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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Strikes leave passengers stranded, shelves empty Govt vows it won’t give in to unions’ demands

Max 21º Min 10º High Tide 10:17 & 21:13 Low Tide 03:16 & 15:24

By Ben Garcia and Agencies conspiracy theories

No milk, no salad and no flights but lots of sand

By Badrya Darwish


uys, I find the current situation in Kuwait hilarious. It is unprecedented that everything is closed and we are all trapped. At least before, when the price of tomatoes suddenly increased, I told myself “Never mind! I will eat my penne (macaroni) with white sauce. No need for tomatoes. Actually, penne tastes delicious in white sauce.” I told myself that I was going to eat green salad. Let overpriced tomatoes rot in co-ops. I was eating lettuce and cucumbers. Today, however, there is nothing. There are no cucumbers and no lettuce. Even if I want to eat my penne with bechamel sauce, there is no milk to prepare it. On top of that, as a Kuwaiti I would have travelled to Dubai to escape the crisis till tomatoes and milk hit the shelves again. As you all know, Kuwait Airways also decided to strike at the same time as the customs grounded its fleet. Now we are stranded. And not only that, but we are so lucky that we get sandstorms at the same time. Jazeera alone cannot cope with the rush to Dubai on the weekends. So, we are stuck and forced to watch what will happen with the clash between KAC and the government. Give it a week more - God forbid if this situation stretches to another week - I am not sure what other products will disappear from the market. Will the bakeries have enough flour to feed the nation? It would be a disaster if our khubs (bread) is lost. I can only imagine then an official spokesman telling us on TV: ‘There is no more bread. Eat biscuits.” Then he will remind you all of good old Queen Marie Antoinette of France when she asked her advisors why people were demonstrating on the streets of France. She was told that there was no bread so she retorted: “Let them eat cake.” On a serious note now. Let’s leave joking alone - I just wanted to refresh your day. What is happening in Kuwait is beyond a state of chaos. This time the government has to watch its steps very carefully and take urgent action. Why can’t the army step in. In all modern countries when there is a crisis, the army steps in until the problem is solved. An army is not only there to protect leaders and to be engaged in wars. It is trained to handle emergencies when they occur in the country. From the beginning, the government made a big mistake. Now it is too late to retreat. When it bended for the employees in the oil field, the government may not have expected that the rest of Kuwait was watching. Immediately after that the teachers, KAC and customs had their demands. The government tried to buy time and promised to solve the problem. Another mistake. The worst problem will be if the government surrenders to the demand of customs. That would mean entering a dangerous zone. We might start seeing strikes in every corner of Kuwait. We might see threats. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not against the customs and KAC. I have no idea what their demands are but there is a more decent way to do it without harming the nation and leaving families with babies without milk and leading Kuwait to a disaster. The losses in the market are tremendous and the government is not going to compensate the businessmen. It is the people of Kuwait who are the biggest losers in this game. By the production deadline of the newspaper yesterday, the government was adamant that the demands were not negotiable. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s wait and see. Have a good day without milk and salad!

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KUWAIT: Stranded passengers of Kuwait Airways are seen at Kuwait Airport yesterday. Kuwait Airways extended flight cancellations across its route network into a second day yesterday as it scrambled to cope with a strike by workers. — AP

KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways canceled flights for a second day in a row yesterday as it scrambled to cope with a strike by workers. The action by Kuwait Airways employees follows a work stoppage by customs officials that began last week and is blocking truckloads of goods from entering the country. Workers are demanding higher pay and other benefits. The government announced a 25 percent rise in pay for state workers last week but several unions have said the measures did not go far enough. Kuwait Airways grounded its flights starting Saturday evening and extending into yesterday, according to airline spokesman Adel Boresly. They affect incoming and outgoing flights on nearly two dozen routes including to regional hubs Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Doha, Qatar, as well as Western destinations such as New York and Frankfurt. It is unclear when flights will resume. “We are evaluating the situation (until) the strike is off,” Boresly said. Kuwait Airways operates a fleet of 17 jetliners and focuses mainly on flying to Middle Eastern, European and Asian destinations. It has struggled financially for years, in contrast to the turbocharged growth of regional rivals such as Dubai’s Emirates. Meanwhile, store shelves at some supermarkets are running empty as striking customs workers, who began walking off the job last Tuesday, refuse to allow hundreds of trucks to cross the border. That is prompting merchants to hike prices, with the cost of some Continued on Page 13

Blast hits Aleppo; clashes and protests across Syria BEIRUT: A car bomb ripped through a residential area of Syria’s second city Aleppo yesterday, a day after twin blasts killed 27 in the capital Damascus. State news agency SANA said the attack by “terrorists” had killed two people and wounded 30 others. Opposition activists said three died in the explosion, close to a Political Security office and a church. The semi-official news channel AlIkhbariya said security forces had been tipped off about the bomb and had been moving residents out of the area when it went off. It said the car had been filled with 200 kilograms of explosives. Pictures on the SANA website showed building fronts blasted open and aid workers standing near piles of shattered masonry and bomb craters. Syria T V showed at least one street corner splattered in blood. Local activist Mohammed Halabi said at least 15 ambulances and security cars rushed to the area after the blast. “The blast was

extremely loud and even shook nearby areas,” Halabi said, speaking by telephone from Aleppo. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, and an activist in Aleppo from the opposition’s local Revolutionary Council said the government was behind the explosion. “They want to make our uprising seem like a terrorist operation to the rest of the world, but it is not,” said the activist called Marwan, who spoke to Reuters by telephone. Opposition groups reported heavy raids by security forces and fighting with rebels in northern and southern Syrian provinces as well as suburbs of Damascus. A sniper shot dead a man in southern Deraa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and security forces killed three people during raids in a village in northern Idlib, including a 14-year-old boy. In the capital, as crowds gathered for memorials to Continued on Page 13

ISTANBUL: A Turkish protestor holds a banner during a demonstration against the government of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad at Beyazit Square yesterday. — AFP

Copts bid Shenouda farewell CAIRO: Thousands of grieving Coptic Christians packed St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo yesterday to bid farewell to Pope Shenouda III, his body on a wooden throne, as the church considered a new head of the anxious community. Shenouda died on Saturday aged 88 after a long illness, setting in motion the process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East’s largest Christian community. He led the Copts, estimated at 10 percent of Egypt’s population of more than 80 million, for a whole generation, during which the country was hit by a wave of Islamist militancy from which he sought to protect CAIRO: Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of the Middle East’s his flock. Tens of thousands of mourners conlargest Christian minority, sits dressed in formal robes at Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Al-Abbassiya district, so that verged on the cathedral in a queue that Continued on Page 13 people can see him and pay their respects yesterday. — AFP

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Tonga king dies in HK NUKA’ALOFA: The colourful king of Tonga George Tupou V, who brought democracy to the impoverished South Pacific island nation, died yesterday in Hong Kong at the age of 63, a report said. The monarch passed away in the southern Chinese city with his brother, the crown prince, at King George his bedside after being rushed to hospital, the Matangi Tonga Online said, but there was no immediate confirmation from Tongan authorities. Known to the outside world for Continued on Page 13

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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


MoH staff to stage one-hour strike By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Employees of the M inistr y of Health(MoH) will stage a sit-in tomorrow at 10:00 am outside its main headquarters in Shuwaikh. This protest will be organized by Union of Ministry of Health which includes employees working in administration, as well as technicians, nutritionists, medical service supervisors, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, and others. Members of the Laboratory Union will also participate, in addition to representatives from other

labor unions like the General Union of Kuwaiti Workers, Public Sector Union, and other international organizations. Some lawmakers plan to make their presence felt as well. The protest will last for nearly an hour. “We are protesting so that our rights will be granted. Our demands were already discussed with the Ministry of Health, and w a s re fe r re d to t h e C i v i l S e r v i ce Commission more than two years ago. Finally, some increases to the basic salary was approved, but not allowances. So, we


in brief

Amir to attend graduation KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, will attend today the graduation ceremony of the 38th batch of noncommissioned officers, the 23rd group of officers for higher studies and a fourth group of students of Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences’ Authority Support Institute. The ceremony will take place at the Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences at 10:30 tomorrow. Military cargo crash KUWAIT: Air force command began an investigation with the military airport command in regards to the collision of a military cargo plane, an informed source said. The plane collided with cement barriers along the runway while attempting to take off, causing extensive damage. The pilots escaped unharmed. Preliminary investigations revealed a grave mistake in allowing a co-pilot under training to fly the plane in the absence of the captain. Air force intelligence interrogated the copilot extensively, and now await the technical report to determine the damage.

are now demanding outstanding payments,” Husein Al-Azmi, Head of the Union o f t h e M i n i s t r y o f H e a l t h , to l d Ku w a i t Times. “ We previously asked the Prime M i n i s te r to c a n ce l t h e C i v i l S e r v i ce Commission’s decision. We believe that this institution is responsible for all of our problems and injustice. For instance, some workers employed in certain fields within the Municipalit y receive benefits that employees in other government departments with the same qualifications do not. This is not acceptable,” he asserted.

KMA denies strike intentions KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Medical Association (KMA), Dr. Ali Al-Mukaimi, strongly denied what he described as rumors in various social networks that doctors intend to go on strike. “Doctors’ professional conscience and ethics prevent them from going on strike or sit-ins for any reason,” Al-Mukaimi stressed in a press release issued by KMA. He assured all citizens and expatriates that doctors will be readily available as usual to provide endless humane service. He also underlined that doctor will not leave their post nor abandon their duties in caring for patients at all times. “Ever since its establishment, KMA has been against strikes and sit-ins,” he reiterated.

“As the sole legitimate representative of doctors operating in Kuwait, KMA has full confidence that doctors’ increment demands, that have been approved by officials and the Civil Service Commission, will be taken into full consideration by the government,” he added. The demands made by KMA focused on treating doctors equally with others who already received increments, to ensure a decent standard of living for doctors. Al-Mukaimi stressed with confidence that he fully trusts his fellow doctors are fully devoted to their profoundly humane profession and that they are keen to provide endless medical services and care, regardless of any alien practices.

KUWAIT: Sheikh Naser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah seen in front of the Socialobby ward in the Proud to Be Kuwaiti event.

Knockbook launches Socialobby in Kuwait KUWAIT: Kuwait-based online advertising firm, Knockbook is proud to announce the launch of its sister company Socialobby in the Kuwaiti market. Socialobby is a company specialized in social media marketing services , and has been created to deliver effective social media campaigns for clients to strategically enhance and develop their businesses, effectively reaching online customers. Socialobby was launched and introduced during the Proud to Be Kuwaiti 2012(P2BK) event that took place last week, as part of Knockbook’s participation in the grand annual initiative. Commenting at the launch of the new social media services company, Hind Al-Nahedh CEO of Socialobby said, “We are happy to meet the increasing market demand for social media services and online awareness campaigns. Socialobby will support the package of services provided by Knockbook as we have great surprises for our clients both online and offline.” Socialobby’s social media marketing services include: social media integration (various channels - Facebook, Twitter,

YouTube, LinkedIn and others), online content strategy, reputation management and online PR, costume solutions, social media marketing campaigns, social media monitoring and reports, online surveys and social media events. With the addition of Socialobby to its portfolio, Knockbook has set itself apart from everybody in the industry. The company has brought all essential elements under one roof; online PR agency, social media agency and a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) allowing itself to create engaging campaigns that combine all aspects needed for a modern day online strategy. Knockbook was officially launched in 2008, it was the first to sell online media in Kuwait and since then the firm has developed and advanced its services to ensure that client satisfaction is met and set goals and objectives are fulfilled. The firm has served more than 500 local and international clients, and has achieved more than 300 successful online campaigns. Knockbook has become a Google AdWords Certified Partner in 2010.

Foreign transfers, violations KUWAIT: Informed sources said the ministers court investigation committee, headed by judge Ali Bu Gammaz, officially informed former Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad of the complaint by lawyer Nawaf Al-Fuzai regarding foreign transfers. They said Al-Mohammad will answer within the next two weeks by a memo to the committee. The former Prime Minister received a copy of the complaint, which contains a suspicion of the violations of public funds and a follow-up of Foreign Ministry money abroad. MEW repairs malfunction KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW) has repaired malfunctions at south Zour station, said Assistant Undersecretary for Water Abdelkaliq Murad. He said that such malfunctions are a common occurrence in and are remedied according to technical specifications. Murad said that the ministry employs a large number of staff to deal with such problems that may affect equipment or station. Meanwhile, Jassim AlLingawi Assistant Undersecretary for Consumer Sector said that the sector will work in the evenings to enable consumers to pay their bills easily. 10th Firefighters Day KUWAIT: The 10th Firefighters Day Festival activities will start in all governorates at the end of March, said Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD)’s PR and media manager. Lieutenant Colonel Khalil Al-Amir said this year’s festival is sponsored exclusively by Kuwait Oil Corporation. Al-Amir said the festival will be from 29 to 31 March and that activities are to be held in Al-Saleel Mall, Jahra, Marina Mall, Al-Bairaq Mall, The Avenues and in a special marquee near Qurain fire station.

Hawally Municipality prohibits seafront barbeques By Hanan Al-Saadoun

No joint management for Mubarak Port KUWAIT: Media reports that Iraqi premier Nouri Al-Maliki proposed during his recent visit to manage Mubarak AlKabeer Port jointly with Kuwait has been denied by diplomatic sources. The sources said this is untrue and does not warrant a response from Kuwait. He said all lingering issues, including Mubarak Port, the maintenance of border marks as well as joint oil fields, will be discussed during joint committee meetings. The joint committee will discuss the joint technical report of the port to reach a solution that satisfies all parties. The sources reaffirmed that Kuwait does not seek to harm Iraq or any other country, and that the port will not hinder navigation in Khor Abdullah. The sources said the construction of the port is a Kuwait sovereignty issue and, as per international laws, does not affect navigation in the area. —Annahar

Increase in traffic at Kuwait airport KUWAIT: The Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) said passenger traffic at Kuwait International Airport increased by seven percent and air traffic by eight percent in February, in comparison to the same month in 2011. The DGCA statement said yesterday that the total number of passengers increased to 720,000. The total number of arrivals hit 381,000 while the departing passengers reached 340,000 in February 2012. Air traffic totaled 6,809 flights from and to Kuwait airport during last month. The total number of commercial flights in February was 5,981. The total quantity of air cargo reached 14.5 million kilograms in January, the statement said. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Hawally Municipality Manager Fahad Al-Fahad urged citizens and expatriates to maintain cleanliness at public facilities along the seafront by refraining from littering and leaving barbeque

remains, ash and charcoal. Speaking during a three-day campaign, his teams along with the Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC), Al-Zayyani Company, Bayan and Mishref Co-operative Societies launched a campaign to prevent the practice of holding barbeque

events in these areas. Al-Fahad stressed that such violations can be observed during weekends. He stressed the need to create more active awareness campaigns and strict law enforcement. He also noted that special signs would be placed in such areas

to enlighten visitors with by-laws and the penalties. Abdul Aziz Al-Yahia, Cleaning Department Manager said that his inspectors issued 125 citations over the weekend, explaining that fines ranging between KD 100 and 300 would be levied.

Ali Alghanim sponsors Gulf Traffic Week KUWAIT: Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive, exclusive importer of BMW Group vehicles in Kuwait, successfully concluded its sponsorship of Gulf Traffic Week, organized by the Traffic Department of the Ministry of Interior under the slogan, ‘Let’s Work Together to Reduce Road Accidents.’ The event was held at the Avenues Mall under the patronage of Maj Gen Dr Mustafa Al-Zaabi, Assistant Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior for Traffic Affairs. A series of activities on road traffic awareness were also held. The public was given information leaflets about the dangers of traffic violations and the importance of abiding by traffic regulations. Yousef Al-Qatami, General Manager of Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive said, “Education on road safety is important and we all have a role to play - the government, automotive companies and the general public. The more people who know how to protect themselves on the roads, the less likely they are to suffer severe or even fatal road traffic injuries.” Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive is committed to supporting the core national initiatives, particularly ones which help the well-being of the Kuwaiti society. Following its par ticipation in Gulf Traffic Week, Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive will provide interactive demonstrations on the correct installation

and use of child safety car seat restraints, as well as distributing child safety booster cushions to qualifying families at its showroom in Shuwaikh, all this with the aim of educating families about the importance of wearing seat belts and using child safety restraints in vehicles. Commenting on the importer’s involvement in Gulf Traffic Week, Al-Qatami said, “The event was an opportunity for us to share our safety messages with the community. This sponsorship is one of the key activities under our corporate social responsibility program and marks the beginning of many initiatives that we aim to embark on this year to encourage a safe driving culture in our community.” As part of its sponsorship, Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive had a BMW 5 Series on display at the activation booth in Avenues Mall. The BMW 5 Series is one of many of BMW vehicles that have achieved top rates in the Euro NCAP crash test. This is proof of the very high level of the safety concept developed for BMW cars that boast an extremely stable body structure. Any force exerted on the vehicle in a collision is deflected along precisely defined load paths and absorbed by generous deformation. The Gulf Traffic Week was held between 8 and 12 March attracting a large number of government and private organizations and department as well as individuals.

KUWAIT: Ali Alghanim and Sons Automotive showroom

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012



in brief

Pomfret at KD 20 a kilo soon KUWAIT: Salem Al-Failakawi, representative of the Fishermen’s Union at Sharq fish market, warned that local fish prices will rise noticeably over the coming few days because of the ban imposed by the Municipality on selling fish imported from some countries. “Municipality inspectors informed fishmongers at Sharq fish market that the sale of imported foreign fish will be banned for unknown reasons,” he said. He warned that this will lead to noticeable price hikes, which will be too much in view of the recent vegetable and fruit price increases. “I think pomfret prices will reach KD 20 per kilo due to fishmongers greed’, he predicted. 51,000 sick leaves Dr. Marzouq Al-Bader, Ministry of Health (MOH) Director of licensing administration, revealed that a total of 51,000 sick leaves issued by hospitals and private clinics in the private sector have been authenticated by the ministry. He said there is strict supervision, and any sick leave which looks suspicious is sent to the medical council for investigation. He said the administration has communicated with the Ministry of Health to adopt electronic linkage for issuing licenses through the internet. The MoH communicated with the Municipality to issue a license for a suitable building for the administration. That application has been sent to the Municipal council for approval. The MoH is in the process of issuing a decision to organize antibiotics in the private sector, he added. Magnetic ID cards for stateless residents A delay in approving naturalization to the sons of widows and divorced women last week was due to new things happening locally, ministerial sources said. Sources said a list of 55 names is on a Cabinet agenda and has been forwarded to the next session for approval. The Council of Ministers has received a second list of 110 names from the same groups for approval during the next two weeks. The Central Bureau for dealing with stateless residents affairs is adding its final touches to a list of 900 names. All of them are soldiers, the sources added. Participants in Arab wars have the lion’s share in this list, which will be sent to the Council of Ministers at the end of the month. Magnetic cards for stateless residents will be issued starting from next week. The Civil Service Commission will receive employment applications from stateless residents, as announced by the bureau chief Saleh AlFadhala. Employment will be in six ministries, in addition to the private sector which is 51 percent owned by the Government. —Al-Qabas, Al-Anbaa & Al-Watan

KTS tweets to combat organ trafficking, raise awareness Kuwait in desperate need of organ donors By Lisa Conrad KUWAIT: Kuwait Transplant Society (KTS) is utilizing social media in a bid to raise awareness and increase the number of organ donors in the country. According to Dr Mustafa Al-Mousawi, Vice President of the Society, social media is an ideal way to connect and raise awareness: “Social media is the best way to reach people at the moment. Many people need extra information about organ donation in Kuwait, so this is a great way to provide them with that.” Increasing awareness and, subsequently, the number of donors, would work to reduce the occurrence of people attempting to buy and sell organs and would help to combat organ trafficking, said Dr Al-Mousawi. KTS’s ‘@iGiveq8’ account was launched just a few days ago to bolster the work already achieved by the KTS in improving donor numbers and combating commercial organ trade. Dr Al-Mousawi added, “Raising awareness encourages people to

By A Saleh KUWAIT: The Iraqi White parliamentary bloc welcomed the recent visit paid by Iraq’s PM Nouri Al-Maliki to Kuwait, stressing that Kuwait was the key to solving Iraq’s problems. “There has been bad blood running between (Kuwait and Iraq) since the days of Abdul Kareem Qasim. Today, we need to stop this while preserving Iraq’s interests,” said the member Ghadanfar Al-Batteekh, urging Iraqi youth to cooperate with Kuwait as well as with

Kuwait won’t arm Syrian rebels: MP head office plans to change the original report about the incident, which occurred on 17 November 2011. It will deny that antigovernment protestors, led by Opposition MPs, forced their way into Parliament. Al-Sultan’s comments came in response to mention of footage of protesters breaking through doors, which the veteran parliamentarian says are doors of Abdullah Al-Salem Hall rather than the building gates. Kuwait will not participate in arming the Opposition in Syria but will continue providing humanitarian and media support to the people during the ongoing crackdown by the Syrian government. “Minister Al-Khalid indicates that Kuwait will adopt efforts to provide support to the Syrian people when it heads the Arab League this month”, said a Kuwaiti lawmaker quoting the state’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid AlSabah. MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said arming rebels “is not part of Kuwait’s policies”. The lawmaker said on Saturday that other Gulf states will arm the Syrian people “to face (President Bashar) Al-Assad’s army”. — Al-Qabas, Al-Rai

KPC maintains oil exports despite strike KUWAIT: Legal oil exports are ongoing, despite the lack of custom checks due to the strike by the Customs General Department, a senior Kuwait Petroleum Corporation official confirmed. Ahmad Al-Enizi, Head of the General Customs Department’s labor union, said oil exports, which never stopped since the strike started last Tuesday, “are not checked by custom officials”. This led to speculation that the process is carried out illegally without custom checks. But a source explained that “exceptional procedures are used in cases of emergency” enabling KPC to keep up oil exports, “which cannot stop as per Kuwait’s international obligations”. A customs check on oil shipments is a legal procedure which aims to confirm the quantities loaded onto tankers. “Since custom taxes are not taken, the Government can assign a body to sign the custom clearance lists in cases of emer-

gency”, the source explained. He added that only the Ministry of Interior or the National Guard can be assigned to this duty. Every oil refinery in Kuwait loads at least two oil tankers every two or three days on a strict schedule. “The lack of storage space forces refineries to stop working if oil exports stop for two days”, the source indicated. “This would create major losses to the national economy, which no country in the world can allow to happen,” said the source on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to mention the subject to the press. The source refused to provide detailed information about emergency procedures taken by KPC during the strike. “KPC does not stand against labor demands, but (public sector employees) need to understand that there are legal responsibilities to continue oil exports and we have to fulfill them by any means necessary”, he added. —Al-Rai

Government serious about imposing strike penalties KUWAIT: The Government will act after strike talks reach a dead end, and after unions refused the latest increments passed by the Civil Service Commission sources revealed. The Government will issue a decision to fire every government employee who does not perform his job duties, as the Government realized the strikes aim to spoil national security, sources said. Important goods were not permitted to enter the Kuwaiti market. The Government consulted religious edicts and legislation which determined that striking employees are violating the law. The unions are making use of the strikes to force the Government to accept their demands, which will create confusion which cannot be avoided in future, sources added. The Council of Ministers is serious about finding solutions for

per cent were confirmed brain-dead, only 18 families gave consent. Of those 18, only nine actually became donors as some were found to be medically unsuitable and, in other cases, families withdrew their consent. “This year we hope to have more donors: so far we had four donors in less than three months,” said Dr Al-Mousawi. Whilst KTS launched their online donor card application and have seen an increase in donors, major changes have been made to cut the rate of organs being sold for profit, “There have been improvements due to pressure being applied to the Ministry of Health: now there is an independent ethics committee made up of doctors in the Ministry of Health who meet people wanting to make organ donations,” said Dr AlMousawi. He added, “Their rejection rate is very high as so many are under suspicion of trying to sell their organs. Only those who are deemed to be genuine can donate. At the moment, the rate is very

low.” As a result, more families are asking relatives to donate organs for them, “Whenever you decrease the number of people willing to sell their organs, families become encouraged to find genuine donors within their own families. Now, less people are searching for organs to buy because they’ve seen that they end up in the process of getting rejected over and again by the committee,” said Dr AlMousawi. He added, “It is now illegal to advertise the need for kidney donors, as such ads usually involve commercialism.” Despite the improvements being made, the fact remains that the unfulfilled need for organs in Kuwait and across the world are fuelling unethical practices, “If there were enough organs available then the issue of organ trafficking and the sale of organs would stop. The lack of available organs for transplant is what ’s fuelling such practices all over the world.” He concluded, “There will always be problems with people trying to buy or sell organs as long as there is a shortage.”

Iraqi bloc calls for positive relations

Draft law for minimum 40% pay raise to public sector employees KUWAIT: MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said Parliament’s legislative committee was due to discuss national unity regulations during yesterday’s meeting. MP Musallam Al-Barrak officially announced a draft law to force the Government to adopt a minimum 40 percent base salary increase to public sector employees, while MP Falah Al-Sawagh called for an entire session to be allocated “to reach an agreement with the government for urgent solutions to the problem”. Several lawmakers called for discussing the labor strikes problem during a future parliamentary session, or holding a comprehensive meeting to which the Government and labor unions are invited. MP Riyadh Al-Adsani revealed plans to present a number of questions to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mustafa Al-Shamali, about the “huge losses suffered by the Public Institution for Social Security”. Deputy Speaker Khalid AlSultan addressed criticism at the head office’s decision to decriminalize the storming of Parliament incident, claiming that the crowds who broke into Parliament did so after guards voluntarily opened the building gates. The

get donor cards, and thousands of people can be reached through the likes of Twitter. We want organ donation to become a norm.” Kuwait is currently lagging in terms of organ donor numbers, “ The number of brain deaths in most countries is 50, per million, per year. Kuwait, therefore, will have around 150 brain deaths annually,” said Dr AlMousawi. He added, however, that the number of actual donors is not in line with the number of potential donors, “There is a severe shortage of organs in the M iddle East, and donation is at around a fifth of what averages in Europe are. Spain is a major leader in organ donation rates, and has over ten times the amount of donors than Kuwait at the moment.” Whilst Kuwait is behind European averages, it is leading in the Middle East. Dr Al-Mousawi added that, despite improved referral rates from Kuwait’s Intensive-Care Units, it is still difficult to gain consent: of 105 referrals, of which 60

this problem and the decision to fire government employees who refuse to do their duty is about to be issued. Sources said the Government is serious in implementing the decision, has considered all alternatives and took all the necessary precautions to supply any sector with human resources wherever there is a shortage of employees. The Government has agreed to accept additional employees for jobs which it needs, like customs and civil aviation, to make use of them in case the unions insist on their stand. They will fire any employee in violation of the regulations, and the Government may send labors union chiefs to the state security prosecutor on charges of spoiling supreme state interests. —Al-Shahed

Arab and foreign countries. Meanwhile, the Parliament will summon the government delegation that accompanied the premier to discuss what transpired between both sides. Qallaf prepares to ‘grill’ defense minister MP Hussein Al-Qallaf has begun preparing for a grilling motion filed against Sheik h Ahmed Al-Khale, Defense Minister in connection with deploying army soldiers to replace customs employees. Al-Qallaf intends

to query him on soldiers’ duties’ job function, including whether they will be performing administrative tasks. New budget totals KD 22 billion The parliamentary budget committee met yesterday with Mustafa AlShimali, Finance Minster to discuss his state budget report for the fiscal year 2012-2013. In this regard, the committee Chairman MP Adnan Abdul Samad said that the new budget was KD 22 billion with a 13 percent increase, (equivalent to KD 2.5 billion). He

added that KD 4.7 billion will be allocated for wages, with 7.1 percent increase compared to the previous year. Abdul Samad also said that the total revenue will stand at KD 14 billion, of which 12.8 billion in oil revenues will be calculated based on the price of $ 65 per barrel, an increase of KD 487 million. Furthermore, Abdul Samad stressed that the new budget does not include salary increment demands made by several ministry employees.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


KD 9,000 billy goat missing from Kabd livestock farm Landmine explosion near Salmi KUWAIT: Police are looking to arrest a livestock breeder accused of stealing a billy goat worth KD9,000 from a livestock farm in Kbad. A case was filed at the area police station where a citizen reported his valuable animal stolen by a suspect. He claimed he climbed into the farm and broke the front gate from inside. The man pressed charges against a fellow breeder who repor tedly offered him KD9,000 for the animal during an auction the previous day. The owner believes the suspect decided to steal the billy goat after his offer was turned down. Investigations are currently ongoing to identify the suspect and call him for interrogations.

two Indian men were driving towards their employer’s project site when the accident hap pened. The man on the passenger seat was taken by ambulance to Jahra Hospital, while the driver was left unharmed by the explosion. Their SUV was a writeoff. An investigation revealed that the landmine goes back to the 1990/91 invasion period.

Ethiopian raped A search is currently ongoing for a taxi driver accused of raping a female customer in Kuwait City. The Ethiopian woman said the suspect stopped at a remote location instead of taking her to her destination. In her statement to Salhiya police station officers, she said he sexually assaulted her before kicking her onto a street nearby. A case was filed for investigations.

Trigger happy campers Campers were accused of exchanging gunfire and damaging a citizen’s sports car. Police headed to a camping site in Ali Sabah Al-Salem where a man reported that his car was hit by bullets fired from two camps he drove past. After examining the damaged car, police headed to the camps where the shots reportedly came from. One of the camps was empty, while a man in the other claimed it was the other campers that fired gunshots. He was taken into custody for investigations after the car owner insisted that both campers exchanged fire. Police are looking for the campers who escaped before they arrived at the scene. Investigations are currently ongoing into the case.

Landmine explosion A man was slightly injured but another was unharmed after a landmine exploded in the desert 25 kilometers from Salmi. The

Kidnapper held A man was arrested after attacking two sisters in Sabah AlSalem and attempting to kidnap one of them. The girls were wait-

ing for the elevator at their building when the suspect appeared out of nowhere and sexually harassed one of them. He also tried to drag the girl into his car, but failed due to her sister’s help. He punched the sister of the girl he tried to kidnap, leaving her with a broken nose. The man then fled. Police and paramedics were present at the scene after the victims reported the incident. After the injured girl was treated at a hospital, both girls headed to the police station. They pressed charges that include batter y, sexual harassment and attempted kidnap. They provided the license plate number of the suspect’s car, which helped police to locate him. The man was eventually arrested after strong resistance, during which he attacked police officers with a cane. During interrogation, he claimed he was drunk when the incident happened. He remains in custody pending fur ther proce dures. Crazy driver held A male driver was arrested in Rumaithiya after he was caught driving along the street at nearly triple the permitted speed. Traffic officers had set up a checkpoint on Al-Khatabi street where the driver approached at a very high speed. He almost ran down some officers as he struggled to slow

down his vehicle. The Kuwaiti driver was placed under arrest after the speed radar showed he was driving at 220km/h on a street with 80km/h speed limit. He remains in custody pending legal procedures. Suicide attempt A man was hospitalized in critical condition following a failed suicide attempt recently in Amghara. Roommates of the 48year-old Iranian man rushed him to Jahra Hospital after finding him unconscious with a clothesline tied around his neck. Preliminary investigations indicate that the man used the rope as a noose in a suicide attempt. His plan failed as the rope could not carr y his weight and snapped. A case was filed. Like father, like son A man was arrested for beating up his son’s mathematics teacher inside a Fintas school recently. The school’s administration reportedly called the man to discuss the behavior of his troublemaking son. The man argued with his son’s teacher in the deputy headmaster’s office, before beating him with his head dress rope. He was later taken into custody by police who headed to the school when the incident was reported. The teacher pressed batter y charges at the area police station. —Al-Rai, Al-Anba, Al-Watan

KD30m Kuwaiti loan for Egypt KUWAIT: A loan agreement was signed here yesterday between the Government of Egypt and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, whereby the fund will provide a loan of KD 30 million to assist in financing of Helwan Power Station Project. An agreement (project agreement), concerning arrangements for implementation of the venture, was also signed between KFAED and Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company, which is undertaking the Project, according to a fund statement. The loan accord was signed on behalf of Cairo by Abdul Kareem Mahmoud Soliman, Ambassador of Egypt to Kuwait, while the project agreement was signed on behalf of Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company by Eng. Fathi Alsaid Awad Ibrahim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the said Company. Abdulwahab Ahmed Al-Bader, the Director-General of KFAED, signed both the loan and project agreements on behalf of the fund. The project aims at meeting increasing demand for electricity on the national grid of the Arab Republic of Egypt and improving performance of the grid through enhancing the reliability of supply of electricity by expanding generating capacity by adding a new combined power station with an installed capacity of 1950 MW in South Helwan 115 KM south of Cairo and connecting the new station with the national grid via 500 KV line. The station

will utilize steam turbines fueled by natural gas with fuel oil as standby. The project consists of construction of three steam turbine units of a capacity of 650 MW each. It includes all the necessary works for the power station, switch yard for connecting the generating units to the national grid through 500 KV quader-line with a length of about 350 KM. The venture also include the construction of cooling water intake and discharge pipe to the river Nile with a length of about 2 KM each, as well as the provision of the necessary consulting engineering services for the Project. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. By extending this loan, the fund will have provided 35 loans to Cairo as the fund already made 34 loans to the government there or to public entities in the Arab Republic with a total amount of KD 554 million, equivalent to about USD 1.9 billion, for the financing projects in various sectors. Moreover, the Kuwaiti fund made eight technical Assistance and grants of a total amount of about KD 1.97 million allocated for various purposes including the financing of technical and economic feasibility studies for certain projects. It also administered two grants made by the Government of the State of Kuwait and amounting in total to about KD 4.8 million equivalent to about USD 16.8 million for reconstruction of schools damaged by the earthquake in 1993 and villages affected by floods in 1995. — KUNA

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pany officials led by Khalid Al-Ghanim, Managing Director and Vice Chairman and Huda Al-Saleh, Public Relations and Marketing Manager. Al-Qassar is credited with leading the agricultural department during his tenure

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KHARTOUM: With a crowd of officials and members of the public present, authorities laid the corner stone for “Kuwaiti Martyrs High School� in Karary area of Khartoum yesterday, a project made possible through a donation from Kuwait’s Zakat House. Education Minister Dr Yehya Saleh gave an address on the occasion, during which he praised the great Kuwaiti support to Sudan in service and humanitarian and cultural advancement sectors. He said this school would further aid the Sudanese in their march towards development. The official par ticularly recalled the readiness to extend support and many initiatives of “Direct Aid Organization�, formerly “Africa Muslims Committee�, and their help with development projects and programs in Sudan. Meanwhile, Direct Aid coordinator in Khartoum Alman Sidati pointed out that the school building plan includes classrooms, an administrative building, a library, a computer lab, and a science lab. — KUNA

AUB holds draw of savings scheme KUWAIT: Ahli United Bank has announced the results of the weekly draws of its Al-Hassad Islamic savings scheme. The lucky customers winning the Grand Weekly prize worth KD 25,000 each at the draws held on March 7 are The Alumni Club, Maha A.Wahab A.Gawad Ghoraba and Zaina Jaber. The following Al-Hassad Islamic customers won cash prizes of KD 1000 each: George Thomas, Sarah Elwan Mansour Al-Ajmi, Hamad Saleh Mehwes AlHusaini, Haidar Mohammad Salem Al-Salem, Anwar Ahmad Salim Al-Rashed, Radia Fadel Ali AlMathkuri, Amina Al-Zayadi, Nour Hussain Abbas Qassem, Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Jaber, Mubarak Faisal Saud, Derin Cameron, Waeil Dawan AlDawan, Veronica Patrick Mills, Ghadah Taher

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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Kuwait ‘a model’ of democratization in Gulf Noda greatly honored to welcome Amir TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, said yesterday he is greatly honored to receive His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as a state guest. Noda extended a wholehearted welcome ahead of the four-day visit, which starts tomorrow. Noda called the visit a historic event, which marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. “ We wish to take this major oppor tunity to fur ther deepen mutual understanding between the people of both countries and to strengthen bilateral relations,” Noda said. This is the first official visit to Japan since HH the Amir assumed power in 2006. He last toured Japan in his former capacity as Prime Minister in July 2004. It will be the first trip to the country by a Kuwaiti head of state since 1995. The premier said Japan pays tribute to the leading role Kuwait has been playing as a model of democratization in the Gulf region since its independence in 1961. This has been achieved through pioneering efforts made ahead of other Gulf countries, such as the legislation of a modern Constitution and the establishment of a National Assembly consisting of democratically elected members. “Recent situations in the Middle East and North Africa will be on the

agenda of my meeting with His Highness the Amir,” said Noda, expressing the hope to discuss horizons for cooperation with Kuwait for the stability and peace of the region. The Premier showed Japan’s keenness to carry out in-depth discussions with Kuwait on stable energy supply, cooperation by Japanese companies in improving infrastructure in Kuwait, and promotion of dialogue and exchanges in the field of politics. “In addition, I wish to exchange views with His Highness the Amir on cooperation in new fields, including cutting-edge science and technology such as renewable energy and nanotechnology, as well as education, environmental conservation, and international medical exchanges.” Noda lauded the long history of bilateral friendship and cooperation between the two countries, noting Japan recognized the independence of Kuwait before other countries. Since then, both sides have nurtured firm friendly relations with an emphasis on the energy sector. “Having gone through last year’s auspicious occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Japan will seek to develop bilateral relations in an even broader scope of fields in a multilayered two-way manner in the future.”

Bilateral documents signed or under negotiation in recent years include a 2008 memorandum on the establishment of the Joint Committee between the two governments with its first meeting held two years later. In 2010 the two countries signed a double-taxation avoidance agreement, which was approved by the Japanese National Diet, an investment agreement which was agreed in effect, and a memorandum on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. “ We regard an investment agreement and a double taxation treaty as impor tant tools to improve the business environment and expand investment between the two countries,” the Japanese leader highlighted. “The effects of a ‘win-win’ relationship can be produced by concluding and effecting such agreements at an early date and then connecting Japanese companies’ high-level technology and knowhow with huge demand for infrastructure in Kuwait, resulting in an increase of investment,” he affirmed. “In the energy sector, moreover, Japan will utilize its technology, which is at the world’s highest level, to further expand bilateral cooperation in the field of renewable energy, including solar heat-based hybrid power generation, as well as in the area of energy conservation.” The Premier confirmed Japan’s commitment to strengthening col-

Seminar on European Union and Arab Spring

KUWAIT: Engineer Sarah Fahad Al-Hassawi, Kuwait Municipality roads supervisor, honored her employee, Waleed Sameer Abdul Fattah, in the presence of a number of supervisors. In a manner unprecedented in the Municipality, he was named the ideal employee for his efforts and achievements in all works given to him. Engineer Sarah Al-Hassawi was thanked for her gesture by the road supervision engineers. They expressed their appreciation of the successful manager, saying her employees make more efforts and are more productive in any department she runs.

Multi-national ‘Renga’ at World Poetry Day celebration VERONA: Kuwaiti poet Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain opened the celebrations of World Poetry Day, held in the Italian city of Verona, with a recitation of the opening stanza of the first international ‘Renga’ poem. Renga is a genre of collaborative Japanese poetry in which poets add stanzas that are all linked to the same original theme. The Renga called for peace and solidarity, and joined many poets of different nationalities. It began with the recitation by the Kuwaiti poet. A Nigerian poet continued with his “thoughts for change.” A Japanese poet carried on the reading to talk about “love during peace”. An American poet followed with a stanza focusing on tyranny in a verse titled “aid”. The Renga continued with an Australia poet, who tackled the idea of time. A Palestinian doctor and poet replied to the Australian stanza with one of his own called “singing of the poor.” The Renga concluded with “on toes”. Condemning hypocrisy and bloodshed, it was read by a prominent and internationally renowned Italian poet. The Renga was enthusiastically accepted by the crowd. It was an interactive and sensually stimulating experience, reflecting the artistic creativity of the Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain’s Prize for Poetic Creativity. The ceremonies of World Poetry Day are held at an ancient castle and are attended by an elite group of poets and cultural figures. UNESCO celebrates World Poetry Day every year on 21 March. The main objective of this action is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. The day supports poetry and returns to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promotes the teaching of poetry, restores a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting etc. It supports small publishers and creates an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art. —KUNA

LONDON; Kuwaiti Ambassador to Britain, Khaled Al-Duwaisan, held a seminar late Saturday titled “The European Union and the Arab Spring.” Al-Duwaisan hosted the event in his home in honor of David Lidington, Minister of State responsible for European issues and NATO. A number of British parliament members, Arab ambassadors, senior academics and journalists attended the dinner function. “A positive and constructive discussion on the latest developments in the Middle East took place,” AlDuwaisan said when the seminar was over. Arab ambassadors stressed the important role of European allies in the region, especially Britain, to bring stability back to the Middle East. He emphasized that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were not affected by any uprisings, due to the deep relations that ties the countries together. — KUNA

laboration in various fields with Kuwait, including science and technology such as nanotechnology, in order to broaden the base of bilateral cooperation. Kuwait, one of the biggest OPEC oil producers, is Japan’s fifth largest crude oil supplier. Touching on the recent unstable Iranian situation, rising crude oil prices, and the impact of last year’s Fukushima nuclear reactor accident, Noda said, “Japan sees Kuwait as an

extremely impor tant par tner underpinned by a long history of friendship and cooperation based on the energy field, and highly appreciates the long-term stable supply of crude oil by Kuwait.” Given the current uncer tain prospects of the crude oil market, he voiced expectation that Kuwait will ensure such trust by taking leadership in securing stable supply and pricing of crude oil. “Furthermore, Japan pays trib-

ute to initiatives demonstrated by Kuwait in promoting dialogue between oil-producing and consuming countries for the stability of international energy supply and demand, including the hosting of the ‘Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable’ last April and a ‘ministerial meeting of the International Energy Forum’ this month,” he said, laying hopes on Kuwait to continue and strengthen such efforts in the future. — KUNA


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


kuwait digest


No justice without ethical laws

Holy cow! Where is the milk?

By Dr Hassan Abbas eing a law-abiding citizen does not necessarily mean that the individual is ethical. While confusing between the two is common practice, politicians usually make perfect use of it to achieve goals. After all, dirty games are played in politics. Legal work is not an easy matter. There are many cases in which the legal system fails to ensure justice when a lawyer ‘wins’ a case for a wrongdoer using his experience in exploiting loopholes in law. In Kuwait, we have heard of many cases in which billions of dinars were stolen. The cases were dropped - if ever established in the first place - due to lack of evidence. A law is passed to serve justice. Without the need for serving justice, there would be no reason for the

B Sawsan Kazak ast week, the General Department of Customs in Kuwait went on strike. This means that products coming in by land, sea or air have been stopped at their respective borders and denied entry. The Customs Department strike has caused a noticeable price hike and shortage of certain goods in the country. One of the most obvious shortages in the country is of dairy products. I am somewhat a creature of habit, and my morning routine involves a tall glass of tea with milk with a few cardamom pods crushed in. The milk is always fresh, low-fat milk from a Saudi company. My day isn’t right until I have had that warm, earthy, creamy and delicious cup of tea. Clearly I am a big fan of my morning drink and with this sudden shortage, I have gone into panic mode. I have tried to stock up on the product as much as I can but, how much in advance can you stock up on fresh


I see the dairy black market turning into a full blown industry with crooked smugglers, dairy pushers and a police department specially trained to capture any person involved in the dairy underground market. milk? By my calculations, I will be fine with my milk supply for a couple of days. But what will I do when I’m down to my last bottle of milk? I imagine if this keeps up, the dairy products in this country will slowly go into the black market of Kuwait. You will be walking down the aisles of the super market then a shady looking man wearing a long trench coat will approach you. He will come close and open up his trench coat to reveal the array of ‘forbidden’ products. He will offer you over priced goat cheese, sketchy looking milk and already melted butter. Being desperate for a taste of the dairy goodness you will fork out a wad of cash, take the prohibited items home and feast on the items you just scored. I see the dairy black market turning into a full blown industry with crooked smugglers, dairy pushers and a police department specially trained to capture any person involved in the dairy underground market. There will be dairy addicts stealing cows and 12 steps programs to kick the dairy habit. Hopefully the strike will end before that happens and I can once again enjoy a nice cup of tea with milk in the morning.

kuwait digest

More efforts needed to eliminate hunger

Legal work is not an easy matter. There are many cases in which the legal system fails to ensure justice — when a lawyer ‘wins’ a case for a wrongdoer using his experience in exploiting loopholes in law. In Kuwait, we have heard of many cases in which billions of dinars were stolen. The cases were dropped - if ever established in the first place - due to lack of evidence.

By Dr Ghanim Al-Najjar overty and hunger create most of the instability in dropped in 2011 after the countries faced financial probthe world, the disparity in income and standards of lems. This is understood because of the two countries’ living of people causes them to lose their dignity. financial issues. The report placed donor countries in four Without dealing seriously with these issues, we will contin- categories, the first which was named major partners and ue to go around in circles. The issue will worsen worse it includes Denmark, Finland, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. This group when catastrophes like earthis known to be generous by quakes, floods, and famine the grant pertake place. Some rich countries, tried through calculating centage compared to the Some rich countries, tried the years, to deal with crises and catas- gross national product and through the years, to deal with crises and catastrophes. trophes. With the wish to improve the their strong commitment to the human donation With the wish to improve the performance of donor countries, the principle. They respect neuperformance of donor counDara International Organization was trality and independence tries, the Dara International and flexibility in supporting Organization was formed in formed in Spain by activist Sylvia partners. As far as the secSpain by activist Sylvia Hedalgo, which issued its fifth report a ond group is concerned, Hedalgo, which issued its fifth Canada, EU, France, Britain report a few days ago under few days ago under the title ‘Human and the United States is the title ‘Human Interaction Interaction Indicator.’ It showed how involved. This group is Indicator.’ It showed how donor countries act with nine catastro- known for its ability to donor countries act with nine progress towards crises and catastrophes and crises that phes and crises that took place during catastrophes, in addition to took place during 2011 in 2011 in Chad, Colombia, Congo, Haiti, being ready to learn and Chad, Colombia, Congo, Haiti, Kenya, Palestinian territories, Pakistan, develop. The group’s weakKenya, Palestinian territories, ness lies in prevention and Pakistan, Somali and Sudan. Somali and Sudan. reducing risks and possible The report covered the details politicization, especially of the performance of 23 since it does not enjoy a donor countries, none of which are Arab or belong to the Gulf region. We will talk good reputation. The third group is ambitious which about it later because the issue is not about the availability includes Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and Spain. This is a varied group as far as size, of financial liquidity. It is purely a political decision. There are countries among the 23 that are not known capabilities are concerned. The problem remains, despite for being rich like Greece and Portugal, and they are the fact that there is an international organization that placed in a group that cannot be categorized. Until 2010, seeks to eliminate hunger and poverty, some exist for they were present among donor countries. They were namesake. —Aljarida


kuwait digest

A leader Kuwait desperately needs By Iqbal Al-Ahmad fter announcing a warrant to arrest crowd responsible for this serious action Islamic figure Yousuf Al-Qardawi for was led by none other than parliament criticizing the United Arab Emirates’ members who not only belittle the seridecision to deport Syrian nationals for ousness of their actions, but also brag holding a public demonstration, Lt Gen about the incident as being a major sucDhahi Khalfan, chief of Dubai Police Force cess. It even reached a point where attempts are asserted that legal being made to actions will be taken decriminalize against any offense A place, as revered as the the case. I am committed against positive that the UAE or its govparliament building was the Kuwaiti ernment. stormed and vandalized. The people will not Despite the sensicrowd responsible for this allow it to haptivity of the situation pen. in Syria, Lt Gen serious action was led by none It is baffling Khalfan insisted that other than parliament memto see the level the law be impleof disrespect mented against all bers who not only belittle the accorded to forms of disrespect seriousness of their actions, almost everyagainst the UAE, thing in Kuwait, regardless of condibut also brag about the incihightions. If we compare dent as being a major success. including er authorities, this situation to state laws, the Kuwait, we find that It even reached a point where n a t i o n a l disrespect not only attempts are being made to anthem and affects the status of decriminalize the case. I am the country’s the state, but also flag. It is sad causes a lot more positive that the Kuwaiti peothat tackling damage. ple will not allow it to happen. this problem is The problem not given priorheightens when we ity by MPs who begin realizing that rush to proinsulting another has evolved from being a common practice to pose laws to implement the so- called a rule in society. The more public attacks ‘decent’ wear. Telling people what to wear you make, the more popular you become. is not going to help Kuwait earn respect Heavy public criticism can grant one a from its people. Kuwait needs to find new heroic status that paves a citizen’s way to ways for people to regain confidence in its the Parliament if they plan to run for elec- laws, systems and lawmakers. What Kuwait tions. A place, as revered as the parliament desperately needs are leaders like Lt Gen building was stormed and vandalized. The Khalfan. — Al-Qabas


law to exist. People respect the law because of the goals it protects. On the other hand, no one respects the law which is used to achieve injustice. During the previous Parliament’s term, the progovernment majority in the Parliament responded to criticisms by insisting that they never violated the law. Technically, that is correct. However, they failed to achieve political justice and social equality, which eventually cost them support. Now, the anti-government majority in the Parliament should remember the same lesson as they try to bend the law to decriminalize ‘serious crime.’ To claim that the Parliament’s doors were opened for the crowds to enter and that property damage done was minimal is not only an attempt to twist the law, but also shows disrespect to people’s intelligence. To be honest with you, I am not surprised that MPs would act this way when they come from a society that interprets the law differently. Law is respected in other countries because it serves as a means to achieve social justice. In Kuwait, even the law can be ‘twisted’ to achieve personal gains. Unethical laws cannot help secure justice for the common man. This is because ethics form the backbone of law, and without them, it cannot be respected. — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

How to spread hate by criminalizing it By Abdullatif Al-Duaij ith talk doing the rounds about the need for regulations to protect national unity, I have always felt that such calls were always an attempt to legalize the curbing of public freedoms. There are proposals to criminalize offensive speech against figures revered by a section of the Kuwaiti society. While these attempts appear to have good intentions, I’m afraid they might be used to restrict freedom of expression and ideology in the name of protecting national unity. There is a clear difference between freedom of opinion and hurling insult. However, religious and conservative groups actively narrow the gap between these two with efforts made to protect national unity. In reality, they restricted freedom of opinion and expression. I don’t find a reason for legislations to protect a


There is a clear difference between freedom of opinion and hurling insult. However, religious and conservative groups actively narrow the gap between these two with efforts made to protect national unity. In reality, they restricted freedom of opinion and expression. sector in the Kuwaiti society against offenses committed by individuals or institutions. A sectarian group with deep-rooted history in the local society should be strong and not be offended or threatened by a single person or even another social group - given that they are not targeted by marginalization. Citizens or entire social groups can feel threatened if they became targeted by a governmental body, for example. Such cases include incidents where a police officer would falsely accuse a person simply because they belong to a particular sect, while at the same time overlook a violation committed by someone who shares his same ideologies or beliefs. Another example is a biased state employee who serves people belonging to same sect, while intentionally placing obstacles in front of others because they share different religious beliefs. The point I’m trying to make is that a person cannot be harmed by an expressed opinion, but can instead be mistreated at a public facility based on their sect. Such actions need to be criminalized instead of restricting freedom of opinion and expression under the pretext of ‘criminalizing hate speech.’ — Al-Qabas

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

Two Italian tourists kidnapped in India

East German activist Gauck elected president Page 9

Page 11

51 Pakistani militants killed Dozens of bullet-ridden bodies found in Khyber

PESHAWAR: Pakistani bomb disposal squad personnel are pictured with a defused explosive device which was found inside a car in Peshawar. The Bomb Disposal Squad defused some 40kgs of explosives in an abandoned car parked in Peshawar. -—AFP PESHAWAR: At least 51 militants and four soldiers have been killed in air strikes and clashes with Pakistani security forces in the restive northwest over the past week, officials said yesterday. Yesterday, Pakistani planes bombed the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, killing 26 militants, a senior paramilitary official said. “Pakistani jet strikes today killed 26 militants and wounded 15 others and destroyed their seven hide outs in different areas of Upper Orakzai and Kurram (tribal districts),” the official said. Most of Upper Orakzai is in Taleban hands and is the scene of frequent clashes between security forces and Islamist militants. Separately, at least 25 militants and four soldiers were killed in Bara, a restive town in Khyber tribal district in gunfights between March 12 and Sunday, the official said. “Four security forces personnel embraced martyrdom and 12 others were wounded in gunfights which left 25 militants dead,” he said. The official also denied that militants from the Bara area had been killed in custody, following reports that bodies of some of those arrested were discovered with signs of torture and bullet wounds. “No miscreant has been killed in custody and any such report is baseless and devoid of facts,” he said.

The military operation was directed at militants belonging to the Taleban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh, said the official. The group has been involved in recent suicide attacks and kidnapping in the northwestern city of Peshawar, which borders Khyber, he said. Two local intelligence officials confirmed the clashes and death toll. Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military. Some 18,000 people fled their homes in Khyber in October last year amid fears of a fresh outbreak of fighting between the army and Islamist militants linked to the Pakistani Taleban. Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border are rife with homegrown insurgents and are strongholds of Taleban and Al-Qaeda operatives. Islamist militants have killed more than 4,800 people across Pakistan since government troops raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in July 2007. BULLET-RIDDEN BODIES Meanwhile, villagers found 14 bullet-ridden bodies scattered around the Bara area of the northwestern Khyber tribal region near the Afghanistan border yesterday, as Pakistani security forces step up military offensives against militants. Yesterday’s discovery was made two days after 12 more bodies, also bearing signs of torture and numerous bulletwounds, were discovered in the same area, 15 km south of Peshawar. “They were taken into custody by the paramilitary Frontier Corps a few days back from Sepah area after unknown people attacked the FC post and killed four soldiers,” a tribesman told Reuters, requesting anonymity because he feared for his safety. Another witness, Torab Ali, said all the bodies had had acid thrown on their faces, making identification difficult. “We don’t have any medical expertise but we think they were killed two or three days ago,” he added. No one has acknowledged any connection with the deaths. FRONTIER CORPS An official for the Frontier Corps (FC), which has taken the lead against militants in the Khyber agency, said he knew nothing about the bodies and that the men were never in the custody of the FC. “It is possible they have been killed earlier during the military operation and their bodies recovered now,” the official said, who asked for anonymity. “The FC has been conducting military operations against the terrorists in Bara and other areas of Khyber tribal region.” Another security official who requested anonymity said the operations-conducted since last Monday against the banned militant organization Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) - had killed 25 militants and four troops. Twelve soldiers have been injured. He said no one had been killed in custody and “any such report is baseless and devoid of facts”. Fighting in the Bara area of Khyber, which sits astride a strategic supply route for NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan, has increased markedly in the past week, with security forces conducting a search and cordon operation. A curfew was imposed, but security forces’ checkposts and convoys were still being attacked by militants. Local witnesses said 30 to 35 people had been killed since the operation began. It was not known if that number included those found dead in the last few days. “We are investigating the incident,” said assistant political agent for Khyber, Bakhtiar Mohmand. “A few people had gone missing the first few days of the operation, we cannot confirm their identities yet.” The government had asked women and children to evacuate the area and fighters to give themselves up. This area of Bara is the hometown of militant leader Mangal Bagh who heads LeI. The Pakistan military and security forces have been conducting sporadic operations in the area since November 2011. LeI is also fighting the Tehrik-i-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistan Taleban, in the area and frequently clashes with the larger group. Elsewhere, Pakistani fighter jets killed 29 militants in the Mamozai area bordering two tribal regions near the Afghanistan border, destroying six militant hideouts. Fifteen militants were wounded, security officials said.—Agencies

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Iran says ‘no concessions’ nuclear program TEHRAN: Iran will make absolutely no concessions on its nuclear program, a key lawmaker declared yesterday amid high geopolitical tensions and ahead of mooted talks with world powers. “The parliament will never allow the government to go back even one step in its nuclear policy,” Aladin Borujerdi, the head of Iran’s parliamentary foreign policy commission, told the official IRNA news agency. Iran’s recent announcements that is stepping up uranium enrichment and made its own 20-percent enriched nuclear fuel showed the country “totally masters nuclear science,” he said. “If the P5+1 countries don’t accept the reality of Iran’s nuclear abilities, they will suffer from that,” Borujerdi was quoted as saying. His comments precede expected talks agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 group of powers-the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany. Iran has formally requested a date and venue for the negotiations, the previous round of which collapsed in Istanbul in January last year. The Islamic republic has been buffeted in

recent months by ramped-up Western economic sanctions. It has also been threatened with possible military action against its nuclear facilities by Israel and the United States. Throughout, Tehran has maintained that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, denying Western suspicionslargely echoed in a November report by the International Atomic Energy Agency-that it was conducting military research towards designing nuclear weapons. Borujerdi told IRNA that the United States and its allies have seen in recent months that Iran’s scientists have managed to make nuclear fuel enriched to 20 percent, among other achievements. “Lawmakers expect the (Iranian) nuclear negotiating team to change the situation, to obtain a cancellation of (UN) resolutions (on Iran) and that the Iranian nuclear issue is taken from the Security Council and put back before the governors’ board of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” he said. The remarks suggested Iran was taking a defiant negotiating position for the talks with the P5+1 - one as hardball as the stance adopt-

ed by the United States and some of its allies, notably France and Britain. US President Barack Obama has warned that Iran’s leaders have to understand that “the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking.” The US navy will have three aircraft carriers positioned near Iran in the coming days, and is doubling the number of minesweeping ships and helicopters based in the Gulf. Israel, meanwhile, is keeping up rhetoric that makes many think the Jewish statethe Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, which is not involved in the talks-is serious about possibly attacking Iran, with or without US support. A majority of Israel’s 14-member security cabinet now supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in launching a pre-emptive strike on Iran in a bid to end its nuclear program, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Thursday, citing political sources it did not identify. “Israel is very close to the point when a very tough decision should be made-the bomb or the bombing,” former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told reporters earlier this month. The Western sanctions are

TEHRAN: A currency exchange bureau worker counts US dollars, as Iranian bank notes are seen at right with portrait of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, in downtown Tehran, Iran. The SWIFT financial transaction service says it’s cutting ties with Iranian banks that are subject to European sanctions. — AP taking a toll on Iran’s vital oil exports, though to what extent is unclear amid competing declarations from Tehran and from Western agencies. While shipments have certainly been cur-

tailed to several markets, the tensions over the showdown have driven global oil prices higher, giving the Islamic state higher revenue per barrel of oil it manages to sell.— AFP

American teacher shot dead, Qaeda claims responsibility 16 ‘Qaeda’ fighters killed in Yemen

CAIRO: Egyptian Christian Copts mourn the death of Pope Shenuda III, spiritual leader of the Middle East’s largest Christian minority, in Saint Mark Cathedral in Cairo’s Al-Abbassiya district yesterday. —AFP

Egypt’s Christians edgy, mourn Pope Shenouda CAIRO: Pope Shenouda, who died on Saturday at the age of 88, was Egypt’s highest Christian authority, working for more than 40 years to keep the peace between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority. On the occasions when Christian protesters took to the streets to complain about discrimination against them, the late Coptic Pope chose to stay silent so as not to inflame tensions. When Egypt’s Islamists won the majority of seats in parliament earlier this year in a move that privately alarmed many Christians, he chose to keep his counsel for the same reason. “The church decided to take a silent stance and wait to see what would happen,” a church official said. Pope Shenouda was appointed the 117th Pope of Alexandria, the state’s highest Christian rank, in November 1971, and was respected by Egypt’s Christians and Muslims alike. Christians constitute the largest minority group in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation of over 80 million people. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslims, but it is estimated that there are around 12 million Christians too. In the last three years, Egypt has been convulsed by an average of two serious outbreaks of sectarian violence a year. Hundreds were killed and thousands injured. On most occasions, the Egyptian church under the leadership of Shenouda refrained from making any public criticism of the Egyptian authorities even when his its followers protested, complaining of discrimination and lax security around churches. Shenouda and the Coptic church endorsed ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak when he ran for his fifth term in 2005, reflecting the views of many Copts, who saw Mubarak as a bulwark against Islamists such as the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. Shenouda’s detractors sometimes accused him of authoritarian tendencies. In the mid-1990s, he faced a backlash within his own church over allegations he

was marginalizing or ex-communicating priests who did not agree with his policies. His decision to reject Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel and to speak out against a small Islamist insurgency in the 1970s that targeted some Christians temporarily saw him lose his freedom. President Anwar elSadat banished him to the Wadi el Natrun monastery northwest of Cairo, accusing him of fomenting sectarian strife and meddling in politics. He was also stripped of his temporal powers. He was released and given back his authority by Mubarak in 1984, three and a half years after Sadat’s assassination. Born on Aug. 3, 1923, Shenouda started to take religious classes in Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church at the age of 16, continuing his studies at Cairo University until his graduation in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He then joined the Coptic Orthodox Seminary, and later entered the seminary’s faculty after graduating from college. In 1962, the late Pope Cyril VI asked him to become the Bishop of Christian Education and President of the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary. In November 1971, Shenouda became the 117th Pope of Alexandria, the state’s highest Christian rank. He appears to have been widely respected by both Muslims and Christians. “He is a very wise man. He always placed the interest of the nation above any other thing,” said Mustafa El-Fiki, a political analyst and a former member of Mubarak’s ruling party in a televised interview in January. “I remember that President Mubarak has suggested to him to make the death of Christ a national holiday like Christmas but he refused, saying that Muslims agree that Christ was born but don’t agree on his death,” Fiki added. Shenouda travelled to Europe and the United Sates many times in recent years for medical check ups and minor surgery. Most recently, on March 14, he had visited the United States for medical tests. —Reuters

Amriki’s life in danger NAIROBI: A US-born Islamist fighter viewed as a key foreign leader within Somalia’s Shebab militia allied with AlQaeda says he fears his life is now in danger from fellow extremists. Omar Hamami-better known as Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki-gave the warning in an undated video posted on several Somali websites and YouTube Saturday. “To whomever it may reach from the Muslims, from Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat Shebab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the Shariah (Islamic law) and matters of the strategy,” he said, speaking in English. The bearded Amriki, dressed in a black top and a checkered keffiyeh headscarf, posed in front of the Shebab’s black flag and beside an automatic rifle in the minute-long video, but did not confirm his location. He provided no further details about the threats or differences with other Shebab commanders, who have been battling to topple the weak Western-backed govern-

ment propped up by over 10,000 African Union troops. But the Shebab later denied threatening Amriki, expressing surprise at the video. “We assure our Muslim brothers that #AlAmriki is not endangered by the Mujahideen &our brother still enjoys all the privileges of brotherhood,” the group’s press office said on its Twitter page, adding that an investigation was underway and that it was verifying the video’s authenticity. In a separate Arabic-language statement, the Shebab said it was “surprised” by Amriki’s video, according to SITE, a USbased monitoring group that tracks extremist websites. “Until the investigations regarding the meaning and motives behind this video are completed, the Shebab AlMujahideen Movement assures that everything stated in this video it is not true at all, and that the life of the brother is not threatened by the Shebab Al-Mujahideen Movement,” it said. The video adds weight to reports of growing divisions within the Shehab, who face pressure on three fronts by regional forces and pro-government forces.—AFP

SANAA: Assailants riding a motorbike yesterday gunned down an American teacher in Yemen’s second city of Taez, an official said, with an Al-Qaedalinked group claiming it killed him for preaching Christianity. The gunmen opened fire on the man while he was in his car in Sena neighborhood of the city 270 k ilometers southwest of Sanaa, the security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The slain man was an American who had been working in Taez as the deput y direc tor of a Swedish language centre, he added. Ansar Al-Sharia, or Par tisans of Sharia-a group linked to Al- Qaeda- claimed responsibility for the attack. I ts fighters “ k illed an American Christian missionary,” said a statement circulated by a mobile phone message and confirmed by a source close to the group. “ The attack is in response to a Western campaign to preach Christianity among Muslims,” it said. The statement confirmed the suspicions of another security official that the attack was the work of Al-Qaeda. The shooting “carries the fingerprints of Al-Qaeda, but investigations are ongoing” to identify the culprits, said an investigating officer who also asked not to be named. The US embassy in Sanaa said it did not have any information about the killing and that it was investigating the report. The United States says the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is the most active branch of the global terror network. Witnesses said however that the attackers were dressed in the uniform of the elite Republican Guard, led by the son of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Ahmed. Opponents of Saleh have repeatedly called for the

TAIZ: Yemenis gather around a damaged vehicle purported to belong to an American teacher shot by gunmen in Taiz, Yemen yesterday. — AP command of the military to be purged of relatives of the veteran leader, who was forced to step down last month af ter year-long protests inspired by the Arab Spring. Al- Qaeda’s local branch is ac tive in the south and east of Yemen, but not in Taez, which was a major centre for the opposition movement that eventually forced former president Saleh to step down. Yesterday’s attack comes two days after an official said suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen abducted a Swiss woman, also a teacher at a language school, in the Red Sea por t of Hodeida and moved her to the restive province of Shabwa further to the east. The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the abduction and said it had been informed the woman had been k id-

napped late Wednesday and were trying to seek her release. Al-Qaeda militants have exploited the weakening central government in Sanaa to strengthen their presence in the country, especially across the restive south and southeast. In other violence yesterday, missiles fired from the sea slammed into Al-Qaeda positions in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar killing at least 16 suspected militants, a local official said. He said the heav y shelling began overnight targeting the northeastern suburbs of Zinjibar, which jihadists have controlled since May following fierce fighting with government troops. “Many bases of Al-Qaeda were destroyed,” and 16 jihadists were killed, the official said on condition of

anonymity. The attacks were launched from the sea, he added. Witnesses in the nearby town of Jaar said the bodies of 16 gunmen were buried in a makeshift graveyard in an ammunition factory. The corpses were torn to pieces. Yemeni forces also launched air raids south of Jaar, another stronghold of Al-Qaeda, the official said. AlQaeda militants have exploited the weakening central government in Sanaa to strengthen their presence in the country, especially across the restive south and southeast. Zinjibar is the capital of Abyan province, a stronghold of the jihadists’ local affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, whose militants fight under the banner of Par tisans of Sharia (Islamic law).— Agencies

Iraqi militants free American hostage BAGHDAD: A militia group loyal to Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr has freed an American former soldier after holding him captive in Baghdad for nine months. The American, identified as Randy Michael Hultz, was shown on television in a US military uniform with no insignia, flanked by two members of parliament from Sadr’s movement, including the parliament’s first deputy speaker. He was handed over to the United Nations mission in Baghdad, which transferred him to the US embassy. Washington confirmed he was a US citizen but released no further details. In brief remarks to Iraqi journalists hastily convened to witness his release, Hultz said he had deployed to Iraq in 2003 and initially served there as a soldier for 15 months. He remained in Iraq “in a civilian capacity from then until June of 2011, when I was taken hostage by elements of Yom alMaoud,” he said, referring to the Promised Day Brigade, an offshoot of Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia. “I was taken inside Baghdad and have been kept in and around different locations within the city by al-Maoud. It was explained to me that my release has been for humanitarian purposes and there was no exchange involved.”

Journalists were shown two identity cards with the name Randy Michael Hultz, one showing he had been a soldier and the other showing he had been employed as a contractor. Sadrist lawmakers repeatedly described him as an American soldier and earlier identified him as Randy Michaels. However, the Pentagon says none of its ser ving troops have been listed as hostages in Iraq since the remains of the last missing soldier were recovered last month. Maha Al-Douri, a lawmaker from Sadr’s bloc, said: “We declare the release of the American soldier, Randy Michaels, without any compensation, according to the instructions of Moqtada Al-Sadr, as a gift from him to the soldier’s family and to his people, and to correct the image of Islam.” Qusay Al-Souhail, deputy parliament speaker, said the leadership of the Promised Day Brigade had made the decision to free their captive in light of the confirmation that US troops had withdrawn from Iraq. The UN mission in Baghdad, UNAMI, confirmed that Souhail and Douri had handed over a US citizen and said it had passed him to the US embassy. A US State Department official in Washington said:

“ We can confirm that the UNAMI has transferred a US citizen to the US embassy in Baghdad, which is providing consular assistance. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to provide additional information.” Nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the United States withdrew its forces from Iraq in December, with the exception of a few hundred service members stationed as par t of the diplomatic mission at its embassy. The US mission still includes 2,000 diplomats and, as of last year, 14,000 civilian contractors. The embassy says the number of contractors has declined since then but does not release updated figures. Sadr’s Mehdi Army fighters controlled swathes of Baghdad and southern Iraq until they were largely defeated by Iraqi government forces and US troops in 2008. Sadr disbanded most of the Mehdi Army and joined mainstream politics, and his followers are part of the governing powersharing coalition. The Promised Day Brigade and other Mehdi Army offshoots continued to battle US forces and have claimed responsibility for kidnappings of foreigners. Those groups have mainly said they are disarming now that US troops have left.— Reuters


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Spanish TV heroes threatened by budget axe MADRID: Spaniards have been gripped for 11 years by a televised saga tracing a fictional family’s life since the Franco years-but now the heroes face a very modern peril. The series, “Cuentame como paso (Tell me how it happened)”, was a breakthrough when it launched in 2001, bringing the lives of the Alcantara family to millions of homes. Recounting the way of life under General Francisco Franco in a country where many prefer to not to confront the wounds of civil war and dictatorship, some episodes drew nearly seven million viewers or 42 percent of the audience. Its faithful rendition of the last years under the Franco and the ups and downs of the transition to democracy attracted viewers from across Spain’s deeply split political spectrum. But the story may be brought to a halt by a very modern phenomenon-RTVE’s

2012 budget has been slashed by 204 million euros ($267 million) by a government struggling to trim a gaping public deficit. The public broadcaster, which has five television channels, five radio stations and 6,400 employees paid for by a 1.2-billion-euro budget last year, is thus being forced to consider suspending its most expensive programs. In question are “Cuentame como paso”, sports channel Teledeporte, which must pay high fees for broadcasting rights, and children’s channel Clan, which has to pay to show series such as “Bob Esponja (Sponge Bob)”. Nothing has yet been decided. But RTVE was forced to deny in February that it had already agreed to dispense with “Cuentame” and a popular 17th century adventure series “Aguila Roja (Red Eagle)”. “Both have just finished their 2011-2012

series as planned and have contracts in force,” it said in a statement. But Spanish media quoted unnamed RTVE sources as saying broadcasting of the new season of “Cuentame” would be delayed from September 2012 until 2013 so as to save 15 million euros on this year’s budget-each episode costs 850,000 euros. “The timetable for showing new episodes of the next season will be decided at the appropriate time,” RTVE said. Production of the fourth series of “Aguila Roja” reportedly cost 11.8 million euros. The budget cuts also pose a “serious risk” to the broadcaster’s ability “to carry out its public service function,” the group’s rotating president Josep Manuel Silva warned as he unveiled a report in February. They “even endanger the existence of the Teleporte and Clan channels,” Silva added. The cuts may also lead the channel to “give

up some Spanish series for this year, despite their success,” he said. The existing format of the broadcaster’s news channel “24 Horas (24 hours)” is also under threat, he said, warning that the group’s audience share could fall from 21 percent to between 11 and 13 percent. RTVE, already hit by the previous Socialist government’s decision to ban advertising, has found defenders among professionals, viewers’ associations and unions. In a recent opinion piece on the Spanish basketball federation’s Internet site, its president Jose Luis Saez, defended Teledeporte and stressed “TVE’s fundamental role in the past 20 years with the explosion of Spanish sports since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.” The Association of Telecommunications Users has warned that the children’s channel Clan is an “indispensable” channel to the public service mission of

RTVE. Jesus Trancho, secretary general of the UGT-RTVE union, which is represented on the broadcaster’s board said: “Hiding behind the cuts is the government’s plan to totally or partially privatize RTVE.” There’s a political backdrop to the threat, too. The conservative Popular Party, which took power in December, has accused the broadcaster of favoring the Socialists. The Socialists have accused the Popular Party of wanting to “take control of an organization charged with supervising the neutrality and plurality of state radio and television.” Former RTVE president Alberto Oliart resigned in July 2011 “for personal reasons”. Since then the group has been run by a president who rotates each month because deputees charged with electing a successor could not agree on a new head by the required twothirds majority. —AFP

German activist pastor Gauck elected president ‘President of hearts’ seeks to restore the faith

BISSAU: A man casts his vote at a polling station yesterday in Bissau. The small coup-prone nation of Guinea-Bissau began voting yesterday for a new president - an office no one has yet held for a full five-year term. —AFP

‘Narco state’ Bissau at crossroads with votes BISSAU: Voters in Guinea Bissau kicked off an election yesterday which was meant to steer the coup-prone West African state towards stability, but could instead extend its decades-long history of turmoil if the results are contested. The stakes are high for international partners keen to see the tiny nation clamp down on rampant narcotics trafficking that has made it the main African transit point for South American cocaine bound for Europe. An estimated 800-1,000 kg of cocaine are flown into Guinea-Bissau every night, according to a leaked 2009 US diplomatic cable, along with an unknown amount ferried by sea into the maze of mangrovelined islands that make up much of its coast. The election’s main candidates have promised to make fighting drugs a priority, though observers say doing so will require more foreign aid as well as alliances within a military believed by many to be complicit in the drugs trade. While voting is expected to pass peacefully in the country of 1.6 million, the result may prove contentious: opposition figures have accused ruling party candidate Carlos Gomes Junior of marring the poll by refusing to update a voter register from 2008, leaving more than 100,000 off the rolls. Rival candidate Kumba Yala, a former president who shares the Balanta ethnicity with more than 25 percent of the population and the majority of the armed forces, said he would seek to have the results overturned if Gomes Junior wins. “We will never accept the fabrication of results,” he said at his home in the capital Bissau, a sleepy city of crumbling buildings near a river that drains into the Atlantic. A dispute over the results could raise the chances of the military stepping in, as it has done repeatedly since independence from Portugal in 1974, with coups, arrests and political assassinations. The challenges to stability are huge in a country whose main official export is cashews: an

ordinary Bissau Guinean lives on less than $2 a day, and military meddling and health problems have prevented any president from serving a full term since multi-party politics began in 1994. SPLIT VOTE Gomes Junior, a former banker reputed to be Bissau’s richest man, served for years as Prime Minister under presidents Joao Bernardo Vieira, assassinated in 2009, and Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in Paris in January after a long illness. He has won tacit international support during his time as Prime Minister for ushering in economic reforms and for speaking out against drugs smuggling and indiscipline in the notoriously unruly army. The Paris Club canceled $283 million in debt last May, the IMF has provided a line of credit, and Angola has pitched in money and troops for army reform. “Carlos Gomes Junior is a man with lots of experience. He has proven his worth running Guinea Bissau,” said Sambala Kanoute, 46, a musician in Bissau. But his rivals say he has been weakened by a split in the ruling PAIGC party over his candidacy - which has turned controversial, they say, because of the turmoil and increased drugs running that accompanied his time in government. An influential member of the party - which was forged during Guinea Bissau’s struggle for independence named Manuel Sherifo Nhamadjo dropped out to run against Gomes Junior as an independent in a move that could split the vote. “During Gomes Junior’s time, there have been a lot of assassinations, deaths in the country. We want peace,” said Malam Camara, a 42-year-old mechanic, during Nhamadjo’s carnival-like rally on Friday, which drew thousands of people and blocked traffic on a major thoroughfare. Results are expected within a week. If no candidate wins an outright majority, a runoff will be held probably in April.—Reuters

BERLIN: Activist pastor Joachim Gauck was elected German president by an overwhelming majority yesterday, marking the first time a candidate from the former communist east will be head of state. Gauck, 72, claimed 991 votes out of 1,232 from a special assembly of MPs and other dignitaries, parliamentary speaker Norbert Lammert said, against prominent Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld, 73, who was nominated as a protest candidate by the farleft party Die Linke. “What a beautiful Sunday,” Gauck said to enthusiastic applause from the chamber of the glass-domed Reichstag parliament building in central Berlin after the vote. It was the third presidential election in three years for Germany after the abrupt resignations of Gauck’s two predecessors. Gauck helped drive the peaceful revolution that brought down communist East Germany and later fought to ensure that the public would be granted access to the vast stash of files left behind by the despised Stasi secret police after reunification in 1990. He oversaw the archive for the next decade. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also grew up under communism, gave her backing to the plain-spoken Lutheran pastor in February after President Christian Wulff stepped down amid a flurry of corruption allegations dating from his time as a state premier. Wulff only served 20 months of his five-year term in office. He had replaced Horst Koehler, a former head of the International Monetary Fund who bowed out after an uproar over comments he made appearing to justify using the military to serve Germany’s economic interests. Claudia Roth, co-leader of the opposition Greens party, which supported Gauck’s candidacy along with the rest of Germany’s mainstream parties, said the country was looking to Gauck to “give this badly damaged office dignity and respect again”. A poll for ARD

public television released Saturday indicated that 80 percent of respondents consider him to be trustworthy. ‘PRESIDENT OF HEARTS’ Gauck, 72, a former East German human rights activist looks back on a remarkable biography that parallels his country’s

BBC, said on Wednesday it had suffered a sophisticated cyber-attack following a campaign by Iranian authorities against its Persian service. Hague said the website ( in English and in Farsi) and the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter were an attempt to engage with Iranians and explain British policy. Iran blocked a similar website set up by the US State Department as a “virtual embassy” hours after its launch in December. Washington has had no diplomatic presence in Tehran since its embassy was stormed in 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution and has led the global push to isolate Iran. “Iran’s people have had to endure an ever-tightening stranglehold of censorship,” Hague said. “The blocking of our website is only a very small part of what Iranians undergo daily: millions of websites blocked, access to e-mail services denied, international television channels jammed, films and theatre productions closed down, books unpublished, traditional Persian literature rewritten and newspapers banned.” Many Iranians get around a government filter that blocks vast numbers of Western news and social media sites - including Facebook and Twitter - by using virtual private network, or VPN, software.—Reuters

opening access to their millions of files. He served there until 2000, earning respect for balancing the causes of truth and reconciliation as the country again became one. Describing himself as a “conservative from the liberal left”, Gauck appeals to all sides of the political spectrum in Germany. More than half the population

BERLIN: German President Joachim Gauck walks up to make a speech after he was elected Germany’s new President during the Bundesversammlung federal assembly at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) yesterday. —AFP tumultuous history. Hailed as “the president of hearts” by the topselling Bild daily, the popular, charismatic and plain-spoken East German was a leading figure in the peaceful revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989. Born in 1940 in Rostock in northeastern Germany, Gauck received an early lesson in tyranny when his father was arrested and sent to a Siberian gulag after being sentenced to 25 years by a Russian military tribunal. He returned home four years later a broken man and a distant,

the pulpit to preach human rights and freedom, quickly drawing attention from the authorities. When the first protests began that would eventually lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gauck became the spokesman of the “New Forum” in Rostock, an opposition movement that demanded democratic reforms. And when Germany was reunified amid joyous scenes in October 1990, the man who was formerly closely watched by the hated Stasi secret police was placed in charge of sorting through and

looks forward to having him as president, according to recent polls. As a candidate for the presidency in 2010, the two most influential media outlets in the country, newsweekly Spiegel and Bild, described him respectively as “the better president” and “the president of hearts”. However, he lost that election to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handpicked candidate for the post, Christian Wulff, who became embroiled in scandal and was eventually forced from office under a prosecutor’s investigation. —Agencies

Libya, France, ICC want to try Gaddafi spy chief

Britain accuses Iran blocking website in censorship battle LONDON: Britain accused Iran yesterday of blocking a website days after it was launched by the British government to reach out to Iranians, in the latest spat over media censorship. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the “UK for Iranians” website which he launched on Wednesday with a personal video message had been blocked three days later by Tehran. “I condemn this action by the Iranian government. We have no quarrel with the Iranian people and regret that the Iranian authorities fear their own citizens’ interaction and involvement with the outside world,” Hague said in a statement. Britain is at the forefront of Western opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, supporting tough sanctions against Tehran which it fears is seeking the bomb. Tehran says its atomic activities are entirely peaceful. Relations hit new lows last November when protesters stormed the British embassy, prompting London to evacuate its Tehran staff and expel all Iranian diplomats from Britain. Iran said that was an over-reaction and accused London of censorship when its state-run English language news channel Press TV was banned from British airwaves by media regulator Ofcom in January. Britain’s public service broadcaster, the

authoritarian father. Thwarted in his dream of becoming a journalist when he failed to secure a place to study German, Gauck instead studied theology, entered the Lutheran Church in 1965 and was ordained in 1967. He once told an interviewer that “at the age of nine, I knew socialism was an unjust system” and he used

TRIPOLI: Government spokesman Salah Al-Manaa gives a press conference in Tripoli during which he stated that Libya has asked Mauritania to extradite Abdullah Al-Senussi, the arrested spymaster of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi. —AFP

NOUAKCHOTT: France and the International Criminal Court have filed formal requests with Mauritania to extradite Libya’s ex-spy chief Abdullah Senussi, a security source said yesterday as Tripoli insisted that it should put him on trial. “For the time being two requests have been received by Mauritania. One from France arrived on Saturday and the second from the ICC yesterday,” the Mauritanian source said. A delegation from the Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council is expected to visit Mauritania soon to discuss Senussi’s handover. Libya is determined to try the feared former right-hand man of fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi who is wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes committed while trying to crush last year’s uprising. “Our courts are very good, even excellent, especially in Tripoli and we are able to carry out his trial according to international standards,” Justice Minister Ali Hmeida Ashur said yesterday. However, Amnesty international on Saturday said that Senussi should be tried by the ICC in the absence of a functioning judiciary in Libya. French President Nicolas Sarkozy Saturday hailed the arrest and called for Senussi’s extradition to France, his office said. Senussi was arrested late Friday night at Nouakchott airport as he arrived on a regular flight from Casablanca in Morocco carrying a fake Malian passport. On Saturday Libyan government spokesman Nasser Al-

Manaa said that the prosecutor general had sent an extradition request to Mauritania through Interpol. No bilateral agreements for extradition exists between Libya and Mauritania. However a diplomatic source said the country may rely on a judicial assistance agreement linking countries of the Arab League. Senussi faced an international arrest warrant after a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment for involvement in the downing of a French airliner in 1989. The airliner was brought down by a bomb on September 19, 1989 over Niger. The UTA flight was carrying 170 people from Brazzaville to Paris via N’Djamena. That attack-along with that a year earlier against a PanAm jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people were killedled to a UN-mandated air blockade of Libya in 1992. Senussi could also be held accountable in Libya for the Abu Salim prison massacre of 1996 when more than 1,000 detainees were gunned down. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Senussi on June 27, saying he was an “indirect perpetrator of crimes against humanity, of murder and persecution based on political grounds” committed in the eastern city of Benghazi.” Police in Mauritania, which was not a party to the treaty that set up the court, said officials there wanted to investigate Senussi with Interpol before considering any extradition requests.—AFP

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Pro-regime activists target Cuban dissidents HAVANA: A crowd of about 100 proregime activists rallied Saturday outside the home of a leader of the prominent Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, with political tensions rising ahead of next week’s visit by Pope Benedict XVI. “ The counterprotest started (around 2000 GMT ) when about 20 of us went outside to march through the city. But about two blocks away, our people were blocked and we don’t know where they are,” a member of the dissident group said privately. The Ladies in White are the wives and female relatives of jailed dissidents. The group of marchers was led by Bertha Soler, sources said. When AFP sought to contact her by cellular

phone, it was not in service. The 2005 Sakharov Prize-winning group for years has pressed for the release of political prisoners-including their loved ones-in the Americas’ only one-party communist-ruled state. They often dress in white and march carrying gladiolas, and attend Roman Catholic services. For three days, the group has been meeting in the Havana home of its former leader Laura Pollan, who died last October. The group, founded in 1983, has not eased up in its anti-government stand when the government freed about 30 political prisoners after mediation by the local Roman Catholic church. Cubans dissidents more broadly

have been gearing up their activities ahead of the visit to Cuba by the pope from March 26-28. Benedict, 84, will offer mass in Santiago and Havana, and meet with President Raul Castro, 80. In the past week, opponents of the communist government occupied Roman Catholic churches in three cities-Havana, Holguin and Las Tunas. The church maintains the groups in Holguin and Las Tunas started their protests on Tuesday and left the churches the same day without violence. But in Havana the scene was tenser, as demonstrators made a bold move to hold a sit-in, demanding papal intercession on human rights issues. Thirteen protesters took up res-

idence in Our Lady of Charity church on Tuesday. The group from the outlawed Republican Party of Cuba (PRC) is demanding the release of political prisoners and greater freedom of expression. They demonstrated for two days before police moved in and removed them from the church, and took them to the police station to file reports. It was Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega who made the request for the removal, after church officials condemned the in-church protesting as inappropriate. Some Cuban opposition members are slackjawed and bitterly critical of church cooperation with the communist state, which has included mediating

the release of political prisoners. But the church is the most influential non-state actor in a society overwhelmingly controlled by the government. And it is keen to maintain and expand the influence it has, to “reevangelize,” particularly to get its own media and schools. After decades of official atheism, the Cuban regime now has more cordial relations with Roman Catholics and other churches. Most Cubans, however, do not consider themselves practicing Catholics; fewer than 10 percent are. Most Cubans believe in facets of an AfroCuban belief system brought by the Yoruba people of west Africa as slaves in the colonial era. — AFP

Pope to boost faith, tackle drug wars in Mexico, Cuba Pontiff hopes to win back Latin Americans

BALLWIN: Republican presidential candidate, former US Sen Rick Santorum (right) speaks to supporters and caucus voters during a campaign stop in Ballwin, Missouri. — AFP

Catholics cool for Santorum SAN JUAN: At El Sendero De La Cruz evangelical church, Rick Santorum sought prayers along with votes. He told the San Juan congregation that he felt “very blessed” to be with people of faith and said he can withstand the demands of campaigning because of the many people like them he meets while running for president. “The first thing they almost always say to me, ‘I’m praying for you,’” Santorum said. “It works.” It’s the kind of spirit-infused language that is helping Santorum connect with evangelical Republicans, who have fueled his strong showing in state after state. Yet, in one of the more puzzling developments among many in the GOP contest, he’s nowhere near as successful with his fellow Roman Catholics. Across all states where Republican primary voters were asked their religion in exit polls, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, trounced Santorum among Catholics, with an average margin of victory above 20 percentage points. Even in Southern states, where Romney has struggled, Catholics broke his way. Yesterday, overwhelmingly Catholic Puerto Rico held its primary. Catholics haven’t voted as a bloc in decades, leading analysts to declare “the Catholic vote” as such doesn’t exist. Still, the results are surprising given that the former Pennsylvania senator puts Catholicism at the center of his public service and personal life.

Known for attending Mass almost daily, Santorum organized a Catholic study group for lawmakers when he served in Congress, has fought abortion and defended traditional marriage. He cites his faith for his support for humanitarian work, such as financing programs that fight AIDS in Africa. He has home schooled his seven children and sent some to private schools affiliated with the Catholic movement Opus Dei. Santorum has said that growing up north of Pittsburgh, his parents expected him to attend church every Sunday without fail. “You had to basically be dead not to go,” he said in a 2005 interview with the New York Times. Religious identity is not as much of a consideration for Catholic voters as it is for members of some other faiths. Only 1 in 5 Catholics on average said it mattered “a great deal” that a candidate share their religious beliefs, compared with onethird of non-Catholics in exit polls that asked the question. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, also Catholic, on average trails Santorum among Catholics. In the 2004 race, Democrat John Kerry was the first Catholic presidential candidate from a major party since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Still, Kerry lost Catholics in the general election to President George W Bush, a Protestant who emphasized his born-again religious conversion. — AP

VATICAN CITY: From the war on drug cartels in Mexico to reviving faith in Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI will address a series of burning issues in his first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America beginning this week. On his 23rd visit abroad, the pontiff will tackle the declining number of Catholics in the region, the rise of rival religious movements such as Pentecostalists and what the church sees as the threat to family values. The six-day program, starting in Mexico on Friday, takes into account the frailty of the aged pope, who will conduct both political meetings and religious rites focusing on the marian figures of Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe and Cuba’s Our lady of Charity. Benedict, 84, is likely to face criticism over the clerical abuse scandal and the Vatican’s management of Mexico’s most famous offender, Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who was accused of molesting eight minors. The Vatican has already ruled out a meeting with victims of pedophilia. One of the trip highlights will be a large mass next Sunday in front of hundreds of thousands of people in the Bicentennial Park in Leon, which sits at the foot of Cubilete Mountain, the site of the towering Christ the King statue. A reproduction of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be presented to the crowds and Catholics from all 91 of Mexico’s dioceses are expected to attend. Benedict XVI’s globe-trotting predecessor Jean Paul II visited Mexico five times but never made it to Leon. The Vatican chose the site because it is central and 70 percent of the population can travel there in under four hours. The pope will meet children and faithful in Guanajuato before presiding over vespers in Leon Cathedral with bishops from South and North America. In the overwhelmingly Catholic country-where 83 percent of the population has been baptized-the pope is expected to condemn the drug wars between cartels and security agents which have killed tens of thousands of people. He is also likely

to speak about the mass migration of LatinAmericans, particularly from Central America, to the United States. Many fall victim to drug traffickers and there are widespread claims of abuse by border guards. In Cuba, Benedict XVI hopes to encourage religious fervor in this secular state and a big turnout is expected from the Catholic com-

VATICAN: Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful during the Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking St Peter’ s Square at the Vatican yesterday. — AP munity-which forms around 10 percent of the Cuban communist regime to open up to the populace-at masses in Santiago de Cuba and world. While Joseph Ratzinger will hope to Havana. This year marks the 400th anniversary continue in his predecessor’s footsteps, he will of Our Lady of Charity, a statue of Mary found have to tread carefully in order to avoid creatin the sea and Cuba’s patron saint, who is ing friction between the state and the Church, revered for her miracles. The German pope which plays a leading role in the island’s social will be visiting the island during a period of sector. Nor will he want his message to be reform and will hope to strengthen the used as a tool by the opposition. The Vatican has already said that Benedict XVI will not regime’s relations with the Church. In December, President Raul Castro meet dissident Cubans, some of whom occureleased 2,700 prisoners ahead of the pope’s pied a church last week demanding that the visit-though only a few were believed to be pope push Havana leaders for political freepolitical dissidents. The pontiff will meet dom during his visit. — AFP

Venezuela detains police in killing of consul’s daughter

Judge on Strauss-Kahn case: Just another trial NEW YORK: For some, the New York civil case in which a hotel maid is suing exIMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleging sexual assault will be a blockbuster trial with global repercussions. But for veteran Judge Douglas McKeon, who will preside, it’s just a typical civil trial. The lawsuit by New York maid Nafissatou Diallo is set to go before the Bronx Supreme Court March 28 after a series of delays. “We’ll do the same here as we do on any other civil case,” the 63-year-old judge said in an interview in his court chambers overlooking Yankee Stadium. The first order of business for the judge will be to consider a motion to dismiss the case on the basis of diplomatic immunity. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers argue that because at the time of the alleged attack he was head of the International Monetary Fund, he is shielded from civil suits. “I’ll give each of the attorneys an opportunity to present their side of the argument, and I’ll ask questions of them, and then within several weeks thereafter I’ll issue a decision,” the judge said, without commenting on the merits of the case. The civil case is another chapter in the saga involving Strauss-Kahn that began last May. Amid considerable international attention, the judge has agreed to allow pooled camera and video feeds from the courtroom. Strauss-Kahn, who had been among the world’s most prominent economic officials, was arrested and faced the possibility of a lengthy prison term over the alleged May 14 incident in which the immigrant maid said she was sexually assaulted in his hotel suite. But weeks later, New York prosecutors dropped charges, saying the maid had credibility problems. The same allegations will be in evidence at the civil trial-which could prove a further embarrassment to a man seen

until recently as a frontrunner to be the next president of France. Strauss-Kahn has said what happened in his seven-minute encounter was a “moral failing of which I am not proud” but insisted police found “no scratches, no wounds, no sign of violence” on the maid’s body. He has not elaborated on what precisely had happened in the suite. Civil proceedings in the United States are usually drawn out and can take years at times. Neither Strauss-Kahn nor his accuser are required to attend the hearing. McKeon said the case would follow typical civil procedures-each of the parties and other key witnesses will give sworn depositions, and a “discovery” phase will allow each side to view or challenge evidence that may be used at trial. If the case is not dismissed, “once that process is completed and the case is basically ready for trial, there will a period of time during which there’ll be discussion about perhaps settling the case,” the judge said. If there is no settlement, the case will be given a trial date. “Not all cases, because of their particular facts, are able to be settled as soon as we might like,” the judge said. “But we’re forever keeping that particular option open and exploring it, as we do in every case. This would be no exception.” McKeon said he believed the case would be completed quicker than many anticipate. “I don’t believe it will take years. I would anticipate once discovery begins in this case it should be completed within a year to 15 months.” It was a heavy responsibility to be a judge in a community where he grew up and which has some of the city’s poorest and toughest neighborhoods, he added. “I was born in the Bronx, I’ve lived my entire life in the Bronx,” he said. — AFP

Castro on March 27 at the presidential palace. While a meeting with his brother-the former longtime leader Fidel Castro-has not been scheduled, neither has the Vatican ruled it out. Benedict XVI’s trip to Cuba follows John Paul II’s historic visit in 1998.The late John Paul was seen as an inspiration to bringing down communism in Eastern Europe and urged the

MISSOURI: Caucus goers vote during a Republican caucus in Ballwin, Missouri. —AFP

Republicans battle over Puerto Rico and Illinois CHICAGO: Republicans of Puerto Rico head for the polls yesterday to elect their delegates to the party’s national convention as presidential contenders set their sights on President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, which holds its primaries tomorrow. Illinois appeared to be a new gut check for Republicans struggling to keep momentum in the race for the nomination to challenge Obama in November. Polls showed former senator Rick Santorum within striking range in Illinois of frontrunner Mitt Romney, who has a commanding lead in the all-important delegates count but has been weakened by his failure to clinch the nomination. Romney scheduled a series of events in Illinois yesterday starting with a pancake breakfast in Moline, followed by a gathering with voters in Rockford and a town hall meeting in Vernon Hills. Puerto Rico, where 20 delegates are at stake, is being courted by Republican candidates, in part because the broader US Hispanic vote is seen as crucial. Santorum found himself in hot water this week over suggesting the territory would need to make

English its official language before it could become the 51st US state. The former senator said later his remarks were misunderstood and that he only wanted Puerto Rico to become a fully bilingual state. But Zoraida Fonalledas, Puerto Rico’s Republican National Committeewoman, suggested had seriously damaged Sandorum’s campaign on the island. “It really hurt him,” Fonalledas said. “If (people) were going to vote for him, they changed their minds.” English and Spanish are currently recognized in the territory, and Romney told reporters in Puerto Rico-where he held a raucous street rally in San Juan Friday night-that the island’s language status need not be changed in order to seek statehood. Romney, Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich have all said they would back statehood for Puerto Rico as long as the territory’s voters support it in a November referendum. The former governor of Massachusetts, who was in Puerto Rico early Saturday and visited a local fruit market, told reporters he was “cautiously optimistic that we’re going to do well in Puerto Rico.” — AFP

CARACAS: Venezuelan authorities detained 12 members of an investigative police unit on Saturday suspected in the fatal late-night shooting of a Chilean diplomat’s teenage daughter while she was riding in a car with her brother. Karen Berendique, the 19-year-old daughter of Chilean consul Fernando Berendique, was killed late on Friday when the officers opened fire on the vehicle being driven by her brother in Venezuela’s western city of Maracaibo, officials said. She was hit three times. Venezuela’s Interior Ministry, which is responsible for the police, said 12 officials from the CICPC (national investigative police) had been detained and a criminal investigation launched. “The government ... expresses its condolences and regrets to the Berendique family, and guarantees that those responsible will be punished with absolute firmness and objectivity,” the government statement added. A local newspaper quoted her father as saying the officers opened fire after his son failed to stop at a CICPC checkpoint. “He got nervous because the armed suspects had not switched on their police lights,” Panorama newspaper quoted Berendique as saying. “When he saw his sister was unconscious and wounded, he pulled over ... they told him they fired because he didn’t stop.” CICPC chief Jose Ramirez told reporters the officers in Maracaibo had been looking for a gang involved in robberies and car thefts at the time of the incident. He said 12 firearms had been seized to establish who fired the fatal shots. “We condemn and reject this kind of police malpractice,” he said. Chile’s government in a statement condemned “most energetically the death of Karen Berendique at the hands of agents of the CICPC” and called for an explanation as soon as possible. The statement added that Chile had received multiple expressions of concern from senior Venezuelan officials. Violent crime is a major problem in Venezuela and police have been linked to serious offenses in the past. Public safety will be a big issue in October’s election when President Hugo Chavez is seeking a new six-year term in office. Last November, another Chilean consul was shot and beaten during a two-hour kidnapping in Caracas. In January, the Mexican ambassador and wife were abducted in the capital for several hours. — Reuters

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Indian girl trapped in life of cigarette rolling DHULIYAN: Sagira Ansari sits on a dusty sack outside her uneven brick home in this poor town in eastern India, her legs folded beneath her. She cracks her knuckles, then rubs charcoal ash between her palms. With the unthinking swiftness of a movement performed countless times before, she slashes a naked razor blade into a square-cut leaf to trim off the veins. She drops in flakes of tobacco, packs them with her thumbs, rolls the leaf tightly between her fingers and ties it off with two twists of a red thread. For eight hours a day, Sagira makes bidis - thin brown cigarettes that are as central to Indian life as chai and flat bread. She is 11 years old. Sagira is among hundreds of thousands of children toiling in the hidden corners of rural India. Many work in hazardous industries crucial to the economy: the fiery brick kilns that underpin the building industry, the pesticide-laden fields that produce its food. Most of the children in Sagira’s town of Dhuliyan in West Bengal state work in the tobacco dust to feed India’s near limitless demand for bidis. Under Indian law, this is legal. Sagira, who has deep brown eyes and a wide smile, joined her family’s bidi work when she was 7. At first she just rolled out thread for her older sisters and brother, then she helped finish off the cigarettes, pushing down the open ends. Last year, she graduated to full-scale rolling. She is not alone. Her best friend, Amira, also rolls bidis. So

do Wasima and Jaminoor and the rest of the girls in a neighborhood that is, at its heart, a giant, open-air bidi factory. Parents and children roll cigarettes on rooftops, in the alleyways, by the roads. One woman draped in a red shawl in the yard behind Sagira’s house breast feeds her baby while rolling. Of the roughly 20,000 families in Dhuliyan, an estimated 95 percent roll bidis to survive. Sagira is expert enough that even when distracted, her fingers continue to flit blindly through the tobacco shavings in front of her. She says the work can make her ill, with a cold, a cough, a fever. Her head often aches. So do her fingers. Sometimes, she takes her woven basket of tendu leaves and tobacco to the banks of the Ganges to roll in a circle with her friends. She stops every so often to splash in the river for a few moments. Then she gets back to work. “I can’t play around,” she laments. Manu Seikh, the bidi king of Sagira’s neighborhood, sits on a roadside bench. In front of him lie orderly stacks of rupee bills - tens, fifties, hundreds - large bags filled with one- and two-rupee coins and a small box holding his asthma inhaler. He and thousands of middlemen like him are the linchpins that provide the veneer of legality to the bidi industry, insulating the powerful companies selling bidis from the families and children rolling them. Seikh, 66, got his start in a bidi factory when he was 16, back

when bidis were rolled on the factory floor. A 1986 law barred children under 14 from working with bidis and other hazardous industries, but left a huge loophole that allowed children to assist their families with work per formed at home. So now, while the tobacco is threshed, cut and blended in factories, it is then given to Seikh and other middlemen to distribute to families for rolling. The bidis are then

children carry baskets and tubs filled with bundles of bidis to Seikh’s corner stall, where his men scan them for quality, reject those deemed substandard and stack the others in shallow wooden boxes. A bookkeeper makes a note in a ledger and hands over a chit for payment. Then the rollers receive more tobacco and tendu leaves for another day’s work. Seikh blames poverty for forcing the children to work, and the gov-

WEST BENGAL: 11-year-old Sagira Ansari (right) rolls bidi tobacco with her family at their house in Dhuliyan, in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. — AP brought back to the factory for roasting, packaging and shipping. A pack of 10 to 12 will retail for 6 rupees, or 12 cents. The informal nature of the work makes it nearly impossible to count how many of India’s 7 million bidi rollers are children, but estimates range from 250,000 to 1 million. Every noon, adults and

ernment for failing to stop it. “I am very concerned about children not going to school and losing their futures. But we are helpless,” Seikh says. In his nearby factory, Ranjan Choudhary, 37, also distances himself from blame, even as boys aged about 7 or 8 slide bidis into plastic pouches and seal them on a small stove.

Whatever the child labor laws say, he sees the industry as “a lifeline” for the people. “It affects children, but for them to survive, this is the only industry here. There is no other source of income,” he said. The industry’s chief trade group also brushed off responsibility. “The child has every right to help the mother. As long as we don’t recruit the children to roll bidis, I don’t think we violate any act,” said Umesh Parekh, chief executive of the All India Bidi Industry Federation. Bidi rollers should “themselves exercise restraint” in using children, he said, adding that his trade group had no plans to fight against child labor. “The industry is not doing anything for that. It is for the government to do,” he said. The government is reevaluating its child labor policy, said Mrutyunjay Sarangi, India’s labor secretary, but had yet to decide on any concrete action. “We are having discussions,” he said. India has tacitly recognized this Dickensian nightmare with a recent law making education compulsory up to age 14, said Bhavna Mukhopadhya of the Voluntary Health Association of India, an aid group. “Everything has a time, and I think this is the right time to do it ... you have to ban child labor across the board, strictly,” she said. But efforts to change the labor laws are complicated by the bidi industry’s clout in government. One company owner even sits in the national Cabinet. Sagira’s

town was once a textile center where her family for generations wove scarves and sarongs on hand looms. Mired in poverty, they lived in a mud and thatch hut and could afford only a single meal a day for their 12 children. “We were starving,” said Sagira’s father, Mahmood Ansari. Then the Ganges caused flooding that destroyed the family’s house and its loom. Meanwhile, merchants from other states realized the cheap labor here would be ideal for bidi work. Sagira’s grandfather turned to bidi rolling, then her father when he turned 12. Now, every day at 8 am, Sagira, her 17-year-old brother and sisters aged 18 and 14 begin a four-hour rolling session. They stop to bathe and have lunch, spend a few hours cutting the tendu leaves into neat squares and then roll for a few more hours. Because of bidis, his seven children are far better off than he was, Ansari said. The family gets 75 rupees ($1.50) for every 1,000 bidis rolled, totaling about $150 a month. That’s enough for three meals a day, with a little fish or egg once a week. A few months ago, Ansari used loans to replace the home of tarps and sticks his family had lived in for two decades with an unfinished tworoom house of brick and plaster with dirt floors. But there is not much hope for Sagira’s future. She’s been to school only twice in the past month; she’s too busy, her mother, Alea Bibi, said. —AP

Two Italian tourists kidnapped in India Maoist rebels changing tactics

LAKE TAPPS: Photo shows the home of US Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. — AP

Money and career woes plague US rogue soldier LAKE TAPPS: A diverging portrait of the US Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers is emerging as records and interviews show a man appreciated by friends and family who won military commendations, yet one who faced professional disappointment, financial trouble and brushes with the law. The deeper picture included details on how Robert Bales was bypassed for promotion, struggled to pay for his house and eyed a way out of his job at a Washington state military base months before he was accused of the horrific nighttime slaughter in two Afghanistan villages. While Bales, 38, sat in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas on Saturday, classmates and neighbors from suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, remembered him as a “happy-go-lucky” high school football player who took care of a special needs child and watched out for troublemakers in the neighborhood. But court records and interviews show that the 10-year veteran - with a string of commendations for good conduct after four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan - had joined the Army after a Florida investment job went sour, had a Seattle-area home condemned, struggled to make payments on another and failed to get a promotion or a transfer a year ago. His legal troubles included charges that he assaulted a girlfriend and, in a hit-and run accident, ran bleeding in military clothes into the woods, court records show. He told police he fell asleep at the wheel and paid a fine to get the charges dismissed, the records show. Military officials say that after drinking on a southern Afghanistan base, Bales crept away on March 11 to two slumbering villages overnight, shooting his victims and setting many of them on fire. Nine of the 16 killed were children and 11 belonged to one family. “This is some crazy stuff if it’s true,” Steve Berling, a high school classmate, said of the revelations about the father of two known as “Bobby” in his hometown of Norwood, Ohio. Bales hasn’t been charged yet in the shootings, which have endangered complicated relations between the US and Afghanistan

and threatened to upend US policy over the decade-old war. His former platoon leader said Saturday that Bales was a model soldier inspired by 9/11 to serve, who saved lives in firefights on his second of three Iraq deployments. “He’s one of the best guys I ever worked with,” said Army Capt. Chris Alexander, who led Bales on a 15-month deployment in Iraq. “He is not some psychopath. He’s an outstanding soldier who has given a lot for this country.” But pressing family troubles were hinted at by his wife, Kari, on multiple blogs posted with names like The Bales Family Adventures and BabyBales. A year ago, she wrote that Bales was hoping for a promotion or a transfer after nine years stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Washington. “We are hoping to have as much control as possible” over the future, Kari Bales wrote last March 25. “Who knows where we will end up. I just hope that we are able to rent our house so that we can keep it. I think we are both still in shock.” After Bales lost out on a promotion to E7 - a first-class sergeant - the family hoped to go to either Germany, Italy or Hawaii for an “adventure,” she said. They hoped to move by last summer; instead the Army redeployed his unit - the 2nd Infantry Division of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, named after armored Stryker vehicles - to Afghanistan. It would be Bales’ fourth tour in a war zone. He joined the military two months after 9/11 and spent more than three years in Iraq during three separate assignments since 2003. His attorney said he was injured twice in Iraq - once losing part of his foot - but his 20 or so commendations do not include the Purple Heart, given to soldiers wounded in combat. Alexander said Bales wasn’t injured while he oversaw him during their deployment - Bales’ second in Iraq. He called Bales a “very solid” noncommissioned officer who didn’t have more difficulty than his fellow soldiers with battlefield stress. Bales shot at a man aiming a rocket-propelled grenade at his platoon’s vehicle in Mosul, Iraq, sending the grenade flying over the vehicle. —AP

RAIPUR: Maoist rebels have kidnapped two Italian tourists in poverty-hit eastern India, police said yesterday, in what was believed to be the first abduction of foreigners by the left-wing militants. Television reports said the kidnappers issued 13 demands for the release of the Italians, including asking police to release an unspecified number of prisoners and end their drive to root out Maoists from the region. The abduction occurred last Wednesday in the scenic Kandhamal district in central Orissa, police said, one of a string of states where armed Maoist rebels have been waging a decade-long battle to overthrow government authorities. “Maoists have abducted two Italian nationals from Daringbadi area of Kandhamal district,” regional police deputy inspector general Radha Krishna Sharma said. The Italian foreign office in Rome identified the kidnap victims as Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo. Bosusco had been living in the city of Puri in Orissa for a decade and was running an adventure tourism company, police said. Sharma said the men asked police Monday to be allowed to travel around Kandhamal, but authorities denied permission, citing risks of Maoist violence. “After that the two men and their Indian assistants were found roaming in these areas and on Wednesday, while they were taking a bath near a coffee plantation, Maoists abducted them,” Sharma said. Sharma said the militants freed the Indian hostages yesterday morning unconditionally. “This is the first time any foreigner has been kidnapped by Maoists. We appeal to

NOT DISCLOSED: This undated photograph made available yesterday, shows Italian national Paolo Bosusco (center) posing with a tribal woman at an undisclosed location in India. Maoist rebels have kidnapped two Italian tourists in poverty-hit eastern India in what police said was the first abduction of foreigners by the left-wing militants.— AFP them to release the men on humanitarian grounds,” he said. An Italian foreign ministr y spokesman said authorities had “immediately activated a crisis unit” which was in contact with its consulate in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata. The consulate “is working with local police on the ground. The men’s families have been informed,” the spokesman said. According to Italian media reports, Bosusco, 54, is originally from Turin, while Colangelo, 61, is from Rome. In the past, the ultra-leftist guerrillas only kidnapped local officials and villagers, freeing some after negotiations with authorities, experts said. Other people kidnapped by the Maoists have

been found dead. Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi agreed this was the first time the rebels had kidnapped foreigners. “It is not clear yet if this is a rogue operation by a maverick leader or if it is a strategic move by the central Maoist authority,” Sahni said. “Maoists have suffered tremendous attrition of leadership in recent years, so this presents an opportunity to get some of their leaders out of jail,” he added. Indian police official Sharma confirmed the rebels had issued demands for the Italians’ release but did not disclose their contents. Police were searching to locate the hostages, he said.

The Indian government has described the Maoist movement, which often targets police and soldiers with deadly roadside mine ambushes, as the country’s biggest internal security threat. In 2010, the Maoists blew up an Indian train, killing at least 80 people. The insurgency, which began in 1967, feeds off land disputes, police brutality and corruption, and is strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources. The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of neglected tribal people and landless farmers and their ultimate goal is to capture India’s cities and over throw parliament.— AFP

Bangladeshi former PM’s son faces trial DHAKA: A Bangladesh court charged yesterday the eldest son of a former premier over a 2004 grenade attack that killed at least 20 people and injured the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The tribunal threw out an appeal by Tareque Rahman, 46, who now lives in Britain, against pursuing the charges filed in connection with one of the country’s worst incidents of political violence in decades. Tareque Rahman, the son and heir-apparent of two-times ex-premier Khaleda Zia, would be tried in absentia, state prosecutor Syed Rezaur Rahman said. “The court charged him for criminal conspiracy to kill Hasina and her Awami League party leadership. It set March 28 for the start of the trial,” Rahman, who is no relation to the accused said.

The charges carried the death penalty, Rahman said. Defense lawyer Mohammad Sanaullah said he would challenge the charges against Tareque Rahman in a higher court. Hasina was addressing a rally in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, on August 21, 2004, when the grenades exploded, leaving at least 20 people dead including the wife of the current president. The then leader of the opposition survived the attack but she was severely injured in one ear. Four years later, Hasina stormed back to power after leading a secular coalition to a landslide victory in the December 2008 elections. The heads of the two rival political dynasties, Hasina and Zia, are known as Bangladesh’s “Battling Begums”-Begum is a Muslim honorific-for their frequent rows and deadly street fights

between their supporters. Tareque Rahman, who is the deputy head of Zia’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), is being treated in London for broken ribs he suffered when he was detained by an army-backed government in 2007-8, Sanaullah said. The court also charged 51 others, including the deputy head of the largest Islamic party, a former home minister, ex-chiefs of police and security agencies, a Kashmiri and some Afghantrained militants, Rahman said. They will all stand trial jointly, Rahman said. “At least three Islamic militant groups were involved in the attack. They used grenades brought from Pakistan. The culprits met in eight places including at Tareque’s Hawa Bhaban office,” Rahman alleged.— AFP


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

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Hong Kong’s rowdy election ‘embarrasses Beijing’ HONG KONG: Next week’s leadership election has riveted Hong Kong with all the political rough-and-tumble that is typical of a thriving democracy. There’s only one thing missing-the voters. Ordinary Hong Kongers will have no say in who becomes their next chief executive on March 25. Instead the “election” will be decided by a carefully selected committee of 1,200 pro-Beijing business and professional elites. That detail aside, the main candidates have turned on a political spectacle that analysts say the former British colony has never seen, one that could offer a taste of things to come when direct elections arrive, possibly as early as 2017. “This is the first real contest between two pro-establishment candidates,” Chinese University of Hong Kong history professor Willy Lam said. “It’s very entertaining but at the same time people are quite frustrated because both candidates have shortcomings, scandals and potential problems.” Henry Tang, 59, the heir to a textile fortune and the city’s former Number Two, was reportedly Beijing’s man and a shoo-in for the job until his campaign veered dramatically off course almost from day one. It started with an emotional public admission of marital infidelity, lurched through a series of verbal gaffes and blunders, and burst spectacularly into flames with the discov-

ery of a massive illegal underground entertainment den at his home, which he blamed on his wife.

consistently led opinion polls but trails where it matters-in the regard of Beijing’s partners among the city’s

dined with triad figures, his promises to boost social welfare and public housing have proved popular with

HONG KONG: Protesters throw paper planes during a demonstration in Hong Kong yesterday. Next week’s leadership election has riveted Hong Kong with all the political rough-and-tumble that is typical of a thriving democracy. There’s only one thing missing - the voters, with ordinary Hong Kongers having no say in who becomes their next chief executive on March 25. —AFP His popularity rankings plunged to a low of 16 percent. Tang’s main rival, Leung Chun-ying, 57, is a former government adviser who has

super-rich tycoons. Despite questions over an alleged conflict of interest in a property project a decade ago, and reports that he

ordinary citizens who are angry over the yawning gap between rich and poor. Beijing has appeared taken aback

by the intensity of the contest. And it has not come to the rescue of Tang with a public statement of endorsement, which could have inflamed anti-mainland sentiment. But Premier Wen Jiabao set a cat among the pigeons last week when he said he was confident outgoing chief executive Donald Tsang would be replaced by a leader who has the support of the “vast majority” of the people. Political analysts pored over the premier’s comment. Was it a sign that Beijing was shifting its support to Leung? If it was, the city’s wealthiest tycoon and Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, didn’t get the message. The 83-year-old billionaire broke his silence Friday with a statement saying Tang “has experience” and his election would be “good”. Analysts say Beijing has been embarrassed by the noisy ruckus which has disturbed the carefully crafted political consensus it has cultivated in the semi-autonomous territory of seven million people. “Beijing felt it has lost face because the two people they have groomed for so long have failed to stand up to the test,” said Lam, referring to both Tang and Leung, both of whom are seen as establishment figures. Many observers also spy greater Chinese issues at play, as the mainland’s reformers led by President Hu Jintao’s faction do battle with conservatives in the Communist Party

ahead of a 10-yearly leadership transition. “Certainly having someone like Leung in office who would support such reform moves is a bigger signal to the rest of China,” Hong Kong Baptist University political scientist Michael DeGolyer said. “That’s why the reformists group is pushing quite hard for Leung.” But Albert Lai of the pro-democracy Civic Party said that at the end of the day both Tang and Leung “will be serving the same set of vested interests”. “They are appointed by the same set of autocrats-Beijing plus the tycoons,” he said. The pro-democracy camp is represented by a third candidate, lawyer and lawmaker Albert Ho, but analysts say he has no chance of winning the backing of the electoral committee. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a system which guarantees a high degree of autonomy and civil freedoms not seen on the mainland, but which leaves Beijing in ultimate control. The communist central authorities have said that, at the earliest, the city’s chief executive could be directly elected in 2017 and the legislature by 2020. Denied a genuine say in the outcome of next Sunday’s election, many Hong Kongers are fed up with the whole thing. “It’s a fight between two rotten apples,” 39-year-old hair stylist Gary Or said. —AFP

Defiant Pyongyang vows to launch missile rocket N Korea to mark Kim Il-sung 100th anniversary SEOUL: North Korea yesterday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put rela-

aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its young new ruler Kim Jongun who inherited power after his father’s death in December. “The peaceful development

100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler. The United States, and others, say it is much the

SEOUL: A South Korean activist holds a placard showing a portrait of North Korean new leader Kim Jong-Un during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul. —AFP tions with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw. Political analysts say the launch, which would violate UN resolutions on the heavily sanctioned state, is

and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state,” the North’s state KCNA news agency said. North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the

Indonesia govt lifts Malaysia maid ban KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian and Malaysian officials said yesterday Jakarta would resume sending maids to work in the neighboring country next month following a more-than-two-year ban. However a potential new source of tension has emerged amid reports that Indonesia had imposed restrictions on how much work the maids could be tasked with, which Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak has called “not reasonable”. The maid saga has been a sore point in relations between the two neighbors. The ban was imposed in June 2009 by Jakarta after numerous abuse cases. Indonesia announced in December it would lift the ban after the two countries agreed to better protect maids, including allowing them one day off per week. But the deal came into doubt earlier this month when an Indonesian embassy official said they would recommend re-imposing the ban after receiving a report that a high-ranking Malaysian official had abused his Indonesian maids. Suryana Sastradiredja, an Indonesian embassy official said that officials

from both countries met in Jakarta last week to thrash out the issue, and the first batch of about 100 maids is expected to arrive by mid-April. But he insisted maids hired for household chores for 700 ringgit ($230) monthly would need to be paid extra if they were asked to perform additional tasks, such as taking care of children or the elderly or cooking. Najib was quoted by the New Straits Times daily as saying he was “surprised” by Jakarta’s requirement that maids be paid extra for additional tasks. “We will try to find an amicable solution,” he reportedly said. Malaysian Human Resources Ministry labour department head Sheikh Yahya Sheikh Mohamed said that the two sides never agreed that maids could only be asked to do one task. He also said market forces should determine their salaries. Some 300,000 Indonesian women formerly worked in Malaysian households, and the ban led to a shortage of maids that has hit working Malaysian parents. Cambodia also imposed a ban on sending domestic workers to Malaysia in October following numerous abuse complaints. —AFP

same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits for the isolated state which has for years been trying to build a nuclear arsenal. Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea

with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, called the planned launch “highly provocative”. More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, which is long accustomed to trading invective with Washington, Beijing called the planned launch a “worry” in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally. The North has invited foreign observers and journalists to attend the launch. It announced the planned launch on Friday just weeks after the deal with Washington. It will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Ilsung. In April 2009, North Korea conducted a ballistic rocket launch that resulted in a new round of UN sanctions, squeezing the secretive state’s already troubled economy and deepening its isolation. That launch was dismissed as a failure after the first stage fell into the Sea of Japan without placing a satellite in orbit. Another test failed in similar circumstances in 1998. The new launch is due to take place between April 12-16, to coincide with Kim Il-sung’s centenary celebrations and will coincide with parliamentary elections in South Korea. Japan has said it would consider deploying PAC3 missile interceptors as it did in a 2009 launch by North Korea. —Reuters

‘Red Bull’ billionaire dies BANGKOK: Chaleo Yoovidhya, who rose from poverty to become one of the world’s richest men thanks to astute marketing of the “Red Bull” energy drink, has died in his native Thailand. Local media said he had died of natural causes in hospital in Bangkok on Saturday. His age was variously put at 89 or 90, although some sources gave his date of birth as Aug 17, 1923, making him 88. Chaleo was ranked 205th on the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people, with a fortune it put at $5 billion. Born into a Chinese immigrant family, he never flaunted the wealth he accumulated and avoided publicity. According to Thailand’s Nation newspaper, he had not given a media interview or made any public appearances for 30 years. The Nation said it had interviewed his son, Saravudh, as part of a multimedia series to run next month. Saravudh recalled how his father developed the Red Bull brand at home and abroad after his small pharmaceutical company started producing energy drinks in the 1970s. “While the market leader of the energy-drink market mainly targeted the capital, Red Bull pushed into the provincial market first, gaining a foothold by distributing free samples to truck drivers,” he said. Only then did he market it in the capital, Bangkok, with brand-building that was quite novel for Thailand at

the time, before going international

Chaleo Yoovidhya with Austrian partner Dietrich Mateschitz in the mid-1980s. Mateschitz, who had discovered the powers of Red Bull as a cure for jet lag, is now number 193 on the Forbes list. Chaleo never had the benefit of higher education but his son said he studied English and law by himself. His acumen and experience led governments to turn to him for help and he had sat on health committees and advised the prime minister. The Red Bull brand has been promoted internationally through a Formula One racing team and in the United States by soccer team the New York Red Bulls. —Reuters

TASIKMALAYA: Villagers look at a damaged van that crashed with a train in Tasimalaya yesterday. At least 10 members of one Indonesian family were killed, as their minivan spun out of control after colliding with a moving train and flipped over in a nearby rice field. The minivan packed with 14 people was passing through a railway crossing in Tasikmalaya city in West Java province, unaware of an oncoming train that slammed into it, police said. —AFP

Chinese politician Lim rocks boat in Malaysia GEORGETOWN: Former political detainee Lim Guan Eng wasted no time leaving his mark on Penang after the brash opposition politician won power in the Malaysian state in 2008 elections. He quickly balanced the books of the former British colonial outpost, which were stained red after a half-century under the control of Malaysia’s authoritarian ruling coalition. He has virtually eliminated its debt, launched a campaign to halt official corruption, and has, by most accounts, injected new vigor and efficiency into the government of the important economic hub. Today, Penanga colorful mix of colonial architecture, pre-war Chinese shophouses, tropical beaches and high-tech factories-is on the up, as property values soar and foreign investment rolls in. With potentially pivotal new elections expected to be called within months, Lim-a 51-year-old ethnic Chinese former banker with slicked-back hair and a wide chin-says the implications of his record are clear. “If you can show that you can govern well, it will be a model, a showcase... a precursor of governing the federal government,” he said, pointing to the possibility of the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim taking power. Malaysia’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition faces voter unease over allegations of misgovernance, corruption, and racial tension, the latter often blamed on policies that promote majority Malays over minority Chinese and Indians. But the BN insists the Anwar-led opposition can do no better. Lim’s success in Penang has called that claim into question, however, and his outspokenness mark him as the country’s most potent symbol of minority impatience. Lim earned a one-year jail term in 1998 for sedition after he criticized the dropping of rape charges against a Malay top ruling party politician and he launches regular broadsides against the BN over its frequent financial and other scandals. His detractors call him a domineering self-promoter who is benefiting from UNESCO’s 2008 listing of Penang’s capital Georgetown as a World Heritage Site, a bid launched before he took over. But even opponents acknowledge he

gets results. “He is very clever, very authoritarian,” said Teng Hock Nan, Penang’s top official for Gerakan, the ruling coalition partner ousted by Lim’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) in 2008. “When he gives a directive, it gets done.” One of Britain’s oldest Asian settlements, Penang was a cosmopolitan trading hub in its 19th-century heyday before going into what Lim calls a “graceful decline”. Today, run-down Georgetown shophouses-the distinctive rows of buildings seen in parts of Southeast Asia-are being transformed into trendy hotels, cafes and art galleries injecting new life into old neighborhoods. A federally-backed grant program provides seed money for such renovations. Many credit Lim’s attempts to clean up the rampant backroom deals and political patronage that are typical of Malaysia, whose rating by Transparency International on corruption in recent years has steadily sunk. Lim launched an unprecedented system of open tenders for state projects and his top officials this year took the unheard-of step of declaring their assets. Business figures privately say once-routine demands for payoffs are now rare and the bureaucracy more efficient. “What is sad about Malaysia is that things that are the international norm (clean government) are abnormal,” Lim said. Foreign investors have signaled their approval. Home to much of Malaysia’s high-tech industry, Penang led the nation in luring manufacturing investment the past two years. Lim’s moves have been “very substantive in managing finances, cleaning up the government, and initiating green policies”, said Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia politics analyst with Singapore Management University. “I’ve gone there for years and can tell you there is a big difference.” Australian investors Karl Steinberg and Christopher Ong, who is Penang-born, have restored an Edwardian bungalow and other decaying heritage properties into boutique hotels, lured by the new energy and official “cleanliness”. “ There are places where corruption can make it hard to get things done. Penang is relatively free of that,” Steinberg said. —AFP

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

NEWS MUQSHA, Bahrain: Bahraini Shiites take part in the funeral of Jaafer Jassem Ridha, 41, in this village west of the capital Manama yesterday. — AFP

Bahrain security forces clash with youths DUBAI: Bahraini security forces clashed with youths yesterday after the funeral of a protester who allegedly died after inhaling tear gas fired by riot police, witnesses said. The clashes erupted in the Shiite village of AlMuqsha, north of the capital Manama, following the funeral of Jaafer Jassem Ridha, 41. The main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq said Ridha died after inhaling tear gas fired at a recent demonstration that was violently dispersed by riot police. Al-Wefaq also said on Sunday that another Bahraini, 27-year-old Sabri Mahfud, had died after inhaling tear gas, without elaborating on the circumstances or date of the incident. The interior ministry said on Twitter that a group of people “provoked acts of violence and barricaded the streets” after Ridha’s burial, adding that necessary “lawful measures” were taken to contain the situation, without saying what these were. The ministr y also

announced yesterday the opening of a probe into claims that a policeman had thrown a petrol bomb, as a video posted online appeared to show. The inquiry could lead to disciplinary measures against the suspect, a senior ministry official said in a statement received by AFP. Bahrain’s riot police often fire tear gas against demonstrators in the tiny Gulf kingdom, where the Shiite-led opposition is calling for constitutional changes that would reduce the power of the ruling minority Sunni dynasty. Tensions have remained high since a deadly crackdown last year after a month of Manama street protests. According to an independent probe, 35 people were killed in last year’s unrest, including five security personnel and five detainees tortured to death while in custody. — AFP

Tonga king dies in HK Continued from Page 1 eccentricities such as his elaborate uniforms and being driven around in a London taxi, he will be remembered by his subjects for introducing the kingdom’s first democratically-elected parliament. The brief Matangi Tonga report said that “the Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka was there at the hospital just before the king passed away. “This news is yet to be officially confirmed but our reliable source informed us that the king was rushed to hospital early this afternoon but it is understood that he had passed away a few hours later.” He was unmarried and his brother is heir to the throne. The report did not say what the cause of death was, but six months ago the king underwent successful surgery to have a kidney removed after a tumour was discovered. Government and royal palace officials in Tonga were not immediately

available to comment on the report but a statement was expected following today’s cabinet meeting. Radio Australia said the main religious body in Tonga, the Free Wesleyan Church, had announced it would be holding a prayer service at the official residence of the king’s mother in the capital Nuku’alofa. His other eccentricities included wearing colonial-era pith helmets, sailing model boats in his swimming pool and playing computer games. But to the 115,000 people in Tonga, he was the man who introduced political reforms. Tupou V was sworn in as king of one of the world’s last absolute monarchies in Sept 2006 following the death of his father king Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. However his coronation was delayed until 2008 as the tiny kingdom reeled from the impact of riots in the Nuku’alofa. Eight people were killed and much of the central business district was destroyed in the November 2006

riots when people protested against the slow pace of political reform. When Tupou V was finally crowned in an ancient Tongan ceremony, more than 200 nobles and chiefs presented dozens of slaughtered pigs and hundreds of baskets of food in tribute. He was offered a bowl of kava, a mild narcotic drink made from plant roots, to signify his sovereignty over Tonga, a country spread over 170 islands. Within two years, the Oxford University-educated monarch had made good on his pledge for democracy and the people of Tonga voted in their first popularly elected parliament in 2010 ending 165 years of feudal rule. The democratic changes replaced the former feudal system where the public could only vote for nine of the 33 representatives in parliament which was dominated by a clique of nobles selected by the king, who also chose the prime minister and cabinet. — AFP

Copts bid Shenouda farewell Continued from Page 1 stretched for more than a kilometre, as military vehicles lined the road outside. Shenouda’s body, dressed in formal robes with a golden crown on his head and a goldknobbed staff cradled on his shoulder, was placed upright on the tall ornate papal throne where it will remain sitting in state until the funeral tomorrow. A bishop knelt to one side pressing his head to the throne, as thousands of worshippers in black hoping for a final blessing from their spiritual leader took pictures of Shenouda on their mobile phones, amid tears and wails of grief. State television urged mourners to avoid crowding, saying that they could pay their respects until tomorrow. “It’s a great loss for Egypt,” Tourism Minister Munir Fakhry Abdelnur, a Copt and a close friend of Shenouda, told AFP. “He was wise and was widely listened to. He will be missed at a time when we need wisdom and a patriotic spirit.” Copts nationwide mourned Shenouda, and one woman in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, distraught by his passing, was hospitalised after trying to commit suicide, the official MENA news agency reported. She was in critical condition, it said. Based on wishes stated in his will, Shenouda will be buried at St Bishoy monastery of Wadi Natrun in the Nile Delta, where he spent time in exile after a dispute with the late president Anwar Sadat, state media reported. Shenouda’s death comes

amid “deep political and societal changes in Egypt,” said Coptic cinema director Daoud Abdel Sayed. The institution needs a “shake-up, like all Egyptian institutions and that will be possible if the new pope is someone who is able to bring about reforms in the church”, he told AFP. Bishop Pachomious of the Nile Delta province of Beheira has assumed papal duties for two months until a council of senior clergy meets to choose a new pope, state television said. The pope would be chosen according to procedures laid out in 1957 church bylaws. “Egypt Weeps,” read the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar as others bid “Farewell, Pope Shenouda.” “Egypt has lost one of its greatest men,” said the AlAzhar institution in Cairo, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious, in a statement. “He is a great loss, a dear friend.” Arab League chief Nabil AlArabi described Shenouda in a statement as “an Egyptian and national personage who took upon himself responsibilities for Egyptians and all Arabs”. Coptic bishops from around the world have already started to fly in for meetings on the funeral arrangements and succession. Shenouda had suffered health problems for years, frequently travelling to the United States for medical care. Recently he stopped receiving treatment for liver failure and tumours or swelling in his lungs because he was too weak, the Coptic Church said. Condolences flooded in from around the world,

with US President Barack Obama hailing Shenouda as an advocate for tolerance and religious dialogue. Pope Benedict XVI had offered prayers for Shenouda, the Vatican said. Muslim leaders in Egypt were also quick to express their condolences. Shenouda’s death is “a grave calamity that has afflicted all Egypt and its noble people, Muslims and Christians,” the country’s mufti, Ali Gomaa, said in a statement. Shenouda leaves behind a nervous community, a target of frequent sectarian attacks in recent years, with complaints of routine harassment and systematic discrimination and marginalisation. Egypt’s Christians are particularly concerned over the rise and increased assertiveness of Islamists, following the uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak. Shenouda was placed under house arrest by the assassinated Sadat for his outspoken criticism of the late leader’s courting of Islamists. But he supported Sadat’s successor, Mubarak, who was overthrown by a popular revolt more than a year ago which led to an Islamist-dominated parliament - the first in Egypt’s history. Shenouda, instantly recognisable by his long white beard, was believed to have viewed the widely despised Mubarak as a bulwark against Islamists, who believe nonMuslims should not be allowed to rule the country. He was seen as a check on more radical Copts who urged more forceful reactions to sectarian attacks against their community, especially after Mubarak’s ouster. — AFP

Blast hits Aleppo; clashes and protests... Continued from Page 1 victims of Saturday’s car bombs, activists said security forces beat and arrested people at a march of more than 200 when protesters began shouting “the people want to topple the regime”. The phrase has echoed through the wave of Arab uprisings that began last year and has toppled autocratic rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. “They were walking through an area in central Damascus, near SANA (the state news agency). At first they shouted slogans against violence and the police didn’t do anything, but as soon as they started to call for regime change the police rushed in and started beating people with canes,” said Rami Abdelrahman, from the British-based Observatory. The protest, which called for non-violent resistance to the government, had been led by moderate opposition leaders previously tolerated by the government because of their calls for dialogue and rejection of foreign intervention. Activists said the Sunday march aimed to commemorate the peaceful roots of Syria’s uprising, which has been overshadowed by a growing armed insurgency against state security forces. Security forces beat and arrested Mohammed Sayyed Rassas, a leader of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change (NCB), an opposition group which had visited China and Russia in attempts to promote dialogue

between Assad and the opposition. Most opposition groups have rejected the NCB over its insistence on non-violence and its stance against foreign intervention, arguing the government’s fierce crackdown has made arming the uprising inevitable. Syrian government forces have crushed a rebel stronghold in the central city of Homs and have been pounding rebel strongholds in northern Idlib. “It’s clear that the battle is finishing in the regime’s favour overall,” said a Lebanese official close to Assad’s government. “On the security level there is a long and difficult struggle for the regime and it is obvious this will take a long time to finish ... We will see many more explosions like those we saw yesterday but in general they have finished off the military fight and they don’t have much more to do.” Thousands took to the streets in an anti-government protest in Deraa after the sniper’s killing of a resident on Sunday, according to the Observatory, which has a network of activists in Syria. Reports from Syria are difficult to verify as the government has restricted access to foreign journalists. In Damascus, crowds of mourners carried the coffins of the 27 bomb victims, draped in Syrian flags and covered in bouquets of flowers. The head of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, condemned the twin bombings and called in a statement for “an immediate halt of all acts of violence regardless of the

source and for an active move to find ways of stopping gunfire in all parts of Syria ... to reach a way to guarantee Syria’s transition into a peaceful stage dominated by dialogue.” The United Nations says more than 8,000 people have been killed by security forces in the crackdown on a revolt against four decades of rule by the Assad family. The struggle has become increasingly bloody as peaceful protest has given way to rebellion by armed groups. Authorities say they are fighting foreign militants who have killed more than 2,000 members of the security forces. Heavy fighting raged in the northwestern province of Deir Ezzor and military vehicles were torched, activists said on Sunday. In southern Deraa, birthplace of the uprising, Syria TV showed video of a bridge blown up by rebels. It had been used to transport supplies to security forces who surround the city. The Observatory said security forces raided the town of Artouz, a Damascus suburb, looking for wanted men. Other activists said they could hear heavy gunfire in the area. At the site of the Damascus blasts, Syria TV showed dozens of people waving Syrian flags gathered to pray for the victims. “Whatever they want to do we won’t be afraid,” said one woman speaking to the channel. “We are with President Assad ... those who don’t love Damascus should leave.” — Reuters

Strikes leave passengers stranded... Continued from Page 1 goods such as dairy products, detergents and diapers rising significantly. Oil exports do not appear to be affected by the customs strike. Marzouq Awwad, secretary of the customs workers’ union, vowed to continue the job walkout until its members’ demands are met. He said workers have allowed 97 trucks carrying perishable items such as fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products to cross the border since the strike began. “The union is not at war with the citizens, and is only on strike until the government and union reach an agreement,” he said. Power plant employees and university professors are also threatening to walk off the job unless they too get increased pay and retirement benefits. Members of the Cabinet are in talks with labor leaders to try to resolve the dispute. But the government has taken a firm stand by asserting that it will not succumb to any pressure. Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali has repeatedly said the country’s budget is strained, and cannot afford the pay increases that unions are calling for. “ The Cabinet instructs that strikes be stopped before negotiating demands in a calm manner,” said a source who is familiar with discussions taking place within the Cabinet. Reports state that the government represented by the minister of information and officials from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) refused to grant allowances to administrators, accountants and legal staff in the Customs Department. The CSC explained that unlike customs personnel, staff members already enjoy allowances granted

earlier. However, the labor union of the Customs Department insisted that the demand be fulfilled in order to end the strike. The union is demanding a pay rise as high as 300 percent at a total cost of KD 45 million to state coffers. But a source from the Customs Department hinted that talks are going on in full swing. Tomatoes, bananas, pineapples, fresh vegetables, laban and fresh milk were already out of stock at a supermarket Kuwait Times visited yesterday. Prices of some items have seen a marked increase. A popular hypermarket has even put up a notice apologizing to customers. A noticed board read: ‘Dear Customer, we apologize that our ultra fresh section is out of stock because of the ongoing customs strike.’ “Many customers have been demanding we make food items available on our shelves, but what can we do? From the past two days, we do not have any fresh pineapples, tomatoes, zucchinis, bananas and potatoes,” a store supervisor said. One customer said that he has been visiting the supermarket frequently to buy his children their favorite brand of yogurt. “This is the second time I am coming here, but I can’t find what I have been looking for. I am sure my children will be disappointed again when I go home today without it,” complained the father in his late thirties. “If the strike continues, I doubt if we will be able to offer fresh produce anymore. We don’t want a scenario where people come and we cannot offer anything. Many items are running out of stock. I hope the strike will end soon,” a salesperson said. He admitted that the prices of some commodities have soared.

“We have some tomatoes here, but if you compare the price with the previous week’s, it has tripled. It will be out of stock pretty soon, so we are controlling its release because we do not want it to be completely out of stock,” he said. “Some fresh produce is being delivered, but it arrives late and is very expensive,” he added. Thousands of customs workers and other civil servants launched a similar wave of labor unrest in September and October that temporarily disrupted shipping traffic and threatened the country’s vital oil exports. Like in the latest strike, they were joined by Kuwait Airways workers. Kuwait is OPEC’s fourth largest oil exporter, and it relies on revenue from crude sales to cover the bulk of its budget. Kuwaiti authorities have faced sporadic protests in recent months, though they have not been as big as the major pro-reform demonstrations seen elsewhere in the Arab World. Kuwaitis are used to well-paying government jobs and a cradle-tograve social security system that is increasingly becoming a burden on the state. Calls for better working terms have grown louder as the past year’s Arab Spring uprisings reverberated across the region. The National Assembly has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf, and opposition lawmakers openly criticize the ruling family. In January last year, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah ordered KD 1,000 ($3,559) grants and free food coupons for every Kuwaiti. Neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar followed with handouts of their own as they sought to dampen calls for political reform.


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012



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Obama and US’ extremist fringe By Bernd Debusmann he prospect of President Barack Obama winning another four-year term in November is swelling the ranks of anti-Muslim activists and groups on the extremist fringe of American society. Their growth has accelerated every year since Obama took office in 2009. So says a new report by a civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, that has tracked extremist groups for the past three decades and found that last year alone, the number of anti-Muslim groups tripled, from 10 to 30. Between 2008 and the end of 2011, according to the center, there was an eight-fold increase in the number of militias and “patriot” groups whose members inhabit a parallel universe where the federal government wants to rob them of their guns and their freedom. “What groups on the radical right have in common is the belief that Obama wants to destroy America,” Mark Potok, author of the report, said in an interview. “Fears that he will win again are now driving the expansion.” How many Americans are on the right-wing fringe is not known. The Southern Poverty Law Center gives no estimate and neither does the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which also monitors such groups. But it issued a report last September on a sub-set of the far-right scene, “sovereign citizens” who believe that federal, state and local governments operate illegally and therefore have no right to collect taxes. The FBI called them domestic terrorists and “a growing threat”. Some of the beliefs held by those on the fringe are too outlandish to influence the political discourse - the government is running secret concentration camps, Mexico plans to recapture the American southwest, there are plans for the United Nations to take over America - but others are not. The notion that Obama is intent on turning the United States into a socialist country is regularly echoed in speeches by Republican presidential hopefuls. And the myth that Obama is a Muslim lives on. A public opinion poll of Republicans taken a day before the March 13 primary elections in Alabama and Mississippi showed that 45 percent and 51 percent, respectively, thought he was a Muslim. The methodology of the survey, by a polling institute affiliated with the Democratic party, has been questioned. But even if you cut the percentages in half, they are remarkable and show how stubbornly Obama detractors cling to mistaken beliefs in the face of evidence to the contrary. Those who think the president is a Muslim tend to harbor deeper suspicions. In September 2010, at the height of a shrill debate over the so-called Ground Zero mosque in Manhattan, a poll commissioned by Newsweek found that 52 percent of Republicans surveyed thought it was “definitely true” or “probably true” that Obama sympathized with the goal of fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. Thirty percent thought he favored the interests of Muslim Americans over those of other Americans. The Southern Poverty Law Center traced the rapid growth of anti-Muslim groups to the dispute over the planned Islamic cultural center and mosque, not far from the site of September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Since that controversy, anti-Islam arguments previously confined to little-known websites run by anti-Muslim zealots have gone mainstream. The most prominent proponent of the radicals’ theory of “stealth jihad” is Newt Gingrich, one of the four remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. He has termed Islamic law (Sharia) “a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and the world.” How so? Radical Muslims use political, societal, religious and intellectual tools to sweep away Western civilization and replace it with sharia law. The idea that Muslim Americans, who account for less than one percent of the US population, could succeed in replacing federal and state law with Islamic law, strikes many legal scholars as absurd. But that has not prevented conservative legislators in a string of states from introducing bills to ban the use of Islamic law. Such efforts look like a search for legislative solutions to a non-existent problem and have begun running out of steam, slowed by common sense and the efforts of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In the first half of March, five states withdrew anti-sharia bills or let them expire. That doesn’t mean the debate is over, nor is it the end of the right’s portrayal of Obama as a socialist foreign-born Muslim enemy of America as we know it. How persuasive that is to mainstream Americans will be clear on election day, November 6.—Reuters


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

Turmoil threatens Obama’s Afghan endgame By Stephen Collinson eadly setbacks, an Afghan leader at the “end of the rope” and pressure from a public weary of sacrifice are threatening to upend President Barack Obama’s endgame for America’s longest war. The central premise of US war policy - leaving behind a stable nation that Afghans can secure and thwart an AlQaeda renaissance - appears in question. Relations with President Hamid Karzai are plumbing new lows after an American soldier launched a rampage against civilians, then was airlifted out of the country to face US military justice. Deadly riots that followed the burning of Qurans by Americans, a spate of incidents in which Afghan soldiers turned their guns on NATO tutors and regular combat deaths have posed the question: is the war still worth it? US-backed reconciliation talks with the Taleban meanwhile have collapsed, dampening hopes of a political settlement to guarantee stability after NATO-led forces leave in 2014. A furious Karzai this week called for a withdrawal of US forces from villages after the massacre of 16 civilians and demanded an accelerated transfer of security control. His outbursts have deepened the feeling among some in Washington that Karzai, once seen as a hero, is an unreliable ally unworthy of US sacrifices. Obama was forced to call Karzai twice in a week, as the Afghan leader admitted that he was at “the end of the rope” with US missteps. Moeed Yusuf of the US Institute for Peace warned that such incidents could undermine efforts to keep


Obama and Karzai “on the same page”. “If this continues, I don’t see how one can hold on to the strategy, which is in large parts dependent on having the goodwill of the average Afghan.” US ambassador to Kabul Ryan Crocker, however, hinted that Washington believed Karzai was venting for domestic political reasons, telling “PBS Newshour” he was right to be “pretty upset” over the massacre. But the latest setbacks, as NATO plans to scale down to a support role in 2013, focused attention on the compromised nation foreign troops will leave behind. “What we hand off, when we hand off, at best is going to be a stalemate,” said Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations. “I don’t personally think there’s any reasonable expectation the Afghan National Security Forces are going to be able to substantially expand the zone of control that they receive from us.” Given such a pessimistic outlook, some analysts say it may be time to limit the exposure of NATO trainers. Charles Dunlap of Duke University Law School suggested Afghan soldiers might be given intensive training outside the country, to contain the aggravation posed by a large foreign force. “What I am suggesting is a much smaller footprint with Afghans in the lead. We are moving that way, but I think we need to accelerate it.” Obama said Wednesday he planned no “sudden” changes to a plan that will complete the pullout of 33,000 surge forces this summer, though a larger drawdown is almost certain next year. But could increasing the pace of departures squander gains made in the blood of 3,000 dead coalition troops? “It gives hope to our enemies, which might be one reason why we see

the Taleban announcing they are walking away from the early stages of peace talks,” said Max Boot, also of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Why should they negotiate when they know our time, our commitment is waning and our presence is time limited?” But to stay on longer would require leaders to explain why they are leaving young men to die in Afghanistan when progress seems so incremental. With Osama bin Laden dead and Al-Qaeda dismantled in Afghanistan, publics in NATO nations may wonder whether two more years of sacrifice is worth it. Obama took on that question head on as he appeared with top war ally British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday. “This is a hard slog... (but) we’re now in a position where, given our starting point, we’re making progress. And I believe that we’re going to be able to achieve our objectives in 2014.” Obama faces a political dilemma: he wants to tell voters in November he got troops home from Iraq and will soon exit Afghanistan. But an over-hasty withdrawal could risk igniting more trouble late in his election campaign, or so weaken Afghan strategy that a deeper crisis could detonate in his hoped-for second term. The public is weary of war: 60 percent in a recent ABC News poll said it was not worth fighting - but is not so sour that Obama’s hopes of reelection are threatened. Fifty-seven percent said in a Pew poll that troops should be home as soon as possible - hardly figures likely to sway an election turning on the economy. And Mitt Romney, Obama’s most likely Republican opponent, warns against precipitated withdrawals, leaving the president on the public’s side of the political equation. —AFP

Egypt Christians lose leader at a time of crisis By Joseph Mayton utside the Abbasiya Cathedral in central Cairo, thousands of Coptic Christians had gathered on Saturday evening, staying into the next morning and refusing to leave. If the all-night vigil wasn’t evidence enough, the tears on the people’s faces demonstrated the depth of faith and devotion the Christian community had for their leader of more than four decades, Pope Shenouda III, who passed away at the age of 88 on Saturday. “He was our father, our leader and a man who helped us all make a better Egypt,” said one young woman, Noha, who was distributing tissues to the mourners. By yesterday afternoon, their numbers had grown into the thousands. Huddled in corners across the area were groups, their cries were met with hugs. The cathedral is to host the pope’s funeral later this week, but a three-day mourning period for the Coptic community was inaugurated yesterday by the military junta, giving the faithful a chance to mourn in their own way. “I’m here because he was our guide. He taught us to speak out and be proud of being Christians,” another man said in passing. Shenouda’s death comes during a period of flux for Egypt and its Coptic minority. The revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago had promised a new era of greater freedom and democracy and was embraced whole-heartedly by the Copts. But Egypt remains ruled by a military government, Islamists have scored huge victories in parliamentary elections, and the country suffers from violence and a stalling economy. A year ago Muslims attacked a Christian church in the Imbaba area of Cairo, killing over one dozen people in the violence. But yesterday, compassion was abounding. Muslim residents were delivering tea and water to the mourners, a symbol of the kind of co-existence Shenouda sought but rarely achieved during his long reign. “I’m


not Christian, but I know the pain people go through when a spiritual guide passes. It is important to support our fellow Egyptians,” said Salem Mohamed, a 52-yearold Abbasiya resident, as he handed out bottles of water to groups near the cathedral. In many ways, what Shenouda fought for in life was finally playing out in his death. He had called for inclusion, understanding and tolerance over the course of decades and had struggled to achieve greater legal rights for the country ’s Christians, who account for about 10 percent of the population. In 1981, then President Anwar Sadat attempted to strip him of his papal rights, exiling him to a remote area of the country. But four years later, Sadat’s successor, Mubarak, restored him to his position as head of the pope of Alexandria and gave him a role in the country ’s politics.

Shenouda sought legislation that would have made it easier for Christians to build new churches and spoke out against sectarian violence. The few criticisms heard about the pope’s time as Coptic leader - his closeness to the former regime and his refusal to initially support the people’s uprising in Jan 2011 - have now all but been forgotten. Indeed, after an attack by security personnel on a peaceful demonstration by Christians last October, an event since dubbed the “Maspero Massacre,” Shenouda earned new respect from his followers by lashing out at the military in a sermon, demanding that all Egyptians be treated with dignity and justice. Now, in his passing, Egyptians are beginning to take his message of peace and tolerance to heart. Groups of Muslims and Christians have been holding silent memorials to the

Coptic Christians, some weeping, gather to pay their respects to Pope Shenouda III during the viewing of the patriarch’s body at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo yesterday. — AP

leader, and they have voiced a hope for peace in a country rocked by violent protests over the past six months. “This is our Egypt. The pope was one of us, but he was so much more, he was devoted to the idea that Egypt can be free and can be all inclusive for all of us Christians and Muslims alike,” said George Fahmy, a 20-year-old Cairo University student, who told The Media Line his Muslims friends had called to give their condolences upon hearing the news of the pope’s passing. “They showed deep respect. Some of my Muslim friends are sad because they know Shenouda was a believer in Egypt and delivered a message that was good for both religions,” he added. Many who gathered at the Abbasiya Cathedral expressed their longing for a country that would realize the vision Shenouda had for Egypt. “You know, we look back on his years, and he was a kind man, one who was able to bring different groups together at one table,” said Mina, a graphic designer and Copt. “It’s sad that we only now realize what he tried to do so many times. How often did he speak out in a kind way when people, Christians and Muslim, say stupid things? All the time, so the faults he may have had should not stop us from living his message.” But as Sunday comes to a close, the first day of mourning, many in the Coptic community are already beginning to wonder who will take Shenouda’s place. The church’s headquarters in Alexandria told The Media Line that the subject is not to be discussed until after the funeral, “but we will follow church procedure and choose from within,” much as the Catholic Church does in choosing a new pope. As Noha, one of the mourners at Abbasiya Cathedral said: “The pope will be remembered by all Egyptians as a good man who fought against the intolerance that has grown in Egypt. I think he will finally be able to bring victor y to the Coptic Christians and the country. Just look at the people.” — Media Line

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

sp orts

Neuner bags WCup title

Al Wasl goalkeeper retires

Daei injured in car crash

RUSSIA: Emil Hegle Svendsen and Darya Domracheva won the seasonending mass-start races, while Magdalena Neuner capped her accomplished career with a third women’s biathlon World Cup overall title yesterday. Svendsen missed two targets and completed the men’s 15-kilometer race in 43 minutes, 15. 7 seconds. Arn Peiffer of Germany overtook Anton Shipulin on an uphill section with 300 meters left and finished second, 23.5 seconds behind. The Russian was another 8.3 seconds behind in third. Domracheva missed three times and was timed in 39 minutes, 1.4 seconds to claim her sixth win of the season. Tora Berger, who won gold medals in mass-start and individual races at the world championships last week, couldn’t challenge the Belarusian on the uphill section and finished 10.0 seconds behind in second. Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third, another 22.6 seconds back. — AP

DUBAI: A goalkeeper for Diego Maradona’s Al Wasl club has retired, rather than serve a 17-match ban for attacking an opposition coach in its Etisalat Cup semifinal loss. Majed Naser, who has also played for the United Arab Emirates national team, was slapped with a 17-match ban by the UAE’s Football Association which would have left him on the sidelines for the rest of this season and parts of the 2012-13 season. The Emirati keeper slapped Al Alhi coach Quique Sanches Flores on the back of the head following his club’s 1-0 defeat, later contending he was provoked by Flores during the match. Nasser, in a statement sent to The Associated Press yesterday, apologized for his action but said the ban was excessive. “I admit that my actions were inappropriate and wrong and that I lost control of my nerves but my reaction was due to the provocative gesture made by Al Ahli coach toward me during the match,” Nasser said. “I accept the Disciplinary Committee’s decision but at the same time I personally think that the decision exceeded expectations and was exaggerated and harsh and is enough to end my football career,” he said. “I don’t want to be a burden on my club and get in their way of success and development. I have only seen good things from Al Wasl and they have always supported me in every step I took. They should not pay the price of my suspension.” —AP

PARIS: Asian football chiefs have offered their “thoughts and prayers” after Iranian football great Ali Daei was reported to have been involved in a serious car accident. According to reports early yesterday, former Iran captain Daei, who played for Bayern Munich in Germany’s Bundesliga, was “critically injured in a car accident while returning to Tehran from Isfahan”. The report said the crash occurred Saturday night when Daei, manager of Iranian club Rah Ahan, was travelling in a car with his brother and a club coach. Doctors in hospital in Kashan said Daei was “in a stable condition” after undergoing surgery for head injuries and would remain in the intensive care unit. The report cited police who said the cause of the accident was excessive speed. A statement from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said: “The AFC wishes Iranian legend Ali Daei, who was involved in a car accident on Saturday, a speedy and full recovery. “We stand ready to assist Daei, who is a true icon of Asian football. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family in this difficult time.”— AFP

NHL results/standings Boston 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO); Pittsburgh 5, New Jersey 2; Carolina 5, Minnesota 3; NY Islanders 3, Montreal 2 (SO); Toronto 3, Ottawa 1; Colorado 3, NY Rangers 1; St. Louis 3, Tampa Bay 1; Florida 3, Buffalo 2 (SO); Vancouver 4, Columbus 3; Los Angeles 4, Nashville 2; San Jose 3, Detroit 2 (OT). Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS NY Rangers 44 20 7 195 158 95 Pittsburgh 44 21 5 229 177 93 Philadelphia 41 22 8 228 202 90 New Jersey 41 26 5 198 187 87 NY Islanders 29 32 11 169 216 69 Northeast Division Boston 41 27 3 228 178 85 37 26 10 221 213 84 Ottawa Buffalo 33 29 10 180 204 76 Toronto 32 32 8 208 219 72 Montreal 28 32 13 191 203 69 Southeast Division Florida 35 23 13 180 197 83 Washington 36 29 6 191 200 78 Winnipeg 34 29 8 189 199 76 Tampa Bay 32 32 7 199 240 71 Carolina 28 29 15 190 214 71 Western Conference Central Division St. Louis 46 19 8 189 142 100 44 24 4 221 174 92 Detroit Nashville 41 22 8 203 185 90 Chicago 39 25 8 217 210 86 Columbus 22 42 7 164 230 51 Northwest Division Vancouver 43 20 8 223 180 94 39 30 5 194 195 83 Colorado Calgary 34 26 12 181 197 80 Minnesota 29 32 10 153 199 68 Edmonton 28 36 7 188 210 63 Pacific Division Dallas 39 28 5 189 192 83 San Jose 36 25 10 194 181 82 Los Angeles 35 25 12 167 158 82 Phoenix 35 26 11 188 186 81 Anaheim 30 31 11 179 200 71 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Abu Dhabi forced back to port after battering AUCKLAND: Abu Dhabi’s hopes of getting back into Volvo Ocean Race contention were hit yesterday when they had to head back to port in Auckland after suffering damage to their boat slamming off the back of a wave. The team skippered by Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker suffered the problem six hours after setting out on Leg 5 towards boat-breaking conditions, with forecasts of winds up to 60 knots and waves as high as eight metres. They arrived back in Auckland at 1030 GMT with a breakage in the structure that keeps the crucial J4 sail in place. Without it, they could not cope with the violent conditions that await the six teams on the race through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn. It was Abu Dhabi’s second structural problem in the race with their mast having broken on Leg 1 less than 24 hours after they left Alicante, Spain at the start of the race on Nov. 5. This time it should be easier to repair the damage, with the team eyeing a return to the water within 24 hours. “We could not have competed with the boat as it is so we took the decision to come back,” said Abu Dhabi crew member Wade Morgan. “It’s OK. The guys should be able to repair it soon and get us on our way.” Abu Dhabi are fifth overall and need leg victories to get back in the running for overall honours in the race, which finishes in Galway, Ireland in July. Team Sanya, the only team trailing Abu Dhabi in the standings, had earlier led the fleet out of Auckland. The Sanya crew, under a former winner, Mike Sanderson, but using a second-hand boat, have suffered two suspensions so far to make repairs on their hull and rigging. The race is at a key point with the boats still closely bunched in the overall standings halfway through the nine-month, 39,000 nautical mile test. Telefonica of Spain lead by 15 points from French entry Groupama but with each leg counting for 30 points apiece and five stages still to contest, the race is still wide open. “I have been following this race closely since 1981 and I don’t think we’ve had one in that time where we still simply don’t know how it’s going to be settled by this point of the race,” said Sanderson. Overall standings: 1 Team Telefonica (Spain) 122 points, 2 Groupama (France) 107, 3 Camper (Spain/New Zealand) 104, 4 Puma (U.S.) 83, 5 Abu Dhabi 55, 6 Team Sanya (China) 25. —Reuters

Penguins roll over Devils NEWARK: Matt Cooke scored two goals, Evgeni Malkin added his 40th of the season and Sidney Crosby had three assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their 11th straight NHL win, 5-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. With the surge, the Penguins have 93 points - two behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. Their winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season Crosby came through with a strong effort in the second game of his comeback from recurring concussion-like symptoms, assisting on the goals by Cooke and Malkin. The Penguins ended a three-game losing streak to the Devils, winning for the first time in their last five visits to New Jersey. Andy Greene and Petr Sykora scored for the Devils, winners of five of six coming in.

James Reimer made 29 saves to help Toronto beat Ottawa. Tim Connolly and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Toronto. Reimer won his second straight to improve to 40 at Scotiabank Place, allowing only Colin Greening’s goal. Ben Bishop, making his sixth straight start, faced just 18 shots in his first regulation loss. Panthers 3, Sabres 2 At Sunrise, Florida, Dmitry Kulikov returned from a knee injury and scored the winning shootout goal as Florida Buffalo. John Madden and Mikael Samuelsson scored in regulation for the Panthers. Jose Theodore made 24 saves. Derek Roy and Tyler Ennis scored goals

scooped the rebound of his own tip-in attempt behind Steve Mason. The goal gave the Canucks a 4-2 lead that was cut by a shot off a faceoff win by James Wisniewski, the Columbus defenseman who was serving a hooking penalty when Sedin scored. Alex Edler gave the Canucks a 3-1 second-period lead with an end-to-end dash on the Canucks’ initial power play of the game. David Booth opened the scoring for the Canucks. Vinny Prospal and Jack Johnson also had goals for Columbus. Kings 4, Predators 2 At Los Angeles, Dustin Penner sparked a three-goal

Bruins 3, Flyers 2 At Boston, Tim Thomas stopped Danny Briere on the final shot after the first five skaters in the shootout all scored for the Boston Bruins to end a four-game losing streak. Briere skated in quickly on Thomas but found himself too close to the crease. Pulling up, he put a weak shot right into Thomas to end it. Thomas made 27 saves in regulation and the fiveminute overtime. Thomas, the reigning Vezina Trophy holder, is 6-0 in shootouts this season. Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves for the Flyers, who lost for just the second time in nine games. Hurricanes 5, Wild 3 At St. Paul, Minnesota, Tim Brent and Brandon Sutter scored in a 48-second span of the third period as Carolina rallied past Minnesota. Drayson Bowman scored twice and recorded an assist for the Hurricanes. Goaltender Brian Boucher made 21 saves and recorded his first win of the season. Kyle Brodziak had a goal and two assists for Minnesota. Nick Johnson and Erik Christensen also scored for the Wild, who have lost eight of nine games. Blues 3, Lightning 1 At Tampa, Florida, Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves and Jaden Schwartz scored his first NHL goal as St. Louis beat Tampa Bay. Halak had an in-close stop on league goals leader Steven Stamkos in the first, and made a glove save on Brett Connolly during a second-period breakaway. Schwartz put St. Louis up 2-0 from just outside the crease on a power play in the first. Patrik Berglund and David Perron also scored for the Blues, who became the first NHL team to reach 100 points this season. Brendan Mikkelson got a late third-period goal for Tampa Bay, which is seven points behind eighth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference. Avalanche 3, Rangers 1 At New York, Colorado rookie Gabriel Landeskog broke a second-period tie, and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves to lift the Avalanche over New York. Landeskog gave the Avalanche the lead, and Varlamov made it count as playoff-hopeful Colorado finished its Eastern road trip with two wins from three games. The Rangers’ once seemingly comfortable lead in the Eastern Conference is nearly gone with 11 games remaining. New York lost its second straight, and fifth in seven games, as surging Pittsburgh closes in. The Penguins, who beat New Jersey earlier Saturday to close within two points, can get even with the Rangers with a win Sunday in Philadelphia. Colorado moved past idle Phoenix into seventh place in the West, but the Avalanche have played two more games than the Coyotes. Maple Leafs 3, Senators 1 At Ottawa, Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist and

ST. PAUL: Carolina Hurricanes goalie Brian Boucher (right) stops a shot by Minnesota Wild’s Stephane Veilleux in the first period of an NHL hockey game. —AP for the Sabres, and Ryan Miller stopped 15 shots. Florida’s Wojtek Wolski and Buffalo’s Ennis each scored in the second round of the shootout. Kulikov backhanded in his goal in the seventh round to give Florida the win in his first appearance since missing 23 games. The Panthers won their fourth straight and are five points ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division. Islanders 3, Canadiens 2 At Montreal, Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner to lead the New York Islanders over Montreal Canadiens. Mark Streit and Frans Nielsen scored in regulation for the Islanders, who ended a five-game losing streak. Al Montoya stopped 28 shots. Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and Louis Leblanc added another one for Montreal. Peter Budaj made 36 saves.It was a tense shootout that needed six rounds to decide the winner. Nielsen and Montreal’s David Desharnais in the first round, then the Canadiens’ Rene Bourque and the Islanders’ Matt Moulson put the puck in the net in the fourth round. Bailey put the game away when he cut in front of the crease, waited out Budaj and then fired the puck past him. Canucks 4, Blue Jackets 3 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Daniel Sedin scored two goals and Vancouver edged out Columbus. Sedin scored the winner on a third-period power play as he

third-period blitz that broke open a tight game and carried Los Angeles to victory over Nashville. Penner, Dwight King and Kyle Clifford all found the net during an 8 minute span against Pekka Rinne, who was trying to become the first goalie this season to reach the 40-win mark and the first in Predators history. Anze Kopitar had Los Angeles’ other goal and Jonathan Bernier made 19 saves in his 12th start of the season. Martin Erat and Mike Fisher scored for the Predators, and Rinne stopped 23 shots. Sharks 3, Red Wings 2 At Alameda, California, Marty Havlat scored with 1:37 remaining in overtime to get San Jose back into playoff position with victory over Detroit.Havlat was stopped once by Jimmy Howard, and then after a scramble in front of the net, lifted the rebound over Howard to give the Sharks their first back-to-back victories since early February. Havlat, who returned from a 39-game absence from a hamstring injury Thursday, also scored late in the first for the Sharks, who moved into a tie for eighth place with Los Angeles in the Western Conference with a game in hand. Joe Pavelski also scored and Antti Niemi made 33 saves for the Sharks, who have seven points in their last four games following a five-game losing streak. Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Red Wings, who have lost four straight. —AP

Motocross Challenge winners crowned KUWAIT: The 2012 Kuwait International Motocross Challenge concluded on Saturday in an event that featured crowning winners of various competitions held as part of the tournament that was successfully organized by the Kuwait Quarter Miles Club. The closing event, held at Safir Hotel - Al-Fintas, was attended by Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Dr. Ibrahim AlDuaij Al-Sabah as well as Vice President of the

International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) Nasser AlAttiya, in addition to Kuwait Quarter Miles Club Secretary Sheikh Ali Al-Fawaz Al-Sabah. Chris Moakley of Switzerland was crowned as winter of the MX1 class, while Mohammad Jaafar of Kuwait was crowned as winner of the MX2 (250 cc) class. The ‘Club Man’ class was won by Sulaiman Al-Mislem of Kuwait, while Kuwait’s Ahmad Al-Ghanim was crowed

winner of the 85 cc class. Bandar Al-Bahr of Kuwait was announced winner of the 65 cc class. The competitions took place at the club’s circuit; a 1500 meter long racetrack located south of the country, featuring more than 45 contestants from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Belgium, the United States of America, India, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and the host country Kuwait.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

sp orts

Button steers McLaren to Melbourne victory

AUSTRIA: Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, poses with her alpine ski, women’s World Cup trophies, in Schladming. Vonn clinched the women’s World Cup super-G, super-combined, downhill and overall titles. —AP

Vonn loses pole and record hopes AUSTRIA: A faulty pole ended Lindsey Vonn’s hopes of sealing a brilliant season with the best World Cup score in Alpine skiing history yesterday. The American World Cup champion lost the pole at the start of the second leg of the giant slalom at the World Cup finals in Schladming and was forced to complete the run without it. She did her best but finished exactly four seconds behind Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, who won in a combined time of two minutes and 27.24 seconds to retain her giant slalom World Cup cr ystal globe. Vonn still claimed a women’s record of 1,980 points and four crystal globes - the overall, the downhill, the Super-G and the super-combined. “It’s both the happiest and the saddest day of my season,” said Vonn, who had needed to finish 12th to beat the 2,000 points mark scored by Austria’s Hermann Maier in 2000.

“It was fine to get to the first record but to miss the second by 20 points. It looked like it was not meant to happen. I never ever lost a pole, not even in training. “I certainly did not expect to finish the season like this but I can’t forget the rest of it. It was an unbelievable season,” she added. Rebensburg beat Vonn by 195 points in the giant slalom World Cup and confirmed, after winning the final Super-G on Thursday, that she could be a threat next season. “To win the giant slalom globe once was OK. But to win it twice shows that I’m up there. Now I’d like to go a step further as an all-rounder. I know I’m not so far from competing with the very best,” she said. Austria’s Anna Fenninger was second in the race, 0.64 behind and Italy’s Federica Brignone third, 1:24 adrift. — Reuters

Myhrer wins men’s slalom World Cup SCHLADMING: Sweden’s Andre Myhrer caused a sensation by snatching the men’s Alpine skiing slalom World Cup title in the very last race of the season yesterday. Overshadowed all season by Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, he took the discipline’s crystal globe after the two favourites crashed out. “I’m all over the place. It’s totally unexpected. I was lucky and I knew I had to expect something special. But there was a chance and I took it,” said Myrher, the first Swede crowned in the discipline since Thomas Fogdoe in 1993. For Hirscher and Kostelic, the last two winners of the overall World Cup, the final race of the season was a sharp anticlimax. With a solid 66-point lead at the start, Kostelic had looked safe enough but the Croat found himself on his back after only four gates and out of contention even if he made a point of finishing. “I just don’t know what happened. I felt good and all of a sudden I found myself on my backside,” said the 2011 World Cup champion, who lost everything this season after a knee injury again broke his momentum. Crowned the best skier of the season after his victory in Saturday’s giant slalom, Hirscher did not go much further, straddling out halfway down the morning run.

Myhrer did not falter, the 29-yearold finishing the first leg second fastest behind German Felix Neureuther before winning in a combined time of one minute and 32.47 seconds. Neureuther was second, 0.30 adrift and veteran Austrian Mario Matt third, 0.60 behind. Myhrer, a popular character on the ski circuit who often entertains postrace parties with his heavy metal band, is the third Swede crowned in the discipline after Ingemar Stenmark and Fogdoe. The Swede ended up with 644 points to Kostelic’s 610 and Hirscher’s 560. “It’s a great reward for all the hard work. I had decided to improve my consistency this season and it paid off,” he said. In the finish area, he paid homage to the two prominent retiring skiers of the season, by attempting a ski flip in the style of Didier Cuche before emulating compatriot Anja Paerson’s trademark walrus slide. Only 14 skiers finished inside the time limit in the final slalom, raising questions about the decision by Beat Feuz to shun the race as the Swiss might have scored points to challenge Hirscher. Swiss team sources said Feuz did not want to take any chances, however ,after struggling with knee problems for most of the end of the season for which he will receive surgery next week. —Reuters

MELBOURNE: Jenson Button ignored an incident-packed race behind him and calmly steered his McLaren to victory at the seasonopening Australian Grand Prix ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel yesterday. It was the Briton’s third victory in four years at Albert Park, the 13th win of his career overall and he is the first driver other than Vettel to lead the championship since the German won the first of his two titles for Red Bull in 2010. Button’s compatriot and team mate Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, finished third to round out the podium while Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber was fourth, his best ever finish in his 11th attempt to win his home race. “Oh fantastic, what a great way to start the year, guys! Seriously, fantastic!” former world champion Button said on the team radio. “The car is beautiful and she’s quick. Thanks guys.” Vettel, who won 11 of 19 races last year including an absolutely dominant victory at Albert Park, benefited from a mid-race safety car to get past Hamilton but conceded he had been very much second best. “I think Jenson was unbeatable today,” he told a news conference. “I’m very happy with second, it’s a lot of points. They are the ones to beat at the moment and we’ll see what happens next week.” Fernando Alonso drove a spirited race to finish fifth for troubled Ferrari ahead of the Sauber of Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi after Williams driver Pastor Maldonado crashed out spectacularly on the final lap while running sixth. “After yesterday’s qualifying to be fifth behind the two Mclarens and two Red Bulls is a pretty good result in terms of number of points,” twice world champion Alonso, who started 12th, told Sky TV. Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, one of six former world champions in the field, impressed on his return from two years out of the sport to finish seventh for Lotus. Button, who was second in the title race last year and on the grid on Sunday, eased in front of Hamilton from the start but both will have been happy to avoid the usual crush behind them at the first corner. Webber and compatriot Daniel Ricciardo were not so fortunate, the former sandwiched between two rivals as he dropped from fifth

MELBOURNE: McLaren driver Jenson Button of Britain holds his trophy aloft as he celebrates his win at the the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park. — AP

to ninth and the latter’s car spinning 360 degrees and taking out the Williams of Bruno Senna in the process. Vettel, who started sixth on the grid, made the most of Webber’s misfortune and by the end of lap two had passed Nico Rosberg with a superb move into fourth place behind the other Mercedes of Michael Schumacher. When seven-times champion Schumacher went off the track onto the grass on lap 10 to effectively end his race, Vettel swept through into third place and started trying to eat into the 10-second gap to the McLarens. An opportune safety car when Vitaly Petrov’s Caterham ground to a halt on the start-finish straight 20 laps from the end allowed the German to leap-frog Hamilton. But when the track was finally cleared at the end of lap 41, Button simply eased away from the world champion and took the chequered flag after one hour 34.09 minutes, 2.1 seconds in front of the German. Mexican Sergio Perez had started right

from the back after changing his gearbox overnight but finished eighth for Sauber - the same place he claimed on his Formula One debut here last year before he and Kobayashi were disqualified for technical infringements. Ricciardo finished ninth on his home race debut for Toro Rosso despite an accident at the start, while the last point was won by Force India’s Paul Di Resta in 10th. Raikkonen progress through the field from 17th on the grid also benefited from the chaos caused by Maldonado’s late crash and made up in part for his Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean’s early exit. The Frenchman had lined up third on the grid and was sixth when Maldonado overtook and in the process smashed his front right wheel. Six cars retired from the race, including the departure of Petrov, which effectively cost Hamilton second place. “It was a bit of a tough day but there are plenty more races ahead so I’ll just have to keep my head down,” said the 2008 world champion. — Reuters

Hyundai reveals ‘Team Hyundai:’ Five world-class footballers as brand ambassadors for Euro 2012


yundai Motor Company, UEFA Euro 2012TM top partner, yesterday announced a new initiative for this year’s tournament: Team Hyundai. Comprising five of the bestknown players in Europe - all of them top-class internationals - Team Hyundai will act as ambassadors for the brand in Hyundai’s communications activities around what will be this year’s biggest footballing event. Iker Casillas (Spain), Lukas Podolski (Germany), Giuseppe Rossi (Italy), Karim Benzema (France) and Daniel Sturridge (England) will fulfil their roles as ambassadors through a series of marketing activities as part of Hyundai’s promotions and campaigns for UEFA Euro 2012TM. Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe commented, “The five ambassadors will be rivals on the field during the upcoming UEFA Euro 2012TM, but they are united by their passion for football and it’s a great pleasure to bring them together as Team Hyundai. Their determination and talent sets them apart on the field, and every Team Hyundai player has the potential to be a game-changer during this year’s tournament.” Team Hyundai will be a constant reminder to fans of the excitement, dynamism and passion that football inspires. Each of the Team Hyundai members has made it to the top through determination and continuous improvement, corresponding closely with Hyundai’s achievements in the European car market. Further to the Team Hyundai announcement, Hyundai will also launch a new charitable initiative, with the company once again supporting

young people and players to realise their ambitions to become game-changers of the future. Football fans and followers of Hyundai will be invited to participate in the initiative, reflecting Hyundai’s commitment to always engaging in a way that reflects the spirit of the game - through openness and inclusion. By entering the dedicated application on Hyundai’s global Facebook page - - fans can ‘like’ their favorite Team Hyundai player. For every ‘like’, Hyundai will donate Ä1, and the company is

targeting a total donation of Ä250.000. Further details of this and other activities to be run by the company will be announced ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012TM tournament. Hyundai Motor Company has been a partner of UEFA for more than 12 years, including UEFA EURO 2000TM, UEFA EURO 2004TM and UEFA EURO 2008TM. As the UEFA EURO 2012TM top partner, Hyundai will deliver a fleet of more than 350 Hyundai vehicles consisting of various models to transport teams, VIPs and tournament officials.

World Parachuting Championship DUBAI: The Higher Organizing Committee of the World Parachuting Championship 2012 hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai next November held its second meeting, chaired by His Excellency Eng. Matar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of Dubai Sports Council. His Excellency Matar Al Tayer stressed the importance of the Championship and that the event should have the most glorious appearance reflecting the civilized nature of the UAE in general, and the Emirate of Dubai in particular. He further emphasized that this will not be achieved unless maximum efforts are made by the Higher Organizing Committee and subcommittees in order for the work system to be integral. He stated that His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, approved the Logo of the Championship, which is characterized by simplicity, beauty and integration, and reflective of the spirit of the Championship. The logo and website of the event will be declared in a press conference that will be held soon, in a way that is

consistent with the importance of the Championship which is held for the first time in the region. It is expected that the event will witness wide global participation by parachuting champions around the world, whose number is expected to be more than one thousand. The Committee discussed the opening and concluding ceremonies,

and preparations for the celebration. Many experienced international companies were invited to present their proposals before the Committee to choose the best of them in order to organize the event in a glorious and universal manner. His Excellency Chairman of the Committee gave instructions to focus on the need for a proposal to be inte-

gral, of high quality and in harmony with reputation of the UAE and Dubai and the importance of the event. Focus will be made on the opening ceremony to demonstrate the culture and heritage of the UAE. The Committee discussed also the needs and work of other committees. Eng. Al Tayer asserted that His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin

Al Tayer chairing the meeting of the Higher Organizing Committee of the World Parachuting Championship

Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave instructions to provide all facilities in order to ensure the Championship’s success, starting from the opening ceremony which should reflect the UAE’s development, in addition to the organizational matters relating to hosting and technical support. He further stated that the World Parachuting Championship is one of the major world championships hosted by the UAE this year, to be added to the set of championships that were organized in the UAE. He called for joint efforts to organize the event adequately and as wished. He further called for making maximum efforts by the Higher Organizing Committee and subcommittees in order for the work system to be integral. Additionally, the Committee reviewed the plans of the committee of accommodation, subsistence, public relations, transportation and reception, and the committee of flights, marketing and media, and took appropriate decisions in this regard. It further approved the organizational structure of the technical committee, surveyed the sites of parachuting and discussed all other technical issues.


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Rice, Magnussen shine after Thorpe dream over

HH the Amir and Sheikh Salman

$200 thousand target for shooters By Abdullatif Al-Sharaa KUWAIT: President of Asian and Kuwait Shooting Federations, Vice President of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) Sheikh Salman Sabah AlSalem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah expressed extreme thanks to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for patronizing the annual shooting tournament named after His Highness. Sheikh Salman announced that the total prizes of this tournament will be $200 thousand, adding that this comes as an encouragement from HH the Amir for shooters and urging them to exert more efforts to be able to represent Kuwait at

the international level. Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud thanked Chairman and Managing Director of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports Maj. General (Rt) Faisal Al-Jazzaf, and PAYS Deputy Director General for Sports Affairs Dr. Humoud Fulaiteh, as well as PAYS official for their support in organizing this event. Sheikh Salman thanked ministries and government bodies for supporting the event, as well as the media and organizing committee. More than 30 countries will participate with over 500 shooters who will compete in all Olympic Shooting events at the Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex from 1926/03/2012.

Tseng, Miyazato share lead PHOENIX: Yani Tseng was a lot more concerned about the wind at tight Wildfire Golf Club than rain and cold yesterday in the final round of the LPGA Founders Cup. “If it’s windy on this golf course, it’s not easy. I mean the greens are pretty firm and the course is very narrow,” said Tseng, tied for the lead with Ai Miyazato after the third round Saturday. “If it’s very windy tomorrow, you just want to keep it on the fairway, be patient all day and play smart. But I love the wind. Raining, it’s OK, so it’ll cool down a little bit.” Actually, it will cool down at lot. After temperatures in the mid-80s on Thursday and Friday and high 70s Saturday, it is sup-

PHOENIX: Yani Tseng, of Taiwan, lines up a putt on the ninth green during the third round of the Founder’s Cup golf tournament.—AP posed to only get into the mid-50s Sunday and the wind is expected to gust at 25 mph. “It could be you need to make some birdies out there, but then you need to be really patient, too,” Miyazato said. “But it doesn’t matter about the weather.” In partly cloudy, breezy conditions Saturday on the desert layout, Miyazato birdied Nos. 14-16 and closed with two pars for a bogey-free 6-under 66 to match Tseng at 14 under. The Japanese player, ranked ninth in the world, has seven LPGA Tour victories. “Definitely, it was more difficult than yesterday,” Miyazato said. “The wind makes more greens firmer, and I did have a long distance because some holes were really down wind. It was difficult to make birdies out there, but I was really patient, and my putting was really good.” Tseng had a chance to take the out-

right lead on the par-4 18th after hitting to 10 feet out of the right fairway bunker, but her birdie try slid past the left edge. The top-ranked Taiwanese star settled for a 67. “I was a little disappointed,” Tseng said. “I played so good. I hit lots of good drives, and hit lots of good shots, and I missed like three short birdie putts.” Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA Tour victory. She led the tour last season with seven victories - including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open - and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles. Tseng and playing partners I.K. Kim and Meena Lee were warned about slow play on No. 10, and were timed on the 12th, disrupting Tseng’s rhythm. “When you get timed and you go over time, you get penalty,” Tseng said. “So in my mind I’m like, ‘I don’t want to get penalty.’ Just tried to rush, and I kept telling myself to relax, because I don’t play slow. “The three of us, we don’t play slow. We just got a couple of rulings there and tried to catch up, but I was just too rushed in my mind. ... Just a little disappointed with myself. I should still take time when I play, take the time with my swing, instead of try to rush everything.” Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi was a stroke back after a 67. The South Korean player will join Miyazato and Tseng in the final group late yesterday. Tseng and Miyazato also played together in the final round in Thailand. “It’s always fun to play with her,” Miyazato said. “I know her really well, and I think we like to play each other. I mean I like to play with Yani. I don’t know about her. We are totally different types of player, but it’s very inspiring to play with her.” Tseng agreed. “We’re great friends and always appreciate to play with her,” Tseng said. “We talk a lot. We just talk everything, not on the golf course, outside of golf course. And it’s just so much fun to play with her. Kim was fourth at 11 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean player Inbee Park was 10 under after a 69. Defending champion Karr Webb (70) was 9 under along with third-ranked Suzann Pettersen (67), fourth-ranked Cristie Kerr (66), sixth-ranked Paula Creamer (70), U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu (69), Hee-Won Han (68) and Hee Kyung Seo (69). “It’s going to be tough tomorrow with the rain and the cold and the wind,” Kerr said. “We’ll have to see what the conditions are, but all the pressure is going to be on them (the leaders) and I’m going to go out and just try and golf my ball through the weather.” —AP

ADELAIDE: Ian Thorpe’s rushed comeback bid for a third Olympic Games ended in ignominy yesterday as he crashed out of the morning heats of the 100 metres freestyle at the Australian trials in Adelaide. The five-times Olympic champion’s exit, which followed his failure in the 200 freestyle earlier in the trials, robbed the meeting of its headline act, but Stephanie Rice went some way to easing the crowd’s disappointment by clinching the 200 individual medley title in the evening session. The triple Olympic champion eased her way into the race and reeled in world silver medallist Alicia Coutts in the final lap to secure her second title of the meeting despite swimming through the pain of an injured shoulder. Rice, who captured the 400IM title on the opening day, posted a time of two minutes, 9.38 seconds and ensured she will defend both her Olympic medley titles at London. “I was confident standing behind the blocks before this race,” Rice told reporters at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre. “I felt like I wasn’t moving in the last 25 (metres), but obviously I was ... I’m really happy to come away with a PB (personal best) in these suits, (and) more than anything, just to execute the race I wanted to execute.” The 23-year-old’s personal best of 2.07.03 was set in a nowbanned suit at the 2009 world championships in Rome. Thorpe earlier won his heat in the morning session but finished 21st in the timings behind pacesetter James Magnussen in his last-chance saloon for London. His time of 50.35 seconds was his best since returning to competition in November but more than two seconds shy of the world champion’s. “This is... it’s tough. It’s hard coming to this competition and

really, you know, failing in what I set out to do,” Thorpe said. “I’m disappointed that I really haven’t been able to race in a way that’s reflective of the work that I’ve done and how I’ve trained. “But I don’t regret giving this a go. Compared to how I’ve raced before, how I’ve competed and

it’s got to be one of those swims that feel like you’re floating, I guess,” the swimmer nicknamed “the Missile” said. “The earlier I can put a good time on the board before the Olympics the more the rest of the world will sit up and take notice.” The former bad boy of

way to probably end my career (racing Phelps) because it’s such a good rivalry that I get from him and he’s such a fantastic athlete.” World silver medallist Kylie Palmer qualified for the Olympic 200 freestyle with a runner-up finish in the final behind Bronte Barratt, her team mate in the gold

SINGAPORE: In this Nov. 3, 2011 file photo, former Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe of Australia conducts training ahead of the Swimming World Cup. —AP the success that I’ve had, this does look like doom.” In Thorpe’s absence, the spotlight rightly shifted back to Magnussen in the 100 freestyle, as Australia’s first world champion in the blue riband sprint charged into the final with a time of 47.93 seconds. The confident 20-yearold eased up in the last 25 metres to be marginally slower than his 47.63 that won him the gold at Shanghai, but set his sights on bettering Brazilian Cesar Cielo’s world record in today’s final. “I’ll certainly be going for it, but you just don’t know until the day,

Australian swimming, Nick D’Arcy won the 200 butterfly title just outside his Australian record to book his London ticket, four years after being kicked off the Beijingbound team for punching fellow swimmer Simon Cowley at a Sydney night club. “It’s been a pretty rough ride at times but I think I’ve come out the other side of adversity ... and put myself in a good position to be at the Games,” he said, before focusing on a potential showdown with American great Michael Phelps at London. “For me it would be a fantastic

medal winning 4x200 freestyle relay at Beijing. Two-time Olympic 100 medley relay champion Jessicah Schipper qualified fastest into the 200 butterfly final, while Beijing silver medallist Brenton Rickard topped the timesheets in the 200 breaststroke semi-finals. Magnussen’s bid to break Cielo’s record in the 100 freestyle final highlights day five on Monday, with triple Olympic champion and comeback kid Libby Trickett making a last-ditch attempt to qualify for London in the 100 freestyle. —Reuters

Calcavecchia leads Classic NEWPORT BEACH: Mark Calcavecchia shot his second straight 4-under 67 in rainy conditions Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic. Calcavecchia, the 13-time PGA Tour winner who won the Boeing Classic last year for his lone victory on the 50and-over tour, had six birdies and two bogeys on the Newport Beach Country Club course. Fred Couples, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with Loren Roberts. Couples shot a 69 in the round delayed about two hours because of the rain. Roberts had a 70. Calcavecchia bogeyed the par-3 fourth and par-4 sixth holes when the rain was at its strongest. He was on the seventh hole when the horn sounded to suspend play. “It was tough out there at times,” Calcavecchia said. “It was raining heavy. Obviously, right before the delay was the hardest time.” Couples said his back stiffened during the delay, but he managed to make two birdies on the back nine. “Any golf course is hard when you are playing in rain most of the day and it’s windy,” Couples said. “But as far as the round, I thought it was pretty good. I did have a couple of bogeys on those holes that were into the wind.” The round was moved up 2 1/2 hours in an effort to play as many holes as possible before the heavy rain arrived. Calcavecchia returned from the suspension to birdie the par-4 seventh, and also birdied the par-4 ninth, par-4 12th, par-5 15th and par-5 18th. He drove into the greenside bunker on the par-3 17th, but salvaged par with a long putt. “A tough bunker shot, and I kind of blasted it about 18 feet by, almost off the back of the green there, and I made the downhill 18-footer for par,” Calcavecchia said. “These greens are tough.” Couples, playing in the group in front of Calcavecchia, reached the right greenside rough on the 18th in two shots, but his chip shot from 20 foot went 4 feet past the hole and his downhill birdie putt slid by on the left side. “I actually thought I hit a really good second shot,” Couples said. “I didn’t even hit it 230 yards with a 3-wood. I didn’t misjudge it. I was shocked I couldn’t hit it that far.” Bernhard Langer (72) was three strokes back at 5 under along with Mark McNulty (70) and David Eger (71). Defending champion Nick Price (68) topped the group at 4 under. —AP

ABK sponsors world champion Al Qallaf KUWAIT: Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait’s passion and commitment to sporting activities led them to this time sponsor Tareq Al Qallaf, world wheelchair champion in fencing. ABK supported his participation in international championships in 2012, which will go a long way in ensuring Tareq Al Qallaf gets maximum exposure at higher levels of competition. The sponsorship comes within ABK’s policy of supporting sporting activities, especially within the framework of the new public relations baner “Our Society ... Our Responsibility.” At the occasion Ali Ibrahim Al Baghli, Assistant PR Manager at ABK, stated, “ABK

is proud to announce sponsorship of Tareq Al Qallaf, world champion in fencing, and supporting him during international championships. Tareq has enriched Kuwait’s sports arena by winning most of the world championships and accomplishments that raised Kuwait’s reputation in local and international sports tournaments. At ABK we take this kind of initiative to encourage sports personalities to excel and achieve more for their country Kuwait” On his part, Tareq Al Qallaf thanked ABK for sponsoring him in the championships and supporting him through this important phase of his sports journey.

Goosen keeps Masters dream alive PALM HARBOR: Ailing South African Retief Goosen birdied three of the last five holes to surge into a tie for the lead in Saturday’s third round of the Transitions Championship at Palm Harbor, Florida, and keep his Masters hopes alive. The twice former US Open champion, who has been battling a bad back since midway through last year, fired a six-under-par 65 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook to finish level with American Jim Furyk (66) at 11-under 202. Furyk, whose only major victory came at the 2003 US Open, was one stroke in front before he three-putted to bogey the par-four last. South Korean Bae Sang-moon, a rookie on the 2012 PGA Tour, was a further stroke back after carding a 68, level with overnight leader Jason Dufner of the US who returned a level

71. Goosen, however, was the surprise package of the day, having earlier pulled out of from next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill to get further treatment on his troublesome back. The 43-year-old, who won this event in 2003 and again in 2009, will have protein injections next week to help alleviate two bulging disks. “My back has been the main issue since last year,” Goosen told reporters. “I pulled out of the British Open and the PGA (Championship) and then took a few months off towards the end of the year. “I was then back playing in November, December and January in South Africa but the last three weeks, it’s really just started getting bad again. “So we withdrew from Bay Hill yesterday and I’m going to get the injections done on Wednesday. Hopefully

I’ll be ready to get going again after the Masters, or maybe at the Masters if I play well tomorrow.” Goosen, whose most recent PGA Tour victory came at the 2009 Transitions Championship, has slipped to 52nd in the world rankings and needs to return to the top 50 on Monday to qualify for the first major of the year. “Augusta and St. Andrews are my two favourite golf courses in the world and the Masters is not an event you want to miss,” said the South African. “I’ve been playing there for quite a number of years now. I’m determined to keep going.” British world number two Luke Donald (70) and former world number one Ernie Els of South Africa (68) were three strokes off the pace at eight under going into today’s final round. —Reuters

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Kohli fires India to vital win with 183

DENVER: Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo, top, runs into Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce while going up for a shot in the third quarter of the Nuggetsí 98-91 victory in an NBA basketball game.—AP

Clippers defuse Rockets LOS ANGELES: Chris Paul scored 12 of his 23 points in the final 2:42, including a go-ahead layup with 24.6 seconds left, in leading the Los Angeles Clippers over the Houston Rockets 95-91 in the NBA on Saturday. The victory put the Clippers within 2 1/2 games of the idle Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the Pacific Division lead. Blake Griffin had 18 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 4.9 seconds remaining. Randy Foye, filling in at shooting guard for the injured Chauncey Billups, added 15 points in what could be his last start because of the acquisition of Nick Young on Thursday from Washington. Courtney Lee led Houston with a seasonhigh 25 points despite a strained tendon in the middle finger of his left hand. Chase Budinger added 19 points, and Goran Dragic had 14 assists and 11 points. Knicks 102, Pacers 88 At Indianapolis, rising NBA-star Jeremy Lin scored 19 points to help New York defeat Indiana and improve to 3-0 under interim coach Mike Woodson. Lin also had seven rebounds and six assists. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire each scored 16 points and J.R. Smith added 11 for the Knicks, who won on the road for just the eighth time this season. The Knicks have won all three games by an average of nearly 24 points since Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni. New York defeated the Pacers 115-100 on Friday night in New York. Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Paul George scored 18 points and Darren Collison added 15 points for Indiana, which made just 4 of 15 shots in the fourth quarter. Bobcats 107, Raptors 103 At Charlotte, North Carolina, D.J. Augustin scored 23 points and had 11 assists as Charlotte held off Toronto. Gerald Henderson added 24 points, Corey Maggette had 21 and Tyrus Thomas had 11 for the Bobcats, who overcame a 15-point deficit in the second quarter to win for the second time in their past four games. Charlotte, which still has the league’s worst record at 7-36, went on to lead by as many as 16 points with less than 4 minutes remaining. But the Raptors rallied, pulling within 105-103 on Jerryd Bayless’ 3-pointer with 11.7 seconds left. Augustin hit two free throws with 9.9 seconds left to put the Bobcats up by four points. Bayless finished with 29 points, DeRozan added 20, Linas Kleiza 13 and Andrea Bargnani 11 for the Raptors. Bulls 89, 76ers 80 At Chicago, CJ Watson scored 20 points and Joakim Noah added 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead Chicago over Philadelphia. The Bulls overcame an early 14-point deficit without Derrick Rose, who missed his third straight game with a strained groin. Even with the reigning MVP missing 13 games this season, the Bulls still have the best record in the NBA at 37-10. The Bulls are 9-4 without Rose. Jrue Holiday led the 76ers with 30 points,

who dropped its third straight overall and have lost seven of nine on the road. Holiday got little help as Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand were both held to seven points each. Hornets 102, Nets 94 At Newark, New Jersey, Chris Kaman scored 20 points, including a key 23-foot jumper with a second left on the shot clock and 45 seconds left in the game, giving New Orleans victory over New Jersey. With the Hornets leading 95-94, Kaman made his jumper and then Marco Belinelli, with 20 points, sealed the win with a fall-away 3-pointer with 16.8 seconds left, also with the shot clock down to a second. Jarrett Jack, whose 3-pointer in the final minute gave the Hornets the lead for good, added 16 points. Deron Williams had 20 points and 12 assists for the Nets. They also got 20 points from Anthony Morrow and 16 from Gerald Green. Mavericks 106, Spurs 99 At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki overcame tough defense to score 27 points and lead Dallas over San Antonio. Jason Terry added 17 points and Rodrigue Beaubois 16 for the Mavericks, who won their third consecutive game. After home wins over Washington and Charlotte, the NBA’s two worst teams, beating the Spurs was much more impressive, even if the Southwest Division leaders were playing the second consecutive night. Dallas never trailed and the only tie was at 2-all. With the shot clock running down late in the third quarter, Nowitzki got the ball with Manu Ginobili right on top of him. The Mavericks’ perennial All-Star made a 20-foot jumper for a 10-point lead and let out a scream, as much exhilaration as letting officials know he thought he was also fouled. Nuggets 98, Celtics 91 At Denver, Danilo Gallinari scored 20 points and Kenneth Faried added 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds leading Denver past Boston. It was the sixth double-double in the past 13 games for Faried. Arron Afflalo added 15 points for Denver, which has beaten the Celtics seven of the past eight times in Denver. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had 22 points each for Boston. Rajon Rondo had 12 points and 16 assists.

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte

GB 1.5 4 10 10.5 10 15.5 18 19.5 4 7.5 22 25

SCOREBOARD DHAKA: Complete scoreboard of the Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan in Dhaka yesterday: Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Dinda 105 Nasir Jamshed c Irfan b Ashwin 112 Umar Akmal c Gambhir b Kumar 28 Younis Khan c Raina b Kumar 52 Shahid Afridi c Kohli b Irfan 9 Hammad Azam c Kohli b Dinda 4 Misbah-ul-Haq not out 4 Umar Gul not out 0 Extras (b1, lb3, nb1, w10) 15 Total (for six wickets; 50 overs) 329 Fall of wickets: 1-224 (Jamshed), 2-225 (Hafeez), 3-273 (Akmal), 4-313 (Afridi), 5-323 (Younis), 6-326 (Azam). Bowling: P. Kumar 10-0-77-2 (w2), Irfan 10-069-1 (nb1, w2), Dinda 8-0-47-2 (w3), Raina 2.20-15-0, Sharma 3-0-19-0, Yusuf 5-0-30-0 (w1),

Ashwin 10-0-56-1 (w2), Tendulkar 1.4-0-12-0. India: G. Gambhir lbw b Hafeez 0 S. Tendulkar c Younis b Ajmal 52 V. Kohli c Hafeez b Gul 183 R. Sharma c Afridi b Gul 68 S. Raina not out 12 MS Dhoni not out 4 Extras (b5, lb1, nb1, w4) 11 Total (for four wickets; 47.5 overs) 330 Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Gambhir), 2-133 (Tendulkar), 3-305 (Sharma), 4-318 (Kohli). Bowling: Hafeez 9-0-42-1, Gul 8.5-0-65-2 (w3), Cheema 8-0-60-0, Ajmal 9-0-49-1, Afridi 9-0-580, Riaz 4-0-50-0 (nb1, w1). Result: India win by six wickets Man of the match: Virat Kohli (IND)

Isner, Federer power into Indian Wells final INDIAN WELLS: Hard-serving American John Isner’s remarkable run continued as he stunned world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to book an Indian Wells final showdown with world No. 3 Roger Federer. World number 11 Isner fired his 20th ace of the match to topple defending champion and top seed Djokovic 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) on Saturday. Federer then used an ace on match point to seal a 6-3, 6-4 victory over world number two Rafael Nadal as the two renewed their epic rivalry with their first meeting at the Indian Wells Masters. Isner’s first victory over a world number one ensures he will move into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time. “Not many people can say they’ve ever beaten the No. 1 player in the world,” said the 26-year-old American Isner. “I’ll always be able to say that. “I’m just going to keep on riding this wave

I’m on and see how far it can take me.” For Djokovic, 24, it marked a second straight semi-final defeat after he fell at the same stage in Dubai to Andy Murray earlier this month. Reigning Australian Open champ Djokovic is now 14-2 on the season. “It’s frustrating when somebody serves over 70 percent of the first serves in and with that angle and with that speed and accuracy,” Djokovic said. “But I played him before. I knew I had to stay patient and just wait for the chance. I had some chances. I didn’t use them.” Isner closed the two hour, 45 minute match out with his 20th ace in front of a crowd of about 15,000. Djokovic, who saved a match point in the 12th game of the third set to force the tiebreaker and saved two match points on his own serve in the final tiebreaker before Isner closed it out, finished with eight aces and two double faults. “That’s why I play this

game, to be able to enjoy moments like that,” Isner said. “ The stadium was packed, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and everyone was on their feet. Cheering for me, too. “It was very special when that last ball went by him and I knew I had won the match. “It was a weird feeling, a very nice feeling. It’s something that you don’t experience every day. So I was just trying to take it all in.” One of the sport’s great rivalries was on display in the second semi-final between 16-time Grand Slam winner Federer and reigning French Open champ Nadal which started three and a half hours late and was played in difficult windy and rainy conditions. “I had a good day. It was a great match in tough conditions,” Federer said. “It was so difficult but man I couldn’t be more happy. I played amazing. “We both expected rain, and it did rain a few times.” Federer even had a

few extra minutes to think about what turned out to be his final ace after officials pulled the players off the court because of rain just as he held match point leading 5-4 and 40-30. He returned a few moments later and hammered the final nail in the coffin a 125 mph ace that ended the one hour, 31 minute match. “I thought about going down the ‘T’ but when I was tossing the ball in the air I thought I would go the other way,” he said. Nadal and Federer had met 27 times previously but never before on the hardcourts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nadal has the edge over his Swiss foe having won 18 times, including four of the last six. This marks their second meeting this year after Nadal beat Federer in the semi-finals at the Australian Open. Nadal said he couldn’t overcome Federer’s quick start Saturday and then the wind and rain on centre court troubled him—AFP

Kuwait Scorpions RFC beat Navy in bruising match

LA Clippers 95, Houston 91; Charlotte 107, Toronto 103; NY Knicks 102, Indiana 88; New Orleans 102, New Jersey 94; Chicago 89, Philadelphia 80; Denver 98, Boston 91; Dallas 106, San Antonio 99; Utah 99, Golden State 92 (OT). (OT denotes overtime)

Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks Toronto New Jersey

DHAKA: Indian’s Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring 150 runs during their Asia Cup cricket match against Pakistan. —AP

Jazz 99, Warriors 92 At Salt Lake City, Derrick Favors, starting for Al Jefferson, had career highs with 23 points and 17 rebounds to help Utah edge Golden State in overtime. Jefferson, Utah’s leading scorer and rebounder, was attending his grandmother’s funeral in Mississippi. Favors scored four of the first six points in overtime and the Jazz earned their sixth straight home win, and second straight in overtime. Favors, who came to Utah from New Jersey in the trade for Deron Williams last season, made a three-point play and a block in the closing seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime. Nate Robinson scored 19 points, David Lee had 18 and Klay Thompson added 17 points for the Warriors.—AP

NBA results/standings

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 25 20 .556 23 21 .523 21 24 .467 15 30 .333 15 31 .326 Central Division 37 10 .787 25 18 .581 20 24 .455 16 25 .390 16 28 .364 Southeast Division 32 11 .744 29 16 .644 25 19 .568 10 33 .233 7 36 .163

DHAKA: Virat Kohli smashed a career-best 183 to power India to a crucial six-wicket victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup one-day tournament in Dhaka yesterday. The in-form batsman hit one six and 22 fours in his explosive 148-ball knock. It was his third century in four matches and helped India achieve the stiff 330-run target with 13 balls to spare. The Indian innings marked their highest successful chase in one-dayers, surpassing 326 against England at Lord’s in 2002. Earlier, Pakistan’s Nasir Jamshed hit a 104-ball 112 for his maiden one-day century and Mohammad Hafeez made a 113-ball 105 to help post a challenging total. Pakistan made it to the final despite the defeat, finishing their league engagements with nine points from thr ee games, while India (eight points from three games) and Bangladesh (four from two) are still in contention. Bangladesh need to win their final league match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday to knock India out. “Sachin (Tendulkar) and Virat batted brilliantly while Rohit (Sharma) can be a good finisher,” said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The day-night match was the first between the two teams since the high-profile World Cup semi-final at Mohali last March, which India won on their way to clinching the showpiece title. Kohli and opener Tendulkar put India on course for the remarkable victory with a 133-run stand for the second wicket after the second-ball dismissal of Gautam Gambhir. Tendulkar, who became the first player to score 100 international centuries on Friday, looked in good form. He hit a brisk 48-ball 52 with the help of one six and five fours before being caught by Younis Khan in the slips off spinner Saeed Ajmal. Kohli, whose previous best was an unbeaten 133, received valuable support from Sharma who made an impressive 68 in a 172-run stand for the third wicket. “I still can’t believe what happened out there, honestly,” said Kohli, who was named man of the match. “I’m really satisfied. To be able to chase 330 against this bowling is satisfying.” Left-handed Jamshed and Hafeez had dominated the Indian bowling attack as they added 224 runs, Pakistan’s best for the opening wicket against India in one-day internationals. “It was an excellent innings by Kohli, the best I have ever seen,” said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. “Credit goes to their batsmen. It’s easy out there under lights but 329 is still a good score.” Pakistan scored 73 in the last 10 overs, with Younis hitting a 34-ball 52 with the help of six fours before falling to a superb one-handed catch by Suresh Raina in the covers off paceman Praveen Kumar. Shahid Afridi (nine) completed 7,000 one-day runs before being caught by Kohli off Irfan Pathan. Hafeez was the first to complete his century, pushing Kumar to mid-off for a single. He struck one six and nine fours before being trapped leg-before by seamer Ashok Dinda. Jamshed reached the century in Kumar’s next over with a single and then hit the bowler for a six. He also cracked 10 fours. India, who failed to defend 289 in their last match against Bangladesh on Friday, again put in a below-par performance with none of their bowlers able to keep pressure on the Pakistani openers.—AFP

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 33 11 .750 Denver 25 20 .556 Utah 22 22 .500 Minnesota 22 23 .489 Portland 21 23 .477 Pacific Division LA Lakers 28 16 .636 LA Clippers 25 18 .581 Phoenix 22 22 .500 Golden State 18 24 .429 Sacramento 15 29 .341 Southwest Division San Antonio 29 14 .674 Memphis 24 18 .571 Dallas 26 20 .565 Houston 24 21 .533 New Orleans 11 34 .244

8.5 11 11.5 12 2.5 6 9 13 4.5 4.5 6 19

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Scorpions origins go back to 1946 with a match between Oil Workers and visiting military personnel, this tradition has been kept alive and the latest encounter with HMS Daring, a modern Royal Navy ‘D’ Class Destroyer turned out to be a close match with the navy boat showing their strength throughout the 80 minutes at the ‘Sandpit’ in Ahmadi, in part due, no doubt, to LPT ‘Si’s training regime. Kuwait knew that they had to use their superior rugby knowledge to get past the well disciplined opposition, and were rewarded with a try after 5 minutes when Fijian winger Kami Barini found space to gallop over the line following good passing along the back line. The difficult conversion was missed by Dunlop as the windy conditions made all kicking difficult. HMS Daring got back into the match quickly with a well worked try using their forwards as a battering ram and the conversion was well kicked for them to take the lead. Kuwait took notice of this, and swiftly

took the lead again through their other winger, Pete Tinning, who was able to touch down in the corner, again the wind made the conversion attempt miss narrowly to leave the score at 10-7. The Scorpion’s Forwards were beginning to find their stride and a good rucking performance allowed the ball to sent-out to centre Jamie Williams who found space to go over the line. The conversion was easily scored for a 17-7 lead at half time. The 2nd half started slowly and once again, the bulky forwards from HMS Daring managed to score under the posts, with a simple conversion, the score was now 17-14. Kuwait stepped up their performance and centre Rocky Samoni, beating several tackle attempts, scored to give the Scorpions a bit of breathing space. With Kuwait receiving 2 yellow cards in quick succession, it looked like HMS Daring were going to fight their way back into the match, but strong defensive play from the Scorpions kept them out. With 5 minutes remaining, the Scorpions put the match out of reach, with the Navy backline stretched

to cover the Kuwait overlap, No.10, G. Dunlop cleverly dummied his opposite number with a cheeky side step which opened up the defense, like a hot knife through butter, to score under the posts, with the successful conversion, the final score was 29-14. Captain Faisal Al Amer said after the match that ‘it was one of the best passing displays in a long time’ and despite the bruising nature of the game, was very enjoyable. Other strong performances were shown through Dan Holsgrove at inside-centre and a tireless effort by Winter Simmons in 2nd row. Kuwait Scorpions have a single away match left this season in Bahrain on the 23rd March and the possibility of more friendly matches against visiting navy boats. Squad: Faisal Al Amer (CAPT), Tron Halstvedt, Jamie Williams, Matt Griggs, Greg Dunlop, Dan Holsgrove, Ben Rodea, Hussain Al Helal, Poki, Garret Maher, Conor Coakley, Winter Simmons, Ed Moses,Tim Ryan, Keni, Rocky, Sils, Fadi Barakat Diab, Pete Tinning, Joe.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Bilbao crash to Soldado treble

ITALY: Lecce’s David Di Michele (left) and Palermo goalie Emiliano Viviano challenge for the ball during a Serie A soccer match.—AP

Europe disappearing as Inter stumble again ROME: Inter Milan yesterday failed to win for the eighth time in nine league games, as their hopes of playing in Europe next season took another hit following their 0-0 draw at home to Atalanta. It was also the sixth time in those nine games they had failed to score and a fifth home league game in a row without a win. With just 10 games left this season they are five points behind the European qualification positions and seven off a Champions League finish. Inter only had themselves to blame after Diego Milito missed a first half penalty. Gianpaolo Bellini was harshly adjudged to have brought down Giampaolo Pazzini in the box but Andrea Consigli plunged low to his left to keep out Milito’s weak 24thminute spot-kick. That was as close as Inter got to scoring in an uninspiring game in which their problems in front of goal were all too plain to see. The only saving grace for the nerazzurri was Lazio’s 1-0 defeat at Catania that keeps Champions League football a distant possibility for Claudio Ranieri’s men. Lazio had much the better of their clash in Sicily but succumbed to Nicola Legrottaglie’s goal from a corner 10 minutes from time. The Romans had created good chances for Stefano Mauri and Miroslav Klose but couldn’t find the finish they needed, losing for the second game in a row. Lazio stay third ahead of Napoli’s trip to

Udinese late yesterday. But Catania moved level on points with Inter and Roma and are now securely in the battle for a European finish. At the bottom, Novara earned their second win in a row with a 2-0 victory at Siena. Novara are still eight points from safety but goals from Marco Rigoni and Filippo Porcari have at least given them hope. Cesena remain bottom and 14 points from safety after they were thumped 3-0 at Cagliari thanks to a Mauricio Pinilla hattrick, including two dubious penalties. On Saturday AC Milan maintained their four-point lead over Juventus at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at Parma. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring from the penalty spot following a handball by Cristian Zaccardo. Urby Emanuelson then secured the victory with a brilliant solo effort, running from inside his own half, beating two players and rounding goalkeeper Antonio Mirante before slotting home. Parma hit the bar twice but Milan were comfortable throughout. Juventus kept pace with a 5-0 win at 10-man Fiorentina, who had Alessio Cerci sent off in the first half for a petulant kick. Mirko Vucinic had already given the visitors the lead and Arturo Vidal doubled the advantage after the break. Claudio Marchisio and Andre Pirlo added further goals before Simone Padoin rounded off the scoring.—AFP

Italian League results/standings Bologna 2 (Di Vaio 59, Diamanti 81); Chievo 2 (Andreolli 27, Thereau 69); Cagliari 3 (Pinilla 14, 45pen, 56-pen); Cesena 0 Catania 1 (Legrottaglie 79); Lazio 0 Inter Milan 0; Atalanta 0; Lecce 1 (Di Michele 6-pen); Palermo 1 (Munoz 15); Siena 0 Novara 2 (Rigoni 72, Porcari 81) Player later Udinese v Napoli (1945 GMT) Saturday Fiorentina 0 Juventus 5 (Vucinic 15, Vidal 27, Marchisio 55, Pirlo 67, Padoin 72); Parma 0 AC Milan 2 (Ibrahimovic 17-pen, Emanuelson 55) Monday Roma v Genoa (1945 GMT) Italian Serie A table ahead of yesterday’s late match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): AC Milan Juventus Lazio Napoli Udinese Roma Inter Milan Catania Bologna Palermo Chievo

28 28 28 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 28

18 14 14 12 13 12 12 10 9 10 9

6 14 6 10 7 5 5 11 9 5 8

4 0 8 5 7 10 11 7 10 13 11

57 44 42 50 37 40 38 36 31 40 24

22 17 34 28 24 33 36 35 33 45 35

60 56 48 46 46 41 41 41 36 35 35

Atalanta 28 9 13 6 31 Cagliari 28 8 10 10 29 Genoa 27 9 6 12 35 Siena 28 8 8 12 32 Fiorentina 28 8 8 12 27 Parma 28 7 10 11 33 Lecce 28 6 8 14 31 Novara 28 5 8 15 24 Cesena 28 4 5 19 16 Note: Atalanta deducted six points season for match-fixing

29 34 35 34 48 33 30 32 33 32 44 31 45 26 46 23 45 17 at start of

Bolton’s Muamba still critically ill LONDON: Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba remained in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, the hospital and club said in a joint statement yesterday. The 23-year-old will remain anaesthetised in intensive care for at least the next 24 hours after collapsing on the pitch at White Hart Lane where he was given CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) by medics before being taken to hospital. The match was abandoned at 1-1 just before halftime after Muamba fell to the turf near the centre circle. No other player was involved in the incident and after a delay of several minutes referee Howard Webb took the teams off the field. “Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and on route to The London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working,” yesterday’s hospital statement said. “As is normal medical practice, Fabrice remains anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours. His condition continues to be closely monitored by the cardiac specialists at the hospital.” Messages of support for England under-21 international Muamba have come flooding in from players, clubs and fans with flowers and messages delivered to the hospital and laid outside Bolton’s Reebok stadium. Bolton’s Premier League game at Aston Villa which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday has been postponed. Bolton manager Owen Coyle said in Sunday’s statement: “Fabrice’s family have asked me to pass on their thanks for the many, many kind messages of support from not only Bolton fans but also fans from clubs across the country and abroad. “All our thoughts and prayers are for Fabrice and his family at this time. The family would also like to thank the media for

respecting their privacy at this time.” Coyle had earlier said: “It’s very serious. There’s no getting away from that. God willing, he makes it through.” Muamba’s family, including his fiancee Shauna and his brother, have visited the player. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy issued a statement on the club’s website ( saying: “Our thoughts are with Fabrice’s family and Bolton Wanderers and we are all willing him to pull through. Events such as this put everything into perspective. “We are immensely proud and grateful to the medical teams at both clubs, their response was immediate and professional. Our thanks also to both sets of fans for their support and behaviour. “Too often we read the negatives about football and yet last night, at a time of intense emergency and uncertainty, we saw the true humanity and empathy of the footballing family.” Supporters from both clubs sang Muamba’s name when it became apparent his condition was serious as several players gathered around him, some crying and holding their heads in their hands. As he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher there was applause from the crowd before the fans fell silent and filed out of the ground into the cold night air in sombre mood. “All our thoughts are with Fabrice, his family, Owen Coyle and the club,” added Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. “It was the right decision to abandon the game, everybody was in a state of shock and it wouldn’t have been right to carry on. Football is the last thing on anyone’s mind when an awful situation such as this happens.” Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United players shared a minute’s applause in support of Muamba before their Premier League match yesterday.—Reuters

MADRID: A hat-trick from Roberto Soldado gave Valencia a 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao in a clinical performance yesterday which put them in a commanding position in the battle for a place in the Champions League. Marcelo Bielsa’s Bilbao knocked Manchester United out of the Europa League in midweek, but without injured striker Fernando Llorente they were undone by a Valencia side who are now six points clear in third place. After an early chance for Jordi Alba, who fired wide inside the box, Valencia were gifted the lead when a poor back pass from Mikel San Jose played in Soldado. There was still plenty to do for the Spain international who rounded the keeper expertly before slotting home. Valencia gave few chances to Athletic and after the break they added to the lead on the counter-attack through Soldado again. Alba held off Javi Martinez and set up the striker who slotted the ball into the corner from 15 yards. In a further foray forward from Alba, Andoni Iraola was given his marching orders for a second yellow card after 66 minutes. Five minutes from the end a penalty was given for a handball by San Jose and Soldado made no mistake from 12 yards. Levante moved up to fourth with an injury time goal from Xavi Torres giving them a 1-0 win over Villarreal who afterwards sacked coach Jose Francisco Molina who had been in the post for less than four months. Radamel Falcao scored a delightful chip but missed a penalty as Atletico Madrid’s European ambitions suffered a blow with a 2-1 defeat away to Mallorca and they are now three points off sixth place. After a slow first-half, a Gonzalo Castro shot was turned into his own goal by the unlucky Diego Godin and then just two minutes later Michael Pereira doubled Mallorca’s advantage. The visitors were given a lifeline when an Adrian Lopez cross was handled on the line by Ivan Ramis, leading to the defender’s expulsion and a penalty. But a woeful spot-kick from Falcao went straight to keeper Dudu Aouate. Atletico poured forward and Falcao partly made amends with an excellent lob from the edge of the area which went in off the crossbar. But much as they tried, they couldn’t find the equaliser. Fran Merida went closest with a shot that came back off the woodwork. Real Madrid take on Malaga later Sunday, looking to restore their 10-point advantage at the top of La Liga following Barcelona’s 2-0 victory away to Sevilla on Saturday. They have amassed an incredible 21 wins from 22 games and coach Jose Mourinho says the difference this season is that they don’t have to worry about Barcelona. “At the moment we only need to think about ourselves, unlike last year when we were considering who Barca were playing, whether they won or lost and hoping for the best,” he said. “We face a tough game now against Malaga who haven’t come here on holiday. They are a strong side and will look to cause us problems. We are in a good position but still we have not won anything.”—AFP

SPAIN: Valencia’s forward Roberto Soldado (left) vies with Athletic Bilbao’s midfielder Javi Martinez next to Valencia’s French defender Jeremy Mathieu (center) during the Spanish League football match.—AP

Spanish League results/standings Levante 1 (Torres 90+2) Villarreal 0; Real Mallorca 2 (Godin 47-og, Pereira 49) Atletico Madrid 1 (Falcao 66); Athletic Bilbao 0 Valencia 3 (Soldado 41, 57, 85-pen) Playing later Real Madrid v Malaga Saturday Real Zaragoza 1 (Helder Postiga 85); Osasuna 1 (Roversio 88); Getafe 1 (Martinez Berridi 80-og); Real Sociedad 0 Granada 2 (Carlos Martins 3, Siqueira 24); Sporting Gijon 1 (Colunga 90+2); Sevilla 0 Barcelona 2 (Xavi 18, Messi 25); Rayo Vallecano 3 (Armenteros 51, Diego Costa 78, Tamudo 90+1) Real Betis 0 Monday Espanyol v Racing Santander Spanish league table after yesterday’s first evening match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Real Madrid 26 23 1 2 88 23 70 Getafe 27 9 8 10 28 35 35 Barcelona 27 19 6 2 77 19 63 Real Sociedad 27 9 6 12 30 37 33 Valencia 27 13 8 6 43 31 47 Sevilla 27 8 9 10 27 31 33 Levante 27 12 5 10 38 37 41 Real Mallorca 27 8 9 10 28 33 33 Malaga 26 12 4 10 37 37 40 Granada 27 9 4 14 24 38 31 Osasuna 27 9 12 6 32 41 39 Real Betis 27 9 3 15 31 41 30 Athletic Bilbao 27 9 10 8 42 37 37 Villarreal 27 6 9 12 27 41 27 Rayo Vallecano 27 11 4 12 40 43 37 Racing Santander26 4 12 10 21 37 24 Espanyol 26 10 6 10 32 35 36 Sporting Gijon 27 6 6 15 25 50 24 Atletico Madrid 27 9 9 9 37 33 36 Real Zaragoza 27 4 7 16 22 50 19

Schalke floor Kaiserslautern BERLIN: Schalke 04 came from behind to seal a 4-1 win at bottom-side Kaiserslautern yesterday, with star strikers Raul and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar both scoring to keep their team fourth in the German league. Kaiserslautern, who are three points adrift at the foot of the table, took a shock early lead when Brazilian defender Rodnei headed home with just three minutes gone. Midfielder Lewis Holtby pulled Schalke level when he rifled home after a final pass from Huntelaar on 39 minutes. The Dutchman followed up his 20th league goal of the season six minutes later on the stroke of half-time to put his team 2-1 ahead. Only Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez, who has netted 22 times in 25 games, has scored more Bundesliga goals this season. A superb curling shot from ex-Spain striker Raul on 51 minutes extended Schalke’s lead before Peru forward Jefferson Farfan grabbed the fourth with nine minutes left. “We didn’t want to fall behind, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar didn’t pay attention when they scored their goal,” said Schalke 04 coach Huub Stevens with his side among the Champions League places for next season. “Things worked better after that and we said in the break that we needed to get the third goal quickly. That came from a super goal by Raul. “If we finish the season in fourth, that would be great.” Victory keeps Schalke in the title race on 50 points, with third place Moenchengladbach on 51, Bayern second on 54 and Dortmund top with 59. It was Kaiserslautern’s 17th consecutive game without a win. “This is another very bitter moment for us,” admitted Kaiserslautern captain Christian Tiffert, whose team now have just eight games to stay in the German top flight. “We are down on the ground again. All is not lost, although it’s hard to keep your chin up.” Ex-Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf netted twice for Hanover 96 in their 4-1 drubbing of Cologne. This was Hanover’s first league win in four games to stay seventh, while defeat leaves Cologne 13th. On Saturday, Dutch winger Arjen Robben hit a hat-trick as Bayern hammered Hertha Berlin 60, while Dortmund beat Bremen to stay five points clear. Having hammered Hoffenheim 7-1 the previous Saturday in the Bundesliga, then demol-

GERMANY: Schalke’s Christian Fuchs (left) challenges for the ball with Kaiserslautern’s Olcay Sahan during the German Bundesliga soccer match. —AP ished Basel 7-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals, Bayern have now scored 20 goals in their last three games. Robben converted two of the three penalties Berlin conceded while Germany striker Gomez, plus midfielders Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos also scored. Berlin, who have lost nine of their last 10 games, drop to 17th, second from bottom, after Freiburg’s 3-1 win at Hamburg. Dortmund’s Japan winger Shinji Kagawa scored an early goal to seal his team’s 1-0 win over Bremen, setting a new club record of 20 matches without defeat. Borussia Moenchengladbach picked up their first win in four games after a late winner from Igor de Camargo sealed their 2-1 victory at Bayer

Leverkusen. Marco Reus, who will join defending champions Dortmund next season, scored one and created the second. The attacking midfielder showed great finishing to put his side ahead on seven minutes, before the hosts hit back when ex-Germany striker Stefan Kiessling equalised with 15 minutes left. But Reus’s mazy run on 88 minutes put de Camarago clear to round Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno and score the winner. Lucien Favre’s Gladbach host Bayern on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the German Cup, with Borussia chasing their third win over Munich this season after home and away victories in the league.—AFP

Kilmarnock win Scottish League Cup GLASGOW: Kilmarnock clinched the Scottish League Cup for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win over Celtic to end the Hoops’ hopes of a domestic treble yesterday. In a hotly- contest final at Hampden, Kilmarnock had goalkeeper Cammy Bell to thank for making a string of saves from Gary Hooper, Anthony Stokes, Scott Brown and Victor Wanyama. Kilmarnock had their chances

as well with Dean Shiels in particular causing problems for the Celtic defence. The match appeared to be heading for extra-time before substitute Dieter Van Tornhout, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, popped up in the 84th minute to head Lee Johnson’s cross past Fraser Forster. Kilmarnock were then saved by Bell again as he made a superb stop from substitute Georgios Samaras’ late strike. “It’s amazing, I

feel ver y emotional at the moment, brilliant, fantastic,” said Bell. “It just shows how much commitment the boys had, we did it for the manager (Kenny Shiels). Everybody dreams but we are realistic. I think the boys were fantastic. “I think we deserved to win, I had a few saves to make but you are going to have to against Celtic.” Celtic, who also lost last year’s final to Rangers, were denied a stop-

page time penalty after Stokes went down under a challenge from Michael Nelson as Kilmarnock clinched their first piece of silver ware since their Scottish Cup win in 1997. At Hampden, nerves seemed to get the better of Kilmarnock in the early stages with a shocking mistake by Mohamadou Sissoko handing Hooper a golden chance to open the scoring after just four minutes. —AFP

Penguins roll over Devils


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

Clippers defuse Rockets


Bolton’s Muamba still critically ill

Page 19

LONDON: Chelsea’s Fernando Torres (right) competes for the ball with Leicester City’s Wes Morgan during the English FA Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Leicester City and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.—AP

Torres ends goal drought, Chelsea in semis LONDON: Fernando Torres finally ended his five-month goal drought as Chelsea cruised into the FA Cup semi-finals with a 5-2 victory over Leicester at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Torres has endured a miserable time since his British record £50 million transfer from Liverpool in January 2011 but the Spain striker took advantage of Leicester’s sloppy defending to score twice and secure a much-needed boost to his fragile confidence. Gary Cahill put Chelsea ahead early in the first half of the quarter-final and Salomon Kalou added the second soon after. But it was Torres’s increasingly rare appearance on the scoresheet that took the spotlight.

Torres had gone more than 24 hours of playing time without scoring-dating back to a double against Genk in October-and there was a huge sense of relief around the Bridge when he tucked away a simple chance midway through the second-half. When Torres scored again in the closing moments, the roar was loud enough to suggest Chelsea had actually won the Cup and the much-maligned star followed that by setting up Raul Meireles for Chelsea’s fifth goal. Leicester got a couple of late goals from Jermaine Beckford and Ben Marshall but Nigel Pearson’s Championship side never threatened to spoil the feelgood factor around the Bridge.

Just two weeks ago, Chelsea’s season was spiralling out of control after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked following a miserable eight-month spell in charge. But the Portuguese coach’s departure appears to have lifted spirits to a remarkable extent and Chelsea can now look forward to an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month, as well as a Champions League quarter-final against Benfica. Roberto Di Matteo, who has won all four of his matches as interim boss, deserves credit for restoring a sense of calm among a squad previously at war with Villas-Boas, although the cynics will suggest it is the club’s senior players who are really running the show. With a crucial clash at Manchester City

looming on Wednesday, Di Matteo backed his reserves to see off Leicester. Only Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata retained their places from the team that defeated Napoli in midweek, while captain John Terry wasn’t even on the bench. Villas-Boas had tried the same gamble in the previous round against Birmingham and saw Chelsea held to an embarrassing draw but the sense of optimism around the Bridge since his departure ensured Di Matteo fared much better. When Beckford curled wide from just inside the penalty area after an incisive move, it seemed the Foxes might be capable of springing a surprise. But sloppy defending in the 12th

Wolves 0

Man United 5

LONDON: Manchester United responded to their Europa League exit with a 5-0 thrashing of 10-man Wolves here yesterday to move four points clear at the top of the Premier League. The champions’ 22nd win of the campaign has piled the pressure on second-placed Manchester City ahead of their match at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, and sent Wolves crashing to the bottom of the table on goal difference. Javier Hernandez struck twice while Jonny Evans, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck also scored in a routine romp that erased the bitter memories of United’s disappointment in Bilbao on Thursday. Three days after United exited the Champions League by losing in Basel, they took their frustrations out on Wolves with a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford and this was another savage return to winning ways against a team seemingly doomed for relegation. Wolves, still in the game at 1-0 down, then saw Ronald Zubar sent off late in the first half at Molineux and they have now lost their last three games under manager Terry Connor, previously assistant to the sacked Mick McCarthy. Wolves had gone eight home matches without a victory before the visit of United and that dreadful statistic will only be extended if they continue to

That effectively ended the tie and Di Matteo took off Mata at half-time with the City match in mind but Torres ensured he wasn’t missed. In the 67th minute, Raul Meireles whipped over a low cross towards Torres, who took a touch before steering a scuffed finish beyond Schmeichel. Beckford reduced the deficit in the 77th minute after Danns hit a post. Torres, now energised, sparked a frenzied finish by glancing a clever header past Schmeichel from Meireles’ corner in the 86th minute. Marshall blasted a superb second for Leicester two minutes later before Torres showed his new-found confidence by setting up Meireles to complete the rout in stoppage time.—AFP

Liverpool see off Stoke

United hammer Wolves to extend EPL lead display the poor defending that resulted in such an abysmal afternoon. United could have been ahead long before they finally broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, through one of the simplest goals of the season. Wayne Rooney’s corner was sent back into the penalty area by Michael Carrick and Evans was presented with the easiest of tasks from close range. It got even worse for Wolves when Zubar was dismissed six minutes before half-time for a second bookable offence, a cynical lunge on Welbeck. And United increased their lead shortly afterwards through Valencia’s devastating finish. Valencia had missed the previous seven games with a hamstring injury but utilised his pace to race onto Rooney’s sublime pass from the half-way line and beat Wayne Hennessey with ease. Welbeck added a third in added time as Wolves’ defence went absent without leave, with the England international slotting in Valencia’s pull-back. With United 3-0 up at the interval, the only question for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men was how many more goals they would score in the second half. It took them 11 minutes of the second period to again exploit the gaps in Wolves’ defence, with Hernandez unmarked to head Rafael’s cross past a stranded Hennessey. The Mexico international grabbed a second just five minutes later, rounding off a sublime move involving Welbeck and Valencia with a ruthless finish. Wolves, to their credit, briefly responded with substitute Michael Kightly and Stephen Fletcher testing United keeper David de Gea but they now appear destined for the second-tier Championship next season.—AFP

minute proved their undoing, as Cahill was allowed to rise above several Leicester defenders to meet Mata’s corner with a header past Kasper Schmeichel at the far post. England defender Cahill celebrated his first Chelsea goal since his January transfer from Bolton by lifting his shirt to display the message “Pray for Muamba”-a tribute to the plight of his former Wanderers team-mate Fabrice Muamba, who is critically ill after collapsing during his club’s FA Cup tie at Tottenham on Saturday. Torres then sparked into life as he sprinted clear down the left flank before clipping a pass to Kalou, who kept his cool to slot home in the 18th minute.

LONDON: Manchester United’s Jonny Evans (right) fights for the ball against Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Steven Fletcher during their English Premier League soccer match.—AP

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool booked their second Wembley appearance of the season by beating Stoke 2-1 in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Anfield yesterday. Stewart Downing’s second half strike settled the last eight tie after Liverpool striker Luis Suarez had seen his opener cancelled out within a matter of minutes by former Reds forward Peter Crouch. Now Liverpool, who earlier this season won the League Cup final at Wembley, will be heading back to the north London ground for what could be a Merseyside derby semi-final next month if Everton win their replay with Sunderland. After a clinical derby win over Everton on Tuesday, Liverpool came into their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2006, when they last won the competition for the seventh time, in confident mood but they had to dig deep in what was a hardfought victory over a resolute Stoke. Tony Pulis’s side, last season’s beaten finalists against Manchester City, travelled to Liverpool for their fourth away tie of this season’s competition and were out for revenge after the Reds knocked them out of the League Cup in October. And it was the visitors who got off to a brighter start with Crouch wasting a glorious opportunity to head Stoke in front early on. Ryan Shotton easily broke away from Jose Enrique to cross for Crouch but the former Liverpool front man was caught in two minds about whether to head at goal or across the area and his tame effort was easily collected by Pepe Reina. Liverpool had made just a solitary change from their impressive derby win over Everton with Jordan Henderson making way for Maxi Rodriguez and it was the Argentine who helped prize

open Stoke’s defence. After a somewhat scrappy start for the hosts, Suarez broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute as the Uruguayan played a tidy one-two with Maxi before finding the bottom corner with a perfectly-placed curling effort. However, it only took three minutes for the visitors to pull the game level thanks to Crouch, who was left unmarked just six yards out to nod in a corner from Matthew Etherington. Reina remonstrated with referee Kevin Friend as he believed he was being blocked from going for the ball by Shotton but all the Spaniard got for his trouble was a yellow card. Suarez then wasted a good opportunity to set up team-mate Andy Carroll but, with the former Newcastle forward lurking in the area, the Uruguayan could only chip the ball into the grateful arms of Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen. And Suarez was at the centre of the action again shortly after the break when his glancing header from Downing’s freekick flew across the area before finding its way beyond the far post. Kenny Dalglish’s team then got a bit of fortune to put them ahead in the 57th minute as Downing’s pass to Steven Gerrard came off the Liverpool captain’s heels before falling back into the path of the former Aston Villa winger. Downing then took a touch to take him past Ryan Shawcross before a powerful shot gave him only his second Liverpool goal, the other one also on FA Cup duty in the third round win over Oldham. Stoke failed to muster up another clear opportunity to get back into the game as Liverpool continually cleared their lines late on and the Potters’ hopes of reaching a second Cup final in as many years slipped away.—AFP

Etisalat eyes mobile remittances in Gulf Page 22

Indian finance minister defends zero-risk budget Page 23

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

Stocks rally as Kuwait investors eye mid-caps Page 24

Nokia Middle East lays out 2012 roadmap for Kuwait Page 26

ANHUI: The bridge at night where a group of homeless youngsters and other homeless people have been living in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province. Officially there are now 150,000 children who are forced to live by their wits on the streets of China’s cities.—AFP

IMF cautiously upbeat on global economy Lagarde eyes freer yuan; China mulls reform BEIJING: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said yesterday measures taken to fight financial woes in Europe and the US were starting to pay off, in a cautiously upbeat assessment of the global economy. But Lagarde-in Beijing for a two-day trip to attend a high profile forum on China’s development and hold meetings with her economic counterparts-also warned that “major” vulnerabilities still remained. “Even just a few months ago, the situation was decidedly gloomy. Indicators for the last quarter of 2011 — namely for Europe and the United States-did not provide much reassurance,” Lagarde said in a speech at the forum. “Yet, today, we are seeing signs of stabilization; signs that policy actions are paying off. “Financial-market conditions are more comfortable and recent economic indicators are beginning to look a little more upbeat, including in the United States.” Europe-China’s top export markethas been hit by a severe debt crisis that has seen a wave of credit-rating downgrades and brought Greece to the brink of bankruptcy, sparking concern across the world. But Lagarde said some of the policy actions takenparticularly by the European Central Bank and some European countrieshad helped stabilize the overall situation. Most EU nations agreed in January to a treaty that will require governments to introduce laws on balanced budgets and impose near-automatic sanctions on countries that violate deficit rules. And the looming threat of a Greek default has receded after most of the

country’s private creditors agreed to a bond swap that will see them accept huge losses and wipe some 100 billion euros ($132 billion) off Athens’ debt. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also approved a new 28-billioneuro loan for Greece on Thursday, as part of the European Union’s bailout plan for the debt-riddled country. “On the back of these collective efforts, the world economy has stepped back from the brink and we have cause to be more optimistic,” Lagarde said. In the United States, meanwhile, the economy has shown signs of improvement with better consumer and business spending and an improved job market, even if there is still high unemployment and a depressed housing sector. But Lagarde warned there were still major vulnerabilities, with public and private debt still high in many advanced economies, oil prices rising, and the risk of slowing activity in emerging nations. China cannot delay tough economic reforms, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday, underscoring the top leadership’s push for marketbased change after the sacking last week of an ambitious provincial leader who wanted a bigger state role in the economy. Li, widely expected to succeed Wen Jiabao as premier in a leadership transition that begins later this year, promised flexible policies to keep growth brisk and prices stable, with a focus on boosting domestic demand and pursuing structural reforms to make growth more stable and balanced. “China has reached a crucial

period in changing its economic model and (change) cannot be delayed. Reforms have entered a tough stage,” Li said, echoing comments made by Wen last week. “We will make policies more targeted, flexible and forward-looking to maintain relatively fast economic growth and keep price levels basically stable,” Li said in a speech at an economic policy conference, attended by top Chinese officials, the head of the IMF and dozens of foreign business leaders. He cut China’s official 2012 growth target to 7.5 percent, down from the 8 percent targeted in each of the last eight years, aiming to create leeway to deliver reform of items including subsidies, without igniting inflation. China’s annual rate of inflation cooled to 3.2 percent in February, below the government’s 4 percent target for the first time in more than a year. But policymakers remain particularly sensitive to elevated commodity prices, given China’s huge imports of raw materials. Christine Lagarde, dangled an additional reform carrot at the same economic forum on Sunday, saying that the yuan could become a global reserve currency with the right mix of market-oriented structural change. “What is needed is a roadmap with a stronger and more flexible exchange rate, more effective liquidity and monetary management, with higher quality supervision and regulation, with a more well-developed financial market, with flexible deposit and lending rates, and finally with the opening up of the capital account,” Lagarde said. —Agencies

Iraq approves Hormuz oil exports contingency plan BAGHDAD: Iraq has approved a plan to expand its oil export routes by adding capacity from its northern fields and building a pipeline to ship oil from southern fields to Ceyhan in Turkey, a government spokesman said. The contingency plan was set by the government’s energy and economic committee to deal with any potential crisis should Iran close the Strait of Hormuz, which would halt about 80 percent of Iraq’s oil exports. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, if Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports crippled its energy sector. “Short and mid-term plans will be through boosting crude pumping and upgrading export capacity via Ceyhan port in Turkey. Also to increase the number of trucks that are shipping crude,” government spokesman Ali al-

Dabbagh said yesterday. Iraq exported 2.014 million barrels per day in February, including 1.711 million bpd from its southern oil hub of Basra and via exports terminal in the Gulf, and 375,000 bpd from its northern fields around Kirkuk to Ceyhan. Dabbagh said plans approved by the government were a short-term measure based on recommendations from the oil ministry, and said stepping up efforts to convince Iran and the United States of the need to avoid closing the Strait of Hormuz. “The oil ministry suggested accelerating work to complete building the north strategic pipeline and connect it to the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to export oil from Basra via Ceyhan port,” Dabbagh said. Iraq has also been moving ahead with building a 680 kilometer pipeline able to transport 1 million bpd of

crude from southern oilfields around Basra to a main pumping station in Haditha in the west, an oil ministry spokesman said. “We managed to complete constructing 200 km of the pipeline with plans to finish all work in 2013. We will have the flexibility of shipping Basra crude to various destinations, including towards Ceyhan port,” Asim Jihad said. The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has come under sabotage attacks many times since the 2003 US-led invasion, and frequently breaks down due to technical faults. Under the contingency plan, Iraq may revive the Iraq-Syria pipeline as a long-term measure to ship crude from southern fields to Banias in the Mediterranean. Plans to build a pipeline to transpor t crude to Jordan’s Aqaba port were also considered.— Reuters


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Etisalat eyes mobile remittances in Gulf

weekly commodities

QE fade hurts gold; oil faces correction? By Ole Hansen


he week-long rally in stocks continued last week as US economic data keeps on improving, while little direction was gained from the dollar which traded mostly sideways. The DJ-UBS commodity index was flat on the week with the agriculture sector seeing strong gains, driven by sugar and soybeans. Precious metals suffered on diminishing support from further quantitative easing and platinum moved above gold for the first time in six months while some light selling hit the energy sector following talks about the release of strategic reserves. Oil lower The main price driver this week was news from Washington Thursday that the US and the UK are contemplating releasing strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) in an attempt to lower current high prices. Although later denied by the US it however sends a signal to oil traders that attempts might be made to guide prices lower. At this time where the market is as much driven by psychology and worries about the unknown, given the lack of real shortage of oil in the market, this could help level the playing field and potentially trigger a correction as speculative investors decide to reduce long exposure. As the average US retail gasoline price, currently at $3.83 and up 20 percent since December, keeps rising ever closer to the important four dollar per gallon mark it potentially carries the risk of disrupting President Obama’s re-election chances. Mounting frustration of motorists in the US, who consume nearly 10 percent of global oil production, could become a very hot potato as the peak driving season approaches with some estimating the price could reach $4.3 per gallon (114 cents per liter) compared with the 2008 record of $4.1. Brent crude nevertheless continues to settle into its new and relative tight range around the mid 120’s. If prices remain unchanged we will by next week oil will have been above 120 for a longer period than during the Libyan crisis in 2011. This clearly indicates how delicate the situation is being viewed this time. Despite Saudi Arabia saying that extra oil will be made available many have serious doubts as to how much more spare production capacity (oil that can be made available within 30 days and maintained for 90 days) they have available. Brent crude is likely to stay above $120 per barrel but continued discussions about the release of SPR and no additional news from Iran could potentially trigger some more profit taking and a move below the mentioned band of support between $119 and $121 now carries the risk of a setback towards $116.50. Gold lower Many strategists continue to see good prospects for gold in 2012 but one of the

few events that could change this outlook, the return of central bank tightening of monetary policy, attracted some attention this week and caused additional weakness to the price of gold and silver. The US Federal Reserve unsurprisingly kept monetary policies unchanged at its FOMC meeting but it provided a more optimistic outlook for the US economy, saying that the pace of growth in coming quarters would be stronger than previously expected. This projection has once again lowered the expectation for additional quantitative easing and raised doubt about whether the Federal Reserve will maintain rates at low levels until 2014 as previously announced in January. Gold sold off as a consequence and reached 1,635, the lowest level in two months, while silver fared even worse trading as low as 31.62. Platinum investors meanwhile jumped on the growth story and bought the white metal at the expense of gold and in the process took the price back above gold for the first time in six months. Whether platinum will manage to build on this recent move remains to be seen, but it is worth pointing out that the average platinum price premium over gold in the past five years has been around 25 percent, compared with the 15 percent discount that was reached in early January. Bond yields Support for gold could eventually come from the bond market. Should we continue to see the 10-year yield on US government bonds, currently at 2.3 percent, rise further it could bring back talk of QE3 as the Federal Reserve is eager to keep home loans from rising further which combined with higher gasoline prices could hurt the consumer and economic recovery. Critical support in the week ahead lies at 1,600 on spot gold which is the trend-line support from the 2008 low. A lot of gold liquidation has already been done with speculative accounts last week reducing longs by 22 percent, the biggest weekly drop since 2004. The behavior among long-term investors in exchange traded products and the potential physical demand for return probably remains the key as to when support can be re-established. Soybeans lifted The DJ-UBS Grains index which represents the price developments of US wheat, corn and soybeans has rallied by 17 percent since it made a recent low in December. This rally has almost exclusively been driven by soybeans where a month-long rally has seen it trade back up to a six-month high and it is currently showing a gain of 14 percent in 2012. The rally has been triggered by concerns about a reduction in the expected size of the Brazilian harvest due initially to dry conditions and now reports about crop fungus. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, could see its harvest reduced by 4 percent to 67.1 million tonnes according to a local forecaster.

Telecoms operator seeks regulatory approval DUBAI: UAE telecoms operator Etisalat, which saw $1.8 billion moved over its network last year via money transfers, has sought regulatory approval to expand its financial services offerings in the Gulf region, home to millions of expatriates. Mobile money services allow customers to pay bills or make remittances using SMS text messages, often at a cheaper cost than through banks or money transfer firms. “Remittances are a huge business opportunity,” George Held, director of products and services at Etisalat, told Reuters. “The cost base for telecoms operators is much different than for banks and exchange houses. We do not need bricks and mortar branches, so our costs are lower and we can pass on this saving and offer better exchange rates and transaction fees.” The former monopoly was expected to focus on its home market and Saudi Arabia. Both countries have large expat populations and inbound annual remittances were worth about $36 billion combined in 2010, Held said. About 89 percent of the UAE’s 8.3 million population are expatriates, while in Saudi Arabia just over a fifth of the 27 million population are foreigners. Etisalat’s Egypt unit could also profit from an estimated $8 billion of inbound remittances from Egyptians working abroad.

Etisalat has tied up with Western Union and MoneyGram International to allow money sent by mobile customers in the Middle East to be collected anywhere in the world. Aside from remittances, the operator hopes to offer salary payments, peer-to-peer domestic funds transfers and utility and shop payments. “Remittances will be an extremely important part of our mobile money services. But it is not enough alone to drive service adoption, so we will offer a mix of services to make it very hard for customers not to get involved,” said Held. Etisalat already offers some of these services in six countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tanzania and plans to expand this to the 17 countries in which it operates in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. “We want to introduce mobile money in the rest of our markets as soon as possible. It is not a technical issue, but ticking all the boxes from a regulatory, compliance and customer education point of view,” Held said. Mobile money has taken off in parts of Africa, where a minority of people hold bank accounts and the banking infrastructure in rural areas remains limited. About 8 percent of Tanzania’s gross domestic product is thought to go

through mobile banking. Text-based financial services will not help stem a decline in global SMS revenues - seen dropping up to 40 percent over the next three years as users opt for alternative text services such as BlackBerry Messenger or WhatsApp - but it can improve customer loyalty. “When people have a mobile wallet ... we believe they will stay with us for a long time,” Held said. “When was the last time you changed your bank account?” Etisalat will face challenges in convincing customers in the Gulf region, who have easy access to banking and exchange houses, to switch.“In this region, people are used to going to the bank for transactions - they like to get a receipt. It is not a game-changer for telecom operators’ revenues,” said a regional telecoms analyst. Pedro Oliveira, partner at consultant Oliver Wyman, said telecoms operators face a tough task competing with conventional exchange houses. “Low income workers in the Gulf count every penny. So, it is not convenience that matters, but cost,” he said. “For expats with prepaid contracts wanting to send money home, they would have to buy prepaid cards to top up their phone balance and then send a text.” — Reuters

Gold slipping for third week in a row: Report

MANILA: A child eats rice porridge during a “Lugaw Protest” organized by a child rights group “Akap Bata” at a slum area in Quezon City, east of Manila yesterday. The group staged a “Lugaw Protest” at the area as a form of protest to the looming imposition of new rounds of price hikes on oil products, basic commodities and services. — AFP

PE firm Abraaj set for more deals, eyes India DUBAI: Abraaj Capital, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, is set to unveil more deal-making soon and plans a major push into India. “In the next couple of months, we will call you guys again and again because we have a robust pipeline that is reaching completion,” founder and group chief executive Arif Naqvi told Reuters in an interview. “We are in the process of completing investments - two or three investments,” said the 51-year-old Pakistani who is leading Abraaj’s drive to become an emerging market powerhouse.

“2012 is the fruit of efforts made in 2011.” Dubai-based Abraaj, founded a decade ago, has raised $7 billion since its inception. It owns stakes in a range of Middle East companies including Orascom Construction, budget carrier Air Arabia, supermarket Spinneys and education group GEMS. Funds managed by it have stakes in 35 firms across the region. Abraaj has had a busy year already, led by a strategic deal to buy emerging markets-focused Aureos Capital. — Reuters

KUWAIT: Price of gold kept slipping for the third week in a row in international markets pushed down by a stronger US dollar on the back of positive US economy data, a specialized report said. The report by Al-Zummorroda Jewelry Company said that gold dropped 3.5 percent by end of last week’s trading as a result of the dollar gaining and reaching its highest against European currency. Gold prices were affected by strong profit-taking as it slipped below $ 1, 662 per ounce and then $1,648 per ounce. After much fluctuation with strong demand checking the decline, the price reached $1,655 per ounce at the end of the week. The report forecast more pressure on the dollar following a statement by the US monetary policy committee on keeping interest at 0.25 points till end of 2014, which would allow for more gains in the price of gold closer to the $1,700 threshold. The strong demand keeping prices from sharp decline is from central banks and investment funds, the report pointed out, and most forecasts still suggest a price range close to the $2,000 per ounce despite the strong corrections in March. Current prices are a good opportunity for medium and long term investment, and maybe even short term, though there is a cause for concern in the latter case in view of possible further strong corrections. The report noted that factors which pushed prices up last year are still at play, and “any bump in economic data would result in panic and push prices up to new peaks.” When it came to silver, the report said the metal was more in tune with the movement of the dollar, slipping 5.2 percent from opening price to break the $32 dollar per ounce mark for the first time in March to finally end the week up at $32.5 per ounce, at a slip of 1.4 percent. The forecast is that silver would maintain its strength and top the $34. 5 per ounce mark due to actual demand, and that demand for the metal would double within a few months. — KUNA

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

.2740000 .4380000 .3640000 .3010000 .2780000 .2920000 .0040000 .0020000 .0754440 .7350330 .3840000 .0720000 .7205680 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2779000 GB Pound/KD .4402770 Euro .3661470 Swiss francs .3035500 Canadian dollars .2800990 Danish Kroner .0492190 Swedish Kroner .0412090 Australian dlr .2943930 Hong Kong dlr .0357940 Singapore dlr .2209060 Japanese yen .0033310 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0756910 Bahraini dinars .7374290 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0741260 Omani riyals .7221000 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2825000 .4490000 .3740000 .3140000 .2870000 .3040000 .0070000 .0035000 .0762030 .7424200 .4020000 .0770000 .7278100 .0072000 .0500000 .2800000 .4436040 .3689140 .3058440 .2822150 .0495910 .0415210 .2966180 .0360650 .2225760 .0033560 .0056190 .0022370 .0031040 .0034380 .0762630 .7430010 .3960400 .0746870 .7275560 .0065640

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram



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

298.800 742.390 3.690 285.200 548.300 45.500 50.400 167.800 47.550 371.600 36.680 5.810 0.032 0.159 0.240 3.440 396.600 0.189 93.640 45.300 4.290 233.800 1.809 50.000 725.100


297.300 742.390 3.408 283.700

223.500 46.261 370.100 36.530 5.555 0.031

10 Tola


307.000 4.000 9.300 76.010 279.100

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

Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 443.900 279.100

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

443.59 3.42 3.417 5.558 2.236 3.488 3.085 76.16 744.52 46.40 398.20 727.44 77.18 74.74

443.00 3.70 3.550 5.800 2.600 4.250 3.180 76.95 745.00 47.70 397.00 728.00 77.50 75.00

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

395.560 0.188 93.640 3.490 232.300

3.085 6.510 76.790 74.530 223.490 39.160 2.235 443.900

GOLD 1,737.040

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.130 6.820 77.220 74.530 223.490 39.160 2.660 445.900 42.400 308.500 4.000 9.450 198.263 76.110 279.500 1.350

Selling Rate

279.050 282.725 443.005 367.850 304.965 738.960 76.950 76.595 74.375 392.800 46.252 2.226 5.556 3.081 3.412 6.502 684.499 4.340 9.165 5.875 3.555 92.335

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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

279.100 3.075 5.570 2.250 3.417 6.550 76.095 74.585 742.000 46.214 447.800 3.190 1.550 373.500 287.200 3.510

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Currency

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

299.11 286.32 307.77 369.12

298.00 287.00 306.00 370.00


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

278.750 369.900 443.600 283.500 3.370 5.557 46.214 2.220 3.418 6.512 3.084 742.300 75.950 74.450

*Rates are subject to change

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Seeing the elephants in the room By Richard Banks


wo weeks ago, in London, Euromoney held its annual Bond Investor’s Congress. We gathered some 300 major investors in the global bond markets - as well as government debt management officials, bankers and analysts. Top of the discussion topic list was the - then pending - Greek debt deal. We asked our audience (who are the ones who need to be convinced) how many of them believed that this bail out was the end of the Greek crisis - not a single one put their hand up. The global bond investors - the ones who really need to be convinced because they provide the money - weren’t buying it. They know, as we do, that Greece is bust. But the politicians resolutely insist that it isn’t. They seem to believe that if we only try hard enough the elephant standing in the corner will go away. It’s the denial you’ve seen among some Dubai real-estate developers and in Japan during the 1990s. We also see denial in Kuwait. Despite the wealth of the country and the reserves prudently managed within the KIA and elsewhere - the country is not immune to events in the outside world. And nor does it have infinite time to make the positive changes necessary to become a competitive investment destination. The global financial crisis knocked the stuffing out of Kuwaiti investment companies. A number have recently been delisted from the KSE - so someone at least is facing reality - but more remain effectively zombie companies. Assets are impaired at best or valueless at worst. There are no cash flows. Investor interest has disappeared and bank lending dried up. Nobody knows exactly how much wealth has been destroyed - but it is not an insignificant number. Kuwaiti investment companies were not alone in making poor investment decisions - there is a long list of blue-chip global institutions no longer with us - Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Barings and more. But that’s the point - these institutions no longer exist. The troubled Kuwaiti investment companies are still, nominally at least, in business. They shouldn’t be. Kuwait’s legal code is antiquated and not conducive to the development of a dynamic, modern, private sector-driven economy. A senior official in Kuwait recently confided to me that it was difficult to imagine an internet company being willing to invest under a law which was drafted in the 1960’s and still uses rupees as a reference currency. I see his point. There are other examples of relatively simple changes which could enhance competitiveness and unleash at least some of the renowned Kuwaiti business-sense into the local economy. These and other ideas will be discussed by Euromoney Conferences at our 2012 Kuwait Conference - to be held in Kuwait on 27 March 2012.

Zimbabwe orders mining firms to bank locally HARARE: Zimbabwe has ordered foreign mining firms to deposit their export earnings with local banks, state media reported yesterday, the latest government move to exert pressure on miners as it tries to address the dollar crunch afflicting its economy. Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told the Sunday Mail that cabinet last week had decided to tell mining companies to bring back earnings from their Zimbabwe operations which were deposited in offshore accounts. “We have been liberal. It does not make sense that mining companies are operating in the country and keeping money in offshore accounts,” Mpofu told the Mail. “An order has been issued and they should all bring the money back into the country because the economy is now dollarized.” Zimbabwe’s unity government has managed to stabilize the economy, which grew by 9.3 percent in 2011 and is set to grow by a further 9.4 percent this year according to official figures, but the country is battling an acute dollar shortage. Zimbabwe adopted the use of foreign currencies, mostly the U.S. dollar and South African rand in 2009, after its own unit was destroyed by hyperinflation that reached 500 billion percent in December 2008. Foreign miners operating in the country have also come under increasing pressure from the Zimbabwean government to turn majority shareholdings over to local black businesses under the country’s controversial empowerment law. Last week, Impala Platinum, the world’s second-biggest platinum producer, bowed to pressure and said it would surrender a 51 percent stake in its Zimplats unit to local black investors. The world’s largest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, and Rio Tinto, which runs a diamond mine, are some of the major international firms operating in Zimbabwe. Long-ruling President Robert Mugabe, who was forced to share power with his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai three years ago after disputed elections, is championing the empowerment drive, which has sharply divided the coalition government. Tsvangirai has said the empowerment crusade is undermining the recovery of an economy whose decline by as much as 50 percent between 2000 and 2008 is blamed on Mugabe’s policies such as seizure of whiteowned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks. Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week warned the government faces a shutdown if projected diamond revenues do not materialize. The government expects $600 million revenue from diamonds to bolster its $4 billion 2012 budget.— Reuters

Indian finance minister defends zero-risk budget Bold economic reform steps ‘impossible’ NEW DELHI: India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday defended the government’s “zero-risk” budget, conceding he was in a tight political spot and could not afford to take bold economic reform steps. Mukherjee, known as the government’s trouble-shooter, steered clear of contentious economic reforms in last Friday’s budget and fixed a higher than expected fiscal deficit target that avoided tough public spending cuts. “I had to be extra careful,” Mukherjee said following a string of graft scandals and recent bruising state election losses that have put the Congress government on the back foot in parliament and frayed its relations with allies. “I could have introduced measures that would have left everybody

clapping, but the clapping would have been short-lived,” the veteran 77-year-old politician told Indian business leaders at a post-budget forum in New Delhi. “I had to keep in mind the conditions on the ground in formulating policies that the budget would have to be approved by parliament.” Muk herjee presented against a backdrop of political infighting over a proposed rail fare hike to upgrade the notoriously unsafe network that has underlined the increasingly fragile nature of the coalition. The budget forecast economic growth for the fiscal year to March 2013 of 7.6 percent, a rise from the 6.9 percent projected for this year, but far below the eight-to ninepercent levels the economy grew at for much of the last decade. It

set a fiscal deficit target in 2012/13 of 5.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — less that the projected 5.9 percent this year-but still the widest among major emerging market nations. But Mukherjee faced strong criticism from industry leaders who said he failed to seize his last opportunity to get the economy back on track before what is expected to be a “please-all budget” next year ahead of 2014 elections. “What may be good in the short run may be bad in the long run,” R.V. K anoria, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, told yesterday’s forum. Indian media has also attacked the budget with the Mail Today calling it a “zero risk budget” that is “low on vision.” — AFP

NEW DELHI: This picture taken on Friday shows Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee arriving at parliament prior to presenting the national budget in New Delhi. — AFP

Egyptian Resorts posts narrower full-year loss

GPCE to discuss challenges, prospects of oil sector in Gulf KUWAIT: The Investors Group will organize the Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (GPCE) during April 9-10 under the slogan “Gulf Petroleum Integration .. Prospects and Challenges” under the patronage and presence of Oil Minister and Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC) Chairman, Hani Abdul-Aziz Hussain; along with several chairmen of local, regional, and international oil companies; in addition to executive directors, oil experts, economists, and politicians from Kuwait and abroad. The GPCE organizing committee held a press conference in Costa Dell Soul Hotel on March 11th addressing the objectives of the conference, its themes, and the participants. Moreover, it discussed a number of the new developments and changes occurring in the field of oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry locally, regionally, and internationally. Head of the organizing committee, Jamal Al-Gharabally, said in the press conference that the conference is taking place in light of regional changes that cast its shadows over the global oil markets, thus highlighting the importance of Arabian Gulf region because of its potential and capabilities contributing to the stability of global oil markets and reinforce the confidence in it making this event both strategically and industry wise extremely well timed. Furthermore, Al-Gharabally added that the conference reflects Kuwait’s interest in the development of its oil sector, through the sponsorship of Kuwait Petroleum Company and other local, regional, and international companies operating in the oil and gas industry. The conference will also address challenges and prospects of oil and gas Industry in Arabian Gulf region in specific, and in the world in general. Al-Gharabally mentioned that the conference will be accompanied with a specialized exhibition for sponsor and participant companies and organizations, displaying major projects under development or that will be executed in the coming months and years in Arabian Gulf region in the field of oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry; with available opportunities in this regard for the participation of specialized international companies. The conference has attracted the attention and participation of the most important companies operating in this vital sector in Kuwait, Arabian Gulf, and the world to display the newest technologies used in it varied activities and introduce its current and future projects, in addition to identifying the potential impacts on the regional scene, Al-Gharabally said. On the other hand, the conference will be an excellent opportunity for international companies, Al-Gharabally articulated, to view the latest developments in the oil sector in Arabian Gulf region and the works and tenders to be put forward within the major projects in the country, and the region. The conference will witness the participation of a large number of local and international experts, economists, politicians, decision makers, and local and international spe-

cialists in oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry; from regional and international organizations, companies, and authorities to discuss major developments in the industry and the challenges facing it, the future trends and prospects. The main purpose behind hosting such a strategic event in Kuwait , Al-Gharabally stated, lies in the important role Kuwait plays in the oil industry and a country holding 10% of the world oil reserves, and being one of the countries aiming to inhabit the latest technologies in exploration, extraction, exploration, drilling, transportation and export fields. Al-Gharabally said that Kuwait oil production currently reaches 3 million barrels per day, where as KPC has set up a long term strategic plan seeking to reach 3.5 million barrels per day in 2015, then 4 million barrels per day few years later. He added that huge amount of the Budget of the recent government development plan, which was approved in February 2nd, 2010 with total of KD 30 billion was dedicated for spending on major projects in the oil and gas sector. Al-Gharabally expressed his gratitude for KPC headed by Minister of Oil and Chairman of KPC for its support of this conference which demonstrates the key and central role played by this institution in this context. For his part, head of the Scientific Committee of Gulf Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (GPCE), Dr. JassemBishara, said in the press conference that the slogan of the conference is Gulf Petroleum Integration .. Prospects and Challenges, whereas the conference will address several themes and subjects covering important areas regarding the oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry, whether it is technical, economic, commercial, and political issues and the role of this vital industry in the development process in Kuwait and the GCC countries in general. Dr. Bishara affirmed that GCC countries have strategic importance with respect to oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry as they provide the world with quarter of its oil needs, and around 20% of natural gas, and they own around 40% of world oil reserves, and around 15% of world gas reserves. On the themes of the conference, Dr. Bishara explained that the conference include five main sessions; each discussing a major theme of the conference. In addition, the opening speech will be given by Minister of Oil and Chairman of KPC, Hani Abdul-Aziz Hussain. Furthermore, the main speaker will be the ex-General Secretary of GCC, Ambassador Abdulla Bishara. The first session, he stated, will address the prospects of oil industry and available opportunities, with participation from Farouk Zanki, CEO at KPC, and Abbas Naqi, General Secretary of OAPEC. The second session of the first day will be allocated to current trends in the field of oil exploration and production operations. Presenting the scientific papers are CEO of KOC, Sami Al-Rasheed, Vice CEO for Petroleum Engineering and Development in ARAMCO, Dr. Mohammad Al-Qahtani,

Chairman of Gulf Oil Company, Hashem AlRifaei, and Special Consultant to CEO of Canadian Limited Company for Natural Resources, Dr. HameedMajeed. As for the second day of the conference, Dr. Bishara pointed out that it includes three sessions; the first addressing future opportunities in oil and gas industry with the participation of Vice Chairman and CEO of Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), Khalifa AlSuwaidi, and CEO of Chevron Loms Global, Dr. BaharatChrinifasan, and Chairman of Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8), Hussain Ismail. The second session discusses the partnership between private and public sectors in oil industry; participants in this session are General Director of Public Authority for Industry, Dr. Ali Fahad Al-Mudaf. Additionally, the third and last session will talk about the environmental challenges for the oil and gas industry and the suggested solutions, speakers in this session include Managing Director for Research, Development, Health, Safety, and Environment at KPC, Bader Al-Khashti, General Director of Public Authority for Environment, Dr. Salah Al-Mudhi, and General Manager of Royal Charity Organization Kingdom of Bahrain, Dr. Mostafa Al-Sayyed. Dr. Bishara expressed his hope that the conference will achieve its main objectives and shed the light on the new developments in oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry, and represent an exceptional opportunity for all participants to exchange opinions and discuss cooperation prospects and future opportunities and projects in this essential industry. He further explained that Arabian Gulf countries are considered a focal point in the oil industry worldwide, particularly since it contributes around 60% of oil supplies; Dr. Bishara pointed out that GCC countries need coordination and integration to face current challenges signified in the fragility of the political situation in the region, plus the different techniques of technological that change on a regular basis. For his part, said Mohammad Al-Salem, member of the Organizing Committee of the Conference that the Gulf petroleum integration is considered a good opportunity for the private sector to enter with momentum in oil projects in the refining and petrochemical projects. Al-Salem claimed that the private sector always plans for the future and seeks partnership in many projects; it only awaits the proper opportunity to enter into such projects and partnerships. He asserted that the private sector participation in the petrochemical industry in the region have proven its success due to the availability of raw materials and the high prices, ensuring good returns for the private sector, hence such projects represent a great background for further strategic partnerships between the two sectors. He pointed out that the petrochemical industry is considered a good parallel return and must be enhanced in an effort to diversify income sources in the GCC and change the concept of dependence on raw oil as a sole source of income.

CAIRO: Real estate company Egyptian Resorts posted a narrower full-year loss, helped by new revenue from its Sawari project on the Red Sea. Egyptian Resorts said yesterday it made a 2011 net loss of 7.4 million Egyptian pounds ($1.2 million), compared with a 9.1 million loss in 2010. Revenue nearly doubled to 28.2 million pounds. The company has not sold any land to developers since the third quarter of 2008 when the global financial crisis reduced appetite for big real estate purchases in Egypt. Egyptian Resorts, hit by political turmoil since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted, has been working with Orascom Development Holding to develop land for Sawari, a mixed-use development that will include a marina on a 2.5 million squaremetre plot at Sahl Hasheesh on the Red Sea. Its chief executive told Reuters in October it expected sales of 2.2 billion pounds from Sawari’s first phase. The company said yesterday it expected to start construction on the project in the third quarter, but was still waiting for licenses from authorities. Real estate firms in Egypt sell units offplan or before they are fully constructed and delivered to their clients, meaning Egyptian Resorts reported 10.8 million pounds revenue from Sawari for 2011. The company, like other developers in the Arab world’s most populous nation, is reeling from challenges to state land purchases that started before last year’s uprising and which have gathered pace since. It said the impact of the uprising on the tourism sector, where the number of visiting tourists has slumped 33 percent, was partly to blame for the net loss. Egyptian Resorts shares were down 3.5 percent at 1303 GMT, with Egypt’s main index 2.0 percent lower. — Reuters

Asean bloc to double currency swap agreement TOKYO: Japan and 12 other Asian countries will likely agree to double the amount of funds available under a regional currency swap pact amid uncertainty over the European debt crisis, a report said yesterday. Japan, China, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are to agree to double the fund from the current $120 billion this month, Japan’s Nikkei daily reported, citing unnamed sources. The currency swap deal, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, is designed to prevent a financial crisis in countries with relatively small foreign exchange reserves by giving them a safety net against future liquidity shortages. Currently, up to 20 percent of the $120 billion in available funds can be used without linkage to loans by the International Monetary Fund. The socalled ASEAN+3 countries are also expected to agree to raise this percentage significantly to prevent the European debt crisis from causing major damage in Asia, the Nikkei said. The countries are expected to reach a broad agreement on strengthening the functions of the Chiang Mai Initiative at a meeting of senior finance officials in Cambodia at the end of this month, it said. The agreement is expected to be finalized in May at a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the ASEAN+3 countries, it said. —AFP

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Stocks rally as Kuwait investors eye mid-caps GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) continued their forward journey staging a session of broadbased advances. KSE Price Index closed at an eight-month high, as investors continue to pick up mid & small-caps. The market benchmark KSE Price Index was up by 33 points (or 0.53 percent), and closed at 6,233.4. The index ends 0.5 percent higher at 6,223 points, its highest close since June 27, 2011. It extends year-to-date gains to 7.2 percent, underperforming some other Gulf bourses. Global General Index reported 0.25 percent climb, to close at 186.14. The advance was accompanied by growing trading activity. The market as a whole saw 505.88mn shares traded, up by 5.26 percent from Thursday’s level. At the same time, the value of shares traded saw a 9.02 percent surge, producing KD46.51mn in gains for investors. KD14.66mn (31.51 percent) of the value traded was attributable to investment companies. The sector as a whole, presented through the Global Investment Index, produced 0.86 percent in gains. International Financial Advisors and International Finance Company closed up by 5.17 percent & 5.66 percent respectively. In terms of top gainers, Ithmaar Bank was the top gainer for the day, adding 11.63 percent. On the other side, Boubyan International Industries Holding was the biggest loser, as its share price fell by 6.10 percent to close at KD0.077. Sector-wise Yesterday’s gains were bolstered by a 1.14 climb in the Global Insurance Index. The sector’s per-

NEW YORK: A worker cleans Zuccotti Park as private security guards (left) watch yesterday after Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were cleared from the park the previous night in New York. A few hundred had gathered to mark the 6th month of the protests and were moved by police when some tried to set up tents. — AFP

NY police arrest Occupy protesters on anniversary

formance was highlighted by an exceptional 4.26 percent gains in the equity price of Al-Ahleia Insurance Company. The industrial sector followed, clocking 0.89 percent in gains. Kuwait Cement Company & National Industries Group (Holding) closed up by 3.41 percent & 2.82 percent respectively. The Services Index recorded 0.26 percent in gains. Zain gained 1.18 percent adding 10fils to its share price, to close at KD0.860. Hits Telecom Holding witnessed its share price go up by 5fils to close at KD0.091. This index has report-

ed a YTD growth of 1.32 percent. Banking and food stocks were losers during Sunday’s session, with their sectoral indices retreating by 0.01 percent and 0.06 percent respectively. In news, the Capital Intelligence (CI) affirmed National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) long and short-term Foreign Currency Ratings at “AA-” and “A1+” respectively. It also maintained its Financial Strength Rating (FSR) at “A+”, with a “Stable” outlook. The scrip closed unchanged at KD1.080. Corporate news National Real Estate Co (NREC)

confirmed that, its two affiliates in Egypt have signed initial agreements with Amer Group to develop Porto New Cairo, and Porto October. The two projects extend over approx. 54,000 sq m in New Cairo and 1,380,000sqm in Sixth of October City. They are expected to be completed within six years. Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on March 16, 2012 on support from the continuing tensions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program and the potential for supply disruptions in the region along with the weaker dollar.

NEW YORK: New York police arrested protesters celebrating the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street by massing on a square near the stock exchange over the weekend. Chaotic scenes unfolded at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan’s financial district overnight Saturday-Sunday when officers broke up the peaceful rally by about 600 people at the site where the Occupy movement started last September. There were no immediate official figures on the total number of arrests but AFP reporters saw more than a dozen. Three women hurt in the clashes could be seen in an ambulance and several other ambulances were deployed to the site, their sirens joining the wailing of police squad cars that raced down the neighborhood’s narrow streets. By the early hours of yesterday demonstrators had dispersed from the area, but a heavy police presence remained and Zuccotti Park, which had earlier been filled with protesters singing, chanting and beating drums, was eerily empty and surrounded by metal barricades. Earlier, leftwing film maker Michael Moore had joined the crowd in the square, chanting “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street!”

The rally, which began in the evening, grew bigger when reinforcements arrived, saying they were ready to stay on the square into the night. Shortly before midnight, protesters erected a makeshift tent of cardboard and tarpaulin in contravention of rules banning shelters in the park. As soon as police moved in, tempers rose, although there was little violence from protesters. Several people could be seen being roughly pushed and subdued by officers. Witnesses told AFP one woman suffered a seizure after being put into handcuffs, but was not given proper medical attention for several minutes. “It was a good 10 or 15 minutes before they got an ambulance. I thought, oh no, is this the moment when this woman is going to die right there?” said angry demonstrator, Leslie Kauffman, 47. Many at the rally accused police of being aggressive even when unprovoked. “Just being in proximity to a policeman is all you need to be arrested,” artist Molly Crabapple said. Lou Posner, an observer with the National Lawyers Guild, said he thought the number of arrested could be between 30 and 50, although he had no firm figures. — AFP


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Cheap chic Uniqlo booms in deflationary Japan TOKYO: Tokyo’s high-end shopping district of Ginza was back at its booming best this week with hundreds of shoppers queuing up to spend their cash, in an echo of Japan’s bubble years. Around 450 people lined up on one block, eager to splurge more than 40,000 yen ($500) on the new iPad, the latest in a long line of must-have electronic gizmos that a certain sector of Japanese consumers crave. But at about the same time, another 1,000 people were queuing just a few streets away to bag a clothing bargain as Uniqlo threw open the doors of the largest store in an ever-expanding global empire. “I’ve been waiting since 5:30 this morning,” said 23-year-old Tsubasa Okamoto. “I would like to see their new offerings in the designer’s collaboration line. But most of all, I like their products for the price.” And with a pair of cotton trousers or a t-shirt for as little as 990 yen ($12), the attraction is obvious. Prices like these are a reminder that while Ginza is buzzing again, not everyone has come for the designer brands and exclusive lines that made the area one of the priciest in the world to do business. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Hermes has its costs.

Government records show land near Uniqlo’s new store sold just over a year ago for 20 million yen ($234,000) per square metre (11 square feet). But Uniqlo, and a host of other cheap-chic brands like H&M, Zara and Gap, are banking on the fact that a country once famous for its sky-high prices has fallen in love with a bargain. Parent company Fast Retailing began Uniqlo in 1949 as a small clothing shop for men in western Yamaguchi prefecture. It came of age after Japan’s bubble burst around 1990 when the Nikkei 225 stock index fell through the floor and the champagne years of rabid growth came to a shuddering halt. Many lambasted Uniqlo and all it stood for at the time as a symbol, or even a cause, of the vicious deflation that was to run the once unstoppable economy ragged over the next two decades. But with Japan’s politicians seemingly unable to staunch the wound and re-float Asia’s second largest economy, Uniqlo has pounced, turning customers’ ever decreasing spending power to its advantage and becoming one of the country’s most successful companies. “This store is the best of all for us,” said Uniqlo chief executive Tadashi Yanai Friday at the opening of the 12floor, 5,000 square metre shop on

Ginza’s glitzy “Chuo Dori” high street. “We don’t hear much good news these days. I think it is good news that we were able to open this store.” After opening megastores in cities including New York, London and Paris, Uniqlo has now shifted its focus to rapidly growing Asia, operating in Shanghai, Taipei and Seoul. Yanai said the Ginza shop will be the launch pad for a full-fledged expansion across the booming continent. “(Ginza) is Japan’s largest gateway to the global market,” said Yanai, who is looking at 100 new stores in Asia in the year to August 2012. “Unfortunately, Japan is in a state of deadlock due to the ageing population, the low birth rate and politics being in deadlock.“But when I look at Japan as a part of Asia, a member of the world, I feel excited about the gigantic potential.” Japan’s economy, while still large by any measure, is struggling. Its graying population is less keen to spend, its export markets are suffering in the global downturn and a mood of austerity persists from last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. But it is this uncertainty and crimped spending power that is Yanai’s secret weapon. “This trend of price cutting is happening throughout the world, not just in Japan,” he said. “I think it will become

of them are the main breadwinner for the household,” Kanda said. “Once companies lay off full-time workers and get away with part-timers, they do not go back. “Under these circumstance, it is true that consumers are becoming more sensitive about prices.” — AFP

an even stronger trend in Japan. It will allow more and more people to enjoy shopping.” Keiji Kanda, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, said Yanai was definitely on to something with his assessment. “About one-third of workers in Japan are part-timers, and many

TOKYO: Shoppers visit Uniqlo’s newly opened clothing retail flahship store at Tokyo’s Ginza fashion district. Government records show land near Uniqlo’s new store sold just over a year ago for 20 million yen ($234,000) per square meter. — AFP

Britain braced for more austerity in budget Measures could help recession-threatened economy

UNAWATUNA, Sri Lankan: This file picture taken on December 13, 2011 shows a Sri Lankan police officer looking on near a demolished illegally built Sri Lankan hotel that was bulldozed in the southern town of Unawatuna. — AFP

Sri Lanka’s economic miracle turns sour COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s president began his second term vowing an economic miracle after decades of conflict, but the post-war boom is already fraying, putting his record on economic management to the test. Mahinda Rajapakse launched his second six-year term in 2010 promising to turn Sri Lanka into the “wonder of Asia” by doubling GDP per capita income to $4,000 by 2014. After the end of the island’s civil war in 2009, brought about by an army onslaught that is dogged by war crime allegations, Sri Lanka reaped a peace dividend that has seen some of the fastest development in Asia. But now, less than three years later, the government must tackle a ballooning trade deficit, a falling currency, and discontent about rising living costs after huge hikes in fuel and electricity prices. “Right now our problem is the trade deficit,” Sri Lank a’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse, who is the president’s younger brother, said last week. “In fact, I would say it is our only problem.” The government has allowed the rupee to depreciate and slapped credit ceilings on commercial banks to discourage loans that could fuel further imports. Last year’s trade deficit hit nearly $10 billion, or a fifth of the country’s GDP, imposing a massive strain on the country’s dwindling foreign reserves and hurting the island’s credit-worthiness. Rajapakse’s former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera accuses the administration of “mismanagement and corruption” for the economic woes which has seen the currency drop 10 percent against the dollar this year. “The looming economic crisis is not something that happened suddenly,” says Samaraweera, an MP from the opposition United National Par ty. “It’s the result of mismanagement and corruption in the past five to six years.” The Colombo Stock Exchange, which doubled in value in 2010 and was Asia’s best performer, has slid this year, shedding 10 percent of its value. Sri Lankan economist and former central bank deputy governor W. A. Wijewardena believes the economy is in trouble despite an official 7.2 percent growth forecast for 2012. He says the balance of payments problem will have a knock-on effect on Sri Lanka’s ability to service its large commercially raised foreign debt, the value of the local currency and domes-

tic prices. The country needs to borrow heavily to finance the trade deficit and repay debt which could push the country into a vicious debt cycle, experts warn. The government has insisted, however, that it does not risk a sovereign default. The government raised fuel prices by up to 49 percent and electricity by 40 percent last month, blaming the move on surging global crude prices. Several public demonstrations against the rising living costs in the island’s south last month were brutally put down by police with at least one demonstrator killed during anti-government riots. “The need for making these changes (increasing prices) had been felt by the economy for a long time and he problem had accumulated to an explosive level,” Wijewardena said. MP Samaraweera said the government’s failure to improve its human rights record and its anti-Western rhetoric had also dampened foreign interest in the economy which should have increased after the end of the separatist war. Foreign direct investments fell by 14 percent to $516 million in 2010, the first full year after government forces crushed ethnic Tamil rebels in the north of the country, according to the Central Bank. Since the end of fighting, Sri Lanka has been facing allegations of war crimes and is resisting international calls for an independent probe. The European Union withdrew concessionary tariffs for imports in 2010, accusing Sri Lanka of failing to meet human rights standards, but the country has managed to maintain its exports at the same level. Samaraweera said Sri Lanka would not be able to attract bigger and better quality foreign investors by ignoring rights issues raised by the international community. Sri Lanka risks isolation, he warned. “ We will become the new Burma (Myanmar) of Asia unless we do something about improving our human rights record,” Samaraweera said. The Centre for Policy Alternatives think-tank in Colombo says the government is likely to try to mask domestic economic problems with anti-Western rhetoric. “The government has already organized anti-Western demonstrations to divert attention,” said the think-tank’s director Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu. “But they won’t be able to do it for long because people are feeling the pinch.” — AFP

LONDON: Britain unveils an annual budget on Wednesday that is likely to build on the coalition government’s deficit-slashing austerity strategy, while also seeking to grow a recessionthreatened economy. Finance minister George Osborne presents his 2012-2013 budget before parliament, one week after Fitch warned that Britain’s gold-plated AAA credit rating was increasingly at risk as it placed the country on negative watch. Although Britain is at risk of further recession amid anaemic economic growth at home, and debt troubles in key trading partner the euro-zone, Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne is expected to maintain a policy of huge cuts to state spending. “The chancellor’s resolve to stick to his austerity plans appears to be as strong as ever,” said Vicky Redwood, an economist at Capital Economics research group, ahead of Wednesday’s budget. Fitch last week lowered Britain’s long-term outlook to “negative” from “stable,” blaming the “very limited fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic shock,” but confirmed its AAA credit rating due to the govern-

ment’s austerity policies. The Treasury welcomed Fitch’s assessment, despite the negative outlook. “This is a reminder of why it is essential Britain sticks to its plans to deal with its debts,” a spokesman said. “This is a just

implemented huge public spending cuts and tax hikes to slash a record deficit inherited from the previous Labor administration. The coalition is eager to preserve Britain’s valuable AAA credit rating, that keeps state borrowing

Finance minister George Osborne another warning to anyone who believes there can be deficitfinanced giveaways in (the) budget.” Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat government, which won power in 2010, has since

costs low, and avoid a Greek-style sovereign debt crisis. Ahead of Wednesday ’s budget, British media reported that Osborne would use fresh austerity measures to offset a plan to cut

E Timor’s oil ‘no solution’ to grinding poverty DILI, East Timor: East Timor’s oil sector may be pouring more money than ever into state coffers but the grinding poverty on the dirt streets of the capital underlines the challenge facing whoever emerges as the winner of weekend elections. The half-island nation went to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president to preside over a country where about half the 1.1 million population lives below the poverty line. East Timor is the world’s most oil-dependent economy with energy reserves accounting for around 90 percent of state revenue. Although oil and gas have bolstered the treasury-its Petroleum Fund recently swelled to $10 billion-the majority of the population survive on agriculture, prompting warnings that energy alone is not the solution for Asia’s poorest nation. In Dili, rains bring mud canals that cut

through shanty town neighborhoods of huts slapped together with wooden planks and rusted tin roofs. Destitute children without a stitch of clothing play in the streets alongside pigs, chickens and stray dogs. Infrastructure is limited to a few paved roads, a single port and a tiny airport with one baggage carousel. There is no local currency-everything runs on US dollars. The abject poverty, in a country celebrating its first decade of independence from Indonesia’s 24-year brutal and destructive military occupation, has fuelled heated debate about how to use the Petroleum Fund. Incumbent President Jose Ramos Horta, a Nobel laureate who is up against 11 other candidates, has promised to prioritize infrastructure, health and education if reelected. — AFP

ANHUI: A group of homeless men rest under a bridge where they and other homeless people have turned into a makeshift shelter in Hefei, east China’s Anhui province yesterday. — AFP

income tax for the highest earners-from 50 percent to 40 percent. Osborne, presenting his third budget, reportedly faces fierce pressure from the right wing of his Conservative Party and business leaders to slash the top rate-to help stimulate growth and boost Britain’s faltering recovery. Treasury sources have meanwhile confirmed that Osborne would launch plans in the budget to issue state bonds, or gilts, lasting 100 years or longer, as the government seeks to lock in historically low interest rates. “The chancellor’s room for maneuver in the budget is negligible,” said Barclays Capital analyst Chris Crowe. “We therefore expect nothing more than a modest rearrangement of the fiscal furniture: this is likely to be a budget of small numbers,” he added. Britain’s economy shrank 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the third, recent official data showed, putting the country close to a return to recession. A further contraction in the first quarter of 2012 would place Britain back in recession, defined as two successive negative quarters. First quarter data is due next month. — AFP

Zimbabwe ‘indigenization’ push scares investors HARARE: Zimbabwe’s forcing of foreign firms to hand over a 51 percent stake will scare away muchneeded investment, with no clarity on how the cash-strapped state will fund its big stick approach, analysts say. The government’s assurances that its “indigenization” policy is not a nationalisation drive is unlikely to soothe nerves after platinum giant Implats capitulated on Tuesday after being threatened with a state take-over of its local subsidiary. “It is doing so much damage to the country in terms of attracting investors for job creation. The policy is very bad,” said Harare-based economist John Robertson. The controversial law orders foreign-owned companies-such as mines, banks and retailers-to submit plans on how they will give up a majority share to locals. But the government has yet to come up with a clear-cut explanation how it will pay for the shares taken or even how the process will be undertaken. The confusion comes as Zimbabwe seeks massive investments to rebuild its economy, which was devastated by a violent land reform program in which white-owned farms were seized. A powersharing government of rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed after 2008 polls ended years of crisis and stabilized the economy. Negative ripples from the indigenization policy have been felt with key projects put on hold because investors are not keen to invest without a controlling stake, said analyst Erich Bloch. “We have lost the potential to attract investment. The indigenization policy is ill-advised and damages the economy,” he said. “Which investor would want to invest where half of his investment will be taken and wouldn’t have a say in the running of their businesses?” The plan for Zimplats, the local subsidiary of South Africa-based Implats, transfers 10 percent of shares to workers, 10 percent to a community trust in Ngezi where its mine is located and 31 percent to a National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Fund. — AFP


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


New Volkswagen CC crosses over to luxury class CC has new styling and innovative Parallel Park Assist DUBAI: When the Volkswagen CC made its debut four years ago, it was the first four-door coupe of its kind in the midrange sedan category. From this niche, a new segment quickly developed - to date, nearly 320,000 people around the globe have chosen the sedan with the stylish lines of a sports car. They are car drivers who love the charm of a coupe but also value space. Commenting on the new Volkswagen CC, Stefan Mecha, Managing Director Volkswagen Middle East said: “The new Volkswagen CC is a technically and visually updated version of the popular business vehicle. It is a model that combines German engineering and style, and is our most successful four-door coupÈ. The CC encompasses safety, exquisite style and space and will be available throughout the Middle East by April 2012.” 160 HP to 300 HP The CC is powered by an impressive petrol engine with 118 kW / 160 HP (1.8 liter), 155 kW / 210 HP (2.0 liter) and 220 kW / 300 HP (3.6 liter V6) power output,

with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG). The six cylinder version (300 HP) is delivered with 4MOTION all wheel drive as standard equipment. Design The team led by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, reworked the front and rear body sections of the Volkswagen CC. This has given the Volkswagen an even more elegant yet dynamic overall image. New alloy wheels and car colors complement other exterior modifications. Front end In front, the eye is draw to the new designs of the radiator grille, bi-xenon headlights and bonnet. Optional LED daytime running lights are integrated in the headlight housings. Even more than on the previous model, the entire area of the new front bumper, headlights and radiator grille exhibits clean lines that correspond 1:1 to Volkswagen ‘design DNA’ styling. This DNA is marked by such characteristics as an emphasis on horizontal

lines and a concise harmony of the headlights and radiator grille. The latter is no longer designed as a separate V framed by elements in the body colour; rather it forms a visually continuous, charismatic band together with the headlights. Similar to the US-Passat and the Phaeton, the new Volkswagen CC also has an extra air intake beneath the body-coloured bumper. ‘Winglets’ are integrated in this intake with fog lights arranged next to them. Despite its independent design, the front end makes a clear statement that the ‘comfort coupÈ’ belongs to a global brand. Like the previous model, the Volkswagen CC is also produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Emden, Germany; this state-of-the-art factory has direct access to an overseas port from which the four-door coupÈ can be shipped to all regions of the world within a few days. Side profile. Although the frameless doors of the CC are unmodified, its side profile shows a new look too. Several factors are at work here: in front, the more powerful design of the bonnet in interplay with the new bumper design -

sharpens the car’s silhouette. Meanwhile, the much more distinctively sculpted side sills between the wheel housings stand out; they make a visual connection between the front and rear bumpers. At the rear, the bumper now has greater volume and transparency; together with the coupÈ-like styling of the C-pillars and the very long swept-back rear window, this generates a very special dynamic. Rear section As at the front of the car, designers also completely redesigned the rear bumper. This involved modifying the wrap-around chrome strip that is typical of the Volkswagen CC and of course the Volkswagen logo, which once again serves as the handle for opening the boot. In models with Rear Assist, a rear-view camera was also integrated in the Volkswagen logo as well. The entire rear section now shows more straight-line surfaces and a greater emphasis of horizontal lines. Also fitting with this image is the new design of the rear lights; at their lower ends, the lights now finish with a horizontal sweep.

In contrast to the previous model, the new rear lights have LED lighting elements that exhibit very quick response, economy and long life. The distinctive look of these lights makes the CC unmistakable from the rear, even at night. The license plate is illuminated with LED lighting, too. Interior The standard seating configuration of the Volkswagen CC includes five seating positions. In front, the car always comes with ergonomic sport seats designed for long trips. In the rear, a continuous bench seat (3 seats) is a standard feature. The interior exhibits a style that is as dynamic as it is elegant. The dashboard was already modified once last year; since then, the two storage drawers integrated above the centre console in the first generation CC were replaced by an analogue clock in the style of that in the Phaeton. Another new option is a brown interior; this includes the dashboard, which coordinates especially well with the also reconfigured wood accents and colors of the leather seats.

Nokia Middle East lays out 2012 roadmap for Kuwait Farrell showcases latest innovations from Nokia

Ammar Al-Assam, Executive Director, Dewan and Manoj Nair, Entrepreneur

Dewan Architects & Engineers ventures into growing Indian construction market ewan Architects & Engineers, a leading architecture and engineering consultancy firm, announced that it will be venturing into the burgeoning Indian construction market, in a move that comes as part of Dewan’s strategic expansion plans in an effort to reach more markets in Asia. Dewan, which has received many awards for excellence as a leading architectural and engineering firm, was recently ranked 48th globally on the ‘World Architecture Top 100’ list by the esteemed industry publication Building Design Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. The firm was also ranked in the Top 10 for hospitality design and urban planning, in addition to ranking in the Top 5 for the Middle East. Major projects undertaken successfully by Dewan include the Yas Hotel and Al Bateen School in Abu Dhabi, Media One Tower and Green Community in Dubai, UAE, and Baghdad Rotana Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. Dewan will jointly operate in the Indian market with successful entrepreneur Manoj Prasad, one of the key promoters of “i1 Super Series”, India’s first Motor racing event at the global level.


Manoj also holds interests in various companies in the Financial Services, Aerospace, Management Consulting & Hospitality sectors and is well known for his high profile network, visionar y approach, management and entrepreneurial skills. Manoj has helped many businesses forge new relationships globally and expand their business offerings. Commenting on the new expansion and business venture, Mohamed Al Assam, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan: “These are exciting times; the reputation of our firm and our principles has positioned Dewan as an international firm. Today we are working closely with our Indian partners on these exciting new opportunities with a view of aligning our design objectives and business goals, to ensure that we deliver to the highest standards.” “We are committed to global growth and growth in India for the long term. The global down turn in real estate has had limited impact in India as there is phenomenal growth in all areas of business and finance. Positive reports indicating significant growth in these sectors means we are optimistic about the future,” he added.

KUWAIT: Nokia’s Middle East Vice President, Tom Farrell, arrivedyesterday in Kuwait to announce the 2012 roadmap for the country. The visit signifies the leading mobile phone company’s ongoing commitment to the Kuwaiti market and its growing importance as part of Nokia’s new strategy for growth in the region. During the visit, Tom Farrell outlined Nokia’s global strategy to drive smartphone leadership through the Lumia range based on the Nokia with Windows Phone, which includes the award-winning Lumia 900 device. Farrell also highlighted Nokia’s commitment to connecting the next billion to the internet, the second pillar of its strategy through the launch of Nokia Asha range in the region. The Nokia Asha range will allow consumers to have access to a smartphone experience by being able to download apps, surf the web, check email, play games and chat at an affordable price point. Commenting at a press conference, Farrell said, “2011 was a hugely important year for Nokia and marked a turning-point in the company’s evolution. At the beginning of last year, we announced our partnership with Microsoft as our main smartphone platform moving forward. As early as October, we were able to deliver our first Nokia with Windows phone, the Lumia 800 and 710, which clearly demonstrates measurable progress in our new smartphone strategy. We have also continued our commitment to innovation with the new award winning Nokia 808 PureView, which has redefined the smartphone market with its unprecedented 41 megapixel camera. Vithesh Reddy, the newly appointed General Manager for Lower Gulf region was also present at the press event. He previewed Nokia’s latest innovations which were announced at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress. “One year ago, we shared that Nokia was embarking on a new journey to build great mobile devices. Today, with Nokia 808 PureView, four Lumia devices and four Nokia Asha devices, we are bringing compelling new products to the market faster than ever before, demonstrating that we can change the clock speed of Nokia and also helping to open new market segments for smartphones,” he said. The hero products showcased at the press conference include: Nokia 808 PureView: The Nokia 808 PureView is the first smartphone to feature

Al-Tijari announces winners of Al-Najma Account draw KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al-Najma Account draw on 18th March 2012. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Abdulaziz Ashkanani. The winners of the Al-Najma daily draw are: Haitham Khaled Qassab — KD 7000, Mohammed Baig Moghal — KD 7000, Raghad Mohammed Neda Salem Al Enzi — KD 7000, Ahmed Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Ahmed— KD 7000, Awadh Abdullah Yousef Abdullah— KD 7000. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily

prize which is the highest in the country and another 4 mega prizes during the year worth KD 100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha and on the 19th of June which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD 500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw provided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD 25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD 50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

KUWAIT: Nokia’s Middle East Vice President, Tom Farrell, announces Nokia’s 2012 roadmap for the country. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat exclusive Nokia ‘PureView’ imaging technologies that will enable a range of high-end imaging experiences into Nokia products over the coming years. The Nokia 808 PureView combines a large, highresolution 41-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia developed pixel over-sampling technology. This means incredibly sharp, detailed images, superior low light performance and the capability to save images in compact file sizes for sharing in email, MMS and on social networks. Lumia Range: The biggest global vendor of Windows 7 phones (WP7), Nokia has introduced four Lumia devices at various price points, including the Lumia 900,800,710 and 610. To date, Nokia Lumia range is being sold in over 31 markets. The Windows platform has also witnessed an 800% growth in terms of apps offered for Nokia Lumia devices (from 7000 to 65,000 apps). The Lumia 900 also won 13 awards at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) including the best of show at CES. Asha Range: Nokia continues its mission to deliver high quality, stylish devices that provide the best access to social networks, the internet, and offer the best overall experience and value proposition for the next billion mobile phone users living on a budget. These consumers want affordable access to innovations such as easy-touse dual-SIM, third-party apps including social media, all with a superior user experience for

which Nokia mobile phones are known. Derived from Hindi - meaning ‘hope’ - Asha signifies Nokia’s focus on positive user experiences and connecting millions of people to new opportunities that help them reach their aspirations. The Asha mobile phone family includes: Nokia Asha 200, 202, 302 and 303, and is priced starting from 24 Kuwait Dinars. Applications As a leading handset manufacturer, Nokia is committed to delivering local apps in local languages which has further reinforced brand loyalty within the region. Download growth from the Nokia Store witnessed an unprecedented 280% growth in 2011 with over 3.5 million downloads a week in the GCC region. Key to this success is Nokia’s ability to offer local consumers over 2500 local apps with Arabic language support they require. As a strong believer in developing local talent, Nokia continues to invest in talent through its Developer Outreach Program to drive innovation and enterperneurship in the region. The Program includes Qt training and competitions for aspiring mobile app developers. Ahmed Al Shebli, a young Kuwaiti app developer was also lauded at the press event. Nokia applications such as q8GPA, GaidKout developed by Ahmed have witnessed over 40,000 downloads in the region.

Burgan Bank announces names of winners of Yawmi Account KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday the names of the five lucky winners of its Yawmi account draw, each taking home a prize of KD 5,000. The lucky winners for the five daily draws took home a cash-prize of KD 5000 each, and they are: 1. Suleiman Zeyad Suleiman Al-Yaseen 2. Asaad Mohamed Abdullah 3. Bilkis Bai Ali Bahai Anwar 4. Faleh Saad Fahad Albouss 5. Anoushirauann Herand Nazariyan The newly re-launched Yawmi Account is better, easier and faster than any day before. With its new and enhanced features, the Yawmi Account has become more convenient, easier, and faster for customers to benefit from. Now, customers will be eligible to enter the draw after 48 hours only from opening the account. Customers are also required to deposit KD 100 or equivalent only to enter the daily draw, and the coupon value to enter the draw stands at KD 10.

The newly designed Yawmi account has been launched to provide a highly innovative offering along with a higher frequency and incentive of winning for everyone. Today, the Yawmi account is a well understood product, where its popularity can be seen from the number of increasing account holders. Burgan Bank encourages everyone to open a Yawmi account and/or increase their deposit to maximize their chances to becoming a daily winner. The more customers deposit, the higher the chances they receive of winning the draw. Opening a Yawmi account is simple, customers are urged to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch and receive all the details, or simply call the bank’s Call Center at 1804080 where customer service representatives will be delighted to assist with any questions on the Yawmi account or any of the bank ’s products and ser vices. Customers can also log on to Burgan Bank ’s for further information.


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Video games enter realm of art in Smithsonian exhibition ‘Art of Video Games’ focuses on graphics, interactivity

WASHINGTON: A journalist tries out the original version of Super Mario Brothers. —AFP

Apple show sparks questions about mixing fact with fiction NEW YORK: Mike Daisey, a burly man who makes a living telling stories, has found himself in the middle of a storm of controversy - put there by his own words. The performer had to admit Friday that much of his latest monologue, in which he describes iPhones and iPads being made in Chinese sweatshops, is a mix of fact and fiction, something he failed to point out during a media blitz promoting his critically acclaimed piece. “It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity,” Daisey said in a statement posted on his website. He did not answer questions sent to his personal email account and his publicist did not return a request for comment Saturday. The firestorm started after Ira Glass, the host of the popular public radio show “This American Life,” aired an interview in which Daisey acknowledged some claims in his one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” weren’t true, and Glass said he couldn’t vouch for the truth of a Jan. 6 broadcast based on the show. The New York Times, The Associated Press and dozens of other media and entertainment outlets, from MSNBC to Bill Maher’s show on HBO, also were misled. The revelations are unlikely to halt scrutiny of Chinese factories that make Apple products since news outlets including the Times have reported dangerous working conditions there, including explosions inside iPad plants where four people were killed and 77 were injured. But Daisey’s career, which had been hot, is likely to take a hit and some of his older monologues might get a second look. “If he had only chosen to actually utilize what theatre allows you to do - which is to transform fact into something that retains an emotional truth,” said Howard Sherman, a former executive director of the American Theatre Wing and a respected arts administrator and producer. He didn’t see Daisey’s show but said he thought it might “call into question people who do this in the future.” Daisey is just the latest artist to apparently get tripped up by the truth - joining a list that includes James Frey, who admitted that he lied in his memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” and Greg Mortenson, who is accused of fabricating key parts of his bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea.” The controversy raised once again the question of the artist’s role in society and what his or her responsibility is to the truth. And has Daisey ultimately hurt or harmed the very people he was trying to help? Terry Teachout, chief theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, called Daisy a talented artist but said the episode was “unforgivable,” and Peter Marks, the critic for The Washington Post, tweeted that Daisey’s “zeal seems to have gotten the better of his judgment.” Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune suspected Daisey “was seduced by the glare of attention.” Daisey, who performs his monologues seated at a desk and using notes, has previously tackled everything from dysfunctional dot-coms to the international financial crisis. A movie has been made of his monologue “If You See Something Say Something,” and in a weird twist, he did a 2006 show called “Truth” about how art and fact mix. In it, Daisey admitted he once fabricated a story because it “connected” with the audience. Daisey told Glass he felt conflicted about presenting things that he knew weren’t true. But he said he felt “trapped” and was afraid people would no longer care about the abuses at the factories if he didn’t present things in a dramatic way. In an interview with the AP last year when his show was first in New York, Daisey’s passion for humane treatment of Chinese workers was evident. “Artists are people who are called to action,” he said. “If they’re not active then they’re probably asleep.” An Apple spokeswoman declined again

Saturday to comment on the revelations about the monologue. The company has been rebutting Daisey’s allegations for months, to little effect. Daisey’s work, which combines personal insight, historical digressions and gonzo journalism, has propelled him across the world, from the South Pacific island of Tanna to the site in the New Mexico desert where an atomic bomb was tested. His style is pugnacious, but he’s also funny and touching. His latest monologue includes no disclaimer that it’s a mishmash of truth and fiction. In it, he describes travelling to the Chinese industrial zone of Shenzhen and interviewing hundreds of workers from Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer. Daisey says he stood outside the gate with a translator and met workers as young as 12 and some whose joints were damaged because they performed the same action thousands of times a shift. “I talk to people whose joints in their hands have disintegrated from working on the line, doing the same motion hundreds and hundreds of thousands of times. It’s like carpal tunnel on a scale we can scarcely imagine,” he says, according to a transcript of the show. Later in the monologue, he says he met workers poisoned by the chemical hexane, used to clear iPhone screens. But “This American Life” reported Daisey’s Chinese interpreter disputed many of the artist’s claims when contacted by Rob Schmitz, a China correspondent for the public radio show “Marketplace.” Among them, the translator said guards outside the factory weren’t armed, Daisey never met workers from a secret union and he never visited factory dorm rooms. Daisey told Glass he didn’t meet any poisoned workers and guessed at the ages of some he met. He also said some details he used were things he read about happening elsewhere. “I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard,” he told Glass. “But I stand behind the work. My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it’s not journalism. It’s theater.” Apple’s popularity among consumers and investors alike has only grown while Daisey has been railing against the company. Since Daisey’s one-man show hit the stage in the summer of 2010, Apple has sold more than 74 million iPhones, more than 35 million iPads and more than 29 million iPods. Propelled by the surging sales of Apple’s devices, the company’s stock price has climbed nearly 70 percent to create an additional $220 billion in shareholder wealth. Apple now reigns as the world’s richest company, with nearly $100 billion in cash and a market value of $546 billion. Daisey’s embellishments threaten to set back the efforts to improve the working conditions in China and other countries where many trendy gadgets are made, said veteran technology analyst Rob Enderle. He fears Daisey’s tainted credibility will embolden more US companies to turn a blind eye to how the assembly-line workers are being treated in the overseas factories run by their contractors. “It will make it more difficult to correct these labour injustices in China,” Enderle said. “Daisey tried to make this out to be an Apple problem, but it really wasn’t. It’s a China problem.” Daisey - a performer in the vein of Spalding Gray and John Leguizamo has performed the monologue for more than 50,000 people from Seattle to Washington, D.C. He was expected to take the show on tour after its run at The Public Theatre in New York ends Sunday, but that’s now in doubt. In a statement, The Public Theater said the show would be performed this weekend as scheduled. “Mike is an artist, not a journalist,” the theater said. “Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.” —AP

Kaspersky reveals research findings Almost 16.7 percent of all Internet users around the world own a tablet and 9.1 percent will definitely buy a tablet in the next 12 months, while 53.3 percent personally own a smartphone.18.8 percent have two or more smartphones and 1.8 percent have a tablet and to two different devices and 14.2 percent have smartphones and two different device; according to a recent worldwide study by “O+K” conducted in association with Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions. One of the most prominent trends of 2011 was the emergence of socalled spear phishing - highly targeted spam that sees fraudsters focusing on a pre-selected group of users. In 2011 the percentage of spam with malicious

attachments increased more than one and a half times compared to the previous year and amounted to 3.8 percent of all mail traffic. The malicious users behind these sorts of mailings make active use of social engineering. Their messages may imitate official notifications from government bodies or online services, entice users with special offers or can even intimidate recipients, threatening to block access to various online accounts. Kaspersky Lab recently introduced Kaspersky One, a multi-platform, user-centric Universal Security solution that brings comprehensive protection for the wide range of personal devices, starting from personal computers and notebooks and all the way to smartphones and tablets.

WASHINGTON: They’ve come a long way since the man who would be Mario set off to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong and Pac-Man gobbled up as many dots as he could before the ghosts caught up with him. But really, are video games art? Absolutely, contends a major exhibition that opened Friday at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington that celebrates gaming’s rich creative side and the people behind a medium that’s still in full bloom. “The Art of Video Games” spans the 40 years since video games moved from amusement arcades into homes around the world, evolving in leaps and bounds with ever-more-sophisticated graphics, interactivity and story-telling. “While this exhibition is not the first exhibition that actually uses video games, it is the first I believe that actually looks at video games themselves as an art form,” curator Chris Melissinos said. “This is not about the art within video games,” said Melissinos, an avid gamer since he was a 10-year-old in his native New York borough of Queens. “This is about video games themselves as an artistic medium.” The exhibition comes nine months after the US Supreme Court said the First Amendment covered video games, in a landmark ruling that put them on a part with books and other forms of artistic expression. Bathed in red and blue lighting, and appropriately next to a Nam June Paik video installation, “The Art of Video Games” spotlights 80 hit games created for 20 different gaming systems, from the Atari VCS of the 1970s to today ’s PlayStation 3, that Melissinos calls “the touchstones of their generation.” Five games-

”Pac-Man,” “Super Mario Brothers,” “The Secret of Monkey Island,” “Myst” and “Flower”-are booted up with their original joysticks

Commodore 64 that made “Attack of the Mutant Camels” possible are encased in Plexiglass display boxes like pharaonic Egyptian artifacts.

WASHINGTON: A journalist tries out the original version of Pac-Man inside the exhibition “The Art of Video Games,” March 15, 2012 at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. —AFP and motion controllers for visitors to play on wall-sized screens. Long-obsolete consoles like the ColecoVision that powered “Donkey Kong” and the

“When hardcore gamers come in here, they’re going to go, ‘Yes, these are the correct games to represent these different eras’,” said Chris Kohler, gaming editor of

and an advisor to the exhibition. “But when non-gamers come in, I think they’re really going to get an education into the art form that this medium really truly is, and has become, and how it has evolved,” he said. In-gallery videos tackle the past, present and future of gaming through interviews with 20 influential figures in the gaming world; the videos also feature on the exhibition’s website ( w w w. a m e r i c a n a r t . c i . e d u ) . Notable among the innovators is Jenova Chan, who tells how rural California inspired him to create “Flower,” in which the player swooshes through Van Gogh-like fields like the wind, picking up flower petals along the way. “I grew up in Shanghai... I had never seen a rolling hill,” says Chan in his video inter view. “S o when I came to California, I saw these farms, endless green, the windmills. I wanted to capture that because it’s so overwhelming. It’s like a person that has never seen the ocean going to the beach for the first time.” “G ames just aren’t about blowing things up,” says another interviewee, game developer Jennifer MacLean, who personifies the little-known fact that a big segment of those who create online games today are women over 35. “I’d love to see them enrich somebody’s life by helping them learn to feel more, lean to love more, learn to invest more in the world around them.” A richly illustrated 216page catalog rounds out the exhibition that opens alongside GameFest!, a weekend of talks, open game playing and gameinspired music, and runs until September 30 before touring 10 other US cities. —AFP

3-D spectacles get a fashion makeover 3-D movies may be cool, but the glasses you get to watch them with are most certainly not. The Buddy Holly-like spectacles are not only clunky, but some moviegoers complain that the reusable glasses cause eye strain and question just how thoroughly they have been sanitized. Now high-end eyewear makers and fashion houses are offering relief - but it will cost you. Since the release of “Avatar”, studios have been pushing to squeeze more movies into the three -dimension pipeline - more than 30 films are scheduled to be released in 3-D next year alone. Theatre owners, who have profited handsomely from the higher ticket prices 3-D films command, have been scrambling to add enough 3-D screens to handle all the movies. Eyewear manufacturers like Oakley and fashion houses such as Gucci are jumping onto the stereoscopic bandwagon. They are introducing lines of 3-D glasses starting at $95 and going up to $225 - or more than 100 times what most theatre-handout models cost to make. “The way we look at it, it’s going to be a lifestyle accessory,” said David Johnson, president of Marchon3D. “You’ve got your smart phone, you’ve got your iPad and now you have another piece of equipment. This is a specialty technology device.” Marchon3D, a division of Marchon Eyewear based in Melville, NY, has licensed its technology to Calvin Klein and Nautica for 3-D eyewear between $95 to $150. But the high-tech glasses, with a patented curved-lens design, are useful not just in theaters: They can be worn outdoors as regular sunglasses. Apart from being more stylish, these premium glasses vastly improve the 3-D viewing experience, manufacturers claim, because they’re lighter, more comfortable and employ advanced optics to filter out reflections and other distractions that can cause eye strain. Beverly Hills, Calif.-based RealD, the leading supplier of 3-D equipment in US theatres, has “certified” Marchon’s glasses and is working with Marchon’s parent company, the eyewear insurance giant VSP based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., to develop prescription 3-D glasses. By next year, consumers who are getting prescription lenses could opt for a 3-D version (at an extra cost, of course). Marchon also plans to offer lower-cost 3-D glasses, in the $30 to $40 range, by spring. Australia-based Look3D next month will launch an online store where budgetminded consumers can buy designer 3-D glasses for as little as $30 ($15 for kids). “With more than 30 movies coming out next year in 3-D, moviegoers will spend plenty of time wearing 3-D glasses, and we expect many will want them in a style, colour and fit all their own,” said RealD Chief Executive Michael Lewis. “Like sunglasses, we’ll see a range of options at different price points, from designer 3D glasses from brands like Calvin Klein to more budgetfriendly glasses you can pick up at a local store or the movie theatre when you buy popcorn.” Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Oakley spent more than two years working with Glendale, Calif.-based DreamWorks Animation to develop the Oakley 3D Gascan glasses, which went on sale for $120 this month at Sunglass Hut and Oakley stores. Oakley has also introduced a limited edition of 3-D glasses tied to the Disney film “Tron.” “We began with a single goal: to set the standard for optical performance in 3-D,” said Oakley Chief Executive Colin Baden. “This is a technological breakthrough.” Oakley’s glasses, however, aren’t meant to be worn outside. “The technology is not optimized for outdoor use,” said Scott Smith, category director for Oakley’s 3-D optics. There are other drawbacks to the new glasses, beyond the high prices. The Oakley and Marchon glasses, for example, won’t work if you take them to an IMAX or Dolby theatre; they’re designed to work in theatres with RealD systems, which comprise about 80 percent of the available 3-D screens in the US And don’t expect theatres to offer a discount if you bring your own glasses, as is common in Europe and Australia. —MCT

ADDISON: Chris Hanebeck, Vice President for product management at Revere Security shows a product his company has developed that prevents hackers from getting access to power company systems. —MCT

Firms focus more on security for networks Telecom equipment maker Ericsson has famously predicted there will be 50 billion devices connected to data networks by 2020. Those connected devices won’t include just computers and smartphones, but cars, homes and industrial devices, constantly sending and receiving a flood of data. That convenience comes with a potential dark side. For hackers, cybercriminals and even armies, all those newly networked machines represent billions of new targets for mischief, thievery and assault. “We understand that as our lives move into a completely digital connected world, it has to be secure and safe,” said Geoff Hollingworth, Ericsson’s Plano, Texas,-based head of Internet protocol services strategy for North America. “It’s no different than the real world, where you have to feel you can move down the street and not get attacked.” The security problem will be much broader than securing your laptop or even your smartphone. Soon, the car in your garage, the electrical meter on the side of your home, the products you buy at the store, and the industrial controls at the factory that made those products will all be connected to various networks and the Internet. And each new networked device is a potential entry point for a hacker. Addison, Texas,based Revere Security Corp. develops security software for that new wave of connected devices. About a year ago, the company moved from perfecting its algorithms to pitching its products to customers, which include everything from the US military to power companies. One of Revere’s biggest opportunities is in the new wave of hightech smart power meters. “The industry is luckily moving toward security controls on smart meters,” said Chris Hanebeck, vice president of product management and marketing at Revere. Dallas-based power line operator Oncor has installed about 1.7 million digital smart meters in Texas over the last year or so, and its goal is 3.4 million by the end of 2012. The technology has benefits for both consumers and electricity providers. For example, if you have a smart meter, you can go to to see nearly real-time data on your electricity usage. And your provider can turn your power on and off with the flick of a software switch, rather than spending

hundreds of dollars to dispatch trucks and technicians to individual homes. But the high-tech meters are much more like minicomputers than the simple measuring devices they’re replacing. So Oncor now has to focus on digital security in a way it never had to before. “When we started this project, from Day 1 we have foundationally built this with securing the system and securing the data in mind,” said Oncor chief technology officer Mark Carpenter. Carpenter said Oncor uses layers of security, including encryption, firewalls and data traffic monitoring, to keep bad guys from tapping into its meters. “While no system is 100 percent impenetrable, we have designed our systems such that we can isolate events and situations to affect the minimum portion of the system, if they were to occur,” he said. Why would someone want to hack a smart meter? Hanebeck at Revere said the motivation can range from simple vandalism - turning someone’s power off - to economic sabotage against a power company or a full-scale cyber assault on a country. And many of these new devices are being wirelessly connected, so an attacker rarely or never has to physically connect with the device. All the damage is done over Wi-Fi. Part of the challenge in securing this new wave of connected devices is that unlike PCs and now smartphones with beefy processors and memory to burn, hardware capacity is at a premium. With a smart meter or a paper-thin radio-frequency identification chip slapped on a shipping pallet, the security has to be both lightweight and strong. Another area where tech experts have had to rethink network security is in cars. Ford Motor Co.’s Sync software, for example, pushes everything, from turn-by-turn driving directions to news and sports info, wirelessly to its cars. So far, the company hasn’t seen hackers trying to break into that data network. But data security was built into Sync from the ground up. Rich Strader, director of Ford information technology safety and security, said one way the company manages security is by keeping critical safety systems in a car on a different network from other functions.—MCT

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


Cheap generic drugs no cure for India’s poorest 85% of Indians have no health insurance

AKRON: Ann Stratton, a nurse practitioner in the hematology-oncology department at Akron Children’s Hospital, listens to the lungs of Diamonique McLendon, 3, of Alliance as Stratton does her rounds. — MCT

Advanced-practice nurses fill gaps in doctors’ ranks AKRON: When the medical staff executive committee helps chart the future of Akron Children’s Hospital, nurse practitioners sit side by side with doctors as peers. As the hospital’s pediatric neurosurgeon finishes a complex brain operation, he usually steps back and lets a physician assistant close the child’s head. And if a cancer patient has a problem in the middle of the night, an advanced-practice nurse or physician assistant often provides the care. The pediatric hospital increasingly is relying on nurse practitioners and physician assistants to deliver high-level care to its young patients. Hospitals nationwide are turning to these advanced-practice professionals to care for patients for a number of reasons, industry experts say. Among the factors contributing to this trend: An anticipated shortage of primary-care doctors, reductions in hours residents can work, and an expected increase in demand for medical services by aging baby boomers as well as people who will be newly insured through health-care reform. “They’re coming into the spotlight,” said Julie Tsirambidis, a certified nurse practitioner and director of the Advanced Practice Center at Akron Children’s Hospital. Tsirambidis also is a voting member of the hospital’s medical staff executive committee, which traditionally included doctors who chair departments. The hospital created the Advanced Practice Center in recent years to oversee recruitment, orientation, professional development and retention of advanced practitioners, who include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists. The hospital employs 164 advanced practitioners and is actively recruiting 24 more. Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) earn at least a master’s degree from an accredited program. Both are in strong demand and can command healthy salaries. Forbes magazine recently

named physician assistant programs the No. 1 master’s degree for getting a job, citing an expected growth of 39 percent by 2018. The average yearly total compensation for NPs nationwide is $94,050, according to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Likewise, physician assistants earn an average base salary of more than $87,000 and more than $89,000 for those who are hospital-based, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. After 10 years in practice, the median salary is $100,000, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants. “ The supply does not meet the demand,” said Josanne Pagel, executive director of Physician Assistant Services at the Cleveland Clinic. The hospital is offering tuition forgiveness to help attract PAs. The health system now has more than 40 openings posted for PAs and advanced practice nurses and expects to hire at least 45 more next year. The Cleveland Clinic Health System says it is Ohio’s largest employer of physician assistants, with about 325 on staff throughout the system. The hospital system also employs about 800 advanced-practice nurses. When Pagel joined the Cleveland Clinic in the new position eight years ago, the hospital system had about 75 PAs. The advanced-practice professionals are seen in “every area and discipline” at the Cleveland Clinic, Pagel said. They can educate patients and see those with less serious problems, which frees up doctors’ time to spend with people who have complex problems. The result has been an increase in patient satisfaction and quality scores, as well as a decrease in average length of stay and readmissions, she said. In the emergency department, the Cleveland Clinic has created a “low-acuity clinic” staffed by advanced-practice nurses and physician assistants, said James Bryant, the Cleveland Clinic’s associate chief nursing officer of Emergency Services. —MCT

MUMBAI: Cheap generic drugs were meant to change the life of Nandakhu Nissar, whose mouth is swollen by a cancerous tumour. But the cashless and hungry 55-year-old sleeps on a pavement staring up at the windows of Mumbai’s biggest cancer hospital. “What is a generic drug?” shrugs Nissar, who has travelled over 1,500 kms (900 miles) from his home in the hope of treatment. “I have borrowed money from friends and relatives and it is running out fast,” says Nissar, his pale eyes filling with tears. A ruling this week that for the first time allowed an Indian drugmaker to make and sell a blockbuster cancer drug at a fraction of the market price has been hailed as a breakthrough by campaigners for cheaper medicine in the emerging economy. The generic version of the drug, German drugmaker Bayer’s Nexavar, will be produced under what is known as a compulsory license, available to nations to issue in certain cases where life-saving treatments are unaffordable. Yet no amount of compulsory licenses will help the millions of poor Indians suffering from diseases like cancer, because even the generic version of Nexavar will be priced beyond the reach of India’s poor, experts and medical professionals say. Increased state spending on free and accessible healthcare and policies to extend insurance cover to its poorest citizens would be far more effective weapons. “The government has to start taking cancer seriously. They haven’t done anything,” said Dr M. Krishnan Nair, an award-winning Indian oncologist. “Even at generic prices, the drugs are too expensive for the poor. They don’t get anything.” India allocated 268 billion rupees ($5.4 billion) for healthcare in 2011-12, around a sixth the size of the defence budget. That represents 2.13 percent of total government spending, or $4.50 for each person in the country. With around 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line, healthcare is an upper-middle-class luxury in much of India where spending in private clinics is four times the amount of that in government hospitals. The poorest would-be patients literally beg for treatment on the outside of a chronically underfunded and overstretched health system. As chairman of a committee tasked with formulating India’s cancer strategy in the five years to 2012, Nair advocated 23 billion rupees ($460 million) for cancer control. Around $40 million was eventually spent, he says. Affordability Last Monday, India granted its first ever compulsory license, allowing Natco Pharma to manufacture and sell Nexavar, a liver and kidney cancer drug, inside the country. It effectively ends Bayer’s exclusive rights to the drug in India. Campaigners for cheaper access to drugs hailed the decision, which was taken after the country’s patent office said Bayer’s Nexavar was not “reasonably affordably priced”. But the ruling has reignited fears amongst global drugmakers like Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis . They see huge potential in rapidly growing economies such as India but are wary of intellectual property protection. Natco will retail Nexavar at 8,800 rupees ($180) for a monthly dose, a fraction of the 280,000 rupees ($5,600) Bayer’s version cost. But medical experts say cheaper drugs are just one tiny part of India’s health deficit. “The compulsory license system might not really work because poor people cannot even afford the discounted price,” said G. Balachandhran, former head of the

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), India’s drug price watchdog regulator. “Instead of dealing on a case-to-case basis, India needs to have a policy that will bring more and more people under medical cover ... We need to increase the health insurance penetration, so that even poor people can afford treatment,” he added. Only 15 percent of India’s 1.2 billion population is covered by health insurance, according to business lobby group the Federation of Indian Chambers Commerce & Industry, meaning even at a lower price, Nexavar will be out of reach for many. Still, the head of Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, told Reuters on March 12 that there were around 100 million people in India with “wealth equivalent to or greater than the average European or American, who don’t pay for innovation”. Pravin Anand, managing partner at Indian law firm Anand and Anand believes that compulsory licenses should primarily be granted in the case of pandemics, suggesting that affordability is a tricky gauge of necessity. “Affordability is not an absolute concept; therefore something that is affordable for one individual might not be so for others,” said Anand. Newspapers for drugs On the congested street in downtown Mumbai, scores of cancer sufferers sit, lie and sleep on the hard concrete pavement outside the Tata Memorial Hospital, clutching X-rays and medical documents and wait to be prescribed drugs they cannot afford. “Look what has happened to my boy,” said 65-year-old Debiprasad Sharma, wiping his tears as he pointed to the large tumour on the side of his six-year-old grandson Prithvi’s neck. “We don’t have insurance ... and we have spent more than 6,000 rupees already, double our monthly income,” said Sharma, who had travelled from northern India to the Mumbai pavement. “Hundreds of people come here everyday. Whatever money we can collect is spent on their treatment. There is no help from the government,” says H.K. Savla, managing trustee of Jeevan Jyot Cancer Relief & Care Trust. His char-

ity, run from a cramped office around the corner from the hospital, collects and sells used newspapers and glass bottles to pay for drugs, medical supplies and food for the cancer sufferers who arrive from across the country with little or no money for treatment. Savla, who has been working for cancer sufferers for 27 years, says he needs 1.5-2 million rupees ($30,000-$40,000) a month to provide basic services to the people who come to him for help. His budget stretches to just $3,000 a month. Even if all of that money were spent on the generic version of Nexavar, it would buy enough for barely 16 sufferers. Tata Memorial, which gets government and private funding, performs about 70,000 major and minor cancer surgeries every year and chemotherapy sessions for more than 300 patients a day. Patients with oxygen tubes in their noses sleep on benches in the corridors and families huddle on the floor of the teeming waiting area for cancer patients. Upstairs the ward is filled to the brim. At night, many will go back to sleep on the roadside or to cheap dormitories that charge 50 rupees a night. “Here, consultations are free. But drugs are expensive. And so is the cost of an overnight stay,” says Savla, as people queued for bowls of rice from his charity’s pot by the roadside. “Huge debt” Natco expects to sell $5-$6 million worth of generic Nexavar a year, its finance chief has said, equivalent to around 2,500 people using the drug for a full 12 months. India has around 2.5 million people living with cancer, or about one in every 500 people, according to government reports and medical organisations. That figure might be below the mark. “This is a gross underestimation,” said Nair, who is the country’s only representative on the advisor y committee for the World Health Organisation’s Director General. “Suppose someone in a rural area has cancer of the stomach,” Nair explained. “He will have pain for 2-3 months. He will try indigenous medicines. Finally he will die. No one will record his true cause of death.” —Reuters

HIGASHIMATSUYAMA, Japan: A pair of Caribbean flamingos extend their necks during courtship at the Saitama Children’s Zoo. — AFP

Joint replacement provides seniors leg up on activity MINNEAPOLIS: Caldrea employees Jennifer Martinez (left) and Christina Johnson stand at their adjustable workstations, developed by St. Paulbased Ergotron.— MCT

Can your desk help you lose weight? MINNEAPOLIS: James Levine has reviewed the statistics: One in three Minnesota adults is either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and one in four is obese. And he thinks he’s found the underlying ailment: “The sitting disease.” “Sitting is sort of the new smoking,” the Mayo Clinic endocrinologist said Wednesday on the eve of an experiment designed to tackle socalled “lifestyle” diseases. He and a team of researchers from Mayo and the University of Minnesota believe that even modest increases in daily activity could help people lose weight and improve their health - and help control the nation’s staggering health care bills. Levine, who walks on a treadmill while he works and believes in “walking staff meetings,” said similar studies have suggested that employees can burn up to 350 additional calories per day, reduce their health care costs and perform better at work by replacing 2 hours of sitting with standing each day. To test that theory, Levine and his team dropped in this week on the Minneapolis offices of Caldrea, a maker of environmentfriendly cleaning supplies. The desks of 30 employees have been replaced with adjustable “work-fit” stations, developed by the St. Paul, Minn.-based company Ergotron, that give the employees the option to sit or stand while working on their computers. The researchers began health screenings for the study Tuesday in Mayo’s “Obesity Prevention Bus,” a lab on wheels. The bus will return to Caldrea every 30 days for three months to measure changes in employees’ behavior and fitness.

James Greenwood, a senior sales analyst and account manager for Caldrea, said he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the study because for the last 14 years, he’s spent about 35 hours per week sitting at a desk. On Tuesday he found out that his bodymass-index (BMI) is 19, well within the range considered healthy, but he would like to get it lower. He said he’s tried everything from sitting on an exercise ball at his desk to biking and walking on his lunch breaks to stay active and alert in the office. “I think any time you get a chance to do something to break up your day or do something at work, it’s wonderful,” he said. Epidemiologist Mark Pereira, who studies community health at the University of Minnesota, helped design the study, which was introduced by one of his graduate students, Neer Dutta. The study is one of about six around the world studying similar workplace interventions, and is part of a larger research partnership between Mayo and the university to study the way lifestyle changes could improve health and wellness. After the three-month Caldrea study, the team plans to research ways that small lifestyle changes could help other populations such as children in schools, college freshmen and under-served communities, Pereira said. Greenwood transferred to Caldrea five months ago and he said he’s already seen how working for a company that “invests in his health” - Caldrea offers catered organic lunches and group fitness outings can improve office life. “Employees are definitely engaged,” he said. — MCT

SACRAMENTO: A lifetime of wear and tear on his joints caused Dick Pryor, a 77-year-old retired landscape architect, to undergo not one but two surgeries to replace his knees. Neither slowed him down for long. “With one knee replacement, I was back skiing three months later,” said Pryor, a Sacramento, Calif., resident who began skiing a half-century ago. “I could have gone skiing sooner, but the snow wasn’t any good.” Like Pryor, many of his 130 fellow members of the Sacramento, Calif., area 49er Ski Club - average age 72 - have dealt with chronic knee and hip problems, and many remain athletically active after joint replacement surgery. Pryor also walks every day to stay in shape. Bill Anthony, 83, a retired Roseville, Calif., family physician who had both hips replaced and, most recently, recovered from a broken back, likes to bike three times a week and lift weights when he’s not skiing. “We also do a lot of hiking,” said ski group member Judy Agid, 73, a hip replacement veteran and retired Sacramento State fencing coach who has hiked hundreds of miles through Spain and biked across America twice. “And we kayak in the summer,” said Anthony. While that level of activity might sound unusual, experts on aging say it hints at a new norm. For more energetic seniors today, knee and hip replacements provide a break from vigorous physical activity, not the end. In part, that’s because older adults have learned a key lesson: They expect to maintain a good quality of life, because they know that age does not equal infirmity and illness. “I’d say that age is irrelevant,” said Pat Beal, 74, Senior Center of Elk Grove executive director. “We have drivers for our Dial-A-Ride program who have hip replacements and can’t wait to get back to volunteering. They tell me how many weeks they’ll be out, and I have to tell them to take their time recovering. “Seniors recognize that life is short, and they don’t want to take more time away from what they enjoy. They want to get on with life and have fun while they can.” Increasingly, that quality of life doesn’t include enduring the aches and pains of joint problems caused by

osteoarthritis or previous injuries. Well before the tidal wave of the baby boom generation began hitting retirement age, the number of hip and knee replacement procedures more than doubled bet ween 1996 and 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Today, Americans undergo more than 1 million of these knee and hip procedures each year, and a growing number are performed on people in their 50s and 60s. For example, almost 5 percent of people aged 50 and older have had knee replacement surger y, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says - and so have 10 percent of people 80 and older. “A lot of our older people are trying to keep going and stay active until their maker calls them,” said Dr. Stephen Howell, a Methodist Hospital orthopedic surgeon who per forms 420 k nee replacement procedures each year. “I always tell people you only go around once. My

Dick Pryor skies Tahoe on the CaliforniaNevada border recently. — MCT

father is 88, and he’s got two knee replacements. He swims laps every day. He plays golf. He still lives independently. Without having his knees done, he’d be in a nursing home now.” Mobility issues and the debilitating level of pain associated with chronic joint problems are two of the major reasons an estimated 210,000 elderly Californians reside in the state’s short- and long-term care facilities. Joint replacement procedures can make living independently in old age possible for many people. And research indicates it can make life itself possible, as well. According to a 12-year study of 135,000 Medicare patients, those who underwent knee replacement surgery had half the risk of dying within the next seven years as patients who opted against the procedure. It’s an interesting equation that encompasses a lot of life beyond achy hips and knees: Joint replacement surgery enhances older adults’ chances of remaining physically active. In turn, being active not only helps mitigate difficulties with balance and falling; it also reduces the likelihood that seniors will become homebound and isolated, leading to a potentially deadly cascade of problems. “Everybody can be active at different levels,” said Lisa Cirill, who leads the state Depar tment of Public Health’s California Active Communities program. “It’s crucial that they are.” In a real way, staying mobile - being at least able to walk, if not run and bike and ski - prolongs lives. “One of the doctors I went to told me, ‘You’re getting older, and you’re doing too much,’” said Agid. “So I changed doctors.” She’s still going strong. So is Bill Anthony, who likes to tell people that he met a group of really elderly skiers at Mammoth a few years back - people in their 90s. And so is Dick Pryor, who recently changed his goal of skiing until he hits age 80: Now, he said, he’s going to keep going to at least 85. “These are people who raise the expectations of other people,” said Howell. “It’s very encouraging. We all do our part to mentor by example and to let other people know these things are possible.” — MCT



in brief

Fewer kids dying from leukemia NEW YORK: Kids with one type of leukemia are living longer than they used to, most likely thanks to new drug combinations that mean fewer patients are relapsing after a first round of treatment. In a study including more than 20,000 babies, kids and adolescents with the blood and bone marrow cancer, patients’ chances of surviving at least five years after their diagnosis increased from 84 percent in the early 1990s to over 90 percent a decade later. Blueberries and apples tied to lower diabetes risk NEW YORK: Eating more blueberries, apples and pears may be linked to lower risk of diabetes, according to a new US study. These fruits are loaded with flavonoids, a natural compound present in certain fruits, vegetables and grains, which some research has tentatively tied to heath benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease or cancer. Appeals court lets DEA suspend Cardinal license WASHINGTON: An appeals court allowed the government to suspend Cardinal Health Inc’s license to distribute potentially addictive drugs from a Florida facility, part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s battle against prescription drug abuse. The appeals court had previously granted an emergency stay of Cardinal’s suspension, but on Friday the court said Cardinal did not satisfy the “stringent requirements” for a stay pending a review from the court. Doctors’ life-support skills fade after training NEW YORK: Doctors and nurses are trained in how to save a cardiac arrest victim’s life, but those skills can fade quickly if they’re not used, a new study shows. In a review of 11 international studies, researchers found that health providers’ skills in advanced life support typically deteriorated six months to a year after training, based on test performance. Dutch extend warning on French breast implants AMSTERDAM: Dutch authorities on Thursday warned thousands of women who had breast implants made by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) before 2001 to consider removing them because they may leak silicone that could harm their health. The Health Ministry first raised concerns in 2010 about implants sold by the now defunct PIP. Based on new guidance from French authorities, it advised women to remove PIP implants done after 2001. Active seniors may outlive sedentary peers NEW YORK: A new study provides more evidence that physically active seniors may have a better overall health outlook. Out of 893 people around 80 years old, researchers found that the most active seniors had a lower risk of dying over the four-year study compared to those who moved the least. Supreme Court to release audio in healthcare cases WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court said on Friday it will release audio recordings and transcripts of oral arguments in the healthcare challenge immediately after the March 26-28 sessions, responding to what it called “extraordinary public interest.” The court rejected a request, however, from C-SPAN, endorsed by some members of Congress, to allow video recordings of the arguments. The court has long barred cameras from its white marble setting - a practice that has drawn criticism from Congress and media groups.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

Two cities, one vast gap in child obesity LOS ANGELES: Doris Chang limits her three sons’ intake of sweets and doesn’t feed them any processed or frozen food. At their Manhattan Beach, Calif., home, she monitors the boys’ time in front of the television and keeps them busy with baseball, basketball and karate. About 20 miles to the northeast, Lorena Hernandez takes her 6-year-old daughter to McDonald’s at least twice a week and frequently gives her Kool-Aid and soda. They go to the park often, but when they are in their Bell Gardens, Calif., home, the television is usually on. The families’ divergent attitudes toward food and exercise reflect just part of the challenge facing officials as they try to close a vast and costly gap in obesity rates across the greater Los Angeles region. Just 4 percent of children in affluent, mostly white Manhattan Beach are considered obese, the lowest rate countywide, according to public health officials. In poor, predominantly Latino Bell Gardens, the rate is 36 percent - higher than in any other city. “They are like two different worlds,” said Paul Simon, who directs chronic disease prevention for the county health department. Obesity among the young is starting to level off in California and around the nation. But stark disparities persist, posing vexing obstacles to further change. In Los Angeles County alone, the obesity epidemic costs about $12 billion a year for healthcare and in lost productivity, according to a 2006 report by the California Centre for Public Health Advocacy. The challenges are plain at the Bell Gardens Community Health Clinic, where physician Jacqueline Lopez, deals with the consequences: diabetes and heart disease. She delicately coaches families to pick healthful foods and break through cultural barriers. Many Latino parents, she said, simply don’t recognize the risks of their children being overweight. “There is a misperception that bigger children are healthier children,” she said. “I am trying to be sensitive, but really what we are talking about is these children are at risk of having a shortened life span.” Arturo Gonzalez said his 13-year-old daughter’s doctor recently told him she is 30 pounds overweight and showing early signs of diabetes. “I am worried,” he said, watching his 5-year-old son play on a swing set in a Bell Gardens park. “We talk about the consequences of being overweight. ... She listens, but it goes in one ear and out the other.” Gonzalez said his children watch too much television, snack too much and complain when he makes them take walks. He has enrolled his daughter in an after-school program to cut down on TV time and snacking. But he doesn’t think poverty is a culprit. “In Mexico, we were poor, but we weren’t overweight,” he said, recalling that children in his homeland drank water instead of soda and walked a lot. Bell Gardens’ officials are trying to combat the problem. They recently declared obesity a “serious public health threat,” banned sodas from park vending machines and are discussing adding track and fitness equipment as part of a park renovation. “We are trying policy-wise to make changes, but we can’t dictate what parents do in their homes,” said city recreation director Pam Wasserman. For parents on tight budgets, she said, healthful food isn’t always the least expensive option. “It is hard for us to compete with 10 tacos for $10.” Lorena Hernandez said her family often chooses fastfood restaurants because they are cheap. At home, she cooks Mexican specialties, such as beans, rice, tortillas and soups. Her husband has diabetes, but both she and her 6year-old daughter, Leanne, are thin, so she doesn’t worry about what they eat. “We don’t really talk about it at home, honestly,” she said. Bell Gardens falls at the opposite end

from Manhattan Beach on many economic and demographic indexes. About 80 percent of Manhattan Beach’s 36,000 residents are white, and the median household income is $127,000. Only 3 percent of people are living in poverty and three-fourths of residents over 25 have college degrees. There was a single homicide and 48 other violent crimes in 2010, according to the FBI. There are relatively few fast-food restaurants and several upscale grocery stores emphasizing fresh foods, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms. In Bell Gardens, 96 percent of the 44,000 residents are Latino, and median household income is less than onethird of Manhattan Beach’s. Nearly one in four residents lives in poverty and just 4 percent of those 25 or older have a college degree. Crime is far more prevalent, with five homicides and 210 other violent crimes in 2010. A 2009 survey by the Campaign for a Healthier Bell Gardens, start-

and exercise. Manhattan Beach, for example, has 5.7 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, more than three times the ratio in Bell Gardens, according to a 2007 report. And parks in poorer areas may be considered less safe and operate fewer hours, researchers say. Health advocates are working with Bell Gardens’ city government, businesses and educators, as well as the county, to plant gardens, hold minifarmers markets and take mobile health clinics to schools, encouraging the students to become advocates of better diets and more exercise. A major challenge is getting families to prepare healthful versions of traditional Latino dishes. “We are nowhere near where we need to be,” said Lani Cupchoy, who is directing the health improvement campaign. “We can’t really say we have a healthy city, but we are on the path.” Manhattan Beach Mayor Nicholas Tell noted that his city has a natural advantage to encourage healthy lifestyles: two miles of open waterfront. Residents ride bikes, run along the beach-side path or go surfing and

Children play on the sands of Manhattan Beach, the city with Los Angeles County’s lowest obesity rate, December 27, 2011. — MCT ed by a community clinic, found 141 convenience or fastfood restaurants within the city’s 2.4 square miles. Many grocery shopping options are smaller corner stores, where fresh produce choices and availability tend to be limited. Researchers have drawn strong links between obesity and such socioeconomic disparities. Families in lowincome areas are less aware of the harm that beverages and foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup can cause, said Dr. James Marks of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And schools in low-income areas generally have fewer physical education programs and may offer less healthful options in school cafeteria lunches, he said. “If people who want to make the healthy choices are unable to, they are not going to succeed,” Marks said. County health officials have noted more obesity in communities with less parkland, where children can get out

play volleyball on the sand. “We have this amazing beach that tells people to go outside,” he said. Manhattan Beach resident Barbra Fontana, 46, a former professional volleyball player, said her sons - ages 6 and 8 go boogie boarding or bike riding on weekends and play soccer, basketball and baseball other days. On a recent afternoon, they kicked a ball around Sand Dune Park as she looked on. “This is what I like my kids to be doing,” she said. “Sitting at a computer or a TV isn’t my cup of tea.” The differences extend indoors. At the Manhattan Beach Trader Joe’s, Chang, 39, filled her basket with fruit, bread, vegetables, eggs and yogurt. She generally avoids junk food, but lets the grandparents occasionally take the children out for ice cream or to McDonald’s. “I’m not inspecting every single package,” she said. “But I try to eat wholesome foods.” — MCT


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

W H AT ’ S O N

McDonald’s introduces new sandwich


our tour of the globe continues as McDonald’s releases the next sandwich in its Tastes of the World promotion - the eagerly-awaited The Arabian, hot on the heels of The Asian. The Asian sandwich that took the Kuwaiti market by storm was a tender patty and Halal chicken with a heated helping of Asian spice, served with a sprinkling of crispy shredded lettuce and topped off with creamy mayonnaise. While the new Arabian sandwich gives you a taste of home, succulent kofta patty, spiced with Arabian flavour with a rich garlic mayonnaise. Served in a soft, golden-brown bun with fresh ripe tomatoes, crispy shredded lettuce and onions, The Arabian is a taste sensation not to be missed. Give your taste buds a whirlwind tour of the world with iconic flavours that have the great McDonald’s taste you have come to expect, with an unexpected addition representative of specific world cuisines. With more to come from Tastes of the World, The Arabian, you’ll have to wait and see where McDonald’s takes you next! “We want to give our customers what they want which is their favourite McDonald’s taste but with a little bit of a difference. Our Middle East fans want to explore something new, and our Tastes of the World promotion takes their taste buds globetrotting through iconic international flavours. The Asian proved to be an incredible success, and we’re sure that The Arabian, with the Middle Eastern flavours that our fans know and love, will tantalise their senses,” said George Khawam, Marketing Director at McDonald’s-Kuwait. Besides being able to enjoy the sandwiches at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, customers will get a chance to live the Tastes of the World on McDonald’s Facebook page with a fun interactive application that enables them to create posters inspired from the Tastes of The World, including The Asian and The Arabian. McDonald’s is committed to serving you the very best, and does not and will not compromise on food quality. High quality is one of McDonald’s top priorities. All products served at all McDonald’s restaurants in the Middle East are Halal, inspected and approved by local authorities and Halal officers at the countries of export and customs officials at the port of entry. Meat used in McDonald’s restaurants can be traced back to a trusted supplier that shares its dedication to the highest quality standards.

‘Marriott Appreciation Night’ held at Arraya Ballroom


he JW Marriott Kuwait City Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Kuwait Hotel, and Arraya Ballroom organized its glamorous annual gala event in an effort to recognize and celebrate its loyal and prospective clients. This year’s celebrations saw over 500 attendees at Arraya Ballroom and the night was sponsored by Al-Raisi Group, Gizele fresh flowers and chocolates and Panasonic. As with every year, the 2012 Marriott Appreciation night’s program was full of surprises that included exciting entertainment, valuable spot prizes and sessions by one of Kuwait’s top DJs followed by a worldclass buffet dinner. The highlight of the evening was the distribution of custom-made plaques by the

General Manager George Aoun to the top 50 companies that contributed to the outstanding success of Kuwait Marriott Hotels’ over the year. Winners received an array of giveaways sponsored by AlHajery Group; complimentary room stays in other Marriott properties abroad and raffle draw gifts sponsored by Tanagra, Al-Hajery Group, Nestle, Home Selection, Centrepoint, Lina Jewelry, Rasasi Group, Kefan Optics, Microsoft, Qualitynet, Air Arabia, Kuwait Airways, Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines. Saif Mohammed, Country Director of Sales & Marketing commented, “The Marriott Appreciation Night is truly the talk of the town every year. Our

team worked extensively to ensure that the much anticipated evening went perfectly right from welcoming the guests to assuring that the best entertainment was deployed so as to stay true to the Marriott standard of hospitality. It gave us great pleasure in showcasing our immeasurable appreciation to our loyal corporate customers.” A frontrunner in the hospitality sector, Kuwait Marriott hotels are known for providing their guests with unsurpassed service and experience of approachable luxury. In Kuwait, Marriott International manages three iconic properties; the JW Marriott Kuwait City Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Kuwait Hotel, and Arraya Ballroom.

Announcements IOC arts competition Indian Overseas Congress, Kuwait is conducting Arts Competitions-2012 on 11th and 12 May 2012 at United Indian School. The winners of this prestigious competition will be awarded with trophies and medals. The awards will be distributed during the Gandhidarshan Program in October, this year. The competitions include Elocution, Solo, Poetry Recitation, Dance, Indian Patriotic Song, Mono act, Drawing/Painting and Poster Poetry. Although the competitions are mainly meant for children from various disciplines, Elocution and Indian Patriotic Song Competitions will be held for elders also. For entry forms, please contact the following collection points. Abbassiya - Hidine Super Market, Sakina Book Stall; Salmiya - Uduppi Restaurant, Sakina Book Stall; Riggae - Al Dallah Super Market; Fahaheel - Royal Mobile Services and Sales. For details, contact 24316426, 24884175, 24343173, 66110570, 66853100. Filled forms can be sent to fax : 24331461 or Email : Or deliver by hand to Sakina Book Stall, Abbassiya. Lecturers at AUK The Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) will be organizing the following events in March. Event Title: “The People are Missing” Lecturer By Dr Mai Al Nakib, on March 21, 2012 at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: Dr. Mai Al-Nakib’s presentation looks at the Palestinian community in Kuwait prior to the first Gulf War, and considers the ethical consequences to Kuwait after their expulsion in 1991. Event Title: City Images, on March 27, 2012, at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: This talk presents the issues surrounding the concept of ‘branding’ in relation to the city states of the Gulf, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Event Title: “Energy Conservation” Lecture by Jim Krane, on March 28, 2012 at 6-8 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: The speaker discusses the energy consumption issue in the Gulf. He examines the role of government, the population, and the barriers to promoting less consumption and reforming the energy sector. All events are open for public. Desert get-together A full day in the desert with the collaboration of the BBF (British Business Forum), BLS (British Ladies Society), ANZAK (Australians & New Zealanders), Diwaniya Italia (Italians in Kuwait), UFE (French Community in Kuwait), and the Lebanese community as well. It’s a get together day with loads of fun and a chance to compete in a real Paint Ball arena in the desert, participate in a mini football tournament & volleyball tournament, and there will also be many other activities such as ATV (Quads) Karaoke and more! A BBQ buffet catering will be provided by Holiday Inn Salmiya, and entertainment will be provided by DJ Shatti and Chromatic Band). For more information and early booking please call 5010-0734. What do you get... When you mix African drums with a herd of elephants and delicious food, to which you add lots of African music & rhythms, unique fashion in a flavor of colors, a few drops of a sleepy panther, a mini African market and just the right amount of leopard spots... all sprinkled with inimitable African spirit? Come and find out on Thursday, 22 March At Holiday Inn Hotel (Salmiya), Al Dana Ballroom from 7 pm - 10 pm For details regarding participation in the kids’ contest “Best African Costume”, e contact Lorie Beverly at

Movenpick Hotel announces Mother’s Day offers


hat is most splendid way to express our gratitude to those mothers who worked all their lives tirelessly without boredom for their children and families sake? Feelings of love and respect cherished deep in our hearts are the best expression of our hearty feelings towards mothers who give without any expectations of reward. Movenpick Hotel Kuwait has initiated special offers for Mother’s Day to be launched by March 21. On this great occasion, the value offers provide various ideas for those celebrating their mothers or wives. The offers present different options that include staying at the Hotel, enjoying a relaxed time and Spa facilities, or benefiting from special times at lunch or dinner in any of Hotel extravagant restaurants. Communications Manager, Yasmine Adel, commented saying: “Mother’s Day is

a real occasion for each one of us to present a special gift to his or her mother that will bring them closer to one another. On this special occasion, the Hotel releases a variety of impressive offers and events for the guests and visitors. Movenpick Hotel offers every mother discount matching her age. Discounts apply to published room rates. All moms receive a rose at breakfast time in Bays International buffet Restaurant, a complimentary drink with either lunch or dinner meals enjoyed in our outlets Cuts Latino restaurant, Al Dente Italian Restaurant, or the Garden where they can relax and unwind. Mothers may choose their favourite therapy treatment in the Arabian Spa at discounted prices for Massage, Massage with Tunisian Bath, Back Massage with Manicure or Facial Treatment with Pedicure.”

SPG’s new ‘Go-To’ app unites Starwood brands


tarwood Preferred Guest (SPG), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. yesterday introduces its new application for iPhone and iPod Touch, which utilizes stateaware technology to create personalized guest experiences across Starwood’s nine distinct brands. The latest development is part of Starwood’s ongoing commitment to tech innovation to meet the needs of today’s connected global traveler-for example, Starwood was the first in the industry to offer FaceTime customer service, a feature that’s built into the new SPG app. The app also includes fully integrated booking, member information, comprehensive hotel searches and travel details, customer service and social media. Meeting the needs of today’s mobile traveler A still-growing trend in the hospitality industry, Starwood’s mobile revenue has increased by more than 300 percent year-over-year, and the company has found that the patterns of travelers using mobile devices to book rooms are markedly different from those of more traditional web bookers. For instance, two-thirds of mobile bookings are within 24 hours of the stay, triple that of web bookings. “Mobile is a vital part of our business’s future, and it’s fast becoming the preferred way to book travel in both established and emerging markets around the world, such as the United States and China,” said Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest and Digital. “We’ve built the new SPG app to be an all-inone travel tool that connects our guests with all of the information they need to enhance their experience dur-

ing their journey with us.” Following guest feedback and member focus groups, SPG integrated key features into the app instead of directing to an outside mobile browser, creating a faster, more user-friendly experience. New options include the ability to find hotels by airport code or map and a streamlined home screen with “tiles” that are easily tapped or swiped to access frequent requests, such as account information, upcoming stays, customer support and special offers. State-aware interface The SPG app is the first in the travel industryand one of the first apps everto utilize stateaware technology, creating an interface that unites all nine of Starwood’s distinct lifestyle brands and its nearly 1,100 hotels and resorts; and adjusts the app’s look, feel and content depending on whether the user is planning, en route or already checked in to a specific hotel. Starting 48-hours before a guest is scheduled to arrive at a Starwood hotel or resort, the app sends

a push notification; and the “My Stay” interface becomes reflective of the specific brand and property, with homescreen access to key information such as hotel address in both English and the local language, weather, directions and hotel amenities. Once at the hotel, the guest’s stay is enhanced with integrated content such as their room number, on- and off-property dining and activity suggestions, and inapp access to social media channels such as FourSquare and Facebook. The app also offers an “Explore” tab for discovery when users don’t have a specific destination in mind. Explore provides customized hotel recommendations based on individual preferences such as trip type (e.g., beach, city, wedding), brand, SPG category and interests. Personalized, guest-centric interface As part of Starwood’s continued dedication to personalized guest service, the new app includes extensive content that’s easily filtered and customized. Members can use the app to store all relevant information about their SPG

profile and upcoming and past stays, as well as send hotel confirmation or other details to anyone via text or email. And, it incorporates location-based services to connect users, as needed, to the closest customer care center, in addition to a live FaceTime support option. “The new SPG app will help us build even deeper relationships with our loyal guests and provide them with relevant content not only while on-property but also before and after they stay with us,” said Mark Vondrasek, Senior Vice President, Starwood Distribution, Loyalty & Partnerships. “The app is carefully calibrated to reflect the SPG brand as well as the unique personality of each hotel but, more importantly, to reflect what’s most important to each guest. While some users will love tapping through the gorgeous hotel photos and reading the rich content, others will use the app strictly for practical purposes; and the app lets them customize their own experience.” Starwood’s mobile team partnered with Bottle Rocket to design and develop the SPG app-resulting in smart, intuitive navigation that seamlessly integrates SPG and hotel-specific branding into the iPhone’s famously user-friendly interface. The app, currently available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad or at, is the latest development in SPG’s evolution into a hyper-personalized guest services platform (earlier this month, SPG unveiled a suite of elite member benefits, including 24-hour check-in, access to a Starwood ambassador, confirmable upgrades and free breakfast). Currently available in English worldwide, the SPG app will be updated throughout 2012 with additional versions in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and new devices.


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

W H AT ’ S O N

Embassy Information

—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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

Al-Hasawi holds honouring ceremony


n their constant efforts to develop and motivate human capital, the human resources department in Al-Hasawi refrigerators and water coolers factories has identified a special day for the annual ceremony honouring and rewarding outstanding performance, loyalty and achievements as well as the ideal employee for the year of 2011. The ceremony started with the human recourses department speech by Nezar AlHasawi and the speech of the President Hasan Al-Hasawi where he stressed and encouraged them to work harder for mutual benefits. Among the audience participants there was Santhosh Kumar the General Manager and other departments’ managers. At the end of the ceremony, they distributed prizes and certificates and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner buffet later.

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

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

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

Fourth Geant Easy supermarket in Kuwait to open


he fourth outlet of Geant Easy supermarket is slated to shortly open in Kuwait’s Sulaibikhat area. The latest branch of Geant Easy will be inaugurated on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 9:30 am. With an area of over 27,000 square feet, the latest Geant Easy supermarket in Kuwait is conveniently located in what was formerly the Sulaibikhat Cinema, just off Road 80 on the way from Kuwait City to Jahra. A wide variety of products, including groceries, frozen foods, bakery products, butchery, fish, home linen, household items, household accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, electronics and mobiles are on display at the new branch. Choicest meat-cuts will be also available at the butchery, along with fabulous selection of cheese and coldcuts at the deli-counter. The new outlet of Geant Easy super-

market is ideally located as it will provide easy access to residents in Sulaibikhat, as well as to shoppers in the surrounding areas of Doha, Granada and Andalus. The new supermarket promises an allround great shopping experience through its contemporary design and layout, spaciously wide aisles, easy to follow signage, warm customer service and a no-frills philosophy of offering customers quality products at the lowest prices. Commenting on the decision to open the fourth branch of Geant Easy in Kuwait, Arif Shaikh, Group Managing Director of BMA, the UAE based retail conglomerate that represents global retail giant Geant in the GCC markets of Bahrain, UAE and Kuwait, said, “We are very pleased with the excellent performance of our main brand, Geant

Hypermarket, which opened nearly three years ago at 360 Mall. However, to gain added market share in Kuwait, we will be opening another five Geant Easy supermarkets within this year. The decision to open an outlet in Sulaibikhat is based on this expansion strategy, and the tremendous potential we see for retailing in this ideal catchment area.” Speaking about the new branch opening, Mohammed Ashfaq, Country Head, added, “Our latest branch in Sulaibikhat offers yet another great opportunity to showcase the Geant Easy format supermarkets in Kuwait. The overwhelming response that we received from day-one at our existing three Geant Easy supermarkets in Kuwait is a vindication of our confidence in the local market. The footfall that we keep pulling into the existing stores was

beyond our expectations and we expect to replicate the same success with our new supermarket at Sulaibikhat. The tremendous success of the Geant Easy format has encouraged us to open more of similar outlets in the country offering great bargains, with the aim of becoming the first choice of shoppers in every area we operate.” Along with the new opening in Sulaibikhat, and their three successful outlets that have been operating since August 2010 in Salmiya, from September 2011 in Souk Jleeb and since February 2012 from Egaila, Geant Easy plans on opening yet another outlet in Farwaniya by the first quarter of this year. In addition, as part of their aggressive expansion plan, four more Geant Easy supermarkets are slated to open in different parts of the country by the end of 2012.

NAFO releases ‘Samagamam’ Flyer


A Remesh, Country Head, Gulfmart and Geant Easy Supermarket released NAFO’s program flyer “Samgamam,’ a flamboyant cultural extravaganza.

‘Samgamam’, a nostalgic eve of harmony and festivity, will be staged on the happy occasion of the 9th anniversary celebrations of NAFO Kuwait, at the American

International, School Auditorium, Maidan-Hawalli, on Friday, May 11, 2012, at 6:30 pm. “The flawless renditions of Mohiniyattam exponent Vinitha

Nedungady, winner of best play back singer of Kerala State Film Awards 2010 and 2011 Rajalakshmy and the winner of Asianet star singer Vivekanandan, will elevate the audience to multi-dimensional realms of visual experience”, said Gopakumar, program convener. The super show is expected to live up to the aspirations of art loving public of Kuwait. “Spreading the flames of universal love and peace, a cultural meeting with the participation of eminent personalities from both Kuwait and India will also be held along the stage show. NAFO Kuwait, a nonpolitical, non-commercial association, has been in Gulf for the last eight years delivering social, cultural and welfare services to the community by way of helping the needy, supporting economically backward people, aid to ailing community members, students educational aid, providing platform for youngsters to exhibit their in-born talents, organizing personality and leadership skills workshops for children etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


00:50 Animal Cops Philadelphia 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Into The Dragon’s Lair 03:35 Wild France 04:30 Seven Deadly Strikes 05:25 Wild France 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 In Too Deep 07:10 Animal Cops Philadelphia 08:00 Orangutan Island 08:25 Growing Up...: Polar Bear Orphan 09:15 The Really Wild Show 09:40 Project Puppy 10:10 World’s Ugliest Dog Competition 11:05 Extreme Animals 12:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:55 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Wild Animal Orphans 14:45 Animal Cops Houston 15:40 Extreme Animals 16:30 Echo And The Elephants Of Amboseli 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 18:00 Talk To The Animals 18:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 19:20 Must Love Cats 20:15 Orangutan Island 20:40 Wildlife SOS 21:10 Gorilla School

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

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Lark Rise to Candleford Orang-Utan Diary Monarch Of The Glen Last Woman Standing Doctor Who Confidential Allo ‘Allo! Fimbles Charlie and Lola Jackanory Junior Boogie Beebies Buzz & Tell Tikkabilla 3rd & Bird The Adventures of Spot Fimbles Charlie and Lola Jackanory Junior Boogie Beebies Buzz & Tell Tikkabilla 3rd & Bird The Adventures of Spot 2 Point 4 Children Keeping Up Appearances The Weakest Link My Family Doctors The Planets Monarch Of The Glen Keeping Up Appearances 2 Point 4 Children The Weakest Link My Family Doctors The Planets Monarch Of The Glen The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City 2 Point 4 Children Beautiful People Waking The Dead Keeping Up Appearances My Family Red Cap

Holmes On Homes Diy SOS Holmes On Homes What Not To Wear Gok’s Fashion Fix MasterChef Australia Diy SOS French Food At Home Bargain Hunt

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Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger Gok’s Fashion Fix Fantasy Homes By The Sea Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow

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

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Living Golf World Sport World Report The Best Of Backstory Talk Asia Fareed Zakaria Gps CNN Newsroom Eco Solutions News Special World Sport Inside Africa World Report World Sport News Special World Business Today The Best Of Backstory African Voices World One Fareed Zakaria Gps News Stream World Business Today International Desk Global Exchange World Sport African Voices International Desk Quest Means Business Piers Morgan Tonight Connect The World With

Looney Tunes Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show The Scooby Doo Show Scooby-Doo And ScrappyJelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes

Becky Anderson CRIME & INVESTIGATION 00:00 Born To Kill 01:00 Double Murder: The Inside Story 02:00 Crime Stories 03:00 Infamous Murders 03:30 Infamous Murders 04:00 Double Murder: The Inside Story 05:00 Crime Stories 06:00 Infamous Murders 06:30 Infamous Murders 07:00 Crime Stories 08:00 Crime Town USA

00:00 ksa 07:00 07:10 07:35 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:15 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:20 11:45 12:10 12:35 13:00 13:25 13:45 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:30 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00

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programmes start at 7:00am kid vs kat pokemon: black and white phineas and ferb pair of kings i’m in the band kick buttowski zeke & luther phineas and ferb kid vs kat spiderman pair of kings rekkit rabbit american dragon kick buttowski phineas and ferb i’m in the band kid vs kat pair of kings zeke & luther rekkit rabbit pokemon: black and white kickin it pair of kings zeke & luther phineas and ferb i’m in the band pair of kings rated a for awesome pokemon: black and white phineas and ferb

replacements fairly odd parents a kind of magic stitch replacements fairly odd parents a kind of magic fish hooks recess timon and pumbaa phineas and ferb good luck charlie fish hooks wizards of waverly place mickey mouse clubhouse jake & the neverland pirates handy manny the hive recess so random have a laugh hannah montana suite life on deck jake & blake sonny with a chance wizards of waverly place phineas and ferb so random suite life on deck wizards of waverly place shake it up good luck charlie a.n.t. farm phineas and ferb recess so random fish hooks wizards of waverly place shake it up a.n.t. farm suite life on deck good luck charlie have a laugh wizards of waverly place hannah montana phineas and ferb shake it up


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Surviving The Cut Mythbusters Gold Rush Swords: Life On The Line How Do They Do It? Cake Boss Border Security Dirty Money Beetle Crisis Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Auction Kings How It’s Made How Do They Do It? Cake Boss Gold Rush Swords: Life On The Line Swamp Loggers

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

Weird Or What? What’s That About? The Tech Show Prototype This Future Weapons The Gadget Show How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Meteorite Men Killer Outbreaks Man Made Marvels Asia Thunder Races Nasa’s Greatest Missions Science Of The Movies How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made The Gadget Show The Tech Show Thunder Races Man Made Marvels Asia Nasa’s Greatest Missions Mega World Superships The Gadget Show Thunder Races Mega World Superships

00:40 meat & potatoes 01:05 reza, spice prince of india 01:30 good eats 01:55 restaurant: impossible 02:45 diners, drive-ins & dives 03:10 diners, drive-ins & dives 03:35 barefoot contessa - back to basics 04:00 barefoot contessa - back to basics 04:25 chopped 05:15 unique sweets 05:40 good eats 06:05 aarti party 06:30 diners, drive-ins & dives 06:50 food network challenge 07:35 barefoot contessa - back to basics 08:00 the next iron chef 08:50 reza, spice prince of india 09:15 barefoot contessa - back to basics 09:40 good eats 10:05 healthy appetite with ellie krieger 10:30 paula’s best dishes 10:55 luke nguyen’s vietnam 11:20 lidia’s italy 11:45 30 minute meals 12:10 unwrapped 12:35 diners, drive-ins & dives 13:00 good eats 13:25 guy’s big bite 13:50 aarti party 14:15 cooking for real 14:40 barefoot contessa - back to basics 15:05 healthy appetite with ellie krieger 15:30 unwrapped 15:55 paula’s best dishes 16:20 meat & potatoes 16:45 chopped 17:35 cooking for real 18:00 barefoot contessa - back to basics 18:25 diners, drive-ins & dives 18:50 aarti party 19:15 good eats 19:40 chef vs britain 20:05 meat & potatoes 20:30 the next iron chef 21:20 luke nguyen’s vietnam 22:10 easy chinese: san francisco 23:00 reza, spice prince of india

00:20 00:50 01:15 01:40 02:10 02:30 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:20 04:40 05:10 05:35 06:00 06:30 06:50 07:15 07:45 08:00 08:15 08:45 09:10 09:20 09:35 10:05 10:15 pooh 10:20 10:35 10:40 10:55 11:00 11:15 11:20 11:45 12:10 12:35 12:45 13:10 13:25 13:40 14:05

special agent oso lazytown little einsteins jungle junction little einsteins special agent oso lazytown little einsteins jungle junction little einsteins special agent oso lazytown little einsteins jungle junction little einsteins lazytown jungle junction handy manny special agent oso jungle junction mickey mouse clubhouse the hive handy manny jake & the neverland pirates the hive mini adventures of winnie the jungle junction cars toons handy manny cars toons jungle junction cars toons imagination movers art attack imagination movers special agent oso lazytown handy manny jungle junction imagination movers the hive

14:15 14:25 14:50 15:15 15:40 16:05 16:20 16:35 16:40 16:55 17:00 17:15 17:20 17:45 18:10 18:20 18:30 18:45 18:55 19:25 19:35 20:00 pooh

special agent oso little einsteins lazytown mickey mouse clubhouse jake & the neverland pirates mouk handy manny cars toons mouk cars toons jungle junction cars toons lazytown art attack the hive special agent oso jungle junction handy manny jake & the neverland pirates the hive little einsteins mini adventures of winnie the

00:25 00:55 01:25 tic... 03:15 04:10 05:05 05:30 06:00 07:50 08:20 09:15 10:15 12:05 13:05 14:05 ans 15:00 15:30 16:25 16:55 17:55 18:55 19:55 20:55 21:25 22:25 23:25 23:55 ans

kendra style star 20 best & worst celebrity plase! investigates sexiest then and now wildest tv show moments ths behind the scenes e! news kourtney & kim take new york 30 best & worst beach bodies kendra dirty soap keeping up with the kardashistyle star ths behind the scenes bridalplasty kourtney & kim take new york e!es khloe and lamar chelsea lately dirty soap fashion police chelsea lately keeping up with the kardashi-

00:00 00:50 01:15 02:30 03:20 05:00 05:50 07:30 08:00 09:00 africa 09:25 11:55 12:45 13:35 14:25 15:15 16:05 16:55 17:45 africa 18:10

best of the streets wrestling with reality aiya tv ed’s up fantasy factory man’s work fim world supermoto 2010 ticket to ride 2009/2010 ride guide snow 2008 kenny belaey’s big time south

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

Scorned: Crimes Of Passion I Married A Mobster I Was Murdered Behind Mansion Walls Kidnap And Rescue Scorned: Crimes Of Passion I Married A Mobster I Was Murdered True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared I Married A Mobster Scorned: Crimes Of Passion

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Calcutta Or Bust Earth Tripping Meet The Natives: USA Young Global Hotshots One Man & His Campervan Bondi Rescue Endurance Traveller Long Way Down The Best Job In The World Calcutta Or Bust Earth Tripping Meet The Natives: USA Young Global Hotshots One Man & His Campervan Bondi Rescue Endurance Traveller Long Way Down The Best Job In The World Calcutta Or Bust Earth Tripping Banged Up Abroad Banged Up Abroad Graham’s World Destination Extreme Motorcycle Karma Perilous Journeys Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Banged Up Abroad Banged Up Abroad Graham’s World Destination Extreme Motorcycle Karma Perilous Journeys

alli presents glutton for punishment ed’s up dragrace high blood, sweat and gears world combat league glutton for punishment ed’s up kenny belaey’s big time south alli presents

THE A-TEAM ON OSN CINEMA 18:00 Death At A Funeral-PG15 20:00 Held Up-PG15 22:00 The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who.. 00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 18 07:30 09:15 12:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 22:00

Chicago Overcoat-18 Homecoming-18 Icarus-18 The Haunting Of Molly HartleyDick Tracy-PG15 2012-PG15 The Postman-PG15 Dick Tracy-PG15 Armored-18 The Postman-PG15 True Justice: Dark Vengeance

01:15 Sinners & Saints-18 03:15 My Dog Tulip-PG15 05:00 Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale-PG15 06:45 Bright Star-PG15 09:00 My Dog Tulip-PG15 11:00 Letters To Juliet-PG15 13:00 Arthur And The Revenge Of Maltazard-PG 15:00 Despicable Me-FAM 17:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 18:45 The A-Team-PG15 21:00 Winter’s Bone-18 23:00 Saw VII: The Final ChapterPG15

00:00 Allen Gregory 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 The Cleveland Show 03:00 Friends With Benefits 04:00 Dharma And Greg 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The Simpsons 06:00 Just Shoot Me 06:30 Yes Dear 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Dharma And Greg 08:30 Friends With Benefits 09:00 The Simpsons 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Yes Dear 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Just Shoot Me 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 Yes Dear 14:00 Friends With Benefits 14:30 Hot In Cleveland 15:00 Two And A Half Men 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Just Shoot Me 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 Mad Love 19:00 Two And A Half Men 19:30 Traffic Light 20:00 Community

01:00 Full Metal Jacket-18 03:00 Jason X-18 05:00 Luster-18 07:00 The Front-PG15 09:00 Returner-PG15 11:00 Little Big Soldier-PG15 13:00 The Karate Kid III-PG 15:00 Returner-PG15 17:00 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within-PG 19:00 Circle Of Eight-18 21:00 True Justice: Dark Vengeance 23:00 Restitution-PG15

01:00 Babies-18 03:00 Napoleon Dynamite-PG 05:00 Film Socialisme-PG15 07:00 Bond Of Silence-PG15 09:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 11:00 Lies In Plain Sight-PG15 12:30 The Prince And Me 4: The Elephant Adventure-PG15 14:30 Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 17:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 19:00 Unstoppable-PG15 21:00 Held Up-PG15 23:00 Paranormal Activity 2-18

00:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 02:00 Legend Of Sleeping Beauty 04:00 Gladiators: The Tournament 06:00 Cars 2-FAM 08:00 Alex & Alexis-FAM 10:00 The Spy Next Door-PG 12:00 Gulliver’s Travels-PG 14:00 Gladiators: The Tournament 16:00 Megamind-FAM 18:00 The Spy Next Door-PG 20:00 Gulliver’s Travels-PG 22:00 Pocahontas III: The Journey In Time-PG

01:00 Volvo Ocean Race 02:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 02:30 European PGA Tour 07:00 Super League 09:00 Volvo Ocean Race 10:00 Trans World Sport 11:00 Live NRL Premiership 13:00 Futbol Mundial 13:30 WWE Bottomline 14:30 This Week in WWE 15:00 Trans World Sport 16:00 Volvo Ocean Race 18:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 19:00 Super Rugby Highlights 20:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 NRL Premiership 23:00 Premier League Darts

01:00 Scottish League Cup 03:00 Futbol Mundial 03:30 NRL Premiership 05:30 ICC Cricket World 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 Scottish League Cup 09:00 Golfing World 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Ping Pong World Championship 13:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 13:30 Scottish Premier League 15:30 Super Rugby 17:30 Futbol Mundial 18:00 ICC Cricket World 18:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 19:00 Trans World Sport 20:00 NRL Full Time 20:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 21:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 21:30 Scottish League Cup 23:30 Golfing World

01:30 NRL Premiership 03:30 Scottish Premier League 05:30 Volvo Ocean Race 06:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 European PGA Tour 12:30 Golfing World 13:30 Premier League Darts 17:00 NRL Premiership 00:00 You Again-PG15 19:00 Anglo Welsh Cup 02:00 Love Hurts-PG15 21:00 Top 14 Highlights 04:00 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & 21:30 Golfing World Larry-PG15 22:30 European PGA Tour 06:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian- Highlights PG15 23:30 ICC Cricket World 08:00 Sleepover-PG15 10:00 A Film With Me In It-PG15 11:45 The Parent Trap-PG 14:00 Fools Rush In-PG15 01:00 WWE Bottom Line 16:00 You Again-PG15 02:00 V8 Supercars Highlights

03:00 04:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00

V8 Supercars Highlights UFC Unleashed WWE Bottom Line WWE Experience Speedway Mobil 1 The Grid V8 Supercars Extra V8 Supercars Highlights WWE NXT WWE Experience WWE SmackDown V8 Supercars UFC UFC Unleashed

00:00 UFO Hunters 01:00 The Universe 02:00 Mud Men 03:00 Pawn Stars 04:00 Ancient Aliens 05:00 The Universe 06:00 UFO Hunters 07:00 The Universe 08:00 Mud Men 09:00 Pawn Stars 10:00 Ancient Aliens 11:00 The Universe 12:00 UFO Hunters 13:00 The Universe 14:00 Mud Men 15:00 Pawn Stars 16:00 Ancient Aliens 17:00 The Universe 18:00 UFO Hunters 19:00 The Universe 20:00 Patton 360 21:00 IRT: Deadliest Roads – The Andes 23:00 UFO Files

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

Glam Fairy Open House Open House Fashion Classics Open House Videofashion Daily Videofashion News How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Married Away Clean House Videofashion News Videofashion News Videofashion Daily Open House Fashion Classics How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Clean House Dress My Nest Mel B: It’s A Scary World How Do I Look? Giuliana & Bill Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Designer Marathon Designer Marathon Tia And Tamera Tia And Tamera Clean House: New York Giuliana & Bill The Amandas

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 Planet Food 02:00 Indian Times 03:00 Luxury Train Journeys In India 04:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 05:00 Globe Trekker 06:00 Glutton For Punishment 07:00 Planet Food 08:00 Globe Trekker 09:00 Planet Sports 10:00 Intrepid Journeys 11:00 Planet Food 12:00 Flavours Of Greece 12:30 Going South 13:00 Globe Trekker 14:00 Planet Food 15:00 Spring 15:30 Spring 16:00 Australia’s Great Wildlife Islands 17:00 Globe Trekker 18:00 Going South 18:30 Flavours Of Greece 19:00 Planet Food 20:00 Globe Trekker

Classifieds MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012




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ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation two bedroom flat in Abbassiya, two bachelors accommodation from April 1st. Rent KD 40. Contact: 99162583. (C 3917) Accommodation in Farwaniya near Gulf Mart, big room for bachelor or couple, Filipino only, available April 21. Contact: 94418396. 19-3-2012 Sharing accommodation available in two bed room flat, one furnished room available for family in Salmiya behind fire station. Contact: 25618576, Mob: 66373409 after 2 pm. 18-3-2012 Room available in Salmiya near City Center for decent bachelor, rent KD 75 (Pakistani or Indian). Tel: 99959140. (C 3914) Accommodation available for non smoking decent bachelor in Khaitan with separate bathroom and CA/C, sharing with Sri Lankan family. Contact: 66704630. (C 3913) 15-3-2012 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya with Keralite Christian family near German clinic, rent KD 55 (Christian visiting couples only). Contact: 97145592. (C 3909) 13-3-2012 Accommodation available in Abbassiya double bedroom flat, two bachelors accommodation available April 1st, rent KD 40. Contact: 99162583. (C 3900) Sharing accommodation in Farwaniya near Gulf Mart, big room for bachelor or couple, Filipino only, available April 21. Contact: 94418396. 10-3-2012

FOR SALE Toyota Yaris model 2011 car, 4 cylinder strong engine km done 35000, registration March 2014, grey color, excellent condition, installment possible, cash price KD 2880, negotiable. Tel: 99105286. (C 3916) 17-3-2012 Toyota Prado 2006, golden color, 6 clr, 4 doors, km 101000. Price KD 5250. Mob: 66729295. (C 3908) 13-3-2012

MATRIMONIAL Alliance sought for Brahmin boy aged 28, decently employed in Kuwait, from parents of girls preferably employed in Kuwait. Please contact: 11-3-2012

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

Mitsubishi Pajero 2003, baige color, GLX, 1,35000 km, 2 doors, 6 cyl, (one owner, company maintained). Contact: 66133001. 12-3-2012 Lady driven Land Rover model 1996, passing up to Nov 2012, available for sale, KD 550. Contact: 97358878. (C 3905) 11-3-2012

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

SITUATION WANTED FOR RENT Female 26 years post graduate 4 years experience in HR executive, seeking suitable jobs. Mob: 60473639. E m a i l : (C 3918) 19-3-2012 25 years experienced Indian seeking part time or full time assignment in finance management/ development analysis, or internal auditing or any other senior position any big company. Contact: 65802853. (C 3910) 18-3-2012 Female, MBA, with total 8 years experience (3 years, in Kuwait). Specialized in all areas of HR/Admin functions of big companies. Looking for suitable post. Contact: 94062123. (C 3902) 10-3-2012

SITUATION VACANT Housemaid wanted for a small family in Farwaniya. Mob: 97514390 19-3-2012 Manager (Asian) in Maidan Hawally looking for a maid. Part time. Good salary. Call 97263962 for details. (C 3915) 17-3-2012

Flat in South Surra, 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are master + living room + kitchen + maid room, new, super deluxe. Tel: 97864628. For rent, commercial flat in Hawally, can be used as workshop, large area. No middle men. Parking. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Bneid Al-Gar, 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + Gym + swimming pool overlooking the sea, central satellite + internet. For families, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 3 bedroom + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. 4x4 rooms, 4x8 living room for expatriates only. Rent KD 330. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. Families only, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. A commercial floor in Salmiya. Close to Blajat. Car parking. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. First floor in Shuhada, 4 rooms + living room + 5 bathrooms + maid room + balcony. Must be small family. Tel: 60308586.

A Kuwaiti family looks to hire experienced driver and cook. Contact: 97691119. (C 3911)

Flat in Zahra, 2 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + laundry room + maid room. Tel: 60308586.

Housemaid wanted for an Indian doctor family in Kuwait City. Call 55003696 / 55003699. (C 3912) 14-3-2012

A floor in Zahra, 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms, second floor, elevator. Must be small family. Tel: 99719887.

No: 15392 VW Tiguan (car) 2010, exterior white, interior black / Tan manual gear, in great condition, 22000 mph, under Kuwait warranty. Price KD 4900. Contact: 66663494. (C 3907)


TUITION Math teacher for secondar y stage, language schools, bi-lingual schools and intermediate stage: Algebra, Gmath, Geometry, Statistics for arts and science branches. Tel: 66974020. English language teacher specialized in starting elementary and intermediate, 10th and 11th experienced in starting functions, grammar, set book, vocabulary, notes and model exams available. Tel: 65791555. Arabic language teacher, masters in methods of teaching for secondary and intermediate students. Tel: 50644685. Senior Arabic language teacher, elementary and intermediate, long experience in Kuwait curricula, explaining grammar rules and starting those weak in reading and writing. Tel: 99262948. Senior chemistr y and physics teacher. Long experience for 10th, 11th and 12th stages. Intermediate science and applied institutions. Highly competent. Tel: 99542922. Mathematics and statistics female teacher for female students in the secondary, intermediate, university and applied institutions female students. Tel: 99410370. Female Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate, and starting the weak using Halaby method in her house located in Abdallah Al-Mubarak area. Tel: 50513699. Senior biology and science teacher for 12th, 11th and 10th grades, and science for all intermediate classes, religious institutes, nursing, educational experience, simple explanation for fast understanding. Tel: 66543474. Senior Arabic language and Islamic studies teacher to help weak and slow learning students in a short time. 20 years experience, teaching all elementary subjects excep E. Arabic and Islamic studies for elementary and intermediate.


MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

stars CROSSWORD 621



Aries (March 21-April 19) The energies today bring about a phase of sublime spiritual development. You should be aware of tendencies to believe too quickly, too deeply, or to become dependent on things or people that seem to offer quick and easy answers to life’s deepest yearnings. Reading, general chores and interesting conversations with neighbors make up most of this day. Someone visiting in your home at this time may say things that will remind you of the many things you are grateful for in your life. This evening you may decide on some changes in your diet or an exercise program. You have an instinctive urge to get serious about taking care of yourself at many levels. Diet, exercise and work mean more now: you want to feel good about yourself.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Do not get too far off base from your path of personal progress now. Stay focused but do not be afraid to share your compassionate nature with others. Your ability to easily solve problems is helpful to your own personal life, as it is to others. If you ask your uppermost most inner self the questions that boggle your mind, you will be able to find the answers you need—especially through meditation. Money problems could come between you and your loved one now, but as long as you keep the realistic in sight you will find the right answers. There is a tendency to be too strict with your own self: to insist that whatever does not contribute to security and other long-term goals is trivial. This thinking may be warranted but you must find the right balance.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. Consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving

offence. 5. Lower in esteem. 10. A genetic disorder of metabolism. 13. A state in the western United States. 14. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 15. A broad flat muscle on either side of the back. 16. A rapid series of short loud sounds (as might be heard with a stethoscope in some types of respiratory disorders). 17. Make reference to. 19. The basic monetary unit in many countries. 21. Covered with paving material. 23. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 26. A coffee cake flavored with orange rind and raisins and almonds. 27. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 29. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 30. A public promotion of some product or service. 32. Imperial dynasty that ruled China (most of the time) from 206 BC to 221 and expanded its boundaries and developed its bureaucracy. 37. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 39. Ornamentation with beads. 42. Before noon. 43. A nucleic acid consisting of large molecules shaped like a double helix. 45. Drought-resistant Asiatic treelike shrub bearing pleasantly acid small red edible fruits commonly used in sherbets. 48. A small island. 54. Illusory auditory perception of strange nonverbal sounds. 58. 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. 59. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 60. On a ship, train, plane or other vehicle. 63. The syllable naming the first (tonic) note of any major scale in solmization. 64. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 65. Derived from or containing calcium or lime. 66. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event. DOWN 1. Surface layer of ground containing a matt of grass and grass roots. 2. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 3. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 4. Of or relating to the palm of the hand or to the area at the base of the thumb. 5. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 6. The second month of the Hindu calendar. 7. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 8. The universal time coordinated time on board the spacecraft. 9. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 10. Exactly vertical. 11. A small canoe consisting of a light frame made watertight with animal skins. 12. A city in central New York. 18. (Scotland) A slope or hillside. 20. A heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances. 22. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 24. A bachelor's degree in religion. 25. Divulge information or secrets. 28. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 31. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 33. Type genus of the Nepidae. 34. A slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water. 35. The portion of the vertebrate nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord. 36. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 38. A farewell remark. 40. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 41. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 44. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 46. All the plant life in a particular region. 47. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 49. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 50. A correctional institution used to detain persons who are in the lawful custody of the government (either accused persons awaiting trial or convicted persons serving a sentence). 51. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 52. Little known Kamarupan languages. 53. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 55. An enclosed space. 56. A master's degree in business. 57. The sixth day of the week. 61. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 62. The district occupied entirely by the city of Washington.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) This is a good time for a garage sale. Possessions, investments and real estate are highlighted today. Get rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose; you will notice a sense of freedom and be encouraged to have clear thinking about future achievements. Who knows, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so to speak, and some of your items may bring some good monetary results. Your investment in a home or property could bring about the reason to get rid of those things you have never really liked much—an old couch, perhaps. This is a time when the new and unexpected may figure in your living situation or surroundings. You may be very helpful to a young person this evening. You will know just how to contribute your time.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Everyone is ready for the day’s activities. This could include a painting party or perhaps, a baby shower. You will find everyone you come across today looking forward to some group project or some fun activity. There is an opportunity to encourage someone else to become involved or to teach someone a hobby that you enjoy. This may open all sorts of opportunities to get someone to open up to you and to promote a healing. This is the time to relax and enjoy the friends or loved ones that are around you now. The responsibilities that you have had in the past will ease up now. The loved one that you felt was discontented will become relaxed and receptive to your loving touch tonight. If weather permits, take a long walk—enjoy the stars and each other.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Expect a change in your personal rhythm at this time. The saying for today is: go-with-the-flow. Complete unfinished personal business before relaxing this afternoon—you will feel more in-focus. This may include paying bills, writing letters or creating meals for the workdays ahead. Make a conscious effort to seek out happy, up-beat people that you can laugh and play with this afternoon. While you seem to attract people that challenge you, today is good for enjoying the friends that are most compatible with you—relax. An initial physical attraction this evening could turn into a lasting partnership. Opening up to a close friend helps you to form your goals in your mind—and may help them as well. You might consider buying a phone card for this friend.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Harmony is obtained today if you practice moderation. Your inner wellbeing is recognized through a state of harmony. If you can maintain that harmonious frame of mind you will notice that those in your surroundings will begin to work and live in a harmonious state. Expect to attract the abundant things of life you and your family so well deserve—visualize yourself as a magnet for these things. Your personal rhythm will be changing slightly—keep that positive attitude. There is much energy today to accomplish what you set out to do. You may enjoy delving into one of your hobbies today—people will be fascinated at what you can create. Use your emotions to express your art. A little extra income from your art is possible, if you want it.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


You feel the need to do favors for a relative today. This could just be a favor or perhaps it is your turn to lend a helping hand. Whatever the reason for your helpfulness, there is a great deal of satisfaction from your efforts. You may also experience a loss of financial stature because of a relative, especially if you are supporting them momentarily. Your confidence is high, however, and you know that you will be able to restore those hard-earned dollars quickly. Later today, you have the opportunity to attend a lecture, seminar or some sort of conference. This will widen your own knowledge of your hobby, job specialty or project that you want to attempt soon. You may be learning some new craft or style of working today.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Emotional security and a sense of belonging and nurturing are felt instinctively now. Comfort and ease will be welcomed. This is a very nice day, perhaps filled with some renewed appreciation for all that is beautiful and fine. Compromises may be the key ingredient for a successful day with friends or family. A testy person may enter your life this afternoon but you can stay peaceful by not trying to prove a point. Any subject with this person is a no-win situation just now. There will be a time, perhaps not today, that will allow you to converse in a more successful manner—patience. You might feel love or value for an older person now and lend a helping hand. This evening someone special is the recipient of your lavish affection.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You tend to have a single-minded pursuit for today. This could be anything from a repair project around your living area to just catching up on the chores you have put aside these last few days. This afternoon is a good time to take a little trip, or get outside. You may want to break from your own work or chores and try something new or different. This evening is a good time to be with friends or family. Relationships with friends and family are strong and carefree. A common interest in spiritual and mystical values among family members may occur at this time as well. While you tend to attract people with opposing viewpoints, today you will not be confrontational. Romance is strong this evening and the opportunities to express affection are great.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


You may find yourself guiding someone younger than you in matters of importance. While you are in the mode of fixing people, you may decide to make every effort to fix the finances around your family. Make it a point to plan a budget. Give all family members private, little expense books to help them balance their parts of the budget. They do not need to show their little books to you—they just need to keep tabs on their expenses for their own review. This way they will know how much they have each day and how they can save to get what they want. You might want to put travel on hold for a while as it could be more trouble than it’s worth just now. You may find that someone close to you is supportive of your ideas. Together you find solutions.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Charisma and the development of personal power play a big role in your life now. Perhaps it is time for a reunion or a get-together with old friends. You will find yourself analyzing how you have progressed along life’s pathway—and may even find yourself comparing your progress with others—don’t. You will probably be taking notes on future changes but do not forget to praise yourself for recent improvements. This is a time of profound review on the personal level— psychologically and perhaps physically as well—you may want to transform into an entirely new person. You may be your own worst critic as well as your own best critic—easy. This is a time when you can expect a little boost, some sort of extra support or recognition from loved ones.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Broadening your intellectual and spiritual horizons takes on a high priority now. Planning for a job change could gain you much success. Travel and further education can help make this happen. Being in touch with ideas and people on a grand scale keeps your mind busy and puts you on the right path to a political career. You will most certainly find networking an advantage. You may receive a grant or other funding soon for some sort of research or studies. Focus your goals and keep it simple. Travel, athletics, New Age philosophies and a casual, carefree lifestyle appeal to you. You are attracted to exciting, idealistic types who give you plenty of space. Horses may be part of your pastime today and you may be thinking of buying one.



e niv rsar n

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012


i n f o r m at i o n



Te el.: 161




Ministry of Interior

Ext.: 2627 26 - 2630

Fax: 24348714


Issue Time

Expected Weather e for the Next 24 Hours

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


Dusty with moderate to fresh north westerly wind, with speed of 20 - 45 km/h


Dust will subside gradually with moderate to fresh north westerly wind, with speed of 20 - 45 km/h


Dusty weather






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh









16 °C

11 °C





16 °C

10 °C



Amiri Hospital



16 °C

11 °C



Maternity Hospital



16 °C

10 °C

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital



14 °C

08 °C

Chest Hospital



15 °C

10 °C

Farwaniya Hospital



15 °C

09 °C

Adan Hospital



15 °C

10 °C

Ibn Sina Hospital



14 °C

11 °C

Al-Razi Hospital



15 °C

12 °C

Physiotherapy Hospital



16 °C

10 °C

Hospitals Sabah Hospital



18/03/2012 1200 UTC




















Wednesday e






Abdullah Salim




MAX. Temp.

22 °C





MIN. Temp.

12 °C

Industrial Shuwaikh





39 %





Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb












Temperatures Wind Speed

Wind Direction



dust to subside

21 °C

10 °C


20 - 45 km/h


23 °C

12 °C


12 - 35 km/h


Mostly sunny

24 °C

14 °C


08 - 30 km/h


Mostly sunny

25 °C

15 °C


08 - 30 km/h








MAX. Wind




All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801


10 % NW 68 km/h

about the Civil ID card is 1889988

00 mm

18/03/12 15:29 UTC










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

Kuwait Airways Jazeera Airways Jet Airways FlyDubai Qatar Airways KLM Air Slovakia Olympic Airways Royal Jordanian Reservation British Airways Air France Emirates Air India Sri Lanka Airlines Egypt Air Swiss Air Saudia Middle East Airlines Lufthansa PIA Alitalia Balkan Airlines Bangladesh Airlines Czech Airlines Indian Airlines Oman Air Turkish Airlines Aeroflot

171 177 22924455 22414400 22423888 22425747 22434940 22420002/9 22418064/5/6 22433388 22425635 22430224 22921555 22438184 22424444 22421578 22421516 22426306 22423073 22422493 22421044 22414427 22416474 22452977/8 22417901/ 2433141 22456700 22958787 22453820/1 22404838/9

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


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


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688




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


Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Ph.D. 2290-1677 Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg, M.A. 2290-1677


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

Dr. Salem soso



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 Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antiga Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands

0093 00355 00213 00376 00244 001264 001268 0054 00374 0061 0043 001242 00973 00880 001246 00375 0032 00501 00229 001441 00975 00591 00387 00267 0055 00673 00359 00226 00257 00855 00237 001 00238 001345

Central African Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Cyprus (Northern) Czech Republic Denmark Diego Garcia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England (UK) Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia

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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

The Cure won’t release new songs he Cure don’t want to “capitalize” on their success by a releasing a new album. The ‘Love Cats’ band are headlining a number of major festivals over the summer, but have resisted requests to accompany the shows with new material because they would rather focus on putting on a good performance. Singer Robert Smith said: “We’ve been going for so long that we don’t feel the urge to capitalize on everything all the time. I mean, we’re headlining pretty much every major European festival and we won’t have anything released. “Anyone else would be tearing their hair out. They’ll be like, ‘You’re idiots!’ And perhaps we are. It’s almost like we’ve gone full circle and we’re back to the point where we’re playing


England’s Reading and Leeds festivals and I’m solely doing it because I want to be a good day.” The singer - who has fronted the band since they formed in the 1977 - added he’s not interested in releasing new songs unless they can stand up to the strength of the band’s back catalogue. He added to NME magazine: “To be honest, if we’re going to do something it has to be really good. That sort of

goes without saying, but out quality control is very high, and if I don’t think that what we’re doing is good enough then there is no point in putting it out. Why should I?”

Wayne told to cut grass of US mansion il Wayne has been told to cut his grass. The Times-Picayune reports the rapper was cited for high grass and weeds at his 10,000- square-foot (930-square-meter) mansion in a gated subdivision in Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The Code Enforcement Department issued the ticket to Dwayne Carter, the New Orleansborn singer’s given name, sometime between Feb 26 and March 2, according to a list released by the city. The home is on sale for $1.7 million. Listed as a “celebrity”


mansion, the house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths and a “beautiful, spacious open floor plan.” Among the house’s amenities are a four-car garage, a theater and movie room, an entertainment bar, a pool house. The master suite has a fireplace with his and her baths and a steam room sauna and Jacuzzi.

JLS desperate to keep bash under wraps LS have hired a former MI5 agent to plan Marvin Humes’ bachelor party in secret. The group also comprising Aston Merrygold, JB Gill and Oritse Williams can’t wait to throw a bash celebrating their bandmates forthcoming wedding to Rochelle Wiseman but don’t want the couple finding out any of their plans in advance so have enlisted the assistance of a former government intelligence service expert. JB said: “It’s going to be mental. We’ve hired an ex-MI5 agent to plan the stag party. It’s going to be a secret military operation because we want it to be kept secret from both Marvin and Rochelle. She’s not happy about it.” However, though they are keeping details a secret, the group did reveal they are planning to whisk Marvin abroad for an “epic” evening of adventures. Aston said: “We spent all day every day with Marv, so we wanted to make sure there’d be no way he’d find out. His plane ticket won’t have the destination written on it and the pilot won’t announce where we’re flying to. It’s all very secretive.” Oritse added to more! magazine: “After the guys got me a stripper for my birthday, Marvin better be afraid! We can tell you it’s going to be a stag do of ‘Hangover’-style proportions. We’re talking dropping him off in the middle of the desert, tattoos, the works.”

J Jessie J and Tempah are secretly dating essie J and Tinie Tempah have been going on “secret dates”. The 23-yearold beauty and the ‘Written in the Stars’ hitmaker reportedly “like each other a lot” and have met up on a number of occasions, with Jessie recently staying at the 23-year-old rapper’s East London flat before she went on a tour of Australia. A friend of the ‘Price Tag’ singer’s said: “They had a few big nights out and realized they were attracted to each other. “Jessie started going over to see Tinie at his place when they had a day off and one thing led to another. They both like each other a lot.” The ‘Voice’ judge has been seeking advice from Tinie during


filming for the UK version of the show which sees her on the panel alongside Sir Tom Jones, and Danny O’Donoghue and she has invited him along to the program. The pair who performed together at the Royal Albert Hall last year in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust - arranged to meet up after last month’s BRIT Awards, and she has even admitted to close friends that she has a secret boyfriend. A source added to The Sun on Sunday: “Jessie has admitted to a few friends she has a secret boyfriend at the moment, but she has been keeping it close to her chest. Tinie is playing things cool.”

Beckinsale pines for Britain ate Beckinsale misses England so much she cries over tins of baked beans in Californian supermarkets. The ‘Total Recall’ star lives in Brentwood, California with her daughter Lily, 13, and husband Len Wiseman and admitted she gets homesick for the UK all the time. She said: “I’ve taken to doing ridiculous things like going into the English shop in Santa Monica and weeping over tins of baked beans. So it’s definitely time for me to go home again.” Kate used to make frequent trips to see her family in the UK but says since Lily whose father is Welsh actor


Michael Sheen - has gotten older, it’s more difficult to find the time. She explained to Britain’s HELLO! magazine: “When Lily was smaller it was much easier because I could whip her out of American school and she could go to school in England for half the year. Now she’s getting older she can’t really travel so much. We try to go to England in the summer but last year we were all in Toronto shooting a movie so I haven’t been back for over a year.”

Houghton terrified of death during childbirth hantelle Houghton is “terrified” of dying during childbirth. The 28-yearold glamour model who collapsed on Friday while out shopping and was rushed to hospital on Wednesday and put on a monitor for 24 hours is “terrified” she will not live to hold her and fiance Alex Reid’s daughter, who is due in 10 weeks. The blonde beauty who has an abnormally high heart rate - said: “I worry that something will happen to me, that the baby will be born and I won’t be here. “The doctors said that when you’re in labor your heart goes up even more and so I’m terrified of the whole thing. “I also worry that I will go into labor early and then who knows what will happen. I want to have a natural birth, I don’t want a Caesarean, but there is such a big fear that something could go wrong. I just want to hold my little girl hand meet her. Chantelle never expected to fall pregnant after experiencing fertility problems


caused by a teenage eating disorder, but she is now “so worried” that her stressful pregnancy will affect her baby. She added to The People newspaper: “I’m so ¨worried for my little girl. I fear so much for what is going on in her little body.” There is so much stress being put on her. I can’t believe it is happening to my little baby. My fertility problems meant that I didn’t think I could ever be a mum so I pray that she’s going to be safe. Her heartbeat replicates mine and sometimes I think I’m going to die. She’s my little miracle so she has got to be OK. I just feel so bad for what is happening. When I feel her kick it is the most amazing feeling. I just hope that she isn’t undergoing any discomfort. The doctors don’t think she is but I can’t help but worry that she is.”

Minogue’s Weller’s new album ‘exudes’ happiness aul Weller says his latest album “exudes” happiness. The 53-year-old rocker admits he really enjoyed making ‘Sonik Kicks’ and he thinks the contentment he’s got in his private life helped him make a positive record. Paul - who has two-month-old twin sons, Bowie and JohnPaul with wife Hannah Andrews said: “It’s from a certain platform of stability and being positive and happiness. I think the music exudes that. It’s very up. I think the mood of the record is really colorful, it’s like modern psychedelic music if there was any concept at all, it’s to take people on a kind of sonic journey. Not in any thematic lyrical way, but a purely musical colorful trip.” The former Jam front man who also has five other children from different relationships says he hasn’t always been pleased with his albums and can’t bear to listen to some of them. He admitted: “Some have been like pulling teeth, I can’t even listen to them they were just such hard work, and I wasn’t in a good frame of mind. People say you make your best work when you’re in despair and all that, and at your lowest but for me, I think happiness makes you positive, and I think that’s a good creative place to write from.”


designs hopes for Duchess annii Minogue wants to design for Duchess Catherine. The former ‘X Factor’ judge created clothing line Project D with her close friend Tabitha Somerset Webb and while Catherine’s sister Pippa Middleton has been spotted in two of their dresses previously, they would love for the duchess to follow in her footsteps. Dannii said: “There’s probably not a brand in town that wouldn’t want to dress the Duchess of Cambridge. She’s an iconic, gorgeous girl and if she ever chose to wear Project D, we would be incredibly flattered.” Tabitha has previously spoken of their happiness at Pippa’s decision to wear the gowns to a friend’s wedding in September and to a charity event last year and she too hopes Catherine will become a fan of the line. She said: “Pippa has been amazing. It’s so flattering that she has chosen to wear our dresses. She looks gorgeous in them. She’s very much a Project D girl - elegant, classy and sexy. “Now it would be great if her sister Catherine wore one of our designs, too.” Kimberly Wyatt mediates for two hours a day. —Bang Showbiz



MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s


plays entire new album at SXSW

orah Jones unveiled something new at South By Southwest - again. Ten years after she shook Austin and the music world with “Come Away With Me,” the 25 millionselling debut she released just weeks before the 2002 conference and festival, she returned to play her entire new album “Little Broken Hearts” at La Zona Rosa on Saturday night. “It’s a little scary sharing these songs with new people, but we’re all friends, right?” she asked a crowd of a few hundred. This was just the second time she’s played in public the stylish yet deeply emotional material on the 12-song collaboration with Danger Mouse, out May 1. In an interview Friday, Jones described “Little Broken Hearts” as a concept album of sorts that examines a difficult breakup. She said she and Danger Mouse, the producer whose given name is Brian Burton, wrote most of the songs as a team, working out lyrics and the instrumentation together. She thought Austin - in her home state of Texas - was the perfect place to share “Little Broken Hearts.” “It seemed to make sense to come back to my new record,” Jones said. “I’m just going to play the new record. I’m not even going to play any


Colombian singer Juanes performs a Woody Guthrie song during the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas on Thursday. —AP

Colombian star Juanes says SXSW is life-changing uanes didn’t get to cross Eminem off his South By Southwest bucket list, but it’s still been one of the best weeks of his life. The Colombian rock star capped off his trip to Austin, Texas, with a concert Friday night, meaning he had to miss Eminem’s appearance across town with 50 Cent. It was the only disappointment in what has been a transcendent week for one of Latin music’s biggest international stars. “It is the greatest experience of my life,” Juanes said. “I’m so happy and so thankful. It’s changing my life. I just feel it. It’s inspiring me, and that’s the best.” Juanes sat down for an interview at his hotel Thursday, just a few hours after he sang live in English for the first time at a tribute to Woody Guthrie and having his mind blown by Bruce Springsteen’s keynote speech. But The Boss wasn’t the only reason the 39-year-old found SXSW so invigorating. Wearing a t-shirt with “PEACE” emblazoned across his chest, he spoke passionately about how SXSW has shown him that the barriers between people and cultures and music have been utterly broken down in the 21st century. “It’s such a great opportunity to interact together and exchange culture,” he said. “I just feel the world now and the world is absolutely sick, you know, so I just see music and culture and art in general as a great idea to change at least our own


environment and just connect people to the music. You can just go and walk around the street and you can see bands from I don’t know, wherever, and they can sing in Chinese if you want. You just have the opportunity to connect with somebody else you didn’t know, and that’s good.” On Thursday evening, Juanes put on a baseball cap and pulled up his collar and hit 6th Street as incognito as a platinumselling artist can. He took in a Canadian showcase, indulged his love of heavy metal and then hit the sounds of Colombia showcase to support other acts from his native country. Latin music has long had a role at SXSW, but the conference has been rapidly expanding its palette. The 2012 conference features acts from every continent but Antarctica - from African rappers to Japanese punk rockers. And Juanes wanted to soak it all in.His experiences could show up in his music when he begins to write new material for a studio album as he tours later this year in support of his “MTV Unplugged” album, due out May 27.”Somehow it will bring me back to the essence, to the roots, to the music,” he said. “No marketing, no nothing. Just music.”—AP

old songs because it’s South By Southwest. It doesn’t seem wrong to do it that way. It’s fun. This is a festival. It’s for new bands but it’s also just for new stuff, so it feels right to do the new record.” Vaguely psychedelic and introspective, she showed fans a different side. The album is something of a departure for Jones and another step in her evolution away from the jazzy sound of the Grammy-winning “Come Away With Me.” “Is it weird hearing music you’ve never heard before?” she asked. Dressed in a black and whitestriped dress and beige cowboy boots - “New album, new band, new dress,” she joked - Jones appeared a little nervous as she started the hour-long set. But the crowd was into the songs and she quickly took command, playfully batting away a flirtatious offer for a date from a fan. “I’m taken,” Jones said with a smile. “No, I’m busy. I’ve got like 20 bands to see. I think we should start the next song.”—AP

Norah Jones performs her entire new album during the SXSW Music Festival.—AP

Horse racing dramaLuck proved too real for HBO orse racing has long withstood the deaths of its skittish, injury-prone thoroughbreds. Hollywood proved it lacks the stomach for it. The cable television network HBO abruptly cancelled its racetrack drama series “Luck” this past week after three horses used in the production were injured and euthanized during 10 months of filming in the last two years. The abrupt fall of “Luck,” which will end its single-season run on March 25, reveals the chasm between the racing and entertainment industries. At the track, a horse puts its life on the line so gamblers can stake $2 or more to win, place or show, with the industry and fans accepting the danger to animals and jockeys as a harsh part of the bargain. With movies and TV, which offer the onscreen vow that “no animals were harmed” in the making of make-believe, consumers have scant tolerance for harm to any creature great or small. “More people are pet owners than ever before. More people have access to information about animals ... and care more about them,” said Karen Rosas, senior vice president of the American Humane Association’s TV and film unit that moni-


as it had after previous multiple deaths in tors animal safety for more than 2,000 the prestigious meet, but it’s yet to be productions annually. During the past scuttled. In US racing, there’s approxifive years, the association encountered only one horse death outside of “Luck,” on mately one horse fatality per 500 starts, according to Dr Rick Arthur, medical the 2007 western movie “3:10 to Yuma,” director of the California Horse Racing Rosas said. Losing three horses on a sinBoard. He cited the Equine Industry gle project was “unprecedented,” she Database posted online by The Jockey added. Club, which The racing supports thorworld stands in oughbred sharp contrast breeding and in both the racing. “Luck” measure of loss filmed some and reaction to 2,500 racing it. Two horses sequences, died in Britain’s most a few Grand National slow, staged steeplechase furlongs rather meet last year, and for the year In this image provided by HBO, horses than all out before, but the race in a scene from the HBO original contests, Arthur said, citApril event will series “Luck.” —AP ing estimated proceed as it figures from HBO. Two thoroughbreds has since the 1830s. The 2008 Kentucky were put down after suffering fractures Derby euthanasia of a captivating filly, while running. The third was euthanized Eight Belles, clouded but didn’t derail the for a head injury suffered when the horse event that marks its 137th running in slipped and toppled backward, an acciMay. Last week, five horses died in the dent experts said isn’t uncommon for the first two days of the UK’s Cheltenham fragile, high-strung animals that weigh Festival steeplechase. Outrage erupted,

about 1,200 pounds (545 kilograms). The losses provoked public dismay, along with pro and con debate about racing itself. “I am usually an admirer of both HBO and (series creator) David Milch, but from the sounds of it, this is a tragedy that should have been avoided. Animals are not props,” actor Sean Vincent Biggins of Los Angeles posted Friday on his Facebook page. Thoroughbred experts and those in racing say their acceptance of mortality in racing stems from an understanding of the animals powering the sport. “You don’t force a racehorse to race. They love running,” said Dr Larry Bramlage of Lexington, Kentucky, a nationally prominent equine veterinarian with 37 years’ experience. “If you came to where I am right now, with all the yearlings in the field, you’d see them out there trying to prove who runs the best.” Richard Mandella - a Hall of Fame trainer at Santa Anita Park, the sprawling, historic track in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia where “Luck” was filmed - said “a love affair” exists between the people and horses in racing. But even hard work and “extreme efforts” can’t protect the animals, he said. —AP

Hong Kong director Ann Hui honored for life’s work ong Kong director Ann Hui will be honored for her life’s work at the Asian Film Awards today, in recognition of classics such as “Song of the Exile”. Hui, the first female director to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, is widely regard-


though.” Hui has churned out classic after classic in more than 30 years as a filmmaker, in a career which began with television dramas for Hong Kong station TVB and bloomed with her first feature film, “The Secret”, in 1979. Born in northeastern China’s Liaoning province to a Japanese mother and Chinese

young Chinese woman leaves her studies in London and comes back to Hong Kong to learn about her Japanese mother’s past and her own troubled childhood. Her most recent work, last year’s “A Simple Life”, received worldwide acclaim with its heartwarming tale about the relationship between a young Hong

Hong Kong based movie director Ann Hui is interviewed in a hotel in Hong Kong on February 10, 2012. —AFP ed as a pioneer of the southern city’s New Wave of the 1970s and 1980s. “Once you reach a certain age, you have to receive lifetime achievement awards,” the 64year-old joked in an interview with AFP ahead of the ceremony in Hong Kong’s harbor side convention centre. “But I can’t afford to retire, so it puts me in a difficult situation. “I’m feeling really honored

father, Hui lived in Macau until she was five and then moved with her family to Hong Kong. She studied at the London International Film School before returning to Hong Kong to start her career, an experience loosely re-told in one of her most important works, “Song of the Exile” from 1990. The film tells a story of disorientation and loss of identity as a

Kong man and the servant who raised him. Deanie Ip won the Best Actress Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival for her role as the loyal servant. “I am a Hong Konger, I was educated in Hong Kong, my career is based in Hong Kong, creating films about Hong Kong,” Hui said. “The films I’ve made that have been based on Hong Kong have been my best.” She

said she felt a responsibility to make a “record of the culture and heritage” of the city she lives in, rather than “worrying about whether a story works commercially”. In her early years, Hui gave breakthrough roles to actors such as Chow Yun-fat and Andy Lau, both of whom have become international stars. “I feel like the past few years, my films have been received well because Hong Kongers seem to be more conscious and sensitive of their identity. I feel like there has been more appreciation,” she said. Hui is less appreciative, however, of those who connect her gender to her success. “When I first started making films 30 years ago, people would comment that I was a woman. But strangely, when I was in television, no one ever mentioned that I was a woman,” she said. “Maybe it was because television and film were different. There were more women working in television than men. There was no split in terms of work — everyone was considered equal.” She said there was no need to point out her gender in order to “raise the status of women”. “An ideal situation would be to not mention whether a movie was made by a man or a woman, but I guess we still haven’t achieved equality between the genders. “I think once we reach a more desirable stage, then gender won’t be mentioned.” The 6th Asian Film Awards coincide with the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, where Asian filmmakers market their ideas to international investors.—AFP

File photo shows comedian Gallagher smashes strawberry syrup and flour at the end of his performance at the Five Flags Theater in Dubuque, Iowa. —AP

Comedian Gallagher still in medically induced coma octors have decided to wait before bringing the comedian Gallagher out of the medically induced coma he was put in after his heart attack last week in Texas. Doctors had planned to wake the 65-year-old comedian on Saturday. But his promotional manager, Christine Scherrer, says he was trying to wake on his own. Doctors are keeping him sedated because they want to wake him slowly. She says they may try.


Scherrer says the comedian had two stents replaced after collapsing Wednesday before a performance at a bar in Lewisville, a Dallas suburb. He had a minor heart attack last March after collapsing while performing in Minnesota. His full name is Leo Anthony Gallagher, and he’s best known for smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer. —AP

Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias performs in Guatemala City, March 17, 2012 during the Tigo Fest music festival. —AFP

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

lifestyle F E A T U R E S

Europe’s first N Korean eatery a ‘window into Pyongyang’ “I

t has nothing to do with politics,” insisted owner Remco van Daal as he welcomed patrons to Pyongyang, Europe’s first North Korean restaurant according to its owners. Taking its name from the isolated Stalinist capital, the eatery aims to offer customers a different glimpse on a regime otherwise cloaked in secrecy. The evening-which includes a sumptuous meal and floor show-starts at the door of an unassuming, typical Dutch brick building in a quiet suburb on Amsterdam’s outskirts. Dressed in a traditional yellow bellshaped robe and armed with a shy smile, hostess Miss So welcomes patrons. “You can think what you want about North Korea,” said Van Daal of the regime whose tension with the US, Japan and Europe, notably over its nuclear and missile programs, was fanned this week when North Korea announced it would launch a long-range rocket next month to put a satellite into orbit. “But we want to help patrons discover the people and the country. It has nothing to do with politics,” he told AFP. Outside, the name “Pyongyang” is painted on a modest signboard decorated with a floral design. Inside, depictions of fearless North Korean hunters and soldiers are interspersed with portraits of naive young girls, all glorifying the regime of Kim Jong-Un. A karaoke machine stands against one wall, waiting for the fun to start. Amsterdam’s Pyongyang bears the same name as a similar chain of restaurants set up in Asia, which countless

media reports have linked to the North Korean regime and activities including money-laundering. Van Daal, however, said “this is a personal initiative and has nothing to do with the regime.” The money to finance

to a total of 79 euros per person ($104) — Miss So and two other hostesses took up microphones to start the entertainment. The trio broke into a hymn to Mount Kumgang, the diamond mountain and one of North Korea’s national symbols, as

Jong-Il on his jacket. “We had an opportunity to travel to North Korea and since then we have always tried to learn things about the country no-one else knew,” said the Dutchman, who used to work at a printing firm. In 2009, he set up

A waiter helps out the guests in ‘Pyongyang’, the first North-Korean restaurant in Europe, on March 10, 2012 in Amsterdam. — AFP the eatery, he said, came from funds supplied by his partner Remco Hellingman, owner of a neighboring hotel which houses the restaurant’s nine employees, all North Korean. After serving customers the first four of a nine -course menu which included roasted oysters-and came

the lyrics paraded across a nearby television screen. ‘Totally independent’ “All we want is a window into a country that’s largely unknown,” said Van Daal, cradling a cup of North Korean green tea and sporting a pin of the late leader Kim

Foundation DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea), which he said aimed at bringing Dutch and North Koreans together. The restaurant’s staff were selected by the North Korean government and trained by the Pyongyang Restaurant in Beijing. They

arrived in the Netherlands in December with their luggage and 72 kilograms (160 pounds) of paintings, books and kitchenware. The four waitresses, three cooks and a translator answer to Han Myong Hui, a forty-something women dressed in black pants and a sweater who oversees the kitchen, keeps tabs on the cash flow and a general eye on her staff. Van Daal baulked at suggestions the establishment may be a propaganda tool for North Korea, an impoverished state with serious food shortages. North Korea has received millions of tonnes of food from around the world since 1995 to help alleviate hunger. Earlier this month it said it would suspend long-range missile tests in return for new massive US food aid, but Washington on Friday voiced doubt it could go ahead with the delivery after North Korea’s announced launch. “We are totally independent,” Van Daal said. “The North Korean ambassador based in Switzerland, who is also charged with affairs in the Netherlands, did attend our opening night in February,” he added, “but it was out of pure interest for our work.” After more songs, Miss So returned to serving clients dishes like “black chicken soup” and “kimchis”, fermented pieces of Chinese cabbage, radish or onions, before placing small traditional Korean barbecues on the tables. “North Korean food is not so different from South Korean food,” Van Daal said, adding “sushi actually comes from North Korea, you know.” — AFP

Blue mosaic tiles imported from Italy line Farshid’s hammam from the floor to its Moorish arches to the domed ceiling, giving it an opulent appearance.

Happy Farshid, based on memories of his childhood in Iran, added a Turkish bath, or hammam, at his Shala Salon and Spa in Orlando. —MCT photos

bath springs from owner’s childhood memory W

hen Happy Farshid’s father took him to a Turkish bath more than 50 years ago in their home country of Iran, he unknowingly planted in his son’s mind the seed of a future business venture in the United States. Farshid has owned and operated Shala Salon and Spa in Orlando, Fla, since 2001 with his wife and son. But when the business moved into a larger space in the same retail plaza a month ago, the family added a Turkish bath-or what is known in the Middle East as a “hammam.” “The idea came to my mind from my childhood experience,” Farshid recalled recently. The hammam, which means “spreader of warmth” in Arabic, originated in the Mideast more than a millennium ago. Royalty and townspeople alike would gather in a humid, marble steam room to be scrubbed clean by bath attendants, a process that could take

hours. The Persian hammams lost their social draw after the development of water and sanitation systems, though the baths did spread to parts of Europe, where many still operate today. In the US, however, hammams are still relatively unknown, Farshid said. Many resort hotels in Orlando have saunas that they advertise as hammams or Turkish baths, but Farshid touts his hammam as the only one of its kind in Florida. Blue mosaic tiles imported from Italy line his hammam from the floor to its Moorish arches to the domed ceiling, giving it an opulent appearance. The bench seats bordering the room are inset with small sinks, placed there so customers can splash their faces with water during the steam process. And what sets Shala’s Turkish bath apart from the rest, Farshid said, is the heated slab in the middle of the room, where customers

receive their massage. The seats are also heated. During a regular hammam treatment, customers lounge in the steam room for about 15 minutes before a licensed masseuse arrives. They are then given a 50-minute exfoliation and massage on the heated slab, followed by an overhead “vichy shower” that runs parallel to the table and runs over the client’s body after the other treatments. Farshid said the exfoliation causes dead skin to “just roll off the body.” A self-service option is also available for those that wish to forego the professional massage. Although based on a centuries-old design and tradition, Shala’s Turkish bath includes some modern touches. Fiber-optic lights give a colored glow to the steam, and atmospheric instrumental music is piped into the room, though customers can bring their own audio tracks. Orlando resident Alex Vastardis took his

wife to the spa recently for their anniversary. He found the experience to be comfortable and relaxing. “It just puts you in a mood that you’re kind of away from everything,” Vastardis said. Farshid, a computer-science graduate of the University of Maryland, designed the bath to rely on computer commands, which allows for an easily customized experience. The steam system operates in a way that ensures the heat will not overwhelm the customer, he said. A combination of dry heat, moist heat, water therapy and cold mist are used, as opposed to a standard sauna, which generally emits only one kind of steam. “Regular sauna steam is very good for the body if you can tolerate it, but the problem is that you can be there for seven or eight minutes and you get suffocated,” Farshid said. “This is not a sauna-you don’t sweat as much.

That’s why you can stay here for two hours, but you still get some steam.” Dr Kevin Chauhan, an internal-medicine specialist at Chauhan Medical Center in Orange City, Fla, recently enjoyed a Turkish-bath treatment at the spa and said he plans on recommending it to patients with tension and backaches. He said the heat of the steam accelerates blood flow to the body’s organs, which helps to relieve muscular stress. And the heavy sweating helps release salt from the pores, which potentially could lower a person’s blood pressure. “And the relaxation itself, you can’t put a price to that,” he said. The hammam can accommodate a party of as many as 10 people, though Farshid said most customers so far have been couples or lone spa-goers. A one -hour hammam or Turkish-bath treatment costs $120, or $90 each for a couple. —MCT

Cat’s exhibition in Bishkek A boy looks at Maine Coon cat during a cat’s exhibition in Bishkek, yesterday. Cats owners from three countries, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan gather to show off their pets. —AFP photos

An owner holds his Siamese cat.

An owner holds her Sphynx cat.

A cat with a knitted hat looks on.

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

lifestyle F E A T U R E S

Heritage festival fishing contest winners announced H

amid Al-Sahaf was announced winner of the traditional fishing competition held at Fishermen’s Diwaniya in Salmiya, after a raffle draw was held due to poor weather conditions which forced the contest to be canceled. Al-Sahaf was awarded the KD 1,500 grand prize, while Marzouq Al-Juwaisri won the KD 1,250 second place award

and Ahmad Al-Mutawa won the KD 1,000 third place award. This is the second competition to be canceled. The third and final fishing contests will take place at the Fishermen’s Diwaniya in Al-Wuttiya on a later date. Also, Kuwaiti breeders won a beauty contest held for male goats from ‘Al-Shami’ Arabian breed in Al-Roudhatain. Breeder Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri

Former Mr Universe turns 100 in India

took home a brand new car he won, followed by breeder Mohammad Bu’rki who won KD 3,000. Meanwhile, Nayef AlMurdas, Head of the judging committee announced that poor weather conditions forced them to delay a 40-herd category’s beauty contest for ‘Al-Nuaimi’ breed of sheep. Al-Murdas added that the contest will take place as soon as weather sta-


bilizes. An open day was held for media personnel covering the festival which will end on March 24. During the event, Ministry of Information’s Radio Affairs Department Undersecretary, Mohammad Al-Awash acknowledged His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s support for the festival’s events.

the festival of colors

In this Friday, March 16, 2012 photo, Indian body builder Manohar Aich flexes his muscles as he poses for a photograph in a gymnasium in Kolkata, India. —AP


former Mr Universe who has just turned 100 said yesterday that happiness and a life without tensions are the key to his longevity. Manohar Aich, who is 4 foot 11 inches (150 centimeters) tall, overcame many hurdles, including grinding poverty and a stint in prison, to achieve body building glory. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered yesterday in the eastern city of Kolkata to celebrate his birthday the day before. Hindu priests chanted prayers while a feast was laid out to honor Aich, winner of the 1952 Mr Universe body building title. Rippling his muscles and flashing a toothless grin, Aich says his ability to take his troubles lightly and remain happy during difficult times are the secrets to his long life. That, and a simple diet of milk, fruits and vegetables along with rice, lentils and fish have kept him healthy. He does not smoke and has never touched alcohol, he said. “I never allow any sort of tension to grip me. I had to struggle to earn money since my young days, but whatever the situation, I remained happy,” Aich said, sitting in a room decorated with posters and pictures of his many bodybuilding triumphs. Aich, who was born in the small town of Comilla in Bengal, was a puny youngster. But he was attracted to exercising and building his muscles when as a schoolboy he saw a group of wrestlers in action. After leaving school in 1942, he joined the Royal air force under India’s British colonial rulers and it was there that he began his relentless pursuit of body building. Encouraged by a British officer named Reub Martin, who introduced him to weight training, Aich earned praise for his physique from his peers in the air force. Some years later, however, he was thrown into prison when he protested against colonial oppression. “It was in the jail that I began weight training seriously. This helped me prepare myself for the

world championship,” said Aich. “In jail I used to practice on my own, without any equipment, sometimes for 12 hours in a day,” he recalled. But the jail authorities were impressed with his perseverance and he was given a special diet to help build his stamina. India’s independence in 1947 led to Aich’s release from jail. Dogged by poverty, Aich and his wife struggled to put their four children through school. There was little cash to indulge his passion for body building, but Aich took up odd jobs to earn a little on the side. His 1950 win of a “Mr Hercules” contest spurred him to set his sights on the Mr Universe tournament in London. In 1951, Aich came second in the contest, and stayed on in London to prepare for another shot at the title. He returned to India after winning the title in 1952. What followed were a host of awards, including top positions in Asian Body building Championships. Over the years, he also earned the more popular title of “Pocket Hercules” due to his 4 foot 11 inch-frame. Six decades later, Aich helps his sons run a gym and fitness center and spends his days guiding juvenile hopefuls to reach the heights of body building that he did. A minor stroke last year has robbed him of the ability to lift weights, but he keeps a watchful eye on young body builders training in his gym. Although his two sons did not take up body building, Aich says his mentoring has earned him rewards. It has produced India’s eight-time national champion, Satya Paul. Another protege, Premchand Dogra, snagged the Mr Universe title in 1988. Among his regrets, says Aich, is that he never had a chance to meet his more famous counterpart, a fellow Mr Universe winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Aich says he’s seen many of Schwarzenegger’s action films. “I like the incredible stunts he does in the movies,” Aich said. — AP

Indian devotee display colored powder during ‘Holi’ at a temple in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. ‘Holi’, the festival of colors, where people smear each other with colored powder and water, is celebrated by Hindus across the country. —AFP

Former Mr Universe turns 100 in India

MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012

Participants dressed as Leprechauns take part in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Tokyo yesterday. More than 1,000 people took part in the parade to commemorate the Irish patron Saint Patrick. — AFP photos

Irish setters wear green as they and their owners take part in a St Patrickís Day Parade.

500,000 people pack Dublin for

St Patrick’s Day A

n estimated 500,000 people crowded Saturday into central Dublin to view the St Patrick’s Day parade, a focal point for Irish celebrations worldwide and the start of the tourist season in debt-battered Ireland. Bands from Britain, the United States and Russia joined thousands of Irish volunteers on Saturday’s two-hour procession down Dublin’s major boulevard, O’Connell Street, across the River Liffey, past Trinity College and concluding outside St Patrick’s Cathedral. In his St Patrick’s Day message, Catholic Cardinal Sean Brady offered prayers to the estimated 50,000 citizens who have emigrated in the past year to escape Ireland’s weak economy. Unemployment stands at 14.4 percent despite the resumption of emigration at levels last seen in the 1980s. Ireland has been forced to raise taxes and slash spending for four straight years and since 2011 has been dependent on foreign loans to pay its government bills. Seventeen government ministers have left Ireland this week to lobby 15 countries for increased investment and tourism. Prime Minister Enda Kenny is grand marshal of Saturday’s parade in Chicago. “I am keenly aware of the huge numbers who have emigrated from Ireland in recent times, especially those who felt they had no choice,” said Brady, spiritual leader of 4 million Catholics in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. “May the memory of St Patrick, who was himself carried off from his homeland at the age of 16, sustain all those who have left our shores for other lands,” Brady said, referring to the saint’s legendary background as a slave imported from Britain. “May the example of Patrick’s faith in God, who comforted and protected him, protect and comfort them also.” The Catholic Church in Ireland also launched an online information pack for emigrants. Brady was presiding Saturday over a special service honoring both St Patrick and the Vatican’s new diplomat to Ireland, New York-born Archbishop Charles Brown. At a service in Armagh, Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital located in Northern Ireland, the two men planned to bless sprigs of shamrock for the congregation and then take part in Armagh’s own parade. Saturday’s Dublin parade is just one of more than 50 across Ireland, many of them rowdy village affairs. The capital is also running a four-day St Patrick’s Festival through Monday that features live performances and amusement park rides in several parts of the city center, although the fireworks show has been canceled, another casualty of austerity. The city’s two most popular tourist attractions, the Guinness brewery and Dublin Zoo, both offered nods to the day’s mix of patriotism and partying. Zoo animals were being fed special mixes of oranges and vegetables, mimicking the green and orange of the Irish flag, while Guinness was offering free admission to any visitors named Patrick. —AP

A fan wears costume on St Patrick’s.


19 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times

19 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times