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Kuwait’s ALAFCO orders 35 more A320neo jets


Iranian bomber maimed in blasts in Thai capital

Valentine’s Day finds a niche in Islamic Iran

Barca on verge of quarters after beating Leverkusen


NO: 15360

150 FILS

40 20 21New 12 Cabinet sworn in, opposition unimpressed Juwaihel to challenge Sager, Saadoun for speakership

Max 23º Min 10º High Tide 05:28 & 17:12 Low Tide 10:27

conspiracy theories

Somebody should answer that!

By Badrya Darwish


eading the news yesterday about how a public authority - whether it is the municipality or the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources - is dealing with stray animals was appalling. According to the story on the front page of Kuwait Times, an authority in Kuwait is killing the strays in a ruthless way. The responsible authority is throwing around poisoned food for dogs and cats in parks and other public areas where these strays are known to gather. Of course non-stray dogs who are accompanied by their owners also run around such places. Once they see the food, they are trapped and maybe eat a little bit of it. This is what happened to a Kuwait Times reader. Her pet ate the poisoned food and got sick. The dog died after 24 hours. I call this slow death and torture. There are stray dogs and the government has responsibility to care for them. There are more humane and gentle ways to deal with the problem of stray animals. We live in a country which is supposed to have many facilities. We have the money to do it. They could handle it in the same way an advanced country handles the problem with stray dogs. The problem is that they don’t admit it. One of the women who lost a dog requested a meeting with the authorities. She received no response. In other countries a pet owner can sue the authorities for killing a dog or a cat. Unfortunately, in the Third World, it’s a totally different story. For instance, many times when I walk I see kids playing with cats and dogs in a savage way, beating them and torturing them. It seems funny to them to torture animals to death. The whole society is cruel to animals. Otherwise why would a child do this? Where are the children’s family and teachers? They take such incidents lightly. They forget that it is part of religion not to be cruel to animals. There are many hadiths [sayings of the Prophet (PBUH)] about the Prophet (PBUH) and his kindness to animals. There are hadiths about how to treat animals and advice not to torture animals. Animals should be treated like human beings. The Prophet (PBUH) also advised animals were not to be beaten. He also advised animals not to be overworked, such as mules, camels, horses etc. It looks like in the Arab world they take religion seriously only if the part suits them. They want it to be tailored to their liking. We can see this in all walks of life in the Arab world. Even the way they rule nations and the way things are run. They hijacked religion. Then they insist they want to change Article 2 of the Constitution and to implement only shariah law. I find this to be a mockery of Islamic principles and way of life.

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (center), flanked by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (left) and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, poses with members of the new Cabinet yesterday. — KUNA By B Izzak KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah yesterday swore in the new Cabinet which included 10 new faces but no women, and opposition MPs immediately described the new government as “disappointing” and expected it will have a very short life. Controversial pro-government MP Mohammad AlJuwaihel meanwhile said he will challenge liberal MP Mohammad Al-Sager and veteran opposition figure MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun for the National Assembly speaker,

We’re No. 1 By Lisa Conrad KUWAIT: Kuwait Times is the country’s leading English language newspaper, according to Ipsos’ National Readership Survey (NRS) 2011. The survey unequivocally confirmed that Kuwait Times leads among the English newspapers in the country. The two key measures, Average Issue Readership (AIR) and Total Issue Readership (TIR), found that Kuwait Times looms over other English newspapers, among both genders, with expatriates and within various age groups, and across nearly all income levels and educational ranks. It came in with 11.4 percent of the total population’s average issue readership, thus placing it first among the English language newspapers in the country. Kuwait Times also dominates the expatriate sector of average issue readership, with 25.9 percent. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan, Editor-in-Chief of Kuwait Times, said of the survey: “The findings of Ipsos’ research reflect the hard work and dedication that our staff has put into the newspaper. This success could not have been achieved without the loyalty, support and constructive feedback of our readers.” He further added: “There is always room for improvement, and we endeavor to continue the legacy of Kuwait Times, and we hope that our readers will help us in achieving this by continuing to provide their vital support.” The survey revealed further details about Kuwait Times’ loyal readers, finding that the majority (73.9 percent) are males and that the most popular topic is sports, followed by social and cultural news. Kuwait Times; readers are also, on average, between 25-34 years of age. Eighty-two percent of readers peruse the publication 3 to 7 times a week, with Sunday’s and Wednesday’s being the most popular issues. The survey noted that the popularity of a newspaper cannot be based on circulation numbers, because over a third of people who read dailies do so from copies bought or subscribed by others. Continued on Page 13

Bahrain Shiites mark uprising MANAMA: Armoured vehicles patrolled Bahrain’s capital yesterday in a security clampdown to deter protesters after overnight clashes outside Manama on the first anniversary of a forcibly suppressed pro-democracy uprising. Youths flung petrol bombs at police cars during skirmishes before dawn, prompting authorities to flood Shiite villages around Manama with police reinforcements backed by helicopters. Police fired tear gas at two dozen protesters near the former Pearl Roundabout, focal point of last year’s protests, nearly hitting several people as canisters bounced off cars. “They fired straight at us, they weren’t even shooting in the air,” said one protester as a passing driver hauled him into his car. Other groups that appeared later were also doused with tear gas and about 30 people in total were detained and taken away. The reemergence of armoured personnel carriers for the first time since DEIH, Bahrain: A Bahraini protester jump- martial law was lifted in June underlined the concerns of the Sunni ing over a cloud of tear gas fired by secu- Muslim-led monarchy about a new explosion of civil unrest by rity forces in this village west of the capi- Bahrain’s disgruntled Shiite majority. tal Manama yesterday. — AFP Continued on Page 13

who will be elected today at the inaugural session of the new Assembly. There were no major surprises in the new Cabinet lineup which was announced hours after talks between Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and the opposition broke down when the premier rejected a demand by the opposition to have nine ministerial posts. The rejection came around midnight on Monday following a day of wrangling and negotiations between the opposition MPs, who held a series of meetings, and the premier.

Newcomers in the Cabinet included Hani Hussein who was appointed oil minister, replacing Mohammad Al-Busairi. Hussein is an ex-chief executive officer of Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) and a former chairman of Kuwait National Petroleum Company. He has served for decades in the oil sector. They also include Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family and a former chief of staff, in the post of defence minister. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Mubarak AlSabah was appointed information minister. Continued on Page 13




Kuwait hosts Arabian horse festival By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Over 400 Arabian horses are rearing to participate in the ‘First International Arabian Horse Festival in Kuwait’ scheduled from Feb 15 to 18 in Subhan. The event, hosted by ‘Bait Al-Arab Kuwait State Stud’, is held under the auspices of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The show is affiliated with the European Conference of Arabian Horse Organization (ECAHO). Winners will receive cash rewards and trophies courtesy of sponsors and Bait Al-Arab. Klaus Beste, General Manager of the Arabian Horse Center in Kuwait, told Kuwait Times in a telephone interview that the horse festival is a very important event for the country. “No tickets are required, so please come and enjoy the festival of horses,” Beste beamed. Beste expects 2,000 to 3,000 visitors, both locals and expatriates. These will include visitors from other countries, who are now in Kuwait to attend the four-day event. “It is a kind of festival that we are looking to create. I wish to welcome everyone to the festival as it is open to the public,” he added. “This is the first time that we host an international horse show. We hosted two national events participated in by Kuwaiti breeders only, but this time we have more than 400 Arabian horses from Egypt, other Gulf States, Europe and the United States,” he said. Horses par ticipating will be judged according to the following categories: 1. Type (Arabian horses only), 2. Head and neck, 3. Body, 4. Legs and 5. Movement. “The invited judges have come all the way from Switzerland,

Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. All are experts in these kinds of competition, so I am sure they will carry out judging fairly and honestly,” he stated. “The criteria we are looking for is gorgeous and charming; we should see nice big eyes, a short head with a triangular format, nicely curved necks and firmness, power and correctness in their legs should be demonstrated. This means they should not be twisted loose legs, nor tightly paired,” he explained. More than 60 percent of all Arabian Horses in Kuwait studbook are of Egyptian bloodlines. Kuwait can be considered a natural habitat and breeding ground for the Arabian horse —a famous breed of horse originating in the Arabian Peninsula. Arabian horses were used by many people in the past; by kings and famous people but especially by bedouins who were once informal settlers of the Arabian Desert. Bedouins normally moved from one place to another, so the need for horses was a must. Besides transportation, owning a horse back in ancient times was necessary to protect the tribes and their property. Most Arabian horses in Kuwait, and even in other par ts of the Arabian Peninsula in the northern part such as Jordan and Syria, are believed to be very strong with heavy bones. But not those from the southern Arabian Peninsula. They are then exported to western and eastern Europe and reimported with mixtures of local European horses, which make them even stronger. In the words of Klaus Beste, General Manager of Arabian Horse Center in Kuwait, the horse popula-

Columnist remains in custody pending investigation

A promotional photo posted by Bait Al-Arab Hunting and Equestrian Club. tion in Kuwait is growing significantly. “Kuwaitis are very much appreciative of this animal’s charm. They like horses passionately and they want them as their hobby, as their partner, as their friends. In our experience the demand for the Arabian horse is steadily increasing,” he said. Bait Al-Arab, or simply the Arabian Horse Breeding Center, is run by the Hunting and Equestrian Club under the Chairmanship of Sheikha Sarah Al-Sabah, the grand-

daughter of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The center focuses on breeding ‘Straight Egyptian Arabian Horses’, a horse breed originating from the South of the Arabian Peninsula but raised and nurtured in Egypt. Beste has worked at the Arabian Horse Center for over seven years. He began horse breeding in his childhood in Germany. For more details please check their website:

KUWAIT: The detention of columnist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi was continued on Monday for one day pending investigations by order of Attorney General, Dherar Al-Assousy. Al-Mulaifi was arrested this week for making offensive remarks against Shiite religious figures in an article. According to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation, the State Security Services charged Al-Mualifi of adopting an ideology which aims to damage the statutes of the state, and conspiracy to spread sectarian tensions in society, based on articles 15 and 29 of the Sate Security Law. Al-Mulaifi also faces charges of insulting a religious belief and conspiracy to damage national unity, as per article 111 of Kuwait’s Penal Code. Meanwhile, five lawyers filed fresh complaints against Al-Mulaifi at the Public Prosecution Depar tment on Monday. Attorneys Jaleel Al-Tabbakh, Adel Qurban, Abdurrahman AbdulKhedhr, Khaleel Ahman, Saleh Zakariya, Husain Al-Khashawi and Mohammad Sarkhouh demanded in their complaints that Al-Mulaifi be put on trial in the Criminal Court on charges of insulting the Shiite faith. In other developments, the Public Prosecution Department released a con-

tinuance for the detention of ten Syrian nationals. They are held for storming the Syrian embassy building. The detainees remain in custody pending investigations into charges that include unlicensed gathering, property damage, storming a place of residence with intent to commit a crime, and threatening national security through illegal gathering. Attorney Abdulmuhsin Al-Qattan, who defends one of the detainees in the case, argued during the most recent trial that the suspects are being used as ‘scapegoats’ for the storming incident. He said police arrested fifty from hundreds of protesters that day, and eventually released forty of them without subjecting them to investigations. The detainees pled not guilty to the accusations. They insist that the gathering was peaceful and the storming was not planned. Attorney Al-Qattan argued that his client decided to participate in the gathering after a relative fell victim to the ongoing troubles in Syria. Separately, sources told Al-Qabas on Monday that the General Department of Criminal Investigations is expected to summon fifty suspects in the ongoing investigation into the case of the burning of the election camp of MP Mohammad Al-Juwaihel. —Al-Qabas

Extra security measures at borders KUWAIT: Kuwait is adopting procedures to intensify security measures at its land border checkpoints in order to thwart any potential sabotage or infiltration attempts, according to sources claiming knowledge of the Ministry of Interior’s planning. “Extra security measures were taken at the borders after the Ministry of Interior received a recording a couple of days ago informing of a potential sabotage activity at one of the border checkpoints”, said the sources who spoke on the condition of

anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the subject to the media. According to the same sources, the alert level was reduced by two stages on Monday afternoon after it was raised to level five on the same morning. “The ministry introduced an extensive plan to face risks. They established coordination between all security departments to detect any suspicious individuals trying to infiltrate the country”, a source said. Highly technological detection devices for

explosives and contraband is being used at Kuwait’s border checkpoints, the sources added. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al-Ghanim, Director of the General Customs Department, made a decision recently to form a committee to sort out luggage disposed at Kuwait International Airport. The sorted items will be handed to their respected state departments (publications are sent to the Ministry of Information, food is sent to Kuwait Municipality, etc).

KUWAIT: Car tires caught fire in Abdallah Port scrap yard yesterday. Abdullah Port and Zoor back-up fire centers battled the blaze and kept it from spreading. The tires that were not on fire were isolated to prevent them from catching fire. Col Jamal AlBlaihees, Director of Ahmadi governorate Fire Department, supervised the operation. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

KD 21 million lost in Mishref sewage station mistake By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Criminal Cour t has postponed the case of Mishref sewage pumping station, in which nine persons are accused. Among them are three leading figures of the Ministr y of Public Works. All are accused of forgery and destruction of property. The session has been postponed until March 13 to await the third suspect. He will obtain a document from Ministry of Public Works indicating his job description. The travel ban on the second suspect has been suspended. The Public Prosecution Department has charged five of the suspects. They include the General Director of the company which was

executing the project. The Operations Manager of the company, an American citizen, has been charged in addition to an engineering consultant. Two laborers, one Lebanese and one Indian, have also been charged. The charges read that from the period of July 4, 2006 to Aug 23, 2009, they deliberately caused the destruction of the station, which is owned by Ministry of Public Works. They made it unsuitable for work when the first accused, the general manager of the company entrusted in operations and maintenance, refused to import and supply the necessary spare parts to maintain the station. This caused no repair of defects due to the lack of those parts which was operated by the second suspect and

under the supervision of the third suspect. This violated the standard technical specifications. The suspects did not follow formalities necessary for the station maintenance. The first suspect, third, fourth and fifth were charged with forcing the Chief Engineer in Ministry of Public Works. The sixth suspect signed minutes of a meeting dated 20 August, stating that the Ministry of Public Works received operational work from the company. The remaining suspects are public servants in the Ministry. They supervise the operation of the station and have caused huge losses to the properties of the party they are working for with their mistake. The total losses are estimated at KD 21,093,704.

KUWAIT: Waleed Al-Sayed, Secondary education supervisor of the Capital Educational Directorate, visited Rawdha High School yesterday. Female students from all of the high schools in the directorate took their deferred midterm tests there. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat



Kuwait’s new Cabinet KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, formed a new Cabinet yesterday following general elections. The Cabinet includes 10 new faces. Following is the lineup of the new Cabinet, the 30th since Kuwait gained independence in 1961: Prime Minister: Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah First Deputy Premier, Interior Minister: Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humud Al-Sabah Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister: Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah. Deputy Premier, Defence Minister: Sheikh Ahmad Khaled Al-Sabah (new)

Minister of Oil: Hani Hussein (new) Education and Higher Education: Nayef Al-Hajraf (new) Commerce and Industry: Anas Al-Saleh (new) Finance: Mustafa Al-Shimali Public Works and Development: Fadhel Safar Communications: Salem Al-Othaina Information: Sheikh Mohammad Mubarak Al-Sabah (new) Social Affairs and Labor: Ahmad Al-Rujaib (new) State Minister for Housing and Parliament: Shuaib Al-Muwaizri (new, MP) Health Minister: Ali Al-Obaidi (new) Electricity and Water and Municipalities: Abdulaziz Al-Ibraheem (new)

Prime Minister: Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah

First Deputy Premier, Interior Minister: Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humud Al-Sabah

Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister: Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah

Deputy Premier, Defence Minister: Sheikh Ahmad Khaled Al-Sabah (new)

Information: Sheikh Mohammad Mubarak Al-Sabah (new)

Finance: Mustafa Al-Shimali

Oil: Hani Hussein (new)

Housing and Parliament: Shuaib Al-Muwaizri (new, MP)

Social Affairs and Labor: Ahmad Al-Rujaib (new)

Education and Higher Education: Nayef Al-Hajraf (new)

Public Works and Development: Fadhel Safar

Electricity and Water and Municipalities: Abdulaziz Al-Ibraheem (new)

Health: Ali Al-Obaidi (new)

Communications: Salem Al-Othaina

Commerce and Industry: Anas Al-Saleh (new)

Islamic Affairs and Justice: Jamal Shehab (new)

New Cabinet takes oath before Amir KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, received in the presence of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday at Seif Palace where he presented him the ministers who took the oath before him on the occasion of their appointment in their new posts. After the oath-taking ceremony, HH the Amir expressed appreciation for the new ministers participation and for sharing the burden of the ministry responsibilities, wishing them all the best and success. HH the Amir also said he highly valued HH the Prime Minister’s efforts in this respect. HH the Amir also expressed sincere appreciation for the contributions of HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the former ministers for their efforts in performing their duties and responsibilities. “You have significant challenges awaiting all of you in this important stage. We hope to overcome it to continue to move towards the implementation of development plans and reform and harness all efforts and potentials for the advancement of the dear homeland. To achieve its aspirations of development it requires hard work and team spirit,” the Amir said. HH also stressed the importance to commit to the principle of respecting the Constitution, law and regulations. “We always recall with thanks to Almighty God who has bestowed us with infinite bounties,” the Amir added. “We look forward with confidence and hope to cooperate positively and constructively between the legislative and executive authorities. Cooperation that is dominated by mutual understanding and fostered by joint concern to address issues of interest to the homeland and citizens and to meet our goals and aspirations for serving our homeland,” HH said, adding that he was confident that the entrusted ministers would carry out their duties with dedication and sincerity. Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah, delivered a response saying he was pleased to be entrusted with this responsibility at this critical stage, which requires hard and fruitful work to face daunting challenges, issues and problems. He prayed to God Almighty to assist him, along with the ministers, to “carry out this heavy responsibility bestowed on us Your Highness and we promise God and Your Highness that achievement will be our guide. We will accelerate the pace of sought reform, as well as advance the process of national action towards achieving the national goals desired.” The oath-taking ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister of the Amiri Diwan Affairs, Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, the Undersecretary of the Amiri Diwan, Ibrahim Al-Shatti, the Secretary General of the Cabinet, Abdullatif Al-Roudhan and Director of HH the Amir’s Office, Ahmad Fahd Al-Fahd.—KUNA




in my view

Letters to Badrya Darwish

Syria, Bahrain tales of two sorrows

Large scale vote buying

By Fouad Al-Obaid Dear Ms Darwish, Having read your article today and other articles and publications these days after the parliamentary elections, I have been waiting to hear at least someone raising their voice and stating the most important fact about the results of these shameful elections — that the majority of the candidates were buying the votes. It was happening on a large scale and everyone knew about it. Why did authorities and the general public decide to close their eyes to it and remain speechless? Ladies were bribed by expensive Chanel bags and other luxurious gifts. During the last minutes before the election closure “undecided” citizens were receiving envelopes with up to KD 5,000 to make up their minds and “decide” who to vote for, to name just few examples. And I do not even blame bribers, but I blame unconscious citizens for their irresponsibility. I am an expatriate. I have been living in Kuwait for the past 19 years. I feel Kuwait is my home more than my real home country. But I feel sorry seeing the deterioration in all aspects of the life, loss of direction and vision for the country, and I am sincerely worried for the future of our beloved Kuwait. Kind regards, Twitter: @Fouadalobaid


kuwait digest

Listen to all opinions

Lela Mrakovic Salaams and Good day, In response to your article ‘2 million ignored’ I could not agree more. What really baffles me about Kuwait being an Islamic - law abiding country (supposedly), is that in the election campaigns there were no ultimatums or forums to discuss the oppression of expatriates issue. Yet daily, we read about expatriates who are driven to suicide, expatriates who have stolen from their employers, expatriates taking revenge by murdering their sponsors, etc.... The question is when will this issue ever be addressed? What the locals have to understand is that Kuwait is operational mainly because of expatriates. Look at the take away food outlets. The only time expatriates will be appreciated in this country is when there will be just a few left. This will force the very proud, wealthy locals to assume the jobs of expatriates. After all, imagine wonderful local “laadidaa” women, dressed to attend a stars oscar event decorated with an unbelievable amount of make-up, having to stand behind the counters of Hardees or KFC serving customers. I guess, that will be when expatriates will be taken into consideration. Otherwise it is a lost battle. So much for this Islamic law abiding country.

n a typically Middle Eastern situation one should not have to decide whether to back a population victimized and oppressed by the ruling elite based on what sect or faith they adhere to. And yet, this is what is going in the Arab World today. The Sunni/Shiite polarity is being played out on different fronts not the least in the ongoing popular struggles for self-determination in different regions of the Arab world. The divergence of reaction on the part by the member countries of the GCC who have unanimously supported the crushing of a rebellion in Bahrain using the pretext of general chaos in their respective countries, are today mounting political pressure on Syria that is using similar terminology to crush their own internal rebellion. When blood is spilled and innocents murdered, does it really make a difference what belief they adhered to? Does it really matter what their religious convictions were? Do we allow ourselves to dehumanize fellow humans? If such, who are we to judge? The victims’ mothers regardless of their faith will end up crying the same tears amidst similar chaos and feeling of insecurity. What we are seeing today is the rise of a tragedy that is being fueled by a vicious cycle that is instilling animosity and hate in the hearts and minds of the people of the region. Shall we not look back at the histories of people to see in them examples of what such attitudes may lead to? Or do we want to find out the hard way how hate and mistrust between neighboring countries will lead to our collective demise when instead it could be a source of collective development in a region that today is awash with cash and is able if the political elements allow for growth and prosperity. Leaders in the region ought to find the courage to leave a legacy of change and reform, or else they will end up in the gutters of history where generations upon generation will curse their name and take pride at disgracing their once presence on earth. What is happening in Syria today is the state has turned into killing machine that is ready to murder thousands for the sake of survival, fuelling unspeakable horror! Dr Bashar Al-Assad is a criminal that needs to hopefully be tried for the atrocities committed just as much as other regional leaders may in the future if the situation turns on them and their people realize that sovereignty is in them and that they ought to fear not but fear itself then many more despots will join the likes of Moammer Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. People will initially fear death, once they have nothing to lose, and once their struggle becomes one for justice, the tides are bound to turn as they have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future. When people are oppressed and are ready to sacrifice their lives, it becomes in the interest of all to come to a new agreement. Power is a mean to an end, when it becomes the end of a mean then those who ruler on this temporal abode will be the ultimate losers perhaps in the most tragic of means, as for the thereafter I would not want to be in their shoes should Judgment Day arise.

By Sami Al-Nisf hat we notice is that Islamic movements in general are more liberal and pragmatic than many political groups in Kuwait. Those Islamic groups do listen to other opinions, which made them win the latest elections. On the opposite side, there are Liberal groups by name only. They are without real liberals among the Kuwaiti type of liberalism, if we may say so. The leaders of those groups do not accept or listen to other opinions, which led to the loss of the last elections. I believe this will be repeated in any other elections to come in the future, as the one opinion track is still on. The strange thing in the national stream group is that MPs of other groups — the Islamists, Sunnis, Shiites and the other popular blocs - do vary when they vote on certain issues. That variation does not lead to cancel their membership from those groups, similar to American congressmen in the agricultural states. They are known to vote differently from their political parties when matters under voting concern their agricultural interests. That does not lead them to cancel their membership from the political parties which took them to Congress. In Kuwait, an MP reaches Parliament by himself and not because he is a member of this group or that group. Therefore, it is a mistake to keep Al-Rashid and Al-Anjari


away from the National Bloc due to their different voting on certain issues. We hope that the expanded National Bloc can accept different opinions and include in its membership some or all the following MPs: Mohammad Al-Saqer, Marzooq Al-Ghanim, Ali Al-Rashid, Abdul Rahman Al-Anjari, Riyadh Al-Adsani, Shayie Al-Shayies, Faisal Al-Yahya, Adnan Abdul Samad, Ahmad Lari and Saad Al-Khanfoor. This group will be the largest and includes members from all political, social, and religious groups. Our democracy is the best to offer margins and branches to main issues. Then they can get busy with things which good democracies usually are not busy with, like changing Article 2 of the Constitution. From its first days in 1923, the Egyptian constitution states:”The Islamic religion is the source of legislation...” unlike Kuwaitis “is ‘a’ source” without “the”. Such a thing did not change the reality of the liberal Egyptian state, which allows swimming suits and the sale of liquor...etc. The same thing applies to the great concern about the National Speakers position, which is not as important as here in Kuwait. The same thing applies to grillings which are in all Parliaments every day without becoming a war, like over poor democracy!? —Al-Anbaa


kuwait digest

Actions always speak louder By Mubaral Al-Hajri ow many Cabinets have been formed in Kuwait since independence? The answer is: a lot. None of these Cabinets, however, can claim having noteworthy achievements or a place in Kuwait’s history among contributions that helped change citizens’ lives drastically. What stops the Cabinet from garnering such achievements? What stops them from meeting at least a part of what they promise people so as to improve their desperate living conditions? I can say that the Cabinet of HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah is doomed to fail unless it proves its success through actions instead of words. The only way the nex t Cabinet can succeed is by taking the initiative to improve all aspects of life in Kuwait which suffers deterioration. In addition, to avoid the previous Cabinet’s approach of continuously feuding with the Parliament, the next Cabinet must meet public demands including eliminating routine procedures. There are many subjects and problems waiting for the next Cabinet- most of them can be resolved if the prime minister takes a firm decision. He doesn’t need to be consulted by advisors, not even the opinions of the World Bank and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair count! Sheikh Jaber can end most problems by taking a bold decision to make a change. He is capable of doing so today more than any time, given the huge surplus in state budget, as well as good intentions to cooperate with the Cabinet to push forward a major project that fulfills people’s demands. The time now is right for the two authorities to work together to eliminate problems that citizens suffer from, including housing shortage dilemmas, in addition to health sector’s woes. A government that is true to its promise of change must take prompt actions to implement major projects and firm decisions to end problems without delay. This is the case, instead of making promises that later turn out to be empty. Overcoming the current situation and putting development back on track is not as hard as we think it is. It first needs to start by using a comprehensive campaign to eliminate routine that slows down the process of work at ministries. — Al-Rai


kuwait digest

About peace, humanity By Mubaral Al-Hajri lthough Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has, in one way or another, stated the gist of what I’ve written in this article, I do not want this to be about religion as much as it is about humanity and peace. Some people were born with supernatural gifts that, to the naked eye, appears to be invisible. When societies are influenced by individuals, only then will they be appreciated and their contributions be acknowledged. As most valued people of the world, those individuals will be ‘super’ appreciated posthumously - a clichÈd human trend that history has proven. “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary,” said Mahatma Gandhi. We often refer to people with a peaceful disposition as ‘Gandhians’ because they are a picture of inner peace, and are ‘non-violent.’ He was a believer in earning rights without the use of violence, chaos. As we all have noticed, the political ‘carriage’ in Kuwait is travelling through a bumpy road, and what makes it worse is the racism and discriminatory practices. On the other hand, from what I observe on my Twitter timeline and social circles, citizens and residents, refuse to accept the fact idea of racial conflict or any discrimination. Kuwait’s small size makes it vulnerable in terms of external aggression. In a corrupt environment, children and youth repel each other because of very obvious differences! This is why I strongly believe the Pareto principle applies here, 20 percent makes an 80 percent difference. The 20 percent (prople) have Mahatma Gandhi’s spirit of peace, non-violence, and a sense of equality. They can have more influential positive effect on the 80 percent representing dullness and negativity. We’re all here to live in harmony, tranquility, and peace. We all have families, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. So let us make our world a protective shell rather than a destructive hammer. Let’s be humane, rather than simply being human. —Al-Qabas




Al Ata aims to bring hope to Arab disabled people First media academy in Arab world By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Al Ata Academy, the first media academy in the Arab world, held a press conference yesterday at the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) premises to introduce its role and services and to invite the local media to join them in their mission. Al Ata aims to collect the largest number of media channels under one roof to cooperate in serving humanity. It includes a special section for the disabled in order to give them a future and merge them into the community. “There are no studies or research about the exact and accurate number of disabled persons. During conferences, we usually end up issuing recommendations and that is it. Even in other Arab countries the issue of the disabled is neglected and ignored. People need awareness about this issue. In London, for instance, a bus stops and the driver gets out to help a disabled passenger get into the bus,” said Ahmad Al-Farsi, Chairman of the Al Ata Academy and Channel. Al-Farsi sees the main role in supporting disabled persons in the media. “We aim for the press and other media to cooperate with us and register with us so that we can achieve good awareness for the public. We also aim to introduce diplomats and leaders from the disabled community. There are many examples of successful disabled people, such as the Kuwaiti sports champion Tareq Al-Qallaf. We can mention this example to disabled persons who prefer to isolate themselves from any social life,” he added. Other serious cases of the disabled are those who become disabled due to a car accident. “These people were great persons and lived a good social life, but after becoming wheelchair bound they isolate themselves at home and refuse to go out in public. There should be more awareness on roads and more

tolerance between drivers. For instance, drivers should not make a big deal of a small car accident and should forgive. They can at least park on the right side of the road instead of blocking the street and causing a traffic jam,”

Furthermore the number is even growing. Arab countries tried to solve this problem and used preventative measures to illuminate how disability is spread. They established institutions which provide practical programs

KUWAIT: Ahmad Al-Hashimi (left), Mitab Al-Fadli, Ahmad Al-Farsi and Abdul Kareem AlHindal. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat and rehabilitation services for the disabled in stressed Al-Farsi. “We also aim to set up a team from this order to make them functional in their lives. I category that includes a photographer, direc- wonder if these institutions could provide the tor and a presenter of a television program. It necessary care for all the disabled who need will rehabilitate and train the disabled to be it. I think that the problem is continuing, and on top in different fields. A popular personali- the number of the disabled is even increasty will supervise each team according to its ing,” he explained. From here came the importance of having specialization to present social, cultural, more effective ways to reach all categories of sports, and medical programs,” he added. According to Al-Farsi, there are 700 million the community. “ Through this we can disabled persons in the world, which amounts improve their skills and highlight their problems through the media and find a solution to 12 percent. “The number in the developing countries is for it. This is the mission of Al Ata Academy higher, as it reaches 15 - 20 per cent. This is a to bring hope for every child, mother, and dangerous signal with dangerous results. father,” concluded Al-Farsi.

Municipal candidates KUWAIT: Four more candidates registered yesterday for the by-elections in the Municipal Council’s fourth constituency of Hawalli. The Department of Electoral Affairs said with today’s candidates the total number running so far for the upcoming by-elections is 28. Candidacy applications for the targeted constituency will be open until 16 February. A position was left vacant due to former member, Shaya Al-Shaya, winning a seat in the National Assembly.

Kuwait extols IOM efforts to combat human trafficking

KUWAIT: Canadian ambassador inaugurating an information session on Canada as a destination for higher education at the Sheraton hotel on Monday. Twelve of Canada’s elite universities participated in the session. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Mohammad Ali AlKandari, praised yesterday the pivotal and humanitarian role of the International Migration Organization (IOM) in combating human trafficking and labor issues. Al-Kandari also praised its constructive cooperation with the Ministry and relevant agencies during a meeting with Hassan Abdel Moneim, Minister Plenipotentiar y and regional adviser for North Africa and the Middle East and countries of Arabian Gulf. Moneim is participating in the opening of the regional session on organized crime in Kuwait. Cooperation between the Ministry and the IOM has resulted in the legislation of several laws pertaining to international migration and human rights. He said the cooperation of the Ministry and the IOM in many events, workshops and courses contribute to providing support to the staff of the Ministry in the areas of human rights and employment. Abdel Moneim extolled the distinguished relationship between the IOM and the Government of the State of Kuwait. He said he values the serious and promising steps the Government is taking to develop and enact human rights laws, and the continued cooperation with the ministry to train government staff. He said the Government is fighting various methods of trafficking in human beings and paying attention to labor issues. —KUNA

Vehicle windshield must be transparent KUWAIT: Ministry of Interior Director of Public Relations Col Adel Ahmad Al-Hashash said Interior and Defense Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud has issued a decision to amend Article 46 of the traffic law. It states that shaded glass on all vehicles is now allowed, provided that shading does not exceed 30 percent of the transparency of all windows. This is except for the windshield in front of the driver, which should be transparent and in accordance with the GCC specification.



Missing girl found drunk in car on Kabad road Prostituting herself for livelihood

KUWAIT: Ibrahim Tahir Al-Baghli, head of the Kuwaiti Charitable Society for Care and Rehabilitation of Senior Citizens and sponsor of Al-Baghli Ideal Son Award, presented a commemorative plaque to the Romanian Ambassador Vasile Sofineti for the embassy’s support during his recent visit to elderly care homes in Romania. The event was also attended by Romanian consul Mircea Ciulu.

Kuwait participates in conference on halal food RIYADH: Kuwait, represented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), takes part in the first international conference on halal food with a related exhibition inaugurated on Saturday by Riyadh Governor Prince Sattam Bin Abdulazizin in the Saudi capital. The event is held under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. Head of Kuwaiti delegation, Assistant Undersecretary for Commercial Inspection Affairs Abdullah Al-Ali said that this conference witnessed a number of symposia gathering food experts from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Arab nations, Europe, United States, China, Russia and South Africa. They emphasized the importance of Islamic slaughter to consumer health. KISR presented two researches to the conference, the first by Dr Hani Al-Mazidi, on supervision on halal products and

Islamic slaughter, and the second by Dr Husam Al-Omairah on possible applications of nanotechnology in guaranteeing food quality, Al-Ali said. This conference is organized by Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) out of its commitment in supervising Saudi imports from more than 150 countries. The event was attended by 120 participants with more than 60 researches to be discussed on this matter. The conference also will include two seminars tackling methods of slaughter, food produced through biotechnology and nanotechnology, and chemical changes on food. Nanotechnology is an expected future manufacturing technology that will make most products lighter, stronger, cleaner and less expensive. Biotechnology (or biotech) is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bio-products.—KUNA

KUWAIT: An underage girl reported missing by her family was found recently inside a car driven by a drunk driver. Patrol officers pulled over the car for reckless driving on the Kabad road. They soon learned that the male driver and his female companion were under the influence of alcohol. They also found a half empty imported liquor bottle inside the vehicle. After checking the identities of the couple, police learned that the 16-year-old girl was reported missing by her family a week ago. The two were taken for investigations. Eventually, it was discovered that the two were on their way to a property in Kabad for illegal relations. They met in the parking lot of a Farwaniya mall. The girl admitted during investigations that following her escape from her family she engaged in multiple illicit relationships in order to provide money for herself. Abusive husband Investigations are currently ongoing with a man held in a domestic violence case in which his wife accuses him of insulting God and the Holy Quran. The Arab woman reported to Rumaithiya police station with a medical report showing bruises over her body. In addition to pressing physical assault charges, the woman told police that her husband made offensive remarks against God and tore pages of a copy of the Quran. Both offenses are punishable by Kuwaiti law. The woman failed to provide evidence to support her claim, however, and was asked to bring the Quran pages she says her husband tore apart. She left but did not return. Meanwhile, her husband categorically denied the accusations. He admitted the physical assault charge, arguing during investigations that his wife creates troubles in the house in a bid to

force divorce. Meanwhile, an expatriate woman filed a case at Qurain police station against her husband, whom she accused of physical assault, imprisonment and threatening to murder her. The woman explained to officers that she was able to escape from her apartment in the area where she says her husband locked her up and repeatedly assaulted her. She was helped to Adan Hospital to obtain a medical report as investigations went underway. Body found An Arab man was pronounced dead at his residence in Sulaibiya, but a forensic examination later determined that the death happened as a result of natural causes. An investigation into a homicide case was initially opened after criminal investigators found evidence of foul play at the scene. The victim was pronounced dead in his bed. He was found there by his roommates, who made the emergency call. Police grew suspicious after blood was found emanating from the victim’s mouth. However, investigations with the victim’s workmates revealed that he had been on sick leave to recover from complications of heart disease. The homicide investigation was closed after the forensic report later confirmed that the death happened as a result of natural causes. Suicide attempt An Asian man was rushed to Sabah Hospital following a suicide attempt. He stabbed himself below the chest area. Medical staff called police soon after the victim arrived. After his condition stabilized, the man told police that he resorted to carry out a bid to end his life due to the pressures in his life which left him in a bad psychological con-

dition. The man faces charges following his release from the hospital. Addicts held for theft Two drug dealers were arrested recently after committing at least twenty thefts. They intended to sell the valuable items for money to buy drugs. Investigations have been going on for days since several cases of cell phones and cash stolen from parked cars by break-in were reported in Rawdha. Police eventually arrested a male suspect after tracing the signal of one of the cell phones reported stolen. Investigations revealed that the Kuwaiti suspect has a history of drug abuse. During interrogations, the man admitted responsibility for more than 20 thefts. He said he committed them with a Kuwaiti accomplice who was also put under arrest. Armed robbers Meanwhile, criminal investigators were able to arrest a gang consisting of four Kuwaiti citizens and a stateless resident responsible for multiple armed robberies which targeted shops in Kuwait City. They were referred to the proper authorities to face charges. Work mishap An Indian man was hospitalized following a work mishap which happened in Jahra. The victim was working at a construction site when he reportedly fell into a large hole and was covered with sand from a landslide. The victim was admitted into the intensive care unit at Jahra Hospital after being diagnosed with broken ribs and severe internal bleeding in the chest area. The contractor in charge at the site of the project was summoned by police for investigations. . —Al-Rai, Al-Watan

Lord mayor visiting Kuwait LONDON: The Lord Mayor of the City of London, David Wootton, is heading a large business delegation to Kuwait and four other GGC States for a two-week visit, starting today, as part of efforts to ensure London and the UK remain the regional partner of choice when it comes to financial and professional services, he announced yesterday. The city is the financial and banking district of London, which is considered a world leader in international finance and business services. During the tour, which will start by a two-day visit to Kuwait, the Lord Mayor will meet with members of ruling families, senior figures in government, investment authorities and business leaders, he said in an interview. The tour will include, apart from

Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Lord Mayor said he will travel with a business delegation of around 20 people which includes senior representatives of investment banks, asset managers, insurers and law firms. As the ambassador for UK-based financial and professional services industry, he said: “Our relationship with the Kuwait and other GGC states is hugely important and this longstanding partnership is one that I hope to continue building upon during my tour there. “London remains a leading global financial centre and the single most internationally focused financial market place in the world. We have a wealth of expertise and innovative financing models

that can mobilize the two-way flow of capital. “We view this relationship very much as one of sharing skills and experiences to grow both our financial sectors. “Closer partnership will support the regional goals of economic diversification, growth, and infrastructure development,” he stressed. The business visit will focus on education and training, infrastructure development, and bilateral trade and investment. The Lord Mayor will be in Kuwait from Feb 15 to 17, Qatar from Feb 17 to 20, Abu Dhabi from Feb 20 to 22, Dubai from Feb 22 to 24, Jeddah from Feb 24 to 26, Riyadh from Feb 26 to 28, Al Khobar from Feb 28 to 29, Bahrain from Feb 29 to March 1).

In answer to a question, the Lord Mayor said that the discussions in Kuwait will include how to assist British companies to take part in the development of infrastructure projects in the Arab Gulf country. The Lord Mayor showered praise on the role played by the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) in the UK. He noted that he paid recently a visit to the KIO offices here to highlight the importance the UK and the City of London attach to this important organization, which helps cement business and investment ties between the two countries. Referring to business opportunities in Kuwait, he said there are a number of important projects some of them to do with the Boubyan island development, the airport and hospitals.

Kuwait envoy meets Sudan prez aide

RUNQ8 marathon ‘great success’ KUWAIT: Under the patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed Hamoud Al-Sabah and Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, Lt Gen Dr Mustafa Al-Zaabi, Ali Abdulwahab & Sons & Co contributed in sponsoring RUNQ8, which was organized by the Fawzia AlSultan Rehabilitation Center. The RUNQ8 marathon was a great success with the participation of many enthusiastic runners. The sole purpose of the race was to establish the rules of traffic safety on the road in the State of Kuwait in line with the UN Declaration for the years from 2011 to 2021 to be a decade of traffic safety on the roads to stop the escalating traffic accidents. The RUNQ8 event ended with an

“We have also discussed the executive measures relating to the Kuwaiti grant for Sudan, due to be in the pipeline this year. “The grant will be channeled mainly to infrastructure projects in the areas of power generating and sewage networks in the three eastern Sudan states,” Al-Harbi revealed. During the meeting the Sudanese presi-

dential aide extolled His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his firm support to Sudan, renewing gratitude for the Kuwaiti grant. The international donors pledged, in the two-day gathering, $3.5 billion to the post-conflict rehabilitation process in Eastern Sudan. The State of Kuwait contributed $500 million in addition to $50 million grant. —KUNA

awards ceremony presented by a panel of Lt Gen Dr Mustafa Al-Zaabi, as well as the sponsors including Ali Abdulwahab Sons & Co. Always keen to par ticipate and sponsor various activities and community events throughout the year, Ali Abdulwahab Sons & Co believes in the need to support these activities, be it community events, sports, educational and charitable work in general. Ali Abdulwahab Sons & Co is a leading retail and wholesale company, and one of the oldest trading companies in Kuwait enjoying over 90 years of success. The company has adopted a vigorous expansion policy and is the agent of more than 40 distinct global brands. For more information on Ali Abdulwahab Sons & Co., visit our website at

Kuwait, Mexico sign MOU on health care MEXICO CITY: Kuwait and Mexico signed, on Monday, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health care cooperation. The MOU was signed by Kuwaiti ambassador to Mexico Sameeh Jawhar Hayat and Mexican Health Minister Armando Awad. The MOU, the first signed between the two countries, aims at promoting visits, exchanging expertise and holding meetings on health care related matters. It also encourages bilateral cooperation among the medical centers. In addition, it also urges setting up a committee to follow up on implementing all of the MOU’s goals.

KHARTOUM: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Sudan Dr Suleiman Abdullah Al-Harbi held talks here on Monday with Sudanese presidential aide Musa Mohamed Ahmad. The talks focused on the implementation of the results of the International Donors Conference for Rehabilitation and Development of Eastern Sudan, hosted by Kuwait on Dec 1 and 2, Al-Harbi said.

On this occasion, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard delivered a speech lauding bilateral relations and stressed that this MOU will further deepen these ties. He also hoped that signing more agreements will follow. On his part, Kuwaiti envoy said that signing this agreement will further strengthen ties with Mexico. The MOU signing ceremony took place at the National Palace with the presence of head of Mexican side of the KuwaitiMexican Friendship Society Carlos Peralta, Mexican officials and envoys of other countries. —KUNA

NBK Walkathon registration started KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait opened registration for its 18th Annual Walkathon yesterday. Participants may register at the NBK tent near the Scientific Center on Gulf Road in Salmiya. NBK Walkathon will take place all day Saturday, March 26, under the title ‘Health with Every Step.’ More than 50 NBK volunteers representing various departments will be available to help participants during registration and on the day of the Walkathon. Registration will be held daily - from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 10pm. “The Walkathon will take place this year in tandem with NBK’s 60 year anniversary,” said Manal Al-Mattar, NBK public relations and advertising executive manager. “We look for-

ward to welcoming the thousands of participants and to giving away some very exciting prizes.” NBK will give away two brand new cars, a Mazda and a Peugeot, as grand prizes during the Walkathon. “As part of the bank’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, NBK regularly supports events which encourage a healthier lifestyle for members of the community. Ten winners will be selected from each of the 12 categories of participants. More than 15,000 people registered for the NBK Walkathon last year. For more information, visit NBK’s Official Facebook page at NBK Official Page or follow NBK on Twitter @NBKPage.

Manal Al-Mattar


Homs activists resort to pigeons to communicate Page 8

Iranian bomber loses legs, blasts rock Bangkok Page 12

IDLIB: Syrian rebels are seen during a weapons training exercise outside Idlib yesterday. — AP

Arabs open way for arming Syrians Syria debate divides Arabs Saudi, Qatar in driving seat

CAIRO: After a bruising meeting in a five-star Cairo hotel, Arab foreign ministers led by Gulf states hinted to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad that unless he halts his violent crackdown, some Arab League members might arm his opponents. The message was folded into Article 9 of a League resolution passed on Sunday that urges Arabs to “provide all kinds of political and material support” to the opposition, a phrase that includes the possibility of giving weapons to Assad’s foes. Diplomats at the meeting confirmed this interpretation. Arabs are striving to unite the world around their drive to push Assad to end the killing, but have gained little traction. They had to scrap a floundering Arab monitoring mission to Syria. When they sought UN Security Council support for a transition plan under which Assad would step aside, Russia and China vetoed the Western-backed UN draft resolution. Moscow is an old ally of Syria and its top arms supplier. Sunday’s Arab League meeting raised the stakes. Its implicit shuffle towards backing military resistance to Assad’s forces was meant to add pressure on the Syrian leader and his Russian and Chinese allies. Yet it also risks leading to a Libya-style conflict or sectarian civil war that everyone wants to avoid. “It is unacceptable for Assad to practice all types of killing of civilians while we stand silent,” one Arab ambassador said, explaining the rationale behind the resolution that returned the Syria issue to the United Nations with a call for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping force. “We will back the opposition financially and diplomatically in the beginning but if the killing by the regime con-

tinues, civilians must be helped to protect themselves. The resolution gives Arab states all options to protect the Syrian people,” the envoy said. “All options” is diplomatic language that leaves room for a military response. Two other diplomats spelled it out more explicitly, saying the resolution could allow arms transfers. Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, said the bloodshed was putting pressure on Arabs to act. “The escalation is coming from the ground and it is coming from Assad himself. This is the reason they feel they cannot stand idly by just pursuing a diplomatic track,” he said. “I suspect we will see a further militarisation of this conflict, with potentially quite widespread and dangerous consequences.” Smuggled guns are filtering into Syria but it is not clear if Arab or other governments are backing any such transfers. Iraqi security officials say there are signs Sunni Muslim insurgents are beginning to cross the border to join Syrian rebels. Smugglers are cashing in as prices double for weapons reaching Syria concealed in commercial traffic. For now, however, such weaponry cannot match the firepower that Assad’s military can bring to bear, analysts say, but that could change if Assad fails to heed Arab peace calls. A non-Gulf Arab ambassador said Qatar and Saudi Arabia had insisted on the “material support” wording to

cover “all kinds of support including weapons in future”, adding: “But we see this as a dangerous escalation.” A senior Arab diplomat voiced fears that such a step could ignite a conflagration in Syria, a nation of Sunnis, Alawites, Christians, Kurds and Druze at the heart of the Arab world. “It is a very sensitive situation in Syria. The door is open for a lot of possibilities,” he said. “I think now Syria is at the beginning of a kind of civil war.” Syria’s crisis has provoked a lop-sided rift among Arabs. Sunni-ruled Gulf states, broadly driven by a desire to oust Assad, an ally of their Shiite regional rival Iran, have the financial and political muscle to push through calls to isolate the Syrian leader. Wealthy Gulf countries, Bahrain apart, have also emerged with few scars from the wave of Arab uprisings. Egypt, Algeria and Iraq, traditionally regional heavyweights with big populations and the largest armies, may have misgivings on Syria, but have limited clout for now. Algeria registered reservations about a joint UN-Arab force. Others kept quiet. All three have challenges at home that blunt their ability to project their views. Iraq has its own sectarian divisions; Algeria has escaped a popular uprising, but remains wary; Egypt’s generals may not like intervention in an Arab state but are preoccupied by street protests against military rule.

Lebanon, long dominated by its Syrian neighbor and its own Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite armed movement, Hezbollah, was the only League member formally to object to the resolution. Highlighting the turmoil in the Arab world, Sunday’s meeting in Cairo was shifted to the Marriott hotel across the Nile from the League’s headquarters, located uncomfortably close to Tahrir Square, the focal point for Egyptian protesters. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, set the tone for the gathering in the plush surrounds of the former royal palace, making the case for backing the Syrian opposition. In a speech before closed-door talks began, he told Arab ministers: “At our meeting today I call for decisive measures, after the failure of the half-solutions.” From then on, it was clear who was in charge, according to the nonGulf envoy, who, like others, asked not to be named. “These meetings were not open to discussion. The Gulf foreign ministers had positions and decisions they had reached earlier and they did not want to hear anything else,” he said. The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council had met separately earlier in the day. One source said their line was backed by Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia, which will host a gathering of Arab and other “Friends of Syria” on Feb 24.—- Reuters



Homs activists resort to pigeons to communicate BEIRUT: Cut off by a relentless barrage of government shelling, activists in the besieged Syrian city of Homs have reverted to the age-old practice of using carrier pigeons to communicate with each other. “From the activists in Old Homs (district) to those in Baba Amr, please tell us what you need in terms of supplies, medicine and food,” reads one message attached to a pigeon’s leg. “God willing, we will deliver them to you,” says the message, as seen in a video the opposition activists recently uploaded to YouTube. The central city has been under a relentless barrage of heavy machinegun fire, tank shells, mortars

and rocket-propelled grenades since February 4. The onslaught has cost the lives of at least 300 people, according to the United Nations, and has left the city isolated from the outside world, with telecommunications and electricity severed. Activists say that given the heavy shelling and restricted movements, they have turned to carrier pigeons to get messages through enemy lines. “We thank Bashar for taking us back to the Middle Ages,” says Omar, an activist in the Bab Sbaa neighborhood of the city, referring to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Omar is seen standing among pigeons on the rooftop of a building in

Bab Sbaa in one of the YouTube videos uploaded to the Internet via a satellite feed. He carefully scrawls a message on a small piece of paper to his counterparts who are little more than two kilometers away in Baba Amr, which has suffered some of the heaviest shelling. Despite only being a short distance apart, the activists say they are unable to venture very far because of checkpoints between them manned by security forces and the Shabiha, or pro-government thugs. The activists launched their uprising last March using social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to rally support. They say they are now

forced to use pigeons to communicate with each other in certain neighborhoods of Homs out of the reach of their walkie-talkies. “They have transformed Homs into a big prison. People don’t dare venture outside and they can’t do anything. The Shabiha are everywhere,” says Omar. He says there were reports out of Baba Amr of parents being forced to feed their children a diet of stale bread and water. Apart from enquiring about what supplies are needed, Omar also jots down the names of people from the city killed in the latest fighting of the 11month uprising. He then rolls up the message and

attaches it with a string to the leg of a pigeon before releasing the bird. “May God be with you,” he shouts as the pigeon flies off amid the sound of heavy gunfire and shelling. “May God guide you to Baba Amr.” The answer comes back the same day, bearing an appeal for aid but also a defiant message. “We need medical assistance and food,” the message reads, according to a separate video posted on YouTube. “The news you sent has reached us. “Long live Syria. Down with Bashar AlAssad.” Syrians were among the first people to use pigeons as messengers and this was often the sole source of communication in the region.— AFP

Radical cleric ‘freed’ UK, Jordan hold talks on extremist cleric

BELGRADE: A man feeds pigeons on a snow covered street in Belgrade, Serbia. In Serbia, heavy snow continues to fall as some 50,000 people remain stranded in snowbound remote areas, some without electricity. — AP

Gitmo mail screeners ordered to keep mum MIAMI: Mail inspectors at the Guantanamo prison camp will be held in contempt of court if they disclose the contents of attorney-client mail without permission, the chief judge in the US war crimes tribunals has ruled. The ruling by the judge, Army Colonel Jame Pohl, aims to settle a dispute between US military jailers at the Guantanamo Bay US naval base in Cuba and the US military and civilian lawyers defending Guantanamo prisoners on terrorism charges. The ruling puts the mail screeners, who are mostly Pentagon contractors, under Pohl’s authority and requires them to obtain his permission before disclosing any information gleaned from confidential legal mail. Violators could face contempt of court charges, which carry a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000, according to the manual governing the tribunals, which are formally known as military commissions. “At least now, if this works the way the judge contemplated, they’re answerable to him,” said Rick Kammen, one of the defense lawyers involved in the case. Pohl signed his ruling on Friday. It is not classified as secret but has not been publicly released because it is still under Pentagon review, and Kammen described its contents to Reuters. For now, the ruling applies only in the case of Saudi captive Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri, who could be executed if he is convicted of directing a deadly suicide bomb attack on a US warship off Yemen in 2000. He is currently the only captive facing charges in the Guantanamo tribunals. But the ruling could have broader implications because Pohl is the chief judge for the tribunals, and charges are expected to be referred for trial soon in the case of

five Guantanamo prisoners accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks. A lawyer for one of those prisoners has sued the prison camp commander in US District Court in Washington, claiming the mail-screening rules are unconstitutional and violate his right to communicate privately with his client. Generally under US law, conversations between defendants and their lawyers are confidential and cannot be used as evidence. Defense lawyers in the Guantanamo tribunals have argued that submitting case-related documents for screening would force them to illegally disclose trial strategy, violating the defendant’s right to a fair trial. They said it was also an ethical violation that could put their own law licenses in jeopardy. At a pretrial hearing last month in the Guantanamo court, Pohl took the unusual step of ordering the detention camp commander, Rear Admiral David Woods, into court to testify about the newly stringent mail screening rules he imposed in December. Woods said it was necessary for a “privilege team” made up of lawyers, translators and former intelligence officers, to review the legal mail to ensure it did not contain contraband or information that could compromise security. A prosecutor said in court that a copy of the Al-Qaeda-linked magazine “Inspire” had been mailed to the camp, suggesting that was the reason for the new rules. She did not elaborate and neither Pentagon nor prison camp officials would give any details about who sent it or whether it was actually delivered to a prisoner. Nashiri’s lawyers said they had not mailed the magazine. Asked if they were satisfied with Pohl’s ruling, Kamen said, “We choose to be hopeful.”— Reuters

LONDON: Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric whom British officials say is an Al-Qaeda figurehead and a threat to national security, was freed from an English prison into virtual house arrest late Monday, British media reported. Judicial officials acknowledged earlier in the day that the 51-year-old extremist preacher ’s release from Long Lartin jail was imminent, but declined to comment on the reports from Sky News and the BBC, citing operational concerns. The Palestinian-Jordanian cleric has spent more than six years in prison, but a tribunal ruled last week he should be released on bail. The terms of his bail, published by the judiciary, require Abu Qatada to wear an electronic tag and to stay inside his home for 22 hours each day. He is not allowed a mobile phone, a computer or Internet access, and he is barred from communicating with a long list of individuals, including Al-Qaeda leader Ayman AlZawahiri. The conditions also stipulate he must not lead prayers, give lectures, publish articles, preach or provide religious instruction or advice, “other than to his wife and children at his residence.” Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been described in both Spanish and British courts as a leading AlQaeda figure in Europe. He is reported to have had close ties to the late Osama bin Laden. British officials say he poses a serious threat to the country’s security, but attempts to deport him to Jordan to face terrorism charges was blocked by the

Palestinian cleric Sheikh Omar Mahmood Abu Omar European Court of Human Rights, which ruled last month that there is a risk evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in court. Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said Monday that Britain still hoped to overcome the European’s courts objections. Jordanian officials also have said they will challenge the ruling. “We are clear we want to remove Abu Qatada at the earliest opportunity. We are looking at all the options,” a spokesman for Cameron said, on condition of anonymity in line with policy. Abu Qatada arrived in Britain in 1993 and was detained in 2002 under anti-terrorism laws that at

the time allowed suspected terrorists to be jailed without charge. He has never been charged with a crime in Britain, although authorities have accused him of advising militants and raising money for terrorist attacks. Although Abu Qatada was released in 2005 when the unpopular law was overturned, he was kept under surveillance and arrested again within months and held pending deportation to Jordan. He has been convicted in absentia there of terrorist offenses related to two alleged bomb plots in 1999 and 2000, and would face a retrial there if deported from Britain. Meanwhile, Britain’s security minister is holding talks in Jordan


in brief

Korean woman commits suicide after dog’s death SEOUL: A South Korean woman apparently mourning the death of her pet dog has committed suicide after leaving a note requesting she be buried with the animal, police said yesterday. The 25-year-old surnamed Kim was found dead at her home in the southern city of Busan on Monday after apparently burning coal briquettes in the bathroom, a Busan police official said on condition of anonymity. Kim was clutching the dead dog when a co-worker found her body in the bathroom, whose windows and door were sealed with tape, he said, adding the cause of death was likely carbon monoxide poisoning.

US fuelling chaos in Egypt: Minister CAIRO: Stoking tensions with Washington, an Egyptian Cabinet minister has accused the United States of directly funding nonprofit groups to create chaos in the country following last year’s ouster of longtime leader and US ally Hosni Mubarak, according to comments published in state-owned newspapers yesterday. International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga made the remarks in a testimony she gave in October to judges investigating allegations the groups used foreign funds to foment unrest. Aboul Naga, a leftover from the Mubarak regime who has served in three interim governments formed since his ouster, has been leading the crackdown on the foreign groups. Authorities last week referred a total of 43 employees of nonprofit groups, including at least 16 Americans, to trial before a criminal court. The Americans include Sam LaHood, son of US Transportation Secretary ray LaHood. All 43 are banned from travel. No date has been set for their trial. The crisis has soured relations between Egypt and the United States, which has threatened to cut off aid to Egypt - a total of $1.5 billion a year in military and economic assistance - if the issue was not resolved. The release of Aboul Naga’s testimony four months after she gave it suggests that Egypt may not be willing, at least for now, to ease tensions with the US. Aboul Naga said international and regional powers did not want Egypt to prosper following Mubarak’s ouster, so they resorted to the creation of chaos.

“But the United States and Israel could not directly create and sustain a state of chaos, so they used direct funding, especially American, as the means to reach those goals,” she was quoted as saying. She also claimed that some of the money came from the US economic assistance to Egypt which currently runs at $250 million a year. Aboul Naga claimed Washington directly and illegally funded the nonprofit groups in what amounted to an interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, a challenge to its sovereignty and harms national security. “Evidence shows the existence of a clear and determined wish to abort any chance for Egypt to rise as a modern and democratic state with a strong economy since that will pose the biggest threat to American and Israeli interests, not only in Egypt, but in the whole region,” she was quoted as saying. The allegations facing the nonprofit groups are tied to the turmoil roiling Egypt for the past year. The generals who took over from Mubarak when a popular uprising forced him to step down a year ago have routinely accused the prodemocracy groups behind their predecessor’s overthrow of following a “foreign agenda” and of seeking to plunge Egypt into chaos or even topple the state itself. The Egyptian military has been the recipient of $1.3 billion in annual aid. America’s top soldier, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, held talks with the ruling generals last weekend in Cairo, but appeared to have made little or no progress on resolving the issue.—AP

seeking to overcome a European ban on deporting a radical Islamist cleric from the UK to the kingdom. The government said James Brokenshire is holding meetings with Jordanian officials seeking new assurances in the case of Abu Qatada. He was freed from an English prison into virtual house arrest late Monday after the European Court of Human Rights ruled last month he could not be sent to Jordan to face terrorism charges. The court argues there is a risk evidence obtained through torture would be used against him. Jordan has said it will offer a guarantee that the suspect will receive a fair trial.— Agencies

ADEN: A Yemeni looks at the scene of an explosion which killed the man who was planting the bomb at a polling booth in Yemen’s southern city of Aden yesterday, amid rising tension ahead of presidential elections next week. — AFP

Yemeni troops shell Qaeda posts; 12 die ADEN: Yemen’s army shelled Al-Qaeda positions in the southern city of Zinjibar yesterday, killing 12 of the extremists, a local government official said. “Twelve Al-Qaeda militants were killed when the army fired ar tiller y shells and Katyusha rockets on their positions across several areas in Zinjibar,” said the official in the adjacent town of Jaar, where the militants were buried. A militar y official confirmed the shelling but said he could not yet provide a toll. In May, militants from AlQaeda branch in Yemen who declare themselves the Par tisans of Sharia (Islamic law), took control of Zinjibar, triggering nine months of fighting between militants and government troops. Tribal and government officials said on February 4 that the government is trying to negotiate the withdrawal of

the extremists from the city, which is the capital of Abyan province. So far, at least three tribal-mediated negotiation attempts to secure a militants withdrawal have failed. Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 90,000 residents displaced. On January 25, hundreds of Al-Qaeda gunmen bowed to tribal pressures and withdrew from the town of Rada, 130 kilometers southeast of the capital Sanaa. Rada was overrun on January 16, the latest in a series of towns and cities to fall as Al-Qaeda takes advantage of a central government weakened by months of anti-regime protests. Heavily armed tribes, which play a vital role in Yemeni politics and society, have been joining the army to battle militants linked to Al-Qaeda who have taken over several regions across the country’s south and east.—AFP

Blasts kill 3 in Iraq BAGHDAD: Two separate attacks against Iraqi security forces killed three people and wounded 18 others yesterday, officials said. A bomb in a parked car exploded around noon near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killing a soldier and a bystander, a police officer said. Twelve other passersby were wounded in the attack. Sunni-dominated Mosul, located 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, was a major haven for Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups several years ago even as militant activity declined elsewhere. Australian fined for ‘mooning’ UK queen BRISBANE: A man was slapped with Aus$750 ($803) fine for flashing his buttocks at Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Australia last year-and said he would do it again. Sydney barman Liam Warriner, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of public nuisance during the 85year-old monarch’s tour of the Queensland capital Brisbane in October. A second charge of willful exposure was formally dropped by police prior to his sentence. The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard Warriner dropped his trousers and ran alongside the queen’s motorcade for 50 meters with an Australian flag clasped between his buttock cheeks, Australian said. Tunisia clears Libyan ex-PM TUNIS: A Tunisian court cleared Libyan former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmudi yesterday on a charge he had crossed illegally into Tunisia as he fled Libya last year, his lawyer said. “The court... has acquitted Al-Mahmudi and so we are demanding his immediate release,” lawyer Mabrouk Kourchid said after the hearing in the southern city of Tozeur. “There is no legal reason to keep him in prison.” Mahmudi is also the subject of two extradition requests from Libya, which he fled following the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.



Has hyperactive Sarkozy finally burned out? PARIS: Five years ago, Nicolas Sarkozy enjoyed the enthusiastic backing of a clear majority of French voters, who felt that to break with France’s sleepy past they needed some of his brutal energy. Now, with barely 10 weeks to go before a re-election battle that he is odds on to lose, he has lost none of his determination, but France has tired of his aggression and appears to be looking for a more reassuring new champion. But Sarkozy hasn’t changed. If the 57-year-old political streetfighter does manage to swing the election his way before the May 6 second-round vote, it could only be thanks to the same restless drive that brought him to power. A right-wing activist at 19, a town mayor at 28, lawmaker at 34 and minister at 38, winning the presidency at 52 brought him no relief from what his predecessor Jacques Chirac called his “insatiable appetite for action”. His time in office was as busy in his personal life as it was in politics. He divorced his second wife after a tumultuous struggle to woo her back from her lover, married supermodel Carla Bruni and had a daughter with her. At the height of his powers he was the most popular president since General Charles de Gaulle. “I have no right to disappoint,” he said. But he did. First with his overbearing swagger and eventually

through his actions. The first faux pas came on the very evening of his election, when he feted his victory in fine style in the glitzy eatery Fouquet’s with some of France’s richest people, setting the seal on his image as a fan of tasteless excess. One of his worst decisions was to allow his son Jean, a 23-year-old local councilor who had not yet graduated college, to try to take charge of the powerful public development agency in the La Defense business district. Then came the 2008 credit crunch and the subsequent financial crises. Sarkozy tried to rise to the occasion as a global statesman, staging crisis summit after crisis summit, but his high-rolling Rolex and Rayban image sat ill with an age of austerity, and French voters turned their backs on him. According to pollsters, his average approval rating over his five-year term has been the lowest of any president of the Fifth Republic. “The most important factor is the way in which he vulgarized politics and lowered the status of the presidential office for his own ends,” said political scientist Stephane Rozes of the Cap Institute. “What the French reproach him for is his personality and his way of going about things,” he said. Sarkozy had a unique style in French politics. Former presidents were aloof, monarchical. The man

once mockingly called “Sarko the American” wanted to shake France up with an unapologetic, transparent and pro-market agenda. But after Fouquet’s and a post-election break on a billionaire friend’s yacht, his whirl-

Chirac was never happier than when greeting farmers, tasting food and admiring prize cattle at the Paris agricultural show. Sarkozy was famously filmed there telling a grumpy bystander: “Get stuffed, you stupid

PARIS: France’ President Nicolas Sarkozy, delivers a speech as he inaugurates the National Headquarters of Gendarme Service in Issy-lesMoulineaux, outside Paris. — AP wind and very public romance with a wealthy supermodel painted the picture of a leader more in love with his own success than with France. Chirac and his wife were also a wealthy couple, and were widely suspected of profiting from the presidency, but Sarkozy’s predecessor was careful to play the role of a charismatic, beer-drinking man of the people.

bastard.” He often irritated his own ministers, usurping the day-to-day governing role of his low-key prime minister Francois Fillon, and pushing his agenda with a series of surprise initiatives and edicts from the Elysee Palace. If he does fall in May, what will he have left behind him? His supporters point to the reforms that he managed to push

past a dubious parliament and publican unpopular increase in the retirement age from 60 to 62 and a measure to ensure the independence of universities. He has had an impact on the international stage, helping negotiate an end to Russia’s drive into Georgia and leading the NATO intervention that helped Libyan rebels topple Muammar Gaddafi. French banks-and the euro as a whole-remain perilously exposed to the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, but neither collapsed on his watch. Nevertheless, his hyperactivity cannot conceal a patchy record. “He began more reforms than he ever finished, but at least he tried to deal with some things that his predecessors never even dared face,” suggested Bruno Jeanbart, of the polling institute OpinionWay. Those most disappointed are those who believed in his slogan “work more to earn more”-unemployment is approaching 10 percent and he has not lived up to his promises to tackle tax loopholes and discrimination. He has shocked many by flirting with far-right themes. He linked crime to immigration, expelled EU citizens of Roma descent and launched a debate on the threat Islam supposedly poses to French national identity. But he has not convinced existing far-right supporters to join his camp. — AFP

Britain trying to ‘colonize Somalia’ Modest gains for Kenya offensive in Somalia

GRABOVAC: A Kosovo Serb casts his ballot during a referendum in the village of Grabovac, near the city of Zvencan, northern Kosovo yesterday. — AFP

Northern Kosovo Serbs vote in contentious referendum KOSOVSKA MITROVICA: Serbs in northern Kosovo yesterday started voting in a referendum aimed at highlighting their opposition to Pristina and anger at concessions Belgrade has made in EU-brokered talks. Some 35,000 voters in the majority Serb north of Kosovo will be asked in the vote: “Do you accept the institutions of the so-called republic of Kosovo seated in Pristina?” Serbs in north Kosovo have never accepted Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia and are expected to overwhelmingly vote ‘no’. “Of course I came to vote as it is the first time that someone officially asks the people if they want to live under Pristina’s institutions,” said 74-year-old Ljuba Savic, who was one of the first to cast his ballot in Kosovska Mitrovica. “I voted ‘no’ and I think all people in northern Kosovo will do the same.” The vote is seen as an act of defiance against the Serbian government, which many of northern Kosovo’s Serbs feel has been too conciliatory in the Belgrade-Pristina talks. The referendum comes just two days ahead of the fourth anniversary of Pristina’s 2008 declaration of independence, which Belgrade has not recognized but has been accepted by 87 countries, including much of Europe and the United States. Out of a population of about two million, there are some 120,000 ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, 40,000 of whom live in the north on the border with Serbia proper. The rest of the Serbs live in enclaves dotted around the territor y. Kosovo Serbs in the southern

enclaves surrounded by the ethnic Albanian majority are generally more inclined to work together with the Pristina government while those in the north still cling to Belgrade. Krstimir Pantic, mayor of the Serbdominated part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica, said the vote “will show that the Serbs in northern Kosovo do not want to be under Pristina institutions.” The north of Kosovo has been the scene of unrest in the last few months. In November some 50 soldiers from the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force were hurt as they moved to dismantle barricades erected at the border by Serbs. Ethnic Albanian hardliners, who oppose all contact with Belgrade and want unification with neighboring Albania, also tried to block the crossings in January leading to clashes with police. Some 82 polling stations in northern Kosovo municipalities will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm yesterday and today for the two-day vote. Belgrade has labelled the referendum “unconstitutional”, further fanning the fears of Kosovo Serb hardliners that Serbia could eventually give up its claim to Kosovo under pressure from the European Union. Belgrade and Pristina, which have been engaged in a dialogue under EU auspices since March 2011, have already reached several accords addressing everyday problems created by Kosovo’s independence. Brussels has insisted that Serbia make progress in its relations with Kosovo to further its bid for EU membership. — AFP

3 die in Ivorian clashes ABIDJAN: At least three people were killed and about twenty others were injured during two days of clashes in Ivory Coast’s eastern region of Arrah, an official and residents said yesterday. The violence was sparked by frustrations over the continued policing of the area by former northern rebels and degenerated into ethnic clashes, underscoring security challenges faced by President Alassane Ouattara, almost a year after taking office. “Calm returned last night and it stayed calm thanks to reinforcements from the United Nations soldiers,” said Jean Bouadou, mayor of the town of Arrah, about 210 km from Abidjan. “There are three dead - two from bullet wounds and one from machetes - and about twenty injured,” he added. Locals were protesting against former rebel FRCI soldiers - who helped bring Ouattara, a northerner, to power during last year’s post-election conflict - rather than gendarmes providing security in the region. Residents said violence then broke out between Agni, an ethnic group from the

area, and northern Malinke people. Bouadou said that houses and shops were ransacked and people had fled the town in fear. Defense minister Paul Koffi Koffi was due to travel to the area today. “The situation has calmed down but there are lots of dead and injured,” said Seraphin Bony, a resident. “It is the FRCI reserves that are the root of the problem. They do not get on with the local population, which thinks that they aren’t real soldiers and they should leave and be replaced by gendarmes,” he said. Ouattara won a December 2010 election but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refuse to cede power, leading to a four-month conflict that killed some 3,000 people. Rebels who had controlled the north of the country for almost a decade sided with Ouattara in the conflict and were backed by UN and French soldiers fighting Gbagbo loyalists. Military reform and reconciliation are Ouattara’s biggest challenges as he seeks to rebuild the world’s top cocoa grower. — Reuters

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Al-Qaeda allied Shebab insurgents have slammed British efforts to address the multiple crises in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation as “another attempt to colonize Somalia.” British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a February 23 conference in London, gathering Somali and foreign leaders to find a solution to the civil unrest that has plagued Somalia almost without interruption since 1991. However, Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said the “London conference is another attempt to colonize Somalia,” in a message posted online late Monday. “It’s the imperious nature of the Brits that sees them meddling in Islam affairs in the hope of reviving a hopeless dream of a British Empire,” the Shebab Twitter website read. “Britain must understand that the Muslims have long rejected British imperialism, and the futility of their renewed attempt is all too obvious,” the extremists added. Decades of war and lawlessness have ruined Somalia, leaving it with no basic infrastructure, its people in deep poverty and a humanitarian crisis the United Nations describes as the worst in the world. Earlier this month, British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited war-scarred Mogadishu, marking a new drive by London to address the country’s protracted crisis. The Islamist Shebab rebels have been fighting to topple the Western-backed Somali government in Mogadishu, where the administration survives under the protection of a 10,000strong African Union force. Regional countries have recently increased pressure on the Shebab, with Kenyan troops battling the rebels in the south of Somalia since last October. Ethiopia also sent forces to southwestern Somalia in November, the second such incursion in less than three years. Somalia has lacked an effective central government since president Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991, unleashing cycles of bloody conflict that have defied countless peace initia-

tives. Meanwhile, the Kenyan army says it has crippled Shebab rebels four months after launching an offensive to defeat them, but its superior firepower alone is unlikely to win the battle, analysts said. Military officials claim air strikes and ground assaults have scuttled the Al-Qaeda-linked militants and disrupted their revenue sources since the incursion-Kenya’s first since independence in 1963 - began in October. “Al-Shebab is considerably weakened,” said Kenyan army spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna. “In our own assessment, 75 percent of revenue collection of Al-Shebab has been disrupted.” But the troops have gained little ground in the 17 weeks since they announced on October 16 that their tanks had rolled across the border two days earlier. Their advance was bogged down at the start by mud and bad weather, and then slowed by Shebab’s guerilla tactics-mingling with civilians before attacking. “The Kenyans’ military strategy as well as political strategy has so far not achieved much. There was a lot of over-optimism on the Kenyan side for success, and that has clearly not turned out to be the case,” said Rashid Abdi, an independent Horn of Africa analyst. “You need a combination of measures. You need a clearly well thought-out military plan, but at the same time one which is complemented by a political strategy,” Abdi said. Politically, Kenya had hoped to form a new security administration inside the southern Somali regions of Gedo, Lower and Middle Juba-together also known as Jubaland-and had trained Somali forces for the buffer territory. However, the idea has gained little traction, and the international support from Western allies in terms of the military aid Kenya had hoped for has at best been modest. “Kenyan officials were seriously out of touch with how the world operates, if they went to war without adequate funds and counted on the international community,” said J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council think

tank. The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a November report that Nairobi should cool its high hopes of defeating the Shebab, a ruthless and resilient militia fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government in Mogadishu. “Downscaling expectations must start with reorienting the mission towards the one modest goal that is achievable in Somaliadegrading Al-Shebab’s military capabilities and encouraging a negotiated solution,” the group said. Kenyan officials have also contradicted each other on whether the operation’s ultimate goal is to capture Kismayo, a port town in southern Somalia and a key revenue source for the Shebab, or to simply secure Kenya’s border areas. “The military must resist the temptation to seek spectacular gains,” the ICG think tank said. “It makes perfect military sense to target Kismayo port... but it should be done deliberately and other measures such as an economic-not humanitarian-blockade of the port, and the attrition of fighting on multiple fronts allowed to work.” Kenya’s “Operation Linda Nchi”-Operation Protect the Country in Swahili has certainly altered the dynamics of the Somali conflict, upping the pressure on the Shebab, while other regional states have since sent troops to Somalia. Nairobi has offered its troops to join the African Union Mission in Somalia, a 10,000strong force based in the capital Mogadishu made up of soldiers from Burundi, Djibouti and Uganda. Ethiopia has also sent in columns of tanks and troops into western and southern Somalia. But beyond its military offensive, Kenya should seek a wider strategy to restore stability in Somalia, a lawless country that has had no effective central government for 21 years, experts warn. “Kenyans have an opportunity to broaden their aim - it shouldn’t be just creating this buffer territory,” said Abdi. “They should be seeking to stabilize the whole of Somalia.” — Agencies

EU looks at Scottish breakaway bid with intrigue BRUSSELS: When British Prime Minister David Cameron enters Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s lair this week, fellow EU leaders trying to prevent their own nations from splitting will look on with interest. Cameron is travelling to Edinburgh today in a bid to iron out the terms of a Scottish referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. The pro-independence Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, wants the vote to take place in 2014 although polls show that he still faces a battle to persuade a majority of voters to back the break with London. Analysts in Brussels say Scottish independence could trigger a fundamental redrawing of the relationship between Britain and the European Union-something that could have profound implications for countries such as Belgium, Spain and Italy which have their own powerful separatist movements. “Would the way the EU handles Scotland also apply if other states were to split, like Belgium or Spain?” asked Piotr Maciej Kaczynski of the Centre for European Policy Studies. “ The impact on other countries, especially Spain and Belgium, could

be enormous,” he said. Analysts predict that some member states could target a multi-billion-euro rebate Britain gets from the EU budget, as well as “opt-outs” from the troubled euro and the Schengen open borders agreement. These political analysts also tip rival European Union powers to seize on perceived weakness in London. “If you are angry with the current government of the UK, it might be a scenario you’d like,” Hans Martens, who heads the leading European Policy Centre in Brussels said. Kaczynski agreed

that there would “probably be some attempts by Continental politicians to convince the Scots to revoke the British opt-outs,” with the aim of weakening London’s position. Denmark is the only other EU state apart from the UK to enjoy an opt-out from the euro, but Martens-a Danesays the currency’s current travails may not last. “Right now, the boot may be on one foot in terms of the UK putting pressure on Scotland by suggesting it may have to move into the euro-zone,” he said. “But by the time independ-

LONDON: Britain’s Scottish Secretary Michael Moore speaks outside St Andrews House in Edinburgh, where he met Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond regarding the independence referendum. — AFP

ence came about, in another three or four years’ time, I think it will be sterling that is coming under pressure-and the positions could look quite different again.” Cameron’s policy on taking office in May 2010 was to rule out euro adoption for five years; Salmond, who secured a majority in the Scottish Parliament a year later, has doubled that to 10 years during the pair’s chess match over the constitution since the New Year. The head of the Catalan government in Barcelona has already cited Scotland in demanding fresh talks with Spain. But Salmond’s deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, told the New York Times in Brussels last week that Scottish independence “would not set any precedent in other parts of Europe” given a “particular set of circumstances in the United Kingdom.” She was referring to the 1707 treaty between England and Scotland, which eurosceptic Conservatives also see offering potential for London. If Salmond has his way, voters from age 16, whether native or immigrant, will cast their ballots in late 2014 — the 700th anniversary of the Scots’ famous victory over England in the Battle of Bannockburn. — AFP



Obama presses Xi to play by ‘rules’ WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama yesterday stressed to China’s likely next leader Xi Jinping that everyone must observe global economic “rules of the road” in a key introductory meeting at the White House. Obama tactfully referred to trade and currency tensions and human rights disputes between the two giant economies and said Washington intended to remain a key power in the Asia-Pacific region despite China’s rise. Stressing a desire for cooperation, Obama nevertheless said China’s “extraordinary development over the last two decades” brought expanding power and prosperity but also “increased responsibilities” for Beijing. “We want to work with China to make sure that everybody is working by the same rules of the road when it comes to the world economic system,” Obama said, as Xi sat by his side ahead of their Oval Office talks. “ That includes insuring that there is a balanced trading flow not only between the United States and China but around the world,” Obama said. The US leader also said that on critical issues like human rights, Washington would “continue to emphasize what we believe is the importance of realizing the aspirations and rights of all people.” Obama said Washington wanted

to manage tensions with China in a “constructive way” and wanted to tackle key issues like Iran, the North Korean nuclear challenge and global economic crises together. The meeting was part of the administration’s efforts to reach out to the 58-year-old vice president, who is on course to lead the growing power for the next decade. The United States has been pressing China on concerns including the value of its yuan currency and intellectual property rights. Human rights is always a sensitive Sino-US issue, and there is growing concern amid China’s clampdown on dissent and in Tibetan areas. Xi earlier met at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Chinese leader-in-waiting will also meet business leaders and tour Iowa and California on his week-long trip. Xi is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the White House since Obama launched a new US “pivot” toward Asia in November to counterbalance China’s increasing assertiveness in the region. Even as he welcomes Xi, Obama is quietly overhauling US economic policy toward Beijing, looking for new ways to extract results on issues such as market access and currency practices that have bedeviled him and his predeces-

sors. Like Obama, Xi will not want to come across as a pushover- in the face of US pressure on trade imbalances, human rights, the violence in Syria and other points of friction. He has to play to a powerful Communist Party apparatus and nationalist sentiment at

Washington to a farm in Iowa to Los Angeles as he looks to assuage Americans’ worries about China’s strength and intentions. He is a Communist Party “princeling”-the son of a revolutionary leader-but also fond of small-town America and Hollywood

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House yesterday. — AFP home. However, in the build-up to Xi’s visit, he and other Chinese officials have played down tensions, citing hopes for improved cooperation as long as Washington heeds Beijing’s concerns. Xi’s tour will take him from

war dramas. Obama’s aides see the visit yielding few, if any, formal agreements. Rather, they expect the leaders to size each other up. “In Asia, generally, but in China, certainly, relationships matter and high-

level relationships particularly matter,” Danny Russel, Obama’s top China adviser, told reporters. But Obama may also want to keep Xi somewhat at arm’s length. Many Americans blame China’s trade and currency policies for job losses in the US manufacturing sector that have hit important election battleground states such as Ohio especially hard. A full-page newspaper advertisement by the US Business and Industry Council-headlined “From China, with Love,” referring to Valentine’s Day holiday-urged Obama to “back up your tough words with tough action.” A US industry official, speaking on condition he not be identified, said he was pessimistic Xi’s visit would yield much progress on issues such as Chinese theft of US trade secrets or forced technology transfer. “Whether any outcomes on those issues really can be meaningful is an open question,” he said. At an Asia-Pacific summit in Honolulu in November, Obama demanded that China start behaving like a “grown up” economy. Obama has repeatedly insisted that China allow its currency to rise faster in value, saying it was being kept artificially low, helping its export-led economy, and aides made clear he would press the point with Xi. —Agencies

Obama’s government trims defense budget Congressional reaction mixed

TACOMA: A protester shouts to disrupt a speech by Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen Rick Santorum, during an evening outdoor rally at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Wash. — AP

US gives U-2 spy plane another lease on life WASHINGTON: The aging U-2 spy plane of Cold War fame has avoided retirement and will stay in the air until 2025, the Air Force said yesterday, because the costly drone due to replace it turned out to be less effective. As part of cost-saving measures announced by the Pentagon, officials concluded the U-2 jet-which dates back to the 1950s-provided better value than a version of the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, which had been scheduled to take the U-2’s place by 2015. Both aircraft fly at high altitude for surveillance flights over Afghanistan and elsewhere, retrieving pictures and eavesdropping. But the U-2’s sensors produce much higher quality imagery than the Global Hawk’s equipment, Air Force General Larry Spencer told reporters. Spencer said “it would be cost-prohibitive to try to get the Global Hawk as capable as the U-2.” In its budget request for fiscal year 2013, the Pentagon said it would cancel the purchase of 18 of the “Block 30” models of the Global Hawk and proposed “to extend U-2 operations until FY 2025.” “The Global Hawk Block 30

initially held a lot of promise. It was going to replace the U-2 and we thought we could do so at a cheaper price. It was no longer the case and it became too expensive,” Spencer said. Advocates of the Global Hawk had argued the drone could fly much longer missions than the piloted U-2 jets, which cannot stay in the air beyond about 12 hours. The long, sleek U-2 jets with narrow wings were designed to spot Soviet nuclear missiles and in 1960, the plane was at the center of an international crisis after American pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down as he flew a U-2 over Soviet territory. In 1962, it was a U-2 plane that took the famous photographs of Soviet weaponry that triggered the Cuban missile crisis. The U-2 has remained an important spy plane for the American fleet in the decades since, earning a new lease on life in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with commanders keen to use its high-resolution photographs and eavesdropping to track down insurgents and roadside bombs. — AFP

Virginia to scrap limit on handgun purchase PORTSMOUTH: The Virginia Senate has passed legislation to dump the state’s limit of one handgun purchase per month, set in 1993 to curb gun-smuggling operations, and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is poised to sign it into law. The measure is one of a host of pro-gun measures moving through the Republican-controlled legislature. The state Senate voted 21-19 to amend Virginia law to eliminate the monthly limit. The House of Delegates passed the measure in a 66-32 vote earlier this month. The governor’s spokesman Jeff Caldwell said McDonnell plans to sign the bill into law. The one-a-month limit on handgun purchases was enacted by former Democratic Governor Douglas Wilder at a time when Virginia had the reputation as a US state where gunrunners could arrange to purchase a volume of weapons to sell on the streets of cities

such as New York. Lawmakers who favor lifting the limit said doing so will bring Virginia into line with the majority of states. California, Maryland and New Jersey are the only others with such handgun purchasing limits, Republican Senator Charles Carrico Sr said during an earlier debate. Opponents of the repeal expressed concern about an increase in violence. One of the worst shootings in US history took place at Virginia Tech University, where 32 people were killed in April 2007 by a student. Another shooting there last year left a police officer dead. Other pro-gun measures the Virginia legislature is considering include removing localities’ rights to require fingerprints for concealed handgun permits and prohibiting clerks of the court from disclosing information contained in concealed handgun permit applications and permit-issuing orders. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The 2013 US defense budget that President Barack Obama sent to Congress on Monday includes funding for a shift in strategic focus to the AsiaPacific even as it slashes spending on weapons and personnel to reduce costs by $487 billion over the next decade. The president’s spending plan calls for a Pentagon base budget of $525.4 billion, about $5.1 billion, or 1 percent, less than approved in 2012. The cost of US wars abroad would fall 23 percent, to $88.5 billion from $115 billion, primarily due to the US withdrawal from Iraq and a drawdown in Afghanistan. The lower war costs assume US force levels in Afghanistan in 2013 will remain at 67,500, the number they are expected to reach this fall once the Pentagon withdraws the troops it sent to the war zone in 2010 to counter Taliban advances. Obama’s budget request for intelligence activities, both civilian and military, was $71.8 billion. Of that amount, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who oversees the CIA, National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies, requested $52.6 billion. The Pentagon’s budget begins to add flesh to the bones of its new defense strategy, which puts greater focus on the Asia-Pacific as the United States tries to hedge against China’s growing influence in the region. The Pentagon plans to spend at least $2.8 billion on new weapons needed as part of that shift, including $300 million toward a new long-range bomber. The Pentagon plans to spend $6.3 billion to develop the nuclear-capable aircraft over the next five years and eventually will purchase 80 to 100 of the planes. The budget invests in several other high-priority initiatives, including $10.4 billion on special operations forces, $3.4 billion on cyber capabilities, $9.7 billion on missile defense and $11.9 billion

on science and technology. “This budget plan represents a historic shift to the future, recognizing that we are at a strategic point after a decade of war,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. “The plan is aligned to strategic priorities we have identified to keep America safe and maintain the strongest military in the world.” ‘DIRECT HIT’ ON AEROSPACE The spending plan drew mixed reactions from business, lawmakers and analysts. Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, called it “a direct hit” on the industry. He said 350,000 civilian jobs could be lost unless Congress blocks new defense cuts due to take effect next year. Republican lawmakers said Obama’s budget failed to do anything to prevent the additional $600 billion in defense cuts. Senators John McCain and

national security by spending taxpayer dollars more wisely.” Andrew Krepinevich, head of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank, said the investments being made due to the US strategic shift would be “highly prized” given threat trends in the Western Pacific and Middle East. The requested cut in defense spending follows a decade of growing Pentagon budgets, driven by US wars abroad and rising personnel costs. With the country facing continuous budget deficits and a ballooning $15 trillion national debt, Congress and the president agreed in August to cut projected defense spending by $487 billion over the next decade. The defense budget slashes personnel costs by $6.7 billion as the military begins to cut its overall force size by about 100,000 troops over five years. The Army is

ANNANDALE: US President Barack Obama speaks to students about his 2013 budget at the Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia. — AFP Lindsey Graham, of the Senate Armed Ser vices Committee, urged Obama to “stop leading from behind” and work to stop the cuts. But Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, praised the process of building the budget around a strategy, saying it “enhances

to take the bulk of the reductions - about 72,000 soldiers. CUTTING FORCES, BUREAUCRACY The budget assumes an overall active duty force of 1.4 million troops, down about 21,000 from the current fiscal year. Military reserve force strength would be

387,000, down about 10,000. The Army is expected to shrink by eight combat brigade teams; the Marines are to eliminate six battalions and four tactical air squadrons; the Air Force is to cut six tactical air squadrons and the Navy to retire seven of its older cruisers. The Pentagon said force structure cuts would save about $50 billion over five years. Cutting the Pentagon bureaucracy would save about $60 billion over the same period. The budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins on Oct 1, slashes spending to develop and buy new weapons systems to $178.8 billion, a drop of 7.5 percent. It requests $9.17 billion for the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, down slightly from $9.25 billion requested in fiscal 2012. But it restructures the program to slow procurement, reducing spending by $15.1 billion over five years. The budget also would delay development of the Army ’s ground combat vehicle, saving $1.3 billion over five years, and reduce the Navy’s shipbuilding program, for savings of $13.1 billion. The spending plan terminates one version of the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance drone, a defense weather satellite system and the C-27A transport plane for total savings of $9.6 billion over five years. The budget would maintain basic pay raises for military personnel through 2014 but begin to slow them thereafter. It also proposes new or increased fees on healthcare for military retirees. Proposed spending on military pay and benefits would drop by $29 billion over five years, Pentagon documents show. The budget also asks Congress to begin two new rounds of base closures, one in 2013 and one in 2015, a proposal that has already drawn sharp criticism from lawmakers whose districts would be hurt. — Reuters

US militia set for war against govt Authorities seized weapons arsenal in raid DETROIT: Seven members of a Midwestern militia group accused of plotting to kill police were preparing for war against the US government, prosecutors told jurors Monday at the start of a federal trial in Detroit. Prosecutors laid out an array of weapons including assault rifles, military style helmets and bulletresistant vests seized in the investigation and played video and audio recordings for jurors in their opening statement. “David Stone Sr wanted a war,” Assistant US Attorney Christopher Graveline said of the group’s leader, who is on trial with three members of his family

and three others. In one video excerpt shown to jurors, Stone Sr could be seen saying, “ This war will come whether we are ready or not” and “We have to strike and take our nation back from tyranny.” Defense attorneys argued that the six men and one woman were part of a social club called the Hutaree who sought to defend themselves and did not view the government as an enemy. The group opposes government regulation of firearms and explosives. The defendants are accused of conspiring to kill a police officer and then ambush a funeral procession using home-

made explosive devices to spark a wider war against the US government. The charges against all seven include sedition, the attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and firearms offenses. Nine members of the group were indicted in 2010, one pleaded guilty and trial has been delayed for another suspect. Prosecutors contend the group had met regularly since 2008 to conduct military-style training and were preparing for an upcoming attack when authorities executed search warrants and swept them up in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Stone Sr ’s

attorney, William Swor, told jurors the group members were training to defend themselves and did not see the US government as an enemy, Swor described a government informant who had infiltrated the group as “more of a mercenary, a real flake.” “One thing is clear - no conspiracy. No plan. No action,” Swor said. The trial is being held in the same courthouse where a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was to be sentenced Thursday for trying to take down a US airliner with a bomb hidden in his underwear near Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. — Reuters



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Winds of change tempt home Myanmar exiles YANGON: Dramatic changes sweeping through Myanmar are luring back some of the country’s millions-strong diaspora to help rebuild their impoverished homeland, in a reversal of a decades-long brain drain. Aung Naing Oo had not set foot in the country formerly known as Burma for almost a quarter century since escaping through malaria-infested jungle into Thailand after the army brutally crushed student protests in 1988. Emboldened by a surprising series of reforms and an invitation by the new government for exiles to return, he was one of a group of academics who recently made the previously unthinkable journey home. He said after his arrival in Yangon that he hoped their return would herald “a new era” for exiles to join the peace-building process. “I also look at this trip as a personal reconciliation with my own country, my own whole life, trying to heal the wounds, the trauma that we have.” Richard Horsey, an independent Myanmar analyst, said the return of the Harvard-educated academics sent a signal to other exiles or economic migrants that they could go back, taking muchneeded skills with them.

“I think this is going to be really important because it is the capacity issue which is going to hold back the reforms,” he said, noting that a lack of expertise means economic reforms have so far trailed political

regime deeply suspicious of students, there has been little effort to build a skilled workforce. Repression and lack of opportunity has created a diaspora of several million peoplea significant proportion of the

YANGON: Myanmar academic Aung Naing Oo (center), who fled a brutal crackdown on student protests over two decades ago, is being greeted by relatives upon his return to his homeland at Yangon international airport. —AFP change. With an economy corrupted by cronyism and an education system weakened by chronic underinvestment and interference from a

roughly 60 million population. “You have this body of very welltrained young Myanmar people in Singapore, Malaysia, in Thailand and

in the West who have been trained to a high standard in different areas. What does it take to get them back?” Horsey said. A new militarybacked civilian government that took power last year has surprised observers with a series of conciliatory gestures to its opponents. Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is now running for parliament in April by-elections and hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, including key figures from the 1988 student movement. Aung Naing Oo, who has spent over half his lifetime campaigning for change from outside, described the recent reforms as “some kind of miracle”. At last able to set foot on Myanmar soil without fearing arrest, even if only for a short visit this time, he plans to hold talks with government figures, activists and the private sector. Some of his colleagues at the Vahu Development Institute (VDI) - a Thailand-based think-tank on development, economic reform and governance-are now moving back to Myanmar for good. The changes afoot have sparked hopes for an end to sanctions and the start of an economic revival after decades of isolation and mis-

management. Following a visit last month, the International Monetary Fund said Myanmar could become “the next economic frontier in Asia”, with its rich natural resources, young labour force and strategic position between India and China. But the challenge of turning potential into reality is significant for a nation with a chronic lack of infrastructure and economic imbalances including an informal exchange rate almost 100 times better than the official one. “We have a lot of challenges.... The problem is that even though there is some capacity within the government they lack exposure and they are stymied by the old bureaucratic culture,” said Aung Naing Oo. Meanwhile investors are clamoring for a toe-hold and firms are bracing themselves for stiff competition to hire skilled workers. “Experienced local workers will have many job opportunities,” said Win Aung, president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The government has sent some signals to the diaspora-ditching a 10 percent income tax for overseas workers and formalizing a remittance system. But there has yet to

be a comprehensive outreach effor t. In Singapore, where Myanmar students can receive a partial grant in exchange for an undertaking to work in the country for several years after graduation, there are glimmers of optimism about returning. Business management student San May Thu, 21, who said young expatriates avidly followed changes at home on Facebook and other websites, hoped they would go back to serve the country. “I think there is a great future for Burma,” she added. For the older generation it may be harder to return, with many married and permanently settled. There are also subtler questions of identity. Aung Naing Oo said he was not sure he would feel comfortable wearing the traditional longyi-a sort of sarong-after two decades in western clothes. Ahead of the trip he said he was preparing to confront a country made strange by a quarter century absence-but still home. “People have warned me already-as soon as you get out of the airport you find yourself in a strange world. You hear the voices that are so familiar and you realize you are Burmese to the core.”—AFP

bomber loses legs Three explosions rock Bangkok BANGKOK: An Iranian man was seriously wounded in Bangkok yesterday when a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew one of his legs off, police and government officials said, but they declined to speculate on whether he was involved with any militant group. Shortly before, there had been an explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of cen-

spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters. The three blasts came a day after bomb attacks targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia. Israel accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind those attacks. Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist group backed by Syria and Iran that is on the official US blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations.

were looking for two other men who had been living there and they later said they had apprehended one suspect at Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport. “We discovered the injured man’s passport. It’s an Iranian passport and he entered the country through Phuket and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport on the 8th of this month,” Police General

BANGKOK: A man lies on the ground with his legs blown off after an explosion in Bangkok yesterday. —AP tral Bangkok, and shortly afterwards, another blast on a nearby road. “The police have control of the situation. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house,” government

Iran denied involvement in the New Delhi and Tbilisi bombs. Thai police said they were working to make safe an unspecified amount of explosives found in the house, which did not appear to have been badly damaged. Police said they

Bansiri Prapapat told Reuters. TAXI A TARGET Police declined to make any link between yesterday’s incident and the arrest last month of a Lebanese man in Bangkok who, according to

the Thai authorities, had links to Hezbollah. The police discovered a large amount of explosive material in an area southwest of Bangkok at around the time of that arrest. The United States, Israel and other countries issued warnings, subsequently lifted, of possible terrorist attacks in areas frequented by foreigners. The Lebanese man has been charged with possession of explosive material and prosecutors said further charges could follow next week. Yesterday’s blasts in the sprawling Thai capital were not near the main area for embassies. A taxi driver told Thai television the suspect had thrown a bomb in front of his car when he refused to pick him up near the site of the first blast. He was wounded slightly. Government spokeswoman Thitima said police had then tried to move in and arrest the man but he attempted to throw another bomb at them. It went off before he was able to do so, blowing one of his legs off. A doctor at Chulalongkorn Hospital told reporters the other leg had had to be amputated. Another doctor was quoted on television as saying three Thai people had suffered minor injuries in the incident, in addition to the taxi driver. There have been no major attacks blamed on Islamist militants in Bangkok even though Muslim rebels are battling government security forces in Muslimdominated southern provinces of the Buddhist kingdom. In 1994, suspected Islamist militants tried to set off a large truck bomb outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok but they abandoned the bid and fled after the truck was involved in a minor traffic accident as it approached the mission. —Reuters

Questions swirl over Taleban peace talks WASHINGTON: The United States is engaging in intense exploratory talks with the Taleban in a bid to launch Afghan-led negotiations aimed at ending a decade-long war, but such negotiations face daunting hurdles. Questions swirl around a flurry of talks involving State Department special envoy Marc Grossman who wants the Taleban to set up an office in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar to serve as an open platform for negotiations. Analysts said that while the United States has made clear it intends to hand negotiations over to the Afghans and see the bulk of US and allied forces leave by 2014, Washington does not know Taleban intentions. Do the Taleban really want to negotiate with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, which they call a US puppet, and seek a political process? Or do they simply want the exit of all foreign troops from Afghanistan? “We may not be able to discern the answers for some time,” according to Bruce Riedel, a south Asia and Middle East expert with the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. Then there is the unanswered question, he said, of whether the Pakistani militarywhich he believes exerts “enormous control over the Taleban leadership”-is “interested in a real political process.” “I think in practice what this means is a very, very careful (US) approach with low expectations until we see whether we can answer these two questions,” said Riedel, a former CIA analyst and White House advisor. “As confidence-building measures, analysts said, the United States would

like to test Taleban intentions with “local ceasefires” while the Taleban wants Washington to release five prisoners from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay. With President Barack Obama facing reelection in November, his administration has said it has taken no such decision. “That’s a very sensitive domestic political issue in the United States in an election year,” Riedel said. Ashley Tellis, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it would be “dreadfully premature” for Washington to release prisoners until the Taleban make clear they are interested in a peace process. Such a deal, analysts said, would probably involve transferring such prisoners to house arrest in Qatar. Local ceasefires, Tellis said, can be reneged upon after the bulk of forces leave. On the positive side, Tellis said “the administration has confidence for the first time that they are actually speaking to the right people,” who are delegates of the Quetta Shura of Mullah Omar, the Taleban spiritual leader. Tellis said he believed the US intention is to strike a deal with the Taleban by the end of 2014. “But I don’t know of anyone outside the government who believes that such a deal is possible on that timeline,” he added. One reason such a timeline is too ambitious, he said, is that “there are fundamental questions about whether the Taleban will actually agree to the Afghan constitution,” which includes protections for women. Another is “the whole question of how exactly does one implement and operationalize the demand that the Taleban lay down

arms,” when so many factions will be involved, he said. The United States would also like the Taleban to break with Al-Qaeda, but enforcing any such “promise will be difficult,” Tellis said. There is an even greater obstacle for the Taleban, who have publicly called for the exit of all foreigners from Afghanistan and yet the United States wants to keep a residual force there for long after 2014, he said. Riedel said the United States wants to retain a base in Afghanistan to be able, if needed, to strike Al-Qaeda militants in safe havens in neighboring Pakistan. The problem with the 2014 combat troop withdrawal deadline, Tellis said, is “we’ve created all manner of incentives for the Taleban to engage either in spurious negotiations or in dragged out negotiations.” Despite the doubts surrounding Taleban intentions, Steve Coll, president of the New America Foundation, said “it’s certainly conceivable that a section of Taleban could be persuaded to enter politics.” He pointed out that some former Taleban already sit in the Afghan parliament, according to the text of interviews recorded by the Council on Foreign Relations. The Taleban, Coll said, could agree to power-sharing in the central government and approve of a devolved administration in which “former Taleban are governors of provinces where they’ve historically been influential.” Under such a devolved system, Riedel said, areas populated by Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras would also have different rules and regulations. —AFP

FUKUSHIMA: This file aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the town of Okuma in Fukushima prefecture. —AFP

Quake hits eastern Japan TOKYO: A powerful earthquake rocked eastern Japan yesterday, but no tsunami warning was issued and no damage was reported at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The US Geological Survey said the 6.0 magnitude quake, with an epicenter 10 kilometers deep, was centered 166 kilometers east-northeast of Tokyo, where correspondents said buildings swayed. Japan’s meteorological agency also located the quake off the coast of Ibaraki prefecture, south of the stricken plant. A very small change of tidal level was forecast but was not expected to cause any damage. Nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co ( TEPCO) said the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant remained stable.

Office buildings in Tokyo swayed for around a minute when the quake struck at 3.21pm, but there was no sign of panic in a city well accustomed to tremors. A 9.0magnitude earthquake in March 2011 triggered a monster tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people and crippled the cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, causing meltdowns in some of its reactors. Radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea around the plant, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. A number of powerful aftershocks have shaken the region since the March quake. Japan, located at the junction of four tectonic plates, experiences 20 percent of the strongest quakes recorded on Earth each year. —AFP

Bombing puts Iran, India trade to test NEW DELHI: India’s determination to pursue trade with Iran despite Western sanctions could be undermined as war y exporters back away from fresh deals following a bomb attack in New Delhi blamed on Tehran, a trade association chief said yesterday. India has struck a defiant tone over new financial sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union to punish Iran for its nuclear program, coming up with elaborate trade and barter arrangements to pay for oil supplies. However, the president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association, said Monday’s attack on the wife of an Israeli diplomat in the Indian capital will damage trade with Iran and may complicate efforts to resolve an impasse over Iranian defaults on payments for rice imports worth around $150 million. “The attack and its political fallout have clearly vitiated the atmosphere. Traders, who were already losing money due to payment defaults, will be extremely wary of continuing their trade with buyers in Iran,” Vijay Setia said. “After all, no one wants to lose money or block it for that matter. With mounting tension, the ECGC will altogether stop giving insurance cover to Indian exporters,” he said, referring to the state-run Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India that covers the risk of Indian exporters selling on credit. The head of a large New Delhi-based exporter said the ECGC is no longer covering consignments to Iran due to the risk and uncertainties involved. “Some traders are trying for the ECGC cover even at reasonably higher premiums,” said the executive, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. “But Monday’s incident has made everyone very suspicious.” ECGC officials were not immediately

available to comment. The Commerce Ministry, which is still planning to send a large business delegation to Iran this month to explore how to boost exports, declined to comment. Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind twin bomb attacks that targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday. Tehran has denied involvement in the attacks. India said yesterday it was still not sure who was behind the attack on the Israeli woman’s car by a motorbike rider who attached an explosive to the rear door and fled. It has been pointedly silent on Israel’s accusation that it was Tehran. “Sleeper cells of jihadi operatives could have been given the job by those behind the blast,” said Anil Bhatt, a retired Indian army colonel and independent defense analyst. The bombing took place in broad daylight some 500 meters from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence, prompting accusations that security is weak in Indian cities. Just last year, 11 people were killed by a bomb at New Delhi’s High Court. New Delhi has good relations with both Iran and Israel, and so the attack makes its diplomatic balancing act between the two countries all the more difficult, and has thrust the mounting tension between the Middle East rivals onto its doorstep. Israel is the second-largest supplier of arms to India. But India is Iran’s biggest oil buyer, relying on it for about 12 percent of its needs, and it is Tehran’s top supplier of rice. On the diplomatic front, India sees Iran as an important partner to protect its regional interests when US troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan. “Such security situations on our soil could complicate India’s relations with Iran,” said India’s former foreign secretary, Kanwal Sibal. —Reuters



Seagulls fly overhead as fishermen pull in their nets in the Gulf of Oman off the Al-Fujairah coast yesterday. Fishing is an important source of local food and employment in United Arab Emirates. — AFP

Iran boats shadow US aircraft carrier ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Iranian patrol boats and aircraft shadowed a US aircraft carrier strike group as it transited the Strait of Hormuz yesterday. The passage ended a Gulf mission that displayed Western naval power amid heightened tensions with Tehran, which has threatened to choke off vital oil shipping lanes. But officers onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln said there were no incidents with Iranian forces and described the surveillance as routine measures by Tehran near the strategic strait, which is jointly controlled by Iran and Oman. Although US warships have passed through the strait for decades, the trip comes during an escalating showdown between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. The last time an American carrier left the Gulf - the USS John C Stennis in late December - Iran’s army chief warned the US it should never return. The Lincoln was the centerpiece of a flotilla that entered the Gulf last month along with British and French warships in a display of Western unity against Iranian threats. There was no immediate comment by Iran about the Lincoln’s departure.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said it plans its own naval exercises near the strait, the route for a fifth of the world’s oil supply. But Iran’s military has made no attempts to disrupt oil tanker traffic - which the US and allies have said would bring a swift response. Two American warships, one in front and one in the rear, escorted the Abraham Lincoln on its midday journey through the strait and into the Arabian Sea after nearly three weeks in the Gulf, which is frequently visited by US warships and includes the headquarters of the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain. The strait is only about 50 km across at its narrowest point. On one side, the barren, fjord-like mountains of Oman were visible through the haze. Iran’s coast was just beyond the horizon on the other side of the ship, but too far away to be seen. Gunners in red jerseys manned the 50-caliber machine guns as the ships moved out of the Gulf. An Iranian patrol boat pulled nearby. Later, just after the Lincoln rounded the “knuckle” - the nub of Oman jutting out at the southern end of the strait - an Iranian patrol plane buzzed overhead. Another patrol boat was waiting further down the coast, said Rear Adm Troy

New Cabinet sworn in, opposition... Continued from Page 1 Among the 10 new faces is the Minister of Awqaf and Justice Jamal Al-Shehab, who served as a minister in one of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s cabinets. Also among the new faces is Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Ahmad Al-Rujaib, a former undersecretary of the interior ministry, who was criticized by opposition MPs for his well-known positions against the opposition. The Cabinet does not include Islamists who scored a resounding victory in the Feb 2 general elections by winning around 23 seats in the 50-member Assembly. Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali, Communications Minister Salem Al-Othaina and Minister of Public Works Fadhel Safar kept their jobs. Opposition MPs said they were disappointed with the lineup which maintained the old style and the socalled quota system. “The government lineup is disappointing because it contains ministers who cause crises and some have racist sentiments,” independent opposition MP Mubarak Al-Waalan said in a statement. “I expect collisions to take place soon and that the lifespan of this government will be short,” he said. “The cabinet lineup failed to reflect the aspirations of the Kuwaiti people (expressed in the elections). But we will give an opportunity although we are not optimistic,” newlyelected Islamist MP Osama Al-Munawer said. Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said the government looks like a caretaker Cabinet that is not likely to last long. Mohammad Al-Dallal, another new Islamist MP, said the government’s survival depends on a number of factors, mainly its position toward the illegal deposits and foreign transfers scandals, fighting corruption and implementing the development plan. Liberal opposition MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari said that parliamentary democracy is inevitable for Kuwait and those who think differently are mistaken. Islamist opposition MP Abdullatif Al-Ameeri called for giving the new Cabinet sufficient time to perform before taking it to

account. Pro-government MP and former minister Ali AlRashed described the Cabinet as a “government of technocrats” and called for giving it enough time to function. He however criticized the exclusion of women from the Cabinet. It was the first time since women gained their political rights in 2005 that a Kuwaiti Cabinet does not have a female member. Former women MPs strongly lashed out at the government. Former MP Rola Dashti described the exclusion of females as an “insult to women” while another former MP Salwa Al-Jassar said it gives a wrong and dangerous signal. Dashti and Jassar along with Aseel AlAwadhi and Maasoum Al-Mubarak lost their parliamentary seats in the election which means that neither the Assembly nor the government have women members. Although the opposition refused to take part in the Cabinet after its demands were rejected, MP Shuaib AlMuwaizri, who was with the opposition, independently accepted to become the state minister for housing and National Assembly affairs and the only elected MP in the Cabinet. The new ministers and newly-elected MPs will take the oath to become members in the National Assembly today when HH the Amir is scheduled to inaugurate the new parliament. The new Assembly is expected to kick start its business with a major battle for the speaker’s post between Saadoun, who is backed by more than 30 opposition MPs, and Sager, who is expected to be backed by government, pro-government and Shiite lawmakers. If Sager does not manage to secure the support of a few opposition MPs, he will not be able to win even if the whole Cabinet votes for him. As many as 35 MPs have publicly said they will vote for Saadoun, who previously was speaker on three occasions - 1985, 1992 and 1996. The Assembly will also elect the deputy speaker. The speaker and deputy speaker serve the full four-year term of the Assembly. MPs will also elect the secretary of the Assembly and its supervisor for which opposition MPs are contesting. It will later elect permanent and temporary panels that will last for the current term which is expected to end in June.

We’re No. 1 Continued from Page 1 Reader Behavior Scores, it adds, are a considerably stronger indicator of the popularity of a newspaper. Kuwait Times leads in both the amount of time spent reading the newspaper and the frequency of reading. The survey endeavors to provide “common currency” for advertising transactions in the market and to provide information on matching markets with the media by allowing for a more detailed analysis of demographics. The report noted that the NRS statistics are of particular significance to advertising campaigns looking to maximize returns on investment. In terms of advertising, the front page was, unsurprisingly, found to be the most attractive

location, followed by the last page. Rima Termos, Managing Director of Traccs PR Kuwait, said of the report: “It definitely has an influence on our decision when we are looking over which newspapers to contact.” She added: “When our clients ask about the best way with the most impact to reach English speakers in Kuwait, we always recommend Kuwait Times. If we want to make an impact with a campaign targeted at that sector of the market, we always think of Kuwait Times first.” Rima noted that Ipsos’ study adds further weight and support to the recommendations Traccs makes to their customers, “The publication of such research helps to support our recommendations to clients, because it’s tangible proof that highlights why we recommend the paper time and again.”

Shoemaker, commander of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Force. Besides Iran’s regular patrol boats, the Revolutionary Guard operates a large number of small, fast-attack boats. Some are armed with only a machine gun, while others also carry anti-ship missiles. They can be difficult to spot because they resemble the swift-moving smuggling boats that ply the strait. Shoemaker said none of those fast boats appeared yesterday, likely deterred by the rough seas. He predicted before the transit that the Iranians would likely keep a close eye on the Lincoln throughout its passage, including with ground-based radars. He wasn’t surprised by the attention from Iranian forces. “We would do the same things off the coast of the United States ... It’s more than reasonable. We’re operating in their backyard,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for years.” Several US choppers flanked the carrier group throughout the transit, watching out for potentially hostile vessels and relaying real-time pictures back to the Lincoln’s crew. Dozens of F/A-18 strike fighters and other planes in Lincoln’s embarked air wing sat parked silently on deck throughout the trip. Today was a no-fly day for

their crews, though some fighters were prepped and armed, ready to launch in as little as 15 minutes should things go wrong. Officers on board were eager to describe the transit, in which the Lincoln was accompanied by the cruiser USS Cape St George and destroyer USS Sterett, as a routine maneuver despite the growing speculation that Israel could launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The US and allies fear Iran’s uranium enrichment program could eventually lead to the production of weapons-grade nuclear material. Iran claims it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research. “I wouldn’t characterize ... us going through the strait as: ‘Hey, this is a huge show of force, we’re coming through.’ It’s an international strait to transit. We’re going from one body of water to the other,” said Capt John Alexander, the Lincoln’s commanding officer, as preparations for the trip got under way late Monday. The Lincoln is expected to provide air support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan starting tomorrow. Navy brass in the Gulf say another American carrier is due back through the strait soon, but gave no firm timetables. — AP

Bahrain Shiites mark uprising Continued from Page 1 Shiite protests have intensified before the anniversary of the uprising, when mainly Shiite protesters occupied Pearl Roundabout for a month before security forces aided by Saudi troops broke up the movement that was inspired by revolts in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world. No deaths or injuries were reported. At least 35 people, including security personnel, died during the protests last year. The growing anger among Shiites, who complain that they are treated as second-class citizens, shut out of many state jobs and given limited access to good housing, is a complicated challenge for a Sunni ruling family in power for over 200 years. Bahrain escaped severe international censure for crushing last year’s revolt. The Gulf island monarchy is a Western ally, hosting the US Fifth Fleet to counter Shiite Iran across the Gulf. Yet the United States suspended a $53 million arms deal until it sees “more progress” by the government on reforms. The closely guarded roundabout, with a now-demolished giant concrete edifice featuring a pearl, was renamed Al-Farouq Junction, but is still closed to traffic. Security was beefed up in recent days as opposition activists sought to reclaim the symbolically rich space. On the eve of the anniversary, hundreds of protesters broke away from an authorised opposition party rally to march down the main highway into Manama, heading for the roundabout, before police stopped them with tear gas and rubber bullet pellets. Street battles ensued with youths throwing petrol bombs, rocks and iron bars. They chanted in favour of Hassan Mushaimaa, a jailed Shiite leader who called for a republic last year. The junction remains enclosed by barbed wire on most sides and security guards have set up an encampment nearby. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in a televised speech on Monday, told Bahrainis he remained committed to reforms launched a decade ago, a process the opposition dismisses as cosmetic. “(This) marked the launch of a development and modernization process, which is still moving forward to meet the aspirations of our loyal people in all areas,” said the king. He said he had pardoned 291 prisoners, but they did not include those arrested during last year’s revolt. The opposition demand the release of 14 leading figures who were jailed by a military court for allegedly trying to stage a coup. Young men justified this week’s disturbances by saying they were in constant conflict with police who treat them harshly. “This is just one way of expressing our protest,” said one, who declined to give his name out of concern for his safety. He said they were ignoring calls by Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the leading Shiite opposition party Wefaq, not to throw petrol bombs. Analysts say Wefaq, which supports the monarchy, fears losing support to more radical figures such as Mushaimaa. “We respect the opposition but everyone has to choose their own path. Ali Salman doesn’t really know the situation we live in,” the young dissident said. Protesters marched from Sanabis, Deih and Jidhafs, which lie few kilometers west of Manama, despite police

warning that protests would be dispersed, witnesses said. “Down with (King) Hamad!” they chanted. The Coalition of the Youth of February 14th Revolution, a hardline group that operates apart from the political opposition led by Al-Wefaq, declared yesterday the day to return to the square that was razed after the mid-March crackdown. “All of us are returning” to the square, read a call for protest posted on its Facebook page, designating 6:40 am (0340 GMT) as the starting time. The coalition posted footage of youth dressed in white Islamic death shrouds running through some alleys claiming they were heading to the square that is heavily protected by security forces. It also posted a picture of women dressed in traditional black abayas standing close to the square flashing the victory sign. Feb 14 is not only the anniversary of the uprising but also of a 2001 referendum on a national reform charter King Hamad introduced to end a revolt that sputtered through the 1990s. Opposition parties say the constitution promulgated a year later was a disappointment because it neutralised the powers of an elected assembly with an upper house of royal appointees. Wefaq and other opposition parties, including the secular Waad led by jailed Sunni politician Ibrahim Sharif, want constitutional changes that would give the elected chamber of parliament the authority to form governments. After last year’s unrest, the government granted parliament extra powers of scrutiny over ministers and budgets, but has not budged on the more far-reaching opposition demands. Bahraini authorities have hired US and British police chiefs to help reform policing after revelations about torture and deaths of detainees during last year’s crackdown. One of them, former Miami police chief John Timoney, told Reuters this week the interior ministry was serious about reform and would hire Shiites in a new recruitment and training drive, but he said youth violence was posing obstacles. Opposition parties and youths say they have noticed no improvement in police behaviour and accuse police of using harsh tactics for political reasons: to suppress dissent in Shiite villages that could produce a critical mass of protesters again. Despite the government’s professed reform efforts, it has not been enough to convince US lawmakers to unfreeze a planned $53 million arms sale to Bahrain. Bahrain says it needs the hardware, including armoured Humvee vehicles and missiles, to defend itself from nonArab Shiite giant Iran, which it accuses of fomenting the revolt to turn Bahrain into an Islamic republic. Iran denies this. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday that the United States would not go ahead with the deal until Bahrain made more headway in implementing reforms. She called for more progress, including reinstatement of Bahraini workers unfairly dismissed from their jobs and resolution of court cases related to political expression. “More remains to be done on that. Assistance is still on pause ... We’re not going to go forward until we see more progress,” Nuland told reporters. The State Department last month authorised the despatch of $1 million of equipment to Bahrain to support US operations in the region, including the Fifth Fleet. — Agencies





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The Arab Spring as Robin Hood By David Rosenberg he turmoil of the past year has robbed many of the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA’s) poorest countries of vital economic growth while enriching the wealthy countries of the Gulf oil patch. But could the Arab Spring ultimately turn out to be a Robin Hood in disguise? At least two economists - Said Hirsh and William Jackson of London-based Capital Economics - think that in the long run the upheavals of the last year could end up helping countries like Egypt, whose economy has reeled in the face on political unrest and uncertainty. Meanwhile, the Gulf oil exporters are risking their longterm growth with the handouts they have bestowed on the populations from the profits from triple-digit petroleum prices, the two contend. In a note to investors, “The ‘Arab Spring’ One Year On,” Hirsh and Jackson acknowledged the difficulties the resource-poor countries of the MENA region are now in. In Egypt, for instance, foreign reserves have plunged by more than half to $16.4 billion in the past year and it faces a balance of payments crisis. Politics prevents from the government from acting decisively in seeking support from the International Monetary Fund and is now endangering $1.3 billion or more of US foreign aid as its government pursues a controversial investigation of foreign human rights activists. The political chaos of the Arab Spring holds out the promise of more democratic and accountable governments that will crack down on corruption, tame bureaucracy and improve the business environment, Hirsh and Jackson said. Because of their low starting point, the economies of the poorest countries stand the best chance of leveraging economic growth by improvements in education, health and infrastructure, they said. Per capita income in Egypt was $6,500 last year while in Morocco it was $5,100 and in Jordan $5,900. By comparison, Saudi Arabia has a GDP per capita of $24,000 and the United Arab Emirates $48,500. “Egypt and Morocco are the ones with most promise,” Hirsh told The Media Line. “In Egypt, because of its size and the place where it is starting from, the potential for even small reforms could speed up economic growth in coming years. Morocco has already taken steps forward in terms of reforming its political situation and is heading in the right direction.” In the Gulf, massive fiscal stimulus programs led by Saudi Arabia, which last year budgeted $130 billion, have helped boost short-term growth. In December, Saudi authorities estimated that 2012 budget expenditure would grow to the equivalent of $184 billion this year, and probably more as the kingdom traditionally spends more in practice than it officially budgets. Spending like that, which has gone to things such as pay raises for civil servants, subsidized housing and public sector hiring, boosted Saudi Arabia’s real gross domestic product 6.8 percent in 2011, the fastest pace in eight years. But it also means oil producers are more vulnerable to a downturn in oil prices that could saddle them with fiscal deficits. On average, Gulf governments need oil to be trading at $80 a barrel to avoid sinking into a deficit, up from an average of $50 a barrel in the previous three years. With the price for benchmark Brent crude pushing past $118 last week, its highest close since late July, the Gulf oil exporters have no immediate fiscal worries, but Hirsh and Jackson said they are vulnerable to a “prolonged period of low oil prices.” Worse still, the largesse is undermining programs by Gulf governments to coax more of their citizens into the work force and create a competitive and dynamic private sector, Capital Economics said. Looking at the potential economic growth rates of MENA countries over the next two decades, Egypt comes out on top with a rate of nearly 8 percent annually, followed by Syria and Morocco, according to Capital Economics. Among Gulf oil producers, Saudi Arabia has the potential for growth of more than 6 percent annually, but most of its fellow Gulf economies fall at the bottom of the regional rankings. In Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt - the three MENA countries that have held elections in the last several months - Islamic parties have come to power, arousing concerns among many inside those countries and in the West that they will not only roll back the democratic gains of the Arab Spring but discourage tourism and impose policies that deter economic growth. But the Capital Economics analysts said they remain optimistic about the new, more Islamic Middle East, citing Saudi Arabia’s long history of conservative Islam and free market economics sitting side by side. “Secular governments have largely failed in the Middle East,” Hirsh said. “Within Islam there is nothing that is anti-free market. — Media Line


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.

Football fans on frontline of revolution By Joseph Mayton printing down a side street in downtown Cairo, the group of young men are outrun by a hissing tear gas canister careening through the air, slamming into the ground beside them. They quickly raise their arms to their mouths in a futile attempt to avoid inhaling the gas. But one of the group turns in the direction of his pursuers, staring at them defiantly as he breathes in the gas as a show of strength. In case anyone is wondering who the courageous young man is and whom he represents, look no further than the red, black and white flag of Al-Ahly waving to and fro amid the tumult and white clouds. Al-Ahly is not a political or religious movement, but the legendary Cairo football team. And the man who is defying the security forces is an “Ultra”, a hardcore fan of the team. Like thousands of other Ultras, he has been putting forth his street smarts and penchant for confrontation with the police to join opposition activists in their fight against the generals ruling Egypt. The Ultras and their role in the revolution came to the world’s attention earlier this month when two groups of them clashed at a Por t Said football match between the visiting Al-Ahly team and the local squad, Al-Masry. At least 75 people were killed in the violence as security forces stood by, fueling a new round of protests against the interim military government. Sitting and recovering from the sprint down the street, dodging birdshot and rubber bullets, a group of three teenagers sits off to the side. They dab their eyes with a vinegar mixture and peer slowly back down


the street. Mahmoud is the eldest of the three and the leader. He holds an Al-Ahly flag in his left hand. The determination in eyes belies the reality of the clashes. The 17-year-old points to his leg, lifting up his pants to reveal wounds suffered in the past few days of clashes. “ They shot me five times,” he told The Media Line as he waited for his friends - also Ultras - to recover before heading back down the street. “We are here because our friends were killed and the police and military are responsible.” In many ways, the Ultras have become the face of the most recent round of clashes with police that erupted following the soccer riot amid accusations that the government did little to discourage the violence or perhaps even encouraged it as a means of justifying continue military rule. The Ultras’ flags and the fireworks they like to set off when they protest have become a common sight in downtown Cairo. On the walls of Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Mansour Street - the flashpoint of the recent battles between protesters and police - are graffiti memorializing the “martyrs” killed in Port Said. Last Thursday, tens of thousands of Ultras arrived in Cairo to protest. The police were ready and waiting. They fired barrage upon barrage of tear gas canisters at the protesters, who in return threw rocks at the shielded and masked police. The clashes that followed in subsequent days have left Cairo in yet more chaos, with at least 13 people dead in the capital and Suez to the east. Leading the protests have been the Ultras, football fans angered at the violence at the Port Said match. This isn’t the first time these football fans have taken to the

streets. In fact, their presence in downtown Cairo has become common; their arrival marking an upsurge in confidence and determination among protesters. Ahmed, a 41-year-old handyman from Aswan, arrived in Cairo on Thursday in the late afternoon to join the protests. “I get a lot of strength by seeing the young people determined to change this country for the better,” he told The Media Line during one of the truces on Mansour Street. Once devoted wholly to football and street fighting, the Ultras have become politicized since the uprising to oust President Hosni Mubarak began last year. They were a major presence downtown during the six days of street battles in November. Their fireworks have become a mark of their will and strength. The rattle of rocks on metal pipes signals their readiness to battle. The Ultras’ motto is: “All Cops Are Bastards.” In December, their strength became apparent after one of their fellow members was brutally beaten as the military cleared out a peaceful sit-in at the cabinet building in downtown Cairo. The Ultras responded with force, taking to the streets and throwing rocks, which turned into three days of bloody clashes that left at least 17 people dead. The Ultras of Al-Ahly were founded in the late 1990s by a group of hardcore football fans who traveled around the country following their beloved club to matches. They were known for their virulent chants, feuds with other teams in the stadiums; and clashes with police. Historically, they confined their activity to sports stadiums. That is, until January 25, 2011, when Egypt exploded in protest against Mubarak.

They led the vigilante groups that guarded the entrances to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak protests. When Mubarak backers attacked the rally on camels a year ago in the so-called Battle of the Camel, it was the Ultras who fought back. As time went on, the Ultras became an integral part of the protest movement, taking the lead in many of the marches and showing their fearlessness in the face of violence. Their political power, while ostensibly outside the mainstream of opposition movements, is unmatched by any group in the country. When the Ultras take to the street, the police are fearful. One of their downtown Cairo leaders, a man named Gamal, led chants during the latest round of clashes, urging fellow protesters to remain strong and not back down in the face of police violence. He was at the Port Said match, he told The Media Line, and says the people he has spoken with are as angry as ever. “We have been at the front of these protests for the last few battles with the police. Football is not political, but when the police allow - even push - for fans to attack others, we can no longer sit back and permit this to happen to Egypt,” he says. “I want to go to a match and have fun. We are not a violent people, but the police and military want violence and we will protest for them to leave,” he says, resting on the sidewalk as he recovers from teargas. There was no let-up for Gamal and his followers. When the Ultras come out, he says, “We should be noticed for our power and strength. It’s others who want us to stop protesting, but what does that serve?” —Media Line

Has Monti made Italy’s politicians irrelevant? By Barry Moody he remarkable success of Prime Minister Mario Monti, feted as a hero both at home and abroad, has created turmoil among Italy ’s discredited politicians and is likely to provoke radical shifts in the political landscape over the coming year. Some analysts say the impact of Monti will spark a political revolution comparable to the “Clean Hands” corruption probe whose 20th anniversary is this week. That scandal swept away the old order, sending hundreds of politicians to jail and forcing Bettino Craxi, the dominant figure of his era, into exile in Tunisia where he died. “ The whole Italian system is in transition, linked to Monti’s success and the European environment...there is a crisis in the parties,” said a senior centre-left politician who asked not to be named. “It is not possible for the existing parties to get back into power, that is why they are worried,” said a senior official in Monti’s government. “I don’t expect any old (political) vehicle to be a vehicle in the future.” When Monti was appointed to head a technocrat government in November, with Italy on the brink of an economic catastrophe that would likely have killed the euro, there were predictions the politicians would only give him a few months to calm markets before forcing an early election. Rightist politicians talked of “pulling out the plug”. That talk is history. Scarcely anybody now believes there will be elections before scheduled in spring 2013, including Monti’s discredited predecessor Silvio Berlusconi, whose scandal-plagued final months had destroyed confidence on the markets. Politicians are scrambling to form new groups and find a figure who could credibly replace Monti, with his Industry Minister Corrado Passera, former head of bank Intesa Sanpaolo, being widely mentioned. The centrist UDC party and others have even suggested Monti himself should carry on to mend the economy after 2013 despite his vow to step down. There are wide predictions however, that he will become head of state when President Giorgio Napolitano-architect of the technocrat government-steps down next year. Italy’s borrowing costs, which rose to untenable levels under Berlusconi, have receded since Monti took over from a red line of above 7 percent to 5.5 percent. Nobody suggests Italy is in the clear, facing a huge debt, sharp recession and stagnant growth. Moody’s followed other


ratings agencies in downgrading the countr y on Monday. But on the markets, where image and psychology are so important, the contrast between the sober, professorial Monti and the flamboyant Berlusconi could not be more stark. Time magazine’s latest European edition, on the stands as Monti was greeted warmly by US President Barack Obama in Washington, put the prime minister on the front with the headline: “Can this man save Europe?” Just three months before Time fronted Berlusconi with the title: “The man behind the world’s most dangerous economy.” Despite pouring bitter austerity medicine down the throats of Italians in a swift raft of policies, Monti, welcomed as a new type of effective, fair and no-nonsense leader, remains popular at home with a rating of around 60 percent. Politicians, bankers and officials say Monti’s intellectual prestige as a former European Commissioner has put Rome back on the euro zone top table with Germany and France where he is able to protect Italy’s interests in a way Berlusconi could not. “Monti is at the same level as (Chancellor Angela) M erkel and (President Francois) Sarkozy. Berlusconi was 27th in Europe,” said the centre-left official. From this position, Monti who Italians believe knows more about both Europe and economics than his counterpar ts - has pushed back against Germany’s rigid drive for debt reduction, advocating more attention to growth and flexibility. All this creates a big problem for the old political order, which was already despised by much of the population and dismissed as a self-serving “caste” before Monti took power. One pollster puts their general approval rating at 12

percent, with a wave of recent corruption scandals aggravating the contempt. Monti is an act they cannot follow without dramatic changes. “Italians will not put up with business as usual. The combination of incompetence and corruption has discredited the whole political class,” said Professor James Walston of the American University in Rome. “I believe that after Monti everything will be different,” said a politician close to Berlusconi. To meet this crisis in time for next year’s election, the divided politicians on both right and left are in tumult, manoeuvring to present a new face to electors. Sources close to Berlusconi say he would like to form a broad centrist alliance incorporating groups from his own PDL party - widely expected to splinter - centrists and the centre -lef t Democratic Party whose right wing is said to be uncomfortable with the left - heirs of the former communists. “After Monti the parties must present new faces and perhaps new organisations to relegitimise politics which today is delegitimised and which could be further delegitimised by the success of Monti,” said the politician close to Berlusconi. The election of mayors from outside the major parties in Milan and Naples and other local political developments are all seen as signs of momentum towards major changes. Some politicians suggest other ministers in Monti’s government apar t from Passera could emerge next year as prime ministerial candidates. Despite the euphoria about Monti, however, an entirely new political order, rather than a reworking of the existing one with new faces and alliances looks unlikely. “I don’t see the politicians saying we really have to unite to save the country, I see them saying okay now it is time to divide up the pie,” said Professor Erik Jones of Bologna’s Johns Hopkins university, adding that it was too difficult and expensive to build a completely new political formation. — Reuters


sp orts Grozdeva to boycott Games SOFIA: Double Olympic shooting champion Maria Grozdeva has threatened to boycott the London Olympics if there is no change at the helm of the Bulgarian shooting federation. Grozdeva, who won golds in the women’s 25m pistol at the Games in 2000 and 2004, reacted angrily after her shooting club Levski Sopharma were expelled from the federation for not participating in domestic competitions. The 39-year-old Bulgarian, who also won Olympic bronze medals in the 10m air pistol in 1992, 1996 and 2004, said she did not take part in the national tournaments because she was competing abroad at the same time. “It’s ridiculous,” Grozdeva, preparing for her sixth Olympics, told bTV on Tuesday. “He (federation chief Kamen Shishmanov) should resign or I’ll not compete at the Olympics. “Yes, it’s an ultimatum,” added Grozdeva, who was named Bulgaria’s athlete of the year in 2004. “Let’s see who is more important.”—Reuters

Hawkeye gets European OK LONDON: The Hawkeye ball tracking system will be in place at the Champions League Final Four in Poland next month, the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) said on Monday, paving the way for its possible introduction at the London Olympic Games. “The Hawkeye system will be used for the very first time in an international competition as even (world’s governing body) FIVB never used it,” CEV’s press officer Federico Ferraro said. “We’ll see what kind of reactions we’ll receive after the Final Four tournament and then we’ll have to see what the FIVB think about it.” While there have been calls for the system to be used at Olympic volleyball events, it is a decision which can only

Puma launches black and lime Powercat 1.12 Football Boot GERMANY: PUMA, the global Sportslifestyle brand, has launched the black and lime colourway of the PowerCat 1.12, a performance boot featuring the most advanced PUMA technologies. The Black and Lime PowerCat 1.12 will be worn by PUMA stars including Cesc Fabregas, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Nigel de Jong. Designed for power players, the boot is a perfect combination of engineering and comfort, giving players the confidence to per form on pitch. The PowerCat 1.12 features the new PUMA 3D DUO Power Shooting Technology, applied to the kicking area on the inside of the boot. Made from an innovative thermoplastic material with two different degrees of hardness, the newly created PUMA 3D PST DUO technology enables improved grip on the ball through its exposed elements, and instead of absorbing the energy it increases the kicking power of the player. The kicking area employs a soft K-Leather while the lightweight microfiber material in the lateral quarter supports the midfoot and helps to keep the weight of the boot to a minimum. The PUMA PowerLast, an evolution of the PUMA AptoLast, follows the foot’s natural contours, providing a glove like fit allowing the upper to mould to players fit. Coupled with the stable yet flexible outsole, the PowerCat 1.12 gives the best possible comfort. Optimal support, stability and protection are provided by the asymmetrical external TPU-injected heel counter. For more information, please visit or

be taken by the FIVB. “We (CEV) do not have any influence on the procedures developed for the Olympics,” Ferraro said. The system in Poland will allow team captains the possibility to challenge the decisions of the referees twice per set using ball-tracking TV replays. The Polish volleyball league has successfully used the system in domestic competitions on several occasions since 2010 with the majority of players and coaches saying it is the best way to avoid controversies. “I am really positively impressed by the system,” said CEV’s President of the European Cups Commission Riet Ooms after visiting Atlas Arena in Lodz, where the Final Four will take place on March 17-18. —Reuters

England gunning for Pakistan revenge — Patel ABU DHABI: England all-rounder Samit Patel warned yesterday that his side were gunning for revenge in the one-day series against Pakistan after the 3-0 Test whitewash. England rebounded from their humiliating Test showing with a comprehensive 130-run victory in the first daynight international here on Monday. “We’re looking to absolutely nail this series, to beat them 4-0, whitewash them-obviously a bit of payback for the Test series. It would be a great achievement. That would be fantastic. We’ve got to aim high,” said Patel. England rode on a brilliant skipper’s knock of 137 by Alastair Cook-his best in one-day internationals-and Ravi Bopara’s 50 to cruise to 260-7 in their 50 overs. Patel gave the finishing touches with a brisk 17 not out. Paceman Steven Finn then rocked Pakistan with a burst of 4-34, his career best, before Patel took 3-26 with his leftarm spin to bowl their rivals out for a mere 130. “I wouldn’t say it’s relief,” the 27-yearold Patel said of the victory. —Reuters

Sharks get past Capitals WASHINGTON: Joe Pavelski had two goals and two assists against a goalie playing in the NHL for the first time in nearly a year, leading the Sharks past the Capitals 5-3 Monday, San Jose’s 16th victor y in its last 17 games against Washington. Patrick Marleau added two goals, and Brent Burns also scored on Braden Holtby, who was brought up from Hershey of the American Hockey League earlier Monday to make a surprise start for Washington. Joe Thornton collected three assists for the Pacific Division-leading Sharks, and Thomas Greiss made 39 saves. Hurricanes 5, Canadiens 3 At Montreal, Jaroslav Spacek scored in his return to Montreal as Carolina snapped the Canadiens’ four-game winning streak. It was the first time that Kirk Muller - who played in Montreal for four seasons and was an assistant coach there for five - coached against the Canadiens. Captain Eric Staal scored twice for the for the Hurricanes, while Jiri Tlusty and Jamie McBain also scored. Tomas Plekanec, Erik Cole and David Desharnais replied for Montreal. Cam Ward stopped 29 shots for his 21st win of the season. Carey Price stopped 30 shots for the Canadiens. Canucks 2, Coyotes 1 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Ryan Kesler scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout, leading the Canucks to a win over Phoenix. Cody Hodson, Alex Edler and David Booth also scored in the shootout for the Canucks. Booth gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. Ray Whitney, Gilbert Brule and Mikkel Boedker scored in the shootout for Phoenix. The Canucks halted Phoenix’s season-high five-game win streak to improve to 7-0-3 in their last 10 games. Keith Yandle forced overtime for the Coyotes with 2:06 remaining. Roberto Luongo made 23 saves while LaBarbera stopped 21 for Phoenix.—AP

VANCOUVER: Lauri Korpikoski No. 28 of the Phoenix Coyotes tries to get around Dan Hamhuis No. 2 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in NHL action.—AFP

NHL results/standings San Jose 5, Washington 3; Carolina 5, Montreal 3; Vancouver 2, Phoenix 1 (SO). (SO denotes shootout)

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

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 36 13 5 153 32 19 5 175 31 18 7 182 31 20 4 154 23 24 8 131 Northeast Division 34 17 2 184 28 22 8 169 28 22 6 171 23 25 9 152 24 25 6 136 Southeast Division 27 17 11 141 28 23 5 156 26 25 6 139 24 25 6 155 21 25 11 147

GA 110 148 169 155 159

PTS 77 69 69 66 54

120 181 166 154 158

70 64 62 55 54

152 160 161 185 175

65 61 58 54 53

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

Western Conference Central Division 38 17 2 182 34 14 7 139 32 18 6 158 29 20 7 174 16 34 6 131 Northwest Division 35 15 6 180 26 22 8 134 28 25 4 146 25 22 8 125 22 28 5 147 Pacific Division 31 17 6 158 27 19 11 124 27 21 9 149 28 24 3 145 22 24 9 144

Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co. organizes MercedesTrophy Golf tournament KUWAIT: The Kuwait National Final of the prestigious MercedesTrophy Golf tournament was held at the Sahara Golf and Country Club on Friday, February 10. This year was a very special tournament as Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co. celebrated 15 years of organizing this unique tournament in Kuwait. It was an exciting finish to the keenly contested championship with the top 3 winners getting a chance to play in the MercedesTrophy World Final in September of 2012. Mercedes-Benz ’s involvement in international golf is a key component of the brand’s international sports sponsorship activities. The image dimensions of this sport are a perfect match for the values espoused by our premium automotive brand. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz has been active in amateur golf since 1989. The MercedesTrophy is a dedicated tournament series for amateurs in which more than 58,000 players tee-off each year in more than 43 countries or regions. The contestants aim to reach the World Final in which the best individual players and the best team are decided in Stuttgart. 100 golfers from Kuwait participated in this year’s tournament, all of them vying for the exclusive prizes and the most coveted top three positions for the chance to compete in the World Finals in Stuttgart, Germany. The day started off with the participants registering with the club and collecting their welcome gift packs provided by Albisher & Alkazemi, followed by a

hearty breakfast at the Club House. The tournament was divided into threehandicap classes as per the official structure of the MercedesTrophy Golf tournament and there were more than ten prizes up for grabs. The play started at 12:15 PM and already one could feel the energy and competitiveness in the air as the golfers commenced on the challenging course. Everybody had their eyes set on Hole # 4, for the Hole-In-One prize - a fabulous Mercedes-Benz GLK-300 Sports Utility Vehicle provided by Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Company. The fiercely contested tournament was won by the following MercedesBenz customers: First Place Handicap Division A - Majd Al Ansari First Place Handicap Division B Sheikh Sabah Mohammed Alsabah First Place Handicap Division C Manmohan Singh Gill All three golfers are now eagerly awaiting the World Finals of the MercedesTrophy golf championships to be held in Stuttgart, Germany. A complete list of other winners follows below • Winner (Non-Mercedes-Benz Customer) — Alison Guthrie • Winner (Non-Mercedes-Benz Customer) - Renny Mathews • Winner (Non-Mercedes-Benz Customer) - David Mladenka • 2nd Place Division A - Jim Batchler • 2nd Place Division B - AbdulWahab

AlMussalam • 2nd Place Division C - Mohan Singh • 3rd Place Division A - J.H.Bae • 3rd Place Division B - Bhaskar Majmdhar • 3rd Place Division C - Witold Wnuk • Nearest To Pin (Ladies) - Alison Guthrie • Nearest To Pin (Men) - Qatami Al Qatami • Longest Drive (Ladies) - Sarah Kim • Longest Drive (Men) - Darren Abel Ashraf Tamim, Senior Manager Sales & Operations, Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Company (MercedesBenz) said “We wish to thank all the sponsors who supported this year’s competition.” He continued to say - “A very special word of thanks to the sponsors of the tournament - Jumbo Travels, Tiffany & Co. and Magnitude Communications for helping to make this year’s event such a great success.” “The MercedesTrophy, as most of you are aware is a way of showing our appreciation to Mercedes-Benz customers and friends of Mercedes-Benz. This is also a solid platform to promote the sport of golf in Kuwait.” concluded Tamim. As a token of appreciation, Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Company extended to the golfers playing in this tournament a very exclusive offer of a complimentary “Two Days Test Drive” of new Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs Albisher & Alkazemi Company has

been organizing this tournament continuously for the past fourteen years and this very special fifteenth edition of the MercedesTrophy Final came to a close with a sumptuous dinner accompanied by a live jazz band at the terrace of the Sahara Golf Club. More information about MercedesBenz products and services can be had

from - or from our facebook page: ; also follow us on twitter @MercedesBenzKWT The iPhone app of Mercedes-Benz Kuwait keeps you in touch with the brand Mercedes-Benz always, it can be downloaded for free from the iTunes app store by searching for “MBKuwait”

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Devendro tempers aggression for gold dreams NEW DELHI: Having modelled the aggressive style of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson to claim an Olympic berth, Indian boxer L Devendro Singh knows curbing those attacking instincts is the only way to achieve his dream of a medal at the London Games. “I’m a naturally aggressive boxer but need to learn how to counter-attack better,” the shy Manipur boxer, who will turn 20 next month, told Reuters at a Delhi hotel. “Being too aggressive has its own risks. Boxers from China and Korea are good at counter-attacking.” Devendro, the soft-spoken 49-kg category boxer, is a big fan of American Tyson, who, in his heyday, was known as ‘the baddest man on the planet’ for his devastating attacking style.

However, the young Indian is also aware of how Tyson’s career unfolded and the struggles the American had with slick counter-punchers like Evander Holyfield, who proved victorious when the duo first met in a world title fight in 1996. Devendro is hopeful the work he has put honing those necessary counter-attacking skills that Tyson lacked has paid off and he will use a Feb 14-18 tournament in Kazakhstan to find out. “Honestly, a medal (in Kazakhstan) will not be on top of my mind, Devendro said before explaining he was treating the tournament as a “learning experience.” Devendro is one of four boxers from India who have qualified for London while a couple of others, including Beijing bronze medallist Vijender

Singh (75-kg), are expected to make the cut through April’s Asian qualifier in Kazakhstan. They will be joined by an unprecedented 11 Indian shooters to spearhead the world’s second most populous nation’s quest for rare Olympic glory. The aim for all members of the team will be to add to India’s nine Olympic gold medals, a paltry offering which is the result of the south Asian’s obsession for all things cricket. The bias for cricket is underlined by the very hotel Devendro and his fellow boxers are regularly put up in. A stone’s throw away from the New Delhi rail station, the modest hotel in the noisy Paharganj area has as much chance of hosting a national cricketer as an Indian athlete has of winning the men’s 100 metre event at London. Not

that the athletes mind. The poor cousins of India’s pampered cricketers have long accepted it as fate. Every four years they sense an opportunity to rise above this obscurity and so did Devendro. He stunned some of his ranked opponents in the trial for last year’s World Championship, his first major tournament in the senior category, in Baku where he reached the quarterfinals to pocket a London berth. “I gave everything in the trial but I never thought that I would not only qualify for World Championship but also earn a place for London,” said the boxer, who is equally happy kicking a football or watching Portugal and Real Madrid soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo on the television. National coach Gurbax Singh

Sandhu has no doubts Devendro has proved himself in the trials but is equally convinced of the limitation of a one -dimensional technique built around aggression. “The idea now is to give him the exposure. He has learnt a few things about counter-attacking, all he needs now is to apply it in competitions,” Sandhu told Reuters before heading for Kazakhstan. “Maybe opponents would expose some chinks. We would record his bouts, analyse and polish his technique before London. It’s a kind of study trip for him. He’ll get confidence only after he has applied it successfully in competitions. “Devendro otherwise is a determined, strong boxer. He is what we call a tempo-style boxer but he needs to master counter-attacking,” Sandhu added. —Reuters

Dhoni earns India thrilling tie

HAMILTON: New Zealand’s Rob Nicol bats during the second Twenty20 international cricket match against New Zealand at Seddon Park. —AFP

Williamson guides NZ to Twenty20 victory HAMILTON: Kane Williamson produced some brilliant placement under pressure to guide New Zealand to a five-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in their second Twenty20 international at Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday. Williamson scored 20 runs from five balls, stroking three boundaries and a six, after he had come to the wicket in the penultimate over with the hosts needing 21 runs to win the match and secure a sweep of every game on the tour. Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor had scored 75 not out in his side’s 200 for two in their 20 overs and while New Zealand were always in touch with the imposing run rate, they looked like they could be headed for defeat when they lost two wickets off successive balls in the 19th over. Williamson then took the game by the scruff of the neck and ensured New Zealand head into their series against South Africa with confidence high and knowing they had been placed under pressure in the final Zimbabwe match. James Franklin (60) top scored for New Zealand and combined in an opening partnership of 103 with Rob Nicol (56) before he was run out while attempting a second run following some miscommunication with skipper Brendan McCullum and Kegan Meth made a direct hit from the boundary. Hamilton Masakadza, who scored 53 in the first Twenty20 international, blazed 62 off just 42 balls as he and Stuart Matsikenyeri (32) put on 76 for the first wicket for the visitors. Taylor and Masakadaza continued to belt the New Zealand attack around the picturesque ground, prompting McCullum to use eight bowlers and make 15 bowling changes, and put their fielders under pressure for the first time on their short tour. Taylor and Elton Chigumbura (29 not out) combined for an unbroken 79-run

third wicket partnership that ensured Zimbabwe posted not only a challenging total, but also their highest mark in a Twenty20 international. —Reuters

SCOREBOARD HAMILTON: Scoreboard after New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by five wickets at Seddon Park in Hamilton yesterday in their second Twenty20 international match. Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat. Zimbabwe H. Masakadza c de Grandhomme b Bates62 S. Matsikenyeri c Southee b Hira 32 B. Taylor not out 75 E. Chigumbura not out 29 Extras: (b-1, w-1) 2 Total: (for two wickets, 20 overs) 200 Fall of wickets: 1-76 2-121 Did not bat: Tatenda Taibu, Malcolm Waller, Shingirai Masakadza, Keagan Meth, Prosper Utseya, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis Bowling: Mills 4-0-40-0, Bates 4-0-47-1 (w1), Southee 4-0-35-0, N. McCullum 1-0-150, Hira 3-0-31-1, Ellis 1-0-10-0,Williamson 2-0-16-0, Nicol 1-0-5-0. New Zealand R. Nicol c Meth b Chigumbura 56 J. Franklin run out 60 B. McCullum c waller b Jarvis 38 C. de Grandhomme b Chigumbura 8 N. McCullum c Chigumbura b Jarvis 5 A. Ellis not out 2 K. Williamson not out 20 Extras: (w-6, b-4, lb-3) 13 Total: (for five wickets, 19.4 overs) 202 Fall of wickets: 1-103 2-142 3-160 4-180 5-180 Did not bat: Ronnie Hira, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Michael Bates Bowling: Meth 3-0-30-0 (w-3), Jarvis 4-035-2, Utseya 4-0-38-0 (w-1), Price 4-0-39-0 (w-2), S. Masakadza 1.4-0-30-0, Chigumbura 3-0-23-2.

ADELAIDE: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni fell just short of pulling off another thrilling run chase as his team fought out a dramatic tie with Sri Lanka in the fifth triangular series match at Adelaide yesterday. Needing four to win off the last delivery, Dhoni (58 not out) lofted paceman Lasith Malinga over cover but could manage only three runs before the throw came in from the fielder patrolling the boundary. India, needing nine off the last over, finished on 236 for nine wickets from their 50 overs, exactly the same score as Sri Lanka. On Sunday, in a similar situation against Australia at the same venue, India needed 13 off the last over and Dhoni hit a huge six to lead his team to a four-wicket victory. Opener Gautam Gambhir (91), who had made 92 on Sunday, once again missed out on his hundred after he was run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end. Dhoni called Gambhir for a non-existent single and sent him back, leaving him no chance of making his ground. Left-handed opener Gambhir added 60 for the fifth wicket with Dhoni to anchor India’s chase after Sachin Tendulkar once again failed in his bid to complete his 100th international century. Tendulkar (15) got a thick edge to Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps off medium pacer Nuwan Kulasekara. Earlier, Sri Lanka lost their way during the batting powerplay, losing three wickets in quick succession. Dinesh Chandimal (81), captain Mahela Jayawardene (43) and Thisara Perera (5) got out during the five-over period which took the momentum away from the innings. Sri Lanka, who lost their first two matches in the triangular series, got off to a poor start after Jayawardene won the toss. The islanders lost both their openers cheaply and it was left to Chandimal and Jayawardene to steady the innings with a 94run stand for the fourth wicket. Jayawardene was out lbw to medium pacer Vinay Kumar, who took three wickets for 46 runs, and Chandimal was run out attempting a quick single. Tailender Sachithra Senanayake hit a quickfire 22 off just 14 balls to take Sri Lanka to a competitive total. The Lankans play hosts Australia in the sixth match of the triangular series in Sydney on Friday. —Reuters

ADELAIDE: Indiaís Vinay Kumar (right) falls while taking a run alongside Sri Lankaís Lasith Malinga (left) during the tie in the one-day international cricket match. —AFP

SCOREBOARD ADELAIDE: Scoreboard from the triangular series one-day international between India and Sri Lanka at Adelaide yesterday: Sri Lanka won the toss Sri Lanka innings U. Tharanga c Dhoni b V. Kumar 0 T. Dilshan c Dhoni b Pathan 16 K. Sangakkara c Gambhir b Ashwin 31 D. Chandimal run out 81 M. Jayawardene lbw b V. Kumar 43 A. Mathews run out 17 T. Perera c Kohli b Ashwin 5 N. Kulasekara c Gambhir b V. Kumar 12 S. Senanayake not out 22 L. Malinga run out 0 R. Herath not out 1 Extras (lb-3, w-5) 8 Total (nine wickets; 50 overs) 236 Fall of wickets: 1-0 2-28 3-79 4-173 5-178 6184 7-210 8-232 9-235 Bowling: V. Kumar 10-1-46-3 (1w), Pathan 90-38-1 (2w), Yadav 9-0-51-0, Ashwin 10-1-302, Jadeja 10-0-58-0, Sharma 2-0-10-0 (2w)

Drivers pleased with new Indy cars INDIANAPOLIS: IndyCar Series drivers are dropping their initial complaints about this season’s new cars. On Monday, the first of a two-day state of the series summit, drivers repeatedly acknowledged how much had been accomplished during a busy offseason of testing with rave reviews for the new cars and the way series officials handled the controversy. “It kind of felt like when you go to a movie and people tell you that it’s not too good, and then you go, and it’s like ‘C’mon man, it’s pretty cool,’” three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves said before the real action began inside a downtown theater. “It’s still developing, but that’s the beauty of it.” Clearly, things had improved dramatically

on the race track since three-time defending series champion Dario Franchitti said he was concerned about the weight distribution of the car last autumn. “It wasn’t just talking about a bad car, it was a bad car,” said Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi’s top driver. The overwhelming negativity prompted IndyCar leaders to provide more leeway in fixing problems. The changes drivers have made in just a few months, Franchitti said, have reduced lap times on road and street courses by 1.5 to 2 seconds. The cars could be going even faster by next month’s season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, and with everyone starting over, there’s no telling who may wind up in Victory Lane.

Ponting named Australia captain SYDNEY: Ricky Ponting has been asked to step back into the role of Australia captain after skipper Michael Clarke was ruled out of their one-day triangular series match against Sri Lanka on Friday, chairman of selectors John Inverarity has said. Ponting stepped down from the role after last year’s World Cup on the subcontinent and was replaced by Clarke. The Tasmanian has remained in the side but after Clarke sustained a mild hamstring strain Ponting was asked to don the armband on a temporary basis. Opening batsman David Warner had been the official vice-captain of the oneday team, but Inverarity said they were not keen on placing too much pressure on the 25-year-old who has played only 13 ODI matches. “David Warner is a young player making his way,” Inverarity said in a statement. “He displays considerable leadership potential, but the (selection panel) is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility

of captaincy thrust on him. “David has been gaining valuable experience under Michael Clarke’s captaincy and now he will have the opportunity to grow his leadership skills further as vice-captain to Ricky Ponting.” Clarke’s injury, sustained in his side’s four-wicket loss to India in Adelaide on Sunday, was not considered serious and he had been included in Australia’s 14man squad with the hope he would be fit again for their match against India in Brisbane on Sunday. Pace bowler Ryan Harris had also been released to recover from several “minor niggles”, Inverarity said, with Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus brought back into the squad. Lee had initially been ruled out of the series after he broke a bone in his foot earlier this month and was expected to take up to six weeks to recover. “Brett is making a good recovery from his toe injury and will be given rigorous fitness tests before Friday ’s fixture,” Inverarity said. —Reuters

India innings G. Gambhir run out 91 S. Tendulkar c Sangakkara b Kulasekara15 V. Kohli lbw b Perera 15 R. Sharma run out 15 S. Raina c Sangakkara b Malinga 8 MS Dhoni not out 58 R. Jadeja c Jayawardene b Perera 3 R. Ashwin c Senanayake b Malinga 14 I. Pathan run out 8 V. Kumar run out 1 U. Yadav not out 0 Extras (lb-1, w-6, nb-1) 8 Total (nine wickets; 50 overs) 236 Fall of wickets: 1-24 2-61 3-94 4-118 5-178 6184 7-212 8-223 9-233 Bowling: Malinga 10-1-53-2 (1w), Kulasekara 10-0-39-1 (1w), Mathews 5-0-35-0 (1nb, 1w), Perera 9-0-45-2 (1w), Herath 10-1-33-0 (1w), Senanayake 6-0-30-0. Match tied.

TEXAS: In this June 11, 2011 file photo, Ed Carpenter prepares for the Firestone Twin 275 IndyCar Series Races at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Ed Carpenter Racing has signed with Chevrolet as its engine provider deal for the upcoming IndyCar season. —AP

The lingering question is how the cars will work on ovals - something drivers are eager to find out during next week’s test at Texas. But even the earliest and most outspoken detractors are falling into line. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said two-time runner-up Will Power complained to him after one of the early tests. Following last week’s test at Sebring, Power had a completely different perception. “It’s a little lighter, and it’s very good on the rear weight distribution,” Power said. “I’m very happy with the engine.” The new cars have more horsepower and more grip, a combination favored by drivers such as Power and Marco Andretti. They also have new safety features to protect against side impacts and three inches (10 centimeters) of extra foam around the driver’s seat and one inch (nearly three centimeters) of foam underneath to reduce injuries. One concern for the teams which have done extensive work is others may show up in St. Pete virtually untested. The good news is most believe it won’t take much time to adapt because they drive like European cars or those that IndyCar drivers grew up driving. Cars won’t be the only new IndyCar feature in 2012. The 16-race schedule features only five oval races. Some drivers acknowledged scaling back the number of oval races, at least temporarily, was a necessary safety move after Dan Wheldon died in a crash last October in Las Vegas. The next day’s awards ceremony was postponed because of the fatality and the awards were not handed out until Monday. “Yes, in Vegas, it was the pole that killed Dan, but in my opinion, it was the pack racing that led to that,” Andretti said. Safety is expected to be discussed in more detail during Tuesday’s session on technical issues. After finishing his brief remarks, Bernard told reporters he doesn’t plan to add more races to this year’s schedule though he plans to include more ovals on a 2013 schedule that he hopes will have 19 races. —AP



IOC sees ‘no reason for concern’ over Sochi Games KRASNAYA POLYANA: With the Sochi Olympics two years away, the IOC sees “no real burning issues” as Russian organizers promise to complete construction of all sports venues by the end of 2012. The International Olympic Committee, which has been monitoring the building work since Sochi was awarded the 2014 Games five years ago, said yesterday that the multi-billion-dollar project is going according to plan. “We are very satisfied,” IOC coordination commission chairman Jean-Claude Killy said after his latest inspection visit. “Two years are left and these will be the most challenging two years but we see no reason for concern. “There are no real burning issues. The worries are the same as other games, the same as for London and Rio - transport, accommodation, security,” the French ski great added, referring to the next two Summer Olympics. “(Construction) is being carried out on schedule.”

Building is going on around the clock at the coastal cluster along the Black Sea where indoor sports will be held and at the Alpine venues where a massive Olympic Village is being constructed halfway up the mountain. Also under construction are a rail link, new highway connection and new hotels and resorts. “All of the sport venues will be completed in 2012 and be ready to use by the end of the year,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is overseeing the Sochi project for the government. IOC officials also met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “He told us this project is one of the top priorities of Russia,” Killy said. Killy, who was co-organizer of the 1992 Albertville Games and led the coordination commission for the 2006 Turin Games, suggested that Sochi surpasses anything he’s seen before. He held up a blank white piece of paper at one point during yesterday’s press conference to explain how Sochi “began with nothing.”

In fact, all of the venues are being built from scratch in an area that was previously known only as a summer resort. In the Alpine area, a handful of new resorts are also being built from the ground up, and they will eventually all be connected by an intricate series of gondolas, chairlifts and cable cars. “They are showing the whole world what they are capable of,” Killy said. “The IOC truly believes in the abilities of the organizing committee.” The construction budget for Sochi’s Olympic infrastructure is about $6.5 billion, with more than half coming from private funding, Sochi organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said. More money is being spent to redevelop the entire region, while the operating budget for the venues and games themselves is about $2 billion, Chernyshenko added. Kozak said the sliding center for luge, bobsled and skeleton will be certified in March. The track has come under scrutiny following the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during a training run in Whistler just

hours before the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. More than 60 test events are scheduled to be held before the Sochi Games. One test event, at the ski jumping venue, had to be moved due to construction delays. The IOC called men’s World Cup Alpine ski races last weekend, the first major test event, “very successful.” “The organization was very good, the athletes were satisfied and the International Ski Federation was also satisfied,” Killy said, adding that he took the athletes’ word that the men’s downhill course was “spectacular” because he no longer skis himself. “Sochi has really put itself on the world map,” Killy said. One of the few criticisms of the ski races was that the stands were half-empty, likely due to heavy security. Kozak said that will change. “Next year there will be no restrictions for spectators to visit all events and we are sure there will be many more visitors,” the deputy prime minister said. — AP

76ers send Bobcats to 15th straight loss CHARLOTTE: Lou Williams scored 23 points off the bench as the Philadelphia 76ers built an early lead and held on to send the Charlotte Bobcats to their 15th straight defeat, 98-89 Monday. Thaddeus Young added 20 points on 6 of 9 shooting, and Jrue Holiday chipped in with 19 points for the 76ers (20-9). Williams was averaging 19 points over the previous four games. He stayed hot Monday night, making several big shots including a 3-pointer with 6:11 remaining after the Bobcats had pulled within 71-69. Corey Maggette scored a season-high 22 points for Charlotte, which fell to 325 on the season. Heat 114, Bucks 96 At Milwaukee, LeBron James scored 35 points as Miami used a third-quarter surge to finally beat Milwaukee. Dwyane Wade scored 22 and Mario Chalmers added 13 for the Heat, who were 0-2 against the Bucks coming into Monday night’s game. James scored 16 of his points in the third quarter as the Heat outscored the Bucks 35-24 to take control of the game. Carlos Delfino scored 24 for the Bucks, who were coming off a loss to Orlando on Saturday night.

Al Rumaidhi wins Red Bull Car Park Drift in Kuwait More than 8,000 spectators enjoy the best ever drifting performances KUWAIT: Mubarak Al Rumaidhi clinched the 2012 Red Bull Car Park Drift title in Kuwait. The event, sponsored by Chevrolet and held under the supervision of The Kuwait 1/4 Mile Club, proved to be both action packed and entertaining as more than 8,000 spectators enjoyed the best ever drifting performances in Kuwait. Al Rumaidhi, driving his Nissan 350 Z, earned his victory by beating out Sami Haidar who was driving the same car and Dhari Al Shammary in his Nissan Altima V6 to ensure his place in the regional final in Lebanon on July 6. There was not only an amazing fight for the title, the driving was fierce and the crowd was packed and loud. The 8,000 spectators were so loud that it was similar to a football game. The Red Bull Car Park Drift started at 6:00pm when Middle East Hill Climb Champion Abdo Feghali performed a drifting show. The official start of the event came when Sheikh Azbi Al Nayef Al Sabah, Head of the organizing committee of the Rally at the Kuwait 1/4 Mile Club, lifted the chequered flag to signal the start of the first round which saw 19 drifters compete for the best 10 spots. Sami Haidar managed to qualify first to the top 10 slightly edging Mubarak Al Rumaidhi, but it was Al Rumaidhi who powered to the top of the podium in the decisive stage after putting a flawless

performance. “It’s such an amazing feeling. The track course was very challenging and the competition was fierce. I’m so happy that my hard work paid off. I’m going to train harder and further upgrade my car, so watch out, Lebanon here I come.” said Mubarak Al Rumaidhi, first place winner. A panel of esteemed judges consisting of Abdo Feghali, Middle East Hill Climb Champion, Pascal Hayek, Motorsport Specialist and Ghassan Jasser, Motorsport Journalist evaluated the drifters based on their drifting skills, external look of the car, the smoke produced by the friction of the tyres and the engine roars and finally the audience’s excitement and cheers for each performance to make their final decision. Feghali who offered an once-in-a-lifetime drifting ride experience to three spectators said: “This is our third year here in Kuwait and it was another successful event with an increase in the number of drifters and attendance. We are excited to see the growth of drifting in Kuwait.” From the heat, to the smoke, to the crowd, and the roaring engines, this was truly one of the most intense events to date.The next stop of the 2012 Red Bull Car Park Drift will take place in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE on February 17 while the regional final will take place in Lebanon on July 6.

Magic 102, T’wolves 89 At Orlando, Florida, Jason Richardson scored 17 points, and Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu each added 14 as Orlando used a big second half to beat Minnesota. Richardson, coming off a seasonhigh 31 points, was strong early against Minnesota but sat out the fourth quarter. The Magic didn’t need him, though, hitting 12 of 30 3-pointers for the game and with all five starters reaching double figures. Orlando has won two of its last three games and earned its seventh straight victory over the Timberwolves. Kevin Love led Minnesota with 19 points and 15 rebounds, but the Timberwolves lost their fourth straight game.

Hornets 86, Jazz 80 At New Orleans, Chris Kaman scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as New Orleans snapped an eight-game losing streak with a victory over Utah. Marco Belinelli and Gustavo Ayon each added 13 points for New Orleans, which led by as many as 20 in the third quarter before holding on for only its third victory in 26 games. Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Utah, which was playing the second of back-to-back games after winning in Memphis on Sunday night. Mavericks 96, Clippers 92 At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, 11 in the final 6-plus minutes, and Shawn Marion added 16 as Dallas held on to beat Los Angeles. Jason Terry, Vince Carter and Brendan Haywood all contributed 10 points for the Mavs, who’ve won 10 in a row at home against the Clippers and extended their overall winning streak to four games. Caron Butler of the Clippers scored a season-high 23 points against his former team, and Blake Griffin added 20 points. Chris Paul had 16 points and nine assists for the Clippers, but Griffin’s problems from the foul line cost his team as he missed seven of nine free throws. Warriors 102, Suns 96 At Oakland, California, David Lee had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Monta Ellis scored 18 points as Golden State earned its first three-game winning streak under rookie coach Mark Jackson with a victory over Phoenix. Rookie Klay Thompson added 10 points and fellow reserve Ekpe Udoh had nine points, including a layup with 35.9 seconds remaining that extended Golden State’s lead to five and capped a comeback from 12 points down in the second half. Marcin Gortat had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Steve Nash handed out 14 assists for Phoenix, playing the first of three games in three nights. — AP

ORLANDO: Magic’s Jameer Nelson (right) drives to the basket past Minnesota Timberwolves’ Nikola Pekovic during the second half of an NBA basketball game. — AP

Anderson beats Dimitrov, McEnroe wins exhibition

Angelique Kerber of Germany returns the ball in this file photo.

Kerber upsets Lisicki in Doha DOHA: Germany’s Angelique Kerber carried her good form into Doha by upsetting ninth seeded Sabine Lisicki in three sets in the first round of the WTA Qatar Open yesterday. It was the fourth time in as many matches that Kerber had got the better of her compatriot, who is ranked 14th in the world and considered as one of the rising stars of the game. “She is a great player who is also a good friend, so it’s not easy playing against her,” Kerber, who won the Paris Indoors last week, said after her 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. “We travel together and live in the same hotels, but I was focused on my game,” Kerber added. Kerber’s form has been nothing short of spectacular recently, the German reaching at least the semis in six of the past 10 tournaments she played before winning her first W TA title in Paris where she beat Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the final. “I am really playing well, but this is a big tournament with many stars playing, but I will really try my best,” said the world’s 22-ranked player.—AFP

SAN JOSE: Fif th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa came from a set down to beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) in the first round of the SAP Open on Monday. I n the day ’s only other singles match, Tobias Kamke of Germany earlier defeated South Africa’s Izak Van der Merwe 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round. Former great John McEnroe made a brief return to play an exhibition doubles match on the opening night, teaming with young American Jack Sock to beat Gael Monfils and Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 in a lighthear ted match. McEnroe showed the deft skill at the net that made him one of the game’s best doubles players ever in a match that included three players young enough to be his children. “If you know some of the tricks of the trade, I don’t care,” he said. “I’m covering half the court. This is beautiful for me. I’m not saying I could go out and win things but I’d be comfor table going against anybody right now playing doubles.” McEnroe was originally scheduled to play with defending champion Milos Raonic, who pulled out with a knee injury. Sock ended up teaming with McEnroe, and Johnson, the reigning US college champion, played with Monfils. Raonic is still expected to compete in the singles draw, starting with his second-round match Wednesday against Kamke. McEnroe hit crisp volleys all match

long, bringing back memories of his touring days when he won seven Grand Slam singles titles and 10 major doubles titles from 1977-92. Even though he lacks the power of the younger, modern players, McEnroe was able to get his serve up as high as 125 mph - a feat he credited to a friendly radar gun operator rather than some newfound strength. “I hit one 125 (mph),” he said. “I’ve never hit it that hard in my life. I owe that guy a dinner.” Perhaps the biggest difference besides the gray hair was the lack of temper tantrums that were such a regular part of his matches when he was on the tour. With the Hawk-Eye replay system in place, McEnroe had little to argue with the umpire or linespeople. He challenged three calls in the match, winning one of them, and even got down on his belly to closely inspect a mark before challenging a call in the second set that he eventually lost. His only argument came when Monfils won a challenge on a shot that just clipped the back line. “It’s a conspiracy,” McEnroe shouted after losing the point. McEnroe said he would have loved to have had the replay system during his playing career, when he was known perhaps as much for his demonstrative arguments as his sterling play. “I would have won a lot more majors - in my opinion,” McEnroe said. “Forty percent of the energy I wasted in losing it would have allowed me to sort of focus on playing.” — AP




Donovan eyes permanent move to Everton LIVERPOOL: LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan would like to turn his brief taste of the Premier League with Everton into something more permanent once he has led his club to more Major League Soccer (MLS) success. The 29-year-old United States midfielder, his country’s all-time leading goalscorer, has spent the MLS off-season on loan at the Merseysiders and has shone in his two months there like he did during his other short spell with the team two years ago. “It would be hard to go to any other club now so if anything were to happen I would imagine it would be here at Everton,” Donovan told Reuters in an interview. “I know for sure this year I’m going back to LA but we’ll see,” added the player who grabbed assists in the recent surprise wins over Chelsea and Manchester City.

“My commitment is for two more years to the (MLS champion)Galaxy and we’ll see what happens after this year ... but I would obviously welcome the opportunity to come back.” The grey skies threatening to burst with rain at any moment are a reminder that while the standard of soccer in the Premier League might be a step up from the MLS, the weather in northwest England compared to Los Angeles would be anything but. But that is a minor drawback compared to the benefits of playing in Europe with new U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann urging his players to seek experience in the big leagues to boost the national team’s prospects at major tournaments. “It’s obviously not possible for everyone but that’s his (Klinsmann’s) desire,” Donovan said. “This year’s a qualifying year and

next year’s a qualifying year and then we’ve hopefully got the World Cup in 2014 so if that’s something I feel I need to do leading up to the World Cup then it’s something I’d consider for sure.” Donovan, who spent some of his early days in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen, said that while the clock was against him as he turns 30 next month, he still had time for a move. “There is no question that as you get older your desirability to European clubs diminishes,” he said. “But I still think I can perform at a high level and I think that if guys are doing it at 36, 37, then I hope I can still be doing it at 32, 33.” The US have improved steadily at big tournaments, topping their group at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and Donovan said making it past the group stage was now a realistic goal in all competitions.

Donovan would dearly love the chance to help his country bid for Olympic success at London 2012 and hopes to be picked as one of three over-age players allowed to participate if his team qualify. “I had the chance in 2000 to go to Sydney and it was one of the best experiences of my life so if I have the opportunity, especially given it’s in London, I think it would be a lot of fun and I would love to go,” he said. Donovan was not the only MLS player to spend the off-season in England, with established names like club mate Robbie Keane enjoying a stint at Aston Villa and New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry making a hero’s return to Arsenal. “I do think more players should do this if possible,” said Everton’s onloan midfielder. “I think it benefits our players a lot and they can learn a lot from these experiences. “Although the level of the MLS

has got better and better there is no arguing what the level is here in the Premier League and having the chance to see guys up close every day is important. “For me the opportunity to learn from a captain who has been a captain for a long time in Phil Neville will help me when I go back to captain the Galaxy. Things like that are priceless and we should take advantage of them.” While the standard of football in the MLS is still far behind other leagues, interest in it has increased considerably thanks to the influx of big-name players who have moved there in the twilight of their careers. By far the biggest impact has been made by England’s David Beckham, who plays alongside Donovan at the Galaxy and has signed for another two years much to his captain’s relief. “What he has done for us in five


short years is probably immeasurable off the field, what he has done for us on the field has become clear and I think having two more years of that will be really beneficial for all of us,” Donovan said. “From our club’s standpoint and from our league’s standpoint it’s vital to have him.” Donovan, who returns to Los Angeles later this month, said the Galaxy’s priorities this season would be to do well in the CONCACAF Champions League and retain the MLS Cup. He said he would return to the US champions fully fit and feeling confident due to his Everton experience although there was one thing he would have to do when he got back. “I’ll just have to remember to take my foot off the gas a little bit when I get home,” he said. “The pace of the game here ... is so frantic. The game will probably slow down a little for me.” —Reuters


Milan plot ambush for Arsenal MILAN: AC Milan will be aiming to beat an English side for the first time since they edged Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League final when they host unpredictable Arsenal in the competition’s Round of 16 first leg today. Milan, who lifted the European Cup for the seventh time by defeating Liverpool 2-1

Serie A leaders Milan welcome striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from a domestic ban to boost their chances after they ended a bad patch with Saturday’s late 21 win at Italian title rivals Udinese where young forward Stephan El Shaarawy and new signing Maxi Lopez combined for the goals. Half Italian-half Egyptian

won on both of their previous Champions League visits against Milan at the San Siro. Gennaro Gattuso and Alberto Aquilani are still injured but there is a slight chance Alexandre Pato and Kevin-Prince Boateng could make surprise returns. Defending champions Milan top Serie A by two points but

LONDON: Arsenal’s on loan former player, and the club’s all time highest scorer, Thierry Henry (right) runs with teammates as they take part in a training session at the club’s facilities. —AP in Athens nearly five years ago, have since been eliminated from the Champions League by Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur and could only draw with Portsmouth in the group stage of the Europa League in 2009. They now face Arsene Wenger’s erratic team again, the Londoners having knocked Milan out in the last 16 in 2008.

teenager El Shaarawy will probably have to miss out to accommodate Ibrahimovic despite his good form with the Swede likely to partner Robinho up front. Coach Massimiliano Allegri has several injury problems but the treatment room is beginning to clear out with goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and centre half Alessandro Nesta hoping to be back to face Arsenal, who have

Juventus in second have two games in hand. “It meant a lot to win at Udine, we’d just come off three defeats in five games,” coach Allegri told reporters. “That win has given us balance and serenity. This is the sprit of the guys, we have to move forward like this.” Milan, who qualified along with holders Barcelona from the group stage, have struggled in

the competition since their last triumph in 2007. Milan have also not won any of their last seven matches against English clubs and have failed to score in five of those games. The key to today’s game is what tactics Wenger employs and whether he plays safe for a draw or attempts to go for a third straight win against Milan in their own backyard. Wenger could be wary of Milan’s attacking prowess and play it cautiously but their Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes away goals could prove critical in this tie. He told Arsenal TV Online: “If we can go there and get a few goals and then come back to the Emirates then that’s going to be a fantastic result for us. “Hopefully, we can get a couple of goals and keep them out as well.” Arsenal’s fortunes have revived since French striker Thierry Henry rejoined the club on loan from New York Red Bulls, and if he does play any part today, it is likely to be his final appeareance in an Arsenal shirt. He is due to return to New York on Thursday after scoring three goals in six appearances to take his all-time record for Arsenal to 229 goals. He scored twice at the San Siro against Inter Milan when Arsenal won 51 there in the Champions League in 2003 but said he had not thought about signing off with another goal today. “I’ve not thought it,” he said. “I just want to help Arsenal on the night. I am an Arsenal player for one more game. “Milan is Milan. It is another type of game and it is never easy to win away in the Champions League.” Arsenal will be without centreback Per Mertesacker for the game after the German pulled up with an ank le injur y in Saturday’s comeback 2-1 win at Sunderland with lif ted Arsenal into fourth place in the table. —Reuters

Mancini treated me ‘like a dog’, says Tevez MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s rebel striker Carlos Tevez left Argentina for England on Monday taking manager Roberto Mancini’s olive branch with one hand and hurling an accusation he was treated “like a dog” with the other. The 28-year-old is heading back to the Premier League club that he has not played for since September after defying Italian Mancini’s instruction to warm up during the Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich. Speaking for the first time since returning to his homeland without City’s permission in November, Tevez gave his version of what happened in Germany. He said Mancini had been arguing with striker Edin Dzeko who had just been substituted when the manager approached Tevez. “He saw me on the bench and as he was angry, he sent me again like a dog to warm up. Because he said it to me in a bad tone I refused,” Tevez said in an interview with Fox Sports broadcast on Monday. Mancini said at the time Tevez was “finished” at the league leaders but has since hinted the striker could still play a part in their pursuit of a first league title since 1968. Tevez said on Monday he would

gladly play for the club again if Mancini was serious about having him back, and was aware he would have to pull out all the stops to win over fans who have burned shirts with his name on in anger at his behaviour.

(meant) for the media, no.” He has pledged to give his all to the club he won the FA Cup with last term but will have raised some eyebrows with criticism of his manager’s decision to go public with the saga. “There the coach made a mis-

LONDON: Police escort Manchester City’s Argentinian footballer Carlos Tevez (center) as he arrives with his family at Manchester airport in north-west England. —AFP “If I was wrong, I say sorry. I sincerely believe I did not make a mistake,” the former City captain added. “If it’s true (Mancini would welcome me back), of course I like that, if it’s

take,” Tevez said. “The situation in Bayern could have been kept hidden, managed differently. (Mancini) could have left me out and later said ‘Carlos is not well’. “There are fights but you

don’t have to air them. We argued many times in the dressing room and on those occasions he didn’t say he didn’t want me (to play again). “I had a good relationship with him and I believe he’s a winner, he doesn’t like to lose, and I’m also like that.” Tevez has been the subject of disciplinary action by the club, over both his refusal to warm up and his subsequent unauthorised departure to his homeland, but relations have thawed and Mancini has suggested he could play again. “Everyone knows Carlos is a top player,” the manager said on Sunday. “If he was here and playing it would be better because Carlos can change games.” With City’s early season free-scoring ways slowing down of late, the return of a fit and hungry Tevezwhose talent, goals and work rate once made him a fan favourite-could come at just the right time. An adviser to Tevez’s representative Kia Joorabchian, Paul McCarthy, told Reuters the striker was returning to England and could be playing for City in the next two to three weeks. “He is due back in England on Tuesday and hopefully will start training this week,” McCarthy said. —Reuters

ST PETERSBURG: Benfica’s midfielder Bruno Cesar (left) attends a training session at the Petrovsky Stadium on the eve of the UEFA Champions League, round of 16, first leg football match against FC Zenit St Petersburg. —AFP

Freezing St Petersburg awaits Benfica ST PETERSBURG: Zenit St Petersburg must overcome the absence of their most creative player, midfielder Danny, when they face Benfica in a Champions League last-16, first leg tie today. The Portugal international is out for eight months after tearing knee ligaments in training last week. “Danny is a very important player for us but a club like Zenit should not depend on just one player,” coach Luciano Spalletti told Russian media. “Other players must raise their game and help us overcome this problem,” added the Italian who last week committed his long-term future to Zenit. Spalletti has extended his contract with the big-spending club, backed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, until 2015. Zenit are also without Italy defender Domenico Criscito due to food poisoning and have injury worries over goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev, midfielder Roman Shirokov and striker Danko Lazovic. The experienced Malafeyev, who is nursing a calf strain, has kept a clean sheet in the last three Champions League outings including a 0-0 draw at Porto in their final Group G match which secured Zenit a place in the knockout round for the first time. If Malafeyev does not recover in time, Spalletti is likely to bring in Belarus international Yuri Zhevnov who has yet to play in the competition. With temperatures dipping below -

15 Celcius in St Petersburg over the past week, officials said they would make a decision on the match shortly before kickoff. “Should we play in such freezing cold? I don’t think so. The ball feels like a rock, you could easily break a leg,” said Shirokov. If the game goes ahead Zenit must hope their notoriously hostile fans are on their best behaviour following crowd trouble at their last Champions League home game against APOEL Nicosia in November. European soccer’s ruling body UEFA fined the Russians 30,000 euros ($39,600) and warned of a heavier penalty if it happened again. Benfica are brimming with confidence. They finished top of Group C, helping to knock out Manchester United, and are undefeated at the top of their domestic league, five points above Porto. Silky playmaker Pablo Aimar has been the main creative influence and he extended his contract last week until June 2013. Benfica coach Jorge Jesus relies on a stable defence and is spoilt for choice in midfield and up front with a host of options including Argentine Nicolas Gaitan, Brazil’s Bruno Cesar and Spaniard Nolito. Argentine Javier Saviola is also among the contenders to start in attack alongside Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo. —Reuters

Man United fan sells land to block City expansion LONDON: A Manchester United fan aims to block rival Manchester City’s “goals of football domination” by selling off thousands of parcels of a site earmarked by the world’s richest club for a 100-millionpound ($158 million) training complex. Businessman Shaun O’Brien has divided the land at his vehicle recovery company, OB Trucks, near City’s Etihad Stadium, into 18,500 square-foot plots for sale in a bid to disrupt a proposed council order to make him sell it. He was selling the plots for 250 pounds each through website, Unite Against the City, to “ardent Reds and anybody else that feels strongly about our David & Goliath situation,” in order to make the club negotiate individually and fairly for each plot, the website said. The sale had attracted buyers from around the world, including the United States and Spain, since the website went live on Feb. 6, O’Brien told Reuters, declining to reveal the sales figures. “We’re very close to fulfilling the 5,000 minimum.” The campaign was “to prevent Manchester City’s attempts to acquire our land in Eastlands, Manchester, in order to further their goals of football domination”,

O’Brien wrote on the website. Local newspaper Manchester Evening News said O’Brien had refused a one-million-pound offer from City to leave the site, stalling the club’s bid to redevelop a rundown, 80-acre plot near their stadium. O’Brien said City had offered him 200,000 pounds for the land for the past two years, though they had said they would pay another 750,000 pounds for moving and expenses. “But it’s just not enough,” he said. “I’ve been here for 15 years, I had no intention to sell (the land)... As a business who want my land to further their business they should come and sit down, negotiate and we’ll hack out a figure, whereas all along they’ve said we’ll give you 200,000 pounds or we’ll get the council to CPO you,” he said. A compulsory purchase order has now been issued by Manchester City Council and the club to try to force O’Brien to sell at market value. Manchester City hold the title of the world’s richest club, gained after they were bought by Sheik h Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi three years ago. —Reuters



When World Cup meets stocks, soccer wins BRUSSELS: The furious activity in the trading pits of the world’s great stock exchanges often gives the feeling that every second is gold dust in the relentless rush to make money. Then all of a sudden it’s kickoff time, and everything changes. A wide -ranging study from the European Central Bank has found that the soccer World Cup has a huge impac t on traders. M any stock exchanges effectively go into slow motion when the games are on. “When the national team was playing, the number of trades dropped by 45 percent, while volumes were 55 percent lower,” the ECB said in a study on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that was released on its website Monday.

“Stock markets were following developments on the soccer pitch rather than in the trading pit,” it concluded. And if trade already dropped dramatically during some games, every goal that was scored forced another brief five percent drop in activity, the ECB said in its in its 35-page report entitled “The pitch rather than the pit. Investor inattention during FIFA World Cup matches.” Traders of course are hardly alone in falling for the World Cup distractions. At global summits, government leaders briefly postpone meetings or sneak out of negotiations when their team is on the pitch. At borders, guards sometimes don’t even look at passing traffic when games are on.


Ronaldinho included in Brazil squad, Kaka left out SAO PAULO: Ronaldinho has been included in Brazil’s squad for the friendly against Bosnia this month, while Kaka and Robinho again were left out. Brazil coach Mano Menezes yesterday summoned 23 players for the match in Switzerland on Feb. 28, the team’s first of the year. Ronaldinho is back despite struggling with Brazilian club Flamengo, but Kaka didn’t get another chance even though he has been playing often with Real Madrid. Santos players Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso, touted as the future of Brazilian football, also were summoned. It is the first time since last October that Menezes had all players available for the squad. In the friendlies against Gabon and Egypt in November, he could not count on players from Brazilian clubs because the Brazilian league was in its decisive stages. Menezes said Ronadinho’s bad performances recently did not give him enough reason to remove the two-time FIFA player of the year from the squad. “Ronaldinho is part of a project,” Menezes said. “I can’t start making changes just because of his bad moment right now.” Ronaldinho returned to the Brazilian squad late in 2010 after being left out of the World Cup in South Africa. He had up and down moments with Flamengo since leaving AC Milan but Menezes said he would be sticking with the player, who has said he wants to play in the London Olympics and in the 2014 World Cup in

Brazil. However, the coach hinted he was expecting more from Kaka’s recent performances with Madrid. “Maybe I didn’t see something that I was expecting to see from him,” Menezes said. Kaka has not been summoned regularly after the 2010 World Cup because Menezes said he was waiting for the player to improve his form and play more often with Madrid. Robinho also didn’t get another chance despite being a constant name in the squad when Menezes took over after the World Cup. Robinho’s AC Milan teammate Alexandre Pato, coming off an injury, also was not summoned this time. Eight of the players called up for the friendly are young enough to play in the Olympics, the only major football competition Brazil has never won. They are Neymar, Alex Sandro, Danilo, Rafael, Lucas, Sandro, Ganso and Leandro Damiao. The Olympic tournament is played with under-23 squads but each team can use up to three players older than 23. Menezes said he won’t name those three players until just before the tournament. Santos goalkeeper Rafael is the only newcomer in Menezes’ list. All others had been previously summoned. Brazil will face Denmark in Germany in May, then will tour the United States to play the hosts on May 30, Mexico on June 3 and South American rival Argentina on June 9.—AP

Napoli back on track ROME: Napoli ended a winless run of five 51st minute after Danish central defender matches on Monday with a 2-0 win over Simon Kjaer - who had only come on at Serie A rivals Chievo thanks to goals from half-time - brought down Mattia Destro Uruguayan duo Miguel Angel Britos and earning him a yellow card to boot. Siena’s leading scorer Emanuele Calaio Edinson Cavani. The win - which followed a run of four made no mistake as he put away his 10th draws and a defeat - saw them climb to a goal of the season and help his side move point off sixth-placed AS Roma, who five points clear of the relegation places. slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat by relega- Roma’s Spanish coach Luis Enrique admitted that his side had not merited a point. tion-threatened Siena. “This evening a lot of the players were Napoli had the game won by half-time as first Britos rose to head home a 14th below par,” said the 41-year-old former Real minute corner and then Cavani otherwise Madrid, Barcelona and Spain star. “It was known as the ‘Matador’ tucked away a 37th not to be our night. We made too many minute penalty he had obtained himself errors. We are always trying to play attracwhen fouled by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano tive football, but if there is no good management of the ball we get into trouble. “It Sorrentino. Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said that is obvious that we are a long way off the his side were capable of playing better consistency we are looking for.”—AFP football once they relaxed. “ This is an important victory,” he said. “I am convinced that when we overcome the fear factor, the pressure that we feel weighing down on us, Napoli will show a much better quality of play.” Roma were left kicking themselves as they missed the chance to leapfrog ailing Inter Milan who had seen their winless run extended to five games with a stunning 1-0 defeat to tailenders Novara on Sunday. Siena’s goal ITALY: Napoli forward Ezequiel Lavezzi (left) is chased by Chievo came from the midfielder Pirparim Hetemaj of Finland, during a Serie A soccer penalty spot in the match.—AP

Researchers for the ECB could base themselves on previous scientific literature showing that human emotion runs very much through trading, from the Friday distrac tions ahead of a weekend to a slump in stock market returns the day after a major local team loses. The World Cup, though, trumps just about everything else. Held over one summer month every four years, the tournament touches people worldwide - it counts a cumulative total of tens of billions of viewers for the 64 matches and some 700 million for the final alone. In Chile, trades per minute dropped by 83 percent when the national team was playing, and volumes were all but wiped out with a 99.5 percent drop. Ever since the first World Cup final

between Uruguay and Argentina in 1930, Latin America has been particularly obsessed with the game and in Brazil, the only five-time winner, it is considered a popular “religion.” Trade in volumes during their matches declined by 79.7 percent in Argentina and by 74.5 percent in Brazil. “The Latin American countries show particularly large declines,” the study said. Among the 15 stock exchanges tested, Latin American nations have four of the six biggest declines. And even in the United States, where soccer and the World Cup only started surging in popularity after the 1994 edition there, the impact is clear. Trade dropped by 42 percent both in volume and per minute when the US team was playing and by around 24

percent during the other matches. “Investors in the US markets often have an international background, which might explain the rather strong effects,” the study said. England, the cradle of the modern game and home to Europe’s biggest financial center in the City of London, kept a cool head trades per minute dropped by only 21.2 percent and volumes fell 26.5 percent when the national team played in the last edition. Perhaps traders with a keen eye for the future already knew that World Cup would turn out to be a disaster. Germany though, so often the epitome of seriousness and industriousness, had World Cup fever reaching almost South American proportions with a 59 percent drop in trades and volume.—AP

Sociedad blank Sevilla MADRID: Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela and Ruben Pardo scored to spoil Michel’s debut as the new Sevilla coach in a 2-0 La Liga victory on Monday. Former Real Madrid and Spain player Michel replaced Marcelino as Sevilla boss last week, but failed to make an immediate impact and the sliding Andalucians have now taken only two points from their last eight matches. Mexico striker Vela, on loan from Arsenal, volleyed the opener in the 65th minute at Anoeta and three minutes later Pardo struck a blistering drive past Andres Palop. Sevilla dropped down to 13th with 26 points from 22 matches, one behind Sociedad in 11th, and only three points above the relegation places. Real Madrid top the standings with 58 points after a 4-2 comeback win at home to Levante on Sunday, when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick. Jose Mourinho’s men opened up a 10-point lead over faltering champions Barcelona in second, who slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Osasuna on Saturday. Meanwhile, the footballers from Primera Liga side FC Sevilla were the latest Spanish-based sports stars to protest against the image of them being doping frauds on Monday by wearing shirts emblazoned with the logo ‘liberty, equality and superiority’. The Sevilla players wore the

logo, a dig at France’s national motto though the Sp;aniards substituted ‘superiority’ for ‘fraternity’, on their shirts during the league match with Real Sociedad - who refrained from such a gesture in the latest offering in the bitter war of words between France and Spain. The Spanish have been up in arms since French satirical puppet show “Les Guignols” implied tennis great Rafael Nadal and other athletes are drug cheats following the two year ban imposed on two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador for doping last week. Sevilla issued a statement explaining why they had allowed thewir players to take to the pitch with the slogan on their shirts. “This is to show our support for all sportsmen in the country,” the club said. “We also wanted to take the movement a step further in our resolute defence of the Spanish sporting world.” The sketches on French T V prompted the Spanish foreign minister to order a formal protest to French media. One sketch featured a puppet likeness of world number two Nadal refuelling the tank of his car from his own bladder, a fill-up which powers up the car and leads to him being pulled over by police. In another, a satirical advert asks people to donate blood to Contador and thus share in the glory of his cycling victories.—AFP

Carlos Vela

Zambia team returns home after African Cup victory LUSAKA: With an escort of jet fighters screaming above and tens of thousands of screaming fans on the ground, Zambia’s victorious soccer team flew home to a hero’s welcome. The Copper Bullets, or Chipolopolo as the national team is called, descended from the plane Monday to meet ecstatic fans and show off the African Cup of Nations trophy that has eluded the southern African nation for more than 30 years. “Go Zambia, go!” the crowd roared. The players were driven off on the backs of army trucks, on roads packed with cheering Zambians, to the showgrounds where speeches and a concert are planned. Zambia beat favorites Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties in a nerve-racking upset Sunday at the African Cup finals in Libreville, Gabon. Many attributed the victory to an amazing team spirit from a crew that fielded only one international player. Zambia were the underrated underdogs at the African tournament, much like their country, which boasts a thriving democracy, a less-traveled destination for African wildlife and the spectacular Victoria Falls - along with a booming copper industry that recently catapulted the country to the status of lower middle-income. First off the plane Monday was Vice President Guy Scott, believed to be the highest-ranking white man in Africa and a sign that Zambia has put behind its colonial past. Last off was team captain Christopher Katongo, standing between Zambian football association president Kalusha Bwalya and the team’s French coach Herve Renard. It was a bittersweet victory. Last week after arriving for the finals, the Zambian players laid wreaths on a stretch of Libreville beach not far from where a Zambian military plane crashed into the ocean soon after takeoff in 1993, killing 25 players and officials on board. “By winning the cup we have helped ease the pain of the Zambian people,” Katongo declared on his arrival home. Striker Emmanuel Mayuka said, “I just wanted to finish what they failed to finish,” referring to the team that perished. Bwalya is the only surviving member of that team, escaping the crash because he was flying from Europe. “The pain of that crash still lingers and we must all remember that those players perished while trying to achieve victory and honor for our beloved country,” former President Rupiah Banda declared before he departed with a government delegation Sunday. The players had vowed to win the 2012 championship to appease the souls of a lost generation of football stars. Back in 1993, state broadcasters interrupted normal programming to announce the crash in the eight languages spoken in Zambia. In Lusaka, the capital, men and women wept in

LUSAKA: Traditional dancers perform at the AFCON victory lunch at the State House yesterday in Lusaka. Zambia’s national team arrived home to an ecstatic welcome from thousands of fans who gathered to greet the Copper Bullets after they won the country’s first Africa Cup of Nations title. —AFP offices and on the streets. On Monday, there who led Zambia to independence from Britain in 1964 and was its president for 27 years, and were only cheers. Zambians poured out of their houses, clubs Sata’s predecessor, Banda. Sata was elected last year in his fourth and bars to celebrate in the streets early Monday, defying Police Minister Kennedy attempt at the presidency, campaigning as the Sakeni, who said there would be no reason for champion of poor Zambians to oust a party that had held power for 20 years. people to leave their homes to celebrate. His government’s first budget doubled the “It is a dream come true,” said David Phiri, a plumber. Then he blew hard on his vuvuzela, the royalties paid by copper mining companies, piercing trumpet heard around the world during from 3 to 6 percent. It also made primary health broadcasts from the World Cup in neighboring care free and lifted the tax burden from workers South Africa in 2010. Jubilant Zambians also earning less than about $400 a month. In July, the World Bank raised Zambia’s status honked the horns of cars draped in their flag, from a lower-income to a middle-income counshouted from windows and sang football songs. “It was written in the stars that we will be the try, when its per capita annual national income champions,” Winfreda Muyunda said breathlessly passed the $1,006 barrier.—AP as she ran out to join a street party that had converged in front of a Lusaka police station. In the lead-up to the final, Zambians at home and abroad rejected predictions that Ivory Coast Matches on TV would be too strong for their Chipolopolo. (Local Timings) Traders have done a roaring business in shirts, scarves, caps and traditional cotton wrappers known as chitenge in national colors, as well as UEFA Champions League national flags. At least two planeloads of football fans took off from Lusaka early Sunday for Zenit v Benfica 20:00 Libreville. Al Jazeera Sports +2 President Michael Sata gave Scott the honor of representing his government at the final. AC Milan v Arsenal 22:45 Scott was accompanied by Kenneth Kaunda, Al Jazeera Sports +4

Milan plot ambush for Arsenal

76ers send Bobcats to 15th straight loss




Devendro tempers aggression for gold dreams

Page 16

GERMANY: Barcelona’s Argentinian striker Lionel Messi (center) vies for the ball with Leverkusen’s defender Daniel Schwaab (left) during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg match. —AFP

Barca on verge of CL quarters LEVERKUSEN: Holders Barcelona took a giant step towards the Champions League’s quarter-finals with a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen in yesterday’s Round of 16 first-leg tie. With the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 7, Barcelona dominated possession in this David versus Goliath clash against a Leverkusen who have now won just one of their last eight games. For all their super-star status, Barcelona, who lag ten points behind

leaders Real Madrid in the Spanish league, stumbled at times and Leverkusen squandered chances to earn a draw. Nevertheless, Barcelona are in poleposition to reach the last eight after two goals by Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and a late strike by Lionel Messi gave them a valuable away win while Leverkusen defender Michal Kadlec grabbed a consolation. Barcelona boasted a midfield of World Cup winners Andres Iniesta,

Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas behind a forward line containing Brazil’s Adriano, Sanchez and three-time world footballer of the year Messi. The injury-enforced absences of midfielder Sidney Sam and Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok were a major blow to the hosts, while ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack was ruled out on Sunday with a calf injury. On a cold night at the BayArena, the Spaniards took most of the first-half to warm up with Messi showing only rare

flashes of skill early on. With Barcelona enjoying around 80 percent of the possession, it was a matter of time before the hosts’ defence cracked. A through ball from Messi saw Dani Alves and Sanchez sprint head-to-head after the ball and it was the Chilean who arrived first to fire past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on 41 minutes. Barcelona’s half-time lead was harsh on the hard-working hosts, but with virtually their first full attack of the game, Leverkusen equalised. Former

Tottenham Hotspur defender Vedran Corluka managed to chip in a cross and Czech Republic defender Kadlec headed home at the back post for a goal which had the 30,000-capacity crowd on their feet on 52 minutes. Barcelona, however, needed just three minutes to pull ahead again when Sanchez added his second after a ball from Fabregas allowed the Chilean to round Leno and fire home. Leverkusen came out fighting and Renato Augusto forced Barcelona goal-

Braga falter in Europa League LONDON: Braga’s hopes of contesting a second successive Europa League final were hit yesterday when Besiktas won the first leg of their round of 32 meeting. Tomas Sivok’s header and Simao’s strike gave Besiktas a 2-0 win in Portugal after Braga had Helder Barbosa sent off in the 29th minute for a second bookable offense. Also yesterday, David Fuster gave Olympiakos a 1-0 victory at Rubin Kazan with a 71st-minute goal. The Russian side looked set to equalize two minutes later when goalkeeper Balazs Megyeri was sent off for a foul on Gokdeniz Karadeniz. But substitute goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who joined Olympiakos last month, came on to save Bebras Natcho’s penalty, and the 10-man Greek side held on to take a big advantage into the return leg at home on Feb. 23. Most of the first-leg matches are being played on Thursday when Manchester United, the reigning English champions, and Manchester City, the current Premier League leaders, are in action after dropping out of the Champions League. United plays Dutch giant Ajax in a matchup between two storied teams who have been crowned European champions seven times between them. Meanwhile, Manchester United play a European match outside the Champions League for the first time since 1995 tomorrow when they meet Ajax Amsterdam in the Europa League with manager Alex Ferguson convinced they are unlucky not to be challenging for the European Cup as usual. United, who have reached the Champions League final three times in the past four seasons, failed to advance

past the group stage this season after dropping vital points drawing and losing to Basel. They now face Ajax in a round of 32 first leg game - their first at this level of European competition since they played a UEFA Cup tie against Rotor Volgograd of Russia in 1995-96 when they were beaten on away goals in the first round. Since then they have had 16 successive seasons in the Champions League and were European champions in 1999 and 2008 as well as losing finalists in 2009 and last season. Ferguson, talking ahead of their trip to Amsterdam, told that United’s early exit from the Champions League was a blip and as much down to bad luck as anything else. “I feel we had the ability to go all the way to the final,” he said. “Luck wasn’t on our side, but I think we’ve got the ambition to compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid, and I don’t feel we’re that far away from them. I’m sure we’ll show that soon.” United, as ever, are in contention for the Premier League title again and after their 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday, are just two points behind rivals Manchester City with 13 matches to play. “We’ve had our ups and downs and we’ve been unlucky with injuries,” Ferguson added. “We’ve had a lot of them, which you don’t expect, and we’ve got people like Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher out for the whole season. “You can replace your best players for a game or two, but you really notice the difference over a longer period, and that’s what’s happened to us. “Even so, we’re fighting hard to win the premiership again and there’s a lot of mer-

keeper Victor Valdes into a save moments later, while midfielder Gonzalo Castro hit the post on 64 minutes with Valdes beaten. Despite a posse of defenders shadowing his every move, Messi hit the post with 72 minutes gone, but at the other end striker Stefan Kiessling came on with 15 minutes left and headed at Valdes with his first touch of the game. Messi saved the best for last when he finished a great cross from Alves for the third on 88 minutes.—AFP

Lacazette gives Lyon edge over APOEL

MOSCOW: Vassilis Torossidis of Olympiakos (right) fights for the ball against Salvatore Bocchetti of Rubin Kazan (left) during their round of 32 match of UEFA Europa League. —AFP it in that. Obviously I’m optimistic about our chances.” One man who has escaped injury this season, as he has largely done since first breaking into the side in 1991, is 38-year-old Ryan Giggs, who has made more appearances for United than anyone and will reach another milestone if he plays tomorrow. It would be his 900th match for the club and he shows no signs of slowing down after announcing he is signing a new contract taking him till the end of next season.

Giggs has been on the United playing staff so long, he was around when they met Torpedo Moscow in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 1992-93, United losing on penalties after both legs ended goalless. Both he and Paul Scholes, also played against Volgograd 16 seasons ago. Elite soccer today bears little resemblance now but Giggs says he is determined not to make the same mistake as team mate Scholes by retiring too early. Scholes is back in the team after coming out of retirement last month.—Reuters

LYON: Lyon secured a slender advantage in their Champions League last 16 tie with APOEL FC by beating the Cypriot underdogs 1-0 in the first leg at Stade Gerland yesterday. APOEL are the first team from Cyprus to reach the knockout rounds and they defended stoutly in front of over 4,000 travelling supporters but were undone by an Alexandre Lacazette goal shortly before the hour. Lacazette’s strike, allied to what was only a second clean sheet in their last 12 games, puts Lyon in a commanding position to reach the quarter-finals prior to the second leg in Nicosia on March 7. APOEL, however, finished ahead of Zenit Saint Petersburg, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk in the group phase and their Serbian coach Ivan Jovanovic had said that his only wish was for his side to still be in with a chance after the away leg. APOEL had charted their way through Group G by sitting deep and picking their opponents off on the break, and they stuck to their game plan in a first half that kicked off to a backdrop of glowing flares in the away end. Lyon met APOEL’s conservatism with a cautious 4-2-3-1 formation that relegated Bafetimbi Gomis, their top scorer in the competition, to the bench, and OL toiled to find gaps in the visiting defence. Ederson, Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez had all tried their luck with shots from varying range before Lacazette procured the first sight of goal on the half hour, cutting inside defender Kaka but shooting wastefully over. It was Lacazette who drew the first save from goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis as well, with a snap-shot from the right-hand apex of the area that the 34-year-old Greek palmed away. Lyon almost caught their opponents cold in the opening moments of the second period, with Ederson breaking through and rounding Chiotis, only for his goal-bound shot to be blocked by a sliding Paulo Jorge. The visitors would not survive another scare, however, and in the 58th minute the goal arrived with Cris at its unlikely source. The Lyon captain strolled into the APOEL area before touching the ball left for Lacazette, who cut inside and beat Chiotis with a rasping shot that took a deflection off Paulo Jorge. Chiotis saved from Bastos at his near post immediately afterwards, but the storm passed and Remi Garde was obliged to introduce Yoann Gourcuff to help his side hold on to possession and keep their opponents at arm’s length. There was one, late scare for Lyon, but substitute Gustavo Manduca’s rising drive met its match in a finger-tip save from the otherwise untroubled Hugo Lloris.—AFP

Kuwait buys three spot LNG cargoes for April Page 22

China says ready to help solve EU debt crisis Page 25 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2012

Kuwait equities buoyant Page 24

US retail sales rebound as consumers boost spending Page 23

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti men sit in a Bentley Continental GTC 2012 convertible automobile at a showroom in Kuwait City. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

EU states fret after Moody’s downgrades Britain defends spending cuts amid negative outlook LONDON: Britain’s finance minister defended his government’s deep public spending cuts yesterday after Moody’s said the country risked losing its pristine Aaa credit rating. The influential agency downgraded the debt ratings of six European Union countries and placed negative outlooks on the top Aaa ratings of France, Britain and Austria, blaming ongoing fallout from the euro-zone crisis. The agency pointed to “materially weaker growth prospects” over the coming years for its warning on Britain. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, insisted the assessment justified the austerity measures being implemented by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, aimed at reining in Britain’s budget deficit. “What this credit ratings agency is warning us of today is very clear,” he told BBC radio. “They say Britain’s rating would be

downgraded if there was a reduced political commitment to dealing with our debts, if there was any extra discretionary spending or borrowing. “If you don’t have confidence in a country’s ability to pay its debts, as you have seen with plenty of other European countries, then you get negative growth, rising unemployment, and no prospect of recovery. “That is precisely why I don’t see this false choice between growth and dealing with your debts.” Spain lashed out yesterday at Moody’s decision to downgrade its sovereign debt, saying it was ‘contradictory’ given that the rating agencies have welcomed its latest economic reforms. “They say that yes, they welcome them (the reforms) and then they decide the opposite according to their criteria, it is fairly paradoxical,” Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro

said. “It is good, they do their work, their valuations, but the truth is that it is a bit contradictory,” he told Onda Cero radio. The British economy shrank more than expected in the fourth quarter of last year, with gross domestic product dipping 0.2 percent because of weakness in the production and construction sectors. Britain’s biggest employers’ group predicted on Monday that the economy will rebound and narrowly avoid recession-defined as two straight quarters of contraction-with 0.2-percent growth in the first three months of 2012. But the Confederation of British Industr y (CBI) slashed its annual growth forecasts, blaming the eurozone debt crisis, saying it now expected the economy to expand by 0.9 percent in 2012 and by 2.0 percent next year. The main opposition Labor

Economic implications in Gulf rising, says S&P DUBAI: Rising tension between Iran and the West is increasing political and economic risks for sovereign and corporate issuers in the Middle East and focusing attention on the key role of the Strait of Hormuz in trade for the Gulf, says Standard & Poor ’s Ratings Services in a series of three new reports (see list of publications below). In response to tougher sanctions, including a boycott of Iranian oil exports by the EU, Iran has threatened retaliation, notably in the form of a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, a conduit for the flow of oil and gas out of the Gulf. So far, these threats have been verbal, but analysts are not ruling out the possibility that the current exchanges of rhetoric could spark disruptions to trade flowing through the Strait, or even in an extreme scenario, military confrontation. At this time, we think the current developments in relation to Iran are captured in our ratings on countries and corporate issuers in

the region and so we do not expect any immediate actions. Nevertheless, political pressures in the Middle East are acute, and any sudden deterioration in the situation could lead us to reassess this view. In the absence of a diplomatic solution, we believe Iran could respond in some way to the latest wave of sanctions and international pressure, most likely-and past behavior suggests this-through low-level provocation. For example, Iranian authorities could slow shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and disrupt the timely supply of oil from the Gulf by imposing tanker inspections, boarding merchant ships, and otherwise obstructing shipping routes in its territorial waters. Such low-scale provocation and simmering tension would in our view keep oil prices at their currently high level. This is because markets would increasingly view the specter of armed conflict as a real, if remote, possibility.

“For oil-producing sovereigns of the Gulf Cooperation CouncilSaudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and to a lesser extent, Bahrain-higher oil prices would actually be beneficial,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Elliot Hentov. “As oil exporters, they would receive more foreign earnings that they could either use to stimulate demand or improve their government’s balance sheets.” In contrast, the fiscal and external balances of oil importers in the M iddle East- especially Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon-are already stretched. As such, they are ill prepared for a further rise in oil prices. Furthermore, countries in need of attrac ting investor appetite in 2012, such as Egypt, could suffer from an elevated risk premium in their debt financing. Other non-oil trade could also be affected because of higher transaction and logistics costs for shipping imports into the Gulf states through the Strait of Hormuz. — Reuters

party, from whom the current administration inherited a record deficit in 2010, said the coalition was damaging the recovery by slashing public spending and raising taxes too quickly. “The message is plough on, dig a deeper hole,” said Labor’s finance spokesman Ed Balls. “It’s time people said this isn’t working.” Moody’s identified three main threats to Britain’s Aaa rating, including a combination of slow growth and “reduced political commitment” to lowering the deficit. Other dangers were “a sharp rise in debt-refinancing costs” or a fresh crisis in the banking sector. Britain and France were locked in a war of words in December after the head of the French central bank suggested Britain deserved to lose the treasured AAA rating. France lost its AAA rating from another leading ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, last month. —Agencies

LILLE: A closeup shows triple “A” letters (AAA) and euro notes. Moody’s downgraded the debt ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal and placed negative outlooks on France, Britain and Austria. — AFP

ALAFCO orders 35 more A320neo jets SINGAPORE: A Kuwait-based leasing firm has ordered 35 more Airbus A320neo planes for $3.4 billion based on catalogue prices, the European aircraft maker said yesterday. The purchase will be in addition to 50 A320neo aircraft ordered by the Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO) at the Dubai Airshow last year, Airbus said in a statement. The new deal was announced at the Singapore Airshow that kicked off yesterday and lasts until the weekend.

“After a full analysis, we concluded that the A320neo will continue to be in strong demand,” said ALAFCO chairman and chief executive Ahmad Alzabin in a statement. “Therefore, we are seizing the opportunity to secure an additional 35 aircraft to meet the future requirements of our customers,” he added. “The significant fuel burn savings it offers, combined with the operational reliability and costeffectiveness of the A320 family makes it an absolute ‘must have’ in our portfolio.”

John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer customers, said the deal was valued at $3.4 billion at list prices. “We are very pleased with this and we are delighted that this is a new order for the A320neo,” he said at a news briefing. Airbus said the A320neo burns 15 percent less fuel and also generates less noise. The lower fuel burn saves 3,600 tons of carbon dioxide per aircraft per year, equal to the amount absorbed by 240,000 mature trees, Airbus added.—AFP

Emaar posts 27% drop in 2011 net profit DUBAI: Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar Properties announced yesterday a 27 percent drop in 2011 net profit to $489 million. The 1.794 billion dirhams net compared with 2.448 billion dirhams ($665.2 million) a year earlier, the company said. Net operating profit was at 2.058 billion dirham ($560 million) in 2011, down 32 percent from 3.034 billion ($826.7 million). But net profit in the fourth quarter surged 161 percent to 716 million dirhams ($195 million) from 274 million dirhams ($74.66 million). Losses due to provisions made for impaired assets reached 264 million

dirhams ($71.9 million), compared to write-offs of 533 million dirhams ($145.2 million), it said. The company behind major property developments in Dubai, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, said annual revenues fell 33 percent to 8.112 billion ($2.209 billion) from 12.150 billion dirhams ($3.31 billion). But it boasted that its Dubai Mall was the world’s most visited shopping and tourism destination marking record visitor numbers of 54 million people in 2011. Shopping malls and retail businesses contributed 2.14 billion dirhams ($583 million) to annual revenues, or 26 percent of the total, and 13 percent higher than

their 1.9 billion dirhams ($517 million) a year earlier. Revenues from Emaar’s hospitality and leisure business rose 22 percent, contributing 1.22 billion dirhams ($332 million) in 2011, or 15 percent of total revenues, compared to one billion dirhams ($272 million). “The robust financial performance of Emaar in 2011 is a testament to Dubai’s status as the Middle East region’s business and lifestyle hub,” said chairman Mohamed Alabbar. “With The Dubai Mall hosting more than 54 million visitors, the city has firmly established its global credentials as an international business and leisure destination,” he said.—AFP




Dubai launches commodity finance, storage system DUBAI: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said it launched an electronic system yesterday for inventory-based financing of commodities and a warehouse ratings program for lenders to weigh storage risk. DMCC’s new Tradeflow platform is designed to help owners of goods stored in warehouses

in the United Arab Emirates get working capital from banks, using standardized contracts as collateral. The five-star warehouse rating system is intended to give potential financiers a better understanding of the storage risks involved when considering lending money to the owners of a vari-

ronment to put money in the market,” Paul Boots, director of DMCC Tradeflow, told Reuters. “So what we are trying to do is reduce the risks for them to make them more comfortable in lending.” DMCC has already issued ratings of four or five stars for three large warehousing firms - Steinweg-Sharaf Fze,

ety of commodities from gold to grains. DMCC is part of a Dubai government strategy to make the Gulf Arab emirate one of the world’s major trading centers for commodities. “Trade is growing in Dubai. There is demand for more liquidity, but the banks are hesitant in the current envi-

RHS Logistics and RSA Logistics. “We expect to witness increased access to trade finance for not only DMCClicensed companies but for commodity traders throughout the world who use Dubai as a trading hub,” DMCC Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem said in a statement. — Reuters

Kuwait buys three spot LNG cargoes for April Decision to meet rising demand for electricity DUBAI: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation has bought three spot cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for delivery in April to help meet rising demand for electricity and use in its largest refinery, a statement on KPC’s website said yesterday. Kuwait began importing super-cooled gas in 2009 to help meet demand for electricity in one of the world’s highest per capita power consumers and has long-term deals to buy gas from Royal Dutch Shell and Vitol from 2010-2013. But surging air conditioning demand in the hot Middle Eastern summer and a lack of domestic supply means Kuwait needs to import more gas each year to feed its power plants.

“In preparation for the next summer season... (KPC) concluded a contract for these consignment in the spot market, in addition to the consignments that have previously been agreed to between the KPC with Shell and Vitol in longterm contracts,” Jamal Al-Loughani, deputy marketing director at KPC, said. Loughani did not identify the sellers but said two of the cargoes were bought from a “major gas trading company” with the other sourced from a major LNG exporter. Kuwait is close to the world’s largest LNG exporter Qatar but the Gulf neighbors have not agreed any long term supply deals yet. KPC said the spot cargoes - which range from 2.8 trillion

EFG-Hermes share trading resumes CAIRO: Egypt’s stock exchange briefly suspended trade in EFG-Hermes shares yesterday but resumed dealing after the investment bank issued details about its Chief Executive Yasser El Mallawany, who faces a travel ban. The shares were trading down 1.6 percent by 1045 GMT, compared to a 1 percent drop in benchmark index. Airport authorities prevented Mallawany from travelling to the United Arab Emirates last week when officials found his name on a list of people banned from leaving. The company had last week said Mallawany was carrying out his duties and that no charges of any form had been levelled against him. It issued a fresh statement on Tuesday. “EFG Hermes Holding confirms that the company is not under any kind of investigation and is carrying out its business as usual in Egypt and the region,” it said, adding

ATHENS: Workers remove debris from the Alpha Bank headquarters in the aftermath of widespread rioting that saw the destruction of dozens of buildings in central Athens yesterday. —AFP

Dubai lender ENBD to pay for exposure to state-linked firms

Mallawany was performing his duties and no charges had been levelled. Following the fall from power of President Hosni Mubarak last year the public prosecutor banned some officials and businessmen from travelling, pending investigations into corruption allegations. Mubarak, his two sons and some former officials and ministers are currently on trial on corruption and other charges.EFG-Hermes has come under the spotlight since last year for its association with Mubarak’s younger son Gamal, who owns 18 percent of the investment bank’s subsidiary EFG-Hermes Private Equity. EFG-Hermes has said the subsidiary generates no more than 7 percent of EFG Hermes Holding’s total revenue and that it does not manage any funds or portfolios for Mubarak or his family and did not receive any special privileges from his government. — Reuters

Oman’s Renaissance 2011 profit drops 93% DUBAI: Oman’s Renaissance Services yesterday reported a 93 percent drop in its annual profit for 2011 after taking a writedown from a subsidiary and as operating expenses rose. Renaissance 2011 net profit was 2.29 million rials ($5.95 million), down from 32.28 million rials a year earlier. The oil services firm said it took an expense of 11.42 million rials relating to Topaz Marine and Engineering

to 3.5 trillion British thermal units (2.77-3.47 billion cubic feet of gas) - were bought for among the lowest prices currently possible on the international market. The first cargo, expected at the start of April, will be used by KPC’s 466,000 barrel a day (bpd) Mina Al-Ahmadi refinery.State-run KPC’s LNG imports have risen sharply from 11 in 2009 to 33 in 2010 because the Gulf Arab oil exporter does not have enough natural gas to meet power demand in summer and supply seawater desalination plants. Kuwait hopes to nearly quadruple its gas output to 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2030, to help feed an expected doubling in electricity demand. — Reuters

unit. In August, Renaissance said it had uncovered financial misconduct and fraud at Topaz, having pulled the unit’s London initial public offering in March, citing valuation concerns and growing regional unrest. Renaissance’s 2011 revenue was 289.9 million rials, up 14 percent from a year earlier, but operating expenses increased 24 percent over the same period to 252.8 million rials. — Reuters

DUBAI: Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, will see its quarterly results hit again by its exposure to state-linked companies, in the latest sign of the toll taken by its status of the emirate’s lender of last resort. The bank, formed at the behest of Dubai’s ruler in 2007 through the merger of Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai, reports fourth-quarter results today. Its exposure to government-related entities (GREs) — which accounted for 24 percent of total assets as of Sept. 30, up from 17 percent at the end of 2009, according to Moody’s-has raised concerns in the market. “ENBD is a large and systemically important bank, but it can’t be the lender of last resort for Dubai GREs,” said Mahin Dissanayake, director, Middle East financial institutions at Fitch Ratings. “We already have concerns about ENBD’s high concentration risks and further mergers or asset acquisitions could weigh negatively on future asset quality.” Its October takeover of Dubai Bank, again by order of the ruler, is among issues causing unease among market players. Dubai Bank was rescued by the government earlier in 2011. ENBD has said the takeover will not have a negative impact on profits or impairments but has given little other information on how the Islamic lender would be integrated. It has promised more clarity in its

fourth-quarter results. “The Dubai Bank transaction was considered ratings neutral at the time, because it was enabled by substantial Dubai government support,” Dissanayake said. “However, the bank has further increased its exposure to GREs and therefore potential new debt restructuring.” ENBD warned in October that quarterly earnings would see a similar impairment impact as in the third quarter when its 1.76 billion dirham ($479.2 million) operating profit was all but wiped out by provisions. Two analysts forecast fourth-quarter net profit of 114 million dirhams and 230.3 million dirhams respectively, down from 406.5 million dirhams in the same quarter in 2010. Adding to its provisioning burden is Dubai Group, part of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s personal investment vehicle, Dubai Holding, and which is renegotiating $6 billion in bank debt. The latter is part of a wider $10 billion debt restructuring at Dubai Group. Dubai Bank had a 4.1 billion dirhams exposure to Dubai Group, according to the lender’s last available results in 2009. Meanwhile, ENBD provisioned its Dubai Group debt at 20 percent in the third quarter, meaning the 950 million dirham impairment it took would equate to a holding of 4.75 billion dirhams. The two stakes combined make up about

40 percent of Dubai Group’s $6 billion total bank debt. If ENBD has to also provision for Dubai Bank’s exposure, it would add a further 820 million dirhams at the same 20 percent rate. Two sources on Dubai Group’s restructuring said ENBD should be provisioning much higher than 20 percent. “That 20 percent provision looks light. I’d expect in different regimes, they would be higher, significantly higher,” one of them said. “They should be well over 50 percent if banks are being honest about the state of Dubai Group’s assets.” In November, a source told Reuters the value of Dubai Group’s assets had fallen to around $2.5 billion to $3 billion. Dubai’s government walked away from debt talks, dashing hopes for a state-backed rescue, sources said this month. ENBD is not alone in grappling with impairments at Dubai state-linked firms. Other UAE banks, including Abu Dhabi’s Union National Bank, have provisioned against Dubai Group, although the percentage is not known. But its central position in the emirate’s economy-and the government’s 55.6 percent stake-mean it is required to absorb much of the burden when a market-based solution is required. “The bank is making a ton of money but they just keep having to use it for ringfencing,” an analyst at one international bank said, speaking on condition of anonymity. — Reuters

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

.2730000 .4330000 .3620000 .2990000 .2740000 .2940000 .0040000 .0020000 .0752280 .7329220 .3830000 .0720000 .7184970 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2771000 GB Pound/KD .4353240 Euro .3647190 Swiss francs .3018520 Canadian dollars .2766300 Danish Kroner .0490720 Swedish Kroner .0414680 Australian dlr .2960260 Hong Kong dlr .0357350 Singapore dlr .2193640 Japanese yen .0035580 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0754730 Bahraini dinars .7353060 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0739130 Omani riyals .7200210 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2805000 .4420000 .3700000 .3080000 .2830000 .3020000 .0070000 .0035000 .0759840 .7402880 .4000000 .0770000 .7257190 .0072000 .0500000 .2792000 .4386230 .3674830 .3041390 .2787260 .0494440 .0417830 .2982690 .0360060 .2210260 .0035850 .0056860 .0023520 .0030810 .0033420 .0760450 .7408780 .3949080 .0744730 .7254770 .0065770

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram


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


301.300 740.270 3.610 281.700 546.700 45.400 50.600 167.800 48.110 371.000 36.580 5.830 0.032 0.195 0.245 3.680 394.750 0.188 94.290 46.500 4.280 234.900 1.803 49.500 723.020


299.800 740.270 3.318 280.200

222.300 46.128 369.500 36.430 5.645 0.032

10 Tola

75.790 278.300

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Selling Rate

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

278.250 279.670 438.960 366.940 303.560 736.840 75.735 76.375 74.160 391.675 46.139 2.355 5.656 3.069 3.312 6.527 682.535 3.666 9.125 5.860 3.625 92.345

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

301.64 282.17 307.95 369.46

442.00 3.70 3.550 5.800 2.650 4.250 3.200 76.25 74.00 48.20 394.00 728.00 77.25 74.70

278.300 3.061 5.650 2.345 3.320 6.595 75.875 74.370 739.900 46.063 443.800 3.190 1.550 372.100 283.500 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

440.04 3.63 3.309 5.637 2.390 3.535 3.069 75.75 740.27 46.15 395.93 723.28 76.74 74.31

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 440.000 278.300

Sterling Pound US Dollar



305.600 4.200 9.230

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


394.430 0.187 94.290 3.550 233.400

3.075 6.540 76.570 74.320 222.330 38.720 2.335 440.000

GOLD 1,799.700

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.160 6.910 77.000 74.320 222.330 38.720 2.658 442.000 42.800 307.100 4.200 9.400 198.263 75.890 278.700 1.300

302.00 282.00 307.00 372.00

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

277.950 369.300 439.800 280.000 3.595 5.645 46.050 2.334 3.350 6.520 3.064 740.200 75.700 74.250




US retail sales rebound as consumers boost spending Promising sign for ailing economy WASHINGTON: Americans rebounded from a weak holiday season and stepped up spending on retail goods in January, an encouraging sign for the strengthening economy. Retail sales rose at a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Consumers spent more on electronics, home and garden supplies, sporting goods, at department and general merchandise stores and at restaurants and bars. Consumers less on cars in January, the report showed, even though automakers have previously reported higher sales in January. That suggests dealers offered discounts in order to boost sales. Low interest rates, better loan availability and new car models have helped drive sales higher in the last three months. The January figure was an improvement from December, which was downwardly revised to show a flat reading. And when excluding autos and gasoline station sales, retail spending jumped 0.6 percent - the best showing in three months. The government’s retail sales report is its first look each month at consumer spending, which represents 70 percent of economic activity. The positive data suggest that hiring gains have encouraged more people to spend, which should lead to stronger growth. Retail sales have risen about 21 percent since hitting a recession low. And they’re nearly 6 percent above their pre-

recession high. Sales at gasoline stations rose 1.4 percent last month, the most in

10 months. Gas prices have risen steadily in recent months. The average price for a

CLEVELAND: Shoppers head into the Walmart store at the Steelyard Commons shopping complex in Cleveland. Americans rebounded from a weak holiday season and stepped up spending on retail goods last month, an encouraging sign for the strengthening economy. —AP

gallon of gas was $3.51 on Monday, up 12 cents from a month earlier. Earlier this month, big chain retailers reported a solid increase in January sales. The gains weren’t evenly spread. Lowerpriced stores such as Target and Costco reported big gains. Macy’s and other stores that sell mid-priced goods didn’t do as well. The government’s monthly report is a broader gauge of retail sales. It covers purchases at all retailers, including auto dealerships, restaurants and bars, grocery stores and gasoline stations. Consumers are taking on more debt after cutting back in the aftermath of the recession. Consumer borrowing, which includes credit cards, auto loans, and student loans, posted the biggest monthly gains in a decade in November and December. The increases suggest consumers are more confident about the economy. But they could also mean that some are increasingly reliant on credit as wages have failed to keep up with inflation in the past year. Hiring has picked up in recent months, which could support more spending. Employers added 243,000 net jobs last month, the fifth straight month of solid hiring. The economy, meanwhile, expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year. Growth may slow a bit from that pace in the current quarter. Many economists forecast modest growth of 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year. —AP

Euro-zone output falls, GDP set to contract BRUSSELS: Output at factories in the euro-zone tumbled in December, reflecting a sick European economy that probably shrank at the end of 2011 but it is hoped will recover this year. Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 1.1 percent in December from November, marginally less than the 1.2 percent slide forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. On an annual basis, factory output dived 2.0 percent, worse than economists’ 1 percent estimate, European Union statistics office Eurostat said, as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis continued to damage morale among shoppers and businesses alike. EU data out today is set to show the euro zone’s economy contracted in the October-toDecember period last year com-

pared to the third quarter. With industrial production falling 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, many economists expect gross domestic product to have shrunk by 0.3 percent. That would be the first move into negative territory for the euro zone’s economy since the second quarter of 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, when output shrunk 0.2 percent, according to Eurostat. “December’s euro zone industrial production data adds to evidence that the economy shrunk pretty sharply in the fourth quarter,” said Ben May, an economist at Capital Economics in London, who predicts a deeper, 0.5 percent fall in GDP. In Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, industrial production plunged 2.7 percent in December.

A 0.8 percent month-onmonth drop in capital goods production in December fueled suspicion that businesses are still scaling back their investment plans, said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight. The trend was echoed in retail sales that slid unexpectedly in December across the euro zone, the biggest drop in the Christmas period in three years. “While euro-zone manufacturers might be past the worst they are still faced by very challenging conditions,” Archer said. European households cannot yet be relied on to help the euro zone pull out of its slump, even as the debt crisis shows signs of easing after the European Central Bank made unprecedented three-year loans available to

banks late last year. Joblessness reached a euroera high of 10.4 percent in December, while inflation remains near recent peaks of 3 percent. Belgium, Portugal and Greece are already in recession and the rest of euro zone is expected to struggle through a mild recession this year, although recent data suggests it may be mild and the German economy may avoid recession altogether. The German ZEW index that measures investors’ confidence, released separately on Tuesday, increased for the third consecutive month in February, back in positive territory for the first time since May last year. “The global economy appears to be picking up again, the value of the euro has fallen and large-

scale easing of monetary policy is allowing market rates to drop,” said Ralph Solveen, an economist at Commerzbank, in a recent note to clients. The US economy is performing better than many economists expected at the end of last year and the US jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent in January, down from 8.7 percent in November. A period of relative calm on capital markets, helped by the ECB’s offer of near-unlimited funds for banks, has also helped morale among businesses, mainly in wealthy, northern Europe. “Sentiment indicators and the hard economic data should also point upwards in the coming months as long as the sovereign debt crisis does not noticeably escalate again,” Solveen said. —Reuters

BOJ signals more aggressive policy TOKYO: The Bank of Japan boosted its asset buying program by $130 billion yesterday and in the face of political pressure set an inflation goal of 1 percent, signalling a more aggressive monetary policy to pull an ailing economy out of deflation. Bond futures jumped and the yen fell as the decision pointed to much faster asset buying in the central bank’s most determined effort to date to reinflate an economy that shrank last year and which has struggled with deflation for most of the last two decades. The central bank kept its policy rate in a range of zero to 0.1 percent and pledged not just to maintain zero rates but to continue buying assets until 1 percent inflation is foreseen. But coming after government calls for action, some analysts worried the policy easing undermined the central bank’s independence and left it open to further pressure from lawmakers, especially if more aggressive US monetary stimulus exerts fresh upward pressure on the yen. “The BOJ apparently bent to political pressure, leaving the market with the impression of its vulnerability,” said Yuichi Kodama, an economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance. “If the Fed embarks on additional easing, the BOJ is likely to come under pressure again and again and it may tweak its asset purchase scheme and start buying government bonds with longer maturities.” In a move that surprised markets, the central bank added 10 trillion yen ($130 billion) to its 20 trillion yen pool of funds set aside to buy assets. The new money is earmarked entirely for long-term government bonds. The BOJ said it will set consumer inflation of 1 percent as its price goal for the time being, a clearer commitment to end deflation. It had previously defined 1 percent inflation as its “understanding” of long-term price stability. “We will be buying massive amounts of government bonds,” Governor Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters. “This is designed to achieve sustained economic growth under stable prices.” Ten-year government bond futures jumped and the yen dipped as much as 0.4 percent on the BOJ news. Most central banks set inflation targets to anchor expectations and prevent prices from rising too quickly. In Japan’s case, an inflation goal will act as an incentive to pursue more aggressive easing to stop prices from declining. Core inflation fell in 2011 for the third straight year. The Fed last month took a historic step of setting an inflation target and extended its commitment to near zero rates, leaving the door open to more easing that could further weaken the dollar and put the yen under renewed upward pressure. The yen rose to record highs against the dollar last year, sparking a wave of corporate calls for official action and prompting unilateral currency intervention by Japan on Oct 31. The BOJ’s steps follow weeks of growing calls from politicians to follow the Fed’s example and set an explicit inflation target to show a greater commitment to boosting the economy, which shrank 0.9 percent last year largely as yen strength hurt export earnings. The timing came as a surprise as many central bankers had suggested there was little reason to act now because the yen had backed off its record highs and the economy was on course for a moderate recovery. —Reuters

Weekly commodity update

Commodities mixed: Energy gains from cold By Ole S Hansen, Senior Commodity Strategist KUWAIT: The Greek bailout package that should have been put in place by now continues to attract attention across financial markets. All week the talk about an imminent agreement helped support stocks and drove the dollar to the lowest level in two months, before the sentiment turned late Thursday after Eurogroup sent the Greek delegation back to Athens demanding additional cuts and reassurances, something that looks increasingly unlikely to achieve. Commodities had a mixed week, with energy prices getting lifted by the extreme cold weather across Europe and improved economic outlook while agriculture commodities saw some light selling. The DJ-UBS index, which comprises 20 major commodities, fell 0.3 percent over the last week and is currently up 3.2 percent year to date. The strong rally in precious metals during January seems to have run out of steam, at least for now and further consolidation is needed before the eventual push higher. Even an 11 percent cut in margin for holding gold on the COMEX futures exchange failed to lift sentiment. Investments through exchange traded funds, which is viewed as long term holdings, have risen by 40 tons from a recent low to a near record of 2,388 tons while hedge funds have been slow in rebuilding speculative longs. Technically gold found support at 1,710 but the subsequent rally ran out of steam ahead of the recent high with sellers emerging around the 1,750 level. The steep uptrend from December 30 has been broken signaling consolidation and the likely test of support in the 1670-80 area. Platinum has outperformed gold by 8 percent since the beginning of the year and this week moved closer to price parity. After historically having traded around a 25 percent premium over gold, platinum in early January dropped to a discount of 15 percent before recovering to the current discount of 4.5 percent. Being an important industrial commodity primarily used in automobile production, platinum has been finding support from the recent improvement in economic activity combined with supply disruptions in South Africa, the largest producing country. A prolonged strike and subsequent loss of production would help reduce the surplus of platinum thereby supporting the price. Brent crude hit a six month high this week and came close to 120 dollars per barrel, above which fundamentals are likely to weaken further and eventually trigger demand destruction just like we saw during the middle of last year. The drivers of the price of Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil transactions, are elevated winter demand in Europe, Iranian embargo beginning to be felt with Asian refiners looking for alternatives to Iranian crude oil and a general stronger than expected demand from emerging economies. This tight supply-demand balance has caused the price of Brent crude for immediate delivery to rise above future prices, a situation called backwardation. Technically Brent crude should be finding some tough resistance ahead of 120 dollars per barrel, especially after having rallied $10 since January. Some consolidation now seems in order with the month long trading range between 105 and 115 having been moved 5 dollars higher. Initial support for the week ahead will therefore be centered on 115.

QNB launches $1 billion 5-year bond

NEW DELHI: Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata (center) and his successor Cyrus Mistry (left) pose with the new Tata Safari Storme car at the 2012 India Auto Expo in New Delhi. India’s top vehicle maker Tata Motors posted a 41 percent jump in quarterly net profit, beating forecasts, thanks to strong sales of its British luxury icons, Jaguar and Land Rover. —AFP

India’s inflation falls, raises rate cut hopes NEW DELHI: India’s headline inflation slipped to its lowest level in more than two years last month, official data showed yesterday, fanning hopes of an early cut in interest rates to counter weakening economic growth. The closely watched Wholesale Price Index fell to 6.55 percent in January from a year earlier, its lowest level in 26 months, due mainly to cheaper food. The drop was a fillip to the central bank which has hiked rates 13 times to tame prices and to the ruling Congress party which has been under fierce attack over the cost-of-living at a time of key state elections. “Inflation is definitely coming

down faster than expected and it means monetary easing will happen,” D.K. Joshi, chief economist at ratings agency Crisil, told AFP. Inflation was nudging double-digits for most of 2011, fuelled by surging food prices that heaped misery on India’s hundreds of millions of poor who are also the backbone of the Congress party’s support. The decline raised expectations that India’s central bank could start cutting rates from near four-year highs as soon as next month, joining emerging market peers which have shifted from fighting inflation to stimulating growth. “We expect a March rate cut with a couple more cuts throughout the year,” said

Glenn Levine, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. But other economists said the central bank may wait until April after the government delivers its budget in order to weigh the inflationary impact of spending measures. “The central bank would like to look at the fiscal deficit number and the spending estimates for the next year. If fiscal policy remains expansionary, then inflation will quickly rebound to higher levels,” said Crisil’s Joshi. Growth in Asia’s thirdlargest economy has slowed due to aggressive rate hikes, a stumbling global economy and economic reform gridlock, analysts say. —AFP

DUBAI: Qatar National Bank launched a $1-billion five-year bond at 235 basis points over midswaps, with pricing expected later yesterday, arranging banks said. The launch price was tighter than initial guidance of 245 basis points over midswaps, issued earlier yesterday, indicating strong appetite for the issue, the first from a Qatari name this year. Barclays Capital, Citigroup, HSBC, Standard Chartered and QNB Capital are arranging the issue. Two market sources said order books were in excess of $3 billion for the deal. “ The bond hasn’t lef t a lot on the table for investors - It’s a buy to hold story,” said one regional fixed income trader. “ The issue should be wellreceived overall because of the strong credit quality, but I would be surprised if it pops too much higher in the secondary.” QNB’s existing $1.5 billion 3.125 percent bond maturing 2015, was bid at just over 100 on Tuesday, to yield 3.053 percent according to Thomson Reuters data. It was trading at a swap spread of just over 220 basis points. The new bond will be the debut issuance under QNB’s $7.5 billion program, which it set up in August to fund its banking operations.The lender is 50-percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. It is currently in talks to acquire Turkey’s Denizbank. In January, Qatar’s finance minister, who is also chairman of QNB, said the bank could buy the Turkish lender by year’s end if the “price is right.” The business was expected to fetch up to $6 billion and would be QNB’s largest acquisition to date. QNB also has a $1.85 billion five-year loan due for repayment in July, according to Thomson Reuters data. —Reuters



Kuwait equities buoyant GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait’s equities advanced yesterday. Gains in select investment and non Kuwaiti stocks sent mid and small caps higher and helped KSE price index reach its highest level since September 15, 2011. While blue-chips tumbled on the back of a drop in the equity price of Zain and banking sector. A strong earnings report from Zain failed to boost investors’ sentiment. The total volume traded during yesterday’s session was the highest level recorded since February 13, 2010. Global General Index (GGI) ended the day down by 0.26 percent, at 179.6 point. Market capitalization was down for the day, reaching KD29.39bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 6,009.5 point, adding 63.5 points (1.07 percent) from its previous close. Market breadth Market breadth was positive yesterday. The market as a whole housed 73 advancers versus 23 decliners. Kuwaiti equities witnessed increased investor interest, with the advance being accompanied by increasing trading activity. The market as a whole saw 820.26mn shares traded, up by 38.21 percent from Monday’s level. 266.61mn (32.5 percent) of those shares traded were attributable to investment groups. Al-Ahlia Holding Company saw 65.04mn of its shares change hands. The scrip closed up by 8.33 percent at KD0.013. In terms of top gainers, National Ranges Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 20 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.015. On the other hand, share price of Credit Rating & Collection Company retreated by 14.29 percent and closed at KD0.120, making it the biggest decliners in the market for the day in a row. Sectors Regarding Global’s sectoral indices, five out the eight ended in the green with Global Non Kuwaiti Index being the top gainer. The index ended the day up 1.77 percent backed by heavyweight Ithmaar Bank being the top gainer in the sector. The scrip ended the day with a 12.82 percent gain and closed at KD0.022. Gulf Cement Company also contributed to the index’s gain by posting a 9.09 percent increase in value. Global Investment Index ended the day with a 1.16 percent increase making it the second biggest gainer in the market. Contributing to the

index’s gain was Kuwait Investment Company which ended the day up 1.89 percent and closed at KD0.108. Furthermore, Sokouk Holding Company aided the sector’s gain by ending the day with a 13.51 percent increase. Regarding the decliners, Global Banking Index took the top spot with a 0.94 percent decline. Boubyan Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House, the only decliners in the sector, ended the day down 1.72 percent, 1.69 percent and 1.19 percent, respectively. Global Services Index came in second with a 0.80 percent loss. Among the decliners, Zain, took the top spot with a 2.72 drop to end at KD0.860. The group’s top-line number for 4Q came in-line with our estimate of KD331.9mn. The reported net profit for the quarter was at KD74.8 as compared to our projection of KD70mn, which was mainly because of better than expected EBITDA margin achieved during 4Q as EBITDA variance from our est. for the quarter was at 3.2%. The reported EBITDA margin for 4Q was at 46.9% as compared to our est. of 45.4%. In 2011, Zain Group recorded consolidated revenues of KD1.32bn (exactly inline with our est.), reported a YoY growth of 2%.

The consolidated EBITDA reached KD600mn (variance of 0.8% from our est.) for 2011, down by 2.6% YoY, with EBITDA margin of 45.4% (down from 45.6% in 2010). The group reported a net profit (att. to equity holders of the parent co.) of KD285mn in 2011 (variance of 1.7% from our est.), reported a YoY decline of 2.4%. The company has published only press release for 2011 results, the detailed financials are still awaited. Corporate news ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company announced that it has signed a contract with Airbus to acquire an additional 35 “320 NEO” airplanes, increasing the total number of acquired aircraft to 85 with a total cost of $7.65bn. Oil news The price of Kuwaiti crude increased to record $116.30pb on Monday, the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. Oil prices are on the rise since the start of this week, especially after Greece approved new austerity measures aimed at resolving the country’s sovereign crisis.

Crude flat near $118 as EU demand fears ease LONDON: Oil prices held steady yesterday as better-than-expected German economic data and a successful Italian bond auction eased fears about European demand, while worries about supply disruption due to Middle East tensions continued to underpin the market. Brent crude futures rose 11 cents to $118.04 a barrel at 1137 GMT. US crude was up 47 cents to $101.38 a barrel. Analysts and traders said good newsflow out of Europe had helped the euro rally against the dollar and lifted risk assets as investor sentiment about European demand growth had improved. “ We had some successful bond auctions out of Italy, and the German data was better than expected,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets. “That has taken the sting out of the Moody ’s downgrades.” The German ZEW survey, which measures analyst and investor sentiment, surprised on the upside, bolstering hopes Europe’s largest economy was holding up despite the debt crisis. Both oil contracts had been somewhat weaker earlier in the session after Moody’s warned it might cut the top ratings of France, Britain and Austria by assigning their triple A debt ratings a negative outlook. It also downgraded Italy, Spain and Portugal, citing uncertainty over the prospects for fiscal and economic reform in the euro area and the weak economic outlook in Europe. Hewson said ratings agencies had lost the capacity to shock. “If we had had these downgrades three years ago we would have seen a significant sell off ... but all we saw was a bit of profit-taking,” he said. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that European countries face some difficult challenges,” added Michael

Poulsen, oil analyst at Global Risk Management. “We saw the S&P downgrade about a month ago on almost the same countries.” Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix in Switzerland, added that Brent had lost some of the support it had enjoyed from the refined products complex after the extremely cold weather conditions of the last two weeks eased. “The cold blast in Europe is over. Yesterday we had some pressure on the gasoil crack, gasoil has not been able to move above $1,000 a ton, and that has put a lid on Brent,” he said. Oil prices remain underpinned by ongoing tension in the Middle East, with Israel accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind two bomb attacks that targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday. Iran and Israel are already at loggerheads over Tehran’s nuclear program. Violence also spread in Syria as troops bombarded opposition strongholds, entering a 10th day of shelling and sniper fire in the city. Meanwhile oil production and exports from Yemen’s Masila oilfield, the country’s largest, have stopped after workers from state-owned PetroMasila went on strike last Thursday. “Worries remain on the supply of crude in the Middle East, which should be built into Brent,” said Tony Nunan, a risk manager with Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. “The worsening of the situation in Iran or Syria could cause a shift in Brent prices.” The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly report on US crude stocks yesterday at 2130 GMT. A Reuters poll of analysts is forecasting a rise in US crude oil inventories for a fourth week in a row due to higher imports and lower refinery utilization. — Reuters




German confidence rising despite sharp slowdown FRANKFURT: German investors are confident Europe’s biggest economy can escape from the debt crisis relatively unscathed, even if headline growth looks set to slow sharply this year, data showed yesterday. The ZEW think tank’s widely watched barometer of investor confidence shot up to its highest level in 10 months, even as the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development predicted that the longrunning debt crisis will bring German growth to a near-standstill of just 0.4 percent this year. The ZEW index-which is not always seen as a particularly reliable indicator since it based on responses from a relatively small number of analysts-rose by a bigger-than-expected 27 points from negative territory to stand at plus 5.4 points for February. It is the first time since May 2011 that the index was positive and the highest reading

since April 2011. Nevertheless, it is in line with other business confidence indices recently, such as the all-important Ifo survey, which is based on as many as 7,000 responses in the real economy and is therefore seen as providing a more accurate snapshot of sentiment. Ifo is scheduled to publish its latest survey next week but its index rose for the third month in a row in January, effectively quashing fears of a possible recession in Germany. ZEW said the third consecutive monthly rise in its own figures suggested analysts believe the current lull in growth will prove only temporary. Positive data from the United States and progress in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors were all contributing to current feel-good sentiment. “From analysts’ point of view, there is a good chance that the German economy will find itself on a modest

upward trend in the second half of the year,” said ZEW president Wolfgang Franz. Domestic demand, which has recently taken over from exports as the main engine driving the German economy, would remain the main pillar of growth given the favorable situation on the labor market. Nevertheless, “it remains crucial that a solution be found to the eurozone debt crisis,” Franz insisted. Christan Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bak, agreed. “With confidence returning, the fundamentally very sound German economy can return to growth quickly, on the condition that the hope that the euro-zone crisis is kept under control is not disappointed,” he said. Carsten Brzeski of ING Belgium cautioned that “despite the recent calm, the sovereign debt crisis could still easily derail the German economy in

2012. “It might be too early for new enthusiasm but there is increasing evidence that the German economy has only gone through a soft patch at the end of last year but is not nearing the abyss any time soon,” he said. Commerzbank analyst Ralph Solveen said he would wait for next week’s Ifo data. “The question whether companies will also express a more optimistic view of their business next week will be more relevant to economic prospects for Germany,” he said. The favorable confidence data notwithstanding, Germany will not be able to detach itself completely from the crisis, the Paris-based OECD predicted, warning of “significant downside risks” as slowing global growth reduces demand for German exports and the euro-zone crisis hits domestic demand. Official gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the final quarter

of 2011 are scheduled to be published today. National statistics office Destatis has already estimated that GDP likely shrank by “around a quarter of a percentage point” in the October to December period as the euro-zone debt crisis increasingly puts the brakes on growth. OECD secretary general Angel Gurria hailed Germany ’s “remarkable” performance and its growth model which “has been so successful in navigating through the stormy waters of the crisis.” The OECD’s main message to Germany was “that it needs to go beyond successful crisis management and address the long-term underpinnings of growth,” Gurria said. “Any solution to the euro crisis will depend on the strength of Germany’s economy, just as Germany’s strength depends on the stability and prosperity of Europe.” — AFP

China says ready to help solve EU debt crisis Wen holds talks with EU leaders

ANTWERP: Ships wait in a slues in the Port of Antwerp in Antwerp, Belgium yesterday. Sea pilots yesterday brought much of the port to a standstill after calling a strike to protest against upcoming Belgian pension reforms. — AP

Bumi Indonesia shareholders back down in board fight JAKARTA/LONDON: Indonesian shareholders in coal miner Bumi Plc have withdrawn a request for an extraordinary shareholder meeting to shake up the board and remove Nathaniel Rothschild, several sources briefed on the matter said yesterday. The shareholders could seek changes at board level at a later date but not in the context of an extraordinary general meeting, the sources told Reuters. The decision followed talks yesterday in Jakarta between Indonesia’s Bakrie Group and two Bumi board directors, veteran British businessman Julian HornSmith and former diplomat Robin Renwick who flew in from London. Investor Samin Tan and Indonesia’s Bakrie Group said earlier this month they were seeking to replace Rothschild, currently co-chairman, and other senior board members including James Campbell, the former head of Anglo

American’s coal division. The Bakrie Group and Tan together own 29.9 percent voting rights in Bumi. “ They are going to withdraw the request for an EGM,” a source close to the situation told Reuters. Two sources said Rothschild would remain on the board but would step down as co-chairman. Since the announcement last week, Bumi’s shares have fallen 16 percent and the plan revived worries over governance at a company that owns some of Indonesia’s richest coal mines and is one of the world’s biggest thermal coal exporters. The plan now is for the board to discuss changes at the next Bumi board meeting, which will not take place this week, the source close to the situation said, adding that one possible reason for the reversal was growing pressure from shareholders and a weakening share price. — Reuters

Indonesia’s car market takes the fast lane JAKARTA: Automakers from Japan to India are eyeing a bonanza in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy where a newly wealthy middle class are splashing out on cars like never before. With the economy growing at a brisk 6.5 percent a year, more Indonesians are climbing into the middle class, hungry for cars and other status symbols their newfound wealth affords. It is welcome news for automakers who, starved of sales in the ailing economies of Europe and the United States, are now circling Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing major economy. Last year, Indonesians bought 890,400 cars and this year they are expected to snap up around 940,000, according to a report by business research group Frost & Sullivan. “Indonesia has overtaken Thailand as the largest automotive market” in the Asia Pacific region, the report said. This year “will witness the launch/facelift of around 25-30 new models in Indonesia that will further increase the sales volumes growth,” it added. The strong sales represent something of a gold rush for the industry, and automakers are sinking funds into new factories and showrooms to tap the money flooding the market. “Last year, foreign automakers pledged to invest nearly $2 billion in Indonesia over the next few years. This year, we will see the realization of those promises,” Budi Darmadi, an industry ministry director, told AFP. Japanese manufacturers, who already hold 90 percent of the market, are leading the way. Toyota has a second production plant in the pipeline, Suzuki is planning to open its third and Nissan is

spending $250 million to expand existing facilities. Toyota, trying to hang on to its 35 percent market share, wants to boost production from 110,000 last year to 180,000 by 2013. Gunadi Sindhuwinata, a commissioner at Jakarta-based Suzuki Indomobil Motor said his company is planning a two-year, $800 million investment in Indonesia. Buoyed by soaring sales last year, automakers are confident the trend will continue. Nissan’s annual sales surged by 50 percent last year, and Suzuki’s by a third. US automakers Ford and General Motors-and even India’s Tata group-are also jockeying for profits. Ford, the second-largest US automaker, sold twice as many cars in Indonesia last year as it did the year before and wants to repeat the feat in 2012. The company opened seven new dealerships nationwide last year, and plans to add eight more this year. General Motors, meanwhile, is investing $150 million to reopen a mothballed plant in West Java to begin producing minivans, in hot demand among Indonesians. Meanwhile, Indian automaker Tata Motors says it is “crystallising its plans” for Indonesia, where it is not yet present. “ We have chosen Indonesia because we believe that customers in Indonesia would appreciate the vehicles that we market,” spokesman Debasis Ray told AFP from the company’s Indian headquarters. Last year Indonesia overtook Thailand in car sales after the Thai economy was devastated by floods. But experts say it still has a long way before outdoing Thailand as an auto manufacturing hub. Thailand, where factories roll out cars for more than 200 export markets, is often referred to as the “Detroit of Asia.” — AFP

BEIJING: China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday his country was ready to increase its participation in efforts to resolve Europe’s debt crisis, after holding talks with EU leaders in Beijing. Wen said China wanted to see Europe-its biggest trading partner-”maintain stability and prosperity”, a day after ratings agency Moody ’s downgraded Italy, Spain and Portugal. “China is ready to increase its participation in resolving the EU debt problems,” the Chinese premier told journalists after meeting EU president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. China was considering using Europe’s bail-out funds to help address the continent’s fiscal woes, Wen added, without elaborating further on how the Asian power might be prepared to contribute. China has made clear its growing concerns over the crisis in Europe, repeatedly urging EU leaders to get a grip on the situation, which the foreign ministry said this week had reached a “critical juncture”. European leaders last year approached China, which holds the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, to invest in a bail-out fund to rescue debt-stricken states. EU leaders will discuss in March whether to boost the size of the 500 billion euro European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the permanent rescue fund due to begin operating in July. Van Rompuy said he welcomed “the readiness of China to cooperate with the European Union in order to ensure the financial stability of the euro-zone. “We have not just navigated a difficult bend, but we have turned a corner,” he added. Leaders of the 17-nation euro-zone and eight other EU nations agreed last month to create a new fiscal pact requiring signatories to put balanced budgets into law. But Moody’s this week questioned whether Europe was pulling together adequate resources to deal with the crisis as it chopped the debt ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal. The ratings agency also put France, Britain and Austria on warning, saying they were increasingly vulnerable to the euro-zone crisis, which has brought Greece to the brink of bankruptcy and triggered violence in a number of cities. Wen’s comments came after the

International Monetary Fund warned last week that an escalation of the EU debt crisis could slash China’s economic growth in half this year. The two sides also agreed during the talks to give fresh impetus to Beijing’s efforts to attain full market economy status for China, according to a joint communique issued after the summit. Beijing has long demanded that the

“China will continue to fully meet its World Trade Organization commitments,” he said. “It will continue to expand market access.” The two sides also discussed the crisis in Syria, after China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the regime’s bloody crackdown on protests, drawing international ire. “China will absolutely not protect any party, including the government in Syria,” Wen

BEIJING: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (center) ushers European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (L) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to their meeting room ahead of the European Union (EU)-China summit at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. — AFP European Union and United States accord China full market economy status, a technical designation that would remove certain restrictions to Chinese exports and investments in Europe. EU leaders say the Asian giant has not yet met the necessary conditions, pointing out that most of China’s largest companies are state-owned and their leaders appointed by the government. Wen pledged that China would improve its laws and regulation in relation to foreign investment, enhance protection of intellectual property and improve its investment environment.

told reporters, as the international community warned of a humanitarian disaster in Syria. Since the crackdown was launched less than a year ago, more than 6,000 people have been killed, monitors say. The United States has called the rare double veto a “travesty”, while one Syrian opposition group said it had handed Assad’s regime a “license to kill”. Barroso and Van Rompuy will also hold talks with China’s President Hu Jintao on Wednesday as part of the summit, which was originally due to take place in October, but had to be postponed due to the debt crisis. — AFP

Portugal awaits EU-IMF review LISBON: Bailed-out euro-zone state Portugal will hold a fresh round of talks with its international creditors this week amid persistent concerns that it needs even more help to balance its strained public finances. Officials from the ‘troika’ of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund begin today a two-week review of the economy, checking Portugal’s progress since a 78 billion euro ($103 billion) bailout in 2011. Having got through two previous rounds, Lisbon now waits to find out if it will get the next tranche of aid worth 14.9 billion euros as the pressure mounts on the government from popular unease. On Saturday, hundreds of thousands protested against austerity measures adopted under the May 2011 bailout, carrying banners such as “The struggle continues” and “No to exploitation, no to inequality, no to impoverishment.” The CGTP union which called the march estimated 300,000 people took part, while police would not give any figures, in line with their usual practice. “We are convinced that it is one of the biggest demonstrations in the last 30 years,” said Armenio Carlos, general secretary of the CGTP, in a speech at the end of the protest in the landmark Praca

do Comercio (Commerce Square). He called the bailout conditions “a program of aggression against workers and against the national interest. “Austerity does not create wealth. The country needs the rope around its neck to be removed so that it can breathe, live and work,” he said. So far the centre-right government of Pedro Passo Ceolho has made some progress in the face

of unemployment rising to 13 percent and an economy which is expected to shrink 3.0 percent this year. “The troika ought to take the initiative and adjust (the program),” said former finance minister Eduardo Catroga who helped negotiate the 2011 bailout. “The troika was working (then) on a certain number of hypotheses which they should look at again,” he said.

LISBON: Alda Silva does the bookkeeping of her food store in Lisbon. Small firms with fewer than fifty workers make up more than 99 percent of Portugal’s businesses and they’re collapsing at an alarming rate. — AP

Financial analysts estimate the country could need up to another 50 billion euros to get it through the next few years. “ We are expecting ... additional funds for Portugal of between 30 and 50 billion euros through to 2014,” Goldman Sachs said in a recent note. Portugal, like many weaker euro-zone members such as neighbor Spain and Italy, has found it hard to raise fresh funds on the financial markets in recent months although the pressure has eased in recent weeks. It remains the case, however, that its finances are stretched, driving speculation it might need additional help. Prime Minister Passos Coelho insists that Portugal will stick to its commitments but recent comments by Germany, Europe’s powerhouse economy and main provider of bailout funds, suggested that something new was in the works. An exchange between Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar and his German counterpart, filmed unknown to them, appeared to show them ready to discuss adjustments to the current bailout. Despite such speculation, this week’s meetings are to focus on a review of the economic reforms so far adopted in transport, energy, property, the labor market and the judicial system. — AFP




Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons offers first three installments for free on new Chevrolet purchase Hala February, National and Liberation Days celebration KUWAIT: Staying true to its tradition, Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons offers various, valuable surprises to its customers and car lovers alike. The company has chosen the month of February for its “3 month installment free” campaign in which it gives any buyer of a new Chevrolet the first three installments as a gift. Although the promotion duration period is short, the value it holds has long-lasting effects; all offers on Chevrolet vehicles attract many people as the brand is a highly trusted and popular one in Kuwait. Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons, the exclusive Chevrolet dealer in Kuwait, is keen on providing its customers with solutions for all needs and

wants. That is one of the main reasons why the company is continuously offering valuable and exclusive promotions that meet the growing needs and preferences that cater to all customers. The new offer provides a wide range of Chevrolet models including the Tahoe that continues to hold a leading position as one of the most preferred four-wheel drives as it provides a rich and thrilling driving experience. The powerful 5.3L, V8 engine generates 320 HP at 5,400 rpm with a torque of 505 Nm at 4.600 rpm. Regardless of its size, the enhanced engine is also economic when it comes to fuel consumption. The Chevrolet Tahoe is available in

three trims: the LS, LT and LTZ and as a two or four-wheel drive. Equally as power ful is the

even an HD engine that is available with a 6.0L capacity and an economic control system of fuel con-

Chevrolet Silverado that comes in three 3 trims as a two or four-wheel drive with a 4.8L or 5.3L engine or

sumption. The Captiva adds an element of quality with the availability of five or seven seats and a 2.4L or

3.0L engine via a fuel injection system that generates the leading horsepower in its class and makes it one of the most distinctive cars on the market. The Traverse, one of the most popular models, is characterized with an advanced and comprehensive safety system that also gives drivers the luxury of space as it accommodates eight passengers, quality performance and ultimate driving control. Yusuf A. Alghanim & Sons further distinguishes itself with its keenness on satisfying its customers’ every need and want, starting from its excellent after-sales service to its vehicle maintenance center that boasts the highest standards of

skilled professionals, the most advanced technology and quality engineering techniques, all of which adds to customers’ rewarding experiences at the Chevrolet’s service center. This offer is a golden opportunity for Chevrolet lovers as they can take advantage of Yusuf A. Alghanim’s special offer that grants any buyer of a new Chevrolet the first three installments for free. Buyers will also benefit from credit facilities that will allow buyers to pay at their own comfort and pace so as to make their experience of driving a new Chevrolet happen as swiftly as possible during this special Hala February promotion.

Indonesia continues to show robust growth KCCI WEEKLY ANALYSIS By Camille Accad

Burgan Bank opens its 25th branch KUWAIT: Burgan Bank has inaugurated recently its 25th branch located in Bayan, extending the bank’s offer of financial services to residents of Bayan, and continued focus on client service. The branch was officially inaugurated by Hawally Governor Abdullah Al-Fares as well as Burgan Bank’s Chairman, Majed Essa Al-Ajeel, along with senior executives of the bank’s management. Majed Essa Al-Ajeel, Burgan Bank’s Chairman said: “We are delighted to inaugurate our new branch in Bayan. At Burgan Bank we are driven by our value of commitment to offer superior services to all of our clients, across all of our banking operations.” Burgan Bank has now 25 branches across Kuwait. With the opening of its latest branch in Bayan. The new branch is located in Bayan - Block 8 Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, and will operate on Sunday’s to Thursdays

record $20 billion. Cheaper access to financing coupled with the fact that the country still has urgent infrastructure needs to meet, create room for further investment inflows which will boost growth. Similarly, domestic consumption has shown resilience over the last decade, accounting for 50 to 60% of GDP in spite of fast growing exports. Indonesia is thus developing a model with mixed elements of China and India’s models of growth, by focusing on a balance between expor ts, infrastructure investments and domestic consumption. The fiscally prudent economy, with a healthy external payments’ position gives Indonesia room to stimulate growth if needed. Additionally, at a time when most economies are being downgraded, Indonesia should see its borrowing costs come down and investment inflows increase. 2012 is likely to see the Indonesian Rupiah appreciate and the Jakarta Stock Exchange Index per form positively. Indonesia is expected to see both foreign and domestic investment spurred growth, further stimulated by the passage of a bill in December that aims to accelerate land purchases for infrastructure projects. Looking ahead, the construction sector is expected to enjoy positive earnings. Furthermore, inflationary expectations are becoming better anchored, at a lower and more stable level, which should contribute to a looser monetary policy. As a whole, Indonesia continues to show glimmers of hope in dark times.

US crude futures start to look stretched from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. For further information on any of Burgan Bank’s products and services customers are urged to visit their

nearest Burgan Bank branch, call the bank’s call center on 1804080, or log on to the bank’s website

UK inflation drops to lowest since Nov 2010 LONDON: British inflation dropped sharply in January as the effect of a rise in sales tax in 2011 fell away, backing Bank of England forecasts for a sharp easing of price pressure this year and providing some relief for cash-strapped consumers. The decline to 3.6 percent-its lowest annual rate in more than a year-will reassure the BoE as it prepares to publish an update to its quarterly economic forecasts today. But it will not spare bank governor Mervyn King from having to write a public letter explaining why inflation has remained well above target for the past two years. The Office for National Statistics said consumer price inflation fell from 4.2 percent in December, in line with economists’ forecasts and extending a marked drop from September’s three-year peak of 5.2 percent. Economists reckon the central

KUWAIT: Indonesia’s latest figures showed that, in 2011, the economy grew at its fastest pace since the 1997 Asian crisis, calming doubts about its capacity to overcome slowing global demand. Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of economic activity, expanded by 6.5% last year, beating expectations of 6.4%. On the external side, weak European and US demand did affect exports, but Indonesia’s economy proved its flexibility by switching its driver of growth towards domestic consumption and investments. The robust growth numbers are also in line with the recent rating upgrades to Indonesia. While most countries are seeing their ratings downgraded, Fitch, one of the three leading rating agencies, upgraded Indonesia’s sovereign debt to “investment grade”(relatively low risk of default) in December last year, mainly on its resilient economic growth, low and declining government debt and its prudent policy framework. Moody’s rating followed suit last month. It is only a matter of time before the third main rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, upgrades Indonesia, further closing the gap with the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China). This series of upgrades will lower the cost of borrowing for the country’s government and firms, and is expected to boost capital inflow, facilitating infrastructure investments and prolonging the current positive momentum. In terms of economic fundamen-

tals, Indonesia is well positioned for years to come. Real GDP is a measure of the economic output or of the size of the economy - adjusted for inflation or deflation. It is the sum of the values of all final goods and services produced by that country or region over a given time period. The values depend on the quantities (volume) of the goods produced and their prices. Real GDP is a measure that holds prices constant by using a given year’s value (the base date) for all items and services. Then these values are used to calculate GDP for years prior to the base year and subsequent years. GDP can be measured in several ways, and Statistics Indonesia, the government body responsible for national accounts data, publishes GDP by expenditure and sector output. The following graph illustrates the expenditure breakdown of GDP, which consists of private consumption, government expenditure, fixed capital investments (and change in inventories), exports and imports. Private consumption is a strong driver of growth in the domestic-oriented Indonesia, but traditionally exports have contributed more to GDP growth, as shown by the graph. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, presents a pattern of growth with mixed features. The strong growth in investment is similar to the one seen in China during its earlier expansionary days. Indonesia has seen increasingly large flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the past year, when it grew 20% to a

bank will continue to predict that CPI will fall below its 2 percent target by the end of 2012, and remain below target in two years’ time, as weak growth and an end to energy price rises take effect. Lower inflation may also lift consumer demand, which has been a major drag on Britain’s sluggish economy, at a time when there are also major headwinds from the euro zone debt crisis and the government’s austerity program. Those factors were reflected in a decision by credit agency Moody’s to put the nation’s prized triple-A rating on a negative outlook, though finance minister George Osborne said Britain would not stray from its debtcutting measures. January’s inflation reading - the lowest since November 2010 is in line with BoE forecasts for an average of just over 3.4 percent in the first three months of 2012.

“Consumer price inflation should fall appreciably further in February, reflecting the fact that a number of retailers and companies delayed passing on the VAT hike at the start of 2011, and also due to utility providers trimming energy prices,” said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer. Bank governor King is likely to focus on the weak economy and the fading of one-off upward pressures on inflation when he publishes the quarterly letter to Osborne later yesterday explaining why CPI is above target. Osborne’s department welcomed the fall in inflation as “good news for family budgets”. Despite the above-target inflation, the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee last week pressed ahead with another 50 billion pounds of quantitative easing via gilt purchases over the next three months, in order to boost faltering growth. —Reuters

LONDON: Is the oil market heading for a repeat of last year: a big run up in prices during the first few months followed by a sudden crash when the inflows of investment money dry up and early entrants try to realize their gains? There are eerie parallels. Like last year, strongly accommodative central bank policy from the Federal Reserve and signs of recovering economic activity in North America and Western Europe are coupling with physical supply disruptions to encourage a more bullish outlook for oil. In 2011, it was Libya and Fukushima, combined with the Fed’s second-round of large-scale asset purchases (QE2). This year it is Sudan and tensions around Iran, while the Fed indicates interest rates are set to remain low through 2014. The potent cocktail of recovering demand with continuing supply disruptions has turned investors bullish for the first time in over six months. Hedge funds and other money managers are now running more than six times as many long positions in U.S. crude futures and options (287 million barrels) as short ones (45 million barrels).

The ratio of long to short positions has doubled since October and is more stretched than any time since May 31, 2011, when funds were still liquidating long positions after the flash crash on May 5. There are some important differences between the current market position and the corresponding point last year. The big imbalance between funds’ long and short positions is not apparent in the Brent market, where commitment of traders data published by Intercontinental Exchange shows funds running a long/short ratio of 3:1. Much of the net length in the US crude market comes from the absence of short positions, which have shrunk more than half, from around 90 million barrels in October to 45 million barrels in the week ending February 7, according to commitments of traders data published by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Money managers’ combined long positions total just 288 million barrels, up just 20 million or so since October, and far below the peak of 350-400 million barrels in first half of 2011. If last year’s commitment of 350-400

million barrels indicates how much money investors could potentially commit to a convincing bull market, there are still of funds on the sidelines that could come into the market and lift prices further. It may though need more convincing evidence of a sustained increase in oil demand or actual disruptions, not just threats, to Gulf supplies to draw in the next wave of investment money. Despite the differences, it would be dangerous to take too much comfort from the fact the large net long position in US crude currently comes from the absence of shorts rather than an overhang of long positions. Short positions provide stability because they represent a pool of willing buyers when prices dip. Sharp movements in prices are often preceded by a big imbalance in long and short interest. In this instance, there may not be much short buying interest below the market at current levels to stabilize prices if the rally falters. Many hedge funds and other money managers couple positions in US crude with contrary positions in Brent to trade the spread and a comparative view on supply and bottlenecks. —Reuters



Senior Spam Analyst warns of St Valentine’s Day threat DUBAI: “St. Valentine’s Day. Year in, ye a r out i t i s be co m i n g m o re a n d more of a reason for spammers to get to work. Users start receiving spam mail-outs offering presents for the romantic occasion in January - since spammers want a whole six weeks to reap the benefits of this yearly occasion. So what would you do if you were a spammer at this time of year? You’d look for a way to attract the attention of users, for example using in the subject line and in the body of the text of a mail-out message “attractive” words that prompt users to open a message. The newest of such “attracto r s” i n t h e s p a m m e r wo r l d h a s

become the word “coupon”. This is often simply substituted for the word “discounts”, attracting attention to goods or services. But there is another way to promote goods and services via “coupon spam”: companies put their offerings on a coupon service and then via spam advertise them to try and reach a bigger audience. As I see it, it’s not very effective, since usually the level of trust in firms which advertise via spam is very low. Plus, users’ annoyance normally only cancels out any advantages from using such methods instead of increasing it. Nevertheless, it would appear seve r al f i r m s rec ko n t hi s m et ho d o f

attracting attention is worthwhile: the first St. Valentine’s spam mail- out, which Kaspersky Lab detected earlier this year, was in this categor y. The company offered the e-mail recipient to buy a small present for one’s beloved on St. Valentine’s Day, using a discount that was obtainable via the large coupon service Groupon. Use of coupon services is a completely legitimate method of advertising; however, their popularity brings with it potential threats of phishing attacks. Phishers can be interested in users who have funds in their accounts with a coupon service - funds which they can spend immediately when an

offer takes their fancy. In order not to play into the spammers’ hands, and also not become a victim of a phishing attack using these coupon ser vices, users need to observe three simple rules: - don’t open e-mails from coupon services to which you aren’t registered. This, on the one hand secures you against phishing attacks or mail-outs of malicious code. On the other hand, if a spammer’s e-mail turns out to be simply a commercial offer, you reduce the number of responses, making the work of the spammers less profitable. - If in an e-mail from a coupon service to which you are registered they

ask you to verify your account via a link, or to in some other way present your login and password - don’t do this under any circumstances. Remember that large organizations never ask you to send your login and password via email. Any such request must be considered as an attempt at stealing your account. - If you get a message from a large service stating that you’ve obtained some coupons, when in fact you never ordered any, don’t open the message, and more importantly, don’t download anything via the e-mail. There is a high probability that what you do will be malicious.”

Internet in Iran disrupted as govt tests new network Services hit included email, social networking

JAKARTA: Rovio Asia senior vice president Henri Holm (L) poses with an “Angry Birds” doll during the official Facebook launch at a mall in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta yesterday. “Angry Birds”, the most-downloaded mobile app of 2011, was catapulted to the world of Facebook yesterday in a bid by its Finnish maker Rovio to get one billion people playing the addictive game. — AFP

Angry Birds fly to Facebook JAKARTA: “Angr y Birds”, the mostdownloaded mobile app of 2011, was catapulted to the world of Facebook yesterday in a bid by its Finnish maker Rovio to get one billion people playing the addictive game. True to the game’s quirky theme, a bird flung at a pig on a giant screen marked its official Facebook launch in Jakarta, the world’s most Facebook-connected city. The company’s strategy is for the game-which is already wildly popular as an app on many smar tphones and tablet computers across multiple platforms-to be available “on all screens and screen sizes”, Rovio Asia senior vice president Henri Holm told AFP. Scores of fans attended the Valentine’s Day launch in Jakarta, many of them clicking photographs on their smartphones. In the game, players fling colourful and grumpy wingless birds from a slingshot into smarmy egg-stealing pigs. It has been downloaded more than 700 million times since its launch in 2009 and the birds have become a global phenomenon, featuring on a huge array of merchandise and in popular culture. The number of players is likely to surpass one billion with Rovio now offering a new version of the game with more levels and interactive features to around 845 million Facebook users. Rovio does not disclose how many Angr y Birds apps have been downloaded in Indonesia. But the country’s love for the game is obvious in the ubiquitous paraphernalia in malls, from Angry Birds mobile phone covers to baby jumpsuits. “Facebook has more that 800 million users, so we’re confident we can get one billion people playing soon,” said Holm, donning a red Angry Birds hoodie. The new app allows players to compete with their Facebook friends for

high scores, send gifts to friends and achieve more precise and powerful targeting by purchasing new “power-ups”. Rovio has in recent months focused on growing its line of merchandise, Holm said. On display at the launch, before an all-girl band crooning tunes, were Angry Birds pencil cases, lunch boxes, T-shirts and stuffed toys, as well as cookbooks and wristwatches. “There are launch events in other cities, like Mumbai and Bangkok, but the official launch is in Jakarta as the Facebook capital of the world,” Holm said. More than 17 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million people are on Facebook, and Jakarta alone has over 17 million Facebook accounts, according to Holm. “ That is more than four times the accounts in New York and almost twice the amount of the second city on the list,” the Rovio official said. Second to Jakarta is Istanbul with 9.6 million Facebook accounts, and third is Mexico City with 9.3 million, according to social network ing trackers Indonesia as a whole has 43.1 million Facebook accounts, making it the site’s third-biggest user base after the United States with 155.7 million and India, which just surpasses Indonesia with 43.5 million users. Rovio is not alone in recognising the market potential of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest growing major economy. Internet giant Yahoo! set up an office in Indonesia in 2009, and popular social networking and e-commerce site Multiply says it plans to move its headquarters from Florida to Jakarta. Rovio was a little-known company before its Angry Birds took flight. It had previously launched 50 games with successes including mobile versions of “Burnout” and “Need For Speed”. —AFP

DUBAI: Millions of Iranians have suffered serious disruption recently in accessing email and Internet social networking sites, raising concerns authorities are stepping up censorship of opposition supporters ahead of parliamentary elections next month. Iranians have grappled with increased obstacles to using the Internet since opposition supporters used social networking sites to organise widespread protests after the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The country is preparing to hold parliamentary elections on March 2, the first time Iranians will go to the polls since President Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election. The government denied any fraud in the vote, which ignited street protests that were crushed violently by security services after eight months. The new Internet blockade affected the most common form of secure connections from Friday, according to outside experts and Iranian bloggers. Traffic was said to have returned to normal on Monday. “I haven’t been able to open pages for days but now it’s working again, although slowly,” said Hamid Reza, a 20-year-old student in Tehran, who was reluctant to give his surname. The cut-off appeared to target all encrypted international websites outside Iran that depend on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol, which display addresses beginning with https, according to Earl Zmijewski of Renesys, a U.S. company

that tracks Internet traffic worldwide. Google, which uses SSL for its Gmail service, reported that traffic from Iran to its email system fell precipitously. Iran’s Ministr y of Communications and Technology denied knowing of the disruption, saying the origin was elsewhere. “The government is testing different tools,” said Hamed Behravan, who reports on Iranian technology issues for the US government-funded Voice of America. “They might have wanted to see the public reaction.” Many Iranians are concerned the government may be preparing to unveil its much documented national internet system, effectively giving the authorities total control over what content Iranian users will be able to access. The authorities say it is designed to speed up the system and filter out sites that are regarded as “unclean”. “The Internet is an uninvited guest which has entered our countr y,” said Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, a member of the Iranian government’s Internet filtering committee, “and because of its numerous problems, severe supervision is required.” He told the daily Arman that Internet search engines like Google were a threat to the countr y. “ We have never considered Google as appropriate to serve Iranian users, because Google is at the service of the CIA,” he said. “It has adopted a vivid hostile stance against us.”ble.

Opposition suppor ters believe Iranian authorities were targeting their attempts to hold a rally calling on the government to release leaders of the opposition Green movement, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi. The two leaders were placed under house arrest on Feb. 14 last year after they urged their supporters to join a rally in support of uprisings across the Arab world. Iranian authorities have vowed to quell any public protest against the protracted house arrest of Mousavi and Karoubi. “It could just be a coincidence but my guess is that the system was looking to block communication between opposition supporters,” said an Iranian analyst who did not want to be named. The disruption has riled some Iranian members of parliament and they have vowed to look for those responsible. An MP, Ahmad Tavakoli, told the semi-official Mehr News Agency that the issue was creating widespread discontent that could “cost the establishment dearly”. “This filtering leads people to break the law, and using proxies makes the blocking of sites and signals ineffective, because using proxies becomes widespread,” he said. Authoritarian Arab governments under popular pressure have sought to shut down Internet service to make it harder for opponents to mobilise protests, but with little success. —Reuters

SHANGHAI: A man walks past an iPad2 advertisement in Shanghai, China, Monday. A Chinese company said yesterday it will ask customs officials to ban imports and exports of Apple Inc.’s iPads due to a dispute over ownership of the trademark. — AP

Firm in Apple row seeks to ban China iPad imports SHANGHAI: An electronics firm embroiled in a copyright row with Apple said yesterday it would ask Chinese customs to block iPad imports, as two cities pulled the tablet computers from some shops over the dispute. Proview Technology (Shenzhen) says it owns the Chinese rights for the name “iPad” and is preparing to ask customs to prevent Apple from bringing the iconic tablet computers into China-one of the US company’s biggest markets. Apple last year took the firm to a Chinese court, claiming trademark infringement, but the court unexpectedly rejected the case over lack of evidence. “ We are preparing requests to customs for blocking iPad impor ts,” Xie

Xianghui, the firm’s lawyer, told AFP. “It is still in the process of preparation,” he said, adding the requests would be made to local customs offices and not the national-level customs administration as par t of a strategic, localised approach. Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is owned by a Taiwanese company that registered the trademark name “iPad” in several countries including China as early as 2000 — years before Apple began selling the product. The US giant subsequently bought the rights for the global trademark, but Proview claims it retained the Chinese rights. Apple said it was the rightful owner of the trademark. “ We

bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,” Apple said in a statement given to AFP on Tuesday. “Proview refuses to honour their agreement with Apple in China.” Xie said the firm had lodged complaints in more than 10 cities across China after Apple lost the case in December. According to the official Global Times newspaper, at least 45 iPads have been seized in Shijiazhuang city in the northern province of Hebei since last Thursday. Officials at the city ’s industrial and commercial bureau confirmed that authorities confiscated some iPads, but refused to comment on specific numbers. Authorities in another city,

Zhengzhou in the central province of Henan, had also raided one retailer and seized 87 iPads, the official Xinhua news agency said late yesterday. However, the iPad-which was officially launched in mainland China in September 2010 — remains on sale across the nation’s five Apple stores, electronics retailers and through some on-line shopping sites. The craze for all things Apple in China has triggered widespread cloning of iPhones and iPads over the years. In July, an American blogger uncovered fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming, and police in Shanghai arrested five people in September for making counterfeit iPhones. — AFP

India won’t censor social media: Minister

NEW YORK: In this Feb. 9, 2012 file photo, Sarah Ryan, left, and Shelby Knox, with arrive at the Apple store at Grand Central to deliver petitions asking Apple to change its manufacturing practices and to address criticism of worker conditions at manufacturing partners operating in China. — AP

MUMBAI: India does not intend to censor online social networks such as Facebook, a minister said yesterday, but he demanded that they obey the same rules governing the press and other media. “I want to say once and for all, without any obfuscation, no government in India will ever censor social media,” Telecoms Minister Kapil Sibal told an IT summit in Mumbai. “I never wanted to censor social media and no government wants to do so. But like the print and electronic media, they have to obey the laws of the country.” He held a number of meetings with leading Internet companies late last year in which he asked about the possibility of checking content before it is posted online by users. The minister was said to have shown Internet executives

examples of obscene images found on the Internet that risked offending Muslims or defaming politicians, including the boss of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi. “The media reported I had said I wanted to pre-screen the content on social media. I have never even heard the word pre-screen,” he told the summit. Since these meetings, 19 Internet firms including Google, Yahoo! and Facebook have been targeted in criminal and civil cases lodged in lower courts, holding them responsible for content posted by users of their platforms. The government has given its sanction for the firms to be tried for serious crimes such as fomenting religious hatred and spreading social discord-offences that could land company directors in prison. “All I want is that they (social media) should

follow the laws of the land. Social media must not consider itself to be above that,” Sibal said. But Internet privacy groups say social media sites may not have the resources to screen obscene material that violates local laws posted on the Internet. Local laws prohibit the sale or distribution of obscene material as well as those that can hurt religious sentiments in overwhelmingly-Hindu India. “It is just not humanly possible to pre-censor content and Sibal knows that very well,” said Rajan Gandhi, founder of a New Delhi-based advocacy group Society in Action. Pranesh Prakash of the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society said he was “glad Sibal does not believe in censorship and that companies operating in India should follow local laws.” — AFP



Pet owners’ hearts may cope better with change KANAGAWA: Pet owners with chronic diseases appear to have healthier hearts than people living without an animal companion, whether furry, scaly or feathery, according to a Japanese study. In findings published in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers who studied nearly 200 people found that those with a pet had higher heart rate variability than those who didn’t. That means their hearts respond better to the body’s changing requirements, such as beating faster during stressful situations. Reduced heart rate variability

has been linked to a higher risk of dying from heart disease. “Among patients with coronary artery disease, pet owners exhibit a greater 1year survival rate than nonowners,” wrote lead author Naoko Aiba at Kitasato University in Kanagawa, near Tokyo. For the study, Aiba’s team monitored 191 people with diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol over 24 hours, using a heart monitor for the entire time period. Their mean age range was from roughly 60 years-old up to nearly 80. The researchers also asked

about their daily activities and whether or not they had a pet. About four in 10 people did own an animal, but other than that the two groups were similar, Aiba said. For pet owners, about 5 percent of their heartbeats differed by 50 milliseconds in length. For non-pet owners, it was 2.5 percent, which means their heart rate changed less. So far, nobody knows what caused the difference between the two groups. It could be due to the pets somehow, or it could be there are differences between people who choose to get a

pet and people who don’t. “My guess is that pets are a form of social support, hence stress reduction, and they can satisfy some but not all social companionship needs,” said Judith Siegel, a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health who did not work on the study, in an email to Reuters Health. “I don’t think anyone has a good handle yet on why these discrepancies exist.” The Japanese researchers cautioned that they only looked at one day in the person’s life and that other factors need to be considered in future research, such as

the potential differences between different types of pets. But Erika Friedmann, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said the study is a step forward from what is already known about the connection between pet ownership and a person’s heart health. “Here we’re moving into people’s daily lives, and that’s what’s so exciting,” said Friedmann, who also wasn’t involved in the study but has done similar research. “It really goes beyond what happens in a ten minute period in the lab.” — Reuters

Air pollution tied to stroke, memory loss Pollution might affect body’s ability to regulate BP

DENVER: A Feb 10, 2012 photo Matthew Huron, owner of two medical marijuana dispensaries and an edible marijuana company in Denver talks about the problems he has faced with banks as he stands in his Good Chemistry dispensary with a sign on the register, “CASH ONLY.” “I’ve been kicked out of three banks,” said Huron.— AP

Aspirin could beat cancer spread SYDNEY: Aspirin and other household drugs may inhibit the spread of cancer because they help shut down the chemical “highways” which feed tumours, Australian researchers said yesterday. Scientists at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said they have made a biological breakthrough helping explain how lymphatic vessels-key to the transmission of tumours throughout the body-respond to cancer. “We’ve shown that molecules like the aspirin... could effectively work by reducing the dilation of these major vessels and thereby reducing the capacity of tumours to spread to distant sites,” researcher Steven Stacker said. Doctors have long suspected that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin may help inhibit the spread of cancer but they have been unable to pinpoint exactly how this is done. By studying cells in lymphatic vessels, the researchers found that a particular gene changed its expression in cancers which spread, but not when the cancer did not spread. The results published in Cancer Cell journal reveal that the gene is a link between a tumour’s growth and

the cellular pathway which can cause inflammation and dilation of vessels throughout the body. Once these lymphatic vessels widen, the capacity for them to act as “supply lines” to tumours and become more effective conduits for the cancer to spread is increased. But aspirin acts to shut down the dilation of the vessels. “So it seems like we have found a pivotal junction point in a biochemical sense between all these different contributors,” Stacker said. The discovery could lead to new and improved drugs which could help contain many solid tumours, including breast and prostate cancer, as well as potentially provide an “early warning system” before a tumour begins to spread. Last year, a study published in medical journal The Lancet found that rates of cancer of the colon, prostate, lung, brain and throat were all reduced by daily aspirin use. Many doctors recommend regular use of aspirin to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems. A downside of extended daily use is the risk of stomach problems. — AFP

WHO calls for final push against leprosy MANILA: The World Health Organization warned Monday that the battle against the age-old scourge of leprosy is not yet over, with more than 5,000 new cases reported yearly in the Western Pacific, where the disease was declared eliminated in 1991. WHO regional director Shin Youngsoo said the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Kiribati are three of 37 countries in the region that have failed to meet the target of lowering cases to less than one per 10,000 people - the health body’s definition of leprosy elimination. He cited the example of the Philippines, which was declared largely free of leprosy in 1998 yet still sees some 2,000 new cases recorded yearly. He told reporters that China has around the same number of new cases each year. “This is unfinished business and we need to walk that last mile,” Shin said. He called on member countries not to be complacent because of the region’s success in meeting the elimination target, to recognize that leprosy still causes much suffering and that more needs to be done to achieve true leprosy elimination. The call was made at the start of a three-day meeting of national leprosy control program managers from the Western Pacific. Leprosy is not a killer and is today easily cured. It affects mainly the skin but if left untreated, can damage nerves. It typically starts as a light-colored patch on the skin that can go unno-

ticed because it causes no pain. In the worst cases, fingers and toes are lost or blindness occurs. The bacteria that causes the disease multiplies very slowly, with an incubation period ranging from three to 20 years. Philippine Health Secretary Enrique Ona expressed concern that the number of new cases yearly in the Philippines may be underreported. He said the country is reviewing its leprosy program, and is educating the public that the disease is not easily transmitted and patients need not be ostracized by the community. “This thing should be in the radar of every public health as well as our general practitioners,” Ona said. “I think this is a wake up call for us to be able to really eliminate it.” Alberto Romualdez, a former Philippine health secretary and head of a foundation that works to control leprosy, said combatting the disease has been low on the country’s health priorities because prevalence is low compared to major diseases. He said the health reporting system was deficient and methods of looking for leprosy cases have not been updated. Shin said there are more cases found among the lower classes because they have less access to health services. He said the stigma of the disease has even prompted some families with an afflicted member to move away from their communities to hide in remote areas. — AP

CHICAGO: Living in a crowded city or near a busy highway where the air quality is poor might lead to a higher chance of stroke or memory loss, according to two US studies. Both reports appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, with one finding a higher risk of stroke among Boston-area residents after days where the air quality was “moderate” as opposed to “good,” especially when traffic-related pollution was high. The other study, which looked at thousands of women, documented a faster longterm decline in thinking and memory skills in women living in higher-pollution areas of the United States. None of the findings could prove that pollutants were to blame for strokes or memory problems, but previous studies have supported findings of negative effects on the heart and on blood vessels. “One of the important points is that at levels that are considered to be generally safe by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), we’re seeing important health effects,” said Gregory Wellenius of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island,, who lead author of the stroke study. He and his colleagues reviewed the medical records of about 1,700 patients who were admitted to Beth Israel Deaconess

Medical Center in Boston with a stroke between 1999 and 2008. Using data from a local air pollution monitoring station, the team found that the risk of having a stroke was 34 percent higher in the 24 hours after “moderate” EPA pollution readings compared to “good” pollution days. That increased risk was greatest within 12 to 14 hours of pollution exposure, and was linked to nitrogen dioxide, a trafficrelated pollutant. Wellenius said that blood vessels dilate and constrict in response to the outside environment in an attempt to keep blood pressure constant. But air pollution might affect the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, which in turn could trigger a stroke in people who are already at risk, he added. That same effect could explain why, over a longer period of time, being exposed to air pollution might be associated with declining thinking and memory skills. “The blood flow to the brain is incredibly important for cognitive function. There may be effects ... on blood flow to the brain that we’re not yet aware of that could be affecting cognitive function,” he said. In the other study, researchers led by Jennifer Weuve of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago analyzed a series of cog-

nitive tests given to close to 20,000 women, mostly in their 70s, and also estimated the air pollution around their homes through the EPA’s monitoring system. They found that more air pollution was tied to faster rates of cognitive decline. For two different sizes of pollution particles, the difference in thinking and memory skills between women with some of the highest and lowest exposures was similar to a year or two of age-related decline, they reported. That’s probably not a mental change an individual person would notice, Weuve told Reuters Health. But on a population-wide scale, cleaner air might mean fewer people in the US are diagnosed with dementia. Researchers have speculated “whether the damage of exposure to ambient air pollution may also reach the human brain,” said Jiu-Chiuan Chen, an environmental health researcher at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, who was not involved in either study. He added that the findings about cognition, since they are preliminary, shouldn’t cause women to be too concerned-but they should encourage future research into the effects of pollution on thinking and memory. — Reuters

Nearly one in 20 US adults over 50 have fake knees

ERFURT: Food testers evaluate products during a quality check for ham and sausage carried out by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) yesterday in Erfurt, eastern Germany. Around 6,600 meat products by 500 producers are to be tested during the four-day-long check. In the focus of 770 testers are taste, smell, texture and look of the products. — AFP

Public bans mean smokers also light up less at home LONDON: Smoking bans in offices, restaurants and other public places don’t drive smokers to light up more at home, but in fact prompt them to impose their own extra restrictions on the habit, according to a European study published yesterday. The research, carried out in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, found that a significant proportion of smokers also decided to ban smoking in their own homes after national public smoke-free laws were introduced. Some opponents of workplace or public smoking bans have argued that smoke-free laws might lead to a displacement of the habit into smokers’ homes, possibly increasing the exposure of non-smokers, particularly children, to second hand smoke. But Ute Mons of the German Cancer Research Center and the Unit of Cancer Prevention at the World Health Organisation ( WHO) Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control in Heidelberg, whose work was published in the journal Tobacco Control, said her findings suggested just the opposite. “On the contrar y, our findings demonstrate that smoke-free legislation may stimulate smokers to establish total smoking bans in their homes,” she wrote in the study. Smoking is known to cause lung cancer, which is often fatal, and other chronic respiratory diseases. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the world’s number one killers. The WHO warned last year that tobacco would kill nearly 6 million people in 2011 including 600,000 nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. I t fears the annual tobacco

death toll will rise to 8 million by 2030. Yesterday’s research was based on two sur veys conducted in 2003/4 and 2008/9 and involved more than 4,600 smokers in the four countries with smoke-free legislation, as well as 1,080 smokers in Britain which served as comparison country at a time when it had no public smoke-free laws. Before bans came into force, most smokers had at least partial restrictions on smoking at home, although the proportions varied significantly among all four countries, with the highest levels of restrictions in Germany and France, the researchers found. But after smoke-free legislation was enacted, the percentage of smokers who banned smoking at home rose by 25 percent in Ireland, 17 percent in France, 38 percent in Germany and 28 percent in the Netherlands, the study showed. Home smok ing bans were more likely to be adopted when the smoker planned to quit the habit, when there was a birth of a child, and when the smoker was someone who had voiced support for a smoking ban in bars. In raw data terms, the percentage of smokers in Britain who put in place home smoking bans also rose 22 percent between the two surveys, the second of which was carried out just a few months before a smoking ban came into force in the UK. But after taking account of confounding factors such as demographics and smoking history, the researchers found the percentage of smokers banning smoking at home had increased significantly in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland, but had not significantly increased in the UK. — Reuters

CHICAGO: Nearly 1 in 20 Americans older than 50 have artificial knees, or more than 4 million people, according to the first national estimate showing how common these replacement joints have become in an aging population. Doctors know the number of knee replacement operations has surged in the past decade, especially in baby boomers. But until now, there was no good fix on the total number of people living with them. The estimate is important because it shows that a big segment of the population might need future knee-related care, said Dr. Daniel Berry, president of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and chairman of orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He was not involved in the research. People with knee replacements sometimes develop knee infections or scar tissue that require additional treatment. But also, even artificial knees wear out, so as the operations are increasingly done on younger people, many will live long enough to almost certainly need a second or even third knee replacement. The new estimate comes in an analysis being presented Friday at the academy’s annual meeting in San Francisco. “These data are sobering because we didn’t know what an army of people we’ve created over the last decade,” said Elena Losina, lead author of the analysis and co-director of the Orthopedics and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The numbers will only increase, based on current trends.” Replacement joints can greatly improve quality of life for people with worn-out knees, but they’re not risk-free and it’s a major operation that people should not take lightly, she said. Modern knee replacements in the United States date back to the 1970s. Since then, advances in materials and techniques, including imaging scans to create better-fitting joints, have made the implants more durable and lifelike, surgeons say. Losina and colleagues came up with their estimate by analyzing national data on the number of knee replacements done from 1998-2009, US census data, death statistics and national health surveys. For example, in 2009, more than 600,000 knee replacement operations were done nationwide. The study estimate includes people who had knee replacement operations that year and in previous years who are still living. Overall, 4.5 million Americans are living with artificial knees. That includes an estimated 500,000 who have had at least two replacement operations on the same knee. Knee replacements are most common in people older than 80 - 1 in 10 people in this age range have them, the study found. Though they’re less prevalent in people younger than that, there are still more than half a million Americans in their 50s with the artificial joints, and based on current trends, operations in that age group are expected to increase. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, knee replacements tripled in people ages 45 to 64 between 1997 and 2009. Doctors think two trends have contributed to that increase: the nation’s obesity epidemic and amateur athletes who don’t adjust workouts to spare aging or even injured joints. Both can lead to or worsen arthritis, the main reason for replacing knees. Donna Brent, 63, is in the latter category. The Deerfield, Ill., administrative assistant says decades of racket ball, tennis, softball and other sports took a toll on her knees, but she got used to living with the pain, even when she became bowlegged and developed a limp. When pain “started getting in the way of some of my sports,” she gave in to her doctor’s advice and had the operation last June on her right knee. She said she feels better than ever, is back to exercising and plans to resume tennis and softball when the weather warms up. During knee replacement operations, surgeons slice off a small portion of the worn-out surface on the ends of both leg bones that meet at the knee, then implant an artificial joint usually made of plastic or metal. Typical operations last about two hours, require a few days in the hospital, and cost roughly $40,000. Artificial knees generally last 15 to 20 years. While some are promoted as lasting 30 years, these estimates are generally based on use among older people more sedentary than baby boomers who expect new knees to let them be as active as they were before surgery. Sometimes that’s possible, though doctors often discourage knee replacement patients from engaging in highimpact sports including jogging. — AP



Trimming super-size with half-orders, plate colors WASHINGTON: Call it the alter-ego of super-sizing. Researchers infiltrated a fast-food Chinese restaurant and found up to a third of diners jumped at the offer of a halfsize of the usual heaping pile of rice or noodles - even when the smaller amount cost the same. Giant portion sizes are one of the culprits behind the epidemic of bulging waistlines, and nowhere is the portion-creep more evident than in restaurants with French fry-heavy meal deals or plates overflowing with pasta. Now scientists are tapping into the psychology of eating to find ways to trim portions without people feeling cheated - focusing on everything from the starchy sides to the color of the plates. “The small Coke now is what used to be a large 15 years ago,” laments psychologist Janet Schwartz, a marketing professor at Tulane University who led the Chinese food study. “We should ask people what portion size they want,” instead of large being the default. Restaurants are paying close attention, says prominent food-science researcher Brian Wansink of Cornell University. His own tests found children were satisfied with about half the fries in their Happy Meal long before McDonald’s cut back the size, and the calories, last year. “We’ll be seeing some very creative ways of down-sizing in the next couple of years,” predicts Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. But let’s call it “right-sizing,” says Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely. Right-size suggests it’s a good portion, not a cut, he says. Couldn’t you just get a doggie bag? Sure, if you’ve got the willpower to stop before your plate is mostly clean. Lots of research shows Americans don’t. We tend to rely on visual cues about how much food is left, shoveling it in before the stomach-to-brain signal of “hey wait, I’m getting full” can arrive. So Schwartz and Ariely tested a different approach:

Could we limit our own temptation if we focus not on the tastiest reason we visited a restaurant - the entree - but on the side dishes? After all, restaurants can pile on caloriedense starches like rice or pasta or fries because they’re very inexpensive, filling the plate so it looks like a good deal, Schwartz says. A popular Chinese franchise at Duke University, with a mix of students, staff and visitors to the campus hospital, allowed the researchers in at lunchtime. In the serving line, customers pick the rice or noodles first. The standard serving is a whopping 10 ounces, about 400 calories even before ordering the entree, says Schwartz. There was no half-size option on the menu board. In a series of experiments, servers asked 970 customers after their initial rice or noodle order: “Would you like a half-order to save 200 calories?” Those who said yes didn’t order a higher-calorie entree to compensate. Weighing leftovers showed they threw away the same amount of food as customers who refused or weren’t offered the option. A 25-cent discount didn’t spur more takers. Nor did adding calorie labels so people could calculate for themselves, the researchers report in this month’s journal Health Affairs - concluding the up-front offer made the difference. Anywhere from 14 percent to 33 percent chose the reduced portions, depending on the day and the mix of customers. Even 200 fewer calories can add up over time. And other tricks can trim portions without people noticing, whether dining out or at home. Cornell’s Wansink found people served 18 percent more pasta with marinara sauce onto a red plate than a white one - and 18 percent more pasta alfredo onto a white plate. A stark contrast “makes you think twice before you throw on another scoop,” explains Wansink. His own family bought some dark dinner plates to supplement their

white ones, because people tend to overeat white starches more than veggies. Wansink’s other research has found: Switching from 11-inch plates to 10-inch plates makes people take less food, and waste less food. The slightly smaller plate makes a normal serving look more satisfying. People think they’re drinking more from a tall skinny glass than a short wide one even if both hold the same volume, a finding Wansink says was widely adopted by bars. Beware if kids eat from the adult bowls. He found 6year-olds serve themselves 44 percent more food in an 18-ounce bowl than a 12-ounce bowl. Restaurants are

starting to get the message that at least some customers want to eat more sensibly. Applebees, for example, has introduced a line of meals under 550 calories, including such things as steak. And a National Restaurant Association survey found smaller-portion entrees, “minimeals” for adults and kids, and bite-size desserts made a new trend list. It’s all consumer demand, says association nutrition director Joy Dubost: More diners now are “requesting the healthier options and paying attention to their calories.” — AP

HK jails Chinese ‘birth agent’ HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court has jailed a woman for 10 months after she admitted helping mainland Chinese women give birth in the southern city, in a decision that was welcomed yesterday by activists. The semi-autonomous city is struggling with an influx of tens of thousands of mainland women who come to Hong Kong each year to give birth, to gain residency rights for their children and to circumvent China’s one-child policy. Authorities have stepped up enforcement amid outrage in Hong Kong, with local women taking to the streets to protest the influx which critics say has led to a shortage of maternity beds in hospitals. In the first prosecution of its kind, mainland woman Xu Li was sentenced to 10 months in jail by a Hong Kong magistrates’ court Monday over her role as a “birth agent”, court officials confirmed to AFP. The 29-year-old has pleaded guilty to one count of breaching her conditions of stay, which bars her from carrying out business activities, and another

offence of making a false representation to an immigration officer. “We welcome the ruling,” campaigner Christine Chan told AFP. Chan is the spokeswoman of a popular Facebook campaign set up to protest against mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong. “The judge sent a very strong message that agents who encourage pregnant mainland women to wait until the last minute and then force their way into Hong Kong emergency wards are endangering others’ lives. “We’re not sure whether this sentence will deter others, so we urge the authorities to remain vigilant in their enforcement,” Chan said. Xu was arrested on January 15 at a Hong Kong-China border checkpoint as she was about to enter the city while accompanying a heavily pregnant mainland woman. The court was told Xu started helping pregnant mainlanders in 2010 by arranging pre-natal checkups in Hong Kong, booking delivery services and hostels, and arranging care for women and their babies following births.— AFP



W H AT ’ S O N

Announcements Art painting exhibition PART- (progressive art realization troop) is conducting a Symposium, A study of Contemporary art and Painting Exhibition. On Friday 17th February 2012, at “Pravasi”auditorium Abbassiya From 6pm onwards. Contact: Mob:99510814-9096104899252190-66776364-94414470 Email: Mujhse Shaadi Karogi Indian Cultural Society proudly presents new concept of comedy play “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi” with Bhagyashree & Akshay Ananad along with Krutika Sharma, Prairna & Navin Agarwal on 17th Feb, Friday, at 7 pm at Dr Kamil Al Rays auditorium American International School near Police station Maidan Hawally Kuwait. The chief guest for the event will be Ambassador of India, Kuwait and the guest of honor will be prominent personalities from Kuwait. For more information log on to

Abdurrahman Fawzi (left) with his father and brother.

Abdurrahman Fawizi receives his degree.

Khalid Fawzi celebrates son’s graduation


bdurrahman Khalid Fawzi celebrated his graduation from the Modern University for Technology and Information (MTI) in Egypt, and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in management sciences with a ‘very good’ rating. Abdurrahman’s father, Khalid Fawzi, hosted a ceremony to celebrate his son’s graduation, attended by family and friends.

Treasure Hunt Please join Al-Kout and the British Playhouse Nursery for their first grand treasure hunt! Teams of 3 members each, ages 8 to 14, boys and girls, will face challenges to find the grand prize! Event Date: February 18th Location: Al-Kout Mall, Fahaheel Time: 2pm - 6pm. To register or for more info: Kuwait Improv Fun lovers of Kuwait unite. A get together by people who love to surprise, be surprised and just be about at anything are welcome to Kuwait Improv, a gathering, reminiscent of the famous American TV program Whose Line is it Anyway, informally organized by American School of Kuwait teacher Brad Manker. No histrionic talent required, but a willingness to share. Please Tulu speaking classes Here’s a great opportunity for parents who always wished their children could learn Tulu. Tulu Koota Kuwait, in its objective towards promoting Tulu language and culture, is pleased to announce the opening of Tutu Speaking Classes “Tulu Siri” at Indian Public School Salmiya @ 11:30 am. For more details kindly contact Ramesh Kidiyoor97204716/99596457,Shalini Vijay 66502369,Tharendra P. Shettigar 66757979,Jayalaxmi Karkal - 66958848, Sathyanarayana Salian - 66585077,Vanitha Dias94996459. And our Website: Email: Palpak 4th AGM Palakkad Pravasi Association of Kuwait (Palpak) is conducting its Fourth Annual General Body Meeting on February 24, Friday at Hiphop Auditorium, Fahaheel from 10 am. The main agenda include as following, annual report on the activities during the year of 2011, the audited accounts report for the year of 2011. All members of Palpak are kindly requested to treat this as an official Invitation and attend the said Annual Genera1 body meeting on time. For more details please contact President P.N.Kumar (99771830) and General Secretary Aravindha Shan (66535989).

Abdurrahman Fawzi poses with fellow graduates.

Abdurrahman Fawzi with his mother.

Abdurrahman Fawzi with his father Khalid Fawzi.

Abdurrahman Fawzi shows his degree to the camera.

Abdurrahman Fawzi with his wife.

GLEE-esque show choir This Valentine’s Day step into a musical Love Story performed by Vocal Rhapsody, KLT’s first ever GLEEesque show choir. Vocal Rhapsody’s “Love Story” - is a show choir production with hit songs from artists such as Journey, Queen, Katy Perry and Meatloaf. It promises to be an exciting evening for all with some classic songs that everyone will enjoy. contact: Sadu weaving workshop This workshop is of four weeks duration, and it will be held twice a week. The morning group sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 9am to 12pm. The evening group are on Sunday and Tuesday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. A total of 8 sessions of three hours each. This workshop will be held from January 22nd to February 18th. For more Information kindly contact Sadu House at: 2243-2395 or 9959-7983 AWARE Desert Camp Every year the desert beckons us to go and enjoy it quietness and serenity. Join AWARE for an all-day outdoor experience including: Camel rides, ATV rides, Sports, Hot buffet lunch, Arabian cultural displays. Families and children welcome on Friday 17th Febuary. Departure from Aware 9.45 am, return departure 4.30 pm. Registration deadline is Feb. 15. For more info call Aware 25335260/80 or or email : KALA, Kuwait-Medical Camp The preparations are in progress for the KALA Free Medical Camp in association with† Indian Doctors Forum, sheduled to be conducted on 17 February 2012 at Khaitan Cermel School, Kuwait. The camp is all set to start at 8.30 am and to comclude by 3 pm. KALA, Kuwait under the guidence of Indian Doctors Forum and under the auspices of Kuwait Medical Associtaion (KMA) is conducting this event for the benefit of people especially from labor camps. The consultation with the medical experts of IDF will be free and strictly through registration. Registration forms can be availed from any of the KALA, Kuwait units or from the website Filled application from should be handed over to the nearest KALA units or faxed/ e-mailed on or before February 10. For informations contact: 24317875 (KALA Office), 97124562 & 65806495 (Abbassya), 66180229 & 97234038 (Fahaheel), 99122984 (Salmiya), 66290980 (Farwaniya). Music festival On March 1, 2012, the “Blend Music Festival,” a mellow acoustic get-together of several local musicians, will take place in Bayt Lothan, the official sponsor, host, and curator of the event. This event will be FREE of charge and open to everyone to attend. We hope to see you all there, and here’s to a great start to 2012! The “Blend Music Festival” will be the first of many concerts to be held; there are a handful of musicians on board, and more will be added to the sets at a later stage. Here is the program for March 1st: 1- Ali Sleeq with Gary Ruston & Kevin Owen = JAZZ; 2- Hadi Sarieddine, Bader Nana, & Sarj = ROCK; 3- Lewis Chapman - FOLK / ROCK.

Abdurrahman Fawzi

Abdurrahman Fawzi with fellow graduates.

Abdurrahman Fawzi in a photo with a colleague at the graduation ceremony.


he Premier GOAL Academy in association with Everton F.C. and sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company, donated soccer balls to Batanai Youth Centre in Masvingo, Zimbabwe last week. The centre helps to empower disadvantaged youths by encouraging them to participate in soccer. The contribution of the soccer balls was greatly appreciated by the Youth Coordinator, Mavis Mukwananzi who highlighted that prior to PGA/Everton’s contribution; only 2 balls were available for over 100 kids at the centre. This was the first batch of PGA Everton’s contribution to the community, more soccer balls are planned to be shipped to Zimbabwe in the next few months. Pictured here are some of the male and female players from Batanai with PGA Everton Coach, Peter Mapendere.


Free Arabic language course

PC and all its branches are opening free Arabic language course for ladies accessible in beginners and advanced levels. Class will commence on March 2, 2012. Islamic and Quran courses are also presented in different languages. Registration is on! Call the nearest IPC branch: Rawdah: 22512257 / 97290278; Salmiyah: 25733263 / 97533263; Mangaf: 23723002 ext. 124/123; Jahra: 24558830 / 97533948; Khaithan: 24730137.

IASCO honors award winners


ndo Arab Socio Cultural Organization (IASCO) held a reception to honor the chairman of Kuwait Kerala Muslim Association (KKMA) and the recipient of ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Karma Shreshta 2012’ award Sageer Thrikkarippor, ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Karma Ragna 2012’ award winner and Gulf Mart country head Remesh T

A, ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Karma Shreyas 2012’ award winner S A Labba, the chairman of IASCO for the services they rendered to the Indian community and the nation. Former Kerala Minister (Norka) M M Hassan was the chief guest while Noyal Thomas IFS, the director and CEO of Norka Roots, Kerala was the guest of honor.

Addressing the audience, Hassan lauded the activities of Indo Arab Social Cultural Organization (IASCO) for disseminating the message of friendship between Indians and Arabs through art and cultural activities. Noyal Thomas, the CEO of Norka Roots, gave a briefing of facilities available for Kerala expatriates

under the activities of Norka. S A Labba presided over the meeting. Simon Varghese, director of Jaihind TV, Malayil Moosakoya, Sam Painamood and Vice-chairman of KKMA Muneer Abdulla delivered felicitation speeches. Vice chairperson of IASCO Asma K Abdulla welcomed the audience.


W H AT ’ S O N

French organization visits Philippine Embassy shelter


embers of the French organization “French Friends of Kuwait” headed by Philippe Sauvan visited the Philippines’ Overseas Workers Resource Center, shelter for the distressed Filipino workers in Kuwait. The team donated boxes of personal hygiene courtesy of Boots, a subsidiary of Al-Shaya Company. Philippine Labor Attache David Des Dicang, Assistant Labor Attache Ching Ardevilla and Welfare Officer Norlita Lugtu welcomed the group to the shelter. Six members of the French Friends of Kuwait organization visited the shelter and donated boxes of personal hygiene items for the consumption of the wards currently seeking shelter in the resource center in Jabriyah. Labor Attache Dicang expressed his gratitude to the group for the donations and discussed other issues with the group. The Labor AttachÈ discussed with the group the idea of having a social center intended for domestic helpers. He added that the

center will be an ideal place for domestic helpers during their day off. The center will include different services such as a remittance outlet, restaurant, activity

programs and more. “It will be a very safe place for them. Employers can drop them in the center and pick them up at the end of the day, with less worry that

unfortunate incidents may happen to them. It will be a center that will provide personal enrichment and development,” quoted the Labor Attache. As for Sauvan, he said that their organization was meant to provide assistance to their countrymen primarily and the foreign community. He promised to discuss the matter with the group. Sauvan also asked other items the organization help raise. Assistant Labor AttachÈ Ardevilla said that food, medicine and personal hygiene items are much needed by the wards, since most of them leave their employers’ houses without their personal belongings. Donated boxes were opened by the shelters’ officials and members of the organization. Labor AttachÈ thanked Philip Sauvan and his team for having taken time from work and visited the shelter. This has been the second donation made by the French Friends of Kuwait group to the Philippine shelter.


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

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

BSK students attend Robotics programming workshop in Qatar


t has been an exciting start to the 2012 Robotics season for the members of BStroniKs, The British School of Kuwait’s educational robotics team. The two students selected to represent the school at an intensive two day programming workshop at Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar were Aakash Ali (year 13) and Zeyad Tamimi (year 11) and this will be the third year in

which these students have competed in the competition. The weekend was the first of two visits to the University as part of the KISS institute for educational robotics programme, season 2012. As part of their extensive extra curricular programme, The British School of Kuwait Educational Robotics Program engages students from Years 9 to year 13 in an educational robot-

ics club that works towards the team-oriented robotics competition based on national science education standards. Organised by the science team this is an after school club where students are given the opportunity to use cutting edge technology in designing, building, programming, and documenting robots using science, engineering, technology, maths, and

writing skills in a hands-on project that reinforces their learning. The students are confident that this years ‘team is the strongest to date and that they will build on the success of last year when the students were selected from over 30 schools around the Gulf to be awarded the judges choice for innovation for the design of their robot.

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

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on the following dates during the month of February 2012. National Day of Kuwait - Feb 25, - Saturday. Liberation Day of Kuwait - Feb 26, - Sunday. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF MYANMAR Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to inform the general public that the Embassy will move its office to new location at Villa 35, Road 203, Block 2, AlSalaam Area in South Surra. The Embassy wishes to advice Myanmar citizens and travellers to Myanmar to contact Myanmar Embassy at its new location from 26 January, 2012. Tel. 25240736, 25240290, Fax: 25240749, nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES For emergency, please contact the Consular hotline at 65184433. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office and other attached agencies shall continue to operate and hold office in Jabriya until 15 March 2012. All your passports and other consular concerns will be processed at our new location, except of course labor issues. Regular working hours of the Embassy shall resume in Faiha.

Reem Al-Wuqaiyan

KBC hosts spring camp Feb 24


he Kuwait Banks Club invites staff members of local banks and their families to its spring camp in Al-Julaiah for an open day to be held on Friday, February 24, 2012, announced social committee director Reem Al-Wuqaiyan. A special entertaining program is scheduled for the event featuring competitions for participants of all ages, Al-Wuqaiyan said in a statement made recently to the press. The open day is held simultaneously with Kuwait’s national celebrations at the end of the month.

Balakrishna to visit Kuwait


rominent Telugu film Hero Nandamuri Balakrishna coming to Kuwait on 5th April 2012 for 2 days upon the invitation of Pravasaandhra Telugu Desam, NBK seva samithi. Nadamuri Balakrishna is popularly known as “Balayya” and “NBK” by his fans and admirers. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu film legend Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. He then starred in many critical and commercial films and established himself as one of the leading contemporary actors of Telugu Cinema. In addition to films, Balakrishna is associated with several philanthropic and social organizations activities. He campaigned for the Telugu Desam Party in the 2009 Assembly elections, and he is the chairman of the trust board of The Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute. Balakrishna will be the chief guest in the “Musical Night” Program which will be organized by Pravasaandhra Telugu Desam, NBK seva samithi on 6th April evening. Social entrepreneur awardee Guttikonda Thakoor is convening and also participating in this program. For More details contact Pravaasandra Telugu Desam Officials Mulakala Subbarayudu, 55770769, Venkat Koduri, 97200952, Malepati Suresh Babu, Adusupalli Udaya Prakash, Pidikiti Srinivas Chowdary. Email:


APAK-New Year family fest - 2012


ngamaly Pravasi Association Kuwait (APAK) celebrated Christmas & New Year Family Fest 2012 on Feb 3 at ‘United Indian School Auditorium’, Abbassiya. After the prayer, APAK general Secretary Martin Padayattil welcomed the audience and was presided by Saju.G. Thachil, President of APAK. Program was inaugurated by Malayil Moosakoya (Chairman - Mangaf India International School). APAK Advisory board Chairman Jacob Pynadath delivered valuable New Year message

to APAK members. After cutting the New Year cake cultural program started and distributed New Year cake to all the members and families. There were different varieties of dance, songs & skits performed by APAK members & their children. Moreover a grant melodious Ganamela was performed by Delight’s Orchestra. The success of the event, we are thankful to Sajeev Paul Program Committee Convener, Bacon Joseph

Joint Convener, Libin Thettayil Arts Convener, Lijesh Paul Social Welfare Convenor and Regi Panikulam Volunteer Convener and all other advisory committee members and managing committee members. The vote of thanks was given by Nigi Paily, Treasurer Shinu Joseph anchored these program. On a grand scale with more than 350 family members and friends are attended the program. This event was rented a memorable moments to all the APAK members.

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

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

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

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



00:50 Animal Cops Houston 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Crime Scene Wild 03:35 World Wild Vet 04:30 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 05:25 Kingdom Of The Elephants 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 Dolphin Days 07:10 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 07:35 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 08:00 Gorilla School 08:25 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 08:50 Talk To The Animals 09:15 The Really Wild Show 09:40 Project Puppy 10:10 America’s Cutest... 11:05 Kingdom Of The Elephants 12:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:55 SSPCA: On The Wildside 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 K9 Cops 14:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 15:40 Kingdom Of The Elephants 16:30 Echo And The Elephants Of Amboseli 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 18:25 Dogs 101 19:20 Dogs 101: Specials 20:15 Gorilla School 20:40 Wildlife SOS 21:10 Escape To Chimp Eden 21:35 Dolphin Days 22:05 Saving A Species 23:00 Wild France

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

Eastenders Doctors Red Cap Last Of The Summer Wine As Time Goes By Keeping Up Appearances Balamory Charlie and Lola The Large Family Bobinogs Buzz & Tell Fimbles Little Robots Nina And The Neurons Balamory Charlie and Lola The Large Family Bobinogs Buzz & Tell Fimbles Little Robots Nina And The Neurons Last Of The Summer Wine As Time Goes By The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Mastermind Doctor Who Confidential Keeping Up Appearances Last Of The Summer Wine The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Mastermind Doctor Who Confidential The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Casualty Last Of The Summer Wine One Foot In The Grave Lark Rise to Candleford As Time Goes By Keeping Up Appearances

00:25 01:25 02:45 04:00 04:50

What To Eat Now - Autumn Indian Food Made Easy James Martin’s Brittany 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes By The Sea

05:40 06:35 07:30 08:15 09:05 09:35 10:25 11:10 12:00 12:50 13:40 16:10 16:55 17:45 18:30 18:55 19:55 21:10

Indian Food Made Easy What To Eat Now - Summer Bargain Hunt Indian Food Made Easy What To Eat Now - Summer Masterchef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger What Not To Wear Fantasy Homes By The Sea Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt Cash In The Attic USA What To Eat Now - Summer James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Champagne

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

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

00:40 Samurai Jack 01:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 02:20 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 03:10 Best Ed 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Adventure Time 04:50 Generator Rex 05:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 05:40 Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy 05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 07:20 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School

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

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 Recess 06:45 Timon And Pumbaa 07:05 Phineas And Ferb 07:30 Good Luck Charlie 07:55 Fish Hooks 08:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 09:25 Handy Manny 09:40 The Hive 09:47 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 09:50 Recess 10:15 So Random 10:40 Have A Laugh 10:45 Hannah Montana Forever 11:10 Suite Life On Deck 11:35 Jake & Blake 12:00 Sonny With A Chance 12:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:45 Phineas And Ferb 13:10 So Random 13:30 Suite Life On Deck 13:55 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:20 Have A Laugh 14:30 Phineas And Ferb 15:20 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 15:45 Fish Hooks 16:10 Shake It Up 16:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 17:05 Timon And Pumbaa 17:30 Good Luck Charlie 17:55 Fish Hooks 18:20 Suite Life On Deck 19:10 Good Luck Charlie 19:30 Have A Laugh 19:35 Wizards Of Waverly Place 20:00 Hannah Montana Forever 20:25 Phineas And Ferb 20:50 Shake It Up 21:15 Fish Hooks 21:35 Recess 22:00 Shake It Up 22:50 Wizards Of Waverly Place


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

Destroyed In Seconds Rampage! Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Does It Work? How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Cell Phone Revolution Mythbusters How Does It Work? Cake Boss Border Security Auction Hunters Swamp Loggers Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us

00:40 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 01:35 When Aliens Attack 02:25 The Tech Show 02:50 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 03:40 Meteorite Men 04:35 How Does That Work? 05:00 How Stuff’s Made 05:25 Kings of Construction 06:20 Prototype This 07:10 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 08:00 The Gadget Show 08:50 How Does That Work? 09:15 How Stuff’s Made 09:40 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 10:35 Meteorite Men 11:25 Kings of Construction 12:20 Prototype This 13:15 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 14:05 Weird or What? 14:55 How Does That Work? 15:20 How Stuff’s Made 15:50 The Gadget Show 16:40 The Tech Show

00:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:05 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 01:30 Good Eats 01:55 Guy’s Big Bite 02:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:35 Food Network Challenge 04:25 Barefoot Contessa 04:50 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 05:15 Kid In A Candy Store 05:40 Good Eats 06:05 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 06:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 06:50 Food Network Challenge 07:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 08:00 Food Network Challenge 08:50 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 09:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:40 Good Eats 10:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 10:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 10:55 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 11:20 World Cafe Asia 11:45 30 Minute Meals 12:10 Unwrapped 12:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 13:00 Good Eats 13:25 Guy’s Big Bite 13:50 Aarti Party 14:15 World Cafe Asia 14:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 15:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:30 Unwrapped 15:55 Paula’s Best Dishes 16:20 Andy Bates Street Feasts 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Guy’s Big Bite 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Aarti Party 19:15 Good Eats 19:40 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 20:05 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 20:30 Restaurant: Impossible 21:20 Unwrapped

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

14:45 Lazytown 15:10 Handy Manny 15:25 Jungle Junction 15:40 Imagination Movers 16:05 The Hive 16:15 Special Agent Oso 16:25 Little Einsteins 16:50 Lazytown 17:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 17:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:05 Mouk (Cema) 18:20 Handy Manny 18:30 The Hive 18:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:55 Imagination Movers 19:20 Lazytown 19:45 Imagination Movers In Concert (Cema) 20:30 Jungle Junction 20:45 Handy Manny 20:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:25 The Hive 21:35 Little Einsteins 22:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 22:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 101 Dalmatians 22:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 23:20 The Hive 23:30 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 23:35 A Poem Is... 23:40 Animated Stories 23:45 Mouk (Cema)

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Bridalplasty 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

00:00 Enfusion 00:50 Mantracker 01:40 I’ll Do Anything 02:30 World Combat League 03:20 Mantracker 04:10 Enfusion 05:00 Fantasy Factory 05:25 Fantasy Factory 05:50 I’ll Do Anything 06:40 World Combat League 07:30 Ride Guide Snow 2008 09:00 Slovaki: A True Movie About... 09:25 Blood, Sweat And Gears 10:15 Lucas Oil Motocross Championships 2009 11:55 Best Of The Streets 12:45 Dragrace High 13:35 Mantracker 14:25 I’ll Do Anything 15:15 World Combat League 16:05 Best Of The Streets 16:55 Dragrace High 17:45 Slovaki: A True Movie About... 18:10 Blood, Sweat And Gears 19:00 Lucas Oil Motocross Championships 2009

00:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 01:30 The Haunted 02:15 A Haunting 03:05 Couples Who Kill 03:50 Deadly Women 04:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 05:25 The Haunted 06:15 A Haunting 07:10 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 08:00 FBI Files 08:50 Forensic Detectives 09:40 Murder Shift 10:25 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 11:10 Real Emergency Calls 11:35 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 11:55 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 12:40 Disappeared 13:25 Murder Shift 14:15 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 15:00 Real Emergency Calls 15:25 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 15:50 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 16:35 Disappeared 17:20 FBI Files 18:10 Forensic Detectives 19:00 Murder Shift 19:45 Real Emergency Calls 20:10 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 20:55 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 21:20 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 22:10 Disappeared 23:00 I Almost Got Away With It 23:50 Cuff Me If You Can

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

Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago Warrior Road Trip Bluelist Australia Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago Warrior Road Trip Bluelist Australia Dive Detectives On The Camino De Santiago Word of Mouth Extreme Tourist Afghanistan Don’t Tell My Mother Don’t Tell My Mother By Any Means A World Apart Treks In A Wild World On The Camino De Santiago Word of Mouth Extreme Tourist Afghanistan Don’t Tell My Mother Don’t Tell My Mother By Any Means A World Apart


00:00 Kalifornia-18 02:00 My Bloody Valentine-PG15 04:00 Snake In The Eagle’s ShadowPG15 06:00 Ong Bak 2-PG15 08:00 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course-PG15 10:00 Riddles Of The Sphinx-PG15 12:00 Lost In Space-PG15 14:15 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course-PG15

01:00 Of Gods And Men-18 03:15 Date Night-PG15 05:15 At Risk-PG15 07:00 Gasland-PG15 09:00 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star-PG15 11:00 Arthur And The Revenge Of Maltazard-PG 13:00 Make It Happen-PG15 15:00 The Spy Next Door-PG 17:00 The A-Team-PG15 19:15 Freakonomics-PG15 21:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG15

03:00 Friends 04:00 Dharma And Greg 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 06:00 Malcolm In The Middle 08:30 Friends 09:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 12:00 Malcolm In The Middle 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:30 Just Shoot Me 14:00 Friends 16:30 How I Met Your Mother 18:00 Friends 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Angry Boys 22:30 American Dad

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

Private Practice Royal Pains Terriers Grey’s Anatomy Off The Map Good Morning America Eureka Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Private Practice

01:00 Fade To Black-18 03:00 Snake In The Eagle’s ShadowPG15 05:00 Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood-18 07:00 The Warlords-PG15 09:00 Returner-PG15 11:00 Legion-18 13:00 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 15:00 Returner-PG15 17:00 Tremors-PG15 19:00 Sniper: Reloaded-18 21:00 Wild Bill-PG15 23:00 Snow White: A Tale Of Terror-

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

I’ll Be Home For Christmas-PG Jack Goes Boating-PG15 Hanging Up-PG15 Charlie & Boots-PG15 The Country Bears-PG A Guy Thing-PG15 Renaissance Man-PG15 Indian Summer-PG15 I’ll Be Home For Christmas-PG Woke Up Dead-PG15 Pretty Bird-18 Feed The Fish-PG15

01:00 Howl-18 02:45 Another Year-PG15 05:00 Inside Job-PG15 07:00 Flying By-PG15 09:00 Due Date-PG15 11:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 13:00 The Devil’s Teardrop-PG15 15:00 Alabama Moon-PG15 17:00 Due Date-PG15 19:00 The Wolfman-18 21:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG15 23:00 The American-18

00:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 02:00 Legend Of Sleeping BeautyPG 03:45 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 06:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 08:00 Turandot-PG 10:00 North-PG 12:00 In Search Of The Titanic-PG 14:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 16:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 18:00 North-PG 20:00 The Amazing Zorro-FAM 21:45 In Search Of The Titanic-PG

01:00 02:00 03:00 06:30 07:00 10:00 10:30 12:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 21:30 22:00

Futbol Mundial Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Premier League Darts Futbol Mundial Snooker The Welsh Open ODI Cricket Highlights Super League Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Futbol Mundial Cricket ODI Highlights Live Snooker The Welsh Open ODI Cricket Highlights Live Snooker The Welsh Open

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00

UFC The Ultimate Fighter V8 Supercars Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup V8 Supercars WWE SmackDown Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Speedway Power Boats UIM WWE Bottom Line

00:30 ICC Cricket World 01:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 02:00 Snooker The Welsh Open 05:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 06:00 ICC Cricket World 06:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 08:00 Scottish Premier League 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Bass Fishing 13:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 13:30 Super League 15:30 Top 14 Highlights

03:30 World Cup of Pool 05:30 US Bass Fishing 06:30 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Futbol Mundial 08:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 09:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 10:00 Golfing World 11:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 12:00 Snooker The Welsh Open 15:00 Asian Tour Highlights 16:00 Asian Tour Golf Show 18:30 Golfing World 19:30 Asian Tour Highlights

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 03:30 04:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:30

American Pickers Ax Men Investigating History Storage Wars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men American Pickers Ax Men Investigating History Storage Wars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men American Pickers Ax Men Investigating History Storage Wars Pawn Stars

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

Big Rich Texas Jerseylicious Homes With Style Open House Videofashion Daily Videofashion News How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Clean House Videofashion News Videofashion Daily Open House How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Clean House Dress My Nest Mel B: It’s A Scary World How Do I Look? Giuliana & Bill Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Jerseylicious Giuliana & Bill Big Rich Texas Clean House: New York Tia And Tamera How Do I Look?

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 Planet Food 02:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 03:00 Globe Trekker 04:00 Planet Sports 05:00 Globe Trekker 06:00 Planet Food 07:00 Opening Soon 07:30 Wild At Heart 08:00 Globe Trekker 09:00 Tall Ship Explorers 10:00 Cruise Today 10:30 4real 11:00 Planet Food 12:00 Flavours Of Mexico 12:30 Wild At Heart 13:00 Globe Trekker 14:00 Planet Food 15:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 16:00 Globe Trekker 17:00 Globe Trekker 18:00 Life’s A Trip 18:30 Flavours Of Mexico 19:00 Planet Food 20:00 Globe Trekker 21:00 Secrets Of Bangkok 22:00 Indian Times 23:00 Intrepid Journeys

00:55 Brotherly Love 02:45 The Comedians-PG 05:15 They Died With Their Boots On-FAM 07:30 TCM Presents Under...-U 08:00 Each Dawn I Die-PG 09:30 Love Me Or Leave Me-PG 11:30 Vengeance Valley-PG 12:55 Bachelor In Paradise-PG 14:45 Clash By Night-PG 16:30 Lili-FAM 17:50 Father’s Little Dividend-FAM 19:10 Hotel-PG 21:15 Two Weeks In Another TownPG 23:00 Pink Floyd—The Wall

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2012




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



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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION To let from March 1, 2012, 1 semi furnished big room with attached toilet from a 3 bed room spacious flat in B’neid Al-Ghar. Ideal for executives. Rent KD 75/- for single occupancy and KD 95/- for double occupancy. Contact: 60914165. (C 3868) Sharing available for Christian family, C-A/C, room + bathroom, near Learners Academy, Abbassiya. Small family or two bachelors. Contact: 66265733 / 24346514. (C 3869) 12-2-2012 Sharing accommodation available for decent executive bachelor in Abbasiya near United Indian School. Separate toilet, bedroom & balcony with coolpex & AC, new building. Contact: 97208351. (C 3866) 9-2-2012 Immediate sharing accommodation available for a decent Indian Christian bachelor or couple near Salmiya Garden. Contact: 66884273 / 25657832. (C 3862) Sharing accommodation available in C-A/C flat in Abbasiya for two Christian bachelors or couple from 15 Feb. Contact: 65625804. (C 3863) 8-2-2012

FOR SALE Chevrolet Optra 2009 is on immediate sale for KD 2,350/- as expat leaving Kuwait. Showroom maintained and in excellent condition. Contact: 99754454. (C 3867) 11-2-2012

(C 3859) Orthodox well-settled parents invite proposals for their son, 28, 180cm, fair, MBA (Finance) from a reputed institution, employed in reputed bank in Kuwait from parents of professionally qualified God-fearing girls. Contact: 7-2-2012 Proposals invited for Keralite Orthodox Christian boy (38, 5 7” whitish), God fearing Computer Engineering diploma working in Kuwait having family visa status seeking alliance from nurses and other professionals. The boy will be coming to Kerala in the middle of March. Contact email: (C 3858) 5-2-2012

CHANGE OF NAME I, Vinod Kumar S/O Narinder Kumar holder of Indian Passport No. H4590145 hereby change my name to VINOD KUMAR GOGNA. (C 3871) 14-2-2012 I, Sobhana Kumari, holder of Indian Passport No. F0925460 here by change my name Sara Saad Mubarak Salman. (C 3870) 13-2-2011

SITUATION WANTED Diploma Engineer/ 16 years project sales experience (9 yrs in Kuwait) seeking suitable position from reputed companies. Contact: 55339596/ 99759183. (C 3860) 7-2-2012

SITUATION VACANT Required live-in maid for a small Indian family living in Riggae. Contact: 99694619. (C 3861) 8-2-2012

MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited for a Keralite C.S.I. boy (31, 5ft 7”) studied B.Com, presently well employed in own business seeks alliance from God fearing Keralite girl (C.S.I / Martomite) from India or residing in Kuwait. Contact: with full details. (C 3864) Orthodox parents in Kuwait invites proposals for their daughter (26 / 165 fair) B.Tech, B/B and currently working in Kuwait, from a well qualified/ employed Orthodox/ Marthoma boys. Contact: (C 3865) 9-2-2012 A proposal comes from a man, an Engineer, 50 years old seeks an Asian woman, decent, working, respectful preferable, who is coming recently to Kuwait. Email:

MISCELLANEOUS Original guaranteed Palestinian virgin olive oil, large black and green olives for sale. Tel: 66517417 Whole Floor or small villa needed for rent in Shaab, Mansoriya, Nozha, Abdullah Al-Salem or Shamiya. Direct contact with owner. Tel: 9989018-99169016 A camp for rent in Kabed including five tents with all services. Complete privacy + game arcade. Tel: 97177714 Size 36 air pressure gun for sale in addition to a scope, safety lock. Shooting range 350 meters +bag+25 shots. Price KD 70. Tel: 97790478

No: 15360

A 3700 watt, 2012 model ASTRA generator for sale. Japanese parts assembled in China with pressure and gas meters. Price KD 85. Tel: 60066891 For rent in Hawalli a one bedroom (4x4m) and a 7x3.5 m reception+ terrace, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. Tunis street, behind Al-Andalus pharmacy. Tel: 99683200

in between. Tel: 90001594 A 2005 Mini Cooper for sale. Tel: 99224855 A 2006 Lumina for sale with genuine factory paint. Price KD 2100. Tel: 69945429 A 2009 Touareg for sale. Price 6350. Tel: 96670777

A 2008 white, 1600 CC Nissan Sunny. Price KD 1700. Tel: 99553221

Senior English teacher for Pakistani, bilingual schools, T.M.A., Ielts, Toefl, IBT K.S.S., social studies and math. Tel: 99577430

A 2008 dark blue 6 cylinder Toyota Prado with Beige sued interior, low mileage, touch A/C, CD, cruise control, front and rear sensors for sale. Price KD 6650. Tel: 99275550

For sale: a 375 square meter house in Omariya, fully rented for KD 600. Price KD 185,000. Tel: 66815590

A 2009 white, 6 cylinder Toyota Prado with 40,000 mileage touch A/C, CD, cruise control, front and rear sensors for sale. Price KD 7850. Tel: 9747750855809093 A 2009 YUKUN Suburban GMC XL with low mileage and beige sued interior, electric seats, cruise control, super headlights, rear camera, remote recording and rear sensors. Price 8550. Tel: 99301914 For rent a two storey villa and a basement in Mangaf including 8 rooms, laundry room, yard, parking. Rent value KD 1000. Tel: 97996900 A storey and half for rent in Mangaf including two 3 bedroom apartments with 2 baths, reception, kitchen, driver room each. Tel: 66989887 For rent a ground floor in Qurain comprising of four rooms, large reception, 5 baths, maid room, courtyard, parking. Rent value KD 550. Tel: 66989887

Transportation ser vice available. Payment in advanced conditioned for all areas. Tel: 66678633 The smallest and most up to date recording device (2012 model) for sale. Finger size, voice activated, records up to 600 hrs, made in Japan. Free delivery. Tel: 99773818

TUITION Business management teacher with doctoral degree for universities, institutions, corporate & all student levels. Over 10 years experience. Call 66495951. (C 3817) Mathematics teacher, Intermediate and secondary Exams models, Easy method, Exams from past years with solutions. 97301901 English teacher (3) years experience, looking for a job and ready to start with all educational stages. 55963993

A fully central air-conditioned two room annex in Mangaf with separate exit and shaded car parking for rent to expatriates. Tel: 67753557

Mathematics teacher for Universities, Institutions, Foreign Schools, Administrative, American, English, Australian, Bahrain, Electric and Gulf Sciences, Algbra Prel, Mathematics, intermediate, gmat, sat college, math98, 110 pre calculus geometry. 97619261

For rent in Ashbelia: two apartments with 3 bedrooms, bath, kitchen and maid room each plus a yard

A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291



stars CROSSWORD 589



Aries (March 21-April 19) This is a good time to lead the way on a project—ideas and inspired input are yours for the asking. Your energy is high and your mind is busy, ready to be applied to the work at hand. If you give your best effort now, considerable success will follow. Your cheerful confidence will help win your client’s or customer’s attention and move you forward. Later this afternoon you will find the desire to move into a different activity. At this time, athletic energy is preferred. Enjoy a jog around the park or shoot some baskets this afternoon—especially good with a friend! At home this evening, an ongoing situation with your family continues. It may be time to think about the positive things you have not tried yet in order to generate good results.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You are easy-going today—your compatibility with higherups may draw positive attention. You will find this a very lucky day for making plans or decisions and finding your way through just about any problem you may discover. You feel successful and able to cope with whatever life has to offer. Good advice from a guide or older person may be forthcoming—a good day. Tomorrow is the key word for today. Some days it is okay to put off until tomorrow all those chores you lined up for today. Complete one thing on your list and then enjoy something fun. A friend or loved one may offer help with tomorrow’s chore. Recharge your batteries tonight by going to bed early. Your social life should blossom during this time, perhaps a new love interest.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 4. East Indian tree whose leaves are used for fodder. 10. God of the earth. 13. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 14. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 15. The United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor. 16. A constitutional monarchy on the western part of the islands of Samoa in the South Pacific. 18. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 19. A caustic detergent useful for removing grease. 20. An ancient city in southern Bulgaria. 22. Of or relating to or measured in ohms. 24. (Greek mythology) A maiden seduced by Zeus. 25. Being one more than ten. 27. Informal terms for a mother. 29. Concerning those not members of the clergy. 33. A unit of weight used in some Spanish speaking countries. 37. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 39. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 40. A pilgrim who journeys to Mecca. 43. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 45. A book of the New Testament. 47. Wig for men fashionable in 17th-18th centuries. 51. Unpaid labor (as for the maintenance of roads) required by a lord of his vassals in lieu of taxes. 55. Widely known and esteemed. 56. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 57. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 60. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect. 61. Fiddler crabs. 63. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 64. A boy or man. 65. All the animal life in a particular region. 66. A small cake leavened with yeast. DOWN 1. Uttering in an irritated tone. 2. Using speech rather than writing. 3. A river in southeastern Australia that flows generally northwest to join the Darling River. 4. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 5. A state in midwestern United States. 6. Of or relating to Slavic languages. 7. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 8. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 9. Of or relating to or characteristic of Morocco or its people. 10. Something whose name is either forgotten or not known. 11. (Norse mythology) Goddess of old age who defeated Thor in a wrestling match. 12. Greenish-yellow pear. 17. A convex molding having a cross section in the form of a quarter of a circle or of an ellipse. 21. A monocotyledonous genus of the family Iridaceae. 23. Australian shrubs and small trees with evergreen usually spiny leaves and dense clusters of showy flowers. 26. A mass of ice and snow that permanently covers a large area of land (e.g., the polar regions or a mountain peak). 28. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 30. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 31. A sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain. 32. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 34. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 35. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 36. Most important element. 38. A doctor's degree in dental surgery. 41. An island in Indonesia south of Borneo. 42. Water frozen in the solid state. 44. Guinea fowl. 46. A narrow headband or strip of ribbon worn as a headband. 48. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 49. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 50. Swelling from excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue. 52. Predatory black-and-white toothed whale with large dorsal fin. 53. Having been read. 54. Very dark black. 58. (Babylonian) The sky god. 59. North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. 62. 300 to 3000 kilohertz.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You may take a serious attitude to just about all aspects of your life. For a while this morning you may feel that you are just not with the flow of energy. You know that energies change—if you wait awhile, all the cobwebs will clear away. This is the time to use your energy constructively. This morning is an excellent time to sit down alone and get many things accomplished. It is not a time to try to convince people of anything—nor is it time to push projects. After the noon break you may feel that you have more energy to tackle more difficult problems. Your sensitivity to others tends to delude you this afternoon—perhaps encouraging you to misplace your affections. A movie may be in order tonight—the romantic in you is strong.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


In your professional life—where you want to be and where you are realistically may signify that your personal growth is stunted by some inhibition or constraint. You must either accept your present situation and pace yourself or begin now to make massive changes—a middle ground may be hard to find. A job planner at a nearby college may be your next step to a better employment future. A new friend that is probably very much different from the friends you usually have, may come into your life now. It seems as though this new person has much to offer. Take this new friendship slowly and gracefully—you will help each other. Conditions at home are due to change. Delightfully, the changes will be in the direction of positive!

Leo (July 23-August 22) To assure that you do not misunderstand instructions at work today, ask questions and if necessary, keep notes. Financial savvy and a practical thinking frame of mind are qualities that take on greater importance. You may feel that you have become a good business dealer. You will show a knack for knowing how to put people, ideas and things together profitably. Playing the role of a coordinator can be rewarding. This afternoon, gathering and exchanging information becomes an important part of your day—possibly an educational experience as well. Neighbors or siblings have a big impact on your goals and make a big impression now. This evening is a socially active time. Perhaps a wedding or baby shower is on the schedule.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a good time to try and foster a sense of togetherness and team play among the players of today’s scenario. Do not try and force an issue during this short period. If you are depending on several different people or the upswing of the dollar to save some business project today—you could be in hot water-easy does it. If your own expertise has been the guide to this project—you have nothing to fear. After a hard day’s work, you might find yourself on the golf course or in the gym. This is an excellent time for taking part in social activities with friends. If you are not planning to attend a social event there are energies available for shopping. You or your children need shoes or other clothing—you are wise to do a little comparison shopping.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Discipline may be where your concentration is for now. However, maintaining your spirit of enthusiasm will help you stay on target with your goals. This is a good day for making decisions, carrying out plans and communicating to others. Make sure the dialogue goes both ways, however—others have good ideas too. If you stick to the main subject and do not become hung up on trivialities, you should accomplish quite a lot today. You are empowered with a clear and inquisitive mind. Under the energies today, working with and discussing ideas with friends can be most beneficial and rewarding. You should enjoy time with your family this evening. Expressing affections should come easily and can do much good for your disposition.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your focus is strong and your efforts today are successful. At the close of your workday, you find new ways in which to make the transition from work to home enjoyable. Perhaps a recorded book would be helpful for the car ride home or to enjoy during an exercise period on that exercise afternoon. You do a good job of leaving-work-at-work and you thoroughly enjoy time with your family. This evening, a visit to a bookstore may take an hour or two instead of fifteen minutes. You enjoy visiting with people and might consider a bit of writing yourself! Ideas will come quickly and creative writing is an excellent outlet of expression. Good feelings are in the air. You are motivated and you find positive ways to encourage others.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Now is the time when you should gain recognition or credit for your hard work. There is advice available today that would be good for future reference. Today is a good time to resolve any long-standing dispute and a good day for work. Get out-of-doors for exercise at the lunch break. Work will seem easier and you should feel more relaxed once you engage in some sort of healthy activity. Your time, love and attention and perhaps volunteering in the health care arena are most needed and appreciated by those who receive your care. You are a mentor to others and have encouraged many people to volunteer in important places without realizing it. A unique opportunity excites you this afternoon. Trust in your own judgment.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


There could be roadblocks with communication today—perhaps more with static electricity than words. However, when in doubt, ask questions! You will still be able to have conference calls and other means of communication. Get your plans in order—it pays to have a plan or routine. You are empowered with the energy to seek out new friends and activities this afternoon. Now is the time for something completely different. You do well with your responsibilities in relationships and you are able to teach good communication skills to the young people around you. It is good to teach one particularly feisty young person in your home that quiet times are important and personal rewards can be listed on a grateful list that one of you can begin tonight.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This period may portend the successful culmination of an ambitious project. The accent is on charisma today. You could sell snowballs to Eskimos—because they like you. Stocks may be a good investment today, particularly something in transportation. Your ability, however, to pick and choose your own investment is commendable. Also, this is a good day to plan your redecorating because you may be around people that like to do or talk about such things. Talk among friends or co-workers can be quite enjoyable at this time. You impress people in conversations and communicate to loved ones on new levels. Someone brings much laughter to a conversation this evening. Time with a loved one is fulfilling.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Interior decorating may be the perfect job for you; however, work in retail can be quite successful. Others value you for your ability to make practical decisions concerning group issues. You have a natural sense of what the public wants at this time. Clear decisions affecting others could be made now. There is an increase in romantic daydreaming. For those that are single, a relationship sometime in the next two weeks may change your mind on the subject of marriage. Trust and confidence in your own abilities to be compatible is greatly improved over your past feelings of inadequacy. For those of you who have a love relationship, incredibly romantic feelings will intensify your love. Poetry and music are encouraged.



e niv rsar n



i n f o r m at i o n



Tel.: T e el.: 161




Ministry of Interior

Ext.: 2627 26 627 - 2630

Fax: 24348714


Time Issue T ime

Expected W Weather eather e for the Next 24 2 Hours

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


Cold with light south easterly wind, win nd, with speed of 08 - 20 km/h km m/h and some scattered clouds cloud ds will appear


Partly y cloudy to cloudy with light ligh ht to moderate south easterly wind, with speed of 15 - 38 km/h with a chance chanc h ce for f scattered tt d rain i later l t on


No Current Warnings Warnin a ngs






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh









20 °C

1 °C 12





23 °C

1 °C 10



Amiri Hospital



20 °C

1 °C 13



Maternity Hospital



23 °C

08 0 °C

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital



23 °C

08 0 °C

Chest Hospital



25 °C

0 °C 07

Farwaniya Hospital



22 °C

0 °C 09

Adan Hospital



20 °C

1 °C 14

Ibn Sina Hospital



18 °C

1 °C 14

Al-Razi Hospital

24846000 24874330/9


19 °C

15 1 °C

Physiotherapy Hospital


17 °C

12 1 °C

Hospitals Sabah Hospital

Clinics Rabiya














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb













14/02/2012 1200 120 00 UTC


4 DA DAYS AYS Y FORECAST T Temperatures emperatures DAY DA AY



Wednesday W ednesday e


Thursday Friday Saturday



scattered partly cloudy + scat ttered rain

23 °C

10 °C


scattered partly cloudy + scat ttered rain

24 °C


partly cloudy + chancee for drizzle

19 °C


clouds to decrease + raising r dust

19 °C


Wind Wind Speed

Wind W ind Direction Direction SE

15 - 38 km/h

14 °C


22 - 42 km/h

10 °C


08 - 22 km/h

11 1 1 °C


20 - 45 km/h




MAX. Temp. M Temp.

20 °C



MIN. Temp. M Temp.

10 °C




52 %






MAX. Wind M Wind




22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801


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lifestyle M U S I C



Whitney Houston fans, Lawanda Howkins, left, and Melanie Braggs honor her memory at a candlelight vigil in Leimert Park in Los Angeles on Monday.

A girl places a flower at a makeshift memorial to Whitney Houston.

Speculation rages over cause of Houston’s death A

s fans await autopsy results that may not come for weeks, speculation raged Monday that pop legend Whitney Houston may have died from a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol. Houston, who possessed one of the greatest-ever singing voices and sold more than 170 million records, fought a long and public battle with substance abuse after her career and personal life went off the rails. She was found dead on Saturday afternoon, at the age of just 48, in her bathtub in a luxury suite of the Beverly Hilton hotel as preparations were under way for the Grammy Awards, the highlight of the music industry calendar. An autopsy on her body was completed on Sunday but the toxicology probe is said to be ongoing and a “security hold” has been placed on its results, which officials say may not be published for six to eight weeks. Houston’s body was released Monday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, CNN said. Family sources told the network that the body was to be flown to her native New Jersey for a funeral expected on either Friday or Saturday. Ed Winter, the assistant chief coroner for LA County, earlier refused to speculate on any initial indications found in the star’s blood or urine. Asked several times if coroners knew the cause of death but were just withholding it from the public, Winter said there might be “a suspicion” of the cause but that everyone must wait for official results to be released. “You can look at a body and not know what the cause of death is. You might have a suspicion. But the person could have suffered a heart attack or an embolism or something,” he explained. Celebrity website TMZ said it had learnt from unnamed “family sources” that the singer died from a lethal combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. The website, citing law enforcement sources, and NBC said several bottles of pills were found in the hotel room where Houston died, among them the prescription anti-depressant Xanax and

A fan of Whitney Houston participates in a candlelight NJ. —AP/AFP photos other pain medication. CBS News cited law enforcement sources as speculating the most likely cause of death was a heart attack or prescription drug overdose. TMZ said their source had revealed there was not enough water in the singer’s lungs

Jolie to attend showing of her film in Bosnia


ngelina Jolie’s new movie - a love story set against the genocide of Bosnia’s war - will be shown in Sarajevo for the first time yesterday, but it already has touched off anger left over from the conflict. Muslim Bosniaks have said they expect “In the Land of Blood and Honey” to focus on their plight during the brutal 1992-1995 war. But the distributor in the Serb part of Bosnia said he won’t show it there because it portrays Serbs as the villains and they wouldn’t put up with that. The screening - which Jolie plans to attend - will show a fictional movie about a romance that develops between a Bosnian Serb man and a

US actress and director Angelina Jolie, center, Bosnian actor Goran Kostic, left, and Bosnian actress Zana Marjanovic, right, pose for the photo call of the film ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’. —AP Bosnian Muslim woman, and what happens when he becomes an army officer and she is held in a military prison camp where atrocities such as rape occur. About 5,000 people are expected at the debut in Sarajevo, and the movie also will be shown in theaters in the BosniakCroat part of the country. But the sole film distributor in the Serb-run part of Bosnia said Serbs don’t want to see it. For that reason, Vladimir Ljevar told The Associated Press, “In the Land of Blood and Honey” will not be shown in Bosnian Serb movie theaters. “There is simply no

interest for this movie here, so I can’t sell any tickets,” he said. “The fact that the Serbs are the bad guys in it is the reason why there is no interest. The film is lousy. I watched it. It has had bad reviews. It is unprofitable.” Thousands of women were raped during Bosnia’s war, which also included the notorious Srebrenica massacre in July 1995 and the 44-month siege of the capital, Sarajevo. Most of the rape victims were Muslim Bosniak women, often the target of mass rape used as a weapon of terror. Many of the victims were raped repeatedly. Some were brought back to their homes and dumped in front of their husbands. Other women were violated in their husbands’ presence as part of a shock campaign. So a group of Muslim Bosniaks who now have returned to their homes in the Serb part of the country say they are interested in seeing Jolie’s movie and plan to organize private screenings once they make a deal with some other distributor from the region. Zinaida Mahmuljin of the northwestern town of Kozarac said people there are willing to pay for the screening equipment and show it in the local town’s community center. “There is interest here among the returnees,” she said, denying Ljevar’s claims about the movie. “What are we here? Thin air?” Together with others in Kozarac, Mahmuljin plans to screen the movie next week. More than 27,000 people lived there before the war, but the population is now down to about 8,000, she said. The notorious Serb prison camps Omarska and Keraterm are not far from Kozarac, and many townspeople were prisoners there during the war, she said. Murder, torture, rape and other abuses were common at the two camps during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, and the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague has convicted several Bosnian Serbs of persecution and cruel treatment of Muslim Bosniaks. So many people died in those camps that it is hard to find any Muslim family in Kozarac that did not lose someone there, Mahmuljin said. Her father was killed in Omarska and her mother survived torture there. “But we need to move forward, and we won’t do that if we don’t talk about what happened,” she said. “During the Second World War, Serbs of this area were the victims and that was swept under the carpet,” she said referring to the many Serbs who died in the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia,” Mahmuljin said. “In this war, the Bosniaks were the victims. It is time we all sit down and talk about it.” — AP

vigil outside the Whigham Funeral Home, in Newark, to show drowning as the cause of death-as had first been rumored-and that she had died before being submerged in the water. The LA police department said in a statement Monday that Houston was “underwater and apparently unconscious” when found in the tub by members of her

staff. Emergency personnel were unable to revive her. A friend who saw Houston on Thursday, two days before her death, told CNN that the superstar seemed “upbeat and joyful” and not apparently under the influence of drugs. But the Los Angeles Times reported that Houston had behaved erratically during an appearance that day at a rehearsal for a Grammy Awards party. Though she greeted people with a warm smile, she appeared disheveled, with mismatched clothes and dripping-wet hair, the newspaper said. According to the report, the singer flailed her hands frenetically as she spoke, skipped around the ballroom in a childlike fashion and wandered aimlessly around the lobby. In a 2009 interview with TV talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey, Houston blamed ex-husband Bobby Brown for many of her problems, admitted that she laced her marijuana with rock cocaine, and revealed that she had spent time in rehab. Houston most recently checked into rehab in 2011 for drug and alcohol treatment, with her representative telling CNN the singer had “voluntarily entered the program to support her long-standing recovery process.” Houston’s death, on the eve of the annual star-studded Grammy Awards, led to a grief-stricken outpouring from fellow musicians, friends and fans. President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said: “I know that his thoughts and prayers are with her family, especially her daughter-it’s a tragedy to lose somebody so talented at such a young age.” Houston is survived by her 18-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina, whose father is Brown. Sales of Houston’s records have soared after her sudden death, with “I Will Always Love You” the top seller on iTunes and her songs appearing 42 times in the iTunes Top 200. On, Houston occupied 10 spots in the top 20 album chart Monday. Houston’s family issued a statement before the Grammys show, saying: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly.”—AFP


Stars make ‘This Means War’ tolerable H

aving great-looking stars who have the added bonus of actually being able to act makes the noisy romp “This Means War” more tolerable that it ought to be. It is essentially a love-triangle version of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” rendered even more bombastic in the hands of “Charlie’s Angels” director McG. (Simon Kinberg, who wrote the 2005 film that spawned Brangelina, shares script credit here with Timothy Dowling.) So you have got your sport utility vehicles tumbling in slow motion, your gravity-defying shootouts and your obligatory explosions galore. Naturally, the premise is the most high-concept, contrived confection: Two CIA agents (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who happen to be best friends also happen to fall in love with the same woman (Reese Witherspoon), who has no idea these guys know each other. They promise their shared pursuit will not ruin their friendship, but good luck with all that. Screwball and high-tech, “This Means War” aims to provide laughs and thrills at the same time, and only intermittently achieves its goals. Still, the sight of Pine and Hardy one-upping each other for Witherspoon’s affections through ridiculously elaborate dates and outright stalking (with the help of government resources) has its amusing moments. It also sets up the singular great shot in the entire film, in which the two suitors skulk around her apartment, trying to avoid her (and each other) as they hide their surveillance equipment and hunt for intel on her likes and dislikes. Witherspoon stars as the plucky Lauren Scott, a top product tester for a consumer magazine. Still reeling from a breakup, she reluctantly finds herself in the online dating scene. There she finds Hardy’s character, the sweet and sensitive Tuck, who claims he is a travel agent. He is still hurting from a breakup with his wife, with whom he has a young son. Lauren and Tuck’s first date could not

In this film image released by 20th Century Fox, Reese Witherspoon, left, and Chris Pine are shown in a scene from ‘This Means War.’ —AP have gone better, but on the way home she stops by a freakishly well-stocked video store (one of the more outrageous fantasy elements in “This Means War”) where - wouldn’t you know it? - she meets and trades snappy banter with Pine’s character, a womanizer who goes by the initials FDR. Instantly smitten by this smart, fetching creature, FDR goads her into going on a date with him, which ends up going surprisingly well, too. From there, the film works itself up into a frenzy of back-and-forth sabotage, to the tune of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” which provides some energy and is good for a laugh at first but ultimately reinforces the music-video aesthetic. McG reliably keeps the action humming at a nearly

nonstop pace, though. All in all, it’s a sufficient and not entirely insufferable distraction. Meanwhile, Chelsea Handler pops in from time to time as Lauren’s wisecracking, married best friend living vicariously through her dating adventures. Merely the idea that these two women would have a conversation with each other is even more implausible than the film’s outsized stunts, and Handler is coasting on her brash, boozy TV persona, but a couple of her zingers do hit their targets. “This Means War,” a 20th Century Fox release, is rated PG-13 for sexual content including references, some violence and action, and for language. Running time: 97 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.—AP

‘Artist’ dog fetches top prize at canine film awards


Uggie, the dog from the film ‘The Artist’, arrives at the first annual Golden Collar Awards, February 13, 2012 at the Century Plaza Hyatt Regency in Los Angeles, California. —AFP

ggie, the trick-performing Jack Russell Terrier starring in silent film “The Artist”, was top dog at the first-ever Golden Collar awards recognizing canine excellence in Hollywood films. The veteran performer beat out Cosmo from “Beginners”, Denver from “50/50”, Hummer from “Young Adult”, and the doberman Blackie from Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”. Uggie was also nominated for his role in “Water for Elephants”. The award for Best Dog in a Theatrical Film adds to the long list of accolades garnered by “The Artist”, which has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. Uggie’s trainer Omar von Muller accepted the award late Monday-a collar decked with Swarovski

crystals with a bone-shaped pendant-and thanked the Dog News Daily website, which sponsored the awards. “This is very important for all the trainers in the movie industry, because we have never been recognized before, and people just don’t understand that it takes hundreds and even thousands of hours to train a dog,” he said. He then paid tribute to Uggie, “my buddy forever,” saying: “He’s a great performer but at the same time he’s a great family member, he sleeps with us, and he’s getting kind of old and it’s overwhelming.” Uggie, 10, has had a long career in film and television and retired following “The Artist”, for which he was also given the “Palm Dog” at the Cannes film festival, a prize echoing its top film honor, the Palm d’Or. —AFP


lifestyle F E A T U R E S

Philippine swordsmith has Hollywood touch


ilomeno de Guzman does not know Sparta from medieval Scotland, but the Philippine swordsmith is an expert at replicating ancient warriors’ tools for killing each other. A stubby ex-military sergeant who has never set foot abroad, de Guzman and 15 rice farmer-neighbors who moonlight as blacksmiths craft old truck leaf springs into things of terrible beauty. The business feeds an overseas market for replica swords of Roman gladiators, Greek infantry and Japanese samurais, as well as movie-inspired weapons from “Braveheart”, “Conan the Barbarian”, and “Rambo”. “Swords are enjoying a renaissance in Hollywood. That means the storied weapon remains popular, and that works in our favour,” de Guzman, 63, told AFP during a visit to his workshop in a farming area of the northern Philippines. De Guzman never went to university and confesses he does not know much about ancient history, although he does enjoy learning from movies. “Hollywood, yes, I love Hollywood movies. I watched ‘Braveheart’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Conan the Barbarian’, ‘Rambo’, and ‘Samurai’, all on DVD,” he said. De Guzman’s unlikely export business had its origins in him deciding to quit the Philippine security forces in 1980 and taking free government lessons in metal works. He began producing kitchen knives using a wood-fired forge in his backyard, set amid vast rice fields in the farming town of Pozorrubio, 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Manila. “It’s a good, non-perishable product. All households need blacksmiths and their knives,” de Guzman explained of his career choice. However, US soldiers deployed at two nearby military bases soon noticed his craftsmanship and they also began commissioning him to make knives. Later on the soldiers started ordering swords and, as the demand for more elaborate designs grew, he started delving into books on ancient weaponry. When a friend took some of his swords to an exhibition in the United States in the 1990s, de Guzman was connected with an American distributor and his international business was cemented. A few other Philippine smithies also craft swords for export, though de Guzman believes he is the biggest

exporter. The majority of his work now caters for the overseas market, although he still makes some knives and machetes for local housewives and farmers. De Guzman describes his overseas clientele as medieval warfare and history buffs with a lot of disposable income. “I was told these are people who dress up with Renaissance costumes and bring swords to annual festivals,” he said. More than 100 models hang on pegs on his office wall, including copies

Philippine blacksmith Filomeno de Guzman wields a replica of the two-handed sword of Scottish hero Sir William Wallace, popularized in the Hollywood film ‘Braveheart’ with Mel Gibson at his shop in the northern town of Pozorrubio. — AFP photos

A blacksmith grinds a sword guard made out of truck suspension parts. of short Roman empire infantry swords and a massive broadsword like those used by Spartans against Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC De Guzman said he had sold more than 1,000 Excalibur swords from the Arthurian legend. He has also exported a similar number of the Sir William Wallace sword, popularized by the 1995 Mel Gibson “Braveheart” film of the 13th-century Scot who fought English rule. The two-handed sword, with a 73centimetre (28-inch) long blade, weighs five kilograms (11 pounds) and sells for $600 abroad, according to de Guzman. While declining to talk in detail about how much money he had made exporting the weapons, de Guzman said his profession had allowed him to send his

A Xoloitzcuintli during the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden. — AFP

A craftsman decorates the hilt of an Excalibur sword. four children to university. His home is employment for his rice farming neighalso clearly middle class, no small bors, who gather in his backyard in their achievement in the Philippines where basketball shorts and sandals to work roughly one quarter of the country’s the forge and mould metal when orders 100 million people live on one dollar a come in. “Like me, they are also unschooled. If there are orders we all day or less. De Guzman has also provided extra work together, but since they are farm-

Clara, a Chinese Crested in the staging area.

ers, the crops get first priority and the shop orders just have to wait. My distributor understands,” he said. However lawyers in Hollywood have occasionally been less understanding of his profession. “I named one of my knives ‘Rambo III’,” de Guzman said of a 46-centimeter Bowie blade. “I got a letter from the Rambo producers, telling me, ‘Don’t use our name Rambo or we will sue you’.” Nevertheless, after renaming it ‘The Stallone’, after the movie’s star, there have been no more threatening letters. De Guzman also insists his popular “Braveheart” Wallace sword was not a movie rip-off, but made from specifications his distributor gave him of the original, which is stored at a museum in Scotland. After his distributor recently broke into Germany’s sword market, de Guzman is looking to explore more deeply the blood-soaked history of medieval Europe. “I am already developing a prototype Teutonic great sword,” he said, referring to two-handed blades used by Germanic knights in the 11th-13th century Crusades in Muslim lands. — AFP

A bulldog waits to go into the ring.

Dog of ancient Aztecs new pup in town at US show I

t has been around for over 3,000 years, but Mexico’s famous, usually hairless, “Xolo” dog is making a big splash as a “new breed” at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show here this week. Tiny Chabella, descended from a breed the Aztecs considered sacred, is representing the Xoloitzcuintli (which means “hairless dog” or more broadly “dog of the god Xolotl”) for the first time at the show. The event packs Madison Square Garden and is considered the second-oldest US sporting event after horseracing’s Kentucky Derby. This year, the show is welcoming

Handler Chris Pesche and Nikki the Old English Sheepdog.

six breeds into its ranks for the first time, even though the Xolo is a household name in Mexico, if not next door in the United States. The other new four-legged breeds taking part and being judged in New York are: the American English Coonhound; Cesky terrier; Entlebucher mountain dog; Finnish lapphund; and Norwegian lundehund. Those new breeds on the block may get some second looks from dog lovers.But there are a lot of things that get your attention when it comes to a Xolo (pronounced sholo) like Chabella: with dark brown

skin, a bit mottled, the owners of this five-year-old-who have traveled in from Florida-are real believers that Xolo bald is beautiful. The Xolo is considered rare and prized at home in Mexico. Its more than 3,000-year-old history is intertwined with that of the ancient Aztec indigenous people. Xolotl was the Aztecs’ god of lightning and death; the xolo’s name makes reference to him because Aztecs believed the dog’s mission was to accompany dead people on their journey to the afterworld, Chabella’s owner Stephanie Mazzarella told AFP. “The only way to go to the underworld and be protected, it was to have the soul of a Xolo with you. So, when the owner died, he sacrificed the Xolo and the Xolo’s soul could guide the owner’s soul to the promised land,” she explained. “They said the ones with spots chose to come back from the underworld to the land of the living to guide more souls through,” she added. About 2,000 dogs are competing at the WKC show and only one will take home top honors. The show, dating back to 1877, has been held at Madison Square garden since 2005. Judges look at how the different breeds conform to agreed standards. Internationally, Chabella is a “Bronze Grand Champion and today got Best Opposite (at the WKC). She’s a FCI World Champion, FCI International Champion,” her enthused owner explained hopefully. Mazzarella, who suffers from severe allergies, decided to raise a Xolo because they are easier for many allergy sufferers than heaviershedding dogs. Chabella, quiet and subdued at her side, keenly watched people milling around approach her, and even let them pet her, without budging. “They naturally hide from strangers, so to get a Xolo to this point, it’s a lot of socialization,” her proud owner explained. — AFP

Martha Stewart’s dog wins its breed at NY show

Martha Stewart stops to look at a Bichon Frises in the staging area.


ifestyle guru Martha Stewart is not the only star in her household. Her Chow Chow dog, GK, won its breed at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday. The Club holds its annual twoday event at Madison Square Garden in New York. This year 2000 dogs representing 185 breeds and varieties from across the US are vying to be named Best in Show on Feb 14. GK, whose registered name is CH Pazzazz’s Genghis Khan #8, competed in the Non-Sporting Group. He now advances to the Best in Group competition Monday night. Stewart co-owns GK with Karen Tracy of Leighton, Pa. Leighton also owns GK’s mother, who won the breed at Westminster last year. — AFP



Luxury fashion world tweaking style

for Gen Y L

Models present outfits during the Marc Jacobs show February 13, 2012 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. — AFP photos

uxury fashion still caters to movie stars, high-powered businesswomen and ladies who lunch, but designers are starting to show interest in that generation’s daughters. Halfway through New York Fashion Week, familiar runway themes like military tailoring, old-school rock ‘n’ roll, and Hollywood Golden Age glam are showing tweaks designed to appeal to younger eyes: the double-breasted coat in shiny patent leather, tweed suits infused with metallics and leather substituted in silhouettes that used to be silk. “New customers are getting into luxury fashion in a way they weren’t before the recession,” said Ed Jay, senior vice president of American Express Business Insights. Longtime clients who bought full-ticket designer clothes before the economy soured have proven loyal, but they aren’t buying as much as they used to, Jay said. But the luxury market is seeing new interest among Gen Y fashionistas, who didn’t used to buy much high-end but are now starting to, spurred in part by the ease of online purchases. “Newcomers don’t spend as much per ticket, but there are more of them,” he said. The Row, the collection designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, which previewed Monday, seemed to speak directly to women (especially the younger set) who live the sort of uptown life that requires clothes for special occasions, but who aren’t interested in traditional suits or eveningwear. Think cozy chenille jackets or cashmere tops with an underlayer of sheer chiffon, or paired with a full-length skirt. Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said that even the fur turning up on a lot of runways could motivate younger shoppers. “We are seeing a lot of mink, a lot of textural mink. You thought of mink before as your grandmother’s but this is through a new lens. ... Mink is something a lot of women don’t have.” Some of the fur being shown is faux, but whether younger shoppers - especially given the mainstreaming of veganism and animal rights - will buy real fur-accented pieces as a new trend remains to be seen. But Downing said the way fur is being shown now is often as part of a coat, sweater, or skirt, rather than an entire fur coat. Downing said it was a youthful way of wearing it, flattering and interesting. “Fur continues to modernize into a sportswear item,” he said. And while designers hope their new collections will inspire spending by shoppers young and old, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Fashion Week is an increasingly profitable enterprise for the city. At an appearance with Diane von Furstenberg Monday, Bloomberg announced that the twice-yearly shows are expected to generate an economic impact of $865 million for the city in 2012. The number, calculated by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, is up from an estimated $773 million in 2007. “We are the fashion capital of the world. The buzz it creates helps underscore our city’s reputation as a cutting-edge capital of fashion, home to more than double the number of fashion companies in Paris,” Bloomberg said. Bloomberg and von Furstenberg, who is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, used their appearance at a fashion incubator for fledgling designers to highlight a number of ongoing city efforts to support an industry that employs 5.7 percent of the city’s workforce and provides nearly $2 billion in yearly city tax revenue. Bulk manufacturing has shifted out of the city’s garment district to low-cost overseas venues, but Bloomberg said programs do exist to train and support fashion entrepreneurs. “If you’re going to make a million white Tshirts, it’s hard to see how that is going to stay here,” he said. But “when it gets to hands-on customer service, real quality, that’s where New York can star, because intellectual capital is our raison d’etre.” And Von Furstenberg said the city’s manufacturing industry is not entirely a lost cause. “Some of the manufacturing is actually coming back as the cost of goods over there is getting higher,” she said. “I’ve expanded my sample room here. We are manufacturing here. Things change.”

Donna Karan

MARC JACOBS Marc Jacobs, always the showman, turned his New York Fashion Week show into a mystical forest Monday night, presenting his fall collection amid an old-school fairy tale, complete with characters wearing oversized fur hats and embellished big-

buckle shoes. There were hints of Victoriana, with bustles tacked on to some of the dresses, and a sequined faux-fur coat that appeared to be covered in snowflakes. Nearly hidden amid the onstage drama unfolding at the Lexington Avenue Armory were beautiful pieces of outerwear and chic cocktail clothes. The palette had rich tones of purple and bottle green, with a good dose of celebratory silver sparkle. His Shetland wool stoles turned into a trend for fall before the audience walked out the door. Jacobs is known for incredibly original and dramatic Fashion Week presentations. Actress Rose Byrne (“Bridesmaids”) described the show as “a kind of Grimm’s fairy tale” and “Tim Burton-y,” “unique and beautiful.” DONNA KARAN Donna Karan’s runway show Monday was all woman - even in tophats and tails. The opening look for her signature label was a gray-and-black pinstripe jacket with a crisp white taffeta bodysuit - Karan’s signature piece - that was fashioned to look like a button-down shirt. She also offered long coats with strong shoulders and lapel collars, and a riding jacket paired with pinstripe mohair pants. Skirts and dresses were mostly long with sharp-cut knife pleats for movement. Tops were mostly slim and tailored with nothing frilly, not even when she added sparkle. When she got to the finale, however, Karan was fully in touch with her feminine side, sending down a red-hot scarlet-colored, stretch-satin evening gown. CAROLINA HERRERA Carolina Herrera’s fall collection highlighted what’s likely to be a trend for next season: styles that put the focus on a woman’s face thanks to high, interesting necklines. No decollete and not a lot of leg, either. Attention was drawn upward as one model wore a hand-painted organza scarf with her navy wool suit with black grosgrain detail, and another wore a tweed suit with a fox-fur collar. There was a lovely lilac cashmere kaleidoscope-print scarf that complemented a cropped purple-wool jacket and slim silk mikado pant. Herrera went with a more architectural silhouette than a frilly one, but as a seasoned supplier of chic clothes, she moves easily between the two looks. The finale ballgown in bright pink was worn off the shoulder with a folded fabric bodice. A key daytime outfit - something her luxury-seeking customers count on her for - was a navy knit turtleneck with a broadtail-fur (flat lambswool) front and an indigo-colored pencil skirt. She featured a series of abstract prints on her eveningwear, which made a statement on the catwalk that might be hard to appreciate in tighter quarters. But, alas, the Herrera woman lives in a world of grand entrances. Herrera loyalist Renee Zellweger once again filled her spot in the front row. TOMMY HILFIGER You can convey a refined-yet-sporty elegance with double-breasted coats, suede field jackets and scarf-print silk dresses. Or you could just create an elaborate set for a fashion show with a brick-path runway, park benches and ivy-covered walls. Tommy Hilfiger did both. Not leaving anything to chance Sunday night, Hilfiger brought the hunt club to Park Avenue, creating a set inside an old armory building that complemented every look worn by the models. There was a lot of oohing and aahing as the often-jaded crowd of stylists, retailers, editors and celebrities - including Uma Thurman - walked in the door. “The whole message is town and country,” Hilfiger said in a pre-show interview. “There are country tweeds and a mix of suedes, leather and quilting. It sort of looks like hunting, but it’s not hunting foxes, it’s hunting for fun.” An uptown element was added through cashmere, fine details such as braiding and a sophisticated color palette rooted in plum, Dijon yellow, navy, dark green and burgundy. —AP



The Betsey Johnson Fall 2012 collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. —AP photos

Betsey Johnson clothes take

’60s time machine ride B

etsey Johnson is taking her fun and funky persona back to the 1960s. Johnson revealed her fall collection Monday at New York Fashion Week as tunes played from the Beatles, Dusty Springfield and The Supremes. Her nearly four dozen looks had names like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Quadrophenia” and Laugh-In.” But as with all Betsey Johnson runway

shows, the designer is the star. The 69-year-old wore a silver sparkly long-sleeve shirt as she turned her signature cartwheel and added the splits. Then in true Johnson style, her models marched down the runway marching-band style, dressed as cheerleaders wearing silver miniskirts and carrying pom-poms. Want proof that Johnson’s inspiration took a time machine ride? Here are just a few of the items

she sent down the runway under the tents at Lincoln Center for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: floppy hats, silver knee-high boots, hot pink tights, white circle-framed sunglasses and sparkly hot pants. There were more demure pieces too - well, demure for Betsey Johnson. Models also wore red leather gloves, coats made from black and white houndstooth prints, and flowing floral dresses. — AP

Zang Toi, Reem Acra pour on the glamor at NY fashion week

The Reem Acra Fall 2012 collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Monday, Feb 13, 2012. —AP photos


Tommy Hiilfiger

Donna Karan

Carolina Herrera

alaysia’s Zang Toi and Lebanon’s Reem Acra won strong applause for their redcarpet looks at New York fashion week Monday while Carlos Miele drew inspiration from the pampas of his native Brazil. With Grammy-winner Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” as his soundtrack, Toi kicked off his fall-winter collection with white mini coats and black trouser suits, before making an abrupt shift to bright red silk. His fans-more mature, ethnically diverse and outgoing than the usual jaded New York fashion crowd-lapped it up, breaking into applause for elegant gowns in fetching scarlet hues and then honoring him with a standing ovation. Backstage, the 50-year-old designer with an unbridled sense of fun said he wanted to see women make “a real effort to look really beautiful for themselves, their husbands, their boyfriends, their lovers.” “I wanted the clothes to be very, very glamorous,” he added. “It’s about glamour and gorgeous clothes for gorgeous girls.” Frontrow guests included Saudi entrepreneur and film producer Mohammed Al Turki, US reality TV star Alex McCord and towering Czech model Petra Nemcova, with whom the diminutive Toi hammed it up for the cameras. Acra, who in January dressed Madonna in an pewter gown for the Golden Globes awards, similarly poured on the glamor with a finely-balanced collection of crisp daytime suits, glittering cocktail mini-dresses and fluid chiffon gowns.

Her looks ranged effortlessly from a leather sheath dress in hunter green and a cable-knit sweater over a leather pencil skirt to a metallic tweed skirt and jacket combination and a embroidered one-shoulder gown in silk crepe and tulle. Hot on the heels of Nicholas K’s urban

cowboys on day one of fashion week, Miele put a cosmopolitan spin on the traditional outfits of the “gauchas” of the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil. While the silhouettes were most definitely urban, there was no mistaking the rustic rural

origins of Miele’s colorful ponchos with gold tassels, which he matched with authentic broad-rim hats and sashes. Backstage, Miele, who is based in Sao Paulo and sells in 38 countries, said he felt that after frequent visits to a friend’s farm in southern Brazil, it was time to introduce that region’s unique style to an international audience. “They are natural girls,” he said, referring to the “gauchas” of the wide-open pampas. “There is freedom... I thought this was time to bring this part of the culture of Brazil, of the pampas and the gauchas, to the catwalk.” In other shows Monday, Olivier Theyskens took over the Park Avenue Armory to send out the latest city-savvy basics from his growing Theyskens’ Theory collection, including a dark boxy overcoat and supple leather jumpsuit. “I was looking to complete the wardrobe on which I’ve been working for the past year and a half,” the Brussels-born designer, formerly at Rochas and now happily settled in New York, told AFP backstage. Several looks featured short shorts. Odd perhaps in a fall-winter collection, but Theyskens, 35, said they fit right into his vision of a contemporary tomboy. “It’s something cute that goes with the overall look.” Earlier, with Hollywood star Renee Zellweger in the front row, Carolina Herrera delivered a classical feminine collection that ran the gamut of colors from indigo to purple to pink, with wool and silk her favored fabrics. Many of the 40 looks-seen on as many top models with severely backcombed hairstyles-were paired with black wedge shoes designed for Herrera by Manolo Blahnik. — AFP

Speculation rages over cause of Houston’s death



Foreign tourists pose before roses arranged in a heart shape at a local floral market on Valentine’s Day in Islamabad, Pakistan yesterday. — AP

‘Wax museum’ offers window to Iraq’s past


aghdad’s version of a wax museum features figures who depict Iraq’s past, rather than replicas of celebrities like Michael Jackson, offering a distinctly different experience from Madame Tussauds. Eschewing the Western model, Baghdadi Museum provides a window into a time before Saddam Hussein, the eightyear war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait and subsequent sanctions, and the 2003 US-led invasion and its aftermath. Sculpted works of wax and plaster depict scenes of Iraq from about a century ago, with women standing in balconies, men in barber shops, and artists hard at work. Other

exhibits show Sufi ceremonies or marriages, and women in Turkish baths-all carefully recreated in the museum, located inside an elegant Ottomanera house. Formerly an archaeological museum founded

by British adventurer Gertrude Bell, the building lies in Baghdad’s old Baab al-Muadham area near the banks of the river Tigris. The museum has more than 500 figurines, which were fabricated there. Sets, lighting and costumes are neat, the street scenes are clean and well-lit, and there are no weapons in evidence. This contrasts sharply with Baghdad today, which is marked by high concrete walls to guard against explosions, pothole-riven streets, and numerous checkpoints manned by assault rifle-armed members of the security forces. Iraq is still recovering from decades of war, sanctions and dictatorship, and a number of children and young adults have missed the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of their ancestors. Baghdadi Museum aims to fill this gap, and occasionally uses storytellers and musicians to

These pictures show wax figures displayed at the Bagdhadi Museum in the Iraqi capital on January 19, 2012. — AFP convey the message. Sina Mohammed, the direc- Mohammed said. This is also the view of 32-yeartor of a school in Baghdad, accompanied a group old Riad Khamis, who came to the museum with of some 75 joyous children all around six years his family from a nearby town. “I am with them (here) as my father was with me. One day, my old. This “is important for the children, both for children will also bring theirs,” he said, gesturing them to have fun, and to learn their history,” to his two children. The idea is to promote a mes-

An Iraqi sculptor works on a head statue.

Valentine’s Day I

A woman fixes red heart-shaped balloons on a fence yesterday in Berlin. Every year on February 14, or Valentineís Day, lovers across the World offer flowers or other presents to each other to express their feelings. — AFP

sage of “peace, love and culture,” the museum’s director Bassem al-Anizi said. “It is good to preserve Iraqi culture in a world that has become a small village. “Iraqi children desperately need to be educated about the past,” he said. Despite the similarities, the museum, which opened in 1971, was not inspired by the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum in London. Rather, the mayor of Baghdad at the time had the idea during a visit to Tehran, Anizi said, and it was progressively developed up until the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The period following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 was difficult, Anizi said. Barricaded in the museum with a dozen other employees, he had to fight off “gangs of looters” that ravaged both government buildings and museums in the capital. The museum’s premises and collections have since been damaged by the explosion of three car bombs. The facility reopened in 2008, after having closed in 2003. Today, Anizi is in search of a site to open a new branch that would hold figurines of 55 people who helped shape Iraq, including its first king, Faisal, and Gertrude Bell. “We will begin the project as soon as we have a good site,” he said. Asked if it might include dictator Saddam Hussein, who was executed in 2006, Anizi was diplomatic. “It is possible to include all those who led Iraq, whether they were a tyrant like Saddam or someone as good as Faisal. We must let the people judge for themselves. Our job is to document history, not to write it.” — AFP

finds a niche in Islamic Iran

ran may reject Western influences, but Valentine’s Day has become a growing phenomenon thanks to the romantically minded youth of the Islamic state’s affluent classes. Although the ruling clerics and hard-line politicians have been waging a campaign against what they call “decadent” cultural imports, the Christian day dedicated to amorous displays has so far survived. Part of the reason could be the sheer number of young adults in the country: 60 percent of the 75 million-strong population is under 30, and one Iranian in three is aged 15 to 30. With many of them unmarried, and with bars, clubs and mixed parties all banned under the country’s strict laws, Valentine’s Day is increasingly seen as a tolerated courting opportunity-one whose commercial side is much appreciated by Iranian retailers. Several shopkeepers in Tehran told AFP that demand for rose bouquets, sentimental cards with the English word “love”, chocolate, perfume and even teddy bears was strong, adding to a growing trend of recent years. The owner of one Italian restaurant, who asked not to be identified, said his establishment was booked up well in An Iranian man buys chocolate gifts. advance by couples. Elmira, a 24year-old architecture graduate in the capital who declined to give her last name, said most of those participating in the annual romantic ritual were young people from the middle and upper classes. “The usual routine each year is an exchange of gifts and then going out for dinner,” she said. Valentine’s Day “used to be huge for me,” she said, but now she was looking for something more meaningful. “Silly traditions do not really matter if there are no feelings involved.” There are signs, however, that the authorities’ patience with the day is wearing thin. Last year, officials banned

A young Iranian couple look at gifts on the eve of Valentine’s Day in Tehran on February 13, 2012. —AFP photos the production and sale of Valentine’s Day items. Conservatives insist there is no room for such immodest declarations in devout Islamic culture. They have become alarmed at the rapid decline in the number of marriages in recent years, blaming the trend on Western superficiality. Nationalistic Iranians prefer to celebrate their love on Mehregan, a pre-Islamic and littleobserved festival in October that honors Mithra, the ancient Persian goddess of love. But so far at least, young Iranian couples are still able to take part in Valentine’s Day. Saba, an 18-year-old graphics student in the northeast holy city of Mashhad, said that for her, the day was not at all about adopting a Christian calendar but rather because “I would love to receive gifts and chocolate.” She added though that she thought it safer to attend a private party in a home than risk a restaurant or other public place which could attract unwanted attention from Iran’s morality police, who enforce Islamic-based codes on dress and behavior. —AFP

15 Feb 2012  

Kuwait Times

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