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Pentagon chief sees close partnership with Libya

Kazakh leader orders curfew after oil city riots


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MUHARRAM 22, 1433 AH


Sony PS Vita gets world launch in Japan

Real Madrid win 6-2 at Sevilla to go 3 points clear



Fresh clashes rock Cairo after 10 killed Troops and protesters battle in Tahrir Square

Iran frees two Kuwaitis held over ‘spying’ KUWAIT: An airplane dispatched late yesterday to Iran on the orders of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah brought back home two Kuwaiti citizens held there on charges of spying. Adel AlYahya and Raed Al-Majed were earlier released from detention, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad AlSabah said in a statement, adding HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah had been closely following the case and ordered exertion of efforts to secure their release as soon as possible. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled thanked the Iranian authorities for releasing the two from the city of Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province. Al-Yahya and Al-Majed were accompanied by Kuwait’s ambassador to Tehran Majdi Al-Thafiri. The sources said Al-Thafiri was allowed by Iran’s foreign ministry after several weeks of contacts to visit the two detainees in their Abadan prison and were released. The two were arrested in Abadan last month and were accused of spying. Al-Yahya and Al-Majed work for a local private TV station and were asked to prepare a social program for the channel on conditions of Kuwaitis married to Iranian women and had special permission to work in Iran. — Agencies

KUWAIT: Raed Al-Majed (left) and Adel Al-Yahya (right) are seen after arriving in Kuwait late yesterday after being released by Iranian authorities. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Max 19º Min 03º Low Tide 10:55 & 23:52 High Tide 04:03 & 17:31

CAIRO: Violence raged in the administrative heart of Egypt’s capital yesterday as troops and police deployed in force after clashes with protesters against continued military rule left ten people dead. Smoke billowed over Tahrir Square, the iconic focus of the protest movement that overthrew veteran president Hosni Mubarak in February, after two nearby government offices caught fire. Demonstrators pelted security forces with rocks and petrol bombs as they fought running battles in the streets around the square and an adjacent bridge across the River Nile. Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzuri raised tensions by accusing the protesters of being counter-revolutionaries and denying security forces had opened fire as they broke up a sit-in against his nomination last month outside the nearby cabinet office. Troops and police moved to retake control of the area around the office early yesterday, erecting razor-wire barriers. But after several hours of calm, new clashes erupted, overshadowing the count in the second phase of the first general election since Mubarak’s ouster. Abul Ela Madi, the vice president of a civilian advisory council to the military set up in November after days of anti-army protests, said 11 of the council’s 30 members had resigned in protest by yesterday. “Eleven people, including me, have resigned,” said Madi, who heads the moderate Islamist Wasat party. “We made recommendations yesterday (Friday) but today we were surprised that not only were they not implemented, but there were further casualties,” he said. By the afternoon, soldiers withdrew to the cabinet offices and began constructing a wall of concrete blocks, witnesses said. Following the resignations, the Continued on Page 13

440 dead in Philippines storm

ARSAL, Lebanon: Lebanese mourners carry the body of Khaled Al-Hujairi during his funeral in this eastern village on the Lebanese-Syrian border yesterday after he died of wounds sustained in shootings at the border. — AFP

Arabs threaten to take Syria to UN DAMASCUS: The Arab League threatened yesterday to take Syria to the UN for procrastinating over its deadly crackdown on dissent, as an Iraqi mediator reported “positive” talks aimed at defusing the crisis. In Doha, Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani accused Damascus of “procrastination” over an Arab League proposal to send an observer mission to Syria. He spoke after an Arab ministerial committee proposed taking the Arab

League plan to end the ninemonth-long crisis in Syria to the UN Security Council. The bloc’s foreign ministers will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the proposal, he said. The ministers met in Doha a day after Russia proposed a surprise draft resolution to the council. “As Russia has gone to the Security Council, a proposal will be presented in the (Arab ministers’) meeting on December 21 that the Arab Continued on Page 13

ILIGAN, Philippines: Tropical storm Washi whipped the southern Philippines, unleashing mammoth floods across vast areas that left 440 people dead and nearly 200 missing, relief workers said yesterday. About 20,000 soldiers had been mobilised in a huge rescue and relief operation across the stricken north coast of the island of Mindanao, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit. Cagayan de Oro city reported 215 dead, and nearby Iligan city lost 144 residents, Philippine National Red Cross secretary-general Gwen Pang told AFP. Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz described rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers that swamped up to a quarter of the land area of the city of 100,000. “It’s the worst flood in the history of our city,” Cruz told GMA television. “It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep.” The station showed dramatic pictures of a family escaping out of the window of their home in the town as the floods rose, and rescue workers in orange vests shepherding survivors to safety above chest-deep waters. President Benigno Aquino expressed concern at the extent of the tragedy and ordered government agencies to map out areas in the country most vulnerable to future flash floods. “These areas will be at risk every year... The first (step in) mitigation has to be relocation from these areas,” he said in a meeting with senior civil defence officials. Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council told reporters Mindanao residents were warned about the dangers posed by the storm days earlier but elected not to move to safer areas. He said Mindanao was rarely visited by storms, even as 20 major storms strike the Continued on Page 13

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines: Two women hold their children killed during the passage of tropical storm Washi at a village on the southern island of Mindanao yesterday. — AFP

in the

news Iran says it arrests suspected US spy

DOHA: Kuwait’s Saleh Al-Haddad celebrates after winning the men’s long jump final at the 2011 Arab Games in the Qatari capital yesterday. — AFP

TEHRAN: Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said yesterday that its agents have arrested a person of Iranian origin on suspicion of spying for the United States. The ministry said in a statement broadcast on state TV that Iran’s secret ser vices identified the suspect at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Bagram is the main base for American and other international forces outside Kabul. “The individual was put under the watch of Iran’s intelligence and was being pursued after crossing into our country and arrested simultaneously as he began his espionage mission,” the statement said. It said the suspect, which it didn’t identify by name, sought to infiltrate into Iran’s secret services and funnel false information to deceive Iranian intelligence. The report alleged the attempted infiltration was part of a complicated intelligence battle the US has launched against Iran. The ministry claimed the suspect has already served in the US Army’s intelligence units and spent time at US military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged US or Israeli spies, and often no further information is released.

FORT HOOD, Texas: US Army Lieutenant Patrick Mulvaney is greeted as he walks off the plane as US troops arrive at their home base from Kuwait after being part of one of the last American combat units to exit from Iraq on Friday. — AFP




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MPs received cash from various sources Kuwait graft scandal KUWAIT: A number of former lawmakers being investigated in the cash deposits scandal told authorities that they obtained funds in the form of gifts and through income generated from private projects, Al-Qabas yesterday quoted sources who are familiar with eleven former MPs. Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources said that the former MPs were questioned about all forms of transactions carried out through their accounts, ranging from KD 500,000 deposits to as little as KD 10. In one incident, a former MP was asked about KD 50 he had transferred to another bank account. The lawmaker explained that the transaction was a payment made to settle his son’s phone bill. Some former MPs produced documents to prove that the ‘suspicious’ deposits in their accounts were acquired through real-estate sales or other commercial ventures. On the other hand, sources claim that one former MP confirmed to receiving large sums of money as gift from business ventures. He used these funds to offer favors to citizens in his constituency, by mostly sponsoring overseas medical treatment trips. The identity of the individuals were not revealed, reported Al-Qabas.

Former MP Husain Al-Huraiti confirmed that he was summoned for investigations in a suspected money laundering case. He said, “I don’t understand why the bank has never inquired about transactions made in connection of with bank accounts, given the fact that I own two properties and worked at the best law firm in Kuwait even before entering the Parliament,” he said during a televised interview that aired on Al-Rai TV last Thursday. Al-Huraiti claimed that he is subject to a campaign by “foes from the Parliament.” Animosity probably stemmed from his approach adopted while serving as chairman of the Parliament’s legislative committee, concerning the approval of requests made to lift MPs’ immunities. In another development, former opposition lawmaker Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei confirmed on Friday that he would surrender today (Sunday) to the Public Prosecution Department after his name was mentioned among nine former MPs to be summoned for investigations in ‘Parliament Storming’ incident that took place last month. Calling the subpoena order as “a great honor that can be added to the privilege of leading the

public movement has led to the Cabinet’s resignation and Parliament dissolution,” he declared that he would enter the Public Prosecution Department’s front gate “with [his] head held high, and in front of the press.” “We take pride in our acts because it is part of our efforts to protect the country from a Cabinet and Parliament,” he said. Former MP Saleh Al-Mulla criticized what he described as “practices within some state departments according to which voters are allowed to pass transactions illegally with the aim of altering decisions.” Former lawmaker urged HH Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah to maintain integrity by “paying attention to what is happening behind the scenes,” reported Al-Rai. Reports emerged quoting Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Ahmad Al-Mulaifi by insisting that no new decree will be issued to dissolve the Parliament, ending the controversy pertinent with the constitutionality of the current dissolution decree based on a request made by the Cabinet deemed by experts as ‘constitutionally incorrect,’ reported Al-Anba.

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait honored a group of staff members who recently passed training programs in Bank Branches Management. The programs were organized by the Institute of Banking Studies in cooperation with UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Mega contract to be signed with Johns Hopkins Hospital KUWAIT: Minister of Health and Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali will sign a whopping KD 100 million contract today with the Johns Hopkins Hospital to manage four public hospitals in Kuwait. The Jahra, Adan, Farwaniya and Mubarak Al-Kabeer hospitals will be administered by the world-renowned hospital. The minister has reportedly expressed concern over the value of the contract, questioning the benefit that these hospitals can gain in comparison with the amount of money spent. Sources said that the agreement with Johns Hopkins Hospital was reached following negotiations made directly with MoH Undersecretary Dr Ibrahim Al-

Abdulhadi. The team which led negotiations with other hospitals was kept away from talks ‘for unknown reasons.’ Officials added that staff of the undersecretary’s office failed to take proper steps during the negotiation process, including carrying out studies. This contract will be the fourth contract to be signed with a foreign medical institute to run a public medical facility in Kuwait. The MoH has inked deals worth a total of KD 60 million with McGill University Hospital and Toronto Hospital to run the Chest Hospital, Husain Makki Jum’ah Cancer Treatment Center and the Pediatrics Hospital at the Al-Sabah Medical Zone. — Al-Qabas

NA dissolution stalls Labor Authority formation

BEIRUT: Sheikha Fraiha Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, head of the Kuwait Society for the Ideal Family, visited the Nabih Berri Rehabilitation Center for People with Disabilities in Sarafant, South Lebanon, yesterday. This visit comes as part of Kuwait’s official support to NGOs dealing with people with special needs in Kuwait and outside.

KUWAIT: The Parliament’s dissolution will impede the process of establishing a Public Authority for Labor as per the private sector’s labor law that was enforced last year, said a recent report quoting a Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor(MSAL) insider. Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials explain that the draft law to establish the highly anticipated authority is placed on the Parliament’s voting agenda. This means that a new Parliament should be elected in order to pass the law when sessions commence. The Authority will function as the state department that organizes the process of recruiting expatriate labor forces. Ultimately, this will allow Kuwait to elimi-

nate the current sponsorship system. The source of numerous criticism from international organizations on the situation of expatriate workers. This system, sponsored by a ‘kafeel’(sponsor) was the main topic of discussion during the recent visit of Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch(HRW) to Kuwait. He accused the government of being ‘not serious’ in efforts to eliminate the flawed sponsorship system. The source reiterates that discussion of the draft law has already been finished in parliamentary committees meaning that it only needs to be passed by a parliamentary majority before building the labor authority. —Al-Jarida



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in brief

New clinics to diagnose cancer KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health plans to construct a medical facility in every health zone to conduct periodic screening tests to rule out breast cancer. This move is expected to allow easier access to medical facilities in every governorate. The first such facility will be set up in the Capital governorate followed by Hawally and remaining governorates. Latest statics show that the percentage of Kuwaiti women suffering from breast cancer and death is very high. A medical facility in each governorate is believed to help diagnose the disease in its early stages. Kuwait Heritage Week KUWAIT: The Retired Women’s Club , part of the Kuwait Teachers Society(KTS) will organize a Kuwait Heritage Week. It is an exhibition organized by students and teachers from public schools in the country. The event will begin tomorrow under the patronage of Sheikha Sheikha Al-Abdullah AlKhalifa Al-Sabah and lasts until Dec 21, 2011. The exhibition is hosted at the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Hall at KTS building in Dasma, and will remain open from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. “This event is part of the club’s annual activities which also include a handicrafts exhibition in which housewives from all over Kuwait take part,” said Fatima Al-Awadhi Head of the Retired Women’s Club. She added that the Heritage Week event is different from the annual handicrafts exhibition. It will exclusively showcase works that reflect Kuwait’s heritage. 12 injured in fire incidents KUWAIT: At least 12 individuals, including six firefighters were hurt in four fire incidents that broke out across various areas. Security men received a call about a fire that broke out in a camp that was pitched in Jlaiah. A coal heater was used there. A 60-year-old citizen and his 24-year-old son suffered from smoke inhalation and were admitted to Adan Hospital. A fire also broke out in an abandoned home in Hawally, Six firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation while tackling the fire. In Waha, a 26-year-old citizen sustained several fractures after jumping from his room that caught fire from an electric heater. ‘Special democracy’ KUWAIT: Dr Mariam Al-Kandary, Political Science professor at Kuwait University described Kuwait democracy as a special one. She said that this democracy is incomplete, for being linked with limited constitutional channels and that it lacks political parties. She said the political blocs we have are groups of people who have vested interests and are looking for a place in the decision-making areas, which is far behind real political groups.

Global water shortage imminent, warn experts Wastage high in Kuwait, Saudi By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: World exper ts warned of looming water shortage around the world in the near future. According to some reports published about water usage, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were on the top of the list of the countries which wasted water the most in the world. Different experts also agreed that the countries which depend on desalinated water waste it the most, considering the usage is more than 500 liters of water per person. While some people are aware of their high usage of water, others are more oblivious and think it’s normal, as the cost of water is low. The Ministry of Electricity and Water previously held many awareness campaigns to educate people of the negative effects of wasting water. Since the campaign is not active any more, peo-

ple may have forgotten the message. Some people compare the cost of water back in their country and find it cheap here, so they don’t pay much attention to the issue. “I don’t think enough attention is placed on this issue, because the countr y doesn’t make a big deal about it and it doesn’t enter my consciousness. There are three of us at home and we consume a large quantity of water every day. Back in Canada, we were more careful regarding water wastage and wouldn’t allow the tap to run during brushing and took quick showers since the water in the boiler was limited,” stated Sarah, a 23-year-old Canadian. According to Sarah, awareness is the key to saving water. “From a young age, we were taught to conserve water and energy. After staying here, I haven’t been really paying attention to the

KUWAIT: A meeting will be held by the organizing committee of Ajmi tribe by-elections in the fifth constituency to set the date and time of polling, in addition to collecting nomination fees. Sources said that an agreement has been reached to vote for three candidates. The elections may be held within the first days of January. Dr Fadhel Safar Minister of Public Works and Municipal Affairs has asked for distribution lists of plots in Fintas.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: An 11-year-old Kuwaiti sustained head injuries when he was hit by a car in Andalous. He was taken to Sabah Hospital. A 35-year-old Kuwaiti dislocated his shoulder during an AT V accident in Nuwaiseeb area. He was taken to Adan Hospital. A motorcycle accident in Al-Khairan left a 12-year old Kuwaiti unconscious, and a 20-year- old Kuwaiti female bruised. Both were taken to Adan Hospital. A 19-year- old Kuwaiti arrived at Adan Hospital with a broken left wrist following an ATV accident. A 21-year-old Kuwaiti girl was dizzy while a 30-year-old complained of pain in her left hand, and a 13-year- old Kuwaiti boy had face lacerations following a car accident in Jlaiah area. The three were taken to Adan Hospital. A 15-year- old Kuwaiti sustained

head injury and internal bleeding while another 15-year-old had an open fracture on his left leg and complained of

He asked that plots be distributed to the deserving after parliamentary elections are held. Also, the current government has decided to include the new university’s construction on its agenda, asking Education and Higher Education Minister Ahmad Al-Mulaifi to complete its file before the 2012 parliamentary elections. Sources said that Al-Mulaifi will continue to chair a meeting he began earlier with a team from Kuwait University to decide on a suitable venue to build the new university.

broken boats, neglected nets, ropes and other marine debris that negatively affect marine and coastal environment. “These debris, especially broken woods, that move with tidal flows are considered a danger to marine navigation,” he pointed out. The campaign started at 9 am yesterday, with the participation of Kuwait’s municipality, the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, Coast Guard

back pain during a car accident in Kabd. They were taken to Farwaniya Hospital. A 3-year-old Kuwaiti boy lost his

KUWAIT: KFSD team rescues an expat and his wife, who were lost in Subbiya Desert for over seven hours, when their car got stuck in the sand.

In other news, the Yemeni coalition government headed by Mohammad Ba Sindawa requested financial aid from Kuwait and UAE. Both countries had expressed interest to grant aid to Jordan and Morocco. Sources said that the request was submitted through diplomatic channels and that an official Yemeni delegation will arrive in Kuwait and UAE for this purpose. Qatar has pledged to assist the Yemeni government following the departure of former President Ali Abdallah Saleh.

Dive Team launches beach cleaning campaign KUWAIT: Kuwait Dive Team of the Environmental Voluntary Foundation launched yesterday the biggest cleaning campaign on Oshairij beach at Doha area, north of the country, as waters ebb to remove as much marine litter as possible. Head of the team, Walid AlFahdel, said that many governmental and private bodies participated enthusiastically to clean Kuwait’s waters by removing clutter from

unnecessarily. “I care to save water in my house, and I taught my children the same thing as our religion encourages us to do so. I think the Ministr y of Electricity and Water or the municipality should send inspectors to find those who waste water in the streets. There should also be a limit to free water provided to each house and any family that exceeds it, should be charged more with the rent,” he opined. Amal, a Syrian expat also thinks there should be more awareness campaigns in the media regarding this issue. “I admit that I waste water quite a lot. When I shower or wash the dishes, I use a lot of water. In Syria, they always promote intelligent use of water and when we squander it, we feel guilty. It would also help if religious men give sermons on the importance of conservation, as people will pay more attention,” she pointed out.

10 accidents over the weekend

Ajmi tribe to hold by-elections By A Saleh

amount of water I use. There has to be more awareness in the countr y to inform people how expensive it is to desalinate water. I don’t think people know how much energy it takes to have clean water. We use faucets at home, which are installed to conserve water; if we have more of these in Kuwait, it would save water,” she added. According to Hatim, a 35-year-old resident of Hawally, the concierges are those who most waste water in Kuwait. “ The quantity of water used by the concierges is massive when they wash cars in front of the building. Even when it was raining, I saw the haris washing the cars. When I tried to tell him that such wasteful behavior wasn’t right, he didn’t listen to me,” he said. Hatim provided some solutions like having inspectors watch and control different areas to ensure water isn’t wasted

Department, Health Ministr y ’s Emergency Department, Kuwait Geographical Society, Salam Group, Al-Rowdha Cooperation Society and other volunteers. This cleaning campaign is considered the biggest so far, especially after the fish death disaster in 2001. It is also the fifth cleaning operation after last year’s where more than 42 sinking boats were lifted and tons of old nets were removed from deep sea waters.— KUNA

right toes during an ATV accident in Jlaiah area. A 21-year-old Kuwaiti sustained several fractures following a motorcycle accident on Second Ring Road near Abdallah Al-Salem area. He was taken to Amiri Hospital. A 40-year-old Sri Lankan woman and a 24-year-old Filipina suffered from smoke inhalation while a 60-year-old Kuwaiti had hyperglycemia, during a fire in Rehab area. All were treated on site. A 55-year-old Pakistani fractured his right shoulder when his truck flipped over in Jahra area. He was taken to Jahra Hospital. KFSD rescued an expat and his wife, who were lost in Subbiya Desert for over seven hours, when their car got stuck in the sand. Rescue teams responded to the call at dawn on Friday and launched a search until their location was determined by GPS. The car was towed back on to the road.




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Local Spotlight

kuwait digest

Upgrade educational standards

Rectify before it’s too late By Mohammad Al-Muqatea orrecting constitutional errors with regard to the Parliament’s dissolution is a pressing demand today, which if achieved, would reflect the Cabinet’s prudence and foresight. Furthermore, rectifying the situation would serve as enforcement to the state’s legal and constitutional principles. News reports these days, speculate about the Cabinet taking steps to rectify the current situation. First step would be to find a member of the unconstitutionally dissolved Parliament to join the new Cabinet, and then make a fresh request to dissolve the Parliament. These are the only steps to deem the formation of the new Cabinet and dissolution of the Parliament. Protecting Kuwait from a constitutional dilemma and a case of legal chaos is the primary goal which should be achieved in Kuwait today. Gambling with citizens’ right to have fair elections should never be the case. The Sharia Law says that consultations are the best way to address a controversial situation and reach solutions to rectify errors which caused the problem. It’s sad that some people support the notion of keeping the unconstitutional situation as it is, and instead, challenge people to file cases so that the subject will be dealt with in courts. This prospect would propel the country to be sucked into a vortex. There are legal consultants who desperately try to defend the advice they gave to the Cabinet based on which its unconstitutional formation and Parliament’s dissolution was made. Therefore, I am only asking Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah to take action before it’s too late, and make the necessary change that would mark his name in history as an official who started his career in the premier’s post by rectifying errors instead of turning a blind eye. Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber, you still have time on your side, therefore I urge you to take steps now before the situation worsens. Open a new page based on protecting the constitution and maintaining integrity of the upcoming elections in order to avoid being held responsible for incompetent advice. — Al-Qabas


Muna Al-Fuzai

’m concerned about the future of young learners today because what is taught in schools may not help them to develop their character and ways of thinking! I’m also worried because the curriculums may not help students understand obligations like their rights and demands. These are my concerns about education in Kuwait today and how much it has changed to match with today’s needs. I truly believe that a developed nation cannot march forward without strong education. But, who can make this judgment in a place like Kuwait? Our kids today at primary schools and high schools still depend heavily on learning. For example, I think all science-related subjects should be taught at schools. The number of recitations should be limited and each student should have a laptop of his own to carry. I do know about this flash memory stick that was given to students, with no one telling them what to do. It is like receiving an engine without a car! Even the manner in which Arabic language is taught should be changed completely. Well, maybe it is not difficult to learn, teachers make no effort to present it creatively. How many open discussions are held in schools ? Let’s take history or religious classes as examples. Why should all students be forced to learn by heart? Kids learn about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, but they fail to understand the underlying complexity and its development over the years. Some may argue that these are not part of curriculums. No one considers the fact that students won’t remain in schools all their lives! We need to understand that children today like to think independently. It really is not okay to approve syllabuses that fill their brains with old and useless information! Our kids should learn more about religious tolerance ! Those young kids will finish school one day and have to see the world as it is and not according to instructions laid down in religious books. I think the games period is the most popular one. Kids here love to play football and I think every school should have a sports club. Yes, why not? Isn’t the rate of obesity among schools children high? Why doesn’t the Ministry of Education use this to develop sports education. Kuwait is a rich, small country that should be top priority. I think that curriculums should be prepared in such a way that it matches with students’ needs. Their abilities should be upgraded to exceed the typical methods that were used for more than thirty years. I doubt changing a minister or so will bring any hope. I hope the new assembly will consider a new agreement to call for a revolution in our education curriculum. Suggestions put forward by UN and UNSECO experts should also be incorporated. Sadly, kids will continue to learn the same subjects that I and many older generation Kuwaitis learnt while we were at school.


kuwait digest

Govt facing the real test By Dr Mubarak Al-Therwa he recent political developments led by the change created when youth movements realized opposition’s movements have rapidly affected that loyalty of MPs who succeed through primary the society and the tribal principles in Kuwait elections remain committed to the tribe in the first where it shook the very foundations of loyalty within place. The current changes can be considered as signs communities. After decades of loyalty to tribal figures, factors that political parties system will eventually be adoptlike patriotism and competency have become the ed in Kuwait. First, the changes limited the intervenmain characteristics that voters in tribal communities tion of tribe leaders in political struggles, and allowed people to elect are looking for today. When youth groups realThe current changes can be consid- candidates based on certain standards they ized these important ered as signs that political parties deemed necessary to qualichanges, the once untouchable tribal system system will eventually be adopted fy a candidate to represent started giving way in favor in Kuwait. First, the changes limited them. Reforms might not be of a new system based on the intervention of tribe leaders in fully achieved in the a general national approach. political struggles, and allowed upcoming elections, but This helped tribal candipeople to elect candidates based positive signs have already emerged and will definitely dates give more consideron certain standards they deemed lead to the elimination of ation to their relationship with voters, and to their necessary to qualify a candidate to tribal elections in the future. In the meantime, duties towards the society, represent them. the government must also and the countr y as a make an effort to improve whole. While histor y shows that bold governmental decisions can achieve the electoral process by tackling factors that could reforms, the recent constitutional court which crimi- give certain candidates or political groups an unfair nalized tribal primary elections, combined with pro- advantage against their opponents. The government is facing a real test to prove its reform youth movements which garnered the support of MPs, can be regarded as an indication for the seriousness about implementing the law and openstart of a new era that features drastic changes in the ing a new chapter for a better future. In the meantime, people have a real test to prove their eagerness social and political levels. The proof of this lies in the announcement of the to achieve change by electing competent represenfourth and fifth constituency candidates boycotting tatives who can help achieve long-awaited reforms primary elections. This is a natural result of the and development. — Al-Rai


kuwait digest

Stereotyping is a sin By Dr Abdullatif Al-Suraikh e is okay, but he’s a member of the Islamic Constitutional Movement.” “I like his arguments, if only he weren’t a Salafist.” “He is definitely a candidate with a unique approach. I wish he wasn’t a liberal.” “It’s true that he adopts a rational approach, but he is a Shiite at the end of the day.” “Regardless of what they say or do, they will always be Wahhabis.” “I understand he is an educated man, but at the end of the day he remains a Bedouin.” What is mentioned above are statements made usually by voters while evaluating candidates in Kuwait during election time. This is the manner in which voters stereotype candidates based on vote categorizations. They don’t do much research into each candidate’s qualifications or what they could bring to the country. But of course, people don’t have time to research and also don’t have much tolerance for different opinions. It’s hard to be accustomed to colors when you are comfortable to see the difference between black and white. If you want to put in a little more effort, it is possible to see seven colors of the spectrum. Stereotyping is not only erroneous but is also a sin. There are ways in which people are arbitrarily classified into groups, only to make it easier for people who have trouble searching for the truth. Each stereotype is paired with certain characteristics. Stereotypical people develop their idea based on the characteristics that are paired with the stereotype they use to judge people by. Economists and business owners might use stereotypical categorizations as marketing strategies. However, the same cannot be applied to politicians or any individual who exercises his right. The Constitution recognizes Islam as the religion of the state, and Islamic Sharia as the main source of legislation. In the Holy Quran, God specifically points out the importance of dealing with each other based on our individual characteristics, and avoid creating stereotypes under which groups of people are categorized. —Al-Rai


kuwait digest

Kuwait deserves better! By Sherida Al-Maosherji he road to the National Assembly is filled with favoritism. It used to make temporary ‘stops,’ waiting for a green light to go at ‘byelections,’ concealed in the form of consultative councils which gave the results we know about producing a Parliament that has a majority. It does not comprehend various important issues that ought to be tackled. Instead, they’d go further into technical, financial and legal details in which they are not specialized. Neither are they qualified to discuss the discipline which requires specific scientific and cultural tools to discuss them, report on them, and then make a decision that determines the future of this country. The zeal that has overwhelmed Kuwait over the past two years and the youth’s reaction to it has made them more interested in public concerns, willing to partake in forming a public opinion on various crucial issues. It is surely a hopeful indicator of larger participation in the upcoming elec-


The zeal that has overwhelmed Kuwait over the past two years and the youth’s reaction to it has made them more interested in public concerns, willing to partake in forming a public opinion on various crucial issues. It is surely a hopeful indicator of larger participation in the upcoming election process so as to help more capable, honest, willing and Kuwait-loving MPs to make their way to the Parliament in order to prioritize Kuwait’s interests. tion process so as to help more capable, honest, willing and Kuwait-loving MPs to make their way to the Parliament in order to prioritize Kuwait’s interests, promote its facilities, achieve its citizens’ aspirations and restore it to its former leading regional position. They have actually defamed the Parliament, forcing people to hate it. We are actually looking forward to a more mature election process where voters carefully study various candidates’ resumes and their political history so as to choose the best. Previous experiences have proven to be painful and highly costly. Therefore, Kuwait deserves better! — Aljarida



Steps to unify academic vision LONDON: Heads of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ cultural offices in the UK held a coordination meeting late Friday to tackle some academic issues faced in the British Universities and institutions. The meeting was held at the Kuwaiti embassy in London. It was attended by heads of cultural attaches of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman. Head of Kuwait’s cultural attache Dr Mohammad Al-Hamad Al-Hajiri said that the meeting discussed a number of GCC students related issues such as the issue of learning the English language before being admitted to universities. They also talked about issues related to higher studies of Masters and PhDs degrees. Al-Hajiri stressed on importance of holding such coordination meetings to unify the academic vision amongst the GCC students and to promote cooperation amongst the GCC cultural offices in the UK. Some of the difficulties that face GCC students in the UK is the delays in obtaining a student visa to the country. “The British immigration department tends to give visas to students, staying in the UK, quickly and within a short period of time. However, if this visa expires then the renewal process will take nearly three months,” he explained. He urged GCC students to “go back home and renew their visas at UK embassies in their countries to solve such problems.” Al-Hajiri said that the meeting resulted in a number of recommendations to

serve the best interests of the students in the UK. Some of these recommendations are agreeing on choosing the best and most trustworthy English teaching institutes for GCC students. They also agreed to exchange information of the names of these language institutes and the number of GCC students in each one in order to handle any problems or difficulties they might face. The meeting also tackled what is called the preparatory year, a full year before starting the actual first academic year where students enhance their language skills. They all consented that the best way to prepare for this year is to apply directly to language programs provided by the desired universities of study to avoid any hassles of being rejected by other unaccredited language programs and institutes. The gathering also said that “pre-PhD and pre -Masters programs” are not approved because they have no solid academic requirements. Universities should abide by UK PhDs programs which they last for three years and where students are expected to submit a thesis within 12 months of the end of the program, the meeting noted. It also pointed out that the fees of “thesis year” should not be paid fully and GCC cultural offices are not to pay for any expenses for using laboratories. Al-Hajiri concluded by saying that Kuwait’s cultural attache is ready to give any support or exchange expertise with other GCC cultural offices in the UK to serve the best interests of all students. —KUNA

Perfume consumers smell price increases An international phenomenon? By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Consumers have noticed a rise in the prices of their favorite fragrances. This increase has risen by almost 50 percent. In Kuwait, perfumes are seen as essential goods which the majority of the people don’t leave home without. Ibtisam, a 40-year-old woman, complained that the price of her favorite perfume from a well-known French brand had increased by more than KD 10 and it cost KD 47 for a single bottle. “This is incredible. I’m not sure if this phenomenon is happening in Kuwait only or outside also. The stores always tell me that the prices in general have gone up. This means that we have to limit our use of perfumes,” she said. “When I went last week to the perfume exhibition, I was shocked to find two of my favorite perfumes more expensive than it was at the beginning of this year. The one I bought in February for KD 17 was sold now for KD 26, and the one I used to buy for KD 20 was now KD 28. This propelled me to buy the perfumes that

were on sale or included in special promotions. I will now wait for seasonal promotions to buy my perfumes to save my money,” said Lulwa, a 25year-old employee. Linda decided to buy her perfumes from the Duty Free store at the Airport. “The price of the perfume I use increased recently from KD 28 to KD 35, which is really incredible. This is why I decided to buy my perfumes from the Duty Free zone. Also my friends, who used to buy perfumes from Kuwait as gifts when travelling noticed this price hike and have started to buy fake ones from the market,” she revealed. In case a consumer noticed an increase in the price within a very short period, he can complain against the seller at the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Commerce. “The complainant should bring both receipts with him when filing the complaint; the old receipt, and the new one where the price is higher for comparison. Our inspectors will then go to the store and check the prices. If we notice a discrepancy, then the department will transfer his

case to the Commercial Prosecution,” Ahmad AlDallal, Inspector at the Consumer Protection Department told the Kuwait Times. Al-Dallal explained the classification of the offenses depends on the price specification. “Goods are classified by the Ministr y of Commerce into two categories; with specified prices by the Ministry or with unspecified prices. The offense here changes to ‘selling for higher than the fixed price’ for the first case, while the second case will be penalized for ‘unjustified increase of price’. And the perfumes are listed in the second group with unspecified prices. The first category usually includes food stuff, restaurants and so on,” he said. According to Janet, a saleslady at one of the popular perfume stores, the rate was increased recently due to the price hike from the country of origin. “If the prices are increased by the international supplier, our stores will be forced to hike it as well to make sure we don’t make a loss. In fact, all the stores have hiked their prices, not just ours,” she pointed out.

Police play major role in Arab development

Ex-MPs condemn crackdown on protests By A Saleh KUWAIT: A crackdown on protests staged by bedoons will not end their troubles and they should be provided with dignified living, said former Member of Parliament Jamaan Al-Harbash. Ex- MP Askar Al-Enezi said that the manner in which the Interior Ministry deals with the bedoons is shameful, and that it was inhuman to use tear gas against them. Former parliamentarian Hassan Jouhar said that harsh methods will not end bedoons’ demands. He blamed the interior

minister for placing the country in an embarrassing situation. Mubarak Al-Waalan said , “in the images we saw Jahra Special Forces arrested bedoons who demonstrated peacefully.” Naji Al-Abdelhadi said that Kuwaitis are worried as the bedoons continue to demonstrate and that HH the Amir had ordered that the bedoon issues be dealt with accordingly. Adnan Abdelsamad said, “we have said many times that the bedoon issue is a time bomb and the government must deal with it seriously to solve the issue quickly.”

KUWAIT: A team comprising of military personnel currently enrolled in the command and joint staff training course at the Mubarak Al-Abdullah College of the Kuwaiti Army, visited the Al-Sumoud Camp of the National Guard yesterday and studied the latest training mechanisms followed at the National Guard.

KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Humoud Jaber Al-Sabah underlined yesterday the pivotal role played by policemen in the development process in Arab countries. In a speech on the occasion of Arab Police Day (celebrated on Dec 18 each year), Sheikh Ahmad said that the policemen’s efforts and sacrifices help “achieve stability and comprehensive development in Arab societies.” Sheikh Ahmad added that “the Arab Police Day celebration offers a chance for police self-assessment of achievements and shortcomings.” The celebration also renews the determination and recharges police efforts to protect Arab security and stability, he said. The Kuwaiti Minister also suggested that Arab countries have made great strides towards the unification of Arab security strategies and cementing security cooperation.—KUNA



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KUWAIT: Inspection campaign in progress in Kabd.

Crackdown on Kabd violations By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Farwaniya Municipality carried out an inspection campaign in Kabd targeting road works violations as well as unlicensed sales at jakhours

(livestock farms). Personnel seized large amounts of fodder that was illegally displayed for sale on state property. Its owners also failed to heed previous warnings that were issued. The unscheduled campaign was held based on

instructions received from the Kuwait Municipality’s branch of Farwaniya Ahmad Al-Huzaim. It focused on tackling unlicensed street sale activities that hindered traffic along Kabd Road. “Inspection teams were divided into several teams who worked in

coordination to cover all locations where violations were detected,” a senior official Hazaa Al-Mutairi said. Farwaniya police accompanied inspectors and their contributions were credited in connection with tackling violations effectively.

Bedoon youth in police net for practicing black magic All-women clientele

NBK continues clean camping campaign take part in the campaign. KUWAIT: National Bank of NBK staff and volunteers will Kuwait (NBK) continues its clean up camps littered with environmental awareness trash and other harmful campaign to help keep waste and will also provide Kuwait clean and safe during awareness initiatives to the winter camping season. encourage campers to keep The awareness and cleanup their areas clean. campaign was launched on “The environment is one Dec 2 and will last till March of our most precious 30, 2012. resources and as part of our This two-part campaign, corporate social responsibiliwhich demonstrates NBK’s ty program, NBK aims to lasting commitment to the help keep the environment community, has attracted a Yaqoub Al-Baqer safe and clean this camping remarkable number of volseason,” said Yaqoub Alunteers interested in proBaqer, NBK Public Relations Officer. tecting the environment. NBK is an environment-friendly bank In response to many requests sent to the bank for volunteering in this campaign and has launched a range of initiatives through the social network channels including electricity conservation and (Facebook and Twitter), NBK volunteer club paper recycling- aimed at promoting envihas now opened its doors for everyone to ronmental awareness.

NBK staff and volunteers clean up camps littered with trash and harmful waste.

Wataniya customer wins SR 100,000 KUWAIT: Wataniya tomers wins in the Hajj Telecom proudly competition, which announces Marzouq demonstrates the unique Nasser Al-Ajmi, one of benefits and opportunities Wataniya’s customers, to our customers gain while be the winner of the Hajj they are roaming with us.” and Roaming Competition Wataniya Telecom Award. The award is part of launched its Roaming a competition which Rewards Program to granted an opportunity for reward customers while people to enter a draw in they are traveling abroad order to win prizes worth and for visitors who use SR 1 million. The draw the Wataniya network awarded 10 winners each while visiting Kuwait. with SR 100,000 each and Abdolaziz Al-Balool Points collected as part of was open to all visitors to the Roaming Rewards the Kingdom during the period of Hajj Program allows customers to earn extra and Omrah season. The competition miles or hotel points every time they started during the month of Ramadan roam with Wataniya. Wataniya’s rewards until the end of the Hajj season last program has partnered with up to 25 airNovember. lines and hotels so that customers can Marzouq Nasser Al-Ajmi was one of make extensive use of their points and the winners of lucky SR 100,000, after miles. Furthermore, customers can indeusing Wataniya roaming service during pendently manage and monitor their Hajj season. Wataniya’s roaming services points through range from voice calls and text messages Al-Balool concluded by saying: to internet on phone and also discounted “Wataniya Telecom continues to offer tariff for call back to Kuwait by using Call attractive promotions and offers for its back home service. Al-Ajmi is the second roaming customers, seeking to always be Wataniya customer to win the competi- close to them wherever they are by offertion, following the customer who won ing them special services in all parts of during the last Hajj season. the world.”Wataniya’s roaming services Abdolaziz Al-Balool, Public Relation are offered in more than 150 countries Director at Wataniya Telecom congratulat- around the world. It is worth mentioning ed Wataniya’s customer Marzouq Al-Ajmi that the Hajj and Roaming Competition for winning the valuable prize, and elabo- was organized by KSA’s telecom operator rated more on the Wataniya’s Roaming “Mobily”. Recently, Wataniya Kuwait has Program by saying: “For the second con- established especial alliances with stratesecutive year, one of Wataniya’s cus- gic roaming partners in the GCC.

KUWAIT: Jahra patrol officers nabbed a suspect active in offering ‘black magic’ services to help female customers with relationship issues during a routine mission in Sulaibiya. The patrol officers went in pursuit of a male driver who drove away as soon as he witnessed the patrol vehicle. The man was eventually forced to stop, and identified as a 26-year-old bedoon resident. Police arrested him after finding black magic paraphernalia inside his car. Investigations later revealed that the man used to offer his services online for KD 500 per request; funnily, he had an all-women clientele. The man admitted to practicing his activity for two years, during which he would only serve customers provided by trusted sources in order to avoid suspicion. The suspect was referred to the proper authorities to face charges.

12 separate cases where citizens and expatriates accused a GCC national of disappearing with money they paid him to bribe senior state officials. Investigations revealed that the man extorted an estimated KD 13,000 in a month. Following his arrest, he argued that he never forced his victims to pay him the bribes, and that he wouldn’t turn down free money offered to him by “fools”. He is currently being probed.

Camp fight Police were called in to break up a vicious fight that broke out between two opposing groups at a camp in Jahra. Security officers were able to apprehend two people who sparked the fight, while other accomplices who joined in escaped before police arrived. During interrogation, the two brawlers clashed after exchanging insults. They were put behind bars without bail.

Maid dies in accident A domestic worker died in a car accident which took place on the Seventh Ring Road recently. Police and paramedics rushed to a location opposite the Sabhan Graveyard where a Kuwaiti family car was reported losing balance and flipping over. The Asian housemaid was pronounced dead at the scene while the family members were rushed to the hospital with various injuries. An investigation was started to reveal the circumstances which led to the accident.

Con held Hawally police arrested a fugitive accused of robbing money from several victims after conning them. Investigations had been ongoing in

found 15 bottles of imported liquor as well as 14 bottles containing home-brewed alcohol. KD 500 in cash was also found in the car, and the suspects revealed that it was the profit they made from selling liquor. They were referred to the relevant authorities to face charges.

Road rage A man is facing charges following his arrest after he launched a brutal assault against another driver following an accident on the Fourth Ring Road. The victim, a journalist, was on his way to work when he accidently hit a luxurious German-made car. Furious about the accident, the German car ’s Kuwaiti driver smashed the other car’s window before physically attacking the other man as well. The attacker was arrested while the assaulted journalist was hospitalized with several bruises.

Jail crackdown Security officers at the Central Jail found numerous cell phones equipped with valid SIM cards during unscheduled crackdowns carried out over the weekend. Investigations are currently ongoing to reveal the identity of inmates who possessed the phones and concealed them in secret places.

Bootleggers arrested Two bootleggers were arrested recently during a police patrol mission in Salmiya. The two Arab men were inside a car that was pulled over at a street in the area when police grew suspicious of the driver’s erratic behavior. They were placed under arrest after police

Fireworks cause concern Police received numerous reports recently from residents in Al-Sabahiya and Al-Riqqa, reporting “explosions” that lasted for half an hour. Security officers reported to the scene described and found out that the noises were emanating from a celebration held by a family who was celebrating their child’s homecoming. The family used heavy fireworks during the celebration, and explained to police that they weren’t aware that the fireworks’ sound would be confused by residents with sounds of ammo explosion. They also provided receipts proving that they bought the fireworks legally from the local market. — Al-Rai, Al-Watan, Al-Anbaa

Separated at birth, mother reunites with daughter 17 years later KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman was recently reunited with her daughter for the first time after giving birth to her 17 years ago. According to a news report that was published in Al-Rai, the girl, now a teenager, learnt that she actually has a birth mother after her foster mother passed away last year. “The girl was born in 1994 at the Sabah Hospital after her mother’s tumultuous love relationship with an Arab man with a Chadian nationality culminated in a traditional marriage ceremony,” said the source who works in the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Department. She reportedly met her husband through his sister. When the female citizen became pregnant, she asked her husband to legalize their marriage. However, the man refused, asking her to abort her child. “She strongly objected and asked her husband to either ensure that she has a safe delivery or file a police complaint,” she said. A day after the woman delivered, her husband disappeared with the baby. Eventually, she approached an Egyptian friend who was also a common friend of her sister-in-law. The friend denied knowledge about the man’s whereabouts and advised her to move on from the relationship. Her reputation could be at stake in case the incident is made public.

But according to the security source, the Egyptian friend lied to her. “It was revealed that the husband had left the baby with his sister and migrated to Sweden. Sometime later, his sister decided to leave Kuwait and left the child in the Egyptian woman’s care,” the source said. He explained that the woman raised the girl without informing her about her background. The woman reportedly did not take steps to adopt the girl officially. Last year, the foster mother passed away, leaving the girl who had turned sixteen at the time without official documents to prove her parentage. Police eventually began investigating her adopted siblings. Eventually, they admitted that their mother had provided shelter to the girl who was abandoned by her father and aunt. They were not aware of girl’s biological mother. After conducting a search, police found a marriage paper among the foster mother’s belongings. They investigated the name of the woman mentioned on it and contacted her. When she was summoned, the woman, now in her forties, divulged information about her past relationship with the girl’s father. “Police are currently waiting for DNA test results to confirm the relationship between the girl and her real mother,” said the source, adding that investigations are ongoing for the father. — Al-Rai

Two acquitted of drug charges were also charged with driving under KUWAIT: The criminal court recently the influence of drugs. sentenced two people to prison in a The first suspect was sentenced to 10 drug possession and trafficking case, years in prison and a KD 10,000 fine after and acquitted two others who were he was found guilty of all charges. The found not guilty. second suspect was sentenced to five Police arrested two suspects inside a years in jail and a KD 5,000 after he was house with possession of hashish followfound guilty of drug possession with the ing an ambush based on information intention of abuse and driving under the received about suspected drug traffickinfluence of drugs, but was acquitted of ing activity. The two others were the drug trafficking charges. Meanwhile, detained after police made one of the the criminal court found the third and two suspects contact the first number in fourth suspects not guilty of all charges, the last call list in his phone. The numafter defense of the third suspect. ber’s owner was set in a trap along with an accomplice, and they were both Attorney Mohammad Kamal Attorney Mohammad Kamal argued against the circumstances of his client’s caught with possession of drugs. Police charged three suspects with felony, possession arrest and investigation process, as well as against the of hashish with the intention of trafficking, and posses- drug trafficking charges. The court eventually acquitted sion of hashish. The fourth suspect (the one who drove the third suspect after finding contradictions in the testithe third suspect to the trap he was lured into) was mony of the officer that placed him under arrest, despite charged with felony, possession of multiple drugs the fact that the forensic report showed that the sus(hashish and drug pills). The fourth and second suspects pect’s blood sample tested positive for drugs.

Kuwait donates $300,000 to UN relief fund UNITED NATIONS: Kuwait has donated $300,000 to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund to deal with emergencies in the year 2012. The State of Kuwait, considering the significant role of the UN, its agencies and funds in the sector of humanitarian and relief aid, has decided to increase its annual donations to a number of these agencies. The declaration was made in a statement addressed by the Kuwaiti delegation at the annual UN convention on the UN donations for nations at

times of emergencies. It has increased the financial allotments for the UNCERF from $50,000 to $300,000 per year, the statement said, noting that the Gulf state opted to grant more aid to needy nations through the international fund despite repercussions of the global financial-economic crisis. Elaborating, the Kuwaiti statement noted necessity of aiding nations at times of catastrophes for saving lives and minimizing damage. —KUNA

Kuwait takes part in GCC meeting in Riyadh KUWAIT: Kuwait takes part in the 92nd extraordinary meeting of the GCC Committee on Financial and Economic Cooperation scheduled to convene in Riyadh today-to be represented by Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali. Ministry of Finance said in a statement, released yesterday, the meeting is scheduled to exchange views between the ministers of finance and Economy in the GCC countries on various joint issues related to economic cooperation, which will be submitted to the Preparator y Ministerial Council, due on sidelines of the GCC Supreme Council at its 32 session. The meeting’s agenda includes a number of key issues, such as holding complete discussion on draft mechanism for collection and distribution of customs duty revenues. The GCC Customs Union had been assigned to study it, the ministry said. Furthermore, the ministers are scheduled to discuss functions and terms of reference of this body including custom procedures and supervision of proper application of the Customs Union requirements, it added. The Customs Union will monitor implementation of the scheduled completion of GCC Customs Union establishment requirements, due by end of 2014. Conferees are also scheduled to discuss results of the 44th meeting of the custom director-generals, namely regarding protection of tariffs and local agents, in addition to a proposed mechanism to deal with American goods, imported by the GCC countries bound with bilateral agreements with the United States, the statement added. They will also discuss the GCC Secretariat General note on a feasibility study to link GCC railway with Yemen, examine economic topics, submitted to the Supreme Council at its 32nd meeting, namely the judicial economic authority of the GCC, a report on functions of the GCC monetary union, implementation of the joint Gulf market and the GCC railway. Al-Shimali’s delegation includes senior officials of Ministry of Finance and


New Russian protest yields smaller turnout

China villagers in revolt demand dead man’s body Page 12

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Historic visit to Libya by Panetta Pentagon chief sees close partnership with Libya

TRIPOLI: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta (C) greets members of a Libyan delegation welcoming him at the airport upon his arrival in Tripoli yesterday, on the first visit to Libya by a Pentagon chief to study up close the security needs of the new government. — AFP TRIPOLI: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday that Tripoli could become an important security partner of Washington as he visited Libya for talks with new regime officials. “We are and will be your friend and partner,” Panetta said at a news conference with Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib. “This new and free Libya can become an important security partner of the United States,” he said, adding that Washington was looking forward to building a close partnership. “We stand ready to offer whatever assistance in the spirit of friendship and a spirit of mutual respect.” But Panetta, who also met Defence Minister Osama Jouili, stressed that his talks in Tripoli did not involve military equipment. “At this stage there was certainly no discussions involving arms or military equipment,” he said when asked about the type of security cooperation he envisioned. Earlier he had told the travelling press, including an AFP correspondent, that his brief visit was to confer with Syria’s new rulers on their government’s security needs. “The purpose of my trip to Libya is to have an opportunity to look at that situation up close but to also pay tribute to the Libyan people to what they did in bringing (former leader Moamer) Kadhafi down and trying to establish a government for the future,” Panetta said. He acknowledged that Libya’s rulers would face huge challenges, but said he was confident they would “succeed in putting a democracy

together in Libya.” “I’m confident that they’re taking the right steps to reach out to all these groups and bring them together so that they will be part of one Libya and that they will be part of one defence system,” he said. Panetta said he expected the Libyans “to determine the future of Libya” and “determine what assistance they require from the United States and the international community.” Libya’s rulers face a major challenge in trying to disarm militiamen who fought to topple Kadhafi and secure thousands of surface-to-air missiles stockpiled under his regime. Pressure to disarm the former rebels has mounted after local media reported several skirmishes between militia factions in Tripoli, with some resulting in casualties. There are concerns that the Man-Portable Air Defence Systems, or MANPADS, could be used by militants against commercial airliners and helicopters. Libya’s interim premier said Washington was willing to help Libya “without any interference.” Kib also acknowledged that his government had a difficult task ahead. “We know how serious the issue is,” he said, adding: “I’m very optimistic. “The Libyan people are known to be peaceful and I’m sure that they will be back to that mentality,” he said in English. Panetta’s visit came a day after the United Nations and the United States lifted sanctions on Libya’s central bank in a bid to ease a cash crunch in the post-Kadhafi era, diplomats said. The UN Security Council ended a freeze on

the assets of the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank, which was ordered in February as part of sanctions against Kadhafi. The US government said it would be freeing more than $30 billion (23 billion euros) of assets belonging to the central bank and LFB in a bid to help the new government. The Tripoli authorities have stepped up calls in recent weeks to release the estimated $150 billion frozen abroad to help pay salaries and keep services running. On top of the $30 billion held in the United States, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government would immediately act to free about 6.5 billion pounds ($10 billion) held in Britain. The easing of the sanctions “marks another significant moment in Libya’s transition,” Hague said in a statement. “It means that Libya’s government will now have full access to the significant funds needed to help rebuild the country, to underpin stability and to ensure that Libyans can make the transactions that are essential to everyday life.” Central Bank governor Al-Seddiq Omar al-Kabir said he expected the move to ease the liquidity crisis and “facilitate local and international banking transactions and consolidate social and macroeconomic stability in the new Libya.” Panetta travelled to Libya from Turkey, where he held wide-ranging talks. On Thursday, he was in Iraq to take part in a ceremony marking the end of the US mission there. —AFP

Kazakh leader orders curfew after riots ALMATY: Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev yesterday declared a 20day state of emergency in a western oil city where at least 11 people have been killed in the deadliest outbreak of violence in the Central Asian state’s recent history. Wounded victims filled hospitals in Zhanaozen and many oil workers stayed at home, fearing for their safety a day after violent clashes between riot police and crowds in a city where thousands of sacked oil workers have been protesting for months. The head of a local trade union said many wounded civilians and policemen had been brought by car from overflowing hospitals in Zhanaozen, a city of 90,000 around 150 km (95 miles) east of the Caspian Sea, to the regional centre of Aktau. “They have all kinds of wounds, from gunshot wounds to stab wounds

and blunt traumas,” Kenzhegali Suyeov, chairman of the independent Aktau trade union, told Reuters. He said sporadic shooting had been heard in Zhanaozen overnight. Public protests are rare in Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy and oil producer, where 71year-old Nazarbayev has overseen more than $120 billion in foreign investment during more than two decades in power. The clashes marred celebrations across the rest of Kazakhstan to mark the 20th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union and were a shock to a government that has put stability and economic growth over democratic freedoms. “We will not permit any attempts to disturb the peace and calm in our home, to erase the achievements of our independence,” Nazarbayev said in a statement. “The

state will use the full strength of the law to suppress any attempt to disturb the peace and security of our citizens.” A presidential decree declared a state of emergency and curfew in Zhanaozen until Jan. 5. Public protests and strikes are banned while movement around Zhanaozen and access to and from the city will be restricted. The clashes began when sacked oil workers and sympathetic citizens stormed a stage erected for an Independence Day party on Friday, toppling sound equipment and later setting fire to the city hall and the headquarters of the local oil company. Nurdaulet Suindikov, spokesman for the prosecutor-general’s office, told a news conference 11 people had been killed in the clashes. A further 86 people were wounded, including six policemen, he said. Around 70 people have been arrested. — Reuters



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Hezbollah prisoner held by Iraq faces minor charge BAGHDAD: A Lebanese Hezbollah commander allegedly responsible for killing four US soldiers in Iraq will be prosecuted for a lesser charge of illegal entry with a forged passport, Iraqi officials said yesterday. Ali Musa Daqduq was the last American prisoner in Iraq and was handed over to Iraqi authorities on Friday. Yesterday, two Iraqi officials said Daqduq will be prosecuted for illegal entry with a forged passport - the only Iraqi charge against him. The charge generally carries a sentence of just over five years in prison. But the officials say an investigative judge will consider US alle-

gations against him. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Daqduq has been linked to a brazen raid in which four American soldiers were abducted and killed in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala in 2007. US officials have long feared that the Iraqis would release Daqduq once he had been transferred from American control and US troops left the country. But his case was complicated by issues of international diplomacy and the American political debate over how best to prosecute suspected terrorists. Under former President George W.

Bush, prosecutors had planned to charge Daqduq in a US criminal court. But those plans were scrapped after President Barack Obama took office and lawmakers began restricting his ability to bring terrorist suspects into the United States for trial. Many Republicans had wanted Daqduq prosecuted before a military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. The Obama administration had hoped a compromise would be to prosecute Daqduq in a first-of-its-kind military commission on US soil. But the Iraqi government would not let the United States take Daqduq out of the country for trial,

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. Iraq has had a shoddy record on detainee security. Last year, just a week after the US turned more than 1,000 detainees at its Camp Cropper prison over to Iraqi control, four al-Qaeda-linked detainees escaped. An investigation showed that the detainees had inside help. That had lawmakers worried that Daqduq would return to Hezbollah soon after his transfer. Shortly before the White House announcement, Sen. Mark Kirk, RIll., was gathering signatures on a letter to Obama. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee

on Intelligence, accused the Obama administration of “once again completely abdicating its responsibility to hold on to deadly terrorists.” “Given Iraq’s histor y of releasing detainees, I expect it is only a matter of time before this terrorist will be back on the battlefield,” he said. Vietor said a trial at Guantanamo Bay was never an option, either for the Iraqis or for the administration. “The policy of this administration, because we believe it’s in our national security interest, is to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, not add to the population,” he said.— AP

NATO ends Iraq training mission ‘There were hopes to continue mission beyond 2011’

SIDI BOUZID: Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (2nd L, with beige burnous) is flanked by security and crowds as he arrives at Mohamed Bouzizi square yesterday in Sidi Bouzid, where Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruitseller who set himself on fire sparking the revolution that ousted a dictator and ignited the Arab Spring one year ago. — AFP

Tunisia fetes poor town where revolt year began SIDI BOUZID: It was in this hardscrabble town in Tunisia’s arid interior that exactly one year ago the death knell sounded for the decades-old system of dictatorships across the Arab world. With a desperate act of self-immolation, a 26-year-old fruit-seller in Sidi Bouzid unwittingly unleashed a year of turmoil that toppled at least three autocrats in a region once thought to be immune to democracy. Tunisia’s new leaders are part of a festival for the revolution in Sidi Bouzid starting Saturday, to honor the vendor and the protesters whose indignance snowballed into a nationwide and then region-wide phenomenon. The changes in the Arab world over the past 12 months cannot be overstated. A region synonymous with stagnant authoritarian republics and monarchies is suddenly rife with change - for better or worse. The biggest winners so far appear to be the long-repressed Islamist parties, which didn’t always lead the revolts but in the subsequent elections in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco were the best organized and least tainted by the old regimes. As the country that started the Arab Spring, Tunisia appears to be the farthest along in its transformation, having held its freest elections ever that brought to power a moderate Islamist party that most had thought had been oppressed out of existence. European tourists k new Tunisia under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali for its sandy beaches and cosmopolitan ways, but for many of its people it was 23 years of suffocating iron-fisted rule. Now a human rights activist is president and an Islamist politician who was jailed by Ben Ali for 15 years is the prime minister at the head of a coalition of left, liberal and religious parties. The new president even announced on Friday that he was going to sell off his predecessor’s many palaces to fund employment programs. It was one year ago that Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of the Sidi Bouzid town hall after he was publicly slapped and humiliated by a policewoman reprimanding him for selling his vegetables without a license. He suffered full-body burns, and died soon afterward. Until then, he had spent his days pushing around a cart to sell his vegetables, but when his wares were confiscated and his pleas for restitution ignored by town officials, something snapped and a young man who had never lef t Tunisia transformed the Middle East. His act struck a chord in the impoverished interior of the country, where unemployment is still estimated at 28 percent. The demonstrations began in Sidi Bouzid but soon spread to the nearby city of Kasserine and surrounding small towns. At first it was just local unrest, until clandestinely shot videos started popping up on Facebook and other social networking sites, inspiring

youths across the country. The focus of the protests soon moved to the capital Tunis as tens of thousands braved tear gas and battled police along the elegant, tree-lined boulevards. An estimated 265 Tunisians died in that month of protests that slowly drew the world’s attention. And then abruptly it was over. After Ben Ali’s army refused to shoot the protesters and his security forces wavered, Ben Ali fled and flew to Saudi Arabia with his family on Jan 14. Experts were quick to explain how Tunisia was unique and the Jasmine Revolution was an isolated event - until 11 days later tens of thousands occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square and began chanting the same slogan heard in Tunisia: “The people want the fall of the regime.” Not even three weeks later, Egypt’s army too turned on its commander in chief and 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for almost three decades as the quintessential symbol of M iddle East status quo, suddenly resigned. Four days later, protesters hit the streets in Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi, while Yemen began experiencing demonstrations of its own. Morocco as well sprouted a pro-democracy movement that forced the king to scrabble to make reforms, and eventually even Syria - a nation famous for its repression - was awash in protests. Bouazizi’s plight was familiar across the region where growth had not provided jobs, education was poor and widespread restrictions on freedoms left a sense of hopeless frustration. One year later, many countries are freer but the economic situation remains grim. Tourists have been frightened away by the unrest, an economic crisis in Europe has damaged traditional export markets and the messy business of democracy has been slow to produce new governments. Six weeks after its elections, Tunisia is forming its new government, but for the people of Sidi Bouzid, it feels like nothing has changed. Even during October’s elections, when much of the country was euphoric, the young men of Sidi Bouzid sat sullenly in their cafes and complained that they had been forgotten. Now the focus has returned to this small town surrounded by olive orchards and tall groves of cactus, and a festival for the revolution will be held over the weekend. There will be parades, poems and speeches by Tunisia’s newly elected leaders while balloons the color of the red flag will be released into the air. Tunisia’s leaders have promised that the interior will no longer be neglected and say they have drawn up plans to rebalance investment away from the coast. If they can succeed, even as the other countries in the region struggle with the complicated aftermaths of their own pro-democracy movements, Tunisia could once more inspire the Arab world. —AP

BAGHDAD: NATO ended its training mission in Iraq yesterday as alliance officials lamented the collapse of a deal to extend it because Baghdad refused to grant its troops immunity from prosecution. US Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, the head of the NATO training mission, said the alliance had been willing to sign a deal with Iraq’s government and did not require parliamentar y approval, but Baghdad’s lawyers said MPs would need to vote on any pact. By contrast, the collapse of an agreement for a post-2011 US training mission, which was being discussed bet ween Baghdad and Washington, was due to the US’s insistance that it be approved by lawmakers. The United States has signed over its final base in the country, and virtually all remaining American forces in Iraq are due out in the coming days. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said in a letter addressed to Caslen and read out at yesterday’s ceremony that “there were hopes to continue the mission beyond 2011, and we are concluding earlier than we had hoped.” Caslen told reporters after the ceremony that NATO was willing to sign an agreement with Iraq’s executive, “but... as the lawyers reviewed it and looked at it, they thought that the immunities had to go back down to the parliament.” “They knew they weren’t going to get that (approved),” he said. He continued: “The secretary general of NATO had the authority to go ahead and approve it with whatever (authority) the Iraqi government decided.” “So the issue ended up being who in the Iraqi government had the authority to approve this... It turned out to be, Iraqi law said the authority had to be at the legislative level.” He added that the lack of a post-2011 NATO

training mission was “unfor tunate”. On November 29, a NATO spokesman said the alliance had been asked by Maliki to “extend its training mission until the end of 2013” and that it had “accepted this request in principle.” NATO’s training mission in Iraq was aimed at assisting “in the development of Iraqi secu-

rity forces training structures and institutions”, and as of November 2011, 12 countries were represented in its force, comprising around 120 soldiers. All will leave by year-end. A post-2011 training mission would have involved around 110 NATO soldiers, Caslen said.— AFP

BAGHDAD: US Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, the head of the NATO training mission in Iraq, addresses a ceremony in Baghdad marking the end of NATO’s training mission in Iraq yesterday as alliance officials lamented the collapse of a deal to extend it because Baghdad refused to grant its troops immunity from prosecution. — AFP

Yemen military panel begins lifting barricades

TEHRAN: In this picture taken on Sept. 11, 2011, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, talks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran. — AP

SANAA: A Yemeni military commission began returning the capital to normality yesterday, removing checkpoints and barricades erected during months of deadly protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Bulldozers were seen removing sand berms thrown up by the pro -Saleh Central Security service at the Asser roundabout, under the supervision of members of the joint commission formed by the new opposition-led government, an AFP correspondent reported. The neighbourhood was scene to frequent clashes between Saleh loyalists and demonstrators marching from the nearby Change Square-the focal point of anti-Saleh protests, which was protected by the dissident First Armoured Division led by General Ali Mohsen alAhmar. “We have received orders to withdraw from this area following the instructions of the military commission,” said an officer of the division at Sitin

Street as his troops cleared the area. The national unity government overseeing the departure from office of long-serving Saleh formed the commission to restore stability under the terms of a transition deal. The commission is led by Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who has been charged with managing the transfer of power and designated to serve as a consensus president following Saleh’s depar ture, expected in February. The military commission will also aim to reform the security services, controlled partly by Saleh loyalists, in accordance with the transition deal signed by Saleh in November after more than 10 months of protests against his 33-year rule. Violence in Yemen has continued since the agreement was inked, notably in Sanaa and in the second city of Taez, where clashes between loyalist troops and dissidents have left dozens dead.— AFP

Iran delayed news of US drone capture TEHRAN: Iran deliberately delayed its announcement that it had captured an American surveillance drone to test US reaction, the country’s foreign minister said yesterday. Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran finally went public with its possession of the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone to disprove contradictory statements from U.S. officials. Iran, which put the aircraft on display last week, has tried to trumpet the downing of the drone as a feat of Iran’s military in a complicated technological and intelligence battle with the US Tehran also has rejected a formal US request to return the plane, calling it’s incursion an “invasion” and a “hostile act.” “When our armed forces nicely brought down the stealth American surveillance drone, we didn’t announce it for several days to see what the other party (US) says and to test their reaction,” Salehi told the official IRNA news agency. “Days after Americans made contradictory statements, our friends at the armed forces put this drone on display.” Salehi said Iran’s position is not to return the drone, but he didn’t completely rule out the possibility of a deal. “Any decision-making about this issue rests with the Supreme National Security Council,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying. The council is Iran’s highest security decision-making body and handles the country’s talks with the West over Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Salehi said Iran won a complicated technological battle with the US by intercepting and taking control of the plane with an electronic ambush. “Regardless of whether the US believes it or not, the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran brought down the aircraft largely intact without assistance from any foreign country,” he said. American officials have said that US intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. —AP

SANAA: Yemeni soldiers and supporters of outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh hold his pictures as they leave from the Asser roundabout after a military commission began to remove checkpoints and barricades erected during months of deadly protests in Sanaa yesterday. — AFP



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Pope heads into busy Christmas season tired, weak

ROME: In this photo taken Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass in the “Santa Maria delle Grazie” parish church, Rome. People who have spent time with the Pope recently say they found him weaker than they’d ever seen him, seemingly too tired to engage with what they were saying. — AP

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI seems worn out. People who have spent time with him recently say they found him weaker than they’d ever seen him, seemingly too tired to engage with what they were saying. He no longer meets individually with visiting bishops. A few weeks ago he started using a moving platform to spare him the long walk down St. Peter’s Basilica. Benedict turns 85 in the new year, so a slowdown is only natural. Expected. And given his age and continued rigorous work schedule, it’s remarkable he does as much as he does and is in such good health overall: Just this past week he confirmed he would travel to Mexico and Cuba next spring. But a decline has been noted as Benedict prepares for next weekend’s grueling Christmas celebrations, which kick off two weeks of intense public appearances. And that raises questions about the future of the papacy given that Benedict himself has said popes should resign if they can’t do the job. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi has said no medical condition prompted the decision to use the moving platform in St. Peter’s, and that it’s merely designed to spare the pontiff the fatigue of the 100-meter (-yard) walk to and from the main altar. And Benedict rallied during his three-day trip to Benin in west Africa last month, braving temperatures of 32 Celsius (90F) and high humidity to deliver a strong message about the future of the Catholic Church in Africa. Wiping sweat from his brow, he kissed babies who were handed up to him, delivered a tough speech on the need for Africa’s political leaders to clean up their act, and visited one of the continent’s most important seminaries. Back at home, however, it seems the daily grind of being pope - the audiences with visiting heads of state, the weekly public catechism lessons, the sessions with visiting bishops - has taken its toll. A spark is gone. He doesn’t elaborate off-the-cuff much anymore, and some days he just seems wiped out. Take for example his recent visit to Assisi, where he traveled by train with dozens of religious leaders from around the world for a daylong peace pilgrimage. For anyone participating it was a tough, long

day; for the aging pope it was even more so. “Indeed I was struck by what appeared to me as the decline in Benedict’s strength and health over the last half year,” said Rabbi David Rosen, who had a place of honor next to the pope at the Assisi event as head of interfaith relations at the American Jewish Committee. “He looks thinner and weaker ... which made the effort he put into the Assisi shindig with the extraordinary degree of personal attention to the attendees (especially the next day in Rome) all the more remarkable,” Rosen said in an email. That Benedict is tired would be a perfectly normal diagnosis for an 84-year-old, even someone with no known health ailments and a still-agile mind. He has acknowledged having suffered a hemorrhagic stroke in 1991 that temporarily affected his vision. And his older brother, who has a pacemaker for an irregular heartbeat, has expressed concern about Benedict’s own heart. But Benedict is not a normal 84-year-old, both in what he is called to do and the implications if he were to stop. Popes are allowed to resign; church law specifies only that the resignation be “freely made and properly manifested.” Only a handful have done so, however. The last one was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants. There’s good reason why others haven’t followed suit: Might the existence of two popes - even when one has stepped down - lead to divisions and instability in the church? Might a new resignation precedent lead to pressures on future popes to quit at the slightest hint of infirmity? Yet Benedict himself raised the possibility of resigning if he were simply too old or sick to continue on, when he was interviewed for the book “Light of the World,” which was released in November 2010. “If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,” Benedict said. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an intimate view as Pope John Paul II,

with whom he had worked closely for nearly a quarter-century, suffered through the debilitating end of his papacy. After John Paul’s death at age 84, it was revealed that he had written a letter of resignation to be invoked if he became terminally ill or incapable of continuing on. And it should be recalled that at the time Benedict was elected pope at age 78 - already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years - he had been planning to retire as the Vatican’s chief orthodoxy watchdog to spend his final years writing in the “peace and quiet” of his native Bavaria. It is there that his elder brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, still lives. Ratzinger, who turns 88 next month, is nearly blind. Benedict has said his brother has helped him accept old age with courage. Benedict said in “Light of the World” that he knew his own strength was diminishing - steps are difficult for him and his aides regularly hold his elbows as he climbs up or down. But at the same time Benedict insisted that he had no intention of resigning to avoid dealing with the problems of the church, such as the sex abuse scandal. “One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from danger and say that someone else should do it,” he said. As a result, a papal resignation anytime soon seems unlikely. And Benedict is maintaining a hectic agenda. His planned trip to Cuba and Mexico next spring will fall shortly before he turns 85 on April 16. He has also said he’d like to make it to Rio de Janeiro in 2013 for the next World Youth Day. Sometime in the New Year he will presumably preside over a new consistory to name the new cardinals who will elect his successor. And he has lots of unfinished business close to his heart: Bringing back breakaway traditionalists under Rome’s wing, the fate of the sex abuse-scarred Irish church, tensions with China. And he still cuts a robust figure in public given his age, walking briskly, speaking clearly and emphasizing key points. But his public engagements have been trimmed back; he had far fewer speeches in Benin than during his September visit to his native Germany or the United Kingdom last fall.—AP

New Russian protest yields smaller turnout Moscow pays no heed to US poll criticism MOSCOW: Some 3,000 protestors gathered in Moscow’s Bolotnaya square yesterday for a rally against election violations as Russia’s Communist party nominated its leader to challenge Vladimir Putin in March presidential polls. The rally, organised by the liberal Yabloko party, which failed to gain seats in the next parliament, was the fourth in a series of protests against what is perceived as a rigged election on December 4. The rally was nowhere near as big as one a week earlier which drew over 50,000 people to the same square in the largest protest demonstration in Moscow since the early 1990s. About 3,000 people gathered at the square, according to an AFP correspondent, while Moscow police estimated the turnout at 1,500. Yabloko finished in the elections with only 3.43 percent, falling short of the threshold required to win seats in the Russian Duma. Putin’s party United Russia won the polls with 49.3 percent, losing its constitutional majority. People with Yabloko flags and green balloons held signs such as one reading “Boycott the Pseudo-Elections” and listened to Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky, who is widely expected to become the party’s presidential candidate. “Our goal is to change today’s political system, which lies, which is corrupt, and serves the interests of a small group of people,” Yavlinsky said. “People’s attitude has changed, they are ready to protest, no matter who wins the elections, one should not take people

for idiots,” said protestor Igor Sevolodovich, referring to massive fraud. The rally was held against a two-day Communist party congress in Moscow, which officially nominated its 67-year-old leader Gennady Zyuganov to run against Putin in the March elections. The Communist party, a runner-up in the parliamentary polls with 19.19 percent of the vote, has called the vote illegitimate, and Zyuganov promised Saturday to call a new election if he becomes president. However Zyuganov, who has been at the helm of Russia’s communists since the early 1990s, has stayed away from most protest rallies,

labelling some of the liberal opposition as provocateurs in the pay of “American oligarchs.” Zyuganov, who has run for the Russian presidency three times since 1996, is likely to be the main challenger to Putin in the March elections, and Putin’s latest approval rating of 42 percent suggests that he may not clinch victory in the first round. Prime Minister Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have both dismissed allegations of mass violations. Medvedev ordered the Duma to meet in its new makeup next Wednesday, while Putin mocked protestors, saying he thought

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, is greeted by local residents as he visits Magadan, about 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) east of Moscow, Russia’s Far East, yesterday. — AP

US ‘Barefoot Bandit’ jailed for more than seven years LOS ANGELES: A teenager dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit” was sentenced to more than seven years in jail Friday for a string of audacious crimes across the United States, which ended with his arrest in the Bahamas. Colton Harris-Moore, 20, pleaded guilty to his crimes in the northwestern US state of Washington, where he was flown last year following his arrest after a high-speed boat chase. Harris-Moore-whose nickname stems from the discovery of bare footprints at his crime scenes-admitted charges including bank robbery, stealing an aircraft, flying a plane without a license and stealing a boat. Judge Vickie Churchill said Harris-Moore’s childhood was “little better than a dog’s” with an abusive and alcoholic mother, although that could not excuse his crimes. “This case is a tragedy in many ways, but it’s also a triumph of the human spirit in other ways,” she said, calling his upbringing a “mind-numbing absence of hope.” But imposing the more than seven year sentence for 33 felony charges — 32 of which Harris-Moore admitted to-the judge said: “The damage to his victims was high, and they continue on.” A 2009 criminal complaint alleged that Harris-Moore stole a 340,000-dollar Cessna plane from Idaho and flew it to Washington after committing a string of burglaries and vehicle thefts in the United States and Canada. He was accused of residential and commercial burglaries, vehicle theft and assaults on law enforcement officers, the complaint added. Prosecutor Randall Gaylord told the court how Harris-Moore stole a crowbar and bolt cutters from a hardware store-then used the tools to break into the store again. “It shows planning, sophistication, premeditation, all the kind of things that run counter to what ... some of the other experts may say about him,” he said. Harris-Moore was arrested in July 2010 in the Bahamas,

after a dramatic high-speed boat chase on Bahamas Harbour Island, one week after police found the wreckage of a stolen plane they believe he flew to the archipelago. His youth and the bold nature of his crimes have turned him into a folk hero for some, who have romanticized him as a latter-day Billy the Kid. The judge Friday voiced sympathy for Harris-Moore, but said she had no alternative to jailing him. “I was struck that I could be reading the history of a mass murderer. I could have been reading about a drug-addicted, alcoholic, abusive man who followed in the footsteps of his mother,” said Churchill. “That is the triumph of Colton Harris-Moore and the triumph of the human spirit.” — AFP

COUPEVILLE: Attorney John Henry Browne, right, uses a court document to shield his conversation with Colton Harris-Moore, in Island County Superior Court, Friday, in Coupeville, Wash. — AP

they were AIDS activists. A wider citizen protest has been called for on December 24, and more than 26,000 people have signed up to attend on Facebook. Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday he had told his US counterpart Barack Obama that Moscow attached “no importance” to Washington’s criticism of this month’s elections in Russia. “Of course, I had to say one thing to him: ‘You can think of our elections what you want, it is our affair. To speak frankly, we attach no importance to it’,” Medvedev said of a telephone call with Obama on Friday. “We are a big country, strong, sovereign,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. The White House said the US president praised Medvedev’s commitment to investigate allegations of flaws in the December 4 vote, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won with a reduced majority. The call between the two leaders follows criticism of the United States by Putin, who is expected to take back his old job as president after a presidential election in March next year. Putin last week accused the United States of inciting the wave of protests against alleged vote rigging after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised concerns about the fairness of the election. And on Thursday he accused Washington of orchestrating the mob killing of former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi in October. — AFP

Five dead, including three children, in Illinois town EMINGTON: Five people, including a baby and two children, were found shot to death Friday at a home in a small farming town in the state of Illinois, authorities said, and police said they were not searching for a gunman. While not specifically saying the shooter was among the dead, Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith said the community was “safe from any harm” and authorities “are not looking for anyone in this crime.” County board member Bob Young, who lives in Emington, said the dead included a man, a woman, an infant, a first grader and a fourth grader. The family had moved to the town of about 100 people about 80 miles (128 kilometers) southwest of Chicago within the last six months and the two older children attend school in nearby Saunemin, Young said. The street where the family lived was closed by police, he said. Meredith said first responders found the bodies after Livingston County dispatchers received a call Friday afternoon. Coroner Michael Burke will release the names of the victims once relatives are notified, the sheriff said. Livingston County authorities and Illinois State Police crime scene technicians were still working the scene late Friday, Meredith said. He declined to release additional details about the shooting, saying more information would be released Saturday morning. Ronald Groetsema lives near the home where the family was found and said he heard six to eight gunshots, then heard a second round of four to six shots a few minutes later. Groetsema’s 12-year-old son got off the school bus with the children who died, he said. “They were happy because it was the last day of school before Christmas break,” Groetsema said. Residents described Emington as a once strictly farming town that has gone through changes in the last 20 years as young families moved in. Young said the town has become more of a bedroom community from which people commute north to cities such as Joliet, about 45 miles away.—AP

MEDOUNEU: A woman casts her ballot in a school at Medouneu yesterday. Gabon’s voters went to the polls yesterday in legislative elections expected to hand easy victory to President Ali Bongo’s ruling party. — AFP

Turnout low as Gabon votes amid opposition boycott LIBREVILLE: Turnout was low as Gabon voted yesterday in legislative elections boycotted by part of the opposition in the west African oil state. With a thumping victory expected for President Ali Bongo’s Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), the turnout appeared to be the main stake in the polls. The PDG and its allies hold 98 of the 120 seats in parliament and are not expected to lose much ground in the face of a splintered opposition. Results are expected Thursday. “It’s a citizen’s duty to go and vote, but it’s true it’s not very crowded,” said voter Antoinette Ntsame-Sima at a polling station in northern Medouneu, the stronghold of leading opposition figure Andre Mba Obame. In the economic capital Port Gentil, a polling official lamented: “The voters are only trickling in.” Many eyes were on Medouneu, where Mba Obame won 96 percent of the vote in the 2009 presidential election which brought Bongo to power, to see whether voters would observe the boycott. PDG candidate Maxime Ondimba is facing off against Claude-Guy Assey of the Rally for Gabon-part of the presidential majority supporting Bongo-for the seat vacated by Mba Obame, who is ill and undergoing medical treatment in France. Mba Obame’s supporters went out in small groups in Medouneu to urge people not to vote, prompting an outburst from the town’s mayor Pauline Ossone of the PDG. “They are trying to scare people so that they won’t vote. Even little old ladies! It’s unacceptable,” Ossone charged. But Delphine Alene-Ondo, a retired secretary, was defiant: “I’m not afraid. I am at home, I’m Gabonese, I’m voting for Ondimba. ... (Mba Obame’s supporters) are rubbish.” Reached by telephone in Paris, Mba Obame said: “Today they will say that they took Andre Mba Obame’s seat. It’s

true they will have a deputy, but they haven’t taken my seat. They don’t represent anyone.” Assey said he hoped to benefit from the boycott. “Not all of Mba Obame’s supporters will observe the boycott. They know that the one who is best placed to defend their intrests is Claude-Guy Assey. I will be elected.” For the first legislative polls since his father Omar died in 2009 after 41 years in power, Bongo, 52, has campaigned on his economic achievements and the co-hosting of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with Equatorial Guinea, an event that has spurred major investment. A total of 746,000 people are registered to vote in the country of 1.5 million inhabitants, subSaharan Africa’s fourth largest oil producer. Despite the recent emergence of a middle class, disparities are huge, with more than half of the population living on less than two dollars a day. Inspired by the Arab Spring and a string of protest movements against long-standing rulers in sub-Saharan Africa, Gabon’s opposition initially looked like mounting a serious challenge, but it was split over the boycott issue. Mba Obame’s supporters joined forces with 12 other opposition parties in November to reject the elections over the absence of biometric polling materials. A number of ruling party dissidents joined opposition ranks in recent years in a bid to push for more democracy, but the PDG old guard that once protected Omar Bongo’s status as Africa’s longest-serving leader appears to have won the day. “The PDG runs Gabon. We have to vote for Ondimba because if you vote for him, the president (Bongo) will trust us and we’ll have schools, roads and everything,” said Nestor Aboghe, a PDG supporter. — AFP



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Afghan rape victim says no choice but marry attacker KABUL: She was jailed for adultery after being raped, then pardoned and set free. But now her brothers are threatening to kill her and with nowhere else to go, Gulnaz is resigned to marrying her attacker. Gulnaz, who does not know her exact age but is 20 or 21, spoke in a quiet voice with her blue burqa pushed up over her face. Her baby daughter, the child of her rapist, played on the floor at her feet. “I have to marry him, I need a father for my child. I need somebody to take care of my daughter and give us a home,” she told AFP. “I don’t have any other place to live. My brothers have vowed to kill me and my attacker and my daughter.” Gulnaz was freed from prison on Tuesday, two years after she was jailed

for a so-called moral crime-being raped by her cousin’s husband. President Hamid Karzai pardoned her on December 1 following an international outcry, but even then it was almost two weeks before she was released. And now, in ultra-conservative Afghanistan, she faces great pressure to marry the man who attacked her, to provide security for her baby and restore family honour. Campaigners describe such persecution, all too common in Afghanistan, as a “remnant of the Taliban era” highlighting the poor state of women’s rights, 10 years after the US-led invasion sought to put the country on a democratic path. Gulnaz was jailed after reporting the rape to the police. “I petitioned and asked the government to arrest the man,

but they arrested me. Why was I put in jail innocently?” she said. “I don’t know why we have this kind of government here, they don’t even care about a poor woman. I brought up the case to seek justice but I was put in jail.” Gulnaz was raising her child in a prison cell in Kabul. And although she was released, she is still confined. With fears for her safety, she has moved to a women’s shelter in a secret location. Her US lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said Gulnaz was “trying to figure out the best way she can protect herself and her daughter”. But with her attacker still in jail for another five years, it will be even harder for Gulnaz to marry and move on. “Unfortunately the culture quite often decides that even if a woman is violated or a victim the best way to find

protection is to embrace their attacker and marry them,” Motley said. “Often women are treated as second class citizens and don’t have a voice. The best way is to have a male figure to protect them and I think Gulnaz is wrestling with those issues.” She said by issuing the pardon, Karzai and the prosecutor’s office recognised that rape victims were not to be persecuted. “But unfortunately this is the remnant of a Taliban era which still has an influence in Afghan culture,” Motley said. There is little sign that violence against women in Afghanistan is decreasing, despite billions of dollars of international aid which has poured into the country during the decade-long war. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission logged 1,026 cases

of violence against women in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2,700 cases for the whole of 2010. Some 87 percent of Afghan women report having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage, according to figures quoted in an October report by the British charity Oxfam. Last month, the United Nations said that a landmark law aiming to protect women against violence in Afghanistan had been used to prosecute just over 100 cases since being enacted two years ago. Gulnaz was grateful for the attention her case has received. Others are not so lucky. “I’m not afraid. He has accepted me, and I have also accepted him,” she said. “I want to send my daughter to school, I want her to become a doctor.” — AFP

Pakistan PM denies rift with army over memogate Memo impacted ‘national security’

VIRGINIA BEACH: A Marine carry team carries the transfer case containing the remains of Marine Maj. Samuel M. Griffith of Virginia Beach, Va. upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del. on Friday. The Department of Defense announced the death of Griffith who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. — AP

US report says confusion, graft harm Afghan guard scheme KABUL: A scheme that pays and arms Afghans to defend their villages against insurgents is being hindered by corruption and the difficulty of distinguishing the guards from other armed groups, a US military report has said. The Afghan Local Police (ALP) units were a flagship project of US General David Petraeus, who stepped down as commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan earlier this year, but they have been criticised by rights groups, including in a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report in September. They aim to use modest salaries and foreign mentors to build or formalise local protection networks in areas with a heavy presence of insurgents and few soldiers or police, but critics say their lack of training and accountability can make them a threat to the public. An investigation by US forces in Afghanistan into the HRW allegations found that some were credible, said a report dated Dec. 6 but only made public this week. “Many of the allegations that are tied to ALP are in fact not ALP units. Unfortunately there are many groups out there that claim to be ALP or are identified as ALP,” a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan said yesterday. “This was a finding by the investigating team and there were recommendations made ... to address this problem,” he said. They include the possibility of intro-

ducing a standard uniform for all ALP members, and better education and awareness of the groups. The controversial groups, formed in response to worsening security in Afghanistan, have worked in some areas, with Afghans citing improvements in security. But in others, criminals and insurgents are joining the ALP or government-backed militias, securing access to money and guns, the HRW report said. The ALP is likely to be expanded and extended, a senior officer from the NATO-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan said on Monday, as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan completely by the end of 2014. Original plans called for up to 30,000 members, although only around 10,000 are in place at the moment. The investigation, conducted by US Air Force Brigadier General James Marrs, said the ALP was “effective” and in the main complied with orders concerning human rights, but in his report he acknowledged there were shortcomings. “Ethnic divisions, political differences, power struggles and corruption are some of the multiple challenges to overcome before the system will become most effective,” Marrs wrote. “Many of these issues are not restricted to local areas and extend up to the executive branch of the Afghan government.” — Reuters

Afghanistan denies deal with Taleban over schools KABUL: The Afghan government yesterday denied making a deal with the Taleban agreeing a more conservative curriculum and more mullahs as teachers in return for an end to attacks on schools. Responding to a report released by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), the Afghan ministry of education said it would not cut any deal which could jeopardise the school system. The AAN report, published on Tuesday, said such deals were taking place at national and local levels, and appeared to be behind a drop in attacks against schools. The violence peaked in 2006 when dozens of teachers and students were killed and hundreds of schools burned down or forcibly shut, the think-tank said, although these attacks provoked a backlash from local communities. “The Ministry of Education strongly denies all the details and contents of this report and assure the proud nation of Afghanistan that it will not cut a deal with anyone or any group which could jeopardise the immense and historic gains achieved in the education system,” it said. The AAN report said initial negotiations between the ministry and the Taleban began in 2007 although they were cut short, allegedly because of US opposition.

But negotiations continued at a local level, with the Taleban agreeing to reopen schools if a conservative curriculum was adopted and Taleban-approved religious teachers were hired, usually in addition to MoE teachers. The report said in 2010 the ministry reopened negotiations, coinciding with the removal of a Taleban order to attack schools and teachers. “The Ministry of Education leadership seemed keen to turn deal-making on schools into a confidence-building measure for future political negotiations,” the authors Antonio Giustozzi and Claudio Franco said. “ The Taleban, on the other hand, appear more motivated by the need to improve relations with rural communities, who are themselves increasingly wary of a conflict which never seems to end.” Afghan president Hamid Karzai has said that education is the only way to bring peace and stability to the violencehit country. Millions of Afghan girls have enrolled in school since the overthrow of the Taleban, while the number of children in school has risen from a mere two million to more than eight million. But rights groups have raised concerns that such deals could deter girls from going to school. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has dismissed rumours of a rift with the country’s powerful army over a secret memo that sought US intervention to prevent a feared military coup. Tensions between the army and government appeared to have soared in recent days as intelligence chiefs demanded an inquiry into the scandal that threatens to implicate President Asif Ali Zardari, who is abroad following an illness. The demand came after the political opposition asked the Supreme Court to find out who was behind the memo that sought US help to prevent a coup and curb the power of the military after Osama bin Laden was killed in May. But Gilani in a late Friday meeting at his residence with army chief Ashfaq Kayani “strongly rejected the notion”, his office said in a statement. Gilani “reiterated that the Government of Pakistan and its institutions remained committed to their constitutional roles and obligations to a democratic and prosperous future for Pakistan,” it said. “The Prime Minister and army chief underscored the significance of national unity to address the challenges faced by the nation.” In separate responses submitted to the court late Thursday, the attorney general said the petition should be dropped, but Kayani said the memo impacted “national security”. “Therefore, there may be a need to fully examine the facts and circumstances leading to the conception and issuance of the memo,” the army chief said in his response, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. The move is significant in a country where the military has

KARACHI: Pakistani activists of The Voice Foundation Welfare Trust hold up lamps in tribute to Pakistani soldiers who were killed in cross-border NATO air strikes, during a protest in Karachi yesterday. US officials say they are investigating the air strikes but have suggested that Pakistan gave the go-ahead for the air strikes after NATO forwarded coordinates of the targets. — AFP staged four coups and remains the chief power broker. It may also increase uncertainty over how long Zardari remains in office. The existence of the document came to light when AmericanPakistani businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote in the Financial Times that Zardari feared the military might overthrow his government. Ijaz accused Husain Haqqani, the president’s close aide and ambassador to Washington, of crafting the memo with Zardari’s

support. Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif then filed a petition in the Supreme Court on December 1, demanding to know who was responsible for the document delivered to then US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, on May 10. Former US general James Jones in a statement filed to the Supreme Court Saturday said he did not believe the memo he passed on to Mullen was authored by Haqqani. “It was my assumption that the memo was written by Mr. Ijaz, since

the memo essentially put into writing the language he had used in our telephone conversation earlier,” Jones said in the statement filed at the request of Haqqani’s lawyer. “I do not recall whether Mr. Ijaz claimed that Ambassador Haqqani had anything to do with the creation of the memo. I have no reason to believe that Ambassador Haqqani had any role in the creation of the memo, nor that he had any prior knowledge of the memo.” —AFP

Gunmen attack chopper near Indonesia Freeport mine TIMIKA: Gunmen attacked a helicopter carrying 29 workers and family members from Freeport-McMoRan’s trouble-plagued gold and copper mine in eastern Indonesian yesterday, wounding one person, officials said. The attack came as thousands of unionized employees were preparing to return to the Grasberg mine in the mountains of Papua province following a three-month strike that has crippled production at the sprawling operation. Though the 8,000 striking workers were supposed to be back on the job Saturday after management agreed to a 37 percent pay hike, union spokesman Juli Parorrongan said plans were pushed back so the two sides could iron out last minute details. It was not immediately clear who was behind Saturday’s attack or what the motive may have been. Those on the Hevilift chopper did not appear to be tied to the work stoppage. Unidentified gunmen opened fire minutes after liftoff from the mining town of Tembagapura, said police spokesman Col. Wachjono. With only slight damage to the body of the aircraft, the Russian pilots were able to continue on to Timika, where they landed safely. Mary Jane Mather, the Filipino wife of one of the employees, was being treated for shrapnel wounds, another police officer said. The Phoenix-based Freeport - which had hoped the end of the three-month strike would spell the end of trouble at its Grasberg mine - said a full investigation would be carried out into the attack. Parorrongan, the union representative, meanwhile, said he hoped the striking workers would be back to their jobs “soon,” possibly by the middle of next week. The two sides still were hammering out the finer points, such as how to mobilize those who live far from the mining town and a guarantee that those who took part in the strike

would not face any sanctions, he said. Tensions between the two sides soared after workers walked off their jobs on Sept. 15 the second strike in a matter of months - several times erupting in violence. At least nine people were killed, including several strikers shot by security forces. A pipeline carrying ore concentrate to the port was damaged in an apparent act of sabotage. Strikers also blockaded roads leading to the mining town, making it difficult for Freeport to get food, medicine and other supplies to holed up contractors, non-striking workers and their families. Indonesia has had a long, complicated relationship with Freeport - a powerful play-

er in the world markets for gold, copper and molybdenum - and Papua, home to a decades-long low-level guerrilla war that has left more than 100,000 people dead, many at the hands of security forces. The company’s admission several years ago that it was paying military and police to handle security operations at Grasberg, located high in the jungle-clad mountains, has been a source of ongoing controversy. Locals also complain that, despite the mine’s massive profits, they have seen little benefit, earning as little as $2 an hour. They point also to environmental damage caused by mine waste products pumped into the Aghawagon River and its tributaries. — AP

KATHMANDU: Members of Nepal Tarun Dal, the youth wing of Nepali Congress, shout slogans near burning tires during a protest in Kathmandu, Nepal, yesterday. Tarun Dal members protested in several areas following the death of their leader Shiva Poudel who died Friday night while receiving treatment after he was critically injured in an attack in Bharatpur jail two weeks back, according to news reports. — AP



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Embattled Australian PM says she’s staying SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said yesterday her government would serve a full three-year term as speculation mounted that Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is preparing a leadership challenge. Gillard came to power in mid-2010 after ousting Rudd, who was then prime minister, in a sudden and brutal Labor Party coup. But she has never been as popular with voters as Rudd, who still enjoys wide support, and leads a fragile coalition government backed by several independ-

ents. Gillard said she intended to remain in charge, despite opinion polls suggesting she would lose an election. “As we move towards the end of 2011 and start looking to 2012, I think we’ve got to remember that the predictions this time last year were the government wouldn’t last,” she said in an inter view with the Sydney Morning Herald. “I’ve never had the slightest doubt that this government would go to the next election at the normal cycle in the second half of

2013. “I’d hope that as we leave 2011, more people will share my view than perhaps used to.” The leadership question was raised again during the week when Gillard reshuffled her cabinet, promoting two MPs who were instrumental in installing her at The Lodge. However, the Herald said that at least five of her 30 ministers suppor t Rudd and when Resources Minister Martin Ferguson was asked whether he preferred Rudd to Gillard on Thursday, he replied his loyalty was to the Labor Party.

Ferguson issued a statement the following day saying Gillard had his support and was “doing a remarkable job”. But one minister demoted from cabinet in the shake-up, Kim Carr, has spoken publicly about his disappointment, saying Gillard had not criticised his performance when she removed him. “I’m obviously at a loss to understand some of these matters,” Carr said. As Gillard prepares to take a two-week break for Christmas, she said her priorities for 2012 would include keeping a close eye on the

economy amid the continued fall-out from the eurozone crisis. She said if conditions in Europe deteriorated further, interest rate cuts could be used to provide stimulus. “If circumstances worsen, there is plenty of room for our nation on the monetary policy side, the interest rate side,” she said. “Now, that is in the hands of the (independent) Reserve Bank, but that does give our nation opportunities to deal with impacts on global growth if they are more profound than we can see now.” —AFP

China villagers in revolt demand dead man’s body Seething anger led to stand-off

YANGMEI: Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (R) chants slogans during an election campaign in Yangmei, northern Taoyuan county yesterday. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday rejected allegations that he was behind a corruption probe implicating his main political rival in a bid to manipulate next year’s presidential polls.— AFP

N Zealand plane in dash to stricken Russian boat WELLINGTON: A New Zealand Air Force plane made a mercy flight to the Antarctic yesterday to drop equipment and fuel to a stricken Russian fishing boat taking on water in the freezing Southern Ocean. An icebreaker was also preparing to set sail for the Antarctic to join the rescue mission, but a New Zealand fishing boat was pulled out of the operation because of the dangerous ice conditions. The Russian-flagged Sparta, with a crew of 32, sent out a distress call early Friday after it was holed 1.5 metres below the water line and started to list near the Antarctic ice shelf. The crew have since been able to remove water from the hold to stabilise the vessel but need an additional pump. They will not be rescued for several days, as ships are being severely hampered by heavy sea ice as they make their way towards the Sparta which is about 2,000 nautical miles (3,704 kilometres) southeast of New Zealand. The boat was in “a safer position” than it was on Friday and the crew who had left the vessel as a precautionary measure were back on board, New Zealand rescue co-ordinator Chris Wilson said. “With Sparta now more stable, the vessel is the safest place for them,” Wilson said, adding the crew were preparing patches to place over the hole in the hull if they can lighten the vessel

enough to correct the list. The Air Force Hercules was able to drop a pump, pipes and fuel to the Sparta after an eight-hour flight from New Zealand. “The second pump will provide greater capacity to the crew and will also provide back up in the event one of Sparta’s pumps fail. Pumps aren’t designed to work 24/7, so it is important they have that security,” Wilson said. Two rescue vessels-the Russianflagged Chiyo Maru No 3 and the Norwegian vessel Sel Jevaer-were all still some days away from the Sparta and faced tricky journeys through thick ice. But another vessel, the New Zealand fishing boat San Aspiring, was pulled out of the rescue operation yesterday after the trip was deemed too long and potentially dangerous, a New Zealand rescue official said. She said the owners of the Sparta had independently arranged for the South Korean icebreaker Araon, currently at the New Zealand port of Lyttelton, to join the rescue. The Araon would take eight days to reach the stricken vessel. “We may be a little short on time, but the Araon will be able to play a vital role in the rescue mission by paving a way for rescue ships,” Araon captain Kim Hyeon-Yool told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The weather in the area is calm and about three degrees Celsius (37 Fahrenheit).— AFP

S Korea warns Japan over wartime sex slaves KYOTO: South Korea President Lee Myung-Bak urged Tokyo yesterday to compensate Korean wartime sex slaves, warning the issue would otherwise remain a “burden” forever, after he arrived in Japan for a summit. Lee arrived at a government guesthouse in the the ancient city of Kyoto after flying into Osaka International Airport for a two-day visit. The summit, meant to discuss trade, North Korea and other bilateral issues, is overshadowed by the issue of “comfort women”, a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery before and during World War II. “Unless we resolve this issue, Japan will have the burden of being unable to resolve (the) outstanding issue... forever,” S outh Korea’s Yonhap news agenc y quoted Lee as saying. He warned that time was running out and the matter should be considered urgently. “Now there are not many left. This year alone, 16 of them passed away. In the not-distant future, all of them will pass away,” he said, referring to the women. “Resolving this issue while they are alive will be of big help for the two countries to move forward toward the future.” Lee is expected to discuss the issue with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko

Noda on Sunday, as the two leaders hold formal talks. “The (South Korean) government has been raising the issue of comfort women with Japan through various diplomatic channels,” a senior South Korean foreign ministry official noted earlier this week. “There is no reason for us not to raise it at the upcoming summit. We are going to discuss various issues, including the issue of comfort women,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Elderly South Korean women forced into Japan’s wartime military brothels held their 1,000th weekly protest in Seoul Wednesday, demanding an apology and compensation. Demonstrators set up a statue of a teenage Korean girl in traditional costume to represent sex slaves outside the Japanese embassy despite protests from Tokyo. The issue of comfort women came to widespread notice in the early 1990s after some victims found the courage to go public. Japan has apologised for the military’s crimes against the women but rejected rejected South Korea’s proposal of bilateral talks about the women’s demands. Tokyo, which ruled Korea from 1910-45, says all claims for colonial-era suffering were settled in a 1965 compensation agreement with Seoul. — AFP

BEIJING: Thousands of residents of a southern Chinese village staging a rare revolt are calling on authorities to return the body of a local representative whose death in police custody helped sparked the rebellion. The villagers, who have driven local authorities from the area, gathered at a square outside a local temple yesterday to shout slogans calling for the return of farmland they say has been sold to developers without their consent and to urge the central government to intervene, said resident Qin Zhuan, a woman contacted by phone. “We have been wronged,” the villagers chanted, according to Qin. “Long live the central government! Strike down corrupt officials.” The villagers will also hold a march in the village to demand that police return the body of Xue Jinbo, a village representative who died in police custody last Sunday, she said. Police have set up checkpoints around Wukan, a village of 20,000 that has for months been the site of simmering protests, and have blocked transportation of food in a bid to choke off the weeklong revolt. Since last weekend, villagers have kept police out with barricades made of tree trunks. Young men are guarding the barricades and patrolling the village roads, sometimes armed with wooden clubs, said Huang Jinqi, another resident reached by phone. Food is smuggled in by other routes, he added. “Some people from neighboring villages have been bringing us vegetables and rice using the small roads so we are currently all right, there’s no need to worry about food,” Huang said. Calls to police in Shanwei, the city that oversees Wukan village, rang unanswered. Protests against official misconduct are increasingly common in fast-developing China, but Wukan residents have taken things a step further, erecting barricades a week ago to keep police out and posing a challenge to the authoritarian government. On a near-daily basis, thousands of villagers gather for rallies, shouting slogans for the return of their land and pumping their fists in the air. But signs of a split in the community have emerged in the last couple of days. Protesters estimate that dozens of villagers have joined government supporters who were offering food in exchange for their support. The villagers of Wukan in southern China say officials have been stealing their land for decades. So when a major deal involving yet more land was announced in September, their anger boiled over. The villagers marched to a nearby police post and violent clashes ensued. Since then, Wukan has driven out local Communist leaders who residents say have ruled the village as despots. Local party secretary Xue Chang, who villagers say ran the fishing and farming village as a private fiefdom for over 40 years, fled following the September protests along with other Communist officials. For more than a week now, Wukan’s 13,000 residents have been living in open revolt

against officialdom, blockaded by large numbers of riot police who stand outside the village perimeter. Following a gathering yesterday, about 6,000 villagers, including children, marched nearly up to police blockades before circling back into the village, carrying banners and shouting slogans denouncing government corruption. The September riots followed the announcement of a lucrative housing project on more Wukan farmland. Villagers tried to block workers from the construction site, and the following day truck-loads of police

They said more than half their traditional farmlands were requisitioned for Xue’s projects-which included flooding some 46 hectares of rice paddy with salt water in a failed attempt to build a crab and shrimp farm. “Xue Chang is a dictator who has ruled with an iron fist. He has good connections with the higher-ups,” said a villager surnamed Chen.”He has instilled fear in everyone. If you even showed dissatisfaction in front of him, he would send thugs to beat you up. That was how he was able to rule for 42 years.” Local government officials refused to discuss Xue’s

GUANGDONG: Residents attend a rally in Wukan, a fishing village in the southern province of Guangdong yesterday. Thousands of residents of a village in southern China that has become a symbol of public fury over official corruption turned out December 16 to mourn a community leader who died in police custody. — AFP arrived. Dramatic footage seen by AFP shows police kicking and beating villagers, who fought back, driving them away. The current stand-off was triggered when Xue Jinbo, who was elected as a community leader after the Party figures were driven out, was arrested along with four other villagers. “We have raised the land issue for years, we have petitioned the governments in Lufeng and in (provincial capital) Guangzhou many times. They only ignore us,” said a villager surnamed Zhang, 44, who told AFP his family’s plot of farmland was taken from him in 1995. “When they sold my land, I didn’t get any compensation, they didn’t even tell me they sold it. When I raised the issue, they told me my property deed was invalid,” he said, holding up the 1953 document his grandfather handed down to him. Xue Chang, who is believed to be in his early seventies, ran a property development company with fellow leaders, which villagers said colluded with other real estate firms to benefit from requisitioned land.

situation when contacted by AFP yesterday, but earlier said “a few” officials were under investigation. Last Sunday, events took an ugly turn when Xue Jinbo-who villagers said was not related to Xue Chang-died in police custody. Authorities say the 42-year-old man suffered a heart attack, while family members who saw the body said they believed he had been beaten to death. As cordons of police and riot squads blocked the main roads in and out of Wukan this week, villagers appealed to the national government to come to their aid, saying this was their only hope. “Premier Wen Jiabao is the only one who can solve this problem, everyone hopes he will come and resolve this,” an unemployed women surnamed Lu, who said her farmland had been seized, told AFP. “The local government is no good, they are liars and thieves. When Chairman Mao was around we were all poor but at least we could depend on our land. Now we have no land.” — Agencies

Thai PM to meet Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

LUMBINI: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, left, presents a blanket to a resident at a Thai monastery in Lumbini, the area where Buddha was born, Nepal, yesterday. The former Thai leader was overthrown in a 2006 military coup and lives in self-imposed exile after being convicted of corruption-related charges. Police official Dharmaraj Bhandari says Thaksin arrived in Nepal on Friday on a chartered aircraft from Myanmar and immediately flew to Lumbini for his pilgrimage. — AP

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday that she would meet Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on a visit to the neighbouring country next week. Yingluck will travel to Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw tonmorrow for a meeting of Greater Mekong country leaders before visiting Yangon-becoming the first Thai premier to meet Suu Kyi, a government spokesman said. “I will attend the conference on Mekong energy cooperation in Myanmar and will take this opportunity to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi to exchange views and ideas,” Yingluck said in her weekly live television broadcast. “She is a remarkable woman who fights for democracy,” she added. Thai foreign affairs spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said it would be the first meeting between Suu Kyi and a prime minister of Thailand, which a key local partner of the military-dominated country. Detained for most of the past two decades, Suu Kyi was released from her latest stint under house arrest a few days after a controversial election in November last year, which her opposition party boycotted. But since coming to power in March after nearly five decades of outright military rule, Myanmar’s nominally civilian government has surprised critics with a series of reformist moves. It has also this month given Suu Kyi’s party the go-ahead to rejoin mainstream politics and allowed her various high-profile meetings, including with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and China’s ambassador to Myanmar. Suu Kyi has said she will take part in by-elections expected in early 2012, although no date has been set. Yingluck took office in August after sweeping to a Thai election victory with the support of her older brother, fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006. — AFP



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TATA, Hungary: Wild geese fly over Tata Old Lake yesterday. Wild geese annually return to spend the winter on the lake surrounding the city, and in late February, early March begin their flight north toward their breeding grounds. — AFP

440 dead in Philippines storm Continued from Page 1 Philippines annually, with most hitting Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Southeast Asian archipelago. “We expect huge damage, especially on agriculture,” Ramos said. Marlyn Manos, an Iligan resident, recounted how she and her children watched in terror from their rooftop as the floodwaters swallowed up the neighbourhood. “All the small houses behind ours were destroyed, and many of my neighbours are missing,” she said. Iligan tourism officer Pat Noel told AFP waters began rising shortly before midnight (1600 GMT Friday) as people slept, sweeping houses made of light materials and their inhabitants along the riverbanks. “Many of them told me they sought refuge on their rooftops,” he said after joining the first wave of rescuers at daybreak. Two of the three rivers that flow into the port of Iligan had overflowed, he added, and a popular radio commentator Enie Alsonado, who was swept away while trying to save his neighbors, was among those killed. Other affected areas on Mindanao included Bukidnon province, where 47 people died, while nine others people were killed elsewhere on the island, Pang of the Red Cross said. Twenty-five people meanwhile drowned on the island of Negros, the provincial civil defence office told AFP. “What happened was beyond the expectation of the public,” said the civil defence official, Minda Morante. Pang said 162 people were still missing in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, while a Negros

official said 19 people were missing there. Ayi Hernandez, a former congressman, said he and his family were resting in their home late Friday when they heard a loud “swooshing sound” and water quickly rose ankle deep inside his home. He decided to evacuate to a neighbor’s two-story house. “It was a good thing because in less than an hour the water rose to about 11 feet (3.3 m),” the height of the ceiling of his house, he said. A man in Cagayan de Oro said he heard a cry for help around 10 pm while the floodwaters were still low. “Suddenly, there was a very strong rush of water,” the man, who was not identified, told a local TV station. The floodwaters were waist-high in some neighborhoods that do not usually experience flooding. Scores of residents escaped the floods by climbing onto the roofs of their homes, Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz said. “We ran for our lives when we heard a loud whistle blow and was followed by a big bang,” Michael Mabaylan, 38, a carpenter, told Reuters. He said his wife and five children were all safe. Aid worker Crislyn Felisilda cited concern about children who had became separated from their families or lost their parents. “Many children are looking for their loved ones... (and children were) crying and staring into space.” Rosal Agacac, a 40-year-old mother, was begging authorities to help find her two children after their shanty was swept to the sea. “Please President Noynoy, help me,” she cried, holding a candle at a spot where their house stood before the floods, referring to Aquino. — Agencies

Fresh clashes rock Cairo after 10 killed Continued from Page 1 ruling military council expressed its “regret for the events that took place (on Saturday)”, in a statement published by the official MENA news agency. It added it was implementing the advisory council’s recommendations to stop the clashes by building a wall, and it would compensate the families of the dead and treat the wounded. The ruling military council had earlier said it had come under attack at dawn and its soldiers were shot at, causing injuries, forcing the military “to stop those outlaws”, in a statement published by MENA. Friday’s fighting, which raged from dawn well into the night, was the bloodiest since five days of protests in November killed more than 40 people just ahead of the first round of the phased parliamentary election. Health Minister Fuad Al-Nawawi said nine people were killed in the latest violence and 361 wounded, MENA reported yesterday. One of the dead was Emad Effat, a senior cleric in the governmentrun Dar al-Ifta, the official interpreter of Islamic law, the institution said in a statement published by MENA. Dar al-Ifta “considers him a martyr, with God the exalted,” it said. Footage posted on YouTube showed the bloodied cleric lying on the street before protesters carried him away. “The people demand the execution of the field marshal,” the demonstrators chanted in reference to Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took over following Mubarak’s ouster. Tantawi, in a gesture apparently aimed at mollifying the protesters, ordered the treatment of all civilians wounded at military hospitals, which are usually better equipped than civilian counterparts, state television reported. Pictures of a military policeman grabbing a woman by her hair and of another looming over a sobbing elderly lady with his truncheon quickly circulated on social networking site Twitter, enraging activists. But in a news conference yesterday, Ganzuri accused the protesters of being counter-revolutionaries and denied that security forces had opened fire. “Those who are in Tahrir Square are not the youth of the revolution,” Ganzuri said. “This is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution,” added the man who first served as premier under Mubarak from 1996 to 1999. He said 18 people had been wounded by gunfire on Friday and, without elaborating, blamed “infiltrators” who he said “do not want the best for Egypt”. Tahrir Square and streets leading to the nearby parliament and Cabinet headquarters looked like war zones. Flames leapt furiously from the windows of the state geographical society, which protesters pelted with firebombs after military police on the roof rained stones and firebombs down on them. Stones, dirt and shattered glass littered the streets around

parliament. Protesters grabbed helmets, sheets of metal and even satellite dishes to protect themselves from the hail of stones from troops above. In the afternoon, troops charged into Tahrir, swinging truncheons and long sticks, chasing out protesters and setting fire to their tents. Footage broadcast on the private Egyptian CBC television network showed soldiers beating two protesters with sticks, repeatedly stomping on the head of one, before leaving the motionless bodies on the pavement. The troops swept into buildings from which television crews were filming from and confiscated their equipment and briefly detained journalists. In one case, plainclothes officers charged up the stairs of a hotel from which Al-Jazeera TV was filming the turmoil below and demanded a female hotel worker tell them where the media crew was or else they would beat her up, a member of the Al-Jazeera crew said. “The woman was screaming and saying I don’t know,” the crew member said speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. The soldiers threw the Al-Jazeera crew’s equipment from the balcony, including cameras, batteries and lighting equipment to the streets, landing on a sweet potato cart whose stove started a fire. Troops also stormed a field hospital set up protesters next to a mosque in Tahrir, throwing medicine and equipment into the street, protester Islam Mohammed said. A journalist who was briefly detained by the military forces told AP that he was beaten up with sticks and fists while being led to inside a parliament building, next to Cabinet headquarters. “They were cursing me saying ‘you media are traitors, you tarnish our image and you are biased.” He also saw a group of men and one young woman being beaten: Each was surrounded by six or seven soldiers in uniform and plainclothes beating him or her with sticks or steel bars or giving electrical shocks with prods. “Blood covered the floor, and an officer was telling the soldiers to wipe the blood,” said the journalist, who asked not to be identified for security concerns. Mona Seif, an activist who was briefly detained during violence Friday, said she saw an officer repeatedly slapping a detained old woman in the face, telling her to apologize for joining the protests. “It was a humiliating scene,” Seif told the private TV network Al-Tahrir. “I have never seen this in my life. “This is happening because Tantawi is dirty and he is ruling the country the same way Hosni ruled it,” said a taxi driver. But other Egyptians, desperate for order, voiced frustration about the unrest that has battered the economy. “We can’t work, we can’t live, and because of what? Because of some thugs who have taken control of the square and destroyed our lives. Those are no revolutionaries,” said Mohamed Abdel Halim, a 21-year-old who runs a store near Tahrir. — Agencies

Arabs threaten to take Syria to UN Continued from Page 1 League goes to the Security Council to present the Arab initiative,” Sheikh Hamad said. He said the move is aimed to “adopt the Arab decisions, instead of that of other countries.” Sheikh Hamad, who is also Qatar’s foreign minister, said: “There is no hope to find an exit from this crisis. We have used all possible means, (but) it is clear that there is procrastination.” He warned that the Arab League would take Syria to the UN Security Council if it persisted in refusing to allow observers into the country to monitor the protection of civilians. The 22-member Arab bloc has been trying to persuade Damascus to receive observers to monitor the situation as part of a plan to end the bloodshed. On Nov 27, the Arab bloc approved a raft of sanctions against Syria for failing to heed an ultimatum to admit observers. Earlier this month Syria finally said it would allow the mission, but laid down a number of conditions, namely the lifting of sanctions. Meanwhile, Iraq’s National Security Adviser Falah Al-Fayadh was heading to League headquarters in Cairo after meeting President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus. “I am on my way to Cairo for a meeting with the Arab League after holding positive talks with President Assad,” Fayadh told AFP after discussing an Iraqi initiative. He arrived in Damascus two days after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said he would submit an initiative aimed at ending the bloodshed. The initiative is aimed at opening a dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government to reach a result that satisfies both sides, Maliki told AFP on Thursday. S om e 200 m e m b e r s of t he op p os i t i on Syr i a n National Council were meeting for the second consecutive day in Tunis for talks behind closed doors aimed at honing a strategy to topple Assad’s regime. Meanwhile, Western nations said Russia’s surprise draft UN resolution should contain stronger con-

demnation of rights violations by the Assad government and stronger support for Arab League action. The proposed resolution strongly condemns violence by “all parties, including disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities”. It also raises concern over “the illegal supply of weapons to the armed groups in Syria,” according to a copy obtained by AFP. Russia said it would not be calling for negotiations in the UN Security Council before tomorow. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in a government crackdown on pro-democracy protests which first erupted in the Middle East’s most autocratic country in mid-March. Another 16 civilians were killed during military operations on Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. In the northwest Idlib province two children died in Kafr Sajnah, and a civilian man and a mutineer were k illed when more than 150 armoured vehicles entered the Jabal Al-Zawiyah district as troops and deserters clashed. Another six civilians were killed in the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising, during clashes between regular forces and deserters. And in the protest hub of Homs in central Syria, five civilians were killed by the security forces and snipers in Qusayr near the border with Lebanon, while a sixth civilian was killed nearby, the Observatory said. On Friday, at least 19 civilians were killed in protests across Syria amid mass rallies to criticise the League’s failure to take tougher action. “The Arab League is killing us - enough deadlines,” was the protesters’ slogan. The Observatory said more than 200,000 people protested in the besieged city of Homs alone. cross the border in Lebanon a farmer was killed on Friday when a landmine exploded as he drove his truck across an illegal border crossing. Syrian security forces have laced the region with landmines in an attempt to stem the flow of weapons across the frontier and prevent refugees and defectors from fleeing. — AFP

SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia: Newly elected Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki places flowers yesterday at the tombstone of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old who set himself alight after a police officer confiscated the fruit and vegetables he sold to support his family, during the celebration of the first anniversary of the revolution in central Tunisia yesterday. It was in this hardscrabble town in Tunisia’s arid interior that the death knell sounded exactly one year ago for the decades-old system of dictatorships in the Arab world. —AP





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‘Arab Spring’ effect By Dr James J Zogby ine months into the “Arab Spring”, we surveyed public opinion in seven Arab countries and Iran, asking over 6,000 respondents about their primary political concerns and their degree of satisfaction with the pace of change taking place in their countries. What we found was that an “Arab Spring” effect had occurred, with reform and rights issues now being perceived as political priorities in most countries. The polls were conducted by Zogby Research Services and jzanalytics in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Iran. They had a margin of error of between ±3.1percent (in Egypt) to ±4.5percent (in Lebanon). The results varied from country to country, providing an important look into the unique set of concerns confronting each. We have conducted similar surveys every other year since 2001, and the differences that could be discerned between the 2011 poll and those that preceded it were noteworthy. In 2009, for example, in most countries the “bread and butter” issues of: “expanding employment opportunities,” “improving the health care system,” and “improving the educational system,” ranked among the top four concerns of most respondents. Their rank order would vary from country to country, but these were the basic priorities of a majority of Arabs. Also in the mix of top concerns would be issues of particular concern to the country in question. “Ending corruption and nepotism,” for example, was a major issue in Egypt; while in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE “resolving the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict” scored high. More political concerns, involving personal rights, reform, and democracy, almost never made it into the top tier of priority concerns. What is striking, however, in this most recent poll was the “Arab Spring” effect that is at work across the Middle East and North Africa. “Expanding employment” is still the number one concern in every Arab country, with the exception of the UAE. But there are now other issues that are looming large across the political landscape. “Ending corruption and nepotism” is now a major concern in four of the seven Arab countries. And in most countries, issues like “political reform,” “advancing democracy,” and “protecting personal and civil rights” have broken into the top tier of concerns in almost every country. It may be interesting to note that the one country where virtually no change occurred was in Egypt, where the top four issues of 2009 (employment, education, health care and corruption) remain the top four concerns of 2011, albeit in a slightly different order. It appears that the Egyptian revolt had less to do with politics and more to do with people’s basic needs. Most Egyptians want a non-corrupt government that could provide for the basic needs of life (a job, health care and education). It is in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and UAE, that the political issues of “reform” and “rights” broke through. Meanwhile, it is important to note that the results in Iran show us a political “basket case”. With the exception of employment, which is the number one issue in that country, the rest of the top tier priority concerns are all democracy-related concerns. It is also worth noting that the only countries where advancing women’s rights are a prominent concern are in Tunisia and the UAE. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a top concern in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. And while combating terrorism and extremism is a significant concern in five of the seven Arab countries, it is dead last in Iran. How do Arabs and Iranians judge the performance of their governments? Not surprisingly, the highest satisfaction rates come in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This has historically been the case, and despite the new sets of issues being raised it appears that nothing has diminished the sense in both of these Gulf countries that things are on the “right track.” More worrisome are the low satisfaction levels in Lebanon and Iraq, and Iran, where significant majorities are dissatisfied with the pace of change and see their countries on the “wrong track”. While the fundamentals remain the same - people will want jobs, the ability to raise and provide for their families, be educated and have the chance to advance, and receive health care when they need it there can be no doubt that the “Arab Spring” has introduced a new vocabulary and new concerns into the Arab political discourse. How governments respond to these new concerns in the years to come will be important to watch.


NOTE: Dr James J Zogby is the President of the Arab American Institute

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.

Turkey, allies want Assad out, but not yet By Samia Nakhoul urkey, with strong backing from its Arab and Western allies, very much wants Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down - but not just yet. Under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his post-Islamist ruling party Turkey has become the main organising hub for Syria’s opposition - the 260-member liberal Syrian National Council, and the Free Syrian Army, comprising mainly Sunni army defectors. But across the region and in Western capitals there are fears that Assad’s opponents are not ready to take power, and that Syria’s ethnic and sectarian mosaic could disintegrate and plunge the country of 22 million into chaos unless a way is found to smooth the transition. “The key priority is for the opposition inside and outside (Syria) to come together, become a more credible option and include all sects and get their coordination right. Turkey is working on that,” a senior Western diplomat in Ankara told Reuters. “What worries them is that if Assad went today there will be more chaos, more destruction and they don’t know who will emerge and they want the opposition to be ready.” The main worry, Syria watchers say, is that what began nine months ago as a civic uprising is turning into a shooting war capable of spilling into a lethal sectarian conflict especially as the predominantly Alawite rulers are whipping up the fears of Syria’s minorities that they will be crushed by the country’s Sunni majority. This deadly cocktail could then be exported to Syria’s fragile multi-confessional neighbours, particularly Lebanon and Iraq where Damascus has fanned and exploited sectarian divisions in the past - and Turkey itself, where Ankara suspects Syria has already resumed support for Kurdish insurgents in the southeast. While Ankara has publicly warned Damascus against encouraging the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to step up


its attacks, and raised the stakes by joining Europe, the United States and the Arab League in sanctions against the Assad government, most obser vers believe Turkey is extremely reluctant to take any military action. “I don’t expect any military action by the Turkish government unless there is an international consensus and a UN Security Council resolution or NATO operation” says Mustafa Akyol, author of “Islam without extremes: a Muslim case for Liberty”. “They will be more concerned about the Kurdish situation in Syria, because the PKK has a lot of Syrian Kurds in its ranks...and the government believes that Assad is supporting right now the PKK against Turkey”. Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat now head of the liberal EDAM think-tank in Istanbul, says Ankara is wary of any rerun of a decade ago, when Kurdish refugees from Saddam Hussein streamed over the Turkish border in the aftermath of the Gulf War, and might now move to create a safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria. “Turkey certainly doesn’t want a repeat of 1991, when 550,000 Kurds crossed the border in a matter of days and we were caught unprepared,” said Ulgen. “But Turkey would not do it (a safe haven) unilaterally. It still would need its partners and NATO support, but as things stand there is no reason why NATO would shy away from that”. The US, France, and Turkey are on the same wavelength, said Ulgen, but Turkey would still want a Security Council resolution, and regional as well as NATO support to go ahead. In a surprising move, Russia, Damascus’ longstanding ally, offered the Security Council on Thursday a new, stronger draft resolution on Syria, raising Western hopes of UN action following a sharp rise in sectarian killing. The Western diplomat, by contrast, thinks Turkey would be reluctant to create a humanitarian safe haven because this would commit Turkish troops in Syrian territory. “They will open their facilities and provide a humanitarian response but I don’t think they will intervene,

and nor do they want anybody else to intervene,” he said. “I don’t think Turkish troops want to cross into Syria.” Another Western diplomat in Ankara also doubts there will be military intervention, believing instead that sanctions, which are draining the resources of Assad and eroding his position, will be ratcheted up. “The most important thing is to be able to hit the regime and undermine its capacity, which will finally hit its security capability,” he said. “There is a progressive crumbling of the regime and the population is progressively losing its fear of it.” Senior foreign ministry officials say they fear Syria could become a new front line in the regional contest between Saudi Arabia and Syria’s last significant ally, Iran, or, put in sectarian terms, between Sunnis and Shiites of which the Alawites who form the backbone of the Assad establishment are an arcane offshoot. “The regional entanglement between Sunni and Shiite is our biggest worry, that Syria will become a regional war,” said one official. “Then you would have Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq getting involved ... and that is something the region cannot withstand. Depending on his economic situation we estimate he could last up to a year (but) now that the screws have been tightened, it could be shortened”, he added. Like other Turkish officials, he emphasised the need for an inclusive, non-sectarian opposition platform - which itself would help shorten the conflict. “They should have somebody from every part of Syria so that they are as representative as possible, to encompass all the groups in Syria, including the Alawites.” Another senior foreign ministry official added: “There are many oppositions and many factions whereas they have to be representative of all the sects of Syrian society. They have to work on it. I don’t see them there yet”. Nor does he see as viable another widely touted scenario: an internal coup or palace revolution against the Assad clan. “I don’t see a coup possibility even by Alawites. - Reuters

Iran’s fortunes in post-US Iraq clouded By Robert H Reid he US military’s departure from Iraq opens the door to expanded Iranian influence in the Middle East, though that door could close fast if Iran’s closest Arab ally Bashar Assad falls from power in Syria. That’s among the uncertainties looming over the Middle East in the wake of President Barack Obama’s decision to remove all US troops by the end of this month, fulfilling a campaign promise to end the unpopular war and abandoning efforts to negotiate an extension of the year-end deadline agreed to by the Bush administration in 2008. At first glance, that would make Iran the big winner, especially if the US move heralds a tectonic shift of power in the strategic Arabian Gulf region as the United States shifts its military focus to East Asia and the Pacific. But the tumult from the Arab Spring, on top of the end of the nearly nine-year Iraq War, has made the rivalry between Iran and the US’ Arab allies even trickier and predictions more cloudy. No longer will tens of thousands of American troops be stationed along Iran’s western border. They are leaving behind an Iraqi government dominated by Shiite Muslim parties beholden to the Iranians, who sheltered them for years when Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated Baath regime were in power. With the American military presence reduced to a few hundred members of an embassybased liaison mission, Iran is likely to step up infiltration of Iraq’s intelligence services - the key to manipulating Iraq’s internal politics - and expand its links to both Shiite and Kurdish politicians, to the alarm of the country’s Sunni minority. As the second most populous country in the Gulf, with some of the world’s largest proven petroleum reserves, an avowedly pro-Iranian Iraq would be a game changer in the power struggle between Iran and the US-backed, conservative Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia. Iran already wielded considerable influence in Iraq even when US troop strength approached 170,000. The US-led invasion of 2003 produced a strange alliance between the Americans and reli-


giously based Shiite parties tied simultaneously to both Washington and Tehran. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite who had been cool toward Iran, has moved closer to the pro-Iranian groups since a political crisis in 2010 nearly cost him his job. With the American militar y gone, Tehran’s prospects for bolstering those ties in Iraq look bright. At closer examination, however, the future appears less certain. Much will depend on how the key players including the United States - maneuver diplomatically through the new environ-

must also restructure a mix of forwarddeployed U.S. forces and ties to regional powers that can contain every aspect of Iran’s military forces and political ambitions.” Iran’s ability to manipulate a postAmerica Iraq is by no means unlimited, in part due to a flowering of Iraqi nationalism which survived the horrific bloodshed of the Sunni-Shiite sectarian war. Many ordinary Iraqi Shiites harbor bitter memories of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, when young Shiite soldiers bore the brunt of the casualties. Among the Sunni minority, hostility to

US troops stand behind an Iraqi soldier during a handover ceremony at Imam Ali Base, known to the US military as Camp Adder, on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah, yesterday. Iraq took control of the last American military base in the country, a day after US forces marked the end of their mission, bringing a divisive war to a low-key conclusion. — AFP ment created by the end of the Iraq War. “The United States must succeed in limiting and countering Iranian influence in Iraq and in creating Iraqi forces that can defend the country,” wrote analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for International and Strategic Studies. “The United States

Iran runs even deeper, and much of the talk of Iranian domination stems from overblown comments by Sunni politicians seeking to discredit their Shiite political rivals. “The Iraqis have no desire to be a client state of their Persian neighbor,” said Doug Ollivant, senior fellow at the New

America Foundation and former director for Iraq on the National Security Council in both the Bush and Obama administrations. “This is a real threat ... but the threat is overstated.” An Iranian strategic victory in Iraq could also be checkmated by a regime change in Syria, where Assad is facing mounting resistance to his family’s autocratic 40-year rule. The fall of the Assad regime would be the biggest blow to Iranian foreign policy since the Iran-Iraq war and would render Tehran’s international isolation nearly complete. In strategic terms, Syria is an even bigger prize for Iran. Syria is Iran’s bridge into Lebanon, a nearclient state of Damascus where the militant Shiite movement Hezbollah has flourished for decades with Iranian support, channeled through Syria. Iran would also lose its conduit to the radical Palestinian group Hamas, which is headquartered in Damascus. With the stakes high and so much still shrouded in uncertainty, the major players in the region are scurrying to retool their political strategies. Fearing that Iraq will eventually fall into Tehran’s orbit, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners have focused on Syria in hopes of containing Iran’s influence. The key to that is to cut the links between Iran and Syria, and to accomplish that, the Gulf states have been at the forefront of moves by the Arab League to impose sanctions against Syria over the killing of protesters. At the same time, the Saudis are pushing their Gulf partners into bolstering support for Jordan, which also borders Iraq, Egypt and Morocco in hopes of maintaining a strong bloc of Sunni Arab states - some of whom have been shaken by the Arab Spring - in the face of a resurgent Iran. In the end, all these scenarios will be influenced by what happens in Iraq now that the American troops have gone. “Tehran will likely react to that power shift by trying to build more influence in Iraq,” wrote analyst Paul Salem of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “However, Iranian influence over tomorrow’s Baghdad is not a foregone conclusion. Iraqi and Arab nationalism run deep in Iraq, and Iran might find it as hard to dominate Iraq as the Americans did.” — AP



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sp orts Vonn sets the pace COURCHEVEL: Lindsey Vonn has some bad news for her rivals: she hasn’t reached her peak yet. Vonn has made her best start to a World Cup campaign, winning five of the six races she has competed in, and is well on the way to reclaiming the overall title she lost by just three points to Maria Hoefl-Riesch last season. Despite that, she’s still looking for how to do things better. “I’m getting stronger every year, more agile, my body seems to be holding up pretty well so far,” Vonn said yesterday in an interview with The Associated Press at the US team’s hotel in Courchevel. “I feel like there’s still a lot of

Argentina could return to F1 calendar

room for improvement. If you look at the guys and what they’re doing, and how old they are, it’s awesome.” Vonn’s crushing dominance in downhill is not surprising since she is the reigning Olympic champion, but the 27-yearold American has finally cracked giant slalom, winning a first World Cup race in the discipline, and is now looking to conquer slalom. “My GS is by far the best it’s ever been and I know I can continue to improve,” Vonn said. “(My) slalom definitely can still improve. I haven’t had a race yet this year, (but) I feel like my training has gone significantly better than in the last few seasons.”— AP

Thompson makes history in Dubai DUBAI: American teen Alexis Thompson was simply sensational on the back nine of yesterday’s final round as she won the Dubai Ladies Masters by four shots to become the youngest professional winner on the Ladies European Tour. At the par-72 Majlis Course of Emirates Golf Club, the 16-year-old made five birdies in her last 10 holes to close with a fiveunder par round of 67 and a tournament total of 15-under par 273. South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace, winner of the Ladies European Tour Money List last year, finished second at 11-under par 277. Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson parred every hole before making a birdie on the 18th hole to break out of a four-way tie at nine-under par and take sole third place at 10-under par 278. Thompson, who created history earlier this year by becoming the youngest ever player to win on the LPGA Tour, broke the record of South African Ashleigh Simon, who won the 2008 Catalonia Ladies Masters at the age of 18 years and 37 days. But she is still not the youngest winner on the Ladies European Tour - that honor belongs to South Korean Amy Yang, who won the ANZ Ladies Masters in New Zealand in 2006 aged 16 years and 192 days as an amateur. “This is really exciting and I am very happy,” said the Coral Springs-based star. “I was hoping to get to 15-under par for the tournament by the end of the day, and I managed to do exactly that.” Thompson started the day two ahead of Pace and one ahead of Gustafson, but despite making birdies on the second and third holes, she was soon caught up by Pace, who made a birdie and an eagle on those very holes. The overnight advantage was completely lost when the South African made another birdie on the sixth hole. The turning point came on the difficult par-4 ninth hole, when Thompson chipped in for a birdie, while Pace missed her birdie putt from 10 feet after a spectacular approach shot over water. Once ahead, Thompson never let go and further birdies on the 10th, 13th, 14th and 18th were enough to make a three-putt bogey on the 17th hole meaningless in the final context. “Even when Lee-Anne made those birdies and eagle, I was not too bothered because I was playing well myself. I knew I could make birdies coming in and stay in contention,” said Thompson, who is expected to get into the top-50 of the women’s world ranking after the win. “But I never thought it was over till I had the five-shot lead with four holes to play.” The tournament’s biggest drawcard, American world No17 Michelle Wie, closed with successive birdies but that was only good enough for an even-par 72 and a tied 12th place at five-under 283. — AFP

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina, which last hosted a Formula One Grand Prix in 1998, could be back on the calendar from 2014 when a new track near Buenos Aires is completed. Friday marked a ground-breaking ceremony of the 4.7 km Velociudad Speedcity circuit in Zarate, 100 km from the capital, which designers Populous said will be capable of returning F1 to the South American country. “The plan is for a circuit capable of delivering a Formula One event,” John Rhodes, Associate Principal of Populous, told Reuters. “The key is to offer a category one circuit,” he said when asked in a telephone interview what the prospects were of Argentina, homeland of the late, great Juan Manuel Fangio, staging a F1 race again. “Once the facility is there, then

Flame for inaugural Winter Olympics lit

it’s down to a promoter ... The issue is to have a high performance circuit capable of holding a MotoGP then add the necessary requirements for a Formula One race. “The main 4.7 km circuit will be good for F1 and endurance races like Le Mans, it’s a good, sensible length,” he said from Pilar, halfway between Buenos Aires and Zarate. The $100 million project will be completed in two phases and will include South America’s first driver trainer centre and academy. The first phase, a 3.1 km track, 4x4 offroad circuit and team garages, is scheduled to be completed in 14 months. The second phase will extend the track to its full length, making it eligible for a license from the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which governs motorsport.—Reuters

ATHENS: The Olympic flame for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics was successfully lit yesterday by the sun’s rays at the birthplace of the modern Olympics. It was a timely appearance by the sun on an otherwise overcast day at Athens’ Panathinaiko Stadium, which hosted the inaugural Summer Olympics in 1896. A flame from a rehearsal earlier this week was available in case the cloudy skies spoiled the ceremony. An actress dressed as an ancient priestess used a concave mirror to focus the sun’s rays on a torch, which she handed over to a young runner. “We ... celebrate an exciting new chapter in the history of the Olympic Movement. The inaugural edition of the Winter Youth

Schwartzel exerts pressure on Westwood BANGKOK: Charl Schwartzel staged a dramatic fightback yesterday at the Thailand Golf Championship in a bid to overhaul runaway leader Lee Westwood, cutting his

lead from 11 to just four shots in the third round. While Westwood struggled to maintain his imperious early form which had put him on 20-under overnight,

CHONBURI: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa watches his shot after teeing off from the second hole during the third round of the Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi province, southeastern Thailand yesterday. — AP

Argentina name Jaite as Davis Cup captain Jaite replaces Vazquez BUENOS AIRES: Martin Jaite, Argentina’s former world number 10 who coached compatriots David Nalbandian and Gaston Gaudio, was named as his country’s Davis Cup captain for the next two years on Friday. Jaite, who played in the Davis Cup and won 12 singles titles on the ATP circuit, replaces Modesto Vazquez, whose team lost the country’s fourth final against Spain earlier this month. “This is a dream I’ve had since I stopped playing tennis. I’m happy and feel very honored by this appointment,” the 47-yearold Jaite, who reached his highest ranking in July 1990, said in a statement from the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT). Former tour player Mariano Zabaleta will be Jaite’s assistant while Vazquez was confirmed in the other role he has held since 2008 as head of the AAT’s development department. “Martin is a highly qualified profession-

al, intimately linked to tennis with deep knowledge not only of the professional circuit but of Argentina’s juniors,” AAT president Arturo Grimaldi said. “For us, this is a key factor in this (captain’s) job thinking above all of the promotion of juniors in the Davis Cup in the long term.” Jaite, whose singles record in the Davis Cup was 14-17, has for the last 12 years been director of the Buenos Aires Open tournament, part of the Latin American claycourt circuit on the ATP tour. Zabaleta, 33, was a brilliant junior who went on to win three senior titles before he retired last year. Argentina’s Davis Cup finals include one in 1981 during the Guillermo Vilas era and three since 2006 but they have never won the trophy, most recently losing to Spain in Seville and at home in 2008. They also lost the 2006 final to Russia in Moscow. — Reuters

Masters champion Schwartzel showed grit and determination to force his way into contention with a six-under 66. Westwood had to battle hard for a one-over 73 at the Amata Spring Country Club course, and it could have been even worse for the English star. In a rare slip, Schwartzel bogeyed the 18th hole to give the world number three some much-needed breathing space, and the South African also missed some birdie opportunities. “It was one of those days,” said Westwood after seeing his big lead severely trimmed. “I hit a lot of good shots but couldn’t sink the putts. I got between yardages quite a few times.” The Englishman, who could replace Ror y McIlroy as world number two if he wins this event, accepted he was not going to be able to maintain his incredible form of the first two days. “After a 60 and 64 you have to be a bit realistic. I am still taking a four-shot lead into the final round, a situation I would have been happy with at the start of the tournament.” Schwartzel for his part was very happy with his progress. “I’m pleased with today. I didn’t expect to finish just four shots back when I started the round,” he said. Despite mak ing big inroads into Westwood’s lead, the South African said

country clinch the World Cup, FIFA banned him from soccer for life for allegedly paying bribes in his unsuccessful campaign against Sepp Blatter to become the organisation’s president. In interviews with The Associated Press, Qatari sports officials said the country has moved on from the World Cup controversy and is fully focused on the Olympics. “The World Cup file is closed,” said Sheik Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the secretary general of Qatar’s Olympic Committee. “We are thinking ahead and planning for the future, bidding for Olympic Games and maybe other events.” Over the past decade, Qatar has been targeting sports as a vehicle to showcase its global aspirations. Doha successfully hosted major sporting events such as the Asian Games in 2006 and annual tennis tournaments featuring many of the world’s topranked players. This year alone, the capital hosted Asia’s continental soccer tournament in January and the opening Diamond League track meet in May. Doha is vying for the 2020 Olympics with Baku, Azerbaijan; Istanbul,

DOHA: Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamadan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (2nd left) pours water on his horse during the Arab Games’ 120 kms endurance competition yesterday. — AFP

Turkey; Tokyo; Madrid and Rome. The candidate cities must submit their plans for the games to the International Olympic Committee by February. The IOC executive board will meet in May to decide whether to keep all candidates or reduce the list. The IOC will select the host city in September 2013. The meeting in May is key for Doha. The Gulf city was eliminated early from the campaign for the 2016 Olympics after the IOC board rejected Doha’s request to stage the games outside the preferred July-August time slot, saying it would conflict with the international sporting calendar. It was the soaring summer heat that quelled Qatar’s first Olympic campaign four years ago. Since then, the desert country where temperatures can reach 122 degrees in June and July won the right to host the 2022 World Cup based on a plan to cool the stadiums with innovative design and air-conditioning systems. Soccer officials such as UEFA President Michel Platini have since indicated they’d be happy to reschedule European league schedules to allow the World Cup in Qatar to be played in the winter. During several meetings with the IOC to see if the board would be able to accommodate Doha’s request to stage the games later in the year, Saoud said his city received a nod to hosting the Olympics between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20 if it submits the bid. “We’ve learnt from the previous bid,” said Saoud, who is a member Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family. “We wanted to show that we are a strong, reliable partner. We are in love with sports and we want to work together to bring the Olympics to Doha and share our passion with the region.” The message the 2020 officials are trying to get across is not much different from the one they used four years ago. In Doha, everybody from the conflict-prone region can get along and the city can show the world a Middle East different than they perceive it to be. However, bid officials said the similarities to the previous bid for the 2016 Games end there. “We are in a much stronger position than we were four years ago,” said Noora Al-Mannai, the CEO of the Doha 2020 bid.—AP

he knew he still had a lot to do to catch the Englishman. “I have to shoot a low score in the final round, but you have to expect Lee to shoot something like 68 or 69. But at least now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Four shots is not that much.” Schwartzel had shown his intentions right from the start when he birdied four of the first five holes. In all he sunk seven birdies and suffered just the one bogey. For the first time in the tournament, Westwood, who suffered his first bogey of the event at the second hole, was put under some pressure and it appeared to affect his game. Little k nown American Michael Thompson held third place after a steady 69, but is seven shots behind the leader. Dutch player Guido Van Der Valk was in fourth place after firing an impressive 66, one shot ahead of England’s Simon Dyson who shot a 68. A stroke further back was India’s Jyoti Randhawa, while American John Daly slipped to joint 11th with a slightly disappointing 72. Spain’s Sergio Garcia displayed improved form following a 70, but he is still well down the field, as is Open winner Darren Clarke who hit a 73. Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa had another poor day, shooting 77 for the second successive round. — AFP

Ogilvy grabs Masters lead MELBOURNE: Australian Geoff Ogilvy fired a course record eight-under 63 to supplant England’s Ian Poulter as the third round leader of the Australian Masters at Victoria Golf Club yesterday. Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, used his intimate knowledge of the course he played as a teenager to fire nine birdies and an eagle two at the opening hole, to lead Poulter by two shots. Ogilvy said he was “embarrassed and frustrated” on the opening day of the tournament when he bent his putter and had to use a wedge to putt the final two holes. But he showed the episode was behind him with some outstanding shots with a new mallet

Qatar eyes Olympics after WCup victory DOHA: A year after Qatar became the first Arab country to win the right to host the World Cup, the tiny but wealthy Arabian Gulf nation is immersed in efforts to make more history by bringing the Olympics to the Middle East in 2020. Flush with billions of dollars from oil and gas sales, Qatar hopes to build on its surprise victory in winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Stuck between powerful Mideast rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, Qatar also aims to capitalize on its role as a peacemaker after a year of enormous political upheaval in the region. It was a tough year for Qatar, a small Muslim nation that has gained influence in international diplomacy and sports over the past decade. The country has never qualified for the World Cup and was criticized for spending lavishly to defeat countries such as the United States and Australia for the 2022 bid. Skeptics were particularly harsh after the downfall of Qatar’s top soccer official and former Asian federation president, Mohammed bin Hammam. Just months after bin Hammam helped his

Olympic Games is an opportunity for over 1,000 young athletes to get their first taste of the Olympic experience while taking part in elite competition and an excellent ... culture and education program,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said at the ceremony. Innsbruck, Austria was chosen to host the first Winter Youth Olympics on Jan 13-22, 2012, in which 1,059 athletes aged 15-18 will take part. Innsbruck has hosted two Winter Olympics - in 1964 and 1976. It thus fulfilled the condition set by the IOC for Youth Games host cities that they do not require any new infrastructure. —AP

MELBOURNE: Geoff Ogilvy of Australia plays a tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the Australian Masters golf tournament at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne yesterday. — AP

putter yesterday. “Sometimes your brain needs to look at something different and it has worked. So now I’m in love with my putter again,” Ogilvy said. Poulter, who led the tournament over the opening two rounds, said he was intent on chasing down Ogilvy, who at 42 is 14 spots below the Englishman in the world rankings. Poulter is in search of valuable world ranking points in his last tournament of the year and only trails Ogilvy by two shots despite the Australian’s superb round. The Englishman posted a third round 69 — two under-around the tight Melbourne course, leaving him 11 under after 54 holes. “Hats off to Geoff going out and shooting under par in that wind today,” Poulter said. “That’s a great score. When someone posts a course record on you, then generally they move forward. Geoff has done that and I will be chasing him down tomorrow.” Poulter said he had recovered from a stomach bug which had troubled him during Friday’s second round but described his third round as “awkward.” It has been left to Poulter to fly the flag for England after world number one Luke Donald struggled to post a good score yesterday. Donald, who last week secured a record same season top finish in both the US and European money lists, could only manage a 70 to be five under for the tournament and eight shots off the leader. “I had a lot of opportunities. I could not convert them on the greens,” he said. “I’ve been struggling all week to hole those 10 to 15 footers that you need to gain some momentum in the round. “But you never say never. Geoff (Ogilvy) looks like he’s playing well, there’s definitely a low round out there. Hopefully I can shoot a low one tomorrow and give myself a chance.” Donald said he has always been impressed by Ogilvy’s golf. “He’s a great golfer. He has good touch around the greens and he’s pretty solid off the tee as well. He does not do too much wrong. “He obviously knows this place very well and is showing that.” — AFP

European women golfers struggle to gain attention DUBAI: Less than a decade ago, European women were among the top golfers in the world with the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies regularly vying for the top spot and racking up victories at the majors. But these days, golf fans would be hard pressed to name a top European. All the majors this year went to American and Asians and there is only one European - No 2-ranked Suzann Pettersen of Norway - is in the top 20. And despite Europes surprising Solheim Cup victory over the Americans in September, the head of the Ladies European Tour admits it could take some time before the region produces another global superstar. “You would have to say the Europeans haven’t had as many victories. That is what makes a big difference to get into the top 10 in world,” said Alexandra Armas, the tour’s executive director who was in the United Arab Emirates this weekend for the Dubai Ladies Masters. “You have to win tournaments and win tournaments regularly. Although they are very competitive, the quantative victories these Korean players are having has eluded them.” The European women’s struggles can be chalked up to some degree to the dramatic rise of Asian players, since 30 of the top 50 come from South Korea or Japan while the top spot is held by Yani Tseng of Taiwan. But players and tour officials said it also comes down to the failure of some top Europeans to play on the LPGA Tour and the weaker fields on the European Tour -purses are about half what they are in the LPGA on average and top money winners ear about a tenth - which results in play-

ers getting far fewer ranking points than they would if they played on the LPGA or Asian tours in Japan or South Korea. “When I was the No 1 player for those five years, I played virtually most of my golf in American and that’s the way you’re going to do it,” said Davies, the four-time major winner who played in her record 12th Solheim Cup this year. “So if you want to be the top three or four in the world, you have to play in America or Japan because they get huge amount of points,” she said. “Now whether that is good or bad, I don’t make the rules in the world rankings but that is just the way it is.” But with all the Asian players on the LPGA Tour, qualifying is harder than it has ever been for Europeans. “I still think there are loads of good European players out there but not a lot of us playing in America,” said Sandra Gal, the 38th-ranked German and a member of this year’s Solheim Cup. “I think it’s very hard for European players go over to America and get their card,” she said. “I’ve heard from a lot of girls that if they just grow up in Europe and never played in the states and go to Q school, they have a hard time. Q school is played in Florida. It’s Bermuda grass and totally different from the course that they are used to.” Gal also said some Europeans may struggle to make the transition to the LPGA. “Everything is bigger. It’s a bigger stage,” said Gal, who plays on the European and LPGA tours. “There is TV every week so it takes time to get used to.”Part of the problem, too, comes down to the weakness of the European Ladies Tour.—AP



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Kobe Bryant’s wife files for divorce ORANGE: Basketball star Kobe Bryant’s wife, who stood by her husband when he was charged with sexual assault in 2003, filed for divorce on Friday from the Los Angeles Lakers star, citing irreconcilable differences after a decade of marriage. Vanessa Bryant signed the papers on Dec 1. Kobe Bryant signed his response on Dec 7 and it was filed Friday, according to the documents. “ The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012,” according to a statement from a representative for the couple. In the filing, Vanessa Bryant asked for joint legal and physical custody of the couple’s two daughters, Natalia, 8, and Gianna, 5. Kobe Bryant asked for the same in his

response. Vanessa Bryant also requested spousal support. The Bryants “ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this difficult time,” according to the statement. Bryant met his future wife in 1999 on a music video shoot when Vanessa Laine was 18 years old. Six months later, she and the then-21-year-old Bryant became engaged. They married on April 18, 2001. The Bryants have been through trying times together. Vanessa Bryant appeared at a news conference with her husband when he was charged with sexually assaulting a 19year-old woman who worked at the exclusive Lodge & Spa at Cordillera near Vail, Colorado, in 2003. She held his hand and stroked it tenderly as the

Unquantifiable Sports Statistic By Ricardo Guerra


ver the last few weeks, the attention of sports enthusiasts and commentators has turned to an all-American rookie quarterback named Tim Tebow. The Broncos were 1-4 when Tebow took the helm of the team from Denver. Although he had been the main star running the Gator offense at the University of Florida, conventional wisdom was that his style of play and technique as a quarterback were not good enough to make it in the NFL. Yet despite being dismissed by the socalled “expert sports commentators,” he has risen from the ashes. Some players once went as far as to mock the young quarterback’s faith and his habit of genuflecting, now known by his fans as “tebowing.” They have since had to swallow their words. Tebow has won all but one of his seven games, usually coming back from behind and finishing in exhilarating fashion. So the main question everyone is asking is: what can explain the victories of this unconventional NFL quarterback, who plays in such unorthodox fashion? The main reason Tebow caught almost all of the so-called experts by surprise was that his best attributes-his faith, his positive thinking, and an unwillingness to surrendercannot be quantified statistically. Tebow is even more of an anomaly if one takes a closer look at the world we live in today, in which the postmodern man is characterized by unprecedented levels of gullibility, egotism, and materialism, unleavened by any spiritual or philosophical life. Perhaps, themselves unacquainted with philosophical and spiritual virtues, most commentators have been unable to recognize what has been staring them in the face all along. The mind is a powerful resource. In a cutthroat athletic environment, mental qualities are usually considered the icing in the cake, the attribute that makes the difference between a star and a super-star. But also in everyday life, studies suggest, it can make all the difference in how well we live our lives. Recent research by Yale University investigators, led by Becca Levy and Martin Slade, suggests that people who have a positive outlook in life suffer less cognitive decline with age. Being around positive people is also invigorating, spreading like wildfire. That fire has definitely spread from

Tebow to his fellow teammates, as seen in the Broncos’ recent performance-they are very close to clinching a playoff spot. Having worked with several professional soccer teams around the world, I am all too aware of the locker room culture being corrupted by the egotism of certain individual players, who believe that they are the whole team. Such a mentality can wreak havoc on a team’s spirit. In fact, I would venture to argue that it is the biggest threat to the success of any sports organization in the world today. That is why it is so refreshing and reassuring to come across a selfless, humble, and composed team player like Tim Tebow. The ability to deflect praise directed towards him and to constantly ensure that his teammates collectively receive credit for the success of the team is a sign of his leadership and evolved wisdom. Moreover, he tends to speak highly of his opponents, even when they disparage, mock, or dismiss him. For example, when Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears was asked about Tebow after a game, he sarcastically mentioned that he was a good running back. Later, when asked about these comments, Tebow naively smiled and said that he took any such remarks by such a respected competitor as a compliment. Tebow may turn out never to win a Super Bowl or be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but at this point it no longer matters. The fact that he has been able to compete at the highest level in a ruthless sport, averaging less than 140 yards of passing per game, but compensating with extreme levels of grits and athleticism is already impressive. More importantly, his behavior on and off the field is a force for good and a model of exemplary conduct. The seventeenth-century poet John Milton wrote in his epic poem Paradise Lost that “The mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” It seems that when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter and all in the field of play are just about to call it quits, the grandeur of Tebow’s mental prowess, as evidenced by his play, acts like a contagion among his teammates, turning them into giants, and enabling them to move mountains. His fierce and relentless pursuit of victory coupled with his humility exemplifies the true warrior spirit. Tebow surely believes that a heaven can be made out of hell, and that goes a long way in today’s society.

Bulls beat Pacers in pre-season opener INDIANAPOLIS: The Chicago Bulls opened the pre-season Friday with a 9586 win over the Indiana Pacers behind 16 points each from MVP Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. The game was a rematch of last season’s National Basketball Association first-round playoff series and one of four games on Friday that kicked off the postlockout exhibition schedule. CJ Wilson scored 15 points for Chicago, who won the playoff series over the Pacers four games to one.

Tyler Hansbrough finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Paul George had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana. Danny Granger scored 12 points and Indianapolis native George Hill had three points in his first game as a Pacer after being acquired from the San Antonio Spurs. A lockout-shortened season of 66 regular season games for each team rather than 82 will begin on December 25, about eight weeks later than originally planned.— AFP

VAL GARDENA: Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal skis past FIS race director Guenther Hujara during an alpine ski, men’s World Cup race, in Val Gardena yesterday. The first classic downhill of the World Cup season was abandoned Saturday because of strong winds. — AP

NBA star admitted he was guilty of adultery - but nothing else. Earlier she had issued her own statement to the media, vowing to stand by her husband. “I know that my husband has made a mistake - the mistake of adultery,” she said in the statement at the time. “He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal.” A year later, prosecutors dropped the criminal charge against Kobe Bryant because the woman did not want to go ahead with a trial. Last year, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant settled litigation with a former maid who accused the NBA star’s wife of harassment. The Bryants countersued Maria Jimenez for violating a confidentiality agreement by talking to reporters about the family.— AP

LOS ANGELES: In this file photo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, during a news conference at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce from the Lakers star, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. — AP

Sabres down Maple Leafs Devils overwhelm Stars BUFFALO: Thomas Vanek’s two goals and an assist helped lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis and Andrej Sekera were also on target, while goalie Ryan Miller made 29 saves for the Sabres (16-12-3), which won for the third time in six games. Down by a goal midway through the second period, Buffalo scored three straight - including two power-play goals - to take a 4-2 lead. Toronto committed five penalties in the second, and over the final 7:03 of the period the teams played 5-on-5 for just 6 seconds. Nikolai Kulemin scored on a penalty shot in the third period, and Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul, and Mikhail Grabovski also scored for Toronto (16-12-3), which has dropped three of four (1-2-1). Senators 6, Penguins 4 At Ottawa, Jason Spezza had two goals and two assists, and Jared Cowen also had four points to lead Ottawa to a 6-4 win over Pittsburgh. Daniel Alfredsson scored his 398th NHL goal and added two assists, and Erik Karlsson also had three points. Colin Greening scored 25 seconds into the second, and Zenon Konopka netted Ottawa’s fifth goal of the period with 5.7 seconds left, increasing the Senators’ lead to 5-3 just 4 seconds into a power play. Karlsson recorded his 100th point with his third assist of the period on Konopka’s goal. Pittsburgh’s Steve Sullivan had a goal and two assists as the teams combined for eight goals in the middle period after a scoreless first. Matt Niskanen and Evgeni Malkin scored power-play goals 1:07 apart to draw the Penguins even at 3. Chris Kunitz scored with 1:02 left in the third. Panthers 3, Flames 2 SO At Sunrise, Florida, Sean Bergenheim’s scored Florida’s two goals in regulation, and Stephen Weiss connected for the shootout winner as the Panthers beat Calgary. Jose Theodore stopped 24 shots for the Panthers, whose last 11 home games have been decided by one goal. Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque scored for Calgary, and Leland Irving made 39 saves in his NHL debut, but the Flames dropped their third straight game. Irving, a 2006 first-round pick, was recalled from the minors on Dec 5. Dmitry Kulikov also scored in the shootout for Florida, and Alex Tanguay scored for the Flames. Blackhawks 4, Ducks 1 At Chicago, Ray Emery stopped

OTTAWA: Alex Auld #35 of the Ottawa Senators is knocked to the ice by Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. — AFP 24 shots, and Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa each had a goal and an assist for the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat Anaheim for their fourth straight win. Jamal Mayers and Dave Bolland also scored for Chicago, which moved into a first-place tie with Minnesota in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks, 6-0-1 in their last seven, and the Wild both have 44 points. Emery lost a bid for his first shutout in nearly two years when Teemu Selanne scored with 1:47

left in the third period. Devils 6, Stars 3 At Newark, New Jersey, Zach Parise made sure the night the New Jersey Devils honored former captain Scott Niedermayer ended on a winning note by scoring a goal and setting up three others in a 6-3 victory over Dallas. David Clarkson, rookie Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias also scored as the Devils won their third straight and snapped the

Stars’ and rookie goaltender Richard Backman’s three -game winning streak. Johan Hedberg finished with 33 saves for the Devils. Michael Ryder, Brendan Morrow and Toby Petersen scored for the Pacific Division-leading Stars, who went 3-2 on a road trip that covered 6,500 miles. Niedermayer, who helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003 while wearing No 27, became the third Devils player to have his number retired.—AP

NHL results/standings Results and standings from the NHL games on Friday. Buffalo 5, Toronto 4; Ottawa 6, Pittsburgh 4; Florida 3, Calgary 2 (SO); New Jersey 6, Dallas 3; Chicago 4, Anaheim 1. (SO = shootout)

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

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 20 7 3 110 17 8 4 84 17 11 4 99 17 13 1 85 9 14 6 67 Northeast Division 20 9 1 102 16 12 3 86 16 12 3 97 15 14 4 102 13 12 7 82 Southeast Division 17 9 6 87 16 13 1 90 14 13 4 84 13 16 2 84 10 18 5 84

GA PTS 85 43 65 38 85 38 89 35 96 24 61 86 100 116 84

41 35 35 34 33

82 94 94 105 113

40 33 32 28 25

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 20 8 4 107 96 44 Detroit 19 10 1 96 67 39 St. Louis 18 9 3 75 63 39 Nashville 16 11 4 83 83 36 Columbus 9 18 4 74 102 22 Northwest Division Minnesota 20 8 4 83 70 44 Vancouver 18 11 2 101 77 38 Calgary 14 14 4 80 90 32 Edmonton 14 14 3 85 84 31 Colorado 14 17 1 86 99 29 Pacific Division Dallas 18 12 1 80 86 37 San Jose 16 10 3 83 72 35 Phoenix 16 12 3 82 82 35 Los Angeles 14 13 4 67 71 32 Anaheim 9 17 5 72 100 23 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Men’s WCup downhill at Val Gardena abandoned VAL GARDENA: The first classic downhill of the World Cup season was abandoned yesterday because of strong winds. Despite several delays, 21 competitors had completed their runs on the twisty and terrain-filled Saslong course before organizers decided to call it off. Johan Clarey had been leading a French one-two with a time of one minute, 55.80 seconds ahead of Adrien Theaux, with Patrick Kueng of Switzerland in third. Clarey was seeking his first World Cup victory. His best previous result was third in this downhill two years ago. “There wasn’t so much wind on the track. It wasn’t dangerous,” Clarey said. “We’ve had so many races with windy conditions. I don’t know if (it’s because) there is two French on the top. Maybe if

it was two Austrians or two Swiss it wouldn’t be the same.” Erik Guay of Canada stood fourth and another Frenchman, Yannick Bertrand, was fifth. Hans Olsson, the Swede who led both training runs, was lying sixth, while fellow downhill standouts Aksel Lund Svindal and Didier Cuche were far back in 15th and 18th. The race started without problem but then were was about a half-hour delay after Cuche completed his run with the No. 18 bib, as the wind blew large snow drifts over the course, prompting organizers to take down the banner above the finish line. Forerunners were brought back onto the course and the race resumed with Friday’s superG winner Beat Feuz placing 12th. After Svindal and Klaus Kroell

then completed their runs, men’s World Cup director Gunter Hujara called the race off just as Bode Miller was getting ready to start. “I (am) fully understanding of the emotions for those that were in the lead but I also have to think about those that had luck because we had very good conditions with the wind,” Hujara said. “Even with the last racer on the course, conditions were so quick changing that we couldn’t predict what would happen and that’s why we canceled the race. “It was at the edge of being still safe and we did not like to risk anything and that’s why we canceled it before a bad fall,” Hujara added. Svindal and Miller agreed with the decision to cancel the race. “I think it was the right call. If wind

hits you on the camel jumps that’s a career-ending injury,” Miller said, referring to the longest jump on the course, which launches skiers into the air for more than 80 meters. Val Gardena is one of the four classic downhills that have featured nearly every year on the World Cup circuit since the late 1960s, along with Wengen, Switzerland; Kitzbuehel, Austria; and Garmisch-Par tenkirchen, Germany. The International Ski Federation did not immediately announce if the race would be made up at a later date. The next downhill is in Bormio on Dec 29. The men’s circuit now moves across the Gardena pass to nearby Alta Badia for giant slalom and slalom races today and tomorrow.. — AP



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SCOREBOARD DHAKA: Scoreboard at stumps on the opening day of the second and final Test between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Dhaka yesterday: Bangladesh 1st innings: Tamim Iqbal c Cheema b Gul 14 Mohammed Nazimuddin lbw b Cheema0 Shahriar Nafees c Akmal b Gul 97 Mohammad Mahmudullah b Cheema 0 Nasir Hossain c Akmal b Cheema 7 Shakib Al Hasan not out 108 Mushfiqur Rahim not out 5

Extras (lb3) 3 Total (for five wickets; 68 overs) 234 Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Nazimuddin), 2-16 (Tamim), 3-21 (Mahmudullah), 4-43 (Nasir), 5223 (Nafees). Bowling: Gul 14-1-63-2, Cheema 16-2-52-3, Hafeez 9-3-27-0, Ajmal 15-1-47-0, Rehman 140-42-0.


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Shakib, Nafees defy Pakistan Cheemer takes 3 wickets in opening spell

Brazil’s Santos FC forward Neymar

Neymar threatens Barca’s ambitions YOKOHAMA: Barcelona have had their thunder stolen before today’s Club World Cup final in Japan, with endless questions about hot-shot Santos striker Neymar rammed down their throats daily. The Spanish and European champions, bidding to win the seven-team competition for the second time in three years, boast arguably the world’s best player in Lionel Messi. Yet try as Barcelona might not to talk about Neymar, the name of the 19-yearold Brazil forward so coveted by Europe’s biggest clubs keeps cropping up. “Neymar is a very dangerous player,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola told reporters on the eve of a mouth-watering final in Yokohama. “I expect a cracking game.” Neymar has set tongues wagging in Japan, Brazil’s pin-up boy scoring a wonder goal as he sparked Santos to a 3-1 semi-final win over J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol. “We watched Santos on TV and individually they ’re ver y dangerous,” said Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, grinning sheepishly as he anticipated what was coming next. “Neymar is a brilliant player. But it’s not just about him. “This is the game of the season for us. You have to win the Champions League to get here so we badly want to win this trophy to have the right to be called ‘world champions’.” Barca captain Carles Puyol added: “Neymar can go right or left. He’s so quick and unpredictable, he will be very difficult to

mark.” Guardiola has demanded victory after the blow of losing Spain striker David Villa to a sickening leg break in their 4-0 semi-final thrashing of Qatar’s Al Sadd. REAL THREAT “Santos are a technically gifted team, physical and very quick,” he said. “It’s not easy to come out to Japan and win the Club World Cup. “They have a fantastic player in Neymar and also in (Paulo Henrique) Ganso. They will be a real threat but we are prepared for whatever they throw at us. “I don’t know if they will sit deep or come out guns blazing. But I expect us to win. I don’t know if it will be 2-0 or 3-0. We just want to take the trophy home.” Santos, who captured their third Libertadores Cup in June almost 50 years after Pele led them to back-to-back titles in 1962 and 1963, were also brimming with confidence. “I will not be the beast who limits Barcelona’s ball possession,” Santos coach Muricy Ramalho said cryptically, aware the Catalan giants start as favorites. “Nobody can manage this. We have to put pressure on them and gamble on some things happening - like a through-ball from Ganso or Elano, or a stroke of genius from Neymar perhaps. “Neymar will definitely do something,” said Ramalho, returning inevitably to his whirlwind striker with the blond mohican. “I have no doubt he will make them suffer.”— Reuters

Downing gets Dalglish vote LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish maintains he has been happy with Stewart Downing’s form as he prepares to take the England winger back to Aston Villa for the first time. Dalglish spent £20 million on the 27-year-old in the summer but the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough man’s performances have met with mixed reaction. Downing has been involved in every Premier League match for the Reds but has created just one goal and has failed to score himself. As Liverpool’s most-expensive signing in a hectic summer in the transfer market, his displays have received plenty of attention. Midfielder Charlie Adam and defender Jose Enrique have slotted into the side well, while Jordan Henderson has played in a number of different roles in midfield. Dalglish believes that any criticism of Downing is due to the fact that Liverpool, who have kept four clean sheets in their last seven matches, have managed just 18 goals in their 15 Premier League games. The Anfield club have lost three of their seven away matches in the Premier League this season and they need to improve that run at Villa Park in order to keep in touch with the race for the European places. And the Liverpool manager feels that once his team start putting their chances away, Downing’s statistics will take a similar up-turn. Dalglish said: “Stewart has made plenty of chances for us. “And he has had a few opportunities himself, which he has been unfortunate with. “But if we had taken a greater percentage of our chances, or if luck had been more kind to us, than everybody’s stats would be better. “Our points tally would be better, our goals-for would be better, and individual stats would be better. “Stewart has made a huge contribution to the fact we have hit the post 16 times and created so many chances and shots at goal. When they start going in everyone’s stats will improve. “I think all of the lads that

have come in their first season have settled in really well. “There’s not many people who have come in and settled as quickly as a lot of them have done here. We’re delighted. “Everyone keeps throwing up exams for people but I think (the squad) has stood the test of time.” Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has warned Downing to brace himself for a hostile reception from the Villa Park crowd. Former fan favorite Downing had insisted at the end of last season he did not want to leave the Midlands club only to hand in a transfer request to force through his Merseyside move. McLeish said: “I think Stewart was a well liked lad here at Villa and I’m sure the fans will wind up the opposition. “I’m sure Stewart will maybe not get too much flak because he is a decent lad and he did a decent job “But maybe the fans will give a wee bit of apprehension-inducing stick.” McLeish admitted he envies the spending power Dalglish has been afforded in contrast to the sell-to-buy policy he works under. He added: “There is a bit of a difference in the spending power in what they’ve spent and who they’ve brought to the club, guys who can make a huge difference, not only in club but world football. “We are going in against teams like that as underdogs in almost every game but we are at home and the players have got to have no fear at this great stadium of ours. “We have got to try to make sure the teams are leaving Villa Park knowing they have been in a big game.” Dalglish is still waiting for Captain Steven Gerrard to return from a longterm ankle problem, while Brazilian midfielder Lucas has been ruled out for the season with a serious knee injury. Villa will be without the suspended Gabriel Agbonlahor while Shay Given (hamstring) and Eric Lichaj (hip) remain sidelined, however Fabian Delph returns to contention.— AFP

DHAKA: Shakib Al Hasan and Shahriar Nafees shared a record 180-run stand to take Bangladesh to a respectable 234-5 against Pakistan before bad light ended the opening day’s play of the second test yesterday. The pair surpassed Bangladesh’s previous highest fifth-wicket stand of 144, set by Mehrab Hossain jnr and Mushfiqur Rahim against New Zealand in 2008, to steer the team away from early trouble after a strong opening spell from Pak istan’s Aizaz Cheemer. The stand was also Bangladesh’s highest against Pakistan besting the 167 of Javed Omar and Habibul Bashar in 2003. Shakib was unbeaten on 108, for his second test century while Nafees fell to an awkward bouncer off Umar Gul on 97. Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal took a simple catch after the ball hit Nafees on the glove, ending his solid 177-ball innings that featured 12 boundaries. “Whoever I’ve met after the last test whether it was family members, excricketers, management, journalists, etc they said that I looked very hurried,” Nafees told a news conference. “I didn’t want to do it today. I was also determined that I won’t get out badly. I could be out, but I didn’t want to raise the question of why you got out like this?” he said. Seamer Cheema had taken advantage of the bowler friendly conditions to claim three wickets and help reduce Bangladesh to 43-4 after play had been delayed by more than an hour because of dense fog. The 32-year-old medium-pacer claimed had opener Nazimuddin (0) out leg before wicket with only his sixth delivery. Gul then removed the under-performing Tamim Iqbal (14) when the Bangladesh opener’s attempted hook shot was caught by Cheema at backward fine leg. Cheema returned to bowl out Mahmudullah for a first-ball duck to leave the home side, who need to win the match to level the series after an innings defeat in the first test, struggling on 21-3. Nasir Hossain (7) went in the 14th over when he edged a simple catch to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off Cheema. “After they lost four quick wickets, Shakib and Shahriar started to look for singles and leave the ball. At that point it became difficult to bowl against them,” Cheema told reporters.—Reuters

DHAKA: Bangladeshi batsman Shahriar Nafees plays a shot during the first day of the second cricket Test match between Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday. — AFP

South Africa bowlers sweep Sri Lanka aside CENTURION: South African captain Graeme Smith said his team produced a better bowling performance in sweeping aside Sri Lanka in the first Test yesterday than they did when they bowled out Australia for 47 last month. “Today was emphatic,” said Smith after South Africa completed an innings and 81 runs victory before tea on the third day at SuperSport Park. Man of the match Vernon Philander claimed his second five-wicket haul of the match - and his fourth in his first three Tests - as Sri Lanka crashed to 150 all out in their second innings. Philander took five for 49 and 10 for 102 in the match. Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher took six catches to equal the South African record for the fourth time. The Sri Lankans could not cope with South Africa’s pace attack on a pitch of uneven bounce and extravagant seam movement. “We bowled incredibly well,” said Smith. “Our intensity was great. Each guy bowled with pace and skill. Obviously there was still a lot in the wicket, which especially Vern got to exploit. “We’re trying to be a process-driven team, focusing on our own skills. Today was probably the best standard we produced, even though we bowled Australia out for 47.” Sri Lankan captain Tillekeratne Dilshan said he had known all along that conditions would favour the fast bowlers but he said uneven bounce had been a major contributor to his team losing 20 wickets for 330 runs in the match. Dilshan said the performance of the Sri Lankan bowlers was a positive factor even though South Africa made 411 in their only innings. “Our bowlers did a great job,” he said. “At one stage we could have bowled them out for maybe 250 but we missed four chances. If the batsmen can put runs on the board, I feel we can bowl them out.” The Sri Lankan captain said the batsmen had been working hard. “But we need to take it out to the middle,” he said. Dilshan said the Sri Lankan squad would be boosted before the second Test, which starts in Durban on December 26, by the arrival of fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekera and Dhammika Prasad, who had recovered from injuries which kept

them out of the original touring squad. “They are playing in a domestic final today and then they will fly to South Africa,” he said. Trailing by 231 runs on the first innings, Sri Lanka were effectively beaten when they crashed to 38 for four at lunch. Philander took two wickets and Dale Steyn one before Sri Lanka lost Mahela Jayawardene to a needless run out when he was one run short of becoming the first Sri Lankan to score 10 000 runs in Tests. Philander made the first breakthrough when he had Dilshan caught behind by Mark Boucher for six in the fourth over, with Dilshan forced to play a ball close to his off stump which moved away off a pitch which has helped the fast bowlers throughout the match. Tharanga Paranavitana was caught behind for four off Dale Steyn in the fifth over and Kumar Sangakkara followed two overs later when he edged a superb delivery from Philander to Boucher, the ball swinging in to the left-hander and then nipping away off the pitch. Jayawardene, needing 16 to reach 10 000 Test runs, took his score to 15 with two boundaries in an over off Jacques Kallis. He then pushed a ball from Kallis to the off side and was called through for a run by batting partner Thilan Samaraweera. Kallis reacted quickly, picked up the ball, turned and threw down the stumps at the bowler ’s end with Jayawardene well short. Samaraweera made a plucky 32 before he was caught behind off Morne Morkel, which effectively ended the tourists’ resistance, although Thisera Perera and Rangana Herath hit sixes before Philander claimed the final wicket when Herath was caught behind. South Africa had the luxury of being able to give Kallis an over against last man Dilharo Fernando, the bowler who struck him a heavy blow on the left temple during South Africa’s innings. Kallis bowled a series of short-pitched balls. “It’s hard out there,” said Smith. “There are a few of us who have been hit on the head and wish we could bowl fast. Jakes is blessed that he can do both.”— AFP

FIFA to review hijab law TOKYO: FIFA is considering changing their laws to allow women to wear a hijab, or headscarf when they play in official matches. Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, 35, the youngest member of FIFA’s executive committee and the Asian vice-president, made a presentation to members at their meeting in Tokyo yesterday and was given the go-ahead to present the case when the law-making International Board meets in Bagshot, England, next March. In a statement, Prince Ali said he wanted the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to sanction a safe, velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials and asked them to re-consider the law when they meet on March 3. “I look forward to presenting the case at the IFAB meeting,” he said. “This issue impacts on millions of women worldwide and it is crucial to address, in the best possible way, the issue that ensures the safety of the players, respects culture and promotes football for all women without discrimination.” He added: “This is a crucial step forward. Our goal at the end of the day is to ensure that all women are able to play football at all levels without any barriers.” FIFA’s Law 4 regarding kit states that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player, including any kind of jewelry. It lists the “basic equipment” as a jersey, shorts, socks, shin-guards and footwear. IFAB, formed in 1886, is soccer’s ultimate law-making body comprising four members from FIFA and four from the British associations. Any recommendation needs a three-quarters majority to be passed.— Reuters

CENTURION: South Africa’s Morne Morkel bowls yesterday during the third day of the first cricket Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. — AFP

SCOREBOARD CENTURION: Scoreboard at the end of the first test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Centurion yesterday: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 81 runs Sri Lanka first innings 180 (D.Steyn 4-18, V.Philander 5-53). South Africa first innings 411 (G.Smith 61, AB de Villiers 99, M.Boucher 65; C.Welegedara 3-96, T.Perera 3-114). Sri Lanka second innings T.Paranavitana c Boucher b Steyn 4 T.Dilshan c Boucher b Philander 6 K.Sangakkara c Boucher b Philander 2 M.Jayawardene run out (Kallis) 15 T.Samaraweera c Boucher b Morkel 32 A.Mathews c Boucher b Philander 5 K.Silva c Kallis b Tahir 17 T.Perera c Smith b Steyn 21 R.Herath c Boucher b Philander 23 C.Welegedara c and bowled Philander 10 D.Fernando not out 4 Extras (lb-1, nb-10) 11 Total (all out, 39.1 overs) 150 Fall of wickets: 1-11 2-11 3-19 4-37 5-66 6-70 7-104 8-133 9145 10-150. Bowling: Steyn 10-2-36-2, Philander 11.1-1-49-5 (nb-5), Kallis 5-3-13-0 (nb-1), Morkel 9-0-36-1 (nb-4) , Tahir 4-1-15-1.



Ten-man Bayern rout Cologne 3-0 Bayern charge six points clear BERLIN: Ten-man Bayern Munich ensured it would be cheery festive season in Bavaria with a 3-0 rout of visiting FC Cologne which took their lead over Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund to six points. On Bayern’s final league game ahead of the winter break the hosts were stunned when influential midfielder Frank Ribery was sent off after 33 minutes after being shown two yellow cards in the space of a minute. However that failed to faze Jupp Heynckes’ league leaders, who finished the first half with a flurry and took an early lead in the second as Mario Gomez claimed his 16th goal in 16 league games. Cologne, who have been battling to get out of the bottom half of the table, were struggling to make the advantage count and their defense was found wanting when second half substitute David Alaba doubled Bayern’s lead just after the hour mark. Midfielder Toni Kroos made it three in the dying minutes as unconvincing Cologne’s defense fell apart. Billed as a contest between Gomez and Lukas Podolski, the Cologne striker who is attracting interest from Premier League side Arsenal among others, it was the former who snatched the bragging rights. Neither team had produced solid goalscoring chances in the opening half, in which Ribery provided the best drama after the volatile Frenchman was sent off for two altercations with Portuguese defender Henrique Sereno. But after the interval, and in spite of their

numerical disadvantage Bayern came out flying. The Cologne defense was nowhere to be seen when Thomas Mueller-who had missed a great chance to open the scoring moments earlier-latched on to a deep cross on the right flank. Mueller did well to hold off his marker and squared a short ball to Gomez who tapped the ball past Michael Rensing from close range. Mueller was substituted for Alaba in the 52nd minute, and that proved to be an inspired choice by Heynckes. The Austrian international, who is of Indonesian/Nigerian parentage, looked lively from the outset and was quick to show his killer instinct. Kroos sent a probing corner into the box in the 63rd minute and Alaba, who was left unmarked, picked up a rebound to smash the ball past Rensing for only his second league goal. Podolski has netted 14 times this season and has five goals in his last three league games, but the lack of his success led to his substitution for Sebastian Freis in the 69th minute. Cologne’s Norwegian coach Stale Solbakken also replaced his second striker, Christian Clemens, a minute later but neither Freis nor Odise Roshi came close to conjuring up the goal that would have given the visitors hope. Cologne’s pain was complete when Kroos, who had fired several times over the crossbar in the first half, lobbed Rensing after a short pass from Alaba following a defensive mix-up in the 88th minute. — AFP

MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s striker Mario Gomez (left) and Austrian midfielder David Alaba celebrate after the second goal for Munich during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Cologne in the arena in Munich. — AFP

FIFA threatens Switzerland Basel could be expelled from Champions League

Sepp Blatter

FIFA boss admits errors Blatter ‘regrets’ 2018, 2022 WCup decision TOKYO: FIFA president Sepp Blatter said yesterday that he had “regrets” following a scandal-tainted year in which soccer’s governing body lurched from one crisis to another. Blatter again defended the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar but said announcing the choices at the same time may have been a mistake. “This is a justified question after a year of ups and downs,” Blatter told reporters after a FIFA executive committee meeting in Tokyo on the sidelines of the Club World Cup. “It was not the best and most intelligent decision of FIFA to announce the two World Cup simultaneously,” said the 75-year-old on the eve of Barcelona’s final with Santos in Yokohama. “It was wrong and it caused a lot of disturbances earlier this year,” he added of the controversy and subsequent blaze of corruption revelations triggered by the choices. “The past is past and we have to look forward. The boat is still not in still waters but we are bringing it back to port. “Regrets, yes. But you can’t live in regret. You can have regrets but you can’t go back and change the past, “You must have a positive approach and I have the energy to go forward and bring back the credibility of FIFA and take care of public opinion.” Blatter, re-elected for a fourth term in June unopposed after then Asian soccer chief Mohamed Bin Hammam was booted out of FIFA in a cash-for-votes scandal, has his work cut out. The Swiss provoked negative headlines last month by saying any incidents of racist abuse on the pitch should be settled with a handshake after the game. Blatter said his comments had been misunderstood and rejected widespread calls for him to resign. QATAR DEFENCE Having launched new anti-corruption measures in October, Blatter again defended the choice of surprise winners Qatar for the 2022 World Cup against outside criticism. “The 2022 World Cup will be in Qatar and I don’t know who can change this decision,” said Blatter, responding to remarks made by new Australia soccer boss Frank

Lowy. “I personally will intervene if FIFA executive members continue with such declarations (accusations). I understand about the incident in Australia but the case is closed now.” He added: “ The World Cup shall be accessible to all cultures and it was time ... to bring it to the Arab world.” Lowy was quoted last month as saying the tiny Gulf state, whose bid was dogged by corruption allegations, could still be stripped of the 2022 finals. Qatar’s bid leaders strongly denied any wrong-doing but emotions still run high as the beleaguered FIFA president did his best fire-fighting job. “Our reforms are on the right track,” said Blatter, coming up for air briefly to announce Morocco would host the 2013 and 2014 Club World Cup tournaments. “FIFA will respond to public opinion.” Blatter’s pledge to re-open the case into the collapse of former marketing partner ISL has also been stalled after being tied up in a Swiss appeals court. “The court has not made a decision on opening the file,” Blatter said. “We want to open it as soon as possible and forget about the past. FIFA needs to lay this ISL issue to rest.” ISL went bankrupt in 2001 and BBC’s Panorama program reported last year that documents showed senior FIFA officials were paid kickbacks for granting ISL lucrative World Cup television and sponsorship rights in the 1990s. The program named them as executive committee members Ricardo Teixeira, Issa Hayatou and Nicolas Leoz, all of whom denied the claims. Blatter offered his backing to Hayatou, head of the Confederation of African Football, and expressed confidence in Brazil’s ability to host a successful 2014 World Cup. The future of Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation and 2014 World Cup organizing committee, appeared less secure, however. “Mr Teixeria has asked for leave until the end of January,” said Blatter, who plans to meet Brazil’s head of state to speed up the country’s lagging preparations for 2014. “Until then he is out of FIFA, out of the organizing committee. At the end of January we will come back to that.” — Reuters

BERNE: FIFA have threatened to suspend Switzerland over the case involving first division club Sion, soccer’s governing body said in a statement yesterday. The Swiss FA was given a deadline of Jan 13 to follow FIFA’s instructions or face a ban which would also result in FC Basel being expelled from the Champions League. “Should this deadline not be respected, the Swiss FA (SFV) will be automatically suspended from 14 January 2012 onwards,” the statement said. If suspended, Switzerland - due to host Argentina in a friendly in February - would not be able to play any international matches and FC Basel would be unable to take part in the Champions League round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich. Euro 2012 would not be affected, however, as Switzerland did not qualify for the finals. FIFA have demanded that Sion be penalized with a 3-0 defeat for every match in which they fielded any of six players signed during the summer when the club was subject to a transfer ban. The warning follows a complex legal battle in

which Sion defied FIFA and UEFA statutes by taking its case to a civil court. “The executive committee decided to give a final deadline of Jan. 13 to the Swiss FA to enforce the registration ban imposed on Sion...and to sanction the attitude of the club repeatedly trying to circumvent this decision in a legally abusive manner,” said FIFA. “As a consequence, all matches in which the relevant players participated shall be declared forfeit or three points shall be deducted respectively.” DEMAND ‘IMPRACTICAL’ SFV president Peter Gilleron told a news conference FIFA’s demand was “impractical” although he believed a points deduction would be possible. “There are many complex juridical matters to clear up,” he said. The case began when Sion signed six players despite being banned from doing so after FIFA found them guilty of poaching a player from an Egyptian club in 2008. The six players took their case to a civil court in the canton of Valais, which ruled they could play, and Sion

Party-pooper Redknapp demands Hotspur spirit LONDON: Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League for the second time in three seasons will be boosted if they win at home to Sunderland today. The Londoners, who are in fourth place in the Premier League, no longer have the Europa League as a midweek distraction following their narrow failure to qualify for the knockout phase. Nevertheless, manager Harry Redknapp is keen to keep his players’ minds on the task ahead by banning them from holding a Christmas party. “We are too busy playing football,” he said. “There are too many games and they can have a Christmas party in the summer.” Redknapp imposed the rule in 2009 after a group of senior players enjoyed a raucous night out in Dublin without his permission. Those involved were made to pay thousands of pounds in a goodwill gesture to charity and Redknapp was adamant the current crop should maintain a more professional profile in public. “If they can’t behave themselves with all the money they are earning then there is something wrong with them,” he said. “They are earning fortunes, have great careers and lives so they can get on with their football instead of causing problems at Christmas. “It’s training and games every day - Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the day after.” Redknapp rested a number of senior players at the final Europa League against Shamrock Rovers in midweek and is set to recall them all for the visit of Martin O’Neill’s Black Cats, with Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor all expected to start. Redknapp does have problems in defence however as Younes Kaboul is suspended and Ledley King’s chronic knee problem means he is a doubt.O’Neill marked his first game as Steve Bruce’s replacement at Sunderland with a 2-1 win over Blackburn last week as Tottenham were losing at Stoke City by the same margin. But the former Northern Ireland international was presented with problems of an unorthodox kind when it emerged that two of his players had been arrested. Indeed, it seems to be just the sort of incident Redknapp has taken pains to avoid at Tottenham. Midfielder Lee Cattermole and forward Nicklas Bendtner, who is on loan from Arsenal, have been bailed following questioning by police officers

subsequently fielded them in the Swiss league. Some of the players also appeared in a Europa League qualifying tie against Celtic. Sion won the tie but were expelled from the competition by UEFA who ruled the players were ineligible. Sion then obtained an injunction at another court in the canton of Vaud, where UEFA’s headquarters are based, ordering European soccer’s governing body to reinstate them to the competition. However, this injunction referred the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which on Thursday ruled in favor of UEFA. The injunction obtained by the players in Valais canton was also overturned by a higher court. The case has already caused acute embarrassment to Switzerland with other clubs admitting it has damaged the country’s image in the sport. At one point, UEFA president Michel Platini appeared before prosecutors in Vaud to explain why his organization had not complied with the injunction ordering Sion’s reinstatement to the Europa League.— Reuters

Today’s matches on TV FIFA Club World Kashiwa Reysol v AlSadd Aljazeera Sport 2 Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Santos Futebol v Barcelona Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD



English Premier League QPR V Man United Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Aston Villa v Liverpool Abu Dhabi Sports HD 4 Spurs v Sunderland Abu Dhabi Sports HD 6 Man City v Arsenal Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3

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Spanish League

Harry Redknapp investigating complaints that cars were damaged in Newcastle city centre. Cattermole is also the captain of the team, who are fifth from bottom, but O’Neill offered no indication that he would be dropped as a result of the allegations. “The team played well against Blackburn, but we might change things round, I don’t know at the moment,” O’Neill said. “If someone gets left out of the team after Sunday’s performance, they should consider themselves unfortunate. But I don’t see any reason at this minute to change it. “If Lee plays, he will be captain. I stress, at this minute, I don’t see any reason to change it. “Lee is as wholehearted as they come. Even in the little training sessions that we’ve had, he’s vociferous. We might have, generally, a quiet team, but that isn’t really unusual anymore.” Sunderland have nevertheless launched an investigation of their own, with Bendtner regarded as a doubt for the game anyway because of a thigh injury. — AFP

Mancini: African exodus could decide the season

Atletico de Madrid v Real Betis Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Granada v Levante Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Osasuna v Villarreal Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Real Racing v Real Sociedad Aljazeera Sport +6 Valencia v Malaga Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD




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Italian League Juventus v Novara Aljazeera Sport +7 Genoa v Bologna Aljazeera Sport +8 AC Cesena v Internazionale Aljazeera Sport +1 Catania v Palermo Aljazeera Sport +4 Napoli v AS Roma Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD SS Lazio v Udinese Aljazeera Sport +5

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German League FC Kaiserslautern v Hannover Dubai Sports 2 Borussia M v FSV Mainz Dubai Sports 2

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French League MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes his team can win the Premier League title if they emerge from the loss of key players to the African Cup of Nations still holding onto first place in the table. City end a difficult week, in which they saw their unbeaten start to the campaign end at Chelsea on Monday, when they take on title rivals Arsenal at Eastlands. The response from Mancini’s team to their first domestic loss will say much about their resilience and ability to capture the Premier League crown from Manchester United. But Mancini is looking further ahead, to the African competition which runs from January 21 to February 12 next year and which will cost City the services of brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure. Midfielder Yaya will be a particular miss for City and Mancini has revealed he has already held talks aimed at keeping him with the club as late as January 16, just six days before the Ivory Coast play their first group game against Sudan. “I hope that he can remain here until the Wigan game if possible,”

said Mancini. “Wigan is one week before the start of the African Cup of Nations. “And if the Ivory Coast get to the Final, he and Kolo would not come back until after the 12th of February. “For us, this will be a problem. And for this reason, if Yaya and Kolo come back from the African Cup of Nations and we are still top then we can win the title. “At this moment, United and maybe Tottenham, who are very close, can win the title but the season is long so also Chelsea and Arsenal, maybe Liverpool, can also win. “We have a lot of games to play in the next 40 days.” Meanwhile, Mancini has played down talk of dressing room unrest among the league leaders after photos emerged of controversial forward Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards involved in a training ground altercation. “They were boxing!” joked Mancini. “But nothing special happened. It happens in every squad sometimes when you play a practice match. “I said to Mario, ‘Why is it always you?’ And he said, ‘Because he didn’t pass the ball to me!’ “It was really stupid but after two minutes it was forgotten. This can hap-

pen with Mario, it has happened with him two, four times. Mario is the king of this but they’re not important things.” Mancini has also moved to distance himself from disgruntled forward Carlos Tevez although he insists he still wants to sell the Argentine next month. Mancini added: “Carlos is in Argentina playing golf, we are here. Why would I think about Carlos at this moment?” Arsenal, who will play AC Milan in the Champions League while City tussle with holders Porto in the Europa League, will move within six points of their opponents with a victory. Removal from the Champions League and the end of an unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign was a double dose of bad news for City but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows more than most what the consequences are likely to be. “They had two disappointments but they will want to respond,” he said. “Defeats always take a bit of confidence away from you but let’s not speculate on any weakness from their part and make sure on our side we are at our best level. —AFP

Girondins de B v Sochaux Aljazeera Sport +4 AC Ajaccio v Stade Rennais Aljazeera Sport +7 PSG v Lille Aljazeera Sport +4

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Scotland Premier League St Johnstone v Celtic Kuwait Sport Aljazeera Sport +5


Holland Eredivisie League Ajax v ADO Den Haag Aljazeera Sport +6 Feyenoord v Twente Enschede Aljazeera Sport +6 NAC Breda v AZ Alkmaar Aljazeera Sport +9

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10-man Real demolish Sevilla MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo smashed a hat-trick as 10-man Real Madrid crushed Sevilla 6-2 yesterday to storm back to the top of La Liga and a threepoint lead over bitter rivals Barcelona. Jose Callejon, Angel Di Maria and Haltin Altintop were also on target in a match where Jose Mourinho’s team were reduced to 10 men just before half-time when defender Pepe was redcarded. Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo grabbed consolations for Sevilla while Madrid were also indebted to goalkeeper Iker Casillas for a wonder save when the advantage was only one goal. Real are now guaranteed to end 2011 on top with Barcelona playing Brazilian side Santos tonday in Japan in the final of the Club World Cup. The game began at a fast pace with Sevilla looking the more dangerous until Karim Benzema fired in a left-footed warning that Javi Varas parried away in the Sevilla goal on nine minutes. A

minute later, Madrid were in front when Di Maria threaded a perfect ball through the Sevilla defense for Ronaldo to hit home first time. Sevilla came back almost immediately and Casillas produced a candidate for save of the season on 13 minutes to prevent Manu del Moral from converting from close range. Four minutes later Casillas was at full stretch again to finger tip wide a Piotr Trochowski shot. With quick wing play from Jesus Navas on the right and Del Moral on the left the home team were creating plenty of chances and looked the more likely to score. But that was until the superb Di Maria chipped a delightful ball over the Sevilla defense that Callejon reached just ahead of Varas to clip home on 37 minutes. Four minutes later a Ronaldo thunderbolt from 30 yards meant the victory was all but guaranteed as Madrid led 3-0 at half-time. There was still time before the inter-

val for Pepe to leave Madrid a man down when a stray arm connected with Alvaro Negredo giving him his second yellow. Casillas was alert again on 56 minutes to block a shot from Ivan Rakitic and Gary Medel hit a spectacular volley just wide four minutes later. Di Maria capped a match winning performance with his team’s fourth on 66 minutes when put clear by Benzema. Sevilla never gave up, providing much in an entertaining match and Navas got one back on 69 minutes, but they too were left with 10 men when Manu del Moral was shown a straight red for a foul on Alvaro Arbeloa five minutes later. Benzema was tripped by Federico Fazio with five minutes remaining and Ronaldo converted the penalty for his 20th league goal of the season before substitute Altintop rounded off the rout with a minute remaining. Negredo pulled one back for Sevilla in the 90th minute. Espanyol kept up

their push for a European place with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Gijon which kept their opponents in the relegation zone. Sergio Garcia finished well for a deserved winner with seven minutes remaining after a searching pass from full back Didac Vil. Thievy Bifouma had opened the scoring for Espanyol on two minutes with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area. Captain David Barral scored his seventh goal of the season to equalize for Sporting Gijon with a clever near post flick from a corner in the 60th minute. Abdel Barrada was the star for Getafe with both goals in a 2-1 win over Mallorca. Gaizka Toquero got a late winner for Athletic Bilbao to beat Real Zaragoza 2-1 and leave their opponents rooted to the bottom. In a game featuring two red cards, the result lifted Bilbao to ninth place and puts in doubt the future of Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre after his side’s fifth consecutive defeat. —AFP

SEVILLA: Real Madrid’s midfielder Jose Maria Callejon (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring during their Spanish league football match Sevilla FC vs Real Madrid yesterday. —AFP

Osman makes one point for Everton Everton 1

Norwich 1

BLACKBURN: Blackburn Rovers’ Scott Dann (left) collides with West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster as he scores the equalizing goal during their Premier League match at Ewood Park yesterday. —AP

West Brom pile pressure on Kean Blackburn 1

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BLACKBURN: West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie piled the pressure on beleaguered Blackburn boss Steve Kean as his last minute strike secured a 2-1 win at Ewood Park yesterday. Kean has already had to endure calls for his resignation from angry Blackburn fans for several weeks and the ‘Kean out’ chants got even louder after Odemwingie’s superb effort kept Rovers second bottom of the Premier League. Blackburn briefly looked like rescuing Kean from another dismal defeat when Scott Dann scrambled an equaliser after James Morrison put Albion ahead early in the second half. Rovers’ Indian owners Venky’s have given Kean their support so far but this loss, Blackburn’s third in the last four league games, left the Lancashire club four points from safety. Odemwingie was a threat right from the start and he fired wide from Morrison’s pass before glancing Chris Brunt’s cross past a post. Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson was

called into action for the first time to beat away another Odemwingie effort, while Blackburn finally had a chance through Morten Gamst Pedersen, whose free-kick was tipped over the bar by Ben Foster. Albion took the lead in the 52nd minute when a corner came off Steven Nzonzi to Morrison, who smashed in a fine volley from just outside the area. Kean shuffled his pack by bringing on Jason Roberts and Grant Hanley for Simon Vukcevic and David Dunn, a move that drew cries of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ from some Rovers fans. Dann then got away with an error of judgment, inadvertently lobbing Robinson when trying to play the ball back to his goalkeeper and grateful to see the ball bounce wide. Former Birmingham defender Dann made a far more positive contribution in the 72nd minute as he drew Rovers level. It was a route one move as Christopher Samba headed on Robinson’s long kick and Dann was on hand to bundle home. David Goodwillie fired straight at Foster and Nzonzi and Ayegbeni Yakubu were also denied as Rovers pressed for a winner. But Odemwingie delivered the late hammer blow, dancing around several men before curling a beauty into the corner of the net to leave Kean with nothing to celebrate on the first anniversary of his appointment as Blackburn boss. —AFP

LIVERPOOL: Leon Osman’s late equalizer earned Everton a 1-1 draw at home to Norwich City on Saturday and prevented David Moyes’ side from slipping to a third consecutive defeat. The hosts were trailing to a cleverly taken Grant Holt goal-his sixth in eight matches-when Osman prodded home substitute Royston Drenthe’s shot to earn the Toffees a share of the spoils at Goodison Park. The point left Everton in 14th place in the Premier League table ahead of Wednesday’s home game with Swansea City, while Paul

Lamber t ’s promoted Nor wich are three points above them in ninth. Seeking a reaction after consecutive 1-0 losses to Stoke City and Arsenal, Everton began in positive fashion and Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy had to smother at the feet of Marouane Fellaini in the eighth minute. Russell Martin then headed off the line from Osman as the hosts maintained their siege of the Norwich goal, only for the visitors to take the lead with their first attempt at goal in the 28th minute. Steve Morison’s pass found Holt with his back to goal and the 30-year-old did superbly to spin away from Johnny Heitinga and Tony Hibbert before squeezing a shot between Leighton Baines and the right-hand post. In response, Everton saw Louis Saha send a low right-footed effort narrowly wide of Ruddy’s right-hand upright, while Osman drew a save from Ruddy with a rising left-footed effort after eight minutes of the second period. Holt then

Italian League Roundup

AC Milan move top MILAN: AC Milan moved provisionally top of the Serie A standings with a 2-0 win over Siena yesterday, which leaves the Tuscan side even more in danger at the foot of the table. Antonio Nocerino scored his sixth of the season to give Milan the lead and Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the tally from the spot. Milan moved a point clear of Udinese and Juventus, which play today. Siena remains two points above the relegation zone after five defeats in six games. In a dramatic finish in Florence, two late goals from German Denis and Andrea Masiello appeared to have given Atalanta victory over Fiorentina, but Stevan Jovetic leveled to secure a 2-2 draw. Elsewhere, Chievo got back to winning ways as goals from Cyril Thereau and Gennaro Sardo secured a 2-0 victory over Cagliari. Milan almost took the lead in stunning fashion in the 15th minute. Mark van Bommel crossed to Ibrahimovic, who controlled the ball with his right foot and then hit it on the volley with his left but his effort flew just over the crossbar. Shortly afterward Kevin-Prince Boateng struck a powerful left-footed shot which Siena goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic did brilliantly to parry. Siena should have scored in the 23rd when Franco Brienza sent Francesco Bolzoni clear through and his shot beat onrushing Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia but went just wide of the right post. Milan broke the deadlock in the 54th when a corner fell to Robinho, who passed out to Nocerino on the edge of the area and the Italy striker’s deflected shot flew into the bottom right corner. Milan was awarded a soft penalty shortly after the hour mark when Brkic was adjudged to have brought down Boateng.

MONTPELLIER: Montpellier’s forward Olivier Giroud (right) vies with Toulouse’s Serbian defender Pavie Ninkov during the French L1 football yesterday. —AFP

Ibrahimovic had scored all five of his penalty kicks this season and didn’t miss this time either, striking it into the bottom left corner. Brkic dived the right way but could do nothing to prevent it from going in. It was Ibrahimovic’s 10th league goal of the season. Alberto Gilardino gave Fiorentina an early lead when he volleyed in Juan Manuel Vargas’ cross in the ninth minute. The home side should have doubled its advantage in the 72nd but Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli did well to tip Valon Behrami’s fierce effort onto the crossbar. Atalanta got stronger as the game went on and got its just rewards 10 minutes from time when a corner was cleared to Masiello, who fired in the equalizer on the volley from 25 yards out. The visitors were in front five minutes later when Ezequiel Schelotto crossed in toward the far post where Denis tapped it in from close range for his 11th goal of the season. Fiorentina rescued a point two minutes later when Jovetic acrobatically volleyed in Lorenzo De Silvestri’s pass. At Chievo, Alberto Paloschi tormented the Cagliari defense throughout the match and created the opening goal by setting up Thereau, who muscled his way past his marker and into the area before firing into the middle of the net. Cagliari had a good chance to immediately restore parity as first Victor Ibarbo had his shot rebound off a Chievo defender before Pablo Cepellini also had a shot blocked. The ball then fell to Thiago Ribeiro but the Brazilian’s shot flew well wide of the left post. Chievo extended its lead in the 57th minute as Thereau put in a tantalizing cross, which Sardo raced onto to surprise the Cagliari defense, and shot into the bottom left corner.—AP

French League Roundup

Montpellier lead one point PARIS: Montpellier’s position at the top of Ligue 1 is under threat after they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Toulouse yesterday. Geoffrey Dernis’s early opener for the hosts was cancelled out shortly before halftime by Cheikh Mbengue to leave Montpellier on 37 points from 18 games. Second-placed Paris St Germain, who have 36 points, will take control of the standings if they beat champions Lille, fourth on 34 points, at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.Olympique Lyon moved up to third on 35 points after a Lisandro Lopez second-half goal earned them a 2-1 home win against Evian

Thonon Gaillard. St Etienne snatched a 21 win at Dijon as Les Verts went up to fifth on 30 points. Olympique Marseille kept their faint Ligue 1 title hopes alive when late goals by Mathieu Valbuena and Benoit Cheyrou gave them a 2-1 home win against Lorient, who played an hour with 10 men after Lamine Kone picked up a red card. Valbuena cancelled out Innocent Emeghara’s opener in the 84th minute, with Cheyrou giving OM all three points five minutes into stoppage time, just after Lorient had Alaixys Romao sent off. Eighth-placed Marseille trail the leaders by nine points.

DERNIS STRIKES Montpellier dominated throughout but failed to bounce back with a win after losing to lowly Valenciennes last weekend. Rene Girard’s side went in front in the seventh minute when a John Utaka attempt was parried away by Ali Ahamada into the path of midfielder Dernis, who poked the ball home. However, Dernis was partly at fault for the equaliser when he lost the ball in midfield to Mbengue and the Senegal defender raced through to beat Geoffrey Jourdren with a splendid curling shot to make it 1-1 five minutes from the interval. Toulouse, who are sixth behind St Etienne

on goals scored, held on, with Etienne Capoue twice clearing the danger on his own goal line in the closing stages. Montpellier will be looking anxiously at the teams behind them in the last round of matches before the winter break next week after Lyon claimed their fourth league win in a row. Jimmy Briand opened the scoring from close range in the 35th minute but Evian hit back two minutes before the break with a cross shot from Yannick Sagbo after he collected a through ball. However, Lyon’s Argentine striker Lisandro got on the end of Briand’s cross 20 minutes from time to head a deserved winner. —Reuters

sent a looping header inches wide of the topright corner at the other end, before Osmanback in the side after a hamstring injury-skewed a right-footed shot wide after striding infield from the left flank. Norwich’s forward forays became less frequent as the game progressed, and Saha showed his frustration after heading over from Baines’ cross with just over 15 minutes to go. Moyes turned to Drenthe as the game entered its final stages and the on-loan Real Madrid player supplied the spark that presented Everton with the equalizer in the 81st minute. The Dutchman picked up the ball wide on the right and stepped away from Bradley Johnson before firing in a low effort that Osman craftily diverted past the wrong-footed Ruddy. Drenthe almost snatched a winner with four minutes remaining, but his viciously swerving long-range drive was deflected over the bar with some difficulty by Ruddy.—AFP

German League Roundup

Schalke crush Bremen 5-0 BERLIN: Spanish veteran Raul issued Schalke 04 with a timely reminder of his considerable talent yesterday with a hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Werder Bremen to boost his hopes of a new deal with the club. The 34year-old is out of contract in June and Schalke are set to discuss his future in the Bundesliga’s winter break which starts today. The Royal Blues have already said they are interested in signing Cologne’s Germany striker Lukas Podolski as a possible replacement, but Raul was sublime as Schalke dismantled Bremen’s defence in spectacular style. The result leaves Schalke third in the table and level with defending champions Dortmund on 34 points while both teams are three points behind leaders Bayern Munich. Schalke got off to a flying start at the Veltins Arena with Raul scoring twice in four minutes to leave the hosts 2-0 up after just 20 minutes. The Spaniard finished his hat-trick on 63 minutes with a bullet-header after defender Christian Fuchs swung in a pin-point accurate long-range pass. With Bremen’s defense in tatters, Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar added the last two goals to complete the hammering. Earlier, Japan’s Shinji Kagawa played a starring role as Dortmund trimmed Bayern’s lead to three points with a 4-1 win at Freiburg. Ten-man Bayern had opened up a six-point gap with a 3-0 rout of Cologne in Munich on Friday, however second-placed Dortmund enjoyed a comfortable win at Freiburg to stay in touch. “It was an intense game with a fast pace and it was the most balanced display we have put in all season,” beamed Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. “It was important to get into the lead, in the second-half we exploited the space we found per fectly.” Goals by Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who netted twice, plus Germany midfielders Ilkay Guendogan and Kevin Grosskreutz gave Dortmund a precious victory on the last weekend of the Bundesliga in 2011. A day af ter drawing defending champions Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, Bayer Leverkusen crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to Nuremberg. Just eight minutes after coming off the bench, Wolfsburg’s 20-year-old striker Sebastian Polter netted his first Bundesliga goal on only his second appearance to seal a 1-0 win over Stuttgart. It was only Wolves’ fourth win in their last 10 league games. Hoffenheim were held to a 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin with both sides finishing with 10 men as the guests equalized in added time. Hamburg remain unbeaten under new coach Thorsten Fink after they came from behind to draw 11 with Augsburg. On Friday, Bayern were reduced to 10 men after midfielder Franck Ribery was sent off on 33 minutes after being shown two yellow cards in the space of a minute. But despite the numerical disadvantage, Bayern went ahead after the break when striker Mario Gomez claimed his 16th goal in 16 league games before second-half substitute David Alaba doubled Bayern’s lead just after the hour mark. Germany midfielder Toni Kroos then made it three in the dying minutes as unconvincing Cologne’s defense fell apart. —AFP

AC Milan move top in Serie A Page 19 SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2011

WIGAN: Chelsea’s Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (center) loses the ball leading to the Wigan goal during the English Premier League football match at The DW stadium in Wigan yesterday. — AFP

Chelsea stumble as Wigan snatch a point Wigan1

Chelsea 1

WIGAN: Petr Cech’s late blunder gifted Wigan a 1-1 draw as Chelsea dropped two vital points in the Premier League title race yesterday. Chelsea appeared to be coasting to victory after striker Daniel Sturridge fired the Blues ahead on 59 minutes with a well-taken finish. But with just two minutes of normal time remaining, Chelsea keeper Cech fumbled Hugo Rodallega’s low cross and could only watch in horror as Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez prodded home the equalizer. Cech’s error prevented Chelsea from recording a fourth consecutive league victory

and will reawaken concerns about the Londoners defensive frailties. The draw left third-placed Chelsea six points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, who play Arsenal today. Wigan made a strong start, with Cech struggling to deal with a simple long ball and Gomez going down in the area under Ashley Cole’s challenge. But Sturridge was soon threatening for Chelsea, producing a dangerous cross from the right that was desperately cleared by Gary Caldwell. Captain John Terry picked the ball up from Juan Mata and surged forward before hitting a 30-yard drive that flew just past Ali Al Habsi’s goal. Midfielder Oriol Romeu also tested Al Habsi with a low shot that was pushed away by the Omani goalkeeper. Frank Lampard, who was recalled to the starting line-up in the place of the injured Ramires, also almost created an opening for Mata with a clever throughball. But for all their possession and patience, the visitors were struggling to create good opportunities. They had a scare when Cech failed to deal

Stoke down Wolves WOLVERHAMPTON: Stoke piled on the Wolves 1 problems for Wolves manager Mick McCarthy after coming from behind to snatch a Stoke 2 2-1 win at Molineux yesterday. Wolves took the lead through a Stephen Hunt penalty on 17 minutes but Stoke shrugged off their Europa League exertions in midweek to win courtesy of a Kevin Doyle own goal and a winner from Peter Crouch. Stoke’s win denied Wolves a vital three points and was their fourth defeat in five games, a run which has left them just one place above the relegation zone as they prepare for a demanding Christmas and New Year program which includes games against Arsenal and Chelsea. Stoke by contrast remain in eighth spot after a win which sees them move to within two points of seventh placed Liverpool. Wolves had got off to a strong start, winger Matt Jarvis threatening down the left flank as the home side hunted for an opener. Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross was on hand to snuff out an early Wolves attack, intercepting a Jarvis cross to frustrate the England international. Wolves then threatened again when full-back Ronad Zubar ghosted in to meet another Jarvis centre only before shooting wide. Yet the problems soon began to mount for Stoke, who saw defender Jonathan Woodgate booked for a clumsy challenge on Jarvis. It got worse for Woodgate on 16 minutes, when the former Spurs and Real Madrid star clattered into Jarvis to concede a penalty. The challenge could easily have earned the already cautioned Woodgate a red card, instead the defender was reprieved by referee Anthony Taylor. Hunt showed no mercy from the penalty spot however, driving his spot-kick past Thomas Sorensen for 1-0. Stoke manager Tony Pulis swiftly reorganized his side however, substituting Woodgate for Jermaine Pennant after just 19 minutes. Wolves continued to carve out promising openings but were made to pay for their profligacy on 58 minutes when Stoke struck back against the run of play. Robert Huth unleashed a powerful free-kick from long range which took a huge deflection off Kevin Doyle to fly past a helpless Wayne Hennessey. The goal transformed Stoke, who began to threaten through Pennant and Matthew Etherington. Crouch then grabbed his winner on 70 minutes, bundling in the 99th league goal of his career after a teasing cross from Etherington. — AFP

with a corner from Dave Jones and Mohamed Diame also went close with a driven shot from the left flank. Didier Drogba finally threatened when he beat Caldwell to a Raul Meireles cross but saw his header drop the wrong side of the post. As Wigan pressed once again, promising young winger Victor Moses saw his drive bounce away off Branislav Ivanovic’s arm but referee Martin Atkinson waved away the appeals for a penalty. Meireles also had a thumping shot deflected wide of goal just before half-time before Moses failed to get a touch on a cross to the far post from Connor Sammon. Villas-Boas brought on Salomon Kalou at the interval in the place of Romeu for just his second appearance since August. And shortly after the restart Diame saw another powerful effort fly past Cech’s goal before Maynor Figueroa forced a low save from the Chelsea goalkeeper. Caldwell also did well to glance a header to safety with Drogba looking the favourite to reach Jose Bosingwa’s cross. As Wigan continued to create the better

chances, Moses controlled the ball in the area but then wasted the opening with a wild effort that flew well wide of goal from a narrow angle. But Chelsea showed a ruthless streak when they finally created a clear opportunity. Cole’s long ball forward was misjudged by Figueroa, allowing Sturridge to get in behind the Wigan defense and find the net with a fierce shot that flew in at the far corner. As Wigan looked for a response, Jones saw a powerful strike fly past the top corner and Figueroa broke forward to have another drive pushed away by Cech. Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy also drove wide of the near post after a Jones corner was allowed to run all the way across the Chelsea area. Cech was alert to come out and block from Rodallega after slack defending by Ivanovic before Cole managed a well-timed block from Franco Di Santo’s follow up. But Wigan pulled level with just three minutes left when Cech fumbled Rodallega’s cross and Gomez fired in from close range. — AFP

Newcastle held by Swansea

Bolton misery continues

Newcastle 0

Swansea 0

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle’s mini-slump continued at St James Park yesterday as promoted Swansea held out for a 0-0 draw which saw the Magpies’ winless streak extend to five games. After a superb start to the season which saw them placed in the top four over the opening months of the campaign, Newcastle’s progress has stalled in recent weeks with their last win coming on November 5. Since then the Magpies have taken just two points out of possible 15, a run which includes yesterday’s frustrating stalemate. Newcastle dominated throughout the first half, with skipper Fabricio Coloccini and Demba Ba both hitting the woodwork as the Swans mounted a furious rearguard action. Argentinean international Coloccini was thwarted by a post after launching himself into a diving header on 19 minutes, while Senegalese striker Ba rattled the woodwork with a 23rdminute strike. In-form Swansea keeper Michel Vorm also thwarted the Magpies on 42 minutes, parrying away Ba’s sweetly struck volley. Newcastle also went close just before half-time as Jonas Gutierrez unleashed a curling 44th-minute shot that flew just inches wide. Newcastle were back on the prowl just after half-time, with full-back Danny Simpson crossing for Ba who

LONDON: Fulham’s Andrew Johnson (left) challenges for the ball with Bolton Wanderer’s Marcos Alonso during their English Premier League soccer match at Fulham’s Craven Cottage stadium yesterday. — AP

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United’s Irish striker Leon Best vies with Swansea’s Ashley Richards (front) during an English FA Premier League football match at St James’ Park yesterday. — AFP volleyed over. Coloccini then saw a wide after Newcastle defender Danny 54th minute header cleared away Simpson found himself isolated. after some desperate defending from Newcastle launched a late onslaught Kemy Agustien. Swansea offered little as they sought to avoid dropping or no threat in attack, although for- points to a promoted team for a secmer Magpies wide man Wayne ond consecutive game but they were Routledge enjoyed the occasional for- unable to find the touch of class ay. Swansea’s best chance came on 74 needed to break down the minutes, when Scott Sinclair shot just Welshmen. — AFP

LONDON: Bolton remain rooted to the bottom of the Fulham 2 Premier League after Fulham cruised to a 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage yesterday. Owen Coyle’s side Bolton 0 can have few complaints about their lowly position as they have now lost five successive matches and seven of their last eight in the league. They are five points from safety and face a long struggle to avoid the drop into the Championship. Inevitably it appears confidence is at rock bottom among the Bolton squad and Fulham took full advantage with two goals in quick succession midway through the first half from Clint Dempsey and Bryan Ruiz. This was already Fulham’s 31st match of a grueling season bloated by their participation in the Europa League. That European adventure is over after their midweek exit from Europa League group stages, but there was no sign of a hangover from Martin Jol’s team, who won for just the second time in eight matches in all competitions. Fulham were without England striker Bobby Zamora, who had failed a late fitness test on a medial ligament problem. But Zamora’s replacement Andrew Johnson sparked Fulham in the early stages when he played a one-two with Dempsey and fired just wide. Cottagers captain Danny Murphy, back from injury, also threatened with a superbly-executed volley, while Johnson had a close-range shot blocked by former Fulham defender Zat Knight. Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had to push away John Arne Riise’s drive from 20 yards and Fulham’s pressure paid off as Dempsey broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. American midfielder Dempsey beat Dedryck Boyata to Ruiz’s superb right-wing cross and directed a powerful header past Jaaskelainen. Just 66 seconds later, Fulham doubled their advantage thanks to a moment of magic from Ruiz. The Costa Rica international was put through on goal by Dempsey after outpacing Alonso and, having steadied himself, delightfully scooped the ball over the onrushing Jaaskelainen. Coyle sent on Gretar Steinsson and Chris Eagles at half-time in a bid to revive his team, but it was Fulham who kept pressing. Johnson was ruled offside when clean through on goal, while Dempsey came agonizingly close to directing home the striker’s cross at the back post moments later.— AFP



KSE bearish amid political uncertainty

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ECB bond buys not answer to EU crisis: Stark Page 23


KSE down on waning investor sentiment

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Senate does deal on tax, dents Obama on pipeline Page 25

YOKOHAMA: Photographers (not seen) take photographs of the Yokohama Landmark Tower (centre) and other amusement parks at Minato Mirai 21, a new urban development in Yokohama yesterday. — AFP

Six euro-zone states face downgrade risk Fitch says comprehensive deal beyond reach ROME/BERLIN: The credit rating agency Fitch has told euro-zone countries it believes a comprehensive solution to their debt crisis is beyond reach, putting six euro-zone economies including Italy on watch for potential downgrades in the near future. It reaffirmed France’s top-notch triple-A rating but even here said the outlook was now negative, meaning it could be downgraded within two years. Underscoring the tensions within the bloc over a crisis that has spread relentlessly over the past two years, Italy’s prime minister urged European policymakers on Friday to beware of dividing the continent with efforts to fight its debt crisis. In a swipe at Germany, he warned against a “shortterm hunger for rigor” in some countries. Germany has led resistance to allowing the European Central Bank to ramp up its buying of government bonds on the open market to a big enough scale to douse the crisis, but Fitch late on Friday added to the pressure for just such a move. It said that, following the EU summit a week ago, it had concluded that “a ‘comprehensive solution’ to the eurozone crisis is technically and politically beyond reach”. “Of particular concern is the absence of a credible financial backstop,” it said. “In Fitch’s opinion this requires more active and explicit commitment from the ECB to mitigate the risk of self-fulfilling liquidity crises for potentially illiquid but solvent Euro Area Member States.” It put Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland, and Cyprus on negative watch, which could mean a downgrade within three months. Later another agency, Moody’s, cut Belgium’s credit rating by two notches, saying the euro-zone debt crisis raised funding risks for countries with high public debt burdens, and said

a further downgrade was possible within two years. Standard & Poor’s had already warned 15 of the currency bloc’s 17 members they were close to a downgrade. “The systemic nature of the euro zone crisis is having a profoundly adverse effect on economic and financial stability across the region,” Fitch said. The euro edged higher against the dollar but still suffered its worst weekly performance against the greenback in three months. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gained some respite from domestic pressure to take a tougher line in the crisis when euroskeptics in her junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, lost a grassroots party referendum aimed at blocking a permanent euro zone rescue fund. A victory for the euroskeptics could have brought down Merkel’s centre-right coalition, but the outcome still left the FDP split, with its public support in tatters. Meanwhile, a first draft of a planned fiscal compact among euro zone countries and aspiring members, published on Friday, showed that countries could be taken to the European Court of Justice if they did not meet agreed budget goals. Merkel - under pressure from the revered Bundesbank to force debt-saddled euro zone countries to reform and save their way out of crisis with austerity measures - has led a push for automatic sanctions for deficit “sinners” in the bloc. This has fed concerns that excessive belttightening in southern countries could send their economies into a negative spiral with no prospect of growing out of crisis, while feeding resentment in the prosperous north. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Europe’s response “should be wrapped in a long-term sustainable approach, not just to feed short-term hunger for rigor in some countries”.

“To help European construction evolve in a way that unites, not divides, we cannot afford that the crisis in the euro zone brings us ... the risk of conflicts between the virtuous North and an allegedly vicious South,” he told a conference in Rome. French officials have sought to prepare the public for the likelihood that Paris will lose its top-notch rating from S&P for the first time since 1975, playing down the potential setback and focusing attention instead on neighboring Britain. President Nicolas Sarkozy had vowed to keep the top rating, and it could become an issue in next year’s election campaign. “The economic situation in Britain today is very worrying, and you’d rather be French than British in economic terms,” Finance Minister Francois Baroin said in a radio interview, a day after Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said that if ratings agencies were even-handed, Britain deserved to be downgraded before France. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon had called him to explain that “it had not been his intention to call into question the UK’s rating but to highlight that ratings agencies appeared more focused on economic governance than deficit levels”. Clegg’s office said he accepted the explanation “but made the point that recent remarks from members of the French government about the UK economy were simply unacceptable and that steps should be taken to calm the rhetoric”. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said he was “deeply troubled” by the exchanges. He said politicians needed to be careful because “you’ve got a tinderbox out there in both political and economic terms”. — Reuters

GCC external savings to be slashed: Expert

WTO meet ends with no Doha revival

KUWAIT: GCC states are forecast to cut their savings in the economies of the European Union, Japan and the United States, according to a prominent expert. Francisco Quintana, an analyst at the Research Department of the Kuwait China Investment Company (KCIC), said, in a statement yesterday, that the GCC states invest up to 75 percent of their savings in the economies of these states, currently suffering from contraction. Share of these economies in the world gross product would drop from 48 percent to 38 percent by 2020. Asia’s stake vis-a-vis the WGP would grow from 25 percent to 35 percent by 2020. As to the Gulf investments in Asia, they are prospected to remain within the range of 11 percent. GCC states’ investment in the Asian countries, except for Japan, would amount to 21 percent of the oil exports’ returns, forecast to generate $600 billion. Gross Domestic Product of the GCC states is forecast to grow five percent in 2012, he said, indicating that his optimistic outlook regarding economies of states of the region was based on forecast continuing hike of oil prices-crude is main source of income for the countries in the Gulf. — KUNA

GENEVA: Ministers wrapped up a three-day World Trade Organization meeting yesterday with no new direction in sight for the deadlocked Doha Round of negotiations for a global free trade pact. The chairman statement at the end of the day is expected to express regret at the impasse. It would also note that member states needed to “more fully explore different negotiating approaches, and that they should “intensify their efforts to look into ways” to overcome the stalemate. Further, it is to pledge that negotiations would continue based on the progress that has already been achieved. Launched a decade ago in the Qatari capital, the Doha Round of negotiations has faltered, as developing and developed countries failed to bridge entrenched positions on cutting farm subsidies and lowering industrial tariffs. With the talks at a standstill, ministers had arrived in Geneva knowing full well that their three-day meeting was not a negotiating session. During a press conference, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht admitted that WTO member states needed to “recognize that our credibility has been seriously damaged by our failure to get Doha off the ground.” “We must make sure that 2012 does not become a ‘lost year’. I am ready to take the lead and I look to all my partners to join me,” he urged.— AFP




KSE bearish amid political uncertainty KUWAIT: Despite the improved performance Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) witnessed at the beginning of the week, after the newly appointed Prime Minister, HH Sheikh Jaber Mubarak AlSabah, formed a new Cabinet, the bearish tone resurfaced and took the market to its lowest level since November 28. The drop came in line with international markets’ retreat, as US stocks tumbled on concerns of Europe’s debt woes returning to the forefront, after major credit ratings agencies warned that European leaders had not done enough to tackle the region’s debt crisis. However, all eyes in the local market are currently concentrated on the upcoming parliamentary elections, after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has dissolved the assembly following the government’s resignation. Investors wish to see some political stability and spending directed towards the country’s development plan in the coming period, prior to injecting new cash into the market. For the week, Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), as measured by the market weighted Global General Index, was mainly down, shedding 1.37 percent of its value and closing at 180.15 point, escalating the year-to-date index loss to 19.41 percent. Seven out of the eight market sectors ending at lower levels.KSE price index was also down, losing 0.74 percent (43.70 points) during the week and closing at 5,823.3 points, presenting a 16.28 percent decline on a year-to-date basis. Market capitalization shrunk by KD407.27mn during the week, reaching KD29.47bn. In the meantime, market breadth was strongly tilted towards decliners’ side with 77 stocks declining against only 30 stocks that have increased out of 128 traded shares. Total trading activity was lower as the year came toward ending. Total weekly volume was down by 11.89 percent, reaching 904.56mn shares changing hands at a total traded value of KD116.52mn (3.63 percent lower compared the earlier week). Real Estate sector accounted for 31.76 percent (287.26mn shares) of the total market traded shares as heavy trading was seen on Abyaar Real Estate Development Company during the week. The scrip topped the volume list for the week with 124.72mn shares changing hands. The scrip also appeared in the top gainers list, adding 11.32 percent to its value, and closing at KD0.0295. The increase came in line with the company announcing the sale of one of its properties in Dubai for a total value of AED10mn, which will be used to settle its debt obligations. On the other hand, Banking sector was the most traded in terms of value, accounting for 36.63 percent of the aggregate traded value (KD42.68mn worth of shares traded). Gulf Bank was the biggest value traded stock in the market for the third week, with KD33.58mn worth of stocks traded. However, the scrip ended the week flat at KD0.510. On sector performance, the drop was broadbased with seven out of the eight market sectors ending the week retreating. Heavyweights Global Banking and Services sectors closed down by 1.39 percent and 1.26 percent, respectively. Commercial Bank of Kuwait was the only gaining stock in the banking sector, adding 2.53 percent to its value, and closing at KD0.810. In the services sector, heavyweight Zain and Agility closed down by 1.10 percent and 2.53 percent, respectively, while Wataniya Telecom ended the week flat at KD1.960. Global Industrial Index was the biggest loser for the second week, shedding 1.53 percent of its value. Heavyweight, National Industries Group (Holding) was a major loser in the sector,


down by 7.41 percent. Meanwhile, in the same sector, Contracting and Marine Services Company topped the gainers’ list for the week, adding 28.75 percent to its share value. On the other hand, Global Insurance Sector Index was the only gainer during the week, adding 1.19 percent to its value. Kuwait Insurance Company was the sole advancer in the sector, adding 8.33 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.325. Global Large Cap (Top 10) index was notably down by 1.24 percent with one of its ten stocks, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, closing at higher level as mentioned above. Islamic companies were also seen down by 0.86 percent, as measured by Global Islamic Sharia Index. Majority of the Islamic companies ended either down or flat, while the biggest Islamic stock, Kuwait Finance House closed lower by 1.11 percent. On the other hand, Islamic Abyaar Real Estate Development Company was the biggest gainer, adding 11.32 percent to its share price. Macroeconomic News The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) is not considering the option of decreasing the value of Kuwaiti Dinar to increase the country’s revenues “as such a measure will erode trust in the currency,” Director of Economic Research Department at CBK Sami Al-Anba’e said. Earlier, acting Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali had warned that the measure, which is very risky, might have to be taken due to the huge increase in the State’s general budget. Speaking at a seminar “Reducing the value of Kuwaiti Dinar,” organized recently by Kuwait Accountants and Auditors, AlAnba’e said the step is not good for the country as it will lead to a steep hike in the cost of commodities Kuwait totally depends on. Therefore, the country’s economy will be harmed. AlAnba’e stressed the necessity of curbing expenditure and consumption by imposing taxes over luxurious and unnecessary commodities. He added that Kuwaiti Dinar is a reliable currency due to the independence of CBK, the main decision-maker in such issues. He mentioned that the value of Kuwaiti dinar was not much affected since it was pegged with the basket of currencies in 2007. OPEC’s Wednesday output deal did not include any commitment from Gulf Arab producers who had raised output to compen-

sate for lost Libyan oil to cut back as its output revives, UAE Oil Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen Al-Hamli said. An OPEC delegate from a Gulf producer also said the agreement to fix an overall group output quota of 30mn barrels per day did not include any discussion on individual member quotas. Price of Kuwaiti crude was down by $2.85 during the last week, reaching $107.00 per barrels (pb) on Wednesday, December 14 compared to $109.85 recorded on Wednesday, December 07, as announced by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). However, a marginal rise of the oil price came towards the end of the week after the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast global demand for crude would grow to 1.3mn barrels despite global economic slowdown. Prices of the crude have been fluctuating upward and downward due to a mixture of factors, namely the European debts crisis. OPEC oil producers sealed their first new output agreement in three years in a deal that settles a 6-month-old argument over supply policy firmly in Saudi Arabia’s favor. OPEC agreed a target of 30mn barrels daily, ratifying current production near 3-year highs. The deal vindicates Saudi Arabia after its proposal to raise output in June to stem rising prices was rejected by prince hawks led by Iran, Algeria and Venezuela. In this regard, Kuwait’s oil minister said on Wednesday, December 14, he hoped OPEC would reach agreement on a new 30mn barrel a day production limit. “Now we are going for 30mn which I think most countries agreed to. I am hopeful we will agree on this ceiling today at this meeting,” said Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Busairi. Kuwait ups OSP Kuwait has raised the official selling price (OSP) for its crude oil sales to Asian buyers for January by $1.55 a barrel to $2.40 a barrel above the average of Oman/Dubai quotes, traders said on Friday, December 9. That is within the range of expectations in a Reuters survey. Kuwait set its OSP at $0.85 per barrel above the Oman/Dubai average for December loading. Kuwait’s crude price formula is loosely linked to that of Saudi Arabia’s Arab Medium grade. A Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) source revealed that the company has frozen the negotiations it had been

working on with Exxon mobile to develop heavy oil wells North of Kuwait. Sources said that a halt to the negotiations came after an objection was made by an official leader in the state about the contracting draft with Shell to develop gas fields and the accusation of the company of making violations in the contracting mechanism. Sources explained that KOC had come a long way in its negotiations with Exxon mobile, but that the formation of enquiry committees in the Shell contract stopped the negotiations as the highlighted the point that the Company’s experience in heavy oil is very limited and that it had always depended on light oil. Kuwait named a new government on December 13, changing the heads of only minor ministries, despite a deep political impasse in the OPEC nation that has led to delays and cancellations of key reforms and projects. Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, named as prime minister by HH the Amir last month, kept his job as defense minister as well as taking over the ministry of the interior, Kuwait media said. Oil minister Mohammad Al-Busairi and Finance Minister Mustapha Al-Shamali also held on to their posts, as did Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah and Trade Minister Amani Bouresli. The cabinet will oversee elections of a new parliament after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dissolved the assembly following the government’s resignation. STC Group announced that it will begin procedures to list the shares of Kuwait Telecom Company (VIVA), an STC Group Company in the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange. This listing is an execution of the Amiri Decree number 187/2007 following the rules and regulations of the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange (KSE) allowing customers to trade their stocks in KSE. STC Group CEO, Engineer Saud bin Majed Al Daweesh highlighted that the agreement was concluding at VIVA headquarter with NBK Capital to manage the listing. KSE stress tests Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) conducted its first review of the Kuwait-15 index introduced in mid 2011, and said there would be regular reviews late May and late November each year. The review pushed Boubyan Petrochemical

Company out and onto the reserve list, and replaced it by Commercial Bank of Kuwait. Imtiaz company was meanwhile crossed out, and is now off the reserve list. The KSE statement pointed out that the Kuwait-15 companies represent 68.02 percent of overall market value, and 51.43 percent of the overall liquidity. A report, issued by the Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies ranked Kuwait fourth largest Arabic petrochemicals producer, with 6.8 percent of the total Arab production. Jassim Transport & Stevedoring Company W.L.L. (JTC) has further consolidated its position as one of Kuwait’s leading logistics companies with the recent award of the tender from the Public Authority for Industry (PAI), according to a press release this week. The scope of the contract comprises cargo handling and transportation between Kuwait sea and land transit gates and Kuwait Free Trade Zone in Shuwaikh Port for a period of three years. The project for the establishment of the Free Trade Zone is a key element in the government’s vision to transfer Kuwait into a Global Financial and Trade Hub. By granting exemptions from taxes and customs duties, issuing licenses on the spot and having as little state intervention as possible, the Kuwait Free Trade Zone promises to give competition to the neighboring free zones in Dubai and Iran, in the near future. The operation of the free zone is managed by PAI and is supervised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI). Highlights of the week Assistant Undersecretary for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Communications Abdul-Mohsen Al-Mutairi said that Kuwait is one of the most important centers in the area of international trade and logistics in the Middle East. Al-Mutairi said in a speech at the opening of the first Kuwait Conference and Exhibition of supply networks and logistics operations on behalf of the Minister of Electricity and Water and Minster of Communications Salem Al-Uthaina that logistics operations play a pivotal role as whole nations may be affected as a result of the non-arrival of supplies through their territories of territories adjacent to them. He added that the construction of new ports in Kuwait or those under construction is a successful indication for the future of the country, pointing to the significance of building integrated rail networks in the Arab countries. He also stressed the importance of stiffening controls on goods traded in the border areas between the Arab countries to keep pace with global requirements and in line with the global free market mechanisms. Industrial and Financial Investments Company announced that it is undergoing negotiations with an investor to sell its stake in Kuwait Qatar Insurance Company. Advanced Technology Company announced that it has signed a one-year, KD4.25mn contract with the heirs of Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah AlSabah to establish, supply and install medical equipment at Sheikh Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber AlSabah Dialysis Center. Osoul Investment Company announced selling shares owned by Gulf Capital Group in an auction for KD166,685 to pay part of the Group’s debts to OSOUL. In addition to the above, Osoul seized KD71,875 mortgaged at Kuwait Clearing Company. Consequently, the total reached KD238,560 based on the ruling which forces Gulf Capital Group to pay KD2.31mn to OSOUL. In case of collecting the money prior to December 31, 2011, it will appear in the results of the 4th quarter 2011.

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

.2735000 .4270000 .3600000 .2920000 .2660000 .2720000 .0040000 .0020000 .0754170 .7347690 .3810000 .0700000 .7203090 .0040000 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2778000 .4296590 .3600570 .2937040 .2670000 .0484490 .0395860 .2744250 .0356870 .2120770 .0035620 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0756640 .7371630 .0000000 .0741000 .7218400 .0000000

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.598 5.337 3.154 2.436 3.341 213.250 35.672 3.580 6.336 8.873 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 74.150

.2810000 .4390000 .3700000 .3080000 .2770000 .2850000 .0070000 .0035000 .0761750 .7421540 .4020000 .0760000 .7275480 .0072000 .0530000 .2799000 .4329070 .3627780 .2959240 .2690180 .0488150 .0398850 .2764990 .0359570 .2136800 .0035890 .0052320 .0024650 .0031360 .0036490 .0762360 .7427360 .3958980 .0746600 .7272960 .0063900

Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

Sterling Pound US Dollar

SELL CASH 282.000 742.130 3.880 273.900 548.100 43.800 49.900 167.800 48.100 367.800 36.560 5.650 0.032 0.212 0.243 3.680 396.300 0.189 90.410 46.600 4.290 216.000 1.808 47.900 724.840 3.310 6.740

300.800 5.100 9.130 75.980 279.000

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 435.200 279.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

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

76.760 74.510 215.570 36.050 2.448 435.200

GOLD 1,673.820

10 Tola

GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

77.190 74.510 215.570 36.050 2.659 437.200 41.400 302.300 5.100 9.340 198.263 76.080 279.400 1.340

SELL DRAFT 280.500 742.130 3.473 272.400

215.600 46.417 366.300 36.410 5.300 0.031

395.420 0.188 90.410 3.330 214.500 724.660 3.125 6.360

Rate for Transfer 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

Selling Rate 278.950 273.160 433.935 365.820 297.605 738.695 75.925 76.570 74.345 392.660 46.390 2.446 5.299 3.121 3.462 6.351 684.255 3.670 8.980 5.875 3.310 92.660

SELL DRAFT 282.90 274.54 301.72 366.66 436.49 3.64 3.478 5.265

2.449 3.312 3.113 75.95 742.13 46.35 396.93 725.10 76.93 74.50

SELL CASH 283.00 274.00 305.00 371.50 436.00 3.70 3.820 5.590

2.650 4.050 3.300 76.50 742.00 48.10 396.00 725.00 77.15 74.75

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 279.000 3.115 5.145 2.455 3.480 6.345 76.065 74.555 741.700 46.430 436.700 3.190 1.550 396.400 5.750 368.100 274.200 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee

Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 278.650 Euro 365.000 Pound Sterling 433.300 Canadian Dollar 270.900 Japanese Yen 3.585 Indian Rupee 5.295 Egyptian Pound 46.385 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.450 Bangladesh Taka 3.450 Philippines Peso 6.365 Pakistan Rupee 3.130 Bahraini Dinar 742.000 UAE Dirham 75.900 Saudi Riyal 74.450 *Rates are subject to change



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How to negotiate a salary raise KUWAIT: For some, negotiating is second nature and they can comfortably hold their own, outwit, outcharm and outmaneuver their negotiating partner and secure the outcome they want in any scenario. For others, the very thought of a confrontational situation sets their pulses racing and their eyes darting towards the nearest exit. Given that negotiation skills are pivotal to any role, if you belong to the latter group, you are well advised to start practicing and acquire this key skill set early on. Employers, like clients, are usually wise to this deficiency and in some cases will exploit it to advance their own interests at the expense of yours. Below are some key tips from the Middle East’s #1 job site to help you successfully negotiate a salary increase from your present employer. 1. Identify the right negotiating partner In case you have any doubts at all, the right partner when it comes to asking for a raise is your direct boss. No ambiguity about it. Not the Head of HR (unless he/she is your direct boss), not your boss’s boss, not the top brass at the company you work for, just your direct boss. Bypass your direct boss and you not only jeopardize your chances of success at negotiating a raise but also your potential longevity at the firm. 2. Get the timing right Did you get a substantial raise after much negotiation as recently as 6-9 months ago? Then question the wisdom of asking again so soon. Has your performance or your team’s been on the wane lately? Is the company suffering a profitability downturn or going through a period of stringent cost-cutting? Has your boss recently had a hard time justifying the costs of his department? Then perhaps this is not the right time. No harm trying of course but be aware that the best time for negotiating an increase is after a period of consistently stellar performance. 3. Base your request on clear and objective criteria Base your request for a raise on a set of clear and objective criteria that include industry salary standards and your recent performance. In addition to determining what your actual “fair and equitable” market worth is based on industry standards, be clear about the value of your recent contributions to the firm in terms of increased revenues and productivity, resources saved, initiatives taken, processes improved etc. Be prepared to walk your boss through your recent successes and accomplishments and gather all the documentation you need to support your cause. 4. Prepare yourself for all possible scenarios Anticipate all the concerns and possible objections your employer may have and prepare an adequate response for all possible scenarios. Concerns may include the fact that your department is downsizing, the fact that the company is going through a period of retrenchment, the fact that you are already overpaid for your role in the company or only recently got a raise etc. Remember that your boss will also most probably have to answer to several people to justify your raise. 5. Don’t burn bridges Remember that at the end of the day you will still have to work for your boss so avoid saying anything you may later regret. Even if you decide to quit the job after an obviously unsuccessful negotiation process you will need reference letters and may well cross paths with your boss again in your future career.

ECB bond buys not answer to euro-zone crisis: Stark Implementing EU summit decisions is crucial BERLIN: The euro- zone crisis cannot be solved with monetary policy measures and swift implementation of the EU summit’s decisions is crucial, European Central Bank policymaker Juergen Stark was quoted as saying by German weekly WirtschaftsWoche. Stark said he was stepping down as an executive board member of the ECB at end-year because he was not satisfied with the way the situation in the euro zone had developed, alluding to pressure on the bank to take more decisive action to stem the two-year sovereign debt crisis. Previously, he had mentioned only “personal reasons” for leaving the bank, though sources had said he was quitting over his opposition to the bank’s bond buying program. Stark told the magazine in an interview to be published in its Monday edition that the ECB had consistently, and in a timely manner, warned the euro zone of problems over the past few years. Politicians had paid little heed but now expected the bank to solve the crisis. “Don’t ask too much of the central bank,” Stark said, adding that further bond purchases by the ECB would not end the crisis. The ECB is at the centre of a fierce political tug-of-war, resisting - with Germany’s backing - calls from France, Italy, the United States, Britain and Russia to respond to the euro zone debt crisis by being more forceful in its bond buying. Stark said such calls displayed a lack of understanding of the European institutional framework. “It is the fundamental arrangement of this currency union that it does not allow the monetary funding of sovereign debt by the ECB,” he said. “Without these rules, there would be no economic and currency union.” He said the ECB had already bought around 210 billion euros worth of state debt since May 2010. “This instrument is limited in terms of the time frame and volume, we cannot indefinitely expand our balance sheet.” Last week ECB President Mario Draghi dashed hopes the bank was gearing up for a more aggressive approach to bond purchases, saying comments he had made that if leaders agreed to more shared spending and debt rules “further elements might follow”, had been

wrongly read as code for increased ECB bond buying. The ECB actually slashed purchases of government bonds to little more than half a billion euros in the run-up to the EU crisis summit. Stark said that markets expected short-term solutions to the crisis and these were necessary for Italy to refinance its debt. “The swift implementation of the Brussels Dec. 9 summit decisions is crucial,” he said, describing them as a “veritable breakthrough”.

LONDON: People walk down Regent Street in London yesterday. British officials said retail sales fell in November despite price reductions at many major stores. The figures raise concerns about whether the Christmas season will also be disappointing for British retailers. —AP

Cyprus slashes spending as Fitch hovers: Report NICOSIA: Cyprus’s parliament slashed state spending in a deficit-busting budget, anxious to stem a further ratings slide as Fitch warned the island and another six euro zone nations could face the chop from the region’s debt crisis. In a show of hands, lawmakers approved the state budget by majority, after last minute changes which saw the fiscal shortfall falling below the government’s stated target of 2.5 percent of gross domestic product next year. MPs cut government-proposed current expenditure, excluding salaries, for next year by about 8 percent. As the government-proposed 2012 budget stood, it projected a deficit of between 2.4 and 2.5 percent of GDP. The fiscal shortfall is expected to hit 6.0 percent this year. “We hope this (additional cuts) will bring the deficit to below 2.0 percent next year,” said Nicholas Papadopoulos, chairman of parliament’s finance committee. The Mediterranean island is the thirdsmallest economy in the euro-zone and has suffered a series of ratings downgrades this year from fiscal slippage and exposure of its

banks to Greece. As lawmakers voted, Fitch, which rates Cyprus BBB, on Friday placed the island on a Rating Watch Negative along with Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy and Ireland.. It also placed France’s AAA rating outlook to negative from stable. Cyprus has been unable to access international markets since May because of high yields on its already traded debt.The island has announced a 2.5 billion euro loan from Russia to help refinance debt maturing next year. Cyprus’s finance ministry said the warning highlighted the need to take all necessary measures, at a national level, to mitigate the effects of rating assessments. Friday’s budget was, it said, the “tightest” in 35 years, which would limit funding requirements in 2012. “In addition, contrary to many other countries in the euro-zone, Cyprus has already secured the largest amount of its financing needs for 2012,” the finance ministry said. “On this basis there do not appear to be serious grounds to cause particular concern to Cyprus,” it said.—Reuters

Japan’s Toyota plans record 2012 output

NEW DEHI: Indians shop in a crowded market in New Delhi yesterday. India’s industrial production slid 5.1 percent in October thanks to waning consumer demand and lackluster investment. Industrial output hasn’t fallen in India since June 2009. The country’s central bank held key interest rates steady as it struggles to foster growth amid high inflation, and took steps to curb currency speculation, lifting the rupee from all-time lows Friday. — AP

“Italy has high refinancing needs, but these must be shouldered,” he said. “Italy must create the basis for this itself with a comprehensive program of reforms and consolidation measures.” Stark also said that Greece was dragging its feet on necessary reforms under the pretext that it was suffering from a systemic European crisis. “It’s not on when you push the responsibility onto someone else if you haven’t done your homework yourself,” he said. —Reuters

TOKYO: Japan’s biggest carmaker Toyota Motor plans to boost its global output to a record 8.65 million vehicles in 2012, boosted by demand in emerging markets, reports said yesterday. Toyota anticipates continued growth in emerging markets in Asia and South America although sales outlooks in developed nations are murky due to the European debt crisis, the Nikkei business daily said. Toyota will probably decide on its production as early as next week before informing major parts suppliers, the paper said without naming its sources. Kyodo news agency, quoting unnamed company officials, also reported Toyota was in the final stage of setting a 2012 global production target for Toyota- and Lexus-brand vehicles of 8.65 million. The figure would represent an increase of about 20 percent from Toyota’s estimated output for this year and surpass the current record of 8.53 million units set in 2007, before the global financial crisis. Toyota’s 2011 production was hampered by the March earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan which disrupted supply chains, as well as massive flooding in Thailand. No immediate confirmation of the reports was available from the company. — AFP

Gold ends up, sets biggest weekly drop in 3 months NEW YORK/LONDON: A weakening dollar and short covering drove investors back into gold on Friday, lifting prices to end a sharp four-session pullback that still yielded the biggest weekly decline in almost three months. Spot gold rallied as much as 1.7 percent to $1,600.49 per ounce, and steadied at $1,596.40 by 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT,) up from a near 3-month low at 1,560.36 hit in the previous session. US gold rose 1.31 percent to close at $1,597.90 per ounce, after hitting a high at $1,598.10 per ounce. David Lee, metals trader at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York said he thought gold’s push higher on Friday was a function of the yellow metal being temporarily oversold after its nosedive from levels above $1,750 last week. “Some people were taking the opportunity to scoop it up at lower levels. And, it’s still up year to date. So, it wasn’t surprising that people wanted to sell it off to raise cash for the year end,” Lee said. He warned, however, that the 1 to 2 percent rebound was not significant relative to the high priced of the yellow metal, adding that prices could come off again if the crisis in Europe worsens before year end. “If comes back down to the day’s low on Sunday night, for example, I’d say dump it really fast. I think it will continue to go down to around $1,550,” said Lee. A slightly weaker dollar against a basket of currencies also helped boost precious metal prices. A softer US currency makes dollar-priced commodities, such as gold, more affordable for holders of other currencies. For the week, bullion lost around 6.60 percent, its biggest fall since late September. It remains vulnerable to a deepening euro zone debt crisis and rising funding stress. “Gold took a beating this week and today bounced a bit as investors see this as a good moment to buy, but it is still vulnerable,” Credit Agricole analyst Robin Bhar said. “I expect gold will stay under pressure as the funding stress is increasing the need for

liquidity, and gold is seen as one of the assets to liquidate.” The need for cash has overwhelmed gold’s traditional status as a safe haven in the past few months, putting the metal on course for its first quarterly fall since end-September 2008 when the global credit crunch was at its worst. Gold has, therefore, benefited recently from developments that have reduced risk aversion and the flight to cash. It got a boost after Spain attracted solid demand for its bonds on Thursday, helping to ease concerns the country could be among the next to fall in the euro zone’s debt crisis. “At the moment a lot of people are resting their hopes on the fact that physical demand will pull gold back up again, but because of the amount of speculative investment that has gone into this market over the last years, it is obviously exposed on that basis,” said Ole Hansen, a senior manager at Saxo Bank. Gold benefits when central banks print money or cut interest rates or when money managers diversify assets. “With access to liquidity being constrained, market participants have increasing problems to refinance,” Credit Suisse said in a research note. “As a result they have to sell their assets including precious metals - to raise the much-needed cash. This is the main reason why gold prices fall on days of increasing funding stress.” In other precious metals, spot silver gained as much as 2.68 percent to trade at $29.97 an ounce, before pulling back to $29.64 per ounce late in the session. Spot platinum rose to a high at $1,436.25, then changed hands at $1,415.24, up from $1,404 at Thursday’s close. Palladium climbed to a session high of $632.52 an ounce and then steadied around $620.72, higher than the previous close at $614.25 per ounce. “As well as tracking gold, for platinum and palladium there are fears over weak industrial growth, and they may be hit harder as people look to liquidate risk,” Bhar said. — Reuters

Poverty peaks amid Greek financial crisis, say experts ATHENS: Poverty in Greece has risen to new heights under a gruelling recession exacerbated by austerity that has swelled the ranks of the unemployed, the homeless and the destitute, experts said yesterday. In comments to Ethnos daily, public officials, senior churchmen and welfare group representatives warned of a brooding humanitarian crisis as official data showed over 320,000 people had lost their jobs in a year. Athens Mayor George Kaminis told the daily that the city’s homeless had increased by around 20 percent while queues at soup kitchens organized by municipal and church organizations were up 15 percent. “Care workers no longer meet typical homeless people, they meet a person who likely had a perfectly organized life weeks previously,” said Kaminis, who has asked for additional

state funding for city welfare services. “We have noticed a dramatic increase in our mess halls over the recent period,” added Chrysostomos Symeonidis, head of the Athens archdiocese poverty fund. “We distribute over 10,000 meals on a daily basis and 250,000 meals are given out nationwide on a weekly basis,” Symeonidis said. Greek unions warn that the number of jobless will exceed 20 percent next year because of the recession and public sector cutbacks demanded by the country’s creditors, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The Greek government has pledged to reduce the state payroll by 150,000 people by 2015 but only a fraction will be staff already near retirement. Greece is in the grip of a four-year recession set to continue next year, bringing the

cumulative fall in economic output to 15 percent, according to EU estimates. Official data this week showed there were over 878,000 people out of work in the third quarter of the year, most of them women and persons aged under 30. The state statistics agency said the number of employed had fallen to nearly 4.1 million from 4.4 million a year earlier. “It can be quite hard for young people who can’t find work, but imagine the psychological anxiety of someone my age,” 60-year-old radio technician George Barkouris, who lost his job just before retirement, told Ethnos. “Everything shows that the family fabric as we once knew it is fading, those close to us aren’t there when you need them the most,” said Barkouris, who has children but is now staying at a homeless shelter. — AFP

HOLLYWOOD: A man holding an unfinished note for begging which reads “Like to see my family for...” receives a $5.00 note from the driver of a vehicle stopped at a red light in Hollywood Friday. US mayors sounded an alarm a day earlier over deepening economic woes after a survey of 29 cities from Los Angeles to Washington showed worrying rises in homelessness and poverty-related food aid. — AFP




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KSE down on waning investor sentiment

BAYAN WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended last week in the red zone. The price index ended last week with a decrease amounted to 0.74%, while the weighted index retreated by 1.30% compared to the closings of the week before. Furthermore, last week’s average daily turnover decreased by 3.63%, compared to the preceding week, reaching KD 23.30 million, whereas trading volume average was 180.91 million shares, recording decrease of 11.89%. The political issues were present last week, as it witnessed the forming of new government; nevertheless, the effect of that news was limited as the traders are waiting to see how the new government economic policies will differ from the previous one. On the other hand, the inner factor was the main player during last week, as the market witnessed profit taking operations in response to its gains during the previous two weeks. The Banks sector was a subject for both buying and selling deals; the sector had a significant share from the daily turnover, playing a major role in directing the market indices. Furthermore, the selective buying was present; both leading and low price stocks were included, in addition to negative effect speculations. By the end of the week, the price index closed at 5,823.30 points, down by 0.74% from the week

before closing, whereas the weighted index recorded a 1.30% decrease after closing at 407.64 points. Sectors’ Indices All of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the red zone except for one sector. The Non-Kuwaiti Companies sector headed the losers list as its index declined by 2.43% to end the week’s activity at 5,327.8 points. The Investment sector was second on the losers’ list, which index declined by 1.43%, closing at 3,569.6 points, followed by the Banks sector, as its index closed at 11,338.7 points at a loss of 0.77%. The Industry sector was the least declining as its index closed at 4,319.0 points with a 0.20% decrease. On the other hand, the Insurance sector was last week only gainer, which index grew by 0.92%, closing at 2,502.3 points. Sectors’ Activity The Real Estate sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 287.26 million shares changing hands, representing 31.76% of the total market trading volume. The Investment sector was second in terms trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 29.49% of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 266.72 million shares. On the other hand, the

Banks sector’s stocks where the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD 42.68 million or 36.63% of last week’s total market trading value. The Investment sector took the second place as the sector’s last week turnover of KD 24.70 million represented 21.20% of the total market trading value. Market Capitalization KSE total market capitalization declined by 1.35% during last week to reach KD 28.69 billion, as all of KSE’s sectors recorded a decrease in their respective market capitalization except for one sector. The Non Kuwaiti Companies sector headed the decliners list as its total market capitalization reached KD 1.69 billion, decreasing by 3.28%. The Investment sector was the second in terms of recorded decline with 1.52% decrease after the total value of its listed companies reached KD 2.11 billion. The third place was for the Industry sector, which total market capitalization reached KD 2.26 billion by the end of the week, recording a decline of 1.51%. The Food sector was the least declining with 0.20% recorded decrease after its market capitalization amounted to KD 704.31 million. On the other hand, the Insurance sector was last week’s only gainer as its total market capitalization increased by 1.17% to reach, by the end of the week around, KD 291 million.



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Time short for S&P to end 2011 higher WALL STREET WEEKLY OUTLOOK NEW YORK: With two weeks left in the trading year, the euro-zone debt crisis will remain the primary impediment to pushing the S&P 500 index into positive territory for 2011. Uncertainty over progress in the region, along with the potential for credit rating downgrades on euro zone countries, have kept investors on edge and market volatility high. Even with a fairly busy US economic calendar, which includes a batch of data on the housing market, the final reading on gross domestic product and durable goods orders, markets will focus on developments from Europe. “What everybody is going to look at is the same thing they’ve been looking atevery time a German official opens their mouth we get crushed,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte,

Vermont. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Santa Claus is out there. But we’ve got to see something.” The benchmark S&P 500 index is down about 3 percent for the year and would need to climb above 1,257.64 in order to end higher for the year. A rally by stocks Friday fizzled, and the market ended with only modest gains after the latest credit warning about possible downgrades of European nations. For the week, the Dow fell 2.7 percent, the S&P lost 2.9 percent and the Nasdaq was down 3.5 percent. Italy’s prime minister urged European policymakers Friday to beware of dividing the continent in the effort to contain the debt crisis, warning against a “short-term hunger for rigor” in some countries, in a swipe at Germany. Stocks have been whipsawed as

investors weigh the threat from the eurozone crisis against modest improvement in US economic data and stocks that many regard as cheap. “There do appear to be some improving economic indicators domestically, but it’s hard to see how they win the day if Europe continues to be a big concern. It’s not like the valuations are at such bargain-basement prices that it becomes a one-way bet,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco. As volumes begin to dry up and market moves become more exaggerated during the holiday period, the volatility may help lift the stock market into the plus column. “Can you see an upside rally? Certainly, because you are going to have some asset managers in the end who are going to try and just push it so the market ends at the

very least flat on the year, if not higher,” said Ken Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities in New York. “If there is going to be a rally at all, it will happen on light volume because there will be fewer and fewer participants. When there is less volume, you do have the ability to have those exaggerated moves, but people will take advantage of that.” Volatility in individual shares could also be affected by corporate earnings preannouncements. There have been 97 negative earnings preannouncements issued by S&P 500 corporations for the fourth quarter, compared to 26 positive preannouncements, resulting in a negative-to-positive ratio of 3.7. That’s the highest in 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters data. Companies that have provided outlooks in recent weeks include DuPont, Intel Corp,

United Technologies Corp and Texas Instruments Inc. Unexpected management shakeups could also be on the horizon and increase the tumult in stocks. Both Cablevision Systems Corp and the New York Times Co saw high-level executives suddenly leave their posts. But stock movements next week will ultimately be dictated by actions taken in Europe, with the light volume exacerbating market swings. “The only thing that is going to be of any interest is certainly the continuing headlines on Europe, whether or not they come any closer to what looks like a potential agreement,” said Polcari. “You may get a little bit of a push to the 1,250 to 1,270 range, but much beyond that I don’t see why it would go any higher unless you get some explosive announcement out of Europe.” — Reuters

Senate does deal on tax, dents Obama on pipeline Agreement on tax holiday, jobless benefits

DHRANGANDHRA: An Indian man walks past cotton mounds in Dhrangadhra, about 110 kilometers from Ahmadabad, India. The Indian parliament was informed earlier this week that about 90 per cent of the area under the cotton crop in India is under Bt cotton variety, the only transgenic crop now under commercial cultivation in the country. — AP

MF Global prober: Much to do before money returned NEW YORK: There is still a lot of work to do before hundreds of millions of dollars can be returned to customers of bankrupt MF Global, the woman leading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s investigation said. CFTC Commissioner Jill Sommers, who heads up one of several probes of a massive shortfall in money that was supposed to be segregated for MF Global customers, said in a statement that “dozens of auditors, investigators and attorneys” are continuing to work on the case. But “subsequent transfers of those funds are currently being traced, and there is still a lot of work to do” before the CFTC will be in a position to identify the exact source of the shortfall and work to pay back customers, Sommers said. Most customers have already been paid back about 72 percent of the value of their accounts. Sommers’ statement came two days after she said the CFTC’s investigation was “far enough along the trail” to be able to determine where customer money went. “We certainly don’t want to lead anyone to believe we don’t know what happened,” Sommers, a Republican commissioner, told Reuters on Wednesday. “We do know, and we see where all the transactions went.” At the time, Sommers said investigators were trying to determine which of the customer transfers were valid and which were illegitimate. MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after it was forced to reveal that it had made a $6.3 billion bet on European sovereign debt, spooking investors and customers. Regulators and others probing MF Global say a huge chunk of segregated customer funds is missing, but they cannot agree on the amount.

James Giddens, the court-appointed trustee liquidating the brokerage, has estimated the shortfall at $1.2 billion. Earlier estimates by other regulators pegged it at $600 million, while CME Group, MF Global’s front-line regulator, has put it at between $700 million and $900 million. MF Global’s former CEO, ex-New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, resigned on Nov 4. In three days of testimony before three separate Congressional panels, he has said he does not know what happened to the missing money. CME has said the firm misused customer funds as it faced a liquidity crisis. CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy testified to Congress that a CME auditor participated in a phone call during which an MF Global employee indicated that Corzine knew the firm used customer money to lend $175 million to its European affiliate. CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton on Friday said his agency should work with Congress to develop an insurance fund for customer losses and should alter rules to keep customer funds from being invested in foreign debt. “There are other steps that may be considered as well ... such as full segregation - both for futures and for swaps - in the case of insolvencies,” Chilton, a Democrat, said in a statement. Sommers added in her statement that if MF’s brokerage transferred customer money to the MF parent in bankruptcy, customers ought to be able to recover funds from the parent. The brokerage liquidation is In re MF Global Holdings Inc, US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No 11-2790. The parent company’s bankruptcy is In Re MF Global Holdings Ltd, in the same court, No 11-15059. — Reuters

Ministers slammed over EU fishing quota deal BRUSSELS: European Union fisheries ministers have watered-down plans to ease the pressure on over-exploited fish stocks next year, drawing an angry reaction from conservationists who accused them of ignoring scientific advice. After two days of talks which ended in the early hours of yesterday, ministers rejected proposals to ban cod catches in the Irish Sea and the straits between Sweden and Denmark, and agreed a massive increase in North Atlantic haddock catches for 2012. “We managed to strike the right balance between the needs of the fisheries sector, and the protection of stocks and managing the limited resources in our seas,” Poland’s deputy agriculture minister, Tadeusz Nalewajk, who led the talks, told a news conference. But conservation group Oceana said the final deal had fixed catch limits more than 20 percent above the maximum level recommended by the European Commission, which would hamper EU efforts to put an end to decades of overfishing. “This type of short term approach will lead to the deterioration of not only fish populations, but also of the profitability of the sector and the viability of the fishing communities,” Oceana’s executive director for Europe, Xavier Pastor, said in a statement. Britain’s fisheries minister said he had diluted EU plans to cut the number of days

UK fisherman could spend at sea in 2012 to about four every two weeks, though boats still face a reduction in the time they can fish compared to this year. “After two days of tense and frustrating negotiations I am delighted to have secured the best deal possible for the UK fishing industry and ensure the future sustainability of our fish stocks,” Richard Benyon said in a statement. “One of my primary goals was to see off the threat of excessive reductions in days at sea which would have put key UK fisheries at risk,” said the statement. Benyon also welcomed the decision to increase the 2012 quota for haddock in the west of Scotland by 200 percent compared with this year, rather than the 25 percent increase proposed by the Commission. The bloc’s fisheries chief, from Greece, succeeded in pushing for a ban on all cod catches in the west of Scotland next year, but not in the Irish Sea and the straits between Sweden and Denmark, where ministers agreed to cut catches by 25 and 30 percent respectively. “I hope that our fishermen will be happy, since there were a lot of stocks where we had increases,” Maria Damanaki told a news conference after the meeting. “This year, the message is not only cuts, but also increases in many important stocks.” — Reuters

WASHINGTON: US Senate leaders have agreed to extend a workers tax holiday and jobless benefits, but further dented President Barack Obama’s authority by forcing him to look again at a contentious pipeline plan. The deal could end a bitter, year-end standoff between Republicans and Democrats, but in effect will simply set battle-lines of a new fight over the same issues in the hothouse atmosphere of election year 2012. Though Obama will achieve his goal of ensuring that US workers do not get a tax hike on January 1, the extension of a payroll tax hike and unemployment benefits will last only two months, not the year he had originally pushed for. The Senate deal also thrusts the contentious Keystone XL pipeline, to carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to the US Gulf Coast, back onto the political agenda. Obama had put off a decision on the project, which pits environmentalists against labor unions and business interests in his political base, until after his bid for a second term, drawing Republican howls. The fact the White House apparently reluctantly agreed to legislative language requiring Obama to ostensibly reconsider it within 60 days will enrage environmentalists who lean Democratic and campaigned against the project. The US Senate was expected to vote on the package, and the House of Representatives could take it up tomorrow, at the end of a frenetic period of political maneuvering between the White House and its Republican foes. The White House put a brave face on the outcome, saying that Obama had succeeded, after a months-long campaign, in forcing Republicans to extend the payroll tax cut in a move designed to stimulate the struggling US economy. “The president said that Congress cannot go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans, and the deal announced tonight meets that test,” said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. “This is an important step towards enacting a key provision of the president’s American Jobs Act and a significant victory for the American people and the economy.” Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid added: “I think (Americans) should know that we fought hard to make sure that they get their checks, and their deductions come January 1.” But Republicans crowed that they had forced Obama to take up the pipeline project, which

they say will create 20,000 jobs, even after he said he would reject any attempt to link it to the payroll tax holiday bill. “This bill will stop President Obama’s delaying tactics,” said Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. “It is absolutely incredible that President Obama wants to delay a decision until after the 2012 elections apparently in fear of offending a part of his political base.” Senate Republican Minority leader Mitch

Department warning this week that the Republican language would in effect scotch the project because 60 days would be too short to fulfill legally required environmental studies on the plan. “It’s not enough time and it kills the project,” said a Democratic congressional aide on condition of anonymity. Seeking to stimulate the sluggish recovery, Obama had asked Congress to extend a payroll tax holiday for a year to give workers a $1,500 tax cut next year.

WASHINGTON: US Sen Ben Nelson answers questions from the media after he met with fellow Senate Democrats on a deal on payroll tax cut that has been struck with the Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.— AFP McConnell of Kentucky said he expected the compromise would find support. “I’m optimistic we’re going to do well in the morning,” he told reporters. The Senate agreement requires the State Department to issue a permit for the Keystone project within 60 days unless Obama certifies that it is not in the US national interest. Such a finding would expose Obama to politically explosive Republican charges in an election year that he rejected the creation of 20,000 jobs, at a time of high unemployment. Obama aides however point to a State

Obama’s Democratic allies had initially hoped to fund the project by imposing a tax on the country’s wealthiest Americans who earn more than $1 million a year. But they met stiff opposition from Republicans, who control the House, and had to abandon the plan. There was one break in the partisan fury though as the House of Representatives voted 296-121 to pass a $915 billion bill to fund the government through fiscal 2012 — averting a pre-Christmas shutdown. — AFP

China may support LatAm as Europe weighs: Stiglitz SANTIAGO: China will probably stimulate its economy next year, shielding Latin American commodities producers from Europe’s debt crisis by underpinning demand for raw materials, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said. While China can be counted on to use its massive reserves to try to keep its economy from faltering, it is Europe’s austere response to its own financial mess that poses the bigger threat to Latin America, the former World Bank chief economist said. The region will not only see cuts in

exports to Europe, but reduced lending by Spanish banks. Spain’s banks have a strong presence in South America and their local units may be forced to send money back home next year as hard times continue in Europe. Spain’s Santander has big operations in Brazil, Latin America’s No 1 economy. It is also Chile’s top bank. “Europe is going into a recession, and that will hurt demand. So the damage to Chile will be mostly through trade. And then there is the finance channel,” said Stiglitz, who is known for his view that governments should

HONG KONG: Real estate rental advertisements are pasted on the outside of a vacant outlet in Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong has overtaken the US and Britain to rank top in a World Economic Forum survey on countries’ financial health published on December 13. — AFP

spend in times of crisis. “It’s hard not to see those Spanish banks operating in Chile going through a contraction. That will require very careful management of the credit supply,” Stiglitz said. Since before 2008, when the bursting of the US housing bubble sent financial shockwaves around the world, Latin America has enjoyed strong economic growth fueled in part by China’s insatiable appetite for commodities. But signs are emerging of a slowdown in China while Europe gropes for a solution to its overindebtedness. China and Europe are top trade partners for commoditiesproducing countries such as grainsrich Argentina and Brazil, oil-rich Venezuela and copper-producing powerhouse Chile. Of Chile’s $61.9 billion in exports from January through September, for example, 21 percent went to China and 19 percent to Europe. Germany is leading a push for belt tightening and automatic sanctions for European deficit sinners. “The shared austerity in Europe is going to lead to slower growth,” Stiglitz said. “The financial markets are going to get disappointed because tax revenues are going to be lower. Once people figure this out they’re going to demand higher interest rates and then they’ll realize that the solution didn’t work,” he added. “They’re sitting on $3 trillion in reserves. And when they tell their banks to lend, they lend,” said the Indiana born and now New York-based Stiglitz. “If the Chinese economy needs

stimulation, they have the resources and the political will to do it. Also, unlike the United States, they don’t have half the country committed to an ideology which says the way to solve the problem is to cut spending,” he said. “If their economy slows, they’ll spend to keep going.” Recent data from Beijing showed the first year-on-year drop in foreign direct investment in 28 months.. The Chinese government vows that economic growth will continue despite an “extremely grim” 2012 world outlook. Stiglitz said that China may increase public housing programs as part of its counter-cyclical policies. This could help prop up demand for Chilean copper, which is used for wiring new houses in for making electronic goods. Chile is the world’s biggest producer of the metal and China is its top client. Chile and its neighbors will “almost surely” get caught in the global doldrums next year, pushing policymakers to free up money supplies, Stiglitz said. Brazil has plenty of room to lower interest rates to bolster its economy in the face of global weakness, President Dilma Rousseff said on Friday. Chile has already seen signs of economic sluggishness and while Tuesday’s central bank decision to keep its base interest rate at 5.25 percent came as no surprise, analysts expect the bank to slash the rate by a full percentage point during 2012. “It’s going to be a very precarious time for the global economy,” Stiglitz said. — Reuters




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S&P affirms NBK’s ratings at A+ on criteria change All bank’s ratings carry a stable outlook KUWAIT: Following a review of all banks and financial institutions in the MENA region, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor ’s affirmed the long-term credit ratings of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) at A+. All the bank’s ratings carry a stable outlook. “Our ratings on NBK reflect its strong business position and capital and earnings, as well as its adequate risk position, funding, and liq-

uidity,” said Standard & Poor’s in its latest report on NBK. “The stable outlook reflects our belief that NBK’s overall business and financial profile will remain resilient through the cycle,” the agency added. Standard & Poor’s stressed that NBK enjoys an adequate risk position with a proven track record of resilience. NBK’s nonperforming loans/gross loans ratio was a low 1.6% on

June 30, 2011, with good coverage of provisions. Standard & Poor’s said: “NBK’s balance sheet size and business position enable it to cherry-pick the highest-quality customers. Additionally, we note that the bank’s asset quality has proven resilient so far, unlike most of its domestic peers.” The agency pointed out that NBK’s “business position is strong, underpinned by the bank’s leading position in Kuwait, long track record of good and stable performance, and good management.” It added that NBK is the largest bank in Kuwait. NBK’s earnings by segment and geography tend to be well diversified. Standard & Poor’s assesses NBK’s capital and earnings as strong. “We assume NBK will continue to conservatively manage its domestic and overseas organic growth.” NBK has consistently been awarded the highest credit ratings of all banks in the region by the major international rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. In 2011, NBK was recognized as the “Best Bank in the Middle East” by leading international financial publications Euromoney, Global Finance and The Banker for the second consecutive year.

World’s favorite jeweler, Joyalukkas now in Hubli oyalukkas, the international jewelry chain has opened a large format jewelry showroom on Station Road, Ganeshpeth, Hubli in Karnataka on December 10, 2011. The showroom, a grand 15,000sq ft in area, features world-renowned jewelry brands offered exclusively by Joyalukkas, as well as a wide range of traditional and ethno-contemporary Indian designs. The Joyalukkas Hubli showroom was inaugurated by Poorna S Patil, Mayor of Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation in the presence of popular Kannada actress Aindrita Ray, who graced the occasion with her presence. The auspicious lamp was lit by Shama Ashraf Hunagund, Corporator - 51 Division of Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation. Joy Alukkas, chairman, Joyalukkas Group, local VIPs and dignitaries and senior Joyalukkas management team were also present for the grand opening. The Joyalukkas Hubli showroom interiors have been designed based on international guidelines of Joyalukkas. The showroom provides ample parking facility to customers. Joyalukkas Hubli showroom is the second largest showroom in Karnataka after the Joyalukkas Bengaluru showroom. The showroom showcases the latest international trends in jewelry and traditional and ethno-contemporary designs to meet all the needs of jewelry lovers in Hubli. Wide arrays of jewelry options are available in Gold, Diamonds, Platinum, Precious Stones, Pearl and Silver, on the 3 massive floors of this large format Joyalukkas jewelry showroom. Joyalukkas strictly adheres to the policy of ensuring global and local standards in quality across all the products and services offered at its showrooms. All Joyalukkas jewelry are 100 percent BIS hallmarked for gold, 100 percent IGI certified for diamond and 100 percent PGI certified for platinum jewelry.


“Hubli is a bustling commercial town where the consumers are now looking for the latest and the best in products and services. I am sure they are ready and looking forward to the presence of a jeweler with International stature like Joyalukkas in their midst. We feel Hubli needs a large format showroom to meet the needs of people. Me and my team are really happy to serve the residents of Hubli with a refreshingly new experience in jewelry shopping,” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman, Joyalukkas Group. Joyalukkas will open their next large format

Showroom for their Chennai showroom and more. The Joyalukkas Chennai showroom has been recognized with the certificate of ‘The largest showroom in the world’ by the Limca Book of World records. Joyalukkas has also been awarded the ‘Superbrand’ status for two years in a row in the Middle-East. “‘The brand name ‘Joyalukkas’ is completely different from all other jewelers operating under a similar name and with a similar look and feel. We are the only jewelry retail chain whose presence is spread across the MiddleEast, London and Singapore in addition to

showroom in Karnataka on 17th December 2011 on B.N. Road, Mysore. Joyalukkas is a global brand with 85 showrooms across nine countries, including India, UK, Singapore, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The brand has won various awards and recognition around the world for their excellence in various aspects in jewelry retailing. Some of the awards the brand has won include, Best Diamond Jeweler, five times in a row, Best Gold Exporter, three times in a row, Best Jewelry Retail Chain and Best Jewelry

India. Our mission is to appeal to every category of jewelry buyers, for whom jewelry shopping is a complete package of product, price, choice, service and location,” added Joy Alukkas. Joyalukkas is the first global retail jewelry retail chain to receive ISO 14001-2006 and ISO 9001-2008 Certification. The renowned jewelry retail chain plans to open four more showrooms across the world before December, 2011. The Joyalukkas Group’s other business interests include Money Exchange, Malls and Luxury Aviation.

Ex-Fannie, Freddie CEOs face charges WASHINGTON: Two former CEOs at mor tgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Friday became the highest-profile individuals to be charged in connection with the 2008 financial crisis. In a lawsuit filed in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against six former executives at the two firms, including former Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd and former Freddie CEO Richard Syron. The executives were accused of understating the level of high-risk subprime mor tgages that Fannie and Freddie held just before the housing bubble burst. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives told the world that their subprime exposure was substantially

smaller than it really was,” said Robert Khuzami, SECís enforcement director. Khuzami noted that huge losses on their subprime loans eventually pushed the two companies to the brink of failure and forced the government to take them over. The charges brought Friday follow widespread criticism of federal authorities for not holding top executives accountable for the recklessness that triggered the 2008 crisis. Before the SEC announced the charges, it reached an agreement not to charge Fannie and Freddie. The companies, which the government took over in 2008, also agreed to cooperate with the SEC in the cases against the former executives. The Justice Department began investigating the two firms three years ago. —AP

Moody’s downgrades Belgium credit rating WASHINGTON: Moody’s on Friday cut Belgium’s credit rating by two notches, citing tough conditions for in-debt European countries to borrow with little chance of a quick end to the eurozone crisis. Moody’s cut the rating to Aa3, with a negative outlook, from Aa1. The firm also cited “increasing medium-term risks to economic growth” due to ongoing deleveraging in the euro-zone. “ The first driver underlying Moody’s decision to downgrade Belgium’s debt rating is the fragile sentiment surrounding sovereign risk in the euro area,” the agency said.

“The fragility of the sovereign debt markets is increasingly entrenched and unlikely to be reversed in the near future,” it said. Moody ’s also warned over the Belgian government’s potential exposure to liabilities from Dexia, the troubled bank. Belgium, France and Luxembourg decided in October to dismantle Dexia with Belgium agreeing to pay 4.0 billion euros ($5.2 billion) to nationalize its domestic retail unit. The move is the latest in a slew of ratings downgrades to hit European sovereigns and euro area banks. — AFP

Zain offers iPhone 4S starting from KD30

KUWAIT: Zain, the largest telecommunications network in Kuwait, announced it will offer iPhone 4S starting from KD30 to customers in Kuwait effective today. iPhone 4S will be available in three different sizes: 16GB model, 32GB model and 64GB model from all Zain branches. iPhone 4S is the most amazing iPhone yet, packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dualcore A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics and full 1080p HD resolution video recording. iPhone 4S comes with iOS 5, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features; and iCloud, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and push it to all your devices. “By offering iPhone 4S, we are delivering on our ‘Wonderful World’ brand promise to offer the most innovative products and services to our customers,” said Zain Kuwait Acting CEO Omar Saud Al-Omar. “We are confident that our state-of-the-art mobile data network will ensure iPhone customers truly enjoy the multitude of mobile features available. In addition, our new plans are specifically tailored to meet the needs of all iPhone customers, including those who love social networking, browsing, and enjoying countless of applications on the go.”

The winner of the first prize of KD 125,000 Thekrayat Al-Neamah receives the prize from NBK head office branch manager Ahmed Al-Essa.

Thekrayat Al-Neamah wins NBK’s top Al-Jawhara prize KD 125,000 KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) announced the names of the AlJawhara draw prize winners for the month of December 2011 which was conducted at NBK’s headquarters. The first prize of KD 125,000 went to Thekrayat Mostafa Kamal Naser AlNeamah, second prize winner Suhalah Saleh Ahmed Jadi received KD 7,500. The third winner Zakiah Abualhassan Al-Sayed Hashim Al Hashimi was awarded with KD 3,000 and the remaining 97 winners were given a prize of KD 400 each.

The first prize winner of KD 125,000 Thekrayat Al-Neamah received the prize from NBK Head Office Branch Manager Ahmed Al Essa. Al-Neamah expressed her gratefulness and sincere appreciation for NBK, saying: “This came as a complete surprise, and was much unexpected”. The winner said that she still did not plan what to do with her prize, but holds great gratitude for sure. She concluded: “I initially opened the account for saving purposes and started with just KD50, I did not think I would have KD125,000 in the end”.

AL JAWHARA WINNERS December 2011 Sr.# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Cert. No. 39077500 9955879 12216747 12132934 2969416 2933616 100208835 11184280 51245930 19223889 142174 9981020 102891001 39020592 39385930 53000889 2375273 59180412 14247747 102018758 77014154 1480944 57023840 102919992 73007943 15440834 43082041 102552037 335061 39664252 26104245 32743084 28130359 12121983 13457810 28122925 63009374 47492619 39075354 38198975 12175358 48048135 28183568 16380231 32831048 19218125 23358580 335347 9381821 32871767 47363592 28201787 5194261 14299739 100030491 39517934 32816464 47344202 100437400 59076275 59101199 51020947 23330910 66004349 39010910 62134078 9288554 23147571 59032014 39561356 46053050 12206016 82001227 48067377 40252906 4934016 9333487 4360532 12227579 51233894 55056903 39574520 37289098 10041877 11261919 48113883 100337554 47086890 21381259 55022847 102014140 102001774 18260217 40250040 39082083 7526962 51042495 7624778 55002994 55041922


Prize 125000 7500 3000 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400




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Americans losing addiction to ‘CrackBerries’ SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK: To understand what ails BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd in the US market, just ask eBay Inc Chief Executive John Donahoe. The world’s biggest online auction site had about a hundred engineers developing new iterations of eBay’s shopping app for Apple Inc’s iPhone a few months ago, and another hundred engineers working on Google Inc’s Android mobile platform. EBay even had 50 people developing apps for Microsoft’s Windows phones, but the e-commerce giant only had “one or two” working on RIM’s BlackBerry, according to Donahoe. “I still use the BlackBerry, but it’s not the most developer-friendly platform,” he told a group of chief technology officers at an event at Stanford University in June, when the subject of RIM came up. By early November, it seemed Donahoe wasn’t even using his BlackBerry much anymore. When he met with reporters to talk about plans for the holiday shopping season, the CEO whipped out his iPhone to show how eBay’s apps ran on the device. When Reuters asked Donahue about his BlackBerry, he said he still had it but didn’t bother to bring it into the room.

Such stories are commonly found among RIM’s once-loyal corporate and consumer customers, who are deserting the Canadian company after it has struggled to keep up with competitors’ innovations. RIM on Thursday posted a sharply lower quarterly profit, offered a dismal forecast for BlackBerry shipments this holiday season, and delayed the arrival of new phones using a make-or-break operating system in development, QNX. “It’s frustrating because I haven’t heard anything good from them in a long time,” said longtime BlackBerry user Kevin Nichols, the head of KLN Consulting Group, who was looking at Android and Windows phones at a Sprint Nextel Corp store in downtown San Francisco on Friday. “They need to come out with new products soon, otherwise it looks like RIM may become the next Palm,” he said, in reference to the collapse of the smartphone pioneer Palm Inc. Nichols ignored the latest BlackBerry Torch in a display case nearby, saying the device wasn’t “new enough” for him to upgrade. Even on Wall Street, where users once joked about their addiction to their “crackberries,” loyalty is waning. “The QNX delay is a concern,”

said Rob Romero, head of hedge fund firm Connective Capital. “Consumers like new products and vendors want something new to sell in their stores.” The chief technology officer of a Connecticut-based hedge fund said that when a top hedge fund manager wants to use an iPhone instead of a BlackBerry they can now switch, even though he prefers RIM security. “When they say I want an iPhone or an iPad configured, they get it,” said the CTO, who declined to be identified. RIM shares fell 11 percent on Nasdaq on Friday and hit their lowest level in nearly eight years. Research firm Strategy Analytics forecast RIM’s share of the US smartphone market to fall to 12 percent this year, a sharp drop from 2007, when RIM had a 44 percent share. By comparison, Apple, which just started selling smartphones in 2007, is expected to grab a 24 percent US market share this year. To be sure, BlackBerry still has its defenders. Robert Laikin, CEO of cellphone distributor Brightpoint, said that RIM represents between 5 percent to 10 percent of the 110 million phones his company handles globally every year. “I still have a BlackBerry. When I talk to my

friends who are business professionals, most of them still have a BlackBerry. Some of them have bought an additional device too,” he told Reuters. “All manufacturers I’ve worked with in the last 25 years have product delays. What RIM is going through isn’t different,” he said. “I believe RIM will survive because their product is very sticky.” There are still many companies who prefer their employees use BlackBerrys because they feel that RIM offers the best security features to protect corporate data. But these enterprise customers are shrinking, analysts said. Gary Curtis, chief technology strategist at global technology consulting giant Accenture, pointed to improvements in security from Apple and Google mobile software in recent years. “Choice and leveling of the playing field is the fundamental enabling factor for companies being able to say to employees, use the device you like,” he said. “It’s not a headlong rush ... but they’re opening the door to more devices and people make their own choices.” Interviews with other consumers at phone stores on Friday illustrated why the former bastion of corporate smart phones faces tough

PlayStation Vita gets world launch in Japan Sony eyes smartphone games market TOKYO: Technology giant Sony yesterday held the world launch of its next-generation PlayStation Vita handheld console in Japan, as the company

Sony’s home country, flocked to the shops to get their hands on the device, which costs between 25,000 yen and 30,000 yen ($320 to $380). It features a 12-cm LED

TOKYO: People show off their newly purchased PlayStation Vita portable games yesterday. —AP aims to take a bite out of the growing smar tphone games market. Gaming fans in Japan,

touch screen, two cameras and a GPS receiver, and comes in WiFi and 3G models.

By mid-morning hundreds were queuing at stores in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district to buy the PS Vita, which hit Japanese shops in time for the end-of-year festivities. It will be released in the United States and Europe in Feb 2012. “It’s actually quite fun. The waiting, the excitement. Lots of people are getting together and sharing this moment, it’s a bit like a party,” said Ken Iioka, who turned up at 5.30 am. Sony mounted a major promotional effort: stands displaying the device were set up in the streets, and shop interiors were decorated in the PS Vita’s wide range of bright colours. “A number of the devices are already sold out, most customers had reserved them in advance,” one salesman in Akihabara said. “The first customers are mostly men between 20 and 30 years of age,” he said, adding that the 20 games available to play on the PS Vita as of Saturday were also geared towards the same demographic. Nintendo’s Game Boy, released in 1989, led the handheld game market until the mid2000s, when Sony’s PSP cut into its share. But the emergence of iPhone and Android games is threatening the existence of game-specific handheld devices. Nintendo launched its 3DS

portable game console about 10 months ago and it is gaining popularity. “I already have the previous PSP model and a Nintendo 3DS, but I wanted at all costs to have the PS Vita too,” said one male in his thirties, who was queuing up to buy a shopping basket full of accessories for his new gadget. “It’s a bit overbearing but still very attractive,” another customer said about the device, playing with it for the first time. But some came away emptyhanded. “I wanted to buy it, despite the price, but I was too late to reserve one and apparently there’s no chance today,” a disappointed customer said, playing on different device instead. “I’ve got lots of games consoles because I love video games and not all games can be played on all models,” he added. “Pre-orders are very strong,” Andrew House, head of Sony’s games unit, told Kyodo News and other media in Tokyo earlier in the week. Without giving precise figures he said the company was aiming for sales of the PS Vita to far outstrip the 73 million PlayStation Portable units sold around the world since 2004. The PS Vita is between 10,000 and 15,000 yen ($130-$190) more expensive than the 3DS. House said one key difference was the device’s compatibility with 3G networks. —AFP

Zynga stock debuts with loss SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook gamemaker Zynga jumped into the stock market with a billion-dollar listing on Friday, seeing its stock price leap out of the gate and then drop below the opening price. Offering 100 million shares - one-seventh of the company’s total - at $10 a pop, the maker of Facebook games FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Words With Friends was valued at a whopping $7 billion. In the first minutes of trade the shares were selling on the Nasdaq market at around $11 a share, a 10 percent premium, but Zynga stock ended the official trading day down five percent from its opening price. It slide a bit further to $9.41 during after-hours trades. “The trading of Zynga today highlights the difficulty of judging true demand for a hot IPO, and the extent to which the shares landed in the hands of flippers,” said analyst Lou Kerner of institutional brokerage firm Liquidnet. Zynga’s entrance is the largest Internet IPO offering since Google went public in 2004, surpassing online bargain service Groupon, which raised $700 million when it went public last month, only to see its stock price fluctuate wildly. Despite concerns by some analysts that new Internet stars are being precariously overvalued, Zynga’s stock was snapped up quickly. Zynga offered only a small portion of the company’s stock, about 14 percent, to the public. Investors remain hungry for technology stocks and Zynga has shown it can make a profit, according to Virginie Lazes of investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co. Zynga games are free to play but the company makes money by selling virtual in-game goods to players and serving up advertising. The games developer boasts around 230 million players per month in 175 countries, dwarfing its social gaming competitors, and reported cumulative revenue of $1.5 billion in its SEC filing. Zynga said revenue soared nearly five-fold last year over the previous year to $597.4 million and it reported a net profit of $27.89 million. For the first nine months of this year, Zynga reported revenue of $828.9 million, up from $401.7 million during the same period last year, and a net profit of $30.6 million. The San Francisco startup is listed as “ZNGA” on the Nasdaq exchange.

solution that can be tailored to fit virtually every customer’s needs, and the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award further reinforces that this is truly the best choice for America’s truck owners,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “ We are proud to receive this award and even more pleased that our F-150 customers have additional validation of their top choice.” This is the fourth time the F-150

has won the award - the most awards for any truck since Motor Trend began presenting its Truck of the Year award in 1989. The Ford pickup received the magazine’s prestigious award for previous groundbreaking new models in 1997, 2004 and 2009. Motor Trend editors applauded F-150 because, they said, “F-150s are built to work and felt better the more they were challenged. Ford offers an enormous variety of configurations and designs, making the truck tailorable to just about any need. It’s the combination of advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and the performance of intended function that has earned the Ford F-150 the title of Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year.” With more than a half-million sales through November and a lead of almost 150,000 sales versus the nearest competitor, the Ford F-Series is on track this year to extend its streak of truck leadership to 35 straight years. The 2012 F-150 offers customers plenty of technologies that boost capability, performance, driving enjoyment and fuel efficiency. One such technology is the class-exclusive electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). The system has been carefully tuned with sophisticated speed mapping to deliver accurate responses at high speed while remaining light and manageable in parking maneuvers. Ford is the first manufacturer to widely offer EPAS on full-size pickup trucks. EPAS contributes about a 4 percent fueleconomy benefit compared with conventional hydraulic systems. A 4.2-inch LCD message center that features information related to fuel economy, towing performance and off-roading, also is among the customer conveniences available.

Ahead of the listing Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry was bearish on Zynga’s prospects, saying it was overvalued at $7 billion and that a more realistic figure would be between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. “The valuation is very ahead of the fundamentals,” Chowdhry said. “What you’re seeing today is its

NEW YORK: “Farmville” by Zynga is shown on an electronic billboard at the Nasdaq MarketSite Friday. —AP peak,” he said. “There’s only one way it can go and it’s down.” Liquidnet had given Zynga an “underperform” rating before the opening bell, reasoning that the San Francisco firm’s growth was slowing and its profit margins were under pressure. “Another bear argument is that Zynga is overly dependent on the Facebook platform (94 percent of revenue is generated on Facebook),” Kerner said in a note to investors. “A slowdown or disruption in the growth of Facebook, or Facebook policy changes, will negatively impact Zynga,” he explained. —AFP

Can RIM survival mean abandoning BlackBerry?

Ford F-150 Motor Trend 2012 Truck of the Year KUWAIT: The 2012 Ford F-150, which established a new standard for fullsize pickups with best-in-class fuel efficiency and capability, was named Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year. “The 2012 F-150 is a no-compromise

competition. “I’m a BlackBerry user but my company makes me use it,” said a shopper called John who was playing with a BlackBerry Torch at an AT&T store in San Francisco. He declined to give his last name. “Anyone who is anyone at my company has an iPhone, but they make us use BlackBerry still,” he added. “I think I might break mine and buy an iPhone. The touch screen on this Torch works pretty well, but the iPhone is just easier to use.” A Sprint store manager said BlackBerry phones would sell better if they had more apps. But some app developers aren’t interested in the BlackBerry platform, partly because the technology is difficult to work with. “Of the companies that pitch to us, I can’t think of any that are starting out by developing an app for the BlackBerry,” said Theresia Gouw Ranzetta of venture capital firm Accel Partners, which invests in mobile app developers. Hotel Tonight, a start-up backed by Accel’s Ranzetta, has developed apps for the iPhone, Android phones and an HTML5 version for its lastminute hotel booking service. “Will they make a dedicated BlackBerry app? Not on the roadmap,” she said. —Reuters

Ehab Mustafa, Microsoft Kuwait Country Manager meets Minister of Education Ahmed Al-Mulaifi.

DigiGirlz highlights IT careers for women KUWAIT: In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Microsoft Kuwait hosted its “Microsoft DigiGirlz Day” yesterday at the “How Do I Plan My Future Exhibition” which took place at the Arraya Ballroom. Microsoft’s DigiGirlz event was hosted in Kuwait as part of the Partners in Learning agreement that was signed between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education. The event aims to increase the engagement of female students in technology within an educational framework. In addition, Microsoft hopes that this initiative will encourage more young women to pursue degrees and careers in computer science and computer engineering, with the ultimate goal of narrowing the gender gap in the industry. Over 220 female students between grades 10-11 from select public schools participated at this year’s event. During the event, students had the opportunity to interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and get more insights into the working environment at Microsoft. “The Microsoft DigiGirlz event is in line with the Ministry’s efforts to reach out to high school girls and

increase female participation in the science and technology field,” said Khaled Al Reshaid, Undersecretary, Ministry of Education. “By hosting events such as DigiGirlz, we aim to empower female students, help them build successful careers and educate them on technology which is a key element in a knowledge based society. DigiGirlz is an example of our strong partnership with Microsoft and we look forward to a continuous long-term association to further inspire girls in Kuwait to choose a science and technology based career.” According to Hana Al-Sharrah, Ministry of Education Information Technology Manager, “We are delighted to partner with Microsoft to host the DigiGirlz event for high school students. As a successful IT professional, I can truly see the value that such an event can bring to boost the image of a career in Information Technology and make it more attractive to girls. The Information Technology industry has great potential and needs a diverse workforce. Through such initiatives, we hope we inspire some of these young girls to join the future generation of women in IT.”

TORONTO: It might seem like corporate heresy but an increasing number of technology investors and experts are asking whether Research in Motion needs to ditch its BlackBerry handset business to survive. The idea that is gaining favor, albeit only among a minority of shareholders, would see the Canadian company fully open its secure and highly respected network to rival smartphone providers and concentrate on that business while getting out of the hardware game altogether through a sale. Disappointing quarterly results, including a dismal outlook for Blackberry sales and word that RIM would delay the introduction of new devices, sent its shares down more than 11 percent to their lowest levels in almost eight years on Friday. Just before those numbers were released, activist shareholder Jaguar Financial called on the company to sell its handset business and monetize its patent portfolio while retaining the highmargin services business. “Jaguar believes that the road map to value restoration lies in a sale of RIM whether as a whole or in separate parts,” it said. RIM’s spidery, datacrunching network reaches behind corporate firewalls and taps into mobile networks globally. The network, unique among handset makers, has been a cornerstone of the BlackBerry’s growth - with email and instant messages routed through RIM’s own enterprise servers and data centers, where it is encrypted and pushed out to subscribers. There are no middlemen to intercept corporate or state secrets, or even the flirty chats of teenagers who love the free BlackBerry messaging. Jaguar, which claims support from shareholders who own about 8 percent of RIM’s stock but only owns a tiny fraction itself, also reiterated its call for a change in the company’s leadership. It has called for a new “transformational” leader to replace RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis, the company’s co-founder, and Jim Balsillie, the mercurial salesman who has marketed the BlackBerry to the world. It is not alone in wondering whether a sharp decline in Blackberry sales - the company said it expects the number of devices it ships in the quarter including Christmas will drop as much as 26 percent from a year ago - is a sign of terminal decline for the product. The company’s network has stronger margins and more secure recurring revenue, though it still needs to be fully exploited. “If they want to maintain that asset, if not stabilize or grow it, they need to open it up to the other platforms and look at themselves as an enterprise software company,” ThinkEquity analyst Mark McKechnie said. RIM is likely already working on just such a change, said a US-based shareholder, who declined to be identified. —Reuters



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H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

Congress delays food marketing guidelines WASHINGTON: The Federal Trade Commission says it is taking another look at guidelines designed to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to kids after Congress delayed the effort. The voluntary guidelines proposed by the government earlier this year set maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium and ask food companies not to market foods that go beyond those levels to children ages 2 through 17. That could limit colorful cartoon characters on cereal packages, television ads and product websites. The food industry, backed by Republicans in Congress, has lobbied aggressively against the guidelines. They say they are too broad and would limit marketing of almost all of the nation’s favorite foods, including yogurts and many children’s cere-

als. Though the guidelines would be voluntary, food companies say they fear the government will retaliate against them if they don’t go along. The delay, which would require the government to study the costs of the effort before releasing final guidelines, is buried in a massive spending bill to pay for the government’s daily operations. The House passed the measure on Friday with expected Senate approval over the weekend. In a statement Friday, Cecelia Prewett of the FTC said that “Congress has clearly changed its mind” about the marketing guidelines and that the government “will be assessing its language and working toward congressional intent.” Congress originally asked for the guidelines in a 2009 spending bill to help combat childhood obesity.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., who led the 2009 effort, said Friday that the delay “is a huge loss for our nation’s children, who will continue to be bombarded with ads for junk food and sugary soft drinks.” The agencies in charge of the effort including the FTC, the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already backed off the original guidelines proposed in April, which industry argued were too strict. David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said at a congressional hearing in October that the government would likely soften the guidelines. Among the changes he suggested were nar-

rowing children targeted to 2- to 11-year-olds instead of up to age 17 and allowing marketing of the unhealthier foods at fundraisers and sporting events. Vladeck also said his agency would not recommend that companies change packaging or remove brand characters from food products that don’t qualify, as was originally suggested. Vladeck has called the idea that the voluntary guidelines would become mandatory “a myth.” The industry came out with its own guidelines over the summer, proposing to limit advertising on some foods for children but adjusting the criteria. Though the industry proposal is more lenient than the government plan, the effort has won praise from federal officials, who said they will consider it as they finalize the guidelines.— AP

Big Corn, Big Sugar in bitter row on sweetener Refiners want to change name of high-fructose corn syrup WASHINGTON: Big Corn and Big Sugar are locked in a legal and public relations fight in the US over a plan to change the name of a corn-based sweetener that has gotten a bad name. The fight began last year when Corn Refiners Association, a trade association, proposed changing the name of high-fructose corn syrup to merely “corn sugar.” The group said the new name “more accurately describes this sweetener and helps clarify food products labeling for manufacturers and consumers alike.” But the sugar industry argued this change would be a bitter pill for US consumers and would only add to the confusion about a sweetener that has drawn criticism by some health advocates. Sugar producers have filed suit alleging the corn industry has spent $50 million in “a mass media rebranding campaign that misleads the consuming public by asserting falsely that HFCS is natural and is indistinguishable from the sugar extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets.” The lawsuit, which seeks an end to the ads using the term “corn sugar,” states that use of the corn syrup increased over 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990 and that this rise “bears a strong temporal relationship to the growth in American obesity.” Sugar makers say the corn industry is making a desperate effort to salvage the product which consumers are increasingly avoiding. Sugar Association lawyer Adam Fox told AFP the group is seeking to stop the ads because “it is absolutely false for them to characterize this as a natural product.” In its response, the corn industry says the sugar industry is trying “to stifle free speech” and seeking to vilify its corn products. “The sugar industry is wrongfully alleging that high fructose corn syrup (a sugar made from corn) causes health issues that do not arise from consuming cane and beet sugar,” said

Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association. “We believe that the sugar industry’s views are misleading American consumers. The CRA will continue its work to educate consumers about high fructose corn syrup and will vigorously oppose the sugar industry’s attempt to stifle public discussion of this important health issue.” The corn industry last year petitioned the Food and Drug Administration for permission to use the term “corn sugar”

instead of high fructose corn syrup. But in the meantime it has launched television and print ads hoping to gain public support. The campaign cites experts saying there is no difference between various sugars in terms of metabolism, calories or other nutritional values. “Whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar,” one ad says. Among the studies cited is a 2008 report by the American Medical Association which concludes “it appears

VIRGINIA: File photo of an ear of peeled back corn is seen as locally grown fruits and vegetables are sold at the Herndon, Virginia, Farmer’s Market on July 30, 2009. Big Corn and Big Sugar are locked in a legal and public relations standoff in the US over a plan to change the name of a corn-based sweetener which has gotten a bad name. —AFP

unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose.” But a 2011 study cited by the sugar industry from the journal Metabolism concludes the fructose corn syrup leads to “significantly different acute metabolic effects” than plain sugar. Some have linked the obesity epidemic to consumption of processed foods and soft drinks which use corn syrup in place of costlier cane or beet sugar. Alternative medicine guru and author Andrew Weill writes that the corn product “is a marker for lowquality food and has no place in a healthy diet.” “The most widely used kind of HFCS may have disruptive effects on metabolism, as the body doesn’t utilize fructose well. In fact, regular consumption of HFCS may contribute to obesity.” The National Consumers League has sent a letter urging the FDA to reject the renaming petition and noted that the corn sweetener in question “has received much negative publicity over the last several years.” “Questions have been raised concerning potential links to obesity and a variety of obesity-related health conditions including diabetes and heart disease,” the letter said. “Some consumers are concerned about emerging science regarding nutrition and health effects of HFCS, while others simply want to avoid highly processed sweeteners in favor of more natural substances.” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, said both sides are missing the point, which is that Americans consume too much sugar. “Changing the name of HFCS to corn sugar is about marketing, not public health,” she said. “If the FDA decides to approve the change, it will not alter the fact that about 60 pounds each of HFCS and table sugar are available per capita per year, and that Americans would be a lot healthier consuming a lot less of either one.”— AFP


in brief

Study endorses HPV testing for all women over 30 LONDON: New DNA tests looking for the virus responsible for most cases of cervical cancer make sense for all women aged 30 or over, since they can prevent more cases of cancer than smear tests alone, Dutch researchers said on Thursday. Results of a five-year study involving 45,000 women provided the strongest evidence yet in favor of using human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, Chris Meijer and colleagues from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam reported in The Lancet Oncology. Generic drugmakers to build warning system on shortages WASHINGTON: Generic drugmakers plan to work with distributors, wholesalers and others to create an advance warning system for medicines that are in short supply, the head of the US generic industry’s trade group said on Thursday. The private-sector system would supplement a notification system used by US health officials to inform patients and others of looming supply problems for these life-saving medications, most of which are generic. US panel raps how agencies handle human research WASHINGTON: US government agencies fund thousands of studies on human subjects, but do not have a very good handle on the basic information about that research- possibly putting participants in harm’s way, a presidential panel of reviewers has found. The presidential bioethics commission looked into the current protections for human subjects in a review triggered by evidence of unethical behavior in a 1940s experiment that deliberately infected Guatemalan prison inmates and mental patients with sexually transmitted disease.

Somalia launches cholera campaign GENEVA: Authorities in Somalia launched on Friday a campaign to tackle cholera which has infected about 60,000 in the country since the start of the year, the World Health Organisation said. The health ministry launched the initiative in the capital Mogadishu which aims to educate at least one person in every household on preventing the disease and what to do when symptoms occur. The WHO’s Horn of Africa team said there had been 60,000 cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in south-central Somalia since January, with 75 percent of cases among children under five. In November alone there were 6,300 cases, the WHO’s Christian Lindmeier told journalists in Geneva. Although endemic in Somalia, the last major outbreak of cholera was in 2007 and since then improved hygiene and sanitation had led to a drop in cases. —AFP

Lebanese get a badly needed laugh No joke, but a simulated ha-ha-ha under the guidance of a yoga instructor There’s nothing funny about stress, but there’s a new therapy sweeping Beirut that teaches folks how to let their hair down and chuckle their cares away. It’s called Laughter Yoga and Lebanon’s first certified instructor Sabine Jizi says it’s catching on like wildfire. She’s been leading weekly workshops since September and they are getting more popular with every passing day. “So far I’ve laughed with over a thousand people. The number of attendees in my sessions has been increasing and people have been asking for more and more sessions. They are loving it! And after all, who wouldn’t like to laugh?!” Jizi told The Media Line in an e-mail interview. Laughter Yoga is the brainchild of Madan Katarina, a physician from Mumbai, India, who started it in a park in 1995. There are now over 6,000 clubs all over the world. But Jizi’s class is the first in the Arab world. It works by combining yoga breathing techniques with simulated laughter. Soon enough it has everyone rolling on the

floor, based on the fact the body can’t differentiate between fake laughter and real laughter. Research has shown laughter lowers stress and blood pressure and fosters positive emotions. Some research says a good belly laugh actually boosts endorphins, the feel-good hormone. While swank and cosmopolitan, Beirut has its sources of economic, political and social tension. No stranger to conflict over the years, the Mediterranean city is headquarters to Hizbullah, an Iranian-backed Shiite movement, as well as its bitter foe, the March 14, which wants to rid the country of Syrian and Iranian influence and disarm Hizbullah. Getting Lebanese to laugh is a challenge. “This country needs it the most. People here struggle with many social, political and religious problems, and are constantly under stress; they forget to laugh,” Jizi said. “Most people don’t laugh very often-they are not used to it.” “The biggest challenge I had to face was to make peo-

ple understand that it is okay to let loose and not take themselves seriously all the time. I always make sure to explain to them that it is okay and normal for them to feel a bit ridiculous in the beginning, just because it’s a new experience they have never done before! On the other hand, once they catch on and feel at ease,” she said “it’s hard to make them stop laughing.” Jizi holds workshops in schoolrooms, college campuses, corporate office and private events like birthdays. The best thing about Laughter Yoga is there is no requirement for any previous involvement with yoga. “Anyone can participate in laughter yoga, and any group age at all,” Jizi said. “One does not even need to be flexible. Laughter yoga is all about playfulness and fun.” Just like laughter is contagious in her workshops, her Laughter Yoga sessions have become so popular that Jizi has been flooded with media requests for interviews and more workshops. “They want more of it and I’m so happy

Laughter Yoga is becoming so popular.” While popular in Europe and the US, it certainly has the potential of spreading to the Middle East. Jizi said she gave a few sessions in Bahrain last month and has been invited to Jordan and Dubai to run a few sessions. “We need more laughter clubs in the Middle East region, and I believe it will all happen eventually,” she said. Indeed laughter knows no borders and the most basic human trait transcends political and religious lines with ease. Jizi said her workshops never discuss politics or religion or cultural difference. “It is the one place where we all feel like we belong to one happy family. We all respect each other, and feel like we belong to one big happy family. The ultimate objective of laughter yoga is to bring world peace through laughter. I am trying to spread peace in my country,” she said. “If I manage to make Hizbullah and March 14 members laugh together, my mission is accomplished.” — The Media Line

Cut down on pesticide use: Pesticide pioneer

HEBEI: In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a pair of twin giraffes “Ping Ping” and “An An” is pictured in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province yesterday. Shijiazhuang Zoo invited more than 10 pairs of twin children to celebrate the one-year-old birthday for China’s first twin giraffes here on Saturday, Xinhua said. —AP

MANILA: Rice farmers should cut their use of pesticides that kill the natural predators of the planthopper, one of the most destructive pests of the cereal, the International Rice Research Institute said Friday. The institute helped launch the 1970s “Green Revolution” in agriculture, lifting millions of Asians out of poverty through heavy use of pesticides. But it said it was time for a more environmentally friendly approach. The Philippines-based IRRI said it had found that pesticides and the lack of ecological “diversity” in rice farms had reduced the predatory bugs and spiders that prey on planthoppers, a major rice pest in Asia. “Fighting planthopper outbreaks calls for promoting natural planthopper enemy diversity and cutting down on pesticide use,” an IRRI statement said. Many beneficial creatures that prey on planthoppers are killed inadvertently when insecticides are overused, it said. The institute likewise said there was a need to diversify the varieties of rice being planted in

the region, the world’s major producer and consumer of the staple food. Growing three rice crops a year or using the same rice varieties for a long period can cause pest populations to adapt and grow in size, the institute said. Thailand, with the IRRI’s support, banned the use of two insecticides in rice-abamectin and cypermethrin-three months ago because their misuse had encouraged major planthopper outbreaks. Vietnam also began growing flowers near rice paddies in An Giang province in March to nurture planthopper predators, the IRRI said. “We need to seriously rethink our current pest management strategies so we don’t just cope with current outbreaks, but prevent and manage them effectively in the long run,” Bas Bouman, head of IRRI’s environmental sciences unit, said. The institute’s research helped bring about the “Green Revolution”, which relied on intensive use of fertiliser and pesticides to boost yields of staple foods in Asia and beyond. — AFP

BEIJING: A Chinese dentist waits for customers beside a novel tooth display at her clinic in Beijing yesterday. The BRICS group of emerging countries recently vowed to improve access to low-cost and high-quality medicine — and called on developed nations to shoulder responsibility in helping the poor. —AFP



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H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

US to adopt strict new limits on chimp research

This handout image provided by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, taken, Thursday, shows the Comet Lovejoy leaving the sun’s corona which is several million degrees. —AP

Comet defies death, gets close to sun and lives WASHINGTON: A small comet survived what astronomers figured would be a sure death when it danced uncomfortably close to the broiling sun. Comet Lovejoy, which was only discovered a couple of weeks ago, was supposed to melt Thursday night when it came close to where temperatures hit several million degrees. Astronomers had tracked 2,000 other sun-grazing comets make the same suicidal trip. None had ever survived. But astronomers watching live with NASA telescopes first saw the sun’s corona wiggle as Lovejoy went close to the sun. They were then shocked when a bright spot emerged on the sun’s other side. Lovejoy lived. “I was delighted when I saw it go into the sun and I was astounded when I saw something re-emerge,” said US Navy solar researcher Karl Battams. Lovejoy didn’t exactly come out of its hellish adventure unscathed. Only 10 percent of the comet which was probably millions of tons - survived the encounter, said W. Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which tracked Lovejoy’s

death-defying plunge. And the comet lost something pretty important: its tail. “It looks like the tail broke off and is stuck” in the sun’s magnetic field, Pesnell said. Comets circle the sun and sometimes get too close. Lovejoy came within 75,000 miles of the sun’s surface, Battams said. For a small object often described as a dirty snowball comprised of ice and dust, that brush with the sun should have been fatal. Astronomers say it probably didn’t melt completely because the comet was larger than they thought. The frozen comet was evaporating as it made the trip toward the sun, “just like you’re sweating on a hot day,” Pesnell said. “It’s like an ice cube going by a barbecue grill,” he said. Pesnell said the comet, although only discovered at the end of November by an Australian observer, probably is related to a comet that came by Earth on the way to the sun in 1106. As Comet Lovejoy makes its big circle through the solar system, it will be another 800 or 900 years before it nears the sun again, astronomers say. — AP

WASHINGTON: Days in the laboratory are numbered for chimpanzees, humans’ closest relative. Chimps paved astronauts’ way into space and were vital in creating some important medicines. But the US government said Thursday that science has advanced enough that from now on, chimpanzees essentially should be a last resort in medical research - a move that puts the United States more in line with the rest of the world. Chimps’ similarity with people “demands special consideration and respect,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. His move came after the prestigious Institute of Medicine declared that most use of chimpanzees for invasive medical research no longer can be justified and that strict new limits should determine which experiments are important enough to outweigh the moral cost of involving this species that is so like us. “ The bar is very high,” said bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins University, who led the institute panel. The group stopped short of recommending an outright ban, saying a handful of research projects today might still require chimps - but more importantly, that the animals might be required in the future as new diseases evolve and emerge. Animal welfare groups welcomed the change but continue to push for Congress to pass legislation that would go a step further and phase out all invasive chimp research. “Chimpanzees have provided limited value in research settings, and now alternative methods have been developed that will make their use all but obsolete,”

said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. But some scientists say it’s not that big a change because chimp studies already were dwindling fast as researchers turned to less costly and ethically charged alternatives. “The use of a chimpanzee in biomedical research is the rare exception,” said Dr. Thomas Rowell, who directs Louisiana’s New Iberia Research Center, one of five research centers that houses chimps and other primate species used in both government- and privately financed studies. It is not clear exactly how many of the nation’s 937 research chimps - 612 of them owned by the NIH - are in the midst of experiments that would be affected by the new standards and could be moved into retirement instead. Most of the chimps are fairly old, as the nation has had a moratorium on breeding since 1995.

But Collins temporarily barred new government-funded studies involving chimps as his agency began implementing the recommended restrictions. Also, a working group will decide whether to phase out about 37 ongoing projects, about half of which Collins said probably don’t meet the new standards. These apes’ genetic closeness to humans - the genome is about 99 percent identical to ours - has long caused a quandary, making the animals valuable to medical researchers for nearly a century but also sparking ethical and emotional questions about how they are housed and used. “ They are highly intelligent. They live in complex social settings, and they live for a very long time,” said evolutionary anthropologist Anne Pusey of Duke University, who once worked with chimp expert Jane Goodall in Tanzania and manages an archive of Goodall’s field data on the animals.

OHIO: In this Friday, July 30, 1999 file photo, Keeli, a Chimpanzee living at the Ohio State University animal laboratory, looks out from his play room, in Columbus, Ohio. —AP

“When you enclose a chimp in a very small cage for 50 years, it really is cruel and unusual, even regardless of whether you’re doing invasive things to them,” she added. The US is one of only two countries known to still conduct medical research with chimpanzees; the other is Gabon, in Africa. The European Union essentially banned such research last year. Thursday’s decision was triggered by an uproar last year over the fate of 186 semi-retired research chimps that the NIH, to save money, planned to move from a New Mexico facility to an active research lab in Texas. They are staying put for now. The Institute of Medicine’s investigation found over the past 10 years, the NIH has paid for just 110 projects of any type that involved chimps. Most involved hepatitis C, a liver virus that infects only humans and chimps. Some involved HIV, a disease that scientists now know is better to study in rhesus monkeys. Still others involved comparing the genetics of chimps and humans, or behavioral research examining such things as development and mental health. The institute recommended two different sets of restrictions. Biomedical research - testing new drugs or giving chimps a disease should allow using the apes only if studies could not be done on other animals or people themselves, and if foregoing the work would hinder progress against life-threatening or debilitating conditions. The panel said behavioral and genetic research, while less controversial, nonetheless should be limited to studies that provide insights otherwise unattainable, using techniques that minimize any pain or distress.—AP




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CINEMAGIC Thursday, December 22nd at 7:30pm THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love. Saturday, December 24th at 7:30pm RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 metres deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus. Thursday, December 29th at 7:30pm BRAZIL A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state. Cinemagic Kuwait, is organizing these events as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by Increasing the public’s interest in - and appreciation for - the art of film-making. Cinemagic movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the roof on top of Alghanim Electronics and LG.

Upcoming events New Year Hangama The RAK Dance Academy (RDA) Kuwait, is planning to put a charity event in celebration of its New Year Hangama 2012, on 31st December, 2011, from 6 pm onwards, at Carmel School Khaitan. All participants are well known artists from Kuwait. The main purpose of this celebration is to collect donations and raise money for supporting handicapped children in India. contributions from you. Your attendance is your donation. Please join for an evening for a good cause. Call 99692266, 65925730 for details. Aware Center Arabic lessons The AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Winter 1 Arabic language courses will begin on November 20th, 2011 until January 12th, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers & those working in the private business sector. Arabic classes at the AWARE Center are unique because students are provided with the chance to practice their Arabic through various social activities that aim at bringing Arabs and Westerners together. AWARE Arabic courses highlight: lIntroductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics lBetter prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic lCombine language learning with cultural insights lTaught in multi-nationality group settings lProvide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information or registration, call 25335260/80 ext 105/104/0 or log onto: Rak dance academy new year hangama-2012 The RAK Dance Academy (RDA) Kuwait, is planning to put a charity event as celebration of its New Year Hangama 2012, on 31st December, 2011, from 6.00pm onwards, at Carmel School Khaitan. All participants are well known artists from Kuwait. The main purpose of this celebration is to collect donations and raise money for supporting handicapped children in India. Advertisement will be published throughout Kuwait absolutely free of charge. We are expecting huge crowd for this event. The fund raised will be beneficial handicapped children. In order to make this event joyous and successful we are seeking kind contributions from you. Your attendance is your donation. Please join for an evening for a good cause. Darla Srinivasulu Achari, 99 692266; Mob: 65728740 K. Eswar Babu, Phone 99692266, Lashmeesha 65925730 Email:

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

Thanksgiving Festival


he Praise God Ministry held its annual Sthuthi Swarlapana festival last weekend. The festival - the sixth since it began in 2005 - attracted over 2,000 people who celebrated with music, drama and dancing. The audience completed the evening with homecooked food and refreshments. One of the festival’s objectives is to say thanks to the underprivileged section of the workforce in Kuwait by providing them a platform to showcase their talents. The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Amaal Al-Sayyer, KALD

Chairperson (Kuwait Association for Learning Differences) of awards to 10 volunteers who have helped the community over the last 12 months. Pastor Ratna Maitra said the 2011 festival was a huge success and the result of tremendous hard work from all the people involved: “The Stuti Swarlapana, or Praise Music Festival, is our way of showing our gratitude to our families, our mentors, our pastors, our friends and colleagues for helping us when we need them most. It also provides an opportu-

nity for all of us to have a good time with an evening of song, dance and drama and enjoy a lovely home cooked meal. “ “Each year we discover artists of high quality. The audiences are simply amazed when the performance gets better and better every year.” “Like the previous five festivals, the 2011 event required tremendous effort and sacrifice from many of the Praise God Ministry family members, who have been working hard over the past two months to make the evening possible.”

“This year we gave a special thanks to Jackie Zandstra, the widow of the late Pastor Jerry Zandstra who sadly passed away in July 2011. Zandstra had the opportunity to return to America to be with her family and children, but instead, she chose to stay in Kuwait and continue the work that she and Pastor Jerry have been doing for the last 26 years - Thank you Jacque. Pastor Ratna Maitra said that despite the cold weather, the congregation enjoyed the evening and that everyone is looking forward to next year’s event.

Green Ambassadors make presentation


he Green Ambassadors were formed by the students and schoolteacher in Kuwait at the Universal American School. It is a student-based organization of volunteers who are working toward saving the Earth and serving others in their community. The group shows the school, and the people here in Kuwait that there is more to it than what is happening. The Green Ambassador students presented an assembly at the request of GUST University about the purpose of cutting unnecessary resources, such as single use plastic. Their title: “Plastic Surgery, Cut it out! A facelift for Mother Nature”. Their group however focuses on using resources sustainably - creating green spaces and buildings - serving healthy food - and teaching stewardship. In Kuwait, the main natural resource is oil, which is what is used to make plastics. However, much of Kuwait still is wasting this very important resource in

AUK inaugurates Capstone Graphic Design Expo


he Arts & Graphic Design Program (GDES) at AUK will be holding the Senior Capstone Exhibition from December 18-21, 2011. The exhibition will be held in the Multipurpose Room at the AUK Campus in Salmiya and is open to public visitors. The exhibition will be inaugurated today at 7:00 pm. Under the supervision of Professor Marcella Kulchitsky, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Program Lead of GDES, 15 senior students will be displaying their graduation projects during the exhibition. The themes of the exhibition include but are not limited to new business concepts, identity designs, educational/awareness projects, ideas to preserve culture along with creative ideas for personal safety and health. Participating students will be graded based on the creativity and presentation of their projects, which reflect their ability to conduct and use graphic design research strategy effectively and efficiently; their ability to design problem solving solutions in 2D and 3D formats; and their ability to plan and implement a compelling graphic design exhibition.

unnecessary items such as single-use plastic. These items include, plastic bags, plastic forks, spoons, knives, and plates, as well as plastic bottles. These items are the majority of trash found as litter, polluting the Gulf, and clogging our own sewage system. The students ask that people to reduce on the overuse of items used only for convenience, and look for alternative ways to the use of their important resource of oil. Solutions in three steps Reduce - Reuse - Recycle Reduce: Use less of items that are not a need. There is a great difference between what we need and what we want. Get the washable cup at Starbucks, instead of the take away paper cup. Stop taking six bags every time at the coop when you could be using the same reusable bag again and again. If everyone did this, we could save billions of barrels of oil just by cutting this one item.

Kannur unit announces Pride of Kannur 2011 awards


uwait Kerala Muslim cultural centre (KKMCC) Kannur district committee announces “Pride of Kannur 2011” excellence awards for the selected members of the association. The award was given to selected 17 personalities on Friday, December 16, 2011 at Abbasiya Indian central school auditorium, informed the organizers in a press meeting. KKMCC Secretariat, National council, area committees, branch committees, and district committees members as well as KKMCC’s more than 5,000 members were expected to attend in this mega event, organizers said. KKMCC Kannur unit President Dr Ghalib Al Mashoor said that face-to-face meetings with area/conveners of KKMCC and executives of central committee also will be held at Fahaheel, during the leaders’ trip in Kuwait. KKMCC’s pride of Kannur 2011 excellence awards will be given to the members of the association who are staying in Kuwait for more than 20 years and without any criminal records. This year’s awards are given to A K Mahmoud - Chendayad, P A Rasheed - Madayi, Advocate Sayid Mohamed Nizar Thangal, U V A Kareem Kuttaparamba, Abdul Raheem - Mattool, N K Khalid Chavesseri, Muhammed Iqbal - Taliparamba, P V M. Kasim - Kannur, A T Sideeq - Thana, Kannur, Abdulla Adiyottil, K K Ismail - Parad, P T Muhammed -Alakkad, Soopy Taliparamba, Sayid Muhammed Ali Thangal, K C M Kunhi Perumbalabad, Musthafa Mattool and A P A Razak Koothuparamba.

Reuse: Any items that can be, reuse them as much as possible. Buy the reusable water bottles, purchase a reusable coop bag made of cloth or even the cheap bags. Recycle: Any items that Kuwait can recycle, do so. There are companies here in Kuwait that recycle paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum cans and other such metals. If the demand were to increase, Kuwait could increase their supply of alternative trash disposals. Kuwait has the capability to be the leading example for how a country takes care of its environment. There are enough resources and enough money to create a program of sustainability, recycling, and alternative energy sources. If Kuwait began to refocus it’s use of it’s natural resource, oil, and keep it for what is truly necessary, not only would it maintain its countries welfare, but in fact be the model for other countries to follow.

KERA conducts mass signature campaign


uwait Ernakulam Residents Association (KERA) conducts mass signature campaign on a memorandum to show the solidarity and support in the Mullaperiyar Dam issue especially to the residents of Idukki, Kottayam, athanamthitta, Alapuzha and Ernakulam districts of Kerala. The campaign is focusing to obtain signature from minimum 10,000 people from Kerala. The memorandum is demanding to the authorities to immediately bring down the water level to 120 feet in the dam to ensure safety of 3.5 million people and properties. Approval to construct a new dam as it fears that a strong earthquake might damage the existing dam. Protect the lives and properties of over 3.5 million citizens. Find an amicable solution (preferably outside court) to this KeralaTamil Nadu dispute. Consider the Government of Kerala commitment to undertake ‘water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala’. The organizers stated in a press release that the signed documents will be submitted to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, and the Union Minister for Water Resources of India, and the Chief Minister of Kerala.




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W H AT ’ S O N

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

BSK students visit Discovery Zone at Scientific Centre


ear 2 at The British School of Kuwait went in search of electricity and found lots of it at the Discovery Zone. In line with the National Curriculum for England and Wales children had been looking at electricity and how it is used. They looked at mains and battery operated appliances and mar-

veled when they were able to make a circuit that resulted in bulb lighting. Children did not stop there and they continued experimenting adding buzzers, motors and switches. All sorts of weird and wonderful circuits were made. The trip to the Discovery Zone

enhanced the classroom based experimentation, as students were able to experience a myriad of different interactive electric appliances. Children generated their own electrical power by sheer hard work turning a handle and they were confidently building circuits with a wide variety of components. Whilst all

this learning was taking place, children were reminded about the importance of safety when working with electricity. A wonderful session was had by all, with students queuing up to see who had the steadiest hand and could pass the metal loop along a tricky path without the buzzer going off.

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


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

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

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

Tiny tots enjoy fancy dress competition


he tiny tots of LKG of the Indian Community School Amman branch had a Fancy Dress Competition held on October 16, 2011 at the school auditorium. The topic for the competition was dress up as their favourite fruit and the event turned out to be very colorful and attractive. The students came well dressed as different fruits such as apple, mango, orange, banana, pineapple, strawberry and water melon.

Total number of participants were 120 students from LKG. Winners of I Prize: Nivedita Anil Kumar, Ameen Hamza, Jianna Susan Jerin and John George Puthukeril . The students who stood second are: Vera Ankur Upadhyan, Architha Reddy, Stephen Nelson , Mohammed Anfas and Eshan Ranish Patel. The students who stood third are: Shekina Yakub Khan, Johann Thomas, Christina Maria, Fadil Rifai,

Fidha Lahir, Arwa Munawar Tarawala and Abdullah Habib Kasim. Merit certificates were awarded to 16 students who stood I, II and III. Participation certificates were given to 104 students of LKG. All the participants enjoyed going on to the stage and spoke a few words about their costume and favorite fruit. It was a very well organized event which manifested the teamwork of the teachers as well as the efforts put in by the parents and the students.

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

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

EMBASSY OF 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 promptly 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, email:, Information also available on the website: nnnnnnn

Paradigm Pioneers launches Salmiya Indian Model School


ith a unique slogan of “Dare to Dream”, the first Indian model school in Kuwait has opened here at Salmiya. Breaking new grounds in the field of education, Salmiya Indian Model School (SIMS) has begun its operation with the KG Classes, said the management in a press briefing, at the school premise. The school promoted by Paradigm Pioneers Group, a leading business conglomerate based in Dubai, is the first model Indian school in Kuwait meeting the very specific requirements of a model school set by the Ministry of Private education, Kuwait, the officials informed. Dr Mohammad Tariq, ChairmanParadigm Pioneers Group and SIMS, expressed his hope and belief that Salmiya Indian Model School, will be a

premier institution of its kind, in this part of the world in the near future, amply fulfilling the educational aspirations of the parents who bring their children to its portals. “SIMS is dedicated to the promotion of holistic education, human growth and development”, said the Principal designate Sanjay Yadav. In the sprawling campus, in the heart of Salmiya, the school boasts of the state of the art infrastructural facilities. Well equipped class rooms with smart boards for primary classes, proper ventilation and air conditioning systems are in place. Work on the football turf and swimming pool are under progress. Vibrant and lively KG section has already started functioning. The activity space in KG section is uniquely designed to captivate the younger

minds. Audio visual facilities with an exclusive play area are the features added to attract the children. The school is well equipped with a science lab and a fully networked computer lab. The Library has been built with a mind set of inculcating reading habits in the children. The school also has a spacious Auditorium and Activity hall and multipurpose hall. Other standard facilities include a well equipped clinic, mosque etc. “Our educational environment reflects the world, in which our students will one day live and work. Beyond mastering academic disciplines, SIMS students will be taught to respect all people and things, to be honest with themselves and others, put forth maximum effort, and seek ways to support their communities”, said the

School Director Anis Ahmed. The school is going to follow the CBSE Curriculum and the registration is open for KG till Class VIII for the session 201213. Each class size will be limited to a maximum 30 students, to give individual attention to students. The school provides guided transport facility. All the school buses will be parked inside the campus to ensure the safety of the students. The school sponsor, Dr Sheikha Maimuna Al-Sabah, reiterated her commitment to extend all support towards the establishment of the First Indian Model School, in Kuwait. The credit for the successful culmination of this program goes to the overwhelming participation of the members of Paradigm Pioneers and the press.

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



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00:50 Untamed & Uncut 01:45 Dogs 101: Specials 02:40 Ultimate Air Jaws 03:35 Jaws Comes Home 04:30 Killer Sharks 05:25 Dogs 101: Specials 06:20 Animal Cops Phoenix 07:10 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 08:00 Monkey Life 08:25 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 09:15 Breed All About It 09:40 Talk To The Animals 10:10 Panda Adventures With Nigel Marven 11:05 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:30 Monkey Life 12:00 Crocodile Hunter 12:55 Dogs 101: Specials 13:50 Dogs 101 14:45 My Cat From Hell 15:40 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 16:35 Dogs vs. Cats 17:30 America’s Cutest Pet 18:25 Bondi Vet 18:50 Bondi Vet 19:20 Animal Kingdom 19:45 Animal Kingdom 20:15 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 21:10 Dogs 101 22:05 Shark Attack File 23:00 Speed Of Life 23:55 Whale Wars

00:00 00:29 01:00 01:45 02:40 03:10 03:40 04:10 04:40 04:50 05:00 05:15 05:20 05:40 06:00 06:10 06:20 06:35 06:40 07:00 07:10 07:30 07:40 07:50 08:05 08:10 08:30 08:40 09:00 09:10 09:20 09:35 09:40 09:45 10:05 10:20 10:40 11:10 11:45 12:35 13:20 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:45 16:35 17:05 17:35 18:05 18:35 19:05 19:50 20:20 20:50 21:50 22:20 22:45 23:35

One Foot In The Grave Beautiful People Doctor Who Ray Mears’ Wild Foods One Foot In The Grave One Foot In The Grave As Time Goes By Last Of The Summer Wine 3rd & Bird The Large Family Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Balamory 3rd & Bird The Large Family Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Balamory 3rd & Bird The Large Family Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Balamory 3rd & Bird The Large Family Boogie Beebies Poetry Pie Poetry Pie Tweenies Charlie and Lola Balamory As Time Goes By Last Of The Summer Wine Doctor Who The Weakest Link Casualty Big Bear Diary Big Bear Diary The Weakest Link The Weakest Link Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctor Who As Time Goes By Last Of The Summer Wine Coast Big Bear Diary Big Bear Diary Return To Cranford The Fixer

00:40 01:30 02:20 07:25 08:15 08:40 10:55 11:40 16:00 16:50 22:00 22:45 23:35

Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow James Martin’s Brittany Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow

00:00 BBC World News 00:30 Dateline London 01:00 BBC World News 01:10 The Doha Debates 02:00 BBC World News 02:10 World Features 02:30 Middle East Business Report 03:00 BBC World News 03:10 World Features 03:30 Equestrian World 04:00 BBC World News 04:30 Dateline London 05:00 BBC World News 05:10 The Doha Debates 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Newsnight 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 Click 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 India Business Report 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 Fast Track 10:00 BBC World News 10:10 The Health Show 10:30 Equestrian World 11:00 BBC World News 11:10 World Features 11:30 Dateline London 12:00 BBC World News 12:10 World Features 12:30 BBC World News 13:00 BBC World News 13:10 World Features 13:30 My Country 14:00 BBC World News 14:10 World Features 14:30 Newsnight 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 BBC World News 16:00 BBC World News 16:15 Sport Today 16:30 Click 17:00 BBC World News 17:30 BBC World News 18:00 BBC World News 18:10 The Doha Debates 19:00 BBC World News 19:30 India Business Report 20:00 BBC World News 20:30 Talking Books 21:00 BBC World News 21:10 World Features 21:30 My Country 22:00 Sports World Have Your Say 22:30 Sports World Have Your Say 23:00 BBC World News 23:10 This Week With Christiane Amanpour

00:00 00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:30 03:55 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00

Dexters Laboratory The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones Johnny Bravo Duck Dodgers King Arthur’s Disasters The Scooby Doo Show Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry Popeye The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Pink Panther & Pals Tex Avery Duck Dodgers The Garfield Show


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

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

00:15 Samurai Jack 00:40 Megas XLR 01:05 Robotboy 01:30 Squirrel Boy 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Cramp Twins 02:45 Chop Socky Chooks 03:10 Best Ed 03:35 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Generator Rex 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 05:40 Chowder 05:55 Powerpuff Girls 06:30 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:55 I Am Weasel 07:20 Squirrel Boy 07:45 Cow & Chicken 08:00 Total Drama Action 08:25 Powerpuff Girls 08:50 Angelo Rules 09:05 Eliot Kid 09:30 Chowder 09:55 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 10:20 Adventure Time 10:45 The Amazing World Of Gumball 10:55 Cow & Chicken 11:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 11:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 12:20 Generator Rex 12:45 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 13:10 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 13:35 Hero 108 14:00 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 14:25 Robotboy 14:50 I Am Weasel 15:15 Best Ed 15:40 Chowder 16:05 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 16:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:55 Cow & Chicken 17:20 Adventure Time 17:45 Codename: Kids Next Door 18:10 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 18:35 Generator Rex 19:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:25 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 19:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey

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

00:00 News Special 00:30 African Voices 01:00 The Best Of Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 World Report 02:30 Open Court 03:00 World Report 03:30 Inside Africa 04:00 CNN Marketplace Europe 04:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 04:30 African Voices 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 The Best Of The Situation Room 07:00 World Sport 07:30 Open Court 08:00 World Sport 08:30 The Best Of Backstory 09:00 World Report 09:15 CNN Marketplace Middle East 09:30 Cnngo 10:00 World Report 10:15 CNN Marketplace Europe 10:30 The Gateway 10:45 Future Cities 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Open Court 12:00 African Voices 12:30 Talk Asia 13:00 World’s Untold Stories 13:30 Inside Africa 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 16:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 17:00 State Of The Union 18:00 International Desk 18:30 Inside Africa 19:00 The Gateway 19:15 Future Cities 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:45 CNN Marketplace Middle East 21:00 International Desk 21:30 Cnngo 22:00 World Report 22:30 Open Court 23:00 Piers Morgan Tonight

00:40 Freddie Flintoff vs The World 01:35 Spy Wars 02:30 Hunted By The Mob 03:00 How Stuff’S Made 03:25 How It’S Made 03:55 How Stuff’S Made 04:20 How It’S Made 04:50 How Stuff’S Made 05:15 How It’S Made 05:40 How Stuff’S Made 06:05 How It’S Made 06:35 How Stuff’S Made 07:00 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior 07:50 Desert Car Kings 08:45 Ultimate Biker Challenge 09:10 South Beach Classics 09:40 Extreme Fishing 10:30 Marley Africa Road Trip 11:25 Coal 12:20 How Stuff’S Made 12:45 Cash Cab Us 14:35 Cash Cab Us 15:05 Cake Boss 16:55 Cake Boss 17:20 Mythbusters 18:15 Coal 19:10 Deadliest Catch 20:05 Gold Rush: Alaska 21:00 Mythbusters 21:55 Curiosity 22:50 Ultimate Survival 23:45 Ultimate Survival

00:40 Bang Goes The Theory 01:05 The Tech Show 01:30 How Techies Changed The World 02:20 The Future Of... 05:50 The Future Of... 06:40 The Tech Show 07:10 What’s That About? 08:00 How Techies Changed The World 08:55 Head Rush 08:58 Sci-Fi Science 09:25 Weird Connections 09:55 Smash Lab 10:45 Prototype This 11:35 The Future Of... 14:55 The Future Of... 15:45 Head Rush 15:48 Sci-Fi Science 16:15 Weird Connections 16:45 Bang Goes The Theory 17:10 The Gadget Show 17:35 The Gadget Show 18:00 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 18:50 How Techies Changed The World 19:40 Ldrs (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) 20:30 Robocar 21:20 Mighty Ships 22:10 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 22:35 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 23:00 Ldrs (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) 23:50 Robocar


00:00 00:20 00:45 01:10 01:35 02:00 02:20 02:45 03:10 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:25

Kim Possible Replacements Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents A Kind Of Magic A Kind Of Magic Stitch Stitch Kim Possible Kim Possible Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Stitch Stitch Jungle Junction Handy Manny

06:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 07:10 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 07:25 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 07:30 So Random 08:00 Suite Life On Deck 08:25 Phineas And Ferb 08:50 Good Luck Charlie 09:15 Shake It Up 09:40 A.N.T. Farm 10:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 10:30 Lemonade Mouth 12:25 Pixie Hollow Games 12:50 Good Luck Charlie 13:15 A.N.T. Farm 13:40 Fish Hooks 14:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:25 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 14:50 Shake It Up 15:15 Fish Hooks 15:35 So Random 15:55 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 16:20 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 16:45 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 17:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 17:30 A.N.T. Farm 18:00 Phineas And Ferb 18:20 Suite Life On Deck 18:45 Wizards Of Waverly Place 19:10 So Random 19:30 Good Luck Charlie 21:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:25 My Babysitter’s A Vampire 21:50 Good Luck Charlie 22:15 Suite Life On Deck 22:40 Sonny With A Chance 23:05 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 23:30 Hannah Montana

00:25 Fashion Police 00:55 Chelsea Lately 01:25 40 Smokin’ On Set Hookups 03:15 E! Investigates 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Reality Hell 05:30 Wildest TV Show Moments 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Style Star 09:45 Style Star 10:15 Giuliana & Bill 11:10 Ice Loves Coco 11:40 Ice Loves Coco 12:05 E! News 13:05 Fashion Police 13:35 Style Star 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:30 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Giuliana & Bill 15:55 Dirty Soap 16:55 Behind The Scenes 17:25 Behind The Scenes 17:55 E! News 18:55 Bridalplasty 19:55 Kendra 20:25 Kendra 20:55 Ice Loves Coco 21:25 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 22:25 E! News 23:25 The Soup 23:55 Chelsea Lately

00:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 01:00 Word of Mouth 01:30 Food School 02:00 Danger Men 03:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 04:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 05:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 06:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 07:00 Word of Mouth 07:30 Food School 08:00 Danger Men 09:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 11:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 12:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 13:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 13:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:00 Exploring The Vine 14:30 Exploring The Vine 15:00 Word of Mouth 15:30 Banged Up Abroad 16:30 Banged Up Abroad 17:30 Destination Extreme 18:00 Travel Madness 18:30 Latin America On A Motorcycle 19:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 19:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 20:00 Exploring The Vine 20:30 Exploring The Vine 21:00 Word of Mouth 21:30 Banged Up Abroad 22:30 Banged Up Abroad 23:30 Destination Extreme

00:15 Alive-PG15 02:30 The Spirit-PG15 04:15 The Warlords-PG15 06:30 Ip Man-PG15 08:30 The Manchurian CandidatePG15 10:45 The Three Musketeers-PG15 12:30 Universal Soldier: Regeneration-PG15 14:15 The Manchurian CandidatePG15 16:30 Across The Hall-PG15 18:15 Universal Soldier: Regeneration-PG15 20:00 Don’t Look Up-18 22:00 Empire-18

00:45 02:45 04:45 07:15 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 PG15

Winter Of Frozen Dreams-18 Private-PG15 Eat Pray Love-PG15 The Front-PG15 Private-PG15 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 Make It Happen-PG15 Stone Of Destiny-PG15 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 The Greatest-PG15 Hot Tub Time Machine-18 The LXD: The Uprising Begins-


00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 South Park 03:00 Raising Hope 03:30 2 Broke Girls 04:00 Will And Grace 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Just Shoot Me 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Will And Grace 08:30 Raising Hope 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 30 Rock 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Just Shoot Me 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Will And Grace 13:00 2 Broke Girls 13:30 Seinfeld 14:00 Just Shoot Me 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 30 Rock 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Outsourced 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 How I Met Your Mother 19:30 State Of Georgia 20:00 Happy Endings 20:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 South Park 23:30 Happy Endings

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

The Killing C.S.I. Miami Top Gear (UK) Breakout Kings No Ordinary Family The View Good Morning America The Glades Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Persons Unknown Breakout Kings No Ordinary Family C.S.I. Miami Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Body Of Proof Unforgettable Pan Am Top Gear (US) The Glades

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

Detroit 1-8-7 Top Gear (UK) The Killing C.S.I. Miami Breakout Kings The Chicago Code Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street Kojak Top Gear (UK) Breakout Kings C.S.I. Miami Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Kojak Detroit 1-8-7 Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Body Of Proof Unforgettable Pan Am Top Gear (US) The Chicago Code

01:00 Outpost-18 03:00 The Warlords-PG15 05:15 Clive Barker’s Book Of Blood18 07:00 Fighting-PG15 09:00 Spiderman 2-PG15 11:15 Rocky v-PG15 13:15 Bangkok Adrenaline-PG15 15:00 Spiderman 2-PG15 17:15 Double Impact-18 19:15 Maximum Risk-18 21:00 Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night-PG15 23:00 Bad Guys-18

00:00 Easy Virtue-PG15 02:00 Cop Out-PG15 04:00 A Guy Thing-PG15 05:45 Renaissance Man-PG15 08:00 The Boys Are Back-PG 10:00 Dr. Dolittle-PG 12:00 Dr. Dolittle 2-PG 14:00 Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy-PG15 16:00 Easy Virtue-PG15 18:00 All Night Long-PG15 20:00 My Best Friend’s Girl-18 22:00 The Night Of The White PantsPG15

01:30 03:45 05:45 07:15 09:00 10:45 13:00 14:45 16:45 18:45 21:00 23:15

The Locusts-PG15 Husbands And Wives-18 American Son-PG15 On Broadway-PG15 The Nutty Professor-FAM Dance With Me-PG Ed-PG The Moveon.Org Story-PG15 The Last Song-PG15 The Rookie-PG15 The Sting-PG15 Gal-18

01:30 PG15 03:30 05:00 07:15 09:30 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 PG15 21:00 23:00

The Fighting TemptationsOne Hot Summer-PG15 The Blind Side-PG15 Bandslam-PG15 9-PG The Box-PG15 Valentine’s Day-PG15 Flash Of Genius-PG15 9-PG The Other Side Of The TracksBrothers-18 Oranges And Sunshine-PG15

00:00 Queen Of The Swallows-FAM 02:00 Lego: The Adventures Of Clutch Powers-FAM 04:00 Open Season 3-FAM 06:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG 08:00 Christopher Columbus-PG 10:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 12:00 Planet 51-PG 14:00 Open Season 3-FAM 15:45 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 18:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 20:00 I’ll Be Home For ChristmasPG15 22:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG

00:00 Essential Killing-18 02:00 Life In A Day-PG15 04:00 Too Big To Fail-PG15 06:00 Marmaduke-PG 08:00 Phoebe In Wonderland-PG 10:00 St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend Of Fritton’s Gold-PG15 12:00 Too Big To Fail-PG15 14:00 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore-PG 15:45 St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend Of Fritton’s Gold-PG15 18:00 A Trace Of Danger-PG15 20:00 Oranges And Sunshine-PG15 22:00 Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead-18

01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00

UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed Trans World Sport Powerboats F1 WWE SmackDown Powerboats UIM

07:30 Live ISAF World Sailing Championship 13:30 WWE SmackDown 15:30 Trans World Sport 16:30 Powerboats F1 17:30 Powerboats UIM 18:00 ISAF World Sailing Championship

03:00 Futbol Mundial 03:30 European Challenge Cup 05:30 Trans World Sport 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 Darts PDC World Championship 12:00 ICC Cricket World 12:30 European Challenge Cup 14:30 Volvo Ocean Race 15:30 Scottish Premier League 17:30 Futbol Mundial 18:00 Live Scottish Premier League 20:00 Trans World Sport 21:00 ICC Cricket World 21:30 World Hockey 22:00 Live Darts PDC World Championship

00:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 09:00 09:30 13:30 15:30 16:30 20:30 22:30 23:00

Asian Tour Golf Volvo Ocean Race Highlights World Cup of Pool Scottish Premier League Futbol Mundial Live Asian Tour Golf Scottish Premier League Trans World Sport Asian Tour Golf Live European Challenge Cup ICC Cricket World Scottish Premier League

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 22:00 23:00

WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE Vintage Collection Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Speedway UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection WWE Tough Enough Speedway Le Mans Series Highlights V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Championship Prizefighter WWE SmackDown Speedway FIM World The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale Power Boats F1 Power Boats F1

00:40 A Haunting 01:30 A Haunting 02:15 The Haunted 03:05 Ghost Lab 03:50 A Haunting 04:40 A Haunting 05:25 On The Case With Paula Zahn 06:15 Disappeared 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 Real Emergency Calls 11:55 On The Case With Paula Zahn 12:40 Disappeared 13:25 Murder Shift 14:15 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 15:00 Real Emergency Calls 15:25 Real Emergency Calls 15:50 On The Case With Paula Zahn 16:35 Disappeared 17:20 Forensic Detectives 18:10 Murder Shift 19:00 FBI Files 19:45 Real Emergency Calls 20:10 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 20:55 Street Patrol 21:20 On The Case With Paula Zahn 22:10 Disappeared 23:00 Nightmare Next Door 23:50 I Faked My Own Death

Classifieds SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2011



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


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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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I, Shaikh Vali, Shaikh Imam holder of Indian Passport



@ According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest snowflake ever found measured 15 inches across and 8 inches thick. It fell on Jan. 28, 1887, at Fort Keough, Mont. @ The snow capital of the U.S. is Stampede Pass in Washington State. Each year, the average snowfall is 430 inches.

FOR SALE Mitsubishi Nativa 2008, 66564 kms, black color, excellent condition, KD 3,560/-, negotiable. Contact: 60306273. (C 3779) Mercedes Benz 1998 (E 200), color beige, running




No. 3972054 hereby change my name to Shaikh Mettala Vali. (C 3783) 18-12-2011



“BLISS” BY KATHRYN LITTLEWOOD Genre: Fantasy (375 pages) Basic story line: The Bliss family owns a magical bakery that uses an ancient Cookery Book full of secret family recipes. While the parents are away, the children cannot resist the urge to trying out the magical recipes. When the siblings distribute Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth to the bakery customers, there are chaotic and hilarious results. Rating: 9 (out of 10) The book starts out a bit slow but the plot is clever and original. The children learn valuable lessons about family togetherness and secret-keeping. The book is laugh-out-loud funny and would make a great movie or chapter-by-chapter bedtime story. — Aviva Landau, 12



@ @

“THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN” BY KATHERINE APPLEGATE Genre: Fiction (305 pages) Basic story line: A gorilla named Ivan, an aging elephant and a stray dog who live together in a nearly bankrupt mall put on shows with other animals for the few patrons who visit. Ivan, who has lived in captivity most of his life, is a goodnatured, but lonely, silverback who loves art and food. He doesn’t think much about changing his situation until a young elephant is brought to live with him and his friends. With the help of a young girl and her father, Ivan dares to make a change for all of them. Rating: 9 It is a beautifully written book that will appeal to animal lovers and those who like to see wrongs made right. The plot moves along quickly and is both interesting and humorous. — David Pomeroy, 10


What falls but never gets hurt? A snowflake!


— E M A I L S A N TA . C O M

What do snowmen like on their “icebergers”? Chilly sauce! What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted Flakes!


Black-eyed pea parfaits

TIME For Kids reviews some of the season’s best reads

Black-eyed peas have long been a staple of Southern cooking, as well as a symbol of good luck. In addition, black-eyed peas are a staple at a Kwanzaa feast. That’s why hoppin’ John, a dish made with black-eyed peas and rice, is standard New Year’s fare. Served with corn muffins, these make-your-own parfaits have all the key ingredients, plus one more — lots of appeal. INGREDIENTS I 2 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces I 2 cups chopped red or green bell pepper I 1/4 cup diced onion I 1 tomato, chopped I 1/4 teaspoon chili powder I Salt, pepper to taste I 2 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas I 3 cups chicken broth I 2 cups cooked rice I 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese I Sour cream and cherry tomatoes (for garnish) 1. In a medium saucepan, saute the bacon for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the bell pepper, the onion, the chopped tomato, the chili powder, the salt and pepper, and the black-eyed peas. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a low boil, then simmer it uncovered for 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. 2. Layer the peas, rice, cheese, and remaining bell pepper in parfait glasses. Top with sour cream and a cherry tomato. Serves 6 to 8.

“COLD CEREAL” BY ADAM REX Genre: Fantasy (422 pages) Basic story line: Scott, an 11-year-old boy, moves to Goodborough, N.J., because his mother must relocate for her job at Goodco Cereal Company. Scott befriends twins, Erno and Emily Utz, and a tiny leprechaun named Mick. Mick, along with Harvey, a talking rabbit, escaped from the evil Goodco, which had been holding them captive. With the help of kids, Harvey and Mick try to evade Goodco and return to their home. Rating: 7 It took a while for the story to get interesting and for the action to start flowing. After several chapters, the book kept me on the edge of my seat as the action switched from one character — Brian Forbes, 11 to another. “THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE” BY CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS Genre: Realistic Fiction (320 pages) Basic story line: The Malones are an AfricanAmerican family living in Gary, Ind., in the late 1930s. The dad must leave the the family to find work. Deza, her mom and brother Jimmie end up in a homeless camp in Flint, Mich. There, Jimmie, a talented singer, meets a harmonica player and the two set off to find work performing. Deza, her mom and the others are then forced to leave the camp. Fortunately, Deza’s mom finds a job at a hotel. The story describes how families like Deza’s had to go their separate ways in order to find work, but how they longed to be back together. Rating: 9 I enjoyed this book! The author provides good descriptions, and made me feel I was in the story with the characters. I found myself rooting for the Mal— Claire Duncan, 9 ones and a happy ending.

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“ZEKE BARTHOLOMEW: SUPERSPY” BY JASON PINTER Genre: Science Fiction (256 pages) Basic story line: Average 12-year-old Zeke goes through the days doing the same thing — until a new family moves in across the street. Zeke learns his new friend is a spy who is trying to save the world from being brainwashed by the villain Ragnarok, who has tubes of magma pumping over his skin to stay alive. Rating: 7 The author does a good job of explaining what Zeke’s life is like. The beginning pulls the reader in and keeps him hooked with action-packed — Tavian Moore, 11 events throughout. “DUMPLING DAYS” BY GRACE LIN Genre: Realistic Fiction (272 pages) Basic story line: When Pacy Lin and her family go to Taiwan for her grandmother’s birthday, Pacy isn’t excited, she wants instead to stay home and enjoy summer vacation. Pacy has a hard time: She can’t speak Taiwanese, makes an enemy, gets lost at the market and ends up eating chicken feet! But she does have some good times with her family, eating lots of food and seeing amazing places. Rating: 9 This book opens your eyes to a different culture and talks about things kids can relate to. The author does a great job of describing Taiwan and the culture there. Also, there are cool pictures to show you what things look like. This is an enjoyable read. — Rachel Ayres, 11

Noisemaker shakers Shake, rattle and roll into the new year by recycling empty ribbon spools into colorful noisemakers for New Year's Eve. YOU WILL NEED I Ribbon spool I Pencil I Masking tape I Dried peas or beans I Acrylic paint I Colorful stickers 1. For each one, first see if the holes in the sides of your ribbon spool are covered by the ribbon's labels. If so, use a pencil to poke through the label over 1 of the holes; if not, cover 1 hole with masking tape. 2. Next, pour a handful of dried peas or beans into the spool through the open hole, then seal the hole with tape. 3. Coat the shaker with acrylic paint, let it dry, then decorate it with colorful stickers.

— Disney FamilyFun magazine

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Vote for TFK’s 2011 Person of the Year Who was the most important newsmaker of 2011? Go to person-year/21856 to learn about the 12 nominees and to cast your vote for the TIME For Kids Person of the Year. Be sure to make your choice by Jan. 1! TFK will announce the winner at and in the first issue of “TIME For Kids” after the holiday break.


M A RT Y W E S T M A N / M C T

Hillary Clinton Gabrielle Giffords Selena Gomez Steve Jobs Kermit the Frog Lionel Messi Barack Obama

Michelle Obama Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint Yani Tseng U.S. Armed Forces William & Kate


s ta rs CROSSWORD 531



STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Your independence will be showing today and you will find value in anything that is new, unusual or different. Your routine is beginning to wear a little thin and may have you looking for ways to change some things in your life. You want anything that is different for a change. Others should enjoy your company and you theirs—both in social and work situations. A superior could be coming to you to ask that you take on the responsibility for a particular job next week. You may be flattered but should give this some thought before you say yes too quickly. Some sort of compromise may be in order. You may find it easy to reflect and understand your own situation, just how you feel about yourself. This is a most pleasant day.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 4. The basic unit of money in Mongolia. 10. Headdress that protects the head from bad weather. 13. The compass point midway between northeast and east. 14. Put into a rage. 15. An inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others. 16. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 17. Resembling a twig. 18. The month following July and preceding September. 19. European weed naturalized in southwestern United States and Mexico having reddish decumbent stems with small fernlike leaves and small deep reddish-lavender flowers followed by slender fruits that stick straight up. 21. Greek mythology. 23. An emblem (a small piece of plastic or cloth or metal) that signifies your status (rank or membership or affiliation etc.). 25. An international organization of European countries formed after World War II to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its members. 26. A city in southern Finland. 29. Move unobtrusively or furtively. 33. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 37. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 38. A police officer who investigates crimes. 39. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 40. The rate at which heat is produced by an individual in a resting state. 41. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 43. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 46. The sixth month of the civil year. 49. A master's degree in business. 52. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 55. Genus of East Indian trees or shrubs. 57. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 61. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 62. A strong emotion. 63. A character used in printing to indicate a cross reference or footnote. 65. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 66. 4-wheeled motor vehicle. 67. United States psychologist who studied the intelligence of primates (1876-1956). 68. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 2. (prefix) Opposite or opposing or neutralizing. 3. The bottom of a shoe or boot. 4. Type genus of the Tetraonidae. 5. Of someone who has not been married. 6. Norwegian composer whose work was often inspired by Norwegian folk music (1843-1907). 7. A small piece of cloth. 8. One of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 9. English economist who advocated the use of government monetary and fiscal policy to maintain full employment without inflation (1883-1946). 10. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 11. A fit of shivering. 12. A one-piece cloak worn by men in ancient Rome. 20. Little known Kamarupan languages. 22. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 24. At or constituting a border or edge. 27. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 28. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 30. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 31. Your general store of remembered information. 32. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 34. A polyvalent metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in its properties. 35. Someone who copies the words or behavior of another. 36. A ballistic missile that is capable of traveling from one continent to another. 42. A small cake leavened with yeast. 44. The superior of a group of nuns. 45. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 47. An informal term for a father. 48. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 50. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 51. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 53. A sensation (as of a cold breeze or bright light) that precedes the onset of certain disorders such as a migraine attack or epileptic seizure. 54. A European river. 56. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 58. An emotional response that has been acquired by conditioning. 59. Inquire about. 60. A fixed charge for a privilege or for professional services. 61. A radioactive transuranic element produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons. 64. That is to say.

Yesterday’s Solution

You see a need to make some changes in some of the old habit patterns that have remained for such a long time. Variety can be the spice of life and may be essential to your progress and growth. Becoming complacent is conducive to staying in one place too long. Accruing new information and expanding your way of doing things will be like a breath of fresh air—once you become acclimated to the changes you make. It’s a really good time to get in touch with your inner self and really understand how you feel about who you are and what type of future changes you will want to be making. Your ideas are accepted and supported by loved ones. Change may be easier to handle than you had previously thought possible.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) A greater regard for things of value and even the idea of value itself is the order of the day. You may find yourself gaining materially, as it is a time when material things have a great deal of importance for you. You may find an interest in antiques or some type of art work as a hobby. Whatever you choose, it should appreciate in value over the years. One of your friends has a use for your talent and this may mean that you take out a contract to paint a picture or refinish a piece of furniture, etc. All of this should work out to your advantage. Your more reserved qualities are present and serve you very well. This is a very profitable time. You may decide that your self-expression with friends will also work well with the public; insight and self-employment.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You might like to pretend that your responsibilities do not exist. You want to go out and do some socializing, but the reality of the situation is probably going to insist that you take care of business and forget your buddies for the time being. Later this afternoon you make time for play. You love comfort and the interaction of friends. You may even find a friend’s inquiries to be flattering and caring instead of meddlesome or prying. This afternoon you may cook up one of your specialties that you know your friends cannot resist. Harmony and balance with lots of enthusiasm creates warmth. You enjoy listening to others and their variety of conversations. You will be enthused about some new domestic plans and will strongly lend your support.

Leo (July 23-August 22)


Anything uncommon or extraordinary will be what captures your interest. You may have always been interested in flying model airplanes but never actually did it. This is your day of opportunity to do some flying—or something similar. Allowing your creative and intuitive nature to awaken will pay you back in big rewards. New solutions to long-held problems may be but one of the benefits. Something very inventive may also surface. Allowing variety into your life is certainly a way to shake up the old routine. Change is inevitable, but in your case, it may be necessary for self-preservation. You do not allow yourself or your interests to stagnate or lose touch with what is happening in your world. Enjoy shopping this afternoon.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You should find your timing almost perfect to do just about anything that your heart desires. Those around you should find you very natural and vital. Communicating and getting your message across to others is an important factor in your life just now. This is a really super time to be in the company of other people, personally and perhaps in a work situation. Your ability to manage and direct others puts you in a good situation to assume the responsibility for a special job. Someone in authority may be calling on you to make use of your talents. A truly sustained effort, along with your hand and eye coordination, makes just about any task run well. This is a great day for getting things accomplished. Emotions are existent but well within your control.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


You may find that there are some sensual needs that require additional attention, either your own or that of another. It’s essential that you feel in total control of most situations in your life at this time. You will want to be the leader of your own band, in the literal sense—perhaps even the star performer. This could all lead to some interesting encounters in healing and investing and possibly the mysterious aspects of life and death. After looking at some of your circumstances a little closer, you may observe the need to resort to some reorganization, being a little more conservative in the process. This should all work out for the positive. Your tendency to be a little more reserved is valuable just now. Love and appreciation surround you tonight.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) To feel cared for and needed is a comforting thing and to not feel this could cause you uneasiness. You will find that the relationships you hold closest are more important now. Being alone and lonely is just not your cup of tea just now—you need people around you to help reinforce the feeling of caring and sharing. You could easily find yourself looking for something in the romance department today, or at least finding enjoyment from friends. Your brilliant ideas can inspire others. Feelings and movement are appreciated. You could find a great deal of satisfaction from just getting out and about and walking or exercising. Your ability to communicate with others may be very strong at this time. Now is a most positive time.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) There is someone who understands you perfectly well and who is more than supportive of your rather eccentric behavior. Your unique and unusual talents could bring you some really awesome results in the form of new conclusions or something very inventive. Don’t you know that the great inventors of our time were considered a bit bizarre? They dared to pursue their dreams and hunches and all of mankind benefited because of their dedication. You too should allow yourself to be creative and intuitive when the mood strikes you. Socially, you should find yourself a shining star, as others will be attuned to what you have to say. Fight the cold with warm clothes—plenty of heat and possibly a vacation to a warm place during the coldest time this winter season.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) There is time this morning to enjoy the sunrise and a good breakfast. This is going to be a busy day. There is so much energy around you now, it cannot help but rub off on you. If you do not start a new project now—you will probably plan one. You enjoy solving a riddle, playing a word game or learning something new. When you choose a friend or a partner, you choose with your head as well as your heart. This makes for secure and loving relationships. Considering that your friends or family members will usually follow your lead, make your steps count. You are surrounded by some of your favorite people today. Plan something special to show them how much you care. Perhaps you will decide to have an impromptu party at your place.

Yesterday’s Solution Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is a really happy time. You place value on that which is principled and forthright and have a particular dislike for things that are secret, intense or private. You may be helping someone today who had many difficulties. With your help, dramatically positive situations can develop. You may enjoy teaching others how to release emotional stress. People listen when you talk, because of your persuasiveness and eloquent way with words. Self-expression works well for you just now, lending itself to your ideas and thoughts. This is the day that you can get a special project off the ground. You have been involved in charity groups before, but now you seem to have the need to jump in with both feet. Special interest groups enhance your place in the community.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Being calm, cool and collected may take a lot of effort from you today as your energies may seem a bit high strung. Some of the circumstances that you find yourself in seem to create a great deal of competition. You are challenged by your own expectations yet you achieve more than you thought possible at this time. This may mean some athletic contest or possibly an art showing is in the works. Rest at home this evening helps you to renew your energy and focus on your next goal. You may find yourself reading about the latest techniques or styles of other competitive people. Friendships and family members come to you via phone calls and you enjoy the communications. Learning new things and communicating them to others delights you.



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LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Royal couple visit s to Tuvalu proves they care for the countr he couple will travel the world on behalf of Queen Elizabeth - who is celebrating her 60th year on the throne in 2012 - and can expect a traditional welcome when they visit the country in the Pacific Ocean, according to the country’s consul to the UK Iftikhar Ayaz. He said: “Every individual in Tuvalu will be delighted by this news. The visit is a great example of the care and affection that the royal family has for even the smallest states like Tuvalu. “They will sit in a canoe and the young men of the island, dressed in skirts of coconut fibre, will carry the canoe on their shoulders. I have met the Queen and she vividly recollects the experience.”


Approximately 10,000 people live on the island nation, which is the fourth smallest country in the world after Vatican City, Monaco and Nauru. Although exact details of what the couple will do when they visit are being kept secret, it is expected they will be rowed ashore in a multi-hued canoe, echoing the boat trip they took when on their first official overseas visit as a couple to Canada earlier this year. All of the royal family will be visiting countries around the world for the Queen, and Prince Harry will be making his first official trip on behalf of his grandmother when he tours the Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas.

Scherzinger will pay homage to Pussycat Dolls on tour

Kim Kardashian spsoriasis flared up due to recent stress he reality TV star’s spouse Kris Humphries is seeking to annul their 72-day marriage on the grounds of fraud causing her skin condition, which is believed to be caused by environmental factors and genetics and was first diagnosed by a dermatologist in July, to return. A source told National Enquirer magazine: “Turning from Beauty into the Beast is Kim’s worst fear. The stress of Kris’ charge that their marriage was a fraud isn’t helping her condition and she fears the crusty red spots caused by her psoriasis will spread.” Not only has the unsightly itchy, flaky, red rash returned, Kim is also in pain with her condition. The source added: “It’s very painful, especially when Kim lies in bed at night. She’s afraid that her spots will soon cover her body and she has cried over it a few times.” In scenes shown on reality TV show ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ earlier this year, Kim told the skin specialist, Dr. Harold Lancer who made the diagnosis: “I cannot have psoriasis. I’ve heard of it before, because my mom has always had it. She didn’t have red flaky dots all over. “My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots. People don’t understand the pressure on me to look perfect. When I gain a pound, it’s in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots.”


Whoopi broke wind on live television

he ‘Sister Act’ star was interviewing Clare Danes on panel show ‘The View’ when she farted, and quickly owned up to the incident. Looking around to a giggling audience, she said: “Oh excuse me, I just let a frog out there.” Clare responded: “It’s OK!” However, far from being embarrassed the 56-year-old star continued to interview the actress without mentioning it again. A spokesperson from network ABC did not confirm that the incident was real and suggested it may have just been a joke. The representative said: “It was clearly a joke and all in good fun. Secretly we hoped it would get posted on YouToot.” Whoopi is not the only star to have used a fart noise to make people laugh - Hollywood hunk George Clooney, himself renowned for practical jokes, loved making the sound when on the set of ‘The Descendants’. His co-star Shailene Woodley said: “We didn’t get any infamous George Clooney pranks, because it was a very family based environment because we had a 10-year-old on set. But we did get a lot of the fart application on the phone. George loves that.”


he 33-year-old singer is set to embark on a series of solo concerts next year but has promised part of her set will be influenced by her former band, who she left last year. She said: “The tour is not going to be as big a spectacle as Rihanna or Katy Perry’s were. There will be dancers, a live band and I’ll pay homage to the Pussycat Dolls.” The ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ hitmaker recently described herself as “Queen Doll” and admitted she finds her solo career more relaxing than being in a band. She said: “Before it was like I had my entourage with me, my girl gang and now it’s just me. On stage I was definitely more like a character, like we were all little superhero dolls and I was like Queen Doll. “With five girls in a group there’s always a lot of things involved. When it’s just you, you’ve only got a couple of people around you and it’s a lot more relaxed. “I’m in touch with a few of them. We grew up so much together, that’s always going to be a sisterhood. I couldn’t be in a group with anyone else.”


DiCapri olikes playing complic ated c haracte rs

he ‘J Edgar’ star insists he never thinks about the type of genre he wants to tackle next in his career path and instead plans his movie choices according to the roles he finds interesting. He explained: “I’ve never doubted the material I’ve been drawn to. I don’t do a film because I feel it’s time to do a comedy or a science-fiction or another genre. “I do it because I’m motivated, it interests me, and I feel as if I could be of service to the character. And I like complicated characters.” Leonardo stars as FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover in the drama film and is also working on ‘The Great Gatsby’ - an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and has enjoyed the experience of both movies as he was able to do so much research to prepare for the parts. He added: “Like ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘J. Edgar’ led to a million questions I wanted answered, and it got me excited to research the character.”


Alyson Hannigan pregnant with her second child he 37-year-old actress and husband Alexis Denisof are said to be delighted to be expecting a new addition to their family, which will be a brother or sister to twoyear-old daughter Satyana. A source told Us Weekly magazine: “Alyson is thrilled to be pregnant. She’s been wearing baggy clothes to cover the baby bump.” The ‘American Pie’ beauty previously said she loved being a mother because it helped fill a “void” in her life, even though she didn’t expect it to. She said: “Being a mother has changed me in every way because my life is so much greater. “It filled a void I never knew was there. It’s the most amazing experience of my life. I just feel so blessed to get to be on this journey.” Alyson met her British husband on the set of TV show ‘Angel’ and have been married since 2003. The flame-haired beauty will return to cinema screens next year for the fourth inception of the ‘American Pie’ movies, ‘American Reunion.’


Nicola Roberts rescuesCheryl Cole sphone from a toilet he ‘Lucky Day’ singer believes she is a “true friend” to her Girls Aloud bandmate because she wasn’t afraid to help her pal out when disaster struck on a night out. She said: “Cheryl dropped her phone down the toilet once and I had to get it out for her. “We’d gone to the loo together and the next thing I heard was, ‘Nicola!’ And I thought, ‘Bloody hell’, so I went in there and got it out for her. Now that’s true friendship for you.” As well as her bandmates, Nicola is very close to her two dogs but says she has different relationships with each. She told more! magazine: “I love having pictures of me and the dogs. When I’m away, I can look at them and fawn over them. “I miss them terribly. They’ve got little personalities. Like, one of them thinks he’s my boyfriend and one thinks he’s my son. We’ve got that going on.”





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SAG ensemble rule rewards stars, shortchanges key actors he Golden Globes isn’t the only awards show where it really pays to be a movie star. It’s a big help at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, toonot because SAG voters fawn over celebrities the way the Globes voters famously do, but because the guild’s ensemble award has a built-in bias in favor of actors with the clout to negotiate favorable opening-credit placement. According to guild rules, ensemble award casts are represented by actors billed on separate cards in the main titles. That’s why, if you look at SAG’s listing for the nominees in the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Award, you’ll find what seem to be baffling oversights. In the case of “The Descendants,” for instance, six actors are listed as making up the film’s cast: Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard and Shailene Woodley. Notably missing are Amara Miller and Nick Krause-who, as Clooney’s youngest daughter and as a tagalong friend of Woodley’s, respectively, have significantly more screen time than Bridges, Forster, Greer and Lillard. In Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” the omissions are even more glaring. If one is to judge by SAG’s list of nominees, the cast includes Adrien Brody, who plays Salvador Dali, but not Corey Stoll, who plays Ernest Hemingway and is by far the most talked-about and honored of the actors who play historical figures. (San Francisco’s film critics named him the year’s best supporting actor.) Kathy Bates, who plays Gertrude Stein, is listed; Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston, who play Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, are not. Michael Sheen makes the cut; Nina Arianda, who portrays his fiance and is onscreen virtually every moment that he is, doesn’t. Carla Bruni, the French first lady who has a couple of small scenes, is in; Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller, major players as Owen Wilson’s prospective in-laws, are out. And it’s not just that Stoll and Krause and Pill and the rest were just left off a list. If “The Descendants” wins, Matthew Lillard will get a shiny statuette, but Nick Krause will receive a certificate. If “Midnight in Paris” triumphs, Brody gets hardware and Stoll gets a piece of paper. It doesn’t feel right - not to the actors involved, not to outside observers, and sometimes not even to SAG officials. “It’s very frustrating for us,” admitted SAG Awards producer Kathy Connell to TheWrap. “But the union cannot be in the position of deciding who qualifies and who doesn’t.” The guild’s official rules stipulate that every actor who appears in the end credits is considered a member of the


cast-but for the ensemble awards, “Motion Picture casts shall be represented by those actors billed on separate cards in the main titles, wherever those titles appear.” In other words, if you’re a big enough name to get your own title card, then you have the chance to win a SAG award in a few scenes. But if you’re not as well known, you can have a bigger role but not be invited to the party. “At the beginning, we had to put in a rule that would be very clear to everyone,” said Connell, who added that the ensemble category was instituted 16 years ago. “And that rule had to allow filmmakers to make the call. How would it look if we decided that this actor should be in and this actor shouldn’t?” Directors and studios, she added, are well aware of the rule, and thus have the ability to include any actor they deem worthy by giving that actor an opening-credits card. “We feel horrible about it sometimes,” she said, “but we’re not in control.” But is there a better way than tying the nomination to opening credits, which are often a function of negotiating clout? How about simply giving the director or studio a number, and saying they can submit, say, 12 actors? “That would be even more unfair,” Connell said. “What if the 13th actor is very important to the movie? At least under our system, you can always give that 13th actor a single card if you think he’s important. “We’ve had casts of 18, and casts of five. The way we do it gives the filmmakers the opportunity to decide who is important.” In “Midnight in Paris,” nobody-not even star Owen Wilson has a solo title card. As is Woody Allen’s custom, the cast is listed not individually, but in groups. The first card reads “Starring (in alphabetical order),” and lists Bates, Brody, Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Sheen and Wilson. The second card is headed “Co-starring,” and lists Arianda, Fuller, Hiddleston, Kennedy, Pill, Lea Seydoux and Stoll. “In the past, Woody Allen has put 18 actors on two cards in his opening credits, and listed them all alphabetically,” said Connell. “In that case, we would take all 18. But here, he separated the cards into ‘Starring’ and ‘Co-starring,’ so the choice seemed to have been made by Mr. Allen.” On the other hand, even Stoll and Krause and their cohorts are in better shape than Jon Hamm, who makes a cameo appearance in ensemble nominee “Bridesmaids.” Hamm always gets big laughs when he appears onscreen-but it’s an uncredited part, not even listed in the final credits. So if the film wins, he won’t even get a certificate. —(

In this Dec 7, 2011 photo released by Starz, director John Landis, left, and comedian Jerry Lewis pose after the Encore Original premiere of “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis” in Los Angeles. The film, about the career of Jerry Lewis from director-producer Gregg Barson.—AP

Film details Jerry Lewis’ ‘Method to the Madness’ regg Barson is a documentarian, not a comedian. But when Jerry Lewis let him know that more than a dozen people were waiting in line to tell his story, Barson offered a persuasive punch line. “Yeah, but they’re not me,” was Barson’s comeback, followed by a momentary quiver of fear that he’d gone too far with the veteran star. “He said, ‘I like that. You know why? Because you remind me of me,’” Barson recalled. That chutzpah-fueled exchange led to “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis,” debuting 8 pm EST Saturday (0100 GMT Sunday) on Encore. Other airings include 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT) Sunday and 8 pm EST Tuesday. The film focuses on what makes the 85-yearold - and still working - Lewis tick as a performer and filmmaker. Those looking for dish on his family life or breakup with stage and screen partner Dean Martin or abrupt departure from the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon he’d nurtured for nearly five decades won’t find


it here. Barson, who describes himself as being “in heaven” whenever he caught a Lewis film on TV as a youngster, said his intent was to focus on Lewis’ career from vaudeville on and his contributions to comedy and movies. Younger people without exposure to Lewis’ work likely consider him as “that telethon guy. Hopefully, the film will open their eyes as opposed to thinking he did one thing one day a year,” Barson said. During more than three years of filming, Barson had near-complete access as he followed Lewis from his yacht in San Diego to his home in Las Vegas to concert dates and to the Cannes Film Festival in France, the country that idolizes Lewis as a cinematic genius. He was good company, Barson said. “He’s always up, funny and playful. ... The sparkle, he didn’t put in on for the camera. He’s being real.” “Method to the Madness,” which opens with Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy and other comedians anointing Lewis as comedy royalty, is an

unabashed valentine. It is also a reminder that Lewis inspired rock-star levels of fan devotion, and of how impressively “The Bellboy” (1960) and many other films starring and written and directed by Lewis ruled the box office. Barson, who made the well-received Phyllis Diller documentary “Goodnight, We Love You,” sees parallels between Diller and Lewis, including their work ethic. “She was 84 when she retired, and he’s 85 and still working. They never rest on their laurels,” Barson said. “They still care. They’re not phoning it in.” And that, he said, is part of Lewis’ method: Every aspect of his performance is planned. “As Eddie Murphy says (in the film), slapstick looks simple but the reason it’s been around so long is how well thought out it is,” Barson said. Lewis is pleased with the film. And his health is good, according to the filmmaker, who spills one appropriately quirky personal secret on his subject: “He drinks a lot of orange soda. Maybe that’s the fountain of youth.” —AP

Met opera’s ‘Hansel’ is a musical food feast s the witch really dead now?” my 6year-old seatmate, Claudia, leaned over anxiously to ask. Hansel and Gretel had just shoved the old crone into the oven, but she could still be seen knocking on the glass door as if she expected the children to let her out. Soon enough, however, she really was dead. And Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” had worked its spell on Claudia just as it had on the entire audience of grown-ups and children at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday night. The opening performance of this season’s revival was a magical affair all around. The eccentric production by Richard Jones exerted its creepy charms; a strong cast of singers sent Humperdinck’s melodies soaring, and the orchestra led by debut-


ing conductor Robin Ticciati made the Wagnerian textures sound light and transparent. In Jones’ refreshingly kitsch-free vision, “Hansel and Gretel” is all about hunger and food. The dream pantomime features not 14 guardian angels but 14 chefs in giant white hats who prepare a sumptuous banquet for the children. The witch, decked out by costumer designer John Macfarlane in lumpy black dress and white pearls, is like a malevolent, misshapen Julia Child who whips up all manner of desserts in a frenzy and tries to force-feed them to Hansel. Though the role was written for a mezzo-soprano, it’s often taken by a tenor. Robert Brubaker sang and acted with gusto, sounding at times like Mime, the dwarf in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, a role he will sing

at the Met later this season. Soprano Alexandra Kurzak was a sweetly lyrical Gretel with blooming high notes, though her heavily accented English made her words often unintelligible. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey was a ripe-voiced Hansel and played the role of the gangly boy to perfection. The delicate blending of their voices in the children’s prayer was enchanting. Soprano Michaela Martens and baritone Dwayne Croft lent strong support as their parents. This “Hansel” with its menacing tree people, suicidal mother and drunken father, might be a bit too dark for very young children, though its mood is more in keeping with the original Grimms’ fairy tale than most productions. For everyone else, though, it’s a holiday feast. —AP

In this theater image released by Jeffrey Richards Associates, Laura Osnes, left, and Jeremy Jordan are shown in the musical “Bonnie and Clyde,” in New York. Producers announced that the show will play its final performance on Friday, Dec. 30. —AP

Broadway musical Bonnie & Clyde’ to close musical based on the legend of the bank-robbing fugitives Bonnie and Clyde hasn’t been able to outrun poor ticket sales on Broadway. Producers said Friday they’re pulling the plug on the Frank Wildhorn musical “Bonnie & Clyde” by the end of the


month. The final performance is slated for Dec 30. The show began previews Nov 4. It will have played only 69 performances when it closes. The biographical musical star Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan. It suffered from bad reviews and lackluster sales. Last week, it took in only

$404,000 from a potential $921,000 at the box office. It marks the second Broadway blow for Wildhorn this year along with his updated telling of “Alice in Wonderland.” This spring his musical “Wonderland” was panned and closed early. —AP

Bieber stages concert at low-income Vegas school ne girl says she “almost exploded” with excitement when Justin Bieber performed a concert at her school, and another vows she’ll never wash her hand after he touched it. The 17-year-old teen pop sensation’s private concert Friday at low-income Whitney Elementary School was filmed for an episode of “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and came after Bieber promised students a $100,000 donation. The school has gained publicity for services it offers needy families. It appeared in a September episode of “Ellen” that highlighted how the school provides a food pantry, clothes closet, free haircuts and literacy training for students’ families. In addition to the cash, Principal Sherrie Gahn says a truckload of Christmas presents valued at $100,000 from Bieber was distributed among the school’s 650 students Friday. —AP


In this photo released by Warner Bros., Justin Bieber performs a holiday concert for the students at Whitney Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nev. on Friday, Dec. 16. Bieber’s visit to the school will air on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Jan. 4. —AP

A masked artist performs a traditional dance during Khadgha Siddhi festival in Katmandu, Nepal yesterday. The festival is celebrated by Newar community once in twelve years. —AP



Bruised ‘X Factor’ limps toward finals Melanie, Josh, Chris to sing for $5 million prize


merican viewers have chosen the three singers who will compete in the finals of “The X Factor” after a first season that underwhelmed critics and raised questions about audience fatigue ahead of returning TV contests “American Idol” and “ The Voice.” Power ballad singer Melanie Amaro, 19, bluesy Josh Krajcik, 30, and troubled rapper Chris Rene, 28, will sing for a $5 million recording contract in next week’s two-part finale of the Fox show. But after major hype from creator and judge Simon Cowell- who had initially predicted “X Factor” would replace “American Idol” as the most-watched show on U.S. television-the

program’s bickering mentor-judges, big production numbers and flashing lights has left many critics scratching their heads. “As a viewer, it is agonizing to watch and just so fake that none of it is compelling, “ said Annie Barrett, who covers “X Factor ” for Entertainment Weekly. “Everything is a gimmick. It is a glossy, shiny version of a reality show that might give you a seizure because of all the lasers and lights,” Barrett told Reuters. Thursday’s semi-final, in which 20-year-old hopeful Marcus Canty was eliminated, drew 9.6 million viewers-below the audience for a repeat of CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” and less than half the regular

Betty White to dominate NBC with 90th birthday extravaganza

audience for “American Idol” earlier this year. Fox executives say they are happy with the viewer numbers, especially among teens, and the show has helped the network reverse its historically patchy fall ratings in the 18-49 viewer group most coveted by advertisers. Fox has already ordered a second season for the fall of 2012, calling “X Factor” a “monumental success.” Andy Dehnart, editor of, said that for all the new tweaks in the singing contest formula, few were for the better. “There is no real national buzz about it. I don’t think ‘X Factor’ has broken through the zeitgeist in the same way as ‘American Idol’,” said Dehnart. Indeed, it seems the first season’s most memo-

four months of “X Factor” twice a week had made her appreciate “American Idol”. But with NBC’s surprise hit “The Voice” returning in February and “Idol’s” 11th season beginning in mid-January on Fox, Americans may soon lose their appetite for lengthy singing contests. “I do think there will be some fatigue going into next season with both ‘American Idol’ and ‘ The Voice.’ Two nights a week is a huge commitment,” Barrett said. But Dehnart was more optimistic. “If we are going to see any kind of fatigue with this kind of show, it is going to show up now. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they all work on their own level.” — Reuters

Rock solid

Nile’s ‘Innocent Ones’ strikes a chord H


eady for some hot, steamy, Betty White-on-Betty White action? You’ll have to wait a long, cold month for it, but it’s coming. “Hot in Cleveland” star White will be all over NBC on Jan. 16, with a 90-minute televised celebration, “Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl,” followed by a preview of her hotly anticipated hidden-camera series, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.” A sort of “Punk’d” for the Geritol set, “Off Their Rockers” will feature White leading “a fearless band of senior citizens to the streets to pull shockingly hilarious pranks on the younger generation,” with the “Golden Girls” alum providing “saucy commentary” and sharing “engaging, comical pearls of wisdom.” The series, based on the Belgian show “Benidorm Bastards,” will be executive-produced by White. The sneak preview will be preceded from 8 to 9:30 p.m. by “Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A tribute to America’s Golden Girl.” (White’s actual birthday is Jan 17, but she’ll probably be otherwise occupied at Chippendales that night.) Taped live at Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel, the special will feature White’s co-stars and other famous well-wishers feting the actress with musical performances, special appearances and comedy. Brad Lachman Productions and Universal Television are producing, with Brad Lachman, Jon Macks and Steve Ridgeway serving as executive producers. — (

rable moment came a week ago when bubbly 13-year-old Rachel Crow collapsed in tears on being sent home, sparking viewer outrage against judge Nicole Scherzinger. Whoever wins after public votes are announced next Thursday, Cowell’s hopes of discovering a new global singing star-who will be signed to his Sony Music-owned record label SyCo-may be dashed. None of the instantly downloadable songs from this week’s semifinal were in the Top 50 iTunes singles charts on Friday. “I don’t see anyone here who is going to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, which is what the show claimed it was going to do,” said Dehnart. Barrett said that

The March 1981 photo provided by Arista Records shows musician Willie Nile. Nile, whose three decade career has won him admirers like Bono, Lou Reed, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, has released “The Innocent Ones,” which includes a charity component. —AP

e’s a cheerfully non-iconic rocker, with old-school cool oozing from every pore. Over three decades of musical exploits, Willie Nile has earned a global cult following, including marquee-name admirers like Bono, Lou Reed, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. “I’m a longtime friend and fan of Willie,” Springsteen sidekick Nils Lofgren tells the AP. “The last couple of E Street Band tours, Bruce has brought him onstage with us and had him sing and play. ... He’s great at it.” The “musician’s musician,” who’s repeatedly risen phoenix-like from personal and professional challenges, is back - and doing some of his best work. Nile is enjoying enthusiastic audiences worldwide and rave reviews for his party-hearty yet socially conscious new album, “The Innocent Ones.” “It’s the best; it’s the best!” Nile says, marveling over his hard-won creative success. “It’s the kind of thing that you dream about as a kid.” Dedicated to the struggling, downtrodden and forgotten everywhere, the album and its “One Guitar” - a dance-inducing, getsunder-your-skin track anchoring a charity effort that includes Graham Parker - advocates enjoying life while making a difference. Don’t be fooled by the lip that curls into the perfect flash of punk sneer; the hair that evokes full-blown Chia Pet; the onstage energy-bursts rivaling a Jack Russell Terrier. Nile is a bonafide rock philosopher. In fact, he has a university philosophy degree. He also was real-life-schooled in Greenwich Village’s famously fertile music heyday. Not surprisingly, his body of work references Plato, Sartre, and some very weighty matters: terrorism, death, ecological disaster - all with a “celebrate life” underpinning. “I’ve seen breaks out on the levee, in a world so far beyond strange,” he sings in the hopeful “Give Me Tomorrow.” ... “I’ve seen hunger in the garden. I’ve seen empty eyes, full of pain. ... But I have seen things change.”

His story includes some rock history moments. In December 1980, Nile and John Lennon were recording in adjacent studios. Lennon ran out of guitar strings, so Nile had someone take his extras to his famous neighbor. “I was going to put a note to John ‘Thanks for all the music. I love you. Willie,’” recalled Nile. “Then I thought, ah, too corny. I’ll tell him when I see him in person” in a couple of days. “The last thing he played was my guitar strings,” says Nile. Years later, Nile’s Beatle worship came full circle in a much happier way. On a tour with Ringo Starr, “He comes walkin’ right over and he gives me a big hug. I thought, ‘Beatle sweat! I’m covered with Beatle sweat!’ It was a glorious moment,” Nile says with a chuckle. In the early days, he was wedged into the New Dylan pigeonhole that chafed Springsteen. Nile still occasionally employs the half-spoken, freight-train-in-the-distance vocals and folk-strident themes that evoke early Dylan. That connection intensified a generation later when Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, appeared on a Nile album. Recent critics have labeled Nile’s work folk-punk; roots-rock; singer-songwriter; power-pop; classic rock; alternative rock, Pete Seeger channeled through Joey Ramone. He uses the term “New Classic,” denoting a “timeless quality.” But his personal favorite is “one-man Clash.” Nile now has his own record company. He’s had contracts with two major labels. Weary of “hustlers” and gripped with legal woes, he says he walked away from the business twice. During a decade-long hiatus, he continued songwriting but primarily focused on family in his native Buffalo, NY At a recent performance, he sang the new album’s sweetly refreshing “Sideways Beautiful” in honor of a daughter. “Some years were very thin” while trying to “raise four kids on fumes,” he concedes, lamenting the effects

on his loved ones. But “tell me ... who has not had a tough road?” Despite years of relentless hype as “the next big thing,” it was nearly impossible to get his foot back in the stage and studio doors. He’s made his own way - aiming simply to strike a chord in whatever heart is meant to receive it. Now, “I’m having a great time,” he declares. “I’m makin’ music. I’m fightin’ the fight. ... I’ve never felt more alive.” It’s taken a village to get there. “The Innocent Ones” was already a success in Europe, but its US rollout hit a snag. The fans - seizing on his premise that “One Guitar,” or one voice, matters - pumped nearly $20,000 into an artistic fundraising site to help hasten its American release. “I got to tour with the Who across the US I’ve sung with Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium in front of 70,000 people for half an hour,” says Nile. But it’s moments like this that leave him struggling for words. “These are hard times economically. ... The fans totally ...” he says haltingly. “I was very, very I mean, how great is it?” On both sides of the ocean, crowds are responding to Nile’s call to action. While his residence is Manhattan, he considers himself a citizen of “wherever my shoes are.’” In January, he’ll return to the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, N.J., for Light of Day, a weekend-long musical blowout benefiting Parkinson’s disease. Last time, Springsteen - a frequent surprise headliner - backed Nile’s rousing performance of “Heaven Help the Lonely,” dedicated to the people of Haiti. “I want my life to mean something,” says Nile, who fantasizes about joining the wealthy “1 percent” and spending it on charity. “Be good to your neighbors, you know? ... Life is brief. Make the most of it.” He and Lofgren often share a kindred sentiment with fans: “Believe in your dreams.”

Child endangerment appears to be TV’s hottest trend T

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra dance during a promotional event for the “Don 2” board game in Mumbai yesterday. —AFP

he biggest trend in finales this year is-ulp! — child endangerment. Shows from “Dexter” to “The Walking Dead” have made kids in danger the dramatic thrust of their finale storylines. “The Walking Dead” even killed a child-not once but twice-and had another suffer a ghastly, near-fatal shotgun wound to the gut. FX’s new “American Horror Story” didn’t even wait for its finale to start dispatching kids, violently offing a pair of young twins in its first minutes. Viewers will find out today’s “Dexter” season finale whether Dexter’s son, Harrison, will also perish at the altar of TV drama. Previews of the episode show bad guy Colin Hanks threatening to stab the toddler in the neck with a wooden sword. No harm, of course, came to any actual children in the making of the shows. But whether harm could come to kids who watch them is an open question. (Assuming any parents are clueless enough to let their kids watch surefire nightmareinducers.) Many studies have linked violence on TV to actual aggression in children. But violence against children-or at least so much of it at once-is new territory. Thou Shalt Not Kill a Child has long been one of the

unspoken commandments of horror movies, to say nothing of TV shows. (Teenagers, especially sexually active ones, are fair game, as Wes Craven spelled out in 1996’s “Scream.”) Putting young people in danger is one of the cheapest ways to shock an audience-but can also be a legitimate way to explore serious ethical questions. Child deaths also play heavily into the plot of Showtime’s “Homeland,” which concludes its first season after the “Dexter” finale today. Freshman ethics classes love to pose questions about children in danger to explore the concept of utilitarianism- the idea that the the right course of action is the one that brings about the most overall happiness and the least overall pain. Students are asked to ponder (and sometimes do, for the rest of their lives) whether they would let one child die to save a train full of people, or kill the infant Hitler if it would prevent the Holocaust. Walt’s “Breaking Bad” dilemma fits in cozily alongside those questions: Would you risk a child’s life to save yourself and your family? Shane’s decision to kill the hunter in “The Walking Dead” is another utilitarian calculation brought on by child endangerment: He decides the hunter’s life is worth less than his own, and

that of the boy the hunter shot. The entire search for Sophia also comes down to a cold calculation: Should all the survivors risk their lives to look for one little girl? Her discovery as a zombie barn leads to another ethical debate about who deserves our empathy. The survivors take a fairly strict us vs. them approach to zombies-until the most vulnerable of “us” becomes one of “them.” Horror aficionado Eli Roth cleverly riffed on the no-killing-kids rule in his 2005 “Hostel,” the extreme 2005 film that helped inspire the phrase “torture porn.” The climax of the film includes a moment when a villain seems prepared to run over a pack of children. It seems like the most grueling possible coup de grace to a film filled with grotesqueries. But ultimately Roth lets the kids win, by swarming their would-be killer. That’s right: This is the year basic cable dramas crossed a line that “Hostel” wouldn’t. FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which also toys with audiences’ boundaries, played with the no-harm to children rule this season in an episode in which a character pretended, for tax purposes, that her baby had died. “I will say this,” show creator Rob McElhenney told TheWrap in a recent interview. —


lifestyle F E A T U R E S

Beach Boys announce 50th anniversary reunion tour I

t’s almost winter, but get ready for some surf and sun: The Beach Boys are reuniting. The founding members of the classic rock group - Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine announced Friday they are getting back together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They’re working on a new album and also plan a 50-date tour that will take them around the world. “ This anniversary is special to me because I miss the boys, and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again,” Wilson said in a statement. The group also includes Bruce Johnston and David Marks, both of whom have been with the band for decades. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers gave birth to the California rock sound. Back then, the band members were Love, Jardine, Wilson and his two brothers - Carl and

Dennis Wilson, who have since died. With songs like “Good Vibrations,” “I Get Around” and “California Girls,” the quintet embodied the fantasy of West Coast beach life. Their albums, particularly “Pet Sounds,” influenced rockers of their generation and beyond. But Wilson suffered mental problems that caused him to withdraw from the band, and there were years of animosity between Love and Wilson, who are cousins, as well as lawsuits among members of the band. Still, they have gotten back together over the years, including for their 40th anniversary in the last decade. Love remarked in the statement Friday on how he and Wilson were getting along well, sharing compliments together in the studio. “Music has been the unifying and harmonizing fact of life in our family

In this Sept 11, 2011 file photo, Mike Love of the Beach Boys sings for a crowd of thousands during the Colorado Remembers 911 event at Civic Center Park in Denver. —AP

since childhood,” he said. “It has been a huge blessing that we have been able to share with the world.” Referring to a Beach Boy hit, he added: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice to Do It Again? Absolutely!” The group was supposed to announce their reunion as a surprise during the Recording Academy’s live nominations special for the Grammys last month, but those plans fell through. However, Jardine said the group planned to appear at the Feb. 12 Grammy telecast in Los Angeles. “There will be a surprise at the Grammys,” he told Rolling Stone. “We will do something really exciting. There’s a lot of interest in it, which is nice. It’s going to be a very big operation.” The Beach Boys first concert is scheduled for April 27 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. —AP


enjoying solo life with new live CD


hris Cornell is just a man and his guitar, and for the time being, he absolutely loves it. The former Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman has been wowing audiences on tour with his high octane, acoustic show. Last month, Cornell released “Songbook,” a live collection of his solo performances that represents a wide swath of his own work, as well as some of his favorite cover tunes. They include Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Another popular track, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” was not included on the album, but is per formed regularly. Although Cornell is relishing life as a solo artist, it won’t last long: Cornell and the rest of Soundgarden are finishing up their new album, due out in the spring. Cornell spoke to The Associated Press about his Soundgarden reunion, his “Songbook” album, and his contribution to grunge.

doing acoustic music ... just the contrast of doing my solo career that way and at the same time being in Soundgarden and all of what Soundgarden is is a pretty fulfilling feeling. AP: Why did the band break up? Cornell: I don’t think we were really very good at the big version of band business. We were really good at the small one. We were very self-sufficient in the beginning and as an indie band, we were very capable that way of everything. As it became big business, we, I think, we really had kind of a disdain for dealing with the day-today nuts and bolts of keeping that all together and being in charge of it. As we became less in charge of it as a group, I think it became less fun for us as well. ... It wasn’t us at the helm necessarily anymore. That was the defining factor that caused us to be a part. AP: Soundgarden and other Seattle bands were labeled as grunge, was that offensive? Cornell: At the time it was. Not because of the actual name. It came from an organic place. But I didn’t feel that Pearl Jam and Soundgarden and Nirvana never sounded much like each other. I feel we were all indie rock bands that were part of an evolution. Soundgarden was influential in bringing indie rock into a more commercially prominent environment. ... These days, I don’t mind because it makes it easier to communicate in soundbites.

AP: Tell me about the solo tour and the live album. Cornell: I did an acoustic tour called the “Songbook Tour” which started me doing a world tour of acoustic shows. Somewhere in the middle of it, it felt like a special thing. It has mostly to do with the room and the audience. I just had some really amazing experiences live and decided it would be great to pick some of those songs and put them out.

AP: In the Pearl Jam documentary (“Pearl Jam 20”), you made it seem as though there wasn’t any competition among the Seattle bands. Was there? Cornell: It was. I think it was competitive there, but maybe like a grown up version. You wanted to one up your buddies but they were still your buddies and if they came up with something that was great, you recognized it and you would use that as kind of a motivator. ... Sometimes was tension and sometimes like talking behind each other’s backs, but that also was you were talking about a bunch of young guys that play rock music.

AP: And Soundgarden is getting back together? Cornell: Being able to have Soundgarden back together again at this point in my life is a hugely fulfilling thing, particularly with the things that I started to end up doing in a solo career, with moving more toward kind of fulfilling that promise of

AP: What is it about growing up in Seattle that leads to such a vital music scene? Cornell: Being a child growing up in Seattle, no one would ever guess that being from Seattle would mean that you had a good rock pedigree (laughs.) No one ever would have had that cross their mind.— AP

Singer Chris Cornell

Singers, French Patrick Fiori, French speaking Canadian Garou and Canadian Daniel Lavoie perform on Friday at Bercy (POPB) hall in Paris during the Notre Dame de Paris musical show by Canadian Luc Plamondon from French writer Victor Hugo. The singers are among the seven artists who performed in the original show in 1998 participate in the event with 70 musicians and 40 choir singers. —AFP

Snoop, Khalifa look to be next Cheech and Chong S

noop Dogg remembered watching all of the Cheech and Chong movies growing up, idolizing their ability to always escape from danger in their comedy films. Wiz Khalifa revered Snoop Dogg for his marijuana-smoking, ultra-smooth West Coast swagger shown extensively throughout his rap career. One is the mentor, the other is the protege. Since the two rappers met for the first time last year, they’ve built a strong rapport and have united to create their own album, “Mac & Devin Go to High School,” which was released this week. The album is the soundtrack of the rappers’ upcoming comedy, “Mac & Devin Go to High School,” which is expected to be released early next year. The duo feels they are capable of following the footsteps of Cheech and Chong, who gained fame through their marijuana humor. “They smoked joints, they were funny, they were cool and they would get into real situations,” Snoop Dogg said. “To me, that’s what me and Wiz represent. A lot of kids growing up don’t understand who Cheech and Chong are. So we’re the modern-day image of them. We’re bringing it back.” Snoop Dogg and Khalifa have embodied the fun-filled, carefree life, with a devotion to smoking marijuana. Their easygoing demeanor is displayed on the duo’s single, “Young, Wild & Free,” featuring Bruno Mars, which peaked at No 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The rappers are latest popular hip-hop characters to create an album and movie revolving around their marijuana excursions. Rapper Redman and Method Man appeared in the 2001 film, “How High.” But Khalifa said he and Snoop Dogg are “”trying to create our own lane. “There have been others to pave the way for us, so we’re just trying to keep it going, and tell our own stories,” added Khalifa, who finished a six-city tour with Snoop Dogg this week. Some believe the rappers are having too much fun with their storytelling. In May, there were reports that school officials canceled the

filming of “High School” at a high school in California after learning the theme of the movie was centered around marijuana, which is an illegal substance. When contacted by The Associated Press, school officials declined to comment. But Snoop Dogg and Khalifa coolly denied there were any problems. “We heard about it, but it didn’t mean much to us,” Snoop Dogg said. “We got done what we needed to get done. It was shot and promptly prepared.” Snoop Dogg, 40, took a liking to the 24year-old Khalifa after he noticed his kids’ infatuation with the rapper’s ubiquitous 2010 hit “Black and Yellow.” From there, Snoop Dogg invited Khalifa to his home in Los Angeles. “We have built a bond and a friendship that’s going to last a lifetime,” Khalifa said. “People will hear it in the music, and see it in the movie.” After a

conversation that lasted a few hours, the two rappers decided that same day to collaborate for an album and movie. They didn’t waste time, filming the movie and recording the album within a two-month timeframe. In “High School,” Khalifa stars as a senior valedictorian named Devin who is only focused on his academics. He breaks out of his shell after meeting Snoop Dogg’s character, Mac, a teenage student (yes, he is playing a teen) who has street smarts but struggles to apply them in the classroom. Snoop Dogg described his partnership with Khalifa as “a magical situation.” “I’ve been around magic a lot of times from being with Dr. Dre, Tupac, Master P. and Nate Dogg. What me and Wiz had was a magical moment right there.” — AP

In this photo taken Friday, Dec 9, 2011, rap artists Snoop Dogg, right, and Wiz Khalifa pose for photos in Atlanta. The pair have been touring together and are releasing new music including a soundtrack for their upcoming stoner movie “Mac + Devin Go To High School.” —AP

‘SNL’ boss makes merry with annual holiday show


In this image released by NBC, Jimmy Fallon, host of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and former SNL cast member, right, poses with singer Michael Buble during the taping of promos, Thursday for “Saturday Night Live,” in New York. —AP

t’s a holly, jolly Christmas for “Saturday Night Live” chief Lorne Michaels as he marks another holiday edition of the show he created 36 years ago, and as he welcomes back “SNL” alumnus Jimmy Fallon as guest host for this special yuletide bash. Boasting singer Michael Buble as its musical guest, the program airs, of course, Saturday night. But on Thursday night, as Michaels welcomed a reporter to his Rockefeller Center office - overlooking Studio 8H, from where “SNL” originates - the clock was ticking: little more than two days until show time. In the studio, a sketch was being blocked for the cameras: Denver Broncos quarterback (and famously devout Christian) Tim Tebow confronts Jesus in the locker room. “It’s been rewritten since last night when we read it,” Michaels said. “We read 40-some-odd sketches yesterday, and

narrowed them down to the pieces over there” he pointed to a board with a tentative rundown - “and that’s about 15 minutes (too) long. By the time ‘(Weekend) Update’ gets done, the show will be maybe 25 minutes long, which is what we’ll go into dress rehearsal with.” Dress rehearsal takes place in front of a live audience on Saturday evening, after which, according to the audience’s response, the show is rearranged, cut and otherwise revamped during a crash session to whip it into shape to perform a couple hours later for the world. For Michaels, dress brings pain every week. “Things you were certain would work, don’t,” he sighed. “Things that were really bright flatten and fall apart.” So does this mean that, even after all these years of executive-producing “SNL,” Michaels, the

old hand at 67, is still caught by surprise at how an audience reacts? “Every week,” he nodded. “I think it’s why I’m still here. It’s not a thing you ever master.”Or do you? “Lorne has done this for 36 years, and he knows what will work,” Fallon had insisted during an interview earlier in the week. “He’s a pro. He’s a Beatle.” Fallon was an “SNL” cast member for six seasons before leaving in 2004. Then, in 2009, he was tapped by Michaels, who also executive-produces NBC’s “Late Night,” to fill its hosting job when Conan O’Brien graduated to “The Tonight Show.” Now, for the first time, Fallon has been invited back by Michaels to his old haunts at “SNL” to serve as host. “There will be holidaythemed sketches for different religions,” said Fallon, who said he arrived with “about 300 ideas” on Monday. —AP

Snoop, Khalifa look to be next Cheech and Chong



Indonesian workers maintain sand sculptures as they prepare for the Dec. 18 opening of the Sand Sculpture Festival at Sentul City in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. Indonesia will host the first exhibition of sand sculptures depicting the nation’s rich culture, heritage and nature until Jan 28, 2012. —AP

Rapper Slim Dunkin slain in Atlanta music studio A

tlanta police say the rapper Slim Dunkin was gunned down Friday evening in a music studio as he was preparing to record a video. Police Maj. Keith Meadows said the rapper, whose real name is Mario Hamilton, was fatally shot in the chest after getting into an argument with another individual. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Meadows told The Associated Press late Friday that police have not been able to identify the shooter. He said investigators have been interviewing those who were inside the studio. He said as many as 20 people were inside the small office-type building at the time of the shooting, which took place around 5:30 p.m. local time, but they were in different places. Police have not recovered the handgun that was used. Investigators remained at the

scene late Friday evening. “Right now we’re just trying to....identify who may have seen what, really just trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Meadows said. “It seems everybody witnessed something very different. We’re just trying to go back and make sense of everything.” Slim Dunkin had appeared on a number of songs with the rapper Waka Flocka Flame. The website reported that the Brick Squad Monopoly rapper was on a solo track and had recently released a 20-track mix tape that featured Gucci Mane, Roscoe Dash and Pastor Troy. “It appears the victim was scheduled to do a photo shoot,” Meadows said of Friday’s events. “Before the video shoot took place, it appears the victim and suspect got involved in a verbal altercation. We don’t know what that altercation was about.”

I’ll do it again: Britney Spears to marry boyfriend


ops, I Did it Again” star Britney Spears is ready to marry for a third time, after accepting boyfriend and former agent Jason Trawick’s proposal, the couple announced Friday. Trawick, who Spears has been dating since 2009, announced the news on entertainment TV show “Access Hollywood,” saying: “Yes, we are engaged,” adding that he was “over the moon, as (is) she.” The 30-year-old singer then took to her Twitter page to express her excitement. “OMG. Last night Jason surprised me with the one gift I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to show you! SO SO SO excited!!!! Xxo,” she tweeted to her 11.8 mil-

lion followers on the micro-blogging site. Trawick, 40, said he popped the question in a very traditional manner-down on one knee-adding that Britney’s sons, sixyear-old Sean Preston and Jayden James, five, witnessed the proposal. The ex child star, whose hits include “Baby One More Time” and “Womanizer,” has been married twice before: infamously for 55 hours in 2004 to childhood friend, Jason Alexander, and then to Kevin Federline, father of her two sons. The so-called “Princess of Pop” has rebuilt her career over the last few years, after a prolonged period of turmoil in her private life following her 2006 split from Federline. — AFP

In this May 11, 2011 file photo, singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick arrive at an Evening of “Southern Style” in Beverly Hills, Calif. —AP

“The suspect produced a weapon, discharged that handgun one time, striking the victim in the chest,” Meadows said. Meadows said the victim was in his early 20s and resided in the Atlanta area. Many fans were posting messages late Friday night on a Facebook page for the rapper. The website last February described Slim Dunkin, a Detroit native, as an up and-coming talent with “a unique lyrical ability and style all his own.” In an interview with the website, he described himself as someone “trying to provide for his family by making something out of nothing just trying to beat the odds.” “I don’t have amazing lyrical ability I just know how to speak on what I been through and where I came from,” he said. Asked what to expect from him in 2011, he responded: “Music, music, music!” — AP

Atlanta rapper Slim Dunkin

‘At Last’ singer Etta James terminally ill


rammy-winning blues and soul singer Etta James, most famous for her signature song “At Last,” is terminally ill, her doctor and manager said in comments published Friday. Exper ts declared two weeks ago that the leukemia from which the 73-year-old was suffering was inoperable, Dr Elaine James told The Press-Enterprise newspaper, which covers where the singer lives in Riverside, California. “I am southern and Christian and would just ask for the prayers of her fans and friends,” said the physician, no relation to the singer. “They know she’s been sick, but not how sick,” she added. James was hospitalized in early 2010 for dementia and leukemia, and went in again for similar problems in May 2011, said the paper, which reported there has been a family legal dispute over her assets and payment of her care. Her longtime manager, Lupe De Leon, told the

Entertainment Weekly news website “Etta has a terminal illness. She’s in the final stages of leukemia. She has also been diagnosed with dementia and Hepatitis C. “She’s in a home right now and mostly sleeps. She is under the care of a live-in doctor from Riverside Community Hospital and two others who have placed her on oxygen. “Her husband is with her 24 hours a day, and her sons visit regularly. We’re all very sad. We’re just waiting.” James, born Jamesetta Hawkins, has won four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2003. She is also known for her soulful rendition of such songs as “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.” “At Last” was sung by R&B diva Beyonce when she serenaded Barack and Michelle Obama for their first dance on inaugura-

Soul singer Etta James

tion night in January 2009, after his election as president. Written in 1941 by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, “At Last” first became a hit for Glenn Miller and his orchestra and was covered by Nat King Cole before being adopted by James in 1960. —AFP

In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, houses decorated with festive lights are seen in South Shields, England, Friday. —AP

18 Dec 2011  

Kuwait Times

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