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A Magahwi’s tale of Arabic coffee making

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NO: 15636- Friday, November 23, 2012

E-tracking: New constraint for Saudi women See Page 10

RIYADH: A Saudi woman carries shopping bags as she leaves the Olaya mall in Riyadh. Women in Saudi Arabia, who are veiled in public and banned from driving, face further restrictions with a new law allowing airport security to report their movements to their male “guardians”, a move that is deemed a form of “slavery” by rights activists as any Saudi woman intending to travel must carry a “yellow slip” as a proof of consent granted to her. — AFP


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Local Spotlight

Endless prayers: Thank you

Kuwait’s my business

Franchises can improve Kuwait’s quality of life

By Muna Al-Fuzai

By John P Hayes

muna@kuwaittimes.net

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ithout a doubt, the readers of Kuwait Times have been very kind to me in recent days, even though I am just a humble columnist. As I campaign in the last phase of this election campaign in the run-up to the December 1 polls for Kuwait parliament, a large number of Kuwait Times’ readers have sent me their good wishes and told me that they prayed for my victory. I, too, hope to win this election, like other candidates. But I would be failing in my duty if I do not take into account that it is not about who wins or who loses. All that matters in the end is that I did my part to serve my country in whatever way I could, and I put my best effort into that. The history of my country will record this. It is a matter of huge pride for me that I am the only human rights activist running in this election at such a tough time in Kuwait’s political history. I was called many names for undertaking this venture, but I really appreciated being labeled ‘brave.’ Kuwait is passing through a very delicate phase and most of the political groups cannot even sit at one table but I kept my links alive with all the powers in Kuwait. I talk to these various quarters every day. I managed to speak with everyone in this campaign and that I believe is a great achievement and success, irrespective of the result in this election. I feel I have done my part and, Allah willing, will do that anytime, anywhere. Have I done enough to deserve the prayers of the readers of Kuwait Times? Somehow, I feel that I did not do enough. I know that I always responded to the frequent calls from marginalized or abused expats and always gave them my time. I always empathized with them and listened to their problems. It is possible that at times, I could not give the right answer, but I tried. I hope it was enough. I am grateful to all of you who took the trouble to write to me, saying that you prayed for me. I know for sure that the merciful Allah always listens and answers. That is a blessing only the lucky few receive.

local@kuwaittimes.net

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ack when franchising was still relatively new in the USA, my family was driving from Ohio to Florida (a 3-day trip at the time) every July for a holiday with our extended family. My father permitted only two stops per 10-hour driving day, during which time we could stretch and eat. It was my mother’s job to decide where to stop, and whenever possible she chose a franchise. Why? For a clean bathroom! Every traveler in America in the 1950s knew that along with tasty food, franchises offered cleanliness, especially in the bathrooms. Sad to say, that’s not as true today as it was back then, but it explains an important point about franchises. They come with standards, or “rules and regulations,” and so long as the standards are enforced, franchised businesses improve the quality of life wherever they exist. Last week, my wife and I dined at the Red Lobster franchise in Grand Avenue, and my immediate concern was standards. My students (who

provide my “inside information” on all things Kuwait) tell me that all US franchises open in Kuwait with American standards, but in about 90 days the standards disappear. Shamefully, I’ve discovered they are correct in several instances, so before we agreed to dine at Red Lobster, I asked the friendly hostess about standards. “Same as in the USA,” she said proudly. “Good,” I replied, “but for how long?” “For as long as the restaurant is here,” she said, “because Red Lobster insists that its licensees follow the US standards.” Hooray for Red Lobster! Actually, hooray for Darden Restaurants, the franchisor of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, also now open in Grand Avenue. The US franchisor, which licenses Americana to operate its restaurants in Kuwait, is doing precisely what franchisors are expected to do: insist on standards. That’s not all they’re expected to do, but it’s one aspect of business that many of them fail to do, and we suffer for it in Kuwait. So long as Darden continues to require Americana, and all of its

other franchisees, to maintain standards, Red Lobster and Olive Garden will improve our quality of life in Kuwait. So will every other franchise that maintains standards. As customers, we like standards, which include hours of operations, employee dress code, customer service, product quality, recipes, and cleanliness. Given a choice, customers will buy standards over everything else, and that explains why franchises are so popular. When you visit or call a franchise, you know what to expect! Now, just imagine how much better our lives would be if we imported service franchises such as those for plumbers, electricians, Internet providers, tutors, computer technicians, etc. Is it too much to imagine better service at the driver’s license and Civil ID offices? Not if they act like franchises and insist on standards. — John Hayes is a professor in the College of Business at GUST. Contact him at questions@hayesworldwide.com, or via Twitter @drjohnhayes.

In my view

Are we living the Matrix? By Labeed Abdal

labeed@kuwaittimes.net

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ith giant companies in the information technology sector competing more strongly than ever, we are now passing through an era that we can safely call the peak of information technology age. While so far, we were using search engines to find what we were looking for, now teams comprising some of top brains in the IT sector in India, China, the USA, the UK and several other countries are joining heads to come up with cutting edge predictive technology in search engines. We are destined for the next big leap in search engines where their predictive abilities will trump even our thoughts. These new generation predictive search

engines will throw up results even before we are able to think, ask or decide as intelligent computers will scour our behavior, wants, moods and needs. The new technology currently under development will be able to process millions of Twitter and Facebook posts to monitor waves of opinion and their direction. Search engines will be able to read our consumption patterns, political inclinations and march of public opinion. Moreover, the IT giants with their new programs and softwares would be able to comb through millions of emails to review users’ habits. As if that was not enough, digital printers are headed in the same direction and will come equipped with advanced technologies and capacities making it possible for them to save and analyze the contents of the papers we fax or print, thus ensuring that nothing falls through the chinks in data combing. While all these benefits of the new age technology will make things faster and better for us, the developments will also enable these IT giants to compile and

resell the massive and highly valuable search results data to major companies who can then better channel their investments and gain huge strategic depth against their competitors by tweaking their services or products to the finest detail to match the exact trends across the globe. At the same time, the ever increasing size and reach of these companies in the age of data explosion must not get an automatic green light to breach the privacy frontiers of common citizens and scour through their personal lives. So far, there has been a pattern of technological advances and new realities changing the very definition of what was once referred to as a citizen’s private domain. The cyberspace is now not only open but has become an uncontrolled e-world made of, for want of any better words in the existing diction in any language, Twittersphere, Facebookland, Instagramalogy, smartphoneology and computational biology. At times, we really do not know where it will all lead to or to what extent and purpose?


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Conspiracy Theories

Fashion craze

By Badrya Darwish

badrya_d@kuwaittimes.net

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omen and fashion have been intricately connected since times immemorial, but when I talk of fashion in the current context, I mean all kinds of fashion, starting from clothes to make-up to the way you cover your hair. Nowadays, it is very common in Kuwait to see women wearing most fashionable clothes and applying a lot of makeup on the face. In fact, at times, one is unable to fathom the original facial look because of the heavy makeup. The eyes, which were once considered a dead giveaway for anyone’s identity, are now rendered into a sort of a painting, what the heavy eye-liner and the eye shadows doing their trick. Walk into any mall and you will wonder if you have landed up in a Madame Tussauds museum. There is no getting away from the tattooed eyebrows pulled up in a funny pointy way and lips puffed with collagen that make it hard for the woman to even speak or smile. Even if she smiles or talks, you cannot see any expressions on her face as she looks more like a robot. Let us turn to the question of hair. If a woman is a muhajeba, I do not know what the fashion was in the past few years but girls fill up their hijab with something. It reminds me of older Star Trek in which they used to bring from other planets women with conical heads. What is beautiful about a cone-head hijab? Is it some manifestation of an inferiority complex and will make shorter women look taller? That does not seem to be the case because I have seen even tall girls wearing cone-heads. I wonder what they put inside those hijabs. Is it sponge, or loofah or maybe an empty yoghurt can (gutirob in Kuwaiti dialect) inside it with a scarf over the face with a heavy makeup? Don’t forget that as the winter approaches, we started witnessing the fashion in boots. All kinds of boots. Even when a woman is short, she is spotted wearing long boots reaching her thighs. Why can’t she realize that this is disproportionate and makes her look like a clown? The boots are taller than she is. Is this a fashion craze? Do they think it is trendy? Are they so naive as to think that this is trendy and makes them look ultra modern when they wear such clownish gear? Where are their mothers and sisters? Don’t they advise them before they go out about what suits them or not? The funniest part is that sometimes these boots are made of rubber they are worn by workers and plumbers digging farms and lakes. Suddenly, they are being considered fashionable for all women in Kuwait. I would have understood if it were a nice pair of leather boots. The women are buying without thinking whether something suits them or not and regardless of the fact whether mercury will touch 20 or 25 degrees Celsius. They are wearing rubber boots decorated with fur. For a moment, you might think you are in an Alaskan mall.

CAMPAIGN TRAILS: In the run-up to the elections Kuwait’s road infrastructure has become a colourful sea of posters and banners of candidates. —Photo by Yasser AlZayyat


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

A Magahwi’s tale of

Arabic coffee making

By Nawara Fattahova

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o social function is complete without him. Every dewaniya or a wedding starts with a cup of aromatic coffee that he offers guests. Meet Kuwait’s Magahwi - the person who pours and hands out Arabic coffee Dalla at social functions. Mohammed Faraj from Egypt is a Magahwi who has been serving people the aromatic beverage since 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “I got used to this job and I like it.” Faraj, who has lived in Kuwait for more than 20 years, has had different jobs but putting a smile on people’s face with a cup of coffee has by far become his most favourite occupation. “I faced many problems in my life and felt miserable. I was about to leave the country. When I found this job I started a new life. I am satisfied doing it,” Mohammed Faraj said. He used to cook and prepare food, so it was not difficult for him to learn the knack of pouring coffee. “In less than four months, I learnt how to prepare the Arabic coffee, and I even tweaked it in my own way. My ingredients include saffron, cardamom, and cloves. No sugar is added to the traditional Arabic coffee, as it is always served with dates,” he pointed out. In the beginning, he said, he always used to pour a full cup of coffee but then learnt how to pour small quantities only. “I learnt that the coffee has to be always hot. So the pot hardly lasts in my hands for more than 15 minutes. I have to refill it all the time. If it was to be only slightly warm, and the cup itself was cold, then the coffee would get cold, and the guest may complain,” Faraj says. People have different tastes and Faraj tries to cater to most. “Some do not like saffron in the coffee, while others dislike clove. Yet I have my special recipe and people like my coffee,” he says adding that his coffee has become popular. “This makes me happy.”

It takes Faraj about 20 minutes to brew the Arabic coffee. “I mix the coffee that comes in bags into a pot with water, and I let it boil for about 20 minutes, and then I fill my first coffee pot to start serving it to the guest. I then let the rest of the coffee to boil and keep refilling my coffee pot from it. When the cooking pot is almost empty, I add more water and the keep it on the boil. Before pouring the coffee for guests, I put a filter in the coffee pot to keep the residue in the pot and not allow it to get in the cup,” he further said. The coffee consumption is different on each occasion. Sometimes, he only uses two coffee pots during the whole evening, while on other occasions he may need more than 50 pots. “It depends on the occasion and the guests. Usually, the westerners and Arab expats do not drink much coffee and some of them do not like it,” he said. Bedouins, on the other hand, are the biggest consumers of Arabic coffee. “So when there is a Kuwaiti or a Palestinian wedding, I usually end up serving more than 50 pots of coffee. Sometimes they want me to stay all the time and if I as much as go to the kitchen to refill the pot for a few minutes, they start searching for me,” highlighted Faraj. More and more westerners have discovered the taste of traditional Arabic coffee. “More westerners and especially Americans are familiar with the Arabic coffee and demand it during the occasions. Many of them have also learnt the traditions like how to shake the cup when they don’t want any more,” he explained. His job has a comical side too. He narrated an incident when a cup split into two halves for no reason. “The guest I was serving was amazed and shocked at the same time,” he said. Then he narrated another funny situation when he was holding a cold cup and pouring hot coffee. “When I poured it, the cup exploded all of a sudden,” Faraj said.

Magahwi from Egypt Mohammed Faraj. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

By Velina Nacheva

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here is a huge market for contemporary art in Kuwait, says Sheikha Lulu Al-Sabah, founder of JAMM, an independent strategic art advisory that is hosting its third annual auction in Kuwait on November 29, 2012. The auction which will be held at the Contemporary Art Platform will feature over 60 works from various parts of the Arab world by emerging and established Arab and Iranian artists including five or six pieces by international artists.

JAMM to hold its third auction in Kuwait of over 60 top-quality artworks by contemporary Arab, Iranian and international artists “The selection process has been a lot more sophisticated this time around in terms of quality,” Al-Sabah said, elaborating that there were 53 works at JAMM’s first auction and another 93 at the second one. The first two auctions, Al-Sabah says, were an attempt to test the market. “I felt that there is a market for contemporary art auctions. I really wanted to see what is selling and what is

not selling and what is it that the people are interested in,” she told Friday Times. Sheikha Lulu, who is a Kuwait based art-journalist and former Middle East Director for Phillips de Pury, has embarked on a mission to promote Middle Eastern artists. She opines that with her previous experience of hosting two auctions now, she has a better idea about the market, people’s aspirations and what they are looking for in terms of price and type of art. Selection Sheikha Lulu admits that in the selection process she is “very strict about quality.” “I feel that there are some works that are stronger than others,” she says. Taking the point further, she said Amira Behbehani’s art work is one of the strongest from the group this year. Works by Kuwaiti artists Mohammad Ramadan and Ahmed Al-Ayoub have been included in this year’s auction. “Their works are good and not many people have heard of these two artists. I want to give them the opportunity to show their works. They have the potential and it deserves to be showcased,” Sheikha Lulu said. At this year’s event, there is a work of art from nearly every country in the Arab world. “Every country in North Africa and the Levant is represented,” Sheikha Lulu said, lamenting the fewer pieces from the Gulf compared to last year’s auction. “It is important to add variety and not always feature the same artists.” Quality is the major selection criterion for Sheikha Lulu who makes the choice of top works of art by established and emerging artists from a variety of sources - galleries, artists, private collections. The main criterion being that even if the works vary - in terms of photography, calligraphy, abstract, installation or figurative, they have to have a certain quality. “I try to do a mix so that there is something for everyone. Art is

Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin’s artwork titled A Tale of Two Muslims (from the Popcornographic Series)

Sheikha Lulu AlSabah, founder of JAMM— Picture courtesy Sueraya Shaheen


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

subjective in the end. People like different things,” she said. The art work this year has links with certain recurring themes. “With the Arab Spring, it is impossible not to showcase works that make you question things,” Sheikha Lulu said, elaborating that one such work is ‘Hearts and Minds’ by Al Braithwaite. Another piece by Saudi artist presents her take on censorship in Saudi Arabia using a special technique to remove the identities of the subjects she paints. Many artists exhibit political work. One piece that stands out is The Peoples’ Movement by Zhou Wendou, an artwork that has a sensor and moves when somebody passes by. Another highlight at the auction is Amira Behbehani’s work that talks about the veil and is putting it into a political context. Art for everyone “My main objective is to see in my lifetime Arab and Iranian contemporary art becoming part of the mainstream,” Sheikha Lulu said. The auction of over 60 works, the majority of which are estimated at under $10,000 each, provides an opportunity for young collectors in the GCC region and beyond to start or to add to their collections of contemporary art. “I want an auction where everybody can buy a work of art. I do not want it to be an elitist thing. There are many young professionals who want one or two pieces in their house and these are the people that I am targeting,” Sheikha Lulu said. She elaborated that every year more and more people are showing interest and appreciation for art, which, in her words, is a positive sign. According to her, about 50 percent of the sales at JAMM’s auctions are usually done by buyers in Kuwait and the rest by international buyers. The goal for this year’s auction is to manage sales worth a total of $1 million. “I hope more people will be interested and the VIP program will become larger every year because it is not just about the auction,” Sheikha Lulu said explaining that she had created a VIP program around the sale for collectors from abroad, that also includes art galleries in Kuwait. “I include lunches and dinners at collectors’ homes. I try to involve local artists, in fact, the whole communities in order to kick start the contemporary art scene which is really beginning to do fantastic. You feel that things are happening now unlike ten years ago,” she said. On a final note, she stressed: “It would be nice to see works by regional artists when you go to a hotel or a restaurant in Kuwait.” What is JAMM? Established in 2009, JAMM has the mission to create cultural projects without geographical boundaries by advancing Arab and Iranian artists in the West and western artists in the East and by furthering collaboration between the two. Projects range from large-scale exhibitions and events to small-scale activities focuses on the development of the art market in the Middle East and other key regional markets. For more information on JAMM, visit www.jamm-art.org. TAG Heuer is the exclusive sponsor for the auction. Luc Decroix, General Manager of TAG Heuer Middle East, said, “We are very proud to be associated with JAMM. JAMM is helping to promote emerging artists and allow them to get a great visibility that they could hardly get otherwise. Through this, JAMM is also promoting the whole of Middle East, showing to the world that there is a real artistic scene in this region.” He added, “On a more personal note, we have been also convinced by the personality of Sheikha Lulu Al-Sabah. She embodies the TAG Heuer women so well, being modern, daring, independent, and someone who can give back. She has decided to take risks, to create her own company, and to give back to her country by helping promoting it through arts.” On her part, Sheikha Lulu said of the partnership: “We are delighted about our partnership with TAG Heuer, a pioneer Swiss watchmaker. It is a great brand with a very strong presence in the Gulf and we are happy to associate both of our activities in the promotion of both emerging and established artists from the region and all over the world. The sponsorship allowed us to prepare our third auction of contemporary Arab, Iranian and international art and to secure top-quality works. We hope that this is the beginning of a long-term relationship

with TAG Heuer and that we will collaborate on other art-related projects in the future,” said Al-Sabah. There will be a pre-sale viewing on Wednesday, November 28, 2012. Alexander Gilkes, former global marketing director, will conduct the auction. The bidding will be done in three different ways: through a registration for a paddle number with which a bidder can bid on the spot. Absentee bids will be taken via a form that can be found towards the end of JAMM’s catalogue which will be later faxed to their office in Kuwait; thirdly, the bidding will also be done on the telephone with JAMM.

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uction highlights include Youssef Nabil’s Fifi Smoking piece showing Fifi - a known belly dancer and actress in Egypt. Other highlights include Amira Behbehani’s (b. 1964) recent oil painting Study of Francis Bacon (Men in Blue), 2012. Inspired by a series of seven deep-blue canvases that the British artist painted in 1954, this work seeks to engage a debate on the political and religious views of wearing the abbaya.

Study of Francis Bacon (Men in Blue) by Kuwaiti artist Amira Behbehani.

Among Iranian artists there is Shiva Ahmadi (b. 1975), whose Brown Veil, 2011 is a mixed media work on aquaboard. Another highlight of the auction is the Garden Party, 2011, by the acclaimed Iranian painter, musician and performance artist Reza Derakshani (b. 1952), a large oil painting in vibrant shades of red and pink executed in 2011. The three wall-mounted sculptures and suspended installations by Pakistani artist Simeen Farhat (b. 1968) aim to translate the dynamism of Rumi’s poems into visual energy.


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

KUWAIT: The continued conservative approach of Kuwaiti banks, both Islamic and conventional, seems to be paying off, with a number of institutions posting strong returns for the third quarter and several banks reporting double-digit quarterly increases in net profits for the period. Net profit at the National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s largest by total assets, rose to KD228.92m ($812.52m) - a 1.49% increase from KD225.56m ($800.59m) in the third quarter of 2011. While year-onyear (y-o-y) growth looks small compared to some of the country’s

other financial institutions, it should be noted that the bank recovered from negative growth in the second quarter, when net profit stood at KD120.81m ($428.8m) - a y-o-y decrease of 17.63%. Growth in the previous quarters, while positive (0.24% and 0.3% for the first and second quarters, respectively), was lower than the third-quarter figures. Smaller institutions, meanwhile, have posted larger growth margins. The second-largest financial institution and the biggest among Islamic lenders, Kuwait Finance House (KFH), reported a 7.2% y-o-y increase at the end of October, with shareholders’ net profit increasing to KD75.9m ($269.39m) for the first nine months of the year. This was up KD33.74m ($119.76m), or 80%, over the second quarter and up KD5.1m ($18m), or 7.16%, y-o-y as profits recovered from the higher levels of provisions made in late 2011 and early 2012. The reported figures were well above the expected quarterly growth rate, with four analysts in a Reuters survey predicting a growth of KD19.7m ($69.92m) for the quarter. According to a report by state news agency KUNA, the bank’s total revenues stood at KD611.9m ($269.39m) for the first nine months of the year, a 6% increase over the same period in 2011. Additional growth occurred in the bank’s total assets, which rose to KD14.2bn ($50.4bn), up 6.3% y-o-y, while deposits rose 2% to KD8.9bn ($31.59bn). In a statement released on October 24, Mohammad Al-Khudairi, the new chairman of KFH, said growth could be attributed to the bank’s conservative approach, with the possibility of further expansion if the government pursues spending that is “based on a clear plan with defined objectives”. He added that the bank has increased its efforts to connect finance in the Gulf with markets further afield, such as in Turkey and Malaysia. Burgan Bank, a subsidiary of the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) and the fourth-largest bank by total assets, reported a net profit of KD46.38m ($164.62m) for the quarter - up 12% from KD41.39m ($146.91m) in the third quarter of 2011. Burgan Bank’s strong performance could be partly due to increased investments in KIPCO, spurred by a number of infrastructure projects the organization is carrying out. While the other two institutions in the top five, Gulf Bank and the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, have posted y-o-y losses throughout 2012, their net profits have been slowly recovering over the course of the year. Gulf Bank, the third-largest by market value, posted a net profit of KD22.4m ($79.51m), down 18.25% from KD27.4m ($97.25m) in the third quarter of 2011, but up 75% from KD12.79m ($45.39m) in the second quarter. Other indicators for the bank are quite positive, with operating profits up 11% y-o-y and total assets up 3.53%. Mahmoud Al Nouri, the chairman of Gulf Bank, said in a statement on October 31 that the y-o-y losses in 2012 were due to transfers to the bank’s precautionary general provisions. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK), meanwhile, has not yet released its third-quarter results. The CBK’s net profit for the second quarter increased from KD330,000 ($1.17m) in the first quarter to KD450,000 ($1.59m) - a 36% quarterly gain, though down nearly 70% y-o-y. A statement released by the CBK attributed losses to the transfer of funds to provisions. “The bank continues a prudent policy towards building up a strong provision base and consolidating its balance sheet,” said Fowzi Al-Ateeqi, the general manager of investments and secretary to the board at the CBK. Total assets for the second quarter remained consistent at KD3.7bn ($13.13bn) - unchanged from the figure in the second quarter of 2011. Ratings agency Moody’s has said Kuwait is not likely to enter a credit-negative situation due to “the government’s very strong credit fundamentals”. Indeed, given their current conservative approach to lending and demonstrated ability to maintain strong fundamentals, as well as the ability to build up provisions even in difficult times, it seems many of the country’s financial institutions are on course to maintain growth in the months to come. — Oxford Business Group A view of Burgan Bank headquarters in Kuwait City. The image is used for illustrative purposes only. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Correction In the Friday Times on November 16th, an article titled: ‘Help! I am travelling with my little kids’ missed to properly identify the interviewee who provides invaluable insights into the aviation industry, especially experiences of parents travelling with children. The article quotes Sujata Thakkar, Cabin Crew Manager at Jazeera Airways. We regret the error.


Local FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Kuwait’s Cabinet holds extraordinary meeting KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting yesterday at Sief Palace under the chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah. Following the meeting, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah gave a briefing on the meeting deliberations and outcome. Sheikh Mohammad pointed out that the Cabinet was briefed of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s planned official visit to the United Kingdom on November 26-29. HH the Amir will be accompanied during his three-day visit to the UK with First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Al-Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Minister of Commerce and Industry and State Minister for Housing Affairs Anas Khalid Al-Saleh, Director

of HH the Amir’s Office Ahmad Fahad AlFahad, Amiri Diwan Protocols Chief Sheikh Khalid Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah and several senior officials of the Amiri Diwan, Foreign Ministry and Information Ministry. The Cabinet wished HH the Amir’s trip great success. The ministers also discussed and approved a number of important draft laws. They approved a bill for amending provisions of law No 42 of 1978 related to the regulations of sports organization and provisions of law No 5 of 2007 on regulating work of the Kuwait Olympic Committee and sports federations and clubs. The Cabinet also endorsed a draft law determining the maximum number of people who could be naturalized in 2013. The bill stated that their number must not exceed 2,000. The Cabinet referred the ratified bills to HH the Amir for final approval. Then the Cabinet tackled the latest political development in Kuwait, Arab region and whole world. It congratulated Lebanese President Michele Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati on the celebrations of Lebanon National Day, expressing hopes of security, stability and prosperity to the Lebanese people. — KUNA

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairs the Cabinet meeting yesterday. —KUNA

Court frees three tweeters on bail, fourth on Sunday Ministry launches campaign to convince voters By B Izzak

Five arrested for possessing drugs By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Local drug-fighting authorities arrested three male and one female citizens along with an Arab female expat while using drugs. According to officials, the arrested people possessed nearly one kilogram of hashish, drugs that induce hallucination and an unlicensed firearm. The arrest was made following a tip-off about a citizen who allegedly uses and sells drugs. The suspects confessed to using the drugs and were sent to further proceedings.

KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday freed three tweeters on bail after detaining them since November 14 on charges of writing tweets deemed offensive to the status of His Highness the Amir. A fourth tweeter who was arrested with them will have his case reviewed on Sunday, according to Mohammad AlHumaidi, the director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights. The court freed Sager Al-Hashash and Hamed Al-Khaledi on a KD 5,000 bail each and Nasser Al-Deehani on KD 1,000. The court set the next hearing on December 13 for Deehani and December 27 for Hashash and Khaledi. Rashed Al-Enezi, another tweeter, who was arrested with them will appear in court on Sunday.

Three other tweeters, including a woman, who were arrested along with the first four, were freed on the same day on a KD 1,000 bail each. The administrative court meanwhile reviewed 10 new cases for candidates disqualified by the National Election Commission and decided to issue its verdicts on November 26 along with eight other cases. The election commission disqualified 37 candidates earlier this week on the grounds that their reputation was not good enough for them to become members of parliament. Thirty-two of them have challenged the decision in the administrative court which must issue its verdicts before the December 1 election. In another development, the information ministry yesterday kicked off a media campaign to convince citizens to cast their votes in a

bid to counter an intensive campaign by the opposition for boycotting the election. Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah Al-Sabah said the campaign will not favor candidates and will focus on urging people to exercise their right by casting their votes. The minister said that citizens have full right to boycott the election but insisted that this has to abide by the law which bars instigating others to boycott the ballots or disrupting the election process. The opposition meanwhile strongly criticized the government move, saying this amounted to an interference in the election. Also, 13 candidates withdrew from the race yesterday leaving 290 hopefuls as withdrawal door will close today.

Two Bangladeshis held with forged passports Wife, lover caught red-handed KUWAIT: Airport security arrested two Bangladeshi expats and charged them with passport forgery upon arrival in Kuwait aboard an Asian Airline. The two were terrified upon approaching the passport control counter, so they were examined and their two passports were found forged. The two were sent to concerned authorities. Meanwhile, two Indians arrested for attempting to enter Kuwait with forged passports were deported on felony cases.

Indecent moves A young man who failed to win the heart of a woman decided to resort to indecent means to court her. She complained against him. The man, a citizen, who was driving around Salmiya saw the woman and started to chase. However, she rejected his overtures. When the desperate man started to use obscene signs and moves, she called police after noting down his car’s license plate number. He is being sought.

Bridge closure Traffic department said Al-Ghazali Bridge was closed to traffic yesterday evening and traffic was diverted to alternative routes. The department asked motorists who use Ghazali, Jahra and Abdulnasser roads to follow safety instructions and drive cautiously.

Algerian in drug heist South Roads patrols sent two Algerian and a citizen to drugs control authorities, after being caught them under the influence of drugs. Four hashish packets were found on them. The patrol noticed the suspect’s car being driven erratically near

Mina Abdulla area and stopped it. Woman goes insane An Arab expat woman was transferred from Jahra hospital to the Psychiatric hospital after it was found out that she was suffering from some Psychiatric problems and she detained her three children in a private room. She reportedly told people that she would not release them until the ambassador of her country comes. Caught red-handed An Egyptian expat, who had doubts about his wife’s loyalty, decided to pry on her. So the 29-year-old-man told his 27year-old wife one day that he would return home that night late though he hid behind

stairs in the building to watch the door of his flat. When he noticed a man entering his flat, the man ran to Salmiya police station and told them what happened. Policemen obtained warrants and went to the flat. The husband told police he would enter the flat from kitchen window to open the door for police and they allowed him to do so. The police who entered the flat caught the wife and her lover red-handed. The policemen also told the prosecutors what they found. So he told them not to allow the two to wear their clothes and to take them to the police station wrapped in bed sheets. Preliminary investigations revealed that the lover is a 22-year-old who works for the woman in a private company.


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Syrian death toll hits 40,000, violence rages

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India’s reform drive faces test in unruly parliament

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In an annual tradition Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys

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BEIRUT: Lebanese police women march during a military parade to mark the 69th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence from France in downtown Beirut yesterday. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943. — AP

E-tracking: New constraint for Saudi women Women denied the right to travel without consent RIYADH: Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together. Manal Al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple. The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh. “The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya Al-Bishr, who criticized the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultraconservative kingdom. Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their

male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border. The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter-a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom-with critics mocking the decision. “Hello Taleban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post. “Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa. “Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another. “If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham. ‘TECHNOLOGY SERVING BACKWARDNESS’ “This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist. “It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.

Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, and is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. In June 2011, female activists launched a campaign to defy the ban, with many arrested for doing so and forced to sign a pledge they will never drive again. No law specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned them after 47 women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars in November 1990.Last year, King Abdullah-a cautious reformer-granted women the right to vote and run in the 2015 municipal elections, a historic first for the country. In January, the 89-year-old monarch appointed Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, a moderate, to head the notorious religious police commission, which enforces the kingdom’s severe version of sharia law. Following his appointment, Sheikh banned members of the commission from harassing Saudi women over their behavior and attire, raising hopes a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the

country. But the kingdom’s “religious establishment” is still to blame for the discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia, says liberal activist Suad Shemmari. “Saudi women are treated as minors throughout their lives even if they hold high positions,” said Shemmari, who believes “there can never be reform in the kingdom without changing the status of women and treating them” as equals to men. But that seems a very long way off. The kingdom enforces strict rules governing mixing between the sexes, while women are forced to wear a veil and a black cloak, or abaya, that covers them from head to toe except for their hands and faces. The many restrictions on women have led to high rates of female unemployment, officially estimated at around 30 percent. In October, local media published a justice ministry directive allowing all women lawyers who have a law degree and who have spent at least three years working in a lawyer’s office to plead cases in court. But the ruling, which was to take effect this month, has not been implemented. — AFP


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Lebanon opposes Syrian refugee camps as crisis grows HALBA: Thousands of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are urgently seeking temporary shelter similar to the camps set up in Turkey and Jordan, but with its troubled history of refugees, Beirut and the UN reject the idea. “If no camp or emergency solution is provided, families will end up sleeping on the streets, or returning to Syria,” said Ayman Al-Hariri, a Syrian activist in Lebanon’s northern province of Akkar, where tens of thousands of refugees are currently based. “Nobody wants to live in a camp, but most cannot pay $200 to $300 rent each month (155 to 235 euros). It would also help organize aid,” said Hariri. “Right now it’s chaos, and the most vulnerable families pay the highest price.” There are already more than 125,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 78 percent of them women and children, according to UN figures, though activists say the real number

is much higher, and thousands continue to stream across the border. Some 30 percent of those who fled the conflict are relying on families in the north to host them. The rest struggle to put a roof over their heads, and say temporary accommodation is desperately needed. But Lebanon’s existing Palestinian refugee camps have seen repeated outbreaks of violence-the presence of Palestinians was a major destabilizing factor during the 1975-1990 civil war-and the authorities are afraid of encouraging Syrians to settle permanently. Many Lebanese Shiites and Christians believe the new influx may upset the delicate sectarian balance in a country of just four million, with most of the Syrian arrivals Sunni Muslim, like the Palestinians. “We don’t know where many of the Syrians are living,” Said Al-Halabi, the mayor of Halba in Akkar province said. “If they had a camp, it would be easier to keep order.” As

violence in neighboring Syria drags on, some 20,000 new refugees arrive in Lebanon each month, according to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, Robert Watkins. The United Nations and the Lebanese authorities are assisting local communities hosting Syrians, while aiming to promote development. “The policy of the United Nations, and in coordination with the government of Lebanon, is that it is not advisable at this time,” Watkins told journalists in Halba, when asked whether new camps might alleviate the refugees’ plight. “Camps create many more problems than they solve, and they are also incredibly expensive to maintain,” he added. The severe funding shortage over the Syrian humanitarian crisis is a major concern for the United Nations, with UNICEF facing a 57 percent funding gap in its Lebanon program for Syrian chil-

dren, and other agencies seeing similar problems. ‘SWEEPING PROBLEM UNDER CARPET’ Meanwhile, with bitter memories of the armed presence of Palestinians from the mid-1970s onwards, many ordinary Lebanese oppose the camps, including in the northern city of Tripoli. “If we had camps, the Syrian refugees would do what the Palestinians did. They’d become emperors on our land,” said 28-year-old Sharif AlNaimi, who sells watches in Tripoli. Fearing a replay of the Palestinian problem, the government is also firmly opposed to setting up camps for the Syrians. “There is no discussion whatsoever of opening any camp,” said Michel Moussa, a proDamascus Lebanese MP. “We do not believe a camp preserves anybody’s rights.” Despite its attempts to remain neutral over the conflict, Lebanon’s political parties are

deeply divided over the Syrian crisis. Hezbollah and its allies, which hold the majority in government, support the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, with the March 14 movement led by former premier Saad Hariri backing the 20-month revolt. A 27-year-old Syrian vegetable seller in Tripoli believes Lebanon’s political divisions explain why no long-term solution to the refugee problem is in sight. “Most people arriving in Lebanon are women and children, and they come with hardly any money or belongings. How are they expected to take care of themselves?” said Abdo, who travelled to Lebanon from the embattled Aleppo countryside five months ago. “A camp is a good idea. But Lebanon is so torn about Syria that the government does not care if people sleep in the cold. They just want to sweep the problem under the carpet.” — AFP

Mistrust runs deep as Gaza ceasefire holds Egyptian diplomacy takes centre-stage GAZA: A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers took hold yesterday after eight days of conflict, although deep mistrust on both sides cast doubt on how long the Egyptian-sponsored deal can last. Quiet reigned on both sides of the frontier overnight and during the morning after a dozen rockets landed in Israel in the initial hours after the truce came into force late on Wednesday. Israeli police said there had been no casualties or damage. The deal brokered by Egypt’s new Islamist government, working with the United States, prevented - at least for the moment - an Israeli invasion of the Palestinian enclave. Gaza medical officials said 162 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, including 37 children and 11 women, were killed. Nearly 1,400 rockets were fired into Israel, killing four civilians and a soldier, the Israeli military said. Israel’s defense minister said Israel dropped 1,000 times as much explosive on the Gaza Strip as had landed in Israel. Municipal workers in Gaza began cleaning streets and removing the rubble of buildings bombed in Israel’s air strikes. Stores opened and people flocked to markets to buy food. “Israel learnt a lesson it will never forget,” said 51-year-old Khalil Al-Rass from Beach refugee camp in the city of Gaza. In rocket-hit towns in southern Israel, schools remained closed as a precaution. Nerves were jangled when warning sirens sounded, in what the military quickly said was a false alarm. Trust was in short supply. The exile leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said his Islamist movement would respect the truce if Israel did, but would respond to any violations. “If Israel complies, we are compliant. If it does not comply, our hands are on the trigger,” he told a news conference in Cairo. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had agreed to

“exhaust this opportunity for an extended truce”, but told his people a tougher approach might be required in the future. Facing a national election in two months, he swiftly came under fire from opposition politicians who rallied to his side during the fighting but now contend he emerged from the conflict with no real gains for Israel. “You don’t settle with terrorism, you defeat it. And unfortunately, a decisive victory has not been achieved and we did not recharge our deterrence,” Shaul Mofaz, leader of the main opposition Kadima party, wrote on his Facebook page. BLOCKADE If the truce holds, it will give the 1.7 million Gazans respite from days of air strikes and halt rocket salvoes from militants that have unnerved a million people in southern Israel and reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time. Both sides quickly began offering differing interpretations of the ceasefire, which highlighted the many actual or potential areas of discord. According to a text of the agreement seen by Reuters, both sides should halt all hostilities, with Israel desisting from incursions and targeting of individuals, while all Palestinian factions should cease rocket fire and cross-border attacks. The deal also provides for easing Israeli restrictions on Gaza’s residents, who live in what British Prime Minister David Cameron has called an “open prison”. The text said procedures for implementing this would be “dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire”. Israeli sources said Israel would not lift a blockade of the enclave it enforced after Hamas, which preaches the Jewish state’s destruction, won a Palestinian election in 2006. However, Meshaal said the deal covered the opening of all of the territory’s border crossings. —Reuters

ASHDOD: Israeli soldiers lie on the ground as an Iron Dome missile is launched near the city of Ashdod. — AP

Iron Dome shootdowns cost $25m - $30 million JERUSALEM: Israel’s Iron Dome interceptions of Palestinian rockets during eight days of Gaza fighting cost $25 million to $30 million, the government said on Thursday, arguing the US-backed system was well worth the money. “Were Iron Dome traded on the (Tel Aviv) stock exchange or Nasdaq, it would have multiplied its share value several times over,” Civil Defense Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio in an interview where he outlined the system’s outlay. Using radar-guided interceptor missiles, Israel’s five truck-towed Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 of some 1,500 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip between Nov. 14 and Wednesday’s Egyptian-brokered truce, the military said. It put Iron Dome’s success rate at 90 percent. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas, though it often fires two interceptor missiles at once. Rockets killed 5 people in Israel and wounded dozens during the conflict, police said. Three died in coastal Ashdod on a day when Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, Iron Dome’s state-owned manufacturer, said the

system had suffered a malfunction. If more Hamas rockets had got through, especially the handful fired at the commercial hub Tel Aviv, and caused mass casualties, devastating Israeli retaliation perhaps including a full-scale ground assault would have been nearly certain. A senior official estimated that such escalation could cost Israel as much as $380 million a day. Keen to stem that risk, the United States has been helping bankroll Iron Dome. President Barack Obama pledged further support on Wednesday. Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide defense. A defense industry source put the unit cost for Israel at around $50 million. The focus of Israel’s aerial assault on Gaza were the stockpiles and launch silos of rockets imported or improvised by Hamas and other factions. Gaza medical officials said 162 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them civilians. The most potent of those rockets were Iranian-designed Fajr-5s with 75 km (46 mile) ranges and 175 kg (385 lb) warheads, though Hamas also said it used a Gazamade variant, “Qassam M-75”. — Reuters


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

British, Irish jailed for Dubai taxi sex DUBAI: A British woman and Irish man accused of engaging in sexual activities in a Dubai taxi were sentenced yesterday to three months in prison and then deportation, their lawyer said. The case is the latest in which Westerners have fallen foul of the United Arab Emirates’ decency laws, highlighting cultural differences as the UAE seeks a balance between maintaining its Muslim identity and catering for a vibrant tourism industry. Rebecca Blake and Conor McRedmond both denied charges of “breach of honor with consent” and committing “an indecent act in a taxi” when they appeared in court last month. They also pleaded guilty to a third charge related to consumption of

alcohol in public. “The court sentenced them to jail for three months and deportation in addition to a fine of 3,000 dirhams ($817) each,” their lawyer Shaker AlShammary said. He said they would appeal. There have been several cases in recent years of Westerners accused of violating decency laws in Dubai, the most cosmopolitan of the seven-member UAE federation. In 2008, a British couple was found guilty of engaging in drunken sexual activity out of wedlock and in public on a beach in Dubai. They were sentenced to three months in prison followed by deportation but had their jail terms overturned on appeal. In 2010, another British couple were sentenced to a month in jail and fined for kissing on

the mouth in a restaurant in Dubai. The cultural chasm in the Gulf Arab state between the country’s native Muslim population and the expatriates community, is conspicuous in everyday life. While Emirati women cover themselves from head to toe with a headscarf and a traditional black gown, some of their Western expatriate counterparts walk around in shorts or mini-skirts, and public beaches are full of tourists sunbathing in bikinis. Islam bans alcohol for Muslims. In the UAE, non-Muslims can drink at most hotels and beach bars where all-youcan-drink brunches heave with revelers every weekend. Expatriates make up more than 90 percent of the UAE’s population.— Reuters

Syria death toll hits 40,000 Rebels capture army base in eastern oil region BEIRUT: At least 40,000 people have been killed in violence across Syria since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday. “At least 28,026 civilians, 1,379 defectors, 10,150 soldiers and 574 unidentified people have been killed in Syria in the past 20 months,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman. Civilians represented the vast majority of the 40,129 people killed, said the Observatory, which includes non-military people who have taken up arms against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in that figure. The Observatory did not include thousands of people who have gone missing in the conflict, some thought to be in detention and others slain. It also excluded thousands of dead pro-regime militiamen. Meanwhile, Syrian rebels captured an army base in the eastern oil province of Deir Al-Zor yesterday, striking another blow against President Bashar Al-Assad’s military and further weakening his control in the strategic region bordering Iraq. The capture of the artillery base on the outskirts of Mayadeen, a town on the Euphrates river near some of Syria’s main oilfields, follows rebel takeovers of military installations in the north and centre of the country this week. Recent rebel momentum shows the increasing potency of the mainly Sunni Muslim fighters trying to topple Assad, from the Alawite minority linked to Shiite Islam. But insurgents have often had to retreat quickly after making advances to avoid strikes by the president’s air force. “The Mayadeen military base fell at 8.30 am,” Abu Laila, an official in the Military Revolutionary Council in the province said. He said 44 rebel fighters had been killed in the siege of the base. “The whole countryside, from the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates to the city of Deir Al-Zor, is now under rebel control.” Another opposition source in contact with rebels confirmed that the base, 42 km south-east of the city of Deir Al-Zor, had fallen. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country and 2.5 million are displaced, aid groups say. Western states, anxious to avoid another costly Middle East military campaign and wary of backing rebels who include Islamist militants, have stayed on the sidelines, although France and Britain formally recognized the opposition coalition this month. Russia, which along with China has blocked three resolutions which could have led to UN sanctions against Assad, criticized proposals for NATO to deploy Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Syrian border. “This would not foster stability in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said of Turkey’s request for deployment to the Western military alliance. REBEL GAINS The capture of the Mayadeen base leaves Assad controlling just three major army bases in Deir Al-Zor province, said Sheikh Nawaf Al-Bashir, a local tribal leader. He said rebels now held the main road to Iraq, from the outskirts of the city to the border crossing of Albu Kamal. Last week rebels seized a military airport 80 km southeast of Mayadeen, on the Iraqi border. Rebels also stormed a special forces base near Aleppo, Syria’s commercial hub, and an air defense position in the southern suburbs of Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the violence through a network of activists, said Assad’s forces pulled back yesterday from three positions south of the town of Maarat AlNuman, on the highway linking Damascus to Aleppo. Rebel fighters have been seeking to dislodge the army from a military base close to Maarat Al-Numan. The town itself has been controlled by Assad’s opponents for weeks. Near Damascus, fighting continued around the south-western suburb of Daraya. Opposition campaigners said the army kept up heavy bombardment on the town where Free Syrian Army fighters appeared to remain entrenched.

ALEPPO: Syrian rebels and bystanders watch a bulldozer clean the debris outside Dar Al-Shifa hospital in Aleppo, northern Syria yesterday. — AFP To the east, clashes were also reported in the Damascus neighborhood of Jobar, which is adjacent to the main Abbasid Square. A mother, her daughter and her sister’s husband were killed in shelling aimed at pushing back rebels, activists said. Severe restrictions on non-state media make it impossible to verify opposition reports independently. So far Assad’s core military units, composed mainly of members of his Alawite minority sect, have prevented a sustained rebel push into the heart of the capital itself. The rebels have yet to hold a major Syrian city. — Agencies

Sudan disrupts ‘plot’ KHARTOUM: Sudan’s powerful intelligence service yesterday said it had disrupted a “plot” by members of the military and the political opposition to disturb the country’s security. At about the same time, a witness saw tanks moving in the streets of the capital. One of those being questioned about the plot was Salah Gosh, longtime head of Sudan’s intelligence service until three years ago, senior ruling party official Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid said. But a spokesman for an alliance of opposition parties denied any link with attempts to bring about violent political change in the country which has already experienced seven coups or attempted coups in its 56-year history. “The security and intelligence service early today stopped a plot to disturb security,” said the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the security apparatus. The centre quoted a source as saying authorities had been investigating both civilian and military personnel. “This plot is led by some opposition party leaders,” it said. Ebaid, of the ruling National Congress Party, said he did not think that the former intelligence chief Gosh was under detention. “They called him to get information because he was head of intelligence before,” Ebaid said, adding security agents were still in the process of clarifying information about the plot. “Up to now I don’t think the information is clear,” Ebaid said. “I don’t think this is a coup.” President Omar al-Bashir replaced Gosh with Gosh’s number two, General Mohamed Atta al-Moula, in August 2009.Gosh then became presidential security adviser until he was sacked early last year. He had been pushing for dialogue with the political opposition. Farouk Abu Issa, spokesman for the opposition parties, told AFP that he had heard about the plot allegation, “but I think it is fake.” He said the opposition supports democratic, peaceful change through strikes and demonstrations against Bashir’s 23-year Islamist regime. “The government knows that,” he said. A witness told AFP that he saw troops moving yesterday, about the same time as the plot was reportedly broken up. “About 2:00 am (2300 GMT) while passing Obeid Khatim Street I saw some tanks and vehicles with military equipment and soldiers coming from a southerly direction and heading downtown,” said the witness, who asked for anonymity. Obeid Khatim Street is a wide thoroughfare running alongside Khartoum’s military and civilian airports, leading into the downtown area where government buildings are located. However, there were no signs of extra troops downtown later. Islamist reformers charge that corruption and other problems have left the government Islamic only in name and question how much longer Bashir should remain in power. “A lot of people are saying 23 years is too long a time, and what’s the difference between him and Mubarak and Assad?” a Sudan analyst who asked for anonymity said earlier. He was referring to ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad. In June and July scattered youth-driven protests, initially sparked by high inflation, called for an end to the regime in line with calls by Arab Spring demonstrators throughout the region. Sudan’s protests petered out in the face of widespread arrests. “They themselves are afraid of their people uprising and saying ‘no’ to their policies,” Issa said, noting the government has just raised the price of sugar, a Sudanese staple. Inflation exceeds 40 percent. “At the same time, there are differences between different factions” in the ruling apparatus, Issa said. Analysts say the security forces themselves do not uniformly support the regime, which is fighting rebellions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as unrest in Darfur, while tensions have resurfaced on the unmarked border with South Sudan. — AFP


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2012

In ‘beautiful China’, local polluters still hold sway TIANYING: In ramshackle semi-industrial Tianying in China’s Anhui province, a state-owned lead smelter and foundry sits at the centre of town, behind high walls and secure gates that make it look more like a prison than the mainstay of the local economy. Decades of pollution from it and similar plants-Tianying once accounted for half of China’s total lead output-has made much of the town’s land uninhabitable and its water undrinkable. In 2007, the Blacksmith Institute, a New York-based non-profit group that helps clean up polluted sites, included Tianying in its list of the world’s most polluted regions. For China’s new leadership, reversing the environmental destruction wreaked by three decades of unrestrained economic growth is among its highest priorities. Across the country, to the government’s alarm, social unrest spurred by environmental complaints has become increasingly common. In a pledge taken up by the new leadership, outgoing President Hu Jintao said in his address to the Communist Party Congress earlier this month that the country had to “reverse the trend of ecological deterioration and build a beautiful China”. Environment minister Zhou Shengxian reinforced the pledge at a briefing in Beijing last week, saying China needed to “quickly change the current situation in which too much emphasis is put on economic growth and too little on environmental protection”. Tianying, in the northwest of poor and landlocked Anhui, will test that commitment. Here, like hundreds of other blackspots from the stripmined cities of the northeast to the mercury

contaminated fields in the southwest, the local government is intimately entwined with the most powerful economic interests in town. In Tianying the government and the town’s largest employer are all but indistinguishable: the Huaxin Group, owner of the main foundry at the centre of town, is a state-owned company. Unsurprisingly, amidst the town’s dwindling population of around 100,000, the words “beautiful China” elicit scepticism. “I heard the central government is going to protect the environment more, but it won’t happen here,” said Zhang Weimin, a 58-year-old resident who lives a mile from the smelter. “I don’t trust the local government or the public security bureau or the lead factory bosses.” Fear of the local authorities is palpable. Many residents were reluctant even to be seen near Reuters correspondents during a recent visit, saying they would be punished by the “lead bosses” as well as the police. Asked about the state of local water supplies, a worker standing outside the factory gates grinned nervously and muttered “go see for yourself”. China’s richer, coastal regions have improved environmental conditions over the last 10 years, driven as much by the profit motive as by tougher regulation. Rehabilitated land in Beijing or Shanghai can be turned into lucrative real estate. But Beijing has struggled to provide the incentives for poorer regions like Anhui to clean up. “The places I worry about in China are no longer the large wealthy metropolises but the small township and village enterprises - a lot of those are ignored

and highly polluting and toxic to the very poorest communities,” said Richard Fuller, the Blacksmith Institute’s founder and president. Tianying today is not as polluted as it was a decade ago. A 2002 study showed lead concentrations were as much as 10 times higher than national standards and children had suffered “adverse effects” as a result of prolonged exposure to the metal, which is especially damaging to children as it can impede learning and affect behavior. Regulators by then had identified it as a blackspot urgently in need of remedy. The worst small-scale smelters and recycling workshops were shut, and production was left to large state firms like the Huaxin Group. Local authorities have also set up a wetland preserve nearby and forced the town’s remaining farmers to vacate land around the factories, replacing pasture with rows of fragile saplings. The perimeter of the main Huaxin plant is marked by signs urging residents not to drink water within an 800-metre radius, but even a mile away the risks do not appear to have abated. Some irrigation streams were clogged with algae-the result of fertilizer use-but others were filled with sludge. “If you look you will see it - they are all black, nothing can grow in them and nothing can live in them,” said Zhang. As China’s top leaders pound the “beautiful China” rhetorical drum, richer cities have already been forcing big polluters to clean up or relocate. Along the richer east coast, big polluting industries have come under growing pressure from urban residents now willing to fight for a better environment. Demonstrations against chemical

plants or garbage incinerators have erupted across China, from Dalian in the northeast to Xiamen in the southeast. “You’ve got the local population becoming a lot more aware of environmental issues as they affect them on a day-to-day basis, and that isn’t going to go away,” said James Pearson, founder of Pacific Risk Advisors, which advises investors on potential environmental risks. The protests have had an impact on government policy. Environment minister Zhou said last week that local residents needed to be consulted and new projects would now be forced to conduct “social impact assessments” before being approved. But while the new procedures might help allay the “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard) fears of affluent urban residents, they will not address longstanding problems like those in Tianying. Despite encouraging words from the central government, standing up to the polluters is not an option, residents said. “Here, no one dares to protest - we would end up in jail because the lead bosses are protected by the police,” said an elderly resident standing at a kiosk a mile away from the plant. The interests of the local government are now more aligned with the lead producers than they were a decade ago. Then, as part of the clean-up effort, lead production was taken out of private hands and passed to bigger state enterprises. That has caused considerable resentment among residents. While pollution has been cut, the surviving plants and local authorities have had little incentive to clean up further, or to rehabilitate ruined land and water supplies.— Reuters

China angers neighbors with sea claims on new passports Philippines and Vietnam fume

GIRONA: A pro-independence “estelada” flag is seen on top of a mountain near Hostalets de Balenya, a village declared by the city council a “free Catalan territory” in Spain. — AP

North Korea threatens to shell border island YEONPYEONG: North Korea has threatened to repeat its 2010 artillery attack on a border island, as South Korea prepares today to mark the second anniversary of the shelling that left four dead. The South plans to hold several commemorative events over the next few days on Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border and will conduct a military drill in the area today. North Korea heaped scorn on the memorial activities, with the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) yesterday quoting a military spokesman who warned of another attack on the island. “The commemoration... on Yeonpyeong Island will lead to the second Yeonpyeong Island disaster,” the spokesman said. The November 23,

2010 shelling of the island killed two South Korean marines and two civilians in one of the most serious border incidents since the 19501953 Korean War. The North said the attack was in response to a live-fire drill by the South, which, it claimed, had resulted in shells falling on its side of the sea border. South Korean troops responded with cannon fire and the government met in an underground war room, fuelling fears that the situation could escalate into a full-scale conflict. The de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas-the Northern Limit Line-is not recognized by Pyongyang, which argues it was unilaterally drawn by the US-led United Nations forces after the war. —AFP

MANILA: The Philippines and Vietnam condemned Chinese passports containing a map of China’s disputed maritime claims yesterday, branding the new design a violation of their sovereignty. The map means countries disputing the Chinese claims will have to stamp microchip-equipped passports of countless visitors, in effect acquiescing to the Chinese point of view. Stand-offs between Chinese vessels and the Philippine and Vietnamese navies in the South China Sea have become more common as China increases patrols in waters believed to hold vast reserves of oil and natural gas. “The Philippines strongly protests the inclusion of the nine-dash lines in the e-passport as such image covers an area that is clearly part of the Philippines’ territory and maritime domain,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday, referring to the lines on the passport map. Vietnam had written to China in protest against the new passports and had asked it to “reverse their incorrect content”, said Luong Thanh Nghi, a spokesman for Vietnam’s foreign ministry. “This action by China has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty to the Paracel and Spratly islands as well as our sovereign rights and jurisdiction to related maritime areas in the South China Sea, or the East Sea,” he told a news conference.

Malaysia and Brunei are also claimants in the dispute which overshadowed an Asian leaders’ summit in Cambodia this week. China is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan. China’s foreign ministry said in a faxed response to questions that the new passports met international standards. “The passports’ maps with their outlines of China are not targeting a specific country. China is willing to actively communicate with the relevant countries and promote the healthy development of Sino-foreign personnel exchanges,” it said. It was not clear when China began printing the new passports. The dispute spilled over into Southeast Asia’s normally serene government summits this year, with China accused of seeking to stall debate and divide the 10member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the issue. Philippine diplomats accused China at this week’s summit in Phnom Penh of using its influence over host Cambodia to push a formal statement saying that ASEAN did not want to “internationalize” the dispute. The Philippines, which sees its alliance with the United States as a crucial check on China’s claims at a time when the United States is shifting its military focus back to Asia, protested to Cambodia and succeeded in having that clause removed from the final statement.— Reuters


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Police probe French racism row in Australia MELBOURNE: Australian police were yesterday investigating after bus passengers were caught on camera hurling a torrent of threatening and racist abuse at a French woman in an incident that went viral on YouTube. The woman and a group of friends were returning from a day at the beach when one of them began singing in her native tongue, prompting an angry reaction from some of the passengers on the packed bus. One aggressively demanded she “speak English or die” and then threatened to cut her breasts off. Another man pushing a pram joined in, shouting: “I’ll boxcutter (knife) you right now, dog.” The

woman was then told “everybody on the bus wants to kill you” before the incident ended with a bus window being smashed. The woman targeted, Fanny Desaintjores, told The Age newspaper she and her friends were terrified they would be physically assaulted. “I realize that maybe we shouldn’t sing on public transport, but I think that’s insane that they reacted like that. We’re all adults,” she said. “We could have a conversation and talk gently, instead of all these insults and threats.” Victoria state Premier Ted Baillieu condemned the incident as “absolutely disgraceful” and urged the public to help identify

those responsible so authorities could “throw the book” at them. In an opinion piece, Fairfax Media said the most disturbing thing was that so few people spoke up in defense of the woman. “The majority of passengers were silent and impassive, probably wishing they were elsewhere,” it said. “A racist, abusive bigot is like sitting next to the smelliest person on the bus-you hold your breath and count the stops until you can get off.” Parts of the incident were caught on camera by stand-up comedian Mike Nayna and the footage has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, with the story picked up by French newspa-

Pakistan attacks kill 36 Muslim leaders attend rare D8 summit ISLAMABAD: Muslim leaders attended a rare summit in Pakistan yesterday after militant attacks killed 36 people across the country in some of the deadliest violence claimed by the Taleban for months. The string of attacks on Shiite Muslims and police and troops underscored the immense security challenge in a country where Taleban and Al-Qaeda-linked extremists bitterly oppose the US-allied government. Twenty-three people were killed and 62 wounded overnight in Rawalpindi, the twin city of summit venue Islamabad, where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among the summit guests. Police said a suicide bomber struck a procession of Shiite Muslims who were commemorating the holy month of Muharram, which is frequently targeted by sectarian extremists in Pakistan. Police used lamps and torches to work through the night and confirmed the final death toll after daybreak. Eight children were among the wounded. It was the deadliest bombing in Pakistan since 29 people were killed in the northwestern district of Khyber on June 16 and the worst attack on Shiites since February 17, when a suicide bomber killed 31 people in northwestern Kurram. The Pakistani Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack. It also claimed an explosion Wednesday that killed two people near a Shiite mosque in Karachi, and attacks targeting security forces in the northwest which officials said left five police dead. In two other attacks for which no one claimed responsibility, militants attacked a police post yesterday on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing one police official and abducting another. In the southwestern city of Quetta Wednesday an army vehicle escorting children home from school was targeted, killing four soldiers and a woman. Pakistani Taleban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, referring to the suicide bombing said that Shiites are “defiling the Prophet”. The Taleban has been fighting an insurgency against security forces since 2007, one of the chief reasons why Pakistan so rarely hosts international events. “It seems

the new breed of religious zealots wanted to tell the D8 dignitaries all about the mess the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been turned into,” said the country’s independent human rights commission in a statement. But Pakistan has been determined that

ernment installations. India yesterday also asked Pakistan to increase security at its embassy in Islamabad, fearing possible demonstrations or reprisals over its execution of Pakistani militant Mohammed Kasab for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The Pakistani Taleban has threat-

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani security serviceman frisks a worshipper before entering a Shiite Muslim mosque following overnight suicide bomb attacks on minority Shiite Muslims, in Islamabad yesterday. — AFP yesterday’s Developing Eight summit will present a different image of the country as it gathers together Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan to promote trade. The summit opened more than three hours late with an address from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan intended to hand over chairmanship of the D8 to Pakistan. Islamabad has said it wants the summit to strengthen its international standing and help “remove misconceptions (about the country) created in a section of international media”. The capital was in lockdown to safeguard the event. Thousands of extra police and paramilitaries deployed and schools were closed, yesterday was declared a partial public holiday and motorcycles were banned close to gov-

ened to avenge the execution and demands that Kasab’s body be repatriated, the spokesman told AFP by telephone. Aside from the unrest in Pakistan, eight days of violence between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas will loom large over the D8 proceedings. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi-who was thanked by the United States for helping to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-bowed out of the talks as his office said he would now stay home to monitor the truce. The ceasefire was agreed in a deal between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas after at least 160 people were killed. Among nations in the D8, which was founded in Istanbul in 1997, Nigeria is the only member which is not majorityMuslim. Its population is roughly divided between Muslims and Christians. — AFP

pers. Melbourne police said they were investigating “verbal threats and racist taunts towards a group of women travelling on a bus”. “The incident was reported to police and detectives are appealing for anyone with information to come forward as there were a number of people on the bus at the time,” police said. Nayna, who describes himself as “brown”, says that when he asked the passengers to calm down another man started ranting at him about hating black people. “He said darkies should be kept at the back of the bus where they belong, before repeatedly yelling ‘I hate blacks’,” Nayna told reporters. — AFP

Pakistan moves against ‘vulgar’ late-night calls ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has ordered mobile phone companies to ban cheap, late-night calling rates because they allegedly promote vulgarity among young men and women, officials said yesterday. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said it asked companies to suspend attractive night-time rates in keeping with government policy. “We have issued the directive to all the mobile telephone companies to shelve night call packages. The step was taken after lengthy discussions,” PTA spokeswoman Malahat Rab said. “These directives are issued in the light of the government decisions and this decision has also been taken by the government,” she said. Members of parliament also demanded action. “We strongly object to the night phone packages and recommended that the PTA either fix a time limit for this facility or ban it,” said Kalsoom Perveen, who heads the committee in the upper house of parliament that made the recommendation. “These packages are not right for our youth,” she said. Shafqat Hayayt Khan, an opposition lawmaker who sits on the information technology committee in the lower house, also backed the ban. “There is no doubt that these cheap night call rates packages are promoting vulgarity. We will make the PTA implement this decision,” he said. Pakistan is no stranger to clamping down on phone and Internet services. Mobile networks have been shut down to prevent militant attacks and Pakistan has since mid-September blocked access to YouTube to protest against the American film “Innocence of Muslims”. In November 2011, the PTA also tried to ban nearly 1,700 “obscene” words from text messages, but the move was met with uproar-both at the attempted censorship and the inclusion of innocuous terms such as “lotion”, “athlete’s foot” and “idiot”. In 2010, Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks in a storm of controversy about blasphemy and continues to restrict hundreds of online links. Mobile phone companies challenged the latest PTA order in court. “We received the directive the day before yesterday and have challenged it in the Islamabad High Court. We can’t comment on it because it is a judicial matter now,” said Aamir Pasha, a spokesman for leading mobile phone company Ufone. — AFP


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Catalan independence debate hits cold realities GIRONA: As in towns across this wealthy northeastern region, the maze-like cobblestone streets of Girona’s medieval quarter are fluttering with flags in favor of Catalonia’s independence. Here, however, there is also a smattering of flags bearing the slogan: “Catalonia, A New European State.” It goes to the heart of a Catalan conundrum. While the separatist dream of millions has never felt so close to becoming a reality, independence fervor is now coming up against the cold, hard facts of what breaking free would really mean. Few realize that this Spanish region famed for its trading prowess would be shut out of the European Union for years, a huge hurdle to doing business with its most important trading partners. EU officials say an independent Catalonia would face the same membership conditions of any other candidate nation. Catalonia holds elections on Sunday that will be seen as a test of the regional government’s plans to hold a referendum on independence, and one of the key issues emerging is the theoretical place of a free Catalonia in Europe. Polls suggest that many Catalans haven’t thought through the consequences of freedom. A survey published by El Pais newspaper this month showed that while nearly half of Catalans support independence, the number drops to 37 percent if it means being out of the EU. Tough membership conditions aren’t the only thing possibly standing in the way. The European Union’s treaty states that each of the 27 member states

can veto a candidate nation’s accession, meaning that a vengeful Spain could block Catalonia from joining the club. “Now we want to be a state inside Europe,” said Josep Matamala, who, along with friend Miquel Casals, created the banner that combines the slogan of EU aspiration with the redand-yellow stripes, blue triangle and white star of the “estelada” flag that symbolizes Catalonia’s independence drive. Catalonia’s regional president Artur Mas, who is leading the independence

fathom being cast out of the EU. “I imagine that if faced with a majority of Catalans who vote yes for independence in a referendum, (the EU) wouldn’t be able to turn its back on us,” said 35-year-old Girona music teacher Merce Escarra Girona, one of Spain’s richest cities, is an example of what Catalans call “seny” - roughly the equivalent to “practical sense.” It typifies the Catalan character of being hardworking and businesslike. But these days, Girona, like the rest of Catalonia, is experi-

GIRONA: A pro-independence “estelada” flag is seen on top of a mountain near Hostalets de Balenya, a village declared by the city council a “free Catalan territory” in Spain. —AP charge and holding rallies bristling with European Union flags, has voiced optimism - perhaps mere wishful thinking that an independent Catalonia would be swiftly embraced into the EU fold. In a recent speech in Brussels he declared: “Catalonia has never in its history let Europe down, now we trust Europe will not let us down.” And there are pro-independence voters who simply can’t

encing an outburst of “rauxa,” seny’s polar opposite, meaning “wild exuberance.” And the source of that is a separatist passion ignited by Spain’s ongoing economic crisis. In 2010, Escarra featured in the local press when she was asked by the owner of the building where she lives to remove the “estelada” flag from her balcony. “I said I had a legitimate right to protest and left it up, and it has been there ever since,” she said.

Two years later it is difficult to find a building in Girona that isn’t bedecked with the red-and-yellow Catalan flag or the pro-independence “estelada.” “Now there has been a boom in the pro-independence movement,” Escarra said. Her reasons for wanting independence are representative of millions of Catalans: The region pays more than it receives back in taxes; its infrastructure has been neglected by the central government; and independence would ensure the survival of the Catalan language. The regional government calculates it contributes 16 billion euros ($21 billion) more than it gets back. Other wealthy regions in Spain also pay more, but many Catalans feel that infrastructure projects like the Mediterranean rail corridor are left unfunded, while Spain’s high-speed passenger train network is extended to its less industrialized regions. In recent years, grassroots pro-independence groups have held unofficial referendums on independence in towns across Catalonia. This “fakeit-till-you-make-it” attitude has found an extreme expression in dozens of Catalan villages, which have declared themselves “free Catalan territories.” But symbolism’s one thing, hard economics another. While most of Catalonia’s business community is taking a wait-andsee attitude, Jose Manuel Lara, the president of media giant Planeta, said he would move his company from Barcelona to Spain if Catalonia went independent, in order to remain based in the EU. —AP

British PM in crossfire as UK press inquiry reports LONDON: After a year-long public inquiry exposed the worst excesses of Britain’s raucous newspapers, the press is battling to avoid any proposals for tougher regulation next week, and Prime Minister David Cameron will come under fire whatever he decides. Senior judge Brian Leveson is set to announce by the end of November the findings of his dissection of the industry, which was prompted by a phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World Sunday, a News Corp tabloid the media tycoon then shut down. Leveson is expected to recommend a new independent body with statutory powers over the press instead of the current system of self-regulation that the industry wants to retain. Newspapers argue statutory rules would curb freedom of speech, though some phone-hacking victims say the press is trying to bully Cameron into ducking far-reaching reforms. Cameron will have to decide whether to accept Leveson’s proposals in full and risk the wrath of the press in the run-up to an election in 2015 election that polls show he is likely to lose, or face accusations he is in thrall to the media. “The prime minister is being lobbied furiously by the newspapers and other vested interests of the press,” said lawmaker George Eustice, a member of Cameron’s Conservative Party who supports stronger regulation. “But it would be

wrong to ignore the conclusions of an inquiry that has cost 5 million pounds ($8 million) and received thousands of pages of evidence. I don’t think you can just brush it under the carpet,” he told Reuters. Cameron ordered the inquiry last July after public fury that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was among the victims of phone-hacking by the News of the World. With a wide remit to examine all aspects of the industry, the inquiry revealed not just unpleasant tabloid tactics but the cosy relationship between Britain’s top politicians, newspaper executives and senior police officers. Cameron, three former prime ministers, senior ministers, press barons including the 81-year-old Murdoch, plus an array of celebrities such as Hollywood actor Hugh Grant were among the 164 witnesses to appear before the inquiry. ‘LOTS OF LOVE’ The inquiry embarrassed Cameron by exposing his close ties to executives at Murdoch’s British newspaper empire, notably former top lieutenant Rebekah Brooks, who is facing criminal action over phonehacking and other alleged illegal actions. “I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a personal friend but because professionally we’re definitely in this together,” Brooks texted to Cameron before a key speech in 2009. Cameron and Brooks, who was editor

of the News of the World when it hacked Milly Dowler’s phone, enjoyed private dinners at their country houses, the inquiry heard, and Cameron signed off text messages to Brooks with an affectionate “LOL”, which he thought stood for “lots of love”. The disclosures fuelled speculation that a succession of British leaders had allowed media tycoons such as Murdoch far too much influence in return for favorable coverage. “He has very little room for manoeuvre. If Leveson recommends a statutory involvement, he is more or less obliged to accept it,” said Roy Greenslade, author of several books on the British press and a former senior editor at Murdoch’s Sun daily tabloid. “He knows he’s in a weak position due to the nature of his own relationship with the News of the World. If he backs out from legislation, then people will charge that he’s gone soft on the papers.” Though Leveson said he wanted his report to “mean something” rather than gather dust, he has not explicitly said he wants statutory regulation, though his questioning during the inquiry has convinced many journalists he will call for it. The 63-yearold former Appeal Court judge will be anxious to avoid any charge of whitewash, a fate that befell Lord Hutton, whose 2003 inquiry found in favor of the government over a row with the BBC about the build-up to the Iraq war. —Reuters

Slew of legal probes facing France ex-PM PARIS: France’s ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy appeared before a judge yesterday to respond to charges that his 2007 electoral campaign was financed with funds secured illegally from France’s richest woman. Sarkozy, who lost his immunity from prosecution after losing the presidential election to Socialist Francois Hollande in May, is facing a slew of legal inquiries. Among them: BETTENCOURT Yesterday’s questioning is over suspicions Sarkozy took financial advantage of elderly L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt when she was too frail to fully understand what she was doing. The allegation is two-fold: that the money obtained from her took his campaign financing over legal limits and that it had been secured without her full knowledge or consent. This latter claim was made by Bettencourt’s former accountant, Claire Thibout in 2010. She told police that she had handed envelopes stuffed with cash to Bettencourt’s right-hand man, Patrice de Maistre, to be passed on to Sarkozy’s campaign treasurer, Eric Woerth, who has since been charged with receiving illicit funds. Maistre withdrew a total of four million euros in cash from Bettencourt’s Swiss bank account in seven installments between 2007 and 2009. Bettencourt is now 90 and has been in poor health since 2006. MEDIA SPYING In connection with the Bettencourt scandal, Sarkozy and his camp have been accused of ordering an illegal police investigation to identify an official leaking information on the Bettencourt scandal to a journalist from newspaper Le Monde. Judges have charged both a prosecutor close to Sarkozy and the head of France’s domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini, with having illegally obtained the journalist’s mobile phone logs in 2010. THE ‘KARACHI’ AFFAIR Two close aides to Sarkozy have been charged by judges investigating alleged kickbacks on a Pakistani arms deal. The case dates back to Sarkozy’s time as budget minister, when he allegedly authorised the creation of a shell company used to channel kickbacks to then prime minister Edouard Balladur’s unsuccessful 1995 presidential bid. In more serious but harder to prove allegations, magistrates are also probing whether a 2002 Karachi bombing that killed 11 French engineers was revenge for the cancellation of bribes secretly promised to Pakistani officials. OPINION POLLS French authorities confirmed this week they have also opened a preliminary investigation over the management of opinion polls carried out during Sarkozy’s 2007-12 term as president. The probe was triggered by antigraft organization Anticor, which suspects the ex-president of having handed the contract for the polls to a company, Publifact, run by his former advisor Patrick Buisson, and of using public funds to carry out his own party political electoral research. CASH FROM GADDAFI? Claims were also made during this year’s election campaign that former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s regime financed Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign to the tune of 50 million euros, but no investigation has been opened. Sarkozy is pursuing a defamation suit against online news website Mediapart over its reporting of the allegations. —AFP


International FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Google enters debate on UN Internet control WASHINGTON: Google has jumped into the debate over a UN telecom gathering set to review regulations affecting the Internet, claiming it is ‘the wrong place’ to make decisions about the future of the Web. In a posting on its ‘take action’ blog this week, Google said the December gathering of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union comes amid ‘a growing backlash on Internet freedom.’ The ITU’s World Conference on International Communications opening next month in Dubai will update global telecom rules for the first time since 1988, and some countries see this as an opportunity to set up new rules for the Internet. US officials and lawmakers, along with a number of Internet activists, have expressed concern that proposals from China, Russia and other nations could threaten the open model of the Internet by giving the UN agency a greater role. Google’s statement said ‘the ITU is the wrong place

to make decisions about the future of the Internet’ because ‘only governments have a voice at the ITU,’ including some ‘that do not support a free and open Internet.’ ‘The ITU is also secretive,’ Google said. ‘The treaty conference and proposals are confidential.’ Google said some proposed treaty changes ‘could increase censorship and threaten innovation’ and others ‘would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to informationóparticularly in emerging markets.’ Google’s comments backed the US position, which is that the non-government ‘multi-stakeholder’ system of the Internet should remain in place. ‘Governments alone should not determine the future of the Internet,’ the Google blog said. The billions of people around the globe that use the Internet, and the experts that build and maintain it, should be included. The Google

response comes a week after Russia submitted its proposal to the ITU, provoking strong reactions from some online activists. Larry Downes, an analyst with the Bell Mason Group consultancy who follows technology issues, said the Russian proposal ‘makes explicit’ Moscow’s desire to bring the Internet under greater control of the UN agency and diminish the role of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the Internet address system. ‘The Russian federation’s proposal... would in specific substantially if not completely change the role of ICANN in overseeing domain names and IP addresses,’ Downes said in a blog post. ‘Of course the Russian Federation, along with other repressive governments, uses every opportunity to gain control over the free flow of information, and sees the Internet as it’s most formidable enemy.’ — AFP

Russia ‘dog hunters’ wage death campaign on strays

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama, with daughters carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a “presidential pardon” at the White House in Washington. — AP

Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys in annual tradition Cobbler, Gobbler won’t end up on dinner table WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama “pardoned” two turkeys Wednesday ahead of the annual Thanksgiving holiday, when Americans dine on millions of the fattened fowl. “They say that life is all about second chances,” Obama told reporters gathered at the White House Rose Garden for the yearly ceremony. “This November I could not agree more.” The symbolic reprieve means the lucky birds-Cobbler and understudy Gobblerwon’t end up on the dinner table but will instead live out their days in a custom-made enclosure on George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia, the White House said. Both are 19 weeks old and weigh about 40 pounds. Their names were chosen from submissions by elementary schools and, for the first time this year, the US public was able to pick which of the two would become the “2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey” by casting a vote on the White House Facebook page. “The American people have spoken and these birds are moving forward,” said

Obama, just back from a tour of Asia, in a nod both to the social media poll and his 2012 re-election campaign slogan. In a further reference to his recent White House win on November 6, Obama joked that Nate Silver of the New York Times-who in astounding detail had correctly predicted his victory against Republican rival Mitt Romney — had also foretold which turkeys would be pardoned. “I joke but for the first time in our history, the winners of the White House turkey pardon were chosen through a highly competitive online vote,” he said. “And once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it. This guy’s amazing. He predicted that these guys would win.” The annual tradition dates back to former president John F Kennedy. While daughters Sasha and Malia looked on, Obama performed the pardon in an almost pontifical manner with a sign of the cross. While Sasha gave Cobbler a quick pet on the back feathers, Malia shook her head and refused. Thanksgiving was first celebrated by pilgrims who fled religious persecution in England. For many

Americans, it has become a family-oriented day marked with an enormous meal that centers around roast turkey, an assortment of side dishes and a slice or two of pie. Wednesday’s pardon takes place amid criticism from animal rights group PETA, which urged Obama not to maintain the tradition. “It makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds and portrays the United States’ president as being in some sort of business partnership with the turkey-killing industry,” it said in a letter. “Turkeys do not need to be ‘pardoned.’ They are not guilty of anything other than being born into a world of prejudice.” Shortly before the turkey pardoning ceremony, PETA demonstrators dressed as turkeys staged a protest outside the White House holding signs that read “Gobble veggies, not turkeys” and “Pardon all the turkeys.” As in years past since 2009, the president and his family will do some community service on Wednesday afternoon before celebrating the holiday. — AFP

MOSCOW: A shadowy group of “dog hunters” that communicates via the Internet is waging war on packs of feral dogs in Russia’s cities, killing the dogs with poison and airgun bullets. But dog owners and animal rights activists are up in arms, saying the campaign is cruel and ineffective and that beloved pets are dying after accidentally eating the poisoned bait. The semi-clandestine Doghunters network has grown steadily and spread from Moscow to other large cities including Novosibirsk in Siberia and Yekaterinburg in the Urals. The group’s members say they want to solve the problem of stray dogs, both abandoned pets and their offspring born on the streets, which have bred vigorously and often attack passers-by. The members post graphic photos of slain dogs on specialized Internet forums where they also exchange tips on the best poisons and how to kill a dog with an airgun. In the Moscow region, some 1,300 dogs have been killedmost of them poisoned-by the group members in the last three years, according to animal rights activists. In a manifesto published on a website called Vredy.org, or Nuisances, Doghunters say their goal is to “fight against the parasitic fauna that stops humans from living safely and comfortably” “We are fighting wild dogs. We do not exterminate pet dogs,” Doghunters say on their website, titled “No to vermin!” But pet owners complain their dogs are also falling victims to the poisoned baits. Some 500 dog owners rallied last month after dozens of dogs were poisoned over the course of a few weeks while being taken for walks in a Moscow park. Threatening signs put up in the park said that dogs must be muzzled and on leads and “if you do not respect these rules, your dogs will die too”. The signs were illustrated with photographs of children bitten by dogs. The dog owners demanded that the Doghunters be put on trial, calling them “sadists” and “butchers” and threatening physical reprisals. “If I ever see someone poisoning a dog, I will skin him-even if I go to prison for it,” popular actor Leonid Yarmolnik said during the protest. The Soviet authorities routinely captured and killed stray dogs, but after the fall of the Soviet Union, the population ballooned, reaching 30,000 in Moscow alone by 1996. Nearly 400 people died in Russia between 2000 and 2010 after being attacked by dogs and over 13,000 are bitten every year in Moscow. “We do not want to become victims,” activist Dogmeat said, adding that he joined Doghunters after several people he knew were attacked by dogs. “There are packs of very aggressive stray dogs,” animal trainer Yelena Orochko said. “These are big and strong animals capable of surviving on the streets.” While the dogs have to survive harsh conditions and sub-zero temperatures, members of the public feed them and they also take food from easily accessible rubbish bins. A program for stray dogs launched in 2001 by Moscow city hall under which the dogs were sterilized and then let free proved ineffective. Since 2008 the dogs have not been rereleased after a 55-year-old jogger was attacked and killed by stray dogs. The city has built shelters that can accommodate almost 15,000 animals, but that is still insufficient. “We would prefer for the dogs to be captured and placed in shelters, where if no one claimed them, they would be put down,” one “Doghunter” member from Siberia, who gave only his nickname of Dogmeat said. He claimed that government efforts “had no effect” so far because the state funding allocated for tackling the problem “had apparently been embezzled”. —AFP


Business FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Panasonic and Sony downgraded to junk

EU leaders brace for bitter budget battle PAGE 22

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JARKATA: Indonesian worker march during a protest in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday. Thousands of Indonesian factory workers took to the streets in the country’s capital to protest low wages and a new social security law that will require them to pay for health services. — AP ( See Page 20)

Saudis study Fannie Mae-style plan Govt tries to develop housing mortgage sector RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is studying draft regulations that could see the creation of a real estate refinancing company similar to US firm Fannie Mae, according to proposals published by the central bank this week. The regulations are part of long-awaited government efforts to develop a housing mortgage sector in the conservative kingdom where the restrictions of Islamic sharia law have made it difficult to secure lending against property. The world’s top oil exporter faces a housing shortage, particularly among lower and middleincome people, as land prices rise rapidly. In July, the government passed laws to regulate mortgage and lease lending. The regulations proposed this week fleshed out the laws, principally by saying the government may establish Saudi Real Estate Refinancing Corp to develop a secondary market in home mortgages. A secondary mortgage market allows lenders to spread risk and tap new sources of funds. Fannie Mae was established by the US government in the 1930s to finance such a market. The new corporation, with a minimum registered capital of 2 billion riyals ($535 million), would have to stay majority state-owned but real estate financing companies would be allowed to acquire stakes up to a combined total of 30 percent. The corporation might also offer shares to the public. It could provide the secondary mortgage market with access to both

local and foreign financing instruments, the draft said. DEFAULTS Local financial firm Arqaam Capital has said the introduction of a legal framework for mortgages will see the amount of lending to purchase housing in Saudi Arabia eventually double to 12 percent of gross domestic product. The country’s GDP is about $650 billion. However, the full framework is some way from being established. Implementing regulations on how defaults will be handled, a big concern for lenders who fear sharia courts and Saudi police will not evict people who fail to pay loans, have not yet been published. Some lenders already offer mortgage-like products, but the lack of a clear legal framework has restricted the market to comparatively wealthy Saudis in high-paying jobs, whose payments can be deducted by the bank from their salaries. “The problem was how do you get that person to repay if they cannot be kicked out of their house,” said Nicholas Diacos of The Law Firm of Saleh Al-Hejailan. “In terms of making competitively priced financing in this market, it was a nightmare because the financiers were pricing the risk into their finance.” While lower-income borrowers can rely on a government housing fund, the lack of a range of financing options has contributed to the home shortage because developers tend to focus

on the top end of the market where profit is higher. Mortgage-related regulations released so far suggest an increasing reliance on structures compliant with sharia law, said a Gulf lawyer who follows Saudi Arabia closely. He said Saudi economic reforms typically involved a long process in which layers of additional reforms were added to any

groundbreaking law, as happened with capital markets legislation in the past decade. “It is a continuum. There is a lot more that will need to be fleshed out over the course of the next 12 months and beyond as people put these structures into place. It is not a panacea but I do think it is a good start,” he said of the mortgage rules. — Reuters

AIG in joint venture with Chinese insurer HONG KONG: US insurance giant AIG said yesterday it would form a joint venture with Chinese insurer PICC and invest $500 million in its Hong Kong share sale next month, as the firm boosts its presence in China. American International Group, which traces its roots to an agency founded in Shanghai in 1919, plans to ‘distribute life insurance and other insurance products’ with PICC in major Chinese cities, according to a company statement. The tie-up puts AIG in competition with its former Asian unit AIA, in which it owns about a 13.7 percent stake, as it tries to break into a market where domestic players dominate.

AIG’s multi-million dollar move represents one its biggest investments in Asia since it was bailed out by the US government during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. In a statement announcing the bid, AIG promised it would not sell over 25 percent of the People’s Insurance Companyís shares in the next five years without the Chinese insurerís consent. PICC, parent of the nation’s largest nonlife insurer PICC Property and Casualty, is seeking to raise $3.6 billion from its initial public offering in Hong Kong next month, according to Dow Jones Newswires quoting a term sheet. —AFP


Business FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Dana Gas agrees to develop UAE field DUBAI: Dana Gas has agreed with the governments of Sharjah and Ajman to develop a gas field off the two emirates’ coasts with production expected to start in the first half of 2014, the company said yesterday. Dana is in the midst of restructuring a $920million Islamic bond, or sukuk, after it failed to meet the payment upon maturity last month. The gas produced will be used mainly for power generation in the two northern emirates, part of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation, that have suffered from summer power shortages in recent years.

“Dana Gas is proud to play the positive role in developing the gas field, marking the first exploration and production project for the company in the UAE,” Dana Gas Executive Director Rashid AlJarwan said in a stock exchange statement. The agreements cover the development and joint operation of the gas field, installation of an offshore platform to process gas, a 25 km subsea pipeline, and gas sales deals. Dana has been focused on expanding in Egypt and Iraq. But payment delays for gas it supplies to

Egypt and the Kurdistan region of Iraq were major contributors to debt problems which saw it become the first UAE firm to fail to repay a bond upon maturity. The natural gas producer, headquartered in Sharjah, said on Nov. 7 it had reached an agreement in principle with creditors on restructuring the sukuk, and would pay holders a mix of cash and two new bonds. The new bonds would be a sukuk and a convertible sukuk. Detailed terms of the restructuring and the proposed new sukuk are yet to be made public. — Reuters

Sukuk become tool in Basel III capital-raising Tier 2 sukuk may be problematic DUBAI: A $1 billion sukuk issue by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank this month may start a trend that was probably not contemplated by the founders of modern Islamic finance: Islamic bonds may become a key tool for banks to meet tightening capital rules. The trend could add further momentum to a global boom in sukuk issuance. It could also ease pressure on banks which find it hard to raise capital from equity issues as global financial instability depresses stock markets. ADIB attracted a spectacular order book of over $15 billion for this month’s $1 billion perpetual sukuk, which has no maturity date; ADIB can choose to repay the bond on certain dates from 2018 if it wishes. The hybrid sukuk was the first to be publicly issued by a bank to meet the Tier 1 capital requirement in Basel III global banking standards that will be phased in around the world over the next several years - although ADIB privately placed a $2 billion Tier 1 note in 2009. Features such as the subordination of sukuk holders and the conditionality of payments - ADIB can halt periodic distributions to investors if it wishes - mean sukuk behave more like equity than debt, which is favored by the new Basel standards, said Alex Roussos, counsel at Norton Rose in Dubai. “We are likely to see more of it in this market in the near future,” he said. Even before ADIB’s issue, sukuk issuance was rising sharply; globally, $109 billion worth of sukuk were issued in the first nine months of 2012, up 69 percent from a year ago, according to research by Zawya, a Thomson Reuters company. But supply still appears to be far from satisfying demand among cash-rich Islamic institutions in the Gulf and southeast Asia; outstanding global demand for sukuk totals about $300 billion, according to an estimate by Ernst & Young. Furthermore, ADIB’s hybrid sukuk helped to open up a new investor base for Islamic bonds; private banks catering to wealthy individual clients were allocated 60 percent of ADIB’s issue, in contrast to most regional bond issues which are snapped up by other bank investors. So ADIB’s success may over the next one or two years prompt a wave of hybrid sukuk issues by banks raising capital. “The prospects are good and ADIB’s success is a positive precedent for other banks. The ADIB issue provides a good benchmark for other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) issuers who are thinking of accessing this market,” said Ahsan Ali, head of Islamic origination at Standard Chartered Saadiq. “We expect to see the issuance of hybrid instruments over the next 12 to 18 months as implementation of new regulatory guidelines takes effect in various countries.” Some bankers said that in addition to meeting Basel III standards, Gulf banks might use hybrid sukuk to bridge the gap between rapid loan growth and slower deposit growth. Qatari and Saudi lenders are likely candidates. Deposits in Qatari commercial banks grew 16.1 percent year-on-year in September while total credit jumped 32.2 percent, according to central bank data; Saudi bank deposits grew 11.8 percent while bank loans to the private sector climbed 14.8 percent.

OBSTACLES Despite the euphoria over ADIB’s sukuk, there are several obstacles to its success being repeated on a large scale. Because perpetual sukuk are so similar to equity, they are seen as relatively risky; one banker said he believed that in the Gulf, only banks from Abu Dhabi or Qatar could feasibly get such a deal done, because governments there have directly supported local banks. Perpetual sukuk will be less welcome in markets where state support is less firm, he said. ADIB, rated A+ by Fitch and A2 by Moody’s, was able to price its sukuk very cheaply compared to conventional hybrid bonds issued by Western banks over the past year. Its perpetual carried a 6.375 percent profit rate. By contrast, Dutch lender Rabobank, rated two notches higher by Fitch and three notches higher by Moody’s, priced a Tier 1 conventional perpetual at 8.4 percent in November last year. Earlier this year, Banco do Brasil raised $1.75 billion of Tier 1 perpetual bonds at a yield of 9.25 percent. ADIB’s sukuk has performed strongly in the secondary market, another sign of demand for such paper. It was bid at 103.6 cents on the dollar on Thursday, yielding 5.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. It is not clear, however, whether banks outside the supportive environment of Abu Dhabi could price their hybrid sukuk so cheaply. And because of their newness, hybrid sukuk could face regulatory risk for issuers - the danger that authorities might decline to accept them as high-grade capital. “In questions of eligibility, it will be up to national supervisors to determine if a specific issuance qualifies,” said a spokeswoman at the Bank for International Settlements, which provides the Basel Committee with its 17-member secretariat. This month, the Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board released draft guidelines on capital adequacy for Islamic banks, shedding light on the types of sukuk that could be classified as bank capital. The IFSB aims to introduce the final standard in December next year. But its guidelines are not binding on national regulators. While Tier 1 instruments essentially carry only market risks, issuing sukuk to raise Tier 2 capital under Basel III could prove more problematic for scholars and rating agencies because it combines market and credit risks, said Tariqullah Khan, professor of Islamic finance at the Qatar Foundation. “This issue of market risk and credit risk is tricky...often leading to increased structure risk of a sukuk,” he said. Under Basel III, Tier 2 sukuk could be difficult to accept because of concerns relating to the subordination of debt, according to Simon Archer, visiting professor at the University of Reading and consultant to the IFSB’s capital adequacy working group. “There are some grey areas,” he said. Gulf lenders such as Commercial Bank of Qatar, Burgan Bank, Saudi Hollandi Bank and Bank Al Jazira have all sold Tier 2 instruments in recent years to comply with the previous Basel II rules. Saudi Arabia’s regulator has said it will allow Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruments that no longer qualify under Basel III to be phased out over a 10-year period beginning in 2013. —Reuters

JARKATA: Indonesian workers shout slogans during a protest march in Jakarta yesterday. — AP

Thousands of Indonesian workers rally for benefits JAKARTA: Thousands of Indonesian factory workers took to the streets in the country’s capital yesterday to protest low wages and a new social security law that will require them to pay for health services. Several thousand laborers rallied peacefully near the presidential palace in Jakarta before marching to the parliament building, said Jakarta police spokesman Col Rikwanto, adding nearly 20,000 police and soldiers watched over the demonstration organized by Indonesian labor unions. The protesters, dressed in red and black, shouted “Reject the law” as buses and trucks arrived with loads of workers waving colorful flags and banners lambasting a 2011 law requiring workers to contribute a percentage of their pay for social security and health benefits. The law is scheduled to take effect in 2014. The workers refuse to be burdened by additional premiums to obtain

health insurance and social security, which they see as the government’s responsibility as mandated by the constitution, said Yoris Raweyai, chairman of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Union. “That law is clearly unconstitutional ... we want a revision,” he said. The protesters demanded an increase in the minimum wage and implementation of a government policy to stop companies from hiring temporary workers without benefits. Similar protests have been held recently in other Indonesian cities, calling on the government to improve wages in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Factory workers in Indonesia earn an average basic salary of just more than $120 a month. The economy grew 6.5 percent last year, the fastest pace since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. But the cost of living has been increasing, making it harder for workers to pay for food and other basic necessities.—AP


Business FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Shares rally on brighter global economic outlook Wheat production seen falling 5.5% LONDON: World share markets extended a week-long rally yesterday as manufacturing surveys in China and the United States boosted confidence over the growth outlook and euro-zone data was not as weak as some had feared. The single currency also touched a twoweek high against the dollar, despite data indicating the euro-zone’s economy is on course for its deepest downturn since early 2009, on renewed optimism of a deal emerging to provide aid payments to Greece. “The driving factors behind euro/dollar are that the global macroeconomic backdrop seems to be improving and people are pricing out the tail risk on Greece,” said Arne Lohmann Rasmussen, head of currency research at Danske Bank. The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.2869, its highest level since Nov 7. The prospects of a deal to help Athens were boosted when German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday after the failure of

overnight talks that an agreement was possible when euro-zone ministers meet again on Monday. The likelihood of a deal, combined with better economic data and a growing view that a resolution can be found to the US fiscal crisis lifted the MSCI’s world equity index 0.3 percent to 325.75 points, putting it on track for its best week since mid-September. Europe’s FTSE Eurofirst 300 index rose 0.4 percent to a two-week high of 1,101.90 points, with London’s FTSE 100 , Paris’s CAC-40 and Frankfurt’s DAX between 0.3 and 0.7 percent higher. However, trading across all markets was subdued, with US markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. CHINA BOOST Confidence in the global economic outlook got its biggest lift from the HSBC flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for China, which pointed to expansion after seven consecutive quarters of slowdown. “There

have been a lot of concerns regarding the outlook for global growth. In this context, any improvement in Chinese data is welcome, given that investors are still risk averse,” said Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC Securities. The Chinese data followed an report on Wednesday showing US manufacturing grew in November at its quickest pace in five months, indicating strong economic growth in the fourth quarter. PMI data on the manufacturing and services sectors in Europe’s two biggest economies of Germany and France added to the better tone, revealing that conditions had not worsened in November, though both economies are still contracting. However, the PMI numbers for the wider euro-zone remain extremely weak, pointing to the recession-hit region shrinking by about 0.5 percent in the current quarter - its sharpest contraction since the first quarter of 2009.

Japan embattled electronics sector suffers another blow Fitch cuts ratings on Panasonic, Sony to junk TOKYO: Japan’s embattled electronics sector suffered another blow yesterday as ratings agency Fitch downgraded industry titans Sony and Panasonic to junk status for the first time. The agency slapped a speculative rating on each firm, pointing to their weak balance sheets and declining position in the global electronics sector as they come up against stiff competition from overseas. Fitch said it cut Panasonic by two notches to BB, while it slashed Sony’s rating by three notches to BB-, with both firms given a negative outlook-meaning their debt was no longer considered a safe investment. Earlier this month Fitch slashed rival electronics giant Sharp’s rating to junk, which followed a similar decision by Standard & Poor’s. Japan’s electronics sector has suffered from myriad problems including a high yen, slowing demand in key export markets, fierce overseas competition and strategic mistakes that left their finances in ruins. Panasonic has warned it is on track for a $9.6 billion annual loss, while Sony expects to eke out a small profit, after four years in the red. The television business has been a major money loser owing to falling prices as Japanese firms try to compete with lower-cost South Korean and Taiwanese rivals. In the wake of huge losses, Panasonic, Sony and Sharp have announced massive corporate overhauls that include tens of thousands of job cuts as their shares plunged in value. Yesterday, Fitch said its downgrade of Panasonic was due to its “weakened competitiveness in its core businesses, particularly in TVs and panels, as well as weak cash generation from operations”. “It also reflects the agency’s view that the company’s financial profile is not likely to show a material improvement in the short to medium term,” it added in statement. Panasonic’s huge restructuring “will help gradually improve operating margins”, Fitch said, but warned over the pace of any recovery. It also cast doubt on Sony’s prospects, saying a “meaningful recovery will be slow, given the company’s loss of technology leadership in key products, high competition, weak economic conditions in developed markets and the strong yen”. The strong yen makes Japanese firms’ products less competitive overseas, while high labor costs at home have also made it tough for the nation’s electronics companies to compete globally. Since September, a diplomatic row over an East China Sea island chain claimed by

Tokyo and Beijing has seen many Chinese consumers boycott Japan-branded exports, also digging into manufacturers’ results. — AFP

TOKYO: A man carries a billboard under a logo of Japan’s Panasonic at its head office in Tokyo on yesterday. Fitch has dealt another blow to the Japan’s embattled electronics sector, cutting its credit rating on industry titans Panasonic and Sony to junk status. — AFP

BOND DEMAND Amid the improving appetite for riskier assets, Spain sold 3.88 billion euros ($4.97 billion) of new government bonds yesterday, though it has already raised enough funds for this year’s needs. The average yield on the three-year bonds in the auction was 3.617 percent, compared with 3.66 percent at a sale earlier in November and a 2012 average of 3.79 percent. Ten-year Spanish yields were 6 basis points lower on the day at 5.67 percent, having traded above 6 percent at the start of the week. German 10-year bonds yields, which tend to rise as investors’ anxiety over the euro-zone outlook ease, were up slightly at 1.439 percent. COMMODITIES STEADY Commodity prices gained some support form the improving outlook for world demand from all the PMI data, but prospects of only modest global growth in 2013 kept gains in check. — Reuters

In China, car buyers’ savvy may be Japanese salvation GUANGZHOU: China’s car buyers are growing up - with a more discerning view on the bang they want for their buck - and that could help Japanese automakers recover in a market where sales have been battered in protests over disputed East China Sea islets. While Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp count the cost of lost sales and dented profits from a violent anti-Japanese backlash in September, industry experts say now is the time to strike deeper into the world’s biggest autos market rather than limp away and lick their wounds. Paul Gao, a Hong Kong-based researcher at US consultant McKinsey & Co, said the damage to Japanese brands should prove to be a “temporary phenomenon” as tensions were heightened in the run-up to this month’s 18th Communist Party Congress - China’s oncein-a-decade leadership change. “Over the medium- to long-term, the Japanese (market) share in China will recover because for customers, especially those buying cars with their own money ... the nationality of the brand is not a major consideration, whether it’s Japanese, Korean, whatever. In the end, they think about performance, styling, fuel economy and safety,” Gao said, adding it would be a mistake for the Japanese to shift focus away from China. He said the Japanese should now be “doubling their efforts” to win back China market share from Volkswagen, General Motors and Hyundai Motor, as more drivers are now getting around to replacing their cars. “For their first car, as they had no ownership experience, they gravitated towards flashy cars and were impressed by advertising and sales campaigns. Now they are looking for something more rational quality, safety, durability - areas where Japanese brands like Toyota excel,” he said. Demand for leading Japanese car brands in China virtually halved last month, cutting Japanese firms’ market share to 17 percent from 19 percent at end-August. Blaming the China impact, Nissan - the most exposed of the three big Japanese automakers to China - cut its full-year net profit forecast by a fifth, while Honda also revised down its forecasts for the year by 20 percent. Toyota, also badly hit in China, managed to increase its annual profit forecast as it is less exposed to that market. — Reuters


Business FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

EU leaders brace for bitter budget battle BRUSSELS: Brussels hunkered down yesterday for what looked set to be a grueling European Union summit over a trillion-euro budget that has bitterly divided a 27-nation bloc already mired in economic crisis. Barbed-wire barriers sealed off much of the city’s European district as national leaders from across the continent sped in for two days of talks aimed at finding a seemingly impossible compromise on the 20142020 budget. Britain was the potential chief spoiler at the summit, with Prime Minister David Cameron threatening to wield his country’s veto unless spending is frozen in real terms, arguing that at a time of austerity at home the EU must also make cuts. Cameron was the first to arrive at the European Council building for one of the brief individual so-called “confessionals” which EU president Herman Van Rompuy will hold with each of the EU’s 27 leaders ahead of the official evening opening of the summit. Cameron was in fighting mood as he went into the meeting, telling reporters: “We’re going to be negotiating very hard to get a good deal for the British taxpayers.” The Financial Times however reported yesterday that Cameron, under constant pressure from eurosceptics in his Tory party to battle supposed European meddling and bureaucracy, was prepared to accept a 940-billion-euro spending ceiling. He had initially vowed to settle only for a real-terms freeze from 2011 levelswhich Britain believes would be equivalent to 886 billion euros-but could still claim he had won a budget cut if the

new plan proceeds, the paper said. Eight of the EU net contributor nationsAustria, Britain, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden-have banded together to demand spending cuts, but they are far from being on the same page on what should be cut or by how much. “All the talk is only about cuts,” the head of the

spending to match belt-tightening at home, raising the ire of cash-strapped nations to the east and south who benefit from the bloc’s development funds. Those so-called “cohesion funds”-billions of euros outlayed each year to the EU’s newer and poorer entrants so they may make up the economic lag with richer neighbors-are central to the bat-

BRUSSELS: British Prime Minister David Cameron (center) buttons his jacket as he arrives for an EU summit at the EU Council building in Brussels yesterday. —AP EU executive Jose Manuel Barroso lamented in an impassioned speech too the European parliament on Wednesday. “No one is discussing the quality of investments, it’s all cut, cut, cut.” Much of Europe is in or dangerously close to recession and austerity-driven nations are demanding huge cuts in EU

tle that is shaping up at the Brussels summit. They will be defended tooth and nail by the 15 nations-chaired by Poland and Portugal-who are net beneficiaries of the EU budget. The group includes Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia,

Euro-zone on course for deepest downturn Better data from US boosts global growth outlook LONDON: The euro-zone economy is on course for its deepest downturn since early 2009, while Chinese factories returned to growth last month bringing better news for the world economy, business surveys showed yesterday. The latest purchasing managers indexes (PMIs), which survey thousands of companies all over the world, at least suggested the global economic slowdown is not getting worse, despite the prolonged downturn in Europe. The US index, released on Wednesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday, showed manufacturing growing at its quickest pace in five months. China’s vast manufacturing sector, meanwhile, expanded for the first time in 13 months. Still, Europe looks set to remain the major drag on the world economy next year. It re-entered recession in the third quarter, and this quarter seems unlikely to bring any respite. While factory data in the euro-zone also surpassed expectations, there was a worrying decline in its services sector, comprising the banks, hotels and restaurants that make up most of its economy. PMI compiler Markit said the surveys were

consistent with the euro-zone economy shrinking 0.5 percent this quarter, which would be the worst reading since the first quarter of 2009, when the economy hit its lowest ebb during the financial crisis. “Looking ahead, we still think ... the improvement in the global economy, as signaled by the further pickup in the Chinese PMI, will provide some respite to the euro-zone economy,” said Martin van Vliet, economist from ING. But that could be some way off. “The weak PMI outturn for November is a major disappointment in light of the increases in the German and French PMI surveys, and suggest the recession on the euro- zone’s periphery is gathering further pace.” German business activity shrank for a seventh straight month in November, dragged down by services firms, while the French PMI signaled the risk of a sharp economic contraction taking place this quarter. The euro-zone’s periphery-countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greecehave labored under severe austerity policies that have deepened their recessions and sparked popular unrest. A reminder that the euro-zone’s sovereign debt crisis has further to run came on Wednesday, as

international lenders failed for the second week to reach a deal for emergency aid for Greece. Still, Spain managed to sell nearly 4 billion euros with ease at auction yesterday, kicking off its funding program for a daunting 2013. Markit’s flash euro-zone services PMI fell to 45.7 this month, its lowest reading since July 2009 and failing to meet the expectations of economists who thought it would hold at October’s 46.0. It has been rooted below the 50 mark that divides growth and contraction for 10 months now, and survey compiler Markit said it was consistent with a 0.5 percent economic contraction this quarter. CHINESE FORTUNES To a large extent, global growth next year will depend on China’s ability to overcome its downturn, after a disappointing 2012. World share markets extended a week-long rally yesterday in response to the data. Yesterday’s Chinese manufacturing PMI was a clear sign the pace of economic growth has revived after seven consecutive quarters of slowdown, after it hit 50.4 in November, a 13-month high and above October’s 49.5. —Reuters

Slovenia, and once mighty Spain. The cohesion funds are the second biggest budget item after spending on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the farm and fishing subsidies which are another bone of contention. France is by far the biggest beneficiary of the CAP, and French President Francois Hollande has vowed to fight to keep his country’s prized agricultural subsidies. Hollande this week lashed out at countries which defended budget rebates and discounts, the third hotbutton issue that could send the budget summit off the rails. He did not name any specific countries, but Britain in particular cherishes its budget rebate, which then prime minister Margaret Thatcher obtained in 1984 on the grounds that London was paying too much towards the bloc. The British rebate was worth 3.6 billion euros last year, and Cameron vowed yesterday when he arrived for the Brussels summit, which may continue long into the weekend if no deal is found, that he had no plans to give it up. Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria are also demanding to keep their rebates and Denmark is seeking one too. EU president Van Rompuy warned in his summit invitation letter to the EU’s 27 leaders: “Let there be no mistake: the absence of an agreement would be harmful for all of us.” But German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers in Berlin on Wednesday she did not “know if we will have a definitive deal” by today. “If necessary we will have to meet again at the beginning of next year,” she said. —AFP

Cyprus says troika bailout deal close NICOSIA: Cyprus said yesterday it is close to agreeing a bailout with a troika of lenders after marathon talks on deep spending cuts and reforms to save the euro-zone member’s teetering economy. President Demetris Christofias sought to allay fears that officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund would leave the island empty-handed after more than two weeks. “After tough negotiations with the troika, and keeping in mind the difficult circumstances this country is going through, we are very close to signing the memorandum with the troika,” Christofias said in a statement. “With the issues that remain, which are very limited, there is a possibility that very soon we can bridge those differences.” The statement, the president’s first on the matter since the latest round of talks began on November 9, appeared to dismiss criticism he was not ready to agree to harsh terms. The troika is expected to wrap up the talks today over what is needed to secure an agreement for EU financial aid. Reported sticking points are its proposal to privatize profit-making utilities, use natural gas revenues to help pay off public debt, cut pensions and to reform indexlinked salary increases. The talks, which started in July, are the longest the troika has been involved in before agreeing terms, mainly because Cyprus is uneasy with the level of cuts and reforms. Nicosia applied for an EU bailout in June after its biggest lenders, Cyprus Popular Bank and Bank of Cyprus, could not meet new capital reserve limits because of exposure to Greece. A document leaked to the media shows the government apparently proposing tax hikes and fewer cutbacks over a longer period than proposed by the troika. —AFP


Opinion FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

With truce, US puts onus on Egypt

Members of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, carry their weapons as they celebrate after the truce between Gaza and Israel came into effect, in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, yesterday. —AFP By Bradley Klapper

I

n frantic diplomacy, the Obama administration helped seal a cease-fire that puts heavy responsibility on Egypt’s young Islamist government to ensure the end of Hamas rockets from the Gaza Strip. If Egypt delivers, the United States will have rediscovered the stalwart regional partner it has lacked since the autocratic Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in a popular revolt last year. If it fails, stability across the region will suffer. Much depends on whether the agreement brokered by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi proves durable and halts not only a week of open warfare that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis, but definitively ends rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza that grew increasingly frequent in recent months. Standing beside Morsi’s foreign minister in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham said the deal would improve conditions for Gaza’s 1.5 million people while offering greater security for the Jewish state - but the fierceness of the recent encounter meant no one was declaring it a success yet. And US officials familiar with Clinton’s lastminute diplomatic shuttling warned against making any judgments until the cease-fire proves to hold. The US is counting on Morsi to shepherd the peace. The former Muslim Brotherhood leader emerged from his first major international crisis with enhanced prestige and now has a track record as someone who can mediate between the two sworn enemies, something the United States cannot do because it considers Hamas a terrorist organization and doesn’t allow contacts between its members and American offi-

cials. Hours into the cease-fire, Morsi seemed to have persuaded Hamas, a Brotherhood offshoot, to abide by its conditions. He won immediate praise from Washington, with President Barack Obama thanking Morsi “for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a cease-fire proposal.” In their sixth phone call since last week, Obama on Wednesday welcomed Morsi’s “commitment to regional security” and the leaders agreed to work toward a “more durable solution to the situation in Gaza,” according to a White House statement. The diplomacy clearly strengthened a USEgyptian partnership that has been strained in the 21 months since Egyptians toppled Mubarak. In that time, Washington angrily protested Cairo’s crackdown on US-funded prodemocracy groups, its slow response to attacks on the Israeli and US embassies and its inconsistent control over the Sinai Peninsula. The US regularly threatened to withhold aid and Obama remarked in September that he no longer considered Egypt an ally. That breakdown was a marked reversal from the legacy of Mubarak’s three-decade autocracy, when the Arab world’s most populous and influential country closely cooperated with the United States in fighting Al-Qaeda, containing the influence of Iran and mediating between Israel and the Palestinians. Although Morsi’s government has promised to abide by the 1979 Camp David Accords with Israel, his Muslim Brotherhood resume had raised concerns about his true commitment. And continued comments against the peace treaty from Brotherhood members raised ire in Israel and the US. Getting Egypt back on board as a good-faith mediator appeared to be a major selling point

in winning the Israelis to the conditions of the cease-fire. “Egypt shall receive assurances from each party” that they are committed to the deal, the cease-fire agreement says. “Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would break this understanding. ... In case of any observations, Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding - shall be informed to follow up.” In a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama seemed to be trying to re-establish the strong triangular relationship between the US, Israel and Egypt that had been a bulwark of regional security under Mubarak. The president expressed his “appreciation” for Netanyahu’s willingness to work with Egypt’s government on the package and reiterated full US support for Israel’s right to selfdefense. But the White House noted that Obama had specifically “recommended” that Netanyahu accept the Egyptian proposal. Obama also vowed to help the Israelis address the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza and pledged additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israeli missile defense programs. Israel launched well over 1,500 airstrikes and other attacks on targets in Gaza, while more than 1,000 rockets pounded Israel. In all, more than 140 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, were killed, while five Israelis died in the fighting. According to the cease-fire agreement, Israel and all Palestinian militant groups agreed to halt “all hostilities.” For the Palestinians, that means an end to Israeli airstrikes and assassinations of wanted militants. For Israel, it brings a halt to rocket fire and attempts at cross-border incursions from Gaza. After a 24-hour cooling-off period, the

cease-fire calls for “opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents’ free movement.” That could amount to the biggest easing of Israel’s blockade of Gaza since it shut off the territory from much of the world five years ago. Hamas officials said details on the new border arrangements would have to be negotiated. If the cease-fire holds, Israel and Egypt will be clear beneficiaries. But Hamas, too, comes out a winner, having long been isolated by Washington’s Arab allies but now embraced by much of the region. The Western-backed government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in charge of the West Bank, was cut out of the cease-fire equation, and Clinton reminded him during her visit to Ramallah that Washington remains firmly opposed to his plan for UN recognition of an independent Palestine. The Obama administration hopes the end to the immediate crisis could advance a broader Mideast strategy that promotes IsraeliPalestinian peace, reinforces the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and reduces Iran’s influence in Gaza. The calculation is that Morsi’s mediation between Israel and Hamas and elevated standing on the world stage brings with it a responsibility to maintain the cease-fire, forcing him to deliver on Israel’s behalf. In the US view, maintenance of the truce also means cracking down on Iranian weapons shipments to Gaza. Iran has long used Hamas and other groups as proxy forces against Israel. The goal of a larger peace treaty that allows for the establishment of an independent Palestine may remain far away, but it would be not be feasible if Hamas continues to launch projectiles at the Jewish state and Arab powers led by Egypt aren’t engaged in the process. —AP


FOOD FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Beyond pimento

A guide to southern cheeses C

heese maker Nathan Arnold - clad in knee-high yellow rubber boots, shorts, a cotton T-shirt and a white skullcap - hovers over a stainless steel tank the size of a kiddie pool. Here is where cheese happens. Inside this tank, heated raw milk will meet live cultures and rennet, causing the milk to sour and curdle in the most exquisite way. There’s just one problem: The two dozen cows contentedly munching pasture grasses just outside the creamery building aren’t producing enough milk to actually make cheese. So the tank will remain empty for the next couple of months, while Arnold’s supply of his celebrated Alpine-style cheese dwindles. Demand has far outpaced supply this season, and he will soon have to break the news to loyal fans throughout the Southeast that Dancing Fern - his pungent and gloriously oozy washed-rind cheese - has sold out. Sequatchie Cove Creamery is one of

dozens of quality small farmstead creameries that have opened in the Southeast in recent years. Producers throughout the region - from the Appalachian Mountains to the coastal plain - are making quality small-batch cheeses from cows, goats and sheep raised on their own farms. Just a few years ago, the only cheese the South was known for was of the pimento variety, as Southern cheese production virtually ceased during the industrialization of the 1950s and 1960s. But all that has changed, and the region has a newfound cachet. Amanda Parker of Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York says that her colleagues

were blown away by some of the cheeses they tried at the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival in Nashville in early October. “There seems to be a lot more interest in the South, a lot more people being exposed to great cheeses.” “The South is rising again in farmstead dairy,” said MaryAnne Drake, a professor of food science at North Carolina State University who’s a consultant for the many small dairies that have turned to cheese making in recent years. In some cases, fluid milk producers find cheese making to be a profitable niche market. Johnston Dairy Farm of Newborn, Ga, teamed up with Italian cheese maker

Antonio Lo Russo to produce the most tender and flavorful fresh mozzarella in the region. Others build their cheese-making operations from the udders up. At Sequatchie Cove, Arnold had been a vegetable gardener who persuaded the farm’s owners to build a cheese program

from the cows up. Working with a French consultant, he toured the Savoie region of Alpine France, where the rocky, mountain-ringed pasture was similar to that of Sequatchie, about 30 minutes west of Chattanooga. “We visited a number of cheese makers in the mountains who had 20-to-40-cow operations,” Arnold said. He fell hard for a number of the cheeses he tried, including Reblochon, which inspired Dancing Fern. Arnold began buying milking cows in 2006, starting with a historical breed called the American Milking Devon. Contrary to their name, these cattle didn’t produce enough milk, so he turned to a Jersey-Holstein crossbreed that tolerated the hot Southern summers better. Arnold broke ground on the creamery in 2009 and - cows permitting - has been going full speed ever since. His wife and business partner, Padgett, sells the cheeses at farmers markets in Nashville and Chattanooga as well as every other Saturday at the Morningside Farmers Market in Atlanta. Fans learn that she usually sells out, so they get there early. Old-timers might remember the days when small-batch Southern cheeses weren’t such an oddity. General stores throughout the region used to sell “hoop cheeses” often made in a small hoop mold on site. These large round cheeses came cut into wedges and had a simple flavor like a very mild colby. But this tradition began to die out in the 1950s. According to Mat Willey of Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Ga, many Southern dairymen turned to selling fluid milk, which nutritionists of the period pushed for its nutritional value. Cheese making was time-consuming and particularly expensive in the South, where aging required refrigeration. Cheese making didn’t make economic sense in a hot climate. But in the 1980s and 1990s, a few pioneers such as Sweet Grass Dairy and Fromagerie Belle Chevre of Elkmont, Ala, began making small-batch cheeses. They would win the occasional medal at a


FOOD FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

cheese competition but were treated as curios - good cheese from the Deep South. When Tim Gaddis took over the cheese counter at Star Provisions in Atlanta in 2004, he made it his mission to actively look for Southern cheeses. “When you’re in Europe, all you see are local cheeses,” he said. “If you’re in Normandy, the cheese shop sells Norman cheeses. I thought more American cheese shops should be like that.” There weren’t many Southern cheeses at first, but Gaddis made it clear to any and all regional cheese makers that he would be their champion. “A lot of new cheese makers started to pop up within the last six or seven years,” Gaddis said. He frequently visits Southern creameries and casually consults the cheese makers. With his knowledge of the

market, he knows what kinds of cheeses will stand out. Star Provisions now sells the country’s best selection of Southern farmstead cheeses. Atlantans also can find quite a few at both Alon’s markets in Morningside and Dunwoody, as well as area Whole Foods and Harry’s Farmers Markets. Here are some producers to look for. If you’re unsure where to buy them, contact the cheese makers. Not only will they be happy to speak with you, they might just invite you for a tour. Sequatchie Cove Creamery, Sequatchie, Tenn.: The season may be over for Dancing Fern, but you can readily find Cumberland, a firm cheese modeled after Tomme de Savoie, and Coppinger, a semisoft cheese similar to Morbier. Sweet Grass Dairy, Thomasville, Ga:

The signature Green Hill is a bloomy-rind cheese like Camembert, but has an inimitably thick, nearly fudgy texture. The Thomasville Tomme is a fine firm cheese for cheese boards and sandwiches. It melts beautifully. The dairy produces six other varieties. Nature’s Harmony Farm, Elberton, Ga: This farm produces three cheeses, including the award-winning Fortsonia, a Gruyere with a fantastic grassy flavor. Looking Glass Creamery, Fairview, NC: This isn’t a farmstead creamery, as the owners buy milk from other local farms. Among the several varieties is Ellington, an ash-covered ripened goat’s milk pyramid with a crumbly-fudgy texture. Ridge Line, with a layer of ash representing the North Carolina mountain ridge, has a nutty caramel flavor.

Prodigal Farm, Rougemont, NC: The Hunkadora, an ash-ripened soft goat’smilk cheese, has a citric lemony flavor. Other cheeses come with herbs rubbed onto the rinds. Belle Chevre, Elkmont, Ala: This Alabama goat cheese is now widely available. Look for their other products, such as goat cheese cakes and goat cheese cookies, as well as their flavored breakfast spreads. Capra Gia, Carrollton, Ga: Bright, lemony fresh goat cheese comes plain or with dried herbs or other flavorings. The shortbrine feta is a wonder for salads. Izzy’s Local Cheese, Newborn, Ga: Mozzarella so soft, milky and delectable you’ll want to eat it plain. — MCT


BEAUTY FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

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hen friends think of Susan Greene, a 38year-old lawyer originally from Staten Island, NY, they instinctively picture her trademark kinky, curly hair. And that is why they do a double-take when they see her today. Like legions of women (and some men) who have spent decades struggling to get their curly, frizzy, or coarse hair to behave, Greene opted for keratin hair straightening, which is the latest trend in hairstraightening or relaxing. There are a host of brand names available, including Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola, Global Keratin Complex, the La Brasiliana treatment, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, the Brazilian Blow Out, and Brazilian Hair Straightening. “None of the ‘miracle treatments’ I have tried over the years lived up to their hype,” Greene says. “In my hours of Googling the treatments, I kept reading how it was life changing. So I went to the salon reluctant, but ready to pay a small fortune for what I hoped would not be another disappointment.” She wasn’t disappointed. “I have the soft, wavy, silky hair that I have always dreamed of having,” Greene tells WebMD. “I make random people feel it and probably talk too much about how much I love my hair. “ These Brazilian, keratin-based hairstraightening techniques are all the rage, but there are some concerns that certain formulations may contain high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Considering whether you should try keratin hair straightening for the first time, or for a follow-up treatment, despite all the stories in the media? Here are answers. What Is keratin hair straightening? Most of today’s popular straighteners are keratin-based. Keratin is a protein found naturally in your hair. It can fill in gaps in the hair cuticle that are cracked, dry, or damaged. It is mixed with varying levels of formaldehyde, and applied to the hair, and then sealed in with the heat of a flat iron. The formaldehyde helps hold the keratin molecules together, which straightens your hair and keeps it that way. The results of keratin-based treatments last about two to 2 1/2 months. Keratin treatments take about 90 minutes or longer, based on the length of your hair. The price also rises and falls with your hair’s length, but averages around $300. Color-whether highlights, low lights, or merely covering up the gray-can be done on hair that has had keratin-based straightening treatments. In fact, some hair care experts recommend getting the treatment right after your color so that it seals the color in as well. Maintenance There is some downtime with these treatmentsmeaning not washing your hair for three or four days afterward, because the solution takes time to work, says hair stylist Henri Borday of New York’s Mizu salon and the corporate educator for hair care company Global Keratin. Greene, for one, could care less about the noshampoo downtime. “You can’t wash it for 72 hours after the treatment, but so what?” she says. “That is a small price to pay for months of fabulous hair.” There is also some-but not a lot-of maintenance involved. This basically involves washing your hair with sodium sulfate-free shampoos to avoid prematurely stripping the treatment from your locks. That is nothing compared to what Dina Khiry, a 24-year-old New York social media executive with thick, curly hair, did before she got her first keratin straightening treatment. “If I wanted my hair straight, I would have to wash my hair, blow dry it or let it air dry for a long time, and then it took me

at least an hour or two to flat iron it,” Khiry says. “I could never just wash it and go because I would end up with a huge head of frizzy hair.” But that was then. Now, “I can just wash my hair, blow dry it a little, and it will dry nice and straight,” she says.”It takes me about 20 minutes, which is a big difference from my usual 3-hour hair routine. Love it!” That’s what Borday is talking about. “They cut down on your blow dry time by 40 percent to 60 percent and eliminate the frizz factor. You could walk out in moist or light rain and your hair won’t change,” he says. These treatments can make everyday a good hair day.” Formaldehyde factor A suspected carcinogen, formaldehyde is a colorless chemical compound with a pungent and irritating odor. Exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to health problems, including general malaise, runny nose, sore throat, headache, itching, and irritated eyes. Exactly how much formaldehyde is used in these products depends on the brand and blend. In general, anything less than 2 percent formaldehyde won’t be as effective, says Bonnie Marting, a nurse practitioner and the director of medical aesthetics at Anushka Spa, Salon & Cosmedical Centre at Cityplace in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Ask about the strength and if they say it doesn’t have any, that is probably not true,” she says. Some formaldehyde-free products actually contain formaldehyde derivatives with the same set of risks. The more formaldehyde, the stronger the treatment, but the worse the odor, says hair stylist Henri Borday of New York City’s Mizu salon and the national director of education for the Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola. “Most companies that put out keratin treatments use safe levels, but the problematic part and where these treatments got a bad rap was when salons were mixing their own to incorporate more formaldehyde,” he says. In early September 2011, the FDA publicly warned the Brazilian Blowout hair care company that its hair-straightening products contain “dangerously high levels” of formaldehyde. The levels ranged from 8.7 percent to 10.4 percent. The agency has ordered the company to reduce levels of formaldehyde in the product. If the company does not comply, the FDA can pull the products from market. The company issued a response stating that the level of formaldehyde in their products still falls well below levels considered safe by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The company has also released a new product called Brazilian Blowout Zero. What does the zero stand for? You guessed it: Zero formaldehyde is released before, during, or after the in-salon smoothing treatment, according to the company. Instead, it uses a plant-based formula to smooth and seal the hair cuticle and tame frizz. Canadian health officials are also cracking down on some of the products. Health Canada, the Canadian health department, warned Canadians that it had found an unacceptably high level of formaldehyde - 12 percent— in the Brazilian Blowout Solution in late 2010. That’s just one of the products that Brazilian Blowout makes; others aren’t known to have high formaldehyde levels, according to Health Canada. Dermatologist’s view Neil Sadick, MD, a New York dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at WeillCornell Medical College, has no problem with keratinbased treatments. What about reports of hair

breakage after keratin straightening treatments? “The hair breakage has nothing to do with the treatments and everything to do with the flat irons that are used to dry and seal the hair afterward,” he says. “Some stylists may use a flat iron that is way too hot and is scorching hair and making it break off,” he says.

Sadick is no fan of the flat iron-no matter who is using it. “When you use a flat iron, there is a potential for mechanical damage and that is a major cause of hair loss and breakage in young women,” Sadick says. “Anything that heats up or puts tension on the hair shaft will lead to breakage and can permanently damage hair growth cells if used recurrently.” Who’s a good candidate? Stop the treatment and flat ironing if you notice breakage, Sadick says. Other people who should think twice and/or get clearance from their dermatologist before a keratin treatment include anyone with an inflammatory scalp condition such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, Sadick says. www.webmd.com


Books FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

The best

diet books By Kathleen Zelman

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hat’s the best diet to help you lose weight in time to reveal the “new you” this new year’s eve? There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to losing weight. The best diet programs include plenty of food to ward off hunger, all food groups, promote regular physical activity, and allow small portions of favorite foods. Beyond the basics, it really depends on what type of diet plan matches your lifestyle and is sustainable for life. Don’t think of diets as beginning and ending; rather, the best plans are journeys toward improved health that help you improve your eating and exercise habits. Before I get to my favorite diet books, I have to confess my bias about diets in general-they all work. Losing weight is really quite simple: eat fewer calories than you burn and you will shed pounds. So whether you eliminate whole food groups, go on a crazy fad diet, or live on cabbage soup, you will lose weight. The problem is most diets suggest radical changes from usual dietary habits, and as a result, dieters only last a few weeks to months before throwing in the towel and returning to their old eating habits. Being ravenous all the time, spending an hour a day at the gym, or feeling deprived of favorite foods are triggers that put an end to conventional diets. What works? It is not sexy, and to some it borders on utterly boring, but the real secret to weight loss is making slow and gradual changes in

eating and lifestyle behaviors. Experts recommend trimming 500 calories a day by reducing calories and increasing exercise to result in a 1-2 pound weekly weight loss. Holding the mayo on your sandwich, eating a side salad instead of French fries at lunch, walking 45 minutes, reducing portion sizes, and piling on the veggies at dinner are examples of simple ways to trim 500 calories in a day. My favorite diet books are not really diet books at all but easy-to-read books offering a wealth of ideas and tips on how to make those small and gradual behavior changes. This list is by no means complete. There are lots of great books available, but these are a few of my favorites: The Way to Eat by David Katz, MD, MPH, and Maura Gonzalez, MS, RD (Sourcebooks, 2002). Katz is a well-respected obesity expert who knows how to simplify the science behind weight loss with helpful tips on how to make small changes for lifelong weight control. Included in the six-step plan are skills and strategies to help dieters master control over eating so they never have to go on a diet. The Step Diet by Jim Hill, PhD, John Peters, PhD, and Bonnie Jortberg, MS, RD (Workman Publishers, 2004). Even though the word “diet” is in the title, this little book (comes with a pedometer) is a wonderful compilation of tips, ideas, and step counts to help get you moving and improve your lifestyle. All you need is a good pair of sneakers to walk your way to weight loss. Volumtetrics Weight-Control Plan by Barbara Rolls, PhD, and Robert Barnett (Quill Books, 2000). Eat more food and lose weight

is the premise of this book. The authors explain the scientifically proven method of “energy density” and teach you how to bulk up meals with foods that fill you up on fewer calories. Recipes are included to help get you started eating foods that won’t leave you hungry and help you trim your waistline. Thin for Life by Anne Fletcher, MS, RD (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). Secrets from successful losers are the foundation of this reality diet book. The author interviewed hundreds of successful “masters” who have lost weight and kept it off to come up with 10 keys to successful weight loss. If you are the type that prefers a specific plan including menu plans, foods to include and avoid, and rules to follow, here are a few of the diets that get it right. Not included are the numerous online diet programs that offer similar benefits and the anonymity of being connected without having to show up for meetings or programs. The Sonoma Diet by Connie Guttersen, PhD, RD (Meredith Books, 2005). Wine lovers, rejoice! Here is a diet book that allocates calories for wine and lots of wonderfully healthy food. The plan has a strict first phase but eases into a sensible diet plan similar to a Mediterranean approach with lots of healthy foods. This dietitian and culinary expert encourages dieters to slow down and taste the food, enjoying and savoring the fabulous flavors and textures of nutritious food and her delicious-looking recipes. The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, MD (Rodale Press, 2003). A best seller for years because it is a plan that works and is sustainable. The diet includes lots of healthy foods, especially in the final phase of the diet. Managing hunger and sticking with the plan gets easier as you progress through the tougher and stricter first phases. Weight Watchers. This successful company has launched a variety of books and programs

targeted to get people to make healthy lifestyle changes including food, fitness, and emotional and mental health. Their programs empower dieters to make better food choices and get connected at meetings (in person or online) for motivation, support, and sustainability of lifestyle changes. No Fad Diet: A Personal Plan for Healthy Weight Loss by the American Heart Association (Clarkson Potter, 2005). This is the first diet book from the esteemed AHA touting three simple tenets to permanent weight loss - “think smart, eat well, and move more.” It has recipes and meal plans at 1,200, 1,600, and 2,000 calories along with lots of helpful tips on how to resist temptation and eat for a healthier heart. — www.webmd.com


Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Know your gamer before buying holiday gifts

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party game might help soothe holiday stress and a handheld could help fight the boredom during an obligatory family visit, but if you buy the wrong game or device for your gamer, it could easily put a damper on the holidays. Thus, it’s advisable to do some homework before giving a game or gaming device during the upcoming holidays. “A PC is good for gamers who like to go online or play free-toplay games,” says Oliver Sprung of Computerbild Spiele magazine. “There are a thousand titles.” Whereas a simple office laptop will do for many games, some of the biggest upcoming blockbusters like Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 need a gaming PC, which will cost more than the average PC, in the neighbourhood of 600 to 700 euros ($763 to $890). “These gaming PCs come with the most up-to-date processor and a current graphics

card, so that everything runs fluidly and all the details are shown,” says Sprung. If the gaming card is too old, demanding games can pixellate or not run at all. It’s best to stick to the hardware recommendations of the manufacturer. “The processor and graphic card standards provide the most important parameters,” says Tim Tielebier of the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU). An owner of a gaming PC might look forward to extra equipment. And that doesn’t necessarily just mean the newest graphics card. “Gamepads can also be supported via USB, so you can play like you’re at a console and not use the mouse and the keyboard,” explains Sprung. “There are also special gaming keyboards that let you programme in functions.” Those are especially important to role players. Another option is a gaming mouse, which reacts faster and with more sensitivity.

Consoles are good gifts for people who play a lot of different games. “Consoles have the great advantage that you can play them from the comfort of your couch,” says Sprung. “But, aside from the hard drive, you can’t upgrade them. To make up for that, you have the guarantee that all games in this generation can be played on this console.” Sony and Microsoft are expected to bring new consoles to market by the end of 2013. But it might not be a bad idea to pick up a PS3 or XBox 360 beforehand. “The prices for consoles are very cheap, and are sometimes under 200 euros,” says Thomas Wittulski of Gamepro magazine. There’s also a wide variety of games for the current consoles, which will continue to be expanded for a while, says Tielebier. Nintendo’s next console, the Wii U, is set for a November 30 release. “This console is purely movement based and is intended more for intense players,” says Wittulski.

Graphics are up to PS3 levels. All old Wii games will work on the new platform. But movement controls are no longer the sole domain of the Wii. Both the Sony and Microsoft controls have action-based controllers and games designed for them, many for the whole family. Handhelds are more for those routinely underway. “There’s a wide variety of puzzles and thought games for the Nintendo DS and 3DS, many of them for children,” says Wittulski. “But the Playstation Vita is technically more robust, has multimedia abilities and offers some core games.” That said, there could be more software for the Vita. To save money, consider used hardware, but always check first to make sure it works properly and see if the guarantee is transferable. — dpa

Creating secure passwords

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ser’s online identities are usually not well protected, with a password of a few characters standing between their private data and hackers. But creating a password no one can guess means coming up with something that’s next to impossible to remember. Security experts almost unanimously advise against using words that can be found in the dictionary - word and names are the most common, but least secure passwords, able to be broken quickly by hackers employing attacks that keep trying out different combinations until successful. One safe option is a long string of characters. Word-based passwords are a necessary evil, according to Norbert Pohlmann, director of the Institute for Internet Security at the Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences in Germany. “This is the least-suited mechanism for authentication that one could imagine.” But there isn’t really another option. “We have to learn to work with this as users and make the best of it.” The best password has at least 10 characters - including special ones - plus capitalized and lower-cased letters and numbers. “This way the key space is so big that (an) attacker would need more than 200 years to crack the code,” explains Pohlmann. “But a lot of people use bad passwords, because they take the name of their girlfriend or company.” Any password that can be found online or in a dictionary is bad as a password. Also avoid anything that relies on a pattern, such as 12345 or qwerty. But how to remember a complex password? Germany’s

Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) says users need to come up with their own cheat phrase. Thus “I have 100 secure passwords to register myself online” becomes Ih100sP,torMo. Avoid special characters, since they don’t appear on all keyboards. Never use years or birthdates for a PIN. Passwords should be changed every six months and users can never let down their guard against phishing attacks. It’s a bad idea to use the same password for every account, even if it’s a good one. If someone gets it, they’ll have access to all your accounts. “Ideally, you should have a separate password for every account,” says Melanie Volkamer of the Centre for Advanced Security Research at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. “But no one can remember 30 random character strings.” A good password can be adjusted for different sites, sometimes by adding different strings of characters that have to do with the service’s name. And since every account isn’t equally important, there’s also the option of creating password groups - a compromise between security and user-friendliness. Thus, one password can be used for social networks, another for online shopping, a third for banking and a final one for email. The email account password is especially important, says Pohlmann. “A lot of services have created a reset mechanism linked to an email address.” Password management services that store multiple codes are of limited value. They can quickly prove to be a security problem if used with unsecure computers. Images are another option.

“You can use graphic passwords, since our memory works better with pictures,” says Volkamer. Some require a series of pictures to be identified in the right order. “I don’t have to repeat it, I just have to recognize it.” But these are not very common yet. — dpa


Lifestyle FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Ex-’Price is Right’ model gets $8.5m in damages

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he producers of “The Price is Right” owe a former model on the show more than $7.7 million in punitive damages for discriminating against her after a pregnancy, a jury determined Wednesday. The judgment came one day after the panel determined the game show’s producers discriminated against Brandi Cochran. They awarded her nearly $777,000 in actual damages. Cochran, 41, said she was rejected when she tried to return to work in early 2010 after taking maternity leave. The jury agreed and determined that FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions owed her more than $8.5 million in all. “I’m humbled. I’m shocked,” Cochran said after the jury announced its verdict. “I’m happy that justice was served today not only for women in the entertainment industry, but women in the workplace.” FremantleMedia said it was standing by its previous statement, which said it expected to be “fully vindicated” after an appeal. “We believe the verdict in this case was the result of a flawed process in which the court, among other things, refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40 percent of our models have been pregnant,” and further “important” evidence, FremantleMedia said. In their defense, producers said they were satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Cochran sought to return. Several other former models have sued the series and its longtime host, Bob Barker, who retired in 2007. Most of the cases involving “Barker’s Beauties” - the nickname given the gown-wearing women who presented prizes to contestants - ended with out-of-court settlements. Comedian-actor Drew Carey followed Barker as the show’s host. —AP

Visitors wearing burkas, sit in front of a photograph of the German artist Naneci Yurdaguel, which shows the skyline of New York and the World Trade Center yesterday during the exhibition “Burquoi” in Wiesbaden, southwestern Germany. One focus of Yurdaguel’s artistic engagement is topics on national and religious identity, migration, social exclusion, cultural appropriation and mistrust. They are constantly picked up and are treated critically, often in relation to current public debates, to intervene in social discourse. —AFP

Oliver Stone tackles modern history in new series

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This undated publicity photo provided by Nickelodeon shows the SpongeBob Squarepants holiday special, “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas.” —AP

SpongeBob Christmas special goes stop-motion

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ow does “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” squeeze even more fun out of our porous little hero and the Bikini Bottom gang? By turning the animated characters three-dimensional for their holiday special. In a tribute to classic fare such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the “SpongeBob SquarePants” crew has been re-imagined as puppets and put through their comedy paces for stop-motion photography. The story line was dreamed up by Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob: The denizens of Bikini Bottom are suddenly rude because of exposure to jerktonium, a plot by naughty Plankton to get on Santa’s (voiced by guest star John Goodman) nice list. Plankton “wants to put everyone on their worst behavior when they should be on their best behavior, and zany mayhem ensues,” Kenny said. “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” debuts 9:30 p.m. EST Friday on CBS, followed by an encore on the show’s home network, Nickelodeon, at 7:30 p.m. EST Sunday, Dec 9. The first-time foray into stop-motion is a welcome change for the 13-year-old “SpongeBob,” Kenny said. “It’s fun that after all these years we can still do stuff that’s a little different.—AP

liver Stone has never been shy about ruffling feathers with his take on real-life events. From “J.F.K” and “Nixon,” to “Salvador” and “W,” Stone has challenged the history taught in schoolbooks. His latest project, “The Untold History of the United States,” a 10-part series on the premium Showtime network, explores more facts he feels were suppressed, with new takes on the atomic bombing of Japan, the Cold War and the fall of Communism. To maintain accuracy throughout the series, Stone partnered with Peter Kuznick, a history professor at American University. Kuznick was no stranger to Stone, having used Stone’s films for years to provide perspective for his students. Both he and Stone feel history is often written with a happy ending. Recently, Stone spoke to the Associated Press about the issues tackled in series, the companion book, and his take on the General Petraeus scandal. AP: What drives you to cover historical events with your own perspective? Stone: This is a noble tradition. Sometimes it’s funny that it sounds as if it’s an illegitimate tradition, but it goes back the Greeks did plays about ancient rulers. Shakespeare did a huge amount of plays about history. Some of them were more accurate than others there’s no question. AP: But you take a fair share of criticism? Stone: I’ve never, ever by my own standard of ethics violated the trust of my audience by saying something that I knew to be false. I may have made some mistakes but never did it on purpose, ever. I’ve been so tired of defending myself it’s become silly. ... (For this project) we’ve had three fact checks. There’s a book. Sourcing is included, footnotes. The facts are indisputable. The interpretation is disputable, but at least the facts are there.

AP: Why do people resist changes to the history we’ve learned? Stone: We have told a coherent narrative that begins in 1900 and we’ve taken the darker view of the US actions because I do believe in the US textbooks that the kids learn there’s a process by which things get sanitized out. The horror stories. The bad stuff because kids love that and it’s interesting that we’re doing the opposite. Instead of giving them some horror stories we tell them everything works out well in the end because that’s why the kids I think my theory is they don’t enjoy history, they don’t like to study it because they know the ending

File photo shows American film director, screenwriter and producer Oliver Stone poses for a portrait in New York. —AP and know it’s going to be some sappy story the teacher tells them about how the US does good in the end and that’s sort of the trick you see. We’re going back and say, ‘Let the juicy stuff out.’ And it is good some of the stuff that we do. It’s pretty horrible. AP: Give me an example? Oliver Stone: Very few people know about how strong the English empire was going into World War II. (Franklin Delano) Roosevelt had a suspicion of the English empire and he was trying to balance the Soviet interests with American interests as

well as British interests. He didn’t want to be taken for a ride and save England to have England re-colonize the world, which is what they did. AP: Truman didn’t continue Roosevelt’s work? Stone: When Harry Truman became President it was a bit of an accident. It was an ugly story, we go into it where he became Vice President on a party boss ticket and he inherited the presidency, he wasn’t prepared for it. He didn’t even know there was an atomic bomb being built. When he found out ... he thought it was a terrific idea and he knew that he had the upper hand now in his dealings with the world. He not only had the right arm of good and power but he had the bomb and the bomb made all his decisions easier to make and I think this was a huge moment in our history. AP: There’s new history being written with the General Petraeus scandal. What are your thoughts? Stone: Frankly, it’s not a big concern of mine. It’s done. He’s out. But it’s sold again as a media-hyped narrative of a soap opera of a military hero, so-called, falling for a beautiful woman and being betrayed, and so forth, and he falls from stardom. Great story. The truth is that it’s like a Shakespeare drama. Petraeus was never a hero. If the media had used the same investigative skills that they are using on this sordid sex affair, they would have found out that Petraeus was not what he seemed to be. He was not in combat. His genius in writing about counter-insurgency was to point out essentially that we use the journalists to control perception, because perception is more important than reality. —AP


Lifestyle FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ tops Hot 100, ‘Unapologetic’ to debut

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Actresses Jessica Biel, from left, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette and Helen Mirren attend the premiere for “Hitchcock” at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. —AP

Almost over-the-top Hopkins, Mirren make it fun

‘Hitchcock’ Review

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he making of “Psycho” was, in many ways, scarier than the film itself. At least for legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. The horrermeister had to finance the classic 1959 film himself, risking his own money and reputation after timid studio bosses who had decided the material was too shocking and risky. “Hitchcock,” a film that’s enormous fun despite not being especially good, tells how the English director bet the farm, or more accurately his Hollywood estate and high standard of living, on a cinematic shocker about a woman whose life literally goes down the drain after she checks into the wrong motel. The principal characters in “Hitchcock” are Hitchcock himself (Anthony Hopkins) and Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), his longtime wife who served as his behind-thescenes script doctor and chief professional consultant. Also popping up are such well known real-life Hollywood figures as Lew Wasserman (Michael Stulberg), who is Hitch’s devoted agent; and “Psycho” stars Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) and Anthony Perkins (James D’Arcy). At the start of “Hitchcock,” the director is stuck in a professional and personal torpor. He’s coming off the high of the rousingly successful “North by Northwest,” but has no idea what he wants to make next. Then he reads the slim novel “Psycho” and decides to take up the challenge of applying his patented patina to pulp; can he transform it into art, or least a hell of an entertaining motion picture? The film makes the most of (and possibly takes liberties with) Hitchcock’s obsession with his blond leading ladies, turning it into a major fetish. We see the director lingering over and fondling glossy headshots of actresses in his study and spying on women through a peephole in his office at the studio. Alma, fully aware of his weaknesses, is depicted as carrying on a possible flirtation of her own with a screenwriter (Danny Huston) who is hopeful of getting the director to read his work. Having seen “Psycho” and knowing a little about Hitchcock’s oeuvre and personality is a prerequisite for getting the most out of this new movie. But even without that back history, the movie is easy to enjoy. That’s because Hopkins and Mirren are having such a merry time of it playing off each other and walking up, especially Sir Anthony, right to the edge of hamminess. Their robust performances give the film a high energy jolt, not to mention jollity. In the supporting cast, Johansson and D’Arcy manage to capture the essence of, respectively, Leigh and Perkins, while Biel is her usual resolutely beautiful but bland self as Miles. “Hitchcock” has been directed with an unsubtle touch by Britisher Sacha Gervasi; it’s his first feature film following on his 2008 debut documentary, “Anvil: The Story of Anvil.” The screenplay, by John J. McLaughlin (“Black Swan”), is based on Stephen Rebello’s 1990 non-fiction book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho.’ “ — Reuters

&B star Rihanna scored her 12th chart-topping single on the Billboard Hot 100 on Wednesday, as her seventh studio album “Unapologetic” raced toward a big debut after its release this week. Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” the lead single from “Unapologetic,” notched the top spot on the Hot 100, tying the Barbadian singer with Madonna and The Supremes for the fourth-most chart-topping singles in Billboard history. Only Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and The Beatles have had more hit singles. The 24-yearold singer has just wrapped up a sevenday mini-tour across seven world cities to promote “Unapologetic,” her seventh studio album, which was released on Monday and shot to the top of the iTunes album charts in 43 countries despite garnering mixed reviews. “Unapologetic” scored 65 out of 100 on review aggregator site Metacritic.com, with some critics unsettled by the singer’s harder sound and close-to-home lyrics. Others have embraced it. The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica called Rihanna’s latest “one of her best albums yet,” adding that the singer’s presence made her “without peer when it comes to her image, which is steely and unforgiving and bulletproof.” But BBC Music’s Natalie Shaw found the album a difficult listen, calling it “the sound of a human dragged headfirst into a breakdown,” and criticizing the

Rihanna singer for using “pop music to inadvertently condone abuse.” The track that Shaw refers to and has everyone talking is Rihanna’s collaboration with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who was charged with assaulting her three years ago. In a 90’s pop-inspired track called “Nobody’s Business,” the singers further fuel speculation that they have rekindled their romance, singing lyrics such as “your love is perfection” and “you’ll

always be mine.” Critics have found more evidence of Rihanna drawing on her tumultuous relationship with Brown on “Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary,” which follows “Nobody’s Business” on the album. In it, Rihanna sings “felt like love struck me in the night,” and makes references to “one drive, injured us fatally,” possibly alluding to the night Brown assaulted her. Rolling Stone magazine’s Jon Dolan gave “Unapologetic” three and a half out of five stars, noting that Brown was “like a co-writer throughout.” Rihanna made sure to capitalize on the success of her biggest hit to date, last year’s Calvin Harris electro-dance production “We Found Love.” On “Unapologetic,” the singer brings French DJ David Guetta on “Right Now,” a thumping dance track. The singer also reteamed with rapper Eminem on “Numb,” following their 2010 hit song “Love The Way You Lie.” Unlike the emotional content of domestic abuse on their previous collaboration, the Barbadian singer and Detroit rapper lightened the tone for “Numb,” singing about love in the club scene. The songstress also softened up for two intimate piano-led ballads, “What Now” and “Stay,” in which she recruited newcomer singer Mikkey Ekko for an stripped-down performance, using the opportunity to showcase her voice. —Reuters

Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell offer custom recordings I

magine having William Shatner supply your outgoing voicemail message. Or maybe you’d prefer Morgan Freeman coolly telling callers to wait for the beep. Or perhaps having Betty White joke around is more your speed. All it takes is $299 and some luck. The advocacy group Autism Speaks is offering custom-recorded messages from those celebrities as well as Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Tom Hanks, Derek Jeter, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Ed Asner. From Dec 3 to Dec 9, a limited number of 20-second long MP3 messages will be recorded by each celebrity on a firstcome, first-served basis for fans to do with as they wish. All requests must be of the PG variety. Asner, the curmudgeonly Emmy Award winner of “The Mary Tyler File photo shows actor and former Screen Moore Show” and Grant,” Actors Guild President Ed Asner is interviewed “Lou dreamed up the by a television station in Portland, Ore. — AP unusual fundraiser with his son Matt, who works for Autism Speaks. “I think people will get a charge out of it,” says Asner, who is currently on Broadway in the play “Grace.” “I’ll probably say, ‘What are you wearing?’ Or, ‘Take it off.’ Something like that.” All proceeds will support autism research and advocacy efforts. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the US is on the autism spectrum, a developmental disorder characterized by communication difficulties, social and

behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. If he could get a message from one of the other stars participating, which would Asner want? “I’m awfully stuck on Will Ferrell, having been subjected to him in ‘Elf,’” Asner says. “But they’re all such standouts - Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Shatner. The list doesn’t stop. Even Betty White,” he adds about his “MTM” co-star. “She’s still got some good left in her.”—AP

‘Blossom’ star Bialik divorcing husband of 9 years

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ayim Bialik is splitting from her husband of nine years. The 36-year-old actress says in a statement posted online Wednesday that she and husband Michael Stone have decided to divorce. The couple has two young sons. Bialik recently released a book about attachment parenting, but says the philosophy that encourages forming close bonds with near-constant physical contact played no role in the couple’s split. The Emmy-nominated star of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” says “relationships are complicated no matter what style of parenting you choose.” She says divorce is “terribly sad, painful and incomprehensible” for children and adds that the couple’s sons remain their priority. Bialik first gained fame as the star of the 1990s sitcom “Blossom.” She holds a doctoral degree in neuroscience from UCLA, specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents.—AP


Lifestyle FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

US Finne Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made ‘Finnjet’ during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, western Germany, yesterday. The vehicle with eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3,4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Inset) A model sits in a redesigned vintage Volkswagen Beetle by Croatian artist blacksmith Sandro Vrbanus. —AFP

Ancient Czech cheese thrives as stinky EU delicacy

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dults love it, but the smell is more than most kids can bear. Tvaruzky, a stinky low-fat Czech curd cheese has won a coveted EU protected geographical indication (PGI), similar to Italy’s venerable Parmesan or France’s Roquefort cheese. Its popularity has inspired a novelty Tvaruzky “sweetshop” and even vending machines. Gourmets and average Czechs alike throng to its home in Lostice, a sleepy provincial town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital Prague. Neighboring Slovakia is a major export market along with Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Lostice is the only place on Earth where Tvaruzky is made. A factory founded in 1876 has a well-stocked shop, while a nearby cafe offering “Tvaruzky tiramisu” and Tvaruzky with ice-cream is pushing the culinary limits of this pungent honey-and-butter colored treat. There’s even a Tvaruzky vending machine at a local pub for clients who enjoy it. Miroslav Stefanik from the eastern city of Havirov carries two bags stuffed with Tvaruzky delicacies as he strolls across the town’s sprawling central square. “I make regular trips to the factory shop. I’ve bought Tvaruzky and other cheese for about 500 koruna (20 euros, $25), for myself and the family,” he says after making a detour of almost 100 kilometers (60 miles) on his way home from a business trip. The AW Lostice factory, whose 140 staff annually churn out up to 2,000 tonnes of Tvaruzky in an array of shapes and sizes, uses a blend of various types of curd to create this stinky delicacy with a slimy surface. “The length of the ripening period depends on what you prefer. Some want a curd-like core, while gourmets prefer well-ripened cheese,” says production manager Miroslav Zemanek, adding experts can tell how ripe the cheese is by poking it. With just one percent fat and less than half the calories of the standard product, Tvaruzky made with

Zdenka Postulkova, owner of Tvaruzky sweetshop poses with cakes, pies, rolls and pancakes filled with Tvaruzky cream in Lostice. —AFP skimmed milk is just right for calorie counters, Zemanek says, and insists it’s like eating steak. “It’s pure protein. Meat eaters might just as well eat Tvaruzky instead,” he says. ‘And the cheese stands alone’ Tvaruzky’s smelly origins stretch back to the 15th century when farmers started making it to use up extra milk. It was even a currency in the 17th century, when the going rate for well diggers was “one golden coin and 120 pieces of Tvaruzky for six feet,” according to a historic script on the company’s website. Then, villages across the region made Tvaruzky, with five major producers surviving until the 1980s. Now,

Lostice is the only one left. Tvaruzky was awarded its protected geographical indication in 2010. The European Union’s PGI safeguards traditional, regional products by banning imitators from using their name as a brand. PGI labels assure consumers the product is an original, and protect the interests of local farmers and producers. But Zemanek complains strict EU regulations on milk purity are wreaking havoc with Tvaruzky’s notorious smell. “The purer the milk, the purer the curd. The pressure for meeting international standards and boosting hygiene is growing and at the end of the process we find that Tvaruzky is no longer as aromatic as it used to be,” Zemanek said.

Just round the corner from the central square, Zdenka Postulkova and her husband recently opened a Tvaruzky “sweetshop” selling cakes, pies, rolls and pancakes filled with Tvaruzky cream, some of them sweet. “We invented the products gradually. Most of them are based on Danish pastry,” she says as a faint smell of Tvaruzky fills the shop that also sells Tvaruzky hotdogs, with Tvaruzky sticks taking the place of the sausage. Outside, Lostice pensioner Marie Volkova says she prefers Tvaruzky “fried, or with freshly baked bread and fresh butter. “Of course, when I go somewhere and say I’m from Lostice, everybody knows,” she adds proudly, in the region’s unmistakable accent. — AFP


Lifestyle FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Exhibit opens up fashion icon

Kahlo’s wardrobe A regional huipil blouse used by Mexican painter Frida Khalo. Regional Tehuana dresses, including a blouse called huipil and a skirt, used by Mexican painter Frida Khalo are exhibited at her museum in Mexico City. — AFP photos

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rida Kahlo proudly wore long skirts embroidered with colorful flowers, showing off her Mexican indigenous heritage but also hiding a body contorted by childhood polio and a horrific bus crash. The late surrealist painter with the uni-brow, known for her haunting selfportraits, has long since become a fashion icon, inspiring top designers such as France’s Jean Paul Gaultier. Now, in memory of that, 300 items-from skirts to shoes, jewelry and perfumes-have been taken out of her wardrobes, trunks and bathroom closets and put on display in Casa Azul, her home-turned-museum in Mexico

Three dresses designed by Ricardo Tisci for Givechy.

Prosthesis and corsets used by Mexican painter Frida Khalo.

City. The exhibit, entitled “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” was launched on Wednesday in the blue house that Kahlo shared with her husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, in the capital’s colonial Coyoacan district. One room displays nine tehuana outfits that are typical from Tehuantepec, a southern city where Kahlo’s mother was from. Kahlo often painted herself wearing the long skirts and short-sleeve blouses with bright patterns. With the traditional skirts and her hair braided with flamboyant flower headbands, Kahlo brought attention to her facial features and her slim waist, distracting people from her legs, said exhibit curator Circe Henestrosa. “Her way of dressing was the result of her strong sense of identity, an identity built from physical pain,” she said. A red boot with the prosthetic leg Kahlo had to wear after her limb was amputated showed that she kept a sense of style despite the unbearable pain she suffered. Kahlo contracted polio when she was a young child, a disease that stunted the growth of her right leg. When she was 18, a metal tube pierced through her abdomen during a bus crash, subjecting her to painful operations and long periods of bed rest throughout her life. In one drawing, Kahlo depicts herself naked under a see-through dress, wearing a corset with butterflies on one leg. She wrote on the piece: “Appearances Can Be Deceiving.” The exhibit includes three artistic corsets, one made of leather and designed by Gaultier for Comme des Garcons in memory of the painter, who died in 1954 at the age of 47. She wore corsets because of severe back pain. Three flowery outfits made of lace and cotton by Italian designer Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy are also displayed, inspired by the artist’s life and image. It took Casa Azul eight years to restore Kahlo’s clothes to be suitable for public

view in an initiative that the fashion magazine Vogue participated. “Frida had an eclectic style. She liked to combine colors, textures and the origin of garments according to her mood,” said museum director Hilda Trujillo. Some experts say that Kahlo wore tehuana outfits to please Rivera, but Henestrosa said a photo found in Casa Azul showed all the women in the Kahlo family wearing the traditional dresses. The lavish skirts from Tehuantepec “symbolize a strong woman,” Henestrosa said, adding that Kahlo decided to wear these clothes because it allowed her to project the communist artist’s political beliefs and her Mexican identity. — AFP A corset designed by Jean Paul Gaultier inspired by Frida Khalo.

A corset designed by Dai Rees.

A corset designed by Rei Kawakubo.


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PETS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Cat videos make the Web their perch

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enry is a difficult star, but filmmaker William Braden knows how to work with him. If he needs Henry to run, Braden stands behind him and shouts to scare him into action. If he wants Henry to look annoyed, Braden blows in his face. If Henry won’t cooperate, Braden bribes him with catnip and Friskies Party Mix. Over the last six years, Braden and Henry have developed a special relationship. Braden makes YouTube videos in which Henry plays a French existentialist named Henri. The twominute videos of the black, fluffy cat with particularly long whiskers are Internet sensations, viewed more than 10 million times. “Henri 2: Paw de Deux,” the most popular of Braden’s cat videos, recently won the Golden Kitty, a people’s choice award at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The award, a statuette of a fat golden cat, sits on a shelf next to the filmmaker’s desk. He has signed his first book deal. “Henri Le Chat Noir: The Existentialist Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat” will be published by an imprint of Random House next year. He gets about $1,000 a week in revenue from his online store, selling Henri mouse pads, mugs and T-shirts to the existentialist cat’s devoted fans. Braden, 32, used to work as a wedding videographer, but he is no longer accepting wedding gigs. He doesn’t need to. “These past few months I’ve transferred to Henri full time,” Braden says. “I know how crazy it sounds to have this depressed French cat be my primary source of income.” Even Thomas Edison found cats worth filming. The first cat video was created in 1894, when Edison’s film studio produced a 20-second moving picture for his newly invented kinetoscope. “Prof Welton’s Boxing Cats” featured two cats in a miniature boxing ring wearing boxing gloves. The Library of Congress uploaded the video to YouTube in 2009, and it has been seen more than 200,000 times. No one can say for sure why cat videos attract such an enormous following, but Emily Huh, editor-in-chief of Cheezburger, a website of humor blogs, has a theory. “Dog owners have a dog park where they can show off their dogs, but cat people don’t have that,” she says. “The Internet is where people who love cats can go to say, ‘Look how cute my cat is.’” Henry made his Internet debut in 2006 when Braden was a student at the Seattle Film Institute. Braden was house-sitting for Henry’s owner in North Seattle when he got a class assignment to shoot a profile. He thought it’d be funnier to do an animal. Henry, who was easygoing and had a malleable face, came immediately to mind. “He kind of looks stoned all the time, but that face is a blank slate,” Braden says. Braden got the idea of parodying the European experimental films of the 1940s and ‘50s that he was watching in his film history class. His feline video “Henri” earned him an A and was a big hit with his fellow students. It racked up 300,000 page views shortly after it went up on YouTube and is still being shown in class as an example of how a good film can be made with very little money. In fact, Braden says there is no cost to make the videos except for his time and what he already spent buying the camera and the editing software for his videography work. Six years later, egged on by his friends and family, Braden decided to revisit the Henri character, with another short film, “Henri 2: Paw de Deux.” The video features Henri in vari-

ous states of repose as a piano gently plays in the background. A throaty French speaker (Braden, actually) gives voice to Henri’s ennui. “I am free to go, yet I remain,” the English subtitle reads as Henri is shown gazing sullenly out the window. Later he catches himself in a bathroom mirror and observes, “We cannot escape ourselves.” Henri is not the most popular cat on the Internet. That distinction belongs to Maru - a kitty from Japan with an unusually large head and a deep affinity for cardboard boxes. A collection of Maru YouTube videos has been seen more than 163 million times, making him the most watched

19th century poster advertising Le Chat Noir nightclub in Paris. He and his muse live five minutes apart. He runs his growing Henri empire out of a 625square-foot studio condo in Wallingford, Wash, where his view of the Space Needle has been obstructed by new construction. The most luxurious item in the minimalist apartment is a Mac computer with an enormous screen. It was Braden’s first big splurge with what he calls “cat money.” Every morning, he opens his Facebook to concoct an existential reflection that goes out to 52,000 followers of Henri, also known to his

named Ed White who shows up in the Henri films as “L’imbecile Blanc” or “the white imbecile,” run off and hide. Henry is the only one of the four who likes it when people come to the house. “It’s kind of surreal to me that 50,000 people have friended my cat on Facebook,” Henry’s owner says, gazing at her cat with affection. “He knows he’s in a good place, but there’s no way to convey to him how many people know of him.” Braden’s Halloween Henri video - L’Haunting -premiered Oct 30. Filming usually takes place in the relative’s house. (Henry’s owner donates her cat’s time

William Braden (left) films Henry the cat with help from an assistant in Seattle, Washington. —MCT cat in the world. Maru even has his own agent. Maru’s owner, who is notoriously publicity shy and is steadfast about remaining anonymous, says she started a blog to record his growth. In the beginning, each post was just a photograph and a sentence. “However, I was not able to record Maru’s charm only with photographs,” she wrote in an email. She took videos of him, posted them to YouTube and embedded them on the blog, and watched in wonder as Maru’s YouTube channel became the seventh most popular in Japan. Cat videos are so popular that they have spawned their own festival. This summer, the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival drew more than 10,000 people from all over the country. Some brought their cats; others wore kitty costumes. Katie Hill, a cat lover working at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, came up with the idea for the festival. She sorted through 10,000 cat video submissions before whittling the entries down to an hourlong collage. When she asked people around the world to vote for their favorite, “Henri 2” won, and Braden was there to collect his fat golden cat. Braden lives alone. He doesn’t have a cat, although he thinks about getting one. On his right arm is a tattoo of a black cat from a late

fans as Le Chat Noir. “Someone asked me if I love my caretakers,” he writes in Henri’s voice. “Love is a strange thing, and mostly indefinable. I sleep in their laundry basket, if that counts.” Henry is an 8-year-old tuxedo cat with a regal white chest. He was adopted as a kitten from the Seattle Municipal Shelter. He lives with his owner and three other cats in a modest two-story house in North Seattle. His owner, a close relative of Braden, asks that she not be identified. She is worried that someone might kidnap Henry. When the weather is nice, Henry spends most of his time outside, hiding under the trees and bushes around his owner’s grassy front yard. Henry’s owner describes the cat as a “gentle hunter.” He’ll often bring birds and small mammals back to the house, but they are almost always alive. During one of Braden’s frequent visits, Henry’s owner carries the cat into the kitchen, where he makes himself comfortable on the table, purring as Braden strokes his back. “He’s very relaxed, and I would say very happy,” the owner says. “He’s affectionate but he also keeps to himself. He purrs easily, but he doesn’t like to sit on laps.” Her other three cats, including a snowy one

to Braden.) It is short but challenging. Henry tends to call it a day after about 20 minutes. Braden tries to bother the cat as little as possible, often shooting with a long lens, as a wild animal photographer would do. Occasionally he reverses a shot so it looks as if Henry is turning toward the camera when he is actually turning away. “That is what $40,000 of film school will get you,” he says. It takes Braden less than two weeks to make an Henri video. He films for three days, then spends about a week editing the footage and adding sound. He writes about half the video, about one minute of content, before he starts shooting. He wants to leave room for inspiration. Braden knows that his life with Henri won’t last forever. At some point Henry will die, but even before that Braden fears he will run out of ideas. “When I start shooting him against a green screen for a film about Henri in space, that’s when we’ll know it’s over,” he says. For now, though, he tries to think about the future as little as possible. If the first Henri book sells well, he’d like to write a second one. And if that sells well, he’d like to use some of his “cat money” to fund a different film project - either a feature-length comedy set in Seattle or perhaps a Web series, starring people. —MCT


Stars

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Aries (March 21-April 19) You may feel as if you are trying to wade through high water today—the interruptions and conversations among friends and neighbors could be difficult to bring to an end. There may be some reason you are taking a half day at work today and you want to get things accomplished. Your ambition is very strong—you are able to make all the right moves. At home, you aim to have a place for everything and everything in its place. You are determined to clean up around your living area. Careful—anything that gets in your way may get on your nerves. Health goals take on a greater importance for you this evening. You have insight into your emotions and drive and you eagerly refer to a project about which you feel passionate.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This is a very good day for events on the home front. If you are not cooking today, you will probably be helping in the kitchen. Family gatherings and talk of old times tend to sift through the day. You may find some beneficial recipes or tips if you listen carefully. You seek to understand and improve relationships and you add positive, upbeat energy to whatever social gathering you attend. Take advantage of this time because this is the best time to talk to and enjoy conversations with love ones. Everyone is interested in updates on the current events of family members. Fun conversations and a deepening of connections between family members are felt today. You may enjoy a long walk before eating another meal this evening.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Faith, optimism and a yearning to explore all kinds of new horizons are some of the focal points in your life. Travel, education and other ways to gain new knowledge and experience open new doors of opportunity. Religious, philosophical and cultural matters are likely to have a special appeal for you now; transmitting ideas on a broader scale brings gain. Taking responsibility for errors of the past and the ways you contribute to your own undoing are very important issues. Dodging them may be the easier thing to do, but that only puts off a day of reckoning. Making peace with the past and coming to terms with karmic debts are becoming some of the issues that confront you now. Failure to face these things might cause setbacks to your path.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) If you are working today, you could be in the limelight. If you are at home, you may find yourself in a working mood. You are artistic and can create a most beautiful centerpiece to compliment a remarkable meal for this day. Being with friends and family today is the priority and a fulfilling one in many ways. You have a desire for stability and you may be willing to make compromises in order to accomplish these objectives. Friends may drop by later today and you may have a hard time staying with the family members that are visiting in your home at this time—perhaps friends and family could have an outing together. Being more involved with neighbors or sibling(s) satisfies a deep emotional need. Communication is pleasant.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Your plans for today may have been a bit fuzzy and because you may not have firmed up plans for what you wanted to do . . . you could find yourself alone. Never fear . . . if you want to be with others there are plenty of spaces on the serving line at the nearby charity event. You may also eliminate the feeling of being excluded if you experience a bus ride around town. There is plenty to do today. Later this evening, you may find yourself knuckles deep in leftover food. You can expect some sort of support or recognition from those around you. This is a time when support and recognition should be forthcoming from the public, family and friends—if it is not, it will come from someone very special to you. Enjoy a little exercise this evening; walk.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) 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. This is the day you dive into those in-depth discussions and probing conversations that find you at your mental best. Your analytical abilities are at a high point. An early time of leaving work may have you cleaning up around your work station and leaving yourself notes for later. You aim to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Your home environment, friends and surroundings in general receive attention and encouragement this evening. Your work or career is in real harmony with the rest of your life. There is a basic drive to appreciate life.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Usually, business matters are your highest priority but today they are on hold. As you tend to your itinerary for today you may experience interruptions from people that want to lend a helpful hand but may not be so helpful. Remember who is in control and you will do fine. At least by the end of this day you can say most of your attention was in a good place. Any negatives can be changed quickly and you may even feel that you can create some sort of turnaround with your input. You draw emotional nourishment from ideals, friends and social involvement this afternoon and evening. There is a desire to break with out-of-date patterns from the past and a longing for the new, the different and perhaps, the unique. You enjoy fun times this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You want to get things accomplished and yet you may put off important matters just now. Talking to a senior may help your understanding—there could be new projects just waiting for your expertise. You might talk someone into finishing what you are involved with today so you can begin something new. People seem more changeable than usual, including you. The same routine is not for you today. This feeling of change may even follow you around. Family announcements are thrilling, or are they? Negotiations may be in order before you can make much headway in many of your affairs, whether they are professional or personal; patience is needed during these short spurts. Trade the chore responsibilities with members of your family.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) The time is perfect for any activity concerning communication or the spread of information. You may want to change the way a system of work is performed. There is too much waste of time with words and money to warrant things continuing as they are just now. Change is in the works and you know that you can make change happen with positive results. Your enthusiasm about what you are doing is catching. There are many opportunities to express yourself in many different avenues. This could mean a new job opportunity, wanting to go into your own business or merging with another person. Think about your priorities. Matters of law, religion and philosophy hold your interest. Relax with your feet up this evening.

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

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


Stars

C R O S S W O R D

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. A user interface in which you type commands instead of choosing them from a menu or selecting an icon. 4. In 1649 the place was captured by Oliver Cromwell, who massacred the Catholic inhabitants. 12. A metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 10 liters. 15. A local computer network for communication between computers. 16. A prophet of the first century. 17. Fermented alcoholic beverage similar to but heavier than beer. 18. A tax on various goods brought into a town. 20. A bachelor's degree in literature. 21. The cry made by sheep. 22. New World flycatchers. 24. A mask with a filter protects the face an lungs against poisonous gases. 26. (informal) Of the highest quality. 27. A state in southeastern United States between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. 30. (Sumerian) Goddess personifying earth. 32. Small porous bowl made of bone ash used in assaying to separate precious metals from e.g. lead. 33. Marked by lack of intellectual depth. 37. Socialist who wrote The Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx in 1848 (18201895). 41. A brittle gray crystalline element that is a semiconducting metalloid (resembling silicon) used in transistors. 42. Small turnover of Indian origin filled with vegetables or meat and fried and served hot. 44. Perennial herbs or subshrubs of especially Mediterranean area. 46. A heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances. 48. (Old Testament) The wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. 49. Used of a single unit or thing. 50. The basic unit of money in Western Samoa. 52. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 54. An independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest. 55. Gum resin used especially in treating skin irritation. 57. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity. 59. Either of two muscles of the abdomen and pelvis that flex the trunk and rotate the thigh. 61. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 62. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 63. One of a set of small pieces of stiff paper marked in various ways and used for playing games or for telling fortunes. 66. The month following February and preceding April. 68. A public promotion of some product or service. 70. Type genus of the Amiidae. 72. A flask that holds spirits. 77. Hawthorn of southern United States bearing juicy acid scarlet fruit often used in jellies or preserves. 80. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 81. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 82. Having a sophisticated charm. 84. A barrier constructed to contain the flow or water or to keep out the sea. 85. A slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water. 86. The widening of the chambers of the heart between two contractions when the chambers fill with blood. 87. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A lump of material formed from the content of a liquid. 2. Made of or resembling lace. 3. (prefix) Within. 4. Stingless male bee in a colony of social bees (especially honeybees) whose sole function is to mate with the queen. 5. One of a pair of long straps (usually connected to the bit or the headpiece) used to control a horse. 6. A doctor's degree in optometry. 7. God of the earth. 8. Goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld. 9. Someone who leaves one country to settle in another. 10. True confidential information. 11. An honorary arts degree.

12. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 13. By bad luck. 14. An accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape. 19. (Old Testament) The second wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. 23. A United Nations agency that invest directly in companies and guarantees loans to private investors. 25. Molten rock in the earth's crust. 28. (Irish) Ancient Irish god (probably a god of the sun). 29. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 31. Complacently or inanely foolish. 34. Spanish poet and dramatist (1898-1936). 35. (Old Testament) The first of the major Hebrew prophets (8th century BC). 36. The dialect of Malay used as the national language of the Republic of Indonesia or of Malaysia. 38. (Scottish) A narrow secluded valley (in the mountains). 39. A globular water bottle used in Asia. 40. A token that postal fees have been paid. 43. The residue that remains when something is burned. 45. Small genus of aquatic or semiaquatic plants. 47. The probability of a specified outcome. 51. Small buffalo of the Celebes having small straight horns. 53. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 56. (Old Testament) The fourth son of Jacob who was forebear of one of the tribes of Israel. 58. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 60. A Buddhist who has attained nirvana. 64. Italian violin maker in Cremona. 65. The basic unit of money in Saudi Arabia. 67. A British doctorate. 69. (Irish) Chief god of the Tuatha De Danann. 71. 100 lwei equal 1 kwanza. 73. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 74. An agenda of things to do. 75. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 76. God of love and erotic desire. 78. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 79. An operating system that is on a disk. 83. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.

Yesterday始s Solution


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Clarke double puts Australia in charge ADELAIDE: Michael Clarke blasted his second double-century in consecutive innings to drive Australia to a mammoth first-day total of 482-5 in the second Test yesterday as South Africa’s ailing pace attack was brought to its knees. Captain Clarke blasted 39 fours and a six in a sparkling unbeaten 224 at Adelaide Oval to demoralise the Proteas after they lost paceman Vernon Philander before play started with a back injury and Jacques Kallis with a suspected hamstring injury after lunch. Dale Steyn, the world’s top-ranked test bowler, took himself off after tea with another suspected hamstring strain, leaving the tourists at the mercy of a withering barrage from Clarke and fellow centurions David Warner and Mike Hussey. “We just made 480 in a day, now I’m trying to work out what we’ve got to do tomorrow to set up this game to have a crack at winning,” Clarke told reporters after becoming the first player to score four double-centuries in a calendar year. “It’s a very good wicket... So there’s a long way to go in this game before anybody wins but certainly for us, we need to really focused on tomorrow morning and continuing this momentum and making as many runs as we can in this first innings.” Steyn returned to the field and bowled Hussey with the last ball of the day but the horse had already bolted as Clarke and the rugged 37-year-old combined for a 272-run stand in bright sunshine. That followed a thrilling 155-run partnership between Clarke and Warner after the hosts had slumped to 55-3 with Kallis striking twice in the morning to skittle the top order. However, when Kallis went off injured, the pair hit out after lunch as South Africa captain Graeme Smith rested Steyn and threw spinner Imran Tahir to the wolves. Clarke and Warner plundered 108 runs in less than an hour after lunch, with the latter lofting a six over bowler Tahir’s head and then stroking a sublime cover drive for four on the next delivery to bring up his third test century. Having had his place in the test side questioned after an indifferent run of form, an ecstatic Warner bounded down the wicket and punched the air in delight as the fans squeezed into the half of the ground not under renovation

roared. The belligerent 26-year-old opener was eventually caught behind for 119 off the bowling of paceman Morne Morkel, having blasted 16 fours and four sixes, but Australia were in control at 210-4. Clarke, in white-hot form following an unbeaten 259 in the drawn first test in Brisbane, barely missed a step as he combined with Hussey after tea to drive Australia to their highest first-day total in decades. The 31-year-old skipper brought up his first hundred with a cut to the backward point boundary off Tahir, having survived an appeal for caught behind when on 73 off the bowling of paceman Rory Kleinveldt that umpire Billy Bowden gave not out. South Africa referred the decision but it was turned down after a video review, the second declined for the innings, leaving the visitors with no more referrals. As shadows crept across the ground, Clarke began a renewed assault before stumps and charged to his 200th run with a single flicked off his pads to spark a standing ovation from a roaring crowd. The crowd was back on their feet one ball later as Hussey slogged over midwicket for six to bring up his 17th test century and second in succession after registering a ton in Brisbane. South Africa’s bowlers ended with ugly figures, with Tahir going wicketless for 159 runs, pillaged for more than seven an over. Kleinveldt, who replaced Philander in the team, battled hard but also went wicketless for 70 runs. The tourists face a Herculean task to turn things around at Adelaide and could lose their top test ranking should they lose the three-match series. Gary Kirsten said it was one of his toughest days as South Africa coach. “We went through periods where we bowled quite nicely, but the periods where we didn’t bowl nicely we got a beating,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to come here tomorrow thinking we’re losing, that’s for sure. Kallis’s removal of opener Ed Cowan for 10 with his third ball and Ricky Ponting for four underlined his importance to the team. Morkel, who had Rob Quiney caught behind for a duck by Smith at first slip, finished with 2-128.—Reuters

Dates confirmed for Ashes tour of Australia SYDNEY: England will again play four tour matches in addition to the five tests on the 2013-14 Ashes tour of Australia, Cricket Australia (CA) said in announcing the dates of the series yesterday. Cricket’s oldest and fiercest international rivalry will be renewed twice next year with Australia’s tour of England being followed by the return visit Down Under to avoid the series running into the limited overs World Cup in 2015. England won the Ashes in 2009 and retained them on their last trip after a convincing 3-1 series triumph in Australia - their first in a quarter of a century. The tests will again take place at the Gabba in Brisbane, Adelaide Oval, WACA in Perth, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). “We are delighted to be able to confirm the Ashes fixtures so far in advance of the series,” CA chief James Sutherland said in a statement.“It means fans will be able to plan their trips around the country to follow all the action. “I am sure there will be a lot of fans from the UK who will want to make the trip over and we look forward to hosting them here.” England’s boisterous travelling “Barmy Army” have become an integral feature of Ashes series in recent years. The one tour match taking place during the test series will be in Canberra between the first and second tests rather than between the second and third tests as was the case in 2010. England will also play five one-day matches and three Twenty20 matches against Australia on the tour but the dates for those have yet to be fixed. England tour schedule: Oct 31-Nov 2 Western Australia XIPerth Nov 6-9Australia AHobart Nov 13-16 New South Wales XI Sydney Nov 21-25 First test Brisbane Nov 29-30 Chairman’s XI Canberra Dec 5-9Second testAdelaide Dec 13-17 Third test Perth Dec 26-30 Fourth testMelbourne Jan 3-7Fifth test Sydney —Reuters

ADELAIDE: Australia’s captain Michael Clarke (right) celebrates making 200 runs against South Africa during their cricket Test match.—AP

SCOREBOARD Scoreboard at the close of the opening day of the second test between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval yesterday. Australia won the toss and chose to bat Australia first innings D. Warner c Smith b Morkel 119 E. Cowan c & b Kallis 10 R. Quiney c Smith b Morkel 0 R. Ponting b Kallis 4 M. Clarke not out 224 M. Hussey b Steyn 103 Extras (lb-10, w-1 nb-11) 22 Total (for five wickets, 86.5 overs)482 Fall of wickets: 1-43 2-44 3-55 4-210 5-482

Still to bat: M. Wade, P. Siddle, B. Hilfenhaus, J. Pattinson, N. Lyon. Bowling: Steyn 17.1-1-62-1, Morkel 22-5-128-2, Kallis 3.3-1-19-2, Kleinveldt 16.1-2-70-0 (nb-6, w-1), Tahir 21-0-159-0 (nb-5), Du Plessis 70-34-0. South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Jacques Rudolph, Faf du Plessis, Rory Kleinveldt, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel.

Samuels ton helps Windies edge towards B’desh total KHULNA: Marlon Samuels struck his fifth test century to move the West Indies towards Bangladesh’s first innings total at the close of the second day’s play in the second Test yesterday. Samuels (109 not out) and Darren Bravo, unbeaten on 85, added 198 runs for the second wicket as the tourists closed on 241 for two wickets to trail Bangladesh by 146 runs. The West Indies had earlier lost openers Kieran Powell (13) to pace bowler Rubel Hossain when the left-hander gave a catch to Shakib Al Hasan at deep square leg then Chris Gayle (25) was quickly removed by off-spinner Sohag Gazi. Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim smartly caught Gayle when he tried to sweep Gazi but he could only manage an inside edge to leave the West Indies 43-2. However Samuels and Bravo kept Bangladesh at bay in the remaining hours, batting with ease on a pitch which did not offer any significant turn to the local spinners. Samuels, quiet in the tourists’ first test win in Dhaka, completed his century with a four off Shakib then raised his bat to acknowledge his teammates’ applause. Earlier West Indies needed a little over five overs to end the first innings of Bangladesh, who added 22 to be all out for 387. Darren Sammy took a catch off his own bowling to dismiss Mahmudullah for 76 and end Bangladesh’s record ninth wicket stand at 184. Mahmudullah and Abul Hasan fell just 12 runs short of the world record of 195, held by South Africa’s Mark Boucher and Pat Symcox against Pakistan at Johannesburg in 1998. Abul, unbeaten on 100 overnight which had made him only the second debutant to score a century batting at number 10, missed another record when he was caught by Sammy off Fidel Edwards for 113. Another five runs would have seen Abul overtake Englishman Walter Read’s best score by a number 10 of 117 against Australia at the Oval in 1884 but Edwards, with figures of 6-90 and his third six-wicket test haul in 55 matches, preserved the record. —Reuters

SCOREBOARD KHULNA, Bangladesh: Scoreboard at the close on the second day of the second test between Bangladesh and West Indies at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium yesterday. Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat Bangladesh first innings (overnight 365-8) Tamin Iqbal b Sammy 32 Nazimuddin c Powell b Edwards 4 Shahriar Nafees c Ramdin b Sammy 26 Naeem Islam b Edwards 16 Shakib Al Hasan c Ramdin b Edwards 17 Mushfiqur Rahim c Ramdin b Edwards 38 Nasir Hossain c Edwards b Permaul 52 Mahmudullah c&b Sammy 76 Sohag Gazi lbw b Edwards 0 Abul Hasan c Sammy b Edwards 113 Rubel Hossain not out 5 Extras (b-4 lb-3 nb-1) 8 Total (all out; 91.1 overs) 387 Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-64 3-77 4-93 5-98 6-185 7-193 8-193 9377 Bowling: Edwards 18.1-2-90-6 (1nb), Best 10-3-31-0, Sammy 23-4-74-3, Narine 19-0-91-0, Permaul 19-2-79-1, Samuels 2-015-0. West Indies first innings C.Gayle c Rahim b Gazi 25 K.Powell c Shakib b Rubel 13 D.Bravo not out 85 M.Samuels not out 109 Extras (lb-3 w-1 nb-5) 9 Total (two wickets; 82 overs) 241 Fall of wickets: 1-37 2-43 To bat: S.Chanderpaul, D.Ramdin, D.Sammy (captain), V.Permaul, S.Narine, T.Best, F.Edwards Bowling (to date): Sohag Gazi 20-3-67-1, Abul Hasan 14-0-560 (w-1 nb-3), Rubel Hossain 14-5-31-1 (nb-2), Naeem Islam 1-03-0, Shakib Al Hasan 26-8-56-0, Mahmudullah 7-0-25-0.


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Thunder roll past Clippers for Chicago, Luol Deng added 19 and Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Bulls have lost three in a row for the first time in Tom Thibodeau’s three seasons as coach.

OKLAHOMA CITY: Kevin Durant scored 35 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and Oklahoma City’s All-Star tandem scored all of the Thunder’s points in overtime in a 117111 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. Westbrook connected on a 3pointer from the left wing to open the scoring in overtime, and Durant rattled one in from about the same spot two possessions later for a 108-104 advantage. Westbrook then answered DeAndre Jordan’s three-point play with a baseline jumper, and Oklahoma City was able to close it out from the foul line. Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 23 points, and Jamal Crawford had 20 in the meeting of Western Conference division leaders. The Clippers had won six in a row.

Suns 114, Trail Blazers 87 In Phoenix, Marcin Gortat scored a seasonhigh 22 points in only three quarters and Phoenix routed Portland to snap a threegame losing streak. Markieff Morris added 19 points and seven rebounds. Damien Lillard had 24 points for Portland. Warriors 102, Nets 93 In Oakland, Klay Thompson made two 3pointers and scored 10 of his 23 points during a pivotal run late in the third quarter, and Golden State held on to beat Brooklyn. David Lee added 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and Stephen Curry had 25 points for Golden State. Brook Lopez scored 22 points for the Nets.

Heat 113, Bucks 106 In Miami, LeBron James had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade also had 28 points and Miami scored the first six points of overtime on the way to beating Milwaukee. Chris Bosh scored 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, his most in a Heat uniform. James also had eight assists, and Ray Allen scored 17 points for the Heat. John Henson had 17 points and 18 rebounds for Milwaukee, and Brandon Jennings had 19 points.

Magic 90, Pistons 74 In Orlando, Andrew Nicholson scored 15 points, Glen Davis had 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Orlando opened the third quarter with a 21-0 run. Greg Monroe scored 19 points for Detroit. The Pistons were 28 of 85 from the field. —AP

Kings 113, Lakers 97 In Sacramento, Marcus Thornton scored 23 points, Tyreke Evans had 18 and Sacramento beat lethargic Los Angeles to snap a five-game losing streak. Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the Kings hand new Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni his first loss with the team. Los Angeles had won three straight. Mavericks 114, Knicks 111 In Dallas, OJ Mayo scored 10 of 27 points in the final 6 minutes of the third quarter when Dallas charged ahead, and the Mavericks held off New York. Vince Carter had 25 points, including a floater with 6 minutes left that made it 102-90. The Knicks then had a 21-10 spurt, getting to 112-111 on Jason Kidd’s two free throws with 1:15 left. Carmelo Anthony, who had 23 points, was short on a potential go-ahead jumper with 4 seconds left.

NBA results/standings Charlotte 98, Toronto 97; Orlando 90, Detroit 74; Cleveland 92, Philadelphia 83; Indiana 115, New Orleans 107 (OT); San Antonio 112, Boston 100; Atlanta 101, Washington 100 (OT); Miami 113, Milwaukee 106 (OT); Oklahoma City 117, LA Clippers 111 (OT); Houston 93, Chicago 89; Denver 101, Minnesota 94; Dallas 114, NY Knicks 111; Phoenix 114, Portland 87; Sacramento 113, LA Lakers 97; Golden State 102, Brooklyn 93.

OAKLAND: Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) scores past Kris Humphries (left) during the second half of an NBA basketball game. —AP missed his second consecutive game because of stress reaction in his left ankle.

Nuggets 101, Timberwolves 94 In Minneapolis, Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points, and Andre Iguodala had 18 points and nine rebounds for Denver to spoil Kevin Love’s surprise season debut for Minnesota.Love had 34 points and 14 rebounds, helping the Wolves take a 17point lead in the first half. But he didn’t get a whole lot of help in his first game in nearly five weeks after breaking his right hand.

Hawks 101, Wizards 100 In Atlanta, Kyle Korver hit a long 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Atlanta past Washington, extending the Wizards’ franchise-worst start to 0-10. Korver finished with 16 points, hitting his fifth 3-pointer after Kevin Seraphin’s baseline jumper gave Washington a 100-98 lead. Josh Smith led Atlanta with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Seraphin led Washington with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Pacers 115, Hornets 107 In Indianapolis, Paul George scored 33 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and overtime, and Roy Hibbert had a tripledouble in Indiana’s victory over New Orleans. George made a team record nine 3pointers, all after halftime. Hibbert had 10 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best 11 blocks, and David West and George Hill each scored 16 points for the Pacers. Robin Lopez had 21 points and 13 rebounds for New Orleans, but he made just 3 of 17 field goals. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis

Bobcats 98, Raptors 97 In Charlotte, Ramon Sessions hit a 16footer with 28 seconds left and Charlotte made a late defensive stand to beat Toronto for its fifth win in six games. Toronto had four shots to win it, but two resulted in blocks and Andrea Bargnani’s baseline jumper fell short as time expired. Kemba Walker had 19 points and seven assists for the Bobcats, and Sessions and Michael KiddGilchrist each had 14 points. Bargnani had 25 points for the Raptors.

Cavaliers 92, 76ers 83 In Cleveland, Jeremy Pargo scored a career-high 28 points filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving to help Cleveland end a six-game losing streak. Irving is expected to miss a month because of a broken finger. Dion Waiters added 16 points for Cleveland, Alonzo Gee added 14, and Anderson Varejao had 10 points and had 19 rebounds. Jason Richardson and Jrue Holiday each had 16 points for Philadelphia. Spurs 112, Celtics 100 In Boston, Tony Parker scored a seasonhigh 26 points, Tim Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and reserve Tiago Splitter added a season-high 23 points for San Antonio. Rajon Rondo had 22 points and extended his consecutive streak of doubledigit assist games to 35 with 15. Paul Pierce had 19 points after spraining his ankle in a 20point loss at Detroit on Sunday. Rockets 93, Bulls 89 In Houston, James Harden scored 28 points, Patrick Patterson added 20 and Houston beat Chicago to snap a three-game losing streak. Nate Robinson scored 21 points

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT NY Knicks 8 2 .800 Brooklyn 6 4 .600 Philadelphia 7 5 .583 Boston 6 6 .500 Toronto 3 9 .250 Central Division Milwaukee 6 4 .600 Indiana 6 7 .462 Chicago 5 6 .455 Cleveland 3 8 .273 Detroit 2 10 .167 Southeast Division Miami 9 3 .750 Charlotte 6 4 .600 Atlanta 6 4 .600 Orlando 4 7 .364 Washington 0 10 0 Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 9 3 .750 Denver 6 6 .500 Utah 6 6 .500 Minnesota 5 5 .500 Portland 5 6 .455 Pacific Division LA Clippers 8 3 .727 Golden State 7 5 .583 LA Lakers 6 6 .500 Phoenix 5 7 .417 Sacramento 3 8 .273 Southwest Division Memphis 8 2 .800 San Antonio 9 3 .750 Dallas 7 6 .538 Houston 5 7 .417 New Orleans 3 7 .300

GB 2 2 3 6 1.5 1.5 3.5 5 2 2 4.5 8 3 3 3 3.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 5 2.5 4 5


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Keselowski aside, NASCAR ready to move past 2012 CHARLOTTE: The season hadn’t even ended before NASCAR’s top executives were previewing 2013, the new “Gen 6” cars and elements of a five-year industry “action plan” designed to engage and excite fans. The season ended with a celebratory final image of fresh-faced champion Brad Keselowski, drunk on the combination of his sponsor’s beer and the joy of giving team owner Roger Penske his first championship. And the days since Sunday’s finale have been a coming out party for the 28year-old from suburban Detroit, who is all over the television dial smoothly shilling for NASCAR. It’s a reprieve from the bad news: ESPN’s ratings from the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway were down 25 percent from last year’s race, the mostviewed in network history. Ratings were down or flat for all 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship races this season. Why? Because the racing in 2012 was mostly forgettable, something chairman Brian France has tasked his entire competition department with fixing. “The missing

and final piece, which we’re working on now, is to improve on the quality of racing,” France said before Sunday’s finale. “Everyone knows a stated goal of ours is to have the closest, most competitive, tightest racing that we can. And that’s what we’re testing now.” So in one sense, NASCAR couldn’t wait to get out of Homestead and officially close a 2012 season that opened with perhaps the most bizarre Daytona 500 in history. Heavy rains washed out NASCAR’s marquee event for the first time in 54 runnings, pushing the race into a prime-time Monday night slot. Then, a freak crash between Juan Pablo Montoya and a truck loaded with jet fuel ignited a fuel fire and a nearly two-hour delay. While track workers tried to clean the mess with Tide laundry detergent, Keselowski grabbed worldwide attention with both thumbs by tweeting updates from his car. The TV ratings were good, the buzz surrounding NASCAR was better but it wasn’t sustainable as the Sprint Cup Series quickly

fell into a stretch of nearly unwatchable racing. California ran caution-free until rain brought out the yellow that eventually stopped the race. Texas had two debris cautions until the race went green 234 laps to the finish. Bristol had just one multi-car crash and featured a 219-lap green-flag run. Kansas in the spring had three cautions, two for debris and one for a single-car spin and the race ended with a 75-lap green-flag run. With Richmond and Talladega looming, fans believed action-packed racing was ahead. Instead, Richmond was a bland affair until Carl Edwards was accused of jumping a late restart and Talladega exposed the disconnect between drivers and fans. Sure, there was the usual laterace multi-car accident, and Tony Stewart’s tongue-in-cheek assessment of the racing proved there’s no middle ground in racin’ vs. wreckin’. “It’s not fair to these fans for them to not see more wrecks than that and more torn-up cars,” he sarcastically said after the May race. “We still had over half the cars running at the end, and it

shouldn’t be that way.” When NASCAR returned to Daytona in July, promoter Bruton Smith was calling for mandatory cautions to spice up the racing and France was adamantly opposed to the need for gimmicks. But, France revealed that he’d dispatched senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell to North Carolina to repurpose NASCAR’s research and development center and zero in on the correct rules package for the debut of the new car next year. Hours before the race, AJ Allmendinger was suspended for failing a random drug test. Nothing diverts attention like a scandal, and Allmendinger’s woes and his job with straight-laced Penske Racing dominated the news for the next month. When Penske finally cut him loose, the free agency watch began. Matt Kenseth had announced in June he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing, and although it was a poorly kept secret he was taking Joey Logano’s ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, it wasn’t officially confirmed until the end of the summer. —AP

Vettel seeks to deny Alonso and seal treble

DUBAI: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a ball on the 2nd hole during the round one of DP World Golf Championship in Dubai. —AP

Donald, McIlroy steal limelight in Dubai DUBAI: World number two Luke Donald made a flying start in his bid to record back-to-back victories by snatching the firstround lead at the DP World Tour Championship yesterday. Donald fired a seven-under 65 to move one stroke ahead of top-ranked Rory McIlroy, Briton Marc Warren and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain at the European Tour’s seasonending tournament. Briton Donald, who won the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan last week, struggled early and had to hole two medium-range putts to avoid dropping shots at two of the first four holes. He then reeled off seven birdies in a scintillating 10-hole sweep from the fifth to overpower his rivals at a Greg Norman-designed Earth course softened by a monsoon-like downpour at the start of the day. McIlroy, who has already clinched the money-list titles on both sides of the Atlantic, enjoyed his purple patch of form on the back nine as he squeezed five birdies into a seven-hole stretch from the 10th. In joint fifth place on 67 were Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed, Martin Kaymer of Germany, British pair Lee Westwood and Richie Ramsay and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.—Reuters

SAO PAULO: After helping his Red Bull team claim a stunning third consecutive constructors’ world championship in Texas last weekend, defending drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel will seek, once again, to become the youngest triple champion in Formula One history in this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. In his 101st race, the 25-year-old German has a clear goal - to finish in the top four and thereby make it impossible for his only rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari to overhaul his 13 points deficit and take his own third title. On paper, for Vettel, it sounds simple enough after a sequence of results that recently saw him reel off four straight wins before finishing third in Abu Dhabi, after starting in the pit lane, and then second in Austin last Sunday. But he knows that Alonso, 31, and Ferrari will do all they possibly can, within the rules, to seize the Spaniard’s first title triumph since he joined the team. He will be aware, too, of the threat from both McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in the season finale. Hamilton, in particular, has made it clear he wants to mark the 20th and final race of the year and of his career with McLaren on a high note as he races in their colours for the 110th time before transferring to Mercedes next year. “Brazil has been the scene of some epic races for me during my time at McLaren and, for many reasons, this weekend will be a very big race for me,” said Hamilton, 27. “As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that I’ll give it my all on every single lap.” The Briton will know he has the team behind him again, for the last time, as they want to end the season on a high with both drivers on the podium if possible. That will make life difficult for Vettel and Red Bull whose frailties were exposed last Sunday when Mark Webber had to retire with alternator failure, the team’s

AUSTIN: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany gets a pit service in this file photo during the Formula One US Grand Prix auto race.—AP front of Sebastian and we need some drivthird in races. In response, the team are planning to ers in the middle, without thinking of the run with updated parts and to attack worst-case scenario. “And this is the approach that we have throughout the weekend. Even if the weekend turns into a battle for survival in to have. We know that it’s not easy the rain, as forecast, Red Bull have because he’s driving very well and has a declared they will not be taking a cautious very quick car, but that doesn’t change what we have to do. approach. “We have seen that Mark (Webber) had Team chief Christian Horner said they know no other approach than racing to a reliability issue and that can happen win. “We just have to approach the next every time. But I want to stay concentrated on the job we have to do, and prepare race as we have the previous 19,” he said. “We have to go there, attack the week- the car in the best way we can.” For Ferrari, it will be critical to improve end, and get the best out of ourselves; the car, the strategy, the drivers, and reliabili- their qualifying performance at a circuit ty. “Anything can happen, as we have seen that has fond memories for Alonso, who this season, but it is good to be going won the 2006 title for Renault at Interlagos there with a lead, and we go there deter- after a tight duel with old rival Michael Schumacher, then in his last season with mined to close the job off.” Alonso and Ferrari, who demonstrated Ferrari. This time around, Schumacher will their pragmatism in Texas by deliberately be retiring again, but now for good, after a sacrificing Brazilian Felipe Massa’s grid lacklustre return in 2010. At 43, and after position for the benefit of Alonso, by 306 race starts, he will making his final breaking the seal on his gearbox, are exit, to be replaced alongside Nico equally focussed on raising their perform- Rosberg by Hamilton. “My departure will probably be less ance for what promises to be an exciting emotional for me this time than in 2006, end to a long season. Team chief Stefano Domenicali said: when we were still fighting for the cham“Pragmatically speaking, we know that the pionship and everything was much more result has to be better. We have to be in intense,” said Schumacher. —AFP


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Asada, Takahashi look to make GP final on home ice

SHANGHAI: Daisuke Takahashi of Japan performs in this file photo during the men’s short program at ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of China. — AP

SENDAI: Japanese skaters Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi will be aiming to secure berths in the Grand Prix final at this weekend’s NHK Trophy, the sixth and final event of the International Skating Union’s GP series. Asada, who won the Cup of China two weeks ago, can wrap up a place in the GP final in Sochi next month with a podium finish here. With a silver medal from Skate Canada, Japan’s Akiko Suzuki also has a good shot at the GP final. Also in the mix is Agnes Zawadzki of the United States, who took bronze at the Rostelecom Cup earlier this month. Takahashi, who won silver at the Cup of China, is among the favorites in the men’s event along with compatriot Yuzuru Hanyu, who took silver at Skate America. Skate Canada champion Javier Fernandez of Spain will provide a tough challenge for the Japanese men and is looking to book his ticket to Sochi as well. With a place in the GP final on the line, Asada will likely opt not to attempt her trademark triple axel. If Asada reaches the GP final it will be the first time she has done so since 2008, when she came from behind to beat South Korea’s Kim Yu-na on the strength of two triple axels. Mirai Nagasu of the United States will also be competing here. Nagasu came in fourth in the Cup of China in what was to be her lone GP assignment of the season, but was a late addition to the NHK Trophy field after Russia’s Polina Shelepen withdrew with an ankle injury last week. Russia’s Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov will be favored in pairs after taking second at home in Moscow at the Rostelecom Cup. They will be challenged by Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, who still have a shot for the final after placing fourth in China. Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2011 world champions, are the favorites in ice dance. They won at Skate America and will go up against Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who took second at the Rostelecom Cup.

Recuperating Nadal back on practice court MANACOR: Rafa Nadal returned to the practice court and started hitting balls again for the first time since the latest in a series of knee injuries forced his withdrawal from the US Open at the end of August. The 11-times grand slam singles champion, who has not competed since a shock defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June, completed a session under the supervision of coach and uncle Toni Nadal on an indoor hard court in his home town of Manacor on the island of Majorca. The 26-year-old Spaniard, the current world number four, hopes to be back to full fitness in time for the Australian Open in January. “”I think I am feeling better, the knee is improving the right way and I am happy to be on court another time after a few months outside,” Nadal told reporters. “I am just enjoying the feeling to be playing tennis another time and, well, it will be another period of my recovery,” he added. “I start very slow and I go day by day. I will work hard in my comeback and hopefully the knee will be ready soon. “Always you have to be careful. A few months outside of competition the body has to re-adapt everything on court and all the muscles need to start very slow.” Nadal’s athletic, aggressive playing style places huge demands on his muscles and joints and has been sidelined several times by knee problems

during his 11-year career. His latest injury was diagnosed as a partial tear of the patella tendon and an inflammation of the Hoffa’s fat pad in his left knee. After the shock defeat at Wimbledon he was unable to defend his Olympic title at the London Games. As well as the US Open, which he won in 2010 and where he lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final, Nadal missed the season-ending Tour Finals and Spain’s Davis Cup final defeat to Czech Republic at the weekend. “Every day is better otherwise I wouldn’t be on the court,” he said. “The images say the evolution has been favourable and that is reason for satisfaction after many months of working and waiting. “It is now another phase where Im starting little by little and going day by day with patience to find the right moment when all is well and my body will be ready to compete and when my knee is ready.” Nadal’s enforced absence deprived tennis’s “big four” of seven-times French Open champion, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray of one of its most competitive and successful members for the second half of the season. Nadal had played some of his best tennis in the first six months of 2012, losing narrowly to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open and winning a record seventh Roland Garros title on his favored clay. — Reuters

Rafael Nadal

The competition begins Friday with the short dance and the men’s and women’s short programs. The pairs short program, the free dance and the men’s and women’s free skate will be held Saturday and the completion concludes Sunday with the pairs free skate. — AP

Azarenka to play in Brisbane BRISBANE: The Brisbane International starting next month will feature the world’s top three women players with confirmation on Wednesday that topranked Victoria Azarenka will take part. Azarenka, of Belarus, joins Russian world number two Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams of the United States in the main lead-up tournament to January’s Australian Open in Melbourne, the season’s first Grand Slam. Tournament organisers said the field would feature eight of the top 10 women. Other players confirmed include Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani of Italy, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Australia’s Samantha Stosur. “I am really looking forward to returning to Brisbane where I won the inaugural title in 2009,” Azarenka said. “I am very proud to have ended the year as world number one and I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane where I know I will get some tough matches against the world’s best there.” Azarenka, 23, said it was the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open, where she will defend the title she won this year. The Brisbane International, which also features US Open champion Andy Murray in the men’s draw, takes place from December 30 to January 6.—AFP


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Vidal admired in Italy MILAN: Arturo Vidal has arguably been the top player at Juventus this season yet at the same time the 25-year-old has become the target of criticism in his native Chile. Juventus supporters have nothing but unrestrained admiration for the feisty midfielder, a tireless and versatile player who complements his ball-winning abilities with excellent distribution and an impressive scoring record. Vidal, whose side visit AC Milan on Sunday (1945 GMT) in a meeting of Italy’s two Champions League representatives, has scored eight goals this season, five in Serie A and three in the Champions League. He was voted man of the match by both UEFA and Gazzetta dello Sport after scoring one goal and providing another in Juventus’s 3-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday. “I’m happy to wear the shirt of Juventus, to play in front of these fans,” said Vidal, who joined the club at the start of last season and won the scudetto at his first attempt. “I’m living through a beautiful moment of my life.” Yet his defiant goal celebration, when he put his finger on his lips, showed that not all is well with the former Bayer Leverkusen player. Back home in Chile, he has been vilified after being sent off in two successive internationals. “The gesture was for those people in Chile who have criticised me,” he told Gazzetta. His most recent red card came a week ago for a shocking tackle from behind during Chile’s 3-1 friendly defeat by Serbia. Chile coach Claudio Borghi was fired following the game and criticism rained down on Vidal from the Chilean media, who are baffled over his disappointing performances for the country. Chile team mate Pablo Contreras said Vidal had been made a scapegoat for his team’s run of five defeats in a row. “After everything that has happened, it’s much easier to blame Arturo Vidal, but it is the whole team which has not been good enough during this period,” he said. Vidal, one of five players who was banned by Borghi last year after turning up late for a training session, admitted that discipline was an issue but said the Chilean media had been muck-raking. “Football gives you so much and not everybody can handle it,” he told FIFA.com in an interview this month. “You need to grow up as a person and, because of the position you’re in, sometimes you have a duty to set an example. But that’s not an easy task because to do that you need certain qualities that only come with time. “On the one hand, the Chilean media are always looking for details on what goes on away from the pitch. And on the other, Chilean players tend to be quite shy, which makes them even more nervous about speaking.” —Reuters

BUENOS AIRES: Brazil’s players pose as they celebrate at the end of a friendly soccer match against Argentina. After a 2-2 on aggregate, Brazil won 4-3 the penalty shootout. — AP

Argentina win friendly but Brazil take trophy BUENOS AIRES: Substitute Ignacio Scocco struck twice in the final 10 minutes to give Argentina a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Brazil in a friendly at La Bombonera on Wednesday, but the visitors took the “Superclasico de las Americas” trophy on penalties. Brazil, who had beaten Argentina 2-1 in Goiania in September, won the trophy 4-3 in the shootout. The friendly double-header between the teams featured players only from domestic leagues. The return leg was supposed to have taken place on Oct. 3 but a floodlights failure at the original venue in the northern city of Resistencia forced a postponement until Wednesday. Scocco, the Argentine first division’s top scorer making his international debut at 27, put the home side

ahead with a penalty in the 80th minute after Jean brought down Juan Manuel Martinez. Brazil’s Jean made amends four minutes later when he shot across the Argentine goal and Fred wrongfooted goalkeeper Agustin Orion to make it 1-1. Argentina pushed hard for the winner and in the final minute Walter Montillo launched a quick counter-attack, Martinez fended off two defenders and squared for Scocco to shoot low past Diego Cavalieri. “We played an intelligent game, we were able to get the win which was what we were looking for, then the penalties are down to luck,” Scocco said in a televised interview on the pitch.“The players had a great game despite having to play a midweek fixture,” coach Alejandro Sabella said.

The Argentine coach’s squad had been involved in three league matches in the previous 10 days. Brazil’s Neymar had a lively first half, teasing the Argentine defence with his trademark, jinking runs and had a chance in the 33rd minute from inside the box but lifted his lob high over the bar. Argentina failed to make the most of several free kicks and corners in the first half with Martinez, who scored a fine opener in the 2-1 win in Goiania, coming close in the 25th minute. Montillo, occupying the playmaker’s role, went on a Lionel Messistyle diagonal run across the face of the goal and fed left back Leonel Vangioni, whose cross was met by Barcos but his header went just wide. — Reuters

Benitez on mission to drag Chelsea out of their malaise LONDON: Interim manager Rafael Benitez has little time to dust off his Premier League suit and tie and start plotting how to drag Chelsea out of their malaise with leaders Manchester City visiting Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Spaniard, who guided Liverpool to European glory in 2005 and another Champions League final two years later before leaving in 2010, was appointed until the end of the season after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday. Di Matteo paid the price for Chelsea’s alarming drop in form which culminated in a 3-0 loss at Juventus on Tuesday that left the holders on the brink of a Champions League exit. Chelsea’s new man must quickly solve their defensive problems that have seen 21 goals conceded in 10 games in all competitions. Chelsea are also without a win in four league games. Benitez will be reunited with Spain striker Fernando Torres, who he signed for Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007. Torres has often struggled to live up to his 50 million pounds ($79.67 million) price tag since moving to the capital last year and was dropped to the bench against Juve. After a bright start, Chelsea have slipped to third and champions City, buoyed by reaching the Premier League summit last weekend, should be ready to take advantage. City exited the Champions League at the group stage for the second season running on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid, but manager Roberto Mancini believes his side are starting to hit their stride.“We can do better, but I hope we are starting

to find the form of last season - we started to change things a few games ago and it seems to be paying off,” Mancini said before the Real game. City came from behind to beat 10-man Chelsea in the season curtain raiser, the Community Shield, in August. With Di Matteo becoming the first managerial casualty of the season in the Premier League, it might not be too long for another to depart. The London Evening Standard newspaper reported this week that Mark Hughes had refused Queens Park Rangers’s request to resign with the club propping up the standings on four

Rafael Benitez

points and without a win after 12 games. Welshman Hughes, in charge at Loftus Road for 10 months, is adamant he can turn QPR’s fortunes around but his immediate task will not get easier with a trip to his former club Manchester United tomorrow. “I don’t run away from challenges, and this is a huge challenge,” Hughes told reporters following the 3-1 home defeat by fellow strugglers Southampton last weekend. For Hughes, there would be no better time to get one over his old boss Alex Ferguson but the match provides a perfect opportunity for second-placed United to retake top spot, albeit for 24 hours. United, a point behind City, rested several senior players including Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for the midweek Champions League loss at Galatasaray, a defeat none too costly with the former European champions assured of a last 16 berth. Fourth-placed West Bromwich Albion hastened Di Matteo’s demise when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Saturday and Steve Clarke’s side continue their unlikely assault on the upper echelons with a trip to Sunderland tomorrow. Scot Clarke has made an impressive start to his first permanent managerial post after stints as an assistant coach at Newcastle United, Chelsea, West Ham United and Liverpool. In-form Nigeria striker Peter Odemwingie said the win over Chelsea, which took Albion to 23 points from 12 games, made a statement that the Midlands club were not to be taken lightly. —Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Ex-Bremen heroes eye win for new club Wolfsburg

PSG set to test Troyes

BERLIN: It will be a family affair when Werder Bremen travel to VfL Wolfsburg tomorrow and Bremen’s iconic sports director Klaus Allofs links up once again with former Werder stalwarts Diego and Naldo having switched sides only last week. What would have otherwise been an ordinary league match has become an emotional encounter for the new Wolfsburg sports director as well as playmaker Diego and central defender Naldo, who won league and Cup titles at the Weser stadium. They were all once hailed as Bremen heroes with Allofs spending 13 years as the team’s sports director before signing for Wolfsburg last week after the sacking of coach and manager Felix Magath. Naldo was lured to Bremen by Allofs and spent seven years there before surprisingly joining Wolfsburg in the summer. Mercurial Diego quickly made a name for himself during his three seasons there and won the 2009 German Cup before spells at Juventus, Wolfsburg and a loan season at Atletico Madrid. He returned to Wolfsburg in the close season but was benched by Magath before he sparkled under interim coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner.“Sometimes football is strange,” said Naldo, who scored his season’s first goal with a thundering free kick against Hoffenheim last week. “It will be very emotional. I played with Diego there for three years and now we are together at Wolfsburg and now Klaus Allofs is here as well,” he told the Bremen website (www.werder.de) in an interview. “But for them it is also a difficult game. I talked to Diego about it who already knows the feeling.” Wolfsburg have bounced back since Magath’s departure with three wins in four games to lift themselves off the bottom, with Koestner staking a claim for a permanent position. His counterpart Thomas Schaaf shrugged off Allofs’ departure with a win over Fortuna Duesseldorf for their third victory in five games. Captain Clemens Fritz returned to training on Wednesday after a six-week injury layoff but it was still unclear whether he would be fit in time. “I have not talked to the coach about it. We still have a couple of days and we will decide on Friday,” he told reporters. Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich host Hanover 96 with club bosses ringing the alarm bells where a lacklustre Champions League draw in Valencia on Tuesday was enough to secure progress into the last 16. The Bavarians are eight points clear of second-placed Schalke 04, who will be looking to bounce back from a 20 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last week when they take on third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt. Champions Borussia Dortmund, fresh from booking their spot in the Champions League knockout stage with a 4-1 demolition of Ajax Amsterdam, travel to Mainz 05. — Reuters

PARIS: Paris St Germain took just one point from their last three Ligue 1 games, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning from suspension and Ezequiel Lavezzi finally finding his feet the capital side will expect to improve when they host Troyes on Saturday. Ibrahimovic was sent off when PSG lost at home to St Etienne, and in wo games without their talismanic striker they were held at Montpellier and lost at the Parc des Princes to Stade Rennes. Ibrahimovic set up five of his team’s six Champions League goals in wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev, and his absence from domestic duty was keenly felt by PSG. “Without Ibra, who is Ballon d’Or material like Messi or Ronaldo, it is inevitably different,” sports director Leonardo told reporters. Coach Carlo Ancelotti should also be able to rely on Lavezzi, who had struggled with injuries and lacked fitness before finally delivering on Wednesday, scoring both goals against Dynamo. Ibrahimovic sometimes takes up deep positions to draw defenders towards him, leaving space in front for Lavezzi, who then uses his devastating speed. “For the first time since he is at PSG, he was the Lavezzi everybody knows,” Ancelotti told reporters.— Reuters

SPAIN: Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller (right) is congratulated by teammate Mario Gomez (center) and Mario Mandzukic from Croatia (left) after Muller scored a goal in this file photo. — AP

MOSCOW: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (center) celebrates with teammates in this file photo. — AP

Barcelona, Atletico aim to extend record starts BARCELONA: Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will look to extend their best ever starts to the Spanish league with wins against defensive stalwarts Levante and Sevilla on Sunday. Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has led the Catalan club to an unbeaten record of 11 wins and one draw through the opening 12 rounds of his debut season, and Atletico is keeping pace only three points behind the league leaders. Lionel Messi is fueling Barcelona with a league-high 17 goals. The Argentina forward has scored 80 times in 2012 for club and country and is only five goals away from the single-year record set by Gerd Mueller for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972. Tomorrow, third-place Real Madrid will visit the unpredictable Real Betis. Messi scored his ninth double of the season on Tuesday when Barcelona advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the ninth straight season by winning 3-0 at Spartak Moscow. Barcelona, which has had several injuries in defense, kept its opponents scoreless for only the sixth time through 20 games this season. “We hadn’t kept a clean sheet in a while and we are very happy to have done so,” said defender Dani Alves, who scored Barcelona’s opener in Russia. “We have a way of playing that when we all push forward in attack sometimes we leave our defense exposed.” Levante has become a specialist in taking advantage of such opportunities to hit on the break. Striker Obafemi Martins has scored five goals, most by using his speed on the counterattack, in only eight appearances since joining Levante this offseason. Expected to struggle between balancing its maiden Europa League campaign with the domestic competitions, Levante has instead picked up where it left off last season and has climbed up into fourth place. Levante has proven particularly tough at home with four wins, one draw and one loss - when Madrid needed a late goal to topple the Valencia-based side. Atletico continues to impress under coach Diego Simeone, a former Atletico midfielder who helped the team win both the league and Copa del Rey titles in the 1995-96 season. Since returning as a coach midway through last season with Atletico in disarray, Simeone has forged his players into one of Spain’s best teams based on tough defense, physicality, and striker Radamel Falcao’s 10 league goals. Atletico will host a Sevilla side reinvigorated by what coach Michel Gonzalez called one of the best first halves of football he had ever seen when his team defeated Real Betis 5-1 last weekend in the Seville derby, Spain’s most heated intercity rivalry. Sevilla forward Jose Antonio Reyes had his best game since rejoining his boyhood club last season by scoring two goals. The former Arsenal player may be asked to carry the scoring load again with Spain striker Alvaro Negredo injured. Sevilla has allowed 14 goals this season. Only three of the 20 teams have conceded fewer goals. Madrid travels to Seville on

Saturday having wrapped up its classification for the next round of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 and eliminating Manchester City on Wednesday. The team is eight points behind Barcelona but has won five straight in the league. Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 goals in all competitions and 12 in league play. He will be looking to add to his tally against Betis after not finding the back of the net in the last two games. Betis is in sixth place after an erratic start that has included two wins by five and four goals as well as three losses by four or more goals. Betis coach Pepe Mel will have to regroup his team after the loss at Sevilla when his goalkeeper and defenders repeatedly lost their nerves and committed several blunders early on. “I’d never been in a defeat like we had last Sunday (against Sevilla),” Betis defender Alex Martinez said. “We ask our fans for forgiveness and we hope it won’t happen again this Sunday.—AP


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2012

Clarke double puts Australia in charge Page 42

www.kuwaittimes.net

SHANGHAI: Mao Asada of Japan, the gold medalist of the women’s free skating of the tournament, performs in this file photo during the gala exhibition at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of China. —AP

Asada, Takahashi look to make GP final on home ice Page 45

23rd Nov  

Friday Times