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Six dead in attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, Iran blamed


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SHAABAN 29, 1433 AH

Ibrahimovic unveiled as PSG’s latest signing


Deadly bomb strikes at heart of Syrian regime Assad’s bro-in-law, defence minister, top general killed DAMASCUS: A bomb struck at the heart of Syria’s senior command yesterday, killing at least three of President Bashar Al-Assad’s top brass in an attack claimed by rebels who warned of more carnage to come. The attack, which an official blamed on a bodyguard attending a meeting of security chiefs at their Damascus headquarters, prompted the White House to say Assad was “losing control” of his country. The blast which targeted Assad’s inner core for the first time in a 16-month uprising came ahead of a showdown between the West and Russia and China over a draft UN resolution calling for sanctions. That vote appeared to have been delayed by a day to today. The blast killed Defence Minister General Daoud Rajha, Assad’s brother-in-

Kuwaiti MPs hail ‘victory’ By B Izzak KUWAIT: A number of Kuwaiti MPs yesterday welcomed the bombing that killed several high-ranking Syrian officials, including the defense minister, and described it as a signal for the victory of the Syrian revolution. Former speaker and MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun said on his Twitter account that the Arab Spring protests have brought down the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and “now we are seeing signals for the victory of the Syrian people”. “Who would have thought that with the onset of the holy month of Ramadan will come the indications for the downfall of this oppressive Syrian regime after the killing of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s top aides,” Saadoun said. Saadoun said that the criminal regime of Assad has used all types of weapons, including internationally banned arms, against peaceful protesters who are demanding freedom and dignity. Former MP and a member of the 2012 Assembly Mohammad Al-Kandari strongly lashed out at Iran and its allies for condemning the bombing in Damascus as they “saw that as a signal for the fall of their BaathistAlawite regime of Assad”. Islamist MP Khaled Al-Sultan welcomed the new developments in Syria and congratulated the Syrian people for the imminent victory against the Assad regime. Continued on Page 15

BEIRUT: Kuwait Times Managing Director Badrya Darwish meets Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri yesterday. — Photo by Waleed Al-Taweel (See Page 3)

General Assef Shawkat

Max 49º Min 37º High Tide 00:49 & 11:01 Low Tide 04:49 & 18:20

law General Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the regime’s crisis cell on the uprising, state media said. Among those wounded were Interior Minister Mohammed Al-Shaar and General Hisham Ikhtiyar, head of National Security, the television said. Conflicting accounts have emerged of who carried out the attack and how. It was claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army as its fighters battled Assad loyalists across Damascus for a fourth straight day, although another group, the Brigade of Islam, also said it was responsible. The FSA command “announces the good news of the outstanding operation this morning that targeted the National Security headquarters and the killing” of Continued on Page 15

Gen Daoud Rajha

Gen Hassan Turkmani



KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry’s Legal Affairs Department Manager, Brig Asaad Al-Rowayyeh yesterday honored retired Maj Gen Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Saeed for achievements garnered during his long career before retirement.

Practice of paying ‘key money’ questioned by many expats No restriction in the law By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: There are some habits and behaviors practiced in Kuwait that may seem strange, or not understandable, for many people, especially expatriates. Some tenants who plan to move out of their apartments try to make money before leaving by placing ads about selling their apartments, although they are not the landlords and it is not their property. Yet they believe that by leaving their apartment, a new tenant should pay them for the privilege of being next to rent this house. According to attorney Aziz AlSaayid, such behavior is not illegal and there is no penalty for seeking such money. “Rent contracts in Kuwait differ from residential or commercial. In the Egyptian legislation it was previously forbidden to let the apartment or the house or transfer the rent contract to another person for a financial payment. But in Kuwait this act is legal and there is no restriction in the law regarding

this issue,” he told the Kuwait Times yesterday. “If a tenant left his house for key money, and even if he wrote this deal with the new potential tenant, it would still be legal. As in general, the contract rules the relations between the parties of the contract. The case for houses is similar to the case for shops and stores. So, for instance, the owner of a restaurant sells his restaurant which has its customers, he is receiving compensation for the increased business. In the end, key money is a kind of deal between the old tenant and the new tenant,” added Al-Saayid. Although the cases are not that numerous, many people have experienced making payments. Some people criticize the practice, while others think it normal. Jamal, a 50 year-old expat, never had to pay key money for a house. “I know such acts are practiced for shops, as there is profiting and the place is making money. I met with tenants who were leaving their apartments and demanded my paying money to rent the apartment, along with the existing furniture,

which is like selling me the furniture by force. I think that receiving key money for just leaving an empty apartment is wrong and unethical. I would never rent a house in this way,” he explained. Yet attorney Hussein Al-Asfour thinks that receiving key money for leaving an apartment is just an agreement between two tenants. “In the end, the landlord doesn’t really care if a tenant left when there is another one replacing him. The old tenant, however, should inform the landlord or his representative that he found a new tenant to replace him. Thus receiving the key money is not a crime,” he pointed out. Al-Asfour warned, however, that paying this money might lead to a crime. “For instance, if the old tenant receives money from the new tenant and then for any reason the landlord refused to rent the apartment, and the old tenant disappeared or left the country, the new tenant might file a case of swindling against him, demanding his money be paid back,” Al-Asfour said.

KRCS launches HepCare project KUWAIT: The Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) yesterday launched the HepCare project to fight hepatitis in Kuwait under the title of “Take Initiatives..Give Hope”. A special press conference was held at KRCS headquarters by KRCS Deputy Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer and with the attendance of a number of gastroenterologists. Knowing that hepatitis C and B cause permanent or temporary liver damage and that viral hepatitis is called the silent disease, KRCS believes that launching an awareness campaign would help stop the spread of the disease in Kuwait through an equation described by Dr. Al-Sayer as “Prevention and Treatment” that mainly focuses on boosting public awareness of both diseases so that patients can deal with them and protect themselves and others. “The project aims at supporting 400 hepatitis patients, not only to help them afford treatment costs, but also to reduce the number of hepatitis cases and stop it from spreading in Kuwait”, stressed Al-Sayer, urging the public to donate to the project at account number 1000314240 NBK. For his part, the gastroenterology department consultant at Mubarak hospital, Dr. Ahmed Al-Fadhli, said that

Fire outbreak in Firdous, Jaber Al-Ali By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A fire broke out in a house in Firdous, resulting in a 24 year-old Kuwaiti man being treated for smoke inhalation. Meanwhile, a fire in a house at Jaber Al-Ali caused a 22 year-old Kuwaiti man to injure his knee. He was taken to Adan Hospital for treatment. Fish attack A jelly fish stung a 27 year-old Egyptian expat, injuring his right hand, at Fahaheel near Al-Kut Complex. He was taken to Al-Adan Hospital. Another young Kuwaiti man, 17 years-old, was stung by a jelly fish at Salmiya near Apple Pic Restaurant. He was taken to Amiri Hospital. Escape attempt A 26 year-old Indian maid was injured while attempting to escape from her sponsor in Mahboula. The maid reportedly fell from the 5th floor to the ground and suffered broken limbs. She was taken to Al-Adan Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. Road accidents A motorcycle accident occurred at Al-Mirqab, near the Mosque roundabout, and resulted in a 40 yearold Egyptian expat being injured. He was taken to AlAmiri Hospital for treatment. A car accident was reported at Al-Fhaheel near Umm Al-Haiman Bridge towards Al-Nowaiseeb, which resulted in a back injury suffered by a 35 yearold American woman and an injury to the head of a 25 year-old American man. Both were taken to AlAdan Hospital. A 28 year-old Kuwaiti woman was injured when crossing the road at Sharq, near Aqua Park. Officials said a passing car struck the woman, injuring her left leg. She was taken for treatment to Amiri Hospital.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Red Crescent Society press conference in progress. Hepatitis C and B may cause liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. He added that the rates of both diseases spreading in Kuwait were 2 to 5 per cent per year. Also speaking at the conference, the gastroenterology consultant at the Amiri hospital, Dr. Haifa Askar, said 240 million people had hepatitis worldwide and some 600,000 people die annually because of the disease.


in brief

Free of charge admission to EC KUWAIT: The Entertainment City (EC) is keen on constantly interacting with visitors and providing them with the best services, said Yaqoub Al-Duaij, Acting Operations and Activities Manager of the Touristic Enterprises Company. Al-Duaij highlighted that the recreational facility has a special gift for visitors every year, and that this year it offers free of charge admission from the first day till Ramadan 21. He added that during Ramadan, the facility will be open to visitors from 8:30 pm to 1:30 am all week long. Mondays will be allocated for women. He added that the facility will organize special programs for visitors including some competitions and prizes, programs for children, balloons and Girgian on Ramadan. CBK Ramadan working hours KUWAIT: On the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, the Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) extends it congratulations to all citizens and expatriates. CBK also announced that its Ramadan working hours will be from 10am to 1pm. The bank’s airport branch, phone service call center number 1888225 and online services will continue working on 24/7 basis. Inspection campaigns during Ramadan KUWAIT: The Director of Municipality Ahmad AlSubaih has approved a plan to conduct periodic inspections during the month of Ramadan at foodstuff outlets, cleaning facilities, vendors as per the schedule prepared by Public Relations Department of the Municipality. Raishid Al-Hashan, Public Relations Director at Municipality said that the administration plans to organize inspection campaigns on all foodstuff outlets in cooperation with all inspection parties at municipality branches. He added that inspections campaigns will continue to be held around the clock without not contradicting with the plan along with the Municipality branch to cover all food outlets, central markets, and stores to detect violations. Municipality asked public not to deal with roaming vendors.



BEIRUT: Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri (center) is seen with the Kuwaiti delegation (from left) Wesam abo Harfoosh Al-Rai manager in Beirut, Editor-inChief of Kuwait News Agency Rashid Al-Ruwaished, Secretary of Kuwait Journalists Association Adnan Al-Rashid, Managing Director of Kuwait Times Badrya Darwish, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Anbaa Yusuf Al-Marzouq, Editor-in-Chief of An-Nahar Emad Bukhamseen, Majid Al-Ali of Al-Rai and manager of Al-Anbaa Omar Habanjar.—Photos by Mahmoud Al-Taweel

Kuwait ‘a real partner’ in liberation of Lebanon Berri extols Kuwait’s support for country BEIRUT: Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri lauded here yesterday His Highness the Amir, government and people of Kuwait for their unflinching support to Lebanon during times of crises. While meeting a visiting Kuwaiti press delegation, Berri said, “Kuwait is a real partner in Lebanon’s liberation. The Lebanese did not liberate Lebanon alone and Kuwait did not wait for long to provide support and assistance. It did not wait till crises and Israeli wars to occur so that they could assist us.” Visiting Kuwaiti journalists include KUNA Chief Editor Rashid AlRuwaished, Al-Anbaa Editor Yusuf Al-Marzouq, Al-Nahar Editor Emad Bukhamseen, Al-Rai Editor Majid Al-Ali, Kuwait Times Managing Director Badrya Darwish and Kuwait Journalists Association Manager Adnan AlRashid. Berri lauded the historical relations shared between Lebanon and Kuwait, recalling Kuwait’s support for his country during the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon. “When the Israeli troops attacked the southern Ansariya town, Kuwait laid the foundation for the Nabatiya hospital that provided the best medical care for Lebanese citizens,” he stressed. He appreciated Kuwait for carrying out several development projects in Lebanon such as Allaitani project, one of the vital projects in the Middle East. Late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah commissioned the project. He also commended the projects financed by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in Lebanon. Speaking about the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon, the Lebanese parliament speaker admitted that his country has been negatively affected by the volatile situation in Syria. “And that is why we, the government and the state, have preferred to distance ourselves from what is going on there (in Syria),” he pointed out, adding that Lebanon was not an isolated island and that the two of its borders witnessed special situations, impacting the country’s economy to a great extent. “Israel is an enemy and the situation in Syria makes it difficult for us. Geographically speaking, the current situation in Syria has a great effect on our economy because most of our products are exported to other Arab countries through Syria,” he elaborated. In a comment on the Syrian crisis, Berri stressed that Syrians had to sit together for a dialogue. “Otherwise, they will either create a civil or sectarian war or be divided in a new Sykes-Picot agreement. Either way, Lebanon will be greatly affected,” he underscored, noting that Lebanon has deployed some of its troops at the northern borders with Syria to prevent smuggling and an offensive strike. Commenting on the situation in Lebanon, Berri condemned blocking

Kuwaiti grant boosts Jordan AMMAN: Kuwait’s financial grant to Jordan, part of support of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, provided a strong boost to Jordan’s economy, supporting more spending on infrastructure and economic growth, according to a report by Moody’s rating agency, cited by Al-Arab Al-Youm newspaper yesterday. The grant ‘showed continued external support for Jordan’s economy ’ and will help the economy through reduced reliance on high financial support from local banks which have increased in recent months. On 1 June, Jordan will receive a grant from Kuwait of $1.25 billion, and will be disbursed in two months to finance capital expenditure in Jordan in 2012, Suleiman Hafez, Jordan’s Minister of Finance said in a state ment. The Kuwaiti grant is equivalent to four percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) of Jordan, part of a five-year grant program, valued at $5 billion from the GCC, to help the national economy in the financial aspect and keep a positive credit rating. Financial accounts are under pressure of rising energy costs that also increased spending on subsidy bills. National economy depends increasingly on external grants which reached past year 22 percent to the total public revenues, compared with eight percent in 2008.—KUNA

roads and streets as it ‘weakens the state’s prestige.’ “I am against taking to the streets and we are working on reinforcing the state so that it can carry out duties for the best.” Commenting on reports about 11 Lebanese nationals that were kidnapped in Syria, Berri expressed hope that the visit of president Suleiman to Turkey, and Turkish mediation will help resolve the problem. Responding to a question about gas drilling in Lebanon, he stressed that the issue has not died out and that gas and oil were abundantly present off southern Lebanon shores and in the area between the national waters of Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus. “A special committee will be assigned to begin drilling,” he said.

Kuwait Journalists Association Manager Adnan AlRashid meets Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

BEIRUT: Members of the Kuwaiti press delegation holding talks with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.



Zubaidi is back, but no price changes seen at markets Fish catch ‘very limited’ By Ben Garcia

KIB ready to launch Ramadan events KUWAIT: Kuwait International Bank employees presented by Sheikh Dr. (KIB) has announced the completion of Khaled Al Mathkoor President of Shariah preparation for the events taking place Committee and Mr. Mustafa Sayed Al during the holy month of Ramadan Zalzaleh Member of Shariah Committee focusing on religious, social and athletic board member whom will both be manactivities throughout the month. The aging the Internal Quran Competition bank confirms its role as not only limitthat will take place ed to being an Islamic amongst employees as an Banking institution servicencouragement from the ing its customers but also is bank to its employees. an institution looking after In addition, athletic the development of all activities under the sponaspects of the community. sorship of KIB will take On the occasion, Economic place such as the champiResearch Depar tment onship of the late Abdualla Manager and Board Mishari Al Roudan as well Secretary Dr. Sadeq Abul as organizing an Internal expressed: “Stemming from football tournament aiming the bank ’s keenness to to entice employees and establish social bonds the community to particibetween members of the pate in sports activities. Dr Sadeq Abul society during the holy Last but not least, KIB will month of Ramadan, a proalso partake in social and cultural activigram of events and activities have been ties during Ramadan such as the prepared starting with the distribution “Gergain” event organized specially for of a Quran CD to all employees and custhe children of social welfare in the tomers in the voice of Sheikh Mishari Al Ministry of Affairs and the Instagram Afasi and will be available at all of the Competition. Worthy to mention, KIB bank’s 18 branches.” Abul added: “The bank will also con- has recently launched its account on under the name tribute to supporting a project in collab- Instagram @Aldawlibank as part of its continuous oration with Zakat Al Othman which entails providing “Iftar” meals for people initiatives to stay connected to its cusin need throughout the whole month of tomers via different channels of social Ramadan. The project aims at strength- media. In conclusion, Abul confirmed ening the relations between members the bank’s enthusiasm to participate in of societies and establishing gracious different social, religious and cultural bonds amongst them, on the basis of activities as part of its social responsibility as a Islamic Bank ing institution the principles of the Islamic Shariah.” Abul also emphasized on KIB’s plan always devoted to instill the values of to hold religious seminars for its Islamic religion in the community.

KUWAIT: After a one-and-a-half-month fishing ban of zubaidi in Kuwaiti waters, zubaidi is back in markets in time for the upcoming Ramadan season. However, even as the local zubaidi has returned, there seemed to be no changes in prices. Zubaidi prices remain very high, according to many customers at two major fish markets. Zubaidi is priced from KD7-9 per kilo, depending on its sizes, and KD42 per basket, again depending on size. “No, there are no changes in pricing. At first we thought that it could somehow make a difference. But as you see, there is not enough zubaidi in the market; ver y few catches because they are in deeper waters because of the hot weather conditions out there. So as a result the fish catch is very limited,” said Jalal Majeed, a fish trader in both Mubarakiya and Sharq markets. Catching local zubaidi is banned each year by Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) from June 1 to July 15 to allow its replenishment. Besides zubaidi, shrimp fishing is banned from Jan 1 to Aug 31. “The price will change only in September when the temperature is down and the ban on fishing will be lifted and the delivery of imported fish from other countries will be normalized,” Majeed mentioned. Almost 80 percent of fish sold in Kuwaiti markets are imported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and neighboring countries including Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Zubaidi, hamour, nueve and meids are some of the variety of fish known to many in Kuwait. Irani and Pakistani zubaidi are sold at the same price, while shrimp, which are mostly imported from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are sold from KD3 to KD5, depending on the size,

but during shrimp season the price could decline by 500fils per kilo. Majeed admitted that another reason for the shortage of fish supplies and the reason why fish prices are expensive was that many of the expat fishermen were on their annual vacation to their home countries. There are

years, who ordered a ban in fishing in certain zones and banning the use of nylon nets. PAAAFR explained at that time that their ban on nylon nets was in compliance with an agreement signed by all GCCC countries for ecological purposes. Kuwait’s Fisherman Union argued that the proposed replacement

KUWAIT: A file photo of a fish vendor at Sharq Market. — Photo by Ben Garcia currently no Kuwaiti fishermen. Fish caught in Kuwaiti waters account for 20 percent of the Kuwaiti market, with the remaining being imported from neighboring countries. In recent years there have been press reports that PAAAFR has been planning a two-year ban on fishing in Kuwaiti waters. Some fishermen in Kuwait oppose this plan, though the majority do not, but demand ‘full compensation’ if it pursued. A group of fishermen supported by the Fisherman’s Union staged a protest against PAAAFR in recent

of nylon nets with cotton nets would cause them to work with weaker nets that are unsuitable for commercial fishing. The Fishermen’s Union further claimed that none of the GCC countries who are signatories to the nylon net ban are enforcing the ban. And despite the protest by the Fishermen’s Union, the ban was strictly implemented and many fishermen who caught fish in violation of the ‘nylon net’ ban and ‘zone fishing’ regulations were reportedly subjected to investigation and some even deported.

Geographic data system in the offing KUWAIT: The Ministr y of Finance has worked out a contract with an international consultancy company as a prelude to tendering a project to set up a geographic data system. The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it had drawn up the deal with the international consultancy firm

‘Jiscon’ because of the daily need for geographic maps. Moreover, it is designed to build a full geographic information system whereby a user can keep and easily retrieve maps and documents. Such documents and data enable relevant authorities to pin point infringements on

state properties, the extent of such breaches and cost of restoration and removal of illegally-built structures. A broad team, made up of six smaller groups, has been tasked with coordination with the international consultants in the phases of executing the venture. The ministry organized,

last Sunday, a workshop for all the involved teams, with attendance of a group of international advisers, during which requirements, work frameworks and needs of users were discussed. Another one is due to be held today to discuss proposals by the international group. —KUNA



LOCAL kuwait digest

in my view

The truth is always bitter

What will Iran do after Assad?

By Thaar Al-Rashidi f you want to write a news story about something, then you must enter from the back door of the ministries where the offices of the small employees are located, those forgotten employees who usually are not known by anyone. Do not enter from the front door, where employees in the offices of the officials will tell you that everything is ok and that their ministry is the best ministry in the world. Don’t be astonished if the official describes to you his ministry, which he says is better than “NASA”. But the forgotten employees in ministries, who are active and efficient, are ignored and kept in a frozen status, those employees have the truth, go to them and ask them about anything in the ministry. They will tell the strangest things which you never imagined, they will honestly direct you to the place of thefts and the kitchens of contracts and budgets, and whatever happens in them. They will even tell you about the disasters of the administration’s decisions, which are issued by the minister and undersecretaries. Therefore, since this is the principle to be followed since I started working as journalist, I believe it is logical that Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak should follow this if he wants to know what is going on in all the ministries. Yes, this is a real invitation to the prime minister, if Your Highness wanted to know the defect in all ministries. Then, do not go to your ministers and do not ask them, and don’t ask for a report, because for sure they will tell you “everything is alright. “ Even if you ask them about some mistake, they will write a strong report that the mistake was justified. Therefore, if the prime minister wanted to know the source of “dirty blood” which runs in the veins of his ministries, he should refer to the forgotten persons of employees, who usually are kept near the back doors of the ministries. Ask them and they will tell you. Ministers carry their reports to you and apply makeup to them, as if they are the most beautiful women, although if you remove the makeup which the minister applied, the result will be an ugly woman. The truth is always bitter, the truth is always more ugly than reality which we make look good by saying “everything is alright” the beauty of lies makes us lose millions every year, although if we deal with the ugly truth we would have several millions and our country would have been the prettiest one in the world. Don’t you see that ugliness is the other face of beauty? Never mind that the prime minister might become a journalist even for one day and ask the five questions: How? When? Where? Why? And Who? And start writing a press report about any ministry he likes, and chooses, depending on entering from the back doors, in this day he will discover disasters. The prime minister could do something easier than that to ask for a list of all “frozen” leaders and those who are transferred to the ministers’ offices and meet with them, and listen to them to know how ministries are run, and where are the black holes which swallow our millions and who swallows it and for who’s benefit! The truth does not come to anyone. He who wants the truth, he himself should go for it. —Al-Anbaa

By Ali Bluwi


reviously, I expected that Iran would turn to a tug of war to perpetuate tension in the region. The logic of survival in Iran since the Khomeini revolution has been to focus on creating tension abroad and the target has been countries with multisectarian population. For this reason, Iran cannot be in peace with the Arabs despite many commonalities between the Iranians and the Arabs. For Iran, it is the domestic issue that is the source of concern. An internal uprising or the awakening of the non-Persian nationalities within Iran has been a nightmare for the decision makers. Therefore, we wonder as why Iran antagonizes the region and the international community and ignites violence in the region. Additionally, Iran has been spending much of its wealth on radical organizations to create instability in the region. Now we know why! Iranian leaders cannot survive without creating an external enemy to keep all internal differences at bay. In the past, Iranian leaders bragged that the Arab revolutions were inspired by the Iranian revolution. Ironically, when Iran’s stalwart ally in Damascus became the target of a Syrian revolution, Iranians turned to the conspiracy theory to justify its immoral support for the butcher of Syria. Additionally, when its ally in Iraq - Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki - became the target of demonstration, Iran issued a religious edict that banned protests against the government of Maliki. It also silenced Muqtada Sadr in favor of Maliki. Not surprisingly, Iran is scared of a possible downfall of Assad as this will have negative consequences on the political equation in the region. Obviously, Iran will be negatively affected by such a development. Seen in this way, Iran is working out a solution with Moscow that can lead to the removal of Assad while keeping the regime intact. This would be the only way to lessen the impact of the removal of Assad on Tehran. A few weeks ago, Iran threatened the world with closing Hormuz Strait. Back then, I pointed out that at the moment of truth, Iran will be rational and will succumb, and this is exactly what happened. Closing the strait would contradict with Iranian public opinion. The Iranian people are fed up with these bankrupt policies. An average Iranian thinks that such policies will hurt him more than hurting the outside world. We knew back then that the message was not directed at the international community but rather at the internal public. It is important here to remind readers of the statements of the Iranian minister of intelligence when he said that Iran would not tolerate protest movements as had happened in 2009. But Iran never stopped its attempts to push people of other countries to rise up. If this is not intervention in the internal affairs of Gulf countries, what is this then? The


kuwait digest

The Shisha-ban government! By Abdullatif Al-Duaij here is nothing to discuss or be worried about in the statements issued by the boycotting or national bloc, except their suggestions and call for a ‘parliamentary government’. It is, of course, constitutional to demand a full parliamentary system rather than just a parliamentary government. This constitutionalism is derived from the 1962 constitution that paved the way for such calls yet, the question now would be: Is Kuwait really ready under the current circumstances to undergo such change? It seems that the boycotting group is so determined, while the national bloc MPs are more conservative and hesitant. I believe that gradual change by having more public ministers, reducing the number of ministers from the ruling family and lifting the ban on having public ministers of interior and defense would be a good start that would pave the way for more public control of the government, as stated in article 6 of the constitution, that had been deactivated by the authority and some MPs. The sudden persistence of forming a parliamentary government, with all its members selected from elected lawmakers at such a time when democracy, justice and equality-destroying sectarian, tribal and religious fanaticism dominates everything, would be disastrous. Just imagine if the majority of the boycotting MPs


win elections and form a ‘parliamentary’ government made up of them or of people they control! This might mean having Mubarak Al-Wa’lan as the interior minister, Waleed Al-Tabtabae as the education minister, Osama Al-Menawer as information minister and Musallam Al-Barrak as minister of development and of justice. The rest of the portfolios might be given to those demanding the demolition of churches, those who call for suppressing freedom of expression, those demanding a Shisha ban, those who would not stand on hearing the national anthem or those who have been working on delaying development and demanding the payment of grants and gifts to the unemployed or those ‘supposedly’ unemployed. Naturally enough, those supporting the so-called parliamentary government and those applauding the boycotting MPs might not like what I’m saying, but it’s the truth with no exaggeration or illusions. It is, rather, a primary notice and true interpretation of the results of the previous parliamentary elections and the attitudes of the majority that won them. Do you have anybody else? Do those you recommended and who adopted your call for a parliamentary government have any principles or suggestions, other than the ones they made and tried imposing? —Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Sever diplomatic ties with Burma! By Mubarak Mohammed Al-Hajri e are not counting so much on the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) nor its guardian, the Arab League, to provide any aid or assistance. Such organizations were born dead and it’s all the same whether they existed or not! If we can blame somebody, we can point to the GCC states who have great influence and authority. So, when on earth will these states act in response to the calls of Burma Muslims? They might be able to help save them from a lurking fatal destiny. Are they waiting for a green light from US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, or something? Oh, all of you GCC states, your good and charity has reached everywhere worldwide, including aid operations that are still remembered and appreciated by the concerned UN


If we can blame somebody, we can point to the GCC states who have great influence and authority. So, when on earth will these states act in response to the calls of Burma Muslims? T h ey m i g h t b e a b l e to h e l p save them from a lurking fatal destiny.

organizations. So, will you focus your political and humanitarian concerns on what’s taking place in Burma? You should prioritize this issue in resumption of your career in aiding the distressed, who are being subjected to a war of annihilation by the criminal Burma government. You know that the first step you can do is to withdraw your ambassadors to Burma and expel Burma’s ambassadors immediately. The second step you can take is to go to the UN Security Council to decide upon the heart breaking brutal crimes of annihilation that call for immediate action from the International Court of Justice in Lahai and listing those who committed them as wanted to be punished for killing innocent unarmed women, children and elderly in cold blood for no reason other than their religious beliefs! —Al-Rai

Iran is scared of a possible downfall of Assad as this will have negative consequences on the political equation in the region. Obviously, Iran will be negatively affected by such a development. Seen in this way, Iran is working out a solution with Moscow that can lead to the removal of Assad while keeping the regime intact. American veteran diplomat, Jeffery Feltman, warned that Iran had armed the Houthis in Yemen even after the departure of Ali Abdullah Saleh. He also said that Americans were concerned about the increasing role of Iran in Yemen. Iran is worried that its strategy in the region is on the decline. Even political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood are not in the same camp with Iran. In fact the Muslim Brothers voiced many criticisms against Iranian policies. For this reason, Syrian Muslim Brothers have refused all Iranian offers. Additionally, the Muslim Brothers of Egypt have rejected negotiating the security of the Gulf, as it is part of the national security of Egypt. Interestingly, Damascus refused the Iranian logic of the necessity of opening a front with Turkey. Ankara was aware of this. A member of the Justice and Development Party said that his party understands well the Iranian political literature. Iranians did not find any place to create trouble except Tripoli. There is confirmed information that Assad will use his entire weapon to wipe out protesters. And yet, the logic of politics indicates that there may be a solution after all this bloodshed. To pave the way for the worst case scenario, there is an ongoing process of demographic changes. Forced immigration is under way to pave the way for establishing an Alawite entity in the mountain areas of Syria. But such entity cannot hold given the Syrians’ as well as the Alawites’ awareness. Russian sources confirm that Moscow has conducted important talks with the Syrian opposition groups. Also, Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass fled Syria as a result of coordination between Damascus and some Western countries. In Moscow, the opposition suggested his name as an accepted candidate to lead Syria in the transitional phase. All indications show that there is an attempt to remove Assad in a democratic way whereby Manaf Tlass can be appointed prime minister of a transitional government. Also Assad can hand over his power to his deputy. Some sources confirm that Farouq Shara’ is keeping low profile as he protested the military approach. In fact, he has been subjected to administrative confinement. Clearly, all players are careful to find a safe exit for Assad as no one has an interest in having a strategic vacuum in Syria. Iran stands to lose in this game. Its strategic bet on Hamas, Houthis, Hezbollah and others will soon backfire. Of course, Iran will turn to the strategy of buying time as much as it can. At best, Iran can find a way that can force Assad to step down while keeping his regime intact. Therefore, we hear some Iranian leaders talk about the Syrian peopleõs right to self-determination through elections to be conducted in 2014. And yet, this time around, time is not going to work in favor of Tehran.



Youth groups fight, smash equipment in Jahra hospital Eight-member gang assaults citizen KUWAIT: A fight between two groups of Kuwaiti youths occurred in Al-Qasr, Jahra and later resumed at Jahra hospital after the injured were taken for treatment for wounds they received from knives, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the two groups created a state of panic amongst the hospital staff, patients and visitors when they again used their knives and smashed equipment in the casualty department. The sources added that both hospital officials and police officers did not want to press charges until Jahra security commander Col Salah Al-Da’aas and the operation manager, Col Faleh Al-Azmi, insisted on detaining the suspects and filing a case. In a similar incident, a citizen was severely injured when he was attacked by eight people using knives and daggers near Kuwait Towers, said security sources. Case papers indicate that a 12-year-old relative of the victim asked for his help after two of the assailants harassed her. After scolding the two youths, the victim was later attacked by a larger group, repeatedly stabbing him with knives. The wounded man was rushed to hospital for treatment, a case was filed and a search is on for the suspects. Egyptian held An Egyptian was arrested on arrival at Kuwait International Airport, said security sources, noting that on checking the MoI database the man was found to be wanted for investigation of several financial crimes. Car accident An Indian escaped serious injury when his vehicle’s front tire burst and he lost control of it along

Istiqlal street and collided with a street sign, said security sources, noting that the man sustained various injuries. Blackmail attempt In a bid to escape the consequences of insulting a police officer on duty, a girl claimed that an officer had sexually harassed her and touched her breast, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the officer had stopped two girls in Salmiya for acting in a provocative way and attracting the attention of men. One of them did not have an ID and claimed to be a GCC national, which caused the officer to take her friend’s ID and asked them to follow him to the police station. This angered the girl who reportedly insulted and cursed the officer, who later filed a case against her. Officials believe that in a bid to foil his case and blackmail the officer, the girl filed a counter case, accusing the officer of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment A Fillipina reported that a cleaning worker at the company she worked for in Mina Abdullah had sexually harassed her and touched her. The woman added that he only stopped when she started screaming and other workers rushed to rescue her. The police were called and the man was arrested. Kidnap attempt A Nepalese woman reported that while walking home in Farwaniya, a car approached with two men inside who offered her a lift, which she refused, saying her house was not far. The suspects then offered her money in return for having sex with them, which

she also refused. Following her refusal, one of the men reportedly stepped out onto the street and tried pulling her into the car, when she began screaming and broke away. A case was filed. Mubarakiya fire A fire broke out in three adjacent shops in Mubarakiya, said security sources, noting that when firemen arrived they found two fabrics shops on fire, as was a third one selling construction materials in the old Souk. The fire was controlled before it spread to other shops. No casualties were reported. Bus catches fire Due to extreme temperatures that reached 50 degrees, a public transport bus caught fire between Jaber Al-Ali and Mubarak Al-Kabeer areas, said security sources. Officials said 40 passengers onboard were evacuated before the fire, that started in the engine, engulfed the entire bus. Phones stolen Unidentified robbers broke into a Mahboula restaurant and stole five mobile phones and a laptop computer, said security source. Drunk citizen A drunken citizen was arrested in Salmiya after being spotted driving his car in a slalom course and trying to drive on the opposite side of the street. Fugitive held Kuwait’s Interpol recently arrested an Egyptian living in Farwaniya upon request of their Egyptian counterparts, said security sources, noting that the man was wanted for a crime and had escaped to

Kuwait. The sources added that arrangements are being made to return him to Egypt. Sulaibiya arrest A man who was carr ying no identification was arrested for blocking police and preventing the arrest of a reckless driver who had been performing stunts in Sulaibiya before an audience that shot bullets from guns to celebrate, said security sources. Case papers indicate that a police patrol car was dispatched to Sulaibiya to investigate reports of a car being driven dangerously. On arriving at the scene and approaching the suspect’s car, the driver fled the scene while the arrested suspect blocked the patrol’s path to provide time for the escape. The suspect tried resisting arrest but was eventually controlled and detained. A case was filed and further investigations are in progress to identify the suspect who fled. Purses theft Three high school students, a Somali, and Egyptian and a Syrian, have been arrested for stealing women’s purses at Farwaniya shopping malls, said security sources. Case papers indicate that security officers at a Farwaniya shopping mall reported catching a Somali who snatched a woman’s purse and tried to flee. During interrogation the suspect admitted committing many other robberies and led police to his former accomplices, the Egyptian and the Syrian, who also confessed and said that they previously worked together before they broke up over some disagreement. A case was filed and the trio was referred to authorities.

Tsunami-hit aquarium vows to use Amir’s $3 million donation IWAKI: Head of Japan’s tsunami-hit marine science museum vowed yesterday to use $3 million donation from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for its revival. “I thank His Highness for generous donation to our facilities,” Aquamarine Fukushima Executive Director Yoshitaka Abe said on the occasion of a handover ceremony of the donation recently held in the northern Japanese port city of Iwaki. “We are considering building an ‘oasis’ of the port, a facility where children can experience nature on land. The donation will be used in a tangible form, and a friendly agreement will be signed with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) on July 12 as part of this plan,” he said. Behind this grant is a strong bond between Kuwait and the aquarium on which they place a value, given that Abe worked for the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) Fisheries Division in 1968-1969 as a researcher and has maintained friendship with Kuwaiti colleagues over decades. Abe said the aquarium will build a monument commemorating the Kuwaiti financial assistance, which is to become a symbol of recovery. He also expressed gratitude to Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, who attended the handover ceremony with Dr Naji Al-Mutairi KISR Director General, for working as a bridge between Kuwait and Aquamarine Fukushima. The marine science museum, located 190 km north of Tokyo, was severely damaged by a magnitude 9.0-quake and ensuring tsunami on March 11 last year that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Despite the reopening last summer and

ongoing restoration work, Aquamarine Fukushima is still under rehabilitation process from the disaster which cost it around $25 million in damage. Traces remain on the aquarium’s outer walls, car park and the surrounding pavements. According to the aquarium, it used to receive an average of more than 3,000 visitors per day, but the number of visitors fell by 70 percent last summer and 40 percent recently, respectively, in the aftermath of the twin natural disasters and the radiation crisis the radiation crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant that lies 55 kilometers north of Iwaki. During his state visit to Japan in March, HH the Amir announced the grant as a surprise gift for the restoration of severely-damaged aquarium and the promotion of science and technology. Opened in 2000 on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Aquamarine Fukushima has been a popular attraction, where people of all ages can enjoy the mysteries of the sea. Tsunami waves up to 5.4 meters hit Aquamarine Fukushima. There were no human casualties among 80 staff members and volunteers as they managed to escape to higher floors before the wave struck, all the vehicles were washed away from the aquarium’s car parks and the aquarium was totally isolated from the city for one night, said Abe. Tsunami also destroyed the electrical system, which is the facilities’ lifeline, causing the death of about 90 percent, or 200,000 fish and marine animals, in the aquarium. The marine mammals and birds were transferred to other aquariums within several days. In addition, Aquamarine Fukushima received donations from aquariums all over the world. Aquamarine Fukushima was closed after the disaster, and reopened for business on July 15,

the 11th anniversary of its first opening. Employees said that about one month after the disaster, Abe announced the decision to restart business on July 15, which greatly motivated staff. Upon the reopening, 17 aquariums throughout the country offered it 20,000 fish and marine animals of 300 species. The reopening of Aquamarine Fukushima also raised the spirits of the local people, which in turn vitalized the area. An Iwaki citizen in his 40’s said, “I visited the aquarium several times. I was amazed when it resumed operation so quickly, and this has really cheered us up.” Abe thanked Dr Al-Mutairi and KISR alumni members, especially KISR-FEN (Former Employees Network) Chairman Dr Mohammed Al-Tattar, for standing up in support of the disaster-hit aquarium. Their efforts, such as coordinating the proposal to the government, made a significant contribution to realizing the much-needed donation. KISR was established in 1967 by Tokyo-based Arabian Oil Company Ltd, in fulfillment of its obligations under the oil concession agreement with the Kuwaiti government. KISR’s Kuwaiti and Japanese researchers and scientists have nurtured friendships with each other and established an alumni networking community in 2005, of which Abe and KISR’s first Chief Administration Officer Katsuji Tainaka are members. Abe also published books ‘Fishes of Kuwait’ in 1972 and ‘Fisheries of Arabian Gulf’ in 1986. According to Dr Al-Mutairi who assumed the post in 2007, KISR begun operations 45 years ago with only five people including a founding member Tainaka. It currently boasts 1,500 researchers and employees, and cooperation agreements with some 40 institutes worldwide. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK chief executive officer, in a group photo with honored students.

NBK honors students for academic excellence KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) honored the children of staff members who achieved excellence in the academic year 2011/12, in recognition of hard work and efforts, in a customized ceremony held on their honor. Students and families attended the event, which was organized under the personal sponsorship and presence of Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Chief Executive Officer- Kuwait along with a group of NBK officials.

Al-Bahar congratulated the students and urged them to continue working hard to achieve their goals. “We at NBK are proud of our staff’s children and what they have achieved and will achieve in the long run,” Al-Bahar explained, “I wish them success in future studies and strive for them to excel to build the right foundation as they are the future of our country.” “NBK is dedicated to honoring the outstanding children of staff in recognition of their aca-

demic excellence and effort each year, and also in recognition of the parents who constantly grant all necessities of their children to ensure their success,” Al-Bahar added. NBK supports education and excellence for the youth of Kuwait in a variety of ways, including holding such honoring ceremonies to recognize and reward students striving toward excellence.

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s task forces will begin patrolling streets on Thursday to ensure that the ban on noon time outdoor work is implemented during Ramadan. Jamal Al-Dousari, Assistant undersecretary for Labor Sector added that ban is in effect from 11 am till 4 pm in the afternoon.

Kuwait, India enjoy deep bilateral ties NEW DELHI: Kuwaiti Ambassador to India Samie Mohammad Al-Suleiman met with the governor of Maharashtra (western Indian state) Sankaranarayanan to emphasize the deep bilateral ties enjoyed by Kuwait and India. Al-Suleiman, who met the Indian governor at his office in Mumbai, spoke about the long history that has bound the two countries; a history that has stretched through many generations. India has not only been a famous attraction for Kuwaiti businesses but it was also a

tourists’ destination for former Kuwaiti rulers, the envoy added. He added that the South Asian country helped the cultural and intellectual aspects of the Gulf nation to thrive through the many Kuwaiti publications which were printed in India. The Indian official said that Kuwait provided ‘a safe haven’ for many of its nationals who sought employment in Kuwait to better their lives. He also welcomed any future commercial cooperation between Kuwait and the city of Mumbai. —KUNA


Kim Jong-un takes North Korea’s top military rank Page 12

World’s most wanted Nazi criminal caught in Hungary Page 10

BOURGAS: A picture shows smoke rising over Bourgas airport yesterday. — AFP

Bulgaria blast kills 4 Israelis Iran blamed for attack SOFIA: Four people were killed and many more wounded yesterday in an attack on a bus packed with Israelis at a Black Sea airport in Bulgaria, which the government in Israel blamed on arch foe Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “all signs point to Iran” after an official in Jerusalem said the bus carrying Israeli citizens at the Burgas airport was shot at and an explosive device thrown. “Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror,” Netanyahu said. It would be the first attack against Israelis on Bulgarian soil. The blast

came on the anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and wounded 300. The attack was blamed on Iran, which denied the charge. An interior ministry press officer told AFP in Sofia that three people were killed and over 20 wounded, while the mayor of Burgas said a fourth person had died and more 30 wounded. The blast occurred at around 1400 GMT on a bus carrying Israelis who had flown in to Burgas, the second largest city on Bulgaria’s

Black Sea coast, setting off a fire that spread to another two buses, the ministry said. News agency pictures showed huge plumes of black smoke rising over the airport, which the ministry said had been closed. The two countries enjoy good relations and the Black Sea coast has become a popular holiday spot for Israelis. “I was on the bus and we had just sat down when after a few seconds we heard a really loud explosion,” one Israeli tourist Gal Malka told Israeli army radio. “The whole bus went up in flames,” she said. In

UAE approves first Gulf Arab nuke plant S Korean consortium to begin construction ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates will be the first Gulf Arab state to start constructing a nuclear power plant in the region, where top oil exporters seek alternative energy resources to meet the soaring electricity demand that threatens to absorb their precious oil and gas reserves. UAE’s nuclear regulator said yesterday that it granted a licence to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) for the construction of the OPEC member country’s first two nuclear reactors, which will be built by a South Korean-led consortium, a project worth billions of dollars. Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 has prompted several countries to think twice about their atomic ambitions but nuclear remains an attractive option for the oil-producing Gulf Arab states, including top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, where power demand is set to soar in the next decade. The UAE’s nuclear regulator said the construction licence was granted following thorough evaluation of eighteen months and this project would avoid mistakes made in Japan. “We have tried to learn as many lessons as we could from Fukushima, and we asked ENEC to address the issue in a report, which they did,” said William Travers, director general of the Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation (FANR). UAE will be the second country in the region that is developing a national nuclear programme after Iran, whose Russian-built Bushehr plant is part of its nuclear programme.

Iran’s atomic ambitions have been characterised by the West as being a front for covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the accusation. “We will continue to be conscious of our responsibility that nuclear power in the UAE is used safely, securely, and only for peaceful purposes,” Travers said in a statement. Top oil and gas exporters in the region have been working to save their huge oil and gas reserves for export rather than use them to generate electricity and the UAE is not the only one. Saudi Arabia, home to some of the world’s largest oil and gas fields, is also expected to finalise its atomic energy plans this year in the face of fast-rising demand for electricy driven by booming petro-dollar spending. The world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter Qatar and others such as Jordan, Algeria and Kuwait have been considering the nuclear path. In December 2009, the UAE awarded a group led by Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) a contract to build four nuclear reactors to meet surging demand for electricity. The consortium plans to build and operate the 1,400 megawatt reactors; the first is expected to start operating in 2017, and the others by 2020. ENEC has been waiting for the licence before it starts pouring concrete for the first two reactors at the Braka site, located on the west of UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi. “We have been notified that they will start putting concrete on the site as early as today,” Travers said. — Reuters

Bulgaria, the BGNES news agency’s correspondent at the airport cited unnamed official sources as saying the number of dead was at least seven. “Apparently there was an attack on a bus carrying Israelis at Burgas airport in Bulgaria. A bus carrying Israeli citizens was shot at and an explosive device was thrown,” said Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Netanyahu. “What we know is that sometime close to 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) there was a flight that landed in Burgas, the passengers went onto a bus and

then there was an explosion that we don’t know the source of,” said Ilana Stein, deputy spokeswoman for the Israeli foreign ministry. “What we know is that there are casualties and probably not only injured but also dead. We know that some were Israelis but we don’t know if all of them were,” she told AFP. Two more buses caught fire but were quickly put out, the Bulgarian interior ministry said. Between 40 and 50 passengers had got on to the bus at a parking lot outside the arrivals hall at the airport

when the blast occurred, stateowned BNR radio said. In January, Israeli public television reported that Bulgarian authorities had foiled a bomb attack targeting a bus chartered to take Israeli tourists to a ski resort. The device was found on a bus that had been due to transport a group of Israeli tourists from the Turkish border to a Bulgarian ski resort, according to the report. Bulgarian troops were deployed in several ski resorts frequented by Israeli tourists after the bomb was found, the report added. — AFP

Ethiopia says Meles ‘in good condition’ ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been treated for an illness and is “in good condition”, a government spokesman said yesterday, amid rising speculation about the health of a man in power for two decades in a poor, violent corner of Africa. Rumours that he is seriously ill have been rife since the former guerrilla leader, in power since ousting Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military junta in 1991, failed to attend an African Union summit in Addis Ababa over the weekend. Meles, 57, has won praise in the West for his country’s solid economic growth and poverty reduction, but rights groups have criticised his government’s repression of dissent and poor record on human rights and freedom of expression. Washington’s main ally in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has volatile Somalia and Sudan as neighbours along with arch-foe Eritrea, and speculation about Meles’ health af ter some weeks’ absence from public view has stirred debate about who might replace him. Diplomats in the Ethiopian capital say Meles is receiving treatment in Brussels for an undisclosed illness. Other sources have said he was treated in Germany, while some opposition groups say he has a life-threatening ailment or has died. “He has received treatment and is in good condition,” government spokesman Bereket Simon told Reuters. He declined to say what Meles’ illness was and where he is receiving treat-

ment. An Ethiopian diplomat in Europe referred to the rumours about his health as “scaremongering”. “His condition is stable and he is on the mend and he will be back to work soon,” the diplomat said. “He has had hospital treatment. There is no serious threat to his health.” Meles, k nown for his sharp tongue and sarcastic quips, has said he intends to step down in 2015 at the end of his fourth five-year term as premier. Violence tore through Addis Ababa when M eles’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) declared it had won disputed elections in 2005. Security forces killed 193 protesters, and 7 policemen also died in violence that damaged the standing of one of the world’s biggest aid recipients. The opposition also alleged that the country’s last polls, two years ago, were fraudulent. The EPRDF has also come under fire for its arrests of journalists, with watchdogs accusing the government of cracking down on free speech under the guise of national security. Addis Ababa dismisses the claims. Twenty Ethiopians, including a prominent blogger, journalists and opposition figures, were jailed last Friday for between eight years and life for conspiring with rebels to topple the government, sentences whose severity was condemned by EU foreign polic y chief Catherine Ashton and rights groups. — Reuters

Meles Zenawi



Egypt intelligence agency tries to reclaim reputation CAIRO: Egypt’s top intelligence agency, long a secretive power behind the country’s ruling system, is taking a small but unprecedented step out of the shadows in an apparent attempt to win the public’s support in the face of potential challenges from the new Islamist president. In an unusual move, the General Intelligence Service - known as the “Mukhabarat” in Arabic - released a 41-minute-long documentary boasting of its achievements, presenting itself as the defender of the nation and vowing to continue to protect the country. “The eye of the Egyptian intelligence does not sleep,” the narrator says. In one of the film’s many dramatic images, it shows footage of a falcon - the agency’s symbol - circling in the sky and swooping down to snatch up a snake. “Behind the curtains, the men of Egypt’s intelligence services continue to monitor issues, analyze facts, confront offenses, carry out operations and succeed in achievements without us knowing what they look like or who they are,” the narrator says. The documentary, aired late last week on private and state-run Egyptian TV stations, also plays heavily on widespread anti-Israel sentiment among Egyptians, saying the agency has protected Egypt from plots by Israel and its Western allies. It shows footage from World War II, including images of Jews interned in Nazi camps, and says that Jews plotted for “a nation created on the land of Palestine.” The film, titled “The Word of a Nation,” was a highly unusual public relations move for an agency

which traditionally stays hidden, has an opaque but pervasive role and is described by experts as “a state within a state.” The agency oversees espionage efforts abroad but also plays a significant role domestically. It was a crucial underpinning of Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year rule, working to suppress his opponents and ensure the loyalty of institutions nationwide. Former intelligence officer Gen. Sameh Seif Al-Yazal told The Associated Press that the film was made to raise awareness about the importance of the agency after it came under attack by some for not doing its job and was criticized as serving remnants of Mubarak’s regime. But it comes at a time when the agency and other key parts of the old system are looking to defend their turf and their sway over the country after the election victory of the new president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was the chief nemesis of Mubarak’s regime and was repressed by his widely-hated state security services and the Mukhabarat itself. In theory, the intelligence agency and other security services would now report to Morsi - but they and the military are believed to be pushing back to ensure that does not happen and that Morsi does not get to name the government ministers who would oversee them. “For many years, the (agency) saw the Brotherhood as their prime enemy,” said Heba Morayef, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Egypt. “And because of the treatment the Brotherhood saw for many years, there is

a fundamental mistrust and an inherent power struggle that is yet to be addressed.” Eventually, the Brotherhood may try to reshape the security agencies. “If restructuring doesn’t happen immediately, it will sooner or later,” Morayef said. “The battle hasn’t started yet.” Already, the Brotherhood is in a power struggle with the military, which has ruled since Mubarak’s fall. It has formally handed over power to Morsi, but before doing so it seized overwhelming authorities for itself that retain a large degree of control and restrain the new president. The military’s head, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, vowed that the army would never allow the Brotherhood to dominate the country. The Mukhabarat and the military are in “complete cooperation and understanding” with one another, Gen. al-Yazal said. The intelligence agency’s building is located behind the walls of the Defense Ministry in Cairo. Intelligence chiefs are often from the military. Throughout most of its history, the intelligence agency’s chief was never named, until the last decade when its head Omar Suleiman emerged in a public role as Mubarak’s right-hand man. Suleiman was one of the most powerful figures in Mubarak’s inner circle, serving as his intelligence chief since 1993 and then as his vice president during the 2011 uprising. He was dubbed “Mubarak’s black box” because of his reputation as the regime’s holder of secrets. When Mubarak fell, he was replaced as intelligence chief by Murad

Muwafi. Suleiman briefly tried to run for president provoking a furious outcry from those who launched the revolution against Mubarak - but failed to qualify on technical grounds. Now the Mukhabarat have faced sharp criticism from Morsi’s Brotherhood as well as pro-democracy activists who fear it will keep its grip on the state. Some have been calling for the prosecution of Suleiman for his connections to Mubarak’s regime, notorious for its political repression and corruption. “Suleiman’s papers should not have been submitted to the elections commission, but to the courts,” said Mohammed el-Beltagy, a leading Brotherhood member and former lawmaker, during a recent interview on the privately-owned ONTV. “This (the agency) is at the heart of Mubarak’s regime, which used to rely on the intelligence services and state security.” During Mubarak’s trial, in which he was sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of hundreds of protesters during the revolt against him, prosecutors and lawyers for the victims’ families accused the intelligence agency of being uncooperative in the investigation and of destroying tapes and other vital documents incriminating police of targeting unarmed protesters. This month, Morsi issued a presidential decree to re-open all the investigations. The investigative committee, though, will likely not have authority to investigate the military’s involvement in deadly protests since Mubarak’s toppling. —AP

Yemen uncovers Iranian-led spy ring Yemeni president tells Iran not to interfere

QUNU: Former South African President Nelson Mandela celebrates his 94th birthday with his wife Graca Machel (second from left front) and other family members at his home yesterday. — AP

S Africans squabble over slice of Mandela Frail anti-apartheid leader turns 94 JOHANNESBURG: South Africans celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday yesterday with giant cakes, mass renditions of “Happy Birthday” and 67 minutes of good deeds - one for each year of the antiapartheid leader’s struggle against whiteminority rule. But beyond the mawkish tributes to South Africa’s first black president, the day revealed the unseemly scramble among companies, politicians and charities for a slice of the reflected glory of “Madiba”, the clan name by which he is affectionately known. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) released a 1,450 word eulogy to its totemic former leader, exhorting the country’s 50 million people to “continue to build the South Africa of Madiba’s dreams”. Yet only last week, anti-apartheid heroine and Mandela ex-wife Winnie MadikizelaMandela was accusing the ANC in a leaked letter of “shabby treatment” of the family and wanting to wheel them out only “when we have to be used for some agenda”. The “67 minutes” Mandela Day charity push has also re-opened old wounds amid criticism it is merely a vehicle for whites and the newly rich black elite to assuage the guilt of living at the top of what remains one of the most unequal societies, even 18 years after the end of apartheid. Leading the charge was Luther Lebelo, head of an ANC branch in Johannesburg, who wrote an article in the Sowetan newspaper suggesting the day was about “little cosmetic charity activities” that only served to perpetuate class divisions. The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, as the official guardians of his image are known, hit back in the same paper, taking particular exception to Lebelo’s reference to the “so-called Mandela Foundation”. The jibe reflects a view widely held among South Africa’s overwhelming black majority that whites have managed to co-opt Mandela and his image since the first allrace elections in 1994. Mandela ‘licence’ The Mandela centre has also become embroiled in a commercial battle with

members of his family over the selling of Mandela-branded clothing via its ‘46664’ fashion range, named after the number he was given during his 27 years in prison. Set up in 2002 as an HIV/AIDS charity, ‘46664’ has since gone into business to raise funds, with official Mandela wristbands, mobile phone starter packs and clothes - all protected by a licence that “guards against the commercialisation of Mr. Mandela’s name and image”. The clothing range, which includes $100 jeans made in China, launched in New York with a glitzy ceremony at the South Africa consulate yesterday, only a week after two of Mandela’s granddaughters debuted a line of shirts, tops and hats under a “Long Walk to Freedom” brand named after his autobiography. “There are a lot of people out there who try to take advantage of the name. We are aware of that,” said David Manaway, husband of LWTF co-founder Zaziwe Manaway. “The two ladies who started this brand can’t exploit their own name. They have a right to do whatever they want around the family name,” he told Reuters. Other organisations with no ostensible link to either charity or the family were happy to cash in. A Johannesburg grocery chain offered a cut price “Mandela Day Deal” on potatoes, onions and chicken, while supermarket giant Pick ‘n’ Pay gave shoppers double reward points under their “Happy Birthday Madiba” scheme. Meanwhile, away from all the hullabaloo, an increasingly frail Mandela spent the day with close family and friends - and former US President Bill Clinton - in his ancestral village of Qunu in the remote Eastern Cape province. “While the elder statesman has now effectively retired from public life, there has been no slowdown in the greedy ‘Mandela rush’ to cash in and ‘keep his legac y alive’,” regional brand exper t Thebe Ikalafeng wrote in the Star newspaper. “Everybody from the credible to the dodgy is riding the Mandela bandwagon to get what they can before he departs.” — Reuters

SANAA: Yemen has arrested members of a spy ring that was led by a former commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the state SABA news agency said yesterday, as the country’s president told Tehran to butt out of its internal affairs. In a series of SMS messages, SABA said the spy cell had operated in Yemen as well as in the Horn of Africa and that it had kept an operations centre in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. An Interior Ministry official said all those detained were Yemenis. In an apparent reference to the incident, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called on Iran to stay out of Yemen’s affairs. “We hope that our brothers in Iran won’t interfere in Yemen’s affairs and that they take into consideration the sensitive situation in Yemen,” Hadi said. “Leave Yemen alone, enough is enough.” Battling a secessionist move-

ment and a tribal-based rebellion, Hadi, who succeeded longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh in February, is trying to direct a US-backed offensive against Islamist fighters, while seeking to unify a divided army. Bordering Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, the United States views Yemen as a frontline in its “counter-terrorism” campaign and has previously accused Iran of meddling in southern and northern Yemen. The US ambassador to Sanaa, Gerald Feierstein, said earlier this year that Shi’ite Iran was working with Shi’ite Muslim rebels in northern Yemen and secessionists in the south to gain influence at the expense of Yemen’s Gulf neighbours. The most powerful of those is Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the leader of the Sunni world, and is Iran’s rival for regional supremacy. It

crafted the power transfer deal that saw Saleh leave office after 33 years. Hadi, his successor, took office in February promising to fight the country’s branch of Al-Qaeda, whose local affiliates took control of parts of southern Yemen during an uprising against Saleh, and plotted abortive attacks on US and Saudi targets from Yemen. Although the military has driven Al-Qaedalinked militants from several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, the group earlier this month carried out a suicide attack in Sanaa, killing 10 people. The government’s hold on much of the south remains tenuous. Yesterday, armed men cut off roads leading to a government compound in Dalea province and prevented employees from entering the building, the defence ministry website reported. — Reuters

British Library unveils online collaboration with Qatar LONDON: More than half a million pages of historic documents detailing Arabic history and culture are to be made available online for the first time, as part of the British Library’s plans to make its content more accessible. Among the works is J.G. Lorimer’s Gazetter, considered by many to be one of the most important sources on the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, which was originally compiled in the early 20th century as a handbook for British agents and policymakers in the Middle East. The 8.7 million pound ($14 million) project will feature more than half a million documents from the East India Company and India Office as well as 25,000 pages of medieval Arabic manuscripts depicting the Arab world’s science and medicine. These materials could previously only be viewed by visiting the British Library’s Reading Rooms in London. The partnership between the British Library and the Qatar Foundation was announced on Wednesday and is aimed at expanding people’s understanding of the history of the Middle East, and the region’s relationship with Britain and the rest of the world. “This is an opportunity for us to really make all these manuscripts available online and to describe the information ... and make it accessible to a wider public,” British Library Curator of Middle Eastern Studies Colin Baker told Reuters. The three-year project will involve various stages which include photographing each item, enhancing catalogue records in English and Arabic as well as adding geographic locations of origins for further research use. The British Library’s collection includes more than 150 million items such as the Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and The Beatles manuscripts. It receives 3 million new items each year. The records will be fully searchable and available online for free for the public to use and includes maps, photos, reports and correspondence relating to British and the rest of the world’s involvement in the Arabian Gulf. British Library director Oliver Urquhart Irvine told Reuters the plans to digitise these works are part of a bigger picture to put the library’s entire collection online. “We are blessed with a particularly large collection, so that would take a very long time. But this is part of a plan of the library to do that.” — Reuters

TRIPOLI: Member of a security force, secures the area during the announcement of the election results. — AP

Libya tally gives liberal bloc an edge but no clear majority TRIPOLI: Libya’s liberal coalition beat Islamist parties in the first poll since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, according to results unveiled Tuesday-but it remained unclear who will dominate the next congress. The National Forces Alliance, a liberal coalition led by wartime prime minister Mahmud Jibril, gained 39 of 80 seats open to parties in the General National Congress, the first elected authority after more than four decades of dictatorship. The Justice and Construction Party, which was launched by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, took only 17 seats. The remainder of party seats went to a constellation of smaller parties, according to the electoral commission’s preliminary figures. The complete tally, however, does not paint a clear picture about who will dominate the incoming congress, where the majority of seats — 120 of 200 — were reserved for individual candidates. The two leading parties are courting independents and smaller entities in

a bid to form a dominant bloc within the congress, where major decisions and legislation require a two-thirds majority to pass. If liberals do manage to hold sway over the assembly, Libya, unlike neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt whose strongmen were also toppled in last year’s Arab Spring, will buck the trend of electoral success for Islamist movements. The NFA coalition brings together some 60 parties and independent figures, led by technocrats who lived abroad and advocate a moderate Islam, economic liberalisation and openness to the West. NFA leader Jibril, who played a key role drumming up international support for the 2011 revolution that toppled Gaddafi’s regime, has called for all parties to join a national unity dialogue in a bid to form an even broader coalition. Meanwhile Mohammed Sawan, head of the Justice and Construction Party, has expressed confidence that a large number of independents in the congress will side with Islamists. —AFP

Germany sees rising threat from Islamists BERLIN: Germany faces a growing threat from militant Islamists and far-right fringe groups, including small extremist cells and lone wolf operators, top security officials said yesterday. A report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency puts the number of Salafi Muslims in the country at 3,800 last year, with a small number of those prepared to use violence to achieve their aims. It is the first time the agency has counted the number of German-based Salafists, a religious movement that adheres to a strict interpretation of Islam and which has attracted young Muslims as well as recent converts. The wider number of Muslims with extremist views is estimated at more than 38,000, according to the report. “Our focus remains on Islamist terrorism,” Heinz Fromm, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told reporters in Berlin. “This is where the main threat currently comes from.” Fromm cited the killing of two US airmen at Frankfurt airport last year as an example of the acute but unpredictable nature of Islamist-inspired extremism. Arid Uka, 22, was convicted in February of

murder and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said Uka, an ethnic Albanian born in Kosovo who grew up in Germany, became radicalized on his own by reading and watching jihadist propaganda on the Internet. “In the coming years the intelligence work of the security agencies will continue to be dominated to a large degree by the problem of individual jihadists,” Fromm said. His agency’s annual report also noted an increasing number of members of militant farright groups. Authorities were deeply embarrassed last year by the revelation that a small group of neo-Nazis apparently managed to commit as many as 10 murders over a seven-year period while remaining largely off the radar of the intelligence services. The existence of the National Socialist Underground only came to light last November, when two of its three core members were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide after a failed bank robbery. The third alleged core member, Beate Zschaepe, is in custody pending trial. The NSU murders, as well as subsequent revelations

that one of Fromm’s agents had shredded files linked to the case, prompted him to resign earlier this month. He retires at the end of the month. The government yesterday appointed Interior Ministry official Hans-Georg Maassen as Fromm’s successor. Officials estimate that the wider membership of neo-Nazi groups in Germany fell to 22,400 from 25,000 in 2010, but the number of far-right extremists prepared to use violence grew last year to 9,800 from 9,500. German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said authorities were on alert for possible attacks by neoNazis inspired by the NSU killings. “I see that the potential, in particular for copycat acts, is present,” Friedrich said. Federal police say at least seven wanted neo-Nazis are currently on the run in Germany. Recent left-wing extremism in Germany has been largely restricted to outbursts of violence during street protests, and acts of sabotage. The number of left-wing extremists in Germany fell by 400 to 31,800 last year, according to the report. It counted 7,100 violent left-wing extremists, up from 6,800 in 2010. — AP

BERLIN: German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (left) and outgoing head of the domestic intelligence agency Heinz Fromm arrive at a press conference yesterday. — AP



Obama, Clinton ‘prejudiced’ WikiLeaks suspect’s case FORT MEADE: President Barack Obama made “prejudicial” comments about the soldier accused of the biggest intelligence leak in US history and harmed the suspect’s defense, a court has heard. Other top figures, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired admiral Mike Mullen, the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also made ill-advised remarks about Army Private Bradley Manning, it was alleged Tuesday. Obama’s comment that Manning “broke the law,” made at a political fundraiser in California last April, and other public statements were deliberately designed to weaken his defense, according to civilian attorney David Coombs. These are “people who should know better,” Coombs said at

Manning’s pre-trial hearing at the Fort Meade military base in Maryland, naming the US president and referring to remarks made by Clinton and Mullen. “Members of the government have taken the opportunity to throw comments out to the press that were very prejudicial. It was done purposefully and was unfortunate for us,” Coombs said. “Even though he is the commander-in-chief, he does not have influence in this courtroom,” the lawyer said, in a pointed jab at Obama. Manning, 24, could spend the rest of his life in jail if he is convicted of aiding the enemy by handing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the file-sharing website WikiLeaks. The soldier was serving as an intelligence analyst near Baghdad when he was arrested in May

2010 and has been accused of releasing a trove of classified reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables. The massive document dumps by WikiLeaks triggered a diplomatic firestorm that hugely embarrassed American officials and rankled the nation’s allies. Manning, who is attending this week’s hearing, has not yet entered a plea in the case and his trial is tentatively due to start in September. On Monday, the first day of the five -day pre -trial hearing, Manning’s defense team argued that government lawyers must prove that the soldier intended to help Al-Qaeda by passing secret government documents to WikiLeaks. The prosecution, however, has countered that they only have to show

that Manning knew Al-Qaeda might see the sensitive files after they were posted on the Internet. A small group of Manning supporters were at Tuesday’s hearing, where it emerged that the military panel likely to decide his fate will have to answer more than 100 questions during a rigorous pretrial screening process. The procedure is meant to guard Manning against possible prejudice by the panel-the military equivalent of a jury-though the defense conceded it would be near impossible to find service personnel who are unaware of the case. Questions include whether would-be panelists read fiction focused on military intelligence, whether they’ve ever taken part in a protest march and what voluntary work, if any, they undertake.

The extensive list of questions — 15 is considered normal in courts martialwas not released to reporters covering the hearing but some of the details emerged during judicial argument. Nine questions related to the subject of homosexuality. Manning is gay. Army judge Colonel Denise Lind refused a defense team request that jurors be asked if they backed gay marriage, but she allowed a question about whether they agree with the repeal last year of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibited gays from serving openly in the armed forces. Manning could opt for a single judge to rule in the case, but unless he does so a panel of between five and 12 service personnel will weigh the verdict. — AFP

World’s most wanted Nazi criminal caught in Hungary Csatary claims innocence

SUNDERLAND: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (second left) views an indoor exhibition of a beach scene with people playing in sand and a picnic with a painted background during a visit to Corporation Quay yesterday on her diamond jubilee tour. The queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited an exhibition set up in honour of her 60 years on the throne. — AFP

Somali pirate kingpins enjoy ‘impunity’: UN NAIROBI: Somalia’s president has shielded a top pirate leader from arrest by issuing him a diplomatic passport, according to a United Nations investigation which criticises the “climate of impunity ” enjoyed by pirate kingpins in Somalia and abroad. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia said in a report to the Security Council, seen by Reuters, that senior pirate leaders were benefiting from high level protection from Somali authorities and were not being sufficiently targeted for arrest or sanction by international authorities. The Group said it had obtained evidence a diplomatic passport had been provided “with the authorization of Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed” to pirate leader Mohamed Abide Hassan “Afweyne”, who presented it to authorities in Malaysia on a trip there in April. Questioned by Malaysian immigration, Afweyne provided a document issued by the Somali presidency stating he was involved in counter-piracy activities, the report said. It said that Somalia’s President Ahmed had told the Group the passport was “one of several inducements” for Afweyne aimed at obtaining the dismantling of his pirate network. In a July 12 letter to the Chairman of the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee, obtained by Reuters, Ahmed called the contents of the Monitoring Group’s report “one-sided”. The letter said the principal author of the UN report, whom it did not name, “seems hell bent on soiling the good names of private

members of the Somali people by throwing at them unsubstantiated allegations”. Somali government officials in Mogadishu could not be reached for comment. However, Omar Jamal, first secretary to Somalia’s ambassador to the United Nations, said the UN report was part of a smear campaign against the Somali government. “The Somali government is now going through a crucial moment of transitioning to permanent governance, and thus is in preparation of forming a new parliament and election in mid August; therefore the timing of the report is damaging and possibly create instability and confusion,” Jamal said in a brief statement from his New York office. Somalia’s weak Transitional Federal Government has been fighting AlQaeda-linked Al-Shabaab Islamist militants for the past five years and is now racing the clock to enact a new constitution and hold elections by Aug. 20. The UN report has also riled the authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, who are criticised for failing to arrest well-known senior pirate leaders, in spite of a counter-piracy campaign that has reportedly resulted in the arrest of hundreds of low-level pirates. The report said that only one Puntland based pirate leader, Abshir Boyah, had been arrested by the Puntland authorities but said his jail sentence of only five years contrasted sharply with terms of up to 20 years given to junior pirate figures. — Reuters

Brussels slams Romania for ‘shaking our trust’ BRUSSELS: Brussels demanded further proof of Romania’s commitment to democratic values and the rule of law yesterday, saying recent actions by its new centreleft government “have shaken our trust.” Releasing a much-anticipated report summing up five years of efforts by the ex communist state to reform its judiciary and fight corruption, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said: “the European Union is based on respect for the rule of law and democratic values.” “Recent events in Romania have shaken our trust.” The commission has been involved in a tense exchange with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta over his government’s controversial bid this month to impeach conservative President Traian Basescu, and change by decree the powers of the constitutional court. The row over Basescu-who has been suspended pending a referendum on his impeachment-has triggered Romania’s worst crisis since it emerged from communist dictatorship just over two decades ago. In a 22-page report, the EU commission praised Romania for reforms made since joining the European Union in 2007 but said recent developments “raise serious doubts about ... the understanding of the meaning of the rule of law in a pluralist democratic system.” In Bucharest, Ponta said the report “is

balanced” and pledged to continue efforts to build an independent and efficient justice system. “I am ready to make all necessary political sacrifices because I care about Romania’s image and I think we have to do more against this war of lies launched from Romania against Romania”, he said. A separate EU appraisal of Bulgaria also called for more work to fight corruption and to ensure the independence of its judges. The two reports put paid to hopes by the two nations of quickly joining Europe’s Schengen travel-free area. In the run-up to joining the EU, both Romania and Bulgaria were placed on a special EU programme to speed judicial reform and end corruption, known as the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and involving experts to advise and to police reforms in the two nations. Both had hoped to see the report call for the lifting of the CVM. But Barroso said Brussels “will continue to monitor the situation closely” in Romania with a new report to be issued at the end of the year to “see if our concerns have been addressed.” Bulgaria will have to wait until late 2013 for a new progress report. Romania’s Ponta went to Brussels last week for talks with EU officials, who handed the young premier a “to-do” list, setting out 11 areas in which Romania must fall in line with the bloc’s basic values. — AFP

BUDAPEST: Hungarian authorities detained, grilled and put under house arrest yesterday a 97-year-old who tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s dwindling wanted list of surviving suspected Nazi war criminals. Laszlo Csatary, accused by the Wiesenthal Center of organising the deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews from the ghetto of Kosice in present-day Slovakia in World War II, protested his innocence. “Our viewpoint is that at this age, being under house arrest is already quite a shock,” state prosecutor Tibor Ibolya said. “We have to make sure that this man remains alive and is able to stand trial.” “One of his arguments in his defence is that he was obeying orders.” Clutching a plastic bag, dressed in a grey jacket and surprisingly sprightly for his age, the former senior police officer said nothing as he was whisked away in a car by two friends or relatives. This followed his early morning arrest in the Hungarian capital Budapest and several hours of questioning by an investigating magistrate at a military prosecution office. “The suspect is in good physical and mental health. He is being cooperative. He was surprised (about being arrested) but he expected to be questioned,” Ibolya said. Csatary, full name Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, helped run the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, a town now in Slovakia personally visited in April 1944 by Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in the Nazi’s Final Solution, the Wiesenthal Center says. While there between 1941 and 1944 Csatary beat, brutalized and sent 16,000 Jews to their deaths in Ukraine and to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz extermination camp, it says. In 1948, a Czechoslovakian court condemned Csatary to death in absentia but he made it to Canada where he lived and worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship there in the 1990s. He ended up in Budapest where he has lived freely ever since, until the Wiesenthal Center alerted Hungarian authorities last year. British tabloid The Sun raised attention to his case with a report at the weekend after tracking down the old man, photographing him and confronting him at his front door. Acting on the information provided by the Wiesenthal Center, which was supplemented by fresh evidence last week, prosecutors

began an investigation in September. Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, welcomed the arrest and urged Hungarian authorities “to complete the rest of the judicial process and bring Csatary to justice as quickly as possible.” He said: “This is the debt owed to his many victims who were tor tured and sent to be murdered at Auschwitz. The passage of time does not diminish the guilt of the killers and old age should not afford protection to the perpetrators of Holocaust crimes.” The fact that Csatar y lived freely in Hungary for some 15 years and the lack of progress by prosecutors also added to worries about the direction of the EU member state under right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Almost exactly a year ago, a court in Budapest acquitted Hungarian Sandor Kepiro, 97, of charges of ordering the execution of over 30 Jews and Serbs in the Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942. The Wiesenthal Center, which had also listed Kepiro as the most wanted Nazi war criminal and helped bring him to court, described the verdict as an “outrageous miscarriage of

BUDAPEST: Laszlo Csatary, alias Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, leaves the court building yesterday as he is obligated for a 30-day home custody. — AFP

Frenchman returns to China to help probe PHNOM PENH: A Frenchman believed to have close ties to disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has returned to China to help the probe into the country’s biggest political scandal in decades, Cambodia said yesterday. Architect Patrick Devillers, arrested in Phnom Penh last month at Beijing’s request, was freed on Monday and boarded a flight for Shanghai the following day “by his own will”, deputy national police chief Sok Phal told AFP. “He said he is going there to be a witness,” the official said, adding that China had asked for his release. “The French embassy supported this 100 percent.” Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Devillers left for China voluntarily “after consulting with legal experts”, and said Beijing had given assurances the Frenchman would be allowed to return within 60 days “if there are no problems”. “So we’re all waiting to see the promise from China,” Khieu Kanharith told reporters. While his exact role is unclear, Devillers, 52, is understood to have been a close business associate and friend of Bo and his wife Gu Kailai, key figures in a political drama that has drawn worldwide attention. China had requested Devillers’ extradition, and his arrest on June 13 for unspecified offences sparked a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and France, which warned Cambodia not to send the architect anywhere without a clear legal basis. Last week Cambodian government officials said Beijing had promised to grant Devillers, who was never formally charged with anything, legal immunity in return for cooperating with its investigations. That announcement came a day

justice.” Six weeks later Kepiro died. Recent months, meanwhile, have seen something of a public rehabilitation of controversial figures, most notably of Miklos Hor thy, Hungary’s dictator from 1920 until falling out with his erstwhile ally Adolf Hitler in 1944. Anti-Semitic writers like Albert Wass and Jozsef Nyiro, a keen supporter of the brutal Arrow Cross regime installed in power by the Nazis in 1944, have also been reintroduced into the curriculum for schools, meanwhile. The decision by the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, Orban ally Laszlo Kover, to attend a ceremony in May honouring Nyiro, prompted Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to return Hungary’s highest honour in disgust. Holocaust survivor Wiesel, 83, said “it has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past.” The speaker of Israel’s parliament followed this up by withdrawing an invitation to Kover to a ceremony this week in Israel paying tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest who saved Jews during the war. — AFP

after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing, though it remains unclear whether Devillers’ case was discussed. French embassy officials in Phnom Penh and Beijing declined to comment. The Bo scandal, which first came to light in February, has exposed deep divisions within the Chinese Communist Party ahead of a crucial, once-in-a-decade leadership transition, analysts say. Bo, the former leader of the southwestern Chinese megacity of Chongqing, is being probed for corruption, while Gu has been detained for suspected involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year. Bo had been widely tipped for promotion to the top echelons of the Communist Party before the scandal spectacularly derailed his political career. Devillers is believed to have first crossed paths with the couple in the 1990s, when Bo hired him to do some architectural work in the Chinese city of Dalian. According to media reports, the Frenchman also set up a short-lived firm with Gu in Britain in 2000. The Financial Times newspaper reported in late June that Devillers, through a front company, helped Bo’s family acquire two luxury London apartments, now worth over $3 million, in 2002 and 2003. Devillers lived on-and-off at one of the properties until 2010, according to the report. After divorcing his Chinese wife, with whom he has a son, Devillers settled in Cambodia about five years ago, becoming a low-key but well-liked member of the expatriate community in Phnom Penh. — AFP

12 dead, scores missing as ferry capsizes off Zanzibar ZANZIBAR: At least 12 people perished and scores are still missing yesterday after a ferry capsized between the Tanzanian mainland and Zanzibar, government officials said. The vessel, which was carrying almost 290 passengers and crew, including more than 30 children, went down in choppy waters between the Tanzanian commercial capital Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar. “Twelve dead bodies and 10 surivors have been recovered so far. Rescue operations continue in bad weather,” State Minister in the Zanzibari president’s office, Mwinyihaji Makame, told journalists. Saidi Shabaani, an official in the second vice president’s office, said the ferry was carrying 251 adults, 31 children and six crew, according to the passenger list, when the accident occurred at around 0930 GMT. “This is another tragedy we are investigating. A rescue team from the police and navy have rushed to the scene,” Shaabani told AFP. Tanzanian state television reported that the ferry, which was also carrying cargo, had sunk completely. Ferries in the region very often carry additional passengers who do not feature on the list. There were no immediate reports about whether any foreign nationals were missing, but Zanzibar is a major tourist destination. The accident took place off Kwale Island, just a few kilometres (miles) from the coast of the main Zanzibar island, according to an employee at another nearby island, Chumbe, that is home to a private reserve and an eco lodge. “Rescue operations are going on,” he told AFP, saying rescue teams had sailed past Chumbe. Lawmakers meeting in Tanzania’s administrative capital Dodoma suspended their session so that Interior Minister Emmanuel Nchimbi could supervise the rescue operation. More than 200 people perished in September when the ferry Spice Islander capsized while sailing between two of the three main islands that make up Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in one of the worst maritime disasters in Africa in the past decade. The September disaster is believed to have been caused by overloading, with some angry survivors accusing port and ferry officials of having ignored the protests of passengers that the boat was overcrowded. — AFP


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US pilot murder suspect steals plane, kills himself Airport security scrutinized after Utah security breach

ILLINOIS: In this photo, a field of corn that has missed pollination due to high temperatures and little rain stands. — AP

Worst drought in 5 decades ravages US WASHINGTON: Weather forecasters see no end in sight to the worst US drought in five decades, a blistering heatwave that has wilted crops across America’s crucial breadbasket and sent grain prices soaring. Farmers are mulling cutting down crops and thinning livestock herds as meteorologists said the country’s central breadbasket, the world’s largest source of both soybeans and corn, faces another month of stifling, rainless heat. President Barack Obama was slated to meet with his secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, on Wednesday to review options to deal with the drought, while a World Bank official said they were watching to see how it could impact global food supplies, after sharp surges in food prices in 2008 and 2010 dealt harsh blows to poor, food-importing nations. “While it’s too early to be overly concerned, the Bank is monitoring the situation closely for potential impacts on our clients,” said Marc Sadler, team leader for the World Bank’s Agricultural Finance and Risk Management Unit. “Global stocks in most of the tradable grains are lower now than they have been historically... we don’t have as much in the larder as we used to.” More than 60 percent of the continental United States has been under drought and extreme heat conditions since June, according to Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Temperatures have topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) for days in a row in many places, with the central plains running three to four degrees Fahrenheit above normal this month. Svoboda said the drought was as tough as the worst in the 1930s and 1950s, although those benchmarks were multi-season, multi-year disasters while the current situation only dates to May. But, he pointed out, the timing of the lack of rain and the heat has been particularly devastating, coming just at the peak of the growing season with the epicenter the central US farm belt east of the Rocky Mountains

all the way to the Atlantic coast. It has hit corn, soybeans, and crops like hay needed to feed cattle especially hard. Farmers are now looking at cutting their losses-chopping down fields of half-mature, ear-less corn to feed the stalks to cattle. “The jury is still a little bit out on it. We are in that process right now, making that decision,” said Steve Foglesong, who raises cattle and farms corn in Astoria, Illinois. “From the road the corn looks green, but there are no ears on it.” Foglesong said the next two weeks will be crucial, but weather forecasters were not encouraging. “The worst of the drought is right in the middle of the nation, the corn belt. It’s just been bone dry,” said Carl Erickson, a meteorologist at Accuweather. “Unfortunately across the central plains, the Mississippi valley, it looks like the overall pattern will remain in place for the rest of the month and into August,” he said. “Once you get into a pattern like this, it almost feeds on itself.” Joseph Glauber, chief economist for the Department of Agriculture, said their surveys show that 38 percent of the corn crop, and 30 percent of the soybean crop, are considered in “poor” or “extremely poor” condition. That compares to 9 percent and 8 percent respectively this time last year. In the last big drought, in 1988, corn yields fell by more than 20 percent, Glauber noted. Although the department will wait until early August before reaching a conclusion about the crops, he said: “It’s evolving as we speak. Every week these crop conditions have gotten worse.” Corn prices have soared by 50 percent since May, while the rate for soybeans, which develop later than corn and might be able to bear up under another few weeks of rainless conditions, has surged 26 percent. Ironically, in a way, beef and other meat prices have fallen. Glauber said some ranchers facing higher feed prices appear to be reducing their herds, pushing livestock into the market. —AFP

EVANSDALE: Dan Morrissey leans on a tree near Meyers Lake where his daughter Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, disappeared last Friday, Tuesday, July 17, 2012. —AP

Abduction fears growing for missing Iowa cousins EVANSDALE: The families of two missing Iowa cousins say their worry that the young girls might have been abducted is growing as a search of nearby lake winds down. Authorities drained the lake Tuesday after FBI dogs detected the girls’ scent near where their bicycles were found four days earlier. FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said the reaction from the dogs Monday night indicated a “strong possibility” the girls had been at the lake, less than a mile from their grandmother’s house where they were last reported seen Friday. However, Breault said because there were no confirmed sightings at the lake, authorities couldn’t be certain. Chief Deputy Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office said the case was still considered a missing persons investigation. The decision to drain the lake was made to rule out the possibility the girls were in the water, he said. Officers slowly paddled around the lake in kayaks on Tuesday morning. A group of three officers walking along the southeast shoreline stopped to study something that appeared to be a cup. An officer with gloves and an evidence bag picked it up and took it back to a patrol car sitting along the bank. Officials didn’t identify the object or even confirm whether it was related to the search for Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric CookMorrissey, 10, but it was a rare sign of activity in a massive search that has produced few if any significant leads. “I don’t think that they’re in the lake, not at all, but it is just like a dead

end as far as we know so far,” said Dan Morrissey, Lyric’s father. “We’ve never gone through anything like this. It’s hard enough just to get up and deal with the reality that your daughter is gone.” Tammy Brousseau, 48, an aunt to both girls, said all the signs were pointing to a stranger - possibility a pedophile - abducting them from the area near the lake where their bikes were found. Brousseau said that just last week she taught Lyric how to “save someone if they went limp in the water.” She said she also taught both girls how to “drop to the ground and fight” if someone tried to abduct them. Lyric’s parents said they didn’t suspect a drowning either, noting the girls’ swimming abilities and the fact that no shoes were recovered on the bank of the lake. “The area where the bikes were found is fenced on both sides, and it is right where maintenance gate is it is a spot that looks to me like a trap,” Dan Morrissey said. “Somebody could have just come along right then or followed them down it would have been the worst spot to be in right there.” At least 30 FBI investigators joined the search for the girls, who were last reported seen Friday afternoon leaving their grandmother’s house in Evansdale. Their bicycles and Elizabeth’s purse were found later that day near a bike trail at the edge of Meyers Lake. Breault said the search has been slowed because of the time required to drain the lake. —AP

LOS ANGELES: A US pilot on the run for alleged murder stole a plane and crashed it into an airport terminal before killing himself, officials and reports said Tuesday. Brian Joseph Hedglin was wamted for questioning over the death in Colorado last week of his former partner, when he gained access to the plane at St George Municipal Airport in neighboring Utah. The 40-year-old, a SkyWest pilot, caused damage to both the aircraft — which was empty and out of service — and to vehicles and part of the terminal building, according to ABC4 television. “While the airport was closed overnight, a SkyWest aircraft at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah was involved in a ground incident while the aircraft was not in service,” said an airline spokesman. “Until the airport is reopened passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being reaccommodated on other flights as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City, Utah,” said the spokesman. A Colorado Springs Police Department statement said officers launched a manhunt for Hedglin on Saturday, after they discovered a body reported to be that of Christina Cornejo, the suspect’s former partner. ABC4 reported that Hedglin killed himself after crashing the plane into a terminal building and adjacent parking lot. It said he was apparently trying to evade capture, but police could not confirm this. Hedglin had dated Cornejo for about four years, and was arrested in March for allegedly harrassing the 39-year-old, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, citing court records. SkyWest said it was cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over the incident. Pilot and murder suspect Brian Hedglin knew how to fly planes. He just needed access to one. Turns out, it was as easy as using a rug to scale a razor wire-topped security fence at a small Utah airport in the middle of night, slipping past security, boarding an idle, empty 50-passenger SkyWest Airlines jet and revving up the engines. He crashed the plane in a parking lot and shot himself in the head, never getting off the ground. But the incident has raised concerns that nation’s airports may not be as safe as they should be. The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t require airports to maintain fulltime surveillance of their perimeter fences, leaving airport security largely in the hands of individual facilities. At least one aviation security expert says it might be time to revisit those protocols. “Maybe we need to implement some more levels of perimeter security because any type of security incident like this is a lesson to both the good guys and the bad guys. They read the papers just as much as we do,” said Jeff Price, an aviation security expert and aviation professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. The former assistant security director at Denver International Airport said that even after Hedglin gained access to the airfield early Tuesday, he shouldn’t have been able to get aboard the plane. “It should have been locked and secured if it wasn’t

in use,” Price said. TSA spokeswoman Jonella Culmer said the agency is “currently reviewing perimeter compliance” at the St. George Municipal Airport, which is about 120 miles northeast of Las Vegas. City spokesman Marc Mortenson noted the airport is surrounded by six miles of perimeter fencing. Local authorities were investigating the breach, but Mortenson said the facility meets all Federal Aviation Administration and TSA security requirements. He said, however, the entire perimeter isn’t observed at all times, “and I would dare say it isn’t at any airport in the country.” SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said Hedglin was a pilot for the airline since 2005 but had been on administrative leave since July 13, the day police found the body of his girlfriend, Christina Cornejo, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Authorities say she had been stabbed multiple times. Hedglin was the key suspect but he hadn’t been charged. Colorado Springs police said they asked SkyWest to deactivate his access cards in case he showed up at the airline anywhere in the country. How the 40-year-old was able to gain access to the plane remained unclear. The Gazette of Colorado Springs, citing court records, reported that Hedglin dated Cornejo for four years and was arrested in March after he was accused of harassing her. The records show that a restraining order was issued against Hedglin, and he was set for trial in August. He was released on $10,000 bond. Attorney Steven Rodemer, who represented Hedglin in that case, said he was facing misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief, theft and harassment, but felony charges were dismissed Thursday.

Rodemer said he hadn’t seen Hedglin since their last court date that day. A police officer making rounds at the airport early Tuesday found a motorcycle with the engine running outside the perimeter fence, Mortenson said. As he searched for the owner, the officer came upon the idling plane and called SkyWest. The airline sent an employee to turn off the engine. Inside, Hedglin was found with a gunshot wound to his head. Snow noted that an inexperienced person could not have operated the plane, but she did not explain how Hedglin got aboard. “It involves sophisticated procedures and requires an extensive amount of training to even know how to start the plane,” she said. “If you defeat one layer of security, there are supposed to be other layers in place to prevent criminal or terrorist attacks,” Price said. “Today, perimeter security at airports, it’s just a fence. They’re not required to have intrusion protection systems, and they’re not required to have closed circuit TV to monitor the fence because the current level of risk doesn’t warrant it. “But maybe that needs to be looked at,” he added. Hedglin was a member of the Colorado National Guard, where he was a part-time soldier who worked as a cook. He had no specialized military training and was never deployed, Capt. Darin Overstreet said. SkyWest officials said the CRJ200 plane Hedglin stole was not in service at the time. The aircraft is made by Bombardier and is capable of flying up to 534 mph with a range of 1,700 miles. Normally it has a two-person flight crew and a single flight attendant. A dozen flights leave or arrive at the St. George airport each weekday, according to the airport’s website. Most run between southern Utah and Salt Lake City, with two flights connecting St. George and Los Angeles. — Agencies

ST. GEORGE: A SkyWest regional jet sits on the tarmac on the opposite end of the St. George Municipal Airport. — AP

Romney pushes attacks against Obama into Ohio PITTSBURGH: Mitt Romney plans to stay on the attack in the race for the White House, but growing pressure from across the political spectrum to release his personal tax returns threatens to stunt the Republican presidential candidate’s momentum as he courts voters across key Midwestern battlegrounds. The former Massachusetts governor takes his fight against President Barack Obama to Ohio yesterday, building off fiery speeches in Pennsylvania the day before in which he accused his Democratic opponent of believing the government is more vital to a thriving economy than the nation’s workers and dreamers. “I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success,” Romney declared Tuesday in the Pittsburgh area as hundreds of supporters cheered him on. Having spent most of Tuesday courting donors across Texas, Obama has a series of official meetings in Washington, including a fundraiser, before departing today on a two-day campaign swing through Florida. His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, was scheduled to speak at a campaign fundraiser Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. Democrats have pressed for the release of more of Romney’s tax returns and have hounded him over discrepancies about when he left his private equity firm, Bain Capital. Obama has been trying to keep Romney focused on matters other than the sluggish economy, even releasing a single-shot TV ad Tuesday that suggests Romney gamed the system so well that he may not have paid any taxes at all for years. Obama’s campaign released a web video Wednesday questioning Romney’s claims that he had “no responsibility whatsoever” at Bain after February 1999, despite SEC filings that list him as sole owner and CEO through February 2001. After being on his heels for several days, Romney launched an aggressive counterattack this week, punctuated by biting speeches, conference calls and a TV ad Wednesday accusing Obama of “crony capitalism.” The ad says Obama sent stimulus money to “friends, donors, campaign supporters and special interest groups” and charges that taxpayer dollars went to projects in Finland and China. Romney has also seized on comments Obama made last week in Virginia. Making a point about the supportive role government plays in building the nation, the president said, in part: “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Obama later added: “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.” At a Pittsburgh fundraiser Tuesday evening, Romney lashed out at the remark, a strategy his campaign says will be a theme for the week, if not longer. “It’s foolish on its face and shocking that a president of the United States would not understand the power of entrepreneurship and innovation,” Romney said. “It is an attack on the very premise that makes America such a powerful economic engine.” For the often-reserved Romney, the fresh attacks marked a substantial escalation in aggression for a candidate who has struggled to answer questions about his business career and personal tax returns. The former businessman, who would be among the nation’s wealthiest presidents if elected, has so far released just one year of personal income tax returns and promised to release a second. That’s a stark deviation from a tradition created in part by Romney’s father, George, a presidential candidate a generation ago who released 12 years of his returns. A defiant Romney has accused the Obama campaign of using the issue to distract voters from the state of the nation’s economy less than four months before the Nov. 6 election. But it’s unclear if Romney’s new strategy will be enough to change the subject, particularly as several prominent Republicans joined Democrats in pushing Romney for more transparency. Texas Gov. Rick Perry - who challenged Romney for the Republican presidential nomination late Tuesday became the latest in a series of top conservatives to pressure Romney to open his finances. —AP

Guantanamo judge won’t step down in USS Cole bomb case GUANTANAMO BAY: The chief judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal refused on Tuesday to step aside from the trial of a prisoner accused of orchestrating the suicide-bomb attack that killed 17 U.S. soldiers aboard the warship USS Cole in 2000. The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, rejected defense arguments that the public might perceive him as biased toward protecting the U.S. government bureaucracy to preserve his own paycheck. He said they had shown no evidence of actual bias. “A reasonably informed observer in possession of all the facts would not question my impartiality,” Pohl said. Pohl’s ruling came in the case of alleged al Qaeda chieftain Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is accused of selecting and directing the two suicide bombers who drove a boat full of explosives into the side of the Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000, killing 17 sailors and wounding dozens more. Nashiri, a 47-year-old Saudi of Yemeni descent, is charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and terrorism. He faces the death penalty if convicted. The case is expected to be the first capital case to go to trial in the special tribunals at the remote Guantanamo Bay US Naval base in eastern Cuba. Defense attorney Rick Kammen argued unsuccessfully in a pro-trial hearing that Pohl had a financial interest that could affect his impartiality. Judge recalled from retirement The 61-year-old judge was recalled from retirement and his contract is subject to annual renewal in September. His $10,577 monthly pay would drop by about 20 percent if he returned to retirement. “I don’t think anyone can dispute that 20 or 25 percent of a judge’s income is significant,” Kammen said. As chief judge, Pohl has assigned himself to handle all of the cases brought so far against “high-value” prisoners who were held in secret CIA prisons before being sent to Guantanamo in 2006. He is presiding in the pending death-penalty case against five men charged with plotting the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that killed 2,976 people in 2001. He also oversaw the February guilty plea by Majid Khan, an Al-Qaeda money courier who is expected to testify as a prosecution witness in the 9/11 case. Kammen said the cases were perceived by much of the general public as “no-fail missions” where the tribunal must produce convictions in order to justify and conceal the alleged torture of the defendants while they were in CIA custody. “There’s certainly a lot of the public who believe that the reason we’re in Guantanamo is to keep things secret,” Kammen said. He said the process might be perceived as more fair if more than one judge was involved. “”When only one judge presides over all the cases, at best, your honor, what you have is a process that is only seen through one prism,” Kammen argued. The prosecution characterized the defense argument as conjecture and innuendo lacking in legal basis and specific facts, and the judge concurred. Keep secrets out of the courtroom At the hearing, Nashiri, a round-faced man with closely cropped black hair, wore a gray blazer over a white tunic and trousers. He listened through headphones to an Arabic translation of proceedings, resting his chin in his hand and swiveling in his chair under the watchful eyes of a row of military guards. The defence asked the judge to let them hire a lawyer with expertise in classified documents and a memory expert to help challenge witness recollections of events that occurred 12 years ago. The judge deferred ruling on those requests but asked both sides to tally up the number of lawyers, paralegals and experts at their disposal and report back to him. The defense, which includes a civilian death penalty expert paid by the Pentagon, contends that it is vastly outgunned by the prosecution, which includes Justice Department lawyers and representatives of several other government agencies.— Reuters




Kim Jong-un takes North Korea’s top military rank N Koreans applaud leader’s new title: Marshal PYONGYANG: Soldiers danced in Pyongyang’s plazas as North Korea announced yesterday that leader Kim Jong Un was named marshal, a title cementing his status atop the authoritarian nation’s military as he makes key changes to the 1.2 million-man force. State media said in a special noon bulletin that North Korea’s military, govern-

Among the men lined up on stage were the military’s new vanguard: four generals promoted to vice marshal since Kim Jong Un succeed his father Kim Jong Il, who died in December. The announcement of Kim Jong Un’s title and the presentation of the new military leadership comes just three days after the dismissal of army

body, in September 2010, and was on the funeral committee for Kim Jong Il in two strong indicators of his rise in stature. The title of marshal - held previously by Kim’s father and grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung - is “another brick in the wall of consolidating Kim Jong Un’s power, across party, state and military

PYONGYANG: In this April 14, 2012 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) waves as North Korean military officers clap during a mass meeting of North Korea’s ruling party at a stadium. —AP ment and political leadership had decided Tuesday to award the top title to Kim, who already is supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army. It solidifies his standing seven months into Kim’s rule and follows several days of reshuffling at the highest levels of the military. Soldiers applauded and cheered the news during a meeting at the April 25 House of Culture called by military officers and officials from the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces.

chief Ri Yong Ho, a high-ranking figure in both political and military circles and seen as a close adviser to Kim. The government said Ri was ill, but there was widespread speculation abroad of a military reshuffle at the top levels. A day later, a general named Hyon Yong Chol was promoted to vice marshal, joining three others named to that rank in February and April. Hyon became a member of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, a key decision-making

institutions,” said John Delury, a North Korea analyst at Yonsei University in South Korea. “In the wake of Ri’s stepping down, it takes on added significance,” he said. “ Titles, of course, do not ensure authority. But the regime would appear to be closing ranks around their young leader.” Soldiers and students in uniform filled the streets of the capital to celebrate, dancing and singing despite the rain. “I am pleased that our cherished desire

came into reality,” Kim Jong Gum, a student at the Kang Pan Sok Revolutionary School dressed in a military uniform, told The Associated Press. “July 18th: This day will be remembered in our hearts as another meaningful and auspicious day.” One by one, Kim Jong Un has collected top posts in the military and party, including first chairman of the National Defense Commission, first secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission and member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau. He was made supreme commander of the military in December, just days after his father’s death from a heart attack. Kim Jong Il held the title marshal until he was posthumously made “generalissimo” - the nation’s top military title - in February, shortly before what would have been his 70th birthday. He had been named marshal 20 years earlier when North Korea founder Kim Il Sung was promoted to generalissimo. As leader, the young Kim has continued to maintain his father’s policy of “songun,” or military first, and has sought to inspire loyalty with visits to military units, often with Ri, the ex-army chief, at his side. However, he also has made building up the economy a priority and promoting officials with economic expertise. It remains unclear how the military reshuffle will affect North Korea’s tense relationship with its neighbors and the United States, which stations more than 28,000 troops in ally South Korea. The South Korean and US militaries have stepped up their monitoring of North Korea’s military in the wake of Ri’s dismissal, but they’ve seen no suspicious activities, according to Seoul’s Defense Ministr y. It gave no fur ther details. —AP

Japan utility takes out 2 Fukushima nuke fuel rods Heavy rain fears as typhoon menaces Japan TOKYO: A giant crane removed two rods packed with nuclear fuel from the Fukushima nuclear plant yesterday, the beginning of a delicate and long process to deal with a remaining risk of more radiation escaping from the disaster-struck plant. All of the 1,535 rods next to reactor No. 4 at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan must eventually be removed from a spent-fuel pool to safer storage - an effort expected to take through the end of next year, according to the government. The pool’s building was destroyed by explosions from the multiple meltdowns that followed a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Fears run deep about the massive radioactive material stored in the damaged building. The pool is not protected by thick containment vessels unlike the core fuel in the plant’s three other reactors. The plant’s operator

their condition, according to Gyo Sato, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the government regulators. “Everything is going safely so far,” he said. Japanese TV reports showed cranes removing the 4-meter (13-foot) rods. The utility declined to comment, citing secrecy needs for handling nuclear material. But it said in May that fuel rods would be removed from the pool for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami. In the days following the disasters, Fukushima Dai-ichi plunged into meltdowns and was rocked by at least two hydrogen explosions after backup generators were knocked out. About 150,000 people were evacuated owing to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. A 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the plant remains a no-go zone. The pool at No. 4 was behind the secret worst-sce-

OKUMA TOWN: This aerial view shows the damaged No. 4 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant yesterday. —AP intends to remove the rods one-by-one to deal with the risk of the pool stewing radiation into the surrounding area. Separately, a reactor at Ohi plant in central Japan went online Monday, the second reactor to restart after the disasters. Another Ohi reactor got restarted earlier this month. At the same time, tens of thousands of people took to the streets demanding an end to nuclear power, outraged by the restarts in a rare massive protest for this usually reserved culture, and the biggest rally turnout since the Fukushima crisis early last year. Tokyo Electric Power Co. started the work yesterday of removing two rods and inspecting

nario mapped out by the government, which warned millions of people might have to flee from spewing radiation, including parts of the Tokyo area, which has a population of 35 million people. US authorities have also repeatedly expressed worries about the spent-fuel pool at reactor No. 4. A year and a half after the disaster, the cooling system has been fixed, and reinforcement built to prop up the pool. But fears remain. TEPCO recently said the wall at the spent fuel pool building was bulging, although the pool was not tilting. Hiroshi Tasaka, a nuclear engineer and professor at Tama University, who served as adviser to the prime minister after the disaster,

said the spent-fuel pool in reactor No. 4 posed a danger because the building was not sufficiently secure to stop radiation escaping in the case of strong aftershocks. The two rods removed yesterday are among the 204 rods that have not been used to generate power and are not as prone to spewing radiation as the 1,331 spentfuel rods, also sitting in the pool. Tasaka said the government target of removing all the rods by the end of next year may prove too optimistic, and the effort may take longer because of the many unknowns, the need to develop new technology and the risk of aftershocks. “If we are asked whether things are completely safe, we cannot say that,” he said. “If there is another major earthquake, we don’t know what may happen, although we hope for the best.” In another development, a typhoon menacing already sodden southwestern Japan could dump weeks’ worth of rain on the area, forecasters warned yesterday, as communities struggle to recover from huge floods. Typhoon Khanun was sitting just west of the main southern island of Kyushu, packing winds of up to 126 kilometres (78 miles) per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Although a direct hit looked unlikely, up to 15 centimetres (about six inches) of rain were forecast in 24 hours for Oita and Kumamoto prefectures, where floods and landslides have left 32 dead or missing over the last week. “In some places recent heavy rainfall has left the ground very loose, so we are warning local residents to be vigilant against mudslides,” the weather agency said. More than 90 centimetres of water has fallen in the area around Mount Aso, an active volcano, so far this month, the agency said, far outstripping what would normally be expected. Around 15 people in the small city of Ukiha were cut off when roads were damaged and bridges washed away after rivers burst their banks. “I have never experienced such floods in my life,” 57-year-old farmer Shigeru Kawauchi told AFP. “It is the first time I have seen the river flowing so violently that it was sweeping houses away,” he said. Khanun was expected to near South Korea’s Jeju island by yesterday night. Meanwhile the main Japanese island of Honshu was wilting under soaring temperatures, with authorities issuing hot weather alerts in central parts of the country. A 55-year-old man died in Toyama prefecture apparently from heat stroke on Tuesday, while 688 people were taken to hospital due to heat exhaustion, public broadcaster NHK said. One person died and nearly 700 others were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of heat on Monday. Japan is asking people to limit the use of electricity-sapping air conditioners as the country battles a possible power shortfall, with the vast bulk of nuclear generators offline in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. —Agencies

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivers his address at the first Strategic Review Forum. —AFP

Indonesia scrambles to end ASEAN rift over sea MANILA: Indonesia’s top diplomat started an emergency trip to Southeast Asian nations yesterday to ease differences among them over the handling of territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he met his Philippine counterpart, Albert del Rosario, in Manila yesterday and would fly to other Southeast Asian nations to try to ease the discord and prevent further damage to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Foreign ministers of the 10-nation bloc failed to issue a concluding joint statement after their annual meeting in Phnom Penh last week when host Cambodia rejected a proposal by the Philippines and Vietnam to mention their separate territorial disputes with China in the statement. The absence of a post-conference statement was unprecedented in ASEAN’s 45year history and underscored the divisions within the group over the handling of the South China Sea disputes, which involve four of its members - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The four, along with China and Taiwan, have long contested ownership of potentially oil- and gasrich territories and recent spats have raised alarm. Cambodia, a close China ally, has followed Beijing’s stance that the disputes should not be brought to a multinational forum like ASEAN but instead should be negotiated by rival claimants one on one. The Philippines and Vietnam, in contrast, have sought international attention and warned that Chinese aggression in the South China Sea could block freedom of navigation in the strategic and busy waters, which Beijing claims virtually in their entirety. Washington has said peace and freedom of navigation are in the US national interest. China, however, has warned the US not

to interfere. Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has said the failure of Cambodia to forge a consensus led to the scrapping of the crucial statement, causing “a severe dent on ASEAN’s credibility.” Without a group statement on issues like poverty, human rights and regional integration, it is not clear what ASEAN heads of state will discuss at their summit in Cambodia in November, he said. Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio said that while her country was patient and tolerant, it “could not perpetually remain mute over the brazen acts of infringement on its territory and intimidation by a powerful country,” referring to China. Chinese and Philippine ships faced off at a disputed South China Sea shoal in April. The Philippines has withdrawn its vessels but Chinese ships have remained at Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines. Basilio said China has blocked entry to a sprawling lagoon at Scarborough, a rich fishing ground. The barriers consisted of a rope and nets held up by buoys, along with a row of Chinese dinghies tied together with rope. The Chinese Embassy did not reply to an Associated Press request for a comment. Natalegawa told a news conference it was “critically important” for ASEAN to deal with the internal disagreements. “If we do not do anything, we know the damage will become bigger,” he said. He said he would try to rally Southeast Asian governments to agree on six principles on the South China Sea issue, including avoiding use of force, resolving the conflicts in accordance with international laws, and an early signing of a legally binding “code of conduct” aimed at thwarting any major armed conflict. Indonesia was one of the founders of ASEAN in 1967. The bloc also includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. —AP

2 dead in Singapore tunnel accident SINGAPORE: Two workers were killed and eight others injured in Singapore when the scaffolding at a subway construction site collapsed yesterday, civil defence officials said.It was the latest incident to hit Singapore’s metro train network after two major breakdowns in December last year prompted a top-level investigation. It was also the worst construction accident in Singapore since 2004 when a tunnel which was part of a subway line being built at that time caved in, killing four people. A civil defence spokesman told reporters that search crews had found the bodies of the two workers earlier declared as missing. The bodies were found one metre apart and both were submerged in wet cement and pinned down by planks of wood and scaffolding, he added. The first body had been extricated and crews were still trying to pull out the second fatality. Water was being pumped to the affected area to keep the cement wet. Eight other workers who suffered minor injuries were treated at a nearby hospital. The spokesman clarified that only the scaffolding collapsed, and the tunnel “is still intact.” Yesterday’s accident did not

affect train operations. A panel commissioned to investigate last year’s train breakdowns criticised metro operator SMRT for prioritising resumption of revenue service over addressing underlying problems which caused the stoppage. It also concluded that SMRT’s metro system had been plagued by outdated equipment and poor maintenance for years, and the company did not have enough engineers capable of overseeing maintenance. The Land Transport Authority this month also imposed the maximum fine of Sg$2 million ($1.59 million) on SMRT for the breakdowns, which stranded thousands of workers. The site of yesterday’s accident is a tunnel that will link an existing underground train station with a new subway line being constructed and which will be managed by another company, SBS Transit. Its construction is part of improvements to meet the transport needs of a growing population. Singapore now has a population of over five million people, including citizens, permanent residents and foreign workers, and overcrowding in the metro system is a favourite gripe among residents. —AFP

Australia oppn to shun ‘indulgent’ foreign policy WASHINGTON: Australia’s main opposition leader pledged Tuesday to avoid “indulgent” policies if in power, pointing to hesitation by the government to export cattle to Indonesia and sell uranium to India. On a visit to Washington, Tony Abbott laid out a vision for his conservative Liberal Party’s foreign policy, vowing rock-solid relations with the United States but also promising to work closely with Asian nations. “We will try to avoid indulgent gestures over, for instance, live cattle sales to Indonesia or uranium sales to India, where our friends want us to be a secure source of supply,” Abbott said at the Heritage Foundation think-tank. Australia’s Labor

government froze cattle expor ts to Indonesia for several weeks in June 2011 after a graphic documentary aired on Australian television about cruelty to cows in Indonesian abattoirs, prompting a public outcry. The Labor Party last year voted to sell uranium to India after a passionate debate. The left-leaning party earlier opposed uranium sales to India as the world’s largest democracy refuses to sign the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty. Abbott said that as prime minister he would make his foreign trip to Jakarta and voiced some apprehension about relations as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono prepares to end his second and final term in 2014. —AFP


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Pakistan, US to resume talks on drone strikes Bomb kills 14 Pakistani relatives

KABUL: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a press conference yesterday. — AP

France respects death sentence for Afghan soldier KABUL: France’s defense minister said yesterday that while Paris opposes capital punishment, it will respect an Afghan military court’s decision to sentence an Afghan soldier to death for killing four French troops. The Afghan Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that Abdul Sabor had been sentenced to hang for killing the French soldiers in January in eastern Afghanistan. “Afghan justice is Afghan justice,” Le Drian said while visiting a French-run hospital at an air field in Kabul. “The French made it known at the trial’s start that French opinion was very shaken about what happened on January 20. ... We reminded people that France is against the death penalty, but Afghan justice is not our own. We will not interfere in Afghan judicial procedure. Afghanistan is an independent state.” France banned capital punishment in 1981. Sabor can appeal the sentence to higher courts. In a statement released yesterday, Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid called Sabor “a famous hero” for killing the foreign troops. The four French soldiers were killed on Jan. 20 in Tagab district of Kapisa province. Just a month earlier, on Dec. 29, 2011, another Afghan soldier killed two members of the French Foreign Legion. Human Rights Watch yesterday called on the Afghan government to commute the soldier’s death sentence. “The death penalty is an act of cruelty that should not be imposed even in a heinous crime like this,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “President Hamid Karzai should commute the death sentence in this and all other cases in Afghanistan.” The death of the French troops was one of

the latest cases of the so-called “green-onblue” attacks in which Afghan soldiers, or insurgents disguised in their uniforms, turn their weapons on coalition forces. Such attacks have fueled distrust between US and other foreign troops and their Afghan partners. Last year there were a total of 21 “greenon-blue” attacks that killed 35 coalition service members, according to NATO figures. That compares with 11 fatal attacks and 20 deaths the previous year. In 2007 and 2008 there were a combined total of four attacks and four deaths. The French casualties prompted France to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned. The decision to put France on a fast-track exit timetable sparked concern among some members of the US-led military coalition, which is not ending its combat mission until the end of 2014. France will pull 2,000 French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and leave around 1,400 soldiers behind to help with training and logistics. Le Drian said he had confidence in the Afghan forces that will be charged with security in areas where the French were deployed. “There’s been an evolution that’s encouraging and favorable in our relationship with the Afghan forces,” he said. “The Afghan army is progressively taking on its duties. It’s very encouraging. Obviously, the Afghan forces are not there for tourism. They’re an army, so they are also confronted by insurgents, but I have confidence in the handover.” Besides the troops, France is pulling out about 900 armored vehicles and 1,400 containers from Afghanistan, according to French officials in Kabul. —AP

India’s political fixer set to become president NEW DELHI: India’s political fix-it man is preparing to rise above the fray. Pranab Mukherjee, who spent years whipping coalition partners into shape and quelling scandals as the Congress party’s chief firefighter, seems likely to leave all that behind and become India’s figurehead president in an election today. “Eight years he has been under enormous strain. He has been carrying all the burdens of the government,” said journalist Inder Malhotra, who has long documented the Congress party leadership. “If he doesn’t go for it now, he knows his time will pass.” Mukherjee, 76, has spent weeks traveling the country to solidify his support in the 4,896-member electoral college, which includes all national and state legislators. And if Mukherjee can’t be counted on to corral votes, who can? He is running against opposition candidate Purno Agitok Sangma but appears to have locked down victory, with

MUMBAI: In this file photo, Pranab Mukherjee, presidential candidate of India’s ruling alliance, wears a traditional headgear presented by Congress party members during his visit to meet Maharashtra state lawmakers.— AP media reports predicting he will get more than two-thirds of the vote, attracting support even from parties opposed to the government, despite his recent widely criticized stint as finance minister. The son of a Congress party official from West Bengal, Mukherjee first entered Parliament in 1969 and quickly became a favorite of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But in a much disputed incident following her assassination, Mukherjee reportedly insisted that he - not her son Rajiv - should take over as prime minister. He was sentenced to the political wilderness for years before eventually reclaiming his role as a top party leader. He has served as foreign minister, defense minister and finance minister twice. But the top job always eluded him because Sonia Gandhi,

Rajiv’s widow and the current Congress leader, never forgave him for his impertinence three decades ago, said Malhotra, who has written extensively about the Gandhi family. There were recent signs that the party’s leaders felt Mukherjee - described by the US Embassy in a cable released by Wikileaks as “the ultimate Congress party fixer and operator” - might have run his course and could be doing more harm than good. As finance minister since 2009, he was unable, or unwilling, to push through proposed reforms. Over the past year, growth has stalled, the rupee’s value has plunged and foreign investment has all but collapsed. His nadir might have been this year’s budget speech, when he announced a huge retroactive tax on overseas acquisitions and new rules to prevent tax avoidance that panicked foreign investors. “There was a perception that he wasn’t in tune with changing times. He had been a very competent finance minister in the ‘80s, but the entire ballgame had changed,” said Abheek Barua, the chief economist at HDFC Bank. Mukherjee’s stubborn response to business complaints that he was changing the rules midstream and making it difficult for investors to trust the government made things even worse, he said. “There was a sense that he was just not in a mood to listen. That proved to be a disaster,” Barua said. Immediately after Mukherjee resigned last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - the architect of the country’s 1991 economic reforms - took over the finance ministry. He implored top finance officials to “revive the animal spirit” in India’s economy, implying that Mukherjee had somehow suppressed it. It is also possible Congress wanted a top man in the president’s house for a five-year term as a hedge against a poor showing in 2014 elections. Though the presidency is mainly ceremonial, Mukherjee might find a way to use it to exert some influence. In the event of a hung Parliament after the next elections, he would have the power to choose which party could first try to form a coalition government. In his decades in politics, Mukherjee has developed a reputation as perhaps the only politician in the paralyzed ruling party who can get things done. He has headed more than two dozen Cabinet committees dealing with scandals and potential scandals, including how to conduct a sensitive caste census, what to do with the government’s rotting grain and how to resell cellphone spectrum that courts ruled was sold off illegally. Mukherjee came to the rescue last summer after other ministers fumbled the response to a popular hunger striker demanding sweeping anti-graft legislation that few lawmakers supported. Mukherjee got the activist eating again by using parliamentary maneuvering to make it appear lawmakers had caved in. A year later, the legislation still has not been passed.— AP

WASHINGTON: Two generals turned spy chiefs are expected to sit down for their first official meeting in Washington later this month and try to mend the fractured US-Pakistani relationship. A long-sought US apology to Pakistan over a deadly border incident cleared the way to restart the counterterrorism talks, with Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, set to meet CIA Director David Petraeus, at CIA headquarters in Virginia, US and Pakistani officials said Tuesday. Neither side expects much progress. Pakistani officials say Islam will demand CIA drone strikes stop, asking instead for the US to feed intelligence gathered by the pilotless aircraft to Pakistani jets and ground forces so they can target militants. US officials say Pakistan has proved incapable or unwilling to target militants the US considers dangerous, so the CIA drone campaign - considered the most effective tool in the US counterterrorist arsenal - will continue. The divergent views reflect the deterioration in US-Pakistani ties over the last 18 months and the hardening of positions on both sides. Yet each side is also signaling a willingness to improve some limited cooperation. Pakistani officials say they may allow the return of some US military personnel to operate mobile intelligence centers with the Pakistani army in the lawless tribal regions. The mobile centers, now mothballed at the US Embassy in Islamabad, provide the Pakistanis live feeds of drone and satellite surveillance, which the US troops help them analyze. The US personnel were expelled last year as part of the diplomatic tit-for-tat after the US Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. For its part, the US is working to meet Pakistan’s new requests for logistical and equipment support to improve the performance and accuracy of the country’s F-16 fleet, according to current and former US officials. The Americans also welcomed the opportunity to return U.S. military personnel to work with the Pakistani officers, able to observe the fight against militants in the tribal areas firsthand and to develop relationships with the junior Pakistani officers who will one day lead the country’s military. All officials spoke anonymously to discuss sensitive strategy and negotiations. US officials insisted CIA drone strikes on Pakistani territory must continue because Pakistan’s US-approved F-16 program is still no match for the accuracy of the CIA campaign. They cite a failed experiment last fall in which US officials gave the Pakistanis coordinates of a Taleban outpost in the remote tribal areas. The Pakistani F-16s carried out a nighttime bombing raid using night visionenabled targeting pods on a squadron of modernized F-16s the US sold them in 2010. Despite the new equipment, the pilots hit “the wrong chain of mountains,” said one former US official. The explosion signaled the attack to the militants, who fled. US officials also say the Pakistanis would be reluctant to target US enemies like the Haqqani network, which maintains an informal peace with the Pakistani military while attacking US

troops in Afghanistan. US officials cite at least three cases in which they believe the Pakistani military or intelligence service tipped off Haqqani militants after the US shared their location. The officials say they would have to see the Pakistani military go after the network in ground operations before they would consider curtailing any US counterterrorist activity. “There is a lot of skepticism on the Pakistan ability to act on our intelligence and not let the targets get away intentionally or deliberately,” says Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Pakistan’s intelligence chief will come with a list of requests, including drone technology, a senior Pakistani security official said Tuesday. Islam will also push for equipment Pakistani officials say will boost the accuracy of their F16 fleet, while laying out a plan to phase out CIA drones altogether, according to three other Pakistani officials. From the Pakistani perspective, that plan would start with joint strikes, combining their F16s and the CIA’s drones. The drones would provide round-the-clock surveillance of the targets for the days and hours leading up to the strike, then Pakistani jets would hit the target. The White House and the CIA declined to comment. Pentagon spokesman George Little would not confirm the Pakistani proposal but said, “We seek to continue our counterterrorism cooperation with the Pakistanis - cooperation that goes back years.” Last year arguably marked the lowest point in US-Pakistani relation, with Pakistan demanding an apology for the border skirmish where the US killed 24 Pakistani troops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized in early July, after months of refusals. The intelligence talks are one of the first signs

that the apology unfroze contacts that the US has found helpful in the past. The US also needs Pakistan as a supply route into Afghanistan and to help keep militants at bay. Clinton’s apology cleared the way for overland supply routes into Afghanistan to be reopened and the two sides have nearly completed a formal agreement on how the routes will operate. The reopening, in turn, cleared the way for the release of some $1.1 billion in US funds that have been held up for months, top senators said Tuesday. In another development, a bomb tore through a vehicle in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt yesterday, killing 14 members of the same clan, including three children, officials said. “It was a remote-controlled bomb planted on the road. The bomb exploded near a pick-up van carrying passengers,” senior administration official Zakir Hussain told AFP of the incident in Sepoy village, Orakzai district. Eight people were killed on the spot and six died in a state-run hospital in the nearby city of Kohat, Hussain said. The dead included three women, two 11-year-old boys and a three-yearold girl, he said. All the victims were part of the same clan or same extended family. “It was a militant attack, the aim was to create panic in the area by killing ordinary people,” Hussain said. Doctor Mohammad Naeem of Kohat District Hospital confirmed the toll and said that an 11year-old boy with serious injuries was transferred to the northwestern capital of Peshawar for specialist care. Orakzai is one of seven districts in Pakistan’s tribal belt on the Afghan border that is home to Taleban and Al-Qaeda strongholds. Washington has dubbed the area the most dangerous region on Earth.— Agencies

KANDAHAR: This file photo shows a US Predator drone flying over the moon above Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan. —AP

House pushes for terrorist label for Haqqani group WASHINGTON: Congress is stepping up the pressure on the Obama administration to slap the terrorist label on the Haqqani network, a militant group responsible for plotting and launching attacks from Pakistan against US-led forces in Afghanistan. By voice vote Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the secretary of state to report to Congress on whether the Haqqani network meets the criteria to be designated a foreign terrorist organization and if not, to explain why. The report is due within 30 days of the president signing the measure. The administration has sanctioned top individuals of the Haqqani network, but it is still reviewing whether to label the entire organization. That delay has frustrated members of Congress. Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, added an amendment to the bill stating that it was the sense of Congress that the Haqqani network meets the definition of a terrorist organization and it should be designated as one. “The Obama administration has been considering formally designating the Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organization under US law but has yet to act,” said Rep. Tim Griffin, during a brief House debate. Last week, the State Department defended its effort.”We’ve been very aggressive about sanctioning their top individuals, and we’ve seen that as the most effective way to go about this. But the review is ongoing, and is actively ongoing,” department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. The measure now heads to the Senate, which approved a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr last December. The Haqqani network, largely operating in eastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan, is affiliated with both the Taleban and Al-Qaeda. US officials say it represents one of the biggest threats to Afghanistan stability because it is believed to use Pakistan as a rear base for attacks on American and coalition troops in Afghanistan. The House vote comes just weeks after the United States and Pakistan ended a rancorous seven-month standoff with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologizing to Pakistan for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops last fall and in return securing the reopening of critical NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. Throughout the uneasy relationship between the United States and Pakistan, American officials have pressed Islamabad to crack down on the extremist Haqqani network. The bill states that “nothing in this act may be construed to infringe upon the sovereignty of Pakistan to combat militant or terrorist groups operating inside its boundaries.” In May, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House

and Senate Intelligence committees wrote to Clinton asking her to act immediately in labeling the Haqqani network a terrorist group. The four leaders - Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Rogers - said that based on meetings with US and Afghan officials in Afghanistan, “it was clear that the Haqqani network continues to launch sensational and indiscriminate attacks against US interests in Afghanistan and the group poses a continuing threat to innocent men, women and children in the region.” The four noted that it had been six months since the State Department had undertaken its “final formal review” of the Haqqani network. “The Haqqanis have continued to attack US troops and the US embassy in Kabul during that period,” the lawmakers said. The letter also noted that the Obama administration may have been reluctant to act while Marc Grossman, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was trying to negotiate a reconciliation agreement with the

Taleban that may have included or affected the Haqqani network. Last fall, the top US military officer accused Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency of backing extremists in planning and executing the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and a truck bomb attack that wounded 77 American soldiers. In his last congressional testimony before retirement, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted that the Haqqani insurgent network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency. The House also passed a bill that would strengthen economic and security ties between the United States and Israel. The bipartisan legislation, which was approved by voice vote, would reaffirm the US commitment to Israel and American support for the Mideast ally’s right to self-defense. The bill would extend current loan guarantees to Israel that expire later this year and authorizes the transfer of obsolete or surplus defense material from the United States to Israel.—AP

‘We can’t deliver justice’ says Afghanistan’s Karzai KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday admitted his Western-backed administration was unable to deliver justice to the people, despite decade-long international efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation. Led by the United States, the international community has pumped billions of dollars into Afghanistan since the Taliban’s Islamist regime was toppled in a 2001 invasion, and NATO has 130,000 troops defending Karzai’s government. “No doubt there has been lots of progress in governance, in delivering service to the people. The government, the parliament and the courts have better capabilities compared to 10 years ago,” Karzai said in a speech as he inaugurated an association of Afghan women judges. “But are we in the place that the people desire, are we in the place to heal the pains and suffering of the Afghanistan people in a way that the people desire? No. “The reason that the people of Afghanistan in the villages and across the countryside, (even) in the cities, still seek justice through the traditional method is because the government neither has the ability to provide that justice nor can it be addressed on time. “And sometimes-I hope it’s

only sometimes, not most of the times-instead of getting justice, they are getting injustice.” Because of corruption in the courts many Afghans prefer traditional justice systems, often local community councils, to settle their disputes. In parts of the country where Taliban insurgents are most active, the villagers turn to the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law. The public execution of a young woman for adultery last month, captured on a video which showed a crowd of cheering men watch as she was shot dead, drew international condemnation. Karzai’s admission came as the US-based Human Rights Watch issued its own condemnation of Afghanistan’s justice system, saying UN studies have shown “prosecutors and judges to be among the most corrupt officials in Afghanistan”. “Afghanistan’s justice system in both military and civilian trials remains weak and compromised, in spite of over 10 years of donor assistance,” the rights group said. Its comments came in a statement urging France to call on Karzai to commute the death sentence handed down this week to an Afghan soldier for killing four French troops in January. — AFP





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Romney secrecy focus of Obama attack strategy By Jeff Mason itt Romney has secrets. Lots of them, perhaps. That provocative claim is at the core of President Barack Obama’s latest attacks on his Republican rival, a strategy that is dominating the narrative of the presidential campaign and leading anxious Republicans to question Romney’s tactics. In ads, interviews and social-media blasts, the Democratic president’s team is casting Romney as a mysterious figure who is guarding important secrets about his wealth and work history. Feeding the Democrats’ storyline: Romney’s refusal to release more than a year or two of his tax returns, questions about whether he is being honest about when he left his job at Bain Capital, and the reams of records that have been kept secret from his years as Massachusetts governor and chief of the Salt Lake City Olympics. The Obama team’s tactic - summed up in its new TV ad that asks, “What is Mitt Romney hiding?” - is similar to a Republican strategy that Obama overcame en route to winning the presidency in 2008. Back then, some conservatives claimed Obama was secretly a Muslim with a socialist agenda who had not been born in the United States, and therefore wasn’t eligible to be president. Obama’s 2008 opponent, Republican John McCain, did not embrace such false attacks. He also nixed attempts to blast Obama for ties to a controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama’s team, similarly, has made a point of not discussing Romney’s Mormonism - even as some analysts are saying that the Democrats’ focus on Romney’s penchant for secrecy amounts to a subtle reminder of his affiliation with a religion that is mysterious to many Americans. David Gergen, an adviser to two former Democratic and two Republican presidents, is among those who believe that questions about Romney’s faith are an unspoken part of the Democrats’ strategy of focusing on the secrecy issue. “I think they’re connected,” he said. “Clearly they’re trying to weave together: ‘Do we really know what he did at Bain..., do we really understand his faith and, you know, what he would do and who is he?’” Democrats “know it’s in the culture,” Gergen said of questions about Romney’s religion. “They don’t have to say it. I think they’re very intentionally weaving these together.” Gergen added that the Obama campaign’s strategy could backfire if it mentioned Romney’s religion directly. Religion aside, Obama’s campaign has taken hold of the secrecy argument against Romney with gusto. It argues that the attacks on Romney are a fair way to punch holes in the Republican’s claim that his business experience makes him the most qualified candidate to fix the US economy. In its attempt to put Romney under a cloud of conspiracy, Obama’s team has compared him with former Republican President Richard Nixon, whose devotion to secrecy contributed to his impeachment and resignation in 1974. Romney’s campaign has called the attacks unfair, accused Obama of misrepresentation, and argued that the president is trying to distract from his record on the economy. But the attacks appear to be getting under Romney’s skin, and have led George Will, William Kristol and other conservative analysts to call on Romney to release more tax returns to try to shift the conversation. Some want Romney to change the subject by announcing his choice as a vice presidential running mate. Instead, Romney has demanded an apology from Obama, a request the president’s team has rejected. Obama’s surrogates are now essentially using Romney’s complaints about the attacks to cast the Republican as a rich guy who is unaccustomed to being questioned. “Stop whining,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an Obama supporter, said Sunday. Conservatives fretting about Romney’s response to the barrage of attacks from Obama are focused mostly on the Republican’s reluctance to shed more light on his personal fortune, estimated to be up to $250 million. Unlike most politicians seeking national office, Romney initially declined to release any of his tax returns. In January, under pressure from his opponents in the Republican primaries, he released his 2010 return and an estimate for 2011. The returns indicated that Romney and his wife Ann held millions of dollars in offshore accounts and once had a Swiss bank account, raising questions about the lengths to which they had gone to avoid paying US taxes. Now conservatives such as Will, Kristol and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley are calling on Romney to release more tax returns - even if they show, as many suspect, that the Romneys managed to find enough tax shelters to effectively avoid paying any taxes some years. — Reuters


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Berlusconi adds new instability to Italy By Barry Moody e is on trial for having sex with an underage prostitute, is one of the most divisive figures in Italy and was chased from office eight months ago after steering his country to the brink of financial catastrophe. Now Silvio Berlusconi - who denies the sex trial charges - is back, unchastened, and apparently planning to stand for prime minister in an election early next year. His move has added a new element of instability into Italy’s volatile politics, one of the key factors cited by ratings agency Moody’s in downgrading the country’s sovereign debt by two notches last week and warning it could cut further. It underlines the lack of credible figures to continue the work of technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti, who has repeatedly said he will not stand at the election after restoring Italy’s credibility and imposing tough debt- cutting policies when he replaced Berlusconi last November. If that reform drive withers, the consequences would spread far beyond Italian shores. The euro zone’s third largest economy, with debts amounting to some two trillion euros, is widely viewed as too big to bail out. The idea of Berlusconi, one of Italy’s richest men, re-emerging has caused horror in many quarters, at home and abroad. Centre -left leader Pier Luigi Bersani spoke for many when he called it “appalling”. Yet, as ever, the 75-year-old media magnate’s move has generated global media fascination, reflecting not just his powerful personal need to be centre stage, but the weaknesses of Italy’s political system. “Monti is doing a great job, but who is going to implement all this stuff? The implementation risk is enormous, especially if you look at Berlusconi,” said Erik Jones, Director of European Studies at Bologna’s Johns Hopkins University. Moody’s was similarly pointed in its assessment, saying: “The negative outlook reflects our view that risks to implementing these reforms remain substantial.” Monti is reported to have reacted to the agency’s decision by saying: “We are virtuous but instead of rewarding, they punish us.” His ministers are scathing about the expertise of Moody’s, whose downgrade was shrugged off by markets last week. The technocrat premier’s frustration is understandable in the light of his battle since replacing Berlusconi to pull Italy back from the brink of a Greek-style crisis and re-establish its international and financial credentials. Monti is highly respected in Brussels, Berlin and Washington. His serious and cour tly st yle and economic exper tise is as far removed as imaginable from Berlusconi, who is famed for his diplomatic gaffes, sex and corruption scandals - he faces a total of four trials - and off colour jokes. A lot of hopes are pinned on him. If shut out by the bond market, Italy could prove the tipping point for the entire currency project.


Hostage to Politics But, for all his strengths Monti is hostage as an unelected premier to the murky and discredited world of Italian politics whose players have gradually undermined his efforts, together with external factors like the slow pace of euro zone policymakers and the contagion risk from Greece and Spain. “He has all the other kinds of legitimacy you could possibly imagine. He is smart, he is well respected, he is competent, but without the popular mandate it is difficult to throw your weight around,” Jones told Reuters. M onti was appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano in November, with broad support from a grand coalition stretching from centre right to centre left. Initially, in an atmosphere of emergency, the parties were too frightened by the threat of meltdown to oppose painful cost cutting and tax increases. Since then however, as he switched from austerity to reforms aimed at stimulating growth and as his popularity declined sharply because of the pain of recession worsened by his early measures, Monti’s path has been increasingly uphill. A senior figure in the government, who asked not to be named, said Monti had “front loaded” his

reforms in anticipation of these difficulties in the final months of his mandate. Nonetheless, if they stall or worse, are unpicked, investors will take a dim view with potentially dire consequences. The unnatural alliance between Berlusconi’s centre-right PDL party, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centrist UDC which supports Monti in parliament, has become increasingly fractious, exposing its basic incompatibility. As a consequence Monti’s reforms, from modernisation of the labour market to liberalising closed trades and professions, have been diluted by competing interest groups in parliament. At the same time, the pain of the economic crisis has aggravated public anger about the shortcomings of Italian politicians, encouraging the spectacular emergence of caustic comedian Beppe Grillo’s populist Five Star movement. And external factors, with Italy twinned with Spain at the centre of market concern about the euro zone crisis, have brought Italy’s borrowing levels back to the danger point which justified Monti’s appointment in the first place, reducing his room for manoeuvre in imposing bitter medicine on the public. What seems astonishing is that Italy’s parties, long aware that the financial crisis, public discontent and the contrast between the esteem for Monti and contempt for traditional politicians have all undermined their credibility, have so far failed to present new faces to win votes next spring. Some of them seem to have been holding out hope that they could somehow present an alliance that would benefit from Monti’s prestige despite his refusal to remain as premier. “They all secretly have this dream where Monti becomes a part of their political movement. They have been waiting for this consummation that is not going to take place,” Jones said. Some analysts believe there is still a chance of parties trying to campaign behind the idea of a government that includes one or several of Monti’s cabinet with Industr y Minister Corrado Passera frequently mentioned as a figurehead. Franco Pavoncello, Political S cience professor at John Cabot University in Rome, pours cold water on Berlusconi’s chances of a return and believes a centrist alliance headed by someone like Passera would win a lot of votes. “If there is an electoral group representing the continuation with M onti, I don’t think Berlusconi would have much of a chance,” he told Reuters. Never theless, it might be mistaken to count Berlusconi out altogether and his recent statement that it would not be taboo for Italy to leave the euro has added to market jitters. “A close observer and excellent interpreter of swings in public opinion, Berlusconi seems to have picked up on the increased sense of frustration with Italian society that the sacrifices being made by the country are not being sufficiently recognised by the markets,” BNP Paribas said in a research note. Sex Scandal Berlusconi is typically keeping people guessing about his intentions, despite statements by close aides that he will stand for premier next year. However, he appears to be getting ready, jogging to lose weight and holding a forum with international economists near Milan this week as he returns to centre stage.

Berlusconi seems to be motivated at least partly by a sharp decline in the fortunes of the PDL since he stepped down as prime minister. It is now vying with Grillo’s movement for second place behind the centre left led by Bersani’s PD. His private polls are said to show that with his protege Angelino Alfano remaining as PDL secretary, the party would poll less than 12 percent in an election while it would win 28 percent with him as leader. But the result of Berlusconi’s entry, encouraged by a close group of sycophantic advisers, could have the opposite effect despite his undoubted campaigning skills. The party is already badly split over the idea, which at a stroke has undone Alfano’s attempts to build a broad centrist alliance with Pier Ferdinando Casini’s UDC, pushing the latter into the arms of the centreleft Democratic Party. Casini yesterday described the prospect of a Berlusconi return as “horrifying”. The centre-left would win an election easily now according to opinion polls although it is itself far from united with Bersani under a mounting challenge from Florence’s young mayor Matteo Renzi and splits between the PD’s right and left wings. There are suspicions that Berlusconi’s real motives are to protect his financial interests, including maintaining strong influence over state broadcaster RAI and preventing legal changes that would worsen his judicial woes. He may be content with creating a smaller party which would have enough parliamentary power to achieve these aims. Whatever the outcome, Italy and Monti’s government look like they will face a turbulent few months before next year’s elections. What will happen after that is anybody’s guess. —Reuters


NEWS Deadly bomb strikes at heart of Syrian regime Continued from Page 1 the officials “responsible for barbaric massacres,” it said. The rebels said the attack, part of “Operation Damascus Volcano” launched on Monday, “is the first in a series... aimed at bringing down Assad and the pillars and symbols of the regime, whether civilian or military”. State media initially said it was a “suicide bombing” before apparently retracting and calling it a “terrorist attack”. A Syrian security official told AFP the bombing was carried out by a bodyguard of one of the ministers or security chiefs at the meeting. The attacker had been wearing an explosives belt. Another official said the blast was caused by a briefcase packed with explosives that a bodyguard left in the meeting room and detonated from afar via remote control. The FSA said in a YouTube video that six people died including Interior Minister Shaar, General Ikhtiyar and Mohammed Saeed Al-Khitan, identified as “deputy local trustee”. Rajha, a Christian, was the highest-ranking officer in the army under Assad’s overall command. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights called Shawkat’s death “a severe blow to the Syrian regime since he played the main role in operations by regular forces to crush the revolution”, notably in flashpoint Homs province. Shawkat was married to Assad’s elder sister Bushra and was one of the most feared figures in the inner circle. State media said Assad appointed General Fahd Al-Freij as new defence minister, and he promptly appeared on television vowing to “hunt down criminal gangs and cutting off the hand of those who threaten security”. The Syrian army said the “terrorist act increases the armed forces’ determination to cleanse the country of terrorist groups.” But news of the bombing was greeted by wild celebrations in Jabal Shahshabu, a rebel stronghold in central Syria where people fired Kalashnikov assault rifles into the air and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest). The attack came a day after the FSA - comprising army defectors and armed civilians - declared its battle to “liberate” Damascus

had begun and warned the regime to “expect surprises”. Columns of black smoke rose over Damascus as troops shelled Qaboon and Barzeh and fighting raged across the city yesterday, activists said. The Local Coordination Committees activist network reported fighting in AlMidan and Zahira districts, and loud explosions in the western suburb of Mashrou-Dumar. Outside the capital at Jdaidet Artuz, blasts and the sound of gunfire could be heard in the area, where electricity supplies had been cut off. White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said there was growing momentum against Assad, pointing to “increasing” defections and a “strengthened and more united” opposition. Pentagon chief Leon Panetta said the international community must “bring maximum pressure on Assad to do what’s right, to step down and to allow for that peaceful transition”. France said “Assad must understand that his struggle to retain power is futile and that nothing will stop the Syrian people’s march to a democratic future.” Russia demanded the arrest and strict punishment of those behind what it called an “act of terror”. “We see the events as another attempt to further destabilise the situation in Syria,” the foreign ministry said, calling on both sides to reassess the situation and seek peace. Moscow had earlier given notice it would not back the Westerndrafted UN resolution on the crisis. “Now the Damascus Volcano, the battle for the capital and a decisive battle have been declared in Syria. Adopting the resolution would mean outright support of a revolutionary movement,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. In contrast, Britain said Syria was tipping into chaos and collapse, and that a strong UN stand was needed to push for a transition. “This incident, which we condemn, confirms the urgent need for a Chapter VII resolution of the UN Security Council on Syria,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague. UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged the council to unite and take action on the “very serious” situation after meeting President Hu Jintao of China, which has twice joined Moscow to block resolutions condemning Damascus. — Agencies

Children stop to buy dates at a store in the Saudi Red Sea port city of Jeddah yesterday as Muslims around the world prepare for the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. — AFP

Kuwaiti MPs hail ‘victory’ Continued from Page 1 In another development, opposition MPs continued to warn the government against any plan to change the electoral law or the voting system. MP Musallam Al-Barrak said that taking part in the forthcoming elections if the electoral law or the voting system are changed “amounts to a treason of the Kuwaiti constitution”. Barrak said that the Popular Action Bloc will boycott the general elections if the changes take place before the elections. “We will consider the participation in elections both in voting or contesting as candidates despite the changes as a betrayal to the constitution,” said Barrak, adding that the Popular Bloc will not field can-

didates and will urge its members to boycott voting. He also reiterated that the bloc along with other allies will stage protests against the government in case the changes were introduced. Saadoun also warned the government against what he called “committing a forgery against the will of the people through attempts by forces of corruption and enemies of the constitutional system”. Also, Shaye Al-Shaye, a member of the 2012 Assembly, yesterday said that his name was placed on a statement issued by the opposition majority bloc without consulting him. He said that he had expressed reservations about a number of points included in the document. Shaye is one of the 36 members of the bloc.


sp orts Pietersen out of T20 squad

Six Indian athletes banned

Boxer barred for doping

LONDON: Kevin Pietersen was left out of England’s provisional, 30-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday. The 32-year-old batsman retired from oneday international cricket in May, citing the intensity of the schedule and the physical demands on him, but remains available to play Tests for England. He has been selected for the first Test against South Africa due to begin today at The Oval. Media reports in Britain over the weekend suggested Pietersen was willing to make a return to all three formats, but only if the ECB allowed him to play out the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season with his side Delhi Daredevils. If the request was granted, Pietersen, who earns a lucrative purse from the IPL, would miss England’s two-Test series against New Zealand due to start next May at Lord’s. In June, Pietersen expressed his desire to help England retain their Twenty20 world title in Sri Lank a in September and October. —Reuters

NEW DELHI: Six Indian female runners will serve two-year bans after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by the International Association of Athletics Federations against lighter sentences, according to the athletes’ counsel. “All six athletes have been banned for two years each starting from the dates of their provisional suspension in June-July last year,” attorney R.K. Anand told The Associated Press on the phone from Switzerland yesterday. “The decision has been intimated to us and we are contemplating our further course of action.” The athletes had been handed lighter one-year bans by India’s National Anti-Doping Agency, which felt the athletes had taken performance-enhancing drugs unknowingly, prompting the IAAF appeal. The athletes include three members of the 4x400 relay team that won the gold medal in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010: Ashwini Akkunji, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose. Akkunji also won the 400 hurdles at Guangzhou. The other three runners were Jauna Murmu, Tiana Mary and Priyanka Panwar. Akkunji, Jose and Panwar tested positive for methandienone, Murmu and Mary for epimethandiol, and Kaur for the more common stanozolol. — AP

LONDON: Athletes arriving in Britain for the start of the London Olympics were given a stark reminder of the dangers of so-called nutritional supplements yesterday when UK Anti-Doping banned former cruiserweight world champion Enzo Maccarinelli. The agency said the Welsh boxer had been banned for six months after testing positive for Methylhexaneamine (MHA) following a fight in March. Methylhexaneamine, a product which is claimed to promote mental and physical performance and aid weight loss, can be found in several nutritional supplements and is sometimes known as the rather harmless sounding geranium derivative. UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said Maccarinelli’s violation was a reminder of the country’s tough stance on doping ahead of the Games. “ This is a timely reminder that, no matter what your sport, under the principle of strict liability athletes must exercise extreme caution over what they put into their body,” he said. —Reuters

MLB results/standings NY Yankees 6, Toronto 1; LA Angels 13, Detroit 0; Washington 5, NY Mets 4 (10 innings); Chicago White Sox 7, Boston 5; Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 2; San Francisco 9, Atlanta 0; Cincinnati 4, Arizona 0; Miami 9, Chicago Cubs 5; Seattle 9, Kansas City 6; Minnesota 6, Baltimore 4; Milwaukee 3, St. Louis 2; Pittsburgh 6, Colorado 2; San Diego 8, Houston 2; Texas 6, Oakland 1; Philadelphia 3, LA Dodgers 2. American League Eastern Division W L PCT GB 56 34 .622 NY Yankees Tampa Bay 47 44 .516 9.5 Baltimore 46 44 .511 10 Boston 46 45 .505 10.5 Toronto 45 46 .495 11.5 Central Division White Sox 50 40 .556 47 44 .516 3.5 Detroit Cleveland 46 44 .511 4 Kansas City 38 51 .427 11.5 Minnesota 38 52 .422 12 Western Division Texas 55 35 .611 50 41 .549 5.5 LA Angels Oakland 46 44 .511 9 Seattle 39 53 .424 17

National League Eastern Division Washington 52 36 .591 Atlanta 49 40 .551 3.5 NY Mets 46 44 .511 7 Miami 44 46 .489 9 Philadelphia 41 51 .446 13 Central Division Cincinnati 51 39 .567 Pittsburgh 50 40 .556 1 St. Louis 47 44 .516 4.5 Milwaukee 43 47 .478 8 Chicago Cubs 36 53 .404 14.5 Houston 34 57 .374 17.5 Western Division San Francisco 50 40 .556 LA Dodgers 48 44 .522 3 Arizona 43 47 .478 7 San Diego 37 55 .402 14 Colorado 35 55 .389 15

Braves fall to Giants ATLANTA: San Francisco’s Buster Posey drove in five runs with three hits as the Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 9-0 in the National League on Tuesday. Posey had run-scoring singles in the first and third innings. His third hit was a three-run double off Luis Avilan after Braves starter Jair Jurrjens (3-3) departed in the fourth. Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a pregame request for better pitching away from home with his staff ’s road ERA sitting at 4.85; third-worst in the majors. San Francisco starter Barry Zito (8-6), who came in with a 5.19 road ERA, answered Bochy’s call by allowing no runs and one walk in seven innings.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2 In Milwaukee, Francisco Rodriguez picked up a save on his first night as Milwaukee’s new closer, as the Brewers edged St. Louis. Rickie Weeks hit a mammoth home run for the Brewers. Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf (3-6) won his first game since April 30, giving u ptwo runs and one walk with six strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke gave the closer job to Rodriguez before the game with John Axford continuing to struggle. Joe Kelly (1-2) took the loss for the Cardinals.

Nationals 5, Mets 4 In Washington, Pedro Beato threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th inning that allowed the winning run to score, as Washington recovered from blowing a late lead and beat New York. The Nationals fell behind twice after leading 2-0 going into the ninth. In the tenth, Bryce Harper tied the game with a runscoring triple off Tim Byrdak (2-1) before Beato entered with the bases loaded. His wild pitch into the dirt got away from the catcher and Ryan Zimmerman ran in from third. Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus (3-1) took the win.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2 In Los Angeles, Roy Halladay pitched five effective innings in his return from injur y as Philadelphia edged Los Angeles and won a fourth straight game. Hallady threw six strikeouts before giving way to the bullpen. Kyle Kendrick (38) took the victory. With two outs in the eighth and the Phillies trailing by one run, Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario (3-1) walked one batter then hit two more to load the bases. Hunter Pence greeted replacement pitcher Kenley Jansen with a sharp single to center, scoring two runs and giving him a team-high 55 RBIs.

Reds 4, D’backs 0 In Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto (11-5) showed no signs of being bothered by a finger blister during six shutout innings, pitching Cincinnati past Arizona. Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run homer that sent Cincinnati to its first victory without Joey Votto. Votto had surgery earlier in the day to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, sidelining the former National League MVP for up to a month. Arizona’s Trevor Bauer (1-2) had the roughest time in his four starts, lasting only three innings.

Pirates 6, Rockies 2 In Denver, Erik Bedard pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a month, as Pittsburgh downed Colorado and became the fifth team to reach 50 wins this year. Bedard (5-10) went 6 2-3 innings and allowed one earned run, snapping his second four-game losing streak of the season. Andrew McCutchen homered for the Pirates. Rockies starter Christian Friedrich (5-7) gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings in losing for the sixth time in his past seven decisions. — AP

ATLANTA: San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey ( left) doubles to score teammate Gregor Blanco in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves. —AP

Yankees roll past Blue Jays NEW YORK: New York’s CC Sabathia held Toronto scoreless into the seventh inning in his spark ling return from injur y as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 6-1 on Tuesday, going a season-best 22 games over .500. Sidelined since June 24 because of a groin strain, Sabathia (10-3) silenced a Toronto lineup minus All-Star slugger Jose Bautista, who injured a wrist on Monday. New York got an early three-run homer from Andruw Jones. Sabathia’s successful return overshadowed an encouraging outing by Toronto starter Brett Cecil (2-2), who entered with a 6.75 ERA in five major league star ts this year but held the Yankees in check for six innings and retired his final eight batters.

Lester (6-6) in the fourth inning. Chicago’s Philip Humber (4-4) made his first start in a month and settled down after allowing two runs in a shaky first inning.

AL East. Minnesota’s Alex Burnett (3-2) pitched an inning for the win and Baltimore’s Luis Ayala (2-3) gave up two runs in 2 2-3 innings for the loss.

Rays 4, Indians 2 In St. Petersburg, Carlos Pena and Luke Scott gave Tampa Bay an early lead, setting

Mariners 9, Royals 6 In Kansas City, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders hit two-run homers, while Jesus

Rangers 6, Athletics 1 In Oakland, Roy Oswalt baffled Oakland’s hitters as Texas ended the A’s four-game winning streak. Oswalt (3-1) struck out six and didn’t walk anyone in 6 1-3 innings, retiring 15 of the final 17 hitters he faced in his fifth start of the year. Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre each hit solo home runs for the Rangers. Athletics starter Bartolo Colon (6-8) took the loss. Angels 13, Tigers 0 In Detroit, Mike Trout had another fourhit game for Los Angeles, including a 430foot homer that was part of an early power show as Los Angeles routed Detroit. Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols all homered off Jacob Turner in the first two innings, and Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales went deep later in the game. It was the fourth four-hit game of Trout’s spectacular rookie season. The Tigers were shut out for the first time in 159 games, a franchise record that began last July 17 — exactly a year ago. Los Angeles starter Garrett Richards (3-1) pitched seven scoreless innings, easily outdueling Turner (0-1) in a matchup of top pitching prospects. The Detroit starter lasted only two innings, giving up seven runs. White Sox 7, Red Sox 5 In Boston, Kevin Youk ilis hit his first homer at Fenway Park as a visitor, driving a three-run shot over the Green Monster to lead Chicago over Boston. It’s been less than a month since Boston traded one of its most popular players to Chicago and the Fenway fans cheered him even as he rounded the bases to put Chicago up 6-2 with his homer off of Jon

NEW YORK: Toronto Blue Jays’ Anthony Gose watches his first major league hit during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees. —AP up the win over Cleveland. Pena hit a tworun homer and Scott had an RBI triple off Josh Tomlin (5-6) to give the Rays a 3-0 firstinning lead. Rays starter Matt Moore (6-6) took the win despite allowing five walks for his second straight start. Twins 6, Orioles 4 In Minneapolis, Joe Mauer had three hits and an RBI to help M innesota beat Baltimore. Mauer had two singles, a double and a walk to improve his batting average to .333, second in the AL behind the Angels’ Mike Trout. The Orioles dropped their third straight, falling 10 games behind the Yankees in the

Montero went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs as Seattle got at least one hit from every starter and beat Kansas City. Smoak homered with Montero aboard in the three-run first inning. Montero’s double scored Casper Wells with the first run. Saunders homered in the fifth inning after Miguel Olivo singled. The Mariners scored three more runs in the second inning to chase Royals starter Ryan Verdugo (0-1), who yielded six runs in 1 2-3 innings in his big league debut. Seattle’s Blake Beaven (4-6) worked sixplus innings, allowing seven hits after being recalled from the minors. He had gone 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in two June starts. —AP

Woods favorite at British Open LYTHAM ST ANNES: Since Tiger Woods won the 2008 US Open 15 different players have claimed golf ’s elite championships and the former world number one is favorite to land his 15th major at this week’s British Open. The American world number four, emerging from a spell in the doldrums caused by personal problems and injuries to win three tournaments this year, could return to the top of the rankings by taming the treacherous Lytham links. “Tiger hasn’t finished in the top 10 at the British Open since last winning in 2006 but he’s won three U.S. PGA events this year and goes in as the man to beat,”’s Haydn Lane said. Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 9-1 on Woods lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday, with England’s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald 14-1 and 20-1 respectively to win the title on home soil. “Our customers are convinced that either Donald or Westwood will finally achieve their maiden major victory this week, with two-time champion Padraig Harrington their biggest danger,” said Hill’s spokesman Rupert Adams. Harrington, who won the 2008 British Open and U.S. PGA Championship, is also 20-1 to

claim his fourth major along with former U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy. World number one Donald believes Woods’s loss of form

“Even though there are some great players around right now, no one has really come through and started to win consistently at the majors,” added Donald.

LYTHAM ST ANNES: Tiger Woods of the United States holds a ball during a practice round at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf club ahead of the British Open Golf Championship. —AP has been the main reason for “So I think that shows what an the number of different major amazing run he went on and it winners. “Obviously I think Tiger shows just how difficult it is to would admit that his form hasn’t win majors.” Donald and been as good over the last few Westwood are bidding to become the first Englishman to years,” Donald said. “He hasn’t been as dominant win the Open on home soil in the majors as he was. And it since Tony Jacklin, at Lytham, in probably also speaks of how 1969. “This is the biggest chamgood a player he was, that he pionship in the world for me,” Westwood said. “It would obviwas able to dominate.

ously mean a lot, not just because Tony was the last Englishman to win the Open championship, but because it’s the championship. “We have very few tournaments in England now so it’s fun to play in front of a home crowd and feel all that support but it doesn’t really add to the pressure.” After weeks of torrential rain left the course sodden and with patches of virtually unplayable rough, the forecast for the tournament is for much better conditions as the players try to plot their way round Lytham’s notorious 200-plus bunkers. “You do feel a little bit claustrophobic on a lot of holes,” Donald said. “The bunkers are everywhere and they’re very well positioned. There’s not too many holes where if you can carry it a certain distance you get past them. “In that way I like it. I like that it just favours the guy who can hit it in the fairway.” Westwood, one of the straightest drivers in the game, is relishing the challenge. “I’d say looking at the layout and the questions that they ask, one of the main questions obviously is to hit it as straight as possible. But whoever wins this week will have to have every aspect of their game in top shape,” the world number three said. —Reuters


sp orts

Pistorius set for long-awaited Olympic debut GEMONA: Even when he’s looking at photos of his bleeding and blistered leg stumps, Oscar Pistorius smiles. And with his Olympic debut approaching, it’s easy to understand why. The 25-year-old Pistorius, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was a baby, is soon to make history by running, yes running, in the London Olympics. He will be the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympics, but his journey to London has been long and filled with hurdles. So when Pistorius finally got word this month that he had earned a spot on South Africa’s Olympic team, he said his immediate reaction was to feel a sense of relief. What came after that was pure joy. “I think I woke up the next morning with cramps in my cheeks. I was smiling in my sleep,” Pistorius said in an interview with The Associated Press at his training base in northeastern Italy. “You also realize very quickly ... it’s the London Olympics and I need to perform. Very stressful.” Pistorius was born without fibula bones due to a congenital defect, and both his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. His condition never stopped him from playing sports, and it was after injuring his knee while playing rugby as a teenager that he started to dream about running at the Olympics. On Aug. 4, the opening day of the 400-meter heats, he’ll get his chance. “You’ve made the entrance to

write the test, but now the test is in front of you,” he said. Pistorius runs with carbon-fiber blades attached to his legs, often causing him blisters and leaving his stumps raw from friction. The artificial appendages have earned him a nickname, “Blade Runner.” But those same prosthetics also led to years of controversy. Already a Paralympic gold medalist, Pistorius was initially banned from competing against ablebodied opposition because many argued that his blades gave him an unfair advantage. In 2008, after extensive testing, the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared him to compete. Last year, he ran on South Africa’s 4x400 relay team at the world championships, but sat out the final. He still won a silver medal because he competed in the relay heats, but not everyone is convinced that he should be running next month in London. “There will always be people who will debate and there will always be a journalist willing to write an opinion and a certain angle to a story,” Pistorius said. “There will always be someone who wants to create a name for himself and if he’s given that platform he’ll take it and argue that wet is dry and green is red. There are always those types of people. “One of the reasons for doing the tests was proving that I’m in a sport and have the ability to run due to my own talent and hard work and sacrifices and that was important for me. Looking back at that I’m happy that we went through it.”

And with his competition status secured, some of his competitors are looking forward to racing against Pistorius. “I’ve told him how much respect I have for him and the drive he has, to want to do something and take the action to work hard and get to where he wants to be,” said LaShawn Merritt, the defending Olympic champion in the 400. “The dream of his was to be able to run with the able-bodied athletes and he knew what he had to do to make that happen, timewise, and he worked his butt off to get it. He’s here now.” To prepare for the biggest track meet of them all, Pistorius needed somewhere in Europe to train. So the mayor of Gemona, a small town near the Italian Alps and just across the mountains from Austria, built him one. Running lap after lap on his Cheetah Flex-Foot blades, Pistorius has now set his mind on reaching the 400 semifinals - as he did at the worlds in South Korea last year. He’s also hoping to run the sub 45-second time that he and his coach, Ampie Louw, are certain he can achieve. His best time so far is 45.07. To reach his mark, there won’t be any time to take it easy at the Olympics. “We’re going to race the heat. Oscar’s got no choice,” Louw said. “We must race the heat in order to proceed to the semis. We’re going full out in the heats. No other way.” Pistorius’ track in Italy is normally sundrenched. But on this day, it’s just drenched. In pouring rain, Pistorius goes through his routine, then runs 150-meter splits. Louw whistles from the

end of the home straight and he sets off, pounding around the bend and down the track. The water splashes out from under his blades. Good preparation for London, his agent, Peet van Zyl, says with a smile. Pistorius and his team have been based in Gemona for the last two European seasons after the mayor asked him if he’d consider training there to promote the town. Pistorius said he needed a track, ideally with the same Mondo surface as London’s Olympic Stadium. They built it for him. So it’s in the Italian town that Pistorius will put the final pieces in place for his high-profile - maybe the highest profile - debut at the Olympics. “There’s a big difference in qualifying for the games and being at the top,” Pistorius said. “I’m going to go there to do my best and I’ll be content if I can run close to my personal best, and hopefully a personal best. I’ll go with my ‘A’ game and take my fight with me and see how well I’ll do.” On Tuesday, Pistorius finished second in the 400 in his final warm-up race for the Olympics in Lignano, Italy. He finished in 46.56 seconds, well behind Calvin Smith of the United States in 45.52. “My time wasn’t among the best. But I’m good physically and mentally,” Pistorius said after Tuesday’s race. “I’ve used a lot of energy in these past few days, both in training and with the media because of my participation in the Olympics.” In his down time, he’s already becoming a star.—AP

Britain readies more troops amid new Olympic wobbles Opening show cut short for last tube

BIRMINGHAM: US athlete Michael Tinsley trains at Alexander Stadium, the US athletics team training camp for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Tinsley will be competing in the 400m hurdles event at the Games.—AFP

US striving to displace Jamaican relay kings MONACO: In the serenity of Monaco, US sprinters are striving this week to find ways to end a long 4x100 metres relay jinx, and displace Jamaica’s relay kings, their coach says. “Everyone is looking at times and individual speeds,” US relays coach Jon Drummond told Reuters in a phone call from the American camp in Monaco. “That’s not what wins relays. The baton exchange is what wins relays.” So while Jamaica may have the fastest man in the world in Usain Bolt, world champion Yohan Blake and former 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell, Drummond believes he has a unit that can match the world-record holding islanders. “Absolutely,” he said, speaking of a pool that includes the world’s second fastest man Tyson Gay, 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin and a mixture of young and experienced sprinters. Fast guys do not always win, the 2000 Olympic relay gold medallist noted. “It only takes one interruption to change that dynamic,” Drummond said. “It is not about just four fast guys running. It is about four fast guys being able to get the stick around.” That has been America’s downfall. For three successive global meetings, the 2008 Olympic Games and the past two world championships, the United States have either dropped the baton or been disqualified. “So people can think what they want,” Drummond said of a US-Jamaica showdown, “but the race never happened.” The outcry was so great after the US men’s and women’s 4x100 squads both dropped batons in the 2008 Olympics that America revamped its relay program and appointed Drummond as relays coach in 2011. Even then misfortune struck as Darvis Patton collided with British anchor Harry

Aikines-Aryeetey as he went to exchange the baton at the 2011 world championships. The mishap marked the sixth time in nine global opportunities since 2000 that the United States men have failed to win athletics’ most famous relay. Only once, in the 2004 Games, were they outrun. “The reality is we had a lot of things happen,” Drummond said, noting injuries that forced relay changes not to mention poor exchanges and other problems. Equally important, the sprinter-turnedcoach said, “when you look at the talent around the world, they are catching up and getting better.” Not only have the Jamaicans won the past three global titles, Britain claimed the 2004 Olympic gold, leaving the United States without a Games gold in the 4x100 since Drummond led off the Americans in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The US women must go back even further - to 1996 - for an Olympic 4x100 gold medal. They won world titles in 2007 and 2011. Success has come more frequently in the 4x400 with the men winning the past six global titles and the women the past four. Drummond would say little about how he plans to right the shorter relays, especially without injured reigning Olympic double silver medallist Walter Dix who did not make the US team. The coach declined comment on who would likely anchor any of the relay squads or even who is under consideration. “I will know who the teams are and who will be running in the finals when we leave here,” he said of the camp, which ends on Saturday. A hint could come on Friday when both the US men and women contest the 4x100 in Monaco’s Diamond League meeting.—Reuters

Manaudou seeking pleasure not medals DUNKIRK: France’s 2004 Olympic 400m freestyle champion Laure Manaudou said yesterday she was not obsessed with winning a medal at the London Games and instead was seeking to just enjoy her third Olympics. The 25-year-old - who retired in 2009 after failing to win a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games - said she was in a totally different frame of mind compared to her previous two Olympics. “I am in a different mindset,” said Manaudou, who is also a three-time world champion and nine-time European champion. “I have no desire to get obsessed about winning a medal. I have more desire to enjoy myself. “For the moment, I don’t really feel any pressure, I am relaxed and training is taking place in ideal conditions. “I do not have that pressure of being the favorite (in the 100 and 200m backstroke). Now I am surrounded by other good swimmers (the French team)”. Manaudou, who created a real splash when she broke American great Janet Evans’s 18-year-old world record in the

400m freestyle at the 2006 European championships, said she wasn’t risking damaging her reputation by going to the Olympics. “I am not on the precipice of a cliff either,” said Manaudou, whose father is French and mother is Dutch. “Even if I flop, I still qualified for the Games and that was my goal. “My target was to be at an Olympics for the third time with people I like.” Manaudou will be competing in London alongside her younger brother Florent, who qualified for the 50m freestyle - ironically at the expense of her boyfriend Frederick Bousquet - and who has been sharing the same lane as her in training in Dunkirk. “It is an adventure that I am experiencing with him (Florent), it is a delight to share this with Florent. We are mutually benefiting from this,” she said. However, she said she experienced at times pangs of regret that Bousquet wouldn’t be there. “The hardest thing is knowing that he is staying at home. But thereagain his career isn’t over,” she said.—AFP

LONDON: Britain was forced to make more lastminute changes to the London Olympics yesterday, putting 2,000 extra troops on standby and shortening the opening ceremony to avoid transport problems. But with nine days to go until the Games begin there was at least one bright spot as forecasters said the sun was set to shine on the Games after Britain’s wettest summer in 100 years. The run-up to the Games, which open on July 27, has been marred by a security fiasco sparked when private contractor G4S said it could not fulfil its contract to supply 10,500 security guards. The government has already announced that it will deploy 3,500 extra troops to plug the gap, taking the total military personnel at the Games to 17,000 but on Wednesday it announced that it had even more on standby. “Contingency plans are being drawn up for 2,000 more soldiers,” sports minister Hugh Robertson told a press conference. He said the government would “not pay a penny” more and that G4S would foot the bill for any further deployment. Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a trip to Afghanistan to visit British troops battling Taliban militants, hailed the military for stepping in. “I salute and applaud what the military have done to step in and I think they’re doing an excellent job. If there are further steps we have to take of course we will take them,” he told ITN television. G4S’s embattled boss Nick Buckles admitted during a grilling by lawmakers on Tuesday that the affair was a “humiliating shambles” and that he could not now guarantee the number of guards that the company could provide. Britain currently has 17,000 military personnel lined up to perform security duties at the Gamesalmost double the 9,500 troops that it has in Afghanistan. Transport in congested London has been another worry ahead of the Olympics. The organisers of the Games said yesterday they had scrapped part of the £27-million ($42-million, 34-millioneuro) opening ceremony to ensure it finishes in time for people to catch subways and buses home. “We need to make sure the show comes in on time to make sure spectators can get home on public transport, so we have taken the tough decision to cut a small stunt bike sequence of the

show,” a LOCOG spokesman said. The show is designed to transform the stadium into a rural British idyll, complete with cows, sheep and synthetic clouds to provide traditional British rain-in the unlikely event that the weather does not provide it. One billion people around the globe are expected to watch the ceremony, directed by “Slumdog Millionaire” filmmaker Danny Boyle, while an audience of around 62,000 will see the show in the stadium. With the eyes of the world on the Games, a British government official said the London Olympics were the country’s best chance to sell itself for more than 150 years. Alan Collins, the managing director for Olympic Legacy at UK Trade and Investment, said he was confident they would help Britain attract £6.0 billion (7.6 billion euros, $9.4 billion) in investment by 2016. “This is the best opportunity since the Great

Exhibition of 1851 to show off Britain,” Collins told a press conference. Britain’s tourism chief meanwhile hit out at the country’s “utter obsession” with the weather, brushing off concerns that weeks of heavy rain would deter visitors to the Games. “Frankly, people do not come here to lie on a beach,” said Sandie Dawe, chief executive of Visit Britain. “Anyway, the sun is going to come out-have you seen the long-range weather forecast?” The Met Office, Britain’s national weather service, said some much anticipated sunshine would return on Sunday and that southern England would enjoy dry weather next week, in time for the opening ceremony. Forecasters have blamed the downpours on the jet stream, a strong-flowing ribbon of wind that crosses the Atlantic, settling unusually far south, but they predict that it will move northwards again soon.—AFP

LONDON: British soldiers check a woman’s bag as she enters the London 2012 Olympic Park in east London. —AFP

History offers comfort to African football quartet JOHANNESBURG: Egypt, Gabon, Morocco and Senegal can draw strength from African football achievements at recent Olympics when they set off this month in search of medals. Nigeria won gold and silver, Cameroon gold and Ghana bronze since the football tournament was revamped ahead of the 1992 Barcelona Games with three over-age players allowed in under-23 squads. The make-up of the African quartet is a surprise with no Nigeria, Cameroon or Ghana, who were eliminated during a lengthy elimination process that included three knockout rounds and an inaugural eight-nation CAF

championship. Gabon emerged shock winners of the first African under-23 tournament and runnersup Morocco and third-place Egypt also gained automatic entry to the Olympics. Senegal came fourth and had to overcome Oman 2-0 in a Coventry play-off to seal their place with substitute Abdoulaye Sane scoring a late second goal after Ibrahima Balde had given the west Africans the lead after just 90 seconds. With foreign-based footballers who were unavailable for qualifiers now eligible as only over-age stars need permission from clubs to compete, some of the African squads

LONDON: Brazil’s Cesar Cielo swims during a training session ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Crystal Palace. Cielo is the world record holder for both the 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle and won gold over the shorter distance at the Beijing Olympics. —AFP

have been overhauled. France-based Sane only made the list of four standby players and did not win promotion when Danish club FC Copenhagen refused to release overage striker Dame Ndoye. Senegal appear long shots to reach the quarter-finals having been drawn in Group A with Ryan Giggscaptained hosts Great Britain, a Uruguay squad including star strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani and the United Arab Emirates. After hopes of including Newcastle United goal poachers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba were dashed, coach Karim Diouf opted for new West Ham United midfield signing Mohamed Diame as one of his over-age trio. Egypt are back at the Olympics after a 20-year absence and tackle tournament co-favourites Brazil, Belarus and New Zealand in Group C with a squad led by 33-year-old national team midfield star Mohamed Aboutrika. Defender Ahmed Fathy and striker Emad Meteab are the other ‘seniors’ among the Baby Pharaohs and coach Hani Ramzy knows all about big tournaments having played for his country as a centre-back at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. “We are not going there just to do well,” warned Ramzy, whose preparations have been hampered by a domestic football ban since 74 spectators died on February 1 during post-match Port Said rioting. While Egypt have chosen only locals and Gabon have included 10 domestic stars, Dutch coach Pim

Verbeek chose only three in a Morocco squad that includes senior team captain Houssine Kharja for Group D clashes with Spain, Japan and Honduras. The presence of the Fiorentina midfielder bolsters an already strong area with Madridbased Abdelaziz Barrada one of the outstanding players at the CAF under-23 championship. Former South Korea and Australia handler Verbeek is upbeat despite the absence of injured midfielder Younes Belhanda from French champions Montpellier, saying he is aiming for a medal without specifying the color. Gabon are the great unknowns ahead of Group B games against Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland. Was the CAF title a flash in the pan or does greater glory lie in store for coach Jean-Claude Mbouronot and his Baby Panthers? Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should catch the eye not only because of his original hairstyles, but also his predatory instincts which made him one of the most dangerous strikers when his country co-hosted the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. “Playing attractive, lively and spectacular football at the Olympics will be our aim,” says Mbouronot. “A good result for us would be to get past the first round-to be among the last eight.” Although Egypt and Morocco must contend with Brazil and fellow favourites Spain, they appear most likely to survive the three-fixture mini-league phase with Senegal dark horses and Gabon outsiders.—AFP




Best ways to propel to glory NEW YORK: Olympic swimmers need to ignore their intuition when it comes to the best ways to propel themselves through the water to glory next week. Scientists have made several discoveries about the mechanics of swimming since the last summer Games four years ago, refuting some seemingly obvious assumptions. Take freestyle swimming. It seems that forming each hand into a tight cup maximizes the force it exerts on the water, while keeping the fingers apart produces a wimpier stroke. Not so, explains Adrian Bejan, professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University in Durham, NC Inspired by animal locomotion, he and colleagues analyzed the force that fingers and toes generate when pulled through the water. When the digits are separated by between one-fifth and two-fifths of their diameter, the force exerted is 50 percent greater than when they are pressed together with no spaces in between, Bejan and his team will report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Theoretical Biology. The reason involves something called a boundary layer. When fingers move through water, viscosity causes a thin stream of fluid to stick to (and move with) them rather than flow between them. As a result, slightly separating the fingers creates a wider surface than keeping them close together. Just as a wider oar pulls with greater force than a narrower one, so does a wider hand. The greater force pulls the swimmer both forward and, on the down stroke, upward. The higher the body is above the water, the faster forward it can go, since air resistance is less than water resistance. In addition, the higher you are, the faster forward you fall. Since the swimmer’s fall from above the water’s surface has a horizontal component as well as a vertical one, the greater height achieved with a more powerful stroke translates into greater forward velocity. When it comes to arm positioning, coaches and swimmers spent decades debating the best technique for freestyle and backstroke. Conventional wisdom views the propeller-like “sculling” motion as superior, but new studies show that a paddle-like “deep catch” stroke is the quicker route to the medals podium. In the sculling stroke, the elbow of a freestyle swimmer is raised high as the hand enters the water as vertically as possible. The arm moves inward toward the body and then outward, making an S shape. “ The arm stays bent, the hand enters the water in line with the shoulder, and after moving to the center of the body it moves out again,” explained Rajat Mittal, professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Whether in a boat or a plane, a propeller also moves perpendicular to the direction of motion - that is, right and left. Perpendicular motion creates a lift force that pushes the boat forward. The sculling stroke was popularized in the 1960s by the late James “Doc” Counsilman, an American Olympic and college swimming coach who was among the first to apply science to the mechanics of swimming. Counsilman reasoned that just as a propeller-driven boat can move faster than a paddle boat by generating lift, so the sculling stroke can produce lift that is more effective than the paddle stroke, in which the swimmer simply drives the hand into the water and pulls it back as hard as possible. To see whether the sculling stroke deserved its popularity, USA Swimming provided Mittal and his graduate student, Alfred von Loebbecke, with underwater videos of America’s elite swimmers using either the sculling or paddle stroke. The scientists used animation software to scan the swimmers’ arms, from which they created computer simulations. —Reuters




Vettel hopes to excel at German Grand Prix G E R M A NY: Tw i ce wo r l d c h a m p i o n S e b a s t i a n Vettel will try and break two hoodoos at Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Although he is the youngest driver to win a Formula One race, the youngest to win a title and the youngest double world champion, the 25year-old Red Bull driver has yet to win a race in his homeland or in July. Born in Heppenheim less than 50 kilometres away, Vettel will be racing in h i s f i f t h G e r m a n G r a n d Pr i x h a v i n g f i n i s h e d eighth, second, third and fourth in his previous home outings. “It is different. But on the other hand, you don’t get more points there so I will enjoy the weekend and do my best,” he said. “It’s always a special crowd to race in front of. I’ve driven on that circuit in different series and it’s always been great. The campsites near the new circuit are fun and it’s special to meet the fans

there.” A win would be a boost for Vettel who is third overall, and 16 points behind second-placed Australian team mate Mark Webber after nine of the 20 races. Hockenheim is famous for its campsites which accommodate thousands of fans, who spend the evenings drinking beers and enjoying barbecues, though numbers have diminished in the last few years. However, with Nico Rosberg and a resurgent Michael Schumacher look ing to give the Mercedes works team their first home win since Juan Manuel Fangio won at the Nuerburgring in 1954, organisers are hoping for a big crowd. After retiring five times in his first seven races o f t h e s e a s o n , s e ve n - t i m e s wo r l d c h a m p i o n Schumacher has managed a third place, his first podium since his comeback, and seventh in his last two outings. “This year is the first time that our Mercedes works team has been capable of rac-

ing right at the front, and because of that, we’re hoping for lots of support from the fans and to re w a rd t h e m w i t h o u r p e r fo r m a n c e,” s a i d Schumacher. “We have set ourselves the clear target of giving everybody a reason to celebrate next weekend.” Rosberg, sixth in the standings, is racing at home as a winner for the first time after his victory in China. “Hockenheim is always very special for us, and especially for me,” said Rosberg, who was born in nearby Wiesbaden and is the son of 1982 Formula One world champion Keke Rosberg. “I have really good memories of the previous Hockenheim races. Before my Formula One career, I won quite often at this circuit, and I will never forget my father ’s last DTM race in 1995,” he recalled. “I joined him on the roof of his car driving through the Motodrom - and that was the moment when I decided to become a racing driver

like him. “I will be pushing really hard to perform we l l i n f ro n t o f o u r f a n s i n t h e M e rc e d e s Grandstand, so we can hopefully celebrate a good result together. I think our car should suit this track much better than Silverstone. “Hockenheim has long straights and short corners, which will be good for the Silver Arrow.” The race could also be crucial for McLaren’s season following poor performances at Valencia and Silverstone which left them trailing in fourth place in the constructors’ championship. Lewis Hamilton, celebrating his 100th Formula O n e r a c e o n S u n d a y, h a s d ro p p e d 3 7 p o i n t s behind leader Fernando Alonso with his team mate Jenson Button 79 points adrift of the Spaniard. “We don’t have the pace of the top three teams. At the moment we are racing the Williams, the Sauber and the Force India,” said Button after the British Grand Prix.— Reuters

Ibrahimovic unveiled as PSG’s latest signing Winners of the Annual Gulf Scrabble championship with Jishnu K Warrier, Manager, Etisalat Academy; and Nikhil Soneja, organiser, in Dubai.

Credo wins Scrabble championship title DUBAI: Ronald Credo’s desire to learn new bond with people and most case circumstances words and his love for scrabble is what won him is that if your family is into scrabble, you autothe 2012 Annual Gulf Scrabble Championship matically get involved into the activity.” (GSC) title on Saturday. Ronald, of Philippines, Tournament organiser Nikhil Soneja added: “A beat 25 other contestants from across the GCC. lot of youngsters get involved into the activity at He won 13 out of the 15 games that were played a very young age. Apart from that, we organise at the tournament. several scrabble camps for children in turn Four of the five finalists of the two-day cham- increasing participation.” pionship, held at the Etisalat Academy, were The youngest player in the tournament from the UAE. Running for the 22nd consecu- Sanchith Kapoor, aged 12, said: “It was a great tive year in the Middle East, Dubai has been learning experience and I’ve learned so many playing host to the GSC for the last two years. new words in the process. I began playing the Last year’s champion, UAE resident Pakistani game with my mum when I was really small. I Mohammed Suliman, came in second, winning play a lot online and the game is addictive,” said 11 out of the 15 games; Indian Ralph Lobo from Sanchith. A student of the Dubai Modern High the UAE was third; Mauritanian Wone Amadou School, Dubai, Sanchith has played at the World representing Kuwait bagged Youth Scrabble Championship, fourth place; and Indian from 2011, in Malaysia. the UAE Selwyn Lobo was Sri Lankan nationals and placed fifth. twins representing Oman, Ronald started playing Nadeesha and Nilusha scrabble when he was 10. “I am Hemachandra, said: “The tourreally happy that I won the nament was very well-organchampionship. I have been playised. Being here was a great ing at the GSC for the last four experience.” Khaleej Times, years. I began playing the game Jashanmal Books and Etisalat with my family and I started Academy supported the GSC competitively playing in 1999.” this year. From Kuwait, Wone He added: “I love learning Mamadou a Mauritanian playnew words and I read reference ing for the past 14 years finally books like SOWPODS Word Lists managed a seat in the top 5 which helped me a whole lot. Ronald Credo with the award toppling his compatriot , You need to know well about Rohaina when he beat her by strategy when you play scrabble. I learned a lot 206 points. They both managed 10 wins out of from watching players play as well. Learning 16 games but due to her low spread, Rohaina Rack Balance, creating hook words, and other clinched the 6th position. She also was given a techniques in scrabble make you a better play- surprise Crystal trophy and a voucher of AED er.” He said that a good scrabble player has to be 500 from Jashanmal for making the most bina word lover. gos( 7 letter words) . Many of the players said that technology has She also won a spot prize in one of the made things much easier for new players, but rounds for making the word “UNQUOTE” for 72 there is a need to get the younger generation points. A lovely 2012 edition of Guinness Book involved in the game. The oldest player in the of World Records was given for this. Batul Kaizar tournament was 69-years-old and the youngest too managed a Spot prize for the highest spread player was aged 12. given to a Loser. Though its a strange one, its a Tournament director Preeti Chhatbar said: Great encouragement. “Scrabble makes life-long relationships. Our GST is always an excellent and well-orgafamilies have been in touch for the last 20 years nized event wherein players from the Gulf counbecause of scrabble. It’s a wonderful way to tries play in the Open tournament.

PARIS: Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed his muchanticipated move to Paris SaintGermain yesterday, saying he has joined “the dream team” after becoming the big-spending French club’s most high-profile signing yet. PSG missed out on the Ligue 1 title last season despite spending more than euro 100 million ($123 million) on players and it has upped the ante this offseason, topping it all with the transfer of Ibrahimovic from AC Milan in what sporting director Leonardo dubs “the biggest deal in this club’s history.” “I want to thank PSG and Leonardo,” Ibrahimovic said. “They made something impossible possible and now I am very happy. It’s a big step in my career, another dream come true. “I know there’s been a big media interest in this. It’s been more intense than when I moved to Barcelona. I’m very excited in this project. I’m here to make history and I will enjoy all the trophies we bring home.” Ibrahimovic has signed a three-year contract with PSG, worth a reported euro 14 million ($17 million) net a year, euro 2 million more than he earned at Milan. “It seems that I will finish my career here but that’s what I said at Milan too,” the 30-year-old Ibrahimovic said. “You never know what will happen. But I’m not thinking about that at the moment, I’m thinking about winning during my time here.” PSG has paid a reported euro20 million ($25 million) for Ibrahimovic, taking its summer spending on new players to an estimated euro 112 million ($137 million). The club’s Qatari owners have already signed Ibrahimovic’s former Milan teammate Thiago Silva and Napoli’s Ezequiel Lavezzi this preseason as well as midfielder Marco Verratti, who was also unveiled Wednesday after completing his move from Pescara. PSG’s huge outlay last season included spending a French record

PARIS: New PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of Sweden, holds his jersey during a press conference at the Parc des Princes stadium. — AP euro 42 million ($55.4 million) on Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore, as well as prizing away winger Jeremy Menez from Roma, midfielder Mohamed Sissoko from Juventus, defender Maxwell from Barcelona and midfielder Thiago Motta from Inter Milan. “I come to a dream team and the dream team will continue to grow,” Ibrahimovic said. “They will do everything to win and I want to be part of that. I’m going to be playing with the best players in the world. They’ve also bought the best defender in the world, Thiago Silva, and as long as I have him behind me I don’t need to look back. “Who doesn’t want to be here? This is the future and I believe

in this, this is the most important. When you look at the team it’s really a dream team. It’s the future not only of French football but also in Europe and even the world.” Italian media has said that Ibrahimovic was forced out of Milan after the club decided the fee for an ageing player was too good to turn down. “I’m very happy I was there. Milan gave me my smile back,” Ibrahimovic said. “I will always have very good memories of Milan. I was very happy. I don’t want to put a shadow over my time at Milan, they made it very easy for me to come to PSG. “I thank them and I wish them all the luck. They are a great club and I’m

sure they will continue to win; they did it without me as well as with me. I did my max as an individual and for the team. I have nothing negative to say about them.” Ibrahimovic joined Milan from Barcelona on loan in 2010 and the move was made permanent the following year. With 28 goals, Ibrahimovic was Serie A’s top scorer last season - a feat he also achieved with Inter in 2009. The Sweden captain spent three seasons at Inter and two at Juventus, winning the Serie A title every year although the two he won with Juventus were later revoked because of the match-fixing scandal. Ibrahimovic also won the Dutch league twice with Ajax and the Spanish title with Barcelona before lifting another Serie A trophy with Milan. However, Ibrahimovic refuted the suggestion that PSG, which has not won the league title since 1994, might pale in comparison with other illustrious clubs he has played for. “I consider this team as the same level as other teams I have played for,” he said. “But we have to go out and show it on the pitch. If you look on paper we are definitely up there. But we have to show it. We have to win. “Now that the dream has become reality everyone is talking about Ligue 1. Everyone should be positive about this. But it’s up to us to prove it now. We have to win.” Ibrahimovic’s agent said Sunday that Serie A has lost its last remaining star, and Ibrahimovic agrees. “I came here because I see the future here. I don’t see the future in Italy,” he said. “What happens in Italy is their problem now. Losing two big stars like me and Thiago Silva is a big thing for the club and the championship. “For sure the Italian championship without us will be more poor, but I don’t know if it will have less quality. What I know now is that with us the French championship will be better and more watched in the world.” — AP

Last chance for FIFA, warns Swiss MP BERNE: Swiss politicians will propose legislation ending FIFA’s tax and legislative privileges if it does not take firm action against officials involved in the case concerning its former marketing partner by the end of the year, an MP said yesterday. The legislation would also affect dozens of other international sporting organisations based in Switzerland including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Roland Buechel told Reuters in an interview. Buechel, a leading critic of the way FIFA has handled corruption over the last few years, welcomed the appointment of two leading crime fighters on Tuesday to investigate and judge suspicions of wrongdoing in soccer’s governing body. Former US attorney Michael Garcia has been named as head of the investigative chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee while German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert will head the tribunal. Buechel said he wanted to see concrete action taken in the case involving International Sport and Leisure (ISL) and it would be a positive signal if Joao Havelange stepped down from his position as FIFA’s honorary president. Havelange, who headed FIFA from 1974 to 1998, and former FIFA executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira were identified in a court document released last week as being among those who had received bribes from ISL. ISL went bankrupt in 2001 with debts of around $300 million (192 million pounds). Teixeira quit FIFA’s executive committee earlier this year. “”It is positive to split the ethics committee into an investigative and judicial chamber, it’s a good thing,” said Buechel. “”It’s necessary, in fact it should have been done

many years ago.” “”The litmus test will be the ISL case, if they really look into that and don’t just play for time.” Buechel said that much of FIFA’s work had been done for them as the case had already been investigated by a court in the Swiss canton of Zug. “”There is not much investigation to do, they could take action really soon,” he said. “”A very good sign to the outside world, the football family, would be if for one reason or another, Havelange steps down from his position. “”If they give him an honorary departure that is fine,” said Buechel. “”But the Swiss parliament wants to see something happening, if not it will be really difficult not to take political action.” Buechel said that Switzerland’s Ministry for Defence, Civil Protection and Sport was compiling a report on the sports organisations based in the country and that it would be ready by the end of the year. FIFA’s action in the next few months would play a fundamental part in the contents of the report and whether further action was taken, he said. He said the ethics committee needed to further investigate the actions of FIFA executive committee members Nicolas Leoz and Issa Hayatou in the ISL case. ”FIFA should take action against these two people, that would be important,” said Buechel. Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), was reprimanded by the IOC last year after he admitted receiving ISL payments although these were not judged to have constituted a bribe. Leoz, president of the South American Football Confederation, was accused in a BBC Panorama programme of receiving money from ISL. —Reuters

Future Stars win KOC CC Summer Cup KUWAIT: Future Stars pulled out victory from the jaws of Safety Plus in a nail biting finish with last ball last wicket six in the finals of the KOC CC summer league T-20 cricket tournament organized by KOC Cricket committee recently. This entertaining and exciting match was a befitting finale to the excellent cricket season 201112 in Ahmadi in which as many as 14 tournaments were organized In the clash of the titans, Safety Plus team opted to bat first after winning the toss opening with seasoned campaigners Khalid Butt and Hamza Arif who in a brisk start put on 51 runs in 5 overs. Khalid Butt was first to go caught by Adnan off spinner Haroon for 31 runs. Yassir Butt followed him in the next over after a quick fire 12 runs. Hamza put Safety plus in command in the company of Yassin for the third wicket partnership taking the total to hundred in the tenth over when Adnan struck twice uprooting the stumps of Yassin first and then ending the excellent inning of 47 by Hamza Arif. None of the remaining batsmen could reach double figures other than Captain Naveen with unbeaten 10 and Farooq who played a cameo innings of 21 runs enabling Safety plus to reach a healthy looking total of 164

for 9 wickets at the end of 20 overs. Adnan was the most successful bowler with 4 wicket haul while Murad returned with figures of 2 for 29 in 4 overs. Ali, Faizan and Haroon cipped in with a scalp each. Facing competitive target, Future Stars start was disastrous as their

Adnan caught for well made 21 runs. The bold dive by Ameen was not enough to save him from run out for 21 by direct throw by Yasser from long on. Mohd Khan added valuable 24 runs. Murad stepped up the run rate sharing an excellent partnership of 56 runs with Nasser his individual contri-

opener Kashif was clean bowled by Saad Khalid for a duck and Yaseen had Asgher stumped for 9 runs. But undaunted by the early setback, Adnan and Ameen managed damage control scoring steadily and taking the total to 50 in 5 overs when Yasin had

bution being 24 runs. Future stars looked to be smoothly sailing towards victory. At this stage Rishi had the prize wicket of Murad and in the very next ball he trapped Haroon in front of the wicket tilting the balance. Nasser who

batted positively carrying the responsibility on his shoulders was batting on 34. Future Star required 8 runs with 2 wickets in hand in the last over bowled by experienced and wily Yassin. Only three runs were scored in the first 4 balls and 9th wicket fell in 5th ball of the over. Reaching climax, when the last batsman Faizen came to the crease to face the last ball from Yassin, 5 runs were required for snatching the victory. To everyone’s surprise he heaved short of length ball to mid wicket boundary with the fielder on the boundary line helplessly watching the ball sail over his head. In the presentation ceremony followed KCA Vice chairman Mehmood Abdulla and KCA Director- Domestic Affairs Sudhakar Shetty presented winner’s cup to Future star captain Mohd Khan and runners cup to Naveen, skipper of Safety Plus. Winners’ prizes were given away by KOC CC Committee member Mohd Shafiq Salimee and Runner up prizes by KOC CC Committee member Shubh Dutta. Adnan received the man of the match award for his all round performance from Murtaza and Aslam. General Secretary of KOC CC, Mohd Sarwar who conducted proceedings proposed the vote of thanks.

Woods favorite at British Open



Britain readies more troops amid new Olympic wobbles


Vettel hopes to excel at German Grand Prix

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FRANCE: A combo picture shows (from top, left to right) stage winner and new polka dot jersey of best climber, France’s Thomas Voeckler (right) climbing with former best climber’s polka dot jersey, Sweden’s Fredrik Kessiakoff, the pack riding at the Tourmalet pass, leaders in the overall standings, overall leader’s yellow jersey, British Bradley Wiggins (third placed), Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and (second-placed) Great Britain’s Christopher Froome riding and Voeckler celebrating on the podium his polka dot jersey of best climber during the Tour de France cycling race. — AFP

Wiggins tightens grip on Tour crown LUCHON: Bradley Wiggins of Britain took another step towards securing his maiden Tour de France crown after a 16th stage won in stylish fashion by Frenchman Thomas Voeckler yesterday. Yellow jersey holder Wiggins and Chris Froome repelled two attacks by Vincenzo Nibali on the fourth and final climb to come over the finish alongside his Italian rival and Sky teammate 7min 09sec behind Voeckler. Defending champion Cadel Evans of BMC finished at 11:56 behind Voeckler and nearly five minutes behind Wiggins’ group after being dropped for good on the Col du Peyresourde. It later transpired that Evans had suffered stomach problems two hours before the race. Now 8:06 behind Wiggins, his title defence is now virtually over. “I didn’t think it would affect me in the race but obviously that’s not my normal level and it’s

pretty much the Tour de France over for me,” said the Australian. For Wiggins, it is one less rival to look out for on the final climbing stage today, which finishes on the summit of Peyragudes. He warned: “The one thing I keep saying is that no one has it easy out there. We’re all in the same boat and we all have to do the same course and tomorrow is another day.” But with Nibali still third at 2:23 and with a 3:23 lead on fourth-placed Belgian Jurgen Van den Broeck, it is now effectively a three-man race to Paris. The Sicilian did not make his move until they had ridden on to the 9.5 km-long hike to the summit of the Col de Peyresourde. An acceleration gave the Italian a lead of about 50 metres. But Froome, who so often this race has looked more comfortable than Wiggins on the long climbs, easily countered. He brought Wiggins on his wheel level with

Nibali, who took a breather, had a think and then attacked again just before the summit. This time, it was Wiggins who brought the Sicilian to heel. “We were very comfortable there. I don’t think he was really going anywhere,” added Froome. Wiggins was quick to share out the plaudits with his Sky teammates. “The team rode fantastically well again and we’ve created the ideal scenario by putting even more time into Cadel Evans, and although we weren’t able to get rid of Nibali-who is very strong-it was a great day,” said Wiggins. Voeckler, meanwhile, grabbed his second stage win of the race and the fourth of his career after leaving breakaway companion Brice Feillu of Saur-Sojasun behind with 22 km remaining and 7km from the summit of the Col du Peyresourde. Danish pursuer Chris Anker Sorensen came over the finish 1:40 adrift, giving the Europcar

S Africa’s Smith eyes top spot LONDON: Graeme Smith warned England yesterday his South Africa team were determined to take the hosts’ number one ranking in Test cricket away from them. If the Proteas win the upcoming three-match series, they will replace England at the summit of the International Cricket Council’s standings. South Africa captain Smith, speaking on the eve of the first Test, which starts at the Oval here today, said his side’s strong away record made them genuine contenders. “We’ve been really consistent,” said Smith. “Maybe we haven’t got some of the victories we would have liked but away from home our record speaks for itself. In all conditions I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been the most consistent team over a period of time. “We’re looking forward to getting hold of that ranking and performing well. This Test series offers us an opportunity.” England captain Andrew Strauss acknowledged the home team faced “a very strong challenge”. He said: “South Africa are a very fine side. They’ve proved that over the last couple of years and they’ll be determined to knock us off our perch. “It will be a good gauge for us. The rankings say we are number one and we have to go out and prove it.” Smith insisted he believed South Africa were well prepared despite only playing one two-day game and a three-day match before the Test series, both of which were rain-affected. “I know it’s been a topic of discussion but I think there’s a real feeling of contentment and clarity in the squad. We’ve had more preparation time than on most of our tours. We’re at a point where we want to be.” Opening batsman Smith claimed the touring team’s bowling was stronger than when South Africa won their last series in England in 2008 — the last time England lost a Test series on home soil. “Since the last time we played in England Morne (Morkel) and Dale (Steyn) are further on in their development and their skills and they still have the same sort of pace which is great,” Smith insisted. He added the introduction of Vernon Philander as a third seamer and Imran Tahir as a leg-spinner had given an extra dimension to the attack. Both Strauss and Smith said the controversy over Kevin Pietersen’s England future, which rumbled yesterday when the South Africa-born batsman was omitted from the initial World Twenty20 squad, had had no bearing on either side’s preparations. “The conversations Kevin has been having have been between himself, his representatives and the board,” said Strauss. “It hasn’t been a distraction to us, it hasn’t entered our thinking. “Kevin as much as anyone is determined to do well in this series and I haven’t seen any signs in his preparation that he is in any way distracted,”

LONDON: England’s Andrew Strauss (left) and South Africa’s Graeme Smith pose with the Test trophy at the Oval. England will play South Africa in the one Test cricket match at the Oval starting today. — AP Strauss added. “The big series bring out the best in him and often when he has a point to prove he does it with the bat.” Meanwhile Smith said it was not an issue with the South African team. “It’s not something that plays a role in our discussion. The Kevin Pietersen discussion in our team has been purely on tactics, how we are going to play against him, as it’s been with every other player in the England line-up.” This will be Smith’s 100th Test but the 31-year-old said the match was more important than the milestone. “I’m extremely proud, it’s something that doesn’t come easy, but there is a bigger thing at stake here and that’s the next 15 days of cricket,” he said. — AFP

rider plenty of time to savor his second victory in Luchon, two years after winning stage 15 in 2010. It was also the fifth victory of the race for the hosts, following wins for Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ). “I’m very proud of what I did today. It’s the kind of cycling I like and the kind of attack I grew up watching on the television when I was young,” said Voeckler, who took over the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey with a four-point lead on Swede Fredrik Kessiakoff. “Now I have to try and recover as much as possible, with a really long massage and then try and do it all again tomorrow.” The 17th stage today is a 143.5 km ride from Luchon to the summit of Peyragudes and is the last climbing stage of the race. And for Nibali, it could be the last chance for glory on the race. “I wanted to try to win today but it wasn’t so easy after the 38-man breakaway escaped,”

added Nibali, a former Tour of Spain winner who has also been third in the Giro d’Italia. “But I will try again tomorrow.” Meanwhile, Tour of Turkey champion Ivailo Gabrovsky of Bulgaria has tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin), the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced yesterday. Cycling’s world ruling body said a sample taken from Gabrovsky, who rides for the KonyaTorku Seker Spor team, had tested positive for the banned hormone. Grabovsky won the hardest climbing stage of the race on April 24, the day he provided the sample. Five days later he won the race. He is provisionally suspended while awaiting the results of analysis of a B sample, as is Lithuanian rider Rasa Leleivyte who also tested positive for EPO following a random test. Both riders have the right to have their B samples tested. — AFP

Iraqi softball players grapple with the rules BAGHDAD: Their equipment was dilapidated and they had only a fuzzy grasp of the rules, but under the watchful tutelage of US trainers on a makeshift field in Baghdad a few dozen Iraqis took a swing at that quintessentially American passion: Softball. The eight-day course, culminating on July 4, American Independence Day, was a bid to widen a foothold for a sport that, eight years since it was introduced to Iraq, has struggled to expand in a football-mad country. And indeed it was on a converted football pitch at Baghdad Sports College that around 25 men and 15 women, mostly in their 20s, undertook eight hours of training under gruelling temperatures in the piping-hot Baghdad summer. “We told the Iraqi Olympic Committee that we need experts from foreign countries to develop the game in Iraq,” said Ali al-Baldawi, secretary general of the Iraqi Baseball and Softball Federation (IBSF). “It’s a new game, and it is not enough to depend on skills that we learn ourselves,” said the 45-year-old, who worked for six months to organise the training camp with Global Sports Partners, an amateur-sports development organisation based in the US state of Oklahoma. Softball, a variation of baseball, differs from its more popular cousin in that the field is typically smaller, the balls are larger and pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand. The principle, however, remains the same-hit the leather ball as far as possible, then circle the bases before the opposing team can tag you out. In the United States, softball is mainly played by women, and for the moment, that is also true in Iraq, though Baldawi says the IBSF is hoping to change that. Baseball and softball first gained a footing in

Iraq in 2004, a year after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, when local physical education students gleaned information on the game from the Internet and began playing. But while the national women’s softball team took part in a tournament in Taiwan last year, there are still only a total of 14 registered baseball and softball teams covering seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, Baldawi said. “Softball is an American sport,” said Deb Packwood, head coach of the four-member US training team sent by Global Sports Partners. But the Iraqi players “are open”, she added. “They want softball, so we bring it to them.” Packwood said she did not believe security was much of an issue for the American coaches, though Baghdad and Iraq remain dangerous by international norms. But she was concerned that Iraqi players could come under threat as a result of their interaction with Americans. And though organisers trumpeted the training camp as a success, it was not easy: from ageing equipment to Baghdad’s temperatures, which were so high that gardeners used hoses to spray down exhausted players. Iraqi players also struggled with the terminology, much of which does not easily translate from English into Arabic. “There are some idioms in softball, like ‘steal a base’, and we don’t have a term for it in Arabic, so I have to explain to the players what it means,” said Adil al-Jaafar, the training team’s interpreter. “They have terms like curveball, which doesn’t exist in Arabic. What is a curveball? That is hard to explain.” Yasser Abdul Hassan, a pitcher and assistant coach with the Iraqi national baseball team, himself admitted that baseball and softball remained “a mystery to us”. —AFP

China to rewrite perceptions on Africa’s investment push Page 23

Shares gain, euro weak after Fed mixed signals Page 24


Heat and drought ravage US breadbasket Page 23

Spanish banks’ bad loans hit new high ratio Page 25

BAGHDAD: Iraqis shop for food in a preparation for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Baghdad, Iraq. — AP

in the


Iraq inaugurates southern oilfield BAGHDAD: Baghdad’s top energy official inaugurated a giant oilfield in south Iraq yesterday, with a group of Chinese, French and Malaysian firms set to pump 535,000 barrels of oil a day there within five years. The official opening of the Halfaya field in Maysan province comes after Iraq signed three preliminary energy exploration deals with foreign firms, and with the country looking to ramp up oil output. “Halfaya oil field was opened yesterday by the deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, Hussein AlShahristani,” his spokesman Faisal Abdullah said. “This marks the inauguration of Halfaya, which was discovered in 1979.” “They (the consortium) started pumping in June, and during the last three weeks they were continuing to pump, but the official opening of the oilfield is today.” Halfaya had been pumping around 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) for about three weeks in an initial phase, but China’s CNPC, Malaysia’s Petronas and France’s Total are to up production to 535,000 bpd by 2017.

SABIC profits fall 35% DUBAI: Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals group by market value, reported a 35-percent drop in quarterly profits yesterday due to lower prices and production, missing analysts’ estimates. SABIC, which is 70-percent stateowned, said second quarter net profit was 5.3 billion riyals ($1.41 billion) for the quarter ended June 30, down from 8.1 billion riyals in the prior-year period. Analysts had forecast, on average, profit of 6.58 billion riyals, in a Reuters poll. It declared a 2-riyals per share dividend yesterday, for the first half of 2012. The bellwether Middle East conglomerate, which supplies chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers and metals globally, blamed the lower profits on a combination of weaker product pricing, the impact of plant maintenance on production and sales volumes as well as higher raw materials costs.

Credit Suisse shares jump ZURICH: Shares in Credit Suisse climbed higher as trading began yesterday after the Swiss bank announced steps to increase its capital base and cut costs. Credit Suisse shares showed a gain of 4.73 percent to 17.95 francs, while the overall market rose by 0.40 percent. Last month, the Swiss National Bank (BNS) had indicated that it considered Credit Suisse’s core equity as insufficient. On the basis of the BNS’ report Credit Suisse announced that it would boost its capital to a total of 15.3 billion francs (12.73 billion euros, $15.6 billion). The Zurich-based bank also published second quarter results ahead of schedule, showing a 2.6 percent gain in net profit to 788 million francs. “The announcement of the recapitalization should be well received ... after criticism from BNS ... and investors’ loss of confidence,” said analysts at Notenstein bank.

Ericsson profit drops STOCKHOLM: Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson posted yesterday a sharp drop in its second-quarter profit owing in part to weaker network sales and challenges to its ST-Ericsson mobile platform unit. Net profit dropped by 63 percent from the same period a year earlier to 1.205 billion kronor (141 million euros, $173 million), well below an average analyst forecast of 1.67 billion kronor compiled by Dow Jones Newswires. Overall sales gained a slight 1.0 percent to 55.3 billion kronor, a statement said. “Demand for global services and support solutions was strong, while networks sales decreased year-onyear mainly due to the expected decline in CDMA equipment sales as well as lower business activity in China,” it quoted Ericsson president and chief executive Hans Vestberg as saying.

NBK posts KD 120.8 m profit NBK Group’s total assets reach KD 14.3 billion KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highestrated in the Middle East, reported net profits of USD 431.2 million (KD 120.8 million) for the first half of 2012 compared with USD 523.5 million (KD 146.7 million) for the same period in 2011. NBK’s 1H 2012 profits were held back by the USD 96.4 million (KWD 27.0 million) judgmental provision charges, reflecting the negative economic and geopolitical developments occurring both domestically and in the region and their potential implications on an already stagnant operating environment. As of end of June 2012, NBK Group’s total assets reached USD 51.1 billion (KD 14.3 billion) up 4.4% compared to June 2011, while total group shareholders’ equity increased by 4.9% year-on-year to USD 8.2 billion (KD 2.3 billion). NBK’s net operating income recorded a solid USD 943 million, in line with last year’s figure. Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer said “NBK continues to operate and deliver in a very challenging environment both domestically and regionally. Our first half profits were negatively affected by heavy judgmental provision charges. We have opted to set aside USD 96.4 million in judgmental provisions in face of a further potential deterioration in our

Mohammed Al Bahar operating environment. Domestically, a negative outlook is inevitable where Government spending remains dormant, tendering of new projects significantly lags and asset values continue contracting as the local stock market considerably underper forms. Add to that, the geopolitical developments that are putting further pressures on both the local and regional economic activity”. “NBK will continue to focus on core

Ibrahim Dabdoub banking activities both in and outside Kuwait, with a clear strategy that aims at diversifying our income sources. During the first half of 2012 profits from our international operations grew by 44% year-on-year. Additionally, our recent move to increase our stake in Boubyan Bank strengthens our presence in Kuwait ’s Islamic banking market and opens new growth prospects for the Group” Dabdoub added. Dabdoub also

highlighted that NBK’s strong financial position and healthy profitability in such turbulent times are testimony to our healthy balance sheet and sound earning generation capabilities. NBK’s clear strategy and strong risk management practices helped the bank sustain its financial per formance and resilient position through crises and will continue to preserve our position as a leading regional bank. NBK has the widest banking presence in Kuwait with 67 branches, which together with its growing international presence totals 176 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey. NBK continues to collectively enjoy the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies; Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team.

BofA plans $3 bn of new cost cuts NEW YORK: Bank of America Corp said it plans to slash costs by $3 billion annually in commercial lending, investment banking and wealth management, becoming the latest big bank to take aim at expenses in a sluggish economy. The second-largest US bank announced the cost cuts as it posted second quarter results that illustrate the pressure it is under. Bank of America said its loan book shrank from the same quarter last year, its interest income fell 15 percent, and each of its divisions except for mortgage lending posted lower revenue. Mortgage lending improved mainly because in last year’s second quarter the group took more than $20 billion of charges. With revenue under pressure, the bank cut costs by 25 percent, helping it post a profit for the quarter of $2.5 billion. Its work force shrank by more than 12,000 from a year earlier to 275,460. Bank of America began the first phase of its cost-cutting plan in 2011, with the goal of saving $5 billion a year and eliminating 30,000 jobs by the end of 2014. That phase of the plan focused on consumer banking and information technology. The second phase of the plan, known as Project New BAC, aims to cut costs by $3 billion a year by mid-2015. It does not target a particular number of job cuts, but does focus on capital markets businesses, investment banking, commercial lending and wealth management. Executives have said they will likely cut fewer jobs in this round because people in the businesses involved tend to be better paid. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank has lagged its peers in recovering from the financial crisis, largely due to losses tied to its 2008 purchase of subprime lender

Countrywide Financial. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo & Co, and Citigroup Inc in recent days all beat analysts’ earnings estimates, helped by cost-cutting, stronger mortgage business and better consumer delinquency rates. Like JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bank of America posted weaker equity trading revenue. Underwriting and merger advisory income also dropped. Revenue at Bank of America totaled $21.97 billion in the second quarter, down from $22.28 billion in the first quarter but up from $13.24 billion a year earlier when it took mortgage charges. Banks are struggling to boost revenue amid weak demand, low interest rates and new regulations crimping fees. The bank’s provision for loan losses fell to $1.77 billion, its lowest level since the first quarter of 2007, compared with $3.26 billion a year ago. Mortgage banking income increased only slightly from the first quarter to $1.66 billion but was a big improvement over a year ago, when the bank set aside reserves to cover investor requests to buy back soured loans. REGAINING MORTGAGE MARKET SHARE Bank of America has been scaling back its home lending in the wake of massive Countrywide losses, but said it recaptured some market share in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. Even so, its average residential mortgage loans during the quarter fell to $106.73 billion, from $121.68 billion in the same quarter last year and $110.76 billion in the first quarter of this year. Mortgage costs “are coming down,” said Gary Townsend, president of Hill-Townsend Capital. “That is very

important because that has been a huge drag over the past three years.” The bank still has mortgage issues to deal with. Mortgage bond investors are trying to get the bank to buy back some $22.71 billion of loans they say should never have been sold to investors, up from $16.09 billion in the first quarter and $9.92 billion in the second quarter of 2011. Claims could increase in the coming quarters, said Bruce Thompson, the bank’s chief financial officer. Bank of America’s total loans fell to $892.3 billion from $902.3 billion in the first quarter as it continued to shed assets from the credit cri-

sis. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup showed slight increases in total loans from the first quarter. However, Bank of America’s loans to businesses were up from a year ago to $267.8 billion. The bank said it made betterthan-expected progress in building capital in the quarter. Its projected Tier 1 common capital ratio under so-called Basel 3 standards reached an estimated 8.1 percent of risk-weighted assets. The bank had previously said it would be above 7.5 percent by year-end. Bank of America shares were little changed in premarket trading, up a penny to $7.93. — Reuters

NEW YORK: View of a Bank of America branch in New York’s Times Square. Bank of America profits swung higher in the second quarter, the firm announced yesterday, as it reported net income of $2.5 billion. — AFP




Mashreq recognized at TFR Excellence Awards DUBAI: Mashreq, one of the UAE’s leading financial institutions, was recently recognized at the TFR Excellence Awards 2012 from Londonbased Trade & Forfaiting Review (TFR) Magazine. Mashreq received a Bronze award in the category of “Best Trade Bank in the Middle East”, the only Arab Bank in the Top 3. The award is a testament of the Bank’s focus on delivering financial solutions to its clients based on their requirements. Trade & For faiting Review is a leading trade and supply chain finance information resource, providing essential updates to professionals all around the globe and has a large subscriber base in UK and Europe apart from other countries. John Iossifidis, Head of International Banking Group, Mashreq said, “We are extremely pleased with the Award. It is clear evidence of Mashreq’s expertise in providing our clients, who we consider our partners, with comprehensive trade solutions to meet their goals. Mashreq has a longstanding and successful record of delivering a comprehensive range of trade finance products tailored to the needs of our clients and we are constantly working towards enhancing our capabilities in order to maintain market leadership. As we strive to position Mashreq as MENA’s Best Regional Bank, we believe this award is recognition that we are headed the right direction to achieve our vision.” The TFR Excellence Awards, which honor the best organizations in the trade banking industry and finance sector globally, are based primarily on the votes of readers. Mashreq’s trade services offering constantly received positive feedback from TFR readers, in

Vivus soars in premarket, FDA approves obesity drug NEW YORK: US stock index futures fell yesterday as Intel joined the ranks of tech companies to cut their outlooks in a sign of how tepid economic conditions worldwide are hurting revenue. Financials will also be in focus following results from Bank of America Corp, which swung to a second-quarter profit following a massive mortgage-related charge a year earlier. The Dow component rose 1.6 percent to $8.05 in premarket trading, following similar rallies by JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs. Intel Corp late Tuesday cut its full-year revenue outlook and said consumer spending in Europe and the United States was softer than previously thought. “We’re clearly seeing softness in company revenue because of Europe and the global slowdown, and that’s a concern,” said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. “We’re seeing those fears spread across industries, but Bank of America is another example of financials being surprisingly strong. That could be a sector that shines

because expectations are so low.” Among tech stocks, Advanced Micro Devices and Applied Materials also cut their guidance in recent weeks, contributing to month-to-date losses of more than 2 percent in the S&P information technology index. The group is considered a proxy for business spending, and the weak views in the sector could have broader implications. S&P 500 futures fell 4.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 37 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 6.75 points. Still, earnings reports at large continue to be solid. With 7 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported, 65 percent have beaten profit expectations, according to the latest Thomson Reuters data. Only 15 percent have missed. A number of key reports was released yesterday, including those of American Express Co and International Business

Machines Corp. Bank of New York Mellon and PNC Financial repor ted earlier. Investors will also be looking to Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve chairman, who will deliver the semi-annual “Monetary Policy Report to the Congress” before the House Financial Services Committee. Bernanke testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday, and while he didn’t give any specifics over what the central bank might do to accelerate growth amid signs of weakness, he left the door open to more stimulus if it became clear unemployment was not falling or if deflation risks mounted. In company news, Vivus Inc surged 18 percent to $31.25 in premarket trading after the Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s obesity drug. June housing starts will be released at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT ) and are seen edging higher from the previous month. Wall Street rose on Tuesday, lifted by strong results from Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola Co. Still, the S&P has posted losses in seven of the last nine sessions, falling about 1 percent. —Reuters

John Iossifidis the areas of “depth of client relationships, servicing model and range of trade finance products”. These Bank ’s range of products include import and export financing, cross currency hedging, cash management, factoring and other receivable financing solutions delivered in both conventional and a Shariah compliant manner.

Omani Bank Dhofar swings to H1 profit DUBAI: Bank Dhofar, Oman’s thirdlargest bank by market capitalization, swung to a net profit in the first half, after taking a one-off provision in the same period last year which pushed it into the red. The lender made a profit of 19.5 million rials ($50.6 million) in the six months to June 30, according to a statement to the Muscat bourse yesterday. In the same period last year, the bank reported a 4.6 million rials loss. First-half profits in 2011 were hit by a 26.1 million rials provision the bank took after it lost a court case with HSBC Bank Oman and Ali Redha Trading and Muttrah Holding over the ownership of 1.9 million Bank Dhofar shares. The second-quar ter profit for Bank Dhofar was 10.1 million rials, according to Reuters calculations. The lender only published first-half results in 2011, meaning there was

Futures drop on Intel outlook as BofA rises

no quarterly breakdown to enable a comparison to be made. The number exceeded the average of two analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a profit of 9.1 million rials for the quarter. Loans and advances rose 24.1 percent during the first half of the year to 1.61 billion rials, up from 1.3 billion rials at the same point in 2011. The end-June figure was 1.9 percent higher than the 1.58 billion rials recorded at the end of the first quarter, according to Reuters calculations. Total assets stood at 2.1 billion rials, up 26.6 percent on the six months to June 30 2011 figure of 1.66 billion rials and 2.9 percent higher than the 2.04 billion rials held at the end of the first quarter. Shares in Bank Dhofar have fallen 8.4 percent year-to-date, compared to the main Muscat index which has dropped 3.3 percent. — Reuters

Ex-bankers go solo in the Gulf DUBAI: After a 16-year career at Morgan Stanley Lebanese-born banker May Nasrallah detected a gap in the Middle East market for advising small companies, prompting her to leave the bank and set up her own financial advisory firm in Dubai. Three years on, she has lured a number of her former Morgan Stanley colleagues to join her company, deNovo Corporate Advisors, which is helping small private Middle East companies that are looking for acquisitions, joint ventures or capital-raising opportunities in the region. “We wanted to do something different to the international investment banks in that our advisory firm was created in the Middle East and our focus and strategy is entirely for the Middle East,” said Nasrallah, sitting in her office on the 25th floor of Emirates Towers, a swanky office building in Dubai’s financial hub overlooking the city’s racecourse. Nasrallah, who grew up mostly in Kuwait, is one of at least a dozen senior bankers in the Middle East who since the global financial crisis have opted to give up careers at large financial institutions to become entrepreneurs in the Gulf’s expanding financial industry. An economics and politics graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nasrallah

spent stints at Morgan Stanley in New York, London and Hong Kong before being promoted in 2005 to build the bank’s Middle East and North Africa franchise. In 2009 she decided to put her international and local experience to use advising smaller companies, a sector she felt was being overlooked by the big multinational banks. Global banks flocked to the Gulf during the boom years of 2003 to 2007, aiming to make a quick buck from the oil-rich region, but were mostly catering to large Middle Eastern corporations and sovereign wealth funds. That strategy has proved far less lucrative in the past few years as the global financial crisis and economic downturn have forced those customers to refocus on their local markets. According to Thomson Reuters data, 20 global banks earned a combined $234.8 million in fees from their Middle East business in the first half of this year. That was down from over $450 million earned in the first half of 2007, although up 5 percent from the same period last year. But while global banks have retrenched in the region in the past few years, seasoned bankers who have spent years here say they are finding plenty of business opportunities because they understand the dynamics of doing business here

and are committed to serving clients over the long term. Setting up a business in Dubai or Abu Dhabi is also relatively easier than in most other large financial centers and has the added benefit of tax-free business zones. Dubai issued 14,360 business licenses in 2011, according to the Department of Economic Development data, a 14 percent increase on the previous year. “In my business, it is very simple. You are selling comfort and not just a product,” said Pushpak Damodar, who worked at Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm before setting up Global Frontiers Advisors in Dubai in 2009. The firm advises on private placements and provides research and consulting services to institutional investors seeking emerging and frontier markets exposure. “Many of the institutions that came to the region during the boom time proved to have a short-term view, it was all about selling products and very little effort about understanding the regional requirements and building a longer-term presence.” Many global investors are now rethinking their strategy in the region and are looking for reliable partners to ensure they don’t miss out on future growth prospects, he said. “ These markets are going to leapfrog in the years to come. If

you don’t get in now, then you will have a significant disadvantage five years down the line,” Damodar said. NATIONAL PRIDE Zaid Maleh, a former head of Middle East and Africa investment banking for Moscow-based VTB Capital, set up DACH Advisory earlier this year to advise Russian companies among others. Clients include Russian venture capital firm Synergy Innovations, an affiliate of Synergy University, Russia’s largest private university which is looking to set up a campus in the Middle East. “There is a lot of interest among investors to be in this region. It’s crucial to their future growth. You just have to find the right partners who are here for the long term,” said Maleh, an Austrian national of Syrian origin. As faster economic growth and rising incomes in the Middle East create business opportunities, Ziad Makkawi, a veteran Lebanese banker and entrepreneur, decided against retiring and instead set up Y+Ventures this year, a venture capital company he runs with a partner in Dubai. He had helped set up Lebanon Invest, the region’s first local investment bank in 1994 in Beirut, and later founded asset management firm Algebra Capital, which he sold to US fund manager Franklin Templeton in 2009. — Reuters

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

.2740000 .4370000 .3430000 .2850000 .2750000 .2870000 .0040000 .0020000 .0761490 .7418950 .3850000 .0720000 .7272960 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2806000 GB Pound/KD .4390830 Euro .3446050 Swiss francs .2868970 Canadian dollars .2771910 Danish Kroner .0463110 Swedish Kroner .0403290 Australian dlr .2892420 Hong Kong dlr .0361730 Singapore dlr .2227340 Japanese yen .0035510 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0764270 Bahraini dinars .7445930 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0748470 Omani riyals .7291150 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Malaysian Ringgit

3.553 5.072 3.053 2.141 3.173 220.090 36.173 3.425 6.439 8.876 89.338

.2840000 .500000 .3580000 .2990000 .2850000 .2970000 .0070000 .0035000 .0769140 .7493510 .4050000 .0780000 .7346050 .0510000 .2827000 .4423690 .3471840 .2890450 .2792650 .0466570 .0406310 .2914070 .0364440 .2244010 .0035780 .0051450 .0021210 .0030050 .0034710 .0769990 .7501660 .3998590 .0754070 .7345720 .0068400

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.883 77.158 729.380 745.850 76.464

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 48.250 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 46.466 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.309 Tunisian Dinar 176.65 Jordanian Dinar 396.190 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.884 Syrian Lier 4.899 Morocco Dirham 32.64 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 280.700 Euro 354.52 Sterling Pound 441.820 Canadian dollar 274.79 Turkish lire 152.400 Swiss Franc 295.01 US Dollar Buying 279.500 GOLD 293.000 148.000 75.250

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

47.500 731.850 3.100 6.960 77.930 75.230 224.760 36.380 2.684 444.800 41.100 291.900 4.400 9.260 198.263 76.820 282.100 1.350

10 Tola

GOLD 1,690.000

Sterling Pound US Dollar

731.670 2.995 6.760 77.500 75.230 224.760 36.380 2.103 442.800 290.400 4.400 9.130 76.720 281.700




293.800 749.290 3.680 281.500 553.300 45.900 47.500 167.800 48.550 350.400 37.020 5.290 0.032 0.161 0.236 3.670 399.270 0.191 91.550 43.800 4.330 228.900 1.825

292.300 749.290 3.441 280.000

224.800 46.442 348.900 36.870 5.115 0.031

Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar 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

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 442.800 281.700



294.69 282.63 292.74 349.20 281.40 444.14 3.64 3.445 5.094 2.107 3.193 2.987 76.68 749.27 46.44 400.90 732.37 77.71 75.25

294.00 280.00 292.00 349.00 282.75 444.00 3.65 3.600 5.300 2.600 3.670 3.200 77.50 748.00 48.10 399.00 735.00 79.00 75.95

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 399.240 0.190 91.550 3.230 227.200

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

288.595 745.660 76.660 77.310 75.070 397.025 46.434 2.101 5.119 2.991 3.442 6.746 690.890 4.565 9.015 4.390 3.285 88.640

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY

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

Selling Rate

281.650 281.531 441.925 346.675


Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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

281.700 2.982 5.150 2.110 3.444 6.790 76.800 75.275 748.900 46.448 446.60 2.990 3.205 1.550 352.000 283.600

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

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

281.900 349.100 442.550 279.400 3.610 5.095 46.495 2.107 3.450 6.770 2.990 749.200 76.750 75.200



Heat and drought ravage US breadbasket WASHINGTON: There was no end in sight yesterday to the blistering heatwave baking much of the United States that has farmers mulling cutting down crucial crops and sent grain prices skyrocketing. Meteorologists said the country’s central breadbasket, the world’s largest source of both soybeans and corn, faces another month of stifling drought that has already sent food prices higher and could affect global food supplies. With heat parching farm states east of the Rocky Mountains since May, arable farmers are even thinking of cutting their losses-cutting down fields of half-mature, ear-less corn to feed the stalks to cattle. And ranchers may reduce herds because of the high price of feed. “The jury is still a little bit out on it. We are in that process right now, making that decision,” said Steve Foglesong, who raises cattle and farms corn in Astoria, Illinois. “From the road the corn looks green, but there are no ears on it.” Foglesong said the next two weeks will be crucial, but weather forecasters were not encouraging. “The worst of the drought is right in the middle of the nation, the corn belt. It’s just been bone dry,” said Carl Erickson, a meteorologist at Accuweather. “Unfortunately across the central plains, the Mississippi valley, it looks like the overall pattern will remain in place for the rest of the month and into August,” he said. “Once you get into a pattern like this, it almost feeds on itself.” More than 60 percent of the continental United

States has been under drought and extreme heat conditions since June, according to Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Temperatures have topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit for days in a row in many places, with the central plains running three to

four degrees Fahrenheit above normal this month. Svoboda said the drought was as tough as some of the worst in the 1930s and 1950s, although those benchmarks were multi-season, multi-year disasters and the current situation only dates to May. But, he pointed out, the timing of the lack of

INDIANA: Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field near Fritchton, Indiana. — AFP

rain and the heat has been particularly devastating, coming just at the peak of the growing season with the epicenter the central US farm belt. Joseph Glauber, chief economist for the Department of Agriculture, said their surveys show that 38 percent of the corn crop, and 30 percent of the soybean crop, are considered in “poor” or “extremely poor” condition. That compares to 9 percent and 8 percent respectively this time last year. Glauber said the department would wait for data usually collected in early August before reaching a conclusion about the crops. But, he said: “It’s evolving as we speak. Every week these crop conditions have gotten worse.” Corn prices have soared by 50 percent since May, while the rate for soybeans, which develop later than corn and might be able to bear up under another few weeks of rainless conditions, has surged 26 percent. Commodity specialists at the World Bank have their eye on the situation, after sharp surges in global food prices in 2008, 2010 and 2011 dealt harsh blows to poor, foodimporting nations. “While it’s too early to be overly concerned, the Bank is monitoring the situation closely for potential impacts on our clients,” said Marc Sadler, team leader for the World Bank’s Agricultural Finance and Risk Management Unit. “Global stocks in most of the tradable grains are lower now than they have been historically... we don’t have as much in the larder as we used to.” — AFP

Boubyan Bank records KD 5.2 m profit Bank grabs 5 regional and international awards

CHONGQING: This picture shows Chinese waitresses dressed up in cosplay costumes at a restaurant to welcome customers in Chongqing. China’s economy just recorded its slowest growth since the onset of the global financial crisis and the country’s premier is warning citizens of the potential for prolonged ‘hardship’. — AFP

Chinese slowing economy likely to stabilize: Analysts BEIJING: China’s slowing growth has triggered alarm bells, but analysts say government moves to further fine-tune monetary policy should be enough to stabilize the world’s second-largest economy. China announced Friday its gross domestic product grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the slowest pace in more than three years. Even before those figures came out, the government had already taken the unusual step of cutting interest rates twice in less than a month, and reducing reserve ratio requirements three times since December. Analysts say policymakers may use those tools again, though much depends on how the rest of the world performs. Qu Hongbin, HSBC chief economist for Greater China, based in Hong Kong, said Beijing should use a combination of monetary and fiscal policy as well as deregulation to stem the slowdown. “It should be sufficient to stabilize growth to a modest recovery,” he said, expecting further steps this year to include up to four more reductions in bank reserve requirement ratios, which can spur lending, and another interest rate cut. The prospect of a prolonged slowdown in China is unsettling after years of doubledigit growth rates propelled the country up the global league tables to unseat Japan and become the world’s second-largest economy. Job growth in the United States, the world’s largest economy, remains weak and the eurozone is still struggling with its sovereign debt crisis. Japan is doing better after last year’s disasters, though is not strong enough by itself to spearhead global expansion. China is now the world’s biggest market for automobiles and the globe’s top exporter, among other superlatives. It’s a pillar of the global economy along with the United States, the European Union and Japan. The ruling Communist party claims managing China’s economic rise as a major achievement and source of legitimacy. But party leaders now find themselves navigating choppy waters just months ahead of once-in-a-decade handover of power. While GDP expanding in the seven percent range would be the envy of most

economies, it has triggered alarm bells in China. On Sunday, Premier Wen Jiabao said that while government efforts to stabilize the slowing juggernaut were working, the road ahead could be bumpy. China’s “economic rebound is not yet stable and economic hardship may continue for a period of time”, Wen told an economic planning meeting in southwestern Sichuan province, the state Xinhua news agency reported. He also suggested, however, that China’s potential remains high as “the basis for economic growth is good.” Wen’s comments were his latest over the past few weeks expressing concern over the economy. Yu Bin, an economist working for the State Council, or cabinet, said last week that while further monetary policy tweaks are an option, he expressed optimism their scope could be limited. “If China’s economy gets stabilized gradually in the third quarter and even rebounds, and meanwhile the world economy maintains mild recovery, I think the room for further cuts on interest rates or reserve requirement ratio will be sharply narrowed,” he told reporters. Li Wei and Stephen Green of Standard Chartered expect bank reserve requirement ratios to be lowered three more times this year and also see another interest rate cut. They say stronger production of cement and steel products in June and higher bank lending are among factors heralding a better performance in the second half of the year. “The economy will not come roaring back-but it will at very least stabilize and should regain a little bit of momentum,” they wrote in a report. Chorching Goh, lead economist for the World Bank in Beijing, said that China’s leaders are not just looking at the economy’s performance over the short-run. “They are quite serious about tackling some of the difficult issues over the next 5-6 years,” she said, citing the need for banking and other financial reforms as well as addressing social issues such as the country’s ageing population. “They do plan to take the occasion of the leadership change to make bold changes,” she said. “I think the will is there.” — AFP

KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank (the fastest growing bank in Kuwait) announced its results for the 1st Half of 2012 which showed a net profit of KD 5.2 million compared to a net profit of KD 4.4 million for the same period of last year; growing by 18%, noting that these results reflect an increase in its operating profits by KD 15.5 million. Chairman & MD of Boubyan Bank, Adel Abdul-Wahab Al-Majed said that the growth in the 1st Half’s profits manifests the success recently witnessed in the Bank and its competitiveness, whether on the level of Islamic banks or the local banking sector in general. “Within a short period, namely since the strategic changes witnessed in 2009 as mainly represented in the entry of the NBK as a major stakeholder in the Bank, Boubyan Bank managed to prove its competiveness in the Islamic banking products and services market, which has been witnessing continuous growth in customers’ interest.” Al-Majed added. Al-Majed indicated that the Bank’s success in realizing many objectives set in its strategy for the period from 2010 to 2014, depending on regaining profitability by focusing on banking activities including products, services and finance solutions that cater to individual and corporate needs. He added that what proves this is the rise of the Bank’s market share of deposits during the period from December 2009 to May 2012 from 2.45% to 3.93% as well as the rise of its market share of finance from 2.34% to 4.39%. Al-Majed pointed out that the Bank will continue realization of its objectives to be the closest choice to customers willing to deal with Islamic banks by offering more distinguished products and services and reaching

BEIJING: Beijing is eager to rewrite negative perceptions of its growing ties with Africa at a summit this week, citing expanding private investment and a push to shift low-end manufacturing to the continent long seen as a commodities and energy cache for China. Chinese state-owned firms in Africa face criticism for using imported labor to build governmentfinanced projects like roads and hospitals, while pumping out resources and leaving little for local economies, an image Beijing wants to change at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation beginning today. “As China’s economy transitions, shifting labor intensive industry to regions outside of China offers production opportunities,” Zhong Jianhua, China’s special envoy to Africa, told Reuters this week. “African countries should seize this opportunity,” he added. “They can step into a track that China has taken in the past to develop their own industry.” Chinese President Hu Jintao will speak at the summit’s opening day and is expected to announce a new set of loans for the continent. At the last

Carmakers worry about closed Japanese market, imports expected, as Reuters reported on Monday, and the Commission must still win the approval of the EU’s 27 countries to proceed with talks. But there is a consensus at least to start negotiations, diplomats say, and the Commission is treading a careful path by agreeing to halt talks after a year if Japan does not move on opening up its markets. A deal with Japan, which could be sealed in a couple of years if countries approve the Commission’s request for a mandate by the end of this year, could increase the European Union’s economic output by almost a percentage point and increase EU exports to Japan by a third, the Commission says. That could create 400,000 jobs in Europe, an attractive proposition at a time when unemployment in the 17-nation

Adel Al-Majed

out to all areas of Kuwait by opening more branches in residential areas. Al-Majed also denoted the Bank’s continuing social role as part of its social responsibility specially with regard to the national labor ratio, which rose to above 64% as well as the investment in its human resources and launching the “ITQAN Academy”, the first of its kind on the local and regional banks’ level. He expressed his hope that the coming period and the remaining part of the year witness more stability that will have positive impacts on the different economic sectors, mainly the banking sector, the core of Kuwaiti economy.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION Concluding his statements, Al-Majed noted the Bank’s distinguished achievements realized during the Q1 of this year represented in winning 5 regional and international awards including: Best Islamic Bank in Kuwait for Customer Service for the second year in a row from “Service Hero”, Best Islamic Bank in Elite Credit Card Services from “The Banker Middle East Magazine”, Best Islamic Bank in Kuwait from “World Finance”, Fastest Growing Bank in Kuwait from “ The Banker Middle East Magazine” and Best Islamic Bank in Kuwait from “Arabian Business”.

China to rewrite perceptions on Africa’s investment push

EU pushes trade deal with Japan in hunt for growth BRUSSELS: The European Union’s trade chief called on Europe yesterday to start talks on an ambitious trade deal with Japan despite opposition from carmakers, saying that overlooking one of the world’s biggest economies would be a “serious mistake”. The European Union is in a race with the United States to sign dozens of free-trade deals across the globe and lock in access to fast-growing economies, especially in Asia, as the 10-year Doha round of global trade talks are deadlocked. “If growth in the next 20 years is likely to come from Asia, then overlooking Japan would be a serious mistake in our trade strategy,” Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a speech following the European Commission’s decision to ask EU countries for a mandate to negotiate with Japan on their behalf. The decision was

POSITIVE INDICATORS Al-Majed highlighted some noticeable positive indicators for the Bank including the increase in net finance income to KD 24.3 million compared to KD 18.3 million for the same period in year 2011; growing by 33% , in addition to the increase in customers’ deposits to KD 1.3 billion compared to KD 1.1 billion; growing by 19%. In addition, the Bank’s total assets as by the end of June 2012 amounted to KD 1.73 billion compared to KD 1.45 billion by the end of June 2011, boosting up by 19%. The Bank’s total equity increased to KD 252 million compared to KD 241 million; boosting the Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio to 25% against 12%, being the minimum required ratio stipulated by the Central Bank of Kuwait. Al-Majed added that positive indicators also include a rise in financing portfolio to KD 1.16 billion by the end of June 2012 compared to KD 920 million, growing by 26%, in addition to the continuous rise in the Bank’s customer base.

euro-zone is a record high and several large EU economies, including Spain and Britain, are in recession. “Let’s be clear: We need these jobs, and we need this growth in the current economic climate,” De Gucht said. There is barely a corner of the world where the European Union is not negotiating trade deals, but the bloc has yet to seal an accord with a major world economy. A deal with Japan would probably follow a pact with Canada that is expected by the end of this year, building on last year’s agreement with South Korea. The European Union says that signing trade accords with more than 80 countries where negotiations have already begun- including India-could create 2 million new jobs and make a 275 billion euro ($340 billion) contribution to the European economy. —Reuters

BEIJING: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (right) talks to Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. — AFP

meeting held three years ago, China pledged $10 billion. FRONTIER MARKETS China’s economic trade with Africa reached $166.3 billion in 2011, according to Chinese statistics. In the past decade, African exports to China rose to $93.2 billion from $5.6 billion. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, for example, the world’s most valuable lender, has invested more than $7 billion in various projects across the continent. The China NonFerrous Metals Mining Corporation however became the maligned face of Chinese investment during a bitter election campaign last year in Zambia, where it owns several lucrative copper deposits. Along with the state-run firms, a growing number of smaller private Chinese businesses are looking to frontier markets like Africa to sell consumer goods and join in on promising growth prospects. “A lot of African growth is no longer just commodity growth. It is growth in telecoms, services, and consumer products,” said Diana Layfield, Standard Chartered Bank’s CEO for Africa. An official with Africa’s multilateral lender however said concern remains that countries will just shovel resources out and not look to diversify. “They (African nations) are thinking about the immediate resources that could get them billions” of dollars, said Anthony Nyong, manager of the compliance and safeguard division at the African Development Bank. “We

need to gradually work at building the capacities of African countries to see how they can negotiate good deals and know what is important for them.” China has also found it difficult to navigate tricky political and conflict problems in Africa, particularly as the main oil investor in both Sudan and South Sudan. MAJOR HURDLES China still faces a struggle to encourage companies to invest and shift production to Africa even if labor costs are lower. Smaller firms in particular are overwhelmed by the world’s second largest continent with more than 50 UN member states that have diverse languages, cultures and income levels. “The idea that it will happen quickly, except in selected circumstances, is probably farfetched,” said Layfield, with Standard Chartered, adding that one factor accelerating some trade now is a sharp drop in container transport costs following the 2008 financial crisis. Jeremy Stevens, a Beijing-based China economist at Standard Bank, said even if Chinese firms move to Africa they face competition from other low-cost producers such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey-and inland China. “It is more costly to make something in Africa because of bottlenecks in infrastructure, human capital and access to finance, which have been exacerbated by poor governance and mismanagement,” he said. — Reuters




Shares gain, euro weak after Fed mixed signals Fed prepared to take further action if needed LONDON: European shares edged up but the euro eased yesterday after testimony from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that offered little guidance on whether the central bank was moving closer to new stimulus measures. Bernanke said that economic recovery was being held back by anxiety over Europe’s debt crisis and the path of US fiscal policy, and he expressed unease over a stagnant jobs market. He added the central bank was considering a range of tools to help the economy but stuck to an earlier message that the Fed was waiting to see if they would be needed. “Bernanke essentially followed the line from the last Fed meeting, and markets had been expecting a little bit more,” said Ian Stannard, head of European FX Strategy at Morgan Stanley. “We think major central banks have been disappointing the markets with a more cautious approach to easing despite signs of growth slowing, and this is going to keep risk assets under pressure,” he said. The single currency edged down 0.1 percent to $1.2278, below Tuesday’s one-week high of $1.2317, but off a two-year low of $1.2162 hit last week. The dollar was flat against a basket of currencies at 83.048, off last week’s two-year high of 83.829. “Bernanke did not give any clear signal of policy easing but left the door open to more easing if required. It’s a reiteration of Fed policy from the last meeting but has not really provided fresh impetus to market direction,” said Lee Hardman, currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. The lack of any clear view on future easing also left oil slightly weaker, with Brent crude slipping under $104 a barrel and US oil down 33 cents at $88.89 a barrel. Bernanke completes his semi-annual Congressional testimony by addressing the House Financial Services Committee later. Meanwhile oil markets are awaiting data on crude stockpiles in the

United States later in the day from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to confirm an industry report that said inventories had fallen more than expected. EARNINGS HEALTHY Equity investors turned their attention to the corporate earnings outlook after some forecast-beating results from major US firms raised expectations that the European reporting season could also surprise markets on the upside. The pan-European

FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.3 percent at 1044.68 points in early trade, well within a 2.5 percent trading range of the past week. Only 9 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported second quarter earnings so far but of these 46 firms, 71.7 percent have beaten analysts’ expectations, 15.2 percent reported earnings in line and only 13 percent reported earnings below forecasts. Over the past four quarters, 68 percent of companies beat estimates, 10 percent matched and 23 percent missed estimates, according to Thomson

NEW YORK: A sign is seen in this photo outside the New York Stock Exchange. US stocks opened mostly lower yesterday after mixed data on the troubled housing market and as investors awaited Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke’s second day on Capitol Hill. — AFP

Reuters research. “In Europe the hurdle rate is actually a bit lower than in the US in terms of what we’re expecting from earnings,” said Will Hobbs, equity strategist at Barclays Wealth. “Europe’s probably not that far away from what we expected at the start of the year ... so maybe, just maybe, there’s the potential for Europe to actually outperform the US for a little bit,” he said. After gains on Wall Street and a weak session in Asia earlier on Wednesday world shares were slightly firmer, up 0.17 percent at 311 points. PAY TO SAVE European debt markets were focused on a German auction of up to 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) of fresh two-year bonds as similar debt on the secondary market currently trades with a negative yield. Good demand would mean investors are so worried about the European debt crisis they are prepared to pay a premium to the German government to park their cash in its two-year paper, even though it might have a negative yield. German 10-year yields were steady at 1.23 percent ahead of the sale and twoyear debt yielded -4 basis points, up slightly on the day. The market’s focus was also on Spanish and Italian debt after the Italian Prime Minister expressed “grave concerns” that the country’s autonomous Sicily region may default, reminding investors the eurozone debt outlook remains gloomy. Spain may face more selling pressure in bond markets ahead of a 3 billion euro auction of paper with maturities up to seven years today. Although Madrid’s borrowing costs for 12-month treasury bills fell from a month ago at an auction on Tuesday, they remained high by historic standards. Spanish 10-year yields were 5 basis points lower at 6.78 percent, while the equivalent Italian debt was four basis points down at 5.99 percent, though traders said there was little volume behind the moves. — Reuters

Gold slips as euro falls LONDON: Gold fell yesterday as a media report quoting Germany ’s Angela Merkel as saying she could not be sure the European project would work knocked the euro, and after the Federal Reserve disappointed markets by failing to unveil more economic stimulus plans. Prices had risen towards $1,600 an ounce on Tuesday on anticipation Fed chairman Ben Bernanke would hint at another round of gold-friendly quantitative easing to boost growth after a spate of disappointing economic data. His failure to do so in remarks before the Senate Banking Committee led many to cash in gains. However, a rebound in stock markets after some better-than-expected earnings reports helped the metal recover. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,577.90 an ounce at 1134 GMT, while US gold futures for August delivery were down $11.70 an ounce at $1,577.80. In the absence of physical demand, gold has reacted mainly to moves in the dollar and talk of more QE, which would weaken the dollar and maintain pressure on longterm interest rates, keeping the opportunity cost of holding gold at rock bottom. “We are likely to remain rangebound for the time being,” BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said. “The next potential important data, pending no development in the euro zone, are the non-farm payrolls at the start of August. “We expect Bernanke to announce QE3 at the Jackson Hole speech on 31 August,” she added. The euro fell to a session low against the dollar and German

Bund futures reversed earlier losses, with traders citing a media report that quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying she could not be sure the European project would work. Other commodities fell, meanwhile, as investors focused on Bernanke’s gloomy assessment of the US economy on Tuesday, which left the door open for more monetary easing and dampened demand for the greenback. Hints fresh easing could be on the cards have sparked a number of gold rallies this year, but it has remained rangebound between $1,540-1,640 for the last six weeks, awaiting direction. “No doubt, the gold bulls will seize on the fact that further stimulus is not off the table, but it is not going to happen for a while, if it ever does, and as such the upside for gold remains limited to my mind. We are still in the same ranges,” Marex Spectron said in a note. “I see no reason for the time being for that to change. The market remains thin, with low volumes and no real interest.” BERNANKE RETURNS Bernanke will return to centre stage at 1400 GMT to testify before the Financial Services Committee, but is unlikely to add substantially to Tuesday’s remarks, analysts said. US housing starts data is due at 1230 GMT, and the Fed will later release its Beige Book of current economic conditions. Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.9 percent at $27.07 an ounce, tracking losses in gold. Silver has underperformed gold

this year, easing just over 2 percent against gold’s 1 percent gain. The metal has suffered from a dearth of investment demand this year after a number of severe corrections in 2011, soft industrial offtake and record-high mine supply. Mexican miner Fresnillo, the world’s largest primary silver producer, said silver output was on track to meet its 2012 targets despite a drop in quarterly production, helped by the ramping up of production at its new Saucito mine. Spot platinum was down 0.4 percent at $1,407.25 an ounce, while spot palladium was down 0.8 percent at $575.13 an ounce. The metals have also underperformed gold this year, with palladium falling nearly 12 percent since December, as demand from the automotive sector, the main consumer of platinum and palladium, remains weak. Even the threat of supply disruptions in major producer South Africa, where miners have struggled against labor unrest, rising costs and sluggish prices, has not galvanized the market. “Costs have continued to increase in 2012,” RBS said in a note yesterday. “For the year in full, our price forecasts suggest the South African 4E basket will average (around) 10,100 rand an ounce.” That basket includes platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold. “We reiterate our view that this situation is not sustainable and note that this is the main driver of our bullish outlook for the platinum price,” it said. “We forecast a fourth-quarter average of $1,650 an ounce, compared to current levels around $1,420 an ounce.”— Reuters

Oil falls on gloomy economic outlook LONDON: Oil retreated slightly yesterday, snapping five days of gains as US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered few signs of further monetary stimulus and a gloomy view of the economy of the world’s top oil consumer. Brent crude slipped 38 cents to $103.62 a barrel by 1017 GMT, after settling 63 cents higher on Tuesday. US oil fell 44 cents to $88.77 a barrel after ending up 79 cents. Bernanke in his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee said the Fed stood ready to offer more stimulus as needed but stopped short of signaling action in the near term. He also said recovery was being held back by anxiety over Europe’s debt crisis and expressed unease over a stagnant jobs market. A slightly more downbeat outlook on prospects for the global economy saw investors sell Brent crude, with some locking in profits after a 16 percent increase in prices from the lows for the year touched last month. “Oil fell pretty rapidly after traders and investors had seen what was in the testimony, so crude was responding to whether we are going to see (quantitative easing) or are we not,” said David Morrison, analyst at GFT Global.” But he noted the sharp move lower on Tuesday was soon reversed, and that it was likely there would be stimulus before the end of the year. Oil stayed close to its highest since the end of May, with geopolitical risk supporting prices. Iran said it would insure any foreign ships that enter its waters, in an effort to skirt a European Union ban on insuring ships carrying Iranian crude that has hampered the country’s oil exports. The EU enacted a ban on July 1 on insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil, preventing EU insurers and reinsurers from covering tankers carrying Iran’s crude anywhere in the world. “The geopolitical risk premium is coming back. There is quite a large

concentration of US warships in the (Middle East) Gulf. There’s a heightened risk in the area,” Morrison said. Highlighting the risks of escalating violence in the region, which could disrupt oil exports, the revolt against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad came close to his presidential palace as fighting erupted in major Damascus neighborhoods for a fourth day. US INVENTORIES Investors were awaiting data on crude stockpiles in the United States due later in the day from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to confirm an industry report that said inventories fell more than expected. Crude inventories fell by 2 million barrels in the week to July 13, gasoline stocks fell by 116,000 barrels and distillate stocks rose by a sharp 3.4 million barrels, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed. A Reuters poll of 10 analysts forecast a 1.2 million barrel drop in domestic crude inventories. Gasoline inventories were forecast up 1.2 million barrels, on average, while distillate stocks were projected to rise 1.5 million barrels. “Seasonality appears to be a positive influence with draw-downs on high US crude oil stocks, to fuel the peak of the US driving season, encouraging buying,” analysts at ANZ said in a note. Brent will retrace into a range of $101.24-$102.07 per barrel, as suggested by its wave pattern and the RSI indicator, while US oil faces resistance at $89.50 per barrel and may revisit its Tuesday low of $87.41, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Latest data on China’s home prices may help provide a floor on oil as the numbers showed a break from eight straight months of decline, in a tentative sign pro-growth policies are gaining traction in the world’s second-biggest oil consumer.—Reuters



Intel forecast portends weak PC sales Brazil and China markets losing steam SAN FRANCISCO: Top chipmaker Intel Corp forecast weak current-quarter revenues, reinforcing fears that a wavering global economy and a lack of consumer interest are dampening personal computer sales. Shaky economies in Europe and the United States and a growing consumer preference for Apple Inc’s iPad tablets have been taking a toll on the PC industry. The world’s leading chipmaker cut its 2012 revenue growth forecast to between 3 and 5 percent, down from a prior forecast of “high single-digit growth”. That put Intel’s outlook in line with many investors’ recently reduced expectations and helped cushion an initial sell-off of its stock. “As macro events have transpired in the second quarter, people looked at the original high single-digit guidance as being stretched,” said Craig Ellis, an

analyst at Caris & Company. “The Street would have been concerned had they stuck with that guidance - but they didn’t.” Fears that global PC sales may be worse than expected have helped push Intel’s shares down about 10 percent since the end of April. They have recently traded around 10 times expected earnings. Helping fuel fears of a PC slowdown, smaller Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices last week slashed its outlook for second-quarter revenue on disappointing sales in Europe and China, where economic growth has recently lost some steam. China and other emerging markets have been a key source of growth in recent quarters, helping make up for weakness in the Europe and the United States. “Emerging markets, especially China and Brazil, are still growing nicely

but are moderating due to GDP adjustments and currency fluctuations,” Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini told analysts on a conference call. He said consumer markets in Europe and the United States are expected to recover more slowly than previous forecasts. He also said global enterprise IT spending demand was expanding as expected. Doug Freedman, an analyst at RBC, said Intel’s forecast for the current quarter was less than typical for this time of year. “Normal seasonal PC demand would show Q3 growth of at least 9 to 10 percent and Intel’s guidance is comfortably below that,” he said. Intel supplies processors for 80 percent of the world’s PCs but it has yet to make significant progress in fast-growing tablets or smartphones, products that use chips based on technology from British-based

ARM Holdings. Intel is heavily promoting a new category of “Ultrabook” laptops with premium features like solidstate drives that it hopes will add some zest to a PC market that some see as lackluster compared to tablets and smartphones. Many analysts are concerned the touch screens and other high-end features on upcoming Ultrabooks, made by Dell Inc, Asus, Hewlett-Packard Co and others will make them too expensive for some consumers. Executives on the conference call suggested Intel has no plan to reduce its chip prices to make Ultrabooks more affordable, a move that would hurt gross margins. Shortterm PC sales may slow as some consumers consider putting off new purchases until Microsoft launches its new Windows 8 operating system, expected

in October. Intel said revenue in the second quarter was $13.5 billion, up from $13.03 billion in the year-ago period and lower than the $13.56 billion expected. Intel said revenue in the current quarter would be $14.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Analysts on average had expected $14.60 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. GAAP net income in the second quarter was $2.8 billion, down from $2.95 billion in the year-ago period. GAAP earnings per share were 54 cents. Analysts had expected 52 cents. Intel said non-GAAP gross margins in the second quarter were 64 percent. Intel maintained its full-year gross margin forecast of 64 percent. Shares of Intel fell 1.5 percent in extended trading before paring losses. It had ended about 1 percent higher at $25.38 on Nasdaq.— Reuters

Portugal’s auction debt costs fall below Spain’s Spain banks’ bad loans hit new high ratio

CALIFORNIA: Photo shows the Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. — AP

Yahoo! profit dips SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo! said its profit in the past quarter fell modestly in results reflecting upheaval at the struggling Internet pioneer, which named a new top executive this week. The company, which appointed Marissa Mayer of Google as its new chief executive on Monday, said profit fell four percent to $226.6 million, in a report that was better than expected. That translated to 27 cents per share excluding special items, ahead of analyst expectations of 23 cents a share. Revenues excluding traffic acquisition costs, the key barometer for the Web giant, were flat at $1.08 billion, below most forecasts. Total revenues were virtually unchanged at $1.2 billion. The results underscored the turmoil at the California tech firm, which is undergoing major restructuring and forced out its top executive in May over an inflated resume. Chief financial officer Tim Morse said the results beat consensus forecasts in areas including display and search advertising, where Yahoo! has been pounded by Google. Over the past quarter, Yahoo! “moved aggressively with new strategic agreements” and unveiled new partnerships, he said, as the pioneering Internet search firm continued a quest to re-invent itself. Yahoo! shares dropped 0.32 percent in after-hours trade to $15.55 after a small drop during the regular session on Wall Street. Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall Street said Yahoo!’s results were “within expectations.” Many analysts were focused on the new CEO and future strategy instead of the past

quarter. “Her background should certainly benefit Yahoo’s mobile strategy in addition to news and search verticals,” said Susquehanna Financial Group’s Herman Leung. “Three CEOs in less than a year does not spell confidence for investors despite a strong hire, but the good news is that she will likely have a few quarters of runway before investors gauge progress.” Morse pointed out that display revenues rose one percent and search revenue increased four percent. But that was well below the 23.8 percent growth pace of online advertising in the quarter, according to the research firm eMarketer. Yahoo!’s share of overall US online ad revenues, at 15.7 percent in 2009, fell to just 9.5 percent last year, according to eMarketer. The results came a day after the 37-yearold Mayer-one of Google’s first employeeswas named CEO. Mayer subsequently revealed she is pregnant and expecting the baby in October. She is arguably the most high-profile woman in Silicon Valley and a rare female CEO at one of America’s largest firms. Mayer was Google’s 20th employee and its first female engineer, and is widely credited with developing the user-friendly interfaces used by Google’s search engine, Gmail, Google Maps and Google News. Yahoo! has been trying to reinvent itself as a “premier digital media” company since the once-flowering Internet search service found itself withering in Google’s shadow. Mayer did not take part in the quarterly earnings call with analysts eager to learn her plan for reviving the company. —AFP

Islamic forestry fund taps crossover appeal SYDNEY: Luxembourg-based Sustainable Capital has announced the launch of a sharia-compliant forestry fund, part of a trend toward crossover products that appeal to Islamic investors as well as those interested in green investment. The firm aims to raise $100 million in the openended fund, which starts its offering period next Monday and will invest in the agricultural, biomass and forestry sectors. Islamic finance adheres to religious principles but the industry has only recently begun to stress the theme of wider social responsibility. “Sustainability has been a challenging conversation in the Gulf, as it was regarded as a competing asset class. But energy security cannot be built on one source alone,” Michael Young, the fund’s investment advisor, told Reuters. “Countries are now embracing diversification.” Forestry has had to contend with a preference among many Islamic investors for more familiar real estate and hedge fund products. In a bid to differentiate itself, Sustainable Capital has highlighted the inflation protection and steady-return qualities of its new fund, which will aim for a 15 percent rate of return net of fees. It would be reasonable for most long-term investors to allocate 5 percent of their portfolios to green investments, though some preferences may go as high as 10 percent, Young said. DISTRIBUTION A fund size of $30 million would make the product viable,but reaching its $100 million optimal size could take from “three months to three years”, Young added. The ultimate aim is to raise $250 million.

Capital-raising and achieving scale have been a problem for sharia-compliant fund managers, with 64 percent of the estimated 800 Islamic funds globally having less than $75 million in assets, according to consultants Ernst & Young. This has prompted boutique firms, which often lack developed sales channels or established ties with Islamic financial institutions, to rethink their marketing strategies. Sustainable Capital plans to use strategic partnerships to tap Gulf, Asian and European markets, in order to extend the firm’s distribution capabilities and keep operating costs low. It will seek at least two distributors in the Gulf, one focusing on Saudi Arabia. The firm sees the bulk of its investor base eventually coming from the Gulf and Asia, Young said. CROSSOVER One reason for the lack of close ties between the Islamic and ethical investor communities is geographical: Islamic investors have strong roots in the Middle East and southeast Asia, while the ethical investment industry has its strongholds in North America and Europe. Also, green investments have generally been built using a “positive screening” approach, in which funds identify specific sub-sectors and economic processes which they like. Islamic finance has emphasized “negative screens” which forbid investing in areas such as gambling, tobacco and alcohol. However, with its use of asset-backed deals, Islamic finance also has an ideological emphasis on promoting real economic activity instead of pure monetary speculation. So firms such as Sustainable Capital see commonalities with ethical investment. — Reuters

LISBON: Portugal sold all 2 billion euros of Treasury bills on offer at a sale yesterday with its cost of borrowing in the short-term now less than the Spanish equivalent - some measure of the easing of pressure on one of the countries already bailed out in the euro zone’s debt crisis. The interest the government pays on its 12-month bills fell to 3.505 percent from 3.834 percent in the previous auction in June. The 6-month paper yielded 2.292 percent, down from 2.653 percent previously, continuing a steady decline that started several months ago. Debt-laden Portugal has been laboring under an EU/IMF fiscal adjustment program since a rescue in May of last year. Spain, which has not requested a full-blown bailout but has agreed on 100 billion euros in aid for its banks, sold 12-month T-bills at a yield on Sunday of 3.918 percent. “In terms of investor concern, pressure is easing on the Portuguese bills,” said Orlando Green, debt strategist at Credit Agricole in London. “The fall shows politicians, albeit at a slow pace, are making progress and pushing the austerity agenda.” Portugal and Spain are both struggling with the problem of generating enough growth to bring down a substantial debt burden, and Lisbon is more than a year into a determined program of public sector reforms that it hopes will make its economy more competitive. Filipe Silva, debt manager at Banco Carregosa, added: “The fact that the yield is well below Spain’s shows that Portugal is not suffering from contagion from the neighboring country’s situation this time, and there is greater investor confidence in the Portuguese adjustment.” After approving the latest release of funds under Portugal’s 78-billion-euro bailout, the IMF said on Tuesday that Portugal has a “reasonably strong” chance of turning the country around. “The (EU/IMF/ECB) troika has found no problems in Portugal and the auction is also an indication of that,” Green said. Portugal, cut out of debt markets since requesting a bailout last year, is expected to regain access to capital markets in late 2013 but the task of meeting a deficit of 4.5 percent of gross domestic product this year and 3 percent next year remains challenging amid a spiraling recession. Portugal’s benchmark 10-year bond yields, which have dropped from record highs of over 17.4 percent since January, were little changed at around 10.6 percent yesterday. The IMF has said declining T-bill yields in auctions and bond yields in the secondary market show the government is gradually rebuilding investor confidence, boding well for a planned return to the longer-term debt market in late 2013. The IGCP debt agency placed 1.25 billion euros in 12-month and 750 million euros of 6-month T-bills in yesterday’s auction. Demand outstripped the amount placed by 2.4

times on 12-month bills and 3.8 times on the 6month maturity. SPAIN BANKS’ BAD LOANS The ratio of bad loans held by Spanish banks, mainly for property, hit in May the highest level since 1994, at 8.95 percent, the country’s central bank said yesterday. The value of loans considered “doubtful”, at risk of not being repaid, reached 155.841 billion euros ($192 billion), equivalent to 8.95 percent of total loans extended by Spanish banks, figures released by the Bank of Spain showed. The figure has been steadily rising this year, from 8.15 percent in February to 8.37 and 8.72 percent in the subsequent two months, is is likely to climb significantly higher still, according to one economist. In late 2008, the ratio of bad loans held by banks in Spain was only 3.37 percent, but a bursting real-estate bubble revealed a core weakness that has resulted in Madrid requiring help from euro-zone partners. On June 9, euro-zone countries unveiled a plan that would provide up to 100 billion euros to underpin distressed Spanish banks, which are to concentrate their risky loans in a so-called bad bank by November. Aid for Spanish banks became a top priority after Bankia, the third largest by assets, called in

May for a government bailout estimated to cost 23.5 billion euros. Euro-zone finance ministers are to determine on Friday the details of their plan to help the banks, which should lead to the unblocking of 30 billion euros by the end of the month. That sum is to be held in reserve in case a bank urgently needs fresh cash. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund highlighted concern about the precarious situation at Spanish banks as it forecast that Spain would remain in recession next year. For 2012, the Spanish government expects economic activity to contract by 1.7 percent. IHS Global Insight economist Raj Badiani forecast that “with the recession now expected to last throughout 2012 and 2013, the bad bank loan ratio is likely to remain on an upward trajectory, and could breach 10 percent by the second half of 2013.” Badiani added that “we expect Greece to exit the euro no later than the third quarter of 2013, with the Spanish economy projected to a take a considerable hit” as a result. Falling Spanish property prices in particular “would place additional pressure on existing bank loans to the construction sector and property services,” the economist noted. They stood “at a still-substantial 391.889 billion euros, or 36.9 percent of nominal GDP (gross domestic product) in the first quarter of 2012,” he said.— Agencies

PORTO: A broker speaks on the telephone while working in the trade room of a Portuguese bank yesterday in Porto, Portugal. — AP

Make concessions if you wants aid, Peugeot told PARIS: France made clear yesterday it is not prepared to provide aid to struggling carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen unless it makes concessions that could include suspending dividends. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg offered no specifics in an interview on Europe 1 radio, but was adamant that there must be a quid pro quo for Peugeot to get support. “Our strategy is that public aid, which is part of what the auto-

mobile sector is requesting, will not be granted without concessions,” he said. Montebourg is preparing a support plan for the auto sector, including Peugeot. The euro-zone’s continuing economic slowdown has hit demand for vehicles across the region, plunging car makers into difficulties. A survey of French dealerships showed on Tuesday that car orders dropped by 16 percent in June, after a 10 percent decline in May.

CHARTRES-DE-BRETAGNE: Workers of French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen demonstrate in front in Chartres-de-Bretagne, outside Rennes after the group announced it would slash 8,000 jobs in France. — AFP

Without detailing what concessions would be sought from Peugeot, Montebourg suggested that companies requesting help should not pay dividends. The government has pressed Peugeot family members-who control the company through a 25.2 percent stake commanding 37.9 percent of voting rights-to explain why dividend payouts had continued amid a deepening crisis at Europe’s second-biggest automaker. The family has “a number of things to explain to us”, Montebourg told lawmakers on Tuesday. Peugeot said last week it planned to cut 8,000 jobs in France and close the Aulnay assembly plant near Paris in 2014 to stem mounting losses at the core manufacturing division, which is consuming 200 million euros of cash per month. French President Francois Hollande, whose Socialist government won power in May with a promise reverse an industrial decline that has seen 750,000 jobs lost over the past decade, has called on the company to renegotiate the layoff plan. Emmanuel Sartorius, appointed by the government to examine Peugeot’s cutbacks, will meet chairman Thierry Peugeot tomorrow, the company said. Peugeot shares, which had fallen to new quarter-century lows since the cuts announcement amid concern the government would hamper restructuring, were 3.1 percent higher yesterday. Tomorrow’s meeting between Thierry Peugeot and Sartorius will take place at its Paris headquarters, the company said. Sartorius was expected to report to ministers by the end of the month. The auto industry support plan, to be unveiled on July 25, is likely to include help for environmentally friendly vehicles but no new car scrappage incentives. A “cash for clunkers” program launched in 2008 by former president Nicolas Sarkozy paid out more than a billion euros in sales subsidies on new car purchases, funded by the taxpayer.— Reuters




CFTC chief admits failure Regulatory system failed on PFGBest oversight

Ahli Bank awarded ‘Best Commercial Bank in Qatar’ DOHA: Ahli Bank has been awarded the coveted “Best Commercial Bank in Qatar” by leading international finance magazine World Finance. The award comes in recognition of Ahli Bank’s continuous commitment towards providing excellent services to its banking clientele, and its vision to implement international best practices to ensure the delivery of trusted commercial banking services. Ahli Bank’s success was announced at the World Finance Banking Awards 2012, where winners were chosen through a subscribers-based voting process. Moataz Al Rafie, Chief Executive Officer at Ahli Bank said: “We are very pleased with our achievement of being recognized as the “Best Commercial Bank in Qatar” running by World Finance. I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of our shareholders and the Board of Directors for their support, our employees for their hard work and our customers for their ongoing loyalty and trust.” “ This recognition, which is based on our customers’ votes, motivates us to further enhance our bankBader Al Turkait ing services to our clientele, and we are committed to excel in our offerings to maintain our customers’ valuable trust. The World Finance Banking Awards are known throughout the financial press as the pinnacle of recognition for major banks. The World Finance Award Selection Panel has used a wide range of criteria to inform its decision over its 2012 awards, lending the critical eye of a collective 230 years of business journalism to the exhaustive information gathered by the research team. Some of the more important factors rated the banks, including bank performance, financial ratios, corporate governance, clarity of products and services, alternative financial products and parallel market interaction and competitive strategy moving forward to decide the award winners. Established in 1983, Ahli Bank has over the last 30 years seen a rapid growth in the region with an everwidening client base and consistent market performance. A part of the Ahli United Banking Group which has a presence in 8 counties, namely Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, Iraq, Libya and the United Kingdom, Ahli Bank has a significant focus on the corporate and financial institutions sectors, as well as having a growing retail and private bank customer base. The Bank has continuously improved its performance over the years through an expanded revenue structure, diversified funding sources, and a strong capital base. The adoption of stateof-the-art services and technology has positioned it as one of trendsetter in the domestic market and within the MENA region. Ahli Bank’s is rated A- by both Fitch Agency and Capital Intelligence. Its financial strength rating has been upgraded from BBB to BBB+ by Capital Intelligence and the bank has received the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 quality certification for its central operations, ensuring operational control, standardization of policies, practices and procedure and a better use of pooled expertise.

Special Ramadan promotion gets underway at Lulu Hypermarket KUWAIT: Lulu Hypermarket, the lifestyle shopping destination of choice for many and the largest retail operator in the region, is celebrating the Holy month of Ramadan with a major promotion on various items. The month-long promotion, which began on Wednesday, 11th July, will run throughout the Holy month of Ramadan. Besides a very large range of food products, fresh groceries, fruit and vegetables, other items on offer during the promotion period include an array of household items and special Iftar counters presenting enticing sweets, savories, and special take-away dishes prepared exclusively for the Holy month of Ramadan. To mark the religious occasion and to recreate a festive atmosphere, special themed dangles and decorations have been strung throughout the hypermarket’s venues in Kuwait. The overwhelming response to the ongoing promotion is a clear indication of the popularity of the hypermarket and its many timely offers right through the year. This year’s celebratory festivities are part of the hypermarket chain’s initiative to always be a part of the country’s special occasions and to continuously bring the best of the world to their customers through providing the right products in the right place at the right time. The management of Lulu Hypermarket takes this opportunity to thank all its patrons, and to extend best wishes and greetings of Ramadan Kareem to the people of Kuwait and government, on the advent of the Holy month of Ramadan.

WASHINGTON: US futures market regulators scrambled yesterday to take new steps to prevent another broker from dipping into client funds, while it emerged that the founder of Peregrine Financial Group had already spent the more than $100 million he took from clients to keep his firm afloat. As the chief of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) acknowledged that the regulatory system had failed to protect customers of PFGBest, as Peregrine is known, new details from Russell Wasendorf Sr’s confession and suicide note showed a man embittered by “mean spirited” regulators and distraught over deceiving his own son. PFGBest collapsed last week after Wasendorf Sr attempted suicide, bringing to light a fraud that had lasted nearly two decades. It dealt a new blow to confidence in the futures industry, less than a year after MF Global Holdings Ltd’s bankruptcy, which left customers with a $1.6 billion shortfall and is still being investigated. Wasendorf, being held in an undisclosed location after being arrested on July 13, lacks the funds to hire a lawyer and will be represented by a public defender, said Chicago-based attorney Tom Breen. Wasendorf had intended to hire Breen.

“I know you will be shocked to discover my crimes,” Wasendorf, 64, wrote to his son, Russell Wasendorf Jr, in the suicide note, a copy of which was read to Reuters by a source close to the situation. “I never wanted you to know the kind of guy I really was.” Regulators including the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been criticized for failing to catch the deceit. Wasendorf blamed them for driving him to commit fraud by undermining his company in 1993, just a year after it was formed, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a signed letter found with his suicide note last Monday, Wasendorf said that his scheme began around 1993, when a CFTC investigator in Kansas City sought to fine his firm for a violation involving customer funds, according to the Journal. The CFTC “harassed” him by conducting six on-site audits over five months, he wrote. He said a “technical violation” then raised his capital requirements. “Most of the misappropriated funds went to maintain the increasing levels of Regulatory Capital to keep in business and to pay business,” he wrote. Meanwhile regulators moved quickly to close up the loophole that Wasendorf exploited to fool authorities. He confessed

to using doctored paper bank statements to show inflated customer funds, resisting efforts to allow regulators to check his bank accounts electronically. He allowed them access on July 8, a day before he attempted suicide. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, in testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee, outlined his agency’s plans to contain the fallout from the Peregrine case, including new rules that would allow direct access to brokers’ bank accounts and a reassessment of the role of self-regulatory organizations. “Although we do not know the full facts of what happened in this matter, the system failed to protect the customers of Peregrine,” Gensler said. “Just like the local police cannot prevent all bank robberies, however, market regulators cannot prevent all financial fraud. “Nevertheless, we all must do better.” The National Futures Association (NFA), which was Peregrine’s front-line regulator, together with other SROs including CME Group later said that they would “immediately begin the process of confirming the balances of customer segregated bank accounts for all (futures brokerages).” In his suicide note to his son, Wasendorf said: “I beg your forgiveness ... Your mistake was trusting your father,

nothing more.” Wasendorf Jr was chief financial officer of Peregrine. But he had no sympathy for regulators: “I have to say I don’t feel bad about deceiving the regulators,” the note said. “They made the decision to be my enemy.” Gensler and other regulators have been in the hot seat over recent scandals at major financial companies, raising almost as many questions about oversight as about the conduct of the companies themselves. A botched trading strategy at JPMorgan Chase that triggered a mounting multibillion-dollar loss and a widening scandal over large banks’ alleged manipulation of Libor have also sent shivers through markets and led to calls for tougher financial rules. “If anyone is wondering why we need these rules, all you need to do is turn on the news,” Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement. As senators questioned Gensler over the fraud at PFGBest, many criticized the National Futures Association. “I find that mind-boggling that no one at NFA could discern this,” said Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat. Gensler acknowledged the need for the CFTC to “examine the examiners.” — Reuters

Gulf Bank wins JP Morgan Quality Recognition Award KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced yesterday that it has received the ‘JP Morgan Quality Recognition Award’ for its operational excellence in MT103 and MT202 commercial payments for 2012. Asif Raza, Managing Director, Head of Treasury & Securities Services MENA, Ali Moosa, Managing Director, Head of Middle East and Africa Region, presented the award on behalf of JP Morgan to Khaled Al-Mutawa, General Manager, International Banking and Investments, Carlos Ribeiro, Chief Financial Officer & GM, Finance & Suppor t, Faisal Al M ar zouq, Assistant General Manager, International Banking & Investments and Mona Mansour, Deputy General Manager, Operations at Gulf Bank on Tuesday, 17 July 2012. Khaled Al-Mutawa, General Manager, International Banking and Investments at Gulf Bank, commented: “ We are proud to be ack nowledged by such a renowned financial institution as JP Morgan. This award confirms Gulf Bank has the best-in- class straight-through processing (STP) rates and it is evidence to the hard work and dedication of our operations team in achieving the best in class in processing and solutions to meet customers’ financial needs. This award reinforces our reputation as a market leader in operations, service and quality.” Gulf Bank achieved an STP rate of 99.50% for the MT103 category of payments, exceeding JP Morgan’s stringent STP performance standards. In doing so, it’s qualified for the Elite Quality Recognition Award for the third consecutive year in the MT103 Elite category. JPMorgan Chase & Co is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.3 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers,

JP Morgan small business and commercial banking, financial in the United States and many of the worlds most transaction processing, asset management and pri- prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its JP Morgan and Chase brands. vate equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers at

Canon launches new web-enabled All-In-1 DUBAI: Canon Middle East yesterday announced a new compact, webenabled, All-in-One printer packed with clever features to suit students or families looking for an affordable, quality printer with the latest web features. The PIXMA MG4140 comes in a stylish black design with enhanced functionality and connectivity features to make printing from smartphones and tablets easier than ever before. The MG4140 also features duplex printing functionality and environmentally responsible design features, as well as a range of smart software to enable users to get the most out of their printed documents and photos. CONNECT AND SHARE Thanks to integrated Wi-Fi capabilities, the MG4140 can scan and copy from virtually anywhere in the home. With Canon’s Easy Photo-Print App, PC-free printing and scanning and wireless mobile printing from iOS(tm) or Android(tm) devices is also quick and easy. With direct access to the cloud, users can even print their favorite photos stored on online albums, including CANON iMAGE GATEWAY and Picasa Web Albums, using Online Album Photo Print via the PIXMA Cloud Link. The time saving MG4140 also includes a range of print-ready templates, including calendars, envelopes, stationery, memos and other useful resources, which are all available at the touch of a button with Web Template Print. ENHANCED FUNCTIONALITY Printing premium quality documents and photos at home is fast with the new MG4140; a quality 10x15cm borderless photo, printed in default mode, is produced in approximately 44 seconds, with ISO speeds of 9.9ipm for black and white documents and 5.7ipm for colour. For frequent users, Canon FINE ink cartridges now come in a high yield XL size offering up to 50% cost per page savings over standard tanks1. The models are ideal for both text documents and photo printing; FINE print head technology with a mini-

mum 2pl droplet size, combined with maximum 4800dpi print resolution, produces beautiful photo prints and crisp word documents. The MG4140 also features a 6.0cm LCD display for easy operation and comes with Auto Duplex Print allowing for automatic printing on both sides of the page for greater efficiency. SMART DESIGN The MG4140’s smart design and eco settings also mark it out from the crowd. A stylish high-gloss look and compact design makes the MG4140 fit into the most stylish of homes. Canon’s FastFront design allows paper and ink cartridges to be loaded into the front of the printer, so it can be placed against a wall or on a shelf, saving valuable space. For eco-conscious users, the new ECO Setting monitors paper and CO2 reductions and demonstrates the savings made by using the Auto Duplex mode. The Auto Power Off feature ensures the main power can be automatically turned off after a set time to save energy, whilst the Quick Start function allows the MG4140 to power up again quickly, for on-demand printing. SMART SOFTWARE The new MG4140 comes with a range of software solutions for smart printing

that will appeal to those looking for the very latest features. A comprehensive suite of intuitive software for photo and document printing and scanning comes as standard. For example, for keen photographers, Auto Photo Fix II software uses Face Detection and Scene Analysis technology to remove common flaws for great looking prints every time. When used with Canon genuine inks, the MG4140 comes with access to CREATIVE PARK and CREATIVE PARK PREMIUM, a fantastic free resource for printing cards, printable crafts and calendars. It also includes access to exclusive imagery and artwork from famous artists and photographers. Easy-WebPrint EX2 prints web pages exactly as required which means wasting paper or ink when printing from the internet is a thing of the past. The intuitive software means multiple web pages can be combined and printed on one page using Auto Clip or the one click fitto-page option, offering truly intelligent printing from the web. Easy-PhotoPrint EX software means users can impress friends and family and get creative with content - printing photos, calendars and albums. With new Fun Filter Effect, apply fun and artistic image effects to prints including Blur Background, Fish-eye, Soft Focus, Miniature and Toy Camera.

ABK organizes second draw for ‘Win a Million Miles with ABK’ KUWAIT: Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait carried out the second draw for its “Win a Million Miles with ABK” summer campaign. The draw was held on the 18th of July, at the main branch, under the supervision of the Ministr y of Commerce and Industry. “Win a Million Miles with ABK” gives ABK Emirates credit cardholders the oppor tunity of winning valuable prizes in the form of Skywards Miles. Cardholders who used their cards locally and overseas for KD 100 or above, between 1st and 30th June were entitled to enter the draw. The first prize of 125,000 Skywards miles was won by Khalid Al-Shehab, second prize winner of 75,000 Miles was Ali AlBahrani and lastly Mahmoud Saafan was the third prize winner with 50,000 Skywards Miles. Bader Al Turkait, AGM, Retail Banking stated, “ABK cardholders have a chance to win Skywards Miles and travel the world for free this summer. Those spending KD100 or over on their ABK Emirates card during the month of June were automatically entered into the draw. The more draw points they earned through spends the more chances they had of winning. In addition to the prizes, clients received up to 7 Skywards Miles for every KD 1 spent using their ABK Emirates credit cards”. The promotion is running till the 31st of August, with a grand draw prize of 500,000 Skywards Miles to be won in October 2012. For more information you can chat live with an ABK representative on Ahli Chat via our website or you can call Ahlan Ahli at 1 899 899.




Google chief declares war on ‘illicit networks’ THOUSAND OAKS: Google chief Eric Schmidt declared war on international criminals Tuesday, vowing to harness technology to battle “illicit networks” around the world. At a two-day summit including Interpol, government ministers and victims of forced labor and child slavery, Schmidt said the Internet can help fight traffickers of drugs, sex workers and organs. International police body Interpol used the conference to unveil a pioneering initiative to crack down on trade in fake goods, using an app developed with the help of search giant Google. “In a connected world, vulnerable people will be safer, trafficking victims can learn their rights, can find opportunities; organ harvesters can be named and brought to justice,” Schmidt said. “Connection protects us .. together we can use technology to protect the world,” he told the “Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition” summit in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles. Juan Pablo Escobar, the son of infamous former Colombian drug cartel

leader Pablo Escobar, joined the conference via Skype. “The moment I was the most scared was when I realized my country was using my father’s violent methods to fight him,” he told the summit, which will hear Wednesday from Alejandro Proire, interior minister of drug war-torn Mexico. Indian former child slave Rani Hong, who is now a UN advisor on child trafficking, wept as she recounted her own story. “I was beaten, I was tortured, we are talking about slavery at seven years old,” she said. “I was treated as a piece of property to be used to make profit... I cried and I cried. They told me to shut up and they said I didn’t have a word and nobody would listen to me.” In one concrete example of technology fighting crime, the Interpol Global Register (IGR) initiative aims to track illicit goods by verifying products through security features, using the scanning app. “Right now in special areas (like) pharmaceuticals, tobacco products and household goods, a consumer doesn’t know what’s fake and what’s

CHILLY-MAZARIN: A French customs officer carries seized counterfeit cigarettes before destruction in a special truck in this file photo at the postal sorting center of Chilly Mazarin, near Paris. Global policing body Interpol announced yesterday a pioneering initiative to crack down on trade in fake goods, using an app developed with the help of search giant Google. —AFP real,” Interpol chief Ronald Noble said. “We came up with this idea that will allow a consumer or law enforcement or businesses to scan a code and determine whether or not it can be

verified as authentic,” he added. “It becomes green or red. Green means verified, red means not verified.” Google designed the application for Android devices, but Interpol plans

versions for other platforms, including Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft. One of the first users of the new system is PharmaSecure, which stamps unique security codes on more than one million packets of pharmaceuticals produced every day in India alone. Noble explained: “In India what they do is they put unique numbers on packages of pharmaceutical products. “The goal would be that if the product is supposed to go to country A and it’s somehow in country C, and you scan it, it will come out as nonverified. It means that the consumer should be careful. “So, the same time it’s being scanned, the country (where it was produced) knows it’s being scanned. So it will be able to map where this illicit traffic goes.” Schmidt said the global village created by the Internet and technology was a tool that must be harnessed for good. “The connected community is a stronger community. So today that village will revolt if their mobile devices were seized. That’s how important technology is,” he said. — AFP

Ford to launch 2013 Fusion Automaker ramps up social media DETROIT: Jim Farley led Ford Motor Co’s first aggressive push into social media with the launch of the Fiesta subcompact in the US three years ago. But Ford’s top marketing executive says the automaker has only just reached the big leagues online. The launch of the 2013 Fusion sedan represents a more extensive use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube by the No 2 US automaker to advertise its models than previous efforts. In 2009, Ford’s campaign for its Fiesta small car, the “Fiesta Movement,” was largely confined to social media sites and relied heavily on potential customers to upload videos and post online messages about their cars. By contrast, the campaign for the Fusion, one of the most popular US family sedans, will be scripted by seven comedy writers and features ‘American Idol’ host and red-carpet fixture Ryan Seacrest. The videos will run on TV, radio and online. “The ‘Fiesta Movement’ was awesome, but the scale was totally different,”

Farley said in an interview. “That’s like the Toledo Mud Hens,” he said, referring to the Detroit Tigers’ minor league baseball team. “We’re talking about the Yankees here.” The redesigned Fusion, which will be on sale in the fall, is one of Ford’s most crucial vehicle launches in recent years, and provides a chance for the company to strengthen its place in the bread-and-butter midsize sedan segment. With the Fusion, Ford takes aim at the two dominant models in the midsize segment, Toyota Motor Corp’s Camry and Honda Motor Co’s Accord. In 2009, Ford spent $5 million on the Fiesta promotional campaign. The kind of recognition that followed would have cost $100 million through more traditional means, Farley said in an investor presentation last November. Ford declined to say how much it is spending on the Fusion social media campaign, called “Random Acts of Fusion,” which also features actors Joel McHale and Kate

Micucci. In the Fusion campaign, the three celebrities must dole out 100 Fusion sedans, as the wide-eyed Micucci attempts to referee a faux feud between Seacrest and McHale, a comedian who has made a career out of poking fun at Seacrest. In one Ford spot, McHale deadpans that Seacrest’s teeth are so perfect that “they make pearls commit suicide.” Farley said the celebrities were chosen on the strength of their online popularity. Collectively, the three have more than 10 million followers on Twitter, with Seacrest accounting for more than 7.3 million. This dwarfs the 141,000 that track Ford’s main Twitter account. According to Klout, a company that uses Twitter and Facebook to measure influence online, Seacrest, McHale and Micucci are in the 95th percentile of influence. “All three of them were important because they already have very large social grasps,” Farley said. “We’re not starting from scratch.” — Reuters

With super-efficient toilets, high technology goes down the drain TOKYO: Japanese actress Shinobu Otake displays a new smartphone for elderly people, the “Raku-Raku smartphone”, produced by Fujitsu in Tokyo. The new smartphone has a four-inch touch screen handset and is based on Google’s Android OS, but the user does not have to register a Google account as per normal usage. Japan’s mobile giant NTT DoCoMo will start to sell the Raku-Raku smartphone next month, as the company bids to tap into the an ageing consumer population. — AFP

PayPal stuffs startup in its smartphone wallet SAN FRANCISCO: EBay-owned online financial transactions titan PayPal has announced that it has bought a San Francisco startup focused on using smartphone cameras to take credit card payments. PayPal has worked with to fold its technology into its own mobile application and decided to buy the company, according to PayPal vice president of global product Hill Ferguson. “We were simple blown away by the creativity and drive of their employees,” Ferguson said in a blog post. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. will continue to provide kits for software developers to build credit card scanning capabilities into applications for Apple or Android-powered smartphones, according to Ferguson. The technology lets payments be made using data captured from pictures of credit cards taken with smartphone cameras. “We can’t wait to get them involved in helping us change the future of shopping and payments,” Ferguson said. PayPal has been ramping up services tailored for mobile devices as smartphones and tablet computers weave ever tighter into modern lifestyles.

PayPal faces competition from startup Square, a brainchild of Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, and Google Wallet technology for Android smartphones. PayPal in March started to allow merchants across the world to take payments using smartphones in a direct challenge to Square. A PayPal Here system currently in “exclusive release” uses a triangle-shaped “dongle” card reader that plugs into mobile devices to let people make purchases. PayPal Here software also lets shopkeepers take payments by snapping a picture of a card with a smartphone instead of having to swipe it in the dongle. Square has been a hit with independent entrepreneurs and small businesses as wide ranging as masseuses and taxi drivers to farmers and bicycle shops. Dorsey’s Square, based in San Francisco, has been lauded as disruptive new technology since the application and accompanying dongle, the shape of which gave the startup its name, was released in the United States in 2010. Google Wallet takes a different approach by letting users store credit card data in secure chips in Android smartphones that can transmit the data to sensors at shop checkout stations. — AFP

Endangered languages get a Google protection plan MEXICO CITY: Google has unveiled an online information exchange platform to try to give some extra lasting power to more than 3,000 endangered languages. Called, it is out to help improve the exchange of digital source materials in languages spoken by small numbers of people, from Navajo in the United States, to Aragonese in Spain, to Koro in India and Burunge in Tanzania. “It is an open, on-line platform where anybody can get on and start sharing materials in those languages which are in danger of being lost,” said Miguel Alba, Google’s Mexico marketing chief. “Today there are around 7,000 lan-

guages spoken around the world, but half of them are expected not to survive to the end of this century,” Alba said. It is hoped that the languages will get an extra dose of energy as users share texts, videos, photos and audio files. “Generally languages that are threatened are being abandoned by their own speakers as they are not seen as positive and speakers instead opt for another language seen as more economically or socially advantageous, said anthropologist Francisco Barriga. But if users see their languages reflected positively in world media they may start taking stock more seriously, of all that can be lost, Barriga said.— AFP

SAN JOSE: It’s one of the most critical pieces of technology in your home. And though most consumers don’t think of their humble toilet as a tech product, researchers and engineers at global companies like Caroma and Toto are racing to improve designs so toilets consume far less water. Recent droughts, a growing global population and concerns about the impact of climate change on the world’s water resources have led to a surge of interest in water conservation as well as efforts to “reinvent the toilet” to convert human waste into fertilizer and fuel. Americans use vast quantities of water - on average, 350 gallons a day. Toilets and bathrooms are the main source of water use in the home, with toilets accounting for roughly 25 percent of indoor water use. Many older toilets use from 3.5 gallons to as much as 7 gallons per flush, or gpf. With the average person flushing at least five times a day, that quickly adds up. A 1.6 gpf toilet, which became the industry standard in the 1990s, uses about 2,900 gallons a year. Switching to a 1.28 gpf “High Efficiency Toilet,” or HET, cuts that to 2,300 gallons a year. The basic parts of a toilet include the tank, the bowl and the “trapway,” or snakelike tube on the side of the toilet that the water flushes through. Standard toilets use what’s known as a “gravity” flush. Some HETs use “pressure assist” technologies, where a pressurized air tank helps push water down the drain. But those systems suffered a setback late last month, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of the Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted flushing system after reports of tank lids shattering. The company, based in Michigan, received 304 reports of the units in toilets bursting, resulting in property damage and 14 impact or laceration injuries. Toto, a Japanese company, holds the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the toilet with the most functions: a model with a heated seat that lifts automatically, an air-freshening and deodorizing function, and auto cleansing. But Toto says its most significant advancement to date is a onegallon-per-flush gravity toilet, an industry first. The toilet features Toto’s Double Cyclone flushing system that the company claims “marries flawless performance and exceptional bowl cleansing action to ultra high-efficiency water-savings, creating a clean, green flushing system that saves money, water, and time.” The model, which costs about $600, should hit the US market this fall. “The challenge is to master the physics of moving water and waste through the bowl,” said David Krakoff, senior vice president of sales at Toto USA. “Our technologies have focused on different siphon designs, and the mastery of using different angles and water paths to create the flushing force in the bowl. The Double Cyclone has two “jets” that propel the water with a circular vortex action.” Caroma, based in Australia, invented what’s known as “dual flush technology” 30 years ago. Those toilets come with two buttons - one for bowel movements, one for urine. The “heavy flush” dispenses 1.28 gallons of water, while the low-flush option uses just 0.8 gallons, making it one of the most water-efficient flushes on the market. Though not as common in the United States, dual flush toilets have been mandated in Australia and New Zealand since 1992. “Australia is the driest continent in the world, and water is a real scarcity there,” said Doug Sproule of Caroma USA. “We first introduced dual flush in North America in the 1990s, and it’s becoming more popular in places that are looking to save water ... . We’ve also installed them in a lot of hotels in California.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which largely focuses on global health issues, notes that worldwide, 2.6 million people don’t have a safe, affordable way to go to the bathroom, leading to widespread sanitation, hygiene and health issues. Last July, in Rwanda, the foundation called for a bold strategy to “reinvent the toilet” and announced $42 million in grants aimed to spur innovations in the capture and storage of human waste, including waterless toilet that don’t rely on sewer connections and ways to turn waste into reusable energy and fertilizer. —MCT

TOKYO: Digital Act Inc’s new product ‘Mirubo’ is displayed during a press preview in Tokyo yesterday. Mirubo is a next-generation super high-functioning smart log 1080-line high-definition motion picture camera that uses digital image compression technology called “FantaPix” which was developed under a new concept to document life and business environments. — AFP

Kaspersky researchers, Seculert found ‘Madi’ DUBAI: Kaspersky Lab researchers have announced the results of a joint-investigation with Seculert, an Advanced Threat Detection company, regarding “Madi,” an active cyber-espionage campaign targeting victims in the Middle East. Originally discovered by Seculert, Madi is a computer network infiltration campaign that involves a malicious Trojan which is delivered via social engineering schemes to carefully selected targets. Kaspersky Lab and Seculert worked together to sinkhole the Madi Command & Control (C&C) servers to monitor the campaign. Kaspersky Lab and Seculert identified more than 800 victims located in Iran, Israel and select countries across the globe connecting to the C&Cs over the past eight months. Statistics from the sinkhole revealed that the victims were primarily business people working on Iranian and Israeli critical infrastructure projects, Israeli financial institutions, Middle Eastern engineering students, and various government agencies communicating in the Middle East. In addition, examination of the malware identified an unusual amount of religious and political ‘distraction’ documents and images that were dropped when the initial infection occurred. “While the malware and infrastructure is very basic compared to other similar projects, the Madi attackers have been able to conduct a sustained surveillance operation against high-profile vic-

tims,” said Nicolas Brulez, Senior Malware Researcher, Kaspersky Lab. “Perhaps the amateurish and rudimentary approach helped the operation fly under the radar and evade detection.” “Interestingly, our joint analysis uncovered a lot of Persian strings littered throughout the malware and the C&C tools, which is unusual to see in malicious code. The attackers were no doubt fluent in this language,” said Aviv Raff, Chief Technology Officer, Seculert. The Madi info-stealing Trojan enables remote attackers to steal sensitive files from infected Windows computers, monitor sensitive communications such as email and instant messages, record audio, log keystrokes, and take screenshots of victims’ activities. Data analysis suggests that multiple gigabytes of data have been uploaded from victims’ computers. Common applications and websites that were spied on include accounts on Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, ICQ, Skype, Google+, and Facebook. Surveillance is also performed over integrated ERP/CRM systems, business contracts, and financial management systems. Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Virus system detects the Madi malware variants along with its associated droppers and modules, classified as Trojan.Win32.Madi. To read the full research post by Kaspersky Lab’s experts please visit Securelist. To read Seculert’s research about the Madi campaign please visit the Seculert Blog.



health & science

Highly anticipated weight-loss pill wins US nod WASHINGTON: A new weightloss pill that many doctors consider the most effective of a new generation of anti-obesity drugs got the approval of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. The pill, called Qsymia, was approved for patients who are overweight or obese and also have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. The drug offers hope for those who have failed to lose weight in other ways, but its path to approval also underscores how difficult it has been for drugmakers to find obesity treatments that are safe and effective. The drug’s maker, Vivus Inc, said it plans to bring the drug to market in the fourth quarter of this year. It hasn’t yet decided what the pills will cost. In testing, the drug made led patients to lose more weight than two other weight-loss pills recently review by the FDA. Patients taking Qsymia for a year lost 6.7 percent of their body weight in one study and

8.9 percent in another study, the FDA said. The company said patients on the strongest formulation tested lost nearly 11 percent of their weight. Despite its impressive performance in clinical trials, Qsymia is not exactly a scientific breakthrough. The drug is actually a combination of two older drugs long known to help with weight loss: phentermine and topirimate. Phentermine is a stimulant that suppresses the appetite, and has long been used for short-term weight loss. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant, sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax, that makes people feel more satisfied after eating. Researchers say the innovation of Qsymia lies in targeting more than one of the brain signals that drive people to overeat. “We now know there are multiple pathways that determine how much energy we take in every day,” said Dr. Tim Garvey of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “If you intervene on one pathway it’s hard to make much of a differ-

ence, you really need to attack multiple mechanisms to get a pronounced effect.” Garvey helped conduct several pivotal trials of the drug. Qsymia is the second weight-loss drug approved by the FDA in less than a month, following Arena Pharmaceutical’s pill Belviq in

But a long line of prescription diet pills have been associated with dangerous side effects, particularly heart problems. In 1997, the popular diet drug combination fen-phen was linked to heart valve damage. The cocktail of phentermine and fenfluramine was a popular

late June. Previously the agency had not approved a new drug for long-term weight loss since 1999. With US obesity rates nearing 35 percent of the adult population, many doctors have called on the FDA to approve new weight-loss treatments.

weight-loss combination prescribed by doctors, though it was never approved by the FDA. Fenfluramine was eventually withdrawn from the market. Other safety failures for diet pills have continued to pile up in recent years. In 2010, Abbott

Laboratories withdrew its drug Meridia after a study showed it increased risks for heart attack and stroke. The FDA’s approvals of Qsymia and Belviq suggest a new willingness to make weight-loss medications available, even in the face of lingering safety issues. The FDA initially rejected Vivus’ drug in 2010 over concerns that it can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. The agency laid out a risk-management plan Tuesday specifically designed to minimize the chance of the women becoming pregnant while using the drug. It recommends that women of childbearing age test negative for pregnancy before starting the drug and take a monthly pregnancy test while taking it. The agency also said patients with recent or unstable heart disease or stroke aren’t good candidates for the drug because its effect on heart rates in those patients is not known. Vivus has to do studies of the heart effects of Qsymia, the FDA said. Analysts estimate the

new pill could garner more than $1 billion in sales by 2016, though Mountain View, California-based Vivus plans a slow rollout. The pill will launch with a relatively small sales force of 150 representatives. Company executives say their initial marketing efforts will focus on obesity specialists, not general doctors. “We’re going to have to grow our sales organization in order to support the primary care market,” Vivus President Peter Tam said in an interview with AP. Vivus had originally planned to market the drug under the brand name Qnexa. However, FDA regulators ordered the company to change the name to avoid potential confusion with similar-sounding drugs. Rival Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. of San Diego plans to start selling Belviq early next year. A third California drugmaker, Orexigen Therapeutics Inc, is still running clinical trials of its product, Contrave, and is working toward an FDA approval date in 2014. —AFP

HIV drug resistance creeps higher: WHO WASHINGTON: Drug resistance to HIV medicines has been creeping higher in parts of Africa and Asia but is not steep enough to cause alarm, said a survey released by the World Health Organization yesterday. In lowand middle-income countries, drug resistance stood at 6.8 percent in 2010, the WHO said in its first-ever report on the matter released ahead of the International AIDS Conference in the US capital July 22-27. “That is a level that we sort of expected. It is not dramatic but we clearly need to look very carefully on how this would evolve further,” WHO AIDS chief Gottfried Hirnschall said in an interview. Drug resistance can occur when the virus mutates naturally, when treatment is interrupted or patients take the medications incorrectly. The 6.8 percent figure relates to the level of HIV drug resistance transmitted from one person to another, meaning those people were found to be resistant to the first-line of therapy they tried. The other main type of resistance is one that develops in a patient who takes medications irregularly. Since many

more people in the developing world are now receiving antiretroviral drugs, experts have been closely monitoring to see whether a surge in drug resistance would accompany the increased coverage. Some eight million people in low- and middle-income countries were being treated with antiretrovirals last year, up 20 percent from 2010 according to a separate report by UNAIDS released yesterday. High-income countries, many of which began widescale treatment for HIV years earlier and used single or dual therapies that can also encourage resistance, face higher rates of resistance, from eight to 14 percent, said the study. However, those rates have largely leveled off or decreased over time, Hirnschall noted.”What we have also seen in these countries is it has stabilized or plateaued while we are still seeing a slight increase in low- and middleincome countries,” he told AFP. In 12 of the low- and middle-income countries included in the study, health care facilities lost contact with up to 38 percent of peo-

ple who began treatment. When people interrupt or stop their treatment altogether, “this not only means that they are themselves more likely to become sick, it also increases the likelihood that drug resistance will emerge and the resistant virus could be transmitted to others,” the report said. The WHO called for every clinic providing such treatment to monitor for early warning indicators that could signal encroaching resistance, including poor adherence to treatment, types of medicines used and supply breaks. Also, any rise in the amount of virus detected in the patient’s blood should serve as a signal that the treatment is failing, the WHO said. For now, there is no need to change to current guidelines for administering antiretroviral drugs due to the slight rise in resistance, it added. “Simpler regimens using fixed-dose combinations have made it much easier for people to adhere to antiretroviral treatment, limiting the spread of drug resistance in recent years. This is good news for public health,” Hirnschall said. —AFP

Black gay males in US worst hit by HIV/AIDS WASHINGTON: HIV-AIDS is affecting black gay men in the United States on a scale unseen among any other group in the developed world, said a report issued yesterday ahead of the International AIDS Conference. So grave is the crisis that in some US cities, one in two black men who have sex with other men are HIV positive, according to the report from the Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV-AIDS think tank focusing on African Americans. “AIDS in America is a black disease, no matter how you look at it,” its president and chief executive Phill Wilson, who is himself HIV positive, said ahead of Sunday’s opening of the six-day global conference. “The best lens through which to figure out what AIDS looks like in America is to look at AIDS in black America,” he said in an interview, adding that it was time to “jump-start a new conversation... and build a robust response” to the crisis. The 74-page report, “Back of the Line: The State of

AIDS Among Black Gay Men in America,” says black gay and bisexual men make up one in 500 Americans overall, but account for one in four new HIV infections in the United States. HIV prevalence among such

Phil Wilson men is twice as high than among their white counterparts. They are also far less likely to be alive three years after being diagnosed with AIDS than white or Latino gays and bisexuals. What’s more, black

gay and bisexual men are seven times more likely than non-black counterparts to have undiagnosed HIV. “Black gay and bisexual men are still being devastated by HIV and AIDS,” said Wilson, whose Los Angeles-based organization counts the prestigious Ford Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation among its funding sources. “The AIDS epidemic is not over in that population. Quite frankly, it is the worst epidemic in all of the developed world, and an epidemic that rivals much of the developing world.” The concerns echo those of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which earlier this month called upon African American clergy to do more to address the HIV-AIDS crisis. “Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, more likely to die from the disease, and less likely to receive treatment than any other race” in the United States, said the civil rights organization in a report. —AFP

YALTA, Ukraine: White lion cubs are seen during feeding time in the Yalta Zoo in the Crimean Peninsula on Tuesday. Five white lion cubs were born in the Crimea two weeks ago, three of them in a safari park and two in the Yalta Zoo. They are brought up together at the Yalta Zoo. Cubs have no names but they will be named in a few months when they grow up. —AP

Physical inactivity a killer PARIS: A third of the world’s adults are physically inactive, and the couch potato lifestyle kills about five million people every year, experts said in the medical journal The Lancet yesterday. “Roughly three of every 10 individuals aged 15 years or older - about 1.5 billion people - do not reach present physical activity recommendations,” they said in a report that described the problem as a “pandemic”. The picture for adolescents is even more worrying, with four out of five 13- to 15-yearolds not moving enough, it said. Physical inactivity was described for the study as failing to do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week, 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week, or a combination of the two. Inactivity increases with age, is higher in women than in men, and more prevalent in highincome countries, the researchers found. A second study, comparing physical activity levels with population statistics on diseases like diabetes, heart problems and cancer, said lack of exercise claimed more than 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008. It said inactivity was a risk factor comparable to smoking or obesity. Lack of exercise causes an estimated six percent of coronary heart disease cases, seven percent of type 2 diabetes (the most common form) and 10 percent of breast and colon cancers, it said. Reducing inactivity by 10 percent could eliminate more than half a million deaths every year, the report said, adding that the estimates were conservative. The human body needs exercise to help the bones, muscles, heart and other organs function optimally, but populations are walking, running and cycling less and less as they spend more time in cars and in front of computers, the investigators said. The Lancet series called for global efforts to promote physical exercise by improving pedestrian and cyclist safety on city roads, for example, more physical education at school or promoting access to free public exercise spaces. —AFP

RUMANGABO, DRC: Patrick Karabaranga, a warden at the Virunga National Park, plays with an orphaned mountain gorilla in the gorilla sanctuary in the park headquarters in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday. The Virunga park is home to some 210 mountain gorillas, approximately a quarter of the world’s population. The four orphans that live in the sanctuary are the only mountain gorillas in the world not living in the wild, having been brought here after their parents were killed by poachers or as a result of traffickers trying to smuggle them out of the park. ‘They play a critical part in the survival of the species’ says Emmanuel De Merode, Director for Virunga National Park. He adds that the ICCN does not currently have access to the gorilla sector of the park due to the M23 rebellion. —AFP

End of AIDS in sight: US expert WASHINGTON: Three decades into the AIDS pandemic an end to new infections is in sight, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We don’t even know if a cure is possible. What we know is it is possible that we can end this pandemic even without a cure,” Fauci told AFP in an interview ahead of the International AIDS conference July 22-27 in the US capital. Some 34 million people around the world are living with human immunodeficiency virus, which has killed 25 million since it first emerged in the 1980s. The theme of this conference, held every two years, is “Turning the Tide Together,” and is based on experts sharing knowledge of the latest advances and how to best implement them in order to halt new cases of HIV/AIDS. “We have good and effective treatments but we have to keep people on the treatments indefinitely in order to keep them well,” said Fauci, referring to antiretroviral drugs which have transformed a deadly disease into a manageable condition. “When you have a very marked diminution of the number of new infections then you reach what we call and AIDS-free generation.” Fauci said he did not expect any staggering breakthroughs to be announced at the conference, but that the gain would come though collaborating on ideas to speed progress by using the tools that practitioners have already at hand. Otherwise, if progress continues at the present rate of reducing new infections worldwide by about 1.5 percent per year, the goal becomes too distant, he said. Recent studies that tested antiretroviral drugs in healthy people as a way to prevent getting HIV through sex with infected partners have shown some promise, though getting people to take their medication daily had proven a challenge. “The important thing is you have to take your medication,” Fauci said, noting that average HIV risk reduction in a study of men who have sex with men was just 44 percent. The approach of treating healthy peo-

ple with antiretrovirals is known as preexposure prophylaxis, and “is not for everyone,” Fauci said. “We have to selectively use it.” The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first pill for HIV prevention, Truvada, despite concerns by some in the health care community that it could encourage drug resistance and risky sex. Novel ways to boost testing are also good news, particularly with the recent US approval of the first at-home HIV test. “It is so important in the quest to ending the AIDS pandemic to get as many people tested as possible. You can link them to care and get them on treatment. Anything that makes that goal easier would be an important advance.” As far as an AIDS vaccine, Fauci said researchers have made “good progress” but “still have a long way to go”. Experts are examining a trial done in Thailand that showed in 2009 modest efficacy of just over 30 percent, but is still considered a breakthrough and offers clues for future study into why some were helped and others were not. Fauci also said he did not expect much concern to be raised over upcoming reports of the extent of drug resistance to antiretrovirals. “People may think I am taking it lightly but quite frankly it is not a serious problem,” Fauci said. He added that overall, AIDS research is “going well” even though “funding is restricted right now.” And he expressed pride in the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), “which has really transformed how you can get people in low income countries to get on treatment care and prevention.” The United States provides almost half the world’s funding for international HIV assistance, according to UNAIDS. The International AIDS Conference is returning to the United States after more than two decades away due to a ban on travel and immigration by people with HIV that was lifted in 2008 and signed into law in 2009. Fauci called those restrictive laws “unfortunate” and “embarrassing”. —AFP



health & science

Australian woman wins thalidomide settlement SYDNEY: An Australian woman born without arms and legs after her mother took thalidomide during pregnancy, yesterday won a landmark multi-million dollar settlement in her class action against drug firms. Lynette Rowe, 50, is leading a mass lawsuit on behalf of people born with congenital defects in Australia and New Zealand between 1958 and 1970 whose mothers took the sedative thalidomide, made by German chemical firm Grunenthal. Rowe claims her condition was caused by her mother ’s consumption of thalidomide and is suing Grunenthal, defunct Britishbased distributor The Distillers Company and Diageo. Distillers is now part of Diageo, which was created through the merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness in 1997. Lawyers told the Supreme Cour t in Vic toria state that Rowe had reached a confidential settlement in her case with Diageo yesterday, describing it as a “multi-million dollar amount”. “(It) will be sufficient to provide a very good level of care for Lyn for the rest of her life,” said Rowe’s counsel, Peter Gordon. Gordon said it was a “fair and consistent ” result which showed compassion and understanding for Rowe, who has been cared for by her parents around the clock since she was born. Diageo also agreed to

negotiate with other claimants in the case, in which Gordon’s firm said it had been contacted by “over 100 people”, including two claims that were now “well advanced”. The case against Grunenthal will contin-

final claimants to come forward. Rowe’s team claims that Grunenthal saw Australia as a priority market for thalidomide and “flooded” it with the morning sickness drug, with eight million tablets on the

made numerous attempts to derail the case and now “refused to contribute to the settlement”. “The facts about Grunenthal and thalidomide need to come out,” Magazanik said. “Grunenthal never tested

MELBOURNE: Lynette Rowe (center) is seen with her legal team and supporters leaving the Supreme Court in. Rowe won a landmark multi-million dollar settlement in her class action lawsuit against drug firms. —AFP ue, but Rowe’s lawyers plan to ask for the hearing, slated for October, to be pushed back to Aug 2013 to allow for settlement negotiations and for any

shelves when investigators finally linked it to bir th injuries. Gordon’s co-counsel Michael Magazanik said Grunenthal had

the drug on pregnant animals or followed up its effect in pregnant women, yet assured doctors the drug was exceptionally safe.” The pharmaceutical giant

issued a statement saying it regretted “the consequences of the thalidomide tragedy”, but believed it acted responsibly in development of the drug and would “fully defend” any legal action. “Grunenthal maintains that its actions were consistent with the state of scientific knowledge and the prevailing standards for pre-marketing and testing of the pharmaceutical industry in the 1950s,” it said. Rowe wept as the settlement was announced, saying it proved that “you don’t need arms and legs to change the world”, while her now elderly parents Ian and Wendy expressed pride in their daughter ’s fighting spirit. “ Those pills that Wendy and thousands of other women took 50 years ago have caused so much heartache and suffering, but at least something positive is now being done to put some things right,” said Rowe’s father. Thalidomide was launched in the late 1950s and was sold in nearly 50 countries before it was withdrawn after babies began showing severe side effects from the drug. An estimated 10,000 children worldwide were born with deformities, including the absence of arms and legs, as a result of their mothers taking the drug. Gordon described it as “the greatest pharmaceutical disaster in history”. —AFP

Cambodia closes schools amid fear of virus spread PHNOM PENH: Cambodia closed all its kindergartens and primary schools yesterday to prevent the spread of a deadly virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease and has killed at least 55 children since April, a senior government official said. Sixty-one cases had been identified as the Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), which has affected children between the ages of three months and 11 years. The outbreak has raised concern in other parts of the region, such as Thailand and the Philippines. Children have tested positive in both countries for strains of hand, foot and mouth disease, although no deaths have been reported. In Cambodia, 55 children are known to have died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most were younger than three years old and died within 24 hours of being admitted to hospital. “After receiving report from some provinces about the rapid spread of hand, foot and mouth disease in schools, we don’t have to wait two more weeks,” Mak Van, Education Ministry Secretary of State, told Reuters. He said the closures would be in force for 10 weeks. Schools had been due to close for holidays at the end of August. The WHO, which has been helping Cambodia investigate the deaths, said yesterday it was concerned the closures could cause alarm. The authorities, it said, were able to contain the spread. “We did not recommend the closing of nurseries and primary schools because that would create unnecessary public panic,” WHO representative Sonny Krishnan said in an email. “The HFMD caused by EV-71 is under control by the Ministry of Health and ...(it has) the capacity to contain it.” He said the authorities were monitoring the situation and no new cases had been confirmed. Neighbouring Thailand has closed 18 schools in Bangkok to try to prevent a spread of various strains of hand, foot and mouth disease, of which there have been at least 12,500 cases nationwide since the start of the year. The Ministry of Public Health has drafted a surveillance plan to try to prevent the EV-71 strain from taking a hold in Thailand. In the Philippines, health officials said two children had tested positive for the enterovirus, but not necessarily the deadly EV71. The two came from different regions and neither had travelled recently outside the country. “We are still awaiting the (lab) results,” said Eric Tayag of the Department of Health. “They are not in the same neighbourhood. They are less than eight and are doing all right now.” He said health officials had wanted to “alert the public that hand, foot and mouth doesn’t have to come from other countries. We have them, except that we don’t have the form of the disease. Most likely it’s not EV-71, but the laboratories should tell us that better.” Chinese authorities on Sunday said hand, foot and mouth disease had killed 17 people and infected nearly 35,000 in central Hunan province since June, according to the official Xinhua news agency. —Reuters



WHAT’S ON Burgan Bank announces branch timings for Ramadan urgan Bank announced its new branch timings which will be applicable all throughout the holy month of Ramadan. All Burgan Bank branches will commence work in one shift from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Additionally, the Airport branch will be open seven days a week in the mornings from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm and in the evenings from 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm. On this occasion, Burgan Bank extends its best wishes to everyone during the holy month of Ramadan.


Announcements Indian Embassy passport and visa Passports and Visa applications can be deposited at the two outsourced centers of M/S BLS Ltd at Sharq and Fahaheel. Details are available at and . Consular Open House Consular Wing is providing daily service of Open House to Indian citizens on all workings days from 1000 hrs to 1100 hrs and from 1430 hrs to 1530 hrs by the Consular Officer in the Meeting Room of the Consular Hall at the Embassy. For any unaddressed issues, Second Secretary (Consular) can be contacted. Furthermore, the head of the Consular Wing is also available to redress grievances. Indian workers helpline/helpdesk Indian workers helpline is accessible by toll free telephone number 25674163 from all over Kuwait. It provides information and advice to Indian workers as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. The help desk at the Embassy (Open from 9AM to 1PM and 2PM to 4:30PM, Sunday to Thursday) provides guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal and other issues. It also provides workers assistance in filling up labour complaint forms. For any unaddressed issues, the concerned attachÈ in the Labour section and the head of the Labour Wing can be contacted. Legal Advice Clinic Free legal advice is provided on matters pertaining to labour disputes, terms of contracts with employers, death/accident compensation, withholding of dues by employers, etc. by lawyers on our panel, to Indian nationals on all working days between 1500hrs to 1600hrs. Ambassador’s Open House The Open House for Indian citizens by the Ambassador is being held on all Wednesdays at the Embassy for redressal of grievances. In case Wednesday is an Embassy holiday, the meeting will be held on the next working day.

Al-Manshar Rotana celebrates annual staff party l-Manshar Rotana recently held its annual staff party, in appreciation of the hard work of all its employees and their outstanding efforts and great accomplishments attained throughout the past year. Staff and management presented traditional dances , songs, and acts, more than 200 of the Rotana team along with their families were present in this occasion and juries to evaluate the associate’s incredible performance were also present the function. In his opening speech during the celebration, Pierre Zayoun, Hotel General Manager, thanked all the associates for their great performance and work dedication throughout the year of 2011 emphasizing to keep on the good work, and exceptional care of the hotel guests by focusing on offering superior services and quality. Taking place at Al-Kout Ballroom, the


party kicked off with a glamorous flash mob performed by the hotel employees followed by a number of wonderful parts

and departmental shows, in addition to distributing prizes for the distinguished individuals of the different departments

Registration for Ramadan STARS Squash Tournament begins nce again this year, the stage is set for the fourth annual ‘Ramadan STARS Squash Tournament’ to be held from August 3 to 9 at the Kazma Sporting Club, Adailiya. Abdulrahim AlAwadi, the Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee has announced that doors are now open for registration to all those who are interested in participating, stating that the deadline for registration will be August 1. The participation in this tournament is open to all and will fall under three categories this year. The first category is for amateurs from ages 17 and above, second category is for professional players from ages 20 and above and the third category is for ladies 17 and above. Following its last three years of grand success, the 4th annual Ramadan STARS


Squash Tournament is being organized during Ramadan for squash lovers who will have an opportunity to practice the sport while being encouraged to develop their skills in a healthy, competitive and social environment. Al-Awadi, the Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee, commented, “In our last tournaments, we have received very positive feedback and have witnessed a huge number of interested participants thus giving us immense encouragement to hold an exciting tournament this year. The 2012 squash tournament offers a great opportunity to all squash players to accept another challenge and build on their sports skills in midst of a friendly atmosphere. I highly encourage all interested players to maintain their level of activity during Ramadan while

balancing fitness and fasting and to register before the deadline ends”. All details pertaining to the tournament and means to participate can be found on the tournaments facebook page under ‘Ramadan Stars Squash Tourney’ or follow the official twitter page @RamadanStars for updates. The registration is taking place at GO SPORT store located at The Avenues Mall. Alawadi also pointed out the great interest the ‘Ramadan Stars Squash tournament’ received from the private sector, where companies took the initiative in sponsoring the tournament. Alawadi expressed his gratitude and thanks to Kazma Sporting Clun, Go Sport, Comtel, Vio, Unite Colors and Alawadi Photography guaranteeing unique prizes for all winners.

KIB announces Ramadan working hours

AWARE presentation Register and Win promotion at ity Centre, Kuwait’s premier mega-market, in association with, a leading online Indian community portal, is holding a monthlong ‘Register and Win’ promotion campaign. Any resident in Kuwait can participate in the promotion by visiting and registering their name, email and phone number. A winner will be picked each day (except Friday), from the list of names registered on the previous day, and receive a free shopping voucher worth KD10 from City Centre. To register and participate visit


and the hotel staff. The hotel team members who were prepared for the night well in advance had a magnificent unforgettable celebration filled with joy and happiness where they participated in different games and competitions, enjoyed the delicious dinner and entertainment program and then danced the night away. The fun-filled evening concluded with exciting lucky draws, Best Department Head of 2011, Employee of the Year 2011, Best Dressed Awards and Best Departmental Show. Al-Manshar Rotana, Kuwait is part of Al-Manshar shopping and entertainment complex. The five-star Fahaheel Hotel offers 200 luxurious rooms and suites, a variety of food and beverage outlets, sports and health facilities in addition to extensive and flexible meeting rooms.

amadan is a holy month that is special to Muslims. In Kuwait and other Gulf countries, Ramadan has a very special sense where religion merges with culture and traditions. The speaker will focus on this tremendous mix and then present some cultural practices related to Ramadan, which is a special month in the Islamic world. It will concentrate on how Muslims behave during the month of Ramadan, what are the deeds they care to do, customs of helping the poor and bonding between people, gergei’an, and finally preparing for and celebrating Eid. This presentation will focus on Kuwait but it will also show the similari-


ties of traditions between Kuwait and other Gulf countries. Join the AWARE Center on July 24 at 8:00 pm to learn more about some cultural practices in Kuwait and other Gulf countries during Ramadan. Wadha Al-shaheen is a translator translating Arabic into English and vice versa as well as Academic Advisor at the Ministry of High Education. She is an English Linguistics graduate from Kuwait University and an MA student of translation at the same University. For more information, call 25335260/80 or log onto:”

uwait International Bank has announced its working hours during the holy month of Ramadan in a press statement released by the bank stating: “We would like to congratulate our valued customers on the start of the holy month of Ramadan, and we are glad to announce that the bank’s working hours will be from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm at the head offices and its 18 branches distributed around Kuwait.” Similar to every year, KIB services and products will be accessible to all customers during the bank’s working hours, and around the clock customers can per-


form their banking transactions and submit their enquiries through Al-Dawli Weyak which offers a dedicated 24/7 call center and can accessed from anywhere around the world. KIB customers can also use Al-Dawli Online and SMS Banking to further manage their accounts and banking needs around the clock. For more information on KIB’s services and products, please visit the bank’s website on or check the latest updates on or follow us on Twitter @alDawliBank.

Aware Centre ‘Leniency of Islam’ An unprecedented initiative of KTV2 (English channel) is the new program by the name ‘Leniency of Islam’ presented by Shaikh Musaad Alsane and directed by Hamid Al-Turkait. The program is mainly meant to address the expatriates living in Kuwait. Religious questions are received through the program email and sms can be sent to97822021 and answered by the lecturer and Imam in Awqaf Ministry Shaikh Musaad Alsane - a Master Degree holder in Sharia and fiqih from Kuwait University. So don’t forget to watch the program every Friday at 1:00 pm.

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

he AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Summer 3 Arabic language courses will begin on August 12, 2012 until September 26, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed & 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 highlights * Introductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics * Better prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic

* Combine language learning with cultural insights * Taught in multi-nationality group settings * Provide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information, call 25335260/80 or log onto:”

Competitions in patriotic songs ndo-Kuwait Friendship Society, Kuwait ( is planning to conduct competitions in Indian and Kuwaiti Patriotic songs. This is the first time in Kuwait, an Indian Association is organizing contests in “Patriotic Songs” for both Indian and Kuwaiti School students. The first 3 places will be declared separately by Judges who are experts in Indian and Kuwaiti Patriotic songs. Several prizes and awards will be handed over for the winning schools. Pradeep Rajkumar and A K S Abdul Nazar said that IKFS wants let our children learn what they mean as a “Patriotic” to their home country. 4 pages of spot Essay com-


petition related to “Patriotism” also will be held in the same day as a spot registration. 1 Girl and 1 Boy student from each School can participate in the ESSAY contest. Dr. Mohamed Tareq, Chairman of the First Indian Model School in Kuwait “ Salmiya Indian Model School (SIMS) already confirmed as a Co-Sponsor of the Program. Conditions apply 1) The competitions are meant for all the Schools located in Kuwait and should be nominated by school authority. 2) Each school can select group of 7 students for the “PATRIOTIC SONGS (Indian and Kuwaiti)” and nominate separately. 3) Children of above 12 years till 17 years

(VII classes to XII classes) are eligible for the contest. But if School is permitted 4) Musical instruments or KARAOKE mixer should be accompanied by the participating students/Children and the school team should operate and select the mixers. 5) Time frame: 7 minutes - Names will be called as “First come” in the Registration. The Event will be held at the auditorium of “Salmiya Indian Model School” on Saturday, 27th October 2012 from 09:30 am onwards. It will be a full day program with fun and full of entertainments. Food-stalls of different Kuwaiti and Indian tastes will installed.

Ramadan Iftar he AWARE Center cordially invites you to its Ramadan Iftar to be preceded by a lecture entitled, “The Meaning of Ramadan,” by Iman Martin on July 26th, 2012 at 6:00pm. Ramadan presents a wonderful opportunity for westerners to learn more about Kuwait, to meet new individuals & have questions regarding Islam & the Holy month of Ramadan answered. During this special month, the communal meal referred to as Iftar, breaks the fast at the end of the day & brings family & friends together. As part of AWARE’s Ramadan activities, we invite you to join us for a Ramadan presentation followed by a traditional “Iftar dinner,” at the AWARE Center. Limited Seats: Advance reservations required at”





Embassy Information EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Australian Embassy Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visas and immigration matters in conducted by The Australian ConsulateGeneral in Dubai. Email: (VFS) (Visa Office); Tel: +971 4 355 1958 (VFS) - +971 4 508 7200 (Visa Office); Fax: +971 4 355 0708 (Visa Office). In Kuwait applications can be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre 4B 1st Floor, Al-Banwan Building Al-Qibla Area, Ali Al-Salem Street, opposite the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Working hours and days: 09:30 - 17:30; Sunday - Thursday. Or visit their website www.vfs-au-gcc-com for more information. Kuwait citizens can apply for tourist visas on-line at visa/e676.htm ■■■■■■■

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. ■■■■■■■


McDonald’s hosts private screening of Ice Age 4 cDonald’s Kuwait held two private screenings of the movie “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift” at Marina Mall on Tuesday evening. With the help and support of the Shabab Alkair Group, the first show included kids from a wide range of local children’s organizations including: Al-Kharafie Kids Center, Abeer 2, and various special needs organizations across the State of Kuwait. Guests from the media and their families and winners of past McDonald’s activities and games were also invited to attend the screening. The other screening was dedicated exclusively for staff members from McDonald’s head office and their families. Ronald McDonald, Ambassador of Goodwill accompanied the kids to the screening of the movie and shared smiles and laughs with them. Once the movie was done McDonald’s “Senior Stars” distributed goodie bags to the children that were filled with fun gifts


and souvenirs from the movie and the children were able to take pictures with Ronald to commemorate their evening. “McDonald’s Kuwait constantly demonstrates Its

support to the community and has always provided activities and events for the special needs community to bring smiles to their faces” stated George Khawam, Marketing Director of McDonald’s Kuwait. Khawam further commentated “Ice Age 4 is a movie for the whole family to enjoy, that’s why we have asked our staff members and members of the press to bring their families and share with us this wonderful evening filled with fun and happiness”. Operating since 1994 in Kuwait, McDonald’s today has 65 restaurants geographically located to service customers in many areas, committed to the well-being of the society with an active social responsibility agenda, while maintaining high-quality products served in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

Peppes Pizza celebrates Ramadan in true oriental style eppes Pizza makes your Ramadan iftar experience a delicious and delightful one with a great offer; you will find it hard to resist! Peppes Pizza with its unique blend of American, Norwegian and Scandinavian international restaurants concept will surely provide you with a unique taste of its different types of pizza with the soft, but crispy dough, signature Norwegian


sauces and nothing less than the freshest of toppings. For this holy month, Peppes Pizza is welcoming its guests at their Salmiya branch to enjoy a tantalizing and generous oriental iftar buffet including an unlimited and delicious range of pizzas! All in a wonderful Ramadan setting that will surely make your experience an unforgettable one.


Aligarh. He is a poet, writer and journalist of Urdu, English and Hindi. He has written byline stories as M Saleem and Muslim Saleem in scores of Urdu, Hindi and English newspapers and journals. He recently retired as news editor of Hindustan Times, a reputed English dai-

ly from Bhopal. His ghazals and short stories have been published in various prestigious magazines and newspapers including Sha’ir, Aahang, Aagahi, Naya Daur, Asri Adab, Awaz etc. His short story ‘Nangi Sadak Par’ was aired by Urdu Majlis of All India Radio in 1979. His collection of ghazals named ‘Amad Amad’ has been published by Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy. He have been contributing as poet, feature

writer and short story writer to AIR Allahabad and Bhopal. He is the only journalist who has written news and articles in three languages including English, Urdu and Hindi. He is the grandnephew of famous Urdu critic and philosopher Khalifa Abdul Hakeem and

son of great poet Dr Saleem Wahid Saleem. Since 2010 Muslim Saleem has compiled various directories of Urdu poets and writers of Urdu in India before and after the British rule in India. Janab Muslim Saleem has won several awards: Afsana “Nangi Sadak Par” at Aligarh Muslim University, “Yad-e-Basit Mushaira” at Bhopal. He was also honored at Allahabad during “Ek Shaam Muslim Saleem Ke Naam”. And several

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform Kenyan residents throughout Kuwait and the general public that with effect from June 1, 2012 the Embassy has moved from its current location to a new location in Surra Block 1, Street 8, Villa 303. Please note that the new telephone and fax numbers will be communicated as soon as possible. For enquiries you can contact Consular Section on mobile 90935162 or 97527306.

Special Issues of bilingual magazine “Adabi Kiran” published on his poetry. Both Haji Thumbay Moideen and Muslim Saleem in their consent letters addressed to IKFS President Dr Ghalib Al-Mashoor indicated that they are very much honored to be part of IndoKuwait Friendship Society ( for further enhancing of community relationship and extending friendships in Kuwait, as they felt that IKFS is considered as an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos and front runner of bringing various NRI issues with the appropriate authorities in India as well. Both Haji Thumbay Moideen and Muslim Saleem appreciated IKFS team’s efforts for preserving both Arab and Indian cultural identities in live activities. We have so far 21 Patrons representing many of India’s 28 states including few from Kuwait. As per the constitution, five distinguished personalities from each Indian state could be nominated by the committee. Some of our patrons, such as Dr. Kiran Bedi, IPS, Advocate R B Sree Kumar IPS , Dr. Biswaroop Choudhury are represented from different states in India. Advocate Sayid Nizar, Vice President and legal advisor of IKFS added.

CFC announces Ramadan timings ommercial Facilities Company (CFC) announced its new working hours during Ramadan. The CFC branches will open from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, Sundays to Thursdays. CFC is all ready to receive clients’ requests, facilitate their transactions and installments while providing premium services. On his part, Nasser Ali Al-Mannai, Assistant Managing Director Marketing, CFC, said, “On this holy occasion, we


wish all our clients a blessed month.” He added, “We welcome our clients in our headquarters in Sharq, in addition to our other branches in Hawally, Al Riggae, Fahaheel, and Jahra. Clients can also reach CFC through its representative offices available at 21 car showrooms and agencies across Kuwait as per their morning and evening shifts as means to foster our communication channels with them.” Clients can furthermore visit


EMBASSY OF INDIA During the holy month of Ramadan, the office timings of the Indian Passport and Visa Service Centres of BLS International Visa Services Co, Kuwait, situated at (i) Emad Commercial Centre, Basement Floor, Ahmed Al Jaber Street, Sharq, Kuwait, and (ii) Mujamma Unood, 4th floor, Office No. 25-26 Makka Street, Fahaheel, Kuwait, will be from 8.00 am - 3.00 pm from Saturday to Thursday (i.e. six days a week). Tokens for submission of applications will NOT be issued after 2.00 pm. Delivery of passports and visas will be from 11.00 am onwards. Embassy of India, Kuwait, will maintain its usual working hours. ■■■■■■■

Whether you decide to gather with friends or family, you will definitely enjoy an unforgettable feast. So be sure to pass by Peppes Pizza and enjoy your iftar the Peppes Pizza way and indulge with the authentic flavors!

IKFS nominates patrons n industrialist and philanthropist, as well as the Founder President of Ajman based Thumbay Group, Haji Thumbay Moideen and Janab Muslim Saleem, a world famed Urdu poet and winner of Madhya Pradesh’s multi-awards in “ Majalis Moshahira” have been nominated as the two patrons of Indo-Kuwait Friendship Society. Haji Thumbay Moideen hails from Karnataka state has built “ The Thumbay Group UAE” as an international business conglomerate with its head quarters in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. The group has progressed vigorously over the years and is managed by highly experienced professionals headed by the group President Haji Thumbay Moideen. His multi-national business group employs more than 1,500 personnel. Thumbay Moideen has featured among the top 100 most influential Indians in the Middle East in a 2010 survey undertaken by The Arabian Business Magazine, and has appeared as cover story in the International Magazine in April 2011 issue. He got “Best Achievement award” from the Ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al-Nuaimi. The “Mayura Award” for achievements in the field of medical education and healthcare by Karnataka Sangha, and many of the International awards. Janab Muslim Saleem, hails from Madhya Pradesh, but was brought up and educated in

Consular section at the British Embassy will be starting an online appointment booking system for our consular customers from Sunday, 01 July 2012. All information including how to make an appointment is now available on the embassy website. In addition, there is also a “Consular Appointment System” option under Quick links on the right hand side on the homepage, which should take you to the “Consular online booking appointment system” main page. Please be aware that from 01 July 2012, we will no longer accept walk-in customers for legalisation, notarial services and certificates (birth, death and marriages). If you have problems accessing the system or need to make an appointment for non-notarial consular issues or have a consular emergency, please call 2259 4355/7/8 or email us on If you require consular assistance out of office hours (working hours: 0730-l430 hrs), please contact the Embassy on 2259 4320.

“CFCOnline” ( which offers a great range of services, including applying for installments, information on required documents, credit policy, and knowing the balance. The website also offers an online calculator and paying installments online through seven simple steps and in 45 seconds only. CFC has over 200 employees that are all ready to serve their clients with the best means and services.


EMBASSY OF MEXICO The Embassy of Mexico is pleased to inform that it is located in CLIFFS Complex, Villa 6, Salmiya, block 9, Baghdad street, Jadda Lane 7. The working hours for consular issues are from 9:00 to 12:00 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 14:00 to 15:00 hours for lunch break. The Embassy of Mexico kindly requests all Mexicans citizens in Kuwait to proceed to the e-mail: in order to register or update contact information. Other consultations or/and appointments could be done by telephone or fax: (+965) 2573 1952 ■■■■■■■

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

EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA During the holy month of Ramadan, the South African Embassy will be open to the public, Sunday through Thursday from 09:00 am to 13:00 pm. Please note that the Consular Section operation hours will be from 09:30 am to 12:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday. ■■■■■■■

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

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

Classifieds THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2012




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



Time 0:05 0:25 0:30 0:35 2:00 2:15 2:30 3:35 3:40 3:45 3:50 4:05 4:20 4:50 5:40 6:50 6:55 7:00 7:05 7:10 7:30 8:10 8:25 8:25 9:00 9:05 9:10 9:35 9:35 9:40 10:00 10:00 10:05 10:15 10:15 10:25 10:30 10:35 10:45 11:30 11:45 11:55 12:00 12:15 12:25 12:25 12:55 13:00 13:05 13:10 13:20 14:25 14:25 14:30 14:40 15:00 15:05 15:10 15:15 15:25 15:30 15:45 15:50 15:55 16:00 16:15 16:25 16:30 17:20 17:30 17:45 18:05 18:20 18:20 18:25 18:25 18:30 18:35 18:45 18:50 19:20 19:25 19:30 19:30 19:45 19:55 20:00 20:05 20:35 20:40 20:50 20:55 21:05 21:10 21:15 21:30 21:30 21:35 21:50 21:50 21:55 22:05 22:10 22:20 22:25 22:35 22:40 22:45 22:50 23:00 23:10 23:10 23:30 23:40 23:45 23:50 23:50 23:59

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

SITUATION VACANT Urgently needed a cook with knowledge of local and international dishes for Kuwaiti family. Tel: 94088822. (C 4079) 16-7-2012


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in two bedroom flat for a bachelor in Khaitan. Near Kuwait Finance. Call 66141908. (C 4081) 19-7-2012 Sharing accommodation available for decent bachelor non smoking, Amman street, one room, opposite to Al Rashid hospital. Contact: 66232356. (C 4080) 16-7-2012

Saravanan Subramaniyan, s/o Subramaniyan, holder of Indian Passport No: G9950267 do here by change my name as SAMEER MOHAMED. (C 4081) 19-7-2012

CHANGE OF RELIGION Saravanan Subramaniyan, s/o Subramaniyan, holder of Indian Passport No: G9950267 do here by declare that with my free consent I have embraced Islam in Kuwait. I have changed my name as SAMEER MOHAMED. (C 4083) 19-7-2012


Al-Madena Police Station 22434064 Al-Murqab Police Station 22435865 Al-Daiya Police Station 22544200 Al-Fayha’a Police Station 22547133 Al-Qadissiya Police Station22515277 Al-Nugra Police Station 22616662 Al-Salmiya Police Station 25714406 Al-Dasma Police Station 22530801 THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988

Prayer timings Fajr: Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

03:29 11:54 15:29 18:48 20:17


The Public Institution for Social Security

Ministry of Interior

Public Authority of Industry

Public Authority for Civil Information

Prisoners of War Committee

Kuwait News Agency

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affair

Kuwait Municipality

Ministry of Energy (Oil)

Kuwait Electronic Government

Ministry of Energy (Electricity and Water)

Ministry of Finance

Public Authority for Housing Welfare

Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Education

Ministry of Communications

Ministry of Information

Supreme Council for Planning and Development

Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation



stars CROSSWORD 741



Aries (March 21-April 19) You enjoy being in a career that accents your own personal dreams and ideals. Taking care of business is a major theme where your emotional orientation is concerned. You crave organization and common sense and you want to get things accomplished. Winning the admiration of others for the things that you say or write and the way you do it takes on more importance in your life; self-publishing may be an option. You are encouraged to focus time to your work and you will be pleased to find time to nurture your relationships. You are in an extremely giving and forgiving mood—this can certainly enhance a friendship. Much of this day could be spent in replays of what you will say to a special loved one this evening. All is well.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Mental stimulation from others is the key for you right now— it is a good idea to make every effort to cooperate and compromise with others. The project at hand should therefore be a great success. This is a time of changing philosophies and mental states. External or internal pressures may force you to reevaluate your priorities and change your mind set. You show a propensity to engage in hard work and to obtain financial security. However, this is also a time when you may spend an excessive amount of worry about your monetary position, frequently being thrifty in expenditures. You may tend toward stinginess at this time as well. This evening you will see many indications that your life is becoming more stable and harmonious.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 4. United States abolitionist (1786-1865). 10. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 13. Thigh of a hog (usually smoked). 14. United States swimmer who in 1926 became the first woman to swim the English Channel (1903- ). 15. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 16. How long something has existed. 17. Roman statesman and philosopher who was and advisor to Nero (circa 4 BC - 65 AD). 18. A radioactive transuranic element. 19. Obvious and dull. 21. The English physicist nd chemist who discovered electromagnetic induction (1791-1867). 24. A coffee cake flavored with orange rind and raisins and almonds. 27. Either of two large African antelopes of the genus Taurotragus having short spirally twisted horns in both sexes. 28. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 31. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 32. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 33. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 34. In bed. 36. A Hindu prince or king in India. 37. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 39. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 41. A public promotion of some product or service. 43. An anxiety disorder characterized by chronic free-floating anxiety and such symptoms as tension or sweating or trembling of light-headedness or irritability etc that has lasted for more than six months. 44. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 46. Goods (or wreckage) on the sea bed that is attached to a buoy so that it can be recovered. 48. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 50. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 55. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication. 58. Any of various long-tailed rodents similar to but larger than a mouse. 61. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 63. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 64. Potentially existing but not presently evident or realized. 66. Aromatic bulb used as seasoning. 67. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 68. Form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case. 69. A doctor's degree in dental surgery. DOWN 1. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 2. Mentally or physically infirm with age. 3. A primeval personification of air and breath. 4. A unit of magnetic flux density equal to one weber per square meter. 5. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 6. A writing implement with a point from which ink flows. 7. A short introductory essay preceding the text of a book. 8. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 9. (comparative of `near') Being the one of two that is less distant in space. 10. A doctor's degree in optometry. 11. Hungarian choreographer who developed Labanotation (18791958). 12. A resin used in adhesives and paints. 20. A French abbot. 22. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 23. Harmed or injured or spoiled. 25. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 26. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 29. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 30. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 35. Surrealist Spanish painter (1904-1989). 37. The first month of the year. 38. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 40. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 42. Small European freshwater fish with a slender bluish-green body. 45. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 47. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 49. Greek mythology. 50. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 51. A metabolic acid found in yeast and liver cells. 52. Make an etching of. 53. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 54. Moderate or restrain. 55. The front of the head from the forehead to the chin and ear to ear. 56. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 57. A master's degree in library science. 59. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 60. (prefix) Opposite or opposing or neutralizing. 61. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 62. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 65. A brittle silver-white metalloid element that is related to selenium and sulfur.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) This is an excellent day to get many things accomplished. You will have an opportunity to exert some influence on the other people around you today. This could mean that others notice your strength and your perseverance in completing a job and in making sure that what you produce is without error. You may find yourself repairing or cleaning equipment later today. A clean and well-oiled machine will get you where you want to go—whether it is a car, a typewriter or perhaps, a copy machine. Later, after work today, you may enjoy visiting with old friends. This is a good day to add a new friend to your friendship list. This evening there could be information that would help you with future projects or creative adventures; your job is to listen.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Your emotions, normally pretty sensitive, can be used wisely. There is great insight just now on any professional changes you might want to make. If something puzzles you, an older, wiser head may give you some ideas. If any problems arise, you can handle it methodically and without panic. You may take comfort in the past, with its old ways and old solutions. If they worked once, they will probably work again. You may have to sit in judgment over some situation today but you will come across to others as stable and gentle—your response to most situations is even-handed and supportive. You will probably take your time with decision-making in order to react to a situation fully. You are enthusiastic and have a definite mission.


Leo (July 23-August 22) There is a perfect balance between your career needs and your personal needs just now. This should bring about an inner peace today that you rarely get a chance to enjoy. Neither side of you has to struggle with the other. You have a supersensitive awareness of the moods and needs of others, making this an excellent time to run seminars or work with groups. Your ideas are always fair and impartial, especially when it comes to other people—the social scene. You are at your mental best when called upon to solve problems today, perhaps in some customer service job. This evening is a good time to celebrate and get away from the slaying of dragons—recharge your batteries! Uncork some champagne and share the evening with a special someone.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) A little cinnamon sprinkled on your peach or cottage cheese at lunch may help to lighten your spirit. A little chuckle here and there can turn into some real heartwarming laughter when you gather with friends or co-workers after work today. Careful with your money while shopping this evening. A greater appreciation for things of value and the idea of value itself is in order now. This could be a period of great material gain; it is certainly a time when material things are of great importance for you. If you cannot pay cash for something, ask yourself if you are really in need of a particular item. Refinement and relationships are the keys to emotional satisfaction for you now. Tonight is a great time to reflect and relax.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This is a good day for practical ideas and planning about your work or vocation. You may receive some recognition or special attention regarding your particular skills and abilities. Your inner resources and emotions become accented. Expect a sense of support and goodwill from those around you. Perhaps you feel this is really you—how you feel and are. You have a quick temper when it comes to questions of your independence and autonomy. You may decide it is easier to become involved in politics and work toward changing the laws instead of bucking them. You will be concerned with issues of freedom far beyond the average person. A passion for inventions and learning how to work the new electronics and the like can also be expected.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You can see new ways to make use of a difficult situation today. An unconventional approach to working for or with others may require a special work situation for you. You are independent and drawn to whatever is different and original in life. You hate being tied down with the drudgery of routine, preferring instead to keep your options open. You may find yourself involved in causes that go against tradition, revolutions of one kind or another—social or political. Your friends are probably also eccentric—in particular those in authority, older persons and individuals who are nonconformist. Communication, computers, electronics and everything new wave are the subjects in which you excel. Now is a good time to make yourself known.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

Law, politics, education, travel, religion: these are some of the areas where an emotionally charged drama could be played. Most things will go your way, particularly if you do not act too quickly. You could be most persuasive with others, and expressive in your communication. An urge to strike out on your own is strong. Careful—you can be bold, perhaps headstrong and impatient. You go where angels fear to tread, perhaps. Others may challenge your authority or the direction you are taking. Events could conspire to make it difficult for you to act. However, you are able to cut through the red tape and get at what is true. A lucky phase is upon you this evening—you will have time to check out a new investment— it is worth your time.

Try using positive visualization at this time. When you speak to a group, or play a ball game—picture a positive outcome. You have a lot of enthusiasm to pour into practical and career decisions. You have a basic selfesteem that is plain to all who meet you. Your sense of discrimination and innate good taste means that you know good items from bad and are a connoisseur of all that is fine and beautiful. A love of authority figures, plus an appreciation for authority and your elders in general, makes you welcome at any social scene. You are popular in social surroundings. You would make a great go-between where countries, languages, peace talks, etc., are concerned—think about it. Now is a good time to ask for favors or obtain a loan.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Change can be hard to contend with today, but sometimes it is necessary. Today is one of those days. To ignore the unexpected events of today is to set yourself up for disruptions that are difficult to control. It is better to control change than to have change control you. Although it can be disruptive to have too many changes, you enjoy the occasional shakeup in your life. Being on the go and keeping a finger to the winds of change make you feel informed. Learning and communicating are important for a curious and adventurous person such as you. Travel, continued education, volunteer activity and political activities are important aspects of your future; start planning. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying— relationships grow strong.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Trust your intuition. Be sure that a business deal is a reliable opportunity, particularly if it means a new job. Your love of job and practical skills makes you a fine businessperson. You bring a great deal of love to your work. You are very skilled at working with psychological problems. The hidden recesses of the mind are, to you, no secret. This is also a time for creativity when it comes to ideas and thinking. This, coupled with the ability to put your thoughts into words, allows you to captivate an audience. Life will seem richer, more satisfying and more fun now because you feel a special bond with your friends and loved ones. Go out on a date with your special someone or invite your friends over for the evening. You will all feel good.


i n f o r m at i o n For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 GOVERNORATE Sabah Hospital


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Kaizen center














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla




Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241



Tel.: e 161


Hot and Relatively Humid over coastal areas with light to moderate southerly to south easterly wind, with speed of 12 - 35 km/h


Relatively hot with moderate becoming light gradually south easterly to southerly wind, with speed of 12 - 35 km/h No Current Warnings arnin a


32 °C



47 °C

31 °C




47 °C

31 °C




49 °C

30 °C




46 °C

31 °C


48 °C

30 °C




47 °C

32 °C

Maidan Hawally



44 °C

30 °C




40 °C

32 °C




39 °C

32 °C




41 °C

31 °C










West Jahra



South Jahra



North Jahra



North Jleeb




Wind Direction

Wind Speed

very hot

49 °C

32 °C


06 - 28 km/h


very hot

50 °C

34 °C


08 - 30 km/h


very hot

49 °C

34 °C


12 - 35 km/h


very hot

48 °C

33 °C


08 - 30 km/h


MAX. Temp.

49 °C



MIN. Temp.

31 °C




26 %




04 %



i MAX. Wind

S 39 km/h










18/07/2012 0000 UTC

Temperatures DA AY





New Jahra


.03 mm

All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


Dr. Salem soso General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Mousa Khadada Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani





Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688

















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh














47 °C



Expected Weather e for the Next 24 Hours




262 - 2630 Ext.: 2627





Fax: 24348714






Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123


William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677

Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands) 0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062

Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686 Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland) 0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK) 0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677


TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012

lifestyle G O S S I P

Jolie is furious with Pitt’ s mother again


on-set accident alle Berry was rushed to hospital after an on-set accident last night. The 45-year-old actress was working on new movie ‘The Hive’ - in which she stars alongside Abigail Breslin and David Otunga - when the incident occurred and an ambulance was called to take her to the Cedars Sinai medical centre in Los Angeles. It is not known exactly what happened to the Oscar-winning star; either she was hit by a falling object or fell down some stairs, X17Online reports. The set was shut down following the accident. It is the second time this month an actress has been injured on a set. Kristin Chenoweth was recently rushed to hospital after being hit by a piece of lighting equipment on ‘The Good Wife’. Her injuries were believed to be minor and she was soon released from the Bellevue Hospital in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York. Kristin - who has also appeared in ‘Glee’ later thanked fans for wishing her well. Her representative said: “Kristin has been released from the hospital and is home recovering. She thanks everyone for their prayers and well wishes.”


ngelina Jolie is reportedly furious with Jane Pitt for buying her six-year-old daughter fairy outfits. The Oscar-winning actress raises six children with Jane’s son Brad and while she is happy for their oldest biological daughter Shiloh to dress like a boy, Jane insists on purchasing her girly outfits, much to Angelina’s annoyance. A source said: “It’s well documented that Shiloh likes to dress like a boy. But Jane still insists on buying her fairy costumes and princess dresses, which Angelina finds very disrespectful.” Angelina - who also has kids Maddox, 10, Pax, nine, Zahara, seven, and four-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne with Brad - is still furious with Jane for writing a letter against legalising same-sex marriage in the US, even though Brad and Angelina are huge gay rights activists. The source continued: “Brad and Angelina were devastated by Jane’s actions. They have worked hard campaigning for equality, working closely with Barack Obama. “Angelina called Jane and told her she believes she’s setting a bad example for the kids.”


One Direction’s boys buy cars for girlfriends


ady Gaga is building a home in Greece that will appear to float in the sea. The property, reportedly costing £10million, is being built in Crete where the ‘Born This Way’ star bought land last year. Sources told the Daily Star newspaper: “It’s going to be absolutely phenomenal when she’s finished with it.” The 26year-old singer - who as a child attended the same Catholic school in New York which Suri Cruise has been enrolled into - is also planning to have a palace and a church on the European land. The insider continued: “It’s right on the water and appears to be floating, so anyone wanting a gander will only be able to see it if they go by boat.” “Besides the palace and church, the project will also include a tennis court and two pools.” The source added: “It has ended up costing over £10m for the whole development and that’s only so far. Extra costs are sure to mount up.” In 2010 it was rumored she was considering getting married on the Greek island with her boyfriend at the time, Luc Carl.

ne Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne have both purchased new cars for their girlfriends. Manchester University politics student Eleanor Calder, who is dating Louis, received a Mini One D from him for her 20th birthday. Liam gave his partner, professional dancer Danielle Peazer, an Audi TT vehicle. A source told The Sun newspaper: “The lads have plenty of dosh and are very generous with it. They love their girlfriends to bits, so they surprised them with new motors. “The girls are obviously delighted. They were never


expecting such lavish gifts.” Already with a Porsche in his collection, Louis has just spent £90,000 on a Range Rover. He additionally spent money on Eleanor’s birthday cake, which he ordered from The Cake Store in Sydenham, south London. He went for a personalised Magic Kingdom design because they had such a good time on holiday in Disneyland last month. As well as her Mini, he also gave her a novelty present - a personalised Yorkshire Tea mug and teabags. Liam recently took his partner Danielle away for a romantic weekend to Venice, Italy.

Lady Gaga building home in Greece



added to Closer magazine: “Adele told friends she’s so happy now there’s a proper bump. She’s joking she wants to eat shepherd’s pie until the cows come home.” It was recently revealed that Adele has spent £35,000 on sound and lights for her baby’s nurseries. A source said: “Adele might have a reputation for being a bit of a spendthrift but when it comes to her baby she’s sparing no expense. “She is building state-of-the-art nurseries in all her homes. She’s having bespoke wallpaper made and it’s costing a fortune with climate control and cameras so she can see everything on her laptop. “She’s spending £35,000 on the lighting and sound system alone.”

ichael Jackson’s family have accused the executors of his estate of forging his will. Five of the late ‘Thriller’ singer’s siblings, Janet, Rebbie, Tito, Randy and Jermaine Jackson are calling for administrators John Branca and John McClain to resign from the estate, claiming they changed his will after his death to gain control of his finances. The letter, as seen by, states: “At the time we couldn’t possibly fathom what is so obvious to us now: that the Will, without question, it’s Fake, Flawed and Fraudulent. “Since the passing of Michael, our beloved brother, you have failed to perform your duties as executors of his estate, but what you have not failed at is taking advantage of a grieving mother, father and a grieving family. “Our brother told us, in no uncertain terms and without hesitation in the months prior to his death, that he despised both of you and that he did not want either of you to have anything to do with his life or estate for that matter.” His family are also calling into question the executors’ actions at the time


Stallone hires

Adele thrilled with pregnancy

dele feels like she has “hit the jackpot” after falling pregnant. The 24-year-old singer recently announced she and boyfriend Simon Konecki are expecting their first baby and the news has capped off a great year for the star, who has won a string of awards for her most recent album ‘21’. A source said: “It’s true love for Adele and Simon. They are committed to each other and ready to be a family. “Adele feels that falling pregnant is like hitting the jackpot. She said, ‘I’ve been on a high for a year with my work and personal life, but the best is yet to come.’ “ And the ‘Someone Like You’ hitmaker is embracing her fuller figure and indulging in her favourite foods. The source

family upset at estate executors

private investigator S

ylvester Stallone has hired a private investigator to find out how his son died. The ‘Rocky’ actor has been left devastated after Sage Stallone - his 36-year-old son from his first marriage to Sasha Czack - was found unresponsive on Friday at his Studio City apartment in Los Angeles, and now Sylvester wants to know what caused his tragic passing. So the 66-year-old actor, his brother Frank and an official from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office met with P.I. Scott Ross - who was the lead investigator in the Michael Jackson molestation case and the Chris Brown/Rihanna battery case - at the star’s home yesterday , where they discussed Sage’s death and the status of the investigation. According to gossip website, Sylvester wants Ross to figure out what happened to Sage, and even though there is no evidence of foul play, he is not ruling that out. He also wants to know about Sage’s final weeks, whether he was using drugs or consuming alcohol, and if there was anything troubling his son. An initial autopsy on Sage’s body, which was completed on Sunday, proved inconclusive and the cause of death is not expected to be known for up to two months until the toxicology tests are completed.

Sheen genuinely

interested in idol gig harlie Sheen is “genuinely interested” in joining the judging panel of ‘American Idol’. The ‘Anger Management’ actor says producer Nigel Lythgoe mentioning him as a possible replacement for recently departed panellists Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler piqued his interest and he thinks it makes “perfect sense”, though he hasn’t heard from show bosses since he first expressed


his desire to be a judge. He told ‘On Air with Ryan Seacrest’: “It kind of came out of nowhere and I responded with a quote just to sort of check the temperature of it or test the waters, haven’t heard anything back. I guess it got some people curious. “It seems so out of the blue that it almost made perfect sense. I thought this could be a lot of fun. Seriously...I’m genuinely interested. It’s so different, it could be radical.”

of his death. The letter continues: “John Branca, when we called you regarding the Will you didn’t want to interrupt your vacation. You said you wouldn’t return for four days, at which time you presented to our family an incomplete Will. “The Will that you presented did not have our brother’s signature on it, nor did it have a signature page attached to it. When asked about the missing signature page, John Branca replied, ‘it was on its way, and you were having just a little problem finding it.’ “Amongst many other inconsistencies in the Will, there is also a conflict around Michael’s location on the day he supposedly signed the Will, July 7, 2002. We have evidence that undoubtedly supports and proves that Michael was absolutely not in Los Angeles, California, on the date of his signature reflected in the Will at-hand.” The letter goes on to accuse the executors of robbing Michael’s children, Prince Michael Jr, 15, Paris, 14 and Prince Michael II - known as Blanket - 10, and his mother, Katherine Jackson, of their rightful inheritances by increasing the percentage of the gross income the executors receive from the estate. Earlier this month, executors for the estate filed legal documents which show it has generated gross earnings exceeding $475 million as of the end of May, meaning the singer’s debts have almost all been paid off. Michael died from acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009, and his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray is currently serving a jail sentence for the singer’s involuntary manslaughter. —Bang Showbiz


lifestyle M U S I C



A minute with:

Michael Caine

revisiting Batman’s Alfred

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage at the MTV World Stage Live In Malaysia 2012 concert at the Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur on July 14, 2012. — AFP

This undated film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, left, and Michael Caine as Alfred in a scene from the action thriller ‘The Dark Knight Rises. — AP


t an age, 79, when most of his acting peers have either long since retired or seen their careers simply fade away, Sir Michael Caine has no intention of quietly shuffling off the Hollywood stage. In his latest film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” the eagerly awaited finale to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which hits theaters tomorrow, the actor once again stars as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler and guiding conscience. The two-time Oscar winner (for “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “The Cider House Rules”) recently talked to Reuters about making the film and why he’ll keep on working. Q: This is your third time as Alfred. Is it like playing an old friend? A: “No, it’s like being on a wheel and winding up at the end of this massive circle. The character was developed so well. It wasn’t just your usual butler going, ‘Dinner is served.’ He’s written so well and the part just got better and better.” Q: Fair to say he’s really the father figure in the “Dark Knight” stories? A: “Certainly, because in ‘Batman Begins’ I’m the butler of Batman’s father, and then when they’re killed, I look after him. And he’s just a boy then, so I really bring him up, like a foster father. That’s the reason I did it, because there’s all that depth to Alfred. He evolves and learns a lot of lessons, and then commits an ultimate sin ... So there’s some very emotional scenes between the two of them. I wouldn’t have done it if it was just, ‘Another drink, sir?’” Q: This finale is obviously big summer, popcorn movie entertainment, but it also deals with some ver y dark themes. A: “Oh sure. The thing is, Chris can direct a huge blockbuster with all the stunts and special effects, but he also makes you think about serious issues like terrorism and the effects of poverty and a crippled economy, and he also directs Oscar-winning performances,

like Heath Ledger’s in the last one. And he writes this great material which allows an actor to do that. I’ve never seen all those elements together in one director, and I’ve worked with some great ones over the years. He’s a real one-off.” Q: A lot of big-budget, blockbuster directors are known for being tyrants on set, but Nolan seems so mild-mannered. A: “He is. He’s like an extremely human computer (laughs). He’s very quiet. He knows exactly what he wants, and he lets you get on with it until there’s something he wants to add or change. And at that point, it’s done away from everyone. He doesn’t make a show of being a director or boss. All the great directors are quiet. It’s the noisy ones who’re no good. Q: Nolan has said this is definitely his last Batman film. Same for you? A: “No. I told him, ‘if they carry on without you I’ll still play Alfred anyway,’ and he said, ‘I want 10 percent’ (laughs). But I don’t know if they’d want to cast the same people again.” Q: Why do you think Batman is such a beloved superhero? A: “Because he’s the most human of them all. He doesn’t have special powers and yes, he wears a suit, but it’s not bulletproof. Everyone can relate.” Q: Peter O’Toole just announced he’s retiring now that he’s 80-years-old. Will you ever retire? A: “I’ll be 80 next March, so I’m not far behind, but I have no plans to retire. I’ve slowed down a bit, but I’ve got two scripts I really want to do.” Q: What’s next? A: “I just shot ‘Mr. Morgan’s Last Love,’ a comedy about an old American professor in Paris who has a non-physical relationship with a beautiful young French girl, based on a true story. I met the author and asked him, ‘Did you have sex?’ and he said ‘No, never.’ So at my age, I don’t get the girl anymore, but as long as I get good scripts like that, I’ll keep going.” — Reuters

Bieber determined to ‘stay humble’


een hear tthrob singer Justin Bieber admits it is not easy staying grounded amid huge wealth and adoration from screaming fans, but says he is determined to remain humble. The 18-year-old Canadian, in Australia on a tightly-controlled promotional tour where he has been mobbed by fans, shot to fame in 2009 after posting several homemade music videos on YouTube and has now sold 15 million albums.


Sohu, instantly reach a massive audience. Jean Shao, director of communications at Youku, said the micro film movement first caught the public’s attention with the release of “Old Boys” in 2010, a film that has been viewed more than 47 million times. It formed part of the Youku-sponsored “11 Degrees” series of 10 micro films, which has been seen by 120 million viewers combined. Directors say the films give them an opportunity to connect with their viewers in a nation where video-sharing website YouTube is blocked. “I can see feedback right after people have watched and I am able to know what is good, and what can be improved,” said Gu. “Micro films present a real, direct communication between the director and the audience”. He is one of four Asian directors to contribute to the “Beautiful 2012” micro film omnibus supported by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and Youku, which has screened at festivals in Asia since March. It includes the mesmerising “Walker” from Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang, which charts a monk’s journey through chaotic Hong Kong streets. Tsai’s short film helped close Critics Week at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Gu’s contribution to “Beautiful 2012” was “Long Tou”, which sees its characters ruminating on the meaning of beauty. —AFP

‘woke from coma with different accent’


ritish singer George Michael has revealed that he woke from his three-week coma talking in the broad West Country accent spoken in western England. London-born Michael, who almost died of pneumonia at the end of last year, said he was unable to revert to his usual accent for two days after gaining consciousness and his family feared he would be stuck with the new one forever. “I swear this is true,” the 49-year-old told London’s LBC radio station on Tuesday. “I came out of my coma talking in this West Country accent.” Michael said that as he opened his eyes, doctors asked him if he knew who he was-to which he replied, “King of the world?” in the distinctive West Country burr. “The doctors were worried that I had this condition where some people wake up speaking French or some language they learned at school,” he said. Foreign Accent Syndrome is a rare medical condition in which people emerge from a neurological injury speaking in an entire-

George Michael ly different accent. In some cases, they speak fluently in a language they barely know. “There’s nothing wrong with a West Country accent,” said the former star of the 1980s pop duo Wham!, “but it’s a bit weird when you’re from north London. “My sisters, who were obviously so relieved that I’d actually woken up, were just

Jenji Kohan, second from right, executive producer and creator of the Showtime series ‘Weeds,’ poses with the show’s cast members, from left, Alexander Gould, Hunter Parrish, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk at a party to celebrate the show’s 100th episode, Tuesday, in Los Angeles. — AP

laughing away at this stand up comedy.” Michael was forced to cut short his Symphonica tour last November after he was rushed to a hospital in the Austrian capital Vienna with a severe bout of pneumonia. Arriving back in London last December, the “Careless Whisper” singer admitted it had been “touch and go” at times during the month he spent in hospital recovering from the lung infection. Speaking to BBC radio on Tuesday, he said Austrian doctors had “downplayed” his condition to avoid a “death watch kind of thing”. The seriousness of his illness did not become public until after his discharge from hospital. “It’s like I just dodged a bullet,” he told the broadcaster, adding that he had a five-week gap in his memory from the illness and had to learn to walk again during his recovery. He has since rescheduled his tour, and has invited 1,000 staff from the Vienna hospital to one of the shows. His new single, “White Light”, is about the neardeath experience.—AFP

Madonna now told: You’ll be cut off if London show runs long

‘Weeds’ marks 100th episode as finale looms


eeds,” the Showtime cable TV series starring Mary-Louise Parker, celebrated the taping of its 100th episode. Showtime’s entertainment president, David Nevins, told the “Weeds” cast and crew Tuesday that only a few cable series have reached 100 episodes. Among them is “Monk.” Parker and her co-stars, including Kevin Nealon, marked the event with cake and drinks

while shooting on location in Los Angeles. The actress was casually dressed in the blouse and cutoffs that she wore for a scene taped earlier. Parker plays a pot-dealing suburban mom in “Weeds,” which will end its eight-year run in September. Parker and the show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, grew emotional as they celebrated the series’ milestone. Two more episodes remain to be taped. —AP

Pitbull heading north to Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska

worked out, including whether it will be a one- or twoday appearance. Pitbull will spend time in the community and with Walmart employees, Spencer said. Pitbull appeared in a YouTube video Tuesday while on tour in Madrid, Spain. “I heard that Kodiak, Alaska, has the most likes due to someone who thinks he was playing a prank,” Pitbull said on the video. “I said, ‘OK, great, this sounds really good.’ You have to understand I will


A woman holds a camera on a street in Beijing on July 16, 2012. China’s ‘micro film’ movement has allowed anyone with a smartphone to become a filmmaker, but thecensors are catching up. —AFP

tionship with my family, always I make sure to keep that first. Last time I was here (in Australia) my grandparents were here with me.” The singer said he would always heed advice from his family. “You need to pull up your pants Justin, that’s what my grandparents say all the time,” he said. “Like my mum, it’s always something. They are always super proud of me no matter what... That’s what keeps me humble and I do this for them.”—AFP

George Michael

Censors catch up with China’s ‘micro film’ movement

oasting tens of millions of views and offering previously unheard of artistic freedoms, China’s “micro film” movement has made it possible for anyone with a smartphone to become a moviemaker. Until last week the Internet-based films-made by everyone from first timers to established directorsexisted in a grey area in terms of censorship, with content screened by host Internet portals. But with the phenomenon seeing two years of rapid growth, Beijing has tightened scrutiny, vowing to prevent “unhealthy content”. The impact of the new restrictions in China’s already heavily regulated cyberspace remains to be seen, with mainland filmmakers having come to see the micro movies as a haven from box-office pressure and a means of artistic release. “This type of film allows almost anyone to be a director,” veteran mainland Chinese filmmaker and Academy Award nominee Gu Changwei, 54, told AFP. “I can present what I think and the story I wish to tell - like a blogger who can publish their own articles,” said Gu, nominated for an Oscar for his cinematography on Chen Kaige’s 1993 hit “Farewell My Concubine”. He added that micro films, which tend to be no longer than 30 minutes and are broadcast across China on portals such as Youku and

Asked what had been the best piece of advice he had received, Bieber, who has more than 25 million followers on Twitter, said in an interview with Australia’s Seven Network late Tuesday that it was to stay true to who he was. “I’d probably say, you know, just to stay humble and keep your family close, keep the people that were there at the beginning there, because those are the people who cared and care enough to stay with you,” Bieber said. “The rela-

t’s not exactly “International Love,” but Miami rap star Pitbull is about to bring his act to a nonetheless far-flung site - Kodiak, Alaska. The unlikely tour stop announced Tuesday will mark the first time the charttopper will visit the state known as The Last Frontier, and it comes as a result of a marketing deal and perhaps a little mischief. Pitbull, aka Armando Christian Perez, in a promotion with Walmart and Sheets Energy Strips, agreed to visit whichever Walmart got the most “likes” on its Facebook page. David Thorpe, a writer for The Boston Phoenix, thought it would be funny to exile the “Give Me Everything” rapper to the most remote Walmart possible, and encouraged people to “like” the Walmart in Kodiak. The store in a city with a population of about 6,100 wound up with more than 70,000 “likes.” The surrounding borough, which Alaska has rather than counties, has about 14,000 people. Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer said details of the trip are still being

go anywhere in the world for my fans.” And he doesn’t want to make the trip alone. “I want to invite that someone who thinks it’s a joke to Kodiak, Alaska, with me,” he said. It appears that invitation will be accepted. In an email to The Associated Press, Thorpe said it’s “very likely” he’ll be in Kodiak. Thorpe said he had to “raise the funds to get to Kodiak on my own, since Pitbull’s invitation doesn’t include actually getting me there.” —AP

Madonna performs on stage in Hyde Park, London, as part of her MDNA concert tour, Tuesday July 17, 2012.— AP


irst Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney got the hook when their Hyde Park concert went overtime. Now Madonna has been warned the same will happen to her if she doesn’t stick to a strict 10:30 p.m. cut-off time at her Tuesday night concert at the same venue. Live Nation has informed the one-woman performing machine that she has to follow local laws, the company’s chief operating officer John Probyn told the London Evening Standard. No matter that the show, part of her world tour for her MDNA album, marks her first British gig in four years - or that some 50,000 fans are showing up for the occasion. “We’ve had lengthy conversations with Madonna’s people,” Probyn said. “We’ve worked out with them what time she needs to go on stage to finish on time.” If they don’t he warned, the show will be shut down. Just as it was for Springsteen who, after announcing, “I’vewaited for this moment for 50 years,” brought McCartney onstage for a rousing rendition of the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout.” They were shut down during their duet.—Reuters



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Historic North Carolina mountain lodge reborn ot long after he and his brother bought the derelict Green Park Inn at auction, Steve Irace learned something that astonished him. “If you looked in the lobby or the dining room or the bar, you saw the columns,” he says. “Those columns are single pieces of solid American chestnut that run from floor to ceiling and beyond.” With American chestnut selling for $12 a board foot on the collector lumber market, he realized the hotel “was worth more dead than alive.” Luckily for the community, and for history buffs, that’s not why the brothers bought this “Grande Dame of the High Country.” “We feel that we’re caretakers of a national treasure,” Irace said during a recent visit to this Victorian jewel, perched atop the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. “We resurrected this property. We brought it back. We wouldn’t let it die.” The property started as a boarding house in 1882. The bulk of the grand lodge you see today was constructed in 1891. When it opened, each room came equipped with an electric bell to summon attendants and running water - albeit, just a small spigot with which guests could fill their washbasins. The lobby walls are lined with photographs of famous guests - Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover slept there, as did first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe and oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, America’s first billionaire. Annie Oakley gave shooting lessons on what is now the inn’s parking lot, and Margaret Mitchell wrote a portion of “Gone With the Wind” during a sojourn there, Irace says with pride. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the Green Park appeared headed for the scrap market. By the May 2010 auction, the hotel was boarded up and bankrupt. Its spindlerailing Queen Anne balconies were rotten and sagging, the steam heating system cold and leaking. A man from nearby Deep Gap who had done painting for the Iraces told them it was up for sale. They were the only bidders. The brothers call themselves hotel “affection-ados.” This is the fourth historic hotel property they’ve rehabilitated (the others are in Florida and Vermont). The hotel reopened in October 2010 with just 15 of the more than 80 rooms available for guests. That number has since more than tripled to 53 22 of them with balconies. With their high ceilings and large windows, the rooms are classic and airy. The luxuriously comfortable beds and other tasteful furnishings were all manufactured right here in the Tar Heel state, Irace says proudly. The rooms no longer come with buzzers, but each is


equipped with a large flat-screen television and complementary Wi-Fi. Vintage iron lighting fixtures use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. “We could have made this like a bed and breakfast, you know, and frou-frou and cutesy and put, you

meters) above sea level, across U.S. 321 from North Carolina’s first commercial tourist attraction - the Blowing Rock. The bar is called The Divide because the Eastern Continental Divide runs literally right through it. “If you were to spill a drink on one half of the building, it would flow to the

office. Like most historic properties, the Green Park is not without its tales of tragedy. Laura Green, a member of the family that founded the place in the 19th century, hanged herself in Room 318, allegedly because her fiancee didn’t show up for her wedding day, Irace says. “Haunted

Welch, who got his start at 12, filleting chicken in his mother’s and grandmother’s Greensboro diner. “To be honest with you, I didn’t even want to take my clothes off to sleep in the bed.” Welch, 47, a James Beard-nominated chef, had done kitchen stints at Sheraton hotels in nearby Greensboro

Photo taken at the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, N.C., a guest’s face is reflected in a case displaying old hardware from the hotel’s restoration. —AP photos

In this photo, at the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, N.C., flags flap under blue skies in a gentle Blue Ridge Mountain breeze.

A picture of actress Marilyn Monroe, one of the hotel’s many famous guests, hangs on a wall in the lobby of the Green Park Inn.

A guest relaxes in one of the historic hotel’s 52 spacious rooms.

know, 24 pillows in every room and put chintz on chintz, and cute little knickknacks and gewgaws all over,” Irace says. “If we did that, we would have to charge more for the rooms. And I wanted, if a working man wanted to come here and show his kids how Grandma used to vacation, I wanted him to have that option.” The inn sits at 3,620 feet (1,100

Mississippi River, in theory,” Irace says. “And if you spilled a drink on the other half of the room, it would flow to the Atlantic Ocean.” A history room off the lobby contains a collection of chamber pots, vintage photographs, hardware from the original doors and even the old service window from the days when the Green Park housed the area’s only post

Wautauga County, North Carolina” has a chapter on the inn, although author Tim Bullard declares at the outset, “It is not haunted - repeat, not haunted. But it sure looks like it is.” Executive chef, James Welch, had stayed at the Green Park under its old management and “never, ever” thought he would someday be working there. “Oh, it was disgusting,” says

and Miami before coming to Blowing Rock 18 years ago to help open a restaurant. He was looking for a new challenge when the Iraces recruited him to run the inn’s Laurel Room Restaurant. They gutted the old kitchen, spent $500,000 to bring it up to code and opened it a year ago. Welch and his staff turn out delicate appetizers - like mixed baby

greens with raspberries, goat cheese and shaved chocolate - and hearty entrees such as braised lamb shank with wild mushroom risotto and gremolata. And then there is his signature dish: Espresso-crusted, bittersweet chocolate-stuffed beef tenderloin with goat cheese pistachio au gratin, French beans and Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce. This dish came to him when, while drafting the next day’s menu, he discovered two Hershey’s kisses his daughters had given him that morning melting in his shirt pocket. Irace realized that he’d committed to Welch - and bankrolled his kitchen upgrades - without ever having tasted his cooking. After the first bite, he breathed a huge sigh of relief. “I grew up in New York and I’ve traveled a lot in my life, and I’ve eaten in the finest restaurants in the world,” he says. “It knocked my socks off.” Despite the good food and firstclass renovation, things at the inn have gotten off to a slow start. Irace admits that opening a hotel during the worst recession in generations wasn’t ideal. “We all went through different phases, different moments when we said, ‘We can’t do this. It’s not going to work,’” Irace says. But they already have devoted fans. Judy and Scott Champney of Johnson City, Tennessee, have stayed there a half-dozen times on trips to the area for concerts at Appalachian State University in nearby Boone. They love the atmosphere, especially the pianist and jazz trio who alternate playing outside the dining room. Scott Champney, who teaches biochemistry at the East Tennessee State University medical school, sometimes sits in on drums. “Our three sons call it ‘our hotel’ ... like we own it,” says Judy Champney, a retired high school English teacher who would get points if she stayed at the Holiday Inn Express just down the road. “I’m just thrilled that they’ve restored it, rather than tearing down a beautiful old building like that.” The Green Park was recently accepted as a member of Historic Hotels of America, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for hotels that have “faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.” Irace and his brother are confident that, as the economy turns around, that same rising tide will lift their boat. “A lot of our guests buy into what our employees buy into, and what Gene and I bought into,” he says. “Which is: We’re building something. We’re saving something. We’re saving something that’s worth saving.” —AP

Wildflowers draw wildlife, require little care ildflowers are an attractive choice for home gardeners who hope to attract wildlife with plants that are also low-maintenance, and drought- and disease-resistant. Some wildflower varieties require more patience than others, however, requiring several seasons before they bloom. “There are a couple of reasons why people get into wildflowers,” said Russ Nicholson, senior agronomist for Pennington Seed Inc. in Madison, Georgia. “One is that they’re trying to


reduce the size of the area being managed and know wildflowers are easy to grow. Or, two, they might be interested in birds and butterflies, and enjoy having feeders or houses in their gardens to connect with the wildflowers.” One person’s wildflower, of course, may be another person’s weed. “Natives” are defined as plants that grew in North America before the Europeans arrived. “Weeds” are any plants growing where they’re not wanted. And then there are “nat-

This image shows a Wild Tiger Lily in a wildflower garden near New Market, V.A. “Wild” tiger lilies are the ancestors of many hybrids seen in today’s home flower beds.

In this photo taken on May 21, 2012, a double arbor is framed by Laburnums at Bayview Farm & Garden as shown near Langley, W.A. —AP photos

Roses are shown against a trellis in New Market.

uralized aliens,” plants that have taken hold in certain areas but that should be avoided because they crowd out and contaminate native gene pools. That would include St. Anne’s lace, chicory and oxeyed daisies. Each appears on many state and federal noxious weed lists. Shop around for wildflowers rather than seeking them out in the woods. The odds are against the latter surviving because they often require habitats different than those in your yard. “It’s illegal to pull them out of the ground on most public lands” in America, said Mike Lizotte, managing partner for American Meadows, a gardening company in Williston, Vermont. “That can draw a stiff fine.” Jerry Goodspeed, a Utah State University extension horticulturist, puts it another way: “Enjoy nature where nature is and go to a nursery if you want to grow wildflowers. More plant varieties are becoming available to homeowners each year.” Wildflower varieties are divided into meadow, woodland and wetland. All require some knowledge about where they grow best. “Meadow varieties are the easiest to cultivate from seed,” Lizotte said. “Some wildflowers need an exacting microclimate, especially the woodland types. It can take a white trillium from five to seven years to yield a flower from seed.” Many people new to wildflower gardening buy specialty seed blends that give good value for the money, Lizotte said. Wildflower seed mixtures generally include from a dozen to 30 varieties of annuals and perennials. “Three or four years down the road, people start dialing in on the different species they really liked from the blends,” Lizotte said. Choose bare root plants, plugs or seedlings if you want your wildflower gardening to be fast and easy. Go with seeds if you have large areas to cover. And mimic Mother Nature by planting in late fall or well into winter. “That will give them a chance to germinate earlier in the spring, before any leaves come out,” Nicholson said. “It’s getting pretty late to put something out there around Mother’s Day that should be in the ground by February.” Always buy from a reputable source, Lizotte said. “Don’t get fooled by packaging or price. Somewhere on the packaging, it will tell you what’s in it. Ideally, you want 100 percent pure seed free of any fill.” —AP

David Kinch

World Chefs: Manresa’s Kinch focuses on Northern California food avid Kinch, chef-proprietor of Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, California, believes thegreat dishes are usually the simpler ones. “The food that lingers in peoples’ memory is not the fancy molecular food with tons of ingredients and complexity,” said Kinch. “The dishes that linger are usually simple, wellthought out, and well contextualized by a chef who knows when to say no.” Manresa, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has held two Michelin stars for five years. It ranked 48th in Restaurant Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2012. Kinch spoke to Reuters about cuttingedge Northern California cuisine, his sense of place, and the premium he puts on creating a hedonistic, customer-friendly dining experience at his restaurant. Q: Did you always want to be a chef? A: “Working in a restaurant has been the only job I’ve ever done. I grew up in New Orleans, which has a great food and restaurant culture, and I started working in restaurants after school. My experience has always been in restaurants.” Q: How would you describe the cuisine at Manresa? A: “I would describe the food at the restaurant as very, very personal. At a very basic level, we cook food we like, don’t cook food we don’t like. We’re trying to create a northern California experience with the restaurant so it’s not only reflective of who we are, but where we are. We bring in a lot of influences, but we try to stay within the context of where we are. Q: How does the food reflect where you are? A: “We try to use products that are associated with theregion. We have this great culture of farming and small farms and counter culture co-ops. All around the world, California is known for the quality of its ingredients. That’s what we try to tap into. We want people to see


these things extolled as the virtues of Northern California on the plate. We want them to taste it at the restaurant.” Q: Are there ingredients characteristic of Northern California cuisine? A: “Artichokes, garlic, abalone, black cod, pacific salmon, and Dungeness crab ... We have 2,000 miles (3218 km) of coastline and several different climates from warm water to cold water.” Q: Do you have a culinary philosophy? A: “I think the best way to improve a dish is to buy better quality ingredients. Cooks are not magicians. You cannot take a mediocre product and turn it into a superlative dish. To me great cooking is taking the best product and gently coaxing out the best that product has to offer. That is the genius of a cook, that is the greatness of a chef.” Q: Is there a signature dish at Manresa? A: “Into the Vegetable Garden” is the one dish that’s always on the menu. It’s a mixture of anywhere from 40 to 60 ingredients from Love Apple Farms. We’ve been in partnership with them since 2006.” Q: What’s on the horizon? A: “We’re looking forward to the next 10 years. We just completed another renovation, and we’ve just started serving cocktails crafted from the local produce. That’s been very well received.” Q: Your inspiration and creativity seem very tied to Manresa. A: “The restaurant is my life; my professional life. It’s how I express myself. It’s where I’m most comfortable. Sometimes it’s really difficult to do an event outside because I’m outside of my comfort area-my own kitchen and my own ingredients.”



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Photo taken at the Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, N.C., a guest’s face is reflected in a case displaying old hardware from the hotel’s restoration.—AP photos

Hikers can visit Utah’s Upper Calf Creek Falls, an 88-foot drop. It is a four-mile round trip over rocks where cairns mark the route. —MCT photos By Bob Downing here’s a very colorful state park in southern Utah that gets overlooked, despite its distinctive rock chimneys from longdead petrified geysers. Kodachrome Basin State Park gets little respect, lost amidst the glitter of its more famous neighboring national parks: Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches. It is also surrounded by Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that covers 1.9 million acres. But Kodachrome Basin is a desert gem. At an elevation of 5,800 feet, the park lies 22 miles east of Bryce Canyon National Park and nine miles south of Cannonville. It is in the heart of Utah’s “color country.” Kodachrome Basin offers remoteness, desert solitude and reddish cliffs, along with its distinguishing features: 67 rare, whitish monolithic limestone towers. The tallest chimney or sand pipe is 170 feet high and the shortest is 6 feet. They appear to stand as rock sentries towering above the park. Most are 30 to 50 feet tall and are more than a little surreal. The basin has more spires of its kind that any other place in the world. The views of the rock formations change with the sunlight, as does the contrast. Some jut upward from the valley floor. Others tower above surrounding cliffs and outcrops. Geologists believe that the spires formed when liquefied sand hardened inside ancient geysers. That may have resulted from earthquakes or the remnants of ancient springs. The calcite and feldspar inside the geysers’ pipes remained after softer exterior rocks of Entrada


Distinctive rock chimneys from longdead geysers are a big attraction at Utah’s Kodachrome State Park. It features 67 of the rare limestone towers.

sandstone eroded away. Kodachrome Basin is believed to have been very similar to Yellowstone National Park _ with hot springs, geysers and boiling mud pots. Visitors from the National Geographic Society in 1948 suggested naming the 2,241acre park for the color film. The society led a photo tour via automobiles in 1947 into the little-known Escalante Lands of southern Utah. Society members suggested changing the name of Thorley’s Basin or Thorny Pasture, as the place was locally known, because of the contrasting colors in the pretty little valley. The film had been introduced commercially in 1935 and was first used in the society’s famous magazine in 1936. Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., proudly agreed to the name change in 1949. Kodachrome Basin became a state park in 1963. The park’s green color comes from the dominant juniper, plus pinion pine. It features eight short hiking trails. They include a half-mile nature trail and Panorama Trail, a three-mile loop that is the longest in the park. Panorama Trail includes a second loop of two miles and several side trails. It leads to Panorama Point. The Panorama Trail takes you to Ballerina Slipper spire, the widebrimmed pedestals of Hat Shop and Secret Pass, a narrow passage between red-rocked walls. It also takes you past a rock spire that looks like cartoon and film character Fred Flintstone. Mountain bikes are permitted on the Panorama Trail and on park roads. The Grand Parade Trail stretches 1.7 miles on the canyon floor and past two box canyons, and Cool Cave Trail is two miles long with stops at Big Bear Geyser and Cool Cave. Eagle’s View Trail climbs a quarter-mile via a steep, narrow path to provide an up-high look at the park. Shakespeare Arch is 20 feet across and 90 feet high in a small out-of-the-way cove. It is a

one-mile round trip to get there. Angels Place Trail is a one-mile loop that offers great park vistas from atop a butte. The Nature Trail offers a look at rock formations and desert plants. The park is classified as semidesert in the Upper Sonoran Zone, with plants and animals that must adapt to drought as well as extreme heat and cold. Animals include mule deer, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, gray foxes, black-tailed jack and cottontail rabbits, rock squirrels and chipmunks, along with birds, snakes and lizards. Kodachrome Basin is not big or fancy. It offers 27 tent and recreation vehicle sites with restrooms, showers and a sewage disposal station. The campground is open from April through September. A park concessionaire, the Trail Head Station, rents cabins in the heart of the park, sells supplies and offers guided horseback and stagecoach rides in season. The cabins include full baths and showers and air conditioning. Call 435-679-8536 or 435-679-8787 for information. The park charges $6 admission for day use. The overnight camping fee is $15. One nearby attraction is Grosvenor Arch, a double arch 10 miles south of Kodachrome Basin off Cottonwood Canyon Road. It is one of the largest arches in Utah and is found in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Contact Kodachrome Basin State Park at 435-679-8562. Camping reservations: 800-3223770. Cabin rentals: 435-679-8536. State Route 12 is a major route through southern Utah, a land that is a geological playground. It is a National Scenic Byway, one of 120 in the United States. It is also an All-American Road, one of only 31 so designated by the Federal Highway Administration. The federal designation stretches 124 miles between U.S. 89 in the west and Torrey in the east at Capitol Reef National Park. Its most striking feature may be the Hogback, a narrow

The Kodachrome Basin at 5,800 feet elevation, east of Bryce Canyon National Park, features surreal rock chimneys. The tallest is 170 feet high and the shortest is 6 feet high. Most are 30 to 50 feet tall.

ridge with steep drops on both sides of the road between Escalante and Boulder. There are turnoffs for motorists to stop and admire the sandstone Escalante Canyons carved by the Escalante River and its tributaries. Nearby are Upper and Lower Calf Creek Falls. You can hike to Upper Calf Creek Falls. It is a slickrock round-trip hike of four miles. The trail is marked by stone cairns. It is a hot, scrubby, exposed landscape. It leads to the 88-foothigh cascade in a shaded, green alcove at the head of the canyon. The Escalante River and its tributaries were the last streams in the United States to be discovered, named and mapped. Lower Calf Creek Falls, where the stream drops 126 feet into a green pool in a cliffbound canyon, attracts more visitors. It is at the end of a 3.1-mile one-way hike. At its western end, the highway bisects the popular Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest, a one-time hideout of outlaw Butch Cassidy. There are 14 trails that stretch 34 miles in that 41,400-acre tract. It skirts must-see Bryce Canyon National Park, a beautiful place with thousands of hoodoos, the eye-popping red-orange spires or pillars of rock that are the park’s most defining feature. The 35,835-acre park offers a spectacular badlands landscape that is bewitching. You can admire the park’s distinctive rock formations from an 18-mile scenic drive on Rim Road off state Route 12 _ with dozens of overlooks. You can also hike into the hoodoos. The powerful blend of rock and color shifts with the light. What you see in the morning is different from what you will see in late afternoon or at twilight. There are warm yellows, browns, oranges, pinks, reds, greens, whites and purples that spill from the bizarrely shaped spires, monoliths, fins, mazes, fluted walls, sculptured pinnacles and deep ravines. Early settler Ebenezer Bryce said of the oddly shaped terrain: “It’s a helluva place to lose a cow.” Bryce visitors will agree. The park

offers a visitor’s center, lodge with three suites, one studio, 70 motel rooms and 40 cabins (open April through October), two campgrounds, restaurant and general store. Admission is $20 per car. From Bryce, Route 12 then runs along the northern edge of the Grand StaircaseEscalante National Monument. You can get off Route 12 onto dirt roads that are designated scenic backways; these will take you to less traveled scenic areas. That includes Hole-inthe-Rock Scenic Backway and Burr Trail Scenic Backway. Grand Staircase-Escalante has visitor centers in Cannonville, Escalante and Boulder. Willis Creek Narrows is another attraction. The stream narrows to 4 feet with cliffs more than 200 feet high. It is a colorful world of rock, water and shadows. It is one of many slot canyons in the national monument. For information, contact the Cannonville Visitor Center, 435-679-8981, There are numerous outfitters in Escalante and Boulder (the two towns are 29 miles apart) that provide guided trips, shuttles and one-day excursions to slot canyons and other nearby attractions. The prime seasons to visit are mid-March through May and again in September and October. —MCT

Utah’s Kodachrome State Park was named in 1948 Distinctive rock chimneys from long-dead geysers Southern Utah boasts a number of national parks by visitors from the National Geographic Society. are a big attraction at Utah’s Kodachrome State and national monuments because of the spectacular They sugegsted that the 2,241-acre park and its col- Park. scenery, geology and history. ors that change with shifting light be named for the color film.

Long Spanish lunch falls victim to tightening belts oaring unemployment, rising taxes and belt-tightening family budgets across Spain could finally spell the end of the traditional Spanish lunch and siesta. The two-tothree-hour midday breaks with time built in for a snooze during the hottest part of the day were once the Spanish worker’s universal way to beat the afternoon heat. But it is becoming a luxury for cash-strapped employees who are working longer hours and having to make do with less in the country’s steepest downturn since the 1930s. Many Spaniards still start work at around 9 a.m., and don’t leave work until after 8 p.m., in part to allow for a long lunch, and restaurants cater for them with three-course set-price menus from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. But restaurants are being forced to rethink their formats and pricing, as more workers opt for once frowned-upon sandwiches at their screens, or lunch brought from home.


“You save a little every month and that’s really good for the family budget now the country’s in crisis,” said Margarita Pallas, who works in a small shop in Calle Mallorca in Barcelona. The “siesta”, the afternoon nap to cope with baking midday heat, has practically died out, but many office workers still take the time to eat a big meal together in groups and consider lunchtime snacks less healthy and anti-social. A typical 10-euro ($12.24) set menu in the Spanish capital includes two savoury main courses, a beer or a glass or carafe of wine, dessert and a coffee - good value compared to lunch in many other European capitals. The set meal was once the most popular format since lunch is traditionally the largest meal of the day, supplemented by an early light breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a mid afternoon tea and a late light supper. Restaurants, though, are shedding their faithful set-menu

clients in a country where one in four workers are jobless. Those in work are being forced to tighten their belts to compensate for family members out of work, tax rises and continued economic uncertainty. “The crisis has hit citizens so hard that people haven’t had any choice but to get over the embarrassment of taking food to work and once someone has lost the shame factor, it makes it easy for everyone else,” said Rogelio Barahona, chef and owner of the restaurant Urkiola Mendi in Madrid. Barahona says restaurants like his which cater to lunching office workers have lost 50 percent of sales during the crisis and many are being forced to replace home-made cooking on site with bought-in meals from bigger kitchens to save on costs. “I pay my taxes, my suppliers, the rent and in order to pay my staff I haven’t earned a salary for the last year,” said Barahona. Four years into Spain’s economic downturn, with the

country now in its second recession, restaurants are offering cheaper options like single dishes or cut-price menus using cheaper ingredients in order to win customers back. Fast food and doggy bags Emilia Cordero, owner of the La Fuente del Collado in the picturesque mountain town of Bustarviejo outside Madrid, says she has never seen such an abrupt change in eating habits since she opened her restaurant in the 1960s. In the last few years, Cordero says new habits have crept in to her restaurant include shared children’s menus, people asking for doggy bags, a single bottle of wine split between seven people and even fast food. “I used to sell four or five sirloin steaks in just one weekend, but now, forget about it. I’ll be lucky if I sell one a week and we’ve even started offering hamburgers,” she says. The advertising industry reflects those chang-

ing habits in a TV commercial for San Miguel alcohol-free beer. In the advert, Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the United States, asks to take his leftover meal with him, almost unheard of in Spain until recently. “The world is changing,” says the voiceover. Nor are schools immune to the changes. Spanish schoolchildren, who have classes until 4-5 p.m. every day, still eat a three-course meal during their two-hour lunch break. Staterun schools charge as much as 150 euros a month for a full meal leading some struggling parents to send children to class with packed lunches, a move resisted by staff. Part of the problem is logistical, with soaring summer temperatures forcing some schools to buy fridges to store food brought from home, though what has really fuelled the resistance to the “Tupperware kids” named after a brand of plastic food

containers - are concerns that they risk an imbalanced diet in a country with rising child obesity rates. “There’s a risk that the kids start to change their eating habits, because in Spain we eat a big meal at midday with a lighter supper. The tupperware lunch is turning meal times on its head and that’s an important change for our culinary culture,” says mother-of-two Eloisa Hurtado who works closely with her school’s committee. Some schools have even banned packed lunches, meaning those on tighter budgets are forced to take their children home during the dinner break. Hurtado admits this is not a solution as budgets get tighter. “Not all families have someone to pick their children up midday,” said Hurtado. “So what do those families do if we ban packed lunches?”—Reuters

George Michael ‘woke from coma with different accent’



Indonesian Muslim students march during a gathering marking Ramadan in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday. Ramadan, the Holy month of fasting, will start tomorrow in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. — AP

Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna dies


ajesh Khanna, the first actor to gain superstar status in Indian movies during a nearly three-decade reign at the top of the Bollywood film industry, died yesterday after a brief illness. He was 69. His wife, actress Dimple Kapadia, and two daughters were at his bedside when he died at his home in Mumbai, said his son-in-law, Akshay Kumar, also an actor. Khanna began his career in the mid-1960s in romantic films that were hugely popular. He played the lead in some 120 of the 170 movies he appeared in and won scores of awards. His enormous success was a new phenomenon in India. Screaming fans surrounded him whenever he appeared in public. Women married his photograph and wrote him letters in their blood proposing marriage. He was born Jatin Khanna on Dec. 29, 1942, in the northern Indian town of Amritsar. He took to acting while in school and adopted the name Rajesh Khanna when he began his career in films. After his early success he became a

favorite with film directors wanting a sure box office winner. During the 1970s he had 15 consecutive movies that set new sales records. He was feted as the king of romance and mobbed by hysterical fans, who kissed his car when they couldn’t get near him. “Khanna witnessed unbelievable popularity, such that no one had ever seen or imagined. In fact from 1969 to 1973, it was a onehorse race,” said Javed Akhtar, a screenwriter and poet. In 1973, Khanna surprised his millions of fans by marrying Kapadia, a young and upcoming actress. The couple had two daughters, but the marriage was short-lived. Kapadia complained of his mood swings and bad temper when she moved out with her daughters. However, she returned to take care of Khanna after he fell sick two months ago. After a nearly three -decade reign in Bollywood, Khanna’s popularity dimmed when action films became the rage and younger stars rose to the top. As his career in films faded, he shifted to politics and was elected to

Parliament in 1992 and served there until 1996. In Mumbai, large crowds of people gathered outside his house yesterday as word spread that his condition was worsening. As news of his passing became known, the crowds swelled and police had to push back the throng. Film stars and directors who had worked with him visited his home to offer condolences. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also conveyed his wishes to Khanna’s family and fans in a Twitter message. “It’s a terrible day for all of us in the industry,” said Banu, a Bollywood actress who acted in nearly a dozen films with Khanna. “He was a very humble person despite his superstar status.”—AP

In this photograph taken on January 25, 2012, Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna waves as he arrives for the “7th Apsara Awards” ceremony in Mumbai. — AFP/AP photos

Shah Rukh Khan arrives to pay tribute.

Fans of Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna gather outside his residence in Mumbai, India, yesterday.


Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, center, leaves after paying tribute.

Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, center, leaves after paying tribute.

Rajesh Khanna’s son-in-law and actor Akshay Kumar speaks to the media.

In this June 11, 2009, photo, Rajesh Khanna poses before a circus show at the 10th International Indian Film Academy in Macau.

Financial maelstrom bursts on stage at French festival

reed, the profit motive and the economic maelstrom they can unleash are in the spotlight at France’s Avignon theatre festival with a reworked classic and two new plays exploring the theme. The repertoire at the southern fest ranges from Henrik Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People” to the contemporary “15 percent” by Bruno Meyssat, based on interviews with a real-life traders, economists and victims of the 2008 US subprime crisis. Germany’s Nicolas Stemann also has a new offering: “The Merchant’s Contracts. An Economic Comedy”, based on a text by Nobel prize-winning Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, whose works are laced with social criticism. Fellow German Thomas Ostermeier told AFP he reworked four-fifths of Ibsen’s 1882 play to reflect contemporary times and question the “power of truth in a hyper-financial society” where profit is the dominant motive. His play, which runs for a week until

Ingo Hulsmann, Christoph Gawenda, David Ruland and Stefan Stern (L to R) perform during a rehearsal of the play “Un ennemi du peuple”, written by Norwegian Henrik Ibsen and directed by German Thomas Ostermeier on July 17, 2012 in Avignon, southeastern France, as part of the 66th Avignon Theater Festival. — AFP

July 25, shows society’s leaders in a poor light-powerless puppets overshadowed by the power of big finance. “The politicians in this play all speak of democracy but the real decisions are not taken by the people,” he told AFP. “We face a fundamental question today over how we carry on with a system which is deep down diabolical.” Ibsen’s play revolves around the efforts of a brave doctor who exposes the contamination of the local water supply by waste generated by a tannery in a small town in Norway. Standing alone against politicians, journalists, shopkeepers, he becomes “an enemy of the people”, in a play that explores the twin issues of mass hysteria and political corruption. After finishing the play, Ibsen wrote to his Copenhagen publisher that he was uncertain “whether i should call it a comedy or a drama.” ‘ Financial crisis no laughing matter’ The financial world’s clout is certainly

no laughing matter for France’s Meyssat who focuses on the mortgage-backed US securities market, whose implosion from 2008 has fuelled years of global turmoil. His troupe headed to the United States to interview people whose lives were turned upside-down, as well as experts and bankers, working in visual elements from the world of finance and soundbites by political and economic leaders. “We were working from pretty dry raw material,” said Meyssat, who left his actors free to improvise to express the underlying emotions in the play, which runs from July 19-26. The title’s “15 percent” refers to the minimum return on investment demanded by pension funds to take a stake in a company. Anything lower, and firms will come under pressure to lay off workers. “The world of finance loves to say that it is extremely scientific and dependable, but the economists we spoke to say it runs largely on impulses, as well as being an ideological game,” Meyssat argued. —AFP

19th Jul  

Kuwait Times

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