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150 FILS

Kuwait National & Liberation Days

Iran reassures Kuwait it won’t shut Hormuz Khamenei warns Israel, US • Iran will produce nukes if hit: Russia

KAC, customs suspend strike

conspiracy theories

The party’s over

By A Saleh and Agencies

By Badrya Darwish


he party is over. What happened today reminded me of the tune of the good old Shirley Bassey: “The party’s over. I know.” At last, the labour unions that put the country on hold for almost a week finally agreed after a vote to end the strike that paralyzed Kuwait. Let’s cross our fingers that what they said at night will be seen in daytime. Hopefully, today trucks will cross the border and planes of Kuwait Airways will start taking off and landing. KAC services to other airlines will continue as usual. Guys, don’t worry. Milk and fruits and vegetables, labneh and yoghurt and Saudi dairy will return to the shelves. There won’t be any more expensive tomatoes, hopefully. Continued on Page 15

Max 27º Min 09º High Tide 11:36 & 23:13 Low Tide 04:57 & 17:12

TOKYO: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah is greeted by well-wishers upon his arrival at Tokyo International Airport yesterday. The Amir is in Japan on a four-day visit to Tokyo as a state guest. — AFP DUBAI: Iran has assured Kuwait it will time” on building up an oil stocks outside not try to close the vital Strait of Hormuz the Gulf to ensure steady supplies to cusshipping route, HH the Amir said in tomers. After threats by Iran that it could remarks carried by state -run news shut the most important oil transit chanagency KUNA yesterday. Sheikh Sabah nel in the world, if Western governments Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said Kuwait never- stop it from selling crude, the Amir and theless had been working for “a long Continued on Page 15

KUWAIT: Publicly owned Kuwait Airways and custom service employees suspended a strike yesterday to give the government a chance to fulfill their demands, they said in separate union statements. Kuwait Airways “has decided to suspend its strike until further notice to protect national interests and in order to give the government a chance to fulfill its (the carrier ’s) demands,” said a union statement. Insisting on a 30 percent pay raise, airline employees began their strike on Saturday, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights. Customs service employees also announced that they have “suspended the strike to ... give the government a chance to fulfill” their demands and out of “national sentiment”, a statement said. Their strike, which started last

week, had begun to affect the delivery of fresh produce. The price of fruit and vegetables has already risen by 15 percent, consumers say. Secretary General of the Kuwait Airways’ union Hussain Al-Habeeb said the union will hold a general assembly today after receiving promises from majority MPs to reach their demands through a law during tomorrow’s session. MP Faisal Al-Mislem demanded labor unions put off their strikes until they see results of the session, which is scheduled to discuss strikes and cadres. He emphasized that a failure by the government and Cabinet means that new steps will be taken by the nation’s representatives and not by the unions. Mislem told reporters that the government’s wrong policies over cadres and increasing salaries was one of the reasons for the strikes and stoppage of Continued on Page 15




Govt struggling to deal with increasing labor demands Parliament to discuss govt efforts

KUWAIT: Drivers are seen near trailer trucks lined up at the Free Trade Zone yesterday. Customs personnel launched a labor strike last week which stopped imports from reaching Kuwait. The customs employees demand salary increases that exceed the average pay rise passed by the government earlier this week. In addition to major losses resulting from damage in truckloads of fresh food products, the strike led to a general increase in fruit and vegetable prices in the Kuwaiti market. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The parliament is set to discuss governmental efforts to contain the situation regarding the public sector’s pay, which forms the focal point of labor strikes that started last week, during tomorrow’s session as per a request submitted Monday by 12 lawmakers. The MPs repor tedly made the request following breakdown of negotiations with heads of labor unions in the Customs General Depar tment and the Kuwait Airways Corporation; who refused appeals to halt their strikes temporarily in order to allow for negotiations to continue with the cabinet. This happened af ter the Cabinet announced Monday that

no demands will be negotiated until strikes are put on hold. “Strike is a right of employees as long as it does not damage the general interest”, MP Mohammad Al-Saqar said on Monday as he expressed support to the government’s decision earlier this week to pass a general 25 percent pay raise to the public sector. The strike by customs personnel at the state’s seaports, land border check points and the Kuwait International Airport entered its eighth day yesterday, while a similar step carried out by K AC employees entered its fifth. This comes amid reports hinting of a near compromise that could be

reached to suspend the strike in exchange of governmental promises to look into the protestors’ demands. Similar promises had helped subdue labor rage last year when strikes were held between September and October. Labor protests returned early this month with many unions voicing their frustration from “overlooked rights” they accuse the government of. The government have been struggling to deal with increasing labor demands from the public sector whose payroll takes the majority share of the oil-rich state’s budget. A 25% general pay raise to the public sector is described by state officials as the farthest rate

they can go in order to avoid negative long-term effects on the economy that depends almost entirely on revenues of crude oil sale. Meanwhile, prices of numerous food items especially fruits and vegetables saw notable increase in the past week after truckloads of imported products could not enter Kuwait due to the customs strike. On Monday, the customs officials agreed to allow dozens of trailer trucks to unload their products inside Kuwait which helped stabilize the prices. On that regard, fights were repor ted between truck drivers fighting for priority to enter the Nuwaseeb border checkpoint according to a news report

published yesterday. Meanwhile, M inister of Commerce and Industr y Anas Al-Saleh assured that Kuwait’s strategic reserve of food items is enough to meet public demands for at least six months. The reserve contains basic items that don’t include fresh products such as fruits, vegetables or dairy products. Al-Saleh also confirmed that the ministry took action against some merchants “who used the situation as a pretext to increase prices unjustifiably”. In the meantime, Minister of Finance Mustafa Al-Shamali was reportedly invited to a meeting for the parliament’s financial committee today

( Wednesday) in order to discuss the issue before tomorrow’s session. In a related note, the government is reportedly not ruling out the possibility of tak ing legal ac tion against unionists to demand compensation for the damages resulted from the labor strikes. The cases will be established on the basis that the protesters violated terms of their contrac ts when they conduc ted a work stoppage that harmed the national interests and posed risks to the national security, according to sources with knowledge of the subject. —Al-Qabas, Al-Rai, Al-Shahed

School denies food poisoning report By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The Kuwait Times reported on March 14 (on Page 2) the food poisoning of three children at a Pakistani school in Ahmadi governorate quoting a security source. In the Ahmadi governorate, which includes many areas including Ahmadi, Fahaheel, Mangaf, Abu Halifa, Sabahiya and many others,

there are many Pakistani schools. The Kuwait Times received a letter from the Pakistan Academy School in Ahmadi denying such an incident happening in that school. Prof Sayed Zakir Ali, the principal of the Pakistan Academy School, noted that their School didn’t witness any case of food poisoning. “ This news is not related to our school, and we never had any case

of food poisoning. Since our school is located in Ahmadi, and the news didn’t mention the name of a particular school, we contacted you to contradict this news. I know there are other Pakistani schools in the area, and I don’t know if the published news is true or false, thus I ensure the readers that if it was true, it didn’t take place in our school,” he told the Kuwait Times.

KOC holds meeting with contractors KUWAIT: Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) inaugurated an exhibition and fourth annual meeting with contractors and suppliers who deal with it. The exhibition and meeting was organized under the patronage of KOC Chairman and M anaging Direc tor, Sami AlRashid. Al-Rashid said he is keen to strengthen cooperation with contractors and suppliers, and called for more efforts to achieve more development in the interest of all parties. In his opening speech, he expressed satisfaction at the effor ts to execute KOC projects, which aim to achieve a strategy for 2030. The opening ceremony, which was held at KOC headquarters in Ahmadi, was attended by Deputy Managing Directors and a large number of high ranking managers, depar tment heads, employees in the oil sector and representatives of contracting companies. The exhibition lasted for t wo days, from 18 to 19 March.

KISR eyes solar power for Kuwait KUWAIT: Director of the nano-technology program at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), Dr Mohammad Al-Iskandarani, said that the first of three stages in establishing the nano-technology center at the institute is complete. He added that the necessary equipment is being bought and the human development plan is being prepared to have Kuwaiti youth running the center. KISR Deputy Director General for research affairs, Dr Nader Al-Awadhi, said there will be a scientific workshop regarding recent Japanese technologies in the use of solar power to generate electric energy, especially within a hot desert environment. He added that the obstacles Kuwait is facing in implementing solar energy technologies are the sandy weather and temperatures that exceed the current limit solar cells are designed for, which is 25 degree Celsius. He added that there will be cooperation with Japanese universities in order to develop solar boards able to cope with Kuwait’s high temperatures and that a cooperation memo was signed with Hoko University. —Al-Anbaa

Seven injured in road accidents By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 26-year-old Filipino expatriate was trying to cross the road in block 3 of Ardiya, behind the health center, when a passing car hit him and broke his left foot. He was taken to Farwaniya Hospital. A car accident at Kuwait Sports Club traffic light resulted in a head injury to an 18-year-old Kuwaiti youth and a serious head injury to a 19-year-old Kuwaiti youth, causing his heart to stop. He was rushed to the intensive care unit at Amiri Hospital. A car accident between Qadisiya and Mansouriya resulted in a head injury to a 28-year-old Kuwaiti woman and a 20-year-old male Kuwaiti felt dizzy. Both were taken to Amiri Hospital. A car accident between Al-Qasr and Al-Aneem, towards Jahra, resulted in a serious head injury to a 17-year-old Kuwaiti youth. He was rushed to the emergency room at Jahra Hospital. A 58-year-old male Kuwaiti injured his right leg.

Panels to discuss joint Arab action KUWAIT: Ali Al-Daqbasi, Speaker of the Arab Parliament, said the parliament’s four committees will discuss several issues that interest the joint Arab action. They are headed by political and economic issues, as well as developments in some Arab countries and recommendations that the Arab

Parliament wishes to present at the Arab summit in Baghdad. Al-Daqbasi said the new term of the Arab Parliament has special importance in following the Syrian crisis and several other issues on the agenda. They include refuse, fighting AIDS, and financial and administrative

issues. The issue of changing the Arab Parliament from transitional to permanent will also be discussed. He said foreign affairs, politics and national security will be discussed, including developments in Palestine, Darfour, occupied Syrian Arab Golan and Somalia. —Al-Anbaa



KSF to announce winners of scholarships KUWAIT: The Kuwait Science Fair (KSF), the largest science competition held in Kuwait, yesterday announced that the winners of the 2011/2012 competition will be awarded in this year’s finale on March 24, held under the patronage of the Minister of Oil and Chairman of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Hani Abdulaziz Hussein, and attended by the Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KPC, Farouk Hussain Al-Zanki. Hani Abdulaziz Hussein said, “The advancement of our country in the longterm will be led by the upcoming generations. We will depend on them to preserve our natural resources and to find solutions to energy, water, medical and technological challenges. Therefore, arming them with knowledge and skills should start at an early age. The Kuwait Science Fair has helped encourage students to explore math and science fields and to pursue careers in them, that is why I am glad to endorse this competition and the goals of its founders, but most importantly, support the ambitious students.” Now in its fourth year, the Kuwait Science Fair is a nation-wide competition founded and managed by ExxonMobil Kuwait, Kuwait Energy and honorary founder, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. One hundred scientific innovations and projects will be assessed from March 21till the evening of March 23 by a panel of six judges comprised of doctors, engineers and science experts from renowned companies across Kuwait. The projects will finally be showcased in an exhibition that is open to the public on March 24. Students from over 54 public and private schools are competing for a chance to win the grand prize of a full four-year undergraduate tuition scholarship at Northwestern University, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. The first place winner, or group of winners, will also receive an international internship grant at Schlumberger global oilfields services company, KD750 in cash, KD100 in vouchers, the first place trophy, and two certificates honoring their participation and ranking. The fourth chapter of the Kuwait Science Fair was launched in October 2011 with over 150 students registering individually or in groups. The “Best 100” students were qualified in December 2011 to continue developing their ideas in the second phase of the competition: the experimental phase.

The top ten winners will be revealed during the awards ceremony. The Kuwait Science Fair is a five month-long competition held annually extending over two cycles. The first phase is the pledging phase, in which students from across Kuwait are asked to submit their ideas to the Kuwait Science Fair Selection Committee. The Committee then selects the ‘Best 100’ ideas based on a pre-defined check-list of criteria. During the second threemonth phase, students behind the ‘Best 100’ ideas are asked to build their projects with the support of mentors and the Kuwait Science Fair team. The Kuwait Science Fair Managing Director, Aseel Al-Turkait said, “We can’t wait to see the final projects developed by these brilliant upcoming scientists. Four years on, and we continue to be

KUWAIT: Severe damage is seen at a street inside the Free Trade Zone yesterday. It is believed that the damage is caused by an overload of trailer trucks, which pass through the area on a daily basis. Several complaints have been made to local authorities about the situation, which poses risks to drivers’ safety. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Strict actions to protect Kuwait public property Burning of greenery ‘very common’ By Nawara Fattahova

Aseel Al-Turkait impressed by their unique ideas, their perseverance and commitment to excel. I have one piece of advice for them: the KSF is just the beginning and they will achieve much more with continued work. We hope to see them all pursue careers in math and science fields.” Second and third place winners will also receive valuable prizes. The second place winner will be awarded with an undergraduate scholarship at the American University of Kuwait (AUK), an internship grant at Schlumberger, KD500 in cash, two certificates honoring their participation and ranking, KD100 in vouchers, and the second place trophy. The third place winner will be awarded with KD350 in cash, two certificates honoring their participation and ranking, KD100 in vouchers, and the third place trophy. All “Best 100” projects taking part in the final round of the competition will receive a prize and certificate honoring their participation.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Municipality inspectors have issued hundreds of fines recently for burning greenery and throwing waste in public places. Violations by people who are damaging public property by uncivilized behavior by grilling at the seafront and on public beaches have increased. This led the Municipality to activate the already existing law of protecting these public places, which are considered to be most important places and utilities. According to Osama Al-Duaij, Deputy Director General of Hawalli and Mubarak AlKabeer Governorates of Kuwait Municipality, the main problem is not in grilling and barbequing, but of the mess and damage left after them. “Grilling is allowed in public places,

although the smoke coming from it does not look civilized. The problem is the damage caused by this act. People throw waste in public places, which is a violation that carries a penalty. Also they burn grass with the coal left after their barbeque, and this is a crime as well. Some of them even commit more violations such as uprooting plants,” explained AlDuaij. According to Al-Duaij, 90 percent of the violators are non-Kuwaiti. “The majority of the violators are expatriates, and unfortunately they are not cooperating with us. People should be aware that such acts are uncivilized, and we should not see it in a country like Kuwait. Such acts are not seen in countries like Europe or the United States, and people spontaneously know it is not acceptable. Here some people say that

Calls for stateless residents’ demonstrations on Friday KUWAIT: Stateless residents intend to demonstrate at Taima yard in Jahra after the Friday prayers, saying the Government has broken its promises concerning their rights and nationalizing some of them. The stateless residents are responding to many calls that swept all social networks yesterday, urging them to rally in protest of the broken promise made in Januar y by First Deputy Premier and

Interior Minister, Sheik h Ahmed AlHumoud. Clergyman Sheikh Ajeel Al-Nashmi urged on his Twitter account that both the Government and Parliament not forget stateless residents and do them justice the way they did to the Egyptians. “Those people are unemployed, human and have families to support’” he reminded. —Annahar

they were not aware it is illegal. But I think that we should not hold awareness campaigns, as in any civilized country there are no campaigns. People do not commit such acts, and if they do they will pay fines,” he pointed out. Not only local laws ban such acts, but the law in any other civilized country also penalizes such behavior. “Even the law of nature refuses such uncivilized and damaging acts to the environment. People should pay fines if they commit such crimes so they will not repeat it again. This is what led the inspectors to enforce the law,” he noted. Al-Duaij assured that it is not forbidden to grill outdoors in public places, but people should be careful to clean up after eating and having fun. They should also avoid burning grass and plants.

Absence reports to be filed with migration KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Social Affairs and the Immigration Department have recommended private sector expatriate labor absence reports be filed directly at the Immigration Department instead of at police stations. A well-informed source at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor said a meeting to discuss the issue was held recently at the MoI Investigations Department. The recommendations also included the case of laborers who violate residency laws, who should be sued by the Immigration Department. -—Annahar



Kuwait govt urged to adopt realistic, sound work plan ‘No growth under corruption’ By A Saleh KUWAIT: MP Riyadh Al-Adsani, member of the financial committee, said the growth plan for Kuwait will not end even after ten years as it does not contain the building of houses or hospitals. “I assure you that the plan is a failure,” he said. Al-Adsani said if the government is serious, it should approve a realistic and sound work plan and join the private sector. He said housing applications have escalated and health services are deteriorating. The plan does not represent reality and nothing hoped for was completed during the past three years. He said from 884 projects, none are finalized and the percentage of achievement is zero. Al-Adsani is of the opinion that strikes arose due to previous Government promises, and that this Government is not entirely responsible. He said Kuwait is the state most affected by high prices and “we should cooperate with all Kuwaitis”. He asked who guarantees that oil price after eight years will be at $109? He said some think that Kuwait is about to declare bankruptcy, and the Government should prepare a clear vision. “There is no growth under corruption and we should leave negative things behind our back and proceed forward. We are with growth in the correct way, but this growth is the growth of pockets. There is a defect from the start, as there is no feasibility study and the private sector did not participate.” Tamador Al-Saidarawi, Ministry of Education Undersecretary, issued a decision by which she transferred the students attend-

ing the Palestine High School for Boys in Rumaithiya to the Umm Salama intermediate school for girls in the same area, for maintenance purposes. Transfer of the students will take effect from the next academic school year 2012/2013. Hawalli educational area will be responsible for providing teaching and administration staff for the school. Dr. Fadhel Safar, Minister of Public Works and State Minister for growth and planning, met with members of the financial committee to discuss the growth plan. After the meeting, he said members pointed out their observations in respect of the lack of execution of the growth plan. Safar expected some achievements, but admitted they will not be at the level intended. “There are efforts being made and we are facing the obstacles. We have explained that the plan should be a social case and not the responsibility of the Government alone and there are construction and legal requirements.” He said there are 19 projects that require law, which are still pending on the National Assembly agenda, and the discussions have enriched the plan. “We have a long way to go to execute the vision of His Highness The Amir to change Kuwait into a financial center,” adding “We hope that MPs understand the necessity to authenticate the second plan and provide any amendments to it, and we shall cooperate with them.” He said the first law of the plan obliges the Government to prepare all budgets as per the plan. “We only list projects with added value and that provide job opportunities for

Kuwaitis.... We and the MPs are at the same point and we hope that the plan will be approved.” MP Munawer Al-Azemi proposed instant rewards for Ministry of Interior security men and customs authority workers at border checkpoints. He suggested security men and customs employees at borders and customs outlets (whether sea, land or air) are the first line of defense against smugglers, who bring drugs and all kinds of poison into the country. “They are the open eyes to protect the state and citizens. They make great efforts in all locations under their responsibility to prevent the entry of drugs by following the trail of smugglers and spoiling their plans. Security men and customs officers are fully awake and ready to stop any smuggler of drugs or other prohibited material. During the past few days they were able to stop large quantities of white poison, which was on its way into Kuwait,” he said. According to customs statistics, 130 cases of drug smuggling were foiled in 2009. More than 75 kilograms of hashish was confiscated and more than eight kilograms of opium. “Such efforts require the Government to award security men and customs employees with suitable and instant rewards whenever they detect drugs on their way into Kuwait and prevent their entry into the country,” he said “I suggest the National Assembly issues a law to give suitable rewards according to the drugs detected by every security man in the Ministry of Interior or every customs employee at entry points in appreciation of their efforts,” he said.

KUWAIT: A fire in an apartment in Maidan Hawally area was reported yesterday evening to the Emergency Operation room. Salmiya fire station responded to the call, supported by Hawally fire center. As they arrived, they found the building consisted of six floors in addition to the ground floor and basement. The fire was caused by an electric short-circuit. If the firemen had been delayed for a while, a disaster could have occurred, but fire men soon brought the fire under control and prevented it from spreading further. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Earth Hour in Kuwait!

KUWAIT: Sheikha Sharifa Sulaiman Al-Jasem with some of the participants.

Dr Nadia Al-Ali

Kuwaiti women celebrate Mother’s Day KUWAIT: Kuwaiti women this week came together for the fifth annual Mother’s Day celebration in the country’s capital, organized by the unit of endocrinology Amiri Hospital. Under the patronage of Sheikha Sharifa Sulaiman AlJasem, wife of His Highness the Crown Prince of Kuwait, the annual event brings together key women in the country to honor and acknowledge mothers, with local doctors taking the opportunity to discuss medical issues relevant to women’s health. “It’s a very social atmosphere where women can come together and celebrate motherhood, and increase their awareness of health issues that affect women in this

country,” said Nadia Al-Ali, head of Unit of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Amiri Hospital and organizer and speaker at the event. “Each year’s lecture targets an area of health that we consider important for public awareness, especially for women, and the 2012 edition of this event focused on Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to health, with benefits that include reducing cardiovascular disease risk and increasing cognitive function, among many others,” she added. The event also offered basic medical services for women including blood pressure monitoring, Body Mass Index testing, and screening for osteoporosis

using an ankle ultrasound machine. The machine, donated by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, measures bone mineral density (BMD) in the ankle, and if found to be low, the patient is transferred to Dr Ali’s clinic for further testing. Insufficient vitamin D intake is a growing problem in the region, due to lack of exposure to sunlight, leading to an increased risk of the debilitating bone disease and associated bone fractures. “The Middle East has the highest vitamin D deficiency worldwide, and this statistic is not decreasing at all and in fact we see younger people every day with severely low levels of the mineral. Younger patients have

lower BMD levels compared to the standards, and fractures are occurring at a lower age than the equivalent in the Caucasian population,” Dr Ali said. “Unfortunately the Gulf is synonymous now with bad lifestyle choices that increase the risk of contracting osteoporosis, such as lack of physical activity, bad diet, and reduced sun exposure due to the extremely hot summers,” she added. Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50, higher than the incidence of breast cancer and prostate cancer respectively, with the rate of osteoporosisrelated fractures almost doubling over the last decade.

KUWAIT: In 2008, a group of engineering students at Kuwait University aspired to spread awareness about the global warming phenomenon and to take action on climate change. They were inspired by Earth Hour — an event that was held in Sydney the previous year. Living in an oil-producing country is a great economic privilege; however, it raises important concerns about the amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the Kuwaiti Team for Global Warming was established to motivate people of Kuwait to embrace environmental change in order to balance the effects of oil production. The team’s main aim was to organize Earth Hour in Kuwait, hence motivating the people of Kuwait to engage in this global contribution of reducing carbon emissions. The journey started in Kuwait University, where the first Earth Hour event took place and was organized in 2008 targeting university students mainly and staff members. The hard work and admirable efforts of the team members paid off when people participated in the event and showed great interests in cooperating in the following years. Moreover, the team’s successful attempts were recognized by Kuwait Voluntary Work Center, which adopted the team to work under their umbrella. In 2009, the significance of reducing electricity consumption for only an hour was explained by team members to authorized individuals of the main landmarks of Kuwait like Kuwait Towers, Liberation Tower and The Scientific

Center as well as over twenty-six malls, embassies, hotels, companies and professional associations. The team properly introduced the idea of Earth Hour to the public by organizing an eventful gathering in a public area overlying Kuwait Towers and by inviting people at home, through media and press, to switch off their non-essential lights and electrical devices from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Several non-profit organizations and societies participated in the event to educate people about other environmental aspects and the importance of volunteer work. The participation of an important landmark of the country, Kuwait Towers, in the event had a great impact on the general public cementing the serious message that the team wanted to deliver. More importantly, as a result of the cooperation of many residents and organizations, the percentage of electricity consumption during that hour was reduced. Moreover, the number of participants increased each year showing their loyalty to the cause. The team’s work is not only exclusive to organizing Earth Hour, they also believe in the concept of reducing carbon emissions beyond the hour. Additionally, the team contributes towards educating the youth about Global Warming phenomenon and climate change by giving lectures and seminars at schools and universities. Furthermore, the members of the team engage in various environmental exhibitions and conferences as well as beach clean-ups.

Warba Bank opens second branch KUWAIT: In line with its commitment to recreate the Islamic banking experience in Kuwait, Warba Bank yesterday announced its intention to open its second branch in Kuwait City by the end of this week. The opening follows the successful inauguration last week of the bank’s first branch in Kuwait, located in Hawally. Warba Bank will offer a full range of products and services including retail, investment and corporate banking and offers customers exceptional levels of service, innovation and choice in an inclusive Shari’ah compliant environment. Commenting on the opening of the new branches, Adnan Salman Al Salem, Chief Retail Banking Officer, said: “We are very content with the performance and operations of the first branch. Three more additional branches will open throughout the month of March, one by the end of next week in Awtad Tower in Qibla and another in Salmiya. The forth branch will be open in Sharq.” He further highlighted that the bank is ready to receive its different clients during the official working hours to provide the best banking services.

KUWAIT: Australian Ambassador Robert Tyson and other officials at the Australian Universities Open Day.

Australian universities hold Open Day

Adnan Al-Salem

KUWAIT: IDP Education Kuwait organized an open day event for Australian universities on Monday, at the Sheraton Hotel. Robert Tyson, the Australian ambassador to Kuwait, inaugurated the event and met with representatives of the 14 renowned Australian universities showcased at the event. “Our aim is to offer students and their families an opportunity to meet face to face with Australian universities representatives to get first-hand information about the programs they offer and the benefits of studying in Australia” says Sujata Vora, IDP Kuwait Business Unit Manager. IDP Education offers application service

to all 39 universities, TAFE, private vocational colleges and English language centers in Australia, in addition to client universities in US, UK and Canada, thus making it the leading student placement services provider in terms of study offerings. IDP Education offers personal academic counseling on programs and universities and helps students with the entire application and student visa process with No Service Fees, for the represented universities. Moreover, IDP is a coowner of IELTS, the internationally recognized English language proficiency test, together with the British Council and the University of Cambridge.



Suicidal girl escaped arranged marriage? Policeman assaulted in Adan KUWAIT: A teenager who reportedly attempted suicide a couple of weeks ago said she jumped from a window to avoid a person she was told had married her without her knowledge. After regaining consciousness, the girl told police officers that she was fleeing to escape a forced marriage. Investigators headed to Amiri Hospital on Sunday to speak to the 18-year-old Egyptian girl, who was admitted 19 days ago with several broken bones. The girl’s family reported that she tried to commit suicide as she jumped from their first floor Salmiya apartment. The girl denied the suicide charges, explaining that she tripped while trying to escape from the window. She said her mother and brother brought a strange man to her room and told her that he was her husband. The girl told officers that her brother tried to get her discharged her from hospital before they arrived, but left when he failed to give an explanation for his sister’s injuries. The brother reportedly told the girl that her alleged husband has divorced her since the incident. He left the hospital when she refused to accompany him. He failed to produce either marriage or divorce papers, or any other evidence to support his claims. Investigations are ongoing into the mysterious case. Fatal crash A male driver was killed and two other people were injured in an accident reported recently on Airport Road. Paramedics and police arrived at the crash site min-

utes after receiving a report of a serious two-car collision. A male Kuwaiti was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others were rushed to Farwaniya Hospital with several injuries. An investigation was opened to determine the circumstances behind the accident. Ambulance crash Five people were injured inside an ambulance, which was involved in an accident while transferring a man from Nugra police station to the Psychiatric Hospital. The ambulance was called to the police station on Monday after police officers failed to control a frenzied inmate. On its way to the hospital, the ambulance turned over by the side of the road after its driver lost control over the vehicle. The accident resulted in injuries to the driver, the inmate, a police officer who escorted him, and two other paramedics. Other ambulances arrived at the scene shortly after the accident was reported to carry the injured to Sabah Hospital. Policeman assaulted An officer was injured following an assault outside Adan Police Station by two people who felt he was unfair to them during a previous investigation. The two suspects were reportedly discharged from the police station shortly before the incident happened. Before that, they engaged in an argument with the investigator who took their testimonies in a case they were briefly held for. They reportedly waited for the officer to come out and beat him

harshly before other police officers rearrested them. The officer was rushed to Adan Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a head injury and broken fingers. Man robs former employer An Asian man was arrested following an attempted robbery at his former employer’s house in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. He escaped after physically assaulting the homeowners’ children. The suspect reportedly hit his former employer ’s daughter after she caught him stealing inside the house. Her brother followed the suspect when he ran away. The Asian hit him with a brick, causing a serious head injury. The man was eventually arrested inside a South Surra house, where he was located by a team of investigators. He remains in custody to face charges, after admitting that he broke inside the house to steal. Rapist caught An Arab man was arrested following a failed rape attempt targeting a female resident of a Salwa building late on Monday night. The Iraqi victim had just driven home when the suspect attempted to force her inside his car as she stepped out of hers. She was eventually saved by local residents who left their apartments to see what was happening after hearing her screams. The suspect was restrained until police arrived and took him into custody. An investigation revealed that the suspect lives in a building near to the victim. —Al-Rai, Al-Anbaa

KUWAIT: Jordan’s Ambassador Mohammad Al-Kayed pictured with some ambassadors this week.

‘Jordan opposes military interference in Syria’ KUWAIT: Jordan’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Mohammad Al-Kayed, reaffirmed his country’s opposition to Military interference in Syria, adding that, “Our stand on Jordan is very clear: we oppose military intervention in Syria and this stance has been expressed by all Jordanian officials. The integrity of Syrian territories

is among Jordan’s interests and Jordan opposes foreign military intervention in Syria.” Jordan’s new ambassador to Kuwait said relations with Kuwait are outstanding, as they have been instilled by wise leadership in both countries. He further added that he will do his best to develop relations between the two countries and

serve the Jordanian community. Ambassador Mohammad AlKayed said that he is very happy to be in Kuwait and feels that he is among his people. When asked about Jordan joining the GCC, AlKayed said: “We are working with our brothers in the Gulf countries to follow up the recommendations of the GCC summit.”

KUWAIT: Khaled Al-Jarallah and other officials at the inauguration of new embassy premises.

New South Korean Embassy premises opened in Kuwait KUWAIT: The new premises of Embassy of the Republic of Korea was inaugurated on March 18 by Deputy Minister of the Korean Ministr y of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Lee Hyuk, during a ceremony that was attended by Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary, Khaled Al-Jarallah as well as senior government officials, members of various diplomatic missions accredited to Kuwait, representatives of the Korean community in Kuwait and media representatives. They all came to share this joyous occasion with the Korean and local employees of the Embassy. In his speech marking the chancery inauguration, the Deputy Minister spoke that new chancery is the symbol of opening a new era of bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and the State of Kuwait. While he commended the strong economic and commercial relations that tie Kuwait and South Korea, he also promised to strengthen people-to-people contacts and exchanges with Kuwait. In this regard, the Korean side has organized policy dialogue and training program for senior Kuwaiti official at the level of Undersecretary in September last year policy dialogue and training program. The Embassy has also the Korean Culture Diwaniya and various cultural programs to spread many aspects of Korean culture to the Kuwaiti socie-

ty. The Korean officials also underlined that the Korean government seeks to contribute to Kuwait ambitious development plan and is ready to mobilize all required

floor reception area, and used granite, which abundant in Korea, as a finishing materials, it also combined with the courtyard structure of the Kuwaiti traditional house. The Korean

expertise and potentials in different sectors to turn the plan into a reality. He warmly thanked all those who contributed to the completion of the new building for the Korean Embassy. He also explained that the new Embassy building tried to harmonize some Korean cultural aspects with Kuwait’s rich tradition, culture and heritage. According to him, while it reflected the motives of Korean Alphabet on the outside wall, bring the colors of the Korean traditional clothing (Hanbok) in to the glasses of the 1st

Ambassador, in turn, stressed that the complex is a testament to Korea’s friendship with the Kuwaiti people. He hailed the distinguished KoreanKuwaiti ties in all fields. The ambassador, on behalf of the entire embassy staff, expressed appreciation for all those who contributed to the completion of the project, and particularly his predecessor. The new premises is a modern building meeting the highest standards has been unveiled as a symbol of partnership between Korea and Kuwait.



LOCAL kuwait digest

in my view

Illegitimate strike

State of our Union 2012

By Ali Al-Khamees labor strike is a mass work stoppage carried out temporarily by employees in protest to their employers at certain issues they are in conflict with. In this case, employees are allowed to go on strike as long as they do not violate the terms of their contracts and show plans to resume work as soon as the conflicts are resolved. Labor strikes were banned internationally until agreements were reached to organize this process through a set of regulations that protect the interests of both sides of a labor dispute. These regulations include informing the authorities beforehand about the time of the strike, as well as suspending the strike during the direct negotiation process. The regulations also ban strikes at locations where work stoppages could threaten national security, such as the army or public services like hospitals and fire stations. While we recognize the right of workers to strike to achieve their rightful demands, this right must not be abused to call for demands that leaves negative long-term effects on the state budget and national economy. After the unions made their salary increase demand, the Government studied their proposals and eventually came up with a proposal that contained a pay raise which did not satisfy the workers. The period during which the Government studied the protestors’ demands and came up with a proposal is considered to be a form of the negotiation process, under which a strike must be suspended as per international regulations. The strikes carried out by labor unions of the Customs General Department and Kuwait Airways have been caused by the squandering of public funds, and have resulted in major losses to public and private companies as well as damaging public interests. As per Kuwait’s Civil Law, a party can sue protesting labor forces and demand compensation for damages caused by their strike. Since the start of the strikes to demand salary increases, the Government has passed financial privileges to public sector employees, rendering it unjustifiable for the protestors to continue with their work stoppage. If they believe that pay raises the Government enforced are unfair, they ought to engage in new negotiations. If they fail, they can renew their strike. The strike which continued after the Government passed the salary increase can be considered illegitimate, since employees refrained from their duties and has resulted in more financial damage than the privileges they are demanding. —Al-Rai


By Fouad Al-Obaid Twitter: @Fouadalobaid he lack of proper leadership, let alone a make believe one, has set us back for many years. Political bickering and drama has escalated a calm country into one that is ready to give into sectarian and tribal elements. They spare no occasion to use such pitiful cards to sow discord amongst the citizens of what could be a great country. The tragedy is that 2012, just like the previous several years, has seen the emergence of a disorganized state despite amassing massive oil wealth. The prime concern for all seems to be how to efficiently squander public wealth and turn a burgeoning surplus into a potentially chronic deficit before the turn of the decade. Not used to reality checks, the local leadership has comforted us far too long with fairytale fantasies that everything is in hand. The truth is- how can it be?! With the unraveling of direct threats from Damascus, covert threats from the shores of the Gulf, instability up north, and a random shooting spree in the south, things are NOT OK.


kuwait digest

Labor union’s disobedience By Meshal Al-Thufairi uwait is a victim of organized crime committed what they insist are their rightful demands. Only in that case is the Government solely with premeditation by its own people. A country with revenues that can feed its people for accountable for the repercussions of a full labor an entire year has infrastructure similar to those strike - as long as labor demands are reasonable. As we see the labor strikes story develop, it is sad found in poverty-stricken places around the world. On one hand, the Government has so far failed to to witness Government weakness. Their procrastinaproperly utilize oil revenues in improving the fields tions make them unable to come up with prompt of health and education, resolve traffic problems or solutions. This created a state of chaos, where the address many other cases which the country is suf- state’s general interest is shoved aside in favor of a fering from. On the other hand, civilians don’t truly group of workers’ demands. This is unacceptable, regardless of how rightful those demands are. appreciate the blessings that we have. Lawmakers, or anyI do not agree with one else for that matusing the term ‘strike’ ter, who believes that to describe what labor I do not agree with using the term labor strikes will end unions are doing these ‘strike’ to describe what labor unions are as soon as the days, because their doing these days, because their actions Government meets actions are more simithe protestors’ lar to civil disobediare more similar to civil disobedience demands are hugely ence when they damwhen they damage the state’s reputation. mistaken. On the conage the state’s reputaThey are threatening national security by trary, such actions will tion. They are threatencourage more ening national security the depletion of food supplies and harmlabor unions to do by the depletion of ing citizens, who have to deal with skythe same when they food supplies and rocketing prices due to shortages. realize that civil disharming citizens, who obedience is the have to deal with skyshor test way to rocketing prices due to achieve financial privileges. shortages. The Government needs to carry out radical studThis, in my opinion, reflects the labor unions’ shallow understanding of the true principles of unionist ies to the public sector’s payroll in order to achieve work. A strike is usually conducted gradually, as balance in pay among all state employees, because workers start with a 2-hour work stoppage first, we are already experiencing what can happen when before increasing the strike hours every day until it the Government take decisions without long-term reaches full force if the Government fails to meet planning. —Al-Rai


Spreading the wealth is a noble idea, but it would be far better to utilize the extra funds in building a new society, a country that could become a model not only in the region but for the world. With the funds we have amassed, our concern should be to lead by example, not just to follow the regional frenetic trend of building towers that reach the sky. The ancient Babylonians attempted such feats and were marked by doom! Let us instead focus our energy, wealth and time on building the citizen through knowledge, research and development.

kuwait digest

Who’s running the state?!

kuwait digest

Violations in millions

By Mubarak Bin Shafi Al-Hajri By Thaar Al Rashidi he recent custom employees strike has delayed the entry of lots of goods, which has cost local merchants considerable losses, made prices soar and very basic items needed for consumers’ daily have vanished from the market. To keep things running, the state decided to deploy army and national guard personnel, which angered some MPs and they threatened to grill the Defense Minister accordingly! Well, the customs employees were not the only ones who went on strike. Many others, including a large segment of public servants who feel that the Government has been unfair to them compared to others, have either gone on strike or are threatening to do so to force the Government to reconsider and treat everyone equally. The Government, on the other hand, seems to be trembling and swinging hazily without knowing where the next strike would originate. It is still handling the issue with shaky hands. MPs know the exact shortage and deficiency in public services, that ought to be provided by the Government, and realize the volume of total losses caused by such strikes. But they seem to not care about the whole issue. The only thing they care about is shouting to provoke voters’ feelings and bark hollow cries and screams that have led to nothing but more deterioration! Had the strikes aimed to fix malfunctions created by previous Governments, which caused deterioration in educational, health, economic, cultural and security fields, we would all have applauded them and taken part in them. But we are quite certain that such strikes will not be met with strikers’ demands. They are expected to flare up again after subsiding for a while. We will get into an endless chain of public demands and Government defiance. It will all end up leading, very painfully and at great expense, to more deterioration and disappointment as we do not know for sure who is running this state we are living in! —Al-Watan


very one talks about financial violations, but no it is still not yet open. Equipment worth half a million one gives a figure or the place of violation. For dinars was supplied last year, but no one will benefit me, I am going to help our MPs and indicate from it because it simply will not work. The reason is some of the violations in millions, or close to mil- that the building is not of a suitable standard to lions, which left our public money open to be taken receive such modern equipment. by anyone who does not care for this state. These four projects, under the supervision of one For example, Kuwait University contracted a com- administration in Kuwait University, cost the state a pany to design and construct a water storage system total of KD 22 million without any use. in Shuwaikh area at a total cost of KD 400,000. The The disaster is that no one held the contractor project started in October 2007 and was to be final- responsible and no one asked him anything. I do not ized in April 2009. Today we are heading to April blame him. He is working in the “public interest” and 2012 and the project is still not finished but not adopted by Kuwait University in the construction withdrawn from the contractor. Does the responsi- and maintenance administration. That administrable manager who supervises the project not know tion took all the authority from all university assishow to run the projtant directors under ects she is responsible orders from and with for? the knowledge of I do not accuse anyone of corruption, The same contractor the university but I am accusing everyone of participawith the same superadministration. tion in negligence. At least there should vising manager was I do not accuse be an investigative committee to discover contracted to conanyone of corrupstruct a store in tion, but I am accushow millions were lost in these four projShuwaikh at a cost of ing everyone of parects, and even tens of other projects. It is KD 250,000. The projticipation in negliimpossible not to hold anyone accountect was supposed to gence. At least there able. There is a suspicion of negligence be delivered in 10 should be an invesmonths starting from tigative committee and the university (the brain of the state) April 2008. Today we to discover how milmust take the initiative to reform itself have completed four lions were lost in and stop the extravagance which wastes years and the project is these four projects, our money without the right to do so. still in the dark. When and even tens of the supervising manother projects. ager was asked about It is impossible the four year delay of the project she said “we did it not to hold anyone accountable. There is a suspicion in the public interest.” of negligence and the university (the brain of the What is in the public interest when you waste a state) must take the initiative to reform itself and quarter of a million dinars and before that half a mil- stop the extravagance which wastes our money lion? And a third project, a vital project, was amend- without the right to do so. ed from one million to five million dinars. (one milNote: I really do not accuse any university official lion for the basic contract value of the project, and of being corrupt, and I never accused them of that, four million in charge orders for the project). but aren’t you with me that there needs to be A fourth project, a marine project, cost Kuwait KD accountability for negligence which leads to the loss 15 million and it was supposed to open in 2009. But of millions of dinars? — Al-Anbaa


The rising escalation on Iran’s nuclear dossier is leaving us trapped in what could very well be the torching of a region ready to blow? I wish such analyses of the situation were far from reality, yet I fear this is only the tip of a sunken camel-hump! And sunken we will literally be should Mr. Gore’s prediction on climate turn out to be anything but wishful thinking! The recent announcement of salary increases amidst what many justifiably see as an increase in national wealth is dangerous as it is setting a pace that cannot and will not be sustained in the future. Spreading the wealth is a noble idea, but it would be far better to utilize the extra funds in building a new society, a country that could become a model not only in the region but for the world. With the funds we have amassed, our concern should be to lead by example, not just to follow the regional frenetic trend of building towers that reach the sky. The ancient Babylonians attempted such feats and were marked by doom! Let us instead focus our energy, wealth and time on building the citizen through knowledge, research and development. Money when not used is ink on paper, the value of which is arbitrarily marked for all to consider. Yet having billions in inked paper leads to no true addition. We ought to use our valuable inked paper and spearhead the creation of sustainable industries and economic models that will stand the test of time. We need to create value added product and start exporting things that we are good at. What we are unequivocally good at today is food. We have the best food you can taste. We also have a growing number of local restaurants that are popular in Kuwait and should be encouraged to expand abroad. Today we are an exporting nation. However, our exports are largely raw materials and mainly oil. What we need to focus on this decade is finished goods. We ought to invite global companies to set up shop in Kuwait via joint ventures. A way to fairly distribute the wealth to nationals would be to give every national an equal share in the joint venture and grassroots companies. That will alleviate the pressure on the government to employ citizens and would give impetus to a local economy overly reliant on government subsidies and grants.


Egypt’s Christians bid farewell to their patriarch Page 8

Blasts kill 49 in Iraq More than a dozen towns, cities targeted BAGHDAD: At least 26 explosions struck cities and towns across Iraq yesterday, killing at least 49 people and wounding more than 200, despite a massive security clampdown ahead of next week’s Arab League summit in Baghdad. It was Iraq’s bloodiest day in nearly a month, and the breadth of coordinated bombs in more than a dozen cities showed an apparent determination by insurgents to prove that the government cannot keep the country safe ahead of the summit. Iraq is due to host the meeting for the first time in 20 years and the government is anxious to show it can maintain security following the withdrawal of US troops in December. “The goal of today’s attacks was to present a negative image of the security situation in Iraq,” government spokesman Ali AlDabbagh said. “Security efforts will be escalated to counteract terrorist groups’ attacks and to fill loopholes used by them to infiltrate security, whether in Baghdad or other provinces.” Yesterday’s deadliest incident occurred in the southern Shiite Muslim holy city of Kerbala, where twin explosions killed 13 people and wounded 48 during the morning rush hour, according to Jamal Mahdi, a Kerbala health department spokesman. “The second explosion caused the biggest destruction. I saw body parts, fingers, hands thrown on the road,” 23-year-old shop owner Murtadha Ali Kadhim said. “ The security forces are stupid because they always gather at the site of an explosion and then a second explosion occurs. They become a target.” Blasts also struck in the capital, in Baiji, Baquba, Daquq, Dibis, Dhuluiya, Kirkuk, Mosul, Samarra and Tuz Khurmato to the north, in Falluja and Ramadi to the west, and Hilla, Latifiya, Mahmudiya and Mussayab to the south. Police defused bombs in Baquba, Falluja and Mosul. Most of the blasts targeted police checkpoints and patrols. “This latest spate of attacks is very likely to have been co-ordinated by a large and well-organized group. It is likely an attempt to show the

BAGHDAD: Destroyed vehicles are seen at the site of a car bomb that was set off by a suicide attacker in the centre of Baghdad yesterday. — AFP authorities that their security measures are insignif- been stepped up across the city’s checkpoints, icant,” said John Drake, a senior risk consultant at where thorough searches have backed up traffic AKE Group, which studies security in Iraq for corpo- for hours in recent days. In the northern city of rate clients. Army and police forces are frequently Kirkuk, two car bombs exploded near a police targeted in Iraq, where bombings and shootings headquarters, killing nine people and wounding still occur on a daily basis. Sunni Muslim insurgent 42, police and health sources said. In Baghdad, a groups say that despite the withdrawal of US car bomb near the provincial council building forces, they will not lay down arms and will contin- killed four and wounded 11. Police in the northeastern city of Baquba said ue to battle the Shiite-led government. Although overall violence has declined since the height of they had found and defused nine bombs, including sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, Iraqis worry one in a booby-trapped car which was parked on whether their government has the wherewithal to the road with a decapitated body in the driver’s impose security nine years after the US-led inva- seat and the man’s head in his lap. By late aftersion that overthrew Saddam Hussein. Yesterday’s noon, the toll from all the bombings compiled by attacks were the biggest since Feb 23 when dozens Reuters from police and hospital sources stood at of explosions across the country killed at least 60 49 killed and 235 wounded. On Monday evening, people. The Arab League summit on March 27-29 bombers struck five times in the northern province will be the first held in Baghdad since Saddam of Diyala, killing at least three people and woundHussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Security has ing more than 30, police said. — Reuters

‘Buy Iran goods, Khamenei urges in New Year message Page 12



The forgotten victims of Libya’s war TRIPOLI: Libyan schoolgirls stroll the streets of the close-knit neighborhood of Arada without a second glance at the pile of rubble that was once a house for four families before NATO explosives blew it apart. The mound of debris in the capital Tripoli has become part of the landscape, and only birds nest there now. But Mohammed Al-Garari, who lost his home and five relatives on June 19 last year, still chokes up at the sight of crushed cradles, collapsed walls and shards of china, the few recognizable remains of his old life. “NATO made a mistake, a fatal mistake,” said the 32-year-old as he scrambled across the rubble to what used to be the second storey where the walls were blasted open, delivering a death blow to his brother Faraj. Mohammed found the corpse in the patio below. The home of his sister was leveled completely, killing Karima along with her husband Abdullah and their two small children. “There was no light, it was full of smoke and at first I didn’t know that the blast that woke me had hit in the heart of our house,” Garari said. That fatal air strike was the only mistake NATO openly admitted to during its seven-month long air campaign in Libya during the bloody rebellion

against now dead dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The regime at the time bussed journalists to the scene in the middle of the night to witness the horror. “This is not propaganda,” said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim in what came across as an admission that other casualty sites had been staged, according to an AFP journalist present at the time. But that night less than a year ago, the mistake by the Western alliance was highlighted by the singed bodies of two men, one woman and two children, all members of the same family. “Even NATO admitted it was a mistake, but when people make mistakes they must make amends and NATO has not made amends with us-they have not come to apologize or do right by us,” Garari said. “They destroyed my home, my family and never looked back.” Amnesty International on Monday urged NATO to investigate the killing of dozens of civilians during its air campaign in Libya last year and to provide reparations to the people affected. “Adequate investigations must be carried out and full reparation provided to victims and their families,” said the rights group in a statement released one year after the first air strikes were launched in Libya by the

alliance. Amnesty’s call drew a rebuttal from NATO, whose spokeswoman Oana Lungescu insisted in a statement that the coalition conducted a campaign in line with its UN mandate and international norms. The rights watchdog said it has documented 55 cases of named civilians, including 16 children and 14 women, killed in air strikes in Tripoli and the towns of Zliten, Majer, Sirte and Brega. Garari said the air strike has also damaged his family’s reputation as those who did not know them personally assumed the building was targeted because they were hiding weapons or were loyalists of the Gaddafi regime. “Our neighbors know what we stand for and it is through their generosity that we have survived,” he said, noting that Arada was of the strongholds of the opposition and subjected to endless security raids during the conflict. Despite the heavy losses he incurred, Garari acknowledges that NATO’s intervention played a critical role in turning the tide in favour of the popular uprising against the long-time strongman. “Many, many more lives would have been lost without them, so we thank NATO for helping their revolution. But they should still make right for their mistakes,” he said.

TRIPOLI: A year after the beginning of the NATO campaign against Libya, Mohammed Al-Garari, who lost his home and five relatives shows what was once a house for four families before NATO explosives blew it apart in Tripoli’s close-knit neighborhood of Arada. — AFP The NATO campaign in Libya left a deep rift within the UN Security Council. Russia, China, South Africa and India all say NATO’s tactics breached UN resolutions. The United States, Britain, France and Germany insist their actions were legal and lifesaving. Garari said countries such as China and Russia should not use

NATO’s mistakes in Libya as a pretext for inaction in Syria, which has seen more than a year of regime crackdown against dissent that has resulted in an estimated 9,100 deaths. “Syrians are our brothers and they need the help because (President Bashar Al-) Assad is murdering his people just like Kadhafi,” he said.— AFP

Syrian cartoonist paid the price for getting personal Ali Farzat lives in Kuwait in self-imposed exile

CAIRO: The body of Pope Shenouda III lies in a casket at the Coptic Orthodox cathedral during his funeral in Cairo yesterday. —AP

Adieu Pope Shenouda CAIRO: Thousands of mourners gathered in Cairo yesterday for the funeral of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian Pope Shenouda, who spent his final years trying to comfort a community disturbed by the rise of political Islam. Shenouda, who died on Saturday aged 88, promoted religious harmony, winning respect among the Muslim majority, but his last years witnessed a growth in sectarian tension that worsened with the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last year. “I can’t tell you how much sorrow I have inside me. This was a great, great man and it will be hard to find anyone like him again,” said Ivon Mosaed, a 52-year-old Christian Copt who heads an educational institute offering foreign languages courses. Religious leaders from across the world, including a delegation of senior Catholics from the Vatican, joined thousands of Copts in the Orthodox Cathedral as longbearded priests wearing bulbous black mitres prayed over Shenouda’s body lying in an open coffin, a golden mitre on his head and a gold-tipped staff in his hand. A delegation from the ruling military council and several candidates for Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections attended the funeral. Security was tight, with dozens of police and army trucks positioned outside the cathedral and plainclothes police posted on bridges and in streets nearby. Prayers, in Egypt’s ancient Coptic language that pre-dates the arrival of Islam in

the seventh century, were led by Bishop Bakhomious, head of a church district in the Nile Delta north of Cairo, who will hold the post of pope for two months until a new leader is elected. Mourners repeated the prayers, which echoed around the cathedral’s tall, white nave adorned with gleaming gold icons. Some wept as they prayed, including billionaire Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris, an outspoken critic of Islamic radicalism. “I am so sad of course and many of my Muslim relatives are sad as well,” said Muslim university student Iman, who was dressed in black and wearing a black veil. “He was a decent Egyptian man who was also known for being very wise.” Egypt has seen less of the religious violence that prompted members of ancient Christian communities to migrate from Iraq and other Arab countries. But Coptic Christians, who comprise about a tenth of Egypt’s 80 million people, have long complained of discrimination. Shenouda strongly opposed Islamic militancy yet also strove to quell growing anger among Copts over attacks on churches, sectarian clashes sparked by inter-faith romances, family feuds and disputes over church building permits. His task grew harder on New Year’s Day last year when 23 people were killed in a bomb attack on a church in Alexandria that the authorities blamed on Islamic militants based in Gaza. — Reuters

LONDON: The moment Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat chose to depict President Bashar AlAssad and his “inner circle” in his drawings, he knew he was courting trouble. The 60-yearold, famous across the Arab world and beyond for bitingly satirical works ridiculing corruption, nepotism and narrow-mindedness, had always avoided identifying individuals in his art. That was until a few months before the uprising against Assad began last year, at which point Farzat felt the president had gone too far in stifling freedom of expression and crushing dissent. That’s when it got personal. “I made that shift from using symbols to portraying actual figures, and little by little I began to see my cartoons being carried by protesters,” Farzat said, surrounded by his works on display at the Mica Gallery in central London. “They became a symbol for them.” One of his first cartoons portraying Assad-long a taboo in Syria-showed the president reluctantly ripping a page off a calendar on Thursday, knowing that Friday would bring another wave of popular protests to the streets of Syria. In another, Assad tries to hitch a lift with outgoing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and a third shows Assad beside a large armchair, unable to sit down because the springs have broken. “Even the chair won’t accept him any more,” Farzat explained with a smile. When the revolt against Assad kicked off, Farzat received threatening phone calls and messages, but not even that prepared him for

the ferocity of the attack which came in the early hours of Aug. 25 as he left his Damascus studio. Three masked men he described as “thugs of Assad” dragged him from his car and beat him with batons before putting him in their own vehicle and continuing the assault. “I could hear them saying ‘break his hands so they never dare challenge his masters again’,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. “They hit me and hit me, on my head, on one hand and then the other and were trying to make sure they broke them. “I had concussion and bruises over the whole of my body. My hands were broken so badly that the movement is still limited.” Dumped on the side of the street, possibly for dead, Farzat was picked up by a stranger and taken to hospital where he recovered. He later left for Kuwait where he has a “residency”. The attack triggered outrage in Syria, where it was taken as a sign that Assad’s government would brook no dissent, even from a man who once knew the president personally. Farzat recalled meeting Assad in the 1990s when he was the president’s son, and enjoying a dialogue in which the future leader earnestly sought the views of the “man on the street”. Assad would visit his exhibitions and discuss political issues with Farzat and fellow artists and intellectuals, and Farzat established the satirical Al-Domari publication. A brief period of openness in the early 2000s ended suddenly, Farzat said, forcing the closure of Al-Domari and prompting


in brief

Avalanche rocks Kashmir SRINAGAR: An avalanche triggered by recent rains killed at least one man in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, while strong winds ripped trees from their roots and damaged thousands of homes, officials said yesterday. State disaster management official Amir Ali said rescuers were searching for two other men missing since the avalanche struck Monday night near the remote mountain town of Gurez. It is on India’s side of the militarized cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir thanks to heavy snowfall and frequent rain. Meanwhile, low atmospheric pressure over the region Monday night caused unusually strong winds, gusting up to 27 miles per hour through the main city of Srinagar.

Despite jitters, Israeli anti-war camp muted JERUSALEM: With all the talk of an attack on Iran, one might expect Israelis to be hiding in basements or marching against another war. But though polls show about three-quarters of them would oppose Israel resorting to force against Tehran’s disputed nuclear program without US support, that sense of unease has had little impact on normal life in the Jewish state. “In Israel, when we want to shoot, we shoot, we don’t talk. I think (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is maneuvering vis-a-vis foreign opinion,” said Dedi Cohen, 36, a lawyer from Tel Aviv. “There’s been so much chatter about this that the ‘Iranian threat’ has become something of a joke in Israel. There’s really not that much sense of urgency,” he said. It’s not that Israelis, vexed over a pressing issue, have been reluctant to take to the streets in the past. Six months ago, some 300,000 people flooded the main avenues of Israeli cities in an evening of demonstrations against high living costs - a social protest movement that began with complaints on Facebook about the price of cottage cheese. So far, protests against armed conflict with Iran have been a fringe affair: an anti-war exhibit by Tel Aviv artists and newspaper ads placed by far-left activists. Pictures of smiling Israelis are circulating via Facebook, bearing the slogan: “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Israel regards Iran as the

greatest threat to its existence and Tehran, which denies seeking atomic arms, has vowed to retaliate with ballistic missile salvoes for any attack on its nuclear facilities. But experts say the difference between Israeli public opinion and government rhetoric is not as paradoxical as it looks. On top of the fatalism of a people inured to war, there is skepticism about the resolve of a prime minister who, despite his veiled threats to take unilateral military action, is not famous for risk-taking. “It’s not clear that a decision has been made by the government, which has managed to convey a degree of uncertainty,” said Tamar Hermann, a veteran pollster with the Israel Democracy Institute. “Most people will say they don’t have all of the information about the cost of taking action or of not taking action,” she added. Their reticence reflects “a mature recognition of the complexity of the matter”. But Netanyahu raised his pitch in Washington this month, likening Iran to Nazi Germany and asserting that Israel had a right to defend itself. Few Israelis doubt they face hostility from the Islamic Republic. But some take umbrage at the Holocaust talk, given the protection now afforded by their seasoned military, which is widely assumed to include the region’s sole nuclear arsenal. The liberal Haaretz daily said Netanyahu had painted himself into a corner by describing Iran as a genocidal threat. “Israel must not attack Iran,” novelist David Grossman wrote in Haaretz. —Reuters

many like-minded thinkers to move abroad. “I don’t know what happened all of a sudden,” Farzat said. “It was as if he (Assad) was there and, when we looked again, he was gone. We couldn’t communicate with him, we couldn’t get through. We used to be able to talk to him. He completely vanished.” As long ago as 2007, Farzat warned of impending crisis in Syria if the government did not reform. Now that a full-scale revolt is underway, he believes there is no turning back. “The real measure is not time, the real measure is that we have managed to break the barrier of fear,” he said. “At that point the revolution became victorious. The question is always ‘when will it end?’ I don’t know, but it has already triumphed. “People are not going to go back to the way they used to live. There is no way you can go back to the way things were before this revolution started.” The cartoonist, who reportedly received a death threat from Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, has not given up on the idea of returning to Syria from selfimposed exile. “Every day I say I will go back to Damascus. Every day people say to me ‘don’t go back, it’s too dangerous.’ “One of these days I am just going to do it, because the reality is I can’t stay away from my country for much longer.” He has returned to work after the attack, although the movement in his hands is restricted. One of his most recent cartoons shows a tiny flower lifting a tank into the air as it sprouts from the ground.— Reuters

ALGIERS: A file photo shows Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (right) greeting a member of a delegation from a women’s organization in Algiers during a ceremony to honor the achievements of Algerian women, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. — AFP

Equality eludes Algeria women 50 years after independence ALGIERS: Algerian women played a major role in the war of independence from France, but their sacrifice has yet to earn them equal status with men half a century later. At independence in 1962 after seven and a half years of war, “we realized that even though we had fought as full citizens, we had to return home and be quiet, which was hard to accept,” said Zoulikha Bekaddour, an academic and former moudjahida (fighter). Women’s role diminished more and more as time went by, she said. “At the first constituent assembly there were 13 women; at the second there were only two. It was over. The regression had begun.” A family code passed in 1984, after voters overwhelmingly rejected similar language in during the 1960s and ‘70s, still stands, designating women as minors. The code is at variance with the constitution, which enshrines men and women as

equals, and there have been a number of initiatives for reform. The post-independence struggle saw tens of thousands of women take to the streets of Algiers in March 1965 in response to a call by female independence war veterans. But, Bekaddour said, “We quickly saw that our struggle had been hijacked. We held a march that frightened the men.” Sociologist and writer Fatma Oussedik said Algerian women, who make up 53 percent of the population, have always been involved in change, before, during and after the war that Algerian historians say killed 1.5 million Algerians. But their efforts have not led to greater participation in political life. Today, only 30 of Algeria’s 389 lawmakers are women, while the only women senators have been among the one-third of the chamber that is appointed by the president.— AFP

14 children killed in India HYDERABAD: A speeding bus veered off the road and fell into a pond yesterday, killing at least 14 schoolchildren in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, police said. Local villagers fished out 14 bodies from the pond next to the road in the small town of Raghavpuram, said S A Huda, state director-general of police. Police and volunteers helped rescue some of the children from the bus, which was partly submerged. There were at least 40 children in the bus when it crashed, Huda said. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle when he swerved to avoid a head-on collision with a motorcyle, Huda said. Raghavpuram is about 150 miles east of the state capital, Hyderabad. India has the world’s highest road death toll, with more than 110,000 people dying each year in accidents commonly caused by speeding, overcrowding and poor vehicle and road maintenance, police say. Indian swami hospitalized NEW DELHI: An 80-year-old Indian scientist-turnedguru has been hospitalized during a hunger strike to protest against pollution and dams in the holy Ganges river. G D Agrawal, a former professor of environmental engineering who is also known as Swami Gyan Swaroopanand, has refused food and water since March 8, one of his supporters said. “He will sacrifice his life for the river, so I hope the government opens its eyes and accepts his demands,” said Rajendra Singh. “Nothing has been done to revive the river which is dying a slow death.”



‘Red notice’ issued against Turks and Caicos ex-leader PROVIDENCIALES: Interpol issued a “red notice” warrant Monday against former premier of Turks and Caicos Islands Michael Misick, who is being investigated by British authorities for corruption. Misick is believed to be in the Dominican Republic, according to media reports. A “red notice” means Interpol, the international police agency, is requesting a provisional arrest of a person with a goal of extradition. Misick resigned in 2009 follow-

ing a corruption scandal in which he was accused of money laundering and bribery in the British territory. Britain reassumed direct control of the tiny Caribbean nation in August of the same year after declaring corruption to be “endemic”. Much of the alleged wrongdoing centered on misuse of government land. Politicians and their associates were accused of obtaining parcels at heavily discounted prices then selling them to foreign develop-

ers at a profit. Part of the reason suspicion was directed at Misick was his flamboyant lifestyle. He is an ex-husband of Hollywood actress LisaRaye McCoy. Queen Elizabeth II appointed Gordon Wetherall to replace Misick. Wetherall served as premier for the next two years, as recommended by the same commission of inquiry that requested an arrest warrant against Misick. The Turks and Caicos Islands’

special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) said in a statement that in recent months, “Every opportunity has been given to Mr Misick to voluntarily surrender to the SIPT’s jurisdiction for interview. Despite previous indications from Mr Misick’s solicitors that he would attend for interview, he has failed to do so.” The warrant for Misick follows a string of recent arrests and court appearances by members of his ousted administration.

‘Cruel’ gunman filmed French school carnage Authorities vow to hunt down scooter gunman TOULOUSE: The gunman who shot dead three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school was a cold, cruel killer who filmed his carnage, France’s interior minister said, as the country prepared to hold a silent tribute to the victims yesterday. Claude Gueant told reporters video surveillance tapes at the school in Toulouse showed the gunman was recording his shooting spree with a small video camera attached to his neck. “This adds another element to the profile of the killer. It is someone who is cruel enough to record it,” Gueant said at a primary school in the southwestern city. “This shows a profile of the murderer as someone who is very cold, very determined, with precise gestures, and therefore very cruel,” Gueant added. The school attack, and the killing of three soldiers last week, has stunned France and prompted President Nicolas Sarkozy and other leading candidates to suspend campaigning for next month’s presidential election. More than 200 police officers have joined the hunt for the gunman, who is the prime suspect in the killing of three paratroopers in two separate shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban, to the north. Gueant said police were pursuing several leads into the attacks, which shared a number features. In each attack, the gunman arrived on a stolen scooter and used a Colt 45 handgun. Sarkozy ordered security tightened in Toulouse, with guards posted at religious sites and the terror alert raised to its highest level in Toulouse and the surrounding region. “We will track down this monster. We will find him, bring him to justice and punish him,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said of the killer on France 2 television.

A child who survived the attack spoke of his feelings of terror as the shots rang out through the school. “We were getting ready

shooter’s face was hidden by a motorcycle helmet during the attack. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said

TOULOUSE: Gendarmes’ vehicles escort two funeral convoys carrying the coffins of the victims of the gun attack at the “Ozar Hatorah” Jewish school. — AFP for prayers when the principal stormed in and screamed that there was a shooting. I panicked and fled to the old canteen and heard the shots, but saw nothing,” an 11-year old boy who survived the attack told France Info radio. “I thought he was going to come in any minute and finish us all. Then I waited and waited and then my daddy came to get me,” he said. Police have not named a suspect but are searching the city of around one million for a man they believed could be a trained marksman, as well as the Yamaha scooter he used to flee. The

on Monday the school killings appeared to be motivated by racism, was due to attend a one minute silent vigil at 1100 am (1000 GMT) in a Paris secondary school. Schools in all of France will observe a minute of silence. At the entrance to the school, a five-floor brick building in a leafy residential neighborhood, residents and parents left floral tributes and candles in memory of the victims. The bodies of three of the victims, who had dual French and Israeli nationality, were expected to be sent to Israel but no details were available about the timing. — Reuters

A hearing is scheduled for next month at the country’s Supreme Court for former deputy premier Floyd Hall, three former ministers, two foreign developers and two lawyers, among others. They face charges of bribery, money laundering, conspiring to defraud the government, and acquiring proceeds of criminal conduct. All 11 defendants are currently out of jail on bail for amounts ranging between $100,000 to $36 million. — AFP

Easterners flee Nigeria’s north NNEWI: A town hall meeting called by Christians to discuss funeral arrangements turned into a bloodbath in northern Nigeria when members of a radical Islamist sect opened fire with assault rifles. At least 20 members of the Igbo ethnic group died in that attack Jan 6. More attacks have followed, targeting the largest Christian group living across Nigeria’s Muslim north. Many Igbos are now fleeing the north, even as state officials and others downplay the exodus, likely out of fear of sparking retaliatory violence. The Igbo are one of the three dominant ethnic groups in Nigeria. Based in Nigeria’s eastern states, the Igbo became largely Catholic after being colonized by the British. Many became successful traders who spread throughout Nigeria. In the country ’s Muslim north, Igbo traders often dominate car parts sales and other markets. That often leaves Igbo traders the most exposed during ethnic and religious violence that has routinely gripped Nigeria since independence from Britain in 1960. “We’re everywhere there’s a clash between any two groups of people because we’re a people who live all over the place,” said Maja Emeka Umeh, the spokesman of Anambra state in Nigeria’s east. “They end up killing our people.” A failed 1966 coup, led primarily by Igbo army officers, sparked violence targeting Igbo people throughout Nigeria’s Muslim north. About 10,000 people died in the resulting riots and many fled back to eastern Nigeria ahead of secessionist leader Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declaring the region and much of Nigeria’s oil-producing southern delta its own nation. Most recently, the Igbo have been targeted by the Boko Haram Islamist sect, which has killed more than 360 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. In a message

to journalists at the start of the year, the sect threatened to begin killing Christians living in the nation’s north. The attacks came soon after. People have been fleeing, with many taking buses to other parts of Nigeria. In Nnewi, a city in the south, attendance for Masses at St. Michael De Archangel noticeably rose from those who had returned, the Rev Michael Onyekachukwu said. The total number of displaced people is difficult to come by. While Nigerian Red Cross officials acknowledge Igbos fled the north, they declined to offer specific figures. Government officials also downplayed the number of those fleeing, saying many had returned to the north. President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, has decried the killings by Boko Haram. “Some continue to dip their hands and eat with you and you won’t even know the person who will point a gun at you or plant a bomb behind your house,” Jonathan said Jan 8 at a church service in the capital, Abuja. There’s another fear at play - the specter of retaliatory violence targeting Muslims living in the south. In February 2006, Christians in Onitsha burned the bodies of slain Muslims and defaced mosques following protests over the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad. A local human rights activist estimated at the time that at least 80 Muslims had been killed in Onitsha. Umeh, the spokesman of Anambra state, said government officials would try to put down any unrest. But he made a point to mention the 1994 death of Gideon Akaluka, an Igbo man arrested over allegedly defacing the Quran in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano. Rioters broke into jail, beheaded him and carried his head around the city on a spike. “Nigerians, the federal government, the state government, other authorities, they looked the other way,” Umeh said. — AP



Outrage builds over Florida vigilante-style killing Stand Your Ground law called into question ORLANDO: Fed by an international petition and celebrity tweets, public outrage is spreading over the Florida case of a white vigilante neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager and escaped arrest. More than 435,000 people, many alerted by tweets from celebrities like movie director Spike Lee and musician Wyclef Jean, signed a petition on, a social action website, calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman. The campaign is the third largest in’s history, and surpassed a petition of about 300,000 signatures credited last year with persuading Bank of America to drop plans for a $5 debit card fee, said Megan Lubin, a spokeswoman. The victim’s family lawyer, Ben Crump, said public pressure is behind a promise by the US Department of Justice to review the case. Some Florida legislators are mov-

ing to consider a change in the law to prevent a recurrence. “People all over the world, more than 400,000 people, said we demand you make an arrest. That’s what is building pressure to look at it,” Crump said. The shooting occurred Feb 26 when Zimmerman spotted 17-year-old Trayvon Martin walking home from buying candy and iced tea at a convenience store. Zimmerman, patrolling the neighborhood in his car, called the 911 emergency number and reported what he called “a real suspicious guy.” “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about,” Zimmerman told dispatchers, adding, “These assholes. They always get away.” The dispatcher, hearing heavy breathing on the phone, asked Zimmerman: “Are you following him?” “Yeah,” Zimmerman said. “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatch-

er responded. But several neighbors subsequently called 911 to report a scuffle between Zimmerman and Trayvon. While some of the callers were still on the phone, cries for help followed by a gunshot can be heard in the background. “I recognized that (voice) as my baby screaming for help before his life was taken,” Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told Reuters. Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, and turned the case over to prosecutors where it remains under review. Police cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, enacted in 2005 and now in effect in at least 16 other states. Dubbed “Shoot first (ask questions later)” by opponents, the Florida law allows a potential crime victim who is “in fear of great bodily injury” to use deadly force in public places. The landmark law expanded on legislation, known as the Castle Doctrine, that allowed use of deadly force in defense

of “hearth and home.” Passed under former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, it overturned a centuries-old doctrine that required the potential victim to retreat and avoid confrontation if possible, according to Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based advocacy group. “No one could argue that Zimmerman could not have safely retreated and avoided this conflict, and I think that is the critical element here and why these laws are so dangerous,” Everitt said. “He (Zimmerman) does not have a duty to retreat in Florida.” Crump said Zimmerman should not be protected under the Stand Your Ground law. “It’s illogical, you can claim self defense after you chase and pursue somebody,” he said. “That’s a courtroom defense. That’s not something the police accept on the side of the street.” Five years after Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was

enacted, a 2010 review by the St Petersburg Times found that reports of justifiable homicides had tripled, and a majority of cases were excused by prosecutors or the courts. Meanwhile, the petition drive, started by a friend of Trayvon’s mother, has been signed by people across the globe from Canada to Thailand, Lubin said. Celebrity tweets over the weekend made #Trayvon a trending topic on Twitter, she said. Additional celebrities tweeting and posting on Facebook about the case include singers Clay Aiken and John Legend, film director Michael Moore and actress Mia Farrow. “This is a great moment for the entire nation to become educated in these Stand Your Ground laws,” Everitt said. “It’s unbelievably dangerous and really takes us to a situation where the rule of law is beginning to erode on our streets and vigilantism is being actively encouraged by these laws.” — Reuters

Uruguay’s ‘serial killer’ nurses target patients Death toll could exceed 50

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk through Lafayette Square with their daughter Sasha in Washington, DC. — AFP

Momentum stalls on Obama nuke agenda WASHINGTON: Shortly after taking office, US President Barack Obama set the goal of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons as a central theme of his presidency and pledged dramatic steps to lead the way. But after lofty rhetoric and a few steps forward, Obama is facing fresh doubts about whether he is willing to take the political, diplomatic and budgetary risks that may be needed to bring his vision closer to reality. At home, arms-control advocates who once extolled his ambitious plans are complaining about funding cuts for several key nuclear security programs, while critics on the right are leveling election-year accusations that his policies weaken America’s strategic deterrence. At the same time, Obama’s efforts to spur global cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism, which he once called the “single biggest threat” to US security, have been overshadowed by the more urgent challenges of thwarting Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear development. All of this is weighing on Obama’s broader nuclear agenda as he heads to Seoul next weekend for the second Nuclear

Security Summit. He inaugurated the event earlier in his tenure. “The nuclearfree vision thing has run up against facts on the ground,” according to an outside expert who advises the White House on national security. “So, for now, there’s going to be an abundance of talk and not much serious action.” Granted, it’s been more than just talk up to this point. Obama unveiled a revamped policy in 2010 renouncing development of new nuclear weapons and restricting use of those already in Washington’s arsenal. He followed that up by signing a landmark arms reduction deal with Russia last year. He secured specific commitments from world leaders at the inaugural 2010 summit in Washington to help keep bomb-grade material out of terrorists’ hands, and independent experts say most of the pledges are being met though many were modest in scope. But momentum has slowed on Obama’s nuclear agenda and, with the Nov 6 presidential election looming, chances for major new advances look doubtful. — Reuters

Chavez sees plot to kill opposition rival CARACAS: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said yesterday he had information about a plot to assassinate opposition rival Henrique Capriles, who hopes to block his bid for re -election in October. “The head of intelligence met with a team of the Miranda governor, because there’s some information out there that they want to kill him,” Chavez said in a phone call to state TV. In an already tense election campaign, where the opposition senses it has its best chance to end the socialist leader ’s 13-year grip on the South American nation, Chavez implied that the plot had come from within the opposition’s own ranks. “It’s not the government, not at all, on the contrary.” Chavez gave few details of the alleged plot, but said his government had offered protection to the 39-year-old opposition leader and governor of Miranda state, who is on a nationwide tour to drum up support for his presidential bid. Stoking fears of violence during campaigning among a deeply polarized population, shots were fired during a visit by Capriles this month to a Caracas slum that is a Chavez stronghold. Both sides blamed each other at the time. “As the state, we are obliged to get on top of this situation and give protection to any Venezuelan, especially in this context,” said Chavez, who is due to start radiation therapy for cancer in coming days. “We have taken the information seriously because of the source it has come from, and we have informed the bourgeois candidate’s security team and offered security.” Though Capriles is a

center-left politician and admirer of Brazil’s “modern-left” model, Chavez and his supporters portray him as the representative of Venezuela’s wealthy elite who wants to dismantle the government’s social welfare policies. Capriles is the candidate of the Democratic Unity coalition, which groups numerous parties of widely divergent tendencies from right to center-left. Chavez implied he believed the plot came from within opposition circles. “It’s regrettable that from some sectors, laboratories of the opposition’s dirty war, they are launching campaigns like that, verging on crime.” A spokeswoman for Capriles said there was no immediate response from the governor’s camp. He has been on a “house-by-house” tour around the nation with notably little security, diving in-andout of homes and shops, normally surrounded by crowds, and traveling most of the time in a simple bus. ‘BRUTAL’ KILLING Chavez also condemned as “barbarous” and “brutal” the fatal late-night shooting of a Chilean diplomat’s teenage daughter by policemen at the weekend in western Venezuela. A dozen officers have been detained after police opened fire on the vehicle being driven by the brother of Karen Berendique, the 19year-old daughter of the Chilean consul to the region. “She was murdered by a group of policemen and the full force of the law will come down on them,” Chavez said. “Whatever their rank, level, or job, they have no right to use arms like that.” — Reuters

MONTEVIDEO: Prosecutors yesterday said they received more reports of suspicious deaths after two male nurses admitted over the weekend to killing 16 patients at two hospitals in Uruguay. Officials would not say how many deaths are under review, but have said that one of the suspects admitted killing 11 patients, and the other five. The daily El Pais reported that the death toll could exceed 50. “More complaints are arriving and we will be working specifically on them,” to determine if there were more victims, said Angel Rosas, a federal official leading the investigation. Police arrested the two male nurses on Sunday and charged them with murdering patients at a private Neurological Intensive Care Center and a public hospital’s intermediate-level care unit. The names of the suspects have not been released, but the El Observador newspaper identified them as Ariel Acevedo, 46, and Marcelo Pereira, 40. The men confessed to the killings, telling investigators “they didn’t like seeing people suffer,” said Rolando Vomero, the judge overseeing the investigation. One of the men’s girlfriend, who also is a nurse, was arrested and charged with covering up information in the case. Health Minister Jorge Venegas described the suspects as “serial killers,” and promised far-reaching inspections of both private and public medical facilities, in consultation with the World Health Organization. Venegas also said he would open a confidential hotline for tipsters to report suspected abuse, and a telephone counseling service to help those emotionally burdened by the scandal, unprecedented in this nation of three million. It was “painful and disgusting” to contemplate “the presence of murderers” within the country’s healthcare industry, said Deputy

Health Minister Leonel Briozzo. “There was no error here,” Briozzo said. “There was intent to kill.” Ines Mazziotti, who represents one of the suspects, said that her client’s acts were not

MONTEVIDEO: Picture shows the public Maciel Hospital, one of the two health centers in Montevideo in which at least 16 patients were killed by two nurses. — AFP homicides but rather “mercy” killings intended to put desperately ill patients out of their misery. “After 20 years in intensive care, of constant stress on the edge of life and death, he could not take it anymore,” Mazziotti said. Rosas was unimpressed. “For us this is criminal conduct,” he said. “The pity hypothesis collapses” after a patient that was being released died after receiving an injection, he said. The case became known to authorities in January fol-

Romney aims to widen lead CHICAGO: Front-runner Mitt Romney appears poised to widen his lead in the Republican presidential race with a victory in Illinois, where polls show he has a comfortable edge over top rival Rick Santorum. Romney hopes a solid win in Illinois will give him a fresh burst of momentum in the volatile White House campaign and add urgency to calls for Republicans to rally around the former Massachusetts governor and end an increasingly bitter nominating battle. Romney has more than twice as many delegates to the nominating convention as Santorum, and his campaign has argued that his rivals cannot catch him in the race to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama in the Nov 6 election. Two Illinois polls on Monday gave Romney double-digit leads over Santorum, a former US senator from Pennsylvania. A Public Policy Polling survey said Romney led Santorum by 15 percentage points, and an American Research Group poll put the lead at 14 points. The other two contenders still in the race, former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, lagged badly in both polls. Santorum, a staunch social conservative who has attacked Romney as too moderate to lead the party against Obama, shrugged off the polls and held on to hopes for an upset that would dramatically reshape the race. “I predict if you are able to do what I know most people think is impossible, which is carry the state of Illinois, that will fundamentally change this election like no other contest to date,” Santorum told reporters on Mon day. Santorum and Gingrich, a fellow conservative, hope to keep Romney from capturing a majority of delegates by the time the nominating contests end in June, leaving the choice up for grabs among the party’s mostly conservative delegates heading into the August nominating convention in Tampa, Florida. Romney has 518 delegates to Santorum’s 239 in the race for the 1,144 needed to win the nomination, according to a count

lowing a tip from “private sources.” Authorities stepped up their investigation following the suspicious death of a female patient last week. Vomero told reporters on Sunday that

by CNN. There are 69 delegates up for grabs in Illinois, although Santorum failed to file delegate slates in four congressional districts, cutting into his potential haul. Romney and Santorum launched a new round of attacks on each other ahead of the vote, with Romney calling his rival an “economic lightweight” and Santorum accusing Romney, the former head of a private equity firm, of being “a Wall Street financier” who would have a hard time winning in November. Romney has emphasized his experience in business, and he gave a speech on economic issues in Chicago o n M onday to highlight his ability to lead the United States through an economic recovery. “I am running for president because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess,” Romney said. But Santorum, who has campaigned heavily in rural southern Illinois and courted conservatives who distrust Romney for the moderate stances he took as governor of liberal Massachusetts, tried to turn that argument against Romney on Monday. — Reuters

ILLINOIS: Landon Peterson peeks out of the voting booth while his mother Meghan votes at Christian union Church in Metamora yesterday. — AFP

the alleged killers used different methods to end the lives of their patients. In one case “the suspect introduced morphine directly into the blood stream,” Vomero said, while in the other, “they pumped air into the blood stream, which resulted in deaths in just a few minutes.” The staff at Hospital Maciel, in historic downtown Montevideo, was trying to come to terms with having worked for years with one of the alleged killers. — AFP

Problem schools hurt US security WASHINGTON: The nation’s security and economic prosperity is at risk if America’s schools don’t improve, warns a task force led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City’s school system. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, cautions that far too many schools fail to adequately prepare students. “The dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital,” it said. “The failure to produce that capital will undermine American security.” The task force said the State Department and US intelligence agencies face critical shortfalls in the number of foreign language speakers, and that fields such as science, defense and aerospace are at particular risk because a shortage of skilled workers is expected to worsen as baby boomers retire. According to the panel, 75 percent of young adults don’t qualify to serve in the military because they are physically unfit, have criminal records or inadequate levels of education. That’s in part because 1 in 4 students fails to graduate from high school in four years, and a high school diploma or the equivalent is needed to join the military. But another 30 percent of high school graduates don’t do well enough in math, science and English on an aptitude test to serve in the military, the report said. The task force, consisting of 30 members with backgrounds in areas such as education and foreign affairs, was organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based research and policy organization focused on international issues. The report was scheduled to be released Tuesday. Too many Americans are deficient in both global awareness and knowledge that is “essential for understanding America’s allies and its adversaries,” the report concludes. “Leaving large swaths of the population unprepared also threatens to divide Americans and undermines the country’s cohesion, confidence, and ability to serve as a global leader,” the report said. Rice and Klein said in interviews that they are encouraged by efforts to improve schools such as the adoption of “common core” standards set in reading and math in a vast majority of states and the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” competition, in which states compete for federal money in exchange for more meaningful teacher evaluations. But, they added, the pace to improve America’s schools must accelerate. — AP



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Massacre suspect’s wife breaks her silence SEATTLE: The wife of the US soldier suspected of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians broke her silence on Monday to say she did not know what happened half a world away, but felt for the families of the victims while loving her husband very much. US authorities say Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, walked out of his camp in Kandahar province just over a week ago to kill the Afghans, including nine children, before turning himself in. “I too want to know what happened. I want to know how this could be,” Karilyn Bales, who is also 38 and has two small chil-

dren with her husband, said in her first public statement on what she called a “heartbreaking tragedy”. “Our family has little information beyond what we read in the media,” she said in a statement released by Seattle lawyer Lance Rosen. “What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire.” She said she could not shed any light on the incident, but added: “The victims and their families are all in my prayers, as is my husband who I love very much.” The children and Karilyn Bales have been sequestered on a military base in the Seattle

area. Their house, for sale at less than the family paid, stands empty in a lakeside neighborhood. About 30 miles away, Karilyn Bales’ parents have posted bright red “No Trespassing” signs on trees surrounding their own lakeside home since her husband’s name was made public. Neighbors described a close-knit family and “Kari”, as she called herself at times, as a hard-working but “bubbly” young woman who graduated from the University of Washington. “We’d say ‘hi’ over the fence,” said Barbara Gire, 70. “She was a nice one.” “Bob” was also friendly, helpful and polite,

said another neighbor, Edith Bouvette, 52. The couple moved from a modest house near her to the grander one that is now for sale when Karilyn Bales became pregnant shortly after marrying in 2005. The couple met through an online dating service, Bales’ lawyer said, and the young mother described her pregnancy and life with their first child in a bright and happy blog, which has been closed to public view. In parts of this seen by Reuters she describes feeling the baby kick for the first time after dropping her husband off to deploy to Iraq in 2006 and later the child

Pakistan panel demands US apology on air attack MPs say no to US drones ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani parliamentary commission demanded yesterday an end to American drone attacks inside the country and an apology for deadly US airstrikes in November as part of a review of its near-severed relations with the United States. The commission was tasked with going over ties with Washington after errant airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and led to

in Pakistan,” commission head Raza Rabbani said, reading the recommendations. “This means the cessation of drone strikes inside Pakistan.” This demand could complicate efforts to rebuild the relationship. But the commission didn’t say the supply lines should be permanently closed, as many Pakistanis would like, rather that the government should charge the US and NATO more money for

mately decide whether to reopen ties with the United States, but the recommendations of the parliament could influence the decision. Analysts say placing the issue before parliament was to give the government and the army some political cover, so they could claim the support of the country before quietly reopening the supply routes. The recommendations said any new agreement on the sup-

PESHAWAR: Pakistani policemen and rescue workers collect evidence at the bomb blast site in Peshawar yesterday. A bomb planted in a rickshaw killed two policemen and wounded four other people in Peshawar yesterday. —AFP the closure of US and NATO supply lines to Afghanistan. The incident presented an opportunity for the army - furious at the Americans and under public pressure following the raid on Osama bin Laden last year that was seen in Pakistan as a violation of the country’s sovereignty - to gain a negotiating advantage in its turbulent relationship with Washington. Since November, American officials have cited the importance of the parliamentary review to the restoration of ties with Pakistan. Some have suggested they expect the supply lines to reopen once it was completed and the country had worked through its anger. “The US must review its footprints

the privilege. Washington wants to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan, whose cooperation is seen as key to the success of striking a deal with insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan. Also, the supply lines are important for supplying fuel and other non-lethal goods to troops, and will be crucial to trucking out equipment as the US draws down more soldiers. The joint session of the parliament was expected to immediately debate the recommendations, but that was shelved after an opposition leader said his party needed time to study them. The issue is to be debated again on Monday. The army, and to a lesser extent the civilian government, will ulti-

ply lines should have a clause stipulating their closure in the event that Pakistan’s sovereignty is violated by the US or NATO, but didn’t explicitly mention drone strikes in this regard. The demand for an “unconditional apology” for the November attacks could also complicate the rebuilding of ties. Washington has expressed regret for the border incident, but avoided formally saying sorry. US officials were reportedly preparing to apologize last month, but had to postpone the plan after US soldiers burnt some Qurans in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama apologized for that, earning him criticism from political opponents. He also apologized after an American soldier last

week allegedly killed 16 Afghan villagers in a shooting spree. The drone strikes are unpopular among Pakistanis and have long been publicly opposed by the Pakistani army and government, which maintain they fan support for militancy even as they kill insurgents also targeting them. But their frequency has dropped significantly in recent months, which makes them less politically explosive. The issue is muddied, however, by the fact that in private the army has been known to approve at least some of the strikes, and provide intelligence on them, raising questions over whether they technically violate the sovereignty of the country as their detractors in Pakistan claim. American officials rarely talk about the program in public or answer questions from reporters about it. “The is neither the first time, not will it be last, that the parliament has demanded an end to drone strikes,” said Samina Ahmed, who heads the International Crisis Group in Pakistan. “This is more performance than substance. The military is still the key actor as far as security policy is concerned.” She said the security establishment had “no expectation” that the drone strikes would end. Privately US officials have said the drone strikes are key to the war against AlQaeda and the Taleban. Washington is seen as unlikely to permanently stop them, regardless of what parliament says, which has often issued resolutions against the attacks. Pakistan, which had supported the Afghan Taleban, sided with the United States after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, earning it billions of dollars and ending its international isolation. It needs American assistance to keep its economy afloat, while the US needs its help in reaching a deal with the Afghan Taleban, whose leaders are believed to be on its soil and subject to the influence of its security forces. Gen James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, said earlier this month he expected to visit Pakistan in mid-tolate March to talk with leaders about reopening the supply routes. His would be the first trip by a US military official since the airstrikes, and will be taken as a high-level sign that Pakistan’s army leadership wants to re-engage. —AP

Photographers compete in Kuwait Times contest By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Nandu Sajeevan, 12 years old, was the youngest photographer to submit a photo essay in last year ’s Kuwait Times Photography contest. He was encouraged by his parents to submit his best photographs, which eventually landed in the ‘best 100 photos’ selected by the judges. Like many others, Sajeevan is also preparing for this year’s competition and he wants his photographs to be included among the winners this time. Sajeevan is fond of taking photographs of zoo animals and everyday moments. “Among others, I love taking pictures of animals of any kind. In fact, I was inspired taking photographs when I first took a shot of a cat climbing a wall. I captured it nicely, so from then onwards I have been taking photographs of animals,” he said. Sajeevan likes the animal subject because animals have a special place in his heart. “I like taking care of animals. In fact I love visiting the zoo regularly,” he beamed. Sajeevan also loves taking photos of the best cars that he regularly sees in the Kuwait streets. “We have many beautiful cars in Kuwait, most of them are luxury cars. I love cars too, so maybe I will try to submit photographs related to cars too,” he added. Sajeevan does not own a professional camera. He has a Sony digital camera given to him as a gift

by his parents. “For me, my camera is the best so long as it serves the purpose. I am still young and I do not need a professional camera yet. The best thing in the Kuwait Times competition is they are not requiring anyone to take photographs via professional cameras,” he added. Now 13 years old, Sajeevan will be entering grade 9 at the Indian

the Ministry of Interior. His view of the Liberation Tower and the colors that emanated from it at that time encouraged him to capture the image. That particular image was included in the four entries which he submitted into the Kuwait Times photograph competition last year and eventually landed among the ‘best 100’ photos. “I found my pho-

Nandu Sajeevan Community School in Salmiya in April. He wants to pursue a career in science when he grows up. Pakistani Raees Ahmad, 45, captured a beautiful photograph of the skyline in Kuwait City while in his car at the traffic signal in front of

tos amazing if not great. At first I thought I was just taking a photograph of the Liberation Tower, but I was fascinated with the colors of neighboring buildings too. So, I took a wider view and I came out with this photograph,” he said.

His best snaps include three huge buildings adjacent to Liberation Tower. “What I am trying to explain here was the letter V sign, which everyone knows means victory. It appears in my photograph three times, in the Liberation Tower and the two buildings nearby. It was amazing. It is not about the color or lights but the V sign, which for me means a victory for the Liberation, National Day and the succession of HH the Amir of Kuwait,” he explained. Ahmad is a freelance professional photographer. He used to accept the job as photographer in any event within the Pakistani community and friends from the Arab communities. He also accepts wedding and birthday photography. “When I am free, I do a taxi job too,” he said. Ahmed is married with five small children. Ahmad will be contributing at least five of his best photographs this year. “I have photos that I know will be rated best again this year. I have the best chance this year perhaps.” Kuwait Times will receive photograph entries with the theme inspired by Kuwait National and Liberation Days. The submission deadline is 30 March. Kuwait Times photography contest is sponsored by Canon (Kuwait) Middle East, Al-Sayer Group, Swiss-belHotel Plaza, Caesars Travel Company, and Response Media (Events and Exhibition).

“moving and grooving in there”. Excerpts cited by the New York Times describe the “adventure” the family had hoped for last year. Her husband had served three tours in Iraq, been turned down for promotion to Sergeant First Class, but she was looking on the bright side - a possible posting in Europe or Hawaii. Instead, to the anger and consternation of the family, according to Rober t Bales’ law yer John Henr y Browne, the staff sergeant was sent to Afghanistan in December and brought back to the United States under arrest on Friday. —Reuters

Work restarts at Indian nuke plant CHENNAI: Work to start up a large nuclear power plant on the southern tip on India resumed yesterday after police arrested dozens of protesters who had blocked access to the site for months, in a breakthrough for the power-short emerging economy. The Kudankulam project will initially provide 2 gigawatts of electricity - enough to power 20 million Indian homes. Twenty-four years in the making, the Russianbuilt plant was supposed to be switched on last year, but protesters surrounded it after the nuclear accident in Japan. India suffers from a peak-hour power deficit of about 12 percent, slowing the economy and causing blackouts in much of the country. About 40 percent of Indians, or 500 million people, lack electricity. When the plant reaches full capacity - in about six months if

there are no more delays - it will be a victory for the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been under fire from the private sector over the country’s power crisis. The government of Tamil Nadu, the southern state where Kudankulam is located, dropped its support for the protests on Monday and gave a green light for the project to be completed. “Immediate steps will be taken for the speedy commissioning of the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha said. Project director Kasinath Balaji said the 1,000-strong workforce began shifts yesterday. Jayalalitha said local people had nothing to fear from the power station, and promised a $100 million budget for developing infrastructure near the coastal plant. —Reuters



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Devastating ‘mini-tornado’ hits Australian city SYDNEY: A devastating “mini-tornado” tore through the city of Townsville yesterday, ripping roofs off houses, snapping trees in half

and injuring 13 people as wild weather pounded northern Australia. The Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) said it

received dozens of calls for help, with 13 people needing treatment, mostly for cuts and abrasions. Three were hospitalized.

TOWNSVILLE: An image grab taken shows the damage caused by a devastating mini-tornado which tore through the Australian city of Townsville. —AFP

“Rapid Damage Assessments in the Townsville area have recorded approximately 60 homes with varying degrees of roof damage,” the SES said, adding that at least six of the properties suffered significant structural damage. Meteorologists, who said the freak storm could not officially be called a tornado as there was no funnel, recorded winds of up to 111 kilometers per hour, leaving thousands of homes without power. The weather bureau forecast further heavy rain. One resident told Sky News that when the storm hit it sounded like “a jet taking off ”. Another said it was like “being in a washing machine”. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who faces being thrown out of office in state elections this weekend, said it was a frightening experience for the people affected. “It appears to be something akin to a mini-tornado. It has taken roofs off houses and there’s a lot of vegetation down and that’s caused enormous damage,” she said. She added that the suburbs of Vincent, Pimlico and Gulliver had been affected, with heavy rain con-

tinuing to fall into the exposed interiors of roofless homes. “These are very heavily populated areas of Townsville so there’s no doubt that a lot of people have had a very scary experience this morning.” The town was officially declared a disaster area, which allows victims access to cash grants for rebuilding and means the defense force can be called in to help. Photos posted on Twitter and other social media sites showed widespread destruction, with Vincent resident Beth Simmons telling ABC radio the storm lasted about 20 minutes. “Suddenly one of my windows flung open. When I went to shut it, the other one flung open and broke on my arm,” she said, adding that she sheltered in the bathroom as the storm raged. “I have a roof, which is wonderful, but my neighbors don’t,” she said. Another resident Shane Sayers was asleep when the storm hit his house, tearing off the roof. He said he knew his home was crumbling when he heard an enormous crack. “That’s when I realized the whole house was being torn apart,” he

said. “We jumped in the bathroom and just prayed.” Rodney Burgess, who lives in the area, said there was extensive damage. “Well we went around the neighborhood and there’s houses that haven’t got roofs and houses that have lost complete walls and trees down and power lines down, cars flipped over. It’s just amazing,” he told ABC. Ergon Energy spokesman John Fowler said about 7,000 homes were blacked out across Townsville, which is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef with a population of just under 200,000 people. “It’s going to take a while to restore,” he said, adding that people should stay indoors with live power lines down across the city. Wild weather caused problems elsewhere in Queensland’s north and far north, with widespread flooding in places. Nine people had to be rescued from their cars after becoming trapped between two causeways near Cairns, the Queensland Department of Community Safety said, while a key highway was cut off by a landslide. —AFP

‘Buy Iran goods’, Khamenei urges in New Year message Thousands of wealthy Iranians head to beaches in UAE DUBAI: Iran’s most powerful figure, clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Iranians at the start of their New Year yesterday to buy domestically-made goods to defeat escalating trade sanctions imposed by the West. The United States and its allies have expanded sanctions in recent months to force Tehran to shelve its uranium enrichment program, which they suspect is meant to develop atomic bombs. Iran says it wants civilian nuclear energy only. Sanctions have bitten deeply into

en the opportunity to escape the social and religious strictures of the Islamic Republic for the glitz and glamour of the nearby United Arab Emirates. Every year, the sizable Iranian community in the UAE-by some estimates around 400,000 — swells by tens of thousands as Iranian tourists arrive in late March. It is a chance for the well-heeled to celebrate the holidays in style by going to concerts and clubs and shopping in Dubai’s sprawling malls. “Iranians are flooding in from all over the

the past year in part because of expanding sanctions. These include a ban on dealings with Iranian banks that makes it hard to obtain credit to finance imports of key goods, as well as an embargo on Iranian oil by the EU to take full effect in July. Elsewhere in Dubai, a 20-year-old Iranian woman on holiday, who named herself only as Saghi, hopped between designer shops in the crowded Mall of the Emirates but wasn’t buying much. “It’s so expensive,” she said, standing outside

TEHRAN: Iranians shop for Noruz, the Persian New Year, at a market in Tehran yesterday. —AFP Iran’s economy, causing a price spiral and a slump in the value of the rial currency. With the country’s hardline leadership continuing to reject all foreign pressure, Iranians increasingly fear military action by Israel or the United States to take out nuclear facilities. “This year’s slogan is national production, supporting Iranian labor and investment. The Iranian people should consume domestic products and avoid using those produced overseas,” Khamenei said in a speech on state television. “With such an approach, hopefully the nation will overcome the conspiracies of the enemies. We pray to God to help the Iranian nation,” he added. Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, symbolizes the coming of spring and a time when Iranians make a new start through traditions dating back millennia. This year, as the pressures grow, few hold out hope that life will improve. Those who can afford it have tak-

country and most will stay for 10 to 12 days,” says Emirates-based Saeed Kaveh, the general manager of the Persian-language Ertebat Publishing. PARTY TIME In recent years Ertebat has produced a Nowruz guide in Farsi that lists events and attractions for seasonal holiday-makers. “Iranians want to swim in the sea, to party and generally have fun,” said Kaveh. “These things are forbidden in Iran and that’s why they grab and absorb people.” “The flight was jam-packed when I came over,” said Mohammad Hosseini, a Tehran-based Iranian as he sat in the lobby of one of Dubai’s luxury beachfront hotels. “It’s always so great to get out of Tehran. It’s such a frustrating place to live,” said the 34-year-old businessman. “But the price has rocketed. Last year, it cost around $2,000 but this time it’s closer to $4,000.” The value of the rial has plummeted over

Dolce&Gabbana and discussing the rial’s weakness with her friends. “I bought shoes and a wallet but that’s it,” she said. “I cannot afford anything,” said a fellow student and regular visitor to Dubai, “but it’s wonderful to be here, to be able to wear shorts and feel free.” Every year, Iranian visitors contribute billions of dollars to the UAE economy but there are concerns the tightening sanctions are reining in their spending in a big way. Trade between the UAE and Iran has seen a significant drop. “In the past, there have been up to 100,000 Iranian visitors for Nowruz but this year it is reduced by around 50 percent,” said Morteza Masoumzadeh, a member of the executive board of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai. The UAE has cooperated with the United States to impose harsh financial sanctions but even Emirati businessman are concerned the measures are detrimental to their own economy.

ECONOMIC HARDSHIP Away from the ostentation of Dubai, millions of Iranians are struggling to afford the traditional foods and purchase of new clothes that are traditionally enjoyed at Nowruz. With the rial sinking, inflation in Iran has soared, a trend that has been abetted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cost-cutting economic reforms that dropped generous food and fuel subsidies Iranians have enjoyed for decades. The government has set up local Nowruz markets in an effort to keep the prices of food steady for the holidays - welcome relief from hardships, 43-year-old Fatimeh, a restaurant cleaner, said by telephone from Tehran. “Prices have drastically gone up so it was harder to buy new clothes for my children this year. But there are special Nowruz markets in southern Tehran where things are more affordable.” Khamenei’s new year message proclaimed successes in industrial and technological fields. But that perception was not shared by many ordinary Iranians. “There is the talk of war against us and many businesses are already struggling to survive with these sanctions imposed on us. I hope the situation gets better in the new year,” said 46year-old Ali, who works in his family’s carpet export company. “I am afraid this year will be a bad year for my country.” Over the last year, many thousands of workers have been laid off by businesses that have closed because of the dramatic increase in financial pressures. In many cases costs have shot up and orders have dwindled. Struggling to improve their prospects, many Iranians dream of leaving the country for a better life elsewhere. “I look around me and most of my friends have left the country. Life is only enjoyable when you are with your loved ones. Without them it is really like any other day,” said Neda, a 27-year-old art student. “It doesn’t really feel like Nowruz this year.” As he prepared for an afternoon on the beach in Dubai, Mohammad Hosseini said a point could come soon where he would have to lay off his 30 employees, shut down his transport business and leave Tehran. “It’ll be very sad, very emotional but the option is on the table. We’re thinking about it seriously. This business is my baby. Eleven years of investment and hard work - I can’t believe we’re getting to this point. “We have always tried to stay optimistic about the future but now I’m thinking may there isn’t a bright light at the end of the tunnel.” —Reuters

Rights group sees abuses in Myanmar despite reforms BANGKOK: It sounds a lot like the old, military-run Myanmar, and not much like the reform-minded new one: A feared army firing on civilians indiscriminately, razing homes and raping women while the government prevents international aid from reaching tens of thousands of displaced survivors. A Human Rights Watch report released Tuesday says violence and ongoing rights abuses continue unabated in Myanmar’s conflict-riddled northern Kachin state despite an unprecedented reform campaign spearheaded by the post-junta government in the Southeast Asian country, also known as Burma. “There’s still a long way to go before the people of Burma, particularly those in conflict areas, benefit from recent promises of reform,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The internation-

al community should not become complacent about the serious human rights violations still plaguing” the country, she said. The dire situation in the remote region near the Chinese border casts a shadow over the government’s avowed commitment to democratic change as it seeks an end to Western sanctions and a greater international acceptance after years as a pariah state. After half a century of military rule, Myanmar’s army ceded power last year to a nominally civilian government dominated by retired army officers and members of the former regime. Since then, President Thein Sein has surprised Western governments by making several dramatic changes, including opening up next month’s by-elections to the opposition, releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing truces with rebel groups and easing restrictions on the media. But the

fighting in Kachin state, which broke out for the first time in nearly two decades last June, stands in stark contrast to those widely praised developments. Skirmishes have continued despite a call by Thein Sein for the army to cease fire and repeated efforts to broker negotiate a peaceful settlement. Ye Htut, a government spokesman, said he could not comment on the report because he had not seen it. But he said Thein Sein had ordered an end to army offensives in Kachin in an effort to placate violence in the region. He acknowledged there have been sporadic clashes, but army troops were being attacked and “had the right to defend themselves.” Human Rights Watch documented unlawful killings, and said soldiers have threatened and tortured civilians during interrogations for information about insurgents. —AP

RASTAN: This image grab allegedly shows the corpse of a Syrian girl killed with her parents in shelling in Rastan near the restive central city of Homs. —AFP

Syria rebels flee eastern city; Army on offensive BEIRUT: Rebel fighters were forced to flee the eastern Syrian city of Deir Al-Zor yesterday in the face of a fierce army assault, suffering the latest setback in their bid to oust President Bashar AlAssad. In a separate blow to their cause, a respected human rights group accused the armed opposition of committing torture and arbitrary executions during the 12-month uprising-charges previously only leveled at the state security apparatus. Despite recent successes, Assad still faces significant outside pressure. Ally Russia signaled yesterday it would support a UN statement backing a mission by envoy Kofi Annan to end the bloodshed so long as there was no ultimatums. In addition, Moscow joined calls for both the army and rebels to grant daily ceasefires that would enable humanitarian missions to areas of Syria worst hit by the fighting. The lightly armed rebel forces have been forced into retreat across the country in recent weeks, with the army using heavy armor to chase them from towns and cities, chalking up its latest victory in Deir al-Zor, which lies on the road to Iraq. “Tanks entered residential neighborhoods, especially in southeastern areas of Deir al-Zor. The Free Syrian Army pulled out to avoid a civilian massacre,” a statement by the Deir Al-Zor Revolution Committees Union said. Government troops also shelled residential areas in the cities of Hama and Homs, and the nearby town of Rastan, killing at least 10 people, while a soldier died in a raid on an army checkpoint in the south, opposition sources said. Reports from Syria cannot be independently verified because authorities have barred access to rights groups and journalists. After failing to hold significant stretches of land, analysts say the rebels appear to be switching to insurgency tactics, pointing to bloody car bomb attacks in two major Syrian cities at the weekend and the sabotage of a major rail link. TORTURE, EXECUTIONS The United Nations says more than 8,000 people have died in 12 months of turmoil and diplomats warn the fighting could develop into a civil war pitching Assad’s Alawite sect and its minority allies against the majority Sunni Muslim population. The government says 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed by foreign-backed “terrorists” and denies accusations of brutality and indiscriminate violence. In a new twist, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said the rebels were guilty of serious crimes, citing cases of kidnapping, torture and coldblooded killings. “The Syrian government’s brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in an open letter to dissident groups. Russia has in the past declined

to back Western and Arab-backed UN resolutions condemning government violence, arguing that the actions of rebels should also be criticized. In a fresh effort to form a united international front on the mounting crisis, France has circulated a Western-drafted statement for the UN Security Council deploring the turmoil and backing peace efforts by UN-Arab League envoy Annan. Britain’s UN envoy said he hoped the statement would be adopted yesterday, with Russia announcing it would back the text on two conditions-that there is no ultimatums and that Annan release full details of his peace plan. Annan dispatched a team of five experts to Damascus on Monday to discuss ways of implementing a peace initiative, including a mechanism to let international monitors into the country. Syria has questioned the value of such a mission. PRISONER SWAP In an unusual development, Syrian rebels released an army general abducted in the Damascus suburb of Douma in return for prisoners and bodies of insurgents and civilians held by police, an opposition source familiar with the deal said yesterday. “Naeem Khalil Odeh has been released in return for several prisoners and 14 bodies,” the source said from Douma, referring to the general, adding that he had been seized last week. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has contacts throughout Syria, said army shelling had killed seven people in Homs yesterday, while a married couple and their child died in a mortar attack in nearby Rastan. Homs became the epicenter of the yearlong rebellion against Assad and has been repeatedly targeted by government troops, who are believed to have swept most rebel gunmen from the city. There has also been fighting further to the north around Hama, and opposition sources said Syrian tanks had bombarded the city yesterday to try to dislodge Free Syrian Army rebels who had resumed operations there despite several army sweeps. The Free Syria Army has proved little match for Assad’s well-armed security apparatus, and experts said the opposition appeared to be changing tactics. Car bomb attacks in the capital Damascus and second city Aleppo killed at least 30 over the weekend, while rebels also destroyed a railway bridge linking Damascus to Deraa, according to official Syrian media. “The Syrian opposition prematurely tried to hold territory and take on the Syrian Army. This was a bad and costly mistake,” said Joshua Landis, the head of Middle East Studies at the US University of Oklahoma. “In the new phase of the battle that is shaping up to combat the Assad regime, opposition leaders are likely to champion new tactics of militancy and Islamization,” he wrote on his blog Syria Comment. —Reuters





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Swiss banks still draw rich despite secrecy blows By Emma Thomasson wiss bankers are on the defensive with their secretive industry under sustained attack for sheltering tax dodgers. Some cannot travel abroad for fear of arrest in tax investigations. But the fur coats and expensive cars on display around the Paradeplatz square at the heart of Zurich’s financial district - as well as booming house prices - tell a different story: business is good in a city now ranked the world’s costliest. Zurich overtook Tokyo as most expensive according to a new ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit because of the soaring Swiss franc. The currency is up 30 percent since 2008, despite a cap imposed last year by the central bank, because investors view it as a safe haven in global economic turmoil. The same factors make the country’s banks attractive despite the gradual erosion of bank secrecy: political stability and neutrality, low government debt and an economy which has been relatively resilient through the financial crisis. Although Swiss banks - especially the country’s biggest UBS - have shared in the pain of the crisis, they have retained an image for solidity, particularly in contrast to their euro zone rivals, bolstered by new capital rules that are the world’s strictest. The swelling ranks of Chinese and Indian millionaires who have developed a taste for Swiss luxury watches are also drawn by the country’s quality-seal when it comes to banking their new wealth, helping to replace US and European tax exile clients. Figures published in recent weeks show that six of the biggest Swiss banks together pulled in net new client assets of more than 100 billion Swiss francs ($108.96 billion) in 2011. “Switzerland PLC remains a hugely popular global epicentre of wealth. Clearly in the global environment of the last 12-24 months people have been looking for safekeeping,” said Sebastian Dovey of wealth management consultancy Scorpio Partnership. “Net new assets might reflect a positive mood from 12 months ago. Will we see a similar strength in 12 months time? I suggest we probably will,” Dovey added. While Singapore and London are also doing well, Dovey noted Switzerland has defended its position as the biggest centre of offshore wealth. It remains the top choice for investors in Asia even if Singapore might overtake it in a decade. Asia is a particular strength of UBS which drew net client inflows of 42 billion francs in 2011 despite the blow of a $2 billion trading scandal in September just as it was starting to restore trust after a 2008 state bailout. “Many observers still see Switzerland as a kind of island of the blessed in an environment plagued by crisis,” UBS chairman Kaspar Villiger told a dinner in February to launch a year of celebrations for the bank’s 150th anniversary. “The question is whether such a situation is sustainable given the worrying number of difficult challenges our country is confronted with.” Most critical of those challenges at the moment is settling a long-running tax dispute with the United States, which is investigating 11 banks including Credit Suisse and Julius Baer for helping Americans evade taxes. The sense of urgency has increased since Switzerland’s oldest bank, Wegelin, broke itself up in January a week before it was indicted on charges that it helped Americans evade taxes on at least $1.2 billion hidden in offshore bank accounts. “In Switzerland, you would believe that was like the end of the world but if you interview wealth clients around the world ... the disappearance of Wegelin is a side story,” Dovey said. “However the wider issue of the industry needing only in future to handle compliant assets is going to have major ramifications both in Switzerland and elsewhere.” Banks are likely to have to pay hefty fines and hand over thousands of client names to end the US investigations, but the issue should not have a big impact on assets as most already closed the accounts of US offshore clients after UBS paid $780 million to settle criminal charges in 2009. A survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that assets of North American origin shrank to 2 percent of the total $2.1 trillion of offshore wealth held in Switzerland at the end of 2010 from 18 percent just four years earlier. That helps explain the fall in offshore assets managed in Switzerland from a 2007 peak of 2.7 trillion francs, but the country has managed to compensate by attracting clients among the new wealthy in booming emerging markets like Latin America and the Middle East and Africa. “Even under new circumstances and after a certain drain of assets, Switzerland has a lot to offer. For the medium-term I’m very confident, even for money from the ‘old world’,” said Zurich-based BCG partner Peter Damisch.—Reuters


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

Turkish school reforms raise debate on Islamism By Simon Cameron-Moore sman, the 16-year-old son of an Istanbul central heating engineer, reckons he is at the ideal school - one where a quarter of the 40 hours he spends a week in class is dedicated to becoming a better Muslim. He is a credit to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s goal of raising a more pious generation through school reform proposals to be debated in parliament next week. But the secular opposition is up in arms, even to the point of fisticuffs. What is more, Osman goes to the same school Erdogan attended as a boy, the Imam Hatip High School in Fatih, a humble, conservative neighbourhood where the large numbers of Islamic beards and veils stand out. The education minister went to the same school there too, as did the current mayor of Istanbul - who also belongs to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The unremarkable five-storey dull pink block amid Fatih’s narrow lanes was one of the first Imam Hatip schools, founded in 1951, to teach future imams. They subsequently evolved into institutions that offered parallel mainstream curricula, and graduates could earn admission to university. Privately funded by foundations these schools often have better facilities than state counterparts. “It’s perfect,” says Osman, enjoying a chance to practice his English as he stands with half a dozen friends on the school dormitory steps. “We learn everything here. We would learn the other subjects in a state school, but the religion part would be missing,” he said, smiling broadly beneath the thin wisps of a budding moustache, a common feature among imam hatip boys. His friends expressed similar feelings.


They wanted to become engineers, doctors only one wanted to be an imam - but felt more comfortable learning in a religious setting. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the soldier statesman who founded the modern Turkish republic out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago, believed religion was holding Turks back. As a result of his secularist policy, Islam was kept out of classrooms and madrasas were closed. It was only with the advent of a multi-party system that imam hatips were opened. Even today, Ataturk’s “Address to Youth”, a militaristic call to protect the country adorns the walls of state schools, and, whereas there are no morning prayers, primary school children still recite a patriotic pledge each day. The pledge, coined in 1933, reads; “I am a Turk, honest, hardworking. My principles are to protect the younger, to respect the elder, to love my homeland and my nation more than myself. My ideal is to rise, to progress. May my life be dedicated to the Turkish existence.” None of the boys spoken to at Erdogan’s old school talked about politics, though imam hatip old boys wield an extraordinary amount of influence, considering how small a minority they are in society. Huseyin Korkut, president of the Association of Imam Hatip Graduates and Members (ONDER), an alumni group that Erdogan belongs to, said nearly 40 percent of cabinet ministers had attended imam hatip schools. Yet, with roughly 300,000 pupils attending around 540 schools, less than 2 percent of Turkey’s 18 million school children go to these schools. Earlier this month, Erdogan’s ruling AKP bulldozed a draft bill through a parliamentary commission that, among other things, will help imam hatip schools like Osman’s flourish by let-

ting them take boys and girls from the age 11 instead of 15. Given the AKP’s majority, it will almost certainly be passed by parliament’s general assembly. Though the AKP bill stipulates that children should complete a total of 12 years education, up to the age of 18, critics say the changes will not address the fundamental issue of quality. Everyone agrees on the need for change. Despite advances made in school attendance levels in the past 15 years, a World Bank study in 2010 showed only 16 percent of the 15-yearolds in Turkey attend schools with average reading, maths or science test scores that are comparable to or above an OECD average. When the TUSIAD industrialists group weighed in on the controversy by doubting whether the draft legislation would produce a “well-educated, pluralist, liberal society”, Erdogan told it to mind its own business. The AKP did drop some of its most contentious proposals from the initial draft, notably a provision allowing parents to withdraw their children from school at the age of 11 so they could opt for distance learning from home. Critics said it would have harmed girls’ education, particularly, and potentially lead to more child marriages in backward, traditional communities in Turkey. Removal of the home learning option has left opponents’ anger focused on the provision that allows parents to put children in vocational schools at the age of 11. While imam hatip schools fall in this category, so do technical schools providing classes in car maintenance, child care, hairdressing and the like. Critics say it is too early for children to be making career choices with lowly aspirations. “It’s obvious that AKP’s core motive with

this draft is to boost the number of imam hatip schools and students, in line with Erdogan’s desire to raise pious generations,” Mehmet Bozgeyik, general-secretary of the Education and Science Workers’ Union told Reuters. In February, Erdogan sent shudders through secularists by declaring: “We want to raise a religious youth”. Turkey, a Muslim country of 74 million, is politically polarised over the place religion should hold in society and the state, and some of the fiercest battles between the two camps have been fought over education policy. Indeed, the bill is designed to erase a piece of legislation that is hated by the AKP the Compulsory Education Act of 1997. That act made it mandatory for children to attend 8 years of continuous schooling, in a state system devoid of religion. On Feb 28, 1997, a military that had overthrown three governments since 1960, launched what became known as Turkey’s “post-modern coup, to press Turkey’s first Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to quit. One of the measures foisted on Erbakan that day was the closure of imam hatip school classes for children under 15. The number of pupils at these schools subsequently fell from around 600,000 to less than 60,000 in the following years. Speaking on the 15th anniversary of the “post-modern coup”, Erdogan, who had been a rising star in Erbakan’s party before it was banned, railed against what some called social engineering. “Those who made the February 28 changes to prevent Turkish youth from receiving religious education have greatly harmed Turkish students,” Erdogan said to waves of applause from party loyalists. “Education is no longer the guinea pig of certain segments in society.” — Reuters

Of diapers and drugs, trouble paying bills By Arshad Mohammed ike everyone, Iranians need diapers. Fred Harrington has built a business by selling Iran the raw materials to make them. The Redmond, Washington, businessman, who exports to Iran under a humanitarian license from the US Treasury Department, says he is owed close to $3.8 million by Iranian companies who cannot pay him because of the latest US and European Union sanctions. He is not alone. US firms from major drug makers like Merck & Co to mom-and-pop outfits like Harrington’s American Pulp & Paper Corp. are finding it hard to get paid even for medicines and other humanitarian exports explicitly allowed by the US Treasury, according to officials, sanctions lawyers and the companies. “Everything from aspirin to multivitamins you name it - it’s all jammed up,” said Cari Stinebower, an international trade lawyer with Crowell & Moring, a Washington, D.C.based law firm, and a former counsel for the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The payments gridlock is a testament to the effectiveness of the latest round of financial sanctions, which aim to force Iran to curb its nuclear program and which have made the Iranian banking sector even more radioactive for major global banks. But they also undercut the long-standing US argument that its sanctions are not meant to squeeze the Iranian people but rather the Islamic republic’s leaders and their suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. “I am not against punishing Iran for being a rogue country but the United States, or the Europeans, when they start imposing sanctions, then they must consider, also their own companies,” Harrington said. Harrington, an Iranian American who changed his name from Farhad Fouroohi, had to lay off three people in February because of the payments delays, cutting his staff from seven to four. While a new US law targeting financial institutions that deal with the central bank of Iran has garnered much attention, sanctions lawyers said the Jan 23 blacklisting of one


Iranian bank had a more immediate, sharp effect on humanitarian trade. Bank Tejarat, Iran’s third-largest bank, was “designated” - or blacklisted - under a US executive order targeting people and companies that promote the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as their support networks. The action has the effect of cutting them off from the US financial system, along with any bank who deals with them - a risk that many banks find impossible to take. Over the last five years, the Treasury has blacklisted 23 such Iranian-linked entities, gradually squeezing Iran’s ability to do business with the world. Tejarat’s blacklisting has had an outsize impact, sanctions lawyers said, because it had been the last major Iranian bank available for legal trade with Iran. With it now off limits, companies are having to sift through smaller banks to find some that can carry out the transactions - which is no mean feat. “That has had a huge ripple effect,” said Douglas Jacobson, a Washington attorney who focuses on sanctions work. “On the one hand, you can get a license. The government is saying, ‘OK you can sell.’ But the practical reality is that you can’t get paid,” he added. The lawyer said one of his clients is out several hundred thousand dollars because of the Tejarat blacklisting and that he knows of several medical companies that have stopped exporting to Iran because of the payment problems. “Where you had a small window of opportunity previously, that window is now almost completely closed,” said Erich Ferrari, another lawyer who specializes in trade sanctions. The decision on Thursday by Belgiumbased SWIFT, the world’s biggest electronic payment system, to expel all Iranian banks blacklisted by the European Union, may make it even harder to conduct transactions, sanctions lawyers said. The United States has gradually tightened sanctions because of Iran’s failure to answer questions about its nuclear program, which Washington and its allies suspect is a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says it is solely to generate power. The sanctions became

much tougher when US President Barack Obama on Dec 31 signed a law designed to choke off Iran’s oil sales by threatening to cut off foreign banks from the US financial system if they dealt with Iran’s central bank. Merck & Co, the world’s third-largest pharmaceuticals company, said it has licenses to sell Iran products to treat diabetes, cancer, respiratory illnesses and infections. “(Merck) has experienced a challenging situation in 2012 in terms of securing payments for goods shipped,” said Merck spokeswoman Kelley Dougherty, adding that the company was open to ideas that would facilitate humanitarian exports to Iran. Pfizer Inc, the world’s largest pharmaceuticals maker whose flagship products include the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, acknowledged challenges in getting paid for Iranian sales, saying it would work through them. Both Merck and Pfizer declined to provide details. “There is some turbulence right now,” said Pfizer spokesman Peter O’Toole, saying the company wished to ensure that Iranian patients have access to needed medications. “If we have to work through a little turbulence, that’s what we’ll do.” A Treasury Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity said its approach on humanitarian exports to Iran had not changed, though he did not directly address questions about the difficulty that US companies were having getting paid. “There’s been no decrease in applications to OFAC to export humanitarian items to Iran,” the spokesman added. “The recent sanctions imposed on Iran have not changed our approach to the export of food, medicine and medical devices to Iran.” For companies such as Pfizer or Merck, exports to Iran are a tiny fraction of their worldwide business. If ordinary Iranians ultimately suffer shortages of drugs and medical devices, the Iranian government may use it to score public relations points with their own people against the West, much as former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. “They need to defend their position to their own

population. They need to continue to create this image of an international community that is implacably aligned against the interests of a defenseless Iran,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. “This kind of imagery would play into that and it’ll have a certain resonance among Iranians who have a long experience with sanctions, resent the impact of sanctions on ordinary citizens and believe ... the government is well able to insulate itself.” The United States bars virtually all trade with Iran. It cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980 after Iranian students seized its embassy in Tehran and ultimately held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Last year, the United States exported only $229.5 million worth of goods to Iran. “Woodpulp and pulpwood” which includes the raw material for diapers accounted for $57.9 million, followed by $50.1 million for pharmaceuticals, $29.5 million for plastics, $23.4 million for unmanufactured farm products and $22 million for medical devices, according to US Commerce Department data. Under a quirk in US law, the export of diapers to Iran is not allowed but the export of fluff pulp, their key component, is, creating an opportunity for Harrington to sell it to Iran. Of the $26.6 million in sales his company had last year, Iran accounted for roughly 70 percent. The impact has been so big that Harrington wrote US President Barack Obama a plaintive letter on Feb. 9, saying the latest US sanctions “have virtually stopped our business overnight.” “We would appreciate your comments and any suggestions as to what we could possibly do at this point,” Harrington wrote. “From our perspective, it would seem that there is nothing left to be done except to close our doors.” Harrington, who argues there should have been a “winddown” period to clear existing payments, has received no reply. “We have not received any reaction and I don’t expect to,” he said. “Washington’s ears are clogged. They don’t hear it at all.” — Reuters



Cows run into a field in Delfgauw, Netherlands on the first day of spring. After staying in the stables for the winter, they were released out into the field for the first time yesterday. — AFP

The party’s over Continued from Page 1 These past five days were a hard experience for all of us in Kuwait. I think it was a lesson to be learnt for the government to handle things more wisely. Part of what took place was the government’s mistake when KAC earlier threatened to strike during hajj and they were asked not to go ahead with it. They postponed the strike upon the government’s request. The government, however, never met their demands. The same applied to customs and other bodies that were on strike.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am neither with nor against the strike. I am against blackmail. For the first time the government took a good stance and was strict. It was adamant not to talk to people until they end the strike. I hope also that they will meet their promise and sit with the unions and reach an agreement. That is on the government’s side. It was a good lesson for the nation to learn that we cannot get everything all the time. It is a reminder to all of us not to be a spoilt nation. We have to learn that we can’t always get what we want and we need to compromise. There are no losers and no winners.

Iran reassures Kuwait it won’t shut Hormuz Continued from Page 1

SAKHIR, Bahrain: Bahrain’s King Hamed bin Isa Al-Khalifa smiles during a palace ceremony yesterday. — AP

Bahrain king pledges to press on with reforms DUBAI: Bahrain’s King Hamad pledged yesterday to press on with political reforms, more than a year after quelling a Shiite-led uprising, even as the UN rights office criticised the Gulf kingdom for its ongoing suppression of dissent. Speaking in Manama after receiving a report on progress made to implement the recommendations of an international probe into last year’s crackdown on protests, the monarch said the implementation “reflects Bahrain’s commitment to reform in all fields”. He also said the “doors to dialogue were, and remain, open”. Without, however, referring to a call by the opposition for a “serious” dialogue to end the country’s political deadlock. King Hamad, whose Sunni Muslim Al-Khalifa dynasty rules the Shiite-majority kingdom, insisted that security is a must for reform and sovereignty. He warned that the kingdom will not tolerate foreign intervention, in an apparent reference to Iran, which Bahrain accuses of meddling in support of the Shiites. “Security and stability are a major pillar for growth, progress and reform, and what harms the country’s stability affects its sovereignty and opens the door to foreign intervention,” he said. King Hamad warned that Bahrain “will never give up” on its sovereignty. Ironically, the king welcomed troops from Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries in the Gulf to help crush last year’s Shiite-dominated protests. “The clock will not tick backwards,” he said, hailing his troops and the Gulf forces for “protecting vital installations” since the brutal crackdown. Some 35 people were killed in the unrest last year, including five security personnel and five detainees tortured to death, according to an independent commission ordered by the king last June, and tensions have since remained high.

The National Commission’s report claimed yesterday that progress has been made in reforming the country’s police, judiciary, social policy, education system and media, accounting for past actions and reconciliation. The reforms included a new police code of conduct and training, as well as the inspection of detention centres by the Red Cross, after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry said in November that excessive force had been used and detainees tortured. Steps have also been taken to recruit 500 policemen from all parts of Bahrain’s society, according to a government statement. Judicial measures included establishing an “independent body within the public prosecution” to oversee investigations into deaths, torture, abuse and mistreatment, while all charges related to “free speech” have been dropped, benefiting 334 people. In terms of reconciliation, the report said the government had began rebuilding 12 places of worship, after Shiite complaints about the demolition of many mosques last year. In addition, the report said all public sector workers had been reinstated and private firms “successfully encouraged” to take back most Shiites sacked for supporting the protests. But the UN rights office yesterday challenged Bahrain’s claimed progress on reforms, criticising Bahraini forces for their “disproportionate use of force” in quelling protests in recent months. It cited reports by NGOs saying their use of tear gas may have led to more than 30 deaths over the past year. “The use of tear gas in particular has reportedly resulted in a number of deaths of protestors and bystanders, and that number has reportedly risen in recent months,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. — AFP

other Gulf leaders have sought assurances that Tehran will not follow through with the threats. “(We) have contacted officials in Iran to ensure that no action is taken to close the Strait of Hormuz,” according an English version of his remarks to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun during a four-day state visit to Japan. “We have received assurances from Iran that it will not take this step,” the Emir said during a visit to Japan, one of the Gulf oil exporter’s biggest customers. “For a long time, Kuwait has been working on providing a stockpile of oil through its global companies outside the Gulf region to ensure constant supply,” he said. Several Iranian officials have said Iran should block the waterway in response to sanctions targeting its nuclear program. Western governments suspect Iran is trying to make atomic weapons. Tehran denies this. OPEC member Kuwait, which is producing around 3 million barrels a day, ships all its oil exports through Hormuz. Meanwhile, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned yesterday his country would hit back at any attack by the United States or Israel, firming tensions in the showdown over Tehran’s nuclear program. “We have said that we do not have atomic weapons and we will not build any. But if there is any attack by the enemies, whether it be United States or the Zionist regime, we will attack them at the same level as they attack us,” he said in a live televised speech to mark the start of the Iranian new year, moments after US President Barack Obama appealed directly to the Iranian people with a message of solidarity. The comments reinforced Iran’s position as it faces off against the West over its nuclear activities, and as it confronts Israeli and US threats of possible military action. Khamenei, who was speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, said Iran had a divine right to retaliate if struck. “The Quran states that if an enemy attacks you first, the enemy will certainly be defeated,” he said. “This is God’s law.

We are not thinking of attacks and aggression, but we are attached to the existence and identity of the Islamic republic.” He accused the United States and its European allies of changing their pretexts for interfering with Iran, and claimed the true goal was to control Iran’s vast oil and gas reserves. “Once, it is the atomic issue ... (another time) it is the human rights issue. The real issue is that Iran is guarding its oil and gas resources,” the leader said. “When the day comes that they (the West) cannot obtain any more oil and gas, that will be the day they will have to makes concessions, and it will be catastrophic for them,” he said. In the meantime, Iran was an “attractive” target for those nations, and they wanted to treat it like “putty in their hands”, he said. “We will not allow them to do so, and they will remain our enemies,” he said. “Those who think if we yield on the nuclear issue then US hostility towards us will decrease, they are wrong. Their case (the US case) against us is not the nuclear program nor is it human rights. It is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is standing against them,” he said. Separately, Russia warned yesterday that Iran would have no option but to develop nuclear weapons if it came under attack from either the United States or Israel over its contested atomic program. “The CIA and other US officials admit they now have no information about the Iranian leadership taking the political decision to produce nuclear weapons,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Moscow’s Kommersant FM radio. “But I am almost certain that such a decision will surely be taken after (any) strikes on Iran,” Lavrov said. Moscow has close military and commercial ties with Tehran and has only grudgingly backed four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons development drive. But Lavrov argued that Russia was not defending an ally but trying to avert a broader conflict or possible nuclear arms race from breaking out in the region. He added that Israel’s threats against Iran were only pushing other nations on poor terms with the West

to consider pursuing their own nuclear weapon drives. “This happening... around Iran are forcing a lot of Third World countries to pause and realise that if you have a nuclear bomb, no one will really bother you. You might get some light sanctions, but people will always coddle you, they will court you and try to convince you of things,” Lavrov said. He particularly raised the case of North Korea and its decision to both develop and test nuclear weapons - a move that was never followed by a threat of an attack from the United States. “But we are all behaving responsibly” toward North Korea, said Lavrov. “ We are not proposing to bomb North Korea. We are all insisting on the immediate resumption of negotiations and looking for ways to make these negotiations productive.” He also repeated arguments from some Western military analysts saying that strikes could only set back but not permanently destroy any weapons program Iran might have today. “Scientists of almost all nations... agree that strikes against Iran can slow its nuclear program. But do away with it, close it, eliminate it never.” Lavrov’s comments represented one of Russia’s most impassioned arguments to date against the start of another war on its southern periphery. Russia had previously cautioned that such a campaign could lead to a mass flood of refugees to neighbouring countries like Azerbaijan. It has also warned of the dangers of possible reprisal attack from Iran. But Lavrov appeared ready to drop that argument yesterday by noting that an attack against Israel could also endanger the lives of Palestinians. “I am absolutely convinced that Iran will never decide to do this, if only because... a threat to destroy Israel will also destroy Palestine,” he said. He also went out of his way to strongly criticise Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for repeatedly threatening to destroy the Jewish state. “This is completely unacceptable... and we categorically condemn it,” Lavrov said. “It is simply uncivilised and unworthy of a country as ancient as Iran.” — Agencies

KAC, customs suspend strike Continued from Page 1

MUQSHA, Bahrain: Anti-government protesters prepare to throw Molotov cocktails toward riot police yesterday during anti-government protests in this village, just west of the capital of Manama. Clashes erupted after a mourning procession for a man who died recently, allegedly of tear gas exposure. — AP

work in some state bodies like the customs and Kuwait Airways. He added lack of justice and confusion and using state money to please certain quarters to gain loyalties and payment of political bills will create many problems in the state, “which we always warned from”. “We as nation’s representatives must come up to solve any problem,” Mislem said, pointing out that unions reminded the new govern-

ment about the commitments of the old government. Meetings were held with the minister of finance, who promised to fulfill the government’s promises, but after the Civil Service Commission was informed, the government backed out suggested salary increases as per its vision, he charged. Mislem added that “we met the government and advised the unions to reach to an agreeable point, and after some unions offered almost a 50 percent reduction in their demands and were about to

sign an agreement, unfortunately the government backed off”. Kuwait Airways’ labor union and the customs’ labor union will today hold separate general assemblies to decide whether to stop or continue striking. The unions want to explain the latest developments to the members of union on the past few days of negotiations with the government and MPs intervention and the intervention of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlSabah.


sp orts Trickett secures comeback ADELAIDE: Triple Olympic champion Libby Trickett secured her ticket to the London Games by finishing fifth in the 100 metres freestyle final at the Australian swimming championships in Adelaide yesterday. Trickett failed to qualify for the 100 butterfly earlier in the trials, putting paid to her hopes of defending her Olympic title, but her top-six finish in the freestyle ensured she will be part of the Olympic squad and will be considered for selection in the relay team in London. “I’m speechless because it’s amazing to see where I’ve come in the last two years,” said the 27-year-old eighttimes world champion, who returned to the pool in September 2010 after a short retirement. “It’s exciting for our relay this year. That sort of depth is really going to put the world under the pump.” Melanie Schlanger won the title in 53.91 seconds to qualify for the individual event at London along with runner-up Cate Campbell.—Reuters

BUENOS AIRES: Juan Martin del Potro will play for Argentina in their Davis Cup quarter-final at home to Croatia next month, captain Martin Jaite said on Monday. The world number 11, set to play singles along with David Nalbandian, missed the first-round victory in Germany last month due to ATP tour commitments. Jaite also named Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela and doubles specialist Eduardo Schwank in his team for the tie on clay at Parque Roca. Del Potro last played for Argentina in the 2011 final defeat by Spain in Seville in December. Argentina have lost all four finals

Woods: A player never satisfied ORLANDO: Tiger Woods’ fascination with the Navy SEALs and how he might have incurred his leg injuries are sure to generate plenty of buzz when Hank Haney’s book goes on sale next week. There also is plenty of gossip involving other players, such as the time Ian Poulter invited himself to ride home on Woods’ plane after a practice round at Oakmont. But there is a bigger picture in “The Big Miss,” which chronicles the six years Haney spent as his swing coach. He shows Woods to be a complicated person who sought change to keep stimulated, who was rarely satisfied, self-centered in his pursuit of greatness and whose work ethic in the gym was geared toward being accepted as an athlete. “In Tiger’s mind, satisfac-

ORLANDO: In this book cover image released by Crown Archetype, ‘The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods,’ by Hank Haney, appears. In his book, Haney paints a portrait of Woods as someone who was never satisfied with success.—AP tion is the enemy of success,” Haney writes. The book goes on sale in the United States on March 27 - one week before the Masters - and it already has been getting plenty of attention because of a few sections that raise questions about how Woods injured his leg. Haney cites Corey Carroll, one of Woods’ closest friends at Isleworth, as saying that Woods injured his right Achilles tendon doing Olympic-style weightlifting as he returned from reconstructive k nee surger y in December 2008. Haney also tells of a woman who approached him during an outing in Minnesota last year. Her husband was a Navy SEAL in California and told her Woods came in for training in 2007 at a Kill House - an urban-warfare simulator - and “got kicked pretty hard in the leg, and I think he hurt his knee pretty bad.” Haney said that matched a story from Carroll, who said Woods revealed to him that the complete tear of his left knee ligaments really happened in a Kill House when he had lost his balance and been kicked in the knee. “My immediate thought upon hearing Corey’s account, which so closely paralleled that of the woman in Minneapolis, was that it was true,” Haney writes. “And if so, it meant that if Tiger never catches Jack Nicklaus, it will very likely have as much to do with the time and physical capacity he lost as a result of his bizarre Navy SEALs adventure as anything else.” The injuries are relevant because Woods has had four surgeries on his left knee, and he withdrew from his last tournament two weeks ago at Doral with tightness in his left Achilles tendon. That ’s the same one that caused him to miss two majors last year. Woods said it was only a mild strain, and he is scheduled to play seven straight days this week, including

Carter back for Crusaders

Davis Cup quarter-final

at Bay Hill. While the injuries are timely, the rest of the book is sure to satisfy the curiosity of golf fans - particularly those who have watched him win at a record rate - to whom Woods has revealed so little over the years. Haney became increasingly concerned when Woods began workouts designed to build muscle. It reached a point when Haney and former trainer Keith Kleven tried to persuade Woods that he was getting more muscular in the upper body than was helpful for golf. Woods so badly wanted to be considered a real athlete that he saw injuries as a badge of honor. Haney said Woods tried to empathize with Derek Jeter and Shaquille O’Neal when talking about injuries. Haney does not consider the book a “tell-all,” and much of it reveals Woods’ pursuit of his place in history. He also delves into the relationship Woods had with his ex-wife, and how guarded they were in public. That runs against his comments in January that the book would be about golf, though Haney felt it was relevant. “I think when you’re such a complex person, an absolute superstar, you can’t ignore everything that happens off the golf course,” Haney said in an interview. “The performance, the dedication, the ability to compete with a clear mind. To me, it said something about Tiger overall as a person. Clearly, there’s a lot of things I left out of the book that didn’t have to do with golf.” He said Woods ignored phone calls when they started working together, but later began returning text messages. Haney said he was not aware of Woods’ extramarital affairs, except for Woods making the occasional comment about a woman he saw in the gallery. He also wrote that Woods told him his ex-wife wanted him to take two years away from golf after his serial adultery was exposed. “One of my goals in the book was to paint a picture and let people decide what they want to glean from it,” he said. Haney said he felt as though he had won the lotter y when Woods called him in 2004 and asked him to be his swing coach. He was paid $50,000 a year, plus a $25,000 bonus for Woods winning a major. He said they had to confront three issues in revamping the swing - protecting the left knee (Woods told him his anterior cruciate ligament was only 20 percent intact after surgery in 2002), the movement of his head and learning to hit the driver. “Simply put, Tiger played the driver with a lot of fear,” Haney wrote. He said their second lesson was his first test as a coach. Woods had finished 10 shots behind at Bay Hill, and Haney met him on the range at Isleworth. He said Woods ignored him. “The message Tiger wanted to send was clear: “When I play bad, when I don’t win, it ’s your fault.” He was reminding me that his expectations were going to be incredibly high ...” Haney wrote. “.... I also realized that I was never going to be able to relax with Tiger Woods,” he wrote. “He was going to be complicated, and he was going to surprise me with his moods.” Haney expects to be criticized for trying to make money off his six years coaching Woods, especially with the book going on sale a week before the Masters. He has said on Twitter in recent months that the memories do not solely belong to Woods. “I wanted to write the book about my observations of greatness, an athlete superior to his competition,” Haney said. “Obviously, people will have their thoughts. But when people read the book in its entirety ... if Tiger read the book, in his heart, he’d have to say it’s an accurate portrayal, and it’s honest.” Perhaps a more accurate assessment is something Haney wrote late in the 247-page book. “My guess is that the publication of this book won’t bring us closer.”—AP

CHRISTCHURCH: All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter says he is fit and ready to take his place in the Canterbury Crusaders side when they play their first match in their home city of Christchurch for nearly two years this weekend.The 30-year-old tore a tendon in his groin while practising kicking during the pool stage of the World Cup last October and missed New Zealand’s triumph on home soil. The Crusaders have been unable to play at home since the deadly earthquake in New Zealand’s second largest city in February 2011 wrecked their Lancaster Park ground. On Saturday, however, the seven-times Super Rugby champions face South Africa’s Cheetahs at the new 17,000seat Christchurch Stadium, hoping to arrest a poor start to the season which has seen them lose two of their opening three matches. “There is no better way to get our season back on track by returning here to Christchurch to play rugby,” Carter told Fairfax media yesterday. “The guys are very excited. We got to check out the new stadium last week and I think the guys were ready to play then.—Reuters

they have reached, in 1981, 2006, 2008 and last year. Jaite defended Del Potro who was criticised for missing the firstround tie. “I was informed with plenty of notice that he wouldn’t be there against Germany, as I had asked him, and as soon as Indian Wells finished he told me he was available for Croatia,” Jaite said. Del Potro, US Open champion in 2009, reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells last week before losing to Roger Federer. Argentina have met Croatia twice before in the Davis Cup, winning both ties at the quarter-final stage in 2002 and 2006. —Reuters

Rangers edge Devils NEW YORK: Brandon Dubinsky scored shortly after a fight-filled opening faceoff as the New York Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team to earn a playoff spot by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday. Three fights broke out at the outset and that seemed to jump-start the Rangers, who had lost two straight and five of seven as their once commanding lead in the East dwindled to almost nothing. Defenseman Dan Girardi scored in the first minute of the second period, and Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan added goals for the Rangers, who lead the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points. New York (45-20-7) has 10 games remaining. Pittsburgh has 11 to play, including one against the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 shots and got the Rangers back on track after home losses to Colorado and Pittsburgh. Capitals 5, Red Wings 3 At Detroit, Alexander Ovechkin scored twice as Washington held on for a win over injury-plagued Detroit. Mike Knuble had a goal and an assist and Keith Aucoin and Jason Chimera also scored for Washington. Alexander Semin and Marcus Johansson each had two assists and Braden Holtby made 30 saves to send Detroit to its fifth straight loss and seventh in eight games. Kyle Quincey, Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary scored for Detroit. Brendan Smith had two assists and Jimmy Howard stopped 17 shots. Bruins 8, Maple Leafs 0 At Boston, Benoit Pouliot scored two goals and Brian Rolston had a goal and three assists as Boston completed a six-game season sweep of Toronto. Boston has outscored Toronto 36-10 this season. Tim Thomas is 5-0 against the Maple Leafs after being rarely tested in his fifth shutout of the season while facing just 13 shots. He also was in net for a 7-0 rout, at Toronto on Nov. 5. The only one of the six games that the Bruins won by fewer than three goals was a 5-4 victory on March 6 in Toronto. The Maple Leafs fell into a huge hole early, dropping behind 4-0 when Brad Marchand scored his 24th goal of the season just 12:42 into the game. That’s when Toronto goalie James Reimer, who had stopped only five of nine shots, was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson. Sabres 7, Lightning 3 At Tampa, Florida, Marcus Foligno and Jason Pominville each scored twice as Buffalo trounced Tampa Bay. Foligno had two of Buffalo’s four second-period goals, helping the Sabres take a 6-2 lead. Pominville scored in the first as the Sabres went up 2-0, and made it 7-2 on a goal 17 seconds into the third. Drew Stafford, Corey Tropp and Brad Boyes had the other Buffalo goals. The Sabres are 4-1-2 over their last seven games and remain two points behind Washington for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Bruno Gervais, Trevor Smith and Ryan Malone scored for the Lightning, who have lost six of seven. Wild 2, Canucks 0 At St. Paul. Minnesota, Erik Christensen’s power-play goal late in the second period gave Josh Harding and Minnesota a long-sought win over suddenly sputtering Vancouver. Kyle Brodziak’s empty-netter gave the Wild even more to smile about, hearing a rare end-of-the-game roar from their fans after this win over the Northwest Division leader and competitor for the NHL’s best record. Ducks 5, Sharks 3 At San Jose, Bobby Ryan had a goal and two assists as Jeff Deslauriers won in his first game in more than two months with Anaheim’s victory over San Jose. Francois Beauchemin, Corey Perry, Nate Guenin and Kyle Palmieri also scored and Nick Bonino had a careerhigh three assists for the last-place Ducks, who had lost five of six. Marty Havlat, Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who missed a golden opportunity to improve their playoff positioning on a night their rivals were idle. San Jose entered the night in ninth place in the Western Conference but could have moved into third position by taking the Pacific Division lead with a win.—AP

NEW YORK: New Jersey Devils’ David Clarkson (left) checks New York Rangers’ Brian Boyle during the third period of an NHL hockey game.—AP

NHL results/standings Boston 8, Toronto 0; Buffalo 7, Tampa Bay 3; Washington 5, Detroit 3; NY Rangers 4, New Jersey 2; Minnesota 2, Vancouver 0; Anaheim 5, San Jose 3.

St. Louis Nashville Detroit Chicago Columbus

Western Conference Central Division 46 19 8 189 42 22 8 206 44 25 4 224 40 25 8 222 23 42 7 166

142 186 179 212 231

100 92 92 88 53

87 84 78 72 69

Vancouver Colorado Calgary Minnesota Edmonton

Northwest Division 43 21 8 223 39 30 5 194 34 26 13 182 30 32 10 155 28 36 8 190

182 195 199 199 213

94 83 81 70 64

83 80 76 73 71

Dallas Phoenix San Jose Los Angeles Anaheim

Pacific Division 39 28 5 189 36 26 11 191 36 26 10 197 35 25 12 167 31 32 11 185

192 188 186 158 206

83 83 82 82 73

NY Rangers Pittsburgh Philadelphia New Jersey NY Islanders

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF 45 20 7 199 44 21 6 231 42 22 8 231 41 27 5 200 29 32 11 169

GA 160 180 204 191 216

PTS 97 94 92 87 69

Boston Ottawa Buffalo Toronto Montreal

Northeast Division 42 27 3 236 37 26 10 221 34 29 10 187 32 33 8 208 28 32 13 191

178 213 207 227 203

Florida Washington Winnipeg Carolina Tampa Bay

Southeast Division 35 23 13 180 37 30 6 198 34 30 8 192 29 29 15 194 32 33 7 202

197 208 203 217 247

Marbury leads Beijing Ducks to finals BEIJING: Ex-NBA bad-boy Stephon Marbury will attempt to lead the Beijing Ducks to victory this week in their first ever Chinese finals, seeking to upset the mighty Guangdong Tigers. Beijing face the four-time Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) champions and their point guard Aaron Brooks, formerly of the Houston Rockets-in the bestof-seven finals starting today. Marbury, a two-time NBA AllStar who played for the New York Knicks, has been instrumental in the Ducks’ run to the final. On Sunday he scored a gamehigh 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists as Beijing beat Shanxi Brave Dragons 110-98 to win the best-offive semi-finals, three games to two. In each of Beijing’s two other semi-final wins, the star guard surpassed 50 points, an amazing feat for a 35-year-old. “This is the best feeling I have ever had playing basketball. There is no better feeling than this-reach-

ing the finals,” Marbury, his eyes tearing up with joy, told AFP after Sunday’s win. “Since I came here, I said my goal was to make it to the finals. A lot of people said I was crazy, but this team showed me something totally different from the teams that I’ve been on in the past.” Marbury has reinvented himself since arriving in China in 2009 following a tumultuous 13-year NBA career that saw supreme talent on the court, but often poor off-court behaviour and various spats with coaches and team-mates. In China, the multi-millionaire has led by example, taking his gritty, muscular game and infecting a roster of young Beijing players with fight and tenacity. He has also embraced the culture while working to sell his “Starbur y ” brand of shoes and sports apparel with a catchy “love is love” marketing campaign that reflects his feelings for basketball and the team camaraderie needed to win. “ This team has worked hard,

they did the extra things, shooting the ball before and after practice, doing the extra running,” Marbury said. “We did a bunch of things that was needed to get us to come together as one. Once we got to the point of seeing the light, as far as seeing our vision and what we wanted to do, the guys really started to believe.” The final challenge for Beijing is heavily favoured Guangdong who, besides the lightning-quick Brooks, have five players on the Chinese national team which will begin preparations for the London Olympics after the series. Guangdong have dominated the CBA for much of the last decade, winning four straight league titles and finishing the 2011-2012 regular season with a league-best 21-4 win-loss record. But this has not deterred Beijing’s young players. “The goal of the team is to win the championship. We will go out and battle, our mission is not complete,” said Beijing’s rookie power forward Zhu

Yanxi, 21, who last week was also named on the national team roster. Marbury has been key to the team all year, not only as the star player, but as a mentor to the younger members, Zhu said. “From the beginning, Lao Ma (Mr. Marbury) has been saying we would reach the finals, but to make it here has not been easy,” Beijing forward Ji Zhe, also 21, told AFP. “He has a lot of experience, he has played in the NBA, the CBA, the Olympics, he has played a lot of games. This year he got us ready to play every game. We are all very thankful that he is on this team.” Beijing’s win on Sunday drew a standing, frenzied ovation from fans delighted their team had reached the final for the first time. “ The crowd has always been important for us, they are our sixth player on the court,” said Marbury’s American team-mate Randolph Morris, another former Knicks player, who has also played a vital role this season. “They bring a lot of energy and ultimately that helps us win.”—AFP



Ignorance and racism a losing combination NEW YORK: Oh, the things that come out of kids’ mouths. College kids in this case, making some noise at an NCAA tournament game that will probably be their last. “Where’s your green card?” members of the Southern Mississippi band chanted at Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez during the Wildcats’ second-round win in Pittsburgh. Rodriguez heard them, and later he heard an apology on behalf of them. It came from Southern Mississippi officials, and the freshman guard accepted it because “there’s ignorant people and I know that’s not how they want to represent their university.” Write it off, if you will, as just some college students trying to be funny and failing miserably. There’s probably some truth in that, though school officials said that won’t save them from “quick and appropriate disciplinary action.” There was certainly nothing funny a few weeks earlier at a high school game in the Pittsburgh area, when a team from a predominantly black school said fans of a largely white school shouted “monkeys” and “cotton pickers” at them. Fans of Monessen High were also upset when two Brentwood High students ran past them while

wearing banana costumes. Isolated incidents, maybe. And we’ve certainly come a long ways from the not-so-distant days when college teams from the south were all white or when black major league baseball players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their white teammates in certain cities. Unfortunately, though, racism is still finding a place in sports. We saw it recently when an ESPN employee wrote a headline about Jeremy Lin that used a word that is often used as a slur against Chinese. That, too, was supposed to be funny, though the humor was lost on ESPN executives who fired the headline writer. And we saw it sink to a new low on Sunday when a man in Britain allegedly made racist remarks on Twitter about Bolton soccer player Fabrice Muamba, who is fighting for his life in a hospital after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing during an FA Cup match. That not only outraged soccer fans, but got the man from south Wales arrested on charges of violating the Public Order Act, which makes acts of racist abuse illegal. Ignorant people, offensive comments. There’s no shortage of them, even in an era where black players outnumber whites in several major sports and

teams are becoming increasingly homogenized in most others. The great thing about sports is that it unleashes passions in people that they ordinarily wouldn’t show in other ways. The not-so-great thing about sports is that sometimes fans - and players themselves - channel those passions in destructive ways. How else would you explain a group of fans in Germany directing Hitler salutes during practice last month at an Israeli player on the Kaiserslautern team? Did they think Itay Shechter would get a chuckle out of the reference to the reviled German leader responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in World War II? Steve Williams certainly thought he was funny when he railed on about his former boss at a caddies award dinner. The former bagman for Tiger Woods said “My aim was to shove it up that black a——-” when he did a TV interview celebrating a win by his new employer, Adam Scott. Amid accusations of racisms, Williams apologized, and Woods said he did not believe his old caddie was a racist. There’s nothing funny about racism. It goes against the core of everything sports is supposed to mean, but it goes on anyway. It cost John Terry his job as England’s soccer cap-

tain, and it could cost him some money when the Chelsea defender faces trial in July on charges of racially abusing Queens Park’s Anton Ferdinand during a premier league game. The charges were part of a string of incidents that included Liverpool striker Luis Suarez being banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. That incident got two heads of state involved. Uruguay President Jose Mujica defended Suarez even after he refused to shake hands with Evra in their first meeting since the incident, and British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the English Football Association to come up with a full report on how racism and other forms of discrimination can be eliminated. That’s an improvement over soccer czar Sepp Blatter’s contention a few months ago that there was no racism in soccer. The FIFA chief suggested that any problems could be solved by a handshake at the end of the game. Blatter later apologized, just like Southern Mississippi did on behalf of the band. Like him, the band members have some learning to do. Turns out Rodriguez is from Puerto Rico and a US citizen, just like them. Proof again that ignorance and racism is a losing combination.— AP

Djokovic, Azarenka look to defend Miami titles

Peyton Manning

Manning to sign with Broncos NEW YORK: Peyton Manning, who was recently cut by the Indianapolis Colts, will resume his illustrious career with the Denver Broncos, the National Football League’s (NFL) website reported on Monday. The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player, who missed the 2011 season after neck surgery, was cut by Indianapolis on March 7 after a 14-year stint where he smashed the franchise’s major passing records and won a Super Bowl., citing an unnamed league source, said Manning told the Broncos on Monday he would sign with them. The deal would end one of the most intense courtships ever for an NFL free agent with a flock of other teams including the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks among the clubs who openly expressed interest. Manning had narrowed his choices to Denver, the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers and had worked out for all three teams and undergone physical exams. In choosing the Broncos, the 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback and would remain in the American Football Conference (AFC), the same conference as the Colts, and join a team that won the AFC West division last season with an 8-8 record. Indianapolis, who went 2-14 in Manning’s absence, decided to rebuild rather than pay him a $28 million bonus he was due and own the top pick in next month’s draft where quarterback Andrew Luck is pegged as the top choice. Signing Manning, who turns 36 this month, would raise the prospects of Denver trading popular quarterback Tim Tebow, who led the team to several comeback wins last season and a first-round playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but who struggled with his throwing accuracy. Manning was wooed to Denver by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, the Broncos’ head of football operations, who had said after the season that Tebow would enter training camp as the starting quarterback for the 2012 campaign. Manning would be joining a team expected to be favourites in the AFC West over San Diego, Oakland and Kansas City. The signal-caller may have felt a pull toward Tennessee, where he starred as a college player and where his wife is from, but even with Manning the Titans would have been considered a cut below the reigning AFC Central champion Houston Texans. San Francisco, who feature a ferocious defense, was one win away from reaching the Super Bowl last season after falling in overtime to the New York Giants, led by his younger brother Eli Manning, in the National Football Conference (NFC) title game. But the competition in the NFC is not as familiar to Peyton, and the road to the Super Bowl could be more difficult with the Giants, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints - winners of the last three Super Bowls standing in the way. Manning was cleared by his doctors to resume his playing career after going through a long waiting period for nerves in his neck to regenerate. Workouts with the three finalists assured the bidders that he was on track to returning his Pro Bowl level. Elway could put himself in Manning’s shoes and appreciate what he could still accomplish late in his career. The strong-armed Elway, a nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback, took Denver to three Super Bowls in four years from 1987, but did not win the championship until back-to-back Super wins in 1998-99, claiming his last one as a 38 year old before retiring. — Reuters

MIAMI: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will try to defend their titles at the $9.6 million ATP and WTA Miami hardcourt event that begins late yesterday. The showdown stretches for nearly a fortnight and comes after Djokovic was upset in the Indian Wells semi-finals and Azarenka beat World No. 2 Maria Sharapova in Sunday’s final, as she did in last year’s Miami final. Djokovic was upset by big-serving American John Isner, who lost to World No. 3 Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final. Now thanks to the first-round byes for Miami’s high seeds, Djokovic is off until Saturday when he faces either Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer or Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. “It’s still a week to my first match, so I’m going to take some time, regroup,” Djokovic said. “I feel physically well. I think I’m playing equally well. I’m confident ahead of the Miami tournament.” Djokovic defeated World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, adding that title to his 2007 Miami crown. The five-time Grand Slam champion comes into the event off a Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, just as he did last year. Djokovic, who has captured the past three Grand Slam titles, could join Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as the only three-time men’s champions at Miami and become the first man since Federer in 2005 and 2006 to win back-to-back titles. Nadal, a 10-time Grand Slam champion, has never won the Miami crown despite three trips to the finals, settling for runnerup honors in 2005 and 2008 as well as last year. Nadal will open against either fell Spaniard Pablo Andujar or Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo. Federer, who has won a record 16 Grand Slam crowns, has not won the Miami crown since 2006 but is on a roll, having won three tournaments in a row with titles at Rotterdam and Dubai as well as Indian Wells. World No. 4 Andy Murray of Britain, who crashed out in the second round at Indian Wells, will try to bounce back at Miami, where he defeated Djokovic in the 2009 final. Murray will open against either Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Colombia’s Alejandro Falla while Federer’s first foe will be either US wildcard Ryan Harrison or Italy’s Potito Starace. Isner, ranked 10th, will open against either US countryman James Blake or Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko. On the women’s side, Azarenka’s first match will be against either a qualifier or Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek while Sharapova, on the opposite end of the draw, starts in round two against a qualifier or Israel’s Shahar Peer. Czech third seed Petra Kvitova had the worst luck of the draw, with a bye into round two against either Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm or US wildcard Venus Williams, a three-time Miami champion with seven Grand Slam singles titles. Williams, like her sister Serena, is coming back after a long injury absence. Chinese eighth seed Li Na, the reigning French Open champion, opens against a qualifier or Italy’s Alberta Brianti. She could face compatriot Peng Shuai in the roundof-16 and Sharapova in the quarter-finals. Australian sixth seed Samantha Stosur, the reigning US Open champion, opens against Czech Clara Zakopalova or a qualifier and she could face a fourth-round matchup with US 10th seed Serena Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion. Williams, a five-time Miami women’s champion who has been out with an ankle sprain, will open against either China’s Zhang Shaui or Britain’s Elena Baltacha. Belgium’s Kim Clijsters is among those who will play in the first round. If the 2005 and 2010 Miami winner defeats Australian Jamila Gajdosova, she will face Germany’s 14th-seeded Julia Goerges in round two. Clijsters is a possible round-of-16 opponent for fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane will open against either a qualifier or Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. — AFP

INDIAN WELLS: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot in this file photo. — AP

INDIAN WELLS: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns a shot in this file photo. — AP

Bolt seeks to repeat triple gold-medal haul LONDON: Usain Bolt reckons London’s thriving Jamaican community could help propel him to another monumental Olympic performance as the sprinter seeks to repeat his triple gold-medal haul from Beijing four years ago. With less than five months to go until Bolt defends his 100, 200 and 4x100 metres relay titles, the 25-year-old remains characteristically relaxed and hopes his compatriots will roar him to victory. “I’ve been waiting for this summer for four years so I’m going to enjoy every moment and put on a show for everybody around the world,” he told Reuters in an interview. “The Olympic Games is going to be a massive thing for me and I’m really looking forward to it. It is going to be bigger for me than for most people because there are a lot of Jamaican people living in London. I know they will be going crazy so I have to put on a show.” Over one million people applied for tickets to watch the men’s 100m final in the Olympic Stadium on Aug 5. Bolt is also the favourite to win the 200m final on Aug. 9 and hopes to be a key part of Jamaica’s team in the 4x100m relay final on Aug. 11 a title he also won four years ago. Expectations will be high with fans see-

ing if Bolt can break his own world records in London having run the 100m in 9.58 seconds in the 2009 Berlin world championships. Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), recently told Reuters he believed Bolt could run it in 9.4. “That’s nice to hear but, for me, when it comes to records, my saying is ‘anything is possible’,” Bolt said. “I go out and train every day, work hard in every session, stay focused and do my best. Nobody knows what will happen. “My coach (Glen Mills) is always giving me things to work on so I improve in everything that I do and that makes me get better every day. Every Monday he will give me something else to focus on. I am lucky because I have the best coach around. “Hopefully that will bring good things this summer and I can put on a show. People don’t always realise it, but I am training very seriously and very hard because I want to be a legend.” Bolt was disqualified from the 100m final in the 2011 World championships in Daegu, South Korea, for a false start as training partner Yohan Blake took gold. Although the Jamaican’s trademark composure was rocked, he is now getting

back to top form. “For me, my confidence is all about staying in good shape. If I’m in good shape, my confidence is really high, I feel at the top of my game and I don’t really worry,” he said. “That’s when you see me dancing and having fun. But if I’m not in my best shape, then I don’t feel so good and I’ll be a little worried. For a lot of last year I wasn’t at my best. But this year I feel good and I know that as long as I’m at my best, I’ll be OK. “I can see that I am improving and getting better and that my timing is good and that helps you definitely. You know you’re on track and that is a good thing.” The Jamaican is currently starring in a television advertising campaign in which he races through the streets of London and he expects the city to embrace him again once the Games begin. “People know me in London really well so I am expecting lots of support there and I am looking forward to entertaining the crowds. But the place I am most recognised is in Asia. I think any athlete who goes there gets mobbed,” he said in a interview arranged by Visa. “It will be the same in London with the Jamaican people, but if I’m getting lots of attention, I’m happy.”— Reuters

Sheikh Athbi Al-Nayef Al-Sabah

Kuwait Rally’s 4th round kicks off Friday KUWAIT: The fourth round of the 2012 Kuwait Rally kicks off on Friday with large level of participation expected featuring contestants from Kuwait, the Gulf and a number of international drivers. This was announced by Sheikh Athbi Nayef Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, head of the rally committee at the Kuwait Quarter Mile Club, in a state-

ment released yesterday. “The fourth round is expected to feature heated competition being the second before the final round of the tournament which started November 2011”, Sheikh AlSabah said before expressing faith “in the ability of Kuwaiti contestants to achieve good results”.

The fourth round starts in front of the Movenpick Hotel Friday afternoon and concludes the next day in Bnaider south of Kuwait. The round consists of six phases in which contestants drive for a total distance estimated at 130 kilometers. The country hosts the 2012 Kuwait International Rally on April 12.




Celtics hold off Hawks ATLANTA: Ray Allen hit two 3pointers in Boston’s 13-0 run in the fourth quarter and protected the lead with two free throws in the final seconds as the Boston Celtics held on to beat the Atlanta Hawks 79-76 on Monday. The Celtics led 73-58 at the end of the run. Joe Johnson, who had 25 points, had three late 3-pointers as the Hawks rallied. Johnson’s 3 with 11.8 seconds remaining cut the lead to 77-76. Allen, who had 19 points, made two free throws with 10.9 seconds remaining. Jeff Teague launched an air ball on Atlanta’s final possession. Kevin Garnett had 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 13 assists and six steals for Boston. 76ers 105, Bobcats 80 At Charlotte, North Carolina, Jrue Holiday had 20 points and six assists as first-placed Philadelphia defeated Charlotte to end a three -game losing streak and sweep the three game season series between the teams. Holiday, coming off a careerhigh 30 points in Saturday’s night loss at Chicago, was 8-of-13 shooting from the field and made all four shots from the freethrow line. Thaddeus Young also had 20 points and Louis Williams chipped in with 19 for the 76ers. Gerald Henderson had 14

points for the Bobcats, who failed to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Cavaliers 105, Nets 100 At Newark, New Jersey, Tristan Thompson scored a career-high

Fellow rookie Kyrie Ir ving added 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak and sent the Nets to their third straight loss. Newcomer Gerald Wallace

OAKLAND: Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (42) controls the ball as Golden State Warriors forward Dominic McGuire (5) reaches for it during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP 27 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and gave Cleveland the lead with a tip-in with 1:11 to play in a win over New Jersey.

had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Jersey. Deron Williams added 28 points, but threw the ball away with roughly

NBA results/standings Philadelphia 105, Charlotte 80; Boston 79, Atlanta 76; Cleveland 105, New Jersey 100; Chicago 85, Orlando 59; Dallas 112, Denver 95; Minnesota 97, Golden State 93. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L 26 20 24 21 21 24 15 30 15 32

PCT .565 .533 .467 .333 .319

GB 1.5 4.5 10.5 11.5

Oklahoma City Denver Utah Minnesota Portland

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit

Central Division 38 10 25 18 20 24 17 26 16 29

.792 .581 .455 .395 .356

10.5 16 18.5 20.5

Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte

Southeast Division 33 11 29 18 26 20 10 34 7 37

.750 .617 .565 .227 .159

5.5 8 23 26

Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks Toronto New Jersey

Western Conference Northwest Division 34 11 25 21 23 22 23 24 21 24

.756 .543 .511 .489 .467

9.5 11 12 13

LA Lakers LA Clippers Phoenix Golden State Sacramento

Pacific Division 28 17 26 18 23 22 18 25 16 29

.622 .591 .511 .419 .356

1.5 5 9 12

San Antonio Memphis Dallas Houston New Orleans

Southwest Division 29 14 25 18 27 20 24 22 11 34

.674 .581 .574 .522 .244

4 4 6.5 19

16 seconds to play when he passed up a 3-point attempt to make a pass underneath with New Jersey down 103-100. Bulls 85, Magic 59 At Orlando, Florida, Carlos Boozer scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds, and John Lucas scored 20 points off the bench as Chicago beat Orlando. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau also became the fastest coach in NBA history to earn 100 career victories. The Bulls won for the fifth time in six games. Dwight Howard had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magic, who had 19 turnovers. T’wolves 97, Warriors 93 At Oakland, California, Kevin Love banked in a 16-foot jump shot with 4 minutes left, then added an insurance tip-in off a miss by J.J. Barea to help Minnesota keep its dimming playoff hopes alive. Love finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds for his 39th double-double of the season. Luke Ridnour added 11 points and 10 assists, while Anthony Tolliver scored 10 points off the bench, all in the fourth quarter for the Timberwolves. Minnesota (23-24) moved within 1 1/2 games of Houston for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. David Lee had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors. Mavericks 112, Nuggets 95 At Denver, Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and 11 rebounds, and Brandan Wr ight scored 15 points as Dallas beat Denver. Arron Afflalo scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who lost a game that could have an impact on their playoff position. Denver entered Monday seventh in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Dallas. The M avericks not only gained a game on the Nuggets, they won the season series and hold a tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record. The Nuggets also lost guard Andre Miller in the second quarter with a bruised right shoulder, and forward Danilo Gallinari broke his left thumb in the third quarter. Neither player returned, and their status for Wednesday was unknown. —AP

Peter Sidi

Four shooting medals up for grabs KUWAIT: HH The Amir of Kuwait International Shooting Grand Prix continues with the second day of competition, as four medals will be awarded in the Trap, 10M air rifle, 50 meter air pistol. Competition kicks off at 9.00 am with the 10M air rifle for women as well as the 50M prone position. Former world champion and current European Champion the Hungarian Peter Sidi said he will compete for gold all the way in his first participation in such an event. He said competitions are really tough in the presence of shooters from Serbia and Slovenia. Sidi is among the outstanding shooters of the world, as he was the world champion in Munich 2010 and Milano in 2003. He owns 19 medals in World Cup rounds including seven gold medals in 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2003. He became Europe’s champion in 2011, 2009, 2004 and 2002. Sidi said the championship is the best preparation for the London 2012 Olympics and the World Cup tour next month in London also. He said Hungary is participating with five rifle shooters and determined to have the best results. Meanwhile Hungarian Rifle Coach said his country’s chances are equal to those of Slovenia and Serbia, and expected to have very difficult competition. He expressed his appreciation of the ranges complex and described

it as fantastic. Meanwhile seasoned Serbian Champion Jasna Sekaric said she came to Kuwait to collect the gold and prepare for the qualifications between Serbian shooters to choose those who will go to the London Olympics. Sekaric is considered a legend in the pistol event both at the world and Olympic levels, and she had won five Olympic medals including a gold and bronze medals in Seoul 1988, a silver medal in Barcelona 1992, Sydney 2000 and Athens in 2004. She was also crowned as world champion in 1987, 1990 and 1994, and she ended in second place in 1989, and is considered one of 22 shooters who participated in 6 Olympics. She said she is very happy to be in Kuwait and is impressed with Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex. She said competition will be strong as eight Serbian shooters are participating while preparing for other events. Meanwhile European Pistol Champion Bobana Velickovic said she will go for gold in her first participation despite the strong competition from Slovenia, Kazakh and Uzbekistan. She became Europe’s champion in the 10M Pistol in 2010 and 2012. She said that Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Shooting Complex is simply impressive.

Al Amal Indian School crowned KIFF champions KUWAIT: Last yearís runners-up Al Amal Indian school, Salmiya, overcame a stiff challenge from the defending champions Indian Public School A, to win the second edition of Indian schools 7aside one-day football tournament organized by Kuwait Indian Football Federation (KIFF) and held on the Liberation Day of Kuwait at MOH grounds, Shuwaikh. It was an evenly contested final match as both teams tried their hearts out to take a lead. However, the game ended goalless and as such the tie-breaker system had to be applied to break the deadlock. Al Amal Indian School stand-in goalkeeper Ahmed brought off a super save in the shootout to ensure victory to his team by a margin of 3-2. Sunny Mathews, Chairman of Jabriya Indian School was the chief guest. Rev. Fr. Lionel Braganza was the guest of honor. Distinguished guests present on the occasion were Joseph Dísouza, Mrs. Elvira Dísouza, Gasper Almeida and KM Jose. Before the start of the finals, KIFF president Fidelis Fernandes welcomed the guests and introduced them to players of both the teams. National Anthems of Kuwait and India were played followed by a speech by the chief guest Sunny Mathews, who applauded the efforts of KIFF president and managing Committee for the smooth conduct of the tournament. Guest of Honor Rev. Fr Lionel Braganza also spoke on the occasion. Fidelis Fernandes proposed a vote of thanks. Best Discipline team trophy was bagged by Indian Central School. Best player of the tournament trophy was won by Kazi of Al Amal Indian School. Al Amalís Ahmed was declared man of the match. Individual trophies were

Bobana Velickovic

Buckle up, 2012 promises vintage F1 year

Al Amal Indian School captain receiving the winners trophy from KIFF President Fidelis Fernandes, Sunny Mathews and Fr Lionel Braganza. presented to the winners and runners-up. All the participating team players and officials were presented with coveted KIFF participation certificates.

School Tournament - Finalists

The tournament was ably officiated by KIFF referees and was sponsored by Sunny Mathews, Tony Correia, Joseph Dísouza, Mariano Da Silva, Fidelis Fernandes, Nicholas Rodrigues,

Lulu Hypermarket, and Goa Caterers. Manpreet Singh was the main coordinator of the tournament. Bernard Fernandes compered the entire proceedings of the day.

AUSTRALIA: Although as ugly as carbuncles, this season’s Formula One cars paradoxically look like they’re going to deliver a vintage year of racing. The longest ever F1 season, with 20 races planned, could prove to be one of the best, too - at least judging from the first Grand Prix in Australia. Jenson Button triumphed in style, leading from start to finish. That win makes the Brit favorite to be the new world champion of 2012, because in every year since 2007, the victor when the inaugural race was held Down Under also went on to win the driver’s title, too. But the beauty of this weekend was that the intense, close-fought nature of the race also suggested that, this year, history might not be much of a guide. Here are five pointers it offered for the season: This year’s Grid of Champions isn’t an empty promise, a mere F1 marketing ploy. Having six former world champions racing together for the first time in the sport’s history could have been a major anticlimax if they didn’t have the wheels to match the hype. But Button, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and defending champion Sebastian Vettel all seem to have decent or half-decent cars, close enough in their racing performance in Melbourne to hint that this year might be more suspenseful than last, when Vettel and his Red Bull dominated. “We all think that this year is a very special year in Formula One,” Button said after his win on Sunday. “Having six world champions and so many competitive teams, it’s good to see that Formula One is in a great place right now.” And Raikkonen has already provided the comedy highlight of 2012. After a couple of seasons out of F1 getting muddy in rally cars, the Finn showed he isn’t race-rusty by placing 7th in his Lotus-Renault. But F1’s 2007 champion does seem to have forgotten some of the rules. He

looked like a rookie when he radioed his team to ask why track-side marshals were waving blue flags (used to tell slower cars they are being lapped and to make way). “Blue flags are for cars behind, Kimi,” came his engineer’s patient reply. “They are not for you.” Or, as Homer Simpson would say: “D’oh!” Hamilton still has some growing up to do. Being overtaken by Button, his McLaren teammate, at the start clearly stung. So, too, did the stroke of poor luck that caused Hamilton to lose 2nd place to Vettel. But losing elegantly is a skill, too, and one Hamilton needs work on. While Button and Vettel sprayed and drank champagne, Hamilton looked disconsolate on the podium and in the post-race press conference. Come on, Lewis, finishing third in the opening race is a solid start to the season, not the end of the world, especially when you also proved you have one of the fastest cars. Chin up! Vettel is a brave and thrilling driver. Red Bull’s RB7 was so superior in 2011, winning 12 of the 19 races, that there were questions about how Vettel would fare if forced to drive a lesser car. Well, just fine, thanks. The RB8 doesn’t look like it is glued to the track like last year’s model and is clearly trickier to handle. But Vettel’s overtake on lap 2 was masterful, muscling his fuelheavy Red Bull round the outside of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. “One of those situations where you don’t think too much about the pros or cons, you just go for it,” Vettel said. “A great maneuver.” Make no mistake: the 24-year-old can drive. He didn’t become F1’s youngest double world champion by accident. Felipe Massa looks less and less worthy of a seat in F1’s most famous team. Granted, the Ferrari looks as hard to control as a 5-year-old on a sugar rush. But Massa’s teammate, Alonso, still managed to wrestle it into a weekend-saving 5th place. That made Massa’s performance in the same car look even worse. —AP


S P ORT S Preview

City face title test against Chelsea in his homeland. The striker has made two appearances for the reserves and could feature against Chelsea, almost six months since falling out with Mancini after refusing to come off the bench against Bayern Munich. City defender Joleon Lescott insisted the squad would haveno problems welcoming back Tevez into first team action. “He’s like a new signing. He’s not been injured so he is not going to be struggling too much in terms of sharpness and fitness,” Lescott said. “All the boys are excited and can’t wait for him to get playing again,” the England international added. “Over the last two years he has probably performed at the highest consistent level as anyone else, so none of us discourage what Carlos has done for the club and obviously what he continues to do.” Roberto di Matteo takes his fifth-placed

MANCHESTER: Manchester City go into today’s match at home to Chelsea knowing they face a significant test of their Premier League title hopes. City’s 1-0 defeat at Swansea on March 11 saw Roberto Mancini’s men lose top spot in the table for the first time since October. Local rivals Manchester United’s 5-0 thumping of Wolves on Sunday means City will kick-off against a revived Chelsea four points behind the champions. United have a simpler run ahead of their trip across town to Eastlands in the third last game and City supporters acknowledge another slip at this stage could potentially kill off their hopes of a first title since 1968. Mancini could call on Carlos Tevez for the first time since September after the Argentina forward returned from three months of self-imposed exile

Chelsea side to Eastlands in search of a fifth straight win since taking over from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas. Two of those wins have been in the FA Cup against opposition from the Championship, with Birmingham and then Leicester City eliminated from the knock-out competition. But the 4-1 Stamford Bridge success in the Champions League against Napoli, which overturned a 3-1 first leg deficit in extra time, has already gone down in history as one of the club’s greatest nights. In addition, Fernando Torres has also finally found the net with the Spain striker scoring twice in the 5-2 win over Leicester on Sunday to end a goal drought of five months. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said he had expected Torres to come good sooner or later. “Fernando has been doing really well but he was

just unlucky not to be scoring,” Cech said. “He has had a lot of assists, has been working hard for the team and it was great to see him get his reward. “He must be delighted because as a striker you think of goals and on Sunday he scored twice and that is great for his confidence.” Cech is convinced Chelsea can take advantage of City’s poor recent form. “They have a great squad, full of internationals and great players,” he said. “They had a good start to the season and after a few bad results things are looking different. “But there is still a long way to go. If they get three points from today then they will still have a chance to win the League, but obviously we want to stop this happening.” John Terry, Frank Lampard, David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and Ramires are all set to return to the starting line-up.—AFP


Arsenal ready for Champions’ test

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Al-Qadsia player Talal Al-Amwr (left) fights for the ball against Syria’s Al-Ittihad player Elochukwu Emmanuel during their AFC Cup football match. Syria’s Al-Ittihad won the match 1-0. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat


Liverpool aim to take Cup form into Premier League LIVERPOOL: Liverpool may be enjoying plenty of cup success but the trip to QPR offers the chance for them to get their Premier League campaign back on track. The Reds won through to the FA Cup semi-final, where they will meet either Everton or Sunderland, with a 2-1 win over Stoke on Sunday. Kenny Dalglish’s team have already won their first trophy in six years, by beating Championship side Cardiff on penalties in the League Cup final. That undoubted progress has not been matched in the league where they sit seventh in the table, 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and just three ahead of newly-promoted Swansea. While their indifferent home form has attracted plenty of criticism, they have also struggled away from Anfield. Their tally of six victories is more than they have managed in front of their own fans but, as well as just one draw, they have suffered seven defeats. The Anfield club have already spent two years outside the Champions League and finishing outside the top four for a third straight year would do significant harm to their prestige, as well as income. QPR need the points for different reasons, as they look to get out of the relegation zone, and Jay Spearing expects Mark Hughes’ men to offer stiff resistance. The game at Loftus Road is the start of a run of five successive Premier League games. And Liverpool midfielder Spearing, 23, is also adamant that the Reds’ Cup success can not result in them coasting in the league. “It (Loftus Road) is not a nice place to go. It can be a hostile atmosphere and we’ve got to go and show we can play our football, get three points and start climbing up that table. “It’s every player’s dream to go and play at Wembley and it will be extra special if it’s an all-Merseyside semifinal. “We’ve got all the confidence to go there and try and get through to the final. We’ve got a big game on Wednesday which we’ll need to compete in and get three points, but when it (the semi-final) comes about we’ll be looking forward to it.” Striker Suarez and defender Martin Kelly both limped out of the win over Stoke and are likely to be doubtful for the trip to London. Danish centre-back Daniel Agger is still out with a rib injury, Glen Johnson is still struggling with a hamstring problem and Craig Bellamy has also missed the last two games through

injury, while Lucas will not play again this season. The Reds ended a three-match losing run in the league with a 3-0 victory over Everton last week but their problems would be welcomed by Hughes, who has failed to pull Rangers out of trouble despite investing heavily in January. Hughes’ team have picked up just two points from their last six games and face one of the toughest run-ins of the bottom five teams, including games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City. “It’s not going to be easy, make no bones about it, it’s a difficult run-in,” said Hughes. “Maybe, bizarrely, the pressure is off somewhat going into those games. “The expectation will be that we’re the underdogs and not expected to win. “We can use that as a positive and hopefully fain from that. If we perform to our maximum, certainly in our home games, we can take on anybody.” Hughes could be without as many as seven players, including Adel Tarrabt, Fitz Hall and Heidar Helguson for Liverpool’s visit.—AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings) English Premier League Tottenham v Stoke 22:45 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 4 Man City v Chelsea Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3


QPR v Liverpool Abu Dhabi Sports HD


Everton v Arsenal Abu Dhabi Sports HD 6


Spanish League Valencia v Zaragoza 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +9 Sociedad v Levante Aljazeera Sport +8


Atletico v Bilbao Aljazeera Sport +5


LONDON: Arsenal will look to continue their recent resurgence when they travel to Everton eyeing third place in the Premier League today. The Gunners bid for Champions League football next term had seemed doomed earlier in the season but a run of four straight wins has taken them to within a point of third-placed arch-rivals Tottenham and three clear of Chelsea. All of those recent victories were against high-calibre opposition too, with Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle beaten in the Premier League and AC Milan defeated in a Champions League second leg clash, although the I talians did go through on aggregate on the night. Inevitably Arsenal will look to top scorer Robin van Persie, with the Netherlands international likely to be the centre of a threeman attacking unit also comprising England’s Theo Walcott and Gervinho of the Ivory Coast. Teenager Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will also expect to feature and Tomas Rosicky, the Czech Republic international, has been in exceptional form as well in the past few weeks. “I look at Theo, Gervinho and Robin as the three main attacking players and more recently I have been watching Tomas Rosicky because he’s been out-

standing,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “Robin has taken most of the headlines and rightfully so with all of his fantastic goals but quietly I think Tomas has been playing absolutely amazingly. “ We have had some really good wins, away at Anfield, at home to Tottenham and Newcastle, and AC Milan too

“I’ve played so many games of football now and even though it is at a higher level, at the end of the day football is football. You are just playing with better players,” he added. “Playing in a team like Arsenal it helps massively having all of these players around you giving you advice. When

Robin van Persie even though we didn’t qualify. It drives you on to want more of that success.” Oxlade -Chamberlain could end the season by being named in England’s Euro 2012 squad so rapid has the former Southampton player’s progress been this season.

they are playing well, you feel comfortable and it helps you to play well too.” Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin are unlikely to feature because of injur y, with Per M er tesacker, Emmanuel Frimpong and Jack Wilshere still regarded as long-term casual-

ties. Everton are facing a hectic schedule but Sylvain Distin, the French defender, believes the Toffees’ small squad could cope. David Moyes’s side are facing a run of seven games in 21 days after drawing their FA Cup quarter-final with Sunderland at the weekend. Following the impressive 1-0 win over Spurs, Moyes made six changes for the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool ahead of the Sunderland cup tie. After the game against the Gunners, Ever ton come up against Swansea, head to Sunderland for their replay and host West Bromwich Albion on March 31. “I t ’s physically tough but that’s why we have all the great physios to help us recover between games,” Distin said. “ That ’s the most impor tant when you’ve got games together like this. “All together it’s going to be seven games in three weeks, and all you can do is recover and make the most of the three days between games. “We’ve only got a small squad but we’ve got a lot of quality, and it’s up to the manager to make decisions on whether he rests people or not.” Midfielder Darron Gibson is struggling with a knee problem and is likely to miss the Arsenal game.—AFP

As Muamba recovers, PL plans medical review LONDON: English footballer Fabrice Muamba showed further encouraging signs yesterday in his recovery from a cardiac arrest that has prompted the Premier League to see if it can improve medical tests and the treatment available during games. The Bolton midfielder began breathing independently again and speaking on Monday, two days after collapsing during an FA Cup quar ter final at Tottenham, and medics said yesterday he had a “comfortable night” in intensive care. “It’s still very early in the process,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said after speaking to Muamba in hospital. “There is still a long way to go but there are encouraging signs ... and we pray he continues to improve.” Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said earlier yesterday that “everyone comes out of this with huge credit,” particularly the medics at Tottenham who immediately raced onto the pitch to try to resuscitate the 23-year-old Muamba. But there will be a full review of the treatment available at White Hart Lane for the former England Under-21 international and the medical checks that footballers receive. “Incidents and events shape policy, shape developments, shape progress,” Scudamore

said. “We will look at every aspect of what happened and ... if there are ways and means of making it better in the future. We will do everything we can to reduce to the point of elimination, if we possible can, things like that.” An ambulance was on hand on Saturday at White Hart Lane following criticism from then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 2006 about the time it took for goalkeeper Peter Cech to be transported to hospital after fracturing his skull during a game at Reading. An ambulance must be in place at stadiums for the exclusive use of players and club doctors. “Jose Mourinho has made some strident comments about the X minutes it took for the ambulance to come,” Scudamore told a Sport Industry breakfast in London. “It was a wakeup call, just things like having a dedicated ambulance for players and match officials ... in some ways, his life, if it is saved - and let’s hope it has been saved - is as a result of the things a lot of us put in place after what happened with Petr Cech.” Medics are yet to reveal the cause of Muamba’s cardiac arrest, but Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on Tuesday said twice yearly medical screenings should be

considered for Premier League players. “We need to improve the medical side for the players,” Mancini said. “We need to screen the players often, maybe two times a year and they have to be more accurate because they don’t do this. When I saw our medical two years ago, I was really worried. I said we need to do them better ... what happened to Muamba and other players in the past can’t happen again.” For two days, amid an outpouring of global support, Muamba remained in critical condition in intensive care in a heart attack unit in London, and his long-term prognosis was uncertain. But the Congo-born player made progress throughout Monday, with medics no longer describing his condition as “critical” by the evening. “He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening,” Bolton and the London Chest Hospital said Monday in a joint statement. “He is now able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognize family members and respond to questions appropriately. “These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and the medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.”—AP

Roma defeat Genoa ITALY: AS Roma moved four points behind third-placed Lazio in Serie A’s Champions League qualifying spot after Pablo Osvaldo’s early goal secured a 1-0 win over Genoa on Monday. City rivals Lazio lost 1-0 at Catania on Sunday as Udinese and Napoli drew 2-2, opening the door for Luis Enrique’s inconsistent sixth-placed side to and make a late dash for third place with 10 games left in the season. Striker Osvaldo, starting in place of the injured Francesco Totti, converted Leandro Greco’s pass after three minutes as Roma dominated at the Stadio Olimpico. Rodrigo Palacio hit the bar for 14th-placed Genoa when it looked easier to score. US-owned Roma, who on Monday signed a deal to train at Disney World during the next pre-season, now have their eyes fixed on the Magic Kingdom of the Champions League having spent big this term building a new team which has not always gelled. Leaders AC Milan and second-placed Juventus look all but assured of automatic entry into Europe’s top club competition next season but Serie A’s race for third spot and the qualifying round berth could go to the wire.—Reuters

ITALY: Genoa Brazilian defender Roger Carvalho (left) eyes the ball next to AS Roma Argentine midfielder Fernando Gago during their Serie A soccer match.—AP

Celtics hold off Hawks



Arsenal ready for Champions’ test


Ignorance and racism a losing combination

Page 17

DHAKA: Bangladeshi cricketer Nazmul Hossain (second right) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of the Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match. —AFP

B’desh storm into Asia Cup final DHAKA: Bangladesh reached its first Asia Cup final when it cruised past Sri Lanka by five wickets with nearly three overs to spare in a rain-disrupted match yesterday. Having failed at nine previous Asia Cups, Bangladesh will meet Pakistan in the final tomorrow at the same Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium having upset both finalists from last year’s World Cup. Bangladesh’s victory helped it leapfrog World Cup and Asia Cup champion India into the final. Pakistan has won the biennial event only once, in 2000, when it last appeared in the final. Winless Sri Lanka was already assured of missing the final for the first time. After limiting Sri Lanka to 232 in 49.5 overs, Bangladesh was handicapped by a mid-innings downpour which reduced the winning target to 212 but increased the required run rate from 40 overs. The home side wobbled at the start then Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan smashed half centuries to help them reach the target in 37.1

overs. After Bangladesh was reduced to 40-3, Iqbal (59 off 57 balls) and Shakib (56 off 46 balls) added 76 in their fourth-wicket stand to revive their hopes, and Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah continued the fight under pressure from tight bowling. Nasir Hossain knocked off the winning runs with a straight drive to the boundar y off Suranga Lakmal and finished 36 not out. Mahmuduallah was with him unbeaten on 32, having partnered for 77 in almost 14 overs. For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Kulasekara finished with figures of 2-30 while Sachitra Senanayake took 238. Earlier, Sri Lanka posted a mediocre total after Nazmul Hossain took 3-32 and Shakib and Abdur Razzak two wickets each. Chamara Kapugedera topscored with 62 off 92 balls while Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne collected 48 each as Sri Lanka looked for a consolation win. Of the eight other batsmen, only three could reach double figures after Bangladesh won the

toss and decided to field first. Nazmul set the course for Bangladesh as he claimed openers Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (19), and Kumar Sangakkara (6), who came in at No. 3, reducing Sri Lanka to 3-32. Kapugedera and Thirimanne stopped the slide with a stand of 88 before Thirimanne was stumped in the 32nd over. Kapugedera was Abdur Razzak’s second wicket in the 40th over at 169-5. Tharanga pushed the run rate to better than expected with 48 off 44 balls, including a six and five boundaries, before he was caught behind off Shahadat Hossain in the 46th. Bangladesh made one change to its XI, bringing in Nazmul for Shafiul Islam, who injured a shoulder in the previous game against India. Sri Lanka made two changes from last week’s game against India, resting Dinesh Chandimal and Seekkuge Prasanna to include Senanayake and Kapugedara.—AP

Afghanistan, Ireland and Dutch enter T20 playoffs DUBAI: Afghanistan beat Bermuda by 15 runs to remain undefeated and book its place alongside Ireland and the Netherlands in the playoffs at the World Twenty20 qualifier yesterday. Afghanistan, which topped Group A and won the tournament in 2010, will play Namibia after it defeated Italy by 27 runs to remain undefeated and No. 1 in Group B. The Netherlands, which defeated Hong Kong by 38 runs, finished runner-up in Group A. Ireland, after topping Oman by 44 runs, finished second in Group B. Canada beat Nepal by 18 runs for the third and final playoff spot in Group A. In Group B, Scotland advance to the playoffs despite losing by seven wickets to the United States. The Scots were tied on points with Kenya, which beat Uganda by 48 runs, but possessed better net run rate for the tournament. Tomorrow, Afghanistan and Namibia will play for one of the two open spots in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September. The loser of that match then plays the eventual winner between the second- and third-place teams of each group: Canada versus Ireland and Scotland against Netherlands. In Dubai, defending champion Afghanistan needed a victory to ensure finishing above the Netherlands. Afghanistan reached 177-5 then limited Bermuda to 162-7. Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad slammed three fours and five sixes in a 38-ball 64 not out. Shahzad, together with Mohammad Nabi, put on 56 for the fourth wicket before Shahzad was

involved in an unbeaten 47-run, sixth-wicket partnership with Gulbodin Naib, who smashed three sixes and a four in an eight-ball 26 not out. In turn, Bermuda’s Janeiro Tucker belted four straight sixes off Samiullah Shenwari in an electrify-

Mohammad Shahzad of Afghanistan ing 16-ball 37. Fiqre Crockwell was the other notable with 34 off 40 balls with three fours. “I’m feeling very good because we won seven of seven matches and the boys are playing very good,” Nabi said. “Inshalla, we will try hard to qualify for the World Cup. If we qualify, we will show to the ICC that we are very good.” Ireland, which needed a win to secure second place outright in Group B, easily beat winless Oman.

Having chosen to bat first in the morning haze in Abu Dhabi, Ireland skipper William Porterfield and Ed Joyce departed early, leading Gary Wilson to spearhead the batting with a smart 38-ball 52. Allrounder Kevin O’Brien added five boundaries on his way to 32 in a 160-5 total. Oman struggled in the chase despite opener Jatinder Singh’s 56 not out. O’Brien took two wickets along with Max Sorensen and the Gulf side was limited to 116-6 in its 20 overs. “It was nice to get a half-century and feels like I am hitting the ball nicely and hopefully that form will continue into the knockout stages,” Wilson said. “With the loss of John Mooney for the tournament and Alex Cusack for today’s game, it meant that Nigel Jones and Kevin O’Brien who don’t normally bowl as much are going to have more of a chance. It shows what depth we’ve got in the team.” Netherlands posted a tournament-high 201-5, too much for Hong Kong, which finished at 118-7. Stephan Myburgh and Michael Swart opened with a 97-run partnership for the Dutch, and Tom Cooper hit 42 off 25 balls with six boundaries and a six to beef up the scoring. Hong Kong’s chase never took off with only skipper James Atkinson (64) making an impression. Cooper (2-8) and Tim Gruijters (2-11) were the key wicket-takers for the Netherlands. “It was good to come in and have a hit about,” Cooper said. “I am disappointed that I did not make a big score. But in the end the team won.”—AP

SCOREBOARD DHAKA: Complete scoreboard of the Asia Cup match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Dhaka yesterday: Sri Lanka: M. Jayawardene b Nazmul 5 T. Dilshan b Nazmul 19 K. Sangakkara c Nazimuddin b Nazmul 6 C. Kapugedera c Shakib b Razzak 62 L. Thirimanne st Rahim b Razzak 48 U. Tharanga c Rahim b Shahadat 48 F. Maharoof c Rahim b Shakib 3 N. Kulasekara lbw b Shakib 1 S. Senanayake not out 19 L. Malinga b Mortaza 10 S. Lakmal run out 0 Extras (lb3, w8) 11 Total (for all out; 49.5 overs) 232 Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Jayawardene), 2-29 (Sangakkara), 3-32 (Dilshan), 4-120 (Thirimanne), 5-169 (Kapugedera), 6-175 (Maharoof ), 7-183 (Kulasekara), 8-204 (Tharanga), 9-230 (Malinga), 10-232 (Lakmal). Bowling: Mortaza 9.5-1-30-1, Nazmul 8-1-32-3, Shahadat 8-0-51-1 (w2), Razzak 10-0-44-2 (w2),

Shakib 10-1-56-2 (w3), Mahmudullah 4-0-16-0 (w1). Bangladesh (target 212 in 40 overs): Tamim Iqbal c Thirimanne b Senanayake 59 Mohammad Nazimuddin b Kulasekara 6 Jahurul Islam c Kapugedera b Lakmal 2 Mushfiqur Rahim b Kulasekara 1 Shakib Al Hasan lbw b Senanayake 56 Nasir Hossain not out 36 Mohammad Mahmudullah not out 32 Extras (lb13, w7) 20 Total (for five wickets; 37.1 overs) 212 Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Nazimuddin), 2-39 (Jahurul), 340 (Rahim), 4-116 (Tamim), 5-135 (Shakib). Bowling: Malinga 8-0-29-0 (w3), Kulasekara 6-030-2 (w1), Lakmal 7-0-40-1 (w3), Senanayake 8-038-2, Maharoof 6-0-46-0, Dilshan 2.1-0-16-0. Result: Bangladesh win by five wickets (D/L method) Man of the match: Shakib Al Hasan (BAN)

Ulsan, FC Tokyo draw TOKYO: Brazilian striker Maranhao scored in the last minute yesterday to give South Korean club Ulsan Hyundai a 2-2 draw against FC Tokyo in the Asian Champions League. Yohei Kajiyama put the hosts ahead 2-1 with seven minutes remaining but Maranhao scored before the final whistle to give Ulsan a point in the Group F match at the National Stadium in Tokyo. “We have ourselves to TOKYO: Kim Seung-yong of South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai (left) blame for this defeat,” FC celebrates with his teammates Maranhao (center) and Lee KeunTokyo coach Ranko Popovic ho after he scored a goal during an AFC Champions League socsaid. “Yes, I said defeat cer Group F match.—AP because I feel that we lost the game today.” Maranhao, ized for Brisbane 13 minutes later. In Australia, who joined the K-League side from Japanese Adelaide United moved to the top of the Group club Ventforet Kofu on a yearlong deal, came off E standings with six points after beating the bench to set up Kim Seung-yong’s equalizer Japanese club Gamba Osaka 2-0 in a rematch of in the 81st minute. Yuhei Tokunaga opened the the 2008 final. The hosts went ahead on an scoring for Tokyo in the 37th minute. The two own-goal by Lee Seung-yeoul in the 17th teams share the Group F lead with four points minute and doubled the lead seven minutes later when Daniel Mullen scored. In South Korea, after two matches. In China, Beijing Guoan and Australian club Lutfulla Turaev scored in the first half and Brisbane Roar played to a 1-1 draw to earn their Murzoev Kamoliddin added a goal after the first points in Group F. Cheng Piao scored for the break as Uzbek club Bunyodkor beat Pohang hosts in the eighth minute at Beijing Workers Steelers 2-0, a result that left both teams with Stadium but Matthew Mitchell Nicolas equal- three points.—AP

UAE cuts mortgage lender Amlak’s debt by $1.1bn Page 22

China says conditions ripe to liberalize interest rates Page 23


Kingfisher may lose flying license

Kuwait equities steady Page 24

Page 25

NEW DELHI: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde (second right) and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma (third right) take part in an IMF-backed conference on “Sustaining a High-Quality Growth” in the economies of India and China, in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP

IMF warns of oil risk from Iran World back from financial ‘abyss’: Lagarde NEW DELHI: IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned yesterday that crude oil prices may spike by up to 30 percent if Iranian supplies were disrupted, causing “serious consequences” for the global economy. The standoff between Iran, the world’s second-largest supplier of oil, and the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is seen as a flashpoint that could sharply increase world crude prices. “Clearly it would be a shock to economies if there was a major shortage of exports of oil out of Iran, it would certainly drive up prices for a period of time,” Lagarde told reporters in New Delhi, wrapping up a two-day visit.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has calculated that an interruption in oil supplies from Iran could increase oil prices by 20 to 30 percent, said Lagarde, who arrived in India at the weekend from neighboring China. “A sudden and brutal rise in the price of oil” from Brent crude’s current levels of $125 a barrel “would have serious consequences on the global economy” until other oil-exporting nations were able to bridge the gap, she added. Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations by Western nations that it is developing an atomic bomb but the United States and the European Union have imposed stiff sanctions to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

Lagarde said the global economy has moved back from the “abyss” but that there were still serious weakness in the world financial system. Lagarde said the world financial situation is not as grave as at the start of this year. “ We are further away from the abyss than we were three months ago,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director told a panel discussion. Lagarde said steps by the European Central Bank and some European countries had helped stabilize the overall situation but there were still areas “that need to be attacked with vigor”, such as shoring up financial institutions. “Financial institutions were high contagion agents for this crisis-this

tells us where reforms have to focus. Financial institutions have to be agents for growth, not a threat to growth,” she said. The global financial crisis has been a “huge catalyst” to get political leaders to take politically unpopular measures to restore economic health, she said. Iran has threatened retaliation for tightening Western sanctions over its nuclear program, including a possible disruption of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, a Gulf chokepoint for global oil shipments. Apart from concern over tensions with Iran, Lagarde said the world financial situation was not as grave as it was at the start of this year. “ We are further away from the

abyss than we were three months ago,” she said. Steps by the European Central Bank and some European countries had helped stabilize the overall situation, she said, but there were still areas “that need to be attacked with vigor”, such as shoring up financial institutions. “Financial institutions were high contagion agents for this crisis-this tells us where reforms have to focus. Financial institutions have to be agents for growth, not a threat to growth,” she said. The latest global financial crisis had been a “huge catalyst” to get European political leaders to take politically unpopular measures to restore economic health in the euro-zone, she added. “Crisis was a major agent of change

US housing starts slip in February WASHINGTON: US housing starts fell in February after a surge the previous month government data showed yesterday, in a mixed report highlighting signs of a fitful recovery in the troubled housing market. Starts on privately owned housing totaled an annual rate of 698,000 units, a pace 1.1 percent below the revised January estimate of 706,000, the Commerce Department said. The upwardly revised January number marked the most robust construction starts since October 2010. The pace of new buildingan indicator of the health of the country’s construction industry-was 34.7 percent above the level of February 2010, the Commerce Department reported. Despite the February month-on-month decline, the overall trend shows that “starts are heading upward,” said Celia Chen at Moody’s Analytics. Chen noted that the three-month average ending in February was at a 695,000 pace, above the 659,000 average in the three months ending in November and above the 616,000 12-month average. “Homebuilders are gearing up for the spring selling season,” she said. “Although the pace of residential construction pales in comparison with normal pre-spring activity, it is slowly rising from the depths of the housing correction.” Building permits, a forward-looking indicator, rose for the second straight month in February, up a solid 5.1 percent from January to an annual pace of 717,000, the department said. That was their highest level since October 2008; building permits were up 34.3 percent on a 12-month basis. The US housing market is still bottoming out six years after a price bubble burst, posing a key challenge to the economy’s recovery from a deep 2008-2009 recession, according to the Federal Reserve and economists. Despite mortgage rates hovering at record lows, home sales remain depressed amid falling home prices, rising foreclosures and high unemployment, which, though slowly diminishing, stood at 8.3 percent in February. — AFP

but you don’t want to have to go there,” Lagarde said. For emerging market giant India, she said its priorities had to be development of its dilapidated ports, airports and other infrastructure in order to remove bottlenecks to economic growth. Lagarde, who was in India to meet with Indian leaders, also said New Delhi needed to create a “businessfriendly” environment to draw vital investment and narrow its ballooning fiscal deficit. She praised India for pursuing fiscal consolidation in its budget last week, even though many economists have said New Delhi has not done enough to curb its massive subsidy spending. —Agencies

Iraq’s southern oil exports jump

ATHENS: A dog stops in front of a wedding dress-clad mannequin on a bicycle next to a hand-written poster reading “Get on your bicycle Merkel and go away today”, as part of a street installation in Athens yesterday. Greece’s Parliament is set to approve the debt-crippled country’s new international bailout deal late yesterday as Communist party supporters prepare to protest against the austerity measures being imposed in return for the rescue funds. — AP

Egypt to sell land to expats, cut deficit CAIRO: Egypt will launch a scheme on Saturday to reduce its budget deficit by selling plots of land near Cairo to Egyptians living abroad, the housing minister said yesterday, with the aim of raising $15 billion over four years. The deficit has widened since last year’s popular uprising hammered the economy, cut tax revenue and led to demands for higher salaries and more benefits. The government has forecast a budget deficit of 144 billion Egyptian pounds ($23.9 billion) in the fiscal year

to June 30, about 8.7 percent of gross domestic product. Housing Minister Fathi Abdelaziz elBaradei told reporters the government planned to offer an initial 8,000 plots in at least two satellite cities near Cairo via a website, and said Egyptians living abroad would be able to reserve the plots as of Saturday. They include 800 square metre lots in Sheikh Zayed City that the government will sell for $675 per square metre and 400 square metre lots in Badr City for

$250 per square metre. The government said in a 10-page economic plan it sent to parliament this month that it hoped to raise as much as $15 billion from the land sales over four years. It is also working on plans to raise foreign currency by selling certificates of deposit to Egyptians living abroad and Islamic sukuk bonds to foreign institutions. Egypt has been negotiating a $3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, which now has a team in Cairo, to help it avert a fiscal crisis. —Reuters

LONDON: Iraq’s oil expor ts from its southern ports have jumped by 150,000 barrels per day ( b p d ) i n M a rc h , a c c o rd i n g t o s h i p p i n g d a t a tracked by Reuters, a sign Baghdad is on the way towards boosting shipments to a post-war record rate. Exports from the Basra oil terminal, Khor AlAmaya, and a new Gulf outlet have averaged 1.81 million bpd in the first 19 days of March, the data s h o we d, u p f ro m a b o u t 1 . 6 6 m i l l i o n b p d i n February. Iraq is expected to provide the world’s largest expansion in oil export capacity in 2012 as new outlets open. Oil companies such as BP and ENI have been working to boost output in Iraq, which holds the third largest reserves in the Middle East. But exports have been held back for years by a lack of port capacity after decades of war and sanctions. Oil began loading from a new floating singlepoint mooring (SPM) platform in the Gulf - the first of several - on March 8. So far the facility has exported one cargo, a 2 million-barrel shipment which sailed on March 13. Baghdad is aiming to raise oil sales to 2.30 million bpd in April, a postwar record rate, an Iraqi oil official said last week. He said oil sales were expected to average around 2.25 million bpd in March. Iraq exports the bulk of its crude from southern ports. Shipments of crude from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq usually amount to 400,000 bpd and are expected to remain stable around that level. Southern shipments were stuck for most of last year at around 1.7 million bpd. The expansion in expor ts is slower than expected because the start-up of the SPM was delayed from an earlier target of Jan. 1 by bad weather and technical problems. — Reuters




UAE cuts mortgage lender Amlak’s debt by $1.1bn

Crude reasons support Saudi stock market

Latest effort to revive Dubai firm DUBAI: The federal government has cut struggling Islamic lender Amlak’s debt burden by $1.1 billion, the UAE economy minister said yesterday, in the latest effort to revive the Dubai mortgage provider whose stock has been halted since 2008. The move could give Dubai’s battered property sector a boost as the federal government helps clean up the damage from Dubai’s 2009 real estate bust. Amlak, which is 45-percentowned by Dubai’s largest real estate firm Emaar Properties, was one of the highest profile victims of Dubai’s extravagant construction boom which abruptly ended after the global financial crisis in 2008. UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed alMansouri said a committee had “succeeded in reducing by some 4 billion dirhams ($1.1 billion) of total debt owed by the firm and this in coordi-

nation with the federal government and the local parties concerned,” according to a statement on the ministry’s website. Amlak’s total liabilities stood at 11.01 billion dirhams as of Sept. 30, 2011, according to its earnings report on the Dubai Financial Market. In November 2008, the UAE government unveiled plans to merge Amlak with rival Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel after the two firms were hard hit by the emirate’s real estate collapse. That plan was effectively ruled out after lender Dubai Islamic Bank raised its stake in Tamweel to 57.33 percent in September 2010, effectively rendering the mortgage lender a subsidiary of the bank. Yesterday, Mansouri said resuming trade in Amlak stock will take more time. “The commission is keen to protect the rights of shareholders and the continuity of the com-

pany, while not exposing them to bankruptcy,” Mansouri said. “The government will not allow bankruptcies of companies, as happened in many European countries and the United States, and the country is keen to give priority to the protection of the shareholders’ rights and their interests and not expose to any risk.” Dubai has not yet recovered from property market collapse that followed the global financial crisis in 2008. The four-year decline in house prices won’t end this year, as oversupply weigh on the market. House prices in Dubai are expected to drop another 5 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed. Property firms have been forced to cancel projects and restructure their huge pile of debt with the help of the government. Shares of Emaar were flat on the Dubai bourse at 0630 GMT. — Reuters

Ex-Deutsche banker tipped for top Bahrain SWF job DUBAI: Salman Al-Khalifa, a former top regional banker at Deutsche Bank in the Middle East, is the prime contender to run the $9 billion Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, two sources familiar with the matter said. Khalifa, who is a member of Bahrain’s royal family, resigned in November as Deutsche’s UAE country chief and head of global markets for Middle East and North Africa. The al-Khalifa family rules Bahrain and many ministerial jobs in the Gulf Arab island kingdom are held by family members. A spokeswoman for Mumtalakat said she has no information on the subject. Khalifa was not immediately available for comment. Talal Al-Zain resigned last month as chief executive of Mumtalakat, among the smallest of the Gulf sovereign wealth funds, to set up a new investment firm. Sources said Zain’s resignation was due to differences over strategy at the fund and lack of deal-making opportunities. Zain denied any differences within the fund. “Salman will be perfect for the top job at Mumtalakat. The fund is evolving as a more passive investor and he has the right credentials and the connections to run it,” a banking source who declined to be identified said. — Reuters

new tax on unused land is prompting high net worth investors to shift from real estate into equities, and that could be inflating stock prices. Fund managers are also wary about oil prices. At present, Saudi is benefiting from high oil prices and increased production due to sanctions on Iran. But either an escalation or unexpected easing of regional tensions could have negative financial effects. Meanwhile, it is unclear quite how the liberalization of stock market trading will work. It is expected that swaps agreements, with no voting rights, will morph into direct ownership. But positions may need unwinding. In a market known for volatility and a tendency to disappoint, that gives foreign investors further reason to restrain their enthusiasm. Foreign investors set a new record for net purchases in Saudi Arabia’s $400 billion stock market in February, according to trading statistics report issued by the Tadawul exchange. The report showed that foreign investors, counted as those from outside the six-nation bloc of Gulf Arab countries, made net purchases of stock worth 1.5 billion Saudi riyals ($400 million) through swap agreements. In the same month a year earlier net purchases through swaps totalled 40 million Saudi riyals. Investors from outside the six-nation bloc of Gulf Arab countries can only invest in the Saudi stock market through swap agreements, where funds lodged with approved banks are used for matching purchases of shares. — Reuters

Competition from Morocco worries Spain’s olive farmers

KARACHI: A Pakistani stockbroker talks on a phone during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in Karachi yesterday. The benchmark KSE-100 index was 13303.33, with increase of 225.61 points at the end of the day. — AFP

UK still hopeful of Eurofighter deal with UAE LONDON: European defense group Eurofighter is still in the running to sign a multi-billion dollar deal for fighter jets for the United Arab Emirates, British ministers said yesterday, following reports that France is close to clinching the contract. The Gulf Arab state had been expected to reach a $10 billion agreement with France’s Dassault last year, but the talks faltered after the UAE called the proposed terms “uncompetitive and unworkable”. A French newspaper reported in February the Dassault deal was back on, with the UAE ready to buy 60 of its Rafale jets in March or April. That would be another boost for the French company after India gave it preferred bidder status for a fighter deal. However, two British ministers said they still hoped to be able to persuade Abu Dhabi to choose the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by a consortium from Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

DUBAI: Foreign investors are sweet on Saudi Arabia. Overseas buyers made record net purchases in the kingdom’s $400 billion stock market last month ahead of an expected easing of ownership restrictions on outsiders. But in the run-up to better access, investors need to exercise caution. Buyers from outside the six-nation bloc of the Gulf Co-operation Council ploughed a net 1.5 billion Saudi riyals ($400 million) into the market through swap agreements in February, according to the Tadawul exchange. The index is trading at its highest level - with its biggest volumes - since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Valuations look good on an historic basis with the Tadawul trading at around 12.5 times earnings on a forward basis and paying a dividend yield a little under four percent. That’s better than China and Brazil on both metrics, according to Riyadh based-Jadwa Investment, and is attractive against a background of low interest rates. There are plenty of positives. Saudi’s $130 billion mega-stimulus - announced a year ago as a counter to the threat from the Arab uprisings - is boosting the economy. GDP is expected to grow 4.5 percent this year. After some slow years, bank lending to the private sector is now growing 1.7 percent month-on-month. And the rally in the kingdom’s petrochemical stocks has lagged a more pronounced leap in oil prices, says Abu Dhabi-based Invest AD. Yet fears that Saudi might introduce a

Asked if there was still a chance of a deal, Trade and Investment Minister Stephen Green told Reuters: “I certainly think there is a real possibility, (although) there is a significant competitor, as we all know. “There has been a lot of ministerial engagement,” he added on the sidelines of a meeting of business leaders aimed at boosting Britain’s trade links with the UAE in sectors ranging from defence and infrastructure to health and technology. Gerald Howarth, minister for international security strategy, said the UK government continued to back Eurofighter’s campaign in the UAE, an ally of the United States and one of the world’s biggest oil exporters. “There is real hope for substantial partnership should the UAE select the Typhoon,” he said. “It is now a real possibility thanks to both the intervention of the prime minister and of course the response from the UAE.” British Prime Minister David Cameron visited

the UAE shortly after taking power in 2010. Britain hopes manufacturing and exports will help to kickstart its sluggish economy, improve the trade balance and ease the pain of public spending cuts. Eurofighter faces tough competition for contracts from Dassault as well as Lockheed’s F-35 fighter and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Eurofighter is built by Britain’s BAE Systems, Finmeccanica of Italy and European aerospace group EADS on behalf of Germany and Spain. Declining Western defense budgets have made companies more reliant on orders from Asia and the Middle East. BAE Systems said Britain and the UAE had the best chance in a generation to reach a deal that would help both countries. “We see Typhoon as a potential catalyst not only in the defense relationship but in the industrial relationship,” Alan Garwood, group business development director, told the meeting. — Reuters

IZNAJAR, Spain: Armed with pincers, a small tractor grabs the trunk of an olive tree in southern Spain and shakes loose its fruit, which will be pressed in a few hours. Olive oil production in the Andalusia region reigns supreme, but farmers are beginning to worry about growing competition from Morocco. Spanish producers’ concerns focus on a European Union agricultural free trade accord signed in February with the north African country. “The agreement with Morocco is a step towards ruin for Spanish olive oil producers,” said farmer Lope Ruiz Lopez, who under a bright sun collects olives that have fallen into a net on the ground, then to be poured into a trailer. “We have gone from a quota of 52,000 tons (of oil) that Morocco could export to the whole of the European Union to allowing them to export their entire production,” said Ruiz Lopez, who manages a 40-hectare (100-acre) farm in Iznajar, a village surrounded by olive-tree hills between Cordoba and Grenada. For now, Spain has nothing to fear: it is the world champion olive oil producer producing 50 percent of the global total and output is set to grow this year to a record 1.6 million tones. Morocco only produces 130,000140,000 tons a year. But “in the medium and long term it puts Spanish production at risk,” said Miguel Cobos Garcia, secretary general of the Union of Small Farmers in

Cordoba. “They are going to plant 700,000 hectares of olive trees-that is double what there is around Cordoba!” In a few years, the oil produced by the new plantation “will be in direct competition with Andalusian production,” Cobos Garcia added. “Morocco has a climate very similar to that of Andalusia, it is just on the other side of the Mediterranean,” he noted. “They are targeting the same European market.” Above all, labor work conditions are very different. “In Morocco, an employee’s salary is six to eight euros ($8 to $10) a day for eight-nine hours’ work. But in Spain the salary is 45 euros, plus another 14 or 15 euros for social security, or a cost of 60 euros a day for six hours of work.” Moroccan competition is unwelcome in a sector already complaining about slumping prices under pressure from big retailers. “In better years, four or five years ago, it was more than three euros a litre (13.60 euros a gallon), said Cobos Garcia. “Today we are at 1.80 euros (8.20 euros a gallon).” “The price they pay for a high quality product, extra virgin olive oil, barely covers the production costs,” said Lope Ruiz Lopez, whose farm has about 3,000 trees including some more than 200 years old. The region makes 80 percent of the country’s olive oil and the industry is crucial, giving a livelihood to 200,000 producers and 300 towns and villages. — AFP

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

.2740000 .4380000 .3650000 .30200000 .2790000 .2910000 .0040000 .0020000 .0753770 .7343730 .3840000 .0720000 .7199210 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2769000 GB Pound/KD .4390110 Euro .3655080 Swiss francs .30330370 Canadian dollars .2792460 Danish Kroner .0491540 Swedish Kroner .0410300 Australian dlr .2903850 Hong Kong dlr .0356620 Singapore dlr .2191360 Japanese yen .0033110 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0754190 Bahraini dinars .7347750 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0738600 Omani riyals .7195010 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2820000 .4490000 .3760000 .3170000 .2880000 .3050000 .0070000 .0035000 .0761340 .7417540 .4020000 .0770000 .7271560 .0072000 .0510000 .2805000 .4447190 .3702600 .3069770 .2828760 .0497930 .0415640 .2941600 .0361260 .2219850 .0033540 .0056010 .0021680 .0031030 .0034430 .0763990 .7443280 .3967470 .0748200 .7288550 .0065640

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

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

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram




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

299.400 742.390 3.690 285.100 548.300 45.500 50.400 167.800 47.550 371.300 36.680 5.810 0.032 0.159 0.238 3.440 395.600 0.189 93.640 45.300 4.290 234.000 1.809 49.800 725.100

297.900 742.390 3.408 283.600

223.300 46.261 369.800 36.530 5.570 0.031

10 Tola Sterling Pound US Dollar

76.010 279.100

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

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 443.900 279.100

Selling Rate

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

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


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

298.84 286.47 310.53 372.10

446.00 3.70 3.650 5.790 2.600 4.150 3.200 76.80 742.00 47.60 396.00 727.00 77.55 74.95

279.100 3.077 5.575 2.250 3.417 6.530 76.095 74.585 742.000 46.225 447.800 3.190 1.550 373.500 287.200 3.510

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

445.64 3.41 3.404 5.533 2.191 3.477 3.076 75.87 741.73 46.19 396.71 724.71 76.89 74.46

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd



306.600 4.000 9.300

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


395.560 0.188 93.640 3.500 232.600

3.085 6.510 76.790 74.530 223.320 39.160 2.220 443.900

GOLD 1,742.250

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.130 6.820 77.220 74.530 223.320 39.180 2.680 445.900 42.400 308.100 4.000 9.450 198.263 76.110 279.500 1.350

299.00 286.00 309.00 372.00

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)

278.450 371.000 444.000 284.000 3.350 5.535 46.175 2.146 3.408 6.495 3.076 741.600 75.850 74.350



China says conditions ripe to liberalize interest rates Move to boost domestic demand BEIJING: China’s central bank chief said conditions are ripe for Beijing to liberalize interest rates, a move analysts say would boost domestic demand as the nation’s exports are hit by overseas turmoil. Beijing has cut the nation’s growth target for 2012 as its export-driven economy slows, and a key policy focus this year will be on expanding demand at home. In an article published in China Finance-a magazine backed by the People’s Bank of China-Zhou Xiaochuan said “the conditions to further push forward with interest rate liberalization are basically there.” “The central bank will... continue to actively push for this,” he wrote in the magazine, which was distributed to readers yesterday. China’s central bank currently sets interest rates-

NBK offers real estate services in London KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait International PLC (NBK London) provides real estate services in London to allow customers to easily own, rent and lease properties with legal consultations in the UK, with the chance to finance the real estate up to 70 % of its value. “NBK London aims at making all real estate services more convenient. In a simple and straightforward procedure, customers can now buy and sell, lease or rent, settle bills, receive real estate assessments and many other services with our competitive prices,” explained NBK London CEO Fawzi Dajani. “We finance up to 70 % of the value of the property which will be held as security.” Dajani added, “At NBK we managed to build solid business relationships with trustworthy real estate agencies, to provide convenience and reliability for all our customers. We provide all the services necessary to make their stay abroad easy.” NBK, with the largest international network of any Kuwait bank, provides customers with the best investment opportunities and services. NBK’s international network includes many of the world’s leading

financial centers including London, New York, Paris and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey.

NBK London CEO, Fawzi Dajani

Dutch in same budget hole as euro strugglers AMSTERDAM: The Netherlands is in the same fiscal boat as leading peripheral euro zone states and needs to cut public spending and make structural reforms to revive a slumping economy and retain up investor confidence, state think tank CPB said. The forecaster, whose estimates are used by the cabinet to decide on budget policies, predicted yesterday wider budget deficits for both this year and next and said the country needed “credible measures” to present to markets. The Netherlands, one of four euro zone countries still holding a full set of AAA ratings from the three main credit agencies, has along with Germany been a notably harsh critic of failures by the region’s peripheral nations to hit deficit-reduction target. The think tank said that, in common with the euro-zone strugglers, the Dutch now faced the same challenge of enforcing austerity while also boosting growth. “The Netherlands is confronted with the same problems as Italy and Spain. Budget cuts are equally required in these countries in order to regain control of the government budget, whereas reforms must be implemented simultaneously in order to ensure economic growth,” the forecaster said in a report. Dutch bond spreads for 10-year debt against the German benchmark have been among the tightest in the euro zone, but they widened in February after a new bond was issued. The Netherlands, which has been in

recession since July due to rising unemployment and weak consumer spending, needs a fresh round of austerity if it hopes to hit a deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product next year, as required by the European Commission, compared with the 4.6 percent goal expected this year. The Liberals-Christian Democrats coalition and its political ally, the Freedom Party, are in talks on how to bridge the gap, which could require cuts of up to 16 billion euros. Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, who has been berating southern European countries for breaking budget rules, said on Monday it would be harder for the Netherlands to adhere to the EU budget regulations but it would respect them. The Dutch Labor party, which got a new leader last week and whose backing is crucial for securing parliament support on euro-zone bailouts, wants more time to reduce the deficit. Raising the pension age, limiting tax benefits on mortgage interest payments and reducing unemployment benefits and termination benefits were examples of reforms that would stimulate economic growth, the forecaster said. The think tank slightly raised budget deficit forecasts, predicting a gap of 4.6 percent of gross domestic product this year and next in the absence of spending cuts. On March 1, CPB had forecast a deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP for both years. — Reuters

which banks have to adhere to-keeping them artificially low and giving policy makers control over the way they can allocate capital. Analysts say that if China relinquishes control over the rates and lets the market take over, banks would have to start competing against each other to attract customers, which would lead to higher deposit rates. “There is a lot of evidence to suggest that Chinese savers are target savers, and save with a target in mind, for example a house,” said Alistair Thornton, China analyst at IHS Global Insight. Higher returns on their deposits would allow them to save less and still meet their targets-be they monthly or annual-which would free up more money for consumption, he said. This is compounded by the fact that unlike some other

Monti’s moment of truth, facing unions ROME: Mario Monti will walk into a meeting with Italy’s trade union bosses, knowing it can help make, or break, his brief tenure as prime minister - and hopes of dragging the economy out of the mire. Four months after he was summoned from an academic semi-retirement to rescue Italy from a Greek-style debt crisis, the former European Commissioner sits down at 3:30 pm to try and weaken labor leaders’ defense of long-cherished legal protections for employees which he argues have contributed to chronically low employment rates and minimal economic growth. Monti, who turned 69 on Monday, has already won acclaim at home and abroad for taking action where his billionaire predecessor Silvio Berlusconi had, in the eyes of many, offered little more than rhetoric and distraction. At the head of a government of technocrats installed with the approval of European Union partners - and Italy’s creditors - Monti has already forced through a 33-billion-euro austerity package to try and stop the rot in public finances. He has made Italians swallow sharp cuts in future pension provisions and done away with a swathe of regulations on service businesses. But, Monti, who has made labor market reform a priority for his government since the outset, faced a first big moment of truth yesterday when he tried to deliver on a promise to broker an agreement on labor market reforms. Failure to persuade union leaders, who fear they may have already given too much away in the atmosphere of national emergency, could mean mass strikes and ructions within Monti’s left-right parliamentary coalition. The prime minister has vowed to press on with reforms regardless, setting a deadline of the end of the month for trying to reach a workable compromise. And whatever happens yesterday, the arguments are likely to rumble on. The meeting is being closely watched by investors as an indicator of how far Monti can go, and how fast. Employers complain that regulations, many dating from the 1970s high-water mark of trade union power, are discouraging them from taking on new staff and stifling productivity. “We’re running the last mile,” said Corrado Passera, the banker Monti brought into government in November as industry minister. “An agreement is

within reach,” he told reporters in remarks that are at odds with signals coming from some unions. Monti wants the unions to abandon rules that make it virtually impossible to fire workers for all but the grossest of misconduct - rules that he argues have contributed to a two-tier labour market, familiar across southern Europe, where older staff monopolize protected positions, leaving the young either out of work altogether or on precarious short-term contracts. The metalworkers arm of the biggest union, the left-wing CGIL, has already laid down its marker for the day by calling on members to down tools for two hours of their own choice. Leaders say they will not back down on rejecting Monti’s proposed changes for newly hired staff to Article 18, a treasured achievement of employee protection law. Other trade unions, which form part of a still substantial unionized workforce of 12 million, or one Italian in five, have sounded a more conciliatory note, however, and the unions failed on Monday to come up with a common line. “An agreement is very possible,” UIL labor leader Luigi Angeletti said on Monday. His price, however, remained a substantial climbdown by the government on proposed changes to Article 18, which are intended to let employers sack workers who fail to perform. “All that must be done is to change the hard line,” Angeletti told La Stampa newspaper, arguing the changes had “absolutely nothing to do with the economy, with flexibility or with job creation”. More than 30 percent of 18to 24-year olds are unemployed, and only about 57 percent of Italians have a job, giving the country one of the lowest employment rates in the euro zone, and also among the slowest economic growth on the continent. Monti must bolster estimates of the potential growth rate if he is to convince markets that, in the long run, Italy can pay off its debt. So far the former academic economist has been highly successful in turning around market sentiment. Italy’s benchmark bond yield has fallen to below 5 percent from highs of more than 8 percent near the end of last year. But investors may start changing their opinions if Monti fails to pull off the reforms of labor markets he has promised. — Reuters

NMC Health sets London IPO price range

HYDERABAD: Indian traders gather as they auction watermelons at The Gaddiannaram wholesale fruit market on the outskirts of Hyderabad yesterday. With more than 60 percent of the population producing in excess of 18.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy. —AFP

countries, Chinese people are savers and tend not to borrow money. Analysts say China’s stateowned banks are likely to be wary about interest rate liberalization, as they earn most of their profits from the current central bank-set spread between lower deposit rates and higher lending rates. If competition kicked in and banks increased deposit rates, that spread would narrow considerably, they say. Economic growth in China hit 9.2 percent last year, slowing from a blistering 10.4 percent in 2010, as global turbulence and efforts to tame high inflation put the brakes on growth. Earlier this month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao cut the country’s growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent, down from an eight percent target last year. — AFP

DUBAI: UAE healthcare provider NMC Health, founded by billionaire Indian entrepreneur B.R. Shetty, plans to raise $175-$244 million from its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, a source at a bank involved in the deal said yesterday. The IPO price range has been set at 200-280 pence per share, the banker said yesterday. That would equate to the shares trading at 10.514.7 times estimated 2012 earnings. The final amount raised from the offering could increase to $200-$281 million if a 15 percent greenshoe, or over-allotment, option was exercised, the banker said. Investor roadshows began yesterday in London, with meetings also scheduled for Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Frankfurt and the United States before March 30. Senior management at the roadshow will include Shetty, as well as Chief Financial Officer Prasanth Manghat and the chief operating officers of its healthcare division - the

founder’s son Binay Shetty - and its distribution arm - Vijayan Nambiar. Two weeks of informal meetings with investors to gauge interest in a potential offering have already taken place. These have included specialist emerging market and healthcare funds, as well as British domestic funds, a source told Reuters when the IPO was announced two weeks ago. Abu Dhabi-based NMC, one of the largest private sector healthcare providers in the United Arab Emirates, operates general and specialized hospitals, pharmacies and medical centres. NMC, which also distributes consumer goods, educational supplies and cosmetic products, had revenue of $444 million and adjusted EBITDA of $70.5 million in 2011. Deutsche Bank is acting as sole sponsor, global coordinator and bookrunner. Numis Securities Limited and Shuaa Capital are acting as joint lead managers. — Reuters

LONDON: British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne launches the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS) during a pre-budget event in London yesterday. — AFP

UK budget: How much to help the rich? LONDON: Fifty pence doesn’t buy you very much in austerity-hit Britain - except for a great deal of attention and heated argument. This Wednesday, George Osborne, the UK’s finance minister, will unveil his budget, the annual update of the state of the country’s economy and the coalition government’s plans for tax and spending for the year. This time round, attention has focused on what Osborne is going to do with the “50p” tax - political shorthand for the 50 percent top-rate income tax rate on annual income above 150,000 pounds ($238,000). Osborne is widely expected to announce a reduction, thereby casting doubt on the argument pushed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his finance minister that everyone in the UK is feeling the pain of austerity and that “we’re all in this together”. In Britain, middle- and lower-income families have been feeling the pinch since the financial crisis hit the UK in 2008 and the higher spending of the preceding Labor government sparked a series of stiff austerity measures. Real incomes have fallen since then while unemployment has hit a 17-year high. Inflation, currently 3.4 percent, peaked at 5.2 percent last year while income growth bobbed along at 2 percent or less. Household spending has been further crippled by above-inflation rises in fuel and energy prices. Britain’s economy grew less than 1 percent last year, and isn’t expected to do much better this year. Osborne is on course to finish the current fiscal year at the end of the month with a deficit of 122 billion pounds ($193 billion), compared to 145 billion pounds the year before. Borrowing peaked at 151.7 billion pounds in 2009-2010, the last year of Gordon Brown’s Labour government. Public sector debt, excluding temporary financial interventions, was 779 billion pounds when Cameron took office in May 2010, following two years of heavy spending as the nation slid into its deepest recession since World War II. Debt has now climbed past the trillion pound mark. Osborne’s budget options are hemmed in by his commitment to cutting annual deficits, by the slow growth of the economy, the demands of the government’s centrist coalition partner and ratings agency skepticism about whether Britain can keep its cherished triple A credit rating. “The idea that George Osborne is saying the No. 1 priority is to cut taxes on salaries of 150,000 pounds, they can’t be serious,” Ed Balls, who speaks for the Labor Party on budget issues, said over the weekend. The 50p rate, announced by the former Labor government as an emergency measure in 2008 to tackling its spiralling deficit and implemented in the 2010-2011 tax year, was accompanied by the removal of some tax benefits for high income earners. According to the independent think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies, just 1 percent of UK income taxpayers earn enough to pay the 50p rate. Those same taxpayers receive 12.6 percent of taxable income in Britain, and pay nearly 28 percent of total income tax. The burden of the 50p rate falls most heavily on the 43,000 people who earn more

than 500,000 pounds a year. UK employers’ organization the Confederation of British Industry wants the 50p rate abolished “as soon as public finances allow” and argues that it discourages entrepreneurs and forces businesses to pay higher salaries to lure talent from lower tax countries. Some Conservative legislators, meanwhile, see the high rate as a symptom of Labor distrust of entrepreneurs. However, lavishly paid bank executives have killed any hope of public sympathy by continuing to rake in huge bonuses. Not surprisingly, a tax hitting rich people is proving unpopular with the less wealthy. A poll published by The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday found that 67 percent of respondents wanted to keep the 50p tax, and that included 65 percent of those people who vote Conservative. The telephone poll of 1,000 randomly selected adults was done by ICM Research on March 16-18, and had a margin of error of about 3 percentage points. Among developed countries, Britain’s top rate was matched last year by Austria, Japan and Portugal; and exceeded by the Netherlands at 52 percent, Denmark 52.2 percent, Belgium 53.7 percent, Sweden 56.6 percent and Israel 57 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If Osborne does unveil a cut, it would stand at odds with US President Barack Obama who is considering plans to impose a higher tax on the wealthiest citizens in the US The debate over the US tax - the socalled Buffett Rule - was sparked by the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who continues to call for tax reforms and a higher tax rate for his fellow wealthy investors. The Conservative’s coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, are demanding that any cut in the top income tax rate be offset by measures to hit the wealthy some other way, perhaps through a “mansion tax” on expensive homes or a reduction in tax relief on pensions. Osborne said in a television appearance on Sunday that the budget would include measures to stop the use of offshore vehicles to dodge the tax on home purchases, a tactic reportedly used by rock stars and wealthy foreigners. Osborne is keen to deflect attention away from the debate over the 50 pence tax and on Sunday insisted that this week’s budget would be geared to helping working people on low and middle incomes. “That is our priority,” he said. He is expected to announce an increase in the so-called personal allowance, the amount of income exempt from taxation. The change would have the greatest impact at the lower end of the income scale. Given the constraints Osborne faces, analysts at Barclays Capital expect the budget to offer “nothing more than a modest rearrangement of the fiscal furniture.” The debate surrounding the 50p rate is missing one vital component: the amount of money the tax has raised. The government’s tax and revenue office has done an analysis, but Osborne will keep that total secret until Wednesday when he finally comes clean on his plans for the contentious charge. — AP




Kuwait equities steady GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait’s equities ended yesterday’s session on a steady note, as investors staged alternate bouts of buying and selling. Blue-chips managed to eke out gains as highlighted by a 0.08 percent drop in the market’s blue-chips’ barometer, Global Large Cap Index. KSE track lackluster global equity. The market benchmark KSE Price Index was down by a slim 2.1 points (or 0.03 percent), and closed at 6,228.9. The Global General Index was down by 0.01 percent, to close at 186.55. KSE Weighted Index too was down, reflecting the trend. The index closed at 421.64, down by 0.12 points (or 0.03 percent). The advance was accompanied by mixed trading activity however. The market as a whole saw 459.21mn shares traded, up by 0.68 percent from Monday’s level. Meanwhile, the value of shares traded on the exchange decreased by 28.73 percent, producing KD33.49mn. Investment stocks accounted for KD10.47mn (31.26 percent) of the total value traded on the exchange. Al-Deera Holding Company continued to be traded intensely, with 49.84mn shares exchanged. The scrip was up by 4.65 percent. Another heavily traded stock was International Financial Advisors (IFA). Investors exchanged 26.80mn of it shares. In terms of top gainers, Automated Systems Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 8.20 percent. On the other side, Gulf Insurance Company was the biggest loser, as its share price fell by 8.20 percent to close at KD0.560.

Industries Co, closed down by 3 percent at KD0.097. The company missed the track by reversing its net profit of AED5.29mn occurred in 2010 to a net loss of AED70.25mn in 2011. On the other hand, services sector was the top gainer among the sectors, clocking 0.18 percent in gains. National Mobile Telecommunications Co. and Hits Telecom Holding added 0.88 percent and 5.32 percent respectively. shares of Gulf Bank improved by 1.08 percent (5fils), sending the Global Banking Index up by a modest 0.07 percent. Separately, the board of Kuwait Packing Materials Manufacturing Co (K-PAK) approved, financial statements for the FY2011. These statements reflected earnings of KD2.23mn (52.88 fils per share), skyrocketing 131.7 percent compared with KD0.964mn (22.82 fils per share) a year earlier. Total expenses of dealings with related par-

ties reached KD0.211mn. The board recommended withholding dividend for FY2011. The scrip closed unchanged. Elsewhere in industrial sector, Kuwait Cement Company closed down by 2.20 percent sending Global Industrial Index to close in red. The index closed down by 0.24 percent. Oil news Brent crude fell towards $124 a barrel yesterday as signs of increased supply from Saudi Arabia and a return to pre-war exports from Libya eased pressure on the market, while a slowdown in Chinese demand and a stronger dollar also weighed. Saudi Arabia has said it stands ready to fill in for any gap created by the loss of Iranian oil, and late on Monday said it would work to return oil prices to “fair” levels, according to a state news agency.

Sector-wise On a sector-by-sector basis, five out of the eight sectors edged lower. Insurance stocks led the pack of decliners with a 2.78 percent slide. Gulf Insurance Company dipped by 8.20 percent (50fils). Non Kuwaiti stocks too were notable decliners during the day. The sector as a whole, presented through the Global Non Kuwaiti Index, recoiled by 0.33 percent. Fujairah Cement

RBC buys Coutts units from Scotland bank LONDON: Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to buy some overseas divisions of the Coutts private banking business from Royal Bank of Scotland, giving RBC access to high net worth individuals in fast-growing emerging markets. RBC is buying Coutts’ Latin American, Caribbean and African private banking arms, which managed around 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) of assets. “This business represents an

excellent opportunity to increase our market share with high net worth and ultra high net worth clients in key high growth markets while delivering very attractive returns,” said George Lewis, group head, RBC Wealth Management, in a statement. “As the sixth-largest wealth manager in the world, we can offer these clients the very high level of personal service and global capabilities that they expect from a top tier international firm,” he added.

For RBS, which is 82 percent owned by the British government after a state bailout during the 2008 credit crisis, the sale forms part of its program of selling non-core assets to focus more on its core UK retail banking business. RBS said the sale was in line with Coutts’ strategy to focus on key markets such as the UK, Switzerland, Russia, the Middle East and Asia. The price of the transaction was not disclosed. — Reuters

Oil slips towards $124 on Saudi, Libya supplies LONDON: Brent crude fell towards $124 a barrel yesterday as signs of increased supply from Saudi Arabia and a return to pre-war exports from Libya eased pressure on the market, while a slowdown in Chinese demand and a stronger dollar also weighed. Saudi Arabia, which has said it stands ready to fill in for any gap created by the loss of Iranian oil, late on Monday said it would work to return oil prices to fair levels, according to a state news agency. Supply concerns were also eased by Libya, where oil exports in April are set to exceed pre-war levels, according to a senior official at its National Oil Corporation. “ We have been seeing articles about increases in Saudi supply offsetting a reduction in Iranian oil since Friday ... I’m surprised the market hasn’t reacted until now,” said Tony Machacek, an oil futures broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. “But now combined with Libya coming back up and running and weak Chinese demand, it is all contributing.” Brent crude fell $1.29 to $124.42 a barrel at 1145 GMT, while US crude was down 59 cents at $107.50 a barrel. China said yesterday it was raising retail gasoline and diesel prices by 6 to 7 percent, the biggest increase in nearly three years, which analysts say could curb demand growth. “ The move might sap demand growth. Higher prices tend to discourage wasteful consumption,” said Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at Mirae Asset Management in Hong Kong. However, any impact is expected to be muted as China’s economy continues to grow robustly, albeit at a slower pace. Exports from Saudi Arabia rose by 143,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January, as the world’s leading crude seller boosted sales to the United

States. The kingdom pledged to work individually and with other Gulf countries to return oil prices to what it called “fair” levels.“Up until now, Saudi Arabia has not done much to ease the oil prices ... We have however to consider the risk that the combination of the Vela fixtures [to the US] and the Saudi cabinet statement could signal a change of policy,” said Olivier Jakobs of Petromatrix in a note. Libya is also ramping up production as it plans to export almost 1.4 million bpd of crude oil in April, exceeding deliveries in February 2011 before the uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. This boost in global supply has helped eased concerns about the standoff between the West and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, which has lifted oil prices this year and kept oil markets on edge. “Coupled with increased production from other members, OPEC should be able to offset a complete loss of Iran’s exports, but doing so would effectively push OPEC spare capacity to zero,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a report yesterday. Iran has agreed to a new round of talks with the West, but Western sanctions aimed at curtailing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions have already hit oil exports. A ban on Iranian oil set to kick in on July 1 has already driven a 17 percent surge in crude prices this year and could take the market higher when sanctions are enforced. US commercial crude stockpiles are forecast to have climbed last week on higher imports and lower refinery activity, in line with seasonal patterns, a preliminary Reuters poll of analysts showed on Monday. The survey of five analysts before weekly industry and government inventory reports for the week to March 16 produced an average forecast of a 2.4 million-barrel increase. — Reuters




India’s Kingfisher may lose flying license NEW DELHI: India may cancel the flying license of debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines if it fails to meet safety standards and pay its bills, the aviation minister warned yesterday. Kingfisher chief Vijay Mallya has been summoned to meet the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Bharat Bhushan yesterday or today in New Delhi to explain the airline’s current situation and discuss a revival strategy. “We will convey our points to the DGCA,” Mallya, who also runs a global liquor empire, told reporters in New Delhi, without elaborating. Separately, the civil aviation regulator told Indian television news channel NDTV that Kingfisher had said it was unable to live up to its earlier flight scheduling commitments. “It’s a completely difficult situation which cannot go on like this. I would not like to speculate more,” Bhushan said. Kingfisher shares plunged 12 per-

cent on investor worries the airline would shut before recovering marginally to trade over seven percent lower at 18.65 rupees. Shares hit an all-time low of 17.55 rupees in November. “We have to look at how they are meeting safety norms. The regulator continues to examine each Kingfisher flight for safety,” Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters. “If required, the license can be cancelled as passenger safety is a top priority,” Singh said, adding Kingfisher’s financial arrears could also force the carrier’s grounding. The carrier has cancelled nearly half of its flights due to a strike by pilots and its financial difficulties, running around 100 flights a day instead of its scheduled 175. The pilots are on strike over unpaid wages. Kingfisher now operates 18 planes, Singh said, down from 28 last month. Before its cash squeeze, Kingfisher

operated 64 aircraft monthly. Kingfisher announced earlier in the

month it was stopping most international flights to reduce costs. The air-

MUMBAI: Customers gather at the Kingfisher Airlines booking counter in the domestic terminal in Mumbai yesterday. Shares in India’s beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines tumbled close to a record low early yesterday on fears that the debt-laden carrier could lose its flying license. — AFP

line’s bank accounts have been frozen by Indian authorities due to a failure to pay taxes which it collected from passengers. It also has been dropped by a crucial global payments and booking system run by the International Air Transport Association. The carrier has never turned a profit since its launch in 2005 and owes millions of dollars to suppliers, lenders and staff. Mallya has promised a full recovery plan for the carrier shortly. In a separate development, Anil Kumar Ganguly, an independent director, quit the Kingfisher board on health grounds-the second director to exit within a week. Ganguly’s exit means all Kingfisher’s independent directors have now quit. Experts have blamed Kingfisher’s woes on a string of factors including too rapid expansion, high fuel costs and price wars among carriers. — AFP

IATA cuts 2012 airlines profit forecast on oil Tensions in Gulf push fuel prices high

OSWEGO: A diesel pump at a gas station in Lake Oswego Oregon. Americans have pumped less gas every week for the past year. It’s a startling slide that’s now longer than the decline seen during the recession. Soaring pump prices have forced people to drive less and buy more efficient cars. —AP

India to urge airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme NEW DELHI: India will urge its airlines to boycott the European Union’s carbon charge scheme, raising the prospect of a global trade war over a law requiring flights in and out of Europe to pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. A senior Indian government official told Reuters that India would soon ask local airlines not to buy carbon credits from or share emissions data with the bloc, which says other countries are not doing enough to tackle this source of greenhouse gases. China said in February its airlines were barred from participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) unless they got government approval. Beijing has also suspended the purchase of $14 billion worth of jets from European maker Airbus. India does not yet plan to ask airlines to cancel Airbus purchases, but that is possible if the dispute escalates, said the Indian official, who has direct knowledge of talks between the EU and other countries on the issue. If the European Commission then stopped Indian airlines from flying to Europe, India would retaliate with similar moves and consider charging an “unreasonable” amount for flying over India, the official said on Monday. “We have lots of measures to take if the EU does not go back on its demands. We have the power of the economy; we are not bleeding as they are,” the government official said, adding that Europe’s position would harm its own economy and airlines. The Indian government is awaiting formal approval from several ministries to implement the order to airlines, which it expects soon, the official said. “The question is, ‘Are you (the EU) provoking the world into a trade war?’,” the official said. The European Commission’s climate spokesman Isaac Valero-Ladron said: “We will modify our legislation when there’s an ambitious global agreement in force.” The EU law obliging all airlines to buy carbon permits to offset their emissions took effect from Jan. 1, but no-one will receive a bill until April next year, after the amount of emissions has been calculated. That leaves plenty of time for saberrattling. China, Russia and the United States have already issued a series of threats. The United States said last year that it would take “appropriate action” unless the EU reconsidered, though its proposed blocking legislation stops short of making it illegal to comply with the EU legislation. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has accelerated efforts to find a solution, but is still not expected to deliver anything before the end of this year. It held talks in Canada last week and only agreed to keep studying the options. Outside the official ICAO forum, a so-called coalition of the unwilling has held a series of meetings to debate ways of opposing the ETS, but have

not come to firm decisions on implementing them. The financial cost of the EU’s scheme is small - around 2 euros per passenger for a flight from Beijing to Frankfurt, for instance - and those who support it see it as a valuable catalyst to action elsewhere. “Aviation’s entry into the ETS has prompted ICAO to set itself a deadline to come forward with a global scheme by the year’s end,” said Jos Dings, director at T&E, a non-government campaign group focused on transport and the environment. “Almost 15 years after the Kyoto protocol assigned responsibility for dealing with aviation’s climate impact to ICAO, there is finally a sense of urgency.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that aviation accounted for about 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 1999, and that had been rising about 9 percent a year since 1960. The European Commission has said it will modify its law if the ICAO can deliver a convincing alternative and is working towards a global agreement. Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Travel Association, said the last thing the industry wanted was a trade war, but Europe needed to give some ground. “ They’re going to have to show some willingness to make concessions, otherwise it’s not a negotiation ... What we’ve seen in recent weeks is a hardening of attitudes around the world on this issue,” he said. While aviation bosses have protested to the European Commission, a group of Nobel prize-winning economists wrote to US President Barack Obama urging him to drop opposition to charging airlines for carbon costs. Amber Dubey, director for aviation at global consultancy KPMG, said India was in the middle of a huge increase in both its civilian and defense fleets, with a significant share of the orders coming from European suppliers. “The EU-ETS issue is escalating fears of a trade war between the EU and the rest of the world. There is a chance that the government may decide to use these large aircraft orders as a negotiating tool,” Dubey said. European planemaker Airbus has a 73 percent share of the commercial plane market in India. It has orders for more than 250 planes with IndiGo, Go Air and Kingfisher Airlines , making India a crucial growth market. Foreign governments including the world’s top three carbon emitters, the United States, China and India, say the EU is exceeding its legal jurisdiction by charging for an entire flight, as opposed to just the part covering European airspace. But Europe’s highest court ruled in December that the EU law did not breach international agreements. Yesterday, Indonesia’s state-owned airline Garuda said it might stop flying to Amsterdam in response. — Reuters

GENEVA: Industry group IATA yesterday cut its 2012 profit forecast for the airline sector to $3.0 billion ($2.3 billion) from $3.5 billion as tensions in the Gulf push fuel prices higher. If fuel prices were to soar to $150 a barrel from about $120 at the moment, some airlines could even go bankrupt, warned International Air Transport Association chief Tony Tyler. Although the industry group cited the European debt crisis as the main risk in December 2011, this threat has now been “taken off the table,” it said. Rather, soaring fuel prices amid supply fears spurred by concerns over Middle East supplies are now key threats to the industry. IATA had based its initial industry earnings estimate on a forecast fuel price of $99 a barrel in 2012, but prices have now soared to about $120, with an

annual average expected at around $115. “This will push fuel to 34 per-

cent of average operating costs end see the overall industry fuel bill rise to $213 billion,” said IATA.

GENEVA: International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Tony Tyler speaks during a press conference on an updated forecast of the airline industry’s earnings yesterday in Geneva. — AFP

Tiffany Q4 profit falls, but forecast shines NEW YORK: Tiffany & Co said yesterday that its fourthquarter profit slipped, breaking a five-quarter-long streak of better-than-expected results for the upscale jeweler. But the company was optimistic about its prospects for 2012, predicting both higher profits and revenue. Shares of the company known for its iconic turquoise box rose $3.02, or 4.4 percent, to $71.70 in premarket trading. The quarterly results didn’t come as a complete surprise. After posting solid results for the first three quarters of the year, Tiffany cut its 2011 profit prediction in January, saying that its US and European sales weakened significantly during the holiday season as customers pulled back on high-end jewelry spending. For the quarter ended Jan. 31, Tiffany reported net income of $178.4 million, or $1.39 per share, down from $181.2 million, or $1.41 per share, in the same quarter of 2010. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.42 per share. Revenue rose 7.8 percent to $1.19 billion from $1.1 billion, matching analysts’ predictions. The company said its revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent. The metric is a key gauge of a retailer’s performance because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. Sales in the company’s Americas region rose 5 percent to $605 million, while European sales increased just 3 percent to $142 million. Sales at the company’s flagship New York store, known as a magnet for foreign tourists, rose just 2 percent. Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific sales jumped 19 percent to $225 million and Japan sales rose 12 percent to $204 million. — AP

But if oil prices jump to $150, “we cannot rule out the possibility of some bank ruptc y, all regions will lose in this case, the most losses will be in Europe, but everywhere, there will be significant effects,” said Tyler. “Political tensions in the Gulf region increase the risk of significantly higher oil prices, the implications of which could put the industry into losses,” IATA added. Tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons drive were underpinning oil prices. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transit, has markets on edge. Meanwhile, IATA raised its 2011 earnings estimate for the sector to $7.9 billion from a previous forecast of $6.9 billion. — AFP

Myanmar drafts new foreign investment rules YANGON: Foreigners will not need a local partner to set up businesses in Myanmar, in line with current legislation, and may be granted a five-year tax holiday from the start of commercial operations, according to the draft of a new investment law obtained by Reuters. The long-awaited new investment regulations come after plans to float its currency, the kyat, from April, one of the boldest economic reforms since resource-rich Myanmar emerged from decades of dictatorship last year, its economy decimated by chronic mismanagement and trade-crippling sanctions. Its nominally civilian government has begun to court Western investors, who have swarmed into the commercial capital Yangon in recent months ahead of a possible end to US and European sanctions in the former Burma. The draft law follows signs of a remarkable economic liberalization in the long-isolated country. Foreigners, it said, can now either own companies 100 percent or set up a joint venture with Burmese citizens or government departments. Such joint ventures must involve at least 35 percent foreign capital. Foreign investors can also lease land from the state or from private citizens who have permission to use land, the law says. The initial lease would be for up to 30 years, depending on the type and size of foreign investment, and could be extended twice, for up to 15 years on

each occasion. Foreign firms will not be allowed to employ unskilled foreign workers, and citizens of Myanmar must make up at least 25 percent of their skilled workforce after five years, with companies ensuring the necessary training to achieve that. The percentage rises to at least 50 percent after 10 years and 75 percent after 15 years. The draft law goes some way to reassuring investors worried about a reversal of the reforms and the possible seizure of assets. “The government gives a guarantee that permitted businesses will not be nationalized during the period allowed in the contract or extended in the contract other than by giving compensation based on current prices in the market, in the interest of the general public,” it says, according to a Reuters translation. The law is likely to be approved by parliament during the current session, which is expected to end later in March. The president then has 14 days to either approve it or send it back to parliament, according to the constitution. The latest reforms will heighten debate over Myanmar’s economic potential. As big as France and Britain combined, the resource-rich country sits strategically between India, China and Southeast Asia with ports on the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea, all of which have made it a coveted energy-security asset for Beijing’s western provinces. — Reuters

Aveos files for bankruptcy protection in Canada

SANTA CLARA: The exterior of Tiffany & Co store in Santa Clara, California. Michael J Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co, said, ‘Tiffany exceeded the goals that we had set at the start of 2011 for both sales and earnings growth, although we concluded the year with softer-thanexpected results’. —AP

MONTREAL: Aveos Fleet Performance sought bankruptcy protection yesterday, saying a sudden drop-off in aircraft maintenance work for Canada’s flag carrier, its biggest client, had forced it to shutter operations. As a result, up to 2,600 workers have been locked out of maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities across Canada, according to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Aveos president and chief executive Joe Kolshak said the company was forced to seek bankruptcy protection “in part due to uncertain work volume” from its principal customer, Air Canada. Since the beginning of the year, the airline “reduced, deferred, and canceled maintenance work, which resulted in approximately $16 million in lost revenue in less than two months,” he said in a statement. “This has been a devastating

blow to Aveos,” he added. Aveos was created when Air Canada spun off its maintenance and repair division in 2007, but the airline still holds a 20 percent stake in the now private company. According to the union, 90 percent of its work is maintaining Air Canada’s fleet. Air Canada said Monday it was extending Aveos $15 million in temporary funding to help “stabilize” its finances for a “more orderly restructuring.” “This stabilization should permit Aveos to reopen certain of its facilities and recall certain of its employees, which should in turn allow Air Canada to induct some additional maintenance work with greater confidence over the coming days and weeks,” Air Canada said in a statement. The airline also said it was ready to make alternate arrangements with suppliers if Aveos is unable to provide its regular contracted services. — AFP



business Due to stable operational income and advisory fees, Markaz ends 2011 with minor loss

Al-Zayani Automotive, Tata Motors launch two new vehicles in Kuwait KUWAIT: The Tata showroom witnessed one of its biggest events yet. In the presence of VIPs, colleagues and media friends, AlZayani Automotives and Tata Motors launched two new vehicles, the Tata LPO 1618 Bus and the Tata LPT 1116 Ex2 Truck. Commenting on this occasion, L V Vinod, Tata Brand Manager at AlZayani said: “Tata is renowned for their commercial vehicles. Pioneers in this industry, they have never failed to cater to the heavy demands while still adopting the finest of technologies. We are very excited for the two new vehicles that arrived. I am positive that both the LPO 1618 bus and the LPT 1116 truck will grab the attention of those looking for long-term efficiency.” The LPO 1618 is the latest offering from Tata Motors Ltd. The driveline for this bus has a 180 HP powerful Cummins Euro II Engine and a Tata Motors G600 Transmission to meet the stringent demands of harsh duty cycles. It also comes with other passenger friendly features like specially designed high back seats, wider gangway, superior air conditioning and perfect suspension for a smooth and comfortable ride. The LPO 1618 has contemporary modern looking, aesthetically superior face and body

design; truly a bus providing a boost to transportation needs of any business. Ahmad Felo, Marketing Manager at Al-Zayani, said: “Tata never fails to provide powerful, efficient and stylish commercial vehicles. Those two new vehicles have been pre-announced and we know that many have been anticipating their arrival. The market’s high demand will be met with Tata’s vehicles and our dedicated aftersale services.” The future record breaker, the LPT 1116 Ex2, is the new 6 tonner from Tata. Its load body length is 19” and has a 420mm wheelbase with Twin Tyre configuration. The

Turbocharged 6 cylinder engine comes with a 6 speed gearbox. Moreover, the mechanical suspended seat is complimented with the Ex2 features which include fog lamps, digital clock, power socket, and a utility box below co-driver seat, portable lamp, shirt hook, new instrument cluster and a soft touch steering wheel. Today, the latest commercial vehicles, Tata LPO 1618 and the Tata LPT 1116 EX2, are available at Al-Zayani in Al-Rai; Ghazali street. Tata Motors, being India’s largest automobile company has consolidated revenues of Rs 92,519 crores ($20 billion) in 2009-10. Through subsidiaries and associate

New director of Sales and Marketing for BMW ME BMW Group Middle East has appointed Alexander Eftimov as its new Director of Sales and Marketing for the Middle East region, responsible for the BMW and MINI brands in 14 markets. A seasoned marketing and sales professional with 10 years experience within the BMW Group, Eftimov has fulfilled a number of key roles in regional management, business development, financial services and marketing. He also brings diverse market experience to the role, having previously worked at the head office in Germany, Singapore, China and Panama. Prior to his new appointment, Eftimov was based in the Panama Regional Office as Sales Director for BMW Group Latin America & the Caribbean where he had responsibility for new car sales as well as market development in 24 countries. Previously, he held the role of Area Manager across 12 countries. And prior to his tenure in Panama, Eftimov spent three years in Finance at the head office in Munich and in Asia where he was Business Development Manager for BMW Financial Services in the Beijing Office before moving to BMW Group Asia as Dealer Development Manager based out of the

Singapore Regional Headquarters. Commenting on Eftimov’s appointment, Dr Joerg Breuer, Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East said: “Alexander’s breadth of experience and successful track record having worked with the Group for more than a decade made him the ideal candidate for the role. “2011 was the most successful year in BMW Group’s history in terms of Middle East sales. With a number of exciting new models joining our portfolio in 2012, including the recently launched BMW 3 Series and MINI Roadster, as well as the BMW 6 Series Gran CoupÈ due to arrive later this year, he has joined at a very exciting time. I have no doubt that Alexander will lead our strong sales and marketing team to help increase our sales and market share in the Middle east even further.” As one of the most successful premium automotive companies in the Middle East, the BMW Group ended 2011 with a 9 percent sales growth. A total of 18,657 BMW and MINI cars were delivered to customers across 14 markets, with gains in virtually all markets. 2012 has got off to a equally good start with sales up until the end of February increasing 6 percent.

Alexander Eftimov

Citadel Capital sets up EGP2m insurance brokerage firm KUWAIT: Citadel Capital (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa, announced yesterday that it has commenced procedures to establish a direct insurance brokerage firm with issued capital of 2 million Egyptian Pounds, 50% paid up as per the requirements of establishing brokerage companies. The new company will manage the insurance of Citadel Capital’s investment portfolio and assets which reached $9 billion in March 2010, according to the company website, in addition to vying for projects outside the group. The company’s ownership structure

will involve a financial investment expert with experience in the insurance sector with Citadel Capital holding the largest stake in the new firm’s capital via its fully-owned platform company for financial services, Finance Unlimited. The move is the third of its kind during the last four months, following two other investment groups, including Kharafi Group which has established EMAK Insurance Brokerage, and obtained preliminary approval from the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, with procedures currently underway to obtain the final license, expected to be complete in the coming two weeks.

companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand and Spain. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India. With over 5.9 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the India’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top three in passenger vehicles. It is also the world’s fourth largest truck manufacturer and the second largest bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America.

Jet Airways consolidates and re-brands its low-fare products KUWAIT: As part of a strategic rebranding exercise, Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, will consolidate its low fare service products under the JetKonnect brand to simplify the group’s service proposition and enhance brand recall. Thus, effective March 25, the erstwhile JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect services will operate under the JetKonnect brand, enabling guests to avail of a single superior in-flight product in the full service (Jet Airways) and low-fare (JetKonnect) categories. Jet Airways (India) Limited and JetLite (India) Limited, will continue as distinct business entities operating under their own airline operating permits. In an attempt to achieve brand consistency, JetKonnect will be the dedicated low fare service with a mixed fleet of Boeings and ATR aircraft to operate on metro, tier II and III routes. The aircraft will be duly painted in JetKonnect colors over time. JetKonnect will offer Premiere services on certain routes where guests may enjoy service identical to that enjoyed by Premiere guests on Jet Airways. This will be further expanded in a phased manner. The cockpit and cabin crew will don the same uniform as their counterparts from Jet Airways. Some JetKonnect flights will operate under the S2 code, while others will have flight numbers prefixed by the 9W code. 9W and S2 will also continue their existing Codeshare agreement enabling guests to enjoy seamless connectivity between India and the world. A gradual rebranding of the JetKonnect brand would be manifest on letterheads, the JetKonnect website, boarding passes, tickets, stationery. Signages at all check-in and ticketing counters will have dual branding reflecting the existing Jet Airways and the new JetKonnect logos. Difference in fares between the premier Jet Airways and JetKonnect will also be reflected on the website and all visible communication avenues. Economy guests onboard JetKonnect flights will continue to be offered a range of refreshments from Jet Cafe, JetKonnect’s buy-on-board meal service. Effective March 26, 2012 guests to would be automatically redirected to the new, re-branded Commenting on the rebranding exercise, Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer, Jet Airways, said, “At Jet Airways, we see our brands as a set of differentiating propositions that help us connect with our guests. The Jet Airways Group has always been proactive in responding to our guests requirements and have demonstrated a flexible approach in devising products and services to meet customer needs. Given that our low-fare, highquality all-economy product, Jet Airways Konnect has proved to be a successful model since its introduction in May 2009, we thought it best to consolidate our product in the low-fare segment with a single brand - JetKonnect, for enhanced brand recall. The decision was made to streamline our product portfolio and offer our guests a single superior in-flight product in the full service and low fare categories respectively, drawing synergies from the Jet Airways mother brand. The launch of brand JetKonnect is the culmination of a well coordinated effort.We are confident that this initiative will be well accepted by all our guests. The Jet Airways Group is continually looking at opportunities to optimally deploy and cross-utilise common resources of Jet Airways and JetLite wherever possible and this rebranding exercise will help further in synergising the airlines’ collective operations.” Ticket sale for JetKonnect flights under the 9W code (2000 series eg 9W 2120) and S2 code (4000 series) will commence from March 20,, 2012, with travel validity from March 25, 2012 onwards.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Financial Centre SAK. Markaz announced its 2011 financial results with a net loss of KD 230,000 or 1 fils per share; compared to a net profit of KD 8.2 million in 2010, or 17 fils per share. These results were due to turbulences in local and international investment environment during the year. Diraar Y Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of ‘Markaz’ said: “Amidst these conditions in the global and local markets and the investment sector during 2011, ‘Markaz’ has sustained its approach in favor of financial prowess and preserving its investments. We continued to steadily rely on high quality assets, low debt-to-equity ratio and high operational income. We were able to preserve our investments during this tough year because of ‘Markaz’ stable income from fees of international and local equity funds and real estate funds in addition to our profitable exits from private equity funds and fee income from investment banking services. We look forward to better results as economic climates improve next year.” Manaf Alhajeri, Chief Executive Officer of ‘Markaz’ said “Markaz’s main objective is to preserve strong solvency that enables the company to support its activities and maximize shareholders’ equity. Therefore, ‘Markaz’ continues to adopt conservative policies that include allocating sufficient provisions against investment risk and managing liquidity to overcome volatility in local and international markets.” Alhajeri pointed out to ‘Markaz’ bonds issuance in 2011, saying: “The KD 22 million bond will mature in 2016 and as expected, Markaz Bonds were well received by investors as subscription coverage reached 145%. The bonds have received an investment-grade rating of BBB by Capital Intelligence. The bonds were issued in two tranches: one paying a fixed interest rate of 5% and the other paying a floating interest rate of 2.5% over Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) Discount Rate. Ali Khalil, Chief Operating Officer in ‘Markaz’ highlighted the Company’s activities in 2011, as follows: Asset Management MENA Equities As the region struggled with extraordinary events such as the Arab spring and the EU debt crisis, the year ended with a loss of 9.2% for the S&P Pan Arab Composite Index. Qatar was the only MENA market to close the year positively with a gain of 7.5% while Saudi closed with a minor loss of 0.4%. Heavy spending by the Saudi Government in the social and infrastructure sectors led to a strong performance by the cement and retail sectors which emerged as the main outperformers for the year. In Kuwait, mergers of companies and ambiguity over the Capital Markets Authority’s (CMA) rules have negatively affected the investment climate in the country. Therefore, the S&P Kuwait Index lost 16.5% for the year. Banking remained the only attractive sector to investors with its earnings and dividend visibility even though trading volumes continued to remain low. Markaz received two Lipper Awards in 2011 for its two funds “Mumtaz” and “Markaz Islamic” for the best local equity funds in the past 5 years to reach a total of 10 awards. International investments 2011 was a tough year for mutual funds as managers struggled to create alpha and were having trouble navigating through such volatile markets. US Treasuries were the best performing asset class as 10-Year Treasuries rallied 16.7%. In addition, Emerging Markets, which were expected to lead the recovery, were by far the worst performing equity markets globally as a result of increased pressures from central banks’ tightening policies to curb inflation, thus drying up liquidity. The US dollar remained resilient as the reserve currency increased 1.5% for the year. Even though U.S. equity markets were flat for the year, the S&P 500 traded within a band of 300 points. In Europe, legislators have failed to reach to an effective solution to end the sovereign debt fiasco. We saw slow reforms of policymakers, lagged responses from the ECB, reluctance of core countries including Germany and France to support weaker economies for fear of “socializing debt,” and Euro banks with extensive exposure to sovereign debt. The MSCI Europe Index ended the year at -13.8%. Private equity Due to the volatility of debt and equity markets in 2011, there was a general slowdown of the market for private equity deals, especially exits valued at over $1 billion. Despite these challenges, “Markaz Private Equity Portfolio” witnessed growth in these exits and thus registered positive results. Corporate Finance The most encouraging sign this year was the revival of the debt capital market. The appetite for Kuwaiti debt is returning, and three bond issues were successfully placed in the fourth quarter of 2011. Furthermore, Markaz witnessed a strong interest for distressed debt by regional and international investors; the Corporate Finance department executed several trades in the space, positioning Markaz as a market maker for such debt. This was encouraging as it provided the market with benchmarks to price credit default, and helped banks and creditors to agree on realistic debt restructuring plans. Markaz continues to build strong capabilities in distressed debt and restructuring of creditors, which is helping us win asset management as well as investment banking mandates in the distressed space. In particular, we are focusing on providing advisory services related to restructuring liabilities of companies, disposing non-core assets for clients, and raising fresh capital for local corporations.

Fixed Income In spite of the adverse economic and political events such as the Euro Debt Crisis, the downgrade of the US Debt markets by S&P, Middle East political upheaval, and the volatile oil prices, the GCC bond markets have relatively fared well in 2011. The total GCC Bonds & Sukuk issuance was $50.63 billion compared to $31.06 billion in 2010 with a total of five Bonds & Sukuk issuances from Kuwait with a total value of $90 million. In January 2011, Markaz launched Fixed Income Fund (“MFIF”).The fund’s main objective is to provide investors with stable returns by investing in highly rated Bonds and Sukuk issued by GCC governments and Corporations. Markaz Fixed Income team aims to increase AUMs by providing investors with customized fixed income portfolios which comply with their investment needs, in addition to revisiting investment strategy of its current fund MFIF to take advantage of the prevailing market conditions. On the advisory side, the team aims to continue to offer advisory services, utilizing its structuring and placement capabilities to assist local companies in meeting their financing and liquidity needs. The team will also continue to cooperate with the Capital Market Authority, the Gulf Association of Bonds and Sukuk (GABS) and regional asset managers in their efforts to develop a secondary market for Bonds and Sukuk in Kuwait. Structured Finance Markaz has been the sole options market maker in the Middle East since 2005. This reflects the company’s belief in the importance of having a developed options market. Markaz employs its high caliber skills, expertise, and resources to achieve this objective. The number of stocks covered in the Options Market at the Kuwait Stock Exchange was decreased. The removal of those stocks from the options market came as a result of adjusting the fund’s strategy. The adjustment aimed to enhance the fund’s performance by eliminating stocks that have failed to meet its selection criteria due to the rapid changes in the market’s conditions. The list of companies traded on the options market remains dynamic and changes depending on the latest risk and liquidity measures.

Diraar Y Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of ‘Markaz’ In 2011, Markaz Structured Finance team finalized the development and testing phases of a new application “Forsa Bridge” that will integrate Forsa Options Trading System to Kuwait Stock Exchange NASDAQ OMX new trading platform. The team also upgraded its trading infrastructure with industry standard analytics that are fast, accurate, robust, and scalable in 2011. It has also launched a dedicated options page within the company’s corporate website, which provides information on the options market, pricing mechanisms and spot prices. MENA Real Estate Investments “MREF” invests in income generating properties and is unexposed to weak sectors “Markaz Real Estate Fund”, which invests in income generating properties in the Kuwaiti Market and has no exposure to the adversely affected office sector, was able to attract significant funds from new investors and acquired a number of attractive income generating properties. The fund continued to pay monthly cash distributions to investors amounting to 7% of the par value per annum. Markaz Real Estate Development Company (MREDco), conceived to benefit from the pent-up demand for residential units in KSA, progressed with its villas development in Al Khobar in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. A first batch of villas is expected to be delivered in the first month of 2012 with buyers already expressing interest in the project. The project is on track for completion during Q2 2012 and we expect to exit the investment by the end of 2012. In 2011 Markaz exited Lusail Waterfront Development, an investment at Qatar managed by Masraf Al Rayan. Investors in Lusail Waterfront Development investment achieved a gross return of 20%. “Markaz Real Estate Opportunities Fund”, which manages investments in Lebanon, KSA, Jordan, Syria, Abu Dhabi and Qatar was able to exit its investment in Qatar and distribute the proceeds to its investors. The fund also completed one of its developments in Jordan, expecting to exit the development and distribute its proceeds in Q1 2012. Efforts are in place for exiting residential developments in Jordan and land development in KSA while work continues for the remaining investments as planned.



Is ‘Gadgetization’ a friend or foe? DUBAI: The modern world gives us more ways than ever to stay online and in touch - and people are rushing to take advantage. But while Kaspersky Lab figures show that more and more families are using several different Internet-ready devices, cyber criminals are also ready to take advantage of new ways to exploit their victims. Gadget nation Kaspersky Lab’s global survey revealed that the average Russian family has 3.3 personal electronic devices with Internet access and capable of storing large amounts of data. The most gadget-happy nation is Saudi Arabia, with 4.3 devices per household; Romanians have the fewest hi-tech toys with 2.6. Russia was ranked alongside Mexico and China. The desktop computer is the most popular type of personal electronic device in KSA - almost 62.5% of those surveyed said they had one at home. 18.4% of the respondents stated that they had two or more desktops. Laptops are as a prominent as ever thanks to their combination of high performance and mobility - every second family (53%) has one. 36.4% of respondents said they have two or more

laptops at home. More than half of those polled (55.7%) turned out to be smartphone owners, with 27.5% of respondents saying that there were two or more such devices in their household. When it came to the latest devices such as tablets, it was revealed that every tenth respondent (33.7%) had purchased one and a further 11.3% intend to do so in the near future. Almost 5.1% of the inhabitants of KSa’s biggest cities are already the proud owners of a full set of modern electronic devices (desktop PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet). {Gadgetization - friend or foe? / 4.3 devices per household in KSA / 18.4% 2 or more PCs / 27.5% 2 or more smartphones / 36.4% 2 or more laptops / 33.7% already have a tablet / 5.1% of households desktop PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet / Mobile platforms / Number of malicious programs / at the beginning of 2011 / at the end of 2011 / growth % / Operating system / Number of malicious programs / at the beginning of 2011 / at the end of 2011 / growth %} Under threat This love of gadgets offers a wealth of opportu-

nities to cyber criminals. Every day users make online purchases, chat on social networks, check their email accounts and browse the Internet. All this can be done just as effectively on a smartphone or a tablet running various operating systems as it can on a desktop or laptop computer. In 2011 the experts at Kaspersky Lab observed a dramatic growth in the amount of malware for the majority of platforms. The domination of Windows on users’ PCs is reflected in its popularity among virus writers - malware for the operating system increased 80% last year. Malicious programs for Mac OS also demonstrated significant growth of 35%. When it came to mobile operating systems, four platforms bore the brunt of the biggest increases in malware. There was a rise of 13% for Windows Mobile, and Symbian saw a rise of 16%. Java2ME continues to be a favorite target of the virus writers as it is used on the majority of basic phones. The amount of malware for this platform rose by 160%. But it is Android that has the unenviable distinction of being targeted most by the virus writers. At the beginning of 2011 there were a couple of dozen threats targeting the platform; by the end of the

year that number had reached the 2,000 mark. The overall increase in malware targeting Android for the year came to almost 12,000%. “Regardless of the type of device or operating system, users need to be sure that all their gadgets are protected. With such a variety of devices and platforms, comprehensive protection is only possible with the help of universal solutions that have already become a major new trend in IT security for end users,” explains Alexander Erofeev, Head of Strategic Marketing & Brand Communication at Kaspersky Lab. “When you have several devices, purchasing an integrated solution makes more sense economically than protecting each device separately, and it makes installation much easier. Kaspersky ONE is just the sort of flexible solution that can protect your PCs & laptops, Macs, smartphones and tablets.” [i] Survey of Internet users conducted by the independent research company O+K especially for Kaspersky Lab in 20 countries over several stages throughout 2011. The last stage took place in October 2011. Over 7,000 users took part in the survey.

Singapore gains toehold in world arms industry City-state seeks to enlarge overseas market

PORTLAND: Bard Vance, 81, of Salt Lake, raises his arms as he is scanned in a advanced imaging technology unit at the security checkpoint Monday, at the Portland International Airport, in Portland, Ore. Modified screening procedures for passengers 75 and older were implemented on Monday at four airports nationwide, including Portland International Airport.— AP

Amazon to sell $10 cards for $5 to lure customers NEW YORK: Amazon is hoping that five bucks will get you in the door to its local deals site, AmazonLocal. Inc. will be selling $10 gift cards for $5 from yesterday to people who visit, the online retailer’s answer to deals sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. It’s a crafty move from Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, as it works to distinguish its local deals service from a bevy of competitors. Mike George, vice president at AmazonLocal, said the company wants to draw in both new and existing customers with the gift card. He said that Amazon hopes gift card buyers will check out the company’s offers from spas, restaurants and other businesses on AmazonLocal. The gift cards are good for any purchase, though not on AmazonLocal. Amazon is the biggest online merchant, but the largest deals seller is Groupon Inc., which went public in November and has had the first-comer advantage in the online deals space. Amazon wants to use its retailing might to promote its local business. But Google Inc., the country’s dominant search engine, and others are moving into the space too. Amazon isn’t saying how many of the cards it is selling, only that it’s available in “limited quantity.” Last year, LivingSocial sold about 1.4 million of $10-for-$20 Amazon gift cards. Earlier, Inc said it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc for $775 million in cash, a deal that will bring more robotic technology to the e-commerce company’s giant network of warehouses. The acquisition, which has been approved by Kiva’s stockholders, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, Amazon added in a statement. Kiva devel-

ops robots that zip around warehouses, grabbing and moving shelves and crates full of products. The technology helps retailers fulfill online orders quickly and with fewer workers. Companies including Gap Inc, Staples Inc and Crate & Barrel, have used the technology. Amazon has traditionally used more employees in its warehouses, or fulfillment centers as they are known. However, Kiva’s robots have been used by other e-commerce companies acquired by Amazon in recent years, such as Quidsi and Zappos. “This is a way to improve efficiency,” said Scott Tilghman, an analyst at Caris & Company. “Given the scale of Amazon’s operations, it makes sense to have this capability in house.” Fulfillment centers are crucial to Amazon’s main online retail business. But the company also offers fulfillment services to other merchants, making the warehouses even more important. “Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment, at Amazon has been spending more on fulfillment in recent years as the company opened lots of new warehouses to handle the rapid growth of its business. Fulfillment costs as a percentage of revenue rose to more than 9 percent in 2011, from just over 8 percent in 2010, according to Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Raymond James. “ That’s been a big focus for investors recently,” Kessler said. “It’s a big cost. They are shipping so much and increasing volume so they need to figure out how to get more leverage out of these fulfillment centers.” — Agencies

French data watchdog questions Google on privacy PARIS: France’s data protection watchdog has given US internet search group Google Inc three weeks to answer questions about its new privacy policy, as part of a Europewide investigation being led by the French regulator. In a letter to Google CEO Larry Page dated March 16, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique (CNIL) asked Google to explain what it will do with user data it collects, how long it will store it and whether it will be linked to the person’s real identity, as well as the legal justification for its approach. The CNIL is leading an investigation on behalf of data protection regulators in Europe’s 27 member states, and it has already said it has “strong doubts” that Google’s new approach to privacy complies with European law. Among the issues the CNIL raises is whether Google will track people using mapping or search on their smartphones, and whether the company will collect information stored on the phone such as contacts in the address book. The regulator also seemed particularly concerned about Google’s plan to share the

data it collects on users across its services, asking 21 out of 69 questions about such sharing and their legal basis. Google said in January it was simplifying its privacy policy, consolidating 60 guidelines into a single one that will apply for all its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+. The US company also said it will pool data it collects on individual users across its services, allowing it to better tailor search results and improve service. Users cannot opt out of the new policy, which took effect in early March, if they want to continue using Google’s services. The move sparked the European investigation as well as concern from Japanese and US officials. The tussle over data privacy comes at a delicate time for Google, whose business model is based on giving away free search, email, and other services while making money by selling user-targeted advertising. It is already being investigated by the EU’s competition authority and the US Federal Trade Commission over how it ranks search results and whether it favours its own products over rival services. —Reuters

SINGAPORE: Singapore, better known for its clean-cut image and electronics exports, is seeking a place in the global arms industry by exploiting technological expertise honed on its own amply funded military. From armored personnel carriers used by British forces in Afghanistan to ammunition and firearms, the city-state is trying to enlarge the overseas market for its homegrown weapons and defense systems. Its arms exports were in the limelight recently when India’s defense ministry banned six weapons manufacturers for alleged involvement in a 2009 bribery caseone of them a relatively littleknown company from Singapore. ST Kinetics, part of the multibillion-dollar ST Engineering industrial group, swiftly and vigorously denied the accusation but the mere mention of the firm underscored Singapore’s growing ambitions in the world arms market. Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper said ST Kinetics was bidding for a contract to supply India with howitzers when the process was put on hold over the bribery allegations. Its parent ST Engineering, with revenues of Sg$5.99 billion ($4.72 billion) in 2011, was the only Southeast Asian firm on the Stockholm International

Peace Research Institute’s list of the world’s top 100 defense manufacturers released last month. Partly owned by state investment agency Temasek Holdings, ST Engineering dominates the defense industry in Singapore. It says it is one of the world’s top suppliers of 40mm ammunition as well as portable weapons like its CIS 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher. The company was the biggest exhibitor at last month’s Singapore Airshow where among the equipment on display was a new version of the Bronco, an armored all-terrain troop carrier used by British forces in Afghanistan. “Our things are battle-proven. If you need something special, we can also customize to give you an edge over other people,” Patrick Choy, executive vice-president for international marketing at ST Engineering said at the show. The British Army’s 115 Broncos-first deployed in Afghanistan in 2010 and dubbed the “Warthogs”-are ST Engineering’s pride, and billed as the first armored vehicles built for a Western army by an Asian firm. Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, the second-largest foreign contingent after the US troops in the coalition, operating in the difficult terrain of

Helmand province. Jon Grevatt, a defense specialist for IHS Jane’s, a global security think tank, said the firm “has done a grand job with the Bronco” but noted that “the British Army heavily customized it to suit its operational needs in Afghanistan”. Beyond Britain, ST Engineering exports weapons and military equipment to other countries but refuses to divulge details. According to the Stockholm institute, Singapore has sold defense products to Indonesia, Chad, Nigeria, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil since 2000, generating $1.75 billion in 2010 alone. Despite its diverse customer profile, ST Engineering is still heavily dependent on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Grevatt said. Singapore has the largest defense budget in Southeast Asia, thanks to public funds generated by its phenomenal economic growth. It has set aside Sg$12.28 billion ($9.68 billion) for defense in 2012, at 24.4 percent the largest single allocation in the government’s total budget. Surrounded by far larger neighbors, Singapore has pursued a robust defense strategy since its acrimonious split with Malaysia in 1965, and was initially advised by

Israel. All able-bodied Singaporean men are required to devote two years of full-time military service upon turning 18, providing additional manpower on top of the estimated 20,000 armed forces regulars. “As a defense manufacturer ST is driven largely by what the SAF needs... which is still conventional systems,” Grevatt said. “ST’s conventional land systems for the SAF will be difficult to sell outside Singapore because several factors are against it... the Western market is in decline and conflicts are also winding down.” However, ST Engineering’s nondefense sectors contribute about 60 percent of revenues, with the diverse portfolio bolstering growth potential, he added. Apart from its defense business, the company has worldwide operations in commercial land systems, aerospace, the marine industry and engineering, with over 100 subsidiaries in 23 countries. Its aviation arm ST Aerospace is the largest independent aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul provider in the world. “Defense manufacturers today have to be diverse and have their fingers in many pies to survive,” Grevatt said.—AFP

Apple’s dividend heralds ‘changing of the guard’ Latest iPad sets new sales record SAN FRANCISCO: What would Steve have done? It’s a question that Apple CEO Tim Cook can’t escape. From the naming of the new iPad to his choice of clothing at public events, company-watchers parse Cook’s every move, looking for differences between him and the company’s revered founder Steve Jobs. But Cook seems determined to stamp his own legacy on the world’s most valuable company. In the biggest break from Jobs’ philosophy since Cook succeeded him as CEO seven months ago, Apple is dipping into its nearly $100 billion cash stash to start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share to its stockholders. The commitment announced Monday draws a clear line of demarcation between Cook and Jobs. “This is indicative of the changing of the guard at Apple,” says ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall. “I don’t think this would have happened under Steve Jobs. This clearly shows Tim Cook is his own man.” Jobs hoarded cash like a man afraid of running out of it. Plagued by memories of Apple’s flirtation with bankruptcy in the late 1990s, he steadfastly resisted calls for the company to pay a dividend. Jobs never wanted Apple to be so destitute that it would need financial help, as it did in 1997 when he negotiated a $150 million infusion from rival Microsoft Corp. With Cook in charge, Apple is now ready to herald a new era and dole out about $10 billion in dividends each year. It’s an amount that Apple can easily afford, given the size of its current bank account and the billions more pouring in amid feverish demand for its iPhones, iPads and iPods. Obviously, no one knows what Jobs would have thought about Apple paying a dividend. He died Oct. 5 after a long battle with cancer. It’s unclear whether he had softened his stance on the dividend by the time he resigned as CEO last August. The dividend decision didn’t fall entirely to Cook. It required the

approval of Apple’s eight-member board of directors, which hasn’t changed in the past year except for the addition of Cook and the loss of Jobs. Cook joined the board when he became CEO. Apple’s board had been discussing a possible dividend since at least January, based on what Cook has publicly told analysts and Apple shareholders. Analysts and investors viewed the dividend as a sign of Cook’s willingness to listen to shareholders. “The new management is very shareholder friendly, and it has been very nice to see,” says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. Longtime Apple shareholder Asif Khan believes the dividend suggests that Cook is serious about honoring one of Jobs’ final bits of advice. Based on published accounts, Cook told Apple employees at an Oct. 19 memorial that Jobs wanted management to “just do what’s right” instead of trying to figure out what the company’s late leader would have done. “It’s an intriguing moment in Apple’s history because this is a departure from Steve’s philosophy,” says Khan, whose family has accumulated 20,000 Apple shares since 1997 when Jobs returned to the company. Cook “is changing the culture of the company just a little bit, but in a good way. Everything I have seen him do so far seems to be making Apple into a kinder and gentler company.” Before Apple’s dividend announcement, Cook’s most significant change from the Jobs’ regime had been to introduce a company program that matched employee donations to charities of up to $10,000. Cook, who worked closely with Jobs since joining Apple in 1998, has made it clear he still intends to hew to the vision of his predecessor and mentor. Just last month, Cook told Apple shareholders that he still thinks of Jobs every day he goes to work. Forgetting Jobs would be nearly

SAN FRANCISCO: In this March 7, 2012 file photo, a new Apple iPad is on display during an Apple event in San Francisco. A report issued Monday found that mobile technology is increasing the public appetite for news. Tablets are growing in popularity and there’s evidence that people spend more time with news on tablets than they do on smartphones or desktops. — AP impossible for Cook to do anyway, given the comparisons that are regularly made between the two. Some Apple fans even comment on how Cook’s fashion tastes deem to differ from Jobs, who adopted a pair of jeans and a mock black turtleneck as his daily uniform. Cook seems to favor button-up shirts in his public appearances. Cook hasn’t come close to matching Jobs’ panache. The missing pizazz stood out earlier this month at Apple’s unveiling of its latest iPad. Cook spent relatively little amount of time on stage, leaving most of the presentation to several of his top lieutenants. “Steve was a vibrant and

charismatic figurehead, so it’s really not fair to compare Tim’s persona to that,” says Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin, who has been following Apple for 32 years. Apple didn’t even bother anointing the third-generation iPad with a distinctive name, prompting some Apple pundits to wonder whether the company might have tried to come up with something more creative if Jobs were still running things. Not that it mattered. The latest iPad set a new sales record during its first weekend in stores, Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss the dividend.— AP That’s just the latest example of



Ex NASA expert attacks bosses in religious row LOS ANGELES: A former expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) claimed Monday he was falsely accused of harassing co-workers about religion, as he took the stand at an unfair dismissal trial. Computer administrator David Coppedge, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, was fired last year after expressing support for intelligent design to fellow employees. His trial started last week, and on Monday testi-

fied that his supervisor Gregory Chin had wrongly accused him, threatened his freedom of religion and created a potentially hostile working environment. “You are pushing your religion in this office and harassing people with this religion,” Chin said, according to Coppedge, who added: “He was angry and he got angrier.” Coppedge said he asked Chin why he considered intelligent design anything but science. “Dave, intelligent design is religion,” Chin

replied, according to Coppedge. Chin warned him against discussing religion or politics with colleagues, he said. “I felt threatened .. I said: ‘Greg, this gets into issues of free speech and freedom of religion ... this could be construed as creating a hostile work environment’,” he added. Coppedge filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in April 2010, and claims he was dismissed nine months later in retaliation for taking the legal action-but JPL said he was laid off as

part of a staff reduction. Coppedge, who had joined JPL in 1996, was an information technology specialist and system administrator-and team leader-on the project’s Cassini mission to Saturn. He lost his team leader role in 2009, and left the company last year after 15 years. In a sworn declaration last week, he denied he was aggressive in voicing views about religion, including by sending emails criticizing the change in name of the 2003 Cassini Christmas

party to a “holiday party.” “I was not pushy, scolding or demanding in these emails,” he said. “In fact, my purpose was to convince them to not be so politically correct. It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to have been pushy,” he said. In a statement issued as the trial opened, JPL dismissed the charges, saying: “The suit is completely without merit and we intend to vigorously fight the allegations raised by Mr Coppedge.” — AFP

California’s stem cell agency ponders its future ‘The goal is to keep the momentum going’

SINGAPORE: World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Margaret Chan speaks at the opening ceremony of the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) in Singapore yesterday. Chan yesterday branded the tobacco industry a “ruthless and devious enemy” and called on governments and civil society groups to unite against cigarette firms. —AFP

Cigarette firms slowing anti-tobacco fight: Report SINGAPORE: Alleged “interference” by cigarette firms in public health policies is slowing down a UN-backed global campaign against tobacco use and its related health risks, a report said yesterday. The report by the civil society group Framework Convention Alliance said major cigarette firms continue to run circles around key provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the global tobacco treaty. The tobacco industry is a major revenue earner and employer in some countries, but its use comes with major health risks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use kills nearly six million people each year, including more than 600,000 who are non-smokers but exposed to secondhand smoke. The UN health watchdog said on its website that unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030. “Tobacco industry interference in public health policy poses the single greatest threat to the global community realising the full potential of the FCTC’s life-saving measures,” the report said. “Now is a critical time to break the tobacco industry’s stranglehold over public health policy,” said the report entitled Tobacco Watch 2012. “It’s also time to put in place precedent-setting checks and balances over the political influence of this profit-driven industry.” Cigarette companies were not immediately available for comment on the report, released on the sidelines of a conference on tobacco and health in Singapore. Article 5.3 of the global tobacco treaty, which came into force seven years ago under the auspices of the WHO, binds signatory states to take measures to shield their public health policies from the influence of cigarette firms.

It bars governments from partnering with cigarette companies to promote public health issues and allowing marketing schemes that usually come in the guise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns. Signatory governments should neither invest in the tobacco industry, accept contributions from cigarette firms nor appoint any industry representatives in tobacco control bodies, according to the treaty. Applicants to government positions relating to public health must also disclose any previous association with the tobacco industry. Despite some progress, many of the treaty’s provisions have yet to be fully implemented and countries needed to “rededicate” themselves to fulfilling their obligations, the report said. A key hurdle is the influence held by major cigarette firms. “Of particular concern are former tobacco industry officials serving in health ministries, or acting as official government consultants,” the report said. Another concern is cigarette firms circumventing advertising bans on tobacco by running programmes in the guise of CSR campaigns. “Tobacco industry activities like those reported in Tobacco Watch do more than violate Article 5.3 of the FCTC. They impede progress on implementing all other measures in the convention,” said alliance director Laurent Huber. Lawsuits were also another way companies are fighting tobacco control, Huber said. Last December, tobacco giant Philip Morris stepped up its legal campaign against an Australian law banning logos and branding from cigarette packs, saying it had taken its case to the High Court. Philip Morris said the law, which requires cigarettes to be sold in drab, olive-brown packets, impinged on its intellectual property rights. — AFP

LOS ANGELES: The creation of California’s stem cell agency in 2004 was greeted by scientists and patients as a turning point in a field mired in debates about the destruction of embryos and hampered by federal research restrictions. The taxpayer-funded institute wielded the extraordinary power to dole out $3 billion in bond proceeds to fund embryonic stem cell work with an eye toward treatments for a host of crippling diseases. Midway through its mission, with several high-tech labs constructed, but little to show on the medicine front beyond basic research, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine faces an uncertain future. Is it still relevant nearly eight years later? And will it still exist when the money dries up? The answers could depend once again on voters and whether they’re willing to extend the life of the agency. Several camps that support stem cell research think taxpayers should not pay another cent given the state’s budget woes. “It would be so wrong to ask Californians to pony up more money,” said Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society, a pro-stem cell research group that opposed Proposition 71, the state ballot initiative that formed CIRM. Last December, CIRM’s former chairman, Robert Klein, who used his fortune and political connections to create Prop 71, floated the possibility of another referendum. CIRM leaders have shelved the idea of going back to voters for now, but may consider it down the road. The institute recently submitted a transition plan to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature that assumes it will no longer be taxpayer-supported after the bond money runs out. CIRM is exploring creating a nonprofit version of itself and tapping other players to carry on its work. “ The goal is to keep the momentum going,” board Chairman Jonathan Thomas said in an interview. So far, CIRM has spent some $1.3 billion on infrastructure and research. At the current pace, it will earmark the last grants in 2016 or 2017. Since most

are multi-year awards, it is expected to stay in business until 2021. So what have Californians received for their money so far? The most visible investment is the opening of sleek buildings and gleaming labs at a dozen private and public universities built with matching funds. Two years ago, Stanford University unveiled the nation’s largest space dedicated to stem cell research - 200,000 square feet that can hold 550 researchers. There are no cures yet in the pipeline and CIRM has shifted focus, channeling money to projects with the most promise of yielding near-term results. Most of the money early on was funneled toward learning the basics and recruiting scientists. One researcher lured to California was Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell and cancer expert who was deciding between positions at University of California, Davis and an East Coast school. “I was getting more interested in embryonic stem cells and I knew California would be a more friendly climate for that,” said Knoepfler, whose work focuses on why some embryonic stem cells trigger tumor growths. Knoepfler favors another bond measure to keep CIRM afloat, but recognizes the average Californian may disagree. Scientists have prized embryonic stem cells since their discovery

over a decade ago because of their potential to transform into any cell of the body. If researchers could harness these flexible cells, they might create replacement tissues to treat diabetes, spinal cord injury and other debilitating conditions. For all the medical promise that embryonic stem cells hold, the payoff will take years and it’s not surprising that there are still no treatments on the market. Their use has been debated because human embryos from fertility clinic leftovers have to be destroyed to harvest the cells. When Prop 71 was approved, there were limits on federal spending to a small number of cell lines made before 2001. The restrictions, enacted by the Bush administration, were lifted eight years later by President Barack Obama in 2009 - a move that expanded the number of stem cell lines available for government funding. With that hurdle gone, some question whether California should stay in the stem cell business once funding ends. Some observers say CIRM lost precious time because legal challenges prevented it from getting off the ground for nearly two years. “The initial hope was that CIRM would give California a head start,” and ramp up stem cell research, said Roger Noll, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford. Despite the delay, Noll

JOHANNESBURG: Gavin Churchyard of Aurum Institute speaks yesterday in Johannesburg at the launch of Global TB Vaccine Road map. A global health alliance unveiled plans for the first clinical tests of a new treatment regimen for tuberculosis, including for patients with resistance to existing multidrug programs. — AFP

Myanmar overhauls healthcare as it opens up SINGAPORE: Myanmar is quadrupling its health budget this year and focusing on hiring more doctors, securing supplies and renovating hospitals as it tries to modernise after decades of isolation, Health Minister Pe Thet Khin said yesterday. “The quality of healthcare in Myanmar was compromised because of the lack of government funding due to sanctions and other factors,” the minister told Reuters on the sidelines of a global health conference in Singapore.

The resource-rich Southeast Asian country also known as Burma has taken steps to open up since 2011 after 50 years of military rule. But it lacks a financial system, a regulatory regime and basic infrastructure. In the most recent sign of progress, bankers said the country planned to set the new exchange rate at about 820 kyat per US dollar - a far cry from the official rate of 6.4 now. Myanmar’s 2011 healthcare budget was 9.2 billion kyat ($11.2 million at the new rate) and was

Raids seize 300,000 doses of fake drugs LONDON: Police across Europe have sei ze d a l m os t 3 0 0, 000 do ses o f counter feit anti-impotence and weight-loss medicines, highlighting the prevalence of fake drugs in the re gi o n . B r i t a i n’s M e d i c i n e s a n d Healthcare produc ts Regulator y Agency (MHRA) said yesterday that four people had been arrested in Spain and two in Britain following an international operation lasting several months. The suspects appeared to have been importing the bogus medicines from Asia - mainly China and Singapore - and distributing them v i a t h e I nte r n e t to c u s to m e r s throughout Europe, officials said. In Britain alone the haul included t abl e t s wor t h a ro und 115, 000 pounds ($183,000), including counterfeit versions of Pfizer’s Viagra and Eli Lilly’s Cialis, both used to treat erectile dysfunction, as well as the

withdrawn anti- obesit y drugs rimonabant and sibutramine. The risk posed by counter feit medicines - which may be laced with dangerous chemicals or contain the wrong amounts of active ingredients or else none at all - were thrown into the spotlight by the recent discovery of fake versions of Roche’s Avastin in the United States. That case shocked regulators and the pharmaceutical industry since it showed criminals moving into the business of fak ing complex injectable drugs. The World Health Organization estimates that less than 1 percent of medicines available in the developed world are likely to be counterfeit. Globally, however, the figure is around 10 percent, while in some developing countries as much as a third of medicines are estimated to be bogus.— Reuters

said CIRM’s legacy has yet to be written. “CIRM spent a lot of money and there’s a lot of stuff going on, but it’s too early to know whether it was worth it,” Noll said. While CIRM has found its stride, it is a victim of its early supporters’ hype, said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog. “The impression you got was, if you just passed this bond measure, Christopher Reeve will be jumping out of his wheelchair and walking next week,” said Simpson, referring to the late paralyzed actor who appeared in TV ads backing Prop 71. “They’re having to live down the super high expectations that they raised.” Since handing out the first pot of money in late 2006, CIRM has been dogged by questions about its grant-awarding process with critics charging that many of the awards have gone to universities associated with the agency’s board. CIRM says all proposals go through peer review and board members with a stake recuse themselves. The institute employs 50 people and has an operating budget of about $18 million. CIRM suffered a blow last year when Geron Corp. abandoned the stem cell field to concentrate on its lucrative cancer therapies instead. CIRM had loaned the company $25 million to support its spinal cord injury trial, the first embryonic stem cell trial approved in the US. Though Geron paid back the amount spent plus interest, the episode put increased pressure on CIRM to support work with more practical payoff. David Jensen, who runs the blog California Stem Cell Report, said Californians have benefited, but whether it will be worth the $6 billion the state has to pay back remains unclear. “The agency’s responsibility is now to get the biggest bang for the buck, which is no easy task given the tentative nature of much of the science involved,” he said in an email. Some think CIRM has left a mark whether or not it will exist in the future. Its “legacy will be felt in part by the stimulus that it has had on stem cell” research in California, said Fred Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. — AP

ATHENS: Striking doctors gather at the entrance of the Sotiria hospital in Athens, yesterday. Doctors and workers at the Sotiria lung specialized hospital are on a 24-hours strike, refusing to take in emergency cases, to protest against the planned merge of the hospital with the nearby General hospital. Doctors also claim that they have not been paid emergency duty wages for the past four months, and are protesting pay cuts across the Greek public sector. — AFP

raised as President Thein Sein promised social reforms in his inaugural speech last year. Pe Thet Khin, a paediatrician, was appointed by Thein and ratified by parliament to head the Health Ministry. In the past, he said, Myanmar had enough doctors but not the means of employing them, leading to an exodus. In recent years, the four state-owned medical schools have started to train about 2,000 doctors annually, up from 550 in 2000. The supply of doctors was no longer a big concern but their quality must get better, he said. “We have a short-term plan of reducing the intake for a while and we are going to increase the course structure by increasing it to six years from five years now,” he said. Skills development was a priority, with Pe Thet Khin encouraging universities and health institutions in Myanmar to start exchange programmes with other countries. As a developing nation, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria were “here to stay”, he said. But he said AIDS cases had fallen to about 0.6 percent per 100,000 people from 1.9 percent five years ago. Myanmar’s ability to deal with AIDS and the production of illegal opium and methamphetamines is a concern for neighbouring China, one of the few friends the former junta had. Pe Thet Khin, asked about the future of healthcare, said Myanmar was looking at alternatives that ranged from the British universal coverage system to the health financing system found in Singapore. It now uses a community cost-sharing system. “Myanmar is trying to develop its infrastructure for health insurance and the banking system. Once they are in place, only then can we decide,” he said. “The biggest problem is trying to convince people that healthcare is important. There is a saying that health is the most important reward one can have but people are still lacking in health education and knowledge. And because of that, they cannot decide what is good or bad for them.” — Reuters



Reluctant Russia wakes up to energy waste MOSCOW: The world’s top oil and gas producer may be watching its energy riches blow away in the wind. Russia, in 2008, was wasting enough energy to power Britain for a whole year. It was then that President Dmitry Medvedev set a target to reduce energy intensity, a rate of waste measure, by 40 percent by 2020. Russian companies were 10 to 20 times less energy efficient than their foreign rivals, he said. Not enough has changed since Soviet times, critics say, and wideopen windows remain a typical way of cooling overheated housing blocks. Even today around one -fifth of Russian boilers date back to the era of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s space flight in 1961, or earlier. “We are two and half times less energy efficient than other comparative modern countries in Europe,” said Vasily Belov, head of the energy efficiency cluster at the Skolkovo Foundation, a government-sponsored science park. Raw economics, not environmental qualms, have won the energy efficiency drive power ful backing from President-elect Vladimir Putin to the monolithic oil and gas companies. But progress grinds against grass roots scepticism and entrenched attitudes. High-rise apartment blocks, and other buildings, absorb the biggest share of Russia’s energy - around 35 percent. Industry follows with 29 percent and transport, 21 percent. In one such block sits Denis Platonov, a 31-year old Muscovite and married father of two, warily watching his electricity meter. Before heat and power even arrives in the Platonov’s apartment, a large amount is wasted 30 percent of heat and 11 percent of electricity is lost in transmission. The potential energy-saving boon of combined heat and power systems, common in Russian apartments, is nullified by 200,000 km of ageing heatsupply pipes and decrepit equipment. The Platonovs’ meter is a rarity in Russian flats, but something that could be commonplace if an energysavings law is implemented scrupulously. They look at their bill with suspicion. “It’s rather difficult to look at this paper and understand how much energy we consumed, because these are just assumptions,” said Platonov, a sales representative for a software

company. “There are a lot of mistakes, sometimes it seems like that the managing company is trying to cheat you.” “I’m not going to agree to pay twice as much for energy-saving appliances because I am not sure that they will help me to save energy - if you compare the expenditure with the benefits, it is unreasonable.” Valery Sajenkov is vice president of Schneider Electric Russia, a French company that is seeing growing demand for its energy-efficiency devices in Russia. “The most difficult task is to transform public awareness on an everyday level,” he said. “Here there is a need for definite measures in schools, university - education and upbringing - to orientate people towards energy efficiency.” The first steps have been taken, such as smart energy bills showing different tariffs, allowing consumers to run appliances more cheaply at night, he said. But for a public keen to give shining new toys a spin after decades of empty shops and drab interiors, thrift can

be hard. “During the Soviet Union we had a lot of problems buying a new refrigerator, buying a new washing machine,” said Maxim Titov of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC). “If you talk to a guy in Siberia, he will tell you: ‘for 20 years I was dreaming of buying a four-wheel drive. I will do it. I will not buy a bicycle.’” Upgrading Russia to decent energy efficiency standards would cost $320 billion, but this could pay for itself in four years, according to the IFC’s calculations. It is vital if Russia is to avoid economic stagnation by the middle of the century, as fossil fuel reserves go into decline, said Igor Bashmakov, director of the Centre for Energy Efficiency in Moscow. He expected oil production to start declining before 2020 and gas after 2040. “Energy efficiency is a real key to survival,” Bashmakov said. Newlyelected President Putin included the development of energy-saving goods, as well as more energy saving in pri-

vate homes, in his manifesto. Energy efficiency does not seem to have riled Russia’s powerful oil and gas industries, compared to efforts to promote renewable power which have run into resistance from the oil lobby.. Titov, program manager for sustainable energy finance at the IFC, argued that Russia’s sprawling energy industry, which faces rising costs to tap new resources and keep the oil and gas flowing, stands to gain from a reduction in domestic consumption. “I think (abundance of resources) was a reason initially why we were not concerned. But now I see that this is changing. If we decrease our energy consumption, here in Russia, we can export more,” he said. Oil and gas giant Gazprom plans to spend 1.75 trillion roubles in 2013, as it seeks to boost gas production, to compensate for long-term decline in its giant, low-cost gas fields in western Siberia. Energy saving may seem uncontroversial, but results are slow to appear. “Everything that has been planned is happening, but rather

SAHEL: A child, who suffers from severe malnutrition, lies on a hospital bed, yesterday in Diapaga, eastern Burkina Faso. At least 20 million people are threatened by famine this year in Sahel according to the NGO Action Against Hunger. — AFP

slowly and on a small scale and very strongly varies from region to region,” said Alexei Kokorin, head of climate and energy at WWF Russia. Some areas have been fast movers the Rostovskaya region cut energy use in public buildings by 11 percent (10.7) a decade ago, when it installed hundreds of heat, water, gas and electricity meters. While similar success stories can be found, Russia faces a shortage of experts to develop and implement legislation, said Bashmakov of the IFC. Add to that the consequences of the 2009 economic downturn, which pushed up the energy intensity of the economy, because big energy consumers, such as oil and gas companies, were less affected by the recession than their lower-consuming cousins in manufacturing. “We are lagging behind this target to reduce energy intensity by 40 percent by 2020 due to the two years, which we lost during the crisis,” Bashmakov said. The International Energy Agency reckons that Russia will not hit its 40 percent goal until 2028 - eight years’ later than intended. Companies, rather than private households, have been more attuned to energy saving. Rising energy costs have sharpened the incentives for industrial users to watch the meter, while householders are shielded to some extent by government-controlled electricity tariffs and (in the run-up to elections) caps on petrol prices. “ The excuse of low energy prices has to a large extent gone away. So all the signals to save energy are there,” said Peter Hobson, senior banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. “The main constraint is that it is not in the culture to try and reduce consumption, it’s just not what people are focusing their efforts on,” Hobson said. A firm with spare capital is more likely “to spend it on increasing production and trying to build new markets than they are on something boring like energy efficiency.” That is a view that finds echoes in the micro economy of Denis Platonov’s Moscow apartment. How will he react if the government bans energy-wasting incandescent light bulbs, as in the European Union? “I will leave this country,” he says, without smiling. — Reuters



W H AT ’ S O N

Announcements ‘The Golden Age of Arab Sciences’ exhibition Kuwait’s Amricani Cultural Centre will be the destination for a unique cultural event held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Minister of Information and President of the National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters. Taking place from March 15 to June 16 at the Amricani Cultural Centre in Kuwait City, ‘The Golden Age of the Arab Sciences’ exhibition will present rare artefacts and texts, as well as informative audio-visual presentations, exploring the Arab world’s pioneering contribution to ancient science and philosophy. Hosted by Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah (DAI), the exhibition is being brought to Kuwait by the Institut du Monde Arabe of Paris (IMA), with the support of Total and the French Embassy. The three-month exhibition will feature priceless items from The Al-Sabah Collection of art from the Islamic world, the private art collection of Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and his wife, DAI director general and co-founder Sheikha Hussah Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. The visiting hours: Monday Thursday: 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays closed. Blend music festival The Blend music festival will take place tomorrow March 22, 2012 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Bayt Lothan (Arabian Gulf Street, next to Marina Mall). Entry free of charge. Please contact Ali Sleeq at ESF SightSavers Members of the English School Fahaheel’s Active Citizenship Club have organized a whole charity event to be held on Tuesday, March 27 in aid of the international Charity ‘SightSavers’ which works in over 30 countries around the world to prevent and cure blindness. Staff and students will be wearing shades for the day. All money raised on the day will be donated to SightSavers. IOC arts competition Indian Overseas Congress, Kuwait is conducting Arts Competitions-2012 on 11th and 12 May 2012 at United Indian School. The winners of this prestigious competition will be awarded with trophies and medals. The awards will be distributed during the Gandhidarshan Program in October, this year. The competitions include Elocution, Solo, Poetry Recitation, Dance, Indian Patriotic Song, Mono act, Drawing/Painting and Poster Poetry. Although the competitions are mainly meant for children from various disciplines, Elocution and Indian Patriotic Song Competitions will be held for elders also. For entry forms, please contact the following collection points. Abbassiya - Hidine Super Market, Sakina Book Stall; Salmiya - Uduppi Restaurant, Sakina Book Stall; Riggae - Al Dallah Super Market; Fahaheel - Royal Mobile Services and Sales. For details, contact 24316426, 24884175, 24343173, 66110570, 66853100. Filled forms can be sent to fax : 24331461 or Email : Or deliver by hand to Sakina Book Stall, Abbassiya. Lecturers at AUK The Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) will be organizing the following events in March. Event Title: “The People are Missing” Lecturer By Dr Mai Al Nakib, today March 21 at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: Dr. Mai AlNakib’s presentation looks at the Palestinian community in Kuwait prior to the first Gulf War, and considers the ethical consequences to Kuwait after their expulsion in 1991. Event Title: City Images, on March 27, 2012, at 6-9 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: This talk presents the issues surrounding the concept of ‘branding’ in relation to the city states of the Gulf, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Event Title: “Energy Conservation” Lecture by Jim Krane, on March 28, 2012 at 6-8 pm, AUK Auditorium. Event Description: The speaker discusses the energy consumption issue in the Gulf. He examines the role of government, the population, and the barriers to promoting less consumption and reforming the energy sector. All events are open for public.

Kuwait Fund allots $17m for Sri Lanka university project By Javaid Ahmad


he visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Higher Education S B Dissanyake announced that the Kuwait Fund has generously allotted $17 million for the South Eastern University project of Sri Lanka. The purpose of my visit is to strengthen and boost the friendly relation between Kuwait and Sri Lanka particular-

ly in the field of education, he said. The South Eastern University is situated in eastern province with a vast Muslim majority area which includes ninety percent of students and sixty percent Muslim teaching staff with more emphasis given on Arabic courses. Dissanyake said that Sri Lanka aims to promote education and tourism side by side and the eastern province is well known for its mesmerizing landscapes

and beautiful beaches famous for surfing. During his stay in Kuwait, he will meet officials of Kuwait Fund and Kuwait University and seek close cooperation between two universities especially in the field of research and post graduate courses. Sri Lanka has offered five scholarships to Kuwaiti students with free boarding and lodging. We want to enlighten people that we not only have house maids

but also a strong professional middle class people in all fields, the minister said. SB Dissanayake started his political carrier as a communist leader and later contested election where he lost poorly. He later joined the SLFP in 1988 as an opposition member and after four years he was the secretary general of the ruling party. He has also served as a minister of youth sports.

BLS holds annual Mothering Sunday


he British Ladies Society hosted the 2012 Mothering Sunday celebrations despite the dusty weather at the Al Corniche Club on the Gulf Road on 18th March. The event was partly sponsored by The Avenues Mall and the ladies were treated to a fantastic buffet from the Corniche banqueting staff. The Brunch was attended by 70 members and guests of the BLS’s growing community and reflecting the multina-

tional and multicultural diversity of Kuwait today. Every guest received vouchers courtesy of The Entertainer Kuwait as well as Premium Choice and a copy of Viva Magazine. Table prizes were donated by Crown Relocations, Fitness 4 Fun and Pilates and More. The fundraising raffle included prizes contributed by Al Fozan Dental Centre, Trendz Salon, Sultan Centre and Kuwait Times.

What do you get... When you mix African drums with a herd of elephants and delicious food, to which you add lots of African music & rhythms, unique fashion in a flavor of colors, a few drops of a sleepy panther, a mini African market and just the right amount of leopard spots... all sprinkled with inimitable African spirit? Come and find out on Thursday, 22 March At Holiday Inn Hotel (Salmiya), Al Dana Ballroom from 7 pm - 10 pm For details regarding participation in the kids’ contest “Best African Costume”, e contact Lorie Beverly at

Juniors at Centrepoint all set to launch ‘Child Safety First’ campaign


uniors at Centrepoint, the region’s leading children’s retail concept and a onestop shop for children’s products, today announced the launch of its annual ‘Child Safety First Campaign’. Vinod Talreja, CEO, Juniors, said: “Children, inquisitive by nature, are attracted to everything in their immediate environment. Thus, it becomes essential to

ensure that the surroundings are child-safe at all times. The ‘Child Safety First’ campaign aims to further prioritise this cause and create greater awareness about safety for the little ones. “Additionally, we believe that child safety is about peace of mind and ease of practice for the family. This is a reason why Juniors at Centrepoint offers a range of safety acces-

sories such as child car seats, baby monitors, knee protectors, corner cushions, finger pinch guards and much more.” Through its holistic approach towards child safety, Juniors at Centrepoint has conducted a thorough study of the touchpoints in infants’ and toddlers’ life-cycle, identifying key hazards that the child may be exposed to. They have created a compre-

hensive and affordable collection of child safety equipment and solutions across these touch-points - especially products for child safety in the car and at home. Juniors have consistently demonstrated its commitment to child safety since the first edition in Dubai of this awareness campaign in 2005. This campaign endeavours to partner with parents and support them to

proactively provide their children a safe environment, in every sphere of their lifestyle. In Kuwait Juniors is further demonstrating its commitment in the Kuwait Traffic Week. Juniors team of buyers have studied the touch-points in the life of children, and identified potential high-risk situations that can be averted through precautions. In turn, they have built a comprehensive product portfolio based on this study, to fill gaps wherever they exist - at home, in the car or outdoors. Juniors has the largest number of brands of car seats under one roof including Fisher Price, Maxi Cosi, and Ferrari. The brand’s product-line Safety First and First Years also offer an array of products in addition to car seats. It is a leader in the niche segment with every category of product available to cater to the needs of children. The company complies with the highest quality standards to ensure all its products are child-safe. Juniors at Centrepoint will offer 25% discount on Car Seats & Travel Systems on selected items only from 21st March till 10th April 2012. Expert staff will be in store to demonstrate the product & will provide training on fixing the product.

BEC announces raffle draw winner


EC Exchange held the prize distribution ceremony for the last draw of Send & May win Raffle. The first prize winner Thirumurugan received the car key from E.D.Titus, Director & General Manager in the presence of BEC officials and other winners.

Hariharan to perform in Kuwait


enowned Indian singing sensation Hariharan will perform at Qadsiya stadium, Hawally on March 30 as part of jaihind TV Utsav. Hariharan will be accompanied by Chandreyee Bhattacharya, Stephen Devassy, Franco, and national best actor 2011 Salim Kumar, announced Jaihind office bearers in a press conference.



W H AT ’ S O N

GUST launches charity event, building a new institute in China

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


nder the patronage of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST), Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Muhailan, a charity exhibition “Goodwill trip to China,” was launched. The opening was initiated by Dr. Al-Muhailan and a number of leaders of the University and the Director General of the International Islamic Charitable Organization, Dr. Sulaiman Shams Al-Din. The exhibit falls within the 10th anniversary celebrations of the university and housed the participation of a number of Kuwaiti students, including

GUST students, creating different activities to raise charity funds for the building of an educational institute in China in association with IICO. During the opening, Dr. Al-Muhailan praised the efforts of the youth and students in Kuwait, who have established themselves as ambassadors of goodwill. They took the time and effort to travel to China and lay the ground work for what can only be described as a great act of goodwill, building an educational establishment, which will benefit generations of Chinese students. This act is a source of pride for the university and for the

State of Kuwait and its people. From his side, the Director General of the International Islamic Charitable Organization Dr. Sulaiman Shams Al-Din noted the importance of the students’work in the enrichment of their cultural and social intellect and that university life is an opportunity for further personal growth through learning from the experiences of a new life. He stressing that ones reaches the most important stages of self-realization in the service others. The event included different activities, including a donations center, Write Your

Name in Chinese booth, Auction booth for photographs taken during the students’ trip, a small Kung-Fu performance, an authentic Chinese backdrop where students can use the props available to take a photo as if they were in China as well as a long-message scroll, where students, staff and faculty gave their best wishes to the students in China! The event was a great success and enjoyed by the students as well as the opening delegation. The University hopes that more GUST students are able to participate in the next trip to China and lend a helping hand to the building


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

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

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

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

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

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

IEAS junior kindergarten cultural day


hat better way was there to showcase the angelic smiles of Indian English Academy School (IEAS) tiny tots than with a cultural day programme that was held on 3rd March 2012. The universal theme that includes all godly values that a child has to exhibit was summarized under the title JOY OF LIVING...... The programme took off at 6.30 pm sharp at the Indian English Academy School auditorium, with the Kuwait National Anthem followed by the Arabic Prayer. It was attended by the parents of the Junior KG section and we were privileged to have the presence of our Provincial Fr Michael Fernandes, sdb, as the chief guest, accompanied by our Director, Fr. Francis Kharjia, sdb , Principal, Fr Lionel Braganza, sdb, Administrator, Fr Franco Pereira, sdb, KG Coordinator, Ms Joan Correa. The dignitaries marched in and the event took off by singing the Kuwait Anthem and invoking God’s name. The kids were well trained by their teachers in the fields of drama, acting and singing. We had our children performing a choral recitation,

a variety of dances and a medley of songs. The performances were intervened by a display of artistic talents staged by the 1st prize winners of the various competitions held throughout the year, this included; role play, show n tell, singing competition etc. The cultural day was flavoured by the valuable words given by the Provincial, Director and the Principal. Our coordinator, Joan Correa expressed her satisfaction through her vote of thanks. Ms Ursula, a parent, did a commendable job by compering the event and getting the parents involved with the performers. A touch of class was added to compering when our own kids Arana, Gwyneth and Odeliaascended the podium to introduce the items in their own simple way. The beautiful smiles on their innocent faces brought joy to everyone and the hall resounded with applaud. The entire junior section was on the stage for the finale and delivered their last rendition by singing the School Anthem.

Galleries Dar Al Funoon Artist: Mohammed Abou El Naga. Date: 5th - 16th March, 2012. Artist: Ali Omar Ermes. Date: 19th - 29th March, 2012. Dar Al Funoon is located in Al-Wataiah, Behbehani Compound, House No. 28. For more information please call 2243 3138 or log onto Gallery Tilal Title of Exhibition: Aram Chaled Date: 25 March - 5 April 2012. Gallery Tilal is located in Shuwaikh, Jahra Road, Tilal Complex, M3-M4. For more information please call: 222 56101 or meail You

can also check out their facebook page.

Sultan Gallery Artists: Reinaldo Sanguino (in collaboration with Dean Project gallery, New York) Title of Exhibition: Reinaldo Sanguino: New Works = New York City - Kuwait City. Dates and Tming: 27th March -12th April, 2012. Opening: 27th March 2012, 7-9 pm. 28th January, 10 am - 4 pm & 7 - 9 pm. 29th January - 12th April, 10 am - 4 pm. Sultan Gallery is located in South Sabhan, Block 8, Street 105, building No. 168. For more information please call 2471 4325 Ext. 110 or email

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

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



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00:00 Backstory 00:30 World Sport 01:00 The Situation Room 02:00 World Report 03:00 Anderson Cooper 360 04:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 05:00 Quest Means Business 06:00 Erin Burnett Outfront 07:00 World Sport 07:30 News Special 08:00 World Report 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Sport 10:30 Inside Africa 11:00 World Business Today 12:00 Backstory 12:30 Road To Durban: A Green City Journey 13:00 World One 14:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 15:00 News Stream 16:00 World Business Today 17:00 International Desk 18:00 Global Exchange 19:00 World Sport 19:30 Road To Durban: A Green City Journey 20:00 International Desk 21:00 Quest Means Business 22:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 23:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson


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Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Lazytown Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Lazytown Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Lazytown Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Lazytown Jungle Junction

07:30 Jungle Junction 07:45 Handy Manny 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:15 Jungle Junction 08:30 Jungle Junction 08:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:10 The Hive 09:20 Handy Manny 09:35 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 09:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 10:05 The Hive 10:15 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 10:20 Jungle Junction 10:35 Cars Toons 10:40 Mouk 10:55 Cars Toons 11:00 Jungle Junction 11:15 Cars Toons 11:20 Imagination Movers 11:45 Art Attack 12:10 Imagination Movers 12:35 Special Agent Oso 12:45 Lazytown 13:10 Handy Manny 13:25 Jungle Junction 13:40 Imagination Movers 14:05 The Hive 14:15 Special Agent Oso 14:25 Little Einsteins 14:50 Lazytown 15:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 15:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:05 Mouk 16:20 Jungle Junction 16:35 Cars Toons 16:40 Jungle Junction 16:55 Cars Toons 17:00 Mouk 17:15 Cars Toons 17:20 Lazytown 17:45 Art Attack 18:10 The Hive 18:20 Special Agent Oso 18:30 Jungle Junction 18:45 Handy Manny 18:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:10 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:25 The Hive 19:35 Little Einsteins 20:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 20:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 20:25 101 Dalmatians 20:40 101 Dalmatians 20:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:05 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:20 The Hive 21:30 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 21:35 A Poem Is... 21:40 Animated Stories 21:45 Mouk 22:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 22:40 Special Agent Oso 22:55 Little Einsteins 23:20 Timmy Time 23:30 Jungle Junction 23:45 Handy Manny 23:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 15 Most Shocking Political Sex Scandals 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 Bridalplasty 10:15 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:35 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 E!es 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Dirty Soap 17:55 E! News 18:55 THS 19:55 Khloe And Lamar 20:25 Khloe And Lamar 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

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Extreme Forensics Ghost Lab Psychic Witness Couples Who Kill Deadly Women Extreme Forensics Ghost Lab Psychic Witness Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared I Almost Got Away With It I Faked My Own Death

Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up The Green Way Up Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller

THE KINGʼS SPEECH ON OSN CINEMA 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up Dive Detectives On Surfari Word of Mouth The Frankincense Trail Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart Treks In A Wild World On Surfari Word of Mouth The Frankincense Trail Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart

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Assassination Tango-18 Sanctum-18 Inside Out-PG Legendary-PG15 Rocky III-PG15 The Hit List-18 Drunken Master-PG15 Rocky III-PG15 Dad Savage-PG15 Drunken Master-PG15 The Ward-18

01:00 The Killer Inside Me-18 03:00 Due Date-PG15 05:00 Love N’ Dancing-PG15 07:00 The Art Of Getting By-PG15 09:00 Tomorrow, When The War Began-PG15 11:00 Swansong: Story Of Occi Byrne-PG15 13:00 The Nanny Express-PG15 15:00 Tomorrow, When The War Began-PG15 17:00 Certified Copy-PG15 19:00 Gentlemen Broncos-PG15 21:00 The Ward-18 23:00 The King’s Speech-PG15

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Weeds 02:00 The Ricky Gervais Show 02:30 The Cleveland Show 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Mad Love 04:00 Dharma And Greg 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The Simpsons 06:00 Just Shoot Me 06:30 Yes Dear 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Dharma And Greg 08:30 The Simpsons 09:00 The Simpsons 09:30 Raising Hope 10:00 Traffic Light 10:30 Yes Dear 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Just Shoot Me 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 Yes Dear 14:00 Mad Love 14:30 Traffic Light 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Just Shoot Me 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Melissa And Joey 18:30 Mad Love 19:00 Raising Hope 19:30 Traffic Light 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Angry Boys 22:30 The Ricky Gervais Show 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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Private Practice Royal Pains Pillars Of The Earth Grey’s Anatomy Justified Live Good Morning America

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The Good Guys Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Private Practice Grey’s Anatomy Live Good Morning America The Good Guys The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Once Upon A Time Falling Skies The Glades Luck Justified

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White Collar Pillars Of The Earth Royal Pains One Tree Hill White Collar Emmerdale Coronation Street Terra Nova Royal Pains Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova White Collar Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova Falling Skies The Glades Luck In Treatment In Treatment

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Talento De Barrio-PG15 Inside Out-PG Fatal Secrets-PG15 No Time To Fear-PG15 Triassic Attack-PG15 The Wolfman-18 So Close-PG15 Triassic Attack-PG15 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 Friday Night Lights-PG15 The Alphabet Killer-18 Carriers-PG15

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Flubber-PG Griff The Invisible-PG15 Paper Man-PG15 My Sassy Girl-PG15 Indian Summer-PG15 Babe-FAM Babe: Pig In The City-FAM Spud-PG15 Flubber-PG Out Cold-PG15 Vice Versa-PG Tucker Max-R

01:00 Limousine-PG15 03:00 Fargo-PG15 05:00 Moulin Rouge!-PG15 07:15 The Eclipse-PG15 09:00 Joueuse-PG15 11:00 Winning Time-PG15 12:30 Stomp The Yard Homecoming-PG15 14:15 Another Year-PG15 16:30 Glorious 39-PG15 18:45 I Am Sam-PG15 21:00 My Enemy’s Enemy-PG15 23:00 Gigli-PG15

00:00 Rh+ The Vampire Of Seville-PG 02:00 Ramses Of Egypt-PG 04:00 Last Of The Mohicans-PG 06:00 Rh+ The Vampire Of Seville-PG 08:00 The Three Musketeers (2008)FAM 10:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG 12:00 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG 14:00 Flicka 2-PG 16:00 I’ll Be Home For Christmas-PG 18:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG 20:00 The Borrowers-PG

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Super Rugby Highlights Futbol Mundial Super Rugby Futbol Mundial Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Super Rugby Highlights Cricket ODI Highlights Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial Premier League Darts Volvo Ocean Race Cricket ODI Highlights Trans World Sport UFC The Ultimate Fighter Scottish Premier League Volvo Ocean Race Trans World Sport

00:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 Mobil 1 02:00 NRL Premiership 06:00 ICC Cricket World 06:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 08:00 Scottish League Cup 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Ping Pong World Championship 13:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 13:30 NRL Premiership 15:30 Futbol Mundial 16:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights 17:00 Super Rugby Highlights 18:00 Trans World Sport 19:00 Top 14 Highlights 19:30 NRL Full Time 20:00 Super Rugby 22:00 NRL Premiership


01:00 Please Give-18 03:00 Ice Age-FAM 05:00 Sundays At Tiffany’s-PG15 07:00 My Last Five Girlfriends-PG15 09:00 The Fog Of War-PG15 11:00 Cats & Dogs-PG 13:00 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore-PG 15:00 16 To Life-PG15 17:00 The Fog Of War-PG15 19:00 Burlesque-PG15 21:00 Hereafter-18 23:30 Vice Versa-PG

03:00 World Cup of Pool 05:00 Ping Pong World Championship 06:00 NRL Full Time 06:30 Top 14 Highlights 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 ICC Cricket World 08:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 09:00 Super Rugby Highlights 10:00 Golfing World 11:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights 12:00 Super Rugby 14:00 Top 14 Highlights 14:30 NRL Full Time 15:00 Golfing World 16:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 18:30 Ladies European Tour Highlights 19:30 Trans World Sport 21:00 European Tour Weekly 21:30 NRL Full Time 22:00 Top 14 Highlights 22:30 Total Rugby 23:00 Futbol Mundial

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Prizefighter UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Speedway Mobil 1 The Grid This Week in WWE Prizefighter WWE SmackDown Speedway WWE Vintage Collection V8 Supercars Highlights UFC UFC Unleashed WWE SmackDown

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012




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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation two bedroom flat in Abbassiya, two bachelors accommodation from April 1st. Rent KD 40. Contact: 99162583. (C 3917) Accommodation in Farwaniya near Gulf Mart, big room for bachelor or couple, Filipino only, available April 21. Contact: 94418396. 20-3-2012 Sharing accommodation two bedroom flat in Abbassiya, two bachelors accommodation from April 1st. Rent KD 40. Contact: 99162583. (C 3917) Accommodation in Farwaniya near Gulf Mart, big room for bachelor or couple, Filipino only, available April 21. Contact: 94418396. 19-3-2012 Sharing accommodation available in two bed room flat, one furnished room available for family in Salmiya behind fire station. Contact: 25618576, Mob: 66373409 after 2 pm. 18-3-2012 Room available in Salmiya near City Center for decent bachelor, rent KD 75 (Pakistani or Indian). Tel: 99959140. (C 3914)

FOR SALE Household goods for sale, includes furniture, electronics, kitchen equipments, books, curtains, and other miscellaneous items. All at throw-away prices. Call 99510519 or 66210509. (C 3919) 21-3-2012 Toyota Yaris model 2011 car, 4 cylinder strong engine km done 35000, registration March 2014, grey color, excellent condition, installment possible, cash price KD 2880, negotiable. Tel: 99105286. (C 3916) 17-3-2012 Toyota Prado 2006, golden color, 6 clr, 4 doors, km 101000. Price KD 5250. Mob: 66729295. (C 3908) 13-3-2012 VW Tiguan (car) 2010, exterior white, interior black / Tan manual gear, in great condition, 22000 mph, under Kuwait warranty. Price KD 4900. Contact: 66663494. (C 3907) Mitsubishi Pajero 2003, baige color, GLX, 1,35000 km, 2 doors, 6 cyl, (one owner, company main-

SITUATION WANTED Female 26 years post graduate 4 years experience in HR executive, seeking suitable jobs. Mob: 60473639. Email: (C 3918) 20-3-2012

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

SITUATION VACANT Housemaid wanted for a small family in Farwaniya. Mob: 97514390 21-3-2012 Manager (Asian) in Maidan Hawally looking for a maid. Part time. Good salary. Call 97263962 for details. (C 3915) 17-3-2012 A Kuwaiti family looks to hire experienced driver and cook. Contact: 97691119. (C 3911) Housemaid wanted for an Indian doctor family in Kuwait City. Call 55003696 / 55003699. (C 3912) 14-3-2012

No: 15394

FOR RENT Flat in South Surra, 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are master + living room + kitchen + maid room, new, super deluxe. Tel: 97864628. For rent, commercial flat in Hawally, can be used as workshop, large area. No middle men. Parking. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Bneid Al-Gar, 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + Gym + swimming pool overlooking the sea, central satellite + internet. For families, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 3 bedroom + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. 4x4 rooms, 4x8 living room for expatriates only. Rent KD 330. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. Families only, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. A commercial floor in Salmiya. Close to Blajat. Car parking. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. First floor in Shuhada, 4 rooms + living room + 5 bathrooms + maid room + balcony. Must be small family. Tel: 60308586. Flat in Zahra, 2 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + laundry room + maid room. Tel: 60308586. A floor in Zahra, 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms, second floor, elevator. Must be small family. Tel: 99719887. Flat in west Jleeb, 3 rooms + living room + kitchen + 2 bathrooms first floor. No elevator. Must be newlyweds or one child only. Tel:99719887.

TUITION Math teacher for secondar y stage, language schools, bi-lingual schools and intermediate stage: Algebra, Gmath, Geometry, Statistics for arts and science branches. Tel: 66974020. English language teacher specialized in starting elementary and intermediate, 10th and 11th experienced in starting functions, grammar, set book, vocabulary, notes and model exams available. Tel: 65791555. Arabic language teacher, masters in methods of teaching for secondary and intermediate students. Tel: 50644685. Senior Arabic language teacher, elementary and intermediate, long experience in Kuwait curricula, explaining grammar rules and starting those weak in reading and writing. Tel: 99262948. Senior chemistr y and physics teacher. Long experience for 10th, 11th and 12th stages. Intermediate science and applied institutions. Highly competent. Tel: 99542922. Mathematics and statistics female teacher for female students in the secondary, intermediate, university and applied institutions female students. Tel: 99410370.

Female Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate, and starting the weak using Halaby method in her house located in Abdallah Al-Mubarak area. Tel: 50513699. Senior biology and science teacher for 12th, 11th and 10th grades, and science for all intermediate classes, religious institutes, nursing, educational experience, simple explanation for fast understanding. Tel: 66543474.



stars CROSSWORD 623



Aries (March 21-April 19) You could be feeling a bit rebellious today. You will not take kindly to any restrictions. If you are doing routine work you are in the right place today. If you need to make a presentation, there could be problems. Your manner may not be warm or loving at the moment—there is some distraction from your thoughts. You may have to do a lot of self-talk if you are interviewing for a job or speaking in front of people. You can appreciate feelings and movement. You may want to just get out and walk a little this afternoon; this will help you bring about a focus. Talking with a friend today you will gain some helpful information so stay intouch. You may be able to gain information about a new business investment. Rely on facts rather than feelings during this time.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Today you may think you are positively inspired! Thoughts and ideas may be running through your head, a-mile-a-minute. A notebook or tape recorder could come in handy. Leave any serious planning or heavy concentration for another time, or tomorrow you may have to go back and recheck what you have done. Taking care of business is a major theme where your emotional orientation is concerned today. Good news also comes to you from a long-distance call this afternoon. Your romantic life may reflect some stress today; however, this is of short duration. Regardless of the frustrations you run into today they pass quickly. This is one of your better days—there are many accomplishments. You are most helpful to others today.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A verbalization that encourages you to attempt something. 5. Short and fat. 10. The part of the nervous system of vertebrates that controls involuntary actions of the smooth muscles and heart and glands. 13. Fully developed or matured and ready to be eaten or used. 14. Made by polymerizing isobutylene. 15. The last (12th) month of the year. 16. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 18. A unit of area (4840 square yards) used in English-speaking countries. 19. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 20. A member of the Mayan people of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. 21. A city in northeastern Ohio. 23. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 24. The 10th and last incarnation of Vishnu. 27. A liquid used for printing or writing or drawing. 30. Being one more than one hundred. 31. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 35. Any of the yeastlike imperfect fungi of the genus Candida. 39. Consisting of or involving two parts or components usually in pairs. 40. A Japanese shrub that resembles members of the genus Spiraea. 41. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 43. A small piece of cloth. 44. The emotion of hate. 45. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 47. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 49. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 51. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 52. A cushion on a throne for a prince in India. 55. American mountain mint. 60. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 61. (physics) A deformation of an object in which parallel planes remain parallel but are shifted in a direction parallel to themselves. 64. Fallow deer. 65. A doctor's degree in theology. 66. A midnight meeting of witches to practice witchcraft and sorcery. 68. The month following February and preceding April. 69. An adherent of any branch of Taoism. 70. A city is east central Sweden north northwest of Stockholm. 71. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. DOWN 1. Address God. 2. Tall New Zealand timber tree. 3. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 4. Bar temporarily. 5. A metallic element having four allotropic forms. 6. Medically unqualified. 7. Greenwich Mean Time updated with leap seconds. 8. A port in southwestern Scotland. 9. Offering little or no hope. 10. The sixth month of the civil year. 11. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 12. The act of scanning. 17. Inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements. 22. Scottish sea captain who was hired to protect British shipping in the Indian Ocean and then was accused of piracy and hanged (1645-1701). 25. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 26. Of a pale purple color. 28. Plant with an elongated head of broad stalked leaves resembling celery. 29. A fabric made by knitting. 32. A sensation (as of a cold breeze or bright light) that precedes the onset of certain disorders such as a migraine attack or epileptic seizure. 33. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 34. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 36. Causing fear or dread or terror. 37. A Mid-Atlantic state. 38. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 42. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk. 46. With no effort to conceal. 48. East Indian tree whose leaves are used for fodder. 50. Jordan's port. 53. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 54. Panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest. 55. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 56. Using speech rather than writing. 57. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 58. (Islam) The man who leads prayers in a mosque. 59. An association of people to promote the welfare of senior citizens. 62. An accidental happening. 63. The compass point that is one point south of due east. 67. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Changes are in the air and you are prepared to go along. This is one of your better days for money. A round table discussion this morning will find you working to sway others around to your way of thinking. You are successful. Throughout today you will receive the best results for your efforts, especially if you practice patience and perseverance. If you are thinking about a job in your home, think about the service industry. Consider doing business and research for people and agencies that do not have the time to do these jobs. This is one of your best business-development times of this year. Health goals are also important—you want to feel ready, willing and able. There is plenty of time for cozy interaction with a loved one this evening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Taking care of business this morning is a major theme where your emotional orientation is concerned. You crave organization and practicality and you want to get things accomplished. Outer circumstances tend to work in your favor. You may find that you are more organized than usual and able to reach new levels of self-discipline. This is a smooth time during which events seem to arrange themselves to your advantage. Lunch time spent with old friends may put you in a new light with a co-worker—all is not bad. Your sense of humor is obvious this afternoon. Most enjoy your witty and eccentric ways. People value you for your independence and unique qualities. This evening is a good time to socialize or enjoy the company of a loved one.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Intellectual curiosity abounds! Just where do you fit into the big scheme of things, now and in the future? Introspective thinking could increase your self-understanding, or perhaps attract you to philosophical subjects or thoughts of faraway places. This is a good day to begin a journey. Although everyday affairs may take a back seat, your alert mind also makes this an excellent day to transact business or deal with people. Plan to work on techniques that will help you with your communication skills as well as enhance and strengthen some form of positive thinking. Some of the people in a group you belong to could surprise you this afternoon: fun times. You will still have plenty of time to share with a loved one later this evening.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a day that is all about communication. The time you give others through your courtesy is very important. Do not be in such a hurry to make a sale or run to the next appointment that you cannot hear what others are telling you. Your timing is good and others find you most spontaneous. There could be business meetings to attend this afternoon. Others value you for your ability to make practical decisions concerning group issues. You have a natural sense of what the public wants—you have been listening. This is a wonderful time for creativity and self-expression! Later, tonight, it may be your turn to cook. Serving your family is very rewarding. There is a good feeling of togetherness. There is time for romance this evening.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This could be a frustrating time both at home and at work. There could be a tendency to make poor choices and decisions regarding both. With tensions high, it may be best to just relax and wait until this phase has ended. Push on now and you risk breaking something. Once you relax your psychic senses will come into focus. Your creative side is active and you could come up with some wonderful ideas that will bring many different types of rewards to you or to the workplace. You may perceive how to proceed with plans regarding to your life situation but give yourself plenty of time before taking action. This evening is a great time to reflect and understand your own situation. Emotions and feelings of those around you are very clear.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) One of these days, when anything is possible, you will be able to fix a particular problem. You are in a fixing mood and will know just what to do—whether it is home or work that needs your attention. Taking care of business is a major theme where your emotional orientation is concerned. You crave organization and practicality and you want to get things accomplished—do not hurry. This is a time in which you will be looking for intellectual stimulation in your conversations. You could feel great support from others. You have a tiger-in-your-tank, so to speak. There is a green light for all group activities. Be sure to include some physical activity in your day. This could be some group activity or perhaps teaching a young person a dance step.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

This is a productive day. You could be most persuasive with people today; it may be that sense of humor that attracts others to you but it is your expression of knowledge that holds their attention. Your psychic awareness is enhanced now and you will know just the right path to take in just about any sort of situation. The exchange of ideas becomes a focal point in your life now. Financial gain and material wellbeing are among the brighter prospects looming before you. You may want to focus in on how much things really mean to you—prioritize. There may be a tendency to emphasize the material too much, which could lead to the feeling that the things you own, own you instead. Learning a little about a lot of subjects keeps your awareness current.

Your fertile mind is crystal clear today and able to separate the most complex concepts into their component parts for easier understanding. Your objectivity should enable you to converse with others about subjects that may have been too difficult before today. This is a good time to look down your future career path. Plans made today should work out, no matter how far down the road. You can expect a boost from others—some sort of extra support from those around you. Work, health, diet—and the other things that take care of us if we take care of them—can provide a lot of satisfaction now. These things can lead to love and a new self-image, if you stick with them. This is a time to consolidate your friendships—strengthen them before they wither away.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is a period of great mental activity and energy. Today you will be able to tackle tasks that require real discipline or organization. This is a good day for making money—working hard and seeing excellent results! Being on the go and keeping a finger to the winds of change make you feel in touch. Learning and communicating scratch an instinctive itch. You work now on achieving consistency in your goals and objectives and you enjoy teaching the young people around you to do the same. This could mean teenagers are still living at home. You may be able to enjoy and value your own life situation today or feel especially kind toward a friend or loved one. A visitor in your home compliments you on your choice of decoration and style.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

In the workplace you have quick answers, great wit and a surplus of insights and solutions for whatever problem may exist. This is a good time to write and communicate with real imagination. Inventions and breakthroughs are possible as well. There is a tendency for you to be extremely hard-working and ambitious on the professional level. It is important to develop a team attitude so as not to alienate fellow workers. Communal activities that take place at this time should be well-attended and successful. The need for emotional security is accentuated at this time, though you should not pressure a partner into doing things just to please and satisfy you. This evening is a good time to express your love to a special someone.



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i n f o r m at i o n FIRE BRIGADE ST TAT TE OF K KUW WAIT A


DA AY: Y Tuesday



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Expected Weeather for the Next 24 Hours Fair with light to moderate north westerly to light variable wind, with speed of 08 - 30 km/h and some scatscat tered clouds will appear



Partly cloudy to cloudy with light variable wind changing to light to moderate north westerly wind, with speed of 06 - 26 km/h with a chance for drizzle


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Adan Hospital

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20/03/2012 0000 UTC























Abdullah Salim




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LIFESTYLE G o s s i p

Beyonce s1st

show since baby set for May in

eyonce is set to return to the stage for the first time since giving birth to daughter Blue Ivy. The Grammy winner will perform three concerts in New Jersey in May at Atlantic City’s Revel Resorts. Revel said Monday that the shows will be held over Memorial Day weekend for the premiere of the $2.4 billion resort. Beyonce gave birth to her first child in January. She is married to rapper Jay-Z. Tickets for the May 25 through May 27 concerts go on sale April 6. Beyonce will perform in the Ovation Hall, which has 5,050 seats. The singer released her fourth album, the platinumseller “4,” in June.


Michael to make comeback after pneumonia battle eorge Michael has rescheduled a tour he had to cancel when he almost died of pneumonia and will give 1,000 tickets to the Austrian medics who helped save his life, the British singer said Tuesday. The 48year-old was forced to cut short his Symphonica tour last November after he was rushed to a hospital in the Austrian capital Vienna with a severe bout of the lung infection. The former star of the 1980s pop duo Wham! said he would kick off rescheduled tour dates with a show on September 4 in Vienna, to which 1,000 staff from the AKH hospital would be invited. “I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you first to the doctors and nurses who saved my life and took such great care of me,” said the singer, who also thanked his friends and family for their support. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone,” added Michael, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. As well as the concert in Vienna, promoters said Michael would become the first pop singer ever to play at the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris on September 9. He will also perform in the Netherlands, and at London’s Royal Albert Hall on September 29. Arriving back in London last December, Michael admitted it had been “touch and go” at times during the month he spent in hospital.


Houston’s daughter wearing mother’s ring obbi Kristina Brown has been spotted wearing a sparkly bauble on her ring finger, but she’s not planning on getting married anytime soon. A rep for Brown’s mother, the late Whitney Houston, says the 19year-old is “simply wearing her mother’s ring” and that she’s not engaged. Rumors about a possible engagement flew after Brown was spotted snuggling with friend Nick


Gordon while wearing the ring. Brown has been the subject of intense scrutiny since her superstar mother died last month. Brown’s father is Bobby Brown. Houston left her entire estate to her daughter, her only child.

Rock, Midler and more to be presenters he Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will likely be a little more irreverent this year: Chris Rock is set to be one of the A-list presenters for the April event. The comedian is due to induct the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the hall at the ceremony at the Rock Hall in Cleveland on April 14. He’s a big fan and has been a friend of the band for a while. Rock will join Bette Midler, who will induct the late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro; John Mellencamp, who will induct former tourmate Donavan; Chuck D, who will induct the Beastie Boys; and Stevie Van Zandt, who will induct the Small Faces/The Faces, which included Rod Stewart. The ceremony will be broadcast on May 5 on HBO.


Jersey Shore to


filming on 6th season TV says it’s bringing “Jersey Shore” back for a sixth season, with expectant mom Snooki as part of the action. MTV said Monday that production will begin this summer in Seaside Heights, NJ, and all of “America’s favorite housemates” will return. That includes Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, who’s engaged and expecting her first child. MTV declined to offer specifics on how big a part Snooki will play in the show about hard-partying Italian-American friends. Polizzi and Jenni “J-Woww” Farley are filming a “Jersey Shore” spinoff. Another show spinoff, “The Pauly D Project,” debuts March 29. “Jersey Shore: The Reunion” airs at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, and MTV promises the drama of the past season “comes to a head” during the get-together.

M Sheen sex-wife

pleads guilty to drug charge

harlie Sheen’s ex-wife has pleaded guilty to a reduced cocaine drug charge under a deferred judgment that means her record will remain clean after she serves a year of probation. Court documents show Brooke Mueller appeared Monday in district court in Aspen to plead guilty to felony drug possession of four grams or less. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute, as well as a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge. Sentencing is scheduled for May 7. Charges stemmed from Mueller’s arrest Dec. 3 following a woman reporting being assaulted at a nightclub. Sheen and Mueller divorced last year after Sheen was arrested on suspicion of assaulting her in 2009. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and completed his probation in 2010.



gets Bond-like third title change

oody Allen is abandoning allusions to crazy Roman emperors and medieval allegories and echoing a famous James Bond movie with the latest title for his upcoming film. The next film from the urban auteur will be called “To Rome With Love,” Sony Pictures Classics said Monday. It marks the third title change for the movie, which was previously called “Nero Fiddled” and prior to that was labeled “The Bop Decameron.” Sony said that the newest title will help broaden the film’s appeal globally. “The film’s former title, ‘Nero Fiddled,’ while an appropriate and humorous phrase in the US, is not a familiar expression overseas and many international territories preferred a more globally understood name,” Sony said. The studio said that the new title is more in keeping with Allen’s love letter to the Italian city. In recent years, he has offered similar homages to Paris and Barcelona and turned himself into the European tourism council’s favorite filmmaker with “Midnight in Paris” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” respectively. “To Rome With Love,” at least to our ears, lands a little like “From Russia With Love,” the 1963 Bond classic-although this being Allen, it probably has more to do with the psychologist’s coach than it does with international espionage. The film hits theaters on June 22 and stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. “To Rome With Love” is a Gravier Productions film produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, and financed by the Italian production and distribution company, Medusa Film.

Heiner Goebbels


wins Ibsen prize erman composer and music director Heiner Goebbels has won the International Ibsen Award for creating new insights in theater that have influenced producers and musicians. The awarding jury describes the 59-year-old as “one of the great creative personalities of today,” who has produced “an astounding body of work in disparate disciplines.” Goebbels will be presented the 2.5 million kroner ($450,000) prize in Oslo in September as part of the Ibsen Festival at the National Theater. The prize is awarded every two years to persons, institutions or organizations for bringing “new artistic dimensions to the world of drama or theater.” It is named after Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen who lived in 1828-1906. —Agencies





Disney says ohn Carter” is now officially a flop of galactic proportions. The Walt Disney Co said Monday that it expects to book a loss of $200 million on the movie in the quarter through March. That’s among Hollywood’s biggest money-losers ever. Directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, the 3-D effects-laden movie about a Civil War veteran transplanted to Mars was already headed to the “Red Ink Planet,” according to Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz. Yet he expected a write-down of about half that size. Disney said “John Carter” has brought in about $184 million in ticket sales worldwide so far. But ticket sales are split roughly in half with theater owners. The movie’s production budget is estimated to be about $250 million with about $100 million more spent on marketing. The movie was based on a series of books written by the late Edgar Rice Burroughs, starting with “A Princess of Mars” in 1912 and ending with “John Carter of Mars,” published posthumously in 1964. There was plenty of material for sequels and prequels but they seem highly unlikely now. With a 51 percent “Tomatometer” rating on movie site Rotten Tomatoes, the film got average reviews, though AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire called it “massively confusing”



M o v i e s

John Carter to lose

and “deadly dull.” The poor reception was a shock given Stanton’s directing success with movies like “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E,” each of which won an Oscar for best animated feature. Disney said the loss on “John Carter” will cause its studio to lose $80 million to $120 million or the quarter. Profits from other movies and home video disc sales will be more than wiped out. Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce said the studio’s projected loss is more than double what he had expected, and that will cause him to trim his estimate of earnings. The hefty spending on production and marketing is causing the Burbank, California, company to book the loss sooner than might be the case for a smaller-budget film. “It’s good that Disney’s airing their dirty laundry now,” he said. The flop ranks with history’s biggest box office disasters, although it’s tough to rank them precisely because of inflation and incomplete disclosure. Disney’s eerily-real computer animated movie “Mars Needs Moms” from last year cost about $150 million to make but only sold $40 million in tickets worldwide, according to analyst Paul Dergarabedian. Warner Bros’ “Speed Racer” from 2008 cost

about $120 million, but took in only about $94 million in theaters. Columbia Pictures’ “Ishtar” in 1987 cost about $40 million but sold only $14 million in tickets domestically, he said. “Obviously no studio puts this much into a movie hoping for this kind of result,” he said. It’s not clear how much box office revenue Disney needed to break even on “John Carter,” but one estimate pegged it around $600 million worldwide. That’s a figure reached by fewer than 65 movies ever, Dergarabedian said. Disney hopes to overcome the setback with other big-budget movies this year, including “The Avengers” from its Marvel subsidiary in May and Pixar’s “Brave” in June. Before Monday’s announcement, analysts polled by FactSet expected Disney as a whole to post $1.92 billion in operating income for the quarter. Most of the company’s profits come from its pay TV channels such as ESPN, so the studio loss is not a huge debacle. Analysts expect Disney to post $9.62 billion in revenue for the period. Disney shares fell 44 cents to $43 in extended trading Monday. The stock closed regular trading up 25 cents at $43.44. Disney released the news after the markets closed. —AP

In this film image released by Disney, Taylor Kitsch is shown in a scene from “John Carter.” —AP


Hunger Games ecently, I made the mistake of joking on Twitter about the possibility of a Team Peeta vs. Team Gale dynamic, referring to the two young men who hold special places in the heart of Katniss Everdeen, the 16-year-old heroine of “The Hunger Games.” Some people played along but many were appalled at the very idea of something as cliched and flimsy as a love triangle defining the young woman they’ve come to admire so fiercely from Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trio of novels, the first adaptation of which makes its way to the screen this weekend amid great fervor and expectation. I learned very quickly: These people do not mess around when it comes to Katniss. Those same fans should be thoroughly satisfied with the faithfulness of Gary Ross’ film, with its propulsive nature and vivid imagery: a mix of decadent costumes and architecture and harsh, unforgiving exteriors. At its center is Jennifer Lawrence, an ideal choice to play this strong, independent young woman. Those who saw her Oscar-nominated performance in 2010’s “Winter’s Bone” already were aware of her startling screen presence - her natural beauty, instincts and maturity beyond her years. And yet there’s a youthful energy and even a vulnerability that make her relatable to the core, target audience of female fans. Lawrence is endlessly watchable, and she better be, since she’s in nearly every single shot of Ross’ film. And speaking of Ross, he may seem an unlikely choice to direct a movie about a futuristic, fascist world in which teenagers must fight each other to the death in an exploitative display of national loyalty and pride. He is, after all, the man behind such clever, charming and uplifting films as “Dave,” “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit.” But those movies, while based on high-concept premises, ultimately had pointed things to say about politics and society. The methodology of “The Hunger Games” may be more complicated but its darkly satirical message is unmistakable. The script adheres rather closely to Collins’ novel - no surprise there since she co-wrote it with Ross and Billy Ray - although it does truncate some of the subplots that give the book its greatest emotional heft as well as soften the brutal violence of the games themselves, ostensibly in the name of securing a PG-13 rating. Still, the makers of “The Hunger Games” have managed the difficult feat of crafting a film that feels both epic and intimate at once. A post-apocalyptic version of North America has been divided into 12 districts. Every year, a teenage boy and girl from each are selected randomly at the “Reaping” and sent to the opulent, art deco Capitol, where they’re made over, trained and primed to fight each other until one is left standing in the sprawling arena. Gamesmakers manipulate their surround-


Herbie Hancocklaunches

should satisfy fans

ings, “Truman Show”-style; Wes Bentley, sporting fiendish facial hair, functions as a sadistic version of Christof in a control room on high. Every minute of competition is breathlessly broadcast to the nation, with viewers rooting for and betting on their favorites; having a sympathetic back story is crucial, and similarities to reality shows like “Survivor” or even “American Idol” are clearly intended. Even the program’s host (Stanley Tucci in an upswept blue ‘do) has a huge personality but isn’t so

Harrelson), the last winner from District 12; the character’s rough edges have been buffed significantly and it’s not an improvement. Elizabeth Banks is nearly unrecognizable as Effie, their garish, perky escort. They also undergo mandated makeovers from their stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz in an inspired bit of casting - he and Lawrence have a lovely rapport together). There’s never any question as to whether Katniss will win - there are two more books waiting to be made into movies after

In this image released by Lionsgate, Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from “The Hunger Games.” —AP outlandish that you couldn’t image him as the face of some top-rated primetime game show. Katniss lives with her widowed mother and beloved younger sister, Prim, in the distant District 12, known for its poverty and mining a place visually reminiscent of the Ozarks of “Winter’s Bone.” An expert hunter with a bow and arrow, she spends her days seeking food for her family in the forest with her best friend, the hunky Gale (Liam Hemsworth). Some of the strongest moments in “ The Hunger Games” are not the big action sequences, where the effects tend to look a bit cheesy, but rather the quieter exchanges like the ones Lawrence and Hemsworth effortlessly share. But when Prim’s name is called at the Reaping, Katniss springs into action to volunteer instead. This is one of those scenes in which you don’t need to have read the book to feel emotionally engaged; the drama and the tears feel real, and they’re not overplayed. Katniss’ male counterpart is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the baker’s sweet but bland son. Together they’re to receive mentoring from the frequently inebriated Haymitch ( Woody

$200 millio

this one - so the challenge comes from maintaining a sense of tension and immersion in this dystopian world as competitors drop off one by one, which Ross and Co. achieve. “The Hunger Games” runs nearly two and a half hours in length but is the rare film that never drags and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It could keep running as long as Katniss does, and we’d want to be right there every heartpounding step of the way. “ The Hunger Games,” a Lionsgate release, is rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens. Running time: 142 minutes. Three stars out of four. Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions: G - General audiences. All ages admitted. PG - Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. PG-13 - Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children. R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. NC-17 - No one under 17 admitted. —AP

International Jazz Day

mbassador Herbie Hancock believes what the world needs is a little jazz diplomacy. The renowned jazz pianist’s first major initiative since being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador last July is to establish International Jazz Day to be held on April 30 of every year. That date coincides with the last day of what has been celebrated as Jazz Appreciation Month in the US. This year’s inaugural event - organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs - will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York, as well as jazz-related events in at least two dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay. Hancock said he had little difficulty in lining up support for his proposal from the 195-member UN cultural organization “because so many countries have been affected in crucial ways over the years by the presence of jazz.” “Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century,” Hancock said in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday’s official announcement of International Jazz Day. “This is really about the international diplomatic aspect of jazz and how it has throughout a major part of its history been a major force in bringing people of various countries and cultures together.” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the initiative. In a statement, she said International Jazz Day is intended to bring together people all over the world “to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact, and to highlight its important role as a means of communication that transcends differences.” The official kick-off will be on April 27 with an all-day program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops and performances by artists from various countries. An evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, South Africa’s Hugh Masekela and Brazil’s Tania Maria, among others. Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, which will take place right after the first weekend of the city’s huge Jazz and Heritage Festival. The concert will present local jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, Dr Michael White, Kermit Ruffins and the Treme Brass Brand. Hancock plans to perform his funky standard “Watermelon Man” with high school students from around the world via an Internet link. He then plans to fly to New York for a sunset allstar jazz concert for the international diplomatic corps at the UN General Assembly Hall to be hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro,


Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones. The concert will be streamed live via the UN and UNESCO websites. Its lineup already includes Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath. The Americans will be joined by an international cast of musicians spanning different genres, including Richard Bona (Cameroon), Hiromi Uehara (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), and Romero Lubambo (Brazil).

File photo shows Herbie Hancock arriving at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills, Calif. —AP For Hancock, the two concerts symbolize the jazz globalization he’s observed since he launched his career a half century ago. “It’s America’s music, born and bred in America, that has spread its wings throughout the rest of the world,” said Hancock. As Monk Institute chairman, Hancock has seen more foreign musicians selected as finalists in its yearly competitions as well as fellows for its two-year jazz performance college program at UCLA. The fellows include guitarist Lionel Loueke from Benin, who’s now a member of Hancock’s quartet. Hancock sees his latest initiative as an extension of his 2010 CD, the double Grammywinning “The Imagine Project,” a globe-trotting, genre-mixing effort that featured a United Nations of pop and world music stars from 10 countries. “I’m really excited about International Jazz Day because so many artists from various countries and genres have a connection to jazz and will be able to honor this music that has had a profound effect on them,” Hancock said. “I hope that this day spreads the joy of spontaneous creation that exists in this music,” he said. “My feeling is that jazz will be getting its just due.” —AP

Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming perform with Chicago choir Kutchersigns up for Branson space flight

ctor Ashton Kutcher is set to go into orbit after becoming the 500th customer to sign up for Richard Branson’s pioneering space ship, the British tycoon said Monday. The newly-single star, who split from actress Demi Moore in November, is “thrilled” to join the line for the Virgin Galactic service, which is in its “final stages” of flight tests, Branson wrote on his blog. “I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him,” wrote the multi-millionaire entrepreneur, known for his trademark publicity stunts. “He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself.” Linking to online video, Branson added: “As you can see .. our spaceships are not only very beautiful but are built and flying in the final stages of our exhaustive test flight program. “We are guided by safety and so will ensure that everything is just as safe as it can possibly be before we start commercial services-particularly


as I will be on the first commercial flight with my kids!” he added. Thirty-four year old Kutcher, who with his wife was a pioneer of social media, re-tweeted Branson’s message on his own

Ashton Kutcher Twitter feed, but didn’t make any other comment. Branson opened the world’s first-ever commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert last October, having said the previous month

that he hoped to launch the first flight within 12 months. “Spaceport America” is home to the Virgin Galactic company and is expected to house up to two WhiteKnightTwos-the aircraft which launch the orbital spacecraft themselves, and five SpaceShipTwos. A number of private companies are rushing to fill the gap left by NASA, which ended its 30-year shuttle program last year with the completion of the final Atlantis mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Kutcher is best known for TV shows including “That 70s Show” and “Punk’d,” and last year replaced troubled actor Charlie Sheen in the popular comedy “Two and a Half Men.” Actress Moore, 49, was rushed to hospital in January after taking an unidentified drug which left her convulsing and “burning up,” according to an emergency 911 call. —AFP

Chicago’s Renee Fleming Initiative. The programs aim to spread music in the community. “An integrated arts curriculum is to me, it means that we have people who are in touch with who they are on the inside and in touch with what they can receive from the outside,” Ma said. “That to me will create the best possible work force.” Ma and Fleming performed a piece by Rachmaninoff in the rotunda of the State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago with Gov. Pat Quinn in attendance. The pair then led a sing-a-long of “America the Beautiful,” along with Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians and the students. Earlier in the day, Ma and Fleming visited classes at Chicago’s Lake View High School. “It’s very much about makWorld-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and ing sure kids are able to express themfamed soprano Renee Fleming, left, per- selves in all of the arts and have access to and exposure to the visual arts and form with a choir of dozens of high theater and music and dance and try all school students in the rotunda of the of it,” Fleming said. “Because that’s how State of Illinois building. —AP they figure out who they are.” —AP amed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming performed Monday with a choir of Chicago high school students to promote arts education. The performance was a collaboration of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Citizen Musician initiative and the Lyric Opera of



lifestyle F e a t u r e s


new Israeli law is trying to fight the spread of eating disorders by banning underweight models from local advertising. The law, passed late Monday, also requires publications to disclose when they use altered images to make women and men appear thinner. The ban appears to be the first time a government has used legislation to take on a fashion industry accused of abetting eating disorders by idealizing extreme thinness. It could also become a model for other countries grappling with the spread of anorexia and bulimia, particularly among young women. The law’s supporters said they hoped it would encourage the use of healthy models in local advertising and heighten awareness of digital tricks that transform already thin women into illusory waifs. “We want

to break the illusion that the model we see is real,” said Liad Gil-Har, assistant to law sponsor Dr Rachel Adato, who compares the battle against eating disorders to the struggle against smoking. The law requires models to produce a medical report, dating back no more than three months, at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. The UN agency uses a standard known as the body mass index - calculated by dividing weight by height to determine malnutrition. WHO says a body-mass index below 18.5 is indicative of malnutrition, said Adato, a gynecologist. Any advertisement published for the Israeli market must also have a clearly written notice disclosing if the model used was digitally altered to

make her, or him, look thinner. The law will not apply to foreign publications sold in Israel. The law was championed by one of Israel’s top model agents, Adi Barkan, who said in 30 years of work, he saw young women become skinnier and sicker while struggling to fit the shrinking mold of what the industry considered attractive. “They look like dead girls,” Barkan said. Critics said the legislation should have focused on health, not weight, arguing that many models were naturally very thin. “The health of the model ... should be evaluated. Our weight can change hour to hour,” said David Herzog, a professor of psychiatry and leading US expert on eating disorders. Top Israeli model Adi Neumman said she wouldn’t pass under the new rules, because her

This X-ray shows an underlying image of two wrestlers on a painting entitled ‘Still life with meadow flowers and roses’ by Vincent van Gogh.


still life once thought to be by Vincent van Gogh but later downgraded to the work of an anonymous artist because of doubts about its authenticity is indeed by the tormented Dutch impressionist, researchers said yesterday. The process leading to the confirmation reads like a cold case detective story, with a new X-ray technique helping experts re-examine what they already knew about the painting and draw on a growing pool of scholarly Van Gogh research. A detailed X-ray of an underlying painting of two wrestlers and knowledge of the painter’s period at a Belgian art academy combined to lead a team of researchers to conclude that “Still life with meadow flowers and roses” really is by Van Gogh. The painting is owned by the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in the central Netherlands and was being hung there yesterday among its other Van Gogh works. There was no real eureka moment for the team of experts studying the still life and the underlying image of wrestlers, said Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum who took part in the confirmation process. “All the pieces just fell into place,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. The painting, on a 100 centimeter by 80 centimeter (40x31 inch) canvas, was bought by the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in 1974 as a Van Gogh. The work was thought to come from the artist’s period living with his brother Theo in Paris from late 1886. “But when they hung it (in the museum), doubts crept in” about its authenticity, said Van Tilborgh. Experts thought the canvas was too large for that period, the depiction of a vase brimming over with flowers and yet more flowers lying on a table in the foreground was too exuberant, too busy. The signature was in an unusual position for Van Gogh - the top right hand corner. With the doubts piling up, the museum in 2003 decided to attribute the painting to an anonymous artist instead of to Van Gogh. But the detective work did not end there. An X-ray taken five years earlier had already revealed an indistinct image of the wrestlers and continued to interest researchers. Now, a new more detailed X-ray has shown the wrestlers in more detail, along with the brush strokes and pigments used. They all pointed back to Van Gogh. “You can see the wrestlers more clearly and the fact that they are wearing loin cloths,” said Van Tilborgh. Having models pose half naked was a defining characteristic of the Antwerp academy where Van Gogh studied in early 1886. So was the size of the canvas, the Kroeller-Mueller Museum said in a statement. Vincent wrote to his brother about needing the large canvas, new brushes and paint. Theo helped the penniless artist buy the materials and a week later Van Gogh wrote back that he was delighted with the painting of two wrestlers. Van Tilborgh said the brush strokes and pigments in the wrestlers painting also corresponded with what experts now know about Van Gogh’s work in Antwerp. —AP

This photo provided by the Kroeller Mueller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands, yesterday, shows a painting entitled ‘Still life with meadow flowers and roses’ by Vincent van Gogh. — AP photos

Models display creations designed by Japanese fashion designer Yasutaka Funakoshi during the alice auaa 2012-13 autumn and winter collection in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP photos

Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi

BMI was 18.3. Neumman said she ate well and exercised. She also said the legislation should have focused on health and well-being, not weight. “Force actual tests. Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking,” she said. Legislator Adato said only 5 percent of women had BMI that naturally fell under 18.5. “On the one hand, maybe we’ll hurt a few models,” Adato said. “On the other hand, we’ll save a lot of children.”— Reuters



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lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Somalia national theatre reopens after two decades


n the roofless, bullet-ridden building that houses Mogadishu’s National Theatre, Somali musicians staged a concert for the first time in 20 years, a sign of a marked improvement in security in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country. Under pressure from African Union and Somali troops, al Qaeda-linked militants withdrew from Mogadishu in August prompting a return to relative calm in the capital, although the rebels still manage to launch sporadic attacks. Yesterday the al Shabaab militants launched mortars at the presidential palace - a mere 300 meters (yards) away from the theatre - for the second day running, drawing retaliatory fire from African peacekeepers in some of the heaviest violence to rock the capital’s centre in months. Despite the violence, hundreds of Somali residents as well as the country’s senior officials, packed the National Theatre on Monday to attend an afternoon of song and dance to mark the reopening of the building. Dressed in bright yellow scarves and capes, Somali women sang to the strumming of guitars as the audience applauded, tapped their feet on the steps and waved the Somali flag. “We are very happy to be reopening our national theatre and singing inside it today. If we are alive, our theatre will be alive,” singer Said Daud Ali, sporting a red striped shirt and sunglasses, told Reuters after the concert. Somalia has been mired in turmoil since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, leaving militants, militia groups and clan leaders all fighting for control of parts of the anarchic country. Highlighting the threat militants still pose to the capital, armoured African Union vehicles and Somali government troops deployed along the road leading up to the theatre, where Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed took a front-row seat. “The concert talked about love and


ighty contestants took part in the traditional fishing competition held at the Fishermen’s Dewaniya in AlWuttiya yesterday as part of the ongoing Heritage Festival. The event enjoyed huge success in terms of participation. Previously, poor weather conditions had forced the cancelation of two similar competitions which were set to be held at the Fishermen’s Dewaniya in Al-Fintas and Salmiya. Chief of the festival’s organizing committee, Sheikh

Salem Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah, announced plans to study a recommendation made by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah to hold the event in January in the future instead of March, which generally features unstable weather. The winners will be crowned tomorrow at the Fishermen’s Dewaniya in Al-Fintas during the closing ceremony of the festival, which concludes on March 24th. On Monday, a camel beauty contest took place in AlRoudhatain for the ‘Al-Safr’ breed, in addition to a male

camel competition for the same breed. The beauty contest was held for the 50-camel herd class, and featured nine participants, including four breeders from Saudi Arabia who recently won top awards in official competitions in their home country. The event saw unprecedented number of attendants, with totals estimated at nearly 10 thousand, according to head of the organizing committee Sheikh Sabah Fahad Al-Nasser Al-Sabah. The evaluation process in camel beauty contests is

politics ... the concert also told us about our past days, the good and the bad. We have to participate in a new Somali history and repair our houses, shake hands and unite,” Ahmed told the audience. “We have to concentrate on peace, education and progress - let’s forget the bad events we experienced,” he said. Many Somali artists, actors and singers have fled the violence over the last two decades, especially as al Shabaab cracked down on any forms of art they deemed unIslamic according to the strict interpretation of sharia law that they adhere to. Ahmed said the government would now support its artists. “The reopening of the theatre shows a new occasion: peace. Our musicians, singers, poets have had bad days. The government will give them the value they deserve,” he said, marking the end of the concert. Abdullahi Iman, a former actor who was the master of ceremonies at Monday’s event, said he returned from Stockholm after fleeing Somalia 13 years ago. “I arrived this month to evaluate the state of Mogadishu,” he told Reuters. “Somalia is relatively peaceful now but more ruined than before. I will return. I hope this concert marks a good start.” — Reuters

based on the animal’s physical appearance, in addition to the level of productiveness in case of male camels. Sheikh Al-Sabah indicated that brand new cars are allocated for the top three winners of the competition.

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Ashton Kutcher signs up for Branson space flight




others and daughters can celebrate in style with easy crafts, tasty treats and hilarious games that keep the conversation and laughter flowing. Party decorations Spring garland This festive tissue paper bunting adds some springtime color to your party. To speed up the paper cutting, first make a half-oval template (our ovals are about seven inches wide) from a piece of stiff paper or cardboard. Next, stack four or five sheets of tissue paper in various colors and fold the stack in half lengthwise. Starting at one end of the tissue paper, lay the flat edge of the template along the fold and trace it with a pencil. Fit as many half-ovals along the fold as you can, then cut them out. To make the bunting, open a tissue paper oval and apply glue stick in the center crease and around the edges. Lay one end of a long length of ribbon into the crease. Fold the oval over it and smooth the paper closed. Add more ovals, spaced an inch or two apart, until you reach the desired length. Napkin cuffs Soft and colorful, these napkin rings can be whipped up in minutes. For each, use pinking shears to cut a roughly 2- by 4-inch fabric rectangle. Wrap the fabric around a napkin and secure the overlapping ends with a flowerheaded brad (available in the scrapbooking section of craft stores). Party crafts High-tea hat These wrapping paper hats are always a perfect fit: they’re made right on your guests’ heads! To make a hat, press and smooth two (30-inch) squares of wrapping paper, unprinted sides together, over the crown of a partygo-

These wrapping paper hats are always a perfect fit: they’re made right on your guests’ heads!

onto the pipe cleaner, then bend and push the end through the second hole in the card stock and back through the paper stack. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together. Crinkle the tissue paper petals, then tape the flower to your hat by its stem. Folded fans A fan is as apropos at a tea party as white gloves and raised pinkies. Our version is a breeze to make. Widthwise, accordion-fold a 6- by 12-inch piece of paper. Each fold should be about one inch wide. Fold the accordion strip in half to mark the center, and staple it at the crease. Glue a craft stick on either side of the staple, as shown at right. Join the top edges of the accordion with invisible tape to form a semicircle. Bring the craft sticks together, sandwiching the paper between them, and secure them with an elastic band. When the glue is dry, open the fan into a circle and wrap the elastic band around the handles. Games She Loves It, She Loves It Not A bouquet of flowers can do more than brighten a room: used in this activity, they can spark some intriguing conversations. One player holds a daisy (or another flower with lots of petals) and plucks off one petal as she names something that her mother or daughter loves. The next player shares something her mother or daughter loves — not. The flower continues around the table, with mothers talking about their mothers and daughters, and daughters talking about their moms, until the flower runs out of petals.

Two truths, one lie This get-to-know-you game is a fantastic way to learn more about your loved ones. Guests take turns sharing three things about themselves, two of which are true, and one of which is a lie. (For example: “I rode an elephant A fan is as apropos at a tea party as white gloves when I was four; I once met Regis Philbin; and I and raised pinkies. Our version is a breeze to can touch my toe to my forehead.”) Everyone else in the group votes on which one they make. — MCT photos think is the lie, then the player reveals the er’s head. Have her hold the paper in place truth. while you wrap colored tape once or twice — not too tightly — around the widest part of Mrs Mumbles her head. Remove the hat and trim the brim so To win this game, you need to be able to it’s about five inches wide. Fold up about a talk without showing your teeth. That means half-inch of the brim and secure it with invisi- no laughing — or even smiling — while other ble tape to form a hem. If desired, fold up and players are trying to crack you up. To get starttape a section of the brim at the front. ed, one person curls her lips tightly over her teeth, turns to the person to her right, and A flower for your cap says, “Excuse me, is Mrs. Mumbles home?” The Add some floral flair to your new hat with a person must reply, in the same tooth-hiding tissue paper bloom. For each flower, cut out manner, with, “I don’t know, let me ask my several circles of tissue paper in two different neighbor ...” She then turns to the person to sizes and colors and stack them. her right and asks, “Excuse me, is Mrs. Mumbles Cut a 1-inch circle out of card stock and use home?” The question and the answer are a craft knife or wooden skewer to poke two passed around the table, as everyone tries hard small holes near the center. Poke a 3-inch not to giggle. If you show your pearly whites, length of pipe cleaner through the center of you’re out of the game. the tissue paper circles and through one hole in the card stock circle. Thread a pony bead


RECIPES Pastel Petits Fours Dainty and sophisticated, these cakes are a real showstopper. And since they’re made from store-bought pound cake, they’re surprisingly easy to prepare. You can decorate the tops with sprinkles, colored sugar, or candy flowers. Ingredients: 1 (16-ounce) pound cake 9 cups powdered sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon almond extract Liquid food coloring Decorations, such as sprinkles, colored sugar, and candy flowers 1. Cut the entire cake into 1-inch-thick slices. Then use 1-inch-wide cookie cutters or a knife to cut round, square, and diamond shapes from each slice. Place the cake pieces on a wire rack set on a waxed paperlined cookie sheet. 2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, cup water, and vanilla and almond extracts until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. As the icing cools, it may start to stiffen; if so, stir in a spoonful of water to keep the icing smooth and flowing. Divide the icing equally between two or three small bowls. Stir food coloring, a drop at a time, into each bowl until the icing is the desired shade. 3. Working with one piece of cake at a time, spoon on the icing to cover it completely, then add sprinkles, colored sugar, or a candy flower before the icing sets. Let the cakes stand, uncovered, until the icing is dry, about 30 minutes. Store them in an airtight container for up to three days. Makes about 30 cakes. SOURCE: Adapted from “Pink Princess Tea Parties” by Barbara Beery (Gibbs Smith, $14.99).

On Mother’s Day flowers are sweet and breakfast in bed is yummy. But if you really want to thrill M-O-M, take these 5 steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Wash your hands without being asked at all those important hand-washing moments (after the bathroom, before eating, etc.). Make your bed, but don’t stop there. Make HER bed. Don’t fight with your brothers or sisters. Or, if you must argue, do it quietly and don’t involve mom. Let her sleep in. Make her laugh. Tell a joke, do a silly dance, or ask her to remember what you were like when you were little. Did you ever wear your underpants on your head? We thought so!—MCT

Dena Lockwood sits with her daughter, Lily Lockwood, 7, in their home in Brookfield, Illinois. — MCT

Tea sandwiches Any sandwich can be a tea sandwich, as long as it’s sliced into neat, nearly bite-size pieces. For extra fanciness, use a cookie cutter to punch out shapes from your sandwich bread. Though you can use almost any sandwich recipe for a tea sandwich, here are some of our favorites to get you started: • Spread wheat bread with honey-walnut cream cheese (made by combining 1 package of softened cream cheese with \ cup of chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons of honey). Top with sliced pears and a second slice of bread. • Cover white bread with herbed cream cheese, tomato slices and minced black olives. • Top thin slices of baguette with Nutella and sliced bananas. • Fill mini pita breads with hummus and slices of cucumber and tomato. • Sandwich sliced turkey and provolone between two pieces of wheat bread spread with basil pesto.—MCT


apkin rin l, these n tes. fu r lo o c Soft and ipped up in minu h can be w

It just wouldn’t be a tea party without pastel petit fours and tea sandwiches.

21 Mar 2012  
21 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times