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Pakistan lawmakers elect Ashraf as PM

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Syrian troops slay 10 protesters in Aleppo

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SHAABAN 3, 1433 AH


4-star Germans reach Euro semis

Kuwait MPs push for elected government Lawmakers demand ‘full parliamentary system’

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti members of parliament have called for a “full parliamentary system”, local media said yesterday, raising the stakes in a standoff with the government dominated by the ruling Al-Sabah family. “Constitutional amendments reaching to a full parliamentary system have become an inescapable necessity in order to prevent the authorities from meddling in the will of the nation,” said a statement on the online news website. The website listed 35 members of the Islamist-led parliament as signatories to the statement, which came after lengthy meetings in Kuwait City. MPs have been pushing for an elected government to loosen the Al-Sabah family’s grip on power in the OPEC member state, where thousands of US troops are stationed. Despite having one of the more vibrant parliaments in the Gulf region, the Amir appoints the prime minister, usually from the ruling family, and has the final say on state affairs. Kuwaiti MPs have also said that more than half of the 50-member parliamentarians are resigning their posts - effectively checking a constitutional court ruling this week which annulled elections held in February and reinstated a parliament installed in 2009. The court ruling on Wednesday added to political turmoil by

attempting to reinstate a less confrontational parliament installed in 2009. But this would become impossible to achieve if MPs refused to sit in the assembly. Ahmed Al-Saadoun, speaker of the assembly elected in February, warned against allowing the 2009 parliament to convene. “Constitutional reforms are now due, and it is not an issue of a parliament that gets dissolved, because this council may be replaced by a better one. It is the issue of the stability of our democratic system,” he said. The latest crisis was the culmination of tensions between parliament and the government over calls by MPs to grill ministers over the conduct of their ministries. Members of the cabinet are usually chosen from outside parliament, with only one seat allocated to a member of the assembly. Opposition lawmakers have been demanding that nine seats on the cabinet be allocated to parliament members, a move that could make the government more accountable to the assembly. Kuwaiti media have said the opposition had been offered only four posts. Kuwait’s oil wealth and a generous welfare state had helped it avoid the “Arab Spring” protests seen elsewhere in the region. But sporadic protests have taken place in recent months. — Reuters

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KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammed Al Abdullah Al Sabah, Jamal Al Shihab and Salem Al Hutheina Sheikh pictured as Sheikh Mohammed talks to journalists in Kuwait City. The minister said that the government has not yet moved to enforce a recent court decision dissolving parliament as it was not published in the Official Gazete. — AP

Egypt army talks tough amid protests CAIRO: Egypt’s military rulers dismissed complaints from protesters yesterday that it was entrenching its rule and blamed the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate for stirring up emotions that drew thousands onto Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The Islamist candidate, Mohamed Morsy, shot back that the generals were defying the democratic will of the people and said protests would go on. But he stopped short of repeating a claim to have won last weekend’s election, urging simply a rapid announcement of the result, and praised the army as “patriotic”. In a brusque four-minute statement read on state television as Egyptians returned from weekly prayers - and as the revolutionary bastion of Tahrir was chanting for democracy - the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) made clear it had no plan to heed calls to cancel a decree extending its powers or reverse its dissolution of the new, Islamist-led parliament. “The issuance of the supplementary constitutional decree was necessitated by the needs of

administering the affairs of the state during this critical period in the history of our nation,” the off-screen announcer said, in the bureaucratic language favored by the generals who pushed aside brother officer Hosni Mubarak last year to appease the angry millions on the streets. In what were menacing tones for the army’s old adversary the Muslim Brotherhood, SCAF said people were free to protest - but only if they did not disrupt daily life. At Tahrir, the broad traffic interchange by the Nile in central Cairo was filled with makeshift tents offering shade from the midday sun, hawkers offering an array of goods from tea to “I Love Tahrir Square” T-shirts. Many knelt in prayer during the weekly service. Large groups of pious Islamists were bussed in from the provinces by their parties. The crowd chanted and waved Egyptian flags. The deadlock between Egypt’s two strongest forces raised grave doubts on the prospects for consensual democracy, though

some see possible compromise, if Morsy does become president. The SCAF statement read: “Anticipating the announcement of the presidential election results before they are announced officially is unjustifiable, and is one of the main causes of division and confusion prevailing the political arena.” It also said the army had no power to repeal the dissolution of parliament, saying that was down to judges who ruled some of January’s election rules unconstitutional. Critics say the judges were appointed under Mubarak and are not impartial. The Brotherhood is mounting protest vigils on town squares to demand the reversal of the decree and the dissolution. It also fears a delay in announcing the result of the presidential election indicates an attempt to cheat - though opponents say it is the Islamists who are not playing fair. Morsy and former general Ahmed Shafik both say they believe they won the runoff ballot. But it is Morsy’s declaration of victory within hours of polls closing - far more than

Shafik’s later, more cautious statements - which has driven debate about underhand tactics in a country long used to vote-rigging. The delay in publication of results, due on Thursday but not now expected until at least Saturday, has heightened anxiety on all sides, although all sides say they will protest peacefully. Morsy told a news conference he would continue to reject SCAF’s decree, which was issued as polls closed on Sunday, two days after the constitutional court gave the military grounds to dissolve parliament: “The constitutional declaration clearly implies attempts by the military council to restrict the incoming president,” he said. “This we totally reject.” But with no obvious resolution in sight to the stand-off, Morsy also made conciliatory references to the army: “There is no problem between us and our patriotic armed forces,” he said. “We do not agree to the issuing of the constitutional decree and neither do the people. Why do we need a supplementary declaration when we are going to draft a new constitution?” — Reuters



‘Parliament dissolution verdict not published in gazette yet’ Govt wants to be totally transparent KUWAIT: The government has not yet enforced a recent court decision to dissolve the Parliament because it has not been published by Kuwait Gazette, the Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah said here on Thursday. The remark was made by the minister at a joint news conference with Jamal Al-Shihab Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the presence of Anas Al-Saleh, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Salem Mutheeb Al-Utheina, Minister of Communications and Acting Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. The press conference was by followed an extraordinary cabinet meeting on procedures to be taken to enforce the recent verdict by the Constitutional Court to dissolve the National Assembly. “One of the reasons for government failure to come up with any executive procedure to enforce the Constitutional Court’s ruling on election contests is the fact that it has not been informed that the ruling was published in the Kuwait Gazette,” the

minister said. But, he voiced hope that the gazette would carry the court decision in the middle of next week. “The government wants to be totally transparent, and to show the Kuwaiti public, Arab and international opinions that we have nothing to hide,” he added. The main problem facing the Cabinet lies in necessary procedures taken to enforce court rules, given that the case is very critical and complicated, he said. Once the decision is published in the Official Gazette, the government will meet immediately to rescind Decree 443 according to which it dissolved the Parliament in 2009,the Decree 447 called for holding early general elections, the minister elaborated. He said that the Cabinet had formed a ministerial committee to study the court ruling. The committee includes Minister of Justice and Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Jamal Al-Shihab, Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak AlSabah, and Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Khalid Al-Saleh, Minister

of Communications Salem Mutheeb Al-Utheina and Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ahmad Abdullatif AlRujeib. When asked about the reported resignation of the minister of state for housing and parliamentary affairs, the minister said he only knew this through the media. Responding to allegations that the government was to blame for the crisis that led to the dissolution of the Parliament, he said, “It is related to conspiracy theory. This way is followed by those who have no evidence or logic.” When asked if the government plans to open communication channels with the former parliamentary majority, he only said, ‘Yes, surely.’ Earlier on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court annulled the National Assembly elections held on February 2, 2012. The court based its decision on the grounds that two decrees to dissolve the former Parliament and to call for fresh elections were illegal. The ruling also stipulated that “the

previous Parliament be restored its constitutional powers as if it had not been dissolved.” The ruling came two days after His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah’s decree to suspend parliament sessions for a month, following rising tensions between the Parliament and the government. In early December last year, HH the Amir issued a decree to dissolve the Parliament, issuing another decree a few days later inviting Kuwaitis to elect a new parliament on February 2. The Parliament was dissolved four times since 2006, but this is the first time in the history of the country that the Parliament was dissolved by a Constitutional Court ruling. Earlier on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Minister of Information, said that the verdict of the Constitutional Court to annul the parliamentary elections of February, 2012, and reinstate the dissolved 2009 parliament is based on “artificial procedural grounds rather than practical ones.” — KUNA

Arab League to host talks on power-transition in Syria CAIRO: The Arab League will host on July 2 to 3 a broad meeting for Syrian opposition to outline a unified vision over power-transition in their country witnessing a 15 month-long popular uprising ,said Nabil Al-Arabi Arab League Secretary General on Thursday. In a press statement following a preparatory gathering held here Thursday, Al-Arabi said the coming conference will be attended by representatives of all opposition and national parties and movements. ‘This is a quantum leap in the efforts exerted to unify the political stances of Syrian opposition,’ he said. Al-Arabi noted that the preparatory meeting was fruitful and attendants have expressed the aspirations of Syrian people. He pointed out that Syria Contact Group will a hold meeting on June 30 in Geneva to mull the latest developments in the file. The Arab League chief disclosed the meeting will be attended by world five major countries, UN and the leading international, Arab and Muslim organizations. Al-Arabi underscored the need for launching a real political process for achieving Syrian peopleís aspirations. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that violence has killed more than 15,000 people in Syria since a revolt erupted last year against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. Atleast 10,480 civilians, 3,715 soldiers and 830 army defectors have been killed in the crackdown and in clashes since March last year, said the Observatory, which counts those who have taken up arms against the regime as civilians. But the United Nations says that more than 10,000 people have been killed by Assadís forces during the conflict. The government says at least 2,600 members of the military and security forces were killed in the violence. —KUNA

Kuwait honors pharmacy graduates KUWAIT: A graduation ceremony was held late on Thursday for students of the Faculty of Pharmacy for the 2011-2012 academic year at Sheikha Salwa Sabah Al-Ahmad at the Marina Hotel. The ceremony was held under patronization of Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who was deputized by Sheikha Danah Nasser

Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The ceremony started with the national anthem, followed with an address by the association Secretary General Salem Al-Qahtani, then a statement by Sheikha Danah. Al-Qahtani in his statement shed light on vital role of the association, singling out its awareness promotion campaigns, some

addressing health issues like poisoning caused by medicines and chemical materials. He also welcomed the new pharmacists “who have joined this honorable and humane profession.” Sheikha Danah also shed light on the major role of the association noting its efforts and exchange of expertise with authorities at the regional and international levels. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Sheikha Danah Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and other dignitaries attend the graduation ceremony.



Cabinet mulls ‘constitutional’ NA dissolution procedures Opposition to reinstating 2009 parliament KUWAIT: A group of lawmakers from the reinstated 2009 Parliament, including then-speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi is not willing to take part in a session preceding parliamentary dissolution, said MP Saleh Ashour. He asserted that “[MPs] will not allow to be used as a tool by a Cabinet that lacks credibility.” Ashour commented in statements made yesterday on an idea pitched as a solution for the turmoil created by the Constitutional Court’s ruling Wednesday. It ruled that the decree based on which the 2009 Parliament was dissolved is unconstitutional, rendering the subsequent elections in which the opposition won majority seats in the National Assembly invalid. Meanwhile, leading oppositionist figure Musallam Al-Barrak demanded that the Cabinet work immediately upon issuing a decree to dissolve “the Parliament of corrupt MPs,” saying that a call for the 2009 Parliament to hold sessions would be viewed as “a grave insult to the Kuwaiti people whose free will was toppled by the corrupt Parliament.” Al-Barrak’s statements were made came in line with the position of the Islamists Bloc; a coalition of 34 MPs who formed the religious-tribal majority in the 2012 Parliament. The group met Thursday at residence of Ahmad Al-Saadoun, Speaker of the 2012 parliament, after

which an official statement was released vowing to ‘take action, and not react’ to the recent developments which they described as “the newest episode of a conspiracy against the Parliament that has been formed since 1962.” “It is impossible both logically and legally to override the will of the nation over a supposed procedural error,” said Dr Obaid Al-Wasmi who joined the opposition after debuting in the 2012 Parliament. The procedural error was mentioned by the Cabinet’s official spokesman, Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Saba, in a press conference Wednesday to describe the point based on which the Constitutional Court observed that the dissolution and subsequent elections processes as being unconstitutional. The controversy dates back to the time when Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad AlSabah resigned as prime minister last November, after which the First Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah led the Cabinet on an interim basis. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah issued a decree to dissolve the Parliament on December 2011 based on a non- cooperation letter . It was filed at the time by what was referred to in the local press as the ‘caretaker

Cabinet.’ Many constitutional experts warned that the procedures preceding the dissolution were unconstitutional, on the grounds that a caretaker cabinet does not have the authority to file a no-cooperation motion with the Parliament. A caretaker Cabinet handles urgent matters and general affairs of the state until a new Cabinet is appointed. Experts argued that the caretaker cabinet would submit its resignation, and Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah will be assigned to form a new Cabinet. The new Cabinet then files a no-cooperation motion with the Parliament, based on which the Parliament is dissolved. The ‘new’ Cabinet then resigns, and elections are held, following which a brand new Cabinet will be formed. According to many constitutional experts - and the appeal based on which the Constitutional Court made its most recent ruling - this is the only way according to which a dissolution could have been made constitutionally. Al-Saadoun addressed the public Thursday night after a marathon meeting was held at his diwaniya to announce a set of demands including constitutional amendments to restore a popularly elected Cabinet and prime minister to power in Kuwait, and warned from ‘corrupt adjustment to the electoral constituen-

cies distribution.’ Several reports have indicated that between 24 to 30 MPs from the 2009 Parliament have resigned. As the Constitution does not specify a certain number of resignations based on which the 50-seat Parliament can be pronounced as being non-functional, any number of resignations can be replaced with subsequent primary elections. This may not happen, with minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah confirming that the Amir “still has the desire to dissolve the [2009 Parliament].” The current debate is centered around the manner in which the Cabinet can proceed with the dissolution process constitutionally. One theory quoted by Cabinet insiders in an Al-Qabas report yesterday states that “failure of the 2009 Parliament to hold sessions gives the Cabinet a constitutional reason to file a no-cooperation motion based on which a dissolution decree is passed.” In a statement issued on Thursday, the National Action Bloc(NAB) suggested the idea of boycotting future 2009 sessions, and that by walking out of a session which begins with the oath-taking ceremony. In the meantime, several political groups are making calls to begin demonstrating at the Iradah Square in protest against reinstating the 2009 Parliament. — Al-Aan, Al-Qabas

Body of missing swimmer found By Hanaan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Coastguards found the body of a man reported missing yesterday and a search is ongoing for his companion. Rescue officials launched a search after receiving an emergency call on Thursday about two individuals in their twenties that went missing while swimming on Mahboulah beach. Poor weather conditions forced search operations to be suspended at 11 pm. It was then

NBK welcomes Indian Educational School students KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) welcomed a group of students from Indian Educational School on a banking familiarization tour at the bank’s head office recently. NBK Public Relations staff received the visiting group of students and showed them various areas of the bank, including the main banking hall and the safety deposit vault. NBK staff then presented to the students a brief lecture on the importance of saving, and the different accounts and services that NBK provides to its customers locally and regionally. Students were also informed about the PR, media relations and CSR activities that NBK initiates throughout the year. The students expressed their sincere thanks to NBK and appreciated the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the banking industry. As part of its corporate social responsibility program, NBK regularly hosts students on field trips from both public and private schools in Kuwait and provides them with information about the banking industry and career opportunities.

KUWAIT: Coastguards carry the body of the youth to the shore yesterday.

resumed at 5 am. Coastguards found the corpse of one of the men at 12 pm. Driver killed A senior citizen was killed and a 25year-old driver was injured in a car crash that was reported on Thursday night at Nuwaiseeb Road. Paramedics pronounced the 71-year-old citizen dead. The Kuwaiti driver was admitted to Adan Hospital. Criminal investigators referred the body to the Forensic

Department after carrying out investigations on the scene. A case was filed at the nearest police station. Gas cylinder blast A man was hospitalized in a critical condition after a gas cylinder explosion was reported on Thursday night in Hawally. The victim, a 65-year-old Egyptian, was admitted to Mubarak Hospital where he was diagnosed with first degree burns.


Ten tips to career success KUWAIT: It’s a competitive world out there and in the complex maze of the ever-evolving corporate world, job security is something hard to find. According to’s Consumer Confidence Index Survey - May 2012, 67% of professionals in the Middle East and North Africa report low to neutral job satisfaction with their current job. So how do you ensure that your career survives and thrives amid this uncertainty? The career experts at the Middle East’s number one job site,, have highlighted ten surefire tips to help you propel your career and to ensure you enjoy long-term career success: Set goals: Be clear on where you would like to go with your career and formulate a 1, 3 and 5 year plan to get there. Set realistic milestones and targets, take inventory at frequent intervals and update these plans regularly. Find a mentor: Identify someone in your field who can advise and counsel you in career-related matters and consult your mentor in making the important career decisions, as well as, in negotiating the nuts-and-bolts issues that confront you on a day-to-day basis. Never stop learning: Be a life-long learner. No matter how valuable our skills are, chances are they can be updated and upgraded through ongoing learning and training. Take responsibility for your own development and make sure you stay ahead of the learning curve by constantly updating your professional skills and credentials. Keep the company’s goals in mind: Treat your company as your most important client and don’t lose sight of the company’s vision, mission, values and objectives in anything you do. Also bear in mind the company’s policies and procedures and work by them. Network: Whether it’s by joining professional associations or attending industry conferences, stay connected with members within the industry. It is important to remain networked in the community and to continue to broaden your circle of influence and network of contacts. Volunteer: Represent your company in a community initiative or join a local community drive to make a difference and heighten your visibility outside of your immediate professional circle of influence. Treat others as you would like to be treated manners, respect and generally courteous behaviour travel a long way in the workplace. Never bad-mouth bosses or peers: The surest way to lose the respect and trust of your boss or peers is to bad-mouth those you work with or previously worked with. Avoid office gossip and spreading negative opinions at all costs. Be passionate about what you do: The best way to excel is to be genuinely passionate about what you do. Enthusiasm is both visible and infectious and you will find others in the organisation as well as clients naturally gravitating towards you as your eagerness and passion for your job makes itself known. Work smart: Leave your personal problems at home. No matter what is happening with the kids, the neighbors or with your partner, the workplace is only for dealing with workplace matters; leave all personal issues strictly at home. Be a team player: Today’s workplace necessitates being a team player and working well with others. Be co-operative, eager and always willing and prepared to pitch in to make a project succeed. Remember, if you follow these simple career tips you are not only optimizing your career, you are optimizing your life.

KUWAIT: Nearly 17,000 bottles of liquor which were confiscated yesterday.

Attempt to smuggle in two containers of liquor foiled Suicide probe in teenager’s death KUWAIT: Police foiled a smuggler’s attempt to smuggle in nearly 17,000 bottles of liquor into the country through two containers. Operations went underway after Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Affairs, Maj General Abdulhameed Al-Awadhi, received information about an attempt to receive a shipment of “batteries to be supplied to the American Army.” The man’s criminal past raised suspicions that a smuggling attempt was in the works, which was confirmed as thousands of bottles of imported brands were found. A security source said that the estimated value of the shipment totals to KD 11,05,000. Teenager’s death A teenager was pronounced dead at Jahra Hospital Thursday in what appeared to be a case of suicide. The victim arrived at the hospital in a coma and passed away shortly afterwards. Police launched an investigation into the case after medical staff found rope

marks on the boy’s neck. Family members confirmed that they found him with a rope tightened around his neck. The body was removed for an autopsy. Attempted murder A search is ongoing for a male suspect who left his friend critically injured in a fight that took place in Taima. Jahra Hospital medical staff contacted police after the victim arrived with his father while bleeding profusely from a stab wound. Officers were allowed to enter the intensive care unit to speak with the young man. He explained that his friend stabbed him during a fight over old disputes. An attempted murder case was filed at the area’s police station. Drunk passenger Officials at the Cairo International Airport prevented a Kuwaiti passenger, in an inebriated condition, from boarding a plane. The man threw tantrums, but was not allowed to board the plane. It eventually took off without him.

Indian man dies An Indian man died at Al-Naseem polyclinic Thursday after suffering complications arising from hypertension. He was rushed to the medical facility, and collapsed while being examined. He died after resuscitation attempts failed. The body was taken to the Forensic Department for an autopsy that will determine the course of investigations. Bootlegger in custody Patrol officers nabbed a bootlegger in Al-Qasr who enlisted the help of a delivery man to facilitate his illegal trade. The Indian driver told police who approached his car that he was waiting for a customer to collect his order after he failed to locate the address. The officers decided to search the car when the suspect became visibly upset. He was arrested after liquor bottles were found. The man admitted to delivering spurious liquor to customers by phone orders.

Wataniya Telecom sponsors KU graduation ceremony KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom continues its support to the academic sector and proudly announced its recent sponsorship to the graduation ceremony of the Geography Department’s students at Kuwait University. The ceremony, which took place at the Hotel Missoni on the June 9, was

organized by Kuwait Geographical Association in cooperation with Kuwait University. It was attended by former minister Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Dean of the Faculty Dr. Abdulredha Aseeri and Hamad Budai, Head of Kuwait Geographical Association. The

event was also attended by academic officials, professors andparents of the graduating students. On this occasion, Public Relations Director at Wataniya Telecom, Abdulaziz Al-Balool, congratulated the students on their successful graduation and achievement in the Geography Department, wishing them the best of luck in the work field as future delegates in the country’s development. Al-Balool added: “Wataniya Telecom makes every effort to support the education sector and youth’s activities. This sponsorship is part of our CSR program, for Wataniya Telecom understands the importance of the Geography Department in developing the community of Kuwait. Wataniya is always keen on supporting the society of Kuwait and is looking forward to foster constructive initiatives based on its corporate social responsibility.”


Tunisian minister lauds relations with Kuwait BRUSSELS: Prof Abdouli Touhami, Tunisian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs, has said that Kuwait and Tunisia enjoy “distinguished and excellent relations.” “We have overcome the issues that were pending and the proof of this is the the President of Tunisia last month visited all the Gulf states and announced that all the citizens from the Gulf countries can visit Tunisia without visa,” Tohami said in Brussels yesterday. “It is for the first time that this has taken place in Tunisia. This means that we are opening our

arms to our brothers in the Gulf for tourism, culture, investments. Tunisia is their second country and we welcome them whenever they want to come,” he said. “We are also coordinating our foreign policy with our brothers in Kuwait,” he said noting that they have a common position on Syria, on Palestine and especially now on Iran. “We support the brothers in UAE what concerns the occupation of the three islands by Iran,” he said. “We also support the presence of Kuwait in the European Union. The proof of this is that

the honouring of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain by the European Parliament followed my personal proposal that he should be honoured as a distinguished Arab personality,” said the Tunisian Minister. “This shows that the presence of Kuwait in the European Union is important and the best presence is the cultural presence,” he stressed. Abdouli Touhami was one of the guests at a gala dinner held at the European Parliament Wednesday night in honor of the Al-Babtain foundation. — KUNA

Kuwait calls on UN to consider impact of extreme poverty Rich nations urged to cooperate

MOSCOW: Kuwaitís Minister of Education and Higher Education and Acting Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf pictured with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov yesterday.

Education minister meets Russia’s deputy premier MOSCOW: Kuwait’s Minister of Education and Higher Education and Acting Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf met with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov on the sidelines of St Petersburg International Economic Forum currently held here from June 21 to 23. Al-Hajraf said yesterday that the discussion addressed bilateral ties. It also shed light on celebratory preparations of 50 years, the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Russia. The two officials also tackled means of promoting economic and investment ties by discussing a col-

laboration between Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA)and the Russian Direct Investment Fund; the latter was established by the Russian government to make equity investments primarily in the Russian economy. The Kuwaiti minister praised the joint committee which was set by the two countries to achieve desirable results in the fields of economy, culture and education. The meeting was attended by KIA’s Director Bader Al-Saad, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Russia Nasser Al-Mizyian and KIA’s CEO Farouq Bastaki as well as Director of Finance Minister’s Office Waleed AlQinai. — KUNA

GENEVA: Kuwait called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, to consider impact of financial crises and natural disasters on peoples suffering from extreme poverty. Malek Hussein Al-Wazzan, an advisor of the permanent Kuwaiti mission at the UN in Geneva, said during the 20th session of Human Rights Council that Kuwait requested that the UN study effective ways to address extreme poverty as number one issue among human rights’ causes. Kuwait believes in cooperation with the international community to ease suffering of these segments of peoples, by contributing in development projects to aid the poor through Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Al-Wazzan added. Till September 2011, KFAED had granted about $515 billion to 102 countries with 800 development projects to support development projects, as well as regional and international development institutions, he pointed out. Al-Wazzan noted that Kuwait also called on the international community, especially rich nations, to cooperate in backing efforts against extreme poverty. Kuwait provided aid during the recent years, by 0.7 percent of national income, which was set by the UN during 1970’s, and assisted in emergency relief operations in countries stricken with natural disasters, the Kuwaiti diplomat added. Kuwait’s commitment of combating poverty was reflected in keenness of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the first Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, that had been held in Kuwait. During the summit, conferees

approved setting up an Arab development fund of $2 billion, in which Kuwait donated $500 million, in addition to the Decent Life Resources Fund of $100 million to aid people in crises. Al-Wazzan added that Kuwait focuses on the social aspect within framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce poverty in the world. “Fighting poverty and meeting human rights’ requirements are possibly achievable in a short period of time if enough political willpower exists,” Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona asserted yesterday. She said at the currently held 20th session of the Human Rights Council that the deteriorating global economic crisis has consequently affected people across the world from enjoying their economic, social, and cultural rights. “The lack of a clear mechanism to follow to prevent this global phenomena has been a hindrance to the efforts made by the United Nations bodies,” she explained. She noted that world countries should set up programs to counter poverty and preserve human rights. These programs should be communicated with the UN bodies in order to achieve the best outcome in short period of time. She harshly criticized the negligence of some countries to set up these programs yet she commanded civic communities’ efforts and cooperation. Carmona urged governments to submit, on a regular basis, reports and data on poverty and its effects on politics, society and culture. This data-collection process would make it easier for the UN establishments to assess and find solutions quickly and more effectively. — KUNA

Kuwait to spend $500m on Russian investment projects MOSCOW: The Russian Direct Investment Fund has signed a co-investment deal with a major Kuwaiti investment body which will see the Arab country bringing in $500 million alongside the RDIF into Russian companies. The move was announced by the Gulf state fund’s CEO and Managing Director Bader Mohammed Al-Saad in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. “Russia’s economy will continue to grow faster than those of developed countries. Co-investing with the RDIF offers us a good opportunity to invest in the real economy and gain diversification

across all sectors,” Al-Saad said. “This is not a short-term investment in the stock market prone to volatility; it is an excellent and fair partnership with the RDIF and there is Russian government support for this partnership”. RDIF was set up last year to encourage foreign investors to match state investments in Russian assets and is managed by Vnesheconombank. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, added: “Automatic co-investment by the Kuwait Investment Authority, one of the largest and most respected investors globally, significantly increases the funds the RDIF can

invest in the Russian economy. We are delighted to be announcing a major coinvestment with a leading fund from the Middle East, the second for the RDIF, as historically that region of the world has not been well represented among foreign investors in Russia.” The RDIF also said in a statement it had launched a pre-IPO investment programme with Goldman Sachs, Blackrock and Franklin Templeton aimed at firms seeking to float on Russia’s MICEX-RTS index. The head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov said the US-based BlackRock global investment fund, which

manages $3.3 trillion in assets, intends to invest in several Russian companies that will go public through initial public offerings. “The Blackrock and Kuwaiti fund, believe that our policy is transparent and stable. The Kuwaiti fund is the respected, oldest and trusted in the world, for the first time in its history gave the Russian Direct Fund $500 million saying you can use this money for any project of our own and invest inside Russia. Those projects are not related to natural resources, it is trade, retail, logistics, and a very good sign for investors,” Ivanov said. — Agencies



London launches ‘Gulf Initiative’ LONDON: Assistant Undersecretary for the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Khaled Al-Jarrallah said the British-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting held here Thursday will give impetus for bilateral ties and cooperation. The meeting was held at the UK Foreign Office and at attended by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and GCC counterparts as well as GCC Secretary General. In statements following the meeting, Al-Jarrallah

said the conferees have agreed on the need to adopt a strategic vision to develop bilateral ties in a way that reflects the mutual interests of all sides. This vision should include mechanisms for political, security, economic, commercial and cultural cooperation between the United Kingdom and Arab Gulf states, the Kuwaiti official said. Al-Jarrallah highlighted the UK Foreign Secretaryannounced “Gulf Initiative” to deal with the security

and economic challenges in the Gulf region. The GCC states appreciate and study this initiative to make the best use of it in upgrading ties with the UK, he said. The conferees tackled the problems and complications of issuing entry visas to GCC citizenry seeking to travel to UK. The meeting touched upon latest developments in the region particularly in Syria, Yemen and Iranian nuclear file. — KUNA

Discussions to boost clean energy cooperation between EU, GCC

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development yesterday.

‘Road map’ can improve nations’ living conditions Kuwait adhered to all resolutions RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Kuwait has expressed hope that countries taking part in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), or the Rio+20 summit held here, will succeed in working out ‘a future map for securing better living for nations of the globe.’ Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Head of the Kuwaiti delegation taking part in the summit, noted in her address to the conference that Kuwait adhered to all resolutions that were issued by the 1992 Earth Summit. “We hope this conference will help realize our aspirations on drawing up a future road map for securing better standards of living for people of the world, preserving resources of this planet for the next generations,” said Sheikha Amthal, who also noted that she was a member of a delegation that represented Kuwait at the 1992 Earth Summit, headed by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.This conference constitutes an opportunity to review and evaluate what was accomplished in terms of objectives, and discuss means of overcoming hurdles “that we faced to draw up work programs and follow up mechanisms to meet future requirements. “The State of Kuwait affirms the necessity to implement principles and mechanisms of sustainable development, adopted at the Earth Summit in 1992,” Sheikha Amthal said. Sheikha Amthal affirmed the right of states to develop their resources and economies, according to each country’s circumstances and needs. Shedding some light on Kuwait’s long record of efforts to help people, Sheikha Amthal drew attendees’ attention to the initiative of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, during the Arab Economic Summit in January 2009, to create a two billion dollar fund for financing small enterprises in the Arab World. Kuwait alone donated up to $500 million for the fund.Moreover, HH the Amir had masterminded the estab-

lishment of a fund, aimed at aiding nations to improve agricultural production. Kuwait had contributed with $100 million. Furthermore, Kuwait, since its independence, has supported a long chain of development and philanthropic ventures in various spots of the earth, out of its belief in the necessity of backing efforts of the international community to realize sustainable development and contribute toward programs to combat poverty. Much of the aid granted to nations, communities and associations in need has been secured and relayed through Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Earlier, Sheikha Amthal attended a roundtable meeting held on the sidelines of the summit. Speaking at the meeting, Sheikha Amthal called for setting a clear-cut definition of green economy before using it as a key tool for development. She said the green economy attracted much attention from the UN, its agencies, programs and funds in the field of environment and development. She elaborated that the green economy is an ambiguous concept that has no unequivocal definition, and that there are still divergent views on the influence of green economy policies on sustainable development and poverty eradication. ‘Kuwait sees that it is necessary to reach agreement at first on a clear-cut concept of green economy before using it as a key development tool,” she added. Sheikha Amthal went on to say that developing and least-developed countries should be given full freedom to chart out their respective policies and strategies matching their potential and capabilities for the purpose of achieving sustainable development. She voiced her country’s satisfaction with the contents of the final communiquÈ of the conference, which includes developing countries’ fears on implementing a green economy.— KUNA

BRUSSELS: A senior European Union energy official has called for intensification of energy cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the 27-member European bloc in particular in clean energy. “With the GCC we have a long ongoing energy cooperation which should be intensified,” Michael Kohler, head of the cabinet of EU energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, told a gathering of EU and GCC energy experts. He was the keynote speaker at the event titled “Clean energy for the future: How to foster cooperation between the EU and the Gulf region.” The one-day event, which ended late Thursday, was organized by EU-GCC Clean Energy Network and the Brussels-based think tank Centre for European Policy Studies. Kohler said Gulf countries should take serious steps to gain technological leadership and research and development capacities at the universities in the region. “Indeed there is a potential for the Gulf countries to become world leader in some renewable technologies in addition to oil and gas. Solar energy has great potential in the region,” he said. “We have a lot to offer to our partners in the GCC. We are leaders in energy research. The EU is the largest integrated market in the world not only in terms of purchasing power but also in terms of energy demands,” said the EU official. The experts discussed potential for enhancing EU and GCC cooperation on topics of clean energy, from policy, research and industry perspective. Professor John Psarras Project Director EU-GCC Clean Energy Network explained the Network’s efforts to promote EU-GCC cooperation in the field of clean energy and its effort to enhance inter-regional knowledge dissemination and information exchange on clean energy topics. He noted that 250 members from both sides are involved in the Network with 1000 experts. The Abu Dhabi-based Masdar institute leads the Network from the GCC side. Meanwhile, Ioanna Makarani, the communication manager of the Network, said that the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research which “is a Network partner are planning to organize an evenT in Kuwait in early 2013.” The topic will be on energy renewable and energy efficiency, she noted. — KUNA


Boycott of Israeli settler products gains ground


Breivik demands acquittal as trial ends


Fire sweeps through slum in Indian capital


A picture shows fighters with the Free Syria Army at an undisclosed location on Thursday. International envoy Kofi Annan and the major powers have launched a final drive to find a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis while preparing sanctions and emergency plans for UN observers in the conflict-stricken state. — AFP

Syria says 25 dead in rebel ‘massacre’ 1.5 million Syrians now need humanitarian aid: UN DAMASCUS: The Syrian government accused rebels of carrying out a “brutal massacre” of 25 of its supporters yesterday in a flashpoint northwestern district that has been the scene of fierce clashes. The independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave a higher toll, saying that at least 26 government supporters-most of them members of the feared shabiha militia-had been killed. The Britainbased watchdog said security forces also killed four civilian demonstrators in Syria’s second-largest city Aleppo as opposition activists called nationwide protests on the Muslim day of prayer and rest. Renewed bombardment by government troops of besieged rebel neighborhoods of third city Homs, meanwhile, scuppered a new Red Cross attempt to evacuate trapped civilians as the United Nations said up to 1.5 million people needed aid. “Armed terrorist groups... kidnapped a number of citizens in Daret Azzeh area in the countryside of Aleppo, according to official sources in the province,” the state SANA news agency said. “The terrorist groups... committed a brutal massacre against the citizens... through shooting them dead and then mutilating their bodies.” it added. “Initial information indicates that more than 25 of the kidnapped citizens were killed... with the fate of the rest of the kidnapped people still unknown.” Amateur video posted on YouTube and distributed by the Observatory showed piles of mangled bodies of young men, their clothing soaked in blood. At least two of the bodies in the footage were wearing fatigues. “These are shabiha of Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” the narrator said, without identifying himself. In Aleppo-Syria’s commercial hub which had long been spared the violence triggered by the uprising which broke out in March last year-troops opened fire on demonstrators killing four, the Observatory said.

Security forces also resorted to live rounds in a bid to disperse a protest in the upscale Mazzeh district of Damascus, the watchdog added. In Homs, activists reached by AFP via Skype spoke of a “catastrophic situation” in the Old City and adjacent neighbourhoods after violence nationwide killed 168 people on Thursday, the highest single-day death toll since a UN-backed ceasefire was supposed to take effect on April 12. “They have been shelling for months and today they continued,” activist Abu Bilal said. He said most Homs residents had fled and those who remain are trying to escape. “Seventy percent of the city’s infrastructure has been destroyed,” he said. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which made two attempts to enter Homs on Thursday alongside the Syrian Red Crescent, said any new relief effort would depend on better security. “We cannot know when our team will return to Homs, after they returned to Damascus yesterday following two failed attempts to evacuate civilians from the city,” ICRC spokesperson Rabab al-Rifai told AFP. “We will discuss the next steps internally, and in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, before we take any decision regarding our return there.” The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said up to 1.5 million Syrians now need humanitarian aid, up from the one million estimated at the end of March. “The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate,” said the latest OCHA bulletin. “It is now estimated that up to 1.5 million people need humanitarian assistance.” In Homs province, 250,000 people need aid, OCHA said. ‘Turkey does not ship weapons’ In Idlib province in the northwest, a hive of rebel activity near the

Turkish border, the Red Crescent says that 350,000 people are needy. Turkey denied reports it was shipping weapons to fighters of the Free Syrian Army. “Turkey does not ship weapons to any neighbouring country, including Syria,” foreign ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said. The New York Times newspaper reported on Thursday that US intelligence operatives in Turkey were vetting the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels to ensure they do not fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda militants. It cited unnamed US officials and Arab intelligence officials as saying the weapons were being paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and taken across the Turkish border by a shadowy opposition network. Turkey is currently home to 32,750 Syrian refugees, said Unal. It also shelters 12 Syrian generals who defected from the Syrian army to join the rebel ranks, he added. The BBC, meanwhile, reported that Britain has refused to grant the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee a visa to travel to London for next month’s Games. General Mowaffak Joumaa’s application was refused because of his links to the Assad government, even though his name does not appear on a European Union list of Syrian officials banned from travelling to the bloc, the BBC reported. France called for more defections from the Syrian armed forces after the high-profile flight of a MiG fighter pilot to neighbouring Jordan on Thursday. “Yesterday’s defection leads us to call on members of the Syrian army and security forces to continue these defections, these desertions, and no longer to obey the Damascus regime’s criminal orders,” foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told journalists. Jordan granted Colonel Hassan Hammadeh asylum after he made an emergency landing at Mafraq base near the border. — AFP


Boycott of Israeli settler products gains ground RAMALLAH: The global campaign to boycott companies involved in Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories is spreading, according to advocates of this form of “non-violent resistance.” Last week, the Norwegian government said Norway’s state pension fund GPFG, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, excluded an Israeli construction company involved in building settlements “in breach of international humanitarian law in east Jerusalem” after a recommendation from GPFG’s council of ethics. In a recent column published by European newspapers, the former speaker of Israel’s parliament, Avraham Burg, lauded the European Union’s intention stated in May “to ensure that settle-

ment products ... are no longer labelled as ‘made in Israel’”. “Member states also committed to ensure that settlement products were excluded from preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement”,” he added. “Preventing the mislabelling of settlement products as ‘made in Israel’ and blocking their preferential entry into the EU seems a symbolic and minor step,” reckoned Burg, who nonetheless saw in it “a ray of light.” Human Rights Watch (HRW) pointed out that “EU laws prohibit preferential treatment for goods produced in violation of international law in this way, but Europe allows Israel to bundle goods from illegal settlements with goods

from inside Israel, and to ship the whole lot to European markets tarifffree.” “Rather than clearly stating the actual origins of all its exports, Israel merely provides the originating postal codes. The job of spotting settlement goods is left to importers, yet some settlement goods bear the misleading codes of corporate headquarters inside Israel,” wrote Bill Van Esveld, senior Middle East researcher at HRW. An the end of April, Britain’s fifthlargest food retailer, the Co-Operative Group, announced it was extending a boycott of goods from settlements to any supplier known to source from these areas, ending “business with four companies, accounting for £350,000

($560,000/ 430,000 euros) worth of sales.” In May, South Africa and Denmark announced initiatives to identify products made in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. That same month, MigrosSwitzerland’s second-largest retailersaid that from 2013 it will mark such goods as coming from “West Bank” or “East Jerusalem,” adding “Israeli settlement area.” Referring to the South African measures, Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, said a new law would hold legally accountable “any supermarket in South Africa caught selling Israel’s colonies products under the label ‘product of Israel.’” — AFP

Violence kills 12 Renewed bid to oust Iraqi PM

WEST BANK: A protester with a slingshot jumps past burning tires during clashes with Israeli troops, not seen, after the weekly protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Kdumim, in the northern West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum yesterday. — AP

Putin heads to Middle East amid carnage in Syria MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel next week to Israel and Jordan for talks set to be framed by the worsening crisis in Syria that risks sending shockwaves across the entire Middle East. The centrepieces of the trip are a visit to the Israeli city of Netanya where Putin will Monday unveil a World War II memorial and talks with Israeli leaders, followed by a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday. Putin is also set to unveil a Russian cultural centre in Bethlehem and open a guesthouse for Christian pilgrims in Jordan. But the visit is seen by analysts as a diplomatic mission as world powers are scrambling for a solution to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Moscow is keen to promote itself as a major power broker in the Middle East where Putin will travel for the first time since returning to the Kremlin for a historic third term in May. “This trip is obviously related to the events in Syria which have grown like an avalanche,” said Alexander Filonik, a Middle East expert at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “It is unclear what trump cards Putin has up his sleeve but the mere fact he’s going speaks volumes,” added Filonik. The Syrian revolt began in March 2011 with a wave of peaceful protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but has become increasingly militarized over the course of a brutal 15-month crackdown. Some 15,000 have been killed in Syria since the uprising began. Moscow and the West have been at loggerheads over the conflict, with the Kremlin refusing to support sanctions against its Soviet-era ally and resisting outside intervention. The US military said Russia was preparing to deploy three naval ships to Syria where it operates a strategic naval base but Russia has denied having such plans. —AFP

BAGHDAD: Attacks in Iraq killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens more yesterday, security and medical officials said, in the latest wave of violence sweeping across the country. A roadside bomb exploded in the morning in the main market in AlHusseiniyah, a Shiite-majority area on Baghdad’s northeast outskirts, and another went off after emergency personnel arrived, an interior ministry official said. A medical source at the Sheikh Al-Dhari hospital said the facility had received eight bodies and more than 50 wounded from the blasts, while a health ministry source put the toll at 13 killed and about 150 wounded. Meanwhile, gunmen with silenced weapons opened fire on a police checkpoint in Bayaa in south Baghdad, killing three policemen, the interior ministry official said. The toll was confirmed by the health ministry

source. And a suicide car bombing and mortar rounds killed one person and wounded 12 in Samarra, a Sunnimajority city north of Baghdad that houses the Shiite Al-Askari shrine, which is visited by tens of thousands of pilgrims each year. The shrine was bombed in February 2006, triggering a wave of sectarian bloodshed in which tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed. The violence was brought under control only after Sunni tribes turned against the insurgents and the United States sent in thousands of additional soldiers in a troop “surge.” The suicide bomber targeted a police checkpoint at the southern entrance of Samarra, killing an Iranian pilgrim and wounding 10 other people. Seven Iranian pilgrims, two police and a soldier were wounded, a police lieutenant colonel and a medical source from Samarra hospital said. Two more Iranian pil-

SITRA VILLAGE: Bahraini Shiite medics carry out surgery on a wounded Bahraini Shiite demonstrator at a house in Sitra village, south of Manama, on June 21, 2012, after clashes erupted between riot police firing tear gas and birdshot and youths throwing petrol bombs and rocks. Many protesters injured during the demonstration are afraid of going to public hospitals in case they are arrested. — AFP

grims were wounded by two mortar rounds that exploded in the area, the same sources said. With the latest violence, at least 160 people have died in attacks in Iraq mainly targeting the Shiite community in the past 10 days-more than the number of people killed during the entire month of May, according to official figures. On June 13, 72 people were killed in a string of attacks across the country that were later claimed by Al-Qaeda’s front group, the Islamic State of Iraq. They included a car bomb that killed seven on the outskirts of Kadhimiyah, the site of the shrine of revered Shiite imam Imam Musa Kadhim, and another blast in Karrada in central Baghdad amid Shiite pilgrims’ food tents, killing 16. Three days later, two car bombs targeting Shiites commemorating Imam Kadhim’s death in 799 killed 32 people in the capital. Meanwhile, opponents of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki are to ask in the coming days for him to appear before parliament in a renewed bid to oust him, speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi said. “The political powers that presented their desires... to withdraw confidence from his Excellency the prime minister are continuing their procedures and will present the request in the coming days,” Nujaifi told a news conference. He said that parliament will have the final say but that if a majority of MPs are not convinced by Maliki’s answers to their questions, a vote of no confidence in the prime minister could follow. A protracted political row that began with accusations that Maliki was monopolizing decision-making in Iraq’s national unity government and moving towards a dictatorship have escalated into calls for his ouster. The Sunni-backed Iraqiya list, Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani and powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have been the main forces pressing for the Shiite premier to quit. —Agencies



Nigerian troops arrest Xmas bombing suspect LAGOS: Nigerian troops have arrested a suspect in the Christmas Day bombings that killed at least 44 people, state television reported, as Washington put three Boko Haram leaders on its global terror list. In the northern State of Kaduna meanwhile, the authorities said late Thursday they would ease a 24-hour curfew imposed following clashes that have left scores dead since the weekend. The curfew would be eased on Friday and Sunday to allow worshippers to attend prayer services at mosques and churches, officials said. Suspect Habibu Bama was arrested in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, following a shootout with the military joint task force, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) reported. Security sources said he had been shot and wounded. Bama, a suspected member of Islamist group Boko Haram, had been wanted in connection with the deadly Christmas attack on a church in Madalla, near Abuja, that killed at least 44 people. Nigerian security forces meanwhile restored calm in Kaduna state, after fresh clashes had rocked an area already under curfew following days of violence that have so far killed at least 106 people. Clashes between Christians and Muslims late Wednesday had erupted in areas in and around the city of Kaduna, leaving at least five people dead, according to residents. “The clashes started from unfounded rumors being bandied about on text messages of attacks and counterattacks in the city, which provoked so much sentiment,” said police spokesman Aminu Lawan. Kaduna state, where the violence began on Sunday, had been under a roundthe-clock curfew as troops and police patrolled the area. Qaeda Boko Haram ties Nigeria’s Khalid Al-Barnawi, labeled a “global terrorist” by the US government Thursday, is alleged to be an Al Qaeda-linked militant with Boko Haram ties involved in kidnapping foreigners. The US State Department described Barnawi and another Nigerian militant also given the terrorist designation, Abubakar Adam Kambar, as tied to Boko Haram and with “close links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” or Al-Qaeda’s north African branch. According to a source close to Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Barnawi is thought to have run a militant training camp in the Algerian desert and was involved in the kidnapping of foreigners in Niger and in Nigeria. Those kidnappings included the abductions of French nationals in Niger and of a Briton and an Italian in Nigeria last year near the border with Niger, according to the source. The source said Abu Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the kidnap of the Briton and the Italian, trained at the camp under Barnawi. Abu Mohammad died in custody in March after suffering gunshot wounds in a raid in northern Nigeria. The same source alleged that Abu Mohammed and Barnawi formed an alliance with the faction of Boko Haram led by Abubakar Shekau, also designated a “global terrorist” on Thursday, after Mohammed returned to Nigeria. Under the alliance, Mohammad and his group were to carry out abductions for ransom, part of which would go toward financing Boko Haram operations. Boko Haram would in turn provide security cover for Mohammad’s group. Barnawi is said to have feuded with an Al-Qaeda “spiritual adviser” at the training camp, particularly over the kidnappings in Nigeria. According to the source, Barnawi planned the kidnappings without Al-Qaeda consent. Not much is known about Barnawi’s background, though he is thought to be in his 30s and have been born in Maiduguri, the northeastern Nigerian city that has been Boko Haram’s base. The other militant given the terrorist designation, Abubakar Adam Kambar, believed to be in his mid-30s, is also thought to be from Borno state, where Maiduguri is located. According to the source, Kambar had previously been an active member of Boko Haram when it was led by Mohammed Yusuf, head of the group at the time of a 2009 uprising who was killed afterward. — Agencies

In Russia, protests the ‘new norm’: Shuvalov Middle class is finding its voice ST PETERSBURG: Political protest is the “new norm” in Russia and the government has to have a dialogue with the rising middle class, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said yesterday. Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest against alleged ballot fraud after a parliamentary election last December and rallies had continued, although less frequently, since Vladimir Putin’s presidential election victory in March. The end of the election cycle does not mean that increasingly affluent urban Russians will lose their appetite for change and the new government will need to respond to their demands, Shuvalov told Reuters in an interview. “We are passing the way of all developed countries and we need to learn how to live with a situation where the middle class is active and wants to be loud if they don’t like something,” Shuvalov, 45, said during an international economic forum in Putin’s home city, St Petersburg. “It’s the new norm for us ... It’s a major risk for us if we try to avoid that kind of protest. We need to learn how to live with this, and what we should do to meet people’s needs.” Shuvalov kept his job as the government’s number two in May when Putin swapped roles with his protege Dmitry Medvedev, who became prime minister last month. With the political transition complete, Putin has moved to contain

political protest with new legislation allowing for a sharp increase in fines for protesters who violate public order. Security forces also searched the homes of opposition leaders, including blogger and lawyer Alexei Navalny, and called them in for questioning before the most recent anti-Putin rally in Moscow on June 12. Many of the protesters are from the middle class, who Shuvalov said made up 30 percent of the population. A research centre that works for the government has described the middle class as people whose income is enough to buy housing using a mortgage, or at least 25,000 roubles ($750 dollars) a month. Shuvalov, echoing a speech by Putin to foreign investors on Thursday, made clear that calls for change in Russia should not pose a threat to the country’s stability. “We are changing our political system,” Shuvalov said. “The president was very clear - this is very good, this is normal. But whatever we are doing, we should do within the law.” PLAN B Shuvalov, the government’s point man for economic policy and privatisation, said the Russian economy was in good shape highlighting annual inflation at a postSoviet-era low of around 4 percent and solid growth. But Russia remains overly depend-

ent on the price of oil and other commodities, he added, warning that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis could trigger a worse slump than the 2008 financial crash. Russia’s economy shrank by 8 percent the following year. He said the government would prepare a “Plan B” budget that foresees a slide in oil prices to $60 per barrel - from below $90 now. This year’s budget is based on an oil price forecast of $115 per barrel. If such a slide happened, the government would draw on its fiscal reserves to finance current spending this year, but would next year be “very frugal, tight and responsible”. “We understand that, with all the instability in Europe and questions about fiscal union, and Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland, it can touch us in one day,” he said. “We are part of the global market. We need to be prepared.” Shuvalov said that he did not expect the euro zone to break up, but that the region’s banking crisis would act as a drag on the economy. Large emerging markets such as China and India are, meanwhile, slowing in contrast to the strong growth they showed through the 2008-09 slump. “You can imagine what happens if, at the same time, in Asia growth slows down and in Europe there will be something awful,” he said. “If it happens, Russia will be in between, and we will all be in a very difficult position.” — Reuters

MOSCOW: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just outside the Kremlin in Moscow yesterday to mark the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow, the 71st anniversary of Nazi Germany’s aggression against the Soviet Union in the World War II. — AFP

Twitter-based AFP Web tool opens window to digital diplomacy PARIS: Agence France-Presse launched “the e-diplomacy hub” on Thursday, an Internet-based application that measures and visualises the presence and influence of diplomatic actors on Twitter. “The ediplomacy hub was designed as a thinking person’s toy, but it turns out to be useful to professionals too,” said Marlowe Hood, editor of AFP’s “Geopolitics” blog, which hosts the application ( During a testing phase, he explained, diplomats in Europe, the United States and the Middle East said it provided a means of grouping relevant “tweets” from the micro-blogging site, which currently has about 400 million accounts. “The presence and power of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to shape events emerged clearly during the first phase of the Arab Spring, especially in Tunisia and Egypt,” said digital diplomacy expert Joan Tilouine, who collaborated in developing the tool. Digital diplomacy, he added, can be defined as the use of social net-

works by states and civil society to further foreign policy goals and influence public opinion. The application draws from a database of more than 4,000 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government, diplomats, experts, foreign correspondents and activists from over 150 countries. A separate section also explores the way in which illegal armed groups-including Somalia’s Shebab, the FARC in Colombia and the Taleban in Afghanistan — use Twitter to announce actions and promote their aims. Algorithms designed by AFP measure levels of influence for both states and individuals, and calculate which issues are dominating the global conversation among digital diplomats. The “curated” data is then displayed across interactive maps, tables and Twitter feeds, the developers explained. “AFP, a global news agency, is entirely within its core role here: helping to filter out the ‘noise’ so that the true contour of events become more visible,” said AFP’s CEO Emmanuel Hoog. —AFP



Breivik demands acquittal as trial ends Confessed killer insists massacre was ‘justified’

BERLIN: German Defense Minister Thomas De Maiziere (left) and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attend military honor before a meeting in Berlin, Germany yesterday. — AFP

Madagascar battles deadly surge in cattle rustling ANTANANARIVO: Madagascar is combating a deadly surge in cattle rustling, a lucrative business in one of the world’s poorest countries that has erupted in fierce gun battles with security forces. Driven by increasingly bold bandits known as dahalo, clashes between poorly equipped security forces and cattle raiders with AK-47s have left at least 11 dead this month and seen the southern village of Iabohazo burned to the ground. “The town was still smoldering when the troops arrived,” said head of police operations Tahina Rakotomalala. At the centre of the conflict are zebu cattle, akin to the humped Brahman cattle sacred in India, which have become the target of a booming criminal trade in the arid isolated south of the world’s fourth-largest island. In Madagascar zebu are coveted as symbols of wealth and social standing. In parts of the Indian Ocean island, a youth has to steal an animal to prove his manhood and win the favour of his in-laws. The stolen zebu then has to be returned to its owner. “It’s not really a theft but rather a sacred rite accepted within the group,” historian Rolan Rakotovao said. “But the practice took a different twist during colonialism under France when people in Madagascar used it to oppose the colonial administration and fight against the oppressor,” he told AFP. After successive economic crises from the 1970s, Madagascar slipped deeper into poverty and zebu theft intensified. “The zebu thieves became vast networks that exist outside traditional villages. It’s not about the identity and life of a group anymore but clandestine organizations rejected by villagers and elders,” said Rakotovao. “Up to now, zebu thieving gangs were small. Today they count hundreds of men. It’s a new phenomenon,” police operations chief Rakotomalala told AFP. Authorities consider the dahalo a form of organized crime, operating in gangs that not only raid cattle but also loot villages and attack travelers. At 200 euros ($250) a head, the cattle are an easy target in a country where three-quarters of the population lives on less than $1 a day. — AFP

OSLO: The trial of Anders Behring Breivik ended yesterday, exactly 11 months after he massacred 77 people in Norway, with the confessed killer insisting his attacks were justified and demanding acquittal. The court announced that the verdict would be issued on August 24, while Breivik used the 45 minutes accorded to him for final remarks in the 10-week trial to claim his attacks were necessary to defend Norway against multiculturalism and a “Muslim invasion”. “The July 22 attacks were preventive attacks in defense of my ethnic group and I can therefore not acknowledge guilt,” said the 33-year-old right-wing extremist. “I was acting on behalf of my people, my religion and my country. I therefore demand that I be acquitted,” Breivik said. On July 22, 2011, Breivik first set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to Utoeya island, northwest of the capital where he shot and killed another 69 people, mostly teenagers. The victims, the youngest of whom had just celebrated her 14th birthday, had been attending a summer camp hosted by the governing Labor Party’s youth organization. Before Breivik made his final remarks yesterday, many survivors of his attacks and family members of his victims stood up and left the Oslo courtroom in protest. “He has a right to talk. We have no duty to listen,” Christian Bjelland, the vice chair of the support group for the attacks’ survivors and victims’ families, told the NTB news agency. After more than 30 people filed out of the courtroom, Breivik plunged into a rambling, ideological speech, among other things blasting US television series “Sex and the City” for encouraging women not to establish families and singers of immigrant origin representing Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest. Addressing the five Oslo district court judges, he said: “the judges sitting here today can judge me as they wish.” But “history will show whether they judge a man who tried to stop evil,” he said, insisting he “carried out a small barbarism to stop a greater barbarism.” Shortly before Breivik took the stand, the Oslo district court heard heart-wrenching testimony from five people who lost a loved one in the July 22 attacks. “To inherit your child’s cups and plates, is just crazy,” Kirsti Sofie Loevlie said, recalling how painful it had been to go through her 30-year-old daughter Hanne’s apartment after she was killed in the Oslo bombing. “This is my trial. I am sure the court will give a correct verdict ... He will never get out again. I will not spend much time and effort on this man,” she said, prompting loud applause from the courtroom. Utoeya survivor Lara Rashid, whose elder sister Bano was killed on the island, meanwhile drew sobs from onlookers when she spoke of her pain at knowing her sister would not be there on her wedding day, to see her children, or for the confirmation of their younger brother. “The day she died, I died too,” she said. Earlier yesterday, Breivik’s main defence lawyer Geir Lippestad rejected the prosecution’s call for his client to be

locked up in a psychiatric institution and that he be given the “mildest possible” prison term. Though there is no chance Breivik will be acquitted, the defence lawyer was also formally obliged to request that he be set free since he has pleaded not guilty, evoking the “principle of necessity”. Yet with no illusion of getting his client off, the defence focused mainly on trying to show Breivik is sane and should be locked up in prison, not a psychiatric ward as requested by prosecutors. Psychiatric evaluations of Breivik’s mental health have sharply contradicted each other, with two court-appointed expert teams reaching diametrically opposed conclusions. Breivik himself is intent on proving his sanity to establish that his far-right, Islamophobic ideology is not just the rantings of a lunatic. Prosecutors argued Thursday that Breivik’s sanity had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, referring to the first court-ordered exam that found him to be suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” and an uncontrollable urge to violence. “Our request is that he be obliged to undergo psychiatric treatment” in a closed unit, prosecutor Svein Holden said, stressing that “in our opinion, it would be worse to sentence someone who is psychotic to prison than to send someone who is not psychotic to psychiatric care.” Lippestad countered yesterday that “it is just as bad to treat a healthy individual (in a psychiatric ward) as to not treat someone who is ill.” He spent much of his closing argument attacking the first psychiatric report, seeking instead support in the second report that found Breivik sane to show his client was a political extremist, not psy-

OSLO: Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik arrives at the courtroom in Oslo yesterday on the last day of the trial. — AFP chotic. If found criminally sane, Breivik, who has been charged with committing acts of terror, will likely be sentenced to Norway’s harshest penalty: 21 years in prison, with the possibility of extending the sentence for as long as he is considered a danger to society. — AFP

EU’s teenagers poor in language skills

PRAGUE: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (left) and his Czech counterpart Petr Necas give a press conference in Prague yesterday during a meeting gathering Prime Ministers from the so-called Visegrad Four groupPoland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakiafocusing on multilateral and EU-wide issues. —AFP

BRUSSELS: Despite decades of European integration, less than one in two teenagers in the 27-nation bloc speaks a foreign language well enough to hold a conversation, the European Union executive said Thursday. Tests in 14 countries showed only 42 percent of teenage pupils competent in a first foreign language and just one out of four able to converse in a second foreign language, a European Commission study showed. “We must do more to improve the teaching and learning of

languages,” said education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. “Being able to communicate in a foreign language broadens your horizons and opens doors.” Worst offenders are in Britain, where only nine percent of teenagers are competent in French, followed by France, where just 14 percent of students of English can hold their own in a conversation. In Malta and Sweden on the other hand, where English is the first foreign tongue, a huge 82 percent speak it well enough for a

conversation. Though 53 percent of Europeans use languages at work and 45 percent believe foreign language skills are key to landing good jobs, the number of Europeans who say they can communicate in another language has dropped slightly in a decade, from 56 to 54 percent, according to a separate survey, by EU pollster Eurobarometer. But this was partly due to the fact that Russian and German were no longer compulsory in schools in central and eastern Europe. — AFP


Mexico arrests son of Sinaloa drug cartel boss MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s military on Thursday said it had captured the son of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, dealing a major blow against the notorious crime syndicate run by this country’s most wanted man. “Following an intelligence operation, Jesus Alfredo Guzman, the presumed son of Joaquin Guzman, was arrested this morning,” read a statement from the Mexican navy, which carried out the operation. The suspect believed to be Guzman’s son was transferred to Mexico City amid tight security, a navy source said. The billionaire head of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, the elder Guzman has a $5 million reward on his head in the United States and has long sparred with US and Mexican authorities. The younger Guzman, 26, and his wife Alejandrina Salazar were placed on a US list of

Sinaloa cartel operatives last year. In May, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of the fugitive druglord’s sons Ivan and Ovidio, barring Americans from doing business with them. The Treasury Department said the sons played “a significant role” in the elder Guzman’s drug trafficking activities. Since escaping from a western Mexican prison in 2001, “El Chapo,” also known as “Shorty,” has become one of the world’s most powerful drug traffickers and richest men. During his decade on the run, his Sinaloa cartel has moved from relatively low key drug-trafficking operations to controlling large swaths of Mexican territory, while it continues it bloody turf battles with rival gangs. But even as Guzman has eluded capture or death, one of his brothers was killed in a Mexican jail in December 2004 and a son was killed in a Culiacan

shopping center in May 2008. His organization’s reach, meanwhile, extends way beyond Mexico, deep into Latin America and Europe. Guzman escaped less than a month into the presidency of Vicente Fox, setting off allegations that the Sinaloa cartel was protected by Fox’s conservative National Action Party (PAN). Thursday’s arrest came just a little over a week before Mexicans head to the polls to vote for a new president. President Felipe Calderon’s ruling National Action Party has lost popular support in the wake of brutal drug violence that has killed over 50,000 people since December 2006 and has turned parts of the Latin American country into war zones. Still, the deadly drug-related violence has far from driven the conversation in the run-up to the July 1 vote. — AFP

Obama addresses Latino leaders a day after Romney Obama expected to win majority of Latino vote

ASUNCION: Supporters of Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo gather outside Parliament, in Plaza de Armas, in protest to Lugo’s impeachment trial yesterday. Paraguayan lawmakers voted Thursday to impeach Lugo for his role in a deadly clash involving landless farmers and police. — AP

Paraguay impeachment bid sparks regional concern ASUNCION: Paraguay’s president faced hastily called impeachment proceedings yesterday over a squatter eviction that turned deadly, with regional leaders warning against removing him without due process. In a surprise move, lawmakers voted Thursday to launch the impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo over his “poor performance” during clashes between police and squatters last week that left 17 people dead. The South American bloc UNASUR quickly dispatched a ministerial delegation and warned against Lugo’s removal without due process, with Ecuador warning that Paraguay could face sanctions under the group’s “democracy clause.” Lugo, who has vowed to face his accusers, is scheduled to present his defense midday (1600 GMT) yesterday, with the senators acting as judges. Senate officials said that a final verdict will be announced at 2030 GMT yesterday. Underscoring the gravity of the crisis, South American nations attending the Rio+20 UN sustainable development summit in Brazil immediately dispatched a ministerial mission to Paraguay. The foreign ministers of leading South American countries-including Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombiatraveled aboard the same airplane and upon landing in the capital Asuncion headed directly to Lugo’s residence.

UNASUR Secretary General Ali Rodriguez of Venezuela, speaking to reporters here, later expressed “grave concern” over the proceedings and said Lugo must be given “due process” and the right to defend himself. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa went further, warning that Lugo’s impeachment without due process could lead the regional bloc to sever ties with Paraguay over a “democracy clause” written into its charter. “We cannot recognize a new government, and may even have to close the borders,” Correa told reporters late Thursday at the UN summit in Brazil. “Internally, they can do whatever they want, but their international recognition depends on our decision,” he added. Latin American leaders, most of whom experienced the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, are sensitive to any threats to the democratic process. The impeachment concerns clashes last Friday that erupted when police sought to evict poor farmers from a huge privately-owned estate in northeast Paraguay that the squatters say was acquired through political influence decades ago. At least six police and 11 peasants were killed in the ensuing melee. Lugo, a former Catholic bishop once known as the “bishop of the poor,” fought back on Thursday at what he said is a show trial orchestrated by his political enemies.—AFP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is basking in the aftermath of his directive on illegal immigration and pressing his jobs agenda before a meeting of Hispanic leaders yesterday, a day after they gave a cool reception to Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney and his newly softened stance on immigration. The president was to speak to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials near Orlando, Florida, his first speech to a Hispanic group since he decreed that many young illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children would be exempted from deportation and granted work permits good for two years. A topic that had been sidelined by a focus on the teetering US economy, immigration has taken center stage since Obama announced a new plan to ease deportation rules for some illegal immigrants brought into the country as children. The immigration initiative, announced less than five months before the November elections, delighted many in the Latino community and drew renewed attention to the key Hispanic voting bloc and its potential for affecting the presidential election with its turnout and energy. Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and aides believe he could do better this time. Romney, who spoke to the group Thursday, backed off the tough anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric of the Republican primaries and vowed to address illegal immigration “in a civil but resolute manner.” He outlined plans to overhaul the green card system for immigrants with families and end immigration caps for their spouses and minor children. But while he attacked Obama’s new plan to ease deportation rules as little more than a “stopgap measure,” he was vague about how he would treat immigrant children brought to the country illegally by their parents and refused to say whether he would reverse Obama’s policy Obama and his advisers clearly see an advantage on the issue, and Obama was expected to draw attention to his initiative yesterday and call for an overhaul of the entire immigration system. He also was expected to renew his call for Congress to pass his job creation measures, which he has proposed to pay for with tax increases on the wealthy, an idea Republicans reject outright. Though hardly monolithic in their approach to politics, a majority of Hispanics have been voting Democratic in recent elections. But Obama risked losing some support in part because Hispanics have been hard hit by the economy. What’s more, Latino leaders had also grown frustrated with Obama because he failed to deliver on his 2008 pledge to

overhaul immigration and because his administration was deporting illegal immigrants in record numbers. Then came last week’s announcement, which could benefit anywhere from 800,000 to 1.4 million immigrants in the US, depending on separate estimates. Obama was to speak about two hours after Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been promoting a plan that would have dealt with young illegal immigrants in a similar fashion to what Obama accomplished administratively. Rubio’s effort was a response to Democratic legislation, called the DREAM Act, that would have created a path to citizenship for some children of illegal immigrants. Rubio, mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney, criticized Obama’s policy, saying it ignored the Constitution and bypassed Congress. Romney has said he was studying Rubio’s proposal but has not endorsed it. During the Republican primaries, Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act - formally the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act - and complete a 2,000-mile border fence to help stem illegal immigration. Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod this week said Romney is “hopelessly twisted” on the issue of immigration. “He went as far to the right as he could in the primaries in order to become the nominee,” Axelrod said. “Now he’s desperately looking for a way out.” Romney seized on the temporary status of Obama’s plan as his prime criticism. The Republican also vowed to offer illegal immigrants who serve in the military “a path to legal status,” which the campaign says ultimately could allow for full citizenship. But Romney’s campaign could not immediately detail how many immigrants might be affected by his policies. Nor could they detail which would require legislative action. “Despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform,” Romney said. “For two years, this president had huge majorities in the House and Senate - he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Nothing. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.” Romney also told the Latino officials that he would do away with Obama’s signature health care law. Often a huge applause line with his audiences, his declaration prompted just a few to clap and one person in the audience booed. Obama’s campaign, which doesn’t draw much attention to the health care law on the campaign trail, has made it a top issue in Spanish-language ads, targeting an audience that is among the most uninsured in the country. — AP



Political ‘dysfunction’ threatens US security: Panetta WASHINGTON: The “dysfunction” in the US Congress, where Republicans and Democrats have failed to compromise on debt reduction, threatens US national security, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “One my greatest concerns as secretary is the dysfunction that we see in Washington,” he said late Thursday at a ceremony in which he received an award for public service. “It threatens our security and it raises questions about the capacity of our democracy to respond to crisis.”

He went on to express concern over a round of automatic defense spending cuts set to take effect in January 2013 in the event that feuding lawmakers are unable to hammer out a deal to slash the country’s $15.8 trillion debt. “It will force the Department of Defense to throw our new defense strategy out the window. It will pose, I believe, an unacceptable risk to our ability to defend the country,” Panetta said. If Congress fails to agree on how to slash spending by January, dramatic defense reductions of about $500

billion would be automatically triggered under a law adopted last year. Bitterly divided legislators have been struggling for the past year to reach a deal to rein in the debt, with Republicans demanding steep cuts in spending and Democrats calling for higher taxes on the wealthy. The looming election-year showdown comes as President Barack Obama, a Democrat, fights for a second term in a campaign dominated by fears over the sluggish US economic recovery. — AFP

Romney offers immigration plan, ducks issue of illegals Repulican party in ‘paralysis and disarray’: Menendez

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama (right) listens to commerce secretary John Bryson during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on June 21, 2012 to thank him for his service as secretary. Bryson announced his resignation, just weeks after he was involved in a sequence of car accidents in Los Angeles that were blamed on a seizure. — AFP

US commerce secretary resigns after car crashes WASHINGTON: US commerce secretary John Bryson announced his resignation Thursday, just weeks after he was involved in a sequence of car crashes in California that were blamed on a seizure. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Bryson said he would leave the cabinet, judging his June 9 seizure “could be a distraction from my performance as secretary.” “Our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the department,” he continued. Bryson is under a felony investigation in California over the two hit-and-run incidents. According to an account of events from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on that Saturday evening, Bryson’s Lexus rear-ended another car as it waited at a railway crossing in the city of San Gabriel. Bryson then spoke to three men in the damaged car and drove away, but hit their Buick again in the process. He then drove to the city of Rosemead, where he struck a second car. The secretary later was found “alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle,” said officials. Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected as being factors in the accidents, and no one was injured, but the 68-yearold took a medical leave of absence afterward. According to the US National Institutes for Health seizures can be cause by a broad range of health problems from high glucose levels to meningitis to heart disease. Bryson’s staff have said he had no history of seizures, although the Los Angeles Times reported that in the days leading up to the incidents he had spoken at his daughters’ school and had sometimes appeared to ramble and repeat himself. Bryson told staff early Thursday he

would be replaced-at least temporarilyby current deputy commerce secretary Rebecca Blank, who has served in his place since he went on leave. He had been tapped for the cabinet post last year after predecessor Gary Locke became ambassador to China. His candidature was seen as an attempt by Obama to mend ties with business and to get the US economy back on track. It won overwhelming cross-party support, passing the Senate in a 74 to 26 vote in favor, thanks to his business acumen, which had led him to stints on the boards of Boeing and Walt Disney. Bryson described his department’s main role as being “to help America’s entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs.” In a statement Thursday, Obama praised Bryson’s work. “I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best,” the president said in a statement. “As secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation’s businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad.” The two men later met in the Oval Office, with Bryson looking cheerful and healthy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urged the quick appointment of a replacement. “That’s a very unfortunate thing that Secretary Bryson got sick,” Reid told reporters. “I would hope that the president could get a consensus nominee forward and we could get it done,” he added. “The Commerce Department is important and shouldn’t be without someone leading that important agency.” — AFP

LAKE BUENA VISTA: Mitt Romney pledged Thursday to pursue bipartisan immigration reform that strengthens borders and speeds legal entry, as he assured Hispanic voters he was a stronger White House pick than President Barack Obama. But he ducked the issue of what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, saying he would “replace and supersede” Obama’s softened deportation policy with his own long-term plan but offering no details. Romney, who faces Obama in the November election, was left flat-footed last week when the president made a surprise policy change and suspended deportations of young illegals brought to the United States before the age of 16 and who are currently under 30. Romney used his speech before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) to frame his immigration policy as a familyfriendly strategy that provides work permits for college graduates, immediate visas for spouses and children of green-card holders, and encourages legal immigration. He said it also would boost border security by completing a “high-tech fence” and implement an “improved exit verification system” to prevent overstaying. “Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive action,” Romney told the NALEO annual conference inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, a key battleground state. “The answer is that I will put in place my own longterm solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.” Romney offered no specifics on dealing with the undocumented, but he pledged to “work with Republicans and Democrats to find a longterm solution.” He also said he’d address the problem “in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.” Romney sparked criticism during the Republican primaries when he suggested that one solution was for illegals to stop working and leave the country, a process he dubbed “selfdeportation.” He clearly softened his tone Thursday as he courted what has become the country’s largest minority voting bloc. But Democrats promptly chided Romney, with US Senator Robert Menendez saying Romney’s lack of commitment over Obama’s new action left the Republican Party in “paralysis and disarray” on a subject close to the hearts of Hispanic voters. “Latinos are looking for leadership on key issues like the economy and immigration reform and Romney has failed to deliver,” Menendez said. Romney told the gathering that Obama, who addressed NALEO yesterday, was “taking your vote for granted,” even as the recession and its aftermath have hit US Latinos disproportionately hard. Obama “will probably say that, even though you aren’t better off today than you were four years ago, things could be worse. He’ll imply that you really don’t have an alternative,” Romney said, citing the 11-percent unemployment rate for Hispanics compared to the 8.2 percent US average. “I’ve come here today with a simple message: you do have an alternative,” he added. “This November, we’ll make a choice. We can continue along the path we’re on, or we can choose a better way.” Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008, helping propel him

to victory, but Romney insisted Obama has failed them. “For two years, this president had huge majorities in the House and Senate he was free to pursue any policy he pleased,” Romney said. “But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system,” opting instead for last week’s “stop-gap measure.” Senate Democrats introduced the DREAM Act, an Obama-supported proposal that would offer a path to citizenship for young immigrants, in 2010 and 2011, but Republican obstruction killed it. Obama has been clear from the beginning that he wants a “legislative solution” to illegal immigration, the White House said. But “we have a situation here where the nominee of the Republican Party... has said he would veto the DREAM Act,” Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. Democratic congressman and NALEO member Luis Gutierrez, a leader in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said Romney was stuck in a vise on the immigration issue. “Romney can either stand with the anti-immigrant hawks or he can stand with the American people, including the Latino community, but trying to (do) both will fall flat, like today,” Gutierrez said. — AFP

NEW YORK: The sun sets over the New York City Skyline, Thursday, June 21, 2012. — AP



Australia fears refugee boat disaster toll could soar SYDNEY: Fears grew yesterday that the death toll from a refugee boat disaster off Australia’s Christmas Island could soar, as ships and aircraft scouring the seas for the dozens missing found only more bodies. So far 109 people have been rescued, a figure authorities revised down from 110, and three are confirmed dead after the vessel which was believed to be carrying around 200 asylumseekers capsized in the Indian Ocean. But with more than 80 people unaccounted for, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said the prospect of finding anyone else alive was looking “increasingly grim”. “A surveillance plane has seen more debris and lifejackets in the water. Some are floating on their own, some of them that have people wearing them, and they have identified more bodies in the water,” he told Sky News. “Unfortunately, I can’t report that any more survivors were seen alive in the water at this time. “We need to brace ourselves for more bad news. Potentially, many more people have lost their lives,” he added. The survivors-all adult men except for one 13-year-old boy-were taken by ship to Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory near Indonesia’s Java where they were given medical checks.

Clare said one person was in a critical condition. Earlier reports said the ship was en route from Sri Lanka, although the minister told Australian radio there appeared to be mostly Afghans on board. The ship issued a distress call and capsized 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) from the Australian mainland on Thursday afternoon. Christmas Island administrator Steve Clay told ABC radio that three of the survivors were admitted to hospital on their arrival, but the rest were in fair condition. “They were transferred to the jetty, put into buses and transferred up to the Phosphate Hill immigration facility,” he said. “They’re getting medical checks up there. They appear calm and they were just sitting quietly.” Six ships and five aircraft are involved in the search and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said they would continue looking until Saturday afternoon, when plans would be reassessed. The capsize is the latest in a series of refugee boat disasters in the Indian Ocean in recent years, as rickety, overloaded vessels packed with desperate migrants struggle to reach Australia. Though they come in relatively small numbers by global standards, asylum-seekers are a sensitive political issue in

Australia, dominating 2010 elections due to a record 6,555 arrivals. Afghanistan is the third-largest origin country for successful asylum seekers to Australia after Iraq and Myanmar, with 1,027 humanitarian visas granted in 2010-11 — 12 percent of the total. Direct asylum-seeker journeys from Sri Lanka have historically been rare but navy sources in Colombo have reported a marked increase in Australia-bound people-smuggling operations. Indonesia is a more common transit point for those trying to reach Christmas Island, but many fail to make their estination. The UN’s refugee agency said it was “deeply concerned” by the incident. “This accident again underscores the dangerous nature of these hazardous journeys, and the desperate and dangerous measures people will resort to when they are fleeing persecution in their home countries,” it said in a statement. In December, a boat carrying around 250 mostly Afghan and Iranian asylum-seekers sank in Indonesian waters on its way to Christmas Island, with only 47 surviving. Some 50 refugees were killed in a horror shipwreck on the island’s cliffs in December 2010. Fifteen were children aged 10 years or younger. — AFP

Vietnam slams China protest over islands HANOI: Vietnam has defended a new maritime law claiming sovereignty over the fiercely-contested Paracel and Spratly islands, dismissing protests from China as “absurd”. The National Assembly on Thursday adopted the Law on the Sea, which places the disputed mineral-rich islands under Hanoi’s sovereignty, prompting Beijing to summon Vietnam’s ambassador to oppose the “illegal and invalid” move. China and Vietnam, as well as other neighbouring nations, are locked in long-standing territorial disputes over the South China Sea, including the Spratlys and Paracels. “Vietnam resolutely rejects the absurd accusations by the Chinese side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website late Thursday. The new lawthe first adopted by Hanoi covering the South China Sea-is “normal law-making activity”, he said, adding that Vietnam had “indisputable legal basis and historical evidence of its sovereignty over the islands”. “More seriously, (Vietnam) strongly opposes China’s establishment of the so-called ‘Sansha City,’” Nghi said. China said Thursday it had elevated the administrative status of the Nansha (Spratly) and Xisha (Paracel) islands from a county to a prefectural-level district under the control of the city of Sansha. The official Thanh Nien newspaper reported yesterday that the law was adopted by 495 out of 496 deputies and will come into force in January 2013. China and South Vietnam once administered different parts of the Paracels but after a brief conflict in 1974 Beijing took control of the entire group of islands. Vietnam holds several of the larger Spratly Islands and neighbouring countries have long been locked in diplomatic rows over their conflicting claims. China says it has sovereign rights to the South China Sea, believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, including areas close to the coastlines of other countries and hundreds of kilometres from its own landmass. The disputed region is a key trading route for the United States, which has opposed Beijing’s attempts to settle conflicting claims bilaterally, repeatedly calling instead for the peaceful resolution of disputes.Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines all claim parts of the South China Sea. — AFP

SEOUL: A South Korean K1A1 tank fires live rounds during a joint live firing drill with the US at the Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, 65 kms northeast of Seoul yesterday. South Korean and US troops held their biggest single-day joint live-fire exercise to test responses to any North Korean attack, amid high tensions on the peninsula. — AFP

South Korea, US conduct largest joint live-fire drill Drills ‘enhance combat-readiness’: General Park Seong-Bae POCHEON: South Korean and US troops yesterday held their biggest single-day joint live-fire exercise to test responses to any North Korean attack, amid high tensions on the peninsula. The drill at Pocheon near the North Korean border involved some 2,000 troops along with jet fighters, tanks, Apache attack helicopters, A-10 “tankkiller” aircraft, missiles and multiple rocket launchers, the defence ministry said. The two allies are also due Saturday to launch a major three-day naval exercise in the tense Yellow Sea, ahead of the 62nd anniversary Monday of the outbreak of the Korean War. On Thursday the US, South Korea and Japan began a separate two-day drill off the southern South Korean island of Jeju, involving destroyers, supply ships and helicopters. North Korea

denounced it as a “reckless provocation”. Tensions are high after the North’s failed rocket launch in April, seen by the US and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test. Pyongyang has also threatened attacks on the South’s government and conservative media for perceived insults to its regime. The first stage of the drill at Pocheon, 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the border, aimed to practise a response to a shooting and shelling attacks on South Korean border outposts. The second stage assumed an all-out attack by North Korean forces. Apache helicopters and A-10 aircraft were to strafe assumed enemy positions and two South Korean multiple rocket launchers would join in the attack. The exercise was to end with a cargo plane dropping ammuni-

tion and food to friendly forces and 60 commandos parachuting onto enemy positions. The Yellow Sea naval exercise will involve 10 South Korean warships plus the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and striker group, 8,000 personnel and hundreds of combat aircraft, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The joint naval drill is conducted every year, alternatively in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea. “Throughout the joint military exercises, South Korean and US forces will test their ability for joint operations and enhance combat-readiness,” Navy Brigadier General Park Seong-Bae said in a statement. “We will immediately retaliate against any attacks from North Korea and finish the enemy off on the spot,” he said. — AFP


Pakistan’s ruling party selects new premier nominee Raja Pervaiz Ashraf named premier-designate

KABUL: An Afghan special forces soldier reacts from wounds received during a firefight with Taleban militants at the Spozhmai Hotel in Qargha lake on the outskirts of Kabul yesterday. Taleban militants armed with guns and rockets attacked a lakeside hotel near Kabul overnight, seizing dozens of hostages including women and children and killing at least 16 people. — AFP

Taleban storm lakeside hotel in Kabul, 16 dead KABUL: Taleban militants armed with guns and rockets attacked a lakeside hotel near Kabul overnight, seizing dozens of hostages including women and children and killing at least 16 people. The four or five attackers were also killed in the brazen assault on the Spozhmai Hotel that will exacerbate fears that insecurity is spiralling as NATO combat troops prepare to exit the Afghan war in 2014. Around 12 hours after the attack began interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the assault ended with the death of the last militant. A number of the hostages were freed earlier by security forces. On a balcony overlooking the lake, a birthday cake lay half eaten on a table surrounded by a dozen empty chairs, while nearby sprawled the bloodied body of a young man shot repeatedly in the chest. Like many of the victims, he was dressed in Western clothes, an AFP reporter said. It was the latest in a series of sensational commando-style insurgent attacks that have targeted Kabul, the most heavily protected part of the war-torn country. They typically take hours to quell and strike fear into the public. The Spozhmai is a haunt of the wealthy Kabul elite and on Thursday nights the start of the Afghan weekend-is usually packed with families and mixed groups of men and women. The Taleban attacked at around 11:30 pm (1900 GMT), when a group armed with rockets and Kalashnikov rifles stormed the hotel, said police. At least one of the attackers detonated an explosive suicide vest, said Mohammad Zahir, the head of Kabul police criminal investigation department. Witness Sharifullah, 30, had gone to the Spozhmai for dinner with a friend. “I saw three armed men entering the area where people, families, had gathered. Moments later the shooting broke out, people panicked and started screaming,” he told AFP. “I threw myself in a ditch but saw bullets hitting a father, his son and wife who were sitting around a table near me. “I am not sure if they survived,” he added. The standoff ended at 11:00 am, Hashmat Stanikzai, the chief spokesman for Kabul police told AFP, saying that all five attackers had died. The interior ministry confirmed only four attackers, but also said all the gunmen had died. The ministry said 16 people, including women, were killed by the attackers. Twelve of them were civilians, three were hotel guards and one was a police officer, spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. The Taliban, who are leading a bloody insurgency against Karzai’s Western-backed government, told AFP that the hotel was attacked because every Thursday there were “wild parties, drinking and prostitution”. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid accused foreign diplomats, and members of the US-led NATO mission and the Kabul government of attending the Thursday gatherings at the hotel. Qargha lies around 10 kilometres (six miles) from central Kabul and its pleasant weather and greenery make it a popular picnic spot for daytrippers from the capital. The lake is surrounded by hotels, restaurants and wedding halls. Sediqqi said at least 40 civilian hostages taken by the militants were freed before the end of the standoff. A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed that its troops and Afghan security forces had responded to the assault. NATO intends to withdraw its 130,000 combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, exiting the costly, decade-long war that has killed tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and more than 3,050 foreign soldiers. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ruling party named a loyalist tainted both by corruption allegations and failure to end the country’s energy crisis as its candidate for prime minister, setting up what is likely to be a short and turbulent premiership. The announcement of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as premier-designate came during a high-stakes struggle for power among the Supreme Court, the government and the military. The turmoil is destabilizing the nuclear-armed country, which is considered crucial to the US-led war in Afghanistan. The crisis was triggered earlier this week when the court disqualified former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for refusing to initiate a corruption investigation against the president. Judges are likely to make the same demand of Ashraf, and many are predicting he will quickly meet the same fate as Gilani. Ashraf, who was the minister for information technology in the recently ousted government, was originally put forward as a backup candidate but got the nod after the first choice was hit with an arrest warrant following his nomination on Thursday. The warrant was issued by an anti-narcotics force linked to the military. Gilani’s disqualification on Tuesday was the climax of more than two years of legal maneuvering against the premier by the court. A senior PPP member, Khursheed Shah, said at a news conference yesterday that the party decided on Ashraf after consultations with its coalition partners. “Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is our final nominee,” he said. During the news conference, the PPP announced new elections. Opposition members had been calling for elections to be held immediately, but the ruling party, fearing it would not do well, was reluctant to call the vote. Shah did not give a date for the elections, but the earliest they could likely be held is late in the fall. “This year will be the year of new elections, and we are going for the elections,” he said. Elections were originally going to be held early next year. The corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari was initially heard by Swiss legal authorities and dates back to allegations that Zardari laundered state money there in the 1990s. There’s little chance that the Swiss would reopen the case after all these years, calling into question the reasons behind the Pakistan court’s insistence on the issue. Critics say the court is taking on too overt a political, threatening the democratic process in a country where elected governments have been toppled by army coups often sanctioned by the court. The court’s supporters say activist judges are needed to keep a check on rampant corruption and misuse of power by the government. They point out the court has also been carry-

ing out investigations into human rights abuses by the military. Ashraf was head of the water and power ministry for three years, an unpopular position in a country where daily blackouts in the summer can be as long as 22 hours. He has been accused of corruption relating to power projects. Ashraf oversaw the import of short-term power stations, or “rental power” projects that cost the government millions of dollars but produced little energy. The policy earned him the nickname “Raja Rental” in the Pakistani media. He denies any wrongdoing. He was also ridiculed by the Pakistani public for often claiming that the power crisis would be over soon, only to have conditions get worse and worse. The PPP likely sees Ashraf as a sacrificial lamb, said some analysts. “He is a cynical

ISLAMABAD: Raja Pervez Ashraf leaves after a meeting with the main coalition party of Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PMLQ) in Islamabad yesterday. The party announced yesterday that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is their new premier-designate. — AFP choice by the PPP. Whoever takes over as prime minister will be in for a very short time,” said Raza Rumi, director of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute. “Obviously the PPP will not choose its best for this stint. They will choose people who can be dispensed with.” When Shah was asked about the corruption allegations against the new candidate, he said allegations are leveled against many people, but no charges have ever been proven against Ashraf. — AP

Fire sweeps through slum in Indian capital

NEW DELHI: Residents and fire fighters try to douse down the fire at a scrap yard in New Delhi yesterday. The fire broke out in a scrap yard and adjoining shanty town behind a government hospital in central Delhi yesterday morning, fire brigade officials said, the cause of the fire was not known. — AP

NEW DELHI: A fire swept through a slum in the Indian capital yesterday, destroying hundreds of shanties where residents had collected scrap plastic and rubber for resale. No one was reported injured or killed, fire department chief A.K. Sharma said. It took 25 fire trucks and some 70 firefighters about two hours to put out the flames. Black smoke billowed from burning heaps of plastic bottles, tarps, rubber tires and scraps of wood that had been amassed by the slum’s thousands of residents who make a living collecting garbage for resale. The fire destroyed nearly all of the makeshift slum dwellings that had been clustered next to three hospitals in the historical part of Delhi. The hospitals were protected from the blaze by a brick wall, Sharma said. Resident Nasima Khatum cried as she surveyed the smoldering remains of the home where she lived with her two children. “We used to sit here and eat and also used to sleep here,” she said. “We are very poor.” Another fire a day earlier in the financial center of Mumbai gutted state government offices and killed five people before authorities could put it out, authorities said yesterday. — AP


European, Asian stocks fall on growth worries


Indian rupee hits new low against the dollar



German firms start to feel pain from euro-zone crisis



Moody’s sees big banks’ risks of ‘outsized losses’

ROME: (From left) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and German Chancellor Angela Merkel take place for a meeting yesterday at Villa Madama in Rome. — AFP

Euro-zone’s Big 4 thrash out crisis action Pressure on Germany to accept new growth measures ROME: The top four euro-zone countries met in Rome yesterday to tackle the relentless debt crisis with France, Italy and Spain pressuring Germany to accept new growth and intervention measures. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were to argue their case that a shift is needed in euro-zone policy with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels on June 28 and 29. Topping the agenda will be appeals for the euro-zone to mitigate its German-lead austerity drive with measures to boost growth and Monti’s call for the bloc’s bailout fund to intervene on bond markets. The talks kicked off shortly after 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) at the Villa Madama hilltop palace overlooking Rome, with the four leaders smiling despite the sweltering heat as they sat at a round wooden table. A news conference was to follow around 4:00 pm, before Merkel heads to Poland to attend the symbolic Euro 2012 quarter final between Germany and crisis-hit Greece. With the twoyear-old crisis threatening to engulf Spain and Italy and weighing down the global economy, Europe’s leaders are under intense pressure to find solutions. Monti raised the stakes ahead of the talks, warning that failure to reach a deal at the EU summit would leave the bloc open to attack by speculators. “There would be progressively greater speculative attacks on individual countries, with harassment of the weaker countries,” he said in an interview with leading European newspapers including Britain’s Guardian and

Italy’s La Stampa. “To emerge in good shape from this crisis of the euro-zone and the European economy, ever more integration is needed,” he said. A German government spokesman poured cold water on hopes for a breakthrough however, saying: “This is simply a visit, no decisions will be taken.” Both Madrid and Rome have been hit with rocketing borrowing costs, despite a series of structural reform packages in Italy and a eurozone rescue loan in the works for Spain’s stricken banks. Borrowing rates for Spain and Italy rose on Friday after several days of respite, with the yield on 10-year Spanish debt up to 6.612 percent from 6.568 percent at Thursday’s close and on 10-year Italian debt up to 5.815 percent from 5.734 percent. Spain’s government was formally to request euro-zone financial assistance yesterday after Madrid indicated it could need up to 62 billion euros ($78 billion) to save its distressed banks. Monti has urged fellow European leaders to back a plan for the euro-zone rescue fund-the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) — to ease pressure on struggling countries by buying their bonds on the secondary market. Italy’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that Paris and Madrid were open to the idea, but that Berlin still needed to be convinced. Yesterday’s talks are also expected to look at refocusing euro-zone economic policy on growth rather than on austerity, with observers hoping Monti can act as a mediator between Paris and the bloc’s pay-master Germany. Hollande has proposed a 120-billion-euro “growth pact” for the euro-zone including a financial-transactions tax and infrastructure

investments to boost job creation. The idea of eurobonds-mutualizing the bloc’s sovereign debts-could also be on the table, but after an initial push Hollande appears to be backing away from the proposal amid fierce opposition from Berlin. Paris has instead proposed “euro-bills” with short maturities and limited volumes. The four leaders will discuss broader

efforts towards closer political integration, and the banking or financial union that economists see as essential to getting to the root of the debt crisis. The United States, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank have all urged greater banking integration in Europe, as the debt crisis boomerangs from financial sectors to sovereigns. — AFP

Moody’s tilts playing field towards safe haven banks LONDON: Downgrades by ratings agency Moody’s will make funding more expensive for banks that rely the most on capital markets, while reinforcing the competitive advantage of “safe haven” banks that can fund themselves from stable customer deposits. Stock markets took Moody’s announcement that it had downgraded 15 of the world’s biggest banks in their stride, as the rating agency’s lowering by up to three notches had been widely anticipated. European bank shares rose just under 1 percent. But longer-term, the downgrades could have a lasting impact. But over the medium term, the downgrades will reinforce a trend that has seen weaker banks punished for their risk taking, while stronger banks are rewarded for conservative funding models, ensuring lower costs and higher margins. Not only will funding costs rise for the worst-rated banks, but trading partners are bound to ask for more collateral - and steer

business to those perceived to be financially stronger. “The new ratings landscape could provide a competitive edge for higher-rated firms,” said analysts at Citigroup. Moody’s gave the highest ratings to HSBC, Royal Bank of Canada and JP Morgan, which it said had stronger buffers than peers. All three are regarded as safe haven banks, funded by deposits from millions of retail customers and relying less than riskier banks on capital markets for short term financing. Moody’s gave the lowest credit ratings to banks that have been affected by problems with their risk management or whose capital buffers are not as strong as rivals. Those include banks like Morgan Stanley with few retail deposits, as well as banks like Bank of America, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland, which despite having big deposit bases have gotten into trouble by combining their retail business with riskier investment banking. —Reuters


Eastern leaders urge EU cohesion as growth tool PRAGUE: Leaders of four central European states yesterday singled out the European Union’s cohesion policy as a key investment tool alongside structural reforms to boost growth. “Territorial, economic and social cohesion of the EU is currently challenged due to different levels of growth and competitiveness across the union,” the Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak prime ministers said in a letter to top EU officials. Cohesion policy “should be considered as a key investment tool (to boost competitiveness) while driving further economic convergence within the EU,” they said, stressing its role in less developed regions. The leaders insisted that cohesion policy-designed to level out economic differences between richer and poorer areas of the EU-”should not become a victim of possible cuts” in the EU’s financial framework for 2014-2020. “We are not able to ensure growth without a policy removing regional differences,” Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told reporters in Prague after meeting heads of three other ex-com-

munist 2004 EU entrants, also known as the Visegrad Four group. Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would hand over the letter

to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Friday’s Euro 2012 faceoff between Germany and Greece in the Polish Baltic port city of Gdansk. At an EU

PRAGUE: Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas (left) listens his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban (right) during a press conference yesterday in Prague during a meeting gathering Prime Ministers from the so-called Visegrad Four group — Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia — focusing on multilateral and EU-wide issues. — AFP

Oil rebounds to $90 after hitting at 18-month low LONDON: Oil rebounded above $90 a barrel yesterday after hitting an 18-month low but remained on course for its biggest weekly loss in about a year as reports suggesting slowing economic growth around the globe signalled weaker demand. A downgrade of the credit ratings of 15 of the world’s biggest banks by ratings agency Moody’s to reflect the risk of losses they face from volatile capital markets activities also weighed on commodities and equities. Brent crude fell to $88.49, the lowest since December 2010, before reversing course to trade at $90.00, up 77 cents, at 0932 GMT. US crude was up 35 cents at $78.55, after a 4 percent drop on Thursday. “It has been a long fall, driven by global economic slowdown and oil fundamentals such as weaker demand from China,” said Tony Machacek, oil futures broker at Jefferies Bache. “Technical indicators show the market is a little bit oversold, so there could be some short-covering around.” A closely watched technical indicator, the relative strength index, for Brent has dropped to 18, suggesting prices are oversold and a rebound may be due. But in general, the technical picture contains few bright spots, said one analyst. “The daily and weekly charts are just terrible,” said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. “If Brent wants to maintain some hope for next week it needs to at least regain $90 for today’s close.” The price of Brent has fallen more than 8 percent this week, in its biggest weekly drop since the middle of last year. It has dropped about 30 percent from its 2012 high of $128.40 reached in March. Reports this week showed US factory output grew at its slowest pace in 11 months in June, business activity across the euro-zone shrank for a fifth straight month and Chinese manufacturing contracted for an eighth month. As the economic outlook darkens, oil supply is ample. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is pumping about 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) more than the demand for its oil and its own supply target, OPEC figures show. Much of the extra oil has come from top exporter Saudi Arabia, which made clear it was unhappy with the surge in prices earlier this year, as well as from an export capacity expansion in Iraq and a recovery in Libyan output. OPEC agreed at a meeting last week to keep its oil output limit at 30 million bpd, and several in the group called on Saudi to cut back supplies to bring collective output down to the target level. —Reuters

summit in Brussels next week, “the Visegrad group will strictly say that those who seek growth must say that they support cohesion policy,” Tusk said. “We want to persuade European partners that well-spent finances from the cohesion policy are a key growth tool,” he added. “There’s one tool that guarantees growth and that is cohesion funds,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban echoing the Polish leader. The funds had created millions of jobs in member countries catching up with the advanced EU economies, Orban added. The 27-member European Union has allocated 347 billion euros ($435 billion) for cohesion and regional development spending boosting jobs, competitiveness or life quality over 2007-2013 period, accounting for 35.7 percent of its overall budget. Savings in the new financial framework “cannot be made at the cost of cohesion policy. They would have to affect all areas,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas warned. — AFP

Small luxury firms make way to global market PARIS: Poupie Cadolle’s family has been making handmade lingerie in a workshop on Rue Saint Honore for five generations, with Qatari royals, American actresses and Swiss bankers’ wives all crossing her doorstep in search of the perfect bra or corset. Now, with times tough and sales to French and American women sluggish, Cadolle, like many small French luxury firms, finds itself struggling to tap into a $191 billion global boom driven by customers from emerging markets. “The last four months have been difficult,” said Poupie Cadolle, a small woman with a warm smile who spends her days fitting 5,000 euro ($6,300) bustiers and 600 euro bras. “We thought hard about how to get clients, beyond word of mouth. It is not easy. We decided on going into Brazil, not China.” Unable to wield the financial firepower of conglomerates such as LVMH, Richemont, or PPR, small family-owned enterprises are finding modest and innovative ways to attract new customers. Some, like Cadolle, are choosing one country over another and relying on invitation-only trunk shows and other private events. Others are opening stores in Hong Kong but not Shanghai, while for a few the focus is on still rich markets in Japan and the United States. All are choosing carefully. The internet is not seen as a route to market - few small luxury companies feel comfortable selling goods online given the luxury experience is one where items need to be handled to judge the quality and design. “China is definitely the big prize and, by and large, the customer there only wants big, recognizable brands,” said Pierre Mallevays, a managing partner at Savigny Partners, a corporate finance boutique specializing in luxury and retail. “You cannot have a China-only market. For your brand to be credible, the travel-

ling Chinese will expect to see your stores in Paris, Milan or New York.” That kind of reach is difficult for smaller brands unable to afford a presence in several European cities and major Chinese cities where real estate prices are high, salespeople increasingly scarce and the best distributors already engaged. LVMH and other luxury giants, meanwhile, are tapping into the Chinese market by scaling back in department stores and, instead, opening giant flagship stores in large and mid-size cities across the country. Smaller European brands hope Chinese customers, as well as the newly rich from Russia and central Asia, see the appeal of a tasteful shop in Paris with an elite clientele in the French tradition of discretion and craftsmanship. Many are bringing design in house, eliminating suppliers and ensuring clients

know everything is handmade by French artisans. This type of branding is vital to the appeal of French luxury, yet it is not always easy to convince emerging market clients that handmade is better. Many live in countries where goods are only made in small shops out of necessity. Corthay is a bespoke men’s shoe shop in the 2nd arrondissement where Pierre Corthay works in the front room making crocodile and elephant skin shoes that take six months to complete and cost upwards of 3,000 euros. It recently teamed up with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild to sponsor a road trip for select clients through the Alps in high-end sports cars. Chief executive Xavier de Royer said the event was expensive for Corthay but worth it because it created a sense of glamour around the brand. —Reuters

BARCELONA: A beggar watches as a worker cleans the glass of a bank in downtown Barcelona yesterday. World stock markets fell yesterday as gloomy economic reports from the world’s two biggest economies heightened fears of a sharper global downturn. In Europe, leaders were set to weigh options for fixing the continent’s debt crisis. — AP



Hollande industry goal meets Peugeot reality Rising wave of industrial closures in France

TOKYO: A man walks by the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo indicating the Nikkei index which fell 47.09 points to 8776.98 yen in the morning session yesterday. Asian stock markets fell yesterday as gloomy economic reports from the world’s two biggest economies piled, heightening fears of a sharper global downturn. — AP

European, Asian stocks fall on growth worries FRANKFURT: European and Asian stocks fell yesterday after economic reports suggested growth will weaken in the world’s major economies. Downbeat data on Germany, China and the US came on top of uncertainty over whether European leaders will make progress in tackling their debt crisis at key meetings. Germany’s Ifo institute reported that business optimism fell for a second straight month in Europe’s largest economy, which has been growing more strongly than the 17-member euro-zone as a whole. The survey index dipped to 105.3 from 106.9 in May. That followed a US Labor Department report from Thursday that the four-week average of applications for unemployment benefits jumped to the highest level in nine months. Appetite for financial assets such as stocks was also dented by the results of a monthly HSBC survey, which showed that manufacturing in China has continued to contract. China’s growth has been a pillar of the global economy in recent years, so its slowdown has been of particular concern to investors. Meanwhile, infighting over Europe’s heavy debt burden continued, leading IMF head Christine Lagarde to warn that the euro is under “acute stress” and to urge leaders of the 17 countries that use the currency to consider steps such as jointly issuing debt. The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain met in Rome yesterday to seek common ground ahead of an EU summit on June 2829 in Brussels, but there is no clear sense that they can agree on any of the several proposals to address the debt crisis. Against that background, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent to 5,532.76, while the French CAC 40 eased 0.2 percent to 3,105.52 and the German DAX 30 blue chips index fell 0.5 percent to 6,312.81. US share index futures pointed higher ahead of the opening of trading in New York. The Dow industrials future rose 0.4 percent to 12,552.00 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 future rose 0.5 to 1,324.80. The chief European piece of bad news was the Ifo report. It follows downbeat readings from the ZEW survey of investors and a poll of purchasing managers that also suggest the Germany economy is lagging. “The survey echoes the other indicators in suggesting that the German economy is doing little more than stagnating at the moment, and may even be contracting,” write Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics Ltd in London. “In short, another blow to hopes that strong growth and higher inflation in Germany would help to solve the euro-zone crisis.” Traders also reacted to several negative US indicators. On top of the jobs figures, sales of previously-owned homes fell 1.5 percent in May. A further sign of weakness in the world’s No. 1 economy came from the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve, which issued a report showing that manufacturing in the northeast had experienced a sharp decrease due to a steep fall in company orders. “With signs of weakness in the US economy, the persistence of the euro-zone debt crisis and the threat of a hard landing in China looming, the prospect of a synchronized economic slowdown is real,” analysts at DBS Bank Ltd in Singapore said in a market commentary.—AP

SOCHAUX, France: When France’s new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, pledged to turn back the clock on France’s long manufacturing decline, the townsfolk of Sochaux could have taken it personally. With unemployment at 12 percent and household income just 15,000 euros ($18,900) a year, life is tough in the yellow blocks of social housing overlooking a slate-grey Peugeot car plant, where 35,000 jobs have disappeared since the 1980s. That trend, writ large, has stripped France of more than three quarters of a million manufacturing jobs in a decade, leaving it among the least industrialized nations in the Western world. Many in Sochaux and beyond fear Hollande’s plans to boost industrial investment will take many years to bear fruit, too slow to alleviate an economic downturn in Europe that is already biting hard. “Life is difficult here. This town depends on the plant. There’s nothing else,” said Kamel Oulmi, a 65-year-old retiree who came from Algeria 40 years ago for work. “The Socialists say they want to change things, but what can they do?” It is more than 200 years since France’s largest carmaker first set up business here, near the Swiss-German border, making bicycles and coffee mills, and it is still the town’s biggest employer, with a workforce of 12,000.

Peugeot also owns the local soccer team, and tourists flock to the company museum, which celebrates a time when France’s car industry was the world’s largest. A century ago. The downturn in Europe has hit Peugeot harder than any other carmaker. To counter rising competition from emerging markets and Germany it has automated production and moved jobs overseas, but it still needs to shrink or close French plants to stem losses compounded by a weak domestic economy and collapsing demand in Spain and Italy. Unions are warning of more job cuts after the carmaker struck an alliance with General Motors to cut $2 billion of costs. It has already announced plans to cut 350 temporary workers at Sochaux and briefly halt production this month to cut inventories. Facing a rising wave of factory closures across France, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, who represents Sochaux in parliament, has promised laws to stop firms firing workers just to boost profits and moving factories overseas. “The Socialists have good ideas, but implementing them is going to be more difficult,” said Bernadette Boujon, representative of the GCG union at the Sochaux plant. “If a company wants to move production elsewhere because it is cheaper,

what can the government do to stop them?” As in many parts of eastern France, frustration at unemployment has helped the far right in a town where women in headscarves are a common sight on the busy main street. National Front candidate Sophie Montel won 25 percent of the vote in this month’s parliamentary election. “There are people here who live in despair, and they are losing their trust in traditional parties,” said Sochaux’s Socialist mayor Albert Matocq-Grabot, who received death threats earlier this year when he authorized the construction of a mosque. “There is a high level of unemployment, and that affects people’s spirit,” he said, welcoming Hollande’s industrial plans while acknowledging their limitations. “There will be no miracles. The crisis is a European and a global one.” While many Western economies have shifted from industry to the services sector, in France the swing has been particularly abrupt. Industry accounted for almost a quarter of jobs in the 1980s but now provides just over a tenth. At the same time, France’s share of global trade has roughly halved from 5 percent in 1980 to just 2.6 percent, hit by competition from emerging powers like China and from across the Rhine. — Reuters

Turkey lira eases, bond yields fall on CB view ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira eased versus the dollar and bond yields fell yesterday as the central bank’s less hawkish than expected statement a day earlier boosted the prospects of the bank opting for a rate cut in the period ahead. By 1130 GMT, the lira traded at 1.8080 per dollar , weaker than 1.8028 late on Thursday. Against a euro-dollar basket, the lira was flat at 2.0373. “The lira eased versus the dollar as investors bet on a rate cut in the coming period after the central bank comments. We also see local companies buying dollars when the dollar-lira trades around the 1.80 level,” said Erdinc Mogol, manager at the treasury marketing unit at Akbank. Turkish companies buy dollars to pay their import bills. At its monthly policy meeting, Turkey’s central bank kept interest rates steady on Thursday, opting to continue using liquidity management tools to curb inflation and support the lira while signalling a slightly less aggressive stance against inflation than previously. Turkey’s central bank is using a complex monetary policy mix to support the lira and dampen inflation pressures, based on variable daily injections of lira funding, a flexible corridor between lending and borrowing rates, and high bank reserve requirements. A forex trader said some investors also were selling lira for profit-taking due to the deterioration in risk sentiment in global markets after ratings agency Moody’s downgraded 15 of the world’s biggest banks on Thursday. The yield on two-year benchmark bond fell to 8.85 percent, from a previous close at 8.94 percent. “Expectations for less tight liquidity and a further rate cut from the central bank supported the bond market,” a fixedincome trader said. —Reuters

HANOI: A model stands next to a Japanese Nissan 370Z coupe during the Vietnam AutoExpo 2012 being held in Hanoi yesterday. The event takes place at a time Vietnam’s automotive industry faced the most dramatic decline in sales with total sales dropping 40 percent year on year in the first five months of 2012, according to Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA). — AFP

GM to add 1,500 workers at Russian plant ST PETERSBURG: General Motors Co said yesterday it will add 1,500 workers at its St. Petersburg, Russia, assembly plant as part of a previously announced plan to boost production there. GM broke ground yesterday on its expansion of GM Auto, its plant in St. Petersburg, that will result in annual production capacity more than doubling to 230,000 vehicles from 98,000 now. On completion, expected by 2015, employment there would increase to 4,000 people from 2,500 now. The St. Petersburg plant builds the Chevrolet Cruze sedan and hatchback and the Opel Astra hatchback, and will add production of the Astra sedan under the expansion.

The expansion of GM Auto, which opened in 2008, is part of a plan announced last year by several automakers with the Russian government to lift capacity. GM said at the time it would spend $1 billion in Russia over five years, including investing to boost production at the GMAvtovaz joint venture in Togliatti, Russia. All told, GM said the moves would boost its combined annual production capacity in the country to 350,000 vehicles. In addition to GM, whose Chevy brand was the biggest foreign seller in Russia last year, Renault SA and Ford Motor Co are among the automakers in early stages of expanding plants or moving into those sites owned by Russian partners.—Reuters


Indian rupee hits new low against the dollar Currency breaches $57-mark for first time

KOLKATA: Indian policemen take a break whilst guarding the then unfinished Tata Motors plant at Singur, some 40 km north of Kolkata, during a dispute between the state and farmers seeking compensation for their land. — AFP

Indian court rules for Tata in land case KOLKATA: An Indian court ruled yesterday in favor of Tata Motors in its fight to hold on to land it bought for an aborted factory in West Bengal state where it planned to build its lowcost Nano car. Overturning a lower court ruling, the Calcutta High Court said legislation enacted by the state government to reclaim the land was “unconstitutional and illegal”. “The state government cannot take back the land in Singur from the Tata Motors by this Act,” the bench said. Tata Motors had pumped $350 million into the factory at Singur, near Kolkata, which was to have produced the world’s cheapest car. But it pulled out in October 2008 — even though the plant was 90 percent complete-after protests by farmers, who said they were poorly compensated, and the local opposition party which is now in power in West Bengal. The new state government passed a “land rehabilitation” bill last year specifically aimed at returning the land acquired by Tata Motors-India’s leading vehicle maker-to the farmers. Yesterday’s ruling was a major blow to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had made the land return a key election pledge when she ended more than three-decades of Communist Party rule in West Bengal in 2011 state polls. The clash between industrial expansion and small landowners has become a key test of how India deals with the massive economic development transforming the country in recent years. The state government was given two months to appeal Friday’s High Court decision. — AFP

MUMBAI: The Indian rupee fell to a new low against the dollar yesterday, breaching the 57 rupee mark for the first time, as global uncertainty pushed investors to the safe-haven US currency. The Indian unit, which has depreciated more than 10 percent since the start of April, fell to a record low of 57.325 before clawing back to 57.24, compared with the previous record low of 56.55 a day earlier. In a bid to curb the currency’s freefall, India’s oil secretary said the central bank had asked oil companies to buy half of their dollar demand from public sector banks, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The rupee has been one of the hardest-hit currencies in Asia, reflecting investor concerns about India’s economy, which is being buffeted by high inflation and slow growth. The economy grew just 5.3 percent in January to March, its slowest quarterly expansion in nine years. The latest downward spiral in the rupee came after Moody’s on Thursday downgraded the credit ratings of 15 of the world’s largest financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, citing risk exposure and the euro-zone crisis. “Risk appetite is reducing at a very fast pace,” said D K Joshi, chief economist with ratings agency Crisil. The rupee trend “will reverse once things stabilize in advanced countries”, he told AFP. “At these levels the Indian market will start looking quite attractive.” The rupee also faced a string of unprecedented lows last month, highlighting the economic drift in the once-booming Asian giant, which is also suffering from troublesome fiscal and current account deficits and a stalled reform agenda. New tax policies seen as hostile to foreign investment have added to the gloomy climate. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned this month that India could be the first of the BRICS emerging economies-which also includes Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa-to lose its investment-grade debt classification unless it revived growth and rekindled its reform pro-

gram. Fitch Ratings also downgraded India’s credit outlook from stable to negative on Monday, saying the country’s growth potential will deteriorate without a quickening of structural reforms. — AFP

Mitsubishi renews Iran oil imports deal TOKYO: Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp has renewed its annual oil purchase deal with Iran but cut the loading volume to comply with U.S.

sanctions against the Islamic nation, trade sources said yesterday. As Western nations tighten curbs in their bid to curtail Tehran’s disputed

IKEA to invest $1.9bn to open stores in India NEW DELHI: Swedish furniture giant IKEA plans to invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) to open 25 retail stores in India, an Indian government statement said yesterday. An initial investment of 600 million euros will be followed by a further injection of 900 million euros, the statement said, without providing a timeframe. IKEA has no existing stores in India, which at the beginning of this year allowed foreign companies to own 100 percent of “single-brand” retail ventures, up from an earlier cap of 51 percent. The planned investment in India was confirmed during a meeting Thursday between IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson and Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma in Saint Petersburg in Russia, the government statement said. It comes at a time when foreign corporate confidence in Asia’s third largest economy is low, due to slowing growth, new restrictive tax policies and a perception of government paralysis in enacting further reforms. Several press reports put the investment timeframe at 15 to 20 years, with the Press Trust of India saying 10 stores would be opened in the first stage, followed by another 15 outlets. IKEA had reportedly been worried about sourcing norms in India which require foreign retail firms to source at least 30 percent of their products from local companies. — AFP

HONG KONG: Underground train passengers are reflected in glass doors as they await a train in Hong Kong yesterday. The wealth gap in Hong Kong, already one of the world’s widest, is worsening as the rich get richer and the poor struggle to make ends meet, official figures show. —AFP

nuclear program, Iran’s crude exports in April and May have fallen by 1 million bpd since the end of 2011 to 1.5 million bpd, the International Energy Agency said last week. Mitsubishi’s new contractual volume from April onwards remained unclear. The company had bought 15,000 barrels of crude per day (bpd), or more, last year. Mitsubishi Corp did not confirm the renewal, with a company spokesman declining to give any details. Mitsubishi loaded some barrels of Iran oil in the period from April to June, the sources said. Japan’s top two buyers of Iranian oil, Showa Shell Sekiyu or/and JX Nippon Oil & Energy should have bought the barrels, they added. Besides Mitsubishi, another trading house, Toyota Tsusho has been also lifting Iranian crude since April for the top two buyers, the sources added. Japan nominated loadings of 120,000 bpd for both June and July, sources said, unchanged from May but down significantly from a year earlier, to comply with global sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Iranian oil accounted for nearly 9 percent of Japan’s crude imports last year. Japan has reduced the flow already to comply with US sanctions requiring buyers to make sizeable cuts, but wants to avoid more drastic reductions that could drive up energy import costs and hurt the world’s third-largest economy. — Reuters



Moody’s sees big banks’ risks of ‘outsized losses’ Exposure to violent swings in global crisis seen

SAINT-PETERSBURG: People sit in a cafe at the annual Economic Forum in Saint-Petersburg, yesterday. — AFP

Rosneft in talks to join Exxon in Iraq MOSCOW: Russia’s top crude oil producer, Rosneft, has been in talks with ExxonMobil about teaming up with the US group to tap Iraq’s huge West Qurna-1 oilfield, Kommersant daily reported yesterday. The daily, citing sources familiar with the situation, said Rosneft may secure 20 percent in the project operated by Exxon in southern Iraq, adding the talks could be wrapped up within a month. West Qurna-1, an 8.7-billion-barrel field in southern Iraq, is producing 406,000 barrels per day, expected to rise 100,000 bpd later this year, an Iraqi oil official said in April, as the country looks to double output over the next three years during its recovery after years of sanctions and war. Sources at Rosneft confirmed to Reuters the company had been in talks with Exxon over Iraq. Spokesmen for Exxon and Rosneft in Moscow declined to comment. “The talks are at the very early stage, there is nothing concrete yet,” a source close to Rosneft said. Rosneft, which accounts for over a fifth of Russia’s crude output, had little exposure to the foreign markets before it secured landmark agreement with international majors such as Exxon, Norwegian group Statoil and Italian operator Eni earlier this year. Rosneft, headed by Igor Sechin, and Exxon struck a partnership in April to develop Russia’s Arctic offshore riches as well as oil in western Siberia. Rosneft gained access to Exxon’s project in North America in exchange. Exxon’s participation in West Qurna is complicated by the Iraqi government’s concerns over the company’s plans to tap reserves in the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Exxon angered the government last year by signing an exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which the national government considers illegal. On Thursday, LUKOIL, Russia’s No 2 oil producer, also offered Rosneft participation in the West Qurna-2 oilfield in Iraq. West Qurna-2 is the world’s second-largest undeveloped field, with recoverable oil reserves of around 14 billion barrels, LUKOIL has said. — Reuters

Max Petroleum seeks funds to sustain exploration AMLATY: Kazakhstan-focused oil producer Max Petroleum Plc said it may have to significantly curtail its exploration if it does not get additional funding, sending its shares down 71 percent. The company said drilling at its NUR-1 exploration well would be delayed due to technical problems. The company does not expect to reach the total depth of 7,250 metres at the well in E Block before August. The company expects the well to cost about $43 million, with expected forward cost of about $10 million, assuming it can resume drilling in the near term. The NUR-1 well was spudded in November 2011 and the company had expected drilling to take up to six months. The company has been exploring equity financing possibilities and talking with its lenders including Macquarie Bank to complete drilling before the exploration phase of its Blocks A & E license expires in March next year. “These discussions to date have been impacted by market conditions, as well as recent regulatory changes in Kazakhstan that currently prevent the Company from completing a conventional equity offering,” the company said. —Reuters

NEW YORK: Moody’s Investors Service has lowered the credit ratings on some of the world’s biggest banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, reflecting concern over their exposure to the violent swings in global financial markets. The downgrades late on Thursday ultimately are a measure of Moody’s view on the ability of the banks to repay their debts. The ratings agency also cut its ratings on Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC, some of the largest banks in Europe, a region fighting to contain a government debt crisis. The banks “have significant exposure to the volatility and risk of outsized losses inherent to capital markets activities,” Moody’s global banking managing director Greg Bauer said in a statement outlining the rationale for the downgrades. The behemoth banks are all major players in the global stock and bond markets, which have become extremely volatile. Critics such as former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker argue that the stability of the financial system is threatened when banks’ profits rely on proprietary trading desks that make high-risk bets on derivatives and other opaque financial instruments. Rich profits can be made from such trades but the losses can also be huge. JPMorgan said last month it suffered a $2 billion trading loss related to a hedging strategy. Analysts said the lure of larger profits from riskier, highly leveraged trading may prove too tempting compared with traditional banking such as loans for housing or small businesses, which require high volume and a network of branches to boost returns. “The trade-offs for Western banks, purely from a profitability perspective, may favor the prop desk and trading and hedging,” said Anand Pathmakanthan, who analyzes Singapore-based banks for Nomura Equity Research. “The banks here in Asia are much more fundamentally sound and much easier to understand than say, Citigroup or JPMorgan, which events have shown, nobody really knows what’s going on there.” Bauer, of Moody’s, said that some of the banks, including JPMorgan and HSBC, do have reliable buffers in more stable businesses that could act as “shock absorbers” during a crisis. Moody’s had said in February that it was considering down-

PARIS: A file combination shows logos on agencies’ front doors of the French banks, (from left) Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas. The health of 15 of the world’s largest financial institutions has been called into serious question after Moody’s downgraded their credit ratings. — AFP grading the ratings of major banks in the US and in Europe. A downgrade usually means banks will have to pay more for its debt. Investors demand higher interest for riskier debt, which is what the downgrades represent. However, with interest rates already at rock-bottom levels, the lower ratings may not significantly affect the cost of funding for the banks. The stock market has also factored in any negative impact from the ratings downgrades, according to Bert Ely, a banking consultant in the Washington, DC area. “They’ve been telegraphing this thing for months,” he said. In a sign that investors were taking the news in stride, stocks of major US banks rose in afterhours trading. Moody’s made its announcement after regular stock trading had closed. Morgan Stanley rose the most, 3.2 percent, gaining 45 cents to $14.41. JPMorgan Chase & Co rose 38 cents to $35.89 and Bank of America Corp rose 6 cents to $7.88. Citigroup Inc. said it “strongly disagrees” with Moody’s assessment. Citi said it doesn’t believe the downgrade will impact its funding costs because the ratings actions have already been expected by the market and its business partners have included them in their analyses. Morgan Stanley also disagreed with Moody’s, saying it did not think the ratings agency had fully considered the actions the bank has taken to shore up its finances. The downgrades come at a time of great uncertainty in the global economy. Europe’s currency union is under threat, the

US economy is slowing and the red-hot economies of India, Brazil and China are cooling. On Thursday the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 251 points, its second-worst loss of the year, as new reports indicating slower manufacturing in the U.S. and China made investors fearful that the global economy could be heading for another slump. Moody’s has been on a downgrading spree lately. In June, it downgraded Spain by three notches, after downgrading 16 Spanish lenders in May. It also cut the ratings on seven German and three Austrian lenders in this month. In its latest report, Moody’s didn’t treat all large banks alike. It sorted the banks it was downgrading into three categories, with JPMorgan, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Royal Bank of Canada in the top one. Moody’s said those banks have stable businesses that can offset market losses. JPMorgan, for example, has a large base of consumer deposits and major lending, credit card and asset management businesses. These banks have also managed to contain their exposure to risky European government debt, Moody’s said. While all three were downgraded, their debt had the highest ratings among the 15 banks affected. The second group included Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG. Moody’s said those banks rely heavily on their markets businesses to satisfy their shareholders, although some of them have managed their risk effectively. —AP

Slovakia ratifies EU bailout fund BRATISLAVA: Lawmakers in euro-zone member Slovakia yesterday ratified the European Union’s ESM permanent bailout fund, due to come into force on July 1. The measure, crucial to saving the troubled 17-member euro-zone, passed with the majority support of 118 lawmakers out of 144 present in the 150-member parliament. Twenty were opposed, while five abstained and one did not vote. Commanding a comfortable 83-seat majority, Prime Minister Robert Fico’s leftist Smer-SD teamed up for the vote with several smaller parties including the right-wing SDKU-DS, the ethnic Hungarian Most-Hid and some Christian Democrats from the KDH party. The bailout fund, or European Stability Mechanism (ESM), is a pot worth 500 billion euros ($634 billion) set up to replace the temporary EFSF fund that was first established to come to the aid of indebted euro-zone countries like Greece, struggling to avoid default. The ESM is due to come into force on July 1 and the two funds are due to run in parallel until the

middle of next year. An ex-communist country of 5.4 million and among the poorest members of the euro-zone, Slovakia’s cash contribution to the ESM amounts to 659.2 million euros (827.1 million dollars), to be paid in five instalments over five years, the government said earlier. The central European country’s entire share in the ESM, including so-called callable capital, amounts to 5.8 billion euros, it added. Having joined the EU in 2004 and the euro-zone in 2009, Bratislava imposed harsh austerity measures to keep its own public finances on track. Fico’s government-in office since April-wants to slash the public deficit to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from 4.8 percent in 2011, and to less than the 3.0 percent mandated by the EU in 2013. After growing by 3.3 percent in 2011, Slovakia is tipped to become the euro-zone’s top performer this year as the European Commission has forecast 1.8percent growth, while Slovak official sources expect GDP to expand by 2.5-percent. —AFP



UK risk watchdog set to ease bank buffers LONDON: The Bank of England’s risk watchdog looks set to allow lenders next week to free up billions of pounds from their cash buffers and help haul the economy out of recession. The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) meets later yesterday and publishes recommendations for regulatory action on June 29. Some members have dropped heavy hints on what to expect as part of a wider UK effort to get more credit flowing into companies. The FPC, chaired by BoE Governor Mervyn King, is tasked with spotting broad risks such as asset bubbles that could destabilize the financial system. It plugs a pre-crisis supervisory gap and advises on

action regulators should take. King said last week “the need for banks to hold large liquid asset buffers is much diminished, and I hope regulators around the world will take note”. His deputy, Paul Tucker, also an FPC member, said regulators should see whether they can liberate this part of banks’ balance sheet in these stressed times. Tucker also said requiring hefty buffers stops the economy from getting the full benefit of the Bank’s 325 billion pound quantitative easing program of UK government bond purchases. The buffers ensure banks have enough funding if markets suddenly dried up, an event which forced

Britain to nationalize Northern Rock bank in the 2007-09 crisis. “Excessive liquidity requirements have a negative impact on the ability and willingness of banks to expand their balance sheets,” said Michael Lever, managing director at banking-lobby Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME). “So if they were partially relaxed, then it would give banks increased flexibility to support lending and economic recovery,” Lever said. The sums freed could be huge as Barclays alone held 170 billion pounds of liquidity as opposed to separate capital buffers - in the first quarter. An industry official estimates the

big four banks combined, the others are HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, hold 650 to 700 billion pounds in liquidity. A rowback of 20-30 percent, the magnitude experts say would have an impact, would release 150-200 billion pounds for use though bankers warn privately there is no guarantee freed up cash would end up in the pockets of credit-starved companies. In particular small firms have long complained about the difficulty to get credit and BoE monetary policymaker Martin Weale warned on Thursday that the high effective interest rates and credit rationing were factors depressing the economy. —Reuters

German firms start to feel pain from euro-zone crisis Crisis ‘on doorstep’ as business morale is hit

CARROLL: Alice Simons talks about the many items she has on display in one of her three stores in Carroll, Iowa. Mitt Romney’s private sector resume has impressed Simons. “I do think he has a little more business sense than Obama does,” she says. — AP

Top UK banks see credit ratings cut LONDON: Some of Britain’s biggest banks were among 15 major financial institutions across the globe which suffered a downgrade in their credit ratings, it was confirmed here yesterday. Moody’s cut one notch from Royal Bank of Scotland’s long and short-term rating while Lloyds’ longterm rating was also reduced one notch. The downward move - which the agency announced it was considering in February - reflects fears that the banks’ growth and profit prospects are declining, experts said. And it raised speculation that it could spark a rise in mortgage interest rates. Lloyds said it believed that the change would have “limited impact on our funding costs and market capacity”. In a brief statement, it said it was “encouraging news” given speculation over a two-point drop. RBS criticized the “backward looking” change which it said failed properly to recognize “substantial improvements” to the group’s balance sheet, funding and risk profile. “Nonetheless, the Group believes the impacts of this downgrade are manageable.” Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, said: “This announcement will also lead to speculation that it will cause a further rise in mortgage rates. “For too long banks have taken advantage of the lack of competition on the high street to increase the interest rates charged on mortgages, loans and overdrafts, with over one million consumers seeing their yearly mortgage payments increase by over 300 million pounds with the Standard Variable Rate rises earlier this year”. A British Bankers’ Association spokesman said: “UK banks have already made wide-reaching reforms to how they operate ahead of our international competitors. “They are well capitalized so able to withstand future financial difficulties and have plans in place which will prevent taxpayers having to step in in the future. “Their exposure to problems in the euro-zone is also very limited. Moodys’ assessment reflects overall concerns about the current ongoing issues in the euro-zone rather than the organizations themselves.” — KUNA

BERLIN: German business sentiment fell for a second straight month in June to its lowest level in over two years, the latest sign Europe’s largest economy is no longer immune to the sovereign debt crisis engulfing the eurozone. Europe’s economic powerhouse had so far avoided the fate of its euro zone peers thanks to strong exports away from the bloc and healthy domestic demand, but increasing uncertainty over the currency bloc’s prospects is starting to hit home. A significant weakening in the German economy, which saved the euro zone from recession in the first quarter, spells further gloom for the region but could also encourage Berlin to take bolder steps to resolve the crisis. “The euro crisis is really hitting home,” Klaus Wohlrabe, an Ifo economist, told Reuters. “It’s right on the front doorstep.” “At the moment I don’t see a recession, rather a dip in the second and third quarter,” Wohlrabe said, adding that GDP would only just remain in positive territory. The Munich-based Ifo think tank’s business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 companies and published on Friday, dropped to 105.3 in June from 106.9 in May. This was the lowest level since March 2010 and slightly worse than expected, with a Reuters poll of 44 economists forecasting the index would fall to 105.9. Other recent data has also suggested the economy is losing stamina and may have contracted in the second quarter growing 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2012. Manufacturing activity is at its weakest level in three years, according a purchasing managers’ survey published on Thursday. The sector, which has driven growth over the last year, was also the worst hit in the Ifo survey. Imports tumbled at their fastest rate in two years in April, while exports have declined on weakening demand from within the euro zone, where Germany sends roughly 40 percent of its goods sold abroad. The Ifo data showed that firms were more optimistic about current business conditions but were worried about the outlook. A sub-index on business expectations fell to 97.3 from a revised 100.8 in May. Ifo’s Wohlrabe said companies were adopting a wait-and-see attitude and were holding back on investments. The Ifo figures were released hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to travel to Rome to meet with her Italian, Spanish and French counterparts to discuss solutions to the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis. A significant weakening of the German economy could give Merkel more public backing to take bolder steps. “The German ship is more solid than all other euro zone ships but latest indicators have been good reminders that even the most solid ship can capsize in a rough thunder-

storm,” said ING’s Carsten Brzeski. “Maybe there is one upside to the latest batch of disappointing data from the euro zone’s biggest economy: it shows that a fundamental solution to the euro zone crisis is also in the interest of the German economy.” Ifo’s Wohlrabe said 70 percent of the responses for Friday’s survey were collected before the Greek election last weekend, when there were concerns that a radical leftist party would win and the crisis-stricken country would then leave the euro-zone. “Uncertainty was particularly prominent then,” Wohlrabe said, adding that there were also concerns about Spain, which was a more important trade partner than Greece. Export expectations fell as a result. Economists said it was not all gloom and doom for the German economy though, with domestic demand likely to hold up on the back of a solid labor market and wage rises and support growth. The more domestic-oriented retailing sector improved in June, according to the Ifo data. German retail companies have been fairly upbeat recently after a soggy April hit sales, with Adidas this week raising its forecast for 2012 sales of soccer equipment to a new record high. — Reuters

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (R) greets the German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon arrival for a meeting yesterday at Villa Madama in Rome. — AFP


S African star goes back to school at 60 Page 24

Chinese crackdown boosts artist Ai on world stage Page 25

Wax figures of Kate Duchess of Cambridge, left, and Britain’s Prince William are pictured wearing scarves and flags in support of England’s participation in the Euro 2012, at Madame Tussaud’s, London, Friday. —AP


Perry ‘lands on her feet’ since splitting from Russell Brand T

he ‘Teenage Dream’ hitmaker’s forthcoming 3D movie ‘Part of Me’ features footage shot around the time she split from the British actor after 14 months of marriage last December and she wanted to include the clips to show people they can bounce back from their difficulties. She said: “I think if you were to see the movie and it was completely avoided, you’d think, ‘Hmm that’s strange, I know something else happened in her life last year.’ “So I wanted to handle it delicately with the most integrity I could and show, ‘Yeah I’m going through the same situation that half of America goes through and somehow I landed on my feet, so you

don’t have to lay down and die like you think.’ “Just because you’re in the spotlight doesn’t mean you get to dodge the curveballs - they’re actually bigger.” Despite her insistence on including the intimate scenes, Katy admits it didn’t make for comfortable viewing. She told TV talk show host Jay Leno: “It wasn’t always exciting to watch those unflattering scenes where I’m crying and having an intense moment but I think people will relate to me more seeing me at my lowest point and now at my highest point.”

Pitt splashes out on graffiti paintings of British royal family

Dolly Parton says secret of happy marriage is not having children


he ‘9 to 5’ singer wed Carl Thomas Dean in May 1966 and she credits their successful 46-year union to the fact they have no kids and are financially comfortable. Speaking about the reasons they have been together so long, Dolly said: “Mutual respect, shared interests and the fact that I stay gone a long time! Not having children together, and not having money problems has probably helped. “A lot of the pressures that cause couples trouble are just things we never had to go through.” Although she is very happy with


he ‘Moneyball’ actor - who is currently based in the UK while partner Angelina Jolie films ‘Maleficent’ bought three pieces from British artist Bambi, a canvas of Prince William and his wife Duchess Catherine, one of Queen Elizabeth and another picture of Amy Winehouse. A source told The Sun newspaper: “There is a lot of buzz about Bambi at the moment. As Brad’s here with the family for up to two years, it makes sense to fill the house with art by British artists. “He already has a Banksy, which he bought for £1 million at a London auction, but shipped it to LA.” Earlier this week, Brad made a surprise visit to see Mohammed Hussain, a Birminghambased solicitor who worked in the security team on the actor’s 2000 film ‘Snatch’, and spent 20 minutes chatting to his pal’s staff. Mohammed said: “He’s a lovely guy, one of the most humble men you could meet. “Brad and Angelina are in the UK for the next 18 months filming back-to-back. “He loves Britain and he’s been in Harrod’s every other day shopping for the kids. “It was a real surprise - it was out of the blue. “The last time I saw him was in Cannes a couple of years ago. “We don’t publicise things like this. It’s a friendship thing more than anything.”

Carl, Dolly, 66, says she likes flirting with younger men as it makes her “happy”. She told the Daily Mail newspaper: “Carl knows I’d never do anything to hurt him and he doesn’t get jealous if I have to kiss someone on screen. I get more embarrassed about it than he does. “But I am a flirt, and I do get younger men flirting with me too. Jeremy Jordan, who plays my grandson in the film (‘Joyful Noise’), was flirting with me and they told him, ‘Knock it off, she’s your grandmother.’ But it made me kind of happy, as you’re never too old to dream.”

Jack Osbourne fired by email

after multiple sclerosis diagnoses


he ‘Adrenalin Junkie’ host was “offended” when an undisclosed TV company decided he wouldn’t be up to the tasks in a reality contest without speaking to him first. Jack - who was diagnosed with the debilitating condition five weeks ago - said on ‘The Talk’: “I had booked a job, right when I got diagnosed and the company didn’t think I could actually perform the job. “Out of everything, that’s what has really ticked me off the most because it’s like, ‘Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do.’ At no point did they call me. “It was all through agents and lawyers - I was offended by it.” It is believed the show was ‘Stars Earn Stripes’, which sees soldiers put celebrities through military exercises. A program source admitted to The Sun newspaper that it was felt Jack wouldn’t be up to the challenges, but said it was “hard to believe” he was informed by email. Jack’s mother Sharon Osbourne later hit out on twitter, saying the 26-year-old star was fired because the company felt he was a “liability”. She wrote: “Yes @MrJacko was fired. They said he was a liability & were so personable, sent an email to let us know.”


Travolta being sued by author who claims he tarnished his reputation R

obert Randolph wrote ‘You’ll Never Spa In This Town Again’, in which he makes claims the ‘Pulp Fiction’ actor enjoyed gay sexual relations in Los Angeles’ City Spa in the 1990s. His lawsuit claims John and his lawyer Marty Singer had falsely claimed he had serious mental problems and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital, to try and make him out to be an unreliable source and prevent other media and booksellers writing about or carrying his tome. Both John, 58, and Marty have issued statements branding the lawsuit “ridiculous.” A representative for the ‘Hairspray’ star said: “The lawsuit filed by Robert Randolph is absurd. The suit is based on a privileged communica-

tion, and it will promptly be thrown out by the court. “To evaluate the credibility of Robert Randolph and his ridiculous lawsuit one need look no further than his own statements published on his website stating that he sustained ‘permanent brain damage’ and had to ‘retrain’ his brain.” Marty echoed these claims, saying: “We intend to sue the attorneys for malicious prosecution after the court promptly dismisses this baseless lawsuit.” John - who is married to actress Kelly Preston - has been dogged by a number of claims of sexual misconduct, some of which have since been retracted, from a number of male masseurs since the publication of ‘You’ll Never Spa In This Town Again’.

Bieber: Collaboration with One Direction is ‘going to be great’

Kim Kardashian relates to Kanye because they’ve both lost parents


he 18-year-old pop star revealed that he is to record a track alongside Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne on the band’s eagerly awaited second album. Justin told BBC Radio 2: “The One Direction guys are great. We have a lot of fun whenever we hang out. They came over my house and we were just chilling out around the pool and listening to music. “We were talking about me collaborating with them on a song on their next album. It’s gonna be great.” Justin also revealed that ‘The X Factor’ 2010 rejects are keen to work with come other big names in the music industry. He

said: “And I asked them who else they would like to work with. They were, like, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez. “Now don’t get me wrong those are all very talented artists but there seems to be a pattern emerging and, looking at the smile on the guys’ faces, I don’t think it was all about the music...” He continued: “They sure have an eye for the ladies but, even better for the guys, the ladies have a bit of an eye for them, too. “From what I hear they shouldn’t have much trouble trying to persuade Rihanna, Katy or Taylor to work with them... if you know what I’m saying.”

he reality TV star - who has been dating the ‘Stronger’ rapper for around four months lost her dad Robert Kardashian in 2003, while Kanye’s mother Donda died in 2007 following complications from cosmetic surgery and she thinks their experiences have helped them bond. She said: “It’s very comforting to have someone that knows everything about you, that respects you, understands, has gone through the similar things. I can really relate to his mother passing. “He can really relate to my father passing. I mean, there’s so many similarities in our life that ... I feel like I’m at a really happy, good space.” Kim - who split from second husband Kris Humphries last October after just 72 days of marriage - knew Kanye for several years before their relationship became romantic and she thinks it was their destiny to get together. The 31-year-old beauty told Oprah Winfrey: “I don’t know why it took so long for us to get together, but I think I needed to go through all my experiences.” has donated £500,000 to The Prince’s Trust charity ‘T

he Voice’ UK mentor announced that the large amount is almost all of his wages for taking part in the singer talent show’s first season. He wrote on twitter: “I gave the majority of the money I made on the voice to the @PrincesTrust to build a tech program to get the kids from east LDN up to speed.” The donation, announced in London, will help deprived children get training and start up businesses. The Black Eyed Peas star, 37, said that he gave the

funds away to the British people because he has felt well-received in the country. He said: “The people of the UK welcomed me into their homes every week and I wanted to give something back. “I called my manager and said, ‘What can I do with the money that I’m getting for ‘The Voice’? I don’t need it’. It’s the least I could do-the show changed my life.” The music producer met up with Prince Charles who is the figurehead for the Trust at the press conference. —Bang showbiz


South African musician, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse (C), 60, talks with a classmate (L) and a teacher as he attends class in a school in Soweto on April 25, 2012.—AFP

S African star goes

back to school at 60


n Saturday nights, 60-year-old Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse is on stage, thrilling South African audiences with hits from his more than four decades in music. But on week nights, the massively popular music maker is in a classroom near his Soweto home, working to earn the high school degree he abandoned in 1969 as his music career took off. In a country where the public education system is struggling and half of all students don’t always have a desk, Mabuse eschewed Johannesburg’s posh private schools or a personal tutor. Instead, he signed up for the government’s adult education classes, a move school officials heralded as a welcome endorsement of the beleaguered public system. “When I started becoming a musician, I was at a very impressionable age. Young, 15, 16,” he said. “Suddenly you make all this money, and you get invited to all the (graduation) dances and all the beautiful girls, you’re attracted by all those things, and you forget that you’re still a scholar. So I dropped out of high school.” His early talent for drums earned him the nickname Hotstix and his career took him across the world, performing with the likes of Percy Sledge and Paul Simon, who recorded parts of his landmark “Graceland” album in South Africa. Mabuse won his own popular success with songs pulling elements from township music with jazz, funk and disco. Even in South Africa’s state of emergency, during one of apartheid’s most brutal periods,

his 1985 single “Burn Out” leapt from the townships to mainstream success, selling over 500,000 copies. He remains a fixture in South African music with regular performances and a seat on the National Arts Council. But last year, he decided something was missing. “When I started growing up, really growing up as a responsible professional, I realised there was something that I had not completed, and that was my matric,” he said, referring to his high school education. Front-row student- In his first year, he took six classes and passed four-a heavy course load even for full-time students. This year, he’s taking geography and history, the last two required to matriculate, plus business economics just for fun. He sits in the front row of

a classroom where many of the students are much more recent drop-outs. Dressed in a sharp grey suit, he jokes with girls about their boyfriends and shows off the cover art for his upcoming album “Class Act”. When class starts, he’s the one with questions and wondering about exams. “The Great Trek. Do you think that will be the kind of history we will do? When I was in school, that was the history that we did. Do we still do that?” he asked. The migration of white Afrikaners into the country’s interior doesn’t figure as prominently as it did when Mabuse first was in school. Blacks then were subjected to so-called Bantu education, meant to “train and fit” them for a subservient role under the white-minority regime.

Front-row student- In his first year, he took six classes and passed four-a heavy course load even for full-time students. This year, he’s taking geography and history, the last two required to matriculate, plus business economics just for fun.

Seven years after Mabuse dropped out, the apartheid government forced high school students to learn in Afrikaans, a move that sparked the 1976 Soweto uprising and led many black students to boycott schools. Under the democratic government, education is the single biggest budget expense, but the results are disappointing. In northern Limpopo province, some schools began receiving text books six months into the academic year, and only after a court order forced the government to act. Nationally, enrolment has been slipping. About 70 percent of seniors passed their exams last year, a feat that requires only a 30 percent mark in some subjects. A survey last year found that one out of two students doesn’t always have a desk; 15 percent of schools have no electricity; 10 percent have no running water. At Thaba-Jabula Secondary School, Mabuse’s attendance has become seen as a national endorsement that public schools can still offer a good education. Teachers say enrolment is up, and students appear more attentive, inspired by their celebrity classmate. “We all want the same thing. All of us want knowledge,” Mabuse said of his fellow students. “For them to see a 60-year-old man coming to class and sitting down in class is in itself encouraging. It says to people, well, if he can do it at that age, well, why shouldn’t we, you know much younger people, go back and study.” —AFP


Chinese crackdown boosts artist Ai on world stage Rows made him ʻart worldʼs most powerful figureʼ


he worse things get for Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei at home, the greater his reputation as an artist and activist becomes abroad, a point campaigners say Beijing may want to bear in mind as it seeks to muzzle him. The thick-set, bearded 55-yearold was back in the headlines this week when he left his house for the first time in a year without having to report his whereabouts to police. He used his new-found freedom to tell the media he had been informed by police that, in addition to an ongoing tax evasion case, he was suspected of other crimes including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency. Ai, China’s most prominent critic whom authorities are desperate to silence, is barred from travelling, although the less he goes abroad, the more, it seems, he matters. “It’s certainly true that it (the crackdown) has the unintended effect outside of China,” said Patrick Griffith of Freedom Now, a US based campaign group representing prisoners of conscience around the world. The group has not worked with Ai but represents Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Laureate jailed for 11 years for inciting subversion. “He’s almost universally known in the States not only because of his art, which he was fairly well known for, but for his disappearance last year which launched him to international stardom,” Griffith added. Ai was held for 81 days without charge in 2011, mainly in solitary confinement, until his conditional release. Chinese authorities may well be aware of the impact of their actions abroad, but see it as a necessary trade-off for limiting the audience at home for Ai’s critique of everything from politics and corruption to pollution and education. “They are very scared of this information getting out,” said Griffith. “To some extent they’ve been successful. (But) people are increasingly aware of Ai Weiwei and his message. Internet activists are able to get around the ‘great firewall’.”

ART A-LISTER There is little doubt Ai’s outspoken views and subsequent travails have placed him at the “high table” of contemporary art in the West, although many of his works are not overtly political and their conceptual nature limits their market value. “In terms of his impact, it makes him an even more important artist,” said Anders Petterson, head of ArtTactic which analyses trends in the art market, commenting on the latest headlines. “This is going to reignite interest in him among non-mainland Chinese collectors, and I guess we will see collectors and art institutions rallying around him.” In October Ai was named the art world’s most powerful figure in the ArtReview magazine’s ranking, topping familiar names like gallery owner Larry Gagosian and renowned artists including Gerhard Richter (who ranked 11th) and Damien Hirst (64th). He has exhibited in Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland and beyond in recent years, and, while he cannot always be present due to

Ai Weiwei, left, talks with his lawyer Pu Zhiqiang at his house’s courtyard in Beijing Wednesday.—AP travel restrictions, he enjoys a strong following among critics and the public. One notable triumph was his “Sunflower Seeds”, part of the Unilever Series staged in the cavernous Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern museum. The 2010 work consisted of 100 million handmade porcelain “seeds” spread out across the floor. Like much of his conceptual work, the piece could be interpreted both as a critique of China and a broader commentary on issues facing society today - a sea of faceless individuals trampled into dust; mass production versus artistry. It certainly caught collectors’ imagination. In May, a one-tonne batch of the seeds, which can be arranged in any shape, fetched $782,500 at Sotheby’s in New York, an auction record for Ai. While significant, Ai’s commercial value pales in comparison to other Chinese contemporary artists, and prices for his works have not skyrocketed in the same way. Before this year, his auction record stood at $657,000 for “Chandelier” set in 2007. By comparison, the contemporary Chinese auction high is held by Zhang Xiaogang, whose “Forever Lasting Love” sold for just over $10 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in April 2011. “One issue is the medium,” said Petterson. “Ai’s practice is very much working with architecture, ceramics, furniture. It is very difficult to put his work in a single ‘box’.

“That doesn’t lend itself so much to the commercial market. The other leading Chinese contemporary artists are mainly straight painters.” Another factor may be that mainland Chinese collectors, who have driven contemporary art prices to record highs in recent years, may be wary of investing in an artist who is viewed with such mistrust by the authorities. HEAD-ON CHALLENGE That mistrust comes from Ai’s decision to challenge the Communist Party head on. After co-designing the famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Games, he likened China’s embrace of the Olympics to a “pretend smile” which he found “disgusting”, and refused to attend the opening ceremony. Asked what China was trying to hide, Ai said: “There are too many things. The whole political structure, the condition of civil rights ... corruption, pollution, education, you name it.” In 2008 he also challenged the authorities to properly investigate the deaths of thousands of children in a devastating earthquake in Sichuan, southwest China, amid suspicion that schools had been poorly constructed in part due to corruption. Author Hari Kunzru called it a “turning point, when this provocateur and prankster became a genuine threat to the Chinese state.” In 2009 Ai created “Remembering”, a

wall of thousands of bright coloured backpacks in Munich that spelled out the words of a mother of a quake victim describing her daughter: “She lived happily for seven years in this world.” Few of his works are so overtly political, but through thought-provoking, often playful art he examines how the past can be trampled in the rush for modernity, freedom within society, mass production and consumption and the value of art. Ai’s father was Ai Qing, a poet revered in China but also denounced as a “rightist” in the 1950s and sentenced to hard labor in a remote region of Xinjiang where his son was raised. The artist left China for the United States in 1981 where he stayed mostly in New York for 12 years, a period that had a huge influence on his career. In 1993 he returned to his homeland, where, for the moment, he is stuck. Ai said the support and help he received while in detention had given him hope. “Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom,” he wrote in the Guardian newspaper on Thursday. “They can delay that freedom but they can’t stop it.” — Reuters


Travel Picks

Top 10 converted hotels E

verybody likes a bit of variety and what better way to try out something different on vacation than by staying in an old monastery or a former school that has been reborn as a luxurious hotel. Just in time for the holiday season, the members and editors of travel website ( have compiled their own list of the Top 10 Converted Hotels. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Mandarin Oriental, Prague - Prague, Czech Republic Though many of the most famous sites in Prague are located in the StarÈ Mesto and Nove M’sto, the Prague Castle and much of the city’s most atmospheric walks are found on the other side of the River Vltava in the Mal· Strana neighborhood. One of these unique buildings is the Mandarin Oriental Prague, housed in a converted Dominican monastery from the 14th century. Even hotel group’s signature holistic spa experience, with waterbased facilities such as a vitality pool and two saunas, is set in an area of architectural heritage. The spa’s entry, a glass walkway, both displays and preserves the remnants of a Gothic church found during the hotel’s renovation. A stroll around the Mal· Strana will give guests ample opportunities to indulge in the city’s famous brews and hear some splendid classical tunes. 2. The Liberty Hotel - Boston, Massachusetts A grey stone structure emerges at the Boston side of the Longfellow Bridge, harkening back to a time far before the Massachusetts General Hospital and Red Line MTA rail were the major

The Liberty Hotel - Boston, Massachusetts

Mandarin Oriental, Prague, Czech Republic players in this area. The looming faÁade belongs to the Liberty Hotel, now a popular playground for adults, but the former home to the Charles Street Jail. The enormous atrium is beautifully preserved, the lighting fixtures providing a modern aesthetic with a historical slant. The architecture of the former jail has been brilliantly reconceived as an urban one-stop shop: the nightclub is in the former

“drunk tank,” cocktail areas occupy the surviving catwalks, and two different eateries can be found in rooms with original jail cell details. A member noted that the location, once ideal for preventing prisoner escapes, is now very convenient for exploring Boston: stroll around Beacon Hill, cab to Newbury Street, or take the T’s Red Line to Cambridge. 3. La Purificadora - Puebla, Mexico One of the first projects to catalyst the converted hotel trend beyond monasteries and jails is La Purificadora in Puebla, Mexico. The city of Puebla, located 100 km (62 miles) east of Mexico City, was one of the most important colonial cities in Mexico. It served as the site for the significant victory over France that established a holiday adults all over the world enjoy celebrating: Cinco de Mayo. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its range of preserved architecture styles. Unlike the majority of converted hotels that are housed in refurbished palaces, monasteries, or convents, the structure housing La Purificadora was born in 1884, as an ice factory where water was bottled and purified for ice production. The archeologists and architects kept the building’s original use in mind when designing the hotel, incorporating clear glass, pools, and open spaces, and allowing the adjacent church of St. Francis to be seen from almost any public area of the hotel. It is a unique and talented group who managed to make a modern and open space so

effortlessly coexist within a city of colonial landmarks, making La Purificadora truly the benchmark for a successful converted hotel. 4. Wanderlust Hotel - Singapore, Singapore While many visitors to Singapore assume sticking to hotels located on Marina Bay is their best bet, other areas of the city are exploding with the unique flavor that can only come from a city with such a variety of ethnic backgrounds. In the Little India neighborhood, Wanderlust Hotel is a great example of this trend. Built in a former schoolhouse, the hotel is part of the Unlisted Collection, which also includes Singapore’s New Majestic Hotel and Shanghai’s The Waterhouse at South Bund; all three are converted hotels. Wanderlust added something new to the mix by giving each of the four floors to a local design firm, resulting in four different themes: Industrial Glam for the Lobby Level, and Eccentricity, Is It Just Black and White? and Creature Comforts for the three floors of rooms. In addition to the high design experience, the hotel also offers a rustic French restaurant, Cocotte, filled with communal tables and food on shared plates. 5. Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailio Cordoba, Spain Visitors to the Andalusia area of Southern Spain usually stay in Seville and make a quick trek to see the Mezquita in Cordoba, the former Mosque that was then converted into a Christian


Cathedral in the center of Cordoba’s old town. However, the Hospes Palacio del Bailio provides a truly unrivaled experience and definitely warrants an overnight stay. Housed in a 16th century palace, the hotel’s architecture provides an immersion into Moorish influence and architecture usually only afforded in Morocco. Beautifully decorated with modern fixtures and a soothing color scheme of neutrals, the hotel embraces its architecture and history while providing guests with all of the modern amenities, like internet and Korres bath products, we’ve grown accustomed to in the 21st century.

Wanderlust Hotel - Singapore

6. Four Seasons Hotel at Sultanahmet - Istanbul, Turkey The ochre exterior is just the first of many signifiers that the Four Seasons Hotel at Sultanahmet is a unique experience. The building, a former Turkish prison, is not only an astounding neoclassical structure, but it is also conveniently located between the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, two of Istanbul’s greatest treasures. The hotel has elements that harken back to the 1918 structure, such as reused tiles from the building’s former incarnation, and the landscaped courtyard, which once served as the prison’s exercise yard. Another great benefit to this spot: guests are allowed to use all the amenities at the Hotel’s sister property, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. 7. Montpelier Plantation - Nevis, Caribbean While the Caribbean has long been known for its luxurious resorts and variety of water activities, the history of the area is lost on many of its visitors. Fortunately, some properties in the region are finding ways to incorporate the history of the area into the guest experience. On the island of Nevis, a British holding that is often reached by traveling to nearby St. Kitts, the Montpelier Plantation provides a luxurious retreat on a former 18th century sugar plantation. Though it is no longer producing much sugar, it still attracts quite a bit of buzz - Princess Diana and both her sons visited shortly after her separation from Prince Charles. 8. Hotel del Casco - San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina Originally built in 1892 and located 22 km (14 miles) north of Buenos Aires, Hotel del Casco is a restored neoclassical palazzo. Formerly an aristocrat’s summer home and later a warehouse for stored goods, the palazzo has been meticulously renovated to its original splendor. The builders made every effort to keep the original structure and preserve the building’s unique neoclassical details, such as its traditional marble entrance staircase and large columns. The interior patio (pictured above) is a distinctive feature of the building, creating that grand “great room” feeling that has long been forgotten. members noted that the suburb of San Isidro, where Hotel del Casco is located, is a charming residential neighborhood with a great cathedral and several old mansions that make the visitor feel.

10. The Conservatorium Hotel - Amsterdam, Netherlands Compared to other hotels on our list, the Conservatorium Hotel has been open the shortest amount of time, but its building has been in use much longer! The hotel has kept the historic faÁade of Amsterdam’s former music conservatory, but there is nothing “student budget” about these five-star accommodations. The building’s glass faÁade and construction instigated an urban regeneration of the Museumplein, the once dodgy area also known as the Museum Quarter. The hotel is perfectly situated for a morning spent wandering the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, and an afternoon window shopping designer stores such as Filippa K, Iceberg, and G. Star on nearby P.C. Hooftstraat. —Reuters

La Purificadora - Puebla, Mexico

9. Quinta Real Zacatecas - Zacatecas, Mexico While many have stayed in a refurbished factory or a renovated palace, few travelers can say they stayed adjacent to an authentic bullfighting ring. The Quinta Real Zacatecas, located in Zacatecas, Mexico, hasn’t seen any action of that kind since 1975, but the architecture of the building and various levels allow for a communal space rarely achieved in hotels today. While visiting Zacatecas, VirtualTourist members recommend strolling the city streets or taking the teleferico (cable car) up the Cerro de la Bufa and enjoying the views from above.


Buddhist film festival seeks to spark faith R

eligion can be a tough sell nowadays, so instead of waiting for disciples to make their way to temple, some promoters brought 36 films with Buddhist themes to the heart of modern Thailand earlier this month. The International Buddhism Film Festival was an effort by the government and private religious groups to popularize Buddhism among the younger generations. “It’s like prescribing medicine to children, you have to add a little sweetener there,” said Somchai Seanglai, the permanent secretary of Thailand’s Culture Ministry. “City dwellers or our young people are not used to the traditional way of practicing Buddhism, so we insert Buddhist dharma into art and culture that people love to consume.” Dharma refers to the Buddha’s teachings on the meaning of existence. Initiated by the California-based Buddhism Film Foundation, the movie festival came to Bangkok for the first time this year since its debut in Los Angeles in 2003, and pulled in 3,700 visitors. “Now many youngsters think of Buddhism as a religion for old people, so the film festival is trying to engage Buddhism with the contemporary world,” said Santi Opaspakornkij, executive director of the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, an education center dedicated to promoting Buddhism through new channels in Thailand. About 90 percent of Thailand’s population is Buddhist, but many view the religion simply as a rough guide to social do’s and don’ts,

with vague notions encouraging good behavior. “I don’t go to temples very often,” said Napasamon Jeeramaneemai, a third-year architecture student at Bangkok’s Thammasat

University attending the festival. “Buddhism for me is just a better way to resolve bad situations. Sometimes when you blame them on ‘karma,’ it’s easier to accept them.” Buddhists believe “Karma” rules a person’s destiny

In this photo taken Friday, June 15, 2012, women pray to Buddhist statues in front of a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand. —AP

depending on their deeds throughout their existence, which can span many lifetimes. To make sure the films would cause no major offense, the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives sought support from three leading Thai monks in the forefront of popularizing Buddhism, including the popular young preacher, Phra Maha Vudhijaya Vajiramedhi, who posts his teachings on his Twitter account for more than 500,000 followers. The films included “Crazy Wisdom,” a documentary released in 2011 by American filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas. It portrays Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a controversial Tibetan monk who preached to thousands of students when he lived in the West but whose lifestyle was in defiance of many of Buddhism’s ethical principles. But many people considered his unconventional style a challenging but effective way of presenting Buddhist concepts. “I personally don’t agree with the way Trungpa Rinpoche teaches,” Nittaya Weera, a freelance writer on telecommunication, commented on “Crazy Wisdom.” “But I understand the real essence of Buddhism is in the belief itself. The way to get there doesn’t really matter.” “Crazy Wisdom” turned out to be the most popular films. Other crowd-pleasers included “Abraxas,” a Japanese film about a married punk rocker turned Buddhist, and “Karma,” a lighthearted Nepali film about two Tibetan nuns on a journey to get repayment of a loan. — AP

Pixar takes bold step with ‘Brave’ princess


fter movies about toys, cars and various cute animals, Pixar moves into more traditional territory with its latest film, princess tale “Brave”-but it was more complicated than you might expect. The US studio, which has built its reputation on pioneering animation in films like “Finding Nemo,” the “Toy Story” franchise and “Wall-E,” took seven years to give birth to the movie, released yesterday in North America. That’s a long time for the Scottish-themed project, reflecting headaches and twists, including a change of director from Disney and DreamWorks veteran Brenda Chapman to American Mark Andrews, making his feature directorial debut. “Brenda came to Pixar for ‘Cars,’ and I was here already, and whenever we would have a party I would wear my kilt,” Andrews told AFP, referring to his Scottish background. “I have a Scottish heritage. I’ve always been a history buff and a Middle Ages history buff and a lot of great stuff happened in Scotland. I just love all that stuff,” he added. But Pixar set itself a double challenge with “Brave”: to make a princess film-a genre defined for decades by its parent company Disney-and to give the film’s central role to a female character, the first time it had done so. “It’s always a challenge. Having done stories for 20 years in the animation and live action industry, it doesn’t matter what your character is, it’s always a pain in the butt to figure out,” he said. “These characters, male or female, fish or lizard, it doesn’t really matters. It’s ‘What is the message? How do I create sympathy for the audience?’ That’s always hard. In the essence of any character, gender is not an issue.” “Brave” follows the adventures of impetuous Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald, a tomboy who rejects everything her family has planned for her, notably marrying one of the kingdom’s clan heirs. Determined to change the mind of her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson), she seeks the help of a witch, a reckless choice which unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right. —AFP

Festival goers sit amongst the mud at the campsite at the Isle of Wight festival on the Isle of Wight England yesterday. —AP

Rain, floods cause Isle of Wight festival woes H

undreds of music fans were stranded in their cars overnight after rainstorms caused chaos on travel routes to the Isle of Wight Festival. Long traffic jams formed after rain battered the festival site on the 150 sq. mile (400 sq. km) island off England’s south coast, turning parking lots into inaccessible mud baths. Some of the stranded

motorists were given shelter in a sports club. More people were stuck on the mainland, and 600 were stranded on ferries at sea, after boat companies canceled crossings because of the backlog. Ferry services resumed yesterday, but Hampshire Police said both festival-goers and island residents could expect “significant delays.” “Our priority is to clear exist-

ing traffic on the island and provide more welfare and refreshments to motorists in queues,” the force said in a statement. Festival organizers apologized for the problems, and urged concertgoers to leave cars at home. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the threeday festival, headlined by Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. — AP


Chinese dancers perform with artificial leaves on a stage during the opening of Duanwu Festival held at Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in Beijing, China yesterday. The Duanwu festival, also known as Dragon Boat festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period. —AP

Critics turned off

by ‘West Wing’ creator’s TV news show


scar-winning writer and “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin has made headlines with his new show, set in a TV news station, even before its weekend debut-but unfortunately not in a good way. “The Newsroom,” which portrays the stormy behind-the-scenes life at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN), has an allstar cast and has fueled debate about the media’s role in an election year, but it’s been lashed by critics. “The biggest problem with ‘The Newsroom’-and it’s one of many, many problems-is that its goals and its narrative strategies are in direct conflict with each other,” wrote the Huffington Post’s TV critic, Maureen Ryan. “The result is a dramatically inert, infuriating mess, one that wastes a fine cast to no demonstrable purpose, unless you consider giving Sorkin yet another platform in which to Set the People Straight is a worthwhile purpose.” The show should have everything going for it, starting with award-winning screenwriter Sorkin: even before penning the 1999-2006 series “West Wing” Sorkin won credit for 1992’s Oscar-nominated “A Few Good Men. The 51-year-old New Yorker won an Academy Award last year for the screenplay of Facebook movie “The Social Network,” and was again nominated this year for best adapted screenplay for Brad Pitt baseball movie “Moneyball.” His new show’s cast includes English actress Emily Mortimer, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Skins” star Dev Patel, Jeff Daniels, while Jane Fonda takes a turn in the series which debuts Sunday on premium cable channel HBO. —AFP

‘Seeking a Friend’ makes apocalypse look preferable T

here’s a great movie about the imminent destruction of the planet and how it affects a group of people and their search for family bonds, sexual thrills and even momentary connections with total strangers. It’s called “Last Night,” it was directed by Don McKellar in 1998 and you should add it to your queue if you’ve never seen it. Unfortunately, this review is for “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” which feels like the studio-notes version of “Last Night.” While there are some amusing moments involving the film’s stellar cast of second bananas, the “quirky” and utterly artificial love story at its center makes Armageddon feel like the preferable option. The script by first-time director Lorene Scafaria gives us a lead character who has allowed life to pass him by. This man is named “Dodge,” which should give you some idea of the subtlety, or lack thereof, involved in this script. When scientists announce that the planet’s demise at the hand of an enormous meteor is unavoidable, Dodge (Steve Carell) sits by helplessly as his wife goes running off into the night. Over the course of the next few weeks - the last the Earth will enjoy - Dodge gets to know his downstairs neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), a bubbly free spirit who collects vinyl LPs and unworthy boyfriends. In true indie-movie fashion, the two of them hit the road to take care of some unfinished business before the end of days. If “Seeking a Friend” presented these polar opposites as people finding respite in each other’s arms because they are literally the last people on Earth, their unlikely romance

would be easier to swallow. But no, Scafaria wants us to believe that the love between this buttoned-up insurance salesman and this irritating gamine was always meant to be, and that only Ragnarok could bring them together. The film often feels like a TV pilot that needs to recast its leads, because its episodic vignettes involving other characters are the only parts that work. When Dodge and Penny encounter sexually liberated hedonists (played by Melanie Lynskey and Patton Oswalt), a philosophical trucker (William Petersen), a chain restaurant (T.J. Miller and Gillian Jacobs are among the waiters) where staff and patrons alike are hopped up on Ecstasy, an ex (Derek Luke) of Penny’s who’s in full survivalist mode or Dodge’s estranged father (Martin Sheen), the movie briefly sputters to life, only to fizzle once we’re back to the leads (and the adorable, sympathy-milking stray dog they pick up along the way). Carell is a talented comedian, but based on this film and “Dan in Real Life,” his idea of a dramatic performance is to be a lifeless lump. (Whereas his suicidal academic in “Little Miss Sunshine,” while hardly a wacky-jokes piece of acting, conveyed both sadness and an indication that someone was home.) As for Knightley, whether it’s the sheer artificiality of the character as written or the banality of her performance, she’s never been worse. “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” seeks to show that for most people, time is only precious when there’s a limited amount of it left. It’s more successful at illustrating how 101 minutes can feel like a lifetime.—



Internet group picks little known executive as CEO ICANN selects Fadi Chehade to replace Rod Beckstrom

KUALA LUMPUR: In this file photo, a visitor tries out a new iPad tablet computer at an Apple store. The annual charging cost of an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. The group, known as EPRI, saw Apple Inc.’s big iPad sales numbers and decided to study the tablet computer’s power use to determine what effect the devices might have on the nationís electricity consumption. — AP

Low electricity needs of iPad may reduce power consumption ENERGY COST: It costs $1.36 a year to charge an iPad, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a group funded by electric utilities. PERSPECTIVE: A 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72. WHAT THIS MEANS: If people are using iPads instead of televisions to play video games, or ditching their desktop computers for iPads, the shift to tablets could mean lower overall power consumption. — AP

Asia’s digital divide poses challenge for music industry HONG KONG: Technology is the new rock ‘n’ roll as smartphones and digital services transform the music industry. But for those companies helping change the way music is consumed, Asia presents big hurdles. Apple’s iTunes music store-which has stamped its presence in the US and Europe as sales in traditional formats such as compact discs continue to fall — is still a limited service in many parts of the region. Other global players and streaming services popular in the West such as startup Spotify, a privately held firm launched in Sweden in 2008, are in the process of launching digital platforms in Asia, analysts say. But together with the region’s sprawl of very different cultural sensibilities, complicated licensing issues between record companies, publishers and groups holding performing rights, and piracy hotspots, digital growth has been mixed. “Doing business in the socalled western world is a little simpler,” Ruuben van den Heuvel, executive director of music, media and technology consultancy GateWay Entertainment told AFP from Brisbane, Australia. “For western companies coming to Asia, it’s like stepping onto a brand new planet and wondering how it works,” he said. “The landscape for digital music is a bit of a piracy wasteland.” Globally the music industry remains in a period of dramatic change as it tries to reconcile the Internet’s ability to grow audiences with the fact this means people can easily get their music for free using peerto-peer (P2P) software. Recent data suggests the industry is starting to turn things around. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), digital music revenues grew 8.0 percent last year to $5.2 billion (4.1 billion euros). —AFP

NEW YORK: A businessman with experience in building consensus will be the next CEO of the Internet agency in charge of contentious policies surrounding Internet addresses, The Associated Press has learned. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is pushing through a major change in the way Web and email addresses are structured and assigned, plans to announce Fadi Chehade’s appointment in Prague yesterday. He will replace former US cybersecurity chief Rod Beckstrom as chief executive. In selecting Chehade, ICANN went with someone who isn’t well known and isn’t well versed in the organization’s core tasks - keeping the Internet address system running smoothly. Chehade does, however, have a knack for diplomacy. In the early days of ecommerce, he persuaded leading tech companies such as IBM and HewlettPackard to collaborate on a system called RosettaNet for exchanging data, even as they competed for customers. ICANN Chairman Steve Crocker said those achievements outweighed the drawbacks. In an exclusive interview with the AP ahead of the announcement, Chehade, 50, said his work at RosettaNet prepared him for the new role. “The thrill and the satisfaction of bringing people around some common understanding is tremendous,” Chehade said. “I have a personal and deep love of bringing consensus.” He said that when executive recruiters contacted him about the position at ICANN, “I immediately had flashbacks of how much I enjoyed doing a job that everybody told me was impossible and difficult.” As CEO, Chehade will receive a base salary of $560,000 plus up to $240,000 in bonuses based on merit. He is tentatively set to start Oct. 1. His tenure lasts until July 1, 2015. Beckstrom leaves ICANN this July 1. Chief Operating Officer Akram Atallah will serve as CEO in the interim. One of Chehade’s chief tasks will be guiding the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s. The change affects how people find Web sites or send email and could lead to more options for businesses as easy-toremember “.com” names are harder to obtain. ICANN has received 1,930 proposals for 1,409 different domain name suffixes, including “.love,” “.google” and “.music.” They would rival “.com” and others now in use. A florist called Apple can’t use “” today because the computer company has it, but the shop might get “” one day. Even after a decade of debate, however, the expansion still faces criticism, much of it from trademark holders who worry about having to police the Internet for addresses that misuse their brands. “Anything new like this is

going to create angst and controversy, and it’s going to create opportunity,” Chehade said. ICANN is also in charge of assigning the numeric Internet Protocol addresses used to identify computers, smartphones and other Internet-connected devices. And it faces perennial calls for the United Nations to take a greater role in crafting Internet policies. Although ICANN has board members from around the world, it is headquartered in Los Angeles and gets its authority from the US government, which funded much of the Internet’s early development. Chehade has some international experience, having served for a year in Dubai as IBM general manager for global technology services for the Middle East and North Africa. Born in Lebanon and of Egyptian decent, he speaks English, Arabic, French and Italian. He lives in Los Angeles and became a US citizen in 1986. Chehade moved to the US in 1980 at age 18. Smuggled out of Beirut, he arrived in Los Angeles with $482 and worked two restaurant jobs there before attending Polytechnic Institute of

when CompUSA places an order through 3Com Corp.’s website, 3Com’s computers automatically contact Ingram Micro’s machines to ship the products to CompUSA. That system was custom built. Its success prompted Chehade to create standards - such as common ways for proprietary systems to define shopping baskets - so that it could be used by hundreds or thousands of businesses. That effort evolved into RosettaNet, which brought together leading, sometimes-competing companies such as Microsoft Corp., SAP AG, Oracle Corp., IBM Corp., HewlettPackard Co., Dell Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc., along with FedEx and UPS. “I had to get all these Silicon Valley giants in a room and convince them that if their machines talk to each other, we don’t lose a competitive advantage,” Chehade said. After leaving RosettaNet in 2000, Chehade created Viacore Inc., which offered supplychain management services to businesses that didn’t want to build their own systems in-house. IBM bought the company in 2006 and hired

LONDON: ICANN, President and Chief Executive Rod Beckstrom, left, and Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President speaks on expanding the number of domain name suffixes during a press conference. Fadi Chehade has been chosen as ICANN’s next CEO. — AP New York on a scholarship. After graduating with a computer science degree in 1985, he got a master’s in engineering management from Stanford University a year later. He worked at Bell Labs before starting a company, Nett Information Products, in the early 1990s. The company offered services that used Lotus Notes software to let companies collaborate with partners over proprietary networks. Ingram Micro Inc., a distributor of information-technology products, bought the company in 1996 and tasked Chehade with adapting the services to run over the Internet. It was there that he built software for computers from various companies to talk to one another with little human intervention. For instance,

Chehade. He left IBM in 2009, after spending a year in Dubai. After a brief stint as CEO of CoreObjects Software Inc., Chehade became head of Vocado LLC, which makes software for educational institutions. Atallah, the No. 2 executive at ICANN, was Chehade’s deputy at CoreObjects. They had also known each other as children; both served in the boy scouts in Lebanon. Chehade credited the Internet with helping him stay in touch with childhood friends, many of whom scattered around the world because of a lengthy civil war in Lebanon during the late 70s and 80s. He said his “personal and professional passion about the value of the Internet” will lead him to favor policies that keep the Internet free from unnecessary restrictions. — AP



Texas accuses Google of withholding evidence SAN FRANCISCO: The Texas attorney general is accusing Google of improperly withholding evidence to stymie an investigation into whether the company has been abusing its dominance of Internet search. The allegations surfaced in a court filing earlier this week as part of Texas’ 2year-old probe into Google’s business practices. Texas is among at least six US states examining whether Google manipulates its Internet search engine’s influential recommendations to stifle competition and drive up online advertising prices. The Federal Trade Commission and European regulators are conducting their own investigations into the same issues. As regulators and other government authorities pursue their inquiries, Google Inc. is being asked to turn over reams of internal emails and other records that could illuminate the company’s strategy and provide insights into the mindset of its top executives. Google’s has refused to hand over more than 14,500 documents covered in formal demands issued by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in July 2010 and May 2011. Abbott filed a petition Monday in a Texas state court seeking an order that would require the company to surrender more of the requested material. News of the filing broke in The Wall Street Journal a few hours before Google’s annual sharehold-

ers’ meeting Thursday at its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The uncertainty posed by Google’s legal battles with government regulators and authorities around the world is one of the reasons the company’s stock has been lagging the rest of the market since co-founder Larry Page became CEO more than 14 months ago. Google shares fell $12.30 Thursday to close at $565.21. The stock has declined by 4 percent during Page’s reign while both the technology-driven Nasdaq composite index and the Dow Jones industrial average have gained 2 percent. This isn’t the first time a government agency has lashed out at Google for perceived stonewalling. In April, the Federal Communications Commission fined Google $25,000 after concluding the company deliberated impeded an investigation into a Google project that scooped up emails, passwords and other personal information transmitted over unsecured wireless networks in homes located around the world. Google denied it did anything wrong, although it wound paying the fine. In a Thursday statement, Google cast itself as a good corporate citizen - an image that it seeks to cultivate as part of its “Don’t Be Evil” motto. “We have shared hundreds of thousands of documents with the Texas Attorney General, and we are happy

NY Times adds tech heavyweights NEW YORK: The New York Times Co. is adding two technology heavyweights to its board of directors: Joichi Ito, an early investor in Twitter, Flickr and Kickstarter, and Brian McAndrews, a venture capitalist who specializes in funding technology start-up companies. The newspaper company is in the midst of a digital transformation, as it tries to increase the revenue it garners online and through tablet computer applications. In March last year, the Times started charging people for online or mobile access once they read a certain number of stories. A year later, it had 472,000 paying digital subscribers. The appointments of Ito and McAndrews bring the number of board members to 13. The Times now has four directors with significant technology backgrounds. The other two are Doreen Toben, former chief financial officer at Verizon Communications Inc., and David Liddle, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm US Venture Partners. Ito, 46, has been director of the Media Lab at MIT since September 2011 and was formerly the CEO of Creative Commons, a nonprofit that helps copyright owners license their material for free use. Ito helped establish the first commercial Internet service provider in Japan. McAndrews, 53, is a partner of Madrona Venture Group LLC, a venture capital firm that funds technology companies. He served as senior vice president for advertiser and publisher solutions at Microsoft Corp. He had been CEO of digital marketing company aQuantive Inc., which Microsoft acquired in 2007. In addition to helping guide the company, Ito and McAndrews will contribute to the search for a new CEO, the Times Co. said. Former chief executive Janet Robinson resigned in December. — AP

to answer any questions that regulators have about our business,” Google said. The Texas dispute hinges on whether the documents in question are legally protected communications between Google’s lawyers and the company’s employ-

SAN ANGELO: In this file photo, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott talks with the media as he leaves the Tom Green County Courthouse, in San Angelo, Texas. Abbott is accusing Google of improperly withholding evidence sought in an investigation into whether the company has been abusing its dominance of Internet search. — AP ees. Abbott contends Google is trying to conceal documents that don’t fall under the shield known as attorney-client privilege.

The Texas attorney general reached that conclusion after reviewing Google’s justification for withholding the requested documents. In many instances, Google is asserting the attorney-client privilege on communications between non-lawyers, according to Abbott’s petition. The disputed records reflect but don’t contain advice directly from a lawyer, according to the petition. Abbott says Google is withholding other records that don’t appear to have been prepared by lawyers. To prove his point, Abbott wants a Travis County court judge in Texas to review a sampling of the documents that Google is trying to protect to determine if they fall under attorneyclient privilege. The review would be done in the privacy of the judge’s chambers, a process known as “in camera.” “The Attorney General’s office believes an in camera review of these examples will likely demonstrate that Google has significantly overreached in its effort to prevent disclosure of documents,” lawyers on Abbott’s staff wrote in the petition. Google, meanwhile, is asking Abbott’s investigators to return or delete 12 documents that the company had previously turned over, according to the petition. Abbott wants a judge to look over those records to determine if they fall under attorney-client privilege. — AP

Nintendo to start selling 3DS with larger screens Battery life lasts nearly 7 hours for 3D games TOKYO: Japanese game maker Nintendo Co. has upgraded its 3DS handheld to sport a screen nearly twice as big as the previous model amid hot competition against smartphones and tablets that are wooing people away from dedicated gaming machines. The Kyoto-based maker of the Super Mario games and Wii home console said yesterday the Nintendo 3DS LL, called 3DS XL in overseas markets, goes on sale in Japan and Europe July 28, and in the US from Aug. 19. It

will sell in Japan for 18,900 yen ($236) and $199.99 in the US. It did not give a price for Europe. The 3DS, which has a touch panel and delivers 3-D imagery without special glasses, has two screens - one is 3.53 inches and the other is 3.02 inches. The LL or XL version’s screens are 4.88 inches and 4.18 inches, according to the company. Screen inches refer to the diagonal measurement so LL screens are 1.9 times bigger. “There were demands for a bigger screen,

TOKYO: In this image released by Nintendo Co., Japanese game maker Nintendo’s 3DS LL, left, and 3DS are shown. — AP

and so we are ready to respond with a size-variation model,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said in a video on the company’s website. “You can enjoy powerful 3D imagery.” It weighs a bit more and is slightly bigger than the previous model. But battery life was extended to up to six and a half hours for 3D games from the previous five hours, and up to 10 hours from eight hours for regular games. Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., said bigger screens are generally almost always a plus for game machines sales, and the affordable price adds to the appeal. “People who already have the 3DS and those who don’t may but it. After all, it’s so cheap,” he said. Nintendo and Japanese rival Sony Corp. with its PlayStation Vita handheld are fighting tough competition from smartphones and tablets, which allow users to not only play games but also spend time on social media and other entertainment. The bigger screens may help differentiate Nintendo’s handheld from other devices, but the upgraded screen is still smaller than the iPad. Iwata has repeatedly shrugged off the threat from smartphones. — AP

TV listings


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00:45 Untamed & Uncut 01:40 Crime Scene Wild 02:35 In Search Of The Giant Anaconda 03:30 Up Close And Dangerous 03:55 Up Close And Dangerous 04:25 Mutant Planet 05:20 Animal Kingdom 05:45 Predator’s Prey 06:10 E-Vets: The Interns 06:35 E-Vets: The Interns 07:00 Escape To Chimp Eden 07:25 Crocodile Hunter 08:15 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:10 Jeff Corwin Unleashed 09:35 Jeff Corwin Unleashed 10:05 The Really Wild Show 10:30 Breed All About It 11:00 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:25 Project Puppy 11:55 Cats 101 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:45 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 17:25 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 18:20 Wildest Arctic 19:15 Wildest Arctic 20:10 Great Ocean Adventures 21:05 Karina: Wild On Safari 21:30 Cheetah Kingdom 22:00 Up Close And Dangerous 22:25 Up Close And Dangerous 22:55 Whale Wars: Viking Shores 23:50 Animal Cops South Africa

00:35 Man Made Marvels Asia 01:25 Colony 02:15 Powering The Future 03:05 The Gadget Show 03:35 Smash Lab 04:25 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 05:15 Man Made Marvels Asia 06:05 What’s That About? 07:00 Powering The Future 07:55 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 08:20 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 08:50 How Does That Work? 09:15 How Does That Work? 09:40 Engineered 10:30 Sport Science 11:20 Sport Science 12:10 Sport Science 13:00 Sport Science 13:50 Sport Science 14:45 Prophets Of Science Fiction 15:35 Patent Bending 16:00 Patent Bending 16:30 Future Weapons 17:20 Cosmic Collisions 18:10 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 18:40 Scrapheap Challenge 19:30 Mega World 20:20 Brave New World 21:10 Weird Or What? 22:00 Dark Matters 22:50 Brave New World 23:40 Prophets Of Science Fiction

00:50 Indian Food Made Easy 01:15 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 01:40 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 02:05 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 02:30 MasterChef 02:55 MasterChef 03:20 Living In The Sun 04:15 Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers 04:40 New Scandinavian Cooking With Andreas Viestad 05:10 Rick Stein’s French Odyssey 05:35 James Martin’s Favourite Feasts 06:00 Indian Food Made Easy 06:25 Come Dine With Me 07:15 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 07:40 Come Dine With Me 14:25 Celebrity MasterChef 14:50 Cash In The Attic USA 15:15 Gok’s Fashion Fix 16:00 Gok’s Fashion Fix 16:45 Antiques Roadshow 20:10 Antiques Roadshow 21:00 Cash In The Attic 21:45 Cash In The Attic 22:30 Bargain Hunt 23:15 Bargain Hunt

00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:15 04:40 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:15 08:40 08:55 09:15 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:20 11:30 11:50 12:10 12:35 13:00 13:50 14:40 15:05 15:55

Duck Dodgers The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Jetsons Puppy In My Pocket Popeye Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races The Flintstones A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Popeye Classics Wacky Races Pink Panther And Pals Dexter’s Laboratory Bananas In Pyjamas Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Ha Ha Hairies The Garfield Show The Looney Tunes Show What’s New Scooby-Doo? Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Yogi’s Treasure Hunt Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Wacky Races The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Garfield Show The Flintstones Dastardly And Muttley Looney Tunes Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Tom & Jerry Top Cat

Hillbilly Handfishin’ Tornado Road Finding Bigfoot Gold Rush Deadliest Catch Hillbilly Handfishin’ When Fish Attack River Monsters: Special

FANTASTIC FOUR ON OSN ACTION HD 16:20 16:45 17:15 18:05 18:30 20:00 20:30 20:55 21:25 21:50 22:15 22:35 23:00 23:20 23:45

Top Cat Pink Panther & Pals The Garfield Show The Looney Tunes Show The Man Called Flintstone Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries What’s New Scooby-Doo? The Garfield Show The Flintstones Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Popeye Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley New Yogi Bear Show

00:30 Bakugan: New Vestroia 00:55 Bakugan: New Vestroia 01:20 Powerpuff Girls 02:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 03:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 03:25 Ben 10 03:50 Adventure Time 04:15 Powerpuff Girls 04:40 Generator Rex 05:05 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 05:30 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 05:55 Angelo Rules 06:00 Casper’s Scare School 06:25 Casper’s Scare School 07:00 The Powerpuff Girls 07:15 Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi 07:40 The Amazing World Of Gumball 08:05 Adventure Time 08:55 Regular Show 09:20 Evil Con Carne 09:45 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien

10:05 10:35 20:35 21:00 21:25 21:50 22:00 22:50 23:15 23:40

Thundercats Hero 108 Hero 108 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Redakai: Conquer The Kairu Cow And Chicken Codename: Kids Next Door Ben 10 Ben 10 Chowder

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Amanpour World Sport Piers Morgan Tonight World Report Anderson Cooper 360 Piers Morgan Tonight Quest Means Business CNN Marketplace Africa The Situation Room World Sport Cnngo World Report CNN Marketplace Africa Backstory World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East Business Traveller World Sport Mainsail The Best Of The Situation Room World Report Backstory The Brief Inside Africa World Report Inside The Middle East Talk Asia Eco Solutions

16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:15 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30

00:15 00:40 01:35 Junior 02:30 03:25 03:55 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:25 08:15 09:10 10:05 10:55 11:50 12:45 13:40 14:35 15:30 16:25

News Special Backstory International Desk African Voices CNN Marketplace Europe CNN Marketplace Africa The Brief World Sport Living Golf International Desk Inside Africa International Desk Cnngo The Best Of The Situation Room World Report News Special

Worst-Case Scenario Surviving Disaster American Chopper: Senior vs Wheeler Dealers Revisited Fifth Gear Fifth Gear Surviving Disaster How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Gold Rush How It’s Made Built From Disaster Mega Builders Extreme Engineering Heart Of The Machine Wild Swimming Adventure Alaska’s Great Race Ultimate Survival Ultimate Survival World’s Toughest Jobs Coal When Fish Attack

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

Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates The Suite Life Of Zack And So Random Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Jessie A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place The Phineas And Ferb Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up Austin & Ally A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Jessie Wizards Of Waverly Place So Random Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Read It And Weep A.N.T. Farm Austin & Ally Shake It Up Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Jessie Wizards Of Waverly Place The Phineas And Ferb Fish Hooks Fish Hooks The Suite Life Of Zack And

23:20 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 23:45 Sonny With A Chance

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 15 Most Shocking Political Sex Scandals 03:15 Behind The Scenes 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Bridalplasty 10:15 Giuliana & Bill 11:10 Giuliana & Bill 12:05 E! News 13:05 Scouted 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 14:35 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Khloe And Lamar 16:25 Khloe And Lamar 16:55 Ice Loves Coco 17:25 Ice Loves Coco 17:55 E! News 18:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Style Star 21:25 Fashion Police 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

The Haunted A Haunting True CSI On The Case With Paula Zahn Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted A Haunting Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Ghost Lab The Haunted A Haunting

00:00 Departures 01:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 02:00 First Ascent 02:30 First Ascent 03:00 Meet The Natives 04:00 Keeping Up With The Joneses 04:30 Keeping Up With The Joneses 05:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 06:00 First Ascent 06:30 First Ascent 07:00 Meet The Natives: USA 08:00 Danger Men 09:00 Deadliest Journeys 09:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 11:00 On The Camino De Santiago 11:30 On The Camino De Santiago 12:00 Eccentric Uk 12:30 Eccentric Uk 13:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 14:00 First Ascent 14:30 First Ascent 15:00 Meet The Natives: USA 16:00 Keeping Up With The Joneses 16:30 Keeping Up With The Joneses 17:00 Treks In A Wild World

TV listings

SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2012 18:00 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Departures One Man & His Campervan One Man & His Campervan Which Way To The Frankincense Trail Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy A World Apart

00:00 Departures 01:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 02:00 First Ascent 02:30 First Ascent 03:00 Meet The Natives 04:00 Keeping Up With The Joneses 04:30 Keeping Up With The Joneses 05:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 06:00 First Ascent 06:30 First Ascent 07:00 Meet The Natives: USA 08:00 Danger Men 09:00 Deadliest Journeys 09:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 11:00 On The Camino De Santiago 11:30 On The Camino De Santiago 12:00 Eccentric Uk 12:30 Eccentric Uk 13:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 14:00 First Ascent 14:30 First Ascent 15:00 Meet The Natives: USA 16:00 Keeping Up With The Joneses 16:30 Keeping Up With The Joneses 17:00 Treks In A Wild World 18:00 Departures 19:00 One Man & His Campervan 19:30 One Man & His Campervan 20:00 Which Way To 21:00 The Frankincense Trail 22:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 23:00 A World Apart

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Trapped Taboo Megastructures Fight Science Hunter Hunted The Known Universe Cruise Ship Diaries Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Trapped Taboo Megastructures Fight Science Hunter Hunted The Known Universe Cruise Ship Diaries Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Trapped Taboo Megastructures World’s Deadliest Animals Shark Men Banged Up Abroad Light At The Edge of The World Departures

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

Triumph of Life Monster Crocs Predator CSI Swamp Men World Wild Web Savannah Expedition Wild Killer Shots Monster Fish World Wild Web World Wild Web Live Like An Animal Camera Trap Camera Trap Africa’s Deadliest Built For The Kill I, Predator Wild Chronicles Wild Chronicles Savannah Wild Detectives Expedition Wild Wildlife Rescue Africa Hunter Hunted Lizard Kings Expedition Wild Wildlife Rescue Africa Hunter Hunted Lizard Kings I, Predator

00:00 Seventh Moon-PG15 02:00 Malibu Shark Attack-18 04:00 The Perfect Host-PG15 06:00 Shanghai Noon-PG15 08:00 Rocky IV-PG15 10:00 Odysseus: Voyage To The Underworld-PG15 12:00 Largo Winch 2-PG15 14:00 Rocky IV-PG15 16:00 Planet Of The Apes-PG15 18:00 Largo Winch 2-PG15 20:00 The Silence Of The Lambs-18 22:00 Fantastic Four-PG15

01:00 Coming & Going-PG15 03:00 Oceans-PG15 05:00 Miles From Nowhere-PG15 07:00 Ice Dreams-PG15 09:00 Coming & Going-PG15 11:00 Cars 2-FAM 13:00 Big Fat Liar-PG 14:30 A Trace Of Danger-PG15 16:30 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 19:00 Red-PG15 21:00 Arthur-PG15 23:00 Saw VII: The Final Chapter-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 02:00 Allen Gregory 02:30 Angry Boys 03:00 New Girl 03:30 Melissa & Joey 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Til Death 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 New Girl

09:00 Til Death 09:30 30 Rock 10:00 Modern Family 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 13:00 Til Death 14:00 Melissa & Joey 14:30 Modern Family 15:00 30 Rock 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Best Friends Forever 18:30 Bent 19:00 The Office 19:30 Breaking In 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 23:00 Angry Boys 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Jane By Design Smash The Bachelor Fairly Legal Lights Out Good Morning America Franklin & Bash Castle The Martha Stewart Show The View Jane By Design Fairly Legal Castle Live Good Morning America Franklin & Bash Emmerdale Coronation Street C.S.I. Criminal Minds C.S.I. New York

22:00 Law & Order: Criminal Intent 23:00 Lights Out

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Unforgettable The Bachelor Love Bites Jane By Design Smash C.S.I. Miami Unforgettable The Bachelor Castle The Chicago Code Jane By Design Fairly Legal Emmerdale Coronation Street Castle Unforgettable Emmerdale Coronation Street Body Of Proof C.S.I. Criminal Minds C.S.I. New York Law & Order: Criminal Intent Rescue Me

01:00 Get Rich Or Die Tryin’-18 03:00 Sniper: Reloaded-18 05:00 Seventh Moon-PG15 07:00 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course-PG15 09:00 Men In Black II-PG 11:00 The Recruit-PG15 13:00 Drunken Master-PG15 15:00 Men In Black II-PG 17:00 The Craigslist Killer-PG15 19:00 Law Abiding Citizen-18 21:00 Fantastic Four-PG15 23:00 Open Graves-18

00:00 Saint John Of Las Vegas-18 02:00 Knucklehead-PG15 04:00 Babe: Pig In The City-FAM 06:00 Love And Mary-PG15 08:00 My Sassy Girl-PG15 10:00 The Chaperone-PG15 12:00 The Open Road-PG15 14:00 Feed The Fish-PG15 16:00 The Chaperone-PG15 18:00 French Kiss-PG15 20:00 She’s Out Of My League-18 22:00 There’s Something About Mary-18

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Don’t Look Back-PG15 On The Edge-18 All The Pretty Horses-PG15 Mammoth-PG15 Love The Beast-PG The Client List-PG15 Veronica Guerin-PG15 Love The Beast-PG Don’t Fade Away-PG15 Limousine-PG15 The Tempest-PG15 The Gray Man-PG15

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Jonah Hex-PG15 The Art Of Getting By-PG15 Waiting For Superman-PG15 Rio-FAM Letters To Juliet-PG15 Lottery Ticket-PG15 I Am Number Four-PG15 My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend-PG15 Jane Eyre-PG15 Lottery Ticket-PG15 How Do You Know-PG15 Wuthering Heights-PG15 A Nightmare On Elm Street-18

00:00 Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown-PG 02:00 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG 04:00 Freddy Frogface-PG 06:00 Ulysses-PG 08:00 Pocahontas & The Spider Woman-PG 10:00 Rango-FAM 12:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 14:00 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed-PG 16:00 Ulysses-PG 18:00 Rango-FAM 20:00 The Karate Kid-PG 22:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG

00:00 MSNBC Hardball W/ Chris Matthews 01:00 MSNBC Politicsnation 02:00 Live NBC Nightly News 02:30 ABC World News W/ Diane Sawyer 03:00 MSNBC The Ed Show 04:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 06:00 NBC Nightly News 06:35 ABC Nightline 07:00 ABC World News W/ Diane Sawyer 07:30 Live NBC Nightly News 08:00 MSNBC The Ed Show 09:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 10:00 MSNBC Morning Joe 13:00 MSNBC Documystery 14:00 Live NBC Saturday Today Show 16:00 MSNBC Up With Chris Hayes Saturday 17:57 Live MSNBC Hardball W/ Chris Matthews 18:38 Live MSNBC The Ed Show 19:19 Live MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 20:00 Live ABC 20/20 21:00 MSNBC Documystery 22:00 MSNBC Documystery 23:00 MSNBC Documystery


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Paul-PG15 Henry’s Crime-PG15 Justin Bieber: Never Say NeverCall Of The Wild-PG15 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick

Rules-PG15 10:00 Transformers: Dark Of The Moon-PG15 12:30 Henry’s Crime-PG15 14:15 An Invisible Sign Of My OwnPG15 16:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules-PG15 18:00 Country Strong-PG15 20:00 Wuthering Heights-PG15 22:15 The Town-18

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ODI Cricket Futbol Mundial Live Rugby Matchday Live International Rugby Union Live Rugby Matchday Live International Rugby Union Live Rugby Matchday Trans World Sport Volvo Ocean Race International Rugby Union PGA European Tour Weekly Live Rugby Matchday Live International Rugby Union Live Rugby Matchday WWE This Week Rugby Match Day

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UFC The Ultimate Fighter Live UFC Prelims Live UFC UFC The Ultimate Fighter PGA European Tour Trans World Sport Live NRL Premiership Total Rugby PGA European Tour Weekly Live PGA European Tour UFC Prelims UFC NRL Premiership

01:00 IRB Junior World Championship 2012 03:00 Super League 05:00 NRL Premiership 07:00 Live AFL Premiership 10:00 NRL Full Time 10:30 Live NRL Premiership 12:30 Futbol Mundial 13:00 Rugby Union Pacific Nations Cup 15:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 16:00 Live ITU World Triathlon Series 18:30 AFL Premiership 21:00 Total Rugby 21:45 Live International Rugby Union 23:45 Rugby Union Pacific Nations Cup

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UFC 147 Countdown Live UFC Prelims Live UFC Total Rugby Live Rugby Union Nations WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Live AFL Premiership NRL Full Time V8 Supercars Highlights V8 Supercars Highlights UFC Prelims UFC WWE SmackDown

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American Pickers Ax Men Ancient Wonders Queen And Country The Universe Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Ax Men Tales Of The Gun Tales Of The Gun America: The Story Of The U.S. America: The Story Of The U.S. Tales Of The Gun Tales Of The Gun Ancient Wonders Queen And Country The Universe American Restoration Pawn Stars No County For Old Men IRT: Deadliest Roads Deep Wreck Mysteries


ICKS student bags maximum prizes in Balakalamela 2012, senior category


he multifaceted brilliance of the Indian Community School, Kuwait students once again came to the fore at Balakalamela, 2012 organized by KALA (Kerala Art Lover’s Association) at Carmel School, Kuwait. The ICSK students participated in and won many competitions which ranged from Light Music to Essay Writing, from Mohiyattam to poetry, from instrumental music to elocution. Among the notable achievements of ICSK students is the title of Kala Thilakam conferred on Sheethal Rajiv Menon in the senior category. This title is given for winning the maximum number of awards. Some of the prizes she won are first prizelight music Hindi, 1st prize-light music Malayalam, second prize-Malayalam recitation, second prize-English recitation, second prize-elocution Malayalam, first prize- elocution English. Other winners from all the branches of ICSK for different competitions are: Mohammed Mishal (3rd Prize-English essay, 1st Prize-Malayalam story, 1st prize Malayalam Poetry, 1st Prize- Malayalam essay, 1st prize-Elocution Malayalam, 2nd Prize-Elocution English) , Heba Anna Philip (2nd prize-English Story,3rd prize- English Elocution) Midhun Mathew(Violin), Harini Mahadevan (Violin, Keyboard, 2nd PrizeClassical Music), Parvathi Madhu (Violin), Vineeth A Joseph (Violin, Keyboard, 1st prize Malayalam Recitation), Milan Abraham Mathew (Violin), Mani Mahadevan (Keyboard), Nancy Joseph(1st

Prize-Elocution Malayalam,1st Prize-English Elocution), Diya Ann Varghese(3rd PrizeElocution Malayalam), Sivani Rajiv Menon (3rd Prize-Malayalam recitation), Amalendu Anil Kumar(1st prize-Fancy dress), Adil Chorghay(1st prize-Fancy dress), Anjana Reviprasad (1st Prize-Light Music Malayalam, 1st Prize Folk dance), Afrah Rafi(Group song Malayalam), Athira

Reviprasad(1st Prize-light Music Hindi, Light Music Malayalam), Avaani Jayaprakash(3rd Prize Mohiniyattom), Malavika Menon(2nd Prize-Mappilapattu), Farouz (Mapillapattu), Fahmeedah (3rd Prize-Light Music Hindi, 2nd Prize-Mappilapattu). ICSK is proud of the achievements of all the young art and literary enthusiasts and extends hearty congratulations to the winners.


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

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at nnnnnnn

Indian musical evening by Shujaat Husain Khan he Embassy of India, Kuwait in cooperation with National Council for Arts, Culture & Letters, Kuwait will hold an Indian musical evening on Friday, June 29 at 8 pm at Kuwait National Museum Auditorium, Gulf Road. Shujaat Husain Khan, one of the greatest North Indian classical musicians, will perform on the occasion. Shujaat Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana of the sitar and his style of playing sitar, known as the gayaki ang, is imitative of the subtleties of the human voice. Shujaat Khan’s musical pedigree extends seven generations. He is the son and disciple of the great sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan, and his grandfather, Ustad Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather, Ustad Imdad Khan, and his great-greatgrandfather, Ustad Sahebdad Khan, were all leading artists of their respective generations. Khan’s musical career began at the age of three when he began practicing on a specially made small sitar. By the age of six, he was recognized as a child prodigy and began giving public performances. Shujaat Khan has performed at all the prestigious music festivals in India and has performed throughout Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. Audiences around the world are captivated by his unique style of sitar playing, his exceptional voice, and his intuitive and spontaneous approach to rhythm. In 1999, Khan performed as a soloist


with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and in 2007, he was the featured artist at musical concerts celebrating India’s 50th anniversary of independence at Carnegie Hall in New York, Paramount Theatre in Seattle, and Meyers Symphony Theater in Dallas. Khan was also the sole artist representing India in a special performance at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in Geneva commemorating India’s independence the same year. Alongside his many notable performances, Khan has been a regularly featured artist at prestigious concert halls including Royal Albert Hall in London, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, and Congress Hall in Berlin. Shujaat Khan has also collaborated with different genres of music. The Rain, an album featuring Shujaat Khan and the Indo-Persian Ghazal ensemble, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for “Best Traditional World Music Album”. In January 2000, the Boston Herald listed Khan’s concert, along with luminaries like Seiji Ozawa and Luciano Pavarotti, as one of the top 25 upcoming cultural events for the year. Additionally, among the numerous awards and international recognition he has received, Khan’s Lost Songs of the Silk Road was honored on’s “The 100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time” list in Aug 2009. In 2010, Shujaat Khan worked with Asha Bhosle in releasing Naina Lagai Ke.

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus would like to inform the public that from 3rd June 2012 the Consulate section located at the premises of the Embassy has started issuing Visas. Address: Salwa-Block 3, AlMutanabbi Street Building No. 35, Tel : (965)25620350, Fax: (965)25620470, Email : Working hours 9:00am till 12:00pm everyday except Friday & Saturday Hence, The Honorary Consulate of Cyprus in Kuwait city will stop issuing Visas from the same date. nnnnnnn

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


The two performed in sell out concerts at Royal Festival Hall in London, and at concerts in Birmingham and Leicester. Their album was selected as a “Top Ten Best New Album Release” by the editor of Songlines Magazine and was featured in the magazine’s exclusive “Top of the World CD” in 2011. Shujaat Khan has been invited as visiting faculty at the Dartington School of Music in England, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He has more than 100 CD releases on a variety of international labels, as well as a video called

The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to request all Kenyans resident in or training through Kuwait to register with the Embassy. We are updating our database. This information is necessary in order to facilitate quick assistance and advise in times of emergency. Kindly visit in person or register through our website The Embassy is located in: Surra Area Block 6 - Street 9 - Villa 3 Tel: 25353362 - 25353314; Fax: 25353316. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF MEXICO The Embassy of Mexico is pleased to inform that it is located in CLIFFS Complex, Villa 6, Salmiya, block 9, Baghdad street, Jadda Lane 7. The working hours for consular issues are from 9:00 to 12:00 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 14:00 to 15:00 hours for lunch break. The Embassy of Mexico kindly requests all Mexicans citizens in Kuwait to proceed to the e-mail: in order to register or update contact information. Other consultations or/and appointments could be done by telephone or fax: (+965) 2573 1952


TRASSK holds workshop for children


hrissur Association Kuwait (TRASSK) held its prestigious program for Kalikkalam children titled ‘Kaliyum Karyavum’ on June 8, 2012 in Abbasiya. The program began with prayer and condolence to the passed away family members of TRASSK. The inaugural function was anchored by Kalikkalam Vice President Annlin Chacko, presided by Kalikkalam President Master Rahul Rajendran and welcomed the TRASSK members by Kalikkalam Secretary Master Steevan Sebastian welcomed each and everyone. TRASSK President Ajith Menon inaugurated the program and delivered a valuable message to the children. Vanithavedi President Kochurani Vincent, and Kalikkalam Central Convener Paulsy Biju gave felicitation speeches. Kochurani Vincent congratu-

lated all the children who secured good marks in board exams. Kalikkalam Secretary Rachel Binoy Erinjery proposed a vote of thanks. Uma Maheswari and Pushpalatha, teachers from Bharatiya Vidyabhavan, engaged the Kalikkalam children with the topics on personality development, stress relief etc helping them to generate positive Energy. The caricatures presented by John Arts were really inspiring for the children. Sujith led the children below 8 years into a wonder world through stories, songs and drawings. At the end of the program the trainers were honored with mementos presented by Vanithavedi President Kochurani Vincent, Vanithavedi Vice President Radhika Rajendran and TRASSK President Ajith Menon.

Birthday Greetings

Happy birthday Nike! May God bless you and crown your efforts with success, Amen. Greetings from LAIF, family, friends and well-wishers.

Announcement Open House for Indian citizens Open House for Indian citizens by the ambassador which is being held every alternate Wednesday has been found useful by the Indian community and the embassy. It will now be held on every Wednesday from June 2012 between 1500 hrs and 1600 hrs. in the embassy. During the month of June, 2012 the dates for the open house fall on 20th and 27th of the month. In case Wednesday is an embassy holiday, the meeting will be held on the next working day. To ensure timely action/follow-up by the embassy, it is requested that, wherever possible, Indian citizens should exhaust the existing channels of interaction/grievance redressal and bring their problems/issues in writing with supporting documents. It may be mentioned that embassy of Indiaís Consular Wing is providing daily service of Open House to Indian citizens on all workings days from 1000 hrs to 1100 hrs and from 1430 hrs to 1530 hrs by the Consular Officer in the Meeting Room of the Consular Hall. For any unaddressed issues, Second Secretary (Consular) could be contacted. Furthermore, the head of the Consular Wing is also available to redress grievances. Similarly, a labour wing Help Desk functions from 0830 hrs to 1300 hrs and 1400 hrs to 1630 hrs in the Labour Hall to address the labour related issues. There is also a 24x7 Help Line (Tel No. 25674163) to assist labourers in distress. For any unaddressed issues, the concerned attaches in the labour section and the head of the labour wing could be contacted.



Drunk drivers show risky lifetime drinking habits ALBUQUERQUE: Many people convicted of drunk driving appear to have a lifelong struggle with risky drinking habits, and using their conviction as a way of getting them into treatment could have long-lasting benefits, according to a US study. In interviews with 700 adults with a drunk-driving conviction, researchers found that nearly half had either been drinking heavily for the long haul, or had fallen back into heavy drinking after trying to cut down for a time, according to their report in the journal Addiction. What’s more, between one-fifth and one-third of those chronically risky drinkers met the definitions for alcohol or drug dependence, or for mental health conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. “A DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction identifies people at risk,” said study leader Sandra Lapham, at

the Behavioral health Research Center of the Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “It’s a red flag, and an opportunity to intervene.” Some DWI offenders with drinking problems may not believe anything is wrong. Others may want help, but can’t pay for it, she added. Lapham’s team interviewed 696 New Mexico adults who’d been convicted of DWI about 15 years earlier, asking them about their lifetime drinking patterns. Women were considered “risky” drinkers if they habitually had more than seven drinks per week or four or more on any given day. For men, the limits were more than 14 drinks per week or five or more drinks a day. Overall, 13 percent of the participants had varying drinking patterns throughout their lives. Another 14 percent said they had managed to cut down from

heavy drinking to more moderate levels and keep it that way. And 21 percent said they’d become abstinent, after some period of risky drinking. But nearly half the group had ongoing struggles. Nineteen percent reported a “Lifetime” of risky drinking and one-quarter said they’d gone back to risky drinking after trying to quit or cut back. Those people, the study found, had high rates of alcohol or drug dependence as well as other mental health disorders, like depression. These are people who need “intensive treatment,” Lapham said and getting them into treatment at the time of a DWI conviction could have the bonus of protecting other drivers and pedestrians, since DWI offenders have a high risk of repeat offenses. “It’s a difficult problem with no easy answer,” Lapham added. — Reuters

Suicide rate ‘very high’ among well-educated young Indians

ALLAHABAD: An Indian village woman carries potted water as she walks with her child in Allahabad, India. Parts of North India continue to reel under intense heat wave conditions with maximum temperature of 45 degree Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). —AP

No link seen between contraceptives and higher HIV risk ATLANTA: There is no clear link between the use of contraceptives such as the birth control pill or injections such as DepoProvera and an increased risk that a woman will contract HIV, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. But the CDC also said it was “strongly” encouraging the use of condoms as a precaution against the virus that causes AIDS. Recent studies have suggested that the use of hormonal contraceptives could increase the risk of women contracting HIV. But after reviewing the studies, the Atlanta-based CDC said, “the evidence does not suggest” a link between oral contraceptives such as the birth control pill and increased HIV risk. For injectable forms of birth control the evidence is inconclusive, but in the absence of more definitive research it too is considered safe, CDC officials said. Women at risk for HIV infection or who already have the virus “can continue to use all hormonal contraceptive methods without restriction,” the CDC said. The World Health Organization reached a similar conclusion last February. “It’s hard to conclusively say whether or not there is an increased risk,” from hormonal contraceptives, Dr. Naomi Tepper, a CDC medical officer, said. — Reuters

PARIS: Young people in India, the engine of its rapidly expanding economy, are committing suicide at a much higher rate than in the West, researchers said yesterday, calling for urgent intervention. Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young people in India, they wrote in the Lancet, and was set to overtake complications from pregnancy and childbirth as the lead cause among women aged 15 to 29. For men in the same age group, suicide claimed just slightly fewer lives than transport accidents in 2010. Urging further research into the causes behind the trend, the report said the suicide rate was highest among well-educated young people from India’s richer, southern states. “Young educated Indians from the richer states of India are killing themselves in numbers that are almost the highest in the world,” the report’s lead author Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said. In the Western world, suicide is more common among older, poorer and lesser

educated people. While the study did not identify the causes, Patel said: “There can’t be any other explanation-it has to do something with social change, the rapidity of social change and its potential impact on educated young people.” Some 900,000 people around the world kill themselves every year, according to the World Health Organisation-about 13 out of every 100,000. Of the global total, nearly 190,000 suicides were believed to have occurred in India in 2010 — second only to China with an estimated 200,000 cases per year. India has a population of about 1.2 billion and China some 1.3 billion-together they account for more than a third of the world population of seven billion. Patel said the rate of suicide among women in India was three times higher than in high-income countries, but tapered off among women who were either divorced, widowed or separated from their husbands. “This is consistent with other research from India that marriage is also a risk factor for depression, which is of course the commonest mental illness associated with sui-

cide,” he said. “One can speculate, but obviously the most plausible explanation is that for many women marriage is not out of choice and they find themselves trapped in very difficult and stressful social circumstance and of course there is the huge issue of domestic violence.” Self-poisoning by pesticide is the method most often used, followed by hanging. “Public health interventions such as restrictions in access to pesticides might prevent many suicide deaths in India,” said the report, adding that most Indians did not have access to suicide prevention programmes or mental health care. The authors based their figures on India’s first national survey of causes of death conducted from 2001 and 2003, and United Nations projections. Suicide is a crime in India, complicating efforts to gather accurate statistics. Globally, suicide is the most common cause of death in female adolescents and the third in young men after road traffic accidents and violence, said the Lancet, in a special series on the topic. — AFP

Hot water, not urine, eases jellyfish stings SAN DIEGO: There’s a lot of folk remedies for treating a jellyfish sting, but science suggests that hot water and topical painkillers actually work the best - at least in North American waters. Popularly promoted remedies range from vinegar to meat tenderizer to baking soda mixed with water. In a pinch, the victim - or a very good friend - might try urinating on the sting. “Current research demonstrates variable response to treatment, often with conflicting results according to species studied, which contributes to considerable confusion about what treatment is warranted,” wrote Nicholas Ward, at the University of California, San Diego, in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Though the American Heart Association and American Red Cross currently recommend using vinegar or a baking soda “slurry,” followed by heat or ice, those remedies are based mainly on studies done in Australia and Indonesia, he added in an email to Reuters Health. — Reuters

HYDERABAD: An Indian man stands in a cloud of dust as he operates a water borewell rig in Hyderabad yesterday. Digging of commercial borewells in residential areas is increasing rapidly to provide sufficient water supply to the residents of apartments. As per the Water Air Land and Trees Act, commercialization of borewell water is not allowed in residential areas or city limits. —- AFP



Niger food crisis Aid group looks for malnourished kids ZINDER, Niger: In a shady corner of a remote, sunbaked village square in Niger, aid worker Boubacar Halirou wraps his measuring tape around the skinny arms of a hungry toddler and identifies another victim of severe malnutrition. Halirou, who works for the local aid group Befen, is crisscrossing the region looking for emaciated youngsters as the impoverished west African desert nation faces a drought-driven food crisis. In the remote village of Tiss in Niger’s southeast, Halirou and his colleague Jarjussou identify two other kids with severe malnutrition, as well as six less serious cases in this community of squat clay dwellings, 10 kilometres (six miles) to the west of the large town of Zinder. In Niger, one in four children will not reach the age of five. Dozens of mothers have gathered around Halirou so their youngsters can be examined.

“It’s not always easy to be accepted. Some prefer traditional treatments to modern medicine,” Halirou says. Workers for Befen, which is financed by the European Union and the French aid group Alima, instruct mothers of malnourished children to take their offspring to the nearest health centre. Some villages in the region are 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the nearest centre-a round trip which must be done on foot. “It’s one of our biggest worries”, says Halirou, calling the mothers “courageous”. To try to improve the situation, Befen has set up 17 care centres in the region, like one in Tirmini, which Halirou and Jarjussou reach in 4x4 trucks. In Tirmini, Rabu, 18, her face framed with a veil, quietly recounts how her boy “started to get diarrhoea and vomiting, before becoming malnourished.”—AFP

ZINDER, Niger: A village scene in Niger. In Niger, one in four children will not reach the age of five. — AFP


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112 THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988 Prayer timings Fajr: Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

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information SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2012



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ACROSS 1. A bachelor's degree in theology. 4. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 10. A gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number). 13. An affirmative. 14. Decisively defeated in combat. 15. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 16. A number of sheets of paper fastened together along one edge. 17. United States physician who specialized in diseases of the intestines. 19. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 21. A member of the Siouan people formerly inhabiting the Black Hills of western South Dakota. 23. Before noon. 26. An informal term for a father. 29. A gonadotropic hormone that is secreted by the anterior pituitary. 33. (Zoroastrianism) Title for benevolent deities. 34. A state in northwestern North America. 36. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 38. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 39. An informal conversation. 41. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 42. Make amends for. 43. A member of the Semitic speaking people of northern Ethiopia. 47. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 50. (usually plural) When two dice are thrown and both come up showing six spots the result is called `boxcars'. 55. The content of cognition. 57. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 58. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 61. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 62. Dearly loved. 63. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 64. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 65. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 66. A promontory in northern Morocco opposite the Rock of Gibraltar. 67. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind. 2. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 3. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 4. Counting the number of white and red blood cells and the number of platelets in 1 cubic millimeter of blood. 5. Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality. 6. Of or relating to a member of the Buddhist people inhabiting the Mekong river in Laos and Thailand. 7. An autonomous area in northeastern Greece that is the site of several Greek Orthodox monasteries founded in the tenth century. 8. A region whose eastern part is Bangladesh and western part is included in India. 9. An associate degree in nursing. 10. A genus of Mustelidae. 11. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 12. A small cake leavened with yeast. 18. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism.

20. A genus of Pyralidae. 22. A Loloish language. 24. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 25. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 27. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 28. Work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons. 30. Type genus of the family Arcidae. 31. Hawaiian dish of taro root pounded to a paste and often allowed to ferment. 32. Either extremity of something that has length. 35. God of love and erotic desire. 37. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 40. Relating to or associated with heat. 41. An associate degree in nursing. 44. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 45. The capital and largest city of Ghana with a deep-water port. 46. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 48. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 49. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 51. Affording unobstructed entrance and exit. 52. A city of central China. 53. Port city that is the capital and largest city of Latvia. 54. Soft lump or unevenness in a yarn. 55. A mouth or mouthlike opening. 56. Fallow deer. 59. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 60. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey).

Yesterday始s Solution


Lots at stake for Springboks, England PORT ELIZABETH: There is plenty to play for when South Africa and England clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium today even though the third and final Test is a dead rubber. Having built an unassailable 2-0 series advantage by winning in Durban and Johannesburg, the Springboks are aiming to maintain their seven-year dominance over the English by making it 10 wins on the trot. The record South African winning streak against a fellow top-10 nation in the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings is 13 over Wales and Argentina followed by 10 against Italy. Author and awardwinning journalist Mike Greenaway of the Durban-based Natal Mercury

attributes the superiority of the green and gold over the white and red to strong, settled teams. “South Africa have had strong teams since the run began with the likes of John Smit and Victor Matfield in the vanguard while England always seem to be rebuilding,” he said. “These winning streaks tend to go in cycles with England winning seven Tests in a row-including a 53-3 triumph at Twickenham in 2002 — before the South African dominance began.” Another reason for both teams wanting to succeed before an expected capacity 45,000 crowd in this coastal city is that the top four ranked teams avoid each other when the 2015 World Cup draw is

made this December. Reigning world champions New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have filled the top three positions for some time, but England surrendered fourth place to Six Nations champions Wales after two defeats by the Springboks. Should the rankings remain unchanged until the December 3 draw in London, England would find themselves in the same World Cup group as one of the four best teams. Pride is another factor with new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer wanting to maintain his perfect record while rival Stuart Lancaster is facing a third consecutive loss after winning four Six Nations games in his debut tournament.

Beale ‘potent threat’ to elusive Welsh win SYDNEY: Wales have had to devise plans to nullify Wallabies stars Will Genia and David Pocock and now they have another attacking threat to stifle with the return of fullback Kurtley Beale in Saturday’s third Sydney Test. The Six Nations champions have come close but have lost the series after defeats in Brisbane and Melbourne and are looking to leave Australia with a prestige win over the world number two. The Welsh are searching for their first win Down Under in 43 years since their solitary 19-16 victory in Sydney in 1969. The task of preventing a series clean sweep became even tougher with the recall of Beale, fit again after a shoulder injury and playing despite having to defend an assault charge over an alleged altercation with security guards at a Brisbane pub this month. The return of the running fullback gives the Wallaby backline more attacking potency and options, a situation Wales have described as “a red alert for us”. Caretaker coach Rob Howley said: “Kurtley’s ability to beat a man makes him a world-class player and he is very potent around the ruck area. “We did a job on Will Genia in Melbourne last weekend and that resulted from our work at the contact area, in particular slowing down the Australian ball. “That will be equally important today. Kurtley does give us another problem to deal with, but I’m sure we’re up to that.” Winger Digby Ioane is one Wallaby looking forward to Beale’s first international of the season. “When you play beside him he’s one of those guys that can read the game really well, so working off Kurtley he can actually put you through gaps,” Ioane said. Fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who has been one of the standouts for Wales in the series, rates Beale among international rugby’s elite players. “He is without a doubt up there with the

SYDNEY: Welsh flyhalf Rhys Priestland kicks during their captain’s run at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney yesterday. Wales and Australia will play a rugby union test today. — AP best fullbacks in the world, he’s a quality player and he can create something out of nothing,” Halfpenny said. “Our defense will have to be on red alert when he’s got ball in hand.” Wales skipper and flanker Sam Warburton also pinpointed the pilfering effect of number seven Pocock at the breakdown. “If you can get him (Pocock) down to say, three turnovers, then that’s quite a good job,” Warburton said. “Once he starts getting over that, that’s when you’ve done a poor job. “I think he’s probably the most difficult to play against at the breakdown in my personal experience.” While shattered by their last-kick 25-23 defeat to

Australia last weekend, the Welsh are talking of winning the final match as a reward for their tour. “It’s a fair way to come and not return home with something to show for the hard work,” forwards coach Robin McBryde said. “This is the last opportunity and hopefully we will get back to winning ways. “It’s quite hard to lose in those circumstances last weekend, but it’s also quite encouraging to know we were that close to getting what would have been quite a famous victory.” Howley has resisted making changes for the dead final Test, meaning that Rhys Priestland retains the fly-half position ahead of James Hook. — AFP

The last time South Africa faced a dead rubber was against the 2009 British and Irish Lions and the decision of coach Peter de Villiers to experiment backfired with the tourists winning 28-9 in Johannesburg. “Continuity” is a word Meyer has used often this month and, significantly, all four personnel changes in the England series have been enforced, with a different full-back starting each Test. Zane Kirchner wore the No 15 shirt in Durban before being injured, Patrick Lambie started in Johannesburg and suffered a similar fate, and now little Gio Aplon has a chance to impress a coach who generally favors bigger players. — AFP

Contepomi poised for Pumas farewell BUENOS AIRES: Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi could close out his international career today, dealing a blow to the Pumas ahead of their entry into the rebranded southern hemisphere championship later this year. The 34-year-old utility back starred at centre last weekend as Argentina defeated France 23-20 in the first Test in Cordoba, a result that left the tourists without a win in Argentina for 13 years. Stade Francais star Contepomi is likely to be a thorn in the side of the French again in the second Test in Tucuman today in what could be an emotional farewell. Argentina take on New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in the Rugby Championship, which replaces the Tri-Nations, with the Springboks first up for the Pumas in Durban on August 18. By that time, however, Contepomi is expected to be back on club duty in France with his Paris employers. “To play in the Four Nations, you have to prepare in July. The Argentine federation has an agreement with the European clubs-those that play in the June internationals won’t take part in the new championship,” he said. “I am going to take four weeks vacation and then I will take part in pre-season training with Stade FranÁais. If the coaches want it, I will always be here. But I don’t think I can play in the Four Nations.” Pumas coach Santiago Phelan has been working with two squads in mind-the first, with the country’s best players at its heart, are resting. The second squad is made up mostly of the country’s promising youngsters and with the team built around Contepomi they impressed against Italy in a 37-22 win as well as last week’s first Test against the French. Contepomi has often haunted France-on their last visit to Buenos Aires, the Pumas stormed to a 41-13 win with the Argentine star scoring two tries and grabbing 31 points. He scored 13 points last weekend, just seven days after he had become his country’s leading points scorer, surpassing Hugo Porta. “He is the kind of player that you want in your team. He is the complete player who can play at fly-half, centre or full-back,” said former international Diego Dominguez, who won two caps for Argentina before switching to Italy. Meanwhile, Phelan has made seven changes to the side that won last weekend’s first Test. Tomas Cubelli and Benjamin Urdapilleta replace Martin Landajo and Ignacio Mieres at scrum-half and fly-half respectively. Joaquin Tuculet returns to full-back after playing in midfield in the first Test meaning Agustin Gosio wins his third cap at outside centre. Belisario Agulla, who scored the Pumas’ first try last week, is dropped in favor of Facundo Barrea. In the forwards, hooker Andres Bordoy, loosehead prop Francisco Gomez Kodela, lock Julio Farias Cabello and number eight Leonardo Senatore are also called in. — AFP


Palestinian judoka Abu Rmeileh makes Games history JERUSALEM: In the tiny locker room of a small sports club in east Jerusalem, Maher Abu Rmeileh carefully ties the black belt around his blue judo gi before beginning an intense training session ahead of the 2012 Olympics. Participating in this year’s Olympic Games, which start in London next month, is a double honor for Abu Rmeileh, who last month became the first-ever Palestinian to qualify to compete in the world tournament. Although Palestinian athletes have participated in the Games before now, it had-prior to Abu Rmeileh-been by virtue of an honorary invitation traditionally extended by the Olympic Committee to countries which fail to reach qualifying standards. “I feel great,” he smiles. “I am very happy to be the first Palestinian to qualify for the Olympics. I have achieved something great-I got the 20 points needed.” Fighters compete in events based on their weight and Abu Rmeileh, who comes from the Old City of Jerusalem, will be in the 73kg category. With the start of the Games just five weeks away, Abu Rmeileh is training twice a week at his home club in annexed east

Jerusalem, which doubles as a wedding hall during the nights. Half of the small, whitewashed hall of the Jerusalem Crescent Club is covered with colored mats. A few shelves high on the wall display the silverware won in various competitions. The other half of the room is stacked with dining chairs. Abu Rmeileh spends most of his time sparring with five other judokas. He is one of the oldest in the group, and also a teacher. He spends two hours every day running, swimming and training at the gym of the local YMCA in east Jerusalem, and another two hours of judo later in the evening. For this 28-year-old athlete, the historic trip to London comes after more than 20 years of training, which began when he was a small child accompanying his father, who was a judoka himself, to his training. “I became attached to this sport with its fighting spirit and the discipline it enforces,” he says. Qualifying for the London Games is evidence to Abu Rmeileh that dreams come true. “I always thought reaching the Olympics was an impossible dream. But now, after qualifying, ‘impossible’ means noth-

ing,” he said. “I will try my best with all the strength I have to go and win something. I am not going for the honor but to win in the name of Palestine.” It is also a dream come true for his coach, Iyad Halabi. “The Olympics is a big dream for everyone and it is the chance of a lifetime,” he says. Hani Al-Halabi, who heads the Palestinian Olympic squad, holds high hopes for Abu Rmeileh. “The fact that a Palestinian qualified to go to London is a great achievement for Palestinian sport,” he says. “He deserved to qualify,” he said. “He already had some good results that helped him qualify, especially in the last tournament he went to in Japan.” The young judoka’s success should serve as an example to other parents, he says. “We need parents to encourage their children to get involved in sports, especially judo, and to build a generation that is able to represent Palestine in international competitions.” And his long-term hope is that once the Palestinians achieve their long-awaited state, they will be able to bring in professionals from overseas to help train their athletes. “I hope we’ll have a free Palestinian

Feng surges to 2nd at storm-hit LPGA event WATERLOO: Feng Shanshan, coming off the first major victory by a golfer from China, fired a five-under par 66 to stand second during the first round at the storm-halted Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. US rookie Sandra Changkija matched the low firstround score of the LPGA season, an eight-under par 63, to grab the lead with half of the field of 144 unable to finish their opening 18 holes because of a threat of lightning. The first round resumed yesterday morning at Grey Silo Golf Course in the inaugural edition of the $1.3 million event. Feng, ranked fourth in the world, won her first career LPGA title two weeks ago at the LPGA Championship and shined in her first competitive round as a major champion. “I thought a lot before I started because I know after you win a tournament, maybe sometimes you’ll be expecting yourself to do too well and then that would give yourself actual pressure,” Feng said. “But that was what I was trying to tell myself. I said. ‘Just keep patient and just focus on shot by shot and try your best.’” Feng birdied the second, par-5 sixth and par-4 eighth, the par-3 12th and par-4 14th ahead of her lone bogey at the par-4 15th, which she answered with a birdie at the par-5 18th to claim second place all to herself. Sweden’s Karin Sjodin, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Americans Lacey Agnew and Angela Stanford shared third on 67. Sweden’s Anna

WATERLOO: Shanshan Feng of China hits her tee shot on the fourth in hole in the first round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Canada. — AFP Nordqvist was on five-under with five holes yet to finish when play was stopped. Changkija, ranked 527th in the world, is trying to raise $25,000 on Facebook to help with expenses in her rookie LPGA season but so far had gotten only $40. A triumph on Sunday would be worth $195,000 to the 23year-old American. “My ball striking has been good for most every tournament I’ve played,” she said. “I just missed a few fairways here and there. I’ve been keeping up

with my ball striking and just needed to make some good strokes.” Changkija, who began off the 10th tee, fired a six-under 30 on her inward nine, the course’s front side. After birdies at 16 and 18, she added another at the second and then began a run of five birdies in a row at the par-4 fourth. Changkija has made only two cuts in seven events this season with a best finish of 55th at the ShopRite Classic, giving her only $6,708 in prize money for the year. — AFP

state like any other country so we can bring coaches and specialists from abroad to achieve more in sports,” he says. In total, five Palestinians will be representing their country at the Games. The other four are Bahaa Al-Farra, a 400metre runner from Gaza, Wurud Sawalha, an 800m runner from Nablus, Sabine Hazbun, a swimmer from Bethlehem, who specialises in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle, and Ahmed Jibril, who lives in Egypt and competes in the 400m freestyle. Despite Abu Rmeileh’s huge success, none of family-which has a shop selling scarves near Damascus Gate-will be able to be with him when he competes in London. “Noone in my family will be able to come and see me because it was a late qualification,” he said. “And it will take place during Ramadan during high season for our shop in the Old City.” But even from distant Jerusalem, Abu Rmeileh will no doubt feel the influence of his father when setting foot on the Olympian judo mats in London. “My dad told me he cannot express his pride enough,” Abu Rmeileh says. “He says I am living his dream.” — AFP

Syria Olympic chief denied Games visa LONDON: Britain has refused to grant the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee a visa to travel to London for the Games, the BBC reported yesterday. General Mowaffak Joumaa’s application was refused due to his links to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, which has launched a bloody crackdown on protests, said the BBC. The Home Office interior ministry, which deals with visa applications, and the Foreign Office, both refused to comment when contacted by AFP, saying they “do not discuss individual cases”. The Guardian newspaper said Joumaa submitted his application at the end of last week and it had been turned down. The decision was made at a meeting of officials from the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the BBC and The Guardian said. The International Olympic Committee, which was officially responsible for inviting Joumaa to attend the Games, was set to ratify Britain’s decision, according to the BBC. But an IOC spokesman said the body had not yet been approached. “At this stage that we have not yet received any official approach on this issue and it would be premature to comment on any individual cases,” the spokesman said. British ministers had already warned that Joumaa could have his visa refused for the Olympics, which begin on July 27. “We would have to talk to the IOC but yes, of course we can (block his attendance),” sports minister Hugh Robertson said in May. “We will have to see when his application comes through. We have the power to refuse anybody a visa.” Joumaa is not on a European Union list of Syrian officials banned from travelling to the bloc. He told The Times newspaper last month that he was determined to attend the Games. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Syrian athletes are welcome to attend the Games. Britain has already expelled Syria’s top diplomat in London in protest at the regime’s actions, although it has stopped short of severing diplomatic relations. More than 15,000 people have been killed since the revolt against Assad’s rule erupted in March last year, according to rights groups. — AFP


Extras Indian teens ‘killed granny for IPL bets’ PANAJI: Indian police in Goa said they had arrested two teenage males on suspicion of killing their grandmother and taking her money to gamble on Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket games. The youngsters, aged 14 and 15, were among a gang of five held by police for the alleged murder of 65-year-old Linda Cajetan Andrade, who was found naked in her home last month. The group are suspected of stealing 400,000 rupees ($7,100) and some gold ornaments from her home. “These boys wanted money to bet on the Indian Premier League and the (football) Euro cup,” police superintendent Arvind Gawas said, adding that the cash was used for betting but that it was unclear how much was gambled. “After the murder and robbery they sold all the gold and distributed the money amongst themselves,” he said. “They betted during the IPL and continued during the Euro cup.” The five accused were picked up from different locations in the south of the holiday state of Goa after one of them confessed to the crime, Gawas said. Along with the grandsons are three males aged 15,19 and 21. GALLE: Sri Lanka cricketer Kumar Sangakkara (right) plays a shot as Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal (center) looks on during the first day of the opening Test Match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Stadium in Galle yesterday. — AFP

Dilshan, Sangakkara flay Pakistan GALLE: Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara hammered centuries as Sri Lanka walloped Pakistan on the opening day of the first cricket Test in Galle yesterday. Dilshan made 101, his first Test hundred on home soil in three years, and Sangakkara was unbeaten on 111 as the hosts ended the day on 300 for two after electing to bat on winning the toss. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene kept Sangakkara company at close on 55, the senior pair having put on 113 so far for the third wicket. Dilshan reached his 13th Test century by sweeping left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman for a boundary just before the tea interval and celebrated by raising both hands high in the air. It was Dilshan’s first Test century at home since making 123 not out against New Zealand at Galle in August 2009. It was also his first Test hundred since the career-best 193 against England at Lord’s in June last year. Dilshan, however, failed to survive until tea as he was dismissed in the next over, leg-before to off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. “This was a very satisfying innings because it came against a quality attack like Pakistan,” the 35-year-old said. “It was not an easy wicket to bat on because the ball has already started to turn. “If we can get around 500 or so tomorrow, we will have a good chance of winning this match.” The opener put on 63 for the first wicket with Tharanga Paranavitana and 124 for the second with Sangakkara to lay the foundation for a big first innings total. Sangakkara continued Dilshan’s good work as he moved to his 29th Test hundred with a risky single to mid-off for which he had to dive fulllength to make his ground. The elegant left-hander has so far hit 13 boundaries in his eighth Test hundred against Pakistan, and Jayawardene

too settled down to strike eight fours. Pakistan’s bowlers toiled under the hard sun, but were hampered both by the slow pitch and unfavourable umpiring decisions. Seamer Umar Gul deserved better figures than 0-55 from 17 overs as he beat the batsmen on several occasions, but found his loud appeals for edged catches or leg-before decisions being turned down. Ajmal was Pakistan’s most successful bowler with 2-81, while left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman returned with 0-89. Pakistan’s lone success before lunch came when Paranavitana was stumped in Ajmal’s first over after making a scratchy 24. The left-hander should have gone on 15 when he was beaten by a Gul delivery, but umpire Ian Gould turned down a loud appeal for a catch at the wicket. Replays showed a thin edge, but Paranavitana survived because the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is not being used in the series. Mohammad Hafeez, captaining Pakistan for the first time in Test cricket following a one-match ban on Misbah-ul Haq for slow over-rates, brushed off queries from reporters on the umpiring. “We were unlucky today but have no complaints at all,” Hafeez said. “I think given the conditions, we are happy to restrict Sri Lanka to 300 on the first day. “Our bowlers really bowled well, but credit to Dilshan and Sangakkara for the way they batted. There are still four days to go, hopefully we will come back strongly in the game.” The tourists awarded a Test cap to 32year-old middle-order batsman Mohammad Ayub, already a veteran of 93 first-class matches in which he has scored 6,074 runs. The hosts were without frontline seamer Chanaka Welegedara, who woke up with a sore shoulder and was replaced by Nuwan Pradeep. — AFP

SCOREBOARD GALLE, Sri Lanka: Scoreboard at stumps on the opening day of the first cricket Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium yesterday: Sri Lanka 1st innings: T. Paranavitana st Akmal b Ajmal 24 T. Dilshan lbw b Ajmal 101 K. Sangakkara not out 111 M. Jayawardene not out 55 Extras: (b6, lb1, nb2) 9 Total (for two wickets, 90 overs) 300 Fall of wickets: 1-63 (Paranavitana), 2-187 (Dilshan). Bowling: Gul 17-4-55-0 (nb2), Junaid 11-3-39-0, Hafeez 81-29-0, Ajmal 24-4-81-2, Rehman 30-6-89-0.

Warner warmed-up as Irish eye Aussie upset BELFAST: Australia’s David Warner paid Ireland the compliment of saying they can “blast it from ball one” ahead of the two countries’ one-day international at Stormont yesterday. And Warner should know. The 25-year-old left-handed opener has a strike rate of nearly 86 in his 26 one-day internationals. Warner was straight into the groove during Australia’s opening match of their short tour of the British Isles, which will give several young players experience of local conditions ahead of next year’s Ashes trip, with 74 at nearly a run-a-ball in a 102-run thrashing of Leicestershire on Thursday. Today’s fixture is the first international clash of a tour that features a five-match one-day series against England starting at Lord’s on June 29. But Warner, keen to make clear Australia were not getting ahead of themselves, said of Ireland: “I think we have them in the T20 World Cup (in Sri Lanka in September). “They are a team that can come out and blast it from ball one. We are looking forward to the challenge, we always look forward to going out there. “I understand the weather is not great at the moment hopefully we get a game in.” Ireland too want the weather to hold off because they believe they can now add Australia, the world’s top-ranked side in the 50-over game, to their notable list of one-day scalps. The Irish have enjoyed some spectacular successes in recent years, knocking Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup and defeating England at last year’s edition in Bangalore on the back of a whirlwind hundred from Kevin O’Brien. —AFP

Pakistan’s Butt freed LONDON: Pakistan’s disgraced former Test captain Salman Butt has been released early from a British prison after serving less than a quarter of his sentence for spot fixing, his lawyers said yesterday. The 27-year-old was jailed for 30 months last November on charges of accepting corrupt payments during the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010. He was freed on Thursday, according to his London legal company, 25 Bedford Row. Butt’s father Zulfiqar said on Wednesday that he expected his son to be home within three or four days. Butt, teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, and agent Mazhar Majeed were accused of arranging deliberate no-balls in return for money. Aamer was released in February after serving half his six-month sentence while Asif, jailed for 12 months, was freed in May. The three players were banned for at least five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has ordered the Pakistan Cricket Board to rehabilitate the former stars. Ruling restores faith in boxing: Pacquiao MANILA: Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said yesterday that a WBO panel ruling that he had won his controversial bout against Timothy Bradley would help restore people’s faith in the sport. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) on its website Thursday said all five members of a special panel it asked to review the controversial June 9 Las Vegas bout scored it in favor of Pacquiao. The WBO said it could not overturn the result of the fight or ask Bradley to surrender the belt, but that it could authorize a rematch. “I hope with this ruling the public’s faith in boxing would be restored,” 33-year-old Pacquiao said by phone from his home in the southern Philippines. “I was not surprised by the WBO ruling. I knew that I won, so did the whole world. But that is already over and I am now focusing on the next fight.” He said he and his promoter Bob Arum would discuss his next move in a Los Angeles meeting set for next week, but remained coy on who would be his next opponent. “We will soon find out who I will fight next,” he said, when asked if he was aiming for a rematch against US fighter Bradley. Bradley snatched Pacquiao’s welterweight belt via a split decision, with two judges scoring it 115-113 for the American and a third scoring it 115-113 for Pacquiao.


Richards-Ross means double trouble in 200, 400 EUGENE: Sanya Richards-Ross, with the fastest 200 and 400 meters runs in the world this year, enters the US Olympic track and field trials confident she can double in the events at the London Games. “I’ve always dreamed of being able to represent my country in two events. That’s my goal if I can do that,” Richards-Ross said Thursday. “It would be a thrill for me.” The 27-year-old Jamaican-born sprinter set this year’s 400m world-best of 49.39 seconds in winning a Diamond League event on June 2 at Hayward Field, where Richards-Ross launches her Olympic quest in Friday’s 400m first round. Only a handful of rivals in the world are within a second of her time, making her a clear favorite in the event where she won a 2009 world title but settled for a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “The 400 is my priority,” Richards-Ross said. “Everything has gone really well for me this year. I’m 100 percent healthy and I think it’s showing. I’m coming in with some great times under my belt. I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen here.” Ross set a 200m personal best of 22.09 to win a Diamond League race in New York two weeks ago and put herself atop this year’s performers, a list that has five Americans at the top, setting the stage for a showdown to decide who will stay home and who will go for the gold in London.

“The 200 is shaping up to be a phenomenal event,” Richards-Ross said. “It’s going to be an extremely exciting race. I’m hoping to be one of the athletes who will make that race exciting. I’m looking forward to being part of that. “I think we will push

EUGENE: Latisha Holden, practices the 100-meter hurdles with Coach Fred Harvey before the US Olympic Track and Field Trials athletics meet in Eugene, Ore. — AP

Rich girl Li determined to prove critics wrong LONDON: Chinese superstar Li Na heads for Wimbledon determined to defy critics who have condemned her as a one-Slam wonder, blown off course by multi-million dollar riches. The 30-year-old rocketed to fame and fortune when she captured the 2011 French Open title to become Asia’s first Grand Slam singles champion. But since that Paris breakthrough, she has failed to win another trophy and has not got beyond the fourth round of a major. “I lost one match so don’t try to put me down. This is tennis,” she snapped after the defense of her Roland Garros title was ended by Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova. Not that her decline has affected her earning power. In the recently published Forbes rich list of the world’s highest-earning athletes, Li was one of only two women to make the top 100. The Chinese raked in $18.4 million to put her at a modest 81st on the list. Not surprisingly, Maria Sharapova was the only other female on the chart, making 26th place with $27.9 million. Some fans wonder if Li’s wealth and her string of multimillion-dollar endorsements with the likes of Nike, Samsung and Mercedes have eaten into her competitive spirit. Now ranked 11th in the world, Li will go to Wimbledon having opted not to play any grasscourt warm-up events. Last year she was defeated in the second round, wilting under a 17-ace bombardment from Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. Before that, Li had twice been a quarter-finalist at the All England Club losing to Kim Clijsters in 2006 and to Serena Williams at the same last-eight stage in 2010. Despite Li’s headline-

each other to have our best times.” Allyson Felix, a two-time Olympic runner-up at 200, and Carmelita Jeter, the world 100m champion and 200m runner-up, join Tianna Madison and Kimberlyn Duncan as favorites in a jam-packed event.

grabbing Grand Slam performances, China’s best singles run at Wimbledon remains Zheng Jie’s semi-final surge in 2008 which was ended by Serena Williams. Zheng, the world number 27, proved her liking for grass courts in Birmingham last week where she came through qualifying to reach the semifinals before going down in three sets to former world number one Jelena Jankovic. Zheng admitted her route to Birmingham had suffered a chaotic build-up. “I had to enter six weeks before, and at the time I was practicing in China and forgot. I wanted to come anyway though, even if it meant playing in the qualifying,” she said. “Before Wimbledon it’s only two weeks of grass court tournaments.” In the men’s singles, Asia’s leading player is 19th seed Kei Nishikori. But the Florida-based Japanese comes into Wimbledon under an injury cloud having missed the French Open because of a stomach injury suffered in Barcelona in April. Nishikori has yet to win a match at Wimbledon in three previous visitslast year, he fell to 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt while in 2010 he was beaten in straight sets by Rafael Nadal. Earlier this year, Nishikori made history when he became the first Japanese man to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. There will also be plenty of focus on the men’s doubles which will be overshadowed by a bitter feud within the Indian team ahead of the Olympics. Leander Paes, who partners Radek Stepanek at the Grand Slams, will be paired with 207th-ranked Vishnu Vardhan at the London Games.—AFP

“For me it’s an even race,” Richards-Ross said. “It’s going to be a daunting challenge to run against these ladies but I am looking forward to it.” Richards-Ross is hopeful of qualifying in the 400 on Sunday ahead of next week’s 200 fight. Were the races in reverse order, she probably would not try to do the double. “To be honest I don’t think I would attempt it if the 200 was first. It would be really hard to come back from sprinting,” Richards-Ross said. “When the 400 is over and I have run well, the 200 comes really easier for me. I enjoy being able to run all out. In the 400 you have to be careful not to sprint too early.” Richards-Ross, who left Jamaica at age 12 and became a US citizen in 2002, is married to American football defensive back Aaron Ross of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He plans to miss part of the team’s pre-season training in August to watch his wife race at the London Olympics. She has to qualify first, but Richards-Ross is confident as she prepares for her third Olympic trials. “I do think it’s going to give me an edge. I believe I’m going to be able to handle it well,” she said. “I feel very composed. I know what to expect. I know what I have to do to run well and represent my country.” And she is getting out of the starting blocks like lightning. “I have a really good start,” she said. “That makes me feel really good.”— AFP

Wiggins emerges as yellow jersey favorite PARIS: Three-time Olympic track champion Bradley Wiggins could end Britain’s search for Tour de France glory when he lines up as the favorite for the fabled yellow jersey in a week’s time. The 99th edition of cycling’s main event will start with a short prologue time trial in the Belgian city of Liege on June 30 and finish three weeks later in Paris on July 22. And Wiggins, whose road racing career has come on leaps and bounds since a fourth place finish overall in 2009, has emerged this season as the man to beat during the 3,479 km epic. Since a morale-sapping crash which ended his 2011 campaign, the 32-year-old Londoner has rebounded to finish third overall on the Tour of Spain as well as winning a number of prestigious stage race victories. He defended his Criterium du Dauphine title, an eight-day French stage race which is often likened to a mini-Tour de France, only two weeks ago. In between both triumphs he won, in 2012, the Paris-Nice and the Tour of Romandie-thus becoming the first rider in history to win all three stage races in a single season. “This is all a road to winning the Tour hopefully, that’s the goal,” Wiggins said after his second Dauphine success. With two-time champion Alberto Contador and former champion Andy Schleck both out of this year’s race, Wiggins is defending champion Cadel Evans’ biggest threat. Contador, who won the yellow jersey in 2007, 2008 and 2010, is currently serving a suspension-which ends in August-following a positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 edition. As a result, he was stripped of his third title, which has since been handed to Schleck. In the midst of one of his worst seasons to date, it seemed an almost logical, if unfortunate occurrence that the Luxemburger announced his withdrawal from the Tour two weeks ago due to injuries suffered in a crash at the Dauphine. Of course, on paper, there will be a handful of strong contenders for the top five places in the race’s general classification. Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), the 2010 Tour of Spain winner, Belgian Jurgen van den Broeck of Lotto-a fourth place finisher in 2010 - and Canada’s recent Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) will all fancy their chances. But Team Sky and BMC are well equipped

and will be doing everything to protect, serve and work for their respective team leaders on a course which is riddled with unprecedented steep climbs and pitfalls. Australian Evans, 35, battled for years to finally win the yellow jersey and will be no pushover. “I now know that I can win and my race this year is almost identical to what I did last year,” he said. “We’ll have a yet stronger team for this year’s Tour.” Going in Evans’ favour, potentially, could be Team Sky’s bid to go for sprint glory with Mark Cavendish and yellow jersey glory with Wiggins-an approach that some feel could hinder both riders’ respective plans for success. But Cavendish-a 20-time stage winner in his time with previous teams-has indicated he will be doing everything to help the team be successful on both fronts. “I know the push for the GC (general classification) podium will make it more difficult for me to repeat the success I’ve enjoyed the last few years. But I’ll compete and - as always - I’ll dedicate myself to making it a successful Tour for Team Sky and, let’s hope, for Britain.” With 25 categorized climbs, this year’s race has even more than previous years. Crucially, it also features nearly 100 km of time trials, a fact which plays into Wiggins’ and Evans’ hands. But in a bid to shake things up, Tour director Christian Prudhomme has included a number of steep climbs on which he hopes the outsiders will stake their claim for overall success. “There’s only one recommendation I would make, and that’s to tell the riders to dare (to attack),” Prudhomme said on the fringes of a visit to Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April. “There will be plenty of stages where riders can dare to make a difference. “We’ve spread out the difficulties sufficiently to make sure there is potential for surprise, and opportunities for the main protagonists to go on the offensive.” Wiggins has the experience to know he will have to take his campaign day by day. But ahead of arguably the biggest month of his career, he appears confident. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I’ll do everything I can to win the Tour de France,” said Wiggins. “Hopefully we can do the business for ourselves and our fans, and become the most successful British-based cycling team ever.”— AFP



Olympic quest hits moment of truth for American stars EUGENE: For world and Olympic champions to unheralded newcomers, stars who served doping bans and rivals making comebacks from injury or retiring, the moment of truth has arrived in American athletics. The 2012 US Olympic trials began a 10-day run at Eugene’s Hayward Field yesterday, although two rest days are set in the middle of the event and hammer throwers will stage their competition a day earlier at Nike’s headquarters. “I feel confident. I’m more than ready for our ‘first’ Olympics,” said Sanya Richards-Ross, the 2012 world leader in the women’s 200 and 400 meters. “I want to make the team, for sure in the 400 and if I can in the 200. That would be icing on the cake. I just want to make the team safely and really put on a great show in London.” Three top finishers in each final qualify for the London Olympics while the dream ends for those who fail, no matter how strong the performances or how great the achievements coming into the meet. “The process is fair but it is cut-throat,” US 100 hurdler Ginnie Crawford said. “Sometimes it can be heart-breaking. It’s not about how well you have run or run later, it’s all about how well you run on the day.” “It’s the most fair way,” US 100 hurdles champion Kellie Wells said. “There are so many who could be in the spots. At the Olympics, there are no do-overs.” US men, coming off their worst Olympic track and field showing at Beijing, will try and answer the sprint challenge of Jamaica, led by world recordholder and defending 100 and 200 meter Olympic champion Usain Bolt. Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 champion who returned in 2010 after a four-year doping ban, has the best US 100 time this year at 9.87 seconds from his victory last month at Doha, where he edged Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. “Whatever time we’ve served, innocent or guilty, we’ve served that time,” Gatlin said after the win. “I have a lot of grit and a lot of competition still left in these old legs. “I want everyone to know Justin Gatlin is back and I want the Olympic title.” Tyson Gay, who underwent right hip surgery last year, ran for the first time in nearly 12 months at New York earlier this month and went 10.00 into a strong headwind, serving notice he could be ready for a run at London. “It feels good to be back,” Gay said. “My confidence is OK.” Walter Dix, third in the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and second in the events at last year’s worlds, is also in the mix. Reigning Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt, who served a 21-month doping ban before the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last October that he could run at London, has the 2012 400 meter world best of 44.19 from a victory in May at Doha. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic 400 champion, and Angelo Taylor, the 2008 400 hurdles Olympic champion, could test Merritt’s supremacy at the trials. Richards-Ross is a 200 and 400 favorite with world bests of 22.09 and 49.39 from victories earlier this month. “When my 200 is so fast, I feel much more comfortable my first 200 of 400 that’s really my secret,” Richards-Ross said. “If I can get on an easy pace then the last 200 I can really run well. “I know I’m in the best shape of my life.” Allyson Felix, a 200 runner-up at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and three-time 200 world champion, was second in the 400 and third in the 200 at last year’s worlds and is expected to focus on qualifying in the 100 and 200 for London. That puts her on a collision course with reigning 100 world champion Carmelita Jeter, who owns the 2012 100 world best of 10.81 and was second at last year’s worlds in the 200. The year’s five top women’s 200 performers are Americans. The 110 hurdles, where China’s Liu Xiang owns the year’s best time of 12.97, offers US 2012 leader Arie Merritt (13.03), world champion Jason Richardson and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver. Taylor and Bershawn Jackson are 400 hurdles favorites, as is reigning world champion Lashinda Demus on the women’s side. Another tough fight for London will come in the men’s shot put, where four of the year’s five top performers are US throwers, paced by 2007 world champion Reese Hoffa at 21.81m and 2008 Olympic runner-up Christian Cantwell. A decathlon showdown looms Friday and Saturday featuring world champion Trey Hardee, world runner-up Ashton Eaton and Olympic champion Bryan Clay. World triple jump champion Christian Taylor, this year’s world leader, is a favorite to reach London, as are women’s world long jump champion Brittney Reese, also a 2012 world leader, and world high jump champion Jesse Williams. — AFP

MIAMI: The Miami Heat celebrate after they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, June 21, 2012. — AP

Heat rout Thunder to win second NBA title MVP James silences critics with first NBA title MIAMI: The Miami Heat clinched their second NBA title by routing Oklahoma City 121-106 on Thursday thanks to a balanced attack and 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds from superstar LeBron James. James was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals after leading the Heat to the crown, capturing his long-sought first championship and delivering on the promise he made to Heat fans when he came to Miami two years ago. “I am happy I was able to make enough plays to put ourselves in a position to win this championship,” said James immediately after the game. “I wouldn’t want to spend it with nobody else in the world besides my teammates, these fans-oh, my God, you guys are unbelievable.” Mike Miller came off the bench to sink seven-of-eight shots from three-point range and finish with 23 points while Chris Bosh added 24 points for the Heat, who won the final series 41 to claim their first title since 2006. “I got a lot more gray hairs but this one is so gratifying,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “We knew we had the confidence in what we could do but it would be a long season and it would be a tough road. “We kept saying all year long it would be the toughest thing we’d have to do in our professional lives to get back to here and finally get those four wins,” the coach added. This was James’s third trip to the NBA Finals, including one with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but his first title in his nine years in the NBA. “This is a dream come true,” said the 27-year-old James, who had no repeat of the painful leg cramps he suffered during Tuesday’s game four. “I picked up a basketball when I was nine years old. This is the hardest thing I have ever done.” Miami used impressive three-point shooting, hitting 14-of-26 from beyond the arc, in front of a sold-out 20,003 crowd at American Airlines Arena. The Heat also shot 58 percent from the field in the first quarter and never eased up on the Thunder, opening a huge lead with a explosive third quarter, outscoring Oklahoma City 36-22. Six of their players, including all of their five starters, finished in double figures. The Thunder’s three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 32 points and 11 rebounds while guard Russell Westbrook had 19 points and six assists. But Oklahoma were never able to recover from losing three contests in a row by close margins after opening the finals with a win at home. “It always comes down to game two. We had a bad start. We fought back. Got down to the last possession,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Games three and four it came down to three or four possessions they made and we did not make. Today they were just on fire.” The Heat used a balanced scoring attack right from the

opening tip-off, going up by nine points, 28-19, with 1:50 left in the first quarter when Miller hit a 25-foot jumper from beyond the arc. Durant made a dunk with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter to cut the Heat lead to 31-26. Miller came off the bench to go four-for-four from three-point range in limited minutes in the first half. He was zero-for-three from beyond the arc in the first four games of the series. James scored seven of Miami’s first 16 points in the first quarter as he helped set the tone early.

MIAMI: LeBron James of the Miami Heat answers questions from the media next to the Larry O’Brien Finals Championship trophy during his post game press conference on June 21, 2012. — AFP Heat all-star guard Dwyane Wade had to take a seat on the bench with 5:35 to play in the second quarter after picking up his third foul. Miller and Mario Chalmers, who finished with seven assists, picked up the slack without Wade, who was the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals. Wade finished with 20 points and eight assists. The second quarter was highlighted by huge scoring runs by both teams. Miami broke the game open with a 19-4 run to take a 53-36 lead with 4:41 to play in the period. Oklahoma City answered with a 13-6 run to finish the quarter. Durant banked in a jump shot with 14 seconds left to cut the Miami’s lead to 59-49 at half-time. Bosh scored 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter as Miami seized command, leading 95-71 heading into the fourth. — AFP


Today’s Matches on TV UEFA European Championship



Spain v France 21:45 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Aljazeera Sport +9 Aljazeera Sport +10 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Al-jazeera Sport - Euro

‘Now or never’ for goal-shy Benzema KRAKOW: England’s John Terry plays with the ball during a training session in Krakow, Poland yesterday. — AFP

Penalties loom large for Italy and England KRAKOW: Mention penalties to Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon or an Englishman and the eyebrows rise, a deep breath is taken and the gulp is almost audible. They do not like them and never will. Buffon, who like England has a patchy record in shootouts despite Italy winning the 2006 World Cup on penalties, does not want tomorrow’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against England to reach the almost masochistic conclusion where one kick decides all. The fact Buffon believes the two sides are so well-matched suggests penalties are a real possibility in Kiev if the two generally defensive sides cannot be separated. “Definitely for all us it would be better to try to close out the match beforehand but if it goes to penalties so be it,” captain Buffon told a news conference yesterday. “On paper against England it is 50/50 who will win. It will be a game where little episodes will make the difference. “I think it is a very balanced game, totally equal. I don’t see any favorite.”Buffon celebrated madly when Italy beat France on penalties in 2006 after Fabio Grosso’s winning kick but the keeper did not save any France penalties with David Trezeguet striking the bar. He also failed to stop Zinedine Zidane’s penalty in normal time, although that was only the second goal he conceded all tournament as he confirmed his position as the world’s best. Buffon managed one save in the lost shootout with Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, where he superbly saved a penalty from Romania’s Adrian Mutu in the group stage. SERIAL LOSERS Further back, he was on the losing side when Juventus lost the 2003 Champions League final against AC Milan on penalties. The 34-year-old has long said he is not a particular fan of the shootout and unlike England counterpart Joe Hart, he has yet to analyse where Roy Hodgson’s side tend to put their penalties. “Tonight with my two team mates (reserve keepers) we will look at a video and try to document it in the best way,” Buffon said to roars of smutty laughter from fellow shotstopper Salvatore Sirigu sat beside him. Buffon’s relationship with penalties contrasts markedly with Hart, who has never been involved in a major shootout so has none of the baggage but no experience to dwell on. The England man, in his first big tournament, was hailed by Buffon as one of the best three young keepers at the tournament who “can achieve great things in the world of football”. —Reuters

DONETSK: Tipped to be France’s lethal weapon, Karim Benzema is still to score at Euro 2012 ahead of a quarter-final with Spain today when he will come up against several of his Real Madrid team-mates. Having scored a brace in France’s last warmup match, against Estonia, Benzema appeared to be arriving at the tournament with his confidence sky-high. However, three matches later, that confidence does not appear quite so evident, despite his two assists in the 2-0 defeat of Ukraine. Deprived of space in the 1-1 draw with England, he found himself out-muscled in the 2-0 loss to Sweden that condemned France to a second-place finish in Group D and a daunting encounter with world and European champions Spain. “Karim would like to score a goal. He’s had a few chances so far but unfortunately he’s not been able to,” said France coach Laurent Blanc. “It might be a problem with the team, but the circumstances mean that luck hasn’t been with him so far.” Benzema’s bluntness in front of goal is a worry for France, especially as he will feel under extra scrutiny against Iker Casillas and his other Madrid team-mates, with whom he won this season’s Spanish league title. With 32 goals in 52 matches, Benzema has increased his influence in the Madrid changing room, but it is no guarantee of success when he comes face to face with them on the pitch at Donetsk’s Donbass Arena. “He’s frustrated not to have scored,” admits France midfielder Florent Malouda. “The best present we can give him, knowing that he’ll be going back to Spain, is to help him go back with his head high, having commanded the respect of his (Real Madrid) team-mates.” In Madrid’s fluid attacking system, the former Lyon striker seems to play with greater freedom than with France, when everything rests on the shoulders of a man who has already played 63 matches this season. And even though he has scored 15 goals in 48 international appearances at the age of only 24, he has only scored twice in his last nine matches, with both goals coming against unheralded Estonia. The opening three matches at the Euro answered a number of questions about the configuration of France’s triple-pronged attack. Benzema and Franck Ribery have demon-

KIRCHA: French forward Karim Benzema (left) and French defender Patrice Evra take part in a training session at the training center in Kircha yesterday, on the eve of the team’s Euro 2012 football championships quarter final match. — AFP strated a promising understanding on the left side of the pitch, but both players have struggled to link up with the enigmatic and occasionally over-elaborate Samir Nasri. With only two of their attacking elements in full working order, it is perhaps no surprise that France have looked short of fire-power. Frustrated by the lack of chances created for him by his team-mates, Benzema reportedly made his feelings known in the post-match shouting match that erupted after the defeat by Sweden. After the win over Ukraine, he had expressed his satisfaction at having Nasri play closer to him than in the opening draw with England. “Nasri played higher up,” said

Benzema, who trails only Madrid colleague Cristiano Ronaldo in the attempts-at-goal statistics. “It was much better-I could make runs in behind and free up space. So it’s important for him to be closer to me.” Today, against Spain, he is hoping for greater room to maneuver than he was granted by the Swedes in Kiev on Tuesday. “Against Spain, who are a team that plays football, we’ll have more space,” he said. “The confidence is still there, but we need to get back to work.” If France prevail, another familiar face will await in the semi-finals, with his changing-room ally Ronaldo already through to the last four with Portugal. — AFP


France’s old fears return DONETSK: In 2010, it started with a headline in L’Equipe. Two years on, France’s leading sports newspaper has lifted the lid on fresh tension in the French squad at Euro 2012. Thursday’s edition of the widely read paper claimed to document what happened in France’s changing room after their 2-0 loss to Sweden on Tuesday in Kiev. Striker Olivier Giroud had already admitted to reporters that there was “a shouting match” and L’Equipe laid things bare. It began, according to their report, with an exchange between Alou Diarra and Samir Nasri, who was stung by his team-mate’s complaint that he had not received enough defensive support in midfield. Things were then reported to have escalated when Laurent Blanc scolded Hatem Ben Arfa for talking on his mobile phone. The Newcastle United winger, angry at his substitution in the 59th minute, allegedly blasted Blanc for taking him off instead of other under-performing players and challenged the coach: “Send me home if you’re not happy with me!” Both Blanc and his assistant, Alain Boghossian, have played down the incident, but Florent Malouda admitted the players’ comportment had “awoken some old demons”. Malouda is one of 10 survivors from the French squad whose internecine quarrels were broadcast to the world by L’Equipe during the last World Cup. The most explosive front-page headline in the paper’s history-”Go fuck yourself, you son of a whore!”claimed to detail what Nicolas Anelka had told coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of France’s 2-0 loss to Mexico. The revelations sent the camp into meltdown. Anelka was expelled from the squad, captain Patrice Evra promised to root out the “mole” responsible for the leak, and the players went on strike in protest at Anelka’s treatment. This time around, France’s players and staff have reacted very differently. Mindful of the damage liable to be caused by repeated denials, Blanc and his players have openly admitted that tempers flared following the loss to Sweden but have sought to portray the friction as a positive thing. “There

Euro 2012 briefs

Spain leaders shun Ukraine MADRID: Spanish government officials will skip the team’s Euro 2012 clash with France in Ukraine today, the government said, in line with other countries that have boycotted the football games there over political rights. “No Spanish authority will travel to the match,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the decision was agreed along with France, which last month announced that its government would not attend the matches in Ukraine. All Spain’s matches so far in the tournament have been played in Poland, which is co-hosting the competition. One was attended by Spain’s Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia as well as by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and others by a sports minister. Several European Union states have said they will not send ministers to the matches in Ukraine in protest over the alleged mistreatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, in jail on what supporters sayu are trumped up graft charges.

Historic provocations KIRCHA: French defender Laurent Koscielny (right) controls the ball next to French midfielder Yohan Cabaye (left) during a training session at the training center in Kircha yesterday, on the eve of their Euro 2012 football championships match against Spain. — AFP

were words spoken but it was the normal exchanges you get in a changing room,” said Boghossian. “It would have been worse if there had been nothing.” Nasri had already created controversy during the group phase, when he celebrated his equalizer in the 1-1 draw with England by shouting “Shut your face!” in the direction of one of his critics from L’Equipe. Having handed second chances at international level to talented but controversy-

prone players such as Nasri, Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema, Blanc knows his changing room contains a tinderbox of combustible egos. To date their reintegration has been successful, but the loss to Sweden suggested that harmony in the squad remains a delicate thing. Blanc has called on his players to harness that “electricity” in today’s quarter-final meeting with holders Spain. Tomorrow’s headlines will reveal whether or not he got his wish.— AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to attend Germany’s game with Greece with politics and sport, to say nothing of economics, set to mix as never before. Merkel has been a big fan of Die Mannschaft since tagging along to games on home soil at the 2006 World Cup and her entourage say she was going to come to a game at Euro 2012, come what may - whoever the opponents. But with Greece’s debt crisis, rather than team tactics, the subject on everybody’s lips there are those who wonder if she might diplomatically have left her visit until later - assuming the Germans make it through. With Merkel in the vanguard of those demanding the Greeks get their financial house in order, Britain’s Daily Telegraph mused her arrival “could be seen as the greatest act of provocation against the Greeks since the abduction of Helen of Troy.” Noone needs reminding that the Greeks ultimately won that contest.


GDANSK: Germany’s Sami Khedira scores his side’s second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship quarterfinal match between Germany and Greece yesterday. (Inset) Germany’s Philipp Lahm (second right) celebrates with teammates. — AP

4-star Germans reach semis Germany hammer Greece 4-2 GDANSK: Germany booked their place in the last four of Euro 2012 as Joachim Loew’s side hammered Greece 4-2 yesterday after dominating their quarter-final. Germany ran riot as captain Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, veteran striker Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus all got on the score-sheet to cancel out Giorgos Samaras’ and Dimitris Salpingidis’ second-half strikes for the Greeks. Germany will now play England or Italy, who meet in tomorrow’s Kiev quarter-final, in the semi-final at Warsaw’s National Stadium on Thursday as they inflicted Greece’s heaviest defeat at a European championships. It eclipsed the Greeks’ 3-1 defeat at the hands of Czechoslovakia in 1980. The Germans dominated at Arena Gdansk with 700 first-half passes completed compared to the Greeks 70 and the Germans’ ball possession never

dropped below 60 percent. Greece coach Fernando Santos brought in Grigoris Makos for suspended captain Giorgos Karagounis, who scored the winning goal against Russia which put the Euro 2004 winners in the last eight, with midfielder Kostas Katsouranis named as skipper. Loew pulled off a pre-match triple surprise by leaving out striker Mario Gomez, plus forwards Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller in a bold move. Klose won his 120th cap to come in for Gomez to claim his 64th international goal leaving him just four short of Gerd Mueller’s all-time Germany record. Borussia Dortmund-bound Reus capped his first Euro 2012 appearance with a goal at Mueller’s expense to win only his seventh cap while Bayer Leverkusen’s Andre Schuerrle took Lukas Podolski’s place on the left wing. The Germans had the ball in the net after only four

minutes as Khedira’s shot was only parried by Greek goalkeeper Michaelis Sifakis, who was soon beaten, but Schuerrle was flagged for offside. Celtic’s Samaras earned the first booking when he ran his boot down the back of Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger’s ankle on 14 minutes while Sotiris Ninis forced Germany’s Manuel Neuer into a rare save on 31 minutes. With the Germans enjoying 70 percent ball possession, the goal they had been threatening came on 39 minutes when Lahm burst through the left side of the Greek defence and fired home from the edge of the area. It was a carbon copy of the goal Lahm scored against Costa Rica, the first of the 2006 World Cup, and his fifth for his country on his 90th appearance. Greece coach Fernando Santos added an extra forward after the break with Sotiris Ninis

making way for Fanis Gekas and midfielder Giorgos Fotakis on for defender Giorgos Tzavellas. The switch paid off when Samaras slipped his marker Jerome Boateng to bundle the ball home from the cross of Salpingidis, who outpaced Lahm on the right flank on 55 minutes. But Germany reclaimed the lead thanks to a volley from Real Madrid’s Khedira whose late run connected with Boateng’s cross to leave Sifakis with no chance. Klose added to his impressive tally with a header from a Ozil freekick on 68 minutes, while Reus scored the fourth when Klose latched onto Ozil’s pass, forcing Sifakis into a save. But the ball fell to the Dortmund man, who hit the net on 74 minutes. With time almost up Salpingidis scored from the penalty spot after Boateng’s foul, but it was too little, too late. — AFP

23rd Jun  

Kuwait Times