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Crime and no punishment



Al Jazeera buys Gore’s Current TV


QPR hand Chelsea shock title setback

47 Max 18º Min 09º

NO: 15678- Friday, January 4, 2013

HOMS: In this picture taken on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, a citizen journalism image provided by Lens Young Homsi, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Free Syrian Army fighter wears a Santa Claus suit and holds his AK-47, right, as he directs a civilian man, in the old city of Homs, Syria.—AP

World impotent divided, to halt Syria bloodshed See Page 12

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

No straddle affair in Kuwait

Local Spotlight

100,000 not allowed to travel By Muna Al-Fuzai

By Badrya Darwish


read an interesting piece of news yesterday. It is not about politics or mass-murder. It is not about the new parliament writing off Kuwaitis’ debts. It is not about the 60,000 death toll in Syria. It is not about Gaza or the Arab Spring. It is about a province in Indonesia where the mayor decided that women straddling a motorbike behind a male driver must ride side-saddled now onwards. That reminded me about the state of culture centuries ago when women in England, especially princesses and aristocrats, used to ride side-saddle on the horses. I have no idea whether the privilege of riding side-saddle was reserved just for the aristocracy or whether common women also used to ride the same way. Of course it was not related to sharia, but could be because the women in those days used to wear long dresses and it was easier for them to hop on the horse. Or perhaps the etiquette of the times dictated that choice, or some other reason. But the mayor in Aceh province decided that women should not straddle the bikes because he wanted to protect people’s morals and promote good behaviour. What does he mean by that? What morals is he talking about? Nowadays, women are wearing pants and jeans which have made life easier for them, compared to the old days when they had to wear long dresses or skirts. As for Islamic traditions, women used to ride horses or mules even years ago, just as men did. Many women, even in the West, wear long undergarments beneath their skirts. Many women in Islamic history were known to be good riders. They participated in horse riding along with their fellow men. If it was morally unacceptable, I think the older and more conservative societies would never have allowed it in the first place. Of course, if it was up to me, I would ride a bike or a horse in a proper manner. Straddling the horse would give me a better position and grip. I do not see it hurting my morals in any way. There are hundreds of other ways to harm women’s morals as far as governments are concerned. The way a woman sits on a bike is not very important. Thank God, we live in a rich country and cars are common means of transportation. There is no straddling involved. Otherwise, our MPs would have been discussing this issue, too, along with one about scrapping the nation’s debts. I have no hard feelings towards the governor of the Aceh province, and wish him good luck with the new project-in-the-making.

KUWAIT: The vie o f Kuwait at sunset. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh


he government is likely to impose a travel ban on about 100,000 people with effect from January 2013, local newspapers have reported. It surely seemed a rather large number and could be a good reason for many to check their status vis-a-vis the ban before leaving Kuwait or making reservations for travel abroad for any reason. It would be a wise thing to do because it could be very hard for someone to buy tickets and pack one’s bags, only to reach the airport to find that he is banned from traveling. Also, figuring on the travel ban list is not about how unfortunate you are; instead, one should rather remember to pay all fines before heading out of Kuwait. The Ministry of Justice has adopted the automated travel ban system after a report issued by the Audit Bureau showed that people owed it dues amounting to KD 11 million. These were dues and fines that the ministry had failed to collect. Both, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, are responsible for implementation of this law. Those who fail to pay up even within a year’s time would then be subject to imprisonment until the payment is made. This new law means that any citizen or expatriate who fails to pay fines even after a final verdict in cases related

to press, traffic, Ministry of Social Affairs, Kuwait Municipality or Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be banned from traveling. Sources at the Public Prosecution said the automated system is ready and the list of people banned from travelling will be put out from this week. The sources added that the airport and the service centers were connected to a computer network at the Ministry of Interior and the travel ban status can be accessed at these points. The question is why did the ministry remain lenient earlier in collecting all these fines, and did not show such eagerness? After all, KD 11 million is not a small amount and could have been realized earlier instead of catching people now at the airport. I do think we need a mechanism to speed up the process of collecting these fines, especially after courts pronounce a verdict in case of any dispute. Two years ago, my car met with an accident and then the case lingered on in the court for another two years before the final verdict was pronounced. I think it was a rather long wait. This is a small example and one can understand how even heinous crimes like murder continue to linger in the courts for years. I hope this decision prompts people to consider paying their fines in time and avoid any embarrassment.

Kuwait’s my business

Here’s to a happier, wealthier you in 2013 By John P Hayes


his is the time of year when people make resolutions to change their lives. However, most resolutions are forgotten within a matter of days. As an example, I don’t know if it’s true in Kuwait, but in the States the worst time of year to go to the gym is January - everyone shows up to work off the weight we gained during the holidays, so suddenly there’s a line at the treadmill. But by February, the gym traffic returns to normal! And then people complain, “I set a goal to drop this extra weight, but . . . .” The truth is, they didn’t set a goal. Even though they were serious about losing weight, they made more of a wish than a goal, and consequently they didn’t lose any weight. Making a wish is easy, and setting a goal is just as easy, but it takes a bit more planning. The wealthiest and, arguably, the happiest people in the world are goal setters. Obviously, most people don’t set goals. Supposedly, only about 3 percent do. People who set goals say they do so for self-improvement, satisfaction, life direction, achievement, and to be happier. But when people are asked why they don’t set goals, the most common explanations are: fear, poor selfimage, never been “sold” on goal setting, and don’t know how to set goals. Learning how to set goals seems to resolve the other issues. To get started, it’s important to write down everything you want to be, do or have in your lifetime. This can’t be

done quickly. It’s a good idea to spend a chunk of time day dreaming, or thinking about what you want out of life. If a lifetime is too ambitious, then think about the next 12 months. Actually writing these “wants” on paper is important. Next, explain why you want to accomplish the goal; the more compelling the reason the better. Make sure it’s really your goal and not something that someone else wants you to do. Then, identify the roadblocks that could keep you from reaching the goal. Money? Time? Health? Education? What could get in your way? What skills or resources will you need to overcome these challenges? Now, turn the goal into a specific statement: I will walk from Kuwait City to the Saudi Arabia border. The statement needs to be measurable. Then, create an action plan that explains what you will do day by day, or week by week, to accomplish the goal. The action plan includes the steps you must take to overcome each challenge. For example: Buy new walking shoes. . . . Train for 90 days. . . . Plot my route on a map. . . . Recruit my support team. . . . Walk 30 km a day for 32 days. Etc. Finally, a goal must include a deadline. For example: I will walk from Kuwait City to the Saudi Arabia border by March 1, 2013. When you’re ready to begin, all you’ve got to do is follow your action plan. After you accomplish one goal, you’ll discover why goal setters live to accomplish as many goals as possible. And once you know how to set goals, nothing will stand in your way.

Dr. John P. Hayes teaches the Kuwait Leadership Mastery program at GUST. Contact him at, or via Twitter @drjohnhayes.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

In my view

Israel and Palestine must find a new path towards peace

In my view

Fact or fantasy? By John O’Neill

By Labeed Abdal


he recent voting at the United Nations General Assembly on the issue of upgrading the status of the Palestinians to a non-member observer state, which saw 138 countries voting in favour, 40 abstaining and nine voting against the move, has raised many questions and concerns about world peace. A quick review of the statements made by both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, made it clear that they agreed not to agree since their stances remained diametrically opposite. Although both confirmed their willingness for further negotiations, yet it was clear that their agendas were different and misunderstandings and trust deficit have manifested deep.

For example, the Israelis talked about the Palestinians not conceding the Jewish state’s right to exist and remaining the target of unending threats while the Palestinians talked about the illegal settlements. However, a majority of the UN voting in favour of upgrading the status of Palestine could only be interpreted to mean that the world wanted to see an end to the sufferings of both sides. The reality is that the Palestinians do have the right to have their own independent and sovereign state while Israel as a UN member state has the right to live in peace with its neighbor. That can only be achieved through responsible negotiations that lead to a mutually acceptable solution which has been elusive for a long time. Any meaningful negotiations or mediation must take into account the real situation on the ground, the needs of the people and basic principles of justice and co-existence. Without doubt, the two states must avoid all the sorrows of the past and open a new chapter of peace, moving forward along a path that throws up the possibility of reaching a solution.

KUWAIT: A driver in Kuwait has approached the topic of gas emission and the greenhouse effect humorously with a sticker. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

In my view

Where danger lives By Lulu Abdal


ver the past two weeks, disastrous events have happened in Kuwait. We only became aware of them because of the social media. News about a man being stabbed in the largest mall in Kuwait, stabbing at the gas station for a petty reason, a break-in into a private house, and many other delinquencies, spread over the social media. Kuwait has been my home for over 23 years. On my return from every trip abroad, I look at my country from the small airplane window and feel I am safe. I look at our streets and buildings and feel the security and protection that my nation guarantees me. I think to myself, “It is so tiny and opulent and I will always be safe here.” Unfortunately, for the first time, I admit that I felt afraid. It was almost as if people had lost control over themselves. It was as if the beast within men had managed to come out. There is a lack of discipline and no one is afraid to break the law anymore. I am familiar with the crime in Kuwait because I personally read about it, but a large number of the people

do not know how brutal things can become in this little desert oasis. Thanks to the penetration of the social media, the ruthlessness of people’s actions has been brought home to us directly. Now, it is easy and speedy to watch live coverage of situations. We must not forget that we are living in an age of technological revolution that has transformed our society hugely. The advances in technology have seriously affected us, particularly the new generation, and not necessarily for the better. Due to some reason, aggression and hostility are now even more infused into our personalities. My message here is simple: open your eyes to reality. We seem to be living in a different Kuwait, and it is time to spread awareness about safety. I am scared for the sake of your children at the mall, your friends and family on the roads, and for you, even as you sleep at your home. Lock your windows and doors. Watch out whom you are interacting with. Do not turn yourself into a target. Be safe!


am fortunate enough to work as a teacher but even more so as a dream-maker. Let me explain. Being involved in delivering vocational training for a major skills consultancy, it is often our course (say in retail) which secures someone a long-awaited job. Also, through one of Kuwait’s business schools, the group’s faculty help people achieve that precious MBA. For the teacher it’s a good feeling - you know you’ve helped guide someone through the sea of misinformation out there. In modern life it can be hard to distinguish a worthwhile dream from a mere fantasy. Recently I had a breakthrough moment of illumination. The taxi hummed along in the early morning quiet, sunlight flashed on the wings of a clutch of scattering birds, a bicycle slowly bumped along, its load defying gravity. As I unscrewed my flask, releasing the smell of real Arabic coffee, I thought “this is as good as it gets”. The daily frustrations melted away and life was clicking like clockwork. These are the moments we see in the videos and advertisements. Of course it’s not long before reality kicks in again as our critical thinking starts to operate for us. Consider this: In years of plane travel I’ve sat through many tourist travelogues. You even get to know the format. Market scenes of leisurely shoppers rifling through silks or piles of fruit. People windsurfing on glittering seas to the accompaniment of swelling violins. Where is this place of calm exactly? In most markets I’ve been in, there is jostling from fellow shoppers, and if you start caressing the material someone will soon appear to point out energetically what a bargain you have found. Somehow in the wonderful world of video there is no hassle. Stallholders smile benignly as tourists shake out folds of shimmering material or handpick all the unblemished pomegranates. In the travel promo the laughing waving people would be equally at home in a shampoo or soft drink advert. Incidentally how come everyone clutching a can of sugary fizz always has perfect teeth? There is a whole ideal world out there I can never quite escape to, or at least remain in very long. Mixed messages abound. When I was young and impressionable, I used to watch old Hollywood movies where people were casually smoking but never victims of a wracking cough. Likewise the action hero could sustain a straight left to the jaw without blinking, and was never delayed by the inconvenience of suspected concussion. Two days’ observation in hospital would certainly slow the plot somewhat. Does all this matter? Surely we can distinguish between the authentic and the comforting illusions? Perhaps but we do need consciously to filter what surrounds us. This is especially important for young people. If they grow up on a daily diet of the synthetic, literally and figuratively, how can they develop maturity and responsibility? The acid test is whether what we’re absorbing makes us feel empowered and challenged, or does it actually take the edge of our motivation. Real adults don’t expect life to be a bed of roses always, and understand that ultimately it’s a case of ‘no roots, no fruits’. Entering each new classroom on Day One, the teacher picks up the student mood of optimism and expectancy, maybe even an undercurrent of vulnerability. People are fronting up to say ‘I need some straight answers to get me where I want to be’. As the course unfolds, you see people visibly gaining in confidence as they feel their development, academically, professionally, personally. So let 2013 be the year when you step out - each cautious step shows you a little more clearly what surrounds you.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013


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Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Crime and no punishment By Ben Garcia


ith Kuwait witnessing a yearend crime wave, expats and even locals are somehow concerned and alarmed at the situation and have been questioning whether the government was prepared to deal with it and whether they are indeed safe in Kuwait. Statistics published by many newspapers a week earlier showed that a crime was being committed in Kuwait every thirty minutes. The figures came to light in the aftermath of the murder of a dentist who was hacked to death in a crowded mall after a parking dispute. That murder was immediately followed by another at a gasoline station in Sulaibiya area as stunned bystanders watched. “I have reason to be alarmed. As per the statistics, crimes are happening even as we talk. We don’t know if in the next 30 minutes I will be the next victim and then figure only in the statistics,” an Indian expat working as an engineer said. “Kuwait should really do something about it. We did not have such a high crime rate in the past. I have been in Kuwait for the last 15 years and now the statistics speak for themselves. We need to be vigilant,” he added. An Arab expat noted that the crime statistics gave the impression that Kuwait was no longer safe to live in. “I hope the Kuwaiti police will do something to counter the crime wave and ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” said Abdullah, a Jordanian who has been in Kuwait for ten years. Psychologist Dr Jesusa Christina Puno said countering such crimes required everyone’s cooperation. “There are many factors responsible for the increasing number of crimes, and the family is among the most important since it is the nucleus or the smallest unit around which a society is built. The family can play a crucial role in strengthening the community and the society. It is from the family that one should be learning values, be they about respecting the parents or respecting elder siblings. When you learn this at home, you will also learn how to respect others,” she said. “It is at the family level that we should be inculcating a fear of God as well. After all, our souls too need food for rejuvenation of the spirit,” she said.

Influence of technology, drugs play role in crimes: Psychologist

Dr Jesusa Christina Puno

Dr Puno, the principal of the New Kuwait Philippines International School, also said that the latest technology poses a huge challenge to parents and schools that are trying to stop such violent behavior. “Environment is an important factor in such crimes. Earlier, only friends and people around a person, or a culture of drugs, comprised the elements of this environment but nowadays technology has become a big factor. It is responsible for many teenagers going wayward,” she suggested, adding that they have their own perceived world in which they live, and sad to say, it is an uncontrolled world. “Other than strengthening our family values, we have little in the name of a remedy to counter the impact of technology on the behavior of people, particularly children, nowadays,” she emphasized. Drugs and influence are twin factors that have been playing a horrible role in many crimes being committed today. “The movies that depict so much violence are also to be blamed. The violence is not fully explained. The movies only show how a crime was committed. Its impact can be countered by strong family values or a sense of discipline inculcated among children at home or in schools,” Puno explained. She also suggested that children should be taught how important it is to have a dream and then they should be helped to turn that dream into a reality.”It is their dreams which inspire children to strive and become valuable to the society. They should have a concrete dream, a clear idea of what they will be some day.” But she was quick to point out that the violence or the crimes taking place all around should not be blamed only upon the Ministry of Interior. “Unfortunately, the spate of crimes or the rising crime graph is a universal phenomenon. Crimes are on the upswing worldwide. These can be controlled only when people are godly or there is a fear of ‘the One above’. If that were to happen, the spread of the culture of ‘wasta’ or the feeling that we can easily escape the clutches of the law will also end since we will then have the fear of God,” she noted. Crime in numbers The Al-Qabas newspaper quoted the statistical report released by the Interior Ministry’s Research and Studies Department to say that 15,501 crimes were committed around Kuwait during the first nine months of 2012. With a daily average of at least 57 crimes, the official report further noted that the average crime rate “increased by ten percent” compared to the same period last year. The report also indicated that felony cases including murder, muggings, fights and battery and assault “doubled” in 2012 compared to 2011, and pointed out a rise in other cases including suicides and possession of unlicensed weapons. Further, the statistical report also showed that 3,906 felony and 11,595 instances of misdemeanor were recorded in 2012 as of September-end. Moreover, it showed that 906 crimes were committed by Kuwaitis, the most by any nationality (up by 16 percent compared to 2011), followed by Egyptians with 247 (up by 18 percent) and bedoons (stateless residents) with 218 (up by 16.5 percent).

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Cutting ties to tie the knot By Nawara Fattahova


atalie was madly in love with her Muslim colleague when she accepted his marriage proposal, converted to Islam against her family’s wishes and became his wife. She was abandoned by her parents, relatives and many friends. But the honeymoon period for the newlyweds was short-lived. Soon she not only lost her family and friends, but was without a husband too. Differences in place of origin, nationality or religion can be a great obstacle for those who chose to marry the person of their choice. Natalie narrates her story of love and personal choice in a bid to warn other girls who could make an impulsive decision. “I fell in love with my Muslim colleague, and decided to marry him. He came to our house and proposed, but my parents refused. I protested, begged and cried but nothing worked. My parents even threatened me that if I married this man, they will disown me and cut off any relations with me. They told me they will convince themselves that they never had a daughter. Yet I insisted and married my beloved one, but later found that it was a wrong decision,” she said. Natalie converted to Islam to satisfy her husband since this was a condition he had laid down to marry her. She also left her job and became a housewife. “Few months after the marriage, problems started but by then I was already pregnant. I believed that things will become better with time and after the baby is born,” she said explaining that the situation worsened. “Our problems kept growing. Troubles reached a peak when he lost his job, and then lost his small savings in gambling. My life was hell, and finally he divorced me, took away my son and escaped to his country,” said Natalie. New start It was very hard for her to start a new life all over again. “After he left, my parents refused to accept me in their house although I am their only daughter. They refused to forgive me and left me all alone. I faced many problems in finding a flat as many people refused to rent out to a single woman. Also, I was searching for a job to survive, which is not easy because I have only a high school degree,” she said. She is thankful that two of her close friends have not cut her off from their lives. “They helped me pay the rent till I received my salary when I finally found a job,” she noted. Rita, a Christian Lebanese, who chose to sacrifice links to her community and friends to marry the man she loved, has been ostracized by her own community. “My husband is a Muslim Kuwaiti, who overcame the conflicts with his family to marry as we belonged to different nationalities and different religions. He accepted me as I am, and did not force me to change my religion,” she said, explaining that her relationship with his parents was good. “I lost everyone else,” she says. “I lost the link with my whole community. Everyone I knew stopped talking to me. Even my friends were forced by their parents to snap any connections. They excommunicated me and I even stopped going to the church although I used to go there every week. Even my family did not go to the church for more than a year as they felt they were not welcome because their daughter had married a Kuwaiti,” she added. Ostracized Her blissful marriage meant a bitter social life. Feelings of loneliness overcame her. There was no alternative community to replace her own. She felt like an unwelcome stranger among her husband’s community. “I was happy in the beginning that my mother-in-law did not reject me. She even tried to introduce me to her friends and relatives, but I saw them looking at me rather strangely, and whispering that I was different from them. They also suggested that I should wear the hijab to fit into their community better. My husband always said that it was up to me if I want to wear a hijab or not. I chose not to wear the hijab,” stressed Rita. It has been 12 years since Rita got married, and she is happy in her small family. “I thank God everyday that my husband is a good man. He is so kind to me. He even feels guilty that I lost my friends and is encouraging me to try and communicate with them,” she said adding that she found some of them on social media and invited them to meet. “If I had married someone from my own country and religion, he could have turned out to be a bad person and my marriage could have failed. I wonder why people are so narrow-minded and judge other people on the basis of their choices,” she rued.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Retired teacher’s ‘Mathematical Chess’ teaches grapes of math By Sunil Cherian


bird sat on the bough of a tree, we nested on that tree in the monsoon season, one of us flew away in the mango season, half of us went away on harvest time for no reason, summer came and some left us alone. How many are we now? A math poem like the above from the audio collection penned and prepared by Mercy Peter is sure to have hit the headlines if the innovative math teacher were to launch her audio CD and other math manipulative in the US. But India’s educational red tape took long to comprehended the problem Mercy is saying - that mathematics does not have to be taught in chalk and talk method and solving mathematical problems can be as fun as a computer game. Mercy Peter’s mathematical chess, a fun board game won Indian government’s National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) award. The 64-year old retired math teacher was in Kuwait recently to visit her two sons, Sony in Mangaf and Dony in Jleeb. Math chess is developed keeping in mind slow learners and fast learners, said Mercy, now a busy workshop presenter. There are 101 squares on the board designed by Mercy constituting positive and negative numbers from 0

to 50. “The slow learners can play with the positive numbers and the fast trackers can explore with the negative numbers,” said Mercy elucidating the game on the

computer. The players choose numbers at random or by lot and place the numbers on the respective boxes on the board. The one who gets the highest number begins the play. If that number is 50, see what 2 numbers are multiplied to get 50. It is up to the player to choose the equation: 25 x 2; 10 x 5; or 50 x 1. Step 2 is adding the 2 numbers together. If 10 x 5 is taken, add these numbers and the counter /token is moved to the square on the board where 15 is written. When the next player reaches 15 with his token by another equation, the first player is out. That is, when the second player who has the card 36 declares 12 x 3 as the equation, then the counter is moved to 15, overpowering the earlier counter. Number 54- holder can beat the former two by formulating a 9 x 6 equation. Between 2 players the loss or win can be counted in points. But if there are many players, showing the way out should be quicker, said Mercy. “When I first demonstrated the game, I named it Product and Sum. But many

called it as chess, and I gave it a score,” said Mercy. The game was later made into a digital format where an individual can play with the computer. “Remember, if you do away with math, math will avoid you. The best way to learn math is to like it”, said Mercy. “After our father’s death in 1991, mom has been crazy about math”, said Sony Francis, Mercy’s eldest son. Sony is an engineer with KNPC and a famous percussionist. We want our mom to stay with us in Kuwait since she is alone back home, said a concerned Sony, who is busy as a drum player in most of Indian expat stage concerts. Sony narrated a recent event that underlined his concern. “Mom gave the job of a home caretaker to a lady she met at a church. The caretaker won the trust and we were also happy. But as affirming as a newspaper story, the lady stole mom’s gold jewellery and disappeared. Mom was sure of the culprit as no one else had visited her. She discussed the matter with the police and tried a ploy. Mom called the lady as if nothing had happened and lured her to our house. When she came, she was arrested”. “Her calculations were accurate”, stated the happy son. Thanks to mathematics, added Mercy.

Mercy Peter

Mathematics does not have to be taught in chalk and talk method and solving mathematical problems can be as fun as a computer game.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

KRCS distributes aid to displaced Syrians JERASH/BEIRUT: The Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) has distributed food parcels and blankets to some displaced Syrian families in Jordan and Lebanon. The humanitarian campaign will continue for 10 days and will cover 10,000 families. Head of KRCS’ field team in Jordan Jafar Al-Jamali told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the society’s delegation arrived in the Jordanian city of Jerash and distributed relief supplies to the displaced families which will be enough for a month. Jamali expected the arrival of a new aid convoy carrying about 20 tons of food to Jordan within two weeks.

Jamali said that the campaign in Jordan coincides with similar campaigns in Lebanon and Turkey aimed to help Syrian refugee families there, pointing to efforts by the Kuwaiti Red Crescent through the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent to reach the needy Syrian families inside Syria. Head of KRCS’ field team in Lebanon Menawer AlAzmi told KUNA that the society’s delegation arrived in Lebanon and distributed relief supplies to the displaced families to help them cope with the harsh winter. Azmi praised the role played by the Kuwaiti Embassy here in making the campaign a success. — KUNA

A Kuwait Red Crescent Society team is seen. — KUNA

MPs propose new one-vote electoral constituency bill 41 MPs support debt relief solution: Shulaimi By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The suspected drug dealers are seen after their arrest.

Drug dealers arrested with their illicit stash By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Drug enforcement agents arrested two Arab expats along with a Kuwaiti citizen with 2.5 kg of hashish, some psychotropic tablets in addition to ready-for-use hashish joints. A search of one of the suspect’s house led to the recovery of 1.5 kg of hashish along with psychotropic substances and ready joints. The second suspect was also present in the house at the time. The first suspect told the police that he used to source the drugs from yet another suspect and led them to his house. A kilo of hashish was found from the third suspect’s house who also confessed being the source of the drugs. All the suspects were sent to the concerned authorities. Fugitives nabbed Two fugitives were arrested after police chased them from Riggae to the Fifth Ring Road and then through King Fahad Road, finally nabbing them when they met with an accident in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. The two had liquor and drugs on them at the time of their arrest. A security source said the first suspect was found wanted in a drugs-related case in which he was sentenced to a two-year jail term while the second was also wanted by drug enforcement agents. The source said when the policemen were trying to make them sit in the patrol car, they escaped towards the Fifth Ring Road, taking the wrong lane, and were followed till they had to take the right lane along the King Fahad Road till the Mubarak Al-Kabeer area. The sources said in their desperation to escape the patrol car in pursuit, the suspects jumped four red lights but the driver lost control and collided with the pavement. The two were then arrested and illicit substances recovered from them.

KUWAIT: Five lawmakers yesterday submitted a new draft electoral constituency law proposing five constituencies and a single vote for voters, apparently in a bid to offset any unwanted ruling by the constitutional court. MPs Maasouma Al-Mubarak, Safa Al-Hashem, Nabeel Al-Fadl, Kamel Al-Awadhi and Khalil Al-Saleh submitted the new draft law which is almost similar to the existing decree that caused the opposition to boycott the election, but only added a few new residential areas to certain constituencies. The move came as the constitutional court prepares to begin hearing over 55 challenges against the Amiri decree which was issued ahead of the Dec 1 election and which reduced the number of candidates a voter can pick to just one from a maximum four in the previous law. The decree has not yet been approved by the new National Assembly as the constitution requires but it is almost certain it will be approved by a large majority. But the problem lies with the rulings of the constitutional court, which is expected to issue its verdicts within a few months and it has not ruled out that the court may declare the Amiri decree unconstitutional, which would likely result in

Govt eyes unified salary standards KUWAIT: Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali plans to head a meeting at the Civil Service Commission to discuss subjects related to workers in the municipality, industry public authority, and some demands of workers in the health sector, reported AlAnbaa. High ranking government sources said Shamali asked the Civil Service Commission to submit all what was done in regards to the unified salaries and promotions standards. The sources said the job description team finished the descriptions of all 2,400 jobs while nearly 9 technical teams agreed to choose the best strategic alternative for the general financial system for the salary structure which will be applied to nearly 270,000 employees. The sources said the alternative plan includes the cancellation of selective promotions and seniority, and adopt a unified standard for salaries and incentives to be implemented fairly and equally among those with the same specialty in all ministries and government establishments. The sources said a system that everyone can see was placed to measure the employees’ productivity through a points system, and no employee will be treated unjustly. The sources added Shamali said “we are in need of additional time to enable job description and evaluation teams to finish the remaining work in a way that will bring satisfaction and increase productivity”.

nullifying the election and scrapping the Assembly. The court is not however expected to scrap laws issued by the Assembly and any law passed amending the electoral law and the voting system before the court’s verdict may remain effective. The opposition had boycotted the election in protest against the single vote amendment, saying it will allow the government to manipulate the outcome of the election. The opposition is still campaigning against the decree and against the Assembly, demanding that both should be scrapped. It is staging a new demonstration on Sunday. In another development, Islamist MP Khaled Al-Shulaimi said yesterday that 41 lawmakers have expressed their support for proposals to write off interest on bank loans of Kuwaiti citizens. Shulaimi did not say exactly which of the many proposals the lawmakers are backing, but a majority of the proposals stipulate that the government purchase billions of dinars of loans on Kuwaitis, waive all interest and then reschedule payment over several years in easy monthly installments. The government has repeatedly rejected such a scheme in the past and maintained it will reject any new solution, saying the debt relief fund the government had set up about two years ago is sufficient to tackle the cases of any defaulter.


in brief Road tenders

KUWAIT: An official source at the Ministry of Public Works said tenders for the Fifth Ring Road and Cairo Street projects will be released next week. He said the improvements will include construction of new intersections and bridges. He also added that infrastructure will be developed and pedestrian bridges will be constructed. He said the ministry received approvals from the Central Tenders Committee (CTC), Audit Bureau and the finance ministry, in addition to areas concerned with the two projects. He said both the projects were estimated to cost KD 130 million.

Health panel’s priorities

KUWAIT: Member of Parliament Khalil Al-Saleh said the health committee finalized its priorities for the next phase and sent these to the National Assembly office. Saleh said the committee focused on three items - namely, a health insurance card for every Kuwaiti citizen, construction and development of hospitals and equipment for them, and opening the file related to the ‘treatment abroad’ issue to study the issues and complaints connected to it. Saleh said if the international health insurance card finds approval, it would be an achievement as only developed countries have such a facility.


World divided, impotent to halt Syria bloodshed


3 killed as Swiss gunman goes on shooting spree


Shiites flood Iraq shrine city for mourning rituals


NEW DELHI: Indian police personnel stand guard outside the district court Saket in New Delhi yesterday. A gang of men accused of repeatedly raping a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in a deadly crime that repulsed the nation appeared in court for the first time. — AFP

Indian rape suspects charged Victim’s father calls for hanging NEW DELHI: Five Indian men were formally charged in court yesterday with the gang rape and murder of a physiotherapy student in a case that has generated widespread anger about the government’s inability to prevent violence against women. The Dec 16 attack on the 23-year-old student and a male companion provoked furious protests close to the seat of government in New Delhi and has fuelled a nationwide debate about the prevalence of sexual crime in India, where a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes. The woman died of her injuries in hospital in Singapore, where she had been taken for treatment last Saturday. The five are accused of assaulting the woman on a bus in New Delhi, leaving her with such severe injuries that she died two weeks later. They were not present in court. A sixth accused is under 18 and is due to be tried separately in a juvenile court. A public prosecutor read out charges including murder, gang rape and criminal conspiracy. The court will examine the charges on Saturday, duty magistrate Surya Malik Grover said. Murder carries the death penalty in India. The father of the woman said earlier he backed the chorus of calls for those responsible

to be executed. “The whole country is demanding that these monsters be hanged. I am with them,” the father told reporters in his home village of Mandwara Kalan in Uttar Pradesh state. The woman was born in the village but the family later moved to New Delhi. She has not been identified and nor have members of her family, in accordance with Indian law. In a sign of the depth of feeling surrounding the case, the bar association at the court said none of its members was willing to represent the accused. The court is expected to assign a defense lawyer for the men. Advocates dressed in black robes protesting outside the court called for fast justice. In the northern state of Kashmir, school girls marched with black ribbons over their mouths and demanded harsh punishment for the accused. The case is due to be processed by a new, fasttrack chamber set up in response to the crime. While the fast-track procedure has broad support, many lawyers worry new that legislation written in haste could be unconstitutional and oppose introducing the death penalty for rape. “A swift trial should not be at the cost of a fair trial,” Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said on Wednesday.

Police have said the accused have admitted to torturing and raping the student “to teach her a lesson”. She fought back and bit three of them, a police source said, and the bite marks are part of the evidence against them. After throwing her from the private bus, the driver tried to run the victim over but she was pulled away by her companion, a senior police official told Reuters. Police have prepared a dossier of evidence and charges against the accused, which is believed to run to 1,000 pages, including testimony from the woman’s friend who survived the hour-long attack and a man who said he was robbed by the same gang prior to the rape. Days of protests in New Delhi and other cities followed the attack. Many of the protesters have been students, infuriated by what they see as the failure of the government to protect women. In the northeastern state of Assam on Wednesday, village women beat a politician and handed him to police for what they said was the attempted rape of a woman, police said. Anti-rape protests have also broken out in neighboring Nepal. The government has set up two panels headed by retired judges to recommend meas-

ures to ensure women’s safety. One of the panels, due to make recommendations this month, has received some 17,000 suggestions from the public, media reported. India’s chief justice inaugurated the first fasttrack court for sexual offences on Wednesday a long standing demand of activists to clear a court backlog. A review of India’s penal code, which dates back to 1860, was presented to parliament last month, before the attack, and widens the definition of rape, another demand of activists. That bill is now likely to be revised further, with chemical castration and the death penalty in rape cases among proposals under consideration. “We want the laws to be amended in such a stringent way that before a person even thinks of touching a girl, he should feel chills down his spine,” said lawyer Suman Lata Katiyal, protesting at the south Delhi courthouse. Hanging is only allowed in the “rarest of rare” cases according to a 1983 Supreme Court ruling. It was used for the first time in eight years in November when the lone surviving gunman from a 2008 militant attack on Mumbai, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab from Pakistan, was executed.—Reuters

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

World divided, impotent to halt Syrian bloodshed AZAZ: The death toll in Syria now exceeds 60,000, the United Nations says. Another 100,000 may die this year, warns UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. About 220 were killed on Wednesday alone. “When numbers get serious, they leave a mark on your door,” goes a song by American musician Paul Simon. But in Syria those bloody notches show no signs of braking a headlong struggle to the death watched from afar by divided outside powers, most of whose leaders seem convinced that the risks of direct intervention outweigh any possible rewards. Syrians realize they are essentially on their own, and 21 months after the start of protests against President Bashar al-Assad inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere, some of the civilians caught up in what has become a civil war are near despair. “It’s all nonsense,” said Adnan Abu Raad, an elderly man wrapped in a scarf against the cold, as he watched fresh graves being dug after 11 people were killed in a weekend air strike in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz near the border with Turkey. “Neither the Free Syrian Army nor Assad’s forces can protect us. The two factions are fighting each other, but no one is dying except for the innocent, the children, women and elderly.” Abu Raad derided the peace efforts of Brahimi and his predecessor Kofi Annan as hypocrisy and dismissed reports of even limited outside help for the rebellion against Assad as fiction. “No one has sent us a single bullet. It’s all a lie.” Some Western countries have provided what they call non-lethal aid to rebels, while some Arab states are reported to have sent weapons, mostly channeled through Turkey. Fighters complain of a dearth of ammunition even for the arms they have acquired. Without a negotiated solution, Brahimi said on Saturday, Syria may soon resemble Somalia as a failed state plagued by warlords and destabilizing its neighbors. But the opposition National Coalition rules out talks until Assad goes, while the Syrian leader says he will not give in to his foes. The insurgents have grabbed swathes of countryside in the north and east, as well as holding parts of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, and some suburbs of Damascus, the capital. Yet Assad’s power base is more cohesive than that of his fractious opponents. He controls the armed forces, using air power and heavy weaponry to contain rebel advances or to pound any towns or urban districts that slip out of his control. ‘HURT THE PEOPLE’ In Azaz cemetery, Abu Bahri, a 45-year-old in a black coat, accused Assad of seeking to sap rebel support by targeting civilians and depriving them of water, electricity and bread. “Hurt the people and turn them against the Free Syria Army. It’s a calculated move,” he said, as the grave-diggers’ spades gouged at the soil to lay the next victims to rest. With the military struggle evolving so slowly, no end to the bloodletting is in sight. The outside world appears impotent. Indeed, many Syrians on both sides have concluded that by defining any use of chemical weapons as a “red line”, Washington has effectively given Assad immunity to use anything else. The United States and its European allies, after extricating themselves from Iraq and soon Afghanistan, show no appetite for another such venture, with Syria viewed as more likely to become an Iraqstyle quagmire than a Libyan quasi-success. In 2011, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution interpreted by the West as allowing a NATO bombing campaign that helped rebels defeat Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi - whose air defenses were flimsy and whose friends were few. Syria’s dense core of towns and cities, as well as the sectarian diversity of its 23 million people in a country formally at war with Israel and deeply inter-connected with a volatile regional neighborhood, all mark it off from Libya. For their part, Russia and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions on Syria, for fear they might lead to sanctions or foreign meddling aimed at ousting Assad. Shiite Iran fiercely opposes outside intervention against its main Arab ally. The Shiite-led government in Iraq also fears the consequences of any victory for mostly Sunni Muslim rebels against Assad and his Shiite-linked Alawite minority. Egypt’s new Islamist leaders have called for Assad’s fall, but the most populous Arab nation, gripped by its own political and economic turmoil, is in no shape to bring this about. —Reuters

ISTANBUL: People stand next to supply trucks of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) yesterday in Istanbul. IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation sent 850 tons of flour to Syria. — AFP

Syria rebels in push to capture air base Rebels battle to limit government air superiority AZAZ: Rebels battled yesterday to seize an air base in northern Syria, part of a campaign to limit the air power that has given President Bashar Al-Assad the upper hand. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the 21-month-old uprising and civil war, the United Nations said this week, sharply raising the death toll in a conflict that shows no sign of ending. After dramatic advances over the second half of 2012, the rebels now hold wide swathes of territory in the north and east, but are limited in exerting control because they cannot protect towns and villages from Assad’s helicopters and jets. Hundreds of fighters from rebel groups were attempting to storm the Taftanaz air base, near the northern highway that links Syria’s two main cities, Aleppo and the capital Damascus. Rebels have been besieging air bases across the north in recent weeks, in the hope this will reduce the government’s power to carry out air strikes and resupply loyalist-held areas. A rebel fighter speaking from near the Taftanaz base overnight said the base’s main sections were still in loyalist hands but insurgents had managed to infiltrate and destroy a helicopter and a fighter jet on the ground. The northern rebel Idlib Coordination Committee said the rebels had detonated a car bomb inside the base. The government’s SANA news agency said the base had not fallen and that the

military had “strongly confronted an attempt by the terrorists to attack the airport from several axes, inflicting heavy losses among them and destroying their weapons and munitions”. Rami Abdulrahman, head of the oppositionaligned Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which monitors the conflict from Britain, said as many as 800 fighters were involved in the assault, including Islamists from Jabhat al-Nusra, a powerful group that Washington considers terrorists. Taftanaz is mainly a helicopter base, used for missions to resupply army positions in the north, many of which are cut off by road because of rebel gains, as well as for dropping crude “barrel bombs” of explosives on rebel-controlled areas. WHAT’S THE FAULT OF KIDS? Near Minakh, another northern air base that rebels have surrounded, close to the Turkish boder, government forces have retaliated by regularly shelling and bombing nearby towns. In the town of Azaz, where the bombardment has become a near nightly occurrence, shells hit a family house overnight. Zeinab Hammadi said her two wounded daughters, aged 10 and 12, had been rushed across the border to Turkey, one with her brain exposed. “We were sleeping and it just landed on us in the blink of an eye,” she said, weeping as she surveyed the damage. Family mem-

bers tried to salvage possessions from the wreckage, men lifting out furniture and children carrying out their belongings in tubs. “He (Assad) wants revenge against the people,” said Abu Hassan, 33, working at a garage near the destroyed house. “What is the fault of the children? Are they the ones fighting?” In addition to their tenuous grip on the north, the rebels also hold a crescent of suburbs on the edge of Damascus, which have come under bombardment by government forces that control the centre of the capital. Opposition activists said on Wednesday that dozens of people were incinerated in an inferno caused by an air strike on a petrol station in a Damascus suburb where residents were lining up for precious fuel. The civil war in Syria has become the longest and bloodiest of the conflicts that rose out of uprisings across the Arab world in the past two years. Assad’s family has ruled for 42 years since his father seized power in a coup. The war pits rebels, mainly from the Sunni Muslim majority, against a government supported by members of Assad’s Shiite-derived Alawite minority sect and some members of other minorities who fear revenge if he falls. The West, most Sunni-ruled Arab states and Turkey have called for Assad to leave power. He is supported by Russia and Shiite Iran. — Reuters

Contested Abyei risks new conflict ABYEI: Straddling the volatile border between former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan, the baking scrubland and crumbling buildings of Abyei do not look like many would die for the land. Yet the contested region, a Lebanon-sized area claimed by both sides and ravaged by repeated rounds of conflict, is one of the most contentious issues outstanding since South Sudan won independence from Khartoum in July 2011. In a ruined local government building smashed during fighting, graffiti left behind by Sudanese troops-who stormed the enclave in May 2011 forcing over 100,000 to flee southwards-offers a grim warning. “We have liberated this

area with bullets, God bless bullets!” the message in Arabic reads. The rival presidents are due to meet Friday in the Ethiopian capital in the latest African Union-mediated effort to broker a deal on the region, with South Sudan pushing for the implementation of a stalled referendum for Abyei. That January 2011 vote-set up as a key part of the 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil warnever took place, after Khartoum demanded the inclusion of the pastoralist Arab Misseryia, who have traditionally crossed the region each year to graze their vast herds of cattle. The largely settled residents of Abyei however-the Dinka Ngok people, who would be expected to overwhelmingly vote to

join South Sudan-oppose their inclusion. Abyei-resident Kual Nyok Paget says he was one of the last to flee the latest round of bloody fighting in 2011, dodging shrapnel and crawling through drainage ditches in a failed bid to rescue vital papers ahead of the invading force. He had hoped that the papers-a Sudanese identity card, college diploma, and computer skills certificate-would secure him a job with the United Nations. “These documents were very important for me. We had already lost everything, but I didn’t want to lose my identity, my achievements”, the 24-year-old scrap metal dealer said. He was unable to get past the troops surrounding his house. —AFP


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Icelandic girl fights for right to her own name REYKJAVIK: Call her the girl with no name. A 15-year-old is suing the Icelandic state for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother. The problem? Blaer, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic, is not on a list approved by the government. Like a handful of other countries, including Germany and Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. In a country comfortable with a firm state role, most people don’t question the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and that officials maintain will protect children from embarrassment. Parents can take from the list or apply to a special committee that has the power to say yea or nay. In Blaer’s case, her mother said she learned the name wasn’t on the register only after the priest who baptized the child later informed her he had mistakenly allowed it. “I had no idea that the name wasn’t on the list, the famous list of names that you can choose from,” said Bjork Eidsdottir, adding she knew a Blaer whose name was accepted in 1973. This time, the panel turned it down on the grounds that the word Blaer takes a masculine article, despite the fact that it was used for a female character in a novel by Iceland’s revered Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness. Given names are even more significant in tiny Iceland that in many other countries: Everyone is listed in the phone book by their first names. Surnames are based on a parent’s given name. Even the president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, is addressed simply as Olafur. Blaer is identified as “Stulka” - or “girl” - on all her official documents, which has led to years of frustration as she has had to explain the whole story at the bank, renewing her passport and dealing with the country’s bureaucracy. Her mother is hoping that will change with her suit, the first time someone has challenged a names committee decision in court. Though the law has become more relaxed in recent years - with the name Elvis permitted, inspired by the charismatic rock and roll icon whose name fits Icelandic guidelines - choices like Cara, Carolina, Cesil, and Christa have been rejected outright because the letter “c” is not part of Iceland’s 32-letter alphabet. “The law is pretty straightforward so in many cases it’s clearly going to be a yes or a no,” said Agusta Thorbergsdottir, the head of the committee, a panel of three people appointed by the government to a four-year term. Other cases are more subjective. “What one person finds beautiful, another person may find ugly,” she acknowledged. She pointed to “Satania” as one unacceptable case because it was deemed too close to “Satan.” The board also has veto power over people who want to change their names later in life, rejecting, for instance, middle names like Zeppelin and X. When the artist Birgir Orn Thoroddsen applied to have his name legally changed to Curver, which he had used in one form or another since age 15, he said he knew full well the committee would reject his application. “I was inspired by Prince who changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and Puff Daddy who changed his to P. Diddy and then Diddy with seemingly little thought or criticism,” he said. “I applied to the committee, but of course I got the ‘No’ that I expected.” On his thirtieth birthday, he bought a full-page advertisement that read, “From February 1, 2006, I hereby change my name to Curver Thoroddsen. I ask the nation, my friends and colleagues to respect my decision.” “I can understand a clause to protect children from being named something like ‘Dog poo,’ but it is strange that an adult cannot change his name to what he truly wants,” he said. Thoroddsen is keeping his protest to the media. But Eidsdottir says she is prepared to take her case all the way to the country’s Supreme Court if a court doesn’t overturn the commission decision on Jan 25. “So many strange names have been allowed, which makes this even more frustrating because Blaer is a perfectly Icelandic name,” Eidsdottir said. “It seems like a basic human right to be able to name your child what you want, especially if it doesn’t harm your child in any way.” “And my daughter loves her name,” she added.— AP

Swiss gunman goes on shooting spree Three killed, two injured DAILLON: A gunman with known psychiatric and drug problems opened fire in a village in southern Switzerland, killing three women and injuring two men, authorities said yesterday. The shooting sent shockwaves through the hamlet of Daillon and raised fresh questions about Switzerland’s liberal gun ownership laws. The 33-year-old man opened fire on Wednesday at 8:50 pm on the streets of the village near the southwestern city of Sion, said Robert Steiner, police commander in the local canton of Valais. He used two weapons: a historic Swiss military rifle known as a mousqueton and a shotgun. The man fired around 20 shots, instantly killing three women aged 32, 54 and 79, officials said, and injuring two men, aged 33 and 63. The gunman was wounded during an exchange of gunfire while being apprehended by police and also taken to a hospital, where he was in intensive care. Of the two injured men, one was in critical condition, police said, while the other was recovering after being wounded in the shoulder. Officials said the gunman, whom police did not identify, had spent time in a psychiatric hospital in 2005 and was known to police as a drug user. Police had previously confiscated weapons when he was placed in a psychiatric ward. His motives for the shooting were not known, but officials said he was a resident of the village and was distantly related to the victims. Forensic investigators were at work Thursday in the picturesque village of 200 residents, which is perched at an altitude of 1,000 meters and surrounded by vineyards. Police said they had

responded after being called about the shooting and told that “several injured people are lying on the ground”. Cantonal police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet said that police had only returned fire after coming under threat. “There was an exchange of gunfire because he was threatening police officers. He was hit and wounded,” Bornet said, adding that no police officers were injured. “There is bewilderment and shock in Valais. This is a man who lived in Daillon and opened fire on his neighbors,” Bornet told RSR Swiss radio. Swiss media quoted local residents as saying the gunman had been drinking heavily before the shooting. Local restaurant owner Marie-Paule Udry said the man had been in her establishment prior to the shooting, adding: “He had drunk a lot.” Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland, where citizens are allowed to keep their weapons at home outside periods of mandatory military service. The law allows any citizen aged over 18 to possess arms under certain conditions and there are an estimated two million weapons in private hands among Switzerland’s population of about eight million. Questions about the country’s gun-control laws have been raised after previous shootings, including the 2001 massacre of 14 officials at a local parliament meeting in Zoug by a man who then turned the gun on himself. Switzerland also has the highest rate of suicide by firearms in Europe. But in 2011 Swiss voters in a referendum rejected a proposal to ban the keeping of army-issue weapons at home. — AFP

DAILLON: Policemen investigate in Daillon, Switzerland yesterday. A man shot and killed three people and wounded another two in the Swiss village, and was then arrested by officers who shot and injured him, police said yesterday. — AP

Clinton discharged NEW YORK: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left a New York hospital late Wednesday after three days of treatment and is expected to make a full recovery from a rare blood clot in her head. “Secretary Clinton was discharged from the hospital this evening,” a top aide, Deputy Assistant Secretary Philippe Reines, said in a statement, after the 65-year-old diplomat was forced to spend New Year’s Eve in a hospital bed. “Her medical team advised her that she is making good progress on all fronts, and they are confident she will make a full recovery,” he said, adding that Clinton was “eager to get back to the office.” Earlier the top US diplomat, bundled up against the cold in a thick winter coat and wearing dark glasses, appeared in public for the first time in almost a month, when she came out of a building at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. It was the first time Clinton had been seen since catching a stomach virus on returning from a trip to Europe on December 7, which triggered a series of health scares, forcing doctors to order her to rest. Accompanied by her smiling husband, former president Bill Clinton, as well as her daughter Chelsea and several aides, Clinton walked to a waiting black van at the hospital, according to images broadcast by CNN.

Both Clinton and her family “would like to express their appreciation for the excellent care she received from the doctors, nurses and staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center,” Reines added. He did not say when the secretary would return to work though, promising only to issue an update in the coming days. He did not specify where Clinton was going, but she has a home in Chappaqua, New York. “Grateful my Mom discharged from the hospital & is heading home. Even more grateful her medical team confident she’ll make a full recovery,” Chelsea Clinton said in a tweet. The health scare, which has grounded the normally indefatigable secretary of state, came as she prepares to step down after four years in office later this month. She will most likely hand the baton to Senator John Kerry, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to replace her. Kerry’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the new Senate, due to be sworn in on Thursday, but as a veteran, well-respected senator, he is expected to sail through his confirmation hearing. Clinton has been largely credited with helping to restore America’s image abroad in the past four years, and Obama has said that he had begged her to stay on.—AFP


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Israel arresting Palestinians to prevent uprising

JERUSALEM: Israel plans to step up arrests of suspected militants in the occupied West Bank to prevent a rising tide of lowintensity conflict and civil unrest from turning into an uprising, security sources say. “There is a certain (Palestinian) awakening,” one source said. “As a consequence a decision was taken within the security establishment to increase intelligence activity and arrests among members of Hamas or activists against Israel,” he added. “It started in the past few days and will increase.” Recent events, however, suggest that such a policy could backfire. On Tuesday, undercover Israeli troops attempting to arrest a suspected Islamic Jihad militant were pelted with rocks by an angry crowd. The squad made their arrest, but Palestinian security sources said dozens were lightly injured when soldiers fired rubber bullets, live rounds and tear gas at their attackers. Israeli public radio’s military affairs reporter quoted military sources on

Wednesday as saying the arrest operation was routine, but the Palestinian response was anything but so. “What is exceptional is the grave disturbances,” she quoted her sources as saying. “An operation like this would not in the past have brought disturbances of this kind.” “There is a certain rise in disturbances in the territories but talk of a third intifada is premature,” she added. Earlier this month, troops in a southern West bank village were forced to abort an attempt to arrest a Palestinian policeman suspected of militant activity when crowds of local residents pelted them with rocks. They seized the man later at a military checkpoint near Hebron. The Palestinians have twice risen up against their Israeli occupiers in so-called intifadas (uprisings) in December 1987 and September 2000. But neither movement succeeded in ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank that began in 1967. Now, with direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on hold since September 2010, observers have raised the spectre of a third uprising

breaking out. Ghassan Khatib, a veteran of the first intifada, who later became a Palestinian cabinet minister and now teaches at the West Bank’s Birzeit University, does not see a guiding hand in the current round of clashes. VIOLENCE ‘SPONTANEOUS’ He considers as “spontaneous” the daily confrontations between Palestinian farmers and Jewish settlers, the hurling of rocks and petrol bombs at Israeli motorists in Palestinian areas and the clashes with troops. “I don’t think that it can be connected to any specific event; it’s been building up gradually,” he said. “I think it’s a result of the dangerous combination of a complete absence of any political horizon together with serious economic and financial crisis that is leading to increased unemployment and poverty,” he added, noting an increase in settlement activity. “In my view the situation is not sustainable,” he said. Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service tied an upswing in clashes

Social protest leaders to shake up Israel poll Protesters seek parliamentary seats TEL AVIV: They are young and they are driven. They got half a million Israelis out on the streets demanding social justice. Now they want their votes. The leaders of a grassroots social protest movement that swept Israel in 2011 have shot to the top of a rejuvenated Labor party that polls say will at least double its power in a Jan. 22 general election that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud is forecast to win. “The next stage is to continue what started in the streets, to bring that to the ballot ... so that we can translate it into achievements in budgets, laws and a change of policy,” said 32-year-old Itzik Shmuli, who as head of the student union was one of the most prominent leaders of the protest movement. It began with a handful of youngsters who pitched tents along Tel Aviv’s luxurious Rothschild Avenue to protest against high housing costs. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated weekly across the country. Inspired also by the Arab Spring that swept the region, the protesters, chanting “the people demand social justice”, dominated headlines in Israel in the summer of 2011, and posed a new challenge to the government. Political parties soon saw potential vote magnets in the movement’s leaders, who were often portrayed in the media as idealists with just the right mix of innocence and savvy to promote a message of hope and change. Shmuli quit the student union this year to win the number 11 spot on Labor’s list of parliamentary candidates, running a distant second to Likud in the upcoming election. “The answer the government gave was a thin, cosmetic and cynical one. They did not want to truly deal with the problems raised by the protest,” Shmuli said. Israel has a relatively low unemployment rate of 6.7 percent and a growing economy, but business cartels and wage disparities have kept many from feeling the benefit. In parliament, Shmuli and his allies hope to push affordable housing, reform the education, welfare and health systems and to narrow the gap between rich and poor in Israel, which the Organisation for Economic

JERUSALEM: Israel’s former foreign minister and chairman of a new party called The Movement, Tzipi Livni (center), visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, during her election campaign, yesterday. — AFP Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said is among the highest in developed countries. In response to the protest, Netanyahu, a free market champion and fiscal conservative, vowed to revamp the economy and lower living costs. Some of the government’s steps have eased the pain for the middle and lower classes. But other measures are moving slowly or have had no major effect. With rising food and fuel prices, few feel significant change in the cost of living since the protest. “It means that we were mistaken when, as a young generation, we thought we could avoid sitting in the places where we make the most important decisions,” said Stav Shaffir, 27, another of the movement’s leaders. Shaffir is now eighth on Labour’s list. Polls show that like Shmuli, she will be a member of Israel’s next parliament, with her party winning about 16 to 20 of the 120 Knesset seats. “There is something pure and beautiful about a popular protest,” Shaffir told a group of students in December. “But the change it brings comes only after generations ... and we don’t have that time if we want to change policy.”

UNDER THE TANKS Shaffir lives with four roommates in a Jaffa apartment. Shmuli moved to the rundown town of Lod last year to set up a student community outreach program. Both say they have no intention of changing their dwellings after becoming lawmakers. At the protest’s peak, Shmuli addressed about half a million people at one of the biggest rallies ever held in Israel. He spoke to the cheering crowd about “The New Israelis”, who will fight for a better future and social equality. But that was in September 2011. The question now is whether the “New Israelis” who cheered for Shmuli will turn up to vote for him. The summer of 2011 marked one of the only times that social-economic issues consistently topped the agenda in a country whose population of 7.8 million is usually preoccupied with matters of war and peace. Yariv Ben-Eliezer, a media expert at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a college near Tel Aviv, says those issues have once more taken a back seat. —Reuters

to November’s eight-day battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. “In response to the operation, Jerusalem and the (West Bank) also saw an increase in the level of violence,” Shin Bet said in its monthly summary for November. It recorded 122 Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the West Bank, compared with 39 in October, and 44 incidents in Jerusalem, up from 31 the month before. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinian youngsters seemed to be heavily involved in the unrest, which some Israeli media are already calling “a miniintifada.” “In general there’s been an increase in the number of incidents that have taken place, stone-throwing incidents as well as Molotov cocktails on the main highways,” he said. “The majority of incidents take place in the morning when Palestinian children are on their way to school and in the afternoon when Palestinian children are returning from school,” he said. — AFP

Rightwing parties target West Bank JERUSALEM: Three Israeli rightwing parties, including two that are expected to be part of the next government after elections this month, are talking seriously about annexing all or part of the occupied West Bank. Seized by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, the West Bank is now home to hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, as well as about 1.7 million Palestinians. Talk of annexing the territory, as Israel did with east Jerusalem-in a move never recognized by the international community-is not new. But as rightwing parties battle for the settler vote ahead of the January 22 elections, the idea is being discussed increasingly seriously by mainstream parties. On Tuesday, candidates from three factions, including the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, debated the issue before an audience dominated by settlers. “We must begin to talk about it because this question will, I hope, be the order of the day for the next government,” Netanyahu’s information minister Yuli Edelstein said. “We have no partners on the Palestinian side with whom to make peace, so we must consider an alternative,” added Edelstein, a Netanyahu confidant. Annexation of the entire West Bank is not part of the Likud party platform, but Edelstein’s views are shared by a number of the party’s electoral list, which skews to the right wing of the party. “Our historic right to this region should be cemented by the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria (West Bank),” Likud deputy Yariv Levin said. Annexation has never been a Likud policy, but is now increasingly mentioned by its representatives, as well as those from the rival national religious Jewish Home party. “No one has talked about it for five years and now it could be a subject of debate in the next parliamentary session,” said Yehuda Glick, a rightwing activist who helped organize the Tuesday discussion. THE SETTLER VOTE For Jewish Home, the decision to adopt the annexation policy is directly linked to its new leader, Naftali Bennett, who is being credited with the formerly tiny faction’s meteoric rise in the polls. He is the author of the “Bennett Plan,” which he promoted before joining Jewish Home, a roadmap for the annexation of the 60 percent of the West Bank designated as Area C, where Israel has administrative and security control. The area includes Israeli settlements, but is also home to around 150,000 Palestinians. The extreme rightwing Otzma LeyIsrael (Strength to Israel) party advocates the annexation of the entire West Bank. “We will present a project for a proposed law to annex all of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley in the next Knesset,” said Aryeh Eldad, who heads the party’s list. Edelstein is more cautious, and warns “there are many necessary steps before the annexation, because doing it won’t solve the problem of the territories.” “We have to create an atmosphere in the international community to be able carry out this annexation bit-by-bit,” he said. The organizers of the debate estimate that 73 percent of those voting for Likud, Jewish Home or Otzma LeyIsrael favor annexing the West Bank, either in full or in part. Many of those are settlers, whose votes are up-for-grabs and the subject of a fierce battle between Likud and Jewish Home. —AFP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Bouncing cheques still a crime for expats in UAE ABU DHABI: Foreigners still risk being imprisoned for bouncing cheques in the United Arab Emirates, as a government order which decriminalizes the offence applies only to local citizens, an official statement said. The statement was issued to clarify contradictory reports in local media, after some reports this week said foreigners no longer faced criminal penalties for writing cheques that bounced. Post-dated cheques are frequently used in the UAE as guarantees by businesses and individuals, for everything from apartment rentals to multi-million dollar deals. Bouncing the cheques is a criminal offence rather than merely a civil one. The UAE’s tough penalties for defaulting on cheques were relaxed for local citizens in October after a royal decree was issued, but the threat of jail remains for the country’s large expatriate population. A debt settlement fund launched by the government is “concerned only with settling all the debts of only Emirati citizens”, state news agency WAM quoted the government statement as saying late on Wednesday. “The relevant mechanisms set by the fund for this purpose apply only to relevant UAE citizens, and not others, and this includes the decriminalize security cheques presented by UAE citizens to banks and financial firms.” Last July, a British businessman who spent nearly three years in a Dubai jail was released after his conviction for bouncing cheques was overturned. He had gone on a seven-week hunger strike. — Reuters

Lankan chief justice impeachment ‘illegal’ Parliament standing order is not a law: Supreme Court COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court said yesterday parliament does not have the legal authority to investigate accusations of misconduct against senior judges and an impeachment proceeding against the chief justice was against the law. The government and Supreme Court have been at loggerheads since President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling party filed an impeachment motion against Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s first female head of the Supreme Court, on Nov 6. The government complained that she had been overstepping her authority but Bandaranayake’s supporters complained of political interference in the judiciary. The case has raised international concern about the independence of the judiciary. A parliamentary impeachment committee last month found Bandara-

nayake guilty on counts of financial irregularities, conflict of interest and failure to declare her assets. But the Supreme Court said investigations into any misbehavior by senior judges including the chief justice should be conducted by a judicial body. “Therefore, in our opinion, it is mandatory for parliament to provide by law the body competent to conduct the investigation,” the court said in a 27page ruling, which was read out in a lower court. Government Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle declined to comment on the ruling saying the speaker of parliament would decide on the latest move by the judiciary. Parliament had scheduled to debate the impeachment on Bandaranayake next week, before a vote which the government, with a majority in the assembly, would be bound to win. The

Supreme Court’s ruling backs up a decision by an appeal court’s which last month blocked parliament from voting to impeach Bandaranayake, the country’s first woman chief justice. The United States, the United Nations and the Commonwealth have raised concerns about the impeachment and called on Rajapaksa to ensure the independence of the judiciary. The parliamentary panel which found Bandaranayake guilty was appointed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, the elder brother of the president. The accusations against Bandaranayake arose after she ruled against a bill, submitted by the president’s younger brother, Basil Rajapaksa, proposing an 80-billion rupee ($614 million) development budget which she said had to be approved by nine provincial councils. — Reuters

Philippine birth control law faces first challenge

PYONGYANG: In this file image, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (second from left in front row) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (left) attend a ceremony in Pyongyang. The seemingly pregnant belly sported by the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in mid-December appeared to be gone by New Year’s Day. That’s sent South Korean media into a frenzy of speculation that there’s a new baby in the ruling Kim dynasty. — AP

Heir for North Korea leader? SEOUL: North Korea’s next dynastic succession may have been secured, with new TV images of leader Kim Jong-Un’s wife suggesting that Pyongyang’s first lady recently gave birth. When state TV showed Ri Sol-Ju attending a memorial service for her husband’s late father Kim Jong-Il in mid-December, she appeared heavily pregnant with her loose-fit traditional dress barely hiding a swollen belly. But more recent images of her attending an official New Year’s party showed her wearing a well-fitted twopiece skirt suit with no physical sign of pregnancy. Speculation was fuelled by the official performance, which included an allwoman band singing a version of the

Christmas favorite “When a Child is Born” made popular by Johnny Mathis. South Korean television and newspapers on Thursday ran before-and-after photos with speculative captions. “The bulging stomach has gone down ... has Ri Sol-Ju given birth?” asked the Dong-A Ilbo daily. “Ri Sol-Ju with her tummy reduced in 11 days. Has she come out right after childbirth?” ran the caption in the Chosun Ilbo daily. A South Korean government official, quoted by Yonhap news agency, said Ri “appeared to have already given birth, based on analysis of the TV images.” The fact that Kim JongUn even had a wife was only revealed in July last year when pictures emerged of

a stylishly-dressed young woman accompanying the new young leader at official events. Pyongyang’s state media confirmed her identity later in the same month, in a rare move in the isolated and deeply patriarchal nation, which has rarely placed its first ladies under the spotlight. According to intelligence reports cited by the South Korean media, the couple were married in 2009 and already have one child, although that has never been confirmed. Ri was described as coming from an ordinary family, with her father an academic and her mother a doctor. She visited South Korea in 2005 as a cheerleader for her country’s squad in the Asian Athletics Championships. — AFP

MANILA: A Catholic couple has asked the Philippines’ top court to stop a historic birth control law, their lawyer said yesterday, in the first of many legal challenges church leaders have vowed against the measure. The petition was filed Wednesday at the Supreme Court by lawyer James Imbong and his wife, who claim the law signed by President Benigno Aquino two weeks ago was unconstitutional. Imbong’s mother Jo, who is representing the couple in the case and is the lawyer for the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, told AFP that “the state has no business entering the bedroom”. “This law corrupts Philippine culture, mainly the emphasis we put on family values and marriage, taking care of children and parenting,” she said, having earlier warned that lay Catholics would challenge the law in court. The Philippine constitution guaranteed the protection of the family and in passing the law “the government overstepped its powers”, Jo Imbong said. “This is just the first salvo,” she added. “We are paving the way for other similar suits from many faith-based groups.” Imbong said big “prayer rallies” were also being planned across the country in the weeks to come. The law will take effect on January 17, unless the Supreme Court issues an injunction. Court officials have not indicated if they will hear legal challenges to the law before then. The law requires government health centres hand out free condoms and birth-control pills, benefiting tens of millions of the country’s poor who would not otherwise be able to afford or have access to them. It also mandates that sex education be taught in schools and public health workers receive family-planning training. Proponents have said the law will slow the country’s rapid population growth, cut poverty and reduce the number of mothers dying at child birth. The Catholic Church had managed to stall the legislation for more than a decade, cowing legislators and presidents by threatening to turn the public against them. Eighty percent of the country’s roughly 100 million people are Catholic, and the church helped lead “people power” revolutions that toppled two corrupt presidents over the past 27 years. Nevertheless, public opinion surveys have consistently shown a majority of Filipinos support the “Responsible Parenthood Act”. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Afghan toys inspire giant ‘dandelion’ anti-mine device EINDHOVEN: Childhood toys lost in a war-torn field have inspired an odd-looking invention like a giant dandelion seed head which its young Dutch inventor hopes can help save thousands of lives and limbs in his native Afghanistan. Decades of war, notably the 1979-89 Soviet invasion, have left the rugged Afghan countryside littered with landmines that continue to exact a merciless toll, mainly on children. Now, in a small workshop in the industrial heart of the southern city of Eindhoven, 29-year-old Massoud Hassani screws in the last leg of an ingenious, wind-driven gadget he built to clear anti-personnel mines. He calls the device, the size of a golf buggy, a “mine kafon”. “The idea comes from our childhood toys which we once played with as kids on the outskirts of Kabul,” Hassani told AFP as he rolled out the device for a demonstration. Short for “kafondan”, which in Hassani’s native Dari language means “something that explodes”, the kafon consists of 150 bamboo legs screwed into a central metal ball. At the other end of each leg, a round, white plastic disk the size of a small frisbee is attached via a black rubber car part for drive shafts, called a CV-joint boot. Assembled, the spherical kafon looks like a giant tumbleweed or seed head. And like the dandelion puff it moves with the wind: the kafon is designed to be blown around, exploding antipersonnel mines as it rolls on the ground. With the legs made from bamboo, they are easily replaceable. Once they are blown off it’s simply a matter of screwing on others, which means the kafon can be used over and over. Inside the steel ball, a GPS device plots the

Fervent Chavez followers take stock of future CARACAS: Once seemingly unthinkable, the prospect of life here without Hugo Chavez is slowly sinking in among even the cancer-stricken Venezuelan leader’s most fervent supporters. In places like 23 de Enero, a bastion of “Chavismo” in the slum-covered hills that overlook the presidential palace in downtown Caracas, residents still say they expect him to live forever. But for the first time in the 14 years of Chavez’s all-encompassing embrace as president, they are beginning to acknowledge openly that their beloved “Comandante” may not survive his nearly 19-month-long battle with cancer. “The people of Venezuela will continue to follow the lead of this revolution beyond the loss of a leader,” said Miguel, a spokesman for one of the communal councils Chavistas have set up to run neighborhood affairs in 23 de Enero. The sprawling public housing project is itself a potent political symbol in Venezuela, named for the date of a 1958 coup that ushered in the country’s modern democratic era. Built more than 50 years ago, the giant apartment blocks that rise on the hillsides had become decrepit, crime-ridden no-go zones when Chavez swept to power in 1999 as a champion of the poor. Since then, he has lavished money and attention on 23 de Enero, repairing broken elevators and lighting and cleaning up the place with the help of volunteers like Miguel, a 35-year-old who wears a black Beret with a Chavez pin affixed to it. He says it is now an orderly neighborhood with schools, clinics, public transportation and parks. Portraits of revolutionaries and guerrilla leaders-Che Guevara, FARC guerrilla leader Manuel Marulanda, even Muammar Gaddafi, a Chavez ally who was ousted and killed in Libya in 2011 - look down from murals on neighborhood walls. “The people regard Chavez as invincible,” said Miguel, who would not give his full name. “Chavez will return. We are going to see our Comandante Chavez healthy, we will see our Comandante Chavez free of all evil and we await him with great enthusiasm.” But if not, he said, “the people, the oppressed classes will take the mandate” to continue Chavez’s socialist program. Whether Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution has a future without him will depend in large part on whether a movement with no other dominant figures can retain his broad popular following. Before leaving for Cuba for his fourth round of surgery last month, Chavez named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his choice to take the leadership if he is unable. “You elect Maduro president of the republic, I ask this of you from the bottom of my heart,” he told his followers. —AFP

kafon’s path as it rolls through an area that may be mined and shows on a computerized map exactly where it is safe to walk. Hassini is still in the testing stages, notably to make sure there is 100 percent contact between the kafon’s “feet” and the ground, so no mine is missed. But initial trials-some using explosives with the Dutch Defense Force-and an in-the-field rolling test in Morocco this year showed promising results. ‘THIS WILL BE OUR REVENGE’ “We know this is a working prototype and that we need to do lots of testing still,” said Hassani, saying the kafon would not be deployed in real situations until it was 100-percent proven. The designer and his brother Mahmud, 27, are now looking for sponsors, notably through an online platform. They hope to raise 123,000 euros (160,000 dollars) in donations by next month to fund development and take the device to Afghanistan in August for more trials. It will be the brothers’ first time home after fleeing Taliban-ruled Kabul, Massoud first in 1998 then Mahmud two years later, in arduous treks through Pakistan and Uzbekistan. They finally made their way to the Netherlands, where they were accepted as refugees and today hold Dutch citizenship. Massoud landed a place at the Design Academy Eindhoven-regarded as one of the world’s foremost industrial design schools-where he first conceived the project in 2010. “I had to design a toy from my childhood,” said the shaggy-haired inventor as he sipped a cup of tea. “I went back into my childhood in a dream. I saw the toys we

made and how they rolled into a minefield,” he said. “We could never get them back.” Despite huge progress in mine-clearing in Afghanistan in recent years, it remains one of the most-mined countries in the world. Since 1989, around 650,000 anti-personnel mines, 27,000 anti-tank mines and more than 15 million other pieces of unexploded ordnance have been collected, according to the UNfunded Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA). In June this year, the UN said there were still 5,233 “danger zones” covering 588 square kilometers putting more than 750,000 people at risk. At least 812 people were wounded or killed last year by mines, victim-triggered improvised explosive devices and other ordnance left over from the Afghan wars, Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Handicap International said. More than half of the victims were children, it said. “People are killed almost daily in my home country-and tragically it’s often kids, like what happened on Monday,” said Hassani, eyes clouded with painful memories from his own childhood. His reference was to a December 17 tragedy when 10 Afghan girls collecting firewood were blown apart in the country’s east after one accidentally struck a mine with an axe. “There is no silver bullet to solve all the problems associated with mine clearing,” conceded Mary Wareham, a senior advisor at Human Rights Watch Arms Division. But “we appreciate every effort,” including the kafon’s invention, she said. For Hassani, his gadget is more than just a new way to fight a deadly scourge. “This,” he said, “will be our revenge on the war that has torn up our country.”— AFP

Pakistani warlord slain US drones kill 13 PESHAWAR: A pair of US drone strikes in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border killed 13 people yesterday, including a senior militant commander who had a truce with the Pakistani military, intelligence officials and residents said. Five Pakistani security officials said the commander, Maulvi Nazir, was reportedly among nine people killed in a missile strike on a house in the village of Angoor Adda in the South Waziristan tribal region yesterday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Pakistani militant commander Maulvi Nazir

Nazir’s killing could prove to be a contentious issue between Washington and Islamabad, which is believed to have struck a nonaggression pact with Nazir ahead of the Pakistani military’s 2009 operation against militants in South Waziristan. Militants under Nazir’s command focused their attacks on American forces in neighboring Afghanistan, earning the militant leader the enmity of the US. But Pakistan’s military viewed Nazir and militant chiefs like him as key to keeping the peace internally because they do not attack Pakistani targets. Residents in both Angoor Adda and Wana, the biggest town in South Waziristan, said they heard announcements on mosque loudspeakers announcing Nazir’s death. One resident, Ajaz Khan, told The Associated Press by telephone that 5,000 to 10,000 people attended the funeral of Nazir and six other people in held in Angoor Adda. Reports of individual deaths are difficult to independently verify. It is difficult for Pakistani and foreign journalists to travel to the remote areas where many of these strikes occur, and the US rarely comments on its secretive drone program. The second drone strike took place near Mir Ali, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal region. One missile hit a vehicle near the town, followed by another missile when people rushed to the vehicle to help people in the car. The officials say four people were killed in the strike, although the identities of the dead were not immediately known. Nazir was attacked by a suicide bomber in November as he was arriving at an office he used to meet with locals and hear their complaints. Nazir and more than a dozen other people were wounded in the attack, and seven people were killed. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately fell on rival militants who have been jockeying with Nazir for power in South Waziristan. Nazir outraged many Pakistanis in June when he announced that he would not allow any polio vaccinations in territory under his control until the US stops drone attacks in the region. Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is still endemic. Nine workers helping in anti-polio vaccination campaigns were killed last month by militant gunmen. The former chief of intelligence in northwest Pakistan, retired brigadier Asad Munir, said Nazir’s killing will complicate the fight against militants in the tribal region, and could prompt Nazir’s group to carry out retaliatory attacks against the Pakistani army in South Waziristan. It will also raise questions among military commanders here who would like the US to use its firepower against the Pakistani Taleban, which attacks domestic targets, and not against militants like Nazir who aren’t seen as posing as much of a threat to the Pakistani state, Munir said.—AP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013


in brief

New Delhi coldest day NEW DELHI: New Delhi has suffered its coldest day in 44 years amid a cold snap across northern India, the local weather office said yesterday. The maximum day temperature on Wednesday reached just 9.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since the winter of 1969 when records first began, an official in the local meteorological department said, with a minimum of 4.8 Celsius. There is expected to be little respite in the coming few days with the weather office forecasting that chilly conditions will prevail. The unusual cold has been attributed to dense fog which has obscured the sun and disrupted airports and trains, as well as icy winds from the snowy Himalayas to the north. Winter in the Indian capital, home to 16.3 million people, usually lasts through January before giving way to spring and summer, when temperatures regularly rise to 45 degrees Celsius. Top cop kidnapped BENGHAZI: The acting head of the criminal investigations department in Libya’s second city Benghazi has been kidnapped at gunpoint, officials said yesterday. “Abdelsalam Al-Mahdawi was kidnapped late Wednesday when travelling from his farm to the criminal investigations department,” a security official said. “Bearded men stopped him at a traffic light on Venezia Street and kidnapped him at gunpoint,” the official said on condition of anonymity, recalling that the police chief had been abducted before. He said he believed hardline Islamists were behind the kidnapping. Another colleague said that Mahdawi “had many enemies since he had files on everyone-Gaddafi loyalists, hardline Islamists and common criminals.” A small number of demonstrators-most of them fellow officers in civilian clothes-gathered in front of the city’s landmark Tibesti Hotel overnight calling for his release, an AFP photographer reported. Yesterday, Interior Minister Ashour Shwayel expressed his regret over the kidnapping and promised to “search for the officer and determine the identity of the perpetrators.” Mexican troops kill 12 MEXICO CITY: Mexican soldiers killed 12 suspected criminals in a running gun battle across the central state of Zacatecas on Wednesday, an official said. The clash erupted when the two sides ran into each other in the city of Rio Grande, sparking a pursuit along 50 kilometers that ended in the town of Sombrerete, the state official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The official said the death toll may be higher. Defense Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. Zacatecas has not been spared from the drug violence afflicting Mexico that has left at least 70,000 people dead across the country since 2006, when troops were deployed to battle cartels. Earlier, the navy said marines had detained 18 people, including 12 minors and a woman holding a baby, on New Year’s Eve in the Zacatecas town of La Estacion San Jose. The marines seized a cache of weapons, including two grenade launchers, and bags of cocaine and marijuana from the group. Cyclone lashes Reunion SAINT-DENIS-DE-LA-REUNION: Nearly 70,000 homes were left without electricity yesterday as a cyclone lashed the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion. Winds of up to 180 kilometers per hour and torrential rain caused extensive damage to the electricity network after cyclone Dumile passed within 90 kilometers of the island’s west coast at around 0900 GMT. EDF, the electricity supplier, said power to 68,000 homes had been cut. An unspecified number of homes were also without water and the storm did extensive damage to avocado and other crops. Jean-Luc Marx, the island’s prefect, said 170 people had sought shelter in reception centers set up to house anyone concerned for their safety. One fireman was slightly injured during an evacuation but otherwise no casualties were reported. A red alert requiring all residents to stay inside remained in force in the early evening, although it was ignored by several thrill-seekers who received 135-euro ($177) fines for defying the order to witness the raging sea at first hand.

Turkey jails 40 Kurds Former army chief detained DIYARBAKIR: A Turkish court yesterday sentenced to prison 40 Kurds for ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the first verdict to come in a massive trial involving hundreds of suspects. The court in Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey handed down jail terms ranging from three months to 17 years for membership in the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), branded by authorities as a “terrorist organization” and an urban wing of the Kurdish rebels. The defendants were arrested in 2009 in the Kurdish-majority city of Sirnak in the southeast as part of a wider crackdown against the KCK. Since then, 700 people have been arrested pending trial over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures, although critics claim the number tops 3,500. Yesterday’s verdict is the first in the huge trial where lawyers, politicians and journalists stand accused of KCK membership as related new cases keep piling up across the country. Ankara says the KCK wants to replace Turkish government institutions in Kurdish-majority southeastern Anatolia with its own political structures. The ruling comes at a time when Turkish officials acknowledge negotiations

between intelligence services and Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, to end the nearly three-decade long insurgency. “The intelligence services are in talks with him,” Yalcin Akdogan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top political advisor said in televised remarks on Monday. “The goal is the disarmament of the PKK.... The government supports any dialogue to this end that could result in a halt to violence,” Akdogan said. Ankara initiated clandestine peace talks with prominent rebel figures in 2009 but they failed, leading to an escalation of violence in Turkey, where some 45,000 people, most of them Kurds, have been killed since the conflict began. In another development, Turkey’s former armed forces chief was detained yesterday in an investigation into the military’s role in pushing the country’s first Islamist-led government out of power in 1997, local media reported. Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who pioneered Islamist politics in Turkey, resigned in June 1997, months after the military-dominated National Security Council warned him over policies it perceived as undermining the secular constitution.

The episode was dubbed Turkey’s “post-modern coup” as the generals used pressure behind the scenes to force Erbakan from power rather than the direct intervention employed in three outright coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Yesterday state prosecutors investigating the case ordered the arrest of Ismail Hakki Karadayi, chief of general staff from 1994 to 1998, Turkish television stations said - the latest humiliation for the once all-powerful military. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was partly founded by members of Erbakan’s Welfare Party after it was outlawed, has sharply curbed the influence of the military since coming to power in 2002. It has launched investigations into coup plots by a military elite which long saw itself as guardian of the secular ideals of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish secular republic. More than 300 military officers were sentenced to jail in September for plotting to overthrow Erdogan almost a decade ago, while nearly 300 other people - including politicians, academics, journalists and retired army officers - are on trial accused of orchestrating political violence. — Agencies

Shiites flood Iraqi shrine city for mourning rituals Authorities tighten security amid fears KARBALA: Shiite pilgrims from across Iraq and around the world thronged the shrine city of Karbala yesterday for the climax of annual mourning rituals amid tight security over fears of militant attacks. An AFP correspondent said massive crowds of people flooded the streets of the city, which officials say has seen millions of visitors in the run-up to the Arbaeen commemorations, as sad songs blared from loudspeakers. Black flags fluttered alongside pictures of Imam Hussein and his half-brother Imam Abbas, revered figures in Shiite Islam who are buried in Karbala, which lies 110 kilometers south of Baghdad. Provincial governor Amal al-Din al-Har said he expected some 15 million worshippers would have passed through the city by the end of the commemorations, many walking for days from across Iraq despite threats of violence by Sunni insurgents. Among them are around 600,000 pilgrims from 30 different countries, leaving all of the city’s 700 hotels packed to the brim. Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein by the armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. “We are defying terrorism, and we are following the example of Karbala in sacrifice and redemption,” said 40-yearold Mohammed Swadi, who noted that he had walked for 12 days from the southern port city of Basra for the occasion. “This is not much when it comes to expressing our love for Imam Hussein.” Another pilgrim said she had walked for three days from the central city of Hilla in order to attend Arbaeen in

KARBALA: Shiite Muslim worshippers beat themselves inside the holy shrine of Imam Hussein to mark the Muslim festival of Arbaeen in Karbala yesterday. — AP Karbala, to pray for a cure for a skin disease. “I have a skin disease that doctors could not treat, and I vowed to attend the pilgrimage walking on foot, and ask Allah with the name of Hussein to cure me,” said the 35-year-old woman who gave her name as Umm Ali, or mother of Ali. The threat of insurgent attacks has spurred authorities to deploy 35,000 soldiers and policemen to Karbala, including 2,500 policewomen at checkpoints across the city, with aerial surveillance also watching over pilgrims. Attacks on Shiites in the past week alone have left at least 12 people dead, two of whom were killed in an explosion while walking along the route from Baghdad to

Karbala on Wednesday. The seventh century battle near Karbala is at the heart of the historical division between Islam’s Sunni and Shiite sects, a split that fuelled sectarian violence between Iraq’s majority Shiite and smaller Sunni population since the 2003 US-led invasion. Shiites make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They represent the majority populations in Iraq, Iran and Bahrain and form significant communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia. Now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime barred the vast majority of Ashura and Arbaeen commemorations.— AFP

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Obama signs ‘fiscal cliff’ deal into law

Turkey, UAE sign $12bn energy deal PAGE 21


PASADENA, California: In this Jan 13, 2012 file photo, Former US Vice President Al Gore, Current TV Chairman and cofounder, participates in the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab news channel that has struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, Gore confirmed Wednesday. — AP

Al Jazeera buys Gore’s Current TV Qatar-based channel seeks to expand US footprint LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK: Al Jazeera said on Wednesday it will buy Current TV, the struggling cable channel founded by Al Gore and partners, in a move that will boost the Qatar-based broadcaster’s footprint in the United States. Terms were undisclosed, but analysts estimated the deal could be worth as much as $500 million. Al Jazeera said it would start a new US-based news channel with the acquisition, which will make it available in more than 40 million US households, up from 4.7 million prior to the deal. The deal brings Al Jazeera, which operates under the patronage of the emir of Qatar and his family, into closer competition with American news channels like CNN, MSNBC and Fox. But the award-winning channel that is seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries faces hurdles with US distributors and viewers, television industry analysts said. Current, a liberal channel which has battled low viewership, had been distributed in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service. One of its distributors,

Time Warner Cable, which accounted for about 12 million of those homes, announced late Wednesday it was terminating its carriage deal. “Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible,” Time Warner Cable said in a statement. Reuters reported in April Time Warner Cable was considering dropping Current if it did not reach certain ratings thresholds. A spokesperson would not elaborate. Current is also distributed by Comcast Corp and DirecTV, with 22.4 million and 19.8 million subscribers, respectively. Comcast or DirecTV were either unavailable or declined comment. Dish Network Corp also declined comment. Both Comcast and DirecTV also hold equity stakes of more than 5 percent in Current, according to public filings. Current said Gore, its chairman, and co-founder Joel Hyatt, the chief executive officer, will remain on the advisory board. Analysts said Al Jazeera would have to over-

come a significant image problem in the United States, where many viewers remember its stridently anti-war reporting of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Al Jazeera has deeper pockets. The downside is the politics. People in America associate Al Jazeera with the Muslim world or the Arab world or the Islam world and they have problems with that,” said Jimmy Schaeffler, pay TV consultant at The Carmel Group. “They have psychological, political and emotional concerns and that will work against them.” “There’s a fair amount of paranoia when it comes to Al Jazeera,” said Robert Thompson, professor of TV and popular culture at Syracuse University. Al Jazeera has only been shown in a handful of cities. It said its new US-based news channel would be separate from Al Jazeera English, and would provide both domestic and international news for American audiences. The new channel would air in 2013 and would be headquartered in New York City. In addition to existing bureaus in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles,

Miami and Chicago, Al Jazeera would open more bureaus and would double its US-based staff to more than 300 employees. Current was co-founded in 2005 but never caught on. It shifted to a more liberal format from 2011, but ratings continued to disappoint, said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media, who pegged its average daily audience under 50,000 viewers and the value of a deal at $400 million to $500 million. In late October, Current confirmed it was considering selling itself and had hired JP Morgan and the Raine Group to assess options. Thompson said the deal came at a challenging time for the cable industry.”Launching a cable network in the US in the second decade of the 21st century is not an easy thing to do. Even Oprah Winfrey has struggled in significant ways,” he said. Disputes between pay TV distributors and cable networks have risen lately. Time Warner Cable also dropped arts-focused cable channel Ovation over its low ratings and the high costs of carrying the network. —Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Obama signs ‘fiscal cliff’ deal into law Stocks cool on debt warnings WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama signed the “fiscal cliff” deal into law, averting a financial crisis with global repercussions, but the IMF, rating agencies and analysts warned that the critical problem of deficits and debt still hang over the US economy. Financial markets turned cool towards the last-minute agreement yesterday, in contrast to the initial stocks surge which had greeted the deal Wednesday. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies dipped 0.14 percent to 6,019.16 points in late morning deals, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index dropped 0.27 percent to 7,757.51 points and the Paris CAC 40 fell 0.54 percent to 3,713.64. All three indices had surged by more than two percent on Wednesday, in a bright start to 2013, after US lawmakers agreed a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. In New York, the S&P 500 index had its best day of trading in more than a year Wednesday, closing more than 2.5 percent to the good. The White House said in a statement that Obama had signed the bill late Wednesday, marking the culmination of weeks of high-stakes talks with lawmakers in Congress. The agreement averted across-the-board tax hikes and automatic spending cuts which some had feared could have tipped the US economy back into recession. But then the International Monetary Fund, while welcoming the agreement for averting dire effects on the economy in the short term, warned that the underlying problem of hugely over-stretched public finances remained. “More remains to be done to put US public finances back on a sustainable path without harming the still fragile recovery,” warned IMF spokesman Gerry Rice. “Specifically, a comprehensive plan that ensures both higher revenues and containment of entitlement spending

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii: US President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One on Wednesday upon arrival at this base near Honolulu. Obama returned to Hawaii to continue his vacation which he interrupted to deal with the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis. — AFP over the medium term should be approved market doesn’t stay choppy until we get as soon as possible.” Additionally, he said, past the debt-ceiling debate,” Richard “it is crucial to raise the debt ceiling expedi- England, portfolio manager for Atlanta tiously and remove remaining uncertainties Capital Management, told Dow Jones about the spending sequester and expiring Newswires. appropriation bills.” Capital Economics in London said that And credit rating agencies Moody’s and “the fiscal cliff deal falls a long way short of Standard&Poor’s said that the deal fell far what is needed.” Analyst Julian Jessop, takshort of coping with the “serious” level of ing a line similar to the view of several anafederal debt in the medium term. Moody’s lysts, commented that the deal was better said that more action to cut the debt was than nothing but did not include a provineeded and on this would hang its future sion to raise the debt ceiling, and schedcredit ratings for the US economy. Analysts uled spending cuts had been delayed for also warned that world markets were only two months, he said. And given the expected to continue to be roiled, with “cantankerous” climate of the negotiatough battles still ahead. tions, there could be another stand-off “It’s good that they struck a deal, but leading to “a shutdown of the federal govthere’s a harder fight in the next six to ernment” at the end of February or begineight weeks, and it’s tough to imagine the ning of March, he suggested. — AFP

Salvage team on grounded Alaska oil rig LOS ANGELES: A six-member salvage team was lowered Wednesday onto an oil rig that ran aground in Alaska to assess options as the US Coast Guard vowed to prevent any ecological threat, officials said. The team spent three hours on board the oil giant Shell’s Kulluk mobile drilling unit after an improvement in weather conditions, which had prevented any such operation since the rig’s grounding on New Year’s Eve. “Calmer conditions this morning created a window that enabled the assessment to take place,” said an updated statement from a Unified Command including the US Coast Guard and Shell. As well as the experts, a Coast Guard helicopter “also delivered a state-owned emergency towing system to the Kulluk, which will be used during salvage operations, it added. “The information gained from the on-site assessment will be invaluable in helping to evaluate the available options for freeing the rig from its grounded position,” it said. The rig was being towed to Seattle when it broke free in heavy seas on New Year’s Eve and washed ashore near Kodiak Island, some 480 km southwest of Anchorage. It has some 150,000 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel and roughly 12,000 gallons of oil and hydraulic fluid, according to the far northwestern US state’s KTUU television station. “The Conical Drill Unit (CDU) Kulluk ... remains grounded but stable,” said the incident command managers, who organized flights earlier Wednesday to assess the situation from the air. Eighteen crew members had already been evacuated from the rig before it broke free late Monday, KTUU reported. By Tuesday it was described as “upright and rocking with a slow, but stable motion.” Shell said three people suffered minor injuries during the response to the Kulluk’s grounding, according to the television station. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set up a no-fly zone around the rig, and the Coast Guard is maintaining a safety zone of one nautical mile, said the latest update. Alaska’s Coast Guard chief, Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, said his primary concern was ensuring the unified command has the personnel, assets and equipment needed to safely salvage the Kulluk. “I have overflown the Kulluk twice and am fully aware of the remote location, weather challenges and the extensive plans that will have to be developed to ensure this incident is managed in safe and effective manner,” he said. — AFP

Starbucks to enter coffee-loving Vietnam HANOI: Starbucks said yesterday it would open its first store in Vietnam next month, seeking a foothold in the coffeeloving country as part of efforts to expand in Asia. The communist country’s first Starbucks cafe will be in southern Ho Chi Minh City, the US beverage giant said in a joint statement with its local partner, Hong Kong’s Maxim Group. “Vietnam is one of the most dynamic and exciting markets in the world,” said Starbucks China and Asia Pacific president John Culver, adding that this would increase the company’s presence across Asia to 12 countries. Starbucks has been targeting growth outside of the stagnant US market, opening thousands of stores in China and across the Asia-Pacific over the past few years. In October it opened its first stores in India. Culver said the group was “deeply respectful of Vietnam’s long and distinctive local coffee culture” and hoped its expanding presence in the country would help develop the coffee industry. Vietnam - the world’s secondlargest coffee producer - already has a

strong local coffee culture, with dozens of popular local chains and small coffee shops on nearly every street corner. “We are not worried at all,” Tran Thu Minh, 52, who owns a small street-side coffee shop in the capital Hanoi told AFP after hearing about the looming challenge from Starbucks. “We have loyal customers who could never drink (Starbucks) coffee. The taste is different,” she said. Vietnamese coffee is traditionally prepared in individual metal drip filters, which produce a very strong, thick liquid often mixed with condensed milk or served black over ice. Domestic giants such as Highlands Coffee and Tonkin Coffee already serve Western-style espresso-based coffee drinks, which have proved popular with the younger generation but failed to dent demand for local brews. “The taste of Starbucks coffee is too light for Vietnamese people, we prefer traditional coffee prepared like this,” said 42-year-old office worker Do Hung as he sipped a cup of Vietnamese coffee at his

HANOI: Motorcyclists ride past a newly opened coffee shop in downtown Hanoi yesterday. — AFP local cafe. Starbucks aims to have almost Vietnam - some 90 percent of which is 4,000 stores in the Asia-Pacific by the exported - is low-grade robusta coffee, end of 2013, including 1,000 in China. It which is used for instant coffee or other also wants to expand its purchases of blends. However, increasing numbers of Vietnam’s high-quality arabica coffee. farmers are switching to arabica beans, The bulk of the coffee produced in which command higher prices. — AFP

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Turkey, UAE sign $12bn energy deal Biggest Arab investment in Turkish energy sector

This combo shows a model of the Wangjing SOHO (top) building in Beijing, designed by architect Zaha Hadid, and a model of the Meiquan 22nd Century building (bottom) in China’s southwest Chongqing. — AFP

China developer ‘copies’ renowned architect’s design BEIJING: Already famed for fake designer bags and pirated DVDs, imitation in China may have reached new heights with a set of towers that strongly resemble ones designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. A developer in the southwestern city of Chongqing is putting up buildings that share the distinctive round contours and white stripes of a 39-floor shopping and office complex conceived by the British-Iraqi designer and being built in Beijing. The magazine China Intellectual Property noted that the “design sketch indeed shows certain similarities”, and listed several buildings by the developer that resembled others elsewhere in China. Satoshi Ohashi, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects for the Beijing complex, told Der Spiegel Online: “It is possible that the Chongqing pirates got hold of some digital files or renderings of the project.” It could rank among the more flagrant rip-offs in a country already notorious for imitating foreign products without permission - but the developer of the Chongqing project, Meiquan 22nd Century, has denied any copying. Such accusations “do not conform with the truth” and “have had a negative impact” on the company, general manager Yao Yumao said at an earlier press conference, according to a transcript published online. Hadid was the first woman to win architecture’s prestigious Pritzker prize. Her avant-garde designs have been in high demand in China, where she has a granite and glass opera house in the southern city of Guangzhou and an arts centre under construction in Chengdu, among other projects. China’s ability to reproduce foreign products is best known for imitation luxury purses and copies of Hollywood films. But knockoffs have ranged from a three-dollar version of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring to fake Apple stores and an entire Austrian village. In 2012 a developer unveiled a recreation of the centuries-old alpine hamlet of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in what the state-run news agency Xinhua called “a bold example of China’s knock-off culture”. — AFP

ANKARA: Turkey tied up a giant agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday for the development of coalfields in southern Turkey to generate electricity and ensure power for the fastgrowing economy. The deal to exploit the coal reserves is a new signal of the rise of the Turkish economy and of wider links between Turkey and the Middle East. The agreement between Abu Dhabi-based TAQA and Turkey’s state-run power company EUAS marks the biggest Arab investment in the Turkish energy sector, a senior energy ministry official told AFP. “This is a very serious investment, a significant investment,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said at the signing ceremony in Ankara. “This is the second-biggest investment made in Turkey after the two nuclear power plant projects,” he added. The government plans to build three nuclear power plants in hopes of preventing a possible energy shortage and reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies. It struck a deal with Russia in 2010 to build the country’s first power plant at Akkuyu in southern Turkey and is in negotiations with China, Japan, South Korea and Canada to build the second nuclear reactor in Black Sea region. With the latest agreement, the coal reserves at Afsin-Elbistan basin in southern Turkey will be put to use for electricity production. Over the last decade, Turkey’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has boasted of major success in transforming the economy after a devastating meltdown in 2001 and has introduced strict budgetary discipline under International Monetary Fund programs. The country achieved record growth rates exceeding 8.0 percent in 2010 and 2011. Turkey has also cultivated good neighbour relations with the Arab world and gained access to Middle Eastern investors and markets. “The Turkish economy has been doing very well over the years ... because you have a good investment climate. If you have a good investment climate, we’ll come and invest,” UAE Energy Minister Mohammad bin Dhaen Al-Hamli said in remarks about Turkey to AFP. He hailed the multi-billion-

dollar joint venture with Turkey as “strategic” and as a sign of an ever-growing trade relationship. In 2012, the trade between Turkey and UAE amounted to $9.0-10.0 billion, the minister noted. “We can only see that we’ll increase our investment in Turkey and hope that we succeed.” TAQA and Turkey’s EUAS have been selected as the government-related entities responsible for implementing the project. “This agreement gives our company an exclusive right to negotiate with the Turkish government on this project for the next six months,” said an official from TAQA. The negotiations will lead to the signing of a “host government agreement” in the second quarter of 2013, establishing more detailed terms, he added. Under the intergovernmental agreement, the project partners will modernise and expand the existing 1,400 MW Plant B and develop several new power plants and associated mines in sectors C, D, E and G of the Afsin-Elbistan region. And preparatory work on Plant B and the feasibility study for the planned 1,440 MW Plant C and associated mine development will start immediately. The Afsin-Elbistan basin where two thermic power plants are already in operation has the potential to power new plants with a total installed capacity of 8,200 megawatts. The region contains 4.4 billion tonnes of coal reserves, which account for approximately 40 percent of Turkey’s lignite resources. Turkey places priority on the development of its lignite in an attempt to reduce its dependence on imports of natural gas. With the joint venture, Turkey is hoping to cut nearly $1.2 billion worth of natural gas imports, which account for a large part of the country’s current account deficit. Turkey produces most of its electricity from natural gas, and is heavily dependent on imported energy. And it is under severe pressure from its Western allies to reduce imports of gas from neighbouring Iran owing to Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest natural gas supplier after Russia. But government officials repeatedly said that Turkey would keep buying natural gas from Iran which supplies 18-20 percent of the gas it consumes. — AFP

Jet in stake sale talks with Etihad NEW DELHI: Jet Airways said yesterday that it was in talks with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways for a potential stake sale in the Indian carrier, although terms have not been finalised yet. The statement was the first confirmation of a potential deal by either side, a day after an Indian government source said the Gulf carrier could pay up to $330 million for a 24 percent stake in Jet. Jet shares surged as much as 6.4 percent on Thursday. The stock has risen 65 percent since India relaxed rules allowing foreign airlines to buy up to a 49 percent stake in local carriers in September. “Various structures are being explored by the legal and commercial teams,” Jet said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, adding any structure would comply with Indian rules. The founder of Jet Airways is likely to convert shares owned by its holding company into his personal stake to comply with foreign investment regulations, a government source

had said. Tail Winds Ltd, the Isle of Man-based investment vehicle of Jet founder Naresh Goyal, currently holds 79.99 percent of Jet Airways. Etihad declined comment. Etihad and Jet already have a code-sharing agreement, and a tie-up could make Jet a more formidable competitor to state-owned Air India, while strengthening Etihad’s position against Dubai-based Emirates Airline, which carries a big chunk of the traffic between India and the Middle East. A deal between Jet and Etihad could shut the door on grounded rival Kingfisher Airlines, which is in desperate need of cash to fly again and was in talks with Etihad to sell a stake. Etihad’s decision to buy into Jet may be announced in 10 days, the same source quoted earlier said yesterday. Etihad, which expanded globally through stake purchases in the likes of Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, is looking to extend its geographical reach to India and other Asian markets, its chief executive told Reuters in October. — Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Google’s Schmidt plans North Korea trip SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, will travel this year to reclusive North Korea, where Internet use is subject to some of the world’s tightest controls, the AP reported on Wednesday. Schmidt, one of the highestprofile leaders of the US technology industry, could visit as early as this month, the AP said. The announcement was made days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the third member of his family to rule the country since its inception in the Cold War, signalled a willingness to improve relations with South Korea. It was unclear whom Schmidt will meet or what his agenda might be, the AP reported. Internet access is largely restricted to all but the most influential officials of the reclusive state. Media content is also rigidly controlled, although basic 3G cellphone use is said to be rapidly expanding. Google did not directly respond to a question about whether Schmidt was going to North Korea, although a spokeswoman’s response suggested a visit would not be for company business. “We do not comment

on personal travel,” spokeswoman Samantha Smith said when asked about the AP report. Schmidt, Google’s main political and government relations representative, has also been a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama. Google famously espouses a “do no evil” philosophy and campaigns for Internet freedom. It pulled its search service from mainland China in 2010, relocating it to Hong Kong because it said it could not conform with censorship requirements. Last year, the company flew in North Korean defectors from Seoul for a panel discussion at a summit it hosted focusing on global illicit networks. It has also hosted North Korean officials in Silicon Valley, according to the Asia Foundation, which co-hosted part of a trip by the North Korean delegatiopn. “I think this is part of Google’s broader vision to bring the Internet to the world, and North Korea is the last frontier,” said Peter Beck, the South Korean representative of the Asia Foundation, a non-profit organisation. “I suspect that Google’s visit

is more philanthropic than financial.” Beck said the North Korea delegation had been shown a Google Earth view of their capital Pyongyang. Schmidt is writing, with former US state department official Jared Cohen, a book due in April called “The New Digital Age”. It will address how the Internet and technology can empower people and drive fundamental social, political and economic change. “Perhaps the most intriguing part of this trip is simply the idea of it. The restricted control of information lies at the heart of the DPRK state and yet it is about to host one of the West’s greatest facilitators of borderless information flows,” said Victor Cha, a senior adviser and Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name. “If Google is the first small step in piercing the information bubble in Pyongyang, it could be a very interesting development,” Cha wrote on the center’s website on Wednesday. Schmidt’s visit will make him one of the

Eric Schmidt most prominent American businessmen to visit the country. The AP cited two people familiar with his plans as saying the exGoogle CEO will join a private group led by former United Nations Ambassador and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a frequent visitor to North Korea. Their visit follows a long-range rocket launch that has triggered a drive for further United Nations sanctions. North Korea is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests.— Reuters

Natural catastrophes caused $160bn damage Munich Re says greater loss-prevention efforts needed

HONG KONG: This photo taken Wednesday shows shark fins drying in the sun covering the roof of a factory building. — AFP

Outrage over HK ‘shark fin rooftop’ HONG KONG: Hong Kong conservationists expressed outrage yesterday after images emerged of a factory rooftop covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins, as they called for curbs on the “barbaric” trade. The southern Chinese city is one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets and viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy. Activist Gary Stokes who has visited the site estimated there are 15,000 to 20,000 fins being laid to dry on the rooftop on Hong Kong island ahead of an anticipated surge in demand over Lunar New Year in February this year. “This is shocking,” the Hong Kong coordinator for conservation group Sea Shepherd told AFP, saying it was the first time that he has spotted such a massive hoarding of shark fins in one place in the Asian financial hub. “This is the most graphic, brutal and barbaric part of the industry - the element of chopping a shark’s fin off and throwing it back into the water is horrific and inhumane,” he added. Stokes believed the large amount of shark fins were destined for China, and that traders moved to dry the shark fins on secluded rooftops instead of sidewalks - as they have done in the past - to avoid public anger. Campaigns against consuming shark fins have gained ground in Hong Kong in recent years, after major hotel chains decided to drop the soup from the menus, and home carrier Cathay Pacific said in September it would stop carrying unsustainable sourced shark products on its cargo flights. —AFP

FRANKFURT: Natural catastrophes including US hurricane Sandy caused $160 billion worth of damage in 2012, the world’s leading reinsurer, Munich Re, estimated yesterday. “Last year, natural catastrophes caused $160 billion in overall losses and $65 billion in insured losses worldwide,” Munich Re said in a statement. About 67 percent of overall losses and 90 percent of insured losses were attributable to the United States, with the year’s highest insured loss caused by Hurricane Sandy, with an estimated amount of around $25 billion, the reinsurer said. In addition, the US was also hit by severe droughts, as well as tornadoes, it added. Overall, global losses were significantly lower in 2012 than in the previous year, when record figures were posted due to the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and severe floods in Thailand, Munich Re continued. In 2011, overall losses came to $400 billion and insured losses to $119 billion. In terms of fatalities, about 9,500 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes last year compared with 27,200 in 2011 and a 10-year average of 106,000. “The relatively small number of fatalities was due to the fact that, in 2012, few severe natural catastrophes occurred in emerging and developing countries, where natural catastrophes tend to have far more devastating consequences in terms of human lives,” Munich Re explained. Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the US on Oct 29. While at that point, its maximum wind speeds were no more than 150 km per hour, “it was an exceptionally wide storm, measuring 1,800 km in diameter - one-and-ahalf times as big as Texas - so that the losses extended over a vast area,” Munich Re said.

MUNICH: A woman walks past US artist Jonathan Borofsky’s 17-m tall ‘Walking Man’ sculptur, in front of German reinsurance giant Munich Re’s headquarters in this March 8, 2007 file photo. — AFP The second major loss event of 2012 was the summer-long drought in the US that plagued the Corn Belt in the midwest, where most of the US’s main agricultural crops, corn and soybean, are grown, Munich Re said. Nearly half of US arable acreage was hit and overall agricultural crop losses in the US in 2012 totalled around $20 billion, “making it the biggest loss in US agricultural insurance history.” In average years, insured losses are around $9.0 billion. The head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research, Peter Hoeppe, said Hurricane Sandy and the drought “clearly demonstrate the type of events we can expect to contend with more often in the future”. It was not possible to attribute individual events to climate change, he noted. “However, numerous

studies assume a rise in summer drought periods in North America in the future and an increasing probability of severe cyclones relatively far north along the US East Coast in the long term.” The rise in sea level caused by climate change would further increase the risk of storm surge. Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said that the heavy losses caused by weather-related natural catastrophes in the US showed that greater loss-prevention efforts were needed. “It would certainly be possible to protect conurbations like New York better from the effects of storm surges. Such action would make economic sense and insurers could also reflect the reduced exposure in their pricing,” Jeworrek said. —AFP

THEY ARE THE 99! 99 Mystical Noor Stones carry all that is left of the wisdom and knowledge of the lost civilization of Baghdad. But the Noor Stones lie scattered across the globe - now little more than a legend. One man has made it his life’s mission to seek out what was lost. His name is Dr. Ramzi Razem and he has searched fruitlessly for the Noor Stones all his life. Now, his luck is about to change - the first of the stones have been rediscovered and with them a special type of human who can unlock the gem’s mystical power. Ramzi brings these gem - bearers together to form a new force for good in the world. A force known as ... the 99!

THE STORY SO FAR : Fattah, Samda, and Jabbar travel from the 99 Steps Foundation to the Retreat, the

remote Himalayan sanctuary for Noor Stone-wielders. But as they’re talking with

The 99 ® and all related characters ® and © 2013, Teshkeel Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mubdia the Creative, a tiger wanders onto the street!

Opinion FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Cliff deal means little sacrifice By Charles Babington


WASHINGTON: Members of the House of Representatives leave after voting for legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff” during a rare New Year’s Day session January 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. — AFP

US Republicans start new Congress bruised, divided Next fight ahead - the debt limit By Richard Cowan


n the wake of bruising fights in their own ranks over the “fiscal cliff” and aid for victims of superstorm Sandy Republicans in the US House of Representatives open a new Congress on Thursday more divided than ever. While their leader, Speaker John Boehner, seems in no danger of losing his position because of the divisions, his ability to speak for his membership in the House appears greatly diminished. That could not come at a worse time for Republicans as they prepare for their next attempt to get more spending cuts out of President Barack Obama. They will try to use the debt ceiling - and Obama’s request to raise it - as leverage, as they did in 2011. But if the final days of this Congress were indicative of things to come, Republicans will have a rough time effectively using their majority in the House against Obama, who even Republicans acknowledge is at the top of his game following the Democrat’s re-election in November. The fiscal cliff battle to avert steep tax hikes and spending cuts that were due to kick in at the start of this year proved gutwrenching for Republicans. Obama’s demand for a tax hike on the rich challenged a core principle that has guided Republicans for decades: No new taxes. Ever. Yet, late on New Year’s night, 85 Republicans in the House did just that, voting to raise income taxes on household income of more than $450,000 a year. Some of the Republican Party’s biggest stars were among the 85 - including Boehner and Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, who is seen as a conservative anchor. But 151 House Republicans stood in defiance, leaving Boehner in the unenviable position of having to rely on opposition Democrats to pass major legislation.

Earlier in the fiscal cliff fight, Boehner suffered a humiliating defeat when his “Plan B” solution - which would have limited the tax hikes to income of $1 million a year or more, got so little support he had to cancel the vote. No sooner had the fiscal cliff battle ended than Boehner found himself in trouble with other Republicans over aid for victims of Sandy, the second costliest storm in US history, which smashed New York and New Jersey coastal communities in late October. Legislation providing disaster relief to New York, New Jersey and other East Coast states was delayed. A House Republican aide said that given Republicans’ frustration with the fiscal cliff bill and its lack of significant spending cuts, “it was not a good time to immediately vote on $60 billion in new spending.” “I don’t enjoy saying this. I consider myself a personal friend of John Boehner’s,” said Republican Representative Peter King of New York. “It pains me to say this, but the fact is that the dismissive attitude that was shown ... toward New York, New Jersey and Connecticut typifies, I believe, a strain in the Republican Party.” Earlier, King had condemned House inaction on Sandy as a “knife in the back.” Republican Representative Michael Grimm, also of New York, said of Boehner’s refusal to bring the disaster bill to a vote: “There was a betrayal. There was an arrogant judgment that is going to cost I think the trust of the American people.” Ironically, Grimm first won his seat in Congress in 2010 with the help of conservative Tea Party activists who sometimes show displeasure with disaster aid spending. By midday on Wednesday, Boehner had changed course, promising a House vote by week’s end on a $9 billion down payment in storm assistance, with a second bill providing $51 billion to be voted on Jan. 15.

Paul Light, a New York University professor and a specialist on Congress, said the vote on the fiscal cliff bill could mark the start of a “major realignment” in the run-up to the 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential race. Republicans who voted for the legislation “are going to have to find a home. They’re not going to find it with the Tea Party,” Light said. He said that Republicans who were uncomfortable with the Tea Party could begin aligning themselves more closely with a dwindling band of centrist Democrats. Congressional Republicans, especially in the House, have been buffeted for two years by the Tea Party, which helped them win control of the House in 2010. Boehner had to navigate Tea Party demands throughout the 2011 fight over raising U.S. borrowing authority or risking a historic government default. In rapid succession, Tea Party-fueled battles were waged over infrastructure investments, farm subsidies, payroll tax cuts and the fiscal cliff. At the core of the disputes was whether the government should be made smaller, forcing Boehner to balance that demand with the need to govern and keep the federal government operating in an orderly way. For all the heartache over the past several weeks as Republicans fought with one another over whether to let taxes on the rich go up, many see better days ahead. “By and large, people are probably happy to have it behind them. This was obviously the worst part of the fiscal debate,” said one House Republican staffer, referring to the tax hikes. The staffer added, “Republicans get to point out that we still have a $1 trillion deficit and ask Democrats what kind of spending cuts, entitlement reforms they are willing to do to fix it.” Republicans feel that will be an easier lift for them - one that they can sell to the American public as they move on to the fight over the debt ceiling. — Reuters

he US Congress’ frantic resolution of the “fiscal cliff” crisis this week is the latest in a long series of decisions by lawmakers and the White House to do less than promised - and to ask Americans for little sacrifice - in confronting the nation’s growing debt. The deal will generate $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years, less than half the amount President Barack Obama first called for. It will raise income tax rates only on the very rich, despite Obama’s campaign for broader increases. It puts off the toughest decisions about more than $100 billion in spending cuts for military and domestic programs. And it does nothing to mitigate the looming partisan showdown on the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, which must rise in the coming weeks to avoid default on US loans. In short, the deal reached between Obama and congressional Republicans continues to let Americans enjoy relatively high levels of government service at low levels of taxation. The only way that’s possible, of course, is through heavy borrowing, which future generations will inherit. While Americans widely denounce the mounting debt, not so many embrace cuts to costly programs like the Social Security pension system. And most want tax increases to hit someone other than themselves. “It is a huge missed opportunity,” said William Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and a former Republican White House adviser. “Going over the cliff would have put us on a better budget path.” The fiscal cliff’s combination of big tax increases and deep spending cuts, which would have kicked in Jan 1 without a deal, would have provided major political leverage for both Democrats and Republicans to achieve greater deficit reduction as they worked to ease some, but not all, of its bite. In fact, the whole point of the congressionally created cliff was to force the government - which borrows about 40 cents of every dollar it spends - to begin a fiscal diet that would spread the unpleasantness widely. Instead, Congress and the White House did what they almost always do. At the last minute, they downsized their proposals, protecting nearly every sector of society from serious pain. The accord leaves most government programs operating as usual, postponing yet again the threat of serious reductions. Aside from a payroll tax increase, which drew little debate even though it affects almost all working Americans, the compromise will raise tax rates only on incomes above $450,000 for couples and $400,000 for individuals. That’s less than 1 percent of US taxpayers. Obama had campaigned for thresholds of $200,000 and $250,000. The fiscal cliff’s implementation would have made it nearly impossible for Republicans to stop him, if Democrats had held their ground. That might have produced an ugly scene, rattled the financial markets and sparked even more partisan bitterness. But any step toward major deficit reduction will trigger anger, threats and genuine discomfort for people who receive government services or pay taxes. In other words, everyone. And such steps can ignite opposition from powerful interest groups, which always stand ready to give money to the campaign opponents of lawmakers who displease them. Activists on the left and right said the new law doesn’t do nearly enough to tame the federal government’s borrowing habits. Republican Rep Darrell Issa said Congress achieved nothing “other than the smallest finger in a dike that in fact has hundreds of holes in it.” To be sure, Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner flirted at times with a “grand bargain” that would include much larger tax increases and spending cuts than those in the newly enacted law. And highprofile groups such as the Simpson-Bowles commission also recommended tough combinations of tax hikes and spending cuts, calling them necessary even if politically unpopular. These ideas went nowhere. — AP


In this April 12, 2012, file photo, Madonna arrives at Macy's Herald Square in New York. A former firefighter with a crush on Madonna has been sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 to three years' probation for resisting arrest outside the singer's New York City apartment building. Robert Linhart was convicted in November after being twice arrested in September, 2010. — AP


Put another face on

pumpkin I

t’s no secret that pumpkin is the ingredient du jour. You will find it everywhere. At popular coffee chains, pumpkin is in everything from lattes to muffins to breads. In the fall, grocery stores devote more shelf space to canned pumpkin - and often it’s on sale. Don’t confuse it with pumpkin pie filling, which also comes in a can. One of the most popular uses of pure pumpkin, of course, is in pumpkin pie. But there are plenty of other ways to use this antioxidant-rich ingredient. You can make pumpkin soup or stir some into stews and chilies. Swirl pumpkin into plain nonfat Greekyogurt. Add some to mashed potatoes. Use pumpkin to replace some of the fat in cookies, muffins and breads. It’s all good. And, for the most part, good for you. Adding pumpkin to recipes adds vitamins and antioxidants and provides a good dose of fiber. A half cup of pumpkin has only 50 calories, less than 1 gram of fat and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Mayssoun Hamade, clinical manager and registered dietitian for St John Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., says pumpkin meets the US Department of Agriculture vegetable requirement of eating 2 cups of orange vegetables weekly. “The two things that pumpkin is high in are vitamin A and beta carotene - an antioxidant,” Hamade says. “They protect the body and the cells from getting damaged.” Pumpkin is available year-round,

but it’s during the holidays when producers, such as Libby’s, say they see a jump in sales. Libby’s sells more than 80 percent of the commercial pumpkin products. Pure pumpkin is what you get after cooking sugar or pie pumpkins (don’t use jack-o’-lanterns) until their inner flesh is soft. Once soft, the flesh is mashed or processed into a puree. You can make your own, but it’s just as cost-effective to buy the canned. For

example, a 15-ounce can of 100 percent pumpkin is about $2. Larger 29ounce cans are about $3. A pie pumpkin weighs about 4 pounds and averages about 79 cents a pound. Once you roast it, the flesh softens and shrinks some, yielding about 2 cups of pumpkin. Here are few ways to use pumpkin: Chili: Brown 1 pound bulk spicy turkey in a large pot. Add 1 cup chopped onions, 2 cups chopped bell peppers and cook until softened. Season with chili powder, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Stir in 1 cup canned great northern beans, 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 cup vegetable broth and 2cups pumpkin. Simmer 20 minutes. Mini muffins: Mix one devil’s food cake mix with one 15-ounce can (about 1 1/2 cups) pumpkin. Scoop batter into mini muffin tins. Bake according to package directions. Pasta sauce: Stir 1 cup of pumpkin into 3 cups of pasta sauce for a thicker consistency. HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE Bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut sugar or pie pumpkins in quarters and remove all the seeds and fibers. (Save seeds for roasting, if desired.) Place the quarters flesh-side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast about 45-50 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Puree: Scoop away tender pumpkin flesh from the skin. Puree it in a food processor or mash it by hand until smooth. Cooked pumpkin can have a lot of moisture. To remove it, line a colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Place the flesh in the colander and press on it to remove excess moisture. Store: Freeze any leftover canned or homemade pumpkin puree. Place it in a plastic sealable freezer bag and squeeze out the air. Press the bag so it will store flat, label, date and freeze. You can keep the puree about 6 months. Thaw before using. PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE Serves: 8 (about 2 cup servings) / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes Using a mix of heavy whipping cream and skim milk saves a few calories and fat grams. You also can use fatfree half- and- half in place of the cream. Using Gouda cheese gives this mac and cheese a mild nutty flavor. 2 cups dried elbow macaroni 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 cup heavy whipping cream


1 cup skim milk 4 ounces Gouda or fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crushed 1 cup soft bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/3 cup chopped walnuts 1 tablespoon olive oil Fresh sage leaves, optional Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta, and then return to pot. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cheese, pumpkin and sage until cheese melts. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage leaves. PUMPKIN SHRIMP CURRY Serves: 4 (generously) / Preparation time: 10 minutes Total time: 50 minutes This dish has a good balance of curry and cayenne suitable for most tastes. If you like it spicier, add more cayenne. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup sliced onion 1 tablespoon minced ginger 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 plum tomato, chopped 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree 2 cups vegetable broth 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk 2 teaspoons curry powder 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste 1 cup butternut squash, roasted and diced 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice For serving (optional) Steamed rice Cilantro Lime zest Fried shallots In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and ginger; saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in plum tomato and pumpkin puree; cook, stirring frequently, until pumpkin is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, curry powder and cayenne pepper; simmer for 20 minutes. Add the butternut squash, shrimp and lime juice. Simmer until shrimp are cooked and squash is warm. If desired, serve over steamed rice and top with cilantro, lime zest and fried shallots. 268 calories (35 percent from fat), 10 grams fat (2 grams sat fat), 22 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 903 mg sodium, 182 mg cholesterol, 7 grams fiber. PUMPKIN BANANA BREAD Makes: 1 loaf (12 slices) / Preparation time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes Floured baking spray 1 mashed ripe banana (about } cup) 1 cup pumpkin puree 1\2 cup canola oil 1 large egg 2 egg whites 2 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 by-4-inch loaf pan with floured baking spray. In a large bowl, place mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, egg and egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to banana and pumpkin mixture and beat until just moist. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool slightly before cutting into slices. 196 calories (23 percent from fat), 5 grams fat (0.5 grams sat. fat), 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 206 mg sodium, 18 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fiber. SPICED PUMPKIN CUPCAKES Makes: 36 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 50 minutes If desired, substitute 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg and cloves 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1\2 teaspoon nutmeg 1\2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup chopped walnuts 1 cup raisins 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (about 1 } cups) 1 cup sugar 1 cup dark brown sugar 1 cup canola oil 4 eggs Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the walnuts and raisins and gently toss with the flour mixture. This will help prevent the nuts and raisins from sinking to the bottom. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in

three batches, stirring with a wooden spoon just until combined. Fill muffin cups about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes and cool them completely. Frost and decorate as desired. 164 calories (44 percent from fat), 8 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 22 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 171 mg sodium, 21 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber. — MCT

Beauty FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

What are freckles and how can I prevent them?


reckles are flat, tanned circular spots that typically are the size of the head of a common nail. The spots are multiple and may develop randomly on the skin, especially after repeated exposure to sunlight. These are particularly common in people of fair complexion on upper-body skin areas like the cheeks, nose, arms, and upper shoulders. They may appear on people as young as 1 or 2 years of age. Most freckles on a person’s skin are usually uniform in color. On different people, freckles may vary somewhat in color-they may be reddish, yellow, tan, light brown, brown, or black-but they are basically slightly darker than the surrounding skin. They tend to become darker and more apparent after sun exposure and lighten in the winter months. Freckles are due to an increase in the amount of dark pigment called melanin and are not due to an increase in the total number of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. The word freckle comes from the Middle English freken, which, in turn, came from the Old Norse freknur, meaning “freckled.” (Some speakers of Old English and Old Norse must have had a tendency to developing freckles.) What types of freckles are there? There are two basic types of freckles: simple freckles and sunburn freckles. Simple freckles are usually tan, round, and small-about the size of a common construction nail head. Sunburn freckles are often darker, have irregular jagged borders, and may be larger than a pencil eraser. Sunburn freckles are more common on the upper back and shoulders where people frequently get their most severe sunburns. Ephelides (singular: ephelis) is the Greek word and medical term for freckle. This term refers to flat spots that are tan, slightly reddish, or light brown and typically appear during the sunny months. They are most often found on people with light complexions, and in some families, they are a hereditary (genetic) trait. People with reddish hair and green eyes are more prone to these types of freckles. Sun avoidance and sun protection, including the regular use of sunscreen, may help to suppress the appearance of the some types of freckles. Lentigines (singular: lentigo) comes from the Latin word for lentil and is the medical term for certain types of darker freckles and sunburn freckles. Lentigines tend to be darker than the common freckle and do not usually fade in the winter. This kind of spot is referred to as lentigo simplex. Although occasionally lentigines are part of a rare genetic syndrome, for the most part they are just isolated and unimportant spots. What are “liver spots” or “age spots”? “Liver spots” or “age spots” are the common names of the darker spots seen in adults, frequently on the back of the hands. The term “liver spot” is actually a misnomer since these spots are not caused by liver problems or liver disease. While freckles do tend to appear over time, they are not in themselves a sign of old age. Instead, they appear generally on sun-exposed areas, more so in people who have a genetic tendency to develop them. So, they are by no means purely a function of age. These spots are just the lentigotype freckles that are commonly seen on the skin of older adults with a history of sun exposure. Sometimes, older people who have these lentigo-type freckles also have raised, brown, crusty lesions called seborrheic keratoses in or around the same areas. Seborrheic keratoses are also benign (not malignant) growths of the skin. Some patients call these growths “barnacles” or “Rice Krispies.” Although they are most often medium brown, they can differ in color ranging anywhere from light tan to black. They occur in different sizes, too, ranging anywhere from a fraction of an inch (or centimeter) to an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Typically, these growths are around the size of a pencil eraser or slightly larger. Some keratoses begin as a flat lentigo and gradually raise and thicken to form a seborrheic keratosis. The telltale feature of seborrheic keratoses is their waxy, stuck-on, greasy look. They look like they have either been pasted on the skin or may look like a dab of melted brown candle wax that dropped on the skin. Seborrheic keratoses may occur in the same areas as freckles. Seborrheic keratoses are also more common in areas of sun exposure, but they may also occur in sun-protected areas. When they first

appear, the growths usually begin one at a time as small rough bumps. Eventually, they may thicken and develop a rough, warty surface. Seborrheic keratoses are quite common especially after age 40. Almost everybody may eventually develop at least a few seborrheic keratoses during their lifetime. They are sometimes referred to as the “barnacles of old age.” How do freckles develop? Freckles are thought to develop as a result of a combination of genetic tendency (inheritance) and sun exposure. Two people receiving the same sun exposure may not have an equal chance of developing freckles. Natural sunlight and artificial suntanning lights emit ultraviolet (UV) rays. After exposure to ultraviolet rays, the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) thickens and the pigment-producing cells (the melanocytes) produce the pigment melanin at an increased rate. (This production of melanin may in fact give some protection against future sun exposure.) Of course, people differ a great deal in their reaction to sunlight. To take an extreme example, there is no pigmentation in the skin of an albino because of a defect in melanin metabolism. On the other hand, people with dark complexions are relatively less sensitive to sun exposure than fairskinned people. However, people with dark skin are not entirely resistant to the effects of the sun, and they, too, can become sunburned with prolonged exposure. People with blond or red hair, light-colored eyes, and fair skin are especially susceptible to the damaging effect of UV rays. Irrespective of skin color, freckling is caused by the uneven distribution of the melanin pigment in the skin. A freckle is essentially nothing more than an unusually heavy deposit of melanin at one spot in the skin.

How important is heredity with freckles? Heredity and skin type are very important factors for the tendency to develop freckles. Freckles tend to be inherited genetically and are most common in individuals with fair skin and/or with blond or red hair. Research in twin siblings, including pairs of identical twins and pairs of fraternal (nonidentical) twins, have found a striking similarity in the total number of freckles found on each pair of identical twins. Such similarities were considerably less common in fraternal twins. These studies strongly suggest that the occurrence of freckles is influenced by genetic factors. In fact, the variations in freckle counts appear to be due largely to heredity. Ongoing research in a rare disease called xeroderma pigmentosum has also confirmed the genetic tendency of freckles. Excessive freckles in dark-haired individuals are quite common in this disease. Further, freckles are also found in skin folds like the underarms in another uncommon genetic disease called neurofibromatosis. A warning Anyone who has one or more uncertain pigmented spots should have their physician or dermatologist evaluate them. Even verbal descriptions and photographs cannot convey enough information for satisfactory self-diagnosis. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a full-body skin examination for adults as part of a routine annual health exam. It is important to have any new, changing, bleeding mole or growth examined by your physician or dermatologist as soon as possible. Skin cancers are curable if diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

Health FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013


eeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won’t go away, it may be depression. The lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. No matter hopeless you feel, you can get better. But first, you need to understand depression. Learning about depression-including its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment-is the first step to overcoming the problem. We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness. Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all-they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless. Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Signs and symptoms of depression Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted-the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help. Depression and suicide Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide: it’s a cry for help. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek professional help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life! The faces of depression Depression often looks different in men and women, and in young people and older adults. An awareness of these differences helps ensure that the problem is recognized and treated. Depression in men Depression is a loaded word in our culture. Many associate it, however wrongly, with a sign of weakness and excessive emotion. This is especially true with men. Depressed men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. Other signs and symptoms of depression in men include anger, aggression, violence, reckless behavior, and substance abuse. Even though depression rates for women are twice as high as those in men, men are a higher suicide risk, especially older men. Depression in women Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, and perimenopausal depression. As for signs and symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight. Women are also more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Depression in teens While some depressed teens appear sad, others do not. In fact, irritability-rather than depression-is frequently the predominant symptom in depressed adolescents and teens. A depressed teenager may be hostile, grumpy, or easily lose his or her temper. Unexplained aches and pains are also common symptoms of depression in young people. Left untreated, teen depression can lead to problems at home and school, drug abuse, self-loathing-even irreversible tragedy

such as homicidal violence or suicide. But with help, teenage depression is highly treatable. Depression in older adults The difficult changes that many older adults face-such as bereavement, loss of independence, and health problems-can lead to depression, especially in those without a strong support system. However, depression is not a normal part of aging. Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression, and so the problem often goes unrecognized. Depression in older adults is associated with poor health, a high mortality rate, and an increased risk of suicide, so diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Postpartum depression Many new mothers suffer from some fleeting form of the “baby blues.” Postpartum depression, in contrast, is a longer lasting and more serious depression triggered, in part, by hormonal changes associated with having a baby. Postpartum depression usually develops soon after delivery, but any depression that occurs within six months of childbirth may be postpartum depression. Types of depression Depression comes in many shapes and forms. The different types of depression have unique symptoms, causes, and effects. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment. Seek professional help If support from family and friends, positive lifestyle changes, and emotional skills building aren’t enough, seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. Learning about your options will help you decide what measures are most likely to work best for your particular situation and needs. Are antidepressants right for you? Medication can help relieve the symptoms of depression in some people, but they aren’t a cure and they come with drawbacks of their own. Learning the facts about antidepressants and weighing the benefits against the risks can help you make an informed and personal decision about whether medication is right for you. Effective treatment for depression often includes some form of therapy. Therapy gives you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles. Also, what you learn in therapy gives you skills and insight to prevent depression from coming back. Some types of therapy teach you practical techniques on how to reframe negative thinking and employ behavioral skills in combating depression. Therapy can also help you work through the root of your depression, helping you understand why you feel a certain way, what your triggers are for depression, and what you can do to stay healthy. —


eelings of helplessness and hopelessness: A bleak outlook-nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

Loss of interest in daily activities: No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure. Appetite or weight changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain-a change of more than 5 percent of body weight in a month. Sleep changes: Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia). Anger or irritability: Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves. Loss of energy: Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete. Self-loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes. Reckless behavior: You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports. Concentration problems: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things. Unexplained aches and pains: An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

What to expect from Android stables in 2013 B By Scott Webster

race yourselves: 2013 is upon us, and that means a whole new generation of Android devices, rumors, and expectations. Android will have a strong showing at CES, and the next few months will be littered with new smartphones and tablets. Let’s take a look at some of the trends we can expect in the Android space over the coming year.

Screen size will sharpen and grow Not long ago, most smartphone screens didn’t exceed 4 inches. Up until the HTC Evo 4G, most Android phones were had 3.2-inch and 3.5-inch displays. Now, thanks to popular handsets such as the Galaxy S3 (4.8 inches) and Galaxy Note 2 (5.5 inches), consumers are becoming used to much larger screens. Expect more 5-inch 1080p HD Android smartphones like the Droid DNA. Motorola, for its part, has been able to squeeze a 4.3-inch display into the body of a phone that is roughly same as a 3.5-inch phone-the Droid Razr M. I suspect this will be something that Motorola and others look to replicate in the coming generation. Look for more press releases that tout features such as edge-to-edge screens or no bezel. We’ll continue to see all sorts of screen sizes in 2013, but the standard high-end experience will fall in the vicinity of 4.5 inches. Those of us who are moving into our second and third Android device will expect something at least as big as our current model. Beyond size, resolution will sharpen. HTC had a leg up with the Droid DNA with a 1080p (versus 720p) resolution, but now nearly every handset maker you can think of is reportedly working on their own 5-inch 1080p HD display for their premium products. Whether you place a lot of importance on pixel density or not, expect screen resolution to be a big buzzword in 2013. Quad-core will multiply If you listen to companies such as Qualcomm and Nvidia, then you’re well aware of the fact that quad-core is the new spec hotness, and Android is the vanguard of competition among handset makers all vying for your little green Android dollars. Gone are the days of big dual-core announcements. If you don’t come to the table with at least four cores of mobile prowess, then you’re not really expecting to compete on the high-end. We should anticipate that the big devices of the coming year will have quad-core 1.5GHz processors or higher, with some even hitting 2.0GHz by the year’s end. Of course, the fight for faster processors might only be relevant on paper; real world practicalityis a different animal. It’s one thing to tout the impressive clock speeds or point to a benchmark, but showing the benefits to end users is the most important win. Play a lot of 3D games? You definitely care about who makes your phone’s CPU. Just want to see what this whole Android thing is all about? Jump in wherever you want, you’ll be just fine. One area where we may see more improvements is in the phone’s memory and storage. If the previous year saw 2GB RAM emerge for the top-of-theline memory experience, next year may see us inching toward 3GB RAM. Storage capacities for Android phones (and all phones) will creep up in 2013 as well, yielding 32GB as the standard for mid-range and 64GB becoming common among highend devices. This will be especially true for those manufacturers opting for internal batteries and removal of external storage, and I expect to see the first handset with 128GB internal storage appear before 2013 is out. Entry-level phones will benefit You have to appreciate the trickle-down effect of technology as today’s top devices quickly become tomorrow’s midrange experience. With that in mind, the $50-$100 Android smartphone of 2013 will be quite an impressive piece of hardware. Dual-core processors should become the norm for your “basic” Android phone as single-core stuff gets pushed aside. The same may be said of the no-contract handsets, as we’ll continually get more for our money. As every carrier scrambles to build out its next-gen data

network, 4G LTE will be commonplace in Android smartphones. Sure, we’ll get the occasional 3G product every once in a while, but that will diminish with time. This is not to say that 2013 will be the end of 3G Android, but the days of touting 4G LTE as a special feature will pass. Popularized technologies There is always a chance that we’ll see a 3D experience in an Android phone or two, but I have the feeling this is one technology that won’t take off. I’ve yet to run into someone who wants or needs 3D graphics in their mobile device. Sure, it’s a cool feature to show off once in a while, but we’re just not ready to adopt this baby. NFC will continue to gain a

“world’s thinnest” or “lightest” claims. As many readers know, Android has given way to a number of unique (read: goofy) form factors over time. One design that pops up every once in a while is the secondary screen. We may not be at the end of this occasional one-off, however we might see fewer announcements of far-out designs over time. The main reason? Developers don’t want to write their apps for yet another screen layout. It also doesn’t help when you have two screens with bezels and a broken or split image. With that in mind, someone will find a way to make a compelling experience. Unfortunately, I do not see this happening in 2013.

foothold in Android products, maybe to the point of standardization. More companies will push it out in the mobile payment space and general consumers will become aware of its capabilities. I get the feeling that we’ll see a new surge in NFC-enabled accessories and technologies in the coming wave of tech conferences. The idea of tap-to-play speakers or media players doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for this year’s biggest mobile conferences, CES in January and Mobile World Congress in late February. Perhaps the biggest issue facing smartphones with large displays and super-fast processors is battery life. Nobody wants to put their phone away to preserve juice; we bought that big screen for a reason. Looking ahead to the new year, I expect to see more handsets come with internal and/or higher capacity batteries. The Droid Razr Maxx HD is still the benchmark for long-lasting batteries, but we should see the gap narrow. To that end, we may see less emphasis on

One device around the world I cannot tell you how pleased I was when I learned that Samsung was going to adopt one singular form factor for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 across countries and carriers. I’m sure that a number of accessory makers were quite happy with the decision as well. Samsung will employ the same strategy for the Galaxy S4 and will likely have records sales again in the new year. As far as other companies going this route, HTC today seems to be the closest. I wouldn’t be surprised if its next flagship model were to hit multiple carriers with a single design. As nice as it was to have fewer models to choose from in the One series, it was still confusing to keep up with the various suffixes — One X, One X+, Evo 4G LTE. “Does my carrier offer that one? What’s the difference between this and that?” Along those lines, LG also seems to be slowly headed in this direction with the Optimus line.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Musicians play John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ in a memorial tribute to the 23-year old Indian gang rape victim, during a mass guitar ensemble played by some 600 guitarists in Darjeeling yesterday. Protesters have massed in Indian cities daily since the December 16 assault demanding the government and police take sex crime more seriously, with tougher penalties for offenders and even chemical castration being considered. Five men accused of gang-raping a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in a deadly crime that repulsed the nation are charged in court. — AFP

‘Do-not-publish’ Diana photo up for auction in US

previously unseen press photo of an apparently teenaged Princess Diana that a London tabloid deemed too hot to publish is coming up for auction in the United States later this month. The black-and-white image from the dawn of the 1980s shows Diana, possibly in a ski chalet, smiling at the camera as she lies comfortably in the lap of a like-aged but unidentified young man reading a book. By the window stands a bottle of Johnnie Walker


whisky, but more intriguing are the words “not to be published” scrawled across the photo with the kind of grease pencil used by newspaper picture editors at the time. On the back, the photo is dated February 26, 1981 — two days after Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Prince Charles and the commoner then known as Diana Spencer. Bobby Livingstone of RR Auctions of Amherst, New Hampshire said Wednesday the photo comes from

the private Caren Archive, which acquired it seven years ago when it bought out the photo library of Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper. Livingstone told AFP by telephone that the 8x10 inch (20 by 25 centimeter) photo would typically sell for around $1,000, “but because it has that (not-to-be-published) marking on it, we expect it to go for much more.” “It captures the moment when the engagement had been announced two days before and

the press was going mad over Diana-but the Daily Mirror just wasn’t going to publish this picture of her in a comfortable position with a man other than Prince Charles,” he said. Internet bidding on the photo and others-including a rare autographed portrait of Albert Einstein by a New York society photographer-will run from January 17 through 24. Diana died in a Paris car crash in August 1997, a year after her divorce from Charles. She was 36. — AFP

Royal Mail to issue ‘Doctor Who’ stamps

r Who - who usually uses a police box for travel - will be zooming through time and space on the edge of letters in 2013. Britain’s Royal Mail is marking the 50th anniversary of the science fiction show “Doctor Who” with a series of stamps featuring each of the 11 actors who have played the title role. Those featured include the present doctor, Matt Smith, as well as past Time Lords such as David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston. The series will also include a miniature sheet that brings together Second Class stamps featuring four of the doctor’s iconic foes - a Dalek, an Ood, a Weeping Angel and a Cyberman. The stamps honoring the cult British television program will be available starting at the end of March. — AP


In this image release by the Royal Mail shows a postage stamp with an image of the first Dr Who William Hartnell.

In this image released by the Royal Mail shows a postage stamp with an image of the present Dr Who Matt Smith. — AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

‘Hobbit’ fights off rivals

atop New Year US box office “T

he Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” fought off all comers at the North American box office over the New Year holidays, beating two Oscartipped movies to the top spot, figures showed Wednesday. The long-awaited first part of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy earned $31.9 million in its third week in theaters, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. That was just enough to keep it ahead of Quentin Tarantino’s brutal western “Django Unchained,” which made $30.1 million in its debut weekend in second place, ahead of musical adaptation “Les Miserables” at $27.3 million. Both films are in the running in this year’s Hollywood awards season, which climaxes with the Oscars on February 24. Tarantino’s film already has five Golden Globe nominations, against four for “Les Miz.” Allimportant Oscars nominations are due to be announced next Thursday, January 10. In fourth place was another debut offering, “Parental Guidance,” a comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler looking after their grandchil-

dren, which earned $14.6 million. Tom Cruise crime drama “Jack Reacher,” in which the Hollywood A lister’s character investigates fictional shootings by a trained military sniper, took fifth spot with weekend earnings of $13.6 million, two weeks after its release. Also on its second weekend in theaters, Judd Apataw’s comedy “This is 40,” billed as “a sort-of sequel” to the 2007 film “Knocked Up,” slipped to sixth place $12.5 million In seventh spot was Steven Spielberg’s political drama “Lincoln”-another Oscar hopeful which topped Globes nominations with seven nods-earning $7.3 million on its eighth weekend. “The Guilt Trip,” about a mother-son road trip starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan, earned $6.5 million for eighth place, just ahead of the 3D version of the 2001 animated hit “Monsters, Inc,” which took in $6.4 million. Rounding out the top 10 was Dreamworks’s “Rise of the Guardians,” featuring Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and a tattooed Russian Santa Claus, which earned $4.9 million on its sixth weekend in theaters. — AFP

Romanian film director Sergiu Nicolaescu dies

A look at Justin Bieber’s non-music news-making


File photo shows film director Sergiu Nicolaescu pointing a gun at his head in the former Communist Party building in Bucharest, Romania, while describing to journalists the way Romania’s last communist regime Defense Minister Gen Milea killed himself on Dec 22 1989. —AP

ergiu Nicolaescu, a prolific Romanian director known for his historical epics who also served as a Senator, has died. He was 82. The Elias Hospital said Nicolaescu died Thursday from heart and lung complications following surgery for digestive problems. Nicolaescu quit politics in December, having been Senator for the leftist Social Democracy Party since 1992, saying: “I only have a few years left and I’d like to finish them in my profession.” Nicolaescu made some 50 movies in his lifetime, and despite his career in politics, continued to direct films such the “Orient Express” in 2004. He was best known for historical films which found favor with the Communist regime. His 1979 movie “Mihai the Brave” is considered a cinematic classic in Romania. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known. —AP

Putin gives Depardieu Russian citizenship


ussian President Vladimir Putin has granted citizenship to Gerard Depardieu, the French moviestar who quit his homeland to avoid a tax hike on the rich, the Kremlin said on Thursday. The “Cyrano de Bergerac” star moved across the border to Belgium last year to avoid the tax increase planned by Socialist President Francois Hollande and Putin said he would be welcome to Russia. “If Gerard really wants to have either a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we will assume that this matter is settled and settled positively,” Putin told a news conference last month. The Kremlin’s website said on Thursday that Putin had signed a decree granting Depardieu citizenship. The wording of the statement suggested the 63-year-old actor had applied for it. An assistant to Depardieu declined to comment. France’s Constitutional Council last month blocked the planned 75 percent tax rate on income over 1 million euros ($1.32 million) - but Hollande plans to propose differently worded legislation which will “still ask more of those who have the most”. —Reuters

A file picture taken on April 26, 2009 in Paris shows French actor Gerard Depardieu posing upon his arrival at a film festival. —AFP

File photo shows Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite album - pop/rock for “Believe” at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards, in Los Angeles. —AP


ustin Bieber has been making news for things besides music for years even when he’s not there. Here’s a look at some of the 18-year-old’s more recent headlines: Jan 1, 2013: A paparazzo is struck by a car and killed in West Los Angeles while pursuing photos of Bieber’s white Ferrari. Bieber was not in the car. Nov 21, 2012: Prosecutors opt not to file charges against Bieber after finding insufficient evidence that he punched and kicked a photographer outside a movie theater near his home in Calabasas, Calif., a month earlier. Nov 14, 2011: A judge dismisses counts filed under California’s anti-paparazzi law against photographer Paul Raef, who was charged in July with being involved in a high-speed pursuit of the pop star along a San Fernando Valley freeway. Oct 10, 2012: Bieber tweets that some of his belongings, including a laptop, were stolen during a show in Tacoma, Wash. Suggestions soon surface on the Internet that the story was a publicity stunt, prompting Bieber’s publicist to issue a statement insisting the theft really happened. A police investigation was inconclusive. Sept 30, 2012: Bieber vomits twice

onstage during a concert in Glendale, Ariz. The video goes viral. July 13, 2012: A woman sues Bieber for $9.2 million claiming she suffered permanent hearing loss at his concert in Portland, Ore. July 6, 2012: Bieber is cited for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. He told police he was being chased by paparazzi. May 28, 2012: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators question Bieber after he reportedly scuffled with paparazzi who tried to photograph him and girlfriend Selena Gomez as they left a movie theater. Oct 31, 2011: A San Diego woman files a paternity suit against Bieber, claiming he fathered her baby boy during a tryst when the singer was 16. Bieber called the claims “crazy.” Aug 30, 2011: Bieber is involved in a minor car accident in his Ferrari in Studio City, Calif. May 7, 2011: Bieber agrees to record a public service announcement against cyber bullying to resolve criminal charges against his manager and a record executive after an autograph signing caused fan frenzy at a New York mall in 2009. March 3, 2011: A lock of Bieber’s hair sells for $40,000 on eBay. Dec 9, 2010: Barbara Walters prophetically includes Bieber in her “10 Most Fascinating People” TV special. —AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

‘Lincoln,’ ‘Les Miz,’ ‘Argo’ earn producers honors


he Civil War saga “Lincoln,” the musical “Les Miserables” and the Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” are among the nominees announced Wednesday for the top honor from the Producers Guild of America. Other bestpicture contenders are the Iran hostagecrisis thriller “Argo”; the low-budget critical favorite “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; the slave-turned-bounty-hunter saga “Django Unchained”; the shipwreck story “Life of Pi”; the first-love tale “Moonrise Kingdom”; the lost-souls romance “Silver Linings Playbook”; and the James Bond adventure “Skyfall.” Walt Disney dominated the guild’s animation category with three of the five nominees: “Brave,” “Frankenweenie” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” The other nominees are Focus Features’ “ParaNorman” and Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians.” Along with honors from other Hollywood professional groups such as actors, directors and writers guilds, the producer prizes help sort out contenders for the Academy Awards. Those nominations come out Jan 10. The guild, an association of Hollywood producers, hands out its 24th annual prizes Jan 26. The big winner often goes on to claim the best-picture honor at the Oscars, which follow on Feb 24. Previously announced

“Homeland,” “Mad Men.” TV comedy series: “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Louie,” “Modern Family.” Long-form television: “American Horror Story,” “The Dust Bowl,” “Game Change,” “Hatfields & McCoys,” “Sherlock.” Non-fiction television: “American Masters,” “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Inside the Actors Studio,” “Shark Tank.”

This publicity film image released by DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox shows Daniel Day-Lewis portraying Abraham Lincoln in the film “Lincoln.” —AP nominees by the Producers Guild for best documentary are “A People Uncounted,” “The Gatekeepers,” “The Island President,” “The Other Dream Team” and “Searching for Sugar Man.” Other nominees: TV drama series: “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,”

Live entertainment and talk television: “The Colbert Report,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Saturday Night Live.” Competition television: “The Amazing Race,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Project Runway,” “Top Chef,” “The Voice.” Sports program: “24/7,” “Catching Hell,” “The Fight with Jim Lampley,” “On Freddie Roach,” “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” Children’s program: “Good Luck Charlie,” “iCarly,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Sesame Street,” “The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover.” — AP

Jennifer Lawrence

Lawrence calls acting ‘stupid,’ relatively speaking


In this undated photo released by the producers of “Wicked,” Idina Menzel, left, is joined by Jennifer Laura Thompson, right, in the $14 million “Wizard of Oz” prequel. —AP

Broadway’s ‘Wicked’ musical earns new record


z has reclaimed the box office crown on Broadway. The Broadway League reported Wednesday that the nine-year-old “Wicked” took in a whopping $2,947,172 over nine performances last week, which is the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history. It squeaked by the old record - $5,382 more to be exact - set by “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” which earned $2,941,790 over nine performances last year during the holidays. Back then, the webslinger had swiped the title from “Wicked.” (For the record, the “Spider-Man” musical earned $2,716,990 last week over nine shows.) Both musicals’ huge hauls reflect the use of premium seating, in which producers charge higher prices for certain days and certain seats. “Wicked” managed to

command as much as $300 for a top premium seat - second only to the “Book of Mormon,” which has a top premium of $477. The average paid admission was $181 to “Wicked.” But making its feat more impressive is the fact that it is performed at the Gershwin Theatre, has about 100 seats less than the 1,930-seat Foxwoods Theatre, home of the superhero musical. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, “Wicked” is the story of the witches of Oz, before they meet Dorothy and her little dog. It has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. Globally, the show has amassed nearly $2.9 billion in ticket sales and has been seen by 36 million people. It wasn’t just “Wicked” investors who were smiling: Every show on Broadway had some reason to be happy for

the week ending Sunday, with all of them posting gains. Shows that earned more than $2 million included “The Lion King,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Annie,” in addition to “Wicked” and “Spider-Man.” Those that took in more than $1 million included “Jersey Boys,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Elf,” “Evita,” “Chicago,” “Bring It On: The Musical,” “A Christmas Story,” “Mama Mia,” “Mary Poppins,” “Newsies,” “Once,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “War Horse.” Overall, the Broadway League reported that the total gross for all shows last week was $37,441,497, better than the same week last season, which pulled in $37,657,453. One worrying trend is that attendance has fallen, with 292,432 seats sold last week versus 321,152 sold last year. —AP

ennifer Lawrence may be at the forefront of the Oscar race this year, thanks to her performance in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” but the young actress isn’t allowing all of the critical praise or her “Hunger Games” fame to go to her head. In an interview with Vanity Fair, a publication that has named her the world’s “Most Desirable Woman,” the 22-year-old humbly admits she can’t get cocky about her profession-and even calls it “stupid.” “Not to sound rude, but is stupid,” she said. “Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’” Her stupid job has earned her millions of dollars since she hit the big time in 2010 with the release of “Winter’s Bone” - an income millions of stupid actors out there can only dream of - but before we jump down her throat for being ungrateful, let’s consider the context. It’s not the artform she’s bashing, but rather the penchant for putting famous folks on a pedestal. Lawrence, who is starring in the upcoming “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” actually loves acting. “I always felt like I sucked at everything, that I could never find the thing that I liked,” she explained while discussing the decision she made at the age of 14 to commit to acting. “I auditioned and I probably sucked, but I had decided 100 percent that this is what I wanted to do.” And she does it pretty well, as evidenced by her best actress Oscar nomination for “Winter’s Bone” and universal praise from critics. She has only minor complaints about all of that attention she gets from photographers on the red carpet. “It’s uncomfortable having to pose when people are shouting at you and the next day you just get slaughtered,” she said in an apparent reference to the media’s fashion police. “You walk out there and go, ‘Hate me!’” Nobody likes getting slaughtered, but nobody likes being called stupid either. Her comments could potentially sway peers to vote in favor of other Oscar contenders. Still, there will be just as many - like Vanity Fair - applauding her for sounding “more like a human being than a wellcoached product.” —Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013


he South Korean military will punish pop star Rain for meetingwith a top actress while on duty during his mandatory military service, the Defense Ministry said yesterday. Paparazzi photos showing Rain meeting with Kim Tae-hee raised questions that highly sought-after entertainers may receive special favors during their military service. The ministry denies Rain has received special treatment. Rain, an “entertainment soldier,” met with Kim at least three times late last year, ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. They occurred even though Rain is not allowed to have such private meetings while outside his base for official duties like recording and performing. The spokesman did not say what kind of punishment Rain would be decided when the ministry meets next week. However, he said it was unlikely to be a brief lockup in a military jail, one of more serious penalties for South Korean soldiers that can delay their discharge. All able-bodied South Korean men must serve about two to three years in the military, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. Rain, a 30-year-old actor and singer whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, joined the military in October 2011 and is scheduled to be discharged in July. He is a corporal. Rain’s agency neither denies nor confirms that he has dated Kim, but the actress’s agency has acknowledged a month-old romance. Kim, 32, is hugely popular in South Korea and commands a large number of fans in Japan. Rain has made seven albums and acted in several South Korean films. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. He made his Hollywood film debut in “Speed Racer” in 2008.—AP

This picture taken on May 8, 2012 and released on January 3, 2013 in Seoul by Yonhap news agency shows South Korean pop icon Rain in military uniform. — AFP


fter the Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman expressed outrage over scenes that imply “enhanced interrogations” of CIA detainees produced a breakthrough in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the panel has begun a review of contacts between the makers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty” and CIA officials. In the latest controversy surrounding the film, Reuters has learned that the committee will examine records charting contacts between intelligence officials and the film’s director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. Investigators will examine whether the spy agency gave the filmmakers “inappropriate” access to secret material, said a person familiar with the matter. They will also probe whether CIA personnel are responsible for the portrayal of harsh interrogation practices, and in particular the suggestion that they were effective, the person said. The intelligence committee’s Democrats contend that is factually incorrect. Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatized account of the hunt for al Qaeda leader bin Laden and the May 2011 US Navy SEAL raid in which he was killed. Government e-mails and memoranda released to the conservative group Judicial Watch show that both the CIA and Pentagon gave the filmmakers extensive access. But the film has also produced a series of awkward political headaches for President Barack Obama. Early on, Obama’s Republican critics suggested it was a gimmick to boost hisre-election campaign. But now, some of Obama’s liberalsupporters are attacking the film and officials who cooperated with its creators for allegedly promoting the effectiveness of torture. The CIA had no comment on the latest congressional inquiry regarding the film. One of the intelligence officials whom the documents show as having met with the filmmakers is Michael Morell, the CIA’s deputy director at the time and now the agency’s acting chief. Current and former national security officials have said Morell, a highly regarded agency veteran, is a favorite to succeed retired Gen. David Petraeus as the agency’s director. Cloud over morell? But some of the same officials now say the controversy over the film’s content has cast a cloud over Morell’s prospects. Last month, Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen Dianne Feinstein joined Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and former Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in sharply condemning what they described as “particularly graphic scenes of CIA officers torturing detainees” in Zero Dark Thirty. The film has been screened in New York and Los Angeles but does not premiere nationwide until Jan 11. In a Dec 19 letter to the chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced the film, the senators alleged it was “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location” of bin Laden. The three senators claim Zero Dark Thirty “clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier” for bin Laden, who would unknowingly lead the agency to his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The senators assert, however, that their own review of CIA records proves that the story told in the film is “incorrect” and “the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.” Sony, in response, released a statement from Bigelow and Boal, which said in part: “We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden. “The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.” Boal said in an email that he was unaware of the Senate committee’s interest and had had no contact with the panel. The person familiar with the committee’s plan to review administration dealings with the filmmakers said initially this would involve reviewing uncensored copies of CIA records regarding the film. The committee presently does not plan to contact the filmmakers directly, the source said.

A ‘dramatization’ Last year, the CIA and Pentagon, in response to a freedom of information request from Judicial Watch, released hundreds of pages of internal documents discussing the agencies’ arrangements for dealing with Bigelow and Boal. The documents, many heavily redacted, show that top CIA and Pentagon officials, including Morell and Michael Vickers, now the Pentagon’s intelligence chief, talked to the filmmakers. One Pentagon email exchange with Ben Rhodes, a senior White House national security aide, said Boal had been briefed by CIA officials “with the full knowledge and full approval/support” of Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and then Secretary of Defense while the film was being prepared. A second person familiar with the matter said the committee had acquired copies of the CIA records last year. The committee originally obtained the uncensored records at the request of Republicans, who were looking for evidence that intelligence or Pentagon personnel inappropriately shared classified information with the filmmakers, this source said. Other Congressional Republicans, most notably Representative Peter King, outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, complained loudly about dealings between the Obama administration and the filmmakers following reports it would be released shortly before the 2012 Presidential election. Ultimately, the film was not released until after the election. Two days after the Senators made public their letter to Sony, the CIA released a statement by Morell, who said that Zero Dark Thirty was a “dramatization, not a realistic portrayal of the facts,” and that while the agency had “interacted” with the filmmakers, it did not “control the final product.” Morell’s statement was equivocal on whether “enhanced interrogations” had produced information critical to finding bin Laden. “Whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved,” Morell added. — Reuters

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

British cinemagoers experience a Secret Cinema event in east London for which they were asked to arrive in period dress, and were transported to a mock 1950’s prison system, complete with guards and prison uniforms before finally watching the Shawshank Redemption. — AFP


nder the menacing eye of guards, the cinema-goers sit in silence as their 1950s bus rumbles through London. Suddenly, a prison looms out of the darkness. Welcome to Secret Cinema, where the film is not just on the screen-viewers can wander up to the characters, brought to life by actors in a setting that seems to have been plucked straight out of the movie. Guests arrive armed with nothing more than a string of cryptic emails detailing where to go and how to dress. They don’t even know what film they are going to see, despite having paid £43.50 ($70, 53 euros) each for a ticket. “You tell people nothing. They have no idea of what they’re going to see, what they’re going to experience,” said Fabien Riggall, who founded Secret Cinema in 2007. “And once they get there, they become more open and more adventurous.” This innovative approach to cinema-which spreads to New York and Athens in April-has seen organisers transform a warehouse into the futuristic dystopia of “Blade Runner”, a park into “Lawrence of Arabia” and dank tunnels into “The Battle of Algiers”. Movie-goers have found themselves conducting mock scientific experiments before a screening of “Prometheus” in a warehouse-turned-spaceship, and operating a pretend penicillin racket before sitting down to watch “The Third Man”. The latest instalment of the adventure offered the crowds a taste of the harsh prison life suffered by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in the 1994 classic “The Shawshank Redemption”. Told to arrive at an east London library wearing 1950s clothing, they were led into a mock courtroom and sentenced-to much giggling-for crimes ranging from kidnapping to bigamy. The new convicts were then shuttled by vintage bus to an abandoned school, transformed by the Secret Cinema team into a grim US prison. Hustled inside by uniformed “prison guards”, they were forced to strip off their 1950s attire-much to the dismay of those who had ignored instructions to wear long underwear. Prisoners swapped their trilby hats and trench coats for grey uniforms and spent the three hours before the screening exploring their jail, periodically harassed by the guards as they munched on burgers bought from the “infirmary”.

‘Blur performance and audience’ “If you play along, it’s amazing,” said Andy, a six-time Secret Cinema-goer who has previously come dressed as a Bedouin for “Lawrence of Arabia” and a psychiatric patient for “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. “Every time, it gets bigger and better.” Scenes from the film spill off the screen and into reality. For “The Shawshank Redemption”, actorssome of them indistinguishable from the crowds in their prisoner uniforms-recreated a brutal rape, scuffles, and an execution.

ema as an antidote to the more mundane experience of simply sitting in front of a screen. “People are looking for adventure. They want to take a step away from everything they already know, and I think that the hotel is another step,” the 37-year-old told AFP. “We had actors sleeping next to the audience-you might wake up and there’d be a prisoner singing a 50-year-old song next to you. The whole building is a stage.” Tickets have already sold out for London’s 20th Secret Cinema event next April, which for the first time will run

From a modest first audience of 400 people in 2007, Secret Cinema has become a massive operation, hosting 13,500 excitable prisoners during a month-long run of “The Shawshank Redemption” that ended in December. The latest show saw the launch of a “Secret Hotel” offering overnight stays in the prison, sleeping in bunks in the cells for an extra £30 per person. “Every production, we try to create something that goes a little bit beyond what we did before in terms of how the audience become part of that world and how you allow the blur between the performance and the audience,” said Riggall. He added that many fans see this immersive form of cin-

simultaneously with shows at secret locations in Athens and New York. Jos, a young Dutchman living in London, said film fans in other cities would welcome the project with open arms. “You get sucked in,” he said, as prisoners loitered in a basketball court behind him. “At the start it’s funny and then 10 minutes later you’re really into it.” “It really makes you think about what it would be like to be in prison-and it’s probably not for me,” he laughed. — AFP



Al-Madena Al-Shohada’a Al-Shuwaikh Al-Nuzha Sabhan Al-Helaly Al-Fayhaa Al-Farwaniya Al-Sulaibikhat Al-Fahaheel Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Ahmadi Al-Mangaf Al-Shuaiba Al-Jahra Al-Salmiya

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Saved by bank, Boots the cat gets new fa


oots, the Chicago-area cat saved from death row by Fifth Third Bank and a Cook County probate judge, has found a new home - in Missouri - on Independence Day. The 1988 will of her late owner, who died in December, had stipulated that any pets that survived her be euthanized in a “painless, peaceful manner” by a veterinarian’s lethal injection. Berwyn, Ill, neighbors of the deceased, Georgia Lee Dvorak, said that she was concerned that her surviving animals, in this case Boots, might be mistreated by a future owner. The owner had left a $1.3 million estate, left mostly to animal causes. But Dvorak’s trust officers at Fifth Third Bank were squeamish about that provision, and asked Cook County Probate Judge Susan Coleman in April to set it aside. The judge allowed the bank to make more humane provisions for Boots. Cats are Purrsons Too, a haven for cats on Chicago’s North Side, agreed to care for Boots until it found her a permanent home. On Wednesday, Missouri resident Diane Maxwell arrived at Cats are Purrsons Too to pick up Boots to take her home. Maxwell is a cousin to Fifth Third Senior Vice President and personal trust director Jeff Schmidt. Maxwell heard about Boots’ plight, and Schmidt encouraged her to contact Marijon Binder, Cats are Purrsons Too founder. Binder said Maxwell was one of 27 people who applied to adopt Boots. “She gave us a thorough interview,” Maxwell said of Binder. “I was just the messenger boy,” Schmidt said of referring his cousin to Binder. Binder said she thought that Maxwell would give Boots a great home. It also didn’t hurt that the Cats are Purrsons Too team almost considers Fifth Third trust executives - and hence Maxwell - family for how they saved Boots from lethal injection. The rescue feels that it will be kept abreast of how Boots is doing through Schmidt and Maxwell. Maxwell’s cat died on Feb 14. She said her 10-year-old dog is grieving and has gained 5 pounds since then. Boots doesn’t seem to mind dogs, Binder said. “We’ll all sleep together,” Maxwell said when picking up Boots. Cats are Purrsons Too sent off Maxwell and Boots with a carrier, cat food and litter box, as well as a quilt hand made especially for Boots by Peeper Day Designs in Bloomingdale, Ill. As Boots was leaving, Binder got a call that a stray hit by a car and recuperating from surgery at an emergency animal clinic now needed a home. It also has been contacted about taking in cats made homeless by Colorado fires. —MCT


Boots sits in a cage at Cats Are Purrson’s Too in Chicago, Illinois. —MCT

Hanging up her collar for retirement

ack in the day, when she was just a young pup, Hazel the therapy dog walked the halls of Sutter children’s hospital in Sacramento, Calif., with unbridled energy. Nine years later, Hazel’s gait has slowed. White hair decorates her golden snout. Her enthusiasm for work has dampened just a tad. Her humans have decided it is time for her to retire after nearly a decade of service to sick youngsters and their families. As she lounged under the shade of a large tree Wednesday afternoon on the front lawn of the east Sacramento hospital, Hazel greeted admirers who came to bid her goodbye and wish her well. “It’s a pretty sentimental day,” said Amy Medovoy, Sutter’s Child Life coordinator, as past and current patients and hospital staffers gathered for an ice cream social in Hazel’s honor. “But Hazel has worked a lot of hours and earned her retirement.” The doe-eyed Labrador retriever, who will turn 11 on Independence Day, was the first canine member of the hospital’s Child Life team and one of the first dogs in the United States working as a full-time staff member at a children’s hospital. Two other dogs, Greta and Millie, are now part of the program and Hazel’s replacement is in training with Canine Companions for Independence. Hospitals across the country use specially trained animals in pet therapy programs to lift the spirits of patients. Studies have shown

that such interactions can calm patients, help lower their blood pressure and make their hospital stays easier. Older people and chil-

dren seem to especially benefit from such programs. “When you’re a child in an unfamiliar and

‘Hazel’ appears during her retirement celebration at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento, California. —MCT

scary environment, having a dog walk into the room is a very special thing,” said Medovoy. “You can just see their faces light up. They relax. It brings kids back to a normal life.” Hazel’s handler, Tracy Auble, said she has seen Hazel’s impact “every single day that I have worked with her.” “I’ve seen the heart rates of some kids visibly go down while they are petting her,” she said. She has seen frightened and introverted children come out of their shells for the first time after Hazel greets them or climbs into their bed for pets and hugs, she said. Alex Twardus, 15, of Auburn, Calif, met Hazel for the first time eight years ago while undergoing rigorous cancer therapy. “When she came to see me, I was super excited because she was so cute,” Alex said. Hazel reminded her of her own dog Sadie, she said, and made her feel better instantly. “It brings you a lot closer to home because a lot of kids have pets and they miss them when they are in the hospital,” she said. Alex and her family came to the party last week to express their appreciation. Hazel will continue to live with Auble, who said retirement for Hazel will mean more camping trips and forays to the river. No donning of her special vest and Sutter ID tag every day. No more early mornings at the hospital. “She’ll get to lay around the house a lot more,” Auble said. “She’ll enjoy that.” —MCT



Aries (March 21-April 19) You plan to make more time for friends and family this year and may even look for opportunities to go into business for yourself and hire a few of those people to do business with you. You get along well with others and can move through problems rather quickly; so this is a good time for consolidating your assets. You may receive insights into your living situation or support system now. There are many choices for what you want to do and where you want to go this year. It will soon be time to pick and choose your destiny. One thing is for sure . . . this is a very positive time. It may not be as important to have a group meeting in order to figure out future events as much as it is important to have a plan; decide what you want and create a time limit.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) At this time, you may have to take care in love. It is a difficult time to try to heal or increase romantic feelings. Now that you know, you can move through this time without the usual problems. Young people are important to you and the relationship you have with young family members is progressive. You can make a positive difference in the lives of many by setting aside some time to be available with laughter, hugs, questions and answers. This may mean speaking, teaching and helping in certain issues, etc. It also may mean saying no to some increase of workflow that has been coming your way recently. Tonight you can join in a group gathering at a neighbor’s house. Just get in and participate where you would enjoy.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your plate is full and you may decide to stop trying to make a round object fit into a square place. Now your job is to verbalize the word “no,” learn to delegate and then move forward. Come on . . . take a deep breath, be brave—pick and choose where you place your energies, appreciate the ability to choose and that you have choices and then—stick to the path. This is the year of learning to cull through your opportunities, appreciate them and realize your limitations as well as your possibilities; stay focused. You may be involved in a self-employed business now. Your energies will adapt best to a consulting and advising business. Examples would be through advice in career decisions, tax and tax-shelter matters, insurance, service for elderly, etc.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) A new beginning now will have plenty of time for research, insight, planning and scheduling. This tends to be more in your personal affairs and could include anything, such as better health, better budgeting, further education, creative inventions, etc. Plot your path and begin to make your changes. The world is finally catching up to your speed. You have the ability to change other people’s lives. This could be through your example or by your advice. Your physical wellbeing has an opportunity to renew and revitalize itself. Remember that tiny causes can lead to big effects. This is a time of recognition, perhaps on the personal level as well as on the professional level. Creative ideas should be logged and dated for future reference.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You will soon gain recognition for your efforts in the workplace today . . . and you thought nobody was interested. Later this afternoon you may want to consider some list making for your personal needs. Since you keep thinking of things you are supposed to be doing for some future social occasion, list making will allow you to keep those stray thoughts on a leash and your business attention where it is needed. Intellectualism, the exchange of ideas and the idea of being smart as a fox have special appeal and importance in all areas of your life. Later, at home, you might heat up a little spiced tea or cocoa and prop your feet up—you have worked hard and deserve a rest. Phone conversations this evening help you sum up your ideas and plans.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Work today may call for your flexibility . . . you are energetic and willing to help. You have an attitude of independence with grace. You create positive outcomes when you remain focused, flexible and positive. Write it down or memorize it—do whatever you have to do to be reminded of these three things as each day unfolds. It will defuse your anger, smooth out your dependency and create in you the peace that comes with successfully creating your own works. Exciting changes are coming concerning your career this year. Practical vision, self-discovery and common sense are the three ingredients that are necessary to you in making this a successful year. You can improve your position with difficult people. Make it a point to add a bit of laughter.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your creative side may be showing more often this year. Recently, there just has not been enough time to show the world your talent(s)—changes are taking place. Priorities will be set and you will find the ability to be more focused this year. There is more room for the creative you. Make every moment count—even the restless ones. This may mean eliminating some activities—be brave—you can do it! Further education that can improve your working status should be considered in your plans. A domestic matter may not be your own but suggesting financial counseling will have good results. Your job is to encourage that search. It is a good time to sign papers, make announcements and generally be open to changes. A love relationship deepens.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your personal power can be very strong when you understand and come to know yourself. Give yourself time to develop and mature—not unlike a good wine. Enjoy the company of the opposite sex but do not be in such a hurry to take on those responsibilities. Creating and sustaining a positive attitude are the best ways to push that ambitious nature of yours in a forward mode. Faith, optimism and a yearning to explore all kinds of new horizons are some of the focal points in your life at this time. Travel, education and other ways to stretch your horizons open new doors of opportunity. Religious, philosophical and cultural matters are likely to have special appeal for you; transmitting ideas on a broader scale brings gain.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You have a good head about you but can be rather set in your ways. This may be a time of blossoming, so to speak. You will be wise to allow some situations to evolve . . . interesting lessons are learned when you resist entering into common psychological games. Start now by getting into the habit of keeping an open mind. This will increase your creativity and help you to win friends and influence people. Nobody says you have to be swayed in any particular direction—just be open-minded. This is the perfect time to sign up for a class or perhaps you could teach a class. Why not take this afternoon to relax, play with the family or a favorite hobby of yours? This is a wonderful time of new beginnings—and a time to add new people to your life.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You may be most interested today in how higher-ups perceive you. It will become clear that you are being checked out for bigger and better responsibilities. If it happens that you are passed over for that raise or job change, you may want to reassess your skills to see if you need to refresh them. Although you are a very good advisor and mentor to others, you will occasionally want to seek advice from someone you trust. Advice may come from a trusted college friend . . . balance this advice with the dictates of your own mind and heart. Your creative side is influenced by an art show you may have seen recently. Time spent in some creative activity can be very relaxing this afternoon. This evening there is time for a board game with the family.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You have already done a great deal of growing—this may begin a year of fine-tuning. Don’t you just feel it? This is a period that emphasizes an enhanced sense of personal possibilities. It is a time of tremendous personal success. The success and failure of some people in your life may dictate where your attention is focused. Allow yourself the experience of leadership. Stand tall among others and speak your ideas. Join others in the art of solving situations. Become a member of the construction crew by not allowing gossip or negative words and thoughts to manipulate your mind—write that down. Romance this evening is flattering and uplifting. There are some wonderful bonding opportunities all during this year.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Finances from the past have been a problem but this year promises to bring a new understanding. If you broadcast your stability and power, other people will automatically plug into an overflow valve. Be selective of the areas in which you will want to share your knowledge and expertise—as well as money. Keep your goals in mind so that other people’s ideas do not sway you from your path. There is good news from family members today. You have a powerful drive for most anything you want to do—perhaps some out-of-door sports with friends. Exercise regularly by walking. Make it a habit of putting your feet up when you sit down for any length of time. Being more closely involved with another person may well become your highest priority this year.

COUNTRY CODES Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands)0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686

Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland)0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK)0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976



Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

C R O S S W O R D 5 9

ACROSS 1. Annual grass of Europe and North Africa. 4. A murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a treacherous surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed. 12. Edible tuber of any of several yams. 15. 100 pyas equal 1 kyat. 16. (Greek mythology) Fire-breathing she-monster with a lion's head and a goat's body and a serpent's tail. 17. Goddess of fate. 18. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 19. Lacking in tone or expression. 20. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 21. A wad of something chewable as tobacco. 23. A sharp hooked claw especially on a bird of prey. 24. Jordan's port. 26. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 28. A silvery malleable metallic element that resists corrosion. 30. Marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea. 33. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 35. An accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape. 38. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 40. Italian poet considered the national poet of modern Italy (1835-1907). 41. The lowermost portion of a structure partly or wholly below ground level. 44. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 45. A liquid used for printing or writing or drawing. 46. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 50. White Southerner supporting Reconstruction policies after the Civil War usually for self-interest. 53. Take in solid food. 54. Tropical Asian starlings. 55. A tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk. 59. Arboreal snake of central and southern Africa whose bite is often fatal. 62. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 66. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 100 liters. 68. One who reveals confidential information in return for money. 70. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 71. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 74. Fleshy spore-bearing inner mass of e.g. a puffball or stinkhorn. 75. A sharp change in direction. 76. A small valve (or valve-like structure). 78. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 79. Used of a single unit or thing. 80. Of or relating to a taxonomic order. 81. A small cake leavened with yeast.

2. An Indian nursemaid who looks after children. 3. A village in eastern Ireland (northwest of Dublin). 4. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 5. Varying in color when seen in different lights or from different angles. 6. United States singer and film actor (1915-1998). 7. Congenital absence of an arm or leg. 8. A port city in northeastern Greece on an inlet of the Aegean Sea. 9. Witnessed at first hand. 10. The bureau of the Treasury Department responsible for tax collections. 11. Of or in or relating to the nose. 12. A member of the Mayan people of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. 13. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 14. Designer drug designed to have the effects of amphetamines (it floods the brain with serotonin) but to avoid the drug laws. 22. Confused movement. 25. A city of central Russia south of Moscow. 27. A public promotion of some product or service. 29. (obstetrics) The number of live-born children a woman has delivered. 31. An administrative unit of government. 32. Of or denoting or relating to the Balkan countries or their inhabitants or the Balkan peninsula or the Balkan Mountains. 34. A unit of weight used in east Asia approximately equal to 1.3 ounces. 36. The capital and largest city of Ghana with a deep-water port. 37. Deciduous South African tree having large odd-pinnate leaves and profuse fragrant orange-yellow flowers. 39. Brightly colored and showy. 42. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 43. The villain in William Shakespeare's tragedy who tricked Othello into murdering his wife. 47. A refuge from attack. 48. A cylindrical drawstring bag used by sailors to hold their clothing and other gear. 49. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 51. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 52. A set of tags and rules (conforming to SGML) for using them in developing hypertext documents. 56. A unit of luminous flux equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle of 1 steradian by a point source of 1 candela intensity radiating uniformly in all directions. 57. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 58. 1 species. 60. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 61. Type genus of the Bramidae. 63. Very dark black. 64. An enclosure made or wire or metal bars in which birds or animals are kept. 65. A small constellation near the South Pole between Tucana and Ara. 67. (New Testament) Disciple of Jesus. 69. English monk and scholar (672-735). 72. The month following February and preceding April. 73. Small rounded bread either plain or sweet. 77. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

DOWN 1. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum.

Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Isner injury puts Spain into Hopman final PERTH: A tournament-ending knee injury to American John Isner yesterday handed Spain a berth in this weekend’s final of the Hopman Cup. The US pairing of Isner and Venus Williams were set to face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues yesterday, with the winner to progress to Saturday’s final. However, Isner withdrew from the tournament yesterday morning citing a right knee problem, handing Spain a 3-0 victory and passage into the final for the sixth time. Spain have won the mixed teams title three times, most recently in 2010, when Tommy Robredo and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez lifted the title against Great Britain’s Laura Robson and Andy Murray. “We are happy, of course, to be in the final,” Verdasco said. “It was going to be a difficult tie today, but when John didn’t play, it is unlucky for everybody, but we are in the final and hopefully it is going to be a good day for us.” Isner looked troubled by his right knee in both his singles matches for the United States this week, losing in straight sets to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Speaking after his withdrawal, the towering American said he expected to be fit for the Australian Open, starting on Monday week in Melbourne, despite being unsure of the exact nature of the injury. “It’s causing me a little bit of trouble and from that I’m not able to, to really load the right way and you know I’m not really going for my shots like I should,” he said. “I’ve always been a fast healer when I have had real injuries pop up here and there so I’m confident I’m going to be fine for the Australian Open.” The withdrawal of Isner, who won the event in 2011 with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, ended Venus Williams’ hopes of joining her sister, Serena, as a Hopman Cup winner. “I feel like I let her down a little bit,” Isner said. With Isner out, Verdasco found himself playing against Isner’s little-known Australian hitting partner, 16-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis, winning in straight sets despite an unexpectedly spirited showing from the youngster. Williams then played another exhibition match against Medina Garrigues, winning 6-3, 6-4 to round out her preparation for the Australian Open in good style. The 32-year-old won all three of her singles matches during the week and said she was happy with her form heading into the year’s first Grand Slam. — AFP

Ethiopia’s ‘Walyas’ look to make up for lost time

PERTH: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (front) and Mathilde Johansson of France (rear) hit a return against John Isner and Venus Williams of the US during their sixth session mixed doubles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth. — AFP

College Roundup

Louisville stun Florida 33-23 NEW ORLEANS: Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw two touchdown passes as the Louisville Cardinals surprised the heavily favored Florida Gators 33-17 in college football’s Sugar Bowl on Wednesday. Shaking off an early hit that knocked off his helmet, Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards. Among his throws was a pinpoint, 15-yard toss in the third quarter that DeVante Parker grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner of the end zone for a score. Bridgewater’s other touchdown pass was a 19-yarder to Damian Copeland in the fourth quarter, one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators backfired badly. By the end, the chant, “Charlie, Charlie!” echoed from sections of the Superdome occupied by red-clad Cardinals fans. It their way of serenading third-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong, the former defensive coordinator for the Gators, who has elevated Cardinals football to new heights and recently turned down a chance to leave behind what he’s built for the top job at Tennessee. “They kind of thought we were going to come in and lay down and give them the game,” Floyd said. “But Coach Strong always preaches that we’re better than any team in the nation if we come out and play hard.” Florida never trailed by more than 10 points this season and had lost only once going into the game. Louisville and Florida each finished the season at 11-2. “We got outcoached and outplayed,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “That’s what I told the football team. That’s the bottom line.” Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had thrown only three interceptions all

season, turned the ball over three times on two interceptions - both tipped passes - and a fumble. He finished 16 of 29 for 175 yards. Louisville jumped out to an early lead on the first play of the game. Driskel was looking for seldom-targeted Andre Debose, who’d had only two catches all season. His throw was a bit behind Debose, however, and the receiver tipped it, making for an easy catch and score for Floyd only 15 seconds into the game. Jeremy Wright then followed with a short touchdown run later in the first quarter to give the underdogs from the Big East Conference a 14-0 lead from which the Gators never recovered. The Gators finally got in the end zone with a trick play in the closing seconds of the half. They changed personnel as if to kick a field goal on fourth-andgoal from the 1, but handed off to Matt Jones instead. Jones met only minimal resistance as he crashed into the end zone to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive that included four straight completions and four straight runs by Driskel. The Gators tried to keep the momentum with a surprise onside kick to open the third quarter, but not only did Louisville recover, Florida’s Chris Johnson was called for a personal foul and ejected for jabbing at Louisville’s Zed Evans. That gave Louisville the ball on the Florida 19, from where Bridgewater needed one play to find Copeland for his score. Down 33-10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to rally again. Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left to make it 33-23. But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the 2point attempt, the game was essentially over. — AP

ADDIS ABABA: When Mengistu Worku struck deep into extra time against Egypt to clinch Ethiopia’s first African Cup of Nations title in 1962, the home victory appeared to herald an era of dominance for the pioneering Horn of Africa country. While the likes of Ghana and Nigeria fell early in the qualifying rounds, Ethiopia wowed spectators with their flair and fluid passing game, earning the moniker “the Brazil of Africa”. They also reached the tournament’s semi-finals in 1963 and 1968 but the euphoria did not last long. The promise ebbed as a series of lackluster appearances in later tournaments saw them hobbling to first round exits, while they also inexplicably withdrew from qualifiers on a number of occasions. Political turmoil in the 1970s and 1980s cast Ethiopia into the footballing wilderness, and some of the country’s best players kept hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons by absconding while on international duty. Fast-forward to 2013 and Ethiopia - nicknamed the Walya Antelopes after an endemic and endangered ibex - are now looking to re-establish themselves in the continental fold after booking a place at this month’s African Cup of Nations, their first since 1982 and five decades since they lifted the cup. A 5-5 aggregate scoreline in their play-off against Sudan in October sealed their place, sparking wild street celebrations among football fans who struggled to absorb the turnaround in fortune. “We made it. Nothing is impossible with hard work,” captain Degu Debebe said soon after the match at Addis Ababa’s 30,000-capacity stadium. “It is a new beginning for all of us.” ‘HERD OF COWS’ It was a cagey first half. Sudan’s “Falcons of Jediane” sought to retain their 5-3 lead and rarely ventured beyond their own half. A nerve-wracking first 45 minutes appeared to signal the return of ghosts of qualifiers past. Enter Adane Girma and Egypt-based Saladin Seid. Two second-half strikes in four minutes turned the tie on its head and the Walyas held their nerves to break Sudanese hearts. Most Ethiopian fans and pundits could be forgiven for their past relentless tirades against the Walyas. October’s qualification was sealed on the back of a debilitating suspension from FIFA in 2008 following a power tussle amongst the country’s football chiefs. The Walyas were also hampered by a managerial merry-goround that saw 15 appointments in 11 years, including the sacking of Briton Iffy Onuora who was dismissed by the FA after he told newspapers he often had to “clear a herd of cows off a pitch in order for the team to train”. Ethiopia’s FA chief Sahilu Gebremariam says his body set about introducing sweeping changes soon after the leadership spat was resolved and the suspension lifted. Its 18-team Premier League was slashed to 14 and clubs were ordered to satisfy FIFA criteria on coaching standards and youth development, under the watchful gaze of the world governing body. “We designed a strategic plan on where we are, where we went wrong and how we can improve,” Sahilu told Reuters. “Today’s improvement is the result of what we did.” The east African nation is planning to set up academies to nurture players and construct stadiums throughout the country, including a 60,000-seat national arena in the capital. The money is flowing in, in particular from local businessmen keen to see the game flourish in Ethiopia. The country also harbors designs on hosting the African Cup of Nations soon. “We had budget problems before. I don’t think that will be the case now,” said Sewnet Bishaw, the national team’s head coach. — Reuters

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Thirimanne shines before Lanka’s fall Sri Lanka dismissed for 294; Bird takes 4-41 SYDNEY: Australia’s four-pronged pace attack overcame spirited resistance from Lahiru Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardene before dismissing Sri Lanka for 294 to bring an end to the opening day of the third test yesterday. Both Thirimanne, who scored a career best 91 just three days after joining the squad as an emergency replacement, and Jayawardene, who hit 72 in his penultimate innings as captain, threatened to make a sunny day in Sydney their own. Ultimately though, Australia captain Michael Clarke’s decision on winning the toss to send his pacemen out to bowl first was all but vindicated and the hosts will have finished the day confident they can wrap up the series 3-0. Jackson Bird, the least experienced of the pace quartet, took 4-41, Mitchell Starc 3-71 and Peter Siddle grabbed a brace with spinner Nathan Lyon pitching in to end Thirimanne’s knock just shy of his maiden test century. “It’s nice to get a few wickets, it was hard work out there,” Bird, who brought an end to the Sri Lanka innings when he dismissed Suranga Lakmal for five, told reporters. “Jayawardene batted well and Thirimanne batted well but I thought we stuck at it well and got the wickets at key moments. “We need a good start in the morning, it’s a beautiful wicket to bat on and hopefully the boys can dig in for that first hour.” Brought in for his first test since last April to replace the injured Kumar Sangakkara, Thirimanne had shown a fight that had largely been absent from the batting of his better-known compatriots on the tour. The lefthander survived an lbw decision on his first ball courtesy of the television appeal and assumed the mantle from Jayawardene when his captain was dismissed after his first half century outside Sri Lanka for more than three years. Thirimanne reached his second test half century with a cover drive off Mitchell Johnson for three runs and, punishing any loose deliveries, smashed 13 fours and a six in his 151-ball knock. The end to his innings came chasing another boundary off Lyon and it took an exceptional catch from David Warner at cover point to snare the miscued drive, leaving the batsmen bowed over his bat in despair. “I’m really disappointed because it was a good opportunity for me after a long break from test cricket,” the 23-year-old said. “I thought I batted really well and I’m really happy with my performance.” Injuries had forced Jayawardene into making four changes to the side that was

SCOREBOARD CAPE TOWN: Scoreboard at the close of the second day of the first test between South Africa and New Zealand at Newlands yesterday:

SYDNEY: Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne drives a six off Australia’s Nathan Lyon on the first day of their cricket test match in Sydney, Australia yesterday. — AP thrashed by an innings and 201 runs in Melbourne last week and he seemed determined to make up for that humiliation, on his own if necessary. CAUTIOUS START After a cautious start with his team on 26-1, the 35-year-old came out firing after lunch and smashed 13 boundaries in his 154-minute knock before Starc removed him with a fizzing ball that caught a thick edge and flew to Clarke in the slips. There

SYDNEY: Scoreboard at close on the opening day of the third and final Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday: 5 34 72 91 12 15 24 2 5 5 17

CAPE TOWN: An unbeaten 69 from Dean Brownlie helped New Zealand reach 169 for four in their second innings on day two of the first test against South Africa yesterday. The Proteas, who dismissed the touring side for just 45 on day one, declared their first innings on 347 for eight shortly after lunch with a lead of 302 and they were still 133 runs ahead at the close. But New Zealand, largely through Brownlie and captain Brendon McCullum who made 51, offered much stronger resistance second time round, reponding well to widespread condemnation of their woeful performance on Wednesday. New Zealand also bowled better in the morning session and made the ideal start when Trent Boult forced Alviro Petersen to play on after adding just three runs to his overnight score of 103. Early morning rain had cleared two hours before the start of play, but the ominous grey skies remained for much of the morning and AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis had to survive an awkward period in which the pitch offered the seamers lateral movement. The disciplined bowling soon accounted for Du Plessis, whose test average of 146.50 after two matches took a hit when Chris Martin had him caught at gully for 15 with the score on 281. Dean Elgar received an ironic ovation from the home crowd when he made his first run in test cricket at the third time of asking and De Villiers brought up his 30th test fifty with consecutive boundaries off Boult. Boult dismissed Elgar just before lunch when he edged a catch to wicketkeeper BJ Watling for 21. WORST START Graeme Smith declared the South African innings shortly after the interval and the Black Caps’ got off to the worst possible start when opener Martin Guptill clipped a leg-side delivery from Dale Steyn straight to mid-wicket in the first over. McCullum and Kane Williamson dug in to prevent the touring side from collapsing but Williamson should have been out in the eighth over as umpire Ian Gould turned down a massive lbw appeal from Vernon Philander who took five wickets in the first innings. Smith’s failure to call for the review proved costly as replays showed that the decision would have been reversed. Two overs later Philander did call for a review for a caught behind, but replays were inconclusive and Williamson survived again. Williamson’s gritty innings ended in the penultimate over before tea as Jacques Kallis had him caught at second slip for 15 with the score on 29. McCullum was next to get a reprieve as Kallis failed to hold on to a difficult chance at second slip. The partnership with Brownlie continued at high pace and the game appeared to be getting away from South Africa as McCullum reached his half-century. But the decision to replace Philander with spinner Robin Peterson proved a fruitful one as he trapped McCullum lbw in his second over. —Reuters


Sri Lanka 1st Innings D. Karunaratne c Hussey b Bird T. Dilshan c Wade b Bird M. Jayawardene c Clarke b Starc L. Thirimanne c Warner b Lyon T. Samaraweera lbw b Siddle A. Mathews c Hussey b Starc D. Chandimal b Starc D. Prasad c Starc b Siddle R. Herath c Siddle b Bird S. Lakmal c Hussey b Bird N. Pradeep not out

Brownlie and McCullum dig in for New Zealand

Extras (lb8, w3, nb1) 12 Total (all out; 87.4 overs) 294 Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Karunaratne), 2-72 (Dilshan), 3-134 (Jayawardene), 4-167 (Samaraweera), 5-222 (Mathews), 6-250 (Thirimanne), 7-256 (Prasad), 8-271 (Chandimal), 9-273 (Herath), 10-294 (Lakmal) Bowling: Starc 19-0-71-3 (3w), Bird 19.410-41-4, Siddle 15-3-46-2 (1nb), Johnson 13-1-58-0, Lyon 19-2-69-1, Hussey 2-1-1-0.

was a nervous wait for the raucous crowd basking in the sun at the Sydney Cricket Ground while a check was made for the no ball, but the television pictures confirmed that Starc’s heel had grazed the white line. “Today Mahela batted really well under pressure,” said Thirimanne. “I think I saw Mahela play one of the best knocks in test cricket.” Starc, rested for the Melbourne test, also accounted for captain-elect Angelo Mathews (15) and returned to remove Dinesh Chandimal for 24 with a perfect yorker on the first delivery with the second new ball. Bird had removed both Sri Lanka openers in the opening session, having Dimuth Karunaratne caught off a top edge for five and returning an hour later to dismiss Tillakaratne Dilshan, caught behind for 34. The 26-year-old, who took four wickets in an impressive test debut in Melbourne last week, also removed tailender Rangana Herath (5) before closing the Sri Lanka innings with his fourth victim. Michael Hussey, playing in his final test before retirement, got a huge cheer when bowled two overs before tea but he was unable to snare what would have been a popular wicket to add to his three catches in the field. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out and hit a hundred,” said Bird. —Reuters

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat New Zealand first innings 45 (V. Philander 5-7, M. Morkel 3-14) South Africa first innings (overnight 252-3) G. Smith lbw b Bracewell 1 A. Petersen b Boult 106 H. Amla lbw b Franklin 66 J. Kallis c Watling b Boult 60 A.B. De Villiers b Martin 67 F. du Plessis c Williamson b Martin 15 D. Elgar c Watling b Boult 21 R. Peterson b Martin 5 V. Philander not out 0 Extras (b-1, lb-2, w-2, nb-1) 6 Total (eight wickets declared, 95.2 overs) 347 Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-108 3-212 4-255 5-281 6-335 7-342 8-347 Did not bat: Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel Bowling: Boult 21-2-78-3 (1w), Bracewell 24-4-93-1, Martin 19.2-4-63-3 (nb-1, 1w), Franklin 14-1-50-1, Patel 17-4-60-0 New Zealand second innings M. Guptill c Amla b Steyn 0 B. McCullum lbw b Peterson 51 K. Williamson c Petersen b Kallis 15 D. Brownlie not out 69 D. Flynn c de Villiers b Kallis 14 BJ Watling not out 10 Extras (b-1, lb-8, w-1) 10 Total (four wickets, 52 overs) 169 Fall of wickets: 1-0 2-29 3-118 4-155 To bat: James Franklin, Doug Bracewell, Jeetan Patel, Trent Boult, Chris Martin Bowling (to date): Steyn 14-2-38-1, Philander 13-5-53-0, Morkel 12-4-29-0, Kallis 6-1-19-2 (1w), Peterson 7-2-21-1.

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Heat scrape past Mavs in overtime Warriors hand Clippers 2nd straight loss NHL and players continue talks as deadline looms NEW YORK: The National Hockey League and locked out players appeared closer to a new labor deal that would salvage a partial season after Wednesday’s midnight deadline passed without the union filing a disclaimer of interest and dissolving. With the lockout reaching its 110th day, negotiations began under an NHL Players Association (NHLPA) threat to decertify, freeing individual players to file antitrust lawsuits against the league. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that the union never played the disclaimer card during any negotiations and that both parties and a US mediator would be back at the bargaining table at 10 am yesterday. “The word disclaimer has yet to be uttered to us by the players association,” Bettman told reporters as he left meetings at the league’s Manhattan offices. “When you disclaim interest as a union you notify the other side. “We have not been notified. It has never been discussed so there is no disclaimer.” While one deadline passed, another is looming large on the horizon, Bettman having set a Jan. 19 limit for the puck to drop on a shortened 48-game schedule. With the clock ticking, both Bettman and NHLPA chief Donald Fehr could agree on one thing - that much work needs to be done if there is to be a season. “If you have a river to cross you have to build a bridge or do something else if you are going to cross the river,” said Fehr, deflecting any questions about the disclaimer of interest. “We’ve moved closer on some issues but work remains to be done.” The two sides have spent three days in New York exchanging proposals and counter proposals and appeared to inching slowly towards a deal. PENSION ISSUE The back-and-forth diplomacy continued on Wednesday, with brief meetings in the morning and a longer session that began at 8 pm stretching into the following morning. There have been indications the two sides are close to agreement on major issues - such has how to split $3.3 billion in revenue - contract lengths and revenue sharing but they remain far apart on others. Player pension plans and how they are funded has suddenly popped up as the hot topic along with where the salary cap ceiling should be set. The league wants a cap locked in at $60 million while the players are believed to be seeking something in the $65-67 million range. “It’s been a long day with lots of meetings both internal and with the players association, and the process will be continuing tomorrow morning,” Bettman said. “There has been some progress but we are still apart on a number of issues, but as long as the process continues I am hopeful. “On some issues we agreed, on some we moved towards each other and on some we said ‘no’. I think that applies to both parties.” Players have been locked out since mid-September and the league has cancelled games up to Jan 14, more than 50 percent of the regular season which was scheduled to start in October. The dispute is the NHL’s fourth work stoppage in 20 years and first since a lockout forced the cancellation of the entire 200405 season.— Reuters

MIAMI: LeBron James scored 32 points and finished one assist shy of a triple-double and Dwyane Wade added 27 points as the Miami Heat rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks 119109 in overtime on Wednesday. Chris Bosh also scored 17 for Miami, which extended its NBA Eastern Conference-leading record to 22-8. The Heat trailed by 12 in the opening minutes, and then dug their way out of a six-point hole in the final 3:02 of regulation. James had 12 rebounds and nine assists. OJ Mayo scored 30 and Dirk Nowitzki - still working his way back from knee surgery - added 19 in 29 minutes for the Mavericks, who fell to 0-6 in overtime this season. The struggling Brooklyn Nets ended Oklahoma City’s 12-game home winning streak with a 110-93 victory in a game featuring the first ejection of Kevin Durant’s career. Joe Johnson scored a season-high 33 points and Deron Williams added 19 points and 13 assists for the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson last month and were coming off a 31point defeat to San Antonio on Monday. The Nets squandered a 23-point lead and allowed Oklahoma City to tie it at 85 before going on a 23-8 run to retake control of the game. Durant was ejected near the end of the run for arguing with the referee over a technical foul. Durant scored 27 points and Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 10 assists for Oklahoma City, which lost for only the third time at home this season. The Golden State Warriors handed the Los Angeles Clippers their second straight defeat, 115-94, following the Clippers’ franchiserecord 17-game winning streak. Stephen Curry scored 25 of his 31 points in the first half and David Lee finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who became the first team to beat the Clippers twice this season. Jamal Crawford scored 24 points off the bench and Chris Paul had 23 points and six rebounds for the Clippers, whose loss to Denver on Tuesday ended their win streak. In Boston, Mike Conley had 23 points and nine assists to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 93-83 win over the Celtics. Rudy Gay added 19 points and ex-Celtic Tony Allen had a seasonhigh 15 points for Memphis. Paul Pierce scored 17 for Boston, but had just one basket in the third quarter and none in the fourth. Rajon Rondo added 11 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who have lost four straight games. San Antonio withstood a second-half rally to beat Milwaukee 117-110 on the road. Tim Duncan had 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Tony Parker added 23 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who shot 52 percent from the field for the game. Brandon Jennings paced Milwaukee with 31 points, while rookie John Henson scored a career-high 20 points and added nine rebounds. The Houston Rockets defeated the New Orleans Hornets 104-92, with James Harden leading the team in scoring for the 14th straight game in which he’s played. Harden had 31 points and seven assists for the Rockets, who outscored New Orleans 60-28 in the paint. Ryan Anderson had 18 points and Greivis Vasquez had 15 points and 14 assists for New Orleans, which lost for the 14th time in the last 16 games. Toronto ended an eight-game losing streak to Portland, routing the Trail Blazers 102-79 at home. Terrence Ross scored a career-high 26 points and DeMar DeRozan had 24 in Toronto’s first victory over the Trail Blazers since January 2008. Ross had a career-best six 3-pointers as the Raptors won for the eighth time in nine games. In Indianapolis, the Pacers edged the NBA-worst Washington Wizards 89-81. Paul George had 29 points and 13 rebounds and D.J. Augustin scored 18 points for Indiana, which led by as many as 17 but had to battle

CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (3) defends a high pass intended for Golden State Warriors’ Carl Landry (bottom) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif. — AP after Washington pulled within 51-49 in the third quarter. Jordan Crawford scored 20 points for Washington, which fell to 1-14 on the road this season. The Chicago Bulls got a season-high 31 points and 11 rebounds from Carlos Boozer and managed to hang on to beat Orlando, 9694. Luol Deng scored 23 points and Taj Gibson added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah.

Jameer Nelson missed a leaning jumper in the closing seconds that would have tied it, sending Orlando to its seventh straight loss overall and fifth in a row at home. Sacramento beat Cleveland 97-94 for its second road win of the season and Utah easily defeated Minnesota 106-84 to end a three-game losing streak. The Phoenix Suns also ended a six-game losing streak with a 95-89 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.— AP

NBA results/standings Toronto 102, Portland 79; Chicago 96, Orlando 94; Sacramento 97, Cleveland 94; Indiana 89, Washington 81; Memphis 93, Boston 83; Miami 119, Dallas 109 (OT); San Antonio 117, Milwaukee 110; Houston 104, New Orleans 92; Brooklyn 110, Oklahoma City 93; Utah 106, Minnesota 84; Phoenix 95, Philadelphia 89; Golden State 115, LA Clippers 94. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB NY Knicks 21 10 .677 Brooklyn 17 15 .531 4.5 Philadelphia 15 18 .455 7 Boston 14 17 .452 7 Toronto 12 20 .375 9.5 Central Division Indiana 19 13 .594 Chicago 17 13 .567 1 Milwaukee 16 14 .533 2 Detroit 12 22 .353 8 Cleveland 7 26 .212 12.5 Southeast Division Miami 22 8 .733 Atlanta 20 10 .667 2 Orlando 12 20 .375 11 Charlotte 8 23 .258 14.5 Washington 4 26 .133 18

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 24 7 .774 Denver 18 15 .545 7 Portland 16 15 .516 8 Minnesota 14 14 .500 8.5 Utah 16 17 .485 9 Pacific Division LA Clippers 25 8 .758 Golden State 22 10 .688 2.5 LA Lakers 15 16 .484 9 Sacramento 12 20 .375 12.5 Phoenix 12 21 .364 13 Southwest Division San Antonio 26 8 .765 Memphis 20 9 .690 3.5 Houston 18 14 .563 7 Dallas 13 20 .394 12.5 New Orleans 7 25 .219 18

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Coentrao indiscipline unwelcome Real distraction MADRID: Stuttering La Liga champions Real Madrid spent much of the first part of the season dealing with reports of dressing room rifts and player discontent and are facing another headache as they prepare for Sunday’s game at home to Real Sociedad. Local media reported that fullback Fabio Coentrao had returned late from the Christmas and New Year break and Coach Jose Mourinho had demanded the stiffest possible punishment for his Portuguese compatriot. A club spokesman declined to confirm the reports but they are the latest distraction for a team that needs to focus all its energy on getting back to winning ways and cutting the yawning 16-point gap to unbeaten leaders Barcelona. Real are third after 17 matches, seven adrift of second-placed Atletico Madrid, and have already dropped more points than dur-

ing the whole of their title-winning 2011-12 campaign. Coentrao’s indiscipline adds to Mourinho’s selection problems in defence, with Pepe recovering from ankle surgery, fellow centre back Sergio Ramos suspended and fullback Marcelo out injured. Forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not scoring at anywhere near the same rate as last term and has been linked in the media with a move away from Spain, called for unity on Wednesday and insisted that Real can still catch Barca, who host city rivals Espanyol on Sunday (1800). “The important thing is to win and be together, both the team and the fans,” Ronaldo told a news conference. “The league is tough, but it is still mathematically possible for us to win and we have to keep the belief until the end,” the Portuguese international added. “It will be an uphill struggle.”

RECORD START Barca, meanwhile, have made a record start to the season and the only points they have dropped were in a 2-2 draw at home to Real in October. The players, led by the prolific Lionel Messi, are united behind coach Tito Vilanova, who returned to work earlier than expected on Wednesday after undergoing a throat operation two weeks ago. Cesc Fabregas, Adriano and Alex Song, who picked up minor injuries at the end of last year, were declared fit by medical staff and completed a full training session yesterday. Promising winger Isaac Cuenca, brought into the first team under Vilanova’s predecessor Pep Guardiola, also trained with his team mates as he continues his recuperation from a serious knee injury sustained at the end of last season. Atletico, resurgent under Argentine ITALIAN LEAGUE PREVIEW

Serie A to resume with Juventus in firm control ROME: As Serie A gets set to resume this weekend after its holiday break, the biggest question isn’t which club will win the Italian league, but rather which squad will be Juventus’ top challenger. The possibilities are not lacking. While Juve holds an eight-point lead, the six squads that follow are grouped within nine points of each other. Juventus leads with 44 points and Lazio is second with 36 points, followed by Fiorentina and Inter Milan (35 each), Napoli (34), Roma (32), and AC Milan (27). The January transfer window could be decisive, with Juve and Milan reportedly contending for Didier Drogba, Mario Balotelli could end up back in Italy, and there is also talk that Wesley Sneijder could move across town to Milan to conclude his contract feud with Inter. The action resumes tomorrowwith Catania vs Torino and Lazio vs Cagliari. On Sunday, Juventus faces Sampdoria, Fiorentina hosts Pescara, Inter visits Udinese, Milan plays Siena and Roma is at Napoli. “(Juventus) has a fairly big lead but you never know in football,” said 39-yearold Inter captain Javier Zanetti, who is in his 18th season with the club. “We’ve just got to focus on doing everything we can to find ourselves back in the Champions League at the end of the season - and not think about how many points behind Juve we are,” added Zanetti, who is planning to play at least one more season. Inter made one of the first moves of the transfer market by signing former Lazio captain Tommaso Rocchi to help out in attack - where Antonio Cassano, Rodrigo Palacio and Diego Milito have been carrying most of the load. Another boost for Inter could come from midfielder Dejan Stankovic, who has resumed training after a long injury layoff. Lazio, led by Germany striker Miroslav Klose and Brazil playmaker Hernanes, has had a surprisingly successful start under first-year coach Vladimir Petkovic. “We’re still not in position to compete with this Juve,” Petkovic said. “Second place is a surprise. Only Juve is the anti-Juve. We’ve just got to continue as we have been doing then see where we are at the end.

MANCHESTER: In this file photo, Manchester City’s manager Roberto Mancini (right) issues instructions to Italian striker Mario Balotelli at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England. Mario Balotelli’s volatile relationship with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini appeared to escalate yesterday, when they had an angry altercation during training. — AP In the past two years, this squad has started well but then lacked something at the end of the season. “We’re aiming high, without fixing any precise goals,” Petkovic added. Fiorentina has been another surprise, with first-year coach Vincenzo Montella highly lauded for gelling together a completely overhauled squad with 18 new players and one star holdover, playmaker Stevan Jovetic. “We’re aiming for second place. We can compete with anyone, except Juve,” Montella said. Napoli also had a solid start but then struggled over the past couple months. Things got worse just before the break when the southern club was hit with a two-point penalty for match-fixing after its former goalkeeper confessed to arranging the result of a game three seasons ago. Also, Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava were each banned for six months for failing to report the fix. However, appeals are expected. By contrast, Roma had trouble adapting to new coach Zdenek Zeman’s all-out attack-

ing style at the start, but found its footing in December by winning three of its four matches - including a 4-2 win over Milan in its last game before the break. That match aside, Milan also appeared on the rise before the break, led by league scoring leader Stephen El Shaarawy and his 14 goals. However, both of Milan’s Brazilian strikers, Alexandre Pato and Robinho, could leave during the transfer window perhaps opening up space for Drogba or Balotelli - as the Rossoneri face Barcelona in the Champions League. Juventus, which has found success by evenly distributing its goals, might also want to shake things up with someone like Drogba as it next faces Celtic in the Champions League. “The squad won’t change much in January,” said Juventus coach Antonio Conte, who returned last month from a four-match fixing ban stemming from when he coached Siena two seasons ago. “We’ll make intelligent choices just like we did in June. We’ll look to fill some gaps and if some big moves present themselves we won’t let them slip away.” — AP

coach Diego Simeone, kick off the New Year with a trip to Real Mallorca on Sunday (2000), when striker Radamel Falcao, playmaker Arda Turan and centre back Miranda are all suspended. “The absences of Falcao, Arda and Miranda will give other players a chance, which is good for the team,” Simeone told a news conference on Wednesday. He dismissed reports that Turan could leave in the January transfer window. “Arda is definitely not leaving,” he said. “He has a contract with the club and he is an extremely important player and he will prove that where he has to prove it.” Tomorrow, fourth-placed Malaga, who closed to within two points of Real when they beat them 3-2 in their final match of 2012, play at Deportivo La Coruna (1900) and Valencia, struggling down in ninth, travel to Granada (1700). — Reuters SPNISH LEAGUE PREVIEW

Real Madrid aiming to erase dire end to 2012 BARCELONA: Battered by poor results, dressing room strife, and now injuries, Real Madrid will return from a much-needed winter break in the Spanish league to host up-and-coming Real Sociedad on Sunday. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho set off a firestorm of criticism in Madrid’s last game of 2012 by dropping Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas. The move backfired as Madrid lost at Malaga, leaving the defending champions 16 points adrift of leader Barcelona. On Wednesday, Madrid lost defender Pepe for a month after he had surgery on his right ankle. “We want to have a perfect beginning to the year,” Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said. “Our rival is playing well, but we want to start this year better than the way we ended the last.” Barcelona will look to extend its league-record start of 16 wins and a draw at home against crosstown rival Espanyol on Sunday, while second-place Atletico Madrid- nine points behind the leaders- visits Mallorca. Ronaldo acknowledged that Madrid’s disappointing campaign has led to problems inside the club. “It’s complicated but also normal that things are more tense when a team that is used to winning isn’t playing up to the level it should,” the Portugal forward said. “There are many factors. When things don’t go well they snowball and it is gets tougher. We dropped points we shouldn’t have and that has affected us.” Ronaldo, however, failed to quash speculation about his future. “I don’t want to talk about extending my contract (past 2015). It’s not important now,” he said. Defender Fabio Coentrao may not play after reportedly having disciplinary problems with the club, but Madrid could get striker Gonzalo Higuain back after being sidelined for two months with an injury. Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier has his club playing its best football since he took over at the start of last season. The Basque club is undefeated in its last seven league matches, with four wins and three draws. Sociedad’s attractive attacking style is led by Mexico forward Carlos Vela and his team-high seven goals. Young French standout Antoine Griezmann and veteran homegrown playmaker Xabi Prieto add to its punch up front. “I don’t think there is any good moment to visit the Bernabeu,” Sociedad midfielder David Zurutuza said. “But yes, if I had to choose a time it would be now, because they are missing important players.” Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova could return to the bench after leading his first team practice on Wednesday, 13 days after having throat surgery to remove a second tumor in two years from a saliva gland. On Thursday, Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas was cleared to play for the first time since hurting his left leg on Dec 9. Barcelona also recovered defender Adriano and holding midfielder Alex Song from injury. Lionel Messi ended 2012 with a record 91 goals for Barcelona and the Argentina national team. On Monday, he is the favorite to collect an unprecedented fourth FIFA Player of the Year award. “The game will not be us against Messi. It will be 11 against 11,” Espanyol defender Hector Moreno said. “What will matter at the end is what we are capable of doing since we will have our chances to take away a good result. We are on a good run and we want to keep it going.” Espanyol is unbeaten in four games under new coach Javier Aguirre, including a well-deserved draw at Madrid. Real Zaragoza hosts fifth-place Real Betis on Friday to open the 18th round. —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Everton looking for cash; Losses revealed LONDON: Everton chairman Bill Kenwright yesterday said he was still looking for new investment, as the English Premier League club try to capitalize on their strong start to the season. “My desire to find a person, or institution, with the finance to move us forward has not diminished,” he said, a day after the Merseysiders moved to fifth in the league, two points below the Champions League places, after an away win at Newcastle. Everton published their annual financial results yes-

terday, which suggested that funds were needed to help sustain the Toffees’ run. The Goodison Park club said they made a net loss of £9.1 million ($14.7 million, 11.2 million euros) in 2011-12 - £3.7 million or nearly 41 percent more than the previous year-while revenue dipped 1.8 percent from £82 million to £80.5 million. Some 75 percent of expenditure was on players’ salaries, which rose from £58 million in 2010-11 to £63.4 million in 2011-12. Everton blamed the losses on their poor start to the

campaign, which led to a fall in gate receipts but revealed that sales of season tickets had shot up 6.4 percent since the start of this season. Club chief executive Robert Elstone said the increased expenditure on players’ wages demonstrated their “commitment to first-team success” but manager David Moyes has said that he may not have much cash to spend during the January transfer window. Instead, he told the Liverpool Daily Post newspaper that the most he could hope for was a couple of loan deals. —AFP

Hotspur’s Adebayor keeps Togo waiting JOHANNESBURG: Togo star Emmanuel Adebayor has less than a week to decide whether he will play at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa as the January 9 deadline for naming final squads looms. The gangling 28-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker apparently retired after scoring the only goal of a friendly win over fellow qualifiers Morocco in Casablanca two months ago. Initial reports suggested Adebayor had quit the “Sparrowhawks” because of the perennial complaint among Togolese footballers of unpaid bonuses but the national team captain stressed his decision was security related. He survived an attack on the Togo squad ahead of the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola in which a footballer and an official were killed by separatists seeking independence for the oil-rich Cabinda enclave. Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that Adebayor had not decided whether to accept an invite from Togo coach Didier Six to join the squad for a tough Group D schedule against Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia. “It is a vulnerable situation and anything can happen,” said Villas-Boas. “I am not going to put myself in a position where I block a player from international duty. We have left it to the player to decide.” Any hope that the tiny west African nation, which is ranked 16 in Africa and 71 in the world by FIFA, have of causing an upset against seemingly much stronger rivals probably hinges on the presence of talismanic Adebayor. Although he has found goals hard to come by for Tottenham this season-his midweek strike against Reading was only his second-Adebayor is a consistent scorer for his country. The star netted in both legs of a qualifier against Gabon that earned Togo a place at the 2013 Cup of Nations and then snatched the goal that brought a shock win over former African champions Morocco.—AFP LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel (right) vies with Sunderland’s English-born Scottish striker Steven Fletcher during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield. — AFP

Liverpool thrash Sunderland 3-0 Liverpool 3

Sunderland 0 LIVERPOOL: Liverpool got the New Year off to the best of possible starts on Wednesday by defeating Sunderland 3-0 at Anfield to move up to eighth place in the Premier League. First-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez put Brendan Rodgers’ men firmly in the driving seat and Suarez added a third in the second half to seal a comfortable win. For Sunderland it was a second straight defeat and it saw the Black Cats stay just four points above the drop zone. Liverpool coach Rodgers was back in the dug-out after missing the QPR game on Sunday due to illness and he brought

in Andre Wisdom at left-back in place of the injured Jose Enrique, with Lucas Leiva taking over from Joe Allen in midfield. Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, made one change to the side that lost to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, with the injured John O’Shea replaced by Danny Rose in defense. Liverpool’s new signing from Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge, was in the stands watching his new team-mates, who were immediately on the defensive after a lively Sundareland start. But it was Liverpool who came closest to scoring in the early stages, as Stewart Downing tested Simon Mignolet with a smartly hit drive to the Sunderland goalkeeper’s near post after 12 minutes. Seven minutes later, though, Mignolet was beaten as his goal-kick was collected by Suarez and he hooked the ball over his shoulder, allowing 18-year-old Sterling to break clear and lob over the advancing goalkeeper. Another seven minutes later and it

was Suarez who made it 2-0, pouncing on a stumble by Carlos Cuellar to dart through the inside-right channel and fire a crisp shot past Mignolet. It was the Uruguayan’s 17th goal of the season in all competitions. Sunderland enjoyed a brief spell of pressure, with Sebastian Larsson and Matthew Kilgallon both having shots blocked, but Liverpool, with Suarez to the fore, were still looking the more dangerous side on the break as they reached half-time with a deserved 2-0 lead. Liverpool piled on the pressure early in the second half and it was Suarez who effectively killed off the contest after 52 minutes when he again proved too quick for Sunderland’s central defenders, collecting a long through ball from Steven Gerrard to fire in from eight yards. Joe Allen thought he had scored his first goal for Liverpool after 84 minutes, but his effort was disallowed as Downing was adjudged to have been offside when he made his cut-back. — AFP

Mazin Owais with his silver medal.

Real Madrid Academy thump Gulf Academy KUWAIT: Real Madrid Academy team have become the first champion of the football academy tournament, after defeating the Gulf Academy team by a score of 2-0 in a strong and competitive match. The tournament is aimed at hunting the best talented players. Mazin Mohammad Owais, a forward from the Gulf Academy showed an outstanding talent during the match, though his team lost. The tournament was played at Salmiya club play grounds with 8 teams.

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013

Baines lifts Everton to 5th Newcastle 1

Everton 2

LONDON: Queens Park Rangers’ Scottish striker Jamie Mackie (top) vies with Chelsea’s English goalkeeper Ross Turnbull during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge. — AFP

QPR hand Chelsea shock title setback QPR wins at Chelsea for first time in 30 years Chelsea 0

QPR 1 LONDON: Shaun Wright-Phillips dealt a major blow to Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes and boosted Queens Park Rangers’ chances of survival by giving his side a shock 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Wright-Phillips struck against his former club in the 78th minute to secure his side’s second league win of the season and their first away victory since November 2011, as well as their first win at the home of their near neighbors since 1983. The result took bottom club QPR to within five points of safety, and ensured Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez’s decision to rest a number of leading players back-fired as his side missed out on the chance to move third. The Blues’ performance will also strengthen their resolve to tie up a deal for Demba Ba. The Newcastle United striker had travelled to London during the day for talks about a move to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea agreed to trigger the player’s £7 million ($11.4 million, 8.6 million euros) release clause. With Fernando Torres failing to take the

one clear opportunity that came his way, this was certainly a game when Benitez would have liked to have been able to call on another striker. But the manager’s team selection left him open to charges of over-confidence against a Rangers side who have endured a grim season and had performed dismally against Liverpool three days previously. Juan Mata, Ashley Cole, Ramires and Eden Hazard were left on the bench ahead of the weekend FA Cup tie at Southampton, although three of those four were on the pitch at the final whistle, reflecting Chelsea’s frustration. Rangers manager Redknapp also rang the changes, although that was hardly unexpected after his side’s meek capitulation against Liverpool. Redknapp had insisted before the game that his team would not repeat the defensive mistakes that had scarred that performance, and he was good to his word. It quickly became clear that Chelsea would have to work to find a way through the visiting defense and it took them until the 43rd minute to hit the target, when QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved well with his legs from Oscar’s shot. But by then, Redknapp’s side were already convinced they had been the victim of an injustice when Marko Marin-making his Premier League debut-somehow escaped with only a yellow card following an ugly tackle on Stephane Mbia after just four minutes.

Nor was their cause helped by a 15thminute injury to David Hoilett, who hobbled off with a hamstring problem. However, that did little to disrupt the visitors, who shut the game down effectively, creating a growing sense of impatience among the home side as the first half drew to a close. Chelsea had looked short on ideas and energy during the opening period, but they started the second period with more conviction. Victor Moses was inches away from connecting with Marin’s low cross four minutes after the restart, before Branislav Ivanovic headed over from a right-wing corner. Then Julio Cesar produced an outstanding save to deny Torres from point-blank range. Rangers were under increasing pressure but they responded well, with Esteban Granero testing Chelsea’s stand-in goalkeeper Ross Turnbull for the first time just before the hour. Home centre-back Gary Cahill was then forced to produce a perfectly timed tackle to deny Jamie Mackie and from the resulting corner, Shaun Derry should have done better than direct his header straight at Turnbull. The contest had become much more open and Frank Lampard finally had the ball in the net in the 66th minute, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside. But it was Wright-Phillips who made the breakthrough, drilling the ball home from 20 yards when Chelsea could only half-clear a corner. — AFP

NEWCASTLE: Leighton Baines scored a sensational free-kick as Everton came from behind to win 2-1 at Newcastle United on Wednesday and climb to fifth place in the Premier League. The England left-back beat Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul with a wickedly swerving strike from 30 yards two minutes before half-time, after Papiss Cisse had put the hosts in front after only 65 seconds. On the day Newcastle announced that they had agreed to sell Demba Ba to Chelsea, Cisse was keen to impress, but it was Everton who took the spoils thanks to a 60th-minute winner from substitute Victor Anichebe. The victory took Everton to within two points of fourthplace Chelsea, while Newcastle, who had prospective new signing Mathieu Debuchy of Lille watching in the stands at St James’ Park, remain 15th. Despite Ba’s absence, Cisse was deployed in a wide role, but he wasted no time in stating his case for a central starting berth. There was barely a minute on the clock as Krul launched a high kick downfield and when Everton centre-backs Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin both missed the ball, Cisse stole in to loop a header over Tim Howard. The Newcastle fans struck up a cheery chorus of ‘Are you watching Demba Ba?’, and Cisse would have given them even more to smile about in the fourth minute had he got a touch to Shola Ameobi’s inviting low cross. Everton roused themselves, and Krul had to produce a flying save to keep out a curling Baines free-kick before throwing himself at the feet of the same player moments later. Newcastle threatened again on the half hour, James Perch heading against the post from Vurnon Anita’s left-wing free-kick, while Krul produced a fine block to thwart Steven Pienaar at the other end. Baines had created Pienaar’s chance and in the 43rd minute he took matters into his own hands, leveling the scores with an outrageous 30-yard free-kick that beat Krul with a devilish swerve. Ameobi came close to restoring Newcastle’s lead in the 58th minute, but after brilliantly cushioning Sylvain Marveaux’s lofted pass on his instep, he could only flick the ball wide of Howard’s left-hand post. Everton responded instantly, Nikica Jelavic haring down the left and crossing for Anichebe to tap home from close range. Newcastle had their chances to equalize, Howard saving from Cisse and then spreading himself brilliantly to thwart Davide Santon, but Everton held on. — AFP

English Premier League table LONDON: English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Man Utd 21 17 1 3 54 28 52 Man City 21 13 6 2 41 19 45 Tottenham 21 12 3 6 39 27 39 Chelsea 20 11 5 4 39 19 38 Everton 21 9 9 3 35 26 36 Arsenal 20 9 7 4 40 22 34 West Brom 21 10 3 8 29 27 33 Liverpool 21 8 7 6 34 26 31 Swansea 21 7 8 6 31 26 29 Stoke 21 6 11 4 21 20 29 West Ham 20 7 5 8 24 24 26 Norwich 21 6 7 8 24 34 25 Fulham 21 6 6 9 32 37 24 Sunderland 21 5 7 9 21 29 22 Newcastle 21 5 5 11 27 39 20 Aston Villa 21 4 7 10 17 41 19 Southampton 20 4 6 10 27 38 18 Wigan 21 5 3 13 22 39 18 Reading 21 2 7 12 23 40 13 QPR 21 2 7 12 17 36 13


Liverpool thrash Sunderland 3-0 Page 46

LONDON: Chelsea’s Spanish striker Fernando Torres (right) vies with Queens Park Rangers’ Cameroonian defender Stephane Mbia during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge in London. — AFP

QPR hand Chelsea shock title setback Page 47

4 Jan  

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