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‘Majority’ MPs agree to grill finance minister Probe panel to summon current, former premiers By B Izzak

in the


Boy kills dad over PlayStation RIYADH: An angry four-year-old Saudi boy shot and killed his father for refusing to buy him a PlayStation, Saudi media reported yesterday. The Asharq daily, citing police in the southern Jizan area, said the child, aged four years and seven months, grabbed his father’s pistol and shot him in the head. According to the newspaper, the child had asked his father to buy him a PlayStation and the shooting took place after the man returned home without the desired object. As he was undressing, the man put the weapon down, which the child then grabbed and fired at him from close range.

Kazakhstan thanks ‘Borat’ ALMATY: Kazakhstan’s foreign minister yesterday thanked “Borat”, the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy that the Central Asian nation once banned for lampooning its people, for massively boosting its tourism. “With the release of this film, the number of visas issued by Kazakhstan grew tenfold,” local news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov as telling a session of parliament. “I am grateful to ‘Borat’ for helping attract tourists to Kazakhstan,” the foreign minister said. “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” became a hit with critics and viewers alike upon its release in 2006.

Max 35º Min 18º High Tide 02:11 & 12:56 Low Tide 07:01 & 19:51

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah welcomes Tunisian President Moncef Al-Marzouki yesterday after he arrived in Kuwait on a two-day official visit. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The majority bloc has decided to back plans to grill Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali over allegations of financial and administrative irregularities but decided to hold another meeting to finalize the issues in the grilling. The decision came after a marathon meeting at the diwaniya of MP Shaye Al-Shaye which concluded after midnight during which MP Musallam Al-Barrak explained the main points of his planned grilling. The next meeting of the majority bloc, which consists of more than 30 MPs, is scheduled for Saturday to determine the issues to be included in the grilling expected to be submitted next week. If the majority continues to support the grilling, it will be able to vote the minister out of office if Shamali, finance minister for more than five years, decides to face the grilling. Twenty-five votes are needed to vote any minister out of office and the opposition bloc has more than 30. The majority bloc meeting was surprisingly attended by Minister of Housing and National Assembly Affairs Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, a member of the opposition before he became a minister in February. According to deputy speaker Khaled Al-Sultan, the minister warned the MPs about risks facing Kuwait. Sultan did not elaborate on the nature of risks that Muwaizri warned from. If it goes ahead, the grilling will be the first to be filed by the majority bloc after two grillings had already been submitted and debated by the supporters of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Continued on Page 13




KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (left), HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other dignitaries at the graduation ceremony.

Top priority to human resources development Amir sponsors PAAET graduation ceremony KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sponsored and attended a ceremony yesterday honoring top graduates of the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) faculties and institutes for the scholastic year 2010/2011. Upon his arrival at the venue, Basic Education Faculty theatre in Shamiyya, His Highness was greeted by Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, who is also Chairman of the Board at PAAET. Also welcoming His Highness were PAAET Director General Dr Abdulrazzaq Al-Nifisi, and PAAET staff. Attending the ceremony were His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun, former NA speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi, senior Sheikhs, Deputy Chief of the National Guard Sheikh Meshaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, a host of senior state officials, and families of the graduates. After the customar y kickoff with a recitation of the Holy Quran, Minister AlHajraf addressed the gathering, affirming that policy of HH the Amir of placing sciences, educational and human resources’ development among top priorities of the State proved to be fruitful and prompted students to achieve progress.

He urged the graduates, of excellent records, to pledge to His Almighty and HH the Amir to pursue perseverance in prospected places of employment for achieving further progress for the homeland. A speech by PAAET Director General Al-Nifisi followed, shedding light on latest works and achievements of the authority, such as electronic registration for students, establishment of the vocational training institute for girls in Al-Jahraa, the nursing institute in Al-Shuwaikh, expansion of the faculty of technological studies, the health sciences college, and the higher energy institute, the sports stadium and other sports facilities at the headquarters in AlShuwaikh. Al-Nifisi affirmed PAAET’s support for a planned project, establishment of Jaber University for Applied Sciences, noting that such an academic establishment would help in expanding educational opportunities for students. Moreover, he expressed hope that relevant authorities would quickly issue new laws for the authority and relieve the establishment of thorny and time-consuming bureaucracy. On behalf of the graduates, Saja Abdelriheem Awadh addressed the gathering, hailing HH the Amir personal concern for sciences and students, vowing that she and her fellow students would work faithfully for service of the homeland. HH the Amir was presented with a token gift to commemorate this ceremony, after he presented the certificates to the top graduates. — KUNA

Land sliding under Grand Mosque KUWAIT: Dr Naji Al-Mutairi, Director of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), said demolishing the Grand Mosque and rebuilding it is not an option being discussed since the appearance of a crack in the building. “Demolishing the mosque is not in our mind, as every engineering problem has an engineering solution, especially as the building is made of resistant cement and has the ability to withstand almost anything,” he said. Al-Mutairi did not agree with the assumption that the building will collapse as, to reach that point, larger cracks which are beyond control should appear. He said it will need several phases until it reaches a stage where it cannot resist any more. He said KISR is currently working to study the reasons behind this problem. The study will take six months in coordination with Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. Preliminary investigations show that the crack is caused due to land sliding deeper under certain parts of the Mosque. The study will be for the Grand Mosque only, and not for the surrounding areas.

Tunisian president’s visit signals improving ties KUWAIT: President of Tunisia AlMoncef Al-Marzouki arrived in Kuwait yesterday on an official visit aimed at bolstering bilateral relations between Tunisia and Kuwait and discussing a host of regional and international issue of joint concern. The president visit signaled noticeable improvement of the Kuwaiti-Tunisian relations at various levels. These ties were established in the early 60s when Tunisia was the first state that recognized independence of Kuwait, 1961. The first loan, offered by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development since its inception was given to Tunis. Al-Marzouki is the fourth Tunisian president since the country declared independence in 1956. He is a doctor, human rights activist, intellectual and veteran politician. The Kuwaiti-Tunisian ties have been continuously developing since the 1990 Iraqi aggression on Kuwait. There were a series of intensive reciprocal visits by officials of the

two countries, namely the visit by the late (Father Amir) prime minister, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah AlSalem Al-Sabah, to Tunisia, and another one, paid by the First Deputy Prime Minster and Foreign Minister, (the current Amir) Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Tunisia supported Kuwait’s quest to reclaim its rights, namely release of the Kuwaiti prisoners, who were snatched by the occupation troops during the occupation of the country. In 2010, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah visited Tunisia, on the first such mission since he became Amir in January 2006. At the economic level, ties in this sector dated back to 1963, when the two countries signed the economic cooperation agreement, less than two years after Kuwait declared independence. The two countries had also signed other accords aimed at facilitating investments. Kuwaiti enterprises in Tunisia, launched in 1976, are widely viewed

as an example of success of Arab businesses. Volume of trade exchanges between the two countries is estimated at USD 100 million. There are some 21 Kuwaiti investment companies in the North African Arab state. Kuwait was among the pioneering countries that launched enterprises in Tunisia, and that was through the Kuwaiti-Tunisian Bank, which founded the Kuwaiti-Tunisian Company. The latter had also founded the chain of Abu Al-Nawas Hotels. Tunisian officials have hailed the distinctive ties bounding the two countries. Financial contributions, offered by KFAED, have helped Tunisian government efforts in the realms of development, communications, power, infrastructure and water. Moreover, the two countries signed, in 1998, a cultural cooperation accord for expertise swap and holding training courses as well as organizing festivals and activities. — KUNA

30,000 high school graduates to seek admission KUWAIT: Thirty thousand high school graduates are expected to queue up at higher education institutions during 2012-2013 educational year, states a report quoting sources familiar with data from the Ministry of Education. This news could spell trouble to Ministry of Higher Education (MoE) who struggled last year to admit high school graduates applying to the overcrowded Kuwait University. Eventually, the country’s only public university was forced to admit new students after at least 3,000 were initially left out. Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education, announced recently that a ‘comprehensive plan’ to allocate seats to all high school graduates will be announced next June. On that account, the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) reportedly plans to welcome 15,500 freshmen next year, divided into 11,000 during the first semester and 4,500 during the second. This was disclosed by Dr Ahmad Al-Ansari, Dean of Admission and Registration at PAAET. He recently told Al-Rai that the final number will be approved at a

meeting held by PAAET ’s supreme council next week. The KU, on the other hand, has seats for only 7,090 new students next year, as recommended by the Council of Deans in a meeting held last month. Dr Muthanna Al-Refa’ie, Dean of Admission and Registration told Al-Rai that efforts are currently ongoing to ‘coordinate to accept as many new students as the KU possibly can.”

M eanwhile, K halid Al-Saad, M inistr y of Higher Education Undersecretary announced that the Cabinet has allocated 3,300 slots for scholarships aspirants next year, increasing the number by 1,500 from the previous year. Dr Farida Al-Ali, Secretar y General of Private Universities Council in the ministry, revealed that “the internal scholarships program will be expanded next year.”

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait made a financial contribution recently to Al-Ataa kindergarten for children with special needs, in addition to bearing costs to buy educational material suitable for children.

May 1 campaign against residency violators KUWAIT: Senior security officials received orders to launch “extensive campaigns” against violations of residency and labor laws starting from May 1st until the end of the summer, says a report published yesterday. “A letter sent by Acting Undersecretar y Lieutenant General Sulaiman Al-Fahad calls for cooperative action to arrest residency violators and take the necessary deportation measures against them”, said an Interior Ministry insider who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to reveal internal news before they are announced officially. The letter was reportedly sent to the Criminal Investigations General Department, the General Security Department and the Department of Police Patrols. They are required to work jointly in organizing crackdowns and arrest operations. The sources said the high rates of travel during the summer season helps make it easier for security officers to set up effective checkpoints and other security missions. In other news, a report quoting security sources said Syrian nationals can apply to obtain ‘absence permits’ on behalf of relatives who have valid residencies in Kuwait but have not been able to leave their country during the past six months. As per Kuwait’s residency law, an expatriate automatically loses their residency if they stay out of Kuwait for six consecutive months.



PAHW sets ratio for persons with special needs in new projects

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti MPs take part in “Try the Chair” campaign launched by Kuwait Society for Human Rights.

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Minister of State for Housing Affairs Shueib Shabbab Al-Muweizri said Sunday the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) set aside a ratio in the new residential projects for people with special needs. “The authority will present the integrated designs of the residential units allocated to the persons with special needs in the new projects,” said Al-Muweizri who is also minister of state for National Assembly affairs. He made the press remarks on the sidelines of “Try the Chair” campaign launched by Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR). The minister noted that the designs aimed to spare the disabled persons the trouble of introducing changes to their apartments in order to make the apartments compatible with their needs and ensure easy movement for them. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Public Works and Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs Dr. Fadhel Safar said the Municipal Council adopted the new construction law which set the specifications for the residential units allocated to persons with special needs. “The government is keen on providing the due care for this segment of the society and integrate them into the community,” Dr Safar

stressed. On his part, Minister of Health Dr Ali Saad Al-Obeidi said his ministry prioritizes the persons with special needs in admission to physicians and access to medication. “The ministry allowed increasing the number of companions for patients with special needs during overseas medical trips in order to make life easy for them,” the minister pointed out. Al-Obeidi added that his ministry has developed a new vision for physical therapy aiming to enable the persons with special needs to overcome their disabilities. Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf voiced hope that the ongoing public awareness campaign will succeed in delivering its noble message including the social integration for this category of people. Director General of the Public Authority of the Disabled (PAD) Dr. Jassem Al-Tamar said the PAD scrutinizes the thousands of applications for the benefits of the disabled in order to prevent any cheating. “The PAD works meet the standards set by the World Health Organization,” Al-Tamar said. The authority will get its interim headquarters expanded to cover 7,000 sq m. after the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor ceded a plot of land amounting to 4,000 sq m., he added. —- KUNA

MPs applaud efforts to tackle cafe immorality Interior urged to ‘live up to duties’ KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior is required to take extra efforts to prevent “moral decay clearly found” in cafes, a parliament member said recently commenting on the news that the police plan to launch a security campaign against immoral practices inside coffee shops around Kuwait. “Some cafes have turned into something similar to cabarets dancing. Nudity and dating are hosted,” alleged MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei in a statement on Sunday in which he expressed support of the “efforts to control such practices that are rapidly spreading in society”. “ We need for an end to be put to the increase of these behaviors,” he said. MP Osama Al-Munawer urged the Ministry of interior to “live up to their duties with regards to such activities, especially practices that can leave negative effects on young people”. “By living up to their duties, [MPs] would

not need to enforce new legislation [to address the claims],” Al-Munawer added. These comments came one day after a front-page report quoting security sources that said “security campaigns” are planned in the near future to counter “immoral activities” allegedly hosted in cafes which are open to customers of both genders. The original report, as well as MPs’ comments, referred to the cafes as “women’s cafes”, a distinctive term used loosely to distinguish between them and public coffee shops that serve male customers only. “Strict measures are needed to curb the spread of practices spreading uncontrollably in coffee shops and other places”, MP Ahmad Al-Azmi said. “Such problems can harm young citizens who are the core basis of the state and its future”. He also warned against “leniency with some cafes that have turned into vice dens where all kind of immorality is

committed”. Al-Munawer agreed that “Firmness is required in dealing with these behaviors so that they do not affect components of Kuwaiti society, that is known for its commitment to values and traditions”. MP Badr Al-Dahoum attributed the “recent increase in immoral practices to the lack of proper implementation of the law”. “The things that happen in cafes demand a serious stand to stop immoral behavior”, he said, calling on the Ministry of Interior to “clean its departments from officials who have become a main reason for problems the ministry faces”. In an update to the original report, a security source said on Sunday that the Criminal Investigations General Department formed a work team of policewomen to lead missions “to search beauty salons, cafes and women’s swimming pools for illegal activities”.

Former PM to face trial in cash transfer case KUWAIT: Former Prime Minister HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah and MP Faisal Al-Mislem will appear before the investigations committee at the Minister’s Court. Al-Nasser will be questioned about accusations related to violating public funds as stated in the complaint filed by lawyer Nawaf Al-Fuzai on a cash siphoning

case. This will be an unprecedented incident, where a former prime minister will be facing charges related to public funds violations. Sources said that as the committee has decided that the charges are serious, it has informed Sheikh Nasser about its decision. He should appear before it on the dates decided.

Rejected PhD holders hit hard at university KUWAIT: Talk about some the PhD degrees held by some people has surfaced again, after a number of holders of doctorates expressed their dissatisfaction at the slackness by Kuwait University in appointing them, despite possessing the required qualifications. The rejected PhD holders accused the university of double standards and deliberately creating reasons covered by the rules. They said the truth is based on racism and groups. They said among the employees of the faculty are doctors who obtained their PhD from

dubious universities. They said one university in Nigeria is based in a city where 75 percent of the homes are made from mud. Some obtained their doctorates from universities in Bangladesh, Somalia and from Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Those objecting say that it is strange that Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training accept doctorates from those places but are refusing to appoint PhD holders from prestigious universities such as the Sorbonne, Cairo and Al-Azhar.


LOCAL Letters to Badrya Darwish

Local Spotlight

Abandoned expat wives

Third World countries?? Dear Ms Badriya, regularly read your column and have noticed that you regularly refer to a group of nations as ‘the Third World.’ I am really curious to know what you mean by that. The reference to the First World, Second World and Third world does not apply to the current global situation anymore. Incidentally, Kuwait and the Middle East region is formed part of the Third World in the old categorization. Do you mean economically backward countries or developing countries? Or all the Asian countries? Whenever I read it, it appears to be used in a derogatory manner. You can easily mention Africa, Middle East or Asia, but you intentionally do not do so in your columns. As a leading columnist, I hope you will continue to use politically correct terminology. Good luck, Anoob Hakim


By Muna Al-Fuzai


xpat women can get married in two ways. Either, she marry the man in her native country and return to Kuwait or get married in a church or court here. Today I am going to discuss what usually happens next. Some of these marriages end dramatically - in death or in jail! What happens when an expat’s marriage fails? Who is harmed when the spouse tries to hurt the other who has no family here?. When a couple decides to tie the knot, they exchange vows. They promise to stay together to share good and bad times, for better or worse. Ceremonies are performed regardless of the religion followed or languages spoken. This is the glamorous aspect of the wedding ceremony, regardless of the marriage’s duration! In Kuwait, I have seen many marriages contracted between different nationalities - mostly Arabs and Asians. Mostly commonly seen marriages are between Egyptians, Indonesians and Filipinos. Later, some wives complain about suffering in a bad marriage due to the children, and the fact that she is not in possession of her own passport or any money. She stays with the only man she knows out of fear. Some men are abusive, but they can’t talk about it because in some cultures, a wife is supposed to remain submissive for the rest of her life. The scenario is scary when defunct marriages end on a bad note. Sadly, many wives accept abuse as a part of life because of the lack of choices they have. I once met a female doctor, an Asian, married to a man belonging to her own community. I was amazed to learn that she did not have access to her own bank card or passport ! The husband was in possession of all her belongings and even used her salary to pay rent and other expenses. But, he allowed her to take quarter dinar, 250 fils a week, in case she wanted to buy a can of coke! For heaven’s sake, she was a doctor and got paid enough to buy whatever she liked! I asked her why she did not go back home or get a divorce? She panicked at the mere thought of it and said, “Please don’t let my husband hear you talking like that! He would be very angry. Where will I go?” I am sure that her husband is abusive and would beat her if she dared to defy him. Her reaction made it obvious to me. In many cases, I have seen the wife being victimized, unable to leave home or Kuwait. There are some men who abandon their wives or children inhumanely. In a true incident, an Arab man left his Indonesian wife and two little children. Before he left, he went to the police station and reported a missing case against the wife. He probably did that as an act of revenge against her. I think he is heartless because he destroyed his children’s lives too. When this woman and children were out in the street, police traced them and asked that she produce her identification card. Her name was registered in the computer as being missing. According to the prevailing law, police are forced to take her into custody until the husband who filed the case shows up! Police also learnt that this man left Kuwait for good; the wife and children are languishing in jail! They are suffering for not committing any crime! Can you believe such cruel treatment is meted out by men towards their wives and children? This is the sordid reality faced by some unfortunate female expat wives here in Kuwait. Normally, the expat woman’s embassy makes arrangements for her to be repatriated to her home country. They reach the country penniless, abused, with no monetary or moral support! What kind of a future awaits such children born to parents belonging to different cultures, born in one country and is forced to grow up somewhere else? A shelter for expatriate women that face similar situations should be built. They should not be imprisoned! The jail is no place for innocent children! I don’t know why no one cares about building such facilities here, considering there are so many expatriates facing trouble in this country? These women are not runaway housemaids? Why can’t we help better their lives? Recently, one MP called for pooling in money to renovate the Grand Mosque, but I believe the government can do it without collecting charity! We should collect money to build a shelter for abused expat women. I’m would want to take an initiative on behalf of Kuwait Times. It is my personal decision to strive for it until the day this facility is built.

kuwait digest

Separation not the solution By Waleed Al-Rujaib


any people attribute the overcrowding by Kuwaiti and expatriate patients at public hospitals and polyclinics to the deteriorating level of service at state medical facilities. Some people even go as far as accusing non-Kuwaiti staff at medical facilities of favoring compatriots for medical attention ahead of Kuwaiti patients. Not only do I believe that this speculation is unlikely, but I also do not think that the large expatriate population in Kuwait is the main reason for the woes in the medical sector. When you have a limited number of medical facilities in comparison to the scale of population, it is obvious that your medical sector will eventually suffer from overcapacity and a shortage of bed availability as well as a delay in doctor appointments. Other reasons that contribute to the deterioration in the health sector is the lack of supervision and quality control, whether in regards to medical services, medication safety or the lack of financial decentralization in public hospitals. This would give them

more independence, by which they could compete with private hospitals. It is also not a secret that wasta (unlawful mediation and favoritism) does exist in the public health sector. Providing separate medical facilities for citizens and expatriates has been discussed as a solution to help address overcrowding at public hospitals and to improve the quality of medical services there. I do not think that improved medical services can

Providing separate medical facilities for citizens and expatriates has been discussed as a solution to help address overcrowding at public hospitals and to improve the quality of medical services there.

be achieved by providing separate health care to people based on their nationality. If anything, such a proposal results in discrimination and a lack of social justice with regards to providing a service that is humanitarian in the first place. If we hypothetically say that this solution will indeed help to resolve problems in the health sector, should this criteria be adopted to resolve all other problems in Kuwait? Maybe traffic jams and increasing accident rates can also be resolved by providing separate streets for Kuwaitis and expatriates?! The solution to the health sector problems, or problems in all other sectors which affect the lives of Kuwaitis and expatriates, start with political reform and law enforcement. It also begins with introducing radical reforms to the educational system, to create a generation with a higher sense of responsibility towards their duties and the law. We need a new and improved Kuwait, not a countr y where problems are resolved through patching. —Al-Rai

Dear Madam, I would like to bring a very important subject to your attention. I was born and raised here in Kuwait. I am 39-years-old and am employed with a bank here. I am very happy with what Allah and the Kuwaiti government have been offering me here. My loyalties lie with this country. I am married and have three kids who are nine, five and one year old respectively. I wish I could sponsor their stay here. Sadly, I can’t because we are Pakistani nationals. I can see people belonging to other nationalities being able to do so. Is this is not my fundamental right as a human being? My family members are not terrorists who have a criminal record. I have been trying to get a visa for them for the past two years. But every time I approach them, I am turned away only because I am a Pakistani. Sadly, the ban on Pakistanis has not been lifted. Why are our families not eligible to enter Kuwait even when they do not have a criminal record? When is this ban going to be lifted? When will people like me find a solution? I will be very thankful to you, if you can assist me in any way. Thanks, An anonymous reader

In my view

Syria, Iran on road to peace

By Labeed Abdal

kuwait digest

Partners in loss By Dr Soud Hilal Al-Harbi


oss and wastage can occur in various ways and in differently fields throughout our lives. Some people waste their lives, others lose money or relatives. Yet, the worst of all is the loss of a nation. This can happen in many forms, especially when people prioritize their own interests ahead of the country. Their political practices are cruel and tyrannical, especially in terms of commercial deals. The eventual result will be that of nothing more than incurring a loss. However, we should be blamed for how influential such people can become. We are the ones who actually created them, gave them more significance that they deserve. It is no wonder, then, that some ideologically extremist MPs can manage to make their way into the Parliament. It is also no wonder that some impudent writer, TV or radio presenter dares insult, classify, analyze or exclude others as he wishes , according to immature views. We only have ourselves to blame for the existence of such people. We should reconsider what is presented to our nation. This makes us all partners in such a state of loss. We have not done anything to stop them. We only kept

silent, applauding or encouraging some of them just to tease others or to exclude them for tribal or sectarian reasons. After all, it is all about the interests of individuals or groups! Nations cannot be built nor sustained by wishes and good intentions alone. They are built on deeds and patriotic activities. The concept of nationhood is not about hoisting a flag or chanting a national anthem. It’s rather about devotion, dedication and loyalty to something else other than money, gains and all forms of interests. This is as if the nation is a mere commercial project through which everybody is keen to reap the highest profits. So, can we, Kuwaitis, realize the real situation? Can we realize the consequences of our actions? Do we actually know that history is a series of lessons? Countries can be lost through various conflicts, wars and sectarianism? A failed state suffers from social and psychological instability, which is very dangerous to human existence. So, I wish we could all realize the magnitude of our problems and work toward solving them before losses become incalculable! — Al-Watan


ending 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to report on the implementation on the full cassation of armed violence by all parties was a very good move by international bodies, to prevent the widening of the conflict in such a big country as Syria. The observers also checked on the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League, after the adaptation of the resolution number 4042 by the UN security council. Furthermore, the involvement with the specialized team to implement a ceasefire by Kofi Annan, special envoy, and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General, secured the approval for more forces in the field. Truly this gave us relief, making the chances to limit the dispute higher. Also, the restart of negotiations with Iran was a vital step. Major countries also started lately in talks held in the Turkish capital of -Istanbul to move forward with more constructive and cooperative efforts to lessen the tension . Serious cooperation from Iran with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should be the way to make it clear to the world that there are no nuclear weapons and the program is civil in purpose. Those two boiling issues in the region, with some timely involvement by the United Nations and major countries of the world, and more sincere diplomatic dialogue and problem solving tools, can defuse the tension and re-direct us down the road of international peace, security and stability.

kuwait digest

Sovereignty resides in... the MoC?? By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


n a decision that is in line with the culture of restricting public freedoms without legal bases or solid evidence to warrant the move, the Minister of Communications (MoC) announced plans to monitor users of social networks in Kuwait, especially on Twitter. The MoC will cooperate with internet service providers (ISPs) to shut down accounts that allegedly contradict with or harm national interests. There is no law, or at least there should not be one, by which Mr. Communications Minister can ‘judge’ people’s activity online, based on which he will pass judgments that result in someone being punished for a certain activity, or be prohibited from freely utilizing online services like everyone else. The minister, just like the parliament’s Opposition before him, plays the role of the jury, judge and executioner in this case.

Even if we consider the decision by the minister as a matter of good faith, and if we choose to overlook all laws, constitutional articles and democratic principles that guarantee people’s freedom of expression and publishing, one question remains: Who decides what should be considered acceptable or not acceptable? Or in the minister’s words, what meets the national good and what harms it? We live in a democratic country in which freedom of expression is protected to all. Or so it should be. According to news reports, the minister announced that his ministry alone has the sole authority to judge local activity on social networks and shut down accounts deemed “in violation of state laws” or “used to threaten national security and instigate social tensions”.

The obvious question that comes to my mind while reading these reports is, who gives the minister the sole authority to do just that? What about the legal and court system which, according to laws legislated by Parliament and approved by HH the Amir, are the sole authority to determine and prosecute violators? The minister’s new policy means that he controls freedom of expression and publishing in Kuwait, and is solely entitled to ban people from practicing this freedom as per his own judgment, or a point of view intolerant to freedom of expression of different opinions. Maybe article 6 of the Kuwait Constitution should be changed next to read: “The System of Government in Kuwait shall be democratic, under which sovereignty resides in the Ministry of Communications”! —Al-Qabas



No ‘political implications’ behind meeting attendance Al-Muwaizri’s unexpected visit KUWAIT: The Minister of Parliament Affairs Shuwaib Al-Muwaizri showed up at a meeting in which 28 opposition bloc MPs took part, at the diwaniya of MP Shaya Al-Shaya on Sunday. This step has raised questions about his motives and intentions. “It is normal to attend the meeting because we are children of one nation,” Al-Muwaizri said. The Minister of Housing Affairs, told reporters that his decision to attend the meeting was personal, denying speculations that he was sent by the Cabinet. The meeting’s agenda included a number of topics, including a grilling motion planned against Mustafa Al-Shamali, Minister of Finance as well as outlining legislations that need to be given priority during May’s sessions. According to sources, Al-Muwaizri’s unexpected visit left many lawmakers startled and upset. “Some lawmakers found his attendance to cause disadvantage to the majority bloc, given the political implications of the visit,” said a source who spoke to AlQabas.

Al-Muwaizri is the only elected member of the Cabinet that was chosen as minister, from fifty lawmakers who won parliamentary elections in February as per the Constitution. It lays down that the Cabinet must include at least one elected parliament member. In other news, a parliamentary committee investigating the case in which the former prime minister has been accused of transferring public funds to overseas private accounts, complained that the Central Bank was being ‘uncooperative’ by failing to disclose information or issuing contradictory testimonies, said sources, reported Al-Qabas. Meanwhile, the Parliament’s general secretariat received ‘new answers’ from Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for questions pertinent with the transfer case as well as the cash deposits case. This was also probed by a parliamentary committee. It was disclosed by sources who described the ambassador’s step as “a sign of cooperation from the Cabinet” with the

MEW to sign deal with KISR

KUWAIT: Iranian Ambassador Rooh Allah Qhermani and the Defence Attache Syed Mujtaba Qamsry hosted a reception at the Crowne Plaza hotel on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day. Senior officials, diplomats and media personalities attended the reception. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

‘Let us go to Peru’ By Amador Velasquez Ambassador of Peru


is Highness the Amir of Kuwait said to the Amiri Diwan, during the inauguration on Feb 15 of the National Assembly, to prepare for a national conference on youth that takes into account the initiatives of young Kuwaitis. We look for facilitators, we dream and are looking forward to their imagination, and we love to see champions. We, as people of peace and action, love to make use of our common historical, cultural, touristic, commercial, economic and social ties, which link us closely to each other. As Peruvians, we took our first step by coming to Kuwait and opening this Embassy. With our Peru Expo, our common bonds will strengthen and our will to work in solidarity to mutually address, help and assist each other will develop a closer relationship. We all have to work together. Practical measures are always more effective and, more often than not, the driving force of young people can be an effective strength in ensuring real improvement. As a Diplomat, I am convinced that the role of the “facilitator”, be it a mechanism or a person, depends on the level of confidence that can be inspired. I trust youths. I trust you all. So, I think that we can surely work together to build these friendly relations into a strong bond. We need to meet, to see, to talk, to taste our national cuisines, to share our richness. We need to be together. We need to promote “Going to Peru”. These words offer a challenge and obligation to you. You are the future generation of leaders. You will do the deeds that will inspire the masses of our people. You are our future, and here in this House of Peru in Kuwait you are very welcome to my country. We are providing you with material and links to let you to say to your friends, to your family, to your professors: “Let us go to Peru”. Based on hope and trust, we will work together. Probably, one year from now, the largest facilitating agent of tourism through the Embassy of Peru in Kuwait, will be honored with a prize ticket: Kuwait /Amsterdam/Lima/Amsterdam /Kuwait.

Ambassador Amador Velasquez Now, the challenge is open. The first six facilitators who will send back to us a signed letter assuming this challenge will receive the diploma, the “Vademecum” and cap. They will start our “Let’s go to Peru from Kuwait” campaign. Walt Disney called his team the “Imagineers”. They were people with the ability to creatively produce tangible results. So, we dream that our “Facilitators Team” will make as many dreams come true as the “Imagineers Team”. Creative people challenge the parameters. They go back not to the first principle of a subject but for the great goal to be achieved. The true Champion is not just a Facilitator neither just an Imaginer nor just a winner. They are persons of compassion and humanity, motivated by a sense of obligation to others as strong as the will to succeed for themselves. So when you will arrive in Peru, do not forget to enjoy as much as you can from the “Catalog of the world”. This is not just Peru. You have to try to reach out and meet our Peruvian people from the Andean native areas, and express to them your wonderful feelings of brotherhood. Then, when you return from Peru to Kuwait, each and every one of you will be able to comment on how easy it was to go as a “Facilitator” as an “Imagineer ” and come back a real “Champion” after that amazing experience in life. I was a university student just like you. I became a Facilitator and probably an Imagineer, and I am sure that when I end my Diplomatic Mission here in Kuwait I will be very proud and honored to have become a Champion of the wonderful brotherhood between Peru and Kuwait. So, please, help me to obtain my goal.

KUWAIT: Some of the guests who attended a reception hosted by Ambassador Amador Velasquez at the embassy recently. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: In a step aimed at using underground water to reduce pressure on water production at MEW, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research(KISR) signed a contract with Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW) to conduct research on the subject titled, ‘Experimental Study to Reduce Water Level’ in Jaber Al-Ahmad and Al-Qairawan. “ The contract was signed in the presence of Ahmad Al-Jasser Undersecretary of MEW Engineer and Dr Naji Al-Mutairi, Director General of KISR and other top officials from both parties. Ahmad Al-Jasser, Undersecretary expressed trust in KISR, pointing out that this contract is helps establish cooperation between the ministry and the institute. It has previously conducted several studies that have yielded important results. He emphasized that the MEW is concerned about conducting scientific research on projects related to sustainable development. The ministry wants to utilize the rising level of underground water to reduce pressure on water production and reuse water available in these areas.

ongoing investigations. Separately, MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei stated that a plan to file a grilling motion against Sheikh Ahmad AlHmoud Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior could be withdrawn if an agreement is reached with the minister on the topics addressed by the motion. The lawmaker explained that the ‘majority bloc’ - an unofficial name for bloc which forms the Parliament’s majority - will have the final say on the planned motion after holding talks with minister Al-Hmoud. A similar tactic helped abort another grilling, the one MP Mohammad Hayef planned to initiate against Jamaal Al-Shehab, Minister of Justice, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. Also on Sunday, MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl proposed that law be passed to enforce a maximum three year jail term as penalty for an individual who fails to stand upright in respect while Kuwaiti flag is being hoisted or the national anthem is being played, reported Al-Rai.

Forgeries found in files of disabled persons KUWAIT: Dr Jassem Al-Tammar, director general of the Public Authority for Disabled Affairs (PADA), said violations and suspected forgeries exist in the files of some disabled persons. He said the files on the disabled, examined recently to update information in order to include the citizens in an automated system, included some striking out and corrections on paper. Dr Al-Tammar said the PADA is listing all the files to get a clear picture on the forged ones. The final results will be announced next Thursday during a press conference. Dr Al-Tammar said the PADA will receive Huda Shaarawi School as a temporary premise until the permanent building is complete. He said PADA received a 3000 meters square parcel of land to add to the 4,000 allocated to build the permanent PADA building. He said that there are a large number of disabled persons who do not contact PADA for unknown reasons. “We try to reach them to find out the reason behind their refusal to receive their rights,” he said.



KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah inaugurated the 10th International Jewelry Exhibition at Hall No 8, International Fairgrounds, Mishref yesterday. After the inauguration, he visited various stalls at the exhibition. Indian Ambassador Satish C Mehta and visiting Indian parliament member Prabha Thakur were among the dignitaries who attended the inauguration.

10th Kuwait Gold, Jewelry Exhibition kicks off KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor Sheikh Ibrahim Duaji Al-Sabah inaugurated yesterday the 10th Kuwait Gold and Jewelry Exhibition at the International Fair Ground here. In press statements following the inauguration ceremony, Sheikh Ibrahim hailed the great development in this year’s exhibition,

citing the efforts exerted by the organizers. He also welcomed all participating companies and sponsors of this important event which runs through April 28. For his part, Board Chairman of Kuwait International Fair Company Ahmad Tifoni, the event organizer, lauded Sheikh Ibrahim’s

patronage to the exhibition and all government bodies’ help to render it a success. He added that the famous Jewelry companies from Italy, Hong Kong, India, Thailand are taking part in the exhibition. Over 75 local and international fashion houses, department stores, boutique galleries, wholesalers and

retailers take part in the exhibition. This exhibition is the biggest in Kuwait and the whole region due to the number for the participants and the diversity of the displayed products. The 10th Gold & Jewelry Exhibition is one of the most fascinating events dedicated to jewelry sector in Kuwait. It is the organized on

annual bases. Profile of exhibits includes fashion jewelry; fashion jewelry materials; and fashion accessories like watches, belts and buckles, scarves, shawls, handbags, beauty items and accessories, other ornaments and accessories. The event is welcomed to all age groups especially for jewelry lovers.— KUNA

Man with fake credit cards stole KD 80,000 in gold Three-year-old killed in fast food delivery

KUWAIT: Twenty officers took part in a two-week training course on vehicles’ technical examination. The course is the third of its kind in the 2011/2012 training plan for the Ministry of Interior.

Services for people with special needs at Al-Babtain library KUWAIT: Al-Babtain Central Library for Arabic Poetry is keen on enabling people with special needs to enjoy the great works it has to offer and provides many works and programs especially designed for the enjoyment of this group of people, a press statement yesterday said. People who could benefit for such fine-tailored services and products include the blind, the mute, children with learning disabilities, and those suffering autism. Each of these groups has access to programs especially tailored and fine-tuned, a generous gift from Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). In addition to this software, the library provides the one-of-its-kind preschool guide and encyclopedia in Arabic, designed in cooperation with specialists in sign language and containing some basic “Kuwaiti” descriptive signs. The software comes in an encyclopedia and an included drills section.

The focus is to train parents and care-givers on the basic signs to enable them to train their children about this means of communication. Those who obtain the skills in this software can move on to advanced software which covers over 1,400 Arabic basic descriptive signs. The library also provides a sign language encyclopedia on scouts activities and terminology. When it comes to learning disabilities, there is special software on proper pronunciation of Arabic letters and sound segments, with video material, also prepared in cooperation with experts at Kuwaiti specialized institutions. For children with autism, the library offers a Makaton pronunciation and speech program in Arabic, which is scientifically proven to be effective in encouraging such children to improve their language skills. There is also such a program for adults with communication disabilities. Including signs, written sym-

bols, and corresponding audio, the program is of highest standards, designed by renowned speech and language therapist Margaret Walker. This is to be added to the unique “Ibsaar” (Vision) software: Voice recognition software for the blind or the visually impaired, which enables them to use computers and surf the Internet with voice commands. The blind can also enjoy poetry books and volumes printed in Braille: The library was keen to provide a collection of books printed in Braille, at the request of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain. Along with this care for proper content, the library also made sure its structural design was also suitable for the requirements of those with special needs with special ramps and orientation means to help such people around comfortably. Library information technology staff are also trained on the software and how to best utilize it to help visitors with special needs.—KUNA

KUWAIT: A male American made KD80,000 by reselling gold he bought with forged credit cards. His assistant, a Syrian national, helped him by translating and finding places to buy and sell the gold away from the watchful eye of the police. Criminal investigators managed to arrest both of the suspects responsible for multiple cases in which forged credit cards were used to buy gold from different jewelry shops in Kuwait. Investigations began after authorities received information about illegal activity in which people entered Kuwait to trade illegally in gold using forged credit cards. Eventually, investigators were able to identify a shop where a suspected transaction took place. The shopkeeper provided information on the two customers he said bought bullion using credit cards. This information helped police to arrest the Syrian suspect in Hawally, who admitted he assisted the prime suspect. He said he received his share after each operation. The American was later detained in a set up in Hawalli organized by his assistant. He explained during investigations that he transfered the majority of money obtained in the illegal operations to beneficiaries outside Kuwait, who sent him the money he used to pay for the gold. He said the credit cards were forged outside Kuwait and he brought them into the country when he arrived here. Toddler killed A toddler was killed in Ahmadi after she was accidently run over by a fastfood driver, who is currently in police custody for investigations. The 3-yearold girl was pronounced dead at the

scene of the accident as a result of a fatal head trauma. She was accidently hit by a car used for food delivery. Fatal accidents Two people were killed in separate accidents reported on Sunday in the Abdullah Port area. The first accident was reported on King Fahad Highway and involved two vehicles, one of which flipped over due to the impact. A middle-aged Kuwaiti man was pronounced dead in the overturned vehicle. An investigation was opened to determine the circumstances behind the crash. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti man in his thirties was pronounced dead on another street in the same area after his car was involved in an accident. An investigation is underway. Prostitution ring Two men were arrested in Hawally for running a prostitution service around the governorate, using cafes to lure their customers. The suspects, an Arab man and an Asian national, admitted during investigations that they help set up customers with Asian prostitutes for KD10 a night. They remain in custody pending legal procedures, while investigations are ongoing in search of the prostitutes. Thieves run over guard Three thieves ran over a Bangladeshi guard to steal a metal fence surrounding a project site in Wafra recently. The Bangladeshi victim reportedly tried to stop the three unidentified persons when they attempted to enter the place. They hit him with their car and escaped with parts of the steel fence

they managed to cut. The victim was helped by a passerby before reporting the incident to the area’s police station. Investigations are currently ongoing in search of the burglars after a case was filed. Gun thief Abu Hulaifa police are looking to apprehend a man who stole a hunting rifle from a gun shop in the area. The shopkeeper told officers at the area police station that the suspect asked to view a number of shotguns. He snatched one and ran away. He provided the license plate number of the car the suspect reportedly used to escape in. Forgery An Iraqi man faces forgery charges after he tried to impersonate his brother, who lives in Canada, to renew his residency. The suspect reportedly made use of a striking likeness with his brother to renew the brother’s residency, but officers at Jahra Migration Department were too alert to fall for the trick. The man is currently in detention at the Public Prosecution Department pending legal procedures. Deportee deported A man was arrested shortly after arriving at Kuwait International Airport after it was revealed that he is blacklisted. He was deported from Kuwait more than two decades ago. The suspect was reportedly put on a plane back to his home country after the fingerprint scanner security system showed that he was deported in 1989 for trading in alcohol. —Al-Rai, Al-Qabas, Al-Anbaa

ABK sponsors ‘Hala Ramadan Expo 2’ KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait announced its sponsorship of “Hala Ramadan Expo 2”, which is being held from April 22 to 25 in 360 Mall under the patronage of Sheikha Feryal AlSabah. A large number of Kuwaiti talents, as many as 85, as well as some small projects are participating in the exhibition showcasing Ramadanrelated products made by them. Sahar Al-Therban, public relations manager at ABK, said “To reaffirm our commitment to our ongoing campaign “Our Society, Our Responsibility”, ABK is proud to be one of the main sponsors of “Hala Ramadan Expo 2”. “Our Society, our Responsibility” is the slogan under which we support the Bank’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, whether related to humanitarian, environmental, cultural or sport issues. This time we are supporting Kuwaiti youth, as they showcase their multifaceted talents at the Hala Ramadan Expo 2.” Al-Therban added “At the Expo, we

aim to make visitors aware of ABK’s products and services, especially our small and medium business facilities. An ATM has been placed at our booth to facilitate buyers at the exhibition.”

The “Hala Ramadan Expo 2” organizers have thanked ABK for their support that the bank of young Kuwaiti talent, and hopes that this will encourage them to succeed further.

Steps to elevate status of cultural establishments KUWAIT: The Ministry of Information is working diligently to elevate status of national cultural and literary establishments for sake of keeping Kuwait one of the Arab cultural capitals, affirmed the minister yesterday. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah, the minister of information, at a meeting with members of the Cultural Forum writers and intellectual figures, late on Sunday, assured attendees that execution of projects, dating to eras of previous ministries, were being completed and followed up. However, he indicated that the implementation of such programs

would warrant coordination with other state departments and ministries as well as the municipality and the audit bureau. Regarding the Opera construction project, he affirmed that this venture was in execution stage, adding that other projects in the sector needed certain routine and bureaucratic measures. The head of the forum, Taleb AlRifaee, praised the minister’s personal concern for issues of the intellectual and literary sectors, noting the cordial and informal talks dealt with plans for building a new headquarters for Kuwait Writers Association, holding a national convention for the writers and organiz-

ing a weekly cultural program, to be aired by Kuwait Television. Theatrical director Suliman AlBassam called for state support for a larger number of theatrical troupes, noting closure of the external information offices was at expense of promoting national cultural activities abroad. Walid Al-Awadhi, movie director, echoed identical sentiments, hoping that such meetings in the future would include top and veteran actors, namely Saad Al-Faraj and Hayat Al-Fahad, to address issues of the actors, such as noticeable increase of contracts with external producers. — KUNA


EU agrees to suspend most Myanmar sanctions Page 12

Bahrain’s controversial F1 winds up without incident Page 8

OSLO: Defendant Anders Behring Breivik in court prior to the opening of day 6 of the trial in Oslo yesterday. Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters, killing eight, before unleashing a shooting massacre at the governing Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya. — AP

Breivik offers apology to victims I was the victim of ‘clear racism’ OSLO: Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people last July, said yesterday he wanted to apologise for killing “innocent” people in his Oslo bombing, but offered no similar apology for the Utoeya massacre. He also insisted that not only his victims and their families had their lives ruined on July 22: “I also lost everything,” he lamented to the court, maintaining he was the victim of “clear racism.” For the first time since his trial started on April 16, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist voiced a small ounce of regret for his actions. “I would like to offer a large apology” to those who were injured or killed in the bombing of an Oslo government building as they were just passing by and had no political connections, he said. But when prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh asked if he wanted to say the same to any of the 69 people-main-

ly teens-slaughtered in his shooting massacre on the nearby island of Utoeya after the bombing, Breivik said: “No, I do not.” He reiterated that youngsters attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing were “legitimate targets”, as “political activists” working for the “deconstruction of Norwegian society” through the multiculturalism he insists is leading to a “Muslim invasion” of the country. Instead, he insisted that “everyone who is linked to the (government) and the Labour Party ... should issue a large apology” to the Norwegian people. In his own apology, Breivik mentioned in particular Kai Hauge, a 32-year-old man who was killed as he walked past the government building when it was bombed. Hauge’s mother Soelvi rejected the apology. “It is of course not

enough,” she told the Aftenposten daily’s online edition, adding: “We will never get Kai back.” Jon Hestnes, who represents survivors and family of the victims of the Oslo bombing, described Breivik’s apology as surprising and insincere. “I think it was pathetic. It doesn’t help that he said that. There was no expression in his body language showing that he meant what he said,” he told public broadcaster NRK. Breivik continued Monday giving his account of events on Utoeya, providing chilling details of how he calmly walked across the island, picking off his victims one by one, shooting most of them point-blank in the head. On the sixth day of his trial, he faced cross-examination from the prosecution and questions from his own defence about the deadliest massacre ever committed by a sole gunman, which he insists was “cruel

Suspected cyber attack hits Iran oil industry DUBAI: Iran is investigating a suspected cyber attack on its main oil export terminal and on the Oil Ministry itself, Iranian industry sources said yesterday. A virus was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island which handles the vast majority of Iran’s crude oil exports - but the terminal remained operational, a source at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said. The virus, which is likely to draw comparisons with the Stuxnet computer worm which reportedly affected Iranian nuclear facilities in 2009-10, struck late on Sunday. It hit the internet and communications systems of Iran’s Oil Ministry and of its national oil company, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Computer systems controlling a number of Iran’s other oil facilities have been disconnected from the Internet as a precaution, the agency added. Hamdullah Mohammadnejad, the head of civil defence at the oil ministry, was reported as saying Iranian authorities had set up a crisis unit and

were working out how to neutralise the attacks. IT systems at the oil ministry and at the national oil company were also disconnected to prevent the spread of any virus, the Mehr news agency said. The oil ministry’s own media network, Shana, quoted a spokesman as saying some data had been affected but that there was no major damage. Iran’s nuclear programme is thought to be the principal target of the Stuxnet worm - discovered in 2010 - the first virus believed to have been specifically designed to subvert industrial systems. U.S.-based think-tank, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), said that in late 2009 or early 2010 about 1,000 centrifuges machines used to refine uranium - out of the 9,000 used at Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant, had been knocked out by the virus - not enough to seriously harm its operations. Iranian officials have accused the United States and Israel of developing the virus to sabotage its atomic programme, an allegation neither coun-

try has commented on. The United States and its allies suspect Iran is using its enrichment activities to covertly develop a nuclear weapons capability, a charge Tehran denies. Late last year, Iran also identified damage it said was inflicted by a similar virus aimed at disrupting industrial processes, called Duqu. Experts say Duqu appears to be designed to gather data to make it easier to launch future attacks and that very few organisations could have written such complex programs. There is no confirmation this latest attack is related to Duqu. A systems analyst at Hungary’s Laborator y of Cr yptography and System Security, which first discovered and named Duqu, told Reuters that Iran needed to be more cooperative with samples of malware codes if it required external help. “As this recent incident might have been a targeted attack against Iran and only against Iran, security experts in Western countries might be reluctant to help them,” Boldizsar Bencsath said. — Reuters

but necessary.” He stressed the shooting spree had been a “gruesome” experience for him as well and almost like “being asked to eat a plate of excrement”. He acknowledged however that “it was probably more gruesome for the people I was hunting.” He also stressed that not only the families of his victims had their lives ruined. “One should remember that on July 22 I also lost ... my entire family, all my friends... I also lost everything,” he told the court. He said he had not realised that so many people on the island would be under 18 — 33 of those killed were minors-but that he only considered the two 14-year-olds as children. He reiterated that he had spared the lives of two people, a girl and a boy, whom he deemed too young, and said he had not shot one man, Adrian Pracon, as “He did not look

like a Marxist... He looked like someone like me.” “The reason he gave for not killing me was shocking,” Pracon told the VG daily’s online edition, recalling how the killer had pointed his rifle at him and then suddenly walked away. “It is sickening that he played my god, that he decided over who would live and die,” he added. The confessed killer said several others in Norway were “more deserving of execution than the Labour Party youth”. Breivik had been scheduled to testify yesterday about his sanity, which is the main issue of contention during the 10week trial, but that testimony was postponed until Wednesday so he could finish testifying about Utoeya. He has been charged with “acts of terror” and faces either 21 years in prison-a sentence that could be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society-or

closed psychiatric care, possibly for life. A first court-ordered psychiatric exam found him insane, while a second opinion came to the opposite conclusion. A panel of experts who examined the validity of the second psychiatric evaluation have asked its two authors to provide additional information, noting several weaknesses in their report, the court announced yesterday. Breivik wants to be found sane and accountable for his actions, so that his anti-Islam ideology, as presented in the 1,500-page manifesto he published online just before the attacks, will be taken seriously and not considered the ravings of a lunatic. He lamented yesterday that his sanity was being questioned. “If I had been a bearded Jihadi there would be no report at all... There would not be a need for a psychiatric evaluation,” he said. — AFP



Iraq summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan broadside BAGHDAD: Iraq, locked in a public row with neighbouring Turkey, has summoned Ankara’s ambassador in Baghdad to protest at critical remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the foreign ministry said yesterday. The envoy, Younis Demerer, heard the Iraqi complaint on Sunday after several days of charge and counter-charge. Erdogan accused his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday of stoking conflict between Shi’ite Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Kurds

through “self-centred” behaviour. Maliki fired back that Turkey was becoming a “hostile state” with a sectarian agenda, saying it was meddling in Iraqi affairs and trying to establish regional “hegemony ”. Erdogan returned to the fray on Saturday, saying: “If we respond to Mr. Maliki, we give him the opportunity to show off.” Analysts say mainly Sunni Turkey is worried that growing tensions in Iraq and violence in their mutual neighbour Syria may lead to a wider Sunni-

Shi’ite conflict in the region. Erdogan’s government has also recently forged close ties with Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region, which is embroiled in a row with the Baghdad government over claims to the city of Kirkuk and the region’s oil. “(Foreign ministry undersecretary) Labeed Abbawi acquainted the Turkish Ambassador with the Iraqi government’s intense protest against the recent statements,” the Iraqi for-

eign ministry said on its website. “Undersecretary Abbawi expressed hope that the Turkish government will stop giving statements that affect Iraq’s sovereignty and internal affairs.” Erdogan has criticised Maliki several times since sectarian tensions flared in Iraq in December when the Shi’ite-led government tried to remove Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and sought an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran death squads.

Hashemi fled Baghdad and has since met Erdogan in Istanbul. The rift between Baghdad and the Kurds worsened this month when the Kurdistan Regional Government said it was halting oil exports because the central government was not paying oil firms operating in the north. Iraq is Turkey’s second largest trading partner after Germany, with trade reaching $12 billion last year, more than half of which was with the Kurdish region. — Reuters

UN monitors tour Syria as violence lulls Annan to brief Security Council

SAKHIR: Policemen and security guards check vehicles at a checkpoint outside the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. — AP

Bahrain’s controversial F1 winds up without incident By Nawara Fattahova MANAMA: Contrary to news reports about protests being staged ahead of Bahrain’s Formula One Grand Prix race opening, thousands of visitors from around the world thronged the racing circuit for the event which was held on Sunday. The region’s biggest sporting event was successfully held amid fear stemming from media reports on Bahrain’s volatile political situation. “I came from Germany to attend the race and enjoyed watching it live. I know I could watch it on TV, but it is a great experience to be here. Although my parents were a bit worried about the security situation in Bahrain, my wife encouraged me to come. I’m glad I did,” said Albert, a young German tourist who spoke to the Kuwait Times on Sunday. Visitors enjoyed the event thoroughly. “I visit Bahrain frequently as it is close to Saudi Arabia. I didn’t want to miss this great sporting event that is why I came along with my friends. We traveled by road because it is about an hour’s drive. I didn’t see any protests on the roads. I assume that these minor conflicts we hear about in the press are not taking place in Manama. It might be happening in some villages around the capital. Also, the roads leading to the Formula One Circuit in Sakhir are secured by police patrols and check points. They do not allow any protesters to approach the circuit,” observed 25-year-old Jaber from Saudi Arabia. Families with children also enjoyed funfilled activities that were held as part of the event. “Many different shows were held for children and young people. I enjoyed the musical concert by a man who imitated Michael Jackson. My daughters enjoyed a comedian who mimicked Charlie Chaplin and a magic show for kids. I also saw Formula 1 fans taking photographs and signatures of their favorite teams. It’s a great event and I feel safe here,” said Faisal, a 40-year-old Saudi visitor. Although 30,000 people attended the event, officials estimate that attendance was far lower than the previous event held in 2010. “Last year, the event was canceled due to protests and unstable situation in the country. This year, organizers were ready to hold the race. They are responsible for the safety of the visitors. If they had any doubts about the security situation in the country, they would not have taken the initiative to hold it (the race). I think many people were scared off by news reports about protests held here. I noticed this by comparing the number of spectators to 2010. I was here that year and the stadium was bursting at the seams. I hope next year the attendance will be bigger. The country can generate a lot of income by hosting

this event,” noted Yousif, a chauffeur for VIP visitors to the circuit. Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, was the main sponsor of 2012 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix race hosted in Sakhir. It also announced the launch of its new Sport 24, the 24-hour live sports channel produced by IMG Media to broadcast the Formula One races, including the 2012 race on ‘SkyHub,’ Gulf Air’s comprehensive and entertainment solution. The addition to the airline’s onboard Global Live Television services offers fans the opportunity to watch uninterrupted races onboard throughout the Formula One season. Gulf Air also announced its milestone of retrofitting 86 percent of its A330-200 fleet with the new ‘SkyHub,’ offering passengers onboard full broadband connectivity to access Internet, mobile phone services and for the first time in the world, live television content onboard. The Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite will complete installation across Gulf Air’s entire fleet of aircraft by summer 2012. Gulf Air has a large network that offers flights at regular frequencies. “We focus on frequency and currently we offer 700 flights a week to our different destinations. As we witnessed a drop in revenues due to the increase in price of fuel which cost us Bahraini Dinars 50 million in one year. In 2009, we started our pro-active strategy and we have 14 new fleet, and are changing them gradually. Basically, we have airplanes that are two or three years old,” said Samer Majali, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air during the press conference held on Saturday in Manama. “It is another important milestone in our journey as we continuously improve our customer service and offer new products, in particular our latest in-flight entertainment system, ‘Sky Hub’ on our fleet,” he added. “Our valued customers can also enjoy a fully integrated broadband connectivity offering high speed Internet, 3G-4G mobile data speed, voice over the Internet (VOIP), streaming videos and the world’s first in-flight live TV satellite stream across continents. Now, the passengers can watch Formula One races from around the world on Sport 24, their favorite football teams on IMG Media’s Barclays Premier League channel, or keep up with world events on favorite news channels such as BBC World News, BBC Arabic and Euronews,” Majali pointed out. “Passengers will also be able to browse the web at broadband speeds, and access social media services such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, business travelers can access their virtual private network (VPN) to send and receive emails while watching live-news and stock market updates at 35,000 feet,” he added.

SANAA: A Yemeni judge chants slogans during a demonstration demanding independence of the judicial system from government control in Sanaa, Yemen yesterday. — AP

DAMASCUS: United Nations ceasefire monitors were touring towns near the Syrian capital yesterday, an official said, as the European Union slapped new sanctions on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Neeraj Singh, spokesman for an eight-member advance team of UN obser vers deployed in Syria, said monitors would be visiting areas near Damascus in hopes of making sure a tenuous ceasefire that went into effect April 12 sticks. “The advance team is continuing its work carrying out daily visits, establishing liaison with all parties and preparing for the UN super vision mission in Syria which has been established by the UN Security Council,” Singh told AFP. He said the advance team would be joined by two additional observers today. A total 30 obser vers are expected in Syria in coming days pending the arrival of an expanded team of up to 300 observers as part of a truce brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan. But it will be up to UN chief Ban Ki-moon to determine whether the situation is safe enough to deploy the 300 observers for an initial 90-day period. Annan today is to brief the Security Council on the situation. The advance team last week toured several flashpoint regions across the countr y, including the battered city of Homs where two observers set up base on Sunday. But despite a lull in the fighting in regions visited by the observers, the violence has continued unabated in other areas, activists say. At least 28 people were killed at the weekend, including five soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group. The United Nations has said that more than 9,000 people have died since the revolt against President Assad’s regime broke out in March last year. Activists and some Western

HOMS: A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows tens of Syrians welcoming UN observers during their visit to the central city of Homs, scene of some of the fiercest fighting between government troops and rebels since the outbreak of the 13-month revolt against President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime yesterday. — AFP countries have cast doubt on the Syria in connection with the 13- expand the blacklist of dual-use goods which can be used for regime’s sincerity in upholding month revolt. In a sign of Western frustra- internal repression or for the the ceasefire and have accused Assad of simply seeking to buy tion with Damascus, the manufacturing of equipment time and to appease the interna- European Union agreed Monday used for internal repression. Annan at the weekend sinto slap new sanctions on the tional community. “Shelling of the Khaldiyeh regime, banning luxury goods gled out Assad’s government in neighbourhood of Homs contin- exports and further restricting an appeal for an end to hostiliued all night and could be heard the sale of items used to repress ties by both loyalist forces and rebels seeking to oust him. and seen by the observers,” said dissidents, a diplomat said. “I urge all forces whether gov“These sanctions will be put Abu Yazan al-Homsi, an activist in place against Syria,” the diplo- ernmental, opposition or others in the central city. Speaking with AFP via Skype, mat told AFP after EU ambassa- to put down their weapons and he added that gunfire was over- dors endorsed the measures work with the United Nations heard Monday in other neigh- ahead of a meeting of foreign monitors to consolidate the fragile cessation of violence,” Annan ministers in Luxembourg. borhoods of Homs. The extent of the luxury ban said in a statement. “I really don’t understand “The government in particular what the observer mission is all has yet to be defined but the about,” he said. “If it’s to give aim is to deliver a symbolic blow must desist from the use of Assad more leeway, then we against the posh lifestyle of heavy weapons and, as it has don’t need them.” He accused Assad and his glamorous British- committed, withdraw such the regime of failing to comply born wife Asma, another diplo- weapons and armed units from population centres and implewith all clauses in the six-point mat said. “The Assad couple, as well as ment fully its commitments plan drawn up by Annan. “ The regime has not with- his inner circle and leaders of the under the six-point plan.” Violence across Syria on drawn tanks from the streets and regime must be made to underno detainees have been stand that events in Syria will Sunday killed at least 17 people, also impact their personal lives,” including the five soldiers, while released,” Homsi said. 11 died on Saturday, according Monitors estimate that 25,000 the source added. Brussels also decided to to the Observatory. — AFP people are currently detained in

Israel not welcome at NATO summit: Turkey ISTANBUL: Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologised for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said yesterday. Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists. Last September, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report on the raid failed to prompt an apology from Israel. “We did not give our consent on that issue,” a Turkish official told Reuters when asked if Turkey was blocking Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21. He said Turkey was still seeking an official apology and compensation for the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid. “NATO is an alliance and even though Israel is not a member its attendance means ... positive dialogue with NATO and all its members and without sorting this issue out we deem it not appropriate for Israel to be around,” the official said. Turkish media reported that some NATO members had sought Israel’s participation in the summit as part of the alliance’s partnership cooperation programme, designed to strengthen relations with non-member countries. Israel is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach programme, along with six other nonNATO countries. The Turkish official rejected the description of the move as Turkey “blocking” Israel’s attendance, saying the NATO secretariat and NATO allies would not bring the issue to the agenda officially, knowing Ankara’s stance on the issue. A NATO spokeswoman said there had not been a discussion on inviting Israel to the Chicago summit. The United States has tried to encourage a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel in the face of turmoil in the Middle East. The issue of Israel’s participation was brought up at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on April 18 attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News said.—Reuters

TYRE: Lebanese internal security forces inspect the damge outside a building which was targeted by a bomb explosion in the southern Lebanese coastal city of Tyre overnight yesterday. — AFP

Bomb in south Lebanon restaurant injures five TYRE: Five people were injured and a building was damaged when a bomb exploded in a restaurant in the south Lebanon coastal town of Tyre early yesterday, a Lebanese security source said. There has been a spate of bombings in majority-Muslim Tyre in the last few months of clubs, shops and restaurants that sell alcohol, whose consumption is forbidden by Islam, and several restaurants have stopped serving alcohol as a result. The latest bomb detonated shortly after midnight in the Nocean, a restaurant serving alcohol, on the third storey of a commercial complex in the east of the city, shattering the windows of nearby cars. “Five employees were injured, but

only lightly,” the source said, adding that four of them were discharged from hospital yesterday morning. Lebanese security forces cordoned off the area, where large chunks of concrete had fallen onto the streets. “I was on my way to the restaurant in my car, talking on the phone. I heard an explosion and then something fell on the car,” Nocean owner Zahi Zaydan told Reuters. Two bombs detonated in a nightclub and a liquor shop in Tyre in November, and a restaurant selling alcohol was targeted in December. The majority of Tyre residents are Shi’ite Muslims but members of Lebanon’s Christian and Sunni Muslim communities also live in the city. — Reuters



Sarkozy hunts far-right votes after Socialist win Hollande, Sarkozy to face in a run-off on May 6

THE HAGUE: Photo taken on April 21, 2012 shows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen giving a joint press conference in The Hague. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is to tender his cabinet’s resignation to Queen Beatrix after the collapse of talks on austerity measures, Dutch news agency ANP reported yesterday. — AFP

Dutch govt quits after rift with far-right THE HAGUE: The Dutch government, one of the most vocal critics of European countries failing to rein in their budgets, quit yesterday after failing to agree on a plan to bring its own deficit in line with EU rules. Queen Beatrix’s office said she had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Cabinet after Rutte informed her talks on a new austerity package collapsed over the weekend. Rutte is to debate with parliament today on whether and how his caretaker government can still improve the budget, and when to schedule new elections. No date was immediately announced, but opposition lawmakers called for a vote in late June. Opposition Labor Party leader Diederik Samsom accused Rutte of “dropping the ball at the worst possible moment” for the Dutch economy and demanded elections as early as practicable. “We have to deliver clarity to the country as soon as possible,” he said. The Dutch government collapse came a day after the first round election victory of France’s socialist candidate Francois Hollande, who has said he wants to focus less on austerity and more on economic growth. The two developments call into question whether budget-cutting policies that are causing trauma in countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal can be enforced even in “core” European countries such as France - or in the Netherlands, one of the few along with

Germany to maintain an AAA credit rating. Rutte’s hopes to clinch a deal to lower the deficit to within the EU’s 3 percent target evaporated Saturday when his most important political ally, populist euroskeptic Geert Wilders, cut off talks, saying a slavish adherence to European rules was foolish and would harm the Dutch economy. It doesn’t make sense “to suffer for the sake of the dictators in Brussels,” Wilders said. Many agree the target is too aggressive, including the government’s own economic think tank the Central Plan Bureau. Others, such as Dutch Central Bank President Klaas Knot, say meeting it is vital to keep the country’s financial reputation intact. European Commissioner Neelie Kroes called Wilders a hypocrite, since the Netherlands itself, along with Germany, had been one of the loudest in demanding Brussels adopt the 3 percent deficit limit in the first place. “Pointing to Brussels now is dumb, it’s untrue, it’s distracting, and it doesn’t solve anything,” said Kroes, who is a member of Rutte’s free-market VVD party. A spokesman for the German finance ministry said that despite the seemingly negative developments, approval for European austerity is actually “increasing.” “We should not now simply let ourselves be thrown off track by daily developments,” Martin Kotthaus told reporters in Berlin. — AP

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy hunted for far-right votes yesterday after losing to Socialist Francois Hollande in a first round vote that saw a shock breakthrough by the anti-immigrant National Front. The right-wing incumbent moved quickly to woo the 18 percent of voters who backed the Front’s Marine Le Pen, saying they deserved an answer to their concerns, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her showing “alarming”. Hollande and Sarkozy are to face each other in a run-off on May 6 after Sunday’s first round saw the Socialist beat the incumbent by a vote of 28.63 to 27.18 percent, according to final official results. Hollande’s victory cemented his position as the clear leader in the race, dealing a blow to Sarkozy’s hopes of gaining enough momentum from a firstround win to defy expectations and return to office. But it was the showing of populist nationalist flagbearer Le Pen that shook up the race, setting up her National Front (FN) voters as potential kingmakers. “We must respect the voters’ will, it is our duty to listen,” Sarkozy told journalists before going back on the campaign trail in the Loire Valley in central France. “There was this crisis vote that doubled from one election to another, an answer must be given.” Le Pen’s score on Sunday was nearly double the 10.4 percent her father Jean-Marie took as the FN candidate in the 2007 first round. Hollande resumed campaigning with a trip to the western region of Brittany, where he said that the FN’s first round score reflected anger in the country and that he would also listen to far-right supporters. “Nicolas Sarkozy is to blame for the farright’s high level,” he said earlier before leaving Paris. “There are voters who may have been been led to this through anger. That is what I want to hear.” Polls show most far-right supporters prefer Sarkozy but up to a quartermainly working-class voters attracted by Le Pen’s protectionist trade policies-could switch to Hollande. Le Pen’s high score stunned observers and she told supporters after the results that “the battle of France has just begun” and “nothing will be as it was before.” In the first foreign reaction to the result, Merkel’s spokesman said: “This high score (for Le Pen) is alarming but I expect it will be ironed out in the second round.” Sarkozy, who had already swung to the

right in the campaign, brandished his rightwing credentials in his first post-results speech on Sunday. “These anxieties, this suffering, I know them, I understand them,” he said.”They are about respecting our borders, the determined fight against job relocation, controlling immigration, putting value on work, on security.” The first opinion poll after the first round said that Hollande would beat Sarkozy by 54 percent to 46 in the second round. Analysts say it is extremely unlikely Le Pen will endorse

rience. The French people have a right to know, Mr. Hollande must not run away.” Sarkozy has challenged Hollande to three televised debates, but the frontrunner insists one would be enough. “ This is a crucial moment, the French people must have all the facts to make a choice. I will not run away, I will not hide and if Mr Hollande hides, that will be his responsibility,” Sarkozy said. The left has not won a presidential election in a quarter of a century, but with France mired in low growth and rising joblessness,

PARIS: France’s Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2012 French presidential election Francois Hollande (C) smiles as he leaves his campaign headquarters in Paris yesterday. Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy launched the campaign for France’s presidential run-off yesterday with the far-right set to play a key role after a record result. —AFP either candidate in the second round but she has said she will express an opinion on May 1 — a week before the run-off. Sarkozy, whose camp believes he is a stronger personal campaigner than Hollande, went on the offensive yesterday with a challenge to the Socialist not to refuse his proposal for three televised debates before the second round. “This is about debating before the French people, project against project, personality against personality, experience against expe-

opinion polls had long predicted Hollande would beat Sarkozy. Hollande says Sarkozy has trapped France in a downward spiral of austerity and job losses, while Sarkozy says his rival is inexperienced and weak-willed and would spark financial panic through reckless spending pledges. Europe’s main stock markets fell sharply as traders reacted to the results, as well as to Chinese manufacturing data and persistent eurozone debt tensions. — AFP



Missing Missouri mom’s husband charged with murder ST LOUIS: The husband of a southeast Missouri woman who has been missing for nearly a year was charged with first-degree murder yesterday even though his estranged wife’s body has not been found. Clay Waller, 41, also was charged with tampering with evidence in the death of his estranged wife, Jacque Waller. Jacque Waller was 39 when she disappeared June 1. Clay Waller already is in federal prison for threatening his wife’s sister, who has been caring for the couple’s

5-year-old triplets since their mother’s disappearance. He does not have a listed attorney. “There is a bit of relief in knowing that charges have been brought against Clay Waller,” Jacque Waller’s father, Stan Rawson, said in a statement. “The case is now in the hands of the prosecuting attorney, and we are confident that we will now finally get justice for our girl.” The Wallers had been having marital trouble and were on the verge of a divorce last June, Rawson told The

Associated Press last year. They used the same attorney and met with him on the day Jacque Waller disappeared. Jacque Waller ’s sister, Cheryl Brennecke, became suspicious that day when she couldn’t reach her sister. Rawson said Jacque Waller had previously confided to her sister that Clay Waller had threatened her. Jacque Waller’s car was found near Fruitland along Interstate 55 the day after she went missing. Several searches since then have turned up sporadic leads, including the discovery of her

purse in November near the site where the car was found. The FBI said last year that Clay Waller suggested to his father that he had broken Jacque Waller’s neck and buried her in a hole that he dug in advance. But Waller has not made any confession to police, and his father died before he could testify. Waller was sentenced to five years in federal prison in December and is serving time at a prison in the state of Louisiana. He pleaded guilty in October to threatening Brennecke

through an online posting. Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle said one of the tampering charges alleges Clay Waller concealed his wife’s body. The second alleges he “concealed bloodstained carpet from the hallway of his home” in Jackson, Mo., about 100 miles south of St. Louis. Swingle said in a statement he is not seeking the death penalty because “none of the statutory aggravating factors are involved.” He did not immediately return messages seeking additional comment. — AP

Zimmerman released from jail on bond Trayvon Martin case

SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney signs his autograph at Consol Energy Research and Development Facility in South Park Township, Pa., yesterday. — AP

Romney campaigns with potential VP pick Rubio WASHINGTON: Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney was campaigning in Pennsylvania ahead of the state’s today primary with Marco Rubio in tow, the US senator widely discussed as a possible running mate. Rubio is the latest among potential vice presidential picks to hit the campaign trail with Romney, but the first since the frontrunner’s main rival Rick Santorum bowed out of the Republican race two weeks ago. Romney has already pivoted toward President Barack Obama ahead of the November election, and he told a crowd in Greencastle that Americans needed to help him battle against the cancer that is big government. “This president has a road that he’s traveling down where government gets larger and larger and metastasizes into every aspect of American life,” Romney said late Sunday. Obama, he said, subscribes to “a view that somehow government knows better than free people. I disagree entirely.” Romney became the all-but-certain Republican flagbearer when Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, called it quits earlier this month. And while the frontrunner was focused on a RomneyObama showdown, he was making a final sweep through the Keystone State as he seeks to secure the delegates needed to be declared the nominee. Four other states also vote today: Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Rhode Island. Romney was to attend an event in South Park Township outside Pittsburgh early yesterday with former

Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. Rubio then joins Romney at a town hall event in Aston at 12:55 pm (1655 GMT) for what could be seen as a test run for a possible Romney-Rubio ticket. Rubio has denied he will be the vice presidential pick, saying he would prefer to influence US policy through his work in the Senate. But as a Florida lawmaker and son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio would serve two vital purposes as Romney’s running mate: blunting Obama’s advantage among Hispanic voters, and helping win Rubio’s home state-a crucial election battleground. Last week Rubio made a Freudian slip that may have hinted at his interest in the job. “Three, four, five, six, seven years from now, if I do a good job as vice president-I’m sorry, as senator-I’ll have the chance to do all sorts of things,” Rubio said Thursday at a forum, to loud laughter. Romney has secured a thicket of endorsements in recent weeks including the top Republicans in Congress. New York ex-mayor and onetime presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani endorsed Romney on Monday, saying “Mitt won (the primary race) fair and square.” “I think he has an understanding of the economy that’s far deeper than the president and far deeper than most people,” Giuliani told Fox News. He and Romney were arch rivals in the 2008 campaign, and in recent months Giuliani had made comments which appeared to favor Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who is still, nominally at least, in the Republican race. — AFP

Panetta to begin tour of Latin America WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta begins his first Latin America tour yesterday, traveling to Colombia, Brazil and Chile to bolster bilateral military cooperation and regional security ties. Panetta is “looking to expand the defense and security cooperation with three important countries in the world, increasingly important players on the regional stage but also in terms of their leadership internationally,” press secretary George Little told reporters last week. Panetta, who took over as defense secretary last year, was due to make stops in Bogota, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, Little said. “These are three countries on the upswing in the recent years and it is time for us to increase our cooperation,” he said. The defense secretary’s tour will begin in Bogota. He will be the first by a senior US official to visit Colombia after a scandal involving US Secret Service agents who used the services of prostitutes ahead of Summit of the Americas in Cartagena. Colombia has helped train thousands of police officers in Mexico and Central America in recent years, and this assistance was expected to increase following the signing of a bilateral agreement with Washington during the summit. “In the context of limited resources in the US for defense, we have an opportunity to partner together so they can become security exporters,” a senior US official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “Absent this kind of discussion, we could step on each others toes, we could be missing out opportunities.”

The Pentagon is facing drastic budget cuts in the next five years. Panetta will meet with his Colombian counterpart, Juan Carlos Pinzon and President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota. During the visit, there could an announcement about aid to the country, Pentagon sources said. On Tuesday, Panetta will travel to Brazil for meetings with Defense Minister Celso Amorim and President Dilma Rousseff. While the partnership with Bogota remains strong, the recent cancelation of a $380 million contract with Brazil to buy aircraft manufactured by Embraer for the Afghan army has clouded the relationship with the South American giant. Embraer and Sierra Nevada were awarded the contract in December for the 20 AT-29 Super Tucano warplanes but the Air Force called off the deal in February after a legal challenge from rival Hawker Beechcraft Corp. The AT-29 Super Tucano, a turboprop aircraft designed for low-threat environments, is used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations. The Pentagon has called for a new round of bidding for the contract, but in any case, the equipment will not be delivered before 2014. Panetta is willing to discuss the issue with his Brazilian counterpart, a senior official said, without offering further details. But the case can affect a $5-billion megacontract considered by Brazil, which wants to buy 36 new fighters for its Air Force. The bidders for this piece of defense pie include Boeing, France’s Dassault and Sweden’s Saab. — AFP

SANFORD: In an unusually low-key turn to a high-profile case, George Zimmerman was released without incident around midnight Sunday from a Florida county jail on $150,000 bail as he awaits his second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. The neighborhood watch volunteer was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag. He walked out following another man and didn’t look over at photographers gathered outside. He then followed the man into a white BMW vehicle and drove away. Moments before, two Seminole County sheriff’s vehicles blocked access to the intake building parking lot where Zimmerman was being released. Zimmerman emerged after two public information officers confirmed the credentials of the photographers outside. No questions were shouted at Zimmerman, and he gave no statement. His ultimate destination is being kept secret for his safety and it could be outside Florida. As with the July 2011 release of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman acquitted of murder in the death of her daughter, Zimmerman was released around midnight. But the similarities end there. Anthony was quickly whisked away by deputy sheriffs armed with semi-automatic rifles as angry protesters jeered her. While news helicopters briefly tracked her SUV through Orlando before she slipped from public view, there was no such pursuit of Zimmerman, who will have to return for trial. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said at a hearing Friday that Zimmerman cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 pm-to-6 am curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport. Zimmerman had to put up 10 percent, or $15,000, to make bail. His father had indicated he might take out a second mortgage. Zimmerman worked at a mortgage risk-management company at the time of the shooting and his wife is in nursing school. A website was set up to collect donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund. It is unclear how much has been raised. Bail is not unheard of in second-degree murder cases, and legal experts had predicted it would be granted for Zimmerman because of his ties to the community, because he turned himself in after he was charged last week, and because he has never been convicted of a serious crime. Prosecutors had asked for $1 million bail, citing two previous scrapes Zimmerman had with the law, neither of which resulted in charges. In 2005, he had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was try-

ing to arrest Zimmerman’s friend. In another incident, a girlfriend accused him of attacking her. Zimmerman, 28, fatally shot Martin, 17, Feb. 26 inside the gated community where Zimmerman lived during an altercation. Martin was unarmed and was walking back to the home of his father ’s fiancÈe when Zimmerman saw him, called 911 and began

on the case. “It’s just kind of a non-issue now,” said Michele Church, a server at Mel’s Family Diner. “That’s pretty much all anybody in Sanford wanted, was an arrest, so it could be sorted out in the court system.” On Friday, a Florida judge agreed to let Zimmerman out on $150,000 bail. Defense

SANFORD: George Zimmerman, left, walks out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility with an unidentified man on Sunday, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman posted bail on a $150,000 bond on a second degree murder charge in the February shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford. — AP following him. A fight broke out - investigators say it is unknown who started it. Zimmerman says Martin, who was visiting from Miami, attacked him. Zimmerman says he Martin in self-defense, citing Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which gives broad legal protection to anyone who says they used deadly force because they feared death or great bodily harm. Zimmerman was not charged for over six weeks, sparking national protests led by Martin’s parents, civil rights groups and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is from Peru. Earlier Sunday, Zimmerman’s attorney was working to secure the money for bail and a safe place for Zimmerman to stay. But residents in Sanford, where Martin was killed, didn’t expect a ruckus once Zimmerman was released. City commissioners said they hadn’t received calls from nervous residents. Protesters didn’t show up outside the jail. And talk at one local coffee shop seldom focused

attorney Mark O’Mara has said there are several options for where Zimmerman should go, but would not disclose any of them. Lester on Friday indicated Zimmerman would be allowed to leave the state if arrangements with law enforcement could be made for him to be monitored. He will be fitted with an electronic device. About a half-dozen photographers and cameramen camped outside the Sanford jail Sunday, focused on the door marked “Bonds Rooms,” where other people who had been arrested and released on bail exited. Zimmerman had entered the jail about a week earlier after more than a month of nationwide protests calling for his arrest. “The mood in Sanford has calmed down tremendously,” said Sanford Commissioner Patty Mahany, whose district includes the neighborhood where Martin was killed. “I think now that people are able to see the justice system taking place, even though they understand it’s going to be quite slow, people are willing to just remain calm and really we’re all getting back to our daily routines.” — AP

Trial of US ex-political star John Edwards set to begin GREENSBORO: Opening arguments will begin yesterday in the trial of John Edwards, a two-time Democratic presidential hopeful accused of illegally using political campaign money to hide a love affair from the public and his cancer-stricken wife. Edwards, a former senator who was White House candidate John Kerry’s vice presidential choice in 2004, faces six criminal charges related to accepting nearly $1 million to hide his affair with videographer Rielle Hunter and the child he fathered with her. In the indictment, prosecutors argue that Edwards broke the law by accepting the cash as an illegal contribution to his 2008 presidential campaign so he could maintain his image as a model family man. At the time Edwards was married to his college sweetheart, attorney Elizabeth Edwards. The couple had four children, including a teenage son who died in a freak automobile accident in 1996. By all appearances it was a model family-so perfect that in 2007 a charity even granted Edwards an award as “Father of the Year.” Lawyers for Edwards argue that the contributions were personal gifts from rich friends to hide the affair from his wife, and were unrelated to the campaign.

The money came from wealthy Texas lawyer Fred Baron, who died in 2008, and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, now 101, the widow of banking heir Paul Mellon. Baron’s widow is on the list of witnesses along with an attorney representing Mellon, who is too frail to travel to Greensboro from her Virginia estate. At the time, under federal law individuals could give a maximum of $2,300 for a political campaign. The case relies heavily on testimony from Andrew Young, a former close Edwards

aide who initially claimed to be the father of baby Quinn so the politician could continue his 2008 presidential bid. Young later wrote a tell-all book about the affair in which he detailed an elaborate cover-up. Elizabeth Edwards attracted enormous sympathy when it became known she had battled cancer while grappling with her husband’s infidelity. She died in December 2010. Edwards publicly admitted to the affair with Hunter in August 2008, after his presidential bid

GREENSBORO: Former presidential candidate and US Sen John Edwards, center, arrives outside federal court with his daughter Cate, left, in Greensboro, N.C., for his trial on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws, yesterday. — AP

ended, but refused to publicly recognize that he had fathered the child until January 2010. Edwards faces one count of conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws and lying about expenses, four counts of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions from two donors in 2007 and 2008, and one count of hiding those illegal donations from authorities. Each charge carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine. “He knows he made mistakes,” a friend of Edwards, attorney Glenn Bergenfield, recently told the Washington Post.” “But John thinks that the treatment of him is so unflinchingly horrible and that what he did is not so different from what others did-JFK, Clinton, the whole rogues’ gallery.” Two of Edwards’ young children, Emma Claire, 13, and Jack, 11, live with him at his home in the town of Chapel Hill. His daughter Cate, 30, a Harvard law school graduate, married in 2011. Edwards stays in touch with Hunter, who lives with the couple’s young child elsewhere in North Caroline, Bergenfield told the Post. The stakes are also high in the case for the US Justice Department’s Public Integrity section. — AFP




Afghans defy warnings as poppy season opens KANDAHAR: It is the start of Afghanistan’s poppy season and at Kandahar bus station thousands of men and boys, some as young as 10, are gathered to seek work harvesting the opium crop. Landowner Abdul Rahman travelled from his village in neighbouring Helmand province looking for workers to help him in the short harvest season. He has 10 recruits already and is looking for another 10. “I own 50 hectares (125 acres) of land in my village in Khaneshin district and have cultivated them all with poppy,” he said. Two-thirds of the income from his fields will go to local Taliban militants in the form of protection money, but he says he will still be left with $10,000-$15,000 depending on the price of opium on local and foreign

markets. “Where else can I make this amount of money?” he says. Over a decade after a USled invasion drove the hardline Islamist Taleban from power, Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s illegal opium, funding much of the militia’s insurgency despite an expensive Western eradication programme. The war-ravaged country produced 5,800 tonnes of opium in 2011, up from 3,600 tonnes the previous year, according to a UN report released in January, with Helmand alone accounting for 60 percent of the world’s opium production. On Saturday at Kandahar’s huge bus station, a crowd of up to 2,000 men and boys wait to make the lucrative journey to Helmand to join in “neishtar”. Neishtar is a

Persian word for the small lance used to make incisions on the poppy plants to let out the resin, which dries into solid opium residue. Neishtar season lasts just 15 to 20 days each April, when the weather is perfect, and every year villagers from across southern Afghanistan travel to work in Helmand’s vast poppy fields, earning up to 40,000 Afghanis ($800) for their work. “I am happy I can go to Helmand and make a lot of money,” says Lalai, a smiling 20-yearold from neighbouring Uruzgan province. “This is the only time of the year when we can make a lot of money in such a short time.” And while there are police checkposts, the poppy landlords who converge on the bus station to pick up their recruits hardly seem

concerned. A police officer, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said: “We are aware why these people are going to Helmand and we even know that some of them are Taliban fighters who have temporarily laid down arms to work on poppy fields. “But we cannot detain them as they will simply deny the charges and accuse us of bothering them for no reason.” In Helmand, the governor’s spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, confirms the influx of people trying to reach poppy fields but says the local government is determined to stop them and says there will be no leniency for anyone breaking the law. “We have witnessed a considerable surge for the past week in the number of people coming to work illegally and mainly on poppy

fields here in Helmand,” he said. “We have arrested hundreds of them and have either repatriated them back to their provinces or tasked them with clearing the poppy fields.” Ahmadi had a stark warning for anyone planning to work on the opium poppy fields: “This practice is a crime, we will punish anyone who tries to break the law.” But in a country where corruption is rampant even among higher-ranking officials, the proceeds from poppies not only fill the Taleban’s pockets-they also lure local lawenforcement officers. “We are not afraid of the police,” said a 20-year-old harvest recruit boarding a bus to Helmand. “If they (the police) get us, we can easily get rid of them by paying 1,000 or 2,000 Afghanis.” —AFP

Clashes in Bangladesh over missing opposition leader Mobs attack police station

ISLAMABAD: A man comforts his friend during the funeral ceremony of member of the cabin crew, Princes Flavia who was killed in the Bhoja Air Boeing 737 accident in Islamabad, at a church in Karachi yesterday. —AFP

Pakistan begins checks on private airline planes ISLAMABAD: Pakistani aviation authorities yesterday began an inspection of all passenger planes operated by private airlines after a near-miss in Karachi that came just two days after a fatal crash in Islamabad. The checks were ordered on Sunday after a Shaheen Air flight with 178 people on board narrowly avoided disaster when its left rear tyre burst after its landing gear broke as it touched down at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. On Friday a Bhoja Air Boeing 737 came down in fields near Islamabad as it tried to land, killing all 127 people on board-the Pakistani capital’s second major crash in less than two years. “The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) launched a comprehensive inspection of airplanes being flown by private Pakistani airlines, from today,” CAA spokesman Pervez George told AFP. The CAA has already received a plane from Bhoja Air for so-called “shakedown” checks by engineers, George said. He refused to give any timeline for completion of the process, saying “it is difficult to

say how much time the inspectors will take to examine each plane and all its systems”. “We have asked all the private airlines to reschedule their domestic and international flights during the inspection so the passengers do not have to suffer,” he added. Inspection work will begin with Bhoja Air planes before moving on to Pakistan’s other two private airlines Shaheen and Airblue. George said planes from the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had shakedown checks a few months ago and would not be subject to the special inspection. Another Shaheen flight with more than 100 passengers bound for the Iranian city of Mashhad was prevented from taking off at Lahore on Sunday after a fuel overflow during refuelling, George said. In July 2010 an Airbus jet operated by Airblue crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad while coming in to land after a flight from Karachi, killing 152 people in the worst air disaster ever on Pakistani soil. —AFP

DHAKA: One demonstrator was killed and more than 20 police injured in Bangladesh yesterday as officers fought to control a crowd of 10,000 people protesting over the disappearance of opposition leader Ilias Ali. Police said mobs armed with sticks and stones set fire to a local council building and attacked a police station in Sylhet city, home to Ali, a prominent Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) figure who has been missing for six days. “There were more than 10,000 protesters. They attacked policemen and tried to besiege a police station. We’ve fired rubber bullets and tear-gas shells to disperse them,” Shakhawat Hossain, police chief of Sylhet, told AFP. He added that one 25-year-old man was killed and more than 20 police officers were injured in the clashes, four of them seriously. Shomoy, a private television channel, said at least 100 people had been hurt in the violence. Rights groups have blamed Bangladeshi security agencies for the disappearance of dozens of opposition activists over the past two years, alleging the victims have been abducted on government orders. Police found Ali’s car abandoned in an upmarket district of the capital Dhaka on Tuesday night. His driver is also missing. Ali, a regional head of the BNP, is the highest profile opposition politician to have “disappeared” since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party took power in January 2009. The BNP has accused the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) of abducting Ali, an allegation that the force and the government have rejected. Sylhet, 120 miles

(200 kilometres) northeast of Dhaka, also saw brief clashes on Sunday, the first day of a national strike called by the BNP and its allies in protest at Ali’s unexplained disappearance. In Dhaka, the streets were

S Lanka backs monks in fight over mosque COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government has advised the trustees of a 60-year-old Muslim mosque north of the capital to relocate the structure after angry protests by Buddhist monks. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne reacted after demonstrations by monks and their followers on Friday triggered tension in the pilgrim town of Dambulla. “ The prime minister as minister of Buddhist and religious affairs advised the trustees to have their mosque elsewhere,” the premier’s spokesman Sisira Wijesinghe told AFP. “They have been offered the choice of three alternate locations. Steps are being taken to immediately shift the mosque.” The Indian Ocean island nation, emerging from decades of ethnic war, is a majority Buddhist nation where monks are politically influential. A trustee of the mosque, Mohamed Mustafa, said they had objected to a forced eviction. “This mosque has been

there from the mid-1940s,” Mustafa told AFP. “We don’t mind shifting if it is to make way for town expansion, but we don’t want to be be forced out by those trying to drive a wedge between religions.” Monks in Dambulla, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of the capital Colombo, claimed that the Mosque was an illegal construction on land belonging to the Buddhist temple. It is not immediately clear why the monks are pressing a claim more than 60 years after the mosque was built. A ruling party Muslim lawmaker, A.H.M. A z war, said talks with Muslim and Buddhist clergy would be held in the coming days to find a solution acceptable to all. Residents in Dambulla, a pilgrim town which is also a favourite destination for foreign tourists, said a petrol bomb had been thrown at the mosque on Friday, but there were no casualties. —AFP

popularity in recent months due to soaring food prices, a cut in energy subsidies and a series of graft allegations. Anger has also been fuelled by the prime minister last year scrapping a system designed to

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police stand guard in front of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) office during a nationwide strike in Dhaka yesterday. BNP-led opposition alliance enforced a nationwide general strike for a second day yesterday, amid tight security to demand that the government find BNP leader and former lawmaker Mohammad Ilias Ali who went missing on the night of April 17. — AFP empty yesterday and businesses and schools were closed for the second day, while thousands of policemen were deployed to prevent violence. Two small bombs exploded in the city on Sunday, but no one was injured. The families of Premier Hasina and Khaleda Zia, head of the BNP, have

India to deport 10 French nationals

NEW DELHI: US Naval Chief of Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert (R) meets Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma (L) prior to a meeting in New Delhi yesterday. US Naval Chief of Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert is on a visit to India for high-level talks on bilateral defence cooperation. —AFP

competed for power for decades in Bangladesh with the personal rivalry between the two women often triggering street clashes between their parties. Violent protests in 2006 led to a suspension of democratic rule

PATNA: India has ordered the deportation of 10 French citizens who police say illegally worked with an Indian advocacy group accused of supporting Maoist rebels, officials said yesterday. It was the second time in a matter of months that India has deported foreign citizens working for local non-governmental organizations. In February, police expelled a German tourist for helping to raise funds for anti-nuclear activists in southern India.The French nationals violated their tourist visas by working for Ekta Parishad, or Unity Forum, a group in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, said police Deputy Inspector General Paras Nath. The 10 people - four men and six women - were detained Saturday in a densely forested area of Bihar where Ekta Parishad had organized a meeting of local farmers. Police said Ekta Parishad supports the cause of Maoist rebels. The group says it works to protect the land and water rights of the poor but denies it has ties to the rebels, who have kidnapped several officials and killed dozens of security personnel in recent years. “We have no links with the Maoists whatsoever. Ekta Parishad is working for people’s right to land, forests and water. We are a people’s movement,” said Aneesh Thillenkery, national advocacy coordinator. The French citizens were farm activists in their own country who came to India to meet with the leader of Ekta Parishad, P.V. Rajagopal, who is leading a movement to restore land rights to the people, Thillenkery said. The Maoist rebels, who say they are inspired by the late Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, are demanding land and jobs for impoverished tribal communities. The French citizens were flown to New Delhi yesterday and will be deported, Nath said. The French Embassy in New Delhi said it would not comment. In the past month, the rebels have kidnapped two Italians, a state lawmaker in neighboring Orissa state and a district official in Chattisgarh state. They have demanded the release of dozens of their imprisoned comrades. The Italians were freed after some prisoners were released. The lawmaker and the official are presumed to still be in rebel custody while the government considers the Maoists’ demands. The rebels are spread across 20 of I ndia’s 28 states. Prime M inister Manmohan Singh has called them the country ’s biggest internal threat. —AP

with a military-backed interim administration in control until Hasina won elections at the end of 2008. Both Hasina and Zia were detained for a year as part of an anti-corruption crackdown launched by the caretaker government. The current Awami League government has fallen in

oversee elections in a neutral manner. The BNP-led opposition alliance has called for the national strike to continue for a third day today. Bangladesh, which has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years but remains a deeply impoverished nation, is due to next hold elections by early 2014. —AFP




China’s Hu urges N Korea to seek peace: Xinhua BEIJING: Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday told a visiting North Korean official that the two countries should work towards “peace and stability” after a missile launch by Pyongyang, state media said. Speaking in a meeting with Kim Yong-Il, a top official of North Korea’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party, Hu called for greater cooperation with its traditional ally, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. China is the sole major ally and a source of economic support for the isolated state. “We will... strengthen strategic links and coordination on major international and regional issues for the purpose of

safeguarding lasting peace and stability of the Korean peninsula,” Hu was quoted as saying. His remarks follow the April 13 launch of what Pyongyang says was a communications satellite, but which the United States has called a disguised ballistic missile test. It said the rocket disintegrated minutes after launch. The United States and other critics have said the launch violated United Nations restrictions imposed on North Korea. The UN Security Council strongly condemned it and said it would tighten existing sanctions. The Xinhua report made no specific mention of the missile launch. However,

China has previously voiced misgivings over its neighbour’s defiant act. Speaking before the launch, Hu expressed “serious concern” about the plan during a meeting last month with US President Barack Obama. In yesterday’s meeting, Hu praised North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-Un, saying he would lead the country to new achievements. Kim Jong-Un took the reins of the poor and isolated state after the death in December of his father, longtime supreme leader Kim Jong-Il. Hu’s remarks echo China’s top diplomat who met with the visiting North Korean official a day earlier. Dai Bingguo,

who is China’s most senior official on foreign policy, on Sunday praised the leadership of North Korea and vowed closer ties despite the international outcry over the recent missile launch. Dai told Kim Yong-Il that Beijing would work with Pyongyang to “push friendly and cooperative China-North Korean relations to a new level”, a statement released by China’s foreign ministry said. “Under the leadership of Korean Workers’ Party First Secretary, comrade Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean Party, government and people will certainly make new achievements in the cause of building a strong and prosperous country,” Dai was quoted as

saying. The State Department said Friday that it had raised with China allegations that Beijing supplied North Korea with technology for its missile program. The allegations were made last week by US Congressman Mike Turner, who cited an expert as saying a new missile launcher unveiled in a Pyongyang military parade was likely based on a Chinese design. North Korea has defiantly pledged to follow up the missile launch with further tests. A South Korean newspaper, quoting government sources in Seoul, reported Saturday that North Korea may be preparing for its third nuclear test, possibly within two weeks. —AFP

EU agrees to suspend most Myanmar sanctions Suu Kyi delays parliament debut NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi shunned the opening of parliament yesterday while the nation’s president vowed “no U-turn” on reforms as the EU suspended wideranging sanctions. Suu Kyi’s party has refused to swear to “safeguard” an army-created constitution in the first sign of tension with the government since

pension of measures against almost 500 individuals and more than 800 firms in a meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, diplomats told AFP. “As a means to welcome and encourage the reform process, the Council will suspend restrictive measures imposed on the government, with the exception of the arms embargo, which it will retain,” said a statement

recent weeks, calling for the EU sanctions suspension and planning her first international trip in 24 years. Thein Sein, who is currently on a visit to Japan, on Monday vowed that he would not backtrack on the country’s democratisation. “There won’t be any U-turn,” Thein Sein said, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

NAYPYITAW: Lower House lawmakers stand upon the arrival of their Speaker Thura Shwe Mann, unseen, for a regular session of parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, yesterday. Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party refused to take its new seats in parliament yesterday because of a dispute over one word in the lawmakers’ oath, but party officials played down the problem and said they expected it to be overcome by early May. —AP a landmark by-election this month saw the democracy icon win a parliamentary seat. The spat comes as European Union nations put a halt to most sanctions against the impoverished nation for one year to reward a series of dramatic reforms since direct army rule ended last year. Foreign ministers from the 27nation bloc agreed a one-year sus-

adopted by the ministers. Myanmar, long-isolated under military dictatorship, has seen a rapid improvement in relations with the international community after the Nobel Peace Prize winner and her party achieved a decisive win in the April 1 polls. Suu Kyi has shown increased confidence in the reformist government of President Thein Sein in

He told reporters that it was up to Suu Kyi whether or not she took her seat in parliament. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) — the main opposition force after securing 43 of the 44 seats it contested in the by-elections-has appealed to the president directly over the stalemate, asking that the wording of the oath be changed from “safeguard” to “respect” the

Philippine squatter riot leaves one dead MANILA: One person was killed and at least six were injured yesterday as heavily-armed riot police clashed with hundreds of squatters in a suburb of the Philippine capital Manila, police said. The fatality occurred as squatters blocked a road in the residential suburb of Paranaque, hurling large stones at police, armed with shields and truncheons, who

MANILA: Residents hurl stones at policemen and members of the demolition team, tasked in inforcing a demolition order on informal settlers’ homes at Paranaque city, south of Manila yesterday. —AFP were trying to disperse them. Local precinct commander Senior Inspector Ani Endraca said one person was killed and another was in a critical condition after they were shot in the confusion. “If you saw the situation

here, you would think you were in Iraq,” he said, adding that five police and government personnel were hit by flying rocks. He said it was only after the rioters were dispersed that police found a dead man on the road who appeared to have been shot in the head. A village watchman was also shot and subsequently rushed to hospital, Endraca said, adding that it was not known who had shot the two men. Local broadcaster GMA showed footage of a policeman firing an assault rifle towards the rioters as the police were showered with rocks. “We will have to check on that,” said Endraca when told of the incident. Paranaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe said authorities only wanted to remove a makeshift marketplace to make way for low-cost housing but the squatters were told they would be driven out of their homes as well. “They are easy to fool. They are very vulnerable. I understand their fears,” he said in an interview with GMA. Such violent clashes between riot police and squatters are a frequent event in the highly- congested Philippine capital where rural migrants have crowded into slums, worsening urban blight. More than two million people in Metro Manila-or roughly one fifth of the sprawling city’s populationlive in shanty towns as so-called informal settlers or squatters. —AFP

constitution. The NLD, which boycotted a controversial 2010 election, agreed to rejoin the political mainstream last year after authorities changed a similar phrase in party registration laws. Suu Kyi has said one of her priorities as a politician is to push for an amendment of the 2008 constitution, under which one quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for unelected military officials. MPs from other parties took the oath in a new session of parliament yesterday. Myanmar analyst Aung Thu Nyein, of the Thailand-based Vahu Development Institute, said the NLD had “made the wrong move” in making a stand over the oath. “I think the NLD should participate in the parliament and then they should propose comprehensive political and economic reform strategies,” he said, adding that the wording appears in the constitution itself and the president is therefore unable to change it. Myanmar’s new regime has freed hundreds of political prisoners and signed tentative peace deals with a number of rebel groups as part of its reform programme, although fighting continues in the far north. The international community has begun easing sanctions as it looks to balance fears over the sustainability of the changes and a desire to bolster regime reformers who may face pressure from those wary of change. The EU decision, which comes after more tentative moves from the United States, could open up the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation to European firms. The bloc “will monitor closely the situation on the ground, keep its measures under constant review and respond positively to progress on ongoing reforms,” the EU statement added. European visa bans on 87 top Myanmar officials, including President Thein Sein were lifted in February. —AFP

Australia police appeal for calm after teen shootings SYDNEY: Australian police yesterday renewed calls for calm after two Aboriginal teenagers were shot in Sydney’s red-light district, saying footage of the incident was shocking but had to be judged in context. Graphic mobile phone footage appears to show a police officer viciously punching one of the teenagers after he had been shot. The youth, heavily bleeding, is then pinned face down on the ground. “It’s important to keep calm about this-what we’ve seen in the media over the weekend hasn’t done anyone any favours, I don’t think,” New South Wales Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch told ABC radio. “We need to judge this matter very much in context.” The video was taken as the suspects were arrested after the stolen car they were in mounted the pavement in Kings Cross early Saturday, hitting one woman and dragging her beneath the vehicle, prompting the police to fire. Of the six indigenous youths in the car, two were hit by bullets-the 14-year-old driver in the chest and arm and his 18-year-old passenger in the neck. The footage shows at least one of those taken from the car and rushed away on a stretcher but it also shows another being dragged along the ground, repeatedly punched and handcuffed as he bleeds. The punched boy’s father told Australian media he was shocked. “My son is no angel... but I just can’t believe the brutality factor of what happened to him... there was no threat to police,” Peter Taylor told the Seven Network. The injured teenagers remain in a serious condition. Police have launched an internal investigation but Murdoch rejected the idea that officers should have shot at the car’s tyres. “Police don’t shoot at tyres-if we are going to draw our firearm, that is an absolute last resort,” he said. All those in the car, including a man aged 24 and three youths aged 13, 14 and 16 are from the impoverished Aboriginal suburb of Redfern and there were fears of a repeat of 2004 riots triggered by the death of a teenager. —AFP

MANILA: US Marines participating in the PH-US military exercises walk past colleagues playing football at a beach during a joint military exercise with their Philippine counterparts at a village in Puerto Princesa, Palawan island, south of Manila yesterday. A senior US commander in the Pacific reaffirmed the United States’ mutual defence treaty with the Philippines on April 22 amid increased tensions between the archipelago and China. —AFP

Philippines seeks international support in standoff with China MANILA: The Philippines warned yesterday that China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea may eventually threaten freedom of navigation in the busy region and called on Western and Asian countries to take a stand against any such potential threat. China’s ambiguous territorial claims have brought it into a tense, 14-day high seas standoff with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal, which both Asian countries claim. China’s aggressive actions at the shoal - including ordering ships to leave and flying a Chinese plane low over one of them - show what it could do to the rest of the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said. Chinese surveillance ships have told a lone Philippine coast guard vessel to leave the uninhabited but resource-rich shoal, which lies between the northwestern Philippines and the South China Sea, saying China has sovereignty over the area. The Filipino vessel has refused to leave, saying it’s Philippine territory. Chinese and Filipino diplomats have so far failed to resolve the tense impasse. China, the Philippines and four other countries have also been engaged in long-simmering territorial rifts elsewhere in the South China Sea, which is crisscrossed by one of the world’s busiest commercial sealanes, accounts for about 10 percent of the annual global fisheries catch and is believed to have rich oil and gas deposits. China has claimed virtually the entire South China Sea for years. Now, they could aggressively assert its claims as shown by its actions at Scarborough, Hernandez told reporters. “This is a manifestation of a potential threat to freedom of navigation as well as unimpeded commerce in the area.” Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario said that with Beijing claiming almost everything in the South China Sea, “the message is” they “can set the rules for anybody.” “I think the current standoff is a manifestation of a larger threat to many nations,” he told ABS CBN TV network in an interview. “They should be concerned if they’re interested in maintaining the freedom of navigation and unimpeded

commerce.” Del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will raise the Scarborough Shoal incident when they meet their US counterparts in Washington next week, Hernandez told a news conference, adding that the United States has been concerned about ensuring freedom of navigation in Southeast Asian waters. In Beijing, Foreign Ministr y spokesman Liu Weimin reiterated China’s sovereignty over the shoal, which Beijing calls Huangyan island, and added that involving other nations in the dispute would only complicate the problem. “Urging other countries to choose their side will only complicate the issue and won’t help the situation at all,” Liu said yesterday. The International Crisis Group, meanwhile, said in a report yesterday that China’s deployment of more surveillance and paramilitary ships, which are tasked to assert Beijing’s unclear territorial claims, risks more confrontations in the South China Sea. The Chinese ships have figured in major flare-ups, including in the standoff at Scarborough, the ICG said. A map China submitted to the United Nations in 2009 claims virtually the entire area, but China has so far refused to define the exact extent of its claims, causing confusion and fostering potential conflicts, the Brussels-based group said. Some Chinese patrol ships were unaware of the limits of the areas where they were supposed to assert sovereignty, the ICG said, adding a Chinese maritime official the group interviewed has said he did not know what area to defend. The official was not identified. Philippine officials have asked China to bring their disputes to the United Nations for arbitration, a process that will require both to delineate their claims. But Chinese officials have insisted on negotiating with other claimants individually. The Scarborough confrontation erupted April 10 when a Filipino warship attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen, who were accused of illegally entering and poaching endangered species at the shoal. Two Chinese surveillance ships prevented arrests and the fishermen slipped away. —AP

Vietnam hosts naval exchange with US Navy HANOI: Vietnam kicked off a weeklong naval exchange yesterday with the US Navy, with the former battlefield enemies cooperating amid percolating tensions in the South China Sea with Beijing. Three ships from the US 7th Fleet visited Danang during the five-day event that began yesterday. No live-fire drills were planned, but the two sides were expected to practice salvage and disaster training as they have done in recent years. “This exchange enhances collective cooperation, and promotes understanding between our Navies,” Rear Adm. Tom Carney said in a statement yesterday. Washington and Hanoi normalized diplomatic relations in 1995, more than two decades after

the US withdrew its troops from the Vietnam War. The US is a now key trading partner for Vietnam and the former enemies have developed closer military ties. Vietnam, China, the Philippines and other nations have competing claims to islands in the South China Sea, which is believed rich in oil and gas deposits. Many view the sea as a potential flash point of armed conflict. Tensions have flared this month near a shoal north of the disputed Spratly Islands where two Chinese maritime surveillance ships blocked a Philippine warship from arresting Chinese fishermen on April 10. Chinese and Philippine vessels continued to face off at the shoal yesterday, each waiting for the other to pull out. —AP



A picture taken on April 14, 2012 shows the high-rises of the new skyscraper complex, Grozny-City and Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, known as ‘Heart of Chechnya’, dominating the skyline in the Chechen capital Grozny. Grozny was flattened by two brutal wars after the Soviet Union’s collapse and the authorities of Chechnya have poured enormous financial and political capital rebuilt the main streets of the city. — AFP

Bahrain Grand Prix exposes kingdom’s deep divisions DUBAI: The Bahrain Grand Prix was an opportunity for the kingdom to demonstrate all is well after last year’s uprising, but the weekend race instead highlighted deep divisions between the ruling Sunni dynasty and the Shiite majority. The three-day sporting event that came to a close on Sunday was presented by the authorities as a sign that security and stability had returned to the kingdom after the Shiite-led uprising in Feb 2011 was brutally crushed, leaving 35 people dead, according to an independent probe. A statement by Bahrain’s cabinet yesterday said the Grand Prix “reflects the confidence the world has in Bahrain’s ability to host such a global event”. The king and crown prince both portrayed the race as an opportunity to demonstrate the country was on a path to reconciliation. But Bahrain’s Shiite opposition, including the largest group Al-Wefaq and the more radical February 14 Youth Movement, used the renewed media attention on the kingdom to highlight their demands, with daily protests alleging abuses, marginalisation, and disenfranchisement by the regime. The weekend demonstrations often spiralled into violent clashes with security forces using tear gas and stun grenades against protesters who shot back with rocks and fire bombs. And as dawn broke on the morning before racing day, the opposition reported the death of a

protester, allegedly at the hands of security forces, renewing calls among international rights groups to call off the race. The government quickly issued a statement condemning the violence, pledging to investigate and prosecute those responsible “whoever they may be,” but stopping short of admitting any police involvement. The escalation was no accident. In a statement released in the days before race, Al-Wefaq announced a week of demonstrations, while the February 14 movement called for “three days of rage” to coincide with the event. The government meanwhile took preventive measures, making dozens of arrests and barring news reporters from several major news organisations, including AFP, from travelling to the kingdom ahead of the race. “The revolution never stopped... Only the international media coverage stopped,” said one prominent Shiite activist, who gave his name as Ali, adding that the decision by the ruling Khalifa family to go ahead with the Grand Prix “was a gift to the revolution.” The violence, clashes and slogans calling for the fall of the regime made world headlines far more than the race itself. The unrest even reached the isolated desert circuit, under a total security lockdown, on Sunday when at least three women were hauled off by police for holding up pictures of prominent Shiite activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja on hunger

strike since Feb 8. Khawaja’s deteriorating health has raised fears among rights groups that he may die in prison, potentially triggering yet another wave of mass protests in the kingdom. Yesterday, Bahrain’s highest appeals court postponed for a second time in a month a final verdict on Khawaja, who is sentenced to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the regime. On race day, King Hamad announced he would attend the event, hoping to reassure increasingly nervous participants that the event was safe. He said he remained committed to reconciliation. But what little faith the moderate members of the Shiite opposition had in the monarch has faded in recent months as reforms proved hollow, a national dialogue has failed to move forward and political prisoners remain jailed. On Sunday evening, as teams, sponsors and government officials sipped non-alcoholic champagne and celebrated with postrace festivities at the track, prote s te r s b u r n e d t y re s a n d garbage in the streets, chanting “No to the Formula of blood”. Bahrain’s Grand Prix was “supposed to be a sign of normalisation...what happened is the complete opposite,” said S alman Shaikh, the director of Brookings Doha Centre. “The race ended up polarising people in Bahrain... We ended up with further divisions,” he added. — AFP

‘Majority’ MPs agree to grill finance... Continued from Page 1 In another key development, the Assembly panel investigating allegations that the former premier transferred millions of public funds into his private overseas accounts decided to summon the current and former prime ministers but no date was set for the move, head of the committee MP Faisal Al-Mislem said. The parliamentary committee has powers to invite any present or former official for interrogation and is capable of recommending legal action against those who refuse to attend. Mislem said the panel has also decided to authorize him to go to the foreign ministry to see the documents that the ministry has refused to provide to the panel. According to MP Barrak, who was the first to break the news about the transfers, around 400 transfers worth an estimated KD 77 million were made through the Central Bank and the foreign ministry at the direct or indirect instructions by the former prime minister. The committee has already met with present and former senior officials including former foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah who resigned in October last year over the issue of transfers.

The committee also met with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, undersecretary Mohammad Al-Jarallah, Kuwait’s envoys to Britain, the United States and Switzerland where the transfers were made through the three diplomats. Mislem said the committee has summoned the finance minister, the head of the Audit Bureau and the secretary general of the council of ministers to its meeting next Saturday after which the date for summoning the present and former premiers will be set. The judicial tribunal specailised in the trial of present and former premiers and ministers is conducting a separate investigation in the alleged scandal. Mislem said he has been called by the tribunal to hear his testimony today. The tribunal had already heard the testimony of Barrak, several officials and diplomats and is scheduled to summon the former premier. Meanwhile, the “minority” bloc, consisting of 10 MPs supporting the former prime minister, held a meeting yesterday and discussed the political developments, MP Abdulhameed Dashti said. Dashti also said that he will soon submit proposals to amend the state’s inheritance law in a bid to “expand the Amir’s powers and organize the house of the ruling family”. He provided no further details.

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security guards walk past the back side of a French-designed gymnasium on April 12, 2012. — AFP

Iraq aims to revive Baghdad’s ‘lost’ Le Corbusier building BAGHDAD: Designed by the famed architect Le Corbusier, built under Saddam Hussein then forgotten: such was the fate of a gym in Baghdad that Iraq now wants, with the help of France, to restore to its former stature. Located in the east of the capital, the massive concrete structure has surprisingly withstood the decades of war, internecine fighting and sanctions that have hit the country. Commissioned in 1957 by an Iraq that was then open and rich in oil, the Baghdad Gymnasium was at the time only a small part of a planned Olympic city. Le Corbusier, who is considered one of the greatest architects of the 20th century and was at the height of his fame, designed the structure. But the 1958 revolution, in which Iraq’s monarchy was overthrown and leading officials including the king were killed, saw the project neglected. It was only completed in 1982, under the rule of Saddam Hussein. It was finished years after the 1965 death of Le Corbusier under the guidance of one of his associates, GeorgesMarc Presente, who ensured the strict application of Le Corbusier’s clean, industrial, modernist principles. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was deeply involved in the project in Baghdad for which “around 500 drawings bear his personal signature,” said Mina Marefat, a Washington-based architecture historian who is an expert on Le Corbusier. The architect went to Baghdad in 1957, then “was extremely disappointed” to learn that the project had been called into question the following year, Marefat said. “The most surprising thing about Le Corbusier’s Baghdad work is that it has received so little scholarly attention,” Marefat said. Once completed, the Gymnasium hosted “generations of Iraqi athletes” - basketball and volleyball players, gymnasts and a number of international competitions, said its current director Wasfi Al-Kinani. “For Iraqi sports, this is a historic inheritance, a symbol,” he said. But its golden age was over by the 2000s. From 20032004, the Gymnasium was occupied by American soldiers. After their departure, opportunities for sport were dashed by the sectarian violence that swept the country. Caecilia Pieri, a researcher for the Institut Francais du

Proche-Orient (French Institute for the Near East), discovered the forgotten Gymnasium in 2005 while working on her thesis on modern architecture in Baghdad. She decided to contact the Le Corbusier Foundation in France. It “did not have any recent photos. This is a posthumous work, and researchers did not have access to Iraq. They did not even know if it was properly built, as they had never seen it,” Pieri said. She has since made several visits, including one last May with the vice president of the Le Corbusier Foundation, Jacques Sbriglio. The visit resulted in a French-Iraqi project that aims to raise the building’s profile by publishing a book and holding a colloquium on the Gymnasium. In addition to Le Corbusier Foundation and the French Institute for the Near East, the project involves Baghdad University, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the French embassy. Pieri, who from trip to trip has watched the architectural degradation of Baghdad thanks to violence, poverty and errors in reconstruction, now sees signs of what she calls a “small simmering” of change. “After all this upheaval, we are witnessing the renaissance of new awareness about the (country’s) modern heritage, and it can lead to similar movements, sparking positive momentum for other major modern buildings,” she said. These include the finance ministry headquarters and Mustansiryia University, both of which Pieri calls “symbols for the visual identity and international image of Baghdad”. They show “that there was modern architecture of very high quality, with a specific Iraqi style,” she said. But for now, nothing is simple. The Gymnasium, under renovation for a year, is far from the clear-cut almost ascetic vision of its designer. Its seats are brightly coloured and the roof over the locker rooms, designed to allow in natural light, is blocked by a false ceiling holding overhead lights. The perspective around the Gymnasium has also been crowded with newer constructions. But the building’s exterior still holds Le Corbusier’s motto: “Where order is born, well-being is born.” — AFP





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Greek election a puzzle that could derail bailout By Dina Kyriakidou reek voters are unlikely to pick a clear winner in a snap election that is expected to send a record number of parties to parliament next month and test the international bailout keeping the country afloat. Political analysts say the outcome of the May 6 election is hard to predict. The conservative New Democracy party is seen ahead but not by enough to take sole charge of the indebted euro zone member. This could lead to days or weeks of negotiations while it forges a coalition with the Socialist PASOK party to impose austerity and reforms to meet the terms of a second 130 billion euro bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund. “It’s a great puzzle,” said Theodore Couloumbis of the ELIAMEP think tank. “I hope the pro-bailout parties will be able to form a government. This is the most likely scenario.” The two main parties have backed the coalition government of technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, formed in November, when ex-premier George Papandreou stepped down after an internal party revolt over his handling of the crisis. Europe’s debt troubles have had major political implications throughout the region. Ten euro zone governments have been swept from office since the start of 2009, many paying the price for drastic spending cuts aimed at improving public finances. The crisis has also led to a rise in support for populist parties, with voters angry at unemployment, austerity or the cost of bailing out other debtors casting protest votes to make it harder for traditional political forces to govern. The last Greek opinion polls published before Friday’s cutoff date showed 8-10 parties may enter parliament, including extremists riding a wave of public discontent with bigger parties blamed for decades of scandals and mismanagement that brought Greece to the brink of bankruptcy. New Democracy leads with about 23 percent of the vote and the Socialist PASOK comes in second with about 16 percent. The two - the only major parties to support the bailout - would need about 35-40 percent of the vote to form a government together. After that, four smaller parties each garner about 10 percent of the vote - three leftist groups plus the Independent Greeks led by newcomer Panos Kammenos, an anti-bailout, New Democracy rebel. The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn is expected to enter parliament for the first time with about 5 percent of the vote, tapping far-right LAOS voters angered by its support for the coalition government of Papademos in November. In Greece, other smaller groups also have a chance of crossing the 3 percent of the vote barrier to get into the 300-seat house. Among them is the pro-bailout party of Dora Bakoyanni, a former foreign minister who splintered from New Democracy in 2010. “For the first time in 40 years, people are not voting left versus right but pro-bailout versus anti-bailout,” ALCO pollster Costas Panagopoulos said. “We cannot exclude any scenario - the picture may stay the same or the two main parties may be boosted.” The “troika” of IMF, EU and ECB lenders have said the election is a big risk to the fiscal steps and reforms Greece needs to deliver to get cash and turn its ailing economy around, including 11 billion euros worth of new measures in June. The outlook depends on whether New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos can set aside differences and forge a viable coalition. One sticking point is who gets to be prime minister. Samaras is hoping a last-minute polarisation of voters will get him enough ballots, or at least get close, to ruling alone. If his numbers look good, he could force another election to see if can get a boost to give him an absolute majority but prolonging the political uncertainty for weeks. If he is forced to cooperate with other parties, analysts say PASOK is his sole option as the only other probailout party but he will insist on being prime minister. Venizelos, hammered by EU peers as finance minister during the debt crisis, single-handedly revived the fortunes of PASOK after it plunged to fifth place in opinion polls under Papandreou. Winning by a landslide in 2009, Papandreou’s government underestimated the problem that plunged the whole euro zone into crisis. It dragged its feet, promising pay rises and other handouts instead of taking immediate measures. Forced later to slash salaries, pensions and social benefits, it plunged the economy into its worst recession in decades. Unemployment has rocketed to over 21.8 percent, with one in two youths without a job.— Reuters


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Sarko odds improve but remain against him By Catherine Bremer trong support for far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the first round of France’s presidential election has lifted Nicolas Sarkozy’s hopes of clinching a second term, but he will struggle to win over enough of her voters to keep him in power. Surveys show fewer National Front voters will rally behind the conservative Sarkozy in a runoff vote than did in the 2007 election, and as he shifts further rightwards on immigration and Europe he risks alienating the centrist voters he also needs. Socialist Francois Hollande beat Sarkozy in Sunday’s first round by 28.6 percent to 27.1 percent, but Le Pen stole the show with a 17.9 percent score, the biggest tally a far-right candidate has ever managed. The nearly one in five who voted for her will be key for the runoff between Sarkozy and Hollande, but political analysts see the incumbent’s ability to woo them limited by his European commitments and his need to keep centrists on board. “It will be very difficult for Sarkozy to gather votes from both the National Front and the centre at the same time,” said political scientist Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the far right. Le Pen called in her campaign for France to quit the euro currency and free itself from the ties of European economic policy. The message appealed to low-paid workers, the jobless and anxious young whites fed up with rife unemployment and calls for more austerity which they blame on European integration. Camus said Sarkozy’s strategy of raising red-flag issues such as Islam and immigration to appeal to far-right voters was having limited effect with people who want France out of the euro single currency. Sarkozy has already gone a long way with campaign pledges to halve immigration and pull France out of Europe’s open-border Schengen zone unless external frontiers are strengthened. But given his responsibilities as head of Europe’s No. 2 economy, he would struggle to tell Le Pen


voters what they want to hear on Europe. “People are worried more today about the economic crisis, unemployment and purchasing power than immigration. Le Pen voters want the end of the euro and Europe and they know Sarkozy is attached to those things, and to economic liberalism,” Camus said. Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has worked on Sarkozy’s campaign, told Le Monde daily that it would be key for the second round to stick to a consistent line, and not try to target some pledges at the far right and others at the centre. “If we want to convince far-right voters, we mustn’t be offering them winks and nudges, we must show them that we are unbending on the values we defend,” he said. The 2012 election has been seen as a referendum on Sarkozy’s unpopular presidential style and his failure to bring down high unemployment as he promised during his 2007 campaign. Opinion polls for the May 6 runoff show him 6-12 points behind Hollande, but analysts now see a much closer finish. Sarkozy would need around 80 percent of Le Pen voters behind him to avoid defeat, according to analyst estimates and a Reuters calculator. But surveys conducted during or after Sunday’s first-round presidential vote found that between only 44 percent and 60 percent of Le Pen voters plan to switch to Sarkozy in round two. With the far-left pulling behind Hollande, the only other large pool of voters up for grabs are supporters of centrist Francois Bayrou, who received 9.1 percent of the first round vote. Polls show them splitting in the second round. Onethird of Le Pen voters are expected to stay at home on May 6, so Sarkozy is looking at a much lower transfer of votes than in 2007, when 70 percent of far-right and 50 percent of centrist voters switched to him. “To clinch it, he would need three-quarters of Le Pen votes and two-thirds of Bayrou votes, whereas he’s looking at around half of Le Pen’s voters and a third of Bayrou’s,” said analyst Frederic Dabi at pollster Ifop. “The arithmetic is far from being right for Sarkozy.” Neither Bayrou nor Le Pen has yet called their supporters

to back one or other candidate for the runoff. With her eyes on a strong showing for the National Front in June parliamentary elections, Le Pen is keeping her distance from Sarkozy. National Front Vice-President Louis Alliot suggested Le Pen would not endorse either candidate. “Based on the ideas in our program, neither one defends or develops them, so it seems unlikely,” he said. Hard leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, who won 11 percent in the first round, is endorsing Hollande, and polls show at least 80 percent of his supporters will vote Socialist on May 6. An Ipsos poll found 60 percent of Le Pen voters and 32 percent of Bayrou voters would back Sarkozy on May 6, while a Harris Interactive survey found 32 percent of Bayrou voters and only 44 percent of Le Pen voters switching to him. “If this is what we see in two weeks’ time, Nicolas Sarkozy is finished,” said political analyst Roland Cayrol. “To get 80 percent of Le Pen voters and two-thirds of Bayrou’s is not at all what’s in the opinion polls. It’s not impossible but it would be remarkable,” he said. Sarkozy responded to Le Pen’s record showing by immediately promising a greater focus on tightening border controls and stopping factories leaving France. On Monday, he hammered home pledges to get tough on immigration and crime. “National Front voters must be respected,” he told reporters as he left his campaign headquarters in Paris. “They voiced their view. It was a vote of suffering, a crisis vote. Why insult them? I have heard Mr Hollande criticising them.” Expect more of the same, said Christopher Bickerton, associate professor of international relations at Sciences Po university. “Sarkozy talked about economic protectionism in his speech last night and his strategy for the next fortnight will be to push the same themes and use reassuring language for the 20 percent who voted Le Pen,” he said. “The National Front’s high score has left things much more open, but the anti-Sarkozy sentiment is strong and it could still be powerful enough to drive him from power.”— Reuters

No winner in real contest of Bahrain F1 By Andrew Hammond ed Bull’s Sebastian Vettel may have won the Bahrain Grand Prix, but there was no winner in the main event: a public relations battle between the ruling Al-Khalifa family and protesters in the streets over competing visions of Bahrain. Masked youths with petrol bombs faced off nightly against riot police in armoured vehicles, armed with batons, tear gas, sound bombs and guns firing birdshot. At least one protester was found dead on a rooftop after a clash. Demonstrators denounced the Grand Prix as a lavish stunt by a government that crushed Arab Spring protests last year and remains out of touch with popular demand for change. The government accused activists of exaggerating the unrest and sabotaging the country’s image. “In terms of the public relations battle it’s been a loss for government. But no one won overall - I think it has added to the existing divisions,” said Jane Kinninmont, an analyst at London’s Chatham House think tank. “The opposition are more angry about deaths and beatings, while the pro-government camp is upset that the protesters hold up economic development and shocked at the media coverage.” The race was cancelled last year after Arab Spring protests, mainly by the Shiite majority whose members feel marginalised by a minority Sunni elite. The government put last year’s protests down by force, swept demonstrators off the streets and bulldozed the highway roundabout where they were camping. Thirty-five people, including members of the security forces, died in the crackdown. According to an independent commission set up by the government, many of those arrested were tortured in custody. When Washington, which has its regional naval headquarters in Bahrain, threatened to cancel an arms


deal, the kingdom took its reputation seriously. The race was marketed in Bahrain with the slogans “uniF1ed” and “one nation, one celebration”. “I would like to wish all the Formula One teams today the best of luck,” King Hamad said in a message on Sunday before the race, “And thank you for showing your faith in our country by coming here.” Bahrain says it is implementing the independent commission’s recommendations for democratic reforms and life is returning to normal. But the uprising never fully went away and clashes between protesters and police have increased in recent months. The demonstrators, largely ignored by the Gulf-dominated pan-Arab media, saw the Grand Prix as a chance to take their grievances to the world stage and the gov-

ernment seems to have scored an own goal by barring some non-sports journalists. “They basically said ‘you’re only welcome if you only cover Formula One’. But some went to find what they were trying to hide,” said Alaa Shehabi, an opposition activist. “The whole media strategy of the last year has backfired. It was focused on hiring PR companies to push their message to journalists.” The opposition parties, which include secular and Islamist Shiites as well as some Sunnis, want democratic reforms that would empower parliament to form governments and end tight Al-Khalifa family control of public life. More radical elements among the protesters - angered by continuing deaths due to the daily fights with police - want to ditch the monarchy alto-

Bahraini policewomen arrest a woman protester outside the international circuit in Manama where the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix took place yesterday. — AFP

gether. They all share a sense of discrimination by an entrenched elite around the ruling family, which brought in Saudi troops last year to help crush the uprising. Fourteen men jailed by a military court for leading the protests last year remain behind bars, and one of them is in critical condition after more than 70 days on hunger strike. The death toll in protests since last year now has risen to more than 80, leading opposition party Wefaq says, with many of the deaths due to the effects of massive use of teargas. The government - which questions the causes of death and dismisses the protesters as hooligans appears to have been taken by surprise that its narrative came into question. It has depicted the entire opposition movement as driven by Shiite sectarian interests and beholden to Iran, and argued that the Bahrain turmoil is not an ‘Arab Spring’ event. Washington has tempered criticisms with concern not to jeopardise ties with a country seen as key to its effort, coordinated with Saudi Arabia, to contain Iran. But Western officials joined media watchdogs and rights groups in delivering some criticism of Bahrain as the opposition movement succeeded in winning coverage of large marches and protests, despite a massive police effort to pin them down in neighbourhoods away from Manama and main roads. There were signs that some of Bahrain’s elite recognised hosting the event had backfired by giving the opposition a target. One columnist even said so in a newspaper - a rarity in a country where virtually all papers and radio are under the government’s thumb. “It was obvious that specific media launched a campaign in recent days with one aim: cancellation of F1,” Mohammed Mubarak Jumaa wrote in Ak hbar Al-Khaleej. “Bahrain should change its policy now on hosting large events.” — Reuters


sp orts

Van Persie scoops Player of Year award LONDON: Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was rewarded for his stunning goalscoring exploits in the Premier League by being voted the player of the season by his peers on Sunday. The Netherlands international received the Professional Footballers’ Association award after grabbing 27 goals to lead the scoring charts in England’s top division with three rounds of fixtures remaining. “If other people are saying it, it is special, but it is even more special if your opponents are saying it, Van Persie said. “It is very special because you are playing against them week in, week out and every single player does everything to win and in the end, if they make up their minds that I’m the best player it is a big honor.”.—AP

Late arrivals grab lead ITAJAI: Comeback specialists Camper and Abu Dhabi were leading the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race yesterday just days after being forced to carry out major repairs to keep their campaigns alive. Both teams suffered serious structural damage to their yachts during the previous leg through the Southern Ocean and had to make unscheduled pit stops in Chile. Camper, the Spanish boat crewed by Team New Zealand, managed to resume the leg, crossing the finish line in ItajaÌ, five days prior to the star t of leg six to

Miami, but Abu Dhabi could only ship the boat to Brazil and had to work round the clock to make Sunday’s start. Camper, in third place overall, had a 0.4 nautical mile jump on Abu Dhabi at 1300 GMT after stealing the lead from American team Puma as the teams raced north through the South Atlantic. Overall leaders TelefÛnica from Spain and French team Groupama were in fourth and fifth, around 15 miles south-east of the leg leaders. The sixth team, Chinese entr y Sanya, will miss leg six and rejoin the fleet in Miami after pulling out of leg 5 with damage.—AP

Le Clos heads qualifiers DURBAN: Rising star Chad le Clos swam four Olympic qualifying times at this week’s South African championships to announce himself as a real medal contender for the pool at the London Games. The 20-year-old Le Clos, the short course world champion in the 200 meters butterfly, achieved Olympic times in the 200 fly, 200 and 400 meters individual medley and 200 freestyle. His only disappointment was on Sunday’s final day of the nationals when he missed the Olympic time in the 100 butterfly. World record holder Cameron van der Burgh qualified in the 100 meters breastroke as nine South Africans hit Olympic times at the weeklong nationals at the east coast city of Durban. Multiple Olympic medallist Roland Schoeman went inside the qualifying time in the 50 meters freestyle.—AP

Astros pound Dodgers

DETROIT: Texas Rangers’ Alberto Gonzalez squeeze-bunts into an RBI infield single in the 11th inning during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers.—AP

Rangers see off Tigers DETROIT: Alberto Gonzalez’s squeeze bunt turned into an RBI single in the 11th inning when umpires missed a call as the Texas Rangers went on to beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Sunday. Gonzalez admitted after the game the ball hit him around the knee. Rather than a foul ball, the play stood. Plate umpire Tim Welke saw a replay afterward and said the ball did in fact hit Gonzalez, but his crew hadn’t seen that initially. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Gonzalez bunted back to pitcher Thad Weber (0-1), who had no play at the plate on runner Nelson Cruz. Weber froze with the ball, and first baseman Miguel Cabrera struggled to get back to the bag in time. Everybody was safe, and Texas took the lead. Detroit manager Jim Leyland argued that it should’ve been a foul ball. Robbie Ross (3-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for Texas, and Joe Nathan finished for his fourth save. Josh Hamilton homered for the Rangers. Blue Jays 5, Royals 3 At Kansas City, Missouri, Brett Lawrie stole home and drove in two runs as Toronto sent K ansas City to its 10th straight loss. This is the Royals’ longest losing streak since dropping 12 in a row in May 2008. Ricky Romero (3-0), who is 11-2 in 17 starts since July 21, won his third consecutive start. Francisco Cordero gave up a run in the ninth, but posted his first save in his first opportunity. Cordero, who will serve as Toronto’s closer with Sergio Santos going on the disabled list, collected his 328th career save. Rays 6, Twins 2 At St. Petersburg, Florida, Desmond Jennings homered and had one of Tampa Bay’s team record four sacrifice flys ina win over Minnesota. Jennings had a sacrifice fly during a two-run third and made it 5-0 in the fifth with a two-run homer off Francisco Liriano (0-3). Liriano went five innings, allowing five runs. The left-hander has given up 22 runs, 25 hits and 13 walks over 16 1-3 innings this season. Minnesota’s Josh Willingham went 0 for 2, ending his season-opening 15-game hitting streak that tied Kirby Puckett’s team record set in 1994.

Orioles 3, Angels 2 At Anaheim, California, Nick Markakis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and a run-scoring single in the 10th, leading Baltimore over the Los Angeles Angels. LaTroy Hawkins (0-1) came on in the 10th and issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Robert Andino, who advanced on a sacrifice by Endy Chavez and a groundout by J.J. Hardy. Markakis grounded a hard single up the middle that deflected off the glove of second baseman Howie Kendrick and into center field. Pedro Strop (2-1) pitched two innings for the win despite allowing a tying solo homer in the eighth by Kendrick. Jim Johnson got three outs for his seventh save. Alber t Pujols was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is homerless in his 16 games and 65 at-bats, the longest drought from the start of a season in his 12-year career. White Sox 7, Mariners 4 At Seattle, Alex Rios got three hits and drove in three runs as Chicago completed a series sweep of Seattle. A day after Phil Humber pitched a perfect game for the White Sox, John Danks (2-2) went six innings for the win. Hector Santiago pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season, closing out Chicago’s 19th victory in its last 22 games against the Mariners. Rios hit a tying, two-run triple in the sixth off Kevin Millwood (0-1) and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kosuke Fukudome to put the White Sox ahead for good. Athletics 5, Indians 1 At Oakland, California, Seth Smith hit a two-run homer, helping Tyson Ross get his first win in nearly a year as Oakland avoided a series sweep with a Victory over Cleveland. Cliff Pennington had two hits and drove in two runs for the A’s, who ended a two-game slide and have won four of six. Kurt Suzuki also drove in a run. Ross (1-0) allowed a run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked five and struck out four while getting his first victory since last May 14 against the Chicago White Sox. Justin Masterson (0-2) gave up four runs on six hits over five innings and has allowed 17 runs over his last 13 2-3 innings.—AP

MLB results/standings Texas 3, Detroit 2 (11 innings); St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 1; Tampa Bay 6, Minnesota 2; Houston 12, LA Dodgers 0; Toronto 5, Kansas City 3; Colorado 4, Milwaukee 1; Cincinnati 4, Chicago Cubs 3; Baltimore 3, LA Angels 2 (10 innings); San Diego 6, Philadelphia 1; Oakland 5, Cleveland 1; Arizona 6, Atlanta 4; Chicago White Sox 7, Seattle 4. American League Eastern Division NY Yankees Toronto Tampa Bay Baltimore Boston Detroit Chicago W Sox Cleveland Minnesota Kansas City Texas Oakland Seattle LA Angels

W L PCT 9 6 .600 9 6 .600 9 7 .563 9 7 .563 4 10 .286 Central Division 10 6 .625 9 6 .600 8 6 .571 5 11 .313 3 12 .200 Western Division 13 3 .813 8 9 .471 7 10 .412 6 10 .375

GB .5 .5 4.5 .5 1 5 6.5 5.5 6.5 7

Washington Atlanta NY Mets Miami Philadelphia St. Louis Milwaukee Cincinnati Pittsburgh Houston Chicago Cubs LA Dodgers Colorado Arizona San Francisco San Diego

National League Eastern Division 12 4 .750 10 6 .625 8 6 .571 7 8 .467 7 9 .438 Central Division 11 5 .688 7 9 .438 7 9 .438 6 9 .400 6 10 .375 4 12 .250 Western Division 12 4 .750 8 7 .533 8 8 .500 7 7 .500 5 12 .294

2 3 4.5 5 4 4 4.5 5 7 3.5 4 4 7.5

HOUSTON: Jordan Schafer hit his first career grand slam with a shot that bounced off the glove of Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, Wandy Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball through seven innings Sunday and the Houston Astros romped past Los Angeles 12-0. The Astros avoided a sweep and handed the Dodgers their mostlopsided shutout loss since a 13-0 defeat by the Angels in June 2004. Rodriguez (1-2) struck out six and walked three to get his first win of the season and lower his ERA to 1.42. Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer in the first. Schafer’s slam came an inning later and was just the second career grand slam Chad Billingsley (2-1) has allowed in his seven-year career.

and Rafael Furcal had three hits to support Lohse (3-0). The veteran right-hander struck out five without issuing a walk, though his ERA actually ticked up from 0.89 to 0.99. Erik Bedard (0-4) gave up three runs on six hits, walking four and striking out seven in seven innings but was again undone by a lack of support. The

Pirates have scored three runs combined in Bedard’s four starts. Rockies 4, Brewers 1 At Milwaukee, Michael Cuddyer lined a two-run double in the eighth inning and Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings to lead Colorado over Milwaukee. The win put a damper on the

Reds 4, Cubs 3 At Chicago, Johnny Cueto threw 6 plus strong innings to lead Cincinnati past Chicago. Cueto (2-0) allowed one earned run, scattering five hits. He struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 1.78. Two runners were on base with one out when Cueto exited in the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Aroldis Chapman struck out Ian Stewart looking with a fastball that registered 99 mph on the stadium. Chapman also worked a scoreless eighth and former Cubs reliever Sean Marshall pitched the ninth, picking up his third save in three opportunities.

D’backs 6, Braves 4 At Phoenix, Gerardo Parra hit his first career grand slam to cap a fiverun second inning as Arizona beat Atlanta to snap a five-game losing streak. The Braves had won five in a row. Ian Kennedy (3-0) posted his seventh straight win dating to last August. J.J. Putz recorded his fifth save despite allowing a one-out home run to Juan Francisco. Randall Delgado (2-1) retired the first two Arizona batters in the second. Jason Kubel then singled, Cody Ransom doubled and John McDonald was intentionally walked to load the bases. Delgado walked Kennedy on four pitches before Parra hit a drive into the pool area beyond the right-center field fence for a 5-1 lead. Cardinals 5, Pirates 1 At Pittsburgh, Kyle Lohse scattered six hits while pitching into the eighth inning to lead St. Louis past Pittsburgh. David Freese had a two-run single for the Cardinals

celebration of Ryan Braun’s NL MVP and Silver Slugger awards. The Brewers slugger received his trophies in a pregame ceremony. Guthrie (2-1) got the better of Yovani Gallardo in a matchup of opening-day starters, surrendering one run and three hits in seven innings. Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his fifth straight save to open the season. Francisco Rodriguez (0-2) took the loss.

HOUSTON: Astros’ Jose Altuve (27) is safe at second base on an attempted force out as Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon (9) loses the ball for an error on a Wandy Rodriguez ground ball in the fourth inning of a baseball game.—AP

Padres 6, Phillies 1 At San Diego, Nick Hundley homered, tripled and drove in a career-high four runs, leading Anthony Bass and San Diego past Philadelphia. A day after snapping a 13-game home losing streak to the Phillies, San Diego posted its first twogame winning streak of the season. Hundley hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning, an RBI triple in the third and two-run homer in the fifth off Joe Blanton (1-3). Bass (1-2) pitched three-hit ball for six innings and allowed an unearned run. He walked five and struck out seven in his sixth career start.—AP

GCC teams all fired up for Ford Focus Rabaa Rally KUWAIT: Ford Middle East yesterday announced the names of the finalists who will represent their national teams in the Ford Focus Rabaa Rally, the first ever interactive inter-GCC rally tour of its kind, kicking off on April 25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The final six teams were selected via the online and interactive recruitment hosted at Ford Middle East’s Facebook page, Focus Rabaa [referring to a gang of friends in Khaleeji dialect] sets the ground for a fun challenge and a test for driving skills, endurance, and the use of the all-new 2012 Ford Focus technologies, as participants drive across all of the Gulf countries to complete a series of tasks and challenges. Each team consists of three drivers who will attempt to outmanoeuvre the other teams through sheer skills in driving, road handling and mental power. Teams will be headed by their respective national captains, who are a group of celebrities from the entertainment and sports world in the GCC. The final teams, representing their respective countries, are: Team Bahrain “Bahrain Youth Lions” Captain: Ismaeel Abdulatif, Football Striker and Winger, Al Muharraq Club Driver 1: Fadhel Khaled Mustafa Ghuloom Ali Driver 2: Mahmood Habib Mohamed Guloom Baqer Driver 3: Isa Abdulwahid Isa Hasan Ali Team Kuwait “Tornado Racing Team” Captain: Barakat Al Wegyan, TV presenter, Al Watan TV Driver 1: Nasser M M A H Almutairi Driver 2: Ali H I H Y Almulla Driver 3: Thamer A S A Almutairi Team Oman “Qadiroon” Captain: Nabil Al Busaidi, Arab Adventurer Driver 1: Azzan Abdul Amir Hameed Driver 2: Faisal Fadhil Mahmood Al Bakri Driver 3: Issam Abdullah Said Al-Kharusi Team Qatar “I.C.T.” Captain: Abdul Aziz Hasan, Vice President - Qatar Club Driver 1: Awfa Ghasab S K Aladawi Driver 2: Rabay Ghasab S K Aladawi Driver 3: Ali Essa S A Al-Suwaidi Team Saudi Arabia “KSA Bura Bura” Captain: Khalid Khalifa, Comedian Driver 1: Yazan Munzer A Bader Driver 2: Ali Hussain A Al Nezir Driver 3: Abdulrhman Mohammed A Binmohana Team United Arab Emirates “Dubai Rayo” Captain: Anas Bukhash, CEO and Managing Partner - Ahdaaf Sports Club Driver 1: Ghaith Ahmad Mohd Obaid Bin Medeya Alfalasi Driver 2: Humaid Abdulla Ali Ahmed Alnuaimi Driver 3: Mana Saleh Mohammed Obaid Bin Medaya

The Ford Focus Rabaa, the first ever interactive inter-GCC rally tour, is an unprecedented and never-been-done-before initiative to support the launch efforts surrounding the all-new 2012 Ford Focus. The teams will be rated based on their skills and performances rather than speed as well as the level of online and offline participation and support of their country’s fans. “We are really excited to present the six teams composed of young and energetic nationals eager to prove their mettle in driving,” said Paul Anderson, Marketing director of Ford Middle East. “Each of them carries the honor of representing their countries in this first and one-of-a-kind challenge. While the Focus Rabaa rally is primarily a demonstration of their driving skills and mental agility, it is also a vehicle for our participants to show unity and camaraderie with their fellow Khaleejis,” Anderson added. “As they drive across the GCC to complete their tasks and challenges, friends and supporters of each team can also contribute to their scores by taking part in online activity as pit crew,” he explained. On April 25, the competition will start at the Reem International Circuit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and then continue through the remaining GCC countries over the course of 10 days as teams compete for the most points in seven exciting challenges. Ford will also produce an online series documenting the activities, with a new entertaining video episode produced each day of the Rally for fans to watch. Fans can follow the action on the Ford Middle East Facebook page. The final challenge takes the teams to the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in early May. The team which successfully finishes all seven challenges and earns the most points overall will win an all-new 2012 Ford Focus for each team member. As the teams compete against each other during the rally, fans from across the region will have the chance to support their favourite team by participating in online challenges on the Ford Middle East Facebook page that will directly impact the results of the real-life rally. One lucky fan will also have the chance to win an all-new 2012 Ford Focus.


sp orts

Hamlin holds off Truex to win at Kansas Speedway

LONDON: A quality controller checks torch holders during the production of the Olympic torches at Coventry, England ahead of the start of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay begins in southwest England on May 19, with the Games beginning on July 27. —AP

Budd says money drives ‘Plastic Brits’ PRETORIA: Foreign-born athletes who have taken UK citizenship ahead of the 2012 London Olympics have been dubbed “Plastic Brits” by critics but the most famous sportswoman to have made that journey is sympathetic. For 45-year-old South African Zola Pieterse, better known by her maiden name Budd, the reasons behind the move are understandable - money in an age of rampant sports commercialisation as well as a desire to compete. “If you look at running as a business then it is unfair to bar people from running at whatever level they want just because they’re not eligible,” she told Reuters in an interview. “You can’t really blame people for trying to get into the Olympic Games.” Budd bursted on to the global stage as a barefoot teenager in the early 1980s when South Africa was barred from international sport because of apartheid. She ran in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics for Britain and was leading the 3,000 metres final when she became involved in a dramatic collision with American Mary Decker. Decker was felled and could not finish while Budd was, in the eyes of many fans,

unfairly blamed for the incident. Visibly rattled, she finished seventh but went on to become a double world cross-country champion. “The Olympic Games today is not the Games it was 20, 30, 40 years ago,” said Budd. “If somebody wins a gold medal in the Olympics it means a lifelong way for them to earn money so there is so much more at stake now.” Budd said critics should also consider the time and effort that goes into toplevel sport. “If it weren’t that commercialised I don’t think anyone would be interested in performing and putting so much effort into it because it won’t be worth putting your money into it or your time. Rather then put it into a career,” she explained. Budd has been living with her family in South Carolina for four years and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since the Los Angeles Games when she was vilified by the US media. “It’s a much lower profile for me now. It’s been a few years since the 84 Olympics and it’s nice just to live a quiet life in Myrtle Beach where no one more or less knows you and I can just live a normal life,” said Budd. The London Olympics start on July 27. —Reuters

Kenyan dominance raises selection headache NAIROBI: Kenya’s athletics chiefs face a difficult decision when selecting their marathon teams for the London Olympics following recent world-class performances by their athletes. Kenya look set to dominate the Olympic marathons in August after their runners won the London men’s and women’s events on Sunday and took five of the six podium positions for the second year in succession. Athletics Kenya Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said the selection will be easier among the women but more complicated for the men. “We have no headache in the selection, especially among the women. We may have to scratch our heads a little in the process of naming the men’s team. We’ll announce it this weekend,” Kiplagat told Reuters on Monday. A source close to the governing body confided that the top three women in Sunday ’s London Marathon - Mary

Keitany, Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo - are likely to be confirmed in the team. The source said that although Sharon Cherop won in Boston on April 16, her time (2:31:50) was too slow for an Olympic slot. Among the men, the source would only confirm Wilson Kipsang the winner in London on Sunday and the world’s second fastest after Patrick Makau - for Olympic selection. A provisional team of six men and six women was named early this year. The men’s team included Makau and last year’s winners in London and Boston Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Mutai, who have struggled of late. The others were twice world champion Abel Kirui, Kipsang and Moses Mosop. The women’s provisional team had Keitany, world champion Kiplagat and Jeptoo as well as Florence Kiplagat, Cherop and Lydia Cheromei. —Reuters

KANSAS CITY: It seemed as if Denny Hamlin was out for a Sunday afternoon drive at Kansas Speedway, hanging around the leaders most of the day but never really giving anybody too much reason to worry. Turned out that Hamlin was playing possum, just as he did at Phoenix earlier this year. His team kept making slight adjustments on every stop and had his Toyota dialed in late in the race when Hamlin charged past Martin Truex Jr. for the lead. He then held off Truex’s last-ditch move with two laps remaining to win for the second time this season. “It felt a lot like Phoenix in the sense of we kind of hung around the top five all day,” said Hamlin, whose best finish at Kansas had been third last year. “At the end we just kind of make our charge, make our run, and there were some things that had to happen the last run really for us to work out, and those things happened.” The victory gave his Joe Gibbs Racing team some momentum heading to Richmond, where the Virginia driver has won twice before - and where he certainly won’t sneak up on anybody. “We’ve had good cars, we got the win at Phoenix, and we’ve had consistent good performances,” crew chief Darian Grubb said. “All these details are starting to add up.” Jimmie Johnson was third for Hendrick Motorsports, which has failed in 14 tries to win the team’s milestone 200th race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne also finished in the top 10. “I was just watching from the third spot, hoping those guys would give me an opportunity,” Johnson said. “I just wish I was closer to those guys to race for it.” Long green-flag runs on Sunday gave Hamlin the chance to sit back and watch as the race unfolded, never pressing for the lead until it mattered. When that happened, his team had made enough right decisions that he powered to the front as the sun finally broke through. “They didn’t panic,” team owner J.D. Gibbs said. “They paced themselves, and I’m glad the sun stayed out a little at the end.” Truex dominated most of the afternoon, leading a race-high 173 laps, but had to settle for second place. It was his third top-five finish of the season, but he’s yet to win in 175 races. “Sorr y guys, I lost this one for you,” a despondent Truex radioed to his team. “Hey man, you did a great job,” came the reply. “They know we were here.” Truex said his final set of tires cost him. He

was the loosest he’d been all race, and that allowed Hamlin to charge into the lead. Truex rallied within a car length, but he couldn’t make a final move on the bottom side stick, allowing Hamlin to pull away. “I guess if we can be this frustrated with second, it tells you how close we are as a team,” said Truex, who hasn’t won since Dover in 2007. “The race car was really good. I’m just not really sure what to think about that last

week at Texas with a fifth-place run, though he didn’t have the car to contend at Kansas. “It was a tough day,” Biffle said. “We were back and forth all day, and we were off just a bit. When the track had a lot of grip the car was unbelievable.” Kevin Harvick was sixth, followed by Earnhardt and Kahne, giving Hendrick Motorsports at least three cars in the top-10 for the second straight week. Jeff Gordon had

KANSAS: Denny Hamlin performs a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Kansas Speedway. —AP set of tires. I was just wrecking-loose that last set.” Truex called the performance a statement moment for Michael Waltrip Racing. Hamlin is starting to have a statement season. He won this year at Phoenix, started on the pole at California, and led 31 laps a couple weeks ago at Martinsville before finishing sixth. He was 12th last week at Texas. “It’s hard to analyze your program by a one-week performance,” he said. “There are always areas that we need to work in. We feel like we’ve identified those areas and we’ve gone to work on them. So right now I feel like we’re bringing better race cars to the track.” Matt Kenseth finished fourth despite having a wild afternoon trying to get into the pits, often sliding across the line at the start of pit road. Greg Biffle followed up his victory last

engine trouble late in the race and finished 21st. The 14-race drought for Hendrick is its longest since going 15 races without a win during the 2002 and ‘03 seasons. The streak began after Johnson’s win last October at Kansas. “Everybody here needs a win for one reason or another,” Earnhardt said. “We’re all working really hard, but I’m not really focusing on homing in on that too heavily. You’ve got to think about what your car’s doing and what you need to do to help your car. “Make your car faster, then the wins eventually take care of themselves.” The pressure will continue to mount on the four-car team, though. And when Johnson was asked whether he’ll be relieved when someone gets the win, his reply came through unvarnished: “More than you could ever imagine,” he said. —AP

Flyers soar over Penguins PHILADELPHIA: Claude Giroux wrapped up a dominant series with his sixth goal and Ilya Bryzgalov had his first outstanding effort in net as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Sunday to win the Eastern Conference openinground series in six games. Giroux scored 32 seconds into the game, and the Flyers rolled from there. In a series where no lead was safe, the Flyers scored the first three goals and made it stand behind Bryzgalov and stout defense. Bryzgalov allowed 20 goals in the first five games. He settled down in Game 6 and gave up only Evgeni Malkin’s powerplay goal in the second period.

Scott Hartnell added a powerplay for Philadelphia in the first period, and Erik Gustafsson made it 3-0 early in the second. Giroux had assists on both goals. Danny Briere also scored in second period, and Brayden Schenn added an empty-netter in the final seconds. Briere had five goals in the series. Pittsburgh won Games 4 and 5 after dropping the first three.

Western Conference series. Brad Richardson tied it for Los Angeles at 3:21 of the third period, and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves. Henrik Sedin opened the scoring for Vancouver with a power-play goal in the first period. Schneider made 35 saves in his third straight start after Roberto Luongo lost the first two games. The Kings will play the St. Louis Blues in the second round.

Kings 2, Canucks 1 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Jarret Stoll beat Cory Schneider with a wrist shot at 4:27 of overtime as Los Angeles knocked out top-seeded Vancouver in five games in the

Bruins 4, Capitals 3 At Washington, Tyler Seguin scored at 3:17 of overtime and Tim Thomas made 36 saves as defending Stanley Cup champion Boston beat Washington to force a seventh game in the Eastern

Conference series. Game 7 is tonight in Boston. In overtime, David Krejci intercepted a pass by Nicklas Backstrom and sent the puck to Milan Lucic, who passed ahead to Seguin. Seguin, who entered the game without a point in the series, veered slightly to his right to draw goalie Braden Holtby from the net, then lifted a shot past the rookie to win it. The Bruins took a 3-2 lead at 11:51 of the third period on Andrew Ference’s goal, but Alex Ovechkin tie it with 4:52 left in regulation. Boston’s Rich Peverley opened the scoring at 5:56 of the first period, and Mike Green tied in midway through the period. —AP

Olympic medal journey at London show LONDON: From mines in the United States and Mongolia to the necks of the world’s most elite athletes, a display at the British Museum investigates the journey of the 4,700 Olympic medals to be handed out in London this summer. Four gold medals designed for the London 2012 Games glisten on display in an exhibition which details the history of all the gold, silver and bronze medals using shavings, ancient medallions, and original moulds. The gold medals for this summer’s Games will be the largest and most valuable ever to be handed out. Weighing in at 400 grams - roughly the same as a can of baked beans - and measuring 88 mm in diameter, the 1st place medal is also the most expensive yet. But it is only made up of 1.2 percent gold. The nationwide search for designers was launched three years ago, and a panel eventually whittled the names down to goldsmiths, David Watkins who designed the Olympic medal, and Lin Cheung, who is the brains behind the Paralympic medal. While the design on the front is dictated by tradition - Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory, has adorned medals since the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam - the back offers a blank canvas. Weaving the river Thames through the design, Watkins brings the medal up to date with a mixture of Greek mythology and images of London, achieving a lushly intricate feat of metal molding. But it wasn’t always plain sailing. At the Royal Mint, last minute technical problems with the gold stamps meant that the image of Nike varies ever so slightly from its predecessor at the

Beijing Olympics in 2008. “There’s not a lot of room for maneouvre there,” explains Philip Attwood, curator of the collection. “But as I understand it, they had to reproduce the models for technical was minor, just so the two sides of the medal worked with each other.” When it comes to pressing gold, such minor tweaking is much more than just small change. Given pride of place at the top of the main stairs, more than 2 million visitors will pass by the four gold medals before they are returned to the Olympic governing body. Hardly anyone passing by can resist getting a picture of themselves with the medals. “I go past here each day, and there are always people, who, as soon as they realize these are the prize medals, walk straight up the stairs and start taking photos,” Attwood said, as a gaggle of French school children sieze upon another tourist to snap them, beaming, and jostling for centre stage, posing as if they were winners themselves. “The display was put up in September last year, to coincide with the launch of the London 2012 Paralympic medal...but we wanted to keep the medals there until the Olympics actually happened so we extended the focus,” Attwood said. “Originally the display was all about 2012, but now we have added in the historical context, and in particular the longstanding link between Britain and the Paralympic movement.” As keeper of the department of coins and medals, Mr Atwood is in charge of 70,000 medals in the British Museum collection - but even he knows it’s not all about going for gold. — Reuters

The winner Karam Humaidani

Abdulwahab Al-Otaibi — second place

Karam Humaidani wins 2012 Red Bull Street Style in Kuwait KUWAIT: Talented Karam Humaidani put in an exceptional performance to win the 2012 Red Bull Street Style in Kuwait which took place at the Marina Crescent. Humaidani dazzled the judges with a jaw-dropping range of tricks as he outclassed in the final freestyler Abdulwahab Al Oteibi who settled for second place. Third place went to Armaan Kurji who managed to outperform Daniel Attieh. Humaidani managed to beat three opponents on his way to the final. From the first match he showed his mettle as he displayed a combination of incredible tricks and moves with the ball. The final which took place at the Marina Crescent was watched by more than 2,000 spectators who enjoyed every single minute of the two hours event. “It’s amazing to win the Red Bull Street Style in Kuwait. I trained very hard for this event, the competition was tough but I managed to hold my nerves along to the final. It’s a dream come true especially that I will be competing in the world final in Italy. Now I have to train harder and harder so I represent Kuwait in the best possible way.” said a joyful

and exhausted Humaidani. Humaidani will join competitors from more than 50 other countries around the world in the 2012 Red Bull Street Style World Final that will take place in Italy. Control, Creativity and Style are the name of the game at Red Bull Street Style. The Judging panel in the final featured Ahmad Al Mutairi (Kazma football club star) who evaluated the Control category. Marzouk Al Ajmi, head of sports in Annahar newspaper and Media Coordinator of the 2006 FIFA World Cup evaluated the style category while Khris Njokwana the Freestyle Champion from South Africa handled the creativity category. Khris Njokwana who also entertained the audience with two amazing shows commented: “The event was amazing, the competitors showed how talented they are. I congratulate Karam for his win and I hope he trains harder for the World Final.” The Red Bull Street Style final saw the best 16 freestyle footballers compete against each other in head-to-head battles for a ticket to the World Final. Each battle followed the same

format: 3 minutes, 2 players, 1 ball, with each freestyler having 30 seconds to impress the judges before passing the ball back to his competitor. The 16 finalists were as follows: Qays Hatoum, Abdulwahab Al Otaibi, Karam Humaidani, Fahed Shahed, Askar El Shemary, Mohamed Ashraf, Daniel Atieh, Ali Khan, Mohamed El Essar, Saoud Al Failakwai, Arman Kurji, Jonathan Finn, Mohamed Kansou, Basel Mohamed, Hussein Al Ramadan and Tala Al Ameen (the only female in the competition.

The winners on the podium




Guardiola’s Midas touch in danger at Nou Camp

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri

Milan looking for improvements ROME: AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri says his team need to improve at home if they are to stand any chance of denying Juventus a first Serie A title since 2003. AC Milan have now taken just one point from their last two matches at the San Siro. In fact, they are struggling all round with five points from their last four league games and only one win in their last six in all competitions. It has allowed Juve to stretch their lead at the top of the table to three points and given that the Old Lady of Turin have the better head-to-head record, Milan need to make up four points if they are to win the league. A month ago Milan seemed on track for a second straight title having opened up a four-point lead over a Juve side that had drawn six out of seven games. But since then, Juve have recovered and won six straight matches while Milan have stuttered. The Turin giants’ 4-0 win over Roma on Sunday was indicative of their recent form. Gone are the days when they struggled to score goals and were hamstrung by a string of draws. Now Antonio Conte’s team have become an unstoppable force, buoyed by Milan’s struggles and helped by their own failure to qualify for Europe this season leaving them fresher. Even so, Allegri believes his team must simplpy get back to winning ways before worrying about what Juve do, something they failed to manage at home to Bologna on Sunday. “We’ve got one point from our last two home games and we needed to get more than that,” said Allegri ahead of Wednesday’s game with Genoa. “We started well (against Bologna) but then we gifted them a goal and became

disorganised. We created a lot in the second half but we didn’t manage to win. “On Wednesday we have another home game and we need to try to win regardless of what Juve do, not least because second place isn’t mathematically secure. And you never know in football.” One advantage Milan have is they will be entertaining Genoa who are in disarray and in freefall towards the relegation trap-door. Genoa were thumped 4-1 at home to Siena on Sunday in a match in which some fans held up the match for 45-minutes in protest at how their team was playing. Genoa have the worst defence in the league and their own fans have turned against them leading to president Enrico Preziosi saying he’d like a stadium closure so they can escape their own supporters. Juve for their part travel to rock bottom Cesena who will be relegated if they fail to win. Their demotion back to Serie B after just two years in the top flight has appeared sure for some time but they at least showed some spirit in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Palermo. Stopping a Juve team that has plundered 18 goals in their last six games will be another matter. Elsewhere Novara could also suffer relegation if they don’t beat Lazio at home, although it would depend on three other teams’ results. Lazio are defending third place, and the final Champions League qualification spot, with a three-point gap to Udinese, who host Inter Milan. Napoli, who travel to Lecce, are four points back with Roma, who host Fiorentina, five behind and Inter six off the pace. —AFP

SPAIN: Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is in danger of tarnishing his reputation as the man with the M idas touch when the holders seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Chelsea in today’s Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp. The 41-year- old former Barca and Spain midfielder has inspired the Catalan club to an impressive 13 trophies since he took charge in 2008, including three straight Spanish league titles and Champions League triumphs in 2009 and 2011. However, elimination from Europe’s elite club competition would be a fresh blow following Saturday ’s 2-1 La Liga reverse at home to Real Madrid which put their bitter Spanish rivals seven points clear at the top with four games left. Real could get another crack at Barca in nex t month’s Champions League final if they manage to get past Bayern Munich, who are seeking to protect a 2-1 lead from last week’s first leg when they play at the Bernabeu tomorrow. Guardiola suffered the rare embarrassment of having to explain why his tactics failed against Real after he left Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and Pedro out of his starting lineup and gambled on 20-year-old Bteam winger Cristian Tello. The pacy Tello showed flashes of promise but wasted one of Barca’s best chances with a wild effor t, while Sanchez scored immediately after coming off the bench. Fabregas had scant opportunity to demonstrate the creativity and eye for goal that Barca paid Arsenal 40 million euros ($52.8 million) for when he replaced Tello with only 10 minutes left. “If I had left other players out you would probably be asking me now why I did not include them,” a defensive Guardiola told a post-match news conference. “Maybe I did get it wrong,” he added. “Maybe with Cesc or other players it would have gone better, who knows?”

Real coach Jose Mourinho, by contrast, executed a successful game plan that appeared to be modelled on the one his former club

thwart World Player of Year and Champions League top scorer Lionel Messi and his team mates. “In the end I have to take the

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez takes part in a training session at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on the eve of their Champions League semi-final second leg football match against Chelsea. —AFP Chelsea used in last week’s first leg at Stamford Bridge. Allowing Barca to dominate possession, defending resolutely and looking to unleash swift counter attacks worked for both sides, but they also needed a slice or two of luck to

consequences for my decisions and there is always a reason for those that I take,” said Guardiola, who has yet to extend his contract beyond the end of this season, prompting speculation he could step aside.

England’s training camp better but not perfect

Powell ready for British soccer debut LONDON: Women’s soccer in Britain has some ground to make up after an initial lack of foresight by the English FA and political rows kept it out of previous Olympics, says Hope Powell, coach of the first British women’s team to take part in the Games. The women’s game, played for more than 100 years but in modern terms developing since the late 1980s, had been embraced far earlier in countries such as Germany and the United States, giving their teams an advantage, added Powell in an interview with Reuters. “We missed a trick,” said Powell who has been coach of the English team for 14 years. “I travel round the world and meet people from different associations. They put their success down to having the complete and total backing of the association from the start. “They invested heavily in their game because they believed in the product. They believe they are good enough to win things but recognise that they would have to invest in it and initially lose some money. “We struggle with that sometimes. It is trying to convince decision makers that we have a really good product and we need to invest more money. But money is not readily available so we need more resources. “If we want to compete with Germany, we need to look at what they have achieved. At the moment, we are not close. If we want to win things, we need to bridge that gap.” After decades of debate, Britain’s home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - independent nations under FIFA rules - are fielding united British soccer teams at the London Games. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have long been reluctant to supply players for a British team, fearing they could lose their independence within FIFA, and a men’s united team last competed at the Olympics in Rome in 1960. Women’s soccer made its Olympic debut in 1996 but no British team has previously taken part. Powell, who missed out on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a player and the 2008 Beijing Games as a coach because of the home nations problems, could now become the first coach of a British women’s

team to win an Olympic fixture. With the host nation kicking off the soccer competition two days before the official opening ceremony on July 27, Britain’s opening match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium is the first event of the entire Games. Their first-round opponents will not be known until the draw for the men and women’s competitions is made at Wembley on Tuesday, but, whoever her team face, Powell is just happy to have the chance to take part at last. “We have qualified for the Olympics twice before - 1996 and 2008. Unfortunately, because of the Home Nations issue, we didn’t take part,” she said. “The fact we are in this Olympics, on home ground, is fantastic. What happens after that, we will have to wait and see. But it will be a great opportunity for us to showcase the sport and raise the profile. “I just want to make sure the players understand that and embrace it. We want everyone to be aware women’s football does exist and is part of a great event. Hopefully that will help what we are trying to do in the future.” Despite slow progress in the past, Powell is optimistic about the future, saying women’s soccer has made great strides. The FA runs a semi-professional Women’s Super League and increasing numbers of girls and women play at all levels. “We are in a better position than we have ever been. Could we be further down the line? Yes. We take longer. The ultimate would be for the players to be full-time. “Certainly from an international perspective, when I talk about my own role, I deal with the elite. If they had the opportunity to be full-time and have a ball at their feet every day and in an environment where they were being coached every day, it would improve them. “But we are in a better situation than we have ever been. The players are semiprofessional. The next stage would be professional full-time contracts. With that comes investment and sponsorship. That is why we want to get a really positive image out there and the Olympics is the perfect showcase.” —Reuters

“The adjective disappointing is not appropriate for what we did in London or here,” he added. “Disappointing is when your people do not perform. It’s one thing to win or lose but disappointing is not the right word.” Didier Drogba, the scourge of Barca last week, is Chelsea’s main injur y doubt having missed Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal with a knee injury. Not only did the Ivorian striker score the only goal, he continually disrupted the flow of the game by falling to the floor, prompting ridicule and criticism of his antics on Twitter and other social media. If Drogba is missing, Fernando Torres will almost cer tainly lead the attack against a club he tormented during his stint at Atletico Madrid. The misfiring striker netted seven goals in 10 La Liga matches against Barca and twice scored doubles at the Nou Camp but has suffered a spectacular loss of form since moving to London from Liverpool midway through the 2010-11 season. Chelsea will definitely be without injured Brazilian centre-back David Luiz, but in his absence Gary Cahill and captain John Terry look to be forging a solid partnership. Interim coach Rober to Di Matteo, who played against Guardiola in a Champions League quar ter-final in the 1999-2000 campaign, seemed to be using Saturday’s match against Arsenal as something of a dress rehearsal for today’s game. To use Mourinho’s phrase, the Italian “parked the bus” in front of goal at the Emirates as they got the result that, if repeated today, would see t h e m t h ro u g h to t h e f i n a l. “Chelsea played with three defensive midfielders in the middle so it was difficult to play through there,” Arsenal m a n a g e r A r s e n e We n g e r said. “ They wanted to practise the system they will use today.” —Reuters

BUENOS AIRES: Instituto’s Nicolas Lopez Macri (right) fights for the ball with River Plate’s Cesar Gonzalez during an Argentine league second division soccer match. —AP

Boca stay on top, River win key division clash BUENOS AIRES: Boca Juniors stayed top of the Argentine first division championship with a 1-1 draw at Belgrano on Sunday while their relegated arch-rivals River Plate enjoyed a crucial win at the Monumental. Champions Boca have 21 points from 11 matches but can be overtaken in the Clausura championship standings by Newell’s Old Boys, who are one point behind before their match at Arsenal on Monday. Boca fell behind to a 23rd-minute goal by Matias Gimenez but equalised four minutes after the interval when midfielder Walter Erviti rifled a shot into the roof of the net. Promoted Belgrano were the team that sent River Plate into relegation for the first time by beating them in a playoff last June. River were at home to Instituto in a Primera B Nacional (second tier) top-ofthe-table clash on Saturday at the Monumental, packed with a crowd of 55,000. Defeat would have left River trailing Instituto in second place by seven points but a goal by former France striker David Trezeguet gave them a 1-0 win that leaves them a point behind. The 34-year-old Trezeguet, rejuvenated since returning to the city where he grew

up to play for River, took his tally to eight league goals. While it was not his most eye-catching goal, scuffing the loose ball into the net from a rebound off the goalkeeper, it was arguably his most important so far. “I wouldn’t change this goal for anything given it’s importance (and) what this match meant,” Trezeguet told reporters. “We suffered to win. It was a thrill to see the Monumental packed as it was.” The first division has lost its “superclasico” derby with River’s absence but they and Boca are both on course for the final of the Copa Argentina knockout competition having reached the quarter-finals. —Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Champions League Barcelona v Chelsea Aljazeera Sport +7 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Aljazeera Sport +4 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


KR AKOW: Polish officials have promised England world-class training facilities at Euro 2012 but the area surrounding their camp still leaves a lot to be desired. The 1966 World Cup winners will train in the city of Krakow after the English FA agreed to share the costs of upgrading the facilities at local team Hutnik in exchange for their use during the June championship co -hosted by Ukraine. Last year the UK’s Sun newspaper published photos of the changing rooms with bare walls and strewn with rubble, saying the site was “barely fit for a pub team”. “ The changing rooms are now exactly the same as Arsenal’s,” Krakow ’s deputy mayor Magdalena Sroka told Reuters in an interview. “We had our people visit Arsenal. What they saw there was good and they did the same here.” England will play in the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Donetsk but are to train in Krakow. The city has cracked down on media access to the facilities since the December expose and pleaded for patience while moving ahead with refurbishment and planting new grass on the training pitch. “ We have a video camera installed to monitor the progress of grass growth and we have British greenkeepers coming here every week,” Sroka said. She also said representatives of the English FA who visited the site last week were pleased with what they saw. Reuters did not have access to the changing rooms but got a peak of the stadium and nearby facilities from the outside and they looked far from ready to host the world’s top footballers. Three or four workers were putting fresh paint on rusted railings surrounding the stadium. There were also letters missing on a sign for a sports hall opposite the site and wide holes and cracks on the surface of a nearby car park. “The pitch and the changing rooms are important and all the rest is irrelevant,” Sroka said. Krakow is not among the four Polish cities that will stage Euro 2012 matches but the Dutch and Italians will also have training camps there. The Dutch will train at Wisla Krakow, the city’s top club in recent years, while the Italians have selected a smaller ground occupied by local rivals Cracovia. —Reuters




Vasco beats Flamengo to reach Rio Cup final

Barcelona’s defender Gerard Pique

Pique denies Guardiola rift BARCELONA: Barcelona defender Gerard Pique dismissed reports of a rift with coach Pep Guardiola here yesterday on the eve of the Spanish giants’ crunch semi-final second leg with Chelsea. Pique, regarded as one of the key figures in Barcelona’s evolution in recent years, was surprisingly omitted from last week’s first leg defeat at Stamford Bridge and was also left on the bench for Saturday’s ‘Clasico’ with Real Madrid. The 25-year-old defender’s recent exclusion from the starting XI follows persistent rumours of a fall-out with Guardiola, but Pique insisted here Monday that his relationship with the Barcelona coach remained solid. “It is a new situation for me because I’m used to playing and in the last matches I have not had a chance to play,” Pique told reporters at the Camp Nou. “But it’s a technical decision of the manager and I have to respect that.” Pique learnt his trade at Barcelona before spending the early part of his career at Manchester United, eventually returning to Catalonia in 2008 at the start of Guardiola’s reign as coach. “We got here together in the same year-him as a coach and me as a player,” Pique said. “We’re part of a very important era for this club and I trust him.” Pique is also convinced that Guardiola, who has yet to commit his future to Barcelona beyond the end of the season, will continue at the helm. “I think he’s going to keep going-he

loves this club, he loves his profession. I think there is no bigger passion for him than football and FC Barcelona. So really I bet he will be with us next year. “My relationship with him is very good. Some people here might doubt it but our relationship here is very good.” Pique meanwhile revealed he had sought out Guardiola last week to seek guidance about his current exclusion from the team. “He just told me what he thought and that’s it. He’s always been tough with me but I like that,” he said. Barcelona’s defeat to Chelsea in the first leg last week and the loss to Real Madrid on Saturday has led some observers to question whether the club might be in the grip of a mini-slump. Pique laughed off suggestions that Barcelona’s recent problems were anything other than a blip however. “I believe a team that has won 13 awards in the last few years deserves more credit than that,” he said. “People talk too easily. I think we deserve more respect.” He also denied that the defeats to Chelsea and Madrid were linked to the failure of Lionel Messi to score. “I think that the opposition knows us very well now and it is very difficult to get behind the defence and score,” he said. “Of course Leo offers us a great deal and his goals are vital sometimes, but we have a lot of players who can score. I don’t think we have a Messi dependency. We have proved that.”—AFP

VALENCIA: Real Betis’s forward Ruben Castro (center) vies for the ball with Valencia’s midfielder Jordi Alba (left) and Valencia’s Dutch defender Hedwiges Maduro (right) during the Spanish league football match. —AFP

Valencia crush Betis BARCELONA: Valencia demolished Real Betis 4-0 in La Liga on Sunday to warm up for Thursday’s task of overturning a 4-2 Europa League semi-final deficit at home to Atletico Madrid. The victory, only a second success for Unai Emery’s side in seven league outings, put them four points clear in third place of Malaga with four games left and tightened their grip on an automatic place in next season’s Champions League. Valencia have 55 points, with Malaga on 51 in fourth, a Champions League qualification berth, ahead of their game at Osasuna late yesterday. Jonas exchanged passes with Roberto Soldado and poked the ball past Betis goalkeeper Fabricio to open the scoring in the sixth minute at the Mestalla. Betis defender Jose Antonio Dorado was shown a straight red card early in the second half when he brought down Sofiane Feghouli before the French midfielder picked himself up to volley the home side’s second from a Sergio Canales centre five minutes later. Soldado added a third four minutes from time, substitute Pablo Piatti twisted the knife with a fourth and Betis’s misery was complete when Jorge Molina was dismissed for protesting a decision in the dying moments. “It was an important win for us and now we focus on Thursday,” Canales, who has impressed since his recent return from a knee injury, said in an interview with Spanish TV. “We know that Atletico are going to be a very tough proposition as they were in the first leg but if we play like we did tonight then we have a chance,” he added. A quickfire Arda Turan double, including

an acrobatic bicycle kick, fired Atletico to a 3-1 home win over Espanyolthat lifted them up to seventh. The Turkey playmaker settled the match at a sun-bathed Calderon when he volleyed in Juanfran’s centre in the 59th minute before dancing his way through a cluster of defenders and netting off a post. Diego Godin had nodded Atletico in front in the ninth minute and Didac Vila levelled for the visitors with a shot that went in off the underside of the bar 10 minutes later. “Arda’s presence in front of goal was a necessity that we have been crying out for,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who has revived the club’s fortunes since taking over at the turn of the year, told a news conference. “He is a player who tactically and technically is very important for the team,” added the former Argentina captain and Atletico fan favourite.” Atletico’s victory boosted their chances of playing in Europe again next season and put them on 48 points with four games left, level with sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao and a point behind Levante, who drew 1-1 at Sevilla on Saturday. Bilbao won 1-0 at bottom club Racing Santander, a result which left the Cantabrian club on the brink of relegation. Gaizka Toquero struck early for the Basques, who host Portuguese side Sporting in their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday having lost last week’s first leg in Lisbon 2-1. Leaders Real Madrid have one hand on a first league title in four years after Cristiano Ronaldo netted a superb 73rd-minute winner in a dramatic 2-1 win at champions Barcelona on Saturday that stretched their advantage to seven points.—Reuters

SAO PAULO: Vasco da Gama recovered after conceding an early goal to defeat Flamengo 3-2 on Sunday and reach the Rio Cup final. Playmaker Felipe scored twice in Vasco’s victory, which added even more pressure on Ronaldinho’s Flamengo after the popular team’s early elimination in the Copa Libertadores just over a week ago. Vasco will now play Botafogo, which defeated Bangu 4-2 on Saturday behind a hat trick by Uruguay striker Sebastian “El Loco” Abreu in the other semifinal of the second stage of the Rio state championship. In the quarterfinals of the Sao Paulo state tournament, Brazilian champion Corinthians fell 3-2 at home to Ponte Preta, and Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras was eliminated after losing by the same score to Guarani in Campinas. Defending champion Santos advanced with a 2-0 home win over Mogi Mirim behind a goal and an assist by Neymar, who reached 99 career goals with the Brazilian club. Santos will face Sao Paulo, which defeated Bragantino 4-1 on Saturday thanks to two goals by former Brazil striker Luis Fabiano, who will not play in the semis because of a yellow card suspension. Former CSKA striker Vagner Love opened the scoring for Flamengo with a goal just three minutes into the match at the Engenhao stadium in Rio, but Vasco forward Eder Luis equalized in the 14th and Felipe added to the lead in the 41st and 49th minutes.

BRAZIL: Flamengo’s Gonzalez (top) and Vasco da Gama’s Renato Silva (bottom) jump for a high ball during a Copa Carioca Rio de Janeiro state championship soccer semifinal match.—AP Flamengo stayed within reach with a long-range shot by 2006 World Cup veteran midfielder Kleberson, but it couldn’t capitalize on its scoring chance at the end. Flamengo had beaten Vasco in the last match of the group round in a controversial game in which Vasco said the officiating crew benefited Flamengo. Brazil’s most popular club was eliminated in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores on April 12, and two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho has been blamed by many fans and local

media as the responsible for his team’s struggles because of subpar performances since arriving in the beginning of last year. Botafogo reached the final thanks to the three goals by Abreu in the 4-2 win over Bangu at the Engenhao. Abreu missed a penalty kick, however, his sixth in the last seventh try. Fluminense - the other top team in Rio along with Vasco, Botafogo and Flamengo - didn’t advance to the semifinals of the Rio Cup but it had already guaranteed a spot in the overall Rio state final because it won the

Guanabara Cup, the competition’s first stage. Brazil does not follow the European football calendar. Regional championships are played in the first few months and the Brazilian league starts only next month. In the Rio Grande do Sul state championship, Argentine playmaker Jesus Datolo scored twice in Internacional’s 4-0 win over Veranopolis on Sunday, helping the club reach a final against Porto Alegre city rival Gremio in the second stage of the state championship.—AP

Cubans tune in to Real vs Barcelona HAVANA: Nobody thinks the beautiful game is about to run baseball off this Caribbean island, although it’s indisputable that Cubans have developed a near-fanatic interest in Messi and Ronaldo, Kaka and Xavi. That was evident during Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona. Fans gathered across the island to watch the Clasico live on television, many ignoring the fact that Cuba’s baseball league is closing in on its playoffs. Reflecting the growing interest, some fans are willing to spend up to $50 for a Real or Barcelona shirt - that’s 21/2 times the average Cuban’s monthly salary - to support their favorite Spanish club. Real Madrid fan Antonio Tenjido hosted 15 fellow “football fanatics” on Saturday to watch his club upset Barcelona at Camp Nou. Tenjido also has organized 16 amateur teams across the capital, which is dotted with fan clubs. Among the hardcore fans at Tenjido’s bash was 23-year-old student Abel Carrasco, who wore Sergio Ramos’ shirt, a Real scarf - and on his right calf a tattoo of Real Madrid’s famous crest. In between shouts of “gol, gol, gol” and “ole, ole, ole” - and shots of vodka and orange juice - there was also lots of good-natured ribbing of the lone Barcelona fan, Pablo Saucedo. “I wasn’t going to miss this,” Saucedo said. “Imagine, I have to watch this despite all the others being Real Madrid fans. They’re my friends.

What am I going to do?” Soccer has been setting down roots around the Caribbean with clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona reaching a new fan base. The Spanish league is followed on local television in Cuba, and state television helped the sport grow by telecasting the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The sport also is catching on in places like Venezuela, another baseball-crazed country. “Real Madrid games are shown around the world and serve as a bridge for contact with the fans,” said Emilio Butragueno, the former Real Madrid striker and director of institutional relations for the club. “Though we may not be aware of it, a kid in Cuba or Trinidad and Tobago sees Cristiano Ronaldo as someone who is part of his life.” In a recent poll by Cuban station Radio Coco, about 2,000 people were asked what sports events interested them most. Surprisingly, 43.5 percent listed a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. A baseball game between Cuba and the United States in the World Baseball Classic interested 18 percent. An Argentina vs. Brazil soccer match was singled out by 14.3 percent. A local baseball game drew a lowly 10.1 percent response. Soccer has a 100-year history in Cuba, but has been overshadowed by baseball. The national soccer federation has been a member of FIFA since 1926, although the national team has sel-

dom made positive headlines and is No. 136 in this month’s FIFA ranking, just ahead of Kazakhstan and Ethiopia. Cuba’s only appearance in the World Cup came in 1938. It drew 3-3 with Romania and then defeated the same team 2-1. It was knocked out of the tournament with an 8-0 loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals. In contrast, the baseball team has won three Olympic gold medals and is considered one of the world’s top teams. In recent Olympic soccer qualifying matches, Cuba was battered 6-0 by the United States and 4-0 by El Salvador. To add to the pain, Cuban midfielder Yosmel de Armas defected to the United States during the tournament. About 15 of Cuba’s top soccer players have deserted in the last 10 years. Osvaldo Alonso left in 2008 and is now a star with the Seattle Sounders, and Maykel Galindo left in 2005 and has been a top player for Chivas USA and FC Dallas. The defections have hurt Cuba’s national team, but haven’t dampened interest in the Spanish game. “Barcelona is my team, and football is my passion but I also love baseball,” said 25-year-old Dany Reses, wearing Xavi’s No. 6 shirt as he attended a baseball game recently between Cuban clubs Matanzas and Industriales, both of which have booked places in the playoffs. —AP

Three playoff spots still open in Mexico MEXICO CITY: Three playoff berths are still up for grabs in Mexico’s first division with five decided as the season enters the final round of the regular season. Tijuana, Pachuca, Cruz Azul and Jaguares are all still in the running for the remaining playoff spots, while Santos Laguna, Morelia, Tigres, Monterrey and America have already secured their places in the postseason. In this weekend’s matches, Santos Laguna defeated Tigres 3-0, Monterrey drew 1-1 with Pachuca, Tijuana won 1-0 against San Luis, Cruz Azul defeated Estudiantes Tecos 5-2, Jaguares won 3-0 against Pumas, Morelia drew 1-1 against Atlante, America won 3-2 against Puebla, Queretaro and Toluca drew 2-2, and Atlas defeated Chivas 1-0. Rodolfo Salinas and Darwin Quintero both scored in the first half to help Santos Laguna defeat defending champion Tigres and move into first place on the standings. Juan Pablo Rodriguez added the third in the 67th minute from the penalty spot to hand Tigres their biggest defeat in over two years. A dramatic injury-time free kick from Chilean Humberto Suazo gave Monterrey a point against Pachuca after Daniel Arreola’s 16th-minute goal for Pachuca looked like it might guarantee his team’s place in the playoffs. Colombian Duvier Riasco got the only goal of the game for Tijuana against San Luis in the 74th minute. The result means Tijuana, the last team to gain promotion to the first division, will be in the playoffs if it earns a draw next weekend.

Two goals from Edixon Perea helped Cruz Azul to its 5-2 victory over already-relegated Estudiantes Tecos. Gerardo Flores opened the scoring in the 34th, with an own goal by Estudiantes Teco captain Juan Carlos Leano extending Cruz Azul’s lead just before halftime. Perea’s two goals came in the 63rd and 73rd minutes. Israel Castro added the fifth for Cruz Azul in the 85th. Rubens Sambueza and Eduardo Lillington scored second half goals for Estudiantes Tecos. Colombian Franco Arizala got the first goal for Jaguares two minutes after halftime and added the third five minutes before the end of the game. Jackson Martinez scored the other goal for Jaguares in the 66th. Joel Huiqui’s last-minute, scrambled goal rescued a point for Morelia against Atlante, which had led after a 57th minute goal from Jose Francisco Fonseca. American international DaMarcus Beasley scored a secondhalf equalizer for Puebla against America, but Christian Benitez netted from the penalty spot four minutes from time to move America into second position. Daniel Montenegro put America in the lead in the 7th from a direct free kick. Luis Garcia equalized for Puebla with a penalty in the 25th, before America again went in front on an unlucky own-goal by Gonzalo Pineda. Toluca came from 2-0 down against Queretaro to draw thanks to two second half goals from Uruguayan Ivan Alonso. Israel Martinez scored Queretaro’s first in the 30th and Mitchel Oviedo added the second four minutes later.

MEXICO: Cruz Azul’s Edixon Perea (right) and Queretaro’s Efrain Cortes go for a header during a Mexican soccer league match.—AP Atlas won the Guadalajara derby thanks to a glancing header from Flavio Santos three minutes after halftime. Both teams ended the game with 10 men. Kristian Alvarez was sent off in the 90th minute for Chivas, with Lucas Ayala dismissed for Atlas three minutes later. Dutchman John van’t Schip was

named Saturday as the new coach of Mexican club Guadalajara Chivas. Van’t Schip replaces Ignacio Ambriz, who resigned after not receiving a contract for next season. Interim coach Alberto Coyote will handle the club until the Clausura season ends with Van’t Schip taking over after that.—AP

Guardiola’s Midas touch in danger at Nou Camp

Azarenka and Sharapova lead field in Stuttgart




Pakistan coach hopes PPL attracts foreign players

Page 17

LOS ANGELES: New Orleans Hornets forward Gustavo Ayon (left) of Mexico and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin battle for a rebound during the first half of their NBA basketball game.—AP

Lakers outlast Thunder in double OT LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant scored six of his 26 points in the second overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half for a 114-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Metta World Peace scored 12 points before getting ejected late in the second quarter for a vicious elbow to the back of James Harden’s head while celebrating a dunk. Harden, who had 14 points, briefly returned to Oklahoma City’s bench, but didn’t play again. Pau Gasol had 20 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, who made an impressive comeback in their regular-season home finale against off-target Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who combined to miss 42 of their 56 shots. Knicks 113, Hawks 112 At Atlanta, Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points as New York outlasted Atlanta in a game between two playoff-bound teams still battling for postseason seeding. The Hawks took their final lead at 112111 on Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:50 left. Anthony countered with a jumper 10 seconds later for the final margin. Amare Stoudemire blocked a dunk attempt by Atlanta’s Marvin Williams moments before the buzzer. Stoudemire started at center in place of Tyson Chandler, who was resting a sore knee. Williams, who led Atlanta with a season-high 29 points, wanted a foul call on Anthony or Stoudemire, both of whom appeared to make contact. Clippers 107, Hornets 98 At Los Angeles, Chris Paul had 33 points and 13

assists, and Randy Foye hit three of his six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers rallied for a victory over New Orleans to move within a half-game of the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Foye scored 24 points, and Blake Griffin had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Clippers’ 40th victory - their most since the 2006-07 team won that many. Paul made 17 of 19 free throws, while Griffin hit 7 of 9. Eric Gordon scored 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu added 14 against their former team. They were part of the trade that sent Paul to the Clippers before the season. Kings 114, Bobcats 88 At Charlotte, North Carolina, DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 10 rebounds as Sacramento handed Charlotte its 20th straight loss. The Kings had lost nine of their previous 10 games, but this one was never in doubt as they scored 78 points in the paint and led by as many as 35 in the fourth quarter. Tyreke Evans was dominant while slicing his way through a non-existent Bobcats defense, hitting 10 of 11 shots from the field and finishing with 22 points. Kemba Walker had 13 points and 11 assists for the Bobcats. If the Bobcats (7-56) lose their final three games, they’ll finish with the worst winning percentage in league history. Heat 97, Rockets 88 At Miami, LeBron James had 32 points and eight rebounds, and Norris Cole added 16 points as Miami pulled away in the final minutes to eliminate Houston from postseason contention. Mike Miller scored 11 for injury-depleted Miami, which still has a mathematical chance of catching

Chicago for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Joel Anthony added 11 for the Heat on 5-for-5 shooting. Chandler Parsons scored a career-high 23 for Houston, which led by as many as 13 in the first half. Goran Dragic scored 16, while Courtney Lee and Patrick Patterson had 14 apiece for the Rockets.

NBA results/standings Texas 3, Detroit 2 (11 innings); St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 1; Tampa Bay 6, Minnesota 2; Houston 12, LA Dodgers 0; Toronto 5, Kansas City 3; Colorado 4, Milwaukee 1; Cincinnati 4, Chicago Cubs 3; Baltimore 3, LA Angels 2 (10 innings); San Diego 6, Philadelphia 1; Oakland 5, Cleveland 1; Arizona 6, Atlanta 4; Chicago White Sox 7, Seattle 4. American League Eastern Division W L NY Yankees 9 6 Toronto 9 6 Tampa Bay 9 7 Baltimore 9 7 Boston 4 10 Central Division Detroit 10 6 Chicago White Sox 9 6 Cleveland 8 6 Minnesota 5 11 Kansas City 3 12 Western Division Texas 13 3 Oakland 8 9 Seattle 7 10 LA Angels 6 10

Pistons 76, Raptors 73 At Auburn, Michigan, reserve Ben Gordon scored 19 points, including the go-ahead basket, to help Detroit beat Toronto. Gordon’s 3-pointer with less than 3 minutes to play broke a 68-all tie and he added four subsequent free throws to keep Detroit ahead. Rookie Brandon Knight also had 19 points to help the Pistons end a two-game losing streak. DeMar DeRozan had 16 for the Raptors, who lost their third straight.

championship number one. In Bahrain, a race held against a backdrop of nightly clashes between police and anti-government protesters with tear gas and petrol bombs, world champion Sebastian Vettel won for Red Bull and toppled Hamilton. For the first time since 2003, no one driver has managed to take a repeat victory in the opening four races while new faces have emerged. The sport has witnessed Rosberg’s first win in 111 starts, Sergio Perez taking the first podium finish by a Mexican in 41 years and Romain Grosjean putting France back in the top three for the first time since Jean Alesi in 1998. The one constant, apart from Red Bull’s Mark Webber racking up four fourth places in a row, has been the influence of the Pirelli tyres on proceedings. Mercedes managed to find the ‘sweet spot’ in Shanghai, and McLaren were completely unable to put their finger on it in Bahrain where they punished the rear tyres and Red Bull and Lotus suddenly looked very quick. “Clearly we did something wrong,” said Whitmarsh, whose team are now second behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings. “You look at our (race) pace by comparison to the long runs on Friday and we were a second slower. A second slower is 30 or 40 points of downforce. Well, we didn’t lose 30 or 40 points of downforce. “These tyres are very challenging. If you get in

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Warriors 93, T’wolves 88 At Minneapolis, Charles Jenkins had 24 points and nine assists while playing all 48 minutes to rally Golden State from a 21-point deficit. Brandon Rush scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed nine rebounds. Klay Thompson scored 17 points for the Warriors, who snapped an eight-game losing streak. Nikola Pekovic had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and JJ Barea had 14 points and 12 assists in all 48 minutes for the Timberwolves, who announced earlier that All-Star power forward Kevin Love would not play the final two games of the season because of a concussion.

to lead San Antonio to its seventh straight victory. San Antonio (47-16) moved 11/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City, which lost to the Lakers earlier Sunday, in the race for the best record in the Western Conference. A victory over Portland on Monday would secure the top spot in the West for the Spurs, who own the tiebreaker over the Thunder.

Spurs 114, Cavaliers 98 At San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored 20 points

Nuggets 101, Magic 74 At Denver, JaVale McGee scored 17 points,

Washington Atlanta NY Mets Miami Philadelphia St. Louis Milwaukee Cincinnati Pittsburgh Houston Chicago Cubs LA Dodgers Colorado Arizona San Francisco San Diego

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throwing down a half-dozen dunks in the second half as Denver pulled away to beat Orlando. Danilo Gallinari also scored 17, Arron Afflalo had 15 and Ty Lawson 13 for the Nuggets, who swept the two-game season series with Orlando, avoiding the Magic’s injured Dwight Howard both times. Ryan Anderson scored 24 points for the Magic, who lost their third straight. Glen Davis added 14 points for Orlando, which also lost guard Jameer Nelson to a calf injury. He left the game in the first quarter and did not return.—AP

Murray praises Nadal

And the next winner is...anyone’s guess LONDON: Four separate race winners, four different constructors on the top of the podium and no one driver managing to hold the championship lead for more than one grand prix weekend. Formula One teams headed back to Europe yesterday after the opening long-haul phase of the championship in Asia and the Middle East with plenty to mull over and the next race winner, let alone the ultimate destination of both titles, anyone’s guess. “It’s a much more interesting championship right now than I would like it to be, it really is,” observed McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh after Sunday’s controversial Bahrain Grand Prix. Last month, it had looked like McLaren could be on for a year of Red Bull-like dominance. Lewis Hamilton started the first two races on pole with McLaren team mate Jenson Button completing the front-row sweep in Australia and Malaysia. Button won the opener in Melbourne but rainhit Malaysia was a race against all the odds, won by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in a car that everyone thought was off the pace but that was good enough to make the Spaniard overall leader. Then, in China, Mercedes swept the front row, thanks to a grid penalty for Hamilton, and Nico Rosberg took the first win by a works Silver Arrow since 1955. Hamilton, still without a victory, was

PCT .600 .600 .563 .563 .286

National League Eastern Division 12 4 10 6 8 6 7 8 7 9 Central Division 11 5 7 9 7 9 6 9 6 10 4 12 Western Division 12 4 8 7 8 8 7 7 5 12

BAHRAIN: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, leads during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix . —AP the sweet spot then you are in great shape and if you are out of it you are in for a pretty tough time.” The next race, the Spanish Grand Prix at the familiar Barcelona circuit on May 13, could see yet another different winner. Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion in his comeback season after two years out, came close to passing Vettel for victory on Sunday in his Lotus, while Hamilton has yet to win.—Reuters

BARCELONA: The accolades continued to rain down yesterday on Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard made tennis history at the weekend by winning an eighth straight Monte Carlo title by beating world number one Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1. But with the king of clay now turning his attention to lifting a seventh from eight attempts at the Barcelona Open, he’s received an unexpected morale boost from his secondseeded main rival this week, Andy Murray. “I don’t think anyone can question the fast that Nadal is the best ever on clay,” said world number four Murray, who learned his own dirt tennis in the Catalan capital as a teenager. “You can never say ‘never’ but his eight in a row is a record that certainly be hard to break,” said Murray, who has played Barcelona twice (2005, 2006) but won just one match. He withdrew to let an elbow injury heal in 2011. Nadal will aim to keep his focus this week. “I’m only concentrating on playing well here, this is one of the nicest tournaments of the year for me. That is my challenge, not to become number one again, I’m home and this is very special to me. I’m so comfortable here.” Murray said he wants to start improving his own record at the Real Club de Tenis, where he begins in the second round against Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who beat Russian Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-3 on Monday. “I’d like to start winning some matches, but I’m feeling better each day on the clay. It takes me a few weeks to get adjusted to the surface,”

said the 21011 French Open semi-finalist. “It feels like home to me here since I trained here a lot when I was young.” In first-round matches, Canadian 11th seed Milos Raonic bounced back from an early Monte Carlo exit, defeating Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). Colombian Santiago Giraldo levelled the national scoreline as he beat Uzbek Denis Istomin 7-6 (7/3), 6-4. Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, who lost a quarter-final against Nadal here six years ago, started with a defeat of Spaniard Javier Marti 6-4, 61. Less than 24 hours after crushing Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 in the Monte Carlo final, Nadal was outlining his chances in Barcelona. “Beating the number one is special, but Novak (mourning the loss of his grandfather last week) made more errors than usual and I took advantage of that. I did have a few mistakes with my backhand though,” said Nadal. The top seed will open tomorrow after a first-round bye, facing the winner from compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Belgium’s Olivier Rochus. Nadal said that despite trailing Djokovic in the rankings as the Serb put together a record-setting 2011 season of ten titles including three of the four grand slams, “I had a great season last year. “But there was a player who did better, and usually sport is fair. And at the (January) Australian Open final, I came close to winning. It was important to beat Novak, but it’s really only about the titles, not whom you defeat in the final.”—AFP

UAE Central Bank circular puzzles key borrowers Page 22

High oil prices, sluggish spending point to record budget surplus Page 23


Kuwait equities buoyant as services stock support Page 24

Spain back in recession as economy shrinks in Q1 Page 25

BEIJING: Latest model of Rolls Royce Phantom Series II is on display at the Beijing International Auto Exhibition in Beijing. —AP. (See Page 25)

KSE targets derivatives, transparency New platform marks biggest change since 1995 KUWAIT: Kuwait’s stock exchange will clamp down on trading “misbehavior” and offer investors a fairer playing field in the biggest overhaul of its trading system in nearly two decades, a senior bourse official said yesterday. The exchange plans to introduce the “Xstream” trading system on May 13, backed by The Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. It will pave the way for trade in financial instruments such as Islamic bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It will also keep a closer eye on possible cases of insider trading or price manipulation using an integrated surveillance system. “I hope that in the first quarter of next year we will switch on the derivatives part of the X-stream system. We will start with Kuwaiti derivatives,” Kuwait Stock Exchange Projects Manager Issam Alusaimi told Reuters in an interview. The “Kuwaiti deriva-

tives” include futures and options now traded on third-party systems. International products such as Islamic bonds and ETFs will be introduced later, he said. One of the aims of the new platform, which cost around 18.3 million dinars ($65.6 million), is to stamp out dubious practices in one of the region’s oldest exchanges. A surveillance system will collect realtime data and analyze it for any signs of wrongdoing. “In every exchange there is always misbehavior of traders, whether it is based on insider information, or speculation... Every country has unique players. We are going to tune our surveillance system to catch the Kuwaiti behavior,” Alusaimi said. The new platform will scrap the lots system, allowing investors to trade as little as one share at a time rather than being forced to make bulk orders and levelling the field, he

said. It will also adopt an auction for closing prices. Investors will be able to place orders for up to 90 days in the future rather than requiring trades to be executed on the same day. The new system will open up the exchange for greater trade capacity and Alusaimi said he hoped the platform would enliven trade. The exchange sometimes only sees 3,000-4,000 trades a session while 27,000 is a top day, Alusaimi said. “We have to put a projection over five years. We do not want to run out of gas after one year... This is in anticipation of increased trading after we do away with the lots,” he said. The stock exchange, which the government plans to privatize, will also introduce a blue-chip index of 15 top companies based on trade volume or market capitalization.

Kuwait is home to some of the largest investment groups in the Gulf region such as Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) and Global Investment House. The bourse suffered heavy losses during the global financial crisis spurring the introduction of a market watchdog, which has recently ordered several companies to delist after they failed to report earnings on time. Starting as a fledgling, unregulated market in the 1960s, the exchange was formally set up in 1984 and introduced its first trading electronic system in 1995. The new Xstream platform is the biggest change since then. Users will also get access to data via a subscription-based website rather than having to rely on the old internal system or telephones. “The 1995 system was matching the requirements of that time now it has to change,” Alusaimi said. —Reuters

AUB reports a 6.6% rise in Q1 profit to $ 82.4m

PARIS: A trader reacts in front of her screen in a business bank in Paris. — AP file photo

French stock market in red over poll fears PARIS: France’s stock market opened deep in the red yesterday and the euro tumbled after the Socialist candidate came out on top in the first round of the country’s presidential election, raising questions about whether the markets are nervous about a Francois Hollande victory. But analysts caution that a 2 percent fall in the country’s CAC-40 index and a 0.5 percent retreat by the euro against the dollar may have more to do with worries about Europe in general than fears of a leftwing resident in the Elysee Palace. For one, while most polls had predicted Hollande would come out slightly ahead of President Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round, a strong showing by the far-right candidate came as a surprise. Hollande took 28.6 percent of the ballots cast Sunday and Sarkozy 27.2 percent; anti-immigrant firebrand Marine Le Pen came in third with 17.9 percent.

That injects an element of uncertainty into the May 6 second round, and markets hate uncertainty. Another reason for caution in analyzing the slide is that the French elections weren’t the only thing focusing investors’ attention yesterday. A key survey of economic activity in the euro-zone fell, suggesting that the economies of the 17 nations that use the euro are going to struggle to eke out growth this year. On top of that, the Dutch government quit Monday after negotiations on a new austerity package fell apart. That’s an indication the French aren’t the only ones bristling at spending cuts. Last, many economists have pointed out that neither of the leading French candidates has a strong program for restarting growth, reducing an unemployment rate of near 10 percent, and cutting a deficit that’s more than 5 percent of GDP. —AP

KUWAIT: Ahli United Bank BSC (AUB) reported a net profit attributable to its equity shareholders of $82.4 million for the quarter ended 31 March 2012, a 6.6% increase over the same period in 2011 (Q1/2011: $77.3 million). The resultant Earnings per Share were US 1.6 cents, compared to US 1.5 cents achieved in Q1/2011. The result also represents a 17.2% improvement over the Q/4-2011 trailing quarter reported profit of $70.3 million. The key driver to these results was the increase in the operating income of the Bank from $191.2 million to $210.5 million (+ 10.1%), underpinned by the rise in net interest income by 10.3% to $150.8 million (Q1/2011: $136.7 million) and a 8.8% increase in fee income driven by growth in core banking transactions. With incremental revenues and continuing prudent cost management, the cost income ratio further improved to 30.1% (Q1/2011 - 32.2%). Given the uncertain prevailing economic environment, AUB continued its prudent provisioning policy resulting in the overall provision charge for Q1/2012 increasing to $46.1 million compared to $35.9 million in Q1/2011. The Group’s asset quality improved with the non-performing loan ratio dropping to 2.3% as at 31 March 2012 (31 December 2011: 2.5%). The overall provision coverage ratio (including collective impairment provisions) increased to 144% as compared to 135% as of 31 December 2011. Total customers’ deposits increased by $0.8 billion (+4.5%) over 31 December 2011 to $18.1 billion as at 31 March 2012 while inter bank borrowings, including those under re-purchase agreements, increased by $0.9 billion (+15.8%) over 31 December 2011 levels. Loans portfolio

AUB Chairman Fahad Al-Rajaan growth was contained at 2.9% to $15.9 billion at 31 March 2012. Deployment of funds in high quality debt securities resulted in nontrading investments portfolio growing by 7.5% to $4.7 billion compared to $4.4 billion as at 31 December 2011. The Group’s total assets rose to $30.2 billion (+ 6.5%, 31 December 2011: $28.3 billion). The Group’s Return on Average Equity for Q1/2012 stood at 12.8%, compared to 12.9% achieved in the first quarter of 2011. Return on Average Assets was maintained at 1.3% for Q1/2012 (Q1/2011: 1.3%). “AUB’s performance in Q1/2012 was satisfactory. We are focusing our attention on improving operating and net income through strategic business developments and by the re-deployment of our capital resources to a number of group banks enjoying good growth opportunities.” said Fahad Al-Rajaan, Chairman, AUB.

Egypt up after Mobinil deal okay, Saudi falls MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS CAIRO/DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse jumped yesterday after the regulator approved France Telecom’s offer for a stake in Mobinil, while Saudi stocks extended their decline as investors booked profits, while other Gulf bourses closed mixed. Mobinil soared 6.7 percent after Egyptian regulator EFSA said France Telecom could bid for most of the outstanding shares in the company, a venture between the French group and local partner Orascom Telecom Media and Technology. Mobinil was trading for weeks below France Telecom’s offer price of 202.5 Egyptian pounds ($33.49) per share, partly because of concern that EFSA might not approve the purchase. “Locals are getting in to benefit from the 5 percent premium but foreigners want to get out as they don’t want to wait a month for their money given the risk of a currency drop,” said Teymour el-Derini of Naeem Brokerage. OTMT gained 2.1 percent after it was suspended for most of the morning. In Saudi Arabia, the index ended 0.7 percent lower at 7,525 points, trimming year-to-date gains to 17.3 percent. It is down 5.3 percent from April 3’s three-and-a-half year peak. “The bears found their way to start a new attack toward the bulls,” said Mohabeldeen Agena, head of technical analysis at Cairo’s Beltone Financial. “The market will move flat between the current support of 7,250 and the current key resistance of 7,600, followed by another dip toward 7,100 and 7,000 points, which is a sell opportunity for short-term investors. “For medium-term investors, the dip toward 7,100 and 7,000 is a strong buy opportunity because it will be the last dip,” Agena added. Heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) lost 0.5 and Samba Financial Group dipped 1 percent. In Dubai’s, the index ended 0.6 percent lower, down for a sixth session in seven. It is down 6.5 percent from March 5’s 16-month high. Bellwether Emaar Properties eased 0.3 percent lower ahead of its results expected this week. “The market is looking for direction and a breakout will be the second wave of the rally,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive at Gulfmena Investments, adding that results, especially those from Emaar, should support. “However, sentiment from the euro zone and global fears may not help,” Arabi said. “We may see the range broken downwards to find support at a lower range.” Abu Dhabi’s index rose 0.1 percent from Sunday’s nine-week low. Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) was the main support, up 3.1 percent. “Investors are waiting on the sidelines for ... results. There may be a positive surprise from banks,” Arabi added. In Qatar, the benchmark slipped 0.1 percent. Commercial Bank of Qatar ended flat after it posted a 5.6 percent jump in earnings on Sunday, missing forecasts. — Reuters



Aramco, Tihama sign power expansion deal KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia: Capacity at three power plants will be expanded under an agreement signed yesterday between Saudi Aramco and cogeneration supplier Tihama Power Generation Co, a joint venture between International Power and Saudi Oger. Aramco generates power both through third-party companies that

operate and produce electricity and also through its own power assets. It plans to double its power generation capacity to 4 gigawatts by 2015 as it brings new projects on stream. Cogeneration-combined heat and power generation-lowers carbon dioxide emissions and raises energy efficiency. Aramco has cogeneration plants in Berri,

Uthmaniyah, Qatif, Abqaiq, Riyadh, Yanbu, Jeddah, Shaybah, Juaymah, Shedgum, Ras Tanura. Under the new energy conversion agreement deal (ECAs) which will last until 2026, three of four Tihama’s sites will be expanded by 532 megawatts and deliver 868 tons per hour of steam at oil and gas facilities Ju’aymah, Shedgum

and Uthmaniyah. Shedgum and Uthmaniyah are two of the five operating areas of Ghawar, the world’s largest onshore oilfield. “Construction at all three sites is expected to start in May 2012 with a phased commencement of commercial operations between late 2014 and mid 2015,” the statement said.

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries will carry out engineering, procurement and construction work while General Electric will supply gas turbines, it said. Tihama currently produces 1,063 MW of power and 2,000 tons per hour of steam at four sites in the Eastern Province, the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil sector. — Reuters

UAE Central Bank circular puzzles key borrowers Potential bank issues calls off roadshow LONDON: A circular released by the UAE Central Bank earlier this month amending large exposure limit rules and introducing caps on loans to local governments and their related entities, has thrown some of the federation’s commercial banks into confusion and caused one potential bank issuer to call off a roadshow planned for last week. The new regulations prevent banks from lending more than 100% of their capital to the federation’s governments and governmentrelated commercial and non-commercial entities. “Where there is an excess,” the circular read, “banks should make arrangements to regularize their position no later than September 30 2012.” Bankers say that some of the UAE’s largest banks may have to reduce their exposures, and are aghast at the proximity of the deadline, after which they could incur a penalty if they do not comply. Last week’s scheduled roadshow was cancelled “because [the potential issuer] need to understand what the UAE central bank actually means,” according to a source who declined to name the bank in question. “They don’t have a

clear message for investors as they’re not sure what the UAE central bank is intending to achieve.” The interconnectedness of big business in the UAE, which is still to develop the private sector relative to its state-owned enterprises, has endowed credit lines between stateowned companies and banks with political as well as commercial significance. “Government-owned banks are expected to show leadership in big government transactions,” said a DCM banker. If the proposed new cap is enforced according to the current wording, these banks will have to take decisive action in the next five months before the deadline falls. “Banks that are not going to meet these ratios have to think about what sort of contingency they have,” said a Gulf-based banker. “Perhaps the easiest option would have been to issue collateralized loan obligations, but there isn’t really a CLO market in the UAE.” “The whole idea behind this move is to disintermediate and send borrowers to the capital markets,” the Gulf-based banker continued. Investment bankers could be expected to

UNB Q1 profit up, beats forecasts ABU DHABI: Union National Bank’s reported an small increase in first quarter net profit yesterday, beating analyst forecasts, helped by an increase in net interest income and income from Islamic financing. Net profit of the bank rose 3.2 percent to 471.1 million UAE dirhams ($128.26 million) compared to 456.36 million dirhams in the year-ago period, UNB said in a bourse statement. Analysts polled by Reuters earlier this month forecast an average profit of 443.75 million dirhams. UNB shares were trading 2.4 percent higher at 0722 GMT. Net interest income and net income from Islamic financing rose 16.2 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2011.

Credit Suisse advising QFIB on Doha listing

The fifth largest bank by market capitalization in Abu Dhabi booked an impairment charge of 116.5 million dirhams in the first quarter versus 69.9 million dirhams in the year ago period, the statement said. “The very comfortable liquidity and the solid capital adequacy position would enable the group to support lending activity as the economic activity gathers momentum in 2012 and beyond,” Mohammed Nasr Abdeen, CEO said in the statement. The bank is one of the six institutions on the unsecured creditor committee for the $10 billion restructuring of Dubai Group. Deposits at the bank rose 6.4 percent year on year to total 63.4 billion dirhams at March 31, while net loans and advances rose 3.2 percent. — Reuters

DUBAI: Swiss lender Credit Suisse is advising Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB), a private equity firm, on a listing of all of its shares on the Doha bourse, two bankers with knowledge of the deal told Reuters yesterday. QFIB, which sold its 41 percent stake in Qatar Engineering and Construction Company (Qcon) for $77 million last week, has said it is expecting to list in Doha by November. Spokespeople for Credit Suisse and QFIB were not immediately available for comment. Qatar First Investment Bank’s chief executive Emad Mansour had told Reuters in February that the firm is not seeking to raise money but wanted its 1,200 shareholders to trade the stock. The Qatar Exchange has fallen 0.87 percent so far this year after rising 1.1 percent in 2011. Dubai-based Abraaj Capital is gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO) as early as next year following its recent acquisition of emerging market fund manager Aureos Capital, Group Chief Executive Arif Naqvi told Reuters last month. The Middle East and North Africa regions are important investment areas for private equity firms, which have raised $22.7 billion to invest into the area in the past five years, according to figures from London-based research firm Preqin. Deal activity in the region is showing signs of a rebound after a period of slowdown following the global financial crisis. In January, Qatar First Investment Bank acquired a 15-percent stake in Al Rifai International Holding, a manufacturer of nuts and snacks in the Middle East and Europe. It was the company’s first investment in the food and beverage manufacturing sector. The firm last year acquired a 10.3-percent shareholding in Islamic insurance firm Watania Takaful. It also bought a $16 million stake in Kuwait Energy Company (KEC). QFIB made a net profit of $25.8 million in 2011, up 20 per cent compared with 2010, according to the company’s website. Total capital invested to date reached $333 million. — Reuters

Saudi’s Health Water eyes 30% IPO in 2013 DUBAI: Health Water Bottling Co Ltd, a company owned by Saudi Arabian conglomerate Olayan Group, is planning to go public by issuing 30 percent of its shares in a flotation in the first quarter of 2013, three sources said. Health Water, which was formed in 1973 and is the sole distributor of Holsten nonalcoholic beer and Power Horse energy drink in the kingdom, is planning to raise between 300 million and 500 million Saudi riyals ($80 million-$133 million) from the public offering, said one of the sources. Health Water, which also owns the “Nova” mineral water brand, has hired Morgan Stanley as financial advisor to manage the sale, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public. “It’s a pretty good business which generated about $120-$130 million in net income last year. A float from the group is going to generate investor interest,” the

approve of any measures designed to increase the desirability of their services in managing such trades. However, the cancellation of last week’s roadshow suggests that proposing to scale back lending lines will not immediately light a fire under the feet of potential bond issuers. “The timing of this announcement is a little odd,” said the DCM banker, pointing to the IMF’s recent calculation that European banks look set to shrink their balance sheets by a collective $2.6trn over the next six months, further reducing possible sources of funding for Gulf entities. “There will be a lot of lobbying against it. There is more a of a political dimension to this than there is common sense.” The announcement of the proposed changes may have caused short-term disruption in the market and been greeted with a degree of skepticism, but many industry sources consider the reduction of interparty lending to be a positive aim for the long term. According to one DCM official, the current concentration of lending in the UAE is “not good for business or competitiveness”. — Reuters

source said. Health Water officials were not immediately available for comment. Olayan Group is one of the largest family-owned firms in the kingdom and owns a sizeable stake in Swiss bank Credit Suisse . It has a multi-billion dollar portfolio of investments spread across major asset classes globally. Traditionally, equity markets have been a popular source of funding for Saudi companies, given the nascent nature of bond markets and a slowdown in bank lending. Unfavourable market conditions have limited the number of IPOs in Saudi Arabia in recent years but the trend seems to be reviving amid a 30-percent stock rally since late last year prompted by hopes of Tadawul opening up to foreign investors. Sentiment was boosted last year by a 400 billion riyals ($106.66 billion) populist spending package unveiled by the king in a move to head off social unrest. — Reuters

HAIKOU, China: A Chinese worker checking the power lines in Haikou, south China’s Hainan province. China relies on coal for nearly 70 percent of its energy needs, which have soared in recent years as the country’s economy grew at a blistering pace. — AFP

China cuts Iran oil imports in March BEIJING/SEOUL: China halved its Iranian crude imports in March compared with a year earlier due to disputes over contract terms, its deepest cut so far this year as Western sanctions complicate Tehran’s oil exports. South Korea cut its imports by 40 percent in March from a year earlier, official data showed, as it sought to secure an exemption from US sanctions. Japan, which has secured a waiver, made steep cuts in April imports. Iran traditionally sells most of its oil exports to Asia, where China, India, Japan and South Korea are the biggest buyers. Exports were 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in the Iranian year to March 19. As the sanctions intensified, Gulf Arab exporters including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted their exports to the region. The United States and Europe are trying to squeeze the revenues Iran makes from its oil exports to force it to halt a nuclear program they fear will be used to make weapons but which Tehran says is for power generation. Until recently, China was Iran’s top customer, taking more than 20 percent of its crude exports. But China’s state oil buyers have decreased their purchases since the start of the year as they haggled with the National Iranian Oil Corporation (NIOC) over prices and terms. In the first quarter of this year, China’s crude imports from Iran were a third lower at 346,183 bpd compared to a year earlier, customs data showed, mainly because the state-run China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) slashed purchases by 285,000 bpd, or just over half of the amount it imported daily in 2011. China cut its oil imports from Iran 5 percent year-on-year in January and 40 percent year-on-year in Februar y. March imports dropped 54 percent to 253,302 bpd, customs data showed. “ The drop in Iran crude imports in March is largely in line with what we were expecting. We may still see some cuts in Iranian crude imports in April customs data as most of April-arrival cargoes were loaded in March,” said a crude trader with a Western oil trading company. An EU oil

embargo agreed in January to stop members importing Iranian crude from July and EU insurers and reinsurers from indemnifying vessels carrying Iranian crude is already having an impact. The insurers, who provide around 90 percent of the world’s tanker cover, are reluctant to handle new contracts. The threat of a cut in Iranian supplies drove oil prices in March to $128 a barrel, their highest level since 2008. Investment bank JP Morgan estimates Iran’s output may fall 1 million bpd by the end of June as refiners cut imports. As the pressure intensifies on Iran, its Gulf Arab neighbors and Russia have gained more customers, with both China and South Korea increasing their purchases from these alternative sources by more than what they cut from Iran. South Korea, Iran’s fourth-largest buyer, reduced its imports from Iran by 22 percent to 195,000 bpd in the first three months of the year, data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp showed. It sourced 86 percent of its total crude imports in the first three months of this year from the Middle East-mainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Iran — up from 84 percent a year earlier, the data showed. China also increased its oil purchases from Russia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates in March by between 79 percent and 50 percent compared to the same month a year ago. It reduced its oil imports from top exporter Saudi Arabia, however, by a marginal 9 percent year-on-year. It was not clear if China would maintain the depth of its import cuts in April. But industry sources in South Korea said they expected imports next month would be reduced by between 10-20 percent - an amount they said was enough to secure the US waiver - as March’s reduction was unusually deep due to the shutdown of the 240,000-bpd SK Energy refinery and customs delays on crude shipments. “Refiners are reducing Iranian crude oil imports within the range they can, but I don’t think they will carry on reducing by as much as 40 percent,” an economy ministry official said. — Reuters

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

.2730000 .4440000 .3620000 .3010000 .2770000 .2840000 .0040000 .0020000 .0752550 .7331860 .3830000 .0710000 .7187560 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2772000 GB Pound/KD .4457240 Euro .3642410 Swiss francs .3031000 Canadian dollars .2783130 Danish Kroner .0489600 Swedish Kroner .0411430 Australian dlr .2857790 Hong Kong dlr .0357160 Singapore dlr .2218490 Japanese yen .0034220 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0755000 Bahraini dinars .7355710 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0739400 Omani riyals .7202810 Philippine Peso .0000000

.2807500 .4530000 .3720000 .3100000 .2850000 .2940000 .0070000 .0035000 .0760110 .7405540 .4000000 .0760000 .7259800 .0072000 .0500000 .2793000 .4491000 .3670000 .3053960 .2804220 .0493310 .0414550 .2879440 .0359860 .2235290 .0034480 .0053610 .0021370 .0030870 .0034260 .0760720 .7411440 .3950500 .0745000 .7257370 .0065920

US Dollar Pak Rupees

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

278.400 3.066

Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

5.355 2.150 3.405 6.570 75.900 74.395 740.100 45.995 454.200 3.190 1.550 373.700 286.000 3.510

Rate for Transfer

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

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

5.304 2.124 3.352 3.066 75.75 740.53 46.00 396.07 723.54 76.77 74.34

5.700 2.550 4.000 3.250 76.50 741.00 47.25 394.50 726.00 77.75 74.25

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

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

278.050 369.000 450.250 282.000 3.470 5.315 46.000 2.133 3.400 6.522 3.063 740.400 75.750 74.250

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY


Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka

291.47 284.03 309.54 369.39 450.78 3.51 3.399

292.00 284.50 307.50 369.00 447.00 3.65 3.550

Selling Rate

278.950 281.210 444.240 365.770 303.830 738.695 75.925 76.570 74.345 392.660 46.178 2.189 5.426 3.082 3.411 6.549 684.255 4.440 9.120 5.875 3.480 92.305

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY



Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka

291.400 740.540 3.670

289.900 740.540 3.400

Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Deutsche Mark Egyptian pound Euro Cash Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars Yemeni Riyal

283.600 546.900 45.400 50.400 167.800 47.720 371.600 36.560 5.640 0.032 0.159 0.236 3.520 394.620 0.188 92.970 45.500 4.280 230.800 1.804 49.800 723.280 3.160 6.830 77.030 74.350 224.350 38.170 2.653 453.500 42.500 309.400 4.200 9.400 198.263 75.920 278.800 1.340

GOLD 10 Tola


TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE Sterling Pound US Dollar

450.500 278.400


224.400 46.068 370.100 36.410 5.345 0.031

394.570 0.187 92.970 3.370 229.300 723.100 3.075 6.540 76.600 74.350 224.350 38.170 2.134 450.500 307.900 4.200 9.220 75.820 278.400


BUSINESS Gulf petroleum engineers should work abroad to gain vital experience By James McCallum

High oil prices, sluggish spending point to record budget surplus NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait’s public finances data for February, the 11th month of fiscal year 2011/12, show a year-on-year (y/y) decline in government spending. This is largely due to last year’s one-time Amiri grant, which was disbursed in February 2011. Government revenues, however, continue to grow strongly due to high oil prices. This will likely result in a record budget surplus for the year, which would be the country’s 13th surplus in a row. Total government spending reached KD 10.8 billion in the first 11 months, a small 1% decline compared to the same period of the previous year. Admittedly, this was skewed by the impact of the Amiri grant -without which spending would have increased 10% y/y. Nevertheless, the underlying spending pace is still disappointing. For the 11 months period of FY 2011/12, 56% of budget had been spent, compared to 64% for the historic average in the comparable period. Current spending was almost unchanged y/y, standing at KD 9.7 billion. A KD 449 million increase in wages and salaries spending was offset by a decrease in miscellaneous expenditures and transfers. The decrease in the latter was due to the Amiri grant mentioned above. Current spending was 59% of the full year budget, also below its historic average of 68% (for the 11-month period). Capital spending was down 14% y/y, reaching KD 1 billion, 11 months in. Spending in this category is still lagging at 38% of budget, compared to a 43% historic average (chart 1). The capital-spending pace was projected to pickup, as this is the second year of the development plan and more projects should have materialized. The expected increase may still be realized, but not until the closing figures for the fiscal year are released. Demand-impacting spending* - our estimate of spending that drives domestic demand - stood at KD 6.6 billion through the first 11 months, down 9% y/y due to the same above-mentioned “basis effect”. Total revenues were KD 26.8 billion, up 44% y/y. High oil prices have buoyed revenues for FY 2011/12 as the average oil price for the 11-month period was almost $109 pb, up 36% y/y. Oil revenues accounted for 95% of total revenues 11 months into the fiscal year.

Non-oil revenues reached KD 1.4 billion, up 20% y/y. The increase originated from miscellaneous revenues and fees, which is likely related to compensation payments from the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). 11 months into FY 2011/12, Kuwait’s budget sur-

plus stood at KD 16 billion (36% of 2011 GDP). We maintain our view that the final figure is likely to be smaller, as spending typically accelerates late in the year. We forecast a KD 11-12 billion surplus for FY2011/12 (chart 3), which would still be 22% of GDP.

ADB urges Asia to tackle rising income gap

NEW YORK: Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Stocks are opening sharply lower with new worries about Europe’s health. — AP

US stocks slide on economic tremors from euro-zone NEW YORK: US stocks fell sharply yesterday morning with new worries about Europe. New reports showed that European government debt continues to pile up despite severe budget cuts that have led to unrest across the continent. European markets fell sharply. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 163 points to 12,865 a half hour after the opening bell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 18 points to 1,359. The Nasdaq composite fell 48 points to 2,952. Figures reported by the European Union’s statistics office confirmed the effects of budgetcutting programs on countries that use the euro currency. Even with widespread spending cuts, overall debt rose to 87.2 percent, the highest level since the euro was created. Separately, a survey of the euro-zone’s manufacturing and services sectors unexpectedly fell in April. Europe’s major indexes fell hard.

France’s CAC-40 index dropped 2.7 percent. Germany’s main index fell even more, 3.3 percent. The euro fell against the dollar. US government bond prices rose as traders shifted money into assets considered safe. The price of the 10-year Treasury note rose 50 cents for every $100 invested. That pushed its yield down to 1.92 percent from 1.96 percent late Friday. Trouble in Europe is hurting Kellogg, which slashed its fullyear forecast, blaming weak sales. Hasbro posted a first-quarter loss on falling sales and costs related to cutting jobs. Kellogg dropped 4.8 percent and Hasbro 3.5 percent. Wal-Mart Stores sank 4 percent following a report in The New York Times about an alleged bribery campaign involving top executives at a Mexican subsidiary. The retailer said it was investigating for any breach of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. — AP

SINGAPORE: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday urged regional governments to tackle rising income inequality with more urgency, warning any delay could undermine social cohesion and economic growth. Rajat Nag, ADB’s managing director-general, said failing to address the problem now could spark further dissatisfaction and lead governments to resort to populist measures to appease their citizens. But populist measures like fuel subsidies and cash grants are taxing on state coffers and could result in financial instability in the longer term, he said. “Rising inequality obviously has issues about social cohesion and about political consequences,” he told reporters in Singapore ahead of the bank’s May 2-5 annual meeting in Manila. If policymakers do not address the problem now, “there will be greater pressure later to maybe take on populist policies which are not economically very wise because there is mounting pressure and for political reasons to start making concessions,” Nag said. “But if you handle them early enough, those pressures can be dissipated.” A study released by the Manila-based bank this month warned Asia’s rising wealth was fuelling inequality and income disparities, with the underprivileged at risk of

being sucked into a “vicious circle” of poverty and neglect. Nag said a first step towards narrowing the income gap would be the reduction of general subsidies-including those on fuel and cash transfer programs. The money could be better spent on public health, education and in building human capital, he added. “Governments need to have better targeted social expenditures and social protection schemes,” Nag said. “You’ve got to look at fiscal expenditures being made on the social expenditures, you’ve got to see that the subsidies are not too broad, you’ve got to see that the tax bases are made broader.” Despite the region’s fast-paced economic expansion, rising income inequality has had a “dampening impact on economic growth reducing poverty”, Nag said. In Asia, the Gini coefficient-the main measure for income inequality-has risen from 0.33 to 0.46 over the last 20 years, according to ADB figures. “If inequality had remained stable in Asia from 1990 to 2010 we reckon that about 240 million more people would have been lifted out of poverty than has been the case,” Nag said. ADB’s annual meeting at its Manila headquarters will bring together the finance ministers and central bank governors from the institution’s 67 member countries. — AFP

KUWAIT: The energy industry is a cool place to work. At least that is what the generation that came into the industry in the 1970s and the early 1980s thought. Of course, that was before Yahoo, Google, Facebook and six-figure Wall Street bonuses started to compete for the very best of aspiring graduate brains. Our hair is a little shorter and a little greyer, but that enthusiasm for the exciting pioneering work of the energy industry still runs through the veins of my generation. We have an obligation to use the last decade before our retirement to communicate that drama to a new generation and ensure we leave the business well supplied with talent and ideas for the future. Time is short, especially when you bear in mind that the historical source of petroleum engineers has been the West. Since the 1970s, 40 colleges in the United States, the world’s largest energy consumer, offered degrees in petroleum engineering. Today, there are fewer than 20. The development of local national talent in countries rich in energy resources across the world, especially in the Middle East, is one of the key ways for the global industry to mitigate the pending talent crisis. Qatarisation, Emiratisation and Saudisation are becoming familiar terms as resource-rich countries set national quotas for international partners to employ locals. It is a vital tool to ensure that resource holders reduce their dependence on foreign talent and have the skills domestically to manage and develop their vast hydrocarbon resources through the 21st century. These initiatives guarantee career paths for Arab nationals to enter and progress through their countries’ respective energy industries, but I would recommend that these nationalisation programs include a requirement for the young Gulf Arab petroleum engineers and geoscientists to work abroad to garner vital experience. Otherwise we will not drive forward the kind of indigenous technological development and skills that we need to see emerge in the Middle East to manage the third generation of resource extraction in what many refer to as post-easy oil. In Qatar, the nationalisation program is, by decree, designed to increase to 50 per cent by 2015 the Qatari proportion of the energy-sector workforce. This presents a great challenge, given the increasing career options that are open to young nationals in a diversified economy that is seeing consistent double-digit growth, and given the limited number of appropriately qualified graduates leaving the region’s academic institutions. It is true that you can develop talent within a closed environment of a degree course and then spin that talent out to work in a particular national industry. What emerges in the end, however, is a narrow experience profile. And so, as we get into the world of enhanced reservoir production in the Gulf, much of the experience to handle that will still need to come from afar. When you are drilling a 12,192-metre horizontal well into a high-pressure reservoir, you cannot turn up with someone with a degree and just a few years of experience working in a simple production environment. You can guarantee big salaries and new technology, but more money is not a replacement for experience in an industry full of operational challenges. The increasing cost of failure, in monetary and environmental terms, cannot be ignored. Technology is not a panacea. It is part of the story, but it has to be employed in collaboration with the mitigation of the general risks that are associated with its application, and that starts with answering these questions: Where are we going to get people? And where are they going to get access to the appropriate experience? I came into the industry in the early 1970s with the development in the North Sea. At that time, young engineers out of Britain and Europe were considered inferior to the talent that was being exported from North America. Today, European engineers from Scotland, Norway Denmark and elsewhere are succeeding all over world with the unique experience garnered from developing the highly complex and challenging North Sea environment. You can build a tanker designed to haul liquefied natural gas in three years, you can build one of the world’s most advanced deepwater drilling ships in three years, but you cannot develop a person in anything remotely close to that time frame to take on the responsibility and accountability that is needed to manage the processes of wells costing a minimum of US$100 million (Dh367.3m). It will take 10 to 15 years from the person leaving university before to becoming competent to take on technical managerial and operational responsibility. — James McCallum is the chief executive of Senergy, an integrated global energy services company specializing in the skills associated with the identification, quantification and extraction of hydrocarbon structures.

UK seeks tighter grip on public spending LONDON: British Treasury Minister Danny Alexander will set out new rules to push ministries to tighten their grip on spending at a time of deep public cuts aimed at wiping out the country’s huge budget deficit within five years. Under the new rules, government departments will be asked to identify 5 percent of their annual budget to cover unexpected costs - in a bid to discourage them from asking for more money from central government when emergencies arise. Departments will also have to open their books to the finance ministry each month, to improve financial management across government. The new rules, due to take effect this year, are intended to help Britain keep control of its finances, retain the credibility of world markets and hold

down its low borrowing costs, Alexander will say in a speech to the Institute of Fiscal Studies thinktank. “These rules have been drawn up with finance directors from across Whitehall, and are designed to fundamentally change and improve financial management across all organizations spending public money,” Alexander will say, according to extracts of his speech released by his office. Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has embarked on an austerity drive aimed at wiping out a budget deficit that peaked at more than 10 percent of gross domestic product when it came to power in 2010. The government has achieved 30 percent of the spending cuts it envisaged in a four-year plan unveiled in 2010.—Reuters

NEW YORK: American Airlines and American Eagle employees march to US Bankruptcy Court to protest against American’s plans to cut jobs and labor costs while under bankruptcy court protection yesterday in New York City. American is seeking permission to break-up union contracts and cut expenses by $1.25 billion. — AP




Kuwait equities buoyant as services stock support GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti equities remained buoyant yesterday with services stocks spearheading a broad advance across the market. Spotlight though remains on 1Q2012 earnings. The market benchmark KSE Price Index increased by 0.38 percent, and closed at 6,326.6 points. Global General Index rose 0.18 of a point (or 0.1 percent) to close at 180.91 points. The market’s heavyweights ended modestly higher yesterday, with the market’s blue-chips rich index, Global Large Cap. Index, adding 0.04 percent, at 186.27 points. The gains were accompanied by growing trading activity. Volume and value of shares traded on the exchange grew by 14.83 percent (at 528.51mn shares) and 16.8 percent (at KWD35.21mn) respectively. Real

Estate sector registered 49.39 percent of the total traded volume today. Investors Holding Group Company continued to attract trading activity, as it witnessed 66mn shares exchanging hands at a value of KD1.27million. Kuwait Syrian Holding Company and Aref Energy Holding Company were the prominent gainer. The scrips added 8.33 percent each. On the other hand, Sultan Center Food Products Company was the biggest loser yesterday as it plunged by 3.45 percent to close at KD0.112. Sector-wise During yesterday’s session, five out of eight indices ended the day on a positive note. Global Non-Kuwaiti Index topped the gainers’ list among the sectors

adding 0.87 percent. Ithmaar Bank rose by 4.62 percent, to close at KD0.034 and Gulf Finance House went up by 1.79 percent to close at KD0.057. Global Services Index followed, adding 0.32 percent backed National Mobile Telecommunications Company and Yiaco Medical Company rose by 1.64 percent and 5.71 percent respectively. Global Investment Index went up by 0.19 percent. Among the sector’s gainers were: Kuwait Financial Center which rose by 3.45 percent closing at KD0.120 and Al-Aman Investment Company which closed at KD0.035 adding 4.48 percent. Corporate News Al-Ahleia Insurance announced yesterday that it will start paying 25 percent cash divi-

dend via head office and distributing 5 percent bonus shares via Kuwait Clearing Co(KCC), as of Monday, April 30th. The shareholder meeting, held April 22, gave a nod to this dividend. Ikarus Petroleum Industries held its ordinary and extraordinary shareholder meetings April 23, 2012. Shareholders approved the board’s recommendation on paying cash dividend at 8 percent of par value, or 8fils per share, for the fiscal year that ended on December 31, 2011. Shareholders of record on the general meeting date are entitled to receive this dividend. The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $116.46pb on Friday, compared with $116.25pb the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Oil slides below $118 on euro-zone worries LONDON: Oil fell below $118 a barrel yesterday, pressured by concern over the euro zone debt crisis, although supply worries due to tightening Western sanctions on Iran checked the slide. The outlook for Europe’s economy worsened in April, raising the likelihood that oil consumption will slow. Fresh data for Germany, France and the euro-zone showed a much faster rate of economic contraction than had been expected. The wobbly financial state of big euro-zone economies such as Spain and I taly has unsettled markets, despite signs at the start of the year that Europe’s long-running debt crisis was easing. Brent crude dropped $1.01 to $117.75 a barrel by 1103 GMT, while US crude was down 83 cents at $103.05. Analysts say world oil markets may be poised for a downward correction. “Supply outages and geopolitical concerns have supported crude, but barring a supply shock, upside is limited from here,” said a Morgan Stanley research note. “Risks are skewed to the downside.” The United States and Europe have imposed sanc tions on I ran aimed at halting its controversial nuclear program by choking off its oil export revenues. Western governments fear I ran aims to develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its program is for solely peaceful

purposes. Iranian oil officials say crude exports have slipped to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with an average 2.3 million bpd in the last Iranian year that ended on March 19. At a Group of 20 finance ministers’ meeting in the United States last week, officials agreed to watch oil prices closely and carry out “additional actions” as needed. Tightening sanc tions on I ran helped send Brent above $128 a barrel in March, the highest since 2008. China, one of Iran’s top crude oil buyers, made sharp cuts in imports during the first quarter as companies haggled with Iran’s state-run oil company over prices and contract terms. March crude imports from Iran fell 54.1 percent from a year earlier to 253,302 barrels per day (bpd), customs data showed yesterday. The European Union is also planning an embargo on Iranian oil imports from July 1. While a review is possible in the next two months, there is no economic reason now to change plans for the ban, a senior EU official said on Friday. “On the supply side, Iran continues to be a risk which we can’t ignore at all,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at Australia-based CMC Markets. “It seems quite unlikely that we will be seeing any swift resolution to the standoff between the West and Tehran over their nuclear program.” —Reuters

Dollar stabilizes vs dinar KUWAIT: Exchange rate of the US dollar against the Kuwaiti dinar stabilized, standing at KD 0.277, while the euro dropped to KD 0. 366, compared to Sunday’s figures, said the daily bulletin of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK)

yesterday. Exchange rate of the Sterling pound stood at KD 0.447, and the Japanese yen remained unchanged, at KD 0.003. Meanwhile, the Swiss franc was down to KD 0. 304.—KUNA




BEIJING: A model stands beside a ‘Haval E’ car by Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motors, at BEIJING: Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby poses with a new Volvo V40 at the Beijing International Auto Exhibition in China yesterday. —AP the Auto China 2012 car show in Beijing yesterday. — AFP

World’s carmakers woo China despite slow sales Auto China 2012 Exhibition BEIJING: Major carmakers gathered in Beijing yesterday for China’s leading auto show, seeking an edge in the world’s largest automobile market after a sharp slowdown in growth. China emerged as the world’s top car market in 2009, but the sector stalled dramatically last year, with sales rising just 2.5 percent to reach 18.51 million units, after the government rolled back auto-purchase incentives. Nonetheless, many of the world’s major carmakers remain confident of continued steady growth in the Asian nation, where three out of every four new car purchases are by a first-time buyer. Organizers say 120 new models will be launched at the Auto China 2012 exhibition, which runs until May 2 and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. “This big country merits big ambitions,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of MercedesBenz Cars. “So we will continue to build our manufacturing presence ... all in all, the local car market will double by 2020. In turn, we will double our production capacity here by 2015.” Daimler will invest about three billion euros in China in the coming years in an effort to achieve a sales target of 300,000 units by 2015, Zetsche said. Toyota President Akio Toyoda told reporters the growth of China’s car market was unprecedented in its

speed, as he unveiled a new hybrid car his company is building especially for the country of 1.3 billion people. “In 2009, the Chinese car market surpassed the United States to grow into the world’s largest market. The speed in which it did so was unlike any other ever experienced,” he said. China has pledged to invest more than $14 billion to develop the technology and infrastructure for clean energy cars in a bid to have more than 5 million on the road by 2020. Toyota, BMW, Honda and China’s Warren Buffett-backed BYD have all announced they will unveil electric or hybrid cars as part of a total of 88 new energy vehicles to be displayed at the show. But analysts warn it may still take a long time for the Asian nation to fully embrace an electric future. “International car makers are all trying to appease the government by showing they are indeed bringing electric vehicles to China,” said Namrita Chow, an analyst at research firm IHS Global Insight. “Almost every international automaker has announced plans for electric vehicles in China. But almost all are equally as skeptical of volume sales.” Carmakers are also scrambling to tap markets in China’s second-tier cities where automobile ownership remains starkly lower than in the nation’s major urban centers along the

eastern coast. US automaker giant Ford recently opened a new production facility in southwest China’s Chongqing, while Volkswagen has announced plans to open up a factory in the nation’s westernmost region of Xinjiang. “ We are ready to demonstrate aggressive growth this year in China, the most exciting car market in the world,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. Foreign brands still dominate the Chinese market, but the government is trying to shift the balance by seeking to further cement cooperation between foreign carmakers and their Chinese partners. Overseas carmakers have long been required to set up operations in joint ventures with Chinese companies. But the government is now pushing such ventures to create more local brands specifically for China’s market, and earlier this year, Beijing said it was withdrawing some support for foreign investment in the sector. The drive is aimed at securing more technology transfer for the Chinese companies and further raising the profiles of the joint ventures. Wholly Chinese manufacturers hold just 30 percent of their home country’s market and most are losing ground or just treading water against international makes, which enjoy better brand recognition and quality reputations. — AFP

BEIJING: Wang Chuanfu, founder and chairman of Chinese automaker BYD Co, introduces the new BYD F3 at the Beijing International Auto Exhibition in Beijing yesterday. —AP

BEIJING: Visitors look at a model standing next to a BMW i3 Concept car on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Beijing yesterday. —AP

Spain back in recession as economy shrinks in Q1 Economic reforms measures yet to sink in

WOLFSBURG: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (second right) and the Prime Minister of China Wen Jiabao (center) are invited to sit in a car by CEO Martin Winterkorn (right) and chairman of the supervisory board Ferdinand Piech (left partially seen) during a visit to the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany yesterday. —AP

China manufacturing contracts again: HSBC BEIJING: China’s manufacturing activity contracted for the sixth straight month in April, HSBC said yesterday, bolstering the case for the government to give a boost to the world’s number two economy. HSBC’s purchasing managers index (PMI) — which measures factory outputwas 49.1 in April, up from 48.3 in March, the British banking giant said in a statement. But the reading remained below 50, indicating contraction in activity. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. HSBC’s chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin, put the data in a positive light, saying government measures to spur the economy were having an impact. “This suggests that the earlier easing measures have started to work and hence should ease concerns of a sharp growth slowdown,” he said in the statement. But he added: “That said, the pace of both output and demand growth remains at a low level in an historical context and the job market is under pressure. This calls for additional easing measures in the coming months.” Other analysts echoed that view, saying the government will need to further ease monetary policy, most likely through a cut in reserve requirements for banks. “The pick-up in PMI has reduced worries over China’s economic growth, but it will not affect the overall loosening trend for China’s monetary policy,” You Hongye, an analyst at Essence Securities in Beijing, told AFP.

China’s economy grew by 8.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, its slowest pace in nearly three years, putting pressure on Beijing to loosen its monetary policy. Beijing has cut bank reserve requirements twice since December last year, as policymakers aim to boost lending. Chinese shares closed down 0.76 percent yesterday as investors reacted to the PMI figure with disappointment, dealers said. “Despite a mild improvement in April PMI, the reading is still in contraction, so it does not indicate a recovery in the domestic economy,” Shen Jun, an analyst at BOC International, told AFP. In a research report, securities house Nomura said China would boost spending on infrastructure and cut bank reserves as early as May. “We still expect monetary and fiscal policy to be loosened in Q2,” said Zhang Zhiwei, Nomura China chief economist. HSBC’s figures are typically more pessimistic than China’s official numbers. The official data for April has not yet been released. The HSBC survey puts more emphasis on smaller companies, which are suffering more in the economic downturn than state-owned giants. The official Chinese government data released last month had shown manufacturing output rose to its highest level in a year in March, the fourth consecutive month that the official numbers indicated expansion. — AFP

MADRID: Spain slipped back into recession as the country’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row, the central bank said yesterday. A Bank of Spain monthly report recorded that economic output shrank 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, following a 0.3 percent decline in the last quarter of 2011. A technical recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. The news of recession comes as no surprise, however - the new conservative government has previously warned the economy is shrinking and forecasts it will contract 1.7 percent this year. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already pushed through a series of labor market and financial sector reforms, taken drastic deficitreduction measures, and warned Spaniards to that things will get worse before they better. The jobless rate is nearly 23 percent and expected to rise. The Bank of Spain’s figure is a preliminary estimate. The official GDP figure from the National Statistics Institute comes out April 30. In financial markets, the country remained under pressure yesterday - the yield, or interest rate, of 10-year Spanish bonds rose 4 basis points to 5.97 percent. The Ibex-35 stock index slumped 2.8 percent. The central bank said domestic demand dropped again, but foreign demand for Spanish goods rose, but at a slower pace than usual. For the first time in seven quarters, GDP compared to the same figure a year ago fell -

by 0.5 percent. Spain is struggling after the collapse in 2008 of a property bubble that had fueled nearly a decade of solid and sometimes robust growth. It was only in 2010 that it emerged from nearly two years of recession, and now it is back in another one. Investors are concerned that the government might not be able to resurrect the econ-

omy and generate growth and jobs while drawing money out with austerity measures such as health care and education spending cuts and increases in income, property and corporate taxes. These worries are pushing up Spanish borrowing costs at debt auctions and intensifying fears this will follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal and seek a bailout. — AP

MADRID: Brokers react in the stock exchange in Madrid yesterday. Spain is back in recession as the economy contracted 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, the central bank said yesterday. —AP

Oil traders could face new rules on purchases GENEVA: Oil traders buying from national oil firms could face new disclosure rules within a year as part of an effort led by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the group told Reuters yesterday. The EITI, which has already implemented similar measures in oil producers Iraq and Norway, said that the rules would apply to all companies trading with EITI signatories. This would include Swiss-based traders Vitol and Glencore as well as UK-based traders such as BP even though their host states are not currently

implementing the EITI. “The EITI is discussing a number of things and one is the extent to which trading should be covered. This is an area that needs improved governance,” said Jonas Moberg, head of the EITI secretariat. “ There are many countries with very extensive allegations of mismanagement, corruption and mispricing of resources.” Talks are still at an early stage and a decision on whether the rules will be optional or part of a minimum requirement for participants will be made within a year, he added. Major producers among the

EITI’s 35 implementing countries include Iraq and Nigeria, although there are significant omissions such as OPEC members Iran and Angola. Moberg said that EITI, which has stakeholders in the public and private sector, is currently in discussions on membership with other producers such as Libya. Non-governmental groups yesterday called for global measures on transparency for oil trading that go beyond the EITI proposals. “It is not enough to cover oil trading within the EITI. Home countries have the responsibility to require their companies

for such a disclosure,” said Oliver Classen, co-author of a new book by Swiss NGO Berne Declaration entitled ‘Commodities: Switzerland’s Most Dangerous Business’. The book argues that a lack of regulation and transparency as well as low taxes in Switzerland has attracted trading companies “as a dunghill attracts flies”. Revenue Watch’s head of governance Alexandra Gillies said that the publication of price, volume and crude oil grade for every oil cargo sold should be a requirement. — Reuters




Corporate profit versus environment By Anurag Agrawal

(Left to Right) Christopher Ellison (Saint-Gobain Isover), Alain David (Alghanim Industries), Samir Kasem (Alghanim Industries), Majed A Hadi (Royal Commission of Yanbu), Mohammed Al-Soaib (Soaib Law) and Eng Yahya S. Al-Zahrani (Royal Commission of Yanbu).

FSIMC of Alghanim Industries to open stone wool factory in Saudi Industrial and building segments to benefit

Samir Kasem, President, Alghanim Industries (L) with Majed A Hadi, Director, Investment Development, Royal Commission of Yanbu.

RIYADH: First Saudi Insulation Manufacturing Company, a company owned by Alghanim Industries announced the construction of a new stone wool manufacturing facility based in Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With the support of Saint-Gobain Isover (France), the world leader in insulation, FSIMC will manufacture a variety of stone wool products for thermal and acoustic insulation. Using Saint-Gobain’s latest state-of-the-art technology (REX process), FSIMC will serve both the industrial and building segments. The manufacturing facility in Yanbu will have potential of 64,000 MT installed capacity and serve markets in Saudi Arabia, as well as other markets in the GCC, Egypt, Iraq and Levant. The plant is expected to be commissioned in 2013. The manufacturing facility in Yanbu will complement Alghanim Industries’ two stone wool facilities in India with a total installed capacity of 50,000 MT. Moreover, Alghanim Industries and Saint-Gobain also have a joint venture in Turkey to manufacture stone wool where installed capacity is expected to reach 75,000 MT in 2012. These facilities operate under SaintGobain Isover licensed technology. The production of stone wool insulation at the Yanbu factory will also enable the construction sector to meet the increasing demand for eco-friendly and energy-efficient building materials. Stone wool insulation products can play a key role in the successful devel-

Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co holds annual Dunlop dealer meeting 2012

KUWAIT: Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co felicitated their valued Dunlop dealers at the “Annual Dunlop Dealers Meeting” during a glittering event held in The Kuwait Regency Hotel. This one-of-its-kind event was a huge success, and was marked with the participation of over 100 companies from all around Kuwait. Ahmad Shihadeh, Operations Manager, Gulf Express Co launched the event by welcoming the valued guests, and stated that the company truly values its long and strategic alliance with all its Dunlop Dealers. He further emphasized on the added values that Al-Babtain Co is offering to its valued customers and concluded by wishing them continuous success and prosperity. On his part, Ghazi Saleh Al-Babtain, Group Business Development Manager extended a warm welcome to the guests and briefed them about various rewards bestowed upon AlBabtain Group in the year 2012 by their suppliers, viz. Dunlop Tyres, Nissan Cars, Total Lubricants, among others. Al- Babtain stated that Dunlop has been rated as the No 1 Seller in Kuwait during the past years and assured that it will continue holding the same position for many years to come. Furthermore, General Manager - Sales, Dunlop, Takashi Hara expressed his gratitude to all the Dealers for contributing towards Dunlop being the No 1 tyre brand in Kuwait. He emphasized on the long and successful relationship built between Dunlop and AlBabtain Co. He further assured all guests of the excellent and unmatched quality Dunlop offers to its patrons. He also mentioned that Dunlop has continuously innovated and improved every aspect of the tyre manufacturing industry and has always provided its customers with the best products and services available on the market. Moreover, Jithin Jayachandran, Asst Manager Technical services stated that “Dunlop enjoys the lowest warranty rate as their quality is one of the best. He also assured all the Heads of the Companies that he is willing to give individual company training to enhance the technical know-how of their technicians.” At the end, he asserted that Dunlop enjoys the best-in-class technology all around the globe. After Al-Babtain Co has taken the honor to felicitate the valued dealers, Ghazi Saleh Al-Babtain concluded the event, by awarding Al-Babtain customers with a token of appreciation for their outstanding contribution, and thanked them for choosing DunlopTyres, which are today considered as the world’s foremost brand of high-performance tyres. At the end, all participants at this event took part in a draw, and many of them won a number of valuable prizes. The meeting was later followed by a Gala dinner during which all customers shared their stories and experiences.

opment of “green” building solutions with great energy savings for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and improved living comfort for the people. This investment will also create valuable jobs for Saudi nationals. We would like to acknowledge and thank the Strategic Planning and Investment Development team of the Royal Commission of Yanbu for the strong support provided both for the industrial land as well as for the associated utilities that are necessary to build and operate this green field manufacturing facility. Saint-Gobain Isover is a division of Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction market designs, manufacturers and distributes building materials providing innovative solutions to meet growing demand for energy efficiency and for environmental protection. Alghanim Industries, one of the largest, privatelyowned companies in the Gulf region. A multi-national company in outlook with operations in 40 countries, Alghanim Industries is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate with more than 30 businesses and over 300 brand affiliations. Alghanim Industries has established strongholds in the Middle East, India and Turkey, with operations currently extending to Eastern Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia. AIghanim Industries has strong international insulation manufacturing presence through Rockwool India Limited, Kimmco and Izocam (a joint venture with Saint Gobain).

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd launches ‘Around World Holidays’ in Kuwait KUWAIT: Thomas Cook’s ‘Summer 2012’ holiday bookings are special products specifically designed for NRIs. Their diverse portfolio includes: Special tours to Europe and USA at an attractive price range, starting from $999. The 8 days Europe for all for $999 is a true bargain, covering 4 countries: Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France, and a perfect option for a family holiday. The 10 days super budget America for $999, starts from San Francisco and ends in New Jersey, offering the best of the West and East Coast of America and includes choice of Indian meals and services of dedicated tour managers. A special package for NRI clients is the 15day exclusive Europe tour, pay only $50 for child below 12 years and the parents get to avail a discount of $400 per adult. This offer is

valid for a limited time period on the land portion. Thomas Cook (India) also introduced the 13 days Cosmo Europe tour, with continental dinners. This tour is not just for Indians but for clients of other nationalities as well. The pricing is extremely competitive at $1545 - covering London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Black Forest, Schaffhausen, Engelberg, Venice, Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Pisa, Geneva, Paris. In their Premium holidays section, 19 Days American Royale includes 4 internal flights, covers East Coast, Orlando, Bahamas Cruise and the West Coast, and is one of the most popular products at the offer price of $4100. Besides 16 Days Japan, China and Hong Kong at $4999, they also offer an exciting range of tours to exotic destinations like Egypt, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, Far East.

KUWAIT: Companies around the world understandably make every effort to secure sizable profits, but this should not be at the expense of the environment. Approximately half of the planet’s forests are gone. To avoid a “major planetary catastrophe” it is estimated that up to USD1.9 trillion needs to be invested in green technology each year for the next 40 years. Green or environmentally friendly technology has become the new tool for human development and economic progress, as people and companies worldwide are increasingly recognizing the harmful effects of unsustainable technologies and practices that adversely impact the environment and the overall quality of life. At the core of green technology is the concept of sustainable development, or the act of adequately providing for the needs of the society without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. According to a United Nations (UN) report titled “The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation”, the earth may be on course for a “major planetary catastrophe” as a result of unsustainable technologies and practices. The report states that approximately half of the planet’s forests are gone, while groundwater resources are increasingly being depleted and contaminated. The report also suggests that up to $1.9 trillion needs to be invested each year into green technology for the next 40 years to avoid extreme repercussions for the planet’s survival. Here, in the Middle East, the environmental movement has been gaining momentum over the past years with a growing number of public and private sector institutions coming together to try and address this issue. In addition, strategic socio-economic growth plans being introduced by governments in the region such as the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 and the Qatar National Vision 2030, have further accelerated the adoption of sustainable development concepts. Nonetheless, there is scope for the private sector to take a more active role in developing greener technologies, and encourage all stakeholders to support the green cause in their own capacities. Embracing ‘kyosei At Canon, our commitment towards sustainable development is referred to as ‘kyosei,’ a Japanese word that means living and working together for the common good.

‘Kyosei’ is not just a slogan for us it infuses everything that we do, from product to process development. Nearly 100 per cent of Canon’s products in Europe, Middle East and Africa qualify for the EU ENERGY STAR Programme. The company has also been constantly enhancing its environmental management systems (EMS) and has achieved global certification to ISO14001, the international standard for environment management systems. Canon uses bio-based plastics -an environmentally conscious material that incorporates plant-based and organic components - in the several toner recycling and collection programs it adopts. Interestingly, up to 30 per cent of the company’s printer housings are made from recycled plastic as part of a comprehensive Produce-Use-Recycle product lifecycle approach. Plastics recovered from returned Canon machines or from waste generated during manufacturing are re-used in new products such as the X MARK 1 mouse-calculatorkeypad and the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5000 series. In 2010, Canon also initiated programs to reduce fixed CO2 emissions and those associated with industrial production by improving the efficiency of facilities at its operational sites in various countries, including the Middle East region. For instance, in line with its “closer to customers” strategy, Canon has established a dedicated consultancy team that helps enterprises in Qatar and other countries to achieve substantial energy savings and environmental benefits. By switching to duplex printing, for example, an organization could save an amount of energy equivalent to powering 19 homes for a whole year. Canon Middle East has launched a series of environmentally-focused activities under the theme “Power of Environment” to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the region. In March 2012, Canon participated in “Earth Hour”, shut down all non-essential lights at its offices located in Dubai Internet City for an hour. Moreover, in collaboration with Dubai Internet City, Canon’s employees and their families gathered outside the office building with lamps as a sign of solidarity for Earth Hour and made a pledge that they will take long term actions towards environmental conservation. In addition, Canon has announced a public photo competition entitled “My Earth, My Lens”. Accordingly, people will be required to take a photograph that best symbolises what the environment means to them. - Anurag Agrawal is M D, Canon Middle East

DUBAI: Yusuff Ali MA after unveiling a plaque to commemorate opening of 100th Lulu store in RAK Mall during a press conference in Dubai in the presence of Saifee Rupawala, CEO, Ashraf Ali MA, Executive Director, Raja Abdul Kader - Director - Line Investments and Property, Cliff Moris - Gr Retail Operations Manager and Salim MA - Director.

Lulu to launch 100th store DUBAI: Middle Eastern retail major Lulu announced the launch of 100th store in Ras Al-Khaimah later this month to further strengthen their market share in the region. Addressing a press conference in Dubai yesterday, Yusuff Ali MA, Emke Lulu Group’s Managing Director said, “it was part of our well thought-out “Achieve 100” growth plan launched in 2009 to reach 100 stores mark within 3 years. We are obviously pleased to announce that our 100th Lulu inside RAK Mall, also constructed by the Group, will be inaugurated by Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah on April 26”. Even during the global financial meltdown and industry wide recession, Lulu Group has gone ahead with their announced plan and opened 23 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the last 3 years in almost all major cities of the GCC. “Not a single project was shelved or postponed” added Yusuff Ali. One of the most popular and recognized local brands of the region, Lulu today is a market leader in almost all the countries that they operate. “We are going ahead with our major expansion plans in all GCC countries. In Abu Dhabi alone, we will have another 6 Hypermarkets which will include Al Ain and Western Regions,” he added. Lulu, which started out as Supermarket and Department stores chain has gradually moved onto to the big format Hypermarkets and now is also a force to reckon with in the shopping mall sector. The Group manages 10 very successful shopping malls in the GCC countries which also includes Hypermarkets. Next Move - Webstore Lulu, the hypermarket group which was awarded Dubai Quality Award, has always been in the forefront in terms of adapting to new technologies and innovations. The first to implement SAP Business Intelligence Accelerator and

Explorer in the region and the first to deploy Wireless Technology in retail operations, the Group’s next move is to launch its “WEBSTORE”. “Though the online retail is still in its early stages in the region, we see great potential in it, especially among the youth segment. The popularity of brand Lulu combined with innovative approach and tremendous value addition which we will bring to our “Webstore” will surely make it the most convenient way to shop. Having said that “I see no negative impact of this on our regular store business as vast majority of shoppers here still prefer “touch & feel” shopping and online will help us add more new shoppers”. “Lulu Webstore” will be launched soon and initially will cater to UAE market before rolling out to other GCC countries. Going with the success of its digital marketing initiatives through social media and e-coupons, the Lulu Webstore is sure to act as a catalyst for the online shopping scene in the region. Group’s co-branded credit and loyalty card launched in association with ADCB, which was voted as the best Credit Card at the Smart Cards Awards Middle East 2011, is another product that has got them sizeable amount of loyal customers since its launch 4 years ago. “Obviously it has been a very fruitful partnership with ADCB with our shoppers being the ultimate winner. We will be very soon announcing our next initiative in the loyalty program with bigger rewards and even bigger savings” added Yusuff Ali. One of the most prominent local groups that has always kept the larger interest of UAE as the priority, Lulu is today seen as the front runner in implementing many “inflation curbing” initiatives. For the last 5 years it has signed up an agreement with the Ministry of Economy for freezing the prices of essential commodities and also taken many steps to bring down the prices of imported products. “As I am here for almost 40 years, I know the pulse of this region very well and work according to the local demands” said Yusuff Ali.

As a responsible corporate entity, we have always supported any pro-people steps taken by the Govt. In fact in the last few years we have established our own sourcing offices in major hubs of Asia, Far East, Africa and Europe to directly import products to eliminate “middlemen cost” and pass that benefit to the customers. We have invested in a state-of-the-art warehouse with an area of more than 2 million Sq.ft. in capital city of Abu Dhabi, where we can stock products for three months. I am also delighted to note that recent media reports have found that prices of essential food products are in fact coming down and Lulu is the most “competitive” among all hypermarkets here” a beaming Yusuff Ali added. Future Plan “We see great potential in the eastern and western regions for quality shopping centers and this is where our future focus will be. Apart from big format Hypermarkets and shopping malls we also would like to take our Lulu Express brand to the interior areas and suburban communities across the UAE for the local UAE nationals. Our prices will be the same in all places and these stores would be quick & easy shopping destinations with a range of quality products right at your doorsteps, avoiding the hassle of long drive to big city based malls,” Yusuff Ali said. By the grace of God and support from the Rulers of this great nation, we have reached this far, so numbers will not be our goal in future. We will be more focused on becoming a truly locally grown but International class Retail Brand offering some of the most fascinating retail and leisure options to the shoppers from around the world and at the same time playing our humble role in the economic development of this great nation,” concluded Yusuff Ali, who is also the first non-Arab elected member of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI).



Light bulb with 20-year life unveiled in US on Earth Day WASHINGTON: A prize-winning, super-energy-saving LED bulb from Dutch electronics giant Philips said to last over 20 years went on sale Sunday to coincide with Earth Day. The bulb that won the US Department of Energy’s “Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize” was available from retailers for $50, down from an initial $60 price tag. The company said it was planning discounts to bring the cost down to as little as $25. The 10-watt LED bulb (lightemitting diode) was deemed an efficient alternative to the standard 60watt incandescent bulb, and rated to

last 30,000 hours-when used four hours a day, that translates to a more than two-decade life span, according to the company. For consumers attentive to cost, Philips said the price tag was easily offset by energy savings of $165 over its lifetime.The new bulb, which gives off 940 lumens, a soft white light, is “83 percent more energy efficient than the standard 60-watt incandescent,” said Philips’ North America executive Ed Crawford in announcing upcoming rebates. Incandescent bulbs are power-sucking classics being phased out in

countries around the world, replaced by energy-efficient CFL versions containing toxic mercury that make them hazardous to toss in the rubbish. Philips’ omni-directional bulb, which contains no mercury, began life as the sole entrant to the US government competition seeking ways to replace the common light bulb, and was submitted in 2009 after 18 months of testing. LED bulbs face competition from compact fluorescent lights that approach seek similar efficiency levels, and cost far less. The symbolic choice of Sunday’s Earth Day release however

saw Philips branding their bulb as the environmentally friendly choice. Now in its 42 year, International Earth Day aims to bring attention to climate change and pollution, and highlight ways to save energy. According to Philips, if every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the United States was replaced with their prize winner, “the nation would save about 35 terawatt-hours of electricity or $3.9 billion in one year.” A nationwide changeover would also avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions, said the company-equivalent to removing some 4 mil-

lion cars from the roads. “Consumers are no longer looking at a product that will last just six months to a year, they are looking at a product that is much more efficient and will be with them for decades,” Crawford said ahead of the release. “With LED bulbs, we are looking at a wholesale change in buying lighting technology, going from a disposable good to a durable good,” he added. Philips said it has partnered with over 280 US utility companies for the rebates and 230 more utility firms are expected to join the program in June. —AFP

Ferrari unveils high speed train in Italy Train zooms at 360 kilometres per hour

Tuned for your dream tour


ycle paths and single tracks will be more vibrant this summer thanks to the fresh colour combinations of BMW’s 2012 bikes. The BMW Cruise Bike and Mountainbike Enduro will have a hip new design with exciting colour accents. Alongside the Touring Bike, the Mountainbike Cross Country and the BMW M Carbon Racer Bike, the new BMW bikes promise lots of fun for any kind of rider. A technical update guarantees the premium quality of a genuine BMW. All BMW bikes benefit from a 60-year tradition of BMW engineers applying their automotive expertise to bicycles. BMW bikes are built by people who love the roads and the woodland trails. First-class technology The 2012 BMW Mountain bike Enduro doesn’t make compromises - it makes you smile. BMW engineers gave the off-road bike an improved frame, and that’s another thing that makes BMW bikes special - the frame doesn’t use any mass-produced components; everything on it is developed in-house. Great handling and customisable settings give every climb and descent maximum comfort and superlative safety proved by independent testing facilities that subject BMW bikes to tests that go way beyond the usual standards. A Crank Brothers wheel set gives the 2012 Enduro

better stiffness and improved downhill characteristics. And all this is combined with an extraordinary design. Parts of the spokes are bright green, giving the bike a fabulous appearance, especially when it’s on the move. Green appears again on the saddle. The rest of the bike is metallic black to provide a striking contrast. Exciting bikes in exciting colours The 2012 BMW Cruise Bike is a unique invitation to enjoy life on two wheels. Even on grey, rainy days the colour ful new Cruise Bikes make paths and parks glow. The wheel set is a real eye-catcher: the combined radial and crossed spoke pattern combines superior stability and great looks. The rims of all the silver Cruise Bikes have a colour strip that is echoed on the handlebars and saddle. The new colour combinations pure silver and fresh green, luscious berry and radiant orange give the bikes a distinctive look. There are also Cruise Bikes in trendy white - either pure white or white with blue accents. Twentyseven speeds and a fully adjustable stem give riders complete flexibility on tour. Rounding off the BMW bike lineup are the excursion-friendly 2012 BMW Touring Bike; the versatile, sporty 2012 BMW Mountain bike Enduro; the fast moving BMW M Carbon Racer; and the Kidsbike for the littlest riders.

Sustainable savings shouldn’t cost the earth KUWAIT: The voluntary “green” consumer trend has grown considerably over the years. Consumer behavior is continuously changing and the market is seeing a shift in demand for green products, as more and more consumers are opting to buy green products, companies are enhancing their green initiative and focusing on the environmentfriendly products. Leading manufacturers are in a battle to win both the hearts and the minds of the consumer. Although most consumers have a built-in conscious to protect the environment for future generations, consumer behavior is not solely an environmentally based decision. Consumers seek to find products that make both complete economic and environmental sense, saving previous dollars and resources. According to a sur vey conducted by Euromonitor International, 85 percent of consumers worldwide believe that price is a key factor when purchasing a product. Although, 70 percent of consumers are willing to spend more on green products compared to the same product without green features, the recession has played an important role in the consumer buying behavior. At the current time, buyers are more interested in cutting costs and decreasing their monthly expenditure as a percentage of their gross disposable income. So what ’s next? Consumers are requesting greener products that are cost friendly. Manufacturers are working on meeting these demands through day to day innovations. D. Y. Kim, President of LG Electronics Gulf FZE said: “The technology industry nowadays is at height of its competitiveness. Companies are researching green products and introducing new innovations to the market every day. LG has been practicing environmental management and is a leader in developing green innovations and is providing consumers

NAPLES: As Europe’s first privately owned high-speed train hit 300 kph just outside Naples, Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo smiled at the suggestion that he was addicted to risk and velocity. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, speed and risk, risk in terms of economic risk. I think an entrepreneur has to risk, if not, he is not an entrepreneur anymore.” Montezemolo and a consortium of private investors are taking a 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) risk that they can provide better high-speed train service between major Italian cities than state-run Trenitalia, taking advantage of a 2006 European Union move to open up track to competition. “We have brought an end to one of the longest monopolies in the history of our country. Finally, Italian travellers and tourists can choose,” he said. The new company, called NT V, or Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, starts service between Rome and eight other Italian cities on April 28 and will eventually have 25 trains - a new type of locomotive-free rolling stock that has an engine under each car to increase capacity. Montezemolo and businessmen Diego Della Valle of luxury goods maker Tod’s, Gianni Punzo and Giuseppe Sciarrone founded the start-up in 2006. They were later joined by Banca Intesa San Paolo, Italy’s largest insurer Generali, businessman Alberto Bombassei from Brembo Brake Company and French state railway company SNCF, which took a 20 percent stake and provides know-how. But Montezemolo, chairman of NTV, is clearly the leading man in a highprofile business script aimed at snatching 25 percent of Italy’s highspeed train market by 2014 and breaking even the same year. It hopes to attract 8-9 million passengers a year by then. Chiara Pelizzoni, a transport analyst for Nomisma, said NTV will not have too many problems attracting customers in the high-speed market. “The high end of the market will be easier to sell. There are customers willing to pay for good services and from an industrial plan point of view they have a good, experienced partner in SNCF,” he said. “The real challenge will be if they try to enter the market for regional routes, where it is much more complicated to make money and where there are more regula-

ROME: The NTV high speed train Italo, waits to depart at Rome’s Tiburtina railway station. — AP tions,” she said. The dapper Montezemolo, who looks younger than his 64 years and sports a Bobby Kennedy-esque mane of hair, has a breathless business resume and aristocratic family lineage that fuels his confident, can-do style like high-octane petrol fuels a Ferrari. He organised the 1990 World Cup football tournament, was chairman of carmaker Fiat, managed Italy’s America’s Cup sailing race challenge team, headed the powerful business lobby Confindustria and is now running Fiat’s Ferrari division. New entrepreneurial challenge But a startup was a new challenge, even for him. “This is the first time that I have developed a company from scratch, from zero, from a blank page. Four years ago there was nothing, no train, no people, no organisation, nothing,” he said as the train sped toward Rome. He enthuses about the train as if it were one of his Ferrari Formula One race cars and it is a safe bet that the choice of red as the NTV’s dominant colour is probably no coincidence. “This is the quickest train today. There is no other train like it. This train can go 360 kilometres an hour but we are obliged not to go faster than 300,” he said, referring to the limits of the infrastructure of the Italian rail system. The 450-seat NTV trains, dubbed Italo and painted red, gold and gray, use high-speed

AGV cars built by French transport and power engineering group Alstom. The AGV is quieter and cheaper to run than its predecessor the TGV and has 20 percent more passenger space because its motors are placed under each car, instead of in locomotives at either end. “Can you believe we are going at 300 kilometres an hour?” he asked as the streamlined train sped quietly between Naples and Rome on a trip for the media last Friday. Indeed, if it were not for the Italian countryside flashing outside the big, oversized windows and a slight murmur inside, a passenger might think the train was standing still. Service, style, and value NT V hopes to win customers away from the state -owned Trenitalia, which uses the Italianmade ETR 500 on its high-speed runs, by offering better onboard services, elegance and free amenities such Wi-Fi, live television and first-run films. The business plan uses a tiered airline-style fare structure for its three “ambiances” - Club, Prima and Smart - and includes low-cost fares in the Smart “ambience” for tickets that are booked early and for off-peak times. NTV’s guiding mantra is service, style, and competition. It offers, for example, quality meals at competitive prices served in passenger seats instead of restaurant cars and prepared by Eataly, the food empo-

rium with shops in the Italy, the United States and Japan. All the seats, even the cheapest, are in plush leather made by luxury furniture maker Poltrona Frau. The trains will make the Rome-Milan run in about three hours, depending on which stations the traveller chooses, roughly the same amount of time as Trenitalia’s fast trains. But Montezemolo is betting that travellers will choose NTV for the overall experience, the customer service and the smoother ride. Apart from Rome, the NTV network will include Salerno and Naples in the south as well as Florence, Bologna, Milan, Turin, Padua and Venice in the north. And he said the company might eventually expand into regional routes with high tourist traffic such as FlorenceSiena using different types of trains in the future. “This is a high-risk venture for us. We have invested 650 million euros for the trains, we will pay 120 million euros a year for the use of the tracks and we have already created more than a 1,000 jobs with a 50-50 distribution between men and women,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out, we fail.” He wants to make Italo, the sleek white jumping hare who is the mascot of the train, as easily recognisable a brand as Ferrari’s prancing horse. Asked if he feared a price war with Trenitalia on the profitable Rome-Milan route he said: “Bring it on. May the best customer experience win”. — Reuters

New customer service standards at FASTtelco A with break-through technology that is eco -friendly and cost efficient. LG Electronics makes every effort to provide better quality to consumers and to contribute to more sustainable communities.” Consumers of today want the products of tomorrow which cost less money and save more money. Savings whether of energy consumption or income have equal importance ensuring manufacturers focus on shortening the cycle of innovation to create products such as the Steam Direct Drive washing machine from LG which uses 35 percent less water and 21percent less energy. Other innovations from the company include the Eco-friendly R600A refrigerant equipped with Linear Compressor technology which saves up to 40 percent of energy and LED lighting which could save up to 84 percent of energy. Green consumer trends will continue to grow over the next decade. It is the responsibility of global leaders such as LG to continue driving innovation meeting the demands of consumers and keeping the planet green.

s a part of a comprehensive, customer focused initiative, the Quality Management Department issued its first reports that measure both internal and external customer performance. The Quality Management department is implementing a proactive quality measurement as part of the overall enterprise wide customer focused initiative. This program entails two management tools, one that defines and sets internal processes that overlooks how each employee -customer interaction is measured, to ensure all customers concerns and issues are resolved in a timely, courteous and efficient manner. On the other quality management side of the business, the Quality Assurances Department contacts FT customers on a daily basis to solicit their feedback on a defined survey that allows customers to rate the performance of the company, its products and services, and a step towards highlighting FASTtelco’s responsibility towards the clients and the market. Prior to the Quality Audit report, a company wide training was also conducted for all employees who interact with customers to ensure that they know the correct parameters of customer service, telephone etiquette and efficient problem resolution. These reports form the basis of FASTtelco’s operational improvement plans and is strictly monitored by the Chief Operating Officer

The FASTtelco team is pictured.

to ensure clarity, continuity and adherence. FASTtelco has always been keen on meeting its customers’ standards and satisfaction levels, and has always sought to maintain an excellent relationship with its client base and the market in general, through its proper management caliber, and enforcing proper managerial tools. It is worth mentioning

that FASTtelco is en route to achieving its business superiority in the internet and data communication market through maintaining its strong customer service standards, a business philosophy which helped FASTtelco gain international recognition and honoring it with the International Bizz Award 2012 for its business excellence.



Russian scientists in quest to find elusive white orca Orcas can travel thousands of kilometres

KENT: Ryan Barkley, 7, participates in a research study conducted by his father, Jacob Barkley, an assistant professor of exercise physiology at Kent State University. — MCT

Kids need activity to avoid diabetes AKRON: The kid who never gets the ball tossed to him on the playground could be more likely to pass on any type of exercise. A study led by a Kent State University researcher has found that children who were ostracized during a virtual ball-toss computer game were subsequently less physically active. These findings - published recently in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ professional journal Pediatrics could help shed light on contributing factors and potential solutions for the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. “Ostracism appears to cause a reduction in physical activity,” said study co-author Jacob Barkley, an assistant professor in exercise science at Kent State. “It could create a scenario where if you’re an overweight or obese child, that ostracism could reduce your physical activity. As you get more ostracized, you get heavier, you get more ostracized because you got heavier and things get worse and worse.” According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of children and adolescents are overweight. Barkley got the idea for the study while watching his three sons, ages 3 to 7, playing in their backyard. “I noticed when friends came over, the intensity of their activity increased dramatically,” he said. “After seeing that, I went and looked at the literature in terms of peer influence and physical activity behavior.” Barkley found other studies showing a link between ostracism or bullying and a

decline in physical activity. But previous research didn’t show a clear cause and effect. For example, one study determined that children who felt teased verbally or physically were less likely to be active and more likely to be overweight, Barkley said. “But does this peer victimization cause them to be less active, or (does) the fact that they’re less active cause victimization?” In his study, Barkley and his colleagues observed 19 boys and girls ages 8 to 12 who completed two experimental sessions at Kent State. During one session, children playing a ball-toss computer game received the ball one-third of the time. During the other, the computer was programmed to exclude the children from receiving the ball most of the time. After playing the computer games, the participants were taken to a gym, where they were allowed to choose sedentary or physical activities. When they were excluded by the computer game, the study participants spent 41 percent more time with sedentary activities, such as reading books, coloring or playing matching games, the study found. When the children were included in the computer game, their physical activity level in the gym was 22 percent higher. “I think it’s really important that children have positive peer interaction in their life,” Barkley said. Barkley is conducting follow-up research exploring whether positive peer interaction encourages physical activity. — MCT

PARIS: A team of Russian scientists say they will embark on a quest next week to observe the only all-white, adult killer whale ever spotted-a majestic and elusive bull they have named Iceberg. The researchers from the universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg first spotted the orca’s towering, two-metre dorsal fin break the surface near the Commander Islands in the North Pacific in August 2010. Living in a pod with 12 other family members, Iceberg was deemed to be at least 16 years old, given the size of his dorsal fin, said Erich Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP). “This is the first time we have ever seen an all-white, mature male orca,” Hoyt told AFP. “It is a breathtakingly beautiful animal.” The scientists decided to hold back on releasing photographs of Iceberg until they were able to study him further, “but we have been looking for him ever since,” said Hoyt. Orcas can travel thousands of kilometres (miles). The scientists would like to establish whether Iceberg is albino-a genetic condition that leaves animals unable to produce melanin, a dark pigment of skin, hair and the eye’s retina and iris. Many albino animals never grow into adulthood. Their visibility is a disadvantage in the hunt for food and protection against predators. Two other white orcas are known to live in the waters where Iceberg was spotted, east of Kamtchatka peninsula in Russia’s far-east, but they are juveniles. In 1970, a two-year-old white orca, Chimo, was captured in Canada for a dolphinarium,

and was diagnosed with a type of albinism after its death two years later. “We want to find out a lot more about Iceberg,” said Hoyt. “We would like to find out how he is able to survive as a white whale. The FEROP team will set out

for Bering Island next week as art of a project to study the social behaviour and communication of the Kamchatkan orca population, which they say is under threat from verfishing and plans to expand oil and gas exploration. — AFP

A picture released yesterday shows the fin of an albino killer whale nicknamed Iceberg travelling in a pod of 13 orcas near Bering island in the Commander islands in Russia. — AFP

Anti-cholesterol statins don’t reduce melanoma risk: Study NEW YORK: Despite earlier indications that people taking cholesterol-lowering statins might have a reduced risk of developing melanoma, a study of thousands of women found that the popular drugs do nothing to prevent the deadly skin cancer. Evidence from experiments on cells and one trial in people had suggested some of the same properties of statins that protect against heart disease might also prevent melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer. But researchers led by Michael Simon, at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, found no impact on melanoma in women who took the drugs, which include atorvastin and pravastatin, to lower their cholesterol. “I don’t think there’s anything here that suggests statins may be protective for melanoma,” Simon said. The researchers, whose report was published in the journal Cancer, used data from the massive Women’s Health Initiative study, which has tracked

about 120,000 women for more than a decade. They compared roughly 8,800 white women who took a statin medication to 111,000 white women who did not, finding 89 cases of melanoma among the statin users and 1,111 cases among the non-users doing a 12-year period. That translated to identical rates of melanoma in each group, nine cases a year for every 10,000 women. The results were the same no matter what type of statin the women took or how long they took it. “For primary prevention (of melanoma) I think we’re putting the nail into the coffin of that theor y,” said Rober t Dellavalle, chief of dermatology at the Denver VA Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. Simon’s team wrote that because statins have demonstrated benefits on skin cells in laboratories, it’s possible that people who take them don’t achieve sufficient concentrations of the drugs to make a difference to

their melanoma risk. Further studies of people at higher risk for melanoma than the broad group of women in the current study could also “provide more conclusive results”, they added. Based on the evidence that statins can help destroy tumor cells in a petri disk, there might be a way to use the drugs in people already diagnosed with melanoma, said Dellavalle. But as far as prevention goes, Simon said it would be better to spend resources on things that are known to prevent skin cancer. Risk factors for melanoma include exposure to UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds, fair skin that tends to burn, moles or other types of pigmented birthmarks, smoking and family history of the cancer. “I think based on (the study results) we should continue to put our resources into education about sun protection: staying out of the noonday sun, wearing protective sunscreen,” Simon told Reuters Health. — Reuters

Wellness guru finds salvation in chocolate

Paul Marrs, 80, lives in an assisted living facility and wears a monitor that lets his family know that he is up and about for the day. — MCT

Families of frail seniors claim sensors are godsend MINNEAPOLIS: When 80-year-old Paul Marrs arises each morning, nine sensors in his Belle Plaine, Minn., senior apartment begin tracking his activity and dispatching an array of data to a computer in Mendota Heights, Minn. - did he go back to bed, use the toilet, open the refrigerator? It’s a high-tech solution that is transforming services to frail seniors in Minnesota and across the country by spotting problems while they’re small. For some seniors and their families, it’s raised some privacy concerns, but for others, such as Marrs, it’s a godsend. For two years, it has helped keep him in his lower-cost apartment at the Kingsway Senior Living complex and out of the adjacent assisted-living unit. That $900 annual service saves him $22,000 a year. Thousands of elders are able to stay healthier, and delay or avoid institutional care, under the 24-houra-day attention of pressure sensors, motion detectors, pill dispensers, personal-alert pendants and other devices. “We’re really at the edge of major change,” said Majd Alwan, who heads the Center for Aging Services Technologies, a coalition of companies, care providers and universities that develop and use new systems. “There are barriers, but we are demonstrating that this works,” he said. “We can improve lives for the elderly and their families.” Several major chains of care providers in Minnesota are among national leaders in the change, including Ecumen, Presbyterian Homes, Good Samaritan Society and Volunteers of America. The array of sensing devices at Kingsway in Belle Plaine was developed by Healthsense of Mendota Heights, which is working with 50 other senior housing providers in Minnesota and an equal number in other states. At Kingsway, each of the 22 assisted-living units has the full array of sensors included in

its monthly fee. Like Marrs, about half of those in the 45 independent apartments buy the service at a reduced rate of $75 a month. Its home health agency also is taking the devices into the community, sometimes just for a few weeks after surgery, or longer term to help people with chronic illnesses stay in their homes. They pay the full cost: one-time fees of $1,500 to rent and $550 to install and program the system, and a monthly monitoring fee of $150. “That sounds expensive, but it’s about the same as two weeks in a nursing home,” said Sharon Blume, director of family services and technology at Kingsway. “The savings start pretty quick.” Government agencies are beginning to pay providers for using the technology with low-income people and are offering grants to help. Some preliminary findings are promising, say leaders of “ This is not just an exercise,” he said. “Innovation ... is coming from nonprofit providers whose mission is to improve lives. That’s what this technology has to do.” The Healthsense Wi-Fi system also can check a resident’s blood pressure, blood sugar and other vital signs, track a resident moving through the building, and send out a cellphone alert to staff if there are signs of trouble. And for families who want it, such as Marrs’ son and daughter, the system sends out daily all-is-well e-mails. “I didn’t realize how worried I’d been about Dad until I started getting the e-mails,” Dianne Cutter said on a recent Friday from the airport in Scranton, Pa. Traveling weekly for business, she’s more apt to get the message in Thailand or France than at her home in Chaska, Minn. “I feel like I can relax. I can go online to look at the details,” she said. “But mainly I want to know he’s OK.” —MCT

MINNEAPOLIS: Slow down. Sit on your hands, if you must. First, just look at the piece of chocolate before you. Consider its particular shade. An earthy umber? A glossier Hershey? Now bring it to your nose. Rub the chocolate and ponder. Is that vanilla? Raisins? Hay? You may wonder how in the world your brain is saying “hay.” Patience. Next, snap the morsel in half. Did the sound surprise you? Has anything filched from the kids’ Halloween bags ever cracked like that? OK, now put a bit on your tongue. Slow down. Let it melt. Close your eyes and think of nothing but chocolate melting in your mouth. Only that. This is the flavor of revolution. That’s what Anna Bonavita says, at least, and why not believe her? She may have more chocolate. Bonavita is the champion of what she calls a chocolate revolution that’s happening in our midst and, indeed, must happen if we are to preserve the Earth, our health and our peace of mind. If that sounds a little over the top, so is the story of how Bonavita moved from a career in microelectronics behind the Berlin Wall to leading yoga students in Minneapolis through the finer points of a Trinitario chocolate with 75 percent cacao content. “We are here to experience pleasure, not just to suffer,” Bonavita said in a Bulgarian accent more musical than you might expect. Yet for most of her life, pleasure was an afterthought. Pursuing a career in science, she moved to Russia at 19 to get a doctorate in microelectronics. Ten years later, she returned to work in Bulgaria, only to discover, with the toppling of the Berlin Wall, the superiority of science being done in the West. “We were in open waters,” she said of the mixed feelings of freedom and futility. She came to Minnesota to work at Seagate Technology but felt a growing restlessness. “I wanted a purpose bigger than me,” she said. So eventually she and her Italian husband, Massimo, helped to found the Italian Cultural Center in

Minneapolis in 2006, a nonprofit whose language classes enable the center to stage an annual Italian film festival. Then in 2009, she was laid off from Seagate, a casualty of restructuring. Again at sea, she decided to visit Italy, ending up in Romagna, in the north region, where on a damp, cold-to-yourbones evening, she decided, on a whim, to attend a chocolate tasting. “The chocolates I tasted were nothing I had experienced before,” Bonavita said. In short order, she learned about chocolate’s role in the world economy, its role in the fight to preserve and restore rain forests, its role in medical discoveries on the beneficial role of antioxidants. She began educating herself about some of the 600 flavor

roundness and great persistence.” He’s also a rock star in the sustainability movement, in which cacao growers in Central and South America are allies in the fight to maintain biodiversity in the face of lumber, mining and oil interests. Bonavita’s path seemed clear, albeit ill-advised. “Sometimes I asked myself, ‘Are you insane?’ At a time when people are watching their budgets, I’m pushing expensive chocolate,” she said. “But I have to do it if we are going to change into a better world.” She, Massimo and a friend, Ella Chamba, started Chocolate Bonavita in 2010, offering tastings and classes at the Italian Cultural Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., and even a tasting in tandem with a yoga class, believing that a calm mind is most receptive to the

MINNEAPOLIS: Anna Bonavita talks about chocolates to people during her yoga session.— MCT notes in chocolate by starting each morning with a chocolatetasting, before her palate had been compromised by coffee, or even toothpaste. Eventually, she met Gianluca Franzoni, an Italian who makes Domori chocolates - a level of chocolate that inspires critiques such as having “extraordinary

nuances of fine chocolate. Chocolates are for sale on the center’s website,, where a 1.75ounce bar of the award-winning Porcelana goes for $17. Goals include a retail store and development of a curriculum for chocolate sommeliers, in the vein of those for wine or olive oil. People

love chocolate. And while US citizens ate more than 3.6 billion pounds of it in 2010, according to the US Department of Commerce, we are mere amateurs when compared with Europe, which has 16 of the top 20 chocolate-eating countries. All predictions point to rising consumption, partly thanks to studies about chocolate’s health benefits. The Harvard School of Public Health, in a survey of 65-year-old men, found that eating moderate amounts of chocolate was a factor in prolonging their lives. Cacao is rich in dietary copper, magnesium and iron, and dark chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure, along with being a source of antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease, according to Boston University’s School of Medicine and the German Heart Journal. The most recent, and perhaps more controversial, study was published last month in the journal Nature, in which obesity researchers at the University of California argued that sugar is so perilous to public health that it should be regulated as a controlled substance in order to reduce overall consumption. Far from hearing that as bad news, cheerleaders for fine chocolate heralded the findings as another ally. Chocolate with high cacao content actually contains very little sugar, Bonavita said. Yet it’s clear that Bonavita’s passion is less about health and more about a belief that chocolate is good for our brains and for the planet. ( Ten percent of Bonavita’s profits go to the Rainforest Rescue program.) “The major problem in our culture is that we’re constantly hurrying, so stressed out, even when we are in the presence of something exceptional,” she said. “This is where I believe we women can be a force in the food revolution,” whether in sustainable agriculture or in teaching children how to make wise choices. “Chocolate is just a great example of the need for change.” — MCT



Fit for a weasel: Odd socks flood in for project SACRAMENTO: The socks started showing up in Rick Sweitzer’s mail in Oakhurst, Calif., a small Sierra Nevada foothill town, a few days after Christmas. They trickled in at first, in bulging padded envelopes and duct-taped boxes from individuals. Then in big boxes from Girl Scout troops and elementary schools. All wanted to help Sweitzer learn more about the Pacific fisher, a rare member of the weasel family that many had never even heard of. Sweitzer uses socks to hold chicken meat as bait for the fisher. The baited socks are hung from trees within view of an automated camera so biologists can record the travels of the elusive species. When he asked for more socks in a news release the week before Christmas, he was merely hoping to ease his research budget. With numerous camera stations operating across the Sierra National Forest, the fishers and other critters drawn to the bait go through about 200 socks a month. In today’s well-connected media world, the request went viral. “We basically generated several truckloads,” said Sweitzer, an associate adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “It was incredible.” Sweitzer estimates he has received “well over 10,000” socks from all over North America, including Alaska and Canada. Some people sent personal notes about how rounding up “orphan” socks became an important community service project. Others were heart-rending, like the Fresno, Calif., woman who mailed the socks left behind by her son, who died of a heart attack in September. “He loved the mountains and the creatures that live there,” she wrote. Months later, the socks were still coming in. “I literally have a stack, a couple inches high, of cards and letters people sent with their sock donations,” Sweitzer said. Sweitzer leads a team of biologists in Oakhurst, Calif., a community along the road to Yosemite National Park, as part of the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project. The Pacific Fisher is a ferocious and toothy carnivore that depends on old-growth forest, so its fate is considered an important indicator of overall forest health. The species once roamed throughout the Sierra Nevada. Decades of land development, logging and other disturbances have left the species in two separate populations

at opposite ends of the state. Sweitzer’s research aims to learn more about the size and habits of the Southern Sierra population, and how it responds to logging in the area. The researchers learned early on that ordinary socks are vital to avoid a problem common to the automated wildlife camera: blurry and fragmented photos. By attaching socks filled with chicken meat to trees, the fisher is forced to linger long enough to tear open the sock, ensuring time for quality images. There is one problem: The technique is murder on socks. Sweitzer long ago culled all the

drawer,” he said. “I got to thinking, ‘Why are we buying all these socks?’” So a week before Christmas, Sweitzer’s team sent a news release to California media asking the public to donate socks. The news item was so curious, and perhaps well-timed during the holidays, that it was picked up by a number of newspapers and wire services and appeared across the country. It hit the Internet as people spread the sock plea via Facebook and Twitter. In just a few days, the Oakhurst post office began getting socks from all over the country.

SACRAMENTO: Stacy Gale, a special education teacher at Fern Bacon Middle School, reinforces the tape along her sign to request students donate their orphan socks to help wildlife research in Yosemite National Park. — MCT tired and leftover socks in his own dresser drawers, and began spending inordinate time and money buying new socks. The researchers put out sock donation bins around Oakhurst, generating a few hundred socks. They still needed more. Then it struck Sweitzer that everybody loses socks in the laundry, often with an unmatched “orphan” sock left behind. “Everyone has a sock

Some days, so many packages arrived that Sweitzer wheeled them out in a postal bin. Girl Scout troops in North Carolina and West Virginia took it on as a service project, and staffed sockcollecting bins at local stores. “At first, people thought we were collecting new socks for the needy, and most couldn’t believe that we wanted their old socks _ and it

was for weasels!” Mary Fitzgerald, the parent leader of Girl Scout Troop 63033 in Montville, Conn., said via email. The troop sent Sweitzer 63 pounds of socks. Thanks partly to the sock drive, the girls have met their 100-hour community service goal. Numerous elementary schools also sent socks, including Fern Bacon Middle School in Sacramento. Stacy Gale saw it as a good project for her special education class. They put up a poster and a collection bin outside her classroom. The student media program produced a video that was shown schoolwide. Students brought their orphan socks from home. The school’s custodian, its “lunch ladies” in the cafeteria and other staff also brought socks. Gale sent off 150 socks after washing them at home. “These are city kids. We’re in south Sacramento in the middle of the ‘hood,’” said Gale, a teacher for 30 years. “They had no idea what a fisher or a weasel was. It’s just making them environmentally aware, that’s what I would say.” Being a scientist, Sweitzer began collecting data on the sock shipments once it became clear how far his plea had reached. He saved the notes and letters, recorded ZIP codes and tallied up the money people spent on shipping. He gave a talk about the sock donations at a recent wildlife conference in Sacramento, and plans to publish an article in a University of California in-house science journal. Most of the socks came from California, but also from 15 other states. “Now people all over the country know what the Pacific fisher is and that there’s an effort going on to understand more about them,” he said. Some socks are not suitable for the research. Ankle socks are too small. Thin polyester is too fragile. Thick wool is too tough. The razor-toothed fisher needs to be able to tear the sock open, but not too fast. The biologists sorted through all the donations and ended up with more than enough socks to serve the remaining two years of their research. They are not actively seeking more. Extras are being transferred to another fisher research project in the Sierra Nevada east of Fresno, Calif. The socks deemed unsuitable - several hundred pairs - are being sorted and donated to homeless programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. “The wealth has been spread around,” Sweitzer said. — MCT



W H AT ’ S O N Greetings


appy Birthday to our lovely daughter Shagufta Anjum Shaikh, who celebrates her 2nd birthday today. May Almighty Allah bless her with good health and bright future. Best wishes come from Father Mohammed Safeer, Mother Kousar Anjum, grandparents, uncle-Tanveer, Zaheer, Munwar, Imthiyaz and all friends and relatives in Kuwait and India.

LULU LUCKY WHEELS DRAW RESULT Palestinian Cultural Exhibition


andicrafts reaffirm the Palestinian national identity and support needy children and families. The Palestinian Culture Center in collaboration with the Women’s Cultural Society invite you to its spring exhibition. The exhibition aims to preserve Palestinian handicrafts in order to reaffirm the Palestinian national identify by adapting it harmoniously to the 21st century demands. We display classic designs intertwined with modern uses, colors, and motifs, to showcase some of the creativity of the Palestinian women. Items on sale include: cushions, runners, scarves, shawls, long traditional dresses as well as smaller items. We also have handmade ceramics from Palestine, books, music, and movies. Kuwaiti Women Cultural Soceity, Khaldiya, Block 2, Al Qurouba Street Date: Monday April 23 to Thursday 26th 2012 from 10 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm to 8:30pm. Call 25755866, 25727388, 99376608.

Announcements Intensive Free Arabic Course in IPC IPC is opening an intensive Basic Arabic Course for ladies commencing from June 3-July 8, 2012. The class will be from 5 -7 pm and 3 days a week. Registration is on! For information, call: 22512257. Ambassadors of Comedy Dean-Obeidallah (The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour), Nitin Mirani (King Of UAE Comedy), Aron Kader (The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour). All of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the St. John Ambulance Brigade (India) and the Fazlani Foundation (India). Go out and have fun while supporting a wonderful cause When: April 27, 2012 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm at the American International School (Hamood Al-Naser Street, Dr. Kamil Al-Rayes Auditorium, Meidan Hawalli) Contact: Mohamed Kagdi or Minhaj Shikari 99788692 or 99710242 Iranian Contemporary Art Date: 23rd April to 10th May, 2012 These are images of conflations and juxtapositions. Sabzi’s paintings signify the crossroad of cultures and evoke one of the most pertinent signs of the multiculturalism that has been the hallmark of the arts in late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His art represents that humanized perspective where in memory persists across cultural zones, even when and where it has no relevance. So many of his works speak of conditions where values and perspectives seep through the chinks of any culture’s shield of protection. They are about the kind of interconnectedness that can no longer be undone; they are about the end of purity and the end of searching for origins and essence. The Event-Art & Fashion Date: April 28-May 1 The Event will be sponsored by Goji Boutique and Qumarl4 and will be filled with an eclectic mix of designers who compliment each other, providing the visitors with an inspiring and unique shopping experience. To add to excitement Join them and feast your eyes! Dar Al Funoon is located In Al-Watiah, Behbehani Compound, House No.28. For more Information please call 22433738 or log onto SADU HOUSE Opening: 7 May 2012 5pm-8pm Exhibition Hours: 8 May, 9am - 1pm & 4- 8pm, 9 May, 9am - 1pm For its launch exhibition, Zen Crafts presents the richness of Gulf handicrafts, blending traditional and modern design to create unique and expertly crafted contemporary pieces. An exquisite limited collection of hand-woven textiles inspired by the bedouin art of Sadu weaving, and award-winning designer/ silversmith Nedda El-Asmar ’s take on the modern mabkhar, the Gulf’s iconic incense burner, will be unveiled. Join us on this cultural journey from Kuwait to Laos and Brussels in the brand’s quest for new interpretations of our Gulf heritage. Sodu House is located in Kuwait City, on Gulf Street, next to the Kuwait National Museum. For more Information please call 99402406 or email info@zericraf Visit Golf Tourney American Business Council of Kuwait invites you to its 11th Annual 4-man 18 hole Golf tournament at the Sahara Club on Friday, May 4th. If interested to participate, register now, individually or a team off our at americanbusinesscouncil@abckuwait2012 Non-Golfers are welcome to enjoy the day-out at the Sahara club and experience the delicious luncheon at the tournaments prize distribution ceremony.

Draw Date: 18 and 19 April 2012 Prize Name FORD EDGE CAR ABDUL HADI DEYAB FORD EDGE CAR ALI ABDUL KHALED 1. 100 KD Gift Voucher KHALID ABDULLAH 2. 100 KD Gift Voucher AHLAM ABDUL RAZAK BU ABAAS 3. 100 KD Gift Voucher ZAKI ZAKI FARAJ 4. 100 KD Gift Voucher ABUL KASEM 5. 100 KD Gift Voucher SEYED ASAD HUSAIN 6. 100 KD Gift Voucher ALAA ALDEEN WARDAY 7. 100 KD Gift Voucher C. SAJESHA 8. 100 KD Gift Voucher HAYA MAHMOOD RASHED 9. 100 KD Gift Voucher DINWI ANGATHA 10.100 KD Gift Voucher HASSAN ABDULAH AHMAD 11.100 KD Gift Voucher M. ZIZAR 12.100 KD Gift Voucher JEENE JOSE 13.100 KD Gift Voucher KHALAF MOHAMED AL-MOTHIRY

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Movenpick Beach Resort Al-Khobar wins award


ovenpick Beach Resort Al-Khobar has been recognized as the ‘Best Specialized Resort’ 2011 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards. The accolade was received by Turki AlMohaisen, Managing Director, Eastern Rehab Company for Tourism Investment, and Hiren Prabhakar, Resort Manager, at a glittering ceremony held in Riyadh last week. Nearly 100,000 votes were cast in the 2012 Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards across 22 categories, with over 600 nominations. The awards were presented by Prince Sultan Bin Salman, President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, at the Riyadh Exhibition Centre. Dr. Abdulmohsen bin Abdullah Al Hajji, Chairman of the Jury for Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards said, “These awards aim to recognize achievements of various businesses and industrial activities within

the growing tourism sector of the Kingdom, to motivate individuals and companies to

achieve the highest possible standards, and to encourage the further development

and improvement of tourist products and services.” Hiren Prabhakar, Resort

Manager at the Movenpick Beach Resort Al-Khobar, commented, “We are proud to have received such a prestigious honour within the first year of our operation. It is an important recognition of our efforts and a fitting compliment to each and every one of our employees, who work tirelessly to provide personalized service of the highest standard for our guests.” Nestled on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, Movenpick Beach Resort Al-Khobar is the newest addition to Movenpick Hotels & Resorts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The resort is a spectacular family getaway, with 36 spacious duplex villas, a private lagoon, beach, marina and a large freeform swimming pool. The luxurious resort offers the ultimate in tranquillity and entertainment, including delectable cuisine, water activities and a spa; all in absolute serenity and unparalleled privacy.

Porsche Early Childhood Road and Traffic Safety Program


ver 130 Year One students from the New English School enjoyed a visit to the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI)/Porsche Early Childhood Road and Traffic Safety Program at Qadsiya Sports Club. The program provides a fun filled, educational experience for young children to learn the ‘Golden Rules of Road Safety’, in addition to driving their very own Porsche 911 pedal cars around the specially designed indoor circuit. On completion of their course, the children were presented with their first Porsche Driving Licence, a certificate and activity books. “We know to ‘click’ seatbelt in the car and look and listen when we cross the road” commented one student. “Can we come back again tomorrow?” asked another.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts continues global revitalization


tarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that its global powerhouse, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, continues to enhance its portfolio with the re-opening of the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh following a full multi-million dollar renovation. The re-launch of the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is part of a multi-year global revitalization effort which has seen Sheraton and its owners invest more than $6 billion in new hotel openings, renovations and signature brand initiatives around the world. The brand’s revitalization effort is already paying off with measurable success guest satisfaction scores continue to rise and the brand has seen solid growth in market share, signalling that guests are taking notice and rediscovering the new Sheraton. Hoyt Harper, Global Brand Leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts comments: “We have spent the last few years renovating and rebuilding one of the hotel industry’s most iconic brands and Sheraton’s all-time high guest satisfaction scores are a direct result of this investment. As one of our flagship hotels, the newly renovated Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh showcases our commitment to making the

brand an unparalleled leader in the hospitality sector.” Located in the heart of Edinburgh, the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is the latest Sheraton hotel worldwide to undergo a full renovation. The hotel now offers fully refurbished guest rooms, more than 15,000 square feet of newly renovated meeting and event space and a new restaurant and bar. The refurbished Sheraton Grand will be the Scottish capital’s newest five-star hotel, with the benefit of 25 years of operational excellence. “I would like to thank our owner partner, Hotel Corporation of Edinburgh, for their long-standing belief in the Sheraton brand and enormous support in the refurbishment of the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa.” said Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME). “Sheraton now stands taller than ever before with the strongest portfolio in its history and we are proud to offer guests new flagship hotels, renovated properties and signature brand offerings.” Designed to appeal to both business and leisure travellers, the hotel offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere with a stylish and contemporary feel. The new interiors feature a neutral colour palette,

modern materials and clean lines throughout, which are accented with elegant Scottish finishes. The hotel features 269 fully renovated guest rooms, designed in a contemporary Scottish style with frosted glasswalled bathrooms and state-of-the-art technology. All rooms feature the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed and are decorated with natural furnishings and Scottish art. The Grand Suite (the Sheraton Grand’s take on the Presidential Suite) is the hotel’s most opulent suite, boasting spectacular views of the iconic Edinburgh castle, a master bedroom with a spacious dressing room, a separate twin-bedroom, lounge area, private lobby and cloakroom. Facilities include a newly-installed Sheraton Club Floor, where Club guests can receive exclusive access to a bright and spacious Club Lounge which serves breakfast, drinks and light snacks throughout the day. There is also a new dedicated meetings and events complex offering 14 stylish and flexible function rooms, making it the largest conference and banqueting area in a hotel in Edinburgh. The property also boasts One Spa - one of Europe’s most advanced city spas. The six-story, 35,000 square foot

spa was the first of its kind in the UK and offers a wide range of spa treatments. Guests at the Sheraton Grand will also be able to enjoy new signature brand experiences, including the Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft - a unique communications hub in the lobby providing complimentary WiFi and PC workstations so guests can surf the internet, email loved ones, review local attractions and print boarding passes while on the road. In addition, the Sheraton Grand offers Sheraton Fitness programmed by Core Performance, a holistic fitness program which helps travelers stay fit and eat healthily while away from home, as well as refresh, recharge and refocus their minds and bodies. The refurbished Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa also provides guests with an exciting new restaurant and bar concept, One Square. Headed up by Executive Chef, Malcolm Webster, One Square focuses on modern British dishes made from produce sourced within the United Kingdom. Starwood currently operates 10 hotels and resorts in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including two hotels in Scotland - Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort and the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh.



W H AT ’ S O N

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

Lamies Shakhsheer and Anas Shummali

Lamies, Tanya, Nada give Ghannam El Deccan a plaque of appreciation.

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 ■■■■■■■

Maha Kaddoura, Thomas Quinn, Jehad Al-Qabandi

Lamies Shakhsheer is seen with Ghannam El Deccan.

Ghannam El Deccan sings with the students.

Al-Bayan Bilingual Elementary School hosts annual music concert

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


l-Bayan Bilingual School elementary students and administration held their annual music concert that stood out this year in the presence of guest of honor Ghannam El Deccan, a highly esteemed Kuwaiti composer. The program was attended by 700 guests including parents and teaching faculty. Students sang songs that told the story of six famous composers, Riad El Sonbaty from Egypt, brothers Rahbani from Lebanon, Ghannam El Deccan from Kuwait, Bizet from France, Vivaldi from Italy, Liszet from Hungary. What made this year’s concert really special is the wonderful performance of students who sang special lyrics that told the story of the composers’ lives while tunes composed by them played in the background. The concert concluded with an honorary plaque presented to Kuwaiti composer Ghannam El Deccan by the elementary school administration.

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on Sunday, May 6, 2012 on account of ‘Buddha Purnima’. ■■■■■■■

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 ■■■■■■■

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

Teachers and parents are pictured.


EMBASSY OF NEPAL The Embassy of Nepal will be moving from its current location to a new place in Jabriya, Block 8, St. 13, House No. 514, effective from 15th April, 2012. Till the new telephone connections are installed, the Embassy may be contacted by email: ■■■■■■■

GOAL hosts Red Bull Street Style Kuwait Qualifiers


ootball Fields announced the opening of the Red Bull Street Style qualifiers where 16 players were chosen for the Kuwait Finals that will take place on Friday, April 20 at the Marina Crescent. The objective was to win berth to the 2012 Red Bull Street Style World Final in Italy. The 2012 Qualifying competition was held from April 15-18 at GOAL. The rules of the game were easy: 3 minutes, 2 players, 1 ball. In each “Battle”, 2 players square off against each other in a 1-on-1 duel. They took alternating 30seconds turns with the ball to show off their best moves to the sounds of music within a 7 meter wide

competition area. The Red Bull Street Style qualifiers kicked off on April 15 at GOAL Salmiya pitch with creativity, new techniques, extraordinary skills and flair of participants’ performances. The competitors tried to impress the jury by showing off stunning football tricks, difficult dribbles and acrobatic moves as RBSS represents the most important freestyle football tournament of the year. Three freestylers were selected for the final: Fahed Shahed, Mohamed Ashraf and Daniel Attieh. The participants enjoyed the GOAL football facilities and pleasant environment as the perfect platform

to display their football talents and to connect with other freestylers. The GM of GOAL Ghassan Assi expressed his appreciation, encouragement and support to all freestylers who participated at the event at the GOAL location in Salmiya. “It is amazing to see so many freestylers participating in this great tournament. I was admiring the special connection of the ball combined with the music and body movements as well as their joy for the game... At GOAL, we encourage healthy and athletic lifestyle and we give special attention to the development of the soccer network”.

Knockbook participates in ACK Moto Bazaar


nockbook, the Kuwait-based online advertising firm and the number one online network in Kuwait, recently participated in the Australian University of Kuwait Moto

Islam Inshassi Bazaar, organized in an effort to support energy, ideas and activities of youth, as part of their continuous CSR strategy. In line with their credence in the potential

Kuwait’s youth withholds, Knockbook ceased the opportunity to meet and encourage young students to turn their thoughts into action, especially since Knockbook is based on young, fresh and energetic grounds. Islam Inshassi, Founder and General Manager of Knockbook said,” This participation stems from our belief in youth and their capabilities”. He added, “Introducing Knockbookat the ACK Moto exhibition was mostly for the sake of informing these young students that we exist out there! Online media is an integral element in today’s world regardless what industry you’re in or at which level you’re at”. Knockbook also plans to support youth with many upcoming projects in the pipeline which will be announced in the near future. It is worth mentioning that Knockbook was officially launched in 2008 and was the first to sell online media in Kuwait. Since then the firm has developed and advanced its services to ensure client satisfaction is met and set goals and objectives are fulfilled. The firm has served more than 500 local and international clients and has achieved more than 300 successful online campaigns. In addition, Knockbook has become a Google AdWords Certified Partner in 2010.

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

EMBASSY OF ROMANIA The Embassy of Romania to the State of Kuwait would like to inform that the Consular Section of the Embassy will be closed for construction works beginning with 18 April 2012, till 10 May 2012. During this period of time the Consular Section will not issue any type of visas for Romania and will not issue any Romanian passports or travel documents. The Consular Section will only be able to assist with notary deeds. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience. ■■■■■■■

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

KAICO holds celebration


uwait Automotive Imports Company WLL (Al-Shaya & AlSagar), a leading automotive and auto related products distributor, is proud to announce that EICHER Trucks and Buses have exceeded 1,000 units on the road in Kuwait. On this occasion on Feb 23 in its new Ardiya branch, KAICO organized Eicher 1,000 Units Celebration for Eicher truck owners to announce the achievement. More than 100 loyal Eicher customers turned up for the event and made a spectacular parade with their trucks in front of KAICO Ardiya premises. The event kicked off with a speech from Ashish Tandon, KAICO General

Manager who welcomed all customers present and thanked them for their support and trust in the product. Tandon announced KAICO had recently opened new EICHER Service Centre in Ardiya to ease their clients. He also invited everyone to check out the 2012 EICHER Line-up on display. The momentous occasion was graced by Eicher Senior management team from India, Vinod Aggarwal (CEO), Somnath Bhattacharjee (Executive VP-Sales & Marketing), Anupam Datta (VP Exports) and Amitabh Shrivastava (Regional Head-Middle East, Intl Business). The event concluded with a raffle draw and sumptuous buffet lunch.

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

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

Classifieds TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2012




Time 0:15 0:20 0:30 2:10 2:20 2:25 2:30 2:50 2:55 3:10 3:20 3:25 4:10 4:35 5:00 5:30 6:00 6:15 6:30 6:35 7:15 7:45 7:50 7:55 8:05 8:15 8:25 8:30 9:00 9:20 9:20 9:30 9:40 10:00 10:55 11:05 11:25 12:25 12:30 13:10 13:30 13:35 13:40 13:40 13:45 14:15 14:25 14:30 14:30 14:55 14:55 15:05 15:05 15:15 16:00 16:35 16:40 16:40 16:55 17:00 17:15 17:20 17:25 17:30 17:40 17:45 18:00 18:15 18:40 18:40 18:45 18:45 18:55 19:00 19:15 19:20 19:25 19:30 19:35 19:40 19:55 20:00 20:10 20:15 20:25 20:35 21:00 21:05 21:15 21:15 21:30 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:35 22:40 22:55 23:10 23:40 23:59



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page ( Prayer timings

112 Ministry of Interior website: For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128

Fajr: Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

03:48 11:46 15:22 18:21 19:42

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya, single bachelor accommodation, double bedroom flat, rent KD 40/-, from May 1st. Contact: 99162583 (C 3968) 23-4-2012 Two bedroom, drawing room flat with air conditioners ready for occupancy from next month in Abbassiya, near Learners’ Own Academy School. Contact: 66619705. (C 3963) Sharing accommodation available for Indian bachelors in old Riggae, block-1, Street-1, Jada-3, building43. Contact: 97525930 21-4-2012

CHANGE OF NAME I, Nazia Begum, D/o Syed Aziz, R/o 18-8-134, Dargah Barhaneh Shah, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad, having passport No. E8384809, have changed my name, henceforth I shall be known and called as “Nazia Syed Aziz”. (C 3969) I, Sajna Kunhi Mohamed, holder of Indian passport No. E2271200 hereby change my name to Ayesha Mohammed hereafter. (C 3970) 24-4-2012 I, Penigalapati Chinnanarsaiah, holder of Indian passport No. G9940624, residence of Venkatanarayanampalli, Chakrampeta post, Rajampeta, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, have changed my name to Polarapu Babu Naidu. (C 3967) 22-4-2012

CHANGE OF DOB I, Afzalur Rahman, son of Fazlur Rahman, holder of Bangladeshi passport No. E0982724 hereby change my date of birth from 0301-1968 to 03-01-1967. (C 3960) 19-4-2012

MATRIMONIAL Marriage proposals are invited from parents of well educated boys preferably employed abroad for an ezhava girl, 24 years, height 159cm, fair good looking, star: Ailyam-Shudham, MSc (biotechnology) employed as JRF doing Ph.D at Central Govt. Institute in Kerala. Contact Email: (C 3964) 21-4-2012


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

Engineer need any work in any field, but I need good salary and I have experience in Secretary, Customer Ser vice and Call Center. Contact: 66606789. (C 3961) 19-42012

TUITION Teacher available to teach Mathematics B.Maths, Algebra, Calculus, Geography, Science and Statistics for British, American and bilingual school and university students. Contact: 97170935. (C 3954) 18-4-2012 Math teacher for secondary stage, language schools, bilingual schools and intermediate stage: Algebra, Gmath, Geometry, Statistics for arts and science branches. Tel: 66974020.

Hospitals Sabah Hospital


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


English language teacher specialized in starting elementary and intermediate, 10th and 11th experienced in starting functions, grammar, set book, vocabulary, notes and model exams available. Tel: 65791555.

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


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Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Arabic language teacher, masters in methods of teaching for secondary and intermediate students. Tel: 50644685.

Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital



Senior Arabic language teacher, elementary and intermediate, long experience in Kuwait curricula, explaining grammar rules and starting those weak in reading and writing. Tel: 99262948.











Senior chemistr y and physics teacher. Long experience for 10th, 11th and 12th stages. Intermediate science and applied institutions. Highly competent. Tel: 99542922.





Abdullah Salim




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Female Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate, and starting the weak using Halaby method in her house located in Abdallah Al-Mubarak area. Tel: 50513699.



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Senior biology and science teacher for 12th, 11th and 10th grades, and science for all intermediate classes, religious institutes, nursing, educational experience, simple explanation for fast understanding. Tel: 66543474.



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Senior Arabic language and Islamic studies teacher to help weak and slow learning students in a short time. 20 years experience, teaching all elementar y subjects except E. Arabic and Islamic studies for elementary and intermediate. Tel: 66896088.



New Jahra


West Jahra


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North Jleeb


Senior mathematics and statistics teacher. Long experience in Kuwait curricula to teach secondary students both science and arts branches, and university admission exams. Tel: 97975096.











Mathematics and statistics female teacher for female students in the secondary, intermediate, university and applied institutions female students. Tel: 99410370.


Nepal war children head from poverty to university KATHMANDU: The gates of one of Nepal’s top private schools swing open and 20 children who hope to be the doctors, lawyers and scientists of tomorrow spill out into a smart Kathmandu suburb. But while their classmates come from the country’s wealthiest elite, these children were rescued seven years ago, dirty and sick, from a cowshed on the edge of the capital. “I want to be a pilot when I leave school. I’d like to study science at university, maybe in France,” says Rita Bhandari, 14, who is in the top two percent of her year group at the prestigious Gyanodaya Bal Batika School. Like her 19 friends, Rita was handed to traffickers in impoverished western Nepal by her family in the hope of giving her a life away from the brutal civil war then sweeping through the countryside. The children’s journey from the remote district of Humla saw them end up on the unforgiving streets of Kathmandu, where children are sold as sex slaves or forced into back-breaking labour in brick factories and mills. Their salvation came when they were discovered by Irish businessman Gene Lane-Spollen and his wife, Maura, who were visiting Nepal and heard about a group of children living in a cattle shed. “It was a cold March day and there was no sign of the children because it was dark,” said retired Coca-Cola executive, Gene, 64, who is based with his wife in France. “We went upstairs on a ladder and there was no light, no windows upstairs at all. When your eyes got used to the dark you could see something and then we realised the barn was full of kids. There was one big string across the room with all the clothes chucked over it and there was nothing else - not even any straw on the floor.”

Gene and Maura took all 20 children - who were then aged between three and nine - and set up a charity to house and educate them, enrolling the group in a local school to teach them to read and speak English and Nepali rather than their tribal language. “Over the course of the next couple of years we found the children were developing a real sense of ambition or competitiveness among themselves, even though they lived as a big family,” Gene said. The couple return frequently to monitor the pupils’ progress after appointing carers to instill a regime of study and discipline that has seen the youngsters catching and then even overtaking their more affluent classmates. Rita’s success is all the more remarkable given her start in life, losing her father in the 1996-2006 Maoist civil war and having to leave her mother and younger brother and sister behind when she was sent to Kathmandu. “Gene is like our godfather,” she told AFP. “He changed my life.” Most of the students have never been back to Humla and they get to ring home just once every other month, but many talk about returning one day. “I will go back to my village and I will try to develop it. I want to help other people by establishing a school,” said Basanta Budhathoki, 15. Chand Rai, who runs the home with his wife Menuka, says he feels “blessed” to be the group’s surrogate father. “My family is here. It’s not work, it’s living here with them,” he said. Rai said the children were not treated differently by their more affluent classmates at school as they have earned respect by being good at sport and lessons. But he admitted problems occasionally arise when they see their richer friends enjoying cinema trips and other privileges. The children rise

at 6:00 am for prayers before their chores, and study for an hour before school. They are allowed an hour to unwind after classes but then it’s back to the books. “If there is an exam the senior boys will study until 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm,” said Rai. It is the strict routine which sets the home apart from other care centres in Kathmandu, where children are left to their own devices and often end up back on

the streets. But it is not cheap: accommodation and schooling costs for the group costs around 2.8 million rupees ($35,000) a year, with Gene and Maura covering most of the expense and donors making up the rest. “If they have good food, good medicine, good management and a good school, there’s nothing to stop them,” said Gene. “They can be whatever they want.” — AFP

Founder of The Humla Children’s Home charity Eugene Lane-Spollen and his wife Maura pose with Nepalese Humla children at their home in Kathmandu on March 19, 2012.



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

Untamed & Uncut Shark Attack Survival Guide Into The Lion’s Den Baboons With Bill Bailey Baboons With Bill Bailey Wolverine Going Ape Wildlife SOS Wildlife SOS Orangutan Island Wild Animal Orphans Talk To The Animals The Really Wild Show Project Puppy Must Love Cats Wolverine Animal Precinct Animal Cops Phoenix Dolphin Days Dolphin Days RSPCA: On The Frontline Wildlife SOS Wolverine Animal Battlegrounds The Really Wild Show Wild Animal Orphans Natural Born Hunters Dogs 101 America’s Cutest... Wildlife SOS Going Ape Orangutan Island Animal Battlegrounds Wolverine Revealed Safari Sisters Safari Sisters Wildlife SOS Animal Cops Phoenix

00:20 New Scandinavian Cooking With Claus Meyer 00:45 Indian Food Made Easy 01:10 Saturday Kitchen 2007/08 01:40 Living In The Sun 02:30 Bargain Hunt 03:15 New Scandinavian Cooking 03:40 New Scandinavian Cooking With Claus Meyer 04:10 Antiques Roadshow 05:00 Living In The Sun 05:50 Coleen’s Real Women 06:35 Cash In The Attic USA 07:00 Bargain Hunt 07:45 MasterChef Australia 08:10 MasterChef Australia 09:25 Bargain Hunt 10:10 Antiques Roadshow 11:00 Come Dine With Me 11:50 10 Years Younger 12:40 Holmes On Homes 13:30 Fantasy Homes Down Under 14:15 Fantasy Homes In The City 15:00 House Swap 15:45 Bargain Hunt 16:30 Antiques Roadshow 17:20 Cash In The Attic USA 17:40 Cash In The Attic USA 18:00 Rachel’s Favourite Food For Living 18:25 The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook 18:50 Indian Food Made Easy 19:15 James Martin’s Brittany 19:40 10 Years Younger 20:30 Holmes On Homes 21:15 Fantasy Homes Down Under 22:00 Bargain Hunt 22:45 Antiques Roadshow 23:35 Rachel’s Favourite Food For Living

00:00 00:30 00:45 01:00 01:30 01:45 02:00 02:30 02:45 03:00 03:30 03:45

BBC World News World Business Report Sport Today BBC World News America Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Asia Business Report Sport Today Newsday Asia Business Report Sport Today

04:00 Newsday 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Sport Today 05:00 Newsday 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Sport Today 06:00 Newsday 06:30 Hardtalk 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 World Business Report 07:45 BBC World News 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 Sport Today 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 Sport Today 11:00 BBC World News 11:30 Hardtalk 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 World Business Report 12:45 Sport Today 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 BBC World News 14:00 GMT With George Alagiah 14:30 GMT With George Alagiah 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 World Business Report 15:45 Sport Today 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 16:30 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 19:30 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:30 World Business Report 20:45 Sport Today 21:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 21:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 BBC World News America 23:30 Hardtalk

00:00 Backstory 00:30 World Sport 01:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 02:00 World Report 03:00 Anderson Cooper 360 04:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 05:00 Quest Means Business 06:00 Erin Burnett Outfront 07:00 World Sport 07:30 African Voices 08:00 World Report 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Sport 10:30 Talk Asia 11:00 World Business Today 12:00 Amanpour 12:30 Going Green 13:00 World One 14:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 15:00 News Stream 16:00 World Business Today 17:00 International Desk 18:00 Global Exchange 19:00 World Sport 19:30 Going Green 20:00 International Desk 21:00 Quest Means Business 22:00 Amanpour 22:30 News Special 23:00 Connect The World With Becky...

00:15 01:10 01:35 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:50

Ultimate Cops Destroyed In Seconds Dirty Jobs Battle Machine Bros Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How It’s Made How Stuff’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Wild Swimming Adventure

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Fight Quest How Stuff’s Made Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings South Beach Classics South Beach Classics Battle Machine Bros Wheeler Dealers Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How It’s Made How Stuff’s Made Border Security Auction Hunters Cake Boss Fight Quest Freddie Flintoff vs The World Scrappers Carfellas

00:35 How The Universe Works 01:25 The Tech Show 01:50 Mega Builders 02:40 Superships 03:35 How Does That Work? 04:00 How Does That Work? 04:25 Junkyard Mega-Wars 05:20 Building The Future 06:10 How The Universe Works 07:00 The Gadget Show 07:25 The Gadget Show 07:50 Kings Of Construction 08:40 Mega Builders 09:35 Superships 10:25 How Does That Work? 10:50 How Does That Work? 11:20 Building The Future 12:15 Junkyard Mega-Wars 13:05 How The Universe Works 13:55 The Gadget Show 14:20 The Gadget Show 14:50 How Does That Work? 15:15 How Does That Work? 15:40 The Tech Show 16:05 Building The Future 17:00 Kings Of Construction 17:50 How The Universe Works 18:40 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 19:30 Space Pioneer 20:20 The Gadget Show 20:45 The Gadget Show 21:10 Ecopolis 22:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 22:50 Space Pioneer 23:40 Kings Of Construction

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


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 Fish Hooks Recess So Random Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Phineas And Ferb Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Handy Manny The Hive Mouk Avalon High Phineas And Ferb Good Luck Charlie A.N.T. Farm Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb So Random Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up Shake It Up

15:00 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:05 17:30 19:10 19:30 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 23:20 23:45

Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Phineas And Ferb Recess So Random So Random High School Musical Good Luck Charlie Have A Laugh Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up Shake It Up Shake It Up Starstruck Wizards Of Waverly Place Kim Possible

06:00 Kid vs Kat 06:20 American Dragon 06:45 Rekkit Rabbit 07:10 Scaredy Squirrel 07:35 Scaredy Squirrel 08:00 Scaredy Squirrel 08:25 Scaredy Squirrel 08:50 Kick Buttowski 09:15 Zeke & Luther 09:40 I’m In The Band 10:05 Phineas And Ferb 10:30 Kid vs Kat 10:55 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 11:20 Pair Of Kings 11:45 Rekkit Rabbit 12:10 American Dragon 12:35 Kick Buttowski 13:00 Phineas And Ferb 13:25 I’m In The Band 13:45 Kid vs Kat 14:10 Pair Of Kings 14:35 Zeke & Luther 15:00 Rekkit Rabbit 15:25 Pokemon: Black And White 15:50 Timon And Pumbaa 16:15 Rated A For Awesome 16:40 Pair Of Kings 17:05 Zeke & Luther 17:30 Mr. Young 17:55 Phineas And Ferb 18:20 Phineas And Ferb 18:45 I’m In The Band 19:10 Kickin It 19:35 Pokemon: Black And White 20:00 Pair Of Kings 20:25 Zeke & Luther 20:50 Escape From Scorpion Island 21:20 Aaron Stone 21:45 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 22:10 Phineas And Ferb 22:35 Kid vs Kat 23:00 Programmes Start At 6:00am KSA

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 20 Hottest Women Of The Web 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 Scouted 10:15 50 Cutest Child Stars: All Grown Up 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:25 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 E!es 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:25 Khloe And Lamar 21:55 Khloe And Lamar 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Fashion Police

00:15 Ride Guide Snow 2010 00:40 Superstars USA 01:30 World Combat League 02:20 Ride Guide Snow 2010 02:45 Ride Guide Snow 2010 03:10 Enfusion 04:00 Gumball 3000: London To New York 04:25 Gumball 3000: London To New York 04:50 Superstars USA 05:40 World Combat League 06:30 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 07:00 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 07:30 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 08:00 Tread BMX 08:25 Asian X Games 2010 09:15 Best Of The Streets 09:40 Best Of The Streets 10:05 Ticket To Ride 2009/2010 10:30 Ticket To Ride 2009/2010 10:55 Fantasy Factory 11:20 Fantasy Factory 11:45 Untracked 12:10 Untracked 12:35 Ride Guide Snow 2010 13:00 Ride Guide Snow 2010 13:25 Superstars USA 14:15 World Combat League 15:05 Fantasy Factory 15:30 Fantasy Factory 15:55 Untracked 16:20 Untracked 16:45 Tread BMX 17:10 Asian X Games 2010 18:00 Best Of The Streets 18:25 Best Of The Streets 18:50 Ticket To Ride 2009/2010 19:15 Ticket To Ride 2009/2010 19:40 Superstars USA 20:30 Ride Guide Snow 2010 20:55 Ride Guide Snow 2010 21:20 Gumball 3000: London To New York 21:45 Gumball 3000: London To New York 22:10 World Combat League 23:00 Enfusion 23:50 Ride Guide Snow 2010

00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Kid In A Candy Store 00:55 Gourmet Farmer 01:20 Gourmet Farmer 01:45 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 02:10 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 02:35 Andy Bates Street Feasts 03:00 Andy Bates Street Feasts 03:25 Mexican Made Easy 03:50 Mexican Made Easy 04:15 Dessert First With Anne Thornton 04:40 Good Eats 05:05 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 05:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 05:50 Staten Island Cakes 06:35 Barefoot Contessa 07:00 Staten Island Cakes 07:50 World Cafe Asia 08:15 Barefoot Contessa 08:40 Good Eats 09:05 Dessert First With Anne Thornton 09:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 09:55 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 10:20 Lidia’s Italy 10:45 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 11:10 Unwrapped 11:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 12:00 Staten Island Cakes 12:50 Aarti Party 13:15 Cooking For Real 13:40 Barefoot Contessa 14:05 Dessert First With Anne Thornton 14:30 Have Cake, Will Travel 14:55 Paula’s Best Dishes 15:20 Meat & Potatoes 15:45 Iron Chef America 16:35 Cooking For Real 17:00 Barefoot Contessa 17:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 17:50 Aarti Party 18:15 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 18:40 Dessert First With Anne Thornton 19:05 Have Cake, Will Travel 19:30 Staten Island Cakes 20:20 Iron Chef America 21:10 Guy’s Big Bite 21:35 Guy’s Big Bite 22:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 22:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 22:50 Meat & Potatoes 23:15 Meat & Potatoes 23:40 Meat & Potatoes

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The Haunted A Haunting I Married A Mobster Scorned: Crimes Of Passion Stalked: Someone’s Watching Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted A Haunting Disappeared FBI Files Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Street Patrol Street Patrol Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Couples Who Kill Deadly Women Dr G: Medical Examiner

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The End-PG After Dark, My Sweet Body And Soul-18 Finding The Way Home-PG Article 99-18 A Green Journey-PG Comes A Horseman-PG Crossplot-PG Hercules-PG K-9000-PG Khartoum-PG A Woman’s Tale Timebomb Some Girls-PG

00:00 City Chase Marrakech 01:00 Around The World For Free 02:00 Departures 03:00 Graham’s World 03:30 Earth Tripping 04:00 Long Way Down 05:00 Which Way To 06:00 City Chase Marrakech 07:00 Around The World For Free 08:00 Departures 09:00 Graham’s World 09:30 Earth Tripping 10:00 Long Way Down 11:00 Which Way To 12:00 City Chase Marrakech 13:00 A World Apart 14:00 Treks In A Wild World 15:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 16:00 Graham’s World 17:00 Wild Rides 18:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 19:00 A World Apart 20:00 Treks In A Wild World 21:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 22:00 Graham’s World 23:00 Wild Rides 23:30 Wild Rides

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City Chase Marrakech Around The World For Free Departures Graham’s World Earth Tripping Long Way Down Which Way To

LETTERS TO JULIET ON OSN CINEMA 06:00 City Chase Marrakech 07:00 Around The World For Free 08:00 Departures 09:00 Graham’s World 09:30 Earth Tripping 10:00 Long Way Down 11:00 Which Way To 12:00 City Chase Marrakech 13:00 A World Apart 14:00 Treks In A Wild World 15:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 16:00 Graham’s World 17:00 Wild Rides 18:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 19:00 A World Apart 20:00 Treks In A Wild World 21:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 22:00 Graham’s World 23:00 Wild Rides

00:00 Lost Boys: The Thirst-18 02:00 The Heavy-18 04:00 The Untouchables-PG15 06:00 Four Brothers-18 08:00 Drunken Master-PG15 10:00 X-Men-PG15 12:00 Taxi-PG15 14:00 Drunken Master-PG15 16:00 Star Trek: Generations-PG15 18:00 Taxi-PG15 20:00 Devil-PG15 22:00 Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown-18

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Shrink-18 Despicable Me-FAM Letters To Juliet-PG15 Unanswered Prayers-PG15 The Tender Hook-PG15 Despicable Me-FAM Letters To Juliet-PG15 The Tender Hook-PG15 West Is West-PG15 Easy A-PG15 According To Greta-PG15 Jackass 3-R

00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 02:00 Bored To Death 03:30 10 Items Or Less 04:00 King Of The Hill 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 06:00 Weird Science 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 King Of The Hill 09:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 09:30 Raising Hope 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Weird Science 12:30 King Of The Hill 14:00 10 Items Or Less 15:00 Raising Hope 16:30 Weird Science 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:30 10 Items Or Less 19:00 Raising Hope 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Louie 23:00 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

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Desperate Housewives Game Of Thrones The Closer True Blood Live Good Morning America The Protector Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Desperate Housewives Live Good Morning America The Protector The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Grey’s Anatomy

21:00 House 22:00 Pillars Of The Earth 23:00 Boardwalk Empire

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Parenthood The Closer Game Of Thrones Desperate Housewives Burn Notice Parenthood Emmerdale Coronation Street Surface Desperate Housewives Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Surface Parenthood Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Nine Lives Of Chloe King Grey’s Anatomy House Pillars Of The Earth The Tudors

01:00 Sniper: Reloaded-18 03:00 The Untouchables-PG15 05:00 Carriers-PG15 07:00 True Justice: Lethal Justice-18 09:00 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 11:00 Men In Black II-PG 13:00 Blank Slate-PG15 15:00 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 17:00 The Front-PG15 19:00 Ronin-18 21:00 Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown-18 23:00 Sugarhouse-18

00:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian-PG15 02:00 Wake-PG15 04:00 Garfield-PG 06:00 The Country Bears-PG 08:00 Little Secrets-PG 10:00 The Addams Family-PG 12:00 Addams Family Values-PG 14:00 One Hot Summer-PG15 16:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian-PG15 18:00 Love And Mary-PG15 20:00 Fools Rush In-PG15 22:00 Tank Girl-PG15

01:00 Agora-18 03:15 Blame It On Mum-18 05:00 The River-PG15 07:00 Another Year-PG15 09:15 The China Syndrome-PG 11:15 Bond Of Silence-PG15 12:45 Star Trek III: The Search For Spock-PG15 14:30 The River-PG15 16:30 Inside Job-PG15 18:30 Passing Strange-PG15 21:00 Vanity Fair-PG15 23:30 Sideways-18

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Mr. Nice-18 Remember Me-PG15 13 Going On 30-PG15 City Of Life-PG15 B-Girl-PG15 12 Men Of Christmas-PG15 Elevator Girl-PG15 Strength And Honour-PG15 B-Girl-PG15 Vanity Fair-PG15 According To Greta-PG15 Priest-18

00:00 Legend Of Sleeping Beauty-PG 02:00 Winner & The Golden Child: Part II-FAM 04:00 Christopher Columbus-PG 06:00 Mars Needs Moms-PG 08:00 Marco Antonio-PG 10:00 Flubber-PG 12:15 Christmas In New York-PG 14:15 Marmaduke-PG

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Young Fisherman-PG Flubber-PG Columbus III: The New WorldChristmas In New York-PG

00:00 The Nail: The Story Of Joey Nardone-18 02:00 The Haunting In ConnecticutPG15 04:00 Chasing 3000-PG15 06:00 A Soldier’s Love Story-PG15 08:00 The Silent Fall-PG15 09:45 Pina-PG15 11:45 Chasing 3000-PG15 13:45 The Chaperone-PG15 15:45 Pina-PG15 17:45 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps-PG15 20:00 Life As We Know It-PG15 22:00 Never Let Me Go-PG15

01:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 02:00 London Marathon 05:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 06:00 Super Rugby Highlights 07:00 Snooker 10:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 11:00 Super Rugby Highlights 12:00 Live Snooker 16:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 16:30 Live Snooker 20:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 Live Snooker

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00:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 00:30 Futbol Mundial 01:00 Super Rugby 03:00 Snooker 06:00 Ping Pong World Championship 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 08:30 Top 14 Highlights 09:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 09:30 Super Rugby Highlights 10:30 Scottish Premier League 12:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 13:00 AFL Winners 14:00 Golfing World 15:00 Top 14 Highlights 15:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 17:30 AFL Premiership 20:00 Super Rugby Highlights 21:00 Super Rugby 23:00 Top 14 Highlights 23:30 Premier League Darts

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stars CROSSWORD 657



Aries (March 21-April 19)

Financial good fortune continues, Aries, although old habits are hard to break and you might have difficulty adjusting to it. You could alternate between wanting to buy out the store and continuing to pinch pennies the way you used to. That’s OK. Everybody has to make adjustments in life. Second only to falling in love, this will probably be one of the most pleasant adjustments you’ll ever have to make!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Are you going on a trip or possibly moving, Taurus? Is education involved in some way? Whatever your reasons for going away, you’re going to gain whatever you hope for - and more. Writing, teaching, and anything involving communication should go very well right now, including conversations with a romantic partner. Your mind is quick and retentive right now, so make the most of it.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. (British) Colloquial terms for an umbrella. 5. Any taillike structure. 10. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 13. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 14. Realistic Norwegian author who wrote plays on social and political themes (1828-1906). 15. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 16. A windstorm that lifts up clouds of dust or sand. 18. A vitamin that maintains the resistance of cell and capillary walls to permeation. 20. An archaic name for Easter or Passover. 21. A country on the island of Jamaica. 22. An officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer. 24. Extremely pleasing. 25. An early form of modern jazz (originating around 1940). 28. Airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.. 29. A shaped mass of baked bread. 33. Being or given to servile imitation. 35. A crystalline metallic element not found in nature. 37. Any object that is left unused or still extant. 38. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 39. The act of scanning. 40. The content of cognition. 42. The act of using. 43. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 45. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 47. Common Indian weaverbird. 50. Owed and payable immediately or on demand. 53. A small cake leavened with yeast. 57. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 61. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 62. Government agency created in 1974 to license and regulate nuclear power plants. 63. Raised for its long silky hair which is the true mohair. 64. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 65. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 66. Conqueror of Gaul and master of Italy (100-44 BC). 67. Having undesirable or negative qualities.

DOWN 1. A short labored intake of breath with the mouth open. 2. Type genus of the Amiidae. 3. The 4th planet from the sun. 4. Type genus of the Phocidae. 5. Stout-bodied insect with large membranous wings. 6. A dark-skinned member of a race of people living in Australia when Europeans arrived. 7. North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. 8. Coffee with the caffeine removed. 9. (Jungian psychology) The inner self (not the external persona) that is in touch with the unconscious. 10. Little known Kamarupan languages. 11. The Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan. 12. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 17. Affectedly trendy. 19. A slab of stone or wood suitable for bearing an inscription. 23. The Uralic language spoken by the Yeniseian people. 26. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 27. A member of the North American Indian people living in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. 30. An island of central Hawaii (between Molokai and Kauai). 31. Type genus of the Anatidae. 32. (nautical) Situated at or toward the bow of a vessel. 34. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 36. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 41. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 44. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 46. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 48. A city in northern India. 49. Noisy talk. 50. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 51. An instinctive motive. 52. (Greek mythology) God of love. 54. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 55. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 56. Advanced in years. 58. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 59. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event. 60. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You tend to be intuitive by nature, Gemini, but today you could receive psychic impressions by the dozen. You might even experience visions or hear voices. Don’t worry - you aren’t going crazy! You do, however, need to pay attention to these messages. They may have immense personal or even planetary significance. If you can’t make sense of them, write them down. It should all be clear to you later.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Communication with friends and partners should be clear, open, honest, and supportive today, Cancer. Camaraderie flows freely, and affection is shown without restraint or overkill. If you’re presently involved but not yet committed, a declaration of love and an expression of desire to move the relationship to the next level could be in the wind. At the very least, your lover should pay you a compliment or two!

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Have you been reading about how a positive mental outlook creates a healthy body and a happy life, Leo? If so, you might just find that this attitude brings results. You’re feeling strong, fit, and mentally sharp. Career interests seem to be looking up for you. A fringe benefit is that you’re probably feeling especially intuitive, too. Keep doing whatever you’ve been doing to bring this all about, because it’s working!


Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Research that you’ve been doing for a particular project may finally be completed, Virgo. Now you’re ready to finish your work. Your mind is especially sharp right now, so this is a good time to work on any kind of project that involves communication. If you’re a writer, your publishing prospects look good. Romance also should be going well. Perhaps you just became aware of a strong psychic bond between you and your beloved. Make the most of it!

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Dreams and visions about your family paint a rosy picture of your future, Libra. These dreams could well be prophetic, but don’t jump to that conclusion without first analyzing the symbols and discerning what your dreams are trying to tell you. There could be something that you need to consider before you can move ahead toward the future you want to create. But remember that dreams can be interpreted in more than one way!

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

Tonight you might decide to attend a social gathering held in your community that involves a lot of people who are into psychic or spiritual matters, Scorpio. This should be an interesting experience for you, because you could not only glean a lot of fascinating information but also make some new friends. Someone could recommend a few intriguing books. Keep your eyes and ears open, and take your address book with you. Have fun!

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

If you’ve been uncertain about the possibility of a raise in your salary, Sagittarius, today you could finally be told for certain that it’s coming. This is definitely cause for celebration. You might want to call a friend or romantic partner and propose a night on the town. Your good luck shows signs of continuing if you keep on working as hard as you have been. Now it’s time to enjoy it!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Love and romance take top priority with you today, Capricorn. You might be feeling a little insecure about the stability of your current relationship, but you’re wasting your energy. For now, at least, things look very promising for you and your current lover. You should be communicating well and getting along great. Use your intuition to tune in to your friend’s mind, and you’ll probably feel your doubts and uncertainties slip away. Enjoy your day. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) If you play your cards right, Aquarius, you just might be able to turn what you’re picking up psychically into an exalted creative effort. The emotions and images flowing into your brain might be obscure, but they’re significant in some way. Whether you write, play music, dance, or paint, you could be blown away by your own work. Whatever your materials, get them out and memorialize your inspiration. Tomorrow you’ll be glad you did!

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Expect to exchange a lot of phone calls and emails with friends today, Pisces. Communication with others is your top priority. You have a lot of news to deliver and you’ll receive a lot in return. Much of what you hear could be useful for whatever you’re involved with now. The only downside is mental overload. You could feel as if your brain has spent the day running a marathon.



lifest yle G o s s i p

he Bee Gees star - who has liver and colon cancer - was thought to be very close to death after contracting pneumonia and slipping into a coma last week, but he has since made startling progress. The ‘How Deep is Your Love’ singer’s wife Dwina was even told by doctors at The London Clinic in central London he only had days to live, but Robin is now awake, breathing with an oxygen mask and able to talk with friends and relatives. Dr Andrew Thillainayagam of Imperial College, London, said: “The prognosis was very grave. We felt it was very likely Robin would succumb to what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles. “It is testament to Robin’s extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength that he has overcome quite incredible odds. “Robin is fully conscious, lucid and able to speak to his loved ones. He is breathing on his own. “He is on intravenous feeding and antibiotics. He is of course, exhausted,


he 20-year-old former Disney star - who was admitted to rehab in 2010 for help with an eating disorder, self-harm and depression - believes her problems started at the tender age of 12. Talking about her tormentors, she said: “They called me fat and ugly. I shouldn’t have listened, but I took it to


extremely weak and malnourished.” The doctor added he was hoping that with further progress Robin could be moved from the intensive care unit of the hospital to the ward and begin the process of nutritional and physical rehabilitation. He also praised Dwina and the couple’s children Robin-John, Spencer and Melissa for their “determination never to give up on him.” Robin’s family held a constant bedside vigil for him and played his favourite music to encourage him. Robin’s brother and Bee Gees bandmate, Barry, 65, had also been singing to him. Dwina has said Robin even cried when she played Roy Orbison’s track ‘Crying’.

he 71-year-old crooner tied the knot for the third time when he wed his manager Katie McNeil in Los Angeles. The pair said their vows in an intimate ceremony in front of family and close friends, his representative confirmed to People magazine. The ‘Sweet Caroline’ hitmaker later revealed his nuptials had been “magical”. He tweeted “Katie and I got married last night, we wish you all could’ve been there. It was magical! Love, Neil.” Neil announced his engagement to Katie, 42, last September on his twitter page. He wrote at the time: “Good news coming from sunny LA/ and you’re the first I want to tell/ Katie & I just got engaged/ and I hope you wish us well.” Neil has two daughters, Marjorie and Elyn, with first wife Jaye Posner, who he split from in 1967. He also has sons Jesse and Micah with second spouse Marcia Murphey, who he married in 1969 and divorced in 1994. The breakdown of the second marriage led to one of the entertainment industry’s most expensive divorces, with Neil paying a reported $150 million settlement.


heart and it hurt. I thought maybe I didn’t have friends because I was too fat.” Deciding to take action, she began making herself throw up and lost more than 28lbs in six months, taking her weight to just 88lbs. She said: “I’d make myself sick up to six times a day. My mum was worried, but since I was having growth spurts so she assumed that was why I was thinner.” But when losing weight didn’t make her happy, she turned to self-harm as a way to deal with her pain. She told Fabulous magazine: “It started with my wrists. People saw that, so I cut in places they couldn’t see. “You do it because you feel so bad inside. You don’t know how to take it out other than on yourself.” Her demons eventually got the better of her and she ended up punching a backing dancer on a flight during the Jonas Brothers’ tour, which was followed by her prompt admission to rehab. She said of her treatment: “It wasn’t my idea, but I didn’t fight it. “It was really, really hard and scary. I was homesick and lonely and several times I thought I’m leaving. But my mum told me I would regret it. This was my only chance. “I had 14 hours of therapy a day. I listened to music and learned to knit. When I finally left, it was like being let out of prison.”

isters Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, their mother Kris Jenner and brother Rob Kardashian, along with Kourtney’s boyfriend Scott Disick, are planning to relocate to the UK this summer to shoot scenes for a programme that will air later this year. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The family really feel that they’ve conquered reality TV in America with a number of different shows and spin offs, so the UK is the next country they want to break. “The Kardashians love England and think they could get up to a lot of fun - and trouble - with a summer in London. It would make great TV as well as boosting their profile internationally.” The family - whose first reality series, ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, began airing in 2007 had planned to coincide their trip with the London Olympics but finding accommodation for themselves, their crew and their entourages was too difficult. The UK special is the latest spin-off series for the family, whose shows - including ‘Kourtney and Kim Take New York’ and ‘Khloe and Lamar’ - air on the E! network. It was recently revealed the station were

S he 29-year-old ‘Starships’ rapper closed her account last week after getting into an argument with fan site NickiDaily, which allegedly leaked tracks from her album ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’. With just 30 days to reinstate the account, Nicki admits she is in two minds, mainly because she doesn’t want to break contact with her fans, who she calls ‘Barbz’. Asked if a Twitter return is on the cards, she told The Sun newspaper: “I don’t know yet. I have to say, I’ve been kind of enjoying life without twitter. “But I feel bad on the Barbz. They got really sad when I deleted it.” Not one to back away from a fight, Nicki believes the best way to confront online haters is to reply to their name-calling. She explained: “I think most artists will experience a lot of negative people on Twitter but, thank God, I’ve got so many followers that I’m not able to see them that much. I’ll see some from time to time but, for the most part, I always focus on something good. “But the way I deal with it is if I see someone tweet something bad, I’ll retweet it and put something back.”


he actor plays an American marine in the new film, and had to eat lots of calories and train hard so he could look like a serviceman on screen. When asked on UK TV show ‘Daybreak’ if he enjoyed eating lots to put on weight for the movie, he replied: “That was the good bit, if you like eating fried chicken. “It was pretty intense. I went thought sort of marine


school, I did training and a lot of weight lifting to really look the part. “I wanted to do the marines justice because these are real American heroes, this is a bit more sensitive than anything I’ve played before.” To research the role Zac got the opportunity to meet with marines who had served in Iraq, where his character is posted. He added: “I went down to meet several marines with

the directors, and really we were just given time to sit with them and ask them questions and find out as much as we could about what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a marine. And it was incredibly insightful.” —BangShowbiz

planning more spin-offs, including one featuring the youngest members of the family, Kylie Jenner, 14, and Kendall Jenner, 16. Bonnie Hammer, Chairman of NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, said she was hoping for “two, three, even four new Kardashian spinoffs”, with ‘Dancing with the Stars’ runner-up Rob also being rumoured to be the focus of a new show. Discussing the future of the Kardashian franchise, she added it would continue as long as it was relevant. She added: “I think it will have its own life expectancy and we’ll just go along with it and help hone what’s right for E! and what’s not right for E! as we develop a whole other world.”



File photo shows targets and arrows during the youth archery league match at Targeteers Archery in Saddle Brook, NJ. — AP photos


Nicole Donzella of Fair Lawn, NJ, 15, participates in the youth archery league at Targeteers Archery in Saddle Brook.

Photo shows Ashley Donzella participating in the youth archery league.

n schools and backyards, for their birthdays and out with their dads, kids are gaga for archery four weeks into the box office run of “The Hunger Games” and less than 100 days before the London Olympics. “All of a sudden sales of bows have, like, tripled,” said Paul Haines, a salesman at the Ramsey Outdoor store in Paramus, New Jersey. A manager there made a sign for the hunting department: “Quality bows for serious archers and girls who saw the movie,” he said. Archery ranges around the country have enjoyed a steady uptick among kids of both sexes since the movie began cleaning up at the box office March 23, though heroine Katniss - a deadly shot with an arrow - seems to resonate more with girls. “Katniss is so inspiring,” said Gabby Lee, who asked for archery lessons for her 12th birthday in February after reading the wildly popular book trilogy by Suzanne Collins. “I’m not very sportsy,” she offers, but now she belongs to a youth archery league near her Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, home. “It feels really good because I’m usually the girl who sits and reads.” While some young archers have been doing it for years, motivated by generations of hunters in their families, the parents of others love it for its focus, independence and because they, too, have kids not drawn to more typical team or contact sports. At 7, Christa Mattessich is too young for the gruesome dystopian world that thrusts 16-yearold Katniss and her fellow child tributes into the arena for a battle to the death, a battle Katniss wins thanks to the archery skills she honed while hunting game in the woods of her native District 12. But Christa loves archery just as much and has been shooting for about two years at the same range as Gabby, Targeteers Archery in Saddle Brook, N.J., said dad Anthony Mattessich in Oakland. “I’m an avid bow hunter,” he said. “At her age, with other sports, they’re just running with each other and chasing a ball, then the ice cream truck comes and that’s that. For archery, they’re a little bit more dedicated.” Abbey Fitzpatrick in Sandy Creek, New York, turned 11 on April 10. She also asked for and received her own bow and arrows for her birthday. “It’s black. It really looks like Katniss’s bow,” Abbey said. “She was so brave and very heroic in the games.” Like more than 2 million kids in nearly every state and several other countries, Abbey did archery in gym class this

year as part of the decade -old National Archery in the Schools Program that trains teachers in the sport and offers discounts on equipment. “There’s a lot of buzz among young people about archery right now. They want to shoot bows and arrows so badly they’re willing to follow the rules,” said Roy Grimes, the organization’s president. In Michigan, enthusiast Robert Jellison teaches seventh-grade science and has incorporated archery through NASP into his lessons on kinetic and potential energy, eye-hand coordination and the properties of pulleys and levers. Jellison was invited in March with some of his students to perform a demonstration at the local library as part of a “Hunger Games” reading. “Some of the kids there went out that day and signed up for archery,” he said. “A lot of people look at archery as, ‘Oh, you know, is it a real sport?’ All of a sudden there’s all this excitement.” Bobbi Bowles owns archery shop K.C.’s Outdoors with her husband in Spicewood, Texas, outside Austin. Sales of

equipment have doubled in the last few weeks, she said, and they’re adding beginner classes to accommodate more new recruits young and older. At the Austin Archery Club, “The movie is sending a lot of people our way who are interested in archery, the crossbow and sur vival skills,” said a director, Roy Wenmohs. “At a recent tournament we had about 10 young people, from ages 10 to 15,” he said. “About half were new. Last year we had three.” Games of a different sort are hoping for a “Hunger Games” bump come July, though kids in North America looking to catch Olympic archery will likely be sleeping during live competition. “We’re thrilled with the awareness and the excitement that ‘ The

Hunger Games’ has brought to the sport of archery,” said Denise Parker, CEO of USA Archery, the US training and selection body for the Olympics, Paralympics, Pan American Games and other world events. “We’re already receiving feedback from our youth clubs that interest in archery programs in their areas is up significantly,” she said. Alexis Fleming, 14, in Manor, Pa., has Olympic dreams. She shot last fall as part of the Junior Olympic Archery Development program after first picking up a bow through 4H. “I like the fact you can ignore the world around you and just focus on where the arrow is going to go,” she said. Nicole Donzella, 15, may not be Olympic bound, but she knows her way around a bull’s-eye and plans to DVR archery from London. Her dad, hunter Bart Donzella, got her started in the sport at age 5, and later her younger sister, leaving “girly girl things” to their mother while he bonded with them through kayaking and other outdoor activities. “I had a little mini-bow. It was really cute. I shot from five yards back then,” Nicole said. Now up to 20 yards with a top score of 298 out of 300, she shoots weekly in the same youth league as Gabby at Targeteers in northern New Jersey. “I like that it’s an individual sport but at the same time there’s other people around you so you can still socialize,” said Nicole, from nearby Fair Lawn. “It’s the only thing I’m good at and it’s really nice to do with my dad.” She’s a Katniss fan, too. “I like that she’s making archery cool.” Targeteers owner Rob Cerone said he averages five or six archery birthday parties a month, up from about half that six months ago. He’s filling up early for weeklong summer camps, where he teaches kids how to shoot, make their own arrows and put a bow together. “The Hunger Games have helped, especially with the girls,” Cerone said. Richard Johnson in Connecticut has archery in his blood. His dad, Butch Johnson, is hoping to qualify for the London Games and become one of just a few Americans to compete in six Olympiads. He brought home gold in 1996 and team bronze in 2000. At Hall’s Arrow Indoor Archery Range, where the younger Johnson is business manager, the Katniss bump is alive and well. “We’ve had a lot of parents saying, ‘Hey, little Johnny has seen this movie, what do I have to do to get him into archery?’” The Johnsons are looking ahead to summer, hoping the profile

will be higher for Olympic archery this time around and anticipating the Pixar-produced “Brave.” The fantasy in 3-D computer animation features another young, headstrong archer, Merida, who brings chaos to her kingdom in Scotland. “We had such a good boost after ‘Hunger Games,’” Richard Johnson said. “The same thing could happen.”—AP

File photo shows Christa Mattessich of Oakland, NJ, 7, retrieves her arrows after a round in the youth archery league at Targeteers Archery in Saddle Brook, NJ.

Photo shows bows for sale are seen on display at Targeteers Archery.





M o v i e s

A South Korean Christian holds a placard against Lady Gaga’s Seoul concert as a pedestrian walks past during an one-person campaign outside the headquarters of Hyundai Card, the concert organiser, in Seoul yesterday. —AFP

In this June 25, 2011 file photo, US singer Lady Gaga performs during the MTV Video Music AID Japan in Chiba, near Tokyo. —AP

Awaiting Gaga, Asia sees more live music than ever hen Lady Gaga launches her hotly anticipated “Born This Way Ball” world tour Friday on what is expected to be an elaborate castle-like stage, fans in Asia will be the first to see it. The singer leads off her travels with sold-out shows from South Korea to Singapore in a striking upgrade of her Asia itinerary over a previous tour that included only Japan. Western pop stars are increasingly crisscrossing the upwardly mobile region in search of new markets while financial malaise continues to afflict parts of the West - and Asian fans are ecstatic. “We’re getting so many concerts nowadays, it’s hard to decide which ones to go for!” said Mindy Chew, an information technology consultant in Malaysia who snapped up $120 seats to watch Lady Gaga’s show in neighbouring Singapore within 30 minutes after tickets went on sale. “Some of these shows are like a once-in-a-lifetime opportuni-


ty. I’m expecting lots of drama at Lady Gaga’s show, lots of costume changes,” said Chew, who has caught performances by Gwen Stefani and Michael Buble in recent years in Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur. The long list of acts who’ve penned Asia into their tour plans this year include chart-toppers like Katy Perry, LMFAO, Maroon 5, Nicki Minaj, Jason Mraz, Avril Lavigne and Foster The People. Next to Lady Gaga, rock band Radiohead has amassed the most buzz for its planned shows in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea this July. But fans also are looking forward to artists as varied as Elton John, Morrissey, Christina Perri, Lifehouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Avenged Sevenfold, Backstreet Boys, The Flaming Lips and Manic Street Preachers. For unbeatable star power, this August’s two-day Summer Sonic Festival in Japan alone is supposed to

feature Rihanna, Green Day, Ke$ha, Adam Lambert, Pitbull, Calvin Harris and Gym Class Heroes. Japan has long been a hub for gigs by Western headliners, but touring activity has been building up in the rest of Asia over the past two years, Alan Ridgeway, president of international markets for Live Nation, the worldwide promoter for Lady Gaga’s shows, told The Associated Press. The reasons boil down to supply and demand. Asia makes economic sense now because rising disposable income among fans here has driven up demand for live entertainment across the region, Ridgeway said. “Even though Japan may be able to support three or four shows, this often wasn’t enough to justify the expense of bringing a tour to Asia,” Ridgeway said. “Now as we see increasing demand from other markets such as South Korea, China and Indonesia, it becomes possible to route a financially viable

multi-date tour through the region.” Last year was Live Nation’s most successful in China since it began operating there in 2005, with more than 70 shows by regional and Western artists within a 12-month span, Ridgeway said. Persistent economic troubles in the West have also propped up Asia’s importance. Ridgeway said the touring business in Europe remains healthy, but other promoters believe there’s been enough of a downturn there to trigger concerns. “Some artists have found that ongoing economic problems in the United States and Europe have meant they are experiencing decreased demand for concerts, so Asia is a new market they want to develop to make up for the shortfall,” said Mindy Coppin, the Singapore-based managing director for IMG Artists’ Asia-Pacific operations. As countries become accustomed to international tours, the logistics

become smoother. Singapore for example has made it easier for concert organizers to secure visas and permits and lowered taxes on artists’ fees, Coppin said. Culture clashes are among the remaining challenges. In South Korea, conservative groups complained that Lady Gaga’s lyrics and costumes were too sexually provocative and authorities barred fans under the age of 18 from attending her gig at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium. Lady Gaga will also perform in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, Manila and Bangkok, but a senior official in Indonesia’s top Islamic authority has reportedly urged fans in that country to shun Lady Gaga, saying her show is “intended to destroy the nation’s morality.” Still, that hasn’t stopped more than 30,000 “Little Monsters” - as Lady Gaga’s fans call themselves - from purchasing tickets for her stop in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, including

25,000 in the first two hours of sales. The controversies haven’t dampened Lady Gaga’s enthusiasm either. She flew into Seoul a week before her show and has immersed herself in rehearsals, tweeting her delight about receiving a “warm and exciting welcome” and whipping up fan anticipation for a stage that her publicity sketches depict as a medieval castle. Her only complaint so far: jet lag. Elsewhere, Grammy-winning R&B star Erykah Badu ran afoul of Malaysian officials in February; after she arrived, the government banned her show on the eve of the performance, saying a photo of her body art offended Muslims. Badu nevertheless voiced hopes of returning for a concert someday, saying she has “faith in people’s ability to evolve.” —AP

Trial to begin in slaying of Hudson family members

gift of balloons. That, prosecutors contend, is what sent singer Jennifer Hudsonís then brother-in-law into such a jealous rage that he shot dead her mother, brother and 7-year old nephew in a horrific act of vindictiveness in the home where the Hollywood star grew up. A prosecutor is expected to tell jurors that Monday during opening statements at the trial of William Balfour. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Oct. 24, 2008, slayings that generated nationwide headlines because of Hudsonís fame. The estranged husband of Hudsonís sister, Balfour believed the balloons he saw at the Hudson home came from Julia Hudsonís new boyfriend; driving away for her job as a school bus driver, she glimpsed Balfour in her mirror still lingering outside, prosecutors have said. They say Balfour went back inside the three-story house around 9 a.m. and used a .45- caliber handgun to kill Hudsonís mother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, in the living room, and then shot her 29-year-old brother, Jason Hudson, twice in the head as he lay in bed. He allegedly drove off in Jason Hudsonís SUV with Julia Hudsonís son, Julian King, inside. Authorities say he shot the boy nicknamed Juice Box in the head as he lay behind a front seat. His body was found in the abandoned vehicle miles away after a three-day search. There are no known witnesses to the slayings, and itís unclear what physical evidence exists, be it fingerprints or DNA. Prosecutors say gunshot residue was found on the steering wheel of Balfourís car. But the defense says it and other evidence is circumstantial. A gun, which Balfour allegedly stole months before from Hudsonís brother, was recovered in a lot near where the SUV was found and will be presented as the murder weapon. Establishing motive may pose less of a challenge. A high-school dropout and onetime Gangster Disciple known by the gang

A Gotye performs on the third day of the Coachella Music Festival, April 15, 2012, in Indio, California. —MCT

Australia’s Gotye hits it big in the desert ustralian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gotye had two big concerns ahead of his debut at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last Sunday night: how hot would it be out in the desert and how his massive hit, the understated lovelorn jam “Somebody That I Used to Know,” would play out in front of the crowd. “I’ve played plenty of festivals in Australia. But none I’ve been to have been in the desert,” he laughed over the phone in an interview days before the festival in Indio, Calif. “How much water do I need to drink to make sure I can sing on the Coachella stage?” The 31-year-old artist born Wouter “Wally” De Backer, who performs under the oft-mispronounced moniker Gotye (it’s Gore-ti-yeah), made his Coachella debut in the Mojave tent the night after appearing on “Saturday Night Live” for the first time. He plays again this Sunday on the closing night of the twoweekend festival, as part of his sold-out spring tour. In just the last month, the gentle yet addictive tune-a duet with New Zealand breakout vocalist Kimbra-has hit No. 1 on the pop charts and has been covered on “Glee” and “The Voice.” Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler admitted he kept the song on repeat on his iPod while praising contestants who covered the song on “American Idol.” And the video for the single has been watched more than 154 million times on YouTube. “It’s a very peculiar track,” De Backer said. “It’s supremely soft and reflective. Both my vocals, the loopy guitar part and all the little hooks in it, they really only operate when they are very understated and soft. So I wonder how that will come across on a festival (sound system). It’s been tough when we’ve had a chatty crowd and the quietest part of the whole set is actually the first two minutes of the big hit single that everybody has come to see.” “Somebody That I Used to Know” is taken from his third album, “Making Mirrors,” which he recorded entirely in his parent’s barn on farmland near Melbourne. The eclectic record is filled with warbled noises he’s found by manipulating sounds, including his own tenor-which sounds like Sting, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins shoved into a blender-fiddling with technology and sampling whatever vintage records or instruments he can get his hands on. The disc, which was released in the US in January through Universal Republic (it came out in August in his native land), is the first by an Australian-based artist to make the US top 10 this century, after it peaked at No. 9 on the pop chart; it hit No. 1 on Billboard’s alternative albums chart. It’s also the only album on the charts that experiments with effervescent Motown/ Stax riffs, ‘80s pop, garage rock and pays tribute to both the vocoder and a rare antique organ called the Lowrey Cotillion-all while keeping a cohesive groove that’s accessible to both indie and pop ears. At Coachella, De Backer breezed through a focused set of his genre-bending songs, choosing to plant The Hit three-quarters of the way into his set. “This is a song you might have heard,” he said, sounding ambivalent and ready to free himself of the track. As he began the opening riffs of the hit, the tent glowed thanks to hundreds of cellphones, glowsticks and lighters hoisted in the air by an audience eager to capture the moment and sing along. —MCT


shots. The witnesses didnít immediately report the shots to police because the sound of gunfire isnít uncommon in the impoverished, crime-ridden Englewood neighbourhood, according to court filings. The trial is being held in a nearly centuryold, oak and granite courtroom where several TV legal dramas have been filmed. Itís the same courtroom where R&B singer R.

name ìFlex,î Balfour allegedly threatened to kill the Hudson family at least two dozen times, starting earlier in 2008 when he moved out of the house, lead prosecutor James McKay has said. McKay says that a day before the killings, on Julia Hudsonís birthday, Balfour told her, ìIf you ever leave me, Iím going to kill you, but Iím going to kill your family first.î She didnít take him

mandatory life sentence. Jennifer Hudsonís name is among 300 on a list of potential witnesses, though itís not certain she will testify. The 2004 ìAmerican Idolî finalist and 2007 Oscar winner for her role in ìDreamgirlsî is expected to attend each day of testimony, which could last up to a month. Judge Charles Burns has instructed jurors to set aside any sympathy for

File photo shows Oscar and Grammy winning performer Jennifer Hudson answers questions from a reporter as she celebrates the release of her memoir, ‘I Got This,’ at a book signing in Chicago.

File photo shows Jeffery Wilder passing a makeshift memorial outside the Chicago home of Darnell Donerson, who along with her son, Jason Hudson, were found shot to death inside the home. —AP photos

seriously, McKay said, because Balfour hadnít acted on the threats before. Court records indicate the now 34-year-old Julia Hudsonís divorce from Balfour was finalized last year. If convicted of at least two of the murder counts, the 30-year-old Balfour, on parole at the time of the killings after serving nearly seven years for attempted murder and vehicular hijacking, would face a

Hudson and decide a verdict strictly according to testimony. The panelists include a teacher, a trucker and two people who have had close relatives murdered. Prosecutors have said Balfour claimed he wasnít near the Hudson home at the time of the killing, but they are expected to introduce cellphone records that allegedly prove he was in the area when two teenage girls who live nearby heard gun-

Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008.—AP

Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara team up laughing here’s a musical war brewing on 46th Street and things may turn nasty if Matthew Broderick has his way. He and Kelli O’Hara are at the Imperial Theatre starring in “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a new comedy with songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Next door - literally next door - at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, there’s another Gershwin musical, “Porgy and Bess.” What are the chances of two Gershwin shows in the same season sitting next to each other? Broderick, normally a very peaceful man, is considering a sneak attack on their rival, especially if they’re doing better. “If it appears that they might run longer than us, I’m not above going over there and just smashing the set to smithereens,” he says, sitting beside his co-star in the empty Imperial seats. “And when we come out of the stage door, if there’s a bigger crowd for them, we should move the barricades so it will appear from the outside that people are standing and waiting for our show,” O’Hara offers. “That’s a good idea,” Broderick says. “It’s just an appearance thing but it makes people think,” she adds. They’re joking, of course. Well, at least the part about smashing the set next door. These are, after all, slightly stressful days as Broderick and O’Hara tweak the final pieces of their show. Their muscles ache from new dance routines, their heads are filled with stray bits of last-minute dialogue. “This is a scary time,” admits Broderick. Their screwball romantic comedy - loosely borrowing from the 1926 musical “O, Kay!” - takes place in the 1920s and tells the story of a female


bootlegger who meets a wealthy, often-drunken playboy on his wedding weekend. “It’s a show that should look like it’s fun to do. But it IS fun to do so that hasn’t been a struggle,” says Broderick. O’Hara agrees: “I’ve never laughed as much in my whole career.”

In this publicity photo provided by Boneau/BryanBrown, Kelli O’Hara, left, and Matthew Broderick perform in the new musical comedy ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre in New York. —AP

Book writer Joe DiPietro and director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall have raided the Gershwin song catalog to cobble together a sumptuous score including “Someone to Watch Over Me,”“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,”“S’Wonderful” and “Fascinating Rhythm.” (Only songs from “Porgy and Bess’ were off-limits.) O’Hara, the Tony Award nominee of “South Pacific” and “The Pajama Game,” was hesitant at first about the idea of belting out iconic Gershwin songs, ones she calls the “soundtrack of our lives.”“I think now that we’re up and in it, it feels much easier to do it than the thought of it before hand,” she says. “The thought of singing ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ did not appeal to me hugely. Just because it’s been done so many times.” Broderick, 50, knows the feeling: “You suddenly remember Ella Fitzgerald in your brain and you can either run screaming into the street and just never come back ...”“And hope a car goes and hits you?” O’Hara offers, sweetly. “... or you can just say, ‘Well, we’re not hurting Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings’ and people ought to redo these things,” he continues. Broderick, who had worked with Marshall before, was the first to be interested in the show, attending a reading that led to a workshop. O’Hara, who has often worked with Marshall and even sang at her wedding, signed on later, not having done a musical in a while and thinking it might be fun. —AP





M o v i e s

Not a lot of risk, but some red-letter dates

this summer cinema season

being sold as a dark, edgy but somewhat camp version of the 1970s TV soap opera about vampires. (No, not “Dallas.”) May 25 “Men in Black 3” makes one long to have been a fly on the wall when Oscar winner and perma-grump Tommy Lee Jones was pitched this. Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to the “Mad Men” ‘60s to keep aliens from killing his then much-younger partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones in the present, Josh Brolin in the ‘60s). Might this be a comeback for director Barry Sonnenfeld? “Chernobyl Diaries” is a horror picture based on an idea by Mr. “Paranormal Activity” (Oren Peli) about “extreme tourists” who get more than they bargained for when they travel into the radioactive forbidden zone around the infamous reactor. Is there found footage? Are there supernatural scares? The odds are good that these goods are odd.

Benjamin Walker, as Abraham Lincoln, unleashes the full fury of his wrath against the undead in ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.’ —MCT photos ummer cinema is always a minefield of movies that somebody thought were a good idea-that maybe they convinced you were a good idea-but weren’t. “Smurfs” and “Jonah Hex” and “Cowboys & Aliens,” anyone? This summer is more fraught with peril than usual. Loaded with sequels, topheavy with re-boots and remakes, the titles may look familiar, making movie marketing departments happy. But the movies? A real crapshoot. Disney has so much riding on “Marvel’s The Avengers” (May 4) that they added “Marvel” to the title, lest people confuse it with the 1998 Uma Thurman/ Ralph Fiennes bomb that was based on the British TV show. Universal is so hedging its bets on “Battleship” (May 18) that they opened it in the rest of the world before unleashing it here. And they’re saying their prayers that “Snow White and the Huntsman” (June 1) will not disappear the way the “Other Snow White Movie” (“Mirror Mirror”) did in March. Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” moved to May 16, to protect it from “Dark Shadows” and “Battleship.” (Did they make it funnier than the trailers?) You know what you’re getting with “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” (June 8), “Madea’s Witness Protection” (June 29), “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (July 13) and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (June 29) and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” (Aug 3). Can Woody Allen build on “Midnight in Paris” with “To Rome With Love”? (in limited release June 22). Can Oliver Stone return to his dark, violent and hit-making past with “Savages” (July 6)? Summer officially begins with “Marvel’s The Avengers.” It pretty much ends Aug. 17 with “The Expendables 2.” And in between, here are the red-letter dates that could help us navigate that minefield of movies.


May 11 “Dark Shadows” pairs up Johnny Depp and Tim Burton in what is

June 15 “Rock of Ages” has an all star cast - Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin - the director of “Hairspray” and a lot of movie stars singing ‘80s “hair metal” anthems in a film based on the hit stage musical. It’s “Glee” with spandex, sweat and moussemopped guitar heroes. Pour some sugar on me, whydoncha. “That’s My Boy” might allow Adam Sandler to pass the baton to the next generation (Andy Samberg). Sandler’s the loutish

loser who hasn’t seen his supersuccessful son (Samberg) in years. The back story? Dad, still a kid himself, had an affair with a teacher that ended up with her in prison and him raising a boy while still a boy himself. Yeah, this is Sandler’s Father’s Day present to America. June 22 “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel, imagines Honest Abe as an honest-to-Pete American Van Helsing, a buff vampire slayer of the 19th century. Benjamin Walker plays Abe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Mary Todd Lincoln, with Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Rufus Sewell also on board director Timur Bekmambetov’s Gothic goof on American history. “Brave” puts Pixar in charge of Disney’s latest princess, a bowwielding redhead out to prove herself to her fellow ancient Scots. Teenage girls with bows and arrows? How very 2012. The trailers really sell this one, a film filled with funny Scots accents and girl power messages. July 3 “The Amazing Spider-Man” gives us a new web slinger (Brit Andrew Garfield), a new girlfriend (Emma Stone), a new Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and a whole new, one-liner-laced action picture vibe, if the trailers are to be trusted. Rhys Ifans plays the villain.

Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Dictator.” July 20 “The Dark Knight Rises” is the finale to the Christopher Nolan/ Christian Bale/ Michael Caine ver-

sion of Batman. This time, the Caped Crusader is up against Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy, among others, in what promises to be an epic send-off. Before you can say “I’ll miss that Bruce Wayne,” remember that Nolan has already signed on to participated in the NEXT Batman reboot. Aug 3 “The Bourne Legacy” is a continuation of the Bourne franchise, with Jeremy Renner as a guy named Aaron Cross, picking up where Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) left off. “Total Recall” is a remake-new take on the Philip K. Dick story that became an Arnold Schwarzenegger/ Sharon Stone thriller. This time, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bokeem Woodbine serve director Len (“Underworld”) Wiseman’s version of Dick’s tale “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Aug 17 “The Expendables 2” brings more aged action stars back from the dead (Sylvester Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris) for more derring do, a mission that goes wrong, leading to another quest _ this time for revenge. “ParaNorman” is a tale of a misunderstood lad who hears dead people, something that really comes in handy when he has to save his town from ghosts and zombies. Folks involved with “Coraline,” “Corpse Bride” and “Flushed Away” made this one, which could be an animated sleeper in a summer sloppy with animated sequels. —MCT

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Warner Bros Pictures’ and Village Roadshow Pictures’ gothic comedy ‘Dark Shadows,’ a Warner Bros Pictures release.

Russell Brand, from left, as Lonny Barnett, Julianne Hough as Sherrie Christian, Diego Boneta as Drew Bolley, and Alec Baldwin as Dennis Dupree in New Line Cinemaís rock musical, ‘Rock of Ages,’ a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Christian Bale as Batman in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action thriller, “The Dark Knight Rises,” a Warner Bros Pictures release.

Robin Gibb wakes up from coma



By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: An exhibition showcasing Palestinian culture was inaugurated yesterday at the Kuwaiti Women’s Cultural Society in Khaldiya. Lulwa Al-Mulla, the organization’s Secretary General cut the ceremonial ribbon and toured the venue with Siham Abu-Ghazali, Head of the Palestinian Cultural Exhibition. Held twice a year, the Palestinian Cultural Exhibition was designed to protect Palestinian identity, improve and maintain it, empower women amid constant attack from ‘enemies’ aiming to annihilate or wipe out Palestinian people’s identity, she said. She praised the hard work and perseverance of about 550 women living in refugee camps in Jordan who are directly recipients of the expo. “We are helping them so that they can support their families and survive difficult times,” she told Kuwait Times. “We are grateful to the Kuwait government and people for their relentless support, especially for the Palestinian people and its cause. Through their support, these women and their families are surviving; they can live and become proud of themselves,” she noted. According to her, this initiative has helped empower women, no longer having to beg for food every day. “We want them to feel that we are here to support them in whatever way we can. Holding such an exhibition means a lot to us as Palestinians, although I am a Kuwaiti now. My heart belongs to our people who are suffering a lot because of Israeli occupation. We want to show to the world that although they are currently living in terrible circumstances, there are people like us who want to help them during struggle,” she noted. According to Abu-Ghazali, they can preserve valuable culture and tradition by showing them to the world. “We are not the only organization trying to help our Palestinian people, there are many more. We are just one of the many active and committed organizations trying to ease their suffering.” The battle they are trying to win is quite different from the one being fought by Palestinians in their homeland. “Since we are away from home, we are not battling to win our land, but this struggle aims to help preserve our culture. We support our people in Palestine with this initiative. We want to help improve the educational level of women and children. We want to help women become earning members of the family. The art of weaving is a distinct part of a diverse Palestinian identity,” she opined. Dr Suhal Al-Fulaiji, who introduced herself as a volunteer of the Palestinian Cultural Exhibition said that her organization also actively supported individual families and students as many families lost their source of livelihood because of an ongoing conflict. “We have about 156 families and 66 students who are being supported in Palestine. You can be a part of this program and can support the family by giving one dinar per day or KD 360 per year. For

Siham Abu-Ghazali

Lulwa Al-Mulla with Siham Abu-Ghazali touring the venue. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

our university students KD 550 can be paid per year. We have many students who are forced to leave schools because of the ongoing struggle in their homeland. And only through a university degree can they better their circumstances. They can continue their studies with your support,” she asserted. Yesterday afternoon, Dr Salman Abu-Sittish, the author of Palestinian Atlas in both Arabic and English, launched his book at the venue. Sittish, also a Palestinian, has been working hard in research and education over the last twenty years. Sittish has been helping preserve Palestinian identity through literature. Meanwhile on Thursday, several enter-

tainment events that are part of Palestinian culture will be staged between 6:30 to 8 pm. ”Different activities will be showcased during the last three days; there will be a food exhibition too. We have hundreds of handicraft/artifacts but most importantly, embroidered dresses made by Palestinian refugees are usually popular. There are ceramics available too from Hebron (AlKhalil in Arabic), a place known for ceramics for thousands of years.”

24 Apr 2012  

Kuwait Times

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