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Day of drama as Wasmi agrees to delay grilling Mislem meets Amir over jailed youths

Tweeter held for insulting Shiites

Max 20º Min 12º High Tide 10:51 & 21:20 Low Tide 03:47 & 15:10

By B Izzak conspiracy theories

Stop chewing on tribal sentiments

By Badrya Darwish


f this is our parliament, then God help the nation. We waited anxiously for the previous parliament which wasted our time and the time of the nation to be dissolved. Everybody was looking forward to the new elections and for a fresh look. I wish we had stayed with the old parliament. If you follow the agendas of every new MP from Day 1, honestly speaking you will feel sick. The first day we ignored all the silly and trivial statements. We thought it was the inauguration and the euphoria of elected or reelected MPs who made it into parliament. As I kept on reading the news every day, I saw that we are back to square one there are threats and grillings. They finished throwing threats at Sheikh Nasser and now they have directed their Scud missiles at the new prime minister. The man has hardly been in the seat for two months! Please give the guy a chance. Let’s see what are the important issues they have raised against the prime minister. They want to punish him for personal reasons. Why did he detain the guys who attacked Al Watan TV was one of the issues they were after. The answer is simple: The guys who assaulted the station were arrested and when you attack someone, you get questioned. Secondly, they wanted to know why did the prime minister detain the writer who attacked Shiite clerics. It is obvious why he was detained - he was insinuating hatred. No serious topics have come from these MPs. I am waiting. The way they act and threaten and the words they use are not suitable for legislators. They behave as if we are in a boxing ring and not in parliament. They are using arrogant statements and showing off. Are we in a high school yard? If these are our lawmakers, then God help us over what kind of legislations we are going to get. By the way, many of these MPs carry the title Doctor. They are not those doctors who carry a stethoscope around. They are doctors in law, economy, business etc. And this is the way they speak! I have said before that we are back in the jahiliyya times (pre Islam era) when the peninsula was populated by tribes killing each other. Wars were prevalent and the strong who could fight used to survive. Kuwait is a country with institutions. That is why we have a parliament and that is what MPs are there for. Don’t waste our time! We all come from tribes. Do not keep on chewing on that slogan! Give us a serious agenda, please!

DAIH, Bahrain: An anti-government protester stands with a Bahraini flag in front of approaching police vehicles as another protester runs alongside it yesterday on the edge of the capital Manama. The flag reads: ‘We will return.’ — AP

Riyadh vows ‘iron fist’, blames ‘foreign parties’ Bahrain police disperse march LONDON/MANAMA: Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said yesterday its security forces would use “an iron fist” to end violence in a Shiite area of the country and defended its tactics against what it called foreignbacked troublemakers. Sunni Muslim kingdom Saudi Arabia has blamed an unnamed foreign power, widely understood to mean Shiite Iran, for backing attacks on its security forces in its Eastern Province. But members of the Shiite minority in the area have accused the kingdom’s own security force of using violence against protesters. “It is the state’s right to confront those that confront it first ... and the Saudi Arabian security forces will confront such situations ... with determination and force and with an iron first,” the ministry said in a statement. The statement came in response to a sermon preached in the Qatif area of the Eastern Province last week that criticised the government’s handling of the situation, in which at least six people have been killed, a ministry spokesman said. Shiite activists in Qatif said the clashes first began at the height of the Arab uprisings last year and were provoked by the detention without charge of political campaigners. Four people were killed in November, one in January and one earlier this month, the interior ministry has said in past statements. Members of the minority have long complained of discrimination, which they say makes it harder for them to find gov-

ernment jobs, attend university or worship in open than members of the Sunni majority. Since the protests and clashes started last year, they have also complained of police checkpoints and patrols which they describe as heavy handed. The government says it does not discriminate against Shiites and has said the increased security is intended to protect Qatif residents. It has repeatedly blamed the clashes on people attacking security forces. The statement said the security forces were using “the greatest restraint ... despite continuing provocations” and “will not act except in self defence and will not initiate confrontations”. “Some of those few (who attacked security forces) are manipulated by foreign hands because of the kingdom’s honourable foreign policy positions towards Arab and Islamic countries,” the ministry’s spokesman said in the statement. Saudi Arabia and Iran have fought for influence across the Middle East. Separately, Bahraini police used water cannon and tear gas to break up a march chanting anti-government slogans after a funeral yesterday, while protesters were arrested for approaching a roundabout at the centre of an uprising last year. Bahrain, a US ally and home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since protests erupted on Feb 14 last year, inspired by demonstrations sweeping the Arab world. Continued on Page 13

Syria bolsters troops as Iran warships dock DAMASCUS: Syrian troops massed around Homs, sparking calls yesterday for women and children to flee the besieged flashpoint city, as Iranian warships docked at the port of Tartus in a show of force. The reported buildup came as Mediterranean states meeting in Rome agreed to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and avoid an “Iraqi scenario”, according to Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem. US General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said any intervention in Syria would

Top UN inspectors in Iran for nuke talks


KUWAIT: Newly-elected opposition MP Obaid Al-Wasmi yesterday agreed to “freeze” a grilling he vowed to submit against the prime minister following exerted efforts from other opposition lawmakers and a meeting with HH the Amir over the detention of youth activists. The outspoken Wasmi had vowed to file to grill Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah at a rally late Sunday night over what he described as a policy of “discrimination” against tribesmen and the detention of bedoons, or stateless Arabs. Wasmi arrived at the Assembly early yesterday and declared that he was going to file the promised grilling before the end of working hours yesterday amid objections from his colleagues in the opposition. At one stage, Wasmi gave an ultimatum until 1.30 pm to his opposition colleagues that he will file the grilling alone if they did not participate with him. He also announced that he based his grilling on three major issues - discrimination against tribesmen, the unjustified detention of bedoons and failure to present the government’s program in accordance with the constitution. Leaders of the oppositions hurriedly convened a meeting in which they discussed what action they should take if Wasmi went ahead with his threat and submitted the grilling. The opposition lawmakers later told reporters that they decided not to support the grilling because of suspicions about its timing and motivation, in addition to Wasmi’s failure to consult with them. Several opposition lawmakers like Osama AlMunawer stressed that they do not want to prevent Wasmi from exercising his constitutional right, but at Continued on Page 13

be “very difficult” and that it was “premature” to arm the opposition. China’s influential People’s Daily warned that any Western support for the rebels would trigger a “large-scale civil war”. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad meanwhile met a senior Russian politician in Damascus, who reiterated Moscow’s support for his self-styled reform program and spoke out against any foreign intervention in the conflict, Russian and Syrian news agencies reported. Continued on Page 13

Arab Spring navigates Islam and democracy


DAMASCUS: Syrians walk past a jewellery shop with a picture of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad hanging at its main entrance in the bazaar of Damascus’ Old City yesterday. — AFP

Rio’s riotous Carnival reaches dazzling highpoint


RAWALPINDI: Mohammad Imran holds a Pakistanimade PACPAD computer tablet at his electronics store in this Feb 8, 2012 photo. —AP

Pak military makes tablets KAMRA, Pakistan: Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan’s military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad. It’s a venture that bundles together Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, and shines a light on the military’s controversial foothold in the consumer market. Supporters say it will boost the economy as well as a troubled nation’s self-esteem. It all comes together at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers - when they’re not working on defense projects - assemble the PACPAD 1. “The original is the iPad, the copy is the PACPAD,” said Mohammad Imran, who stocks the product at his small computer and cell phone shop in a mall in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Kamra and the home of the Pakistani army. The device runs on Android 2.3, an operating system made by Google and given away for free. At around $200, it’s less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices and cheaper than other low-end Chinese tablets on the market, with the bonus of a local, one-year guarantee. The PAC in the name stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where it is made. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop. Such endeavors are still at the pilot stage and represent just a sliver of the military’s business portfolio, which encompasses massive land holdings, flour and sugar mills, hotels, travel agents, even a brand of breakfast cereal. Continued on Page 13

Lin shines as Knicks rebound to beat Mavs





Dust storm to prevail till tomorrow: Expert Call to avoid outdoor activities By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Kuwait will experience dusty weather once again starting today caused by high pressure system looming over the Black Sea. The north-westerly wind will blow at a speed of up to 45 kilometers per hour, gathering dust particles. “It will not be a huge (dust) storm, but it will affect those who are allergic to dust,” said Adel Saadoun, director of Al-Fintas Observatory. The maximum and minimum temperatures recorded yesterday were 17-8 degree

Celsius. The temperature will also drop four to five degrees Celsius at night. By tomorrow morning, the dust storm is expected to subside. However, cloudy and cold weather is expected to continue till the beginning of March. Although not the official government weather spokesperson, Saadoun has provided his expertise to many newspapers in Kuwait, in addition to television and radio. He has set up his own observatory at his home in Fintas. Saadoun advised people to stay away from

outdoor activities from today until Thursday as a precautionary measure to avoid falling ill. Meanwhile, veteran meteorologist Saleh Al-Ujairi also confirmed that dusty weather will prevail till tomorrow. The unstable weather, according to him, is the result of weather change from cold to warm. The dust will fully subside by Thursday. People can start wearing lighter clothing from the beginning of March. He warned that the summer season this year will be hotter and dustier than the previous year.

Geant opens outlet at Egaila KUWAIT: The third Geant Easy Supermarket in Kuwait was opened at Al-Liwan Mall in Egaila area yesterday at 10.30am. The supermarket was inaugurated by Satish C. Mehta, ambassador of India to Kuwait along with Sheikh Dr Khalifa Nasser Al-Sabah. The event witnessed a large gathering of well-wishers and top management, including Mohammed Ashfaq, group business development manager, and Mohamed Al-Marzook, board director of Fu-com, Kuwait, the joint venture between Retail Arabia and Tamdeen Group, which operates the Geant brand in Kuwait. As part of their aggressive expansion drive, Geant Easy Supermarkets plan on offering best-in-class retail experience by opening six more outlets across Kuwait this year. Along with the new opening in Egaila, and the two very successful outlets at Salmiya and Souk Jleeb, Geant Easy Supermarkets will be opening branches in Sulaibikhat and Farwaniya in the immediate future.

Passport forging gang arrested KUWAIT: A gang of three stateless resident forgers were arrested recently by Migration department investigators. The gang helped to smuggle Syrian nationals to European countries using forged Kuwaiti passports. The suspects admitted during investigations to stealing over 50 Kuwaiti passports during the past year, and skillfully forged them for use by Syrian nationals who ended up claiming political asylum in European countries. The suspects revealed that they coordinate with a gang in Damascus, which provides people willing to purchase the forged Kuwaiti passports. Investigations were ongoing for weeks following multiple reports made by Kuwaiti citizens regarding stolen passports. Detectives eventually identified a suspect based on his suspicious movements, as he periodically visited European embassies to obtain visas for Kuwaiti citizens. Police obtained a warrant to raid his house in Kabad after detectives confirmed his criminal activity follow-

ing ten days of intense monitoring. The suspect was found in possession of three Kuwaiti passports that he confessed to stealing two weeks ago. The suspect was taken into custody and was soon joined by two accomplices, who were arrested in Farwaniya and Jahra based on his testimony. During interrogations, the prime suspect explained that after stealing a passport, they replaced the photograph with that of a Syrian national provided by the gang they coordinate with in Damascus. They then smuggled the forged passport to Syria. It contained a visa for a European country which the person who bought it chose as a destination. The suspects also revealed that once they reach their desired destination, the person who bought the forged passport disposed it and applied for asylum. According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, local authorities contacted Interpol to coordinate with the arrest of the gang members in Syria. —Al-Qabas

300 citizens receive unemployment benefits KUWAIT: Instituting an unemployment benefit policy is the best way to resolve the problems facing citizen that were laid off from private sector jobs, said Fawzi Al-Majdali Secretary General of the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP). “ The law has been passed by the Cabinet and submitted to the previous Parliament for voting,” Al-Majdali told Al-Rai, expressing hope that the new Parliament would give this issue priori-

ty. The government pays monthly allowances to nearly 300 citizens who lost their jobs before June 30, 2011, AlMajdali said, adding that studies are being held to decide if citizens who lost jobs after that date can be allowed to benefit from the law, reported Al-Rai. Al-Majdali asked private sector employers to provide job security to Kuwaiti nationals by paying “salaries and allowances at par with the public sector.”

Gulf Bank accepts ‘Best Creativity’ award

BEIRUT: Rasha Ezzeddine receiving the award on behalf of Gulf Bank.

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank has been awarded the coveted ‘Best Creativity’ award at the 3rd Annual Banking Web Awards Competition, which took place at the Intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut, Feb 18. The award was received by Rasha Ezzeddine, Senior Manager, on behalf of Gulf Bank. Aly Shalaby, General Manager, Consumer Banking Group at Gulf Bank said: “We are honored to have been granted this award, which further highlights our efforts in continuing to enhance and update our website by providing effective ways to ensure up-todate online and web based banking services to support our customers’ banking needs.”

The Annual Banking Web Awards Competition is to determine the merit and promotion of a bank and financial institution’s websites. The aim of the competition is to encourage development amongst banks throughout the Arab region in the areas of web design, website creativity and web development. This development seeks to assist in the growth of a nascent e-banking environment, accessible to everyone twenty four hours a day. The overall long term objective to the Web Awards is to generate a more global proactive banking community that further encourages communication and interaction in the banking and financial sectors.

Wataniya Telecom sponsors CBA graduation ceremony KUWAIT: As part of its leading social responsibility program and as a strong supporter to the academic and education sector, Wataniya Telecom has recently

sponsored the graduation ceremony of the College of Business Administration that took place at Al Raya Ballroom on Feb 14. The graduation ceremony was

attended by a large number of academic and prominent figures led by MP Riyadh Al-Adsani in addition families of graduating students and college faculty. 300 students were amongst the College of Business Administration’s 2012 graduating class; Hamad Al-Matar Assistant Manager of Public Relations attended the ceremony on behalf of Wataniya Telecom. On the occasion of the graduation ceremony, Abdulaziz AlBalool Director of Public Relations at Wataniya Telecom congratulated all students on graduating from Kuwait University wishing them all the best in their future professional life. Al-Balool said: “ Wataniya always takes part in and contributes to the College of Business Administration’s events and graduations especially since

Eight injured in traffic accidents By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: An unknown person suffered a severe head injury and was admitted to Adan hospital. The injury was the result of car accident. A 15-year-old nonKuwaiti complained of pain in the back during a car accident in Sulaibiya. A 20year-old Kuwaiti sustained a broken pelvis during a car accident in Shuwaikh. A 28-year-old stateless resident broke his left thigh bone and pelvis during a car accident in Sabhan. A 28-year-old Iranian sustained a broken pelvis during a car

accident on the Fifth Ring Road. Three Kuwaitis teenagers sustained broken legs and back pain during a car accident in Mahboula. All of them were taken to nearby hospitals. Other accidents A 26-year-old Bangladeshi broke his right leg while at work in a dairy company. He was taken to Farwaniya Hospital. A 25-year-old Filipina sustained multiple fractures when she fell from a high place. She was taken to Mubarak Hospital.

the company has developed a priority in its social responsibility program to support both education and academic sector and encourage the Kuwaiti Force. For this, Wataniya Telecom has been participating in all of Kuwait University graduation ceremonies over the past few years.” Al-Balool added: “Wataniya’s sponsorship stems from its ongoing support to the youth segment of the society as we believe they are the core of the Kuwaiti community and the future of our development and prosperity. Wataniya supports the education sector in all its stages starting from primary age and is proud to be one of the prominent companies that are devoted to hiring Kuwaiti force and encouraging their activities and talented work.”

Unprecedented hike in the price of eggs KUWAIT: Mohammad Mutlaq Al-Dujaini, Member of the prices committee in the union of cooperative societies and Chairman of Ardiya cooperative society, said there has been no response to his repeated demands during the past two months warning of the dangers resulting from exporting eggs abroad. He said he holds the Ministry of Commerce and the Union of Cooperative Societies responsible for the unprecedented hike in the price of eggs in Kuwait. He continued by saying eggs are basic goods in every house and it is one of the important goods for food security. He said demands for eggs increase in the winter season. He said everyone has felt it. Al-Dujaini said there is a lack of response to public demand. He said merchants are being supported at the expense of consumers, who are continuously being faced with high prices. —Al-Anbaa

KUWAIT: The Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak AlSabah visited the Kuwait Journalists Association yesterday. He met with senior KJA members including Faisal Al-Qanaei, secretary general and Adnan Al-Rashid, treasurer. The minister was accompanied by Undersecretary Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud AlSabah, and Muneerah Al-Huwaidi, assistant undersecretary for journalism and press affairs.

Commerce minister reveals strategic plan KUWAIT: Minister of Commerce and Industr y, Anas Al-Saleh, revealed a new three part strategic plan to be implemented in the upcoming period. The first is to create a full and comprehensive legislative climate which includes amendment, revealed and issuance of urgent economic laws. These include corporate law and tenders, in cooperation with the financial committee in the National Assembly. The second strategy is to introduce tangible steps to reduce bureaucracy which is present in the industrial work environment, and to develop the sec-

to r, a d m i n i s t r a t i ve a n d te c h n i c a l know-how within a limited timeframe. Th e t h i rd s t a g e i s to o rg a n i ze Kuwait Stock Exchange Market and re s o l ve m a ny o f t h e o u t s t a n d i n g issues there. Important files will be re s o l ve d s w i f t l y a n d co m p l e te l y. Vacancies in the market commission will be filled in order to return stability and order. These three issues will be the most persisting ones appearing on the ministers desk in the current period, as solving them is beyond postpone ment. —Al-Anbaa

Cultural, heritage festival KUWAIT: Kuwait News Agency held yesterday a cultural and heritage festival on the occasion of the country’s national holidays. Radhwan Maqamis and Ahmad Al-Thifiri, researchers in Kuwaiti culture and heritage, participated in the event. Deputy Director General of KUNA, Nabil Al-Yassin, delivered a speech on behalf of Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Duaij Al-Sabah. He congratulated all nationals on these occasions, wishing Kuwait more prosperity. He also extended congratulations to the Kuwaiti people on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, which founded the pillars of democracy and freedom “which we are proud of before the whole world.” “Our celebration today in our national holidays imposes on us a significant commitment to maintain our home,

which gives us a lot and provides us with a decent life,” he said. “The responsibilities are indivisible and each citizen has a responsibility to contribute to the the march of Renaissance,” he emphasized. Ahmad Al-Thifiri spoke about the history of Kuwait, previously known as AlQurain. He cited the writings of traveler Murtadha Bin Ali Bin Radhwan who visited Kuwait in 1709, saying it resembled the region of Al-Ihssa in Saudi Arabia. He stressed that Kuwait and the surrounding Arab countries, especially the Arabian Peninsula, share the same heritage and history. Maqamis explained some Kuwaiti proverbs and Kuwait’s history associated with these popular sayings, which now are vanishing from the culture of new generations. He said these sayings have many uses in everyday life because of their formats and nice rhyme. —KUNA



PM holds inspection tour of state ministries

KUWAIT: Japanese journalists Chitose Nakagama and Eiji Maeda visited Kuwait Times over the weekend and discussed matters of mutual concern with Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan.

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah tours (clockwise from left) the foreign, health and education ministries yesterday. — KUNA KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said yesterday the coming stage requires that all state ministries and departments double efforts to preserve the state of law and achieve social justice. During an inspection tour of several ministries and state departments, HH the Prime Minister met their leaders to remind them of the need to translate into reality the instructions of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlJaber Al-Sabah - “the beloved leader of the country and our example in realizing the national aspirations for prosperity and welfare.” “We are gifted with mutual love with our political leader, who feels the pulse of the people and is keen on meeting their needs,” HH the Prime Minister said, urging stepping up the efforts to materialize the reforms and the ambitious targets of the development plan. “We have to focus on the implementation of the projects listed on the national development plan without delay, step up the construction and stabilization process, and remove any obstacles lying ahead,” he underscored. HH the Prime Minister highlighted the need to tap into the potentials of “our abundant national and human resources” and make better use of the energies of all segments of the society, notably the youth. He called on the leaders of all state departments to make concerted efforts and work together for serving national interests and protecting public funds. Addressing the ministers and the leaders of the departments, HH the Prime Minister said: “I’m fully confident of your ability to win the fight against corruption and bureaucracy, and realize the targets of comprehensive reforms. “You haven’t to worry about the criticisms being leveled by some MPs at the National Assembly since we are open about sincere and objective criticism, which could be conducive to better national action; both the legislative and executive authorities have the same aim that is to serve national interests,” he explained. “My responsibility, since HH the Amir entrusted me with this national duty (premiership), is to keep my distance from all (political) trends and judge by my conscience in any decision relating to the interests of the people and the homeland. “In so doing, I follow the steps of HH the Amir, who is always a brother to everybody,” he made clear. HH the Prime Minister started the tour with visiting the Ministry of Interior, where he was received by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and top leaders of the ministry’s various departments. He spoke highly of their efforts to preserve the national security, unity, stability and the rule of law. At the Ministry of Defense, his second leg,

HH the Prime Minister was warmly received by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Staff Lt Gen Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and other top brass. He praised their dedication and the sacrifices they offer for protecting the security, stability and sovereignty of the country and the Arab nation. During his meeting with Minister of Health Dr. Ali Saad Al-Obeidi and other leaders of the ministry, HH the Prime Minister urged accelerating steps to improve the medical services for citizens and residents in the country, and provide public hospitals with the latest equipment and medicines. He met with Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf and other senior officials, where he reaffirmed keenness of the government on modernizing the educational process in tune with the new national approach to reforms. “Education is the key to progress and prosperity of any society; it’s also the mainstay of human development,” he said, lauding the ministry’s efforts in preparing a better qualified

generation. During his meeting with Minister of Communications Salem Mutheeb AlUtheina, HH the Prime Minister praised the remarkable improvement in the ministry’s services to the citizens. “The services given by the ministry are in line with the achievements brought about by globalization and the revolution of communication technology, “ he stressed. HH the Prime Minister met, on his sixth leg, the Minister of Oil Dr Hani Abdulaziz Hussein and other senior officials of the ministry, where he asked them to implement the projects listed on the country’s development plan relating to the oil industry - the engine of the national economy. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HH met with Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. He also met Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and other leaders of the ministry at the last leg of his tour. — KUNA

National Assembly television station? KUWAIT: An Opposition lawmaker will present a proposal within a couple of days to establish a television station designated to cover parliament sessions, as well as parliamentary news, updates and MPs’ statements. Sources familiar with the news, indicated that MP Musallam Al-Barrak will represent his Popular Action Bloc in efforts to launch a television station “that helps reinforce par-

liamentary work”. The report tentatively refers to the proposed channel as ‘Al-Umma Television’. ‘Umma’ is Arabic for ‘National’ in reference to the National Assembly. The station will also provide coverage of the work of parliamentary committees and basically everything that has to do with Parliament, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity. — Al-Rai

Iraq PM to visit Kuwait in March By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Kuwait Heart Association officials checking blood pressure of people.

Heart Association breaks Guinness record KUWAIT: Kuwait Heart Association (KHA) earned a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records yesterday for recording the highest number of people to check their blood pressure. Faisal Al-Mutawa, head of the board of directors, said KHA was able to measure the blood pressure of 7,203 people in eight hours, breaking the old record of 3,252 people registered by the Bahrain Medical Society in 2010. Al-Mutawa said this achievement was

in cooperation with medical students at Kuwait University, under supervision of Dr Manal Bouhaimed who is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, and volunteers of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society. Al-Mutawa said the association implemented an awareness campaign for heart disease by participating with competent authorities in the world on the occasion of World Heart Day, which is marked every year on Sept 29. —KUNA

KUWAIT: The Iraqi Cabinet’s secretariat general has announced that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maloki will visit Kuwait in the first week of March before the Arab Summit due to be held in Baghdad. An official statement issued by the secretariat also stressed that AlMaleki discussed a number of outstanding issues with Kuwait’s Ambassador to Baghdad, Ali Al-Momen. The statement also stressed Iraq’s wish to solve all disagreements with Kuwait and maintain relations with Kuwait, namely by boosting economic relations. Earlier, Iraq’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Mohammed Baruloloum stressed that the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiar Zibari will arrive next week to present Iraq’s official invitation to Kuwait to attend the Arab Summit to be held in Baghdad. He also denied that some GCC states were trying to postpone the summit as “Iraq’s domestic crises will have no impact on the summit,” he stressed. Saadoun vows to fight corruption Speaker Ahmed Al-Sadoun said that although he has not held the post for 12 years, he was not distant from parliamentary life. “The speaker’s seat is no different from an MP’s seat,” he underscored, remarking that the speaker may face restrictions sometimes. “Al-Saadoun will remain the same and I will continue my fight against corruption,” he asserted, adding that the some dramatic events preceded the elections and that the Kuwaiti people had chosen wisely. Speaking to Al-Arabiya television channel, AlSaadoun promised to cooperate with the government if it is willing to reciprocate. “Otherwise, I’ll strongly oppose it,” he warned noting that the government has to resolve various problems such as the cash deposits scandal. He also noted that pushing the development plan forward should be the country’s top priority.

KISR and EPA plan environmental event KUWAIT: Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and the Environmental Public Authority (EPA) are working with various governmental and non-governmental organizations in Kuwait to promote this year’s ‘environmental hour’ on Feb 27, it was announced here yesterday. The event is being held to promote awareness in Kuwait, especially amongst children, about the negative effect global warming is having on our environment. In a press conference at KISR, researcher at the Department of Environmental Science and General Coordinator of the event, Dr Nora AlJandal said the event will be held next Monday at Kuwait Towers, under the slogan (hand in hand to preserve our environment), adding that a number of events will accompany this festivity in collaboration with several government and private agencies. An exhibition will also be held that will include environ-

mental awareness presentations to the public. Al-Jandal pointed out that during the event, all unnecessary lights and equipment would be switched off in government institutions, shopping malls and tourist attractions in the country, hoping citizens and residents would switch off unnecessary lights in their homes between 7pm and 8pm in solidarity with the event. In 2007, residents from Sydney, Australia launched the event by turning off the lights in their houses, landmark buildings and restaurants for one hour. In 2008 the event grew significantly and 400 cities all over the world sponsored their own environmental hour. From 2009-2011, the State of Kuwait participated in the event by turning off the lights in more than 26 shopping malls and tourist attractions in coordination with KISR, Kuwait University, and the Kuwaiti Global Warming Team. —KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate Chief Maj General Jassim Al-Mansouri chaired a meeting in which directors of various fire centers, and the public relations and information director participated to discuss preparations for the 10th Firefighter’s Day. AlMansouri also issued instructions to create awareness on reducing loss of life and property.—Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun



Ethiopian woman in custody for murdering compatriot Woman strangled over money disputes

KUWAIT: Hessa Al-Najadah receiving the award from Dr Abdullah AlQuraini.

Ministry honors Burgan Bank for its social contributions KUWAIT: Burgan Bank was recently honored by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor for its support and continuous contributions towards the special needs patients, elderly and orphans. The bank received a token of appreciation, which was awarded by Dr Abdullah Al-Quraini — director of public activities and media at ministry of social affairs and labor. Representing the bank at the event was Hessa Al-Najadah, senior officer - public relations at Burgan Bank. Burgan Bank’s commitment to the people of Kuwait has always been one of the core priorities engraved into the bank’s

overall principles. The bank constantly seeks new avenues to fulfill the needs of the less fortunate and bring about a productive change that would revolutionize the meaning of corporate social responsibility within Kuwait. Burgan Bank’s CSR activities in 2011 are a notable reference to its continuous efforts towards the development and sustainability of the Kuwaiti society. The bank is committed to maintaining its integral position as part of Kuwait’s social fabric, and catering for the wider part of the community through an array of activities and events.

KUWAIT: Police arrested an Ethiopian woman who confessed to murdering her compatriot and hanging her body in a Nugra apartment. A homicide investigation was opened after the body was recovered a few days ago from the apartment which the victim shared with 25 other Ethiopian women. The incident was reported as a suicide, but investigators found out the victim died of a fatal head trauma and was strangled to death, before her body was hanged from the ceiling to make it appear as suicide. During interrogations, one woman’s behavior evoked suspicion and was continuously monitored. She eventually admitted to murdering her roommates over money disputes. She confessed to strangling the victim to ensure that she died. The suspect remains in custody pending trial and faces first degree murder charges. Child rapists held A police officer and an unemployed citizen were recently arrested for kidnapping and raping a child in Salmiya. Investigations went underway after the victim’s father reported the incident as related by his son. The child explained that he was bundled into a car and was taken to a remote location where he was sexually assaulted. Police identified the car’s owner through its license plate number that was provided by the victim. The suspect, identified as a citizen with criminal history,

was arrested and taken into custody. He eventually confessed to committing the crime and divulged details about to his accomplice. He was identified as a police patrol officer and was arrested later. The policeman admitted that his friend invited him to his apartment after kidnapping the boy. The two remain imprisoned pending legal procedures. Lewd messages Taima police station officers summoned a citizen for investigations after his ex-wife filed a complaint stating that he circulated her phone number among group of his friends, encouraged them to send lewd messages. The female citizen pressed sexual harassment and libel charges against her ex-husband, and showed the text messages as evidence. During interrogation, the man denied the accusations and said that all allegations were fabricated “for malicious intent.” Investigations are still ongoing into the case. Fatal crash A young man in his twenties died after his All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) crashed into another car along Al-Nuwaiseeb highway. The car’s female driver fled the scene immediately. Paramedics and police reached the scene in response to an emergency call shortly after it was reported. They pronounced the victim dead on the scene. According to eyewitnesses

Dow’s Marine Conservation Program collects 9 tons of waste KUWAIT: Carrying forth Dow’s global core value of protecting the planet, Dow’s Marine Conservation Program successfully conducted 36 beach and island clean-ups in 2011 to protect Kuwait’s fragile marine habitats which are natural nesting grounds for migratory birds, turtles and other marine species. Engaging the collective efforts of 400 volunteers from schools, universities, non-profit groups, embassies and the wider community, Dow’s Marine Conservation Program manually collected over 9 tons of waste over the year

together”, said Jamel Attal, managing director, Dow Chemical, Kuwait. “This first-of-itskind initiative in Kuwait holds the potential to foster a generation of citizens who are environmentally-conscious and socially responsible.” With an emphasis on education as an agent of sustainable change, Dow’s Program visited over 10 private and public schools and universities in Kuwait in 2011 to conduct 15 one-hour interactive educational sessions on Kuwait’s marine species, the importance of conservation, responsible

across 84,000 sqm of shoreline. Dow’s Marine Conservation Program is the lead corporate program of Al Yaal - Kuwait’s first nationwide marine conservation initiative developed by en.v, a local organization promoting social responsibility in the Arab world. Dow Chemical is also the title sponsor of Al Yaal. “Kuwait traditionally shares an economically and culturally significant association with the sea and its many resources. As a global corporation that believes in upholding the interests and wellbeing of the communities we operate in, we’re glad to see Dow’s Marine Conservation Program forge a collaboration in 2011 between government agencies, private groups and individuals to work

waste management and recycling. Reaching over 2000 students from k indergar ten through grade 12, the educational tour scheduled beach clean-ups for students and staff members as a follow-up activity to reinforce experiential learning. To generate awareness about the impact of waste on marine habitats, Dow’s Marine Conservation Program participated in a number of community events including Proud to be Kuwaiti, the British Business Forum’s Introduction to Kuwait Exhibition, KEWE and AUK Volunteer Week. During Ramadan in 2011, Dow’s Program held a ‘Clean Beaches’ awareness drive along the public beaches off of the Arabian Gulf Street. “Dow’s Marine

Conservation Program engaged a wide range of non-profit and environmental groups during the course of 2011 such as the Green Target Company, Spread the Passion, Kuwait Red Crescent Society, and the Kuwait Diving Team in a collective effort to protect Kuwait’s marine life,” says Zahed Sultan, Managing Partner and CEO of en.v. “It is encouraging to see a genuine and rapidly increasing concern in the wider community for a sustained initiative that protects Kuwait’s natural marine heritage and we hope to mobilize greater and diversified participation in 2012.” Al Yaal manually collected over 11 tonnes of waste across 42 beach and island cleanups throughout 2011. The clean-ups were coordinated and conducted by K’S PATH - the implementation partner of Al Yaal, mobilizing volunteer participation of more than 500 individuals. With clean-ups scheduled almost every weekend in 2011, Al Yaal focused on neglected areas of high ecological importance - which are not easily accessible and hardly frequented by the public. “We selected areas rich with marine biodiversity which witness high concentration of indirect and direct man-made waste. These include Doha, Sulaibihat and Shuwaikh and the three islands of Umm Al Maradim, Kubbar and Garoh,” says K’S PATH Chairman Ayeshah Al Humaidhi. “ These areas serve as nesting grounds for migratory birds, turtles and smaller marine animals whose well-being is threatened by pollution and habitat destruction. Our work in 2011, although significant, has a long way to go through sustained activities to conserve the different flora and fauna species that thrive along Kuwait Bay, particularly Doha, Sulaibikhat and Kubbar.” Al Yaal has also successfully secured the support of the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Public Education, Kuwait Municipality and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. Al Yaal will continue its work at Doha and Sulaibikhat beach - home to mangroves, many migratory bird species, dragonflies and mudskippers - in early 2012.

Hala February Carnival at X-cite/Alghanim Electronics and Safat Home KUWAIT: The first days of X- cite by Alghanim Electronics and Safat Home’s highly anticipated Hala February Carnival started yesterday night amidst a large, excited crowd. This is the fourth consecutive year that the carnival is being held in the outside area of Safat Alghanim-AlRai. The first day of the carnival attracted many families and children who spent their time enjoying the various entertaining activities and programs, contests as well as valuable prizes that were offered. The audience also enjoyed entertaining activities that included Disney characters,

face painting and hair braiding. The day was also filled with musical performances such as traditional music, dances and acrobatic acts. The remaining four days of the carnival will be filled with more fun entertainment, valuable prizes and other activities for families. To increase the fun factor, famous presenters like Sally El Kady and Ousama Fouda are holding exciting contests and will continue to distribute prizes during the next four remaining days of the carnival. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the fun, entertaining and rewarding time with

friends and family at Safat Alghanim. In addition to having an unrivalled customer ser vice, X- cite by Alghanim Electronics and Safat Home always make sure to provide the best shopping experience by providing the best variety of products, best prices and the best entertaining events in Kuwait. X-cite by Alghanim Electronics and Safat Home would like to extend their warm greetings to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the occasion of National and Liberation Days.

accounts, the female driver of the other vehicle checked on the victim. However she fled the scene after realizing that he was dead. An investigation was launched into the case. Rapists at large A search is currently ongoing for two male suspects accused of raping an expatriate woman in a Jahra camp after kidnapping her from Sharq. In her statement, the Nepalese victim explained that she was bundled into a car that halted near her as she walked to her workplace at a mall. She was taken to a camp and repeatedly raped. The suspects eventually released the victim and she reported the incident to police. Attackers nabbed Police arrested three suspects who disappeared after brutally assaulting a party host. He reportedly asked them to leave the a party held at a rented villa in Al-Bedaa. The victim was hospitalized in a critical condition after sustaining multiple injuries when suspects ran their vehicle him over several times after severing his hand using a sharp object. Police first arrested one of the suspects from Al-Farwaniya Hospital where he received treatment for injuries sustained. The suspect eventually gave divulged information on his two accomplices who were later detained in an ambush in Salmiya. The three remain in custody pending further action. —Al-Rai, Al-Anba, Al-Watan



Privatization of Kuwait’s seaports in the offing Ambitious plans in store for ministry KUWAIT: Kuwait plans to privatize the state’s major seaports. This move is part of the Ministry of Commerce’s future plans, said Minister Salem Al-Othania. Speaking to reporters, Al-Othaina said that a study will be held to establish a cargo terminal at the Shuaiba Port, denying speculations that the ministry suffers delays in executing projects that are listed as part of the state’s development plan. The minister mentioned the metro project, telecommunications authority and postal authority as main projects that the MoC works on “and can be realized as soon as technical procedures are finalized.” Mega projects need approval from the Parliament before a tender is floated for bid-

ding, after that contracts are signed before construction begins. Meanwhile, Al-Othaina notified that the Kuwait Airways Corporation(KAC) be privatized as per the company’s privatization law. Once fully privatized, the KAC will be completely overhauled, the minister added. In another development, the Ministry of Health(MoH) has requested that KD 1.57 billion be allocated as its budgetary requirement. There has been a marginal increase from last year’s budget which has reached KD 1.09 billion, announced a senior ministry official recently. “ The Ministry is waiting to receive an approval from the Ministry of Finance,” said assistant for Financial Affairs Undersecretary

Mohammad Al-Azmi. He noted that the money allocated to fund overseas treatment trips for citizens remains steady at KD 120 million, reported Al-Qabas. In other news, Dr Ahmad Al-Fadhli Chairman of the Kuwait Medical Association(KMA) announced that talks are being held with the MoH to resolve the case in which expatriate physicians have been demanding equal pay with Kuwaiti colleagues. Asserting that “expatriate doctors are key to the country’s public health service,” AlFadhli noted that MoH undersecretary Dr Ibrahim Al-Abdulhadi understands their complaints and plans to raise their issue during a senior MoH meeting on March 15, 2012,

Kuwaiti envoy congratulates children at award ceremony KUWAIT: The Najla Al-Naqqi Forum hosted an exhibition recently in which rare items were showcased. Hani Al-Asousi Vice President of Kuwaiti Heritage Society, Saleh Al-Mesbah, Secretary General of Kuwait Authors Association as well as Kuwaiti historians Farhan Al-Farhan, Abdullah bin Nasser and Jaber Baqer organized the event. The items included a 500-year-old piece of ivory weighing 160kg, as well as old Kuwaiti car registration plates dating to 1939. The event was held as part of Hala February and National Day celebrations.

Kuwait JV MEGlobal wins top employer award KUWAIT: MEGlobal, a joint venture of PIC Kuwait and Dow, a world leader in the manufacture and marketing of ethylene glycol has been recognized as one of the top employers for their effective internal HR policies and practices, overall work atmosphere and social environment, health, financial and family benefits and performance management. “At MEGlobal, we invest in our people, who in turn grow our business, and we all share in the success. Thus I am very proud that we have received this award and MEGlobal has been named as one of Alberta’s Top Employers 2012” said Abdullah Al Swailem, Vice President of Administration. “At MEGlobal people are our most valuable contributors and the company promotes skill development with in-house and online training, supports professional accreditation, and has subsidies for advanced education and global assignment opportunities. Additionally, MEGlobal supports the next generation through an academic scholarship program for employees’ children who pursue post-secondary education.” Ensuring professional needs and requirements are prioritized at all times, MEGlobal undertakes an innovative HR program offering career development guidance as well as running regular online certification courses for staff to develop and hone their skills. A company that prides itself in driving numerous CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities in Kuwait, UAE, US and Canada, MEGlobal is extending this approach internally nurturing local talent from within the company, coaching homegrown professionals to become the

future leaders of a multi-billion dollar company. MEGlobal’s simplified organization chart features self-managed operations teams and flexible work schedules for many employees. Employee teams interview their future peers to ensure a good

fit. “We promote a working environment where both the individual and the team can have great influence,” Al Swailem says. “That environment contributes to employee satisfaction.” As an integral part of the company’s culture, MEGlobal regularly rewards their employees as a way to increase levels of morale and promote professional recognition. Recently, all MEGlobal employees received an iPad as a thank you gesture, for the overall company performance in 2010. Raising the bar for other companies in Kuwait, MEGlobal was nominated for a ‘Responsible Care’ Award in 2011, due to high levels of staff satisfaction and MEGlobal’s extensive efforts in investing in their employee development. MEGlobal’s HR philosophy is a long-term one which recognizes the importance of its workforce and the role they play in ensuring the company’s success and longevity going into the future.

ies and academics. “Educare sets the platform to meet hundreds of prospective students in the region who aspire to further their studies locally, regionally, as well as internationally. Educare is a unique education fair that showcases schools, universities, colleges, and other educational institutions from all across the country and world,” said the organizers. Al-Hindi said the date for the event has been adjusted so that it does not coincide with local events of great importance and priority such as the national assembly elections, formation of the new Cabinet, and festivities marking the national Independence and Liberation anniversaries on Feb 25 and 26. —KUNA

Increase in pipes, cement, gravel shipments at Kuwait port KUWAIT: Kuwait Ports Authority realized a growth of 23,015 million tons in traffic during the last nine months of 2011, specifically between the start of April and the end of December. This is a growth of 15.9 percent from 2010, said the authority’s financial affairs director Hussein Al-Hafith. The official said yesterday that in comparison the volume of incoming and outgoing freight grew by 19,844 tons in 2010. He added there was a slight decrease

Kuwait’s Ministry of Education,” the diplomat said. “A joint statement between Kuwait and Japan was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a visit to Tokyo in July 2008 by former Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohamed AlSabah. The successful result of that implementation is recognized in Kuwait until now,” AlMutairi said, adding that the sec-

ond phase of the Kids’ ISO program in Kuwait has been suggested. “I sincerely hope that this program will enhance understanding of environmental sustainability in Kuwait, and this effort leads to future cooperation between Japan and Kuwait in environmental issues which countries may face in the future,” he said. The Kids’ ISO 14000 Program

was developed by Japan’s nongovernmental organization ArTech in 2000. The program is designed to stimulate environmental awareness of children, provide a method of environment management and make a system for children to work together for local and global environmental issues through their own network. — KUNA

TOKYO: Mohammad Al-Mutairi pictured with Japanese children yesterday.

Positive impact of Islamic waqf on development discussed in Kuwait

Kuwait Fairs to hold Educare 2012 in March KUWAIT: Kuwait International Fair Grounds is to launch Educare 2012 in Mishref on March 12. A host of local, Gulf, and international academic bodies and institutions will participate, exhibition director Khalid Al-Hindi said on Monday. The director said participants include the American University of Kuwait, Australian College of Kuwait, Ahlia University of Bahrain, and the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education, among others. He added the standards of the institutions taking part stand testimony to the level of the event, which is one of a kind in Kuwait. He said it is awaited most eagerly by would be students and parents as well as specialized bod-

TOKYO: Deputy Head of Mission at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Tokyo, Mohammad Al-Mutairi, yesterday congratulated Japanese students and awarded 863 children who received an international environmental certificate. Al-Mutairi was speaking to children at the 11th Awards Ceremony of International Certificates of the Kids’ ISO 14000 Program, held at the United Nations University. He started his message with “Omedetou gozaimasu (congratulations)” and commented on the educational program from the perspectives of the both countries. “Kuwait was the first among the Middle East countries to develop the Kids’ ISO 14000 program in 2007. The same year, the first Arabic version of the Workbook of Introductory Level of this program was published in collaboration between International Art and Technology Cooperation Organization (ArTech) and

in the number of docking vessels, a drop of 4.8 percent, with 1,833 ships loading and unloading at Kuwaiti ports in 2011 compared to 1,745 in 2010. Incoming ships came to 92 percent, ships which brought in goods to be unloaded came to 1,611 vessels, and those heading out of Kuwaiti ports came to 134. The volume of incoming goods came to about 19,595 million tons at an increase of 21 percent compared to 16,197 million tons. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait hosted yesterday international waqf authority representatives in the two-day 18th Waqf Forum, which discusses the social and economic imprints left by the Islamic charitable donation of assets. The forum, Waqf and Technology ... Towards New Horizons, is being held under the patronage of HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. In his keynote speech at the event, Kuwaiti Justice Minister and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Jamal Al-Shihab said that the country’s Awqaf Public Foundation has taken upon itself to encourage, invest and administer waqf. The state-run trust carries out its role according to the conditions set forth by the benefactor, known as the waqif, and in accordance with the aims of Islamic Sharia law to lessen the burden on people in need

among the society. The foundation aims to highlight waqf as a symbol and tool for international comprehensive development, and the event is being held to shed light on the

expanding and developing role the form of religious endowment has been assuming under the vision of the Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation, he said. This vision has taken on

KUWAIT: Justice Minister and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Jamal Al-Shihab and other officials at the Waqf Forum.

board modern technology to aid its role during modern times, also collaborating with local public and private organizations specialized in the field in order to widen the scope of beneficiaries from the Islamic world. Technological efforts Kuwait has carried out include a number of dictionaries and encyclopedias on waqf, its history and renowned waqifs, Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation Secretary General Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi said, in another speech. The foundation, as a donor and relief body, has not focused on relief efforts but has extended its role to a worldwide development planner, he added. Other speakers at the meeting included Morocco’s head of Awqaf, Mohammad Al-Kawari, who hailed the efforts of the Kuwait foundation, describing it as a model on the international scale. — KUNA



LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

You can’t judge a book by its cover!

Looking for tangible acts

By Dr Sajed Al-Abdeli

By Faisal Al-Zamal hmad Al-Saadoun talks about the future, suggesting the necessity to forget the past. This is acceptable, as what has gone is gone. We shall leave the matter to history to judge it and to blame whoever left us in this state of paralysis. We look to the future, considering maybe a repetition of the Al-Saadoun experience from 1985 - 1999. His Highness the Amir pinpointed this when he said, “history shall mark its rule for you or against you”. Then what sort of differences can we expect between the past and the future? 1. Will a person who undertakes the responsibility to serve his country in all locations be safe from offences and protected by immunity? 2. Will constitutional tools be employed right after such a long period of misuse, and trade in its seasons? 3. Will offenses continue “as per identity” of ministers who do whatever they wish without being held accountable. Will honest people who refuse to break the law face a concentrated offence by media employed by the “bad” figures to attack them? Or will this method change? 4. Will the “stick and carrot” style be repeated... like giving the title of “reform prime minister”. And is this title finished with the first refusal of any application? We are not so much concerned with the personality of the Prime Minister, as he is a Kuwaiti citizen, but because pressure placed upon him will be paid for by the nation. 5. Will the style of placing obstacles before a project, to show off at the expense of the interest of the state, be over? We hope that all of these changes happen, and history records for Ahmad Al-Saadoun the achievements of a statesman who shifted his country from paralysis to a new state of excitement for work. Yes, everyone says my hands are extended and now we are looking for tangible acts. When the train is back on track we will be advancing forward.... and we will be first to announce the positive change. — Al-Anbaa



kuwait digest

MPs should get priorities right By Dr Hassan Abbas he fact that the Parliament enjoys a clear majority from members who share common ideologies, give the impression that it can work to achieve stability in political work. News reports this week revealed surprises that lead us to believe that it is impossible to predict MPs’ priorities. Will the new government work as per a commonly agreed agenda? Speculations before their meeting on Sunday indicated that they outline a set of priorities that focus on fighting corruption and launching investigation into major graft scandals, in addition to boosting national unity. These are subjects of high importance that Kuwaitis of all social categories need to be addressed. The problem lies, however with the step taken by the majority. I’m basically referring to Islamist MPs’ haste in making constitutional amendments that will lead to the marginalization of certain social categories. I think it is wise to say that amending Article 2 of the Constitution to make Sharia law the only source of legislation will not result in major changes in the


I think it is wise to say that amending Article 2 of the Constitution to make Sharia law the only source of legislation will not result in major changes in the way we live. It is a narrow point of view that overlooks the fact that the amendment calls are made by politicians who do not treat all citizens equally. For example, Islamist MP Mohammad Hayef was previously quoted as demanding that restrictions be placed on the construction of Husseinias (Shiite mosques) in Kuwait. way we live. It is a narrow point of view that overlooks the fact that the amendment calls are made by politicians who do not treat all citizens equally. For example, Islamist MP Mohammad Hayef was previously quoted as demanding that restrictions be placed on the construction of Husseinias (Shiite mosques) in Kuwait. Most recently, MP Osama AlMunawer, called for similar restrictions to be placed on the construction of churches. Both lawmakers strongly advocate the amendment of Article 2 of the Constitution. Many analysts and columnists said that such amendments contradict with the Constitution because it will place Article 2 in a contradictory position with many other articles. In my opinion, the very idea of a constitutional amendment is the main idea. Islamists lawmakers are not going to stop if they pass an amendment. This is because nothing stands in their way if they want to amend more articles so that they fall in line with the modified article. This is until we end up with an Islamic version of the Constitution. I believe that the Constitution is a redline that must not be transgressed when there are social categories who feel marginalized or not fully respected in society.— Al-Rai

nce the new Cabinet formation was declared and everybody knew Education Minister Ahmed Al-Mulaifi had been excluded, a Twitter user broadcast a nice tweet in which he called for ‘putting 10,000 flash memory sticks outside Al-Mulaifi’s house as a token of appreciation for his efforts in the ministry’. This remark was full of sarcasm and mockery at the project he launched costing the state KD250,000 in a deal that looked suspicious and ended up as a total failure. I and many others had predicted, wrote and said it. Lawyer Ahmed Al-Mulaifi’s controversial projects in the education ministry are countless. He changed the student assessment system shortly before he left office in a project that provoked teachers, students and parents. Al-Mulaifi ended up with catastrophic exam results for the final year secondary stage students! Now a new Cabinet is in office. Dr Nayef AlHajraf, who is a man of business and an economist who had nothing to do with education throughout his career, has been appointed Education Minister. This followed the same steps of appointing lawyer Al-Mulaifi for the same post. Magically enough, and within 48 hours of assuming office, Al-Hajraf decides to cancel the previous assessment system in

kuwait digest

Characteristics of parliamentary work By Dr Mohammad Al-Muqatea arliamentary work in a democratic set up is of parliamentary work. Another common practice is characterized by certain practices that boost that each MP will have staff with different tasks quality, reassert independence, and maintain who have been hired to assist in office. Currently, fifteen secretaries are hired for each balance while actions are taken. One of the most common practices is when a parliament speaker MP, and that is in my opinion a major waste of pubresigns from his political party immediately after lic funds. Instead, I believe it would be best that the being elected to the post. This is most notably the number of secretaries be cut in half, and the other case in United Kingdom. This practice is important half be used to hire specialists in the financial, to ensure impartiality. The speaker should deal legal, political and archiving fields to help the lawmaker commit to with all lawmakers duties. equally, thereby Meanwhile, boosting mutual trust Al-Saadoun was speaker on three difattending sessions and strength of the ferent occasions, and he was independand committee speaker’s role. ent ever y time. After he lost and meetings is also a I believe that main practice of parSpeaker Ahmad Alreturned as MP, he worked together with liamentary work. It is Saadoun will take a a certain group that later turned into neither acceptable similar step and resign the Popular Action Bloc (PAB). Now that nor logical to see sesfrom Popular Action sions or panel meetBloc(PAB) to assure he has been reelected for the speaker’s ings canceled neutrality in work. post, I believe it is only fitting that Albecause of a lack of Al-Saadoun was Saadoun leave PAB to pave the way for a quorum, while speaker on three difabsentees are never ferent occasions, and new era of parliamentary work. asked to provide an he was independent alibi. ever y time. After he Finally, I hope that MPs will avoid offending othlost and returned as MP, he worked together with a certain group that later turned into the Popular ers or making baseless accusations in order to Action Bloc (PAB). Now that he has been reelected maintain respectful dialogue inside the Parliament for the speaker’s post, I believe it is only fitting that as a key characteristic of modern successful parliaAl-Saadoun leave PAB to pave the way for a new era mentary work. —Al-Qabas


kuwait digest

Cooperation key to face future challenges By Dr Terki Al-Azmi is Highness the Amir, Sheik h Sabah Al- ing the performance of senior officials to ensure Ahmad Al-Sabah, opened the inaugural ses- that their ministries are led by staff who are compesion of Parliament on Feb 15, 2012, after tent to live up to challenges of the upcoming which MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun secured a landslide phase. Personally, I believe there are certain subjects victory in elections for Speaker. The voting was followed by a speech by Al-Saadoun’s opponent, MP that Parliament and the Cabinet need to work on Mohammad Al-Sagr, who had words of praise for together as soon as possible. These are: 1- Outlining priorities. the new speaker. 2- Placing time schedules to resolve persisting HH the Amir called upon MPs in his speech to maintain righteousness and respect in their politi- problems in state departments, while assigning cal approach, and make sure they never violate the each minister to report to the premier periodically law. His speech was followed by one by MP Khalid on achievements in their respective ministries. 3- Readdressing the process by which state Al-Sultan, who led the session before speakership elections as the as the oldest elected lawmaker. Al- projects are executed, and come up with shorter and less costly timelines Sultan criticized “corfor projects. This must rupt media outlets Here is the need to follow the Amir’s star t from the tender which spread animosity placing process until in society”. He spoke of advice, with regards to full enforceconstruction is finished. constitutional amendment of the law. When it comes to 4- Taking extra attenments, scrapping citinational unity, we need to maintain tion to human developzens’ loans and improvment and creating more ing public facilities current given circumstances in the job oppor tunities for among other subjects region. The government should work trained Kuwaiti labor in his speech. to eliminate the term ‘wasta’ (illegal forces. The session ended 5- Opening a special following the election influence and recommendation) from agency to receive comof members to parliaall procedures in state departments. plaints from people and mentary committees, That is a crucial step in efforts to tackreports about cases of closing the first round corruption they witness. of a phase people hope le corruption. This agency should deal will feature cooperation with all reports received between the majority and minority in Parliament, between MPs and the in complete secrecy, and make sure that they are Cabinet. The hope is for a focus on active work all addressed. 6- Taking immediate procedures to investigate instead of political infighting. Here is the need to follow the Amir’s advice, with the multimillion-dinar deposits scandal and other regards to full enforcement of the law. When it features of corruption, as well as take strict meascomes to national unity, we need to maintain cur- ures against corrupt media outlets. Achieving the above requires the Cabinet rent given circumstances in the region. The Government should work to eliminate the term adopt a strategic approach which makes it easier ‘wasta’ (illegal influence and recommendation) for Parliament to monitor its performance. Some from all procedures in state departments. That is a people might say that realizing the above is unrealistic at the present time, but I believe that it is crucial step in efforts to tackle corruption. Ministers should work to identify errors in their the only way for Kuwait to get out of the political respective ministries, and address them by assess- tensions it remained trapped in for years. — Al-Rai


Now a new Cabinet is in office, Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, who is a man of business and an economist who had nothing to do with education throughout his career, has been appointed Education Minister. This followed the same steps of appointing lawyer Al-Mulaifi for the same post. Magically enough, and within 48 hours of assuming office, Al-Hajraf decides to cancel the previous assessment system in a bid to set things right. a bid to set things right. Undoubtedly, simpler people will see no harm in such a decision that is expected to be welcomed by teachers, students and parents. However, it was shocking for me that such a decision was made at such a short notice and in such haste. Even if it is the right one, it gives us a hint of how this ministry that supervises educating various generations is being run. It shows how silly and superficial decision-making is made at the Ministry of Education. To explain what I mean, let us take these decisions step by step. Al-Mulaifi’s decision was the result of a study conducted by specialists. These included undersecretaries, subject supervisors and teachers. Whereas the impulsive decision by the new minister is totally unacceptable. Either way, this reveals that the Ministry of Education is being run politically, regardless of the opinions of experts. Top MoE officials would not have allowed AlHajraf to cancel the old decision if it had been reached scientifically?! If it had been a random decision, how could specialists allow the former minister make such an absurd decision? An old saying says “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. If we put aside the eloquent statements the new minister made a few days ago about openness and a new era, we will always remember that every new minister is usually over-enthusiastic. So, your Excellency, if you are serious about reform plans, you should start by getting rid of the old buttering-up group of top officials who have been in office for ages regardless of changing ministers. The new ministers all came with their own ambitions and hopes that were crushed by the presence of the old group and education worsened. Get rid of them and start infusing new qualified blood into the ministry’s veins. Have them design new reasonably timed projects to be carried out in association with teachers in the field as the main players, and let there be reward and punishment for all. We will, only then, applaud your decisions and back you up. Otherwise you will join your predecessors!— Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

Between Saadoun and Islamists By Dr Ali Abdullah Jamal y reviewing the constitutional or non-constitutional oath taken by some MPs when 14th parliamentary term was inaugurated, one can sum up the general situation by saying, “What a hell of a state!” The turmoil that preceded the oath-taking ceremony reflects a deep disbelief in Kuwaiti democracy. Furthermore, after listening to the sermon-like speech delivered by the eldest MP, Khaled Al-Sultan which bordered on political and religious fault lines, one can sense that he, may Allah reward him on behalf of us all, outlined Kuwait’s political scenario. In addition, the return of Ahmed Al-Saadoun as Speaker with a majority of 38 votes, indicate how changeable this game of posts can be. The opposition blocs, that form the majority of MPs, have turned pro-government, causing a great deal of embarrassment to Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak’s Cabinet as well as former pro-government MPs. The opposition could really use a great deal of flexibility to make up for its laxity during the previous Parliament. Finally, one has to ask how the Popular Action Bloc (PAB) will handle Islamists’ exaggerations with its leader occupying the position of deputy speaker? — Aljarida



Prison fight leaves 44 dead in Mexico

US sees signs of ‘Iranian activity’ in Yemen Page 8

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SANAA: A Yemeni woman holds a campaign poster of Yemen’s Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and her national flag during a pro-election rally in Sanaa yesterday. —AP

Violence rocks Yemen ahead of vote Explosion batters polling station, gunfire kills soldier


in brief

3 die in failed jailbreak DAVAO: Three people including a local Red Cross volunteer were killed when dozens of armed men tried to free an Islamic militant from jail in the southern Philippines, authorities said yesterday. About 50 men wearing black military-style fatigues attacked the jail in the trading city of Kidapawan late Sunday, with one launching a rocketpropelled grenade at the main gate, said deputy police chief Inspector Rolando Tillera. “They fired an RPG but it misfired. It failed to hit the jail’s gate which was securely locked,” Tillera said. The gunmen then opened fire on the jail with assault rifles but they fled when guards shot back, according to Tillera. He said the gunmen sprayed bystanders with bullets as they retreated and left two bombs to stop security forces from pursuing them. The fighting lasted only about five minutes but three civilians, including a Red Cross volunteer, were killed, Tillera said. Fifteen other people, most of them civilians, were also wounded by bomb shrapnel and bullets, he said. Italy, India at odds ROME: Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi yesterday warned of “considerable differences” with India over the alleged killing of two Indian fishermen mistaken for pirates by Italian soldiers on an oil tanker. “There are currently considerable differences of a legal character. Up to now I have not seen the co-operation between India and Italy that would be desirable and would allow a quick resolution,” Terzi said. Italy says the men have immunity from Indian law as the tanker, the Enrica Lexie, was flying with an Italian flag in international waters as it sailed from Singapore to Egypt when the shooting occurred on Wednesday. The two soldiers, who were deployed on the ship under a new law passed in Italy last year to protect against the growing threat from pirates in the Indian Ocean, were due before an Indian magistrate later. They were escorted off the vessel and arrested on Sunday. Italian officials have said the Indian fishing boat behaved aggressively and was repeatedly warned by officers on board the ship before shots were fired. Students jailed for bullying SEOUL: Two South Korean middle school students received rare prison sentences yesterday for brutally and regularly bullying a classmate who later committed suicide. The court in the southeastern city of Daegu sentenced the two, both 15-years-old, to imprisonment for three and a half years and three years. They were found guilty of beating and insulting their classmate over several months. The victim jumped from an apartment building to his death last December, sparking alarm over school bullying. “Prison sentences are inevitable for the defendants as the court cannot deal loosely with them given the dire reality of rampant school violence,” judge Yang Ji-Jeong said in a statement quoted by Yonhap news agency.

SANAA: A blast tore through a polling station and gunfire nearby killed a soldier in south Yemen yesterday, the eve of a presidential election to replace Ali Abdullah Saleh and launch reforms after a year of mass protests and spreading anarchy. The violence in the port of Aden underlined the challenges Saleh’s successor will face in seeking to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state and draft a new constitution that would underpin multi-party elections in two years’ time. After the explosion, which caused no casualties, unidentified gunmen opened fire on an army patrol in the vicinity, killing a soldier and wounding another, a security official said. It was unclear if the two incidents were related. A vehicle carrying ballot boxes had been attacked a day earlier. Interior Minister Abdul Qader Qahtan said security measures were in place but that some violence in the southern province of Abyan, an Al-Qaeda stronghold, was unavoidable. “There are preventive security measures to confront any contingency ... to confront any group that may attack people,” Qahtan said. “Abyan still has many districts under the control of Al-Qaeda, there are security failures ... and an explosion here and there is expected.” The fact that Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will be the only candidate in the election, under a power transfer deal brokered by Yemen’s Gulf

neighbors, has raised concern about a low turnout that would curb his legitimacy. The vote would make Saleh, now in the United States for further treatment of burns suffered in a June assassination attempt, the fourth Arab autocrat to leave office in a year after revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But prospects for a transition

SANAA: Yemenis attend a pro-election rally in Sanaa yesterday.— AP towards stable representative government remain uncertain at best given Saleh’s vow

to return home to lead his party anew, a split in the military, Al-Qaeda militants entrenched in the south, a Houthi Shi’ite Muslim revolt in the north and a secessionist movement in the south. “These elections are an important milestone for Yemen’s transition,” said UN Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar. “The new government should more actively engage with youth, the Houthis and the Southern Movement. The political process will remain in jeopardy if these constituencies remain outside the political process.” In a speech yesterday, Hadi said Yemen had returned from the brink of collapse and called on the splintered military to help unify the Arabian Peninsula state, where chaos would threaten nearby oil shipping lanes crucial to the world economy. “In the past months Yemen has passed through unprecedented hardship, to the point where the most optimistic of observers expected it to become as fragmented, splintered and destroyed as Somalia,” Hadi said. “We cannot talk about a stable nation without returning life to its natural state and removing the phenomena which have appeared, beginning with the split in the army.” Today’s vote is part of a deal hammered out by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, anxious to avert a slide into lawlessness on their doorstep. Backed by the United States, the United Nations and European Union, the deal

Vandals daub death threats on Jerusalem Baptist church JERUSALEM: Attackers daubed death threats on the walls of the Baptist House church in central Jerusalem overnight and vandalized three cars parked nearby in the latest “price tag” hate crime, police said yesterday. “AntiChristian graffiti was found on the walls of the Baptist church and the tyres of three cars parked nearby were slashed,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld of the church which is located on Narkis Street in west Jerusalem. The Hebrew-language graffiti was written on the exterior walls of the building, with slogans reading: “ We will crucify you” and “Death to Christianity,” an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Church officials were not immediately available to comment on the incident. Chad Knight, business manager for the Baptist Convention of Israel said the church was appalled by the attack. “ The people who did this knew what they were doing. These things call into question the core beliefs of Christianity,” he said. “We are just appalled by them and call on the authorities to take action to find those responsible as quickly as possible.” A week ago, anti-Arab graffiti was sprayed on the walls of a bilingual Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem in what was the second such attack on the establishment in less than a week. “Price tag” is a

euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli extremists, which normally target Palestinians and Arabs and tend to involve the torching and vandalism of cars, mosques and olive trees. But in the past few months, the attacks have widened in scope and also targeted the Israeli army, Israeli anti-settlement activists and more recently several churches. Despite the rising number of attacks, the perpetrators are rarely caught and police say they are often unable to press charges given the lack of evidence. Last year, police handed 65 indictments to extremists suspected of assault or for causing proper t y damage in price tag attacks.—AFP

envisages a new constitution and a referendum paving the way for a multi-party election in two years. But Hadi’s proximity to Saleh and his involvement in a process conceived by diplomats has alienated the Yemeni street, where thousands have camped in shabby tent cities demanding Saleh’s removal. The deal’s offer of immunity to Saleh from prosecution over the killing of protesters has only deepened those suspicions. “The elections are a political scenario mapped out in the GCC initiative but in its essence it is irrelevant to the true ideals of democracy,” said Rana Jarhoum, 29, development worker. “Hadi is going to be elected anyway.” Many also suspect that Hadi will be no more than a caretaker, put in place by Saleh, who has vowed to return after the vote and lead his General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Members of Saleh’s inner circle retain key positions of influence, not least his son Ahmed Ali, who commands the Republican Guards, and Yehia, his nephew, who heads the Central Security Forces. They are locked in a standoff with tribal leader Sadeq Al-Ahmar and dissident General Ali Mohsen. “The continuation of a divided military cannot be sustained. We have to have a reintegrated and reunified military leadership,” said US Ambassador Gerald Feierstein. “There is still a high level of distrust and a lack of confidence between the two sides.” —Reuters



Presidency row shakes German govt coalition Merkel backs East German activist for president

DAKAR: Anti-government protesters advance toward riot police past burning street barricades, on a main road in central Dakar in this photo. — AP

Violence, protests hit Senegal streets DAKAR: Senegal’s opposition called for a new protest yesterday, prompting fears of fresh violence days before polls in which President Abdoulaye Wade’s bid for a third term has upset the normally stable nation. Tensions are running high just six days before elections in the west African nation, a former French colony known for being one of the continent’s pioneer democracies which has never suffered a coup or conflict. Senegal put “to fire and sword” headlined two daily newspapers after fresh riots erupted on Sunday, in which another person was killed, bringing to six the number of dead since protests first began in late January. The opposition June 23 Movement (M23) planned to continue heaping pressure on Wade, 85, to step down ahead of February 26 polls. “We call for a protest at 3:00 pm (1500GMT ) at Independence Square,” said M23 coordinator Alioune Tine. The green square in the heart of the downtown suburb of Plateau, with a grubby fountain which has not spouted water in years, is a few blocks away from the presidential palace and has been fiercely protected by police. Last week approaching protesters clashed with security forces in the sidestreets as they attempted to defy a ban to rally there. During street battles, police

on Friday fired tear gas into a mosque belonging to the country’s biggest Islamic brotherhood, the Tidianes, prompting fury among the faithful and fresh clashes on Sunday. A peaceful gathering degenerated into an hours-long tense standoff with police as angry youths belted riot police with rocks and set fires in main streets. Security forces riposted with rubber bullets and volleys of potent invisible teargas. The violence spread through suburbs of the seaside capital and other main cities and left one dead in the suburb of Rufisque, a religious leader was quoted Monday as saying by the state news agency APS. “The victim was not demonstrating, he had gone to the bakery to buy bread,” Abdoul Aziz Ndoye, a Muslim cleric and the young man’s tutor, said. It was the second death in a weekend of violence ahead of presidential elections. “I cannot understand any justification for such an act,” the imam said, adding that he had agreed with the victim’s family that legal proceedings would be undertaken. When contacted by AFP, the police could not confirm the man’s death, which occurred on Sunday evening Senegal’s Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom later apologized for what he described as a “police blunder”, and urged politicians to hold any rallies away from mosques. — AFP

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to support former East German rights activist Joachim Gauck for the presidency, averting a fight with opposition parties that might have distracted her from tackling the euro zone crisis. Merkel confirmed her support for Gauck, 72, two days after Christian Wulff, her hand-picked choice for president in 2010, resigned in a scandal involving financial favors. The announcement paves the way for Gauck, a Protestant pastor who was a leading figure in the peaceful protest movement that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to be confirmed in the ceremonial post by the Federal Assembly in the coming weeks. “Let’s not forget that it was churchmen like Joachim Gauck who helped bring about East Germany’s peaceful revolution,” Merkel, herself the daughter of a Protestant pastor who grew up in the failed German Democratic Republic (GDR), told a news conference in the Chancellery in Berlin. Wulff’s departure was a blow to Merkel because she pushed through his election in 2010 despite the fact many Germans and the leading opposition parties wanted Gauck to become president. By supporting Gauck now, Merkel exposes herself to accusations that she erred in her choice two years ago. But refusing to back

him could have unleashed a divisive battle with the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens that might have been even more harmful. Berlin is spearheading European efforts to save Greece from a chaotic default and Merkel

number of pastors who supported the protests that ultimately brought down the East German regime, setting the stage for the reunification of Germany in 1990. When Gauck was 11, his father was arrested by communist authorities

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Former East German rights activist Joachim Gauck (left) stands next to German chancellor Angela Merkel after they gave a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin to announce that Gauck will replace resigned Christian Wulff as German president. — AFP cannot afford to be distracted by and sent to the Gulag in Siberia. After the Berlin Wall fell, Gauck ran domestic political fights. She is riding a wave of populari- the state-run archives on the Stasi, ty at home for her steady leader- earning recognition for exposing ship in the debt crisis and may the crimes of the dreaded East have come to the conclusion that German secret police. Appearing jumping on the Gauck bandwagon somewhat overwhelmed, Gauck was the best way to keep her told reporters he had just landed in momentum. Gauck was one of a Berlin and was getting into a taxi

when Merkel called to give him the news. “What moves me the most is that a person who was born during this sinister, dark war and then lived through 50 years of dictatorship, that such a person should be called upon to become head of state,” Gauck said. “The most important thing for me is that the people in this country learn once again that they live in a good country that they can love.” The opposition SPD and Greens, who nominated him two years ago, argue that he is the ideal person to restore credibility to the office after the premature departure of Wulff and his predecessor Horst Koehler, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While the president has no power over policy, the person in the role has been seen as a source of moral guidance and can influence the political debate by giving speeches. Merkel was criticized in 2010 because many Germans thought Wulff, a regional politician from her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with no major accomplishments to his name, did not have the right profile for the job. Influential weekly Der Spiegel put a picture of Gauck on its cover in June that year, shortly after Merkel nominated Wulff, with the headline “The better president”. — Reuters

Russia middle class turn against Putin MOSCOW: Until just a few months ago, Konstantin Sharets, a company executive in Moscow, had not shown any interest in politics. But exasperated by corruption that throws obstacles in the way of any attempt to build a business in Russia, his patience snapped when Vladimir Putin’s party won a fraction under 50 percent in fraud-tainted parliamentary polls. He joined tens of thousands of other Russians, most of them representatives of the country’s growing middle class, in attending mass protests against Putin aimed at telling the Russian strongman that enough was enough. Their horizons broadened by foreign travel

and connected by constant Internet access, the middle class have formed the core of the protest movement against Putin’s rule. But ironically it is the relative economic stability created during Putin’s 12 year domination that has created a substantial middle class in Russia with disposable incomes and an increasingly critical mentality. “It is important that people go out en masse into the streets to show the authorities and the rest of the world that a substantial part of the population desires change and wants to be heard,” Sharets said. “We want there to be less corruption in the country,” said the 39-year-old, complaining that corrupt

bureaucrats were still placing an “inconceivable” number of obstacles in the way of entrepreneurs. The authorities were taken by surprise by the protestors’ middle class profile, said Natalia Tikhonova, a sociologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Whereas previously in Russia political and social demands had been made largely by the working class, “today it is the middle class that is expressing itself.” In Russia this meant white collar workers, employees of small business, office workers, as well as teachers and doctors, Tikhonova said. Taken together, they represent 33 to 35 percent of the Russian population, she added. — AFP



High court examines lying about military exploits WASHINGTON: Xavier Alvarez was in good company when he stood up at a public meeting and called himself a wounded war veteran who had received the top military award, the Medal of Honor. Alvarez was lying about his medal, his wounds and his military service, but he wasn’t the first man to invent war exploits. He was, however, one of the first people prosecuted under a 2006 federal law aimed at curbing false claims of military valor. Concerns that the law improperly limits speech and turns people into criminals for things they say, rather than do, are at the heart of the Supreme Court’s review of his case and the Stolen Valor Act. Veterans groups have come to the aid of the Obama administration, which calls the law a narrowly crafted effort to protect the system of military awards that was established during the Revolutionary war by Gen George

Washington. The high court will hear the case Wednesday, which is Washington’s 280th birthday. “They’re committing fraud. They’re impersonating somebody else. They take on attributes of somebody else, attributes of a hero who served honorably,” said Pam Sterner, whose college term paper calling for the law wound up in the hands of members of Congress. “When you do that, impersonating someone else, that’s fraud, not freedom of speech.” Civil liberties groups, writers, publishers and news media outlets, including The Associated Press, have told the justices they worry the law, and especially the administration’s defense of it, could lead to more attempts by government to regulate speech. When he established military decorations in 1782, seven years before he was elected as the nation’s first president, Washington himself also prescribed

severe military punishment for soldiers who purported to be medal winners but weren’t. Since then, many men have embellished their war records, and some have won special recognition. It long has been a federal crime to wear unearned medals, but mere claims of being decorated were beyond the reach of law enforcement. The House of Representatives has more than once voted to name a post office after men who claimed awards they never received. The Air Force named an award after a man who falsely claimed to have survived the Bataan Death March and been awarded the Silver Star in World War II. The Boxing Writers of America named its perseverance award after the late Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated because of his made-up tale of surviving a Chinese prisoner of war camp in the Korean War and receiving a Navy

Cross. The Stolen Valor Act aimed to solve that problem, and garnered significant support in Congress during a time of war. “ The admiration and respect for the military increased dramatically after 9/11 and the false claims, as well,” said Thomas A Cottone Jr, a retired FBI agent who investigated phony award cases. Alvarez made his claims by way of introducing himself as an elected member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Pomona, Calif. There is nothing to suggest that he received anything in exchange or that listeners especially believed him. Even Alvarez’ lawyers acknowledged their client sometimes has trouble telling the truth. “Xavier Alvarez lied,” they declare in the first sentence of their Supreme Court brief and go on to recount six separate lies in the next few lines. He lied when he claimed he played hockey for the

Detroit Red Wings, married a Mexican starlet who made paparazzi swoon, was an engineer, rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis and was shot when he went back for the US flag. Alvarez also lied, they said, when he talked about his military service. But the lies Alvarez told harmed no one, they said, so what he did couldn’t be considered fraud. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the law as an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and said the government might instead invest in an awards database that would make it harder for people to lay claim to medals they never won. Last month, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the law in a separate case, saying the First Amendment does not always protect false statements. — AP

Prison fight leaves 44 dead in Mexico Rival gangs battle at an overcrowded prison

COLUMBUS: Supporters cheer for Republican presidential candidate and former US Sen Rick Santorum during a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio. — AFP

Santorum questions Obama’s world view CUMMING: Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum accused President Barack Obama of advocating a “world view” that is different from that of most Americans as he accused the Democratic incumbent of promoting the ideas of “radical environmentalists” and encouraging more abortions by requiring insurers to pay for prenatal tests. Obama’s campaign in turn Sunday criticized the former Pennsylvania senator for unfairly attacking the president’s faith as the Republican nominating contest has pivoted from emphasizing the economy to social issues. Santorum, a staunch opponent of abortion and gay rights, has surged past Mitt Romney in recent opinion polls of Republican voters after winning contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri on Feb 7. Several polls have shown Santorum leading in Romney’s native state of Michigan, where his father served as governor. The primaries in Michigan and Arizona on Feb 28 mark the end of a lull in the state-by-state contests to choose delegates to the party’s national convention in late August in Tampa, Florida.

Though Santorum has climbed in the polls, Romney is considered the Republican front-runner nationwide, with more delegates from state-by-state voting that are necessary to claim the party’s nomination. The multimillionaire former private equity firm CEO also has far more money and a much stronger campaign organization than Santorum. The two other rivals for the Republican Party nomination are former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and the libertarian-leaning Texas Rep Ron Paul. Meanwhile, Obama has seen his ratings in the polls steadily rising as the economy - by far his biggest weakness continues to show signs of a recovery. Santorum’s attacks on Obama reflect an effort to position himself as the leading conservative alternative to Romney by appealing to the large bloc of religious voters and supporters of the small government, anti-tax tea party movement. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has struggled to win over the party’s conservative base which is wary of his shifting positions on sensitive issues like abortion and health care reform. — AP

MEXICO CITY: At least 44 people died in a fight between rival gangs at an overcrowded prison in northern Mexico in a violent outbreak that authorities said could have been a distraction that allowed some inmates to escape. Victims were beaten, stabbed and stoned when the fight broke out on Sunday. Inmates at the prison in Monterrey, about 140 miles from the border with Texas, include members of Mexico’s Gulf cartel as well as the feared Zetas cartel. “We can’t rule out the possibility that some prisoners escaped, which also could be a motive if the fight started as a distraction,” said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state government. “When we count the prisoners, and the number of confirmed dead, there are some missing,” he said. Investigators said corrupt prison guards may have been involved in facilitating the disturbance at the prison and authorities were holding all the prison officials for questioning, Domene told a news conference late on Sunday. In recent years there have been a number of prison breaks in Mexico, sometimes with the aid of complicit guards. Sunday’s violence was the second deadly incident at a Latin American prison within a week. Desperate overcrowding in Honduras’ prisons last week led to a massive fire in a rundown jail that killed more than

350 inmates. The prison in Monterrey is, like many in Mexico, overcrowded as a result of the

It was not clear if the fight was between members of the Gulf and Zetas cartels, Domene said. “We

MONTERREY: A woman shows a list of the inmates dead inside the Apodaca prison as relatives wait outside the prison, near Monterrey, state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. — AFP five-year-old drug war President Felipe Calderon has been waging against cartels.

hope that once the bodies are identified, we’ll be able to say who was responsible for the attack,” he

Winter storm dumps snow on the US South

Republican presidential battle could get messy WASHINGTON: On February 6, it all seemed so clear. Mitt Romney had won landslides in Florida and Nevada and looked set to soon lock up the Republican presidential nomination to take on Barack Obama in November. But if a week is a long time in US politics, two weeks is an age. The meteoric rise of Christian conservative Rick Santorum, a strong opponent of gay marriage and abortion, has turned the race on its head. Victories on February 7 in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado have catapulted Santorum from a distant third to first-a Gallup poll now gives the former Pennsylvania senator an eight percentage point lead over Romney nationally. Should he pull off a win on February 28 in Romney’s home state of Michigan, all bets will be off and the Republican establishment will be left facing the specter of a bitter fight all the way to its August 27-30 convention. There is no disguising the fact that Santorum’s views on subjects like homosexuality and abortion are out of step with many Americans and some are predicting there will be panic in the Republican Party should he win Michigan. At the heart of the matter is the fact that his brand of highly moralistic social conservatism, which plays well in the Republican primaries, is seen as sharply at odds with the centrist message needed to win a general election. Romney carries baggage from his governorship of liberal Massachusetts, including well-documented flip-flops on gay marriage and abortion, and has

demonstrated a dogged inability to connect with core Republican voters. It is now anyone’s guess whether his campaign’s superiority in terms of wealth and organization will be enough to carry him over the line. In a sign of growing desperation, a prominent Republican senator told ABC News recently that if Romney loses Michigan, the party should try to entice a new candidate into the race. “We’d get killed,” the unnamed senator replied when asked how Romney would then fare against Obama. “He’d be too damaged, if he can’t even win in Michigan, where his family is from, where he grew up.” What about Santorum? “He’d lose 35 states,” the senator said, predicting the same fate for former House speaker Newt Gingrich. If no one reaches the magic number of 1,144 delegates in the state-by-state voting battle, it allows for what is called a brokered convention, when backroom deals are needed to push a certain candidate over the top. A new candidate could theoretically enter the later contests and win enough delegates to present themselves at the convention as the party’s savior. Karl Rove, George W Bush’s chief strategist, dismissed the idea as “about as remote as life on Pluto” on Fox News Sunday, accusing pundits of suffering from “premature electionitis” so early on in the contest. But Joe Trippi, former campaign manager to one-time Democratic hopeful Howard Dean, disagreed, saying that if Romney loses Michigan, “the train wreck keeps happening” and someone new will likely jump in. — AFP

said earlier in the day. The prison held about 80 percent more prisoners than it was designed for, Domene said, adding many of the inmates were charged with federal crimes related to drug trafficking. In Mexico, where prisoners held on federal drug charges are mixed with common criminals, the system is troubled by violence tied to the powerful drug cartels battling for control of smuggling routes along the US-Mexican border. During another fight between rival gangs in January in a prison in the northern part of the country, 31 inmates died and 13 were wounded. Collusion between guards and prisoners is also a long-standing problem. In the most notorious example, collusion lead to the escape of Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, from jail in a laundry basket in 2001. In 2010, more than 140 inmates escaped through the front gate of a prison in Tamaulipas state, helped by prison officials. About 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past five years since Calderon launched an armybacked offensive against drug gangs shortly after taking office. Drug violence hit Monterrey, the wealthy capital of Nuevo Leon state, when the Zetas split off from their former employers the Gulf cartel and began fighting for control of drug trafficking routes and other criminal rackets in the city. — Reuters

MICHIGAN: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at The Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Farmington Hills, Michigan. — AFP

Latino Mormons speaking out against Mitt Romney ALBUQUERQUE: When Honduran-born Antonella Cecilia Packard converted to the Mormon faith 20 years ago, she said it was like “coming home.” The Catholiceducated Packard, who grew up in “the middle of Mayan ruins,” appreciated the faith’s strong sense of family and conservative values. She also saw her own history in the Book of Mormon with stories of migrations, tragedies and triumphs of a people many Mormons believe are the ancestors of some present-day Latinos. But two decades after her conversion while a college student in the US, the 43year-old Packard finds herself on a new mission: defeating Mitt Romney and any Mormon politician who betrays what she sees as a basic Mormon principle of protecting immigrants. As Romney continues to seek the Republican presidential nomination while rarely discussing his faith, a growing number of vocal Hispanic Mormons say they intend to use Mormon teachings as a reason to convince others not to vote for him. They have held firesides

(equivalent to a tent revival) on immigration, protested outside of Romney campaign events and have traveled across state lines to help defeat other Mormon politicians with similar harsh immigration stances. “Yes, we are happy that we have a Mormon running for president,” said Packard, a Utah resident and member of Somos (We are) Republicans. “But a lot of us aren’t supporting him because of his stance against immigrants.” While stressing the Mormon faith’s historic connection to converting immigrants, Latino Mormons point directly to immigration stories in the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ recent statements against policies targeting immigrants. They also view Romney’s stance against proposals giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship as hypocritical since Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, who had five wives and 30 children, sought refuge in Mexico after passage of an 1882 law that barred polygamy. — AP

RICHMOND: A winter storm that dumped several inches of snow across parts of the South, causing power outages, slippery roads and numerous accidents during the Presidents Day holiday weekend, moved out to sea yesterday. Crews were working to restore power to tens of thousands of households that lost electricity as a result of the storm. The storm brought as much as 9 inches of snow to some areas on Sunday as it powered its way from Kentucky and Tennessee to West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The storm system was expected to push off the coast, with the nation’s capital getting only snow flurries, according to the National Weather Service. The storm hit toward the end of what has been an otherwise mild winter in the region. In northern Tennessee, about 20 vehicles were involved in crashes along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 75 near the Kentucky border on Sunday afternoon. Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt Stacy Heatherly said the crashes were reported shortly before 2 pm in near “white-out” conditions caused by heavy snowfall and fog. Police said a youth was seriously injured. All lanes of Interstate 75 had reopened by early evening. Dozens of wrecks were also reported in North Carolina as snow, sleet and rain fell with little accumulation, according to The Winston-Salem Journal. In Virginia, the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 were shut down following a two-vehicle crash that critically injured one man, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The accident was reported at about 6:20 pm on I-95 near the interchange with Interstate 295 in Prince George County. The male driver of one vehicle suffered life-threatening injuries, and an adult male passenger in the same vehicle also was hospitalized. Snow began sticking in the Richmond area after dark, and Virginia State Police had responded to about 700 crashes as of 10 pm. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that only an inch or two of snow had fallen north of Interstate 85 in North Carolina, though more was expected close to the Virginia line. The weather service has issued a winter weather advisory for the Raleigh-Durham area until 9 am. Officials were advising motorists to use caution when driving in the morning, as some return to work and others travel on Presidents Day. Wet snow also downed power lines. — AP


i n t e r n at i o n a l

Myanmar declares a war on opium TAR PU VILLAGE: In Myanmar’s new war on drugs, meet the weapon of mass destruction: the weedwhacker. Its two-stroke engine spins a metal blade, which is more commonly deployed to tame the suburban gardens of wealthy Westerners. But today, in a remote valley in impoverished Shan State, Myanmar police armed with weed-whackers are advancing through fields of thigh-high poppies, leaving a carpet of stems in their wake. When the police are finished, their uniforms are flecked with a sticky brown sap harvested from these flowers for centuries: opium. Myanmar produced an estimated 610 tons in 2011, making it the world’s second-biggest opium supplier after Afghanistan, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The area under poppy cultivation has doubled in the past five years. Now, emerging from half a century of military dictatorship, Myanmar says it wants to buck that trend. Since taking power a year ago, the nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein has launched a series of political and economic reforms. It has also dramatically accelerated a campaign to eradicate opium poppies and shed Myanmar’s pariah status as one of the world’s top drug producers. Myanmar officials allowed a Reuters reporter and photographer to visit former conflict areas in remote Shan State to examine the campaign, marking the first time in decades that Western journalists were able to report freely in the region. The five-day journey with the UNODC and local police came as Myanmar appeals to foreign donors for half a billion dollars to finance a program it says will wean 256,000 households off poppy-growing over the next three years. WIPED OUT BY 2014? “Every year the international community spends millions of dollars (on anti-narcotics initiatives) in countries like Afghanistan and Colombia, and the outcome is not satisfactory,” Sit Aye, senior legal advisor to President Thein Sein, said in an interview. “Here, with international assistance, we guarantee to wipe out the opium problem by 2014.” It is an ambitious goal. Police, soldiers and villagers armed with sticks and weed-whackers have destroyed 21,256 hectares of poppy fields since September, more than triple the area eradicated during the previous growing season, according to Myanmar’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC). This has

potentially prevented almost 30 tons of heroin, opium’s most notorious derivative, from hitting the world market, according to calculations based on UNODC statistics. But opium had been harvested from some poppies before they were destroyed, Reuters found. And while more poppy is being destroyed, more is also being grown: the total area under cultivation will likely rise by about 10 percent between 2011 and 2012, the UNODC estimated. This suggests that, with or without foreign assistance, Myanmar’s three-year target is unrealistic. Most opium produced in Myanmar comes

United States recently upgraded diplomatic ties with the long-isolated Southeast Asian nation after Hillary Clinton’s historic visit there in November, the first by an American secretary of state since 1955. But the US and European countries regard Myanmar’s making peace with its long-suffering ethnic minorities as a key condition for lifting crippling economic sanctions. ALTERNATIVE CROPS Chopping down opium poppies is the easy part. Helping former poppy-growing families develop alternative crops and livelihoods is complicated and costly.

YANGON: Photo shows locals visiting a wet market on the outskirts of Yangon. — AFP from Shan State, a rugged and lawless region bordering China, Thailand and Laos. It is part of the Golden Triangle, which is probably named after the gold once used to buy opium. Here, and in neighboring Kachin State, poppies thrive not just on cooler weather and higher altitudes, but on poverty and conflict. For half a century, Myanmar has been torn apart by fighting between government forces and various ethnic rebel groups ranged along its borders, where people have endured the worst human rights abuses. The

In Afghanistan, on the other side of the Himalayas, opium production is so vast and sophisticated that it resembles a legitimate agribusiness in some areas. But in Myanmar, poppies are produced mainly by subsistence farmers who depend upon the cash opium generates to buy food. About 256,000 households are involved in opium poppy cultivation, the UNODC estimates. The opium yield from an acre of Myanmar poppy is worth about $1,000. That’s a life-saving sum of money in Myanmar,

where a third of its 60 million people live on a dollar a day. “The rapid elimination of opium poppy creates serious problems for these households,” Eligh said. “You have people who couldn’t harvest their poppies, who don’t have any money, having to survive for the next five or six months with almost nothing.” Alternative crops can’t be planted until the rains come in June or July. “We’ve got a very narrow window,” Eligh continued. “If they don’t get help during that period, then there is a very real chance that they’ll go back to poppy.” The UNODC argues that the ceasefires create a rare opportunity for the international community to help Myanmar tackle its opium problem-and, by extension, its civil war. The CCDAC is asking the international community for $524.48 million to develop alternative livelihoods for poppygrowing households. Getting it will be an uphill task. Thanks to sanctions, Myanmar receives less humanitarian aid per capita than almost any other poor country. “After 1988 we were sanctioned and banned by Western countries,” said Police Colonel Tin Maung Maung, the most senior operational officer in the CCDAC. “We got no assistance from them.” Without outside help, he said, “We cannot do it. We need international support.” BLESSING AND CURSE Myanmar’s strategic location is a blessing and a curse. As it emerges from nearly 50 years of isolation and misrule, the country’s long borders with China, India and Thailand grant access to Asia’s most dynamic economies. They also make it a regional hub for manufacturing and distributing narcotics. It shares a porous 2,100-km frontier with China, where 2.2 million users consumed 45 tons of mostly Myanmar heroin in 2008, said the UNODC. Shan State is named after Myanmar’s largest ethnic minority. The road east from its capital, the former British colonial hill-station of Taunggyi, is a ribbon of blacktop unfurling through rice fields and bustling market towns. At the roadside, Buddhist novice monks in maroon robes held out bowls to solicit donations. Many fields were so remote and well-hidden that not even satellite maps were much help. “Sometimes, we have a map but still can’t find the field,” said Sai Aung Kyaw Win, 39, a veteran UNODC surveyor who spends months trekking through Myanmar’s poppy-growing areas. “We just walk around in circles.”— Reuters

41 child suicide bombers rescued in Afghanistan Three Italian soldiers killed

ISLAMABAD: A protester looks to the camera during a rally in Islamabad yesterday. — AP

Thousands gather for anti-US demo ISLAMABAD: Several thousand Pakistanis poured onto the streets of Islamabad yesterday, chanting “death to America” and demanding holy war at a rally whipped up by right-wing, religious and banned organizations. It was the latest show of support for Defense of Pakistan, a coalition of around 40 parties chaired by a cleric dubbed the father of the Taleban that include organizations blacklisted at home and abroad as terror groups. “Today, we have gathered here to raise a voice of protest against US intervention in Pakistan,” chairman Maulana Sami ulHaq, who runs an extremist madrassa that educated several Taleban leaders said. Also present was member Hamid Gul, who headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency during the 1980s Pakistani-sponsored war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan that gave rise to Al-Qaeda and the Taleban. His membership has helped fuel suspicions that Pakistan’s security establishment is backing the coalition as a means of exerting pressure on the weak government and whipping up rhetoric against the unpopular US alliance. “Our protest is against the possible resumption of NATO supplies, US and Indian occupation and to strengthen the country’s defense,” Haq said. “America wants to break

Pakistan into pieces,” he added in reference to a resolution sponsored by three US lawmakers calling for self-determination in Pakistan’s insurgency-torn southwestern province of Baluchistan. The alliance, which uses Twitter and Facebook to promote its message, was set up after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border in late November, which saw Pakistan shut its Afghan border to NATO supplies. “Death to America” and “America deserves one treatment: jihad, jihad” shouted the crowd in a bustling commercial area, an AFP reporter said. The coalition has already attracted large turnouts at a series of rallies across the country that some see as a build up to contesting Pakistan’s next general election, which could be called within months. Allah Buksh, a senior police official, said 2,500 attended the demonstration as it got underway, but witnesses estimated the crowd at 3,500 as hundreds of riot police, armed with batons and wearing bullet-proof jackets stood guard. “America can never be our friend, it is our biggest enemy. America will be defeated in Afghanistan and divided into pieces,” Mian Aslam, a former lawmaker from the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party told the rally.— AFP

Indonesian ruling party in danger of losing poll JAKARTA: Support for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s ruling Democrat Party has dropped so sharply it could be pushed out in the next election, a survey suggested yesterday. Yudhoyono was re-elected for a second and final term in 2009 on a platform to tackle rampant graft in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, but his popularity has steadily fallen in the past year over concerns over progress of the anti-corruption drive. The next presidential election is in 2014. The February poll of 2,050 people by the Indonesian Survey Institute projected that if a general election were held now, the Democrat Party would win 13.7 percent of the vote, down from a 21 percent share in a previous poll a year ago and in its 2009 election victory. The Golkar Party, a member of the ruling coalition, would get 15.5

percent, slightly up from 14 percent in 2009. Golkar’s leader, tycoon Aburizal Bakrie, is expected to contest the next presidential election. “If the Democrat Party doesn’t do something to restore its anti-corruption image, support will keep on dropping and it’s possible that Golkar could win the 2014 elections,” said Dodi Ambardi, a political expert from the Indonesian Survey Institute. Graft remains a major obstacle for many foreign firms thinking of doing business in Indonesia now it has been granted investment grade status. The Democrat Party’s former treasurer has been charged with corruption, while another senior Democrat lawmaker has been named as a suspect, throwing the spotlight on institutional graft, despite the country’s solid economic performance.— Reuters

KABUL: The Afghan government said yesterday that police had rescued 41 children from becoming suicide bombers as they were about to be smuggled across the mountains into Pakistan. Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told a news conference that the children aged six to 11 had been released on February 15 from the clutches of four insurgents in eastern Kunar province. He said their families “were fooled by terrorists”, who promised to send them to seminaries in Pakistan where they would be “brainwashed” and “prepared for suicide bombings against Afghan and international troops in Afghanistan”. Police arrested the four suspects and the children were returned to their families, the spokesman said. The Afghan government has accused madrassas in Pakistan of teaching violent extremism and sponsoring Islamist violence, a legacy of Afghanistan’s 1979-89 US and Pakistanisponsored mujahideen uprising against Soviet troops. On February 12, Afghan authorities announced the arrest of two 10-year-old would-be suicide bombers allegedly planning to attack Afghan and international forces in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taleban’s birthplace. They had been reportedly released last August, along with 18 other children, after receiving a pardon from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Taleban, which is leading a 10-year insurgency against Karzai’s government and 130,000 US-led foreign troops, have repor tedly used children and teenagers to conduct attacks on security forces. In another development, three Italian soldiers died yesterday in a car accident in western Afghanistan, officials said. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano issued a condolence message expressing his “deep emotion” over the news of the deaths in Herat province. NATO forces had previously said three soldiers died in “an operation” but Napolitano’s statement confirmed that they were killed in an accident. The Italian soldiers were in a convoy going to survey a canal project in Herat’s Shindand district when their vehicle crashed into a canal, said provincial police spokesman Rauf Ahmadi. The Italian news agency ANSA said that the soldiers’ armored vehicle over-

turned while crossing a stream. Also yesterday, a suicide car bomber attacked a police station in southern Afghanistan’s largest city, Kandahar, killing one police officer. The attacker drove a Toyota Corolla up to the checkpoint outside of the Kandahar police station and detonated his explosives, said the city’s police chief, Abdul Raziq. Four people were wounded in the explosion - two police officers and two civilians, he added.

rity forces. The city of Kandahar has continued to be the target of attacks despite a massive campaign by NATO and Afghan forces last year to increase security in and around the city. Attacks have also continued in other parts of the country. Shindand - where the Italians died - was the site of a drive-by shooting on Sunday. Mohammad Salim, a police commander in Shindand, said two men on a motorcycle drove up

KABUL: An Afghan man walks as snow falls in Kabul yesterday. Harsh winter weather has killed at least 40 children in Afghanistan in a month, two dozen of them in refugee camps in Kabul, and aid groups warn of more deaths as temperatures keep falling. —AFP Gunfire could be heard immediately following the blast, but Raziq said the shots came from the police. A civilian compound nearby was also destroyed, according to a statement from the Kandahar government’s media office. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it fit the pattern of Taleban assaults, which usually focus on government installations or secu-

and fired shots at police officers who were shopping in the market. One officer and a boy who was standing nearby were killed. And a Turkish engineer who was working on construction projects in Shindand was kidnapped over the weekend, Salim said. He said kidnappers forced the man into a car as he was leaving the airport on Saturday. He did not provide further details.— Agencies

Australia’s Rudd told to ‘put up or shut up’ SYDNEY: Prime Minister Julia Gillard insisted yesterday she has strong support from her Labor colleagues as party critics told Kevin Rudd to “put up or shut up” with leadership tensions reaching fever pitch. Amid speculation that a leadership ballot could come as early as next week, Gillard said she was focusing on the government’s reform agenda. “I’m getting on with the job with the strong support of my caucus colleagues,” she told reporters. “I’m getting on with my job. Kevin Rudd’s getting on with his.” Rudd, now foreign minister, was ousted in a shock party coup in June 2010 by Gillard, then his deputy. But she is now badly lagging in the polls and talk has intensified that he is preparing to challenge her for the top job. Party insiders were cited by the media as saying a leadership ballot could come as early as next Monday, when parliament sits again. Rudd is currently in Mexico for the G20 meeting and former Labor leader Simon Crean launched a scathing attack on him yesterday, saying he had been “internally disloyal”. He said Rudd needed to be a “team player” and that he should “put up or shut up” to resolve the long-running speculation.

“If Kevin Rudd can’t be part of the team, let him exit the team,” he told ABC radio. “If he thinks he’s got the numbers, let him challenge. “Kevin hasn’t got the numbers to challenge. He’s well short of anywhere near a majority. He can’t win.” The Australian newspaper reported that in the 103-member Labor caucus, Gillard currently had the support of 51 MPs while 31 were behind Rudd with 21 undecided. In a separate interview with Sky News, Crean said the dispute was “starving Labor of oxygen”. “This has got to end,” he said. Rudd told reporters in Mexico he was “disappointed” by Crean’s remarks and attempted to downplay the simmering tensions. Asked whether he would challenge Gillard, he said: “That is not in prospect, because we have a prime minister and I am the foreign minister.” Gillard herself was asked repeatedly during a press conference whether she would discipline or sack Rudd for disloyalty, but refused to give a direct answer. She also dodged questions on whether she would call a leadership ballot. “My focus is on doing what I need to do today as prime minister, to set us up to be the nation we want to be in the

future,” she said. “As prime minister, I’ll continue to show my characteristic determination to get the job done.” Rudd on Sunday denied he was preparing a challenge but also insisted he was a changed man and had learned to be less controlling and to consult more broadly-two key criticisms that saw him lose office. His comments followed the publication of a video on the Internet showing him in an expletive-ridden rant about a Chinese interpreter. The two-minute video, uploaded onto YouTube by a user calling themselves “HappyVegemiteKR”, shows an irate Rudd trying to record a message in Mandarin and railing against the interpreter who wrote the text. Gillard’s office denied leaking the footage. Several of Gillard’s ministerial colleagues meanwhile threw their support behind her yesterday, including Education Minister Peter Garrett, Defense Minister Stephen Smith and Trade Minister Craig Emerson. “There is a campaign on here and it’s a campaign that is anti-Labor. It’s against the interests of the government of Australia and it’s against the national interest and it should stop,” said Emerson.— AFP



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Myanmar lifts campaign restrictions YANGON: Myanmar election authorities lifted restrictions on political campaigning yesterday in an unusually swift response to complaints by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. The National League for Democracy said earlier in the day that the restrictions risked making upcoming by-elections unfair. The state Union Election Commission’s decision to lift all restrictions was unusual. Bureaucratic wheels grind slowly even where there are no political hurdles in the country where an elected, nominally civilian government took office almost a year ago after a half-century of military rule. NLD spokesman Nyan Win had said the party was facing difficulty in getting permission to use public venues for its meetings ahead of the April 1 polls. “What we want is fair play but the restrictions have increased lately. It is very difficult to say that the

upcoming by-elections could be free and fair,” Nyan Win told reporters. However, he said the state Union Election Commission had informed the party that “all restrictions are lifted for the organizational activities.” “There is now a flicker of hope,” Nyan Win commented. Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is running for one of the 48 parliamentary seats being contested in April. Her party overwhelmingly won a 1990 general election but the military refused to allow it to take power. The NLD boycotted a 2010 general election, saying the rules were unfair. It agreed to rejoin electoral politics last year when the new military-backed elected president, Thein Sein, began implementing democratic reforms. The government has released political prisoners and amended some election laws among other changes, while arguing that Western

political and economic sanctions imposed because of the repression under the past military regime should be lifted. The US and other nations have specifically cited a fair election as a benchmark by which Thein Sein’s administration will be judged. Nyan Win, also the NLD’s campaign manager, had said some government organizations blocked the party’s campaign activities even though the election commission had approved them. He said Sports Minister Tint Hsan had objected to the NLD’s use of football fields in three constituencies - Hlegu in northern Yangon, the central city of Mandalay and the Irrawaddy delta town of Phyapon after local election commissions had approved such meetings. Tint Hsan’s son, Phyo Ko Ko Tint Hsan, is a candidate in the by-elections for the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. Nyan Win

also said the election commission in Mogaung township in Kachin State had refused to allow the NLD to organize in a village called Namti on security grounds. Sporadic but sometimes fierce fighting has been waged in Kachin state between government troops and ethnic Kachin rebels, who have long sought more autonomy and have faced increased repression in the past year. “The authorities said they will not give permission for the NLD to campaign in Namti village because of security reasons. If security in the region is good enough for the government to hold elections, then it is inappropriate to ban organizational activity based on security grounds,” Nyan Win said. Nyan Win said the party would now be allowed to campaign in Namti. Suu Kyi is scheduled to visit Kachin State this Thursday and Friday on an organizational trip. —AP

PYAR PON: Supporters wave miniature flags from boats on a campaign trip of Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to Pyar Pon township in Pyar Pon, Myanmar. —AP

Seoul holds military drills despite Pyongyang threat N Korea threatens to respond with ‘merciless’ attack

H0NG KONG: File photo shows Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Henry Tang and his wife Lisa Kuo Yu-chin casting their votes in the Legislative Council Election in Hong Kong. —AFP

Mired in scandal, Tang eyes Hong Kong top job HONG KONG: Tycoon Henry Tang threw his hat into the ring to become Hong Kong’s next leader yesterday, defying growing calls to quit amid a scandal over an illegally built luxury den under a swimming pool. Tang, formerly Hong Kong’s number two official who only last week had appeared the China-backed frontrunner in next month’s election, has seen his popularity tumble over allegations of an extramarital affair, verbal gaffes and now the row over the basement in the grounds of a family villa. What riled the public more than the building of the basement, which newspapers reported as having a wine cellar, home theatre, gymnasium and a jacuzzi, was that Tang blamed the construction on his wife. Despite calls for him to quit, Tang formally submitted his nomination to replace outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang yesterday after securing just 379 nominations from a 1,200-strong election committee. Michael DeGolyer, political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University, said 379 was an embarrassingly small number, given that Tang was “the more or less undoubted frontrunner” until last Thursday. “As data starts coming out about how Henry Tang is falling off the charts in terms of public support, and if (Beijing) were to

even try to impose Henry Tang ... (when) you have a majority of the public in favor of someone like C Y Leung, it would make Hong Kong ungovernable,” he said. “It is simply not going to work. And I think that that’s going to be blisteringly apparent rather soon.” C Y Leung, or Leung Chunying, a government adviser and surveyor, is known to have some support in Beijing and is Tang’s nearest contender. Hong Kong’s former security chief-turned-politician, Regina Ip, also said she would run in the race to replace Tsang, knighted by the Queen of England and a trusted aide to Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten. With China facing a critical leadership transition later in the year, the Tang scandal will be unwelcome in the small but influential city whose moves towards full democracy have antagonized China’s Communist leaders since 1997 when it returned from British to Chinese rule. Hong Kong’s seven million people have no direct vote for their next leader despite promises by Beijing eventually to grant the city full democracy. A poll by the University of Hong Kong showed on Sunday that 51.3 percent of 516 people surveyed wanted Tang out of the race while 79.5 percent thought his integrity was questionable. —Reuters

Malaysia, Thai leaders discuss border unrest KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian and Thai leaders vowed to work together to address a simmering rebellion in Muslimmajority border regions of southern Thailand during talks yesterday. The pledge came after a meeting between Malaysian premier Najib Razak and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra, who took office in August and is finishing up a round of visits aimed at introducing herself to her neighbors. Najib said the pair “discussed the need to find a long-term and durable peaceful solution in the south” of Thailand, where a seven-year Muslim insurgency has left thousands dead. “Prime Minister Yingluck has requested Malaysia to provide whatever assistance and cooperation we can to help Thailand in the process towards a long-term solution in the south,” Najib said at a joint press appearance. Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. Yingluck, the

younger sister of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, had originally been scheduled to visit Malaysia in October but postponed the trip as she grappled with Thailand’s worst floods in half a century. Her one-day visit comes as Thai authorities are investigating last week’s failed bomb plot in Bangkok, which involves Iranian suspects and allegedly targeted Israeli diplomats. Two Iranian nationals have been charged by Thai authorities and officials in Thailand have said they will seek the extradition of another Iranian man who fled to Malaysia, where he was arrested. Malaysia has said it will cooperate with Thailand but is still holding the suspect pending an investigation by Malaysian police. Malaysian officials said the case was not on the agenda of yesterday’s prime ministerial meeting and the two leaders made no mention of it after their talks. —AFP

SEOUL: South Korea conducted live-fire military drills near its disputed sea boundary with North Korea yesterday despite Pyongyang’s threat to respond with a “merciless” attack. North Korea did not carry out the threat as it focuses on internal stability two months after the death of longtime leader Kim Jong Il and prepares for nuclear disarmament talks with the United States later this week. But with American forces scheduled to conduct additional military exercises with ally South Korea over the next few months, tensions are expected to remain high in the region. Washington and North Korea’s neighbors are closely watching how new leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il’s son, navigates strained ties with rival South Korea, the planned US-South Korean military drills and a long-running standoff over the country’s nuclear weapons programs. South Korea’s drills took place yesterday in an area of the Yellow Sea that was the target of a North Korean artillery attack in 2010 that killed four South Koreans and raised fears of a wider conflict. North Korea didn’t threaten similar South Korean firing drills in the area in January, but it called the latest exercise a “premeditated military provocation” and warned it would retaliate for what it considers an attack on its territory. A North Korean officer told an Associated Press staffer in Pyongyang on Sunday that North Koreans would respond to any provocation with “merciless retaliatory strikes.” North Korea is prepared for a “total war,” and the drills will lead to a “complete collapse” of ties between the Koreas, the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried yesterday by the official Korean Central News Agency. Such rhetoric has been typical of North Korean media in the past. Later yesterday, South Korean troops on five islands near the disputed sea boundary fired artillery into waters southward, away from nearby North Korea, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity,

citing department rules. North Korea’s military maintained increased vigilance during yesterday’s drills, which ended after about two hours, though Seoul saw nothing suspicious, a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said on condition of anonymity, citing department rules. South Korean military officials said they were ready to repel any attack. Residents on the front-line islands were asked to go to underground shelters before the drills started, according to South Korean officials. Analysts said the threats allow

Institute in South Korea. The Korean peninsula has been technically at war for about 60 years. The maritime line separating the countries was drawn by the US-led UN Command without Pyongyang’s consent at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. North Korea routinely argues that the line should run farther south. Relations between the Koreas plummeted following the November 2010 shelling of frontline Yeonpyeong Island, seven miles from North Korean shores, and a deadly warship sinking in

demanding that the North first demonstrate its sincerity in ending its nuclear weapons program. Additionally, a series of military exercises between the United States and South Korea will extend over more than two months. Seoul and Washington say their longplanned annual drills are defensive in nature, but North Korea calls them preparation for an invasion. South Korea began joint antisubmarine drills yesterday with the United States, but the training site is farther south from the disputed sea boundary, South Korean military officials said.

AT SEA: South Korean navy sailors work at a floating base near the disputed sea border with North Korea yesterday. —AP Pyongyang to show its anger over what it sees as a violation of its territory, but that an immediate attack was unlikely during what is a delicate time for inter-Korean and US-North Korean relations, and for internal North Korean politics. “South Korea’s military would have immediately responded this time, and that’s something that North Korea can’t afford” during its transfer of power to Kim Jong Un, said Yoo Ho-yeol, a professor at Korea University in South Korea. The North’s threat appeared aimed at mustering internal support or could be the result of top military officers showing their loyalty to Kim Jong Un, Yoo said. The North knows that raising tensions ahead of nuclear talks with the United States won’t be advantageous, said Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the private Sejong

March of that year blamed on Pyongyang. North Korea has flatly denied its involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors. Kim Jong Un’s handling of North Korea’s military and diplomacy will come into sharper focus the next several weeks. The United States and North Korea will have important nuclear disarmament talks Thursday - the third round of bilateral talks since last summer and the first since Kim Jong Il’s Dec 17 death. They are aimed at restarting six-nation aid-for-disarmament negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear program. The North pulled out of those negotiations in early 2009 but has said it is willing to restart the six-party talks, which also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. But the US and its allies are

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea as what U.S. and South Korean officials call deterrence against North Korean aggression. South Korean and US troops will start 12 days of largely computer-simulated war games next week, and two months of field training drills in early March. Early yesterday, the powerful Political Bureau of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party announced it would convene a conference in mid-April to “glorify” the late leader and to rally around his son. The conference could wrap up the North’s power succession process, analyst Cheong said, with Kim Jong Un possibly promoted to general secretary of the Workers’ Party, the ruling party’s top job and one of the country’s highest positions.—AP

North Korea ruling party to endorse dynastic rule SEOUL: Secretive North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party will hold a special conference in April, state media said yesterday, during which it is expected to formalize a third generation of Kim dynastic rule. KCNA news agency reported the meeting would “glorify the sacred revolutionary life and feats” of late leader Kim Jong-il and rally around “great successor” Kim Jong-un. Since his father’s death in December, the young Kim has assumed the title of “supreme commander” and has focused on shoring up support from the powerful military. Analysts say Kim, who is believed to be in his late 20s, now needs the party’s backing to keep North Korea stable and to expand his power base. The conference could confer key party posts on the young Kim, such as a general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission, experts say. Chung-in Moon of Yonsei University said the party had been resuscitated in the later years of Kim Jong-il’s leadership. “The party now has more power and influence,” he said. “There is speculation that under Kim Jong-un there will be a

more normalized pattern of governance around the party.” The meeting, to be held in mid-April, will come around the time of the centenary of state founder Kim Il-sung’s birth, which the destitute North has planned to mark as the launch of a new era as a “strong and prosperous nation”. The party last met in September 2010 when Kim Jong-un was given senior political and military titles confirming a third generation of dynastic rule. That meeting was the first of its kind in more than 30 years. Experts said the conference was reserved for making official moves in the leadership hierarchy. The young Kim has so far appeared at ease in his new role and has the backing of his uncle as well as the military chief. Beijing, the North’s main ally and benefactor, has endorsed the succession process, while Seoul and Washington have stated they wish only for a smooth a transition of power. MORE RHETORIC, MORE TALK Seoul says the new leadership in the North

presents an opportunity for reconciliation, but Pyongyang has refused to talk with the South’s conservative government which cut aid to its neighbor four years ago. Continuing its fiery rhetoric of the past four years, the North threatened “merciless retaliatory strikes” if the South violated its territorial waters during a live-fire military drill near a disputed border off the west coast yesterday. The South said yesterday’s drill was a routine exercise, and had passed without any unusual activity from the North. While animosity still runs deep between the Koreas, who are still technically at war having signed only a truce to end the 1950-53 civil conflict, regional powers are pushing for dialogue. Washington hopes to clarify whether Pyongyang’s new leadership is willing to curb its nuclear programs when US and North Korean officials meet in Beijing this week. Analysts expect little progress at Thursday’s meeting, the third between the two sides in the last eight months. They say the North will also likely seek food aid. —Reuters



Arab Spring navigates Islam and democracy CAIRO: The Arab Spring that reshaped the region’s political landscape has entered a second year, marked by fragile transitions and the empowerment of Islamists in a region still trying to find its way. From Tunisia to Cairo, and from Tripoli to Damascus, profound changes have swept the Arab world, leaving it facing myriad political, social, security and religious challenges. This “tsunami” has “moved tectonic plates and will provoke aftershocks that will lead to pre-democratic states in the best case,” said Antoine Basbous, who heads the Parisbased Observatory of Arab Countries. Ousting dictators such as Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak “proved to be the easy part of change,” said Ibrahim Sharqieh of the Brookings Institute in Doha. Tunisia - where the Arab Spring was born - today appears the most advanced in its transition after having in October elected a constituent assembly, dominated by the Islamist party AlNahda. Egypt’s parliamentary elections also propelled Islamists to the centre stage of politics, with the parties of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi movements grabbing almost three-quarters of seats in parliament. But the Arab world’s most populous nation is still ruled by an unpopular military and regularly shaken by deadly unrest. Presidential elections are expected in May or June. A year after anti-regime protests kicked off in midFeb 2011, Libya is going through heavy turbulence despite the rebels’ victory over the forces of Muammar Gaddafi who was killed in October. Syria which plunged into anti-regime protests in March last year remains steeped in violence. “Syria is at a critical point,” said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst with the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in the Egyptian

capital. The situation there “risks creating waves of instability in the region, like in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Turkey or Jordan,” its neighbouring states, he told AFP. In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year-rule finally comes to an end this week when his deputy takes over in a referendum-like poll, marking Yemen as the first Arab country where an uprising has led to a negotiated settlement. Bahrain’s Shiite-led uprising which was launched a year ago has been stifled, but tensions remain high in the small kingdom run by Sunnis. “The revolutions have not been complete in any of the countries in which they have been taking place,” said Samer Shehata, Middle East expert at Georgetown University in Washington. Often launched by young activists using all the resources the Internet has to offer, the Arab revolts have paved the way for Islamist movements, once repressed or even banned in several countries. “The main actors for change have been the youth. The first beneficiaries have been the Islamists because they are structured and because they have deep roots in society, unlike the youth who have not had time to organise,” Basbous said. “This should not be seen as a threat to democracy, at least for now,” said Sharqieh, pointing to the fact that the Islamist movements have shown “values of partnership and collaboration.” However others are concerned about the double talk of the Islamist movements. They “try to present a moderate image of political Islam, to encourage tourism and foreign investment... but the reality is different, many voices are very conservative,” said Abdel Fattah. “To succeed, the Islamists must practice realism and Islam, and abandon the slogan ‘Islam is the solution’,” said Basbous. — AFP

Syria bolsters troops as Iran warships dock Continued from Page 1 The crisis is entering an important week, with Western and Arab powers due to meet at a conference in Tunisia on Friday to pressure Assad to give up power, while Assad forges ahead with plans for a referendum on Sunday for a new constitution. The referendum, which would lead to multi-party elections within 90 days, is part of what Assad describes as a reform program to address demands for more democracy. Syria’s official SANA news agency said about 14,600,000 people are eligible to take part in the referendum. The West and Syrian opposition figures have dismissed the plan as joke, saying it is impossible to have a valid election amid the continuing repression. Alexei Pushkov, head of the international affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament, met Assad in Damascus yesterday and affirmed Russia’s support for the plan. Moscow is Syria’s main arms supplier and an ally dating back to the Cold War. Pushkov also stressed the need “to continue working for a political solution to the crisis based on dialogue between all concerned parties, without foreign intervention,” SANA said. Assad, who shows no inclination to relinquish power, told Pushkov Syria was being targeted by armed terrorist groups supported by foreign elements aiming to destabilize Syria. But despite a weekend appeal by a visiting Chinese envoy for all sides to stop the violence, monitors said forces of embattled Assad targeted the central city of Homs for a 17th straight day. Attacks on Homs killed nine out of the 15 people killed across Syria so far yesterday, according to reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and official state media. Shelling of Baba Amr, the main rebel stronghold in Homs, killed five civilians, while

another four died when rockets crashed into Al-Malaab district, said the Britain-based Observatory. SANA said a lieutenant colonel and a sergeant were killed in a clash between border guards and an “armed terrorist group” in Athraya, central Hama province. Activists and state media reported at least 14 people were killed Sunday, adding to the more than 6,000 people who have died in the Assad regime’s 11month crackdown on dissent. “Infantry troops arrived yesterday (Sunday) in Homs,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP on the telephone yesterday. A Homs-based activist voiced fears of an imminent attack on Baba Amr, the main rebel stronghold in the central city, speaking of “unprecedented military reinforcements coming from Damascus”. “News has been leaked to us from army officers about a bloody attack that will burn everything in Baba Amr,” Hadi Abdullah of the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution said Sunday. “We were expecting the attack two nights ago, but it could have been just delayed because of the snowstorm,” he said. A day after saying Baba Amr was being hit at the rate of up to five rockets a minute, Abdullah yesterday demanded a safe passage to allow women and children to leave the district. “We want women and children to be allowed to leave,” he told AFP, adding that “people were suffering from the weather while their conditions are miserable.” Abdel Rahman was cautious about the timing of the expected attack. “We do not know when the attack might happen,” he said. Elsewhere, two warships from Iran, a key backer of the Syrian regime, docked at the port of Tartus, Tehran’s state television reported

yesterday, adding that their crew would train Syrian sailors. Iran’s navy chief, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, said on Saturday that the ships, a destroyer and supply vessel, had passed through the Suez Canal to show the Islamic republic’s military “might”. In Damascus, regime forces remained on alert after two days of large and unexpected protests, and after a call for a “day of defiance” was observed in restive neighbourhoods, according to activists. “Following the surprising demonstrations (on Friday and Saturday), the regime is reconsidering its security measures,” in the capital, said Abdel Rahman. Mohammed Shami, a spokesman for activists in Damascus province, said security was bolstered in some areas in the tense neighbourhood of Mazzeh, including around the Iranian embassy. Two masked men flew a large green, white and black flag of “independence” from a bridge in Kfar Sousa neighbourhood, according to amateur video footage uploaded by activists to YouTube. Activists reported Sunday a security clampdown on Mazzeh, thwarting plans to stage large protests in the area, scene the day before of a funeral that became a huge antiregime rally. Meanwhile, the Syrian authorities freed blogger Razan Ghazzawi, symbol of an 11-month uprising, and six other female activists arrested last week, human rights lawyer Anwar Buni said. The women were released on Saturday, but were ordered to report to police daily in order to continue their questioning, he said. They were part of a group of 14 activists people arrested Thursday in a raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, a group headed by rights activist Mazen Darwish. — Agencies

DUSSELDORF, Germany: A float featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lighting a stick of dynamite reading ‘atomic program’ makes its way through the streets of Dusseldorf during the traditional Rose Monday parade yesterday. — AFP

Top UN inspectors in Iran for nuke talks TEHRAN: Senior UN inspectors arrived in Iran yesterday to push for transparency about its disputed nuclear program and several European states halted purchases of Iranian oil as part of Western moves to pile pressure on a defiant Tehran. Iran denies Western accusations that it is covertly seeking the means to build nuclear weapons and has again vowed no nuclear retreat in recent weeks, but also voiced willingness to resume negotiations with world powers without preconditions. The five-member International Atomic Energy Agency team, led by chief IAEA inspector Herman Nackaerts, planned two days of meetings in another attempt to get answers from Iran regarding intelligence suggesting its declared civilian nuclear energy program is a facade for researching ways to make atom bombs. Nackaerts said on departure from Vienna that he wanted “concrete results” from the talks. His delegation was expected to seek, among other things, to question Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin military base believed to have been used for high-explosive tests relevant to nuclear warheads. But Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi dampened speculation about increased IAEA access when he told the student news agency ISNA that the agency officials would not be going to any nuclear sites. “No. Their work has just begun,” Salehi said. Diplomats doubted that the talks would bring a breakthrough. “I believe most are rather sceptical concerning the outcome because, well, Iran had a chance at the last meeting and didn’t seize it,” a senior Western official said, refer-

ring to the last trip by the senior IAEA team to Tehran at the end of January. Referring to last week’s announcements by Iran of new nuclear advances, he said: “They send out the wrong signals that Iran is really willing to cooperate... We will wait and see what will come out of this meeting but we should be prepared that Iran might try some technical steps ... to appear cooperative without really providing the necessary cooperation.” The outcome of the discussions will have diplomatic repercussions because it could either deepen a stand-off that has stoked fears of war or provide scope to reduce tensions. In a sign of Iranian concern about possible, last-resort air strikes by arch-enemies Israel or the United States, Tehran yesterday began a four-day military exercise in protecting its nuclear sites, according to Iranian media. “(It) will practice coordination between the Revolutionary Guards and regular army and air defence units in establishing a defence umbrella over our vital centres, particularly nuclear facilities,” the labour news agency ILNA said. The European Union enraged Tehran last month when it decided to slap a boycott on its oil from July 1. On Monday, the European Commission said Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands had already stopped buying Iranian oil, while Greece, Spain and Italy were cutting back on their purchases. In retaliation for oil sanctions, Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter, has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for a third of the world’s seaborne oil, and the United States signalled it would use force to keep it open. — Reuters

Riyadh vows ‘iron fist’, blames ‘foreign... Continued from Page 1 The country has a Shiite majority, but is ruled by a Sunni ruling family. The government imposed martial law last year and crushed demonstrations after inviting troops from other Gulf states, led by Sunni power Saudi Arabia, to help restore order. The anniversary of last year’s protests has seen an increase in demonstrations, mainly by Shiites who say they seek more democracy. The past week has seen police use water cannon to disperse protests for the first time in 11 months. Yesterday’s clash took place in Jidhafs, an area just outside the capital Manama, after the funeral of Hussein Al-Baqali, 19, whose family says he died this week from burns sustained last month during a tyre-burning at anti-government protests. His family says he was unable to go to state hospitals for fear of arrest. The Interior Ministry said he set himself alight with intent to commit suicide. “After the burial of Hussain Al-Baqali in Jidhafs, groups of vandals rioted. Police legally dispersed them,” the Interior Ministry said in its Twitter feed. Police moved in on a group of over 500 people who marched down to a traffic junction inside the town, using two water cannon lorries backed up by helicopters and dozens of riot police in armoured vehicles and on foot firing tear gas. The ministry also said “vandals” were later arrested for

trying to block traffic on the highway near the former Pearl Roundabout, a traffic junction occupied by antigovernment protesters for a month last year until the movement was crushed. The junction’s pearl monument, once a national landmark, was razed after the protests last year. Opposition figures have said they wanted to mark the anniversary of the protests by re-occupying the area. There have been clashes in nearby Shiite villages all week. Said Yousif Almuhafda, an opposition activist, said different groups totalling around 30 people had tried yesterday to approach the roundabout, which is under heavy guard. Some were arrested after tear gas was fired. He said that earlier Zainab Al-Khawaja, a prominent activist whose father is one of 14 opposition leaders in jail, had been released following her arrest when she approached the roundabout with a group of people last week. Police say protesters are not permitted to block highways and point to permits granted to opposition parties for marches and rallies in areas that will not disrupt traffic. The opposition says it is the closure of the roundabout that is holding up traffic. Shiites, who say they face political and economic marginalisation, have dominated the protests seeking reforms to allow parliament to form governments and reduce the powers of the ruling family. The government has begun contact with opposition parties on a possible dialogue to end the crisis. — Reuters

Day of drama as Wasmi agrees to delay grilling Pak military makes tablets Continued from Page 1 the same time they want to question the timing of the grilling and its justifications. The lawmakers also said that Wasmi attended an opposition meeting on Sunday and did not inform them about his plans to grill the prime minister. Wasmi, a member of the Mutairi tribe, and several other MPs had complained against the treatment by the interior ministry and the public prosecution of dozens of youth activists accused of storming the offices of AlWatan television in Ardhiya on the eve of the Feb 2 general elections. He accused authorities of adopting double standards with dealing with various sections of the society, adding that interior ministry officials abused their power in arresting youth activists from the Mutairi tribe. As the deadline approached, several senior MPs including Musallam Al-Barrak and Khaled Al-Tahous met Wasmi and eventually convinced him to postpone the grilling as efforts were underway to secure the release of the detained youths. The breakthrough came following a meeting by MP Faisal Al-Mislem with HH the Amir which was immediately followed by the release of four teenagers from the Mutairi tribe. Mislem told reporters after the meeting that he explained to the Amir what he described as “discrepancies and double standards in applying the law”, especially with regards to the youth activists who have been remanded into custody over allegations of storming Al-Watan TV. Mislem highly praised the response of the Amir and his understanding, adding that the Amir promised to discuss the issue with concerned officials. The lawmaker explained that the opposition MPs are not calling for

breaking the law but only for “the fair implementation on all”. Wasmi however insisted that he has only frozen the grilling and will submit it if he feels that the government has not started reforms and dealt with complaints. Mislem also hoped that authorities will release writer Mohammad Al-Mulaifi who has been remanded into custody for 21 days on charges of writing comments on his Twitter account deemed offensive to Shiites. Mislem said that he does not approve of the way Mulaifi insulted Shiites. Mulaifi was summoned by the secret service on Feb 11 after he wrote the article on Twitter, his lawyer Yacoub Bahbood said. He was questioned over a number of charges by the prosecutor who on Sunday ordered his detention for three weeks, the lawyer said. Kuwaiti Shiites, who make up around a third of the native population of 1.17 million, staged a rally in protest against the article and demanded that authorities take action. Mulaifi was questioned on charges of disparaging the Shiite faith, promoting for a group that aims at dismantling the foundations of the society and spreading false news that undermines the image of Kuwait, Bahbood said. Mulaifi, an employee of the ministry of Islamic affairs and a writer, categorically denied all the charges and insisted that he did not mean to insult any faith, the lawyer said. Sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the Gulf state increased rapidly in the past several months, reflecting regional tension over Bahrain and Syria. Bahbood said he will appeal again for the public prosecutor to release his client, who is a widower and has four children. Kuwaiti courts in September sentenced a Sunni and a Shiite activist to three months in jail each for writing sectarian remarks on their Twitter accounts.

Continued from Page 1 The military is powerful, its businesses are rarely subject to civilian scrutiny, and it has staged three coups since Pakistan became a state in 1947. Many Pakistanis find its economic activities corrupting and say it should focus on entirely on defense. “I just can’t figure it out,” said Jehan Ara, head of Pakistan’s Software Houses Association, said of the PACPAD. “Even if they could sell a billion units, I can’t see the point. The air force is supposed to be protecting the air space and borders of the country.” Supporters say the foray into information technology is a boost to national pride for a country vastly overshadowed by archrival India in the high-tech field. Tech websites in the country have shown curiosity or cautious enthusiasm, but say it’s too early to predict how the device will perform. Skeptics claim it’s a vanity project that will never see mass production. Only a few hundred of each products has been made so far, though a new batch will be completed in the next three months. “The defense industry is trying to justify its presence by doing more than just produce weapons,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc, a critical study of military businesses. “Some smart aleck must have thought we can make some money here.” PAC’s website says the goal is “strengthening the national economy through commercialization” and lauds the collaboration with China - something that likely resonates among nationalists. China is regarded as a firm ally by Pakistan’s security establishment, whereas the US, despite pouring billions of dollars in aid into the country, is seen as fickle and increasingly as an enemy. These perceptions have heightened as the US intensifies drone attacks on militants based in the Pakistani borderlands. But the military is also a target of those militants. In 2007 the base

at Kamra, home to 12,000 workers and their families, nine people died when a cyclist blew himself up at the entrance. PAC officials suggested the program that produces the PACPAD was modeled in part on the Chinese military’s entry into commercial industry, which lasted two decades until it was ordered to cut back lest it become corrupted and lose sight of its core mission. The tablet and other devices are made in a low-slung facility, daubed in camouflage paint, near, a factory that produces J-17 Thunder fighter jets with Chinese help. “It’s about using spare capacity. There are 24 hours in a day, do we waste them or use them to make something?” said Sohail Kalim, PAC’s sales director. “The profits go to the welfare of the people here. There are lots of auditors. They don’t let us do any hanky-panky here.” PAC builds the PACPAD with a company called Innavtek in a Hong Kong-registered partnership that also builds high-tech parts for the warplanes. But basic questions go unanswered. Maqsood Arshad, a retired air force officer who is one of the directors, couldn’t say how much money had been invested, how many units the venture hoped to sell and what the profit from each sale was likely to be. The market for low-cost Android tablets is expanding quickly around the world, with factories in China filling most of the demand. Last year, an Indian company produced the “Aakash” tablet, priced at $50, and sold largely to schoolchildren and students. Arshad said a second-generation PACPAD would be launched in the next three months, able to connect to the Internet via cell phone networks and other improved features. He said the Kamra facility could produce up to 1,000 devices a day. During a brief test, the tablet with its 7-inch screen appeared to run well and the screen responsiveness was sharp. — AP





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Khamenei outlook dims hope for Iran nuclear deal By Alistair Lyon s tensions over Iran’s nuclear program ratchet higher once again, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s aversion for the West remains a formidable barrier to any diplomatic solution. A visit by UN nuclear inspectors to Iran this week, a few days after Tehran wrote to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton promising “new initiatives” in negotiations, suggests the door to diplomacy has not slammed shut. Harsher Western sanctions are damaging Iran’s economy and Israel is debating military action, with or without a US green light, lending fresh urgency to efforts to defuse the crisis over the Islamic Republic’s sensitive nuclear activity. Yet a sea change in policy seems unlikely while the tall, bearded Khamenei, 72, holds power in a country whose Shiite religious leadership has made “Death to America, death to Israel” its mantra since the 1979 Islamic revolution. This month Khamenei said sanctions would not alter Iran’s nuclear course, military threats would “harm America” and any nation or group fighting Israel, thought to be the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed power, would have Tehran’s backing. “In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time,” he declared. Khamenei has in the past denied that Iran seeks atomic bombs, saying: “It is against our Islamic thoughts.” But he has shown little interest in genuinely assuaging Western worries about Iran’s activities, authorising what the UN nuclear watchdog regards as only incomplete cooperation, as well as intermittent talks with six world powers that Western officials suspect Tehran pursues primarily to gain more time to attain nuclear “breakout” capability. The bespectacled cleric, who ultimately decides all matters of state, including nuclear and foreign policy, simply does not trust the United States, once described by his late mentor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a wolf to Iran’s lamb. In 2009, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself no friend of the West, leaned toward a compromise involving a nuclear fuel swap to allay concerns about Iran’s intentions, hardliners shot it down, apparently with Khamenei’s blessing. Khamenei has long sought to ensure that no group, even among his conservative allies, musters enough power to challenge him. And when Ahmadinejad appeared to do just that last year, Khamenei was swift to react, reinstating an intelligence minister sacked by the president against his will. Iranian analysts say the Supreme Leader is keen to ensure that Ahmadinejad emerges weaker from next week’s parliamentary election, expected to be mostly a contest among hardliners. After Khomeini died in 1989, Khamenei, who served two terms as president in the 1980s, was picked to succeed him, a surprise choice for some, as he was then only a mid-ranking cleric. He was swiftly promoted to ayatollah. Khamenei inherited enormous powers, but could not hope to emulate the towering political and religious authority of Iran’s revolutionary founder. His allies say he tends to reach major decisions after consulting a tightknit group of top officials. He can count on the loyalty of the elite Revolutionary Guards and Basij religious militia, which quelled the worst unrest in the Islamic Republic’s history after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June 2009 in a vote opponents said was rigged. Khamenei then cast his weight behind Ahmadinejad, declaring that defeated opposition leaders would be responsible for any bloodshed in what proved to be eight months of street protests. Soon after the election, Khamenei, the final authority in Iran’s complex system of clerical rule and limited democracy, appeared to offer his own life for the Islamic revolution in an emotional Friday sermon that drew tears from the congregation. “We will do what we will have to do,” he said. “I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honour, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam.” The message of the Supreme Leader, whose right hand was crippled in a 1981 assassination attempt, was that defiance of his will amounted to a counter-revolutionary act. Khamenei should stay above the political fray, according to Khomeini’s system of “velayat-e faqih”, or rule by a religious jurist. His one-sided intervention in the uproar after the 2009 vote, which divided Iran’s religious and political elite, further stoked a crisis of legitimacy that still lingers. —Reuters


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Syria drive mirrors Bosnia history By Douglas Hamilton old-blooded sniper killings, indiscriminate shelling, surgery by flashlight, death, fear and hunger in a darkened city under the ruthless hammer of a superior force. In its random cruelty, the conflict in Syria starts to resemble the war in Bosnia 20 years ago, when Serb, Muslim and Croat forces tore the Balkan country apart and the besieged people of Sarajevo buried thousands of dead in sports fields. Bosnia’s carnage was broadcast globally month after month by 24-hour satellite television news then in its early days. The slaughter in the Syrian city of Homs has been playing out to the world almost hourly on mobile phone and amateur video. Images of dead babies, severed limbs, blood running in the gutters and people driven mad by grief provoke horror, followed by demands for armed foreign intervention. Intervention did come to Bosnia, but so hesitantly that the agony of its people went on for nearly 4 years, in which tens of thousands were killed and a million lost their homes. Western powers who finally stopped the slaughter say they have no intention of going into Syria, a move that would have incalculable consequences in a volatile region. Bosnia was a small republic of Yugoslavia, a European crisis on NATO’s doorstep. Syria is a major Arab republic with powerful friends in Russia and Iran, situated on a strategic crossroads. The most readily recognisable common denominator between them is the Soviet-era T-72 tank. It has smashed its way into cities to crush lightly-armed rebels and civilians alike in 11 months of suppression by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. There is an air of deja vu about these scenes and the “humanitarian” remedies now being demanded, aid


missions which in Bosnia led inexorably to armed intervention. “The Bosnian War and the conflict in Syria are different in nature,” say Soner Cagaptay and Andrew Tabler of The Washington Institute. But “any international groups looking to provide humanitarian intervention to protect vulnerable civilians in enclaves ‘liberated’ by the opposition (in Syria) should draw on lessons from Bosnia in the 1990s”. Those lessons show it would require an international force protected by air power and with a mandate to shoot back. It would likely be NATOled, headed by a Muslim general from NATO member Turkey, Syria’s northern neighbour, and including Arab units. Turkey months ago called for safe havens for Syrians, and is now collaborating with the Arab League and France. At least 5,500 Syrians have been killed in 11 months, the UN says. A “Friends of Syria” meeting to be held with Arab states in Tunisia on Feb 24 “will produce a very strong message of solidarity with the Syrian people and also a warning for the Syrian regime”, says Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. France wants the United Nations Security Council to approve its plan for humanitarian corridors into Syria from Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan, to the Mediterranean coast or an airport. If this won UN backing, Turkey, already hosting refugees and army defectors from Syria, seems the most likely bridgehead. But French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday ruled out direct intervention, saying that in Syria “the revolution will not be led from outside ... it must be led from the inside”. In Bosnia, the world watched atrocities happening as intervention came in slow motion, held up by Western reluctance to wade into what was seen as an ethnic civil war, plus Russia’s adamant credo of non-inter-

ference and long-winded diplomacy blurred by a convenient pretence that it was a fair fight. Similar factors are at play in Syria. The vetoes of Russia and China have so far blocked any action by the United Nations Security Council, insisting on non-interference in a guerrilla uprising against a legitimate state. But last week the UN General Assembly condemned Assad’s government for gross human rights violations and told him he must go. Its resolution backed an Arab League plan demanding the withdrawal of Syrian heavy weapons from towns and cities. It was nonbinding. But so were the early resolutions on Bosnia. The best weapon in Bosnia against the unmatchable firepower of a Bosnian Serb army bristling with tanks and artillery turned out to be the anger and disgust of world opinion. So far, there have been no mass demonstrations in Western capitals demanding that NATO governments intervene in Syria. But, judging by the demands piling up from foreign leaders for Assad to step down immediately, pressure appears to be building. In Sarajevo last week, Hollywood star and human rights campaigner Angelina Jolie screened her new film about the war, In the Land of Blood and Honey. She said she hopes it will serve as “a wake-up call” to the world to stop Syrian atrocities. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that, even with a UN mandate and Arab backing, he doubts the alliance would get involved. Yet as Bosnia showed, policies can change. “We got no dog in this fight,” US Secretary of State James Baker famously said in 1991 after a failed mission to stop the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia which ignited Bosnia’s war. But when it turned into Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two, NATO did get into the fight, starting with a token 50 peacekeepers but ending with

100,000 in the country, after bombing Bosnian Serb heavy weapons to impose a peace settlement. It took five years and over 100 United Nations Security Council resolutions to extinguish the war the United Nations had hoped would end in the summer of 1992. It ended in the winter of 1995, with more than 100,000 dead and entire cities destroyed. But many more lives were spared because Bosnia’s atrocities posed a challenge to the power of the United States and its European NATO allies that they could not afford to flunk. Establishing safe havens and humanitarian corridors in Syria would need a UN mandate. Russia, opposed to “regime change”, says it would have to see the language of such a resolution. Intervention in Bosnia started with a humanitarian aid corridor and UN-protected areas in next-door Croatia, which required a lightly armed United Nations Protection Force, UNPROFOR. Modest at first, its role grew and become central. In June of 1992, UN Security Council Resolution 761 emphasised the urgency of getting aid into Sarajevo. A convoy of white armoured personnel carriers bearing UN symbols and UNPROFOR troops in helmets of UN blue duly made its way over the mountains from Croatia to take control of Sarajevo airport. UNPROFOR became what historian William Shawcross calls “one of the unhappiest UN peacekeeping missions in recent times”, a classic case of ‘mission creep’ that learned painfully by its many mistakes. By putting ‘boots on the ground’ NATO was committed to protecting its troops, who in time had to be backed up by tanks and alliance warplanes. After many contemptuous Bosnian Serb challenges, it finally acquired the “robust” UN mandate that military analysts said it needed from the outset. — Reuters

Hadi emerges from shadows to lead Yemen By Mahmoud Habboush and Tom Finn bd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is being thrust into the spotlight as Yemen’s next president, yet little is known about a man who has languished in the shadow of the Arabian Peninsula’s iron ruler of the past 30 years. A former army general, Hadi is the only candidate standing to replace Ali Abdullah Saleh, guaranteeing that he’ll take the helm of a chaotic nation facing multiple challenges: a collapsing economy, a growing threat from Al-Qaeda, rising secessionist sentiment in the south, and Houthi Shiite rebels in the north. “I am going to lead one of the most difficult and complicated stages that Yemen has ever faced,” he conceded in a speech earlier this month. “The roads are blocked, the oil pipelines are shut down, the living conditions are hard, business activity and factories are stalled.” Despite hailing from the southern province of Abyan, Hadi stuck by Saleh during the 1994 civil war between North and South Yemen - formerly a separate, socialist republic before union with Saleh’s north in 1990. Described by a former classmate as a technocrat who shuns tribalism, Hadi was forced to flee the south in 1986 along with a number of military battalions after a group of military generals staged a coup there. He is now tasked with steering a united Yemen through a dicey transitional period that will require him to introduce a new constitution and hold multi-party elections within two years. His task will be made easier, however, by the fact that he has the support of Saleh’s sons and nephews, who continue to control an array of military and security units, as well as the consent of rival generals and the opposition. But the father of five will have to move away from Saleh’s legacy without alienating the outgoing president’s supporters, especially in the armed forces. “Saleh’s shadow over the political system is heavy,” Abdul Ghani AlIryani, a Sanaa-based political analyst, said.


“What gives Hadi leverage is that he is not Saleh,” he added. Yahya Abu Ausba, assistant secretary general of the Yemen Socialist Party, said Hadi would have to act decisively to win the hearts and minds of the Yemeni people. “If Hadi wants to be remembered in history, he has to transit the Yemeni people into change by serving the goals of the revolution and face up to the powerful (men),” he said,

outgoing president. Saleh himself is currently in the United States receiving medical treatment for injuries he sustained during an assassination attempt in June, giving Hadi a little more room to manoeuvre. But he has a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, he will have to effect a smooth transition that includes constitutional reforms and allows him to restructure the armed

Yemeni women hold campaign posters of Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi during a pro-election rally in Sanaa yesterday. — AP referring to Saleh’s relatives and confidants who hold key positions in the power structure. Saleh’s No. 2 man for 20 years, Hadi has already shown he is ready to take controversial decisions. His relationship with Saleh soured in January after he refused the president’s orders to reinstate Saleh’s own allies who had lost their jobs in the power handover. But it remains unclear what Hadi will do with dozens of powerful relatives of the

forces without creating more enemies. Yet on the other, he will have to address demands by young protesters and elements within the military itself to sack some of Saleh’s closest relatives. Their dominance is entrenched. Yemenis recall that while Western officials courted Hadi as acting head of state, Saleh’s son Ahmed, commander of the elite Presidential Guards, took up residence in the presidential palace, forcing Hadi himself to

work from his Defence Ministry office. Forced to operate in Saleh’s shadow, Hadi has never been a strong or independent player on the Yemeni political scene. Some politicians still refer to him as a member of Saleh’s own clique. A government official from the Islamic Islah party, among the best organised of Saleh’s opponents, described Hadi as “smart and well connected but politically weak”. The last time he was acting head of state was in June when Saleh was recuperating in a Saudi hospital after an explosion ripped through his presidential mosque in an assassination attempt. Like many senior politicians in Yemen’s ruling party, Hadi rose to prominence through the military. He was sent to Britain in 1966 to study military tactics when Aden was still a Crown colony and was later appointed minister of defence. He also studied military sciences in Egypt and the Soviet Union where he wrote a thesis on defence strategies in mountainous regions. “He didn’t like partying like other young men when he was in Britain,” retired general Ali Awadh Waqes, who studied with Hadi in Britain, told Reuters in Aden. “He spent most of his leisure time walking in the streets, going to the cinema or reading.” His reading list included autobiographies of military commanders. “He didn’t seem ambitious, he was an ordinary guy but a very hard working one,” Waqes said. Described by some analysts as a political survivor, Hadi is likely to confine his approach to implementing the agreed reform plan. His rare public appearances mean he is little known to the Yemeni people, however, an obstacle he will have to overcome if he is to succeed. His relative obscurity was reflected in a profile of him published on Feb 13 in the Yemeni daily Al Adwa, which described him as “poker-faced”, and based an analysis of his personality on the generic traits of the Taurus horoscope sign, which the paper claimed he belongs to. “He gives an impression of being cool-headed but can explode unexpectedly,” the paper said. “Don’t test his patience!” — Reuters


sp orts Messi hopes Guardiola extends Barca contract MADRID: Lionel Messi hopes coach Pep Guardiola will extend his contract and stay on at Barcelona beyond this season, the World Player of the Year said after scoring four times in a 5-1 hammering of Valencia in La Liga on Sunday. Guardiola, who prefers to renew his deal on a year-by-year basis, said in the pre-match news conference on Saturday he needed more time to decide on his future. “He knows what we think, and he’ll make his decision when he is ready,” Messi told Spanish television in a pitchside interview at the Nou Camp. “We hope he stays, he is very important to us and to this club,” he added. Messi, celebrating his 200th league appearance for Barca, took his league tally this season to 27 from 23 matches - one behind top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid - and to 146 since he made his debut in La Liga in October 2004.—Reuters

Buffalo 6, Pittsburgh 2; Detroit 3, San Jose 2; Chicago 3, St. Louis 1; Minnesota 2, Boston 0; New Jersey 3, Montreal 1; Anaheim 2, Florida 0; Nashville 3, Dallas 2; NY Rangers 3, Columbus 2 (OT ); Winnipeg 5 Colorado 1; Vancouver 5, Edmonton 2. (OT denotes overtime)

NY Rangers New Jersey Philadelphia Pittsburgh NY Islanders Boston Ottawa Toronto Montreal Buffalo Florida Winnipeg Washington Tampa Bay Carolina Detroit St. Louis Nashville Chicago Columbus Vancouver Calgary Colorado Minnesota Edmonton San Jose Phoenix Los Angeles Dallas Anaheim

NEW YORK: Yi Jianlian said China’s national basketball team, becoming accustomed to life without the prodigious talents of the retired Yao Ming, could produce a surprise at this year’s London Olympics. China reached the quarter-finals on home soil with Yao in Beijing four years ago and came through a tricky transition to regain the Asia championship title in Wuhan last September and qualify for London. “We are going to have a surprise for everybody,” Yi told Reuters before his Dallas Mavericks team lost to the New York Knicks 104-97 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. “You’ll see.” Yi is struggling to make his mark with the NBA champion Mavericks after

signing as a free agent this season. The 24-year-old, who is battling back from an injured right knee, did not play Sunday and has only averaged about eight minutes a game with a 3.3 scoring average in 12 games this season for Dallas. Yi, however, expects to play a significant role on the Chinese team in the 12-team Olympic tournament. “It changes (without Yao),” explained Yi, who was the sixth player chosen in the NBA Draft in 2007 by the Milwaukee Bucks. “It has been changing since 2008. “We played in the world championship without him but we played good. I think we’re used to playing without Yao. It is a different style, playing together.—Reuters

Racket over noise levels DOHA: Victoria Azarenka isn’t about to stop her hooting and believes the ruckus about the noises players make during matches is a big fuss about nothing. The top-ranked Belarusian drew attention during her run to the Australian Open title for the high-pitched sound she makes when she hits the ball, with some fans at Rod Laver Arena even mimicking the noise that sounds like a hooting owl. “It will be with me for my entire career. But let me put it this way: do you snore?” Azarenka asked one reporter on Sunday after winning the Qatar Open. “Can you control that? ... There are ways but you still snore. Right? So it’s natural to you, right? So that’s natural to me, too. The way I play tennis. That’s it.” The issue has attracted the attention of the WTA. The governing body of women’s tennis plans to look at ways of reducing the noise levels made by players, an issue it says has become “bothersome” for supporters. Currently, the umpire can penalize a player for “a deliberate act” of hindrance, but the rule is rarely enforced for grunting.—AP

Red Wings soar over Sharks

NHL results/standings

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL 38 14 5 34 20 4 32 19 7 33 21 5 25 25 8 Northeast Division 35 20 2 30 22 8 29 24 6 24 26 10 25 27 7 Southeast Division 27 20 11 29 26 6 29 24 5 26 26 6 22 26 11 Western Conference Central Division 41 17 2 36 16 7 34 19 6 32 21 7 17 35 7 Northwest Division 38 15 6 28 22 9 29 27 4 26 24 9 22 30 6 Pacific Division 31 19 7 29 21 9 27 21 11 29 26 4 25 24 10

China plan Games ‘surprise’

GF 161 164 193 184 139

GA 116 159 177 160 168

PTS 81 72 71 71 58

190 179 178 160 148

132 183 180 164 175

72 68 64 58 57

144 153 159 163 153

162 170 163 195 181

65 64 63 58 55

190 150 165 189 136

139 117 154 178 195

84 79 74 71 41

194 142 151 131 153

144 155 168 154 177

82 65 62 61 50

167 152 124 152 152

142 147 126 167 168

69 67 65 62 60

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

DETROIT: The Detroit Red Wings won their 23rd straight home game, breaking the NHL overall record with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Detroit, which broke the single-season record of 20 on Tuesday night, surpassed the 22 wins in a row the Boston Bruins had over two seasons more than eight decades ago. Henrik Zetterberg and Drew Miller gave Detroit a two-goal lead midway through the second period and Darren Helm restored the two-goal edge 7:01 into the third. Logan Couture scored late in the second period for the Sharks and Patrick Marleau pulled them within a goal with 4:44 left. Detroit’s Joey MacDonald, filling in for the injured Jimmy Howard, made 31 saves.

second-place Boston by nine points. Brad Richards gave the Rangers a first-period lead, and Derick Brassard leveled it in the second. Sabres 6, Penguins 2 At Buffalo, New York, Derek Roy scored twice and added an assist to help Buffalo snap a four-game losing streak. Jason Pominville had a goal and two assists, and Ryan Miller made 24 saves, including stopping Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin on breakaway attempts in the second period. Paul Gaustad, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo. Deryk Engelland and Jordan Staal scored for Pittsburgh.

Wild 2, Bruins 0 At St. Paul, Minnesota, Niklas Backstrom made a career-high 48 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and Matt Cullen and Chad Rau scored in Minnesota’s victory over Boston. Tim Thomas made 27 saves for Boston. The Bruins have lost six of 10.

game homestand, increase their winning streak to three and close within a point of Southeast Division-leading Florida. Evander Kane had a goal and an assist, Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Ladd also scored and Blake Wheeler had four assists. Gabriel Landeskog scored for Colorado.

Jets 5, Avalanche 1 At Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bryan Little scored twice as Winnipeg beat Colorado to move into a tie with Toronto for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Ondrej Pavelec made 31 saves to help the Jets, playing the second game in an eight-

Blackhawks 3, Blues 1 At Chicago, Dave Bolland scored the goahead goal in the third period when his centering attempt hit in off St. Louis’ forward David Backes’ stick, and Chicago beat the Blues for its third straight victory. Corey Crawford made 29 saves, Duncan Keith tied it in the third and Marian Hossa had an empty-net goal. Andy McDonald scored in the first for the Blues.

Ducks 2, Panthers 0 At Sunrise, Florida, Teemu Selanne scored in the first period and Jonas Hiller made 31 saves for his third shutout of the season in Anaheim’s victory over Florida. The 41-year-old Selanne is the oldest player to score 20 goals in the NHL since Johnny Bucyk did it for Boston in 1976-77. Niklas Hagman added an empty-net goal. The Ducks have earned at least a point in nine straight games.

Devils 3, Canadiens 1 At Montreal, Zach Parise, David Clarkson and Matt Taormina scored, and Martin Brodeur made 21 saves to help New Jersey beat Montreal. Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal. The Canadiens have lost eight straight against New Jersey at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens last beat the Devils in Montreal on March 11, 2008.

Rangers 3, Blue Jackets 2 At New York, Derek Stepan scored 22 seconds into overtime to lift New York past Columbus. Columbus captain Rick Nash, the subject of trade rumors - including those involving the Rangers - got the Blue Jackets even at 2 with 1:33 left in regulation. Artem Anisimov snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period for the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers, who got back to their winning ways following a 4-2 loss at home to Chicago on Thursday might. New York (38-14-5) has won five of six and nine of 12 (9-2-1), and leads

Predators 3, Stars 2 At Dallas, Shea Weber scored on a power play with less than a second remaining in the first period and Pekka Rinne stopped 22 shots as Nashville beat Dallas. Weber put the Predators ahead to stay 2-1 with his 12th goal of the season, popping a loose puck into an open net with 0.2 seconds left in the first. Gabriel Bourque and Colin Wilson added even-strength goals for Nashville, 3-3-2 in its last eight after a five-game winning streak. Michael Ryder and Alex Goligoski scored for the Stars—AP

WINNIPEG: Gabriel Landeskog No. 92 of the Colorado Avalanche scores past Ondrej Pavelec No. 31 of the Winnipeg Jets during their NHL game at MTS Centre.—AFP


sp orts

Haas sinks monster putt to win play-off at Riviera PACIFIC PALISADES: Bill Haas clinched his fourth PGA Tour title by beating fellow Americans Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a gripping sudden-death playoff at the Northern Trust Open on Sunday. The 29-year-old Haas sank a curling 43-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole, the driveable par-four 10th, to seal victory in breezy afternoon sunshine at Riviera Country Club. “I never expected to make a 40footer, and especially in that situation,” a beaming Haas told reporters after clinching the winner’s cheque for nearly $1.2 million. “ That was a little bit of luck involved, but I felt like I put a good roll on it. It was meant to be, I guess.” Mickelson, seeking a second consecutive PGA Tour win, missed his birdie chance from the back right bunker while Bradley’s attempt, a 15-foot putt from the fringe, slipped past the right edge of the cup. Bradley, winner of last year’s PGA Championship, had set up his birdie opportunity by splashing out of the front right greenside bunker, a shot he described as his best all week. “I couldn’t have hit a better shot,” said Bradley. “I had about a 15 percent chance of keeping that on grass where I could putt it. It was one of the best shots I’ve ever hit. “But Bill Haas, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. It’s good to see a fellow belly putter make a putt like that. I’m happy for him.” The trio had finished the 72 regulation holes on seven-under-par 277, Haas closing with a two-under 69 while Mickelson and Bradley each birdied the par-four last for matching 71s, Mickelson holing a 26-footer and Bradley following suit with a 13-footer. Spaniard Sergio Garcia fired a bestof-the-week 64 that included two eagles to share fourth place at fiveunder with Americans Dustin Johnson (71) and Jimmy Walker (69), and Australian Jarrod Lyle (70). Joint pacesetter overnight with Bradley, Mickelson began the final round by matching his playing partner with a one-putt birdie at the par-five first to remain in a two-way tie at the top. However, Bradley bogeyed the second and fourth to slide backwards before Mickelson sank a four-footer to birdie the fifth and move two strokes

clear of the pack at nine-under. On a difficult day for scoring with Riviera’s notorious greens running

LOS ANGELES: Bill Haas holds the winner’s trophy after his victory in the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. —AP firm, Mickelson then stumbled with bogeys at the eighth, where he missed the green to the left with his approach, and the ninth, where he found a bunker off the tee. That put him a shot behind Haas, who had birdied the 10th to lead by one. Haas, last year’s FedExCup champion, dropped back with consecutive bogeys from the 12th before Mickelson and Bradley regained a two-way share of the lead at eightunder when they birdied the par-five 11th. Though Bradley faltered with a bogey at the 13th where he missed the green to the left with his approach, Mickelson joined him at seven-under after a three-putt bogey at the 14th.Haas responded with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 17th and moments later found himself with the outright lead after Bradley and Mickelson each bogeyed the difficult par-four 15th. However, Bradley and Mickelson, playing together in the final grouping, then sank their birdie putts on the 18th green amid thunderous cheers from the crowd to take the tournament into a playoff. “I expected them to make it,” said Haas, who was hitting balls on the range while Mickelson and Bradley played the final hole in regulation. — Reuters

Edwards wins pole for season-opening race DAYTONA BEACH: Carl Edwards fell bitterly short in last season’s bid to win the NASCAR championship. He’s starting 2012 out front. Edwards, who lost the championship last season on a tie-breaker to Tony Stewart, won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500, beating teammate Greg Biffle for the top starting spot during a windy Sunday qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway. Edwards turned a lap at 194.738 mph - the fastest pole-winning speed since Jeff Gordon’s lap of 195.067 mph in 1999. Biffle was second at 194.087 to give Ford and Roush Fenway Racing a sweep of the front row. “It’s so neat to come down here and to be so fast and to really have fun qualifying here,” Edwards said. “These are the best race cars we’ve ever had at Daytona. Coming down here I didn’t even consider the pole, so this is huge.” Biffle was not as thrilled. “I’m a little disappointed,” Biffle said. “I hate the wind. I guess if you’re out sailing, it’s good. It was singing down the back, but coming down the front I just got a big gust of wind coming off of (turn) four ... I knew I didn’t have it.” Edwards and Biffle were the only two drivers to lock down their starting positions in Daytona’s unique qualifying format. The rest of the starting order for next Sunday’s race is set through Thursday’s twin 150-mile qualifying races. But only four starting spots are up for grabs. NASCAR guarantees starting spots to the top 35 teams from last season, three spots go to the fastest drivers in time trials not already locked in and one spot goes to a previous NASCAR champion. The drivers who earned starting spots in qualifying were defending race winner Trevor Bayne, Tony Raines, David Stremme and former NASCAR champion Terry Labonte. Clint Bowyer, making his debut for Michael Waltrip Racing, was 22nd in qualifying but had his time thrown out when his car failed inspection. NASCAR said Bowyer will have to start last in Thursday’s qualifying race, but that’s the only penalty his No. 15 team will face. Scott Miller, vice president of competition for MWR, said he doesn’t think starting in the back is too big of a blow for Bowyer. “As far as the 150 goes, you’re going to be to the front and to the back of that thing,” Miller said. “Our competitiveness and our ability to go win the 150 hasn’t changed any.”

Danica Patrick was 29th in qualifying, but is guaranteed a spot in her first Daytona 500 based on a business deal Stewart Haas Racing made with Tommy Baldwin Racing. Patrick goes into the season with the points Dave Blaney earned for Baldwin last season, and gets into the 500 because it was a top-35 team last year. “To say I wasn’t nervous at all is a lie,” she said. “Of course I was, a little bit. I want to do a good job.” She watched Saturday night’s exhibition Budweiser Shootout from the spotter stand, and is anxious to run in the qualifying race

you deal with that this offseason?’ Edwards said. “I think this is nice to come here and show everyone that, hey, it isn’t just talk. Everybody at Roush Fenway went back and worked hard and kept their heads down and dug. “ This is very special. It’s not a driving accomplishment. This is a team accomplishment, this pole.” It gave Roush his first sweep of the Daytona 500 front row, but marked the third time in 12 years Ford drivers have taken the top two spots. It also comes on the heels of Ford’s victory last month in the prestigious

DAYTONA BEACH: Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford, poses with his team after qualifying for the pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500. —AFP Thursday to get a feel for the pack racing. NASCAR made significant tweaks to the rules package during the offseason to break up the two-car tandem and return racing to the fanpreferred pack. “I’m not completely unfamiliar with the pack,” she said. Edwards, meanwhile, is eager to race and put 2011 behind him once and for all. His loss to Stewart in the championship race was gutwrenching, and despite holding his head high and demonstrating how to lose with dignity, he’s been unable to move forward because of the intense attention on his defeat. “It seems like every media question and all anybody says is, ‘How great would it have been to have one more point and how did

Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona sports car race. “What a way to start the season,” said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. “Our Fords are fast.” Edwards won his pole without crew chief Bob Osborne, who missed the weekend events at Daytona after the death of his father. Chip Bolin filled in for Osborne, and helped Edwards to his first career pole at Daytona. “We felt like this was the best crop of superspeedway cars we had brought to the race track in a long time,” Bolin said. “Our entire organization was really confident. Bob has built this program on steady, calculated moves and we just tried to execute the plan that he expected us to do here and here we are.” —AP

Ponting gets ODI axe

DUBAI: Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq (left) gestures while talking with Shahid Afridi (right) and Umar Akmal (center) during a training session at the Dubai International cricket Stadium. —AFP

Pakistan keen to avoid England clean sweep DUBAI: Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan says his team will need to raise their standards in all three departments to stop England from a clean sweep of the one-day series in the fourth match here today. Pakistan have been on the receiving end in the one-day series after blanking England 3-0 in the preceding Test series, with Khan stressing his team needed improvement. “We have not played well as we did in the Tests. I will not take any credit away from England but we have to look at ourselves and we need to raise our standards in all three departments to avoid defeat,” Khan said yesterday. Pakistan have been outsmarted by England, who rode on back-to-back hundreds by skipper Alastair Cook to win the first two matches in Abu Dhabi before Kevin Pietersen hammered an unbeaten century-his first since 2008 — to win the third match here on Saturday. Paceman Steven Finn has taken 11 wickets in three matches to destroy Pakistan’s batting. England have whitewashed Pakistan in a 3-0 series once, on their 1987 tour. Khan pinpointed fielding as the major difference between the two teams. “We give away 20-30 runs in every

match while England save 20-30 with their fielding so it comes to a 40 run difference. Our batsmen have not been able to capitalise on the good starts while England’s batsmen did that,” said Khan. Asked was he disappointed at the prospects of being replaced by former Australian batsman Dav Whatmore next month, Khan said: “There is nothing to be disappointed. I will be there to help Pakistan cricket in any capacity.” Appointed on an interim basis after Waqar Younis quit in September last year, Khan guided the team to series wins against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (Tests and one-day) and England (Tests). “I don’t need any coaching qualification or need to do courses because I helped the team with my experience so I have no disappointments,” said Khan, who is likely to take back his post as chairman of the selection committee. Eoin Morgan admitted England have a good opportunity to blank Pakistan. “There’s certainly an opportunity to do that. We do want to win 4-0 and if the opportunity arises we could give players (reserves) a bit of experience, but the priority is to win the game,” said Morgan. — AFP

SYDNEY: World Cup winner Ricky Ponting’s one-day international career appeared over yesterday after he was dropped from Australia’s team after a dismal run of form, and was considering his future in the game. Chief selector John Inverarity announced the axing of Ponting, the second all-time leading runscorer in ODIs, after he scored just 18 runs in five tri-series knocks against India and Sri Lanka. “Ricky Ponting has been dropped from the (ODI) squad due to his lack of form in the five tri-series matches to date,” Inverarity said. Briefing reporters in Perth, Inverarity also said there were no guarantees Ponting would continue playing Test cricket, and that the former captain was pondering his next steps. “Ricky is going to consider his future over the next couple of days and he’ll talk it over with his family and with his manager, and my guess is he’ll be giving a press conference in the next two or three days,” he said. Ponting was expected to hold a press conference to outline his future in Sydney on Tuesday, according to sources at Cricket Australia. Ponting, 37, said earlier that he wanted to battle through his current slump. He has averaged just 3.60 in his five tri-series innings. But Inverarity, while praising Ponting’s contribution over a glittering 17-year ODI career, seemed to shut the door on any future for the veteran in Australia’s one-day side. “The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the

nature of elite sport,” he said. “He made a double century in his last Test match and we are hoping that he remains available for Test match cricket, but there can be no guarantees in elite sport and in the Australian cricket team.” Inverarity added: “If he drops out of the ODI team then there’s a possible lack of momentum there. “There are three Test matches in the West Indies (in April), then as I understand it there are no more Test matches until October or November.” The selectors dumped Ponting as they announced a 13-man squad with all-rounder Shane Watson returning for Australia’s next two tri-series ODIs, against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Friday and India in Sydney next Sunday. Ponting’s sacking came a day after he led Australia to a crushing 110-run win over India in Brisbane as stand-in for injured skipper Michael Clarke. But while the other batsmen made merry, he scored just seven runs from 26 balls. Ponting said after Sunday’s victory that he had no intention of seeking a rest to freshen up. “It’s fair to say I’ve struggled in the first five games,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to put my hand up and say I want a break, because when you are going through a lean trot like I’ve had the last couple of games, you want to turn that around.” Ponting ranks second only to India’s Sachin Tendulkar with most ODI runs (13,704) from 375 matches, while he has scored 13,200 runs in 162 Tests. “Ricky ’s record speaks for itself,” Inverarity said. “He is one of the truly great performers in the history of Australian ODI cricket,

with his reputation enhanced further by him captaining Australia to two World Cup victories.” Inverarity said that Ponting’s contribution to the Australia ODI team went far beyond his batting statistics and brilliant fielding. “The example he sets in every respect and his extraordinarily positive influence in the dressingroom is acknowledged by all,” he

said, while hailing Ponting’s “selfless” willingness to stand in for Clarke recently. Ponting’s sacking comes less than a month after his dominant role in Australia’s 4-0 clean sweep of the home Test series against India. He was second for most series runs only to Clarke, scoring 544 at 108.80 with two centuries and three 50s. —AFP

SYDNEY: This file photo taken on January 4, 2012 shows Australian batsman Ricky Ponting playing a cut shot to the boundary. Ponting’s one-day international career appeared over after he was dropped from Australiaís team after a dismal run of form. —AFP

ICC hopes disabled cricket gains momentum DUBAI: The first-ever physically disabled cricket series between Pakistan and England has taken the sport into new territory and will gain momentum in time, an International Cricket Council official said Sunday. The physically challenged cricketers played two Twenty20 and three oneday matches at the ICC Global Academy here between February 11 and 19. Pakistan won the T20 2-0 and the one-day series 2-1. Haroon Lorgat, chief executive of the ICC said he was impressed with the

amazing talent of the disabled players. “It was an historic series in the sense that it created a huge amount of awareness for many of us,” Lorgat told AFP at the series prizegiving ceremony. “It is an area we have not focused much on in the past, but certainly with the efforts of these players and organisers in this series it has certainly created awareness,” said Lorgat. Lorgat said disabled cricket will have to go through the normal process to get recognition. “I would liken it to women’s cricket in the past, the ICC

was not involved with women’s cricket but it went through a process and is now under the ICC, so disabled cricket will also have to go through a process,” he said. Lorgat said the Chief Executive Committee (CEC) meeting next month will also discuss this recent brand of the game. “Disabled cricket is on the agenda albeit still in a small way and in the upcoming CEC meeting we are again having it on the agenda, so we can start to form a framework as we did for women’s cricket and hopefully

it will gain momentum,” said Lorgat. Lorgat said the skill levels seen during the series were amazing. “It was fascinating to watch, the skill level and the type of cricket these players played notwithstanding their disability was a treat to watch,” said Lorgat, praising the talent of Pakistan’s Matloob Qureshi. Qureshi, who bats left handed after he lost his right one in an accident, scored a century in the first oneday and was named man of the series. Ian Martin, manager of disabled cricket for the England and Wales

Cricket Board welcomed the ICC’s support. “We have played an historic series and now we welcome the support of the ICC because we need that in order to get recognition,” said Martin. Pakistan Disabled Crcket Association secretary Amiruddin Ansari said disabled cricket has a future. “With the successful holding of this series I think we have proved that disabled cricket has a future and I hope more and more countries will join this brand of cricket to help us gain momentum,” said Ansari. —AFP



Raonic routs Istomin to defend San Jose crown

Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki hits out at Navratilova DUBAI: Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki hit back at Martina Navratilova yesterday for claiming that the Dane had never deserved to be top of the world rankings. Wozniacki also suggested she has lost respect for Navratilova, regarded by many as the greatest woman player ever, implying that her TV commentating sought to stir things up and that it would be better to “think a little bit.” “I would never say Martina was number one when there was no-one playing,” Wozniacki said, “or that she was the best when no-one was playing. That would be disrespectful.” Her comment was an echo of Navratilova’s remarks at an Australian Open press conference, in which the 55-year-old legend said: “Clearly nobody feels Wozniacki is a true number one.” Navratilova, whose 18 Grand Slam singles titles were achieved when the women’s game had less depth, also criticized the modern ranking system which placed Wozniacki at the top for 68 weeks. This places too much emphasis on the quantity of wins rather than their quality, Navratilova alleged, suggesting fellow Czech Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon champion and winner of five other titles last year, should have become number one instead. When Wozniacki was asked if she had lost respect as a result of some of the remarks made about her on television, she reacted immediately. “I think I have to be honest, lost a little bit of respect. Because I respect what they have achieved,” she said, referring to players of a previous era who are now commentators. “And I really respect what someone else (has done), I know how hard it is to reach the top level of a sport like ten-

nis. “I think I would never say Martina was number one when there was noone playing, or she was the best when no-one was playing. I mean that would be disrespectful. “She was unbelievable. She won so many Grand Slams, her touch was unbelievable. Martina Hingis was unbelievable as well - for me my favorite player. “But I think they should respect players that are playing now as well. Because they know how hard it is. You don’t just wake up and say okay I want to win this tournament, and it just happens like this. At that point, you are like, they should just think a little bit.” Wozniacki reacted almost as strongly when asked about Navratilova’s comment that it was Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka who now formed the game’s best rivalry. “They always have to make comments, and that’s what they get paid for - to be comments, because they are not playing any more. And they need to stir everything up,” Wozniacki said. “When I was number one they needed to make a story so in the beginning when I was coming up they were saying I was the next big thing. “Then when I had been there for a while and it got boring.........then they said she hasn’t won a Grand Slam because and because and because. “Soon it will be if Victoria (Azarenka) loses a match, ‘how could she lose a match?’” Wozniacki lost her world number one ranking to Azarenka three weeks ago, and is seeded three in defence of the Dubai Open title this week, behind the Belarussian and the Czech. Kvitova has since withdrawn with a virus, and Wozniacki should play Azarenka in the semi-finals on Friday. — AFP

SAN JOSE: Third seeded Milos Raonic successfully defended his San Jose Open crown by routing Denis Istomin 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 for his third career title on Sunday. The 21-year-old Canadian dominated unseeded Istomin with his serve, hammering seven aces and winning 90 percent of his first serve points in the 79 minute match. “I feel amazing,” Raonic said. “It is great to come back here. There was a little more pressure than last year but I am really happy with the tennis I played this week.” Raonic, who had a bye in the first round, didn’t drop a set in the $531,000 indoor tournament, winning four-straight matches at the HP Pavilion arena which also serves as the home of the NHL San Jose Sharks. The world No. 32 is also a perfect eight-for-eight in tiebreakers at the event over two years. “This is special to me because it is a hockey arena,” said Raonic. “I am not the biggest hockey fan but it definitely makes me feel like I am at home.” Raonic, of Toronto, won the first set in a tiebreaker, closing it out with a 233 kph (145 mph) serve. He jumped out to a 6-1 lead, then dropped the next two points before serving for the set. Raonic stepped up the attack in a lightning quick second set, going eight-for-eight in his first serve points and winning 89 percent of his second serve points.

The victory earned Raonic $95,000 in prize money and made him the ATP Tour’s first twotime winner of 2012. Raonic opened this season with a win at the Chennai Open in New Delhi, India.Raonic was presented with his trophy at centre court then joked about his good feelings for the area. “If real estate wasn’t so expensive here I might buy a home,” he said. This marked the first career meeting between Raonic and Istomin, who is ranked 61st in the world. Istomin, who was chasing his first ATP Tour title, had a single ace and won just 62 percent of his first-serve points. “I was feeling good today but not enough to win. He was serving unbelievable,” said Istomin. Raonic won last year in San Jose then followed it up the next week by reaching the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship where he lost a close match to former US Open winner Andy Roddick. But then, after losing to American teen Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells, a string of injuries stalled his progress. Later that year he underwent surgery to repair a damaged hip. “It was the toughest time for me and I hope the hardest thing I will have to go through,” he said. One area where Raonic has to improve is in the majors. Since turning pro three years ago, he has never made it past the fourth round of a grand slam event. — AFP

Chisora, Haye could face German jail sentences BERLIN: British boxers David Haye and Dereck Chisora could both face possible prison sentences in Germany following their Munich brawl, prosecutors here confirmed yesterday. Haye and Chisora clashed during the press conference after Chisora’s defeat to defending WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Saturday night in the Bavarian capital. In front of stunned reporters and the assembled media, Chisora confronted Haye, who was working at the fight as a pundit, and the pair had to be separated after trading blows which saw both of their trainers get involved. Haye is suspected of grievous bodily harm and if found guilty, faces up to 10 years in prison. Haye, who lost his World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight title on points to Vitali’s brother Wladimir in July last year, proved hard to track down but he finally issued a statement later yesterday through his promoters in London. “I realise I am no angel - and don’t mind a bit of professional trash-talk to help raise boxing’s profile - but, during my 21 years in the sport, I have never been involved in, or even witnessed, such a serious fracas,” said Haye, who threw the first punch as Chisora approached him. “If requested, I shall happily assist the boxing authorities with any investigation they wish to launch and, ultimately, hope that all lessons learned from this incident will be implemented.” Chisora is suspected of malicious injury, which carries a jail sentence of up to five years, and threatening behavior, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to one year. “They are both facing a fine or a possible prison sentence,” a Munich police spokesman told AFP with investigations still on going.

After the brawl at Munich’s Olympiahalle, Haye is believed to have immediately left the country and police were unable to locate him after searching his hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning. Chisora and his trainer Don Charles were both arrested at Munich airport as they prepared to board a plane and were taken for questioning at the city’s police station, but were released on Sunday evening. The British Boxing Board of Control has already said Chisora could face a life ban after the brawl which has badly tarnished the sport’s image and are investigating him on a misconduct charge. Haye does not have a licence to fight, having officially retired in October, but the board could choose to effectively ban him by denying him a licence if he seeks to fight again. — AFP

Dereck Chisora

Vonn prepares for Sochi 2014 Games KRASNAYA POLYANA: Lindsey Vonn has just cranked up her preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. While she didn’t win a race over the weekend, Vonn came away from the official test event for the games with two World Cup titles and a positive feeling for the highly technical Rosa Khutor course. “This is the beginning - getting this track dialed in my mind - and finally getting a chance to see the course, so I’m finally really excited for the Olympics,” Vonn told The Associated Press. “I’ve always been excited for the Olympics, but it’s different when you have nothing to visualize. Now I’ve been here and I know the track and I can just play it over in my mind - over and over again - for two years. “That was the main goal for me, just to see what Sochi was all about, all the terrain, and really get a handle in my mind of what the course is going to be like for the Olympics, and I definitely feel like I accomplished that,” Vonn added. Having dominated both training sessions, Vonn finished a disappointing third in Saturday’s downhill, a result she partly attributed to a wrong choice in skis. “It doesn’t mean anything for the Olympics,” Vonn said. “I’m really comfortable on this track. I’m really, really excited about it and I’m sure my skis will be rockets for the Olympics.” Sunday’s super-combined was canceled due to heavy snowfall, and racers were also denied one training session to bad weather. “It’s disappointing but it’s ski racing,” Vonn said Sunday. “For the Olympics, they’re going to have more time to play with, more time to prepare the course, and if the snow is like it is today they have another day or two or three to make sure it’s in good condition.” When Vonn won gold in the downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games, it came after racers only got one training run on the course due to an extended run of rain, snow and sleet. If this test event was any indication, the Sochi Games could also be affected by humid weather conditions, with the newly built Alpine resorts located just a half-hour drive from the Black Sea. The immense pressure on Vonn will also likely remain, although she knows how to handle it now. “It doesn’t really get any more pressure than what I had at the Olympics in 2010, so I feel like no matter what the pressure is I can handle it,” Vonn said. “There is pressure, but it’s just another race and you have to mentally think about it that way. And you have to perform and you have to ski well and it doesn’t matter what day it is and what the weather is, you just have to ski.”

While the downhill went according to plan, the remainder of the 2010 Games was mostly a misadventure for Vonn as she struggled with a bruised shin. She gave away a lead after falling in the slalom leg of the super-combined, then got only a bronze in the super-G, crashed and broke her right pinkie in the opening run of the giant slalom and straddled a gate in the first slalom leg. While 2014 is still two years away, Vonn already has a clear idea of where she’d like to improve. “I would love to do better in the super-G,” Vonn said. “I skied well in the super-combined (but) straddled a gate halfway down, so I would love to get a medal in that. So there’s definitely a lot of things I would love to do better.” In Vancouver, Vonn stayed outside the Olympic Village in a setup provided by her sponsor, and that’s what she’s planning in 2014 as well. “I probably won’t stay in the Village,” Vonn said. “I did that in Torino and I didn’t really like that that much. I liked it in Salt Lake, but I stayed there after I competed.

Lindsay Vonn in action in this file photo.

“I really like the way we had it set up with Red Bull in Vancouver - we had our own little condo kind of away from everything,” Vonn added. “I like being really chill and by myself and I’ll probably do something similar to that, but I have to check out the lay of the land and see what accommodations are available here in Russia.” Actually, the entire US Ski Team stayed outside the village in Whistler and is hoping for a similar setup here. “It’s also nice to have your own space, have a cook from America doing the food for us,” said Julia Mancuso, a gold medalist in giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Games and a winner of two silver medals in Vancouver. “I find that more relaxing than staying in the village, but I’ve never stayed in the village.” But should Vonn, as one of the games leading athletes - and recently an ambassador for the first Winter Youth Olympics - stay in the village to set an example? “That doesn’t matter,” said U.S. head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “Because all we want is to win that gold medal, and if that takes staying somewhere else, we’re going to do it.” — AP

SAN JOSE: Canada’s Milos Raonic hoists the trophy after his win over Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, in the championship match of the SAP Open tennis tournament. — AP

Records expected to fall at new Olympic track LONDON: Track cycling could be set for an Olympic boost when a host of world records are expected to fall at London’s new state of the art velodrome. After four days of racing at the final World Cup event of the season, an official Olympic test event, only two world records were set in London’s east end last weekend. Yet that number is expected to increase significantly as intense rivalry and the ‘curing’ of the wooden boards covering the largely oval 250metre track come into play this August. On Friday Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch set a new world mark of 32.828sec in the two-lap team sprint, a time beaten in the final by Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish, who clocked 32.754. In another women’s event, the 12-lap team pursuit, it was more of the same. After Australia’s three-women team had set a new record of 3:19.164, Britain went on to win the final in a new time of 3:18.148. The International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctions world records in a total of 12 track events, eight of which are on the Olympic programme. Arguably the most coveted record to hold in Olympic track is in the team pursuit. On Sunday, the Australian quartet of Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alexander Edmondson and Michael Hepburn scorched to 3:54 — the third-fastest time recorded for the 4km event-to beat Britain, and threaten the world record of 3:53.314 the Brits set on their way to Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago. Experts estimate that teams will have to clock around 3:50 to win Olympic gold in the 4km men’s event. Bobridge, the world record holder in the nonOlympic event of the individual pursuit (4:10.532), says that is a near certainty. “It’s only a new track, and for the track to be that fast already, with it being so new, is a good sign of things to come,” Bobridge told AFP. “Give it another six months for the boards to cure and a bit more racing on it, and come the Games there will be pretty good times for sure.” For American pursuit specialist Sarah Hammer the London velodrome is particularly kind to pursuiters. “Obviously it’s very round, a good pursuiters track... one you can keep full gas on all the way around,” said Hammer, who hopes the reputation of the women’s team pursuit event benefits in London. “We’re a new event, it’s thrilling that we get to do it as women. I would expect and hope we have the same high achievement for the times.” Specialists in the speed events meanwhile were happy with the chance to test their tactics on the steep banking and home straights of the velodrome-made from 56km of sustainablysourced Siberian pine and some 350,000 nails. Jason Kenny is battling British teammate Sir Chris Hoy for the sole sprinter’s spot available in the event at the Games, and said: “A lot of tracks we’ve been racing on have quite longer (home) straights, and when you’re in a match sprint and leading out and trying to overtake someone it does change the characteristics of the race and you just have to race accordingly. “It’s just a learning curve really. It’s been really good to get on the track and experience some fast racing ahead of the Olympics.” Kenny was recently awarded the sprint world title after France’s Gregory Bauge was stripped of the rainbow jersey for a doping rule misdemeanor. In London both riders are sure to represent their respective countries in the team sprint, an event in which Britain are Olympic champions and France are world champions. “It’s a nice track,” Bauge told AFP after his team took silver behind Germany on Saturday. “It feels really good to ride on and with the atmosphere and the heat, plus a little medal motivation from us, I think we can go much faster in London.” — AFP




And the Oscar goes to ... Soccer cheats! PARIS: Clearly, the Oscar will go to the wrong guy. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, best actor? Pah! What about Dani Alves or Bryan Carrasco? If those names don’t sound familiar then, like Hollywood’s academy, you’ve not been paying attention. You don’t need to sit in a dark room with popcorn to see great acting. It is showing now at soccer stadiums around the world. Players who pretend an opponent attacked them, who suddenly drop dead only to make Lazarus-like recoveries moments later, who writhe like a tub of eels in faked agony on the field, these are the thespians who give soccer a bad name. The aim, of course, is to con referees, to swing a game by getting opponents cautioned or sent off or by winning undeserved penalties and free kicks. Cheating, pure and simple, and a blight on the sport. Not all pros stoop so low. Lionel Messi is their standard-bearer. Because of his speed and skill, Barcelona’s little forward attracts more than his share of nasty tackles. But rarely does the Argentine make a song and dance of them. Not all soccer actors act well. Type “Hamit Altintop worst dive ever” into YouTube. Not only did the Turkey midfielder’s “Help! I’ve lost all control of my legs!” plunge in Croatia’s penalty box on Nov. 11 fail to fool

referee Felix Brych, but the slow motion replays made Altintop look silly for attempting such a stunt. Soccer could combat this dark art on three fronts. Referees should yellow card ham-actors more frequently (Altintop’s dramatics went unpunished); soccer bosses must become intolerant of such cheating; and flagrant offenders should be pointed out and shamed into changing their ways. Or be forced to get their actor’s card. Working on the principle that Academy Award organizers cast their net too narrowly by looking only at film actors, we assembled a jury of crack Associated Press sports reporters to select our own Oscar winner from soccer. Feel free to email the address below if you don’t like our choice or have your own winner. Without further ado, here are our nominees for Best Actor/Actress in soccer, 2011, are: l Alves, Champions League semifinal, April 27. Think of Willem Dafoe’s death scene in “Platoon.” Screaming, mouth agape, the Barcelona defender acrobatically spun to ground, clutching his right calf muscle, after he and Real Madrid’s Pepe went for a loose ball with raised legs. Like the Zapruder film of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the slow-mo was scrutinized across the soccer world for clues:

Did Pepe actually touch Alves? Real Madrid’s almost frame-by-frame post-mortem at - convincingly suggested not only that Pepe was innocent but that Alves wasn’t the only Barcelona player who hammed it that night. Referee Wolfgang Stark sent Pepe off. Messi then scored twice. And that, pretty much, sealed Barcelona’s place in the final, which it won, too. This ticked all the boxes of standout soccer acting: It must be deceptive and effective and, if possible, be performed on the biggest stage. l Gervasio Nunez, Europa League group stage, Oct. 20. Pushed on the shoulder by Fulham’s Mousa Dembele, the Argentine midfielder for Polish side Wisla Krakow pretended he had been thumped in the face and collapsed. Referee Martin Hansson bought it, Dembele trudged off, Wisla turned its one-man advantage into a 1-0 win. “Of course, we will never complain after a red card,” said Fulham manager Martin Jol before going on to complain. “It was a push on the shoulder, after being kicked,” he said. “You shouldn’t raise your hand. He (Dembele) pushed him on the shoulder and you shouldn’t do that. The referee gave us a red card, but we felt hard done by.” Erika, Women’s World Cup quarterfinal,

July 10. More worthy of a Razzie than an Oscar, because this gamesmanship backfired. Minutes away from qualifying for the semifinals, Brazil pulled all the old tricks to preserve its 2-1 lead over the United States, including wasting time. With a dramatic roll for added effect, Brazil’s defender laid down in front of her own goal, clutching her back. Precious seconds passed as medics arrived with a gurney to cart her away. Then, behold! A miraculous recovery! She sprinted back on, to boos and whistles from the crowd. Referee Jacqui Melksham wasn’t duped. She showed Erika a yellow card and added three additional minutes to the clock, just enough for Abby Wambach to head in the equalizing goal that sent the game to a penalty shootout, won by the United States. If Erika hadn’t stalled, would Wambach have had time to rescue US hopes? l Peter Wisgerhof, Johan Cruyff Shield, July 30. Not deceptive, not effective, but Monty Pythonesque. In this match between the Dutch Cup winners and Dutch league champions, the captain of FC Twente looked like a mountain goat skipping over a rock or a frog on takeoff as he jumped into the air and rolled onto the ground after a tickle of a tackle from Ajax defender Daley Blind. To his credit, Wisgerhof later laughed at himself.

“The worst dive of the match was definitely mine,” Dutch websites quoted him as saying. “I felt something, but fell much later. Why didn’t I get a yellow card? I quickly told the ref I’m a defender and don’t even know how to fall.” But the Oscar goes to ... l Carrasco, South American Under-20 Championship, Feb. 12. This cheeky Chilean is our runaway winner. Such ingenuity! The midfielder plumbed new depths by grabbing an opponent’s arm and whacking himself in the face with it, and then collapsing. You’ll not tire of the video, with hilarity from commentators Nicolas Nardini and Jorge Nazar: “It could only have been better had he injured himself, knocking himself out, perhaps,” said our jury member Steve Wade, AP Sports Writer in Argentina. “This is the classic ‘picaro’ character of 16th century Spanish literature, the rascal seeking every advantage.” Like all the best actors, Carrasco had done his homework. “It was necessary to do it because we were losing 1-0 and we needed to win to qualify,” he told a TV interviewer. “I do it in practice,” he added. “The coach sees it and says: ‘Hey, what are you guys doing fighting over there?’” Drama, comedy and a villain all in one. Even George and Brad would be impressed. —AP



New-look CSKA face an uphill task against Real

CASTELVOLTURNO: Napoli’s forward Ezequiel Lavezzi kicks the ball during a training session on the eve of their Champions League Group A football match against Chelsea. —AFP

Villas-Boas sweats before Napoli pressure cooker LONDON: Struggling Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas faces the biggest match of his managerial career in a Champions League last-16 first leg at Napoli today. The focus will all be on the Portuguese given his counterpart Walter Mazzarri is banned from the touchline for pushing an opponent in the group stage. While Mazzarri roars on his charges from the stands at the noisy and cavernous San Paolo, Villas-Boas will cut another lonely figure on the touchline if Chelsea do not get a grip on their season. The London side have won just two of their last 10 league games and drew 1-1 at home with second tier Birmingham City in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, prompting speculation Villas-Boas could be axed if the Napoli game goes badly. “You need an extra mental push to feel that confidence in a different way, it comes with results and at the moment results are not happening so until you get out of that cycle with a win it perpetuates a bit,” said Villas-Boas. Asked why he thought his side could win at the San Paolo, he added: “Because it’s football and sometimes it happens just like that, how you least expect. Napoli is a strong team but we are a strong team.” His ageing outfit are fifth in the Premier League and in danger of missing the Champions League for next term as fans begin to wonder if one stellar year as coach of Porto has given the 34-year-old enough experience to cope at Stamford Bridge. On Saturday, some chanted the name of former boss Jose Mourinho, who won two Premier League titles with Chelsea. Chelsea’s ruthless billionaire owner Roman Abramovich may have cut ties with Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo

Ancelotti when he felt results did not meet his high expectations but there is hope for Villas-Boas. Guus Hiddink was considered as the most likely to candidate to be brought in to save Chelsea’s season for a second time but the Dutchman signed with Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala last week. To avoid Abramovich having a big decision to make before the second leg, Villas-Boas has to choose between misfiring Fernando Torres or Didier Drogba upfront. The Ivorian came on for the Spaniard at halftime against Birmingham having returned from the African Nations Cup and looks the most likely to lead the line. Frank Lampard was on the bench but could return in Naples with Chelsea looking void of ideas in the first half where Juan Mata missed a penalty. Away from Europe where they have sparkled — helping knock out Premier League leaders Manchester City — Napoli have disappointed in Serie A but won 3-0 at Fiorentina on Friday to move up to sixth. South American strikers Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi both scored in Florence to sharpen their form for the visit of the 2008 runners-up, who may be without captain and centre back John Terry because of injury alongside left back Ashley Cole. “Both are in with a chance of making it,” Villas-Boas said. Uruguay’s Cavani is licking his lips at the prospect of facing an injury-hit backline. “We are looking forward to this great match in the Champions League on Tuesday and will give our utmost to get another great result for our fans, who will be there with us at the San Paolo,” said Cavani, whose side may be without Hugo Campagnaro. —Reuters

Lanus win, Boca struggle BUENOS AIRES: Lanus took sole lead of the Clausura championship with a 1-0 win at Independiente on a disappointing day for the four big clubs in Argentina’s first division on Sunday. Lanus are the only team with a maximum six points after two rounds of the season’s second championship, while champions Boca Juniors drew 0-0 at Union, Racing Club and Independiente both lost 1-0 and San Lorenzo were held 1-1 at home by Estudiantes. Boca have conceded a mere six goals in 21 matches this season, 19 in the Apertura championship they won in December, but Sunday’s performance failed to dispel concerns even among their own players about a lack of sparkle in attack. An internal squabble midweek almost

ended with coach Julio Cesar Falcioni resigning after a slanging match with leading players over the team’s poor 0-0 draw with modest Zamora in their opening Libertadores Cup match. “It’s past, the coach and the captain (Juan Roman Riquelme) have spoken,” Boca goalkeeper Agustin Orion said as he tried to put the conflict behind Boca. “Let’s hope the result will be good for us in the long run (but) we have to improve,” he told reporters with a phrase often used by playmaker Riquelme, the team’s biggest critic. Racing began the championship full of hope with former Argentina coach Alfio Basile in charge but have taken only one point from two matches and not yet scored after Sunday ’s 1-0 away loss to 10-man Godoy Cruz in Mendoza. —Reuters

MOSCOW: CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutsky may have got his wish when the Russians were paired with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 tie. “I don’t think anyone wants to face Barcelona because they look almost unbeatable,” Slutsky, whose team host the nine-times European champions in the first leg at the Luzhniki stadium on Tuesday, said before the December draw. “Against other teams you may have a chance,” added the 40year-old former amateur goalkeeper, dubbed the Russian Mourinho by local media for his analytical approach, thorough tactical preparation and attention to detail. Nevertheless, Slutsky named the runaway La Liga leaders as huge favourites against CSKA, playing their first competitive game in almost two-and-a-half months. To make the matters worse for the Russians, their current team has little resemblance with the one that beat Inter Milan 2-1 in their final Group B match to secure a place in the first knockout round. Slutsky may have to hand starting roles to two debutants, Swedish midfielder Pontus Wernbloom and Nigeria striker Ahmed Musa, after they were signed during the last transfer window. The 19-year-old Musa, who joined from Dutch side VVVVenlo, will have big shoes to fill following the departure of Brazilian Vagner Love, their talismanic forward who left for Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo last month after spending seven seasons with the army side and scoring the club’s record 117 goals.

CSKA’s Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda and Chile winger Mark Gonzalez are also unlikely to feature in today’s game as they have not fully recovered from knee and hip surgery respectively. If he plays, Musa will partner Ivory Coast’s Seydou Doumbia the Russian league’s top scorer with 24 goals last year-in CSKA’s attacking formation. The Russians have been concerned about Doumbia’s lack of match practice as the powerful striker had watched most of the

untested Sergei Chepchugov and 16-year-old Sergei Revyakin, both of whom have yet to play on the international arena at the senior level, to face the Spanish giants. “Igor has been the main part of our team for many years, he’s almost indispensable, but we’ll have to find a way to overcome his absence,” the coach said. CSKA will also miss defender Kirill Nababkin and midfielder Pavel Mamayev through suspension for the first leg. Real, who have won 27 of

on Saturday, has suffered a bruised muscle, Hamit Altintop has a torn calf muscle while fellow midfielder Lassana Diarra is out with a back complaint. “Now we turn to the Champions League and we must focus on the match against CSKA,” Mourinho said after his team crushed Racing 4-0. “Everyone is pleased, we have two days to recover, and we are a happy group. We have a long journey but happiness helps make miracles. We are very motivated even though we know it

MOSCOW: Real Madrid’s players warm up during a training session one day ahead of a Champions League round of 16, first leg soccer match against CSKA Moscow. —AP action during the recent African Nations Cup from the bench. However, CSKA’s biggest worry is the goalkeeping position with first-choice Igor Akinfeyev still out following knee surgery and experienced Vladimir Gabulov joining big spenders Anzhi Makhachkala during the winter break. That leaves Slutsky with

their last 30 matches in all competitions suffering only one league defeat against Barcelona, and a draw and a defeat against their arch-rivals which put them out of the King’s Cup last month, also have several key players missing. Winger Angel Di Maria, who returned from injury and scored a goal against Racing Santander

will be difficult in Moscow.” Meanwhile, Brazilian Kaka has been concerned about the weather in the Russian capital. “The cold in Moscow is a negative factor, but it will also affect them, even if they are more used to it,” he said. “And then the return leg is at home for us. You have to remember that this is a two-legged tie.” —Reuters

PSG, Montpellier share spoils PARIS: Substitute Guillaume Hoarau struck two minutes from time to salvage a 2-2 home draw for Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain in an enthralling top-of-the-table clash with confident Montpellier on Sunday. John Utaka’s header looked to have sealed a famous away win for Montpellier but France striker Hoarau tapped in after a good move to send the Parc des Princes delirious. Montpellier, top scorers in Ligue 1 this term with 47 goals, have surprised most pundits by lasting the course until February and deserved to at least stay a point behind the leaders after 24 games of the 38-match season. “I don’t believe in Santa Claus,” Montpellier president Louis Nicollin, who did not travel to Paris, told Canal + TV when asked if his modest side could win the title. “I’m gutted but then again I’m happy with a draw. Each time I go to an away game we lose. They’ve shown our club in a good light.” Defender Alex blasted PSG into an unlikely lead with a swerving free kick after 41 minutes but the visitors hit back on the stroke of halftime through Younes Belhanda as a team who finished way down in 14th last season showed immense character. The south-coast side made a strong start but PSG boast the top flight’s best defence and managed to repel the early threat. The defence then went on the attack when cen-

tre back Alex, who joined PSG last month alongside his former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, scored in style to make light of normal free kick taker Javier Pastore being left on the bench.

Guillaume Hoarau

However, Morocco playmaker Belhanda soon had the PSG defence blushing as pink as the Ligue 1 matchball when he ghosted in to nod home Hilton’s perfect cross. Nigeria’s Utaka thought he had won the game on 83 minutes with a diving header which goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu should have saved but Hoarau had the last word. Girondins Bordeaux earlier continued their improvement and increased Olympique Lyon’s domestic woes when Yoan Gouffran struck just before the break to seal a 1-0 home win. Bordeaux have struggled since winning the 2009 title but lie ninth and within touch of the European places if they build on this result and last weekend’s stunning 5-4 victory at champions Lille. Fifth-placed Lyon lost 2-1 at home to lowly Caen last weekend before the 1-0 Champions League victory over APOEL Nicosia in midweek and their inconsistency and nervousness in front of goal was again evident on the west coast. Gouffran scored at the far post following a corner in a largely forgettable encounter, unlike last weekend at Lille. In the other early Ligue 1 match, St Etienne thumped Stade Rennes 4-0 to leapfrog the Brittany side into sixth.Third-placed Lille won 1-0 at Lorient on Saturday while Olympique Marseille, in fourth, drew 1-1 with Valenciennes before next week’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Inter Milan. —Reuters



Not every Ivy Leaguer becomes an NBA star NEW YORK: The names “Jeremy Lin” and “Harvard” pop up in the same sentence so often lately you might think every Ivy Leaguer who chases the dream winds up in the NBA. Not so. Nearly all of them must face reality sooner or later and learn to make do in less glamorous occupations, such as Wall Street CEO, legal titan or even secretary of education. But none of them minds basking in Lin’s reflected glory. “I followed Jeremy since he was a kid, and I always knew he’d amount to something,” chuckled Arne Duncan, a former Harvard basketball captain who really is the U.S. Secretary of Education. “It ’s been amazing to watch. It shows that if you keep working and people pay attention, there are plenty of diamonds out there just waiting to be discovered.” Duncan doesn’t count himself as one of those diamonds, though he played in the U.S. Basketball League after graduation, then had a cup of coffee at the Boston Celtics’ training camp and played pro basketball in Australia for four years before launching his public-service career. Duncan

might have stayed on the other side of the world, too, if the pull of his hometown weren’t so strong. “I was getting paid to do something I loved. I was comfortable, and being honest, if I’d stayed for another year, I’d probably be there still,” he said. “It sounds corny, but because of the way I was raised ... and all the mentors who invested so much, I felt an obligation to come back and help.” As if Ivy League grads lacked bragging rights, Lin’s worldwide celebrity has provided them with yet another gift. More than a few can boast of having better nights playing against the Knicks’ sudden sensation than Kobe Bryant or anyone else in the NBA has so far. “I know this sounds crazy now, but there were three guys just on our team I would have taken over him any day of the week,” said Cornell senior guard Chris Wroblewski. “I wasn’t super impressed.” Wroblewski, who was named Ivy League rookie of the year in 200809 largely because of his defensive skills, was glued to Lin home-andaway during each of his first two

Frozen by Parkinson’s, still The Greatest LAS VEGAS: They gathered in the bowels of the arena where most of the great fights of the last two d e c a d e s h ave t a k e n p l a ce, o l d men now all sharing one shining m o m e n t f r o m y e a r s g o n e b y. They had come to honor The Greatest, though whether Muhammad Ali remembered who they were or knew what it was all about was a matter of speculation that on this night would go unanswered. S o m e , l i k e C h u c k We p n e r, couldn’t stop talking about the night they won their own personal lottery - a spot across the ring from Ali. Nothing new there, since the Bayonne Bleeder has been talking about it to anyone else who will listen almost every day since. O thers, like Leon Spinks, weren’t able to talk much at all. “Leon Spinks is here and he needs help,” Wepner said. “There a re a l o t o f f i g h te r s w h o n e e d help.” This was a night supposed to bring that help, both to fighters like Spinks and those fighting today. Millions would be raised in A l i ’s n a m e f o r t h e C l e v e l a n d Clinic’s new Lou Ruvo Center for B r a i n H e a l t h i n d ow n tow n L a s Ve g a s , w h e r e r e s e a r c h e r s a r e already busy trying to unlock the puzzles of damage to the human brain. A seat for dinner and the show at the MGM Grand hotel started a t $ 1 , 5 0 0 . U F C o w n e r Lo re n z o Fertitta spent $1.1 million in an auction for the gloves Ali used against Floyd Patterson in 1965 in the first heavyweight title fight in a city that would become synonymous with boxing. President Barack Obama wished Ali well in a video greeting, and Stevie Wo n d e r w a s a m o n g t h o s e o n hand to sing birthday wishes to the former heavyweight champion, who turned 70 last month. At the center of it all was an elderly man, mute and his face seemingly frozen as he sat at a table with his wife, Lonnie, and several other family members. W h e t h e r b o x i n g c a u s e d A l i ’s Pa r k i n s o n’s i s t h e s u b j e c t o f debate, but it was clear on this night the disease he has fought for three decades has taken a terrible toll on him. He was once a magnificent man with a sculptured body and a mouth that wouldn’t stay shut. He’s still magnificent in the way that his very presence envelopes and engulfs an arena like it did Saturday night, hushing highrollers and the elite of this gambling town in a way no other man could - and all without saying a word. They used to trot Joe Louis out like this in his final years, too, a heavyweight great and an American hero reduced to drooling in his wheelchair at ringside. With Ali, though, it seems different in a way if only because you get the feeling that the man who was the ultimate people person still enjoys being around people. “ I ’m n o t s a d a b o u t h i m , j u s t p r o u d t o k n o w h i m ,” G e o r g e

Foreman said. “When people ask me if he’s the greatest boxer ever, it’s an insult. He was the greatest everything, just a great man.” Foreman lost the biggest fight of his life to Ali, the stunner in Zaire that cost him the heav y weight title and for a long time derailed his life. He held a grudge for a long time, too, but it’s hard to be mad at Muhammad Ali no matter what he did to you in the ring. Ali was back in a makeshift ring on Sunday in the lobby of the MGM, where hundreds of people crowded around to share bir thday cake and sing “Happy Birthday ” to him. This was a chance for his people - the common people - to get close enough to take a photo and the buzz in the crowd grew as Ali arrived in a golf car t and was helped up a few steps into the ring. The expression on his face never changed as his former business manager, Gene Kilroy, called Ali’s family and friends up in the ring to be with him. Moon walker Buzz Aldrin and singer Kris K r i s t o f fe r s o n w e r e a m o n g t h e notables, while Spinks and Evander Holyfield also joined him. Lonnie took off his sunglasses and gave him a fork, and everyone watched as Ali concentrated as hard on the task at hand - getting some of the chocolate c a k e i n h i s m o u t h - a s h e e ve r had fighting Foreman in Africa. A few of his daughters hovered around, and grandbabies were p u t i n h i s l a p. T h e n , w i t h Holyfield holding him by one arm a n d h i s w i f e b y t h e o t h e r, A l i m a d e a s l o w, t r e m b l i n g , w a l k around the ring, holding his right arm up waist high to salute the cheers from the crowd. Doctors say not many people survive 30 years of Parkinson’s, a debilitating brain disease for which there is no cure. That Ali has lasted this long is, perhaps, a tribute to the great athleticism t h a t s e r ve d h i m s o we l l i n t h e ring. Still, the death of his trainer, Angelo Dundee, a few weeks ago a n d J o e Fr a z i e r a f e w m o n t h s b e fo re t h a t i s a re m i n d e r t h a t even The Greatest has a limited time on Earth. That seemed to be on the mind of many bunched around the ring in the lobby, holding cell phones aloft in hopes of getting a picture they could show the people back home. The excitement of being so close to Ali was tempered by the reality of how he looked and the d i f f i c u l t y h e h a d t r y i n g to g e t even one bite of frosting in his mouth. Still they cheered his victor y lap around the ring, and then watched as Holyfield and others helped him down the few steps toward the golf cart. Before he got in, though, he spotted a little girl in her mother’s arms and made a playful little move toward her like he had done thousands of times over to babies throughout his career. As if we needed a reminder that he is indeed The Greatest.—AP

seasons with the Big Red. “The game I remember is my sophomore year at home, when both teams were pretty good and people started calling it the ‘clash of the Ivy League titans,’” he said. (Considering how little attention the rest of the basketball world normally affords Ivy League games that might be an overstatement. But back to the story.) “He was the focal point in our scouting report, and we made it a priority to limit his touches. I think he had 16 points, but eight turnovers, too, and we beat them here by 36,” Wroblewski recalled. “It’s fair to say I’m not the fastest guy, so I had my concerns even then whether he could get around guys in the NBA. “That shows you much I know.” Yet Wroblewski knows enough to have lined up a job in finance back near his home in suburban Chicago when he graduates this spring. Of the three Cornell teammates he figured would get their NBA shot ahead of Lin, Ryan Wittman, the unanimous Ivy League player of the year selection in 2009-10 and the son of Wizards coach Randy Wittman, is already working for

Morgan Stanley in Minneapolis. The other two are still sticking it out in pro basketball’s rough-and-tumble lower circuits. Louis Dale plays in Germany, and Jeff Foote, who bounced around with teams in Israel, Spain and Poland and was in camp briefly with the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, is playing for the Springfield Armor in the D-League. “The good thing about going to an Ivy League school is you’ve got a lot of options after getting your degree, and a lot of them more lucrative than basketball, especially where I’m at,” Foote said. “You get a good starting salary with say Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, and maybe 10 or 20 years down the road you wind up even better off. The bad thing is that people assumed you played in the Ivy League because you weren’t good enough to get an athletic scholarship anywhere else.” Foote takes some pride in knowing that in corporate offices across the country, guys like him are enjoying rare moments of celebrity again. Suddenly, many of the financial planners, insurance agents and accountants who work alongside them can’t

hear enough about the night one of them stared down Jeremy Lin. “Honestly? I don’t remember much about it,” Foote said. “We beat them pretty handily. I knew he’d get an opportunity, but I expected the only way he’d catch on was maybe as a backup point guard. I hope his success makes a lot of people look at the league differently.” Duncan thinks so, too, but he’s hoping there’s a bigger lesson to be learned from Linsanity. “The best thing about Jeremy’s story is it shows you don’t always have to have pedigree or be a McDonald’s AllAmerican to get where you want to go. If you work hard and you’ve got humility, and what matters to you is making the team better, you can find a way to contribute. “Look,” Duncan said, “Jeremy is a very special kid, but it isn’t about the numbers he puts up. The Knicks were how should I put it - a dysfunctional group, and he made them a team. He’s been held to low numbers plenty of times, but the only thing he ever cared about were ‘Ws.’ Find guys like that,” he said finally, “and success isn’t usually far behind.”—AP

Tigres, Morelia and Santos bunched at the top in Mexico MEXICO CITY: Tigres, Morelia and Santos Laguna improved to 14 points to share the Mexican first-division lead through seven rounds. Tigres, which lead the other two on goal difference, drew 0-0 against Atlas. Morelia defeated Puebla 2-1, and Santos Laguna drew 1-1 against Monterrey. Pachuca missed an opportunity to move into first place and lost its unbeaten record on Sunday, falling 1-0 against America to stay on 12 points. Chivas’ poor play continued with a 0-0 draw at home against San Luis. Chivas is one of Mexico’s most popular clubs but has only two points in seven matches. In other weekend results: Cruz Azul and Pumas drew 1-1, Estudiantes defeated Atlante 2-1, Toluca defeated Jaguares 3-1, and Queretaro lost 2-0 against Club Tijuana. In Tigres draw, Argentine Damian Alvarez received a red card in the 26th for a comment to the referee, but neither team could break the deadlock despite both having chances to win the game. The result extends Tigres’ unbeaten run at home to 22 matches.

Second-half goals from Luis Sandoval and Miguel Sabah saw Morelia come from behind against Puebla. Rodrigo Salinas had put Puebla into the lead in the 53rd. Luis Perez gave Monterrey the lead in the 53rd after his penalty rebounded back and he headed it home. Aaron Galindo equalized with a header from a corner in the 82nd. America won its first home game of the season with Ecuadorian Christian Benitez scoring on a solo effort from 25 meters (yards). Chivas has only two goals all season and again failed to score against San Luis, which came into the game off the back of four defeats and with a dispute with its players over pay hanging over it. The game was overshadowed by a statement released Friday by Chivas accusing Mexican sports newspaper Record of running “a campaign of hate and abuses” against the club. The statement said all 18 first-division clubs agreed to ban the paper’s representatives from their stadiums and other facilities, although several clubs are reported to have

allowed their matches to be covered as normal. In a Mexico City derby, Eduardo Herrera put Pumas into the lead in the 22nd. Cruz Azul’s Javier Aquino steered a low right-footed shot from the edge of the area into the goal to equalize in the 65th. Cruz Azul is the only unbeaten team this season, but it has drawn five games and has only 11 points. Captain Juan Carlos Leano scored the winner with a header for Estudiantes Tecos in the 32nd, a vital victory as the club tries to avoid relegation. Eduardo Lillingston got the first for Estudiantes in the 14th and Ecuadorian Michael Arroyo equalized for Atlante 10 minutes later. Toluca went two goals up in the first 30 minutes, with Carlos Esquivel and Chilean Ivan Alonso scoring. Esquivel got his second in the 75th, with Colombian Jackson Martinez scoring Jaguares’ goal in the 79th. Argentine Jose Sand got the first for Club Tijuana in the 51st, with Colombian Duvier Riascos adding the second three minutes later.—AP

Porto get past Setubal

Marc Janko

LISBON: Marc Janko’s impressive start with FC Porto continued Sunday as the Austria international contributed a goal in a 3-1 victory over Setubal to keep the pressure on Portuguese leader Benfica. Janko collected a Joao Moutinho pass and squeezed through the Setubal defense to open the scoring after three minutes for his third goal in three games - the best start to a Porto career since Mario Jardel 15 years ago. Fernando took a Hulk pass to score the second in the 26th minute before Albert Myeong pulled one back for Setubal in the 75th after Hulk and Moutinho had both exited the game. Silvestre Valera converted Cristian Rodriguez’s 79th-minute cross to seal a win that moved the defending champions to within two points of Benfica, which puts its unbeaten season on the line at Guimaraes on Monday. “This was a crucial game for us,” Porto coach Vitor Pereira said. “We could not afford to leave here with just a point.” Sporting coach Ricardo Sa Pinto made a winning start after Pacos Ferreira defender Ricardo’s 36th-minute own goal lifted the Lisbon club to a 1-0 win that put it joint-fourth with Maritimo.

In other matches, Nacional beat Academica 4-1 and Feirense and Olhanense drew 1-1, while Leiria and Beira Mar’s 0-0 draw saw an assistant linesman abandon the game with a head injury following a run-in with Leiria player John Ogu. Maritimo beat Rio Ave 3-1 on Friday, while Braga moved into third with a 3-0 win over Gil Vicente on Saturday.—AP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

UEFA Champions League CSKA v Real Madrid Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport +3


Napoli v Chelsea Aljazeera Sport +3 Aljazeera Sport +4


Asian Olympic Qualifiers Iraq v Uzbekistan Aljazeera Sport Global


Malaysia angry over match-fixing charge KUALA LUMPUR: The Football Association of Malaysia has demanded that FIFA’s security chief explain his recent allegation that Malaysian soccer officials had been linked to match-fixing. FIFA’s head of security Chris Eaton was quoted by Singapore’s Straits Times last week as saying “there is an investigation linking football administration officials in Malaysia and globally to match-fixing in Southeast Asia”. The charge has prompted a testy response from Malaysia’s football body, which said Eaton’s comments were “uncalledfor” and has demanded evidence in a letter that it said was sent to the security chief on Thursday. “We view this matter seriously and wish to impress upon you that such a media release is uncalled-for as we were not notified,” FAM Secretary-General Azzuddin Ahmad said in the letter. “This has, in a way, tarnished our association’s image. The FAM would appreciate if you could furnish us with details of the investigation that is taking place.” AFP obtained a copy of the letter yesterday. In a subsequent statement, Azzuddin said FAM “regrets” the newspaper report and repeated its call for FIFA to “provide evidence if there is any basis to suspect that officers of the association are involved.” Longstanding concerns over match-fixing in Malaysia have spiked recently after FAM earlier this month suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches. The players from three clubs were suspended for between two and five years for fixing matches in the national under-20 President’s Cup last year. In the wake of those revelations,

Azzuddin said FAM also was investigating three teams in the country’s top football league for match-fixing, but he has declined to provide details with the probe under way. FIFA said on Friday that Eaton would leave in May to become director of sports integrity

with the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security. Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia, which in the 1970s had one of Asia’s best teams, but the national squad has seen a period of decline amid a series of match-fixing incidents over the years.—AFP

DOHA: Qatar’s Al-Kharaitiyat footballer Yahia Kiepi (right) fights for the ball with Emirati AlWahda player Omar Ali during their 27th GCC Champions Leauge football match.—AFP

New-look CSKA face an uphill task against Real

Haas sinks monster putt to win play-off at Riviera




Not every Ivy Leaguer becomes an NBA star

Page 19

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (center) vies for the ball with Valencia’s Argentinian midfielder Tino Costa (right) and Valencia’s midfielder David Albelda (left) during the Spanish League football match.—AFP

Majestic Messi routs Valencia MADRID: Lionel Messi hit four goals to inspire Barcelona to a 5-1 victory over Valencia on Sunday, but the champions still remain 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid. Messi took his league goals tally to 27 for the season and 42 in all competitions although third-placed Valencia had stunned the Spanish and European champions by taking a shock early lead. The pressure was on the Catalan side after defeat last weekend away to Osasuna and they got off to a poor start with Pablo Piatti giving Valencia the lead after nine minutes following a defensive mix-up. Youngster Martin Montoya, in the side with Dani Alves suspended, and Gerard Pique left Piatti unmarked and keeper Victor Valdes came and failed to reach a Sofiane Feghouli cross allowing the diminutive striker to tuck the ball in. The home fans were becoming restless but Messi responded once again when his side needed him most with two goals in five minutes. Adil Rami failed to clear a cross and Messi coolly finished

from a tight angle. The Argentine then got ahead of the Valencia defence to meet an Eric Abidal cross and while the keeper Diego Alves saved his initial shot, he was able to sweep in the rebound. Barcelona had clicked into gear but some excellent goalkeeping prevented them seeing off Valencia earlier. Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas were both denied by Alves while the former Arsenal player then hit the woodwork with an acrobatic effort. The home side continued to push forward after the break with Alves stopping a Messi header with a wonderful save and Fabregas badly miscued before Messi gave Barca a cushion by firing in a rebound after another Alves block. Messi completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes to go and then notched up his 42nd goal of the season after running clear of the defence and clipping the ball over the keeper. With the Valencia defence in disarray substitute Xavi Hernandez lobbed the ball over the keeper for the fifth in injury

time. Despite the rout, Barca are still struggling to retain their title after Real Madrid had swept past Racing Santander 4-0 on Saturday. Levante’s miserable form continued when they dropped out of the European places, losing 5-3 at home to Rayo Vallecano. The modest side from Valencia have spent most of the season among the top four after a surprising start which also saw them briefly lead the table, but they now haven’t won in two months and have tumbled down to seventh place. In a keenly-fought opening, Lass Bangoura put the visitors ahead but Jose Barkero brought Levante level at the start of the second half with a penalty after substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal was felled by Jorge Pulido. Levante were in the ascendancy but against the run of play Diego Costa hit a quickfire double and then Lass gave them a commanding lead after 69 minutes. Rubin Suarez pulled a goal back and then Andrija Delibasic added a fifth for

Rayo. There was still time for Suarez to score again for Levante with a spot kick and Pulido was sent off for a second yellow card after giving away the second penalty. Atletico Madrid squandered the chance to move up to fourth as they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon under new coach Javier Clemente. The visitors have set their goal on winning a place in the Champions League following an impressive start under coach Diego Simeone with the side unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions. Atletico striker Radamel Falcao missed the first opening inside the first five minutes when he shot straight at keeper Juan Pablo and then Diego Godin headed over from close range. Atletico did take the lead after 20 minutes but it was through a stroke of good fortune as Adrian Lopez scuffed a shot and the ball came off Roberto Canella for an own goal. Sporting got back into the game through a scrappy goal from Sebastian Eguren before half-time.—AFP

Spanish League results/standings Granada 4 (Lopez 12, Jara 57, Uche 60, 86) Real Sociedad 1 (Gonzalez 10); Athletic Bilbao 3 (Amorebieta 58, Dominguez 60, Toquero 61) Malaga 0; Real Mallorca 4 (Victor 41, 65, Marti 53, Nunes 67) Villarreal 0; Sporting Gijon 1 (Eguren 37) Atletico Madrid 1 (Canella 20-og); Levante 3 (Barkero 49-pen, Ruben Suarez 78, 90+1-pen) Rayo Vallecano 5; (Bangoura 34, 69, Diego Costa 62, 63, Delibasic 84); Barcelona 5 (Messi 22, 27, 76, 85, Xavi 90+1) Valencia 1 (Piatti 9). Played Saturday: Getafe 1 (Miku 70-pen) Espanyol 1 (Vazquez 65); Real Madrid 4 (Cristiano Ronaldo 6, Benzema 45+1, 89, Di Maria 73) Racing Santander 0; Sevilla 2 (Medel 16, Trochowski 90+4) Osasuna 0. Spanish league table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Real Madrid Barcelona Valencia Athletic Bilbao Espanyol Atletico Madrid Levante Rayo Vallecano Malaga Osasuna

23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23

20 15 11 8 9 8 9 9 9 7

1 6 7 9 6 8 5 4 4 10

2 2 5 6 8 7 9 10 10 6

79 68 36 37 26 32 32 32 28 26

21 17 27 30 27 28 34 35 35 37

61 51 40 33 33 32 32 31 31 31

Sevilla 23 Real Mallorca 23 Getafe 23 Granada 23 Real Sociedad 23 Real Betis 22 Villarreal 23 Racing Santander23 Sporting Gijon 23 Real Zaragoza 22

7 7 7 8 7 8 6 4 5 3

8 7 7 4 6 2 8 11 5 6

8 9 9 11 10 12 9 8 13 13

24 23 23 21 26 25 23 18 21 18

26 28 30 32 34 31 34 30 44 38

29 28 28 28 27 26 26 23 20 15

Thunder top Nuggets as Knicks pound Mavericks OKLAHOMA CITY: Kevin Durant scored a career-best 51 points for the top performance in the NBA this season, Russell Westbrook added 40 and Serge Ibaka had his first career tripledouble as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Denver Nuggets 124-118 in overtime Sunday. Durant hit a 3-pointer and drove for a dunk to tie the game with 4.4 seconds left in regulation, then used the extra period to chalk up the first 50-point game of the two-time scoring champion’s career. Ibaka added 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks to become the 14th player in franchise history with a triple-double. Arron Afflalo scored 27 points and Andre Miller had 21 points and 10 assists for Denver, which squandered a chance to win at the end of regulation.

CLEVELAND: Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson (right) tries to block a shot by Sacramento Kings’ Isaiah Thomas in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP

Knicks 104, Mavericks 97 At New York, Jeremy Lin had 28 points and a career-high 14 assists, and Steve Novak made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as New York ended Dallas’ six-game winning streak. J.R. Smith scored 15 points in his Knicks debut and Novak had all of his 14 in the final period as New York won for the eighth time in nine games. In a game of wild momentum swings, the Knicks reeled off 17 straight points in the first quarter, fell behind by 12 in the third, then pulled it out to beat the Mavericks for only the third time in the last 20 meetings. Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 34 points for the Mavericks, who had been playing championship-level defense but became the latest team who couldn’t stop Lin.

points and Steve Nash had 14 assists for the Suns. Pau Gasol added 17 points and 12 rebounds and Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 10 boards for the Lakers.

Heat 90, Magic 78 At Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 27 points, and LeBron James had 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, as NBA-leading Miami beat Orlando for their sixth consecutive victory. With former President Bill Clinton sitting courtside next to Heat managing general partner Micky Arison, Udonis Haslem scored 10 for the Heat, who improved to 25-7, a half-game better than Chicago for the best record in the NBA and Eastern Conference. The 12-point final margin was Miami’s smallest during its current winning streak. Wade made 13 of 23 shots from the floor, shooting 50 percent or better for the 10th straight game.

Pistons 96, Celtics 81 At Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Rodney Stuckey added 16 points to lead surging Detroit over Boston. Detroit has won seven of its last nine games, including two victories in five days over the Celtics, who were missing Kevin Garnett (personal reasons) and Brandon Bass (left knee). Paul Pierce led Boston with 18 points.

T’wolves 92, 76ers 91 At Minneapolis, Kevin Love scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws with 0.1 seconds left, to lead Minnesota over Philadelphia. Ricky Rubio had a career-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. His backup, J.J. Barea, added 14 points to help offset another strong game by Jrue Holiday of the Sixers. Holiday had 20 points on 10-for-20 shooting, plus five rebounds and three steals.

Pacers 108, Bobcats 73 At Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Indiana over Charlotte. Danny Granger and David West each scored 14 points for the Pacers, who have won two in a row following a season-long five-game losing streak. West also grabbed eight rebounds. Derrick Brown had 16 points and Kemba Walker 15 for the Bobcats (4-27), who have lost 17 of their last 18 games and never led in this one.

Suns 102, Lakers 90 At Phoenix, Jared Dudley scored a seasonhigh 25 points, and Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 15 rebounds as Phoenix held on to beat Los Angeles, ending a four-game losing streak. Kobe Bryant scored 32 points but was 1 of 8 on 3-pointers and committed 10 turnovers, one short of his career worst. Grant Hill scored 15

Cavaliers 93, Kings 92 At Cleveland, Kyrie Ir ving’s two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining gave Cleveland a win over Sacramento, extending the Kings’ losing streak to five games. Irving scored 23 points and Antawn Jamison added 21 for the Cavaliers. Isaiah Thomas, making his second start, scored a career-

high 23 points and had 11 assists for the Kings. Rockets 101, Jazz 85 At Houston, Kyle Lowry scored 32 points and Luis Scola had 26 as Houston fought off a late run by Utah. The Jazz cut Houston’s double-digit lead to two with a big fourth-quarter spurt before an 8-2 run by the Rockets stretched their lead to 88-80 with four minutes left. Al Jefferson, coming off a season-high 34 points Friday, led the Jazz with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Lowry’s 32 points were one shy of his season high. He made seven of eight 3-pointers, was 7 of 7 on free throws and had nine assists as the Rockets improved to 2-1 on a six-game homestand. Bucks 92, Nets 85 At Newark, New Jersey, Ersan Ilyasova had career highs of 29 points and 25 rebounds as Milwaukee snapped a four-game losing streak while spoiling the season debut of New Jersey center Brook Lopez. Ilyasova’s 25 rebounds tied the NBA singlegame high this season set Jan. 18 by Orlando’s Dwight Howard in an overtime game against San Antonio. The 6-foot-10 forward from Turkey fouled out with 2:01 to play after being the difference-maker all night, including a key 3-pointer with 4:56 to play after the Nets cut a 16-point deficit to seven. Brandon Jennings added 17 points as the Bucks won for only the third time in 10 games. Deron Williams had 26 points to lead New Jersey.—AP

Iran crude for China’s Unipec to fall in 2012 Page 22

National Bank of Oman plans Islamic services Page 23 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2012

Kuwait stocks mixed Page 24

S&P warns Japan on public debt, affirms AA- rating Page 25

ATHENS: High school students block the avenue outside the Greek Parliament during an anti-austerity protest in Athens yesterday. Euro-zone governments were poised to approve a long-elusive rescue package for Greece yesterday.—AP

Greece poised to clinch EU lifeline Finance ministers still wrangle over few issues BRUSSELS: Euro-zone governments were poised to sign off a long-awaited rescue package for Greece yesterday, saving it from a potentially calamitous bankruptcy next month, senior officials said. But finance ministers meeting in Brussels still have a few last issues to wrangle over, such as tighter controls over Greece’s spending and further cuts to the country’s debt load. Greece needs to secure the euro130 billion ($170 billion) bailout quickly so it can move ahead with a related euro100 billion ($130 billion) debt relief deal with private investors, which needs to be in place quickly if Athens is to avoid a disorderly default on a bond repayment on March 20. “I am of the opinion that today we have to deliver, because we don’t have any more time,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg who also chairs the meetings of euro-zone finance ministers, said as he arrived in Brussels. An uncontrolled bankruptcy would

likely force Greece to leave the 17-country currency union and return to its old currency, the drachma, further shaking its already beaten economy and creating uncertainty across Europe. French Finance Minister Francois Baroin told Europe-1 radio that while details will have to be worked out, “the political commitments have been made” for the bailout package, Greece’s second in two years. “We now have all the elements of a deal: elements of a participation that remains voluntary for banks and private creditors, and for public creditors states, central banks,” Baroin said ahead of the meeting. Apart from the finance ministers of the 17 euro countries, the get-together will also be attended by the heads of Greece’s other creditors: the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and representatives of private holders of Greek debt. Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who arrived in Brussels Sunday night, said he was also optimistic that the new aid program could

be agreed. “Greece comes into today’s Eurogroup meeting having fulfilled all the requirements for the approval of the new program,” he said. “For Greeks, this is a matter of national dignity and a national strategic choice and no other integrated and responsible choice can be opposed to it.” The Greek parliament has faced down violent protests in Athens and nationwide strikes to approve the austerity and reform measures demanded by the euro-zone. Its main political leaders have committed in writing to uphold the bailout terms even after general elections in April. Despite Athens’ efforts, however, several important elements of the deal remained unsolved. To convince the rest of the euro-zone that the new aid money won’t be squandered, Greece is expected to be forced to set up a separate account that would ensure that it services its debt. This escrow account would give legal priority to debt and interest payments over paying for government services. The idea behind such

Blue-chips buying lifts Saudi; KSE stocks rise MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange index rallied for a third-straight session yesterday, up 0.5 percent to its highest close in seven months. Local investors continued to buy into small-cap stocks, a common trend in the first quarter according to analysts. Saudi Arabia’s index hit a fresh 21-month closing high yesterday, nearing a psychologically-important resistance level as volumes surged in blue-chip stocks, while most other regional markets also extended gains. The kingdom’s benchmark climbed 0.3 percent to 6,895 points, its highest finish since May 2010. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC ), the top company in the Middle East by market value, gained 1.3 percent, the main support for the market. Volumes traded in the stock jumped to their highest in six months. “Saudi Arabia’s stock market is setting up to break through a three-year consolidation range and a firewall resistance at 7,000,” said Musa Haddad, head of MENA equity desk at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. “Such breakout on high volumes sets the stage for a long term

uptrend towards 8,000 to 10,000 levels.” The focus has shifted from smallcap, speculative stocks toward bluechips and heavyweights. “I feel this trend will pick up steam, attract further cash flows from local investors, and catapult the market to the next level,” said a Riyadhbased trader who asked not to be identified. “The extra cash that has been deployed in the market recently is critical to get past resistance barriers.” Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank gained 1 percent, Saudi Electricity rose 1.4 percent and Saudi Arabian Mining (Maaden) climbed 3.5 percent, all trading high volumes. In UAE, Abu Dhabi’s bluechips lift the emirate’s index by 0.6 percent to a four-month high as they played catch-up to early-year gains on other Gulf markets. Heavyweight National Bank of Abu Dhabi was the main support, rising 1.4 percent, while First Gulf Bank climbed 0.8 percent. Sorouh Real Estate and Dana Gas jumped 4.8 and 4.3 percent respectively. The UAE capital’s index climbed 0.6 percent to its highest close since

Oct. 30. In Dubai, the index slipped from Sunday’s eight-month peak as investors booked profits in large-cap stocks. Dubai Islamic Bank fell 1.4 percent, Emirates NBD slipped 0.7 percent and telecom operator du shed 1.3 percent. “The momentum is stretched and we had no news to fuel this rally - I would not be surprised to see 2 to 3 percent come off the market in coming days,” said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor. Regional sentiment was lifted on back of gains in world markets on optimism the second bailout package for Greece will be approved on Monday. “The overall picture - whether it is global markets or oil - is good, but from a momentum point of view we need a break. Even if there is positive news from elsewhere, the market will not avoid a correction,” Henin said about Dubai’s market. Elsewhere, Qatar ’s benchmark extended gains, rising 0.3 percent. The market is lagging its regional peers with year-to-date losses at 1.5 percent.

an account is that it would maintain pressure on Greece to stick to promised austerity and reform measures, without the euro-zone risking the destabilizing effects of a default. “What happened in the past cannot happen again, that billions (of euros) flow into Greece but get put into consumption there,” said Maria Fekter, Austria’s finance minister, as she headed into the meeting. But she cautioned that current proposals for administering the account themselves are expensive and those costs need to be reduced to make the plan feasible. Euro-zone finance ministry officials Sunday night concluded that only funds from the bailout would be funneled through the account and that Greece won’t be required to pay in taxpayer money, German Finance Ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe said in Berlin, citing the current state of the negotiations. The escrow account nevertheless would be an unprecedented intrusion

into a sovereign state’s fiscal affairs and could ultimately see Greece force to pay interest on its debt rather than its teachers, doctors or other government employees. The second big outstanding issue is how to make sure that the current efforts to save Greece can actually bring the country’s debts down to a manageable level in the longer term. In October, euro-zone leaders and the IMF said that Greece’s debt should be reduced to around 120 percent of annual economic output by 2020, from above 160 percent currently. But a new report prepared by the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF concluded that the new bailout, Athens’ spending cuts and a planned euro100 billion debt relief from private investors would still leave Greece’s debt at almost 129 percent of economic output by the end of the decade. The euro-zone is still discussing several ways to close this financing gap. The Greek official said there appeared to be agreement on further reducing the

interest rate on Greece’s first, euro110 billion bailout as well as having national central banks in the euro-zone, which also hold some Greek bonds, participate in the debt relief. But the official said that there was still no final decision from the ECB on whether it would be willing to transfer profits from its Greek bond holdings back to Athens. In contrast to the national central banks, who purchased Greek bonds as part of their overall investment strategies, the ECB bought its Greek holdings in an effort to ease market pressure on Athens. A fourth option for closing the gap would be to demand further losses from Greece’s private bondholders like banks and other investment funds. A current plan foresees private creditors to swap their old Greek bonds for new ones with half the face value, lower interest rates and much longer repayment periods. But now there is a push for bondholders to also give up on an accrued interest payment of around euro5.5 billion on their old bonds. —AP

Risk of reversal rises as oil enters ‘danger zone’ LONDON: The chances of a sharp drop in oil prices similar to the record one-day fall on May 5 last year are increasing sharply as the market becomes locked into a classic price spike. By close of business on February 14, hedge funds and other money managers were running 7.3 long futures and options positions linked US crude prices (308 million barrels) for every short position (42 million barrels), according to commitments of traders data published by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Investors have not been this long of US crude futures and options since July 2011, when longs were still liquidating their positions in the aftermath of the May 5 “flash crash”. The flash crash saw prices fall by more $11 per barrel within a single day, equivalent to more than four standard deviations. The parallels with the current position are striking. Money managers now have long positions amounting to 300 million barrels, up from 250280 million through last autumn, in a long/short ratio of 7.3:1 compared with a more normal ratio of 3:1 or less, and flat prices are around $105 per barrel, just $4 short of the level before last year’s flash crash. Predicting the timing and level of market reversals is impossible. But all the conditions for a price spike and subsequent collapse

are now in place. Price spikes and crashes are most likely to occur when the normal diversity of opinions in a market is replaced by near unanimity about the direction of prices, as Professor Didier Sornette explained in his seminal 2003 book “Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems”. Diverse views lend markets liquidity and stability, ensuring a rough balance between buyers and sellers near current price levels. But when one view comes to predominate, and everyone tries to trade in the same direction, liquidity falls and the risk of big price discontinuities rises sharply. In 2011, the supply disruption caused by Libya’s civil war, coupled with production losses in the North Sea and Azerbaijan, a big boost to fuel demand after the Fukushima earthquake, a stream of positive economic news from the United States, and continued support from the secondround of large-scale asset purchases by the Fed (QE2) all came together to convince investors that oil prices could only go one-way: up. Sure that prices must continue rising, investors raised their long positions in US crude from around 320 million barrels to 400 million between February 2011 and the start of May, while cutting short positions from 80 million to less than 40 million, stretch-

ing the long/short ratio from less than 4:1 to peak at more than 10:1. Something similar appears to be occurring again. Sanctions are curbing Iran’s exports; production has been lost from South Sudan, Yemen and Syria; economic news from the United States is positive; the Fed has indicated continued support by promising to postpone rate rises until 2014 or beyond; and the Bank of England, European Central Bank and People’s Bank of China are all providing more liquidity and stimulus. Once again, everyone is trying to trade the same way, cutting liquidity and substantially increasing the risk of a sharp reversal. The reversal process has already started. Prices for both US crude and North Sea Brent have entered the “danger zone” above $100 per barrel identified by the International Energy Agency. Recent price rises, if sustained, are likely to harm the recovery underway in the United States and intensify the slowdown in Western Europe. As last year, the full impact will only become evident with a delay. So in the early stages, it will appear economies are absorbing rising costs without much harm. But if price rises are sustained, the impact on consumer confidence and spending will be magnified and eventually slow global growth, restoring balance to the oil market. — Reuters




Iran crude for China’s Unipec to fall in 2012 Supply to Zhuhai Corp to remain unchanged BEIJING: Iran has reached an agreement with China’s state oil traders for 2012 crude oil supply contracts, with shipments supplied to Unipec to be reduced from 2011, while volumes to Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp will remain unchanged from a year ago, trade sources said yesterday. China and Iran have stumbled on a 2012 supply deal as two sides haggled over prices and credit terms, prompting Sinopec Corp to slash imports since January by around 285,000 barrels per day (bpd), or just over half of the total daily amount it imported in 2011. The agreement will pave the way for China, the largest buyer of Iranian crude, to resume oil shipments and would provide a lifeline to Tehran, which is battling the harshest sanctions from the US and an oil embargo from the 27member European Union. Oil is a pillar part of Iran’s export revenues and an important lifeline

for its increasingly isolated economy. Tehran has little refining capacity and must import about 40 percent of its gasoline needs for domestic consumption. “Zhenrong volumes will be the same but there will be some cuts to the Unipec side,” said a trading source with direct knowledge of the deals. He declined to give more details on the reduction. A second source also confirmed that contract volumes to Zhenrong would be unchanged from year ago, while senior industry officials have previously said that Sinopec Corp, the parent of Unipec, would reduce 2012 volumes. Under the 2011 contract, Zhenrong lifted 240,000 barrels per day of crude from Iran’s oil ministry, National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). Of that, 200,000 bpd went to Sinopec refineries and the

GCC forum in Oman to discuss regulatory rules MUSCAT: A two-day conference of Gulf Cooperation Council regulatory boards kicked off yesterday. The conference is being organized by the Omani Capital Market Authority’s Oman Center for Corporate Governance. The conference sheds light on the role of leading employees in central banks, the banking sector, financial establishments and stock exchanges. It aims to discuss the challenges faced by these regulatory institutions, showcasing Oman’s experience on the matter. These means include anti-corruption measures, risk-management, Islamic funding practices and the private and public sector roles in attracting investments to the region. “This meeting seeks to add a new building block to the collaborative efforts of the Gulf Cooperation

Council, through discussing the responsibilities of regulatory boards towards sensitive and vital issues like governance, risk-management and tackling corruption,” acting Chief Executive of Oman’s Capital Market Authority Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al-Salmi said in his keynote speech. The conference also offers decision-makers the opportunity to look into the most up-to-date international experiments on these matters, in order to avoid or limit the effects of economic crises on the performance of institutions. An appropriate environment where crises are managed and developments are adapted to in the midst of the current instability in the wider Arab region and economic difficulties internationally is also on the agenda, he said. —KUNA

Qatar SWF buys Credit Suisse London HQ DUBAI: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) said it had completed the acquisition of Credit Suisse’s headquarters in London and leased it back to the bank. The 546,114 square-feet building at One Cabot Square in Canary Wharf was leased to the bank under a long-term agreement that runs until 2034, Qatar Holding, the foreign investment arm of QIA said in a statement on its website yesterday. The value of the deal was not disclosed. The authority was to pay 330 million pounds ($517 million) for the property, with a separate leaseback agreement to be put in place with the Swiss lender, two sources told Reuters

last month. QIA holds a 6 percent stake in Credit Suisse and owns shares in Songbird, the majority owner of Canary Wharf Group. Gulf-government backed funds have been on a buying spree in Europe and are eyeing investments in real estate, infrastructure and other sectors. Qatari Diar, a property arm of the fund, along with Canary Wharf, won a 300-million-pound deal to redevelop the Shell Centre in London that houses the Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters in July. Qatar has other high-profile investments in London, including the US embassy in Grosvenor Square and Harrods department store. — Reuters

rest going to PetroChina, China’s No 2 refiner. Unipec bought 260,000 bpd of crude oil from NIOC in 2011. One of the sources said imports of Iranian crude could see a spurt in March and April as both parties make up for volumes that were lost earlier this year due to the commercial dispute. Following sharp cuts in Iranian imports in January and February, Sinopec has snapped up additional barrels from Australia to Russia to West Africa to fill the gap, traders have said. It has also raised imports from Saudi Arabia, China’s top supplier. China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is Iran’s largest trading partner and biggest oil client that buys up 20 percent of the Islamic Republic’s total crude exports. Iran is China’s No.3 supplier after the Saudi Arabia and Angola. — Reuters

Dubai’s Abraaj buys Aureos DUBAI: Abraaj Capital, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, sharpened its emerging market focus yesterday with a deal to buy UK-based specialist fund manager Aureos Capital, creating an entity with $7.5 billion in assets. Abraaj, based in Dubai, declined to give financial terms for the deal to buy Aureos, which manages assets of $1.3 billion and provides expansion and buyout funding to small and mediumsized businesses in Asia, Africa and Latin America. “We are putting together two complementary platforms. Both firms are on the ground,” Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Abraaj’s chief executive officer, told a news conference. “In the case of Aureos, they have been investing in (small and medium enterprises) for over 10 years.” Abdel-Wadood said he expected the deal to close this quarter. The combined company will operate in 30 emerging countries. “We’re using Abraaj’s balance sheet for this deal,” he said. Abraaj, which sold its stake in Turkish hospital group Acibadem in December for what it said then was a “significant profit”, will not be raising fresh debt for the acquisition. Abraaj, founded in 2002 by Group Chief Executive Arif Naqvi, has raised $7 billion since its inception. It owns stakes in Orascom Construction, budget carrier Air Arabia, supermarket chain Spinneys and education group GEMS. Funds managed by the group have stakes in 35 companies across the region. Naqvi, a 51-year-old Pakistani, is one of the most influential financiers in the region and is spearheading an effort to make the firm an emerging market powerhouse. “If you look at emerging markets today, 1.2 billion people are going to be middle class over the next seven to eight years-that’s larger than the entire population of the OECD,” Naqvi said in an interview with Reuters in London. That would provide investment options in infrastructure, consumer markets, healthcare and education, he said. Last year, Abraaj bought the North African private equity operations of French asset manager Amundi, and came close to buying Egyptian rival Citadel Capital, a deal which fell through. Naqvi noted that there were no other private equity groups focusing on small and mid-sized deals in emerging markets with the scale of Aureos, which has more than 90 investment professionals in 27 offices around the world. The group was spun out of British government-backed emerging markets investor CDC Group in 2001, and it runs 17 regional private equity funds, including a South Asia Fund and an Africa Health fund. Aureos’s management team, led by CEO Sev Vettivetpillai, will take an undisclosed vested interest in the merged group, following the deal. — Reuters

BAGHDAD: Iraqis buy fruit at a stall in the capital Baghdad yesterday. The price of fruit and vegetables has seemingly soared due to the political events in neighboring Syria, where there is a large commercial exchange between the two countries, leading to the tightening of border controls. — AFP

Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan widens 25.1% TOKYO: Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan widened 25.1 percent in January to JPY 85.1 billion ($1.1 billion) from a year earlier, remaining in the black for the 48th month in a row, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan surged 25.3 percent to JPY 95.5 billion ($1.2 billion) for the ninth straight month of gain, and imports from Japan also expanded 26.5 percent year-on-year to JPY 10.4 billion ($130 million) for the fourth consecutive month of growth, the ministry said in a preliminary report. The Middle East’s trade surplus with Japan also widened 13.5 percent to JPY 987.8 billion ($12.4 billion) in January, with Japan-bound exports from the region growing 13.5 percent from a year earlier to JPY 1.146 trillion ($14. 4 billion). Crude oil and petroleum products, which accounted for 98.4 percent of the region’s total exports to Japan, rose 13.7 percent year-on-year. Among resources, liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from the Middle East posted a 117.1 percent gain. Imports from Japan also rose 13.5 percent to JPY 158.7 billion ($2.0 billion), as shipments of manufactured goods, machinery and automobiles, which

accounted for 87.4 percent of the region’s total imports from the country, enjoyed the robust growth. Meanwhile, Japan marked a record high trade deficit in January, as exports slowed due to the European credit crisis and a strong yen, while fuel imports surged after the nuclear disaster. The world’s thirdbiggest economy’s global trade deficit stood at JPY 1.475 trillion ($18.5 billion) in January for the fourth consecutive month of deficit, the largest since the government began compiling data in 1979. Exports for the month fell 9.3 percent for the fourth straight monthly decline on weaker demand for semiconductors, electronic parts and steel products. By contrast, imports grew 9.8 percent for the 25th consecutive rise due to continued high demand for crude oil, LNG and coal used for power generation. Resourcepoor Japan is buying more fossil fuels to meet electricity demand as nearly all the 54 nuclear reactors have shut down following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The nation posted a record high trade deficit with China, its biggest trading partner. — KUNA

Showa Shell to continue receiving Iran crude TOKYO: Japan’s top buyer of Iranian crude, Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, is not expected to suffer any impact from Iran’s halt of oil sales to French and British companies, the firm, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, said yesterday. A spokesman for Showa Shell said the firm and Shell were separate companies and he had not heard about any impact to its imports. US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program look set to make it difficult for refiners in Japan, Iran’s No.3 crude buyer, to pay Tehran for its oil. Japan is seeking an exemption from US sanctions, which, if enforced, would penalize some

Japanese banks for transactions with Iran’s central bank. Showa Shell, which buys about 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil each day, is awaiting the Japanese government’s instructions on whether to cut its Iranian crude imports. Industry sources say the company has yet to renew its Iranian contract that expires at the end of March. An industry source said Showa Shell and the parent firm have different contracts with Iran. Showa Shell is 35 percent owned by Shell, with about 15 percent held by Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant, Saudi Aramco. — Reuters

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

.2730000 .4370000 .3630000 .3000000 .2760000 .2950000 .0040000 .0020000 .0753090 .7337140 .3830000 .0710000 .7192740 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2774000 GB Pound/KD .4391660 Euro .3648360 Swiss francs .3019320 Canadian dollars .2785000 Danish Kroner .0490220 Swedish Kroner .0412340 Australian dlr .2973730 Hong Kong dlr .0357750 Singapore dlr .2205090 Japanese yen .0034890 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0755550 Bahraini dinars .7361020 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0739930 Omani riyals .7208000 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

3.598 5.337 3.154 2.436 3.341 213.250 35.672 3.580 6.336 8.873 0.271 0.273

.2807500 .4450000 .3690000 .3080000 .2850000 .3030000 .0070000 .0035000 .0760660 .7410880 .4000000 .0775000 .7265030 .0072000 .0500000 .2795000 .4424900 .3675980 .3042180 .2806080 .0493930 .0415470 .2996240 .0360460 .2221780 .0035160 .0057030 .0023730 .0030900 .0034040 .0761270 .7416740 .3953320 .0745530 .7262570 .0065950

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram



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

303.600 740.400 3.610 284.200 548.800 45.400 50.200 167.800 47.570 372.000 36.590 5.810 0.032 0.167 0.243 3.620 394.820 0.188 93.700 46.500 4.280 238.300 1.804 49.900 723.150


302.100 740.400 3.348 282.700

222.700 46.136 370.500 36.440 5.655 0.031

10 Tola

75.810 278.400

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Selling Rate

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

278.300 281.826 443.760 368.115 304.510 736.970 75.745 76.390 74.175 391.745 46.109 2.342 5.654 3.071 3.340 6.559 682.655 3.595 9.115 5.860 3.625 92.365

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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

278.600 3.066 5.680 2.340 3.370 6.565 75.955 74.450 740.700 46.112 445.200 3.190 1.550 373.400 285.200 3.690


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

302.79 284.06 308.05 369.53

446.00 3.70 3.550 5.790 2.650 4.250 3.200 76.35 741.00 48.00 395.00 728.00 77.25 74.60

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

444.18 3.56 3.356 5.659 2.344 3.545 3.072 75.84 741.06 46.17 396.36 724.06 76.82 74.39

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 444.000 278.400

Sterling Pound US Dollar



306.700 4.200 9.250

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


394.500 0.187 93.700 3.560 236.800

3.070 6.555 76.580 74.330 222.720 38.490 2.358 444.000

GOLD 1,810.430

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.160 6.860 77.010 74.330 222.720 38.490 2.653 446.000 42.500 308.200 4.200 9.410 198.263 75.910 278.800 1.310

303.00 284.00 307.60 371.10

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

277.950 370.300 443.800 282.500 3.525 5.652 46.060 2.347 3.340 6.560 3.070 740.300 75.750 74.250



EU pays price for oil sanctions on Iran LONDON: Businesses and consumers across the EU are starting to pay a financial penalty for the bloc’s decision to ban crude oil imports from Iran. Near record prices for crude oil in sterling and euro are compounding the misery many firms and households were already suffering as a result of the region’s debt crisis and faltering growth. Even though the sanctions have not gone into effect fully, they are already contributing to a steep rise in fuel costs. For supporters, sanctions were meant to be a low-cost way to increase the pressure on Iran’s government without risking a sudden spike in oil prices that could derail the global economy. Saudi Arabia and its close Gulf allies would be lined up to provide extra oil for Europe to make up for the loss of crude from Iran. Meanwhile, buyers in China, India and other emerging markets would be quietly encouraged to continuing taking Iran’s oil, perhaps in even bigger quantities than before, but use their newly enhanced bargaining power to secure big discounts,

maybe even organize a buyer’s cartel. The result was supposed to be no change in the total volume of oil available to world markets but a big drop in revenues received by Iran’s government. So long as markets responded “rationally” there would be little or no impact on oil prices and no cost to consumers. Unfortunately, it has not worked out like that. Oil prices are now rising strongly in response to Iran’s export problems as well as the loss of production from South Sudan, Yemen and Syria. While Saudi Arabia has increased its own production, the erosion of spare capacity has left the market jittery about further supply interruptions. It seems likely prices will continue to escalate until a slowing economy restores a more comfortable cushion of spare capacity. Europe’s businesses and households will pay at the pump and in what the Bank of England calls stronger “headwinds” for the economy. In an influential report on the “Oil Market Impact of Sanctions Against the Central Bank of Iran”, which has circulated

widely in Washington and European capitals, sanctions advocates Mark Dubowitz and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, promised “given adequate lead time, the oil market can adjust to most sanctions scenarios.” “It’s possible to reduce Iranian oil revenue without reducing Iranian oil supply,” they wrote. The report presented detailed estimates of discounts for Iranian crude and the impact on government revenues depending on how many countries join the sanctions, whether other OPEC producers up their own output to compensate, and whether the remaining buyers for Iran’s oil collude to extract significant discounts. Dubowitz and Gerecht also estimated the impact on world oil prices, arguing they need not rise at all if the market responded “rationally” but could surge by as much as 40-50 percent if the market panicked or the Iranian government was plunged into crisis. “Even if (sanctions) do not result in a physical oil market disruption, financial market reaction could drive up the price of oil. Eliciting commitments from other OPEC producers to offset any

disruption in Iranian supply, giving Chinese firms a pass on compliance, and allowing other companies enough time to adjust would minimize the impact on oil prices and maximize the impact on Iranian revenue,” wrote the authors. “Making this game plan clear to financial and energy traders alike would reduce the risk of an alarmist market reaction”. Dubowitz and Gerecht identified many of the factors that would influence the impact of sanctions on oil prices and Iran’s revenues (including the extent of compliance, the response of OPEC, collusion among Iran’s remaining customers, and the response of financial markets to actual and expected supply losses). But they failed to assess adequately how far Iran would be able to find alternative markets for all the oil previously exported to the EU, Korea and Japan, particularly as other financial sanctions bite and countries encounter growing problems making payments for Iranian crude. More importantly, they failed to assess how sanctions on Iran might interact with disruptions to other supply sources. There

is an implicit “ceteris paribus” assumption running through the report. The authors assume other sources of supply and demand grow in line with expectations. They make no allowance for an unexpected pick-up in growth, or the sudden loss of production and exports from other countries. This assumption has proved to be Achilles’ heel of sanctions policy. Iran has struggled to redirect all its exports to developing countries in Asia because buyers are under pressure to comply with other restrictions on financial dealings with Iranian entities. At the same time, production losses in South Sudan, Yemen and Syria have upped the call on Saudi and Iranian crude. Saudi Arabia has stepped into the gap. But the smaller than normal build in oil stocks during January reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests it has struggled to offset the loss of other countries’ exports and meet demand. It has also left the country with less than 2 million barrels per day of effective spare capacity. — Reuters

National Bank of Oman plans Islamic services Bank Muscat may also follow suit

FRANKFURT: Aircrafts are seen at the airport in Frankfurt am Main yesterday. Some 200 apron workers went on strike again in the morning for 48 hours forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. —AFP

Frankfurt airport strike extended FRANKFURT: Travellers in Europe face further delays and flight cancellations this week as ground staff at Frankfurt airport plan to extend their strike until early tomorrow, with neither side in the dispute showing any sign of giving ground. The strike by apron controllers at Europe’s third-busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers, which grounded hundreds of flights last week, went into a third day yesterday and was scheduled to continue until 0400 GMT tomorrow. A spokesman for the GdF union said it was quite likely that the workers would strike again tomorrow. The walkouts started last week after GdF and airport operator Fraport failed to reach an agreement on wages for about 200 workers who guide planes in and out of their parking positions. Fraport said 231 flights, of a total 1,250 scheduled for yesterday, would be cancelled, with a similar number to follow today. Lufthansa, which accounts for more than half of flights at Frankfurt airport, said it expects to cancel about 200 incoming and outgoing flights on German and European routes on Monday, while all intercontinental flights would take place. The situation will not be as bad today, with only around 160 flights cancelled, Lufthansa said. A further eight flights on Wednesday were also cancelled, according to its website.

Air Berlin, Germany’s second-biggest airline, showed a total of eight cancelled flights between Berlin and Frankfurt yesterday and today. The apron controllers, who represent about 1 percent of Fraport’s staff at the airport, want higher pay, arguing their jobs have become more complex since the fourth runway started operating last October. Fraport has said demands for pay increases of between 50 and 70 percent are unreasonable, and has called on the union to resume talks. However, neither side has shown any signs of backing down. The union says it could strike for weeks yet, while Fraport has said it can continue to use other operations management staff. Fraport estimates that two days of walkouts last week cost it 3.5-4.0 million euros ($4.6-5.3 million) in lost revenues. Analysts estimate that Lufthansa may have lost 40 million euros in revenues during that time. Silvia Quandt analyst Stefan Kick said Fraport was making the right move by holding out, even at the risk of a protracted battle, rather than giving in to workers’ demands. “If Fraport agreed to the wage increases the company would run the risk that other small but important employee groups also ask for massive wage increases,” he said. The GdF, which also represented air traffic controllers in a bitter wage dispute last year, must give 24 hours’ notice of any further strikes.— Reuters

Global Business Forum to kick off in Malaysia today KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Global Business Forum will kick off here today under the title “Strategic partners: Malaysia and the Arab World”. The Vice President of The Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCC) Bahaa’ Makkawi told KUNA that this forum aims at expanding strategic partnership between the Arab nations and Malaysia. It will focus on various sectors, including healthcare, Islamic banking, infrastructure, food safety, tourism development, and information technology. This event comes as Arab businessmen are eager to benefit from the Malaysia experience which focuses on expansion into the global

markets. The two-day forum also allows Malaysian businessmen to discover various investment opportunities in the Middle East. The forum will be launched tomorrow by the Malaysian Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Makhreez Mhateer, and attended by the Secretary General of the Arab Economic Unity Council Mohammad Al-Rabae’. President of AMCC Mohamad Radwan Alami will give a speech on the activities of the chamber. The forum will see the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between the businessmen, as well as visits to some commercial sites in Malaysia. — KUNA

ATHENS: Five drachma coins at a shop in Athens. The euro-zone looked set to throw Greece a new financial lifeline after tightening conditions behind a massive bailout to secure the country’s immediate future in the currency area. — AFP

DUBAI: National Bank of Oman, the sultanate’s second-largest lender by assets, is planning to start Islamic banking operations later this year, its chief executive said, to keep up with rivals . “We’ve got a whole team working on the Islamic window. We are trying to launch it between the second and third quarter. Of course, the sooner the better for us,” Salaam bin Said Al-Shaksy, told Reuters in an interview. “We are trying very hard to launch it in the second quarter, but we may need a little more time.” Oman was the last Gulf Arab state to allow banks to offer products and services complying

with Islamic law. The central bank changed its stance last May in an effort to keep investment funds in the country and grab a share of the roughly $1 trillion industry. Bank Nizwa and Al Izz International Bank, sponsored by local investors in Oman, were the first to receive licences from the central bank to operate as wholly Islamic financial institutions. In December, Bank Muscat, Oman’s largest bank by assets, said it will set up a sharia-compliant banking arm operating under the Meethaq brand name and appointed a three-member sharia board. Shaksy said last year NBO was considering

applying for an Islamic banking license but that this was subject to board approval. Asked whether the bank was planning to issue any conventional or Islamic bonds this year, Shaksy said: “This is something that we just put on the table as an option.” “There are other options which are quite valid at this point in time... So far we have enough ability to go through the year without a bond. But if we see that it is cost effective and it makes sense then we’ll do it.” The lender reported a 26 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to 6.9 million rials ($17.9 million) last month, missing analysts’ forecasts. — Reuters

Rio Tinto unveils $518m bet on automated mining

SHANGHAI: Workmen prepare to work on a street in Shanghai yesterday. China, anxious about rising living costs, has pulled on a variety of levers to curb price rises over the past two years, including restricting the amount of money banks can lend and hiking interest rates. — AFP

MRSK to open Russia’s electric grid to EU firms MOSCOW: Major European utilities will soon get a bigger slice of profits from the vast Russian electric grid, as state network operator MRSK prepares to award regional management deals alongside a keenly anticipated privatization plan. Russia’s utility sector was overhauled and part-privatized during the early years of then President Vladimir Putin’s rule last decade, but the electricity grid sector remains largely state-controlled. MRSK, the holding company for electricity grids covering more than 2 million kilometres across Russia, now wants to build on the precedent set by handing the management contract of its Tomsk regional company in Siberia to a division of French giant EDF in March last year. “EDF has a management contract for eight and a half years. It will bring its expertise and begin to further understand the Russian market,” MRSK finance director Alexey Demidov told Reuters. “Now we are preparing more management contracts. We would welcome other companies, major European utilities,” he added. “We are evaluating the privatization options with our financial advisors-there are two or three regional companies we will be ready to sell within the next few years, with a possibility to decrease our stake in one of the companies in 2012. The exact timeline will depend on market conditions,” Demidov said. Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and VTB Capital are advising MRSK on the potential sales. German group E.ON and Italian company Enel, which own majority stakes in power generators E.ON Russia and Enel Russia respectively , are the biggest international investors in Russia’s utility sector. E.ON has targeted high growth emerging markets as central for future strategy. The company declined to comment on the potential for a deal with MRSK.

Enel and EDF could not immediately be reached for comment. MRSK, just over 50 percent controlled by the Russian government, obtained a London stock-market listing in December-a move aimed at attracting international investors and boosting its corporate profile. Demidov said the group had a three year roadmap to execute its privatization plan, during which it hoped to put in place corporate governance and financial reforms that would reassure foreign investors. MRSK last month appointed lighting equipment tycoon and former Kaliningrad governor Georgy Boos as its first independent nonexecutive chairman. A second reform is likely to be to its dividend policy. In order to attract traditionally low risk investors, the company plans to increase its dividend yields over time. “We are trying to attract new kinds of investors and we realize that pension funds, for example, look for high dividend yields when choosing investments,” Demidov said. MRSK shares took a battering last year, falling 57 percent against a 17 percent fall on the wider MICEX index. Analysts put the fall down to uncertainty over electricity tariff reform, which the Russian government put on hold as a sop to voters ahead of elections. The sector is now many fund managers’ tip for growth following the presidential election on March 4, in which Putin is all but certain to return to the Kremlin for a new six year term. The hope is he will allow reforms to go through that will raise Russian household electricity bills - still among the cheapest in Europe. “The tariff regulation is more and more predictable .. We have a lot of discussions with the government,” Demidov said, adding that a transparent regulatory environment was one of many targets for the company ahead of privatization.— Reuters

MELBOURNE: Global miner Rio Tinto has accelerated a move toward automation, unveiling a $518 million plan to pioneer the use of driverless trains in Australia and increasing its bet on a future where machines rather than miners do most of the work. The world’s no.2 iron ore miner, which already has driverless trucks, plans to run fully automated trains across its 1,500 km (930 mile) iron-ore rail network in northwest Australia from 2014, to help boost output 60 percent by 2015. The re-fitted trains will be operated like a space mission from a control room in Perth, 1,500 km away, from where Rio now runs the driverless trucks. “This is not just about job losses. That’s not what this is about. This is about us remaining competitive,” Greg Lilleyman, president of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations, said on Australia Broadcasting Corp radio after the announcement yesterday. Rio says it wants to avoid forcing workers to toil beneath the scorching heat of the Pilbara, a desert region that ranks among the world’s richest iron ore precincts, but automation also enables it to overcome a shortage of skilled labor. The shortage has been fuelled by a record boom in mining and energy investment, with $230 billion worth of projects underway or approved in Australia. Salaries have skyrocketed to the point where a truck driver can earn more than $100,000 a year. At least half of Rio Tinto’s 500 train drivers may lose their current jobs, with the rest to be used on about one-fifth of the network that will still need drivers. But Rio says no one will be laid off as it aims to retrain workers for new roles. Trade unions oppose automation, but their influence in the Pilbara has waned as Rio and other miners such as BHP Billiton have switched over the years to individual contracts or contract labor. “The company’s objective of lowering labor costs is the wrong way forward,” said Gary Wood, Western Australia district secretary for the mining and energy arm of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union. He said hundreds of jobs were at stake. “This decision that’s being made isn’t based on people. It’s based on shareholders, and international shareholders at that,” he told Reuters. Rio has long dreamed of automating its trains, but put the plan on hold during the global financial crisis in 2008 when it struggled with a massive debt burden from its takeover of Alcan. Other miners, including BHP, are watching how Rio’s experiment pans out and have yet to follow suit. Rio says it is still expanding its overall Pilbara workforce and will need thousands of new workers, on top of the 10,500 it already employs, to boost iron ore production to 353 million tons a year by 2015 up from 220 million tons now. It will need more people to perform maintenance on trucks, trains and other heavy equipment, manage rail and port schedules, operate the control centre, and run trains around about a fifth of its network. By getting rid of drivers, Rio will no longer have to slot in times for driver changeovers, giving it more flexibility in scheduling trains and creating more capacity in the network. “Automation will help us meet our expansion targets in a safe, more efficient and cost-effective way,” Rio Tinto iron ore chief Sam Walsh said in a statement. The company did not say how much it would save by switching to driverless trains, but said the benefits would stem from the distances and loads involved. It runs 2.5 km-long trains, each carrying about 25,000 tonnes of ore. But the numbers add up quickly, as each roundtrip to port from the mines takes about 30 hours, with three or four drivers on each train, and each driver working an eight-hour shift. — Reuters



Kuwait stocks mixed GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended yesterday’s session on a mixed note with a total volume exceeding 1bn shares for the first time since June 04, 2009. Oil prices jumped yesterday, hitting an eight-month high above $121pb, as Iran halted exports to British and French companies ahead of a European Union embargo. Global General Index (GGI) ended the day up by 0.11 percent, at 181.53 point. Market capitalization was down for the day, reaching KD29.54bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 6,114.7 point, adding 31.3 points (0.51 percent) from its previous close. Market breadth On the broader market for equities, breadth was skewed in favor of advancing stocks 56 to 41. The gains were accompanied by growing trading activity. Volume and value of the shares traded on the exchange increased by 33.09 percent and 29.75 percent respectively. AlAhlia Holding Company was the most actively traded stock, with investors exchanging 108.08mn of its shares. The company was the top gainer for the day, adding 17.86 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.0165. Share price of Kuwait Business Town Real Estate Company retreated by 8.93 percent and closed at KD0.0255, making it the biggest decliners in the market for the day in a row. Global Real Estate Index was the biggest gainer up by 0.75 percent. National Real Estate

Company which increased by 6.15 percent, contributed in the index’s gain. Global Non Kuwaiti Index was the second biggest gainer yesterday. The index increased by 0.43 percent backed by Ithmaar Bank and Gulf Finance House which increased by 8.33 percent and 7.25 percent respectively. Global Insurance Index was the third biggest gainer yesterday. The index increased by 0.30 percent backed by Al-Ahleia Insurance

Company which increased by 1.11 percent to end at KD0.455. Global Food Index, which was the biggest decliner losing 1.17 percent of its value. Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana), which slid 1. 37 percent closing at KD1.440, pushed the index to end in red. The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $118.60pb on Friday, compared with $118.13pb the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Emirates NBD to hold off on Swiss franc bond DUBAI: Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai’s largest bank by market value, has opted to delay a potential Swiss franc-denominated bond sale until more favorable market conditions, two sources familiar with the matter said. The lender had appointed Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas to assess a potential Swiss bond sale, sources told Reuters last week. “The bank

has decided against it,” one ENBD source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The timing is not right,” the source said, adding the lender could tap the market at a later stage. A spokesman for the bank was not immediately available for comment. Emirates NBD has just over 8 billion dirhams ($2.18 billion) in debt

maturing this year, including a $1.5 billion loan due in October. However, there is less urgency surrounding its short-term liquidity needs after the bank received 2.8 billion dirhams ($762 million) as an eight-year loan from the United Arab Emirates’(UAE) finance ministry at below market rates. The loan was intended to facilitate Emirates NBD’s acquisition of

struggling Islamic lender Dubai Bank last year. ENBD reported a sharp fall in profits last week, its second consecutive quarterly profit drop, on higher provisioning for bad loans. Commercial Bank of Qatar, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Gulf Bank are other Gulf lenders to have tapped Swiss liquidity since 2010. — Reuters

Brent hits 8-month above $121 on Iran LONDON: Brent crude rose yesterday, briefly hitting an eightmonth high above $121 a barrel, as Iran halted exports to British and French companies ahead of a European Union embargo. Policy easing by China and hopes for a Greek bailout also buoyed prices. Brent crude was trading $1.12 higher at $120.70 a barrel by 1105 GMT, having hit a session high of $121.15 earlier. The level was the highest since mid-June last year. In euro terms, Brent crude is nearing its record high hit in summer 2008. US crude was up $1.75 to $104.99 a barrel, after earlier rising to $105.21 a barrel, its highest since May, 2011. Volume was moderate due to a public holiday in the United States. OPEC’s second largest producer, Iran, ordered a halt to its oil sales to British and French firms on Sunday in retaliation against tightening EU sanctions as its ties with the West remained strained over its disputed nuclear program. But the announcement came as European oil buyers had already made big cuts in purchases from Iran months ahead of the sanctions. “Banning the tiny quantities of exports to the UK and France involves very little risk for Iran - indeed quite the opposite, it catches the headlines and leads to a higher global oil price, which is something Iran is very keen to encourage,” said Caroline Bain, commodities analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Fears of supply disruption in Iran and upbeat economic data from the world’s largest oil user, the United States, have pushed oil prices up over the past month. JP Morgan Chase raised

its 2012 price forecast for Brent crude by $6 to $118 a barrel on supply risks and rising economic growth. It also raised its forecast for 2013 to $125 a barrel, up from $121. Geopolitical issues in Iran, Syria, Sudan/South Sudan, Nigeria and elsewhere are creating increased demand for crude stocks, analysts led by Lawrence Eagles said in a Feb 19 note. Speculators sharply raised their net long positions in the week to Feb. 14, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday. Investors’ appetite for riskier assets rose after China’s central bank on Saturday cut the required reserve ratio (RRR) of banks, boosting lending capacity by more than $50 billion and supporting demand outlook for commodities from the world’s second-largest economy. “The RRR cut will most likely result in an acceleration of economic activity and that China’s firstquarter growth is likely to surprise us on the upside,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note. Expectations Greece would secure a debt bailout this week also supported oil prices. Eurozone finance ministers are expected to approve a second rescue package for Greece at a meeting on Monday, a move that will hopefully put the country on a more stable financial footing and keep it inside the single currency region. March US gasoline futures rose to slightly above $3 a gallon yesterday after a fire idled BP Plc’s 225,000 barrel per day (bpd) Cherry Point, Washington, refinery. Market analysts expect the outage to lift gasoline prices on the US West Coast in the coming weeks. — Reuters




Japan logs record trade deficit in January TOKYO: Japan posted a record trade deficit in January, data showed yesterday, as fuel imports rose following last year’s nuclear disaster while exports were hit by a strong yen and slumping demand in Europe. The January deficit came in at 1.475 trillion yen ($18.5 billion), the highest since records began in 1979, the finance ministry said. The record figure comes after Japan registered its first annual trade deficit in 31 years in 2011, and triggered warnings that the country was likely to see more negative figures throughout the year. The January statistic was more than triple the yearbefore shortfall of 479.4 billion yen and far exceeded the previous monthly record of 967.9 billion yen in January 2009 during the global financial crisis. It was the fourth straight monthly deficit but in line with a 1.468 trillion shortfall forecast in polls by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei business daily. The Nikkei 225 index closed the day 1.08 percent higher. Japan’s overall exports tumbled 9.3 percent to 4.510 trillion yen last month because of lower shipments of semiconductors and other electronic devices. “We expect this trend of deficit to continue until

early 2013” with demand for fossil fuel power generation staying strong while the slow global economy and the high yen hurt exports, said Barclays Capital economist Yuichiro Nagai. Imports surged 9.8 percent to 5.985 trillion yen, with purchases of liquefied natural gas shooting up 74.3 percent and coal rising 26.5 percent. Demand for fossil fuels has surged in Japan after the March 11 earthquake-tsunami disaster sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years, leading the government to take many atomic reactors offline. Satoshi Osanai, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, said “the trade deficit is likely to continue” for the time being, adding that Europe’s debt woes have also dealt Japan a blow. “The US economy is underpinning (Japanese) exports, as seen in higher US-bound shipments of automobiles, but demand from Europe is weak,” he said. Japan’s surplus with the European Union in January dived 98.9 percent to 700 million yen, with shipments falling 7.7 percent to 531.3 billion yen. Exports of automobiles dived 29.7 percent and electronic parts slumped 30.2 percent.

European demand has slumped owing to the region’s debt crisis, which threatens to plunge the global economy back into recession. With the

yen with the rest of Asia, the first shortfall in three years. It ran a record deficit of 587.9 billion yen with its biggest trading partner China, due partly to

TOKYO: An oil tanker goes by oil tanks in Kawasaki, west of Tokyo yesterday. Japan posted a record high trade deficit last month after its nuclear crisis shut down nearly all the nation’s reactors for tougher checks, sending fuel imports surging. Exports were hurt by a strong yen and weak demand. —AP United States, Japan’s trade surplus fell 7.6 percent to 265.3 billion yen. Japan logged a trade deficit of 357.1 billion

the Lunar New Year break there. With the Middle East, the source of most of Japan’s oil, the deficit rose 13.6 per-

cent to hit 988 billion yen, while the shortfall with Australia, another key energy source, was 20 percent higher at 298 billion yen Japan’s purchases of LNG from the Middle East rose more than 60 percent by quantity and nearly 120 percent by value. Crude import costs were 9.2 percent higher. But while Nagai at Barclays expects the negative trade balances to continue, he said exports were likely to start picking up “in a few months”, catching up on growth in imports and eventually reversing the overall deficit. “We believe the US economy will gain steam first, which will then help shore up Asia’s slowing economy,” he said. “A recovery in the European economy is likely to come last, probably in late 2012 or early 2013.” Credit Suisse said January’s huge deficit suggested Japan will also incur a record deficit on the current account, which measures not only merchandise trade but services and investment returns. “We expect the trade balance to remain in deficit by approximately 500 billion yen per month (seasonally adjusted) in the first half of 2012,” economists at Credit Suisse said in a report. — AFP

S&P warns Japan on public debt, affirms AA- rating

MUMBAI: Passengers wait outside the Kingfisher Airlines reservation counter after their flight was delayed at the domestic airport in Mumbai yesterday. India’s top aviation watchdog is pulling up the country’s troubled Kingfisher Airline for canceling dozens of flights even as the carrier battles mounting financial troubles. —AP

Troubled Kingfisher called in by regulator MUMBAI: India’s aviation regulator yesterday summoned cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines to explain scores of cancelled flights over recent days, reports said as the carrier’s problems mounted. Debt-laden Kingfisher cancelled 16 flights yesterday from Mumbai and several more from New Delhi, on top of scrapping more than 30 flights the previous day, triggering chaos for passengers. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) called in the airline’s chief executive Sanjay Aggarwal for a meeting today, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. “ We have received reports about large-scale cancellations. They are bound to inform us when they cut their schedule. But they have not done so,” DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan told the agency. Kingfisher, which announced a third quarter loss of $88 million last week, has been beset with difficulties caused by soaring fuel costs and high local sales taxes, as well as a domestic price war. At the weekend, the airline blamed some of the disruptions-the second batch since November-on bird strikes. It said a full daily schedule of 240 flights should return to operation over this week. Flight cancellations have hit passenger confidence hard and left stranded travellers fuming against the airline. “At the airport I was told my flight is delayed and there is no clue when it will fly,” private bank executive Amit Vij told

AFP at Mumbai airport as he tried to return to the northern city Chandigarh. “They did not call, SMS or email me in advance. Even the helplines are not responding.” The Bangalore-based airline, owned by color ful brewing magnate Vijay Mallya, has never posted a net profit since it started operating in 2005. It has seen its passenger market share slump to 12 percent in recent months, with its ranking on the list of India’s largest airlines falling from second to fifth. India’s airline industry-once a symbol of the country’s economic progress-is now plagued by high fuel prices, fierce competition, price wars and inadequate airport infrastructure, with Kingfisher one of the worst-hit firms. The company’s shares closed Friday at 26.6 rupees, down 39 percent from a year earlier. Markets were closed yesterday due to a holiday. A quarter of Kingfisher is owned by local banks and some have refused to lend the company more cash unless fresh capital is raised. Questions about the firm’s financial viability grew after it axed its low-cost Kingfisher Red service to concentrate on its full-fare business in September. “Kingfisher will soon have to consider limiting operations to bleed less, besides selling and leasing back some aircraft to lower debt,” said a Mumbai-based aviation analyst on condition of anonymity. Kingfisher has a 64 aircraft fleet, flying to 46 destinations in India and eight overseas. — AFP

Taiwan cut Iran crude imports by nearly half in 2011 SINGAPORE: Taiwan cut its imports of Iranian crude by nearly half last year from the previous year ahead of tougher sanctions by the West and on lower refinery throughput, government data showed yesterday. Crude buyers globally are being pressured by the West to reduce Iranian imports, with the United States and the European Union imposing new economic sanctions targeted at reducing Tehran’s oil revenue over its controversial nuclear program. Taiwan’s crude imports from Iran totaled 30,247 barrels per day (bpd) in 2011, down 49 percent from 58,756 bpd in 2010, data from the country’s Bureau of Energy showed. During the period, the country’s

overall crude imports fell about 9.3 percent to 794,938 bpd while its refinery throughput was down 7.7 percent to 808,707 bpd after Formosa Petrochemical Corp had to shut its entire complex following a series of fires. Formosa has also cut back imports of high-sulfur crude from the Middle East in 2011 as one of its desulphurizers was down and it replaced part of the demand with low-sulfur Angolan oil. In 2011, Angola rose to become the third-largest supplier to Taiwan as imports increased 70.7 percent on year to 142,926 bpd. Taiwan’s imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia fell 10 percent on year to 260,778 bpd in 2011. — Reuters

TOKYO: Standard & Poor’s warned yesterday it could lower Japan’s sovereign rating if the economy expands less than expected or if public debt continues to grow, as the country’s unpopular government struggles to win support for higher taxes. The ratings agency affirmed its AA- rating on Japan with a negative outlook, but also warned that higher taxes wouldn’t solve the structural problems that push up Japan’s welfare spending and increasingly pressure state coffers. Japan’s debt burden is the heaviest among industrialized economies, and it may not be able to postpone drastic spending cuts and aggressive tax hikes much longer as Europe’s debt crisis threatens the global economy. One problem is that Japan’s ruling Democratic Party lacks the majority needed to override opposition in parliament, so policy making often moves at a slow pace. “In this environment, it’s difficult to get opposition parties to agree to policies that will increase the burden on the public,” Takahira Ogawa, director of sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor’s in Singapore, said on a conference call. “This difficulty in pushing through policies

is a negative for Japan’s sovereign rating.” S&P and Fitch both rate Japan AA- with a negative outlook. Moody’s Investors Service ranks Japan at the same level, at Aa3, but has a stable outlook. All three agencies rate Japan three notches below the top AAA rating. Japan’s rating could fall if real gross domestic product growth per capita drops below S&P’s forecast of 1.2 percent, according to a statement released earlier. S&P also expressed concern that the government isn’t doing enough to bring down its debt quickly enough. “We would also consider lowering the long- and short-term ratings if the government’s debt trajectory remains on its current course or begins to erode the nation’s external position,” S&P said in the statement. “On the other hand, we may revise the outlook to stable if the government were to implement robust and sustainable fiscal consolidation.” Late last year, the ruling Democratic Party agreed on a timetable on increases in the sales tax to pay for welfare spending. It said it would increase the 5 percent sales tax to 8 percent in April 2014 and

then to 10 percent in October 2015. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda needs opposition votes to pass the tax hike in a divided parliament, but his public approval ratings are sinking and the opposition is refusing to cooperate as it looks to force an election. Higher taxes could help reduce revenue shortfalls, but that wouldn’t change Japan’s ageing population, which continuously pushes up welfare costs, S&P said. Japan’s sovereign ratings are also constrained by the government’s weak policy foundations, the ratings agency said. Even if the sales tax rises to 10 percent, that would not be enough to lower the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product, which is the highest among industrialized nations and almost twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy, government estimates show. “Without broad-based welfare reform and higher economic growth, tax hikes alone won’t lead to lasting progress in improving Japan’s public finances,” Ogawa said. Japan’s rating does draw support from its ample holdings of external assets in its foreign exchange reserves and its current account surplus, S&P added. — Reuters

Thai economy shrinks 10.7% on flood impact BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy suffered a double-digit contraction in the fourth quarter of 2011, the sharpest on record, it said yesterday after the kingdom’s worst floods in half a century pummeled industry. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 10.7 percent in OctoberDecember from the previous quarter, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESBD). GDP fell 9.0 percent compared with the same period in 2010. It was the sharpest drop in a single quarter since comparable records began in 1993, according to Apichai Thamsermsukh, an official at the government agency. The 1997-98 Asian financial crisis saw smaller quarterly declines but over a longer time period, he said. “This is an unusual drop caused by the manufacturing sector,” Apichai added. The months-long floods last year killed hundreds of people and took a heavy toll on Thailand’s industrial heartland north of Bangkok, with many factories forced to close temporarily. For the whole of 2011, Thailand’s economy expanded by 0.1 percent, after an increase of 7.8 percent in 2010, the figures showed, missing analyst forecasts. But the government and analysts are optimistic about prospects for a rebound, with Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong predicting last week that the export-dependent economy could grow by 7.0 percent in 2012. The NESDB

upgraded its own 2012 forecast to a range of 5.5-6.5 percent, up from a previous projection of 4.5-5.5 percent. “Last year’s floods severely affected the Thai economy but the contraction is only temporary,” said Standard Chartered economist Usara Wilaipich. “There will be an economic recovery this year, driven by domestic demand and manufacturing, which are rebounding.” But she said the revival would be slow in the first half of 2012 because industrial production and exports would take time to recover to normal levels, while the global economic outlook remains uncertain. “Semi-conductor makers in particular need to import and install new machines to replace those damaged by the flood. I think their operations will be back on track in the third quarter.” At their height last year’s floods affected 65 of the country’s 77 provinces, deluged hundreds of thousands of homes and forced the closure of large industrial parks, disrupting global supply chains. After the clean-up operation began towards the end of the year, many of the worst-hit companies said it would be several months at least before their operations returned to normal. Japanese auto giant Honda has idled operations since early October at its factory in Ayutthaya, where it was forced to destroy more than 1,000 cars that were submerged by the muddy waters. — AFP

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand: Flood damaged cars sitting at the Honda factory in Ayutthaya province. Thailand’s economy suffered a double-digit contraction in the fourth quarter of last year, the sharpest on record, it said yesterday. —AFP

FLORANGE, France: ArcelorMittal workers demonstrate at the world’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal plant of Florange, eastern France, yesterday. —AFP

Workers protest furnace closure at French factory FLORANGE: More than 100 metal workers burst into managerial offices at an ArcelorMittal steel plant in northeastern France yesterday to protest plans to continue idling the facility. ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel maker, has idled one of the plant’s furnaces since June and another since October, citing insufficient steel demand. The company is set this week to discuss continuing idling the furnaces into the second quarter of this year. Between 100 and 200 workers, most wearing helmets, entered the plant’s main offices chanting “Mittal, we want to work.” “We’ll stay in these offices until the factory furnaces are restarted,” worker Edward Martin said. Union leaders fret that the company plans to permanently shutter the site, which employs about 5,000 workers. The steel giant this month posted a $1 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2011, though the year as a whole was still profitable, and has warned of dwindling steel demand in the crisis-stricken euro-zone. The group recently closed furnaces in Madrid and Belgium. — AFP



Al Sayer Group honors its highest performing depts

Volkswagen Middle East brings the Scirocco R to the region DUBAI: The Scirocco R is the most powerful model ever built in this series, and is the newest car to join Volkswagen’s portfolio of models in the Middle East following its unveiling at the 2011 Dubai Motor Show. The Scirocco R combines power, performance, handling and the fun factor making it an outstanding sports car. Commenting on the new Scirocco R, Stefan Mecha, Mangaing Director Volkswagen Middle East said: “Following the success of the Scirocco R at the 2011 Dubai Motor Show I am pleased to announce that the Scirocco R is now available in the Middle East. The Scirocco is our most successful coupÈ and now combined with the ‘R’ features, we have created a sports car that is not only an economical companion for the roads of everyday life but is also a contender on the circuit track.” The coupe from Volkswagen R GmbH is an impressive performance package with a brilliant engine and running gear, an independent look and even more exclusive features. Always aboard as standard equipment: the XDS transverse differential lock on the front axle, which delivers optimal traction and pure driving fun. A turbo four-cylinder TSI is used in the new Scirocco R as in the racing versions of the Scirocco R-Cup. Like all TSI engines, the R-version used in the Scirocco combines the efficiency of direct injection with the power of turbocharging. Specifically, the 2.0litre TSI of the Scirocco R attains a maximum power of 187 kW/ 255 HP at 6,000 rpm. Its maximum torque - a hefty 350 Newton-metres - is available over an immense range of engine speed: 2,500 to 5,000 rpm. This sets the stage for responsive engine performance. It can spontaneously summon torque in practically any speed range. The engine’s

acoustic output impressively highlights its special kind of power development. The exhaust system itself is designed as a double-flow system. Oval chrome tailpipes extend out from the bumper, one on each side, left and right. The lightweight 1,344 kilogram Scirocco R is a car with motorsport DNA that can sprint from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds and handle the classic 1,000 metre sprint in 25.6 seconds. Top speed: 250 km/h (at 6,320 rpm). As is so often the case with DSG, gains in dynamic performance (and comfort) are by no means bought at the expense of fuel efficiency or emissions. In fact, the opposite is true, as demonstrated by the car’s 8.0 litre combined fuel consumption and 187 g/km CO2 value. Volkswagen sends the Scirocco R onto the streets with a specially tuned sport chassis and XDS electronic transverse differential lock on the front axle as standard equipment. The latter refers to a functional extension of the electronic differential lock (EDS) that is integrated in the ESP system and effectively eliminates any type of traction loss. The Scirocco R is available with Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) as an option. Standard equipment includes R-specific 18-inch alloy wheels (“Talladega” type) with size 235/40 tyres. As on the Golf R, an optional 19-inch version of the wheels is also offered. Also similar to the Golf R, the brakes were modified to handle the higher level of driving performance (including a 17-inch instead of 16inch system). The electronic stabilisation program (ESP) was modified too. A new Sport mode can be selected by pressing the ESP button (centre console). The electro-mechanical power steering was also given a sportier tuning curve.

‘Best in the Business’ annual staff convention

KUWAIT: In line with its strategy aiming at encouraging its employees for the “Best in the Business” conduct, and recognizing their performance and efficiency at work, Al Sayer Group (ASG) has rewarded its distinguished departments according to the highest CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) measures. All employees of ASG attended the ceremony held at the Convention Center. Employees from all grades had the opportunity to be closely around and in the presence of the board members and senior management of ASG. They listened to the Group’s Chairman Nasser Al Sayer and Vice Chairman Faisal Al Sayer speeches, followed by the CEO Mubarak Al Sayer and the COO Paul Reynolds speeches. There was a presentation by HR GM Jacques Feghali explaining in details the “Best in the Business” BIB for the year 2012 training program under the new theme “The One Team”. On this occasion, the chairman Nasser Al Sayer welcomed and thanked the attendees saying: “The last financial year 2010/11 has been one of the most difficult in recent years. During the year we have had disruption to most of our supplies from Lexus and Toyota vehicles to tires, from Heavy Equipment to spare parts, from Japan, Europe, USA, and Thailand - all are interlinked. First the Tsunami and the terrible nuclear disaster in Japan, and then, and to an extent still now, flooding in Asia leading to more delays and cuts to our shipments. All in all, we lost about 20% of our supply. However, thanks to the strong efforts by all of you, to maximize the performance of all your activities, we were still able to come out of the year with a good result. Thank you for that. It is your professionalism and the care for our customers who have enabled the

Company to withstand such shocks, and still come out growing. Indeed in spite of the difficulties there were record performances by a number of Divisions, and our CSI performance grew significantly to its best ever level since we began to focus on it 15 years ago. Both of these achievements are recognized and rewarded. Therefore; our distinguished talents and their achievements are encouraged for exerting more efforts and giving, ASG is keen to reward and recognizes its distinguished employees”. Chairman also explained “Our employees are at our top priority; therefore, ASG pays a great attention to consolidate the culture of excellence by providing various programs and initiatives that contribute in promoting the efficiency and skills of our employees. Also ASG strives to honor employees for their excellent work and performance at individual or team levels”. On the other hand, Mubarak Al Sayer CEO, and Paul Reynolds COO stressed that: “As ASG launches several initiatives and programs aiming at rewarding and promoting its employees, the results are outstanding. We got to where we got to last year through great professionalism and great customer focus. We shall be celebrating the detail of the CSI results by honoring and rewarding the highest achievers, but I would like to say a collective congratulations and thank you for the best ever results: For External CSI, out of 46 outlets measured, 39 are above 90 (of which 19 are above 95). This is what our customers say about us. For Internal CSI, almost all measured Departments are above 90, as well. Ultimately though, our key objective is to offer the most out-

Cadillac joins Kuwait’s joy on National, Liberation Days enjoy a KD 500 voucher from Tanagra KUWAIT: When it comes to refinement and ultimate luxury, Cadillac has no boundaries. This month, Cadillac has enhanced its customers’ experience by providing anyone who buys a 2012 Cadillac with a valuable voucher worth KD 500 from Tanagra. Created by Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Company, this great offer is introduced amidst a sea of wonderful prizes and fun festivals on the occasion of Hala February, a month that also includes valuable promotions. The unique offer from Cadillac illustrates the level of exclusivity that lies in parallel to the quality of a luxurious Cadillac, a purchase that returns the same level of opulence to its owners by providing an unmatchable shopping experience that ends with an unmatchable offer. Yusuf A. Alghanim & Sons Company, Kuwait’s exclusive Cadillac agent, announced the arrival of Cadillac’s 2012 models to give clients an opportunity to start the new year with a brand new car. Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Company adds a unique vehicle service program for Cadillac owners so as to provide a solution for any and every need at any time including after-sales service for 4 years or

100,000 km, roadside assistance across the Middle East with unlimited mileage, warranty for 4 years or 100,000 km, transportation service or providing a courtesy vehicle while a customer brings his Cadillac for warranty repairs. Visit Safat showroom-Alrai to experience the Cadillac line up from the CTS sedan to the

SRX and the powerful, luxurious Escalade, and enjoy our February offer of KD 500 voucher at the luxurious Tanagra in Salhiya Mall. This unique offer shows Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Company’s keenness in providing valuable offers especially for luxury car owners including the Cadillac.

Yusuf A Alghanim & Company adds the finishing touch to the ownership experience with high-quality after-sales services. With the world’s biggest and most advanced automotive service center, customers do not have to worry about their vehicles’ service and maintenance needs.

standing service in the market for a reasonable price at convenient timings and days. And everyone here contributes to that service one way or another depending on what the customer actually wants or needs. All Trading and Central Services staff by working together can ensure this outstanding service level, and “working together” is the operative phrase”. During the final presentation by Jacques Feghaly GM HR, explained that ASG considers its human resources as a key element for developing its performance and the main pillar to achieve excellence at all levels”. He stressed on the “Importance of urging the factors of excellence and team work which are usually correlated with high CSI”. He described the steps ASG will be taking through BIB and other sources to give the employ-

ees all the information they’ll need to be a part of the Al Sayer First Team, and he elaborated about the value of Teamwork”. He added: “Team work is one of the key factors for the success of any organization, therefore, ASG is keen to provide suitable environment to its employees to reap the seeds of their success and the excellence of ASG through them. We urge also all employees to take the initiative by developing themselves and working hard to achieve success and excellence in their career at ASG to stand out and achieve the highest levels of pioneer-ship and distinguished performance”. The ceremony also included an entertaining show exhibiting “Team Work” followed by trophies distribution and dinner.

L&T eyes prospects in infrastructure, oil & gas and green technology KUWAIT: Larsen & Toubro - the India-based $11.7 billion technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate - is looking to leverage Kuwait’s favorable economic climate to enhance participation in infrastructure and hydrocarbon sectors. The company plans to build on its reputation in the region as a dependable partner with an impressive track record in Kuwait and the Middle East. L&T is currently engaged in multiple projects straddling several sectors. It is building 132/11 KV substation for the Ministry of Electricity & Water, and another for Joint Operations of KGOC and Chevron Texaco. It is also setting up power transmission lines across a 17 km stretch and constructing Effluent E Sea water Injection Facilities for KOC - Petrofac. Of particular relevance to Kuwait’s ‘green’ initiatives is LET Heavy Engineering’s association with the ‘Clean Fuel Project’ of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). L&T had manufactured and supplied 22 reactors for KNPC the world’s largest single supply order ever executed by a company. These follow a number of high tech plant and equipment supplied by LET including the world’s Largest Ethylene Oxide reactor, breech lock heat exchangers and related systems. L&T Hydrocarbon has executed multiple Sulphur Recovery Capacity Enhancement projects on EPCC basis for Shuaiba Refinery (SHU)and Mina Abdulla Refinery (MAB) of KNPC. L&T also successfully executed an EPCC project for the construction of a New Aviation Fuel Terminal and pipelines for Kuwait Aviation Fuelling Company (KAFCO). Other significant projects include construction of part of an Early Production Facility project for Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). Larsen & Toubro is a $11.7 billion technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate, with global operations. It is one of

A M Naik, Chairman and MD of L&T the largest and most respected companies in India’s private sector. A strong, customer - focused approach and the constant quest for top-class quality have enabled’ L&T to attain and sustain leadership in its major lines of business over seven decades. L&T has also executed comprehensive projects in the areas of fertiliser and petrochemicals, airports, townships, hotels, public buildings, bridges, transmission lines, water treatment plants, hydro-electric power stations and irrigation structures in countries such as the Middle East, South East Asia, Russia, CIS, Mauritius, African and SAARC countries. Other overseas markets include Indian Ocean rim countries, Africa and Latin America. Growth prospects As a business conglomerate with interests and capabilities in engineering, technology, construction, electrical switchgear, electronics and information technology, L&T has the unique advantage of offering its global customers a single window for meeting their requirements. Given the nature of its businesses, such as technology, engineering and construction, infrastructure development, power plants and distribution, L&T is poised to contribute significantly to the growth and development of the Gulf region.



Kaspersky urges robust corporate endpoint security DUBAI: Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content management systems and threat management solutions, presented today the importance of robust corporate endpoint security in the era of cloud, mobility and virtualization, at the at the IDC CIO Summit 2012, being held at Le Meridien Fujeirah, UAE, a widely recognized ICT focused event, where CIOs, CTOs, businesses and IT executives acquire distilled and compac t insights into IT strategies,

emerging technologies, and best practices that have direct implications on their businesses. According to a recent Kaspersky Lab survey, in the past 12 months at least one IT Security incident was experienced by 91% of the companies surveyed. Almost a third of company representatives questioned admitted that they had incurred sensitive data loss as a result of malware infection. Though malware attacks are the most common type of busi-

ness security threat, only 70% of the companies sur veyed have fully implemented anti-malware protection; 3% have no anti-malware protection at all. Kaspersky Lab’s delegate at the summit, Alexander Erofeev, Director of Market Intelligence & Insight said, “We are experiencing rapid changes in global IT ecosystem with cloud, mobility and virtualization being main drivers of technologies whilst web applications and consumeriza-

tion are affecting users’ habit.” The growing amount of information that requires security is driven largely from two main sources: corporations (including employees) and consumers. New security practices and tools has to be adopted to help enterprises identify the information that needs to be secured and at what level of securit y and then secure the information using specific threat protection devices and software, fraud management systems, or

reputation protection services. “Altogether these technologies dilute the traditional perimeter and points, based approach to IT security and move more weight to endpoints of various kind. The approach to protecting companies from external and internal threads also has to be revised with heavy focus to multidimensional protection, defaultdeny technologies and advanced security for mobile devices,” he continued.

Startup sends live local TV to iPhone TV stations likely to challenge right to use broadcasts

CHANGSHA: In this photo taken on Friday, May 6, 2011, customers try out iPad tablet computer at an Apple’s authorized dealer outlet in Changsha in south China’s Hunan province. Authorities have seized iPads from more Chinese retailers in this month in an escalating trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and a struggling local company that could disrupt global sales of the popular tablet computer. — AP

China faces conflict of law, trade in iPad row BEIJING: Chinese officials face a choice in Apple’s dispute with a local company over the iPad trademark - side with a struggling entity that a court says owns the name or with a global brand that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in China. Experts say that means Beijing’s political priorities rather than the courts will settle the dispute if it escalates. Shenzhen Proview Technology has asked regulators to seize iPads in China in a possible prelude to pressing Apple Inc for a payout. There have been seizures in some cities but no sign of action by national-level authorities. Proview has a strong case under Chinese trademark law, but that could quickly change if Beijing decides to intervene to avoid disrupting iPad sales or exports from factories in southern China where the popular tablet computers are made, legal experts say. “If this becomes political - and it’s very easy to see this becoming political - then I think Apple’s chances look pretty good,” said Stan Abrams, an American lawyer who teaches intellectual property law at Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics. The dispute centers on whether Apple acquired the iPad name in China when it bought rights in various countries from a Proview affiliate in Taiwan in 2009 for £35,000 ($55,000). Apple insists it did. But Proview, which registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001, won a ruling from a mainland Chinese court in December that it was not bound by that sale. Apple appealed. A hearing is scheduled for Feb 29. “My gut reaction is that many of these activities really could be seen as pre-settlement brinksmanship,” said David Wolf, a technology marketing consultant in Beijing. “Proview’s motive is money, not to shut down Apple.” Shenzhen Proview Technology is a subsidiary of LCD screen maker Proview International Holdings Ltd, headquartered in Hong Kong. Chinese news reports say Proview is deeply in debt, increasing the pressure for it to demand a substantial payout from Apple. Proview International, meanwhile, has been suspended from trading on the Hong Kong stock market since Aug 2010 and will be removed in June if it cannot show it has sufficient assets, business operations and working capital. In a rapid-fire series of moves, Proview has filed a trademark-violation lawsuit that goes to court tomorrow in Shanghai. That deadline is likely to prompt Apple to agree to a settlement within a few days to avoid the uncertainty of a court fight, said Kenny Wong, an intellectual-property lawyer with the firm Mayer Brown JSM in Hong Kong. “I think Apple will be under immense pressure to have this settled as soon as possible,” he said. “Obviously, it depends on the amount the Shenzhen company is asking.” In a statement, Apple said its deal with Proview covers the iPad trademark in 10 different countries, including China. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” Apple said. Apple has pointed to a Hong Kong court ruling in July that said Proview and the Taiwan company both were “clearly under the control” of the same Taiwanese businessman, Yang Long-san, and refused to take steps required to transfer the name under the agreement.

The companies acted together “with the common intention of injuring Apple”, the judge said. But that was not the final judgment in the case and might not be accepted by mainland courts, Wong said, because Hong Kong has a separate legal system even though it is a Chinese territory. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, also ran into a trademark dispute before it launched the iPhone in 2007. Cisco Systems Inc, the maker of networking hardware, had owned the trademark since 2000 and used it for a line of Internet-connected desk phones. After Cisco sued, the companies reached an undisclosed settlement and the phone launch went off as planned. China is Apple’s fastest-growing market and the company already has bigger sales here than any other market except the United States. In the 12 months through September, sales totaled $12.5 billion in China and Hong Kong, nearly 12 percent of revenue. “We’ve been very, very focused on China,” CEO Tim Cook told investors this week at a conference in San Francisco. The dispute comes amid complaints that Beijing is failing to do enough to stamp out rampant unlicensed Chinese copying and exports of goods ranging from music and Hollywood movies to designer clothing to pharmaceuticals. But unlike “trademark squatters” who register names of products already sold abroad and then demand foreign companies pay for the Chinese rights, Proview registered the iPad name long before Apple planned its tablet computer. Proview says it plans to ask China’s customs agency to block imports and exports of iPads. Such requests are routine under rules enacted to help stamp out rampant Chinese product pirac y that has strained relations with the United States and other trading partners. But enforcing this one could force regulators to confront the cost of disrupting Apple’s business. That might hurt China’s image as a high-tech manufacturing center at a time when foreign producers are being squeezed by rising costs. All of Apple’s iPads are made in China by Foxconn Technologies Group, which employs more than 1 million people in sprawling factory complexes. Taiwan based Foxconn previously did all its production in China but Brazil’s government says the company plans to open factories there to produce iPads and other products. “The government cares about jobs. The government cares about industry. And who is Proview? Nobody cares about Proview,” Abrams said. “Apple is a big employer in this country. If it comes to politics, that is a decent argument.” Proview has accused Apple of acting dishonestly when it bought rights to the iPad name from the Taiwan company. According to July’s Hong Kong court ruling, Apple set up a company in Britain to buy the iPad trademark from owners in various markets without revealing Apple was the purchaser. Once the dispute arose, Proview demanded $10 million for the name in China, the court document said. Apple has other legal options in China, such as asking regulators to cancel Proview’s trademark if it can be shown not to have been used for three years, said Wong. But he said that would take 12 to 18 months, extending the uncertainty for manufacturing and sales. — AP

NEW YORK: A startup backed by media billionaire Barry Diller has launched a service that sends live local TV feeds to iPhones and iPads. But the service may be short-lived, since TV stations are likely to challenge its right to use their broadcasts. The service, Aereo, launched in New York this week, but it is available only by invitation. It hopes to broaden access to more people next month, and then launch in other cities. Subscribers pay $12 per month and use their web browsers to access streams from 27 local channels, including the major broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. For now, the service works only on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, but Aereo is planning to make it accessible to PC browsers and Android-powered phones as well. In a test by an Associated Press reporter, the service provided highquality streams over Wi Fi to an iPad, but often it wouldn’t show particular channels. The company says kinks are still being worked out of the system. Aereo has more than $25 million in venture capital backing, with more than $20 million of it coming from a funding round led by InterActiveCorp, which owns, and other websites. Diller, the chairman of InterActiveCorp and the former CEO of Fox, says he’s “excited” about Aereo and the chance it has to disrupt the way TV is consumed. Aereo exploits what it believes is a loophole in the laws governing retransmission of local broadcasts. Yet TV networks and stations are unlikely to buy that legal justification, and could drag Aereo to court. Representatives of CBS, NBC and ABC and the National Association of Broadcasters had no comment on Aereo’s launch. Cable companies pay local broadcast stations for the right to retransmit their signals to subscribers. Aereo doesn’t, and founder and CEO Chet Kanojia says it doesn’t have to. That’s because Aereo doesn’t use one big antenna

NEW YORK: This image provided by Aereo shows a screenshot from the iPad showing streaming Bob the Builder-on New York’s PBS station, WNET 13. The service launched this week in New York, giving access to live TV from local stations on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. — AP to pick up the local broadcasts and relay them to the Internet. Instead, it uses one tiny antenna for each subscriber that’s watching. Aereo has created a dime-sized TV antenna, and crams hundreds and perhaps thousands of them into boxes the size of a dishwasher. The company places these boxes anywhere they can pick up local TV signals. “Every one of these little antennas has a person’s name on it,” Kanojia says. However, he clarified that each subscriber doesn’t necessarily use the same antenna all the time. Subscribers do share antennas they just don’t use the same antenna at the same time. Kanojia reasons that because there’s one antenna per subscriber, Aereo is just an intermediary between a viewer and an antenna, sort of like a very long antenna cable. That


in brief

Super zoom camera from Nikon BERLIN: The new Coolpix P510 has a built-in lens which reaches a 42time optical zoom focal length between 24 and 1,000 millimetres. The super zoom camera’s CMOS picture sensor has 16 megapixels, videos can be recorded with full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) and the display is swivel-mounted. Purchasers of the new Nikon Coolpix L810 camera must do without the swivel-mounted display and it offers only a 26-times optical zoom. But it is somewhat less expensive at 249 euros (325 dollars) while the P510 sells for 429 euro. Both cameras will be available in mid-March. External drives support Blu-ray LG will be bringing two new external Blu-ray drives to the market. Both the BP40NS20 and CP40NG10 can read new three and four layer Blu-rays (BDXL). The BP40NS20 can also write on the new discs and fit up to 128 GB on one disc. The CP40NG10 can only burn conventional DVDs and CDs. Both devices can be connected to USB 2.0 ports and do not need an external power supply. The Blu-ray burner will be available in February for 109 euros and the combo drive will follow in March for 89 euros. Thin tablet from Toshiba The new Toshiba tablet AT200 is hitting stores with a 7.7-millimetre-thin casing. The flat shell includes a 10.1 inch multi-touch display with a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels and a 1.2 GHz Cortex processor with dual core. It will support Bluetooth and WiFi but not UMTS. The Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) operating system is installed. The tablet will come in two versions. The AT200- 100 has 32 GB of internal storage and costs 649 euros while the AT200- 101 offers half the storage and costs 100 euros less. Outdoor camera survives frost The new Lumix DMC-FT4 from Panasonic can survive even the harshest of conditions including water depths of up to 12 metres, minus 10 degrees Celsius and falls from up to two metres. The camera would also be useful for hiking and other adventure trips as it has GPS, an altimeter and a compass. The 12 megapixel sensor takes normal and quick series photos, full HD videos and panorama shots. The robust, compact camera will be available in shops starting in mid-March for 399 euros in silver, orange and blue. New Easypix tablet Easypix’s Easypad 970 Satellite tablet computer is installed with the Android 4.0 Google operating system. In addition to the Ice Cream Sandwich OS, the device also has a 9.7 inch multi-touch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, two megapixel cameras on the front and rear, and a battery that lasts for up to seven hours of surfing. Network connections are only through WiFi as there is no UMTS module, but mobile users can connect a surf stick to one of the two USB ports.

means, he says, that Aereo not a cable company and doesn’t have to negotiate with TV stations for the right to relay their signals, or pay them. Scott Flick, a media lawyer and partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, thinks Aereo is skating on thin ice, legally speaking. “When you take somebody’s programming and you make it available on some device that wouldn’t normally receive that, that sounds a lot like retransmission,” which means that Aereo should be paying the TV stations, he says. “ The laws here are fairly tight. There’s not a lot of room for wiggle.” The one-antenna-per-subscriber setup doesn’t look like much of a loophole, Flick says, since courts ruling on retransmission cases have “a fundamental history of saying over the years:

‘Look, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.’” NBC, Fox and ABC make their shows available on iPads, iPhones and other tablets and phones through, which doesn’t have live programming or local news. And shows aren’t available on Hulu until the day after they air. Hulu charges $8 per month for access from mobile devices. Cable companies are also making some programming available on iPads and iPhones in the homes of people who subscribe to cable. Meanwhile, TV stations are trying to make their live feeds accessible on phones through special “mobile DTV” broadcasts. But to receive those, viewers would need phones with special antennas, and phone companies have shown no interest in carr ying such phones. — AP

US sites hacked as objections grow to piracy deal LONDON: Opponents of a controversial global copyright treaty counted three victories as American government websites were hacked and the Eastern European nations of Poland and Slovenia distanced themselves from the deal. Sites belonging to the US Federal Trade Commission and the National Consumer Protection Week were vandalized by Anonymous, a loose collection of cyber rebels who have helped lead the charge against the AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA. The hackers replaced the sites with profanity-laced statements and a violent German-language video satirizing the treaty. At the same time, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday the country was abandoning plans to ratify the deal. He said he now sees his earlier support for ACTA as a mistake. “I was wrong,” he said at a news conference. His announcement came after Slovenia’s government also said Friday that it is halting the ratification of ACTA. “This agreement is obviously not a matter of understanding, but of major misunderstanding,” Slovenian Education Minister Radovan Zerjav said. The developments are bad news for industrialized countries such as the United States, which have pushed ACTA as a way of defending the entertainment industry and luxury goods manufacturers from pirates and counterfeiters. American officials spent years negotiating AC TA in an effort to harmonize intellectual

property protection across different countries. The goal is to help countries fight everything from fake pharmaceuticals to pirated music, but grass-roots activists - many of them in Eastern Europe - have been waging weeks of protests against what they see as moves intended to clamp down on free expression and Internet privacy. So far around 20 countries have signed up to the deal, a key step before ratification. Four EU countries have now backed away from it - Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic - and its approval at the European Union level appears increasingly uncertain. Tusk also said Friday that he sent a letter to the European People’s Party, a center-right group in the European Parliament to which his Civic Platform belongs, urging it not to back ACTA in its current form. Back in the United States, the Trade Commission confirmed that the sites had been compromised, saying in an email that they had been taken down and wouldn’t be brought back “until we’re satisfied that any vulnerability has been addressed.” Anonymous boasted of stealing a large amount of personal data from Trade Commission employees - including everything from banking statements to dating website information. The Trade Commission said that while it was still investigating the hack, “the nature of the site limits information that could have been accessed.” —AP


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

Daily diet soda may increase risk of heart attack, stroke MIAMI: Diet soda may benefit the waistline, but people who drink it everyday may have a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new US study. Although the researchers, whose work appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that older adults who drank diet soda every day were 44 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack, their research did not prove that the sugar-free drinks alone were to blame. There may be other things about diet-soda

lovers that explain the connection, said lead researcher Hannah Gardener, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and her team. “What we saw was an association. These people may tend to have more unhealthy habits,” she said. She and her colleagues tried to account for that, noting that daily diet-soda drinkers did tend to be heavier and more often have heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Gardener and her team studied 2,564 New York City adults who were 69 years or older at the study’s start. Over the next decade, 591 men and women had a heart attack, stroke or died of cardiovascular causes-including 31 percent of the 163 people who drank a diet soda daily at the start of the study. Overall, daily consumption of diet soda was linked to a 44-percent higher chance of heart attack or stroke, compared with 22 percent for people who rarely or never drank diet soda but had a

heart attack or stroke. Gardener said that if diet soda itself contributes to health risks, it’s not clear how. Some research in rats suggests that artificial sweeteners can end up boosting food intake and weight, but whether these results translate to humans is unknown. “I don’t think people should change their behavior based on this study,” Gardener said, noting that further study is needed to confirm a connection between diet soda and cardiovascular trouble. — Reuters

Sex-changing treatment for teenagers on the rise It’s harmful to have irreversible treatment too early CHICAGO: A small but growing number of teens and even younger children who think they were born the wrong sex are getting support from parents and from doctors who give them sexchanging treatments, according to reports in the medical journal Pediatrics. It’s an issue that raises ethical questions, and some experts urge caution in treating children with puberty-blocking drugs and hormones. An 8-year-old second-grader in Los Angeles is a typical patient. Born a girl, the child announced at 18 months, “I a boy” and has stuck with that belief. The family was shocked but now refers to the child as a boy and is watching for the first signs of puberty to begin treatment, his mother told The Associated Press. Pediatricians need to know these kids exist and deserve treatment, said Dr. Norman Spack, author of one of three reports published yesterday and director of one of the nation’s first gender identity medical clinics, at Children’s Hospital Boston. “If you open the doors, these are the kids who come. They’re out there. They’re in your practices,” Spack said in an interview.

when they are just hugely uncomfortable with narrowly defined gender roles; or some may be gay and are coerced into treatment by parents more comfortable with a sex change than having a homosexual child, said Moon, who teaches at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. It’s harmful “to have an irreversible treatment too early,” Moon said. Doctors who provide the treatment say withholding it would be more harmful. These children sometimes resort to selfmutilation to try to change their anatomy; the other two journal reports note that some face verbal and physical abuse and are prone to stress, depression and suicide attempts. Spack said those problems typically disappear in kids who’ve had treatment and are allowed to live as the opposite sex. Guidelines from the Endocrine Society endorse transgender hormone treatment but say it should not be given before puberty begins. At that point, the guidelines recommend puberty-blocking drugs until age 16, then lifelong sex-changing hormones with monitoring for potential health risks. Mental health profes-

BOSTON: In this Dec. 2, 2011 photo, Dr. Norman Spack poses in his office at Children’s Hospital Boston. Spack is author of one of the reports in the journal Pediatrics about teens and children who insist they were born the wrong sex and are requesting body-altering treatments. — AP Switching gender roles and occasionally pretending to be the opposite sex is common in young children. But these kids are different. They feel certain they were born with the wrong bodies. Some are labeled with “gender identity disorder,” a psychiatric diagnosis. But Spack is among doctors who think that’s a misnomer. Emerging research suggests they may have brain differences more similar to the opposite sex. Spack said by some estimates, 1 in 10,000 children have the condition. Offering sex-changing treatment to kids younger than 18 raises ethical concerns, and their parents’ motives need to be closely examined, said Dr. Margaret Moon, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ bioethics committee. She was not involved in any of the reports. Some kids may get a psychiatric diagnosis

sionals should be involved in the process, the guidelines say. The group’s members are doctors who treat hormonal conditions. Those guidelines, along with YouTube videos by sex-changing teens and other media attention, have helped raise awareness about treatment and led more families to seek help, Spack said. His report details a fourfold increase in patients at the Boston hospital. His Gender Management Service clinic, which opened at the hospital in 2007, averages about 19 patients each year, compared with about four per year treated for gender issues at the hospital in the late 1990s. The report details 97 girls and boys treated between 1998 and 2010; the youngest was 4 years old. Kids that young and their families get psychological counseling and are monitored until the first signs of puberty emerge, usually

around age 11 or 12. Then children are given puberty-blocking drugs, in monthly $1,000 injections or implants imbedded in the arm. In another Pediatrics report, a Texas doctor says he’s also provided sex-changing treatment to an increasing number of children; so has a clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles where the 8-year-old is a patient. The drugs used by the clinics are approved for delaying puberty in kids who start maturing too soon. The drugs’ effects are reversible and Spack said they’ve caused no complications in his patients. The idea is to give these children time to mature emotionally and make sure they want to proceed with a permanent sex change. Only one of the 97 opted out of permanent treatment, Spack said. Kids will more easily pass as the opposite gender, and require less drastic treatment later, if drug treatment starts early, Spack said. For example, boys switching to girls will develop breasts and girls transitioning to boys will be flat-chested if puberty is blocked and sex-hormones started soon enough, Spack said. Sex hormones, especially in high doses when used long-term, can have serious side effects, including blood clots and cancer. Spack said he uses low, safer doses but that patients should be monitored. Gender-reassignment surgery, which may include removing or creating penises, is only done by a handful of U.S. doctors, on patients aged at least 18, Spack said. His clinic has worked with local surgeons who’ve done breast removal surgery on girls at age 16, but that surgery can be relatively minor, or avoided, if puberty is halted in time, he said. The mother of the Los Angeles 8-year-old says he’s eager to begin treatment. When the child was told he could get shots to block breast development, “he was so excited,” the mother said. He also knows he’ll eventually be taking testosterone shots for life but surgery right now is uncertain. The child attends a public school where classmates don’t know he is biologically a girl. For that reason, his mother requested anonymity. She said she explained about having a girl’s anatomy but he rejected that, refused to wear dresses, and has insisted on using a boy’s name since preschool. The mother first thought it was a phase, then that her child might be a lesbian, and sought a therapist’s help to confirm her suspicion. That’s when she first heard the term “gender identity disorder” and learned it’s often not something kids outgrow. Accepting his identity has been difficult for both parents, the woman said. Private schools refused to enroll him as a boy, and the family’s pediatrician refused to go along with their request to treat him like a boy. They found a physician who would, Dr. Jo Olson, medical director of a transgender clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Olson said the journal reports should help persuade more doctors to offer these kids sexchanging treatment or refer them to specialists who will. “It would be so nice to move this out of the world of mental health, and into the medical world,” Olson said. —AP

Education can solve religion-science conflicts VANCOUVER: A perceived conflict between science and religion has led Americans to rank nearly last among industrialized countries in understanding evolution, educators told a major science conference this past weekend. But research suggests that education changes anti-science attitudes among even the most religious of students, while history shows that science can thrive alongside religion, said Kenneth Miller of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. “Evolution is exhibit A on the cutting edge of the anti-science movement in the US,” Miller told a symposium of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He said the United States placed second to last-just before Turkey-in a recent survey in 33 countries of how well people understood evolution. Widespread rejection in America of climate science, and denial of climate change is linked with the “street fight” over evolution, speakers told an audience of mostly American scientists and educators. But Miller said the stereotype that “rational science is at war with irrational faith” is wrong. He said popular American culture and religious speakers promote a literal interpretation of the Bible, as well as the idea that morality would not exist without religion. Research shows the perception of religion and science by undergraduate college students who take science courses, even among religious fundamentalists, changes over the years. “As juniors, they see a conflict between religion and science, and take the religious side,” said Miller. “By their senior year, 79 percent said they don’t see a conflict, but a collaboration model instead.” “These students changed their attitudes and

(came to) regard religion and science as being able to exist side by side.” Miller said he tells his students that some of the most significant scientific breakthroughs were made by religious people, including Augustinian friar Gregor Johann Mendel, the Austrian scientist considered the father of genetics, and Catholic Belgian priest and physicist Georges Lemaitre, whose mathe-

matic models are the basis for the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe. “Effective education can increase the acceptance of science, but not by bashing religion,” he added. The five-day AAAS annual meeting, one of the world’s largest scientific gatherings, wraped up yesterday in this western Canadian city. — AFP

OAKLAND: AIDS Healthcare Foundation staff and volunteers distribute condoms during the “Condom Nation” tour in Oakland, California. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation launched a “Condom Nation” tour to help promote condom use in an effort to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection rate. The initiative, which also involves free screenings and education sessions, spans 20 states during a six-month nationwide tour. — AP

BOSTON: In this Feb. 7, 2012 file photo, a woman holds an AeroShot inhalable caffeine device in Boston. The Food and Drug Administration will investigate the safety and legality of the product, created by Harvard biomedical engineering professor David Edwards. — AP

S Africa grapples with toll of heavy drinking CAPE TOWN: Tisha Lourens suffered brain damage when her mother drank during pregnancy. Now the slight teenager who was abandoned as a baby in a Cape Town hospital battles with learning problems. She is a victim of foetal alcohol syndrome, which compounds South Africa’s social ills and has earned some rural regions a sad world record. “I can write my name but I can’t write my surname,” Tisha said, avoiding eye contact. She turns 16 in March but still plays with dolls. “Her learning disabilities are that she cannot read or write,” Tisha’s adoptive mother Vivien told AFP. “She can’t do simple mathematics. She’s got no idea of time.” The widespread incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome is just one of the manifestations of South Africa’s drinking problem, which also fuels a startling violent crime rate and a high rate of road deaths. Ironically, the country is full of teetotallers. According to the World Health Organisation, nearly two thirds of South Africans have never taken a sip. Only 27 percent say they have had a drink in the past year. But many of those who do drink, drink a lot. More than 48 percent of men and 41 percent of women report in surveys that they have at least 60 grams of pure alcohol at least once a week. Researchers say the problem is especially severe in the rural Northern Cape provinces, in part due to historical reasons. When French Huguenots arrived in South Africa and started wine farms, the labourers received part of their wages in alcohol-a scheme known as the “dop system”. Dop payments were banned in the 1920s, but in practice the system carried on in many rural zones until apartheid ended in 1994. In some areas, “that’s now spread to social drinking on a very large scale,” said Denis Viljoen, who studies rural communities.

The remote Northern Cape towns of De Aar and Upington have the dubious distinction of having the highest recorded rates of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world, hitting 57 of every 1,000 newborns. “It’s the most common birth defect,” Viljoen said. “On its own, it amounts to (the total of) all the other birth defects, serious birth defects, that are found in South Africa.” Such statistics add to the social burdens linked to alcohol across the country. Crime statistics show that 80 percent of violent crime is linked to alcohol or drug use. Alcohol is also blamed for the high rate of traffic deaths, with 1,500 people killed on the roads just during the Christmas holidays, the Transport Ministry says. Opposition leader Helen Zille has asserted that alcohol and other substance abuse costs the government around 17 billion rands ($2.2 billion, 1.7 billion euro) a year. Authorities are now pondering a range of laws to tone down the boozing. The legal drinking age may soon be raised from 18 to 21, pregnant women may be refused liquor sales and alcohol ads banned. Last month, police even poured down the drain 200,000 liters (52,800 gallons) of alcohol confiscated from illegal bars, called shebeens. Leana Olivier, head of the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research, said what’s really needed is better education about the dangers of excessive drinking. “Nobody knows what sensible drinking is,” she said. “In many places it is the only or most acceptable way to socialise. “Why can’t we give people info about alcohol abuse and its effects?” Louise Ketani, from Gugulethu township outside Cape Town, blames poverty and the lack of information for her own mistakes. Today she wonders if her daughter Tiona is too small for her age and slow to learn maths because Ketani drank during her pregnancy. “It was dangerous, but I didn’t know.” — AFP

Steady turnout at charity race despite controversy El PASO: The decision by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut, and later restore, funding for Planned Parenthood did not seem to affect turnout on Sunday for the first Race for the Cure breast cancer fundraiser held since the controversy erupted this month. Organizers in El Paso, Texas, said 11,000 participants donned running shoes and signature pink T-shirts to race and walk for Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer charity, a turnout close to the 11,500 or so who took part last year. The El Paso event was the first for the nonprofit since the dispute arose over its decision to cut funding to women’s health organization Planned Parenthood. The national uproar thrust the charity into the middle of the nation’s polarizing debate on abortion, and threats to protest at Komen’s fundraisers led the Race for the Cure organization to quickly reverse that decision. “I heard about it and read several articles about it but, quite honestly, as far as me participating in this event, it wasn’t a problem,” said Fernie Ramirez, a 41-yearold safety and environmental manager said at the start of the race in this Texas border city. Komen’s races at more than 140 locations worldwide help drive nearly $420 million in donations annually. The money is used to fund education efforts, breast cancer research and screenings. Turnout for the El Paso race on

Sunday was seen as a test over how deeply the controversy has affected the organization’s grassroots base. Five events are scheduled for March and 12 for April, according to the Komen website. Organizers said they were encouraged on Sunday. “This is a great showing,” said Stephanie Flora, the executive director of Komen’s El Paso affiliate. Flora said the figure of 11,000 participants was conservative and that final numbers would go higher, given the long lines of people who turned up to register. In addition, she pegged the nonregistered crowd at close to 18,000, although a police estimate came in lower at 12,000 to 13,000. No protesters came and, Flora said, she received no messages complaining about Komen’s initial decision to cut off Planned Parenthood or the ensuing choice to resume support. For many of those taking part, the event was deeply personal and far removed from abortion politics. Ten-month breast cancer survivor Zulema Salazar said she came to walk with her sister, while 16 other friends and relatives they called “Team Salazar” were along to show support. “I didn’t follow Race for the Cure ever before, but now I will,” Salazar said. “I want them to find a cure, and I like the fact that they give mammograms to people who can’t afford it.” — Reuters



health & science

‘Artificial leaf’ eyed as holy grail in energy research VANCOUVER: Turbo - charging photosynthesis-by which plants and bacteria turn sunlight into food and energy-in an “artificial leaf” could yield a vast commercial power source, scientists said. Photosynthesis “unfortunately not very efficient,” Anne Jones, assistant professor and biochemist at Arizona State University, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver this past weekend. “In fact, all of our current fossil fuels are products of this process,” she said. But photosynthesis efficienc y “could be boosted to increase food yields or sustainable biofuel production.” The world’s energy consumption is expected to surge by 100 percent in the next 40 years. That is expected even as oil and gas reserves are being used up, according to researchers, who are weighing a range of approaches to harness the power of photosynthesis to power engines. Scientists said that given the low efficiency of photosynthesis, the top theoretical yield for squeezing energy out of the process with major crops such as wheat or sugar beets would be about five percent.

But if efficiency could be forced up by even a few percentage points, they could be sitting on major biofuel production potential. Jones said that when the enz yme that catalyzes steps in CO2 fixation, called Rubisco, becomes saturated, the process of producing carbohydrate slows down and that most absorbed light energy is lost as heat. “ When it ’s sunny, a plant ’s molecular machiner y produces more electrons than the Rubisco carbohydrate-producing engine can handle, and a lot of those electrons are wasted,” she said. The situation, she said, was akin to a power plant unconnected to distribution grid, in which excess energy goes to waste. “I n this sense photosynthesis is like a badly connected electrical grid,” Jones said. Scientists want to harness the excess solar energy by transferring energy absorbed in a photosynthetic light harvesting cell via biological nanowires to a separate cell that will produce fuel. Howard Griffiths, a Cambridge professor of plant ecology, is aiming to increase the efficiency of Rice’s photosynthesis process of manipulating the Rubisco enzyme.

It is a bit like turbocharging a motor in mechanics-but not so easy just yet. Nature has already seen to it that some plants-such as sugar cane and algae-have a relatively higher-performance sort of Rubisco enzyme on hand thanks to a molecular mechanism called C-4. This cell machinery may be able to be genetically engineered into rice to push crop yields higher. Another take on tweaking photosynthesis came from R ichard Cogdell, director of the Institute of M olecular Cell and Systems Biology at the Universit y of Glasgow, Scotland. It would use an artificial leaf to directly produce biofuel, using carbon dioxide and water. The biofuel would be a terpene, which “under the right conditions ... behaves like octane,” said Cogdell. “We are a long way from that, but we have the blueprint” that will get scientists at least half the way, he said. “That is one of the grand challenges we are facing-when oil and gas will run out, just to develop new ways of developing solar energy into fuel. We have a window of opportunity of 30 to 50 years,” Cogdell said. —AFP

HOKKAIDO: A pair of red-crowned cranes do a courtship dance at the bird’s sanctuary in the village of Tsurui in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Saturday. Some 400 red-crowned cranes have been observed at the village over the winter, having migrated from eastern Russia, northeastern China and eastern Mongolia. —AFP



W H AT ’ S O N Greetings

Conference on civilization at GUST


alal Hiad is celebrating his 12th Birthday today. Best wishes from his parents, relatives & friends.

Announcements Kuwait Improv Fun lovers of Kuwait unite. A get together by people who love to surprise, be surprised and just be about at anything are welcome to Kuwait Improv, a gathering, reminiscent of the famous American TV program Whose Line is it Anyway, informally organized by American School of Kuwait teacher Brad Manker. No histrionic talent required, but a willingness to share. Please Tulu speaking classes Here’s a great opportunity for parents who always wished their children could learn Tulu. Tulu Koota Kuwait, in its objective towards promoting Tulu language and culture, is pleased to announce the opening of Tutu Speaking Classes “Tulu Siri” at Indian Public School Salmiya @ 11:30 am. For more details kindly contact Ramesh Kidiyoor-97204716/99596457,Shalini Vijay - 66502369,Tharendra P. Shettigar 66757979,Jayalaxmi Karkal - 66958848, Sathyanarayana Salian - 66585077,Vanitha Dias94996459. And our Website: Email: Palpak 4th AGM Palakkad Pravasi Association of Kuwait (Palpak) is conducting its Fourth Annual General Body Meeting on February 24, Friday at Hiphop Auditorium, Fahaheel from 10 am. The main agenda include as following, annual report on the activities during the year of 2011, the audited accounts report for the year of 2011. All members of Palpak are kindly requested to treat this as an official Invitation and attend the said Annual Genera1 body meeting on time. For more details please contact President P.N.Kumar (99771830) and General Secretary Aravindha Shan (66535989). Music festival On March 1, 2012, the “Blend Music Festival,” a mellow acoustic get-together of several local musicians, will take place in Bayt Lothan, the official sponsor, host, and curator of the event. This event will be FREE of charge and open to everyone to attend. We hope to see you all there, and here’s to a great start to 2012! The “Blend Music Festival” will be the first of many concerts to be held; there are a handful of musicians on board, and more will be added to the sets at a later stage. Here is the program for March 1st: 1- Ali Sleeq with Gary Ruston & Kevin Owen = JAZZ; 2- Hadi Sarieddine, Bader Nana, & Sarj = ROCK; 3- Lewis Chapman - FOLK / ROCK. Free Arabic language course IPC and all its branches are opening free Arabic language course for ladies accessible in beginners and advanced levels. Class will commence on March 2, 2012. Islamic and Quran courses are also presented in different languages. Registration is on! Call the nearest IPC branch: Rawdah: 22512257 / 97290278; Salmiyah: 25733263 / 97533263; Mangaf: 23723002 ext. 124/123; Jahra: 24558830 / 97533948; Khaithan: 24730137. Balakrishna to visit Kuwait Prominent Telugu film Hero Nandamuri Balakrishna coming to Kuwait on 5th April 2012 for 2 days upon the invitation of Pravasaandhra Telugu Desam, NBK seva samithi. Nadamuri Balakrishna is popularly known as “Balayya” and “NBK” by his fans and admirers. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu film legend Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. He then starred in many critical and commercial films and established himself as one of the leading contemporary actors of Telugu Cinema. In addition to films, Balakrishna is associated with several philanthropic and social organizations activities.


he Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) hosted a conference discussing the various ways one can become a model for civilization.The event was under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. It was a four-day event supervised by Nusaiba AlMutawa, Head of the “Help Your Fellow Muslim” society. The conference was put together by youth ranging from kindergarteners to college students. While observing the meetings held by the students, Al-Mutawa noticed that even though they experienced clashes of ideas, they would always find a way to meet halfway and agree on something in the end, showing team work and cooperation between them all; which is essentially the idea of the conference. The opening of the conference started with a reading of a passage from the Holy Quran by a young Al-Ruya Bilingual School student, Muhammad Al-Yaseen; which was followed by a mini skit performed by two kindergarten students showing how an individual is responsible for his actions, no matter what age they are and the effects that even the smallest decisions have on society. Hence people must act in a civilized manner and set an example for others by following the Prophet (PBUH) as an example. It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but on the contrary, imitation is part of human nature. The speaker pointed out that people should be aware of their actions since they tend to unconsciously copy the acts of others. The opening day’s discussion circled around “Modern Civilization” and was given by speakers Muhammad Abbas Al-Nawmas, Dr. Abdulla AlMatoug and Dr. Saif Al-Hajri. Muhammad Abbas Al-Nawmas discussed how the youth of society have a role in leading the community with their thoughts and actions. Seeing as children are the adults of the future, they should be taught Islamic ethics and values and ought to follow the Prophet (PBUH), as an example. Setting a positive example for others is a responsibility of all in order for a society to progress.

Guest speaker Dr. Saif Al-Hajri from Qatar presented his ideas towards the development of society to the audience. In order for a country to positively develop, its people must take steps towards its development and most importantly, education. He then presented the Islamic view of development, through monetary efforts: spending money to finance awareness projects, improve health systems and education systems. And development through human effort: the actual physical and mental labor of an individual, spending their time and energy working towards the improvement and development of their country. Nusaiba Al Mutawa continued the discussion and went into detail about what “being civilized” really is. She defined civilization as a “balancebetween with your thoughts and feelings,” respecting others views and opinions contributing to society and following the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) as your role model. Al-Mutawa pointed out that setting standards for ones thoughts and actions helps shape the unity of families, friendships and society as a whole. Change starts with an individual. When they start to realize that they are responsible for their thoughts and actions

GUST congratulates Dr Al-Hajraf on his new role as MoE


ot too long ago, GUST bid farewell to Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, former Acting VP for Academic Services and Assistant Professor of Accounting in lieu of his well-deserved assignment as one of the five full time and independent commissioners of the Capital Markets Authority. Dr Al-Hajraf, was an asset to the university as he was to the Capital Markets Authority. And now he will have greater responsibility towards his country as the new Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education in Kuwait. Dr Al-Hajraf has a long standing history of service to his field and country alike. He was one of the first to join the GUST teaching staff as one of the curriculum coordinators of the College of Business Administration when it first started from 2002-2004. In parallel, he used his skills in his field to serve the Kuwait Stock Exchange as a Financial Advisor in 2003/2004. Later, he became the Head of the Accounting Department from 2004-2007. His students and colleagues alike respected him greatly. He also served as Financial Advisor to United Nations Development Program in Ministry of Planning in 2003/2004 and 2007/2008. He also managed his role as Chief Executive Officer at the First Abu Dhabi Company for Real Estate Development from 2009. GUST would like to congratulate Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf on his new role and wish him the best of luck in fulfilling his duties.

FCC symphony


ga Kababayan 2LOY- NA- 2LOY sa February 24, 2012 “Awitan at Indakan” As part of FCC culminating for the year 2012 and simple way of conveying its sincerest thanks and gratitude to all those in one way or the other have been very supportive to FCC project and activities, FCC is organizing annual concert dubbed as “AN FCC SYMPHONY” on FRIDAY 24, 2012 AT 5:00PM at Jabriya Medical Theater beside Blood Bank & Kuwait Dental Association. A conglomerate of a Filipino champions along with FCC Kids will bring back live on stage songs from Disney movies & Broadway musicals with concluding numbers from sixties. It is worthwhile mentioning that funds raised during the previous concerts were given our scholarship program in the Philippines. This year, proceeds of the project will be donated to elementary school in Payatas in Manila were the Smokey Mountain is located. It is therefore our fervent hope that you will support this event, as it is an FCC’s ultimate goal to those who are lee privilege. Join us and be apart of this noble endevor. For more details call Bong (99530665) Cynthia (99169310).

and admitting mistakes, they can help pave way for improvement and development in a society. The conference went on to include many speakers from around the region including Amro Khaled from Egypt, who triggered an immense response from the audience by asking: “What have you contributed to the world?” He shook the audience by talking about the reality of how people set boundaries and limits for themselves that don’t actually exist. He then discussed the importance of knowledge and educating society as a whole. Khaled pointed out that the one thing the most successful people worldwide had one thing in common: they each read a book a week. The first word from the Quran was “read;” showing the importance of reading to acquire knowledge. He then urged everyone to read with the intent of learning and to trigger thoughts and ideas to spark creativity and inspiration in individuals which would eventually benefit society as a whole. Another discussion was held by Dr. Abdullah Al-Mutawa, who talked about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle through maintaining a proper diet and an active lifestyle. “Having a healthy body is as important as having a healthy

mind,” he noted and talked about different foods mentioned in the Holy Quran and their health benefits. After Dr. Abdullah Al-Mutawa discussed food, health, and exercise, another lecturer Dr. Ayoub Al-Ayoub presented the importance of actions. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and “the actions of one man are more effective than the words of thousands of men.” Later, Dr. Humoud Al-Qashaan steered the discussion towards the effects of marriage and family life on society. Overall, the conference featured other speakers, including Nabil Al-Awadhi, Sumaya Al-Mutawa, Sulaiman Al-Jubailan, Dr. Musa Al-Juwaiser, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khulaifi, Dr. Jassim Al-Mutawa, Saif Al-Hajri, Muhammed AlRefai, Omar Al-Awadhi, Talal Fakher, Dr. Abdullah Al Bader, Salah Al-Hashim and Mustafa Husni. Each speaker talked about different aspects of life, its effects on society and the link to Islam. The event was well presented, organized and sparked the interest of many seeing as the last day of the conference, people were standing outside just to hear parts of the lecture. GUST was honored to host such a grand event and would like to thank all the organizers and sponsors of the event who made it possible.

IKEA launches biggest in-store national flag


n lieu of the Kuwait National Day and Liberation Day, IKEA Kuwait designed the biggest in-store Kuwaiti flag with colorful cushions to boost the spirit of the month. As part of a larger initiative to celebrate this auspicious month, IKEA Kuwait also launched a series of activities to cater to every member of the household. To add to every shopper’s overall experience, a wide array of interactive games and dining options were launched apart the Febtastic Eid prizes to look forward to this month. 20 lucky customers get the opportunity to participate in a draw to win IKEA Gift Cards worth up to KD 10,000 for every KD 20 spent during the month long campaign. Last day

to enter the draw is February 29th at 10 pm after which the grand draw will take place on March 1st, 2012 at 7 pm.

To add to the festive celebrations, IKEA Kuwait shoppers are given the opportunity to try a new dish on selective days of the week at the

IKEA Kuwait restaurant and Bistro and a different game they can enjoy with the whole family. A total of 182 red, green, white and black Granat cushions were used to construct Kuwait’s biggest flag of which, each are on sale. The biggest flag was created in an effort to spread the cheer of freedom and to serve as a symbol of the country’s liberation. The family activities will run from 5 pm to 8 pm at the IKEA store with the restaurant opening hours on the weekdays starting from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm and 9:30 am to 10:30 pm on the weekends. IKEA Kuwait urges everyone to participate in this grand celebration and enjoy the daily thrill of shopping at the IKEA store.

Welcome to sizzling Saturdays!


he Regency Hotel today launched a delectable feast not just for the eyes - but also the palate with the inauguration of the hotel’s evening poolside barbeque. Each Saturday from 7 pm onwards, discerning diners can choose from a vast selection of mouth watering dishes and relax in style under the stars. On the grill is a wide array of Middle Eastern and international items, from Iranian kebabs and kofta to the irresistible Lebanese shawarma. Our Syrian Butcher Meydan has specially marinated and seasoned the meats; these are accompanied by a rich variety of seafood including spicy Piri Piri Tiger prawns. Off the grill, expect delicious Latin, Asian and European favourites. Vegetarian foodies will be thrilled by the hotel’s signature meat-free dishes, a delicious Salad Bar and a wonderful assortment of bread. For the grand finale over a dozen kinds of delectable desserts made by Italian-born Chef Raffaele will satisfy those with a sweet tooth. The Regency’s elegant outdoor heated terraces, unbeatable views of the Arabian Gulf and lounge music guarantee a great evening for

the entire family and a superb way to end the weekend. On the inaugural evening as the hotel’s General Manager, Riaz Mahmood and his international team welcomed guests warmly. Diners marvelled at the range and quality of food on offer, their laughter was accompanied by the distant sound of waves rippling along the hotel’s beautiful private beaches,

just metres away. During the evening Riaz Mahmood said “It gives me great pleasure to host this inaugural Barbeque Night and the enthusiastic response that we have received today is heart warming. Here at The Regency we strive to bring the highest quality and choices to our patrons and it is this quest for excellence that we hope makes their evenings so special”. Guests were joined by members of the media, businessmen and women and prominent Kuwaitis, all of whom appeared to be revelling in the hotel’s stellar culinary offerings. The Regency Saturday Barbeques start at 7 pm.



W H AT ’ S O N

DPS - FAIPS hosts Ingenia - a celebration of talent


PS - FAIPS held ‘Ingenia Celebrating Talent’ a four-day interschool cultural festival from 12 December to 15 December 2011. The festival comprised a series of competitions showcasing the talents of budding artists from various schools in the field of art, music and dance. The enthusiastic participation of 11 Indian schools of Kuwait brought to the fore a profusion of talent. The participants characterised their creative energies to create a maelstrom of vibrat colours, melodious tunes and graceful dance steps representing various forms and culture of different parts of India. The art competition was the curtain raiser of the four-day event. The competition comprised junior and senior categories of students of seven schools from classes 6 - 8 and classes 9 - 12. The art work was judged by Mrs. Khushi Agrawal and Ms Minal Kulkarni, renowned artists of Kuwait. The winning school of the Junior category of the art competition was Indian Central School. United Indian School was the winning school in the Senior category. FAIPS - DPS as the host school did not take part in any of the competition events. An exhibition of the various art work of the school students was put up, which also included a section called ‘Best out of Waste”. The second day of the festival saw the mellifluous rendition of songs of India in Hindi (Group songs) . It may be mentioned here that for the first time in Kuwait, a group song competition was organised in Hindi and English. The fervour and passion in the songs, the vibrant costumes in sync with the songs and the accomplished support provided by the instruments played by the students, held everyone spell-bound. The winning team among the Juniors was Carmel School, followed by Gulf Indian School and then the Indian Community School (Amman branch) The third day commenced with English Group Singing completion. There were eight performances by the singers of different schools of Kuwait, each outdoing the other in brilliance. The judges of the event Mr. Benedict

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

EMBASSY OF BANGLADESH The Embassy will remain closed 26 and 27 February 2012 on the occasion of National Day and Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait. nnnnnnn

Faria, George Panachayil and Ms Jocelyn Cello had a hard time deciding the winners. The singers of FAIPS (not a part of the competition) entertained the audience with their impressive, wellorchestrated rendition of a song by The Doobie Brothers and Eagles. The last song was sung in 6 - part harmony. The first, second and third position, were bagged by Carmel School, Indian English Academy and Central School respectively. The last day of the cultural fiesta was the Indian Folk Dance competition. The performances saw the auditorium of FAIPS resounding with the foot tapping Bhangra of Punjab, graceful folk dance of Kerala, West Bengal and Gujurat , bringing back nostalgic memories of

the Mother land. The winning school India International School performed a folk dance from Kerala. India Educational School which stood second performed Bhangra and Carmel School, which stood third, performed a folk dance from Maharashtra. Mrs Piyali Gupta, a renowned teacher of Kathak, Mrs Jubi Jaiprakash and Mrs Sindhu Madhuraj, both renowned Bharat Natyam teachers were the judges for the occasion. At the end of the programme there was a short presentation by the Kuwait Association of Guardians for the Disabled which depicted the world of the differently- abled. The poignant pictures moved everyone in the audience with the resilience and heroism shown by them forging a nor-

mal life inspite of their difficulties, with a smile on their faces. Indian Education School (Bhavans) emerged as the overall Winner of the cultural meet based on the points garnered by them in each section of the competition. The principal of FAIPS DPS , Mrs. Dheman, congratulated all the participants for their brilliant performances and gave away the prizes. She spoke glowingly of the hard work put in by the students and teachers of the participating schools. The Vice Principal, Mr. Sanjay Yadav, delievered the vote of thanks and ended it with the hope that such events would be held again in the future and would continue to receive such enthusiastic response from all schools in Kuwait.

Najla Al-Naqqi forum hosts Egyptian actress


ajla Al-Naqqi forum hosts an event at 8:30 this evening, Tuesday February 21 at its location in Salwa featuring a gallery for rare belongings presented by Egyptian movie stars. The event will be attended by veteran Egyptian actress Nahid Yusri, who is personally invited by the Egyptian Heritage Revival Society. Vice president of the Kuwaiti Heritage Society Hani Al-As’ousy as well as Kuwaiti historians Abdulalh bin Nasser and Jaber Baqer are also set to be in attendance.

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

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

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on the following dates during the month of February 2012. National Day of Kuwait - Feb 25, - Saturday. Liberation Day of Kuwait - Feb 26, - Sunday. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF MYANMAR Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to inform the general public that the Embassy will move its office to new location at Villa 35, Road 203, Block 2, AlSalaam Area in South Surra. The Embassy wishes to advice Myanmar citizens and travellers to Myanmar to contact Myanmar Embassy at its new location from 26 January, 2012. Tel. 25240736, 25240290, Fax: 25240749, nnnnnnn

Joyalukkas shopper wins DSF grand prize KBC hosts spring camp Feb 24


he Kuwait Banks Club invites staff members of local banks and their families to its spring camp in Al-Julaiah for an open day to be held on Friday, February 24, 2012, announced social committee director Reem AlWuqaiyan. A special entertaining program is scheduled for the event featuring competitions for participants of all ages, Al-Wuqaiyan said in a statement made recently to the press. The open day is held simultaneously with Kuwait’s national celebrations at the end of the month.


alyan Kanji who purchased jewellery from Joyalukkas won the grand prize of 3 kilos of gold in the recently concluded Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group’s DSF campaign. Joyalukkas was one of the key sponsors of this mega DSF promotion co-ordinated by the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group which offered customers the chance to win 1/2 a kilo of gold everyday and the grand prize of 3 kilos of gold. Joy Alukkas, Chairman, Joyalukkas Group presented the mega prize - 3 kilos of gold to Kalyan Kanji at special award presentation ceremony organized by the Dubai

Gold & Jewellery Group today. “Dubai Shopping Festival is one of the key events we look forward to since it attracts a big number of tourists to Dubai who primarily shop for Gold & Jewellery. I would like to thank the Dubai Government and also my fellow partners and members of the Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group for taking the initiative to manage such a grand initiative which makes many dreams come true. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Kalyan Kanji for winning and grand prize and thank him for shopping at Joyalukkas,” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman, Joyalukkas Group.

Kalyan Kanji hails from Delhi, India and came to Dubai to experience the Dubai Shopping Festival was elated with the winnings, said “I could not believe it when I heard that I had won the Mega prize of 3 KG gold. This is a huge reward for me for visiting Dubai and more so for buying gold jewellery from Joyalukkas in the City of Gold. I will certainly shop in Dubai more. I cannot thank the Dubai Shopping Festival and Joyalukkas enough for the wonderful annual promotion. Dubai is truly the place where dreams come to reality”

EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Philippine Embassy with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is spearheading a “Blood Donation Program” in cooperation with the Kuwait Red Crescent Society and the Central Blood Bank of Kuwait on 24 February 2012, Friday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Central Blood Bank with address at Street 102, Jabriyah (near Mubarak Hospital). The Embassy with POLO will be assisted by volunteers from the Beta Sigma Fraternity and Sigma Beta Sorority International Alumni Association in Kuwait. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF SRI LANKA The Embassy of Sri Lanka will be closed for public from 25th to 27th February, 2012 in lieu of “Liberation day & National Day” of Kuwait. nnnnnnn

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

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital bid a warm farewell to Sulma Baybayan who is leaving Kuwait after 20 years of service.

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

Mom of the Month! Bella


ay we introduce you to Bella? Bella is a very unique case in the history of PAWS rescues, because actually she rescued herself. The PAWS shelter manager went out one night for a rescue into a crowded area in the city and was searching for another dog, unfortunately he couldnít find the abandoned dog he was called for. When he was back on the way to our rescue car, a shy, but friendly tail wag-

ging dog came around the corner. She was obviously abandoned too, looking for human companionship. She decided to stay with Duminda and jumped voluntarily into the rescue car with a bright smile on her lovely face and laid down. And surprise, surprise—Bella was pregnant too and delivered end of January 8 cute puppies in her safe kennel in the PAWS shelter. She is so gentle, friendly and such a

good caring mother, the volunteers love to play with her and her little cuties. She can be rehomed in about 6 weeks, when the puppies are able to eat alone. She loves children and needs a home where people understand her quiet nature. She is a middle size off-white terrier mix and would fit in any family. If you are interested in Bella, visit her in the shelter or apply for adoption on our website

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



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00:20 Karina: Wild On Safari 00:50 Animal Cops Houston 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Shark Attack File 3 03:35 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 04:30 Karina: Wild On Safari 05:25 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 In Too Deep 07:10 Animal Precinct 08:00 Gorilla School 08:25 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 08:50 Talk To The Animals 09:15 The Really Wild Show 09:40 Project Puppy 10:10 Must Love Cats 11:05 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 12:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:55 SSPCA: On The Wildside 13:20 Wildlife SOS 13:50 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 14:15 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 14:45 Animal Cops Phoenix 15:40 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 16:30 Echo And The Elephants Of Amboseli 17:00 The Really Wild Show 17:30 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 18:00 Talk To The Animals 18:25 Dogs 101 19:20 America’s Cutest Pet 20:15 Gorilla School 20:40 Wildlife SOS 21:10 Escape To Chimp Eden 21:35 In Too Deep 22:05 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 23:00 World Wild Vet 23:55 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz

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

Eastenders Doctors Waking The Dead Last Of The Summer Wine After You’ve Gone Keeping Up Appearances Balamory Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Bobinogs Poetry Pie Fimbles Little Robots Nina And The Neurons Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Bobinogs Poetry Pie Fimbles Little Robots Nina And The Neurons Last Of The Summer Wine After You’ve Gone The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Born and Bred Keeping Up Appearances Last Of The Summer Wine The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Born and Bred The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Last Of The Summer Wine The Old Guys Red Cap After You’ve Gone Keeping Up Appearances Lark Rise to Candleford The Old Guys The Weakest Link Holby City

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Masterchef Masterchef 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes In The City Fantasy Homes In The City House Swap Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Fantasy Homes In The City Fantasy Homes In The City Masterchef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes Down Under Fantasy Homes Down Under Fantasy Homes In The City House Swap Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow House Swap Indian Food Made Easy Indian Food Made Easy What To Eat Now - Summer What To Eat Now - Summer Fantasy Homes Down Under Fantasy Homes Down Under Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow

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




00:40 Samurai Jack 01:05 Samurai Jack 01:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 02:20 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:45 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 03:10 Best Ed 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Adventure Time 04:50 Generator Rex 05:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 05:40 Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy 05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 07:20 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:30 The Amazing World Of Gumball 08:45 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 09:15 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 09:40 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:05 Angelo Rules 10:30 Chowder 10:55 Adventure Time 11:20 Eliot Kid 11:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 12:00 Ben 10 12:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 12:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:15 I Am Weasel 13:40 Best Ed 14:05 Cow & Chicken 14:30 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 14:50 Eliot Kid 15:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 15:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 16:05 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:55 The Amazing World Of Gumball 17:10 Adventure Time 17:35 Regular Show 18:00 Cow & Chicken 18:25 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 18:50 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:15 Angelo Rules 19:30 Total Drama World Tour 19:55 Hero 108 20:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 20:50 Adventure Time 21:25 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 21:50 Courage 22:25 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 22:50 Cow And Chicken 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Ben 10 23:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog

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Destroyed In Seconds Rampage! Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Does It Work? How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Wreckreation Nation Fight Quest How Does It Work? Cake Boss Border Security Auction Hunters The Future Of... The Future Of... The Future Of... The Future Of... The Future Of... Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Auction Kings How It’s Made


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How Does It Work? Cake Boss Fight Quest Taking On Tyson Scrappers Carfellas

00:40 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 01:35 Weird or What? 02:25 The Tech Show 02:50 Building the Future 03:40 Mighty Ships 04:35 How Does That Work? 05:00 How Stuff’s Made 05:25 Kings of Construction 06:20 Junkyard Mega-Wars 07:10 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 08:00 The Gadget Show 08:25 The Gadget Show 08:50 How Does That Work? 09:15 How Stuff’s Made 09:40 Building the Future 10:35 Mighty Ships 11:25 Kings of Construction 12:20 Junkyard Mega-Wars 13:15 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 14:05 Weird or What? 14:55 How Does That Work? 15:20 How Stuff’s Made 15:50 The Gadget Show 16:15 The Gadget Show 16:40 The Tech Show 17:05 Junkyard Mega-Wars 18:00 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 18:50 Mega Builders 19:40 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 20:30 Meteorite Men 21:20 Junkyard Mega-Wars 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 The Gadget Show 23:00 Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman 23:50 Meteorite Men


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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Special Agent Oso Little Einsteins Timmy Time Jungle Junction Handy Manny Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Higglytown Heroes Higglytown Heroes Jo Jo’s Circus Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Higglytown Heroes Higglytown Heroes Jo Jo’s Circus Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Higglytown Heroes Higglytown Heroes Jo Jo’s Circus Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Higglytown Heroes Higglytown Heroes Handy Manny

10:00 Special Agent Oso 10:15 Jungle Junction 10:30 Jungle Junction 10:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 11:10 The Hive 11:20 Handy Manny 11:35 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 11:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 12:05 The Hive 12:15 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 12:20 Mouk (Cema) 12:35 Mouk (Cema) 12:45 The Hive 12:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:20 Imagination Movers 13:45 Art Attack (Cema) 14:10 Imagination Movers 14:35 Special Agent Oso 14:45 Lazytown 15:10 Handy Manny 15:25 Jungle Junction 15:40 Imagination Movers 16:05 The Hive 16:15 Special Agent Oso 16:25 Little Einsteins 16:50 Lazytown 17:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 17:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 17:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:05 Mouk (Cema) 18:20 Handy Manny 18:30 The Hive 18:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:55 Imagination Movers 19:20 Lazytown 19:45 Art Attack (Cema) 20:10 The Hive 20:20 Special Agent Oso 20:30 Jungle Junction 20:45 Handy Manny 20:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:10 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:25 The Hive 21:35 Little Einsteins 22:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 22:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 101 Dalmatians 22:40 101 Dalmatians 22:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 23:05 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 23:20 The Hive 23:30 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 23:35 A Poem Is... 23:40 Animated Stories 23:45 Mouk (Cema)

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Scouted 10:15 30 Best & Worst Beach Bodies 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kendra 13:35 Kendra 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 THS 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

00:15 Stalked: Someone’s Watching 00:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 01:30 The Haunted 02:15 A Haunting 03:05 I Married A Mobster 03:30 Scorned: Crimes Of Passion 04:15 Stalked: Someone’s Watching 04:40 Dr G: Medical Examiner 05:25 The Haunted 06:15 A Haunting 07:10 Mystery Diagnosis 08:00 The Prosecutors 08:50 Forensic Detectives 09:40 Murder Shift 10:25 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 11:10 Real Emergency Calls 11:35 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 11:55 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 12:40 Disappeared 13:25 Murder Shift 14:15 Mystery Diagnosis 15:00 Real Emergency Calls 15:25 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 15:50 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 16:35 Disappeared 17:20 The Prosecutors 18:10 Forensic Detectives 19:00 Murder Shift 19:45 Real Emergency Calls 20:10 Mystery Diagnosis 20:55 Who On Earth Did I Marry? 21:20 True Crime With Aphrodite Jones 22:10 Disappeared 23:00 Couples Who Kill 23:50 Deadly Women: Face To Face

00:00 Inside Nature’s Giants 01:00 Built For The Kill 01:55 Bear Nomad 02:50 Monkey Thieves 03:15 Monkey Thieves 03:45 Lions Behaving Badly 04:40 Built For The Kill 05:35 Great Migrations 06:30 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 07:25 Ultimate Vipers 08:20 The Invaders 09:15 Bear Nomad 10:10 Monkey Thieves 10:35 Monkey Thieves 11:05 Lions Behaving Badly 12:00 Predator Battleground 13:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 14:00 Ultimate Predator 15:00 Clouded Leopard 16:00 Expedition Wild 17:00 Cougars: Ninja of Jackson Hole (aka American Couga

A LITTLE HELP ON OSN CINEMA 18:00 Super Pride 19:00 Dangerous Encounters With Brady Barr 20:00 Ultimate Predator 21:00 Clouded Leopard 22:00 Expedition Wild 23:00 Cougars: Ninja of Jackson Hole (aka American Couga

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Homecoming-18 Gothika-18 RoboCop 3-PG15 Secret Window-PG15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 Fast Lane-PG15 Arlington Road-PG15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 A Lonely Place For DyingArlington Road-PG15 The Craigslist Killer-PG15 Law Abiding Citizen-PG15

00:45 The Maiden Heist-PG15 02:45 Jonah Hex-PG15 04:45 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 06:45 I Am Number Four-PG15 09:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 11:00 Ice Dreams-PG15 13:00 The Box-PG15 15:00 The Tempest-PG15 17:00 Swansong: Story Of Occi Byrne-PG15 19:00 Just Wright-PG15 21:00 A Little Help-PG15 23:00 Winter Of Frozen Dreams-18

03:00 Friends 04:00 Dharma And Greg 06:00 Malcolm In The Middle 08:30 Friends 12:00 Malcolm In The Middle 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:30 Just Shoot Me 14:00 Friends 16:30 How I Met Your Mother 18:00 Friends 19:00 Two And A Half Men 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 American Dad 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Desperate Housewives Breaking Bad Top Gear (US) Revenge Off The Map Good Morning America Tower Prep Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Desperate Housewives Revenge Tower Prep Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice Royal Pains Justified Off The Map

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Smallville Top Gear (US) Breaking Bad Desperate Housewives Revenge The Gates Smallville Parks And Recreation Coronation Street Parenthood Top Gear (US) Desperate Housewives Revenge Parks And Recreation Coronation Street

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The Ellen DeGeneres Show Parenthood Smallville Parks And Recreation Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Parenthood Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice Royal Pains Hawthorne

Rollerball-18 RoboCop 3-PG15 King Arthur-PG15 The Thirteenth Floor-18 Age Of The Dragons-PG15 Red Faction: Origins-PG15 The Thirteenth Floor-18 StreetDance-PG15 Mindhunters-18 Law Abiding Citizen-PG15 The Rig-18

00:00 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song-PG15 02:00 My Sassy Girl-PG15 04:00 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 06:00 My Father The Hero-PG15 08:00 Miami Rhapsody-PG15 10:00 Straight Talk-PG15 12:00 Frank McKlusky, C.I.-PG15 14:00 Bad News Bears-PG 16:00 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song-PG15 18:00 Mystery Men-PG15 20:00 Mean Girls-PG15 22:00 Greenberg-18

00:00 The Hurt Locker-18 02:15 Sea Of Love-18 04:15 Les Miserables 25th Anniversary-PG15 07:15 Catch That Kid-PG 09:00 The Sunset Limited-PG15 11:00 Tuck Everlasting-PG 13:00 The Hudsucker Proxy-PG15 15:00 The China Syndrome-PG 17:00 Good Hair-PG15 18:45 Coach Carter-PG15 21:00 Jude-18 23:00 Crazy Heart-PG15

01:00 Triage-18 03:00 The Last Airbender-PG 05:00 Lottery Ticket-PG15 07:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian-PG15 09:00 Knight And Day-PG15 11:00 The Chaperone-PG15 13:00 Against The Ropes-PG15 15:00 Dear John-PG15 17:00 Knight And Day-PG15 19:00 Going The Distance-18 21:00 A Little Help-PG15 23:00 Personal Effects-18

00:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 02:00 Columbus III: The New WorldPG 04:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 06:00 102 Dalmatians-PG 08:00 I’ll Be Home For Christmas-PG 10:00 Like Mike-PG 12:00 Moomins And The Comet Chase-PG15 14:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 16:00 A Venetian Rascal Goes To America-FAM 18:00 Like Mike-PG 20:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG 22:00 Moomins And The Comet Chase-PG15

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Mercy-18 The Girl In The Park-PG15 Country Strong-PG15 The Fighting TemptationsOpen Season 3-FAM St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend Of

Fritton’s Gold-PG15 12:00 How To Go Out On A Date In Queens-PG15 13:45 Country Strong-PG15 16:00 Open Season 3-FAM 17:30 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt.1-PG15 20:00 Unstoppable-PG15 22:00 Scream 4-PG15

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Trans World Sport Volvo Ocean Race Highlights ODI Crickert Highlights Futbol Mundial Super League Volvo Ocean Race Highlights ODI Crickert Highlights Live Cricket ODI Trans World Sport Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Super League Futbol Mundial SPL Highlights ODI Crickert Highlights World Clup Challenge Premier League Darts

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

WWE Experience V8 Supercars V8 Supercars Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup UFC 144 Countdown UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup V8 Supercars V8 Supercars WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Speedway Power Boats UIM Aquabike World WWE NXT WWE Experience UFC Unleashed UFC 143

01:30 Premier League Darts 05:00 Trans World Sport 06:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 07:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 09:00 Volvo Ocean Race 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Bass Fishing 13:00 Trans World Sport 14:00 World Cup Challenge 16:00 Premier League Darts 19:30 Volvo Ocean Race 20:30 Top 14 Highlights 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 ODI Cricket Highlights 22:00 Trans World Sport 23:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 23:30 Golfing World

00:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 00:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 01:00 Super League 03:00 World Cup of Pool 04:00 World Pool Masters 05:00 US Bass Fishing 06:00 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 06:30 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 07:00 Golfing World 09:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 09:30 Top 14 11:30 Snooker The Welsh Open 14:30 Volvo Ocean Race 15:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 17:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 18:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 19:00 Golfing World 20:00 Trans World Sport 21:00 Scottish Premier League 23:00 European PGA Tour

Classifieds TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2012




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



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

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

Sharing accommodation available in a C-A/C flat in Abbasiya for 2 Christian bachelors or Christian couple from 1st March. Contact: 65625804. (C 3876) 20-2-2012 To let from March 1, 2012, 1 semi furnished big room with attached toilet from a 3 bed room spacious flat in B’neid Al-Ghar. Ideal for executives. Rent KD 75/- for single occupancy and KD 95/- for double occupancy. Contact: 60914165. (C 3868) Sharing available for Christian family, C-A/C, room + bathroom, near Learners Academy, Abbassiya. Small family or two bachelors. Contact: 66265733 / 24346514. (C 3869) 12-2-2012

FOR SALE Double bed 2x2m with side tables + full size wooden cupboard in excellent condition available for sale. Contact: 97358878. (C 3877) 21-2-202012 2005, Chevy Trail Blazer XL, 7 seater, maroon, good condition, lady driven, brand new tires, KD 2500. Call 67005485. (C 3875) 19-2-202012

CHANGE OF NAME I, Sobhana Kumari, holder of Indian Passport No. F0925466 hereby change my name Sara Saad Mubarak Salman. (C 3870) 20-2-2012 I, Medamalli Venkata Subbaiah, holder of Indian Passport No: F4933824, resident of S/o M. Subbaiah, Kuppavari Palli ( Village), Seetharampuram (Post), Rajampet (Mandal), Kadapa District, Andra Pradesh, have changed my name to Medamalli Sreenivas. I, Anis s/o Ali Mohammed, holding Indian Passport No.E1091168, R/o 147/10 Najampura, Bohrawadi, Udaipur (RAJ ), have changed name to SHABBIR ALI MOHAMMED s/o Ali Mohammed in future be called and known by new name. (C 3873) I, Pappu Lal s/o Mohan Lal, holder of Indian Passport No. E5530889 hereby change my name to KAMALESH DEVRA. (C 3874) 16-2-2012 I, Vinod Kumar S/O Narinder Kumar holder of Indian Passport No. H4590145 hereby change my name to VINOD KUMAR GOGNA. (C 3871) 14-2-2012 I, Sobhana Kumari, holder of Indian Passport No. F0925460 here by change my name Sara Saad Mubarak Salman. (C 3870) 13-2-2011

SITUATION VACANT A Kuwaiti woman is looking to hire a driver. No residency

transfer required. Contact: 99215511. (C 3872) 16-2-2012 A Kuwaiti woman is looking to hire a driver. No residency transfer required. Contact: 99215511. (C 3872) 16-2-2012


Business management teacher with doctoral degree for universities, institutions, corporate & all student levels. Over 10 years experience. Call 66495951. (C 3817) Mathematics teacher, Intermediate and secondary Exams models, Easy method, Exams from past years with solutions. 97301901 English teacher (3) years experience, looking for a job and ready to start with all educational stages. 55963993 Mathematics teacher for Universities, Institutions, Foreign Schools, Administra-tive, American, English, Australian, Bahrain, Electric and Gulf Sciences, Algbra Prel, Mathematics, intermediate, gmat, sat college, math98, 110 pre calculus geometry. 97619261 A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291 Islamic education teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in Kuwait curricula. Easy explanation, and summary of the subject, training for exams. 66292985 Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in following learning difficulties, and those weak in reading and writing. 97264100 Female senior Mathematics teacher with more that 30 years experience in Kuwait, to teach secondary, intermediate and elementary stages.

No: 15366

Religious and applied, communications and navigation institutions, special courses and secretariat institution. 97926737 Computer teacher for secondary and intermediate. Practical on laptop, power point projects, front page, visual basic data, universities and applied institutions. 50603063

MISCELLANEOUS Original guaranteed Palestinian virgin olive oil, large black and green olives for sale. Tel: 66517417 Whole Floor or small villa needed for rent in Shaab, Mansoriya, Nozha, Abdullah Al-Salem or Shamiya. Direct contact with owner. Tel: 9989018-99169016 A camp for rent in Kabed including five tents with all services. Complete privacy + game arcade. Tel: 97177714 Size 36 air pressure gun for sale in addition to a scope, safety lock. Shooting range 350 meters +bag+25 shots. Price KD 70. Tel: 97790478 A 3700 watt, 2012 model ASTRA generator for sale. Japanese parts assembled in China with pressure and gas meters. Price KD 85. Tel: 60066891 For rent in Hawalli a one bedroom (4x4m) and a 7x3.5 m reception+ terrace, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. Tunis street, behind Al-Andalus pharmacy. Tel: 99683200 A 2008 white, 1600 CC Nissan Sunny. Price KD 1700. Tel: 99553221 A 2008 dark blue 6 cylinder Toyota Prado with Beige sued interior, low mileage, touch A/C, CD, cruise control, front and rear sensors for sale. Price KD 6650. Tel: 99275550 A 2009 white, 6 cylinder Toyota Prado with 40,000 mileage touch A/C, CD, cruise control, front and rear sensors for sale. Price KD 7850. Tel: 9747750855809093 A 2009 YUKUN Suburban

GMC XL with low mileage and beige sued interior, electric seats, cruise control, super headlights, rear camera, remote recording and rear sensors. Price 8550. Tel: 99301914 For rent a two storey villa and a basement in Mangaf including 8 rooms, laundry room, yard, parking. Rent value KD 1000. Tel: 97996900 A storey and half for rent in Mangaf including two 3 bedroom apartments with 2 baths, reception, kitchen, driver room each. Tel: 66989887 For rent a ground floor in Qurain comprising of four rooms, large reception, 5 baths, maid room, courtyard, parking. Rent value KD 550. Tel: 66989887 A fully central air-conditioned two room annex in Mangaf with separate exit and shaded car parking for rent to expatriates. Tel: 67753557 For rent in Ashbelia: two apartments with 3 bedrooms, bath, kitchen and maid room each plus a yard in between. Tel: 90001594 A 2005 Mini Cooper for sale. Tel: 99224855 A 2006 Lumina for sale with genuine factory paint. Price KD 2100. Tel: 69945429 A 2009 Touareg for sale. Price 6350. Tel: 96670777 Senior English teacher for Pakistani, bilingual schools, T.M.A., Ielts, Toefl, IBT K.S.S., social studies and math. Tel: 99577430 For sale: a 375 square meter house in Omariya, fully rented for KD 600. Price KD 185,000. Tel: 66815590 Transportation ser vice available. Payment in advanced conditioned for all areas. Tel: 66678633 The smallest and most up to date recording device (2012 model) for sale. Finger size, voice activated, records up to 600 hrs, made in Japan. Free delivery. Tel: 99773818



stars CROSSWORD 595



Aries (March 21-April 19) Courage and confidence reign today. Others will follow your lead in any group effort. Energy is high—perfect for getting some exercise or chopping that cord of wood. Just make sure any new projects are shortterm. Your creative thinking is ready to be applied to the work of the day. If you give your best effort now, considerable success will follow. Today you could talk an Eskimo into buying an ice cube. You have the ability to express yourself with clever arguments and your thinking is most lucid and grasping. You would make a good teacher or tutor. In some cases you could learn the profession of a legal mediator. You will be able to help with most any emotional problem that people have. With confidence, you can probably help with little effort.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You make your way now by using practical vision and common sense. This is an excellent time to get many things accomplished. You will most likely be full of energy and ready to take on the world. Your heart is as big as all outdoors, not only for those close to you emotionally, but for the general public as well. You just cannot be angry with anybody. All you want to do is help, protect and nurture. From those who perceive this, it will be reflected back to you. You may feel the need to secure your own feelings about yourself through another person. Therefore, you may try to increase your power of attraction—whether consciously or subconsciously. A job in law enforcement may be the right place for you. A shopping expedition this evening turns lucky!

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A master's degree in business. 4. Hard greenish-brown wood of the lignum vitae tree and other trees of the genus Guaiacum. 10. Of southern Europe. 13. A human limb. 14. A city is east central Sweden north northwest of Stockholm. 15. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 16. A member of the extinct Algonquian people formerly living in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. 18. (military) Signal to turn the lights out. 19. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 20. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 22. Common house and field crickets. 24. A fraudulent business scheme. 25. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 26. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 29. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 34. (Norse mythology) One of the Aesir known for his beauty and skill with bow and skis. 35. A unit of magnetomotive force equal to 0.7958 ampereturns. 37. Jordan's port. 39. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 41. South African term for `boss'. 44. Used as a Hindi courtesy title. 45. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 46. Capital and largest city of the Ukraine. 48. Having leadership guidance. 49. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 50. A theory of strong interactions between elementary particles (including the interaction that binds protons and neutrons in the nucleus). 51. A small cake leavened with yeast. 59. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 62. King of Saudi Arabia since 1982 (born in 1922). 63. A serve that strikes the net before falling into the receiver's court. 64. (Greek mythology) One of the three Graces. 66. A unit of length of thread or yarn. 67. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 68. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 69. An informal term for a father. DOWN 1. Informal terms for a mother. 2. Two-masted sailing vessel square-rigged on both masts. 3. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 4. A user interface based on graphics (icons and pictures and menus) instead of text. 5. Being or moving higher in position or greater in some value. 6. Respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing. 7. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 8. Wool of the alpaca. 9. Dried bark of the cascara buckthorn used as a laxative. 10. American novelist (1909-1955). 11. Singing jazz. 12. (obstetrics) The number of live-born children a woman has delivered. 17. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 21. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 23. A hemoprotein composed of globin and heme that gives red blood cells their characteristic color. 27. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 28. Loose or flaccid body fat. 30. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 31. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 32. A French abbot. 33. Cheap showy jewelry or ornament or clothing. 36. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 38. A unit of information equal to 1024 bytes. 40. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 42. A state in northwestern North America. 43. Either of two huge coniferous California trees that reach a height of 300 feet. 47. A magnetic tape recorder for recording (and playing back) TV programs. 52. In bed. 53. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 54. (prefix) Indicating difference or variation. 55. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 56. With no effort to conceal. 57. Fertility goddess in ancient Greek mythology. 58. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 60. Extremely pleasing. 61. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 62. Informal terms for a mother. 65. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You may face criticism from co-workers or your boss, particularly about a project or idea of yours. Do not be afraid to hear what sounds like negative remarks—they will help you solve problems. Communication is the key for now and this is a good time to charge your batteries with a two-way flow of ideas! You are eager for further interaction and negotiation. If nothing else, write those letters and make those phone calls. Parental instincts are strong this afternoon as you work to mollify any frustrations in the home. Also, there is a strong wish to make your surroundings as pleasant as possible. Do not hide beneath a shell—open up to loved ones. This is a good day to offer your services or talents to your own family.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


There is a surge of intellectual energy. This can help you accomplish a great deal. Do not let competition draw you into any debates, unless the outcome is very important in protecting your integrity. Use restraint. This could be a useful time to reflect on exactly what principles are important to you. You should take note not to be accommodating to superiors, but enthusiastic to complete a job well done. You are apt to enjoy considerable success at work now. You have a sense of togetherness with close friends and relatives this afternoon. Interacting with old chums is easy and extremely pleasant. However, this is not the best time to make new friends. If you make the effort, you can be of tremendous emotional help to an old friend today.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You are cheerful and friendly to all, making you popular. Your eager mind learns things very quickly. Your communication skills are sharp and on a more mundane level—it is an excellent day to accomplish all sorts of projects. When higher-ups want action, it may be a good idea to respond quickly. It is favorable time for financial dealings to end positively, but you must make sure you have complete information before gambling with an investment. It is important during this time to effectively communicate your ideas to co-workers and those who work under you. You truly desire fun and should not hesitate in getting to know new people and forming new acquaintances this afternoon. Enjoy the evening with your family or friends.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This week may bring about an end to many projects, especially large ones. You could be vulnerable to partake in activities that may not contribute to success in the workplace. Try to avoid any romantic intrigues and keep your mind on your work. Use the time you have this afternoon to take full stock of your accounts and debts so as to find out where you stand. Things may not be as bad as they seem. You take an active interest in improving the home or at least planning on the improvements you may want for the future. This is a good time to try and foster a sense of togetherness among family members. Try hard at this time to squelch the desire to do everything yourself. Try to keep some sense of reality in your interactions with friends.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is a possibility that during this time your work will come under scrutiny—you definitely need to feel secure in the professional realm of life. Clear thinking and communication are most important with co-workers today. You should not hesitate in going great lengths to make yourself clear—for this could prove very productive. At this time there may be numerous romantic interests in your life. As such, you may spend a great deal of time, effort and worry balancing commitments. Also, this time marks a period when you seek intellectual stimulation in both love life, social and leisure activities. Your powers of creativity are great and you could be taking an interest in some form of volunteer work. You may find yourself teaching.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is a good day to clear off your desk. This may be more of a catch up day for you. Stick to routine tasks and avoid starting new projects or heading out in new directions. You could wind up going in circles! Your powers of creativity are great. If you focus in a creative direction you will be able to come up with perhaps, a new technique or pattern of working that will make things move along at a quicker pace. Use the confidence you feel to get the most pressing projects at work completed—this could bring considerable success. You will feel the urge for excitement and should consider traveling. Avoid extravagances for now. On many levels it is best to take it easy and let others have their way. You are gracious and understanding to friends and relatives.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

You will be particularly busy today. There may be many instances when you will have to supply a solution to a particularly difficult problem. You may need to have a writing tablet available so that others do not interrupt you while you write out your plans. This afternoon you will receive good news that will help you with future projects. You have several people or co-workers interested in your progress. This is a day when relations with a spouse or business partner are on a solid ground. Your sensitivity is heightened and your physical attractiveness is strong. The desire for intimacy and love with a partner is great at this time, with the expression of affection being most satisfying to you. Your ability to perceive other’s ideas will bring pleasant surprises.

This is not a propitious time to get romantically involved with a co-worker; just keep it on a platonic level. A torrent of information, ideas and opinions between yourself and others should be flowing thick and fast today. That does not mean anything will be settled. Ego energy will be high also— usually leading to disputes or standoffs. However, things have been laid out in the open and will probably filter down to some sort of solution—once the dust has settled. Do not be afraid to bring up serious or important subjects. This is a time when taking chances in these areas of your life often pays off beyond your wildest expectations. Communicating with long-distance associates and engaging in social functions with close friends is encouraged this evening.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You could have an abundance of mental energy today, inflating your ego—take care to avoid being temperamental. If you channel this energy, you can be very influential. It’s best to rely on facts rather than feelings during this time. Meetings with co-workers, group gatherings and all sorts of conference or lecturing situations bring people together today. Your emotions should be sailing on relatively calm seas, giving you an unhurried chance to sit down and take stock of things. If there is any problem on the horizon, you have a bit of a breather—at least for today. Your understanding of the needs of others is in perfect balance with knowledge of your own. People are your best friends today—surround yourself with them and enjoy.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

There are powerful energies spilling into your life now. The decisions and actions of today will have lasting effects. This is a great day to sign contracts, conclude business deals or make future plans. Your sharp mind will see all aspects from all angles. Any high-level mental pursuits should be rewarding and stimulating. Welcome all new ideas! Financial ties to other people are highlighted—investments may be a focus before the close of this working day. If you find a break in the weather this afternoon you will enjoy some sort of outdoor activity with friends. There are incredibly romantic feelings fostered in you today. This evening is not a wildly romantic time, but one where small scale endeavors are successful.



e niv rsar n



i n f o r m at i o n



Tel.: T e el.: 161




Ministry of Interior

Issue Time Time


Expected Weather Weather for the Next 24 4 Hours Dust will w subside gradually with light light to moderate freshening gradually g north westerly wind, win nd, with speed of 15 - 40 0 km/h



north westerly wind, with Cold with w moderate freshening at times t w speed of 20 - 40 km/h with w a chance for blowin ng dust blowing


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

No Current Warnings Warnin a gs





20 °C

11 1 1 °C



19 °C

06 °C

Amiri Hospital



20 °C C

08 °C C

Maternity Hospital



20 °C

04 °C

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital



16 °C

05 °C

Chest Hospital



19 °C

05 °C

Farwaniya Hospital



18 °C

05 °C

Adan Hospital



19 °C

09 °C

Ibn Sina Hospital



18 °C

11 11 °C

Al-Razi Hospital



17 °C

14 °C

Physiotherapy Hospital



19 °C

06 °C

Hospitals Sabah Hospital

Ext.: 2627 262 27 - 2630

Fax: 24348714



20/02/2012 0000 UTC










Tuesday Tuesday




Wednesday Wednesday e









Abdullah Salim




MAX. Temp. MA AX. T emp.

19 °C



Sunrise S i

06 23 06:23

MIIN. IN Temp. Temp. MIN.

12 °C

Industrial Shuwaikh





37 %




18 %



MA AX. W ind MAX. Wind

N 43 km/h







Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb































Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh
















Temperratures Temperatures MAX.


Wind Direction Direction Wind

Wind Wind Speed

cool + raising du ust dust

17 °C

05 °C


25 - 50 km/h


dust cold + raising du ust

17 °C

06 °C


20 - 45 km/h


partly cloudy

18 °C

06 °C


15 - 35 km/h



19 °C

07 °C


08 - 30 km/h



unless All times are local time un nless otherwise stated.

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988

00 mm

20/02/12 03:16 UTC










Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241

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

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

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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


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

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688




Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


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


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


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso



Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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Men dresed as ‘Congos’ play music before a carnival parade in Barranquilla, Colombia on February 19, 2012. Barranquilla’s Carnival, a tradition created by locals at the end of the 19th century as a response and to parody the celebration held by European immigrants and aristocracy, was declared a ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by the UNESCO in 2003.—AFP

Youth shaping future of online TV, movies, music oung people want their music, TV and movies now - even if it means they get these things illegally. A recent Columbia University survey found, in fact, that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all adults who’d done the same. With such an entrenched attitude, what can be done about widespread online piracy? Certainly law enforcement has gone after scofflaws like these, hitting them with fines and, in some cases, even jail time. Congress is considering controversial anti-piracy bills that would, among other things, forbid search engines from linking to foreign websites accused of copyright infringement. And there are lawsuits pitting media heavyweights against Internet firms - notably Viacom’s billion-dollar litigation against YouTube. But here’s a radical notion to consider: What if young people who steal content weren’t viewed as the problem? What if they and advocates for maximum online access could persuade the entertainment industry to loosen its tight grip on its coveted, copyrighted material - quite the opposite of what the industry is trying to do right now? “The real problem is not pirates downloading illegally, but a failure to innovate on the part of the content providers,” says Steven Budd, a law


student at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Like it or not, that’s how a lot of people of his generation view the situation. And some experts think they’re gaining clout, as they insist on easy access to music and other content while the Internet world loudly protests anti-piracy legislation that it says unfairly puts the responsibility of policing piracy sites on search engines and other sites. “We’ve seen the emergence of a real social movement around these issues,” says Joe Karaganis, vice president of The American Assembly, a public policy institute at Columbia University, which oversaw the recent survey, funded by a grant from Google. He’s talking, in part, about “blackouts” staged by popular Internet sites that included Wikipedia, the user-generated online encyclopedia, and Reddit, the social news website. With support from Google, Facebook and Twitter, they were protesting the proposed federal anti-piracy bills. But here’s the surprising part - a lot of young people don’t necessarily expect to get movies, TV shows and music for free. “I do think people would pay for this content if it’s reasonably priced and it’s available when they want to watch it,” says Srikant Mikkilineni, a law student at Drake University in Des Moines. Not wanting to mar his law school record, Mikkilineni pays for the songs,

movies and TV shows he downloads. But he does so grudgingly. “Right now, they want us to pay multiple times for the same content,” he says, complaining that that’s not reasonable. If he buys a DVD, for instance, it’s $15. He can watch it on his laptop - but it’s illegal for him to copy it in order to watch it on his iPod or smart

because it made it far too convenient and much easier than downloading music through alternative methods (even illegal ones),” says Matt Gardner, an information technology student at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. But even more than convenience, a recent study at Duke University

Drake University law school student Srikant Mikkilineni stands with his laptop computer in the school’s law library. —AP phone. Many young people point to Apple’s iTunes service as a model that could be replicated by other entertainment companies. “iTunes changed the landscape for music

found that cost was the major factor that drives college students to copy entertainment content illegally. Researchers there found that the lower the students’ income, including

Secretive Navy SEALs take starring role in new film he secretive Navy SEALs are coming out of the shadows for a new Hollywood film, with elite commandos cast in starring roles in a radical departure for America’s special forces. In “Act of Valor,” the select troops who call themselves “the quiet professionals” take a turn as leading men on the big screen, reciting lines from a script as they race to prevent terrorists from carrying out an attack on the United States. Filming began in 2007, before the Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams were catapulted to fame for their daring raid last May that killed AlQaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. US defense officials did not find out about the movie until after the fact, causing consternation at the Pentagon, which has an office that vets scripts and negotiates cooperation deals with Hollywood producers. Although troops have appeared in movies before, such as “Black Hawk Down,” this film ventures into uncharted territory, possibly jeopardizing the anonymity that the special forces have sought to safeguard. “It’s one thing to be filmed parachuting out of a plane, but it’s another thing to be parachuting and land on the red carpet,” a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. Premiering on February 24, the action-packed movie tells the fictional story of SEALs rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent from a Central American drug cartel, only to uncover a terror plot against the United States by a Chechen jihadist.


US director Woody Allen poses on the red carpet before the opening ceremony and the screening of ‘Midnight in Paris’. —AFP

Woody Allen wins WGA award S actor and director Woody Allen has added another prize to a long list of awards he has won throughout his career in Hollywood. The Writers Guild of America announced Sunday that the 76year-old filmmaker was the winner of its best original screenplay award for his movie “Midnight in Paris.” The film, which stars Owen Wilson, has already been nominated for four Oscars in the best picture, best director, best screenplay and best artistic direction categories. It was the fifth time that Allen was awarded by the guild one of its top prizes. —AFP


The project started out as a vaguely defined recruiting movie with directors Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh filming the SEALs training exercises, but eventually evolved into a full-blown feature film. The initial plan was to hire actors to play the special operations warriors, but McCoy’s production company, the Bandito Brothers, managed to persuade active duty commandos to take the leading roles. “It became an obsession to tell the story in an authentic way. We thought the only way to do it was with the real guys,” McCoy says on the film’s website. There has been a decidedly “mixed reaction” to the movie project at the Pentagon, the defense official said. “Obviously, clearly we wish it had gone through the normal channels,” said Vince Ogilvie, deputy director for entertainment media at the Pentagon. “But under the circumstances if they had come to us, we would probably have approved it pretty much the way it turned out anyway.” The officer who oversees the SEALs and other elite troops as head of Special Operations Command, Admiral William McRaven, has defended the movie as a valuable recruiting tool that reveals no classified tactics or techniques. “We’re conscious of the fact that they are active duty Navy SEALs in there. I can tell you they volunteered. There was no concern on their part of their individual (security) or the security of their family.” The names of the comman-

dos in the film do not appear in the credits, and instead the movie lists naval special warfare troops killed since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The full range of the SEALs’ craft is on display in the film, including a high-altitude parachute jump, commandos rappelling from a helicopter and an underwater exit from a submarine. The makers of “Act of Valor” promise realistic, jarring action, including footage of SEAL drills using live rounds. But it’s unclear if the commandos can convey the same authenticity when they deliver their dialogue. “The hardest part was saying the lines. Running around and shooting guns and moving and communicating, that’s commonplace. That’s nothing,” said one of the commandos in the movie, identified as Ajay. Trailers for the movie offer an appeal to patriotism (“Courage, Loyalty, Honor,”) and a straightahead storyline based on a fight against terrorists, without delving into the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Althought a script that avoids political minefields may not win any Oscars, it likely helped win the cooperation of the Navy commandos. But the screen debut of active duty troops from a community that has always shunned media attention has irked some inside the military, who worry that a line has been crossed. Defense officials at one point even weighed whether to prevent the film’s release by withdrawing legal permission for footage of the SEALs and military hardware. —AFP

their parents’ income, the more likely they were to search for free, illegal options. To address the issue of cost, the study’s authors suggested that universities consider making licensing agreements with services that sell entertainment content so that students could get a discount. Cornell University is one institution that has experimented with this. From 2004 to 2006, an anonymous donor paid for two years’ worth of Napster service for Cornell students, but students ultimately declined to have their student activity fees raised to continue the service because the music couldn’t be played on all devices, according to the Duke study. There are those who doubt that students would pay for content they can pirate, especially when the habit has become so ingrained. “Nobody’s going to pay you for something they can get for free,” says Glenn MacDonald, an economics professor at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St Louis. So he asks: What if you gave music and movies to consumers for free, or asked them to pay what they thought the content was worth? Some bands such as Radiohead are already doing that - in essence, using their songs to build a following and entice people to pay to see them in concert and, once there, to buy their merchandise. The song becomes the ad, MacDonald says. Or a movie on the

small screen becomes the driving force for a line of merchandise or drives the wish to see it again on a big screen in 3-D or at a special theater event. A free clip from a TV show seen online draws viewers to the show. “It’s like a bar. They give you the peanuts so you buy the beer,” MacDonald says. He notes that music companies already take a cut of money made from concerts, merchandise and endorsements. So he thinks that should, at the very least, offset the cost of the recorded music to consumers, who’ve been increasingly willing to pay big prices to see artists live. “Music companies would be better served by increasing their focus on how to make artists’ music, and especially their concerts, even better,” MacDonald says. Nice thought, but not realistic, says Thomas Carpenter, general counsel for legislative affairs for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, a union that represents people working in the entertainment industry. As it stands, he says 90 percent of the earnings that a musician currently makes under a recording contract is tied directly to royalties from sales, including lawful downloads. For actors, he says, it’s about 50 percent. “There’s a lot at stake - much more than most people realize,” Carpenter says. And he adds, “You have to be paid in order to be good. You have to use the funds from your projects to fund your future creativity.” —AP

North America movie fans head to ‘Safe House’ afe House,” a CIA-based thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, topped the North American box office over the weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday. “Safe House” earned $24 million in ticket receipts from Friday through Sunday, narrowly edging last week’s winner, romantic drama “The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams, which took in $23.6 million, Exhibitor Relations said. McAdams stars as a newlywed wife struggling with memory loss after an accident, and Channing Tatum plays the husband fighting to win back her heart. “Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance” starring Nicolas Cage as the devil’s bounty hunter, opened in third place, taking in an estimated $22 million. The movie is a 3D sequel to a 2007 movie also starring Cage that first brought the motorcycle-riding Marvel Comics character with the flaming head to the big screen. In fourth place was “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” a family-friendly movie starring former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with a projected $20.1 million in ticket sales. “This Means War,” a comedy about two CIA operatives in love with the same woman, opened at $17.6 million, while “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” the 3D version of the 1999 George Lucas film-raked in $7.9 million.


“Chronicle,” about three teenage friends gaining superpowers, slid to seventh on takings of $7.5 million, while horror film “The Woman In Black” starring Daniel Radcliffe was in eighth place, with sales of $6.6 million. “The Secret World Of Arrietty,” a wellreviewed Japanese animated film from

Studios Ghibli based on the children’s book “The Borrowers,” opened in ninth place with $6.4 million. Rounding off the top 10 is adventure thriller “The Grey” starring Liam Neeson, which pulled in $3 million.—AFP




The winners gather to pose for a group photo during the Goya Awards ceremony, Spain’s top film honors, in Madrid. ilent movie “The Artist” won the Best European Film prize at the Spanish cinema awards, the Goyas, on Sunday while Spanish police flick “No habra paz para los malvados” (‘No rest for the wicked’) collected six gongs. The Goya adds to a growing trophy haul for the “The Artist” which has 10 Oscar nominations, including best actor for French star Jean Dujardin and best director for Michel Hazanavicius. Earlier this month “The Artist” won seven awards at the BAFTAs, the biggest night of the British film industry, including best film, best director, best original screenplay and best actor. “No habra paz para los malvados,” the big winner of the night at the Goyas, took the best film award while its Spanish director Enrique Urbizu and actor Jose Coronado picked up prizes in their respective categories. The film tells the story of a police inspector investigating the disappearance of a woman who gets caught up in a deadly shoot-out that sets


This combination of pictures created from AFP file images yesterday shows French actor Jean Dujardin (From L) holding his British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) award, his Screen Actors Guild award, his Golden Globe award and his Cannes’ award, prizes won for best leading actor in the silent black and white movie “The Artist”. —AFP photos

Spanish actor Jan Cornet poses after receiving the award for newcomer in the film “La piel que habito” or “The Skin I live in”.

him on the trail of a witness. Elena Anaya won the best actress prize at the 26th Goya awards for her part in the Pedro Almodovar film “La piel que habito” (‘The Skin I Live In’) about a plastic surgeon with a dark past. The star of that film, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, was nominated but missed out on the best actor award. The Goya prize for best SpanishAmerican film went to the Argentinian movie “Un cuento Chino” (‘Chinese TakeAway’).—AFP

Spanish musician Antonio Iglesias poses after receiving the award for best original music in the film "La piel que habito" or " The skin I live in" during the Goya Awards ceremony.

Mexican actress Salma Hayek poses with her husband Francois-Henri Pinault of France.

Spanish actress Elena Anaya poses after receiving the award for best actress in the film “La piel que habito” or “The Skin I live in” during the Goya Awards ceremony, Spain’s top film honors, in Madrid on February 19, 2012.

Spanish actor Jose Coronado poses with his trophy after receiving a Goya award for best actor for his role in the film “No Habra paz para los malvados”, alongside director Enrique Urbizu who won a Goya award for best director. Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, left, and his wife US actress Melanie Griffith. Spanish director Kike Maillo speaks to the audience after winning a Goya award for best new director for his work on the film “Eva”.

Argentinean actor Ricardo Darin holds his Goya trophy after winning the best Ibero-American film award for the film “Un cuento chino”.

Spanish actor Lluis Homar holds the Goya trophy after winning in the best supporting role category in the film “Eva”.

Spanish actress and director Isabel Coixet speaks to the audience after receiving a Goya award for best documentary film for her film “Escuchando al juez Garzon”.

Spanish actress Ana Wagener holds her trophy after winning a Goya award for best supporting actress for her role in the film “La voz dormida”.

Karmele Soler , David Marti and Manolo Carretoro, of Spain speak to the audience after receiving the award for best make-up artists for their work on “The Skin I Live In” (“La piel que habito”).


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Arnie Herdendorf feeds the movie into the projector at the Palace Theatre in Lockport, NY.—AP photos


he license plate on movie projectionist Arnie Herdendorf’s Buick is 35MM MAN, a nod to his work in the booth at the 1925 Palace Theatre, with its velvet-draped stage and chandeliered mezzanine. When he drove recently to a multiplex to watch as its film projectors were swapped out for new digital ones, the sight of old 35 mm workhorses “stacked up like wounded soldiers” had him wondering how long his title - or job - would be around. The questions are even bigger for historic movie houses themselves. With the future of motion pictures headed quickly toward an all-digital format played only on pricey new equipment, will the theaters be around? Or will they be done in by the digital revolution that will soon render inadequate the projectors that have flickered and ticked with a little-changed technology for more than 120 years? “Our guess is by the end of 2013 there won’t be any film distributed anymore,” said John Fithian, president and chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners. The Hollywood studios’ industry-wide conversion from 35 mm film to digital satisfies modern day demands for crisp clarity, cost savings and special effects like 3-D. And for big-budget theaters where new releases occupy multiple screens, installing digital projectors is a no-brainer. Already, about 60 percent have converted in the United States, at a price of $70,000 to $80,000 a screen, Fithian said. But for the community-owned Palace and other small and historic movie houses, the merging of nostalgia with high-tech is a dauntingly expensive proposition. Yet one, most agree, that is critical if they are to keep attracting audiences to their light bulb-studded marquees. The cost is more than double the price of a top-of-the-line film projector. “The Riviera Theatre is listed on the historic register, but we are not a museum,” Executive Director Frank Cannata said from the 1927 theater north of Buffalo, “so it’s important that we stay current ... and staying current isn’t always affordable, as we’re all finding out.” An estimated 500 to 750 historic theaters currently show movies, according to the Theatre Historical Society of America, though it adds no one has formally researched the number and the estimate is conservative. “This is another major threat to these theaters


he decision by high-end retailer Victorinox to open a store in Havana left many people scratching their heads. Who, in cashstrapped Cuba, would be able to afford the pricey Swiss emporium’s deluxe cutlery, sleek luggage items and precision watches? Lots of folks, it would seem. “We sell to tourists from Russia, China, Mexico and Venezuela-they say the prices here are cheaper than in other countries,” an employee at the store, which opened a little more than a year ago, told AFP. And it’s not just foreigners: Growing numbers of Cubans with access to dollars also have the wherewithal to go shopping there, as it turns out. Some get their income from “paladares” the privately-run restaurants where tourists pay for their meals in hard currency. Others get cash thanks to the largesse of relatives from overseas who send money from time to time. In short, 14 months after its grand opening, business is brisk at Victorinoxand other Western stores with outlets on one of Marxist capitalism’s last outposts. In a sign that communism is slowly giving way to consumerism, other stores are locating here, with names familiar in shopping malls around the world, such as Mango, Benetton, and Adidas. It is

Arnie Herdendorf brushes snow off of his car that features a license plate that reads, ‘35MM MAN,’ a nod to his work in the booth at the 1925 Palace Theatre.

which were largely rescued and restored by grassroots local efforts,” said Karen Colizzi Noonan, president of the THS, which records and preserves theaters’ architectural and cultural history. “It is so sad that after all that hard work and dedication these groups now face another huge challenge just to survive.” And survival means doing whatever they can to raise the cash to convert. Supporters of the privately owned Davis Theatre in Higginsville, Missouri, are vying for a $50,000 prize in a Reader’s Digest contest that would help pay for digital equipment for the 500-seat main auditorium. They were in second place at the start of February, with a month of voting to go. “It’s a long haul but it’s encouraging to see a town come together,” said Fran Schwarzer, who, with her husband, George, was nearing retirement age and sunk their savings into buying the 1934 theater to keep it from closing in 1998. The couple added three screens in 2005 so they could show more first-run movies, always viewing the venture as more community service than moneymaker in the small town east of Kansas City. “If we had known then what we know now” about the swift onset of digital, “we would never have gone into debt more to put in three more auditoriums,” Schwarzer said. The Riviera will show movies with its two carbon arc lamphouses and projectors for as long as it can, Cannata said, while exploring funding for the digital replacements. If it can’t, it will have to do away with the popular second-run movies offered at discount rates. While live shows and other programming would keep the Riviera going, other theaters are trying to stave off closing with fundraisers, like the taco supper planned to raise money for the Onarga Theater in eastern Illinois. The 1937 theater that boasts being the first south of Chicago to show movies with sound has invested in its seating, concessions and sound systems in recent years, but can’t afford the switch to digital projection. North of Buffalo, the nonprofit, community-owned Palace is looking into loans and grants for a $75,000 digital set up, but it’s also going to have to upgrade its electrical system to accommodate the new equipment, said Phil Czarnecki, vice president of the board. He can’t help but think of all

what one Cuban official told AFP is a “restructuring” of what a relatively short time ago was still a classless society. “There is a slow redistribution of wealth,” said the government economist who asked not to be named. In a country where anyone who receives a government paycheck is rarely able to make ends meet, business nevertheless is booming at Western stores such as Victorinox. Even the least expensive of Victorinox’s wares is costly for most in Cuba, where the monthly pay-the same for all salaried workers on this communist island-is around 18 dollars per month. And yet, a shopping spree at a store is no longer off-limits to many Cubans, said Ariel Terrero, a leading economist, who also noted the marked realignment in Cuban society. Terrero in remarks on state television last week identified four distinct strata in Cuban society today: Low income, middle income, upper middle income and high income. ‘There is a slow redistribution of wealth’ There are a number of reasons for the dramatic realigning of Cuba’s social order. President Raul Castro’s economic reforms of the past halfdecade have aimed to create a bit more breath-

the restoration of the building - a replica of the Paramount Theater in New York City that mixes Art Deco and Italian Renaissance style - that could be accomplished with such an outlay. The small theaters already are feeling pressure from the digital conversions taking place all around them. Instead of waiting three weeks for a modern multiplex to make a movie print available, it now often takes six or seven weeks because there are fewer 35 mm copies in circulation. That’s more than enough time for the pool of potential ticket-buyers to lose interest or see the movie somewhere else. It’s not just the cost of digital projection that concerns Edward Summer, president of the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. He worries that once older movie houses make the switch, they’ll do away with their 35 mm projectors, something he says would be “a hideous mistake.” Summer sees a potential tourism niche in historic theaters showing classic movies - and he worries that existing films that won’t be digitized will be forever lost to audiences if the equipment isn’t there to show them. “Every motion picture made between 1894 and

ing room for private business, which has increased income and consumption for many families. Castro-who succeeded his brother, the more ideologically pure revolutionary Fidel Castro in August 2006 — has introduced economic reforms, allowing the purchase of houses and cars and the sale of construction materials, all of which is also putting more cash into circulation. At the same time, the United States has relaxed long-standing rules, making it a bit easier for Americans with relatives in Cuba to send cash to their loved ones on the island. Cuban physicians for example, who frequently are sent on overseas aid missions by the Havana government, also find ways to send foreign currency to their relatives left behind. One such case, in Las Tunas province, is Griselda Velasco, a retiree who was able to renovate her apartment, thanks to money sent by her daughter who spent several years working in Venezuela. Hard currency also is finding its way into the hands of more Cubans thanks to a flourishing tourism industry. In the eastern town of Ciego de Avila Juan Rodriguez was able to purchase a house, thanks to the foreign currency tips he stashed away over years of working as a hotel bartender.

Arnie splices a movie trailer at the theatre.

right this minute is on 35 mm film and those films not only still exist, but those film prints are the only way to see them,” Summer said. “It’s not either/or,” Summer said of the two projection technologies, “it’s both/and.” The Palace’s Herdendorf doesn’t own a computer and isn’t sure if his 17 years of splicing and dicing reels of film and threading them through a platter projection system will translate to the new technology with its pocket-size hard drives. He knows what to do if film breaks, but not if a computer freezes. The Riviera eventually plans to display one of its 35 mm carbon arc projectors in the lobby, Cannata said, “so people can take a look at how films were shown at one time.” The Davis Theatre’s Schwarzer jokes that her place’s four projectors will become boat anchors. What’s important, she said, is that the theater’s doors stay open. “We have such wonderful memories of this theater as children,” she said. “You kind of like to think that kids that come now will have some of those memories, too.”— AP

It’s not hard to see evidence of the seismic shift in the consumption patterns of Cubans. In 2011, Cubans became the second largest group of tourists on the island after the Canadians. —AFP


oon By Noor strikes again with yet another glamorous presentation to a US audience during New York’s legendary Fashion week. Designers Noor and Haya Al Khalifa presented their Fall/Winter 2012-13 collection at the exclusive Provocateur Cafe, in an electrifying display of solar and lunar references. Dressed in one of the collection’s signature looks, the fashion icon Blake Lively created a media frenzy on the purple carpet. The event was also well attended by representatives from the fashion world such as Joe Zee, the Creative Director of Elle magazine and TV personality Maria Menounos. About the label Noon By Noor is an exciting new label that is set on making an impact on the world of fashion through elegant, exotic creations that are designed to flatter the modern woman while taking inspiration from timeless styles. It is a decidedly feminine brand that combines luxurious fabrics and intricate embellishments, granting the line its qualitative edge. Noon By Noor designers, Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and ShaikhaHaya Al Khalifa, adorn lavish fabrics with unexpected details, such as hand stitching, and homemade accents to add dimension and individuality to each piece. The label offers an array of tailored dresses, embellished silk jackets and statement separates that can be worn in casual sophistication by day, or in exquisite elegance by night.

Arnie Herdendorf feeds film into the platters in the projection room.

Cubans walk next to shop offering Victorinox Swiss brand products. —AFP


lifestyle F a s h i o n


Models present creations during the Vivienne Westwood London 2012 Autumn/Winter collection catwalk show at London Fashion Week in London. — AFP/AP photos

t must be fashion week: leather jeans, African body paint, androgynous clothes and much more were on display in London Saturday as big names like Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry and Paul Smith made their mark. Day Three of London Fashion Week saw a new strategy for leather pants: instead of the skintight Jim Morrison look, both Mulberry and Top Shop showcased wide-legged, baggy leather pants. Others turned to velvet for a showy, festive look. Much of the attention focused on Westwood, once England’s high priestess of punk, now a heritage brand unto herself, a designer whose vast experience and detailed archives can be mined whenever it’s time to whip up another collection. This time it was her Red Label look, which often depends on being able to put a fresh twist of the designs of recent decades. This time, the twist was body paint (in some cases it looked like temporary tattoos) applied to the models’ skin before they hit the stage. Many had symbols or words painted on their necks, arms or chests before they strutted onto the catwalk; others had their legs painted. It added aura and mystery to W e s t w o o d ’s show, which featured some beautifully shaped dresses, most in simple solid colors, as well as some less successful ensembles. It was a playful and picturesque show. Westwood called it a British collection, citing Savile Row tailors and the shirtmakers of Jermyn Street, but it had an international feel, helped by the body paint. “I thought this collection was absolutely great,” said semiretired model Jo Wood, who made a star turn as a Westwood model three years ago. “Fab trousers, lovely little pleated skirts, really cool.” Would the collection, or the chance to be among the first to sample Westwood’s next effort, lure her back to the pressures of a catwalk show? “Without a doubt,” Wood said. The mood was quite different at the luxury band Mulberry show. Taking inspiration from the monsters in Maurice Sendak’s children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” Mulberry sent models swathed in oversized, shaggy fur coats and gilets down the catwalk Sunday for its whimsical show. Creative director Emma Hill said she was inspired both by Sendak’s beloved book and by Spike Jonze’s movie adaptation - and the playful tone was set with a few roars on the soundtrack as the show began. Some of the cartoon owlish creatures even found their way onto a model’s printed sweater, and at one point the catwalk was invaded by a particularly shaggy

dog, dressed in a tiger-striped caninesized sweater. “The rustic colors, furry textures and dark woody atmosphere (of the movie) felt like a natural fit for Mulberry, but with a enchanted and childlike twist,” Hill told the Associated Press in an email. Overall, however, she kept things sophisticated and wearable. That included thin leather belts cinched in loose outerwear, made in black rabbit fur or brown sheepskin and adorned with exaggerated fur trimmings at the shoulders. And beneath the thick layers of fur, wool and fleece, the silhouette was kept romantic and delicate: Ethereal silk and lace nightie dresses and pencil skirts clung to the body, emphasizing feminine movement. One of the standout dresses featured the sheerest tiedyed silk in ink blue and dark red, so that the colors looked almost as if they were tattooed onto the skin. Paul Smith’s show was more sober-minded. Long one of Britain’s most commercially successful designers, he stuck to his favorite slim, androgynous silhouette for his autumn and winter collection Sunday. Models wore fitted blazers, skinny trousers, narrowly cut, high-necked sweaters, and had mannish, boyfriend coats draped nonchalantly over their shoulders. Colors were muted, with grays, mustard, jade and burgundy dominating. There was a lot of velvet and tweed, and the designer also played with contrasting fabrics, pairing a smoking jacket with brocade trousers. There’s subtle sex appeal in the modest clothing, Smith said. “I don’t think you need to see skin necessarily to respect the female form,” he told reporters backstage after the show. The most feminine look of the collection featured a sheer top that’s made of a see-through, shimmery black material, with a man’s white dress shirt collar. Worn under an evening suit, the effect was elegant but daring. At Unique by Topshop, the new collection was all about utility dressing gone glam: Leather dungarees, velvet boiler suits, and full-length military coats. Unique, the design-led offshoot of Britain’s popular high street store Topshop, gave London Fashion Week a good dose of tough, urban cool with its new autumn and winter collection. A model sporting a floor-length military green coat over a black bralet and black trousers, felt baseball cap and spike-heeled, lace-up army boots opened the show. The message was clear: Don’t mess with this girl. More military green and a great deal of black leather followed, in the form of jumpsuits, pleated, low-slung skirts, kilts, and shiny knee-high boots. Oversized sweaters, many with a cross motif, were paired with barely-there shorts, and there was a covetable collection of overcoats with biker flap, gunmetal buttons and zip detailing. But while the overall aesthetic was clearly streetsmart, there was elegant, classic styling here too - a black velvet set of jeans, for example, was paired with a billowing white silk blouse, an outfit that cleverly turned workman’s apparel into evening wear. — AP

Paul Smith Mulberry

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‘The Artist’ triumphs at Spain’s Goyas




Revelers dance during the first night of carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.


s millions watched the sequin-clad samba for the celebrity guests, who are generally hired to dancers at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Carnival star in special, Carnival-themed TV commercials. A parade Sunday, at least a few eyes turned Brahma beer ad featuring J.Lo dancing in a fair imitatoward the stars, or at least toward the VIP boxes tion of samba’s frenetic footwork has been playing hosting celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Fergie. here for weeks. In an interview appearing in the gosThe Carnival parade has been attracting top celebri- sip magazine Quem, the commercial’s director, ties for much of its 80 years. Many are brought in by Heitor Dhalias, said Lopez picked up samba’s notoriattention-hungry Brazilian advertisers hoping to ously complicated steps in minutes. “On the day of the shoot, Jennifer arrived, went to share some of the glow of the world’s biggest party. This year, beer company Brahma was promoting makeup and then learned to samba in half an hour,” Lopez, while hair care company Head and Shoulders Dhalias was quoted as saying. “She has this Latin hosted Fergie. Neither planned to actually parade in swing, and it was really easy for her to learn.” A rival the all-night-long event, but J.Lo waved to the crowd beer company, Devassa, ran a commercial showing from the posh VIP seats at the Sambadrome as 13 three sloppy, overweight Brazilian men worshipping samba schools joined in a fierce, sweaty competition at the slippered feet of a silk-robe-clad Hugh Hefner. The Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie talks to people as before tens of thousands inside and many more Hefner was missing the festivities. Brazilian news she watches carnival parades at the Sambadrome media said the 85-year-old Playboy founder bowed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday. watching at home on television. The numbers of top-tier celebrities in attendance out at the last minute due to health problems. His —AP/AFP photos has grown as Brazil’s star has risen - particularly since youngest son, 21-year-old Cooper Hefner, took his the South American giant was chosen to host the place, accompanied by six Playmates. account. A host of local celebrities also fill out the Actor Richard Dean Anderson, who played the VIP lounges. This year’s crop of local A-listers was to 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics. Recent guests at the two-day-long parade have ingenious secret agent MacGyver on the 1980s TV include soccer star Ronaldinho Gaucho and singer included Madonna, Beyonce, Jude Law, Paris Hilton, show, was the headline guest in Salvador, the Daniela Mercury. —AP Pamela Anderson and Kevin Spacey. Spectators at northeastern city with Brazil’s second-largest the Sambadrome were split over the presence of Carnival celebrations. “Goodness, what an event, celebrities at Carnival. “I honestly couldn’t care less if what a celebration!” he wrote on his Twitter there are famous people or not,” said Monica Linsay, a 23-year-old university student at the Sambadrome for the first time. “I don’t care about marketing ploys. I’m here to watch the parade.” And there is much to watch: Samba soloists who shake into overdrive as soon as the cameras turn on them; dancers dressed as Teletubbies on drugs; ambulatory American flags; psychedelic flamingos, complete with stilt legs; vertically challenged jokers brandishing jumbo soccer balls; belly dancers. And that was just one single samba school. Spectator Ligia Santos said she was happy about the celebrity presence. “It doesn’t matter that these foreign celebrities don’t know how to samba or even how the parade works,” the retiree said. “It’s excellent they’re here because it means we’re sharing the beauty we have here out to the world. They’re going to be bowled over by what we have.” Celebs are generally not expected to learn to samba or take part in the parade: Their work consists in watching from their sponsor’s “camarote,” the plush, multistory VIP lounges with catered buffets and free-flowing alcohol, as well as on-staff makeup Jennifer Lopez greets people as she watches with Casper Smart the carnival parade at the artists and masseuses. But it’s not all fun and games Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday.

21 Feb 2012  
21 Feb 2012  

Kuwait Times