned out to watch Sunday’s ice dance.—AP

Cologne aim to down Mainz BERLIN: Cologne host Mainz in today’s rearranged Bundesliga match hoping Germany star Lukas Podolski can add to his growing goal tally with his former club Bayern Munich on the horizon. The 26-year-old scored twice in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Freiburg to leave him with 13 goals and five assists from 14 German league games this season with his team 10th in the table. Cologne face two games in three days as they travel to Bayern on Friday for their final German league game of 2011 before the winter break — Podolski spent three unhappy seasons in Munich before returning to Cologne in 2009. Podolski’s Cologne contract expires in 2013, but title contenders Schalke admitted last week they are eager to sign him, leading to a media frenzy off the pitch. On the field, he has become Cologne’s one-man-show, scoring nine of his team’s last 13 goals, and says the Rhineland club must keep their form against minnows Mainz, who are 13th. “We want to stoke up the fire against Mainz,” said Podolski. Having spent the weekend fielding questions about his star player, coach Stale Solbakken said there is no news as to Podolski’s future plans with

Cologne eager to offer him a contract extension. “I have no new Podolski news, I don’t know which club has got in touch now,” said Solbakken at a press conference yesterday. Cologne can move up to seventh if they beat Mainz and with 20 point so far, are enjoying their best run in the first half of the season for 11 years. “We have a great chance to be seventh, that should be incentive enough,” said Cologne goalkeeper Michael Rensing. “If we can take 23 points, that would be super for the first part of the season,” said Rensing. Mainz are unbeaten in their last four games, including a rare win over leader Bayern Munich at the end of the month and Solbakken warned against complacency. “Their team is difficult to analyse, their coach (Thomas Tuchel) changed their tactics recently and they are having the best period of the season so far,” he said. The original Cologne-Mainz match was cancelled on November 19 following the attempted suicide of referee Babak Rafati in his hotel room the morning of the match. — AFP



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New Zealand win Hobart thriller

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Dhoni hoping Zaheer return will boost India CHENNAI: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said yesterday that the presence of experienced pace bowler Zaheer Khan will greatly improve the team’s chances of winning an upcoming four-test series in Australia. “The bowling looks good now as Zaheer is back in the side and Umesh Yadav can bowl at over 140 kilometers (88 miles) per hour,” Dhoni said before the team’s departure for the four-test series that starts in Melbourne on Dec. 26. “This team can beat Australia.” Khan, who has taken 273 wickets in 79 tests, has recovered from hamstring and ankle injuries that he sustained during a tour of England this summer. The 33-year-old was named as an additional member to the squad of 16 subject to fitness, which he has had to prove in domestic cricket. Coach Duncan Fletcher had indicated that Khan’s fitness needed to be assessed in practice games. “He has looked to be in very good condition but we do not want to rush him into it (test matches),” Fletcher said. “The practice games will be important for him.” Khan’s presence assumes significance after India has already had to withdraw two first-choice pace bowlers due to injuries. Praveen Kumar (rib) and Varun Aaron (back) have been replaced by Abhimanyu Mithun and uncapped Vinay Kumar. Ishant Sharma is the only other bowler apart from Zaheer to have played tests in Australia as spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are also making their first trip there for a Test series. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was not picked. “The new bowlers have done well in the

opportunities they have got and have stepped up when the main bowlers weren’t available. Our bowlers are talented and they will improve with experience,” Dhoni said. “It is important to have a slow buildup for bowlers and so the practice games will be useful ahead of the Boxing Day test,” said Dhoni, who was rested for a five-game one-day home series against the West Indies that ended on Sunday. “I am feeling mentally fresh after the break and am looking for ward to the Australian tour. I feel we have enough time to prepare for the first test,” Dhoni said. Dhoni added that the experience of his batting lineup is likely to provide a boost to the team. “Many of our players have played in Australia before and that will help us. If you see, the batting lineup is quite similar (to the one that toured Australia in 2007-08),” he said. India has an experienced batting lineup that includes Sachin Tendulkar, who is looking for a 100th international century. Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are the other experienced batsmen in the team. India will play two practice games against Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI in Canberra - a two-day fixture (Dec. 15-16) followed by a three-day fixture (Dec. 1921). The tests will be played in Melbourne (Dec. 26-30), Sydney (Jan. 3-7), Perth (Jan. 13-17) and Adelaide (Jan. 24-28). After the tests, India will play two Twenty20 games against Australia and participate in a triangular one-day series that also includes Sri Lanka.—AP

HOBART: New Zealand paceman Doug Bracewell took six wickets in a devastating spell of bowling to fire his country to a dramatic first test victory over Australia since 1993 by just seven runs yesterday. Australia, requiring 241 for victory on the fourth day of the second test, had appeared to be grinding their way to their target on the back of David Warner’s maiden test century until Bracewell (6-40) helped send them tumbling from 159 for two to 233 all out. The victory was the first on Australian soil for the Black Caps since 1985 and came despite opener Warner’s unbeaten 123, which earned him the man of the match award in his second test. In a thrillingly tense finish, Warner and Nathan Lyon put on 34 for the last wicket before Bracewell bowled the spinner through the gate for nine, ending what had been a topsy-turvy test match on a greentop wicket at the Bellerive Oval. New Zealand’s victory, only their third in Australia, levelled the series at 1-1 after the hosts won the first test in Brisbane by nine wickets. “We believed in ourselves that we could win this match, we knew we had to fight, we knew we had to play a lot better than we did in Brisbane,” New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor told reporters. Australia had started the day on 72 without loss and confident of victory despite being bundled out for 136 in their first innings on Saturday. “Obviously disappointed, no doubt,” said Australia captain Michael Clarke. “The way we played in Brisbane was outstanding and I thought we were pretty inconsistent throughout this test match. “I want to pay credit to David Warner for his first test century today and also to Nathan Lyon for the way he hung in there. “I think if a few of us batters had shown the character and courage he showed today, we wouldn’t be standing here with the same result today.” New Zealand struck almost immediately after play started with quick Chris Martin having Phil Hughes caught by Martin Guptill in the slips for 20. It was the fourth time the Martin-Guptill combination had claimed the wicket of Hughes in the series and probably ended the embattled lefthander’s hopes of a place in the side for the upcoming series against India. Warner combined with Usman Khawaja to put on 50 runs for the second wicket before a brilliant catch from Taylor in the slips off the bowling of debutant Trent Boult sent Khawaja back to the pavilion for 23. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had been looking for a big score on his home island and settled in well enough but had made just 16 when he slapped a short ball from Bracewell straight to Tim Southee at extra cover. Bracewell’s next over put the match back in the balance when he dismissed Clarke and Michael Hussey for ducks on consecutive balls. “(Dougie) bowled outstandingly well for a young guy, 21, in only his third test match against Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, that’s something to tell your grandkids about,” Taylor said. Clarke was deceived by an outswinger and caught in the slips by Taylor, before an inswinger trapped Hussey lbw with umpire Asad Rauf forced to reverse his decision after a TV review. Warner reached his century with two runs through square leg soon after lunch but the Australians were reduced to 192-6 when Tim Southee had Brad Haddin, the last recognised batsman, caught by Taylor for 15. Peter Siddle (two) followed three balls later with Southee again taking the wicket courtesy of a catch by Jesse Ryder before Bracewell took over to end the match. James Pattinson, who was named man of the series after taking 14 wickets at the cost of 196 runs in his first two Test matches, had made four when he got a thick edge which Guptill snapped up in the slips. Two balls later a peach of a delivery clean-bowled Mitchell Starc for a duck to leave the Australians languishing on 199-9 and set up the nailbiting climax. “They fought the whole way,” Taylor added. “We would have won by 40 runs against some teams but the way Lyon and Warner played, I nearly had a heart attack, I think.”—Reuters

HOBART: The Australian cricket team poses with the Trans Tasman Trophy after the second Test. New Zealand won the Test but Australia retained the trophy.—AP

SCOREBOARD Scoreboard after New Zealand beat Australia by seven runs on the fourth day of the second test at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart yesterday: New Zealand 150 (D. Brownlie 56; J Pattinson 5-51) and 226 (R. Taylor 56) Australia first innings 136 Australia second innings (overnight 72-0) P. Hughes c Guptill b Martin 20 D. Warner not out 123 U. Khawaja c Taylor b Boult 23 R. Ponting c Southee b Bracewell 16 M. Clarke c Taylor b Bracewell 0 M. Hussey lbw b Bracewell 0 B. Haddin c Taylor b Southee 15

P. Siddle c Ryder b Southee 2 J. Pattinson c Guptill b Bracewell 4 M. Starc b Bracewell 0 N. Lyon b Bracewell 9 Extras (lb-18, b-3) 21 Total (all out, 63.4 overs) 233 Fall of wicket: 1-72 2-122 3-159 4-159 5-159 6-192 7-194 8-199 9-199 Bowling: Martin 16-4-44-1, Boult 12-1-51-1, Southee 19-3-77-2, Bracewell 16.4-4-40-6. Two-test series drawn 1-1

Rehman steers Pakistan to victory over Bangladesh

Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka wait on Sangakkara fitness CENTURION: Sri Lanka are confident key batsman Kumar Sangakkara will recover from a hand injury in time for the first Test against South Africa starting on Thursday. Sangakkara, 34, split the webbing between the index and second fingers of his right hand during the Sri Lanka’s weatheraffected warm-up match against an SA Invitation XI in Benoni at the weekend and was unable to bat. Sri Lanka team manager Anura Tennekoon told Reuters he was confident Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s second highest all-time run-scorer with 9167 runs in 103 tests, will be able to play in the first test at Centurion. “Sanga has split the webbing on his right hand, but it’s okay, he’s recovering well and, according to the medical experts, he should be fine for the first test,” Tennekoon said yesterday. Sri Lanka’s fast bowling prospects are less positive, however, after Nuwan Pradeep’s hamstring strain added to a run of injuries among the pacemen. Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal were all ruled out of the tour before departure and the 25-year-old Pradeep is now likely to be joining them back home, Tennekoon said. “Nuwan Pradeep will likely have to return

home and be replaced. The replacement hasn’t been decided yet because the selectors want to look at a few bowlers in domestic matches first. So it’s unlikely the replacement will arrive in time for the first test.” Sri Lanka have not won a test in South Africa in seven attempts and the home side’s vice-captain AB de Villiers said the tourists held little fear for them. “If we get a good cricket wicket and we play good cricket, then they’re not going to stop us,” De Villiers told a news conference at Centurion yesterday. The batsman said the series represented an ideal opportunity for the South Africans to end an astonishing gap of three years since their last series win at home, over Bangladesh in 2008/9. “We need to get back to playing consistently good cricket for longer periods, that’s probably the reason we haven’t won at home for a while. We want to do that for the whole series against Sri Lanka,” De Villiers said. “My feeling is that test cricket is all about momentum and you get waves that are up and down. Whoever maximises their opportunities when they’re on top, when they have the opposition on the ropes, will win. You have to finish off the opposition, be aggressive, whether you’re batting or bowling.” —Reuters

CHITTAGONG: Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman took three wickets early yesterday to help push Pakistan to an innings and 184-run win over Bangladesh in the first test in Chittagong. Rehman ended the resistance of Mushfiqur Rahim (49) an hour into the second session on the fourth day, finishing with figures of four for 88 after he had earlier dismissed debutant Nazimuddin and former captain Shakib Al Hasan. Nazimuddin and Shakib both completed half-centuries before throwing away their wickets, allowing Pakistan to quicken their charge towards victory. Saeed Ajmal bowled Mahmudullah for a duck and Aizaz Cheema took the final wicket when he had paceman Shahadat Hossain caught by Umar Gul at mid-off for 21. Bangladesh finished the second innings on 275-9 as last man Rubel Hossain was unable to bat after injuring his shoulder while trying to save a boundary the previous day. “Credit goes to everyone, they are really putting in the effort,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said in a news conference. “They are really up to the mark, they are really fulfilling their responsibility, that’s why the team is winning,” he added. The home side began the day with little hope of saving the match and suffered their first blow in the 10th over when Rehman had Shakib for 51 soon after the all-rounder reached his ninth test 50 with a single off the same bowler. Nazimuddin, on 41 overnight, also survived some anxious moments before he completed his maiden test half-century with three runs off a Rehman delivery. Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal dropped him twice on 51 and 57 but the right-hander was unable to take full benefit of his reprieves. Two sixes in consecutive overs, off Rehman and Ajmal, seemed to have given him his confidence back but the local boy finally paid the price for his aggression when Ajmal took a catch off Rehman at long off, ending Nazimuddin’s innings on 78. Elias Sunny was unbeaten on 20 when the match came to an end with more than a day and a session to play. Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim was left ruing their performance of opening

day. “I think the first two sessions on the opening day cost us the game,” he said. “We did not do that bad after that period. If we could survive those two sessions, may be the situation could have been different,” he added.

Bangladesh were bowled out for 135 runs in their first innings on the first two sessions of the opening day before Pakistan batted more than five sessions to declare their innings on 594-5 on the third day.—Reuters

CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh’s Mohammed Nazimuddin (right) plays a shot as Pakistan’s Azhar Ali (foreground) misfields during the fourth day of the first cricket Test match. —AP

SCOREBOARD Scoreboard after Pakistan beat Bangladesh by an innings and 184 runs in the first test on the fourth day in Chittagong yesterday: Bangladesh first innings 135 all out Pakistan first innings 594-5 declared Bangladesh second innings: Tamim Iqbal b Mohd Hafeez 15 Nazimuddin c Ajmal b Rehman 78 Shahriar Nafees lbw b Saeed Ajmal 28 Ashraful c Hafeez b Abdur Rehman 0 Hossain c Hafeez b Aizaz Cheema 3 Shakib Al Hasan b Abdur Rehman 51 Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Rehman 49 Mahmudullah b Saeed Ajmal 0

Elias Sunny not out 20 Shahadat c Gul b Aizaz Cheema 21 Rubel Hossain (injured) Extras (b-2 lb-5 nb-3) 10 Total (all out; 82.3 overs) 275 Fall of wickets: 1-24 2-74 3-75 4-80 5-158 6205 7-210 8-252 9-275 Bowling: Umar Gul 13-2-45-0 (nb-3), Aizaz Cheema 7.3-1-40-2, Mohammad Hafeez 7-221-1, Saeed Ajmal 26-7-74-2, Abdur Rehman 30-7-88-4.




MEXICO: Tigres’ Damian Alvarez (center) holds up the Mexican League soccer championship trophy as he celebrates with teammates the victory 3-1 over Santos de Torreon in Monterrey. —AP

Tigres end long wait for third Mexican title MEXICO CITY: Tigres UANL won their third Mexican league title, and first in 29 years, when they beat Santos Laguna 3-1 in the second leg of the Apertura final in Monterrey on Sunday. The University of Nuevo Leon side won the final 4-1 on aggregate following their 1-0 first leg victory away to Santos in Torreon on Thursday. Tigres, whose previous titles came in 1978 and 1982, lifted their first crown

since the introduction of two championships per season in 1996. “This is something hard to describe, we carried the burden of the club’s history of not being able to get a title and now we feel privileged, this moment is unforgettable for us,” Tigres midfielder Damian Alvarez told reporters. Santos were down to 10 men from the 13th minute after goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez was sent off for

bringing down Brazilian forward Danilinho. However, Tigres did not take immediate advantage as reserve keeper Miguel Becerra saved Lucas Lobos’ penalty and then Santos leveled the tie at 1-1 on aggregate on the half hour when striker Oribe Peralta scored from a Jose Cardenas pass. Tigres equalised seven minutes into the second half when striker Hector

Mancilla headed home a cross from Jorge Torres Nilo. The home side’s numerical advantage began to tell and in the 64th minute they went ahead with a goal by Danilinho. Santos’ frustration boiled over and centre back Felipe Baloy was sent off for a bad foul on Lobos with 20 minutes left. Tigres also had defender Israel Jimenez red carded for trying to strike an opponent.

Substitute striker Alan Pulido put the match beyond doubt with Tigres’ third goal four minutes from time following a one-two with Danilinho. “We’re going to rest for a few days because next week we’re going to have to get working again,” said Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti after his 800th match as a trainer in Mexico. The Clausura, the second of the season’s championships, kicks off on Jan. 6.—Reuters

Real seek Cup solace amid Ronaldo criticism

BUENOS AIRES: River Plate’s defender Juan Diaz (right) vies for the ball with Patronato’s midfielder Marcelo Guzman during their Argentine Second Division football match. —AFP

Boca stay unbeaten in championship BUENOS AIRES: Striker Dario Cvitanich scored 12 minutes from time as Boca Juniors celebrated the league title they clinched last weekend with a 1-0 win over 10-man All Boys at the Bombonera on Sunday. Boca finished the Apertura championship unbeaten with 12 wins and seven draws, scoring 25 goals and conceding only six. They extended their unbeaten run to 29 matches, which includes the final 10 of last season. Cvitanich took his goal tally to five as Boca’s leading scorer, six behind the championship’s leading marksman Ruben Ramirez, who could increase his total when Godoy Cruz play their last match away to Atletico Rafaela late yesterday. All Boys had their Uruguayan midfielder Juan Pablo Rodriguez sent off four minutes into the second half for reacting badly to a booking. Juan Sebastian Veron received a standing ovation at Estudiantes’ home match against Union, which they won 2-0

with goals from striker Mauro Boselli and defender Cristian Cellay. It was originally going to be the former Argentina midfielder’s last match as he had said earlier in the season he would retire at the end of the Apertura. But during the week Veron, who has been plagued by ankle problems, said that following friendly pressure from team mates and fans he had postponed his decision to retire and would play for another six months and retire in June when he will be 37. Four teams will be vying on Monday for Argentina’s fifth berth in next year’s Copa Libertadores to join Boca, 2011 Clausura champions Velez Sarsfield, Lanus and Arsenal in South America’s elite club competition. Among them are record seven times South American champions Independiente who are at home to Tigre, who also have a marginal chance of qualifying. Racing Club, away to Velez, and Godoy Cruz are the other teams who will be fighting for the Copa berth.—Reuters

Inter eye European spot ROME: Inter Milan will be eyeing a top six spot when they travel to Genoa in Serie A today in a game postponed last month due to bad weather. The nerazzurri have had a torrid start to the season in the league but due to the tight nature of the table, they could move into a top-six position with a victory. Having hovered just above the relegation zone for most of the campaign so far, that would be no mean feat for the Milan giants. A disastrous start saw them lose five and win only two of their first nine league matches but a recent run of three wins in their last four games has seen them break into the top half. Making it four wins in five would still leave them a significant distance off the leaders, but would at least give them hope of competing for a European or even maybe a Champions League place next season. Bringing back that hope could also encourage the club’s fans to return to the stadium. Attendances have been very low this season as Inter have struggled but coach Claudio Ranieri believes that if they can turn the corner, the fans will be back. “We’re going forward like this, step by step, with desire and determination,” he said. “We’re still lacking a cohesive game,

especially when we play 4-4-2, but we’re not letting up. We need to get the fans back into the San Siro and when we see the ground full again we’ll have turned the corner. “This year we’re not on the motorway, we’re on a winding country road and we have to be careful.” Genoa’s top scorer Rodrigo Palacio will miss the game with a groin strain. The last time Genoa had to do without the Argentine, at home to AC Milan, they slumped to a 2-0 defeat, although they weren’t helped by the sending off of centre-back Kakha Kaladze. However, Genoa aren’t the only ones with a striker problem as Inter’s Giampaolo Pazzini has been forced to defend his angry goal celebration against Fiorentina. Pazzini, who hadn’t scored in the league for 77 days before that, looked angry and seemed to be directing his ire at a certain section of the fans. However, he says that isn’t the case. “My celebration absolutely wasn’t a criticism or an insult to the fans and I thought I had already made that clear after the game when I said it was simply something spontaneous,” he said. “It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular and I was looking at the middle of the pitch. It’s really disappointing to read and hear certain things, even that’s part of the game.”—AFP

MADRID: King’s Cup holders Real Madrid travel to third-tier Ponferradina for their last-32 first leg today smarting from Saturday’s La Liga humbling at the hands of bitter rivals Barcelona and stung by criticism of their top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo. Jose Mourinho’s side squandered the lead and crashed to a 3-1 reverse to Barca at their Bernabeu stadium, a result that lifted the champions back to the top of the standings on goal difference, albeit with one more game played. Portuguese forward Ronaldo missed two excellent chances and fluffed a slew of free kicks. He suffered the indignity of being whistled by his own fans and was slammed in the normally cheer-leading Madrid-based sports media. The former World Player of the Year’s performance again prompted unflattering comparisons with the current holder of the award, Barca’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi, who had a relatively quiet night by his standards but whose brilliant run and assist created Barca’s equaliser. Roberto Palomar, a columnist in Marca sports daily, accused Ronaldo of selfishness yesterday, saying the 26-year-old was “obsessed” with winning a second World Player award and too often shot at goal instead of passing to a team mate. “The club are going to have to bribe (Ronaldo) so that he behaves like a footballer and not

TOKYO: Barcelona’s Maxwell (left), Seydou Keita (center) and Cesc Fabregas work out during the team’s training in Yokohama. Barcelona will play the semi-final match in the Club World Cup, on Thursday. —AP like a child,” Palomar wrote. player when he joined Real from all featuring top-flight teams at “Cristiano wants the Ballon Manchester United for a fee of third-tier opponents. Barca, who d’Or at any cost and is so around 90 million euros ($120.3 lost 1-0 to Real in last year’s obsessed that he thinks the only million) at the end of the 2008- final, won 1-0 at Hospitalet, way of getting it is to play his 09 season. Atletico Madrid were beaten 2-1 way,” he added. “Here (at Real) we all win and at Albacete and Athletic Bilbao “And his way of playing is to lose together,” Ramos told won 1-0 at Real Oviedo. shoot at goal whenever he gets reporters after Saturday’s match. Four of Tuesday’s first legs the ball, from any position ... “It’s not fair to single out the are all first-division clashes, with whether there are team mates guilty or blame the defeat on Getafe hosting Malaga, Granada free or not.” one player,” added the Spain playing at Real Sociedad, Racing Club captains Iker Casillas defender. “Cristiano is a great Santander at home to Rayo and Sergio Ramos have rallied player and he always helps us.” Vallecano and Sporting Gijon at behind Ronaldo, who became Three of the Cup last-32 first Real Mallorca. The return legs the world’s most expensive legs have already been played, are next week.—Reuters

Club World Cup beefs up security TOYOTA: Police will ramp up security at the Club World Cup after the quarter-final between Tunisia’s Esperance and Al Sadd of Qatar was marred by a pitch invasion and outbreaks of violence. Several fans from the African champions attempted to get on the pitch at the final whistle after the side from Tunis were defeated 2 -1 on S un day , a nd one Esperance supporter made it to within feet of players and officials. That an angry fan was able to leap a barrier, evade security and get so close will come as an embarrassment to FIFA, the world governing body, in what is one of its most high-profile tournaments of the year. Police wrestled to the ground several Esperance fans who tried to get onto the pitch, further riling fans who were already irate at what they perceived to be several key decisions that had gone against the Africans. “Following disturbances at the conclusion of yesterday’s match between Al Sadd and Esperance, the security forces inside the stadium acted as quickly as possible to restore order,” FIFA said in a statement yesterday. Blaming a “minority of supporters”, it said FIFA would in cr ease s e c ur i t y f or Esperance’s match against Monterrey of Mexico on Wednesday to decide who finishes the annual intercontinental tournament fifth. Esperance fans, some of whom appeared to be drunk, had confronted supporters of

the CONCACAF champions outside the Toyota Stadium on Sunday, Mexican journalists at the scene said. Monterrey later crashed to Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol on penalties. FIFA, which said nobody was injured or arrested in the trouble after the game with Asian champions Al Sadd, could also punish Esperance for the behavior of its fans, s e v e r a l hund r e d of w hom w e r e a t t he match. N a b i l Ma a l oul , t he c oa c h of A f r i c a n Champions League winners Esperance, who are known as “the blood and gold” because of the color of their kit, apologised afterwards. “I’m really sorry. Sometimes that happens. Tunisia and Al Sadd are sisters, but of course this should not happen,” he said. The Tunisian fans and players were furious after Chilean referee Enrique Osses ruled out two goals for offside and failed to award them what looked like a penalty in the dying minutes. Football hooliganism is extremely rare in Japan, but police and stewards were forced to intervene on at least two sides of the stadium in Toyota, where Esperance were c he e r e d on b y a s m a l l b ut v oc i f e r ous minority of mostly men. The disturbances cap a difficult year for FIFA and its controversial president Sepp Blatter. The Swiss apologised last month after he said allegations of on-pitch racism should be settled by a handshake, leading to calls for his resignation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron labelled the comments “appalling”. FIFA this year also launched an anti-corruption drive to bring transparency to the powerful world body. The Zurich-based organisation has been mired in corruption allegations since June over Blatter’s acrimonious battle for the FIFA presidency with Asian football supremo Mohamed bin Hammam. The Qatari was eventually banned for life from all football-related activity after being accused of trying to buy votes in the bitter election fight. He has constantly denied the allegations and vowed to clear his name.—AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Pan Arab Games Bahrain v Iraq 17:30 Al Jazeera Sport Channels

Italian League Genoa v Inter Al Jazeera Sport +1 Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD





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Time for Colts to face future with Luck NEW YORK: The drama was gone by the first drive of the game, not that anyone expected the Indianapolis Colts to be competitive Sunday in Baltimore. Another loss, another miserable performance, and the countdown to imperfection still ticks away. That Peyton Manning will not play a down this season is now a given. That he may never play again for the Colts - a prospect that was once unthinkable - is now very much a part of any conversation about the most hapless team in the NFL. There’s still three more games to lose before the Colts gain a measure of notoriety by joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only NFL teams to go 0-16 in a season. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas are split on whether it will happen, though the play of quarterback Dan Orlovsky and others against the Ravens suggest money wagered on the possibility could bring in some extra cash for the holidays. If there was ever a sure thing, though, it’s that the Colts will turn ineptitude to their advantage by tak-

ing Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick of the NFL draft. They can’t afford not to, because the Stanford quarterback is as much a lock to be a star in the NFL as Manning was when the Colts last had the top pick in 1998. The question then becomes what happens to the man who has been the face of the franchise for more than a decade. The self-deprecating quarterback who made the Colts perennial contenders and took them to two Super Bowls, winning one. A certain Hall of Famer with a suddenly very uncertain future. The good news for Colts fans is the decision won’t be long in the making. Manning is due a $28 million bonus payment in early March, and by then owner Jim Irsay surely will have tweeted his intentions about a player who not only resurrected the Colts but helped Irsay build a brand new stadium. Do you keep a 36-year-old quarterback who had three neck operations in the last 19 months and missed an entire season because it just seems

like the right thing to do? Overpay at the quar terback position at the expense of not filling other gaping holes on the team out of respect for everything Manning has done for the franchise and the city? No, and no. Gratitude only goes so far in the NFL. Business decisions must be made, as hard as they may be. The Green Bay Packers didn’t understand that a few years ago when they let Aaron Rodgers stagnate on the sidelines for three seasons while Brett Favre dictated his terms of employment with the team. Favre gave them one last great year, but it came at the expense of the development of their quar terback of the future. Manning might have a great year left in him, too, though his slow recovery from his neck problems would give any general manager some pause. Still, the clock is ticking on his career and the Colts don’t have the luxury of time to rebuild behind him especially if they spend so much at quar terback that they can’t keep

pending free agents like Jeff Saturday, Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis. They also can’t draft Luck and expect him to sit and wait for his turn. Make him the No. 1 pick and he has to play, just as Cam Newton is playing for the Panthers and Andy Dalton for the Bengals. Manning could always offer to restructure the contract he signed before this season, of course, to help the Colts out. He already made some $25 million this season without taking a snap, and might be willing to consider a lesser payment as he works his way back from injury. That still doesn’t solve the problem of having two quarterbacks wanting to play. And Manning’s father, former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, suggested in a radio interview earlier this week that the arrangement would not work. “I don’t think it’d necessarily be great for either one,” the elder Manning said. “I think Andrew’s the type of mature player . . . he can walk right in. I mean, these other three or

four guys that are playing this year, (if ) they can walk in and contribute, Andrew can, too.” Archie Manning later backtracked and said his son and Luck could coexist on the Colts. Team vice chairman Bill Polian said last month that Peyton Manning believes the same thing, and that he would be OK with the Colts using a pick on a high quality quarterback. The reality is drafting Luck and keeping Manning is a situation that might last a year, at best. After that, it wouldn’t be fair to Luck to keep him from getting quality playing time and it would be just as unfair for Manning to face a future where he might not be the starting quarterback. Far better to cut ties before the $28 million bonus is due and let Manning become a free agent. Use the money on contracts that will make the team younger and better. Give Manning a fresh start somewhere else. Give the Colts a chance to build for the future. And always remember, it’s just a business. — AP

Rodgers leads perfect Packers over Raiders GREEN BAY: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 281 yards with two touchdowns in less than three quarters of work, leading the Packers to a 46-16 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and extending their perfect NFL record. Ryan Grant had two touchdowns rushing and Charles Woodson picked off a pass against his former team as the Packers ran their record to 13-0 - moving them within three games of completing a perfect regular season. And they did it with a near-perfect performance. Carson Palmer threw for 245 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions for the Raiders (7-6), who looked like anything but legitimate contenders in the AFC West. The biggest concern for the Packers was an apparent left knee injury to wide receiver Greg Jennings in the third quarter. Texans 20, Bengals 19 In Cincinnati, rookie quarterback T.J. Yates led the biggest drive in Houston history, throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds left to clinch victory over Cincinnati and seal the first ever NFL playoff berth for the franchise. With their seventh straight win, the Texans (10-3) moved to the threshold of their first playoff berth. They clinched the AFC South title a few minutes later when Tennessee lost to New Orleans. Cincinnati (7-6) couldn’t prevent the Texans from going 80 yards in the closing minutes, led by their third quarterback in the past four games. Yates’ 6-yard throw to Kevin Walter - uncovered at the goal line - set off a celebration on the Houston sideline. Saints 22, Titans 17 In Nashville, Tennessee, Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes to Marques Colston in the fourth quarter to lead New Orleans to its fifth straight victory, beating Tennessee. The NFC South-leading Saints (10-3) had little trouble picking up yards, but struggled to score until Brees and Colston connected on passes of 35 and 28 yards. The Titans (7-6) twice had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to win. The first time, New Orleans stopped Tennessee’s back-up quarterback Jake Locker on fourth-and1 at the Saints 24 with 2:18 left. The second time, Jo-Lonn Dunbar sacked a scrambling Locker on third-and-goal as time expired. Brees threw for 347 yards and joined Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas as the only quarterbacks to throw a touchdown pass in 40 straight games. Locker replaced Matt Hasselbeck, who hurt his left calf in the second quarter. Cardinals 21, 49ers 19 In Glendale, Arizona, John Skelton stepped in for the injured Kevin Kolb and threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, helping Arizona rally and inflict just the third defeat this season upon San Francisco. Larry Fitzgerald had seven catches for 149 yards, including a 46-yarder for a touchdown and a 53-yarder to set up the go-ahead score in the fifth victory in six games for Arizona (6-7). Kolb left the game after a blow to the head on Arizona’s third play. Skelton, benched after throwing three interceptions in last month’s loss at San Francisco, had a 60yard TD pass to Early Doucet and a 3-yard toss to Andre Roberts for what proved to be the winning score early in the fourth quarter. Broncos 13, Bears 10 In Denver, Matt Prater’s 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave Denver victory over Chicago, having kicked a 59-yarder with 2 seconds left in regulation to tie the scores. It was Denver’s sixth straight win, and half of them have come in OT since Tim Tebow was promoted to starting quarterback. After failing to score on their first 11 possessions,

the AFC West-leading Broncos (8-5) erased a 10-0 deficit in the final 2:08 of regulation. Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas with a 10-yard touchdown pass, then got the ball back with 58 seconds left and drove Denver downfield for Prater’s kick. The Bears (7-6) won the toss in overtime and were in field goal range when Marion Barber coughed up the football at the Broncos 34 and Elvis Dumervil recovered. Patriots 34, Redskins 27 In Landover, Maryland, Tom Brady threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns as New England won its fifth straight, edging Washington. Rob Gronkowski set an NFL single-season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end, adding his 14th and 15th to move past Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. The Patriots (10-3) again used their bend-but-don’t-break defense. The Redskins drove to the New England 5-yard line late but Rex Grossman’s pass went off Santana Moss’ hands and was intercepted by Jerod Mayo with 22 seconds to play. Washington (4-9) has lost eight of its past nine. Giants 37, Cowboys 34 In Arlington, Texas, Eli Manning ended New York’s fourgame losing streak in style, leading the Giants to two touchdowns in the final 3:14 in a result that brought them level with Dallas for first place in the NFC East. Dallas appeared to tie the game with a 47-yard field goal as time expired, but New York called a timeout. Given another chance to force overtime, rookie Dan Bailey’s kick was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul - who also had a sack for a safety and forced a fumble. The Giants (7-6) and Cowboys are tied atop the division, but this victory gives New York the inside track. The teams will meet again in the season finale, on New Year’s Day, at the Giants’ home field. Jets 37, Chiefs 10 In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as New York downed Kansas City and kept pace in the AFC playoff race. The Jets got things started quickly by scoring 28 points in the first half and were helped by an inept Chiefs offense that managed just four total yards in the first two quarters. Shonn Greene had a season-high 129 yards rushing and a score, and Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson each caught touchdown passes for the Jets (8-5), who have won three straight and improved to 6-1 at home. Tyler Palko was sacked five times in a miserable outing by the penaltyplagued Chiefs (5-8). Falcons 31, Panthers 23 In Charlotte, North Carolina, Matt Ryan threw two fourthquarter touchdown passes to rookie Julio Jones as Atlanta erased a 16-point deficit and overran Carolina. Ryan threw for 320 yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns passing. Atlanta (8-5) avoided a costly loss to stay alive in the NFC wild card race. For the Panthers (4-8), it was the sixth time this season they’ve lost after being ahead or tied in the fourth quarter. In October they fell 31-17 to Atlanta despite leading 17-14 going into the fourth quarter. Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes as the Panthers built a 23-7 halftime lead but was intercepted twice in the second half. Chargers 37, Bills 10 In San Diego, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes, two to Antonio Gates, as San Diego beat Buffalo to keep its playoff hopes alive. Buffalo (5-8) lost its sixth straight game and was eliminated from playoff contention for the 12th straight year. The Chargers (6-7) have bounced back

DETROIT: Lions defensive end Cliff Avril (92) celebrates his sack of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the first quarter of an NFL football game. —AP

GREEN BAY: Oakland Raiders’ Aaron Curry (51) tackles Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half of an NFL football game. —AP from their own six-game skid with back-to-back wins. Rivers was 24 of 33 for 240 yards. Ryan Mathews gained 114 yards on 20 carries, the first time he’s had three straight 100-yard games. Ravens 24, Colts 10 In Baltimore, Terrell Suggs had three sacks and forced three fumbles for Baltimore, keeping Indianapolis winless. Baltimore (10-3) limited the Colts (0-13) to 167 yards - 53 through three quarters. Were it not for a touchdown on the game’s final play, Indianapolis would have been held without a TD for the second time since the 2003 season opener. Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes and Ray Rice ran for 103 yards and a score to help the Ravens win their fourth straight and improve to 7-0 at home. Baltimore is tied with Pittsburgh for the lead in the AFC North. The Ravens hold the tiebreaker with two wins over the Steelers. Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky was 17 for 37 for 136 yards and an interception. He was sacked four times. Lions 34, Vikings 28 In Detroit, Minnesota’s backup quarterback Joe Webb fumbled deep in Lions territory in the final seconds, and Detroit escaped with a much-need victory. Matthew Stafford threw for two scores in the first quarter to give Detroit one of its three-touchdown leads. The Lions (8-5) played without defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is serving the second game of his two-game suspension. Webb led the Vikings (2-11) to TDs on his first two drives after rookie Christian Ponder was benched. On first-andgoal from the 1 with 9 seconds left, a replay appeared to show Webb was grabbed by the facemask, but a flag wasn’t thrown. The ball popped free at about the 11, and was batted back toward midfield by Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch. Webb ran it down and tried to pick it up, but the ball came loose again and Cliff Avril finally fell on it to end the game. Eagles 26, Dolphins 10 In Miami, Philadelphia forced three turnovers while scoring four times during a nine-minute span in the second quarter and totaled nine sacks in the victory over Miami. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, back after missing three games with broken ribs, threw for 208 yards and a touchdown. LeSean McCoy scored two touchdowns to hike his season total to 17. The Eagles (5-8) still need a sweep of the final three games to have any chance of repeating as NFC East champions. The Dolphins (4-9) had a three-game home winning streak snapped and sank deeper into last place in the AFC East. Philadelphia sent quarterback Matt Moore to the sideline in the second half with a head injury. Jaguars 41, Buccaneers 14 In Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew scored four times, setting the franchise record for career touchdowns, as Jacksonville rolled up 41 unanswered points in an easy win over Tampa Bay. Jones-Drew finished with 136 total yards, including 85 on the ground against one of the league’s worst run defenses. Tampa Bay’s bigger problem in its seventh consecutive loss was turnovers. The Buccaneers (4-9) had seven of them, helping set up each of Jacksonville’s four TDs in the second quarter. The Jaguars (4-9), who hadn’t scored more than 20 points all season, scored four times in a span of 7:32. They scored on offense, defense and special teams in the same game for the first time since 1998. —AP

NFL results/standings New Orleans 22, Tennessee 17; Philadelphia 26, Miami 10; NY Jets 37, Kansas City 10; New England 34, Washington 27; Atlanta 31, Carolina 23; Jacksonville 41, Tampa Bay 14; Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 10; Houston 20, Cincinnati 19; Detroit 34, Minnesota 28; Green Bay 46, Oakland 16; Arizona 21, San Francisco 19; San Diego 37, Buffalo 10; NY Giants 37, Dallas 34; Denver 13, Chicago 10 (OT). (OT denotes overtime win) American Football Conference AFC East W L T OTL PF PA PCT New England10 3 0 0 396 274 .769 NY Jets 8 5 0 0 327 270 .615 Buffalo 5 8 0 0 288 341 .385 Miami 4 9 0 1 256 246 .308 AFC North Baltimore 10 3 0 0 317 202 .769 Pittsburgh 10 3 0 0 282 198 .769 Cincinnati 7 6 0 0 285 270 .538 Cleveland 4 9 0 0 178 254 .308 AFC South Houston 10 3 0 0 330 205 .769 Tennessee 7 6 0 0 266 251 .538 Jacksonville 4 9 0 0 193 252 .308 Indianapolis 0 13 0 0 184 382 0 AFC West Denver 8 5 0 0 269 302 .615 Oakland 7 6 0 0 290 354 .538 San Diego 6 7 0 2 324 299 .462 Kansas City 5 8 0 0 173 305 .385 National Football Conference NFC East NY Giants 7 6 0 0 324 349 .538 Dallas 7 6 0 1 317 281 .538 Philadelphia 5 8 0 0 297 292 .385 Washington 4 9 0 1 229 290 .308 NFC North Green Bay 13 0 0 0 466 2781.000 Detroit 8 5 0 0 367 305 .615 Chicago 7 6 0 1 301 255 .538 Minnesota 2 11 0 1 274 364 .154 NFC South New Orleans10 3 0 0 415 283 .769 Atlanta 8 5 0 1 300 267 .615 Carolina 4 9 0 0 313 355 .308 Tampa Bay 4 9 0 0 229 370 .308 NFC West San Francisco10 3 0 1 307 182 .769 Arizona 6 7 0 0 253 288 .462 Seattle 5 7 0 0 216 246 .417 St. Louis 2 10 0 1 140 296 .167

N Zealand win Hobart thriller



Rodgers leads perfect Packers over Raiders


Rehman steers Pakistan to victory over Bangladesh

Page 17

LONDON: Manchester City’s Spanish player David Silva (center) reacts after a challenge from Chelsea’s Portugese player Jose Bosingwa (left) in the penalty box during an English Premier League football match. —AFP

Chelsea revive EPL title bid LONDON: Frank Lampard condemned Manchester City to its first Premier League defeat of the season by converting a late penalty to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday. The England midfielder came off the bench to smash home an unstoppable spot kick in the 82nd minute after City defender Joleon Lescott blocked a shot by Daniel Sturridge with his hand. The visitors were at that stage down to 10 men following the 58th-minute sending-off of left back Gael Clichy for two yellow cards and couldn’t recover, leaving them two points clear of Manchester United at the top of standings. City had taken the lead after just two minutes through Italy striker Mario Balotelli’s eighth goal of the season, before Raul Meireles equalized in the 34th minute of an enthralling game played in a biting

wind. Chelsea’s third straight victory lifted the team above Tottenham to third, seven points behind City, and blows the title race wide open. City had been unbeaten in 17 consecutive league matches dating back to last season’s 2-1 defeat at Everton in May and will look back on Clichy’s deserved red card as the turning point. Having already dispatched Manchester United 6-1 and Tottenham 5-1 on its travels this season, City’s commanding start to the match suggested another title contender was going to be on the end of a hammering by Roberto Mancini’s free-scoring team. Barely 105 seconds had been played when Balotelli - just about onside despite Chelsea’s protestations - ran onto Sergio Aguero’s through-ball, rounded goalkeep-

er Petr Cech with ease and slotted into an empty net. Chelsea’s high defensive line, which has been the subject of much focus this season, was again found out. It began a period of relentless City pressure, with Aguero lashing wide left-footed with the goal at his mercy and David Silva being denied what appeared a clear penalty when he fell under a tackle from Jose Bosingwa. With Silva, Aguero and Yaya Toure in particular running rings around Chelsea’s midfield, the visitors were in total control but the home side weathered the storm and drew level through Meireles. The Portugal midfielder, again selected ahead of Lampard, made the kind of late run into the box his teammate has produced so often down the years to meet Sturridge’s cross with a sidefooted volley from six yards.

With Chelsea tightening up its midfield, the match became more even before Clichy’s recklessness left City a man short for the final 32 minutes. The France left back had already been booked for hauling down the dangerous Sturridge at the start of the second half when he clipped Ramires as the Brazil midfielder charged through, giving referee Mark Clattenburg no option but to brandish a second yellow card. Aguero and Silva were withdrawn as City looked to protect its point but some good defensive work by captain Vincent Kompany especially was undone by Lescott’s blatant handball as he tried to block Sturridge’s curling shot. Lampard, who had replaced Meireles in the 72nd minute, stepped up to ram home the penalty down the middle and City had no time to react.—AP

Juve gain point to go back on top ROME: Juventus came from behind to draw 1-1 at Roma yesterday and return to the top of the Serie A table. Daniele De Rossi had given the hosts an early lead before Giorgio Chiellini equalised in the second half. But Roma captain Francesco Totti then missed a penalty as Juve stretched their unbeaten start to the season to 14 games. They are now ahead of Udinese - 2-1 winners over Chievo on Sunday, on goal difference, with AC Milan and Lazio two points further back. Roma came into the game with a selection crisis that saw midfielder De Rossi lined up as Gabriel Heinze’s centre-back partner while teenage midfielder Federico Viviani was thrust into a league debut. Emblematic striker Totti also made his return to the starting lineup with Bojan Krkic suspended. And it was the hosts who came flying out of the blocks with a goal after six minutes, although it was one Juve’s Arturo Vidal won’t want to see again. Totti crossed from the left and found De Rossi 15 yards out, but all the makeshift centre-back could do was awkwardly help it goalwards on the volley. The ball was heading straight to Vidal and bounced in front of him but the Chile midfielder’s wild swipe completely missed the ball and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was left to watch in horror as the ball sneaked inside the post. From there on it was all Juve in the first period. Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had to save smartly from Alessandro Matri. Then

Roma’s makeshift full-back Rodrigo Taddei produced a carbon copy of Vidal’s air-swipe only this time the ball ran to Marcelo Estigarribia 20 yards out and Stekelenburg came to his team-mate’s rescue. Vidal hit a speculative effort wide before slipping in Simone Pepe who’s shot on the turn was poor and caused Stekelenburg few concerns. The goalkeeper then claimed a header from Stephan Lichtsteiner and held onto a low Andrea Pirlo free-kick. Heinze made a crucial sliding interception from Pepe’s cross to deny Matri a simple tap-in. Juve equalised just past the hour mark throguh Chiellini’s determination, reacting quickest to Estigarribia’s scuffed, bouncing shot to beat Stekelenburg to it and head home. And yet moments later Roma had a penalty when Vidal, who was not having the best of days, was adjudged to have brought down Erik Lamela. But Buffon read former international team-mate Totti’s spot-kick perfectly and beat out the powerful hit. Roma were doing better than they had in the first half and Pablo Osvaldo chipped just over the bar after a neat turn on the edge of the box. Up the other end Vidal, who in fairness had played much better going forwards than he had backwards, teed up Lichtsteiner who side-footed into the side-netting. And Stekelenburg came to his side’s rescue right at the death as he came out to block Fabio Quagliarella who had been slipped in by Eljero Elia.—AFP

EPL results/standings Chelsea 2 (Meireles 34, Lampard 83-pen) Manchester City 1 (Balotelli 2) English Premier League table after yesterday’s match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man City Man Utd Chelsea Tottenham Arsenal Liverpool Newcastle Stoke Aston Villa Norwich Swansea Everton QPR Fulham West Brom Sunderland W’hampton Wigan Blackburn Bolton

15 15 15 14 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 14 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15

12 11 10 10 9 7 7 6 4 5 4 5 4 3 4 3 4 3 2 3

2 3 1 1 2 5 5 3 7 4 5 1 4 6 3 5 2 3 4 0

1 1 4 3 4 3 3 6 4 6 6 8 7 6 8 7 9 9 9 12

49 35 33 30 31 18 21 16 18 24 16 15 15 16 14 18 16 14 22 20

15 14 18 18 23 13 19 24 19 28 20 18 26 18 23 18 28 29 34 36

38 36 31 31 29 26 26 21 19 19 17 16 16 15 15 14 14 12 10 9

Shanghai target Drogba after signing Anelka

ITALY: AS Roma’s Marco Borriello jumps for the ball during the Serie A soccer match against Juventus. —AP

SHANGHAI: The ink is barely dry on Nicolas Anelka’s groundbreaking contract with Shanghai Shenhua but already the Chinese Super League club is working to pull off another major transfer coup by signing his Chelsea team mate Didier Drogba. Shanghai Director Zhou Jun told Reuters in an interview yesterday his club had already spoken to Drogba and were ready to continue their lavish spending if the Ivory Coast international was prepared to switch west London for the Far East. Anelka will become the biggest name to ply his trade in the world’s most populous nation when the striker joins Shanghai Shenhua in January. The Chinese club said yesterday it had agreed a two-year deal with the Frenchman. Zhou, who also expects former Bordeaux coach Jean Tigana to arrive as manager in January, said bringing in foreign talent was essential for the growth of Chinese soccer, which has been blighted by scandals and corruption in recent years. “Drogba is an excellent player. We got in touch with him two weeks ago,” Zhou told Reuters near Shanghai’s Pudong training ground. “From our club’s perspective, we have this to say-If he is willing to come, we will definitely welcome him.” The signing of Anelka and pursuit of other marquee players is evidence of the growing financial might of Chinese clubs. Zhou said the Frenchman would certainly not be taking a pay cut. “People are aware of Anelka’s Chelsea yearly salary which is around 5.8 million euros. So when he comes to China it definitely won’t be below this figure,” he said. Anelka’s arrival would have a major impact on Chinese soccer, he added. The 32-year-old would raise the standard of soccer in the country but he would also set an example to young people and inspire them to take up the game. “It’s like with the opening up of China,” Zhou said. “We needed to bring in the good stuff from foreign countries for us to learn from.” Shanghai Shenhua, who finished 11th in the league last year, were a young club and Anelka’s presence would give players someone to look up to, Zhou added. —Reuters



Kuwait real estate sales pick up after slowdown

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Greece in tough talks on euro-zone bailout Page 25


KSE stocks remain mixed

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Etihad orders 12 Boeing planes for $2.8 billion Page 22

Crisis clouds darken over euro-zone EU states face ratings review as summit respite fades

FRANKFURT: A trader gestures at the stock market in Frankfurt yesterday as the German stock index DAX dropped more than two per cent. (Inset) Stock traders check out a graph showing activity of US interest Rates in Paris.—AP PARIS: Crisis clouds darkened over the debt-ridden euro-zone yesterday after last week’s EU summit deal afforded only a brief respite from the markets and leaders warned of a two-speed Europe. Ratings agency Moody’s was first to turn the screw. It declared the crisis talks had failed to produce “decisive policy measures” and threatened to review the credit ratings of all EU states within the next three months. Meanwhile, Italy edged through a bond test, but still had to pay an exceptionally high rate to borrow fresh money for only 12 months. Traders were watching nervously as Italy’s commitment to austerity measures was tested by a nationwide strike, and EU and IMF auditors began talks in Greece on the implementation of its debt bailout. Asian markets had nudged upwards on hopes that the

deal would draw a line under the crisis but Europe opened down as concerns returned. Shortly after lunch London’s FTSE 100 index was down 0.46 percent, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 lost 1.46 percent and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 1.05 percent. European leaders had hoped that Friday’s agreement to move towards a fiscal pact, seeking to eradicate their public deficits under close EU supervision, would reassure markets nervous about their massive debts being repaid. But yesterday they were also forced to admit that Britain’s decision to stay out of the deal meant there was now a split, two-speed Europe. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had “tried everything” to convince Prime Minister David Cameron to sign the pact at least week’s EU summit. “But there are now clearly two

Egypt falls after austerity call MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS CAIRO/DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse fell to a two-week low on foreign selling pressure yesterday, after the prime minister called for austerity measures to cope with an economic situation he said was “worse than anyone imagines” while Gulf markets ended mixed. Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri, whose government was sworn in last week, said on Sunday he was looking at 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.3 billion) in spending cuts to rein in the burgeoning budget deficit. “When foreigners hear these statements and compare it to the political scene and the absence of stability, they are afraid to take positions,” said Fady Azeem ElDawla of Naeem Brokerage. Cairo’s main index fell 2.1 percent to its lowest closing since Nov 24. Blue-chips led losses, with investment bank Pioneers Holding falling 7.3 percent, and both Commercial International Bank (CIB) and Property developer Talaat Moustafa ending 4.7 percent lower. In Oman, the index climbed 0.1 percent to a 12-week high with analysts saying valuations attracted buying. “Local funds started to buy at these levels and a lot of speculators are also trading now because our market has

fallen a lot year-to-date” said Alaa El Din Moustafa, general manager at EFG-Hermes Oman. The index is still down 16.7 percent in 2011. Galfar Engineering gained 2.6 percent, Oman Telecommunications rose 2.4 percent and Bank Muscat climbed 1.5 percent. In the UAE and Qatar, stock markets ended lower as doubts dampened sentiment on whether index compiler MSCI will upgrade the countries to emerging market status. MSCI is to announce its decision on Dec. 14, having postponed this from June. An upgrade from frontier market status could help attract foreign investment. “Usually when a major event comes closer under uncertainty, people start speculating a few days before but the closer we get the more risk averse we become, unless a probability or information is leaked out,” said Talal Touqan, head of equity research at Al Ramz Securities. Dubai’s index declined 0.6 percent, extending year-to-date losses to 14.9 percent. Emaar Properties shed 2.8 percent, Dubai Financial Market slipped 2 percent and Drake & Scull dipped 0.5 percent.— Reuters

Europes,” Sarkozy told Le Monde. “One wants more solidarity between its members and more regulation. The other is attached only to the logic of the single market.” But, asked whether Britain, which has refused to join the single currency and opposed last week’s fiscal pact, could still remain inside the EU single market, Sarkozy said: “We need Great Britain. “We’d be greatly impoverished if we allowed its departure which, luckily, is not on the agenda,” he insisted. EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn was more critical, warning London its veto would not protect the City of London from new financial regulation-the headline reason given. “I regret very much that the UK was not willing to join the fiscal compact. I regret it not only for the sake of Europe but for the sake of British citizens,”

Rehn said. Moody’s, the first credit agency to pronounce on the deal, complained of an “absence of decisive policy measures” and warned it would join Standard & Poor’s in reviewing EU sovereign debt ratings. “The absence of measures to stabilize credit markets over the short term means that the euro area, and the wider EU, remain prone to further shocks and the cohesion of the euro area under continued threat,” Moody’s said. Many market analysts were also scathing about the measures but said traders might not be in a hurry to write off the plan immediately. “If the agencies downgrade euroland sovereign risk ... that would mean more pain for government bonds and, in turn, more losses for the banks that would have to mark down the value of their bond holdings,” Moneycorp said. The first big test of market confi-

dence came as Italy issued seven billion euros ($9.3 billion) in 12-month bonds to fund its debt while Prime Minister Mario Monti pursues a harsh austerity program. Rome hit its target but will have to pay 5.952 percent interest, lower than the rate for the last similar sale, but still dangerously high. If buyers had insisted on higher interest rates on the debt it could threaten the government’s deficit reduction plan. The bond issue came amid nationwide strike action against the cuts and after Monti’s newly installed technocratic government warned of “an extreme financial and economic emergency.” The main Italian unions called three-hour work stoppages in their first coordinated strike action in six years and more protests against proposed property tax increases and pension reforms are planned. Meanwhile,

Greece held tense talks with its international creditors and debt holders on the application of a new euro-zone bailout designed to ease the country’s huge debt burden. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met auditors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “There will be negotiations on the new program,” a finance ministry source said, referring to the euro-zone lifeline thrown to Athens in late October which includes a 50-percent write-down on private banks’ holdings of Greek government bonds. Athens was forced to seek an EU-IMF bailout last year after markets turned on it because it had provided inaccurate deficit data and built an unsustainable debt mountain of more than 350 billion euros. —AFP

Crises, new markets shift Gulf petrodollar flows MIDEAST MONEY DUBAI: In July, as a political dispute in Washington threatened to cause a US debt default, the central bank of the United Arab Emirates declared it had stopped investing in US government bonds “due to the very low return on holding these instruments”. Four months later, with the dispute temporarily resolved and default avoided, the central bank said yields had risen enough for it to resume buying Treasuries. But as Western governments struggle with large debts and deficits, the incident showed how flows of Gulf petrodollars- for three decades, ploughed routinely into the West through lending and investment-are not as reliable as they once were. By contrast, the Gulf’s trade and investment ties are expanding rapidly with Asia and other emerging markets, where economic growth is far outpacing that in the developed world. This year ’s Arab Spring political unrest is also prompting Gulf governments to focus a growing proportion of resources on their own region, in order to buy social stability. “Capital flows around the world are changing,” said Shawkat Hammoudeh, a former economist with the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries who now studies petrodollar flows at Drexel University in the United States. He said the amount of Gulf capital avail-

able to the West was shrinking, in a process that could take many years. The United States in particular depends on capital flows from the Gulf, where governments with dollar oil earnings and currencies pegged to the greenback have historically found it convenient to invest in dollar assets. The Institute of International Finance banking association estimates that 55 percent of capital outflows from the Gulf Cooperation Council-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAEwent to the United States between 2002 and 2006. Eighteen percent went to Europe, 11 percent to Asia and 11 percent to the Middle East and North Africa. High oil prices and rising production mean the Gulf is awash in petrodollars this year; the GCC’s oil income will rocket to a record $608 billion in 2011 from $465 billion last year and $402 billion in 2009, the UAE’s Emirates Industrial Bank calculates. The GCC’s current account surplus-the amount of money it has left to invest abroad after imports of goods and services- is expected to climb from $163 billion in 2010 to $279 billion this year and $238 billion in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund. Such numbers put the GCC in the same league as China, which the IMF estimates will have a current account surplus of $361 billion this year. Figuring out exactly where the GCC’s

money goes is impossible, because Gulf governments, central banks and private investors are secretive. But there are signs that petrodollar flows into US assets are slowing. US Treasury data shows holdings of US government securities by oil exporters-a group dominated by the GCC- rose just 8 percent from

$212 billion at the start of 2010 to $230 billion in September this year. Holdings by other countries among the top five investors rose much more steeply in that period: by 29 percent for China, 25 percent for Japan, a huge 103 percent for the United Kingdom, and 22 percent for Brazil. — Reuters

ALAFCO posts profit jump; leases to VietJet DUBAI: Kuwait’s Aviation Lease & Finance Co (ALAFCO) posted a near quintupling in net profit to 47 million dinars ($169.68 million) for the full year ended Sept. 30, the company said in a statement yesterday. ALAFCO said that its board has approved a cash dividend of 10 fils per share for the fiscal year. The Kuwait-based firm posted a full-year net profit of 10.8 million dinars in 2010. ALAFCO has a customer base of 16 airlines globally. Its lease portfolio increased to 48 aircraft during the year as it took delivery of eight new aircraft last year, the company said. The company placed a $4.6 billion expanded order for 50 Airbus A320neo passenger jets at the

Dubai Air Show last month. It obtained financing facilities worth $313.3 million during the year from local and international banks, ALAFCO said, without naming the lenders. The firm also announced that it has leased three of its Airbus A320 aircraft to Vietnam’s low-cost carrier VietJet Air. ALAFCO will lease the planes to the Vietnamese private airline for 8 years, it said in a statement on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, and the operation will start within three months from the date of delivery. The planes were released from the services of Kuwait Airways , and the market value of each aircraft is above $40 million, it said. — Reuters



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Taqa, Marubeni, lowest bidders for Dubai IPP DUBAI: A consortium of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Japan’s Marubeni and South Korea’s SK E&S Co Ltd is the lowest bidder for the estimated $1.3 billion Hassyan 1 independent power project (IPP), the first of six planned IPPs in Dubai, a Taqa spokesman said yesterday. “ The bidding took place on Monday and negotiations will start next week,” the spokesman said.

Taqa (40 percent), Marubeni (40 percent) and SK E&S (20 percent) will together own 49 percent of the project company while Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) will own the remaining 51 percent, he said. Switzerland’s Alstom and Samsung Engineering Co Ltd are the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partners of the consortium. The Hassyan 1 is a Greenfield combined cycle

gas turbine power plant with a capacity of 1600 MW (megawatts). It will be developed on a buildown-operate (BOO) basis and the electricity will be sold via a 25-year power purchase agreement to DEWA, the state-owned utility. Located 60 kilometers south-west of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Hassyan 1 is the first of six planned IPPs in Dubai that will form a power and water complex with total capacity of 9000

Etihad orders 12 Boeing planes for $2.8 billion

Qatar’s Tasweeq plans to stop term gasoil exports

World’s largest customer of 787-9 aircraft DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will buy 12 planes from Boeing, including 10 787-9 Dreamliners, in a deal valued at $2.8 billion at current list prices, the airline said in a statement yesterday. The new orders makes Etihad the world’s largest customer of the fuel-efficient 787-9 with a total of 41 on order. It also bought two Boeing 777 Freighters, taking the number of 777s in its fleet to 21. Reuters reported exclusively last month, citing sources, that Etihad had agreed the deal with Boeing, and the two parties steered clear of announcing the purchase at the Dubai Airshow, which was dominated by Etihad’s Gulf-based rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways. Etihad said yesterday that it also had options and purchase rights for 25 more 787s. “Both the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter offer highly attractive operating economics and will facilitate our global expansion plans by allowing us to transport passengers and cargo into new markets from our hub in Abu Dhabi,” Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in the statement. The 787-9 will be initially used on Etihad’s routes to destinations including Dublin, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Nagoya, Delhi and Istanbul, the carrier said. Etihad had a muted presence at the airshow in neighboring emirate Dubai last month, where more than $62

billion in civil aerospace and defense orders were placed. Emirates ordered 50 wide-body 777 jetliners at the show in a deal valued at $18 billion, which was the Boeing’s largest-ever single-order deal. Boeing, on track to notch its highest number of commercial aircraft orders since 2007, is working to bag what many experts say are the last avail-

Saudi oil exports surge ahead of OPEC meet VIENNA: Saudi Arabia exported 8.1 million barrels a day (bpd) of oil in November, according to a senior Saudi industry source, 1.2 million more than its average daily exports during the first nine months of 2011, as the kingdom helped make up for lost Libyan output. Saudi Arabia exported an average of 6.9 million bpd in the nine-month period from Jan 1 to Sep. 30, according to the latest official data published by the Joint Data Initiative (JODI). But the world’s leading exporter was able to boost exports above 8 million bpd ahead of Wednesday’s OPEC meeting in Vienna, after boosting crude production above 10 million bpd in November, compared to an average of 9.2 million bpd from January to September 2011, with exports supplemented by stocks. So far there is little sign of the main buy-

ers in Asia significantly increasing their Saudi crude buying in November and analysts have suggested the highest Saudi production figure for decades could be a signal to fellow OPEC members that output should not be restricted when the group meets on Wednesday, despite the uncertain global economic growth outlook. A Reuters survey estimated Saudi oil supply in November at just 9.45 million bpd. Saudi Arabia boosted crude production to 9.8 million bpd in June, the highest level since JODI records began in 2002, after the last OPEC talks over production levels collapsed on June 8. The kingdom t r i m m e d o u t p u t f ro m J u n e t o September, in part because of falling S a u d i d o m e s t i c d e m a n d fo r i t s ow n crude as temperatures eased at the end of summer and because of fears over Europe’s debt crisis grew. — Reuters

MW of power generation and 720 million gallons per day (MIGD) of desalinated water. State-owned Taqa is the sixth-largest global independent power producer in the world with gross power generation capacity of 16,402 MW. Its power plants are in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Morocco and Ghana. Despite sluggish economic growth, peak power demand is rising in Dubai. — Reuters

able orders in a buying spree by US operators. The world’s second-largest planemaker after Europe’s Airbus is deep in talks with United Continental Holdings , FedEx and Southwest Airlines for orders for several hundred airplanes, according to industry experts and sources with knowledge of the order negotiations. — Reuters

UAE’s Emal to invest $3.8bn to boost output ABU DHABI: Emirates Aluminum (Emal), a joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and Dubai Aluminum (Dubal), plans to invest $3.8 billion for its phase two development as it ramps up production to become the single largest greenfield smelter in the world, its chief executive said. “Phase two, which we have just started rolling will have an investment of $3.8 billion,” Saeed Fadhel Mazrouei told a forum of United Arab Emirates and German businesses in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The first phase investment totaled $5.7 billion he said. German companies are actively involved in building Emal’s facilities with 23 German firms securing contracts worth $243 million in the first phase. In the second phase, German companies have already bagged contracts worth $184 million, he said. Emal has received loan facilities of $220 million from the German Export Credit agency, Mazrouei also said. Current production is 750,000 tons per year, rising to 800,000 tons by the end of 2012, he said. —Reuters

trader familiar with the Middle East market. “The premiums for the 0.5 percent and 0.25 percent will likely go up even further next year as there is less and less supply for these grades, but demand is still there.” Cash differentials for the 0.5 percent and 0.25 percent sulfur gasoil have been mainly hovering around $1.50-$1.80 a barrel and above $2 a barrel to Middle East quotes respectively recently, compared with a discount of about 35 cents a barrel to a slight premium during the same period just a year ago.Refineries in the Middle East are competing to upgrade facilities that convert the heavier high sulfur gasoil to more expensive and cleaner fuel. Only a few produce and market a limited amount of the higher sulfur grades containing 5,000 parts per million sulfur and 2,000 ppm sulfur gasoil. Kuwait Petroleum Corp produces 0.2 percent sulphur gas oil for export, but offers the product mainly to its term buyers. Spot sales from the company are not regular, traders said. India’s Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), Malaysia’s Petronas and Saudi Aramco’s joint venture refineries in Jubail and Yanbu produce and export 0.5 percent sulfur gas oil for the Middle East and South Asian markets. But spot exports from these refineries have been sporadic, with one to two cargoes of 40,000 tons each sold through tenders every month, traders said. The majority of the diesel output in the Middle East is still 500 ppm sulfur gas oil to cater to the domestic market. Some refineries are now even moving towards producing 10 ppm sulfur diesel. Countries such as Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan are regular buyers of the high sulphur gasoil grades in the region. — Reuters

SINGAPORE: Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Co or Tasweeq will stop term gasoil exports from next year as domestic demand is expected to increase, industry sources based in the Middle East and Singapore said. The absence of Tasweeq as a regular supplier of high sulphur gasoil in the Middle East is expected to strain the market as demand remains steady while supply is drying up with more refineries switching to cleaner fuel. Tasweeq exports about 30,000 to 60,000 tons of 0.2 percent sulfur gasoil every month through its monthly term contract and offers similar volumes in the spot market occasionally, traders said. The company will stop term exports from next year as domestic demand in Qatar, an OPEC member in the Gulf region, has been steadily increasing, a source close to the matter said. “Qatar’s appetite for diesel has been growing and the country needs more fuel,” the source said. But the country has no plans as of now to switch to cleaner fuels, the source added. Qatar is one of the world’s fastest growing economies with increasing demand for fuels such as diesel used for industrial use and transport.Tasweeq is a state-owned company that is responsible for the marketing of refined products for Qatar Petroleum and all RasGas and Qatargas ventures, according to the company website. State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) is another company that will not be exporting the 0.5 percent sulphur gasoil to its term buyers and will instead be switching to either 500 ppm or 10 ppm sulfur gasoil from next year, Reuters reported last month. “This will definitely have an impact on the market and you can see prices already going up for these grades,” said a Singapore-based

Oman Oct inflation edges up to 3.8% September forecast average inflation in Oman of 3.9 percent in 2011 and 2012, after 3.3 percent in 2010. “I don’t see any pressure building. The inflation trend is broadly speaking pointing downwards. With the slowdown in the global economy, it doesn’t look like imported inflation will be an issue,” Scacciavillani said. Rents and energy, which account for 21.4 percent of Oman’s consumer basket, rose 0.5 percent month-on-month in October after climbing 0.2 percent in the previous month. Food prices however, which make up more than 30 percent of the basket, fell 1.2 percent on a monthly basis after a 1.3 percent increase in September. The sultanate’s economy is expected to expand 4.0 percent this year and 4.2 percent in 2012, helped by the government’s increased infrastructure spending, the Reuters poll found.—Reuters

DUBAI: Oman’s annual inflation rate increased marginally to 3.8 percent in October, while prices rose from a month earlier mainly because of an increase in education costs, data showed yesterday. Inflation was 3.7 percent year-on-year in September, after hitting a 29month high of 5.3 percent in August. On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices increased 0.2 percent in October after falling 0.3 percent in September, data from the country’s economy ministry showed. Education services jumped by 11.4 percent month-onmonth in October. “Typically you have this kind of increase when the new school year starts. The increase in October is the seasonal increase that you see once a year in Oman,” said Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist at Oman Investment Fund in Muscat. Analysts polled by Reuters in

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

.2730000 .4260000 .3670000 .2980000 .2650000 .2720000 .0040000 .0020000 .0750520 .7312060 .3810000 .0700000 .7168150 .0040000 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2757000 .4310710 .3694380 .3006870 .2679820 .0496560 .0400710 .2768440 .0353810 .2129620 .0035470 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0750920 .7315910 .0000000 .0735400 .7163830 .0000000

US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian dollars Danish Kroner Swedish Kroner Australian dlr Hong Kong dlr Singapore dlr Japanese yen Indian Rs/KD Sri Lanka rupee Pakistan rupee Bangladesh taka UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi Riyal/KD Omani riyals Philippine Peso

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

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

.2800000 .4370000 .3770000 .3090000 .2750000 .2830000 .0072500 .0035000 .0758060 .7385550 .4010000 .0760000 .7240200 .0072000 .0530000 .2793000 .4367000 .3742620 .3046130 .2714810 .0503040 .0405940 .2804590 .0358430 .2157420 .0035930 .0053970 .0024600 .0031760 .0036530 .0760720 .7411440 .3950500 .0745000 .7257370 .0064500

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 47.500 46.282 1.272 189.860 392.670 1.865 6.003 33.814

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.950 Euro 370.650 Sterling Pound 431.930 Canadian dollar 268.420 Turkish lire 153.940 Swiss Franc 300.620 Australian dollar 277.000 US Dollar Buying 277.750 GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL CASH 285.800 738.150 3.810 275.300 545.200 44.900 51.400 167.800 48.390 375.000 36.380 5.720 0.032 0.213 0.241 3.680 394.180 0.188 90.500 46.400 4.270

218.200 1.798 49.500 720.940 3.300 6.770 76.780 74.110 216.560 36.490 2.645 438.000 42.200 303.000 5.300 9.340 198.263 75.680 277.900 1.220

216.700 720.760 3.130 6.375 76.350 74.110 216.560 36.490 2.435 436.000 301.500 5.300 9.180 75.580 277.500

GOLD 1,784.160

10 Tola Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 436.000 277.500

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

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

New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal 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

SELL DRAFT 284.300 738.150 3.480 273.800

216.600 46.187 373.500 36.230 5.310 0.031

393.300 0.187 90.500 3.340

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

SELL DRAFT 284.80 275.50 305.19 373.65 436.81 3.62 3.505 5.309 2.434 3.327 3.114 75.48 737.61 46.14 394.51 720.68 76.47 74.04

SELL CASH 290.00 280.00 307.40 378.00 440.00 3.70 3.800 5.710 2.650 4.050 3.350 76.00 737.62 48.37 393.00 721.00 76.80 74.15

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar

276.850 268.505 443.300 374.970 303.055 733.125

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

75.350 75.990 73.785 389.700 46.310 2.422 5.309 3.179 3.615 6.383 679.095 3.675 8.955 5.830 3.415 91.960

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency US Dollar Pak Rupees Indian Rupees Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso UAE Dirhams Saudi Riyals Bahraini Dinars Egyptian Pounds Pound Sterling Indonesian Rupiah Yemeni Riyal Jordanian Dinars Syrian Pounds Euro Canadian Dollars Nepali rupee

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 277.300 3.115 5.330 2.440 3.490 6.400 75.605 74.105 737.200 46.145 441.000 3.190 1.550 394.400 5.750 376.900 278.300 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 276.950 Euro 373.800 Pound Sterling 436.400 Canadian Dollar 273.100 Japanese Yen 3.595 Indian Rupee 5.325 Egyptian Pound 46.100 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.431 Bangladesh Taka 3.432 Philippines Peso 6.365 Pakistan Rupee 3.125 Bahraini Dinar 737.575 UAE Dirham 75.475 Saudi Riyal 73.975 *Rates are subject to change



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Kuwait real estate sales pick up after slowdown NBK ECONOMIC REPORT

MUMBAI: An Indian laborer works on the construction site near the international airport in Mumbai yesterday. India’s industrial output shrank 5.1 percent year-on-year in October, well below expectations and piling pressure on the central bank to consider some monetary loosening after months of rate hikes.— AFP

India industrial production falls 5% in October MUMBAI: India’s industrial production slid 5.1 percent in October, helping drive the rupee to a fresh record low against the dollar - more signs of the reversal of fortunes in Asia’s third-largest economy. The decline in output from a year earlier was driven by mining and manufacturing, as well as waning consumer demand and lackluster investment, according to government figures released yesterday. Industrial output hasn’t fallen in India since June 2009. Despite global headwinds, many economists say India’s troubles are largely homegrown, as the effects of 13 consecutive interest rate hikes begin to ripple through the economy. Political paralysis has also made it difficult to kickstart growth and investment in the face of a plunging rupee and two years of near double-digit inflation. The disappointing data punished the rupee, which touched 52.86 to the dollar yesterday, breaching its late November low. This is the weakest the rupee has been since it was allowed to float against the dollar in the early 1990s. The benchmark Sensex index closed down 2.1 percent at 15,870. “This slowdown is clearly continuing and it may be intensifying,” HSBC chief economist for India, Leif Eskesen, said from Singapore. “What’s driving it is the lagged effect of monetary tightening and the high level of inflation that are causing uncertainty about the macroeconomic outlook. That hurts incentives to invest and spend.” He said policy paralysis was also contributing to India’s woes. With little scope for stimulus spending, India needs to enact difficult but crucial reforms to kickstart the economy and reassure investors, who are jittery from the dark global economic outlook, economists and businesspeople say. The government’s humiliating U-turn on its decision to allow greater foreign investment in retail, however, suggests that the ruling Congress Party - fractured by internal divisions and facing a revolt by opposition parties and coalition allies no longer has the leverage to push its reformist agenda. Parliament has yet to address a slew of issues, which could help spur investment and kickstart growth, which slipped to 6.9 percent in the September quarter, the lowest in over two years. On the table are a land acquisition bill, which advocates say would ease contentious land transfer policies and speed investment, as well as tax reform, new mining regulations and measures to allow greater foreign investment in defense and aviation. Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, a business group, called the lower factory production a “serious disappointment.” “If allowed to continue, this would have serious consequences on employment and livelihoods,” he said. Urgent measures are needed to encourage investment, he said. Last October, industrial production grew by over 11 percent. The fall was much sharper than expected and puts pressure on the central bank to arrest or start reversing a series of interest rate hikes when it meets this week. A CNBC-TV18 poll of economists had forecast industrial production to contract 1.6 percent. Mining activity shrank by 7.2 percent in October, constrained by bureaucratic bottlenecks. Manufacturing slid by 6.0 percent. Consumer goods production dropped 0.8 percent, while capital goods output plunged 25.5 percent - a sign of waning investment. Headline inflation has averaged 9.6 percent since January 2010. India’s benchmark Sensex index is down over 22 percent this calendar year, making it one of the worst performing in the region. The rupee is down about 14 percent this year and recently hit a lifetime low. The Ministry of Finance last week trimmed its growth projection for the fiscal year through March to around 7.5 percent, down from an earlier forecast of 9 percent. —AP

KUWAIT: Sales activity in the Kuwait’s real estate sector went up by KD 60 million in October, a 43.8% y/y increase. This signals a continued uptick of activity in the real estate sector after its summer period decline. The residential sector again takes the biggest share of the market with 62% of total sales going towards the sector. The investment and commercial sectors in turn accounted for 22% and16% respectively. Sales in the residential sector totaled KD 161.3 million, a considerable 81% y/y jump. With some exceptions, this sector has had the biggest share of total real estate sales for the past 5 years, average 52% of total. It is backed by strong local demand while supply (land) continues to be made available by the government. Approved loans from the Savings and Credit Bank (SCB) were up 87% y/y, reaching KD 12.8 million. More than half of these loans will go towards financing new construction of residential property. Similarly, KD 4.9 million were disbursed in housing

loans, 57% of which will finance new house construction, while 24% will be used to purchase existing homes and the remaining 19% going to making additions and renovations to existing homes. The investment sector (apartments and buildings) continues to do well in 2011. Sales in October are up 10% y/y, totaling KD 56.9 million. The sector is mainly composed of apartment buildings intended for rental. The commercial sector recorded 10 transactions, with the average transaction valued at KD 4 million. The sector typically witnesses only a few transactions, and has averaged KD 23.3 million per month of total sales so far in 2011. This is compared with a monthly average of KD 17.2 million for the same period in 2010. Activity in the real estate sector has picked up for the second month, after a summer deceleration, likely due to seasonal and vacation-related matters. The October upward tick should persist for the remainder for the year and into 2012.

China sets economic priorities for 2012 BEIJING: China’s top leaders opened a three-day meeting yesterday to set out the country’s economic priorities for 2012 as turmoil in Europe and the United States dampens growth in the world’s second economy. The closed-door Central Economic Work Meeting is the last major economic policy gathering before China’s senior leaders step down from their party posts in a once-in-adecade transition of power that begins next year. The ruling Communist party said ahead of the meeting that China would implement a “prudent” monetary policy in 2012, signaling authorities will move cautiously as they ease credit restrictions to prevent a sharp slowdown. The outcome of the meeting, which is held at a secret location in Beijing and presided over by President Hu Jintao, is likely to be announced Wednesday. Premier Wen Jiabao, in charge of economic policy, will also attend. China has seen demand for its products shrink in recent months as overseas consumers cut back on spending due to an increasingly bleak economic outlook. Growth in exports slowed in November while consumer prices rose at their weakest pace in more than a year and industrial output growth hit its lowest level in more than two years, according to official data released last week. Manufacturing activity contracted in November for the first time in 33 months, fuelling concerns the economy was at risk of a hard landing. However, IHS Global Insight analyst Ren Xianfang said Chinese leaders had made it clear that there was “no aggressive easing in the pipeline”. “This means that we could see modest acceleration in money supply and new

credit, but the likelihood for interest rate cuts is pretty small,” Ren said. Until recently, policymakers have been reluctant to relax tight credit restrictions implemented in the past two years amid fear of reigniting inflation, which peaked at a more than three-year high of 6.5 percent in July. But late last month, Beijing cut the amount of money banks must hold in reserve for the first time in three years to spur lending and counter turmoil in Europe and the United States that threatens to derail China’s economy. Chinese media said yesterday policymakers at the meeting must be prepared to deal with a “weakening domestic economy and volatile external environment” and “take prompt action” if necessary next year. But the editorial in the China Daily newspaper noted that there was currently “no need to rush” to ease policy as “growth remains in the comfort zone”, and it advised “targeted” measures to avoid a resurgence in inflation. “The conference will likely prioritize a progrowth stance and a more flexible proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary police,” the paper said. Concerns that Beijing will move slowly to ease tight credit restrictions weighed on Chinese shares yesterday, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing down 1.02 percent to 2,291.55, the lowest level in 33 months. China’s economy is expected to grow 9.2 percent in 2011 and 8.9 percent next year, which would be the slowest pace in more than a decade, a state-run think tank said last week. Vice President Xi Jinping is widely expected to replace Hu as party head next year, becoming president in March 2013, while Vice Premier Li Keqiang is in line to take over from Wen. —AFP

BEIJING: A tricycle taxi driver waits for customers at the side of a road in Beijing yesterday. China’s top leaders opened a three-day meeting to set out the country’s economic priorities for 2012 as turmoil in Europe and the United States dampened growth in the world’s second economy. — AFP

Gold falls to 3-week lows as crisis boosts dollar LONDON: Gold fell to a three-week low yesterday, after a rise in the dollar prompted enough selling to push the bullion price through a key level of support, in spite of the persistent worry about the lack of a solution to the euro-zone debt crisis. Last week’s summit of European Union leaders yielded a historic agreement on beefing up fiscal discipline in the 27-member bloc, but fell short of market expectations for a more drastic solution to the crisis. This lack of confidence in Europe pushed investors into the relative safety of the US dollar, rather than gold, which has fallen by about 5 percent in the last week alone. A stronger dollar often encourages non-US holders of gold to sell the metal to lock in a higher profit in their own currencies. Spot gold was last quoted down 1.37 percent at $1,686.99 an ounce by 0816 GMT, having dropped

by as much as 2.0 percent earlier to a low at $1,676.29 after breaking through $1,680.00, a major support line. “Three or four months ago, people were pretty sure gold would end the year close to $2,000 or at least have a pop there and now that is looking unlikely with funding stresses and money market stresses and the dash for cash,” Credit Agricole analyst Robin Bhar said. “That is obviously dealing a blow to gold ... the next couple of days are going to be crucial technically for gold. Last week we were up at $1,760 and we have now lost $80 fairly quickly, that shows that rallies are difficult to sustain in this sort of environment.” There is continued evidence of investor demand for gold, as highlighted by the rise in speculative holdings of gold futures, which last week rose by half a million ounces and by the swell in holdings

of gold in exchange-traded fund products to record highs last week. In the last month, holdings at the largest gold-backed exchange-traded products have risen by nearly 1.2 million ounces, largely in response to concern over the slow progress in solving the euro-zone debt crisis. EU leaders agreed to lend up to 200 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund to help it aid eurozone strugglers, and to bring forward the permanent rescue fund European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by a year to mid-2012. Those steps, together with a leveraged EFSF the existing bailout fund - are intended to boost help for troubled euro zone countries, such as Italy and Spain, the bloc’s third- and fourth-largest economies, as they muddle through their refinancing crunches. — Reuters

Asian stocks higher after EU debt deal HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed yesterday as optimism over last week’s European plan to introduce tougher fiscal rules to save the euro-zone were weighed by lingering concerns leaders may not have done enough. Traders remained nervous as Britain chose not to join the deal, while eyes will be on Standard & Poor’s, which last week warned the euro-zone of a downgrade if it is unable to come up with a viable plan. Adding to uncer tainty was an announcement yesterday by Moody’s that it will review the credit ratings of all EU countries early next year after what it described as Friday’s failure to deliver “decisive policy measures.” Tokyo rose 1.37 percent, or 117.36 points, to 8,653.82, Sydney closed 1.18 percent stronger, rising 49.8 points to 4,252.8 and Seoul added 1.33 percent, or 25.01 points, to close at 1,899.76. In the afternoon Hong Kong closed flat, edging down 10.57 points to 18,575.66 and Shanghai slipped 1.02 percent, or 23.72 points, to 2,291.55. The two bourses were also weighed by lingering concerns over China’s slowing growth. On Friday 26 of the 27 EU members backed tighter budget policing in a “new fiscal compact” to resolve the crisis threatening to crack apart the monetary union and send the global economy into another deep recession. The 17 euro-zone nations signed up to the pact-which gives the EU more power over national budgets-while nine non-members “indicated the possibility to take part in this process” after consulting their parliaments. However, Germany’s hopes for a treaty revision were dashed when Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron opted out of the plan by using his veto, saying he could not get the protection he wanted for the London’s financial centre. “This provides a framework for medium term improvement in debt levels,” said Ric Spooner, currency strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, according to Dow Jones Newswires. RBS head of domestic sales trading and execution Justin Gallagher said a European collapse was avoided but “that doesn’t necessarily mean Europe won’t continue to be a battle in the short-to-medium term”. Some leaders hope the pact will convince the European Central Bank to drop its reluctance to use its full arsenal

against the crisis after ECB president Mario Draghi called for a “new fiscal compact” last week. Draghi dubbed the summit decisions a “very good outcome” for the euro-zone. Leaders also planned to pump 200 billion euros ($267 billion) into IMF coffers to help the euro-zone, which is struggling to boost its own rescue fund to one trillion euros. The ECB would act as an agent for the bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). The EFSF’s successor, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), will come into force earlier than first mooted in July 2012, with a lending c a p a c i t y of 500 b i l l i on e uros. Standard & Poor’s is expected to pass judgement on the agreement this week after putting 15 of the euromember states-including France and Germany-on downgrade warning. The agency last week announced the bloc’s AAA status was on creditwatch citing worsening economic conditions and discord among leaders. Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist for Westpac in Sydney, said: “The question we all need answered is will this loose pack stand the test of time or will nations just walk away from this agreement at the first hint of trouble. “The markets will use S&P’s view as a report card on whether that was achieved.” Fellow ratings agency Moody ’s meanwhile said: “ The absence of measures to stabilize credit markets over the short term means that the euro area, and the wider EU, remain prone to further shocks and the cohesion of the euro area under continued threat. “In view of the continued absence of decisive policy measures despite the recent euro area summit, Moody’s Investors Service is reiterating its intention to revisit the ratings of all EU sovereigns during the first quarter of 2012.” I n European trade the euro slipped, buying $1.3332 and 103.50 yen yesterday, down from $1.3384 and 103.93 yen late Friday in New York where the common European currency rose on the EU deal. The dollar was at 77.72 yen compared with 77.60 yen late Friday. On oil markets New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, dropped 65 cents to $98.76 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for January delivery fell 86 cents to $107.76.

Japanese consumer confidence slips TOKYO: Japanese consumer confidence weakened in November, registering the first decline in seven months, the government said yesterday, amid growing concerns over Europe’s debt crisis and a strong yen. The Cabinet Office said the index of sentiment among households made up of two or more people fell 0.5 point from the previous month to 38.1 in November. Any reading below 50 indicates pessimism outweighing optimism. In April, the index plunged to 33.1 after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami left 20,000 dead or missing and sparked the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Yesterday, the government cut its assessment of consumer confidence in line with the drop, saying it was “roughly flat,” compared with a previous assessment in October which said consumer confi-

dence was becoming “moderate.” The consumer survey studies four categories: general livelihood, income growth, employment conditions and plans to buy new durable goods. There are fears any further deterioration in the European debt crisis could cause serious problems for Japan’s export-dependent economy as it gradually recovers from the impact of the March disasters. The strength of Japan’s currencywhich hit fresh post-war highs in recent months-has also weighed on consumer confidence. A strong yen hurts Japanese exporters by making their products relatively more expensive overseas and shrinks their foreign earnings when repatriated. The consumer survey received valid responses from 5,033 households, Kyodo News said. — AFP



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KSE stocks remain mixed GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed on mixed note during yesterday’s session. All major and sectoral indices were traded in red zone but some select buying on pivotal stocks specially in banking sector pared losses in Global General Index. The general picture still not clear in the long term for investors. They want to know how the new parliament will look at major issues that need to move faster such as the development plan. Global General Index (GGI) ended the day up by 0.07 percent, at 181.36 point. Market capitalization was up for the day, reaching KD29.65bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 5,836.3 point, shedding 17 points (0.30 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 103 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 41 equities retreated versus 26 that advanced. Trading activity was up yesterday. Total volume traded was up by 62 percent with 264.15mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD34.48mn (31.06 percent higher compared to Sunday’s session). Real Estate sector was the volume leader. The sector accounted for 43.69 percent of total shares exchanges. Abyaar Real Estate Development Company was the session’s most traded stock with 49.84mn shares exchanged. The company announced the sale of one of its properties in Dubai for a total value of AED10mn, which will be used to settle its debt obligations. The company realized a profit of AED1.67mn from the sale, which will be reflected in its financial statement for the

fourth quarter ending December 31, 2011. The banking sector was the value leader, having 40.65 percent of total traded value. In terms of top gainers, Gulf Franchising Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 12.50 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.018. On the other hand, Alrai Media Group Company shed 7.69 percent and closed at KD0.300 making it the biggest decliner in the market. Sectors Sector-wise, during the session six out of eight sector indices showed a negative performance led by Global Non Kuwaiti index which went down



by 0.93 percent dragged down by United Gulf Bank which declined by 3.64 to close at KD0.212. Egypt Kuwait Holding Company was also down, shedding 3.39 percent to close at KD0.285. Global Insurance index came as the second highest decliner, losing 0.47 percent. Warba Insurance Company was the only decliner in the sector. The scrip closed notably down by 6.45 percent at KD0.116. Heavyweight, Global Banking Index was the biggest gainer among the indices as it went up by 0.46 percent and helped lifting up the markets’ General Index. Among the sector’s gain-

ers; Commercial Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House which rose by 2.60 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively. Corporate News Avaiation Lease And Finance Company AGM was held and approved the distribution of 10 percent cash dividends for the year ended September 30, 2011. The stock will trade ex-dividend starting from December 13, 2011. The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $107.45pb on Friday, compared with $108.98pb the previous day, according to OPEC secretariat calculations.

Brent slips below $108 on EU worries, dollar LONDON: Brent crude slipped below $108 per barrel yesterday as investors worried a European agreement on closer fiscal union might not be enough to contain the region’s debt crisis or support growth. The euro, European stock markets, gold and base metals tumbled, while the dollar and German bund futures, seen as a safe haven from the turmoil surrounding highly-indebted euro zone governments, rose. All EU countries except Britain agreed last week on stricter budget rules, moves towards fiscal union and to provide up to 200 billion euros in bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund to help tackle the crisis. But it could take three months to negotiate and may require referendums in countries such as Ireland. Investors worry the long-term steps may not be sufficient to avert a shortterm funding crisis for one or more of the euro-zone’s indebted economies. Tight budget control is also likely to imply lower economic growth in the medium term. “The austerity measures will have a profoundly negative impact on economic growth and will make 2012 a very challenging year in economic terms,” said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets. Brent futures for January fell $1.57 to a low of $107.05 before recovering a little to around $107.30 by 1025 GMT. US crude futures fell $1.52 to $97.89, after settling more than $1.07 a barrel higher on Friday. Eugen Weinberg, head of commodity research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said markets could face additional pressure this week if rating agency Standard & Poor’s followed up on its decision after placing all euro zone sovereigns on creditwatch negative. `“If we get an S&P downgrade, the markets will take another leg down,” Weinberg said. “It has not been discounted yet.” Balancing the euro-zone gloom for the oil market were figures from China showing a surge in crude imports. The country’s crude oil imports rose 8.5 percent over a year

earlier to 5.52 million bpd in November, the second highest on record on a daily basis. The daily rate was also nearly 13 percent more than in October. China’s implied oil demand, a combination of crude runs and net oil product imports, rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to about 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data. A slide in China’s annual inflation rate in November at the same time as a slowdown in industrial output has also raised expectations Beijing will loosen monetary policy to stimulate growth, helping boost demand for oil. Ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were due to start arriving in Vienna yesterday ahead of a Dec 14 meeting to discuss output. OPEC members have been at odds over supply policy since June but look set this week to agree a new production target that will endorse current cartel output around 30 million barrels per day (bpd), delegates say. OPEC’s leading price hawk, Iran, said on Sunday the oil market was balanced and called on some OPEC producers to cut back as Libyan output resumes. But Tehran appears to be willing to accept a recommendation by OPEC’s Vienna-based secretariat that 30 million bpd is required from the group in the first half of 2012. Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia surprised markets last week by saying it had boosted output to more than 10 million bpd to feed increased demand from consuming countries. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday a boost in Saudi production would provide “welcome” relief to rising oil prices, warning continuing hikes threatened to thwart global economic recovery efforts. For the week ahead, investors are expected to watch for a series of US data numbers such as retail sales, consumer prices, manufacturing and jobless claims-aside from headlines out of Europe-to gauge direction. — Reuters



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Bad economy? Farmers have one of best years ever ST LOUIS: An Illinois farmer made so much money this year he made loan payments on one tractor a year in advance and exchanged some older ones for newer models. An Iowa farmer upgraded his combine and also paid off debt, while an elderly Oregon farmer poured into retirement funds a bundle of his $2 million take from a well-timed sale of much of his turf and equipment. While much of America worries about the possibility of a double-dip recession, such stories of prosperity are cropping up as US farmers enjoy their best run in decades, thanks to high prices for many crops, livestock and farmland and strong global demand for corn used in making ethanol. Farm profits are expected to spike by 28 percent this year to $100.9 billion, and the amount of cash farms have available to pay bills also is expected to top $100 billion - the first time both measures have done so, according to the US Department of Agriculture. All the while, crop sales are expected to pass the $200 billion mark for the first time in US history, and double-digit increases are expected in livestock sales. “We’re just experiencing the best of times,” said

Bruce Johnson, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “It’s a story to tell.” That’s not to say that everyone is sharing in the good fortune. Near Gardner, Kan., a short drive south of Kansas City, a lack of rain and nagging winds conspired to leave Bill Voigts with about half of the soybeans he expected. His harvest of corn was worse, coming in at about one-third of his normal production. Even with insurance, he didn’t quite break even on the 2,400 acres he farms most of them rented. “Had it not been for insurance in his area, it’d be a disaster. That’s the only thing that saves us,” said Voigts, 66. But he noted that the drought plaguing farmers like him helped drive up prices for commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat, benefitting those fortunate enough to get a good crop. “At the expense of some farmers, other farmers become wealthy,” he said. “That’s really the whole story. That’s not the government’s fault, it’s nobody’s fault. That’s just the way things happen. “Some people got left behind.” Yet most of the talk about US farming remains bullish, with analysts widely trumpeting “the new normal” in US

agriculture: Demand in China, India and other developing countries for US agricultural exports and hunger for corn for ethanol - has been keeping prices high and farming profitable. In central Illinois’ Morgan County near Jacksonville, Dale Hadden says he was “pleasantly surprised” by the corn and soybeans he got from the some 4,000 acres he works with his brother and their parents, considering they lost about 400 acres of corn to 21 inches of rain in June. All told, Hadden estimated his crops were worth 10 percent to 15 percent more than in previous years, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. He spent a chunk of that on an advance full year payment on a seven-year loan on one of his tractors and to pay down debt on land. Much of the rest he cautiously set aside. “It was a successful year,” said Hadden, a 38-year-old with two children, ages 11 and 9. “But most farmers would tell you that just because you’re flush with cash, you don’t spend it all.” In Oregon, 79-year-old Warren Haught sure didn’t. With four decades of farming under his belt, Haught - socked by the high cost of electricity to irrigate crops in high

desert country - unloaded his 1,500-acre operation a couple of years ago. He pocketed $1.7 million on the land sale and $300,000 from liquidating everything from haying equipment to plows and tractors, using some of proceeds on two new homes - one of him, the other for his son and his family - while saving much of the rest. “It was a pretty good deal at the time,” said Haught, who now has just 72 acres near mountainous Klamath Falls on which he grows alfalfa and grass crops. He’d like to get at least 100 more acres, saying demand for hay in China and other Pacific Rim countries is boosting prices. “It was kind of the perfect storm - what you had this year brought a good price,” he said. “Everything seemed to be a good price.” In western Iowa near Kingsley, Jeff Reinking and his brother - partners in a 2,500-acre operation evenly split between corn and beans recently traded in a 2006 combine for one three years newer - spoils from what Reinking called “the best year for me.” He also paid off some debt and put some money aside in case things aren’t always so rosy.—AP

Greece in tough talks on euro-zone bailout Creditors, debt holders in Athens

NEW YORK: A currency exchange board showing prices for the euro, Japanese yen and Mexican peso is displayed in a New York bank. —AP

France’s Hollande seeks to rework euro-zone deal PARIS: French presidential favorite Francois Hollande said yesterday that if elected next year he would seek to renegotiate the deal agreed at a summit last week in response to the debt crisis in the euro zone. “This accord is not the right answer,” said Hollande. “If I am elected president, I will negotiate, renegotiate this accord,” he said in an interview on RTL radio. He said the accord was all about austerity but should have allowed for a bigger European Central Bank role and issuance of common government bonds in the euro-zone. Socialist Hollande leads in opinion polls of vote intentions ahead of a presidential election to take place in two rounds next April 22 and May 6. European leaders agreed at a summit in

Brussels on Friday todraft a new treaty for deeper economic integration in the euro-zone, notably with a view to imposing tougher budget discipline via automatic sanctions for deficit overshooters in the single currency area “Without economic growth we will achieve none of the targets on deficit reduction,” said Hollande, who said the accord was both insufficient as a short-term answer and long-term solution. President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the main instigators of the European summit accord, has yet to declare his intentions in next year’s French ballot but he is widely expected to seek re-election and face Hollande in the second round of a contest that opinion polls currently suggest Hollande would win comfortably. — Reuters

Italy edges through key bond test amid strike ROME: Italy edged through a key bond auction test yesterday but market tensions remained high, as trade unions held a strike against an austerity plan and the government warned of an “extreme” financial emergency. The Treasury raised 7.0 billion euros ($9.3 billion) in an auction of 12-month bonds with a high rate of 5.952 percent-although this was lower than the 6.087 percent paid on November 10 before Prime Minister Mario Monti came to power. “Financing yourself over one year at nearly 6.0 percent remains abnormally high,” said Cyril Regnat, a bond strategist at French bank Natixis. The 10-year bond rate on the secondary market rose to 6.6 percent-still below the record peaks above 7.0 percent reached in recent weeks. Italy’s three main trade unions called three-hour work stoppages in their first coordinated strike action in six years-with more protests against property tax increases and pension reforms planned in the coming days. Lawmakers meanwhile debated the plan, which includes savings of 20 billion euros ($27 billion) and spending of 10 billion euros in a bid to kickstart an economy that has been stuck with low growth and high debt for years. A vote in the lower house is set for this week and the plan would then go to the upper house of parliament for final approval. The government is widely expected to declare a confidence vote to ensure the plan goes through. All the political parties in parliament-with the exception of the populist Northern League-have said they support Monti’s efforts and the plan is likely to be adopted despite trenchant opposition from the unions. Union leaders were set to protest outside parliament at 1500 GMT. Following talks with Prime Minister Mario Monti on Sunday, the main union leaders said the government was not taking into account their demands. “The final result was completely unsatisfactory,” said Luigi Angeletti, leader of the UIL union. Susanna Camusso, leader of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest union, said: “We are facing an extremely grave social situation.” The main bone of contention is a pension reform that would increase the number of years that workers

have to pay contributions to receive full pensions and a freeze on indexing pensions to inflation in 2012 and 2013. “The government’s presentation was based on the extreme financial and economic emergency that has swept our country as part of a wider European crisis,” Monti’s press office said in a statement. The main metal workers’ union Fiom CGIL is also holding an eight-hour strike yesterday. Italian bank workers are set to strike on Friday and public sector workers are to hold an eight-hour strike on December 19. Financial markets reflected the uncertainty: Italian stocks plunged 2.33 percent in early trading, with banking shares leading the fall. On the bond markets, the differential between Italian 10-year bond rates and benchmark German ones widened to 4.45 percent-indicating investor unease. “I hope the measure is approved quickly and without major changes,” said Emma Marcegaglia, head of the powerful employers’ federation Confindustria. —AFP

BRUSSELS: EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn gestures during a press conference on the entry into force of the “Six-Pack” yesterday at the European Headquarters in Brussels. Five states that risk fines under new EU laws must wait until January to see if promised 2012 budget cuts are sufficient to avoid sanctions, economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday. — AFP

ATHENS: Greece was holding tightrope talks yesterday with its creditors and debt holders on details of a new euro-zone bailout to enable the country to repay debt. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was meeting senior auditors from the eurozone, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, his office said, ahead of talks with a bank lobby group which has agreed in principle to take a big cut in debt repayments. “There will be negotiations on the new program,” a finance ministry source said, referring to the euro-zone lifeline accorded to Greece in late October which includes a 50-percent writedown on the country’s short and medium-term debt in agreement with banks. Venizelos was then scheduled at 1200 GMT to meet Institute of International Finance chief Charles Dallara, who represents global banks on the writedown, or so-called “haircut”, talks. The minister has warned of “a hard battle ahead” under “very difficult conditions in Europe and the world.” But a banking expert speaking to leading Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on condition of anonymity that, given “the uncertainty in the eurozone, the deal with creditors will become more and more difficult.” The Greek state will pay advisory investment bankers Lazard 0.015 percent of the nominal value debt exchanged or regained under the rollover-an expected maximum of 25 million euros-in return for expert advice. And international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb and Hamilton will be given at least six million euros in compensation for related advice, according to a finance ministry announcement picked up in reports. Greek reports said the mission representatives from the euro-zone, ECB and IMF, or troika, were also expected to discuss a new tax code to be put to parliament by next month and a private sector pay freeze to cut operating costs. Cuts to bonus pensions will also be on the agenda, the reports

said. The finance ministry declined to comment. The head of an EU task force assisting Greece with structural reforms, Horst Reichenbach, is also arriving for a three-day visit for meetings with Greek minister, the European Commission said. In a repor t issued in mid-November, Reichenbach’s team said it was reviewing Greek public administration changes “to ensure effective coordination” and was providing technical assistance to help implement the recovery plan. The task force will also help Greece with a massive privatization drive that has fallen greatly behind schedule.

ATHENS: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Director Europe Poul Thomsen (left) arrives yesterday at the Greek Finance Ministry in Athens for a meeting with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. — AFP

Turkish economy grows 8.2% in Q3 ISTANBUL: Turkey again turned in spectacular economic growth data yesterday, with official figures putting expansion at 8.2 percent in the third quarter. Turkey, a country of about 73 million people and the world’s 17th-biggest economy, shows one of the highest growth rates in the world, but the government expects it to about halve next year because of the euro-zone crisis. The economy grew by 8.9 percent in 2010, but only 10 years ago the country was in the throes of deep economic crisis and in the arms of the International Monetary Fund. Gross domestic product in the first nine months of 2011 increased by 9.6 percent, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) said on its website. However a big current account deficit widened further, rising by $31.5 billion (23.7 billion euros) in the first 10 months of the year, the central bank said, which is an increase of 94 percent from the figure for the same period of 2010. The current account deficit, a critical measure of all current payments out of a country and all payments in, now amounts to $60 billion, it added. TUIK also revised upwards its economic growth figures for the first quarter of 2011, from 11.6 percent to 12. Gross national product (GNP) per capita was $10.079 in 2010, according to the TUIK, compared to $8.590 in 2009. “We marked the second-highest quarterly growth after China. Of course it is a success,” Nihat Ergun, the minister of science, industry and technology told private news channel NTV. He said the government expected growth of 8.0 percent for 2011. For 2012, the government expects 4.0percent growth, indicating a sharp slowdown owing to the effects of the euro-zone debt crisis. For 2013 and 2014, the government expects growth of 5.0 percent. Turkey, which hopes to join the European Union and is vying to take on a bigger role in the Middle East, emerged from dire economic problems nearly a decade ago with aid from the International Monetary Fund, in return for deep structural reforms which are now bearing fruit. — AFP

IMF lowers growth forecasts for Philippine economy MANILA: The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast economic growth for the Philippines to 3.7 percent this year and 4.2 percent next year due to lower exports and public spending. The assessment was made yesterday at the

end of an IMF mission to the country. In September, the IMF forecast growth at 4.7 percent this year and 4.9 percent next year. Philippine economic growth slowed from January to September as exports fell amid Europe’s debt crisis and weak

The euro-zone decided in October to accord Greece a new loan of 130 billion euros ($174 billion) of which 30 billion will be used to recapitalize banks sustaining losses to their books owing to the debt rollover. An initial loan of 110 billion euros, spread over three years, was accorded to Athens in 2010. Greece has already received 73 billion euros of that money. The aim of the latest deal is to wipe off 100 billion euros of Greek debt and to bring it down to 120 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2020, from the current level of more than 160 percent. — AFP

US growth. Public spending declined while measures to curb corruption were put in place. The IMF says the challenge is to maintain economic stability during a period of global uncertainty while working to achieve faster growth. — AP

IEA economist cheers Saudi oil output rise CANBERRA: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said a boost in Saudi oil output would provide welcome relief from the threat that high fuel prices pose to efforts to revive the global economy. The Parisbased IEA, which advises industrialized countries on energy issues, has warned that Brent prices over $100 a barrel are a threat to the global economy. Brent traded above $108 a barrel on Monday and has averaged over $111 for the year. Saudi Arabia’s output increase in November was timely, given low global oil inventories and poor output from nonOPEC producers, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told a seminar in Australia yesterday. “OECD stock levels are at historically low levels, plus we are in a very fragile economic recovery situation,” Birol said. “And higher prices than we have now can strangle economic recovery efforts worldwide, therefore the Saudi production boost currently and in the future will be very much welcomed.” A senior Saudi oil official told Reuters last week the kingdom produced 10.047 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil excluding condensate in November, the highest rate for decades. Demand for crude would remain strong driven by energy hungry China, he added. November crude imports and implied oil demand in the world’s number two crude importer were the second-highest on record. Birol earlier told the seminar on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook that consumers globally should brace for oil prices in the coming years of up to $150 a barrel as China’s demand rises. The Saudi figure, greeted with some skepticism by analysts, came as the European Union mulls a ban on imports from OPEC member Iran, a move that could put further upward pressure on prices as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in Vienna on Dec. 14 to discuss production. It was too early to judge the possible impact on the global market and prices of any EU sanctions on Iran, as the EU had not yet

made a decision, Birol said. OPEC delegates say the cartel’s Vienna-based secretariat will recommend it agree an output target of 30 million bpd for the first half of 2012, above anticipated demand for OPEC crude of 29.9 million bpd in the first quarter and 28.7 million bpd in the second quarter. Adopting such a high output target, a policy likely to be supported by Saudi Arabia, would allow oil stocks to build and help restrain oil prices, which have been at historic highs. CLIMATE DEAL Speaking a day after marathon UN climate talks ended in South Africa on Sunday, Birol said without aggressive steps to mitigate carbon emissions, such as a globally agreed carbon price, the world would be unable to avert dangerous climate change as soon as 2017. Countries from around the globe agreed in Durban to forge a new deal forcing all the biggest polluters for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but critics said the plan was too timid to slow global warming. “The good news is that for the first time we have a roadmap that is supported and signed by all the governments who need to be involved,” Birol said. “We see some steps in the rough direction by many countries such as Europe, such as Australia, such as China ... These are good steps in the right direction. “However, the question mark I have in my mind is that I hope this roadmap wouldn’t lead some of the countries not to act for the next 10 years, or act inefficiently,” he said. The first phase of the 2007 Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact enforcing carbon cuts, was extended during the Durban talks until 2017, but it imposed limits only on developed countries, not emerging giants such as China and India. The United States never ratified it. Those three countries and the EU held a last-ditch huddle before finally agreeing to wording that commits them to a pact with legal force, although its exact form was left vague. — Reuters



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X-cite By Alghanim Electronics announces first winner of $250,000 in $1million campaign KUWAIT: X-cite by Alghanim Electronics announced the first winner of $250,000 Saqr Hamad Al-Saeed who purchased a dryer from Avenues showroom on December 6, 2011. Saqr expressed his appreciation to Xcite for this amazing prize. As part of its strategy in providing the best shopping experience and the most exciting promotions in Kuwait, X-cite by Alghanim Electronics is running in December one of the biggest promotions ever in the history of electronics retail. After congratulating the winner, Samer Sayegh, Vice President of Xcite by Alghanim Electronics, spoke of the promotion, “ We at X-cite are extremely committed to providing our customers with the best service and achieving the highest level in customer satisfaction. We always aim to excite our customers by bringing them the best prizes in our unique and highly successful promotions.” “There is still a chance for people to win with X-cite during the month of December,” stated Samer Sayegh, “All one has to do is visit any X-cite store and make a purchase over KD

50 to automatically enter the draw.” With one winner announced during the first week of December, there are three remaining draws and thus three lucky winners who will win the $250,000 cash prize. X-cite by Alghanim Electronics is the largest consumer electronics retailer in Kuwait. Operating a network of 16 stores, X-cite offers its customers an unparalleled experience by bring all international brands under one roof in an enhanced shopping experience. X-cite is the retail concept that delivers a modern, dynamic and convenient shopping experience with only one objective in mind: delighting its customers. With touch and feel displays, cash and carry shopping, a highly trained sales force and the latest gadgets and gizmos, shopping at X-cite is a superlative experience. Starting on December 1, 2011, X-cite by Alghanim Electronics expanded its electronics shopping experience with the launch of its online store,, a move that furthers X-cite’s pioneering nature in conveniently offering its many products and services.




25 winners of Best Electronics raffle draw receive their prizes KUWAIT: Under the supervision of Ministry of Commerce, Kuwait Consumer Protection department and with the presence of many customers, BEST Electronics conducted their first raffle draw event whereby 100 customers would win gift vouchers worth KD 100 each and the grand prize of KD 1000 will be awarded to the first prize winner. The customers entered the raffle draw with coupons collected for every KD 50 of purchases during the campaign. The first draw was conducted at the Best Electronics Showroom in Hawally, Tunis Street and the recipients of the prizes were: Naser (coupon No 209), Ibrahim Hasan (No 715), Ferdinan (No 823), Ezedien Salim (No 505), Nadeen (No 174), Sara Dar (No 131), Samer Saeed (No 160), Anwar Motlaq (No 513), Emelyda (No 872), Abdulrahman (No 884), Nadeen (No 174), Hamad Abdulla (No 104), Jasmin (No 249), Khalid Rajaan Naser (No 690),

Shelemy (No 766), Ahmed Abdullatif (No 534), Saad Mubarak (No 102), Gilbert (No 141), Mansour (No 824), Athari Ayed Mohamed (No 387), Sheikh (No 261), Mohammed Sabri (No 210), Mariam Abbas (No 82), Faisal (No 722) and Um Abdulla (No 402). The chances of winning are still open as there are 75 more of such prizes to be collected including the grand prize of KD 1000 gift voucher which all customers are eligible for. The more the purchase value, the higher will be the chances of winning in the upcoming draws. Best United Electronics operates one of the largest chains of electronics stores in Japan and works constantly to develop innovative concepts and experiences in line with customer needs. BEST Electronics has been continuously expanding in the region and it entered the Kuwaiti market through its partnership with the esteemed Easa Husain Al-Yousifi Company in Kuwait.

First prize draw program on sharia in Kuwait from AUB

Jet Airways wins award MUMBAI: Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, has been adjudged the ‘Best Airline in Central/South Asia and India” at the 8th annual Global Traveller Reader Survey Travel Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Siva Ramachandran, Regional VicePresident- Americas, received the award on behalf of Jet Airways at a glittering function at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, California on December 1, 2011. The prestigious US-based Global Traveller magazine conducted its survey over a eight month period between January and August 2011 asking frequent business and luxury travellers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories and more than 36,000 peo-

ple responded. The readers are frequent premium travellers averaging 16 international and 16 domestic round trip flights a year. Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways, said, “We are honored to receive this ‘Best Airline in Central/South Asia and India’ award from Global Traveller in recognition of our renowned service. Jet Airways is committed to delivering truly world class service and has worked to continuously enhance the excellent in-flight services on all our flights. The Award is once again a testimony to our commitment to focus on the needs of the passenger and to enhance the Jet Airways experience for our customers.”

Nissan Al-Babtain announces winners of grand raffle draw KUWAIT: Abdul-Mohsen Abdul-Aziz Al-Babtain, the sole distributor for Nissan genuine spare par ts in Kuwait, announced the names of winners in “Buy Nissan Genuine Parts and Win Exciting & Valuable Prizes” Campaign, where the draw of prizes was conducted on Wednesday December 7, 2011. This was in completion of its efforts exerted during the Campaign which continued from October 1 till November 30 so as to allow its esteemed customers to win one of the valuable prizes provided through the existing prizes draw. The campaign, which was held by Abdul-Mohsen Abdul-Aziz AlBabtain Company, comprised more than 30 valuable and exciting prizes including a Nissan Sunny 2011. The participants in this offer included persons who spent more than KD20 for purchasing Nissan genuine spare parts from one of the sales outlets affiliated to Al-Babtain. The draw was held at Nissan Al-Rai Showroom in the presence of officials from the

Ministry hosted by Ghazi Al-Babtain, Business Development manager, of Abdul-Mohsen Abdul-Aziz AlBabtain Company. Ghazi Al-Babtain confirmed that the objective of establishing several offers, which included this existing campaign, is to encourage customers of Nissan to repair their cars in Nissan service centers and also to encourage them to buy Nissan genuine spare parts from the sale centers affiliated to AlBabtain to guarantee getting the best service from Abdul-Mohsen Abdul-Aziz Al-Babtain Company. AlBabtain added that the campaign achieved great success in light of the response from Nissan car owners during the offer two-month period thus reflecting great development in sales. Al-Babtain Nissan Aftersales would like to congratulate all the winners and appreciates commitment and support from customers and staff in contributing to the success of this campaign.

KUWAIT: 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. AUB has announced the results of the weekly draws of its Al-Hassad Islamic savings scheme. The lucky customers winning the grand weekly prize worth KD 25,000 each at the draw held on 23rd of November 2011. Saleh Abdulla Mohammed Al-Sayafi, Sabah Hassan Ali Al-Haddad, Mohammad Abdulmohsen Mohammad Al-Mousa. The following Al-Hassad Islamic customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each : Nada Taha Sultan Borisly, Mohamed Mohamed, Jasim Mohammed Al Ahmad, Badriah Abdulaziz AlFarhan, A Wahab Abdulla Al-Suliman, Salim Abdulla Salim Abdulhadi, Nawal Maaikel Eid Al-Ajmi, Fareeda Abbas Hajeih Al-Saffar, Fowzeya Jaber Jali Fahad Al-Shemery, Saleh Mohammed Saleh, Hameed, Gracy Joy Joseph, Mohammed Hasan Aprl Redhaiy, Puthuveetil Kassim Abdulrahiman, Meshari Abdulrahman Al Bahar, Abdulla Mohd Hassan Saqer, Luwluw Abdulmuhsen Hamad , Derin Cameron, Metaeb Rashed Jeaithen Al-Azmi, Abdulla Radhi Ebrahim Al-Aaraj, Neville Leslie De Souza, Layla Mohammed Ali Hussain,

Ronald Matinez Ocampo, Youssef Kassem, Mohd Abdulla Mohd Jerkhi and Zahra Mohd Al-Majed. 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 AlHassad 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 qual-

ity 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 Al-Hassad Islamic investment savings account, its prize structure and eligibility criteria, customers may visit any AUB Kuwait.

American Express ME acclaimed at regional technology awards KUWAIT: American Express Middle East’s new integrated ‘Card Management Solution’ has been named the best ‘Banking and Finance Implementation’ in the region, at the ACN Arab Technology awards. American Express Middle East’s new ‘Card Management Solution’ represented the largest ever technology-based project for the company, involving replacing their core Card management system with another single platform option, The Card Management Solution was implemented in phases across all markets where American Express Middle East is operational, with the pilot project carried out at the Headquarters in Bahrain. As well as being cost effective, the new system significantly enhances the efficiency of American Express’ electronic payments processing. American Express Middle East has also won the award for the “IT Team of the Year” at the IC T Achievement Awards organized by Computer News Middle East, against stiff competition from well known regional organizations. “At American Express Middle East, we have always recognized the significance of a robust and efficient IT infrastructure in servicing Cardmembers’ requirements,” said William Keliehor, Chief Executive Officer, American Express in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Earlier this year, we invested strongly in this aspect of our business, enabling us to continue to ensure that our Cardmembers receive smooth and uninterrupted card management services at all times.” “We are delighted to be recognized at these prestigious awards that evaluate companies from across the region. The fact that the recognition has been from two separate publications only serves to underline the strength of our technological platform and back-end IT services,” he added. American Express Middle East’s IT team was commended by Computer News Middle East for their “combined strength, commitment, teamwork and technical skills” during recent events “when even vendors fled the country”. Due to this skill and spirit of working, the American Express IT team, according to the Computer News Middle East award panel award panel, “was able to maintain critical systems and availability of all call centre activities, while keeping the firm’s disaster recovery site on hot standby”. Henry George, Chief Technology Officer, American Express in the Middle East and North Africa, said: “It is very re-assuring that at a time when the capabilities of our IT network, infrastructure, business continuity and human resources were

Winners of ACN Arab technology awards

critically tested, we were able to rise to the occasion and deliver uninterrupted services to our Cardmembers. At the same time, we completed the implementation of the major ‘Card Management Solutions’ project. These two prestigious technology-related awards, provide clear recognition of the capabilities of our IT and Business teams”.

Henry George, Chief Technology Officer, American Express ME receiving ACN Arab Tech award.




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Building an asset in IT - the offshore solution for ME banks KUWAIT: Banks in the Middle East are being both energized and challenged by the innovative potential of technology in creating new products and services, which typically require new functionalities across a growing portfolio of platforms and channels. Although the continued push to deliver such products and services is helping banks to build new business, it is also significantly taxing their alreadystretched IT resources, according to a recent study by Booz & Company. In many cases, bank Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are discovering that their IT functions are overburdened by demands from business and the challenge of maintaining an ever-growing portfolio of technology solutions. As a result, they are significantly hindering the bank’s ability to go to market quickly with new products and services. The growing IT burden Throughout the evolution of the financial-services industry, banks have

harnessed new technologies to offer current and prospective customers increasingly sophisticated products and services. In the Middle East, banks attempt to meet evolving consumer needs while encouraging the use of low-cost electronic channels. However, as the pace of this technological evolution intensifies, bank CIOs are discovering that their IT functions are simply overburdened by the increasing demands placed on them, thus hindering banks’ ability to go to market with new products and services. “This challenge has been further compounded regionally by shortages in some local labor markets, such as shortages of technically trained graduates and difficulties in hiring foreign labor due to protracted visa application processes,” said Ramez Shehadi, a par tner with Booz & Company. “Regional CIOs are finding that different IT resourcing models are necessary for banks to bring to market new products and services in a competi-

tive timeframe and at the high level of quality that customers now expect.” Scoring IT resourcing models There are a number of resourcing models for banks to consider to effectively manage their growing IT development demands. Each has its own merits and limitations, but given the needs of regional banks and the limitations of the labor market, the most effective option is likely to be Offshore Development Center. 1. In-house Staff Banks can increase their IT function by hiring additional staff, which allows them to maintain control of the IT operation and keep proprietar y knowledge in the bank. In addition, this model is simple to implement as it only requires recruiting new staff and integrating them into existing processes. However, this model is restricted by the available local talent.

2. Contracting Banks can assimilate contractors into in-house teams with the help of thirdparty vendors. Contracting presents a simplified hiring and termination process, and the bank keeps control of the IT function as it remains on-site, but third-party vendors are also affected by the availability of talent. The model is more costly than hiring an in-house team directly, because vendors add a premium for their service. 3. Outsourcing Banks can elect to remotely source people and processes from external vendors, particularly with technology that is neither proprietary nor strategic for the company. Outsourcing provides access to new labor and talent pools, and may generate labor cost savings if the vendor has established economies of scale. Drawbacks include reduced control over people and processes, potential loss of intellectual capital, possible cultural differences and high turnover rates typical-

ly seen among IT vendors. 4. Cloud Computing In addition to sourcing people and processes, banks can source the underlying technology in a cloud computing service model. This is slowly becoming a more popular option as vendors’ experience and success in this arena continues to grow, however becoming fully dependent on a vendor can be a disadvantage due to the loss of technology ownership, which makes it difficult to undo such a partnership. There is also the potential for integration issues, as well as regulations that may prevent the exportation of customer data outside of the bank’s home country. 5. Offshore Development Center (ODC) With the ODC option, a bank develops its own dedicated talent pool where talent is more readily available, either nearby (near-shoring) or distant (offshoring).

Ultrabooks: The new design for laptops Intel has the sole right to decide what qualifies

The new Philips 3D monitor

Wireless sound and fast 3D pictures NEW TECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS MUNICH: The new Jabra headset Halo2 is connected to smartphones or MP3 players by either Bluetooth nor cable. A sensor field on the earplug allows for changing the volume and song title without grabbing for the main device, while so-called noise blackout technology does away with disturbing ambient noise. A battery charge lasts for eight hours of constant use, according to the manufacturer. For MP3 devices without Bluetooth, the headset can be connected by a cable with a corresponding jack included in the price of 100 euro (130 dollars). Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet. New is the silver housing with integrated speakers relocated towards the front. The technical details remain the same as the interior of the tablet works with a 1 GHz dual core processor and the Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) operating system. The UMTS compatible version of the device costs at least 629 euros (841 dollars) depending on storage space, while the purely wireless version selling for 539 euro. New 3D monitor Philips has introduced a new 3D monitor. The 273G can show games and films in 3D with the necessary shutter glasses, included in the price. Included in the monitor is software which automatically gives two-dimensional content new depth. The reaction time is 2 milliseconds. The 27-inch display is available starting in January 2012 for 499 euro. Blu-ray with digital receiver A new Blu-ray player from Samsung can receive high resolution videos and digital television. The device comes in two variations. The BD-D6900 has an integrated tuner for DVB-T and digital cable (DVB-C) while the BD-6900S has a satellite receiver (DVB-S). In addition, both devices come with a CI-Plus port for fee-based television offers, wireless inter-

net access and a recorder function to record programs. Each of the players costs 299 euro (400 dollars). Two headphones by Blaupunkt Blaupunkt’s On-Ear headphones Comfort 112 is available in two versions one with a cable and one without. The strip version includes the add-on Noise Canceller and can actively suppress disturbing exterior noise. But the headphones do require batteries. The Wireless version works in a an area of around 30metres. The built-in battery lasts about six hours. There are adapters for different plugs and connections included in the price of 129 euro (172.50 dollars) for either headphones. New Ashampoo version burns data The current version of the Ashampoo Burning Studio programme can burn data from social networks onto CDs and DVDs. Users directly access their content at Facebook, Flickr or Picasa with a reworked user interface. The cloud service Dropbox is also supported. The Burning Studio 11 also works with external hardware such as smartphones and digital cameras. The program is available for 50 euros (67 dollars) from the manufacturer’s website. Owners of the previous version having to pay only 20 euros for the update. Network player goes onto web Iomega’s new network player works with the open device software Boxee, which allows televisions access to TV and radio channels, YouTube, Facebook and other web content. With a built-in wireless adapter or an integrated hard drive, Iomega TV with Boxee can also play media from the local collection. The network player is also available without a hard drive for 250 euros (334 dollars) in shops. Models with integrated 1 or 2 TB hard drives cost 360 and 400 euro respectively. —dpa

BASEL: Co-founder of UN Cells, Bobby Yampolsky poses on March 23, 2011 with a mobile phone that his company made for Swiss luxury watchmaker Ulysse Nardin claimed to be “the world’s first and fine luxury hybrid smart phone,” integrating a mechanical watch rotor into the telephone. — AFP

BERLIN: Laptops need an upgrade, it has been deemed. Into this breach steps chip manufacturer Intel and its brand new creation, ultrabooks, which have hit shelves just in time for the Christmas rush. The point of an ultrabook is that they are better designed for mobile use, while also being easier on the eye. Intel has the sole right to decide what qualifies as an ultrabook. One key factor is being thin. A computer can’t be an ultrabook if it is more than 18 millimetres at its thickest point, says Intel manager Hans-Juergen Werner. An ultrabook also has to perform some of the functions that have traditionally been associated with tablets or smartphones. Despite, or because of, those demands, manufacturers are lining up to be able to use the label. Energy efficiency is another important factor. Batteries have to be able to power the laptop for five hours without recharge and cannot consume more than 17 watts. Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo have all trotted out ultrabooks, with prices ranging from 800 to 1,700 euros (1,075 to 2,285 dollars). But Werner notes that every manufacturer has at least one model available for less than 1,000 euros. Thanks to Instant On mode, all of them start quite quickly. If you didn’t power it all the way down, it should, theoretically, boot up within two seconds. A prime example of this is the Zenbook from Asus, weighing in at 1.1 kilograms and measuring only 17 millimetres at its thickest. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium in its 64-bit version. Use of a 128-gigabyte (GB) solid state drive (SSD) helps the Zenbook stay within the thickness guidelines. Acer is competing in the new class with its Aspire S3, which weighs 1.35 kilograms and is only 13 millimetres thick. Users have the option of doing without an SSD drive and working with a 500 GB HDD hard drive, which could be a plus for the many computer users who don’t want to sacrifice storage space when they’re on the go, says Acer spokeswoman Alexandra Boeckelmann. In other features, the Aspire has a battery with seven hours of life, and a 13.3-inch HD screen with backlit LED lighting. Instant On snaps it to life within 1.5 seconds. Acer says a green Instant On mode can let the machine run on one battery charge for 50 days. Intel is supporting creation of the ultrabooks with

various tools, including a 300-million-dollar fund. That has helped manufacturers experiment with the pros and cons of different design materials. Asus and Lenovo - which is bringing out the IdeaPad U300 - have opted for a chassis of pure aluminium, just like Apple’s MacBook Air. It’s designed to do more than just look fancy. “The question of thermal radiation played a big role in the decision for aluminium,” said Loewy Chen, responsible for the Zenbook’s design at Asus. “Aluminium allows a fast dispersal of heat: that allows the ultrabook to operate safely and reliably.” Lenovo has also employed a “breathable keyboard” into its 1.32-kilogram IdeaPad, a cooling technology developed by Intel that allows air to vent through the keyboard, so heat buildup doesn’t halt work.

The device is so thin that an ethernet cable actually no longer fit into its side, says Gabriel Willigens of Toshiba. That meant designers had to put it and the RGB port on the computer’s base. Acer, meanwhile, opted for layers of aluminium and magnesium for its Aspire, as well as a particularly aerodynamic design. “Essential features of a smartphone and a tablet PC” like fast startup and a particularly fast connection to the internet, in comparison to standard notebooks, should hopefully make the Aspire S3 more attractive to customers, says Campbell Kan, president of worldwide PC operations for Acer. At 2.5 seconds, the S3 is online four times quicker than other machines. HP and Dell have also announced ultrabooks. Beyond that, a further generation is expected in 2012. The newer ones are expect-

Ultrabooks The body of Toshiba’s Satellite Z830-10J is made of magnesium. Its display measures 13.3 inches diagonally and weighs just 1.1 kilograms. Toshiba’s developers strengthened the metal with a honeycomb design of their own invention.

ed to include multitouch displays and, thanks to a 100-million-dollar investment from Intel, a healthy number of apps. Prices are also expected to fall by next autumn. Intel head Paul Otellini thinks the 700-dollar mark is in range. — dpa

Getting your website to top of Google searches BERLIN: The best website in the world won’t do you any good if no one looks at it. And there are companies out there to help you rise to the top of Google’s hitlist. Better yet, they’re not just for businesses. The fact is anyone can post something online, but there is some talent involved in getting Google’s attention. Companies that help you do that are versed in the art of SEO (search engine optimization). Private individuals are increasingly focused on these services as they are finding they can’t reach a large audience unless they scoot up the hitlists. There’s no reason to shell out a lot of money for SEO services though. There’s a lot you can do to boost your site’s presence. “It’s really not that difficult. It’s not magic,” says SEO expert Heiner Hemken, who runs a website on the topic. There are two areas of focus. “On Page” SEO is targeted at the appearance of the site. “Off Page” SEO looks at everything in the site’s background. Rene Wienholtzk, head of technology

at internet search engine Strato, offers six tips to get more eyes on your private website. 1) “On Page SEO starts with the right choice of keywords,” says Wienholtz. Just a few choice keywords stored in the metadata of the HTML document are better than many unimportant words, because search engines filter out everything above a certain limit. “You should have a maximum of 10, but it’s better to use five keywords that absolutely need mention.” 2) The choice of the right internet address is Wienholtz’s second tip. Always try to pick a domain name that says something about the site’s content. 3) Every website should have a meaningful title and a description that is included in the metadata under the “description” title. 4) The website should have unique content, as well as text that includes the keywords. Search engines today will not be fooled by tricks like the one where hidden words appear in the same colour as the background.

5) Include alternative text descriptions of images and videos. These should be designated with alt, for alternative text, in the HTML code. 6) To save search engines some work, always set up an XML map. This map, which can be created in a sitemap generator, lays out the internal structure of the website. This is key for web offerings that include dynamic content, like technology from Ajax, which cannot always be picked up by search engines. To upload the sitemap, Google and Bing both have a link in their webmaster area. “If a sitemap is available, then the robots can work their way through that easily,” explains Wienholtz, referring to the crawler software that feeds data to search engines. Web hosts like Strato, where people can rent server space for their own website, also offer SEO tools to their clients. Such tools allow webmasters to check their contents versus those of other sites, such as those that use the same keywords. “This competition analysis

can give you ideas for your own optimization and let you learn from the competition,” says Joerg Lammers, spokesman for German internet provider 1&1. “You have to do this kind of analysis permanently, otherwise you quickly lose relevance and end up way behind.” If you’re working with common keywords - like vacation, car or computer - then you have next to no chance of getting your site up to the top spot. “But if you find a niche, then you have a chance to move up to the top,” explains Hemken. There are also commercial SEO options, like Off-Page SEO, which focus on building up links that lead back to your own site. Those are a central factor in Google’s PageRank, its central algorithm for weighting the popularity of a site. But Google warns SEO dabblers from trying too much manipulation. “A violation of our guidelines can have a negative impact on the ranking of your website with Google or even lead us to removing you from our index,” it advises. — dpa



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Kuwait cardiologists to kick-off Gulf COAST First study of its kind to focus on Gulf citizens KUWAIT: On November 25 and 26 twelve Kuwaiti cardiology experts traveled to Dubai for the Gulf Coast Investigator Meeting, to decide on plans and timelines for the launch of “Gulf locals with acute Coronary Syndrome events,” (Gulf COAST ). The study is supervised by Kuwait University and will track and assess the incidence, risk factors and treatment of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a form of heart disease, across four GCC countries. This is the first study of its kind to focus on Gulf citizens. “Heart disease is the number one killer, both in the region and in Kuwait, accounting for 30 percent of Kuwaiti deaths, said Professor Mohammad Zubaid, Professor of Medicine at Kuwait University, and the Principal Investigator for Gulf Coast. “This study is an important step for our country and region. Heart disease disproportionately affects our region, with the average age of acute coronary syndrome patients across the Middle East a decade younger compared with the West, and this study will help us understand why. Kuwait University is supervising the study, and at the investigator meeting we assembled renowned experts from across the region to agree on a path forward.” Dr Moosa Akbar, Consultant at Al Sabah Hospital, noted: “Our goal is to observe and record current practices in disease management and treatment, to identify opportunities to improve care, and to suggest necessary steps to address any gaps. We already know that many of our citizens suffer and die from heart disease. But, without understanding both the extent of the problem and how it’s actually being treated, it is difficult to make recommendations to improve patient care. While significant data exist at the international level, we lack the regionally

specific information necessary to better understand and address ACS and the needs of our citizens. Gulf Coast will deliver the robust local data that we require.” Gulf Coast is a collaborative effort among leading cardiologists from Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The study will track 4,000 Gulf citizens across 35 hospitals in the region for up to one year, who are admitted with a diagnosis of ACS, a leading form of heart disease associated with cardiovascular events such as heart attack. “Gulf Coast is an important study for both doctors and heart disease patients alike in

Kuwait,” said Dr Fahad Alenezi, Consultant at Farwaniya Hospital. “While lifestyle factors - and in a small number of cases genetics play a key role in causing heart disease, we know that there are also treatment gaps for patients with ACS and other heart conditions. As a registry of patients suffering from ACS, Gulf Coast will assess daily practice in ‘real life’ and record measures, such as socioeconomic factors and quality of life, to determine how we can provide the best patient care possible for this serious disease. Our goal is to observe and record current practices in disease management and treatment, to identify opportunities to improve care, and to

Professor Mohammad Zubaid

Tarek Rabah

Early detection of pulmonary hypertension is important BERLIN: Experiencing shor tness of breath at the slightest exertion is not necessarily a sign of being out of shape. I t is also a possible symptom of many disorders, including arteriosclerosis and asthma as well as pulmonary hypertension, a rare disease that often remains undetected and can drastically lower life expectancy. “Blood is pumped from the right ventricle of the heart through the pulmonary arteries (in the lungs), where it is enriched with oxygen. Then it flows into the left ventricle, which transports it into the body’s circulatory system,” explained Ralf Ewert, head of the Pulmonology Department of Germany ’s Greifswald University Hospital, describing a normally functioning heart. Ewert said the average pressure in the blood vessels between the right and left ventricles in a healthy person was about 15 millimetres of mercury (mmHg). A pressure of 25 mmHg or more is considered dangerous and known as pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension has a number of possible causes, on the basis of which it is divided into various groups. “The disease model is idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. There’s a genetic predisposition to it, and it hasn’t yet been linked to a definite trigger,” Ewert said. Along with the primary form of the disease are several other, more common, forms, all of which are of a secondary or associated nature. For example, blood pressure in the lungs can become elevated as a result of chronic lung disorders such as smoker’s bronchitis, connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma, and pulmonary embolisms. Common to all forms are abnormal changes in the pulmonary ar teries. “ Vasoconstriction occurs, which means the arteries narrow. In addition, blood clots increasingly form and the arterial walls restructure themselves and thicken, which causes further narrowing,” Ewert said. This makes it harder for blood to flow through the lungs, which raises pressure in the pulmonary arteries. If pressure rises further, blood flow in the lungs is impaired and the body is supplied with insufficient oxygen. “Fighting the high pressure, the right ventricle becomes increasingly overworked and its pumping performance gets weaker,” noted Michael Barczok,

spokesman for the German Association of Pulmonologists. This, he said, could eventually lead to right ventricular insufficienc y and hear t failure. Pulmonar y hyper tension manifests itself in very unspecific ways. “The main symptom is shortness of breath not commensurate with the degree of physical exertion,” Barczok said. Other symptoms are fatigue, circulatory problems and extreme weakness. “At an advanced stage, there are sometimes additional symptoms such as fainting spells and chest pressure.” Because these symptoms can also be caused by other diseases, pulmonary hypertension is often detected quite late. “For many people who have it, there’s a gap of several years between the first clinical symptoms and the diagnosis,” said Ekkehard Gruenig, head of the Pulmonary Hypertension Centre at the Heidelberg Thorax Clinic. The insidiousness of the disease, its rareness and the undifferentiated symptoms make a diagnosis difficult. Gruenig said it was essential to heed the warning signs, however, and advised people who displayed them to visit a pulmonary hypertension centre. “An untreated case of pulmonary hypertension can lead to death within a few years, and in six months if it has progressed to a very advanced stage,” Gruenig warned. A variety of examinations help to make a diagnosis, including an electrocardiogram, a chest X-ray and an echocardiogram. To make a definite diagnosis, a right heart catheterization is necessary, Ewert said. It is the only way to detect high blood pressure in the pulmonary vascular system. Treatment depends on the form of the disease. When pulmonary hypertension has been caused by an illness, then the underlying illness is treated first. If the treatment proves effective, blood pressure drops somewhat. There are also many medications used to treat primary pulmonary hypertension. “They only work symptomatically, though, and can’t effect a cure,” Barczok said. Nevertheless, they substantially stabilize and prolong life expectancy in most cases, he added. Besides drug therapy, a number of auxiliary measures can have a positive effect on the course of the disease, including the administration of pure oxygen and special breathing and exercise therapy. — dpa

suggest necessary steps to address any gaps.” The meeting is a significant milestone in a process that began in Dubai this past June, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for coronary research by AstraZeneca Gulf and continued last month, when Kuwait University and AstraZeneca Gulf signed a Research Support Agreement to officially launch the study. “Improving health is one of the toughest challenges facing the world today. But we can’t do it alone. Under the guidance of leading experts like Professor Mohammad Zubaid, Dr. Moosa Akbar and Dr Fahad Alenezi, great research, such as the Gulf Coast study, will drive the quest for better health in the region. Gulf Coast aims to better understand and collect information of the state of patients with heart disease or Acute Coronary Syndrome, from the moment of hospitalization to discharge. This is crucial for patients’ long-term wellbeing and even survival. AstraZeneca is committed to supporting the best possible care for patients, and ensuring that they are supported throughout their disease management and treatment,” expressed Tarek Rabah, Area Vice President, Middle East and Africa. The high-level objectives of Gulf Coast are to understand the incidence of ACS and regional risk factors and outcomes, to benchmark against current accepted practices and guidelines, and to establish a network of collaborators in this research. Gulf Coast will cover the patient from the time they arrive at the hospital, through discharge and beyond, up to one year. Gulf Coast is supervised by a 17-member study Steering Committee of senior cardiologists and leading experts from the four countries and an international scholar from the United States.

Seniors in Sweden ‘stayin’ alive’ with exercise ‘It’s for seniors aged 90 and up’ STOCKHOLM: The disco beat of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ pulses through the room as Lennart Zetterqvist heaves dumbbells out to his side, zipping through the paces of a workout class with a twist: it’s for seniors aged 90 and up. Zetterqvist, the baby of the group at 90, is part of a growing group of pensioners in Sweden who are determined to stay in shape and remain active as they age. “In the past people wanted to take life easy when they retired. Now they want to be active and keep fit until they’re 100,” says Kristoffer Sjoeberg, a personal trainer who leads the group of old-timers through their weekly class at the Sickla Haelsocenter health club on the outskirts of Stockholm. Anne-Marie Novotny, a spry and vivacious 91year-old in a pink tee-shirt, overdoes it a touch on the abdominal exercises. “I just had a liver operation so I’m going to take it easy for the next few minutes,” she says, adding that until last spring she hadn’t exercised since she finished school in 1938. She was one of 16 pensioners over the age of 90 who accepted the local municipality’s offer of a free weekly gym class. The idea is that keeping older people fit means they can continue to live independent lives-and stay out of hospitals and elderly care homes, which in Sweden’s cradle-to-grave welfare state are funded by municipalities. “We focus a lot on strength and balance, and we’ve seen a big improvement since we started this class in March. Back then most of the people came with canes or walkers, now almost none of them do,” Sjoeberg says. “I sometimes forget to take my cane with me nowadays!” exclaims Alice Wettergren, 92. While this group is exceptional-it’s the only one for the 90-plus crowd in Sweden-it illustrates a growing trend as Sweden, like the rest of Europe, grapples with an ageing population. According to the Seniorbarometern study published in September, there are 1.8 million pensioners out of Sweden’s population of nine million, and the group is expected to grow by another 850,000 by 2015. UN projections forecast that seniors will account for 25 percent of the population by 2050. “These are no couch potatoes, they’re much more active than the average Swede,” the head of the study, Linus Blom, told AFP. Among those aged 59 and up, 38 percent say they do some form of exercise every day. One in six say they are considering buying a membership at a gym. And since 2000, the number of people over the age of 65 who have completed the Stockholm Marathon has increased four-fold. “This is just a mirror of today’s society: older people are living healthier, longer lives and they want to stay active much longer,” Stockholm Marathon organiser Thomas Enstroem told AFP. As far as runners go, few can beat Herbert Liedtke. It took three strokes in the past year to get

the now 95-year-old to give up sprinting in international masters competitions. After driving a taxi for 40 years and never exercising, Liedtke took up running at the age of 69 on a whim when he tagged along with colleagues 15 years his junior to their regular track workout. “I had never run a day and I outran all of them,” he recalls with a proud grin, standing ramrod straight in sweat pants and runners in the kitchen

“I feel more limber, my balance is better and I notice my stamina is better,” she explains. Goeran Murvall, the doctor who came up with the idea for the 90+ workout group, says keeping seniors thinking positively is as important as the exercise. He wanted to get them “dreaming about next year’s hiking trip, or holiday in the Alps, or ‘how I’m going to climb down into the sailboat one more summer’.” “The elderly need to believe in the future

STOCKHOLM: Swedish Margareta Nordin (L), 92, Alice Wettergren (2nd L), 92, and Per Olof Lalin, 97 work out during their weekly class with a group of Swedish pensioners, at the Sickla Haelsocenter health club on the outskirts of Stockholm yesterday.— AFP of his retirement home where his cluster of medals hangs in the doorway. At 85, in 2001, he set a new world record for 400-metres in his age category in Australia. (And as at every other competition, he insisted on doing a headstand on the winners’ podium.) Blom noted that those now entering retirement are the postwar “baby boomers”, many of whom have stronger finances than previous retirees and who are expected to make up a key market for gyms and health clubs. Bodil Hedenstroem is a case in point. At 71, she attends workout classes three to four times a week at the upscale Sturebadet health club in central Stockholm. “I need this! I can’t go without it,” says the tall, slender blonde, adding she and her husband often take cycling or hiking holidays.

and set new goals,” he says, adding: “Physical activity, especially for seniors, is the best and cheapest medicine there is.” Personal trainer Sjoeberg cautions that today’s younger generations are going to need to think about exercising even more than today’s senior citizens. “This generation of seniors was much more active for many years,” he says. They walked and cycled more every day, and as pastimes on weekends picked mushrooms or berries in the woods or skied in the forests. “Now, the younger generations sit still so much in front of the computer and television and they drive everywhere. So they need to exercise so that they can live to be 90 and have a good life when they are 90,” he says. — AFP

Poor mental health harming productivity

KENSCOFF: In this May 10, 2011 file photo, community health volunteers Hilaire Etienne, center, and Michel Raphael, right, weigh and examine a child for signs of malnutrition in the rural Kenscoff area, Haiti. — AP

LONDON: One in five workers suffer from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety and these conditions increasingly affect productivity in the workplace as many struggle to cope, a report by the OECD said yesterday. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found people with mental illness are often off sick from work, and between 30 and 50 percent of all new disability benefit claims in OECD nations are now due to poor mental health. Policymakers need to find new ways to tackle the social and economic problem of mental illness, the report said, as trigger factors, such as stress at work, are likely to increase. “Increasing job insecurity and pressure in today’s workplaces

could drive a rise in mental health problems in the years ahead,” it said. “The share of workers exposed to work-related stress, or job strain, has increased in the past decade all across the OECD. And in the current economic climate, more and more people are worried about their job security.” Depression alone is already a major cause of death, disability and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 it will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages. Two studies published in September and October found that up to 40 percent of Europeans suffer from mental and neurological illnesses each year, and the annual cost of brain disorders is almost 800

billion euros. The OECD’s report, entitled “Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health at Work” found that most people with a mental disorder are in work, with employment rates of between 55 percent and 70 percent-about 10 to 15 percentage points lower than for people without a disorder. But people with mental illness are two to three times as likely to be unemployed as people with no mental health problems. This gap represents a economic major loss, the report said. “Most common mental disorders can get better, and the employment chances be improved, with ade quate treatment,” the OECD said. But it said health systems in most countries were narrowly focused on

treating people with severe disorders such as schizophrenia, who account for only a quarter of all sufferers. “Taking more common disorders more seriously would boost the chances for people to stay in, or return to, work,” the OECD said, adding that around 50 percent of people with severe mental disorders and more than 70 percent of those with moderate illness currently get no treatment at all. The OECD urged policymakers to focus on providing good working conditions which help employees reduce and manage stress, to introduce systematic monitoring of sick leave, and to help employers reduce workplace conflict and avoid unnecessary dismissal caused by mental health problems. — Reuters



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Some depressed people do worse on drugs:Study YALE: Up to a fifth of patients being treated for depression with some medications may do worse than those given a placebo, according to a US study. The findings, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, highlight the importance of quickly identifying how patients respond to certain drugs, said lead author Ralitza Gueorguieva, at the Yale University School of Health. “Identifying variables that are associated with response is a very important question that we haven’t quite tackled,” she said. The researchers combined data from seven studies that randomly assigned patients to receive Eli Lilly’s drug Cymbalta, known generically as duloxetine, other antidepressants, or a drug-free pill for two months. The trials involved about 2,500 people with major depression. People getting the placebo tended to report small, gradual improvements in depression symptoms. But those on Cymbalta or another antidepressant fell into one of two categories: most had steeper, steady improvement in depression symptoms, but a sizeable chunk didn’t seem to get any better. One of the study’s authors is an employee of Eli Lilly and another is on the company’s scientific advisory board. Researchers found that patients’ symptoms over the first few months of antidepressant use separated them into “responders”, who got progressively better, and “non-responders”, who didn’t improve with treatment but may still have suffered side effects. About four in five patients on all antidepressants were responders. For Cymbalta, about 84 percent of patients improved but 16 percent did not. Medication responders saw significantly bigger improvements in their depression symptoms than patients assigned to the placebo. Non-responders, however, actually did worse. “You know within the first couple weeks of starting a treatment who’s the most likely to benefit because they’re already starting to show improvement,” said Michael Thase, a psychiatrist from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the study. “I think this finding holds true for the antidepressants that are most commonly used today,” he added, referring to the gap between responders and non-responders. The side-effects of antidepressants, such as stomach problems and poor sleep, could explain the worse symptoms seen in non-responders compared to placebo patients, he said. Another expert said the latest research has been trying to identify certain patient characteristics-for instance, genetics or specific depression and anxiety symptoms-that could help determine the effectiveness of specific drugs. “If you can identify people who would be potential responders to a particular medication ... it would be a great, huge advantage for the field,” said C. Hendricks Brown, who has studied depression treatments at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, but didn’t take part in the study. — Reuters

Beauty is skin deep What’s hip and trendy in cosmetics field in Kuwait? By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: One of the latest procedures for antiageing that reverses the ageing skin and reduces wrinkles is called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which a local doctor and a beauty expert recommends warmly. The advantages of this kind of treatment over other common anti-ageing treatments like Botox, fillers or thread lifting lies in its unique features. The way it works, explains Dr Helen Azarian of Al-Ansari Medical Clinic, is that it uses the patient’s own blood which rejuvenates the skin and makes the pores look healthier. The way this treatment works is simple: Doctors take blood (about 40 - 60 millilitres) from the patient and treat it in a centrifuge to separate the Platelet Rich Plasma from the other components. Afterwards they inject the concentrated platelets in the skin to help stimulate the production of the growth factors which will stimulate itself the production of new collagen. The procedure is pretty safe, explains Azarian who is dermatologist, as the centrifuge works with separate kits. Platelets stimulate growth factors and thus stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. In this manner, the skin is rejuvenated, explains Azarian. She adds, “after the plasma treatment the skin looks younger, brighter and healthier.” In her words it also makes the skin immunity better. For many experts, Azarian included, rushing to undergo a medical procedure is not recommendable and it should be reviewed on case by case basis. That is why before any treatment is assigned in the clinic they start with an extensive consultation with the patients. “We exhaust all the topics that a patient might have until we satisfy their queries,” Azarian said. The number one advice Azarian likes to give is that every treatment “starts from the inside.” She says, “When you know what is your problem then it will be solved. You are the person to treat yourself”. Secondly she lists education and knowledge about a certain problem as the second stage. When it comes to skin therapies, the anti-ageing mesotherapy has also become a smashing hit.

The therapy which involves injecting microscopic amounts of vitamins into the skin is also used to rejuvenate the skin. Dos and don’ts Having a healthy lifestyle is essential for beautiful skin and body. It is one of the major do’s. Living in a desert climate with hot sun requires everyone to exert extra effort for their skin. Leaving the house after you have applied sun protection 30 SPF factor is a must, Azarian says. Taking vitamins and drinking a lot of water is also an advice that Azarian gives regularly to her patients. However, on the list of don’t is self-prescribing medication for the skin. Some youngsters

Dr Helen Azarian

use medication to close the pores on their face something that ultimately dries the skin. When the skin is dry the pores look better, Helen explains the rational behind the choice of medication. However, what young patients do not realize when taking medication for the skin is that once the body activates its normal function and oil reduction isn’t there then the patient goes to square one. She is a vocal proponent of healthy interventions done when necessary. Some people are obsessed with medical procedures, Azarian says that she often sends patients back telling them that they don’t need more intervention. Acne and excessive hair growth are just few of the other problems that Azarian’s clinic solve on a daily basis. Fast and pain-free hair removal that can be done within a blink of an eye, are also some of the everyday treatments in demand in the clinic. However, the latest news in the laser family is that the light in motion laser has become the preferred choice nowadays. Azarian who works with a Soprano laser explains that this kind of hair removal equipment offers distinct benefits: proven by FDA (US food and drug administration), it features long-lasting hair removal, safety and does not burn the skin. It is a pain-free, fast procedure, explains Azarian adding that compared to other lasers this is not a painful procedure. “Today when people have many commitments, hectic schedules and stress we need pain-free treatments that do not take much time,” says Dr Helen. Botox is still the number one preferred medical procedure in the cosmetic landscape in Kuwait. Middle-aged men and women of different ages make up the customer base for such treatments. Fillers for contouring are the second preferred treatment followed by non-surgical face-lifting procedures. “The problem is when the proper filler isn’t used in the proper place,” explains Azarian. She says that people should understand that nothing in our body is permanent. Sooner or later our body will start to fight against permanent fillers. So Azarian prefers never to use any permanent fillers.




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W H AT ’ S O N


Happy birthday dear Nicole Coelho. May God bless you and may all your dreams come true. Best wishes from your parents, sister Shannon, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Heba, Rachel, Nicole, Tulin and all your friends here in Kuwait.

KNES visits Japanese pottery exhibition


he Year 10 and Year 11 students from Kuwait National English School (KNES) in Hawally taking the option Art IGCSE went to visit the recent Japanese Pottery exhibition, contemporary art. Students admired the fabulous pieces of art work and the displays at the “Amricani” Cultural Centre. They will be doing sketches from a pottery of their choice on pencil, water colors and oil painting. Students from Kuwait National English School (KNES) were enthusiastic about the competition; and the two best drawings will get a price in January after the winter break.

Asianet Santa Yatra 2011 to reach Kuwait tomorrow

Thank you HH the Amir, CP


sianet Santa Yatra 2011’ a journey spreading the message of ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ will arrive in Kuwait on Dec 14 (tomorrow). The ‘Santa Yatra 2011’ will be accorded a rousing welcome at the Gulfmart supermarket branch Abbassiya on arrival tomorrow at 6 pm. The journey also seeks to convey the message of harmony, global peace and emphasize the need to build a green society. Started off its journey from the Santa Village of Laplang, Finland on November 23, the ‘Santa Yatra’ (journey) has covered most of the European countries such as Germany, Rome, Sweden, Norway, France and England and the United States of America before reaching Kuwait. In addition to Kuwait, it will also visit all the emirates in the UAE, Qatar and Oman in the Gulf region. The ‘Yatra’ will also tour all the major cities in Kerala and will call on Indian President Pratibha Patil and Defense Minister A K Antony. The yatra will come to an end on December 23.


man Al-Yateem sent a letter of gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Sabah, former Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Sabah, as well as director of HH the Amir’s office Sheikh Mubarak Sabah Al-Sabah, for their contributions in sponsoring two treatment trips abroad which helped cure her disability.

Lecture at AUK

Get ready get set - RunQ8


egistrations are now open for RunQ8, the annual 10km charity race to be held on January 21, 2012. Organized by the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) and Agility, the race route will run from Marina Crescent in Salmiya along the Gulf Road up to the Third Ring Road and back. The race is aimed at supporting health issues affecting our community and raising awareness around them. In its second year, RunQ8 is promoting road traffic safety. 2011-2021 has been named the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety with a goal to stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2021. In Kuwait, traffic accidents are the third leading cause of mortality and a large number of people and their families are affected by the debilitating effects of injuries caused by road accidents. Last year, the race raised over KWD 50,000 for the Kuwait University’s Community Eye Health Care Initiative that supports Vision 2020, a joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). RunQ8 invites all members of the community to join in this initiative and help support road traffic safety in Kuwait. To register contact the FSRI office 25720338 or visit the race for more details. There are also pre-race articles and videos produced by FSRI’s specialized sports trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists to help get you ready for the race. Please see our website and our Facebook page for updates on our running and walking clinic, race events, and other initiatives.

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

Cascade Nursery children give Operation Hope a helping hand


hildren at Cascade British Nursery lent a helping hand to the Operation Hope team last week, by filling gift bags with toiletries very kindly donated by parents. Operation Hope is a Kuwait based mission of mercy. They are involved in helping the many expa-

triate workers who are in need of basic items such as warm clothes, blankets and basic toiletries. This is especially important in the cold weather upon us. Cascade Nursery was happy to do their bit. The children were informed of the importance of helping those in need in times of hardship and had

lots of fun sorting through the many items parents very kindly donated. The gift bags were prepared ready for Operation Hope to distribute them. Cascade Nursery gave thanks to the Operation Hope team for their invaluable work and for the opportunity to help out with such a worthy cause.


he Center for Gulf Studies at the American University in Kuwait (AUK) will hold a lecture “When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics” by Dr. Nathan J. Brown, a distinguished scholar and author of several wellreceived books on Arab politics. During his lecture, Dr Brown will be introducing and talking about his latest book When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, which provides an analysis of Islamist movements in Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, Dec 13, 10 am at the AUK Auditorium, Liberal Arts Building. The lecture will be conducted in English but the speaker can handle questions or interviews in Arabic.

Swiss-belHotel Plaza Kuwait host top Filipino singers


wiss-belHotel Plaza Kuwait had the opportunity to host two of the finest singers from Manila, and sponsored the event for the fellow Filipinos in Kuwait. Richard Poon also known as ‘The Crooner’ and Sitti Navarro (Bossa Nova Queen). The singers arrived in Swiss-belHotel Plaza Kuwait for the concert held last Friday, December 9 in Al Shaab Park which was organized by Both singers shared their most famous tagalong songs and Christmas songs that

ICSK wins athletic championship


he Indian Community School Kuwait (ICSK) made history when its athletes clinched the recently concluded CBSC Kuwait Cluster Athletic Championship overall trophy for the tenth consecutive year. It was a convincing win with a grand tally of 423 points, well ahead of the other Indian schools in Kuwait. A decade of sports excellence and dominance has made all ICSK fraternity swell with pride and joy. The sterling performance of the star athletes on the track and field has netted the team with a bountiful harvest of 25 gold,13 silver and 9 bronze medals, proving once again that when it comes to sports, they are number one among all the Indian schools in Kuwait. With a impressive list of achievements, out of 6 category champi-

onships, 3 were bagged by ICSK, with under 16 boys scored 96 points, under 16 girls, 74 points and under 14 girls 67 points. Out of 7 individual champions, ICSK stalwarts won 5.The worthy champions are Ali Aslam Rumany, under 19 boys, Abigail Samara Corte, under 16 girls, Leander Rodrigues, under 16 boys, Christa Filo Vincent, under 14 girls and Shalom Nathaniel, under 14 boys. The icing on the cake is the new meet record, set by Hussain Gheewala in discus throw with a distance of 31.47 mts. The victorious team was accorded a grand reception at the Senior School by Hon Secretary, Rajan Daniel and Hon Jt. Secretary, Vijay Karayil, along with the sports coordinator, Principal Ms Fathima and other principals.

really touch the heart of people. Most of the Filipinos enjoyed the whole day with their families and showed their excitement and support for the two famous singers despite of the cold weather during the event. “I was like in Manila still because everywhere I go there were Filipinos” said singer Sitti Navarro. Swiss-Belhotel Plaza Kuwait has 153 rooms located in the heart of city with an easy access in Al Muthana shopping mall and offers great facilities for banquet events and conferences.




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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

Dow’s Marine Conservation Program collects 1 ton waste


volunteers, both individuals and members of different environmental and non-profit groups, collected over 1 tonne of waste across 6,000 sqm shoreline during Dow’s Marine Conservation Program’s

Doha beach clean-up held on 25th November 2011. Volunteers salvaged 18 discarded tyres and other types of waste for recycling. Launched in April 2011, Dow’s Marine Conservation Program is a dedicated

program under Al Yaal (, Kuwait’s first nationwide marine conservation initiative developed by The en.v Initiative. Dow Chemical is the title partner of Al Yaal. To date, Dow’s Program has manually conducted over 25 clean-

ups, collected close to 6 tonnes of waste, engaging close to 400 volunteers across 207500 sqm of shoreline extending from Shuwaikh Free Trade Zone to Doha and the three islands of Umm Al Maradim, Kubbar and Garoh.

McDonald’s, Dar Al Funoon and CAP to display painter Al-Humaidhan’s work


cDonald’s Kuwait with the support of the Contemporary Art Platform Kuwait (CAP Kuwait) and Dar Al-Funoon will be holding an art exhibition to display the astonishing work of the Kuwaiti prodigy Hamad AlHumaidhan. The event is scheduled to take place starting on the 14th to the 24th of December, and will also include educational painting sessions for children. This is part of McDonalds’ on-going commitment to giving back to the community and providing a platform for individuals to showcase their creativity and talent. Proceeds from Hamad’s exhibition will go to the Kuwait Dream Center for Autism. The opening of the exhibition will take place on the 14th of December, where 30 paintings of the young artist AlHumaidhan will be displayed; allowing guests to have a glimpse of his world. The ‘Young Picasso’; a name bestowed upon him by major media outlets will be holding fun painting classes for children

under twelve from the 18th to the 20th of December. Only twelve years old, Hamad AlHumaidhan has already become an international sensation and has been compared to Spanish Impressionist, Pablo Picasso. Hamad started painting at the age of seven and it’s hard to believe he never saw Picasso’s work before he started. Using Picasso’s signature bright colors and impressionistic forms, Hamad closes his eyes, lets his imagination go free and his brush does the rest. Hamad’s love of art started off as a simple hobby, which flourished as he visited museums, art galleries and historic buildings, until it became his passion. Residing in London with his mother, father and three siblings, Hamad is part of the international art agency UK Fine Arts and has been featured in local and national newspapers following his sellout exhibition, where his first collection of six paintings were sold before even going on show. In May 2010, Hamad was

commissioned to create the Birthday Card in celebration of the 180th Anniversary of Covent Garden market in London. Hamad was named fourth in the Top Teenz list of Exceptional Children and Teenagers and has been featured on the BBC, amongst other major media outlets. George Khawam Marketing Director of McDonald’s Kuwait stated: “McDonald’s Kuwait is always looking for opportunities to exhibit the talent of the youth of Kuwait. Hamad Al-Humaidhan is a passionate painter that we are proud to be supporting. In every brush stroke you can see how talented Hamad is and why he has been dubbed Young Picasso.” “Art is an essential part in every community, by sponsoring and being a part of this event, McDonald’s Kuwait is in a position to foster creativity and encourage a greater appreciation for art, while displaying the work of a great local talent.” Commented George Khawam Marketing Director of McDonald’s Kuwait.

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


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

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


Flavors of Japan at Izakaya Kuwait

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


he philosophy behind Izakaya is to deliver an authentic flavor of the East whilst respecting the traditions of the past. Our sublime menu is designed to introduce you to the many different flavors of Japanese cuisine contrasting French and local tastes. In much of Japan the Izakaya is a well-loved part of the social urban landscape, like a pub in London. Though tons of Izakaya exit in Tokyo, the term is hard to pin down. “Pub”, the most com-

mon translation, does not give justice for the place’s culinary possibilities, it describes a place where you can pop by for a drink and catch up with gossip. Indeed eating in Tokyo often has something of the tapas spirit about it: A number of small dishes that can be ordered in consequential fashion as the mood takes you. Izakaya Kuwait brings you these unique experiences, mixing the contemporary tastes in a pub like atmosphere.

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

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

EMBASSY OF 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.


Movenpick Hotel - FTZ celebrates Christmas Tree lighting event


ovenpick Hotel Kuwait Free Trade Zone celebrated Christmas Tree Lighting Event 2011 with over 14 meter high tree beautifully decorated by the Movenpick Hotel Kuwait Team, was lighted up with thousands of tiny fairytale lights on the biggest Christmas tree in Kuwait. On the occasion of the heartwarming holiday season and as the town is gearing up for fun, festive activities and merrymaking, Movenpick Hotel Kuwait - Free Trade Zone, ringed in the season by bringing all of its corporate accounts

employees with their families and children to its 4th Christmas Tree lighting event. The ceremony took place on Friday, December 9, in front of the hotel’s main entrance. Parents and children and guests all gathered exactly at 6 pm to cele-

brate this magical moment. Santa Claus himself with his team of reindeers lighted up the giant Christmas tree of more than 14 meters high with thousands of tiny fairytale lights and beautifully decorated by the Movenpick Hotel Kuwait team. The countdown for the light up was led by Movenpick Hotel Kuwait General Manager, Beat Peter and L&D Manager, Ms Maricar Canasa. After lighting the giant Christmas tree, Santa Claus riding in a camel was around to celebrate and distribute gifts to all the children who were present during this night.

EMBASSY OF US The United States and Kuwait enjoy a long-standing and fruitful relationship with higher education. As evidence of this enduring partnership, the number of Kuwaiti students enrolled in US institutions of higher education in 2010/11 increased from 2442 to 2998, a 22.8% increase compared to the previous year. Kuwaiti students study in 45 states. This year, embassies and institutions around the world will be celebrating International Education Week the week of November 14-18. In honor of International Education Week, the US Embassy s Mobile American Corner will be at the Marina Mall on Wednesday evening, November 16, and at the Avenues Mall on Thursday evening, November 17. Information about higher education in the US, English language classes and the student visa application process will be available, and staff will be present to answer questions about study in the USA from the general public.



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00:50 Your Worst Animal Nightmares 01:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 02:40 Mutant Planet 03:35 Must Love Cats 04:30 Your Worst Animal Nightmares 05:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 06:20 Animal Cops Phoenix 07:10 Last Chance Highway 08:00 Monkey Life 08:25 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 08:50 Natural Born Hunters 09:15 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 09:40 Breed All About It 10:10 My Cat From Hell 11:05 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 12:00 Animal Cops Houston 12:55 Bondi Vet 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Miami Animal Police 14:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 15:40 Mutant Planet 16:30 Monkey Life 17:00 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 17:30 Natural Born Hunters 18:00 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 18:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 19:20 America’s Cutest... 20:15 Bondi Vet 20:40 Breed All About It 21:10 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 22:05 Mutant Planet 23:00 Big Five Challenge 23:55 Untamed & Uncut

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

After You’ve Gone My Family My Family The Weakest Link Holby City Doctors My Family 3rd & Bird Boogie Beebies Bobinogs Poetry Pie Tweenies Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Poetry Pie Buzz & Tell Tweenies Charlie and Lola Fimbles My Family My Family The Weakest Link New Tricks Doctors EastEnders Holby City My Family My Family My Family New Tricks The Weakest Link Doctors EastEnders Holby City New Tricks The Weakest Link Doctors EastEnders Holby City Conviction

00:00 Gok’s Fashion Fix 00:50 Gok’s Fashion Fix 01:40 Come Dine With Me 02:30 What Not To Wear 03:20 Gok’s Fashion Fix 04:05 Gok’s Fashion Fix 04:55 Come Dine With Me 05:45 What Not To Wear 06:35 Gok’s Fashion Fix 07:20 Gok’s Fashion Fix 08:10 Daily Cooks Challenge 10:10 Daily Cooks Challenge 10:40 Antiques Roadshow 11:30 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 12:15 Bargain Hunt 13:00 Come Dine With Me 13:50 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:20 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:50 Antiques Roadshow 16:40 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:25 Bargain Hunt 18:10 Come Dine With Me 19:00 Kirstie & Phil’s Perfect Christmas 19:50 Kirstie & Phil’s Perfect Christmas 20:40 Come Dine With Me 21:30 Antiques Roadshow 22:20 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 23:05 Bargain Hunt 23:50 Holmes On Homes

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


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

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

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

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

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 Anderson Cooper 360 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 Quest Means Business 07:00 Erin Burnett Outfront 08:00 World Sport 08:30 Backstory 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Report 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Inside Africa 12:00 World Business Today 13:00 Backstory 13:30 News Special 14:00 World One 15:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 16:00 News Stream 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 21:00 International Desk 21:30 News Special 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 Piers Morgan Tonight CRIME & INVESTIGATION 00:00 Cold Case Files 01:00 Snapped 01:30 Snapped 02:00 The First 48 03:00 Born To Kill 04:00 Snapped 04:30 Snapped 05:00 Cold Case Files 06:00 The First 48 07:00 Crime And Punishment 08:00 Vanishings 08:30 Vanishings 09:00 Crime Central 10:00 SWAT 11:00 Steven Seagal: Lawman 11:30 Steven Seagal: Lawman 12:00 Vanishings 12:30 Vanishings 13:00 Crime Central 14:00 SWAT 15:00 Steven Seagal: Lawman 15:30 Steven Seagal: Lawman 16:00 Crime Central 17:00 Vanishings 17:30 Vanishings 18:00 Crime Central 19:00 SWAT 20:00 Steven Seagal: Lawman 20:30 Steven Seagal: Lawman 21:00 Crime And Punishment 22:00 The First 48 23:00 Crime Stories

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


00:40 01:05 01:35 02:25 02:50 03:40 04:35 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:40 07:10 08:00 08:50 09:40 10:10

Danger Coast Dual Survival Overhaulin’ Dirty Jobs Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Stuff’S Made How It’S Made Dirty Jobs Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear Overhaulin’ How Stuff’S Made Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings Wreckreation Nation One Man Army Ultimate Survival Dual Survival Danger Coast Cash Cab Us Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear Overhaulin’ Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings How It’S Made How Stuff’S Made Cash Cab Us One Man Army An Idiot Abroad Freddie Flintoff vs The World

The Gadget Show The Tech Show Kings Of Construction Stunt Junkies Mega World Mighty Ships The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Cool Stuff & How It Works Kings Of Construction One Step Beyond Brainiac Scrapheap Challenge Moon Machines The Tech Show Weird Connections

10:35 11:00 11:25 12:20 12:45 13:15 14:05 14:55 15:20 15:50 16:40 17:05 18:00 18:50 19:15 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:10 22:35 23:00 23:50

The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Brainiac Sci-Fi Science Cool Stuff & How It Works Mega World Moon Machines One Step Beyond Stunt Junkies Kings Of Construction Weird Connections Scrapheap Challenge Moon Machines Sci-Fi Science The Tech Show Sci-Fi Saved My Life Cosmic Collisions Moon Machines The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Sci-Fi Saved My Life Cosmic Collisions

00:00 Kim Possible 00:25 Fairly Odd Parents 01:15 Stitch 02:00 Replacements 02:50 Emperor’s New School 03:35 Stitch 04:25 Replacements 05:15 Fairly Odd Parents 06:00 Hannah Montana 06:20 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 07:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 07:55 Phineas And Ferb 08:10 Good Luck Charlie 09:00 Twitches Too 10:20 Hannah Montana 11:15 Phineas And Ferb 12:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:45 Fish Hooks 13:30 Suite Life On Deck 14:20 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 15:00 Thirteenth Year 16:35 So Random 17:00 Fairly Odd Parents 17:25 Good Luck Charlie 17:50 Fish Hooks 18:15 Shake It Up 18:45 Good Luck Charlie 20:00 Sonny With A Chance 20:25 Hannah Montana 21:15 Suite Life On Deck 22:00 Shake It Up 22:50 Sonny With A Chance 23:15 Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 02:20 E! Investigates 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Giuliana & Bill 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kendra 13:35 Kendra 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:35 Giuliana & Bill 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:25 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 THS 19:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kendra 21:55 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting Nightmare Next Door Nightmare Next Door Extreme Forensics The Haunted A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Street Patrol On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Couples Who Kill Deadly Women

00:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 01:00 Word of Mouth 01:30 Food School 02:00 Danger Men 03:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 04:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 06:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 07:00 Word of Mouth 07:30 Food School 08:00 Danger Men 09:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 12:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 13:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:00 Exploring The Vine 15:00 Word of Mouth 15:30 Banged Up Abroad

PLANET 51 ON OSN CINEMA 16:30 Banged Up Abroad 17:30 Weird & Wonderful Hotels 18:00 Travel Madness 18:30 Latin America On A Motorcycle 19:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 20:00 Exploring The Vine 21:00 Word of Mouth 21:30 Banged Up Abroad 23:30 Weird & Wonderful Hotels

00:15 18 02:00 03:45 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 15:45 18:00 20:00 22:00

Wrong Turn 3: Left For DeadThe Heavy-18 The A-Team-PG15 Against The Ropes-PG15 You Got Served-PG15 Last Breath-PG15 Rocky II-PG15 You Got Served-PG15 Lost In Space-PG15 Rocky II-PG15 Zombieland-18 X2-PG

01:30 Swansong: Story Of Occi Byrne-PG15 03:15 Freestyle (2010)-PG15 05:00 Planet 51-PG 06:45 The Green Hornet-PG15 09:00 Flipped-PG 11:00 Stuart Little 2-FAM 12:45 Freakonomics-PG15 14:45 Flash Of Genius-PG15 17:00 Hachiko: A Dog’s Story-PG15 19:00 Date Night-PG15 21:00 The Nanny Express-PG15 23:00 Biutiful-18

00:00 The Ricky Gervais Show 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 02:00 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 02:30 South Park 03:00 Friends 03:30 Friends 04:00 Will And Grace 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Just Shoot Me 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Will And Grace 08:30 Friends 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 How I Met Your Mother 10:00 Traffic Light 10:30 Just Shoot Me 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Will And Grace 13:00 Friends 13:30 Seinfeld 14:00 Just Shoot Me 14:30 Traffic Light 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 16:30 Outsourced 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 How I Met Your Mother 19:30 Traffic Light 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 American Dad 22:30 Weeds 23:00 South Park 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:10 03:10 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30

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

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

The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Desperate Housewives Revenge No Ordinary Family Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice Royal Pains Covert Affairs Law & Order

Detroit 1-8-7 Top Gear (US) Boardwalk Empire Desperate Housewives Revenge Commander In Chief Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street Law & Order: Los Angeles Top Gear (US) Desperate Housewives Revenge Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice Royal Pains Off The Map Commander In Chief

01:00 Deadly Impact-18 03:00 The A-Team-PG15 05:00 Assassination Tango-18 07:00 Ballistica-PG15 09:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 11:00 Bodyguard: A New BeginningPG15 13:00 Altitude-PG15 15:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 17:00 Rocky IV-PG15 19:00 Ninja Assassin-18 21:00 X2-PG 23:15 Child’s Play 2-18

00:00 Hey Hey Its Esther Blueburger-PG15 02:00 Captain Ron-PG15 04:00 Rat-PG 06:00 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star-PG15 08:00 Nativity!-PG 10:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel-FAM 12:00 The Hudsucker Proxy-PG15 14:00 Head Of State-PG15 16:00 Hey Hey Its Esther Blueburger-PG15 18:00 The Allnighter-PG15 20:00 Rag Tale-PG15 22:00 Couples Retreat-18

01:00 Midnight Cowboy-18 03:00 Le Syndrome Du Titanic-PG15 05:00 Antwone Fisher-PG15 07:30 The Young Black StallionPG15 09:00 Adam-PG15 11:00 Secret Origin: The Story Of DC Comics-PG 13:00 The Young Black StallionPG15 14:15 Coco Before Chanel-PG15 16:30 The Italian Job (1969)-PG 18:45 The Lovely Bones-PG15 21:00 Sideways-18 23:15 Moulin Rouge!-PG15

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 PG15 15:00

Kick-Ass-18 Cinema Verite-PG15 Made In Dagenham-PG15 Gasland-PG15 Love Happens-PG15 Strength And Honour-PG15 Elle: A Modern Cinderella TaleCats & Dogs: The Revenge Of

Kitty Galore-PG 17:00 Love Happens-PG15 19:00 Dinner For Schmucks-PG15 21:00 Sideways-18 23:15 A Nightmare On Elm Street-18

00:00 FAM 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 FAM 10:00 12:15 14:15 16:00 FAM 18:00 20:00 22:30

The Three Musketeers (2008)-

How To Train Your Dragon-PG The Karate Kid-PG Legend Of Sleeping Beauty-PG

01:30 02:30 09:30 10:00 11:00 13:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

Volvo Ocean Race Live Test Cricket Volvo Ocean Race Highlights WWE Bottom Line WWE SmackDown Test Cricket Trans World Sport Rugby Union Varsity Match WWE SmackDown

The Spy Next Door-PG In Search Of The Titanic-PG15 Groove Squad-FAM The Three Musketeers (2008)How To Train Your Dragon-PG Marmaduke-PG Legend Of Sleeping Beauty-PG The Three Musketeers (2008)-

01:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 02:00 ICC Cricket World 02:30 Live Test Cricket 09:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 10:00 World Cup of Pool 12:00 US Bass Fishing 13:00 Cricket Test Match 20:00 World Hockey 20:30 Futbol Mundial 21:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 22:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:30 Scottish Premier League

00:30 European Challenge Cup 02:30 World Cup of Pool 03:30 World Pool Masters 04:30 US Bass Fishing 05:30 SPL Highlights 06:00 Trans World Sports 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Snooker UK Championship Tour PGA 12:00 European Highlights 13:00 Golfing World 14:00 Scottish Premier League 16:00 SPL Highlights 16:30 HSBC Sevens World Series 20:00 Pool Mosconi Cup

02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 18:00 19:00 21:00 22:00

WWE Bottom Line Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Speedway UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Speedway Le Mans Series Highlights V8 Supercars Championship WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Aquabike World Power Boats Nations Cup Power Boats F1 Speedway WWE SmackDown UFC Unleashed UFC 140

01:30 02:00 03:00 08:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

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Classifieds TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011





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


Departure Flights on Tuesday 13/12/2011 Flt Route Time 981 WASHINGTON DC DULLES 0:45 976 GOA/CHENNAI 0:50 44 DHAKA 1:00 502 LUXOR 1:05 240 SIALKOT 1:10 637 FRANKFURT 1:20 3562 ALEXANDRIA 1:25 283 DHAKA 2:40 621 ADDIS ABABA 2:45 773 ISTANBUL 3:15 68 DUBAI 3:45 854 DUBAI 3:50 642 MUSCAT 3:55 371 BAHRAIN 3:55 306 ABU DHABI 4:00 139 DOHA 4:55 164 DUBAI 6:55 212 BAHRAIN 7:00 643 AMMAN 7:10 545 ALEXANDRIA 7:40 54 DUBAI 8:25 156 LONDON 8:40 677 ABU DHABI/MUSCAT 8:55 256 BEIRUT 9:00 511 TEHRAN 9:15 561 AMMAN 9:20 560 SOHAG 9:30 101 LONDON/NEW YORK 9:35 856 DUBAI 9:40 126 SHARJAH 9:45 302 ABU DHABI 10:00 56 DUBAI 10:05 133 DOHA 10:10 214 BAHRAIN 10:40 604 ISFAHAN 10:45 165 ROME/PARIS 11:45 618 LAR 11:50 541 CAIRO 12:00 776 JEDDAH 12:15 311 RAS ALKHAIMAH 12:50 405 BEIRUT 12:55 624 SOHAG 13:30 785 JEDDAH 13:40 176 DUBAI 13:50 611 CAIRO 13:55 220 BAHRAIN 14:20 58 DUBAI 14:35 551 DAMASCUS 14:40 673 DUBAI 15:05 982 BAHRAIN 15:20 613 BAHRAIN 15:35 641 AMMAN 15:35 501 JEDDAH 15:45 786 RIYADH 15:50 617 DOHA 15:50 743 DAMMAM 16:15 501 BEIRUT 16:15 773 RIYADH 16:25 141 DOHA 16:30 238 AMMAN 17:15 304 ABU DHABI 17:35 538 CAIRO 17:40 135 DOHA 17:45 82 BAGHDAD 18:00 858 DUBAI 18:10 216 BAHRAIN 18:15 128 SHARJAH 18:25 3563 ASSIUT 18:30 511 RIYADH 18:35 267 BEIRUT 18:45 134 BAHRAIN 19:05 228 DUBAI/COLOMBO 19:10 64 DUBAI 19:20 184 DUBAI 19:55 361 COLOMBO 20:20 62 DUBAI 20:40 343 CHENNAI 20:55 171 BAHRAIN 21:00 351 COCHIN 21:05 571 MUMBAI 21:10 648 MUSCAT 21:15 1405 COLOMBO 21:50 373 BAHRAIN 22:00 403 BEIRUT 22:20 218 BAHRAIN 22:25 102 BAHRAIN 22:30 137 DOHA 22:35 301 MUMBAI 22:45 554 ALEXANDRIA 22:45 860 DUBAI 22:50 205 ISLAMABAD 23:00 443 BAHRAIN/AMSTERDAM 23:05 528 ASSIUT 23:35 411 BANGKOK/MANILA 23:55

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One separate room in 3 bedroom spacious flat, fully furnished is available for single/bachelor in Ashbiliya opposite Farwaniya. Contact 99714430. (C 3768)

Jeep GMC Envoy 2004, black color, very good condition, KD 2,250/-. Contact: 50699345. (C 3777) 13-12-2011

Sharing accommodation at Hawally opposite of Pakistani school at the back for single person, rent KD 80. Tel: 66489207.

Toyota Corolla 2009, silver color, excellent condition, well maintained, low mileage, wanted price KD 3,250/-. Contact: 60951195. (C 3775) 12-12-2011

Sharing accommodation available from 1st Jan, 1 or 2 decent bachelors to share with another, only KD 25 each in 2 bedroom flat new building, separate bathroom, kitchen and Sat facility, W&E free, opp Apollo hospital, Naser Al-Bather St, near Shara Aman St. Call 99761807 or 66209879. (C 3767) 10-12-2011

Two General A/C window units and Sony TV 21” excellent condition. Contact: 66625253. (C 3772) 11-12-2011 2004 model Ford Mondeo car, red color, run 1,17,000 km, very good condition, insurance up to Oct 2012. Price KD 1050, negotiable. Call 66463727 after 7 pm. (C 3769) 10-12-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Habeeb Mohammed Abdur Rahman Baageel Indian Passport No. G9948258 hereby change my name to Habeeb Mohammed Abdur Rahman Baaqeel. (C 3778) 13-12-2011 I, Santhana Rego holder of Indian Passport No: A9871318 hereby change my name to Santana Rego. (C 3773) 11-12-2011 I, Habibulla Ismail Mithu, holder of Indian Passport No. Z 026492, hereby changed my name to Mitha Habibullah Ismail. At. Lunawada (pms) 389230. (C 3764) 10-12-2011

SITUATION VACANT A Kuwaiti family is looking to hire a full-time Asian driver. Tel: 99774658. (C 3771) 11-12-2011

MATRIMONIAL Orthodox parents invite proposals for their son 27/180, fair. B.Tech, employed with a reputed company in Kuwait, from parents of suitable girls working in Kuwait. Contact email: (C 3770) Proposals are invited for an RCSC girl 30, 165, working in Kuwait as accountant. Email: (C 3774) 11-12-2011

Birding community is atwitter over rare sighting LOS ANGELES: Hark, the red-flanked bluetail sings! Yes, that red-flanked bluetail — the bird species that until this week had been spotted just once in North America outside of Alaska. Avid birders have been vocalizing like crazy about the discovery, which was made yesterday by biologists on San Clemente Island, a 21-mile-long sliver off the Southern California coast. "Birders get very excited about this kind of thing," said Kimball Garrett, ornithology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. "It just illustrates that almost anything can happen out there in the wild with birds." The small, thrush-like bird normally breeds in a wide area spanning Northern Europe and Northern Asia and winters mainly in Southeast Asia. A few redflanked bluetails have been spotted in the neighborhood of the Aleutians, but the species' only other North American engagement was 22 years ago on Southeast Farallon Island, a rocky chunk off San Francisco. This week, researchers from the Institute for Wildlife Studies were trekking through the canyons of uninhabited San Clemente, checking on the San Clemente loggerhead shrike. The island is owned by the U.S. Navy, which is trying to aid the endangered bird's recovery. Jethro Runco, a member of the institute's San Clemente team, wrote on the birding website about coming across a bird he'd never seen — an avian he thought just might be a Siberian rubythroat. "We followed the bird for roughly 30 minutes — 30 minutes of sheer pleasure, minds racing and hearts pumping!" he wrote. He took plenty of point-andshoot photos and tried seven or eight times to radio his colleagues. Back at the office, the shrike project's supervisor, Justyn Stahl, was brushing his teeth when a grinning Runco showed him the photos. "I threw my toothbrush on the counter and ran to my room to grab my copy of 'Birds of East Asia,' " Runco wrote on eBird, "vaguely recalling seeing this bird during a trip to Thailand." Stahl, Runco and a few others raced back to the

canyon. The light was fading. All they found were a couple of orange-crowned warblers — but then they saw a tiny bird with "the beautiful blue rump and tail, the cinnamon wings, the reddish flanks ... "As the sun set and the light faded," Stahl wrote, "we hiked back out to the truck, delirious." How what birders call a "vagrant" wound up so far off course is unknown — but it's hardly unprecedented, according to Garrett of the natural history museum. "Not all individuals unerringly migrate from point A to point B," he said. "The astounding thing is that so many birds get it right." —MCT



stars CROSSWORD 526



Aries (March 21-April 19) This is a very good time to organize the company party or to bring together and organize your affairs or to restructure your work schedule. Professional associations and associates push you to be the best you can be. Rise to the occasion and meet the challenge. Barriers or obstacles that might have been keeping you from realizing your full potential will become less meaningful now. You make friends easily and may find yourself with plenty of co-workers to help you. A positive attitude benefits you greatly. Let optimism lead you to a happy outcome in this endeavor. You may see value or love for an older person or someone in authority. There is a lot of energy and drive available to accomplish just about anything that you feel is necessary.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Feeling in touch or in harmony with those around you helps you to realize that all lines of communication are wide open for you. It’s a time when you should not be surprised at some sort of extra support or recognition. You should expect a little added boost. This afternoon you may find enjoyment in reading a romantic book or taking in a movie or video. Ideas and thoughts just seem to hold more meaning and form at this time. Others may find you quite charismatic or commanding in speech. People will have no problem in understanding just what you mean. Your optimism and faith will be strong and carry you through to many successes. Expect a whirlwind of fun at a social gathering this evening. Consider hanging mistletoe in strategic places.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A member of the Siouan people inhabiting the valleys of the Platte and Missouri rivers in Nebraska. 4. Informal terms for objecting. 9. Soft white semisolid fat obtained by rendering the fatty tissue of the hog v 1. 13. Committee formed by a special-interest group to raise money for their favorite political candidates. 14. (botany) Especially of leaves. 15. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 16. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 18. Gully or streambed in North Africa and the Middle East that remains dry except during rainy season. 19. Type genus of the Majidae. 20. An accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape. 21. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 23. A decree that prohibits something. 24. A percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance. 27. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 29. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 30. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 32. A flexible container with a single opening. 33. A small nail. 35. Lacking in security or safety. 38. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 41. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 42. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 44. Occurring at or forming an end or termination. 45. A male monarch or emperor (especially of Russia prior to 1917). 47. A doctor's degree in dental medicine. 48. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 49. An informal term for a father. 51. A Loloish language. 54. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 56. Destruction of heart tissue resulting from obstruction of the blood supply to the heart muscle. 57. A small hole (usually round and finished around the edges) in cloth or leather for the passage of a cord. 61. An imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children. 65. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 66. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 67. Pertaining to or resembling amoebae. 69. Sexually transmitted urethritis (usually caused by chlamydia). 70. A doctor's degree in education. 71. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 72. Standard time in the 5th time zone west of Greenwich, reckoned at the 75th meridian. DOWN 1. A translucent mineral consisting of hydrated silica of variable color. 2. An account describing incidents or events. 3. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 4. A unit of magnetomotive force equal to 0.7958 ampere-turns. 5. (used especially of commodities) In the natural unprocessed condition. 6. (Old Testament) The second patriarch. 7. A genus of Ploceidae. 8. English essayist (1775-1834). 9. Your general store of remembered information. 10. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 11. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 12. English aristocrat who was the first wife of Prince Charles. 17. Jordan's port. 22. A unit of elastance equal to the reciprocal of a farad. 25. The airforce of Great Britain. 26. A temporally organized plan for matters to be attended to. 28. Large family of important mostly marine food fishes. 31. Type genus of the Anatidae. 34. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 36. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 37. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 39. Tag the base runner to get him out. 40. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 43. Before noon. 46. Avatar of Vishnu. 50. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (1902-1984). 52. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 53. Doglike nocturnal mammal of Africa and southern Asia that feeds chiefly on carrion. 55. A strip of land projecting into a body of water. 56. Before noon. 58. A narrow way or road. 59. Oval reproductive body of a fowl (especially a hen) used as food. 60. Pulled or drawn tight. 62. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 63. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity equal to 10 decibels. 64. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 68. Informal terms for a mother.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You may feel a need to broaden your range of vision. The sort of thing that motivates you into action now might be politics, law, education, travel or religion. You long for new challenges and experiences. Metaphysical or philosophical musings could capture your attention as well. This should be a really super day for getting things accomplished—just about any task runs smoothly. You may even feel like exercising and getting out and about this afternoon. Good news about a financial investment makes you want to splurge on some item you have had your eye on for some time. It would be better to wait on the financial investment to mature but the energies are working in your favor. Show your appreciation to a loved one this evening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You should find this a nearly perfect time to be assertive and to move forward in your career determinations. You have all of the drive and energy that you could possibly want and it should not be too hard to channel. The path is wide-open and clear. The chances are very good for understanding those around you and having a special time with someone you love or care for a great deal. General harmonious feelings from those around you make this a very productive and happy time. Appreciating things of value and even the idea of value itself is in order. This is possibly a time of great material gain—most assuredly a time when material things have a great deal of importance for you. Make an honest attempt to budget.

Leo (July 23-August 22) This should be remembered as a time of great mental activity and heightened communication with others. Knowledge, the exchange of ideas and the idea of being smart as a fox are the kind of things that have special importance and appeal for you now. Figuring out new ways to communicate or an easy manner is what makes conversations and interactions go well this day. Being able to sympathize and understand others takes on greater importance. You appreciate knowledge, but do realize that it is wisdom that really counts the most. Accepting things from the past or putting yourself in touch with anything mysterious or spiritual is the thing that gives you a great deal of satisfaction. Your investment choices are wise ones at this time.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Freedom, as well as anything unusual or different, is what interests you now. You may enjoy opportunities to get away from the regular routine—a change of pace. You have a clear perception into your own inner sense of values, how you acknowledge and love. It should be a good time to examine and give thought as to what is really important and of lasting value. Ideas will be flowing to you easily—you will have a lot to talk about. Your mind is quite clear and natural. Taking a different approach to things, assessing new ideas and a breakthrough in thinking is right up your alley at this time. Don’t take an important relationship for granted this evening. Show your appreciation to this person . . . results are positive.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Being included on a special outing with co-workers is gratifying. Being sensitive to and understanding the needs of others gives you insight into how you communicate regarding group activities and brotherhood in general. Your unique and unusual capabilities are trying to evolve. It’s a good probability that someone close to you will understand and be supportive of your ideas. Allowing the creative and intuitive parts of your personality to come forth could surprise you. Home-based activities are a focus this evening. Before going to sleep this night you may decide to listen to one of the hypnotic relaxation tapes. You will absorb into yourself positive thoughts. Consider a nutritional consultation . . . balancing out your physical needs.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You will soon be receiving helpful advice regarding a business or a financial concern. This could be a time you discover some new and different reasons or ways to appreciate and applaud life. A kind of mini-revolution may find you developing your value system—allowing you to like new things. There is a different approach to love and compassion available to you now. Someone that you are close to could look up to you for guidance with regard to a very personal issue. You will have no difficulty in understanding the situation and helping this person to see a new way of thinking. Your ability to cut to the chase and get at what lies beneath the surface is highly beneficial to the conclusion of any difficulties. A friend is very appreciative.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) It’s important that you think about what you are going to say before you say it, or you may find circumstances going against your own best interests today. You could find a situation where you may clash with an older person or one in authority. Someone could conceivably argue with you. Choose your words as though you may have to eat each one and try to avoid choking or bringing on heartburn in the process. A clear-minded insight into your own plans and method is available to you now. It’s a good time to help others to understand your goals and to put them into words. It is also a good time to conclude the decision-making process and move forward. Look carefully at some type of reorganization that will allow you more freedom. Relax this evening.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


You should find it a rather fortunate day for making plans or decisions and finding your way through just about any problem that you may discover. You should be feeling successful and have no problem in solving any difficulties that should come up today. Good advice from a guide or older person may be forthcoming. Expect a good day. Anything of a domestic nature or having to do with things from the past helps you recognize your need for security and a feeling of having attachments. The family, home, relatives and real property all could be playing a larger part in your life now. It is essential to your well-being to know that you belong on a private, intimate, personal level, to be needed and to feel that it is okay to have needs.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You discover that you are good at using your own mind to make good choices and to think through things clearly. Career decisions are constant and easy to make. You see your way through ideas and concepts. You can communicate and express these ideas to others. Mental work is especially favored this afternoon. You get into the flow of work and enjoy the progress that you make. You are encouraged and you encourage others. Most of the places where you have worked have not given you this much of a feeling of accomplishment. This is a genuinely nice time. Later today you take time to purchase what you need in order to get your camera ready for a workout; tonight will bring you some fun photo opportunities.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Your horizons are opening up and you are on the right path as far as your professional life is concerned. You will accomplish a lot before noon. This could be a banner day for those of you working in sales— most anything sold this morning seems to be a big ticket item. There is a positive accent on matters in the afternoon but progress is slow. Someone that you are close to is going to need your help and guidance concerning important personal issues. Tensions calm as the day moves along. Looking for new ways to bring the old traditions back into your life keeps you busy this afternoon; perhaps a little shopping is in order. You plan the details of the next family get-together. Company may drop by unexpectedly this evening.



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lifest yle G o s s i p

eryl Streep may be considered one of the finest actresses around, yet she says she believed her career was over 20 years ago. Streep, now 62, tells Vogue magazine she was offered three different roles to play a witch after turning 40. She believed it meant women in her age group were “grotesque on some level,” and told her husband “It’s over.” Streep graces the January cover of Vogue magazine for the first time and jokes in the


ation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan started a five day trip to Haiti on Sunday, arriving just ahead of fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey as they make separate trips to the poor Caribbean country. Farrakhan told reporters at the airport that he will be exploring ways his organization can help Haiti rebuild from the devastating 2010 earthquake. He said he intends to “listen, learn and share,” and is particularly interested in learning more about Voodoo, the religion widely practiced in the country. “I have longed throughout my life to set my foot in the sacred soil of Haiti,” Farrakhan said. Haitian Foreign Minister Laurent Lamor the greeted Farrakhan at the airport, and the Nation of Islam leader was expected to meet later in the week with President Michel Martelly. Authorities hustled the journalists out of the airport after


indsay Lohan has had $10,000 stolen from her handbag. The troubled actress feared she would be stranded in Hawaii after her $5,000 Chanel handbag - containing the cash, passport, plane ticket and probation documentation - was allegedly snatched from a car during a weekend


break. In audio obtained by gossip website TMZ, Lindsay could be heard panicking that she would miss a status hearing in her probation case, which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles tomorrow. She can be heard saying in the tape: “...With my passport and my I.D., so I can get back into the country and I

have to fly in, to go straight to court... “It was a white jeep. It was locked though, and someone must have gone through the back of the truck because there’s no alarm and just taken it out. “It was locked the whole time, parked right here... It just so happens that I left all my clothes and cash and I.D. and my plane coupon, which I have to get. “I will kill someone if I even have to get questioned [inaudible section] jail for a year.” The police were called to the party Lindsay was attending, and many people reportedly helped try to lacate the bag, but found nothing. However, the following morning, one of Lindsay’s entourage spotted a “suspicious-looking local”, who initially denied anything but later appeared with the designer handbag, which he said he had found in the street. While all of Lindsay’s documentation was still in the bag, $10,000 cash was missing. Her spokesperson said: “Everything was still in the purse, except the cash she was carrying with her.” Lindsay is due in court for a probation hearing related to a 2007 DUI (driving under the influence) conviction.

magazine she’s the “oldest person” to do so. Next, she plays the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the new film “Iron Lady.” She’ll portray Thatcher from age 49 to 85. The film opens January 13. The January issue of Vogue goes on sale Dec 20.

the news conference so they could not cover Winfrey’s arrival. Winfrey was expected to visit a settlement camp for displaced people run by Hollywood actor Sean Penn and his aid group J/P HRO on Monday. She was also expected to meet with fashion designer Donna Karan, who has celebrated the work of Haiti’s artisans through her Urban Zen Foundation since the quake. Martelly has said he would meet with Winfrey on Monday. He said he hopes she will serve as a goodwill ambassador for Haiti and help bring aid to the country.

lizabeth Hurley has to make “more effort” to look good now she is over 40. The 46-year-old model-and-actress credits getting sufficient sleep as essential for maintaining her youthful looks and admits she has had to change all her habits as she has gotten older. She said: “I love women looking fabulous and I don’t think growing older means looking less good. For me, it’s less about trying to looking younger and more about making sure you look your absolute best. “Without doubt, once I hit 40 I had to make more effort and it wasn’t until then I realized how much easier it was when I was younger. “Now, I look like a lunatic if I don’t get at least double that. In my 20s I used to be able to exist on coffee, cigarettes and crisps, but again, a couple of days of that now and I’d look and feel really scary!” Elizabeth - who has a nine-year-old son Damian from a previous relationship also admitted she constantly thinks about food and claims to eat much more than her fiance, former cricketer Shane Warne. She


Winslet didn’t behave

added in an interview with Zest magazine: “Shane is very disciplined when he has to be but, bizarrely, I eat at least three times more than him because I’m far greedier and think about food all day long. “He’s naturally very athletic because he’s been a professional sportsman for over 20 years. He keeps threatening to make me run with him, but I’ve resisted so far!” Despite her love of food, the ‘Austin Powers’ star admits she puts “pressure” on herself to stay slim because she continues to model her swimwear line. She said: “I put myself under pressure to remain slim because I still model my own bikinis but it is much more difficult to feel motivated in the gloomy winter. “I wrap myself up and try to walk every day with my dogs and sometimes force myself to run a bit - but I hate it. I love Pilates and yoga but, again, am more likely to do them in the spring and summer.”

well’ during break-up he male model has been dating Saturdays beauty Mollie King since April but admitted they rarely see each other because he is so focused on his career. He said: “I’m a useless boyfriend. Even if I am there, I’ll go out in the evening or go to the gym as I’m very restless. “Our careers are very important to us so we mainly keep in touch on BBM and our phones.” However, David, 31, believes Mollie is the one for him and says he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Speaking about his plans for when his modeling career ends, he told the Daily Star newspaper: “I’d love to invest in a hotel in somewhere like Mumbai and move over. Whatever will be will be. “We don’t need to worry about the future when we’ll be spending the next 40 years together. I can definitely see us lasting that long.”Mollie has previously revealed their relationship works so well because David is like a best friend that she also “fancies”. She explained: “On our first date we went out for dinner but kept it low-key. I actually wanted to be single for a while, having just come out of a two-year relationship and being heartbroken. “I get on with David like a best friend, but it helps that I fancy him too! When he met my friends and family, to them it was just me bringing home my new boyfriend. I told him, if you get in with Mum, you’ll be fine. Luckily, she really liked him!”


ate Winslet didn’t “behave well” during her break-up from Louis Dowler. The 35-year-old actress ditched the male model for Ned Abel Smith - the nephew of Sir Richard Branson - when they met while she was on what should have been a romantic holiday with Louis on the business mogul’s Caribbean hideaway on Necker Island this summer. However, the Burberry hunk has admitted the Oscarwinning star didn’t treat him well by jetting off to New York with Ned immediately after their break-up. He said: “I don’t think Kate behaved well and it is still very raw for me. I was in love with her and you can’t switch that off overnight. I’m not sure Kate treated me well.” Louis is trying not to dwell on the split, but he thought the couple were “inseparable” and admitted he still holds a torch for the ‘Reader’ star. He


told the Daily Mail newspaper: “Kate came home with me to Cornwall and we just hung out together. She met my parents and family. “I thought we were inseparable. I certainly haven’t found anyone else since. I don’t want to go into details but it wasn’t a straightforward break-up. I’m a laid-back guy, so I am not walking around with a long face - but I do still hold a torch for her.” As well as Kate calling time on her relationship with Louis during their Caribbean break, she also carried Sir Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother Eve to safety from a blazing inferno that swept through the island and destroyed the Virgin businessman’s home.

he fashion designer - who gave birth to daughter Harper in July - admits she became obsessed with wanting lots of pets but couldn’t persuade husband David to let her get a cat. Victoria who also has three sons, Brooklyn, 12, Romeo, nine, and six-year-old Cruz, with the soccer star - said: “When I was pregnant, I just wanted to get lots and lots of animals, for some reason. We talked about cats, but David said absolutely not.” The 37-year-old star - who did manage to get David to agree to a new dog, Scarlett, during the pregnancy - also revealed she worked very hard to regain her figure following the birth


of her much-longed for girl. Victoria - who showcased her latest fashion collection at New York Fashion Week, just three months after Harper was born - told Britain’s Elle magazine: “Oh, listen, I worked at it. I was breast-feeding, so I ate super healthy, and I worked out seven days a week. I wanted to burn all my leggings - I was adamant that by the time I went to fashion week I would be able to wear clothes.” —Bangshowbiz



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M o v i e s

Posthumous Winehouse album hits British number one oul singer Amy Winehouse topped Britain’s album chart Sunday more than four months after her death, with music lovers buying almost 200,000 copies of the record “Lioness: Hidden Treasures.” The posthumous collection of alternative versions of classics, unreleased tracks and covers hit the number one spot after being released last Monday. Producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson put the 12-track album together after listening to thousands of hours of recordings by the singer, who died in July aged 27 following years of drug and alcohol abuse. The Official Charts Company said the album sold more than 194,000 copies to give Winehouse the biggest weekly sales tally of her career. The record replaces “In Case You Didn’t Know” by British singer-songwriter Olly Murs at the number one spot in the album chart. Some of the proceeds from the album will go towards the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up in the singer’s memory to help fund charities that support young people. “It’s such amazing news that Amy’s album has gone to number one, and just goes to show what she still means to people,” said the singer’s mother Janis Winehouse. “It’s especially good for the foundation and knowing that every sale will go to help a deserving cause makes the news all the more special. I’m so proud of my daughter and so happy that she is still touching people.”


Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat

Documentary looks at life of Arafat ssociates of Yasser Arafat offer personal recollections in a documentary screened in Dubai this week on his search for an IsraeliPalestinian peace deal that descended into violence and failed to lead to a Palestinian state. Figures from Arafat’s circle who entered into a historic peace process with Israel in 1993, including his wife Suha, as well as Israelis such as President Shimon Peres and activist Uri Avnery who knew him well, discuss controversial moments of a career that ended with Arafat’s unexplained death in 2004. Arafat was depicted by his Israeli and US detractors as an obstacle to bringing the peace talks to a resolution and who sought to take advantage of the violence of the Palestinian uprising which followed the breakdown of critical talks in 2000. Peres sticks to that view in the “The Price of Kings - Yasser Arafat,” a sympathetic portrayal of Arafat by British director Richard Symons shown at the Dubai International Film Festival in which friends recall private moments. “Without him we couldn’t start, with him we couldn’t finish,” Peres says of the Oslo peace process that created self-rule for Palestinians in territories Israel occupied in 1967. “At the last moment he didn’t take the tough decision.” Other confidantes of Arafat, however, question those views, describing a man who took an enormous risk with a doomed bet on a peace process led by Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli in 1995. Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew who is now Palestinian envoy to the United


Nations, recounts Arafat’s gloom after Rabin’s death. Kidwa found a quiet, dejected figure when he visited Arafat in his office several days later. “Before leaving I said something to the effect of ‘why are you so upset? Okay Rabin was an important leader, but Peres is coming and Peres has an even better position than Rabin’,” he remembers in one of the film’s most poignant sections. “He didn’t answer me, but he gave me that look that obviously meant that I didn’t understand anything. And I didn’t, he was right, clearly.” Shimon Peres lost the subsequent 1996 election to Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu, signaling a shift to the right in Israeli politics and a stagnation in the peace process that has lasted to this day. Peace talks stalled Shunned by Washington and besieged by Israel in his Ramallah compound, Arafat died as the uprising was winding down. His widow is in tears as she recalls those final days. Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas has been no more successful in moving talks forward with Netanyahu, in power once more, and Palestinians in the territories remain stateless. Nabil Shaath, another veteran of the self-rule administrations set up through Oslo, says Arafat feared entering the final status peace talks in 2000. He was not prepared to make the concessions Israel and the US administration hoped could be secured from him quickly, Shaath says. Those talks stumbled over the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. “He was viewed by his enemies on our side as

being too lenient, for giving up. Also, he created expectations that were quite opposite from the truth when it came to permanent settlement negotiations,” Shaath said. “When he came to Camp David, and the permanent settlement, he was as tough as nails and Mr (US President Bill) Clinton did not expect that.” The Israeli and Palestinian acquaintances interviewed acknowledge Arafat’s charisma and achievement in uniting Palestinians across political and geographical divides. But say his desire to avoid making enemies led to overlooking corruption in his administration, helping provoke the 2000 uprising. Arafat’s many bitter opponents among Palestinian and Arab politicians and intellectuals are notably absent from the documentary, which also includes some rare footage. It is the first of 12 on world leaders from Symon’s Spirit Level Film. Symons said this was due to the film’s focus on those close to Arafat with personal stories and a willingness to talk. He also said the work had no agenda but that it had changed some of the views he grew up with in London’s Jewish community . “I have a better understanding of the distortion and how important it is to question that from time to time,” he said. “He lived through the most difficult, extraordinary circumstances through 60 years.” —Reuters

Clooney’s ‘Descendants’ leads LA critics awards G

eorge Clooney’s family drama “The Descendants” was chosen Sunday as the year’s best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, whose prizes are an early influence on the way to the Academy Awards. From “Sideways” director Alexander Payne, “The Descendants” stars Clooney as a neglectful father in Hawaii trying to tend his daughters after his wife falls into an accident-induced coma. Michael Fassbender won best actor for a breakout year that included leading roles as a sex addict in “Shame,” as a genetic mutant in “X-Men: First Class,” as psychiatrist Carl Jung in “A Dangerous Method” and as sullen Victorian gentleman Rochester in “Jane Eyre.” The best-actor runner-up was Michael Shannon as a man beset by apocalyptic visions in “Take Shelter.” The critics’ group passed over big Hollywood names to bestow its bestactress prize on Yun Jung-hee for the South Korean drama “Poetry,” in which she plays a grandmother in the early stages of Alzheimer’s who struggles with a new desire to write a poem. Kirsten Dunst was best-actress runnerup as a depressive woman who finds inner strength as another planet bears down on a collision course with Earth in “Melancholia.” Notoriously press-shy filmmaker Terrence Malick was named best director for his epic family drama “The Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt as a domineering father who mixes tenderness and cruelty in raising his sons. “Tree of Life” was the best-picture runner-up to “The Descendants.” The film also helped pick up the supporting-actress honor for Jessica Chastain, who was cited for “The Tree of Life” and five other films in which she co-starred this year. “Tree of Life” also earned the cinematography award for Emmanuel Lubezki (the runner-up was Cao Yu for “City of Life and Death”). The directing runner-up was Martin Scorsese for his 3-D family adventure “Hugo,” about an orphan boy unravel-

ing a mystery pegged to a toy-seller at a Paris train station in the 1930s. Christopher Plummer won as supporting actor for “Beginners,” in which he plays an elderly dad who announces to his son that he’s gay. The runner-up was Patton Oswalt as an aging nerd who becomes unlikely pals with an old high school bombshell in “Young Adult.” Chastain, largely unknown until this year when she appeared in half a dozen

George Clooney poses on the red carpet for the premiere of his movie ‘The Ides of March’, which opens the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. —AP films, was picked as supporting actress for her rush of movies, among them “Tree of Life,” in which she plays a nurturing mother as counterpoint to Pitt’s harsh dad. Besides “Tree of Life,” Chastain’s films included “The Help,” “Take Shelter” and “Coriolanus.” Janet McTeer was runner-up for supporting actress for her cross-dressing role as a woman disguising herself as a male laborer in “Albert Nobbs.” The LA critics passed over the acclaimed silent film “The Artist,” considered a potential best picture favorite at the Feb. 26 Oscars. Their East Coast counterparts, the New York Film Critics Circle, chose “The Artist” as the year’s best picture last

week. “The Artist” also is tied for the lead with five nominations at the Spirit Awards honoring independent film. Prizes from the two critics’ groups help sort out the awards picture amid the crush of Oscar contenders that studios fling into theaters at the end of the year. The Oscar outlook will be further refined by nominations Wednesday for the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Thursday for the Golden Globes. The LA critics honored Johnny Depp’s Western comedy “Rango” as best animated film. Steven Spielberg’s globe-trotting action tale “The Adventures of Tintin” was runner-up. The electronic duo the Chemical Brothers earned the prize for best music score for the action thriller “Hanna.” The runner-up was Cliff Martinez for another action tale, “Drive.” Also Sunday, the American Film Institute released its list of the year’s top-10 films, listed alphabetically: “Bridesmaids,”“The Descendants,”“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,”“The Help,” “Hugo,”“J Edgar,”“Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,”“The Tree of Life” and “War Horse.” The group does not rank films on its top-10 list. The AFI, whose awards honor US films, gave a special prize to French director Michel Hazanavicius’“The Artist.” Other LA critics winners: lScreenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “A

Separation”; runner-up, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants.” lDocumentary-nonfiction film: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”; runner-up, “The Arbor.” lProduction design: Dante Ferretti, “Hugo”; runner-up, Maria Djurkovic, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” lIndependent-experimental film: “Spark of Being.” —AP

File photo shows British artist Amy Winehouse, left, performs during her show in Florianopolis, Brazil. —AP Winehouse was found dead at her London home on July 23. An inquest in October found that she was more than five times over the British drinkdrive limit at the time. Following her death, her second album “Back to Black”-first released in 2006 —

became Britain’s highest-selling album of the 21st century, before being toppled by Adele’s Grammynominated “21” this week.—AFP

Christian Bale in China to promote Nanjing movie hristian Bale was in Beijing yesterday to promote a movie about 13 young prostitutes set during Japanese army’s brutal rampaging of China’s wartime capital, known in the West as the “Rape


Chinese-language novel by contemporary writer Yan Geling about 13 sex workers in Nanjing who volunteer to replace university students as escorts for invading Japanese soldiers. In the novel that translates

Oscar winning actor Christian Bale arrives on the red carpet with his wife Sibi for the screening of the film “The Flowers of War,” in Beijing yesterday. —AFP of Nanking.” The Oscar winner and Batman star plays an American priest in the film “The Flowers of War,” directed by one of China’s best known modern directors, Zhang Yimou. It is an adaptation of a

roughly as “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” the American priest leads a church that shelters prostitutes and young female students during the invasion. Historians say the 1937 mas-

sacre in the eastern city now known as Nanjing resulted in the slaughter of at least 150,000 civilians. China puts the number killed at 300,000, making it one of the worst atrocities of the World War II era. Bale praised the ability of the actresses who play the young students in the movie to act fearful and upset for extended periods of time. “Poor girls, they were always crying their eyes out,” the actor said. “When I first arrived, I felt: this is just not good. I don’t like that - the girls having to be upset for 10 hours a day. They were crying their eyes out for 10 hours a day, I don’t know about you but for me it was exhausting - it makes you ill. “But they were actually really good actresses because they could suddenly stop and kind of go ‘hahaha, we can be like that’ and I was so happy to see that.” Director Zhang said he wanted to show the “brilliance of humanity in a circumstance of war” through the dramatic story. “I think as long as the story is moving people from all over the world will like it,” said Zhang, whose credits include “A Simple Noodle Story,” an adaptation of the Coen brothers’ 1984 movie “Blood Simple,” and “Under the Hawthorn Tree,” a love story set in China’s decade long ultra-leftist Cultural Revolution. The film hits Chinese screens on Friday.—AP

Girl band Little Mix wins Britain’s ‘X Factor’ irl band Little Mix became the first group to win Britain’s “X Factor” television talent show on Sunday, beating hairdresser Marcus Collins in the final. The quartet, aged between 18 and 20, screamed with delight following the announcement of the outcome of a public vote, and performed a cover of Damien Rice’s “Cannonball”, which will be their debut single. Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock will enjoy a media frenzy over the coming days, and are guaranteed a recording contract. But going on to carve out a successful musical career may prove harder if previous X Factor winners, all soloists, are anything to go by. Sunday’s show, which featured a live performance by Coldplay before a crowd of around 10,000 at London’s Wembley Arena, brought to an end a series that has seen viewer ratings consistently lower than in 2010. This year’s X Factor saw three changes to the judging panel, with only Louis Walsh continuing from 2010. Simon Cowell, the show’s creator and arguably its biggest draw for audiences, left to appear on the inaugural US version of X Factor, while singers Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue also stepped down. In their place came Take That frontman Gary Barlow, US pop star Kelly Rowland and N-Dubz member Tulisa Contostavlos, and the


overhaul has been blamed for weaker viewing figures. On Saturday night, the first part of the X Factor’s two-night final was beaten in the television audience rat-

other year. You’ve got to put it in perspective, X Factor across Saturday and Sunday night is the biggest show in the UK,” he was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper. Little Mix

ings by the semi-final of rival show “Strictly Come Dancing” on publicowned broadcaster BBC. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier recently defended X Factor, which regularly draws more than 10 million viewers. “By and large they are in rude health. Although X Factor is down year on year it compares favourably to every

was formed from soloists brought together by the show’s producers. They were forced to change their name from Rhythmix following complaints from a children’s music charity of the same name. —Reuters



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lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Elephant polo players from Chinggis Khaan (In Black) and Pukka Chukkas (In Blue) vie for the ball during the 30th International Elephant Polo Competition at Meghauly in Chitwan District.

Nepalese mahouts with their elephants .

Tusker tussle at Nepal elephant polo world champs A

portly business consultant takes an inch-perfect pass from a balding banker, slots the ball home with clinical precision and punches the air with both arms, David Beckham style. This is “Champagne polo”, the commentator yells as the steed now lumbering behind the goal lets go of a large pile of dung. We are approaching the climax of the World Elephant Polo Championships, with players from across the globe gathering in a remote airfield in southern Nepal for a week of one of the most unusual sports around. “Some players are looking very tired out there,” says Peter Prentice, a Hong Kong-based veteran of the tournament who chairs the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) and doubles up as an urbane commentator. “I recommend a few repetitions of light weights to warm down and certainly a half a Carlsberg is about the right weight to relax those weary muscles. “A Sauvignon Blanc and then a Chablis over ice or two should also do the trick.” Meanwhile a former Miss Nepal is told she is holding her stick the wrong way around. Thus the tone is set for the exclusive business of elephant polo in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, home to Bengal tigers, rhinos and, for one week a year, playboys and aristocrats. The annual event, hosted by the Tiger Tops jungle resort, has attracted models, celebrities and other glitterati over the years, including former Beatle Ringo Starr and comedians Billy Connolly and Max Boyce. But at the business end of the tournament the participants take their sport seriously. “Players don’t take it lightly if an umpiring decision doesn’t go their way,” says Dubai-based former Gurkha and logistics consultant Nigel Lea, 33. “But the joy of elephant polo is that because you are all together as a community that only sees each other once a year, 30 seconds after walking off the pitch we calm down, shake hands and have a beer together.” It is easy to understand why the players do not like to go home empty-handed-the package per person is around the $3,500 mark for a week and the entry fee for each of the eight teams works out at an eye-watering $10,000. ‘They are so bright’ “I don’t think it’s a sport for posh people,” Lea says, however. “Some people here have a lot of money, some people can hardly rub two coppers together.” Elephant polo was dreamt up 30 years ago over drinks at a Swiss ski

In a picture taken on December 1, 2011, Nepalese mahouts take their elephants to the polo ground on the banks of the Rapati river at Chitwan, some 200 kms southwest of Kathmandu. — AFP photos resort and is based on the rules of its horseback equivalent, with a smaller pitch to cater for the less energetic means of transport. Two teams of four players in pith helmets sit astride elephants controlled by mahouts, or trainers, who drive them on using oral commands and pressure from their feet. Communication is the main problem as the mahouts speak only Nepali, as do their mounts, who are thought to be able to understand about 30 words. Players carry sticks up to eight feet (2.5 metres) long to hit the ball towards the opposing goal, with each game comprising two 10-minute chukkas. The list of enthusiasts is illustrious. Cheering from the sidelines this year is Colonel Raj Kalaan, who played with the Indian Polo team for 20 years and commanded India’s 61st Cavalry. Local people also turn up in their thousands every year to cheer on a team put together by the park warden and his staff, who work with elephants every day and are often among the top performers. This year’s title was successfully defended by a team led by spritely 72-year-old Scotsman James Manclark, a former Olympic tobogganist who was one of the sport’s founders. Elephant polo is not without its detractors, chief among them animal welfare groups who have campaigned against the sport in India. But elephant welfare is a high priority at Tiger Tops and their treatment is

A Nepalese mahout feeds his pachyderm before an elephant polo match. reminiscent of the pampering that thoroughbred racehorses enjoy. The mahouts clean and care for their mounts, treating them at the end of each match to molasses sandwiches to keep their strength up. Conservation is also a key issue for Tiger Tops and the WEPA, which has contributed thousands of dollars towards animal and conservation schemes benefiting Nepal over the years. “If you see how they are here, you can see they are happy and in their natural habitat,” said Stine Edwards, captain of the allwomen Tiger Tops Tigresses team, which end-


unisian-born Azzedine Alaia is one of the most important fashion designers of the last decades. Nicknamed the “King of Cling,” Alaia practically invented the stretch mini, Lycra cycling shorts and the bodysuit that became inspiration to high street fashion design. His creations are considered by many to be the sexiest, trendiest, and most utterly original clothes produced by any contemporary designer. His tight dresses embrace the bodies of the world’s most seductive and successful women. Alaia’s talent and reputation, spread largely by word of mouth, has won him the adoration of an extraordinary suite of faithful clients, among them Naomi Campbell, Tina Turner, Michelle Obama and Madonna. From December 11, 2011 to May 6, 2012, the Groninger Museum will present the exhibition entitled Azzedine Alaia in the 21st century. This exhibition displays the most fantastic Alaia fashion creations of the last

British top model Naomi Campbell takes a picture in the Groninger Museum, in Groningen, on December 10, 2011. — AFP photos

Naomi Campbell poses with French fashion designer Azzedine Alaia.

ed the tournament in third place. “An elephant will never do anything it doesn’t want to do,” says Stine, who adds it is obvious to players that their mounts know what they are up to on the field. “They are so bright. One year we had an elephant who would be furious when you missed a shot,” she says. “He seemed to be saying ‘Can’t you just hit the ball?” — AFP

ten years, and focuses on various materials the designer has consistently used over the past decade: velvet, fur, wool, leather, cotton, animal skins, chiffon and knitwear. A monograph will be published to accompany the exhibition compiled by curator Mark Wilson. —




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lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Auction catalogs line shelves in an exhibition at Julien’s Auctions.

Michael Jackson fan Kailee Lemieux plays Jackson’s song ‘You Are Not Alone’ on a C Gunther & Sohne Victorian Baby Grand Piano.

Michael Jackson fan Christine Tucker walks to lay flowers where the headboard of the bed Jackson was in the day he died would have been placed at Julien’s Auctions on Sunday. — AP photos

Michael Jackson fans Kiki Stafford, left, and Karen Jackson, second left, cry as they read a poem by Deborah Soroky, right, that was left at a memorial.


aren Jackson and Kiki Stafford were moved to tears as they walked among the items that surrounded Michael Jackson in his final days: The Victorian baby grand piano, the wooden armoire where Jackson had written a note to himself on the mirror, the kitchen chalkboard where his children inscribed the message, “I love daddy.” Jackson, 57, and Stafford, 47, were among dozens of Michael Jackson fans who got an early look at items that will be sold at auction from the singer’s final home - and left behind tributes to the King of Pop. Julien’s Auctions announced last month that it would sell the contents of the sprawling home where the singer died in 2009. On Sunday, the company invited Jackson fans to preview its exhibit of the home’s art and furnishings before it opens to the public Monday. Fans were also invited to leave pictures, cards, flowers, notes and other handmade trinkets that will be delivered to the Jackson family. “This means a lot, because we don’t have a place to go” to leave things for the family, said Christine Tucker, spokeswoman for the Official Michael Jackson Fans of Southern California. About 25 members of the fan club spent the weekend making and delivering glitter-covered cards and handmade Christmas ornaments for the tribute at Julien’s Auctions.

Patrice McGhee looks at items left in memory of Michael Jackson on a Christmas tree. “He inspires us to create. We make these beautiful things and we want his kids and his mom to see it,” she said. Karen Jackson stayed up all night working on her creation: A charm-covered chain anchored by a metal “M” that includes tiny photos of Prince, Paris and Blanket. “I’ve been working on

Items from Michael Jackson’s final home are on exhibit. this for a year,” she said. “I hadn’t finished it because I didn’t know how to get it to them.” Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, said he sought permission from the Jackson estate to include fans in the auction exhibit, and family matriarch Katherine Jackson requested that he deliver any handmade items from fans to her. “They put their hearts into it because they want the kids and Mrs Jackson to see how much love they have for Michael,” Julien said. “Michael Jackson has played such an important part in our careers and lives, and this is a fun way to give back. This is Michael’s VIP reception.” Julien’s Auctions was commissioned to sell the contents of Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in April, 2009. The company sold Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket for $1.8 million over the summer and his signature spangled glove for $350,000 in 2009. For the auction of items from Jackson’s rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive, Julien’s Auctions re-created the home’s various rooms inside its Beverly Hills showroom. There’s a formal dining room anchored by a long table and 10 carved chairs, an elegant living room with damask sofas, and several bedrooms - including the one where Jackson died. The headboard of that bed was removed from the auction at his family’s

Items from a bedroom where Michael Jackson stayed until he died.

request, so fans filled the space where the bed would have been with their tribute. “Team MJ San Diego loves Michael Jackson,” one note spelled out in foil letters. “We miss you,” read another. Fans also left flowers and plush toys, drawings and letters. “I’m glad the headboard’s not there,” said Stafford, who left behind a poem she’d written about Jackson. Among the lots available for sale, fans were most interested in photographing the armoire with Jackson’s handwritten message (expected to sell for at least $6,000) and the chalkboard note from his children (expected to fetch more than $400). Other items for sale include carved wooden tables, antique statues and various framed paintings. Julien said he wanted Jackson’s fans to be part of the exhibit “not because they’re going to buy anything, but to honor his legacy.” Fans are welcome to add to the tribute throughout the week, he said. The exhibit of items from 100 North Carolwood Drive is free and open to the public. The auction will be held Saturday. — AP

Michael Jackson fans Kailee Lemieux and Kim Lemieux leave a flower at a memorial where the headboard of the bed was in that day that Jackson died.

Julien’s Auctions Executive Director Martin J Nolan positions items up for auction as a Christmas tree adorned with items from fans sits among the auction items on exhibit.

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Jackson fans leave tribute at auction site




People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the annual Santa Claus parade in Porto on December 11, 2011. Thousands staged a parade in an attempt to break the Guinness book of records of most people dressed as Santa Claus. —AFP

Cooking with grandma, the new luxury food kick


orget five-star restaurants. Food-loving tourists are getting their kicks in other ways, from cooking up a hotpot with a Mauritian grandmother to market shopping with a Venetian countess. More than just fine dining, wellheeled travelers in search of gourmet luxury are seeking out “experiences,” sparking a shift in the tourist industry, according to experts at an up market travel fair in Cannes this week. “Gourmet travel as a niche market is huge everywhere,” Jennifer Campbell, a member of the bespoke travel specialist Virtuoso network, told AFP at the annual International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM). “The trend is growing strongly,” said Campbell, whose firm will shortly fly a small group of epicureans on a truffle-hunting expedition to Italy. “Travelers now want to go out and about to see for themselves, for example, how truffles grow, where to find them and how

A picture taken on November 13, 2011 banners hang outside the closed Kensal Rise Library in London. —AFP

Fight to stop page turning on historic London library


ensal Rise library was opened by Mark Twain in 1900 — and how it could do with the support of the great American man of letters now to fight off its threatened extinction as government cuts bite. The redbrick Victorian building has closed its doors and will be shut down permanently unless a determined campaign organized by the residents of the multi-ethnic district of north London can save it. Signs attached to the walls proclaim “Save our library” and “Let us run our library” and volunteers have even organized a temporary “pop-up” library next door to try to fill the gap, using books donated by local residents. Kensal Rise is among six out of 12 libraries in the London borough of Brent that the local council has decided must close to make savings to meet sweeping public spending cuts imposed by the British government. In fact it is one of more than 400 public libraries in Britain-ten percent of the total-set to fall victim to council cuts as Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal government attempts to slash a budget deficit. The council also claims the library is underused, but the residents of Kensal Rise reject that argument and claim the closure of the library would hit the poorest hardest. “Everyone was pretty shocked. It’s a building that has a lot of value in the community,” said Paula Gomez. “Everyone was very upset. “People with children use it a lot, but not only them-people come to read the newspapers, use the computers, unemployed people use it to look for work. “Children also come after school to do their homework.” A blog has

been launched, and a succession of meetings and fundraising concerts held. Renowned writers, including “White Teeth” author Zadie Smith and Philip Pullman, have lent their support, as have music stars Nick Cave, Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys. But so far their campaign in Kensal Rise has failed to have an effect. In October, the courts ruled that the closure of the six libraries was legal, but the residents immediately launched an appeal. In Kensal Rise, the activists were determined to prevent the council from boarding up the library, posting a 24-hour rota of volunteers in front of the building to stop the workmen moving in. Eventually the council agreed that it would hold off until the legal process is complete. At the Court of Appeal, supporters of the libraries have claimed that closing them will discriminate against groups such as the large South Asian origin population in the borough. Meanwhile the council has said it intends to renovate the remaining libraries and is even building a new library to replace the six closed facilities, which is due to open in 2013. As they wait anxiously for the outcome of their appeal, the Kensal Rise protesters can at least take heart from the success of protest campaigns elsewhere in the country. Libraries in Somerset in southwest England and Gloucestershire in the west have won legal battles against closure. Meanwhile, a parliamentary inquiry is looking into the legality of the library closures and the effect on the surrounding communities. —AFP

to cook them.” The movement kicked off three to five years ago, boosted in the United States, Britain and elsewhere by rising interest in organic produce and local food, as well as global television hits such as “Masterchef”. Frank Farneti, regional head of France’s luxury Relais et Chateaux hotel network, told a packed conference on gastronomic travel that success rests on creating an impression of authenticity. One example is “Grandma’s Kitchen” at the Shanti Maurice Nira beachside resort in Mauritius, an alternative to the resort’s high-end restaurants-run by the real grandmother of one of the staff. Grandma rustles up traditional Creole fare that might include honey lamb or fish curry at her home whilst sharing stories with her guests, before sending them off with a selection of handwritten recipes. The simple experience has proved a hit with the resort’s wellheeled guests, along with a fish and

rum shack set up on the beach. “It’s all about taking people out of a cosseted, gated community and giving them an experience that they can’t get by themselves,” said the owner and chief executive of Nira Hotels and Resorts, MPS Puri. Hoteliers and restaurant owners are not the only ones to benefit from this new-found appetite for authentic dining. From Italian aristocrats to ordinary housewives in China, individuals are opening up their homes to amateur cooks keen to master local dishes, from the most simple to the seriously exotic. “These travelers want to learn about new ingredients and new mixtures,” explained Paul Bruning, head of sales and marketing at the Southern Africa branch of luxury travel provider Abercrombie and Kent. The new Philippe Starckdesigned boutique Hotel Palazzina Grassi, in the heart of historic Venice, is tapping into the culinarydriven market. Guests can accom-

pany one of the city’s best-known aristocrats, Countess Enrica Rocca, to the city’s famous Rialto market to learn how to select fresh, locallycaught fish. The countess leads them and their shopping baskets back home to prepare Venetian specialties, whilst regaling them with stories about her family history. Guests are coming from around Europe as well as Australia to enjoy a day out with the countess, at a cost of around 1,000 euros ($1,300), said a hotel spokeswoman. The thirst to learn about local produce reaches beyond foodie tourists. Vikram Madhok, the managing director of Abercrombie and Kent India, organizes an annual trip around India for a group of London chefs, to visit spice markets and help them explore new regional dishes.—AFP

Largest medieval armor collection on


German octogenarian puts his lifelong fascination with armor under the hammer today when the largest private collection of medieval weapons goes on sale for millions of euros. The col-

This handout picture released by Pierre Berge & Associates auction company shows a detail of a North Italian etched blued and gilt full armor for the field. —AFP lection, valued at between three and four million euros ($4-5.4 million), goes up for auction in Brussels and includes not only classical armor and weaponry such as shields, helmets and swords, but also crus-

taceans. “Man does not have a shell, he had to make one,” collector Karsten Klingbeil, from Berlin, told AFP, of his interest in the art of defense. “You really can’t move in it because we have a totally different morphology from the period,” he said, explaining that when he was younger he used to try on the armor. After making his fortune in property in West Berlin, Klingbeil devoted himself from the 1980s to his two passions-collecting and sculpting. One of the highlights of the antique collection is an ornate piece of armor from the end of the 16th century engraved across its surface with foliage and battle scenes. Attributed to the northern Italian craftsmen of Pompeo Della Cesa, it is estimated to be worth between 250,000 and 300,000 euros. “This collection is remarkable for its size and its encyclopaedic character,” Philippe Missillier, one of two experts responsible for valuing the objects, said. Crustaceans, bought or caught throughout the world by Klingbeil himself, will also be part of the sale Tuesday. They have been valued at between 100,000 and 150,000 euros by the Brussels auction house Pierre Berge & Associes. These include a Japanese spider crab considered the biggest living crustacean which can reach three meters and in the Klingbeil collection is 1.80 meters (six feet). “To transport it from Japan to Europe, I had a special container made in which the very fragile legs of the creature could be put on sheets of polystyrene,” he said. Klingbeil said that although it was heartbreaking to part with his treasures, he wanted his heirs to be able to benefit from the proceeds. —AFP

An undated handout photo provided by Bonhams shows a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth discovered in the late summer of 2011 in Garfield County, which is one of the largest ever found. —AP

T. rex tooth from Montana nets $56K at LA auction


n auction official says a huge and well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex tooth has sold for more than $56,000 at a Los Angeles auction. The sale took place Sunday during a natural history-themed auction at Bonhams in Los Angeles. Bonhams says the tooth measuring more than five inches is among the biggest ever discovered and was found in Montana’s Garfield County earlier this year. Spokeswoman Jannelle Grigsby says it sold for $56,250 to a private collector whose name was not released. The T. rex terrorized western North America some 67 million years ago. She says a fossil palm flower from Wyoming sold for $50,000.—AP

13 Dec 2011  

Kuwait Times