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No: 15370

150 Fils

Kuwait National & Liberation Days

Kuwait celebrates its National Day in style

— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 2)

Max 24º Min 14º



Students firm on staging mass protest on Feb 28 Midterms dilemma simmers on

National Day preparations KUWAIT: Major General Mustafa Al-Zaabi, Assistant undersecretary of Interior Ministry Traffic Affairs, underlined the importance of ‘civilized police conduct’ while interacting with both citizens and expatriates during the national celebrations. He stressed the need to post traffic officials on the condition of streets 24 hours a day in order to help solve any congestion and

serve all people using the roads. Speaking at a special meeting convened to review preparations for the celebrations with top traffic officials from all six governorates, Al-Zaabi stressed the need to avoid power abuse and urged all policemen to be nice to the public. The photo shows an almost deserted Gulf Road on Friday on the eve of the National Day. —Photo by Joseph shagra

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education (MoE) must release to high school students new midterm reports that take into account marks and test results as per the old grading system, says a recommendation released recently by a technical committee formed to probe reasons behind low midterm results recorded this year. Students blame a new system introduced this year, which bases 90 percent of a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) on their test results, for the low midterm results recorded late last month. Students insisted that midterms included complex questions which exceeded the level of understanding of an average student. Meanwhile, chairman of the High School Students Council, Rasheed Al-Hajri, said senior chemistry teachers struggled to answer questions included in the high school chemistry midterm examinations. He based his statement on the testimonies of students, who claim teachers tried to help them during the exams in empathy of their frustration at the level of complexity of the tests. Al-Hajri reiterated plans to stage an “unprecedented mass gathering” of high school students at Iradah Square on Tuesday, February 28 “to demand the return of the old system”. It is not clear whether these plans still stand after the latest news about the anticipated ministry decision. Former minister, Ahmad Al-Mulaifi, had

formed committees to gather students’ complaints, with the option of marking test papers again. Nothing has materialized so far to help students improve their grades. New minister, Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, announced shortly after assuming office that the old grading system, in which midterm results make up 70 percent of a student’s GPA, will be brought back until the end of the current school year. No measures have been taken since then. Reports yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of MoE thinking, said a technical committee Al-Hajraf formed to resolve the problem finished its report on Wednesday. It recommends scrapping midterm results and release new reports with grades calculated as per the old system. The recommendation needs to be approved by the minister before it is officially adopted. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that the report will be referred to Undersecretary, Tamadher AlSadairawi, on Tuesday. Then it will be sent to Minister Al-Hajraf to be adopted presumably before the end of next week. If the protest goes ahead, many public schools will witness high absence rates as students skip class to participate in the demonstration. This is not new to many schools around Kuwait, which saw absences as high as 100 percent on Thursday, the final day before the four-day national holiday. —Al-Qabas, Al-Rai & Al-Jarida

Kuwaiti embassies celebrate national days KUWAIT: Kuwaiti embassies around the globe continued to celebrate Kuwait’s 51st Independence Day and the 21st Liberation Day, and the sixth Anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah’s assumption of leadership. Kuwait Embassy in Qatar held late Thursday a ceremony in celebration of national events which was attended by former GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah, members of the diplomatic circle, and a number of Kuwaiti and Qatari citizens. Kuwaiti Ambassador to Qatar Ali Al-Haifi congratulated Kuwait’s leadership and people on the advent of such joyous celebrations. He affirmed that Kuwaiti and Qatari relations were of great importance, adding that the Qatari full-hearted involvement in the celebrations was a clear sign of the ties that bind the two nations. In Morocco, Ambassador of Kuwait to Rabat Shamlan AlRoumi held celebrations commemorating the national occasions. The celebrations were attended by Moroccan state officials, diplomats, in addition to academics and other personnel. — KUNA

Sheikh Lt General Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah

New Army Chief of Staff KUWAIT: The Cabinet approved the appointment of Sheikh Lt General Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah as Kuwait’s new Army Chief of Staff. The cabinet wished him success.

Moderate weather on National days KUWAIT: Moderate weather is expected for the national holidays that lasts until Monday with temperatures dropping slightly during night, according to two meteorologists yesterday. “Calm weather is expected for the coming few days with light northwestern winds turning into southeastern winds after the holidays”, said veteran meteorologist Dr

Saleh Al-Ujairi, adding that the change in the wind direction is expected to bring cloudy weather with chances of occasional rains. Meteorologist Khalid Al-Jamaan indicated that current moderate weather does not signal the end of winter and spring is officially set to start on March 20 as per meteorological calculations. — Al-Watan



Scrap all deals with Syria: Kuwait MPs Speaker joins 5 lawmakers KUWAIT: Five Kuwaiti opposition MPs, including parliament speaker Ahmad Al-Sadoun, have called for the scrapping of all economic cooperation agreements with Syria, press reports said yesterday. The five MPs put forward a bill that, if approved, would require the government to cancel a host of agreements and sever diplomatic ties with Damascus, the Alam Al-Yawm newspaper reported. The bill would also ban all loans to Syria, direct or indirect. To become law, the bill needs to be passed by the opposition-dominated parliament and then approved by the government. Among the deals that would be affected is a 2004 investment agreement and several trade agreements signed in the 1990s. Earlier this month, Kuwait joined other Gulf states in expelling the Syrian ambassador and recalling its own envoy from Damascus. Kuwaitis have held repeated demonstrations against the deadly crackdown in Syria by President Bashar AlAssad’s regime, which human rights groups say has left more than 7,600 people dead since March last year. —AFP

Kuwaiti in female attire in police net By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 23-year-old male citizen was arrested in Hawalli for wearing feminine clothing and a wig, security sources said. A police patrol thought the person was behaving suspiciously and on stopping her, she turned out to be a he. l A female citizen reported that an unidentified caller has been harassing her with SMS messages. Security sources said a case was filed and the phone number owner is being summoned. l The owner of a car hire business in Mubarak Al-Kabeer reported that a female citizen had rented a car from him but neither paid the rental fee nor returned the vehicle. A case was filed. l The owner of a Shuwaikh company reported that an unidentified robber broke into his company and stolen KD 200 from a safe. A case was filed. l An Asian was arrested in Jleeb in possession of 110 bottles of home-made liquor. l An Arab expatriate reported that a stateless resident registered four mobile phone lines in his name. He is now banned from leaving the country until he pays the overdue bills. l A 20-year-old Filipino broke his right ankle while playing sports at Kuwait Sports Club, said security sources noting that the man was rushed to Amiri Hospital for treatment. l A 20-year-old female citizen sustained various injuries all over when her vehicle collided into another along King Fahad Highway. l An Indian and a citizen both sustained back injuries when their vehicles collided below the Subhan flyover. Security sources said that they were both rushed to Adan Hospital for treatment. l A 33-year-old Sri Lankan man sustained various injuries when he was run over by a vehicle speeding along the Fifth Ring Road near the Avenues Mall. l A 51-year-old citizen sustained serious back injuries and bruises all over when he lost control of his bike at the United Nations roundabout. l A 14-year-old citizen broke his right thigh and a 15year-old national sustained bruises all over when they lost control of their bikes in Abu Halifa near Alia and Ghalia Towers. Security sources said they were both rushed to Adan hospital for treatment.

MPs on ‘Audit’ probe: Not enough KUWAIT: Members of Parliament received with caution news that the Cabinet assigned the State Audit Bureau to probe allegations that the former Prime Minister transferred millions of dinars from public funds into his personal accounts abroad. According to one leading Opposition lawmaker, this step must not come as an alternative to an investigation committee through which MPs plan to probe the case. “The cabinet’s decision on February 28th

will be decisive to determine the relationship between them and the parliamentary majority”, said MP Musallam Al-Barrak in reference to the Parliament session during which the proposal to form the probe committee will be put to a vote. The lawmaker warned the Cabinet from “attempts to obstruct parliamentary investigations” in the case, and described their latest decision as “a potential attempt to cover up details about corruption”

in the case. Once formed, the parliamentary probe committee will reportedly carry out investigations with senior state officials including Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Khalid Al-Jarrallah, Assistant Undersecretary for Financial Affairs at the Prime Minister’s diwan, Khalid Al-Banay, in addition to the former governor of the Central Bank, Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, who resigned earlier this month, announced Al-Barrak. —Al-Rai



Message from the Ambassador of Peru


n behalf of the government and the people of Peru, I would like to congratulate the State of Kuwait on the 51st anniversary of its independence, wishing all its people prosperity and peace under the wise guidance of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Relations between Peru and Kuwait are now fluid and very cordial. Diplomatic ties are deep-rooted as consequence of the opening of the Embassy of Peru and the installations inside the same of its ExpoPERU Tour, Trade & Invest Room. Several bilateral agreements are ready to be signed and very promising economic development, cooperation and friendship between our two countries have been right now set up. Kuwait is considered as partner with whom the Peruvian Government is working closely in order to enhance the level of trade, tourism and investment with cooperation and partnership in different areas at all. The 21st anniversary of the Liberation touched us closely, letting us remember the former General Secretary of the United Nations, the Peruvian Ambassador Javier Perez de Cuellar who was working alongside HH the Amir when he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait in those very sad moments. It is a must to work now and forever for peace. The sympathy, encouragement and support of the government and people of Kuwait are very much appreciated by this embassy. We hope to deepening and strengthening the traditionally friendly relations between our two countries and people right now and forever. Amador Velasquez Ambassador of Peru to Kuwait

US Ambassador Tuller congratulates Kuwaitis Pioneering regional role praised KUWAIT: US Ambassador to Kuwait Matthew Tuller on Thursday congratulated the Kuwaiti people on the occasion of national celebrations in the country, praising what Kuwaitis have achieved since the Independence and Liberation of Kuwait, as well as its pioneering role in the region. In a press statement, issued Thursday evening at the Embassy of the US in Kuwait, Tuller said that the will and insistence of Kuwaiti people in reconstructing their country and transforming it into a country of peace and prosperity was more than what Kuwaitis aspired, adding that what has been accomplished so far, due to hard work and effort, make the wonderful successes of Kuwait worth more praises and applauses. He mentioned that among most important successes that the country has accomplished was holding the first parliament in 1991 right after the liberation of the country, pointing out that the people of Kuwait have the right to be proud of their country’s constitution and traditions and culture that are based on freedom of speech and tolerance. Also, the US Ambassador expressed his admiration toward the “big change” that occurred in Kuwait and how much it could be learned from, adding that Kuwait, to this day, plays a pioneering regional role due to its elected parliament, constitutional government, and independent media which make it

UN congratulates Kuwait on national celebrations UNITED NATIONS: Kuwait is a beacon of democracy and stability, said its permanent envoy to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi here yesterday. The Kuwaiti mission at the UN headquarters in New York held a ceremony to mark Kuwait’s national celebrations, which include the 51st National Day, the 21st Liberation Day and the sixth anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s assumption of the leadership of the country. The event was attended by permanent envoys to the UN, diplomats and a number of Kuwaiti nationals residing in the city. Speaking to KUNA and Kuwait TV after the ceremony, Al-Otaibi congratulated the country’s leadership and its people

on the advent of the celebrations, expressing wishes of development and stability for his beloved nation. The Egyptian envoy, Majed Abdulaziz, who was attending the event, said that the national celebrations were a cherished occasion for all Arab nations. He also lauded the huge strides in development Kuwait has taken since gaining independence. India’s Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, whose country is a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, told KUNA that Kuwait is not only a country very close to India, but that both countries share a deep relationship with one another, which include strong economic ties. “On this occasion, we wish the

Kuwaiti leadership and the people the very best of economic success, prosperity and happiness,” he added. Afghan Ambassador Zahir Tanin told KUNA that Kuwait is a “friend of Afghanistan.” His country has been benefitting from the support of Kuwait over the past ten years, he said, expressing hope for an expansion of these relations. Afghanistan is a historical country, with friends in the Middle East, like Kuwait, we can be part of a new history of the region, he added. For his part, the Suriname representative, Henry Leonard MacDonald reiterated the sentiments of his fellow diplomats, describing the event as “a very important day”. — KUNA

more distinctive than other countries in the region, especially with jobs the country provides to Kuwaiti women to work in governmental, commercial, and civilian sectors. In addition, he mentioned the links between his country and Kuwait got strengthened and boosted throughout their joint experience and expertise they gained when fighting side-to-side during the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation back in 1991, pointing out that during the past two decades; thousands of US soldiers trained with their Kuwaiti counterparts for the joint goal of protecting Kuwait and the region from hostility and terrorist threats. In the same context, Tuller explained that the deep personal and institutional relations that were established between US and Kuwaiti military men were always a major element in the success of relations between the two countries. On the other hand, Tuller reiterated his country’s full commitment and constant security partnership with the people of Kuwait, expressing pride in cooperation and building long-lasting capabilities between Kuwait and the US. He continued that joint cooperation in the areas of health, education, and trade have supported the relations between the two countries over the past four decades, expressing his aspiration in continuation of dialogue between the two countries and creation of new fields of cooperation. — KUNA

Message from the Nigerian Ambassador


n behalf of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Nigerians in Kuwait, Nigerian Ambassador, Ahmed Gusau Bala wishes to extend his warm greetings to the government and people of Kuwait on the 51st National Day anniversary, 21st anniversary of the Liberation Day and the 6th anniversary of the positive leadership of HH the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. We wish you peace and prosperity.

Souq Sharq fish market raided By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Capital Municipality inspectors recently raided the fish and vegetable market located in Souq Sharq, said Manager Faleh Al-Shemmari. Al-Shemmari added that the tour

resulted in the closure of five fish markets that conducted operations prior to obtaining a license. Manager Dekheel Buramia said that his team examined 90 tons of fish before auctioning them off. He also noted that warnings were issued to six vegetable vendors for failing to observe proper hygiene.



Four of family killed in crash KUWAIT: Four members of one family were killed in a traffic accident reported recently on Salmi Road. Preliminary investigations revealed that the Indian victims were making their way back to Kuwait from pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia when the accident happened. A fifth family member was rushed to Jahra hospital in critical condition. The bodies of the victims were taken to the forensic department. Investigations are underway to reveal the circumstances which led to the car to losing balance and overturning. — Al-Rai Illegal employment An Asian woman, organizing illegal work for housemaids without valid visas, was arrested by Jleeb Al-Shuyukh investigators. Police became aware of the illegal activity after arresting an Asian woman with an expired residency. She provided information on an apartment she shares with other domestic workers during interrogations. It is rented by a woman who also helps them find jobs. Police headed to the location and arrested nine women inside. None of them had a valid residency. Investigations revealed that the prime suspect provided shelter to the workers and a KD205 monthly salary each. In exchange, they worked for her by providing domestic services for people looking for household help without the legal obligations of sponsoring a housemaid. Police eventually apprehended the prime suspect, who is currently held pending legal action. — Al-Rai Fall from 6-storey bldg An Asian woman was hospitalized in a critical condition after falling from a Salmiya building recently. The victim reportedly fell from a sixth floor apartment. Police found no one when they headed to the scene after the case was reported. The victim is currently recovering at Mubarak Hospital as police wait for her condition to stabilize to launch questioning. Preliminary investigations indicate that the case could be a suicide attempt. — Al-Rai Fugitive at large A search is underway for a GCC national wanted for fraudulently reentering Kuwait. He was deported on a previous occasion. The suspect managed to escape custody following a car chase in Jahra, which started when he ignored orders to pull over. He fled on foot after leaving his car behind in Taima. Police identified the owner of the vehicle and summoned him for investigations. He admitted that the car was being used by his brother during the time of the pursuit. He revealed that his brother had forged his passport to return to Kuwait after being deported. This explained why he escaped. The man did not know the whereabouts of his runaway brother, but provided information including his fake identity. Border security services were informed to prevent his escape. —Al-Rai Bomb found A cluster bomb found recently in Mutlaa desert was detonated by Kuwaiti Army explosives disposal personnel. Officials headed to the scene following a report about a foreign object found half buried in sand near the border security department building. The object was identified as a cluster bomb dating back to the Iraqi Invasion, over twenty years ago. The area was swept as a precautionary measure after the bomb was successfully detonated. — Al-Watan Fight A young man was arrested and his friend was hospitalized with injuries sustained during a fight which occurred after they harassed a woman in Jlaiah. The two were among a group of young men who started following a woman driving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in the desert. Eventually, the woman called her brother. He showed up with his friends, and a fight started between the two groups. Police soon arrived at the scene and detained the woman’s brother and one of her harassers. An ambulance arrived to take another harasser to hospital. All of the other suspects involved in the brawl managed to escape. —Al-Watan Pedestrian shot Teenagers who shot a pedestrian in Saad Al-Abdullah and left him critically injured are being sought by investigators. Paramedics and police hurried to a location where an Asian man was reported bleeding from a gunshot in his abdominal area. The victim was rushed to Jahra Hospital where his condition stabilized. He then explained to police that teenagers targeted him with a firearm for no reason while he was walking in the area. A case was filed. — Al-Shahed

MoH turns a kind eye to cancer patients KUWAIT: Health Minister Dr Ali Saad Al-Obeidi took two decisions on Thursday, one on a committee formation and the other on primary care centers. Ministry of Health said in a press release that Minister Al-Obeidi decided to form a medical committee to consider the cases of children with cancer. The committee is to look over the various types of cancer in National

Bank of Kuwait’s hospital, and to give the final decision on whether to send the patients abroad for treatment without the need to be presented to the Higher Commission, it added. Such decision comes to facilitate the procedures for the patients, and avoid the occurrence of any complications or untoward developments to their situations. —KUNA

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Palestinians, police clash at Al-Aqsa mosque


Seven Marines dead as helicopters collide


Death toll rises to 23 in Afghan anti-US protests


TUNIS: United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) greets Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L), United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed alNahyan (2nd L) and British Foreign Minister William Hague (2nd R), in Tunis, yesterday, during the “Friends of Syria” conference at which representatives from over 60 countries will discuss the crisis in Syria, with a focus on aid and a political resolution of the violent conflict which has killed over 7,000 people since the beginning of pro-democracy demonstrations a year ago. — AFP

‘Friends of Syria’ calls for UN action Pro-Syrian crowd tries to storm Tunisia meeting TUNIS: The nations that make up the Friends of Syria group will call yesterday for the United Nations to begin planning a Syria peacekeeping mission once the regime agrees to a cease-fire, a senior diplomat said. The United States, European and Arab nations were set to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad agree to an immediate cease-fire and allow humanitarian aid into areas hardest hit by his regime’s brutal crackdown on opponents, or face as-yet unspecified punishments and an increasingly emboldened and powerful armed resistance. Assuming he agrees now, after ignoring numerous similar demands, the UN would then send in a peacekeeping force with the permission of the ruling authority in Syria, whether it is Assad or a successor. The Friends of Syria, meeting Friday in Tunisia, have no more leverage than in previous attempts, either as individual nations or through the United Nations, to make

Assad leave. But the diplomat said the demand by the nearly 70 nations involved in the group will simply increase pressure on Assad to see that his demise is inevitable. The language in the statement will allow UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to begin recruiting nations to join the peacekeeping force, billed as a non-military operation, and start identifying its mandate. The plan is also designed to signal Russia and China, the two nations that have consistently opposed any foreign intervention in Syria, that their continued support of Assad could leave them out of business and diplomatic opportunities in what the group hopes will be a new Syria. British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the Syrian government as a “criminal regime” as he arrived at the conference and said he was meeting with the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, boosting their stature. “We will also intensify our links

with the opposition,” he said. “We will treat them and recognize them as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.” “I hope those countries will take note of this strength of international feeling and support that we are seeing here in Tunis,” Hague said about Russia and China. “There are more than 60 countries coming together, because it means that they are increasingly isolated in their views.” Alexei Pushkov, a Russian lawmaker, said after meeting Assad that the Syrian president sounded confident and demonstrated no sign he would he step aside. Pushkov warned that arming the Syrian opposition would fuel civil war. For their part, the Syrian National Council has welcomed the conference as part of their call for a peaceful transition to a democratic regime. “This conference will help the Syrian people, the revolutionaries, I think; they will give us the power as a national council, a political umbrella for the revolution inside Syria,” said

Haithem al-Maleh, executive director of the group. As the conference began yesterday, about 200 pro-Syrian demonstrators tried to storm the hotel. The protest forced Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to be diverted to her hotel, delaying her appearance. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama. They were driven out of the parking lot by police after about 15 minutes. On Thursday, the Friends of Syria worked out details of the demands in London as the former UN chief, Kofi Annan, was named to be a joint UN-Arab League envoy to deal with the crisis. Russia and China reiterated their opposition to an international resolution. Both nations say they support a “speedy end” to the violence, but they have vetoed two UNSecurity Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning Assad’s crackdown. —AP



Al-Qaeda claims deadly attacks on Iraqi cities BAGHDAD: Iraq’s al-Qaeda branch has claimed responsibility for the latest wave of bombings and other attacks that killed dozens in Baghdad and across the country in a single day, raising concerns over the government’s ability to provide security after the US troop pullout. The Islamic State of Iraq said in an Internet message late Thursday that it targeted security forces and government officials in “revenge for the elimination and torture campaigns that Sunni men and women face in the prisons of Baghdad and other cities.” Iraq’s Shiite-led government has executed at least 68 prisoners so far this year, a rate that has alarmed human rights watchdogs. Additionally, last fall Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered detentions of hundreds of former Saddam Hussein loyalists, most of whom were believed to be Sunni. Thursday’s attacks killed a total of 55 people and wounded 225, raising concern of a new surge in sectarian violence two months after the

American military pulled out. “These operations were synchronized and their targets were accurately surveyed and chosen, including security headquarters, military patrols and senior security, judicial and administrative officials,” al-Qaeda said in the statement, posted on militant websites. The violence now is nowhere as frequent as it was during the tit-for-tat sectarian fighting that almost pushed Iraq into civil war a few years ago. But the attacks appear to be more deadly than they were before American military’s withdrawal in late December. Days after the American military left, a wave of bombs targeting Shiites killed at least 69 people. That happened twice more over the following three weeks, killing 78 and 53, respectively. Al-Qaeda was blamed for them all. Until the US troops left, the worst attack was in August in a multi-city bombing spree that killed 63 people. The renewed potency of the violence points to a

dangerous security gap that Iraqi forces have not yet solved without the help of the US military: Gathering intelligence on militants plotting attacks. Ongoing negotiations between the US Embassy in Baghdad and the Iraqi government are addressing, in part, how to supply security forces with enough equipment and training to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Turbulence in Iraq’s political system also has fueled sectarian tensions, but there’s no indication so far that it’s led to violence. The day after the US withdrawal on Dec. 18, the Shiite-led government announced an arrest warrant against Iraq’s highest-ranking Sunni politician, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, on charges he commandeered death squads against security forces and government officials. Al-Hashemi has denied the charges he calls politically motivated, and many Iraqis fear the case will bring the return of widespread sectarian violence. — AP

Palestinians, police clash at Al-Aqsa mosque Police use stun grenades against demonstrators

CAIRO: Egyptians shout anti-military ruling council slogans during a protest at Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, demanding that the country’s military rulers to step down. Arabic writing on the banner in the back reads: “Retribution”. — AP

Egypt presidential hopeful attacked in carjacking CAIRO: A leading Islamist presidential hopeful spent the night in a hospital with a concussion after a carjacking attack on a highway to Cairo, the Egyptian police and his spokesman said yesterday. Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh was attacked by masked gunmen late Thursday and struck three times in the head with the butt of an automatic rifle, said the spokesman, Ali Bahnasawy. The attackers drove off with the vehicle. The brazen attack on a presidential hopeful, just months before elections are to be held, highlighted the deteriorating security across Egypt since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power a year ago. Abolfotoh suffered a concussion but was released from a Cairo hospital in the morning, though he remains under medical supervision, Bahnasawy added. Campaign officials said the motive for the carjacking was not immediately clear, but suspected it might have been a targeted attack. “We don’t believe it’s random, but we’re not sure yet,” Bahnasawy said. While many blame the Interior Ministry for the deteriorating security over the past year, others see it as part of the failure by the ruling military council to steer the country through what was supposed to be a transition to democracy. A reformist within the Muslim Brotherhood, Abolfotoh has gained some support among activists behind Egypt’s uprising. The Brotherhood, which has emerged as Egypt’s most powerful Islamist group and controls nearly half of seats in the country’s new parliament, expelled him when he declared his intention to run in the presidential balloting. The Brotherhood has vowed not to field a candidate in the elections, slated to take place by early June. Nominations for presidential candidates start in two weeks. Abolfotoh had been campaigning for the presidency and was on his way back from a rally in Menoufia, 40 miles (60 kilometers) north of Cairo, when he was attacked. The gunmen drove off with his rental car after beating him and his driver.—AP

JERUSALEM: Clashes broke out yesterday between Israeli police and “hundreds” of Palestinian stone-throwers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said. “They threw stones towards the Maghrebi Gate and police went onto the plaza,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, referring to the only entrance to the compound which can be used by nonMuslims. “There are now hundreds of people throwing stones.” Police said they had used only stun grenades against the demonstrators and that “dozens of people” had barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinian officials confirmed an unspecified number of people had barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque as well as the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. “We are negotiating with the Israelis not to storm into the mosque or the Dome of the Rock and to let people out,” Sheikh Azzam alKhatib, head of the Jerusalem Waqf, told AFP. The plaza is one of the most sensitive places in the Middle East. It is referred to by Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif and considered the third holiest site in Islam, while it is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and is revered as Judaism’s most sacred site. Witnesses told AFP police had also fired tear gas, forcing a number of women to run for cover inside the Dome of the Rock. “We were praying when they started shooting tear gas towards us,” 58-year-old Umm Mohammad told AFP by telephone from inside the Dome of the Rock. “At first, they were shooting at the AlAqsa mosque but we hid in the Dome of the Rock, and now they have started firing tear gas and sound bombs towards the gates,” she said. “Women were terrified and screaming at first, but we got over it and started shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is greatest),” she said. Police had no immediate number of those arrested but said several police officers had been hurt by stones and treated at the scene. Palestinian medics said they had treated five people, some of whom were suffering from tear gas inhalation, and others who had been “beaten by the police.” Officials at the nearby Muqassed hospital said they had treated four people, including at least one who was hit by a tear gas

grenade. The clashes followed nearly a week of unrest at the flashpoint compound. On Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse Palestinians who were throwing stones inside the compound, arresting 18 people. On Tuesday, protesters hurled stones and shoes at police escorting Jewish and

Christian visitors inside the compound, leaving one police officer slightly injured. Police arrested another two Palestinians. And on Thursday, police arrested seven Palestinians for shouting insults at a group of Jews touring the site, fearing the confrontations would lead to further clashes. — AFP

WEST BANK: Israeli troops reach for teargas canisters during the weekly demonstration against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, yesterday. — AP

Saleh to hand power to successor Monday SANAA: Veteran Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is to hand power to his successor Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Monday, the electoral commission said, before the results of a single-candidate presidential poll have even been announced. The handover will put the seal on a hard-won November transfer of power deal, under which Saleh agreed to step down in return for a controversial promise of immunity from prosecution over the deaths of hundreds of people during 10 months of protests against his 33-year rule. Hadi “will take the oath of office in parliament on Saturday, February 25, and the inauguration will follow on Monday, February 27, in a ceremony at the presi-

dential palace during which Ali Abdullah Saleh will officially hand over power to him,” Friday’s statement from the commission said. Saleh has been receiving treatment in the United States for blast wounds he suffered in a bombing at the presidential palace last June but is to fly home for the handover, Deputy Information Minister Abdo Janadi said on Wednesday. The commission said on Thursday that the count from Tuesday’s vote, in which Hadi’s name was the only one on the ballot paper, had not been finished. It had promised a result before Saturday but said that logistical problems and polling day violence by separatists in the formerly independent south had caused delays. — AFP



Senior UK police officer faces phone hacking probe LONDON: Britain’s independent police watchdog launched an investigation yesterday into claims that a senior officer passed information to Rupert Murdoch’s News International during a probe into phone hacking at one of its newspapers. The inquiry is examining whether details passed by the unnamed officer to an executive at News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp, during the police’s 2006 investigation constituted a criminal offence or misconduct. London’s Metropolitan Police (MPS) launched that investigation when senior royal aides reported their suspicions that voicemails on their mobile

phones had been illegally accessed by journalists from the News of the World Sunday tabloid. The investigation led to the conviction of the paper’s royal reporter and a private detective. News International claimed the practice was limited to that “rogue reporter” but last year admitted phone hacking had been widespread, causing a scandal that shook Murdoch’s empire and rocked the British press, police and political establishment. The officer who headed the original inquiry told lawmakers last July that News International chiefs had deliberately hindered their investigation. Police are now carrying out three new

criminal investigations and it was information from one of these that led to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) probe into the senior officer. “The allegation of an inappropriate disclosure of information from an MPS officer to an executive at News International raises important issues of public confidence in the MPS,” IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass said in a statement. “I believe it is right that we independently investigate this to determine if there was any wrongdoing.”The MPS said after “careful consideration” it had decided not to suspend the officer, who is based within the Specialist Operations unit which han-

dles counter-terrorism and royal protection and which handled the original hacking inquiry. It said the information which prompted the investigation had been passed to detectives by the Management and Standards Committee set up by Murdoch which is trawling through 300 million emails to hunt for any evidence of criminality. Information it has uncovered has led to the arrest of some of the most senior journalists on Britain’s top-selling Sun tabloid newspaper as well as a number of serving and former police officers over claims they were paid for passing information to reporters. —Reuters

Missile strike kills four Shebab rebels in Somalia Shebab a ‘global enemy, not only a Somali enemy’ MOGADISHU: A missile strike killed four Al-Qaeda allied Shebab rebels in wartorn southern Somalia, officials and witnesses said yesterday, as the extremists are squeezed on three fronts by regional forces. “An Al-Qaeda commander was targeted in Lower Shabelle early yesterday morning, a missile struck and destroyed his vehicle, killing him and several colleagues,” said a Somali government official on condition of anonymity. The missile strike 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of the Somali capital Mogadishu-an area known as K60 — was confirmed by local residents. Residents said an aircraft fired a missile at a Land Cruiser with four passengers, reportedly including foreigners fighting with the Shebab. Britain’s security think tank, the Royal United Services Institution, estimates the total number of foreign fighters within the Shebab to be around 200. Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said Wednesday he would welcome Somalia’s international allies to launch air strikes against the Shebab, who have been battling to topple his weak Western-backed government. He called the Shebab a “global ene-

my, not only a Somali enemy”. The strike comes a day after international powers meeting in London pledged to boost efforts against instability in Somalia and vowed action against anyone obstructing the country’s peace process. “There was a missile strike near K60 this morning, the missile targeted a vehicle belonging to Al-Shebab,” said Mohamed Ali, a resident in a nearby village. “We are not sure who exactly was the target but four people apparently died and the vehicle was destroyed.” There were conflicting reports about the nationalities of those killed in the strike, and it was not immediately possible to establish their identities. “We heard a very loud explosion, and people are saying the target was a vehicle of the Al-Shebab,” said Ahmed Moalim, another resident. Kenyan military, which has carried out air raids against the Shebab in southern Somalia, said they were not behind yesterday’s missile strike. “That air strike is not from our end,” Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan army spokesman, told AFP. In October, the United States acknowledged flying drones out of Ethiopia under a counter-terrorism cam-

paign in the Horn of Africa but said the aircraft were unarmed and not carrying out raids. Last month the hardline Shebab insurgents said a missile fired from a drone killed a fighter of Lebanese origin, about 13 kilometres south of Mogadishu. The rebels on Wednesday lost control of their strategic base of Baidoa after truckloads of Ethiopian soldiers and progovernment Somali forces seized the town, the second major loss for the rebels in six months. Baidoa was one of the Shebab’s main bases and its capture leaves the group’s fighters in central Somalia increasingly isolated, with African Union (AU) troops also chasing them out of the capital Mogadishu. The Shebab, thought to number no more than 5,000 gunmen, are close to collapse, with reports that foreign fighters are fleeing to Yemen, the commander of the 10,000-strong AU force in Somalia said Thursday. “In the last few days, close to 300 people, mainly foreign fighters, are streaming out of Somalia taking the direction of Yemen-these are signs of defeat,” said Ugandan Major General Fred Mugisha. — AFP

Christian’s death in Nigeria inflames tensions

TOUBA: A picture shows electoral cards in Touba, central Senegal, on Thursday. The world community is appealing for calm ahead of Senegal’s February 26 presidential election which some opposition leaders want postponed amid protests over incumbent Abdoulaye Wade’s third term candidacy. — AFP

MAIDUGURI: Police discovered the body of a 79-year-old Christian woman killed in northeast Nigeria, with a note in Arabic left on her chest reading: “We will get you soon,” a witness said. The slaying raises religious tensions in Nigeria as a radical Islamist sect increasingly targets Christians in its bloody attacks. While police said Thursday they knew of no immediate suspects in the killing, witnesses blamed the attack on the sect known as Boko Haram, which has been blamed for killing at least 305 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The dead woman was identified as Shetu Haruna Malgwi, a Christian living in the city of Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Muslim north. Assailants apparently attacked Malgwi on Wednesday, a day after she returned home from receiving an eye treatment in the city of Kaduna, Borno state police spokesman Samuel Tizhe said. Her killers slit the woman’s throat, then wrote a note with red pen they left on her chest, witness Audu Ibrahim said. Ibrahim said the woman’s family believes the message is for her son, who is a pastor of a local church where the 79-year-old sang in the choir. — AP

LECH: In this Feb. 19, 2011 file photo Netherland’s Prince Friso, left, and his wife Princess Mabel, right, pose with their daughters Luana and Zaria for photographers during a photo session in the Austrian skiing resort of Lech. Austrian doctors treating the Dutch Prince Johan Friso said yesterday, he suffered massive brain damage after being buried by an avalanche last week and he may never regain consciousness. — AP

Dutch prince may never regain consciousness: Doctors INNSBRUCK: Dutch Prince Johan Friso, the second son of Queen Beatrix, suffered massive brain damage in an avalanche in Austria and might never regain consciousness, his doctors said yesterrday. “It can’t be said with certainty at this point whether Prince Friso will ever regain consciousness again,” Wolfgang Koller, head of the trauma unit at Innsbruck University Hospital, told a press conference. “In any case, a neurological rehabilitation will be required that will take months, if not years.” The 43-year-old father of two young daughters was caught in an avalanche while skiing off-piste with a friend in the posh Austrian ski resort of Lech a week ago. He was quickly evacuated by helicopter to Innsbruck University Hospital but nevertheless spent some 25 minutes under the snow, according to the doctors. “Due to the amount of time spent under the snow, his brain was not supplied with sufficient oxygen,” Koller said. “This resulted in a heart attack that lasted about 50 minutes. During this whole time, the patient had to be resuscitated,” he said. “Fifty minutes of reanimation is very, very long, one might even say too long. “Our hope was that the patient’s mild hypothermia would provide some protection for the brain. This hope was not realised.” Doctors were able to do an MRI scan on the prince for the first time on Thursday and “it’s clear that the lack of oxygen caused massive damage in the patient’s brain,” Koller said. “The family of Prince Friso will now look for an appropriate facility for the rehabilitation,” he added. Kollar was giving the first official details on the prince’s health since his accident last Friday. Until now, the Dutch Royal House had limited itself to saying he was “stable, but not out of danger,” with the hospital refusing to comment. — AP



California lawyer to be sentenced in baby selling scam SAN DIEGO: Theresa Erickson’s reputation as a leading reproductive law specialist eased the concerns of surrogate mothers and intended parents. But prosecutors say being a trusted source also allowed her to lure them into unwittingly helping her build a baby manufacturing business spanning two continents that netted millions. The 44-year-old attorney is expected to be sentenced Friday at a hearing in federal court in San Diego. She faces up to five years in prison. Erickson, who authored books and spoke on TV about fertility issues, used California’s thriving surrogacy business to find clients that she could convince to pay up to $150,000 for each baby, federal prosecutors say. The parents believed they were adopting legally by entering into an arrangement with a surrogate mother before the pregnancy. In fact, Erickson working with a surrogate, Carla Chambers, and another respected Maryland attorney, Hilary

Neiman, lined up parents for babies they had already created by sending US surrogates to the Ukraine to be implanted with sperm and embryos from anonymous donors, prosecutors say. “These were criminals that were creating human life for sale,” said surrogacy attorney Andrew Vorzimer, who represented the surrogates that helped blow the whistle on the scam. “Many people consider this to be a surrogacy arrangement gone awry. But this was not surrogacy in any shape or form.” Vorzimer said no one knows how many babies in total were created, and important genetic information for the infants may have been lost forever. The surrogates were also unaware of the scam, federal prosecutors say. “They attempted to create the most marketable baby available which was blond hair, blue eyed baby, while simultaneously pulling on the heart strings of intended parents,” Vorzimer

said. “It defies description the immorality that was involved in this ongoing operation that went on for years.” Erickson has pleaded guilty to fraud and admitted to filing false applications for the surrogates to California’s state insurance program to subsidize the medical costs of the deliveries of the babies. Chambers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions derived from unlawful activity and also will be sentenced Friday. She faces up to five years as well. Neither woman nor their attorneys could be reached for comment. Neiman was sentenced in December to one year in custody that included five months in prison and the rest under home confinement. The case has prompted greater scrutiny by judges in California, the industry’s hub because of its progressive laws regulating the industry. Other states ban surrogacy outright.

Heather Albaugh, a surrogate from the Dallas area, said she was among those who were duped by the trio. Albaugh said she was contacted by Chambers after posting an ad on a surrogacy web site. She said she was new to the business and nervous about agreeing to be sent to the Ukraine for an embryo transfer but then Chambers told her the agency was represented by Erickson and Neiman. “These two attorneys were huge, they were on the up-and-up and considered to be household names in the surrogacy industry, so once she said that I let down my guard,” Albaugh said. Albaugh returned from the Ukraine and was in her 18th week of pregnancy when she started calling other attorneys, alarmed that there still were no parents set up to adopt the child she was carrying. Chambers had told her twice that the clients they lined up had backed out at the last minute. —AP

Seven Marines dead as helicopters collide Marine training crash in California among deadliest

BIRMINGHAM: Gabe Watson, second left, hugs members of his defense team after the charges in his capital murder trial were dismissed at the Mel Bailey Criminal Justice Center in Birmingham, Alabama, on Thursday. —AP

Judge acquits Alabama man in bride’s honeymoon death BIRMINGHAM: Prosecutors encountered legal hurdles just getting Gabe Watson into an Alabama courtroom to face a murder charge in the death of his wife, who drowned during a honeymoon dive off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef eight years ago. In the end, a judge decided they didn’t have enough evidence for jurors to even bother deliberating. A state judge on Thursday agreed with a defense motion and acquitted the 34-year-old Watson in the death of his wife of 11 days, Tina Thomas Watson. The defense - which contended that 26-year-old Tina Watson’s death was an unintended, horrible mishap - never even got started after prosecutors finished. Jurors filed out of the basement courtroom without having a chance to weigh in on the case. Watson buried his face in his hands at the decision; he had faced a sentence of life without parole if convicted. He hugged his mother and father, who blamed the prosecution on Alabama politics, and his second wife, who accompanied him throughout the trial. Watson’s former father-in-law, Tommy Thomas, appeared shell-shocked. “It should have gone to the jury for them to decide,” Thomas said. The case was ended by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail, who clashed with prosecutors throughout the trial and earlier hearings. Prosecutor Don Valeska told The Associated Press that four key decisions by the judge during trial crippled the state’s case. That included his refusal to let Thomas and Tina Watson’s sister Alanda testify in depth about conversations they had with Watson after the death. Those could have helped show that Watson wanted insurance money, he said. Nail also refused to let prosecutors show jurors videotape of a police re-enactment of the dive and barred them from seeing a surveillance video of Watson removing flowers from his wife’s grave, Valeska told the AP. —AP

SAN DIEGO: An aviation training accident that killed seven Marines - one of the Corps’ deadliest aviation training accidents in years - left the military community shaken and was a solemn reminder that preparing for war poses some of the same risks as the real thing. “It’s an unfortunate consequence of the high tempo of operations,” said retired Marine Col. J.F. Joseph, an aviation safety consultant. “They’re out there working on the edge trying to exploit the maximum capabilities of the aircraft and their tactics. Just by the virtue of that, in becoming combat ready, these unfortunately are not uncommon occurrences.” The Marine Corps and Navy, nonetheless, stand out in their efforts to mitigate that risk and make training as safe as possible, he said. Officials said it could weeks to determine what caused two helicopters, an AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1 Huey, to crash in midair during a routine exercise Wednesday night, killing all aboard the aircraft. Skies were clear and the weather was mild. The accident occurred near the Chocolate Mountains along the California-Arizona border - a sprawling desert range favored by the US military because its craggy mountains and hot, dusty conditions are similar to Afghanistan’s harsh environment. With 17,500 Marines and sailors, including personnel stationed at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing conducts hundreds of aviation training exercises a year so troops can get as much experience as possible before they go to war. It was the fifth aviation accident since March involving the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego. Throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, there have only been two other aviation

training accidents in the past five years involving seven or more deaths, according to the military’s Naval Safety Center. Chaplains and counselors were called in to talk to troops. Six of the Marines killed were from Pendleton the West Coast’s largest base - and one was from the base in Yuma. Their identities will not be released until their families have all been notified. Gov. Jerry

troops from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The helicopters collided near dunes at the edge of the Yuma range about an hour before the range was to shut down for the evening. Ground troops were in the area, but they were not affected, said Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Dunk, a spokesman at the Yuma base, which is a 90-minute drive from the accident site.

YUMA: Col Robert Kuckuk, left, speaks during a news conference about the deadly helicopter collision that killed seven Marines, Thursday, across the street from the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. —AP Brown issued a statement on behalf of himself and his wife: “Anne and I offer our condolences to the families and friends of the Marines who died last night. We honor their bravery and sacrifice.” Two of the Marines were aboard the AH-1W Cobra and the rest were in the UH-1 Huey utility helicopter. They were flying in a remote section of the 1.2-million-acre Yuma Training Range Complex as part of a two-week standard training called “Scorpion Fire” that involved a squadron of about 450

Part of the exercise involved having helicopters low on fuel descend to ground troops that have set up a refueling outpost, Dunk said. He did not know if that’s what the pilots were doing at the time of the crash. “Our training is always evolving, safety is paramount, and being prepared is paramount,” he said. “It was a very standard exercise for what we do. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members. ... Our investigation will look to see what went wrong and how to correct it.” —AP



Indonesia defies US ban on Islamist ‘terror’ group JAKARTA: Indonesian police said yesterday they would not ban an Islamist group branded a terrorist organisation by Washington, while a member of the group said US sanctions against him were “a joke.” The United States on Thursday officially labelled Islamist firebrand Abu Bakar Bashir’s Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) group a foreign terrorist organisation, linking it to several attacks in Indonesia. The State Department accuses the group of being behind a church bombing in Java last September, deadly attacks on Indonesian policemen and bank robberies aimed at raising money for weapons and bomb materials. “It is the right of the United States to make such a statement, but the group is allowed to carry on in Indonesia as long as it is not breaking the law,”

National Police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution told AFP. “We will keep monitoring their activities,” Nasution said, adding that Indonesian police had still not finished investigations into the church bombing. The US Treasury also announced that it was placing sanctions on three leading members of the group, banning US citizens and businesses from any transactions with them. The trio are JAT acting emir Mochammad Achwan, spokesman Son Hadi bin Muhadjir, and recruiter and fundraiser Abdul Rosyid Ridho Ba’asyir. Muhadjir told AFP the US sanctions were “a joke that does not deserve a reply.” “This shows America’s foolishness, since there was no evidence in court that proved we are guilty (of terrorism)”, he said. “The United States is looking for a new target for its

fight against terrorism and it wants to enlarge its hegemony in Indonesia,” he said, adding he would “never do business” with the US irrespective of the sanctions. JAT was founded in 2008 by 73-year-old Bashir, who was sentenced to prison last year on charges of funding terrorist activities. It says it is a legitimate group to help Muslims and promote Islamic law in Indonesia. Upon appeal last October the Jakarta High Court slashed Bashir’s 15-year jail sentence to nine, citing lack of evidence and old age. Bashir was the alleged founder and chief ideologue of the better-known violent group Jemaah Islamiya, responsible for a string of attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists. — AFP

Indonesia returns foreign inmates to riot-hit jail Over 50 prisoners transferred to other prisons

MYITKYINA: Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2nd-R) is greeted by supporters in Myitkyina yesterday. Suu Kyi appealed for unity among Myanmar’s disparate ethnic groups as she hit the campaign trail in the country’s conflict-riven far north. — AFP

China calls on Myanmar to ensure border security BEIJING: China has urged Myanmar to ensure security along their common border following attacks on river shipping and inflows of refugees fleeing fighting with ethnic minority militias, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand began joint Mekong River patrols in December after 13 Chinese sailors were killed along a section of the river flowing through the Golden Triangle region, which is notorious for drug production and trafficking. Members of Myanmar’s Kachin ethnic group also have fled across the border amid fighting between militias and the army. “It’s in both countries’ interests to maintain border peace and stability,” China’s chief government adviser Jia Qinglin was quoted as saying at Thursday’s meeting with the speaker of Myanmar’s lower house of parliament, Thura Shwe Mann, in Beijing. “China respects Myanmar’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sincerely hopes Myanmar will find peaceful means to appropriately resolve issues of ethnic reconciliation and protect the long-term peace and order of the ChinaMyanmar border region,” he said. China was a loyal diplomatic ally and source of arms and investment for the Myanmar long-ruling junta, but ties have soured in recent months after the military established a nominally civilian

government and opened contacts with the West. One major sign of Myanmar’s change of course was the abrupt suspension of a heavily criticized dam project that would have provided hydroelectric power to China’s southwestern province of Yunnan. Jia did not mention any sources of friction by name, but said China-Myanmar relations face “unprecedented opportunities, but also challenges.” Myanmar has released political prisoners, eased some censorship and rushed to sign agreements with major ethnic rebel groups fighting for independence, although many abuses continue. Tens of thousands of Kachin refugees crossed over the porous, hilly border with China after fighting broke out in June 2011, some settling in a series of makeshift camps. Most are believed to have either returned home or moved in with relatives on the Chinese side. A spokesman for Yingjiang county, home to many of the camps, said numbers had dropped considerably and no arrivals had been seen for some time. “Most of them returned to Myanmar after a while. We haven’t seem many of them coming here recently,” said the official, who like many Chinese civil servants, would give only his surname, Shang. — AP

DENPASAR: Foreign inmates refused to transfer from a riot-hit Indonesian prison yesterday as authorities struggled to regain control over the jail on the holiday island of Bali. Fourteen foreigners, among Kerobokan’s 60 overseas prisoners, were evacuated for their safety late Thursday but were returned after telling prison officials they did not want to serve their sentences in different jails. A dozen convicted Australian drug smugglers and 48 other overseas prisoners have been housed together with about 1,000 other inmates at the notorious and overcrowded Kerobokan where violence broke out Tuesday between warring gangs. Indonesian forces stormed Kerobokan on Wednesday to regain control after a night of arson and stone-throwing, but were later forced back, with prison staff saying they were afraid to return for fear of sparking more violence. Nine women and four men-from Britain, Denmark, France, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Iran-were bussed out and later returned, an intelligence officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. Scott Rush, a member of the so-called Bali Nine gang of drug smugglers and the only Australian evacuee, was also among those back at Kerobokan, where the 1,105 inmate population is more than three times the intended capacity. Myuran Sukumaran, another of the Bali Nine who is on death row, briefly spoke to reporters from a guard watch tower, saying he did not want to move from Kerobokan. “I’m just fine here. I don’t want to move somewhere else, I want to remain here,” he said, wearing an orange T-shirt and smiling as he spoke in Indonesia’s bahasa language. Authorities insisted things were under control inside the prison, but would not be pinned down on whether they were fully in command. “The situation inside is normal. There are 15 prison guards inside,” Bambang Krisbanu, a security official at the justice ministry, told AFP. But the intelligence officer and other officials said prisoners were still loose and authorities were struggling to take control. By early evening authorities had reopened the street outside the prison, where only a few dozen police guards were stationed. Inmates had complained of severe overcrowding at Kerobokan, and in an effort to ease congestion more than 50 Indonesian prisoners were transferred to other prisons yesterday on three buses, and it appeared that more could leave. Eleven Kerobokan inmates are children, officials said without providing their ages, all of them Indonesian. Amid uncertainty over the situation inside, relatives of inmates were seen bringing food for prisoners

BALI: Australian prisoner Myuran Sukumaran, one of the Bali Nine drug smugglers sentenced to death, gestures to journalists from the guard outpost of the Kerobokan prison following rioting at the congested jail in Indonesia’s Bali island yesterday. — AFP

and handing it over to jail staff outside the prison. The fallout from the rioting saw prison chief Bowo Nariwono and head of security, Anang Khuzairi, suspended yesterday for their handling of the incident, a justice ministry official told AFP. A national police spokesman said Bali police chief Totoy Herawan Indra was also sacked. Military chiefs had said they would move the 60 foreigners and 125 women inmates from Kerobokan, but provincial military command spokesman Wing Handoko said that the foreign inmates would temporarily remain at the facility. “They said they did not want to be transferred to another prison where they would need to adapt all over again with other inmates,” he said. Krisbanu said most of the Australians at the jail had chosen not to be evacuated, including the infamous convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby. — AFP



11 jailed for life in Philippines for drugs CEBU: Four Chinese, two Malaysians and two Taiwanese were among 11 people jailed for life in the Philippines yesterday for illegal drugs, court officials said. Bao Xiafu, Liu Bo, Tao Fei and Joseph Yu, all Chinese nationals, Malaysians Liew Kam Siong and Siew Ken Wing, and Lin Li Ku and Wu Tiao Yi of Taiwan were found guilty of manufacturing more than half a tonne of metamphetamines.

Cebu city regional trial court judge Marilyn Yap also sentenced their three Filipino co-defendants to life in prison while setting free British passport-holder Hung Chin Chang, also known as Simon Lao. “This court has considered death as the penalty... due to the presence of aggravating circumstances,” Yap said in her written verdict. However, since the Philippines abolished capital punishment in 2006, two years after their

arrest, the 11 would be jailed for life instead, she added. Hung was spared from prison after he agreed to testify against the 11 others, the judge said. Police raided a warehouse on Cebu’s outskirts in September 2004 and arrested 11 of the drug gang members, including all nine foreigners. The third Filipino, Calvin Tan, described in the suit as the financier of the drug gang, was arrested by Interpol in Hong Kong six days later

and handed back to Philippine police. Police described the 675 kilogrammes (1,488 pounds) of metamphetamine hydrochloride, or ice, that they confiscated along with drugmanufacturing equipment as among the biggest drug busts in Southeast Asia at the time. The court fined each convict 10 million pesos ($233,427). Tan’s lawyer Gloria Dalawampu told reporters they would appeal the sentence. — AFP

Rudd challenges PM Gillard in party vote Battle between Gillard, Rudd more than a power play SYDNEY: Former prime minister Kevin Rudd confirmed yesterday he will challenge his successor Julia Gillard to lead Australia’s ruling party, saying she had lost voters’ trust and would crash at the next election. Rudd, who quit as foreign minister while in Washington this week, arrived back in Australia a day after Prime Minister Gillard called a ballot for Monday to decide who should lead Labor as a divisive rift between them came to a head. “If we are honest to ourselves, all the indications are we are heading to the rocks at the next elections,” Rudd said, with polls due in 2013. “Rightly or wrongly, Julia has lost the trust of the Australian people, and starting on Monday I will start restoring that trust. “That is why I have decided to contest the leadership of the Australian Labor Party,” he said, adding that if he lost on Monday he would retire to the backbenches and not take on Gillard again. Rudd emphasised the achievements of his government between 2007 and 2010, before he was abruptly removed by Gillard following a series of policy mis-steps and bitter disputes over his leadership style. Uniquely among advanced economies, Australia managed to avoid recession after the 2008 global financial crisis, helped by a Chinafuelled mining boom. But while he remains popular with voters, Rudd, considered egotistical and headstrong by some colleagues, seems likely to lose the vote, according to media tallies of the 103-member Labor caucus. So far, at least 20 ministers have publicly declared for Gillard as the ugly row descended into a series of personal attacks. Experts said the battle between Gillard and Rudd was little more than a power play that had only succeeded in tearing the party apart and alienating voters. “No matter who wins the leadership ballot, Labor loses. The destabilisation will continue,” said Rodney Smith, a political analyst at the University of Sydney. Rudd has never forgiven his one-time deputy for oust-

ing him in a party coup in 2010, observers say. Gillard now leads a minority government that relies on the support of independent and Greens MPs. Labor is badly lagging Tony Abbott’s conservative opposition ahead of the elections due next year, with polls suggesting Gillard’s administration would be dumped by the electorate if an election were held tomorrow. But Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, remains confident of remaining in the top job. “The choice that the nation faces and my parliamentary colleagues face on Monday is a choice as to who has got the character, the temperament and the strength to deliver on behalf of the Australian people,” she said. “I am confident I can lead Labor to a victory at the next election.” Since

he resigned as the country’s top diplomat amid intense leadership speculation, Rudd has been savaged by senior cabinet ministers who accuse him of undermining the party for personal gain. He urged people not to believe scathing criticisms that suggested-in his words-that “Kevin Rudd is the antiChrist incorporated, and if not the son of Satan, at least the grandson of Satan”. “It’s quite plain to me that what I see from the faceless men is the same shock and awe tactics that I seem to remember being deployed during the leadership coup during June 2010,” he said. Rudd called on voters to take matters into their own hands and “pick up your telephone, speak to your local members of parliament, tell them what you think, jump into the media, tell them what you think”. — AFP

MELBOURNE: Australia’s embattled Prime Minister Julia Gillard gestures during a press conference in Melbourne yesterday. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd confirmed yesterday he will challenge his successor Julia Gillard to lead Australia’s ruling party, saying she had lost voters’ trust and would crash at the next election. — AFP

MANILA: Members of different civil society organizations carry barbed wires shaped into a crown as they stage a rally on the eve of the 26th anniversary of People Power, calling for the resignation of Chief Justice Renato Corona in front of the Supreme Court yesterday in Manila, Philippines. — AP

Stop blaming Ferninand for Philippine woes: Marcos Jnr MANILA: Ferdinand Marcos should stop being blamed for the Philippines’ woes, the late dictator’s son said yesterday as he criticised subsequent leaders for doing little to improve the lives of Filipinos. Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, a senator with presidential aspirations, let rip on his Facebook page as President Benigno Aquino prepared to lead a rally Saturday to mark a bloodless “people power” uprising that toppled Marcos Snr in 1986. “China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia can all point to the progress they have made these last 26 years but unfortunately, for the majority of our people, nothing much has changed today,” Marcos Jnr said. “Blaming past administrations will not bring food to the plates of the hungry. Excuses cannot substitute for performance and results.” Marcos Jnr acknowledged he was unable to pass impartial judgment on the uprising that ended his father’s 20-year rule and forced his family into US exile, but said his political foes also promoted only their version of history. “Most of what we hear now from all sides are still within the ambit of propaganda. But I certainly am concerned with the state of our country today,” he said. Aquino’s mother, Corazon Aquino, famously led the “people power” uprising after reluctantly taking the pro-democracy leadership baton from her husband when he was murdered at Manila’s airport in 1984. She served as president for six years, between 1986 and 1992, and earnt a reputation as a leader with strong personal integrity. Benigno Aquino scored a landslide victory in the 2010 presidential elections when he capitalised on the immense public support for his late mother, and vowed to continue her agenda of fighting corruption. The incumbent blames a culture of corruption in past administrations for widespread poverty in the Philippines. But while Benigno Aquino enjoys widespread support because of his parents, so too does Marcos Jnr. He easily won a senate seat in the 2010 elections and has said publicly he may seek to emulate his father and lead the Philippines. — AFP



Police stop Tibetan protest at UN office in Nepal KATHMANDU: Police in Nepal’s capital detained 13 Tibetans who tried to storm the UN office yesterday, demanding the world body help the people in Tibet under Chinese rule. “Wake up UN Tibet is burning. Stop killing in Tibet,” the protesters chanted as they tried to climb the gates of UN office in an upscale neighborhood in Kathmandu. UN guards stopped them and police in riot gear who rushed to the scene were able to push them back to the streets and later load them on a van and pickup truck. They were driven to detention centers. It was not clear if the 13 would be charged or jailed, but in the past Tibetan protesters are generally held for a few hours and are freed later in the evening.The police did not use much force or beat them up with

their batons. They did grab them and threw some of them on the back of the pickup truck. No one was injured in the scuffle. Nepalese authorities have made it clear that Tibetans are not allowed to protest against China inside Nepal, saying protests against any friendly nation would not be allowed. Demonstrations still occur, however. Nepal has allowed thousands of Tibetan exiles to live in the country as refugees, while hundreds more are allowed to pass through Nepal, traveling from Tibet to Dharmasala, India, where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile. Smothering security is part of life in China’s Tibetan areas, and the heavy policing has driving some Tibetans to radical acts of protest, such as the 21 self-immolations counted in the past year. Because of the crackdown,

the exile government called on Tibetans to shun celebrations for

their traditional new year, which started Wednesday. — AP

KATHMANDU: Nepalese policemen detain an exile Tibetan who was shouting slogans against the Chinese government during a protest outside United Nations office in Kathmandu, Nepal, yesterday.— AP

Death toll rises to 23 in Afghan anti-US protests

HK leadership race heats up as Beijing favourite fades

Karzai’s govt appeal for calm and restraint

HONG KONG: A former Hong Kong government adviser secured enough nominations to be able to run in the city’s leadership race after a Beijing-backed frontrunner became embroiled in a property scandal and dropped in approval ratings. Former property businessman Leung Chun-ying, also a Beijing loyalist, won 293 nominations from the 1,200member election committee for the post of chief executive in the former British territory. But Leung trails the 378 nominations for Henry Tang, who had appeared a shoo-in next month’s election until a scandal over a basement built illegally at his wife’s property and allegations of extra-marital affairs hurt his popularity. “My nomination came from a variety of sectors,” said Leung, 57 , who is now more popular among the city’s 7.1 million population than Tang, a former senior government official who has the backing of Hong Kong’s powerful business community. The other contender to officially submit his nomination for the March 25 election is opposition Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho. Leung has said he supports public housing policies, an issue that has grabbed public attention thanks to the city’s exorbitant home prices, but some say he may be hard pressed to win over Beijing and the business sector. He has been trying to build support for more than two years, but has not won the backing of business tycoons, said James Sung, political analyst at the City University of Hong Kong. “The business sector has no reason to trust Leung, even within another month, he will still be the enemy,” Sung said, adding that the business faction perceives Leung to be unfriendly toward their interests. Since the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the city has picked its leader through an election committee largely handpicked by Beijing. Shrinking public confidence in Tang’s integrity and ability to govern is likely to unnerve Beijing, which wants to avoid the public resentment that triggered a massive protest during the first posthandover administration in 2003. More than half a million people took to the streets then to call for the resignation of Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s first chief executive. In the latest survey commissioned by the South China Morning Post and conducted by the University of Hong Kong, Tang, 59, won the support of 16 percent of 506 respondents, compared with 63.9 percent who favoured Leung. Leung, a former chairman of property consultant DTZ’s Asian arm, is a member of the National Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. — Reuters

KABUL: Anti-US protesters tried to storm a US consulate and march on NATO headquarters in Kabul yesterday as violent demonstrations over the burning of Qurans pushed into a fourth day, killing 23 people. Afghan officials said five people died yesterday, four of them in the usually relatively peaceful western province of Herat and another demonstrator in the northern province of Baghlan, where hundreds took to the streets. The Quran incident has fanned the flames of anti-Western sentiment already burning over abuses by the US-led foreign troops, such as the release last month of a video showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of dead Afghans. President Hamid Karzai’s government and the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan has appealed for calm and restraint, fearful that Taleban insurgents are trying to exploit the anti-American backlash. But in Herat city, three people died as protesters surged towards the US consulate while four more were killed elsewhere in the province, provincial spokesman Moheedin Noori told AFP. “Seven people were killed and 50 others were injured-mostly in gunfire across Herat province,’ said Noori. A security official told AFP that demonstrators had tried to storm the consulate and that some had tried to grab guns from the police. Another protester was shot dead and two wounded when demonstrators tried to overrun the Czech-led military-civilian provincial reconstruction team in northeastern Baghlan province, provincial governor Abdul Majeed said. Yesterday’s deaths bring to at least 23 the number of people killed since Tuesday at violent anti-US protests over the burning of Qurans at the US

airbase of Bagram, north of the capital. In Kabul, at least three people were wounded in surging demonstrations in several different locations, an interior ministry spokesman said. The protests flared after Friday prayers,

Nangarhar, AFP correspondents said. Two US soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan soldier at a protest on Thursday. French, Norwegian and US military bases also came under attack, after insurgents exhorted their countrymen to kill foreign troops in

KABUL: An Afghan policeman uses his baton to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Quran desecration in Kabul yesterday. — AFP where mullahs condemned “Infidels” for the desecration of Islam’s holy book. “Those who have committed this crime should be identified and should be publicly executed,” said mullah Mohammad Ayaz Niazi at Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan mosque. “You have not just betrayed a nation, but you have played with the faith and sentiments of 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, and you have trampled their holy book,” he said, while urging that any protests should be peaceful. Rallies also broke out in northern Kunduz province, as well in central Bamiyan and Ghazni and eastern

revenge. The US embassy in Kabul has been in lockdown for days, while extra security forces are protecting foreign missions and other strategic places, some armed with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-guns. Last April, 10 people were killed and a UN compound in the north was overrun during days of unrest unleashed by the burning of a Quran by American pastor Terry Jones in Florida. The Afghan government and the US commander of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, General John Allen, called for calm and restraint in a country wracked by 10 years of war against hardline Islamist insurgents. — AFP



India PM blames foreign NGOs for anti-nuke demos NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed US non-profit groups in an interview published yesterday for whipping up anti-nuclear demonstrations that have stalled two new atomic plants. Singh told the American journal “Science” that “the atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly I think based in the US, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase the energy supply.” India’s fast-growing economy is heavily dependent on coal, but the government hopes to raise the proportion of power produced from nuclear from

less than three percent to 25 percent by 2050. “The thinking segment of our population certainly is supportive of nuclear energy,” Singh said in the interview with “Science,” a copy of which was posted on his website. But plans to construct a massive atomic power station using Russian help in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have been thrown into disarray following angry protests led by local villagers and activists. The government was forced to stall its programme to build two 1000megawatt nuclear reactors in Koodankulam and Russia’s ambassador to India, M. Kadakin, has voiced frustra-

tion with the delays. “We cannot allow our scientists to remain idle endlessly. For months together, they are without work,” Kadakin was reported to have said earlier this month by local media. In western India, violent demonstrations against the government’s proposal to build a huge atomic power station near the Jaitapur port saw one man killed and several injured when police opened fire in April 2011. Environmentalists have steadily campaigned to stop construction of new nuclear plants in the country, especially after Japan’s Fukushima crisis last March,

but the government has vowed to press on. Singh also backed genetically modified crops to increase farm yields, despite pressure from “NGOs, often funded from the US and Scandinavian countries which are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces.” In 2010, India halted its plans to introduce its first genetically modified vegetable into the market, following resistance from citizens, scientists and state governments. The ban is due to be reconsidered by the government this year, following further research and public consultations. —AFP

Families of those missing in Pakistan seek answers ISI refuses to discuss the missing

NEW DELHI: Indian Muslims shout freedom slogans after a speech by Kashmiri separatist leader and Chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, unseen, at Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India, yesterday. —AP

Pakistan urges Afghan Taleban to enter talks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan yesterday urged leaders of the Afghan Taleban movement to enter direct peace negotiations with the Kabul government, a possible sign that Islamabad is stepping up support for reconciliation in neighbouring Afghanistan. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said in a statement that it was his “sincere hope” that the Taleban and other groups respond to the appeal. Regional power Pakistan is critical to efforts to bring the Afghan Taleban to the negotiating table because of its historical ties to the group. Both Afghan and US officials have long accused Pakistan of using militant groups as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India, allegations Islamabad denies. Gilani said Pakistan was “prepared to do whatever it takes” to help the Afghan reconciliation process succeed. His comments indicate Pakistan may now be willing to try to persuade Afghan insurgent groups to pursue peace, as the United States attempts to stabilise the country before foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014. Afghan officials are holding talks with the Afghan Taleban in Pakistan, the head of a provincial peace council in the insurgency’s heartland Kandahar said on Tuesday. Kandahar peace council head Ata Mohammad Ahmadi told Reuters the officials had been meeting for “some time” with mid-level Taleban commanders in the southwest Pakistani city of Quetta, where the leadership of the militant group is said to be based. It is unlikely that any meetings between Afghan officials and Taleban commanders could take place in Quetta without the knowledge of Pakistan’s pervasive intelligence agencies. Pakistan may have stepped up its cooperation with the Afghan government by allowing the meetings in Quetta. Afghanistan is known to want access to Taleban leaders belonging to the so-called Quetta Shura, or council, named after the city where they are believed to be based. Kabul believes they would be the decision makers in any substantive peace negotiations aimed at ending the war now in its eleventh year. —Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Abdul Hameed last saw his son a year ago, being dragged away from their home by Pakistani intelligence operatives along with an Indonesian al-Qaeda suspect who had been staying there. The ailing 59year-old father now has a simple wish. “I just want to see the face of my son before I die,” said Hameed, who has been bedridden for much of the last year with multiple illnesses. “Just that. I have no enmity with anybody, any agency or any government. If you were in my position, what would you do?” Kashif, who is a student, is among the ranks of Pakistan’s “missing” - people seized by security forces for months or years, never to be brought to trial, their families never informed of their fate. Many of the men are presumed to be suspected Islamist militants, swept up in a post-Sept. 11, 2001, crackdown supported by the United States. Some are alleged to have been killed or tortured in custody. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has now given the families a measure of hope by bringing a landmark case against the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the country’s most feared spy network, which is suspected to be behind most of the seizures. The agency, which works closely with the CIA, operates largely outside of the law. The ISI either refuses to discuss the missing, denies capturing them, or insists they were involved in militancy. In an unprecedented hearing this month, judges forced the ISI to bring seven ailing suspected militants to the court in Islamabad, where they were reunited with their families. It has ordered the ISI to explain on March 1 what law they were detaining the seven under. The media, which has largely shied away from reporting about the ISI because of the power it still yields, has taken up the issue with vigor. The military and ISI have suffered a series of humiliations in the past year, including the US raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. The civilian government has also demonstrated a measure of defiance that seems to have put the generals on the defensive. “The country and the media are saying enough is enough,” said Amna Masood Janjua, who heads a human rights group campaigning on behalf of the families. “We need intelligence agencies, but they can’t operate above the law.” Her husband was seized in 2005, and she believes him to be

held by the intelligence agencies. Sensing a change in momentum, the relatives of about 100 of the missing have set up a camp on a road leading to the parliament, vowing to stay there until the court orders the ISI to produce them all or they are put on trial. They say the intelligence agencies already have released six people because of the pressure. Handwritten signs around the camp make it clear that much of the anger is directed at the United States because of its close collaboration with the ISI in tracking and capturing al-Qaeda suspects in the last 10 years in

elsewhere around the world. The CIA, which ran a network of overseas prisons - so-called “black sites” - says it no longer does so. But suspicions persist that the US is holding detainees at Bagram Air Field, a base it runs in neighboring Afghanistan. Relations between the ISI and CIA has remained in place even as ties between the two countries have plummeted in the last year because of tensions over the war in Afghanistan and the bin Laden raid, officials from both countries say. Pakistani security officials have refused to

ISLAMABAD: In this Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 photo, family members of Pakistanis who went missing hold their pictures while camping near the parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Supreme Court has now given the families a measure of hope by bringing a landmark case against the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the country’s most feared spy network and suspected to be behind most of the abductions. —AP Pakistan, one of the terrorist group’s global hubs. Former President Pervez Musharraf, who allied Pakistan with Washington after 2001, wrote in his memoir in 2006 that Pakistani security forces had captured 689 terrorists and handed over 369 to the United States, earning the country millions of dollars in bounties. Many of those ended up at the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, and the Red Cross has contacted the relatives of Pakistanis held at the camp. Some of the activists believe the US could be holding the suspects

comment on the whereabouts of Kashif or what crime he is suspected of. But they did acknowledge the arrest of the Indonesian, Umar Patek, an al-Qaeda-linked militant currently on trial in Jakarta for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. Hameed says that Kashif found Patek, who was traveling with his wife, on the street and gave them shelter in a spare room in his large house in Abbottabad, an army town in northern Pakistan that gained notoriety because it was the site where bin Laden was killed. —AP

Business 17

Lloyds bank annual net loss balloons to 2.78bn


Citigroup raises $1.9bn with Indian HDFC sale


Chinese investors tread more carefully in Africa



Germany slashes deficit despite faltering growth

BERRIOZAR: A man holds placards against eviction by a leading Spanish Bank, reading: ‘’The Beast’s Day. Stop Evictions’’, while he stands beside a house where people are threatened with eviction yesterday. — AP

Greece to launch bond Full mechanism to cover liquidity ATHENS: Greece will launch a bond swap yesterday under a deal with private investors to write off 107 billion euros from its debt mountain of 350 billion euros ($462 billion). The bond swap, in effect a cancellation of nearly a third of debt owned by Greece, is a critical part of a debt rescue stitched together with immense difficulty by the eurozone and International Monetary Fund, to avert imminent default. It is a second overall rescue for Greece, but the bond component, now at the last hour of the timetable for application, depends on the rate of participation by private investors. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said an official offer to private creditors must be made by yesterday so the debt swap can be concluded by March 12 on a first set of bonds. Bankers, insurance companies and hedge funds which hold Greek government bonds were to get precise proposals on the debt swap, deciding whether to take a 53.5-percent loss on their holdings. The bond deal was reached with negotiators from the body

representing private creditors, the Institute of International Finance. The announcement of the swap offer was expected after approval by the government, due at meeting beginning later in the morning, a statement from Prime Minister’s Lucas Papademos said. The call comes a day after the Greek parliament adopted an emergency law allowing the historic debt write-down with private creditors. The law details terms of the so-called Private Sector Involvement (PSI) accord, agreed during the marathon talks in Brussels. Under the terms of the overall Brussels accord, Greece will receive up to 130 billion euros in direct loans by 2014, helping it avert a debt default next month, in return for tough new austerity measures and tighter EU-IMF oversight of its economy. After months of talks, it seems likely that most private creditors will accept the deal, mindful that they could get nothing at all if Greece were to default. If Greece gets at least 66 percent of the private creditors to sign up the deal, it

plans to impose a Collective Action Clause (CAC) which would force any hold-outs to accept it too. Venizelos said an official offer to creditors had to be made by yesterday, so a debt swap could be concluded by March 12 for maturities governed by Greek law, and by early April for debt issued under English and Japanese law. The rescue package should be enough to avert a default by enabling Athens to repay maturing debt worth 14.43 billion euros due on March 20. Venizelos said rating agencies “might declare Greece in selective default” while the debt-swap operation was ongoing. “A selective default is only critical if the ECB (European Central Bank) and the eurozone consider it so. There is a full mechanism to cover liquidity in the meantime,” Venizelos said. Until the end of February, Greece should approve more than three billion euros in additional spending cuts and amend the constitution to ensure that debt repayments take priority over other government commitments-as demanded by the eurozone finance

ministers. The parliament is now to turn to adopt legislation by next Thursday on further austerity cuts and tough targets required to get an additional 130 billion euros in loans. But the prospects for a crucial bailout were clouded on Thursday after the European Commission said Greek economy would shrink 4.4 percent this year, much worse than its previous estimate of 2.8 percent. Greece, stuck in recession for five years and with unemployment above 20 percent and rising, has had to revise up its public deficit targets for this year to 6.7 percent from 5.4 percent of gross domestic product. Many analysts believe that Greece cannot generate the growth needed to sustain its debt burden even after the latest bailout, seeing the accord as simply delaying an inevitable default. In Brussels, EU officials said eurozone finance ministers will meet on March 1 to assess Greece’s readiness for the programme, needed after a 110 billion euros deal agreed in May 2010 proved not to be enough. — AFP



Obama goes on offense over high gasoline prices Gasoline prices hit record highs

NEW YORK: In this photo, traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. —AP

Dow flirts with 13,000 again but can’t make it NEW YORK: The Dow Jones industrial average made another run at 13,000 but couldn’t quite get there. Stocks recovered from an early loss Thursday and pushed the Dow within four points of the milestone. Investors were encouraged by more good news on U.S. jobs, but gains were limited by poor results from retailers such as Safeway and Kohl’s. The Dow finished up 46.02 points at 12,984.69. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 5.80 points to close at 1,363.46. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 23.81 points to 2,956.98. The Dow pierced 13,000 three times Tuesday but could not hold the milestone. The average hasn’t closed above 13,000 since May 19, 2008, four months before the financial crisis. Investors were encouraged Thursday after the government reported that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits last week was unchanged. The four-week average was the lowest in four years. High unemployment has been a problem for retailers, which have been forced to slash prices even though they are paying more to make and ship their goods. The burden showed in Thursday’s earnings reports. Kohl’s, the department store chain, sank 6 percent after weak holiday sales caused it to miss Wall Street estimates for revenue and earnings. Grocery store chain Safeway Inc. plunged more than 7 percent after reporting a 6 percent drop in profit. Part of the problem is the rising cost of gas, which could hurt the economic recovery. The price of gas is rising as tensions mount over Iran’s nuclear program. A gallon of regular sells for $3.61 on average, the highest on record this time of year. The price of oil jumped again Thursday, to $107.83, a nine-month high and up $1.52 for the day. Besides Iran, analysts blamed the falling U.S. dollar. When the dollar falls in value, it takes more dollars for foreign buyers to pay for the same barrel of oil. The euro jumped to a two-month high against the dollar, $1.337, up almost a penny from Wednesday, after business confidence surged in Germany. Dillard’s, another department store chain, and the discount chain Target also missed analysts’ estimates. Earlier this week, Wal-Mart fell short on earnings and revenue after aggressive discounts for the holidays cut into profit margin. Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Sears, Kmart and Land’s End, also missed estimates for revenue and per-share earnings. Its stock soared 19 percent, but that was because it outlined plans to spin off some stores and sell others. For the most part, U.S. stocks have been rising since Thanksgiving, as the most potent fears of last summer - that the country would enter another recession, and that the European debt crisis would damage the U.S. economy - have dissipated. The market has yet to settle into a definitive trend, however. In the 36 completed trading days so far this year, the Dow has risen on 21 and fallen on 15. “On Tuesday the world is ending, on Wednesday the opposite happens, after two or three weeks we’re right where we started because not much happened,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist of the Credit Union National Association. Of the S&P 500’s 10 industry groups, nine finished the day higher. Financial stocks led the charge forward, partly because of a calm day for news about Greek debt talks. U.S. bank stocks were pummeled last year as investors worried about exposure to European debt, but some of those concerns have eased.—AP

WASHINGTON: As Republican presidential candidates toss barbs at Barack Obama over expensive gasoline, the U.S. president and his team are going on the offensive with a strategy to divert blame and prepare voters for higher costs. In subtle and not so subtle ways, Obama, a Democrat, is raising the issue of high prices to promote his own policy priorities and blunt criticism from the men vying to unseat him in the Nov. 6 election. His strategy is both politically and policy-oriented. The president wants to advance his plans to increase renewable energy sources and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. But he also needs to win the war of words to gain an upper hand over Republicans in Western battleground states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, where people drive a lot and feel the sting of rising oil prices acutely. Republicans see many weaknesses to exploit. They blame Obama for not doing enough to increase domestic production of fossil fuels and cite his decision to block a new oil pipeline from Canada as evidence that he is beholden to environmentalists. Rising gasoline costs have brought the issue to the forefront of the presidential campaign. So Obama has started to pepper his speeches with references to prices at the pump. On Tuesday he cited the extension of the payroll tax cut as a welcome buffer for workers coping with the cost of gas. On Wednesday he proposed - not for the first time - getting rid of tax loopholes that benefit oil and gas companies. On Thursday he went a step further, using a speech in Florida to outline his own accomplishments in the energy arena and lambasting rival politicians for promising easy solutions to bringing prices down. “You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” he told an audience at the University of Miami, noting instability in the Middle East and rising demand in China were boosting the oil market. “If we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and

solar and nuclear and biofuels,” he said to applause. Average gasoline prices have climbed to their highest February levels on record, hitting $3.53 per gallon last week, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse data. Gasoline prices have tracked crude oil prices, which have been bolstered by the threat of supply disruptions from the West’s standoff with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program. Some analysts say U.S. prices could hit $4 a gallon or more ahead of the summer when driving demand peaks. Political battle Those prices hurt Obama politically as much as they hurt the country economically, and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum seized on them to criticize the president for his environmental record. “Folks are just starting to be able to breathe a little as the economy starts to come back a little bit, unemployment starts to go down,” Santorum said at a campaign event this week. “All of a sudden they are going to be hit with the same force of wind that hit us in 2008 in the summer that caused us to go into a recession. All because of the radical environmentalist policies of this president,” Santorum said. White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed Santorum’s comments as “random statements by politicians seeking office.” Obama is the first president to preside over growth in domestic oil production since President Jimmy Carter, also a Democrat. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, promised at a debate with rivals on Wednesday night that the country would enjoy gasoline prices at $2.50 a gallon if he won the White House. Analysts and strategists said Obama has few options to bring down gasoline prices in the short term and said his energy policies had evolved from focusing on renewable fuels to promoting nuclear energy and natural gas. “Basically he’s come a long way from the campaign of ‘08. I think that reflects pragmatism on his part,” said Guy Caruso, a senior adviser on energy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Progress or not, Obama has vulnerabilities when it comes to

energy. Earlier this year he nixed TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline under severe pressure from environmentalists. The president blamed Republicans for forcing him to take a decision under a tighter timeframe than the State Department said it needed to study the project. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and off-and-on front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said that decision was a sign that Obama wanted to please his political base more than he wanted to improve the economy. Republicans also point out that getting rid of tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, as Obama has proposed, would dent profits for oil companies, which could raise costs for consumers as a result. A White House official said that was unlikely. Vulnerabilities, few options Analysts say even if Keystone were approved, the increase in oil supplies would not affect gasoline prices for years, but the decision is nevertheless a flashpoint in the election. “The juxtaposition of the high gas prices and Keystone has (the White House) understandably nervous, and even though those two ... have almost nothing to do with each other substantively, they create a political narrative that Republicans could be successful in using to paint Obama as anti-energy and pro-high gas prices,” a Democratic strategist said. Politically, Obama’s vulnerability over gasoline prices could be especially deadly in Western states that he needs to win to remain in the White House. Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said Republican candidates could gain traction with voters in that region by emphasizing fuel costs, though they - like Obama - had few options to suggest to bring prices down in the short term. “Out there (a candidate) can get some resonance against the president by talking about high gasoline prices,” he said. “If someone comes back at him and says, ‘What’s your policy Mr. Santorum, Mr. Gingrich, or whomever, to lower gasoline prices today,’ I don’t think they’ll have a good answer.” —Reuters

Gold climbs on concerns about Europe’s economy NEW YORK: Gold prices rose Thursday after a forecast calling for the European economy to shrink this year raised questions about global economic growth. Gold for April delivery rose $15 to finish at $1,786.30 an ounce, its third straight day of gains. Investors see gold as a relatively stable asset, so they buy it as a hedge against potential losses in other investments. The European Commission predicted that the overall economy in countries that use the euro will shrink 0.3 percent this year. In November the commission predicted 0.5 percent growth. The report caused concerns that cost-cutting measures in countries like Greece could be slowing the region’s growth. Those concerns, in turn, are leading to speculation that weakness in Europe’s economy could weigh on global growth. Gold also benefited from weakness in the dollar. Since com-

modities are priced in dollars, a weaker dollar makes them cheaper for traders who use other currencies. Country Hedging LLC analyst Sterling Smith said he expects gold to continue to rise as European leaders take steps to try to stimulate their economy. He and other analysts are speculating that gold could top $1,800 an ounce in the near future. In March metals contracts, silver rose $1.302 to finish at $35.556 per ounce, copper fell 2.75 cents to $3.806 per pound and palladium increased 65 cents to $718.40 per ounce. April platinum rose $2.20 to end at $1,723 an ounce. Oil prices continued to climb over concerns about supplies caused by a dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program. The European Union and the United States are using sanctions against Iran because they fear the country is developing a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge. —Reuters



Lloyds bank annual net loss balloons to £2.78bn Losses soar on insurance provision

NEW DELHI: In this photograph, an Indian man uses a cellular phone outside a Citibank office. —AFP

Citigroup raises $1.9bn with Indian HDFC sale MUMBAI: US banking giant Citigroup sold its nearly 10-percent stake in India’s biggest mortgage lender for $1.9 billion yesterday, ending a seven-year alliance and raising much-needed capital. Citigroup, the third-largest US lender by assets, said the sale of 145.3 million shares in Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC) — the whole of its 9.85 percent stake-was “part of Citi’s ongoing capital planning efforts.” Total proceeds from the sale to mainly foreign institutional investors were expected to be $1.9 billion, resulting in an after-tax gain of $722 million. “We are pleased with the results of our investment in HDFC,” said Pramit Jhaveri, Citi India’s chief executive, in a statement. The sale came as Citigroup faces a potential multibillion-dollar writedown of its minority stake in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage. “It’s obvious Citi needed money and HDFC is an attractive asset they had,” said Santosh Singh, a financial services analyst at Espirito Santo Securities. Citi may also have sold its stake to raise funds to help it conform to strict new global capital adequacy rules that will require lenders to keep higher reserves to absorb financial shocks, analysts said. Other global banks such as HSBC and Goldman Sachs have been selling Asian assets not regarded as “core investments” ahead of the new global Basel III capital adequacy rules that come into effect next year. “Foreign banks are freeing up their overseas investments” to improve their capital base, said Jigar Shah, head of research, Kim Eng Securities. HDFC’s stock plunged over six percent to a day’s low of 665.30 — to bring shares broadly in line with the price at which Citi sold its stake. The shares later retraced to close down 3.45 percent at 676.20 rupees. Analysts called the fall a “kneejerk” reaction that did not reflect HDFC’s fundamental value. HDFC, one of India’s best-known blue-chip stocks, pioneered housing finance in India in the 1970s and has witnessed rapid growth. The sale coincided with a sharp rally by India’s stock market which several foreign investors have seized on as a chance to sell their stakes in Indian financial institutions and realise profits. Earlier this month, Carlyle Group LP sold 1.3 percent of its stake in HDFC for about $270 million. Also this month, a unit of Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings sold nearly 40 percent of its holding in India’s ICICI Bank for $300 million. But Ravi Trivedy, a partner at KPMG India, said foreign investors remained “deeply committed” to India’s financial services sector even with a lack of expected reforms by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led government. “Some of these blue-chips (like HDFC) are the toughest to buy into,” Trivedy said. Citi’s HDFC stake purchase in 2005 marked the first major move by a US bank into India’s domestic banking sector and was seen by observers as a foreign endorsement of the market’s potential. But it was unable to transform its stake into a strategic investment and profit from HDFC’s wide customer base to promote its products or become a player in India’s real estate market amid a tight regulatory environment. The New York-based banking group will still offer its investment banking to credit cards services separately in India through its own name. It employs nearly 8,000 people at Citi branches across the country. “The capital requirement of American banks has been increased and because Citi needs to shore up its capital, they sold their stake,” HDFC vice chairman Keki Mistry told NDTV. “The good thing is the demand for such a large issue was high.” —AFP

LONDON: Lloyds Banking Group yesterday capped a bad week for Britain’s staterescued lenders by announcing losses of billions of pounds (dollars) due to huge compensation payouts and eurozone debt exposure. A day after Royal Bank of Scotland said its annual net losses had almost doubled, LBG reported that its loss after tax ballooned to £2.78 billion (3.27 billion euros, $4.38 billion) in 2011 from £320 million in 2010. The part-nationalised banks meanwhile warned investors to expect further troubles in 2012, increasing the likelihood that it could be some time before the government seeks to offload its huge stakes in the lenders. “We expect income to be lower than in 2011 given the economic outlook,” LBG said yesterday after the bank, now 40-percent owned by the British government. also announced a pre-tax loss of £3.54 billion for last year. Lloyds took a £3.2 billion hit after being forced to compensate clients who were mis-sold payment protection insurance. British banks last year lost a high court appeal against tighter regulation of PPI, which provides insurance for consumers should they fail to meet repayments on a credit product such as loans, mortgages or payment cards. Stripping out the compensation payouts and other losses linked to the eurozone debt crisis, LBG’s pre-tax profit rose by a fifth to £2.69 billion. “The core business delivered a resilient performance,” said LBG chief executive Antonio HortaOsorio, who took a two-month break at the end of 2011 due to fatigue. That prompted the Portuguese national to decline his annual bonus amid British public outrage over excessive pay at state-rescued banks. LBG said it had slashed its total bonus pool by 30 percent to £375 million and on

Monday, announced it was clawing back some executive bonuses over the PPI claims. Lloyds has slashed more than 40,000 posts since 2009 as it looks to nurse its way back to health after its partnationalisation at the height of the global financial crisis. The lender, which was sunk by the ill-fated 2008 takeover of rival bank HBOS, is also cutting its internation-

LBG and RBS have together received a staggering £65 billion of British state money since 2008. RBS on Thursday said its net losses had widened to almost £2.0 billion in 2011, hit by the Greek debt crisis, restructuring costs and compensation, suffering its fourth successive year deep in the red. RBS has also slashed tens of thousands of jobs since it was bailed out

LONDON: In this file picture, a homeless man rests in the doorway of a branch of a Lloyds Bank. —AFP al activities to 15 nations by 2014, compared with the current 30. LBG and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) “are very much a work in progress and, for the moment, the outlook remains challenging,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. “Obviously it is impossible to predict a timescale” for the taxpayer to get its money back, he told AFP. “The likelihood of either share price reaching ‘breakeven’ point seems low in the shortto medium-term.”

by the state and has also sought to offload non-core assets as it seeks to return to profitability. Chief executive Stephen Hester told reporters on Thursday: “Our job is to diffuse the biggest-ever time bomb in banking balance sheets. In this respect, we are making progress.” Hester bowed to public anger last month and waived his annual bonus of shares worth £963,000, which was on top of his £1.2-million salary. RBS is 82-percent owned by the government. —AFP

India aims for low exposure to Iran NEW DELHI: India’ export guarantee agency has not stopped giving insurance cover to shipments to Iran and has only tightened criteria as part of a more cautious approach, official sources said yesterday, as western sanctions make trade with Tehran tougher. The sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union to deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme are playing havoc with Iran’s ability to pay for its imports, leaving global suppliers jittery about doing business with the Islamic republic. About $3 billion in Iranian arrears in payments to India for imports have accumulated since December 2010 when a previous payment conduit was closed under pressure from Washington. Indian rice suppliers have also reported defaults by Iranian buyers. “We have been very cautious for the past six months and will try to

keep our exposure (to Iran) at the minimal level,” said one source at the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC), which covers the risk of Indian exporters selling on credit. “But we have not halted cover to Iran exports.” Another ECGC source said insurance cover was being given “on a case by case basis” after the agency tightened the norms for cover of goods destined for Iran. A third ECGC source said Iran was on the agency’s restricted countries list, along with nations including Yemen and Libya. “Iran figures in the restricted category because of political reasons,” the third source told Reuters. Two of the ECGC sources said the agency currently had an exposure of up to six billion rupees ($123 million) in providing insurance cover to Indian exports to Iran. India is Iran’s secondbiggest oil client, buying about $11 billion worth of crude every year.

Indian exports to Iran come to about $3 billion and the two sides are exploring ways, including barter, to carry on their trade despite sanctions. While Indian oil refiners are currently routing their payments to Iran through Turkey’s Halkbank, Indian exporters use Dubai-based middlemen to receive payments. Both channels have appeared vulnerable in the face of new tougher sanctions. India abides by United Nations sanctions on Iran, but has refused to go along with the new financial measures imposed by the United States and European Union. In the face of sanctions that make it difficult for Iran to repatriate the funds from its crude oil exports, it has agreed with India to settle 45 percent of their oil trade using the rupee, which is not freely traded on global markets. Last week, Indian exporters said they should be able to receive payments in rupees for sales to Iran. —Reuters



Germany slashes deficit despite faltering growth Unemployment slumps to record lows

PHOENIX: In this file photo, Rosio Guerrero shops at JC Penney. —AP

Penney reports 4th quarter loss NEW YORK: J.C. Penney Co. reported a loss of $87 million in the fourthquarter, citing restructuring and management transition charges as well as the financial impact of preparing for its new pricing strategy. “While 2011 was a year of transition at J.C. Penney, 2012 will be a year of transformation,” CEO Ron Johnson, a former Apple executive, said in a statement. He joined the board last August and became CEO in November. But he has moved quickly to shake up a company that has been a laggard in the department store sector. It is transforming everything from its simplified pricing approach to what it keeps in stock. With its new pricing plan that debuted shortly after the end of the fourth quarter, the company is embracing a three-tier strategy: everyday prices that are about 40 percent less than initial prices of a year ago, deeper promotions that last a month and clearance events the first and third Friday of each month. The company also is changing its assortment of brands and the store experience. It announced in December that it will develop mini-shops in its stores with homemaking doyenne Martha Stewart. During an investor meeting in mid-February, it also outlined plans to add 80 to 100 other brand shops inside its stores to replace the sea of clothing racks typical of department stores. It also plans spots in its stores called Town Squares, like Apple’s Genius Bars, that will offer services and advice. Investors will want to know what other brands Penney hopes to add. The department store chain said Friday that its loss amounted to 41 cents per share for the three-month period ended Jan. 28. That compares with net income of $271 million, or $1.13 per share in the year-ago period. The results include restructuring and management charges that totaled 56 cents per share. The impact of its pricing strategy, which debuted Feb. 1, lowered results by an additional 59 cents. Excluding those charges, the company earned 74 cents per share, which beat estimates for a profit of 68 cents per share, according to FactSet. Revenue slipped 5 percent to $5.42 billion, reflecting the company’s exit from its catalog business. Analysts expected $5.5 billion. Its revenue at stores open at least a year fell 1.8 percent for the quarter.Its shares fell 65 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $41.28 in premarket trading. Penney faces a challenge in selling shoppers on its new pricing. For years, it followed the common retail practice of hiking its initial prices so shoppers feel like they’re getting a great deal when items go on sale. Penney threw 590 sales events last year, and nearly three-quarters of its revenue came from merchandise discounted by half or more. In fact, this past holiday season, Penney was forced to heavily discount to get shoppers in. That helped to depress gross profit margins to 30.2 percent in the fourth-quarter, down from 37.6 percent in the year ago period. The turnaround plan took a hit when Fitch Ratings dropped its rating this week on Penney’s debt to the “speculative” range, better known as “junk.” Fitch said it’s not sure that shoppers will accept the pricing structure or that the company can lift sliding sales and improve profitability. Penney has been a laggard among department stores as its core middleincome customers have been among those hit hardest by the weak economy. It’s also failed to attract younger customers even adding hip brands like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s teen clothing collection Olsenboye. Johnson has tapped former colleagues at Apple and Target to join Penney, including former Target marketing executive Michael Francis as Penney’s president.—AP

FRANKFURT: Robust growth and record low unemployment enabled Germany to slash its public deficit last year, even if Europe’s biggest economy ground to a halt at the final months, data showed yesterday. Germany-which given its economic clout has assumed a leading role in the fight to end Europe’s chronic debt crisis-ran up a deficit equivalent to just 1.0 percent of output last year, down from 4.3 percent in 2010. It is the first time in three years that the German deficit ratio has been below the 3.0-percent ceiling imposed by the EU and puts Berlin in a powerful position in the efforts to find a solution to a crisis that is threatening to break up the single currency and push the entire world into recession. Europe’s current financial woes stem from long years of overspending by governments and growing doubts on the financial markets that countries will ever be able to pay back their vast mountains of debt. Germany itself has fallen foul of the very rules that it was so keen to impose on profligate southern European neighbours in the early years of currency union and its deficit has spiralled upwards in recent years. But it is now reaping the benefits of the deep and painful economic restructuring undertaken in the past and the overall state deficit-which covers budgets for central government and regional governments, social services and the local authorities-is coming down. In concrete terms, the deficit-the gap between income and spending-amounted to 25.3 billion euros ($33.8 billion) in

2011, compared with 105.9 billion euros in 2010, the national statistics office Destatis calculated. While the federal government and the regional governments of Germany’s 16 states still spent more than they received in revenues last year, the municipal authorities ended the year with a modest budget surplus. And the social welfare system achieved its biggest budget surplus since unification in 1991 thanks to the favourable situation on the labour markets, according to Destatis. Germany has performed much better than its eurozone partners during the debt crisis, notching up robust growth of 3.0 percent last year, while unemployment fell to record lows. Nevertheless, the crisis has not left Germany totally unscathed and growth shuddered to a halt at the end of the year, contracting by 0.2 percent in the period from October to December. On Thursday, the EU Commission in Brussels warned that the debt crisis will drag the eurozone into a long-feared double-dip recession this year, pulling down most neighbouring non-euro economies in its wake. But analysts believe Germany will remain immune to the worst and a whole range of forward-looking indicators, such as the Ifo business climate index, all suggest that the dip in the German economy will prove only temporary. Timo Klein, economist at IHS Global Insight, said GDP will remain underpinned by solid underlying private consumption growth. Exports, too, should remain “fairly resilient exports, with weak demand in much of

Europe being offset by persistently solid growth in emerging Asia and an improving US economy.” The relatively weak level of the euro would also have a supportive effect. And low German interest rates would boost investment. “Indeed, the ECB may well ease monetary policy further in the coming months, depending on overall economic developments in the eurozone, which will keep financing conditions quite favourable for German firms in the foreseeable future,” Klein said. Natixis economist Christian Ott similarly also saw “brighter prospects for the start of 2012.” While the first quarter might get off to a “sluggish start... we’re expecting a pickup in the second quarter,” Ott predicted. Thomas Harjes of Barclays Capital Research said: “All in all, we continue to see the economic contraction in the fourth quarter as a temporary soft patch and expect that a moderate recovery is already underway and may gain steam in the course of the year.” But Jennifer McKeown at London-based Capital Economics was less optimistic. “While survey data point to a slight improvement in the first quarter, we doubt that this will be sustained,” she said. Employment growth was set to slow and “given concerns about the potential impact of bail-outs on the German public finances, households will probably favour saving over spending.” So while Germany might avoid a recession, “the economy is likely to manage extremely slow growth at best,” she predicted. —AFP

UK consumers offer sign of hope in fourth quarter LONDON: Britain’s economy may avoid another recession after a rise in consumer spending and an upsurge in exports offered it a solid base to bounce back from a fourth quarter dip, but a vigorous return to health is unlikely. The Office for National Statistics confirmed its earlier estimate that the economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the final quarter of 2011, largely due to a slump in investment at a time when the turmoil in the euro zone was at its most disruptive. But the strong consumption and export performance chime with recent business surveys indicating a pick-up in activity at the start of 2012. High unemployment and the overall meagre recovery from a 2008-2009 slump are keeping pressure on finance minister George Osborne to find ways to boost growth without wavering on his plans to erase the country’s huge budget deficit. With substantial cuts to public spending still to come and a Britain’s main export market, the euro zone, headed into recession, the Bank of England may still need to inject further cash into the economy in the months ahead. “We now expect a positive GDP outturn for Q1 given the upturn in

many of the indicators which we’ve seen recently,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. “The uncertainties remain, and when economies recover from financial crises, they don’t recover in a straight line, and certainly the (Bank of England’s) central GDP forecast for 2013 does look punchy.” The ONS adjusted annual growth in the fourth quarter to 0.7 percent- a slight downward revision which briefly pushed the pound lower against the dollar. Consumer spending rose by 0.5 percent on the quarter - the first quarterly increase in 1-1/2 years - while exports jumped 2.3 percent, the ONS said. But gross fixed capital formation dropped by 2.8 percent, with business investment falling 5.6 percent on the quarter, and slower inventory building also dragging on growth. “The relative strength of growth (in household spending) in the fourth quarter may reflect some demand which had not been exercised in the previous five quarters,” the ONS said. The ONS said the dominant services sector stagnated at the end of last year as manufacturers and construction firms cut back production. Separate

data showed that services output grew by 0.2 percent on the month in December. More stimulus The strong rise in exports at the end of 2011 - coming after two quarters of falling sales abroad - was mainly driven by exports to non-European Union countries, the ONS said. The German economy also contracted in the final quarter of 2011 and, despite some encouraging surveys and agreement on a bailout for Greece, the euro zone is still teetering on the brink of recession. The Bank of England, which added another 50 billion pounds of stimulus this month, predicts that the economy will recover later this year after a weak start, because consumers should spend more as easing inflation helps their stretched budgets. BoE Governor Mervyn King said that quarterly growth this year would probably “zigzag” due to an extra public holiday, with a quarter of contraction likely, and policymaker Paul Fisher said the outlook for the economy was incredibly uncertain and that he was keeping an open mind as to whether more quantitative easing would be required. —Reuters



Chinese investors tread more carefully in Africa China eyes more partnerships with foreign firms

TOKYO: A Tokyo Stock Exchange employee works at the computer terminal yesterday. Asian stocks markets mostly posted tentative gains yesterday following a mixed bag of US and European economic reports and as oil prices rose to a new ninemonth high. —AP

Poll tension puts $2bn Malaysian IPO in doubt KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia could delay a $2-billion listing of a state-linked palm oil firm as farmers’ opposition to the deal risks undermining the ruling coalition in fiercely contested national polls expected this year. The listing of FELDA Global Ventures (FGVH), originally set for mid-2012, aimed to give Malaysia’s $27-billion palm oil sector much-needed financial firepower to boost yields and expand when top producer Indonesia is gaining market share. But the initial public offering has triggered unexpectedly strong resistance from some of the 113,000 farmers who together own 60 percent of the land given to them by FGVH’s parent, the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA). Although the listing would bring each family a one-time windfall, opponents say it would deprive them of financial control of an asset they have held for generations. Pressing on with the IPO without addressing these concerns would be risky for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who calls the farmers his “safe deposit” in the fight to win elections that must be called by April 2013, but are expected this year. Najib is fighting to reverse a dismal election showing by his ruling coalition in 2008, when the opposition made historic inroads in parliament. “The prime minister is concerned about this. He wants the listing to happen but he may take a step back to ensure the settlers are satisfied,” said a senior government official with direct knowledge of the listing plans. “The process needs to take time. In the worst case scenario, Najib will push the IPO after the elections,” said the official, who declined to be identified. The farmers, or FELDA settlers, as they are known, number about 1.6 million, including their extended families. They form the bulk of the voters in 54 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats and are mostly ethnic Malay, the core support base of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The opposition has backed the farmers over the deal as it seeks to push its way into the traditional rural strongholds of Najib’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Najib’s father, former prime minister Abdul Razak, started FELDA in the 1950s, handing out land to Malays to fight poverty. The farms expanded to 880,000 hectares (or 2.2 million acres), making for the world’s biggest plantation scheme, with FELDA owning about 40 percent of the land bank. The farmers and FELDA played a crucial role in making Malaysia the world’s second-largest palm oil producer. “There is now the potential for widespread dissatisfaction over the listing, with the younger generation of settlers questioning the economic benefits,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of Merdeka Centre, an independent polling group. “It is a generational gap.” Growing resistance The listing plan envisages FVGH taking over the plantation group’s commercial arm, Felda Holdings, which is 51-percent owned by farmers through an investment cooperative (KPF). On paper, it fits Malaysia’s plan to privatize state assets and draw in investors seeking exposure to palm oil prices that have risen six percent this month alone. —Reuters

BEIJING: China’s oil and commodities firms are set to tread more carefully in Africa after being stung by kidnappings, seizures of cargo and, most recently, the expulsion of a chief executive . But they won’t pull back. If anything, China will broaden its exposure to the region, home to some of the world’s most resource-rich but unstable countries, as it scours the globe for resources needed by the factories and businesses of the world’s fastest-growing economy. Any major change is instead likely to be in tone rather than intent, with Chinese investors expected to take a less aggressive approach and to increasingly partner with other foreign firms in dangerous and unpredictable markets. “When Chinese firms started in Africa, it was more driven by the political motivations of top executives of state energy giants,” said a Beijing-based oil executive. “So the investments were made in a rushed and aggressive manner ... But (now) I think they will be more cautious when it comes to due diligence and investment decisions.” Recent problems in Sudan have shown China the risks of being a big and politicised investor in a continent that accounted for 24 percent of China’s crude oil imports last year. Rebel forces operating in Sudan, near the border with South Sudan, kidnapped 29 Chinese workers last month, apparently using them as political pawns before releasing them 10 days later. It was the fourth case of abduction of Chinese in Sudan. Chinese oil firms have also become tangled in an oil row between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan, leading to production shutdowns and the expulsion this week from South Sudan of the head of ChineseMalaysian oil consortium Petrodar, the main oil firm operating in the new African nation. As Chinese firms go overseas in pursuit of profit and raw material, such problems have multiplied. In the last year alone, China has seen two dozen cement factory workers kidnapped by Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt, and a spate of strikes for better pay and conditions at mining operations in Zambia and Zimbabwe. No option Given that stepping back from Africa is not an option, China must learn to better navigate the region’s hazards, experts say. China’s state-owned energy and mineral

firms have usually tried to remain above the fray, saying disputes with workers or ethnic groups are the local government’s responsibility, but experts say they should work on their public relations savvy. “They become associated too closely with the government and don’t make enough effort to tell the local people and the NGOs at home or from abroad that they are doing a good job,” said Zha Daojiong, a professor at Peking University who studies China’s energy deals abroad. At the very least, China will certainly strive to improve the security of its projects in Africa, said Michael Arruda, a specialist in energy deals and partner with legal firm Jones Day in Beijing. “China isn’t going to change its strategy when it comes to Africa. They are going to go where the oil is. You can’t say you’d like to go to nice places like California because that’s not where the super-sized resources are. In contrast, the resource potential of Africa remains enormous.” “But I think they are going to be more cautious about the safety of their operations on the ground there.” While Sudan may provide far less oil to China than Iran or Saudi Arabia, it ranks as Chinese oil company CNPC’s most valuable overseas investment. In building investment ties, China sometimes trades off long political ties to many of the regimes in charge. And it also has a lot of human capital invested in Africa and elsewhere around the world, with more than 800,000 citizens employed abroad.Jobs for hundreds of thousands of Chinese at these overseas locations also relieves pressure on the teeming domestic job market, said Zha of Peking University. “China is in a vulnerable position. It is different from the United States or Britain or other countries primarily because of the employment of its own nationals,” he said. China’s focus on Africa and some other emerging markets also reflects its struggle to make inroads in other, more established regions, and not just because of political opposition. “(That) is one of the explanations and it remains true, but I don’t think it is the only explanation,” said Zha. “Oil and other energy investment is a competitive market and Chinese companies in comparison with their peers-not only in Europe and America but closer to home in Japan and South

Korea-are not as competitive in terms of quality and efficiency, the quality of equipment, post-project services. “In more stable places, the demand for quality ... is higher and it is an issue whether Chinese companies are capable of winning contracts in those countries.” Political blowback China describes its investments in Africa as “normal commercial practice”, but many of its state-owned firms have won contracts on the back of a high-profile campaign by Beijing to expand its political, diplomatic and economic presence on the continent. They have thus been exposed to political blowback. The China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation (CNMC) has had more problems than most, and became the much-maligned face of Chinese investment during a bitter election campaign last year in Zambia, where it owns several lucrative copper deposits. Many of the troubles facing Petrodar-a consortium of Chinese state firms Sinopec and CNPC along with Malaysia’s Petronasare derived from China’s support for Khartoum during decades of civil war between the Muslim north and mainly Christian South that killed two million people. One way Chinese firms can lower their profile in Africa is by joining consortia led by foreign firms. On Tuesday, state oil firm CNOOC teamed up with France’s Total to sign a $2.9 billion deal to join British firm Tullow to develop an oil field in Uganda. Metals conglomerate Chinalco has also sought to cut its exposure by teaming up with AngloAustralian miner Rio Tinto to develop the huge, politically troublesome Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. “You are seeing them taking stakes in consortia instead of looking for 100 percent control over an asset,” said Arruda. “As time goes on, they are more confident in taking positions that are smaller, and they are doing so not just to get access to reserves but also to knowledge and expertise.” The trend is likely to continue, said Zha, the Peking University professor. “It will help internationalise our operations and increase the number of stakeholders when it comes to such issues as political risk,” he said. —Reuters

Fitch downgrades 3 Australian banks

AIA’s new business grows 40 percent

SYDNEY: Fitch yesterday downgraded the prized credit ratings of three of Australia’s big four banks, citing higher funding costs. It downgraded by one notch Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Banking Corp., and National Australia Bank Ltd. to AA minus from AA. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, which already had a AA minus rating, remained unchanged. It follows Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the credit ratings of all four banks from AA to AA minus in December as part of changes to the way it assesses risk. “In Fitch’s view, wholesale funding, particularly when sourced cross borders, has become more vulnerable to swings of confidence,” it said in a statement explaining its move. “Despite some improvement since 2008, all four banks retain a reliance on wholesale funding, particularly from offshore markets.” Despite the downgrade, the four major Australian banks remain among the strongest for Fitch globally. —AFP

HONG KONG: Asian insurance giant AIA said yesterday its new business grew 40 percent year-on-year, a better-than-expected result thanks to strong growth in Singapore, Malaysia and China. The firm, which is one-third owned by the troubled American International Group (AIG), said the value of its new business rose to US$932 million in the 12 months to November 30, up from $667 million a year earlier. The result beat an average forecast of $870.5 million in new business by eight analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Value of new business is a common growth measure used in the insurance industry, which takes into account the present value of expected future profits arising from new policies sold during the year. “We have continued to deliver strong growth in our key performance measures,” AIA group chief executive Mark Tucker said in a statement. “These results demonstrate that the momentum in value creation which we generated in 2010 has been sustained throughout 2011.” —AFP



S Africa wage bill may burst budget frugality Ruling ANC wants to avoid embarrassing strike

BRIGHTON: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is photographed with Jenni and Tom Curtin of Brighton, as he greets the crowd after a Tea Party town hall event. —AP

It’s all economy, all the time for Romney DETROIT: It’s all economy all the time for Mitt Romney, who’s back to campaign basics as he tries to fend off Republican presidential rival Rick Santorum in Michigan and Arizona primaries next week. The former Massachusetts governor courted tea party voters in suburban Detroit on Thursday night with an indictment of President Barack Obama as a man who is “comfortable living with trillion-dollar deficits.” A day earlier, in Chandler, Ariz., he called for a 20 percent cut in personal income tax rates, a step he said would help the economy grow and create jobs. Next up is a speech before the Detroit Economic Club, in a city that is struggling and a state where unemployment stood at 9.3 percent in December. Romney’s campaign rests on a foundation of economic know-how, and he presents himself as a lifelong businessman who has the skills to put an end to the worst recession in decades. He was pulled into a discussion of social issues earlier in the week in Michigan, and again at a debate in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday with Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. But his remarks to the tea party audience in Milford were devoted to the economy. “The highest priority is making sure we get on a track to a balanced budget,” he said, adding that he would eliminate some programs and cut others, and make sure his proposed across-theboard tax cut didn’t interfere with plans to eliminate red ink. Opinion polls show voters aligned with the tea party are more likely to support Santorum than Romney, and the former Massachusetts governor went out of his way to praise them as part of his courtship. “I appreciate the work you’re doing. I appreciate your willingness to get out of your homes,” he said. By pre-arrangement, Romney agreed to answer audience questions that had been given in advance to the event’s emcee, and nearly all of them related to the economy. But he sidestepped one, when he was asked how he would respond to Obama in a campaign debate next fall if the president pointed out similarities between the health law that Romney pushed through the legislature in Massachusetts, and the version Congress approved. That was an invitation to discuss a requirement for all residents to purchase insurance, a feature that conservatives loathe in Obama’s health care bill but is also present in the Massachusetts law. Romney steered clear. Instead, he said: “The first thing I’d say to him is, ‘You say you copied (the Massachusetts law), how come you didn’t give me a call? I’d have told you what worked, what did not work.’” He added that the federal law was too expensive, raised taxes and cut $500 billion from Medicare over a decade. While he drew applause for his remarks, it wasn’t clear how much support he picked up. “I am an undecided voter,” said Mary Ann Cherasaro, a tea party member and retired bookkeeper from Troy.. She said she liked what Romney had to say but wasn’t ready to choose between him and Santorum. She said she probably wouldn’t make up her mind until primary day. Her husband, Nick Cherasaro, said he was considering voting for Romney, Santorum or Gingrich. After listening to the former Massachusetts governor, Cherasaro said: “He knows what has to get done. He knows how to do it. The thing we’ve got to do is get rid of Obama.” Backed by ads attacking Santorum from his own campaign and from Restore Our Future, an outside group that supports him, Romney has made evident gains in the past week in Michigan. But numerous polls show that Republicans who say they support one of the candidates could change their mind, and surveys also suggest that the state is divided along geographical regions. Romney outruns Santorum in the Detroit area, but the situation is reversed in much of the rest of the state, in some surveys. That creates the possibility of something of a split decision next Tuesday in which Romney wins the popular vote but Santorum emerges with more delegates. Most of them are awarded, two at a time, to the winner of each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. —AP

JOHANNESBURG: The South African government’s plan to keep a lid on spending in the budget outlined this week will face a big test in the coming months when government workers finalise new wage deals. The unions, representing 1.3 million workers, are at loggerheads with the government. Any deal above the five to six percent that has been set aside would add billions of dollars to expenditures and jeopardise the deficit projection of 4.6 percent of gross domestic product in the 2012/13 state budget. The unions, which staged a threeweek strike in 2010 that slowed Africa’s largest economy, are looking for a 10 percent wage increase and a doubling of the housing allowance to 1,650 rand ($220) a month. The government has offered a five percent increase and no more for housing they said. “If nothing changes, we cannot rule out labour conflict,” the spokesman of the NEHAWU, health workers union, Sizwe Pamla, told Reuters. Government officials were not immediately available for comment. Any labour action would likely come in mid-year bargaining sessions, known locally as “strike season”, and coincide with a major policy meeting in late June of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), where it aims to firm up its governance, union sources said. The ANC, in a

governing alliance with labour, wants to avoid an embarrassing strike that would shut schools and hospitals, cause rubbish to pile up on streets and slow the processing of tourists at airport immigration offices. State workers are not paid disproportionately more than those in the private sector, but they are so numerous that expenses would rise quickly in the budget projected at 1.1 trillion rand ($143.4 billion). The current 800 rand a month the government pays as a housing allowance for state employees already costs about double what it spends each year for environmental protection and is far higher than what it spends to run its court system. The National Treasury said its compensation for state employees grew from 35.7 percent of spending in 2008/09 to 38.7 percent in 2011/12. “This has resulted in fewer resources available for social and economic infrastructure, and other priorities,” Treasury said this week when it presented its budget. Political problem Bond dealers were sceptical over whether Treasury would be able to meet its deficit projections, sending yields up on bonds on the prospects of higherthan-projected spending. “The largest

hole in the short run in the budget is the factoring of only a 6 percent increase in the wage bill, which we think is probably around 1.5 percentage points too low,” said Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging markets analyst at Nomura. If history is any guide, unions for state workers may do even better than that. Typical wage deals have been about 2 percent higher than inflation, which hit 6.3 percent in January. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan indicated this week that would change: “On the wage bill we have to do things differently,” he told reporters in a pre-budget briefing. “We cannot carry on as we are.” But the government is the country’s biggest employer and the ANC risks alienating the families of state workers. It has also relied on the country’s biggest labour federation COSATU and its two million members for years to provide them with votes. The economy would also be at risk from a state workers’ strike. Their three-week strike through most of August 2010 cost the economy an estimated $150 million a day and damaged support for the president. “If there is not going to be any movement from the budget ... , I think it is going to be problematic,” Chris Klopper, a spokesman for the Independent Labour Caucus federation that represents government workers. —Reuters

Irish economy to recover gradually in 2012, 2013 DUBLIN: Ireland’s economy will grow 0.9 percent this year and more than double that rate in 2013, a government-funded research body said yesterday, weathering austerity at home to track and likely outpace a gradual upturn in the euro zone.

The forecast for this year from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) undercut government estimates but was more optimistic than the 0.5 percent projected on Thursday by the European Commission, which said output in the

SCHWARZHEIDE: This photo shows flags with the BASF-Logo in Germany. Net profit rose 3 percent in the fourth quarter to euro 1.131 billion yesterday. —AP

euro zone as a whole would shrink by 0.3 percent. Ireland, which grew 0.9 percent in 2011, is the only peripheral economy in the currency bloc expected to expand this year and, according to a recent Reuters poll, it could see consumer spending grow in 2013 for the first time since 2007. Dublin’s success in cutting its budget deficit, shrinking its banks and returning to modest economic growth has distinguished it from fellow bailout recipients Greece and Portugal. But tough austerity measures mean it is relying on exports to drive its recovery and, with a sluggish Europe as a backdrop, it faces a tough task to meet a goal of returning to full debt market funding next year. “The components of domestic demand in terms of household consumption, investment, government spending, all those we see continuing to contract in 2012, but much more moderate rates of contraction in 2013,” David Duffy, economic officer at the ESRI, said. Within the euro zone, policy changes are on the cards to stave off a potential collapse of the euro, which will in turn dent the performance of the private sector this year, also weighing on Irish growth, the think-tank said in a quarterly report. “We expect it (GDP growth) to improve to over 2 percent in 2013, reflecting recovery in the international economy,” Duffy added. The think-tank gave a figure for next year of 2.3 percent. —Reuters




e niv rsar n


Nutcracker has a wild biker side at Milan fashion week PAGE 28

All roads lead to Hollywood


Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s 24 Karat Chocolate Oscars are displayed for the 84th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Oscar food and beverage preview at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. — AP


Megan Fox never felt pretty during youth T

Rihanna allegedly secretly seeing Chris Brown


he 24-year-old pop beauty collaborated with the R&B star - who was convicted for assaulting the ‘Russian Roulette’ hit maker in 2009 on her latest single ‘Birthday Cake’ and the pair have reportedly rekindled their romance, which has left Rihanna’s friend and mentor Jay-Z “deeply disgusted”. A source close to the situation told “Jay was absolutely disgusted by what Chris did to Rihanna. Jay doesn’t understand how a man could ever lay hands on a woman; it just goes against who he is and about. Chris is absolutely dead to Jay, he wants nothing to do with him ever. “Now that Rihanna is seeing Chris and recording songs with him, Jay is deeply disappointed in her actions. He can’t fathom why Rihanna is doing the things she is doing.” Jay is said to be “adamant” Rihanna should never forget what Chris - who is thought to be dating model Karrueche Tran - did to her when they were together, while the ‘99 Problems’ rapper is concerned about what her fans will think. The source added: “He understands the need for forgiveness, but he is adamant that Rihanna shouldn’t forget what Chris did to her. “Jay wonders what kind of message this is sending to Rihanna’s young female fans. Rihanna knows how Jay feels about Chris, but she doesn’t care, she is going to do what she wants.”The 42-year-old rapper - whose wife Beyonce Knowles gave birth to their first child, daughter Blue Ivy, last month - is said to have warned Rihanna that meeting up with Chris again “isn’t going to end well”. The insider added: “He is even more protective of the women in his life. Jay has told Rihanna he will never give his blessing for what she is doing with Chris. He has told her, this isn’t going to end well, it never does. In Jay’s opinion, Chris has rage issues that he doesn’t think have been dealt with.”

he ‘Transformers’ star - who is the face of Giorgio Armani’s beauty, fragrance and skincare campaigns - admits she had an “abrasive” personality and didn’t rate her looks during her teen years. She told MIAMI magazine: “I was never the pretty girl. [As a teenager] I was abrasive and obnoxious and felt like a loner.” Megan - who is married to ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ star Brian Austin Green - also enjoyed unpopular hobbies including archaeology which meant she couldn’t integrate with the popular crowd. Speaking of her fascination with history and possible government cover-ups, she said: “I would love to go on

a dig. Come on! You don’t think everything that’s learned is released to the public, do you?” The 25-year-old actress stars in the new ensemble comedy ‘Friends With Kids’ alongside Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd and revealed she has really enjoyed the camaraderie on set. She explained: “I’d rather be with good people in a movie than the other way around. Most of the cast knew each other very well already Kristen and Maya are BFFs; it was such a nice, welcoming, supporting environment. I always try to choose something different than what I’ve done before.”

Adele to perform Lindsay Lohan

at closing ceremony of Olympics


he ‘Rolling in the Deep’ hit maker - who won six Grammys and two BRITs earlier this year - is among a host of stars who have been approached, according to music director David Arnold who has promised the London event will feature lots of “fabulous” British music. He said: “Without saying we have booked anyone, it goes from Elgar to Adele. It is not just a pop concert, it is not just a classical rendition. It will be everything that we think is fabulous about British music.” It is believed the London Symphony Orchestra will provide musical backing to the performers. Previous acts suggested for the big event include Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and the Spice Girls - although the girl group have since denied they will be taking part. All those who are taking part will be paid just €1 to make their contracts legally binding, according to costume designer Es Devlin. She said: “The performers are just happy to be asked to perform at the closing ceremony. Plus, we just didn’t have the budget to pay them.” The London Olympics begin on July 27.

‘treasures’ ring from Dame Elizabeth Taylor


he troubled star - who will portray the iconic actress in new TV movie ‘Liz and Dick’ - was given the piece of costume jewelry with a motivational letter from the screen legend before she died and is delighted to have a “connection” to her. she said: “I treasure it. It came with this beautiful note handwritten by Elizabeth Taylor, which was very encouraging about my work - and that work is something I should concentrate on. “It’s a costume ring. It has cognac-colored stone with precious stones set around it. After I was sent it, I put the ring and the letter in a safe place so I wouldn’t lose it. But I took them out recently when I was asked to portray her. It’s a tiny connection to her.” Earlier this week, Lindsay was praised by Judge Stephanie Sautner for her efforts in court-ordered community service - part of her sentence for breaching probation - and with the punishment scheduled to come to an end next month, the 25-year-old star is looking forward to getting back to work and has promised to be more disciplined than ever. She told the Daily Mail newspaper: “I’m happy about what happened [in court this week]. I realise how important it is not to muck this up. This is my chance to get on with my life. “I like the structure [of being on a film set]. You have to be there in the morning so that means you can’t go out the night before. “I’ve learnt a lot of lessons and that’s one of them.”


Reese Witherspoon would ‘investigate’ potential dates

Una Healy edits out baby bump T

he Saturdays singer - who is expecting her first child, a daughter, with her fiance, England rugby player Ben Foden - admitted while she is “proud” of her pregnancy, her tot will be born by the time the video is out so she doesn’t think it would “make sense” for it to feature in the shots. Writing on her twitter page, Una said: “Up and ready to shoot our new video. Bump will be edited out of the video so our director will be working his camera skills magic today! “I don’t want bump in the video because she will be born when it hits the tv screens so it wouldn’t make sense or relevance by then! “And I am proud of my bump but ill be even more proud of her when she is out, its not like she’s going to be in utero forever! (sic)” However, Una’s bump worries were quickly put to the side when she arrived at the shoot and was “showered with amazing baby gifts” from her The Saturdays bandmate Frankie Sandford. She tweeted: “Aw just arrived at the shoot and got literally showered with amazing baby gifts from @FrankieTheSats she has great taste in baby things!! (sic)”


he ‘Fashion Police’ presenter has had a fitting for an outfit to wear to the Academy Awards tomorrow, but is torn between two colors. Writing on twitter, she said: “just did my fitting for the oscars #ERedcarpet I’m stuck between a black dress or a yellow dress! (sic)” When a concerned fan said she could wear both colors, she added she was worried about looking like a “bumble bee”. She tweeted: “I might end up looking like a glam version of the tap-dancing bubble bee form the Blind Melon music video! (sic)” However, a dress is not the only thing Kelly - who will be working at the event to critique the outfits - is concerned about, she also has a script to learn for her show. She wrote: “time to get back to work i have got to memorize 14 pages of script by 10am tomorrow... #SoFarSoGood (sic)” Her appearance this tomorrow will be a far cry from last Sunday, where Kelly confessed to doing nothing all day and spending time lazing in bed. She wrote on twitter: “i hope everyone is having am amazing lazy sunday! Love you ALL!i have a confession ... i have spend the whole day in bed! i have not even brushed my teeth today and i’m loving it! #ILoveLazyDays (sic)”

can’t decide on Oscars dress

Simon Cowell gets rejected


he 52-year-old music mogul - who is currently on a relationship break from his fiance Mezhgan Hussainy - joked he has popped the question numerous times, but has always been turned down. Speaking at an afternoon tea event earlier this week at London’s Dorchester Hotel - which was hosted by his publicist Max Clifford in aid of the Shooting Star charity - he said: “The truth is no-one will marry me. I must have made 65 marriage proposals and no-one’s said yes so it’s probably not going to happen.” The ‘X Factor’ boss has previously admitted his relationship with make-up artist Mezhgan is “complicated” and has made him realize that he may never tie the knot. He said: “It’s quite a complicated relationship. We have had a break from each other, and we are still incredibly close, I’m vulnerable. It’s not on, it’s not off, it’s somewhere in the middle. I don’t know if I will ever get married, but I am happy.” Meanwhile, Simon’s mother, Julie Cowell, recently admitted she thinks the couple got engaged “too quick”. She explained: “I think [the engagement] was too quick. This might give them the break they need to think it through. Marriage is a very, very big step. It’s a break at the moment. The problem with Simon is that he works so hard.”

Independent newspaper: “I had somebody go into my computer without asking me and look at all my photos.” She added, “I thought that was really uncool. And he deleted some of it! I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t like that.” The 35-year-old star is amazed at how some people manage to date multiple partners as she has always struggled to find the time to focus on one relationship. She said: “I have never dated two people at the same time. I wouldn’t know how to keep up with two - I can barely keep up with one! “Is it OK for a woman to do that? I have no judgment on people who do, as long as they are honest.”

Kelly Osbourne


he ‘This Means War’ actress - who married second husband Jim Toth last year - would use social networking websites to her advantage if she were still single. She said: “It’s a benefit and a curse having social media at your fingertips, where you can investigate the people you’re dating.” Despite the advantages of modern technology, Reese - who has children Ava, 12, and eightyear-old Deacon with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe admits it once caused trouble in her relationship when a boyfriend accessed her photographs without her knowing and even deleted some of the images. She added in an interview with The


Lead scenic artist, Dena D’Angelo, works on the finishing touches for the set of the 84th Annual Academy Awards outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. The Academy Awards will be held tomorrow. — AP


he race for Oscars glory comes to a climax tomorrow as Hollywood gathers for the 84th Academy Awards, with hit silent movie “The Artist” and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” leading down to the wire. After seemingly months of campaigning and dozens of lesser prizes, Tinseltown’s annual awards season draws to a close with the biggest honors of them all, the coveted golden statuettes. Veteran Oscars host Billy Crystal will take the stage for the lavish spectacle, watched by hundreds of millions around the world, who also tune in for the red carpet fashion parade before the show itself. “Tonight I might tweet winner of best supporting actor. Really, who can stop me?,” Crystal, who has done the job eight times before, joked in a Twitter message on the eve of the annual Hollywood bonanza. The show will inevitably have its share of surprises-flamboyant British actor Sacha Baron Cohen has already threatened one, and been warned by organizers against pulling a red carpet stunt to publicize his latest movie. Glamour will also feature prominently, with last year’s best actress and actor Natalie Portman and Colin Firth the latest additions to presenters for the evening, along with Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Michael Douglas, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez among others. But on the serious business of the night, veteran Scorsese’s visually rich 3D adventure “Hugo” goes into the show with the most nominations, at 11, with French-directed black-and-white “The Artist” snapping at its heels on 10. Others hoping their name is called out for the top prize include Scorsese’s fellow heavyweights Woody Allen for his comeback hit “Midnight in Paris,” and Steven Spielberg with “War Horse.” A-listers George Clooney and Brad Pitt will meanwhile vye for best actor, but face a possible upset from “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin, who has won critical and public acclaim for his role as a struggling silent-

Electricians from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local 33 Hollywood Steve Allen, left, and Steve Miller set up lights for the 84th Annual Academy Awards outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. — AP

era movie star. Pitt is up for his role as coach Billy Beane in baseball movie “Moneyball,” while Clooney has received widespread acclaim for his central role in “The Descendants,” a family drama set in Hawaii that is also talked about for best picture. Mexican Demian Bichir is also in the best actor shortlist, as is Britain’s Gary Oldman for Cold War spy thriller “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” On the female front Meryl Streep is among those hotly tipped for best actress for her powerful turn as former British premier Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” against notably cross-dressing Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs.” Rooney Mara, who plays messed-up Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” whose sleuthing skills make up for her lack of social ones, is also in the running. But Oscar watchers say they could well all be beaten by Viola Davis, whose role as a black maid in “The Help”-set in Mississippi against the backdrop of 1960s civil rights struggle-has already won her a string of nominations. “The Help” is also among the nine movies in the Best Picture category, along with “War Horse,” “The Artist,” “Moneyball,” “The Descendants,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Hugo” and powerful 9/11 film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Also up for the top prize is Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” which won the coveted Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Supporting actor top tips are Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” and Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud.” Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn,” Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” and Nick Nolte in “Warrior” are also in the race. For best supporting actress there are two entries from “The Help”- Jessica Chastain as the ditzy but ostracized blonde Celia, and Octavia Spencer as her maid, but the prize could go to Berenice Bejo from “The Artist.” Emmy-winning Melissa McCarthy is also in the running for her performance as plump and feisty-and, let’s face it, slightly gross-Megan in girls-night-out film

Missi Pyle, a cast member in the Oscar-nominated film “The Artist,” strikes a pose for photographers at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees Night, Thursday, at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s official residence in Los Angeles. — AP

“Bridesmaids,” along with Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs.” The easy foreign language frontrunner is Iran’s “A Separation,” which has already won a series of awards season prizes, up against Belgium’s “Bullhead,” “Footnote” (Israel), “In Darkness” (Poland) and “Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada). — AFP



ere are some interesting and offbeat facts about the Oscars, past and present:

mer Kodak Theatre. It is not known when the Kodak sign will come down.

Meryl Streep this year extends her lead as the most-nominated performer in Oscar history with her 17th nomination, for her role as former British premier Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”

German Oscar-nominated director Wim Wenders’s “Pina”, which showcases the work of the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, is the first 3D film nominated in the documentary feature category.

Billy Crystal will host this year’s Oscars show for the ninth time after actor Eddie Murphy pulled out at the last minute. Bob Hope hosted the Academy Awards the most times, 11 by himself and seven with co-hosts. Musician John Williams now has a total of 47 nominations, including two this year. He ranks second only to Walt Disney as the most-nominated individual in Oscar history. Among living people, Woody Allen, who has been nominated 23 times including twice this year, is second only to Williams. Iran’s “A Separation” is the first screenplay written in Farsi to receive an Oscars writing nomination. The Kodak Theatre, home to the Oscars for the last decade, is no longer called that, after the iconic photo company went bankrupt and pulled out of a sponsorship deal barely a week before this year’s show. The Academy this week began referring to the venue as the Hollywood and Highland Center, the shopping and entertainment complex which includes the for-


“The Artist” is the 10th predominantly black-andwhite film to be nominated for cinematography since 1967, when the separate black-and-white category was eliminated. Previously nominated: “In Cold Blood” (1967), “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “Lenny” (1974), “Raging Bull” (1981), “Zelig” (1983), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2001), “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005), and “The White Ribbon” (2009). George Clooney is for the second time nominated in two different categories for two different films in the same year. This year it’s as best actor in “The Descendants” and for adapted screenplay in “The Ides of March”; in 2005 he won best supporting actor for “Syriana” and was nominated for original screenplay for “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

For the first time in Oscars history, nine films were nominated for Best Picture. Over the last two years the number in that category has been increased from five to 10, in theory to increase the range of films which could be shortlisted, but the rules were changed after last year to a complicated formula which results in between five and 10 being chosen. — AFP

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local 33 Hollywood stage crewmen Shawn Schull, left, and John Shipton move an Oscar frame for the 84th Annual Academy Awards outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. — AP

Woody Allen, with his best director and screenplay nominations for Midnight in Paris,” passes Billy Wilder by becoming a seven-time double nominee for directing and writing on the same film.

hen Oscar stars want to escape the camera’s glare, they steal away into the lensfree green room. Created by interior designer Waldo Fernandez, the Architectural Digest Greenroom is actually decked out in shades of gray. “It’s soft light, so they will feel comfortable and they will look beautiful,” Fernandez said Thursday. “We wanted to create as calm a palette as possible.”

Just off stage right, the greenroom is decked out in comfy sofas and antique furniture from the 1930s. “This looks spectacular,” said Academy Awards producer Brian Grazer, who stepped in just before taking a lunch break Thursday. “It’s really comfortable and has a great flow to it. I actually sat in every chair.” Guests can also log in on numerous laptops left throughout the green room or hideaway on a

smoking patio for a private puff during the show. The 84th Academy Awards will be presented tomorrow at the Hollywood & Highland Center and broadcast live on ABC. — AP

Interior designer Waldo Fernandez poses for a picture in the greenroom for the 84th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, on Thursday. — AP


Academy Awards suggest daylong celebration

Master Chef Wolfgang Puck, center, holds a tray of 24-karat chocolate Oscars for the 84th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Oscar food and beverage preview at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. — AP


he Academy Awards are the film industry’s biggest night of the year, and movie fans deserve their own Oscar celebrations. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC, which broadcasts the Academy Awards, suggest Oscar Sunday ought to be like Super Bowl Sunday - a day devoted to fun, food and a beloved, shared pastime. While most movie lovers won’t serve the more than two dozen dishes Wolfgang Puck has planned for Oscar’s official after party and can’t summon legendary crooner Tony Bennett, who is set to perform the Governors Ball, they can get in on the fun by approach-

ing their at-home soiree with glamorous Oscar flair. Marc Friedland, who designed the awardwinners envelope used on stage during the Oscar telecast, created a series of online party invitations to coincide with this year’s show. With the new Evite invitation, Oscar fans can use the show’s official logo to tout their own Oscar-night parties. “This is the first time ever the academy has sanctioned the Oscar trademark,” Friedland said Thursday as he showed off his designs to reporters during the academy’s annual food and beverage preview. He offers tips for your own Oscar bash on the

Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s classic dish, smoked salmon on Oscar-shaped flat bread with Caviar is displayed for the 84th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Oscar food and beverage preview at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. — AP

new site - Play Oscar bingo! Have guests pair pajamas with black ties! He also provides a downloadable bingo card and ballot for Oscar pools. Guests at Oscar’s Governors Ball will munch on dumplings, smoked salmon on Oscar-shaped flatbreads, bite-sized Kobe sliders, lobster tacos and more than a dozen other dishes. The post-show party has been deconstructed this year: Instead of a formal, sit-down dinner, the Governors Ball will be more casual, with small plates, tall tables and lots of socializing. “When they sit still for three hours or more, they want to mingle,” said

Cheryl Cecchetto, who produces the annual party. Servers at the event will wear custommade uniforms created by costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, chairman of the Governors Ball. So why not don a bow tie while serving whatever appetizers you might have on hand to your Oscar party guests? After all, Oscar Sunday is Hollywood’s most glamorous night.— AP

An Oscar image is printed atop chocolate, served with 3-D glasses as part of the dessert menu for the 84th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at the Oscar food and beverage preview. — AP


An interview with Oscar nominee

Demian Bichir D

emian Bichir learned an important lesson when he left his native Mexico to launch a US acting career and ended up working in a Mexican restaurant in New York: How to live the invisible life of an illegal immigrant with dignity. It’s a subtle quality he brings to his Oscar-nominated role of Los Angeles gardener Carlos Galindo in the movie “A Better Life.” Like Galindo, Bichir came to the US illegally. The US amnesty program in 1986 put him on the road to a Green Card. The character he plays is not so lucky, trying to climb the rungs from day worker to owner of a gardening business while keeping his American-born teenage son from street gangs. “It was important for me to relate to that time when I arrived in New York,” Bichir told The Associated Press. “Carlos Galindo’s dignity is similar to all those 11 million undocumented workers in US They live their lives with ... that power and that passion, and they never give up. That’s me.” The result brought the first best actor nomination for a Mexican native since Anthony Quinn 47 years ago. Bichir is up against big-name stars Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Gary Oldman, as well as Jean Dujardin in tomorrow’s ceremony. Until now, the 48-year-old Bichir has probably been Mexico’s most successful low-profile Hollywood actor, having landed string of television and movie parts. American audiences may know him as Esteban Reyes, the raspy-voiced, corrupt Tijuana mayor and love interest of MaryLouise Parker in the popular television series “Weeds.” The Oscar nod has brought him fame, even if “A Better Life” did not do well at the box office. It now has been getting a bit of a second life in downloads and rentals since the nomination.

Firth, Portman, Bale, Leo to present at Oscars


ll four acting winners from last year’s Academy Awards are returning to this weekend’s Oscars as presenters. Organizers say Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo will be there to hand out awards tomorrow. Last year’s lead-acting prizes went to Firth for “The King’s Speech” and Portman for “Black Swan.” Bale and Leo won the supporting honors for “The Fighter.” Among this season’s contenders are lead performers George Clooney for “The Descendants,” Viola Davis for “The Help,” Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” and Jean Dujardin for “The Artist.” The supporting favorites are Octavia Spencer for “The Help” and Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.” — AP

He said the distinction won’t change him as a person or an actor, though it may bring more opportunities to work with artists he admires. The tall, bearded Bichir, whose impishness comes through even sitting in a hard chair for a formal interview, said he’d rather not name names — then artfully dropped two big ones. “If I say Woody Allen, and Jim Jarmusch hears I didn’t mention him, then he won’t call me,” he said. “And I want to work with him, too, right?” Bichir grew up in a theater family that could be considered the Barrymores of Mexico, without the curse. He is the second of three brothers, all actors, who are so ubiquitous in Mexican theater and film that MTV once created a category for its Mexico awards, “Best Bichir in a Movie.” Bichir currently stars in a Mexican theater version of “Swimming With Sharks” as the lead, nightmare movie mogul Buddy Ackerman. The play is directed by his younger brother, Bruno. Before the brothers’ fame, they were part of a middle class family headed by theater director Alejandro Bichir and actress Maricruz Najera. Bichir first dreamed of being a professional soccer player. His mother recently told the Mexican newspaper El Universal that he was always tearing through the knees of his pants playing in the streets of Tlatelolco, a Mexico City neighborhood famous both as an ancient Aztec market and the scene of a 1968 student massacre. Instead, he started acting, landing a role in the Mexican soap opera “Rina” at age 14. Bichir headed to New York at age 21 or 22, he said, to expand his experience as an actor. He ended up busing tables at the Rosa Mexicana, the hardest work he said he has ever done. It was there he learned to make guacamole, something he said his mother did growing up. “She

made delicious guacamole and I never gave it much thought,” he said. The key to his recipe is chopping the avocado. No smashing. After a short time he moved to Los Angeles, without success, and returned to Mexico, where he starred in films such as “Hasta Morir” (Until Death), which won him an Ariel award, the Mexican equivalent of an Oscar. Among dozens of roles, he played Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican independence, in “Hidalgo: The Story Never Told,” released during Mexico’s 2010 bicentennial. His Hollywood roles started with the television movie “The Time of Butterflies” with Mexican actress Salma Hayek in 2001 and include playing Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” in 2008. Bichir has said in previous interviews that he thought he was reading for director Chris Weitz’s “Twilight” vampire series when Weitz proposed a project about a gardener. “A Better Life” is the first major Hollywood studio treatment of the plight of illegal immigrants, though they have been in the employ of movie executives and stars for decades. Bichir has compared the film to “Philadelphia” as a work that could start to change attitudes toward illegal immigrants the way Tom Hank’s Oscar-winning performance perceptions around homosexuality and AIDS. Mexican migration to the US has dropped by 83 percent since its peak in 2007, when an estimated 500,000 people went to the US, according to the Mexican census agency. Still, people in the US and Mexico, including Bichir, are urging President Barack Obama to tackle immigration reform for the millions who already live there and, like Carlos Galindo, stay

In file photo, Mexican actor Demian Bichir poses for a portrait in Mexico City, Mexico. Bichir learned an important lesson when he left his native Mexico to launch a US acting career and ended up working in a Mexican restaurant in New York: How to live the invisible life of an illegal immigrant with dignity. It’s a subtle quality he brings to his Oscar-nominated role of Los Angeles gardener Carlos Galindo in the movie “A Better Life.” — AP below the radar to survive. Bichir says it will take more than one film to change attitudes about the community. “We lost the first round at the box office. This film did not become a huge hit,” Bichir said. “They need to make these types of films important and a success to talk about some real commitment.” Bichir has done what his more famous counterparts, such as Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, haven’t: win an Oscar nomination. Salma Hayek was nominated in 2003 for her role as Frida Kahlo. —AP

In this file photo, Oscar winners, from left, Christian Bale, best supporting actor for his role in “The Fighter,” Natalie Portman, best actress for her role in “Black Swan,” Melissa Leo, best supporting actress for her role in “The Fighter,” and Colin Firth, best actor for his role in “The King’s Speech,” pose backstage with their Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. The four winners will serve as presenters at the 84th Academy Awards tomorrow. — AP


Nutcracker M

oschino presented an ironic twist on the Nutcracker soldier to kick off the third day of Milan fashion week yesterday, with a parade of colorful military-style outfits, jazzed up for party girls. Moschino’s catwalk presentation described the show as “a fantastic vision of colored soldiers and ‘pop’ uniforms” and designer Rossella Jardini’s collection laid bare the good Nutcracker’s wild biker side. The military beat had the girls marching round the catwalk like clockwork soldiers, but there was a cheeky glint in looks shot from under bold, wide-brimmed black hats fixed with large straps and worn with dark glasses. Blue, yellow or pillar-box red woolen coats and jackets with gold buttons set off-centre, were worn with trousers sporting vertical colored stripes by models with their hair piled high, beehive-style, evoking tall military hats. Black, white and red leather jackets were

worn with black skinny trousers with white on the knees or skirts. Purple and red jackets were complimented by feathered skirts and long black leather gloves, and in one instance, a cape. The playful spirit continued with Moschino’s dresses, where an Audrey Hepburn-inspired cut was given a Calamity Jane-style twist and worn with bold glittering bangles, a jeweled mini rucksack or large black bows in the hair. — AFP


Red sizzles at


Fashion Week

Indonesian models present creations by Indonesian fashion designers Dian Pelangi, Lia Afif and Nuniek Mawardi during the Indonesia Fashion Week in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday. —AP



Company claiming iPad trademark sues Apple in US SHANGHAI: Apple Inc. is facing yet another challenge to its use of the iPad trademark in China - this time in a court in California. Proview Electronics Co., a unit of Proview International Holdings, which claims it owns the iPad name, filed a lawsuit against Apple’s use of the trademark in mainland China at the Santa Clara Superior Court on Feb. 17, Proview spokeswoman Alice Wang said Friday. An attempt by Proview to win an injunction to stop Apple from selling iPads in Shanghai was foiled this week when a court there rejected the case pending the resolution of a similar lawsuit in a higher court in China. Apple had no immediate direct comment on the California lawsuit. The companies are feuding over whether Proview sold the mainland Chinese rights to the iPad trademark to Apple in a 2009 deal. Proview claims the sale of the iPad China trademark to a company representing Apple by its Taiwan affiliate in 2009 was invalid. Proview has not challenged the sale of other worldwide rights to the iPad trademark to Apple in the 35,000 British pound ($55,000) deal. Apple

contends that Proview included the mainland Chinese trademark in the sale and says it violated that contract

legal skirmishes in Hong Kong and in southern China’s Guangdong province, where Proview’s main office

SHANGHAI: Customers look at Apple products at an Apple Store in Shanghai, China, yesterday. Proview Electronics Co., a unit of Proview International Holdings, which claims it owns the iPad name, filed a lawsuit against Apple’s use of the trademark in mainland China at the Santa Clara Superior Court. — AP by failing to transfer the trademark rights to Apple. Proview’s lawyers have indicated their company is open to settling its claim to the trademark. In the meantime, the two sides have engaged in

is based. There, lower courts have sided with Proview in two cases. The Guangdong High Court is due to hear Apple’s appeal of the first decision on Feb. 29. Proview International Holdings was once one of the world’s

leading makers of computer monitors, with sales in 50 countries and more than 7,000 employees in factories in Taiwan and China. But the company’s main focus on manufacturing cathode-ray tube displays - the boxy monitors that have since been replaced by LCD screens appears to have hurt its performance. The company’s website now says it makes LCD displays, LCD televisions and LED lights. But Proview is deep in debt and faces its shares being removed from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company developed what it said was an “iFamily” range of products, including iTV, iWeb and iPAD. It launched its iPAD in 2000, but unlike Apple’s 2010 tablet computer, Proview’s earlier version failed to hit the market sweet spot that might have made it a hit. Proview has sought to have commercial authorities in many Chinese cities stop sales of Apple’s iPad. In suspending the case being heard in Shanghai, Pudong District Court rejected a demand for an injunction to stop iPad sales in Shanghai, where Apple has three big stores. — AP

Cyber-security expert finds new flaw in smartphones iPhones vulnerable WASHINGTON: Just as US companies are coming to grips with threats to their computer networks emanating from cyber-spies based in China, a noted expert is highlighting what he says is an even more pernicious vulnerability in smartphones. Dmitri Alperovitch, the former McAfee Inc cyber security researcher best known for identifying a widespread China-based cyber-espionage operation dubbed Shady Rat, has used a previously unknown hole in smartphone browsers to plant Chinabased malware that can commandeer the device, record its calls, pinpoint its location and access user texts and emails. He conducted the experiment on a phone running Google Inc’s Android operating system, although he says Apple Inc’s iPhones are equally vulnerable. “It’s a much more powerful attack vector than just getting into someone’s computer,” said Alperovitch, who just formed a new security company called CrowdStrike with former McAfee Chief Technology Officer George Kutz. Alperovitch, who has consulted with the US intelligence community, is scheduled to demonstrate his findings Feb 29 at the RSA conference in San Francisco, an annual cyber-security gathering. The Shady Rat attack he disclosed last year targeted 72 government and corporate entities for as long as five years, siphoning unknown volumes of confidential material to a server in

China. Alperovitch said he and his team commandeered an existing piece of malware called Nickispy, a remote access tool from China that was identified last year by anti-virus firms as a socalled Trojan horse. The malware was disguised as a Google+ app that users could download. But Google quickly removed it from its Android Market app store, which meant that few users were hit. Alperovitch and his team reverse-engineered the malware, he said, and took control of it. He then conducted an experiment in which malware was delivered through a classic “spear phishing” attack - in this case, a text message from what looks like a mobile phone carrier, asking the user to click on a link. Alperovitch said he exploited what’s known as a zero-day vulnerability in smartphone browsers to secretly install the malware. Zeroday vulnerabilities are ones that are not yet known by the manufacturers and anti-virus companies. “The minute you go the site, it will download a real-life Chinese remote access tool to your phone,” he said. “The user will not see anything. Once the app is installed, we’ll be intercepting voice calls. The microphone activates the moment you start dialing.” The malware also intercepts texts and emails and tracks the phone’s location, he said. In theory, it could be used to infiltrate a corporate network with which the phone connects. There is no security software that would thwart it,

he said. As smartphone use has exploded, malware has not been as much of a problem as it has with laptops and desktops, Alperovitch said, because most people download applications through app stores that are regulated by Google and Apple. If cyber-thieves and spies figure out a way to get malware on the devices by bypassing the app store - as Alperovitch says he has demonstrated it could cause huge problems. “This really showcases that the current security model for smartphones is inadequate,” he said. Earlier this month, the top US intelligence official, James Clapper, accused China and Russia of engaging in “wholesale plunder of our intellectual property” through cyber-attacks. Both countries deny a state-sponsored policy of cyberespionage. The US says it doesn’t steal trade secrets or intellectual property. Western business executives who travel to China these days frequently take extraordinary computer security precautions, including ensuring that any device they bring to China is never again connected to their corporate networks. Last year, anti-virus firm Trend Micro Inc. found a Chinese website that charged $300 to $540 to customers who wanted to spy on smartphones that ran Symbian or Windows Mobile operating systems. The website offered to send Nickispy as an attachment to a multimedia message. — MCT

LAS VEGAS: Motorola Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility Sanjay Jha shows the Motorola Xoom tablet in this file photo. Microsoft filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission, accusing it of seeking to block sales of Windows personal computers, Xbox game consoles and other products. — AFP

Microsoft sharpens its ads to jab rivals SEATTLE: From the Gmail Man, who peeks into people’s private mail, to the VMware salesman stuck in the ‘70s, Microsoft’s marketing campaigns have become quite pointed in the past year. This week, the company will launch another such campaign: “Smoked by Windows Phone,” a series of online ads challenging those who use iPhones, Android phones or other mobile devices to beat the speed of a Windows Phone in doing a browser search, sharing with their social network or shooting and posting a photo. The 12 different digital ads featuring the challenge will run on tech sites as well as the Windows Phone Facebook page through the beginning of April. Also on the Facebook page will be video footage from the original “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge, which took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. There, at the Microsoft booth, CES attendees participated in speed challenges, winning $100 if their smartphone beat the Windows Phone. The final tally for Windows Phone at the CES challenge: 30 wins, three losses, one tie. That original challenge and the online campaign launching this week, are examples of a funnier, sharper, more direct and aggressive and sometimes snarkier - approach to marketing for the software giant generally known for more earnest, wholesome ads. — MCT



Study: We’re getting less friendly on Facebook CHICAGO: Whether it’s pruning friends lists, removing unwanted comments or restricting access to their profiles, Americans are getting more privacysavvy on social networks, a new report found. The report released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that people are managing their privacy settings and their online reputation more often than they did two years earlier. For example, 44 percent of respondents said in 2011 that they deleted comments from their profile on a social networking site. Only 36 percent said the same thing in 2009. The findings come a day after the Obama administration called for stronger privacy protections for people who use the Internet, mobile devices and other technologies with increasing-

ly sophisticated ways of tracking them. Pew’s findings suggest that people not only care about their privacy online but that, given the tools, they will also try to manage it. Along those lines is “profile pruning,” which Pew reports is on the rise. Nearly two-thirds of people on social networks said last year that they had deleted friends, up from 56 percent in 2009. And more people are removing their names from photos than two years ago. This practice is especially common on Facebook, where users can add names of their friends to photos they upload. Among other findings: Women are much more likely than men to restrict their profiles. Pew found that 67 percent of women set their profiles so that only their “friends” can see it. Only 48 percent of men did the same.

Think all that time in school taught you something? People with the highest levels of education reported having the most difficulty figuring out their privacy settings. That said, only 2 percent of social media users described privacy controls as “very difficult to manage.” The report found no significant differences in people’s basic privacy controls by age. In other words, younger people were just as likely to use privacy controls as older people. Sixty-two percent of teens and 58 percent of adults restricted access to their profiles to friends only. Young adults were more likely than older people to delete unwanted comments. Fifty-six percent of social media users aged 18 to 29 said they have deleted comments that others have made on their profile, compared with 40 percent of those aged 30 to 49 and 34 percent of

people aged 50 to 64. Men are more likely to post something they later regret. Fifteen percent of male respondents said they posted something regrettable, compared with 8 percent of female respondents. Possibly proving that with age comes wisdom, young adults were more likely to post something regrettable than their older counterparts. Fifteen percent of social network users aged 18 to 29 said they have posted something regrettable. Only 5 percent of people over 50 said the same thing. Pew’s phone survey of 2,277 adults was conducted in April and May 2011. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The data about teens came from a separate phone survey Pew conducted with teenagers and their parents. — AP

California pledges better mobile privacy disclosures We assume everyone to cooperate

In this Jan. 8, 2009, photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff’s Department, a small Draganflyer X6 drone makes a test flight in Mesa County, Colo. with a Forward Looking Infrared payload. The drone, which was on loan to the sheriff’s department from the manufacturer, measures about 36 inches from rotor tip to rotor tip, weights just over two pounds. Unmanned military aircraft have tracked and killed terrorists in the Middle East and Asia. Their civilian cousins are now in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news organizations and others wanting a bird’s-eye view that’s too impractical or dangerous for conventional planes or helicopters to get. — AP

Faster smartphones spark race for ways out of data crunch PARIS: Lighter, faster and even smarter smartphones will premiere at the world’s biggest mobile fair next week, sparking a race for ways to prevent network overload from rendering the phones “dumb”. Mobile phone giants Nokia, LG and Sony are among a long list of manufacturers which will show off their latest offers during the four-day Mobile World Congress, which opens in Spain’s Barcelona on Monday.”We are likely to see a number of high-end Android phones with very fast, light, quad core processors,” IHS Global Insight analyst Ian Fogg said. “There will be an innovation towards the high-end, with larger screens, they’ll be very fast, enabling gaming,” he added. Most smartphones run on dual core at the moment, but quad core would essentially make them run at least twice as quickly. But even though smartphones are getting even smarter, with 3-D screens or higher resolution cameras,

analysts warn that their potential can hardly be unleashed as network infrastructure is not keeping pace. “Quad core is useful when it comes to mobile gaming, but in reality it is just hype, because the bottleneck at the moment is data usage,” said Loo Wee Teck, Euromonitor’s head of consumer electronics research. “If you don’t have the supporting bandwidth, then it is just academic.” Magnus Rehle, managing director of Greenwich Consulting, also pointed to network overload as an “increasing problem, not just on data caused by smartphones but also by the applications on the phones.”With mobile data traffic estimated by Digiworld Institute to grow 33 times between 2010 and 2020, all eyes will be on telcom executives attending the congress to detail plans on rolling out or popularising the ultra-fast fourth generation (4G) network. —AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: California is clamping down on nosy mobile applications, telling them they must give people advance warning if they want to keep pulling sensitive information from smartphones and computer tablets. The crackdown comes six months after California Attorney General Kamala Harris began discussing the need for better privacy protections with six powerful companies that have shaped the mobile computing market, spawning nearly 1 million applications over the past four years. Those talks led to an agreement requiring mobile apps seeking to collect personal information to forewarn users by displaying privacy policies before their services are installed on a device. The companies working with Harris are: Apple Inc., the maker of the iPhone and iPad; Google Inc., the Internet search leader and maker of Android mobile software; Inc., the maker of the Kindle Fire tablet; Microsoft Corp., which makes a mobile version of its Windows operating system; Research in Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry; and Hewlett-Packard Co., which is donating its mobile software to the open-source community. “We are assuming everyone is going to cooperate in good faith and not get cute,” said Harris, who plans to review compliance with the guidelines in six months. Harris, a Democrat, is taking her stand as lawmakers and regulators throughout the country are zeroing in on how technology has made it easier to pry into the lives of people who share personal information on websites and store sensitive data on their mobile devices. The concerns have intensified in recent weeks as Google prepares to blend together a hodgepodge of privacy policies covering various services. The move will make it easier for Google to tie together personal information as it tries to sell more online advertising. Harris and 35 other attorneys general sent a letter Wednesday to Google CEO Larry Page seeking a meeting with company officials to discuss the “troubling” privacy policy changes before they are scheduled to take effect March 1. The Obama administration is wading deeper into the online privacy debate with new guidelines that it’s releasing Thursday. It wants technology companies and other parties to create codes of conducts for mobile apps as well as a variety of other digital services. Most mobile apps haven’t

even drawn up a privacy policy, Harris said, partly because of confusion about whether a 7-year-old law governing online privacy applies to them. The law requires online services collecting personal information to “conspicuously post” a privacy policy. That hasn’t been happening among some of the even most intrusive apps that drill into address books and other personal files on smartphones and tablets. Having the data can help mobile apps attract more users or make their services more compelling. “I would suggest most consumers don’t want that to happen and in most cases don’t know that is happening,” Harris said. That ignorance has been bliss so far for mobile apps. More than 35 billion apps already have been downloaded, a number likely to grow as smartphones and tablets replace desktop and laptop computers as people’s primary connection to the Internet. That will make people even more vulnerable to the kinds of privacy abuses that have been surfacing this month. Path, which offers a mobile app for its social networking service, recently got caught downloading users’ address books without explicit permission. After the practice was exposed on technology blogs, Path apologized and stopped doing it. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission released a study that concluded mobile app makers haven’t been telling parents about the personal information they are collecting about kids who have installed their programs. That report raised questions whether some mobile app developers have been violating federal laws protecting children’s online privacy. Harris promised to sue mobile app makers who vacuum personal data without the required forewarning. Even if mobile apps obey the law, Harris acknowledged it still may not be enough to protect the majority of people who don’t carefully reading voluminous privacy policies before accepting them. Just having to sit down to write a privacy policy may be enough to force mobile app developers to think more carefully about their actions, said by Jon Fox, a consumer advocate for the California Public Interest Research Group.“Having privacy policies is step one to protecting consumers’ personal information,” Fox said in a statement. “Step two is making sure the privacy policies are strong.” — AP

TV listings


00:50 Pit Bulls And Parolees 01:45 Untamed & Uncut 02:40 Killer Crocs 03:35 Shark Family 04:30 Crime Scene Wild 05:25 The Animals’ Guide To Survival 06:20 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:45 In Too Deep 07:10 Wild Africa Rescue 07:35 Wild Africa Rescue 08:00 Monkey Life 08:25 New Breed Vets With Steve Irwin 09:15 Crocodile Hunter 10:10 Natural Born Hunters 10:35 Natural Born Hunters 11:05 The Really Wild Show 11:30 The Really Wild Show 12:00 Gorilla School 12:25 Project Puppy 12:55 Corwin’s Quest 13:50 Wildlife SOS 14:15 Wildlife SOS 14:45 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 15:10 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 15:40 Must Love Cats 16:35 America’s Cutest... 17:30 Big Five Challenge 18:25 World Wild Vet 19:20 Almost Human With Jane Goodall 20:15 Amba The Russian Tiger 21:10 Weird Creatures With Nick Baker 22:05 Austin Stevens: Most Dangerous... 23:00 Karina: Wild On Safari 23:25 Karina: Wild On Safari 23:55 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer

00:40 01:10 01:40 02:30 03:30 04:00 04:20 04:30 04:45 05:00 05:05 05:25 05:36 05:50 06:10 06:20 06:30 06:45 06:50 07:10 07:20 07:35 08:05 08:35 09:20 10:05 10:20 11:50 12:20 13:05 13:35 14:30 15:15 15:45 16:30 17:20 18:15 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:50 21:15 21:45 22:15 23:00 23:30

Last Of The Summer Wine Doctors Jekyll Taking the Flak Keeping Up Appearances Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Bobinogs Poetry Pie Fimbles Little Robots Forget Me Not Farm Me Too! Charlie and Lola Gigglebiz Bobinogs Poetry Pie Fimbles Little Robots Forget Me Not Farm Last Of The Summer Wine After You’ve Gone The Weakest Link Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential Eastenders Eastenders The Weakest Link Last Of The Summer Wine Born and Bred Doctor Who After You’ve Gone The Weakest Link Holby City Holby City Doctor Who One Foot In The Grave The Old Guys Lee Evans Big Tour Little Britain Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show Supernova Doctor Who One Foot In The Grave The Old Guys

00:30 01:20 02:05 02:30 03:20 03:50 04:15 04:40 05:05 05:55

Antiques Roadshow James Martin’s Champagne James Martin’s Champagne What To Eat Now - Autumn What To Eat Now - Autumn Indian Food Made Easy Indian Food Made Easy 10 Years Younger 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes In The City

THE ALPHABET KILLER ON OSN ACTION HD 06:40 07:05 07:35 08:00 08:45 09:30 13:10 14:00 15:30 16:15 19:45 20:35 21:25 22:15 23:05 23:55

What To Eat Now - Autumn What To Eat Now - Autumn Cash In The Attic USA Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Masterchef Australia Masterchef Australia Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Gok’s Fashion Fix Gok’s Fashion Fix What Not To Wear What Not To Wear Masterchef

00:00 00:20 00:45 01:10 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:40 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:40 06:00 06:25 06:50 07:00 07:10 07:35 08:00 08:25 08:55

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

09:20 09:50 10:40 11:05 11:30 12:20 12:30 12:50 13:10 13:35 14:00 14:25 14:50 15:40 16:05 16:30 17:20 17:45 18:10 18:40 19:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:35

Jelly Jamm The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry Wacky Races The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch The Garfield Show The Flintstones Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals Looney Tunes Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Kids The Garfield Show Scooby Cinema Pink Panther & Pals The Garfield Show Duck Dodgers The Flintstones Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Popeye Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo

00:40 Samurai Jack 01:05 Samurai Jack 01:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 02:20 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 02:45 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 03:10 Best Ed 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Adventure Time 04:50 Generator Rex 05:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

05:40 Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy 05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 07:20 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:25 Casper’s Scare School 08:55 Angelo Rules 09:30 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 09:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 10:20 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 10:40 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 11:05 Gumball 11:30 Redakai: Conquer The Kairu 11:55 Adventure Time 12:20 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:10 Ben 10 13:35 Ben 10 14:00 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 14:50 The Amazing World Of Gumball 15:15 Generator Rex 15:40 Generator Rex 16:05 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:20 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 17:45 Adventure Time 18:35 The Amazing World Of Gumball 19:00 Regular Show 19:25 Regular Show 19:50 Generator Rex 20:15 Generator Rex 20:40 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes

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

Destroyed In Seconds Blueprint For Disaster Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Does It Work How It’s Made Dirty Jobs How Does It Work? Really Big Things Huge Moves Extreme Engineering Mighty Ships Man, Woman, Wild Dual Survival Ultimate Survival Ultimate Survival Oil Strike! Swamp Loggers Swords: Life On The Line Gold Rush Storm Chasers River Monsters Extreme Fishing Ultimate Survival Taking On Tyson Scrappers Carfellas One Man Army

00:40 01:35 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:40 04:35 05:00 05:25 06:20 07:10 08:00 08:55 08:58 09:25 09:55 10:20 10:45 11:35 14:55 15:45 15:48 16:15 16:45 17:10 18:00 18:50 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:35 23:00 23:50

Space Pioneer Weird or What? The Tech Show Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 2012 Apocalypse How Does That Work? How Stuff’s Made Mega Builders Junkyard Mega-Wars Space Pioneer Science of Star Wars Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Tech Toys 360 Tech Toys 360 2012 Apocalypse What’s That About? What’s That About? Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections The Tech Show Science of Star Wars Meteorite Men Building the Future Smash Lab Scrapheap Challenge Sci-Fi Science Sci-Fi Science Smash Lab Scrapheap Challenge


15:15 15:30 15:55 16:20 16:45 17:10 17:30 18:00 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:30 20:58 21:05 21:25 21:50 22:15 22:40 23:05 CODY 23:30 23:55


00:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 00:25 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 00:40 Special Agent Oso 00:55 Little Einsteins 01:20 Timmy Time 01:30 Jungle Junction 01:45 Handy Manny 01:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:20 Special Agent Oso 02:35 Special Agent Oso 02:50 Jungle Junction 03:05 Jungle Junction 03:15 Little Einsteins 03:40 Higglytown Heroes 03:55 Higglytown Heroes 04:10 Jo Jo’s Circus 04:30 Special Agent Oso 04:45 Special Agent Oso 05:00 Jungle Junction 05:15 Jungle Junction 05:25 Little Einsteins 05:50 Higglytown Heroes 06:05 Higglytown Heroes 06:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 06:40 Special Agent Oso 06:55 Special Agent Oso 07:10 Jungle Junction 07:25 Jungle Junction 07:35 Little Einsteins 08:00 Higglytown Heroes 08:15 Higglytown Heroes 08:30 Jo Jo’s Circus 08:50 Jungle Junction 09:00 Jungle Junction 09:15 Higglytown Heroes 09:30 Higglytown Heroes 09:45 Handy Manny 10:00 Special Agent Oso 10:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:40 Timmy Time 10:55 Little Einsteins 11:20 The Hive 11:30 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 11:45 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 12:00 Jungle Junction 12:10 Handy Manny 12:25 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 12:45 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 12:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:15 Mouk (Cema) 13:30 Mouk (Cema) 13:45 Art Attack (Cema) 14:00 Handy Manny 14:15 Imagination Movers 14:40 Lazytown 15:05 The Hive 15:15 Mouk (Cema) 15:30 Mouk (Cema) 15:45 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:15 The Hive 16:25 Timmy Time 16:35 Special Agent Oso 16:50 Handy Manny 17:00 Imagination Movers 17:25 Lazytown 17:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 18:15 Handy Manny 18:30 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 18:45 Jungle Junction 19:00 Imagination Movers In Concert (Cema) 19:45 Art Attack (Cema) 20:00 Timmy Time 20:10 Imagination Movers 20:35 Little Einsteins 21:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:15 Handy Manny 21:30 Handy Manny 21:45 Jungle Junction 22:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 22:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:25 101 Dalmatians 22:40 101 Dalmatians

TV listings

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2012 22:50 23:05 23:20 23:30 Pooh 23:35 23:40 23:45

Jake & The Neverland Pirates Jake & The Neverland Pirates The Hive Mini Adventures Of Winnie The A Poem Is... Animated Stories Mouk (Cema)

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 02:20 E! Investigates 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 THS 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Bridalplasty 10:15 Bridalplasty 11:10 THS 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Dirty Soap 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:30 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:55 Fashion Police: 2008 Grammy Awards 17:55 E! News 18:55 World’s Specials 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Fashion Police 21:25 THS 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Swamp Lions Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Leopards of Dead Tree Island The Living Edens

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

Drag Me To Hell-18 Tank Girl-PG15 Icarus-18 Legendary-PG15 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 Drunken Master-PG15 Returner-PG15 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 Winning Time-PG15 Returner-PG15 The Alphabet Killer-18 Smoke Screen-PG15

01:15 Black Death-PG15 03:00 The Tender Hook-PG15 04:45 The Green Hornet-PG15 06:45 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 09:15 Ramona And Beezus-PG 11:00 The Green Hornet-PG15 13:00 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 15:15 Gasland-PG15 17:15 16 To Life-PG15 19:00 The A-Team-PG15 21:15 West Is West-PG15 23:15 Waiting For Superman-PG15

03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 Leno 06:00

The Simpsons Happy Endings Dharma And Greg The Tonight Show With Jay Malcolm In The Middle

08:30 The Simpsons 12:00 Malcolm In The Middle 12:30 Dharma And Greg 14:00 Happy Endings 18:00 The Simpsons 18:30 2 Broke Girls 19:00 The Office 19:30 Man Up! 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

American Idol Drop Dead Diva Glee Bones Good Morning America Tower Prep The Bachelor The Ellen DeGeneres Show Downsize Me The View American Idol Glee Tower Prep Drop Dead Diva Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Breakout Kings Criminal Minds C.S.I. Miami Bones

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

Smallville Survivor: One World Supernatural American Idol Glee Drop Dead Diva Smallville Warehouse 13 Terriers Drop Dead Diva American Idol Glee Warehouse 13 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terriers Smallville Parks And Recreation Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terriers Breakout Kings Criminal Minds C.S.I. Miami Top Gear (UK) Sons Of Anarchy

00:00 01:45 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

01:00 Kalifornia-18 03:00 The Grudge 3-18 05:00 Drag Me To Hell-18 07:00 Ong Bak 2-PG15 09:00 Rocky IV-PG15 11:00 Top Gun-PG15 13:00 Attack On Leningrad-PG15 15:00 Rocky IV-PG15 17:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 19:00 The Wolfman-18 21:00 Smoke Screen-PG15 23:00 Mirrors 2-18

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:30 13:15 15:15 17:00 19:30 21:00 23:15

01:00 On The Edge-18 02:45 Wild At Heart-18 05:00 Garden State-18 07:00 Moon Over Parador-PG15 09:00 Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World-PG15 11:00 Don’t Fade Away-PG15 13:00 Leaving Normal-PG15 15:00 Glorious 39-PG15 17:15 9-PG 19:00 The Headless Woman-PG15 21:00 Patriot Games-PG15 23:00 Inside Job-PG15

Essential Killing-18 Tron: Legacy-PG15 Marmaduke-PG Tooth Fairy-PG Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 Mean Girls-PG15 The Social Network-PG15 Charlie St. Cloud-PG15 Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 Griff The Invisible-PG15 Hereafter-18 Last Night-PG15

00:00 Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure-PG 02:00 Ulysses-PG 04:00 Turtle Hero: Part I-FAM 06:00 Nanny Mcphee And The Big Bang-PG 08:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM 10:00 Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure-PG 12:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG15 14:00 The Adventures Of Don Quixote-PG15 16:00 Rh+ The Vampire Of Seville-U 18:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil-PG15 20:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 22:00 Turtle Hero: Part II-FAM

Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted A Haunting I Was Murdered I Was Murdered I Escaped Death Dr G: Medical Examiner The Haunted A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis On The Run Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Guilty Or Innocent? Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery ER Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared The Haunted Ghost Lab

00:00 Wild Amazon 01:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 01:55 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 02:50 Journey Into Amazonia 03:45 The Living Edens 04:40 Croc Ganglands 05:35 Wild India (aka Secrets of Wild India) 06:30 Moray Eels: Alien Empire 07:25 The Invaders 08:20 Tiger Queen 09:15 A Man Among Bears 10:10 Cougars: Ninja of Jackson Hole (aka American Couga 11:05 Wild India (aka Secrets of Wild India) 12:00 Catching Giants 13:00 Great Migrations 14:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 15:00 Swamp Lions 16:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy 17:00 Leopards of Dead Tree Island 18:00 The Living Edens 19:00 World’s Deadliest Animals

Charlie & Boots-PG15 Rag Tale-18 The Big Green-PG Fools Rush In-PG15 Guarding Tess-PG I’ll Be Home For Christmas-PG Sweet Home Alabama-PG15 Big Fat Liar-PG Charlie & Boots-PG15 Whatever Works-PG15 Spud-PG15 Feed The Fish-PG15

00:00 Fish Tank-PG15 02:15 Black Swan-18 04:15 Shanghai-PG15 06:15 Ways To Live Forever-PG15 08:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 09:45 The Librarian: The Curse Of Judas Chalice-PG15 11:30 South Solitary-PG15 13:45 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 15:45 Furry Vengeance-PG 17:30 The Karate Kid-PG 20:00 Hereafter-18 22:15 Super-18


01:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 09:00 09:30 11:30 13:30 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 22:30

Trans World Sport Super Rugby Super Rugby Super Rugby Trans World Sports ODI Crickert Highlights Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby ODI Crickert Highlights Super Rugby Super Rugby Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby ODI Crickert Highlights Live Super League

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UFC The Ultimate Fighter WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line UFC 144 Countdown UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed

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WWE NXT WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection UFC UFC 144 Countdown WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line WWE SmackDown UFC Unleashed UFC 144 Countdown UFC Unleashed UFC The Ultimate Fighter

00:00 Super League 02:00 Super League 04:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 06:00 Top 14 Highlights 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Super League 09:00 Premier League Darts 12:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 14:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 15:00 Live Scottish Premier League 17:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 17:30 Trans World Sport 18:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 20:30 Top 14 Highlights 21:00 Live Pro 12 Celtic League 23:00 Super Rugby

00:00 Trans World Sports 01:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 03:00 Premier League Darts 06:30 ICC Cricket World 07:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 09:00 Trans World Sport 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 11:00 Super League 13:00 ODI Cricket Highlights 13:30 ICC Cricket World 14:00 European Tour Weekly 14:30 Premier League Darts 18:00 Scottish Premier League 20:00 Super League 22:00 Trans World Sport 23:00 Futbol Mundial 23:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights

01:05 03:00 05:40 07:30 08:00 09:30 11:25 13:15 15:00 17:35 19:35 21:35 23:00

Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid Raintree County-PG Where The Spies Are-PG TCM Presents Under The...-U Rio Rita-FAM The Last Time I Saw Paris-PG Passage To Marseille-PG The Stratton Story-FAM A Star Is Born-FAM Lust For Life-FAM Ten Thousand Bedrooms-PG Seven Women-PG Dangerous Liaisons

00:00 Globe Trekker 01:00 Glutton For Punishment 01:30 4real 02:00 Intrepid Journeys 03:00 Planet Sports 04:00 Tall Ship Explorers 05:00 Globe Trekker 06:00 Planet Food 07:00 Glutton For Punishment 07:30 Life’s A Trip 08:00 Globe Trekker 09:00 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 09:30 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 10:00 Chef Abroad 10:30 Chef Abroad 11:00 Top Travel 11:30 Top Travel 12:00 The Ethical Hedonist 13:00 Globe Trekker 14:00 Indian Times 15:00 The Path To Shaolin 16:00 Third Class Traveller 17:00 Globe Trekker 18:00 World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides 19:00 Secrets Of Ancient China 20:00 Globe Trekker 21:00 Going South 21:30 Travel Today 22:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 23:00 Cruising The Amazon

what’s on


AUK holds discussion on ‘Degrees of Belonging’


panel discussion entitled “Degrees of Belonging in Kuwait” was held at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) on February 22. The panel discussion was coorganized by the Social and Behavioral Sciences Program (SBSA) and the Human Rights Club. The panel discussion, which was sponsored by the Center for Gulf Studies (CGS) at AUK, tackled questions pertaining to levels of citizenship, gender inequality in cases of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, national identity, and statelessness. The panel, consisted of four guest speakers; Dr. Ibtihal Al-Khatib, Assistant Professor of English and Literature at Kuwait University; Rania Al Nakib, M.Ed, and Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of Education, University of London; Dr. Mohammad Al-Wahaib, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Kuwait University and also the Director of the Kuwait Center for Active Citizens; and Dr. Ghanim Al-Najjar, Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University and Board Member of the Arab Human Rights Fund. During his speech, AlWahaib discussed the historical and social context of citizenship in Kuwait pointing to the way Arab states were carved out of European and Ottoman colonial the needs and Arab identities formed from post-colonial nation-making efforts. According to AlWahaib, the colonial history created totalitarian regimes that often identified the country’s name with that of the ruling families, such as in the case of Saudi Arabia. Al-Nakib, who is conducting research on civic education curriculum in Kuwaiti government schools, spoke of how education modules in Kuwait conflate citizenship with national identity. According to Al-Nakib, belonging and participation in the Kuwaiti society is usually associated with adult Muslim males of origin, leaving out women, young adults, Christian Kuwaitis, or Kuwaitis who do not reveal their religious affiliations. Al-Nakib also talked about the limitations and challenges faced by teachers conducting

classes about this issue. Reinforcing the research findings of AlNakib’s, Al-Najjar spoke of his experience with the Human Rights curriculum, which he worked on developing, and how it had been politicized and Islamized. In his own point of view, belonging and citizenship should never be equated because a person could belong without having citizenship and vice versa. Referring to his comparative analysis on identity and conflict in Somalia, Iraq and Kuwait, Al-Najjar argued that the case of Kuwait is less complex than those other countries. Al-Najjar also explained how fear of loss of status permeates Kuwaiti society and how the government contributed to that fear. From a human rights perspective, Al-Khatib focused on how Kuwaiti women are treated as second class citizens because of the patriarchal way of passing citizenship to offspring, which deprives children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis from receiving citizenship. AlKhatib specifically shed light on the case of Kuwaiti women married to bedoons, a status in which women are usually alienated from the legal system and socially pressured into divorce. Referring to the history of bedoons, Al-Khatib emphasized the link between the legal issues of bedoons and the recent protests and arrests. Al-Khatib concluded her discussion by pointing out solutions to the current bedoon issue including, granting citizenships to bedoons who qualified, reissuing the “Green Card” ID for those of whom it was pulled back, and the release of those who are still detained. The American University of Kuwait (AUK) is an independent, private, equal opportunity, and co-educational liberal arts institution of higher education. The educational, cultural and administrative structure, methods and standards of AUK are based on the American model of higher learning. The language of instruction is English.


Positive thinking

he Golden Era Club presents ‘Feel the power of positive affirmations’. Positive thinker and practitioner, Wilson D’Souza (of Lemonade International fame), will guide you along this remarkable discovery. All (60 plus) seniors are invited. This event is today

between 5 and 7 pm. Dress code - Should reflect Kuwait’s National colors. VenueHouse #34, next to Abu-Tammam Intermediate School for Boys, Sate Alhusari St., Block 2, Rumaithiya. For details call 97172788/ 66208183 or drop a line to

Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival 2012


Where jazz finds a home

azz, a music born for the amalgamation of various types of music from Africa, Europe, with a tinge of Latin, has become one of the most flexible genres to amalgamate with other genres, be it modern or traditional. In its journey, jazz has visited and even taken refuge in various locations all of the world. In 2005, Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival was held for the first time. Jazz music began intermingling in the air, harnessing the love of its enthusiasts making them long for the next dates of the event. This festival, presently the largest jazz in the Southern hemisphere, immediately became the pride of Indonesia. The continuous success from one year to another has made it one of it the most talked about event, even by international musicians. In their opinion, (Jakarta International) Java Jazz Festival as a festival destination. International musicians are extremely proud to perform at a festival created by Indonesians. To raise the bar even more, some musicians even consider Jakarta as one of the most important cities for jazz. In its 8th edition, the festival dubbed Jakarta International Djarum Super Mild Java Jazz Festival 2012, will be even more special. Renowned jazz figures such as Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Bobby McFerrin, some of the most awaited acts, are confirmed to perfom on the stages of Jakarta International Djarum Super Mild Java Jazz Festival 2012. In addition to the three aforementioned artists, names such as Al Jarreau, David Sanborn and Phil Perry, are also musicians which Java Festival Production have successfully confirmed for the year. On the first full

weekend of March 2012, these fabulous names will mesmerize Java Jazz Festival enthusiasts. To make Jakarta International Djarum Super Mild Java Jazz Festival 2012, a festival due to attract more than 100,000 people, even more wondrous, Stevie Wonder will also be performing. Wonder is a legend for music itself. His musical prowess began at a tender age and managed to penetrate musical barriers. There’s no doubt that the music presented by Stevie Wonder will be magical. Colorful Jazz Also not to be missed, Java Festival Production has also confirmed names such as Bobby Caldwell, Laura Fygi and Swing Out Sister, due to perform with the big band. After all, a show with a big band enhances the musical experiences. Shows with romantic nature by Barry White Show & the Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra, D’Sound, Dave Koz, Depapepe and Chris Standring, will be an interesting variety alongside Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Frank McComb with his groovy funk, mainstream jazz by Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, Ron Carter due to perform with Juilliard Jazz Quartet, Manhattan Transfer (with Margaret Dorn standing in for Cheryl Bentyne who has taken ill) or Carl Allen with Rodney Whitaker Quartet, and the temptuous Latin tunes to be rolled out by Sheila E. & Escovedo Family and Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. Erykah Badu, a long awaited performance in Indonesia, will also be performing at Jakarta International Djarum Super Mild Java Jazz Festival 2012 as part of her tour.

Upcoming events Kuwait Improv Fun lovers of Kuwait unite. A get together by people who love to surprise, be surprised and just be about at anything are welcome to Kuwait Improv, a gathering, reminiscent of the famous American TV program Whose Line is it Anyway, informally organized by American School of Kuwait teacher Brad Manker. No histrionic talent required, but a willingness to share. Please Tulu speaking classes Here’s a great opportunity for parents who always wished their children could learn Tulu. Tulu Koota Kuwait, in its objective towards promoting Tulu language and culture, is pleased to announce the opening of Tutu Speaking Classes “Tulu Siri” at Indian

Public School Salmiya @ 11:30 am. For more details kindly contact Ramesh Kidiyoor-97204716/99596457,Shalini Vijay - 66502369,Tharendra P. Shettigar - 66757979,Jayalaxmi Karkal - 66958848, Sathyanarayana Salian 66585077,Vanitha Dias-94996459. And our Website: Email: Music festival On March 1, 2012, the “Blend Music Festival,” a mellow acoustic gettogether of several local musicians, will take place in Bayt Lothan, the official sponsor, host, and curator of the event. This event will be FREE of charge and open to everyone to attend. We hope to see you all there, and here’s to a great start to 2012! The “Blend Music Festival” will be the

first of many concerts to be held; there are a handful of musicians on board, and more will be added to the sets at a later stage. Here is the program for March 1st: 1- Ali Sleeq with Gary Ruston & Kevin Owen = JAZZ; 2Hadi Sarieddine, Bader Nana, & Sarj = ROCK; 3- Lewis Chapman - FOLK / ROCK. Free Arabic language course IPC and all its branches are opening free Arabic language course for ladies accessible in beginners and advanced levels. Class will commence on March 2, 2012. Islamic and Quran courses are also presented in different languages. Registration is on! Call the nearest IPC branch: Rawdah: 22512257 / 97290278; Salmiyah: 25733263 / 97533263; Mangaf: 23723002 ext. 124/123; Jahra:

24558830 / 97533948; Khaithan: 24730137. Balakrishna to visit Kuwait Prominent Telugu film Hero Nandamuri Balakrishna coming to Kuwait on 5th April 2012 for 2 days upon the invitation of Pravasaandhra Telugu Desam, NBK seva samithi. Nadamuri Balakrishna is popularly known as “Balayya” and “NBK” by his fans and admirers. He is the son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu film legend Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao. He then starred in many critical and commercial films and established himself as one of the leading contemporary actors of Telugu Cinema. In addition to films, Balakrishna is associated with several philanthropic and social organizations activities.


what’s on

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

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

ABS Annual Spelling Bee


BS held its Annual Spelling Bee on February 8, 2012. It was open to all Elementary grade levels 1 thru 5. It was a tough competition and all students who participated did a wonderful job. The students were tested on words taken from previous spelling tests. The fourth graders were doing so well that they had to be given fifth grade words! The students had a great time and are already looking forward to next year’s Spelling Bee! Here is a list of our winners: First Grade: Muluke Al-Mazeedi; Second Grade: Hamad Al-Rokhayes; Third Grade: Mohamed Ashkanani; Fourth Grade: Mezoon Al-Duwaikh; and Fifth Grade: Dalal Al-Ajmi.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 A.M until 12:00 P.M on Sunday through Wednesday. The Canadian Embassy will be closed Sunday February 26, 2012, on the occasion of Kuwait Liberation Day. The Embassy will resume its duties on Monday February 27, 2012. Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at nnnnnnn

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

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

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



Miracle diet pill? A safe drug is elusive US health advisers endorse weight loss pill

MUMBAI: A child cries while being administered polio drops by a health worker during a door-to-door immunization drive in Mumbai yesterday. India celebrated a full year since its last reported case of polio last month, a major victory in a global eradication effort that seemed stalled just a few years ago. — AP

Eating citrus lowers women’s stroke risk WASHINGTON: Women who regularly eat citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit may have a lower risk of blood-clot related stroke, according to a US study published on Thursday. Researchers looked at 14 years of data from a US nurses survey that included 69,622 women who reported what they ate, including details on fruit and vegetable consumption, every four years. The aim was to study the effects of flavanoids-a class of compounds present in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine-on health. While total flavanoid consumption across all six main types found in the typical US diet did not show a benefit in preventing stroke, those who ate lots of orange and grapefruit and their derived juices showed a 19 percent lower stroke risk than their counterparts in the study.

WASHINGTON: For nearly a century, scientists have struggled to make a diet pill that helps people lose weight without side effects that range from embarrassing digestive issues to dangerous heart problems. But this week, US federal health advisers endorsed the weight loss pill Qnexa even though the FDA previously rejected it over concerns that it can cause heart palpitations and birth defects if taken by pregnant women. The vote of confidence raises hopes that the US could approve its first anti-obesity drug in more than a decade. It also highlights how challenging it is to create a pill that fights fat in a variety of people without negative side effects. “Having a drug for obesity would be like telling me you had a drug for the fever,” said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of bariatric surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York. “There can be millions of different reasons why someone is obese; it’s really a symptom of various underlying mechanisms.” An effective and safe diet pill would be an easy sale in the US with more than 75 million obese adults, the nation’s obesity rate is nearing 35 percent. But the biggest problem in creating a weight-loss drug is that there’s no safe way to turn off one of the human body’s most fundamental directives. For millions of years, humans have been programmed to consume calories and store them as energy, or fat. It’s this biological mechanism that makes it almost impossible to quickly lose weight by not eating. Cutting down on food instead sends stronger signals to the body to store more calories. “Throughout most of human history calories were scarce and hard to get, so we have numerous natural defenses against starvation,” said Dr. David Katz of

Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “We have no defenses against overeating because we never needed them before.” The drug industry has been on a nearly 100-year search for a drug that can help the body shed pounds. They’ve mostly failed to come up with an effective one and many of their experiments have proven fatal to patients: Early attempts focused on speeding up metabolism to burn more calories. In the 1930s, doctors prescribed an industrial chemical called dinitrophenol, which accelerated metabolism, but also caused fever, swelling and deadly toxicity in some patients. The 1938 law establishing the Food and Drug Administration was a response to untested drugs like dinitrophenol. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, amphetamines became a popular because they boost metabolism and suppress appetite. But the pills proved to be highly addictive, and doctors discovered they increase blood pressure and heart rates. The amphetamine phentermine remains approved for shortterm weight loss, usually less than 12 weeks, though it is seldom prescribed because of the potential for addiction. Perhaps the worst diet pill safety debacle came in the 1990s and involved the combination of phentermine and another weight loss drug marketed by Wyeth called fenfluramine. The combination of the two pills, dubbed fenphen, was never approved by the FDA but more than 18 million prescriptions were written for it by the mid-90s. But after studies in 1997 suggested that up to a third of patients taking fen-phen experienced heart valve damage, Wyeth was forced to recall two versions of fenfluramine and eventually paid more than $13 billion to settle tens of thousands of person-

al injury lawsuits. In the last decade, drugmakers have moved toward other weight loss concoctions. Currently, the only drug approved for long-term weight loss in the US is orlistat, which is sold as the prescription drug Xenical and over the counter as alli. The drug works by blocking the absorption of fat. When launched in 2007, alli received a high-profile marketing push from drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, complete with TV ads and a celebrity endorsement by country singer Wynonna Judd. But it never took off due to unpleasant side effects, including loose bowel movements. Educational pamphlets for alli even recommend people start the program when they have a few days off work, or bring an extra pair of pants to the office. Most drugmakers now are focusing on medications that block brain signals associated with food craving and appetite. Vivus’ Qnexa is one of a trio of drugs seeking FDA approval. The diet pill, which was initially rejected due to the risks of heart palpitations and other safety issues, is a combination of two older drugs. It uses amphetamine phentermine, which suppresses appetite. The other drug is topiramate, an anticonvulsant sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax. Topiramate is believed to make patients feel more satiated, though it’s unclear exactly how. J&J initially studied Topamax alone as a weight loss treatment but concluded the psychiatric side effects, such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating, were too significant. Still, on Wednesday, a panel of FDA doctors and other advisers voted 20-2 in favor of approving Vivus’ Qnexa pill, which the drugmaker has resubmitted to the FDA for a second review. — AP

FDA panel approves rejected obesity pill SILVER SPRING: A previously rejected weight loss pill won an overwhelming endorsement from public health advisers Wednesday, raising hopes that the drug from Vivus Inc could become the first new anti-obesity medication to reach the US market in more than a decade. The Food and Drug Administration has rejected three weight loss pills in the last two years, including Vivus’ pill Qnexa, due to safety concerns. Experts agree new weight loss drugs are needed to treat an estimated 75 million obese adults in the US, but the string of rejections has raised questions of whether any pharmaceutical treatment is safe enough to win approval. At a public meeting Wednesday, an FDA panel of outside physicians voted 20-2 in favor of the weight loss drug from Vivus, setting the stage for a potential comeback for a drug that has been plagued by safety questions since it was first submitted to the agency in 2010. Nearly all the panelists backed the drug due to its impressive weight loss results, with most patients losing nearly 10 percent of their overall weight after a year on the drug. But the group stressed that the drugmaker must be required to conduct a large, follow-up study of the pill’s effects on the heart. Studies of Qnexa show it raises heart rate and causes heart palpitations, a longtime concern with diet pills over the years. The group of experts said it is still unclear if those side effects lead to heart attack and more serious cardiovascular problems. “The potential benefits of this medication seem to trump the side effects, but in truth, only time will tell,” said Dr. Kenneth Burman of the Washington Hospital Center. The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its panels, though it often does. A final decision on the drug is expected by mid-April.

In a key question, the physicians said Vivus could conduct the cardiovascular safety study after FDA approval. A requirement to conduct the study ahead of market approval would cost the company millions of dollars and take at least three more years. “There is an urgent need for better pharmacologic options for individual patients with obesity,” said Dr Elaine Morrato, of the University of Colorado. “I believe Qnexa demonstrated a meaningful efficacy benefit and that there are consequences to not treating obesity.” Vivus, based in Mountain View, Calif., is one of three small drugmakers racing to bring the first new prescription weight loss

drug to market in more than a decade. In the past two years the Food and Drug Administration has rejected pills from all three: Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. and Vivus. All three companies are in the process of resubmitting their products. The FDA rejected Qnexa in October 2010, citing numerous side effects including elevated heart rate, psychiatric problems and birth defects. Vivus has resubmitted the drug with additional follow up information on safety, hoping for a more favorable ruling. Vivus President Peter Tam said the overwhelming panel vote Wednesday indicates doctors recognize the urgent need for effective weight loss drugs. “Right now there aren’t any good treatments out there besides dieting and bariatric surgery - clearly there’s a huge gap,” Tam said. With US obesity rates nearing 35 percent among adults, doctors and public health officials say new weight-loss therapies are desperately needed. And even a modestly effective drug could have blockbuster potential. Analysts expect a new weight loss pill to garner at least 10 million users within a few years. Qnexa is a combination of two older drugs: the amphetamine phentermine, which is approved for short-term weight loss, and topiramate, an anti-seizure and anti-migraine drug sold by Johnson & Johnson as Topamax. Phentermine helps suppress appetite, while topiramate is supposed to make patients feel more satiated. Along with heart safety, panelists raised concerns about potential birth defects in women who become pregnant while taking Qnexa: topiramate is known to more than double the risk of birth defects. There were 34 pregnancies among 3,386 women enrolled in Vivus’ studies of Qnexa, despite precautions to make sure women used contraception. —AP





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information SATURDAY, FEBRUARY25, 2012



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. The capital and chief port of Qatar. 5. Make improvements or corrections to. 10. System of measurement based on centimeters and grams and seconds. 13. (botany) Of or relating to the axil. 14. A school for students intermediate between elementary school and college. 15. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 16. Sell or offer for sale from place to place. 17. (combining form) Very large in scale or scope or capability. 18. The cry made by sheep. 19. A songlike cry in which the voice fluctuates rapidly between the normal voice and falsetto. 21. The abode of humans in Norse mythology. 23. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 26. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 27. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 29. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 30. A large fleet. 33. Kamarupan languages spoken in northeastern India and western Burma. 35. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 37. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 38. A public promotion of some product or service. 39. Jordan's port. 43. Type genus of the Tetraonidae. 44. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 45. The square of a body of any size of type. 46. Jordan's port. 48. A light touch or stroke. 51. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 53. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 56. The sixth month of the civil year. 58. Wear away through erosion or vaporization. 62. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 63. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 64. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 65. A platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it. 67. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 68. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 69. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. DOWN 1. English chemist who was a pioneer in electrochemistry and who used it to isolate elements sodium and potassium and barium and boron and calcium and magnesium and chlorine (1778-1829). 2. A spread made chiefly from vegetable oils and used as a substitute for butter. 3. A bag used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women). 4. Type genus of the Ardeidae. 5. Any of various trees of the genus Ulmus. 6. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 7. Electronic warfare undertaken to insure effective friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum in spite of the enemy's use of electronic warfare. 8. Having short a smooth or spirally ridged shell with thick usually toothed outer lip and toothed operculum. 9. Tall East Indian cedar having spreading branches with nodding tips. 10. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret.

11. A toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion. 12. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 20. A digital display that uses liquid crystal cells that change reflectivity in an applied electric field. 22. The 3rd letter of the Greek alphabet. 24. Tropical American tree producing cacao beans. 25. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 28. (of a young animal) Abandoned by its mother and raised by hand. 31. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 32. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 34. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 36. A small cake leavened with yeast. 40. God of love and erotic desire. 41. Deciduous South African tree having large odd-pinnate leaves and profuse fragrant orange-yellow flowers. 42. A flat-bottomed volcanic crater that was formed by an explosion. 47. English monk and scholar (672-735). 49. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 50. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 51. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 52. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 54. Of or relating to near the ear. 55. An independent agency of the United States government responsible for aviation and spaceflight. 57. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 59. An undergarment worn by women to support their breasts. 60. A rapid escape (as by criminals). 61. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 62. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 66. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite.

Yesterday始s Solution



No 16 Wisconsin fall 67-66 at Iowa IOWA CITY: No 16 Wisconsin’s rare struggles at home in the Big Ten had largely been alleviated by a strong road record. But that stellar mark away from Madison is in trouble after the Badgers lost 67-66 to unranked Iowa on Thursday night ahead of tomorrow’s showdown at No 8 Ohio State. Matt Gatens scored a career-high 33 points for Iowa in its second straight win over a ranked opponent. It was the second straight career-high for Gatens, who had 30 points in Iowa’s win over then-No 18 Indiana on Sunday. Gatens scored the most points by a Badgers opponent since Davidson’s Stephen Curry had 33 in the NCAA’s regional semifinals in 2008. Josh Gasser and Ryan Evans each had 14 points for Wisconsin, which never led and got swept by Iowa in the regular season for the first time

since 1994-95. “It hurts now, but we’re going to keep moving forward. And Ohio State, if we can go in there and get them, that will erase a lot of things,” Evans said. Wisconsin (20-8, 9-6) lost for just the third time in 11 games, largely because of Gatens. The Badgers did get within 65-63 on Jordan Taylor’s layup with 4 seconds left. But Gatens made two free throws to cap his brilliant night for the Hawkeyes (15-13, 7-8), who celebrated along with a rowdy bunch of students who stormed the court. Taylor’s meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer was the closest the Badgers would get in the second half. “He’s playing really well, and we knew it. It’s not like we were surprised,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said about Gatens. “You’ve got the give the guy credit when he knocks

Isner books Memphis quarter-finals berth MEMPHIS: Top-seeded John Isner fired 22 aces in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory over Donald Young on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the $1.375 million ATP and WTA Memphis Open. He will now face Austrian Jurgen Melzer, a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) winner over Croatian Ivan Dodig, in the quarter-finals. US wildcard Sam Querrey reached his first quarter-final of the year with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 victory over seventh-seeded Kevin Anderson. Querrey, who won the Memphis title in 2010, broke Anderson twice to improve book a quarter-final clash with third-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) winner over American Ryan Sweeting. Poland’s Lukasz Kubot reached his first quarter-final since last July in Stuttgart with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Germany’s Philipp Petzschner. He will play compatriot Benjamin Becker, a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 winner over Belgian Xavier Malisse. Olivier Rochus kept the Belgian flag flying with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over American Ryan Harrison. In the quarters Rochus will take on fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-4. The women’s semi-final lineup was decided, with fourth-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand holding off Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 to advance. Erakovic trailed 4-3 in the third set, but won three games on the spin to claim victory. “I feel I’m hitting the ball well,” said Erakovic, who next faces Russian Vera Dushevina. Dushevina rallied to beat France’s Stephanie Foretz Gacon 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Sofia Arvidsson, who won the title in Memphis in 2006 and was runner-up in 2010, reached the final four with a 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) victory over Lesia Tsurenko. Sweden’s Arvidsson trailed 4-2 in the second but held on to force the tiebreaker, in which she saved a set point before finishing off the victory. Arvidsson next faces Alberta Brianti, who defeated Varvara Lepchenko 7-5, 6-3. —AFP

those kinds of shots down. There was a lot of up hands. It wasn’t hand down, man down. Those were tough shots.” With Gatens hitting from long range, Taylor saddled with three fouls and Iowa ahead by 13 points with 17:33 left, it looked nearly hopeless for the Badgers early in the second half. Wisconsin rallied behind its wellhoned resiliency, getting within a possession midway through the second half. Iowa answered with Gatens, the heart of soul of a program that he’s helped appear as promising as it has been since he arrived four years ago. The Badgers rattled off a 12-2 run, capped when former Iowa commit Ben Brust drilled a 3 in transition to cut Iowa’s lead to 51-48 with 12:56 to go. But Gatens followed two jumpers with challenged 3-pointers on consecu-

tive possessions to push Iowa back ahead 61-50 with 9:13 to go. Aaron White added 12 points for Iowa. The Hawkeyes won despite going the final 7:29 without a field goal and allowing the Badgers to keep pulling within a possession in a final minute that was more frantic than it needed to be. “Defensively, we obviously did a much better job in the second half,” Ryan said. Iowa pulled off what at the time appeared to be a stunning New Year’s Eve result; beating Wisconsin 72-65 at the Kohl Center for their first victory in Madison since 2000. It didn’t look so stunning after the first 20 minutes of the rematch. Iowa came out and scored 16 points in less than 5 minutes against the nation’s leader in fewest points allowed per game. Gatens hit his first six shots as the Hawkeyes

pushed their lead to 35-24. Melsahn Basabe capped a rousing stretch for Iowa, throwing down a dunk off a through-the-legs pass from Devyn Marble, and White’s slam off another turnover helped put Iowa ahead 43-34 at halftime. The Hawkeyes were just nine points from topping Wisconsin’s 51.1 points with a half to go. Not surprisingly, it was by far the most the Badgers had let up in the first half all season. Rob Wilson chipped in 11 points, Brust had 10 and Taylor finished with just nine points, four assists and four turnovers for Wisconsin, which committed 11 of its 13 turnovers in that first half. “Guys were a little anxious, trying to make the great play instead of the good play, things like that. Just part of the game, but usually for us it’s not 11 in a half,” Ryan said.—AP

Mardy Fish bounced from Marseille tennis MARSEILLE: Mardy Fish was knocked out of the Open 13 by French qualifier Albano Olivetti 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round Thursday. The second-seeded American rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to tie the match. But the 388th-ranked Olivetti jumped out to a 30 lead in the decider and kept his composure to earn the biggest victory of his young career. Olivetti served 23 aces and will meet Michael Llodra in an all-French quarterfinal. Llodra downed sixth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (5). Llodra had 19 aces, and the 2010 champion won four straight points to take a 5-2 lead in the deciding tiebreaker. Juan Martin Del Potro also advanced to the quarterfinals when a right foot injury forced Nikolay Davydenko of Russia to retire with the match level at one set apiece. The fourth-seeded Argentine lost the opening set 7-6 (6) but took the second 6-4 when Davydenko said he couldn’t continue. “It was a really tough match,” Del Potro said. “But I’m glad to go through. Unfortunately, he can’t finish the match. And I wish him a fast recovery for the next tournament.” Davydenko put Del Potro under pressure in the first set by winning 10 of 12 points at the net. He saved four set points and hit 22 winners to 14 for the 2009 US Open champion. Del Potro fought back in the second set, breaking for a 4-3 lead when Davydenko double-faulted. He served

MARSEILLE: US Lardy Fish returns the ball to French Albano Olivetti during the Open 13 tennis tournament. —AFP doesn’t look like a 250 tournament his 16th ace to close it out. He will next face Richard Gasquet, because the tournament has four top-10 who cruised past Igor Kunitsyn of Russia (players). That means this tournament is 6-3, 6-2. The fifth-seeded Frenchman very important and very high level.” Del broke Kunitsyn’s serve three times and Potro paid tribute to the victims of saved all six break points he faced. Wednesday’s train crash in Buenos Aires Gasquet has now reached the quarterfi- by wearing a black ribbon on his T-shirt. nals four times this season. “Here I have a Fifty people died when the train crashed really difficult draw,” Del Potro said. “It at a downtown station. —AP

Stewart and Kenseth win Daytona qualifying races

DAYTONA BEACH: Roush Fenway Racing will have three cars at the front of the season-opening Daytona 500. Matt Kenseth won the second of the twin qualifying races Thursday with a bold pass of teammate Greg Biffle. The victory gave Kenseth a spot on the second row for Sunday’s race - right behind teammates Carl Edwards and Biffle. Tony Stewart, the defending NASCAR champion, won the first race and will line up next

to Kenseth at Daytona International Speedway. Biffle was leading headed into the final lap, but he tried to block Kenseth, who dived to the inside and used a push from Jimmie Johnson to take the lead. “Well, we were going so much faster that we were going to go by him regardless,” Kenseth said. “That was his only hope, is to try to get up the track, try to line my front bumper up

where I had to push him. The problem was, I was going too fast. Even if I wanted to slow down, which I didn’t want to on the last lap, I couldn’t have.” Robby Gordon and Michael McDowell earned the two spots up for grabs in the first race, while Joe Nemechek and Dave Blaney each raced their way into the 500 in the second qualifying race. Gordon said after he’d be willing to sell his seat to two-time Daytona 500 winner

Michael Waltrip, who failed to qualify for the race after crashing as he tried to return to the track surface after a late pit stop. The accident means it will be the first time since 1972 neither Darrell Waltrip or Michael Waltrip will be in NASCAR’s biggest race of the season. “I just went the wrong way and lost the car,” said a dejected Waltrip. “I feel like I let everybody down. I don’t know what to say. It’s just sad.” —AP



Poor putting costs Woods dearly MARANA: Tiger Woods’ bid for a first PGA Tour victory in over two years ended prematurely on Thursday when he lost one-down to fellow American Nick Watney at the WGCAccenture Match Play Championship. The former world number one struggled with his putting on the heavily contoured greens at Dove Mountain’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and never got back on level terms after going one down at the 10th. Though Woods won the par-three 16th after his opponent’s tee shot sailed over the grandstand at the back of the green to trim the deficit from two-down, he missed a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th to keep the second-round match alive. “I hit it well all day,” three-times champion Woods told reporters after going out in the sec-

ond round for a third time at the elite World Golf Championships event. “I didn’t make any putts today and subsequently I didn’t win the match. “I was fighting the blocks all day with my putter. The putter was going back a little bit shut, and subsequently I let it go and it goes left, and I block it right. “A left-to-right putt right there, I took it slightly shut right there, and I knew it, and blocked it open,” he said of his birdie putt on the 18th green which slid past the right edge of the cup. Woods, who had scraped through his opening match on Wednesday one up against Spaniard Gonzalo FernandezCastano, took some comfort from the quality of his shot-making over the closing holes. “I didn’t miss a single shot coming in, which is good,” the

36-year-old said. “That was fun to hit the ball that well. Unfortunately I just didn’t make a putt when I needed it.” BIRDIE START On a sun-splashed day on the Arizona desert, Woods lost the opening hole when he missed a 13-foot birdie putt after Watney had rolled in an 18-footer. However, the former world number one squared the match with a two-putt birdie at the par-five second before going one up after his opponent three-putted to bogey the fourth. Woods stumbled at the par-four seventh, horseshoeing out with a par putt from just five feet to slip back to all square. Worse was to follow at the par-four 10th where Woods found a fairway bunker off the tee and then hit his second, from an

awkward lie, under a cactus right of the fairway. He failed to reach the green with a left-handed shot and eventually conceded the hole after missing a bogey putt from 22 feet. Watney sank a 17foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th to go two up and Woods missed birdie putts from 10 feet at the 13th and seven feet at the 15th to squander chances of cutting back the lead. Woods won the par-three 16th where Watney bogeyed after his tee shot had sailed over the back of the grandstand to trim the deficit but he failed to make up any further ground over the last two holes. Champion at this event in 2003, 2004 and 2008, Woods has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since the 2009 BMW Championship. — Reuters

Sri Lanka win thriller, go top Lanka mount brilliant chase to sink Australia HOBART: Sri Lanka chased down 280 with four balls to spare to clinch a confidence-boosting three-wicket win over Australia in their one-day match in Hobart yesterday and take top spot in the tri-series tournament. Fired by half-centuries from captain and man-of-the-match Mahela Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal, the tourists were ushered to victory by a brilliant cameo from allrounder Thisara Perera who blasted an unbeaten 21 off 11 balls in the final few overs. Perera smacked a six and a four in consecutive balls to leave his team needing only three runs from the final over and paceman Nuwan Kulasekara bashed a boundary through the covers to bring up the winning runs. The victory continued Sri Lanka’s stunning turnaround in the series, which also includes India, after they went winless from their first three matches. Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat in glorious sunshine on a flat pitch at Bellerive Oval, and enjoyed a 154-run stand with Peter Forrest after openers Matt Wade and Dave Warner both fell cheaply. Forrest, promoted to three after former skipper Ricky Ponting was dropped from the side earlier this week, marked his fourth one-day match with a glittering 104. The 26year-old New South Welshman blasted two sixes and 10 boundaries in his 138-ball knock before his post-century celebrations ended quickly at the hands of Angelo Mathews. Deceived by a slower ball, Forrest attempted to slog over the covers, but succeeded only in skying a simple catch to Farveez Maharoof. BRILLIANT CATCH Mathews also removed Clarke for

72 two overs prior to Forrest’s dismissal, the Australia captain slogging over midwicket to Thisara Perera, who took a brilliant catch just above the grass after sprinting from the boundary. Mike and Dave Hussey combined for a quickfire 42run stand but paceman Lasith Malinga took the wind from Australia’s sails when he bowled the former for 21 with a sizzling yorker. Allrounder Dan Christian was stumped for six after charging down the wicket to meet spinner Rangana Herath, and Australia managed only 30 runs from their last five overs to give the tourists hope of reeling in the total. Sparked by a belligerent Jayawardene, Sri Lanka marched to 51 in eight overs before Tillakaratne Dilshan was out for three, pulling a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery straight to Forrest at deep square leg. The Sri Lankan captain marched on with a 45-run stand with wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, who fell for 22, poking an edge to Warner at backward point off an innocuous delivery from Christian. Jayawardene added another 49 with Dinesh Chandimal before being stumped, deceived by a venomous, turning ball from spinner Xavier Doherty. Chandimal’s 80 drove Sri Lanka to 243-5 before he was trapped in front by paceman Ryan Harris, who caught Maharoof for five off the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus in the following over. Mathews was out for 24, slogging a rash shot straight to Dave Warner in the deep to give the hosts their seventh wicket and briefly raise their hope of stopping the Sri Lankan charge. But with 14 runs needed from the last nine balls, Perera plundered two short balls from Christian for 10 runs to propel the tourists to victory.— Reuters

HOBART: Sri Lankan batsman Thisara Perera (right) celebrates victory with teammate Nuwan Kulasekara (center) as Australian paceman Brett Lee (left) reacts during their international oneday cricket match in Hobart yesterday. — AFP

SCOREBOARD Scoreboard after Sri Lanka beat Australia in the ninth match of the one-day international Tri-series, also featuring India, at Bellerive Oval in Hobart yesterday: Australia won the toss and elected to bat. Australia innings M. Wade c Jayawardene b Kulasekara 5 D. Warner c Sangakkara b Maharoof 7 P. Forrest c Maharoof b Mathews 104 M. Clarke c Perera b Mathews 72 M. Hussey b Malinga 21 D. Hussey not out 40 D. Christian st Sangakkara b Herath 6 B. Lee not out 20 Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-3) 5 Total (six wickets, 50 overs) 280 Did not bat: R. Harris, X. Doherty, B. Hilfenhaus Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-27 3-181 4-201 5-243 6-250 Bowling: Malinga 10-0-56-1 (2w), Kulasekara 10-059-1, Maharoof 10-0-40-1, Herath 9-0-45-1, Mathews 7-0-43-2, Perera 4-0-35-0 (1w)

Sri Lanka innings M. Jayawardene st Wade b Doherty 85 T. Dilshan c Forrest b Hilfenhaus 3 K. Sangakkara c Warner b Christian 22 D. Chandimal lbw b Harris 80 L. Thirimanne c Hilfenhaus b Christian 24 A. Mathews c Warner b Christian 24 F. Maharoof c Harris b Hilfenhaus 5 T. Perera not out 21 N. Kulasekara not out 4 Extras (b-1 lb-6, w-8) 15 Total (seven wickets, 49.2 overs) 283 Fall of wickets: 1-55 2-90 3-153 4-202 5-243 6-250 7-267 Did not bat: L. Malinga, R. Herath Bowling: Lee 9.2-0-63-0, Hilfenhaus 10-0-51-2 (2w), Harris 6-0-43-1 (1w), Christian 8-0-53-3 (1w), Doherty 10-1-35-1, Clarke 5-0-27-0, D. Hussey 1-0-4-0 Sri Lanka won by three wickets.



Canucks end Wings record streak Blues down Predators 3-2 DETROIT: The Vancouver Canucks beat Detroit 4-3 after a penalty shootout on Thursday to end the Red Wings’ NHL record-breaking 23-game home winning streak. Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Alex Burrows had the only score in the shootout, moving the Canucks to within a point of the Red Wings for the league lead. Detroit hadn’t lost at Joe Louis Arena since Nov 3. A soldout crowd stood during the shootout, which started with Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo stopping Jiri Hudler’s shot. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard then went low to smother David Booth’s

attempt. Henrik Zetterberg missed the net on Detroit’s second attempt, and Alex Edler was then denied by Howard. Todd Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings earlier in the day, couldn’t put Detroit ahead. Burrows then won it with a backhanded shot. BLUES 3, PREDATORS 2, SO In Nashville, shootout goals by TJ Oshie and Andy McDonald pushed St Louis past Nashville. Chris Stewart and Vladimir Sobotka scored in regulation for St Louis, which moved within four points of the NHL lead. After Stewart’s opening goal, the Predators struck back to take the lead through

goals from Roman Josi and Colin Wilson, only for Sobotka to equalize just 31 seconds later. STARS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1 In Chicago, Dallas rallied with three late goals to overrun Chicago and end the Blackhawks’ four-game winning streak. Marian Hossa put Chicago ahead but Steve Ott scored on a deflection midway through the third to tie it. Michael Ryder scored on a deflection with 5:02 left, and Loui Eriksson was credited with a goal 74 seconds later that made it 3-1. SHARKS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1 In Toronto, San Jose sent stumbling Toronto to its seventh loss in eight games. Patrick Marleau scored twice in the second period for the visitors. Jake Gardiner scored for the Maple Leafs. COYOTES 4, FLAMES 3, SO In Calgary, Ray Whitney scored the lone goal of the shootout to lead Phoenix past Calgary. Whitney also had a goal and an assist in regulation for the Coyotes, who won their fourth straight and improved to 9-0-1 in their past 10. Shane Doan and former

Flames forward Daymond Langkow also scored in regulation for Phoenix. Alex Tanguay had a goal and an assist in the first period for the Flames, while Matt Stajan and Olli Jokinen also scored. WILD 3, PANTHERS 2, SO In Sunrise, Matt Cullen and Erik Christensen scored in the shootout to lift Minnesota over Florida. Cullen and Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation for the Wild. Christensen scored the first goal in the shootout, followed by Cullen. Goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped two shooters to seal the win. Cullen is 7-for-13 in shootout attempts this season. Sean Bergenheim and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Panthers, who have lost four straight. JETS 4, LIGHTNING 3 In Winnipeg, Andrew Ladd scored twice and added an assist for Winnipeg, which jumped up in the Eastern Conference standings with a win over Tampa Bay. Tanner Glass and Dustin Byfuglien also scored as the Jets vaulted into first place in the Southeast Division and third in the East. Steven Stamkos scored his 43rd

goal and added a pair of assists for the Lightning. Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis also scored in the third period, and Purcell added two assists. The Lightning scored three goals in the third period, but their three-game winning streak was snapped. OILERS 2, FLYERS 0 In Edmonton, Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves for his first shutout of the season as Edmonton topped Philadelphia. Edmonton broke the deadlock on a power play early in the second. Taylor Hall found an inch to squeeze the puck between the post and the goalie’s skate for his 22nd goal. Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist. It was Dubnyk’s third career shutout. DUCKS 3, HURRICANES 2, SO In Raleigh, Saku Koivu scored the only goal in the shootout to lift Anaheim over Carolina. Corey Perry who reached 30 goals for the third time in his career - and Luca Sbisa scored in regulation for the Ducks, who won for only the second time in 26 attempts when trailing after two periods. Jerome Samson and Jamie McBain had goals for Carolina.—AP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Thursday. San Jose 2, Toronto 1; Anaheim 3, Carolina 2 (SO); Minnesota 3, Florida 2 (SO); Vancouver 4, Detroit 3 (SO); St. Louis 3, Nashville 2 (SO); Winnipeg 4, Tampa Bay 3; Dallas 3, Chicago 1; Phoenix 4, Calgary 3 (SO); Edmonton 2, Philadelphia 0. (SO denotes shootout win) Eastern Conference Western Conference Central Division Atlantic Division Detroit 41 18 3 194 145 85 W L OTL GF GA PTS St Louis 37 17 7 155 123 81 NY Rangers 38 15 5 161 118 81 Nashville 35 19 7 170 158 77 New Jersey 35 20 4 168 162 74 Chicago 33 22 7 192 182 73 Pittsburgh 34 21 5 186 160 73 Columbus 18 35 7 142 198 43 Philadelphia 33 20 7 198 183 73 NY Islanders 25 27 8 140 176 58 Northwest Division Vancouver 39 16 6 199 150 84 Northeast Division Calgary 28 23 10 146 165 66 Boston 36 20 2 194 134 74 Colorado 30 27 4 155 169 64 Ottawa 32 22 8 190 185 72 Minnesota 27 24 9 134 156 63 Toronto 29 25 7 182 186 65 Edmonton 24 30 6 161 178 54 Buffalo 26 27 7 150 176 59 Montreal 24 27 10 160 167 58 Pacific Division

WINNIPEG: Ryan Shannon No 22 of the Tampa Bay Lightning passes the puck to Martin St Louis No 26 during their NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. —AFP

Winnipeg Florida Washington Tampa Bay Carolina

30 27 29 27 23

Southeast Division 26 7 161 20 12 146 26 5 161 27 6 169 26 12 160

178 165 173 201 184

67 66 63 60 58

San Jose 32 20 7 172 149 Phoenix 31 21 9 161 154 Dallas 31 26 4 158 168 Los Angeles 27 22 12 129 135 Anaheim 26 25 10 157 173 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

Duerson family sues NFL over his suicide CHICAGO: The family of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL on Thursday, claiming the league didn’t do enough to prevent or treat the concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year. The suit was filed in Chicago on behalf of Duerson’s son, Tregg, and three other children. Duerson died on Feb 17, 2011, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Duerson’s family wants to know more

about the NFL’s handling of concussions during his career, according to his son. “If they knowingly failed to inform and implement proper safety concussion procedures, then their indifference was the epitome of injustice,” Tregg Duerson said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “The inactions of the past inevitably led to the demise and death of my father. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take his own life at the age of 50 by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio, who is representing Duerson’s family, said the NFL should have been a leader in educating current and former players about head injuries. “They not only dropped the ball, they maintained until current times that there was no connection between playing football, receiving concussions and brain damage,” Demetrio said. “That’s wrong.” The NFL said in a statement that it had not yet seen the lawsuit. “Dave Duerson was an outstanding football player and citizen who made so many positive contributions but

unfortunately encountered serious personal challenges later in his life,” the NFL said. “We sympathize with the Duerson family and continue to be saddened by this tragedy.” The suit also names helmet maker Riddell Inc., alleging that the helmets didn’t adequately protect players from concussions. The company declined comment. A native of Muncie, Ind, Duerson was a thirdround draft pick by the Bears in 1983 out of Notre Dame and played 11 seasons in the NFL before retiring in 1993. —AP

71 71 66 66 62 in the



Thunder power past Lakers Streaking Spurs crush ailing Nuggets NBA result/standing Results and standings from the NBA games on Thursday. Miami 102, NY Knicks 88; Atlanta 83, Orlando 78; San Antonio 114, Denver 99; Oklahoma City 100, LA Lakers 85.

Philadelphia NY Knicks Boston Toronto New Jersey Chicago Indiana Cleveland Milwaukee Detroit Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte Oklahoma City Portland Denver Minnesota Utah

OKLAHOMA CITY: Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher (2) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (left) and forward Serge Ibaka (9), of Republic of Congo, in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City. — AP OKLAHOMA CITY: Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 33 points to lead the Thunder to a 100-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and a share of the NBA lead heading into the All-Star break. Russell Westbrook added 19 for the Thunder, who won their 12th straight home game and denied Los Angeles the chance to head into the midseason break with back-to-back statement wins on the road. The Lakers had won at defending NBA champion Dallas a night earlier and were trying to follow it by knocking off the other half of last year’s West finals. Kobe Bryant scored 24 points but went 7 for 24 from the field for Los Angeles. Oklahoma City and Miami both have NBA-leading 277 records at the break.

three assists - a far cry from the 23.9 points and 9.2 assists he had been averaging over his first 11 games in the Knicks’ rotation, when he breathed life into a team that was floundering. On Thursday, he simply wasn’t the same player, turning the ball over eight times.

HEAT 102, KNICKS 88 In Miami, Jeremy Lin had by far the worst game of his remarkable emergence as New York was beaten by Miami. Chris Bosh scored 25 points and Dwyane Wade added 22 for Miami, which notched its eighth straight win and goes to the All-Star break with the NBA’s best record (277). The Heat countered Lin with a tactic of running streams of defenders at him. The point guard went 1 for 11 from the field, with eight points and

SPURS 114, NUGGETS 99 In Denver, the red-hot San Antonio Spurs raced to a big early lead and coasted to a 114-99 road win over the injury-riddled Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Southwest division-leading Spurs (2410) won eight of nine consecutive road games to wrap up their longest road trip and have won 12 of their past 13. San Antonio shot brilliantly during a 19-1 run in the first quarter to open up a 26-7 lead. “It was great to

HAWKS 83, MAGIC 78 In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help Atlanta snap a three-game skid with an win over Orlando. Jannero Pargo added 15 points for the Hawks, who led by only a point with 4:42 left but finished the stronger. J J Redick finished with 13 points for the Magic, who had won six of seven going in.

get the win,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan told reporters. “It was important to start the game the right way, and we did that. We were happy with the outcome.” Six Spurs players, including all five starters, scored in double digits led by DeJuan Blair’s 28 points and 12 rebounds. Duncan added 18 points and Tony Parker had 16 with 12 assists. “I don’t know what got into me,” said Blair, who matched his career best for points. “All-Star break coming up, maybe. I was pretty aggressive. It was fun. A lot of fun. “We wanted to come out and set the tone. They came off a loss last night and we were coming off a huge loss. We wanted to hit, hit, hit them first.” The Nuggets (18-17) were missing their top two scorers, Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson, due to ankle sprains. In their absence Corey Brewer led the Nuggets with 23 points and Andre Miller added 20. “We have some work to do. I think they know that,” said Nuggets coach Wayne Karl. “I think they will continue to be a hard-working, committed team.” San Antonio led by as many as 28 points in the second quarter and held a 65-39 advantage at halftime. Denver pulled within 12 points in the fourth. — Agencies

LA Clippers LA Lakers Golden State Phoenix Sacramento San Antonio Dallas Houston Memphis New Orleans

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 20 14 .588 17 18 .486 15 17 .469 10 23 .303 10 25 .286 Central Division 27 8 .771 21 12 .636 13 18 .419 13 20 .394 11 24 .314 Southeast Division 27 7 .794 22 13 .629 20 14 .588 7 26 .212 4 28 .125 Western Conference Northwest Division 27 7 .794 18 16 .529 18 17 .514 17 17 .500 15 17 .469 Pacific Division 20 11 .645 20 14 .588 13 17 .433 14 20 .412 11 22 .333 Southwest Division 24 10 .706 21 13 .618 20 14 .588 19 15 .559 8 25 .242

GB 3.5 4 9.5 10.5 5 12 13 16 5.5 7 19.5 22 9 9.5 10 11 1.5 6.5 7.5 10 3 4 5 15.5

Will Claxton leads Mayakoba Classic PLAYA DEL CARMEN: Will Claxton fired a five-under par 66 on Thursday to top a log-jammed leaderboard after the first round of the US PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic. Claxton played the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course without a bogey. He teed off on 10 and four of his five birdies came in a burst from the second through the fifth holes. Claxton, whose 66 matched the 66 he shot in the first round of the Sony Open, has the overnight lead for the first time in a PGA Tour event. His best finish was at Torrey Pines last month, where he was tied for 23rd. The 30-year-old had a one-shot lead over a group of seven players-Mark Anderson, Spain’s Alejandro Canizares, Matt Every, Charles Howell, John Huh, England’s Greg Owen and Marc Turnesa. Turnesa joined Claxton as the only players without a bogey. “This golf course, it really keeps your attention off the tees,” Howell said. “There’s a lot of trouble out there, and it’s too hard to get ahead of yourself here. The golf course almost helps you stay where you’re at just because it demands a lot of focus and attention on it.” A group of eight players on 68 included South Korean’s Noh Seung-yul and Sunghoon Kang, as well as Canadian David Hearn. Australian great Norman posted a 79 in the windy conditions on the course he designed. — AFP



German League Preview

Crisis talk in Bayern as Schalke loom BERLIN: In the wake of their shock defeat in Basel, Bayern Munich need to beat title rivals Schalke 04 tomorrow to ease their growing crisis and bridge the gap behind German league leaders Dortmund. Having already knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League, FC Basel added Bayern’s scalp on Wednesday as a late goal sealed their 1-0 win in the Round of 16 first-leg with the return leg in Munich in a fortnight. The Bavarians have claimed just three wins in their last seven games and slipped from top to third in the German league, while their Champions League progress this season is far from assured. The arrival of fourth-placed Schalke, who are just a point behind Bayern, will test fragile confidence and the hosts need a good result plus a strong performance at Munich’s Allianz Arena. “We are in a very difficult period, you

can see that in every single player,” admitted striker Mario Gomez with Munich four points behind Dortmund. “Everyone is carrying the burden.” Schalke are in form following their 4-0 hammering of Wolfsburg last Sunday, while Bayern’s goalless draw at Freiburg last Saturday was a precursor to what followed in Basel. Bayern’s season hinges on the next few weeks. On consecutive weekends, they face Schalke and Leverkusen, who are both in the Bundesliga’s top six, then the Champions League return leg against Basel in Munich on March 13 followed by the German Cup semi-final at Moenchengladbach on March 23. “We’ve arrived at a very important moment in Bayern Munich’s season,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told his players. “I have certain concerns and points to ponder: what has basically happened between Christmas

and now? “You need to be alert, you have to be angry.” The visit of Schalke pits the league’s joint top scorers against each other with both Bayern’s Gomez and Schalke’s Dutch star KlaasJan Huntelaar having hit 18 goals in 21 league matches. While Bayern are faltering, Dortmund are hunting their seventh straight win at home to Hanover. With a three-point gap at the top, Dortmund are buoyed by the news Japan star Shinji Kagawa is poised to return just ten days after damaging ankle ligaments in training. Dortmund coped with his absence by grinding out a 1-0 win at strugglers Hertha Berlin last weekend, but Kagawa has been in stellar form of late with four goals in four games before injury struck. Dark horses Borussia Moenchengladbach host Hamburg on Friday night bidding to join Dortmund at the top of the

German league on 49 points, although Lucien Favre’s team have an inferior goal difference. Gladbach have turned their fortunes around this season and after only avoiding relegation by winning the end of season play-off last May, they remain genuine title contenders. Gladbach’s success has been based on a rock-solid defense and Brazil defender Dante, who has played all-bar-one of their league games this season, has been linked to Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen sat out training in mid-week with a calf strain, but should play against midtable Hamburg, as should striker Mike Hanke, who missed last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Kaiserslautern with flu. The only player definitely out is midfielder Patrick Herrmann, who broke his collarbone against Kaiserslautern and is out for up to eight weeks. — AFP

French League Preview

PSG win at Lyon ‘crucial’ PARIS: Carlo Ancelotti’s Paris Saint Germain are at Lyon today in a Ligue 1 dress rehearsal for next month’s French Cup quarter-final. PSG head south to the Stade Gerland on the back of last weekend’s pulsating 2-2 draw with surprise title challengers Montpellier, who host Bordeaux lying one point behind their Qatari-backed rivals. Brazilian forward Nene, said: “The visit to Lyon is very important. “It’s crucial we go and get a win there. Lyon are a very strong side and it should be a great game between two teams who like to play the ball.” Defender Mamadou Sakho said the mood at the Parc des Princes was upbeat after the Montpellier stalemate which left the capital side unbeaten in 13 matches, all competitions combined. The captain, among Laurent Blanc’s squad for next week’s France friendly in Germany, told his club’s official website: “The Montpellier game was complicated. “We were at home, it was important to put up a good performance, and even though we didn’t manage to come away with the three points we were still leading (the table) by the end of the match. “Everybody expects us to win each time, but it’s not that easy. “Today we face a team of Champions League level, with several quality players, lots of internationals capable of turning a game....” Sakho was at pains to point out that despite PSG’s prominent position, there was still a long way to go before they could start talking about a title. “The final sprint hasn’t begun yet,” he insisted. “We’re still in the long distance race with 13 matches to play. The championship can still evolve, teams can still climb up the table.” Ancelotti is expected to start Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore, identified as a key figure in PSG’s push for the title, and who is match fit again after injury. Lyon are missing several regular first team players, including Yoann Gourcuff, Dejan Lovren, the suspended Clement Grenier, and Ghana star John Mensah who returned from the Africa Cup of Nations with a thigh injury. “Decisive” was how Lyon coach Remi

Garde described the encounter. “It’s decisive as we are up against the leaders and it’s a chance for us to draw a line under our poor performances against Caen and Bordeaux,” he explained. “I’m calling on my players’ professional conscience and on their determination, their desire to win

Lille, six points off the top in third, are at Rennes tomorrow when Marseille, buoyed by their midweek stoppage time Champions League win over Inter Milan, make the 2000km round trip to the Brittany port of Brest. Marseille, with a game in hand, are placed fifth, three points behind

MOSCOW: Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid (left) seen in action during the round of 16, first leg UEFA Champions League match against CSKA Moscow in Moscow on February 21, 2012. — AFP something together,” added Garde, whose side are 12 points off the Ligue 1 summit. Fourth-placed Saint Etienne, in contention for a Champions League spot next term after Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over Lorient, are at Auxerre searching for their fourth consecutive win. Defending champions

Saint Etienne, and will want to keep up the momentum of their last gasp win over Inter Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in midweek. Bottom club Sochaux travel to Toulouse, while Nice, one off the foot of the table thanks to superior goal difference, host Caen. — AFP

Spanish League Preview

Madrid, Barca face away tests of title credentials MADRID: Defending champions Barcelona attempt to hang onto the coattails of runaway leaders Real Madrid tomorrow with Pep Guardiola’s team insisting they do not deserve to be 10 points behind their bitter rivals. All eyes will be on the Spanish capital tomorrow when the race for the title continues with Real making the short journey to neighbours Rayo Vallecano while Barcelona visit Atletico. Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez believes the gap is not a fair reflection of the league so far. “If we compare the play of Madrid and ours the gap is too big, but we have not had the best of luck. Football is like that, sometimes it’s the smallest details that matter and we have not been able to control those as much this season,” he said. “We won the World Club Championship and without realising it probably lost a bit of rhythm due to that, but we are keen to win back those 10 points. “I watch most Madrid matches but I don’t follow what (Jose) Mourinho says. I’m more interested in the football,” he continued, perhaps in a bid to increase the tension between the two rival clubs. Madrid have been criticised in the last week for their decision to not offer their Santiago Bernabeu stadium as a stage for the Spanish Cup final that Barcelona will contest with Athletic Bilbao in May. Although work on the stadium is the official reason given as to why the game cannot be played in the Bernabeu, it is thought that Madrid’s management do not want to run the risk of Barcelona lifting a trophy on their home ground. Two key players for Madrid this season, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema, are unavailable for the game at Rayo Vallecano. The absence of Benzema gives Gonzalo Higuain, recently linked with a summer move to Manchester City, the chance to establish a place in Mourinho’s starting eleven. — AFP



Fluminense reach Guanabara Cup final SAO PAULO: Uruguayan striker Sebastian “El Loco” Abreu missed a penalty in the shootout and former Liverpool goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri made two saves as Fluminense defeated Botafogo 4-3 on penalties to reach the final of the Guanabara Cup. Fluminense will play for the title of the first stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship against Vasco da Gama, which on Wednesday came from behind to defeat Flamengo 2-1. In the Sao Paulo state championship, Palmeiras drew Oeste 1-1 at home and relinquished the lead to Corinthians, which beat Portuguesa 2-0 on Wednesday. The match in Rio went to a shootout after the teams drew 1-1 at the Engenhao stadium. Abreu missed the final penalty as Cavalieri dived to his right to stop the Uruguayan’s low shot. A reserve at Liverpool before returning

to Brazil last year to play for Fluminense, Cavalieri had already saved Lucas’ shot from the spot. “We kept our calm and that allowed us to equalize at the end to send the match into the shootout,” Cavalieri said. “I was happy to make the saves that allowed us to reach the final.” Jean missed Fluminense’s only penalty. His shot was saved by Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson. Midfielder Elkeson had put Botafogo ahead in the 30th minute after a cross by Argentine striker German Herrera, and defender Leandro Euzebio equalized for Fluminense in the 80th from inside the area after a badly executed offside trap. The Guanabara Cup winner will play for the Rio state title against the Rio Cup champion later in the tournament. On Wednesday, Vasco da Gama beat Ronaldinho’s Flamengo at the Engenhao, ending an eight

match winless streak against the rival that dated back to nearly three years. It was Vasco’s eighth straight win to start the year. The team won the Brazilian Cup and was runner-up to Corinthians in the Brazilian league last season. Vagner Love put Flamengo ahead just three minutes into the match, dribbling past a defender and firing a powerful shot from outside the area. Vasco equalized through striker Alecsandro in the 15th after Flamengo goalkeeper Felipe failed to hold on to a free kick taken by former Brazil midfielder Juninho. Playmaker Diego Souza scored Vasco’s winner with a header in the 78th. Flamengo striker Deivid incredibly missed a simple opportunity in the 36th, when the match was level. He received a low cross inside the six-yard box, with nobody near him and only the net in front. The cross came slowly to his feet but he

mis-hit the ball from less than 3 yards away and it ended striking the post. In the Sao Paulo tournament, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras played poorly in front of its fans and was held 1-1 by minnow Oeste. The result kept the team unbeaten after nine matches, but it dropped to third in the 20team standings, one point behind Guarani and two behind Corinthians. On Wednesday, Corinthians defeated Portuguesa 2-0 with a goal by Peruvian midfielder Luis Ramirez. Sao Paulo drew Bragantino 3-3 in Braganca Paulista, while defending champion Santos beat Comercial 2-0 with a great performance by Brazil striker Neymar. The Brazilian football season begins with regional championships in the 26 states in the first few months, with the nationwide league running from May until December. —AP

Dalglish relishing Wembley return LONDON: Kenny Dalglish believes winning the League Cup may be a staging post to bigger things as Liverpool return to Wembley for the first time in 16 years to face Cardiff tomorrow. After little more than a year since his emotional Anfield homecoming, Dalglish has overseen a steady improvement in the club’s fortunes with a first piece of silverware beckoning this weekend. It is six years since Liverpool last won a major trophy-the 2006 FA Cup against West Ham at Cardiffand the Merseysiders have not played in a final at Wembley since 1996. Dalglish believes tomorrow’s clash with Championship side Cardiff is reward for the unwavering support of the club’s fans during a period which has seen Manchester United overhaul them as the most successful team in English football. “It means a lot to myself but more importantly it means a lot to a lot of people who have had to endure a few years when we’ve not been there (to Wembley),” Dalglish said. “For everyone who is connected with the club it is just reward for the loyalty and support they have shown.” Dalglish is satisfied with the steady progress Liverpool have made since he assumed control last year following the arrival of new American owners the Fenway Sports Group after a protracted takeover battle. “We have moved on from where we were last year, progressing in the FA Cup and the final of this cup and are four points behind fourth in place - this time last year we were nowhere near that,” he said. “There is progress being made. For the players it is an indication of how well they have done so everyone is looking forward to it. “We have a chance so we will do as well as we possibly can and we will try to progress the club and move forward.” Dalglish believes Liverpool’s place in the final is reflects the club’s commitment to a competition which has lost its lustre over the past two decades. “I don’t think it (the competition) has regained the credibility from years gone by,” said Dalglish. “I think we have treated it with respect but the teams that have treated it with respect are few and far between. We have treated it very seriously.” Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard meanwhile will be fulfilling a boyhood dream when he finally leads his club out at a Wembley final. Although Gerrard has produced memorable performances to win FA Cup and European Cup finals, he has never skippered Liverpool at Wembley. “Every time I played for Liverpool at Cardiff and led the team out there, there was a bit of me thinking ‘if only this was Wembley’,” Gerrard said. “Don’t get me wrong, we had some great days in Cardiff and I’ve got some fantastic memories of playing at the Millennium Stadium, but I’d have preferred to have won those trophies at Wembley. “To finally get the chance to achieve that with Liverpool will be amazing. I’ve experienced both the old and the new Wembley and I can tell you it’s a very special place.” Meanwhile tomorrow’s final gives Cardiff, desperate to win promotion to the Premier League this season, the opportunity of seeing how they measure up against top-flight opposition. Manager Malky Mackay believes the Wembley appearance reflects the transformation he has set about since taking over last summer from Dave Jones. “It’s been hard work for a lot of people, getting key people into good positions and being allowed to do that,” Mackay said. “Everyone’s parked their ego at the door and when you get that from a group of players, with a character and a determination, things go in the right direction. “We’re going to the final to go and be competitive and make sure we do the best we can do for Cardiff City. “It’s terrific for everyone at the football club and everyone should embrace it - be it a fan, a director, a staff member or footballer.”—AFP

BUENOS AIRES: Omar Arellano of Mexico’s Chivas (right) fights for the ball with Sebastian Dominguez of Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield during a Copa Libertadores soccer match in Buenos Aires. —AP

Chivas’ winless run reaches 13 MEXICO CITY: Guadalajara hasn’t won in 13 matches, and the spiral of poor results has prompted one of Mexico’s most famous football brands to call for outside assistance in the shape of former Dutch great Johan Cruyff. Chivas was humiliated 3-0 by Velez Sarsfield of Argentina on Wednesday in the Copa Libertadores, meaning the club has failed to win a match in four months and forcing new coach Ignacio Ambriz to simply say that “faith is needed.” Chivas said Thursday it would be taking several key steps to stop the rot. Foremost, it announced that former Barcelona coach Cruyff was joining the club as an advisor. He will be formally introduced today. “Welcome Johan Cruyff to the Chivas family,” the club said on its website. Cruyff, 64, is regarded as one of the game’s greatest player. He retired in 1984 and went on to coach

Ajax and Barcelona. He led Barcelona in 1992 to its first Champions League title. Sporting director Rafe ael Ortega says new players may have to be signed in the offseason, a change of course for a club that has tried for several seasons to win with young, unproven talent. “The team is down from what is expected, but I still have faith,” said Ambriz, who replaced Fernando Quirarte as coach several weeks ago. “Although they are young players, they know what it means to wear the Chivas shirt and I have faith we are going to move forward.” It will not be easy for the most successful club in Mexico football history. In the Clausura tournament - the second half of Mexico’s split season Chivas has only two points from seven matches. Ten league games remain and they are all likely to be difficult. Chivas must play Santos and defending champions UANL Tigres, which

share the league lead this season. There is also a showdown with archrival America and a derby match against city rival Atlas. “Our finishing has not been good,” Ambriz said. “We have created some chances, but we have not followed through in attack. We can’t do anything but keep working.” Club owner Jorge Vergara and his wife Angelica Fuentes, who serves as executive president, have been criticized for failing to spend money on talented players. Vergara owns the Omnilife company, which sells health supplements throughout the Americas and in Spain. A large void was left when Javier (Chichartio) Hernandez moved to Manchester United almost two years ago. Ortega, the sporting director, says that problem will be addressed. “There will have to be a few changes made,” Ortega said. “One could say it’s a necessity.” —AP



Arsenal, Chelsea feeling heat as league resumes LONDON: The Premier League title duel between Manchester United and Manchester City could be relegated to sideshow status this weekend as all eyes descend on the turmoil bedevilling Arsenal and Chelsea. With Manchester City facing lowly Blackburn today and United travelling to Norwich 24 hours later, few will be surprised if City’s two-point lead at the top of the table remains intact come tomorrow night. Yet the stakes could not be higher for Arsenal and Chelsea, whose campaigns are teetering on the brink following a series of poor results which have left their managers Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas facing stinging criticism. Arsenal followed their 4-0 thrashing at AC Milan weekend with a dismal FA Cup exit at Sunderland last weekend, a result that effectively ensured the Gunners’ trophy drought would enter an eighth year. While conventional wisdom suggests Wenger has built up enough reserves of goodwill during his 15 years at Arsenal to be the author of his own exit strategy, the recent chorus of criticism directed at the Frenchman will become deafening if Tottenham prevail in tomorrow’s north London derby at the Emirates. Spurs, who beat Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart

Lane earlier this season, have not done the double over the Gunners for nearly 20 years. A victory for Harry Redknapp’s side would see Spurs open up a 13point lead over Wenger’s men, a vast gulf between third and fourth place that underscores the acute sense of two clubs heading in opposite directions. Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has challenged his team-mates to prove that the club remain “the kings of London.” “When you play (Tottenham), you forget the table; it is a battle and the best team will win,” Djourou said. “They are in great shape this season, they have been playing a lot better than before but you have to forget about that and go to war. “At the start of the season some people wrote them off because they lost a few games but since then they have been unbelievable. But it is up to us to show that we are the kings of London.” While Wenger is expected to weather the current storm, Villas-Boas’s position at Chelsea remains shrouded in uncertainty despite the Portuguese manager’s insistence that he retains the full backing of owner Roman Abramovich. The 34-year-old Chelsea boss lurched into another crisis this week as his team slumped to a 3-1 loss at Napoli which has left the Londoners staring down

the barrel of Champions League elimination. VillasBoas’s selection for the match has come under severe scrutiny following the decision to omit Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole from his starting line-up. Several reports have suggested Villas-Boas is struggling to get a grip on a full-scale dressing room mutiny, with headlines this week such as “Bench warfare” and “Battle at the Bridge” highlighting the strained relationship between the coach and his players. Failure to beat relegation-threatened Bolton today could prove fatal to Villas-Boas, who has won just four of his last 14 games. Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic is adamant that the club needs to unite behind the manager to have any chance of saving their season. “Chelsea has to be the priority for everybody,” Ivanovic said. “We all have to think like this to try to make the position better. “Things like this always happen when you are losing and they always leak out. But it is the manager who decides who plays and then it is up to us players to do our jobs. “This is a critical period for this club and we will only get through it if we stay positive and keep working hard.”—AFP

Chelsea’s coach seeks relief against Bolton LONDON: Andre Villas-Boas admits he was forced to answer questions from owner Roman Abramovich about Chelsea’s Champions League defeat in Naples. And the Chelsea manager can expect another interrogation if his side fail to take advantage of the opportunity to strike a blow in the battle for fourth place by beating struggling Bolton at Stamford Bridge. Villas-Boas’s team currently lie fifth, trailing Arsenal on goal difference, but will leap-frog their London rivals if they avoid defeat 24 hours before Arsene Wenger’s side take on Tottenham. In previous seasons, few would have backed against anything other than a home victory, but after another difficult week, nothing can be assured. Still reeling from the failure to beat Championship Birmingham at home in the FA Cup fifth round, Chelsea were humbled 3-1 by Napoli in the first leg of the last 16 clash when Villas-Boas’s decision to omit several senior players-including Frank Lampard and Ashely Cole-sparked controversy. And Villas-Boas admitted Abramovich had sought answers via the club’s technical director Michael Emenalo. “He is disappointed about the result and asking questions about how we set up the team and they were duly explained,” he said. “Again, we shared ideas regarding what happened in the game and how they happen but we still have 90 minutes to play and we strongly believe we can turn the tie around. “I spoke to the people close to the owner to transmit the message. That is the normal way we communicate. I see it as normal. He just wants to know the thought process.” Villas-Boas remains convinced he has the owner’s backing but he knows his side must halt the recent run of results that threatens to leave the club without a trophy or a place in next season’s Champions League. He insists his relationship with Cole and Lampard remains sound but admits the loss of captain John Terry to a knee injury for six weeks is a major blow. “We will badly miss him. It is a massive, massive loss. He is a leader and has been a great performer even through adversity,” Villas-Boas said. Fernando Torres missed training because of illness on Thursday but is expected to be fit to play. Villas-Boas will find an ally in the opposition dug-out in Bolton manager Owen Coyle. The Bolton manager and Villas-Boas did a coaching course together in 2007 and is sure that his friend will find a way to resolve his problems at Stamford Bridge. His team remain in the relegation zone after their 2-1 defeat to Wigan before the break for the FA Cup. “They are led by an outstanding manager, someone who I know extremely well,” he said. “Andre has come into the club and looked at how he can progress them for many years to come and I’m sure he’ll do that. “We now go into two away games against Chelsea and Manchester City and there’s no doubt that they are big games for us. “We also know that even after those games there are points to be had, with a lot of those games at home. “Our destiny is in our own hands and we’re looking forward to the challenge that goes with it.” —AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

English Premier League Liverpool v Everton ...................................... 15:45 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Wigan v- Aston Villa ..................................... 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD West Brom v Sunderland .............................. 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD QPR v Fulham ................................................ 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Newcastle v Wolves ...................................... 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD Chelsea v Bolton ............................................ 18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD City v Blackburn ............................................ 20:30 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Italian League Genoa v Parma ............................................. 20:00 Aljazeera Sport +1 AC Milan v Juventus .................................... 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +1 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Spanish League Real Betis v Getafe ...................................... 20:00 Aljazeera Sport +4 Real Racing v Sporting ................................ 20:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Malaga v Real Zaragoza ............................. 22:00 Aljazeera Sport +5

NAPLES: Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas, gestures during the Champions League, first leg, soccer match between Napoli and Chelsea, at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy. — AP

Tomorrow Espanyol v Levante ..................................... 0:00 Aljazeera Sport +2



Sri Lanka win thriller, go top


MANCHESTER: Ajax’s Aras Ozbiliz (second left) beats Manchester United’s Phil Jones (second right) to score a goal during their Europa League round of 32 soccer match at Old Trafford. — AP

Utd, Atletico, PSV book last 16 Europa: United outplayed but still scrape through ZURICH: Manchester United scraped into the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, narrowly avoiding a humiliating elimination after being outplayed and losing 2-1 at home to Ajax Amsterdam. Not even a sixth minute opener from Javier Hernandez could inspire United as Aras Ozbiliz levelled eight minutes before the break and Toby Aldeweireld’s late header set up a nerve-wracking finale. United manager Alex Ferguson took the blame for fielding too many young defenders after his side slunk through 3-2 on aggregate in only the second meeting of two of Europe’s most successful clubs. They will face Atheltic Bilbao in the last 16 after the side led by eccentric former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0, despite being reduced to 10-man, to qualify on away goals. Atletico Madrid beat Lazio 1-0 to complete a 4-1 aggregate win and Valencia, Spain’s other representatives, beat Stoke City 1-0 to complete a 2-0 aggregate win. Steaua Bucharest’s dream of reaching the

final in their home city ended at Twente Enschede who were joined in the last sixteen by fellow Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. “I’m disappointed, I’m responsible for picking the team and there were too many young players in the back four, that was a big problem in terms of experience,” said Ferguson in a television interview. “It was a big risk I took.” “Ajax are a fantastic football team in terms of keeping the ball, they never looked like scoring (at first) but they got the goal and it gave them that encouragement.” Although Ajax have not won a European trophy since 1995, they still have a more impressive tally than United with four European Cup titles, one Cup Winners’ Cup and one UEFA Cup. Missing Wayne Rooney due to a throat infection, United appeared to be cruising when Hernandez put them ahead after six minutes, cutting inside his marker to score with a clinical finish after being set up by Dimitr Berbatov.

LOUD FANS Ajax’s possession was pleasing to witness but ineffective until the 37th minute when Aras Ozbiliz thumped home a first-time shot from 20 meters despite a suspected handball by Nicolas Lodeiro in the build up. Ajax, the first Dutch team to win at Old Trafford, took control of the game and sounded a warning just before the hour when Siem de Jong’s header was brilliantly turned over the bar by David De Gea. Although United eased Ajax’s grip, defender Aldeweireld stole ahead of hesitant defenders to head home from an inswinging free kick in the 87th minute. It was hard to fathom how Ajax, whose fans outsang the home crowd throughout the match, had been knocked out in the group stages of the Champions League. Athletic struggled to claw back a 2-1 first leg deficit against Lokomotiv and their cause appeared to be lost when Fernando Amorebieta was given a second yellow card for a trip of Roman Shishkin on the hour. Yet, two minutes later, teenager Iker Muniain scored at the far post

to send Athletic through on away goals. Former European champions Steaua were already trailing 1-0 as they travelled to Twente Enschede and their hopes ended just before the half hour following a blunder by Ciprian Tatarusanu, who lost his footing as he tried to control a back pass. Luuk de Jong pounced before squaring to Nacer Chadli, who calmly rolled into the unguarded net to give Twente another 1-0 win. Braga, last season’s runners-up, followed fellow Portuguese and defending champions Porto out of the tournament as they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Besiktas, despite winning the second leg 1-0 away with a Lima goal. Uruguayan defender Diego Godin headed the winner for Atletico Madrid, who chalked up their sixth successive home win in Europe and remained unbeaten after nine games under coach Diego Simeone, the former Argentine international. Metalist Kharkiv chalked up the biggest win, thumping Salzburg 4-1 for an 8-0 aggregate win. Porto were eliminated by Manchester City on Tuesday. — Reuters

25 Feb 2012  
25 Feb 2012  

Kuwait Times