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Kuwait marks national days with pomp, gaiety Kuwait, Gulf forces hold joint exercises in Failaka

Max 25º Min 12º High Tide 13:03 & 19:33 Low Tide 06:46 & 18:44

KUWAIT: The UAE Hawks, the aerobatic team of the United Arab Emirates forces, perform during a military show yesterday as Kuwait marks its 52nd National Day and 22nd Liberation Day. (Inset) A girl in national colours celebrates on the Arabian Gulf Road yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Joseph Shagra (See Pages 2 & 3)

Syria ready to talk with armed rebels MOSCOW: The Syrian regime is ready for talks with armed rebels and anyone who favours dialogue, President Bashar Al-Assad’s foreign minister said in Moscow yesterday, in the first such offer by a top Syrian official. Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem was in Moscow for talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, whose country is one of the few big powers to still maintain ties with Assad’s regime. Russia has renewed calls for rebels and regime to engage in direct negotiations to end the two-year conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, warning that pressing for a military victory risked destroying Syria. “We are ready for dialogue with all who want dialogue, including those who are carrying arms,” Muallem said at the talks with Lavrov. Armed rebels have battled the Assad regime since the start of the opposition’s uprising against his rule in March 2011 and now control swathes of Syrian territory. “We still believe in a peaceful solution to the Syrian problem,” said Muallem, pointing to the creation of a government coalition that would negotiate with both the “external and internal opposition.” Lavrov said alongside Muallem that there was no alternative to a political solution to the two-year conflict agreed through talks. “There is no acceptable alternative to a political solution achieved through agreeing positions of the government and the opposition,” said Lavrov. Lavrov added that the situation in Syria was “at the crossroads”, with different factions pressing for conflict and talks. But he expressed optimism that a negotiated solution could be found. “There are those who have embarked on a course of further bloodshed that risks the collapse of the state and society,” he said. “But there are also sensible forces who are increasingly aware of the necessity to begin the talks as soon as possible to reach a political settlement. The number of supporters of such a realistic line is growing,” said Lavrov. He warned that there was no point for the sides trying to fight towards a “victorious end” and warned Assad’s regime not to give into what Lavrov termed “provocations”. Lavrov had said last week there were positive signs from both sides of a new willingness to talk but called on Assad’s regime to turn oft-stated words about its readiness for dialogue into deeds. — AFP (See Page 8)

Israel fears new intifada Militants vow revenge • Israel, US test anti-missile system SAEER, West Bank: Masked Palestinian gunmen fired in the air yesterday as thousands marched at the West Bank funeral of a prisoner whose death in an Israeli jail has raised fears in Israel of a new uprising. Arafat Jaradat’s death on Saturday and a hunger strike by four other Palestinian inmates have raised tension in the occupied territory after repeated clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers in recent days. Israeli troops, on high alert, took up positions outside Jaradat’s home village of Saeer, in earshot of the bursts of automatic fire from the half-dozen masked Palestinians in full battle dress. “We sacrifice our souls and blood for you, our martyr!” mourners chanted. The sounds and fury were reminiscent of the sevenyear intifada, or uprising, that started in 2000 after Israeli-Palestinian peace talks failed. Israeli Homeland Minister Avi Dichter cautioned that another uprising could begin if confrontations with Palestinian protesters turned deadly. The Israeli military said dozens of

Palestinians had thrown stones at soldiers in various parts of the West Bank yesterday. Troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades, and no serious injuries were reported. “The previous two intifadas ... came about as a result of a high number of dead (during protests),” Dichter told Israel Radio. “Fatalities are almost a proven recipe for a sharper escalation.” Jaradat, 30, was arrested a week ago for throwing stones at Israeli cars in the West Bank. Palestinian officials said he had died after being tortured in prison. But Israel said an autopsy carried out in the presence of a Palestinian coroner was inconclusive and that injuries such as broken ribs could have been caused by efforts to revive Jaradat. Palestinian frustration has been fuelled by Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank, a peace process in limbo since 2010 and a persisting rift between President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority and the Islamists of Hamas who run Gaza. Abbas has said he will not allow a third armed intifa-

da. “The Israelis want chaos ... We will not allow them to drag us into it and to mess with the lives of our children and our youth,” Abbas told reporters in his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Dichter said Israel had to tread carefully in dealing with protests, accusing the Palestinians of trying to portray themselves as victims before US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next month. Meanwhile, Israel and the US yesterday carried out a successful test of the next-generation Arrow 3 missile defense system, for the first time sending an interceptor into outer space, where it could destroy missiles fired from Iran. The Arrow 3 is part of a multilayered system that Israel is developing to protect against a range of missile threats, from short-range rockets in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon to medium and longer-range missiles in the hands of Syria and Iran. The Arrow system is being developed to protect against sophisticated Iranian-made Shahab ballistic missiles. — Agencies (See Page 8)

LOS ANGELES: (Left) Ben Affleck poses with his award for best picture for ‘Argo’ at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday. (Center) Daniel Day-Lewis, best actor for ‘Lincoln’, Jennifer Lawrence, best actress for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, Anne Hathaway, best supporting actress for ‘Les Miserables’ and Christoph Waltz, best supporting actor for ‘Django Unchained,’ pose with their awards. (Right) Ang Lee accepts the award for best director for ‘Life of Pi’. — AP (See Pages 20-23)



National celebrations at Flag Square

KUWAIT: Minister of Information Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah attended activities held yesterday at the Flag Square in Kuwait City to celebrate the Independence Day, including international and cultural exhibitions. — Photos by Joseph Shagra



Kuwait, Gulf in show of strength

KUWAIT: Soldiers from Gulf Cooperation Council countries participated in a military exercise in the Failaka Island yesterday as part of joint military exercises held by the Peninsula Shield troops in Kuwait. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Planes from the United Arab Emirates yesterday made an air show above Kuwait City on the occasion of Kuwait’s National and Liberation Days.— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat



Probe on into Kuwaiti student’s death in UAE By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Investigations are on in the United Arab Emirates in a case in which a Kuwaiti student at the University of Sharjah died recently. According to attorney Fayez Al-Thufairi who is following up the case, Meshal Mubarak Al-Adwani, 19, reportedly died after suffering torture at the hands of two people he described as “Kuwaitis.” The lawyer further explained on his Twitter account that the victim had showed up at the campus on the day of his death “but marks of beatings were noticed all over his body.” The victim reportedly fell

unconscious at his house before he was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Investigations have so far revealed that the student was tortured by two classmates who were arrested. Authorities are waiting for the autopsy report to determine the cause of death, Al-Thufairi said. The National Union of Kuwait Students’ United Arab Emirates branch acknowledged Al-Adwani’s death in a statement released yesterday but gave no details about the circumstances of his death. An official statement from the Foreign Ministry or Kuwait’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi was yet to be released.

Japanese officials renew gratitude for Kuwait’s support TOKYO: Japanese officials yesterday renewed gratitude for the generous assistance and sincere support given to the Japanese people by the Kuwaiti government and the people after the devastating earthquake in March 2011. “The people of the areas as well as the whole of Japan shall never forget the feelings of gratitude toward Kuwait,” Yuriko Koike, Chairwoman of the Japan-Kuwait Parliamentary Friendship League made remarks to Japanese media. “Kuwait offered one of the earliest and biggest supports for the affected areas. The assistance from Kuwait covers a lot of ground,” Koike said in her statement to the Japan Times newspaper. “In addition to the donation of crude oil reaching 5 million barrels, equal to USD 500 million, during his visit to Japan as a state guest last March, His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah expressed his intention to donate USD 2 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society and of USD 3 million to Aquamarine Fukushima,” Koike underlined. “Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to H.H. the Amir and the people of Kuwait as well as Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, who made repeated visits to the devastated areas and provided accurate information about Japan’s needs to his home country, and the staff members of the Embassy, “ she added. Koike, who visited Kuwait on Feb. 12 after assuming the position as the

Chairwoman of the Japan-Kuwait Parliamentary Friendship League, to exchange opinions with her Kuwaiti counterpart, also said Kuwait is known as one of the most advanced nations in terms of democratization among the Arab countries. “It has been more than half a century since Japan established diplomatic ties with the friendly nation of Kuwait. I sincerely hope that the bilateral relations in various fields, including politics, economics, culture and environment, will be further deepened and expanded to make this come true, I am determined to persevere in my best efforts,” she added. Meanwhile, speaking to the Japan Times and the Daily Yomiuri, Japan-Kuwait Society Chairman Kuniyasu Takeda said the year of 2012 marked “a historic visit to Japan by H.H. the Amir in March, in which he was warmly received at the Imperial Palace by Emperor, who was recuperating from heart bypass surgery. During his landmark visit, Japan and Kuwait signed two agreements on investment and cultural exchanges between the two countries. “The visit of the H.H. the Amir added a fresh page to the half-century of friendship between Japan and Kuwait, especially after the announcement of a fresh donation of USD 5 million, of which USD 3 million was dedicated to the restoration of the Aquamarine Fukushima aquarium, and USD 2 million to support earthquake victims in Fukushima Prefecture,” he said.— KUNA

KUWAIT: Firefighters removed a dead body of a person after receiving reports about it yesterday afternoon. The deceased apparently drowned at the Kubbar Island. Ras Al-Salmiya rescuers worked with the coastguards to extricate the body from the water. It was sent to the Criminal Evidence General Department officials. Investigations are underway to determine the circumstances behind the death.—Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Three teenagers hurt in amusement park assault Harasser taught a lesson KUWAIT: Three teenagers were injured, one of them critically, when a scuffle broke out recently at a Hawally amusement park when they resisted hooligans harassing a girl. The trio of two brothers and a friend of theirs, all Kuwaiti nationals between the age of 16 and 18, were reportedly attacked by a group of knife-wielding people following an altercation. According to the police report, one of the teenagers confronted a young man who harassed his sister, which led to an argument. Some 20 people joined the suspect and overpowered the teenager, his brother and their friend. The three injured were hospitalized. Police requested surveillance camera tapes in order to identify and arrest the runaway suspects. Public shame A man who harassed a young girl in public, thinking she was all alone, faced public shame when she called her mother who rushed in and knocked him right down to the floor at a Kuwait City market. The mother struck the tormentor of her daughter with her purse. Police arrived at the scene after the incident was reported, and arrested the man who will now face harassment charges. Disgruntled ex detained A man attacked his former girlfriend at a shopping mall’s parking lot and tried to kidnap her but escaped when he failed in his plan. Police rushed to the scene near the Sixth Ring Road after receiving emergency calls about a man beating up a woman in the parking lot. The man escaped before the arrival of the police but officers escorted the victim to the Shuhadaa police station to press charges. The 32-year-old

Kuwaiti woman explained that she was romantically involved with the suspect but ended their relationship when he tried to “offer” her to his friends by reportedly asking her to join them at his private chalet. Police tracked down the man within half an hour and arrested him. He was taken to the proper authorities to face charges. Officer assaulted A police officer pressed charges against a woman who assaulted him when he confiscated foam spray cans in her possession. The officer was reportedly watching traffic in Salmiya when he noticed among the National Day revelers a female driver and her daughters holding the banned spray cans. The officer pulled the car over and asked the group to handover the contraband objects. The woman tried to talk the officer out of it, but then handed over the cans. Inexplicably, she spitted on him, and let loose some verbal assault before escaping, according to the policeman. The officer noted down the license plate number of the woman’s car and filed a case. Drunks held A group of men was arrested from a hotel in Bnaid Al-Gar after they attacked a friend of theirs while being under the influence of alcohol. Police is searching for yet another suspect who escaped with the victim’s car. Police and paramedics rushed to the scene after the fight was reported. The victim who was bleeding from a chopper-inflicted wound was taken to the Amiri Hospital in an ambulance. Police apprehended the men in an inebriated state who were detained by the hotel’s security to prevent them from escaping. The suspects were taken to the

Da’iya police station where they provided information about a Bedoon (stateless) man they said had attacked the victim with the chopper before snatching his sports car keys and driving away with it. Investigations are ongoing. Drug overdose An addict was found dead in an apartment in Nugra recently after he had consumed an overdose of drugs. Police and paramedics headed to the scene they ere called by the man’s friend who broke into the apartment and found him lying motionless with drug paraphernalia nearby. The Kuwaiti man was pronounced dead on the spot before crime scene investigators were called. The body was taken for an autopsy to confirm the cause of death. Search for molester Investigations are on to identify and arrest a child molester in a case reported recently in Salmiya. The suspect reportedly escaped after sexually harassing a ten-year-old girl inside the elevator in her building. The victim told her father about the incident, prompting the Jordanian man to approach local police and file a case. Sharq suicide A man was pronounced dead at his Sharq apartment on Sunday in a case classified as suicide. Police and paramedics had headed to the scene following an emergency call made by the man’s roommates. They had found the Asian man hanging dead from the ceiling of his room. The body was taken to the forensic department while preliminary investigations indicated that the man committed suicide.



Fund to support SMES Kuwait seeks to diversify income KUWAIT: Kuwait’s establishment of the KD one billion fund for supporting small and medium enterprises is helpful in efforts to shore up the national economy and falls in line with the national approach to diversify resources of income. This assertion was made by officials and experts, who underscored that the launch of the fund was in implementation of the unprecedented initiative by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Dr Amani Bourseli, former minister of commerce and academic professor, called in this vein for establishing an authority to oversee the launch of such ventures and limiting legal restrictions on entrepreneurs as well as diversifying the resources of funding of such projects. In this respect, commercial and Islamic banks can play a role, along with government incentives and guarantees, she opined. She called for establishing a research center to enrich the data base of this sector, which constitutes a prime factor for the diversification of the economic resources and creation of jobs in the private sector. Moreover, it is necessary to set up a specialized training center to take charge of habilitating and training the entrepreneurs launch such projects. Dr Adel Al-Wugayyan, Secretary General of the Supreme Development and Planning Center, said the State should exert further efforts to encourage citizens, namely the young ones, to launch their own enterprises, to boost the private sector and contribute to efforts to diversify the resources of national income. Small entrepreneurs need to be backed with diverse means, namely feasibility studies, information and logistics, said Dr Al-Wugayyan. Kuwait Small Project Development Company General Manager Hassan Al-Ginaee said the fund would help the youth launch their small ventures and this in turn would boost “concepts of free enterprise.” Small enterprises contribute to broadening the productivity basis, absorbing a high proportion of unemployed national cadres, boosting savings and investments. He said that his company offers KD 400,000 for an entrepreneur. Such a contribution is free of interest, he said, adding that company does not charge fees for its participation in a venture. The company, between 2007 and 2012, approved 125 projects. Proportion of supported women enterprises reached 50.4 percent. For her part, Hind Al-Sebeeh, the general manager of Kuwait Industries Union, said the federation seeks to entice the youth to make initiatives and invest in free enterprise. It also contributes to service, industrial, vocational and handicraft sectors. Economy professor Dr. Hassan Al-Najjar said the small and medium businesses constitute some of the fundamentals for success of development, confirming

that the number of Kuwaiti youth with desire to launch small businesses has mounted. Unemployment youth, aged under 21, in Kuwait constitute 51 percent of the population, he said, affirming that the launch of the fund was a step in the right direction. “However, its success is to be measured by how many jobs it can create,” he cautioned. Dr Najjar urged the State to guide the young businessmen and businesswomen to establish small factories. Dr Bader Othman Mal-Lallah, the director general of the Arab Planning Institute, said the small and medium enterprises are basic factors for economic and social development. Moreover, supporting this sector is also back-up for the private sector and is helpful for expanding the industrial and productivity basis and acquisition of modern technology. Furthermore, it enhances self-reliance to meet domestic needs of commodities and services in addition to the contribution to limit reliance on oil for income. Nabila Al-Enjeri, a consultant company chairperson, said “small enterprises will be part of the economic security,” calling for strategies to support this approach. — KUNA

Govt to increase fees ‘at right time’ KUWAIT: While Finance Minister Mustafa AlShamali indicated that the government has no plans to increase fees for public services, government insiders argued that the hiked rates were “definitely coming but only when the government deems suitable.” Speaking to Al-Rai on the condition of anonymity, the sources said that privatization of the communication sector and some parts of the oil sector “is the main route” for bringing in additional service fees, apart from “a graded system of electricity bills.” “Fees in case of certain ser vices merit an increase and cannot be objected to if it was to be presented in a clear manner by explaining the reasons and the benefits thereof,” the sources added. As for the domains which could witness a fee increase, the source mentioned “resorting to different fares for cooking gas cylinders sold to restaurants and individuals,” as well as increasing the fees charged for drivers’ licenses, car registrations, car insurance and health insurance paid by expatriate residents. “The Finance Ministry pointed out in its annual plan and state budget the need to reconsider an increase in certain fees,” the sources said.

KUWAIT: Ibrahim Dalidig Tanandato at the embassy

Filipina accuses embassy official of trading in maids Embassy denies the claims

By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: A Filipina businesswoman, who owns a salon in Salmiya, accused a Philippines embassy official of indulging in human trafficking and harassing her. Moneera (not her real name) accused former head of Assistance to Nationals Unit (ATNU) and currently Administrative Officer of the Philippine Embassy, Ibrahim Dalidig Tanandato, of selling her a runaway housemaid worth KD600 to work at her salon. The money was allegedly given by Moneera to Tanadato’s sister-in-law, who, she alleged, shelters runaway housemaids at her home to eventually hand them over to prospective employers, an allegation she denied when contacted by this reporter. Tanadato’s sister-in-law provides to families the maids who she brings from the Philippines. Tanandato also strongly denied Moneera’s accusation when approached by the Kuwait Times, and stressed that there was no truth in Moneera’s allegations since he only dealt with the housemaids who were released by their employers. “It is not true at all,” Tanandato said when asked by Kuwait Times during an event at a Philippine school in Jleeb on Sunday night. Tanandato, instead quoted the house maid to claim that she ran away from Moneera’s house because her (Moneera’s) husband tried to touch her. “This information was provided to us by the housemaid,” Tanandato stressed. Moneera said she decided to share her story because she was harassed by some of Tanandato’s men at the embassy as she had given her testimony to a team of investigators from Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs which was in Kuwait earlier this month. The two member team was investigating Tanandato’s activities in Kuwait. “I signed my affidavit before the team from the DFA when they came earlier this month, but right after my testimony, some people from the embassy called. They have been telling me that my allegations were untrue and wanted me to come to the embassy. I did not go to the embassy because all they wanted to do was to harass me. They have been spreading bad word against me and therefore I

decided to share my travails with the media,” Moneera admitted. Moneera said that Tanandato was selling housemaids instead of helping them. “He would sell these ladies to new employers and make money. I am one of those who bought the housemaid from him,” Moneera told the Kuwait Times. “That housemaid was brought to my house by none other than Tanandato in the company of her wife sometime in November last year,” she recounted. “I knew Tanandato because his wife is part of the Kuwait Filipino Mother’s Organization - a group I am a member of. When I mentioned to his wife that I need a worker in my salon, she immediately offered help. She said her husband can provide a worker,” Moneera mentioned. The worker would cost, Moneera was told, KD600. “She told me they provide girls but release money is usually involved. According to her, the old employer had to be paid KD600, so that they could cancel the case of the lady worker,” Moneera said. After some talks, he brought her the lady the following day. He requested his sister-in-law to collect KD600 from Moneera. However, after three days, the house help brought for Moneera ran away. “I was shocked, because I had already paid the amount to Tanandato. I called him immediately and he said they could not do anything except to call the housemaid to return the money. But I told him, I have given the money to him, so he has to return the same to me. I went to his office and I stayed there in his office from 10am to 3:30pm just to collect back my money,” she said adding that they did not really want to repay. “They were angry at me, but eventually they give me KD450 only after some intervention by a lady at the embassy who warned them that if they (Tanandato) did not pay the amount, the case will eventually attract the attention of Ambassador Primavera. So, they finally returned KD450 and the remaining KD150 was given only after two months,” she said. Moneera alleged that her case was conveyed to the Philippine Embassy Charge d’affaires Sheila Monedero, but she was told that she could not do anything about her case since she was not present when the amount was paid, but hinted she will be ready to assist when Moneera decides to file a case.


LOCAL Local Spotlight

In my view

Live free and great

Celebrations, Kuwait style By Muna Al-Fuzai

By Abdallah Abbas Bwair


n 1896, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah took a decision to protect Kuwait from any direct or indirect Ottoman intervention. He then took several steps to implement his plan, starting with meetings with the British political resident and asking him to stop interfering in Kuwait but not until 1899 was an agreement signed between Kuwait and Britain to define Kuwait as an independent country under British protection. It needs to be borne in mind that the agreement did not give Britain the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Kuwait. We also need to remember that as Kuwaitis, we were almost free right from the beginning and the agreement with the British was just an instrument to ensure Kuwait’s safety. It was not until 1960 when Sheikh Abdulla Al-Salem realized that the agreement was no longer appropriate for Kuwait since the country had gone through many changes in the meantime. June 19th, 1961 is considered the day Kuwait became independent from the British power. On that day, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 11th ruler of Kuwait, signed the Declaration of Independence with Sir George Madltn, the British High Commissioner in the Gulf, countersigning it. It was thus that Kuwait was declared a free country in 1961, while keeping close friendly ties with Britain. Kuwait celebrated its first Independence Day anniversary on June 19, 1962, but from 1963 onwards, thanks to the extremely hot weather during that time of the year, Kuwait’s Independence Day celebrations were shifted to Feb 25, marking the day Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem AlSabah came to power after the death of his cousin, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Since then, Kuwait always celebrates Feb 25 as a day of joy and happiness. The National Days in February are marked by many recreational activities. Since both these days are holidays in Kuwait, most of the families try to take advantage of that. Many have this year ventured out of the country since it was a long holiday for school teachers and students. Many are seen flying the Kuwaiti flag on the city roads, either affixed atop their cars or being waived. Some prefer to stay at home and have their own personal celebrations. At times, things go crazy on the roads, particularly for expat pedestrians or those waiting for, say, a bus. The behaviour of the boys at times seems inappropriate. Typically, complaints are there about young urchins spraying foam upon each other, and forcing the spirit of revelry upon unsuspecting pedestrians also, behaviour that is completely abominable. One wonders why the police do not do anything about it. The only thing they do is to snatch the foam sprayers from the brats but they go right ahead and buy some more. Should there be a ban on selling these items? I personally doubt if that would help. So they rather let go of things till the day ends on its own. I know it seems silly but it is happening. So if you do not want to be forcibly bathed in this Kuwaiti version of public adult shower, do not venture out at peak time unless there is a dire need. You would be better off avoiding the Gulf Road in the evenings. The two days will pass off quickly and things will come back to their routine. As for those who like to enjoy their holidays, have a good time at home with your family.

In my view

A marker for way forward

L KUWAIT: Kuwaitis all around the country turned their homes into works of art with creative decorations in celebration of the national holidays, using national flag, lights and laser lighting reflecting national colors and other special features.

kuwait digest

How patriotic are we really? By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


very year at the time of the National Holidays, passionate about his country that he does not allow loyal Kuwaitis take to the streets to express the anyone to say anything bad about it, but does not fol“great emotions” they have for their country. low the traffic laws himself? You do not need a genius to notice that a majority This might sound as something to be proud of, especially when compared with the relative “cold-hearted- of those so outspoken about their love for their counness” found in Western countries on such occasions try know nothing about what true patriotism really when people are usually not willing to drive around means. Who commits all those frequent violations of for hours in celebration. It could either be because cleanliness norms every day? Who wastes all that both, gas and time costs something there, or perhaps electricity and water without a reason? Who causes interminable delays in they are yet to discover public affairs by failing to what “fun” it is to spray a The fact is that while all these things show up at work? Who lot of stupid foam on others. that many people do on national occa- takes bribes to allow a conAs a result of our ‘deep sions are positive and spontaneous, yet victed criminal to escape when he is being treated? feelings’ for our country, we are more capable and patriotism is not restricted to putting Who rapes domestic workwilling than any other up placards and raising flags. Instead, ers held in police stations? nation in expressing our one can also prove one’s dedication Who smuggles drugs into jails or sells them to the “love and patriotism” towards Kuwait. But are towards the country by being loyal, public? Who ‘buys’ the MPs’ overzealous celebrations conducting oneself with good behavior conscience, threatens the which include hoisting and protecting public funds. How is the ministers, and harms the environment while setting flags and lighting up our homes, or affixing the country going to benefit from a citizen up a tent in the beautiful flags atop the vehicles, who put up hundreds of flags, portraits desert? Who are those who putting up portraits of the and lights outside his house in celebra- care nothing about fastening their seatbelts while Kuwaiti leaders at every conceivable place and tion but showed up late at work the driving, and insist on putchanting patriotic songs next day, just as he did for the past ting their children in the passenger’s seat unproall the time enough proof twenty years? tected? Are these not the of our patriotism? same people who are If that was indeed so, then how come we do not see similar things happen- found on the frontlines during any patriotic events, and do not hesitate to shut down the public roads ing in other countries? The fact is that while all these things that many because they think they have the “right” to express people do on national occasions are positive and their patriotism the way they like? Last but not least, who out of all these people are spontaneous, yet patriotism is not restricted to putting up placards and raising flags. Instead, one can willing to volunteer for any humanitarian work withalso prove one’s dedication towards the country by out anything in return, just for the sake of their counbeing loyal, conducting oneself with good behavior try? Perhaps no one. One last observation: many have complained and protecting public funds. How is the country going to benefit from a citizen who put up hundreds about the chaotic scenes witnessed every year during of flags, portraits and lights outside his house in cele- national celebrations, which, if anything, mean disrebration but showed up late at work the next day, just spect to Kuwait and to the importance of this occaas he did for the past twenty years? What benefit is sion. Is there any state department responsible for the country going to receive from someone who is so this state of affairs? —Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Change basic system first By Labeed Abdal

By Thaar Al-Rashidi


he congratulatory statement from Matthew Tueller, the US Ambassador to Kuwait, on the occasion of the Independence and Liberation Day of Kuwait can be the beginning of a great road map for Kuwait’s development and the future ties between the two great nations and strategic allies in an important part of the world. The US-Kuwaiti partnership must target opportunities for mutual benefit and explore deeper friendship at different levels. The two countries have shared ties throughout history and became even closer during the times when Kuwait faced hardships as it was invaded by a neighbor and saw the US becoming a liberator. Kuwait needs to boost the trade and improve economic relations to avoid any regional or international setbacks resulting from the international meltdown. Furthermore, we must preserve strong defense relations to maintain security and stability in an area that is volatile by its very nature. For the United States of America, Kuwait can be a great investment destination and offer job opportunities in many areas like oil and gas, building and contracting, banking and education, etc. We, as Kuwaitis, will always remain appreciative of the American role in the liberation of Kuwait, their sacrifices and being mainly responsible for helping us retrieve our country from the hands of a vicious tyrant. No doubt, liberating our country meant for us an all new chance establish a solid link between international justice, freedom, hope and prosperity after suffering untold destruction.


ne of my relatives took his old car to a which needs to be changed is that each minister mechanic after he found that there was be given full authority and independence in decisomething wrong with it. When he arrived sion making, something that is not happening curat the mechanic’s garage, he wanted to show off rently. Our ministers have efficiency, but the problem is his expertise - which he does not really have - and told the mechanic upon opening the hood, “I think that such efficiency is rendered irrelevant under the car needs a new engine because the electricity political regulations exerted by more than one party. The problem does not lie with the government in the car is not functioning as it should.” The mechanic inspected the car casually, lis- or its ministers, but with the ways in which we deal with our political affairs tened to the sound of the and public issues, and it is engine which was ver y The problem is not with individual this that must be soft and found that the engine was all new. ministers; the problem is with the changed. We ne e d to e nd t he Amused, he said to my methods and procedures that the system of centralized relative, “My dear, there is nothing wrong with the g ove r n m e n t h a s b e e n a d o p t i n g. d e c i s i on m a k i ng i n a l l engine but it is clear that Ministers, in most cases, have accept- m i n i s t r i e s. I n s te a d, we the engine needs a new able efficiency levels. The problem is should introduce a system of independent decision car.” If we measure the effi- with the way the government and the mak ing and a concomic ien c y of most of th e administration deal with issues relat- tant accountability mechanism. If any minister fails ministers in the current ed to any ministry. to p e r fo r m a s p e r t h e government as individuwork plan of his ministry als, away from their public persona and political situation, we will find that and as per the government sanctioned program, they are suitable for their posts, except for a cou- he should be fired immediately. This is something ple of them whom I will not make in charge of any that is not happening today. Instead, the minister is barred from taking any decisions, and should a department that has three staff members. The problem is not with individual ministers; the mistake happen and the National Assemly seeks to problem is with the methods and procedures that hold him accountable, the government defends the government has been adopting. Ministers, in him and makes it a prestige issue with the slogan most cases, have acceptable efficiency levels. The that no matter what, “our minister should not fall.” Ask any mechanic and he will tell you the same problem is with the way the government and the administration deal with issues related to any min- thing: “The engine is alright, it is your car that is istry. The method - or the car in my anecdote - the problem.” —Al-Anbaa

et us cast aside all our tensions and enjoy the Kuwaiti Independence Day and Liberation Day holidays. These two occasions are dear not only to Kuwaitis, but also to the expatriates living in Kuwait. Kuwait became an independent sovereign state on June 19, 1961 when the then Amir, the late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, revoked the protectorate treaty signed on January 23, 1899 with the United Kingdom. On November 11, 1962, the constitution was released as part of a pact passed by the Constituent Parliament which set the basic principles of the country’s ruling system as being “democratic; in which sovereignty resides in the people, the source of all power.” Kuwaitis celebrate their National Day on Feb 25, marked in commemoration of Sheik Abdullah AlSalem Al-Sabah who assumed his duties as Amir of Kuwait on that date. A dear and happy occasion for all, this day marks that time of the year when all state departments’ premises, streets and public facilities are decorated with national flags, colors, and the portraits of HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince. On this day, loyal citizens join in parades to express their love for Kuwait, and to renew their pledge of allegiance towards their country and their leaders. The Liberation Day on February 26 is a celebration of Kuwait’s victory over injustice, and the day when Kuwaitis retrieved their country from the hands of the aggressors who used all kinds of barbaric methods against them. It is the day on which Kuwait became free once again after the invaders were forced out of its lands. Our beloved Kuwait, may you always live free and be great under the protection of the Almighty God.

kuwait digest

Fighting talents By Mubarak Al-Maosharji


ahad Al-Enizy is a young star who proved himself as one of the most gifted football players in Kuwait. His stock has risen ever since he played a key role in Kuwait’s unexpected victory in the 20th Gulf Cup tournament held in Yemen in 2010. Following that win, Al-Enizy was treated like a star, given a Kuwaiti ID as well as his naturalization decree. It seemed that his ordeal as a stateless resident was finally coming to an end, and that his dedication to his country was finally paying off. But suddenly, after Kuwait’s loss in the Asian Cup qualifiers that followed the 20th Gulf Cup, the naturalization decree proposal disappeared, and his ID taken away. He was deprived of the citizenship for no fault of his. He continued playing in Kuwait before moving to Saudi Arabia and then returned home where he settled with the Kuwait Sports Club. There, he was again caught in the ongoing turf wars between tsars of Kuwaiti sports.

But suddenly, after Kuwait’s loss in the Asian Cup qualifiers that followed the 20th Gulf Cup, the naturalization decree proposal disappeared, and his ID taken away. He was deprived of the citizenship for no fault of his. He continued playing in Kuwait before moving to Saudi Arabia and then returned home where he settled with the Kuwait Sports Club. After making his first verbal mistake for which he apologized to everyone involved and to all sports fans in Kuwait, Al-Enizy was slapped with an unprecedented penalty that forced him to announce his retirement from international competitions. If he actually retires, it would be a major loss for Kuwait’s national team which badly needs someone with his fine skills and young age. I am not sure what forum can Al-Enizy approach to appeal against the harsh penalty he has been slapped with. The Kuwait Football Association cannot be a judge because it is already known to be an adversary, while the Kuwait Olympic Committee is certainly not the most unbiased body to adjudicate as to the issues in which the KFA would be involved. The Public Authority for Youth and Sports would be most likely unable to do anything about it, while the Ministry of Youth Affairs would likely refer the issue to the cabinet for a solution. In the meantime, it would be easier for Al-Enizy to just serve out his penalty. I am afraid, however, that the frustration he would feel as a result would negatively impact his performance in the national team. Unfortunately, if that were to happen, it would be something with which he practically would have nothing to do with and not bear any responsibility. —Al-Rai


Italy’s centre-left poised to win polls

Syria ready to talk with armed rebels Page 8

SEOUL: South Korea’s new president Park Geun-Hye arrives at the official dinner at the presidential Blue House in Seoul yesterday. — AFP

S Korea swears in 1st woman president Geun-Hye faces slowing growth challenge SEOUL: Park Geun-Hye became South Korea’s first female president yesterday, vowing zero tolerance with North Korean provocation and demanding Pyongyang “abandon its nuclear ambitions” immediately. As leader of Asia’s fourth-largest economy, Park, the 61year-old daughter of late military strongman Park Chung-Hee, faces challenges of slowing growth and soaring welfare costs in one of the world’s most rapidly ageing societies. Taking the oath of office less than two weeks after North Korea carried out its third nuclear test, Park called on the regime in Pyongyang to “abandon its nuclear ambitions without delay” and rejoin the international community. “North Korea’s recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people, and there should be no mistake that the biggest victim will be none other than North Korea itself,” she said. “I will not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation,” Park said, while promising to pursue the trustbuilding policy with Pyongyang that she had promised in her campaign. “I will move forward step by step on the basis of credible deterrence,” she added. Observers say her options will be limited by the international outcry over the North’s February 12 nuclear test, which has emboldened the hawks in her

ruling conservative party who oppose closer engagement. There was no immediate reaction from Pyongyang, but an editorial yesterday in the ruling Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried a clear message for Park to avoid the “confrontational” policies of her predecessor Lee Myung-Bak. “Inter-Korean relations have become so tense that the Korean peninsula is threatened with armed conflict,” the newspaper warned. Yesterday’s twoand-a-half hour inauguration ceremony, held on a chilly and cloudy morning, included a musical warm-up concert that saw Korean rapper Psy perform his global hit “Gangnam Style”. Park took office a little more than 50 years after her father, a vehement anti-communist, seized power in a military coup. Park Chung-Hee ruled with an iron fist for the next 18 years until his assassination, and remains a divisive figurecredited with dragging the country out of poverty but reviled for his regime’s human rights abuses. The bulk of Park’s inauguration speech focused on the economy, and included commitments to job creation, expanded welfare and “economic democratisation” at a time of growing concern with income and wealth disparity. South Korea’s extraordinary economic revival from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War-known as the “Miracle on the Han”-has faltered in

recent years, with key export markets hit by the global downturn. Promising “another miracle”, Park said her administration would build a new “creative economy” that would move beyond the country’s traditional manufacturing base and focus on science and technology. In a clear warning to the giant, family-run conglomerates, or “chaebols”, that dominate the national economy, Park promised a more level playing field and a “fair market” where small and medium-sized businesses could flourish. “By rooting out various unfair practices and rectifying the misguided habits of the past which have frustrated small business owners... we will provide active support to ensure that everyone can live up to their fullest potential,” she said. Chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai were the original drivers of the nation’s industrialisation and economic growth, but have been criticised as corporate bullies who muscle out smaller firms and smother innovation. South Korea’s journey from war-torn poverty to economic prosperity has done little to break the male stranglehold on political and commercial power in what in many ways remains a very conservative nation. As South Korea’s first female president, Park leads a country that is ranked below the likes of Suriname and the United Arab Emirates in gender equality. — AFP

Western academician barred over Bahrain remarks: UAE DUBAI: Authorities in the United Arab Emirates said yesterday that a Western academician was barred from entering the Gulf state following his strong criticism of the monarchy in neighbouring Bahrain. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen was stopped on Friday from entering the UAE where he was supposed to deliver a paper on Bahrain at a conference organised by the American University of Sharjah and his institute, the London School of Economics and Politics (LSE), the UAE foreign ministry said. “Ulrichsen has consistently propagated views delegitimising the Bahraini monarchy,” the ministry was quoted as saying by WAM state news agency. “The UAE is a strong supporter of efforts by the Government of Bahrain and the opposition parties to resolve their situation through peaceful dialogue. “The UAE took the view that at this extremely sensitive juncture in Bahrain’s national dialogue it would be unhelpful to allow non-constructive views on the situation in Bahrain to be expressed from within another GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) state,” the ministry said.

Ulrichsen had written a paper last year titled-After the Arab Spring: power shift in the Middle East?: Bahrain’s aborted revolution. After his deportation the LSE reportedly pulled out of the conference titled “The New Middle East: Transition in the Arab World” which itself was later cancelled. Ulrichsen wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday that he had returned to London after being barred from entering the UAE, adding that he was told by passport authorities that his name was on a “blacklist”. His deportation stirred a buzz on Twitter, with some condoning LSE for withdrawing from the conference. “Bravo LSE for principled stand canceling Mideast conference in UAE,” wrote Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch’s executive director of the Middle East and North Africa. Bahrain’s security forces, boosted by Saudi-led Gulf troops, stormed in mid-March 2011 a protest encampment in Manama’s Pearl Square, ending a month-long Shiite-dominated uprising that demanded democratisation in the Gulf archipelago. — AFP

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Syria ready to talk with armed rebels Hugely destructive conflict has cost 70,000 lives

SAIR: Palestinian women try to comfort Dalal (center), the widow of Arafat Jaradat, an inmate who died in an Israeli prison, during his funeral yesterday. — AFP

Militants vow revenge over Palestinian prisoner death SAIR: Thousands of mourners yesterday attended a tense funeral in the West Bank of a prisoner Palestinians say was tortured to death in an Israeli jail, as masked militants vowed vengeance. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas accused Israel of trying to sow “chaos” in the occupied West Bank but said his people would not be provoked into violence. “This horrific crime will not go unpunished and we promise the Zionist occupation that we will respond to this crime,” said a statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Abbas’s Fatah movement. The statement was issued at the funeral of the prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, in the West Bank village of Sair, while masked militants fired assault rifles into the air. Angry mourners waved Fatah banners or Palestinian flags as they crowded into Sair, Jaradat’s home village near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. Israeli forces stayed just outside the village. “AlAqsa brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah national liberation movement, mourns with all pride its hero, the martyr of freedom, the prisoner Arafat Jaradat,” the Brigades statement said, in reference to Jaradat’s membership of the group. Abbas had on Sunday been told by the Israeli authorities to calm passions in the West Bank, which has been rocked by protests demanding the release of hungerstriking Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons. He said said yesterday that Israel was deliberately seeking to stoke unrest in the occupied West Bank but that Palestinians would not be provoked. “The Israelis want chaos and we know it but we won’t let them,” Abbas said in comments at his West Bank headquarters, seemingly in response to the Israeli demand on Sunday that he calm a wave of protest in the territory. “We want peace and freedom for our prisoners and no matter how hard they try to drag us into their schemes, we will not be dragged,” he said. Protests in support of Palestinian prisoners

on hunger strike in Israeli prisons have been building for weeks but gained new momentum with the sudden death in his cell on Saturday of 30-year-old Jaradat. Palestinian officials accuse Israel of torturing him to death. Israeli media link the increased unrest and Israel’s concerns about possible escalation to next month’s visit by US President Barack Obama to the Jewish state and to the Palestinians. An Israeli security source told AFP yesterday that defence officials were in constant contact with their Palestinian counterparts in an effort to restore calm. An Israeli military spokesman reported “scattered protests here and there” in the West Bank yesterday but said disturbances were minor and there were no injuries. But Palestinian medics said that seven people were lightly injured by army live fire as 500 Palestinians protested near Ofer prison and military camp, near Ramallah. The Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqaa, on Sunday accused Israel of torturing Jaradat to death, citing the preliminary findings of an IsraeliPalestinian autopsy. Israeli prison authorities initially said he appeared to have died of a heart attack. Qaraqaa said the autopsy, performed in the presence of a Palestinian doctor, indicated bruises on Jaradat’s torso, muscle damage and broken ribs. Israel said the fractured ribs which could be from efforts to resuscitate him. A spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service said that three hunger-strikers were still in Israeli hospitals where they were taken at the end of last week for checkups but that she could not divulge details of their medical condition. Rights organisations and Palestinian prisoner support groups say the three, and a fourth prisoner under observation in the medical wing of a prison in central Israel, have been on hunger strike for several months. The Ramallah-based Prisoners’ Club announced Saturday that another seven prisoners had joined them. — AFP

MOSCOW: Syria is ready for talks with its armed opponents, Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem said yesterday, in the clearest offer yet of negotiations with rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar AlAssad. But Moualem said at the same time Syria would pursue its fight “against terrorism”, alluding to the conflict with rebels in which the United Nations says 70,000 people have been killed. Assad and his foes are locked in a bloody stalemate after nearly two years of combat, destruction and civilian suffering. “We are ready for dialogue with everyone who wants it...Even with those who have weapons in their hands. Because we believe that reforms will not come through bloodshed but only through dialogue,” Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted Moualem as saying. He was speaking in Moscow at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia is a staunch ally of Assad. Moaz Alkhatib, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said in Cairo he had not had held any contacts about talks with Damascus, but had postponed trips to Russia and the United States “until we see how things develop”. Syria’s government and the political opposition have both suggested in recent weeks they are prepared for some contacts - softening their previous outright rejection of talks to resolve a conflict which has driven nearly a million Syrians out of the country and left millions more homeless and hungry. But the opposition has said any political solution must be based on the removal of Assad, whose family has ruled Syria since 1970. Rebel fighters, who do not answer to Alkhatib, are even more insistent that Assad must go before any talks start. Brigadier Selim Idris, head of a rebel military command, demanded a complete ceasefire, the president’s departure and the trial of his security and military chiefs as preconditions for negotiations. “We will not go (into talks) unless these demands are realised,” he told AlArabiya Television. Damascus has rejected any preconditions for talks aimed at ending the violence, which started as a peaceful prodemocracy uprising in March 2011

SANAA: Yemeni demonstrators shout slogans to demand the release of a Yemeni medical student, who was arrested in Syria last year, during a protest outside the Syrian embassy in Sanaa yesterday. — AFP inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere. The two sides also differ on the location for any talks, with the opposition saying they should be abroad or in rebel-held parts of Syria. Assad’s government says any serious dialogue must be held on Syrian territory under its control. Adding to the difficulty of any negotiated settlement is the lack of influence that Syria’s political opposition - mostly operating outside the country - has over rebels inside. “We are following the development of events ... with alarm,” Lavrov said. “In our evaluation the situation is at a kind of crossroads. There are those who have set a course for further bloodshed and an escalation of conflict. This is fraught with the risk of the collapse of the Syrian state and society. “But there are also reasonable forces that increasingly acutely understand the need for the swiftest possible start of talks ... In these conditions the need for the Syrian leadership to continue to consistently advocate the start of dialogue, and not allow provocations to prevail, is strongly increasing.” Lavrov ’s warning that the Syrian state could founder

appeared aimed to show that Russia is pressing Assad’s government to seek a negotiated solution while continuing to lay much of the blame for the persistent violence on his opponents. Russia has distanced itself from Assad and has stepped up its calls for dialogue as his prospects of retaining power have decreased, but insists that his exit must not be a precondition. Itar-Tass did not report any other comments by Syria’s Moualem on the chances for talks or on any conditions attached. “What’s happening in Syria is a war against terrorism,” the agency quoted him as saying. “ We will strongly adhere to a peaceful course and continue to fight against terrorism.” The Syrian National Coalition said on Friday it was willing to negotiate a peace deal, but insisted Assad could not be party to it - a demand that the president looks sure to reject. UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Assad had told him he intended to remain president until his term ends in 2014 and would then run for re-election. The political chasm between

Darfur tribal fighting ‘killed 510’ in 7 weeks

Morsi invites opposition to dialogue on elections CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi invited opposition parties to a meeting yesterday to discuss concerns about upcoming parliamentary elections, which some parties have threatened to boycott, and agree on ways to ensure their fairness. The invitation was similar to offers Morsi has made previously that were spurned, and the National Salvation Front opposition coalition immediately rejected the offer to meet. “I tell everyone of all colors of the spectrum, to all dear brothers in different parties across Egypt, I approach them by name, by party, by persons to sit tomorrow and put down guarantees for transparent and fair elections,” Morsi said in a recorded appearance on a television talk program on Mehwar channel aired late on Sunday. Morsi also sought to dispel speculation that there were growing tensions between the army and the presidency. Some Egyptians, frustrated with what they view as Morsi’s poor performance over the past seven months, have called for the military again to run Egypt. Egypt’s military has been a central force in politics since army officers staged an overthrow of the monarchy in 1952. “There could never be disagreement between the armed forces and the presidency because the president and the armed forces are not two factions, they are one, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is extremely professional,” Morsi said on the show. In addition, Morsi said he has a strong relationship with the intelligence apparatus. “ The General Intelligence is directly subject to the presidency of the republic, subject to me...I support, trust, protect and love them, and wish them well because through them Egypt’s security is protected internally and externally,” he said. Egypt on Saturday brought forward by five days the start of the elections to April 22 to defuse a dispute with the Christian community, which makes up a tenth of the population, after they said the original schedule would conflict with their Easter celebrations. Morsi said the elections could conclude Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy, which began two years ago with the over-

throw of autocrat Hosni Mubarak by popular protests. Various opposition groups have said they would boycott the legislative elections, a move that could delegitimize the electoral process, which is due to take place in four stages and culminate with the sitting of the new lower house of parliament in July. The opposition has said that by deciding to hold elections Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement trivialized the deaths of around 60 people in anti-government protests since January and was only concerned with securing parliamentary seats. They accused the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate all state institutions and said the electoral constituencies were “tailor-made” for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and that there were no real guarantees of fair elections. The National Salvation Front (NSF), which groups a number of parties opposed to the Islamists, is due to decide in the coming week whether to join the boycott as a movement. But it immediately rebuffed Morsi’s call for a dialogue on elections. “It makes me angry. You take the decision (to hold elections) and then say, ‘Come to talk to me’,” Khaled Dawoud, an NSF spokesman, told Reuters. Some of the NSF’s main parties have individually said they would boycott, including the Dostour party of Mohamed ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear agency chief. He drew comparisons with the last parliamentar y polls to be held under Mubarak in 2010, a vote that was widely seen as rigged. Morsi’s television comments were aired almost seven hours later than the time the presidency had announced and well past midnight, which provoked dismissive reactions from opponents. Bassem Youssef, a popular satirist who lampoons public figures, wrote on Twitter: “Has anyone seen Mohammed Morsi?” A joke from political activists that made the rounds on social networking sites ran: “According to which timing is the program being aired? Egypt’s, Qatar’s or the United States?” referring to the United States’ and Qatar’s foreign policies, seen as backing the Brotherhood. —Reuters

the government and rebels and a lack of opposition influence over rebel fighters has allowed fighting to rage on for 23 months in Syria, while international diplomatic deadlock has prevented effective intervention. Moualem’s comments echoed remarks last week by Minister for National Reconciliation Ali Haidar, who said he was ready to meet the armed opposition. But Haidar drew a distinction between what said might be “preparatory talks” and formal negotiations. Assad, announcing plans last month for a national dialogue to address the crisis, said that there would be no dialogue with people he called traitors or “puppets made by the West”. Moualem made his remarks a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry began a ninenation tour of European and Arab nations in which the Syria conflict will be a main focus. Kerry plans to meet Lavrov in Berlin on Tuesday and Syrian opposition leaders at a conference in Rome on Thursday, although it is unclear whether all will attend amid internal rows over the value of such international meetings while violence goes on. —Reuters

JERUSALEM: Israeli policemen arrest a Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s old city, near Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday after a group of Israeli settlers attempted to enter the compound yesterday. — AFP

Israel tests new missile defence JERUSALEM: Israel carried out a successful test of its upgraded Arrow interceptor system yesterday, which is designed to destroy in space the kind of missiles held by Syria and Iran, the Israeli Defence Ministry said. The US-backed Arrow III system deploys “kamikaze” satellites that target ballistic missiles above the earth’s atmosphere, hitting them high enough to allow for any non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely. Yesterday’s test was the first live flight for the Arrow III, but did not involve the interception of any target. “The test examined for the first time the capabilities and the performance of the new Arrow III, considered to be the most innovative and revolutionary interceptor in the world,” the Defence Ministry said. A ministry official said the test, which was conducted from a site along Israel’s Mediterranean coast and lasted six and a half minutes, was “100 percent successful”. In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel’s hand is always outstretched in peace but we are also prepared for other eventualities. In this vein, I praise the successful test of the Arrow III.” Designers say the system has proved a success in up to 90 percent of previous tests. “The success of the test is an important milestone in the operational capabilities of the state of Israel to be able to defend itself against threats in the region,” the ministry statement added. But the ministry official said the timing of the test, which took months to prepare, was not related to current tensions with Iran or Syria. He said Israel plans another flight test followed by a simulated interception in space over the Mediterranean.

Arrow is the long-range segment in Israel’s three-tier missile shield. This also includes the successfully deployed “Iron Dome”, which targets short-range rockets and projectiles, and the mid-range “David’s Sling”, still under development. They can be deployed alongside other US systems. Officials say that if Arrow failed to hit an incoming missile at high altitude, there would still be time to destroy it with other systems before it hit its intended target. The Pentagon and the US firm Boeing are partners in Arrow. Washington has described its support for Israeli missile interceptors as a means of reassuring Israel, which in the past has launched preventative wars against perceived threats, that it has a more passive means of defending itself. Israel has accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons and has hinted it might strike the Islamic Republic in an effort to halt its atomic programme. Boeing thinks that potential clients for the system may include India, Singapore and South Korea. “As we prove out that technology, and show that it’s not only affordable but effective, we think there will be additional global market opportunities for that capability,” Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive of Boeing’s defence, space and security arm, told Reuters last year. The United States and Israel have been developing Arrow jointly since 1988. Boeing’s counterpart on the project is state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. The US financial contribution to progressively improved versions of the Arrow system tops $1 billion, the Congressional Research Service said in a March 2012 report to lawmakers. — Reuters

KHARTOUM: More than 500 members of an Arab tribe in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region have been killed and almost 900 wounded in seven weeks of clashes, an MP representing the district said yesterday. The toll is far higher than figures previously given for the fighting between the Rezeigat tribe and rival Arabs from the Beni Hussein group in the Jebel Amir gold mining area of North Darfur. Aid workers say the fighting has caused the region’s largest uprooting of the population in years. “The number of martyrs from January 6 until February 23 is 510, including women and children. Another 865 were wounded,” Adam Sheikha, a Beni Hussein member, told reporters. He said all of the casualties belonged to his tribe. Sheikha is the federal parliamentary representative for El Sireaf district where the violence has been concentrated. It is unclear how many Rezeigat were killed. The MP added that since the start of the violence 68 villages had been burned to the ground, with 120 partly burned, and that 15 women were raped. In the latest attack, on Saturday, residents in El Sireaf town said a Rezeigat militia fired heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, burned houses and killed more than 50 people. Up to 200 died in January, according to Amnesty International which said Sudanese security officers were reportedly involved in the attacks. Sheikha, of the ruling National Congress Party, said the militia who carried out the weekend assault “came on government vehicles carrying state-issued weapons and they got their salaries from the state.” On Tuesday Darfur marks 10 years since rebels from non-Arab tribes began an uprising against the Arab-dominated government. But Darfur’s top official, Eltigani Seisi, told AFP last week “the major issue” in the region now is not rebel attacks but “ethnic violence” such as that in Jebel Amir. He admitted that government-linked militia in North Darfur have “committed atrocities against innocent civilians” but he said the armed groups are to be disbanded. The UN said 1.4 million people were already living in camps for the displaced before the Jebel Amir violence. It cited figures from the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission which said about 100,000 people had been displaced or severely affected by the inter-Arab fighting since January. But Sheikha said 20,000 families had been uprooted, which would mean around 200,000 individuals. The North Darfur state governor, Osman Kbir, confirmed that Rezeigat were responsible for last weekend’s attack but said they had come from West and Central Darfur states. Speaking in El Sireaf, he said security forces will “intervene strongly” to ensure peace between the two tribes. “The situation will improve within two days. There is communication between both sides,” Kbir said, quoted by the official SUNA news agency on Sunday. — AFP



New Cyprus leader begins forming govt NICOSIA: Cyprus president-elect Nicos Anastasiades yesterday began forming a government to secure an international bailout for the financially crippled EU state after romping to victory in a run-off vote. Rightwinger Anastasiades cruised to victory in the Cyprus presidential election on Sunday, vowing to secure an “earliest possible” bailout for the crisishit euro state winning support from the European Commission. Replacing the only communist president in the European Union, the leader of the rightwing Disy party won 57.5 percent of the vote in a second round run-off against communist-backed Stavros Malas, who polled 42.5 percent. All eyes are now on whom he will pick for the key cabinet posts of foreign and finance minister, and who will be placed in charge of the island’s energy

search. Media speculation yesterday hotly tipped MEP Ioannis Kasoulides as the next foreign minister and Michalis Sarris as finance minister while the new president is expected to appoint a deputy minister exclusively for energy matters. Kasoulides formerly served as foreign minister and government spokesman, while Sarris is a former finance minister who worked at the World Bank and was chairman of the Greek-exposed Cyprus Popular Bank, from which he resigned last August. France and Germany yesterday welcomed the election of Anastasiades and urged the new government of the financially crippled EU state to negotiate a bailout quickly. The 66-year-old, who takes over at the end of the month for a five-year term, said during his campaign that he would accept harsh measures required

to secure a bailout from the euro-zone and IMF. The Pro-Disy Alithia newspaper said Anastasiades has a “titanic job” to lift Cyprus out of the ashes of economic crisis and the “amateur handling of a deficient communist administration”. Mass-selling Phileleftheros agreed that the new president was given a “strong mandate” to secure an estimated 17-billion-euro ($23-billion) bailout package, with much of the damage caused by its Greek-exposed banking sector. Anastasiades said he wanted to establish a government of national unity. The crucial election, which drew an 81.5-percent turnout, was closely watched in the other 16 members of the Eurozone, whose finance ministers had deferred a decision on the proposed bailout until negotiations with the new leader. “The Cypriot people have given

Mr Anastasiades a strong mandate to implement his programme of reform and to do what it takes to ensure fiscal and financial sustainability,” said European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. The vote came against a backdrop of grim economic news, with the European Commission predicting the Cyprus economy will shrink 3.5 percent in 2013 after a 2.3 percent contraction last year. A staunch pro-European, Anastasiades has close ties with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, is seen as someone as Europe can do business with. This will be crucial in talks with international lenders especially as Cyprus’ bailout has become an election issue in Germany, economic analyst Fiona Mullen told AFP. “Anastasiades has good relations with Merkel but she faces elections in September and needs to

pass the bailout through parliament,” Mullen said. “The opposition SPD has indicated that it wants to extract a political price for supporting Cyprus. I think that means a big gesture from Cyprus to address concerns about money-laundering,” she added. Nicosia’s bailout request has been dogged by allegations-mainly from Berlin-that its banks are a haven for ill-gotten gains of Russian oligarchs. The international community will also expect the next Greek Cypriot leader to pick up the pieces of a deadlocked UN push for reconciling both sides of the island. Cyprus has been divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and seized its northern third in response to an Athensinspired coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. —AFP

Italy’s centre-left poised to win polls Investors see bright side to Italy election

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ: As the sun rises, a man takes a photograph in Seaside Heights, NJ yesterday. — AP

NYC seaport is a ‘ghost town’ months after Sandy NEW YORK: The historic cobblestone streets and 19th-century mercantile buildings near the water ’s edge in lower Manhattan are eerily deserted, a neighborhood silenced by last year’s Superstorm Sandy. Just blocks from the tall-masted ships that rise above South Street Seaport, store interiors are stripped down to plywood and wiring. Restaurants are chained shut, frozen in time, saddled with electrical systems that were ruined by salt water that raced up from the East River and through their front doors. “People have no clue that this corner of Manhattan has been hit so badly,” said Adam Weprin, manager of the Bridge Cafe, one of the city’s oldest bars. “Right now, it’s a ghost town and a construction site.” Nearly four months after the storm, roughly 85 percent of small businesses near the South Street Seaport are still boarded up. It could be months before some reopen, while others may never return. On Fulton Street, the wide tourist-friendly pedestrian walkway that comprises the seaport’s main shopping district, not a single one of the major chain stores - which include Coach, Ann Taylor and Brookstone - has reopened. Among local business owners, there is a sense that their plight has been ignored by the rest of the city. A state senator who represents the area estimates at least 1,000 jobs were lost in lower Manhattan - 450 in the seaport neighborhood alone. In the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Bridge Cafe has dealt with its share of changes over the last two centuries, including stints as a Civil War-era brothel and a bootlegging speakeasy during Prohibition. But after the basement was flooded to the rafters and water destroyed the building’s

wood foundation, Weprin faced the prospect of shutting its doors for good. “The neighborhood’s been beaten,” Weprin said. “You walk around here and it’s like Chernobyl. At night, it’s vacated.” The small businesses of the seaport were far less resilient than the neighboring skyscrapers that house many of lower Manhattan’s large financial companies. Some corporations were displaced for weeks after the storm. It’s unclear how many residents of lower Manhattan fled the neighborhood after Sandy. But 2 Gold St, a flood-damaged luxury residential skyscraper with nearly 1,000 residents, did not allow tenants to start moving back in until last week. In the darkened window of Stella Manhattan Bistro, an Italian restaurant on Front Street, hung an American flag reminiscent of those displayed all over the city after the Sept 11 attacks in lower Manhattan. Alongside it, someone had posted a sign that said: “Thank you for all your support. Stay strong.” The future of the South Street Seaport is uncertain. Howard Hughes Corp, which controls the former 19th-century counting houses that are home to the retail chains, said it does not yet know which - if any - of the major retailers will come back. The hope is to have Fulton Street in working order again before Memorial Day in May, when the summer season kicks off and the seaport will desperately need an influx of visitors. Milad Doos, an immigrant from Egypt, is planning to close his jewelry and collectibles store for good. “Like you see, there’s nobody,” said Doos, who earned just $5 on a recent afternoon. “After the storm, this whole place has become dead place.” —AP

ROME: Italy ’s centre -left was poised to win against Silvio Berlusconi yesterday in a key election for the euro-zone, but a new anti-austerity party was also set to make major gains, exit polls showed. The main Democratic Party led by Pier Luigi Bersani and its smaller leftist allies were ahead with between 34.5 and 37 percent, beating the 29 to 31 percent for a coalition led by the scandal-tainted former prime minister Berlusconi. A projection by the SkyTG24 news channel said the left would manage to win a majority in both chambers of parliament, following fears that it would fail to snag a majority in the upper house Senate. The newcomer Five Star Movement led by former-comedian-turned-activist Beppe Grillo, who has channelled growing disenchantment with traditional politicians and rising social discontent, was given around 20 percent in the exit polls. European capitals and the financial markets have been concerned that no clear winner would emerge and stocks in Milan jumped by more than 3.5 percent immediately after the exit polls were released. A lacklustre turnout however reflected widespread frustration among voters fed up with austerity cuts and a grinding recession. In the first day of voting on Sunday, turnout was 55 percent-seven percentage points lower than at the same time in the last elections in 2008. Outgoing prime minister Mario Monti was slated for fourth place according to the exit polls, with only around 10 percent of the vote. Italian commentators have predicted a major protest vote. “Italy turns its back on politics, deserts the ballot boxes, and this is how it registers its protest,” wrote the leftwing daily Il Fatto Quotidiano. Leading daily Corriere della Sera said the low turnout reflected an “acute disorientation” in the electorate, facing a “crisis with no end in sight”. The wild card in the election

GENOVA: Five Stars Movement’s leader and former comedian Beppe Grilloleaves at a polling station after casting his ballot in Saint Ilario near Genova yesterday. — AFP has been Grillo, who has called for ordinary Italians who have seen tical promises, and I don’t think Italy’s debts to be cancelled and for unemployment rise to record highs whoever wins will have a stable a referendum on whether to stay in and the economy spiral down- majority,” said Luciano Pallagroni, 77, as he voted in Rome. the euro. He spoke to packed city wards. David, a student, said: “After this The down-to-earth Bersani, 61, squares during the campaign, channelling the frustration of the son of a car mechanic from aberrant campaign with idiot canItalians enduring their longest northern Italy, has tried to over- didates, I hope that there will be a recession in two decades. Critics come his image as a party appa- real change, with tangible results have said his party’s candidates are ratchik and has surrounded himself for Italy.”Gionni Rossi, a 42-year-old too inexperienced, while support- with a youthful team with many restaurateur, said: “It’s all very coners say they could bring a much- women in the ranks. His arch-rival, fused. The young people will vote three -time prime minister for Grillo and the M5S, which could needed breath of fresh air. Democratic Party leader Pier Berlusconi has waged a populist be interesting. In any case, they Luigi Bersani says he is the best campaign, blaming Germany for couldn’t do worse than their predeman to promote a growth agenda Italy’s economic woes and promis- cessors.” Politics professor Roberto for Europe and “turn the page” after ing to refund an unpopular properBerlusconi. Bersani has said he will ty tax to Italians-out of his own D’Alimonte has said these elections are the most important in Italy since abide by the budget discipline pocket if needed. The 76-year-old media tycoon, the early 1990s-when a series of enforced by Monti, a former European commissioner roped in who was mobbed by three topless corruption scandals brought down after Berlusconi’s ouster in 2011 feminists in a protest as he cast his a political order dominated by the who has done much to reassure ballot on Sunday, is a defendant in Christian Democrats. “In 1994, the financial markets. But the former two trials-for tax fraud and for consequences were only about us. communist turned liberal econom- allegedly having sex with an under- That is not the case anymore; now ic reformer Bersani will face pres- age prostitute. “We’re living a tragi- they are about Europe and its sure from trade unions and many comic moment, with lots of fantas- future,” D’Alimonte said. —AFP

British cardinal quits after ‘inappropriate acts’ claims

Greece copter prison escape attempt foiled ATHENS: A helicopter swooped down on a prison courtyard Sunday as armed men on board fired on guards and lowered a rope to help a convicted killer make his fourth attempt to escape from a Greek prison. But the plot was foiled after the prisoner was shot and the chopper forced to land in the prison’s parking lot. The dramatic escape attempt was one of a handful involving helicopters in Greece, and the first time such plans have failed. Authorities said the chartered helicopter - carrying two armed passengers, a pilot and a technician - first tried to rip off the chicken-wire fence surrounding Trikala prison with a hook dangling from a rope. But that didn’t work, so a rope was lowered down to whisk away Panagiotis Vlastos. Another prisoner, an unnamed Albanian national also in the courtyard at the time, may also have been part of the escape plan. At the same time, the armed passengers used AK-47 assault rifles to fire on the prison guards. One guard, who was inside a post, was slightly injured by shards of flying glass. He and others returned fire, injuring Vlastos, who had managed to climb into the helicopter, as well as the helicopter’s technician. Vlastos fell from a height of about 3 meters (10 feet) into the courtyard, and the helicopter was eventually grounded in the parking lot. Vlastos, 43, is a convicted murderer and racketeer serving a life term who had tried and failed three times before to escape from prison. Prison officials told TV stations Mega and NET that they recovered well over 500 bullets fired from the helicopter. The

Ministry of Justice, in statements describing the escape attempt, added that the helicopter passengers also carried, but did not use, “improvised explosive devices.” Authorities said Vlastos was wounded in the legs but is being treated in the prison hospital because his injuries were not deemed serious enough for a transfer elsewhere. The technician’s hand was slightly wounded. It was not immediately clear if the pilot and flight technician had willingly participated in the escape attempt or had been forced to fly to the prison, which is located 328 km (205 miles) northwest of Athens. Also unclear was whether the second would-be escapee was in on the scheme or just happened to be in the courtyard and tried to take advantage of the situation. The helicopter was hired from a western Athens suburb and was supposed to fly to Thessaloniki, in northern Greece. But it deviated from is flight path to head to the prison. This is the third time a helicopter has been used in an attempted prison escape in Greece. Convicted criminals Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizaj were whisked by helicopter from the high-security Korydallos prison in Athens in June 2006. They were caught, but escaped for a second time - again using a helicopter - in February 2009. Paleokostas is still at large. Vlastos was first arrested in 1994 in the murder of two members of a rival criminal gang. He was convicted last year as the behind-the-bars mastermind of the kidnapping of shipping tycoon Pericles Panagopoulos.—AP

VATICAN CITY: In this file picture, Britain’s Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien arrives at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.—- AFP

LONDON: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has resigned with immediate effect in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behaviour, he said in a statement yesterday. O’Brien, who as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh was leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, denies allegations that he made sexual advances towards priests in the 1980s. He had been due to be the only cardinal from Britain to vote on a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI following the pontiff’s shock resignation on February 11. But O’Brien confirmed that he would not now take part in next month’s conclave. “I will not join them for this conclave in person,” he said. “I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on mebut rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor.” In his resignation statement, O’Brien said: “Looking back over my years of ministry: for any good I have been able to do, I thank God. “For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.” O’Brien had been due to resign on his 75th birthday next month, but he said: “ The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013.” The allegations include claims that one priest received unwanted attention from O’Brien after a late-night drinking session, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported. Another priest reportedly claims that O’Brien used night prayers as cover for inappropriate contact. O’Brien has previ-

ously angered the gay community with his hardline public stance on homosexuality. He was named “bigot of the year” last year by the gay rights charity Stonewall. He recently said that same-sex marriages would be “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved” and has long voiced opposition to gay adoption. But in comments this week he also called for the Catholic Church to end its celibacy rule for the priesthood. A string of new scandals and allegations have emerged since Benedict became only the second pope in the Church’s 2,000year history to step down of his own free will. Four members of the conclave are associated with the paedophile priest scandals that have dominated the German pope’s eight-year rule. Thousands of American Catholics have signed a petition calling for US cardinal Roger Mahony, accused of covering up for paedophile priests in Los Angeles for years, to give up his vote in the conclave. And while 85-year-old Benedict cited his age as the main factor in his resignation, media have speculated that an explosive report into last year ’s “Vatileaks” scandal may have played a role. The scandal saw Benedict’s butler arrested, convicted and later pardoned for leaking confidential papers to the press. The Vatican said yesterday that the report on the scandal, which exposed intrigue and corruption in the Church, would be shown exclusively to the future pope. — AFP



Manila to compensate Marcos rights victims MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino signed a landmark law yesterday compensating human rights victims of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, 27 years after a bloodless “People Power” revolution ended his reign. Ten billion pesos ($244 million) will be distributed to potentially thousands of people whom Marcos’s security forces tortured, raped or detained, as well as relatives of those who were killed, during his rule. Speaking at a ceremony in Manila to mark the anniversary of the revolution that was led by his mother, Aquino said the law was part of his government’s efforts to “right the wrongs of the past”. “We may not bring back the time stolen from martial law victims, but we can assure them of the state’s recognition of their sufferings that will help bring them closer to the healing of their wounds,” Aquino said. Loretta Ann Rosales, an anti-Marcos activist who was tortured by his security forces and now heads the country’s independent rights commission, said the law would finally allow all his victims to feel a sense of justice. “The law is essential in rectifying the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship and obliges the

state to give compensation to all those who suffered gross violations of their rights,” Rosales told AFP. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, the chairwoman of Selda, a group which represents Marcos rights victims, also welcomed the symbolic intent behind the law but said the money was too little to have a meaningful impact. “There are so many victims that when you divide it to everyone it will not result to much,” Hilao-Enriquez said. Hilao-Enriquez’s group represents about 10,000 documented victims but she said there were many more who had not been officially registered and may now come forward, such as Muslim communities in the remote south of the country. Under the law, a compensation board will accept and evaluate applications for reparations over the next six months. Those victims will be from when Marcos declared martial law in 1972 to the end of his rule in 1986. The compensation will come from about $600 million the government has recovered from Swiss bank accounts that Marcos secretly maintained while he was in power. The government has accused Marcos and his relatives of plunder-

ing up to $10 billion and has so far recovered about $4 billion. After millions of people took to the streets in a military-backed protest, US-supported Marcos fled to Hawaii where he died in 1989. After returning from exile his relatives have made a remarkable political comeback, while always denying any wrongdoing by the family. Marcos’s famously extravagant wife Imelda is now an 83-year-old congresswoman representing the family’s political stronghold in a northern province. Marcos’s son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, is a senator with public ambitions eventually to become president. He posted a long statement on his official Facebook page in which he said he had “no problem” with compensating people for rights abuses committed between 1972 and 1986. But Marcos said the issue of compensating the “tens of thousands” of human rights victims in the post-Marcos era had been ignored. “That question is like an elephant in the room that some politicians, the typically glib, sanctimonious, and self-righteous, pretend not to see,” he wrote, while insisting he was focused on ways to “unify our country”. — AFP

Earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo

KARACHI: This picture shows Pakistani man preparing tea at his restaurant during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi. — AFP

Pakistan hit by blackout ISLAMABAD: Pakistan was hit by a nationwide blackout for more than two hours after the breakdown of a major plant caused power stations to stop working across the country, officials said yesterday. While power cuts are common in Pakistan due to chronic underinvestment in infrastructure, outages across the whole country are rare. Late Sunday’s blackout occurred when the HUBCO plant in southwestern Baluchistan province, which generates 1,200 megawatts a day of electricity, developed a technical fault, said official Rai Sikandar. That breakdown prompted a “cascading effect” which caused plants nationwide to shut down, said the water and power ministry official. “It was a technical fault in one of our power plants and not in the national

grid,” he insisted, adding that electricity was gradually being restored across Pakistan after it remained off for more than two hours. Another ministry official said power should be back on across the country within two hours. He said that all 24 power stations in the capital Islamabad were working again and electricity was being restored in parts of all the country’s four provinces. “1,200 megawatts of electricity is back in the national grid with the restoration of different power stations,” said the official. He added an inquiry would look into the causes of the technical fault at HUBCO. “It would be pre-mature at this stage to speculate about the nature of the fault that caused the plant to fail.” — AFP

KABUL: Ahmad Jawad Mohammadi, 19 (right) and Ahmad Jawed Mohammadi, 15, center, brothers of Fawad Mohammadi, 14, the Afghan star of the Oscar-nominated movie “Buzkashi Boys,” join their brother-in-law Mohammad Fahim Naderi, 20 (left) as they watch an announcement of the Oscar results yesterday. — AP

Afghan actor’s family proud of Oscar nod KABUL: Relatives of the young Afghan star of “Buzkashi Boys” expressed more pride than disappointment upon learning yesterday that the Oscar-nominated movie didn’t win. Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz, both 14, donned tuxedos for the ceremony after traveling from Kabul to Los Angeles for a trip down the red carpet. The 28-minute movie is about two penniless young boys - a street urchin and a blacksmith’s son - who are best friends and dream of becoming professional players of buzkashi, a particularly rough and dangerous game that somewhat resembles polo: Horseback riders wrangle to get a headless goat carcass into a circular goal at one end of the field. Fawad’s brothers got up early to watch the show, which began at 6 am yesterday in Kabul, on an Internet feed provided by The Associated Press. They didn’t flinch as actor Jamie Foxx announced that “Curfew” was the winner in the live action short film category. “Although the movie didn’t win, I’m very happy that Fawad made it to such a place. I’m very happy for him. At the same time he is my brother and I miss him,” said Fawad’s 19-yearold brother, Ahmad Jawad Mohammadi. “Buzkashi Boys” was directed by Sam French, a Philadelphia native who has lived in Afghanistan for about five years, and funded

in large part with a grant of more than $200,000 from the US Embassy in Kabul as part of an effort to encourage Afghans to see the parts of their country that aren’t mired in conflict. Jawanmard, who has been acting since he was five, played the street peddler while Fawad was the blacksmith’s son. The movie the first installment in a project aimed at training local film industry workers - gained international attention when it received an Academy Awards nomination. Fawad’s story got special attention because he was discovered by French while peddling maps to foreigners in the Afghan capital, one of an untold number of Afghan youths hustling in the streets to help earn money for their families. He started selling chewing gum when he was about seven years old and soon expanded his trade to maps and dictionaries, learning to speak English during his interactions with foreigners on Chicken Street, an area in Kabul with shops selling multicolor rugs, crafts and souvenirs. He was even able to enroll in a private school, thanks to the generosity of some other foreigners unrelated to the film project. His brother-in-law said it was an important first step for Fawad to act in such a high-profile film and appear among the rich and famous at the Oscars.—AP

TOKYO: A 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit Japan yesterday, setting buildings in the capital swaying but causing no risk of a tsunami, seismologists said. National broadcaster NHK said no abnormalities were detected at nuclear power plants near the epicentre, which was north of Tokyo, where buildings rocked for upwards of half a minute. The US Geological Survey said the quake had hit at 16:23 (0723 GMT), with its epicentre 57 kilometres (36 miles) north-northeast of Maebashi and around 143 kilometres north-northwest of Tokyo. The agency said it had struck at a depth of nine kilometres. The Japan Meteorological Agency, which had earlier put the magnitude at 6.2, said minor aftershocks were continuing. Takayuki

Fukuda, an official at the Nikko city fire department in Tochigi prefecture, near the epicentre, told AFP by telephone that the quake had rocked the city, a popular spot on the tourist trail. “It shook vertically for about 10 seconds. Nothing fell from shelves and window glass was not shattered. There was no report of fire and we are preparing to patrol the city,” he said. Preliminary reports that a wall in the city had tumbled proved false, he said later, adding: “We have no information about any injury resulting” from the quake. NHK said several bullet trains had been temporarily stopped, but service had resumed moments later. Japan is regularly hit by powerful earth-

No evidence for Afghan claim of ‘misconduct’ K ABUL: The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has so far found no evidence to support Afghan allegations of misconduct by American special forces in a strategic eastern province, the alliance’s spokesman said yesterday. German Gen Gunter K atz said the International Security Assistance Force will work with the government to find a solution to the concerns of Afghans, but could not yet comment on the allegations that Afghans connected with US special forces were involved in abuses that include torture, killings and illegal detentions. Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered all US special forces to leave Wardak within two weeks and requested that their operations there cease immediately. The restive province, which neighboring Kabul province and is viewed as a gateway to the capital, has been the focus of counterinsurgency efforts in recent years. On Sunday, the Afghan defense ministry said in a statement that it had “demanded the special forces evacuate the areas according to the timeline” given by Karzai. The decision followed a meeting of Karzai’s National Security Council during which Wardak provincial governor Abdul Majid Khogyani and local officials said that Afghans working with US special forces were responsible for the disappearance of at least nine men and the murder of an Afghan university student. Khogyani and the other officials also presented allegations that the Afghans working for the American special forces were involved in abusive behavior.

The armed Afghans are not part of the Afghan security forces, the government has said, implying that they are members of secret militias working with the American special forces. “Those Afghans in these armed groups who are working with the US special forces, the defense minister asked for an explanation of who they are,” presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said late Sunday. “Those individuals should be handed over to the Afghan side so that we can further investigate.” Although a presidential statement suggested that US forces could also be involved, the Afghan government said it mostly wanted to know about the armed Afghans - who have been blamed by local residents for the abuses. “We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them,” Katz told reporters. “Over the past few weeks there have been various allegations of Special Forces conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner” in Wardak. He added that “so far, we could not find evidence that would support these allegations.” Katz says that ISAF cannot comment until NATO meets to discuss the issue with the Afghan government. “Until we have had a chance to speak to senior officials in the government of Afghanistan about this issue, I am not in a position to comment further on details regarding what has been said at the National Security Council,” Katz said. “We will talk to Afghan officials in due course.” Sunday’s order seems to have surprised both NATO and US.Forces Afghanistan, which is a separate command. — AP

quakes and has largely adapted its infrastructure to tremors that can cause widespread damage in other, less developed countries. However, a huge undersea quake with a magnitude of 9.0 in March 2011 sent a towering tsunami into the northeast of the country, devastating coastal communities and killing nearly 19,000 people. It also sparked the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation when waves knocked out the cooling systems at Fukushima nuclear plant. That disaster, which is officially recorded as having claimed no lives, caused widespread mistrust of nuclear power generation in a country that had previously relied on the technology for around a third of its electricity needs. — AFP

China party laments youth BEIJING: The mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party yesterday lamented a generation who had never tasted “hard work” after the son of a general was detained on suspicion of involvement in a gang rape. Li Guanfeng, the teenage son of general Li Shuangjiang-a popular military singer and household name in the country-was held last Thursday in the latest allegation against privileged children of officials to spark public outrage. The news has dominated Internet message boards, online news portals and staterun newspapers in China, where crimes by the offspring of the country’s elite cause particular anger among ordinary people. “Family education” among successful, wellknown figures in China needs to be “cautious”, said the People’s Daily, the ruling party’s official organ, in an editorial on the case. “Many of these children have not experienced the hard work needed in the struggle to achieve success, but are shown the results of this success. “Used to getting everything they want and having all their problems handled, they will use their father’s name as an excuse, take flaunting wealth for granted and regard defying the law as brave behaviour.” Li is among five suspects detained over allegations of a sexual assault on February 17, the state -run China Daily said. The newspaper quoted an unnamed Beijing police source saying the group were accused of gang-raping a woman in a hotel room after a night of drinking. It is not the first time the 17-year-old has come to public attention. He was sent to a government correctional facility for one year in 2011 for beating a couple while their young child looked on. Domestic media reports said his parents changed his name from Li Tianyi to Li Guanfeng on his release. Hundreds of thousands of people went online to express their outrage at the time, and the general apologised for his son’s actions. — AFP

Chinese hackers seen as increasingly professional BEIJING: Beijing hotly denies accusations of official involvement in massive cyberattacks against foreign targets, insinuating such activity is the work of rogues. But at least one element cited by Internet experts points to professional cyberspies: China’s hackers take the weekend off. Accusations of statesanctioned hacking took center stage this past week following a detailed report by a US-based Internet security firm Mandiant that added to growing suspicions that the Chinese military is not only stealing national defense secrets and harassing dissidents but also pilfering information from foreign companies that could be worth millions or even billions of dollars. Experts say Chinese hacking attacks are characterized not only by their brazenness, but by their persistence. “China conducts at least an order of magnitude more than the next country,” said Martin Libicki, a specialist on cyber warfare at the Rand Corporation, based in Santa Monica, California. “The fact that hackers take weekends off suggests they are paid, and that would put paid to the notion that the hackers are private.” Libicki and other cyber warfare experts have long noted a Monday-through-Friday pattern in the intensity of attacks believed to come from Chinese sources, though there has been little evidence released publicly directly linking the Chinese military to the attacks. Mandiant went a step further in its report Tuesday saying that it had traced hacking activities against 141 foreign entities in the U.S. Canada, Britain and elsewhere to a group of operators known as the “Comment Crew” or “APT1,” for “Advanced Persistent Threat 1,” which it traced back

to the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398. The unit is headquartered in a nondescript 12-story building inside a military compound in a crowded suburb of China’s financial hub of Shanghai. Attackers stole information about pricing, contract negotiations, manufacturing, product testing and corporate acquisitions, the company said. Hacker teams regularly began work, for the most part, at 8 a.m. Beijing time. Usually they continued for a standard work day, but sometimes the hacking persisted until midnight. Occasionally, the attacks stopped for two-week periods, Mandiant said, though the reason was not clear. China denies any official involvement, calling such accusations “groundless” and insisting that Beijing is itself a major victim of hacking attacks, the largest number of which originate in the US. While not denying hacking attacks originated in China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that it was flat out wrong to accuse the Chinese government or military of being behind them. Mandiant and other experts believe Unit 61398 to be a branch of the PLA General Staff’s Third Department responsible for collection and analysis of electronic signals such as e-mails and phone calls. It and the Fourth Department, responsible for electronic warfare, are believed to be the PLA units mainly responsible for infiltrating and manipulating computer networks. China acknowledges pursuing these strategies as a key to delivering an initial blow to an opponent’s communications and other infrastructure during wartime - but the techniques are often the same as those used to steal information for com-

mercial use. China has consistently denied statesponsored hacking, but experts say the office hours that the cyberspies keep point to a professional army rather than mere hobbyists or so-called “hacktivists” inspired by patriotic passions. Mandiant noticed that pattern while monitoring attacks on the New York Times last year blamed on another Chinese hacking group it labeled APT12. Hacker activity began at around 8:00 am. Beijing time and usually lasted through a standard workday. The Rand Corporation’s Libicki said he wasn’t aware of any comprehensive studies, but that in such cases, most activity between malware embedded in a compromised system and the malware’s controllers takes place during business hours in Beijing’s time zone. Richard Forno, director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s graduate cybersecurity program, and David Clemente, a cybersecurity expert with independent analysis center Chatham House in London, said that observation has been widely noted among cybersecurity specialists. “It would reflect the idea that this is becoming a more routine activity and that they are quite methodical,” Clemente said. The PLA’s Third Department is brimming with resources, according to studies commissioned by the US government, with 12 operation bureaus, three research institutes, and an estimated 13,000 linguists, technicians and researchers on staff. It’s further reinforced by technical teams from China’s seven military regions spread across the country, and by the military’s vast academic resources, especially the PLA University of Information Engineering and the Academy of Military Sciences.—AP



Castro picks ‘young’ new heir Castro announces retirement in 5 years

IOWA CITY: Shawn Noble skis to work after a winter storm left more than six inches of snow in Iowa City, Iowa. — AFP

Second blizzard bears down on Plains region DODGE CITY: A second major winter storm was bearing down on the central Plains Sunday, forcing cancellations and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand supplies less than a week after another system dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region. National Weather Service officials in Kansas issued blizzard warnings and watches through late Monday ahead of the strong storm system that’s packing snow and high winds. The storm has been tracking across western Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. “We’re expecting more wind with this storm,” said Jeff Johnson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kan. “Snow amounts are varying, but we could see upward of a foot across south-central Kansas with lesser amounts across west-central and central Kansas.” Kansas Gov Sam Brownback amended the state of emergency declaration he signed last week to include the new storm. “This storm has the potential to be more dangerous than last week’s storm,” Brownback said Sunday night during a briefing that he and emergency officials in his state held to warn residents about the weather. He urged motorists to “stay off the road unless it’s absolutely critical” but said drivers who must travel should pack their charged cellphones and emergency kits containing food, water, blankets, road flares and shovels. The region was hit by a massive storm last week that dumped a foot of snow in some sections, closed airports and caused numerous accidents. “It would have been nice if we’d had a few days to recover, to do some equipment rehab,” Joe Pajor, deputy director of public works in Wichita, Kan., told The Wichita Eagle. The city saw its second-highest snowfall ever Thursday with 14.2 inches. Other totals from the Thursday snowstorm included 18 inches in the southern Kansas town of Zenda, 17 inches in Hays, Kan, about 13 inches in northeast Missouri and 12 inches of snow in parts of Kansas City. Steve Corfidi, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla, said the storm also will affect southern states and could spawn tornadoes Tuesday in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and Georgia. “It definitely will be one of the more significant events of the season, the winter season, absolutely,” Corfidi told The Associated Press. “Both in winter weather and severe weather potential, and rain, down in the southeast United States.” More than a foot of snow is possible from the Texas Panhandle, across the Oklahoma Panhandle and into Kansas and possibly Missouri as the storm moves eastward from the southwestern United States. While snowfall is expected to taper off by Monday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 35 mph will remain a hazard, said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Amarillo, Texas, office. Pajor told the Wichita newspaper the new storm “looks worse than the last one” and that sand and salt supplies are low because of last week’s record storm, as are the number of locations where snow can be transported off city streets. He said the plowing strategy for the new blizzard may have to involve plowing snow into the center of arterial streets, and cutting traffic to one lane each direction. He also said streets won’t be treated with the city’s limited sand and salt supplies until the snow ends and plowing is under way. The threat of the pending storm forced cancellations Sunday and Monday in Kansas and Missouri, including the championship basketball tournament for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Association, which rescheduled the tournament for Tuesday in Park City, Kan. Matt Lehenbauer, emergency management director for Woodward County, Okla., said he expected rain or snow to begin there Sunday evening and forecast up to a foot of snow and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour. “We’re expecting white-out conditions,” he told the AP. He said there is plenty of salt and sand on hand to help clear roads, but the conditions may cause delays. “We may not get the roads cleared until midday Tuesday if we get the expected amount of snow and wind. As it’s falling, in the blizzard-like conditions, we just won’t be able to keep up,” he said. — AP

HAVANA: President Raul Castro has been reelected to what he vowed would be his last term in office, and unveiled a 52-year-old political heir tasked with securing the future of the communism in Cuba after 2018. “This will be my last term,” Castro, 81, told lawmakers after the National Assembly reelected him Sunday and named a new regime number two, Council of State Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Castro said he was “elected to defend, maintain and continue perfecting socialism-not to destroy it,” adding that his economic reforms will create “a less egalitarian society, but a fairer one.” Choosing Diaz-Canel, a former military man and professor from Villa Clara who has represented the president on foreign trips in recent months, “marks a final step in configuring the country’s future leadership, through the slow and orderly transfer of the main leadership positions to new generations,” Castro said. The changes are in line with a decision adopted by the Communist Party last year to limit the terms of top office holder to 10 years. Raul Castro will reach this limit on February 24, 2018. Raul Castro became Cuba’s interim president when Fidel took ill in 2006. He formally became president in 2008. Through the Cold War and now for more than two decades after it, the United States has tried to isolate Cuba to press for democratic change. In 1962, it imposed a full trade embargo on Havana-the only one-party Communist regime in the Americas-to pressure the communist island to open up democratically and economically. Cuba finally appears poised to have lined up new leadership, provided it can continue to prop up its dysfunctional economy while keeping the regime afloat. Cuba is dependent

on aid from oil-rich Venezuela and so far has failed to discover reserves of its own, although some experts say there are untapped stores of crude off its Gulf of Mexico coast. The fate and future of the Cuban regime also depends on the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuba’s main economic supporter and political ally, who is recovering from cancer surgery. But there is no guarantee a successor would feed Cuba’s econo-

my as much as Chavez. Diaz-Canel, who turns 53 in April, is an electrical engineer by training, a former education minister and the president’s de facto political heir seeking to project the Americas’ only one-party Communist regime into the future. Since March, Diaz-Canel has been one of the eight vice presidents on the Council of Ministers. He took the number two spot from Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 82, who relinquished the post but remains one of Cuba’s

HAVANA: Cuban reelected President Raul Castro (left) delivers a speech during the new National Assembly meeting to choose a Council of State, at the Conventions Palace in Havana on February 24, 2013. — AFP

vice presidents. Diaz-Canel, as political heir, cuts a starkly different profile from the revolutionary leadership, whose members are mostly in their 80s. If he comes to lead Cuba, he would be the first leader of the regime whose entire life has been under the Castro regime that started in January 1959. Barring any changes, DiazCanel would succeed Raul Castro, who will be 82 in June, if the president serves out his term through 2018. A careful speaker, the lanky Diaz-Canel also has been a leader of the Communist Youth Union, and went on an international “mission” to Nicaragua during the first leftist Sandinista government. He rose up the ranks, leading the party in Villa Clara in central Cuba, before being chosen to lead it in Holguin province in the east. Diaz-Canel was then bumped up to the Politburo in 2003. There was more new blood among the five vice presidents on the Council of State, in the person of Mercedes Lopez Acea, 48, the former leader of the Communist Party’s Havana provincial assembly. And Raul Castro’s own daughter, Mariela Castro, was elected as an assembly lawmaker for the first time. A professional sexologist, she has lobbied the regime to guarantee better treatment for gays, lesbian and transgender Cubans. She is expected to push for Cuba to legalize same-sex marriage. The National Assembly, whose members ran for office in October unopposed, also chose Esteban Lazo, 68, as their new speaker. Seen as an ideological hardliner, he is also the regime’s most prominent Afro-Cuban leader. “Lazo has been all about ideological orthodoxy,” said professor Arturo Lopez-Levy at the University of Denver in the US state of Colorado. — AFP

No escape from narcos for Mexican beauty queen GUAMUCHIL: Maria Susana Flores walked up to the microphone in a sequined black dress, showing the judges of the Sinaloa Woman beauty contest the smile and the strut she had perfected in pageants since preschool. “Women, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change your past,” the 20-year-old contestant said in a sweet, high voice. “But you can choose today what your future will be.” Drums rolled as Susana left center stage and turned to pose, placing manicured hands on her tiny waist and shaking back long brown hair. The crowd whooped. The judges were dazzled by the dark-eyed beauty with the Penelope Cruz lips, and before long she was bowing her head to accept the 2012 crown. If you had asked her that February weekend, the new Sinaloa Woman would have said the future she’d chosen was clear: a calendar of pageants as far away as China, a chance to compete for the coveted Miss Sinaloa title, and then, Miss Mexico. But Susy, as she was called, had chosen another path at the crossroads of power and beauty in a state known for drug lords and pageant queens. It was a fateful choice. In November, Susy died like a mobster’s moll, carrying an AK-47 assault rifle into a spray of gunfire from Mexican soldiers. Hit below the neck, she dropped into a dirt field and bled to death, her carotid artery severed. “I swear I would have never imagined, ever in my life, that my daughter would die like this,” said Maria del Carmen Gamez, Susy’s devoted manager and biggest fan. Sinaloa, with its acres of corn and tomatoes, is the birthplace of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa cartel who is one of the wealthiest men in Mexico and one of the most-wanted men in the world. A long narrow state, it hugs the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean, though Mazatlan, its most popular resort town, has lost its luster under the violence of the drug wars. The cartel’s internal battles over the international cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana trade has given the state one of Mexico’s highest murder rates, while the drug business has provided its riches. Thousands of Sinaloans are drawn wittingly or unwittingly into the narco economy, with vague titles such as “farmer” or “businessman” often serving as code for the more pedestrian jobs in the drug trade. Thousands more, from accountants to bar owners to musicians, cannot escape the reach of the drug cartels. The settling of accounts among gangsters is as common here as car crashes, and neighborhoods are dotted with monuments to slain young men. The main cemetery in the state capital of Culiacan is a glittering city of mausoleums with towering cupolas, spiral staircases and Juliet balconies. The city is peppered with shopping malls of shuttered stores and empty restaurants, known as “narco plazas” because they are little more than fronts for money laundering. On the outskirts of the city, meanwhile, motels boast Vegas-like replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Across this foreboding landscape bloom the beauty queens. The Miss Mexico title has been won seven times by the tall fine-featured women of Sinaloa. And beauty queens and drug lords have been drawn to each other for as long as the illegal narcotics trade has flourished in Sinaloa. “Do you want beauty queens who are not involved in the state’s dominant industry? Look for them in heaven,” said Nery Cordova, a local university professor and author

of “Narcoculture in Sinaloa.” El Chapo married a beauty queen - his latest wife. Miss Sinaloa 2008 was forced to give up her crown after soldiers caught her and her boyfriend, an alleged cartel leader, with an arsenal of guns and wads of cash in a tale that inspired the acclaimed 2011 Mexican film, “Miss Bala” - Miss Bullet. And Susy too, fell for a narco whose violence was so legendary his name is featured in “narco corridos,” the brass band songs devoted to a culture that glorifies drug traffickers and their bloody exploits. “People know I hardly forgive,’ one of the songs says. “Sometimes I am bloodthirsty. I tear them to pieces. I like doing things my way.” Gamez was enthralled with beauty contests long before the birth of her first daughter, Susy. She vividly remembered the day a classmate, Miss Mexico 1985, returned triumphant to their native town of Guamuchil to a lavish reception of mariachis, bands and parades. Susy was only 4 when her mother signed her up for a pageant she had organized herself. The child won, and was crowned “Queen of the Red Cross.” It was an exciting moment in a young life soon marred by violence. Two years later, Susy’s father was killed after his car was sprayed with bullets - not an uncommon occurrence in Sinaloa. He was 35. Gamez still won’t talk about that day in 1998, but according to newspaper accounts, Mario Flores was driv-

CULIACAN: This photo provided by the Gamez family shows Maria Susana Flores Gamez after being crowned Sinaloa Woman 2012 in Culiacan, Mexico. — AP

ing, his wife by his side, when a car approached them and a man opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol. Flores, hit in both hands, tried to speed away but crashed the truck into a house. His head was crushed when the pickup flipped. Though the truck was riddled with bullets, Gamez survived. Like so many crimes in a state long on bloodshed and short on justice, this one was never solved. Hearsay blurred into rumor, and then myth. What happened? No one knows. What did he do for a living? “He was a farmer,” his wife said. “A known businessman,” said the newspaper. Susy was curious about her tall, green-eyed father. “Tell me about him,” she often asked her mother. “He was a good man,” Gamez would say. Flores left a life insurance policy, six homes in the names of his three children and a venue for party rentals - more than enough to provide for the traumatized family, and for Susy’s pageant career. By age 10, Susy was a true competitor, winning the local “Miss Fantasy and Talent” pageant dressed as an angel and reciting a poem about her father, whom she called “an extraordinary man.” “She was very strong spiritually,” her mother said. Susy rarely cried, but Gamez sensed pain in her sad eyes and worried about how much she slept. The only time Susy really lit up was on stage. Waving from floats as Spring Queen, Homecoming Queen and Model of the Year, Susy, at 5-foot-6 (1.70 meters), grew into one of Guamuchil’s prettiest and most popular girls, a role model for thousands who dreamed of winning a beauty contest and riding in a parade on top of a Hummer. “I wanted to be just like her,” said her closest cousin, Belyn Parra, 18. Susy wanted the best 15th birthday party in the history of Guamuchil, and her mother was determined to give it to her. She ordered her daughter a custom-made gown, in yellow shantung silk with off-the-shoulder sleeves, to rival the gown of Belle, the princess in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” It cost $2,700, Susy told her friends. Gamez flew her to Hawaii for a photo shoot - with penguins, volcanos and white farmhouse porches as backdrops. Tourists stopped and asked to be photographed with the real-life princess. But her quinceanera, as the Latin American fiesta is known, was not to be spared Sinaloa’s signature bloodshed. Susy’s godfather for the party, singer Valentin “El Gallo de Oro” Elizalde, was one of the most popular artists in Sinaloa’s banda music, with its brash accordions and horns. Two months before Susy’s big event, the singer of “narcocorridos” was shot dead after a concert in the violencewracked border state of Tamaulipas. The killing, believed to be a narco hit, was never solved. On a sunny Saturday in January 2007, Susy arrived at the Catholic church on Guamuchil’s main avenue, escorted by 10 young men dressed as royal guards. The garden party that followed was held in white tents decorated with crystal chandeliers. Susy’s younger cousin, Belyn, made her First Communion at the same event. Belyn stood in awe as the band played, and a singer crooned a song written for Susy. Her birthday gift was a $30,000 white, Chrysler 300C luxury sedan, a status symbol in Sinaloa. The local paper covered her party. The headline: “Magical.” In 2011, shortly after Susy enrolled in a community college, rumors swirled that she was secretly dating one of El Chapo’s top lieutenants, the head hit man and trafficker for a region surrounding Guamuchil - almost a quarter of the state.—AP

Cop a cannibal only in ‘online fantasy’ NEW YORK: Gilberto Valle’s mind is full of sick thoughts and he wants a jury to know it. The New York City police officer accused of kidnapping conspiracy admits to thinking about abducting, cooking and devouring young women. His own lawyer has shown prospective jurors a kinky staged photo of a woman trussed up in a roasting pan to test their tolerance for the officer’s “weird proclivities.” The baby-faced tabloid sensation known as the “Cannibal Cop” is even expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all fantasy, that his online chats were so offensive, so over-thetop that they couldn’t possibly be taken seriously. If jurors were to believe that the countless people who visit fetish chat rooms were real cannibals, then where’s the horrific feeding frenzy? It’s a gambit that will begin to play out Monday with opening statements in one of the city’s most bizarre federal court cases in recent memory. Valle, a 28-year-old college grad and father, was just another NYPD patrolman until late last year, when he was charged with conspiring to kidnap a woman and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database. Beyond the tabloid headlines that blared “Finest Young Cannibal” and “Cook ‘em Danno,” the accusations were star-

tling and serious: The FBI, following a tip from Valle’s estranged wife, unearthed an alleged plot to cook and eat dozens of women, all graphically detailed in a trail of emails, computer files and instant messages. A conviction on the kidnapping count carries a possible life sentence. “I’m planning on getting me some girl meat,” he allegedly wrote in one chat room. “It’s this November, for Thanksgiving.. She’s not a volunteer. She has to be abducted.” Another purported target was an 18-year-old high school student who Valle wrote was “the most desirable piece of meat I’ve ever met” and was small enough to fit in his oven. A criminal complaint claimed that Valle had created a computer file cataloging at least 100 women with their names, addresses and photos. And it accused him of illegally culling some of the information from the restricted law enforcement database, and doing surveillance on some of his potential victims. A New Jersey man also was charged with scheming with Valle to kidnap, rape and murder a Manhattan woman and is awaiting trial. He too says he intended no harm. At a bail hearing, prosecutors insisted Valle was a would-

be killer who should be jailed without bail. A judge agreed, calling the charges “profoundly disturbing” and “the most depraved, most dangerous conduct that can be imagined.”Rather than deny the depravity, defense attorney Julia Gatto immediately began mounting a defense to highlight it, to drive home the argument that Valle’s only appetite was for fantasies. “The government’s case is nothing more than a hard drive full of disturbing, sexually deviant talk between my client and other men who share his, albeit weird, proclivities,” she said. The defense has been bolstered by pretrial rulings that will allow Valle’s lawyers to call expert witnesses expected to give jurors a tutorial on online sexual deviance and fetishes often called “vore,” short for carnivore. A clinical sexologist will testify about sexually explicit websites that “resemble improvisational theater,” court papers say. “The style is to maintain the repartee, regardless of how implausible, ridiculous or even impossible the conversations gets.” A forensic psychiatrist and criminologist who examined Valle and contends most men “who have sadistic fantasies ... engage in no harmful actions toward others,” the papers say. The witness found that Valle has no serious mental illness or

personality disorders related to violence. Instead, he says, the defendant has recurring fantasies of sexual sadism - a condition known as paraphilia. The jury also will be shown the videotaped testimony of a Moscow man who created He’s expected to testify that he modeled his website after Facebook so those with similar sexual fantasies could share their interests. The site claims more than 38,000 members and cautions that it “is for all fantasies, not real death.” A 38-year-old member from the United States says in his profile that he enjoys “the thought of torturing girls in the most horrific ways. I’ve been a freak since my early teens and I don’t see this changing.” During jury selection, the defense quizzed candidates on whether they have a bias against people who frequent websites depicting sadomasochistic behavior. At trial’s end, Valle’s fate will rest with a jury of six men and six women, most of whom are college-educated and have lived in Manhattan or New York’s suburbs most of their lives. One collects antiques. Two are amateur musicians. A 50-year-old woman on the jury wrote of her film preferences: “Without my husband, horror movies; with my husband, everything else.” — AP





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Jordan tourist attractions just a click away By Adam Nicky onsidering a visit to Jordan? Some of its most breathtaking wonders, from the amazing rock formations and remains of ancient life in Petra to the lowest point on Earth at the Dead Sea, are now just a click away as Jordan becomes a leader in using technology to promote tourism. In a bid to boost tourism revenues after two bad years, Jordanian tourism authorities this month introduced the live web cam streaming from five top attractions, including Amman’s ancient citadel, the Red Sea port of Aqaba and the Amman skyline. Billed as the First World Wonder Webcam, the pink city of Petra’s stream features its treasures, used as a backdrop for Indiana Jones films, which can be seen from a nearby hilltop while tourists take pictures or are led by Beduin on camels or horses on the rocky terrain. The Dead Sea web cam is billed as the Lowest Webcam on Earth. The Arab citadel stream shows ancient Roman columns standing tall, with viewers able to listen to bustling downtown market traffic. Can technology turn the Jordanian tourism industry around, which recorded almost four million Arab tourists and 767,148 European visitors last year. Abed al Razzaq Arabiyyat, Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, thinks so. He says Jordan was privileged in avoiding the violent consequences of the Arab Spring revolutions in the region that began two years ago. “We are trying to do what we can to help tourism grow. Jordan is proud to be a safe destination for travelers from all backgrounds,” he told The Media Line. The hope is that the new marketing gimmick will send tourists flocking to Jordan and revive the struggling industry which endured two dreadful years characterized by massive cancellations and the loss of regular visitors. “This will not only show Jordan is unaffected by the political turbulence that has been going on around the region, but will also showcase the beauty of the sites day and night,” said Arrabiyat. Amman-based tour guide Abdullah Hyassat, 55, who works with Italian and Spanish-speaking groups, said that while it did not affect Jordan politically as in neighboring countries, tourism suffered a great deal after the Arab spring. “I did not get a work order in more than a month. Many Petra hotels face bankruptcy. We hope this promotion tool works,” he said. Tourism is the third highest contributor to the national economy, with annual revenues of around $2.8 billion dollars, or seven percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The webcam idea appeared to have clicked with AlSharq international tourism agency head Ebraham Hanna. “Showing off the unique and rare beauty of Jordan’s attractions will only have a positive influence on tourism,” he told The Media Line. “Over the past year, my company had 50 percent cancellations, but 2013 could be worse as people are finding new destinations to visit. I hope this project will rectify the situation.” Turkey and other Asian countries were among those mentioned as experiencing stable tourism visits. Jordan’s latest tourism magic comes courtesy of a USbased company, EarthCam, an international firm providing streaming video services for clients in more than 1,500 cities. Western tourists interviewed in Jordan by The Media Line admitted many Europeans would love to visit the region, but are concerned by the political situation. “My friends warned me that this region is dangerous, but I was never in any kind of danger,” said Spanish tourist Maria Menses, 42, from Madrid. She said she enjoyed a simple walk down Amman’s Rainbow Street, dotted with cafes and restaurants and one of the city’s main attractions. “Jordan is a very exciting country; the world needs to know more about its ancient treasures,” she told The Media Line as she drank tea. The live stream idea would appear to be set to both quench that thirst for knowledge about the country and lure more visitors. Clarissa Ramirez, EarthCam Network Product Specialist who oversaw the launch of the project, said the experience caters to the needs of many types of travelers. “We are thrilled to partner with the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) to give people around the world the change to experience the country from several unique perspectives,” she said in a JTB statement. “This collection of educational and scenic cameras offers something for everyone, whether you are an adventure-seeker, history buff or travel enthusiast.” Official figures show tourism dipped in 2011 but picked up in 2012 due to an increasing number of Arab visitors from Libya, the Gulf states, and neighboring countries. Instability in traditional tourism destinations, including Egypt and Syria, is also expected to drive up the number of visitors to Jordan this year, JTB officials say.— Media Line


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Israel, Turkey might be headed for reconciliation By Linda Gradstein espite the widespread belief that ties between Israel and Turkey are virtually non-existent, if fact, Israeli and Turkish officials have held a series of meetings, the most recent three weeks ago, according to Israeli officials who confirmed media reports in both countries. The goal has been to find a formula for an apology acceptable to Ankara for the 2010 “Gaza flotilla affair” in which Israeli troops killed nine Turkish citizens during a violent clash on a ship trying to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. “There’s an ongoing dialogue and we’re speaking to them and trying to find a formula that they will accept,” a senior Israeli official told The Media Line on condition of anonymity. “They’re upset with us and we believe that is not fair.” The Turkish weekly Radikal reported that Israel may apologize to Turkey for “operational errors” during the raid on the Mavi Marmara in advance of President Obama’s visit to the Middle East next month. He has pressed for reconciliation between the two American allies. Turkey has demanded a formal apology for Israel’s conduct during the flotilla. In May 2010, Israeli naval commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged ship which set out to break the blockade Israel implemented when Hamas took control of the Gaza in 2007 in order to prevent materials that could be used militarily from falling into Hamas’ hands. The soldiers encountered violent resistance and nine Turkish citizens were killed in the clashes that ensued. Turkey insists those killed were civilian passengers while the Israel insists they were agents provocateur In addition to the apology, Turkey is demanding compensation for the families of those killed, and an end to Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. Israel has expressed “regret” that innocent civilians were killed but has refused to “apologize”, saying the sol-


diers were attacked when they boarded the ship. A United Nations commission has upheld that account, but also accused Israel of using disproportionate force. “In the past, some parts of the Israeli government including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and to some extent even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, were ready to go pretty far to apologize to Turkey,” Dror Zeevi, an expert on Turkey at Ben Gurion University told The Media Line. “But this was blocked by others in the government, especially former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.” Lieberman is currently on hiatus as foreign minister as he faces charges of corruption and Netanyahu is enmeshed in efforts to form a new coalition. “It is possible that the new Israeli government will go even further towards an apology,” he said. In another sign of possible reconciliation, Israel this month supplied advanced electronic warfare systems to the Turkish air force. It was the first exchange of military equipment with Turkey since the raid in 2010. The warfare systems will significantly upgrade the capabilities of the Turkish air force’s early warning systems. They are made by ELTA, a subsidiar y of state - owned Israel Aerospace Industries, and were ordered by Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, for Turkey. Despite the tensions, economic ties continue. Turkey is Israel’s sixth largest export destination and the level of trade between the two countries rose to $2 billion dollars in 2011. Israel supplies Turkey with high-tech defense equipment. Israel buys Turkish military boots and uniforms as well as vegetables and other processed foods. On the diplomatic level, the relations are handled by second secretaries, the lowest level of diplomatic representatives. Turkey’s ambassador to Israel was recalled after the flotilla affair and Israel’s ambassador to Turkey was asked to leave Ankara. “They insisted that the relations be on the level of second secretary,” the Israeli offi-

cial said. “We’ve made it very clear that we want to go back to where we were before all of this happened. At the same time, I don’t see any real evidence that Turkey is interested in that happening.” But money can sometimes override politics. In this case, Israel’s recent discoveries of huge quantities of natural gas off its coast could push the two countries to move beyond their differences. Earlier this month, Israel proposed building a pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea to southern Turkey. The pipeline would be used to market the natural gas to Western Europe, and would cost an estimated $2 billion. It would also ensure Turkey a cheap supply of natural gas. Before the flotilla, Israel and Turkey had extremely close relations. As a large Muslim country, Israel especially valued that relationship, with the Turks often functioning as mediator between Israel and the Islamic world, and in particular, with the Islamist Hamas movement. Now, Turkey has been frozen out of any mediating role. Israel and Turkey are both threatened by the ongoing chaos in Syria. Both countries share borders with Syria, and both are concerned that violence could spill over into their borders. In October, a stray Syrian mortar shell killed five Turkish citizens. Turkey is also hosting at least 150,000 Syrian refugees in camps along the border. Israel, for its part, is concerned that the large chemical weapons stocks in Syria could fall into the hands of Iranian and Syrian-proxy Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon. Israel also fears that Syria could strike Israel as a way of diverting attention from the civil war. While relations between Israel and Turkey are likely to remain tense, analysts say better ties would benefit both sides. “I think the Turkish government has come to the conclusion that some kind of working relationship with Israel is necessary, and Israel is certainly interested in that,” said Zeevi. — Media Line

Anti-Morsi fervor grows in Egypt By Sherif Elhelwa hether it’s angry Copts or the ongoing demonstrations against his rule, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues to face growing challenges and growing nationwide unrest - even while he tries to win a trip to outer space. Morsi’s latest move was to issue a presidential decree amending the dates for the four-stage parliamentary elections in order to placate angry Copts and meet the Christians’ demands that the dates not coincide with the Coptic Easter holiday. The first stage of balloting will now be on April 27. Speaking to The Media Line before the change of dates for the election was announced, former lawmaker Mohamed Abu Hamed said, “These are illegal parliamentary elections. Morsi intentionally chose the days of Coptic Christian holidays to hold the elections so people won’t vote. A conspiring regime is doing all it can to control the nation.” Meanwhile, while demonstrations against Morsi and his party of the Muslim Brotherhood are spreading and intensifying ahead of a planned March trip to Moscow, he still found time to reshuffle his cabinet -seen as a test of public opinion. Last week, President Morsi dismissed one of his deputies, Khaled Abdel Malak, who also represents the Salafi Al-Nour party. The president’s office released a statement saying, “This dismissal was based on personal conflicts and not political.” The Salafis have responded by seeking other allies to secure their future under the Muslim Brotherhood government. Several media reports said the party is seeking an alliance with the Salvation Front party led by Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a Nobel laureate. Morsi’s moves came as calls for civil disobedience that began in Port Said continued into the seventh straight day, with some other cities following suit. Following Friday prayers, thousands of protesters marched through a number of Egyptian cities, united in what they called “The Friday of Prosecuting the Regime.” The demonstrators called for continuous civil disobedience in all pri-


vate and government sectors and for a boycott of the April elections, which they call, “illegal”. In Cairo, the protesters erected a stage in front of the presidential palace in the Ithadiya neighborhood and gave speeches against the rule of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Beware of the Muslim Brotherhood,” admonished on protester who was afraid to give her name. She told The Media Line that, “We have to continue protesting. If we stop now, we will never be able to get rid of them.” Different groups of demonstrators representing the opposition gathered in Tahir Square and marched to the presidential place to show their discontent. While no clashes with police were reported, there were those who saw the protesters as being responsible for the recent violence in the streets. The Islamist group Al-JamaaIslamiya recently announced it had created independent militias to combat protesters and “thugs”. According to the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, the group is calling for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups to join forces. The paper says that police squads are not sufficiently armed to defend themselves, so the militias will help the police restore order. So far the riots and protests that began in Cairo on Feb 15 have resulted in at least 125 injuries inflicted by the riot police according to the Egyptian official newspaper AlAhram. Protesters are accusing Morsi of being responsible for the deaths of at least 70 people in the Port Said football riots on Jan 30, after which

the president declared a 30-day state of emergency there, and in the cities of Ismailia and Suez. They are calling for Morsi to be tried for those deaths. The unrest is having a crippling effect on Egypt’s economy. On Feb 13, Moody’s Investors Service lowered Egypt’s bond rating to the B3 category, six levels below investment grade, according to Arabian Business magazine. The downgrade in rating was due to the “on-going unsettled political conditions and recent escalation of civil unrest in the form of violent clashes between protesters and security forces and the ensuing 30-day state of emergency declared by President Morsi in January,” Moody’s wrote. Moody’s noted that a further downgrade may be likely if the political uncertainty continues. Meanwhile, talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $4.8 billion loan continue. The loan is viewed as essential to restoring confidence in the country’s economy. Moreover, a concern about rising unemployment estimated to be above 12%; declining tourism revenue; rising inflation; removed subsidies; declining foreign currency reserves (an estimated $15 billion to run out within three months); and expectations of a further devaluation of the Egyptian pound continue to hurt the economy. Observers say the nation has entered a tough transitional period, with the situation unlikely to improve, at least in the short term. Amr Moussa, former chairman of the Arab League and head of a major opposition party, said in a statement that the upcoming elections “will coincide with the collapse of the Egyptian foreign currency reserves. This will further intensify the disturbances in the country”. But it was the opposition group called the April 6th Youth Movement which came up with a truly innovative way to show its discontent with Morsi. On its Facebook page, the group announced that the president recently entered an online contest organized by Axe Cosmetics to win a trip into space. So far Morsi has received over 21,000 votes, putting him in first place. “Maybe he can rule people on the moon. I don’t believe that he is fit to rule our country,” a young taxi driver told The Media Line. During his presidential campaign, Morsi was hailed as being a research scientist at the NASA space center. If the president wins, he will go to Global Space Camp in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, the current status quo is confusing to many Egyptians. Some observers say that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t appear as if they can be trusted with the fate of the Egyptian nation. “Whatever the Muslim Brotherhood is doing now is neither going to make an impression now, nor a lasting impact. They will have wasted their last 80 years of struggle for recognition,” Ayman Al-Sayad, a former consultant with a consortium advising Morsi, said in an interview with Tahir TV. Although the first freely-elected Egyptian president in 60years, Morsi is becoming unpopular among mainstream liberal Egyptians, and is being held “guilty by association” with the Muslim Brotherhood, famous for being the mother of all radical Islamist groups. —Media Line


Chinese ‘Dubai’ turns into deserted island


Page 15 Markets buoyant despite UK downgrade, Italy poll Page 16


Japan may name deflation basher Kuroda as BOJ head Page 17 Page 17

Africa investment boom sees beyond conflict

AVILA, Spain: Applicants wait their turn to take a physical ability test at the national police school in Avila yesterday. In a desperate attempt to become candidates for just 50 jobs available with Spain’s National Police, nearly 3,000 college graduates are taking rigorous physical ability workout tests at a police academy to try to get to the next stage of the selection process. — AP

France’s economic rut deepens Fiscal gloom presents a conundrum for bond investors PARIS: Economic data flagged a growing risk of recession in the euro-zone’s second biggest economy, France, yesterday, but investors nonetheless snapped up the country’s bonds, banking on them as a safe bet. Hot on the heels of Paris’s admission that it would overshoot its deficit target this year and that growth would be a minimal 0.3 percent at best, a survey showed that business activity this month contracted at the fastest pace in nearly four years. France’s 2 trillion-euro economy already suffered a 0.3 percent contraction in the final three months of 2012 and the further loss of momentum raises the spectre of extending into formal recession. But although France’s deteriorating economic outlook is increasingly cutting a stark contrast with euro-zone powerhouse Germany, its debt drew strong demand at the first bond auction since the government gave up on its deficit target. Investors sought more than twice the amount of fixed-rate, medium-term bonds on offer and demanded only slightly higher yields than in recent auctions where France has borrowed at record low rates. It continued a trend seen in France for some time, in which investors put aside concerns about the country’s economic and fiscal state to buy bonds seen as part of Europe’s

core. BNP Paribas economist Dominique Barbet said the economic gloom presented a conundrum for bond investors by prompting them to seek the safety of bonds in tough times while also straining the state’s capacity to pay its debts. “One doesn’t know which way to interpret things and maybe the French bond market doesn’t either,” Barbet said, noting that the vast liquidity of French bonds made them a favourite with portfolio managers. Demand for an 11-year index-linked bond at auction on Thursday was oversubscribed. The auction results landed only hours after Markit’s preliminary composite purchasing managers index (PMI) showed a fall to 42.3 in February from 42.7 in January, hitting the lowest level since early 2009 when France, like much of the developed world, was mired deep in recession. “There is a fairly consistent picture showing that the French business sector is suffering its worst downturn since the height of the financial crisis,” Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said. Service sector weakness was the main culprit for the decline while the long-suffering manufacturing sector showed a rare improvement, mirroring a trend seen earlier in a survey from the INSEE statistics agency. Markit said the PMI surveys pointed to a 0.7 percent contraction in GDP

Egypt reform plan targets recovery in forex reserves CAIRO: Egypt is aiming for a recovery in its foreign exchange reserves which have plunged since the 2011 revolution but faces a huge budget deficit, according to a revised government economic reform program. The revised program is vital for resuming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion loan to keep the Egyptian economy afloat. Cairo and the IMF agreed in principle last November on the loan, based on an earlier version of the reform program, but talks were suspended in December at Egypt’s behest due to street violence. The latest program targets foreign currency reserves of $19 billion by the end of June, climbing to $22.5 billion a year later, according to a copy of the plan seen by Reuters. Reserves have tumbled to $13.6 billon in January from $36 billion before the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the Egyptian pound has fallen 8.2 percent since the central bank began auctioning dollars at the end of December. Economists expressed caution about the figures, and whether Egypt could secure IMF help by the end of the financial year in June. “They had their targets before and they didn’t reach them,” said Mona Mansour, chief economist at CI Capital. “Maybe they are targeting to have the IMF program by then, but I think it will

be difficult. Other than that, they may have an agreement with regional countries,” she said. Egypt has secured some funding from Qatar in recent months but this has not halted the fall in reserves or the drop in the Egyptian pound. Any IMF deal would involve unpopular austerity measures just as Egyptians vote in four-stage parliamentary elections due to be held from April until late June. However, the program confirmed the dire state of government finances. It targets a budget deficit for this financial year of 189.7 billion Egyptian pounds ($28 billion), or a huge 10.9 percent of total economic output. Even this assumes economic reforms are made and the deficit would hit 12.3 percent of GDP without such action, it forecast. Egypt will resume talks with the International Monetary Fund on financial aid early next month, the country’s investment minister Osama Saleh said yesterday. “There have been pledges of international and regional support to Egypt and most of these are in progress,” Saleh said in a speech at a financial conference. “Negotiations with the IMF over the $4.8 billion loan will resume in early March.” Saleh said an agreement with the IMF had almost been in place in December but that a change in public opinion meant it collapsed. — Reuters

for the first quarter of 2013, placing France’s economy on the same playing field as Spain and Italy - and not Germany, which data suggests is picking up momentum. Two consecutive quarters of contraction is considered the minimum for a recession. The government is waiting for forecasts from the European Commission on Friday before drafting new economic targets, with French media reporting that Brussels estimated the economy will post nearly flat growth this year and a deficit of 3.6 percent. Standard & Poor’s Chief European economist Jean-Michel Six said that keeping the deficit on a downward trend was more important than hitting the deficit target. “For a ratings agency like ours, it is the trend that counts much more than a specific level at a specific time which in itself reflects a European economy beyond the control of the authorities,” Europe 1 radio quoted Six as saying. EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has opened the door to giving countries more time to cut their deficits if they prove their underlying deficit-cutting measures are on track. Though the bond market largely anticipated that the deficit target would be dropped, the admission is a blow to France’s fiscal credibility with some of its euro zone partners who are uneasy with giving France more time. — Reuters

UK bond yield edges up after downgrade PARIS: The price of British 10-year debt bonds, known as Gilts, fell slightly in morning trading yesterday and the interest rate firmed slightly to 2.144 percent from 2.109 percent on Friday, before Moody’s rating agency downgraded Britain’s triple “A” status. At Natixis bank, bond strategist Nordine Naam said: “The correction on British Gilts is limited because the markets had substantially anticipated the decision by the rating agency.” He said: “The moderate reaction by investors regarding British debt can also be explained by the very active stance of the Bank of England, the main buyer of Gilts and which is going to continue and even probably increase its program of purchases which will have the effect of putting a ceiling on the rates. Moody’s said late on Friday that it had decided to downgrade the notation of British debt by one notch to “Aa1”, owing to continuing weakness of the medium-term

outlook for the British economy. It said it now expected that the sluggish performance of the economy would continue in the second half of the decade. Governments issue debt with a fixed life of for example 10 years, with a guaranteed fixed return in cash terms per year. At issue, the cash return relative to the value of the debt instrument generates an interest rate or yield. This indicates the interest rate which the government concerned must offer at that moment to attract funds from savers. As perceptions of risk attached to the instrument change, for example rise, the bond becomes less attractive, the value on the secondary market of traded debt falls, and the cash return automatically rises as a percentage of the new price. This indicates the new rate which that government must offer to attract funds. — AFP

US telecom regulators better than EU: CEOs BARCELONA: The CEOs of AT&T, Vodafone and Telefonica - three of the world’s largest cellphone companies - had some rare words of praise for US regulators yesterday, saying they’re doing better

than their European counterparts in promoting faster wireless data networks. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told an audience at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest cell-

BARCELONA: A man speaks on his mobile phone at the 2013 Mobile World congress in Barcelona yesterday. The 2013 Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair, is held from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona. — AFP (See Page 17)

phone trade show, that the US government’s practice of selling phone companies large swathes of space of the airwaves for perpetual use was helping encourage companies, including AT&T, to build out large networks using the latest “LTE” technology. By contrast, many European countries lease out space on their airwaves for eight- to 15-year terms. The perpetual licenses in the US gives phone companies the incentive to invest, Stephenson said. The large, contiguous slices of spectrum the US sold in its latest auctions make it easy to build fast networks, he added. He was joined in a panel discussion by Vittorio Colao, the CEO of British-based Vodafone Group PLC and Cesar Allerta, his counterpart at Spain’s Telefonica SA, both of whom agreed with him. Vodafone and Telefonica have wide international holdings. Verizon Wireless launched LTE service in the US in 2010, followed by AT&T the year after. Both are using airwaves that regulators reclaimed from TV broadcasters - a process that has run slower in Europe. The cellphone trade show is being held in Barcelona, Spain, a country that illustrates the slow build-out of LTE in Europe. There are some LTE pilot projects in the country, but no plans for full nationwide build-outs. There are exceptions in Europe, like Sweden, where four phone companies offer LTE mobile services. According to trade group 4G Americas, there were 33 million LTE-capable devices in North America at the end of last year, representing 52 percent of global LTE connections. —AP



Race is on for $6bn Maroc Telecom stake in Vivendi Etisalat hires BNP, Attijariwafa as advisers

ATHENS: Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos (left) delivers his annual report on the state of the economy at the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens yesterday. — AFP

Arqaam hires ex-Credit Suisse banker to head equity sales DUBAI: Arqaam Capital, a Dubai-based investment bank, has hired ex-Credit Suisse banker Wafic Nsouli to head its institutional equity sales unit, tapping into talent from retrenching global banks for its expansion. Nsouli is expected to join Arqaam on March 18 and will take charge as executive director and head of institutional equity sales, the investment bank said in a statement to Reuters. Before joining Arqaam, Nsouli was head of Middle East and North Africa equities at Credit Suisse, responsible for the company’s offices in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. A rally in Gulf financial markets is prompting local financial institutions to expand their businesses, targeting new geographies and boosting recruitment from international rivals. Global banks such as Credit Suisse, Nomura Holdings and Morgan Stanley, are scaling back in the Middle East as the region proves less active than they had hoped while Europe’s debt crisis puts

them under pressure to cut costs. The trend has provided opportunities for local banks to hire experienced personnel. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc for instance lost their two top Qatar executives to local firms last year. Morgan Stanley’s Qatar head Khalid Al-Subeai joined the investment banking division of Barwa Bank, while Goldman’s Qatar Chief Executive Tamim al-Kawari joined QInvest, par t- owned by Qatar Islamic Bank. Arqaam offers corporate finance, asset management, equity derivatives and brokerage services from its main office in Dubai. The firm bought Egyptian brokerage El Rashad Securities in January, having last year acquired Al Rashad Finance and Management Advisory in Libya. Credit Suisse, which plans to trim its investment banking team in Dubai and move some of its staff to Qatar, had promoted Ahmed Badr to be head of equities for MENA last year, to be based in Riyadh. — Reuters

SANYA, China: Several sports cars parked in front of luxury apartment blocks at the seaside city of Sanya, in China’s southern Hainan province.— AFP

Chinese ‘Dubai’ turns into deserted island SANYA, China: It was billed as China’s Dubai: a cluster of sail-shaped skyscrapers on a man made island surrounded by tropical sea, the epitome of an unprecedented property boom that transformed skylines across the country. But prices on Phoenix Island, off the palm-tree lined streets of the resort city of Sanya, have plummeted in recent months, exposing the hidden fragilities of China’s growing but sometimes unbalanced economy. A “seven star” hotel is under construction on the wave-lapped oval, which the provincial tourism authority proclaims as a “fierce competitor” for the title of “eighth wonder of the modern world”. But the island stands quiet aside from a few orange-jacketed cleaning staff, with undisturbed seaside swimming pools reflecting rows of pristine white towers, and a row of Porsches one of the few signs of habitation. Chinese manufacturers once snapped up its luxury apartments, but with profits falling as a result of the global downturn many owners need to offload properties urgently and raise cash to repay business loans, estate agents said. Now apartments on Phoenix Island which reached the dizzying heights of 150,000 yuan per square metre ($2,200 per square foot) in 2010 are on offer for just 70,000 yuan, said Sun Zhe, a local estate agent. “I just got a call from a businessman desperate to sell,” Sun told AFP, brandishing his mobile phone as he whizzed over a bridge to the futuristic development on a electric golf cart. “Whether it’s toys or clothes, the export market is bad... property owners need capital quickly, and want to sell their apartments right away,” he said. “They are really feeling the effect of the financial crisis.” Official figures showed an almost eight percent increase in China’s total exports last year, but sales to Europe fell by almost four percent with the continent mired in a debt crisis and recession. At the same time rising wages in China mean that producers of clothes, toys and other low-end goods are seeing their margins squeezed as other emerging economies compete to become the world’s centre for cheap manufacturing. For years Chinese business owners, faced with limited investment options and low returns from deposits in state-run banks, have used property as a store of value, pushing prices up even higher in the good times but

creating the risk of a crash in the bad. “China had a lending boom... and so if people are using property as a place to stash their cash, they had more cash to stash,” said Patrick Chanovec, a professor at Beijing’s Tsinghua university. “At some point they want to get their money out, then you find out if there are really people who are willing to pay those high prices.” Phoenix Island is part of Hainan, a Belgium-sized province in the South China Sea that saw the biggest property price increases in China after a 2008 government stimulus flooded the economy with credit. Eager buyers camped out in tents on city streets as prices shot up by more than 50 percent in one year. But tightened policies on access to credit and multiple house purchases have since knocked values in favored second home locations, even while prices in major cities they have rallied in recent months. Real estate is a pillar of the Chinese economy, accounting for almost 14 percent of GDP last year and supporting the massive construction sector, making policy makers anxious to avoid a major collapse of the property bubble. At the same time ordinary Chinese who cannot afford to buy a home have been frustrated by high housing costs for years. With anger over graft also mounting state media have carried several reports in recent weeks about corrupt officials’ property holdings, including a policeman who used a fake identity card to buy at least 192 dwellings. Hainan’s tropical shores are said to be a hotspot for purchases by well-connected bureaucrats, but estate agents denied they were rushing to sell off apartments for fear of a crackdown. Officials only account for around 20 percent of owners, they said-while doubting any new regulations would be properly enforced. “There are always different rules for people with connections,” said one agent, asking to remain anonymous. It is an example of the multiple competing interests the authorities have to balance, leaving them treading a difficult line, with sometimes unforeseen consequences. On the other side of Hainan, the Seaview Auspicious Gardens, boasts beachside villas accessed by artificial rivers and a private library containing 100,000 books, prices have fallen by a third from a high of 12,000 yuan per square metre in the last year, and a third of the flats remain unsold. — AFP

DUBAI/LONDON: Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) biggest telecoms operator, has lined up advisers for its bid for Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom. Restarting its stalled expansion drive, Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat picked BNP Paribas and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank to advise on the deal, three banking sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter has not been made public. A spokesman for Etisalat declined to comment. The state-owned Abu Dhabi company’s bid for Morocco’s Maroc Telecom is its first public approach for a foreign company since a $12 billion bid for a controlling stake in Kuwait’s Zain failed two years ago. Since then, the operator has overhauled management by appointing a new chief executive and new heads of finance and strategy with an apparent focus away from overseas forays that failed to add much to the bottom line. Vivendi, the French media, entertainment and telecoms conglomerate, is looking to sell several assets as part of an overhaul aimed at cutting debt and reducing its exposure to the capitalintensive telecoms business. Its majority stake in Maroc Telecom is worth about $6 billion on current market value, and a

potential buyer for the stake would also be expected to make a mandatory offer to minority shareholders, further boosting the takeover price. Vivendi is also negotiating to sell its Brazilian subsidiary GVT and expects final bids in March, sources told Reuters. Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported on Sunday that the deal was weeks away, sending Vivendi shares up 3.5 percent on Monday morning. Direct T V is discussing a stock-and-cash merger with GVT, but Vivendi has yet to decide whether forsaking a full cash bid for a minority stake in a bigger group makes sense, a source with direct knowledge of the talks said. Several global banks had pitched for the Etisalat mandate, but the company chose BNP because of its strong presence in North Africa and its ability to raise financing for large deals, one of the sources said. “The ability to raise financing is key in these deals. With Maroc, you are talking about a substantial deal, potentially the largest in Middle East and North Africa this year,” a Dubai-based banking source said. Etisalat is talking to banks about a syndicated loan of up to $8 billion to finance the potential transaction, banking sources told Reuters

Loan and Pricing Corp this month. Other bidders for the stake include Gulf operator Qatar Telecom (Q tel) and South Korea’s KT Corp. Vivendi has asked bidders to submit revised offers for the stake after all of them had expressed a “preliminary expression of interest”, two of the sources said. “The deal is getting very interesting now and the bidders are preparing revised offers. There is a formal process and in a couple of weeks the parties should be ready with new bids,” one banking source close to the process said. Qtel has hired JP Morgan Chase as adviser, while KT Corp picked Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Societe Generale to advise and finance a potential transaction, according to sources familiar with the matter. Maroc Telecom has majority stakes in Gabon Telecom, Mauritania’s MaurieTel, Burkina Faso’s Onatel and Mali’s Sotelma. It posted a 17 percent drop in 2012 net profit this month, citing restructuring charges and a non-recurring contribution to the government. The Moroccan government is expected to retain its 30 percent holding in Maroc.—Reuters

Anger over US looming budget cuts WASHINGTON: The $85 billion in budget cuts set to hit the US on Friday were designed to be so unattractive and damaging that they would force Congress and the Obama administration to find a better way to address the country’s massive deficit. Four days remain but no alternative is in sight, and both sides in the latest partisan battle are angrily blaming each other. No deal means the government is forced to make drastic cuts in domestic and defense spending, a move that that threatens the fragile economic recovery from the Great Recession. The Obama administration increased the pressure on Republicans in Congress on Sunday by releasing state-bystate reports on the impact of the looming budget cuts, an effort designed to lawmakers to compromise or face unhappy constituents at home. President Barack Obama yesterday was addressing the nation’s governors at the White House. The budget cuts were designed to take effect only in case a specially established bipartisan congressional super-committee failed to come up with $1 trillion or more in savings from government programs. Obama has not been able to find enough support for his alternative approach of reducing deficits through a combination of targeted savings and tax increases. Obama has proposed closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations. “Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising - instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans - they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class,” Obama said on Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. House Republicans have said reduced spending needs to be the focus and have rejected the president’s demand to include higher taxes as part of a compromise. They say legislation passed in early January already raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans to generate an estimated $600 billion for the Treasury over a decade. Few in Washington were optimistic that a realistic compromise could be found by Friday. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the cuts would harm the readiness of US fighting forces. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said travelers could see delayed flights. And furloughed meat inspectors could leave plants idled. Some governors said the budget impasse was just the latest crisis in Washington that is keeping businesses from hiring and undermining the ability of state leaders to develop their own spending plans. “It’s senseless and it doesn’t need to happen,” said Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, during the annual meeting of the National Governors Association over the weekend. “This really threatens to hurt a lot of families in our state and kind of flat-line our job growth for the next several months.” Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, called the looming defense cuts “unconscionable” and urged Obama to call lawmakers to the White House for a lastminute budget summit. “I won’t put all the blame all on the president of the United States. But the president leads,” McCain told CNN. —AP

LONDON: British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (right) and French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici (left) talk during a meeting in 11 Downing Street in London yesterday. Moscovici arrived for a one day visit to London where he spoke at a conference in the City of London and met with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. — AFP

France pressured to cut spending PARIS: France needs an extra 6.0 billion euros in revenues next year, the budget minister said yesterday, and the European Central Bank said it had to act fast to cut spending and retain credibility after slashing the 2013 growth forecast. The French government recently acknowledged that its forecast for 0.8percent growth this year was out of reach, meaning its budget planning to reach the European Union deficit ceiling of 3.0 percent of output was no longer sufficient. Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac told the private Europe 1 radio station that France’s “budgetary situation is such that we have to find six billion euros in extra receipts.” But he did not specify how this would be achieved saying taxes “are already very high in France.” French ministries have been informed how much to cut spending in order for the government to generate 2.0 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in savings this year. “Economies in public spending are inevitable,” Cahuzac said. “We have started to do it, we will continue to do it,” he added. Benoit Coeure, a Frenchman who sits on the managing board of the European Central Bank, said yesterday that Paris had to take strong action to convince its European Union partners that it was serious about keeping to the EU’s deficit norms.

French President Francois Hollande has rejected undertaking massive additional austerity measures, however, arguing they would only slow growth and further aggravate the country’s finances. “As for credibility on the short-term, France must absolutely respect its commitment to cut the structural deficit,” Coeure told financial daily Les Echos. “On the medium-term it has to take quick and concrete decisions to achieve spending cuts so that France reassures its European partners,” he said. Coeure said that slashing expenditure was the best way out for France. France’s public accounts court, which audits government spending and provides policy advice, has also urged the government to focus on spending cuts. On Saturday, Hollande underscored the need for “economies in all budgets” of the state organs to allow for a balanced economy in 2017, saying that so far his government had put two thirds of the effort of budget correction on increased taxes but now the emphasis would have to switch to expenditure. The European Commission has indicated that it may give France some slack in achieving the deficit target, and the IMF has recently warned EU countries that cutting deficits too fast was harming growth. —AFP

Citadel revenues rise from weak currency

British publisher Pearson, owner of the Financial Times newspaper, said yesterday that its annual net profits slumped 66 percent in 2012 as its print business came under pressure from fast-growing digital media.— AFP

DUBAI: Egypt’s Citadel Capital hopes to raise $300 million from divesting non-core assets within three years, its chairman said, predicting that some of its businesses would benefit from an export boom because of the weak Egyptian pound. The pound has tumbled about 8 percent to record lows against the US dollar since late December, when the central bank softened its defence of the currency, which is under pressure because of the country’s political and economic turmoil. Citadel, one of Africa’s largest investment firms managing $9.5 billion worth of assets, has stakes in companies which export over $300 million a year across different businesses, including food, founder and chairman Ahmed Heikal said in an interview yesterday. “Currency devaluation is affecting our business positively. If you are investing in an exporter or import substitute, then you’ll benefit,” Heikal said. “We expect that (exports) will be increased substantially rather than go down.” Since the ouster of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, Egypt’s transition to democracy has been plagued by conflict between Islamist and secular forces, disrupting the economy and leading to capital flight. “We took a view a long time ago that Egypt will go into tough conditions. Since we saw it coming, we positioned our

portfolio to have investments that will be least affected, if not positively affected, by what’s happening,” Heikal said. “The management of the transitional period in Egypt aggravated things and made them worse. The economy is now being negatively affected in a faster way than we expected.” As part of its strategy to focus on core businesses, Citadel plans to sell its stakes in eight firms and focus on five industries: energy, transportation and logistics, agriculture and consumer foods, mining, and cement manufacturing. The company will sell its stakes in an “orderly manner” and may take up to three years, depending on market conditions, Heikal said. “Given the restrictions that are there in the region on capital, we need to focus and grow only a select number of our companies. Those five sectors offer the best risk/return for shareholders.” The company expects to raise $300 million from the sale of non-core portfolio companies worth a total of $1 billion. Citadel narrowed its third-quarter net loss by 13.4 percent from a year earlier to $22 million. The company has said it sees great opportunities in Africa, given growth in population, the supply of natural resources and improving governance in target countries such as Mozambique, Ethiopia and Kenya.— Reuters



China ratings firm warns of global ‘currency crisis’ BEIJING: Rising sovereign debt levels in advanced economies are spawning a crisis that threatens to topple the dollar and other reserve currencies, a Chinese credit ratings agency warned yesterday. Dagong Global Credit Rating said developed economies were spawning a “currency crisis” by trying to prop up their economies through loose monetary policies following the 2008-2009 financial meltdown. Dagong says it is an independent private company but its chairman has previously advised the Chinese govern-

ment, which has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves. “In this stage, the world will more actively look for a new currency other than the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen and British pound to replace the current international currency system,” the report said. The document did not mention the Chinese yuan as an alternative, but clearly suggested that China’s economic fundamentals and rising global influence mean the country is poised to play a leading role.

Dagong said that efforts by China and other “emerging creditor countries” to stimulate their own internal demand meant they were destined to play a leading role in safeguarding the global financial system. “They will become the leading force to protect the stability of international credit,” the report said. Decades of reform and economic growth have made China the world’s second-largest economy, but strict capital controls have kept its currency from playing a role much beyond the country’s shores.

That is gradually changing, however, as Beijing slowly loosens restrictions with the goal of increasing the yuan’s international role. Last year, China and Japan began direct trading of the yuan and yen. In the latest example of the currency’s increasing internationalisation, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange yesterday would begin offering deliverable offshore yuan futures in Hong Kong. Dagong made headlines in August 2011 when it lowered its main

rating for US sovereign debt after Congress passed new legislation to raise Washington’s debt ceiling. The agency, which is far less prominent than long-established Western competitors including Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor ’s, has been working to further raise its profile. In October, it announced that it was partnering with ratings agencies in the United States and Russia in a bid to break the dominance of major US agencies in assessing state and company debt.— AFP

Markets buoyant despite UK downgrade, Italy poll Tokyo leads rally on BOJ move

SHANGHAI: A woman eats her lunch outside a shop in a wholesale clothing market in Shanghai yesterday. — AFP

China manufacturing growth falls: HSBC SHANGHAI: China’s manufacturing growth hit a four-month low in February but remained positive, British banking giant HSBC said yesterday, noting that the world’s second-biggest economy was still recovering slowly. The bank’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 50.4 for the month, down from a final 52.3 in January, it said in a statement. The figure was seasonally adjusted to take account of the Lunar New Year holiday that fell in the middle of the month. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and it was the fourth consecutive month of growth, after 12 months of contraction. “The Chinese economy is still on track for a gradual recovery,” Qu Hongbin, a Hong Kong-based economist with HSBC, said in the statement, downplaying the fall in PMI. “The underlying strength of Chinese growth recovery remains intact, as indicated by the still expanding employment and the recent pick-up of credit growth,” he added. Chinese banks more than doubled

their lending in January from December, granting 1.07 trillion yuan ($171.7 billion) worth of new loans, official data showed earlier this month, as Beijing seeks to boost economic growth. The domestic economy expanded 7.8 percent last year, its slowest pace in 13 years, in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets. Policymakers cut interest rates twice in 2012 and have trimmed the amount of cash banks must place in reserve three times since December 2011 to encourage lending. The PMI figure, compiled by information services provider Markit and released by HSBC, tracks manufacturing activity and is a closely watched barometer of the health of China’s economy. Liao Qun, a Hong Kong-based economist with Citic Bank International, said weaker manufacturing activity in February may have suggested the domestic rebound was unstable, but the overall recovery trend remained intact. —AFP

Battle commences for ‘mobile money’ BARCELONA: Global financial groups battled yesterday to control the lucrative future of “mobile money”, which will enable people to use a smartphone to go shopping instead of cash and credit cards. MasterCard, Visa and online payments service PayPal struggled for a slice of the industry as the world’s biggest mobile fair, Mobile World Congress, opened in Barcelona, Spain. It is a market with potentially rich rewards. The mobile money industry is expected to grow from $13.8 billion (10.4 billion euros) in 2013 to $278.9 billion by 2018, according to a study released this month by global research group MarketsandMarkets, which estimates there will be about 5.3 billion mobile phones worldwide this year. The banking and credit card world had previously been nervous of the mobile money industry, said Magnus Rehle, senior partner at Greenwich Consulting. “Now I would say that Visa and MasterCard are pushing payment via the mobile but they want to include their existing systems,” he added. “It is more like the credit card is moving into your phone.” MasterCard announced Monday a new digital payment system that lets people use a wide variety of devices including smartphones. The system, known as MasterPass, stores customers’ banking and personal information in a “secure

cloud” online where it is available for the moment of payment whether in a store on when browsing the Internet, the group said. Banks and stores will be able to issue their customers with MasterPass-connected “digital wallets”, which would accept credit and debit card information, including cards other than MasterCard’s, the group said. Shoppers would be able to use MasterPass on the web without having to key in their bank information and delivery address for each purchase. But they also could make payments with the new system in other ways, including by waving a smartphone equipped with Near Field Communications, or NFC, technology near a special reader. MasterPass will be launched in Australia and Canada by the end of March, in the United States in spring and Britain in the summer before expanding to other markets including Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and Sweden, MasterCard said. MasterCard’s archrival, Visa, was entering the fray with an announcement scheduled later in the day, In a pre-emptive strike five days before the World Mobile Congress, PayPal invaded MasterCard and Visa’s territory. PayPal said it will be showcasing a new product that lets cash-based businesses accept PINnumber based “smart” debit and credit cards. —AFP

MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor poses with the new Blackberry Z10 smartphone during its launch in Mumbai yesterday. The Z10 is priced at Indian rupees 43,490 ($804). —AP

LONDON: Markets roared ahead yesterday as investors brushed aside a downgrade of Britain’s credit rating and uncertainty over Italian election results. Investor sentiment, which has been largely positive in 2013, has rebounded since last Thursday, when it was hurt by concerns over the possible end of super-easy US monetary policy. The rebound was led by Tokyo yesterday, where stocks surged on reports the prime minister’s pick for central bank governor will be a strong advocate of loose monetary policy aimed at reviving the moribund economy. The positive momentum seen during the Asian trading session carried through into Europe, even after Moody’s stripped Britain of its triple-A credit rating and as Italians headed to the polls on the final day of a general election that has proven to be closer than many thought. Investors brushed aside the downgrade as it had been widely expected, but remained cautious over the Italian elections due to the country’s debt problems. Of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro, Italy has the second-highest level of debt as a proportion of its annual gross domestic product. Only Greece’s is higher. “Given that Italy has a long history of fractious coalition governments which make it difficult to govern, any other outcome than another coalition seems unlikely, and as such this could well make fur ther progress on reform ex tremely problematic,” said Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets. Milan’s FTSE MIB was solid, though, trading 1 percent at 16,394. Elsewhere in Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 percent at 6,372 while Germany’s DAX surged 2 percent to 7,811. The CAC-40 in France was 1.2 per-

TOKYO: People look at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo yesterday.— AP cent higher at 3,750. The euro was also firm, trading 0.4 percent higher at $1.3268 while the British pound recovered after hitting its lowest level against the US dollar since July 2010. It was 0.3 percent up on the day at $1.5148. Wall Street was poised for a higher opening, with Dow futures up 0.3 percent and the broader S&P 500 futures 0.4 percent higher. It’s a particularly busy week on the US economic news front, with investors awaiting a raft of data as well as remarks from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. Last week, the minutes from the Fed’s last policy meeting showed concern over the central bank’s monetary stimulus, stoking jitters in the markets. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Congress are also grappling over the budget again.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 2.4 percent to end at 11,662.52 while the yen dropped further against the dollar after local news outlets reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was preparing to nominate Haruhiko Kuroda as the next governor of the Bank of Japan. Kuroda is an Oxford-educated former vice minister of finance who is currently president of the Asian Development Bank. The 67-yearold is seen as someone who backs Abe’s plan to jumpstart the world’s third-largest economy by fighting deflation through monetary easing and hefty government spending. “The market has become very excited over this news as he will be a market friendly choice,” said Chris Weston of IG Markets. Since the Asian session, the yen has recov-

ered and the dollar was trading 0.5 percent lower at 93.92 yen. Earlier it had risen to 94.76 yen and near two and a half year highs. Over the past few weeks the yen has fallen by around 20 percent and that’s helped the Nikkei gain around 30 percent. The country’s exporters have done particularly well amid hopes their products will be more price competitive in international markets. Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent to close at 22,820.08 while South Korea’s Kospi ended 0.5 percent lower at 2,009.52. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.5 percent to close at 2,325.82 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index ended 0.8 percent higher at 955.79. — AP

Dubai fund ICD in talks over first Islamic bond

MUMBAI: A Kingfisher Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft makes its final approach for landing at the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. India’s government withdrew international flying rights and domestic slots yesterday from debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines.—AFP

India strips Kingfisher of foreign flying rights NEW DELHI: India’s aviation ministry said yesterday it had withdrawn international flying rights and domestic slots from debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines, making more seats available for rival carriers. The move follows an announcement by Kingfisher’s creditor banks earlier this month that they would start recalling loans-a step which analysts then said could spell the end for the carrier controlled by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The government “has decided to withdraw all international bilateral traffic rights allocated to Kingfisher Airlines with immediate effect”, an aviation ministry statement said. Kingfisher’s slots across India and routes to Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Dubai and Britain were seen as being of potential interest to a foreign buyer which could save the carrier from bankruptcy. The cancellation of these rights will make available 25,000 international seats a

week for use by other Indian airlines to eight countries-”some of which are much in demand by these carriers”, the ministry said. The action had been taken “on account of non-utilisation” of the flying rights, the ministry said. The Airports Authority of India regulatory body “has been directed to make these slots available to other domestic carriers as per their demand”, the ministry said. A year ago, the airline was India’s second largest by passengers but now it is teetering on the edge of oblivion, owing an estimated total of $2.5 billion to banks, suppliers, staff and other creditors. A spokesman for Bangalore-based Kingfisher declined to comment on the government’s announcement when contacted by AFP. The airline, once known for its red-carpet cabin service, posted a net loss of 7.55 billion rupees ($142 million) in the three months to December. —AFP

DUBAI: Dubai’s flagship investment vehicle is in talks with banks to launch its first Islamic bond, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, tapping improved sentiment towards the emirate in a bid to diversify its funding sources. Although talks are at an early stage, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), which controls some of Dubai’s top companies, expects to complete a deal this year, one of sources said. ICD is taking advantage of increased demand for Dubai debt, which has benefited from international investors seeking emerging market assets, but also improved sentiment driven by a recovery in the local economy and state-linked debt restructurings. Dubai’s five-year credit default swap, an indicator of how likely a borrower is to miss debt repayments, dropped in the year to Feb. 21 to 222.4 basis points from around 400 basis points, according to Thomson Reuters data. Last month Dubai attracted over $9 billion in bids for a $750 million, 10-year Islamic bond, or sukuk. This came three years after state -owned conglomerate Dubai World announced a $25 billion debt restructuring, triggering a debt crisis which affected billions of dollars of loans and a $10 billion bailout for the emirate from Abu Dhabi. ICD has stakes in bluechip companies including Emirates airline, the bank Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties. A source at ICD said the fund had no plans for a sukuk. Abdulrahman al-Saleh, directorgeneral of the Dubai Department of Finance, declined to comment on the potential sukuk. The fund is turning to the Islamic bond market because of potential legislation capping lending by local banks to government related entities (GRE), a source said. While the rules, which limited GRE lending to 100 percent of a bank’s capital base, were scrapped in December, some bankers expect them to be resurrected, impacting some of the UAE’s largest banks, which are heavily exposed to government entities. “There has been a shift in thinking - they know they can no longer just say to banks ‘give us money as we’re Dubai’ and banks happily hand it over,” said the first source aware of the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ICD’s board is headed by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid AlMaktoum, with crown prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum as vice-chairman. Separately, ICD is also talking to bankers over a $2 billion loan due to mature in August, with refinancing the likely option, sources told Reuters earlier this month. —Reuters



Japan may name deflation basher Kuroda as BOJ head Yen hits 33-month low, 5-year bond yield drops TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister is likely to nominate an advocate of aggressive monetary easing - Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda - as the next central bank governor to step up his fight to finally rid the country of deflation. Shinzo Abe won a big election victory in December promising to revive the fortunes of an economy stuck in the doldrums for most of the past two decades. He has repeatedly called for a more aggressive central bank willing to take radical steps. The yen fell on the nomination news to a 33month low and the yield on five-year government bonds hit a record low as markets moved to factor in bolder monetary policy. “Kuroda is a fan of a weaker yen and of deflation bashing,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale in London. Sources said the government is likely to nominate Kuroda and two deputies this week for parliamentary approval. It is also lining up Kikuo Iwata, an academic who advocates unorthodox monetary easing steps, and BOJ Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso, who now oversees the central bank’s international operations, as deputy governors, a source familiar with the process said. Iwata told reporters he had been offered the job and he would accept it. Like the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan has

cut interest rates close to zero. Since then it has adopted unorthodox measures to inject cash into the economy, currently in its fourth recession since 2000, to try to stimulate growth. But Kuroda has long criticized the BOJ as too slow to expand stimulus, and is expected to push for more radical efforts to achieve a 2 percent inflation target set in January. “Kuroda’s nomination won’t change the course that has been dictated by Abe in recent months - that is aggressive monetary policy, but perhaps thanks to the inclusion of Iwata the market will expect more eye-catching bold easing measures,” said Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo. The nominations must be approved by both houses of parliament, which means Abe will need opposition support because his ruling-bloc lacks a majority in the upper house. The incumbents leave March 19. Officials in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) whose votes could be enough to confirm nominees have said the DPJ was likely to support Kuroda, although some members may oppose Iwata on grounds that his reflationary views are too extreme. Iwata has argued the BOJ is mostly to blame for prolonging deflation by not being aggressive enough in easing policy. In the absence of DPJ support, the smaller Your Party will be key for the government securing approval for its nominees. However, party

head Yoshimi Watanabe - an advocate of unorthodox easing steps - criticized the overall line-up as an illconsidered attempt at “balanced personnel”. “Prime Minister Abe’s administration took power promising ‘regime change’ (at the BOJ) but I don’t think this will lead to regime change,” Watanabe told reporters. If approved, the nominations increase the chances that the BOJ will ease monetary policy on April 3-4, the first rate review under the new leadership, say officials with knowledge of the central bank’s thinking. “Monetary easing is pretty much a given. The question is what specifically the BOJ will do,” said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. The BOJ has already pledged to pump 101 trillion yen ($1 trillion) into the economy by the end of this year by buying assets and through a lending program and to shift to open-ended purchases from next year. To underline a more aggressive policy in April, the most likely options include starting the open-ended buying sooner than planned and increasing the amount of monthly asset purchases, the officials said. Extending government bond purchases to maturities beyond the current three-years or buying more risky assets, such as exchange traded funds, are also options. A drastic overhaul in the way the BOJ buys assets

Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda. — AP could take some time to materialize, while foreign bond purchases are also unlikely as Kuroda has ruled it out as an option, they say. Kuroda, 68, has been considered a strong candidate to replace current BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa because of his extensive experience in international policy and his calls for more aggressive monetary easing that matched the views of Abe. — Reuters

Africa investment boom sees beyond conflict

YANGON: Myanmar’s major business association, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) President Win Aung (right) and Tami Overby, vice president for Asia at US Chamber of Commerce, during the conference titled “US-Myanmar Economic Relations: The Path Forward” at the UMFCCI office in Yangon yesterday. — AP

US caught in awkward embrace of Myanmar crony YANGON: The image was meant to convey growing friendship between the United States and Myanmar, currently the world’s hottest frontier market. Flanked by small national flags, Win Aung, the president of Myanmar’s main business association, and US Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez shook hands in Yangon yesterday and agreed to deepen business ties between their two countries. The awkward part? The United States still dubs Win Aung a crony, who allegedly used his close ties to Myanmar’s old military rulers to build one of the country’s biggest business conglomerates. He remains on a blacklist of entities US citizens and companies are banned from doing business with. The handshake illustrates the complex and sometimes contradictory path the US is forging as it tries to encourage new business ties with Myanmar while retaining moral sway over powerful economic, political and military interests it has long censured. Many praise the ethical stance taken by US policymakers and hope that the entry of US companies will help forge a more transparent, less corrupt corporate culture. But some question the effectiveness of Washington’s chosen tools and the impact they have on the ability of US investors to compete in what has quickly become a hot market. Unlike the European Union and Australia, which lifted their travel and financial sanctions against Myanmar, the United States has taken what US officials call a “calibrated” approach to retain leverage in case Myanmar’s political and economic reforms get derailed. While Washington has suspended most restrictions, the US still maintains its

list of targeted sanctions, bans some people from travelling to the US and blocks imports of specific products, such as jade and rubies, trade in which has been dominated by state and military interests. Fernandez was in Myanmar as part of a US business delegation, the first since President Barack Obama’s historic November visit. The delegation was organized by the US Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Win Aung’s group, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry. Over 50 representatives of US companies including Chevron, General Motors, Target Corp, ConocoPhillips, Caterpillar, General Electric International, Honeywell and eBay are scheduled to spend the week meeting with leading business people and government officials in Myanmar. Fernandez, in an interview, declined to comment on Win Aung’s inclusion in the list of so-called “Specially Designated Nationals.” The list forms the backbone of US sanctions against Myanmar now that general restrictions on investment, imports and financial services have been suspended in response to the sweeping economic and political reforms instated since Myanmar’s president, Thein Sein, took office in March 2011. Fernandez conceded that “maybe some adjustments need to be made” to the list, but praised it as an important foreign policy tool for encouraging responsible investment. “The value of the list is we continue to have concerns about human rights abuses, as well as continued political prisoners, continued military ties to North Korea and corruption. That is list is a valuable tool for addressing those concerns,” he said. — AP

LONDON: Turmoil in Tunisia? Conflict in Mali? Fraught elections in Kenya? Investment in Africa is thriving regardless. African investment funds have grown nearly five times in value in the past six years and are attracting new forms of capital, from local pension money to sovereign wealth funds. Conflicts are still making the news and corruption remains a concern. Elections in Kenya next month and a probable vote in Zimbabwe in July are also stoking unease. But investors have worked out that economies and markets vary widely in this large continent, and that businesses can carry on through difficult political times. They are also looking beyond the region’s natural resources. Favoured investment plays now include bank ing stocks, par ticularly in Nigeria, with demand seen for financial services from a growing middle class. Telecoms, pharmaceuticals and breweries are also in demand, while mining stocks remain attractive, though these are often listed outside Africa. Investors have become more knowledgeable about Africa, and focus more on how, rather than whether, they will commit funds. “When I was in Europe a few weeks ago, I noticed that people no longer ask so many questions about Africa but more about us,” said Sven Richter, head of frontier markets at Renaissance Asset Managers. “ They have come to a realization that Africa is not one country - if you heard there was a problem in Slovenia, would you worry about investments in France?” Equity funds that badge themselves Africa or African held assets of less than $1 billion in 2006, according to Lipper data. That rose to over $3 billion by the end of 2011, and to nearly $5 billion by the end of last year. That is small compared with over $38 billion in funds labelled Latin American at the end of 2012 but with a much stronger growth-a near fivefold increase in six years for Africa funds, versus less than 40 percent growth for Latin American ones. African equity funds include major names like Templeton and Morgan Stanley as well as Africa specialists such as Investec and Renaissance. The sum covers funds bunching north Africa and the Middle East or focused mainly on north or south, but excludes those invested mainly in better developed South Africa and the Africa component of many frontier funds. The economies of Africa, the world’s poorest continent, are among the fastest-growing, though it’s from a low base, at only a few percent of the world’s GDP.

The change is driven by youthful populations coupled with improving mortality rates and an expanding middle class, as well as by exports to richer economies. Analysts point to economic reforms in many countries, even when this does not go hand in hand with democratic reform. “Countries are starting to enter into their second series of free and fair elections, but to paint all of Africa as a Switzerland is pushing it,” said Gus Macfarlane, director of political risk consultancy Maplecroft, who added that corruption has not lessened significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, economic reforms have allowed local pension funds to set up, while

ANA grounds Dreamliner fleet until May TOKYO: Japan’s All Nippon Airways said yesterday it was grounding its fleet of Dreamliners until at least the end of May, with no end in sight to woes for Boeing’s next generation plane. The airline is cancelling 1,714 flights in April and May, a period that includes Japan’s busy Golden Week holidays, taking the total affected to more than 3,600 since the Dreamliner was ordered out of the sk ies in Januar y. O f the newlyannounced cancellations, 1,250 are domestic and 464 are international flights, including those bound for Seoul, Seattle and Frankfurt. “Unfor tunately, it includes Golden Week, but we have decided to inform our customers in advance as the prospect for their resumption is still unseen,” a company spokeswoman said. ANA is Boeing’s biggest Dreamliner customer so far, with 17 of the world’s 50 operational 787s. The next-generation aircraft has suffered a series of glitches culminating in a global alert from the US Federal Aviation Administration after two incidents involving the battery packs. All operational 787s were grounded in January after smoke was detected midair on a flight in Japan. That incident came just days after the lithium-ion battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines-operated plane parked at a US airport. ANA’s announcement is a further setback for Boeing, which has bet heavily on

Firefox smartphone system challenges Android, iOS BARCELONA: Mozilla Foundation announced Sunday it will launch in mid 2013 its widely anticipated Firefox operating system for smartphones in a direct challenge to the duopoly of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Mozilla, which campaigns for open development of the online world, showed off the first commercial version of the Firefox OS on the eve of the opening of the world’s biggest mobile fair in Barcelona, Spain. Smartphones equipped with Firefox OS look familiar to those on other systems, with an array of apps, or application programs, to be made available on an online store, and a mapping program developed by Nokia. “With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online,” said Mozilla chief executive Gary Kovacs. Mozilla, which aims to take third place behind Android and iOS, said it had already lured 17 operators including Sprint, China Unicom, KDDI, Singtel,Telefonica, Telenor and Deutsche Telecom. The foundation said it was working with handset manufacturers South Korea’s LG and China’s TCL and ZTE on Firefox OS-run devices, with China’s Huawei to follow later in the year. All the smartphones would be run with Qualcomm Snapdragon application processors, which use an architecture licenced by Cambridge, England-based ARM.

BARCELONA: CEO of Nokia Corporation Stephen Elop gives a press conference in Barcelona yesterday on the first day of the Mobile World Congress. The 2013 Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair, is held from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona. —AFP They will be available from the northern hemisphere summer, with the first devices arriving in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Other markets are to be announced soon, Mozilla said.

intra-regional trade has also risen. Sovereign wealth funds, particularly from the Middle East, are increasingly enamored of the high returns in the riskier markets of Africa, compared with the developed world. African stocks can be volatile, dropping 30 percent in 2011. But they have outperformed broader frontier and emerging market indices since, climbing 38 percent in 2012 and over 9 percent so far in 2013. Some of the best-performing stocks in the past year have been Nigerian banks like Guaranty Trust and Zenith , as investors reckon financial services will catch up with ballooning demand for mobile phones and consumer brands. — Reuters

Google and Apple’s operating systems combined now control more than 90 percent of the smartphone market. Google’s Android ran 69 percent of all handsets sold last year and Apple’s iOS 22 percent, said a study by independent analytical house Canalys. — AFP

the 787, hoping its lightweight carbon fibre body would appeal to airlines desperate to clamp down on spiralling fuel costs. Last week US operator United Airlines said it was taking its six Boeing 787s out of service through June 5, except for the launch a Denver-Tokyo route on May 12 if circumstances allowed. That came as Boeing said it had proposed a fix for the battery issues, but had not yet convinced US safety regulators it has a sufficient handle on the problem. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was reviewing a plan by the aircraft manufacturer after meeting with senior executives. “The safety of the flying public is our top priority and we won’t allow the 787 to return to commercial service until we’re confident that any proposed solution has addressed the battery failure risks,” the FAA said. Boeing had earlier said it was “encouraged by the progress” being made in the battery probe, which it hopes will allow it to get its plane back in the skies. However, the extent of the problems and the potential complexity in addressing them remains unknown, triggering mounting speculation on how long the groundings will last. Aviation expert Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said that if the FAA accepted the Boeing fix, the 787 could be flying again in April, but he added: “There’s a very good chance that they won’t.” — AP

Gold bounces on solid euro; focus on Fed LONDON: Gold rose yesterday, as rallying stock markets and a broadly lower dollar helped the metal recoup some of last week’s losses, but investors were cautious ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress later this week. Analysts said the market was also finding background support from a downgrade of Britain’s credit rating by Moody’s and signs that Japan would continue with ultra easy monetary policy. Spot gold rose 0.7 percent to $1,591.26 by 1310 GMT. It hit a sevenmonth low of $1,554.49 on Thursday after minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s last meeting triggered worries the central bank might wind down its bond buying program. US gold futures for April delivery rose to a session high of $1,594 an ounce. They were last seen at $1,590.90, still up 1.2 percent. “With supportive news over the weekend, we can argue that we have removed quite a lot of overhangs seen in gold recently but we need to see a move

above $1,600 and even $1,625 before we start talking about a recovery,” Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen said. Moody’s slashed the UK’s AAA rating by one notch, raising prospects of continued loose monetary and fiscal policy, while Japan is likely to nominate a proponent of aggressive monetary easing as its next central bank governor. Accommodative monetary policies are seen as positive for the metal, as rampant cash printing would undermine currencies. The focus remains on the United States this week, where more clues are sought about the country’s monetary policy stance. Bernanke will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy report on Feb 27. “Ben Bernanke may quell speculation about a halt to quantitative easing, supporting gold,” Hansen said. Added to that, analysts said that about $85 billion in across-the-board government spending cuts could kick in on March 1, in a process called sequestration. —Reuters


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

Cochlear implants aid adults with hearing loss NEW YORK: Cochlear implants can improve speech and quality of life in adults with severe hearing loss - and two implants seem to work better than one, according to a US analysis of past research. The study, which appeared in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, included 42 studies that compared hearing, speech and quality of life in eligible adults before and after they received a cochlear implant or compared having one versus two functioning implants. According to the US National Institutes of Health, about 17 percent of

US adults have some degree of hearing loss, and the chance of becoming hard of hearing increases with age. Only those with severe hearing loss or deafness, for whom hearing aids haven’t work, are considered for cochlear implants. “Unilateral cochlear implants provide improved hearing and significantly improve quality of life, and improvements in sound localization are noted for bilateral implantation,” wrote researchers led by James Gaylor from Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The studies used in the analysis used a

range of tests over different time periods to measure the effects of implantation, so it was difficult to compare them directly, the researchers added. However, almost all the trials looking at the effect of a single cochlear implant showed that people’s speech and quality of life improved after implantation. “Cochlear implantation is just a hugely beneficial procedure for the people who need it. It’s almost like magic,” said Pamela Roehm, an otolaryngologist from the NYU Langone Medical Center, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Their hearing isn’t complete-

ly normal, but for speech (and) understanding, it’s so good.” Among studies comparing one versus two implants, the majority also found participants were better at communicating and localizing sound when they had a cochlear implant in each ear. It wasn’t clear how much of an effect a second implant had on their quality of life, however. Possible complications of implantation include infection or damage to the device. But Roehm said all things considered, it’s a pretty minor procedure. “It’s surgery - you have to have general anesthesia - but as surgeries go, it’s not

very risky (and) you don’t lose a lot of blood,” she said. She and her colleagues have put implants into patients over 90 years old, with good results. The new findings don’t mean that deafness has a detrimental effect on quality of life, Gaylor told Reuters Health in an email. He added that for some in the deaf community, cochlear implants are still controversial. “Our hope is that this paper will allow providers, payers and most importantly patients to make more informed decisions about cochlear implantation,” Gaylor wrote. — Reuters

More cancer drugs skip costly final testing stage Signs of effectiveness increasingly seen in Phase 1 trials

India rocket launches asteroid-spotting satellite BANGALORE: India launched a rocket yesterday carrying seven satellites into orbit, including a Canadian orbiter that will scan for asteroids that could be hurtling toward Earth. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off from the Sriharikota rocket launch centre located on an island off the coast of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The launch, witnessed by Indian President President Pranab Mukherjee at the space mission control centre, “was perfect”, Devi Prasad Karnik, an official of the state -run Indian Space Research Organisation, told AFP. The suitcase-sized Canadian satellite, which the Canadian Space Agency calls a “sentinel in the sky”, will circle the globe every 100 minutes, scanning space to pinpoint asteroids that may come close to Earth. Information from the satellite could help deflect asteroids whose trajectory might threaten Earth, Canadian space officials say Earlier this month, an asteroid whizzed safely past Earth the same day a much smaller, previously undetected meteor hit Russia, injuring nearly 1,000 people. Near-Earth Object Space Surveillance Satellite or NEOSSat “will be the only space telescope dedicated to searching for asteroids”, Canadian satellite scientist Alan Hildebrand was quoted as saying by India’s Hindu newspaper. The Canadian

satellite will also scan for chunks of asteroids, comets and space debris-leftovers from old space missions-that can cause collisions. The rocket was also carrying an IndoFrench satellite called “SARAL”, or Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA-two climate monitoring tools developed for analysing ocean currents and sea surface heights by French space agency CNES. “We will obtain crucial data for climate models and global ocean currents” from the satellite, said CNES project head Pierre Sengenes. Learning more about global ocean circulation is key in understanding how global warming is affecting the planet, scientists say. The other satellites being carried into space included another one from Canada, two from Austria and one each from Denmark and Britain. The Indian mission was the 23rd for the country’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV. India, which aims to send its first manned flight into space in 2016, has emerged as a significant player in the lucrative global commercial satellitelaunch market, according to space experts. The Indian space agency has launched 35 foreign satellites since 1999 while the maximum number of satellites ever launched by the PSLV in a single mission stands at 10. —AFP

SRIHARIKOTA, India: In this photograph, the PSLV-C20 satellite launch vehicle is seen carrying the SARAL Indo-French satellite as one of its payloads yesterday. —AFP

NEW YORK: Michael Weitz was out of options. The Californian had endured chemotherapy, radiation and surgery but his lung cancer still spread to his bones and brain. With time running out, the emergency room physician entered a Phase I study - the earliest stage of human testing for a new medicine - of crizotinib. The drug works for about 4 percent of advanced lung cancer patients with a mutated form of a protein called ALK. “Once I knew that I had that mutation, I knew that I had an exciting new chance,” said Weitz, now 55, who is cancer-free after three years of taking the drug now sold by Pfizer as Xalkori after an unusually swift development process. It typically has taken a decade and $1 billion to bring a new treatment to market. But in the last two years a handful of cancer drugs - including Onyx Pharmaceutical Inc’s Kyprolis for multiple myeloma, Roche’s Zelboraf for melanoma, and Pfizer’s Xalkori - were approved in about half that time because of improved genetic screening, more definitive Phase I trials and the dire need for new, effective treatments. “We hope to be able to shave years off the time it takes to get final approval and save hundreds of millions of dollars per drug,” said Robert Schneider, director of translational cancer research at New York University Cancer Institute. “We’re going to see this as a sea change over the next five years.” Weitz’s story is a dramatic example of how personalized medicine is advancing 10 years after researchers sequenced the human genome, enabling drugs to target specific genetic variations. The emerging trend is likely to bring more effective treatments to desperate patients faster, increase the number of annual drug approvals and cut research costs through earlier and more reliable data. It will also help drugmakers identify ineffective therapies sooner, although it may not necessarily lead to lower priced medicines. There are some concerns about the faster approval process but most agree that the benefits of a potentially life-saving drug outweigh the risks. “The accelerated development of new drugs can be a double-edged sword,” said Mace Rothenberg, head of oncology for Pfizer. “As you move more quickly some questions may be unanswered.” He said those answers can come from trials conducted after drugs are approved, and the Food and Drug Administration often requires post-marketing studies following expedited

approvals. Historically, Phase I trials did little more than reveal the dose of an experimental drug that could safely be tolerated before larger studies determined clinically meaningful benefit. But advances in genetic screening and an improved understanding of the biology of cancer are enabling researchers to identify patients most likely to benefit from specific cancer treatments. “You can see positive signals much more quickly, and clinically you can spare patients for whom the drug is not likely to work,” said Dr. Michael Davies, assistant professor in the department of melanoma medical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Richard Scheller, head of research and early development for Roche’s Genentech unit, which has produced most of the company’s top-selling cancer medicines, said, “you can cut a couple of years out of the clinical trial process by basically doing your pivotal trial straight from Phase I.” Drugmakers who have benefited from the expedited approval process declined to discuss how much money was saved from the industry average for drug development. FDA’S new “breakthrough” designation With impressive enough early results, health regulators are more willing than ever to accept early or midstage trials as adequate proof of safety and effectiveness, rather than insisting on larger, more expensive and time-consuming pivotal Phase III studies that have been a standard requirement. “The drugs are simply better,” Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said of the new targeted cancer medicines. With older highly toxic chemotherapy drugs, he said, “many of the discussions we had at the agency dealt with whether we should approve the drug or not. With some of these newer drugs, the issue is how fast we can approve them, not whether they should be approved,” Pazdur said. The FDA has come up with a new breakthrough designation for drugs it views as a substantial improvement over existing therapies. With the designation - five have been awarded so far with 12 more drugs currently under consideration - the agency works more closely with drugmakers to identify approval requirements and work out commercial manu-

facturing issues. Dramatic response Key to faster approval is that drugs are becoming more narrowly targeted as researchers better understand the pathways of cancer - a series of biochemical steps that fuel the growth of cancer cells. The aim of the treatments is to block the culprit proteins, or biomarkers, within a pathway. “It’s much easier for us to offer patients in Phase I studies the real possibility of a dramatic response,” said Paul Sabbatini, an oncologist at Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center in New York. Now far fewer patients need to be tested in order to get definitive results in early trials because they are selected only if their tumors contain proteins or gene mutations that the experimental drug is targeting. Patients typically learn about these studies from their doctors or websites such as “What we’re looking at many times is Phase I data where we’re seeing levels of response that we haven’t seen before in patients that have exhausted most of the therapies in a disease,” said FDA’s Pazdur. Scheller estimated that cancer researchers are working on 50 different targets that could yield effective future therapies. NYU’s Schneider, a co-founder of the biotech company ImClone, said historically perhaps only 3 percent of oncology drugs that began Phase I trials went on to be approved. With new diagnostic tools and targeted drugs, he said, “one would hope that 10 or even 15 percent of drugs might be approved for the right patient populations in the next five years.” Roche’s Zelboraf and Pfizer’s Xalkori both were developed along with companion diagnostic tests to identify the specific gene mutations in patients that the drugs were designed to target. They proceeded relatively rapidly through clinical trials. The company said development of Zelboraf, which costs $56,000 for a six-month course of treatment, was the fastest conducted by Genentech and Roche. The clinical trial process took less than five years. Pfizer’s Xalkori took just over four years to develop. Had it been tested in the traditional manner among the general lung cancer population rather than on those with the specific ALK mutation, it would likely have been dismissed as a failure or required further research to try to glean which subgroup of patients were helped by the drug that costs $115,000 a year. — Reuters

Mediterranean-style diets discovered to cut heart risks


our on the olive oil, preferably over fish and vegetables: One of the longest and most scientific tests of a Mediterranean diet suggests this style of eating can cut the chance of suffering heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them. The study lasted five years and involved about 7,500 people in Spain. Those who ate Mediterranean-style with lots of olive oil or nuts had a 30 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular problems compared to others who were told to follow a low-fat diet. Mediterranean meant lots of fruit, fish, chicken, beans, tomato sauce, salads, and wine and little baked goods and pastries. Mediterranean diets have long been touted as heart-healthy, but that’s based on observational studies that can’t prove the point. The new research is much stronger because people were assigned diets to follow for a long time and carefully monitored. Doctors even did lab tests to verify that the Mediterranean diet folks were consuming more olive oil or nuts as recommended. Most of these people were taking medicines for high cholesterol and blood pressure, and researchers did not alter those proven treatments, said the study’s leader, Dr Ramon Estruch of Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. But as a first step to prevent heart problems, “we think diet is better than a drug” because it has few if any side effects, Estruch said. “Diet works.” Results were published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine and were to be discussed at a nutrition conference in Loma Linda, Calif. People in the study were not given rigid menus or calorie goals because weight

loss was not the aim. That could be why they found the “diets” easy to stick with - only about 7 percent dropped out within two years. There were twice as many dropouts in the low-fat group than among those eating Mediterranean-style. Researchers also provided the nuts and olive oil, so it didn’t cost participants anything to use these relatively pricey ingredients. The type of oil may have mattered they used extra-virgin olive oil, which is richer than regular or light olive oil in the chemicals and nutrients that earlier studies have suggested are beneficial. The study involved people ages 55 to 80, just over half of them women. All were free of heart disease at the start but were at high risk for it because of health problems - half had diabetes and most were overweight and had high cholesterol and blood pressure. They were assigned to one of three groups: Two followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil (4 tablespoons a day) or with walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds (a fistful a day). The third group was urged to eat a low-fat diet heavy on bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables and fish and light on baked goods, nuts, oils and red meat. Independent monitors stopped the study after nearly five years when they saw fewer problems in the two groups on Mediterranean diets. Doctors tracked a composite of heart attacks, strokes or heartrelated deaths. There were 96 of these in the Mediterranean-olive oil group, 83 in the Mediterranean-nut group and 109 in the low-fat group. Looked at individually, stroke was the only problem where type of diet made a big difference. Diet had no effect on death rates over-

NEW YORK: It was only a matter of time until bows and arrows took their place alongside swords as the low-tech weapons of choice for today’s young adventurers.— MCT

all. The Spanish government’s health research agency initiated and paid for the study, and foods were supplied by olive oil and nut producers in Spain and the California Walnut Commission. Many of the authors have extensive financial ties to food, wine and other industry groups but said the sponsors had no role in designing the study or analyzing and reporting its results. Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont professor who heads the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, said the study is very strong because of the lab tests to verify oil and nut consumption and because researchers tracked actual heart attacks, strokes and deaths - not just changes in risk factors such as high cholesterol. “At the end of the day, what we care about is whether or not disease develops,” she said. “It’s an

important study.” Rena Wing, a weight-loss expert at Brown University, noted that researchers provided the oil and nuts, and said “it’s not clear if people could get the same results from self-designed Mediterranean diets” - or if Americans would stick to them more than Europeans used to such foods. A third independent expert also praised the study as evidence diet can lower heart risks. “The risk reduction is close to that achieved with statins” - widely used cholesterol drugs, said Dr Robert Eckel, a diet and heart disease expert at the University of Colorado. “But this study was not carried out or intended to compare diet to statins or blood pressure medicines,” he warned. “I don’t think people should think now they can quit taking their medicines.” —AP

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


Russia’s Putin tries to curb smoking MOSCOW: Russia will ban smoking in many public places from June under a law central to President Vladimir Putin’s plans to make citizens healthier, raise life expectancy and help the economy. Under the law, signed by Putin on Saturday and passed by parliament last week, smoking will gradually be banned at work, in the subway, restaurants, cafes, ships and long-distance trains in a nation with one of the world’s top smoking rates. The legislation will also restrict cigarette sales and ban advertising and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies. It was opposed by foreign firms such as British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco , and Philip Morris, which control more than 90 percent of a Russian

cigarette market worth about $20 billion annually. Putin’s aim is to force a lifestyle change on millions of Russians in a country where bars and restaurants are often filled with a thick blue haze of smoke. But in a sign that many will resist, smokers rights’ groups oppose the law and a website has sprung up which, in a nod to Russia’s Communist past, declares: “Smokers of the world unite.” “I’m categorically against this stupid ban. Smoking is heavily restricted now anyway. No smoking in offices, no smoking in staircases, nowhere,” said Grigory, a 60-year-old businessmen in Moscow who declined to give his second name. “I’ll go out even less now as there’s nowhere to go for us chain-

smokers.” The law will be phased in, with smoking banned in some public places, such as subways and schools from June 1. The ban will be broadened to include restaurants and cafes a year later. Sales of tobacco products will be forbidden at street kiosks from June 1, 2014, advertising and displaying cigarettes will be restricted, and minimum prices will be set for cigarettes which mostly cost 50 to 60 roubles for a pack of 20 (less than $2). The law is part of Putin’s drive to reverse a population decline that began after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. He hopes it will increase productivity and promote economic growth. Putin has stepped up these efforts since

his return to the presidency in May, mounting a campaign reminiscent of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempt to crack down on drinking under his failed “perestroika” reforms of the late 1980s. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said last year almost 400,000 Russians die each year from smoking-related causes. The World Bank says 40 percent of Russians smoke regularly. World Bank figures show Russia’s population slumped to 141.9 million in 2011 from 148.6 million in 1991, with average life expectancy at 69 years, against 78 in the United States. Failure to expand the workforce would limit economic growth. Announcing Putin had signed the law, the Kremlin said on yesterday it would bring

Russia into line with a World Health Organization tobacco control treaty which it ratified in 2008. Owners of the ubiquitous kiosks, which many convenience shoppers rely on, say many could go out of business, especially as they have already been hit by restriction on alcohol sales. The All-Russian Smokers’ Rights Movement said the law would not work and called instead for moves to discourage youngsters from starting smoking. Erik Bloomquist, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, said: “In aggregate ... we do not expect the restrictions to make much difference in overall consumption or prevalence, and think the smoking bans will be honoured more in the breach than in actuality.” — Reuters



(From left) Producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov stand with actor-producer-director Ben Affleck, winners of the Best Picture Aard for ‘Argo’, with presenter Jack Nicholson.

Actor/producer/director Ben Affleck accepts the Best Picture award for ‘Argo’ onstage along with members of the cast and crew. —AP/AFP photos

‘Argo’ B

Ang Lee holds the trophy for Best Director.

Best Actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

Jennifer Lawrence accepts the award for best actress in a leading role for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.

Christoph Waltz accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for ‘Django Unchained’.

en Affleck’s “Argo,” the story of how Hollywood, Canada and the CIA teamed up to rescue six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis, has earned best picture at the Academy Awards. From the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson to help present the final prize. “There are eight great films that have every right, as much a right to be up here as we do,” Affleck said of the other best-picture nominees. In share-the-wealth mode, Oscar voters spread Sunday’s honors among a range of films, with “Argo” winning three trophies but “Life of Pi” leading with four. British actor Daniel Day-Lewis became the first person to win three best actor awards, taking the trophy for his monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War saga “Lincoln.” “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence triumphed in Hollywood’s big games, winning the best actress as a damaged soul in “Silver Linings Playbook,” while Taiwanese director Ang Lee pulled off a huge upset as best director for “Life of Pi.” Anne went from propping up leaden sidekick James Franco as a presenter at last year’s Academy Awards to hefting a golden statue of her own with a supporting-actress Oscar win as a doomed motherturned-prostitute in the musical “Les Miserables.” Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won his second supporting-actor Oscar for a Tarantino film, this time as a genteel bounty hunter in the slave -revenge saga “Django Unchained.” Tarantino also won his second Oscar, for original screenplay for “Django.” Ang Lee pulled off a major upset, won best director for the shipwreck story “Life of Pi,” taking the prize over Steven Spielberg, who had been favored for “Lincoln.” Lawrence took a fall on her way to the stage, tripping on the steps. “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell,” Lawrence joked as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. At 22, Lawrence is the second-youngest woman to win best actress, behind Marlee Matlin, who was 21 when she won for “Children of a Lesser God.” Lawrence also is the third-youngest best-actress contender ever, earning her first nomination at age 20 two years ago for her breakout role in “Winter’s Bone,” the film that took her from virtual unknown to one of Hollywood’s most-versatile and soughtafter performers. With a monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln, Day-Lewis became the only performer to win three bestactor Oscars, adding to the honors he earned for “My Left Foot” and “There Will Be Blood.” He’s just the sixth actor to earn three or more Oscars, tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan with three each, and just behind Katharine Hepburn, who won four. Hathaway, whose perkiness helped carry her and the listless Franco through an ill-starred stint as Oscar hosts two years ago, is the third performer in a musical to win supporting actress during the genre’s resurgence in the last decade. “It came true,” said Hathaway, who joins 2002 supporting-actress winner Catherine Zeta-Jones for “Chicago” and 2006 recipient Jennifer Hudson for

“Dreamgirls.” Hathaway had warm thanks for “Les Miz” costar Hugh Jackman, with whom she once sang a duet at the Oscars when he was the show’s host. Hathaway’s Oscar came for her role as noble but fallen Fantine in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway smash that was based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel of revolution, romance and redemption in 19th century France. “Life of Pi” also won for Mychael Danna’s multicultural musical score that blends Indian and Western instruments and influences, plus cinematography and visual effects. “I really want to thank you for believing this story and sharing this incredible journey with me,” Lee said to all who worked on the film, a surprise blockbuster about a youth trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. A veteran performer in Germany and Austria, Waltz had been a virtual unknown in Hollywood when Tarantino cast him as a gleefully evil Nazi in 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which won him his first Oscar. “I have to cast the right people to make those characters come alive,” said Tarantino, who won previously for “Pulp Fiction. “And boy, this time, did I do it. Thank you so much, guys.” Waltz has since done a handful of other Hollywood movies, but it’s Tarantino who has given him his two choicest roles. Backstage, Waltz had a simple explanation for why the collaboration works. “Quentin writes poetry, and I like poetry,” Waltz said. Oscar host Seth MacFarlane opened with a mildly edgy monologue that offered the usual polite jabs at the academy, the stars and the industry. He took a poke at academy voters over the snub of Ben Affleck, who missed out on a directing nomination for best-picture favorite “Argo,” a thriller about the CIA’s plot to rescue six Americans during the Iranian hostage crisis. “The story was so top secret that the film’s director is unknown to the academy,” MacFarlane said. “They know they screwed up. Ben, it’s not your fault.” “Argo” also claimed the Oscar for adapted screenplay for Chris Terrio, who worked with Affleck to create a liberally embellished story based on an article about the rescue and part of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s memoir. Terrio dedicated the award to Mendez, saying “33 years ago, Tony, using nothing but his creativity and his intelligence, Tony got six people out of a bad situation.” “Argo” came under criticism from some Canadians, including former ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor, who protected several Americans at great personal risk during the crisis. Taylor is portrayed in the movie, however he said it minimizes Canada’s role in the Americans’ rescue. Taylor said earlier this week he hoped Affleck would say a few words acknowledging Canada’s role should the film win best picture. Affleck briefly mentioned Canada in his acceptance speech. The foreign-language prize went to Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s old-age love story “Amour,” which had been a major surprise with five nominations, including picture, director and original screenplay for Haneke and best actress for Emmanuelle Riva, who turned 86 on Sunday and would be the oldest acting winner ever. The top prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film

Quentin Tarantino accepts the award for best original screenplay for ‘Django Unchained’.

Chris Terrio poses with his award for best adapted screenplay for ‘Argo’.

Mychael Danna poses with his award for best original score for ‘Life of Pi’.

Co-directors Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews celebrate winning the Best Animated Feature Film award for “Brave”.

Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth hold the Best Original Song Award for Skyfall from the movie ‘Skyfall’ .

Anne Hathaway accepts the award for best actress in a supporting role for ‘Les Miserables’.

Mychael Danna holds his Best Original Score Award for “Life of Pi”.

Best Animated Short Film winner John Kahrs accepts his award.



• Best picture: “Argo” • Best director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi” • Best leading actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln” • Best leading actress: Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” • Best supporting actor: Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained” • Best supporting actress: Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables” • Best foreign language film: “Amour” (Love) • Best animated feature: “Brave” • Best original screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained” • Best adapted screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo” • Best original score: “Life of Pi” • Best original song: “Skyfall,” music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth • Best production design: “Lincoln” • Best cinematography: “Life of Pi” • Best costume design: “Anna Karenina” • Best documentary feature: “Searching for Sugar Man” • Best documentary short: “Inocente” • Best film editing: “Argo” • Best makeup and hairstyling: “Les Miserables” • Best short animated film: “Paperman” • Best short live action film: “Curfew” • Best sound editing: “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” • Best sound mixing: “Les Miserables” • Best visual effects: “Life of Pi” — AFP

Actors Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson present the Oscar for cinematography onstage.

Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis stands with Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, and Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz.

Best Sound Editing winner Paul N.J. Ottosson.

Production designer Rick Carter accepts his award.

Costume designer Jacqueline Durran holds the Best Costume Design award for “Anna Karenina”.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling winners Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell.

Best Sound Mixing winners Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes.

Best Supporting Actor nominee Robert De Niro arrives with wife Grace Hightower, Best Director nominee Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, and Best Actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis with wife Rebecca Miller on the red carpet. Festival, “Amour” follows the agonizing story of an elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tending his wife (Riva) as she declines from age and illness. Haneke thanked his own wife for supporting him in his work for 30 years. “You are the center of my life,” Haneke said. The Scottish adventure “Brave,” from Disney’s Pixar Animation unit, was named best animated feature. Pixar films have won seven of the 12 Oscars since the category was added. “I just happen to be wearing the kilt,” said “Brave” co-director Mark Andrews, who took the stage in his trademark Scottish garment. The upbeat musical portrait “Searching for Sugar Man” took the documentary feature prize. The film follows the quest of two South African fans to discover the fate of acclaimed but obscure singersongwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who dropped out of sight after two albums in the 1970s and was rumored to have died a bitter death. “Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez,” said “Sugar Man” director Malik Bendjelloul. There was a rare tie in one category, with the Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” and the James Bond tale “Skyfall” each winning for sound editing. William Shatner made a guest appearance as his “Star Trek” character Capt. James Kirk, appearing on a giant screen above the stage during MacFarlane’s monologue, saying he came back in time to stop the host from ruining the Oscars. “Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate, and everyone ends up hating you,” said Shatner, who revealed a headline supposedly from the next day’s newspaper that read, “Seth MacFarlane worst Oscar host ever.” The performance-heavy Oscars also included an opening number featuring Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum, who did a classy dance while MacFarlane crooned “The Way You Look Tonight.” Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt then joined MacFarlane for an elegant musical rendition of “High Hopes.” Halle Berry introduced a tribute to the Bond franchise, in which she has co-starred, as the British super-spy celebrated his 50th anniversary on the big-screen last year with the latest adventure “Skyfall.” Shirley Bassey sang her theme song to the 1960s Bond tale “Goldfinger.” Later, pop star Adele performed her theme tune from “Skyfall,” which won the best-song Oscar.

Barbra Streisand injected some musical sentiment into the show’s segment memorializing Hollywood figures who died in the past year as she sang “The Way We Were,” the Oscar-winning song she did in the film of the same name. A salute to the resurgence of movie musicals in the last decade included Oscar winners Zeta-Jones singing “All That Jazz” from “Chicago” and Hudson doing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls.” Hathaway and Jackman joined cast mates of best-picture contender “Les Miserables” to sing songs from their musical. Academy officials said all performances were sung live. Fans had pondered how far MacFarlane the impudent creator of “Family Guy,” might push the normally prim and proper Oscars. MacFarlane was generally polite and respectful, showcasing his charm, wit and vocal gifts. MacFarlane did press his luck a bit on an Abraham Lincoln joke, noting that Raymond Massey preceded “Lincoln” star Daniel Day-Lewis as an Oscar nominee for 1940’s “Abe Lincoln in Illinois.” “I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth,” MacFarlane wisecracked, earning some groans from the crowd. “A hundred and 50 years later, and it’s still too soon?”— AP

Shawn Christensen celebrates his Best Live Action Short Film Award for “Curfew”.

Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn celebrate winning Best Documentary Feature “Searching for Sugar Man”.

Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones present an award onstage. Singer Adele performs

Singer Norah Jones

Actors Chris Pine, left, and Zoe Saldana.

Actor Daniel Radcliffe and actress Kristen Stewart present onstage. Actress/singer Jennifer Hudson performs.

Actors Hugh Jackman, left, and Anne Hathaway, from the cast of “Les Miserables,” performs.

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones performs.

Actors Amanda Seyfried, left, and Eddie Redmayne, from the cast of ‘Les Miserables,’ perform.

Actress/singer Barbra Streisand performs “Memories” for the In Memoriam tribute.



Armani, Dior F A S H I O N

rack up fashion wins at Oscars


orget glamour girls Jessica Chastain versus Jennifer Lawrence. By the end of a long Oscars telecast, the only person who could have stolen the fashion conversation was first lady Michelle Obama - and she did. She presented the best picture award almost at the stroke of midnight Sunday via video stream in a silver Naeem Khan gown. It was the sort of Cinderella style moment that red-carpet watchers hunger for. Until then, the most heated chatter about the Academy Awards likely was the boldface battle between Giorgio Armani and Dior Haute Couture. Armani could claim some big wins: the designer dressed Chastain, Naomi Watts and Quvenzhane Wallis. Dior dressed Lawrence and Charlize Theron - both are spokesmodels - who hit it right in white. Chastain, in a glistening copper-tone strapless gown with mermaid hem, looked like an old-world glamorous movie star, especially with her oversized vintage Harry Winston diamond earrings and bright red lipstick. “I chose it because to me it was a throwback to old Hollywood,” she said. “It’s a very

‘Happy birthday, Mr President’ dress.” Watts wore a gunmetal beaded gown with a geometric cutout on the bodice, also by Armani. Quvenzhane (kwuh-VEHN’-juh-nay), with a silver headband in her hair and carrying a bedazzled puppy purse, wore an Armani Junior navy-blue dress with black, navy and silver jewels scattered on the skirt and a big bow on the back. She had another Armani dress, a pink one, ready for the after party. “I liked it because it was sparkly and puffy.” Lawrence was the belle of the ball in a white-and-pale pink strapless gown with fitted bustier and poufy hemline, sophisticated pulled-back hair, diamond-ball earrings and a

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Aniston delicate long necklace that hung down in back. The long train gave her trouble as she went to accept her award for best actress. She stumbled as she approached the stage to accept her Oscar. Theron was sleek in an angular strapless dress with a fashion-right peplum and a buzz-cut hairdo. Christos Garkinos, longtime red-carpet watcher and owner of Decades vintage store in Los Angeles, said, “You could have turned the TV off right when Charlize Theron came on. She was perfect.” The more interesting chatter, however, could be about the Jane Fondas and Sally Fields of the world. Fonda wore bright taxicab yellow Versace and Sally Field was in bright red. “Women of a certain age almost gave the feeling that the older you get, the bolder you get,” Garkinos said. Hal Rubenstein, editor at large of InStyle magazine, was pretty impressed by 86-year-old Emmanuelle Riva in Lanvin. “Jane Fonda looks amazing because she’s Jane Fonda, but Emmanuelle Riva was so elegant.” Another look that had people talking was Anne Hathaway’s pale pink Prada dress. Rubenstein called the dress and Tiffany & Co necklace “an Audrey Hepburn moment.” Garkinos wasn’t as kind. Thanks to some awkwardly placed darts in the bust, he said it was more like Gwyneth Paltrow’s big

Naomi Watts camp. “For some, there was a pull back to not do a lot, and that’s where fashion is as well,” Rubenstein said. Amanda Seyfried’s metallic halter dress by Alexander McQueen with a keyhole opening was three months in the making, and Berry said she trusted Donatella Versace to dress her like the Bond girl that she has been on the big screen. She ended up in a silver beaded-and-black gown with long sleeves and V-neck. Jennifer Hudson’s shiny, second-skin blue Roberto Cavalli almost looked like an animal print. Kristen Stewart had an even paler blush gown; hers a handbeaded strapless with tulle inserts by Reem Acra. She accentuated her gown with a 19thcentury Fred Leighton necklace with 91 graduated diamonds. Jennifer Garner chose a violet-colored Gucci with cascading ruffles in the back. Her 200-carat diamond-and-dark platinum neck-

Jessica Chastain

Quvenzhane Wallis

Sally Field

Charlize Theron

Quvenzhane Wallis

Academy Awards moment, when she wore a lovely Ralph Lauren pink dress but the fit wasn’t quite right. Hathaway, before the show, said her dress with a seemingly sweet vibe but with a strategically open back and sexy sides, was a last-minute choice. “It fit my mood and place where I’m at right now.” It almost seemed there were two routes to the red carpet, said Rubenstein: incredibly beaded and eye-catching, worn by Nicole Kidman in L’Wren Scott, Halle Berry in Versace, and Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan; or a simple color with a great silhouette. He puts Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon in a strap-

less royal-blue Louis Vuitton gown with a black strip at the bustline and Jennifer Aniston in a Valentino red strapless gown in that

lace from the Neil Lane archives was a big statement. Beaded gowns had a strong presence, worn by Sandra Bullock, in a fully embroidered Elie Saab; Renee Zellweger, in a sleek Carolina Herrera; and Adele in Jenny Packham. Catherine Zeta-Jones was statuesque in an all-gold Zuhair Muhad. Queen Latifah’s white V-neck tank dress by Badgley Mischka had a lot of sparkle on the straps. Salma Hayek’s midnight-blue velvet Alexander McQueen gown had a gold embellished collar, and she carried a gold skull box clutch. Helen Hunt wore a little bit of her conscience along with her blue column gown. It was from fast-fashion retailer H&M. She chose it because it was both accessible and because the company has launched a substantial green initiative. She did wear it, however, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of borrowed jewels. For the men, the trend was beards, with George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, among them. — AP

Jane Fonda

Reese Witherspoon

Stacy Keibler


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Anne Hathaway

Halle Berry

Jennifer Hudson

Sandra Bullock

Renee Zellweger


Amanda Seyfried

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Oscar is trip for Lawrence Queen Latifah

Salma Hayek Kristen Stewart

Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence falls onstage at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. — AFP stairs in this dress,” Lawrence said of her ennifer Lawrence’s performance in white, floor-length gown. “I think I “Silver Linings Playbook” was flawstepped on the fabric and they wax the less enough to capture the best stairs.” Lawrence said she thought of a actress Oscar. She wasn’t so adroit in “bad word” to say when she tumbled but claiming the trophy. Lawrence stumbled kept it to herself. She had already been as she took the steps to the Oscar stage, bleeped by ABC when she let loose with falling to her knees in her flowing Dior a four-letter word while joking with gown. That drew a sympathetic ovation Kristin Chenoweth on the red carpet. from the auditorium. She remained Asked how she got ready for the day, endearingly flustered during her acceptLawrence said it was “chaotic” from the ance speech, thanking her family, those start, with her family taking over the who worked with her on the film and house to prepare for the big evening. wishing a “Happy Birthday” to a fellow After fumbling for a more descriptive nominee, Emmanuelle Riva of “Amour,” answer, she apologized: “I’m sorry. I did a who turned 86. shot.” — AP “Look at this dress. I tried to walk up


Helen Hunt

Selena Gomez

Jennifer Garner

Party time for pregnant Kim Kardashian


Actor Mark Wahlberg and Ted present an award.

TED bearly shows up for Oscars


ed didn’t actually come on stage at the Oscars. It was, of course, a bit of TV magic. Mark Wahlberg was on stage inside the Dolby Theatre next to an empty stool, and his pre- taped bit with the computer-generated talking teddy bear was broadcast simultaneously inside the venue on monitors. That’s what people at home

saw on their television sets. When it came to actually handing out the trophies for sound editing, though, that was all Wahlberg in real time. — AP

Television personality Kim Kardashian.

im Kardashian didn’t just step out at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscar after-party in West Hollywood dressed to impress. She rocked her pregnancy bump like a glam accessory. The reality T V starlet wore a white, cleavage-baring Donna Karan dress that showed off every curve without self-consciousness. Kardashian and her sister Khloe, both without their respective loves, Kanye West, and Lamar Odom, chatted up party guest Chris Brown, who was at the party without his girlfriend, Rihanna. Kim Kardashian added she was also looking forward to catching the show by the night’s featured performer, soulful Scottish singer Emeli Sande. “I love her!” she exclaimed. Asked how late she would stay up celebrating, given her pregnancy, Kardashian considered the question for a moment. “I don’t know, hmmm,” she told The Associated Press. Then she added, “I always end up going to bed early!”—AP

Anne Hathaway, left, and Kristen Stewart stand backstage.

Break a leg


nne Hathaway, holding her new Oscar, ran into Kristen Stewart, who was on crutches, backstage. “Oh no!” Hathaway said. “I know, I’m an idiot,” Stewart replied. “But congratulations!” “Please tell me you’re going on stage with those,” Hathaway said, pointing to the crutches. “Nope. I’m gonna hobble,” Stewart said. “Well, break a leg,” Hathaway said. “Oops.” Stewart didn’t say why she’s using crutches.Sandy Cohen -—AP


stars CROSSWORD 112

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19)

Is it time to take a more drastic approach to a problem, Aries? If you’ve made several attempts to resolve your trouble but to no avail, you might consider it. As long as “drastic” doesn’t mean “destructive,” you may find success trying something far more forward and insistent. Be careful, however. Think things through carefully first. Run any ideas you have past a trusted friend.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Tap into your creativity to unblock the emotional flow today, Taurus. This can be a powerful tool. Creativity is a big part of who you are, almost as big as communication. Your emotions link to these two aspects and constantly interact beneath the surface. If one gets blocked, release it by focusing on the other. Express yourself through creativity and consider talking to someone close.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. A health resort near a spring or at the seaside. 4. The second largest of Jupiter's satellites. 12. A watery solution of sugars, salts, and minerals that circulates through the vascular system of a plant. 15. A boy or man. 16. Cosmopolitan genus of ferns. 17. (prefix) Coming before or being preliminary or preparatory. 18. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 19. Past times remembered with nostalgia. 20. Informal abbreviation of `representative'. 21. Any of numerous tropical or subtropical American plants of the genus Verbena grown for their showy spikes of variously colored flowers. 23. The 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 24. Sole genus of the family Naiadaceae. 26. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 29. Large sweet juicy hybrid between tangerine and grapefruit having a thick wrinkled skin. 30. Grind together, of teeth. 33. A hard brittle gray polyvalent metallic element that resembles iron but is not magnetic. 34. Alternative names for the body of a human being. 36. (the feminine of raja) A Hindu princess or the wife of a raja. 39. Proceeding from or ordered by or subject to a pope or the papacy regarded as the successor of the Apostles. 43. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 44. Wood of a larch tree. 45. Swelling from excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue. 46. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 48. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 49. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 51. An audiotape recording of sound. 52. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 54. (Jungian psychology) The inner self (not the external persona) that is in touch with the unconscious. 57. (British) A minicar used as a taxicab. 60. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 61. A large genus of dicotyledonous trees and shrubs of the family Aquifoliaceae that have small flowers and berries (including hollies). 62. A region of Malaysia in northeastern Borneo. 65. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 68. An elaborate song for solo voice. 71. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 75. A landlocked republic in eastern Africa. 77. A woman gossip. 79. A doctor's degree in education. 80. Type genus of the Rutaceae. 81. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 83. A lyric poem with complex stanza forms. 84. A Loloish language. 85. Hard fiber used in making coarse twine. 86. (British) Your grandmother. DOWN 1. Speaking a Slavic language.

2. Very light colored. 3. The sixth month of the civil year. 4. A woman's large folded hooped hood. 5. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 6. Ions are accelerated along a linear path by voltage differences on electrodes along the path. 7. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 8. Attach a yoke or harness to, as of a draft animal. 9. An infection of the sebaceous gland of the eyelid. 10. A large cask especially one holding a volume equivalent to 2 butts or 252 gals. 11. A sign of something about to happen. 12. Small branch or division of a branch. 13. Of or relating to or involving an area. 14. Pepsi Cola is a trademarked cola. 22. Serving as or forming a base. 25. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 27. An immunosuppressive drug (trade name Imuran) used to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. 28. A unit of magnetomotive force equal to 0.7958 ampere-turns. 31. Shrub bearing oval-fruited kumquats. 32. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 35. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 37. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 38. Botswanan statesman who was the first president of Botswana (1921-1980). 40. Of or relating to the feet. 41. Affect with wonder. 42. A milky exudate from certain plants that coagulates on exposure to air. 47. The capital of Moldova. 50. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 53. An associate degree in nursing. 55. Being nine more than ninety. 56. Being three more than fifty. 58. One of a set of small pieces of stiff paper marked in various ways and used for playing games or for telling fortunes. 59. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 63. Austrian composer who influenced the classical form of the symphony (1732-1809). 64. Bringing death. 66. Largest known toad species. 67. A vessel in which something is immersed to maintain it at a constant temperature or to process or lubricate it. 69. An investment trust that owns and manages a pool of commercial properties and mortgages and other real estate asssets. 70. A ruler of the Inca Empire (or a member of his family). 72. (in Gnosticism) A divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe. 73. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 74. Chief port of Yemen. 76. A drug combination found in some overthe-counter headache remedies (Aspirin and Phenacetin and Caffeine). 78. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 82. (Akkadian) God of wisdom.


You may need to deal with someone’s disapproval today, Gemini. This will likely come from someone you see as either a superior or authority figure, perhaps a parent. While it’s important to listen to this person, if what they say involves your job, personal life, or how you choose to live, it’s no one’s concern but yours. No matter how you do things, someone will disapprove somewhere.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Time alone is essential for everyone, Cancer, but make sure you recognize when you’re isolated to the point where it’s unhealthy. If you realize you’re alone because you’re avoiding something, you might consider your alternatives. Things will only fester under these conditions. Face whatever it is that’s upsetting you so you can begin to work things out.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Watch out for the green-eyed monster today, Leo. It can rear up before you can say “jealousy.” Most situations that cause these feelings are born out of insecurity. If you aren’t secure in your job, relationship, or family, and feel threatened by someone, it’s time to take a look at the cause. Why you don’t feel as solid as you could? What’s causing the insecurity? Look for the answers.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

You may feel insecure about your appearance today, Virgo. This can be a vicious cycle to get into. The result is almost always negative. Rather than pick yourself apart, consider finding ways to accept your looks. Whether it’s your weight or age or anything else, if you can’t accept yourself, you will always find something wrong no matter how many changes you make.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22)

Jealousy might rear its head today, Libra. The key to it all is to understand where and why you feel insecure. If you’re jealous of a mate, what’s going on in the relationship? Is trust an issue? If this comes up at work, is it because you don’t feel recognized for your contributions? Examine the cause of jealousy. It’s almost always a symptom of a deeper problem.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

Arts and crafts may interest you today, Scorpio. Even if you lean more toward sports, an artistic streak will likely run pretty strong in you. The process of creating can be richly satisfying, both in the process and in the satisfaction of a finished product. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore this, as the day’s energy will lend much to your abilities.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Getting along with others may prove challenging today, Sagittarius. The influence from the planetary aspects can have you preferring to withdraw and isolate. You might feel impatient and annoyed. If so, and being alone is an option, go for it. If it isn’t, you will need to curb the tendency to be argumentative or confrontational. Exercise patience and avoid conflict.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Don’t be surprised if you’re a little weepy today, Capricorn. The influence from planets can enhance your sensitivity to almost everything, including your own feelings. Take heart. It’s bound to be short-lived. Cry if you need to, since it can be cleansing. Try not to wallow too much. Chances are good that things will look better tomorrow. Take care of yourself today.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)

Fanaticism or obsessive thinking may be something you need to look at today, Aquarius. Common areas for such behaviors are in the pursuit of money, power, success, and romance. There’s a fine line between ambition and obsession. If you find that you think of nothing else but one fixation, it may be time to talk with someone about it. He or she may see what you don’t want to see.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Don’t act impulsively today, Pisces. It could be easy to confuse this with spontaneity. One has more thought put into it than the other. With this day’s influence, be certain to look before you leap. Think everything through, from decisions to projects to contracts. Read the fine print more than once. When it comes to relationships, be careful not to trust too quickly.

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First Education holds management workshop SEND US YOUR INSTAGRAM PICS


hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! Let other people see the way you see Kuwait - through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at




appy birthday to Lidiya, best wishes from brothers Don Emanual, Joshiva, sister Rishal, daddy Devid, mummy Anna. God bless you.

Happy National Days!


e congratulate HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Sabah on the occasions of National and Liberations days. We wish the HH the Amir, HH the Crown Prince and Kuwaiti people all the best and many more happy years to come. Afrah & Awrad Abdullah Buwair

irst Education Company arranged a training program at Marriott Courtyard hotel on 6th and 7th Feb, 2013 titled “Strategy Building, Leadership & Managerial Efficiency with Creative Thinking”. The expert trainer for the program was Dr Kalim Khan, Director of Rizvi Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai India. A production engineer by education, MBA and PhD in the field of quantitative techniques and an academician by choice, Dr Khan entered the field of management education very early in his career. He is now renowned brand in the field of management education and is especially known for his knowledge and expertise in the area of quantitative techniques and marketing research. In the last twelve years he has taught across the leading management institutes affiliated to the University of Mumbai, His wealth includes more than a hundred thousand students serving corporate India and abroad. Dr Khan is member of various adviso-

ry board committees, academic councils of institutions, businesses and universities. Dr Khan is also the one of the most sought after trainer in corporate India. He has conducted successful programs with Abbott, Airtel, BASF, Colgate Palmolive, Crompton Greaves, Larsen & Toubro, Philips, Tata Communications, Tata Motors, Godrej & Boyce, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hinduja Group etc. to name a few. He is specialized in systems management, quality management, problem solving and decision making, negotiation skills, application of quantitative techniques for decision making, sales force management, customer experience management, six sigma, market research and its applications etc. The most creditworthy achievement of Dr Khan is publishing books. He has co-authored two books with his colleague Prof Cyrus Gonda. His maiden book: “Where is My Ketchup?” has been in the best selling list of Crosswords, Oxford Bookstore and Strand. His second book : “Seal the Hole in the Bucket” has received phenomenal accolades

from practitioners and academicians in marketing. His latest book : “Be a Super Salesperson” is an attempt to equip all budding sales and marketing professionals with the absolutely necessary ingredients of perfect selling skills. The program was attended by 32 participants representing several companies and institutions involved in banking, investment, finance, services, real estate in addition to the telecom sector. This program has met the inter-

est of the participants due to the keenness of Dr Khan on linking the theoretical side to the practical side through realistic experiences for several companies in addition to his commitment to motivate the trainees and to attract interactive participation and case studies. Finally, in view of its popularity and demand, First Education Company plans to repeat this program in its calendar of other important programs during this year.

Kuwait National English School celebrates National/Liberation Day

Announcements Goan Culinary Club


he Goan Culinary Club - Goa encourages you to log on to their website where you can find a video of Odette and Joe Mascarenhas sharing their thoughts on Goan cuisine. These videos were recorded at the launch of the Goan Culinary Club in Goa on March 3, 2012. Thanks to support from all at the Goan Culinary Club, we have made great progress in six months.

(Left to right) Meyon Kader, Dr Sayyid Ghalib AlMashoor Thangal and Mushref Kader Haji.

Nandi Jama Masjid officials visit Kuwait


andi (Kozhikode District) Mohiyuddin Jama Masjid committee General Secretary Janab Mushref Kader Haji and Meyon Kader, Former Vice President and Block Panchayat Member were given a warm welcome reception by executives of IndoKuwait Friendship Society. Both dignitaries lived in Gulf countries (Kuwait and Qatar) and were former Pravasee members. Mushref Kader Haji said that he was in Kuwait until the 1990 incident and he is happy and amazed to see Kuwait’s progressive development both in the fields of economy and infrastructe. The Nandi Jama Masjid officials made a courtesy visit to IKFS President Dr Sayyid Ghalib Al-Mashoor Thangal, the leader and advisor of many Institutions in Kuwait and in India who arranged the reception in honor of visiting dignitaries and exchanged their views on the global peace movement. Kerala has a unique record in India for the harmonious coexistence of diverse religions. Hindus, Christians and Muslims are the major religious communities of the state, and a small population of Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews and some others are also present. As per census 2001,Hindus constitute 56.20 percent, Muslims 24.7 percent and Christians 19 percent of the total population of 3,18,41,374 of thes. Dr Al-Mashoor thanked the rulers of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait, HH Crown Prince Shaikh Nawaf Al-Sabah and government of Kuwait for their contributions in restoring peace and dignity among the world nations. He prayed for long lasting prosperity and strength for the rulers and people of Kuwait. Sameer Manas, Secretary of Fahaheel area KKMCC also joined in the reception.


ast night, Tuesday 19th February, Kuwait National English School celebrated the Kuwait’s National and Liberation Day, with poems, songs and

dances reflecting Kuwait’s rich national cultural heritage. Those attending were welcomed by Mr. Mohammed Kullab (Head of Arabic) and Mr. Alastair Hannay

(Principal), on behalf of the Director, Madame Chantal Al Gharabally. All sections of the school from Year 2 through to year 11 had students performing on

stage, enthralling the audience with an excellent variety of acts and culminating with all performers participating in the finale.

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

KUWAIT: The Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Talent, a subsidiary of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science, hosted a special event recently to honor six Kuwaiti inventors who won awards at the iENA international trade exhibition. The event with the theme Ideas, Inventions and New Products was held in Germany last year. The inventors participated in the event after earning patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital


Kaizen center














Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar







Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241



Te el.: 161



Cool with moderate wind in general north westerly wind, with speed of 20 - 35 km/h


Sunny with moderate to fresh north westerly wind, with speed of 20 - 40 km/h and some scattered clouds will appear


No Current Warnings arnin a




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16 °C



24 °C

12 °C




26 °C

15 °C


25 °C

13 °C


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11 °C


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24 °C

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Maidan Hawally



24 °C

14 °C




23 °C

16 °C




19 °C

17 °C

W Hawally



21 °C

17 °C





South Jahra


25/02/2013 1200 UTC

4 DA AY YS FORECAST Temperatures DA AY





Wind Speed

Wind Direction



sunny + scattered clouds

25 °C

12 °C


20 - 40 km/h



sunny + scattered clouds

26 °C

11 °C


06 - 26 km/h





25 °C

13 °C


15 - 40 km/h

North Jahra




sunny + scattered clouds

27 °C

14 °C


15 - 38 km/h

North Jleeb








N Khaitan








MAX. Temp.



MIN. Temp.

26 °C 15 °C




75 %






MAX. Wind




17 % NW 46 km/h 00 mm

All times are local time unless otherwise stated.

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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


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


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


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

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani





Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707


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


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688

















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh












Expected Weeather for the Next 24 Hours

Ayoun Al-Qibla





West Jahra





26 - 2630 Ext.: 2627


Fax: 24348714


New Jahra




Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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



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

Animal Cops Phoenix Crocodile Feeding Frenzy Untamed & Uncut Wildest Islands Shark Attack File 3 Monster Bug Wars Call Of The Wildman Animal Battlegrounds Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Wildlife SOS Meerkat Manor Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 Crocodile Hunter Weird Creatures With Nick Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Natural Born Hunters The Really Wild Show Wildest Latin America Wildest Africa Mutant Planet Mutant Planet Tigers Attack Wildest Latin America Bad Dog Karina: Wild On Safari

00:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 00:40 Come Dine With Me 01:30 Antiques Roadshow 02:20 House Swap 03:05 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 03:30 House Swap 04:15 Come Dine With Me 05:05 Antiques Roadshow 05:55 House Swap 06:40 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 07:10 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 07:50 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 08:15 Antiques Roadshow 09:05 Antiques Roadshow 10:00 Antiques Roadshow 10:50 Antiques Roadshow 11:40 Antiques Roadshow 12:35 Vacation Vacation Vacation 13:00 Vacation Vacation Vacation 13:30 Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen 13:55 Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen 14:20 Rhodes Across The Caribbean 15:05 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 16:00 Eating In The Sun 16:25 Eating In The Sun 16:50 The Hairy Bikers Ride Again 17:15 The Hairy Bikers Ride Again 17:45 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 18:40 Bargain Hunt 19:25 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 20:45 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 22:05 Come Dine With Me: South Africa 23:00 Vacation Vacation Vacation 23:25 Vacation Vacation Vacation 23:50 Antiques Roadshow

00:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 00:30 Football Focus 01:00 BBC World News America 01:30 BBC World News America 02:00 BBC World News 02:30 Newsnight 03:00 BBC World News 03:10 Weekend World 03:30 The Bottom Line 04:00 BBC World News 04:10 Have You Heard From Johannesburg? 05:00 BBC World News 05:30 Horizons 06:00 BBC World News 06:10 The Art Of Spain 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 Fast Track 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 Middle East Business Report

09:00 BBC World News 09:30 Click 10:00 BBC World News 10:10 Weekend World 10:30 The Bottom Line 11:00 BBC World News 11:10 Football Focus 11:30 Horizons 12:00 BBC World News 12:10 The World Debate 13:00 BBC World News 13:10 World Features 13:30 Newsnight 14:00 BBC World News 14:10 Weekend World 14:30 Our World 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 Talking Movies 16:00 BBC World News 16:15 Sport Today 16:30 Fast Track 17:00 BBC World News 17:30 Dateline London 18:00 BBC World News 18:10 Have You Heard From Johannesburg? 19:00 BBC World News 19:30 Our World 20:00 BBC World News 20:30 The Bottom Line 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 Fast Track 22:00 BBC World News 22:15 Sport Today 22:30 Click 23:00 BBC World News 23:10 The World Debate

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

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 Moomins Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry Tales What’s New Scooby Doo? Taz-Mania Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry Tales The Garfield Show Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas Cartoonito Tales Ha Ha Hairies Jelly Jamm Gerald McBoing Boing Pink Panther & Pals Moomins The Garfield Show

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 Transformers Prime 09:55 Level Up 10:15 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 10:35 Ben 10: Omniverse 11:00 Thundercats

11:25 Mucha Lucha 11:50 Regular Show 12:40 The Amazing World Of Gumball 13:05 Adventure Time 13:30 Johnny Test 14:20 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 14:45 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 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 Young Justice 18:05 Young Justice 18:30 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 18:55 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 19:20 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 19:45 The Amazing World Of Gumball 20:10 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 01:30 World Sport 02:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 03:00 World Report 03:30 World Sport 04:00 Anderson Cooper 360 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 Quest Means Business 06:45 CNN Marketplace Africa 07:00 The Situation Room 08:00 World Sport 08:30 Leading Women 08:45 Future Cities 09:00 World Report 09:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 09:30 Backstory 10:00 World Report 10:15 CNN Marketplace Middle East 10:30 Sanjay Gupta MD 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Winning Post 11:45 The Gateway 12:00 The Best Of The Situation Room 13:00 Amanpour 13:30 The Brief 14:00 World Report 14:30 Inside Africa 15:00 Talk Asia 15:30 I Report For CNN 16:00 World Report 16:30 On China 17:00 News Special 17:30 Backstory 18:00 International Desk 18:30 African Voices 19:00 CNN Marketplace Europe 19:15 CNN Marketplace Africa 19:30 The Brief 20:00 World Sport 20:30 Open Court 21:00 International Desk 21:30 Inside Africa 22:00 International Desk 22:30 Leading Women 22:45 Future Cities 23:00 The Best Of The Situation Room

00:15 01:10 02:05 03:00 03:55 04:20 04:50 05:15 05:40

Fast N’ Loud One Car Too Far Wheeler Dealers Mythbusters Border Security Auction Kings Auction Kings How Stuff Works How It’s Made


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Sons Of Guns Mythbusters Magic Of Science Time Warp Is It Possible? Shark Family Ultimate Survival Animal Cops South Africa You Have Been Warned Fast N’ Loud Gold Rush Gold Divers Sons Of Guns Auction Kings

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 10:55 11:00 11:05 11:15 12:40 12:55 13:20 13:45 14:10 14:35 14:45 15:00 15:10 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:00 18:25 18:35 18:45 20:00 20:25 20:40 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 22:30 22:55 Cody 23:20 Cody 23:45

Hannah Montana 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 Handy Manny 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 Toy Story Toons Toy Story Toons Toy Story Toons Cars Toons Pixel Perfect Phineas And Ferb Wizards Of Waverly Place Suite Life On Deck Good Luck Charlie Gravity Falls Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Prankstars Prankstars Shake It Up Austin And Ally Jessie A.N.T Farm Thirteenth Year Prankstars Prankstars Phineas And Ferb Austin And Ally Prankstars Prankstars 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

00:20 Little Einsteins 00:50 Special Agent Oso 01:05 Special Agent Oso 01:15 Lazytown 01:40 Jungle Junction 01:55 Jungle Junction 02:10 Handy Manny 02:20 Handy Manny 02:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:55 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 03:00 Lazytown 03:25 Special Agent Oso 03:35 Special Agent Oso 03:50 Imagination Movers 04:15 Handy Manny 04:25 Handy Manny 04:40 Special Agent Oso 04:50 Special Agent Oso 05:00 Timmy Time 05:10 Lazytown 05:35 Little Einsteins 06:00 Jungle Junction 06:15 Jungle Junction 06:30 Little Einsteins 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:15 Jungle Junction 07:30 Jungle Junction 07:45 Handy Manny 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:15 Jungle Junction 08:30 Little Einsteins 08:55 Lazytown 09:20 Imagination Movers 09:45 Timmy Time 09:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:20 The Hive 10:30 Doc McStuffins 10:45 Zou 11:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 11:15 Animated Stories 11:20 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 11:45 Art Attack 12:10 The Adventures Of Disney Fairies 12:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:00 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 13:10 Timmy Time 13:20 The Hive 13:30 Doc McStuffins 13:45 Doc McStuffins 14:00 Zou 14:15 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 14:30 Mouk 14:45 Jungle Junction 15:00 Handy Manny 15:15 Animated Stories 15:20 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 15:40 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 16:05 The Hive 16:20 Mouk 16:35 Zou 16:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 17:05 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 17:20 Doc McStuffins 17:30 Doc McStuffins 17:45 Art Attack 18:10 Lazytown 18:40 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 19:05 Mouk 19:20 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:35 New Adventures Of Winnie

The Pooh 20:00 Animated Stories 20:05 Timmy Time 20:15 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 20:25 Doc McStuffins 20:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 20:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:10 Zou 21:25 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 21:30 Mouk 21:45 Handy Manny 22:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 The Hive 22:35 New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 23:00 Timmy Time 23:10 Animated Stories 23:15 A Poem Is... 23:20 Winnie The Pooh: Tales Of Friendship 23:30 Jungle Junction 23:45 Handy Manny 23:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

00:15 Heat Seekers 00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:30 Heat Seekers 01:55 Guy’s Big Bite - Special 02:20 Guy Fieri’s Top Of The Class 02:45 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 03:10 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 03:35 Heat Seekers 04:00 Heat Seekers 04:20 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:50 United Tastes Of America 05:15 Unique Eats 05:40 Chopped 06:30 Iron Chef America 07:10 Unwrapped 07:35 Unwrapped 08:00 Iron Chef America 08:50 Kid In A Candy Store 09:15 Unwrapped 09:40 United Tastes Of America 10:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:30 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 10:55 Cooking For Real 11:20 All Star Healthy Makeover 12:10 United Tastes Of America 12:35 Unwrapped 13:00 Iron Chef America 13:50 Tyler’s Ultimate 14:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 14:40 Everyday Italian 15:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:30 All Star Healthy Makeover 16:20 United Tastes Of America 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 19:40 Tyler’s Ultimate 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Chopped 21:20 Iron Chef America 22:10 Iron Chef America 23:00 Chopped 23:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

00:00 Opening Act 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 02:20 THS 03:15 Behind The Scenes 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 THS 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 10:15 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 11:10 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 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 A-List Listings 21:30 Fashion Police 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately

00:40 Disappeared 01:30 Dr G: Medical Examiner 02:20 The Haunted 03:05 Evil, I 03:30 Evil, I 03:55 Ghost Lab 04:45 Disappeared 05:30 Dr G: Medical Examiner 06:20 The Haunted 07:10 Murder Shift 08:00 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 08:50 Street Patrol 09:15 Street Patrol 09:40 Real Emergency Calls 10:05 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 10:30 On The Case With Paula Zahn 11:20 FBI Case Files 12:10 Disappeared 13:00 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 13:50 Street Patrol 14:15 Street Patrol 14:40 Forensic Detectives 15:30 On The Case With Paula Zahn 16:20 Real Emergency Calls 16:45 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 17:10 FBI Case Files 18:00 Disappeared 18:50 Forensic Detectives 19:40 Street Patrol 20:05 On The Case With Paula Zahn 20:55 Stalked: Someone’s Watching 21:20 Nightmare Next Door 22:10 Couples Who Kill 23:00 Blood Relatives 23:50 I Married A Mobster


00:45 Amish: Out of Order 01:40 My Sri Lanka With Peter 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: Bali 05:45 Bondi Rescue 06:15 Dive Detectives 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 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 12:10 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 12:40 On Surfari 13:05 On Surfari 13:35 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:30 Amish: Out of Order 15:25 On Hannibal Trail 15:50 Finding Genghis 16:20 Departures 17:15 Treks In A Wild World 18:10 Treks In A Wild World 19:05 Bondi Rescue: Bali 19:30 Bondi Rescue 20:00 Dive Detectives 21:00 Departures 22:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:25 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:55 Deadliest Journeys 23:20 Deadliest Journeys 23:50 Deadliest Journeys

00:00 The Ring-PG15 02:00 The Crazies-18 04:00 Goal!-PG15 06:00 Legendary Assassin-PG15 08:00 The Stool Pigeon-PG15 10:00 Walled In-PG15 12:00 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 14:00 The Stool Pigeon-PG15 16:00 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 18:15 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 20:15 Paranormal Activity 2-18 22:00 Carlito’s Way-18

01:00 Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer-PG 03:00 Marley & Me: The Puppy Years-PG 05:00 Cars 2-FAM 07:00 Call Of The Wild-PG15 09:00 Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer-PG 11:00 Kung Fu Dunk-PG15 13:00 Water For Elephants-PG15 15:00 The Decoy Bride-PG15 17:00 Ghost Machine-PG15 18:45 The Way Back-PG15 21:00 Bad Teacher-18 23:00 Powder Blue-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Angry Boys 02:00 South Park 02:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 03:00 Last Man Standing 03:30 2 Broke Girls 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 06:00 Samantha Who? 06:30 Seinfeld 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Last Man Standing 09:30 Samantha Who? 10:00 How I Met Your Mother 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Samantha Who?

14:00 2 Broke Girls 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 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 Last Man Standing 19:00 The Neighbors 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 The Ricky Gervais Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

07:00 16:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. Breakout Kings Criminal Minds C.S.I. Miami Strike Back

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 PG15 12:00 14:00 16:00 PG15 18:00 20:00 22:00

The 40 Year Old Virgin-18 No Strings Attached-18 Envy-PG15 Good Boy!-PG The Tooth Fairy 2-PG15 Desperately Seeking SantaEnvy-PG15 Robots-PG Desperately Seeking SantaBaby Geniuses-PG The Waterboy-PG15 Tamara Drewe-18

01:00 Dragonfly-PG15 02:45 Ironclad-18 04:45 Country Strong-PG15 06:45 The Alamo-PG15 09:00 My Enemy’s Enemy-PG15 11:00 My Afternoons With Margueritte-PG15 12:45 Dear John-PG15 14:45 My Enemy’s Enemy-PG15 16:45 Quiz Show-PG15 19:00 Manolete-18 21:00 Nixon-18

00:30 Attack The Block-PG15 02:30 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt.2-PG15 05:00 Open Season 3-FAM 07:00 Glee: The Concert MoviePG15 09:00 According To Greta-PG15 10:45 The Vow-PG15 12:30 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked-PG 14:00 X-Men: First Class-PG15 16:15 According To Greta-PG15 18:00 The Artist-PG 20:00 New Year’s Eve-PG15 22:00 Anonymous-18

00:00 Summer Coda-PG15 02:00 Real Steel-PG15 04:15 Rising Stars-PG15 06:00 Another Earth-PG15 08:00 Spud-PG15 09:30 Real Steel-PG15 12:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked-PG 14:00 The Birth Of Big Air-PG15 16:00 Spud-PG15 17:45 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol-PG15 20:00 New Year’s Eve-PG15 22:00 Never Let Me Go-PG15

01:15 The Three Bears: Dreadful Dangers-FAM 02:45 Cars 2-FAM 04:30 Winner & The Golden Child: Part I-FAM 06:00 Spy Kids: All The Time In The World-PG 08:00 Olentzero And The Magic Log-FAM 10:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG 11:30 Treasure Buddies-PG

13:15 Winner & The Golden Child: Part II-FAM 14:45 Cars 2-FAM 16:30 Hop-PG 18:15 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG 20:00 Despicable Me-FAM 22:00 Winner & The Golden Child: Part II-FAM 23:30 Hop-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 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 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 21:00 Live ABC 20/20 22:00 MSNBC Weekends With Alex Witt Saturday

00:00 04:30 06:30 07:00 11:30 14:30 15:00 17:00 19:00 23:30

PGA European Tour Top 14 European Tour Weekly PGA European Tour Live Cricket Twenty20 ICC Cricket 360 Top 14 Live Top 14 PGA European Tour Cricket Twenty20

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 07:00 07:30 09:30 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 16:30 19:30 21:30 22:00

Trans World Sport WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line UFC The Ultimate Fighter ICC Cricket 360 Top 14 Trans World Sport Inside the PGA ICC Cricket 360 Futbol Mundial PGA European Tour Weekly Live PGA European Tour Cricket T20 Top 14 ICC Cricket 360 UFC The Ultimate Fighter

00:30 02:30 07:00 08:00 08:30 11:30 12:00 14:00 15:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 23:00

Top 14 Dubai World Cup Carnival Trans World Sport ICC Cricket 360 Cricket T20 Futbol Mundial Top 14 Trans World Sport Dubai World Cup Carnival ICC Cricket 360 Trans World Sport Spirit of a Champion Top 14

00:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter The Smashes 01:00 WWE SmackDown 03:00 WWE Bottom Line 04:00 UFC Unleashed 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 European Le Mans Series 19:00 UFC 21:00 WWE SmackDown 23:00 WWE Bottom Line

Classifieds TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2013


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Sharing accommodation available in a 2 bedroom, 2 toilets, CA/C, new building in Farwaniya for Indians only for Mumbai, Goa or Delhi from 25th of Feb. 2013 for single lady/executive bachelors. Contact: 66625901. (C 4327) 23-2-2013

I, Abul Hasansa Duli, holder of Indian Passport No G3925520, issued at Kuwait, on 13.11.2007 permanent resident of 3 81A, Middle Street, SP Pattanam P.O. Ramnad Dist, Tamil Nadu and presently working at Sharq-Kuwait, do hereby change my name to ABUL HASAN with immediate effect. (C 4328) 25-2-2013

MATRIMONIAL Alliance invited for a Marthomite boy, age 29 years/182cms graduate born and bought up in Kuwait, currently working in Kuwait for American Drilling Company as a Logistic Controller. Invites proposal from God fearing well educated/employed girls. Email: (C 4326) 23-2-2013

Prayer timings Fajr:













No: 15731

Financially sound Ex. NRI Orthodox parents invites proposal for their daughter 29/152, ME+MBA, from parents of God fearing professionals with good family backgrounds. Email: (C 4325) 20-2-2013 Proposals invited from parents of Urdu speaking Indian girl - from Karnataka for a boy aged 26 years old/ 5.9ft, working in Kuwait. Interested please contact: (C 4321) 19-2-2013




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S P ORTS Milan praise Balotelli resolve in face of racism

Corinthians fan admits causing flare death

Lens in trouble after clash with team mate Mathijsen

MILAN: AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri praised striker Mario Balotelli’s resolve in the face of racist taunting during a tense Milan derby which finished 1-1 on Sunday. Both clubs had fears that Balotelli’s first derby since his playing days for Inter would lead to ugly taunting of the striker, who recently signed for the club from Manchester City. And although the match was relatively incident-free, some fans in the “Curva Nord” end of the San Siro where Inter’s hardcore fans traditionally sit were seen waving inflatable bananas during the game. When Milan attacked the Curva end after half-time, monkey noises were also heard briefly before being immediately drowned out by a chorus of whistlesmany of which came from Inter’s fans.It was not clear whether only Balotelli, or the club’s other black players Sulley Muntari, Kevin Prince Boateng and Cristian Zapata-were the targets. Balotelli, who is Italian but of Ghanaian descent, has hit the headlines over the years for his off-field pranks and his run-ins with City manager Roberto Mancini are well documented.— AFP

SAO PAULO: A Corinthians teenage fan has confessed to causing the flare death of a 14-year-old during the Sao Paulo side’s Libertadores Cup game in Bolivia last week. In an interview aired on Brazil’s Globo TV late Sunday, the 17year-old took responsibility for the death of 14-year-old Kevin Espada during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw between Corinthians and San Jose in the Bolivian city of Oruro. In the wake of the incident, Bolivian police detained 12 other traveling Corinthians fans. “We were celebrating the (Corinthians) goal. I took the flare from my bag, pulled on the cord, didn’t quite know how to use it. It took off in the direction of the Bolivian fans,” said the adolescent, who had his face hidden and was accompanied by his mother. Saying he only learnt of the accidental death after the game, the youth asked for forgiveness from the victim’s family and from those of the detained Brazilian fans. Conmebol, the South American football’s governing body, has meanwhile ordered Corinthians to play their home Libertadores Cup matches behind closed doors until further notice. Fans of the Sao Paulo club will also be prevented from buying tickets for away matches.— AFP

ROTTERDAM: The Dutch FA is to investigate an incident involving Netherlands team mates Jeremain Lens and Joris Mathijsen in Sunday’s top-flight game between Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven. The pair clashed during third-placed Feyenoord’s 2-1 home win over the league leaders and their row continued after the game when PSV winger Lens grabbed Mathijsen by the shirt outside the dressing rooms. Lens, who has nine international caps, received an undisclosed fine from his club yesterday and took full responsibility for the altercation. “There were several incidents during the match but I should not have waited for him outside the dressing rooms,” he told a news conference. “It got several other people involved and they tried to control the situation.”Lens could now be suspended for several matches by the Dutch FA. PSV coach Dick Advocaat said Lens’s behaviour was unacceptable and that he would talk to the player. “He should have used his aggression during the match,” added Advocaat. Lens and Feyenoord defender Mathijsen are both regulars in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands squad. — Reuters

Johnson wins second Daytona 500 tittle Patrick has best finish by woman Goss replaces Lowe as McLaren technical head LONDON: McLaren promoted Tim Goss to technical director yesterday and said predecessor Paddy Lowe, who has been linked in the media to Formula One rivals Mercedes, would be leaving at the end of the year for a “fresh challenge”. The team said in a statement that the move was with immediate effect. Goss, who joined eight-times Formula One constructors’ champions McLaren as a development engineer in 1990, was previously the team’s director of engineering. The season starts in Australia on March 17 with Mexican Sergio Perez joining Britain’s Jenson Button in the McLaren lineup after the departure of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes. Lowe has been tipped to follow Hamilton, with media reports last month suggesting he could ultimately replace Ross Brawn as Mercedes principal. Brawn, who will be 60 next year, told reporters last month that he was planning on being at Mercedes for a long time but was also building a succession plan at a team that won championships under his name as Brawn GP. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Lowe, who can expect to face a period of ‘gardening leave’ keeping him away from the team’s 2014 car, would have a different role until the end of the year. Lowe was already conspicuous by his

absence when the new McLaren was launched at the Woking factory last month. “He’s been a good and successful F1 technical director and we wish him well when he embarks on a fresh challenge in 2014,” Whitmarsh said in the statement. The Formula One rules are undergoing a major overhaul in 2014, with a new V6 turbo engine and energy recovery systems replacing the current V8s. Mercedes, who have struggled in their three years back in F1 as a team, hope to have an advantage as an engine manufacturer. Whitmarsh said Goss’s promotion was a “natural evolution” in his career and he was not to be under-estimated. “His quiet and unassuming persona conceals a fierce competitiveness and a wealth of experience, coupled to an unrivalled level of expertise in the field of Formula One car design and engineering,” he said. “It’s a little-known fact, for example, that over the past 23 years he’s made crucial technical and engineering contributions to the winning of five of McLaren’s 12 Drivers’ World Championships and three of McLaren’s eight Constructors’ World Championships. “He’s been the principal definer and developer of McLaren’s F1 car design function for more than five years,” added Whitmarsh. —Reuters

Pistorius as mysterious as the shooting tragedy JOHANNESBURG : His head shrouded by a sports hoodie, the young man walked unnoticed through a bustling crowd outside the gates of the Olympic village in London last year. When he got close, I saw a familiar face smiling at me. It was Oscar Pistorius. “Gerald!” he called and then raised both hands for a double high-five greeting followed by a hug. On Feb. 14, I saw Pistorius in a hood again, and this time he stared straight at the ground, hands thrust into the pockets of a gray sports jacket. He was flanked by officers as he left a police station. Hours earlier, he’d been charged with killing his girlfriend. It is hard to reconcile the easygoing, charismatic man I interviewed on several occasions with the man accused of premeditated murder in the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in his South African home. Prosecutors painted him as a man prone to anger and violence, though he had no prior criminal record. The Olympian says he shot Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was a nighttime intruder, while prosecutors allege he intentionally shot her after the couple argued. Who is Oscar Pistorius? I thought I had some idea, and in a sense, so did the millions around the world who cheered the double-amputee athlete as a symbol of determination over adversity. Now he is as much of a mystery as whatever happened in his home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day. My meeting with Pistorius in London was one of several in the three years I have been covering his remarkable story for The Associated Press, from South Africa to Italy to London - and last week to Courtroom C on the first floor of the red-bricked and gray-walled Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in the South African capital. On reflection, Pistorius’ narrative is partly an exploration of how hard it is to truly know someone who lives so much in the public eye. Journalists witnessed or heard reports of occasional flashes of anger - with hindsight, do they loom as potentially more meaningful? At the time the outbursts passed largely unnoticed. What I do know is that the public Pistorius seemed to have a soft spot. Weeks before his debut at the Olympics, he stopped an interview with me to talk to a little girl who walked up to give him a strawberry from the gardens of the rural hotel at his training base in Gemona, in northern Italy. “Oscar, Oscar,” the little girl said, holding out the berry. Behind her, a woman called the child away to stop her from bothering

Pistorius. “Ciao, baba. Grazie,” Pistorius replied with a smile, unfazed by the interruption, showing off his Italian and pretending to eat the strawberry. “She brings me something to eat every night,” he told me delightedly, pointing up to the windows of his hotel room. Now the world knows Pistorius owns a 9 mm Parabellum pistol, licensed for self-defense, and that he applied for licenses to own six more guns - listed for his private collection - weeks before the shooting death of Steenkamp. His relationships with women have been spread over the gossip pages in South Africa. We spoke about his running, his love of sneakers and nice clothes but also about his history with fast cars and motorbikes and the high-speed boat crash in 2009 that left him in a serious condition in the hospital with head wounds. He conceded that the crash caused him to rethink how he lived. “I just realized that I need to make some changes and some of them need to be with my lifestyle,” Pistorius told me last year in that interview in northern Italy. “I was messing around a lot with motorbikes and just playing around and taking unnecessary risks.” Again with hindsight, was he grappling with anything deeper than just the high spirits and penchant for thrills of many young men flushed with success and money to burn? Covering Pistorius’ track career, he became more comfortable with me, remembering my name and shouting it when he would see me among a pack of journalists. During his Olympic preparations in Italy, Pistorius pulled out his cellphone to show me pictures of his bleeding leg stumps, rubbed raw from the friction of pounding around the track on his blades. It was around the time when people were again questioning whether he should be allowed to run in the 400 meters against able-bodied athletes. The message in showing these graphic photos was: Do you still think I have an unfair advantage? Until that moment, I hadn’t fully realized what Pistorius went through every time he slipped on his prosthetic blades to compete or train. Not many people had, I guess. It was rare for Pistorius to show images of his amputated limbs, but he grinned and shrugged. He said it was just part of the job. It took a long time for him to get used to people filming and taking photographs of him putting on his carbon-fiber blades. He used to ask people not to film him without his prosthetics.—Reuters

DAYTONA BEACH: Jimmie Johnson cemented his place in NASCAR’s list of greats by winning his second Daytona 500 on Sunday, while pole-sitter Danica Patrick placed eighth, the best finish for a woman in the ‘Great American Race’. Five-times Sprint Cup champion Johnson led for the final 10 laps to finish ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr and 54-year-old Mark Martin. Patrick, who was the first woman to start on pole in the 500, went into the final lap in third but fell back five places during the final push to the finish line. Driving the number 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson first won the race in 2006 but had not finished above 27th in the last six editions of stock car racing’s premier event. “I had a lot of confidence in those final two laps leading the train because I knew just how fast this car was,” said Johnson. The race came a day after a crash in the second tier Nationwide race at the Daytona International Speedway left around 30 fans needing treatment after debris flew into the crowd. As usual there were some wrecks in the always incident filled race with an early collision on lap 33 involving nine cars but there were no injuries. Several vehicles span off the track, including favorites Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, and previous Daytona winners Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray. It was more disappointment for Stewart, who having won virtually every honor in the sport has yet to taste success in the famous Daytona Victory Lane. Stewart took little comfort from the fact there is a long season ahead. “To hell with the season. I wanted to win the Daytona 500,” he said. “We had a car that we could pass with today. We were passing

DAYTONA BEACH: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday in Daytona Beach, Florida. — AFP cars by ourselves. “I don’t know what started it, but we just got caught up in another wreck,” added Stewart. Patrick conceded her inexperience may have cost her at the decisive stage of the race but that her performance was more significant than winning pole position. “I think it was better to have run up in the top 10 all day ... being able to stay up and lead at one point for me that was more of an accomplishment”, she said. But Johnson proved too quick for Patrick and the pack. “Once Jimmie got into the outside line he showed that he was

fast. It was a steady day for me. Nothing super-duper eventful,” she said. The 30-year-old former Indy Car driver led for five laps shortly before the halfway stage, becoming the first woman drive to lead the Daytona 500. She had lost her pole position to Jeff Gordon on the first lap. Earnhardt Jr, whose father died at in the race 12 years ago, finished second in the Daytona 500 for the third time in four years. Johnson powered past reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who finished fourth, after the final re-start with his challengers unable to match his speed. After a restart on the 182nd lap

following the fifth caution of the race Keselowski and Johnson jousted for the lead while their rivals closed the gap. Debris forced another caution, setting up a six-lap sprint to the flag with Johnson in the lead in the outside lane and he did not give an inch. The victory was the 61st of Johnson’s career in his 400th start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “It was just awesome, there is no other way to describe it,” said Johnson. “I felt like I was sitting on something all day and was just ready to have some fun when it counted and I did,” he said. — Reuters

Kuchar downs Mahan to win WGC crown MARANA: Matt Kuchar denied Hunter Mahan a World Golf Championships Match Play Championship title repeat, triumphing over his fellow American 2 and 1 in Sunday’s final at Dove Mountain. Kuchar, eliminated by Mahan in the quarterfinals of the elite 64-man event last year, avenged that defeat as he prevented Mahan from joining Tiger Woods as the only back-toback winners of the title. “What an incredible feeling to be standing on top after six matches. I really have to give Hunter a lot of credit,” Kuchar said. “He got off to a slow start and I got up pretty quickly, 4-up at the turn. I was thinking I was going to try to do the same that he did to me last year and see if I could do 6 & 5. But Hunter made a great battle, played some great golf coming in.” Mahan was the first defending champion to return to the final since 2006 winner Geoff Ogilvy of Australia was runner-up in 2007. “I didn’t play well. You know, making a couple silly bogeys there. Kooch is a good player, he’s a solid player. You saw today how he can get up and down and hit good quality shots. He didn’t put himself in the desert really at all,” Mahan said. “I put myself behind the eight-ball. “I hit really good putts on seven and eight, and thought I could get one on nine. I really didn’t do anything on those holes. I gained some momentum on 10, but it was too little too late.” Kuchar never trailed in the championship match, and in fact trailed for just three holes the entire week. The victory was his first in a WGC event and his fifth on the US PGA Tour. Australian Jason Day was third, defeating former champion Ian Poulter of England in the consolation final 1-up. Mahan 2-putted for par from the fringe at the 16th hole to close within 1-down. Both players then hit into the fairway bunker with their tee shots the 17th hole. Mahan’s second shot from a poor lie in the sand came up short. Kuchar landed his second shot within three feet of the cup. Mahan hacked his ball a few feet,

then pitched his fourth shot to about seven feet. But that would be it. Mahan then conceded Kuchar the birdie putt and the match. Kuchar’s triumph capped a wild week in the Arizona desert, where a snowstorm that halted firstround play on Wednesday was just the first surprise. When the first round was finally completed on Thursday, the top two players in the world, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, were on their way home, and the second round saw the next four seeds-Luke Donald, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose-eliminated as well. The delays, which also included some morning frost delays, made for long days. But after

the third round and quarter-finals were contested on Saturday, Poulter was looking a good bet to challenge for the title. But Poulter, whose match play credentials include an unblemished Ryder Cup singles record as well as a triumph in this event in 2010 and in the World Match Play Championship in Spain in 2011, fell to Mahan in the semi-finals on Sunday morning, when a biting wind made for tough going. “It was tricky,” the Englishman said. “It was a lot windier today. Hunter never gave me too many opportunities. A couple of chip shots weren’t quite right, couple of bunker shots weren’t quite right. I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t press him more.” — AFP

MARANA: Matt Kuchar kisses the Walter Hagen Cup after defeating Hunter Mahan 2 and 1 in the final round of play during the Match Play Championship golf tournament, Sunday, in Marana. — AP



Sarwan leads West Indies to victory ST GEORGE’S: Ramnaresh Sarwan capitalised on an outrageous bit of good fortune to hit his first one-day century for three years and guide the West Indies to a series-clinching seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Sunday. Responding to Zimbabwe’s challenging total of 273 for eight, the 32-year-old Guyanese right-hander put aside the torment of a short tour of Australia earlier in the month and finally stamped his return to the international scene with an unbeaten 120 — his fifth and highest ODI score. It ensured the target was overhauled off the final ball of the penultimate over to the delight of a boisterous home crowd. It could have all gone so very differently however as he benefited from an umpiring error while the Zimbabweans also missed the opportunity to have the decision overturned which would have seen Sarwan run out for 53. Sarwan’s generous slice of luck came as he dashed for a single and Chamu Chibhabha’s throw to the non-striker’s end hit the stumps directly. Presiding umpire Peter Nero ruled “not out” on the appeal, choosing - against general convention - not to seek confirmation of the decision from the television umpire. TV replays showed Sarwan to be well out of his ground when the bails were removed, and although it was reason for justifiable anguish for the Zimbabweans, they failed to exercise their right of referral via the same television technology before the next ball was bowled. Opening the batting for only the second time in his near 13-year senior international career, the former captain gave the hosts an excellent platform in an opening stand

of 111 with Kieran Powell (57). After Hamilton Masakadza had removed Powell and Darren Bravo in the space of three deliveries in the 26th over, Sarwan got good support from Narsingh Deonarine (42) before Kieron Pollard belted an unbeaten 41 off just 20 deliveries to ensure that victory was achieved. Earlier, Masakadza was one of three Zimbabweans to hit half-centuries in justifying their captain’s decision to bat first. Craig Ervine led the way with 80 while Masakadza contributed 60, featuring in a 110-run fourth-wicket partnership with Ervine after Vusi Sibanda had set the tone for the innings with a stroke-filled 51 at the top of the order. “Definitely the guys put their hands up and fought harder today,” said Zimbabean captain Brendan Taylor at the end. “We have to give credit to Sarwan for his innings, but we can definitely take a lot of positives from this match.” Despite Sarwan’s match-winning hundred, the man of the match award went to Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain taking career-best ODI figures of six for 43, only the eighth West Indian bowler to claim six or more wickets in a one-day international innings. It lifted him to fourth on the all-time list of West Indies wicket-takers in one-dayers with 157. “I’m very happy for Sarwan. His class really showed today,” Bravo noted in reflecting on the victory. “It’s great to be among the wickets again and to be mentioned among the legends of West Indies cricket is something really special.” West Indies won the first match at the same venue by 156 runs on Friday while the third and final game will also be played in Grenada today. — AFP

SCOREBOARD ST. GEORGE’S: Scoreboard in the second one-day international between West Indies and Zimbabwe at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada yesterday: Zimbabwe V. Sibanda b Dwayne Bravo 51 C. Chibhabha b Narine 11 H. Masakadza c Narine b Dwayne Bravo 60 B. Taylor lbw b Dwayne Bravo 0 C. Ervine b Dwayne Bravo 80 M. Waller b Roach 26 R. Chakabva c Pollard b Dwayne Bravo 15 P. Utseya not out 12 K. Jarvis c Darren Bravo b Dwayne Bravo 1 N. M’Shangwe not out 0 Extras (4lb, 12w, 1nb) 17 Total (8 wkts, 50 overs) 273 Did not bat: T. Chatara Fall of wickets: 1-39 (Chibhabha), 2-76 (Sibanda), 3-76 (Taylor), 4-186 (Masakadza), 5-232 ( Waller), 6-241 (Ervine), 7-268 (Chakabva), 8-271 (Jarvis) Bowling: Roach 10-1-63-1 (1nb,1w), Best 10-0-53-0 (4w), Narine 10-0-55-1, Russell 6-0-29-0 (1w), Dwayne Bravo 10-

1-43-6 (2w), Pollard 2-0-15-0 (1w), Deonarine 2-0-11-0 (3w) West Indies K. Powell c Taylor b Masakadza 57 R. Sarwan not out 120 Darren Bravo cTaylor b Masakadza 0 N. Deonarine run out (Utseya) 42 K. Pollard not out 41 Extras (lb2, w11, nb1) 14 Total (3 wickets; 49 overs) 274 Did not bat: Dwayne Bravo, A. Russell, D Ramdin, K. Roach, T. Best, S. Narine Fall of wickets: 1-111 (Powell), 2-111 (Darren Bravo), 3-219 (Deonarine) Bowling: Jarvis 9-1-55-0 (1w), Chatara 80-64-0 (1nb, 5w), Chibhabha 5-0-25-0, Utseya 10-0-54-0 (4w), Masakadza 7-027-2, Mushangwe 10-0-47-0. Result: West Indies won by seven wickets Series: West Indies led 2-0

ANAHEIM: Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks and Patrick Bordeleau #58 of the Colorado Avalanche fight for the puck in the third period at Honda Center on Sunday in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 4-3 in overtime. — AFP

Ducks rally to beat Avalanche 4-3 in OT ANAHEIM: Ryan Getzlaf scored the tying goal in the third period and set up Corey Perry’s second of the game at 4:14 of overtime as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4 -3 on Sunday night for their sixth straight victory and 10th in 11 games. The Ducks (13-2-1) have the NHL’s secondbest record behind the Chicago Blackhawks. Teemu Selanne scored his 668th career goal, tying Luc Robitaille for 11th place on the NHL list. It also was his 250th power-play goal, breaking a tie with Phil Esposito for third place. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin had a career-high four assists. Anaheim improved to 8-2-1 after allowing the first goal, and eight of the Ducks’ wins this season have been onegoal victories. John M itchell, Cody M cLeod and P.A. Parenteau scored for Colorado, and JeanSebastien Giguere made 20 of his 35 saves in the second period against his former team. Jonas Hiller, who pushed Giguere out of the starting job in Anaheim during the 2009-10 season, stopped 20 shots. He made consecutive starts for the first time since going 2-1 in the first three games of the season. Hiller missed three games because of a lower-body injury before returning Monday in a 32 win against Columbus. Coming off a five-day break and playing in front of their fourth sellout crowd of the season, the Ducks didn’t get a shot on net during the first 5 1-2 minutes and fell behind 2-0 against a team that lost to Los Angeles on Saturday. Anaheim turned it on in the second period and tied it before Mitchell put Colorado back in front. Getzlaf pulled the Ducks even again during a power play.

Colorado had only one shot in the third period and one more in overtime. Giguere, who kept the Ducks at bay during a 53-second, 5-on-3 power play early in the second period, stopped Anaheim’s first 12 shots before Perry converted Getzlaf’s centering pass at 6:59 of the second. Selanne then scored his fifth goal while Colorado’s Jan Hejda served a charging penalty. Mitchell halted Anaheim’s momentum 40 seconds later, using newly acquired defenseman Ben Lovejoy as a screen and beating

Hiller from the slot to put the Avalanche back in front. Colorado opened the scoring at 2:28. The Ducks, who came in with the secondworst penaltykilling percentage in the NHL (74.1), fell behind 2-0 after center Nick Bonino received a double minor for cutting Chuck Kobasew with a high stick at 9:42 of the period. Parenteau cashed in on the ensuing power play, converting a rebound of Tyson Barrie’s slap shot. It was Parenteau’s eighth goal and first in eight games, after a three-game stretch in which he scored four times. — AP

NHL standings Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF Pittsburgh 13 6 0 65 New Jersey 10 5 4 48 Philadelphia 9 10 1 58 NY Rangers 8 7 2 41 NY Islanders 8 10 1 56 Northeast Division Montreal 12 4 2 52 11 2 2 45 Boston Ottawa 11 6 2 46 Toronto 11 8 0 53 Buffalo 6 12 1 48 Southeast Division Carolina 9 7 1 50 1 69 Tampa Bay 9 8 Winnipeg 8 9 1 48 Florida 5 9 4 42 Washington 6 10 1 48

GA 48 49 62 44 64

PTS 26 24 19 18 17

39 34 36 44 63

26 24 24 22 13

51 58 57 65 55

19 19 17 14 13

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 15 0 3 58 35 33 St. Louis 10 6 2 55 52 22 Detroit 9 7 3 57 54 21 Nashville 8 6 5 39 43 21 Columbus 5 12 2 40 56 12 Northwest Division Vancouver 10 4 4 52 48 24 2 37 42 18 Minnesota 8 7 Calgary 7 7 3 48 59 17 Edmonton 7 7 3 40 46 17 Colorado 7 8 2 42 51 16 Pacific Division Anaheim 13 2 1 57 42 27 San Jose 8 6 3 41 39 19 Dallas 9 8 1 47 48 19 Phoenix 8 7 3 50 49 19 Los Angeles 8 6 2 40 39 18 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Latif questions coach Whatmore after loss

MUMBAI: Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan (C) and former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid (R) launch the grand opening ceremony of the Toyota University Cricket Championship (TUCC) first match of the season in Mumbai on Sunday. — AFP

Smith salutes best SA team he has played in CAPE TOWN: Graeme Smith has been representing South Africa since 2002 and the test captain believes the current crop of players are the finest of his generation. Smith’s side have a commanding lead at the top of the world rankings after completing a 3-0 test whitewash of Pakistan on Sunday. “This is the best team I have played in as a South African cricketer, we have all our bases covered,” the skipper told reporters. “Part of that is the maturity and professionalism with which they approach every match and the pride they put into their performances.” South Africa have won in England, Australia and New Zealand in recent times and beaten Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand but Smith’s hunger has not yet been satisfied. “There is still more I want to achieve with this side,” said the opening batsman who averages 48.62 in 110 test appearances. “We want to create a team that plays the game hard but in the right spirit. “What has been most pleasing about this summer is how clinical we have been, we have never let our intensity drop. That is how we set out to play our cricket.” Of the regular test line-up, only Jacques Kallis (37), Smith (32) and Alviro Petersen (32)

are in their 30s. Coach Gary Kirsten has urged all-rounder Kallis to give up the shorter formats of the game in order to prolong his test career and that looks likely to happen. The strength of the first-class domestic competition has helped fuel success for the test side. When injuries have robbed South Africa of Kallis, Morne Morke, JP Duminy and Vernon Philander, their replacements have excelled. The latest is Kyle Abbott who returned match figures of nine for 68 on his debut in the victory by an innings and 18 runs over Pakistan in the third test. “I think the domestic circuit at the moment is the strongest it has been,” said the 25-year-old paceman. “It is credit to the South African system. “The high performance centre is fantastic and the South African A side has been running really well for the last two or three years. By the time guys reach test level they are ready.” The next challenge for the test team is a two-match series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in November. “Preparation for Abu Dhabi will be key,” Smith said. “You cannot keep guys at the top of their game for eight months when they are not playing test cricket so it will be about how we approach the build-up to the series.” — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Former captain Rashid Latif has questioned Dav Whatmore’s coaching after South Africa humiliated Pakistan 3-0 in their test series. “Chairman, captain, vice -captain and coach all should be held accountable and it should start from the coach,” Latif told The Associated Press yesterday. Pakistan lost the third test by an innings and 18 runs at Centurion on Sunday inside three days against world’s No. 1-ranked test team. Pakistan’s humiliation began in the first test at Johannesburg when it was bowled out for its lowest ever total of 49 in the first innings to lose by 211 runs. Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq scored centuries in the second test and offspinner Saeed Ajmal took 10 wickets in the same match, but even those performances could not save Pakistan from a four-wicket loss at Newlands. “Seriously I was not expecting a whitewash,” Latif said. “But the way our batsmen flopped on bouncy wickets it showed there was no homework done.” Pakistan’s opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed looked hapless in facing the new ball pair of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander with both South African seamers taking 35 wickets in three test matches. “For how long are we going to complain that we can’t bat on fast seaming tracks?” Latif said. “It’s all lame excuses. Cricket is a game of professionals and if you are picked for the national team it means you are the best to face the best in the world.” Latif said he got fed up after seeing batsmen repeating the same mistakes again and again while playing seamers away from their bodies and “gifting” their wickets to South Africa. “We crossed the 300-run mark only once in six matches, what was the coach doing?” he said. Pakistan’s former wicketkeeper said it was high time for the selectors to look for different players for the three formats - tests,

Rashid Latif one-day internationals and Twenty 20s - if Africa’s pacers. “On bouncy wickets if you Pakistan wanted to compete against the top don’t play your strokes and try to disturb the line and length of fast teams like South Africa. bowlers, I’m afraid you will give chance to “Our problem is that we pick too many players for all the three formats and this will the opposition, that’s what exactly our batsnot solve the problem,” he said. Hafeez, men did,” he said. The two-match Twenty20 series begins at Jamshed, Ajmal and fast bowler Umar Gul are some of those players who play in all the Durban on March 1 before the five-match ODI series starts from March 10. three formats for Pakistan. South Africa will now have a long break “We have to stop this practice and look for specialists in all the three formats,” he said. from test matches and its next opposition Another former test leftarm spinner Nadeem will be Pakistan in October in a test series Khan said Pak istan’s batsmen failed in which will most likely be played in the launching counter-attack against South United Arab Emirates. — AP



Inter, AC Milan draw as Balotelli returns to derby

Diego Maradona

Maradona ends Italian exile MILAN: Diego Maradona yesterday ended his controversial exile from Italy, where he famously led Napoli to their sole titles in the Serie A football championship. The Argentine World Cup winner had rarely stepped foot in Italy since leaving under a cloud in the 1990s amid claims of collusion with mafia dons and a positive drugs test for cocaine. It was later claimed by the Italian authorities that Maradona owed the state millions of euros (dollars, pounds) in unpaid taxes. The former footballer arrived shortly after 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) local time at Rome’s Fiumicino airport wearing a black jacket, black suit and dark glasses. Dozens of fans had turned up to see the Argentinian, many of whom shouted “Welcome back!” as he was driven away. One fan in particular wearing Juventus colours caught Maradona’s attention. The champions travel to Naples to face Napoli on Friday night. “When we used to play against Juventus, we were always scared,” Maradona is reported to have jokingly said to the fan while shaking his hand.

Maradona is set to watch his former club in Udinese yesterday and will then give a news conference on Tuesday, at which he is expected to speak about the tax issue. Maradona was convicted in 2005 and ordered to pay 37.2 million euros ($50.4 million), including 23.5 million euros in interest for late payments. His lawyer recently claimed the Italian authorities had cleared the debt, thus allowing him to return to the country. But the tax authorities denied the claims. Of his tax problems, Maradona said last year: “I am not a tax fraudster. I played football and other people signed for me,” Maradona said last year. “I am not afraid of returning to Italy. I never signed anything. The people who are really responsible are free and can walk around calmly in Naples and I can’t. That’s not fair. “I want to return to Italy as a gentleman because I never stole anything from anyone.” Napoli, with whom Maradona won the league title in both 1987 and 1990, currently sit second in Serie A seven points behind leaders and champions Juventus. —AFP

Benitez summons Chelsea spirit after City setback MANCHESTER: Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez concedes that his team face a difficult task to finish in the top four of the Premier League after a poor performance in a 2-0 loss at Manchester City. Chelsea still retain an interest in both the Europa League and FA Cup, with a re-arranged fifth-round tie at Championship club Middlesbrough looming tomorrow in the latter. But with a top-four finish being required to ensure that Chelsea secure a coveted place in next season’s Champions League, Benitez admitted that his team wasted a glorious opportunity to move within a point of secondplace City. “Obviously we knew we were close to City and wanted to be even closer,” said Benitez. “But we didn’t do it. “We have to try to carry on winning our games and hopefully, if City can lose some points, we will get closer. But, if not, we have to do our job because Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton are all close. “We’re in a position where we have to fight for the top four.” After defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Chelsea only hold a one-point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur, who are scheduled to play their game in hand over Benitez’s side at West Ham United on Monday night. Fifth-place Arsenal only trail the reigning European champions by two points and even Everton, down in sixth place, are only seven points behind Chelsea with 11 games remaining in the league campaign. More worrying still, Benitez admitted that he is facing a constant battle to juggle his resources in order to continue a fight on three different fronts. “We knew it could be like this,” he said. “ We changed five players from (the last game against) Sparta Prague. If we have to change players, we will do it. “It is a question of managing the squad and using fresh legs every game. We have to show our quality in all the

competitions. “I will tell you in one or two weeks whether tiredness is an issue. I think we still have the energy and players coming back from injury and the African Nations, and we can use them.” City prevailed through second-half goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, but only after Joe Hart had made a superb save from a Frank Lampard penalty, awarded after the goalkeeper himself hauled down Chelsea’s Demba Ba. The England goalkeeper was lucky to escape a caution, with the Chelsea bench appealing at the time for Hart to be shown red. “It should have been at least a yellow card,” said Benitez. “You can argue that he was going in a direction away from goal, but it’s still a clear chance and at least a yellow card.” Roberto Mancini, the City manager, could afford a joke about Hart’s lucky escape, saying sarcastically: “With him being our player, yes, it was possible he could have been sent off.” But the City manager knew that he owed the goalkeeper much for his outstanding penalty stop. “I tell him when he is at fault,” said Mancini. “And we can’t concede a penalty like this, from a kick 45 metres out. Kolo (Toure) and Joe both made a mistake. But, after that, he was fantastic.” Mancini still has problems of his own, with his side trailing league leaders Manchester United by a dozen points, but the Italian insists his team can still push their local rivals. “For us now it’s not important to look at the table, only to continue to work like today, play well and improve,” he said. “And then maybe look at the table in one month or 40 days. Maybe 15 points is too many but I think football is finished when it’s finished-the last minute of the last game. “If we arrive with four games to go and United are 12 points ahead, it’s finished. But I think that our job is to continue to work.” — AFP

MILAN: AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli missed a handful of chances in his first derby in over three years as the Rossoneri shared the spoils in a 1-1 derby draw with hosts Inter Milan Sunday. Milan took a 21st minute lead through striker Stephan El Shaarawy and dominated throughout before ultimately lamenting their earlier misses when Inter midfielder Ezequiel Schelotto levelled in the 71st minute. The result left Milan in third, 13 points behind Juve but still one ahead of Inter and Lazio ahead of the latter’s home game against Pescara. “It was a fair result,” said Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni. “Milan had a great first half and they put us in difficulty but we came back into it in the second and could have snatched it in the end.” “I’m a bit disappointed because we had a great first half and just didn’t put our chances away,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri. Inter were given a pre-match boost with the inclusion of central defender Andrea Ranocchia, who had been an injury doubt all week. Yet despite Milan’s 1-0 defeat to the Nerazzurri at the San Siro earlier in the campaign, the visitors started the second ‘Derby della Madonnina’ as firm favourites having stunned Barcelona 2-0 in their Champions League first leg here last week and climbed up to third place in the table. Milan dominated from the outset but the visitors spurned the first of several early chances, Balotelli slipping in front of goal after Kevin Prince Boateng had left Mattia De Sciglio’s cross from the left wing at his feet. Milan’s opener was not long in coming. When former Milan striker Cassano lost possession in midfield, Boateng collected and coolly sent El Shaarawy through to beat Handanvoic with an angled shot with the outside of his boot. Milan threatened again when Balotelli rose to meet a corner from the right which had Handanovic scrambling for the ball on the goalline. Balotelli’s third clear chance followed moments later

MILAN: AC Milan’s forward Mario Balotelli fights for the ball with Inter Milan’s Uruguajan midfielder Alejandro Walter Gargano (R) during the serie A match between Inter Milan and AC Milan, on Sunday in Milan, at the San Siro stadium. — AFP when he toe-poked a probing ball into the box only for it to be cleared. Handanovic easily collected Balotelli’s header from Ignazio Abbate’s cross from the right but on 40 minutes the ‘keeper was at full stretch to parry when Balotelli thumped a freekick from 30 metres out. Milan threatened from the outset of the second half, Boateng flashing a header wide from Montolivo’s freekick on the right after El Shaarawy had been hauled down. Freddy Guarin gave Inter’s fans hope when he first-timed Palacio’s whipped cross in from the right only for Abbiati to pull off a superb save at full stretch. On 57 minutes

Balotelli flashed a header wide from a freekick but was left far more frustrated when Handanovic bravely blocked as the striker got in close to try and prod the ball home from a cross on the right. It was his last real chance of the game, after which Allegri refused to point the finger of blame. “Mario had a lot of chances to score in the first half, but let’s put things into perspective. He’s a 22-year-old playing against his old team in a very tense situation. I don’t think we can criticise him.” Milan were still dominating, but the visitors were stunned in the 71st minute when Schelotto got on the end of Yuto Nagatomo’s cross to stun Abbiati only two minutes

after replacing Cambiasso. Inter had the momentum and moments later Palacio’s header to the right of Abbiati’s goal had the keeper scrambling, although at the other end Muntari sent a looping shot just to the right of an outstretched Handanovic. Milan regrouped to dominate the final quarter hour, with El Shaarawy’s ambitious bicycle kick blocked and then M’Baye Niang, who replaced Boateng with 10 minutes to go, seeing his low strike meet traffic in the area. However the Rossoneri were lucky not to suffer a late Inter goal against the run of play when Palacio saw a header go close.— AFP

Lights, Beck-Cam, action..Beckham stars on PSG bow PARIS: David Beckham made an immediate impression on his Paris Saint-Germain debut in the Ligue 1 leaders’ clash against arch-rivals Marseille on Sunday with a cheeky piece of skill creating the second goal in a 2-0 win. The former England captain was named among the substitutes for “Le Classique” before eventually entering the fray 15 minutes from time as he featured in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans for the first time since his feted arrival at the end of January. The 37-year-old replaced Javier Pastore, becoming the 400th player to wear PSG colours as he strode onto the pitch. His first involvement in French football was to spray a pass, delivered with trademark precision, to Ezequiel Lavezzi out on the wing only for the Argentine to miscontrol and concede possession. Beckham’s first interaction with Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw the league’s top scorer misplace a pass in the former’s direction, drawing sarcastic whistles from supporters. But the midfielder then played a key role in PSG’s second goal, exchanging passes with fellow substitute Jeremy Menez before the French international sent in a low cross that was directed beyond visiting goalkeeper Steve Mandanda via Ibrahimovic’s knee. “It was a great match, the biggest in France,” said Beckham. “The welcome I got before the match and when I came on was fantastic. To have the opportunity at my age to play in such a great championship and with a great team, I am very happy and very proud.” Beckham was fourth off the PSG team bus as it

arrived at the 48,000-capacity Parc des Princes in the south-west of the city on Sunday evening with cameras focussed on his every step in the French capital. The midfielder, sporting a wide grin, then emerged from the home changing room for the pre-match warm-up displaying typical British grit as one of just a handful of players without a hat or jogging trousers despite the freezing, snowy conditions. While Marseille players were jeered vociferously as they went through their paces prior to kick-off, Beckham’s every move on the pitch was captured with French broadcaster Canal+ revealing that one camera-dubbed “Beck-Cam”-would be set aside solely to follow the ex-Manchester United star. He was then officially presented to the home fans minutes prior to the start of the match before returning down the tunnel as wife Victoria, wrapped up warmly to combat the cold, watched on from the stands. The hosts took the lead on 11 minutes as Lucas

Moura’s effort was turned into his own net by unwitting Marseille defender Nicolas N’Koulou for an own goal. The opener was greeted with delight from Beckham, sat next to Menez on the bench, with former England striker-turned-TV presenter Gary Lineker tweeting: “Superb fist pump from Beckham for PSG’s opening goal”. The midfielder acknowledged the warm reception afforded to him with an appreciative wave to the crowd as he began to warm up along the touchline five minutes after half-time. Asked by a touchline reporter just past the hour mark as to why PSG appeared to be labouring following the break, Beckham responded: “It’s football. There are always difficult moments.” France’s L’Equipe newspaper headlined the game Sunday on their front page, but elected to downplay the Beckham angle, focusing instead on the significance of the game in terms of the Ligue 1 leadership battle.— AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Copa del Rey Barcelona v Real Madrid Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport +5

23:00 PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s British midfielder David Beckham waves at the end of the French L1 football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Olympique de Marseille (OM) Sunday at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. PSG won 2-0. — AFP

Asian Champions League kicks-off, Thais under fixing cloud SINGAPORE: The Asian Champions League kicks-off today with the dark cloud of matchfixing hanging over one of the 32 teams involved in the continent’s premier club competition. Thailand’s Buriram United, who travel to face Japanese side Vegalta Sendai in Group E, are still waiting for the result of a Thai Football Association (FAT) investigation into claims matchfixers tried to rig the result of their FA Cup final against Army United in November. FAT head and FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi said last week that the Japanese official in charge of the final, which Buriram won 2-1, had reported to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that he had been offered money to help rig the result. However, the AFC told Reuters on Monday that they had not received a report from Toshimitsu Yoshida so there

was nothing for them to investigate. Buriram chairman Newin Chidchob vehemently denied the accusations surrounding the victory that booked them a place in the ACL and criticised Worawi for hiring foreign officials. “Both sides have spent huge sums to create their teams and we are not crazy enough to do such a thing,” Newin told the Bangkok Post. “Worawi should be the first person to take the blame because he hired foreign referees to officiate the match. “They come and return home and do not have to shoulder responsibility. On the other hand, if Thai referees make an error, they could be punished.” Worawi had said he would report the issues to the AFC and FIFA at an INTERPOL conference into matchfixing in Kuala Lumpur last week. The accusations of attempted match-

fixing were another blow to Asian soccer which has been forced to deal with the problem recently in China, South Korea and Malaysia. Also in Buriram’s group, South Korean champions FC Seoul begin their campaign at home to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Sainty. Korean teams have won three of the last four ACL titles with Ulsan Hyundai easing through undefeated to take the crown in a home final against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli in November, but a fifth placed finish in the K-League means they will not be back to defend their title. Suwon Bluewings, who twice won the ACL’s forerunner (Asian Club Championship), travel to face Australia’s Central Coast Mariners on Wednesday with new coach Seo Jung-won optimistic North Korean forward can Jong

Tae-se can lead them to glory. “I will do my best to make sure we show the real Suwon, the Suwon who can conquer Asia,” said Seo, who played for South Korea in two World Cups. “Jong Tae-se is the kind of player who is ready to sacrifice for his fellow players. I am expecting that he will be a great help to our team,” the coach added of his new signing. Al Ahli do feature again and are expected to go deep into the competition, which has scrapped the heavily criticised one leg final format played at the home of one of the finalists. The Saudis start their campaign at home to Qatari’s Al Gharafa on Wednesday with former France striker Djibril Cisse expected to make his bow in the tournament for the visitors, whose manager Alain Perrin quit last week.

Having managed to hold on to most of his expensively-assembled squad, World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi will be hopeful of improving on Guangzhou Evergrande’s quarter-final exit last season. The Chinese champions host J-League side Urawa Red Diamonds in Group F today. Al Ain have struggled in the tournament since winning the inaugural title in 2003 but the United Arab Emirates side look well placed to challenge once again. With Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan leading the attack and talented midfielder Omar Abdulrahman turning heads, the UAE champions should cause Saudis Al Hilal problems in Group D on Tuesday. The final, over two legs, will take place in October and November with the winner advancing to the FIFA Club World Cup. — Reuters

Ducks rally to beat Avalanche 4-3 in OT



Maradona ends Italian exile


Inter, AC Milan draw as Balotelli returns to derby

Page 31

PORTLAND: Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, right, looks for an opening against Portland Trail Blazers center J.J. Hickson during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. —AP

Blazers beat Celtics 92-86 Matthews scores 24 points PORTLAND: Wesley Matthews had 24 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with less than a minute to go, and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped their longest losing streak of the season at seven games with a 92-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. J.J. Hickson’s hook shot put the Blazers ahead 86-80, but a pair of reverse layups from Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass pulled the Celtics to 86-82 with 2:54 left. Kevin Garnett’s layup with 1:46 to go tied it, but rookie Damian Lillard answered with his own layup and added a free throw to give Portland back the lead. Matthews, hobbled at times during the game with a sore left leg, hit the step-back 3-pointer that gave the Blazers the final margin with 53.9 seconds left. Pierce had 23 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who were playing their third game in four nights. Boston was coming off a 113-88 victory at Phoenix on Friday night. Jeff Green scored 31 points against the Suns while Kevin Garnett was given the night off to

rest, but the veteran forward was back in the starting lineup against the Blazers. The Blazers saw the return of Matthews, who missed the last two games because of a sore left leg and elbow. But the injury was obviously still bothering him, and he limped badly coming off the court after the third period. Guard Eric Maynor also made his debut for Portland after coming to the team in a deal with Oklahoma City at the trade deadline. Maynor, in his fourth NBA season, missed most of last season with a knee injury and then got bypassed in the Thunder’s rotation by second-year guard Reggie Jackson earlier this season. He entered the game late in the first quarter and even played in tandem at times with rookie Lillard, finishing with two points in 15 minutes. The Celtics jumped out first and led by as many as seven points early but Portland pulled in front on Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer, which made it 18-15. Lillard’s bank shot and free throw gave the Blazers a 38-27 lead midway

through the second quarter. Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer and Garnett made a jumper to pull the Celtics to 41-39 with 1:31 left in the first half. Wesley Matthews answered with consecutive 3-pointers and the Blazers led 47-42 at the break. Avery Bradley’s fast-break dunk put the Celtics back in front 55-54 with 8:32 left in the third quarter, but the Blazers regained the lead and were ahead 7167 going into the final period. The game stayed close until Matthews made a 3-pointer to put Portland ahead 80-73 with 6:53 to go in the game. LaMarcus Aldridge extended the lead with his own 3 that made it 82-74. Jordan Crawford played 12 minutes but did not score in his second game for the Celtics. He was acquired in a deal with the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline on Thursday, so the Celtics were still working him in. “He’s a scorer, but we’re going to ask him to do more than that,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. — AP

Nishikori captures Memphis title MEMPHIS: Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who did not drop a set all week, easily defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the US Indoor Tennis Championships, claiming his third career ATP Tour title. The 23-year-old Nishikori needed just 67 minutes to earn his second title in four months as he managed to break unseeded Lopez’s serve four times on Sunday. “I’m very happy with the way I played today,” said Nishikori. “To win this title is an amazing feeling. I tried to concentrate on all the important points. I served really well this week. I was practising a lot and it’s getting better. Hopefully I can win a couple more titles. It’s been a good start to the year.” Meeting for the second time on the Tour, Nishikori started fast, breaking Lopez to begin the match. Nishikori, who is ranked 22nd in the world, clinched the win when Lopez sent a backhand wide on the second championship point. Nishikori appeared to injure his elbow on the first championship point but managed to serve out the match. — AFP

No wedding plans yet: Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

KUALA LUMPUR: Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki appeared to pour cold water yesterday on speculation she would walk down the aisle soon with her boyfriend, golf’s world number one Rory McIlroy. “I think that question will be for him to answer,” the Dane told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, where she is top seed in the BMW Malaysian Open. “I enjoy everything that’s happening right now and how things are. Marriage? We’re still young and we have many years in front of us.” Wozniacki, a 22-year-old former tennis world number one, fuelled speculation of wedding plans when she was spotted in December wearing a large ring on her right ring finger. But she has repeatedly denied she and the 23-year-old Northern Irishman were engaged. Danish women often

wear wedding rings on their right hand. When asked if she would accept now if McIlroy proposed, she burst into laughter, saying: “This is getting personal.” Wozniacki, currently ranked 10th in the world, has 20 WTA titles to her name but none this year. Despite being ranked number one for two seasons and winning the 2009 US Open, she has yet to add a second Grand Slam and last month put in her worst showing at the Australian Open in three years. “I don’t enjoy losing but when I do, it’s simply because the other girl has played better than me,” said Wozniacki. “This is what tennis is all about, and no matter what happens I carry on with full confidence,” she said. Wozniacki will open her campaign in Malaysia against a to-be-determined opponent who will emerge from qualifying which began yesterday. — AFP

NBA results/standings LA Lakers 103, Dallas 99; Golden State 100, Minnesota 99; Miami 109, Cleveland 105; New Orleans 110, Sacramento 95; NY Knicks 99, Philadelphia 93; Memphis 76, Brooklyn 72; San Antonio 97, Phoenix 87; Portland 92, Boston 86; Oklahoma City 102, Chicago 72. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB NY Knicks 33 20 .623 Brooklyn 33 24 .579 2 Boston 29 27 .518 5.5 Toronto 23 33 .411 11.5 Philadelphia 22 32 .407 11.5 Central Division Indiana 35 21 .625 Chicago 32 24 .571 3 Milwaukee 26 28 .481 8 Detroit 22 36 .379 14 Cleveland 18 38 .321 17 Southeast Division Miami 40 14 .741 Atlanta 31 23 .574 9 Washington 17 37 .315 23 Orlando 15 41 .268 26 Charlotte 13 43 .232 28 Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 41 15 .732 Denver 35 22 .614 6.5 Utah 31 25 .554 10 Portland 26 30 .464 15 Minnesota 20 33 .377 19.5 Pacific Division LA Clippers 40 18 .690 Golden State 33 23 .589 6 LA Lakers 28 29 .491 11.5 Sacramento 19 38 .333 20.5 Phoenix 18 39 .316 21.5 Southwest Division San Antonio 45 13 .776 Memphis 37 18 .673 6.5 Houston 31 27 .534 14 Dallas 25 30 .455 18.5 New Orleans 20 37 .351 24.5

26 Feb 2013  

Kuwait Times

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