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No: 15714

7Clashes36mar funeral 150 Fils

Mali hit by first suicide bombing

Horse lasagne sparks new UK food scare

of Tunisia politician Tens of thousands mourn slain opposition leader

Max 25º Min 14º

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a squid TOKYO: A species of oceanic squid can fly more than 30 m through the air at speeds faster than Usain Bolt if it wants to escape predators, Japanese researchers said yesterday. The Neon Flying Squid propels itself out of the ocean by shooting a jet of water at high pressure, before opening its fins to glide at up to 11.2 metres per second, Jun Yamamoto of Hokkaido University said. Olympic Gold medallist Bolt averaged 10.31 metres a second when he won at the London Games last year. “There were always witnesses and rumours that said squid were seen flying, but no one had clarified how they actually do it. We have proved that it really is true,” Yamamoto told AFP. Researchers say is the first time anyone has ever described the mechanism the flying mollusc employs. Yamamoto and his team were tracking a shoal of around 100 squid, part of the Japanese Flying Squid family, in the northwest Pacific, 600 km east of Tokyo, in July 2011. As their boat approached, the 20-cm creatures launched themselves into the air with a powerful jet of water that shot out from their funnel-like stems. “Once they finish shooting out the water, they glide by spreading out their fins and arms,” Yamamoto’s team said in a report. “The fins and the web between the arms create aerodynamic lift and keep the squid stable on its flight arc. As they land back in the water, the fins are all folded back into place to minimise the impact.” A picture researchers snapped shows more than 20 of the creatures in full flight above the water, droplets of water from their propulsion jet clearly visible. “We have discovered that squid do not just jump out of water but have a highly developed flying posture,” the report said. — AFP

This handout picture taken on July 25, 2011 shows oceanic squid flying in the air in the northwest Pacific Ocean. — AFP

TUNIS: People carry the coffin of late opposition leader Chokri Belaid during his funeral procession to the nearby cemetery of El-Jellaz where Belaid was buried yesterday in the Djebel Jelloud district, a suburb of Tunis. — AFP TUNIS: Tunisian police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters yesterday as tens of thousands joined the funeral of opposition leader Chokri Belaid whose murder plunged the country into new postrevolt turmoil. The skirmishes erupted on the margins of the funeral procession which turned into a demonstration in Tunis, a city paralysed by a general strike called in protest at Wednesday’s assassination of the leftist leader. “With our blood and our souls we will sacrifice ourselves for the martyr,” shouted mourners, who also chanted slogans denouncing the ruling Ennahda party as “assassins”. Among the demonstrators were prominent politicians and Belaid’s widow Besma, who held two fingers in the air in a victory sign as a chant of “The people want a new revolution” rang out. It was all too much for his eight-year-old daughter, who fainted amid the chaotic and emotional scenes as the procession set off on its three and a half kilometre (two-mile) journey to the cemetery. “My son is a man who lived with courage and dignity. He was never afraid, he left as a martyr for our country,” said Salah Belaid, his father. “We lost a great hero,” Beji Caid Essebsi, a former prime minister who is now a centre-right opposition leader, told AFP. The opposition has accused Ennahda, the Islamist party that dominates the ruling coalition, of eliminating the outspoken government critic after months of simmering tensions between liberals and Islamists over the future direction of the once proudly secular Muslim nation. Police fired tear gas to disperse groups of rioters who tried to set fire to a dozen cars opposite the cemetery in southern Tunis, sending up thick plumes of smoke and causing some panic. In the city centre, police wielding batons and firing tear gas clashed with dozens of youths who chanted anti-government slogans on Habib Bourguiba Avenue. Armoured vehicles and troops had taken up

positions along the landmark boulevard, epicentre of the 2011 revolution that toppled autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked a wave of Arab world uprisings. Belaid, 48, was shot dead at close range by a lone, hooded gunman as he left home for work on Wednesday. As a general strike called by the powerful General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) took hold, troops were deployed in the towns of Zarzis, another flashpoint in the south and Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the 2011 uprising. Police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration in the central mining town of Gafsa, the scene of sporadic rioting in the aftermath of Belaid’s killing, where protesters set alight a police station yesterday. The strike is believed to be the biggest since Jan 14, 2011 - the day Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, where he remains in exile. “For us it is a landmark event because it is a real turning in the history of Tunisia,” said Habib Kazdaghli, the dean of Manouba University, explaining why academics had joined the strike. The United States joined both the 500,000-strong UGTT and the Tunisian government in appealing for calm after two days of violence left one police officer dead, another in a coma and scores injured. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali responded to the outrage by saying he would form a government of technocrats, but a faction of his Ennahda party has rejected the move, fuelling uncertainty in a country where political infighting has delayed agreement on a new constitution. Any reshuffle would have to be confirmed by the national assembly. Four opposition groups including Belaid’s Popular Front bloc said they were pulling out of the National Constituent Assembly, elected in Oct 2011 but which has failed to draft a new constitution. — AFP



Al-Zanki downplays shale production impact on GCC KUWAIT: It is too early to assess the United States experience on relying on shale and seeing it as a threat to oil-producing countries, including the GCC, CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Farouk Al-Zanki said. Al-Zanki’s remarks to reporters came on the sideline of the second Kuwait Oil Industrial Forum, which was held in Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We must look to what is futuristic and whether this technology would succeed and continue in extracting oil. As well we should consider the cost as well.” He stressed that “Kuwait’s continuous strategy that aims at producing four million barrels a day by 2020 is thankfully on track.” On the Forum, Al-Zanki said it “brings together private and public sector,” adding that the local private sector is important for the oil industry “and part of our strategy is to cooperate with it and should give it the opportunity to participate.” Giving a presentation in the Forum, which opened here earlier today, Ibrahim Faraj, manager of commercial support group at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), said that the Company has an ambitious strategy to increase private sector participation in future projects, noting that the KOC made seven initiatives to confront a range of challenges impeding the participation of local contractors in the implementation of oil projects in Kuwait over the past years. He said that among the initiatives was the one to encourage local companies to engage in government oil projects, giving preferences for the national product indicating that this ratio is applied in all contracts. Faraj noted that the number of Kuwaitis in the Company contracts will reach 2,761 in the coming period, as the Company aims to set nearly 1,400 Kuwaitis soon. He pointed out that KOC has 700 valid contracts valued at KD 8.6 billion, with the local private sector controlling 475 of which, with a total value of KD 4.5 billion, adding that local companies account for 68 percent of the number of existing contracts in the Company.— KUNA

KUWAIT: The campaign to promote safe motorcycles riding in progress yesterday. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Belgian companies urged to intensify presence in Arab world BRUSSELS: Kuwait Ambassador to Belgium and the EU Nabeela Al-Mulla has called on Belgian companies to be more active in the Arab world in particular the Gulf region which is witnessing mega infrastructure projects. “There is a shortcoming the way Belgium introduces itself to the rest of the world. They shy from marketing themselves,” Al Mulla told the Arab-Belgian Diplomatic Business Workshop held in Brussels over the weekend. “You have to be more assertive in the Arab world where some of the biggest companies have established presence,” she said. Al-Mulla as the Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps in Belgium inaugurated the one day event which was attended by Belgian ambassadors accredited in the Arab countries, the Arab ambassadors in Belgium and representatives of Arab and Belgian business communities. She advised Belgian firms to be in constant touch with the chambers of commerce in the Arab world and also to have a constant eye on projects in the region and for investment opportunities. She also called for the appointment of a Belgian trade official in Kuwait. The event was organised by the Arab-BelgiumLuxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) with the support of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the global law firm Linklaters . On his part, Qaisar Hijazian, Secretary General of ABLCC said that despite the fact that the current situation is presenting both the Arab and European countries with important challenges, statistics certainly allow for optimism. During the first 12 months of 2012, Arab-Belgium trade exchanges increased by 13 percent compared to the same period with 2011, he noted. Herman Merckx, who is Belgian envoy since only five months in Qatar, said Qatar in the Arab world is “a beacon of stability.” “The Emir is really popular. The country has been developed. GDP growth lat year was 6.5 percent and what is interesting for Belgian companies is that growth in the nonoil sector was more important, 9 percent.,” he said. Marc Vinck , Belgian ambassador to Saudi Arabia , said he fully endorses the views made by Nabeela Al Mulla .—KUNA

Campaign launched to promote safe riding 500 motorcycles participate

By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Over 500 motorcycles and thousands of enthusiasts participated in a campaign yesterday to promote safe motorcycles riding in Kuwait. The event, organized by Radisson Blu Hotel (Dubai) with The Palms Beach Hotel Spa and Resort (Kuwait), started early morning from AlShaab Park (Gulf Road) down to Al-Bidaa area in Salwa. A huge celebration was held inside The Palms Beach Hotel wherein family members and their friends were treated with lots of valuable gifts, prizes and sumptuous food. Ghuzan Al-Khalid, one of the organizers, emphasized the importance of making people aware of safety procedure for riding motorcycles. He urged the Ministry of Public Works to construct tracts or special lane for the use of motorcycles for their safety and convenience while driving. Khalid Abul Jebeen, a member of the Founding Committee of Kuwait Riders Team, said they already have around 300 members carrying out several activities

from social to civic approach. Abul Jebeen noted they hope to carry out the message to members and even non-members. “Safety in riding motorcycle is always our number one priority. If members are aware of the safety procedures then many will be saved and could avoid regretful incidences on the road.” Chairman of the Organizing Committee Hussam Abu Lughud expressed pleasure for organizing the safety campaign which could help limit road accidents and motorcycle fatalities. “Awareness is very important. Riders must be taught of wise decision while riding a motorcycle so as to avoid harming others and limit road accidents,” he said. Supervisor general of BMW Kuwait and Club for Ducati Motorcycle said the number of their members is now 550 while Ducati grew from just 50s to 155. “With the number of members, of course, we are very proud. The sport is gaining popularity in Kuwait. So it deserved our attention and perhaps more appropriate action from the government level,” he said. He added that his team continued to

carry out several cultural programs, sports and donation drive programs for the benefit of others. “I call upon everyone to respect laws of Kuwait while riding motorcycle,” he added. Director of The Palms Beach Hotel Rabi Al-Sukhnun said the activities like this one is important for the benefit of the society as a whole. Participants Abdullah AlHasheen, 26, said, he loves being with the people with the same hobby, but just like many others, he loves to riding motorcycle safely. “I am 26, and I still have lots of plan in the future, but riding a motorcycle sometimes in Kuwait is very dangerous, so a campaign like this one could help. I like bikes because it can get me through places where the typical car would not be able to reach. I enjoy bike riding every day,” he admitted. Al-Hasheen is just one of many Kuwaitis participating in the safety campaign in riding motorcycle. There are participants from different parts of the world including motorcycle enthusiasts from Europe, US, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.


90,000 on travel ban list Unpaid debts main reason By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Thousands of people in Kuwait are under travel bans and are not able to leave the country, even if they had necessary issues to solve abroad. According to a source at the Ministry of Interior the number reached 90,000 people till the end of last week. About 48,000 of them are Kuwaiti citizens and about 42,000 are expats from 12 different countries. The source also said that the most common reason for the travel ban was their inability to pay back their financial debts. Those who were banned from travelling due to the unpaid financial debts, can pay the amount at the airport and then travel immediately. This option is currently not available at the land borders, although some of the working staff have proposed it. Mohammed K, an employee at a land border noted that they meet passengers with travel ban on daily bases. “It never happened that during my shift I didn’t meet a passenger with travel ban. In fact this issue usually causes traffic jams at the border as we don’t have the service of paying the debt and leaving, so people wait here for some time, till they find somebody of their relatives or friends to pay the amount for them at the airport. I have suggested providing this service here. But the officials didn’t respond to my suggestions that would relieve the border from the jam,” he told the Kuwait Times. Mohammed also met some cases where the travel ban was applied by mistake. “I remember that about a week ago one university student who studies abroad was banned from travelling for the same financial amounts that he previously already paid. He had to pay it again just to be able to travel as he had exams at the university. So sometimes mistakes happens in the service, so people have always to keep the receipts of their payments,” he added. He also said that the number of Kuwaitis are much more than the expats, and that those banned from travelling are mostly men for financial debts mostly for telecommunication companies. He also remembered a woman who was banned from travel for huge amount reaching thousands of dinars as her maid had not paid the fines for her illegal stay in Kuwait for many years. Eisa, 29 years old expat is banned from travelling due to a court case against him for not paying alimony to his divorced wife. He was not able to pay the amount that reached KD 1055 as he lost his job. “My cousin is getting married in Lebanon and I can’t attend the wedding because of the ban. If they agreed to postpone the payment till when I find a job, I would be able to pay later without missing the wedding,” he complained. Some people were screwed with the travel ban just for their good will and intention. “My aunt came to know about the ban when she was about to travel with her family on during a vacation. She was very upset and disappointed, as she couldn’t leave with them, as the amount was huge. She couldn’t just pay it at the airport. And all of this happened just because she sponsored a friend, who left the country without paying some installments. So the duty of paying the debts laid on my aunt,” stressed 26 years old Fatma.

Raise for Kuwait donors conference PARIS: French Senator Philippe Marini yesterday praised the outcome and recommendations of the international donors’ conference for Syria that was hosted by Kuwait on Jan 30. Marini, who also heads the French-Syrian Parliamentary Friendship Group, said that Kuwait’s initiative in organizing such an important conference, as well as its pledge of fundraising $300 million to support the Syrian people, proves its international status and continuous commitment to aid troubled friendly countries and people. Always, Kuwait proves fulfillment to its traditional heritage by contributing to alleviate suffering of troubled people, especially as the Syrian people and refugees to neighboring countries are undergoing a critical circumstance, and in dire need for urgent humanitarian aid, the French parliamentarian added. — KUNA



FM extols Amir for attending OIC summit

Kuwait trade union calls for national dialogue ‘Crisis threatening society’ KUWAIT: Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) has called for prompt action to address the widening rift between various segments of the society. “Kuwait is now going through a deep political crisis that has divided the street into two sides,” KTUF said in a statement over the weekend. “This crisis is threatening our society with dire consequences if it continues and the divisions keep on widening. KTUF appreciates the positions of all parties and respects the viewpoints of all groups. However, it sees it necessary to heal this dangerous rift promptly before it worsens and erodes our progress, development and successes achieved throughout our history,” the federation said in the statement signed by its chairman, Fayez Al-Mutairi. A wide national dialogue with the participation of all political formations, NGOs and all components of Kuwaiti society should be held to reach a solution, the federation said. “The premises for the national talks should be allegiance to the nation and placing the country’s higher political, economic, security and social interests above all other considerations,” KTUF said. “All positions should be based on these premises and should reinforce the state and its institutions, including holding on to the constitution, democratic practices, freedom of speech and expression without

injuring others and a respect for all political and public freedoms.” The federation said that Kuwaitis needed to reinforce their domestic front “in light of the tense political and security conditions in the neighbourhood.” “Therefore, we call upon all to renounce violence and the abuse of power and to respect all opinions. We also warn of the consequences of slipping into actions that may not benefit the nation or result in a deviation from our patriotic line in a way that serves only the enemies of our people,” the statement said. Kuwait has been rocked by weeks of unrest amid deep political divisions over the merit of the parliamentary elections held in December following the dissolution in June of the legislative house elected in February. The latest stand-off was triggered by the decision of a court on Tuesday to sentence three former lawmakers to three years in prison each for undermining the status of the Emir Shaikh Jaber Al Sabah in speeches they delivered in October at the heyday of the protests against a decision to amend the 2006 electoral law that slashed the number of candidates a voter could elect from four to one. Bloggers who also reportedly undermined the status of the Amir have also been given jail terms.

KUWAIT: Within the Ministry of Interior’s plan to improve and update the skills of its staff members, a symposium was held on timing of contingency plans over the weekend. The National Security College’s assistant director Brig Fauzi AlSuwailam, the manager of the Strategic Security Studies Institute Col Hezam Al-Rashidi and a number of senior officials attended it.

CAIRO: The participation by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the 12th Session of the OIC Islamic Summit Conference shows Kuwait’s keenness on the success of such international events, said Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. “The State of Kuwait attaches great importance to the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and works closely with all Muslim countries to coordinate stances in international forums,” he said. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid made the remarks in statements after the conclusion of the gathering. In this connection, Kuwait ratified the OIC ten-year plan, approved in Makkah Summit in 2005, for cooperation in such areas as trade, investment, human rights and anti-terrorism combat, he recalled. Concerning the OIC effort to combat slander against Islam, he said the State of Kuwait lobbies with other Muslim countries for a UN move against the phenomenon of Islamophobia. “The Islamic group of states at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) made head in curbing this phenomenon and building understanding among people with different religions,” he noted. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid urged developing a UN legislation to criminalize all forms of extremism and intolerance, including the slander against holy faith or religious symbols, in the wake of defamation campaigns against Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be upon Him. As for the worsening situation in Syria, he thanked the participants at the OIC Summit for appreciating, in the final communiquÈ of the summit, Kuwait hosting of the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria on January 30. “Besides our humanitarian responsibility for helping the Syrians displaced by the conflict, we a responsibility for finding a political track for a solution that could end the conflict and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people,” he went on. Dealing with the Palestine question, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid said it saw a landmark achievement on November 29, 2012, when the UN General Assembly upgraded the status of Palestine to a non-member observer country. “Nevertheless, the Muslim world needs to make more concerted efforts to end the suffering of the Palestinian people from the UN inaction over the last 65 years,” he stressed. —KUNA

Seven injured in accidents By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 39-year-old Kuwaiti man was injured in a car accident in Jahra. He was taken to Jahra hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti girl was injured in a car accident at Arabian Gulf Road and a 42-year old Kuwaiti was injured in another accident between Jabriya and Hawally. He was admitted in Mubarak Hospital. A speeding car hit an unknown man aged about 30 years at Mangaf opposite Starbucks cafe. The man was taken to hospital. A car accident at Jualia, Groceries Street, resulted in the injury of a 21-year-old Kuwaiti man who was taken to Adan hospital. A motorcycle accident at Arabian Gulf Road opposite “Doves Tower” resulted in different injuries to a 23 year old Kuwaiti man who was taken to Amiri Hospital. A car accident at Al-Ardiay Industrial Area, resulted in different injuries to a 40 year old Kuwaiti man, who was taken to Farwaniya Hospital. Iraqi held Customs sources said that customs officials at Abdally border have stopped an Iraqi man for suspicion of having relations with magic craft business. Sources said that the man has resorted to a new way of smuggling witchcraft tools, by hiding them inside a jar of pickles. He claimed that he was given the pickles by someone in Iraq to hand it over to an Iraqi family in Kuwait. Security men arrested two citizens in possession of drugs. Security sources arrested the duo at a checkpoint in Umm AlHaiman.



Man in custody for trying to smuggle in 6kg of hashish Maid accused of stealing bracelets KUWAIT: Airport customs officers have foiled an attempt by an Arab man to smuggle in 6 kg of hashish, which was found hidden between pieces of meat and nuts. The suspect was sent to the Drugs Control Department. The drugs were brought in by the man, who was taken for body search. The drugs were found inside secret pockets in his bags mixed with nuts. Another quantity was found in frozen meat in addition to perfume bottles. Illegal entry A Jordanian who had been previously deported from Kuwait for forgery, was recently arrested for illegally returning to Kuwait using an American passport of one of his relatives, said security sources. Police detectives had been tipped off concerning the man’s legal status and they raided his house in Fahaheel where he confessed to using the forged passport because of the resemblance between him and his relative. The man said that, leaving his wife back in Kuwait, he made many appeals to be allowed to return and that he finally used the American passport to enter through the airport 18 months ago. Bracelets stolen A citizen, working as a general manager in one of the ministries, reported that her housemaid had fled the house after stealing two valuable bracelets valued at KD 76,000, said security sources. The citizen explained that on discovering that the maid had run away, she checked on her possessions and discovered the disappearance of the two bracelets. A case was filed and further investigations are in progress. Hospital theft A citizen hospitalized at Jahra hospital reported that someone had stolen his valuable smart phone and KD 180 from under his pillow when he went to the bathroom, said security sources. All nurses and staff denied knowing anything about his possessions, which made him file a complaint. Road accident An Asian was killed when a car hit him while crossing the Sixth Ring Road near Jleeb AlShuyoukh area. The body was recovered by the coroner. Cardiac arrest A citizen suffered a cardiac arrest for almost one hour when he was taken to the operation room for a Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery at a government hospital, and has a blood clot. He was then taken to ICU and the medical staff was able to revive him. Hawally theft A female citizen discovered that a flash memory was missing from her bag which includes personal pictures of her and her friends. She said that she finished shopping in a Hawally Mall, and headed back to her car, she opened her bag to get money to pay for parking. She said she discovered then that her ATM card and a camera flash memory were missing. Police are investigating. Steel, copper theft Three Asians were arrested for stealing steel and copper from a Ministry of Public Works warehouse near Mina Abdullah, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the three suspects were seen getting into the warehouse late

at night. The trio was arrested red-handed while loading a truck with steel and copper cables. Citizen held A citizen was arrested at Nuwaiseeb land border exit on returning home with the possession of 90 psychotropic tablets, said security sources noting that customs inspectors suspected the man who looked so confused and on searching him, the drugs were found. A case was filed and he was referred to relevant authorities. KD800 theft An Asian accused his roommates of stealing KD 800 he had kept in his suitcase, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the man filed a complaint at Farwaniya police station accusing his three roommates and compatriots of stealing the money. Further investigations are pending. Nuzha arrest A citizen was arrested when a police patrol found drugs, alcohol and a gun in his vehicle in Nuzha, said security sources. Case papers indicate that on noticing that a driver was harassing female drivers along the Second Ring Road, a police patrol tried to stop him but he drove off into Nuzaha where he left the vehicle with its windows open outside a house. The police found the gun, drugs and alcohol in the vehicle before the owner, someone else, came out from the house and he was arrested pending further investigations. Cross-dressing Two males were arrested for wearing women’s clothes in Salmiya area. A patrol saw the two in the early hours of morning on Arabian Gulf Road, and when they asked them for their IDs, they were discovered to be males. They were taken to the criminal detectives department. Three held Farwaniya detectives arrested three Syrians who stole different items from houses in the area. A security source said police received several calls about home thefts, so detectives began working on the case, and identified a Syrian linked to the crimes. The Syrian confessed to committing the crimes along with two compatriots. The three are being questioned. Sexual assault A citizen wanted for sexual assault case was arrested on the southern part of the country. A police patrol stopped the man on the chalets roads and found him to be wanted. Qairawan arrest A citizen attacked a newspaper delivery man in Qairawan area, and accused him of not delivering the paper and that he sells it for personal gains. The citizen confessed to beating the delivery man and justified his act by saying that when he accused the delivery man for being negligent, he told him to shut up and spat on his face. Counterfeit phone Several citizens and expatriates complained to the consumer protection department at the commerce ministry against a company for selling him smart phone and later discovered that they are counterfeit, and do not have many of the features in the real ones.

NBK holds Open Day KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) organized a special Open Day for its staff and their family members and friends at NBK Camp. More than 1,500 people enjoyed the big family day that was filled with all types of activities

and entertainment. The weather was nice and excitement filled the air as children, and even parents, took part in the many games, rides, and fun activities available at the camp.


Car bombs in Shiite areas of Iraq kill 34


Egypt protesters march for change


Japan PM demands China apology over radar lock


GAO, Mali: Malians look yesterday at the corpse of a suicide bomber who blew himself up near a group of Malian soldiers in this northern city where Islamist rebels driven from the town have resorted to guerilla attacks — AFP

Mali hit by suicide bombing Paratroops mutiny in Bamako in blow to security efforts GAO, Mali: A suicide bomber blew himself up in Mali yesterday as a dramatic turn towards guerrilla tactics by Islamists and an outbreak of fighting among feuding soldiers show the war is far from won for the embattled nation. In Mali’s first-ever suicide bombing, an attacker drove a motorcycle up to an army checkpoint in Gao, the largest town in the north, and detonated an explosive belt, wounding one soldier, said First Sergeant Mamadou Keita. The attack was claimed by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), one of a trio of Islamist groups that occupied northern Mali for 10 months before France sent in fighter jets, attack helicopters and 4,000 troops to drive them out. “We claim today’s attack against the Malian soldiers who chose the side of the miscreants, the enemies of Islam,” MUJAO spokesman Abou Walid Sahraoui told AFP, vowing further attacks. The turn to guerrilla warfare comes after French-led forces ousted the extremist fighters from the towns under their control, sending many fleeing into remote desert hills around Tessalit, a town

near the Algerian border that French-led forces took Friday. Some of the fleeing Islamists have also been spotted as far away as Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, a Sudanese rebel commander said. A regional political expert confirmed the claim. Despite the successes of France’s offensive, the Malian state remains weak and divided, a situation highlighted by clashes between elite paratroopers and soldiers who opened fire on each other in the capital. The gunfight erupted after the paratroopers who are loyal to ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure, ousted in a March coup - shot into the air in protest at an order absorbing them into other units to be sent to the frontline. “From 6:00 am (0600 GMT) heavily armed soldiers, from all units, attacked the camp,” said Yaya Bouare, one of the soldiers inside the camp, adding that there were many wounded. The violence came on the day the first EU military trainers arrived in Bamako to try to whip the Malian army into shape to face the Islamists. The once-stable nation imploded last year after the coup by angry soldiers from the

ramshackle army, which had been humiliated by a separatist rebellion among the fiercely independent Tuareg people in the north. A month later, paratroopers launched a failed counter-coup. Fighting between feuding factions left 20 people dead. With Bamako in disarray, Al-Qaeda-linked fighters hijacked the Tuareg rebellion and took control of the north, imposing a brutal form of Islamic law. France launched a surprise intervention on Jan 11 in its former colony as the insurgents advanced towards the capital, raising fears the entire country could become a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda-linked groups. France is anxious to hand over the operation to UN peacekeepers amid fears of a prolonged insurgency, which will likely be amplified by yesterday’s bombing. The bomber, a young Tuareg, was also carrying a larger bomb that failed to detonate, Keita said. The attack came a day after MUJAO said it had “created a new combat zone” by organising suicide bombings, attacking military convoys and placing landmines. Two Malian soldiers and four civilians have already been killed by landmines and French

troops are still fighting off what Paris called “residual jihadists still fighting”. Yesterday, French special forces parachuted into the airport at Tessalit, a strategic oasis in the far northeast, the army said. Along with Chadian troops, they sought to flush the Islamists out of their last bastions in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, the target of major air strikes to cut them off from supplies. UN leader Ban Ki-moon expressed concern Thursday at the risk of a guerrilla fightback. “All these jihadis and armed groups and terrorist elements - seemingly they have fled,” he said. “Our concern is that they may come back.” After announcing plans to start withdrawing its soldiers in March, France on Wednesday called for a UN peacekeeping force to take over. But Ban warned it would take weeks for the Security Council to decide the next move, and officials said Mali’s interim government had yet to accept a UN force. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is slowly deploying 6,000 troops in Mali, joined by another 2,000 from Chad. —AFP



Mistrust overshadows Bahrain national dialogue DUBAI: Bahrain’s national dialogue is set to resume tomorrow in an atmosphere of mutual mistrust between government and the opposition ahead of the second anniversary of a Shiite-led uprising that shook the Gulf kingdom. The opposition said on Wednesday that an agreement on the mechanism of its planned talks with around 27 representatives of proregime groups should be agreed in advance. The dialogue, aimed at ending the kingdom’s political deadlock, comes amid daily opposition protests for the anniversary of the uprising against the Sunni monarchy that erupted on Feb 14, 2011. “The opposition groups are the only ones which have not yet submitted a list of their representatives,” government spokeswoman Samira Rajab told AFP. She accused the opposition of being “linked to foreign agendas” and of “stalling” the talks, insisting that the government had responded “very clearly” to their concerns. The government accuses Shiite-dominated Iran of backing the opposition in Shiite-majority Bahrain. The opposition denies the alle-

gation. Six opposition groups led by AlWefaq had said they wanted clarifications on the mechanisms of the talks, asking for an agenda, timeframe and a high level of government representa-

tion. The opposition has repeatedly said it is ready for meaningful talks, but has stuck to its demands for a real constitutional monarchy with an elected premier. Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, an uncle of King

SITRA, Bahrain: A car passes by a fire set by Bahraini anti-government protesters yesterday. — AP

UN says 5,000 Syrian refugees fleeing each day GENEVA: About 5,000 refugees are fleeing Syria each day, seeking safe haven from war and its devastating impact on basic living conditions, the United Nations said yesterday. An acceleration in the exodus - up from 2,000 to 3,000 late last year - means the total could exceed one million refugees well before the end of June, its previous forecast, the UN refugee agency said. “This is a full-on crisis,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing in Geneva. “There was a huge increase in January alone, we’re talking about a 25 percent increase in registered refugee numbers over a single month.” About 150,000 Syrians poured across Syria’s borders in January, most into Jordan and Lebanon which have seen a massive increase in the inflow. Since the conflict began two years ago, more than 787,000 Syrians have registered as refugees or are awaiting processing in the region, mainly in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. The total includes 15,000 in Egypt, where the U.N.’s World Food Programme began this week to distribute food vouchers. “We are working around the clock to keep up with the needs and demands of the refugees,” UNHCR spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes said. The UNHCR, in a nearly $1 billion funding appeal in mid-December, forecast that there could be up to 1 million Syrian refugees by the end of June. “At the rate that refugees are arriving, we can expect to surpass the one million mark months before,” Wilkes said. Turkey has spent more than $600 million sheltering refugees from the conflict, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said. More than 177,000 Syrian refugees are in 16 camps with thousands more staying with relatives or in private accommodation. President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces fought back on Friday in an effort to retake sections of the Damascus ring road from rebels trying to tighten their noose around the capital, opposition activists said. Around Syria, water shortages are worsening and supplies are sometimes contaminated, putting children at increased risk of diseases, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned yesterday. The agency’s first nationwide assessment revealed that water supplies in areas affected by the conflict are one-third of pre-crisis levels, UNICEF said. “It points to a severe disruption of services, damage done to water and sanitation systems, and limited access to basic hygiene, all of which puts children at a much increased risk of disease,” UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado told the briefing. Six places were identified as most at risk - rural Damascus, Idlib, Deir alZor, Homs, Aleppo and Al-Raqqah. —Reuters

Hamad, has been in office since 1971, and is widely despised by Shiites. The opposition also wants the results of the talks to be put to a referendum and not be submitted to King Hamad. Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s major Shiite opposition bloc which withdrew from a similar round of talks in July 2011, said in December it was ready for new dialogue. “We are ready for serious talks that could take the country out of its crisis, but not a dialogue that would only waste time,” said Khalil Marzooq, a leading Al-Wefaq figure. He accused the government of trying to embarrass the opposition by claiming it rejects talks. “We want a specific agenda and new mechanisms different from those which have led to the failure of talks in the past,” said Marzooq. For International Crisis Group analyst Claire Beaugrand, each party in Bahrain is “testing the intentions of the other,” and the “initial positions of both sides are very different”. The opposition is “very pessimistic but does not want to make any mistakes by which it would bear responsibility for the dialogue’s failure again,” she said. —AFP

Car bombs in Shiite areas of Iraq kill 34 Blasts target pet, vegetable markets

BAGHDAD: Five car bombs killed at least 34 people in Shiite areas of Iraq yesterday, police and medics said, as sectarian and ethnic tensions intensify ahead of provincial elections in April. Two car bombs were detonated simultaneously at a bus stop near a Friday street market selling birds and other pets in the Shi’ite district of Kadhimiya in Baghdad, killing at least 16 people and wounding another 44, police and hospital sources said. Footage of the scene showed dozens of buses and taxis destroyed by the explosion and blood on

the ground. Ongoing violence following the withdrawal of US troops in late 2011 is stoking fears of a return to the sectarian strife that killed tens of thousands of Iraqis in 2006 and 2007. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite, is facing mass protests by disenchanted Sunni Muslims and is at loggerheads with ethnic Kurds who run their northern region autonomously from Baghdad. The prospect of the election is hardening the divisions as political leaders appeal to their constituencies with often

CAIRO: Protesters chant slogans and wave Syrian revolution flags during a rally after the Friday prayer at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo yesterday. Syrian rebels are fighting a 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad’s regime. — AP

hostile rhetoric that rejects compromise. In the Shiite city of Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, 15 people were killed in two car bomb explosions at a vegetable market. “I was shopping when I heard the first explosion. I was scared and tried to reach my car to run away but before I got in the second explosion went off,” said Habib AlMurshidi who was at the scene. “I saw many people, women and old men lying on the ground which was covered with blood and scattered fruit and vegetables”. Another three people were killed by a parked car bomb in Karbala, 80 km southwest of Baghdad, police said. Thousands of Sunni Muslims have taken to the streets since late December in protest at what they see as the marginalisation of their sect since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the empowerment of Iraq’s Shiite majority through the ballot box. The demonstrations in the Sunni heartland of Anbar are also compounding fears that war in neighbouring Syria, where Sunni rebels are fighting to topple a leader backed by Shiite Iran, could further upset Iraq’s own delicate sectarian and ethnic balance. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks yesterday. Iraq is home to several Sunni insurgent groups that have carried out at least one high-casualty attack a month since the US withdrawal. They include a local branch of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq, which often targets Shiites, seeking to reignite sectarian strife. On Monday, a suicide bomber attacked a government-backed militia in Taji, killing at least 22 people - the seventh of eight suicide bombings in Iraq over the past month alone. — Reuters



Egyptians abuzz over PM remarks CAIRO: Egypt’s prime minister faced uproar, derision and even lawsuits Thursday after he blamed health problems of babies in impoverished villages on nursing mothers who “out of ignorance” don’t clean their breasts and talked of village women getting raped in the fields. Hesham Kandil made the remarks as he tried to make a point about poverty at a press conference aired live on TV this week. The backlash put the previously little known technocrat appointed by Islamist President Mohamed Morsi under a spotlight. Rights advocates and activists said Thursday it showed a prime minister who is out of his depth - and who holds elitist and patriarchal attitudes that blame poor women for everything from not bringing their children up right to bringing dishonor on society. A number of lawyers in Beni Sweif, a province Kandil mentioned specifically, filed lawsuits against him, accusing him of libel, an official at the top prosecutor’s office said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the press. Kandil was responding to a question about whether economic policies are increasing poverty in Egypt and how poverty contributed to the wave of unrest since late January. With a muddled and stumbling response, Kandil seemed to be trying to show he was aware of the depth of poverty in Egypt. “I’ve been around,” he insisted. “In the 21st century, there are still villages in Egypt where babies are infected with diarrhea ... because their mothers nursing them, out of their ignorance, don’t do the personal hygiene of cleaning their breasts,” Kandil he said. He spoke of visiting villages in Beni Sweif, just south of Cairo, in 2004, saying, “There is no running water or sewage.” “Men go to the Hesham Kandil mosque... Women go to the field and get raped,” he said, apparently meaning men wash at the mosque while women go to the river to wash. “This is happening in Egypt. Egypt is full of miseries,” he said. “The solution is not in violence.” Many were baffled over what point he was trying to make exactly. But critics said his comments reflected the conservative mindset of his Islamist backers - the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, or their ultraconservative allies. “His talk reflects extreme shallow vision and ignorance of everything related to the Egyptian community and all the problems that the Egyptian women are suffering,” said Nehad Aboul-Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women rights, a vocal critic of the Islamists. She saw his rape comment as implying the women were to blame for going out, while men go to mosques. “His words are ... no more than what he hears from the cleric whose hand he kisses after the sermon,” she said. The Brotherhood’s political party, Freedom and Justice, distanced itself from Kandeel’s remarks, calling them “inappropriate”. “If the prime minister had noticed, he would have apologized,” party spokesman Murad Ali said. “We know he is a decent man.” But Egyptian feminist and writer Karima Kamal said Kandil’s remarks match the Brotherhood’s attitudes toward women. “Women’s role in the Muslim Brotherhood is limited to helping men capture seats of power. They use them in elections very well. Then they keep them on the margins. There is nothing called equality between men and women,” she said. Islamist rule has raised fears of limits of women’s rights, especially after Islamists pushed through a constitution that provides few protections. There were only four women among the 85 members of the Constituent Assembly that passed the final draft later approved in a referendum in December. Prejudices against women were also reflected in latest political debate on a women’s quota in parliament. Islamist lawmakers, particularly ultraconservative Salafis who push for segregation of the sexes and the covering of women, managed to change an article in the new parliamentary election law that would have brought more women into parliament by obliging parties to put female candidates at the top of their electoral lists.— AP

CAIRO: An Egyptian protester shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in Tahrir Square yesterday. — AP

Egypt protesters march for change

Demonstrators demand Morsi fulfill goals of revolt CAIRO: Thousands took to the streets across Egypt after opposition groups called for “Friday of dignity” rallies demanding President Mohamed Morsi fulfill the goals of the revolt that brought him to power. Banging on drums, waving flags and clapping in unison, demonstrators marched from several locations in the capital to Tahrir Square and the presidential palace. “The people want the downfall of the regime,” the protesters chanted while others slammed interior ministry officials as “thugs”. In Tahrir, several thousand protesters carried aloft a huge Egyptian flag as they listened to speeches and music from the stage. Several hundred protesters also gathered outside the presidential palace chanting “Freedom, where are you? Brotherhood rule stands between us,” in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood movement from which Morsi hails. The protests come after several incidents of police violence last week that caused public outrage and sparked angry demonstrations. Protests against the Islamist president also took place after the weekly

Friday Muslim main prayers in several of Egypt’s 27 provinces. In the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd outside a government building, as protesters hurled stones at the security forces, the official MENA news agency reported. In Tanta, police clashed with protesters who tried to break into the municipal council building, MENA added. Thirty-eight opposition parties and movements had joined together to call for the rallies, demanding a new unity government, amendments to the Islamist-drafted constitution and guarantees that the independence of the judiciary be maintained. Earlier this week, the death of a prodemocracy activist following days in police custody sparked fury and reignited calls for police reform - a key demand of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011. His death came just days after footage was aired live on television of a man stripped naked and beaten by riot police during demonstrations near the presidential palace. The two incidents confronted Morsi with uncomfortable parallels with the old

regime. Yesterday’s protests come just days after clerics issued fatwas to justify killing opposition leaders. Radical cleric Mahmud Shaaban, a professor at Sunni Islam’s main seat of learning Al-Azhar, gave the green light to kill opposition leaders including former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and ex-presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, during a talk show on a satellite channel. Another hardline cleric, Wagdi Ghoneim, also called on Muslims to “kill the thugs, criminals, and thieves who burn the country,” state media reported. Security was stepped up outside the homes of ElBaradei and Sabbahi ahead of the protests, witnesses told AFP, following orders from the interior minister. The presidency condemned the fatwas as “terrorism”. “Some are promoting and inciting political violence while others who claim to speak in the name of religion are permitting ‘killing’ based on political differences and this is terrorism,” the presidency said. In recent months, Egypt has witnessed regular, often bloody, protests against Morsi who is accused of betraying the revolution that toppled Mubarak. — AFP

Iran denies role in Bulgaria attack SOFIA: Iran’s ambassador to Bulgaria yesterday rejected allegations that his country was involved in a bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year. Gholamreza Bageri told reporters in Sofia that Iran “has nothing to do with this attack.” He says Iran is “against any form of terrorism and strongly condemns such actions.” On Tuesday, an official Bulgarian report said investigators had “well-grounded reasons to suggest” that two men suspected in the attack belonged to the militant wing of the Shiite Islamist group Hezbollah. Iran is said to be a backer of Hezbollah, and Israel has alleged Iran was

involved in the bombing. But Bulgarian investigators said they have found no evidence tying Iran to the July 18, 2012, attack. Tehran denied involvement even before Bulgaria announced its findings, but Hezbollah has made no comment. Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political party in Lebanon that emerged in response to Israel’s 1982 invasion, has been linked to attacks and kidnappings on Israeli and Jewish interests around the world. The group’s deputy chief, Sheik Naim Kassem, said on Wednesday that Israel was conducting an international terror campaign against Hezbollah because it

failed to defeat it militarily. “All these accusations against Hezbollah will have no effect, and do not change the facts or realities on the ground,” Kassem said. In Lebanon, the group is increasingly accused of putting the interests of longtime patrons Iran and Syria over those of its home country. New troubles for Hezbollah could also add to Iran’s international isolation. The Iranian regime is already under international sanctions for its suspect nuclear program, and has seen its position weaken due to its close ties with the Syrian regime. Its association with Hezbollah will likely further hurt Iran’s international image. — AP



Russia debates in-flight drinking after brawls MOSCOW:” A red-faced man shouts and pulls the hair of a Russian airline steward, shaking him by the shoulders and shoving him. A passenger intervenes, but the troublemaker breaks his nose and leaves him bleeding. Captured on a cellphone camera, the incident is among a string of alcoholfuelled mid-air brawls that have shocked Russians and prompted lawmakers to debate ways to crack down on bad in-flight behaviour. Lawmakers have called for harsher punishment, including jail time, while airlines are asking for the right to bar problem passengers. Flagship carrier Aeroflot’s general director said on Twitter that the airline has an in-house blacklist of 1,821 people - but is powerless to stop selling them tickets. “I’m sure that shared blacklists among all the airlines in

Russia and big fines are the right way to go,” Vitaly Savelyev wrote. Aeroflot’s largest competitor Transaero agreed that it should be up to the airlines to run the blacklists. Cabin crews are currently unable to stop passengers from drinking to excess or to physically restrain them, said Igor Barinov, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament. Last month, he himself had to use “light physical force” on a passenger who pushed a steward and tried to enter the cockpit after drinking a bottle of spirits on an Aeroflot flight from Germany. “I’m deeply convinced that those acts that are administrative offences on the ground in ordinary life should be criminal offences in the air,” Barinov said. Meanwhile the red-faced businessman who assaulted the steward and passenger on the Kogalymavia

flight to Egypt last month failed to return on his booked flight. On Friday, the federal Investigative Committee posted a photo of the man, Sergei Kabalov, asking him to come forward. It also upgraded his offence from battery to the much more serious attempted hijacking. “Recently there’s been an increase in the number of cases of aggressive behaviour by drunk passengers on planes and at airports,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said. “Air troublemakers create a real threat to the life and safety of passengers.” While mid-air brawlers already face up to 12 years in jail, in practice most get off much more lightly. On Sunday, a UTair plane travelling from Moscow to Thailand landed early in Uzbekistan after a honeymooner started a fight that injured several passengers. In an

Gunmen kill 9 in attacks on Nigeria polio clinics Victims trapped by fire KANO, Nigeria: Gunmen killed at least nine people at two Nigerian polio clinics yesterday, with one of the wounded health workers describing a horrifying attack that saw them trapped by fire. The attacks in the northern city of Kano came after a local cleric denounced polio vaccination campaigns this week and some local radio programmes repeated conspiracy theories about the campaigns being a Western plot to harm Muslims. Such conspiracy theories have long spread in parts of Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, stoked by local politicians. Nigeria is one of only three countries still considered to have endemic polio, alongside Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Nine people were killed in two separate attacks by gunmen on (motorised) tricycles when they attacked two dispensaries where polio immunisation workers were preparing to go out for polio campaigns,” police spokesman Magaji Majia told AFP. Police declined to say who they believed was behind the killings. Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has carried out attacks in Kano, though gangs linked to local politics also operate. “Six people on a tricycle pulled up outside the dispensary at 9:45 am while polio immunisation workers were gathering for the day’s house-to-house polio campaign,” a resident near the second attack said. “Two of the men were holding guns. They stormed into the dispensary and began shooting.” A victim in the first attack who was shot in the back said from her hospital bed that two gunmen stormed into the consultation room at the clinic where she and five other immunisation workers were seated and opened fire, killing two people. They then set fire to a curtain in the consultation room, fled and shut the door behind them. “We summoned courage and broke the door

LAGOS: A couple poses in an air-conditioned first class coach of a train heading to Kano from Lagos Terminus of the Nigerian Railway Corporation yesterday. The rejuvenated Nigerian Railway Corporation has commenced operation of mass transit on the Lagos-Kano route, Nigeria’s major commercial cities. — AFP because we realised they wanted to burn us alive,” said the woman. Speaking haltingly at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, she declined to give her name or age, though she looked to be in her 30s. Three other wounded victims from the same attack had also been taken to the hospital, including one who was in emergency surgery. Those killed in the first attack included a man and a woman, while the seven killed in the other attack were all women, according to residents. Last year, two Nigerian police guarding polio vaccination workers were killed by gunmen, though it was unclear if the attack was linked to the campaign. Islamist extremists have carried out scores of attacks on police. In 2003, Kano’s state government suspended polio immunisations for 13 months, with the then governor saying claims on its harmful effects had to be

looked into. The suspension followed allegations by some Muslim clerics that the vaccine was laced with substances that could render girls infertile as part of a US-led Western plot to depopulate Africa. Despite the resumption of polio immunisations, Kano has continued to record polio cases as many parents still reject the vaccine. Deadly attacks linked to polio vaccination campaigns have also occurred in Pakistan. On Jan 31, a bomb killed two polio vaccination workers in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, the latest in a series of such attacks in the country which have killed 19 people in two months. Polio once crippled and killed children worldwide until a concerted eradication campaign was started in 1988. According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria accounted for 121 of the world’s 222 polio cases in 2012. — AFP

amateur video, passengers can be heard whooping and screaming as a woman tries to restrain the man. Uzbekistan fined him around 398,000 soms ($200) and he was flown back to Moscow at his own expense, the Interfax news agency reported. Russian police added they will question the man, who has said he’s innocent. “We need to implement criminal responsibility for hooliganism on transport,” Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the State Duma’s legislative committee, told ITAR-TASS news agency. “There shouldn’t be any mitigating circumstances like he ‘had a bit too much’ or ‘his head was spinning from the altitude’.” Prior attempts to change the situation have failed however, including a November bid by the transport ministry to ban taking dutyfree alcohol on board. — AFP

Polish transsexual lawmaker loses shot at top post WARSAW: The before and after photos of Anna Grodzka show how much she - and her country - have transformed. As a man, she once wore a thick beard. Now, Poland’s first transsexual lawmaker favors big dangly earrings, her hair in a bob. Grodzka attracted huge attention when she was elected in 2011, and earned even more recently when she became a candidate to be a deputy speaker for her leftwing party. She lost that chance on Friday when lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to keep the incumbent in the job. Even so, the 58-year-old has already had a huge impact on the political scene, becoming perhaps the most prominent symbol of liberal change in a country that has traditionally been deeply conservative and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. “Certain taboos are being dismantled,” said Jacek Kucharczyk, a political analyst and the president of the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw. Serious news magazines have featured Grodzka on their front covers, with analytical pieces examining the role of gays and other sexual minorities in society. The tabloids zero in on more frivolous things, like the difficulty the nearly 6-foot-2 Grodzka faces finding pretty clothes. Or how she freezes in panty hose in the frigid Polish winters, but still refuses to wear pants. Grodzka said she herself is still sometimes surprised that she garnered 20,000 votes in her conservative home city, Krakow, to win a seat in Parliament. People have attacked her office, throwing things at the windows or ripping her rainbow flags. But all in all, she feels a growing acceptance from society, she told AP in an interview Thursday. She is aware she is a symbol of historic change in Poland, she said, and is trying to meet that challenge by doing the best work possible Anna Grodzka as a lawmaker. “I am above all trying to be a normal politician, like any other person, but maybe even better. I am really trying so that people who observe me will know that transgender people are no worse in any way than any others,” Grodzka said. The social transformation has been visible in other areas too, including growing support for the state to fund in vitro fertilization, despite conservative Catholic opposition. But it is particularly notable for the new attention given to the rights of sexual minorities, an issue suppressed in communist times and after the fall of communism in 1989, as many Poles looked to the powerful Catholic church for guidance through the economic and social turmoil. — AP



CIA nominee grilled on drones, waterboarding

US police hunt for cop killer LOS ANGELES: Police vowed Thursday to keep searching for an ex-cop accused of killing three people, including another officer, as night fell over a California ski resort where his burnt-out truck was found. Some 125 officers were deployed in and around Big Bear, east of Los Angeles, where police found the Nissan pickup truck belonging to Christopher Dorner, 33, who had posted a chilling online manifesto. “We’ll keep working on it until we’re able to either locate the suspect, or determine that he’s no longer in the Big Bear Valley,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, as schools and ski lifts were put on lockdown. “We did find some tracks around the vehicle, but they did not lead to the suspect... we are committed to continuing this operation.” It also emerged that Dorner had sent a package a week ago to CNN host Anderson Cooper, with a note saying “I never lied,” a DVD and a coin shot through with bullet holes, the news anchor Christopher Dorner said. Dorner was wanted over Sunday’s suspected revenge killing of a couple, Keith Lawrence and Monica Quan. The woman was the daughter of Randy Quan, a retired police officer Dorner blamed for his firing five years ago. The suspect then allegedly attacked two other officers overnight Wednesday in Riverside, killing one and injuring the other. Another officer was injured in a separate incident in nearby Corona. In addition, two civilians were injured early Thursday when police officers opened fire on them in a vehicle they believed to be Dorner’s. In an Internet manifesto threatening police and their families, Dorner had warned about “terminating” Quan and called lesbians and Asians “high-value” targets. “I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” he said. The LA Police Department, backed by agencies including the FBI, said it was protecting over 40 possible targets, some of them identified in the “rambling” online manifesto by Dorner, a US Navy reservist.—AFP

Brennan denies giving away secrets WASHINGTON: John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA director, said on Thursday he did not try to stop waterboarding, an interrogation technique that some consider torture, as he faced tough congressional questioning on that issue, security leaks and the use of drones to kill US terrorism suspects. Lawmakers pressed Brennan on controversial counterterrorism tactics employed while he was a CIA official under former President George W Bush, and others whose use he helps oversee in his current role as chief counterterrorism adviser to Obama. The issue of the now-banned harsh interrogation techniques derailed Brennan’s consideration for CIA director four years ago, and he met it headon at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I did not take steps to stop the CIA’s use of those techniques. I was not in the chain of command of that program,” Brennan said. “I had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues” about waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, nudity and other techniques, he said. “But I did not try to stop it, because it was something that was being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others, and it was something that was directed by the administration at the time,” he said. In a bid to smooth congressional concerns about counterterrorism activities under his watch, Obama on Wednesday ordered the Justice Department to give House and Senate intelligence committees access to a classified legal opinion on killing US terrorism suspects with drone strikes. Brennan, 57, has been central in overseeing US government policy on the use of the armed, unmanned aircraft in counterterrorism operations in the Obama administration. But some, mostly Democratic, lawmakers are demanding that the White House provide more of the legal documents underpinning its position that Obama can order lethal strikes overseas on US citizens suspected of terrorist activity. The administration insisted that only lawmakers be allowed access to the classified Justice Department papers, which means the committee’s lawyers are unable to read them. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the intelligence committee’s Democratic chairwoman, complained to Brennan that the committee’s staff had been banned from seeing the administration’s classified legal opinion. “The reason for providing information just to committee members at times is to ensure that it is kept on a limited basis,” Brennan said. “It is rather exceptional, as I think you know, that the Office of Legal Counsel opinion - or advice - would be shared directly with you.” The hearing was recessed briefly after Brennan started speaking because of protesters, who began yelling “Torture is always wrong” and “Stop the drones”. Some of the most intense questioning of Brennan came from liberal Democrats, not the conservative Republicans who have raised the strongest objections to one of Obama’s other security nominees - Chuck Hagel, his choice to lead the Pentagon. Civil liberties groups have criticized the drone program as effectively a green light to assassinate Americans without due process in the courts under the US Constitution. While he faced probing, and at times confrontational, queries from senators, Brennan seemed unflustered and gave little ground. He appears on track for approval by the committee and confirmation by the full Senate. “I sat through a number of these hearings. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone more forthright or more honest or more direct,” Feinstein told Brennan. “I think you are going to be a fine and strong leader for the CIA.” After the hearing, Feinstein said she expects the committee to vote on the nomina-

WASHINGTON: US Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. — AFP tion next Thursday. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, expressed reservations about the drone program. “Taking the fight to Al-Qaeda is something every member of this committee feels strongly about. It’s the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an American without checks and balances that’s so troubling,” he said. In an exchange with Wyden, Brennan defended the use of drone strikes to target Americans who joined Al-Qaeda. “Any American who did that should know well that they in fact are part of an enemy ... and that the United States will do anything possible to destroy that enemy and to save American lives,” he said. In 2011 a drone strike killed US-born Anwar Al-Awlaki, described by US investigators as a leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate. His 16-year-old son, also a US citizen, was killed in a separate drone strike in Yemen that year. Republicans questioned Brennan in detail about a Reuters story that reported he told former US officials who are now television commentators that the United States had “inside control” over an alleged plot by AlQaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate to destroy an airliner using an underwear bomb undetectable by the latest security technology. A few hours after the Brennan conference call, one of the pundits, former White House adviser Richard Clarke, said on ABC TV that the administration had implied “that they had somebody on the inside” who was not going to allow the bombing plot to be carried out. US and European security officials later acknowledged that British Intelligence, with the help of US and Saudi agencies, had succeeded in planting an informant inside the militant group, but that this undercover operation had to be terminated prematurely due to news leaks. Brennan emphatically denied he had given away government secrets or released classified material on the conference call with the former officials. He said that the serious leak was to the AP about an airline bombing plot that had been disrupted. — Reuters

Massive snowstorm targets US northeast NEW YORK: The first flurries fell yesterday over New England in what was forecasted to be an intense snow storm with white-out conditions, fierce winds and significant travel snarl-ups over the next 24 hours. The National Weather Service predicted “a major winter storm with blizzard conditions” along most of the region’s coastline, including the New York area. It was likely to be the biggest snow storm to hit the densely populated corridor so far this winter, and came a little over three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the same area of New York City and New Jersey, killing 132 people and causing damage worth some $71.4 billion. The National Weather Service said two systems would combine later yesterday, turning into a more powerful storm. Snowfall of “one to two feet are possible with locally higher amounts. In addition to the heavy snowfall, wind gusts of up to hurricane force is possible, especially near the coast. This will result in blizzard conditions with drifting and blowing snow.” Overnight Friday travel “will be extremely hazardous, if not impossible,” the National Weather Service warned. The latest storm was expected to pound Boston particularly hard, and schools in the city were ordered closed. The

good news was that its peak was due as the weekend began, meaning far fewer people would be on the roads. Forecasters said the system should blow through on Saturday, with milder temperatures to follow. The fallout however was already being felt in one of the busiest travel networks in the country. said 2,500 flights had been canceled. The rail service Amtrak said trains from New York northbound and also to the capital Washington, DC, would be suspended later Friday. Among the more glamorous victims of the travel upsets was designer Marc Jacobs, who had to reschedule his two shows at New York Fashion Week due to “the snow storm in the US and production problems.” There were still differing forecasts for how much snow would fall, with everything depending on how the two oncoming systems merged. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came under withering criticism for the city’s flat-footed response to a blizzard in 2010, said residents should prepare for the worst. “Due to potential power outages and transportation difficulties, New Yorkers are advised to stock up on potential supplies, including medicine,” Bloomberg said.—AFP

Blacksburg Virginia: A man walks along the snowy and misty Huckleberry Trail after a winter storm deposited snow yesterday. — AP



US media shines spotlight on self over secrets WASHINGTON: The US media has turned a spotlight on itself after three news organizations admitted keeping the location of a drone base in Saudi Arabia secret at the request of the US administration. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press this week acknowledged withholding the information since 2011, provoking harsh criticism from media watchers and fellow reporters - even their own. Margaret Sullivan, the public editor at The Times, said the newspaper “ought to be reporting as much and as aggressively as possible” on the drone program, which has never been officially acknowledged. “If it was ever appropriate to withhold the information, that time was over. The drone program needs as much sunlight as possible.” Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple wrote that there are “good reasons to stiff the government’s request for intelligence complicity”. Wemple said the con-

struction of a drone base “is simply news in and of itself” and that The New York Times “acted responsibly” by backing out of the deal and publishing the news. Glenn Greenwald, a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the British newspaper The Guardian, said the case was the latest in a series in which key media colluded with officials in Washington. “Yet again, the US media has been caught working together to conceal obviously newsworthy government secrets,” he wrote. “The excuses for concealing this information are frivolous.”The Washington Post said it “refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an Al-Qaeda affiliate.” The Post said it decided to publish the news after learning that “another news organization” was planning to reveal the location, “effectively ending an informal

arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.” Associated Press spokesman Paul Colford said the organization “on rare occasions withholds information when officials offer a compelling argument that the information could imperil national security or specific individuals”. “When the location of the base was made public Tuesday night, the AP felt national security concerns no longer applied and published the location,” Colford said in a statement. Complicating the story was the fact that the location of the drone base was reported in 2011 by The Times of London and by Fox News. The news was revealed as the architect of the US drone war against Al-Qaeda, John Brennan, faced a grilling in Congress over his nomination to lead the CIA. Dan Kennedy, a Northeastern University journalism professor, said that because the news

was previously reported, the actions by the news outlets could be seen as an unhealthy collusion. “It makes it look like they are playing footsie with the administration in a way that is totally improper for an independent press,” Kennedy told AFP. Stephen Ward, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, said the national security argument now appears specious in view of the decision by The Times to publish the information. “The reasoning by The Times that it had to give the location because of political considerations - Brennan’s candidacy for the CIA - undermines the case for justifying not naming the location in the first place,” Ward said. “If these news outlets accepted the argument, in the past, that naming the location would directly threaten American national interests, it would seem to also override naming the location because of Brennan’s candidacy.” —AFP

Scores missing after ferry sinks in B’desh Distraught relatives gather on riverbanks

JALALABAD: Afghan border police present Taleban fighters to the media at the Afghanistan Border Police headquarters on Thursday. Afghanistan border police arrested the two militants at the Torkham border crossing. — AFP

UN ‘alarmed’ by US killings of Afghan kids KABUL: A UN committee has expressed “alarm” over reports that hundreds of children have been killed by US military forces in Afghanistan in the past five years. US forces in Afghanistan (USFORA), which leads the NATO fight against Taleban insurgents, dismissed the committee’s concerns as “categorically unfounded”. The Genevabased Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the deaths were “due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force”. It gave no precise statistics. NATO forces had reduced civilian casualties by 49 percent in 2012 compared with 2011 and the number of children killed or wounded in air strikes had dropped by nearly 40 percent in the same period, said a statement from USFOR-A. A UN report in April last year said 110 children were killed and 68 wounded in air strikes conducted by US-led NATO and Afghan forces in 2011. The committee’s report also expressed concern that troops responsible for the killing of children had not always been held accountable and that family grievances had not been redressed. The US forces statement said that in each case in which civilians are killed, “military officials make every effort to meet with the families of those we have harmed and to express our condolences personally”. The CRC’s comments came after a five-yearly review of US compliance with an international treaty on the involvement of children in armed conflict. It said it was “alarmed at reports of the death of hundreds of children as a result of attacks and air strikes by the US military forces in Afghanistan over the reporting period”. “The committee expresses grave concern that in fact the number of casualties of children doubled from 2010 to 2011.” “The US can and should do more to protect children affected by armed conflict,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, a watchdog based in New York. She called on the US to heed the committee’s recommendations, which include taking “concrete and firm precautionary measures and prevent indiscriminate use of force” to ensure that no more civilians and children are killed. —AFP

DHAKA: Scores of people were dead or missing after a ferry carrying around 100 passengers sank following a collision on a river in Bangladesh yesterday, the latest in a series of disasters blamed on lax safety standards. The small vessel was ferrying passengers on the Meghna river, close to the town of Gazaria in the central Munshiganj district, at around 8:00 am (0200 GMT) when it collided with a barge laden with sand to be used for construction. While some passengers managed to swim to safety as the wooden boat went down rapidly, many others remained unaccounted for, said officials involved in the rescue effort. “So far we have gathered that the ferry was carrying around 100 people. A maximum 40 people are feared missing,” local police chief Jahangir Hossain told AFP. Munshiganj’s district administrator Saifuddin Badal said that more than 50 people were still unaccounted for after the disaster. “We heard around 25 people have swum ashore,” he told AFP. Badal said the boat, named MV Sarosh, was carrying passengers from the capital Dhaka to the southeastern district of Chandpur. “The rescue vessel MV Rustam has arrived at the scene. We expect we can salvage the ship very soon,” he said, adding that divers had been called in to help locate the boat. The exact number of people on board was uncertain as passenger lists are often not maintained properly in Bangladesh and many travellers buy tickets on board. Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered on both sides of the river, anxiously waiting to know the fate of their loved ones. Bangladesh has a history of boat disasters as a result of poor safety standards and frequent overloading of vessels. Last March 147 people were killed when a passenger vessel sank in

MUNSHIGANJ, Bangladesh: A Bangladeshi man mourns the loss of his relative after a ferry accident yesterday. — AFP

the Meghna river after colliding with a cargo ship. At least 149 people were killed in the worst boat tragedy in Feb 2005 when a ferry sank in the Buriganga river on the outskirts of Dhaka. In Dec 2009 46 people, mostly women and children, drowned in Daira river in northeastern district of Kishorganj after a ferry capsized and sank. Ferries are the main form of transport in Bangladesh, a low-lying coun-

try that is subject to frequent flooding and where the road network is rudimentary. However many of the vessels that plough the 230 or so rivers that traverse the country date back to before independence in 1971 and overcrowding is frequent. Naval officials have said more than 95 percent of Bangladesh’s hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized boats do not meet minimum safety regulations. — AFP




Sarawak scales back Borneo dam plans KUCHING, Malaysia: A Malaysian state minister yesterday said the government would not push ahead with building a dozen new dams on Borneo island, acknowledging they have caused outrage from local tribes and environmentalists. The proposals sparked fears that the dams would destroy pristine rainforests, endanger wildlife, and displace natives in Sarawak, a Malaysian state crossed by powerful rivers with rich jungle habitats. “It is not a firm plan to build 12 dams. I don’t think we will need that. We will only need four,” James Masing, Sarawak’s state minister of land development, told AFP in an interview. Masing said the government was backing off in response to widespread criticism. Protests over the years have seen activists and locals staging blockades of roads into dam areas. “I’m pleased that this type of thing (protests) takes place. Not all that we do is correct, and this shows we need to refine our plans and think again,” he said. The now-complete Bakun mega-dam, which is not part of the new dam proposal, has already been dogged for years by claims of corruption in construction conJames Jemut Masing tracts, the flooding of a huge swathe of rainforest and the displacement of thousands of tribespeople. Despite that, the government mooted constructing more dams as part of an industrial development drive to boost the resource-rich state’s backward economy. Another dam at Murum, also deep in the interior, is nearing completion and two others are in the planning stages as part of the new proposal. Together the four dams - at Bakun, Murum, Baleh and Baram - are already expected to put out nearly 6,000 megawatts of power, six times what Sarawak currently uses, Masing said. “The protests are becoming more vocal on the ground so (the dam rethink) is a very good development for me,” said Peter Kallang, member of a Sarawak tribe and chairman of SAVE Rivers, an NGO that has campaigned against the dams. However, he said plans for the Baram and Baleh dams should be scrapped as well, noting that the Baram dam would displace about 20,000 people, compared to about 10,000 at Bakun, and destroy irreplaceable forest. He said SAVE Rivers last month organised a floating protest along the Baram river that cruised down river for three days and was met with support along the way by local tribespeople. Kallang and other activists have also travelled abroad to lobby against the dams, including meeting officials of Hydro Tasmania, an Australian corporation that advises the Sarawak government on the dams. The Tasmania government corporation pledged in December after meeting the activists that it would pull its personnel out of Sarawak by the end of 2013, Kallang said. —AFP

Japan PM demands China apology over radar lock Tokyo summons Beijing envoy TOKYO: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday demanded Beijing apologise and admit that a Chinese frigate got a radar lock on a Japanese destroyer in international waters, a report said. His demand came after Beijing flatly denied Tokyo’s accusation, in the latest flare-up of a row between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. “We wish China to acknowledge it (the radar lock), apologise for it and make efforts to prevent it from recurring,” Abe told the BS Fuji TV station, Jiji Press news agency reported. “We have confirmed visually and by photographs and other means such details as whether the radar was directed this way,” the premier was quoted as saying. Tokyo summoned China’s envoy earlier yesterday for the third time this year after Beijing’s flat denial. Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai told Ambassador Cheng Yonghua the response was “totally unacceptable”. Tokyo says the radar lock, a procedure known as “painting” that is necessary to fire modern weapons systems, occurred last month. Beijing for its part has accused Tokyo of hyping the “China threat” in a bid to manipulate world public opinion against its giant neighbour. The radar incident marked the first time the two nations’ navies have locked horns in the spat over the Tokyo-controlled Senkakus, which China claims as the Diaoyus. Tokyo also charges a Chinese frigate ‘painted’ one of its helicopters in the middle of last month. On both Jan 19 and Jan 30, China’s defence ministry said in a statement faxed to AFP, the Chinese ship-board radar maintained normal operations and “fire-control radar was not used”. “The Japanese side’s remarks were against the facts,” it said. “Japan unilaterally made public untrue information to the media and senior Japanese government officials made irresponsible remarks that hyped up the so-called ‘China threat’,” it added. Tokyo had “recklessly created tension and misled international

public opinion”, it said. A spokeswoman for Beijing’s foreign ministry added later that “Japan’s remarks are completely making something out of nothing”. “We hope Japan will renounce its petty tricks,” Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular briefing. In reply, Kawai told the ambassador Japan expected Beijing to “sincerely fulfil its responsibility for an explanation” and take measures to prevent similar incidents, a statement said. “We have made a cautious and elaborate analysis of this incident at the defence ministry and we have confirmed it,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said earlier. “We told the Chinese side we cannot accept their argument and asked them for a sincere response,” he said. Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said yesterday the public announcements had been made “after a special unit analysed data on the radar contact and confirmed it. There is no mistake about it”.Prime Minister Abe said he wanted to

change Japanese diplomacy to something “that is still polite and quiet, but vocal about our position once our sovereignty or national interest is being challenged”. The long-running row over the islands intensified in September when Tokyo nationalised part of the chain, triggering fury in Beijing and huge anti-Japan demonstrations across China. Beijing has repeatedly sent ships and aircraft near the islands and both sides have scrambled fighter jets, though there have been no clashes. Abe on Thursday called the radar incident “extremely regrettable”, “dangerous” and “provocative” but also said that dialogue must remain an option. “We will not close the window of dialogue. This is most important,” said Abe. “I would like China to return to a more open attitude towards our strategic partnership.” The seabed near the island chain, which is also claimed by Taiwan, is believed to contain mineral reserves. —AFP

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left), flanked by chairperson Shunji Yanai (second left) and other panel members, attends an advisory panel on restructuring legal infrastructure of security guarantees at Abe’s official residence yesterday. — AFP

Villagers flee huge aftershock in Solomons HONIARA: A huge aftershock rocked the Solomon Islands yesterday, sending villagers fleeing to higher ground two days after an 8.0-magnitude quake and tsunami which left 13 people dead and many more missing. The 7.1-magnitude tremor was the latest in a series of aftershocks that have been hampering relief efforts on Ndende island in the eastern Solomons, where Wednesday’s tsunami inundated some 20 villages and left thousands homeless. The latest quake, at a shallow depth of nine kilometres, and just 23 km from the main town Lata, rocked buildings for 30 to 40 seconds, national disaster management office spokesman Sipuru Rove told AFP. Rove, who was in the coastal town when the tremor hit, said villagers fled for higher ground. The aftershocks have prevented villagers from returning home and hampered their efforts to salvage supplies from damaged houses and bring them to makeshift

camps in the rugged interior. Planes attempting to fly aid to the area have also been wary of landing at the damaged airstrip in Lata amid the continuing quakes. Geoscience Australia said while the latest tremor was smaller than the one which caused the destructive tsunami, as it was much closer to the island of Ndende the intensity of the shaking would have been much greater. Seismologist David Jepsen said there were no reports as yet of a tsunami wave, and if one was generated it would be smaller than the one two days ago. “I was more worried about the shaking aspect,” he said. “This could have caused further issues.” A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s office, George Herming, said 13 people were so far confirmed dead and an undetermined number missing from the first quake, with the toll expected to rise as reports filter in from outlying areas.

Officials said earlier damage on Ndende island was much worse than first thought. “At first we thought it was going to be quite small but now it looks like it’s going to be very big and communities will not be able to handle it themselves,” national disaster management office spokesman Sipuru Rove told AFP. “This is where we might require external assistance.” The prime minister’s spokesman said the area was officially declared a disaster zone yesterday, as Australia announced it will assist relief efforts. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who will visit the Solomons tomorrow, said the disaster “has been a devastating experience” for people in the low-lying islands. In addition to the official toll, he said “many more are reported missing”. Carr announced Aus$300,000 ($309,000) in relief payments and said a Royal Australian Air Force Hercules had been sent to the Solomons to provide logistical support.

Rove said the plane would be deployed to make a reconnaissance flight over the island, giving officials their first comprehensive overview of the damage. World Vision said food and water in the hillside camps was running low and sanitation would soon become an issue. “Destruction has been widespread in and around Lata,” it said. “Coastal wells have been covered by debris or contaminated, water tanks and toilets have been destroyed and coastal areas are littered with dead fish and poultry.” The US Geological Survey said Wednesday’s quake struck in the middle of the day, beneath the sea about 76 km west of Lata. The Solomons are part of the “Ring of Fire”, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2007 a tsunami following an 8.0-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.— AFP

Egypt’s turmoil slows European investments


Japan minister heads to Saudi targeting oil pact



Strong franc makes for bitter year for chocolate


FAA clears Boeing 787 to restart test flights



BRUSSELS: British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves the EU Headquarters yesterday on the last day of a two-day European Union leaders summit. — AFP

First budget cut in history of EU Austerity reaches Brussels as EU tightens budget

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders neared agreement on the first ever cut in their common budget yesterday after almost 24 hours of talks, seeking to placate millions at home struggling through government cutbacks and recession. The expected deal met the demands of northern European countries such as Britain and the Netherlands that wanted belt-tightening, while maintaining spending on farm subsidies and infrastructure to satisfy the likes of France and Poland. It will be the first net reduction to the EU’s long-term budget in the bloc’s history, representing a decrease of around 3 percent on the last budget and shaving spending in areas from infrastructure to scientific research. Last-minute haggling over precisely how to divide up the 960 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) to be spent between 2014 and 2020 delayed a definitive agreement, but officials said a broad framework had been put in place. “The 960 billion euro figure is aimed at finding a balance,” said a French official in Brussels who declined to be named. As well being signed off by all EU leaders, the deal must be still approved by the

European Parliament, where leading legislators have already expressed opposition. After negotiating through the night, leaders broke up for a rest, allowing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to swap her green jacket for a lilac one, and returned to a myriad of questions, including whether to reduce the burden on the Netherlands. Mindful of their restive voters, Northern European states were adamant that as they shrink spending at home and grapple with the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the European Union had to do the same. Around 12 billion euros was cut from the last budget proposal, made at a summit in November. While vast, in annual terms the budget amounts to just 1 percent of total EU economic output. The cuts agreed yesterday fell mainly on spending for cross-border transport, energy and telecoms projects, which were reduced by more than 11 billion euros. Pay and perks for EU officials - a top target for Britain - were lowered by around 1 billion euros, officials said. Spending on agriculture was spared further

cuts and there was an increase of about 1.5 billion euros on rural development over the seven years, satisfying France, Italy and Spain. Narrow gap Even with a deal, around 40 percent of the spending will still be dedicated to farming and regional development, something that frustrates many northern European states, which want a more dynamic budget. At the same time, officials said money had been set aside for growth-stimulating measures, for research and for structural funds to flow to countries worst hit in the economic crisis, including Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. There were also stipulations for green investment and 6 billion euros for a fund to combat youth unemployment via training and apprenticeships in countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland. The deal still faces further hurdles, not least at the bloc’s parliament in Strasbourg which can send back the package. “The European Parliament will not accept this deficit budget if

it is adopted in this way. That is certain,” the parliament’s president Martin Schulz said. In recent weeks, Van Rompuy has been in touch with every EU leader to assess where the contours of an agreement may lie. But reaching a deal was never going to be a simple question of cutting the total, since the budget also involves delicate negotiations over rebates amounts countries get reimbursed after they have made contributions. Denmark won a rebate of around 130 million euros a year, but the Netherlands looked set to lose a portion of its rebate. Because of a difference in the way the budget is calculated, there are two numbers - both the headline ‘commitments’ figure which sets a ceiling on how much can be paid out, and a lower ‘payments’ figure that indicates what will actually be spent. The baseline payments figure in the framework agreed yesterday was 908.4 billion euros, a figure low enough to convince Britain, which focuses on payments rather than commitments, that it was getting a satisfactory deal. — Reuters



Egypt’s turmoil slows European investments

German trade surplus hits 5-year high FRANKFURT: Germany’s trade surplus hit a five-year high in 2012 to reach the second-highest level ever on booming exports, but momentum slowed sharply towards the end of the year, official data showed yesterday. Europe’s biggest economy exported a record 1.097 trillion euros ($1.5 trillion) worth of goods in 2012, an increase of 3.4 percent from the level the previous year, the national statistics office Destatis said. Imports, too, topped a new record, inching up 0.7 percent to 909.2 billion euros in the period from January to December. That meant the trade surplus increased to 188.1 billion euros in 2012, the highest level since 2007 and the second-highest level since foreign trade statistics began in 1950, Destatis said in a statement. Nevertheless, trade momentum tailed off sharply towards the end of the year as the effects of the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis increasingly left their mark on the region’s powerhouse economy, the data showed. In December alone, exports advanced by just 0.3 percent from November, failing to offset a 2.2-percent decline seen the previous month. And imports-a measure of domestic demand-actually declined by 1.3 percent after already contracting by 3.8 percent in November. Germany has held up much better to the crisis than its euro-zone partners, many of which are in recession. But with the EU and the single currency area accounting for the lion’s share of German exports, the country has not been able to escape the crisis unscathed. And after growth slowed noticeably throughout the course of the year, the economy actually went into reverse in the fourth quarter, when it contracted by an estimated 0.5 percent. Analysts said the trade data reflect this. “The overall outlook for trade activity remained extremely poor in the fourth quarter,” said Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza. “There are clear risks that trade activity might have been a drag for gross domestic product growth over the quarter,” she said. Destatis is scheduled to publish fourth-quarter GDP data next week. Natixis economist Johannes Gareis said “the export numbers today confirm our scenario of a weak growth in Germany in the fourth quarter, due to the consistent weakness in world trade.” But he was confident that trade would stabilise in the first quarter of 2013 “as already indicated by leading indicators released this month.” Christian Schulz at Berenberg Bank predicted that “German domestic demand and thus imports should benefit this year from the lifting of the uncertainty related to the euro crisis. “At the same time, exports could be under pressure from continuing demand weakness in peripheral Europe and the stronger euro exchange rate,” he cautioned. Exports provide a vital part of the German growth mix. Meanwhile euro-zone countries struggling to overcome debt problems are working hard to boost their export performance to push up growth and tax income.— AFP

Political situation may worry future buyers

DUBAI: Go back a few months and the disposal of Egyptian assets seemed like a good option for European banks desperate to raise funds by selling non-core operations. Flash forward and Egypt’s deteriorating political situation, together with the resultant sharp drop in its currency, threaten to hamper further selloffs, with international banks unwilling to accept the fire-sale prices that are increasingly on offer. For investment bankers on the hunt for fees, it threatens to be a lengthy wait for dealmaking to revive. And last year’s flurry of activity may start to look like no more than a blip. “People who sold last year appear a lot smarter now than those who waited,” said one financial institutions group banker, asking not to be quoted because of the sensitivity of his position advising clients. “Clearly, the current situation in Egypt does not look like it would lure even the most bullish of investors,” the banker said. “Clients are not asking about buying opportunities now but want to know how (much) worse the situation may get.” European banks, under pressure to cut costs and bolster their capital levels in the post-credit crunch regulatory clampdown, have been looking to sell Egyptian operations to regional banks more familiar with the country’s politics and bullish on its long-term prospects. French banks Societe Generale and larger rival BNP Paribas agreed to sell their banking arms in Egypt to Qatar National Bank and Dubai’s Emirates NBD respectively in 2012. Some had expected other deals to follow. Those at the top of the list were France’s Credit Agricole , which holds a 61 percent stake in Credit Agricole Egypt, and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo, which has a 70 percent stake in Bank of Alexandria. But neither has yet raised a “for sale” sign. Intesa Sanpaolo Chief Executive Enrico Cucchiani said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, two weeks ago: “Egypt is a country to be monitored. However at the moment Bank of Alexandria is having positive results. We look at it carefully.” A Credit Agricole spokeswoman in Paris declined comment. Already at least one mooted deal has not gone ahead. Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fifth-largest lender by market value, halted the sale of its Egyptian subsidiary valued at

more than $200 million in July last year. And a dramatic worsening of Egypt’s political situation in recent weeks has hurt investor sentiment, making disposals increasingly difficult, bankers say. Protests marking the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak have led to nearly 60 deaths since Jan. 25, prompting the head of the army to warn that the state was on the verge of collapse if immediate action was not taken. “The government has not done as well as most expected and the transition to democracy has not been smooth,” Jaap Meijer, an equity research director at Dubaibased Arqaam Capital, said. Meanwhile, the Egyptian pound has dropped sharply and the central bank stepped in this week with measures to protect the currency. The currency’s weakness creates uncertainties for any acquisitions in Egypt. “In the short term, a drop in the value of the pound makes it cheaper for the buyer, especially on the public equities side,” said one Egyptian banking source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But if the situation continues and the pound continues to fall, then it impacts your profitability in the long-term. You have to view it from either

side.” Another potential concern for European banks is the shrinking pool of potential regional buyers. Qatar National Bank for instance has been on an acquisition drive but now has its sights set on Turkey, having paid $2.2 billion for the majority stake in Societe Generale Egypt. Emirates NBD probably has its hands full after shelling out $500 million for BNP’s business in Egypt, a deal which marks a major strategy shift for the bank which has been hard hit by exposure to Dubai’s state entities. Other regional banks, such as Dubai’s Mashreq, Morocco’s Attijariwafabank and Lebanon’s Audi Bank , are keen on gaining exposure to Egypt, bankers say, but most are looking for mid-sized transactions and not big-ticket ones. All three looked at BNP’s business and Attijari hired UBS as an advisor before losing out to ENBD, a Dubaibased banking source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Yes, there are two to three potential buyers, but it’s not like they need to buy in the country and they are really cautious on valuation,” the banker said. Another barrier to deals is the frequently significant valuation discrepancy that separates buyers and sellers of Egyptian assets.— Reuters

CAIRO: Egyptian protesters chant slogans and beat a traditional drum during an anti-government protest in Tahrir Square yesterday. — AP

Quiet lunch shatters EU boycott of India’s Modi NEW DELHI: A quiet lunch between European Union ambassadors and Indian prime ministerial contender Narendra Modi has shattered what remained of a decade-old informal boycott of the Hindu nationalist political leader. The Jan 7 lunch at the German ambassador’s residence in New Delhi will likely be seen as a major boost to Modi’s quest for mainstream acceptance. The meeting went unpublicised until an Indian newspaper reported on it yesterday. Modi, the charismatic chief minister of the west Indian state of Gujarat, is praised by corporate India and foreign investors for presiding over an economic boom in his state. But charges he was complicit in riots in Gujarat that killed at least 1,000 people,

most of them Muslims, have cast a shadow over his ambitions. Critics accuse him of not having done enough to stop the violence, allegations he has strenuously denied and have never been proven. After the riots, he was shunned by Western governments. Washington denied him a visa and EU ambassadors in Delhi cold-shouldered him. However, in recent years the EU’s informal boycott had crumbled. Sweden and Denmark decided it was better to engage with him than ostracise him and Britain’s ambassador met Modi in Gujarat last year. Since being re-elected for a fourth successive term as chief minister in December, Modi has been on a seemingly unstoppable march towards becoming the

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate for prime minister in elections due by May 2014. EU ambassador Joao Cravinho told CNN-IBN television that Modi was a “major political figure” and it was therefore important to listen to his views. European and U.S. companies have made major investments in Gujarat. Cravinho said the ambassadors had pressed Modi on the 2002 riots to find out “what went wrong, what should have happened, what the situation is now”. “We were pleased that he was able to tell us that because of a number of changes that he has introduced that such events could not be repeated in 2013,” Cravinho said, without elaborating on what those changes were. He did not respond to a Reuters request for comment,

and the German embassy referred foreign media inquiries to Berlin. If Modi is nominated as the BJP’s candidate he could face Rahul Gandhi, heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, who is widely seen as the ruling Congress party’s likeliest contender for the premiership if it and allies win a convincing majority. Government minister Manish Tewari of the Congress party tweeted: “EU says accountability for Gujarat pogrom must be fixed. Does buck not stop with their lunch guest?” Modi’s challenge in projecting himself as a national leader was underscored this week when police were forced to use water cannon to disperse left-wing protesters at a New Delhi university where he was giving a speech. — Reuters



Asian markets rise but Tokyo hit by strong yen HONG KONG: Asian shares mostly rose yesterday following a sell-off in the previous session, but Tokyo was hit by a stronger yen and data showing Japan suffered its lowest current account surplus in nearly 30 years. Data showing China’s trade surplus had risen more than expected provided extra buying support, adding to a recent trend of improvement in the world’s number two economy. Tokyo dived 1.80 percent, or 203.91 points, to 11,153.16 while Sydney gained 0.72 percent, or 35.6 points, to 4,971.3 and Seoul closed up 0.99 percent, or 19.13 points, to 1,950.90. Hong Kong rose 0.16 percent, or 38.16 points, to 23,215.16 and Shanghai added 0.57 percent, or 13.87 points, to 2,432.40. Japan’s Nikkei suffered a sell-off for a second straight day on profit-taking-after surging 3.77 percent to a four-and-half-year high on Wednesday-and a stronger yen, which had fallen to multi-month lows. “The market is due for another pullback as it remains overheated and ripe for profittaking, especially with the holiday-extended three-day weekend coming up,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi. “The ‘energy’ in the market remains very strong, however,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. Data yesterday showed the surplus in Japan’s current account, the broadest measure of Tokyo’s dealings with the rest of the world, nearly halved to 4.7 trillion yen ($50 billion) in 2012, the smallest since 1985. The figures showed exports to China and Europe slumped, with December seeing a monthly deficit of 264.1 billion yen, from a year-earlier surplus of 265.7 billion yen. Zhang Zhiwei, a Hong Kong-based economist with Nomura International, said in a research note: “These data suggest that external and domestic demand are both strong, which supports our view that the economy is on track for a cyclical recovery in the first half” of this year. In afternoon forex trade the dollar bought 92.37 yen, down from 93.61 yen in New York late Thursday, while the euro was at 123.80 yen, from 125.40 yen. The Japanese unit had been as low as 94.06 and 127.71 earlier this week on a combination of expectations of further Bank of Japan monetary easing as well as rising confidence in the global outlook. Europe’s single currency also bought $1.3401 from $1.3395, having touched $1.3711 last week. Dealers moved to sell the euro after the European Central Bank held interest rates at record lows. China’s General Administration of Customs said the country’s trade surplus rose in January, thanks to an improvement in exports and imports. The surplus rose 7.7 percent year-on-year to $29.2 billion, beating a median $26.6 billion forecast of economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. Customs also said exports surged 25.0 percent to $187.4 billion, while imports climbed 28.8 percent to $158.2 billion. Later in the day the National Bureau of Statistics said inflation in January slowed to 2.0 percent-in line with expectationsfrom a seven-month peak of 2.5 percent in December. On Wall Street the Dow fell 0.30 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.18 percent and the Nasdaq eased 0.11 percent. Oil prices rose, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, increasing 17 cents to $96.00 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March gaining 39 cents to $117.63. Gold was at $1,670.25 at 1030 GMT compared with $1,676.08 late Thursday. — AFP

TOKYO: A woman walks by the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo as Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 136.87 points to 11,220.20 at one point yesterday. — AP

Japan minister heads to Saudi targeting oil pact Tokyo to shore up supply in case of instability

TOKYO: Japan’s trade minister heads to Saudi Arabia yesterday for talks on securing extra oil, an official said, after a report the two will set up a telephone hotline to allow one of the world’s top importers to seek emergency supply from OPEC’s biggest producer. A hotline would allow Japan to quickly seek additional oil supplies in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as terrorist attacks, Middle East unrest or a spike in the price of oil, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported. Oil markets have been on edge for months over the security of Middle Eastern supplies amid mounting tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, with Brent crude prices averaging above $111 a barrel last year. A move by Japan to be first in line to tap Saudi oil could further stoke oil supply concerns among other leading oil importers. “Saudi Arabia has large spare supply capacity, so the big purpose of this visit is to request that they are ready to deal with supply instability in global oil markets by raising production,” an official in Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry told Reuters. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say whether Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi would request a hotline, but said the previous trade minister made a similar request for supply assurances in 2011. “These are the things that Japan has conveyed to the Saudis in oil relations for a long period, say 10 to 20 years,” the official said. “The request will be made but no one knows whether it will develop into something more detailed because the meeting has not been held yet.” Motegi will fly to Riyadh later yesterday, according to the Ministry. He will also travel to the United Arab Emirates. Although Saudi Arabia retains significant spare crude oil production capacity, its exports are falling due to growing domestic oil demand and plans by the kingdom to expand refineries to export more refined products. “If true, it shows how nervous importers are due to the fragility in the Middle Eastern situation, particularly Asian buyers,” said Amrita Sen

of oil consultancy Energy Aspects. Crude imports from Saudi Arabia accounted for 31 percent of Japan’s total in 2012, with shipments rising 5 percent from a year earlier to 1.14 million barrels per day, partly offseting a 39.5 percent decline in Iranian crude imports. Japan has relied on cooperation with Western oil importing countries through the International Energy Agency to ensure oil supply security since the 1970s. As one of the most oil import-dependent countries in the industrialized world, analysts say it has always been acutely vulnerable to the prospect of a sudden halt to crude shipments. Japan is not the only large Asian country at risk in the event of an oil supply shock. China and India are both increasingly reliant on imported oil to fuel their economies and both have far less access to emergency stockpiles than Western importers. Asia’s top economies have also been less able to rely on Iranian imports. Iranian oil exports fell by 1 million barrels per day by the end of 2012 due to Western sanctions aimed at forcing oil importers, like

Japan, to reduce their purchases of Iranian crude. In retaliation, Iran has at times threatened to cut off shipments of oil or block major shipping routes. Additional restrictions imposed by the United States took effect this week and there are few signs that a negotiated settlement to the dispute is at hand. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed an offer of direct talks made by US Vice President Joe Biden this week. The Nikkei report did not specify how much oil Japan might be able to request from Saudi Arabia in the event of an emergency under the proposed oil supply agreement. Nor did it specify on what terms Japan would be able to secure more oil nor whether a request for emergency supplies would be binding on Riyadh. OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia has repeatedly pledged to supply global markets with enough oil to meet demand. But the kingdom has traditionally guarded its sovereignty over its energy resources and has often rebuffed calls from oil consuming nations to produce more oil to depress high prices.—Reuters

LAHORE: Pakistani women sort garlic for sale at a market yesterday. Pakistan’s central bank yesterday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 9.5 percent, as its foreign exchange reserves fell and GDP growth is expected to remain below four percent. — AFP

China’s trade surplus surges BEIJING: China’s trade surplus rose in January with both exports and imports beating expectations, official data showed yesterday, as the country maintained its economic recovery on improving demand. The trade surplus rose 7.7 percent yearon-year to $29.2 billion for the month, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement, beating a median $26.6 billion forecast of economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. January exports from the world’s second-largest economy jumped a solid 25.0 percent to $187.4 billion, while imports soared 28.8 percent to $158.2 billion, said Customs. The growth rates were also above market estimates at 17.5 percent for exports and 23.5 percent for imports, according to Lu Ting and Zhi Xiaojia, analysts at Back of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. But Customs noted that there were

more working days last month than in January 2012, due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, affecting the figures. After taking out factors linked to the holiday, exports grew 12.4 percent last month year-on-year while imports increased 3.4 percent, it added. Even so Zhang Zhiwei, a Hong Kong-based economist with Nomura International, argued there was a broader base for the strong export performance in January than seasonal factors. “These data suggest that external and domestic demand are both strong, which supports our view that the economy is on track for a cyclical recovery in the first half (of this year),” he said in a research note. China’s economy expanded 7.8 percent last year, its lowest annual figure since 1999, in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets. But it grew 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012 from a year earlier as

industrial output and retail sales strengthened, snapping seven straight quarters of slowing growth. Manufacturing activity in China continued to gain traction in January, with the purchasing managers’ index-a widely watched barometer of the health of China’s economy-hitting a twoyear high of 52.3, according to a survey by British bank HSBC. Nonetheless, analysts said the upbeat but somewhat distorted January trade figures would have only limited impact on policy and warned of potential risks in overseas demand with the developed world still grappling with economic doldrums. “We believe both export and import growth have truly bottomed out from lows in mid-2012, but we remain cautious on export growth on uncertainties and weakness in the US, euro-zone and Japan,” said Lu and Zhi in a research note. — AFP



No plan for Peugeot stake: France’s PM Shares up 0.8%

DUISBURG: In this file photo, a steel worker measures steel coils of ThyssenKrupp steel company. German steel maker ThyssenKrupp says it is slashing at least 2,000 jobs by 2015 as part of a cost-saving drive.— AP

Gold steady in league with euro LONDON: Gold prices kept to very tight ranges yesterday, but underlying sentiment in bullion and the euro was weak after the European Central Bank highlighted downside risks to the region’s economy. Gold stood at $1,670.24 by 1103 GMT, flat on the day. US gold futures for April delivery were also steady at $1,671.20 an ounce. Spot silver was flat at $31.47 an ounce. Gold briefly reacted to euro weakness on Thursday, dropping nearly one percent before rebounding above $1,680 an ounce, as ECB chief Mario Draghi said at a news conference that the central bank will maintain its accommodative monetary policy and highlighted downside risks to the economy. But analysts don’t expect significant price increases in gold as signs of global economic recovery continue and the euro comes off a recent rally after Draghi’s more cautious stance on the currency. “Investor risk appetite will keep gold in check... and trade will be very much euro driven after Draghi’s comments,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said. “Prices struggle to find the catalyst for a rally as there is still a general feeling that the euro zone crisis is tailing off, the global economy is recovering and demand for safe havens is not there.” Chinese export and import data released earlier showed a surge in January, pointing to robust domestic demand and a pick-up in the economy not solely explained by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins this weekend. Above-forecast Chinese data underpinned Asian and European shares, while the euro firmed versus the dollar. Gold is also weighed by the lack of inflationary pressures in key markets such as Europe, China and the United States, analysts said. “Inflation, the other driving factor for gold, is not seen as a threat for the time being and investors look mostly at risky assets like equities or even more industrial metals like platinum and palladium, which are more in focus than gold at the moment,” Weinberg said. On the upside, the SPDR Gold Trust, gold’s largest exchangetraded fund (ETF), saw its first inflow since mid-January in the previous session, rising a modest 1.8 tons, though holdings are down nearly 21 tons this year, compared to a rise of 22.6 tons in the same period of 2012. The iShares Silver Trust saw its holdings up 25.6 tons on Thursday, bringing its total inflow for the week to 67.86 tons. So far this year its holdings are up 361.42 tons. Platinum and palladium extended losses, having rallied to their highest level for more than a year and a half earlier this week, as speculative investors started to take profits. Spot platinum fell 0.5 percent to $1,707.49 an ounce, having risen as high as $1,740 earlier this week. Palladium was also down 0.5 percent at $743.97. It touched its highest since September 2011 at $769.50 an ounce on Wednesday. “Both platinum and palladium would do well from a short-term spec cleanout after net length extended aggressively over the last few weeks,” UBS analyst Joni Teves said. “Further downside may be in store up ahead as net speculative positions are reduced, but the weakness should be viewed as a buying opportunity.” However, fundamentals remain strong for platinum group metals, used in auto catalysts and jewellery, due to a more positive economic outlook and mining disruptions in South Africa, as well as a drop in palladium output from Russia. —Reuters

GRENOBLE: France has no plans to support ailing carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen with a stake purchase, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, cooling speculation of a cash injection to ease the company’s problems. The comment came a day after Peugeot, suffering falling sales in a depressed European car market, highlighted the scale of its woes by taking a 4.1 billion euro ($5.5 billion) writedown on the value of its plant and other automotive assets. “Regarding the purchase of a stake in this company, it is not on the agenda because PSA is not asking for it,” Ayrault told reporters in Grenoble. “We do have a tool, the FSI (France’s sovereign-wealth fund), which can if necessary take a stake. But today this question is not being looked at,” Ayrault said. A spokesman for the FSI said the organisation is not working on any plan to invest in Peugeot. Peugeot declined comment. Although PSA’s writedown was a noncash accounting item that does not affect the group’s liquidity or solvency, it reflected Europe’s worsening market outlook and prompted speculation the state might intervene. “The writedowns reflect Peugeot’s difficulties, namely that it concentrated too much on growing in Europe and ended up missing out on international growth and alliances,” said Harry Wolhandler, chief executive of Amilton Asset Management. “We’re staying away from the stock for now.” Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac had said earlier France might consider investing in Peugeot, helping send its shares higher. “It’s possible,” Cahuzac

told BFM Television. “This company must not and cannot disappear and we must do what it takes for this company to survive.” Yet a source in the finance ministry played down Cahuzac’s comments, saying the priority for Peugeot was to pursue its recovery plan and strengthen its alliance with General Motors. Peugeot shares lost most of their early gains and were up 0.8 percent at 5.92 euros by 1300 GMT. PSA could have other fundraising options before it has to resort to state help. It could sell its stake in parts maker Faurecia or even its financing arm Banque PSA, but such disposals would do little to address the group’s underlying problems.

Unlike domestic rival Renault, the French state has no holding in Peugeot. France nationalised Renault after World War Two and still holds a 15 percent stake. Peugeot remained private and is 25 percent owned by the Peugeot family. The Peugeot group has already had one big helping hand from the government, in the form of a 7 billion euro loan guarantee agreed late last year for the financing arm Banque PSA Finance, which is still awaiting EU approval. Traders and analysts said the impact of the writedown was offset by the fact it was a non-cash charge and by speculation the state could support the company’s capital base.— Reuters

MULHOUSE: A file picture shows cars in the parking garage of the French auto giant PSA Peugeot Citroen plant. — AFP

BoE holds record-low rates despite recession threat LONDON: The Bank of England voted on Thursday to freeze its key interest rate at a record-low 0.50 percent and maintain the level of its quantitative easing cash stimulus, despite the threat of a triple-dip recession in Britain. The central bank said in an unexpectedly long statement that its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had voted to maintain its emergency QE stimulus at £375 billion ($589 billion, 434 billion euros). The BoE added that overall economic activity in Britain had been “broadly flat” over the past year, despite worries that the economy could be heading for the third recession in five years. The stimulus has been used to try and help boost economic output, which unexpectedly shrank by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2012. However, the economy flatlined over the entire year with zero growth. Across in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank also opted to maintain its main interest rate at a record-low level of 0.75 percent, amid ongoing debt strains in the crisis-hit euro-zone. “Over the past year, there has been considerable volatility in quarterly output growth,” the Bank of England said in Thursday’s statement. “Looking through the influence of temporary factors, overall output appears to have been broadly flat.

In large part that reflects sharp falls in particular sectors of the economy that are unlikely to be repeated in 2013. “In contrast, the combined output of the manufacturing and services sectors has grown modestly. Business surveys suggest the pace of expansion is likely to remain muted in the near term,” the BoE added. The central bank said 12month inflation would rise further in the near-term and could remain above its 2.0-percent target for the next two years. However, it was then forecast to return to “around” the target as price pressures fade. Policymakers also mulled withdrawing QE stimulus, in order to pull inflation lower, but decided that it would risk endangering any recovery. QE can risk stoking inflation as it is tantamount to printing money. “The Committee discussed the appropriate policy response to the combination of the weakness in the economy and the prospect of a further prolonged period of above-target inflation,” it said, adding it was necessary to look beyond the period of above-target inflation. “Attempting to bring inflation back to target sooner by removing the current policy stimulus more quickly than currently anticipated by financial markets would

risk derailing the recovery and undershooting the inflation target in the medium term.” Thursday’s decisions were in line with expectations and came as incoming BoE governor Mark Carney called for the bank to ready plans for a smooth eventual withdrawal of QE stimulus to avoid major disruption on markets. Canadian central bank chief Carneywho takes the helm from current BoE boss Mervyn King in July-set out his views on QE before a group of cross-party lawmakers on parliament’s Treasury Select Committee. “The bank will need to design, implement and ultimately (manage an) exit from unconventional monetary policy measure in a manner that reinforces public confidence,” Carney said in written testimony to the committee. “The exit needs to be achieved without disrupting the gilts (bonds) market,” he added ahead of the latest decision. Quantitative easing (QE) involves a central bank creating cash to buy assets like government and corporate bonds, with the aim of boosting lending by retail banks and stimulating economic activity. The BoE’s main lending rate has stood at the record-low 0.50 percent since March 2009, when it also embarked upon its radical stimulus policy. — AFP



FAA clears Boeing 787 to restart test flights NTSB pinpoints short circuit in single cell

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: US agencies cleared Boeing Co to restart test flights of its grounded 787 Dreamliner in order to get more data on potentially faulty batteries, but they also demanded a closer look at how the batteries were approved, which may delay resuming delivery of Boeing’s newest aircraft. The 50 Dreamliners in service were grounded worldwide on Jan. 16, after a series of battery incidents, including a fire on board a parked 787 in Boston and an in-flight problem on another plane in Japan. The groundings have cost airlines tens of millions of dollars, with no end in sight. Late on Thursday, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it would allow test flights, under more stringent rules, to monitor the batteries in flight. That followed an earlier, one-time flight to move a 787 from Texas to Washington state. Earlier in the day, Deborah Hersman, head of the US National Transportation Safety Board, said regulators must review the “special conditions” used in approving lithium-ion battery technology on the Dreamliners. “There have now been two battery events resulting in smoke, less than two weeks apart, on two different aircraft,” Hersman said. “The assumptions used to certify the battery must be reconsidered,” she added. Boeing investors took the news in stride, pushing shares slightly higher on the day. Analysts said the market was focusing on the wrong issue: the short-term question of fixing the battery, versus the longer-term prospect that the entire battery system might need to be approved again. If the battery needs to be re-certified, “you’re talking about changes to the 50 they’ve delivered, significant amount of engineering commitment on the 787-9. I see this as still having a significant amount of question marks,” said Ken Herbert, an analyst at Imperial Capital in San Francisco. Boeing shares are 3 percent higher since the 787 was grounded on Jan 16, despite the headaches it has caused the planemaker and the demands for compensation. Even short sellers investors who seek out shares that are likely to fall - have largely left the stock alone. According to Markit’s Data Explorers, just 0.3 percent of shares available for borrowing were being used for short bets as of Wednesday. “The market

is focusing on the battery short circuit, which implies a simple fix,” said Carter Leake, analyst at BB&T Capital Markets. “But they’re missing the much bigger issue, which is the questioning of the certification process. Hersman is basically saying we’re questioning the original certification altogether.” Time to reconsider The NTSB’s Hersman mentioned nine

Boston to one of the battery’s eight cells, but still has not found the root cause of the fire. The NTSB plans to issue an interim factual report in 30 days, though the decision of returning the plane to regular flight rests with the Federal Aviation Administration. In a joint statement, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta reiterated that the FAA’s comprehensive review was

TOKYO: This file picture shows an All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner (bottom) being pulled by a towing tractor at Tokyo’s Haneda airport after a ANA Dreamliner passenger plane made an emergency landing in western Japan when smoke was reportedly seen inside the cockpit. — AFP so-called special conditions the FAA set in 2007 in approving Boeing’s use of the battery, and its plan to allow the battery to burn itself out if it caught fire, because the risk was considered extremely remote. Boeing’s certification tests put the chances of smoke from a 787 battery at one in every 10 million flight hours. “The 787 fleet has accumulated less than 100,000 flight hours yet there have now been two battery events,” Hersman said. The special conditions and the design assumptions are part of a broad review that the FAA launched last month, before the second battery incident. Hersman said the NTSB was not yet making any further recommendations. Hersman also said on Thursday that the NTSB has isolated the source of a Jan. 7 battery fire in

ongoing. “We must finish this work before reaching conclusions about what changes or improvements the FAA should make going forward. The leading experts in this field are working to understand what happened and how we can safely get these aircraft back into service,” they said. In the meantime, analysts have expressed concerns about a build-up of inventory, soaking up several billion dollars of cash, as Boeing continues to produce the 787. “For Boeing, it is encouraging to see that there has been concrete progress in the investigation but the (NTSB’s) point that there is still a long road ahead ultimately appears more important,” said Nick Cunningham, aerospace analyst at UK-based Agency Partners, an independent research firm. —Reuters

BELFAST: In a file picture, a man walks past an Anglo Irish Bank branch in Belfast, Northern Ireland. — AFP

Anglo Irish Bank deal gets ECB green light DUBLIN: Ireland has reached a landmark deal with the European Central Bank to re-structure the massive debts of the former Anglo Irish Bank, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Thursday. “Today’s outcome is a historic step on the road to economic recovery,” Kenny told the Irish parliament. Kenny said the agreement would ensure repayments were reduced and spread over a longer period, reducing pressure on Ireland, which is struggling to recover despite an EU-IMF bailout in 2010. Ireland was determined to lessen the burden from a 31billion-euro ($41.9-billion) promissory note-effectively a high-interest IOU that was pumped into Anglo Irish to rescue it during the financial crisis. Kenny told parliament that with interest, the cost of the deal over its lifetime would have been almost 48 billion euros-they were “a highly onerous and unfair legacy of the banking crisis”. He said: “I am pleased to announce that today Ireland has reached a conclusion to its discussions with the European Central Bank that delivers on our commitment to put in place a fairer and more sustainable arrangement. “Under the agreement... the promissory notes are being exchanged for long-term Irish government bonds with maturities of up to 40 years.” In the early hours of Thursday, Irish lawmakers voted through emergency legislation to liquidate Anglo Irish, which was nationalised in 2009 and is now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Company. Kenny said the deal for Anglo Irish and the former Irish Nationwide Building Society “bookends a tragic chapter in our country’s history” and had removed “stains on our international reputations and dents to our national pride”. The bank’s assets will be transferred to Ireland’s state-run “bad bank”, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). Earlier in Frankfurt, ECB chief Mario Draghi said the board had “unanimously noted” the Irish proposals. The issue of promissory notes has dominated the Irish political landscape in recent months, with many opposition figures calling for the government to default on the next 3.1 billion euros payment that was due in March. Opposition lawmakers slammed the proposals in a heated debate. “You tell us you are going to replace the promissory note with a sovereign bond (with) no write-down whatsoever,” Sinn Fein’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said in response to Kenny. “You have said to every single man, woman and child in this state that they will pay back every single penny of the toxic Anglo debt. — AFP

Indonesia’s Bakries in talks to sell media unit JAKARTA: Indonesia’s politically influential Bakrie family is in talks to sell its majority interest in media unit PT Visi Media Asia to help finance a plan to buy back coal assets from London-listed Bumi Plc, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said yesterday. The move to sell the media assets underscores the Bakrie family’s determination to hang onto its crown jewel, Asia’s biggest thermal coal exporter PT Bumi Resources. The Bakries set up Bumi with British financier Nat Rothschild in 2010, but the two sides fell out and look likely to go their separate ways. The family wants to

swap its 23.8 percent stake in Bumi for part of the minority share in Bumi Resources, buying out the remainder of that asset with $278 million in cash. It would then be out of London-listed Bumi, taking the asset. “It’s a difficult decision for the Bakries but they are rational businessmen and this could be one of the ways to raise funds,” said one of the sources with direct knowledge of the sale plan. The Bakries are offering around a 51 percent stake in Visi Media, which the family controls via its vehicle CMA Indonesia, one of the sources said.

The process has been going on for the past two months with local bidders, including MNC Group, CT Corp and PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi, the sources said. Visi Media CEO Erick Tohir told Reuters he was unaware of the plan. Representatives of the Bakrie family and MNC Group were not immediately available for comment. MNC Group, owned by tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo and the country’s biggest media company, appear to be the leading bidder for the deal, the sources said, adding the winner could be announced over the next few days. The Bakries are

looking for a valuation of $1.2 billion to $2 billion for their media unit, though Visi Media’s current market capitalisation is only $845 million, the sources said. The sources declined to be named because details have not yet been made public. Visi has two national TV stations and a news website. The Bakries have a majority stake. The family scion Abdurizal Bakrie is a contender for next year’s presidential election and head of the powerful Golkar party. Without the TV stations, he will lose what has been an important vehicle for promoting his campaign. — Reuters



US Democrats aim tax, spending cuts at rich Proposals challenge Republicans’ no new taxes cry LEESBURG: Facing government spending cuts that could delay air travelers, pare education programs for the poor and weaken military readiness, Democrats in the US Congress this week sought to shift the deficitreduction burden to the rich. Without congressional action, about $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts are set to begin on March 1. If allowed to continue, they could slow economic growth this year, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The savings, known in Washington as the “sequester,” would cut into most military and domestic programs. Worse, they would be compressed into a short time frame of March 1Sept 30, when Washington’s fiscal year ends. House Democrats have proposed substituting the $85 billion “meat-ax” approach to deficit reduction with a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes, although they acknowledge it is not clear if that will be embraced by President Barack Obama. In a taunt to Republicans who oppose any tax increases to reduce deficits, Democrats are again aiming at squeezing more revenues out of the wealthy to help bring down the debt. It is a gambit they successfully deployed weeks ago when a “fiscal cliff” deal raised around $600 billion over 10 years by letting income tax rates rise on the highest earners. “They (Republicans) have to tell the American people whether they care more about protecting special-interest tax breaks like those for big oil companies or whether they care about defense spending and economic growth,” said Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. He spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of a three-day House Democratic retreat. Most of the Democrats’ savings ideas already have been floated in past legislative debates. Van Hollen, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said that under their plan, tax deductions for the very wealthy would be limited by phasing

Strong franc makes for bitter year for chocolate

NEW YORK: A sale sign sits in the window of a store along Broadway yesterday. — AFP in a 30 percent effective tax rate for those earning more than $1 million a year. This minimum tax would be separate from the income tax hike that started on Jan 1 for households with incomes above $450,000 a year. These added revenues for the Treasury, Van Hollen said, would be further augmented by eliminating a long-held tax break for the profitable oil and gas industry. And on the spending side, Democrats would end government payments to farmers that are largely enjoyed by big agricultural operations. Asked whether he thought Obama would publicly embrace these savings to head off the “sequester” possibly next week in his State of the Union address to Congress, Van Hollen said: “We don’t know exactly.” He added, “There are other things that could be put into the mix” as well. Those, he said, could include cutting the “carried interest” tax break enjoyed by investment managers. It allows mostly affluent individuals to pay a 20 percent capital gains tax rate on a big chunk of their income, rather than the top ordinary income tax rate of about 40 percent. Another Obama

move, Van Hollen said, could be ending a tax break for corporate jets, an idea that was kicked around in 2011 and at one point was supported by some key Republicans. Obama told the meeting of Democrats earlier on Thursday that he is willing to agree to a “big deal” with Congress on spending cuts and tax reforms to end uncertainty over the US budget deficit, but insisted that new revenues be part of the package. ‘Definition of dysfunction’ Republicans, however, are arguing that the window for tax hikes closed after Democrats successfully raised rates on the rich at the start of the new year. “My constituents in Kentucky and the American people,” warned Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, “will not accept another tax increase to put off a spending cut that the two parties have already agreed to. It’s the definition of dysfunction.” McConnell of Kentucky faces a possible Republican primary challenge in 2014 from the more conservative wing of his party. — Reuters

GENEVA: Swiss chocolate makers were left with a bittersweet taste in their mouths last year as a strong Swiss franc melted away the appetite for their products, the top industry body said yesterday. Switzerland’s 18 chocolate manufacturers, including such brands as Lindt, Frey and Faverger, sold 4,000 fewer tons last year than in 2011 as an “overvalued Swiss franc ... made Swiss chocolate products more expensive abroad and made imported chocolate cheaper,” Chocosuisse said in a statement. The chocolate makers saw their sales fall 2.2 percent in terms of quantity to 172,376 tons, while their turnover fell 3.4 percent to 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($1.8 billion, 1.3 billion euros), it said. More than 60 percent of Swiss chocolates are exported, and foreign sales were hit especially hard, Chocosuisse said. In terms of volume, exports fell 2.9 percent to 103,897 tons, while the strong Swiss franc and overall slowdown of the world economy further nibbled away at foreign sales in value terms, which fell 7.3 percent to 760 million francs. Germany is the biggest foreign market for Swiss chocolate, accounting for 18.3 percent of the exports, followed by Britain at 13.8 percent and France at 9.2 percent. Apart from Germany, Britain and Belgium, most of the sector’s European sales fell, the organisation said, adding though that Swiss chocolate had made great strides in places like Bahrain, China, India and Japan. In Switzerland, turnover actually inched up 0.3 percent last year but sales volumes fell 1.2 percent, Chocosuisse said, pointing out that consumers had been dissuaded by “above-average temperatures” while “the decline in tourist numbers compared with the previous year” had also had an impact. In addition, “price-conscious consumers have increasingly been buying the imported products, which have become cheaper as a result of the currency situation,” the organisation said. “In 2013, the Swiss chocolate manufacturers hope to make up for the loss of market share experienced during 2012 on the highly saturated domestic market and to increase export business,” Chocosuisse said. — AFP

Moody’s raises outlook WASHINGTON: Moody’s raised its outlook on Iceland’s Baa3 debt rating to stable from negative Thursday, citing the court ruling in its favor over the long-running Icesave bank case. Moody’s said the European Free Trade Association court’s decision in January that Iceland does not have to use taxpayer money to pay off Dutch and British depositors in the failed Icesave, “frees the Icelandic government of the potentially large costs related to the Icesave dispute with the British and Dutch governments.” Icesave, the online British arm of Icelandic bank Landsbanki which had 340,000 Dutch and British account-holders, went under when tiny Iceland’s bloated financial sector collapsed in 2008 and the country was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. The Hague and London had to step in and shell out 3.9 billion euros ($5.2 billion) to compensate Dutch and British account-

holders. Any claims now have to be directed at the remaining assets of Landsbanki. “The EFTA Court decision is the most favourable possible outcome for the Icelandic government and removes a key negative event risk for the sovereign,” Moody’s said. Moody’s also praised the government’s progress in improving its financial situation as it exits its International Monetary Fund bailout. “The Icelandic economy has clearly emerged from the crisis-induced recession and is now expanding at a reasonable pace. Moody’s expects real GDP growth at around 2.5 percent this year.” “Concerns that the government might not maintain a strict fiscal consolidation path after the termination of the IMF program have lessened significantly as it has continued to reduce the budget deficit, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than agreed with the IMF.” — AFP

MECHELEN: A handout photo shows one of a collection of new stamps tasting and smelling like chocolate. Bpost said it added a chocolate taste to the glue of the stamps. — AFP


Chocolate not yet China’s cup of tea PAGE 27

Chinese world worries that Year of Snake may bite PAGE 25

A pony is pictured as it snows near Warsaw, Poland yesterday. — AFP



he ‘Modern Family’ actress - who has been caught in the middle of a guardianship battle between her mother and her sister recently - will cease to have a private tutor and start attending classes in Los Angeles later this month, according to gossip website TMZ. It was recently decided that Ariel, 14, will remain in her older sister’s custody until at least March. The actress and her family hammered out a new agreement that will allow her to continue living with Shanelle Grey, 34, until a new hearing later this year and her father Glenn Workman was granted temporary control of her assets. Ariel who earns $70,000 per episode - was removed for her mother Chrisoula ‘Chrystal’ Workman’s


custody in October and Child Protection Services (CPS) later reported they found evidence of abuse but she is set to being therapy with her parents, according to her brother Jimmy Workman, 32,. He said: “It looks like the court is going to order therapy to help keep us together as a family. Everything’s holding off and everyone’s going to therapy.” Judge Michael Levanas also told the court he believes the family can resolve their issues. He said: “I believe things are going to get better. I’m thrilled we’re taking that first step.”

he ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actor outbid competitors including Starbucks to buy Seattle based Tully’s Coffee through his company Global Baristas LLC. Declaring victory over Starbucks on Twitter, he wrote: “We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and...SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle! (sic).” He added: “I’m thrilled that we won and I’m even more excited about saving Tully’s Coffee and its hundreds of jobs.” Tully’s Coffee, which also has stores in Washington and California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. Recently, cycling mad Patrick revealed his dreams off opening a cycling shop where other riders can go to hang out. He said: “I’d love to open a bike shop in Mailbu that’s a hangout for cyclists. There’s nothing like that out there.” The 46-year-old actor - who has children Tallulah, 10, and twins Sullivan and Darby, five, with second wife Jillian - is dedicated to cycling, even shaving his legs to improve his performances, and says giving up sex has helped him concentrate on his training ambition to ride 100 miles. He said: “Yes, leg shaving has done wonders for my riding; now that I’m celibate it’s easier to focus on my training plans. Seriously, I want to ride a century; that’s my goal. My longest ride so far is 75 miles.”


he on/off couple have struggled to make their relationship work and recently mutually decided things aren’t working between them. A source said: “Justin and Selena were together for a long time. They love each other and will always care about each other, but it just isn’t working between them. “This might really be it for the two of them. They’re over going back and forth and all the fighting and reconciling. They’re finally coming to understand that no matter how much they try to make it work it won’t right now.” Despite a recent pre-Christmas vacation together in Utah, where Selena, 20 and

18-year-old Justin were spotted skiing, things went wrong for the couple when they jetted to Mexico after the festive season. The insider explained: “Their time in Mexico was much of the same for them, constant arguments and bickering. “So they ended it. Selena is Justin’s first love and he’s still young enough that he desperately tries to make it work. But Selena is mature enough to just know when to end it and be realistic that it isn’t working.”



he ‘Transformers’ star has finally given in and signed up to the social networking site, posting a perplexed-sounding inaugural tweet asking what all the fuss is about. She wrote: “I’m incredibly late to the party but I’m here nonetheless, so what now?” Home bird Megan - who has four-month-old son Noah with her husband Brian Austin Green - has added a description on her page reading “Lover. Healer. Mother.” Fans of the beautiful brunette were quick to rush to her aid and offer advice on how to make the most of Twitter. @Yodasnews posted: “Welcome! Just sit back and relax - read some rants, send some RT Love, etc... (sic)” User @rockerlifecoach suggested: “tell us whats going on. We want to hear your success stories (sic)”. Megan has yet to post another tweet or follow anyone, but the 26-year-old actress already boasts close to 50,000 followers of her own. Her decision to join the site came hours after “RIP Megan Fox” was trending, but she made no mention of the web death hoax. Megan announced the news on her Facebook page, writing: “Against my better judgment, I have finally joined Twitter. Every possible version of my name is already in use so for now my Twitter handle is” She has since changed her name to @MeganFox.


he British supermodel suffered a torn ligament in her leg after she was violently attacked and robbed outside the home of designer Azzedine Alaia in the fourth Arrondissement in Paris in November and sources have told the New York Post’s Page Six her attackers fled the scene on motorbikes. Naomi has been sporting a cast on her leg for the injury sustained after she was set upon by two thugs when she tried to hail a cab in the French capital during the incident. She would not go into detail on the attack but told the paper: “I am sorry, I do not talk to press but I am fine.” The model often stays with the designer - who she refers to as a father figure - when in Paris. The 42-year-old beauty’s billionaire boyfriend, Vladimir Doronin, immediately flew her by private jet to Vail, Colorado, where she was treated by top surgeon J Richard Steadman. Naomi has been using a wheelchair and crutches to get around following the attack, and Vladimir has upped security around her.


he 24-year-old socialite - who is the daughter of billionaire Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone - has put her six-bedroom home in Eaton Square, located in the exclusive district of Belgravia, on the market after purchasing Candy Spelling’s Hollywood mansion in 2011 for £51.1 million. Petra’s 7,995 square feet townhouse is said to have been paid for by her father in 2009 and she shared it with her husband James Stunt and their pet dogs. As well as half a dozen bedrooms it also includes six bathrooms, three receptions and luxuries such as a screening room and air conditioning throughout. Knight Franks Properties, who have listed the mansion, write: “This stunning property enjoys exceptional room proportions and ceiling heights including a grand first floor drawing


he pop star is in the final stages of her pregnancy and is preparing for the arrival of her second child with her husband Sam Cooper. Lily has revealed her spouse has been busy this week creating a compilation of tracks by the now defunct thrash metal band Pantera to listen to while in labour. She wrote on her Twitter account: “My husband is currently making me a Pantera mix cd to take to the birthing suite. #cute (sic)” Pantera’s songs include many raucous highlights such as ‘Mouth For War’, ‘By Demons Be Driven’, ‘Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills’, ‘Use My Third Arm’ and ‘Death Rattle’. Lily - who already has a 13-monthold daughter, Ethel, with Sam - is determined to take it easy while she is waiting for her new arrival. However, her relaxing routine was interrupted when she reached for a sweet and discovered a tin of empty wrappers. She revealed on Twitter: “Which heathen put wrappers back in the quality street tin ? (sic)”

room. “The house also benefits from a cinema room, gym, west facing roof terrace, passenger lift, staff flat, double garage and air conditioning.” Petra’s decision to sell the home comes days after her older sister Tamara, 28, listed her London pad for £19.9 million. Petra recently described the dÈcor of her new home in Los Angeles as “sexy”, but insists she has “masculine” taste when it comes interior design. She said: “I’ve got quite masculine taste ... I don’t like a lot of pattern. [The living] room is the only light room; everything else is very dark and kind of sexy, with, like, a boudoir feel to it. You’re not scared if you stain something.” — Bangshowbiz



he music world gathers in Los Angeles tomorrow for the Grammys, with oddly-punctuated indie pop band fun hoping to win big at the industry’s top awards show-as long as they keep their clothes on. Elton John, Taylor Swift and Mumford and Sons are among a galaxy of stars to take the stage at the Staples Center-albeit with a warning not to show too much flesh. Others in the

Musician Kenny Wayne Sheperd (left) and singer Leann Rimes perform at “Play It Forward: A Celebration of Music’s Evolution and Influencers” at the Grammy Foundation’s 15th Annual Music Preservation Project,Thursday, Feb 7, 2013, in Los Angeles. — AP


otown founder Berry Gordy Jr watched with approval on Thursday as the cast of upcoming Broadway show “Motown: The Musical” tore through the storied record label’s hits at a 42nd Street rehearsal studio. The show traces Gordy’s rise from a struggling boxer and autoworker to a music mogul who made stars of Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and others. “So many other people were telling the story in different ways who were never there and never understood it, just for the sake of exploitation,” Gordy, 83, a producer of the show, told Reuters. The media preview featured hits ranging from The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” - sung as a segregated audience in Birmingham, Alabama, breaks through a rope to hear the group - to “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas. Director Charles Randolph-Wright, who grew up in South Carolina in the 1960s, said Motown was in his DNA. “Motown opened the emotional door to the civil rights movement,” he told Reuters. “Motown is the thing that brought people together. We started dancing to the same music and listening to the same music.” Gordy’s relationship with Ross - the couple had a daughter together - is shown beginning in Paris, to the hit “My Girl” by The Temptations. “That’s the love story in our show,” Randolph-Wright said.

running for Grammys glory include rapper Frank Ocean, the Black Keys, Jack White, Kelly Clarkson and Gotye, while late Indian sitar guru Ravi Shankar is to receive a posthumous lifetime achievement Grammy award. But New York band topped nominations announced in December, shortlisted in six categories including the key ones of best album (“Some Nights”), song (“We are Young”), record (for producers of “We are Young”) and best new artist. If they were to win all four it would be the first time this is achieved in more than 30 years, according to the New York Times. Rap artist Frank Ocean also scored six nominations, including for best album (the critically acclaimed “Channel Orange”), record of the year (“Thinkin Bout You”), best new artist and best urban contemporary album. Ocean caused a stir in the macho and sometimes homophobic realm of hip hop when he revealed in a Tumblr blog prior to the release of “Channel Orange” that he had been involved in a gay relationship. The Grammys are the premier music industry awards in the United States, with no fewer than 81 categories. Winners are determined by voting among members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Also vying for best album are three-time Grammy winners The Black Keys for “El Camino,” British rock-folk group Mumford & Sons for “Babel” and rocker Jack White for “Blunderbuss.” Record of the year contenders also include the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Last year’s Grammys

The musical begins previews on March 11 and officially opens on April 14. It features a book by Gordy and music and lyrics from the Motown catalog. Although the show is from Gordy’s perspective, it doesn’t duck some of the criticism that surrounded him, especially in Motown’s early days, Randolph-Wright said. As Gordy explained: “At one time, people were feeling that how could a black kid from Detroit do a Motown without being a crook, without being in the Mafia, without being something bad, because it was such a big endeavor.” Gordy, the creator of what was once the largest black-owned business in the United States, was an inspiration to him, RandolphWright said. “Berry Gordy was someone who had his own company, who literally changed the world with what he did,” he said. “And to see that, it gave me and so many people like me - black, white, whatever color - that gift of possibility.” Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Gordy, said it was “hard to have a greater honor than having Berry Gordy respect you as an artist.” Valisia LeKae, who appeared in “The Book of Mormon,” plays Ross. “It is the soundtrack of people’s lives,” LeKae said of the music. “I definitely expect people to sing along.” — Reuters


were dominated by British soul songstress Adele, who collected six awards, including album of the year for “21”-only the second woman in Grammy history to collect so many awards in a single go. Nominated for best song this year were British balladeer Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” Miguel’s “Adorn,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Clarkson’s “Stronger,” alongside “We Are Young.” Failing to get any nominations in major Grammy categories were veterans Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Lionel Richie, R & B diva Rihanna, teen idol Justin Bieber and Brit boy band One Dimension. In the Grammy show’s traditional In Memoriam segment, Elton John will join fellow British stars Mumford and Sons and others in paying tribute to Levon Helm, the late drummer and singer with The Band. The three-and-a-half Grammys live telecast starts at 5:00 pm tomorrow (0100 GMT) Monday. On the eve of the show, a leaked letter from US television network CBS-which broadcasts the show live-warned stars not to reveal too much skin on stage tomorrow night. “Please be sure that buttocks and female anatomy is adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack,” it said. The letter continued: “Bare sides or under curvature is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose curves.” — AFP

rance’s Louvre museum shut down one of its galleries yesterday after a woman vandalised an iconic painting by Delacroix by writing on it with a black marker. The 28-year-old woman was apprehended by an attendant late Thursday after scrawling “AE911” on “Liberty Leading the People”, which was on show in the Louvre’s recently-opened satellite branch in the northern former mining town of Lens. It was not immediately clear what the slogan meant. Police detained her and yesterday the museum said it was temporarily closing the wing of the museum in which the painting was being displayed. The Louvre said in a statement that a specialist

art restorer was being sent to the site but that it believed the damage was not significant and could be easily repaired. A prosecutor in the nearby town of Bethune who is handling the case said he had asked for a psychiatric evaluation of the young woman who he said appeared to be “unbalanced”. He said her reasons for defacing the painting were not yet clear. The painting by Delacroix commemorates France’s July Revolution of 1830. It shows a bare-breasted woman personifying Liberty leading the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the French tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other. — AFP

A picture shows carnival characters in Nice, southeastern France. The 129th Nice Carnival, starting from February 15 until March 6, 2013, will celebrate the “King of the five continents”, marking the 140th anniversary of the French Riviera Nice carnival. — AFP


This picture shows a gold snake sculpture, which is made to mark the coming year of the snake, on display at a gold shop in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province.


s Indiana Jones might say: Why did it have to be the Year of the Snake? When the Chinese-speaking world ushers in its new year on Sunday, its 12-year zodiac will turn from the dragon to one of the world’s most despised animals. As undeserved as the snake’s reputation might be, its last two years did not go so well: 2001 was the year of the Sept 11 attacks and 1989 was when Chinese forces crushed pro-democracy protests around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Some wonder if this one also could hold bad tidings. “In Chinese mythology, snakes were often associated with monsters, or with incarnations of monsters, so some political turbulence can be expected,” said Taiwanese astrologer Tsai Shang-chi. Chinese New Year remains the most important festival in the region, a weeklong round of family reunions, temple visits and gastronomic excess. It is Mardi Gras, Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one, marked by the clacking of mahjong tiles and explosions of firecrackers. With businesses and markets hermetically closed, it brings a rare calm to the otherwise frenetic pace of what is arguably the world’s most dynamic economic region. In China, some couples have apparently been trying to schedule their pregnancies to avoid having children born during the snake year, in contrast to the coveted Year of the Dragon. In Beijing, a manager with the government office that arranges appointments with obstetricians said there was a noticeable drop in appointment requests compared to those received as the Year of the Dragon approached, though she offered no firm statistics. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the press. For souvenir makers, snakes have been a tough sell. “Last year, our business was a lot better, because everybody loves the dragon, whatever his or her animal sign,” said Lin Peixiang, who owns the Beixiang Souvenir Factory in the city of Wenzhou. “This year, business is a lot worse, because only those born in the year of the snake love the animal. The snake sign is a symbol of fear. People

This picture shows an actress performing with a snake to celebrate the coming lunar new year of China in Hetian, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

get scared when they see or hear the snake.” But if many fear the snake, some astrologers and masters of feng shui, the Chinese art of arranging objects and choosing dates to improve luck, also see good signs for 2013. Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond Lo is trying to put a positive spin on the year. He points out that according to astrological tables, this year’s variety is the relatively mild “morning dew” type of common water snake, less venomous than recent predecessors. “It’s more moderate, humble and patient,” Lo said of the 2013 snake. He added that he is bullish on the year’s prospects for the world as a whole, and sees good opportunities for economic growth. Still, Lo said, people should probably take precautions against the snake’s traditionally destructive power, perhaps by wearing monkey pendants around their necks. That goes double for anyone born in a year of the snake, he said, like incoming Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Xi’s 1953 birth coincided with the final convulsions of the Korean War. “The monkey is the only animal that really knows how to handle the snake,” Lo said. Tsai is also largely upbeat on the new Chinese year. He believes much-needed liquidity will be injected into struggling world economies, and that babies born over the next 12 months will be both self-motivated and agile. On the down side, he

A diver dressed as a mermaid (right) and Chinese deity of prosperity (left) perform next to a Chinese Lunar New Year of the water snake greeting inside an aquarium at Manila ocean park yesterday.

warned, there could also be massive flooding and tsunamis. The New Year’s season is implacably festive, and people have been out in force in cities across the region in recent days, stocking up on provisions and traditional new year symbols. In Taipei, revelers were particularly enamored of snake-shaped paper lanterns supplied by the municipal government, as well as coins imprinted with snake logos and snake-like toys thought to bring good luck. At the Temple of White Snakes in suburban Taoyuan county, director Lo Chin-shih presided over a glassencased display of dozens of slithering snakes, replete with flashing pink tongues and slowly molting skin, a symbol of change, renewal and hope for a better future. Lo said this snake year will be a time of steady progress, in contrast to the more turbulent nature of the outgoing dragon year. “Unlike dragons that make abrupt, attention-getting moves, snakes take slow and steady steps,” he said, making it clear he considers the hiss of the Year of the Snake worse than its bite. — AP

A woman sells Chinese Lunar New Year of the Snake ornaments in China town in Manila yesterday. — AFP photos


‘Being Mandela:’

Granddaughters dish on show T

he newest reality television show is in some ways like any other: mother and daughters, sibling rivalry, family gossip and talk of Big Grandpa, who is very strict but loves it when his great-grandchildren are around making a racket. But that’s where the twist comes in: Big Grandpa is Nelson Mandela, the antiapartheid legend. “Being Mandela,” a new series premiering tomorrow on COZI TV, invites US audiences into the lives of Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini, the fashionable, 30something granddaughters of Mandela and Winnie MadikizelaMandela. The 94-year-old former South African president, who recently was treated for a lung infection and had surgery to remove gallstones, does not appear in the series but his controversial ex-wife - “Big Mommy”

In this photo, Swati Dlamini (left) and Zaziwe DlaminiManaway, granddaughters of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, speak during an interview in New York. — AP photos

to her grandchildren - does and seems to relish it. If the Mandela clan seems like an odd subject for a reality show, the granddaughters make no apologies. “We get asked this question a lot. Is this not going to tarnish the name and is this not going to be bad for the name?” Swati Dlamini said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York, where she and her sister were promoting the show. “But our grandparents have always said to us, this is our name too, and we can do what we think is best fitting with the name, as long as we treat it with respect and integrity.” The 13-episode first season follows the two women as they try to carry on the family legacy while juggling motherhood in Johannesburg. The sisters, who spent most of their childhood in exile in the United States, make an emotional visit to the prison on Robben Island where their grandfather spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned by South Africa’s whiteruled government. Swati works on publishing the prison diaries that her grandmother wrote but now cannot bear to read. The women, along with two brothers, also become the latest famous names to launch a fashion line, called “Long Walk to Freedom” in honor of their grandfather’s autobiography. Their lives are special and glamorous and they know it. They hope that US audiences - COZI TV is a new network launched by NBC Owned Television Stations - will see a vibrant and modern side of South Africa through their eyes. They also bicker. The family, especially Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, loves to gossip about when Swati, the single mother of a 4-year-old daughter, is going to get married. Swati is furious when Zaziwe, despite being sworn to secrecy, blurts to their grandmother that her sister is dating someone. Zaziwe, 35, is married to an American businessman and has three children. The sisters are the daughters of Zenani Mandela and Prince Thumbumuzi Dlamini of Swaziland. But parents everywhere will delight in seeing that being royal doesn’t help them face toddler tantrums or get older children out of bed and into school uniforms. Big Grandpa and Big Mommy are into the show, the sisters insisted. Mandela will definitely watch it, they said. The Nobel Peace Prize winner apparently sort of likes reality TV. “You’ll be interested to know that he loves Toddlers and Tiarras,” said Swati, laughing in reference to the TLC series about child beauty pageants. “Because of the kids! He just loves children,” Zaziwe added quickly. The sisters said their grandfather is

In this photo, Nelson Mandela, 95, sits holding his great grandson Zen Manaway, 1, at home in Johannesburg, — AP

“happy and healthy.” Zaziwe showed a Feb 2 photograph of Mandela at home, flashing his familiar smile, with his youngest great-grandchild on his lap - Zaziwe’s one-year-old son. The picture is a rare public image of Mandela, whose last appearance on a major stage was during the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. Mandela, who always lamented his long separation from his family during his imprisonment, is happiest these days when his offspring are running around being loud, his granddaughters said. “We’re in and out of the house. We’re loud and he loves the noise,” Zaziwe said. The granddaughters say their grandfather - to the world, a symbol of integrity and magnanimity - holds the family to high standards and sets rules for when the children should be home and when dinner should start. “He’s a very strict person. Most people wouldn’t think that but he really, really is,” Zaziwe said. The sisters are closer to Winnie Madikizela-

Mandela, who divorced Mandela in 1997. Their adoring description of their grandmother as the doting matriarch stands in contrast with her checkered public image. Beloved by many poor urban blacks, MadikizelaMandela also faces accusations that she and her bodyguard unit committed 18 killings in the 1980s. She denies it. “She’s fun. She never says no to us. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my grandmother say no to us,” Zaziwe said. Still, the series shows Big Mommy clearly taking charge of the family. She marches into the hospital room where Zaziwe gave birth to Zen with a list of possible names for the baby boy. The sisters say it was only after Mandela retired from public life that they started to get to know their grandfather. “Our grandfather always told us that he belongs to the country and he’s of service to the country and he doesn’t belong to us as a family. And that’s the sacrifice he’s made for the country and that what he’s told us as far as I can remember,” Swati said. — AP


This picture shows people taking photos of a chocolate-made Mona Lisa painting at the Chocolate Happy Land in Shanghai. — AFP photos

This picture shows people admiring a chocolate-made statue at the Chocolate Happy Land in Shanghai.

Chocolate not yet China’s cup of tea M

ichelangelo’s David stands proud next to the Eiffel Tower in a Chinese display, flanked by the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army-all made of chocolate. The edible exhibit reflects not only how badly confectionery sellers want to reach the world’s most populous country, but also what tremendous effort it takes. China’s increasingly wealthy shoppers have enthusiastically embraced global trends from coffee to Hollywood films to smartphones, and become the world’s largest market for goods from beer to cars. Yet when it comes to chocolate the average Chinese-having little sweet tooth or familiarity with itonly consumes 100 grams a year, the equivalent of two Snickers bars. By comparison the Japanese eat 11 times more chocolate, Americans 44 times, and Germans 82 times as much, market research firm Euromonitor said in a report in November. “The chocolate market is in its infancy and it’s still there even 30 years” after the country opened up to the world, said industry expert Lawrence Allen, adding that “it was totally foreign to the palate of the people at the time”. Overall retail sales in China have risen an average 17 percent annually for the past five years and the fast-growing country’s luxury market is projected to grow 20 percent a year for the next decade. That makes the expansion in chocolate sales-projected at 10 percent through 2015 — look torpid by comparison. But Allen, the author of Chocolate Fortunes: The Battle for the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Chinese Consumers, and others are optimistic that the treat will take

root in China as exposure spreads. Raphael Wermuth, spokesman for Swiss-based chocolate maker Barry Callebaut, cited the way China embraced the foreign habit of drinking coffee. The trend has grown so popular-thanks largely to the cachet of coffee shops, rather than the taste of the drink-that China is set to become Starbucks’ second-largest market next year. Many companies are trying to capitalise on Chinese preferences for luxuries and gift-giving by rebranding chocolate as a premium indulgence, a classy present and a mark of taste and international flair. The Italian brand Ferrero Rocher, which achieved fame in the West with its “ambassador’s reception” advertisements, is set to enjoy the fastest jump in market share for the second year in a row in 2012, Euromonitor said in November. It had 8.4 percent of the Chinese market in 2012, up by almost a third in just two years. The high-end Belgian brand Godiva said its lavish gift setscreated for specific holidays-have tapped into the tradition of exchanging presents. “Chinese people are very much into gift-giving for all sorts of holidays and festivals,” said its regional managing director John Holmberg. “We’re having very, very good success with these key festivals with Chinese consumers.” For China’s biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year that begins February 10, Godiva’s best-selling 18-piece gift box-featuring tea-flavoured ganache and snake designs representing the year’s zodiac animal-sells for 488 yuan ($78). An “Overflowing Fortune” gift basket priced at 3,980 yuan includes

This picture shows chocolate-made ancient Terracotta Army.

Marilyn Monroe to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Winged Victory of Samothrace. The rival Chocolate Wonderland fair offers a runway show featuring gowns with chocolate pieces and areas for couples to pose for photos nestled between the word “love” in English and a huge heart. Both displays-which are fighting in court over claims of imitationopened as temporary exhibits just in time for the prime gift-giving occasions of Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day. At Wonderland visitors are told that chocolate serves as the perfect gift in many ways, with a pamphlet saying that different types convey different messages, much the way flowers do. Dark chocolate,

This picture shows people admiring a chocolate-made classic car.

This picture shows people taking photos before the chocolatemade Leaning Tower of Pisa.

a bottle of wine and dark chocolate syrup. In Shanghai, the Chocolate Happy Land exhibition boasts edible re-creations of world-renowned icons of refinement, glamour and heritage, from a giant Mona Lisa and

the leaflet explains, tells recipients that “I appreciate your independent spirit and hope I can become a partner worthy of your trust”, while mint chocolate says: “You are the ideal lover of my dreams”. — AFP


Korean designers bring Asian influence to NY Fashion Week


hether it is sexy and sophisticated, colorful and playful or bold and edgy, Korean fashion designers showing their fall and winter 2013 collections at New York Fashion Week on Thursday brought an Asian flair to the runway. Five designers selected to be part of the Concept Korea project to showcase Korean talent proved the nation’s fashion industry is thriving with tailored, razor-sharp cuts, creative use of color and fabrics, whimsical patterns and architectural shapes. “I want to tell the story of our culture,” said Lie Sang Bong, who has been a designing for 32 years and is showing for the fifth time at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, which runs through Feb 14.

The antique window panes of Korean houses are an interweaving motif in his collection-in patterns on dresses and blouses and cutouts in tailored coats and jackets. His designs, mainly in blacks, greens and grays with accenting colors, are architectural. Many pieces have overlapping panels, accent sleeves and fine tailoring and are reversible. “In the end I believe the story I am trying to tell is in the fashion,” he said through an interpreter ahead of the show. Contrasts, nature, graffiti All the designers who were chosen by a panel of experts to be part of the government-sponsored program are well established in Korea and elsewhere, but showing in New York enables them to expand their

brands. “It’s an opportunity for me to market myself to an international audience,” said Son Jung Wan, a former artist who describes her clothes as “sexy, fierce and luxurious.” Her designs are feminine in shades of gray, beige and eggplant with fitted jackets accenting the waist, trousers with slim, sheer panels running down the leg, coats and dresses with soft fur sleeves and lots of knits. Choiboko, a designer for 40 years, looked to nature for his latest collection. His bold print appliques in red, greens and blues are reminiscent of primitive Korean cave art. The appliques are a sharp contrast on the structured coats, jackets, dresses and trousers in shades of black and white. “The human body is my canvas and I create art on the canvas,” he explained. Hongbum Kim, who designs under his label Cres.E Dim., used soft, detailed leather for his military style jackets and coats, and lots of layering. A sleeveless coat was transformed when it was layered with an overlaying top with sleeves. He combined leather, silk and sheer fabric in a slinky black evening gown with a pleated back. The designs were rigid yet soft with leather topped skirts flowing into fluid pleats that reached the floor. Each look in the collection had three different textures. Kathleen Kye, a 26-year-old American-born designer who studied at Central Saint Martin’s in London and now lives in Seoul, is the youngest of the Concept Korea designers. Her Kye label is already a favorite with retailers such as Harvey Nichols in London and K-pop stars in Korea. Kye used plenty of neoprene with designs inspired by boxes and graffiti for her unisex boxy tops, leggings and even shoes for a total head-to-toe look. Although the inspiration for the show came from unemployed, homeless youth in Korea, Kye’s collection was youthful and fun with bright pale blue coats and jackets and casual leggings and tops. “We always chose a theme that is slightly unconventional,” she said. — Reuters

Swirling lights are projected on a wall before the Concept Korea show during the MercedesBenz Fashion Week Fall 2013 collections on February 7, 2013 in New York. — AFP photos

Models wear designs by Kye in the Concept Korea show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2013 show.


In this photo, Helianny Garcia uses crutches as she parades down the catwalk during the Bionic Fashion show at the Metropolitan Cultural Center in Quito, Ecuador. —AP

Arli Mujica uses crutches as she walks down the catwalk during the Bionic Fashion show.

Cancer survivors star at fashion show in Ecuador J

ust minutes before showtime, the neophyte models fidgeted nervously as helpers rushed to put the final touches on makeup and adjust the clothes. But when the time came, the 15 young women and men, each in turn, headed down the catwalk - some gracefully, others a little more challenged by the artificial limbs they all use after surviving cancer. The

models came from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to be part of the Day of Bionic Fashion event, which was organized by the Youth Against Cancer Foundation. “Parading is my little victory, a dream, a big goal accomplished,” said Diana Armijos, an amputee who participated in Tuesday night’s event while also in the final

Yulexi Chevez is assisted as she parades down the catwalk using her prosthetic leg.

week of pregnancy. “I dedicate it to my baby because before the show I had to go to a medical appointment and then come to the parade.” With TV cameramen and other journalists crowded along the runway, the models drew applause, smiles and repeated congratulations. “We were all very tired, very nervous to get out in front of so many people, but it went very

well,” Armijos said. Youth Against Cancer said the fashion show was arranged to broaden the horizons of young people with cancer. “We want to fulfill the dreams of young people with cancer,” said the foundation’s director, Gustavo Davila. “No matter what their life expectancy, they are entitled to keep dreaming until the end, to be treated with dignity.” — AP

Cintia Caraguay, is helped with a dress as she prepares to model a creation.



AOL shows signs of revival on advertising growth WASHINGTON: AOL is showing signs of revival with gains in advertising, a key toward the reinvention of the former Internet star as a media firm. AOL said yesterday profits in the fourth quarter jumped 57 percent from a year earlier to $35.7 million, led by a rise in ad revenues. Total revenues were up four percent from a year earlier to $599.5 million, in what the company said was the first time revenue grew year-over-year in eight years. That was led by advertising, which

saw a 13 percent in revenue growth. “AOL returned to growth and generated significant value for shareholders in 2012,” said Tim Armstrong, chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “AOL has strong momentum entering 2013 and is positioned to continue on our growth path by executing our strategy to build the next generation media and technology company.” AOL, formerly known as America Online, has been struggling since the collapse of its leadership as an Internet subscription service, and has been seek-

ing to become a more diversified Web firm. It fused with news and entertainment giant Time Warner in 2001 at the height of the dotcom boom in what is considered one of the most disastrous mergers ever. It was spun off by Time Warner in December 2009 into an independent company and has been struggling since then as it tries to focus on media and news. Its operations include the Huffington Post news site, technology news site TechCrunch, the local news operation

Patch, Moviefone and AOL shares leapt higher by 8.2 percent to $34 at the market open. Victor Anthony at Topeka Capital Markers said the shares may “react positively off the headline revenue outperformance” and profit growth, but added that “we would have liked to see growth in domestic display (advertising) as evidence that AOL can fully compete with Google and Facebook.” Anthony added that a spinoff of the struggling Internet access arm called AOL Networks “would be a catalyst.” — AFP

NY Times making more from readers than advertising NEW YORK: The New York Times Company said Thursday that its revenue from readers and subscribers overtook that of advertising for the first time in 2012, as the media group reported a boost in profits. The company, which is shifting focus from print to digital, said its fourth quarter profit more than tripled to $176.9 million, though most of that came from a $164 million gain on the sale of its stake in an online jobs website. Nevertheless, the company beat most forecasts with a profit amounting to 32 cents a share, excluding special items, and revenues increasing 5.2 percent to $575 million in the period. For the full year, the group posted a profit of $133 million, compared with a loss of $39.7 million in 2011. Mark Thompson, the former BBC chief who became president and chief executive at the Times last November, claimed progress, noting that the number of digital subscribers grew 13 percent in the quarter to 668,000. “2012 showed both the opportunities and challenges we face as a company,” he said in a statement. “We saw continued strong growth in digital subscriptions as well as increased revenue from our large print circulation base. “For the first time in our history, annual circulation revenues surpassed those from advertising. Our pay model continued to prove itself.” The company said paid subscribers to The Times and the International Herald Tribune rose 13 percent to 640,000 by the end of the fourth quarter. Its Boston Globe unit had 28,000 paid digital subscribers, up eight percent over the the third quarter of 2012. For 2012, the company’s circulation revenues rose to $954 million, outstripping the $898 million from advertising. Thompson said the figures showed “the demonstrated willingness of users here and around the world to pay for the high quality journalism for which The New York Times and the company’s other titles are renowned.” By contrast, “the advertising environment remained challenging in the fourth quarter.” The company ended the year with $955 million in cash and short-term investments. In March 2011, The Times began charging for full access to and it launched a subscription-only website for the Boston Globe later that year. Thompson, in a conference call with analysts, cited “the very extensive use of outside the US” with “minimal marketing activity” and said this could provide growth. “We think that the potential to tap into larger reservoirs of potential users and subscribers is there,” he said. “We’re doing the work, trying to figure out region by region and country by country where the best opportunities are.” The group said circulation revenues are projected to increase in the mid-single digits in the first quarter of 2013 because of digital subscription initiatives and a rise in the newspaper’s price in the first quarter of 2013. Shares in the company rallied 3.3 percent to close at $8.51 on the news, while analysts gave a mixed response. Media analyst Ken Doctor, at the research firm Outsell, said the news group “isn’t being pushed backward, it’s just not making much forward progress. Financially, it’s essentially flat, or a tad worse.” But he maintained that the digital strategy appears to be working so far.”It’s clear how much can be gained through smart introduction of metered paywalls. It’s unclear how much circulation revenue growth can be had in the third year plus,” he noted. Kannan Venkateshwar, at Barclays, said the results were “better than our expectations” and predicted that the company will outperform most of its peers. —AFP

NAIROBI: An undated photo of Abu Mansoor al-Amriki [C] aka “the American” taken at an undisclosed location is seen on a computer screen in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday. Once his reputation was of a feared fighter, an American born extremist who left small town Alabama to wage war alongside Al-Qaeda linked Somali Islamists and who called on other foreigners to join. — AFP

An American jihadi with few friends left Has split from insurgents, who want to kill him NAIROBI: Once his reputation was of a feared fighter, an American-born extremist who left small town Alabama to wage war alongside Al-Qaeda-linked Somali Islamists and who called on other foreigners to join. Today, Omar Hamami-better known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki or “the American”-has split from the insurgents, who want to kill him. He cuts a forlorn figure: homesick, stuck somewhere in Somalia, and telling anyone who will listen about his apparently doomed career path. “Amriki would like to accept the honour of most wanted list and thanks everyone,” he said in a message on Twitter in November following his listing by the FBI on their Most Wanted Terrorists list. He spends his days denouncing his former Shebab colleagues as corrupt. He refers to himself as the “former poster boy” of the group. “War booty is eaten by the top dogs, but the guys who won it are jailed for touching it,” Amriki says in one message on Twitter. It is a sharp turnaround for a man who once issued rap videos aimed at recruiting foreign fighters. While the Twitter account claiming to be Amriki’s cannot be verified as genuine, photographs posted on it show the 28-yearold posing with automatic rifles, his lank hair

held back by a checked headscarf. One image, shows him riding a cart pulled by a floppy eared donkey “More luxurious lives of the rich and fame-seeking,” the title reads. Another shows him holding a paper sign scrawled with the date as though a proof of life sign that neither drone strikes-or more likely, Shebab he has fallen out with-have managed to execute him. He also chats with Western researchers on extremism and terrorism via Twitter, apparently jokingly asking if they may “ever consider switching sides?” “I’d miss the music, bikinis and bacon too much,” the reply comes from one. “I see your bikinis and raise your four wives in this life, 72 in next!” Amriki swiftly replied, as gambling in a poker game. Another message, in reply as to whether he might go to Mali to support Islamist fighters there, Amriki ponders whether they “could use some new raps”, like the songs he penned for Somalia. The Shebab, who once controlled swathes of southern Somalia before losing a string of key towns to African Union troops and government forces in recent months, have good reason to want him dead. Amriki, reportedly based in Somalia since late 2006, talks of factional infighting between those keen to fol-

low an international Islamist agenda-such as foreign fighters following Al-Qaeda ideologies-and those following more Somali nationalist agendas. He accuses Shebab commanders of betraying the former presumed chief of AlQaeda in east Africa, Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, leading to his killing in 2011 in Somalia. Fazul is thought to have planned the massive US embassy truck bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and had a $5 million bounty on his head. In turn, the Shebab have accused Amriki of “spreading discord and disunity”, accuse him of a “narcissistic pursuit of fame” and have threatened to kill him. Certainly, Amriki appears gloomy on Twitter, grumbling that there was “still no real beneficial analysis from anyone” after the release of his rambling autobiography posted online titled “The Story of An American Jihadi”. Amriki, who grew up in the town of Daphne in Alabama, was raised by a southern Baptist mother with Irish roots and a Muslim father with a Syrian background. His autobiography, written thousands of miles (kilometres) from his hometown, details how he came top in Bible school, misses his family, and craves Chinese takeaways, amongst other foods. —AFP



Christie again vetoes NJ’s Internet gambling law ATLANTIC CITY: Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Thursday that would have made New Jersey the third state to legalize gambling over the Internet, but said he would sign it if it had a 10-year trial period and a higher tax rate on casinos. It was the second time since 2011 that the Republican governor has vetoed an Internet-betting bill passed by the New Jersey Legislature. But the path Christie laid out toward winning his approval heartened supporters of online gambling, including Atlantic City’s 12 casinos, numerous online betting companies and state lawmakers who hope to make the seaside resort a nationwide hub for Internet gambling. Nevada and Delaware have passed laws legalizing Internet betting, which also is going on offshore, untaxed and unregulated. In a statement that read more like an endorsement than a veto, Christie said he supports online gambling, with some minor changes, including bumping up the tax rate on casinos’ online winnings from 10 percent to 15 percent. “Now is the time for our state to move forward, again leading the way for the nation, by becoming one of the first states to permit Internet gaming,” Christie wrote. “While Atlantic City’s reputation and stature as one of


in brief

Facebook software SAN FRANCISCO: A Facebook software problem on Thursday temporarily sidelined websites synched to a feature that lets people’s identities at the leading social network follow them around the Internet. A Facebook Connect software glitch caused social network members trying to visit any of a wide array of websites including NBC News, CNN and The Washington Post to be routed to an error page. Connect lets outside websites synch with the social network so people can do things such as post “Likes” or comments back to friends, or log in using their Facebook identities. The problem reportedly affected people logged in at Facebook who tried to visit websites synched to the Connect feature. “For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people logging in with Facebook from third-party sites to,” the California-based social network said in an email statement. Microsoft wins patent case SAN FRANCISCO: A federal judge on Thursday tossed out more than a dozen patent infringement claims filed against Microsoft by Google-owned Motorola Mobility. US District Court Judge James Robart, in Microsoft’s home state of Washington, sided with the software colossus, dismissing 13 claims of infringement on a trio of Motorola patents involving digital video encoding and decoding, according to court records. The Motorola patents were evidently not specific enough regarding the computer code involved, according to the documents. The decision significantly narrowed the case. If the remaining claims survive a similar legal challenge, Microsoft would likely be entitled to pay a reasonable rate to license what is considered a “standards-essential” technology, according to intellectual property specialist Florian Mueller, of ‘Furby’ toy online scam BANGKOK: Police say Thailand’s craze for the fluffy, owl-like robotic toy “Furby” has led to an online scam that cost dozens of victims a combined $200,000. Police Col. Piya Charoensuk says a Thai woman was arrested for allegedly running the scam in which more than 60 buyers filed complaints.He says the scam swindled people out of an estimated 6 million baht ($200,000). Piya said Friday that the case stemmed from complaints against a 16-year-old girl who posted an advertisement for the toys on the photo-sharing site Instagram but never delivered any products.

the premier resort destinations on the East Coast are well-chronicled, it is no secret that revenue from the region’s most important industries, gaming and tourism, has been in decline. “Since the beginning of my administration, I have stressed the importance of reversing the trend of economic contraction in Atlantic City and have made the revitalization of the region’s gaming and tourism industries a key priority,” Christie said. Had Christie signed the bill, it would have represented the largest expansion of legalized gambling in New Jersey since the first casino opened there in 1978. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, one of the state’s staunchest supporters of Internet gambling, said he was encouraged by Christie’s comments and predicted the changes the governor wants could be quickly accomplished in a new bill. Assemblyman John Amodeo predicted a new bill could pass by the end of March, saying, “the governor’s expressed concerns can easily be addressed.” Internet gambling based in Atlantic City would “pump hundreds of millions of dollars into its ailing revenues, and will prevent the closing of at least one casino and save thousands of jobs,” Lesniak said. “New Jersey will now have an opportunity to be the Silicon

Valley of Internet gaming and reap the huge economic benefits that will flow into the state.” Joseph Brennan Jr., director of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, an online gambling trade association, was about as happy as someone whose key bill was just vetoed could be. “The changes Gov. Christie has asked for show his commitment to New Jersey becoming the leader in iGaming,” he said. “The protections they put in place are consistent with the governor’s long-held desire to make New Jersey the epicenter of a safe and secure online gaming industry. There is still a little work to do, but this is a major victory.” The extra money online gambling would bring is needed as Atlantic City continues to lose market share, revenue and jobs to casinos in neighboring states. Since 2006, New Jersey’s casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion to just over $3 billion last year. In his comments to the Legislature, Christie, a former federal prosecutor, gave insight into the issues he’d been wrestling with regarding Internet gambling. He acknowledged that some experts “caution that this type of convenience gaming will lead to declines in tourism, and a loss of visitors to the region.”—AP

Investor sues Apple, wants more cash NEW YORK: With its annual meeting looming and its stock on the decline, Apple is facing a rebellion from an influential investor who wants the company to stop stockpiling cash and give it to shareholders instead. Greenlight Capital said Thursday that it is suing Apple in a New York federal court over the company’s proposal to make it more difficult for it to issue preferred stock. David Einhorn, who heads the investment fund, said the proposal would close down one avenue for Apple to reward shareholders with more cash. Preferred stock is designed primarily as a way for companies to deliver a fixed income to shareholders. It differs from common stock, which generally doesn’t promise a regular flow of income but rather is a wager on a company’s long-term growth. Apple is still the world’s most valuable company, but its stock has lost 35 percent of its value since September, as it’s become obvious that its once-rapid growth has slowed down. The company is fabulously profitable, and Wall Street wants the company to share more of that money with its shareholders rather than tucking it away in low-yielding bank accounts. “Apple has $145 per share of cash on its balance sheet. As a shareholder, this is your money,” Einhorn said in a letter to the company. He has a history of criticizing companies publicly, often after shorting their stocks. In a statement Thursday, Apple said its management and board continue “active discussions” about what to do with the money, and it will take Einhorn’s proposal into consideration. Its $137 billion in cash makes up nearly a third of Apple’s stock market value. Shares of the Cupertino, Calif., company traded at $456.95 in the late afternoon, up $2.25, or 0.5 percent, from Wednesday’s close. Corporations normally don’t hoard cash the way Apple does. They keep enough on hand for immediate needs, and either invest the rest in their operations or hand it out to

shareholders in the form of dividends or stock buybacks. If they need more cash for, say, an acquisition, they borrow it. Einhorn told CNBC on Thursday that Apple was acting like his grandmother “Roz,” who grew up during the Great Depression. People who’ve experienced financial trauma, he said “sometimes feel like they can never have enough cash.” Roz was so careful about saving money, Einhorn said, that she never left messages on his answering machine out of concern that she’d be charged for the call. Einhorn’s criticism hints at Apple’s lean years in the mid-90s. Former CEO Steve Jobs came out of that experience with a very tight hold on

the company’s purse strings. Apple has never explained its reasons for hoarding the cash other than to say it is preserving its options. Since his death in Oct. 2011, Apple has begun paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share and started to repurchase some of its shares. Analysts say the company should be doing more if it wants to lure investors back to its shares. Stuart Jeffrey at Nomura Securities calculates that Apple will generate about another $103 billion over three years to add to the $137 billion it has now, but it has only committed to returning $45 billion of this $240 billion in total cash to shareholders.—AP

ENSCHEDE: Picture taken on February 5, 2013 in Paris at the “Impossible Project Space Paris” shows materials for traditional Polaroid cameras made by Impossible project. In October 2008 “The Impossible Project” saved the last Polaroid production plant for integral instant film in Enschede, Netherlands, and started to invent and produce totally new instant film materials for traditional Polaroid cameras. — AFP

TV listings


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Animal Cops South Africa Crime Scene Wild I’m Alive Wildest Africa Shark Feeding Frenzy Whale Wars: Viking Shores Call Of The Wildman Escape To Chimp Eden Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Wildlife SOS Meerkat Manor Dogs 101 Crocodile Hunter Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Extraordinary Dogs The Really Wild Show Wildest Arctic Wildest Africa Wildest Islands Mutant Planet Mutant Planet Lions Of Crocodile River Wildest Arctic My Cat From Hell Karina: Wild On Safari

00:00 Homes Under The Hammer 00:50 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 02:10 Come Dine With Me 02:55 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 03:20 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 03:45 MasterChef 04:35 House Swap 05:20 Living In The Sun 06:10 Homes Under The Hammer 07:00 Homes Under The Hammer 07:55 The Hairy Bikers USA 08:20 Homes Under The Hammer 09:10 Homes Under The Hammer 10:00 Homes Under The Hammer 10:50 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 11:15 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 11:40 Come Dine With Me 12:30 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 13:25 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 14:15 New Scandinavian Cooking 14:45 The Hairy Bikers USA 15:10 The Hairy Bikers USA 15:35 Antiques Roadshow 16:30 Bargain Hunt 17:15 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 18:35 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 19:55 Come Dine With Me: Supersize 21:30 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt

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THE EAGLE ON OSN ACTION HD 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:15 18:30 19:00 19:10 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:10 22:30 23:00 23:10 23:30

BBC World News Our World BBC World News Final Score BBC World News Fast Track BBC World News Sport Today Click BBC World News My Country BBC World News Dateline London BBC World News BBC World News BBC World News World Features Middle East Business Report BBC World News World Features Spirit Of Yachting

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Taz-Mania Pink Panther And Pals Moomins Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Puppy In My Pocket Wacky Races Looney Tunes Duck Dodgers Dastardly And Muttley Dexter’s Laboratory Wacky Races Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show Bananas In Pyjamas Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Lazy Town

09:00 Krypto The Superdog 09:25 Bananas In Pyjamas 09:40 Cartoonito Tales 09:55 Ha Ha Hairies 10:10 Jelly Jamm 10:25 Gerald McBoing Boing 10:45 Lazy Town 11:05 Krypto The Superdog 11:30 Baby Looney Tunes 11:55 Ha Ha Hairies 12:20 Jelly Jamm 12:45 Gerald McBoing Boing 13:10 Lazy Town 13:35 Krypto The Superdog 14:00 Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood 15:15 Johnny Bravo 20:30 Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood 21:45 Johnny Bravo 22:40 Puppy In My Pocket 23:05 The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop 23:30 The Addams Family 23:55 Droopy: Master Detective

00:40 Chowder 01:30 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 01:55 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:20 Foster’s Home For... 02:45 Foster’s Home For... 03:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 04:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 04:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Powerpuff Girls 05:40 Generator Rex 06:05 Ben 10 06:30 Ben 10 06:55 Angelo Rules

07:00 Casper’s Scare School 07:30 Casper’s Scare School 08:00 Grim Adventures Of... 08:45 Total Drama Island 09:10 Total Drama Island 09:35 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 09:55 Level Up 10:15 Transformers Prime 10:35 Ben 10: Omniverse 11:00 Thundercats 11:25 Mucha Lucha 11:50 Adventure Time 12:40 Regular Show 13:35 The Amazing World Of Gumball 14:20 Johnny Test 15:10 Total Drama Island 15:35 Total Drama Island 16:00 Level Up 16:25 Level Up 16:50 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:15 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:40 Transformers Prime 18:30 Hero 108 18:55 Hero 108 19:20 The Amazing World Of Gumball 19:45 Adventure Time 20:35 Regular Show 21:00 Mucha Lucha 21:25 Total Drama Island 21:50 Total Drama Island 22:15 Grim Adventures Of... 23:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 23:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 23:50 The Powerpuff Girls

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Amanpour

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Fast N’ Loud Jesse James: Outlaw Garage American Chopper Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Guns Mythbusters Magic Of Science Time Warp Life On A Wire Air Jaws 2 Ultimate Survival Animal Cops South Africa Fast N’ Loud Around The World In 80 Ways Gold Rush Gold Divers Sons Of Guns

00:40 Junkyard Wars 01:35 The Gadget Show 02:00 The Gadget Show 02:25 Weird Or What? 03:15 Sci-Fi Science 03:45 Tech Toys 360 04:10 Tech Toys 360 04:35 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 05:25 Engineered 06:15 Sport Science 07:05 Meteorite Men 08:00 Tech Toys 360 08:25 Tech Toys 360 08:50 Stunt Junkies 09:15 Stunt Junkies 09:40 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 10:30 Finding Bigfoot 11:25 The X-Testers 11:50 The X-Testers 12:15 NASA’s Unexplained Files 13:10 Weird Connections 13:35 Weird Connections 14:00 Weird Or What? 14:50 Sci-Fi Science 15:20 Da Vinci’s Machines 16:10 Weird Or What? 17:00 Tech Toys 360 17:25 Tech Toys 360 17:55 Superships 18:45 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 19:35 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 20:00 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 20:30 Meteorite Men 21:20 Weird Or What?

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Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 Meteorite Men Dark Matters

00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:30 03:55 04:20 04:45 05:10 05:35 06:00 06:25 06:40 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:05 08:20 08:30 08:45 09:10 09:35 10:00 10:25 10:50 11:15 12:40 12:55 13:15 13:20 13:40 13:45 14:05 14:10 14:30 14:35 14:45 14:55 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 16:51 17:00 18:15 18:30 18:45 18:55 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:35 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 22:30 22:55 Cody 23:20 Cody 23:45

Hannah Montana Forever Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Suite Life On Deck A.N.T. Farm Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Fish Hooks Fish Hooks Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Jessie Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm Gravity Falls Toy Story Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Minnie And You Suite Life On Deck Minnie And You Good Luck Charlie Minnie And You Gravity Falls Minnie And You Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Minnie And You Gravity Falls Shake It Up Austin And Ally Phineas And Ferb Fish Hooks Fish Hooks Phineas And Ferb Prank Stars Prank Stars Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Shake It Up Austin And Ally Prank Stars Prank Stars A.N.T. Farm Jessie Jessie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie The Suite Life Of Zack And The Suite Life Of Zack And Stitch

00:00 Scouted 00:55 Style Star 01:25 THS 02:20 THS 03:15 Behind The Scenes 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 E!es 05:05 E!es 06:00 Christina Aguilera 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 10:15 E!es 11:10 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Scouted 14:05 Giuliana & Bill 15:00 Giuliana & Bill 16:00 Opening Act 17:00 Opening Act 18:00 E! News 19:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 20:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:00 Married To Jonas

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2013 21:30 Fashion Police 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately

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

Heat Seekers Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Andy Bates American Street

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I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab Fatal Encounters Ghost Lab I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab Murder Shift Killer Outbreaks Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Murder Shift Disappeared Killer Outbreaks Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Murder Shift Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill Blood Relatives I Married A Mobster

Andy Bates American Street Unwrapped Andy Bates American Street Andy Bates American Street Heat Seekers Heat Seekers Kid In A Candy Store Unique Sweets Charly’s Cake Angels Chopped Iron Chef America Unwrapped Unwrapped Food Network Challenge Kid In A Candy Store Unwrapped United Tastes Of America Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To Cooking For Real Easy Chinese: San Francisco Easy Chinese Mexican Made Easy Mexican Made Easy Iron Chef America Tyler’s Ultimate Unique Sweets Unique Sweets World Cafe Asia Easy Chinese: San Francisco Easy Chinese United Tastes Of America Chopped Barefoot Contessa - Back To

Kuruvita 02:05 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 02:35 On Surfari 03:00 On Surfari 03:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 03:55 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 04:25 Amish: Out of Order 05:20 Bondi Rescue 05:45 Bondi Rescue 06:15 Walking The World 07:10 Departures 08:05 Departures 09:00 Treks In A Wild World 09:55 Treks In A Wild World 10:50 Amish: Out of Order 11:45 Travel Madness 12:10 Travel Madness 12:40 On Surfari 13:05 On Surfari 13:35 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 14:00 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 2 14:30 Amish: Out of Order 15:25 Banged Up Abroad 16:20 Departures 17:15 Treks In A Wild World 18:10 Treks In A Wild World 19:05 Bondi Rescue 19:30 Bondi Rescue 20:00 Walking The World 21:00 Departures 22:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:25 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:55 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 23:50 By Any Means

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Amphibious-18 The Rite-18 The Eagle-PG15 Season Of The Witch-PG15 Anaconda-PG15 Legendary Assassin-PG15 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15

14:00 Anaconda-PG15 16:00 True Justice: Vengeance Is Mine-PG15 18:00 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15 20:00 Wake Wood-18 22:00 Aeon Flux-PG15

01:00 Tyrannosaur-18 03:00 Quest For Zhu-PG 05:00 Horrid Henry-PG 07:00 Elevator Girl-PG15 09:00 Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown-PG 10:00 Unmatched-PG15 11:00 Quest For Zhu-PG 12:30 Feed The Fish-PG15 14:30 Relative Stranger-PG15 16:30 John Carter-PG15 19:00 Return-PG15 21:00 One Day-18 23:00 Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 The League 02:00 South Park 02:30 Eastbound & Down 03:00 Parks And Recreation 03:30 2 Broke Girls 04:00 Less Than Perfect 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Til Death 06:00 Seinfeld 06:30 Hope & Faith 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Less Than Perfect 08:30 Parks And Recreation 09:00 Til Death 09:30 30 Rock 10:00 Modern Family

Barefoot Contessa - Back To Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Andy Bates American Street Tyler’s Ultimate Guy’s Big Bite Chopped Chopped Chef Hunter Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

00:45 Amish: Out of Order 01:40 My Sri Lanka With Peter

10:30 Hope & Faith 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Seinfeld 12:30 Less Than Perfect 13:00 Til Death 13:30 Hope & Faith 14:00 2 Broke Girls 14:30 Modern Family 15:00 30 Rock 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Seinfeld 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Parks And Recreation 18:30 Baby Daddy 19:00 The Neighbors 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:00 Eastbound & Down 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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Castle Damages Damages Bunheads American Idol Castle Bunheads Emmerdale Coronation Street One Tree Hill Glee American Idol Bunheads Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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One Tree Hill Castle Emmerdale Coronation Street One Tree Hill Criminal Minds C.S.I. Miami Strike Back The Killing

00:00 Amphibious-18 02:00 The Rite-18 04:00 The Eagle-PG15 06:00 Season Of The Witch-PG15 08:00 Anaconda-PG15 10:00 Legendary Assassin-PG15 12:00 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15 14:00 Anaconda-PG15 16:00 True Justice: Vengeance Is Mine-PG15 18:00 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15 20:00 Wake Wood-18 22:00 Aeon Flux-PG15

00:00 The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou-PG15 02:00 High Fidelity-PG15 04:00 Cars 2-FAM 06:00 Zookeeper-PG15 08:00 Scooby-Doo-PG 10:00 12 Dates Of Christmas-PG15 12:00 Cars 2-FAM 14:00 Scooby-Doo! Curse Of The Lake Monster-PG 16:00 12 Dates Of Christmas-PG15 18:00 The Winning Season-PG15 20:00 No Strings Attached-18 22:00 Extract-PG15

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00:30 Anonymous-18 03:00 Johnny English Reborn-PG15 05:00 Marion Jones: Press PausePG15 06:15 War Horse-PG15 09:00 Larry Crowne-PG15 11:00 Green Lantern-PG15 13:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked-PG 14:30 Justin Bieber: Never Say NeverPG 16:15 Larry Crowne-PG15 18:00 Tower Heist-PG15 20:00 The Samaritan-18 22:00 Chloe-R 23:45 Marley-PG15

01:00 A Venetian Rascal Goes To America-FAM 02:45 A Monster In Paris-PG15 04:30 The Three Bears: The Amazing Adventurers-FAM 06:00 Princess Lillifee-FAM 08:00 Teo: The Intergalactic Hunter-PG 10:00 Cats Don’t Dance-FAM 11:15 Battle For Terra-PG 12:45 The Three Bears: The Amazing Adventurers-FAM 14:15 Cheaper By The Dozen-PG 16:00 Arthur And The Revenge Of Maltazard-PG 18:00 Cats Don’t Dance-FAM 20:00 Return To Halloweentown-PG 22:00 Arthur And The Revenge Of Maltazard-PG 23:45 Teo: The Intergalactic Hunter-PG


00:00 MSNBC Martin Bashir 01:00 MSNBC Hardball With Chris Matthews 02:00 MSNBC Politicsnation 03:00 Live NBC Nightly News 03:30 ABC World News With Diane Sawyer 04:00 MSNBC The Ed Show

05:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 06:00 MSNBC The Last Word W/ Lawrence O’Donnell 07:00 NBC Nightly News 07:30 ABC World News With Diane Sawyer 08:00 NBC Nightly News 08:38 ABC Nightline 09:06 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 10:00 MSNBC The Ed Show 11:00 MSNBC Morning Joe 14:00 MSNBC Caught On Camera 15:00 Live NBC Saturday Today Show 17:00 MSNBC Up With Chris Hayes Saturday 18:57 Live MSNBC Hardball With Chris Matthews 19:38 Live MSNBC The Ed Show 20:19 Live MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 21:00 Live ABC 20/20 22:00 MSNBC Weekends With Alex Witt Saturday

00:00 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol-PG15 02:15 Source Code-PG15 04:00 A Monster In Paris-PG 06:00 The Hairy Tooth Fairy 2-PG 08:00 A Mother’s Choice-PG15 10:00 Source Code-PG15 11:45 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15 14:00 Melinda And Melinda-PG15 16:00 A Mother’s Choice-PG15 18:00 Dolphin Tale-PG 20:00 The Samaritan-18 22:00 The Change Up-18

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NFL Gameday Super League Top 14 ICC Cricket 360 PGA Tour Highlights ICC Cricket 360 Top 14 European Tour Weekly Live European PGA Tour ICC Cricket 360 Rugby League Trans World Sport Live PGA Tour Inside The PGA Tour Live PGA Tour

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UFC The Ultimate Fighter WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT Trans World Sport Top 14 Futbol Mundial Super League Live Rugby League NRL ICC Cricket 360 Trans World Sport Top 14 Live Top 14 Super League Live Super League Rugby League NRL

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Trans World Sport Top 14 Dubai World Cup Carnival European PGA Tour Pro 12 Super League Rugby League Premier League Darts Total Rugby Trans World Sport Live Pro 12

00:00 UAE National Race Day Series 01:00 NHL 03:00 Ping Pong World Championships 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 NHL 07:00 WWE SmackDown 09:00 WWE Bottom Line 10:00 WWE Vintage Collection 11:00 NHL 13:00 UAE National Race Day Series 14:00 WWE SmackDown 16:00 WWE Bottom Line 17:00 UFC 156 20:00 UFC TUF 21:00 WWE SmackDown 23:00 WWE Bottom Line


CGS at AUK hosts ‘A Portrait of Low Income Migrants in Qatar’


he Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) hosted a public lecture entitled “A Portrait of Low Income Migrants in Qatar: New Data from a Large-Scale Survey.” by Dr Andrew M. Gardner, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Puget Sound. In his talk, Dr. Gardner outlined the details of his comprehensive study (funded by the Qatar National Research Fund as part of the National Priorities Research Program) on migrant, low-income laborers (classified as workers earning 2000 Qatari Riyals or less per month), the purpose of the study, and its initial findings. The study conducted used a sample of 1,189 low-income migrants. They were interviewed about a range of aspects concerning their national and cultural backgrounds, their employment, their housing, and their treatment. The results of the survey revealed that 90 percent of migrant workers had their passports confiscated by their sponsors upon their arrival to Qatar. The lowincome laborers all had to pay for their work visas to be able to work in Qatar, with an average cost of the visa amounting to $1031 USD. Other key findings were that 21 percent of those surveyed claimed

they received their salaries either sometimes, rarely, or never on time. The results also suggested that small but significant percentages of the population reported having insufficient supplies of water, power, or air-conditioning. One key purpose of the study was to analyze trends between the nationalities and religions of the low-income migrants and their overall treatment under employment in Qatar. The findings showed ‘Arab’ low-income migrants earned slightly higher wages, worked less hours, and shared their living spaces with fewer people than their ‘South Asian’ counterparts. Dr Gardner explained that this correlation

could possibly be attributed to similarities in culture and language. The study revealed an inconsistent process of applying for visas outside of Qatar, allowing for exploitation and misinformation to occur. The study also revealed areas where there is room for improvement, specifically in the treatment of the migrant workers, and the respect of their basic human rights, as is the case with the confiscation of their passports. The Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) at the American University of Kuwait aims to promote greater cultural understanding of and increased intellectual interest in the Gulf, by facilitating free and open academic discourse on a range of issues that both shape and challenge this critical region of the world. The goal of CGS is to enable scholars as well as political and civil society actors both within and outside the region to contribute and add value to the burgeoning field of Gulf Studies, while at the same time informing and engaging the general public. To this end, the CGS encourages, supports, and cultivates interesting and original research on the Gulf, while regularly organizing a variety of public academic events such as lectures, roundtable discussions, and conferences.


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

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Canadian Embassy in Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visa and immigration matters including enquiries is conducted by the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE Individuals who are interested in working, studying, visiting or immigrating to Canada should contact the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, website: or, Email: The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakei St, Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 7:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed for lunch from 12:30 to 13:00. Consular services for Canadian citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00, Sunday through Wednesday. nnnnnnn


PC and all its branches is opening FREE Arabic Language Course for non-Arab LADIES accessible in beginners and advance levels. Classes will commence from March 1st till June 2013. Islamic and Quran courses are alos presented in different languages. Registration is on! Call the nearest IPC branch: Rawdah: Offers 2 alternatives for Leval 1 - Call: 22512257 1. Once a week class (4 - month course) 2. Twice a week class (2 - month course) Salmiyah: 25733263 / 97533263 Kheitan: 24730137 / 99285459 Mangaf: 23720931 Jahra: 90003931


NPIS Hawally holds puppet show


PIS Hawally has always emphasized the importance of extracurricular activities in imparting education, especially to the little ones. Through entertaining programs, education is made pleasing pursuit for them. A fascinating puppet show held on Jan 31, 2013 for KG to class 4 was memorable as it combined fun and amusement with education. The show mesmerized the kids who watched it

with keen interest, curiosity and zeal. The hallmark of the show was the lesson of speaking the truth, conveyed through an enactment of the famous story, “The boy who cried wolf”. This puppet show was the result of strenuous efforts of the concerned teachers and management who utilized all their skill and talent to make this program a well-appreciated and applauded venture.

Kuwait Pavendar Khazhagam celebrated its 5th kalam on Feb 1, 2013 at Kanyakumari Restaurant premises in Mirqab.

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform the Kenyan community residents throughout Kuwait and the general public that the Embassy has acquired new office telephone numbers as follows: 25353982, 25353985 - Consular’s enquiries 25353987 - Fax Our Email address: nnnnnnn

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


Jabriya Indian School bids farewell to Class XII students


t was an evening of mixed emotions for all present at the Jabriya Indian School auditorium on Feb 28 to witness the official send off for the class XII students at the valedictory ceremony 2013.The ambience of farewell resonated with the dignitaries being escorted to the auditorium. The chief guest was the Ambassador of India to Kuwait Satish C Mehta, whose presence was of great honour and inspiration. The evening, organised with meticulous perfection, commenced with a procession of the class XII students who walked in solemnly to take their seats - an awe-inspiring sight with all present visibly moved at the sanctity and enormity of the occasion. The program began with recitation from the Holy Quran after which the school principal, Shobha Vaddadhi warmly greeted and welcomed the guests in her address. The august gathering included M Mathews, the chairman of the school, Mr Abdulla Al Sabej, the owner of the school, Mr D.K.Sharma, the school manager, Mrs Asha Sharma, principal of Learners’ own Academy, Mrs Susan Roy, principal of United Indian School, Ms Bushra ,Ministry of private education, parents and

well-wishers among others. The main event was the distribution of the course completion certificates which were received by the students who looked scholarly in their graduating robes and caps. Certificates and medals were also presented

to those students who had topped the school, in various subjects in the class XII examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi in March 2012. To add colour and vibrancy to the pro-

gram, there was the smartly turned out school choir, who presented melodious songs sung in unison and the popular event of the evening was the semi-classical dance, depicting very clearly the message, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on to the ground. Climb the stairways to the star one step at a time . . . .” The speech of the head boy and head girl, was filled with gratitude and emotion as they recollected their wonderful days at JIS. In his valedictory address, the chief guest expressed his happiness, to see that today’s young generation of JIS and was very happy with their achievements. He reiterated that there is a possibility of course correction at any point in the process of learning if one, feels that they are not satisfied with what they are doing. He exhorted the students to face the world fearlessly and to never give up .With this attitude they will definitely reach their goals. The management, principal, viceprincipals and the staff wished the children all the best to conquer the peaks and bring laurels to everyone around them. It was indeed a day to be cherished by all as it was a hallmark of joy and solemnity.

Pakistan Embassy marks Kashmir Solidarity Day


o express solidarity with the people of Kashmir for their courage and continued struggle for the right of self-determination, a special ceremony was held on Tuesday, Feb 5 at Pakistan Embassy in which large number of people from Pakistani community and officials of the embassy participated. The ceremony began with a recitation from the Holy Quran. The messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out to the participants. These messages reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to stand by Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle against foreign occupation. The President, in his message, said that Kashmiris have remained resolute and steadfast in the face of

oppression spanning over six decades. He said Pakistan believes that the use of force, coercion and violation of basic human rights can never succeed in suppressing an indigenous struggle for a just cause. The Prime Minister, in his message on the occasion, said that Pakistan had always supported dialogue with the government of India and initiated confidence building measures in good faith and hope that these would mitigate the suffering of the Kashmiri people and lead to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Ambassador lftekhar Aziz, in his address, highlighted the significance of the Kashmir Solidarity Day and

Pakistan’s efforts to secure a solution to the long-standing Kashmir dispute. He stressed upon the support of the international community especially the Muslim countries in resolving the Kashmir dispute as per UN resolutions. Pakistan was committed to extending full moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri people till the realization of their right to self-determination, he added. A documentary film, highlighting the peaceful protests of the unarmed Kashmiris against the occupation forces was also shown to the audience. Brochures and articles related to Kashmir issue were also distributed. The ceremony ended with collective prayers for the success of the Kashmir struggle and peace and prosperity of Pakistan.



Birth defects among multiples on the rise Single embryo transfers ‘better option’ ULSTER: The number of birth defects among multiple births such as twins and triplets increased nearly two-fold in a score of European countries over a 24year-period, according to an international study. Researchers writing in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology used data on more than 5.4 million births occurring between 1984 and 2007 to find that congenital defects rose from around 6 in every 10,000 multiple births to about 11 in every 10,000 multiples. “The importance of knowing this is twofold,” said senior author Helen Dolk, from the Centre for Maternal Fetal and Infant Research at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. “First, to make sure we have appropriate services available for mothers and babies. The second is to understand the relationship,” she added. Dolk said she and her fellow researchers knew multiple births were

on the rise and that those babies were at an increased risk for birth defects. For the study, they looked at the trends in births in 14 European nations between 1984 and 2007. Of the 5.4 million births, the number of multiple births increased by about 50 percent over that time. Ultimately, 3 percent of the births were multiple births. Of the 148,359 major birth defects within those births, about 4 percent occurred in babies who were multiples. Over the 24-year period, though the number of birth defects among multiples about doubled, with a peal between the years 2000 and 2003 of some 12 birth defects per 10,000 multiple births. The largest increase was in birth defects not caused by chromosomal abnormalities, such as physical deformations - which increased from about 6 per 10,000 multiple births between 1985 to 1987 to about 11 per 10,000 multiples at

the end of the study. Compared to the births of singletons - or just one baby - the risk of birth defects was about 27 percent higher for multiples. Some of the rise may be attributed to the increased use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is known to come with an increased risk of anomalies, the researchers said. They wrote that people going through the IVF process might consider only transferring one embryo into the womb. While this might not cut down on the risk of birth defects, it could affect the pregnancy outcome and put less of a strain on parents and resources. “The fundamental message remains: the risks are low. Most babies are born healthy from multiple births or (IVF), but there are a number of reasons why single embryo transfers is a better option than multiple embryo transfer,” Dolk said. — Reuters

‘Horse lasagne’ sparks new British food scare LONDON: British authorities warned the public Thursday not to eat beef lasagne sold by the Findus brand and made in France after tests found it contained up to 100 percent horse meat. In the latest in a string of food scares in Britain, the Food Standards Agency said that “criminal activity” was likely to blame and ordered further tests on the meat for a veterinary drug. Findus tested 18 of its beef lasagne products manufactured by supplier Comigel in France and found 11 meals

containing 60 percent to 100 percent horse meat, the agency said. “Findus withdrew the beef lasagne products after its French supplier, Comigel, raised concerns about the type of meat used in the lasagne,” the agency said in a statement. The agency said tests on the lasagne were ordered “as part of its ongoing investigation into mislabelled meat.” “We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk.” But it said it had ordered further tests

US still pursuing unified health record for soldiers, veterans WASHINGTON: The US government is still working toward creating a unified electronic health record for troops and veterans, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress on Thursday, two days after announcing a change in the approach criticized by lawmakers. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs said on Tuesday they were going to focus on integrating VA and Defense Department data using existing computer systems, rather than a previous plan to create a single, $4 billion computer system from scratch by 2017. Health records of military personnel are not automatically transferred to the VA once those personnel leave active duty and enter the VA healthcare system. Officials said Tuesday’s revised plan would save hundreds of millions of dollars and allow the Pentagon and the VA to reach goals faster, which would mean veterans and troops could start downloading key health data in standardized formats that both departments can use by next January. But the news stoked

concern in Congress, with lawmakers saying the Pentagon and VA were changing course. “The decision by DOD and VA to turn their backs on a truly integrated electronic health record system is deeply troubling,” said Jeff Miller, the Republican head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Panetta told lawmakers during a Senate hearing Thursday that “our intent is obviously to continue working on” creating a unified health record. “But what we wanted to do was to create this inter-operability sooner and on a faster track so we could provide the information doctors need in order to be able to create some symmetry between Defense and the Veterans Administration,” Panetta said. A U.S. defense official, commenting after Thursday’s hearing, told Reuters that although the VA and Pentagon systems would become increasingly integrated in order to eventually create a single unified record, plans to create a single system from the ground up had indeed been scrapped. —Reuters

on the suspect lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, as animals treated with it are not allowed to enter the food chain in Britain. The agency’s chief executive Catherine Brown said it was an “appalling” situation”. “I have to say that that the two cases of gross contamination that we see here indicates that it is highly likely there has been criminal and fraudulent activity involved,” she told BBC news. She added: “We are demanding that food businesses conduct authenticity tests on all beef products, such as beef burgers, meatballs and lasagne, and provide the results to the FSA. “The tests will be for the presence of significant levels of horse meat.” Findus UK apologised to customers. “We understand this it is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue,” a spokesman said. The spokesman added that “fully compliant beef lasagne will be in stores again soon.” It is the latest horsemeat-related scare after horse DNA was found two weeks ago in beefburgers in Britain and Ireland, countries where horse meat consumption is generally taboo. Two weeks ago, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) had revealed that up to 29 percent of the meat content of some beefburgers was in fact horse, while they also found pig DNA. The frozen burgers were on sale in high-street supermarket chains Tesco and Iceland in both Britain and Ireland, and in Irish branches of Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes Stores. The consumption of horse meat is more common in parts of Europe including France and in central Asia, China and Latin America. — AFP

PHNOM PENH: A Cambodian worker carries ducks from a pickup truck at a market in Phnom Penh yesterday. A fiveyear-old Cambodian girl has died from bird flu, bringing the country’s toll from the deadly virus to five so far this year, the World Health Organization said. — AFP

Longer span between mammograms fine for older women SAN FRANCISCO: Screening women over 65 for breast cancer each year doesn’t catch any more early tumors than screening every other year, but it does lead to more false positives, according to a US study. The findings, which appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are based on more than 140,000 older women included in five mammogram registries across the United States. “Just having a false positive result means having the potential anxiety and inconvenience of having to undergo additional procedures,” said Dejana Braithwaite from the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study. Others agreed. “This study clearly tells us that screening every two years may be more appropriate than screening women every year,” said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS). However, he noted, there are other studies that suggest that annual mammograms are the way to go, even among older women. Mammography guidelines from the ACS call for women to be screened for breast cancer every year, starting at age 40. The US Preventive Services Task Force, on the other hand, recommends biennial screening for women ages 50 to 74, saying there’s not enough evidence to recommend for or against mammograms for those aged 75 and older. For the study, Braithwaite and her colleagues followed women aged 66 through 89 for seven years. During that time, about 3,000 were diagnosed with breast cancer and 138,000 remained cancer-free. Among women with breast cancer, a similar proportion had invasive or advanced stage tumors, regardless of whether they had been screened every year or every other year leading up to their diagnosis. About two-thirds of those women were screened annually. However, between 47 and 50 percent of women who were screened annually had a false positive mammogram at some point during the study period, compared to 26 to 30 percent of those screened biennially. —Reuters



information SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2013

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

22418714 22545171 24810598 22545171 24742838 22434853 22545051 24711433 24316983 23927002 24316983 23980088 23711183 23262845 25610011 25616368

Hospitals Sabah Hospital


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Clinics Rabiya














Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally




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MATRIMONIAL Australian man new in Kuwait turn Muslim looking for a Kuwaiti lady must fear God and come from a good family, widow or divorcee no problem. Email: (C 4302) 9-2-2013 LOST State Life Insurance Policy # 633000165 ñ Name: Ali and Policy # 633000317 Maqsood Ali, 63003044 Framan Ali, has been lost. Finder may please contact SLIC office No: 2245208-9. (C 4296) 3-2-2014



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(C 4294)


I, Mrs Angela Tito D/o Francisco Xavier Tito holder of Indian Passport No: G9944134, has changed my name from Angela Tito to Angela Pinto. (C 4300) I, Mr Anthony Tito S/o Xavier Tito holder of Indian Passport No: Z2182382, has changed my name from Anthony Tito to Anthony Pinto. (C 4300) 5-2-2013 I, Rulesh Julesh Ayare holder of Indian Passport No: J2020606, hereby change my name to Rulesh Julesh Fereira. (C 4297) 4-2-2013

SITUATION WANTED PhD holder (Malaysian citizen) with 12 years R&D experience seeking academic, research or consultancy positions in the area of IT/ Computer Engineering, Data Mining etc. Available for appointments between 2-15 Feb 2013. Call 97298545 for details. (C 4298) 4-2-2013 MBA Finance, B.Com & ACCA (Fundamental) with 5 years of Accounts experience in Kuwait, looking for suitable position in well established company or MNC. If anyone has any opportunity or can refer me to any company I would be thankful. Contact: 55829223 or Email: (C 4285) 3-2-2014




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information SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2013



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Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

C R O S S W O R D 9 5

ACROSS 1. Cleaning implement consisting of absorbent material fastened to a handle. 4. A disk of cartilage that serves as a cushion between the ends of bones that meet at a point. 12. A boy or man. 15. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 16. Joyful and proud especially because of triumph or success. 17. One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 18. United States anarchist (born in Italy) who with Bartolomeo Vanzetti was convicted of murder and in spite of world-wide protest was executed (1891-1927). 19. Any plant of the genus Ammobium having yellow flowers and silvery foliage. 20. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 21. A final crushing defeat. 24. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 26. In a resentful manner. 28. A small shelter for domestic animals (as sheep or pigeons). 31. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. 32. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 33. An association of people to promote the welfare of senior citizens. 37. United States tennis player who was the first Black to win United States and English singles championships (1943-1993). 38. Having a long narrow cut. 40. A male servant (especially a footman). 42. A kind of pain. 44. The act of scanning. 46. Sports equipment that is worn on the feet to enable the wearer to glide along on wheels and to be propelled by the alternate actions of the legs. 47. A port in southwestern Scotland. 48. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 50. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 52. (informal) Of very poor quality. 53. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 55. The compass point that is one point east of due south. 57. A state in northwestern North America. 58. (Sumerian) Goddess personifying the primeval sea. 61. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 62. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 64. A decree that prohibits something. 65. A public promotion of some product or service. 67. A member of a nomadic people of the northern Ural mountains. 70. A radioactive transuranic metallic element. 75. A resource. 76. Moths whose larvae are cutworms. 79. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 80. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 81. Russian composer of orchestral and piano music (1872-1915). 82. A barrier constructed to contain the flow or water or to keep out the sea.

Daily SuDoku

83. Having any of numerous bright or strong colors reminiscent of the color of blood or cherries or tomatoes or rubies. 84. A waterway that feeds water to a mill or water wheel or turbine. 85. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. Flat tableland with steep edges. 2. A translucent mineral consisting of hydrated silica of variable color. 3. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 4. The sound made by a cat (or any sound resembling this). 5. (combining form) Former. 6. The social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed. 7. Being nine more than forty. 8. The beginning of anything. 9. A garment made of camlet fabric. 10. Without moral standards or principles. 11. A simple seat without a back or arms. 12. Being three more than fifty. 13. Largest known toad species. 14. Fallow deer. 22. A bachelor's degree in library science. 23. Motivation based on ideas of right and wrong. 25. Having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions. 27. Noisy talk. 29. A member of the nomadic Ugrian people living in northwestern Siberia (east of the Ural mountains). 30. Coming next after the second and just before the fourth in position. 34. Jordan's port. 35. Document giving the tax collector information about the taxpayer's tax liability. 36. Septicemia caused by pus-forming bacteria released from an abscess. 39. (military) Signal to turn the lights out. 41. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 43. Mentally or physically infirm with age. 45. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 49. A metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables. 51. Of or relating to the head. 54. Type genus of the Anatidae. 56. A fraudulent business scheme. 59. (Hinduism or Buddhism) A sacred word or syllable repeated in prayer or meditation. 60. Not paid. 63. Having come or been brought to a conclusion. 66. (Irish) Chief god of the Tuatha De Danann. 68. An officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer. 69. A gonadotropic hormone that is secreted by the anterior pituitary. 71. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 72. Mentally healthy. 73. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 74. God of love and erotic desire. 77. (informal) Of the highest quality. 78. 4-wheeled motor vehicle.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

Yesterday’s Solution



Armstrong hit with lawsuit over bonus payouts WASHINGTON: Lance Armstrong could be forced to testify under oath about his doping after a US insurance firm filed a lawsuit Thursday demanding the disgraced US cyclist return $12 million in bonus money payments. Texas-based SCA Promotions paid the now admitted dope cheat bonus money for his Tour de France triumphs after insuring his victories and wants him to repay it because he was stripped of his record seven Tour titles last year. “It is time now for Mr Armstrong to face the consequences of his actions. This includes returning all of the funds paid to him by SCA, which totals more than $12 million,” the lawsuit said. “Mr Armstrong has no legal right to retain any prize money paid to him by SCA because he is not the official winner of any Tour de France titles.” The 35page state court filing in Dallas would deliver a financial blow as well as put Armstrong under oath about the doping scandal that ruined his cancercomeback story and tainted his Livestrong Foundation charity work. “Lance Armstrong perpetuated what

may well be the most outrageous, cold-hearted and elaborate lie in the history of sports,” the lawsuit said. Armstrong was banned for life when the US Anti-Doping Agency found overwhelming evidence that he was at the heart of a sophisticated doping scheme when his US Postal Service team dominated the Tour de France. “Even Lance could not cycle up the mountain of evidence gathered by USADA,” the lawsuit said. After years of what the lawsuit called a “wall of deceit”, Armstrong confessed last month to US talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs in sweeping Tour titles from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong had previously sued SCA and won after the firm delayed his 2005 bonus payment because of reports the American had used performance-enhancing drugs. “We think there are several avenues for us to seek recovery on this,” SCA attorney Jeff Dorough told AFP. “Armstrong and his lawyers said flat out at that time that if he was ever stripped of the titles, they would pay

the money back,” Dorough said. “We’re just seeking to hold them to their promises.” Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani cited details of a 2006 settlement agreement between SCA and Armstrong in saying that the firm had no recourse to reclaim the money. “We are going to let the settlement agreement speak for itself. It is very clear on this point,” Fabiani told AFP. “The language of the agreement clearly bars SCA from wriggling out of the agreement.” The settlement, in which SCA agrees to pay Armstrong $7.5 million, says in part that “no party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside the arbitration award.” The lawsuit asks that the arbitration award be vacated because Armstrong lied under oath. “While he lied to everyone, Lance Armstrong lied to SCA in shocking fashion: while testifying under oath in a legal proceeding,” the court document said. “His perjury went well beyond simply denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. Instead, he lied aggressively, repeatedly and

without remorse under oath in an effort to create the aura that he was a ‘clean rider.’” The lawsuit also quotes Armstrong attorney Tim Herman as saying in the prior court case that, “if titles are stripped as a result of official action, then (Armstrong) agrees to refund any payments made.” “If the titles are stripped, then there’s an obligation to return the money and we don’t dispute that,” Herman was also quoted as saying. SCA wants Armstrong held to those statements. “Now that he has been exposed and stripped of those titles, it is time to make him live up to what he said,” the lawsuit said. Armstrong also faces a lawsuit from former US Postal teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping but says Armstrong violated terms of a sponsorship deal with US Postal by using banned drugs. ABC News has reported that federal agents are investigating Armstrong for crimes including obstruction of justice, witness tampering and intimidation. — AFP

Tough times ahead for some F1 teams DOHA: Cyclists compete in the last stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar, from Cyline beach to the Doha Cornich, yesterday. Isle of Man racer Mark Cavendish, of the Omega Pharma team, sealed overall victory on the Tour of Qatar after winning the sixth and final stage. — AFP

Cavendish cruises to victory in Qatar DOHA: Isle of Man racer Mark Cavendish, of the Omega Pharma team, sealed overall victory on the Tour of Qatar yesterday after winning the sixth and final stage on the Doha Corniche. The 2011 world champion won the 116.5-kilometre ride from Sealine Beach to Doha in a sprint finish ahead of Yauheni Hutarovich of Belarus and Barry Markus of the Netherlands. It was Cavendish’s eighth stage win in total on the Tour of Qatar, and his fourth in as many days, and it came about despite him suffering a fall 15 kilometres in to the day. He finishes top of the overall standings ahead of two American riders from the BMC team in the shape of Brent Bookwalter and Taylor Phinney, who emerged with the jersey for the best young rider. “I’m over the moon,” said Cavendish, who also wins the race points jersey and praised his teammates for helping him in his push to victory. “We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen, but he’s recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous. “But I’m really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day. “I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team again.” No rider had ever won four consecutive stages on the Tour of Qatar, although Belgian Boonen, a four-time winner of the Tour, won four stages in 2007, if not all in succession. Boonen was unable to defend his title this year due to an elbow injury. — AFP

LONDON: Formula One must bring rising costs under control to help struggling teams race on in tough economic circumstances, even if talk of impending crisis is wide of the mark, principals agree. The folding of Spanish-based HRT since the end of last season owed as much to the economic troubles of the team’s debt-stricken homeland as to its lack of success on the track but it still flashed up warning signs. “What one hears is that a lot of teams are facing a challenging financial situation, some more and some less,” Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told Reuters at this week’s first pre-season test in Jerez. “You have to react in some way or other to get the costs down because we are still at a level where maybe if we adapt in some ways you could still have more teams in there,” she added. HRT’s departure has left 11 teams and 22 cars on the grid, still a relatively healthy number with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone telling Reuters in December that he would be perfectly happy with 10 teams. Some new sponsors have appeared on the 2013 cars making their test debut in Spain this week, such as BlackBerry with Mercedes, but there is no obvious clamour of major global companies looking to come in. If all looks rosy - or purple thanks to a changed livery reflecting new title sponsor Infiniti - at champions Red Bull under the ownership of Austrian energy drinks billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, it is less healthy elsewhere. All the teams are European-based and there are regular whispers and rumours about a number of them struggling with budgets,

particularly with rising costs associated with a completely new V6 engine and rule changes scheduled for 2014. “We’ve taken some measures but I still think it is going to be tough for some of the teams to have a viable business model for a few years,” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters. Marussia’s John Booth, whose tail-end team have the smallest estimated annual budget of around $60 million, detected echoes from a few years back when the exit of major car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and BMW led to a ‘resource restriction agreement’ that has since lapsed. “It (the sport) had to come to its senses a little bit,” he told Reuters. “Maybe we are going through that period again. “I don’t think it’s a crisis, (but) maybe re-alignment is required.” Formula One, whose planned $3 billion flotation was put on hold last year, is to

all appearances a money-spinner that was expected to generate revenues of $2 billion in 2012. Yet much of that cash flows out of the increasingly global sport, whose European heartland is suffering and whose teams have for years demanded a far greater share of the revenues. There has been some unease at the amount of time it took for the Nuerburgring to agree a deal to host this year’s German Grand Prix, with the home race for Red Bull’s triple champion Sebastian Vettel on July 7 being finalised only late last month. A 20th slot on the calendar, left empty for an unspecified European round after the postponement to 2014 of a planned grand prix in New Jersey, has gone unfilled - although there is a waiting list outside Europe for future races - after Turkey baulked at the price and finances proved an obstacle elsewhere. —Reuters

JAREZ: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during a test at the Jerez racetrack in southern Spain, yesterday. — AP



NBA results/standings Boston 116, LA Lakers 95; Denver 128, Chicago 96.

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division

NY Knicks Brooklyn Boston Philadelphia Toronto

W 31 29 26 21 17

Indiana Chicago Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland

31 29 25 18 15

Miami Atlanta Orlando Washington Charlotte

32 27 14 13 11

L 16 20 23 27 32

PCT .660 .592 .531 .438 .347

GB 3 6 10.5 15

Central Division 19 .620 20 .592 23 .521 32 .360 34 .306

1.5 5 13 15.5

Southeast Division 14 .696 21 .563 6 35 .286 19.5 35 .271 20 37 .229 22

Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 37 12 .755 Denver 32 18 .640 5.5 Utah 28 22 .560 9.5 Portland 25 24 .510 12 Minnesota 18 28 .391 17.5 Pacific Division 16 .686 19 .612 27 .460 33 .340 33 .340

LA Clippers Golden State LA Lakers Phoenix Sacramento

35 30 23 17 17

San Antonio Memphis Houston Dallas New Orleans

39 30 27 21 16

4 11.5 17.5 17.5

Southwest Division 11 .780 18 .625 8 24 .529 12.5 28 .429 17.5 33 .327 22.5

Nuggets tame Bulls for 8th straight win

Celtics crush Lakers as Howard fouls out

DENVER: The Denver Nuggets rolled to their eighth successive win with a 128-96 demolition of the Chicago Bulls at home on Thursday. Denver improved to 32-18 on the season with victory over the Bulls (29-20), who were blown away by a third-quarter blitz. Leading by just five at halftime, the home side posted 37 points in the third term while holding the Bulls to just 16, ending the game as a contest. Wilson Chandler led the way from the bench for the Nuggets with 24 points, including 5-for-5 from three-point range, while Kenneth Faried added 21 points and 12 rebounds. “Most of our offense was created by good defensive plays,” Denver coach George Karl said. “Wilson got the threeball in the game for us, Kenneth had that great energy and we were an unselfish team. Wilson and Kenneth... what a performance.” For Faried, his team’s latest impressive display represented a message to the rest of the NBA. “Playing against a good Chicago Bulls team, this was our best game of the season,” Faried told reporters. “We are getting out there and we tried to make a statement tonight. “I came out with the mindset to dominate. I wanted to come out, make a statement and Wilson did the same thing. Nationally televised game and we did what we had to do tonight.” Somewhere between Jason Terry’s 25foot three pointer in the first half and Dwight Howard fouling out in the fourth quarter, Los Angeles realized this wasn’t going to be their evening. The short-handed Boston Celtics steamrolled the Lakers 116-95 on Thursday behind a potent offence, including Paul Pierce’s 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jeff Green scored 19 points off the bench, while Terry and Kevin Garnett added 15 apiece for the Celtics who shot 53 percent from the field and led by as many as 32 points in the second half. “I like our drive, I like our spirit,” said Celtic coach Doc Rivers. “We’re playing

selfless and free.” The Celtics won again despite missing all-star Rajon Rondo, who is out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Boston has won all six games since guard Rondo went down with the knee injury. They are also without rookie starter Jared Sullinger, whose first season ended with back surgery. “During the six game streak we’ve had a lot of lessons,” Rivers said. “You don’t sit on a lead with offence. You sit on a lead with defence.” The contest was hyped as a battle between two of the most storied franchises in the NBA but it ended up being a mismatch. Garnett reached a milestone against the Lakers by reaching 25,000 career points. He is only the 16th player in history to hit that plateau. It marked the worst loss of the season for the Lakers, who fell behind 103-71 with 8:16 left in the fourth and looked listless despite getting centre Dwight Howard

back. The Lakers came into the contest having won all three games Howard missed with a shoulder injury. Howard was a non-factor against the Celtics, fouling out with just over five minutes left in the fourth. He finished with just nine points and nine rebounds. Kobe Bryant had 27 points as the Lakers dropped to 3-2 on their sevengame road trip. It marked just the third time this season Bryant did not record an assist. The Lakers got more bad news just prior to the opening tip off as they learned forward Pau Gasol suffered a tear of the plantar fascia-on the bottom of his right foot-and will be out for a minimum six to eight weeks. Metta World Peace returned Thursday from a one-game suspension but he looked out of sorts early and finished with just five points on two-of-13 shooting from the field in the loss. — Agencies

DENVER: Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, right, of Sudan, works ball inside against Denver Nuggets guard Andre Iguodala in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Thursday. — AP

Welsh players have to prove their worth: McBryde PARIS: Wales have been urged by scrum coach Robin McBryde to produce a performance against France in today’s Six Nations clash at the Stade de France which will erase memories of their defeat against Ireland last weekend. The 30-22 home defeat to the Irish was Wales’ eighth defeat in a row and left them without a win since landing the Six Nations Grand Slam in imperious style last year. And with only three wins in Paris since 1975, not many are pinning their hopes on them ending their losing streak here. However, McBryde, as pugnacious a coach as he was as a hooker for his country, insisted that with France also having lost last weekend — 23-18 to Italy in Rome-Wales could restore some pride. “The players are hurting as much as

we are as coaches so they need to go out there and prove their worth and prove they’re better than what they were last week,” said the 42-year-old, who was a member of the 2005 Grand Slam-winning side. His fellow former international Neil Jenkins, now skills coach, said that the hosts would be feeling the pressure, too, although unlike the Welsh they were on a fourmatch winning streak going into the Italy game. “France, after their defeat last week, there’ll be a fair amount of pressure on themselves as well,” said Jenkins. “It’s something we’re really looking forward to. “We do know what the French crowd is like as well and if they don’t come out and play as well as they can play, or the crowd expect them to play, obviously they can get on top of them,” added the 41-year-old.Jenkins,

capped 87 times for his country as well as four caps for the British and Irish Lions, said that he was looking for the players to repeat their second-half performance against the Irish when they came back strongly after trailing 30-3. “We started very poorly in the first half and played some excellent rugby in the second half,” said Jenkins. “We obviously want to put the second half together for the full 80 minutes if we possibly can and put as much pressure on France as possible.” McBryde admitted that the late withdrawal of captain Sam Warburton, who has a stinger (nerve) injury, wasn’t ideal but they had the ideal replacement both as captain and in the back row in Ryan Jones, who will skipper the side for a record 30th time. “He’s a good leader,” said McBryde. “As much as we want to use his quali-

ties as a leader in the team it’s very much allowing Ryan to focus on his own game. “We have plenty of experience in the front and the back row, so really looking forward to seeing how we front up against what will be a formidable challenge.” McBryde, who nominated rookie lock Andrew Coombe as the pick of the Welsh pack against the Irish, said that having hooker Richard Hibbard back in the starting XV was a boost for the side as well. “He’s another player coming into the championship in a bit of form, arguably the most in-form hooker in Wales. “There were comments made that he was arguably the best hooker in Europe with one shoulder, so with two hopefully he can improve on that as well.” — AFP



KSSC working hard to establish large base of young shooters

Al-Osaimi handing a winner his trophy. By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Tournament of Sheikh Jaber AlAbdallah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will be concluded today with the closing ceremony at Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex at 6:00 pm. Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Abdallah will represent the tournament sponsor. Kuwait Shooting Sports Club Secretary General Obaid Al-Osaimi lauded Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdallah’s contributions to the shooting community since its establishment until now. Al-Osaimi reminded with the great support and encouragement he gave to shooters when he was honor president of Ahmadi Governorate Shooting and Aquestrian society to allow

Kuwait trap team during the Asian games in India. shooters practice their noble sport. Al-Osaimi said due to this support the club has the best shooters in Kuwait, and they participated in Arab and Gulf Shooting tournaments, and made great results in the name of Kuwait. Al-Osaimi said the KSSC Administration and technical teams are working hard to establish a large base of young shooters to participate in HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad second international Grand Prix to be held in Kuwait from March 1st, 2013 until March 10th, 2013. Al-Osaimi invited Shooting Sport Fans to come to the club and see the activities of the tournament today starting at 9:00 am, and will continue until 6:00 pm.

Results of the first day of the tournament are as follows: 10 M Rifle Men: 1. Khalid Share Al-Subaie 2. Ali Farhan Al-Mutairi 3. Abdallah Awadh Al-Harby 10 M Rifle Junior - Men: 1. Ali Farhan Al-Mutairi 2. Mohammad Adel Abdelrahman 3. Bandar Nahar Al-Mutairi 10 M Pistol - Men: 1. Mishal Sanad Al-Mutairi 2. Suhail Jassim 3. Hassan Abdelaziz Al-Mulla 10 M Pistol - Women: 1. Huthama Al-Baghli

2. Israa Bahman 3. Iman Bouland 10 M Pistol - Junior Men: 1. Sami Waseem 2. Khaleefa Al-Thafeeri 3. Sultan Al-Thafeeri 10 M Rifle - Women Juniors: 1. Zahraa Al-Saffar 2. Duaa Al-Thuwaikhi 3. Heba Erzouqi 10 M Pistol - Junior Women: 1. Ghizlan Hussein 2. Sheikha Al-Abdaly 3. Dana Al-Ali

Hoefl-Riesch trumps Maze in super-combined SCHLADMING: Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch fell back on all her slalom expertise to snatch victory from Slovenian Tina Maze in the women’s super-combined event at the World Ski Championships yesterday. Hoefl-Riesch, also reigning Olympic champion in the event, was in fourth position after the opening downhill run. But she quickly made up the 0.20sec deficit and turned on the afterburners down the Streicher course in the slalom, clocking an aggregate of 2min 39.92sec. Maze, who had held the joint lead after the downhill with Austrian pin-up Anna Fenninger, took silver at 0.46sec to go with the gold she won in Tuesday’s super-G. Austrian Nicole Hosp pulled off the fastest slalom run to make up 1.32sec lost in the downhill to claim an impressive bronze, 1sec off Hoefl-Riesch’s pace. “I arrived here hoping for a medal, no matter what colour,” said Hoefl-Riesch. “I’ve been lacking confidence this winter. I wasn’t favourite coming here and I didn’t really feel comfortable in today’s slalom. “Knowing Tina’s form, I said to myself, ‘Okay, second place is already a very good result’. Now I am extremely happy.” Maze said she had battled with a bad attack of the nerves, insisting she was content with her silver. “It’s a great feeling. Being here able to get a medal in every event so far is something amazing,” the 29-year-old said. “But I still have some motivation for the

upcoming races.” There was, however, drama for defending world champion Fenninger, the darling of the Austrian media with male teammate Marcel Hirscher. Exploding out of the start hut, the 23-yearold failed to make one gate high up the

course and skied out, to groans from the massive crowd gathered at the finish area. “I wanted to take risks but it can happen that you straddle a gate,” Fenninger acknowledged. “It can also happen if I don’t take any risks.

SCHLADMING: Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch celebrates on the podium after competing in the women’s Super Combined slalom event of the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria yesterday. Hoefl-Riesch won the event ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Maze and Austria’s Nicole Hosp. — AFP

Straddling is just a timing problem, it’s hard to navigate, and even more so if you don’t train slalom often.” Austrian Elisabeth Goergl, who finished just five-hundredths of a second behind Fenninger and Maze in the downhill, finished sixth, while Switzerland’s Lara Gut straddled a gate in her bid to capitalise on her fourth spot in the downhill. Goergl’s teammates Michaela Kirchgasser and Kathrin Zettel came in fourth and fifth ahead of Italian youngster Sofia Goggia. US hopes in the absence of Lindsey Vonn, who topped the World Cup super-combined standings over the last three seasons but was ruled out for the season after sustaining a nasty knee injury in the super-G here, rode with Julia Mancuso. But the bronze medallist in the super-G could only finish eighth at 3.33sec, left ruing a costly error in her downhill when she almost took a tumble high up the course, doing well to correct herself and make the gate as her skis split. “After the big mistake, there was no pressure,” Mancuso said. “For me, I just went and skied the best slalom I could. “Those girls sitting in the top three are incredible slalom skiers. I’m happy, I made it to the finish clean. The goal is that anything can happen in slalom and you don’t know if the best skiers are going to make mistakes. “But the course is in such good condition, not a lot of mistakes were made.” — AFP



Capitals unable to halt march of the Penguins Bruins trade Thomas to Islanders WASHINGTON: The free-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins unleashed a fivegoal blitz in the second period to overcome the Washington Capitals 52 on Thursday, extending their winning streak to five games. The Penguins had trailed 1-0 after the first period, Mike Ribeiro giving the visitors the lead on four minutes, but came alive in the second to thrash the Capitals for the second time in five days and register their 23rd goal in the winning run. Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Matt Cooke and Sidney Crosby all found the back of the net as the Penguins (8-3-0) moved to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Crosby and Malkin each added two assists to take their season tally to 12, leaving them tied for second in the league. Malkin crashed home the equalising goal seven minutes into the second period before Dupuis expertly put away a bouncing puck past goaltender Michal Neuvirth in the 13th minute to give Pittsburgh the lead. On falling behind, the Capitals changed their goalie but Braden Holtby was given little protection and allowed three goals in a three-minute stretch late in a period that saw Pittsburgh bombard Washington’s goal with 18 shots. “We have been playing really well lately and everything is coming together right now. The powerplay is clicking, our best players are our best players and it’s all going really well,” Penguins winger Zach Boychuk told reporters. “Right now we are getting a lot of scoring chances and we’re buzzing, so I feel lucky to be playing on that line right now. “We are definitely in the right mental zone. Everyone is contributing, we’re getting good defensive plays at the right time. We’re getting big goals and obviously Sid (Crosby) is making everyone around him a lot better.”

Alex Ovechkin scored a powerplay goal for Washington (2-8-1) in the third period but it was merely a consolation marker for the Capitals, who also lost 6-3 to the Penguins on Sunday and have the worst record in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins traded suspended Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders for a conditional second round draft pick, the National Hockey League (NHL) teams said on Thursday.

Islanders, with one of the NHL’s smallest payrolls, will use the contract to get above the cap minimum. Thomas, who led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the postseason that year, has indicated he plans to return to the NHL next season. Drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the ninth round of the 1994 NHL draft, Thomas spent the early part of his career playing in Europe and the

NASHVILLE: In his 500th career NHL game Paul Gaustad #28 of the Nashville Predators ties up Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings in front of goalie Pekka Rinne #35 at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, in Nashville, Tennessee. — AFP The 38-year-old Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in 2009 and 2011, elected to take the current season off and was suspended by Boston after failing to report to training camp last month. While New York acquires a proven netminder in exchange for a draft pick in either 2014 or 2015, the trade appears to have been motivated more by salary cap issues than swapping players. The trade frees up $5 million in cap space for the Bruins while the

minor leagues before signing with the Bruins in 2002. He quickly established himself as one of the NHL’s premier netminders, appearing in four All-Star games while posting a career record of 196-121-45 with a 2.48 goals against average. The combative American netminder is also no stranger to controversy having snubbed the Stanley Cup winners’ traditional visit to the White House because he did not agree with President Barack Obama’s policies. —Reuters

NHL results/standing Buffalo 5, Montreal 4 (SO); New Jersey 4, Tampa Bay 2; NY Rangers 4, NY Islanders 1; Florida 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO); Pittsburgh 5, Washington 2; Calgary 4, Columbus 3 (OT); Carolina 3, Ottawa 2 (OT); Toronto 3, Winnipeg 2; Detroit 5, St. Louis 1; Nashville 3, Los Angeles 0; Vancouver 4, Minnesota 1; Chicago 6, Phoenix 2. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS Pittsburgh 8 3 0 39 26 16 New Jersey 6 1 3 27 22 15 NY Rangers 5 5 0 24 26 10 NY Islanders 4 5 1 30 34 9 Philadelphia 4 6 1 25 30 9 Northeast Division Boston 7 1 1 26 20 15 Ottawa 6 3 2 31 22 14 Montreal 6 3 1 31 24 13 Toronto 6 5 0 28 31 12 Buffalo 4 6 1 35 41 9 Southeast Division Tampa Bay 6 4 0 42 27 12 Carolina 5 4 0 25 26 10 Winnipeg 4 5 1 29 37 9 Florida 4 5 1 25 35 9 Washington 2 8 1 25 41 5 Western Conference Central Division Chicago 9 0 2 39 25 20 Nashville 5 2 3 23 21 13 St. Louis 6 4 0 33 30 12 Detroit 5 4 1 28 29 11 Columbus 3 6 2 23 36 8 Northwest Division Vancouver 6 2 2 28 23 14 Edmonton 4 3 3 24 27 11 Minnesota 4 5 1 22 28 9 Calgary 3 3 2 24 28 8 Colorado 4 6 0 21 26 8 Pacific Division Anaheim 7 1 1 32 23 15 San Jose 7 2 1 34 21 15 Dallas 5 5 1 23 27 11 Phoenix 4 5 2 31 33 10 Los Angeles 3 4 2 20 28 8 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Super Bowl outage traced to faulty device blackout NEW ORLEANS: A faulty device installed and designed to prevent an electric failure was to blame for the blackout at the American football championship Super Bowl, the power company said yesterday. Officials of Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., said the device, called a relay, had been installed to protect the Superdome from a cable failure between the company’s incoming power line and lines that run into the stadium. Company officials said the device

performed without problem during January’s Sugar Bowl and other earlier events. They said the device has been removed and replacement equipment will be installed. The power failure at Sunday’s big game cut lights to about half of the stadium for 34 minutes, halting play between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. The power outage was another black eye for New Orleans and the Superdome stadium which was disastrously used as a shelter in the

wake of Hurricane Katrina. Officials of the power company and the company that manages the stadium for the state had said earlier this week that they believed the problem originated in the switching gear, which is housed in a building known as “the vault” near the stadium. The Superdome has a direct line feeding from a nearby Entergy power substation. Once the line reaches the vault, it splits into two cables that then go into the Superdome. The FBI had ruled out cyberterrorism as a cause. SMG and Entergy

announced earlier this week that they had been unable to find a specific cause for the outage and would hire an independent consultant. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they would go through with the hiring. The electrical equipment had been replaced after stadium manager’s expressed concerns the Superdome might be vulnerable to a power failure like the one that struck Candlestick Park during a 49ers Monday Night Football game in 2011. — AP



Pakistan blames women’s flop on security fears RAWALPINDIL: Pakistan’s cricket chief yesterday blamed the women’s flop in the World Cup on security fears in host India, claiming the players were “overwhelmed”. Pakistan finished last in the eight-team event after losing all four matches, which were moved to the eastern city of Cuttack when the right-wing nationalist Shiv Sena party threatened to disrupt Pakistan’s matches in Mumbai. The International Cricket Council decided to house Pakistan at the club house of the Barabati stadium instead of a hotel for security reasons. “The situation was uncertain for the women’s team and players were overwhelmed by fears as no hotel was willing to give them security,” said Zaka Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after talks with Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Pakistan team manager Ayesha Ashar said at the time that the squad was happy with the arrangements made at the Barabati stadium. But Malik said he would raise the issue with India. “Not giving security to our women’s team is a concern and I will raise this issue with the Indian government,” Malik said. Nine Pakistani players were also withdrawn from the Hockey India League over threats from Shiv Sena last month, after clashes killed five soldiers along the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir. The two nuclear powers are bitter rivals who have fought three wars since independence in 1947. But Ashraf also dismissed as “rumours” speculation that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will have to move abroad to a neutral venue over security fears. “In all probability the league will be held in

Pakistan and the interior ministry has assured the best security for the foreign players,” he said. No international cricket has been played in Pakistan, which suffers near daily Taliban and AlQaeda-linked violence, since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven visiting players. Minnows Bangladesh twice called off tours last year over security fears and the head of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has warned players not to take part in the inaugural Twenty20 tournament in March. The PCB claimed last week that around 50 overseas players had signed for the two-week league due to start from March 26. “A lot of top players are willing to take part in the league but some boards have reservations which we are trying to remove,” said Ashraf. — AFP

Pollard century fails to prevent easy Aussie win Eyes for a series clean sweep tomorrow SYDNEY: Australia maintained their dominance over the West Indies cruising to a five-wicket victory to lead their oneday international series 4-0 at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. Only a belligerent unbeaten century from man-ofthe-match Kieron Pollard gave the West Indies a respectable score of 220 after they were 55 for six at one stage. But it was easily run down by the Australians, who secured victory with 31 balls to spare and will now go after a series clean sweep in Melbourne tomorrow. If not for Pollard’s 109 off 136 balls it would have been an even more emphatic victory for Michael Clarke’s team who always had control of the run chase under lights. Shane Watson followed up his 122 in Wednesday’s 39-run series-clinching win in Canberra with 76 off 84 balls and skipper Clarke hit 37 off 65 balls before he was out gloving down the leg-side to express bowler Tino Best with the scores

level. Glen Maxwell came in and hit the winning run with Matthew Wade not out 13. Yet despite Australia’s dominance the towering Pollard was named man-ofthe-match for preventing his team’s innings from falling apart after it had tottered at 55 for six before a series of late partnerships gave his side something to defend. “It’s unfortunate that we ended up on the losing side but I just tried to keep my team in the game and thanks to Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo for calming me down and encouraging me to go forward,” Pollard said. It was Pollard’s third ODI century and his second against Australia and he had to curb his usual aggressive batting style as the West Indies threatened to repeat their total of 70 in the first ODI of the series in Perth. “I saw a lot of balls that (Glen) Maxwell bowled and there were a lot of tempting deliveries to go after but I had to curb that,” Pollard said. Mitchell Johnson ripped into the

SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Scoreboard after Australia beat West Indies by five wickets in the fourth one-day international at Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday: West Indies won the toss and elected to bat West Indies innings K. Powell c Maxwell b Johnson 9 J. Charles b Johnson 0 DM Bravo c Finch b Johnson 4 DJ Bravo lbw b Maxwell 3 K. Pollard not out 109 N. Deonarine c Finch b Cutting10 D. Thomas c Finch b Cutting 7 D. Sammy c Clarke b Cutting 25 A. Russell c Maxwell b Faulkner18 S. Narine c Wade b McKay 23 T. Best run out 1 Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-9) 11 Total (all out, 49.4 overs) 220 Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-17 3-17 4-22 545 6-55 7-98 8-133 9-197 Bowling: McKay 10-2-41-1, Johnson 10-1-36-3 (w-4), Maxwell 10-0-34-1 (w-1), Cutting 10-1-45-3 (w-1), Faulkner 9.4-1-62-1 (w-3)

Australia innings S. Watson c Thomas b Best 76 A. Finch lbw b Narine 25 P. Hughes c DJ Bravo b Narine 23 M. Clarke c Thomas b Best 37 A. Voges c Sammy b Russell 28 M. Wade not out 13 G. Maxwell not out 1 Extras (lb-8, w-8, nb-2) 18 Total (for five wickets, 44.5 overs) 221 Did not bat: J. Faulkner, M. Johnson, B. Cutting, C. McKay Fall of wickets: 1-53 2-115 3-145 4198 5-220 Bowling: Best 9.5-0-38-2 (w-3), Russell 6-0-40-1 (nb-2, w-1), Sammy 2-0-16-0 (w-1), Narine 10-1-34-2, DJ Bravo 4-0-25-0 (w-1), Deonarine 8-038-0, Pollard 5-0-22-0 (w-2). Australia lead the five-match series 4-0

SYDNEY: West Indian bowler Narsingh Deonarine (R) attempts to run-out Australian batsman Shane Watson (L) in their one-day cricket international played at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. — AFP West Indies top order removing Johnson Charles (0) Kieran Powell (9) and Darren Bravo (4) to have the tourists wobbling at 17 for three. Bravo’s brother, Dwayne, lasted eight balls for his three before he was given out leg before wicket to Maxwell on review. Narsingh Deonarine, in for injured Chris Gayle, got a thick edge off Ben Cutting to Aaron Finch at

second slip for 10. Wicketkeeper Devon Thomas went for seven after a long review concluded that the ball carried to Finch at slip for Cutting’s second wicket. Andre Russell put on 35 runs with Pollard for the eighth wicket before he holed out to Maxwell at long-off off James Faulkner for 18 off 17 balls. Sunil Narine joined in the best partnership of

the innings of 64 before he was caught behind off Clint McKay for 23. Best was run out for one in a mix-up with Pollard in the final over. Johnson finished with three for 36 off his 10 overs and Cutting captured three for 45 off 10. Finch made 25 before he was dismissed in the 10th over of the Australian innings leg before wicket to spinner Narine. —AFP

BCCI fined $9.8 million over ‘unfair’ IPL deals NEW DELHI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India was fined $9.8 million by the government, which described the board’s unfair practices related to Indian Premier League contracts as “abuse of a grave nature” yesterday. The Competition Commission of India asked the BCCI to “cease and desist” denying market access to potential competitors. The penalty from the CCI, set up to eliminate practices that have an adverse effect on competition, was the result of investigating IPL deals for more than two years. It’s yet another setback for the BCCI. It was served a $433 million income tax notice last year, and its IPL franchise, the Rajasthan Royals, was fined $18.8 million this week by India’s Enforcement Directorate for flouting foreign

exchange rules. The CCI investigated the BCCI on whether it had abused its dominant position in respect to selection of players, media rights, composition of franchise teams, choice of stadia, and logistics contracts. “Virtually, there is no other competitor in the market nor was anyone allowed to emerge due to BCCI’s strategy of monopolizing the entire market,” the order said. “The abuse was of a grave nature and the quantum of penalty that needs to be levied should be commensurate with the gravity of the violation.” The BCCI’s cash-rich IPL has been riddled with controversies since it began in 2008, with teams chopped and changed, sometimes at the behest of court orders. — AP



Ferguson criticises FA for confidentiality breach MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson yesterday criticised the Football Association for breach of confidentiality after England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce revealed that Phil Jones had shingles. Earlier this week, Pearce said Jones would miss the friendly clash with Sweden as he was suffering from shingles, annoying Ferguson, who reacted angrily last September after England senior team coach Roy Hodgson said Ashley Young had a knee problem. “Phil Jones should be OK, irrespective of Stuart Pearce coming out and declaring he had shingles which was thought was in doctor’s confidence,” Ferguson told a news conference. “We’re disappointed in that but it (shingles) is nothing serious-a mild condition that has surfaced but he should be OK, hopefully.” Ferguson said such statements about players was “something we have to address”, blaming the size of the FA for news leaking out. “In this case it was the confidence of our doctor and their doctor and it shouldn’t have gone any further. There’s no need for me to speak to Stuart Pearce,” he added. Meanwhile, Ferguson said he was unsure about whether new measures about financial fair play in the English Premier League will have any effect. Thirteen of the 20 Premier League clubs have voted in favour of proposals for new spending controls in the English top flight.

But while Ferguson backs the idea, he said he was uncertain about how any new measures will be implemented. “(European governing body) UEFA’s financial fair play starts this year and it’s all good in theory but the application will always be difficult. If people have money to burn

they can place it anywhere in the world,” he added. “I’ll be interested to see how they think they can operate it. It would be good if it was applicable but I have my doubts. It will always be a problem trying to enforce it.” Manchester United play Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday and Ferguson is confi-

LONDON: In a file picture taken on January 20, 2013 shows Manchester United’s Scottish manager Alex Ferguson (C) has been fined for misconduct after implying that a linesman was biased during the club’s recent match with Tottenham, the Football Association said yesterday. — AFP

Chelsea without injured Terry for Wigan clash LONDON: Chelsea will be without captain John Terry for today’s Premier League match at home to relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic as the centre back has an inflamed knee, manager Rafael Benitez said. “It’s a setback but not serious,” Benitez told reporters yesterday. The former England skipper has been dogged by a knee problem this season, returning to action in January after two months out. Benitez said their Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech and Senegal striker Demba Ba were both available after pulling out of midweek internationals through injury. Ba suffered a broken nose in the 3-2 league defeat at his former club Newcastle United last weekend and has been training in a protective mask. Third-placed Chelsea, seven points behind Manchester City and 16 adrift of leaders Manchester United, have won only three of their last 10 matches in all competitions. Benitez said that, while he was happy enough with recent displays, the Londoners needed to be more clinical and not let leads slip as they did against Newcastle. “We could win all the games we didn’t win,” he said. “It’s a question of sometimes doing the right things at theright moment, a little bit of luck, being more clinical and not making mistakes in defence, but the team is doing well in terms of performance.” The Spaniard said he would continue to alternate between Ba and Fernando Torres up front, with Chelsea set for their Europa League bow against Sparta Prague next week. “I am not rotating because I want to. We have to do it,’ he said. “Demba Ba cannot play Europa League, we have to manage them both and see and I have to decide. “If we can play both sometimes we will do it but with the players behind it will be difficult so we have to play one or the other, and it depends on each game.” Chelsea are still without Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel who will line up for Nigeria in the African Nations Cup final this weekend but playmaker Eden Hazard is available after suspension. The Belgian has served his three-match ban for kicking a ball boy which earned him a red card for violent conduct in the second leg of the Capital One (League) Cup semi-final defeat by Swansea City on Jan. 23. Hazard scored for Belgium with an early penalty in their friendly win over Slovakia in midweek. Brazilian David Luiz, who featured in his country’s loss to England at Wembley on Wednesday, is also back in Benitez’s plans after missing the club’s last three games with a calf injury. — Reuters

dent that winger Young will return from a knee problem and Jones will be available. Michael Carrick should also overcome a thigh injury, he said. But the United manager, who is pleased with the depth of his squad, could still rest players, with the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie with Real Madrid to come in Spain on Wednesday. Ferguson is still frustrated at the 4-4 draw with Everton in April last season that handed rivals Manchester City the advantage in the title race. United were leading 4-2 at home with eight minutes left but conceded two late goals that allowed City to move ahead on goal difference with their 1-0 win over United in the following game at the Etihad Stadium. “Last season cost us the league: 4-2 up with eight minutes to go was unexpected and you have to anticipate the unexpected in the run and that was a bad blow for us,” Ferguson said. “But the team is playing well. I’m pleased with the form and the players that are changing around and making different team selections are buying into it very well, all contributing in their own way and that gives us a better chance to deal with the various competitions we’re in now. “Sunday is the next stage then Real Madrid then the FA Cup, so it’s a terrific spell for Manchester United and you can’t help but feel this is the way we should be.” —AFP

Wilshere gunning for club glory after England win LONDON: Jack Wilshere has insisted there is more to come after the Arsenal midfielder showed signs he is back to his best in England’s midweek international friendly win over Brazil. Wilshere’s performance in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory at WembleyEngland’s first win over five-times world champions Brazil in 23 years-drew widespread praise from team-mates and pundits alike. Now the 21-year-old midfielder will look to help Arsenal take all three points away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light today, as the visitors try to reclaim a place in the top four of the Premier League. Wilshere spent 17 months on the sidelines with ankle and knee injuries but since returning to action in November has re-established himself as Arsenal’s most influential player. The Times proclaimed Wilshere “more Brazilian than the Brazilians” after his latest England display but he maintained there was room for improvement. “I feel my form is getting better and better,” he said. “I am never happy with where I am. I always try to improve and work hard in training. “I always want to keep my performances up for my club and then whenever I get called up for England.” Theo Walcott’s performance against Brazil will also have pleased Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his side attempt to close the four-point gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. But while Wilshere and Walcott offer promise going forward, the manager’s immediate priority is in defence with centreback Laurent Koscielny suffering a calf problem in France’s friendly defeat by Germany and skipper Thomas

Vermaelen struggling with an ankle problem. Sebastien Squillaci and youngster Ignasi Miquel are on standby to partner Per Mertesacker in central defence while Nacho Monreal will again deputise for the injured Kieran Gibbs. Vermaelen, though, believes Wenger’s side is beginning to find their form. “You could see it from the start of the season,” the Belgium international told Arsenal’s website. “This team has a lot of potential. It’s a case of everybody staying fit.” He added: Sunderland away is always a tough game. I think we did well in the first game of the season at home against Sunderland. We couldn’t score but we were the better team and had the better chances.” After beating defending champions Manchester City and drawing with Liverpool at home this season, Sunderland are confident they can con-

tinue their impressive record at the Stadium of Light against the Premier League’s elite. The mid-table Black Cats are keen to bounce back following last week’s defeat at Reading, and their England midfielder Adam Johnson said: “We’ve beaten City at home this season, and we’ve had a couple of good results and good performances against the top teams. “When you play against the top teams, it’s often the case that players raise their game because if not, you know these teams will punish you. You can’t lose concentration for a second.” Sunderland knocked the north London club out of the FA Cup on Wearside last season, and Martin O’Neill’s men will try to exploit the visitors’ attacking instincts in the hope of carving out another victory in front of an expected 40,000-plus crowd. — AFP

PORT ELIZABERTH: Ghana’s national football team head coach Kwesi Appiah gives a press conference in Port Elizabeth yesterday, on the eve of a 2013 African Cup of Nation third place football match against Mali. — AFP



Today’s matches on TV

English Premier League Tottenham v Newcastle ................ 15:45 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Norwich v Fulham ......................... 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Swansea v Queens Park ................ 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Chelsea v Wigan Athletic............... 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Stoke City v Reading ...................... 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Sunderland v Arsenal .....................18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Southampton v Manchester ........... 20:30 Abu Dhabi Sports HD

Spanish League Mallorca v Osasuna ......................... 18:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Vigo v Valencia ................................ 20:00 Aljazeera Sport +8 Levante v Malaga ........................... 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Real Madrid v Sevilla ...................... 0:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Coruna v Granada............................ 0:00 Aljazeera Sport +8

Italian League Juventus v Fiorentina ..................... 20:00 Aljazeera Sport +1 Lazio v Napoli .................................. 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +1

French League Etienne v HSC ................................. 19:00 Aljazeera Sport +4 Valenciennes v Brest ....................... 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +10 Nice v Lorient ................................... 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +8 Troyes v Sochaux ............................ 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Ajacclo v Bordeaux ........................ 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +4

African Nations Cup Mali v Ghana .................................. 21:00 Aljazeera Sport +9

German League Borussia v Bayer............................ 17:30 Dubai Sports 4 Frankfurt v Nuremberg ................ 17:30 Dubai Sports 5 Dortmund v Hamburger ...............17:30 Dubai Sports 1 Stuttgart v Bremen ....................... 17:30 Dubai Sports 2 Bayern v Schalke .......................... 20:30 Dubai Sports 1

European run for Utd could help City MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini yesterday said he hoped rivals United go all the way in the Champions League as it would boost the Blues’ Premier League hopes. City head into their trip to Southampton today nine points behind Alex Ferguson’s side, who host Everton on Sunday, amid doubts that they will be able to pull back the deficit and retain the title they won last year, with 13 games to play. But despite two draws in their last two outings, Mancini refused to write off his team’s chances and believes a Champions League run for United-which startson Wednesday with a last 16 first leg at Real Madrid-can help City in the league. “If Manchester United draw or lose (at Southampton), the title race is re-opened. It is clear we need to do better than in the last two games,” he told a news conference. “It is normal when you play in the Champions League against Real Madrid that you can lose your strength in this game. “We support Manchester United to go through in the Champions League. At the end of the day, if United win all the games from now to the end in the Premier League they deserve to win. “This is football. But I am sure we have another chance.” The Italian coach has been the target of renewed speculation about his future, despite signing a new five-year contract in the close season. But he insisted that he would still be at the Etihad Stadium next season. “These are stupid things. We have 13 games (left), the season is long. (The situation) can change in two or three games. This is our focus, not to talk about new players. We buy a striker, we sell a defender. This is not true.” Asked whether he will stay on, Mancini added: “Yes, yes. Why not?” Since arriving in northwest England at the end of 2009, Mancini has won the FA Cup and the Premier League title in his first two full seasons.

He insisted that he does not have to win the league again for the current campaign to be judged a success, as he thinks City have proven they have been better than both United and European champions Chelsea domestically throughout his period in charge. “I think that we should work for this. Because like last year where no one believed we could win the title, in the end we won. This year could be the same,” he added. “We are a strong team. We were unlucky because we lost two or three players in January for the African Cup. Also, if we believe in our job, we can do this. “I think it is important we are there, on the top always, we fight for the title every year. If another team is better than you, you should accept this. “But I don’t think in these two years there is a team that has played better than us. Manchester United is a strong team, Chelsea is a strong team

but I think in the last two years Manchester City is the team that played better in the Premier League.” Mancini is hopeful that captain Vincent Kompany will overcome a calf problem to return to the side at St Mary’s, meaning Micah Richards is the only long-term absentee. The former Inter coach is expecting Yaya Toure to have a significant impact now the Ivory Coast midfielder has returned from the African Nations Cup, following the country’s quarter-final defeat by finalists Nigeria. Mancini said the former Barcelona midfielder had been sorely missed while he was on international duty. “Kolo (Toure) was a problem because we had a problem with the defenders, two or three defenders injured. Yaya is an important player for us. Also when he doesn’t play, on the pitch he is important. We’ve missed him a lot in these 20 days.” —AFP

DONETSK: FC Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu (2nd L, back) smiles as new players Eduard Sobol (L) and Dmitriy Grechishkin (C), graduates of FC Shakhtar Football School, and Brazilian forward Taison (R) hold up their jerseys yesterday during his presentation in Donetsk. — AFP

Midday kick-off not a problem for Barcelona MADRID: Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba doesn’t believe the combination of Spain’s long journey to and from Qatar in midweek and an early kick-off against Getafe tomorrow should unduly affect the Catalans. Sunday’s fixture will be the first time Barca have played at the 12 o’clock (1100 GMT) kickoff time since it was introduced by the league at the beginning of last season. But Alba, who was one of nine Barca players who took part in Spain’s 3-1 win over Uruguay on Wednesday, doesn’t believe that should be used as any excuse should the league leaders fail to extend their nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid. “Getafe are a very difficult opponent. They are aggressive, have quality players and play good football. They will make things difficult for us, but the fact we are playing at 12 shouldn’t be any excuse,” he told Barcelona’s web site. February will be a vital month for Barca with big games against Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup and AC Milan in the Champions League to come as they try to

repeat their treble-winning season of 2008/09. But it has started perfectly with the news that Lionel Messi has extended his contract with the club untill 2018. And Alba appreciates having the World Player of the Year on his side more than most having faced him many times with Valencia. “February will be an awkward month with very difficult matches, but we have to maintain the same intensity in all competitions. The team is capable of doing that and has shown it in previous years. “I can’t imagine what Messi will be like in 2018, but his extension is great news for all Barca fans. “I had the misfortune of facing him as an opponent and now I am happy to have him as a teammate. I have never seen anyone do the things that he does.” One of those who didn’t travel with Spain in midweek though was Xavi as he pulled out of the squad with an ankle injury and will also miss out tomorrow. Other than the 33-year-old, Barca have no injury worries, but Getafe have a number of

key absentees particularly in defence. Goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya is suspended as is defender Rafa and Juan Valera is also out with a back injury. Midfielder Jaime Gavilan though believes Getafe can create an upset, especially given how many Barca players were away on international duty during the week. “Against Barcelona there is never a right moment to say this is our chance to beat them because you never know how they are going to play,” he told reporters. “But it is true that without Xavi they are vulnerable. Many players have arrived back after long trips so why can’t we create a surprise?” Atletico Madrid meanwhile continue their pursuit of the Catalans in a Madrid derby away at Rayo Vallecano in Sunday’s late game. Rayo have been the surprise package of the season and sit just two points off a Champions League spot in seventh and Atleti boss Diego Simeone is well aware that Paco Jemez’s men possess a major threat to their title chances.— AFP



Pollard century fails to prevent easy Aussie win


JOHANNESBURG: Nigeria’s Ogenyi Onazi, center, plays with a ball during a training session yesterday in Johannesburg. Nigeria will play Burkina Faso in the African Cup of Nations final match tomorrow. — AP

Nigeria wary of Burkina Faso threat JOHANNESBURG: Nigeria are one win away from ending a 19year wait to reclaim the African Nations Cup but the favourites are wary of the threat posed by surprise finalists Burkina Faso in tomorrow’s showdown at Soccer City. When they drew 1-1 in their opening Group C match 18 days ago there was little to indicate that the two west African nations would meet again in the final. However, both teams have shown grit, determination and a winning mentality that promises an excellent finale to the three-week long tournament in front of a sell-out crowd. Nigeria appear to hold most of the keys to success having no real injury worries apart from some concerns over forward Victor Moses who has been outstanding but picked up another niggling problem in Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat of Mali in the semi-final. In contrast, Burkina Faso will have to do without Alain Traore, who scored three goals at the start of the tournament but has missed out on the knockout rounds because of injury. They might also be missing defender Mohamed Koffi who went off injured in the 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Ghana in their semi-final on Wednesday. Burkina Faso also look as if they will have to cope without one of their most effective and important players, Jonathan Pitroipa, who was sent off after being shown two yellow cards by Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi against Ghana. However, Jdidi was suspended by Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials on Thursday because of his poor performance and if an appeal against the dismissal from Burkina Faso is

successful, Pitroipa will be reprieved and will play. The two teams, who both like to go forward quickly and play to their attacking strengths, have reached the final in contrasting style with Nigeria in impressive form to beat favourites Ivory Coast 2-1 in the quarter-finals before producing an even better performance to rout Mali in the semis. Burkina Faso had to battle to a 1-0 extra-time victory over Togo in their quarter-final and then played for another two hours without breaking the deadlock against Ghana in a match that finished 1-1 and went their way on penalties. Their never-say-die spirit and determination could test Nigeria to the full on Sunday if the Stallions defence can keep at bay a Super Eagles attack which was rampant against Mali, hitting three goals in a 20-minute first half blitz. Koffi has been impressive at the back for Burkina Faso along with Paul Koulibaly and Bakary Kone but Nigeria are a handful going forward with Moses and John Obi Mikel, team mates at European champions Chelsea, showing their class in midfield. Up front Emmanuel Emnenike, with three goals, has been dangerous and scored against the Burkinabe in their opener. The key to success on Sunday could even be decided before the match starts because if Pitroipa or Moses are missing, the balance could tip in favour of the opposition. If both are ruled out, Nigeria would seem to have the greater strength in depth. However, Burkina Faso possess an astonishing team spirit and determination personified by the indefatigable Aristides Bance, one of the stand-out players at the tournament,

and not just because of his unique dyed-blond hairstyle. The powerfully-built forward, who plays in Germany for FC Augsburg, had some indifferent early games but never stopped running, working and shooting against Ghana. He had eight goal attempts, saw a header and a crisp closerange shot saved on the line and took the most audacious penalty in the shootout when he calmly dummied goalkeeper Fatau Dauda and then raised his hands and smiled in mock-belief as if to say, “How did I just do that?” If he is on that sort of form again, the Nigeria defence will have a real battle on their hands.Oddly, both sides are likely to be without their captains who have slipped out of contention during the tournament. Burkina Faso skipper Moumouni Dagano lost his place following some indifferent form while Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo was injured and coach Stephen Keshi was not prepared to change a winning side even when he returned to full fitness. The match is also naturally highly significant for the two coaches, who could hardly be cut from more different cloth. Burkina Faso coach, Belgian Paul Put, is seeking something of a personal redemption after he was banned for life in Belgium after being involved in a match-fixing scandal in 2007. His opposite number Keshi will write his name in the record books if he leads Nigeria to a third African title. Keshi captained the Super Eagles to their last title in 1994 and could become only the second man in the 56-year history of the tournament to win it as player and coach. — Reuters

9 Feb 2013  

Kuwait Times

9 Feb 2013  

Kuwait Times